Cortalianesquertal vel-Lineacrux, better-known as simply Cortalian, was a Homeworlder (or, in Apep's terms, a Sun Builder) with a propensity for the engineering of species. Although originally a High Councillor and a member of House Lineacrux, she was disgraced and became a Crime Lady. She was viewed as arrogant, and, according to Gustav, retained the racism of her people against "lesser species" even when she was forced to live among them.


Gustav seemed to believe that Cortalian had been loomed, mockingly referring to her as a "loom-weft".

Intrepid dimly recalled her speaking at an Academy assembly when he was a student there.

Although she was once a High Councillor, Cortalian was disgraced and "kicked out" of the Homeworld, with her later reflecting that the "only real kindness" the Great Houses had awarded her was to allow her to keep her bonded timeship. Said ship allowed her to travel the Spiral Politic, and she became notorious in the Spiral Underworld as a Crime Lady.

Simply trying to pass the time on "a rainy evening", Cortalian experimented on a bull of a species of snake-like monsters with six stalked eyes and too many teeth, picking at its biodata. By "pulling at evolutionary blocks and unused possibilities", she engineered a small army of Servitors, all built from the same base DNA but who had a wide variety of monstrous forms adapted to their purposes. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice) She became known for these creations, which she would often show off at the occasional open sessions of the Crime Lord High Council. (PROSE: Daring Initiation)

At the time of the Armistice, Cortalian organised the First Auction in Heaven, gathering various artefacts and weapons which had been scattered by the combatants in the War on the planet Kratoam and selling them to the highest bidder. More than by profit, she was motivated by the prospect of annoying the Great Houses. She was aware that, if they took too much umbrage, she could end up on the Homeworld Watch's hit list for her exploit, but accepted this risk gladly.

Among the items on sale was an Osirian sarcophagus in which the monster-serpent Apep was imprisoned. Acting on Auteur's advice, Father and Mother traded the item from her in exchange for a future version of the key to her timeship, which she was someday going to lose. However, the future event of Apep being freed rippled back into the past, causing cracks in space-time to begin opening on Kratoam; one of them cracked open the bubble of sealed time in which the Battle of Cratosi Fields was frozen, and as it began spilling out into the Auction area, the ensuing tremours caused Cortalian to lose her balance and fall off the hovering platform from which she had been overlooking events.

She was severaly injured in the fall; Kifah and Intrepid found her bleeding out on the ground, still conscious, her arm twisted, her leg backwards. As she still seemed intent on taking revenge on them, Intrepid shot her in the head with his shadow-weapon, killing her cleanly.

Kifah, Intrepid and Gustav later began unraveling her corpse into raw biodata to attract Auteur's loas, thus causing them to leave Apep defenceless. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice)


Cortalian's skin resembled marble and her lips were bright purple. She was well-known for her love of catsuits; at the First Auction in Heaven, the jumpsuit she wore was dark blue catsuit, and she draped a violet cape over it, which hung loose and open on her shoulders. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice)