Author Archive: ThePrederick

Amateur. Writer. Voice-actor. Always interested in learning for it's own sake.

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#30 – Bench Jockey (Alex Aronson)

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Most people don’t have to try to be a superhero. They just are. Alex Aronson tried really, really, REALLY hard to be one.

And he’s terrible at it.

In all honesty, “terrible” is an unfair descriptor. He’s not wholly incompetent at being a hero, it’s just that there are a lot of people much, much, much better at it than he is. Better organized. More skillfull. More capable of remembering if they parked their car in front of a fire hydrant. Alex was once described in a newspaper profile of superheroes as “meaning well”.

By all means, Alex isn’t a bad guy, and he’s kind of irrepressably positive about his position in life, even if he does find his never-ending string of robberies and crimes foiled by happenstance, accident or by someone else a bit frustrating. But when your only superpower is an advanced level of prestidigitation, there’s only so much you can do against a raging, 500-pound human behemoth.

Still, Alex is determined to be a hero, and rather than becoming a complete joke, he has gained a small retinue of dedicated fans, who see him as the everyman answer to the people streaking across the sky who don’t interact with day-to-day citizens anymore. He can’t jump over a building, has generally awful taste in almost everything, but he really does live the job, and believes a day spent working with children in need is just as good as stopping a robbery or a murder. He is a little deluded, sure, but he’s the kind of person who would show up to bail an acquaintance he’d just met once out of jail. He’s kind of embraced the nickname of “Bench Jockey”, given to him by a much bigger, stronger superhero. No, he’s never going to stop a plane from crashing, but he’s still important, in his own way.

#29 – Safia Boateng

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Safia Boateng is a 24-year-old woman, originally from Kumasi, Ghana, who has come to rural Kansas to study botany and agriculture.

Safia grew in a large family, the second of five children and the first daughter, and spent much of her childhood at her mother’s side, helping out with household duties as her father supported the family. She took an interest in plants from a young age, embracing her home city’s diversity of plants and gardens.

An adept student, she stood out in classes, and repeatedly proved herself a capable and enduringly curious student. Prone to boredom, Safia was not above causing no small amount of mischief around her school, even terrorizing some of the boys with homemade pyrotechnics and other ideas to upset the usual order of things around her school.

Safia’s father, who worked as a miner, was gone for long stretches, leaving her mother to run the home. Safia is exceptionally close to her mother, who always enouraged her in her pursuits, even the more mischevious ones.

Safia’s relationship with her siblings is a bit more complicated. Her two younger sisters and brothers admire her and what she has achieved, in their own rambunctious way, but her older brother, Anthony, has always taken a dim view of her antics, like her father. The family’s eldest men see her as lacking the kind of basic decency and decorum a girl her age should have.

Safia graduated from college as salutatorian, and decided to pursue graduate school somewhere far from home, to see the world. Her interest in botany and agriculture brought her to Kansas State University, where she has been studying for the last year and a half. Now, as part of the college’s program, she and a few of her classmates have been brought to the small farming community of Summer’s Peak, to study the recent drought and work on creating ways to allow local farmers to continue their businesses.

Hugely resourceful, adaptable and intelligent, Safia got over the culture shock of moving to America with relative ease, and has gotten a reputation on campus as a bit of a girl-McGuyver. She enjoys razzing her classmates, saying she knows more about their nation than they do. She hasn’t revealed to any of her friends yet that she isn’t quite the educated girl from Africa they think she is however.

#28 – Griffon Rezal

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Griffon Rezal grew up, an impoverished thug on the streets of Barkala, the largest coastal city on the planet of Axan Prime. Griffon’s home was a planet born out of colonization and warfare, when the first surveyers came across it hundreds of years ago, a mad rush to lay claim to its vast natural resources followed, a rush that was decided in blood, as multiple factions warred to gain control of most of the planet’s habitable surfaces. Four different spacefaring nations managed to dig their hands into Axan Prime, each vying for their own slice of the the pice. After another century, the various people of Axan Prime banded together, and organized a immense revolution that saw the planet find its own independence.

For that revolution, may of the nations that once owned part of Axan Prime have never fully forgiven it, and for all of its natural resources, Axan Prime has never reached the primacy and advanced status as other colonized planets. Even as its cities grow larger, most of its populace lives an impoverished life under a openly corrupt central government.

Griffon’s home city was located on a fault line of sorts, the border between two of the nations that used to control Axan Prime ran right through the city, and since revolution, the citizens there have managed to live together, mostly in peace, despite their differences. However, frustration with the authorities has grown in recent years, and it seems that conflict is coming to Axan Prime.

Griffon does not fancy himself a political person. An opportunist, Griffon has spent much of his life preying on those weaker than him. The gang he runs with are your average street thugs, running prostitution, smuggling and protection rings in the small little section of the sprawling city they have come to see as their entire world. Like many of his friends, the 19-year-old Griffon has never left the city in his entire life. But as violence on the streets increases and the authorities find themselves increasingly powerless to do anything about it, Griffon and his friends are being increasingly swept up in the conflict.

Griffon is, at his core, a young man desperate to find family, after being driven out of his home by his parents. He has come to understand street violence as a basic mode of communication, and fervently believes that the only true thing he has to his name is his pride. But for all of his street smarts, he is naive, short-sighted, and completely incapable of imagining a world outside of the small section of Barkala he has spent the last decade in. If you asked him, he would describe the growing fighting and violence as an opportunity, but deep inside, he believes he is facing a wave that is far, far over his head.

#27 – Big Dreamer (Greg Wilborn)

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Greg Wilborn was basically born wanting to be a cape. He dreamed of it since he was old enough to know what a superhero was, so the day he found out he actually did have superpowers was something of a achievement of a life’s dream for him. Greg found out, at hte age of just 10, that he was capable of creating finly focused waves of overpressure, capable of channeling the blast from pounds and pounds of explosives into a small area, with pinpoint control.
Surprisingly, Greg handled the sudden fame that came when news of his abilities spread quite well. His upper-middle-class family was well enough equipped to deal with the interest, the fawning media stories, the interest and offers for training from superhero collectives across the nation. Greg became a bit of a star for someone who was still years away from being able to legally use his powers to help others. However, adding to his legend, was his astonishing maturity. An absolute idealist, Greg genuinely wanted to use his ability and fame to help however he could, to dedicate his life to trying to make it better for others.

However, as Greg turned 18, and got his license to be a professional cape, his life suddenly turned. What had begun as an aching pain in his body had grown to something more severely painful. After just three months of professional work, a visit with a doctor confirmed the very worst, to him. His body simply was incapable of handling his powers, and their continued use was killing him, sucking strength from his body, rendering his bones brittle and weak, his immune system increasingly defenseless, and damaging his vital organs.

The news was absolutely crushing for Greg, however he put on a strong face for the public, only allowing himself to sink into teh crushing darkness and depression in private. News of his condition quickly became public, and Greg found himself besieged with well wishers on all sides, a development that quickly went from redeeming to frustrating, as people treated him like a fragile, helpless animal that only deserved pity.

Greg is still searching for his cure now, for something to let him live the life he feels he was born to. He still hasn’t “accepted” his seeming fate, and is determined to find a way to enjoy his life as he feels he should.

A man of rather immense size, Greg took the nickname “Big Dreamer” as a kid, a nod to his never-ending idealism and (now challenged) positivity, and because he refused to be defined as being solely about destructive power.

#26 – Anthony Gates

| November 29, 2012 | 2 Comments

Every high-powered businessman needs a good personal assistant, someone who helps them sort the chaos going on around them into neat, easy-to-manage packages. Anthony Gates has spent the last two years working as a personal assistant, although his job is a bit different than most.

