Duster Zhantom is a short muscular Flydevin woman who trains in Mineral Winds, using a close-range style focusing on physical strikes. She is one of general Fractus Zhantom’s two daughters along with Nimbus Zhantom. She can often be seen hanging out with her best friends Trida Kyrjan and Beruli Tei. She was introduced as the main character of Kicking Dust.
Initially, Duster aimed to prove her strength to her dismissive mother. Effectively, Fractus's status as a general caused her to have high expectations of Duster, which she failed to meet, consistently losing matches as a result of being too reckless. Duster eventually tried to turn things around by infiltrating Fractus's army so she could watch her in action, but was traumatized by the violence of the battle she witnessed afterwards, after which she sworn off following in Fractus's footsteps. After confronting her, she was exiled from her home by Fractus, though she then met Gampa Pararain and conspired with them to remove Fractus's status, a task she was ultimately successful in, though not without some hitches in the way.
Duster is a 21-year old light-skinned Flydevin woman with poofy grey hair. She is noticeably muscular, but is also very short, only being 5’0 feet tall. She has several scars around her body as a consequence of her sparring multiple times during her training and her usage of a close-range fighting style. Her hair is rather short, with there being a prominent bump around the front. She also generally makes two buns on the sides of her head, one being doubled.
As an adept in Mineral Winds, she’s generally seen wearing a grey sleeveless shirt and long pants covered in a “rock” pattern. She also wears grey shoes and gloves, the latter of which are long in order to better protect her arms from the rocks she often coats them in. Even when wearing more casual clothing, she generally seems to prefer more subdued clothing.
Duster on the outside seems like a grumpy person, as she rarely smiles, gets angry easily and has a tendency to keep her arms crossed. However, those who are close to her know that she is in fact a very mellow person when she does not feel judged. Unfortunately, Duster suffers from multiple insecurities - her height is often the butt of jokes, something that easily angers her, and she often felt the need to prove herself to her mother, whose attitude towards her is dismissive, resulting in her often displaying a competitive attitude. She has a lot of trouble taking jokes and losses as a result. However, it should be noted that Duster almost never lashes out physically, if at all, in spite of her muscular nature.
Ever since Episode 3 of Kicking Dust, Duster has grown to hate wars. The violence she witnessed in one war was such that she was left a terrified mess, and eventually passed out. She still considers wars to be a source of trauma, and it has caused her to permanently renounce the role of Flydevin General she was meant to inherit.
Duster has shown to have a particularly close bond with her sister Nimbus. For example, when she found out Flydevins were planning to abuse her ice sculpting skills to make her do propaganda glorifying "Flydevin Warriors", Fractus's soldiers, which to Duster's eyes are killers, she got extremely angry and confronted her mother about it.
Duster does not take well to being separated from her friends - to the point she had a mental breakdown when she was exiled from Flydevin society. It's been shown during said breakdown that she thinks she's not good enough for them, seeing as both Trida and Beruli work much harder to get through life than her whereas she feels as if she does nothing but fight, something she doesn't even consider herself good at. It remains to be seen how their relationship will evolve following her toppling of Fractus's regime.
Powers and Abilities
Duster is generally more of a close-range fighter, overwhelming her foes with a combination of offense, defense and agility. However, she tends to struggle against multiple opponents, and also has trouble getting past the defenses of more heavily-armored foes.
Duster mostly fights using Wind Arts, an ability innate to Flydevins allowing their user to manipulate winds around themselves. There are multiple sub-divisions of Wind Arts, and Duster specializes in Mineral Winds, which allows her to create rocks from mineral dust in the air. In other words, she has wind and rock powers. Some notable abilities include:
- Stone Strike: Duster can coat her limbs in rocks in order to enhance the power of her strikes. She generally adds a push of wind in order to make her strikes hit even harder.
- Terra Shield: Duster can create rocks in order to block attacks coming towards her, which is especially useful when she needs to approach foes that fight from a distance.
