Calap Roud was the ninety-two year old elder statesman of Reliant City's community of artists. Yet his body of work, including many thousands of sonnets and scores of epic poems stolen from others, never achieved the recognition he felt he deserved. He was a twenty-two time loser of The Century's Greatest Artist competition held in Farrog. Poet Avas Didion Flicker thought Calap a mediocre talent. He maintained his standing by tearing down his peers. Many a genius died in dissolution aided in part by Calap's orchestration. The talented Brash Phluster endured Calap's attacks for seven years.
Calap appeared to be in his late forties due to alchemical concoctions that included almonds, cloves, and lizard gall-bladders. These did not stop the growth of his ears and nose which resembled that of a rock ape and probiscus monkey, respectively. His teeth were worn and he had a tendency to stick out his purpled tongue when leering at women.
Calap sensed his time to be discovered was running out and was desperate. He joined a caravan crossing the Great Dry on the Cracked Pot Trail to make a twenty-third and final attempt to win The Century's Greatest Artist competition. When the caravan ran out of food, the other well armed travelers decided their "useless" artistic companions would be more useful as meals. Every night Calap and the others would perform in competition for the right to live another day.
When it was Calap's turn to perform he chose to recite a story written by Stenla Tebur of Aren thinking it too obscure for anyone to know it was not his own. But his audience found it boring, and Flicker, who was familiar with piece, had to help him answer their questions about the story. Later Calap witnessed Flicker making love to Relish Chanter while her bestial, protective brothers slept. He threatened to inform Tiny Chanter, telling Flicker he always hated him. But Flicker turned the tables. For his next story he told a tale of how Calap had seduced Relish, and before Calap could deny it he was murdered by an enraged Tiny.