Xyllian, Master Sagittarius (Villain)

 

xyllianCode-name: Master Sagittarius

Full Name: Xyllian

Faction: Ulthar

The fog was thick and heavy along the docks. What little light from lamp or moon was muted and distorted by the heavy mist. Somewhere in the harbor a bell was ringing from a buoy bobbing in time with the rising tide. Xyllian crouched upon the flat tarpaper roof of a rundown warehouse and felt alive. His senses were keen and tight as he hunted as only a Sagittarius could hunt.

Xyllian thought back to the words of his Aquarius Warlord; “Learn about these humans. Join them; fight for them. Fight against them, it matters not. The goal is to learn of these Supremes. One amongst them must be their true leader. When I defeat him, this planet will be forced to bow to my might. One Warlord will do what the Armada could not; to destroy this pathetic Earth, and enslave these humans!” These were the Warlord’s orders. If any Ulthar living could do this thing it was Ra’Leigh. Xyllian believed in his power to conquer. So it was that he found himself stalking the streets of Pulp City.

Xyllian-page-001He began his Earth-side infiltration at the bottom. He watched the lowest of the parasites, those thugs and street predators. They were so like the Pisces back home; squabbling brutal things clawing over each other to gain a bit more food, or living space. Up this food chain he climbed, serving an under-boss, then bosses, before finally he saw Mysterious Man and knew he was in the right place. Like any good Warlord this Mysterious Man collected the best tools, human or Supreme. He controlled things and manipulated others. He was a subtle and alien kind of Warlord, but surely he was a Warlord.

Knowing his target he knew he must gain access to this man’s inner circle. Mysterious Man respected power and ability above all. That much Xyllian knew. So he must demonstrate this. As he had at the beginning, he once again started at the lowest level. Thugs were no match for a trained and equipped Ulthar Sagittarius. Striking from ambush and luring unsuspecting humans into his traps it took less than a week to eliminate all of Mysterious Man’s lackeys from the docks. Then he had waited for the next challenge.

Xyllian-page-002It did not take long to get Mysterious Man’s attention. The crime-lord sent some of his pet Supremes to meet him. The strange feline woman had been an amusing hunt. This Kitty Cheshire had disappeared and reappeared before he could draw a clean bead on her. But the true surprise was the human known as Gentleman. He was a Sagittarius born. But his skill was limited by the feeble technology of his race. Meanwhile Xyllian wielded the most advanced sensor assists and cloaking fields of the mighty Ulthar Empire. It was an extremely satisfying encounter and it had the desired effect. His interview with Mysterious Man happened not long after.

Clearly though, the Mysterious Man was far more cunning than even Xyllian had anticipated. Mysterious Man knew what he really wanted was not money, or human power. So he offered Xyllian the one thing he most desired, vengeance for his Empire. That night he had first learned of the renegade Virgo. The damnable upstart that claimed a Sagittarius’s most honored weapon. The Virgo were chattel, menial servants and worst of all, female. That a Virgo should have slain her betters and jumped her station was the greatest of sins. That smiling man had showed him this Virgo, told him of her deeds against the Ulthar, and struck a bargain with Xyllian.

Ulthar 5 SagittariusIt was almost a cycle later before he at last met Virgo in battle. It was on a night much like this mist-shrouded one. She came for him that first night, cloaked and armed as he was. For hours they stalked each other across moonlit roof tops, ambush and counter ambush. A deadly game, and with each second that dragged on Xyllian’s rage grew. Even now thinking about it caused his pulse to quicken and his blood to boil.

His contemplation ended, he took a few calming breathes and resumed his watch over the foggy warehouses and grimy docks. Listening to the soft ring of the distant bell, he scanned through his optics looking for the telltale shimmer of an optic field cloak. Then he saw it. The hunt was on again. Virgo was here. Thrice she had evaded him, but not tonight. Somewhere in his mind he knew he was being played a fool. Virgo must also be working for Mysterious Man. The things he had to do to ensure he got another chance had surely helped Mysterious Man far more than it had aided the Ulthar Empire. But that did not matter now. This killer of his caste, the one who broke with the Empire, was again in his sights. He moved slowly and deliberately, his laser crossbow powering up silently in his hands. The hunt was on once more!