- Flight: Duster can use her winds to fly. She’s equally strong in the air than on land as well.
- Wind Agility: Duster can also use her winds to increase her mobility in general. She can run faster with them, perform high jumps, slow down her falls, or even just throw herself directly at foes.
- Weight Throw: When Duster needs to attack foes at a distance, she can simply create rocks and launch them at the foe. That being said, this is relatively slow and easy to dodge or counter.
- Dirty Tricks: Although she generally prefers to not use these, especially during more friendly spars and competitions, Duster’s mineral winds enable her to pull off plenty of cheap moves. She can create and throw dust at people’s eyes to blind them, for example, or she can create rocks around their joints to weight them down and making it harder for them to move.
- Smoke Winds: It turns out Duster is capable of using the same "Dark Magic" as Fractus, which consists of creating highly toxic clouds that can knock out and paralyze a person in a matter of seconds if ingested. Duster can also use them to blind her foes. She has been shown to be able to release it as a jet of smoke, and when not restrained by the presence of other people, she was capable of creating a tornado of smoke, although it's highly unlikely she would actually use this ability in a combat situation seeing how dangerous it would be to the surroundings.
- Smoke Wind Bombs: A move that Duster developed during Kicking Dust with inspiration of her sister Nimbus. Duster creates a cloud of smoke, but also puts small rock fragments in the smoke, which she then encases in a rock. She was capable of doing this process quickly enough that Fractus, an experienced general, couldn't tell she did it. Afterwards, she can break this rock onto unsuspecting foes in order to release the extra-dangerous Smoke Winds. This move generally comes in handy against foes that know about her Smoke Winds, as it allows her to conceal the usage of it and makes it harder for them to counter it.
Duster perhaps cares more about her sister than anyone else. She has been shown to be heavily protective of her and was appalled when she found out what she was made to sculpt in school. The two appear to share a great bond. Duster generally gives her the nickname "Cloudie", which comes from her cloud-shaped hair. She has consistently been worried about her well-being, especially when she was exiled from the kingdom, to the point she went back to the kingdom mainly in order to "rescue" her from Fractus - basically a consensual abduction. She has been shown to occasionally tease her, however, and has sometimes misled her on purpose, for example in the first episode, where she reminded her she had homework to do just so that she could borrow the couch. However, she'd never be actually malicious to her.
Despite the fact Fractus is Duster's mother, the two haven't gotten along at all, and in fact eventually became enemies, to the point Fractus showed intent to kill her several times. Fractus effectively saw Duster as a colossal disappointment, whereas Duster holds Fractus accountable for the needless bloodshed and the continued wars that plague Flydevin society. Before she found out just how brutal the wars Fractus caused were, the two still didn't get along, though Duster at least wanted to prove she could be strong to Fractus so that she'd stop being dismissive towards her. The biggest conflict between the two probably comes from Nimbus, with both thinking they could do a much better job at taking care of her than the other and thinking she's in danger with them.
Duster and Beruli have always gotten along, but over the course of Kicking Dust, Duster's appreciation for Beruli grew heavily after she found out the reason she acts so "happy-go-lucky" is actually to cheer her friends and the population in general up. When possible, Duster likes to hang out with Beruli, along with Trida.
Duster and Trida also get along very well, despite the fact the latter occasionally teases her. Much like Beruli, Duster's appreciation for Trida grew even bigger after she found out she works hard when not hanging out with her in order to ensure her brother Erifa can live well.
Although she wouldn't consider Gampa to be part of her best friends, Duster got to see Gampa as a reliable friend quickly after they met, with Gampa supporting her after she was exiled and teaching her survival lessons.
Duster seems to be aware of Erifa's attitude, and the two don't get along all that well, with Erifa doubting her strength and pointing out how short she is. Duster denied this, and also showed concern as to what would happen if Erifa and Nimbus were to meet, Duster thinking Erifa would make fun of her. She was relieved to find this was not the case.
