The Big Villains Thread

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Villain of the Day:  February 20 (Stampede)

Bettina Szilard always loved animals; she just never pictured that they'd be so useful to making her wealthy.

A zoologist at the Nahampoana Game Preserve on the island of Madagascar, Szilard was continually stymied by poachers, government interference, and an overall lack of funding.  In the face of numerous natural disasters and conflicts, monetary donations to the game preserve were quickly dwindling, not only was Bettina's job in deep jeopardy, but also the whole of the preserve.  

Bettina, though, had a plan.  While outside observers were always impressed by her affinity with animals, few knew the truth of the matter:  Bettina Szilard was an Omega, capable of not only communing with, but also conjuring various animals from nowhere.  In her day job, she limited these powers towards calming animals, easing animals' pain or distress, and genuinely making animals feel good.  But, through her animal friends, Bettina saw the opportunity to procure the funding she needed.

The announcement of a $100,000 gift to Nahampoana very neatly coincided with the first appearance of the masked villain known as Stampede.  Days prior, Stampede charged through one of the branches of the First Bank of Toliara on the back of a rhino, with other animals in tow to haul away the ill-gotten gains.  Within two weeks, another $50,000 gift arrived...neatly coinciding with a Stampede appearance at a resort casino and hotel.

Naturally, the link between Stampede and the game preserve was easily found by investigators and Bettina/Stampede soon found herself on the run.  Unfortunately, as The Naturalist has been known to say, the most dangerous animals are cornered beasts.  Stampede has been on the run since, making it first to the African mainland, then heading into the depths of the Central African jungles.  Stampede remains at large, only occasionally popping up in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.  In all cases, she raids supply houses--particularly of known poachers or even legitimate hunters, often destroying such bases and stealing whatever supplies she can carry off.  Stampede's most daring raid in recent years has been on a military encampment along the border between the CAR and South Sudan, though her motives there are quite unclear...

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Villain of the Day:  February 21 (Masquerade)

With the increasing number of metahumans worldwide and the effective destruction of FILTER as a solvent organization, Interpol has had to steadily increase their efforts regarding metahuman crimes.  While world-threatening supervillains and criminal syndicates have typically fallen to the Sentinels of Freedom--despite increasing international friction--many 'lone gunman' metahumans have been relegated to more conventional law enforcement.  Chief among these is the shapeshifting figure known as Masquerade, currently sitting at #1 on Interpol's Most Wanted Metahumans list.

Little is truly known about Masquerade, beyond a few facts and a degree of conjecture.  Masquerade first appeared on the scene during a European Union conference in Berlin.  Vice-Attache Franz Biedermann made a stunning reversal during an EU summit meeting, forming a coalition against an arms-proliferation treaty.  This was particularly notable as the German position to date had been one of non-proliferation, hoping to stabilize Eastern Europe.  After the vote, however, Biedermann was found hanged in his hotel suite.  The mysterious figure posing as Biedermann?  Nowhere to be found.  However, even after a reconvenement of the conference, a pro-proliferation coalition managed to filibuster the vote, leaving no arms treaty in place.

Masquerade surfaced again at an MI5 sting operation, posing as a British Intelligence officer.  This time, they tipped off a series of Libyan terrorists as to the identity of several MI5 agents, leading to fourteen casualties and a terrorist organization now in possession of six long-range ballistic missiles.  Similar other incidents have occurred worldwide, with numerous countries' intelligence agencies left stymied by Masquerade's actions.

Secretary General of Interpol Morgann Fevre currently has a full team of investigators looking into Masquerade's crimes, but to little avail.  None know Masquerade's true identity or even their gender.  Fevre believes that Masquerade comes from Southern Italy or Corsica, as on two several occasions, a talisman known as Saint Lucy's Eye--the shell of the turban snail--have been left in sites known to have been infiltrated by Masquerade.  This has been corroborated by one occasion in which a Polish diplomat (who was later discovered to be Masquerade) was overheard humming a Corsican folk song; this was noted primarily due to the strange, polyphonic melody.  In both cases, these would fit the general locale of Masquerade's actions; all have been in either continental Europe or in Northern Africa.

To date, Masquerade is a ghost in the wind.  After all, how do you locate someone who literally has every face imaginable?

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That's far more interesting than what your average face-stealing supervillain tends to get up to. :)

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Gotta wonder what their objective is beyond causing pure chaos, if there is anything.

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Villain of the Day:  February 22 (Eliot Marklund and Nautilus Industries)

"What can the man who has it all do for you?"  So opens one of the most famous advertisements for Nautilus Industries, one of the world's newest think-tanks and design firms.  Technology magnate Eliot Marklund, sitting in front of a fireplace, holding a glass of scotch, invites the viewers into his world of jet-skis, beautiful women, clean lines, and high adventure.  To date, he ranks among the most favorably viewed CEOs and executives, with a charismatic smile and a keen mind for negotiation and persuasion.  Born to an old-money family in Britain, Marklund had all the trappings and wit of a suave English gentlemen.  

Marklund founded Nautilus two years ago, personally headhunting the best designers, engineers, scientists, and technicians from the world over to engage in a series of high concept think-tanks.  With Marklund at their head, the group began setting forth a progressive design on the world:  free clean energy, high-speed global infrastructure, short-range inanimate telepotation-based shipping solutions, and biologically-enhanced farms.  While much of the think-tank's concepts were pipe dreams, enough of them were attainable enough that, when Marklund announced his departure from the CIO position at the Eaken-Rubendall Laboratories, it came as no surprise that he promptly founded Nautilus and caused an exodus to his new flagship venture.

Nautilus's primary facility is a privately-owned island in the Caribbean, about 40 miles northeast of Hispaniola.  Nautilus has literally become a self-sustaining facility unto itself, with housing, numerous amenities, and the finest in laboratory and work-station facilities, with Marklund himself living in a palatial apartment high atop the island's central mountain, with the occasional visitors to Nautilus residing in the relative equivalent of a four-starred hotel just off the laboratory campus.  Marklund's employees eat and live for free at Nautilus, with their (particularly substantial) pay deposited into tax-sheltered offshore accounts for their private use.  The myriad patents and copyrights now held by Nautilus have made Marklund and its silent angel investors immensely wealthy, with Nautilus' net worth approaching the trillion dollar mark.

Many have begun to question, however:  what exactly does Nautilus do?  While the Nautilus logo appears on few consumer products, Nautilus caters primarily to the world's governments, providing their phenomenal technological innovations at a premium price.  Of particular concern--particularly from scientists within Nautilus itself--has been an increasing focus on dimensional folding and extraction of energy from spaces outside of the current dimensional paradigm.  Even the most favored visitors to Nautilus are kept from visiting Design Bay L, wherein the strangest research is said to take place...

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Villain of the Day:  February 23 (Wayang, The Puppet Man)

The art of glove puppetry has always had a special place within Taiwanese Culture.  Dating from the 17th century, puppetry has been used to tell epic tales of heroes, dragons, and other legends throughout time.  Chia-wei Tseng has turned this art form into a thing of horror.

First appearing in Hong Kong, the figure known as Wayang, the Puppet Man emerged on the streets, seeming a mere alley-performer outside of Ms. Yeh's noodle shop.  Children would gather around to watch Tseng's famous puppet shows, following him from place to place, watching shows over and over again.  Ms. Yeh, though, was the first to notice:  the children had begun to mimic the actions that Tseng's puppets took on his ramshackle stage.  The old women went to approach Tseng...only to find her own actions limited, as if someone were pulling along her limbs.  Tseng smiled as she staggered, herky-jerky, back into her noodle shop. 

Those children never returned home.  Within a few weeks, Tseng had a whole series of new puppets.

The Taiwanese National Police Agency immediately began an island-wide investigation.  Children were disappearing at an alarming rate, with sightings of the mysterious Puppet Man attached to each disappearance.  Over time, the division managed to track Wayang to a port warehouse in Keelung City, just north of Taipei.  

Fourteen armed members of Taiwan's storied Fifth Corps entered that warehouse.  Three managed to emerge, their bodies twisted and broken from Wayang's mysterious manipulation.  The others?  Shredded by a seeming legion of puppets, animated by Wayang's power and wielding everything from hypodermic needles and razor blades to forgotten kitchen knives.  Their wood-carved faces each bore the depiction of one of the children Wayang had abducted.  Now, as a legion of construct servents, they serve him...

TakeWalker
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I think you changed his name in the middle, from Tseng. >.>

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Chia-Wei Tseng is the actual name of Wayang. Same guy...