Anthony’s boss is Death.
Anthony Gates died two years ago at the age of 24, the victim of a car crash that claimed his life and the life of his girlfriend, Jennifer. However, upon his death, Anthony found himself stunned to wake up, sitting at a cafe with a gaunt, impeccably dressed man sipping an espresso.

Introducing himself as Thanatos, the man calmly explained, as Anthony sat dumbfounded, that he was the incarnation of death, and had been since the beginning of existence. However, he had grown increasingly fond of walking with humans in the years since, watching them live their lives and go about their business, and had begun to delegate the business of collecting souls and sending them to their various eternal rewards, damnations, or whatever other outcome to various surrogates, but that the work sucks away at his free time. Thus he needs a personal assistant to help him catalog the dead, organize and direct his surrogates, and generally keep the organization running smoothly. He also intimated to Anthony that his afterlife might not be everything he hoped for, while he could offer eternal life on earth, albeit a unseen one.

Anthony accepted, and now lives the life of Death’s harried assistant. The job, to his dismay, is quite literally, 24/7, with no respite. Combined with Death’s own high-rolling lifestyle, and Anthony can’t remember the last time he had a entire day to himself.

Anthony was a pretty good-humored, straitlaced kid growing up, and did pretty well in college, but nothing has prepared him for this life. Now, he exists with Death in a place “between” worlds, seen but not noticed, capable of interacting with reality but unable to leave any lasting impact. He is harried, stressed, and continually sounds like he’s on the verge of quitting, but in truth, loves the job. Anthony was a sucker for the supernatural as a child, and here he is, working for Death itself, even if that means flying to Macau at the drop of a hat because “there’s a fat businessman here who’s going to kick it this weekend but not before you help me beat his ass at Texas Hold’em.”

Anthony finds Death a unpredictable, but loyal employer. In the last hundred years, Death has given himself over to enjoying all the wild spectacle humanity has to offer. He is a enormous fan of casinos, soccer and haute cuisine. Death can be petty when it comes to little things, and has absolutely no qualms about violating some basic human values, which he sees as largely irrelevant to him. For all of that however, Death is deeply serious about his role, and takes its proper purpose seriously, even if it doesn’t seem like it at times. He brings a depth of compassion to his work that frequently goes unseen under his more sarcastic veneer.

#25 – Acre

| November 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Acre was not born into a life of fighting and warfare like some. He gravitated towards it, discovering that he was exceptionally skilled at it, and managed to make it his livelihood. By the time he turned 16, he joined the Vanguard, a small, roaming company of mercenaries who sold themselves to the highest bidder as some of the finest shock troops in the land. Acre was born to an impoverished family of peasants, and came to fighting as a way to burnish his family’s name, to bring some actual coin into his pocket, and because he genuinely enjoyed it.

Acre’s travels took him far from home, and soon, his family became the unit. He spent 20 years in the field, fighting in nearly a hundred different pitched battles and sieges, witnessing each injustice and cruelty war could inflict on a populace, but never losing his taste for battle. However, as he aged, he felt his skills diminishing, and as technology changed, the Vanguard’s form of brutal, plodding, ground-based combat began to become outdated, as imitators popped up across the land and generals began to plan specifically to defeat the trained shock troops.

Finally, after a failed siege and storming of a castle, Acre was captured and imprisoned by forces of the King of Gamarth, Ageim II. Ageim ad always been a dedicated admirer of the Vanguard, and offered Acre a choice. Death, or a lifetime of status and strength as the King’s bodyguard. Having nothing against Ageim or his kingdom (Acre never cared much for politics), and with his unit defeated, he agreed.

Acre has spent the last five years in Ageim’s employ, simultaneously loving and loathing his job. As much as he hated to admit it, he was aging, and pitched battles had begun to take their toll on him. Acre had no death wish, and while dying on the battle field was valiant, it wasn’t something he aimed to do. Moreover, Ageim was as good as his word, treating him a respected member of the royal court, even coming to him for advice, as Acre’s travels with the Vanguard took him all across the realm and allowed him to see many different cultures. Still, Acre hated the infighting and politicking of the royal court, intrigue never suited him. But being a member of the court, he couldn’t escape it.

All has not been good times for Acre however. A few short months ago, just after his birthday, Ageim announced that he wished for Acre to impart his wisdom and skills to another young man, sworn to defend the throne from birth. The boy, Valion, is barely 17, but has been training as an elite warrior all his life. The implications, if not stated, were clear to Acre. He was being asked to train his replacement. To Valion’s credit, he has never been arrogant or cruel to Acre, always respectful of his elder. But Acre still finds himself annoyed by the boy’s mere presence, he finds the task an insult to his abilities. But, a soldier to the end, he dutifully follows his orders, teaching the boy how to turn his raw talent into the varied skills a good soldier needs.

The world is changing around Acre, his skills and ways of fighting are slowly being phased out. Few, however, would still underestimate the kind of skills a man of his pedigree can bring.

#24 – Blowout (Kyle Murray)

| November 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

Kyle should not be a criminal, a fugitive, and a killer. He was a reasonable, if unremarkable student from a small, pleasant city, and if he’d applied himself in community college, could’ve gone on to higher education. He was a talented writer, and had even shown some aptitude as a long-distance runner.

Kyle was also, however, petty, vindictive, greedy and callous, always obsessed with showing his “dominance”. Over rivals, over law enforcement, over anyone who thought they had something to hold over him.

Kyle’s alleged toughness is thin, and entirely based upon his powers. Kyle discovered early in his life that he could create small little balls of energy that, when thrown, would explode. What began when he was a child as something only slightly more powerful than a small cherry bomb now can detonate with the strength of TNT, and Kyle is only learning more about his capability. He uses it, and the threat of it to lord himself over the people he surrounds himself with. He entertains himself with the fear of his victims.

Kyle has become increasingly erratic in recent years, as he has been diagnosed with a degenerative nerve disease that causes him increasing pain. As such, Kyle has become dependent on opiods to operate on a day-to-day basis, and regularly abuses the drugs. This is problematic for Kyle, as he has made a fair amount of money in recent years stealing prescription drugs for sale on the black market, only to end up using much of his ill-gotten gain.

#23 – Faraday (Thomas Peterson)

| November 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

Being a celebrity or being a hero are hobbies for Thomas Peterson. However, he prefers his uncomplicated life, running his family’s music store and being a fixture in the small, college town he has lived in all his life. Thomas considers his work as a “hero” and as a “celebrity” to be useful tools at times, and he certainly does not eschew their impact on his life entirely. But he feels a great deal more comfortable away from the paparazzi, away from the commotion, living in a community where he can focus on teaching students the piano skills he was taught by his father, and trying to have real solutions to problems.

Thomas has always been a slightly unusual hero, because he’s never really embraced the job. His profession, to him, was as a teacher and community organizer. While doing the superhero’s work was useful and important to him, he didn’t see it as having a lasting impact, that its legacy, and his, were fleeting. So he teaches, instead.

As befits a family that ran a music store, music and musicians were always part of Thomas’s life early on. His father was a session musician for several different jazz groups, and his mother had been a opera singer. The pair began Peterson music before he was born, and made themselves a major part of the community within a few short years.

To his father’s delight, Thomas showed a aptitude and love for the piano, along with an ear for musical variety. He had been at college, studying at a music conservatory for three years when his powers suddenly manifested. It didn’t take a great deal of knowledge about powers to understand his burgeoning control over electromagnetic fields could be put to use, but, committed to finishing what he started, Thomas graduated from college before taking up the mantle of a hero.

For eight years, Thomas worked as a superhero, traveling the country, fighting villains, and always trying to set things right. But he felt himself getting lost inside the insular, self-absorbed world of heroes. His life began to revolve entirely around other people with powers, their problems, and Thomas began to feel he was being pulled away from the reason he’d taken up the job in the first place.