 

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Perun (Hero)

Code-name: Perun

Full Name: Stanislaw Starzynski

Faction: Supreme Alliance

In every generation there is one brave Polish man chosen to wield the power of the storm in mankind’s darkest hour. He lifts up his runic axe, older than the people of his land, the lightning strikes, and the power of an ancient deity starts coursing through his veins.

Old gods still watch over their children and stand vigilant when tides of evil rise. Dark forces have begun to rise once more, and in Pulp City the agents of a coalescing evil power are at large.

The first photo-documented proof of Perun’s existence dates back to 1944, from a still taken in Warsaw. The picture was taken in the razed capital of Poland by a German army photographer evidencing the extent of the damage done.

The picture is over-contrasted and blurry, but it clearly depicts the clear silhouette of a man hovering ten feet above the ground. The figure wielded an archaic weapon that seemed to be the source of an all-present light, bathing the rubble in unearthly shades of white. In front of him a smoldering pile of corpses, all uniforms burned away, so it was hard to tell their allegiance. The photographer was recovered by his allies a week after the photo was captured and taken in for questioning, never speaking publicly about what he saw.

Another note was found in the documentation of one of the arcane-seeking Third Reich units. Apparently, the entity was mistaken for the Scandinavian/Germanic deity, Thor. No trace was ever found of the unit that tried to talk Perun into service for the Nazi empire.

The 1950′s and 1960′s proved that Perun was more than a local phenomenon, as he was seen siding with the greatest Supremes on Earth, including the Supreme Alliance, visiting distant Pulp City on occasion. Without word, he eventually vanished from the headlines, his fate unclear.

He is not a talker, say his allies, but they are glad he is on their side. He is not a diplomat, but a thunderstorm and barrage of lightning is usually enough to convince even the most steadfast opposition.

The current wielder of Perun’s power (though it is hard to tell, as the runic axe changes the appearance of the bearer) is a student from Warsaw whose grandfather and great-great grandfather also served as Lightning Lords years ago. Stanislaw Starzynski became marked with the lightning rune when he confronted Forgotten minions sent to recover Szczerbiec, the legendary coronation sword of Polish kings.

And now the power of Perun stands ready once more.

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Arquero (Hero/Villain)

Code-name: Arquero

Full Name: Rowan “Row” Fletcher

Faction: none

When she adopted the costumed persona of Riposte, Naomi Kingsley knew that she alone would not be able to topple her father’s criminal empire, or his allies in the Coven. She realized that she needed more power, another tool that she could shape and direct to her will.

Other Supremes were already too established in the media and the public mind to be of much use. Furthermore, most Supremes had powers and abilities that often made them too hard to predict. But when Naomi heard the story of a young vigilante making a name for himself, she thought she had found the instrument she was looking for.

Rowan ‘Row’ Fletcher, son of Olympic archery gold medalist Bogart Fletcher and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Karen McBride, had the talent and motivation that Riposte needed. Rowan had his father’s gift with bows and a fiery temper inherited from his mother. When his parents were killed in a gas station hold up, Row was enraged. It did not take him long to discover that they were murdered in an effort to stop his mother from publishing a story about the origins of the Coven. Seeking vengeance, Row fashioned a disguise, adopted the code-name Arquero and took up his father’s bow. In the days that followed he systematically hunted down his parent’s killers.

Rowan’s life would have ended in a dirty alley when he was lured into an ambush by the Coven’s thugs. Rowan’s temper and incredible focus caused him to lose sight of his surroundings, unable to see the ambush until it was too late.

Tunnel vision was Rowan’s fatal flaw, or would have been if not for Riposte’s timely intervention. With her guidance Rowan escaped the trap and took out his target. By the time he thought to thank his benefactor Riposte was long gone.