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Ugh, I can't read, ignore me. D:

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Villain of the Day:  February 24th (Eidolon)

Within the realm of the ultra-wealthy, there exists a concept known as the "freeport".  Within certain logistical hubs or port cities, freeports serve as massive warehouse repositories where non-liquid assets--art, sculpture, gemstones, precious metal ingots, and the like--are securely held for their owners.  One solitary user at such freeport singley holds more than 3,000 unique art pieces from the world's great masters; by comparison, the British National Gallery holds only approximately 2,300 unique art pieces.

Transactions made in a freeport are made effectively tax-free--taxes are only paid by the owner upon their withdrawal from the freeport itself--which makes freeports an ideal place to do business for the financially elite.  Such warehouses have the finest in the world's security--biometric locks, vibration-sensitive walls, and titanium-alloy vault walls--and their use certainly does not come cheaply.  Average yearly cost of a 10' by 10' room in a freeport is around $20,000 US.

Eidolon robs freeports.

Born Anja Golic outside of Zagreb, Croatia, Eidolon was raised on the streets by a borderline-alcoholic mother who lost her husband during the Bosnian conflict in the late 1990s.  Growing up, Anja quickly found herself frustrated with her lot in life.  So close to the Adriatic coast, she could easily watch Europe's elite cavort and enjoy the coastal resorts.  They flung their money around with aplomb; they never knew hunger or fear or warfare.  They only knew luxury and wealth...and Anja was ready to take it from them.

For years, Anja had practiced as a pickpocket, but only as a teenager did her metahuman abilities develop. Anja found herself with the ability to shift her atomic structure into a separate dimension, becoming translucent and effectively able to phase through solid objects.  Over time, she found that she was further able to disrupt electrical and electronic flow, functionally serving as a living EMP generator who could disable electronics merely by touching them.  

Anja spent three years in the Croatian military's engineering corps, learning basic combat skills as well as systemic-engineering.  After this, her plans began in earnest.

First Le Freeport Luxembourg; that netted her over $15m in gemstones, as well as five pieces of Renaissance era art.  Next came Zurich and Geneva:  another $8m in precious metals, a state-of-the-art concept car from Mercedes-Benz, and a series of small sculptures dating back to the Etruscans.  

Eidolon shows no signs of stopping, having been sighted across Europe, the United States, in Japan, and in Hong Kong.  She has only been confronted three times; upon each occasion, Eidolon has managed to take down multiple armed combatants, many of whom died of internal trauma, as Eidolon would phase back into reality, literally grasping their heart or other internal organs.  The world's freeports have stepped up security across the board, increasing both passive and active security measures, even as their clients have started to pull out.  

However, to date, Eidolon has targeted and successfully robbed no less than 12 separate freeports across the world.  While she shows no signs of stopping, her efforts are beginning to draw attention...

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Villain of the Day:  February 25th  (Komodo)

The villain known as Komodo isn't a complicated man.  In fact, he's barely a man.

Komodo grew up in the jungles of Indonesia, on the island of Gili Motang.  As an apex predator, he spent the majority of his time crawling through the underbrush, ambushing birds, mammals, and other creatures he could sneak up on....just like any other lizard.  

Human, however, was a particularly tasty treat.  While he'd only ever manage to eat human twice--once from a dead hiker, having fallen while climbing up a steep hill; once more from a small child, lost in the depths of the jungle--the sweet, sweet taste of human flesh consumed his mind.  Surely, there could be a way to have more.

Had this particular komodo dragon continued on its current course, it surely would have been killed by the residents of Gili Motang, as it had encroached closer and closer to civilization, in search of an easy meal.  However, Isoflux Alpha had something to say about that.

While still digesting the remains of the two humans, the creature found itself in a pool rife with the mysterious chemicals, and quickly began a strange evolution.  The DNA therein blended with his own, rewriting his basic genetic structure and turning him into a man-sized, bipedal creature with an expanding intelligence.  Within weeks, Komodo could speak and reason...and hunt.

Indonesian authorities attempted to track down the killer creature, but to little avail, primarily because Komodo had already left.  Having met with a strange man from a place called South Africa, Komodo found himself on the Indian subcontinent, serving as a personal bodyguard for this Dr. Laurent, and being fed all the dead man-flesh  he could eat.  

As a combatant, Komodo is particularly dangerous, with superhuman strength, a scaled hide, a lashing tail, and a lethal bite.  Two glands within Komodo's jaw secrete toxic proteins making his bite particularly venomous, but also difficult to heal, as the proteins act as natural anticoagulants.  Many of Komodo's victims have outright bled to death, even after Komodo himself has retreated.  He is utterly loyal to Laurent, though Komodo is particularly cunning and is always on the lookout for a better offer...

 

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Villain of the Day:  February 26 (Leopard Walks Over Glass, the Jomo Darkala)

Daga is a tiny town nestled in the Bhutan Himalayas, home to just over a thousand souls.  Or, at least it was.

The patron spirit of Daga for centuries has been the Jomo Darkala:  a force represented in sculpture by a black-necked crane, its wings spread wide as if about to take flight.  The Jomo Darkala supposedly brought temperate weather, health and success to the villagers, and safety to the town itself. As the town's patron spirit, the local Shaolin temple revered the black-necked crane, using it as a precept for the education of the martial arts.  Within the temple proper, the statuary of the Buddha with the crane alight upon his palm served as a sanctuary of peace and safety for all.

Little did the populace know, but the actual spirit of the Jomo Darkala was inherently tied to that statuary.  A primal force dating back milennia, the Jomo Darkala traded its physical body for a step towards enlightenment, literally on the hand of the Buddha, where it could guide the people of Daga towards nirvana.

Then came the stranger.  A surly, goateed man, he called himself Leopard in Snow.  He claimed to want to train at the temple, offering reverence to the Buddha and to the temple master.  However, it quickly became apparent that Leopard in Snow wanted much more than simple sparring partners.  His mastery of Wing Chun was unsurpassed and he defeated even the most veteran monastics with ease.  "More!" he bellowed, "Have you none better?!"  

The grand-master of the temple--a stern, wizened man who had taken a vow of silence--stepped forward, his bamboo staff a blur of motion.  Grimacing, Leopard in Snow reached forward, snapped the staff in twain, and flung the grand-master through a display cabinet before the Buddha.  Injured, the grand-master called out to the Jomo Darkala for aid; amazingly, the spirit rose from the statuary and made to inhabit the old man's body....until Leopard in Snow interposed himself.  He grasped the spirit with a Phantom Palm technique, drawing it into himself.  For what seemed like hours--yet took only seconds--Leopard in Snow's consciousness fought with the Jomo Darkala.  Eventually, the surly stranger bested the defender spirit, subjugating it and taking its power for its own.

Having stolen the spirit's power, Leopard in Snow stepped forward over the shattered display cabinet, slew the grand-master with his bare hands, and left the broken body at the sundered Buddha's feet.  Dubbing himself Leopard Walks Over Glass, the stranger left as quickly as he came, with Daga burning behind him.

Leopard Walks Over Glass wanders the Earth, seeking mastery over all martial and spiritual arts.  While he is not a magician, per se, the forces he commands border on the supernatural, and his mastery of Wing Chun martial arts is unparalleled.  He craves power and mastery, and is eager to challenge himself against any who might prove a worthy combatant.  He cares little for wealth or political power; rather, he strives for personal mastery and will stop at nothing to gain that perfection.

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Now there's a villain for you! :D

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Villain of the Day: February 27 (Apollyon, The Trumpet of Revelation)

"Lord, make me an instrument of war.  Where there is blasphemy, let me reap blood.  Where there is impiety, let me bring wrath.  Where there is doubt, let me command.  Where there is deviation, may I bring rapture.  And where there is no faith, eternal night."

The man now calling himself Apollyon did not begin as the zealot he is now.   Growing up, Jozef Anton was raised in a strict Catholic household, attending mass thrice-weekly and serving as an altar boy, a Eucharistic minister, and even as a lay-priest.  While strict, his faith was wholesome--he was a believer in peace, mercy, and forgiveness.  As an adult, Jozef maintained his faith, becoming a theology teacher at a parochial school in Trieste, on the border of Italy and Slovenia.  

As OblivAeon first manifested in the skies over the Mediterranean, Jozef was fully convinced that the Biblical apocalypse was upon him.  As heroes and scions clashed over the Adriatic, as Basilica of St. Peter's shook and crumbled, Jozef prayed for the forgiveness of this world.  Something, somewhere answered his prayers.

As Apollyon, Jozef is absolutely convinced that the apocalypse, as delineated in the Book of Revelations and several apocryphal documents, has begun, and it is his role to act as of the herald of the impending Four Horsemen.  As such, he began traveling the world in naught but a simple brown cassock and a crown of thorns.  While inhumanly strong, Apollyon's true power comes from a red-orange nimbus of energy that allows him some degree of levitation, increased toughness and durability, and the ability to lash out with searing blasts of energy.  After a raid on a medieval-era church in France, Apollyon has been seen wielding a barbed scourge as well as a spiked censer on a long chain, both of which have been known to cause wounds that bleed profusely and are notoriously hard to mend.