Thomas has not quit from the world of other heroes, he has simply pulled back from it. He’s still famous, and many people still visit his family’s music shop for a chance to meet the man once known as “Faraday”. He enjoys occasionally soaking in the adulation, and keeps in touch with other friends in “the business” he’s made. Thomas still occasionally goes out out to fight the good fight, but the shop, his parents and his community are his home, his rock. A place where nothing more than knowledge and kindness is expected of him.

#22 – Black Betty (Beth Black)

| November 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

Most good criminals work to avoid violence. They understand that, once enough bodies pile up, no matter whose they are, law enforcement is essentially forced to investigate the matter and look into who or what is creating such a glut of cadavers.

Beth Black is not one of those people.

Too chaotic, unorganized and untrustworthy to be an assassin of the highest order, Beth Black is the kind of woman who believes that, if you’re going to kill someone, you should send a message in the process. None of Beth’s kills can be described as much less than “spectacular” or alternatively, “grisly”. Beth is the kind of woman who will leave her target hanging from a hook, wearing a Colombian Necktie when a simple bullet would do.

A firm proponent of psychological warfare as much as her own deadly prowess, Bethis not simply a ruffian from the wrong side of the tracks. She was the valedictorian of her class in New Orleans, before leaving on a scholarship for Louisiana State University. Always combative, manipulative and disruptive, Beth dropped out of college in her sophomore year when she decided she found the curriculum disinteresting and worthless. Beth floated around the Gulf Coast for two years, working as a bartender, an exotic dancer and dealing drugs in her free time before falling afoul of a local street gang. When the leader beat and attempted to rape her, she disemboweled and beheaded him,

Beth found the experience so liberating, so fulfilling, she decided to make a career of it. She is, arguably, a sadist, and slowly discovered that that fact was no accident, that she was not “normal”, and that she gained power, and ability through inflicting pain and suffering on others. Beth has been met by other heroes before, never to good ends, and most agree, her power resides in her ability to cause people physical pain, and to feed on that. She has a pathological desire to see anyone she has focused her gaze upon bleed.

Beth a highly intelligent woman who loves inverting expectations of her. She prefers any number of bladed weapons, and believes herself to be the walking incarnation of what a woman should be, playing by her own rules and forcing men to play by hers. She considers her “work” something of a ongoing class in modern anthropology, on how society deals with violence, and how a woman committing that violence destroys expectations.

An immensely versatile criminal, Beth’s biggest failing is her predilection for violence. It is exceedingly difficult for her to simply commit a crime without harming anyone. However, she has proved an adept thief and a fine liar. Promiscuous, careless about others, she was wormed her way into the lives of others, causing pain and havoc just to see how they would react.

#21 – Madelyn “Maddie” Lopez

| November 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

Maddie Lopez is a quiet, introverted 15-year-old girl, born the third child of four in a cluttered, noisy household. Maddie’s mother, an exceptionally strict Catholic, dominated over her children throughout their lives, a trait that only became greater when Maddie’s father died of a heart attack when she was just seven. Maddie’s sister, Isabella, took up the mantle of her mother’s right hand, baby-sitting her younger siblings and helping do the chores around the house while the eldest son, Miguel, was given free roam to go about the neighborhood and find his way. Maddie’s mother held her two daughters close, dishing out incredibly strict, and a times abusive discipline she called “love’.

Maddie and her siblings were latchkey kids, their mother worked two jobs to support the family after her father died, and Miguel and Isabella took control of the household. Miguel was rarely home, often in the streets, while Isabella quickly grew into a beautiful young woman, catching the eye of boys around the neighborhood. Maddie, however, pulled in where her other siblings reached out. She lost herself in books and comics, and wished the dramatic, luxurious life lived by people in musicals could be one she’d have. Maddie created worlds for herself where she was taller, prettier, and popular.

Most of all, and to her mother’s extreme distaste, Maddie idealized superheroes. Maddie’s mother, among other opinions, felt strongly that superheroes and their like were against nature, abominations running around the earth, absolute proof that the time of judgment was at hand, as the Anti-Christ and his acolytes were spreading their filth around the globe. More than once, Maddie endured a disciplinary beating from her mother upon being found with some magazine or poster praising heroes. The conflict between the opinion of heroes her mother had driven into her, how they were all tainted by evil, and the idealized reality created around them in gossip magazines and television left her always feeling exceptionally guilty about her interest, as if she wasn’t strong enough to resist the charms of evil.

A week before her 16th birthday, Maddie stayed home from school, sick. One day quickly turned into two, and two into three as Maddie ran a fever, racked with nausea and chills. The symptoms lasted for four days before breaking. Maddie had a day of peace, returning to school and inviting friends to her 16th birthday party when she noticed an odd discoloration of the skin on her right hand. The discoloration continued throughout the day, creeping up her arm, her skin turning a sickly grayish blue, her fever returning. Maddie made it all the way home, where she reported her affliction to her mother, who immediately banished her to her room, believing she had become possessed.

Early that evening, Maddie manifested her powers, her body changing from a gawky teen to a seven-and-a-half foot tall demonic creature with greyish-blue skin and two horns atop her head. Still distinctly human-looking (her face, while different, is still identifiably hers), Maddie’s mother nevertheless had all but a complete meltdown upon seeing her new daughter, declaring that her child had been taken by Satan, and attempted to murder Maddie, sending her confused daughter out into the streets alone.

Now, Maddie is still a 16-year-old girl in a new body, being forced to live a new life she is wholly unprepared for. She is still learning the extent of her abilities, including the capability to turn herself into smoke, an immensely accelerated healing factor, and the capability to breathe fire. Despite her powers, Maddie is still at her core a clumsy, shy 16-year-old girl, thrust out of her home, a freak, even among superheroes.

#20 – Amanze

| November 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

A neophyte to war, Amanze is not the ideal, stereotypical warrior. He is caught, between his father’s desires for him to bring the family prestige and honor by becoming one of the Kasai tribe’s elite warriors, and his own feelings of conflict about making warfare his life’s work.

The son of a advisor to the tribe’s leader, Amanze is one of two children, and from the beginning his father has expected great works from him to live up to, and increase the family’s name. When he showed little aptitude at words or trade, his father turned him towards martial studies, which he undertook largely to please his father and to try bring his family the fame and power that would allow them to improve their station.

Fun-loving and irresponsible, for all of his work, it has always been unlikely that Amanze would ever become an elite warrior, but he forced himself to learn the basic skills of a warrior. Amanze’s greatest failing is always looking for a shortcut, rather than putting his head down and bulling through whatever challenge he is facing.

Now 19, Amanze has been tasked with helping patrol the tribe’s borders, just as tensions have begun to increase between the Kasai and their neighbors, the Loumana. Now, as the possibility of having to use his abilities to their intended purpose becomes more and more real, Amanze is simultaneously hopeful that he will have a chance to prove himself to the tribe, and terrified of being killed trying to do so.

Lanky, and a strong runner, Amanze has the features of many of the tribe’s best spearmen, and has always found himself most comfortable with various kinds of pole weapons.

For all the ways he can be exceptionally frustrating, Amanze is not dumb, as his father has sometimes alluded to. He is actually an incredibly quick thinker on his feet, a prankster of great ability. A fine liar when calm and in his element, when placed under pressure, his poker face has a tendency to crumble quickly.

#19 – Yuan

| November 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

Bodyguards, as a general rule, are not supposed to be short-tempered alcoholics, but Yuan makes it work somehow. An immense, imposing figure, Yuan would be dangerous enough under normal circumstances, but Yuan is not normal. Yuan boasts four completely articulate, strong arms, and is capable of wielding weapons in each hand with ease and deadly capability.

A member of “The Guard”, a multi-national bodyguard agency, Yuan, for all of his faults his inability to blend or be anything close to refined, is a immensely loyal and capable protector. Impulsive, but never reckless, especially with the lives of his clients, Yuan is the kind of bodyguard that, by his very presence, can deter would be thieves, kidnappers and murderers.

