|“||That little runt, Cowlquape, had the right idea, leaving Sanctaphrax when he did. But I am not leaving. And woe betide Cowlquape, if our paths should ever cross again...||„|
|~ Vox on his hatred of Cowlquape|
Vox Verlix is a main antagonist in books six and eight of The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, he is a Sky scholar in the city of Sanctaphrax on the Edge, and he seeks to expand his influence in all forms across the Edgeworld.
Vox was born in Undertown and became a Sky scholar in the city of Sanctaphrax, which makes him possibly one of the League merchant sons, because one needs to be rich to be an academic of Sanctaphrax. Vox was known as the finest cloud-watcher of his generation. Nobody disputed his intelligence or his wisdom.
He, however, was also a master manipulator, bending the situation towards his own goals and ambition. He was greedy, having many plans of hegemony and dictatorship, rising to power and dominion over many thralls. Vox enlisted the help of a waif named Amberfuce to join him in his plans and spread corruption throughout the city.
He installed fear amongst every student in Sanctaphrax, clubbing his enemies round the head and telling them to "watch it in future." At one point, he made a mortal enemy of Cowlquape, a poor and weak, unambitious Undertowner whose father was Ulbus Pentaphraxis, a League merchant. Vox teased Cowlquape about being poor, and that his father couldn't pay the bills. Cowlquape had nobody to stick up for himself until Twig arrived.
Clashing with Twig
Vox one night confronted Cowlquape at dinner in the Great Hall telling him somebody hadn't paid their fees and it was over for Cowlquape. He said that unless he paid the Professor of Cloud-watching, he would be kicked out of Sanctaphrax. Outside, a mind-storm began to whirl, causing anger in Cowlquape. Cowlquape picked up his dinner stew and threw it in Vox's face, yelling at him to give the stew to the Professor in place of payment. The dinner was piping hot and scalded Vox, causing him to yell in pain and fall back into some other students.
His face was left scarred by the incident. He cornered Cowlquape in a corridor the next week and he threatened to kill him. He asked "Where's Captain Twig the hero, saviour of Sanctaphrax?", believing they were alone, but Twig, to Vox's surprise, said "Right here," and stepped forward. Twig settled the argument without violence, and asked Vox brush Cowlquape down and tidy him up and Vox did this reluctantly. Twig also asked Vox to be nicer to Cowlquape in future, otherwise next time he would be violent. This done, Vox scurried off, ashamed.
But he planned revenge. As more storms rolled in and gradually destroyed Sanctaphrax, Vox clubbed an impudent student over the head, and planned an alliance with another professor, to climb the social ladder.
After Sanctaphrax's Destruction
When Twig and Cowlquape returned from the Deepwoods, having regained Twig's memory as to destroy Sanctaphrax, Vox was one of the academics who evacuated. After the city was unchained and flew off into Open Sky, Vox scowled at having to obey Cowlquape and promised he would "get him" one day.
His loathing for Cowlquape grew too strong. Finally, Vox selected a band of Sky scholars who called themselves the Guardians of Night. They planned to overthrow the Librarian Earth scholars and take up a hegemonistic government. At first, they allied with Vox, and Vox believed he ruled them, so he commanded them to slaughter Librarians. But in the Night of the Gloamglozers, the Guardians betrayed Vox, trying to kill him, so he shut himself in his fortress, the Palace of Statues, and hid.
Orbix Xaxis became leader of the Guardians, and he took over the Edge.
Rook and the Great Storm
Vox was delirious, obese and ill from his confinement. He was also amnesiac, he couldn't remember his past but he did lay plans for the future, highly evil plans. He wanted to destroy Undertown with a dark maelstrom, and he wanted to escape to the Deepwoods and become ruler and dictator of the Edge. He captured a Librarian named Rook and enslaved him in his kitchen, caring for his matron goblin Hestera and feeding a mysterious "Baby" which was actually a huge mechanical wooden machine shaped like a flamethrower. Rook deduced the Baby was intended for a storm creation. He and Cowlquape met each other in Vox's quarters.
Cowlquape and Vox argued about their past, with Cowlquape saying Vox was evil and selfish, and could not change his ways. But Vox told him a dark maelstrom was coming, and it would kill everyone, unless the Librarians evacuated. Vox warned the Librarians about the storm and they were able to leave in time.
But he was betrayed a second time. Amberfuce, Vox's own servant, betrayed him. He wouldn't have Vox with him so he fled himself in Vox's own cart, leaving Vox alone in his rooms in the Palace of Statues being nursed by Hestera, who overdosed him on his medicine and he died by asphyxiation. He was left with Hestera as the waters rose and Undertown was destroyed.
However, he was remembered not as a Machiavellian tyrant, which he had truly been, but as a wise and noble ruler who sought to bring freedom to the Edgeworld. His statue's stone head was recovered from an expedition sent to the ruins of Old Undertown centuries later, and his blueprints for his ambitious projects were revealed. He was thus seen as a saviour rather than a madman. Vox was seen as so great that his plans to kill the Librarians, entitled the "Glade Eaters" (huge savage machines which felled trees in their path via blades) was given to Hemuel Spume by the waif Amberfuce in a bid to complete his late master's plan, which failed dramatically in a final war for the Edge.
Vox loved the finer things in life, yet was a madman driven to distraction by his grand designs. He may have also been driven insane by his bright mind and high intelligence, exasperated at his underling's "stupidity." He was a very exceptional man, and Cowlquape and others remarked that a genius like Vox only came about every other generation. Vox was remembered as he would have loved to have been, as a great achiever and inventor rather than his true nature as a ruthless usurper and traitor who sold his own friends in a bid for power. He formed the Guardians of Night and thus started their genocidal regime in the world. Vox built many grand designs, yet these were mainly prisons, dark and gloomy places, and "the worst place to be built on a Sanctaphrax rock" according to Cowlquape.