One of Apollyon's stated goals has been the utter annihilation of all non-Christian faiths, as well as the forced conversion or destruction of groups that actively stand against religion.  He has attacked Islamic countries on numerous occasions, and came close to overthrowing Jerusalem, before being driven back by the Israeli Military, several international heroes, and Project: Jericho.  Apollyon is labeled by nearly every major government on Earth as a terrorist, though certain extremist Christian groups have, in fact, offered Apollyon safe-harbor, deludedly believing in his vision of apocalypse and a Christian ascendency.

With his self-professed faith, Fanatic was among the first heroes consulted when Apollyon emerged in Istanbul, assaulting the remains of the Hagia Sophia.  However, while she was quick to fight against such a villain that would twist the words of her faith, it quickly became apparent that his own abilities bore no similarity to her own.  Some magically-attuned heroes have detected a degree of Void energy emanating from Apollyon, though none have had the opportunity to investigate this further.

With the quickly escalating metahuman arms race in the Middle East, it may well be a Christian terrorist that ignites the world into war.  And that's just what he wants...

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Villain of the Day:  February 28 (The Annihilationists)

Some men just want to watch the world burn.  The Annihilationists have a front row seat to the inferno.

A cabal of 5 enigmatic plutocrats from across the world, The Annihilationists have a deep-seated belief that the world is overdue for its destruction.  Between the Celestial Tribunal, Baron Blade's Terralunar Beam, Deadline's incursion, and eventually OblivAeon, this group of individuals believe that humanity has fully run its course and deserves nothing more than annihilation.  In the past, they have been satisfied in watching the world slowly move towards entropy; but now, they have begun to mobilize their resources towards making the apocalypse into a reality.

Not much is known about the true identities of The Annihilationists.  At least one is an American industrialist, while at least one other is a high-ranking political figure from either Russia or Eastern Europe.  The five Annihilationists only gather once per year at The Refuge--a massive vault/bunker built beneath one of the Austrian Alps--to provide in-person updates as to their progress in destroying all life on Earth and to survey the castle that will be their final home and their tomb.  Two of them have no explicit metahuman abilities, while at least one is capable of discordian sorcery.

Having watched so many failed apocalypses, The Annihilationists have begun to provide subtle manipulations necessary to bring about mankind's downfall.  While in the past, this might have been something along the lines of trying to acquire and activate the terralunar impulsion beam, their machinations have become much more discreet.  Over the past 15 years, The Annihilationists have utilized their status, wealth, and position within society to orchestrate a global metahuman conflict capable of devastating the globe.  They act through proxies, such as Dr. Emershan Laurent, or field operatives such as Masquerade.  To each these, they have promised a seat within The Refuge, whereupon they will live like kings while the remainder of Earth burns.

Currently, The Annihilationists' global chess board is not quite set.  While the Middle East has become a volatile powder keg, the United States grapples with internal strife, and the European Union struggles with general security, The Annihilationists are nothing if not thorough.  They want armageddon, not a mere battle or even a world war.  In time, only a few pieces will remain before the world plunges into global conflict, with metahuman soldiers entering an unlimited, nuclear/biological/chemical battlefield.  And on that day, The Annihilationists will retire to their Refuge and watch the world burn.

*     *     *     *     *

This brings to an end the second month of our Villains of the Day series.

Next month, it's Mystic characters for March!  Villains with sorcerous, arcane, eldritch, or occult powers and origins.

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Welcome to March:  Home of the Mystic, occult, arcane and outright weird.

*     *     *     *     *

Villain of the Day:  March 1 (Mad-Man)

Erikson Sanitarium for the Mentally Disturbed has a poor reputation.  As the premier mental health services facility in Rook City, the Sanitarium is torn between serving as an incarceration ward for the most violently-psychotic criminals and as a geniune service for those in need of mental-health assistance.  While there is a stigma for some to receive therapy or counseling from Erikson Sanitarium, the romanesque building looms over the trees of Overbrook State Forest, ever watching over Rook City below.  Its labyrinthine halls are home to many who have lost hope, both inmate and doctor alike.

Enter one Dr. Nelson Samuels.  A doctor of psychiatry, he served for years as one of Erikson's premier doctors, aiding the mentally ill for years.  Samuels specialized in schizophrenic disorders, often working with the elderly and with patients who were indefinitely institutionalized.  One of the Samuels' latter patients was Zachary Cooper.  After a harrowing (and quite enigmatic) encounter in the swamps outside of Rook City, Zachary had snapped, his personality vacillating between numerous fragments.  Zachary's only outlet?  His art, which was one Zachary's few passions before that fateful encounter.

None know exactly what happened to Dr. Samuels.  Some thought that the stress of his position, coupled with some home-life stressors, finally caused him to break.  As with most things, the truth is much stranger.  Latent within Cooper's art were the fragments of an ancient ritual, with arcane symbols and words to an incantation scattered across countless sketches and paintings.

Fleeing Erikson Sanitarium with Cooper's art, Dr. Samuels next emerged in the midst of Rook City mall.  Anyone who met his gaze was flung into a headlong, slavering madness.  When Rook City police finally managed to regain control of the mall, four people were dead and countless others injured from the fracas.  Seven other, similar incidents have struck, each time the Mad-Man leaving nothing but chaos and insanity in his wake.

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A memetic ritual hidden in art! Great idea! :D

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Villain of the Day:  March 2 (The Helicopter Dead of St. Joseph's Parish)

The town of Derry, Pennsylvania is a town living in trauma.  To drive through the town now, you'd find mainly a series of run-down industrial plants, some apartments bordering on tenements, and the Catholic Church of St. Joseph nestled in among the foothills of the Laurel Mountains.  The streets are quiet, with few out and about, simply because there is so little remaining to Derry.

In 1978, this was not the case.  In 1978, Derry was a bustling town, eager to celebrate its annual Labor Day celebration with a parade featuring the the Derry Trojan Marching Band and a festival, featuring games, carnival food, and rides.  The featured attraction, however, was the grand giveaway.  At 3pm, a Hughes 269C civilian helicopter took off from the local Latrobe Airport, with a load of ping-pong balls, set to drop into the St. Joseph's Parish parking lot.  Colored balls within the sea of white, represented a range of prizes from a new Atari 2600 game system to a color TV to $500 cash.  At 3:18, the helicopter arrived, hovering over the mass of eagerly awaiting revelers.

At 3:19, the helicopter plunged into the crowd.

The number of dead numbered in the hundreds.  Blood spattered the streets, limbs flew akimbo, and shrapnel from the flaming wreckage scattered across the churchyard.  The screams of the injured and dying filled the town.  For hours, emergency personnel scoured the carnival, placing severed limbs and body parts into plastic bags, unable to tell from whence they came.

To this day, no one knows what caused the plane to crash, but something changed in Derry that day.  The town's economy nose-dived, the citizens began moving away in droves.  Naturally, the Labor Day festival was never held again; rather, Derry began celebrating "Railroad Days" the weekend following.  If someone asked about the incident, no one ever seemed to know what happened.  Or, if they did, they would not speak of it.

The first spectre appeared on Labor Day, 1987.  Standing in the lot at St. Joseph's, the ephemeral form of a little girl, her head split in twain and missing her left arm, stood staring at the night sky.  Only one person engaged her that day--Gerald Berman, a traveler from Rook City.  Gerald's body was found in the first pew at St. Joseph's, his wounds identical to that of the victim.

Since then, the Helicopter Dead of St. Joseph's Parish have struck every year on the evening of Labor Day.  An out-of-towner trapped within Derry is hunted by the undead spirits, their bodies emerging the next day in the pews at St. Joseph's.  

And the citizens of Derry?  They don't want to talk about it.  Just let it go; you wouldn't understand...

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Villain of the Day: March 3 (The Spirit Eater)

Miles Lawson knows the truth of this world. After the events of OblivAeon, it swiftly became apparent to the world that the physical theory of multiverses was, in fact, correct, and that this realm was only one of many. During that event, Miles met himself. Or, rather, a version of himself that was a supervillain known as Wrathbringer. Wrathbringer was a Miles Lawson who was inhabited by a Host spirit of anger, bent on naught but chaos and destruction.

However, that alternate universe Miles maintained enough sanity and control to seek out his prime Earth counterpart for help. However, prime Miles was merely a man.... until the anger spirit took over the alternate-Miles and attacked prime-Miles. Prime-Miles held up his hands in defense, only to start leeching away the intrinsic power of the host spirit.