Born in Hong Kong in 1975, Yuan’s natural predilections for carousing are beginning to wear a little on him (his gut’s larger than it was when he was 20, for instance), but he still retains as keen a mind for finely applied violence as any soldier or assassin. He brings with him a spotless record, having never lost a client even to some of the most determined assassins, and has even managed some spectacular feats of guarding while well over the legal limit.

Yuan is loud, occasionally boorish, but a genuine man of convictions. He has pledged his life to guarding and protecting others, and takes his job very seriously. Surprisingly, for all his carousing, he does not have a weakness for women. Yuan’s fortitude and seeming six sense for danger are nearly legendary. Yuan is an avid fan of full-contact and combat sports.

#18 – Tavia

| November 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

Most little girls want to be a princesses. Tavia actually got to all but be one for the first ten years of her life. The third child and only daughter of Octavius, a man who took his name from the Roman Emperor, she lived a life of absolute luxury and excess with her family. Her father doted on her, and spoiled her as best he could. Tavia saw her father as the warm, loving family man who was devoted to his children and always made time to read her stories before she went to bed.

What Tavia did not know was that her family’s lifestyle came off the backs of an entire nation. Her father was the “President-for-Life” of the nation of Gamarra, and had been so for her entire life. Octavius was, like his namesake, a dictator, ruling through fear and violence for nearly 33 years, maintaining control through nepotism, corruption, political repression and torture and persecution of any “enemies of the state”.

Octavius’s reign came to a bloody end just days before Tavia’s 11th birthday, when Octavius’s crumbling regime was finally defeated by rebels. The presidential palace was overrun, and Tavia’s mother, father and eldest brother were all captured by the rebels and executed on national TV. Tavia, who her father had always kept semi-hidden from public life, was saved by one of the family’s servants, who brought her to live with distant relatives of the family who had fallen out of favor with Octavius during his rule.

Initially disliking the daughter of the cousin who had treated them so harshly, the family nevertheless opened its arms to Tavia, and over the course of time, she became a member of their family. As she grew, her Aunt Kira slowly told her more and more about her family, and what happened to allow her to live the life she had for those ten years. Horrified, Tavia refused to believe the truth for a time, and is only starting to accept the life her father led as the leader of the nation.

Now, ten years later, in a nation still riven by anger and discord, still dealing with upheavals of violence, ten years after Octavius’ rule, Tavia is 20, and trying to find her place in a world where she is the child of a man who caused so much pain to others. In a nation where her family’s name is still cursed, where many people would turn her in to the authorities or simply kill her if they knew her heritage, Tavia finds herself driven by the desire to do something to begin to atone for the sins of her family. She knows she cannot undo the damage that has been done, and that she and her family will never find forgiveness to many, but she is driven to prove that the evil her father committed, the evils that she may have benefitted from do not define her entire family.

Tavia is an pleasant, somewhat mousy young woman, prone to losing herself in books, with deep brown eyes that already show a lifetime’s worth of experience. Quiet and soft-spoken, she cuts her brown hair short, and after a decade of hiding, works hard to avoid being the center of attention. She is still somewhat frustratingly blind to the details of what was going on in Gamarra to fund her family’s lavish lifestyle, but she is a deeply compassionate, kind woman who, for better or for worse, feels the guilt of her entire family now rests on her.

#17 – Redd and Black

| November 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

Redd and Black are fraternal twins. They are thieves, kidnappers, smugglers, and just general pests linked by a unique trait.
Neither of them seems capable of being killed.

The pair are capable of being injured, quite greviously in fact, but always seem to find the ability to put themselves back together. Severed limbs re-attach, gashes and scrapes heal. Given that both have lived with the ability for years now, neither takes it any more seriously than a basic fact of life.

As stated, Redd and Black are a fine pair of criminals who spend nearly as much time infuriating law enforcement as they do other criminals. The high-energy duo’s ethos is nearly anarchic, new jobs designed or taken on a whim, challenge be damned, and anyone who hires them understands that the terms of their contract can always change at a moment’s notice. They have many spectacular successes under their belt, and a number of equally spectacular failures, that have most observers wondering how they’ve managed to evade capture for quite so long. Both have been described as being “born with a horseshoe rammed up their ass”, an apt description given their career’s work.

The pair complement each other well. Redd provides the finesse, while Black provides the punch. Redd talks, Black intimidates. Both are described by those who have hired them however, as the most supremely annoying and frustrating criminals around, but still supremely valuable.

While they are twins, Redd and Black look wholly different. Redd is a rangy, thin man with green eyes and longer, light brown hair, while Black is a smidgen taller, more physically intimidating and has short-cut black hair.

Redd and Black are not, however, killers. The pair use non-lethal tools almost exclusively, both agreeing that if a situation devolves into a gunfight, they’ve completely screwed it up. They’re not averse to hurting someone if a situation necessitates it (Black is something of an expert on how to quickly and easily break bones), but they have no heart for killing.

The pair are rarely found away from each other, and despite how annoying others can find them, they never seem to get on each other’s nerves. They are brothers, a fact that means a great deal to them, and separating them, as some have tried to do, causes both major anxiety. But working together as a team, they can prove a major frustration for anyone unlucky enough to be in their crosshairs.

#16 – Peter “Stump” Merson

| November 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

Being a hitman isn’t a profession that sees a lot of veterans. But Stump is an anomaly, an old head, a man who has been killing people professionally, on and off, for nearly thirty years now.

Stump does not consider himself much of a criminal, and in all other walks of life, is a straightlaced, law-obiding, rather boring man of 51 with a taste for jazz and wine. He’s a calm, even-tempered man with, although he can’t hide frustration from anyone when it shows. But he views his profession as being like prostitution. It has been around for as long as two people have had grudges against one another.

Stump operates by a few simple rules. Never take any contracts locally (or regionally, if he can help it). Never get to know the victim any more than you have to. If you end up killing more people than the contract asked for, you have failed, more bodies brings more police.

By his count, Stump has killed 97 people over the years, completing his contracts in the same, dilligent, straightforward manner. However he’s aging now, and increasingly finds himself wanting to end his career and begin the next phase of his life.

Stump is very particular about his weaponry, preferring simpler weapons with less moving parts, like pump-action shotguns and close quarters to plinking someone from long distance with a rifle.

While he has taken on less contracts over the years, he still finds work regularly, and finds himself in enough demand that he can pick and choose which contracts to take. However, for all of his knowledge and savvy, as the world has moved forward with technology, his analog skills have left him behind in some places. As such, four years ago he agreed to begin working with 29-year-old Ethan Woodman, a fast-talking technophile and neophyte he finds as annoying as he is useful. The pair’s relationship is at times adversarial, at other times, has all the closeness of a father and a son.

Stump got his nickname due to his short, squat stature, something he is regularly made fun of for, but has proved somewhat invaluable to him, along with his largely unremarkable looks.

#15 – Gordon Hillman

| November 17, 2012 | 0 Comments

Everyone wishes they were a superhero, that they had the abilities to fly, to be invulnerable. But not everyone gets to live that life. Gordon Hillman was obsessed with superheroes as a child, but he never manifested, never developed any superhuman abilities. Although some of his competitors swear he isn’t entirely human.

A compulsive workaholic and businessman, Hillman is the Chairman & CEO ADX Industries, a business conglomerate that has began as a chemical and construction company, and currently has interests in oil and gas, airlines, manufacturing and biochemistry. He is reportedly worth in upwards of $30 billion, and many observers say he has the chance to near the title of Richest man in the World.

