I found Vathek in an Eighteenth Century Romance of the same name, which begins thusly: “Vathek, ninth caliph of the race of the Abassides, was the son of Motassem, and the grandson of Haroun al Raschid.” A description follows of his table which was “continually covered with the most exquisite dainties,” his garden of rarities, a hall of music, and a “Palace of Perfumes.”
Basically he’s a guy that has it all until a mysterious stranger shows up who has the most magical merchandise, like knives that cut by themselves, slippers with spontaneous springs, and a certain sabre with gems arranged in something akin to letters. It is this item that Vathek desires, and, of course, it all goes downhill from there and Vathek comes to a bad end.
After which I thought, who better to be cursed into an imp than this guy? Here's an excerpt (Arlen has just spoken the words to Summon Vathek):
A wet, popping sound made her snap her head around and a second later a creature appeared; a small black thing the size of a teapot with a long, smooth barbed tail. It had no hair whatsoever and bright amber eyes.
Arlen threw herself back in her chair, fingers curling tight around the arms, eyes wide .
The thing looked at her, blinking, then slowly turned its head, bright eyes taking in the room first, then the witchlight hanging above the desk, and finally back to Arlen, who had scooted her chair back against the wall. Its mouth curved into a small smile and she could see tiny pointy teeth, sharp as knives.
Who's one of your favorite unusual characters? Care to share a little excerpt?