Within moments, he devoured the anger spirit utterly, leaving a panting, but free, alternate-Miles on his kitchen floor. Miles' eyes flared with power; his place in this world was finally clear. Today, the Spirit-Eater travels the world in search of any victims of possession, regardless of their origin. In all cases, he extracts the Host spirit, imbibing it and using it as a reserve of arcane energy. He has been known to release magical blasts, form illusions, and to influence others' emotions based upon the spirits he has most recently devoured.

And, with each dead Host spirit, his abilities only grow in strength.

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Villain of the Day: March 4  (Archive)

As a librarian, Tina Grant had dedicated her life to the acquisition and preservation of knowledge.  As a burgeoning sorcerer, her mission has not changed...

Tina Grant had not been exposed to the arcane or occult throughout most of her life.  When hired into the University of Megalopolis' Library Special Collections department, she was placed in charge of the Armitage Memorial Book Reserve:  a depository of ancient texts from around the globe.  Always a gifted student and a prolific reader, Tina found her reading speed growing exponentially as she sat in her new position.  Soon, her reading and processing speed baffled both her coworkers and herself--she could easily scan a page for mere seconds, able to recall the words by rote with ease.

In actuality, Tina was a latent Omega; while others gained more flashy abilities, the Isoflux Alpha particles from her water-bottle provided her an absolute eidetic memory coupled with a verbal-linguistic intellect unmeasurable by current rating methods.  This, in and of itself, would be remarkable, had Tina not discovered something strange in the Armitage Reserve.

To the best of her ability, the strange book was a copy of the mysterious Execration Texts, written by Farooq Aman Ali am-Dhaegar, a 6th century Islamic sorcerer responsible for the destruction of the Library of Alexandria while serving under the Caliph Omar 'Amr ibn Al-'As.  The Execration Texts contained a number of powerful spells, including those summoning energy and beings from a realm that am-Dhaegar referred to as "Beyond the Mirrors".  

With that reading, Tina went utterly mad.  The words of the Execration Texts burned in her mind, coupled with an inhuman thirst for additional forbidden knowledge.  However, she was a creature of jealousy.  Tina burned the Armitage copy of the Execration Texts and left that very night.  Taking the name Archive, Tina travels the globe in search of arcane texts and forbidden scrolls.  Each time, upon finding such a text, she destroyed it, ensuring that she could serve as the gatekeeper to all arcane knowledge in perpetuity.

And next on her list?  The lost Tome of Elder Magic, held by the mistress of magic herself, Nightmist...

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"The Execration Texts" is maybe the best name for a tome of dark magic I have ever seen. :D

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Villain of the Day:  March 5 (Apep, the Devourer)

"Why is Ra?"

Since the initial rise of the Ennead and their takeover of Egypt, many scholars have asked just this question.  Why do Ra and the other members of the Ennead exist?  Why this set of deities and not, say, Zeus, Odin, or Coyote?

The answer is as simple as it is terrifying:  Apep.

In centuries past, the sorcerers of ancient Egypt began to draw power from a being now referred to--in the few sources one can find to discuss such a horrific place--as the Cthonic Realms.  Within, there lurked a creature of utter darkness and malevolence, a creature of infinite hunger which desired nothing more than to eat and to be worshipped.  Those misguided souls knew him as The Devourer, Apep, later known as Apophis.

Now, the ruling dynasties of Ancient Egypt were no stranger to superhuman abilities.  Oftentimes, great Pharaohs would, in fact, be metahumans of no small part.  One of them, wielding fire as a weapon, named himself Horus, Lord of the Sun.  Horus led a great purge of the followers of Apep during his rule, pursuing the Teeth of the Devourer across the land, driving them into the desert and into Nubia.  Horus gathered unto himself others like him, bestowing on them titles and wealth for their assistance in destroying the cult of Apep.  Among these were Nephthys, Shu, and the most powerful among them, Atum.

However, the reach of these cultists was long, and Horus and his band were soon at the mercy of the Teeth of the Devourer.  Using a fell ritual, they called upon the might of Apep and stole away the powers of Horus and his Ennead, sealing their strength into weapons that they, themselves could use against their enemies.

The Teeth of the Devourer, though, did not bank upon the might of the average Egyptian soldier.  Horus' chief general--Akhenaten, who later became Pharoah--led a sortie against the Teeth of the Devourer, driving them back into the depths and preventing the cultists from claiming the artifacts that they created.  While Horus and his Ennead died, Akhenaten took those relics and placed them in places of great honor, permitting their power to those who could use them in defense of the Nile and of Egypt.

Since those days, the Teeth of the Devourer have waged a silent war against the various incarnations of Horus.  At times, they seem to vanish; at others, they seem to snuff out any hope of Ra or Horus returning.  At their strongest, they assembled a great library in the depths of Alexandria, hidden beneath the more public library.  Within, they began to assemble a ritual necessary to bring forth Apep from his Cthonic prison.  However, an invasion from nearby Islamic forces crushed their hopes and cost them much in men and power as the library burned.

To this day, Apep thrashes against his bonds in the Cthonic ether.  Someday, when the relics of the Ennead are assembled, the Teeth of the Devourer will crush those bonds and Apep will emerge to devour the sun...

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If there was ever one of your villains I wanted to be canon...

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PlatinumWarlock wrote:

Villain of the Day:  March 2 (The Helicopter Dead of St. Joseph's Parish)The town of Derry, Pennsylvania is a town living in trauma.  To drive through the town now, you'd find mainly a series of run-down industrial plants, some apartments bordering on tenements, and the Catholic Church of St. Joseph nestled in among the foothills of the Laurel Mountains.  The streets are quiet, with few out and about, simply because there is so little remaining to Derry.In 1978, this was not the case.  In 1978, Derry was a bustling town, eager to celebrate its annual Labor Day celebration with a parade featuring the the Derry Trojan Marching Band and a festival, featuring games, carnival food, and rides.  The featured attraction, however, was the grand giveaway.  At 3pm, a Hughes 269C civilian helicopter took off from the local Latrobe Airport, with a load of ping-pong balls, set to drop into the St. Joseph's Parish parking lot.  Colored balls within the sea of white, represented a range of prizes from a new Atari 2600 game system to a color TV to $500 cash.  At 3:18, the helicopter arrived, hovering over the mass of eagerly awaiting revelers.At 3:19, the helicopter plunged into the crowd.The number of dead numbered in the hundreds.  Blood spattered the streets, limbs flew akimbo, and shrapnel from the flaming wreckage scattered across the churchyard.  The screams of the injured and dying filled the town.  For hours, emergency personnel scoured the carnival, placing severed limbs and body parts into plastic bags, unable to tell from whence they came.To this day, no one knows what caused the plane to crash, but something changed in Derry that day.  The town's economy nose-dived, the citizens began moving away in droves.  Naturally, the Labor Day festival was never held again; rather, Derry began celebrating "Railroad Days" the weekend following.  If someone asked about the incident, no one ever seemed to know what happened.  Or, if they did, they would not speak of it.The first spectre appeared on Labor Day, 1987.  Standing in the lot at St. Joseph's, the ephemeral form of a little girl, her head split in twain and missing her left arm, stood staring at the night sky.  Only one person engaged her that day--Gerald Berman, a traveler from Rook City.  Gerald's body was found in the first pew at St. Joseph's, his wounds identical to that of the victim.Since then, the Helicopter Dead of St. Joseph's Parish have struck every year on the evening of Labor Day.  An out-of-towner trapped within Derry is hunted by the undead spirits, their bodies emerging the next day in the pews at St. Joseph's.  And the citizens of Derry?  They don't want to talk about it.  Just let it go; you wouldn't understand...

In case people didn't realize it, this one's actually based on a real event.  Except only 8 people died in our universe's version.

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I know. I grew up in Derry. *insert dramatic music riff*

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PlatinumWarlock wrote:

I know. I grew up in Derry. *insert dramatic music riff*

Oh cool!  I live in a small town in Pennsylvania too, so I knew Derry was a real place, which made me curious if that event was real too.

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Villain of the Day:  March 6 (Warcaster Xemox)

In the floating cities of ancient Lemuria, the title of Warcaster was reserved for those few mighty arcanists capable of matching their occult skill with tactical acumen and martial prowess.  The Lemurian Warcasters led the charge as they cast down the now-sunken kingdom of Atlantis, ensuring that floating Lemuria would retain dominion over the Earth for all time.  In times of peace, though, the Warcasters served as the Imperial Vanguard for the Council of the Enlightened.  The Warcaster known as Xemox was not pleased with this lot in life.  He wanted more.

The OblivAeon crisis gave him just that chance.  As the skies burned and their reality was ended--merged with one in which Atlantis never ceded its dominion of the Earth--Xemox called upon a ritual that had been reserved for none but the most scholarly and discerning.  With the other Warcasters leading the charge against OblivAeon in the ur-Space beyond reality, Xemox entered the Council Treasury and absconded with a series of scrolls known as the Lexicon of Enigmas.  There, as the Lemurian capital crumbled to the earth, Xemox enacted a ritual to allow him to traverse the dimensions.