Gordon is a major philanthropist and investor, but he’s become more famous for what he’s done over the last five years. A near-compulsive gambler and competitor, Gordon’s dream to be a hero didn’t wane with age, and, when he turned 45, Gordon decided to get himself as close to being a superhero as he possibly could. Gordon created his own team of heroes, “Team ADX”, five high-profile heroes sponsored and supported by Gordon’s largesse. Gordon runs the team almost like a sports franchise. All members of Team ADX live lavish lifestyles, but much conversation has been made about whether or not a “sponsored” group of superheroes can really do the job honestly, or if they are simply paid mercenaries. The high-profile group, full of young heroes, has only been in existence for three years now, and recently inked a deal for a season-long all-access reality TV show showing their lives and work.

Gordon can never be found far from his heroes. He considers himself an “honorary” member of the team, and is can always be found trying to soak up as much of their reflected glory as he can.

Like any good businessman, Gordon made his money by being as cutthroat as he can. He is immensely egocentric, highly charming, and fancies himself a renaissance man like Hemingway. Always on the move, his desire to be as much of a superhero as he possibly can extends to his love life as well, Gordon has been in relationships with several starlets and superheroines over the years, and due to his influence with Team ADX, believes himself as much a part of the superhero community as anyone with powers.

#14 – Centauri (Tim Stewart)

| November 16, 2012 | 0 Comments

A nationally famous superhero, Centauri is an A-lister that can be found around doing work all across the the country and internationally. Stewart is incredibly famous, running now in the most rarefied circles.

Centauri greatly enjoys his position of eminence among superheroes, and he doesn’t hide it that often. He knows his position, knows his status, and isn’t afraid to let other people know it as well. He is the founder and leader of Redemption, a small quartet of A-list heroes from across the nation that do a great deal of charitable work, and generally only step in to fight crime when the threat is something significantly large.

Tim Stewart has had an interesting life so far. He became a hero immediately at 18 after his powers manifested the year before. He quickly became famous, but saw his image take a major hit when he was accused of sexual assault when he was 21. Nothing was proven and the case was dropped. Soon afterwards, Stewart had a high-profile marriage with a superheroine, had a son, and got divorced within two years. He found himself on the downside of the business for a few years before he found religion and made his way back to the pinnacle of the superhero community. Stewart, now 45, is kind of the self-appointed “elder statesman” of the community, albeit not everyone likes him. He knows the “business” inside and out, and can be an exhausting teammate to work with. He is a perfectionist, expecting the same of those he works with, unwilling to hear any insubordination from teammates.

Stewart’s name as a hero means everything to him. Centauri is a name that commands respect or fear, and he wants to keep it that way. He enjoys his primacy, and is immensely distrustful and resentful of anyone who might challenge it.

He is not married, and has been a bachelor since his divorce, and has had a number of rumored relationships with heroines and celebrities.

Despite, or some might say, due to his history, Stewart went to religious school in his 30’s, and became an ordained Preacher. He used his considerable fortune (and donations) to help fund the building of a Megachurch in the North Bronx, the Angels of Grace Baptist Church. He is largely committed to being there for his parishioners, although his duties often call him away.

Stewart’s 23-year-old son is Jeffrey. Their relationship is strained, as, for a long time, Stewart had groomed Jeffrey, expecting the child to manifest powers and take up the mantle of Centauri when he retired. However, Jeffrey never manifested, or showed any signs of doing so, and Centauri could not hide his disappointment. Jeffrey signed up for the Marines when he turned 18, partially to get away from the scrutiny, partially to prove himself to his father, who has always viewed him as a kind of disappointment for not having powers. He served two tours of duty, was wounded and honorably discharged, before returning home. He is still between lives, having spent his life trying to simultaneously escape from his father’s shadow (which he knows is impossible) and trying to make his father proud.

#13 – Idol (Alyson Kerr)

| November 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

19-year-old Alyson is a acolyte of the age of reality television. Self-absorbed, epitomizing empty narcissism and monstrously self-absorbed, Alyson is determined to do whatever it takes to make herself the single most famous superhero on the planet. She vamps, she whines, she positions herself as a role model for children to look up to, decrying any criticism of her style and life as “haters” intent on “bullying” her and her fans. It’s hard to tell how much of Alyson’s persona is a knowing creation, and how much is genuine self-delusion.

Alyson carries herself like a nymphet, and dresses to match. Much of her persona can be described as “provocative”. She sees everything in life as drama, or an event with the potential for it. She is always “on”, alternating between needlessly insulting others to taking on the role of a faux-humanitarian interested in bettering the lives of all.

Whereas established heroes already have the fame, Alyson still isn’t any better than a C (or really, D-list) hero and celebrity, but her drive and desire to reach that rarefied air is undeniable. Every time she does her supposed “job” is a chance to be seen doing it, to tweet it, to Instagram it. Fame is life for her, and the pursuit of it is never-ending.

Alyson’s own abilities are pretty unremarkable on the grand scale of heroes. She is capable of drawing energy from a variety of sources, and channeling into another tool or into energy blasts, but her potential upside has never seemed quite high. As such, Alyson has generally shied away from the day-to-day grind of being a hero, having become a fixture in the reality-TV side of the business.

#12 – Pango (Derek Kidd)

| November 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Derek Kidd was a unremarkable career criminal, convicted once for attempted murder when he was just 15, imprisoned again when he was 20 for possession of a illegal firearm and sale of crack cocaine. However, it was while serving time for the second conviction that his abilities manifested, and he became a genuine threat to law enforcement and heroes alike.

Pango’s abilities manifested as changing him into a gigantic, partially human-Pangolin hybrid, coating his body with incredibly hard, plate-like scales, a long, prehensile tail and tongue, both of which he can use as weapons, and long, deadly claws that he uses to borrow and dig. Pango can also secrete a noxious acidic substance that can all-but incapacitate anyone nearby with nausea and sears the nose and eyes.

Since manifesting his abilities, Pango has managed to evade capture for several years, due to a combination of his own intelligence and his new-found abilities. Pango is permanently stuck in his hybrid form, a fact that suits him just fine. He has, in many ways, happily left the entirety of his humanity behind, and is now focused on a career where his special abilities can be put to use. His incredibly strong claws and digging ability has been used to rob several banks, and he has spilled no small amount of blood with them.

From head to toe, Pango stands seven and a half feet tall, with is tail, he measures as nearly twelve feet long. An excellent climber, Pango is also capable of moving with surprising speed and agility, making him a handful for any person or superhero unfortunate enough to come across him.

To this day, Pango holds a major grudge against the Police and any authority figures, and delights in causing havoc or harming members of those services. He allegedly once dug out a sinkhole underneath a police station, causing a major building collapse, but nothing has been proven yet.

#11 – Kid Mystic

| November 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Benjamin Bowman discovered he had superpowers at the age of 12, and his entire life since has revolved around that. Benjamin suddenly went from a unknown face in the crowd, to one of the faces at the vanguard of a new generation of heroes.

Blessed with an immense capability for magic and magical affinity, Benjamin is discovering the potential of his powers, including some reality-warping abilities that he has only just begun to scratch the surface of.

The son of a single mother, when Benjamin discovered his abilities, he immediately threw himself into learning and honing them. Benjamin understood, even at a young age that the moment his abilities manifested that his life was never going to be the same, and that his abilities potentially represented a ticket for him and his family out of a dangerous neighborhood and into a safer, more stable life. Benjamin deeply wanted to provide for his mother, who had raised two children by herself, and understood the power of a superhero to be a symbol and a protector, and believed that he could affect actual, serious change.

While not loud or brash, since discovering his abilities Benjamin has carried himself with a quiet confidence. Compassionate and kind, Benjamin is still a 17-year-old who has been living with his increasing fame for five years now, and, all things considered, doing a reasonably fair job of staying something close to grounded. He is not above being petty or cruel (he is still a teenager), and has used, and in some cases abused his newfound status and influence to gain favors and gifts (he hasn’t paid for a pair of shoes in three years, and Benjamin is a real Sneakerhead). Benjamin is also quite fond of the opposite sex, and hasn’t wanted for female attention in years. His views of women and their place in society can be… slightly more regressive than what some might want from a paragon of the community.

