- "Everyone's equal and we're all the same; earth-scholars and sky-scholars; professors, apprentices and even Undertowners."
- —Cowlquape Pentephraxis
Role in the Twig Trilogy
Cowlquape was the son of a brutal Leaguesman named Ulbus Pentephraxis and grandson of the old High Leaguesmaster, Ruptus Pentephraxis. His father sent him to Sanctaphrax when it became clear that he wasn't cut out to be a leaguesman, and Cowlquape was given the rank of a junior-sub-acolyte, one of the lowest positions in Sanctaphrax. Because of this, and of his association with the Leagues of Undertown, Cowlquape was often looked down upon by the academics of the floating city. In particular, Vox Verlix's relationship with the youth was strenuous, and this was to have a damaging implication later on in the pair's lives. When his father was killed by the falling rudder-wheel of the Edgedancer, Cowlquape was left with no money, and had to go into hiding to avoid being cast out of Sanctaphrax. Twig, however, took him under his wing, standing up to Vox and offering Cowlquape the chance of escape from his wretched life; to embark on a long journey through Undertown and the Deepwoods in search of Twig's missing crew.
The journey proceeded to take Cowlquape towards horrors he never thought he would see: through the Shryke Slave Market and the Nightwoods - scarcely surviving a Flitterwaif attack - towards the pinnacle of Riverrise. Upon reaching the former home of his hero Kobold the Wise, Cowlquape learnt of the terrible truth that his former home Sanctaphrax stood in the way of the Mother Storm and Riverrise. Twig and he had to take drastic measures in order to reach Sanctaphrax before the storm struck from Open Sky. It was decided that the only possible way to reach the city was through Sky-Firing, and Cowlquape and Twig endured a terrible journey back to the tip of The Edge. They had to unchain Sanctaphrax to enable the Mother Storm to pass, and the Professor of Darkness appointed Cowlquape the Most High Academe in a desperate (and failed) attempt to halt him from his actions. Immediately after, Twig departed in order to return to the remainder of his crew in Riverrise, leaving Cowlquape alone again. After Sanctaphrax was lost, a new rock formed, and he became Most High Academe of New Sanctaphrax.
Role in the Rook Trilogy
Cowlquape became partners with Vox Verlix, with the former believing that together they could help rebuild New Sanctaphrax. Vox, however, betrayed him to the Guardians of Night, in order to get the Seal of High Office and declare himself Most High Academe. In the mass slaughter that followed, Cowlquape was presumed dead by Vox; in reality, however, Cowlquape had been captured by the Guardians, and thus spent decades as a prisoner in the dungeons of the Tower of Night. During this time, Xanth Filatine would become his only company, often visiting him in his dungeon ledge. Cowlquape would often tell Xanth stories of the Deepwoods and his adventures there with Twig, which would eventually spark Xanth's own interest in leaving the Tower of Night and travelling there someday himself.
Eventually, Rook and Twig stormed the tower and rescued him in the Second Attack on the Tower of Night, bringing him back to the Librarians, who recognized him as the true Most High Academe. Cowlquape and Rook once again met at the Palace of Statues when Rook was being kept there as a slave, and Cowlquape travelling there at Vox's request; he would negotiate with Vox to release him. Later, he would help convince the Librarians to evacuate the Great Storm Chamber Library for the Free Glades, and became the head of the Freeglades Council.
Personality and Traits
In his youth, Cowlquape was often shy and retiring, and he felt he lacked a head for heights or a heart for danger. However, whatever skills he lacked in, Cowlquape made up for it with his constant lust for knowledge, and was forever immersed in bark scrolls, particularly those about Kobold the Wise during the Time of Enlightenment. He shared many beliefs with his idol, particularly those that everyone was equal. He, despite many other's doubts, remained a believer in the legend of Riverrise.
Cowlquape's wisdom was enhanced further during his latter days, and he became a much respected leader of his people. He remained trustful of those who most others would frown upon - particularly in the case of Xanth Filatine. Despite his kindly features, it was noted by Rook that his eyes always bore a haunted expression, testimony to the horrors he had witnessed.
Behind the scenes
Cowlquape's name comes from the German word for tadpole, kaulquappe.