He ended up just outside of Rook City.

Warcaster Xemox has confronted the newfound Sentinels of Freedom numerous times, each time fighting the group of heroes to a stalemate.  Xemox wields a glaive with deadly strength, casting potent discordian spells with naught but a gesture.  However, Xemox has been at his most dangerous when attempting to enact spells from the Lexicon of Enigmas itself.  In each case, a powerful discharge of eldritch energy has been released, leveling buildings and utterly disintegrating any living beings within the wave of power.  These discharges seem far from the results that Xemox seems to be expecting, as each time this happens, he flies into a rage, attacking any present, blaming them for their interference.  

Harpy and the Argent Adept have posited that Xemox, along with Levistus of Thule, have been marooned in this reality following the destruction of OblivAeon.  However, their arcane energies simply do not mesh with the natural ambient magic of this reality's Earth.  Where casters in this reality are attuned to the natural ebb and flow of arcane energy along ley lines, these interdimensional interlopers call upon energies previously unseen, along ley lines that simply don't exist here.  Because Xemox and Levistus are forcing arcane energy along non-existent ley lines--or, worse, overloading the ley lines that do exist--their arcane abilities tend to have unpredicatble, wild results.  

However, while Levistus has sought to pursue this reality's arcane artifacts, Xemox has much more pragmatic aims.  Once he properly transposes the Lexicon of Enigmas into this reality's "lingua arcanum", this world will be his to rule.  Lemuria will rise once more, with Warcaster Xemox upon its throne.

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rjc917 wrote:

Oh cool!  I live in a small town in Pennsylvania too, so I knew Derry was a real place, which made me curious if that event was real too.

I was born in Latrobe, but moved to Derry in 5th grade.  My parents own a horse farm there, so I get back into the 724 about twice a year.

Also, for those so interested:  http://triblive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/westmoreland/s_585822.html

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Villain of the Day:  March 7 (The Hitchhiker)

Gerald DuTraitte died for the first time in 1844.

The Caribbean-born son of British landowners in the Virgin Islands, Gerald lived with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth.  His father owned and managed a large sugar-cane plantation, with Gerald's elder brother the likely candidate to take over the plantation upon their father's death.  As such, Gerald lived like one with all the money in the world, spending most of his time in debutante balls and gambling halls, drinking and womanizing his way through his sizable inheritance.

One such encounter, however, led to Gerald's first death.  An argument over a game of twenty-one with a Frenchman led to a beachside duel at sun-up; never a great shot nor quick on the draw, Gerald took a pistol shot to the gut.   The Frenchman stood over him as Gerald gasped for air, trying to hold in his innards.  With a derisive snort, Gerald's opponent quipped, "You might be a cheat at cards, but no one manages to cheat death."  Gerald's last words were a two-word reply:  "Watch me."

Gerald's consciousness awoke hours later, though not in the same form as previously.  Looking down, he found himself in the body of a native islander, living in a hovel outside his father's plantation.  Gerald panicked; he could hear the voice of the native somewhere nearby--the former consciousness of his new body imprisoned while he piloted the body like a ship.  Gerald immediately went to go home, but was dismissed almost immediately.  After all, who was this strange person claiming to be Gerald?

Over the decades, Gerald found that he could drift from person to person, suppressing that person's ego while he took control of their body and mannerisms.  While the original consciousness remained aware of what this strange Hitchhiker did within their body, they found the memories hazy and not easily accessed.  If his host body died, he merely would drift through the ether until he could find a new person in which to inhabit.  By 1900, Gerald managed to procure a sizable cache of hard assets, easily accessible through any of his temporary proxies, so long as he was in control of the body itself.  In 1948, Gerald took control of his first metahuman--a Golden Age heroine named Miss Marvelous, capable of superhuman strength and speed.  He spent nearly 15 years inhabiting her body, which explains her abrupt retirement and a sudden interest in the Hollywood social scene

Today, Gerald DuTraitte continues his life of hedonism, drifting from body to body, drinking in all the wealth, gratification, and pleasure he can.  He prefers metahumans over all other subjects, enjoying the increased power held by such individuals.  Detecting the Hitchhiker is difficult enough on its own; the question remains--how do you get him out?

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Villain of the Day:  March 8 (Harold the Many)

Harold Bailey's head is full of demons.

Of course, he wasn't always that way.  Growing up in North Carolina, Harold's childhood was punctuated by tent revivals, summer church picnics, and a home life dominated by his Baptist mother.  Like most teenagers, Henry spent his adolescent years rebelling against his family's influence, dreaming of a life away from his one-horse town, perhaps to that glittering city of Megalopolis.  Upon graduating high school, Harry's wish was about to come true.  He was accepted to University of Connecticut--Megalopolis, into their creative writing program.  Despite his differences in views, his family was proud of him, throwing him a sizable graduation party on the grounds of the family's church.

Enter Amit.  The enigmatic gatekeeper of the underworld has continually worked towards sowing chaos throughout the world and releasing the denizens of the Abyss back into the waking mortal world.  Hoping to establish a fear locus in the American South, Ammit just so happened to release a group of slaving spirits into the cemetary adjoining to a certain North Carolina Churchyard.  And, as fate may have it, Harry happened to have taken a walk through that cemetary to get away from his overbearing relatives.

The abyssal spirits, hungry for blood and marrow, thundered into the graveyard, eager to possess the corpses therein.  Instead, they found Harry.

The denizens of the underworld range in both intelligence and in appearance.  Some are canny and calculating; others are savage and animalistic.  All of them are possessed of a singular desire--if a demon wants something, that demon will stop at nothing until it has the object of its desire.  For the 14 demons that Ammit released, that object was Harry.  The spirits descended upon him with a ravenous hunger, all intending to ride his body, using it for their dark purposes.

As you might figure, being possessed by 14 demonic spirits simultaneously tends to drive one mad.  Locked in conflict with the various demons, Harry has spent the last several years attempting to suppress the spirits as best he can, to little avail.  Each time a new demon takes ascendence in his consciousness, its personality overpowers the others, exhibiting a whole new set of abilities, personality quirks, and more.

The most domininant spirits within Harry are known as Baalphregor and Thall-Unturbek.  Baalphregor manifests as a brash, domineering demon who craves destruction and bloodshed.  It tends to favor traditionally demonic powers:  flight on bat-like wings that sprout from Harry's back, gouts of hellfire, and bloodstained talons.  Thaal-Unturbek, conversely, reveles in temptation, corruption, and decay.  As Thaal-Unturbek, Harry gains a dessicating touch and the ability to teleport through mirrored surfaces.

To this day, Harold the Many still strains and struggles against the 14 interlopers in his mind.  On the rare occasion that Harry regains control, he unfailingly contacts the Sentinels of Freedom, hoping that he can be captured and contained.  However, each time he has contacted them, one of his inner demons takes control, resulting in a phenomenal clash of sorcery and might.  One such clash utterly leveled the suburbs north of Richmond, Virginia, while another left the harbors of Baltimore decimated.  The only hero to have managed to make it to Harry has ben the new Legacy, who managed to lay a single hand upon his shoulder, before he lost control once more, tears streaming from his black, brimstone-limned eyes.

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Villain of the Day:  March 9 (The Plague Doctor)

Dr. Marcus Nicholson doesn't believe in the supernatural.

A noted emergency physician at Overbrook Medical Centers, Nicholson has been witness to all manner of weirdness in Rook City, but any time that he has been confronted with something of arcane origin, he has done his best to come up with a 'rational explanation'.  In some cases, this has been entirely plausible:  tentacular wounds attributed to an aggravated rope-burn, cases of blindness brought on by radical sudden-onset hysteria.  His own abilities, however, have totally befuddled him.

Nicholson was on third shift late one night, when an two orderlies came charging into his wing with a patient on a gurney.  Catching just a glimpse as they rushed past, Nicholson reflexively gagged:  the patient's face and exposed skin were a tumorous mass of cysts, one of which actively moved as Nicholson watched.  The doctor shook his head, unbelieving, and the orderlies dashed through a set of double-doors.  Snapping to, Nicholson chased after them, "Wait, where are you...?"

As Marcus passed through the double-doors after the orderlies, the place in which he found himself was something of a horrific reflection of Overbrook Medical.  Hacked doors hung from rusted hinges, the muffled sobs of the agonized dying filled the air, and a pale green glow dimly lit the whole area.  Nicholson skidded to a stop.  Turning around, the door behind him was gone.  Ahead of him, the orderlies rushed their patient into a surgical arena, and Nicholson chased swiftly after.  Inside the arena, Nicholson found no trace of the orderlies; rather, only the patient remained, writhing on the table.  As Nicholson moved to examine her, she let loose a hideous scream, bursting into a pustulent mass of ichor and bile...and everything went black.