Benjamin is on a lot of radars. Many hero groups from around the nation have been in contact with him and his family, offering him the chance, when he turns eighteen, to become a full-fledged professional, to get the best training with the best heroes who can prepare him for the rigors of the job from a personal and from a professional standpoint. He hasn’t made any decisions yet though.
Benjamin cuts an exceedingly un-threatening figure normally, standing just under six feet tall, with a frame that can kindly be referred to as “rangy”. His most distinguishing feature, however, is the large scar running along his left arm, from near his elbow down to his hand, the result of an accident where he was scalded with boiling water as a child. He doesn’t make any attempt to hide the scar, considering it a reminder of where he came from, as his future opens to him.

#10 – Matthew Colvin

| November 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

An award-winning war photographer and correspondent, Matthew has covered conflicts on eight different planets in his career so far, and is anticipating heading to Tau Ceti I to cover the civil war that has broken out there. A diligent professional, Matthew is committed to his craft.

Originally born in Regio City on Venus (which has been terraformed by humans), Colvin immediately got a job with the Interstellar Press after college. Originally working in politics, Matthew was on the scene when Ishtar Separatists attacked a trade conference. Matthew’s photographs and reporting from the aftermath were commended, and since, he has been sent to planets far and wide to cover conflicts there.

Colvin describes the most important part of his job as bearing witness to conflicts across the galaxy, battles and fights that would otherwise go unknown. He is immensely ambitious, but also committed to the power of photographs to tell a story that words simply cannot.

Colvin finds himself compelled to cover warfare because of his growing abhorrence of it. He respects soldiers, but views their work less as a function of pride and protection and more as a unfortunate necessity of a species that seems that it will never grow past war. But if his photographs can allow people on planets light-years away from the conflict to understand what is going on on the ground, all the better. He has been embedded with the armies of invading empires, with rebels and insurgents, interviewed generals and despots, and has been shot once.

Matthew’s greatest trouble now, one that his editor tries to remind him of constantly, is that he finds himself increasingly unable to simply document some of the atrocities going on around him, when his job is not to get involved. He has never picked up a weapon to fight for one side or the other, but he has stepped in on behalf of civilians caught in the crossfire several times.

Matthew is currently living with a addiction to painkillers, a result of the time he was shot and the incredibly painful rehab he went through after the injury. He hides it very well however, and only his editor, Penelope, knows of his problem.

Even with the wonders of digital photography available to him, to create 3D images for viewers, Matthew always has a simple, 35mm camera on his person, should something go wrong with his digital camera.

#9 – Microburst (Thomas Bell)

| November 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

A star track athlete in high school, Thomas Bell discovered that he had the ability to control and manipulate sound waves. Able to interrupt, change, and even deafen his opponents, Thomas Bell bounced back and forth between being on the side of “the law” and finding his own way for several years before moving to Miami and falling in with a group of superheroes there.

Thomas isn’t a reluctant superhero, in the sense that he is afraid of what his abilities could do. He’s completely comfortable with his abilities, he just doesn’t particularly like the business. But this is what he’s best at, so he does it. When he’s being “Microburst”, he’s that persona, and when he takes off the costume, that world is completely left behind. Bell is determined not to let hero-ing define his life any more than it already does. This is a means to an end for him, not a calling, not a life goal. He frequently ends up in conflict with other heroes who have devoted their lives to this, in that he just doesn’t feel the same call to service they do.

Even at 27, Thomas still has a young face, with a wide, bright smile and bright, wide eyes. He is, for the most part, a gregarious person, prone to practical jokes and fond of the nightclub scene, wherever he is. He appreciates what he can do to help and save people, and at the same time, wishes he’d found something else he could be equally rich at doing, but not have to worry about the scrutiny.

#8 – Captain Captain

| November 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

The world’s first superhero to own his own yacht, Captain Captain became a hero after being struck by lightning while attempting to win the America’s Cup in a boat that had not been entered into the competition, He discovered, upon waking up, that he had the strength of an entire crew of yachtsmen, the resilience of a Spanish Galleon (his only weakness is people from Britain) and a natural knowledge of wind and weather on the ocean, and a permanent tan.

Since then, he has sailed the world on his yacht, fighting crime across the globe in harbor cities around the world. Captain Captain must return to sail the seas every few days, or else his power ebbs, and he becomes a completely insufferable ass who can’t stop talking about his boat like it’s a member of his family.

Accompanied by his sidekicks, First Mate Nate and Able Seaman Tiffany (who demands to be referred to as a Seaman, despite her gender), in his career Captain Captain has managed to solve or have no positive effect on seaborne conflicts across the globe. He has prevented the Strait of Hormuz from being closed by pirates, accidentally exacerbated tensions between North and South Korea due to a misunderstanding revolving around fireworks, and once attempted to replicate Magellan’s voyage around the world before getting bored and stopping in Cape Verde to get drunk. He is the hero you call when everyone else’s line is busy.

#7 – Pseudo (Aleksandar Milanov)

| November 8, 2012 | 0 Comments

A con-man and liar of virtuoso ability, and a veritable computer genius, there isn’t a system Milanov can’t hack, or a secret he can’t find out. Selling his services to the highest bidder around the globe, he’s worked for people all around the planet. What truly makes him dangerous is that his ability as a hacker is something he worked for, a natural gift, but human. However, Milanov was also born with the ability to control the emotions of others through the use of pheromones. Over the course of time, he has become incredibly skilled at this ability.

With his skills, and a network of like-minded hackers essentially at his beck and call, Imperial lives a life of luxury, and carries himself with a refined sense of arrogance. He sees himself above average people, and sees the world as a series of secrets to unlock or exploit. To Milanov, every day people lie, and behind each of those lies is a secret. Whether that lie is lifts in your shoes or a password to your bank account, every secret is a lie waiting to be discovered.

Milanov prides himself on being one-step ahead of everyone else. Even in conflict, he will glide from point to point, seemingly acting as if he is “above” the fray until opting to strike, usually in a devastating fashion.

Milanov is largely amoral. He has a service to provide, and it is not his job to worry or consider the morals of his employer. If what they are asking him to do is wrong, it will get back to them eventually, and if not they’ll be fine. As long as he gets paid.

Milanov’s ultimate goal is to no longer need to take jobs, but to carve out a niche for himself as his own entity, independent from all nations, his own fiefdom. He is very nearly there.

Tall, always his looks are very genteel, his face is defined by a slim, slightly bent nose, grey eyes and a widow’s peak at the front of his closely-cropped hair. He never appears to completely shave, always showing up with a 5 o’clock shadow.

#6 – Dreyja

| November 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

Tall, elegant, intelligent, Dreyja frequently attracts attention wherever she goes, for good and for bad. This attention only increases when Dreyja reveals that she is magically active.

A trained Sorceress, Dreyja’s parents sent her to learn and hone her skills soon after she became magically active at the age of 10. The move was as much for Dreyja’s safety as for her parents, as her uncontrolled magical abilities posed a potential threat to her parents and to the community, along with the deep-seated distrust of magic users in some parts of society for “perverting nature”.

After a rocky first few months, Dreyja discovered a passion for learning, and threw herself into her studies, quickly becoming an accomplished sorceress. By the time she was 17, she was able to read and cast complex spells, but was beginning to chafe at the limitations of life within the school’s walls. Upon turning 18, Dreyja was given the choice to leave the school or to become a Sorcerer’s apprentice to continue her studies. Dreyja chose to leave, to explore and see the world she’ d read so much about in books. Now, disguising herself as a scholar, Dreyja travels extensively, documenting every step of her journey, determined to create a tome that explains the vast intricacies of all the lands.