Little is known about how Duster and her father got along before her untimely death, but Duster seems to respect him and was surprised to hear Nimbus declare Diamond Hallion would be screwed (which was in truth simply because she was unaware of his true relation to her and saw him as just another Flydevin Warrior she was forced to study initially). From this, it can be extrapolated that Diamond treated his daughter decently at least.
Duster's origins begin in early May 2020, where she was created to be used for roleplays as an alternate universe version of Nimbus Zhantom, who actually predates Duster. The initial idea of her concept came from a discussion about an alternate universe where characters would be "reversed" - and Poisonshot joked that "Nimbus is a rock", contrasting with her cloud theming. Poisonshot thought about this idea some more later on, however, and eventually made her a full-blown character. Duster was originally simply codenamed "Rock" during her conception stage as a result, and her name was not determined yet - aside from Duster, "Silex", "Iberu" and "Iberulite" were also considered. Duster's design was actually not radically different from her current design, but she wore elevated shoes to appear taller, lacked the rock wings, had a different hairstyle which was made up of many haphazard "blocks" (to contrast with Nimbus's hairstyle mainly being spherical puffs), had significantly more scars and wore a sheath which contained a chainsaw - a hint to her backstory.
Duster effectively had a completely different backstory at the time, though some things about Nimbus need to be established first - in the roleplay she was made for, Nimbus was the daughter of an ice sculptor called Coralde Clua - a character from ColdR, another of Poisonshot's projects - and time travelled back to the present. Duster, however, came from a dystopian alternate universe where most of her family died. Her character arc focused on her feelings of inferiority and jealousy towards the other Nimbus, for whom things went far better than her. Fractus Zhantom did exist, but she was her grandmother from her father's side rather than her mother. While Duster already went by the name Duster, she eventually chose to go by the name Dustnimbus instead under Coralde's suggestion, seeing as she, too, was called Nimbus - she merely used Duster as a pseudonym. Nimbus, meanwhile, renamed herself to Snownimbus. While Duster originally wasn't a Flydevin and was merely a human using chemical technology to create her rocks, she eventually became a "Valkyrie", which was a precursor to Flydevins, having much of the same characteristics except for the name. Duster's outfit became the basis for your typical Mineral Wind adept's.
Duster's design was later revised slightly, still being quite similar but having a bit less scars and having a different hairstyle, which consisted of poofy hair with three sets of bun-shaped cubes, with one being doubled much like her current hairstyle. Duster's hairstyle was then briefly revised yet again, swapping to a set of four buns with three of them being doubled, and then finally was revised into her current hairstyle. At this point, Duster showed up in another roleplay, where she was unrelated to Coralde, instead being the daughter of Fractus, with a backstory much more similar to her current incarnation. This iteration of Duster was the basis for her current version, with the only real changes to her design being the longer gloves and the addition of small rock wings in order to make her stand out more.
- Duster’s name comes from her powers being a combination of earth and air powers.
- Duster’s family name, Zhantom, is a reference to her wind powers - originally, there was more emphasis on the family’s ability to attack unseen with their wind-themed abilities. This element is largely removed from the current versions of the characters, however, though it was turned into a reference to her usage of Smoke Winds, which has been mistaken for "dark magic" before.
- Duster actually originates from the same roleplays Stanley Willows and related characters came from.
|The Silanex Saga|
|The Goldscrap War | Kicking Dust (Episodes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10) | TBA! (game)|
|Fractus Zhantom | Diamond Hallion | Duster Zhantom | Nimbus Zhantom | Gampa Pararain | Halcyate Morluda | Gilderoyde Morluda | Xorra Atomure | Zeronax Cleavecut | Law Laterfall | Beruli Tei | Teliru Tei | Coarbel Lignate | Trida Kyrjan | Erifa Kyrjan | The Drizzler | Ravitie Dawne | Bruno Incrisp | Markrose Hortica|
|Flydevins | Silanex | Termidas Town | Belecpitons|