Marcus awoke on the floor of an unoccupied ER room back in Overbrook Medical.  Three nurses, two orderlies, and a security guard clustered around him; a nurse asked him, "Doctor, are you okay?  You collapsed in the hall, screaming!"  Nicholson attempted to explain himself, but none of the individuals on duty nor any other patients claimed to have seen anything that he related.  Citing exhaustion, Marcus headed home to get some rest.

Over the next few weeks, though, something changed in Marcus.  He found himself with able to perform miraculous treatments:  simply by standing near a patient, he could cure their disease...at the cost of physically taking it onto himself, in the form of a grotesque cyst somewhere on his body.  However, just as easily, he could pass on that disease to an unwitting person, simply by touching that person.  Marcus knew there was no scientific explanation for this; this was something entirely new...

Since that day, Marcus has spiraled quickly into madness.  He believes himself dealing out something of vigilante justice, literally stealing the diseases from those in his emergency room and inflicting them onto those he believes deserving.  Donning the mask of The Plague Doctor, these infections have only grown more virulent and powerful, often resulting in hospitalization and death from conditions that began as innocuous as a mild fever or sinus infection.  Nicholson, meanwhile, only views this as an enhancement for his powers.  Soon, he'll simply start to spread...

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Harold the Many sounds like a really fun character to play around with.

Having a doctor be the one to get the Plague Doctor's powers pretty much makes him as dangerous as possible.  Makes me wonder it that was just bad luck, or if someone/something planned that...

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Villain of the Day: March 10 (Miriam Keziah Whateley)

The Overbrook Sanitarium has one notable blemish on its long and storied history. That blemish is Miriam Whateley. Born to a noted family from Arkham, Miriam's parents were both cultists of Gloomweaver, who fled Massachusetts when police activity started to expose a series of thefts at University of Boston at Arkham. Moving to Rook City, her parents soon worked to establish a cult chapter in Rook City's south side. In fact, Miriam's parents were directly responsible for creating Missy the Maw... directly in front of poor little Miriam.

Her parents slain by a partially manifested eldritch horror, Miriam became a ward of the state, bouncing from foster home to foster home for years. Each time, her foster parents noted that Miriam was quiet, sullen, and ill at ease, complaining of strange noises behind the walls of her bedroom. Over time, her outpatient therapy proved to be insufficient, and she was remanded to Overbrook. There in Overbrook, Miriam first entered the Cthonic realms. Claiming that she was taught to escape by a creature called Brown Jenkin, Miriam soon started to threaten staff members, attacking orderlies with savage bites and even a stolen hypodermic needle. Three staff members chose to leave Overbrook sooner than deal with the unruly preteen.

The day Miriam turned 18 was a day soaked in blood. Miriam burst free from her cell, raving of "the world behind the mirrors" and of her devotion to one Shan-Ehwhar, the Broken One. Flinging aside medical equipment with eldritch force, she fled into the Rook City night... Fourteen patients were injured, two more killed, during Miriam's escape. Most frightening of all, though, was Miriam's nurse, David, who remained partially eaten in her cell.

Still living, trying to hold on his innards before breathing his last, David gasped, "I see it... the world behind the walls... it's beautiful..."

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Villain of the Day:  March 11 (Mother)

"Mama's gonna make all of your nightmares come true...  / Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you..."

It was never meant to be this way.  Lydia Montauk was never meant to live this way.  She'll tell you that, herself.  However, during Apostate's attack on a mega-church in Kentucky, something happened to Lydia.  Something unspeakable.

Lydia was pregnant with her fourth child when Apostate rained down hellfire and brimstone onto the Sacred Cross Temple and Sacristy.  Her first child was born during her senior year in high school; that same year, she married Daryl, a construction worker who had graduated two years ahead of her.  She'd spent most of the next five years pregnant and as a homemaker, though that suited her just fine.  Her mother was a homemaker, and she rather enjoyed taking care of the kids while her husband hung drywall and mixed concrete.

While the Prime Wardens managed to thwart Apostate, driving him off, the cost in lives was high.  Over forty people died in the packed pews; another 87 were injured, many severely  One of Apostate's demonic servants crushed Daryl against a marble pillar.  Little Ollie and Jerry fell beneath the shards of a crystal chandelier, while Lydia clung to two year old Lisa.  However, Lydia locked eyes with the one-winged angel, and something inside her...changed.

Daryl's life insurance policy managed to keep the lights on in Lydia's trailer, though she was a woman consumed by her grief.  Spending nearly all her time in her bed, Lydia became sedentary and corpulent.  Child and Family Services began investigating Lydia after she failed to pick up little Lisa numerous times from her daycare, finding the child living in filth and disaster.  

That's when Lydia gave birth.

However, when Lydia locked eyes with Apostate so many months prior, it opened her mind up to the vast array of The Host.  And, with her husband and sons literally dying in front of her, Lydia was immediately set upon by a spirit of Grief.  That spirit changed her, altered her, seeing her pregnancy as a way to manifest the multitude horrors that Lydia had lived through.

The thing that became Lydia's fourth child had no name, nor did it resemble anything remotely human.  The foul, slavering being set upon the CFS agents, tearing them to shreds.  Lydia, now well over 500 pounds, fled the trailer, with her new 'child' in tow....but the horrors did not stop there.

Lydia, fully enmeshed with the spirit of Grief, has become nothing short of the Mother of monsters.  Each creature she births is a strange and foul reflection of her unresolved sorrow and her rage at the travails that fate has dealt her.  And while Lydia herself might be able to be talked down, the spirit of Grief within her certainly cannot...

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Well that's disturbing.

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Villain of the Day:  March 12 (The Redblade)

The circles of the occult only rarely speak of The Redblade, and even then, only in hushed whispers.  The Redblade is a mage-hunter, his motives as simple as this:  magic must end, and those who wield it must die.

Clad in a long coat and a full face-mask, The Redblade takes his nom de plume from his signature weapon:  a red-steel blade, capable of cleaving through any arcane barrier or defense like shears through silk.  While The Redblade prefers this weapon, his arsenal contains weapons of both technological might and occult power.  Some say he carries a silenced pistol, loaded with the bullets melted down from Judas Iscariot's thirty pieces of silver.  Others claim to have seen him wielding two swords--his signature red-steel blade and Joyeuse, the mythical blade of Charlegmagne.  Still others claim to have seen such forbidden relics as the Chains of Carcosa, The Right Hand of Doom, grenades capable of shearing open miniature dimensional gateways, and the arcane focus known as Maerlyn's Grapefruit.  

The Redblade is methodical and thorough, preferring to stalk his arcanist prey for days before choosing the appropriate time to strike.  Skilled in stealth and surveillance, The Redblade treats a hunt much as he treats combat, using a combination of scrying spells and modern surveillance techniques in tandem to learn his prey's habits, only striking when they are most vulnerable.  Now and again, The Redblade will assault a full group; some believe that The Redblade is single-handedly responsible for destroying the Cult of Gloom sect in Kingsport, where they had been entrenched for over 200 years.  

The true identity of The Redblade is a mystery--no degree of scrying has been able to determine his name and no force in any known dimension has been able to truly locate any records about him.  His full, red face mask immediately bears resemblance to that of the late Jack Donovan, though The Redblade exhibits none of Spite's mania.  The only current clue as to The Redblade's name came from a chance encounter with the Time-Slinger, formerly known as Chrono-Ranger.  When The Redblade attempted to assassinate The Harpy, Time-Slinger managed to interrupt the attempted murder, slowing down time just long enough to tear away a portion of the stranger's coat.  Inside the torn section, a label read: Hubert & Sons Leather Goods, Ponderosa Pine, New Mexico....just a few miles away from the site upon which Silver Gulch once stood.

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...Oh tell me they're related. XD

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Villain of the Day:  March 13  (Kommandant Diederich Siegwalt)

The year is 1940.  Doctor Diederich Siegwalt sits at the head of a conference table.  A long scroll lays before him, an archaic map of Europe crawled upon its surface, labeled in spiky, Arabic penmanship.  Several aides cluster around the table, arguing over various points.  The Furher's war has begun in earnest. Shells fall upon London like rain.  France is all but under the heel of the Third Reich.  However, Siegwalt and his Seltsammacht have set their sights outside of Europe as we know it.  Siegwalt has found the legendary Thule.

The year is 1943.  The tide of the war has begun to turn.  The German military now faces the once-dormant American juggernaut.  Rommel has been driven from Africa.  Mussolini is on the verge of being outsted.  The Furher, if he was ever sane, has begun a sharp descent into mania, dispatching additional naval forces to escort Kommandant Siegwalt to the midst of the Atlantic Ocean.  There, upon the wine-dark sea, Siegwalt began to chant the words from am-Dhaegar's thousand-year old scroll.  A craggy island arises from the depths.  Siegwalt and a handful of his most elite Seltsammacht take a single motorized boat ashore.  Four hours pass.  The island sinks once more.  Siegwalt is not seen again, and the Seltsammacht dissolves.