While very much an academic, Dreyja has a keen ear for culture and conversation. Now 20, she is an apt conversationalist and has a quiet confidence that seems out-of-place on such a young woman. She is absolutely driven to see her goal to fruition, even with the dangers that it brings.

Frequently laconic in speech, Dreyja will never use ten words when three will do. Giving and kind to children, she has a vengeful nature, and still bristles at the religious leaders she blames for forcing her to leave her home as a child under threat to her and her family’s lives. Whereas many races of the realm bear various grudges against one another, she finds much of the squabbling and fighting between groups idly amusing. She can seem cold and antiseptic to some, but there is a deep warmth to her personality hidden just underneath the surface.

Tall and thin, she threatens some by her simple presence, her slender face, speckled with freckles and light brown skin gives away her origin to most, increasing her “exotic” seeming qualities to many of the people she visits.

#5 – Roxanna Artani

| November 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

Those first few years out of college are hard enough for everyone, finding a real job, finding love, finding yourself, transitioning into becoming something roughly shaped like an “adult”. These things can be complicated further when you’re the daughter of a Gorgon.

Roxanna is a 23-year-old girl who currently makes ends meet working too-long shifts at the Lyceum Bar, an establishment that serves other creatures like her alongside human customers who are none the wiser that they’re sharing drinks with a creature of legend.

Creatures of myth have always existed in Roxanna’s world, but as time passed and faiths changed, people began to see past them, see beyond them. Now, they walk among us on every continent, trying to make a life for themselves just as everyone else is. Noticing them isn’t a matter of being gifted, or opening yourself up to the possibility, a small percentage of the population will be walking down the street one day when the planes of reality begin to shift and they realize that the hotdog vendor they always say hello to is actually a incredibly amiable troll who makes the best chili dog in town.

Roxanna graduated from college eight months ago, and still isn’t sure where her life’s supposed to go from here. She lives with her best friend, Jolene (who cannot see her as a Gorgon), in a small apartment they can barely afford, and whiles her nights away watching terrible reality TV with Brandon, a Satyr she met at a terrible concert one night. She’s still trying to convince her mother that she will not be immediately murdered as a result of finally moving out of the house.

Roxanna’s father was human, meaning she is half-gorgon, which is to say, she can “pass” much easier than others. Her hair always seems a mess, and when she is brought to any kind of emotional extreme her true form begins to show. This has made dating a problematic experience for Roxanna, who has had multiple unrequited crushes, but ended up pushing several different boys away out of fear that she would end up hurting them, whether she wanted to or not.

Roxanna frequently quibbles with her mother over her heritage. She considers her human side most people see as her “natural” form, and that the form always lurking just inside her reflection is another person altogether.

To most people, Roxanna appears as a shortish girl with a mess of black hair she never seems to tame framing a warm, pleasant face. She occasionally receives comments on her eyes, one almond brown, the other a bright hazel.

A bright student, with a sardonic streak a mile wide, Roxanna spends more time “between worlds” than any others like her. Every day, she deals with her desire to be “normal” against her loyalty to her heritage and to others like her.


#4 – Stefon Hunt

| November 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Stefon is loud, tattooed, brash, and will make very clear that he’s not here to be whatever you think a superhero is supposed to be. The notion is largely braggadocio, but he can back it up with his abilities. Stefon is damn good at this, he knows it, and he knows you know it, whether or not you want to admit it.

Born and raised in the South Bronx, Stefon has kept himself at arms length from many heroes by being equally concerned with being respected and known on the streets of his home as he is in the rarefied air of superheroes. He carries himself with a defiance of traditional authority. He has repeatedly stated that he is uninterested in being anyone’s hero. To him, being a superhero is a business, and he’s interested in being the best in his industry. He doesn’t want to be the “marketable” person like other heroes. He doesn’t care if people like him, but he will make them respect him. He’s going to do it his way, his style, when he wants to, looking the way he wants to look, acting the way he wants to act, and if you don’t like it, you can get lost.

For all his macho posturing and “keep it to the streets” attitude Stefon is not a bad person. He sees a great deal more grey-scale in life than many do. He utterly distrusts law enforcement and their motives, along with much of the superhero community. He has done many charitable works for at-risk children in communities across the city, from using his personal fortune to fund literacy classes to ensuring many schools can fund extra-curricular activities for students from sports to music and the arts. Due to his intelligent manipulation of his image, Stefon has a dedicated fanbase, including a coterie of friends he can call on to visit violence on people at appropriate times and places.

Stefon is often controversial, from his repeated criticism U.S. drug policy and refusal to prosecute what he calls “a war of racial aggression” to pointed critiques of various heroes on his well-trafficked blog. He has opinions, many of them political, not all of them wholly well-informed, but he’s still going to let you know about them.

Stefon’s abilties manifested in High School, and he immediately dropped out to pursue his new “career”. He is gifted with a deep kinship with birds. He is capable of sprouting wings, although he is a much more adept glider than a flyer (he can only sustain a short burst of flying energy). He can also turn his hands into talons and has a “familiar” of sorts, a Raven he calls “Boogie” who is his eyes and ears around the city.

Stefon is as often at odds with the superhero community as he is part of it, and he prefers it that way. He feels like getting to chummy with other heroes would rob him of his edge, take away from that which makes him to marketable to some. Stefon has been accused of “selling out” by some, he has several sponsorships to his name, including his own line of energy drink and is working on creating a line of fashion in his image.

An absolute asshole to those just meeting him, but Stefon values loyalty above all else in those he knows, and those that are loyal to him, he will go to the ends of the earth for. Anyone who crosses him, he will commit to deeply, painfully hurting, legally or illegally.

Stefon seems a slight figure, standing just under six feet tall, but his lithe frame is quick and agile. He is instantly recognizable from the shock of shoulder length dreadlocks he sports, which he adorns with charms and trinkets. He delights in letting opponents believe they have the upper hand in fights before turning the tables on them in a moment.

#3 – Darius Mandrake

| November 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Darius Mandrake was supposed to be it. The man, the next big thing. When Darius discovered his abilities at age 12, he immediately became “the next big thing” to come along in the superhero community. Prodigiously gifted, standing 6’2“ in 9th grade, with super-strength, near-invulnerability, and the ability to manipulate time, his potential was said to be nearly limitless. He was to be a era-defining superhero, if he lived up to his abilities.

“If” has come to define Darius’ life. If he actually worked at making the most of his gifts. If only he had better friends. If only he had surrounded himself with better people. If he’d had someone to guide him, to teach him about the wages of fame. So much was expected of him, so much was given to him immediately because of that potential ability.

Darius was being “recruited” by the biggest superhero groups across the globe, told he was the second coming. It all came far too much, too soon, too fast for Darius. By 14 he was a handful, by 17 he was beyond anyone’s control. He came to believe the hype about himself. He ceased working to perfect and understand his abilities, taking them for granted. He partied, openly feuded with other heroes, had repeated skirmishes with the police and generally acted above the law, above society, as if he was something wholly different to everyone else.

Darius is 25 now, a living “cautionary tale”, the object of derision. He has squandered several chances to make a life for himself, getting thrown out of no less than three superhero collectives already in his short life. He still prioritizes his vices over actually doing anything material, and finds himself with even less understanding and control of his abilities than he did when he was a teenager.

For all of this, however, Darius blames everyone else. He blames “the system” for treating him unfairly, when he says he was living in a way that all other heroes were. He blames other heroes for spreading rumors and lies about him, for publicly shunning him from their community. He still believes he is earth’s greatest hero whenever he wants to, he simply justifies his apathy by believing that there is little out there that poses enough of a challenge for him to genuinely engage with it.

Darius has surrounded himself with a small entourage that act more as enablers and Yes Men than friends or helpers. He still has his loyal fans, and is still capable of commanding a certain amount of celebrity, but few doubt that his life is already on the downside. Darius is bitter, petulant, cruel, and unwilling to take responsibility for anything he’s done. He still believes his redemption is just around the corner, even as it slips away with each passing day.

Darius still looks the part of the hero, now standing 6‘7“, with the physique of an olympian. The only thing he has committed himself to is his look and his style. He still demands to wear only the finest, cutting-edge fashion. Darius’s face, once warm and inviting as a child, has darkened, but he still retains a certain leading-man look, with his square chin and inviting eyes.

#2 – Kamal Mahgoub

| November 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

The son of a street merchant, 23-year-old Kamal is a brash, passionate young man desperate to carve out his own, unique life story.

Kamal was born in Port Said, the youngest of three children. As a child, his mother, Ayeda, provided the compassion, while his father, Youssef, was draconian, and frequently abusive. The family lived just above poverty, and Kamal spent most of his childhood working alongside his father at the family’s small electronics shop. Early in life, he showed an aptitude for electronics and all things mechanical, but his father shared little of his son’s ambition. A deeply religious man, Kamal’s eldest sibling, Sherif, was the family success story, going off to become one of the youngest Imams in the city. When Kamal’s other sibling, his sister Nabila won a scholarship to the University of Dubai, Kamal’s father pushed hard for him to follow in the footsteps of his elder siblings, lives Kamal wanted no part of. Kamal was interested in “frivolties” like arts, music, and the internet.

Eventually, Kamal’s relationship with his father reached a breaking point when his mother passed away when he was 17. His mother had provided all the encouragement and love in his life and in the wake of her death, his father became even more abusive, demanding Nabila return from university to run the house and dismissing Kamal, who was a disinterested, poor student, as the family failure. The pair came to blows when Youssef blamed Ayeda’s influence on Kamal for making him such a disappointment. Packing what little of a life he had, Kamal ran away to Cairo, and has not seen his family since.

Kamal has the next few years working odd jobs, sleeping on couches and watching life pass him by. He mourned the loss of his mother for over a year before finally beginning to open up to people. Finally, he fell in with a group of politically motivated university students, and got a job at a smartphone repair store.

Slowly, Kamal grew more poltical, and when the Arab Spring came to Egypt, he was one of the throngs of people in Tahrir Square. Caught up in the revolutionary fervor, he met Matthieu while, on his way to a protest with his friends, they were ambushed by a group of loyalists. When the fight began to turn against them, he ran, only to come across Matthieu, who helped him defeat his attackers.

As the revolution came to an end, however, Kamal found himself feeling betrayed, that the revolutionary nation he had hoped for was never going to become a reality. Beginning to look for a way out, he met Matthieu again in a cafe, and managed to fool the Frenchman into believing that he had family in Libya, and could help guide him through a suddenly volatile part of the world. Matthieu only discovered the ruse after the pair has crossed the border and walked directly into a ongoing civil war.

Through luck, lies, and a significant amount of favor-currying, the pair managed to escape, and upon arriving in Tunisia, Matthieu offered the youngster a chance to work with him, an offer Kamal immediately accepted.

A little under six feet tall, Kamal has thin, aquiline features, and is almost constantly seen fiddling with something in his hands and a messenger bag slung over one shoulder.

Whereas Matthieu is more impulsive, Kamal is much more reserved, prone to getting lost in his own thoughts. While he was a poor student, Kamal has discovered a deep interest in learning as much as he can about whatever he can get his hands on. He can be prickly, petulant and can hold a grudge, but Kamal is also immensely loyal, thoughtful, and increasingly concerned with issues of social justice. Despite occasional bouts of brooding and self-doubt, Kamal is a largely optimistic person, with ambition to spare.

Kamal has brought a kind of moral clarity to Matthieu’s work, opening their work up to helping those outside of the “-aire” tax bracket. In Matthieu, Kamal sees someone who lives a life he’d only dared to dream about, a person whose life he wishes to, in some ways, emulate, and a man who understands why “home” has become a complicated concept for him.

#1 – Matthieu Giuly

| November 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

38 years old, Matthieu is the son of two intellectuals who were born and raised in French Algeria. Matthieu was born twelve years after Algerian independence, the fourth of four children. His parents made sure the entire family had a strong sense of their identity, Matthieu’s family is made up of Pied-Noirs, and his parents taught him that he was not completely “French”, nor could his family return to live in what his parents considered their true home.

Matthieu was born in Marseille, and in his teenage years, began to relish his position as an “outsider” compared to many other students. He spent much of his time hanging out with less popular groups of students. Immigrants, social outcasts, Matthieu discovered he had a knack for walking between social groups with ease. An apt, if not always attentive student, Matthieu graduated from the University of Lyon with a degree in Applied Modern Languages. Matthieu is a polyglot, and can speak French, English, German, Spanish and Arabic fluently, and has a basic understanding of Italian, Chinese and Portugese.

Matthieu is a world-traveler, who has not stayed in any one part of the world for longer than three years since graduating from university. He has worked for several newspapers, UNICEF, and held down brief positions with the French Foreign Ministry, Monsanto and Deutsch Bank. He has visited or lived in 82 different nations. Currently, he works as an international fixer, a go-between for the wealthy. He helps Chinese businessmen plan trips to Miami, assists members of the Saudi Royal family buy homes in Macau. He is well-known for his creativity, his problem-solving and his willingness to travel anywhere in the world at the drop of a hat.

Matthieu’s wanderlust is a strong product of his upbringing. Due to his parent’s influence, he’s never felt at home anywhere, and was surprised to find, when he did finally visit Algeria, that he didn’t feel the spiritual connection to it that his parents made it seem like there was.

With an impressive list of contacts, Matthieu can often be choosy about who he works for. He has been blogging his travels for the last two years.

Matthieu is six feet tall, with a short mop of messy black hair, wide brown eyes, a round face and a seemingly permanent five o’clock shadow. Despite the occasionally high-profile nature of his job, he always prefers casual clothes to suits and corporate wear.

Matthieu is distinctly impulsive, occasionally disorganized, and has never planned out his life much more than a month in advance.

Gregarious and kind, Matthieu is a kind of social chameleon, able to fit in equally well at a pub in Cardiff as at a black tie dinner in the Hamptons. He is, however, slow to trust, and his travels mean he has lived much of the last 15 years alone. His relationships are short, and most of his friendships exist on a professional level, rather than a personal one. While he is a adept liar, Matthieu is not without morals, although he fully understands the nature of his work means working with unseemly characters. He simply tries to do the best he can in a business where morals can be a hindrance, not a help.

Matthieu met Kamal in 2011, and eventually found in him someone just like himself, a person who feels that, for whatever reason, they cannot return home, that there is little or nothing for them there, or that they do not have a “home”. Moreover, loathe as he would be to admit it, years of traveling alone had begun to wear on him, and Kamal quickly proved himself invaluable, personally and professionally.

2012 Challenger: Jacob Flanagan

| October 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

So, i’m a first-timer to this, but the entire thing sounds a hell of a lot more feasible and fun than NaNoWriMo. I’m an aspiring amatuer writer, voice actor and a absolute beginner artist who wasted far too much of his 20’s not doing what he was passionate about, and now is throwing himself back on the horse.

I’m really looking forward to using this as a good exercise in stretching myself, and trying to create characters. I’m interested in creating all kinds and shapes of characters, from Superheroes and people living in fantastic worlds to ordinary, everyday people just trying to get by. I love reality just as much as I love fiction, so I will always try and split the difference between the two.

Given that i’m a bare-minimum beginner artist, there won’t be drawings to go with these to start with, but hopefully i’ll be able to bring a few to life later on down the road, at least a little bit.

Storytelling has always been something I’ve been passionate about, but you gotta work at whatever you love to be good at it. I’ve got a while to go, but I think this is a great first step.