The time is incalculable.  Siegwalt and his men make their way into a cavern beneath the mysterious crag that Siegwalt maintains is the gateway to Thule.  His men grow nervous, hands drifting to sidearms and rifles.  Before them stands a massive stone doorway, a strange glowing seal stamped across it.  Siegwalt raises his arms, chanting in a language that leaves his men screaming in agony as his words echo through their minds.  The seal flares with energy, flying towards Siegwalt.  The Kommandant raises his arms, but to no avail--the seal buries itself in his forehead, its glow changing from a sickly green to a rust red.  His men, flung aside from the flare of energy, begin screaming, as their life energy visibly flows out of them and into Siegwalt.  As the Seltsammacht wither and die, the door to Thule opens.  Siegwalt walks through and vanishes.

The time is two months ago.  The Brandenburg Gate is full of tourists, all dead.  One man, dressed in the uniform of an SS officer, emerges from the center of the courtyard, with a glowing metal seal implanted in his forehead.  Life energy streams into him, lending him strength, agility, and durability.  A police officer moves to strike the interloper, who ducks underneath a billy-club strike, flinging the officer against one of the pillars, breaking his back.  The stranger dashes off into the depths of the city, vanishing before he can attract further attention.

The time is now.  The St. Gallen Abbey Library in Switzerland is robbed, its map room ransacked.  Kommandant Siegwalt emerges, his destination clear...

 

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Villain of the Day:  March 14 (Albemarle)

Albemarle dictionaries are arcane tomes, hidden in plain sight through the act of hiding one text within another.  Possibly used by arcanists in centuries past to hide their tomes from witch-hunters, Albemarle dictionaries have been passed from person to person for years, with many not realizing their true nature.  On occasion, however, the incantations within such a book take on a life of their own. Perhaps this comes with the nature of the magics themselves.  Historians and scholars disagree as to what gives these magics sentience, but both agree:  Insinuating magics can quite literally take on a life of their own.  Sorcerers, beware a spell come to life.

Sister Rebecca Buchanan was one victim of such a creation, having found an Albemarle dictionary in amongst the church hymnals at St. Aloyisus on the Cross.  The spell within set her aflame in the church sacristy.  Immolating, she found herself unable to extinguish the fire as it consumed her.  Rebecca died in the streets, none knowing the true cause, until some mystically-aligned heroes began to investigate.  Shockingly, the hymnal itself was nowhere to be found.

Harpy has attempted to catalogue all known Albemarle dictionaries, to little avail.  Each time she locates one, two more seem to pop up.

Would-be arcanists prize Albemarle dictionaries as a quick short-cut to power.  If one were to fall into the hands of a caster like Levistus of Thule or Warcaster Xemox, though, the damage might be untold.  Legend speaks of a whole library of these texts, hidden away in africa.  Lost cities may be have risen and fallen based upon the incantations within these books.

Rook City's Dark Watch, under Harpy's supervision, has begun an all-out manhunt for any who may be associated with using an Albemarle dictionary.  Identifying these tomes has been difficult, as time must be taken to decode each text in a different manner.  Such work is tedious and difficult, thwarting all but the most skilled cryptologists and translators.  Even still, if these tomes remain on the streets, none may be safe for long.  

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Man, that last entry's writing was stilted.  I wonder why...

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Villain of the Day:  March 15 (Backbiter)

On most occasions, the weapon-artifacts of lore are given power because of the actions of their wielder.  Roland's Durandel became a relic not because it was made a relic from the start, but rather because of Roland's storied deeds while wielding it.  The act of actually imbuing an item with arcane power comes with great risks and, in many occasions, results in that item gaining some degree of sentience or personality.  The Staff of Ra and the other relics of the Ennead all impress upon their wielders the personality traits of their original bearers.  The Tome of Elder Magic simply hungers.  The dagger known as Backbiter, however, has much more devious ends.

A wickedly sharp blade of Greek origin, Backbiter holds a lust for bloodshed that is unparalleled amongst known occult weapons.  When drawn, Backbiter subtlely guides that hand of its wielder, turning them into a whirling dervish capable of facing down numerous foes at once, causing bleeding wounds that are notoriously hard to knit and destroying major arteries and nerve centers with little effort.  However, simple violence is not enough to sate the spirit within Backbiter.  Rather, it desires betrayal.

The first known appearance of Backbiter was a notable one:  its first owner was one Publius Servilius Casca Longus, a Roman senator in 44 BCE.  After his flight from Rome, following the rise of Octavian to the seat of Roman power, it is believed that the blade turned on him, as Servilius committed suicide in 42 BCE.  It is believed that the blade then was taken to Roman-occupied Britain, where it lay dormant for years, before arriving in the hands of a Scottish lord in 1040.    That lord, too, met a strange end, beheaded by some of his landed rivals in 1042.  In the late 1600s, the blade returned to Italy in the hands of the notable Lomellini family, and it is believed that Backbiter was used to kill composer Alessandro Stradella.  Most recently, the blade appeared in the private collection of songwriter Elliot Smith, who was stabbed to death by his then-girlfriend Jennifer Chiba in 2003.

Backbiter's gift of combat prowess and lethal skill is a potent one.  The price, though, is always paid in blood.

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OK, There's no way this is as good as PlatinumWarlock' s but here goes :

Dian Cecht was a member of the sidhe , a powerful sorcerer and magical healer. He helped heal the sidhe warriors in their fight with the formori and was well honoured. However his power was matched by his pride. When his son exceeded his work by discovering how to regrow limbs, Dian tore him apart in a rage. When his daughter developed an potion  that was a panacea, Dian scattered the ingredients around the world and blinded her .For these crimes Dian was exiled to an island off the coast of Ireland and left behind when the sidhe retreated back to the Realm of Discord. A monastery was formed on the island and the monks set in wards that kept Dian trapped.Though the monastery was later abandoned the island was remote and the wards were undisturbed for a thousand years. Recently a movie was filmed on the island and the unknowing crew destroyed the wards. Now Doan Cecht is free and his rage at humanity is great , through their paltry science they seek to match work only he should be capable of. He will destroy medicine and and it's practitioners for their affront


Sapienta potentia est

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Villain of the Day:  March 16 (Digger)

Professor Robert Alison never made tenure.

A British-born American expatriate, Alison spent four years at Yale teaching anthropology and mythology courses, focusing primarily on archaeological methodology and fucntional practice.  While the Ivy Leagues were quick to pick up the professor, they quickly found that he was much more interested in furthering his own CV than in teaching courses or promoting university fundraising efforts.

Alison's biggest break came in Belize; within a previously-excavated Mesoamerican tomb complex lay a sub-chamber buried deep beneath the Earth, full of crude mechanical traps and, as Alison swiftly found out, the remains of numerous dead.  However, Alison managed to find something of great worth, which he kept to himself:  one of the obsidian ritual knives used to perform human sacrifices to the various harvest deities.  A proper sacrifice would ensure long life, great prosperity, and a bountiful harvest. 

So, of course, Alison decided to try it out.  His graduate assistant was the first sacrifice.

While the ritual worked, to a degree, Alison swiftly found out that the blood magic which powered the ritual was incomplete.  In order to maintain his arcanely increased vitality, he would have to either find additional sacrifices or, perhaps, find a ritual to append the magics which now infested him.

Taking up the nickname "Digger", Alison now travels the world as a tomb-raider-for-hire, excavating dangerous artifacts for the highest bidder and using his proximity to arcane ritual sites to expand his own occult knowledge.  Long has Alison had his eyes on Atlantis, though recent whispers of other realms like Thule and Lemuria have piqued his curiousity to see what strangeness he might find there.  However, Digger's unsanctioned use of blood magic has also caught the attention of the Court of Blood, who have no intentions on brooking any rival to immortality, much less one that uses their own form of sorcery.

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Villain of the Day:  March 17 (The Naddred)

Many people think they know the story of Saint Patrick.  Some 'enlightened' souls even decry the holiday, noting that it celebrates yet another Christian expulsion of a native religious and cultural population.  The truth, however, is both much more complicated and more terrifying.

Firstly, during his expeditions to Ireland, the man who became Saint Patrick--actually known as Patraig Magonus--was a heretic and apostate from the Catholic church.  Having stolen a series of texts from the vaults in the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Patrick was a self-taught sorcerer who elected to use the tools of ancient Atlantis and Thule against those the enemies of his faith, leading to his excommunication by Pope Agatho.  Patrick later translated these spells into Latin into the Book of Armaugh, which served as one part personal spellbook and one part autobiography.

Patraig Magonus' primary foe was a native Celt known as Coroticus, believed by many to be a druid and leader of the native tribesmen.  As with Patraig, the truth is much darker:  Coroticus was actually known as a Gnaddr, an archaic Gaelic title that roughly translates to "serpent priest".  While druidic practitioners of magic certainly existed in modern-day Ireland (who primarily utilized elemental and ley-line magics), Coroticus and his followers were the descendents of the Roman followers of Apep, having fled to Britain following the second destruction of the Library at Alexandria.  

Coroticus and his followers chose Ireland for one main reason:  the creature referred to in folklore as The Naddred.  A massive coiled serpent-creature  that lurked in the lakes near Alt Clut.  Choosing Alt Clut as their new home, Coroticus and his band worked on a lengthy ritual, warping the ley lines through  much of the surrounding area to cause a breach into the the cthonic prison in which The Naddred slumbered.   

The twist in the ley lines drew Patraig's attention, as well as that of several other sorcerers in the abbeys and monestaries of Britain.  Quickly, Patraig commissioned a ship to Ireland, taking with him as many sorcerers, wizards, and warlocks as would ally with him.

The battle of Alt Clut is legendary amongst sorcerers.  Arcane energies flashed across the skies as Coroticus and his followers matched cthonic sorceries against the lost lore of Atlantis, Thule, and Lemuria.  The Naddred stirred and began to rise...until Patraig turned on his comrades.  Calling forth a ritual from am-Dhaegar's ancient Execration Texts--"The Emptying of Vessels"--Patraig tore the arcane potential from his fellow sorcerers and added it to his own, literally burning out all of his allies, blood pouring forth from their eyes and mouths.  In a massive burst of stolen eldritch energy, Patraig smote Coroticus and his forces, cast down The Naddred, and sunk Alt Clut beneath the shoals of what is now the Irish Sea.  And, as the story goes, every snake and serpent in Ireland was slain.

Patraig was the lone survivor and, of course, the only one left to tell the tale.  For his work against the heretic sorceries in Ireland, Patraig was not only brought back into the church, but also canonized.  The church recalled Patraig, utilizing him as an arcane advisor and operative in the Vatican for twenty years, before being assassinated by an Apap cultist in southern France.  Saint Patrick became a legend, while The Naddred resumed its slumber off the Irish coast...waiting for another to complete the ritual that Coroticus once started.

padcurtin
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Maybe if old Patrick had written that story in his confession, I would have finished it. Wouldn't his name have been Patricus Magnus though , Latin was his first language after all

Also If Naddred is supposed to be related to nathair , that word comes from Old English. There's no Irish word for a serpent that predates Christianity because there are no serpents in Ireland


Sapienta potentia est

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Bastardized Latin is pretty prevalent in the Middle Ages... Also, Naddar (and its derivatives) is Welsh, to the best of my actual history researching ability. But who ever let etymology get in the way of a good story?

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Villain of the Day:  March 18 (Kalfu at the Crossroads)

Buried deep within the Realm of Discord, there lies a strange demiplane.  Hovering there in the ether is a crossroads, with paved streets, broken gravel paths, and dirt trails all leading to one central point.   At the center of this crossroads is a signpost, with scrawled signs pointing down each path, constantly shifting and writhing to new locations and distances with each passing blink of the eye.

Forever chained to that signpost, crouches the haggard, filth-encrusted form of Kalfu.  The Voodoun priests knew him as the loa Carrefour, a possessing spirit that delighted in misfortune and destruction for destruction's sake.  A practitioner of such sorcery would allow Kalfu/Carrefour to 'mount' them in times of war or violence, or on occasions when they sought to curse some enemy.  However, when not actively invited into the consciousness of a Voodoun practitioner, Kaifu remains chained to the crossroads, awaiting either some new invitation or a visitor to his strange little demiplane.

The Crossroads itself holds great power; mainly, it provides a bridge from the Realm of Discord to any number of other known realities.  Sorcerers throughout history have recorded encounters at the Crossroads, with many of them warning of interacting with Kalfu, often striking bargains or challenging him to some contest of wits in order to find the correct path out of the Realm of Discord.

Kalfu is a creature of two minds.  While it wants its freedom and the ability to leave, it knows that if it leaves the Crossroads for too long, it will lose its natural attunement to the demiplane and, with it, his ability to discern the true destination of each path.  Each time a visitor arrives, they can be sure that Kalfu has a challenge for them in some manner.  

The true nature of Kalfu is a great mystery that has yet to be solved.  He claims to not be a native of the Realm of Discord, though nor is he a Host spirit or a Void denizen.  The Comte de Saint Germaine conjecured that Kalfu might be a primordial force of reality--the source of all bad luck and curses--while Nightmist theorized that he might actually be an arcane construct, designed solely to operate the Crossroads.  In either case, to any lost within the Realm of Discord, bargaining with Kalfu may be the only way home...

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Villain of the Day:  March 19 (The Man with the Silver Horn)

He plays the saxophone by night, they say.  That's when the people vanish. 

Christina Evans came to the Argent Adept when her husband, James, went missing.  A noted concert percussionist, James never came home following a symphony performance at Megalopolis's Wagner Concert Hall.  For days beforehand, James seemed distant and distracted, unable to focus.  While going about his daily routine, he seemed confused and would often hum a strange, syncopated jazz melody that Christina did not recognize.

The night before he vanished, she heard the music herself:  a soft alto saxophone coming from the fire escape below their apartment.  For just a moment, she caught a glimpse of him:  a strange pale man in a dark suit, playing a silver horn.  

The next day, James was gone.  That very evening, Christina called the police.  The next morning, a set of timpani mallets lay crossed over the welcome mat in front of her apartment.  In a panic, Christina frantically climbed the Akash-Flora tree, screaming for the Argent Adept to save her.  Another two days, and she was gone too.

Over the past four months, no less than sixteen noted musicians and music-affiliated individuals have gone missing: the lead guitarist from a noted punk rock group, a trumpet player from a swing revival band, a piano professor from Megalopolis State...all gone.  Not one has resurfaced, though neighbors and nearby individuals claim to recall nothing, save a strange melody that they can't seem to shake, but nor can they fully remember.

Anthony Drake, alarmed by this strangeness, immediately moved to look into the disappearances.  To date, he has yet to find any evidence beyond Christina's initial testimony as to the strange individual.  Drake has contemplated the idea that there may be another Virtuoso of the Void out there, though there seems to be little evidence of Void sorcery present; rather there seems to be traces of something older, antediluvian, and hungry.  The song itself wants to be played, he fears, and the man with the silver horn may simply be conducting something far more dangerous than himself.

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Villain of the Day:  March 20 (Audacity)

Nicole Beltran has never known fear.  

As a child in Rook City, she was hospitalized a number of times, having walked into traffic, leapt out of high trees, and taken risks that any other child would have balked at.  None really know exactly what spawned this strangeness in her psyche--numerous psychologists and neurologists have studied her brain--but Nicole seems to be totally without any ability to feel the emotion of fear.

However, a chance encounter with Hermetic changed something in her.  While in Rook City, Nicole wandered down the wrong dark alley, only to stumble upon a confrontation between Hermetic and the team known as Dark Watch.  Fascinated rather than frightened, she watched the battle unfold:  Hermetic's blood conjurations lashed out against Nightmist's sorcery, summoned minions squared off against Fixer and Setback, and a conjured, bat-winged horror chased down Expatriette from her vantage point atop a fire escape.  Walking closer to get a better view of the action, a strand of arcane energy slammed into Nicole's forehead....and she found herself forever changed.

Pulling upon some degree of ambient blood magic, Nicole began to siphon the fear energy from all those around her, emboldening them and pushing them towards riskier and more dangerous actions.  While this had little effect on the already-in-combat Dark Watch, her newfound power did affect a nearby homeless man, who charged into the combat in a berserk rage, swinging a  broomstick at any within reach.  Meanwhile, Nicole found herself pulsing with the energy she devoured, pouring from her very being in a sickly blue-green light.  With later practice, Nicole found that she could utterly remove any sense of fear, trepidation, inhibition, or self-preservation from a being, transforming those emotions into pure arcane energy, which she could then project as powerful blasts.

Since that day, Nicole has embraced her strange calling.  Calling herself Audacity, Nicole has left her normal life behind, embracing the role of villain entirely.  She has contacts throughout the underworld, often serving as arcane backup to any villain that might have a grudge against some would-be hero.  While not necessarily a force to be reckoned with, Audacity's ability to manipulate minds and remove inhibitions make her a most dangerous foe...

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That's an interesting power I don't think I've seen before.

Also, I was going to make a joke about audiobooks and then realized I was confusing Audacity and Audible.

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Audacity is for audio recording!

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