A week later Rowan was drawn into yet another set-up and saved once more by Riposte. This time however, Rowan was able to track his mysterious companion to a secluded rooftop. There he found Riposte waiting for him. She offered him a deal. In exchange for his loyalty she would train him and equip him, and most importantly help him get his revenge.

In the months that followed their roof top pact, the team of Riposte and Arquero erupted onto the scene in Pulp City. Arquero’s high-tech bow and ferocious pursuit of his targets counterpoint Riposte’s cold cool analytical leadership and traditional seeming costume. Riposte feels that she is sharpening a tool to surgical precision. Arquero finds himself increasingly indebted to his partner and possibly attracted to her. What will happen in the future is unknown to any except possibly the woman known as Riposte.

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Captain Hadron (Hero)

Full Name: Captain Hadron/Dr. Rick Parker
Allegiance: Heavy Metal

(AKA: Giant Hadron, Mini Hadron)

Captain Hadron is one of the admired heroes of the world’s greatest Supreme Team, Heavy Metal. Yet that reputation sheds little light onto his past and the uncertain future he faces. In public he is known for his rock and roll lifestyle, everyone knows the story of how friends in his high-school band nicknamed him ‘Captain Rick’ after his favorite musician, and his work with high school science programs. Hadron is often paired with Lady Cyburn as the good boy and bad girl of Heavy Metal. Behind closed doors Captain Hadron is a troubled but determined man of science.

Richard ‘Rick’ Parker was a brilliant quantum physicist, published in dozens of academic journals before completing his PhD before he turned twenty two. He was a prodigy in his chosen field, and the long-haired maverick that broke the stuffy scientist stereotype. Parker’s dissertation to achieve his PhD award focused on a theoretical explanation of the phenomena of quantum holes which posited radical new ideas.
Parker’s work drew the attention of the developers of the High Intensity Hadron Accelerator/Collider (HIHAC) project situated several miles outside of Pulp City, and he was quickly headhunted for a role in designing the accelerator/collider array. The bold young man jumped at the opportunity.
Although HIHAC was deemed to be a risky proposition if situated in the geologically active region of the United States West Coast, its location was chosen for the close proximity of Pulp City, itself the focus of the greatest concentration of quantum hole events.
The HIHAC project was due for completion by July 1988, with full-scale experiments to be run before the end of the same year. In the year preceding a number of small-scale operations were run as construction was near to conclusion. Dr. Parker stepped up from his design work to direct oversight of the array, ironing out kinks and problems as each new trial run revealed a new issue. The brash young man earned the appreciation of his bosses as he ensured the project stayed firmly on track. Dr. Parker inspired those around him with bold and inventive solutions to every problem or setback; even if it meant he did not always strictly adhere to personal safety protocols.
In late 1987 Dr. Parker was directly recalibrating part of the array when unbeknown to the HIHAC team a tumultuous conflict between Supremes broke out in Pulp City. Forgotten and Necroplane Supremes sought to unleash the power of a earth-elemental Monster, funneling the power of a dormant Quantum Hole to do so, while a motley mix of Heavy Metal and Blood Watch Heroes battled to stop them. As the power of the earth was summoned into the Monster form, this unleashed a minor earth tremor. The outpouring of quantum energy fed the tremor to become an overwhelming seismic event. At that very moment Rick Parker was examining the HIHAC array personally. Fail-safes suddenly crashed offline and the HIHAC became active, triggered by the unleashed Quantum Hole energy being detected.
The seismic activity caused damage to the HIHAC tunnel housing the array, just enough to wedge shut the escape door that Parker needed.
Parker’s entire world was whited out as a wave of energy raced along the array and his body was bombarded with particles which even inexplicably siphoned off the power of the nearby quantum hole. After the nanosecond assault of energy which felt as though it lasted years, Parker lay unconscious across the overloaded array.
It would be days before members of Heavy Metal were able to discern what precisely had happened, but C.O.R.E. calculated the sequence of improbable events to represent a billion to one chance of occurrence. That mattered little Rick Parker. His work was damaged and potentially ruined, but worse his body was irrevocably affected and altered by the blast of particles and Quantum Hole energy that had hurtled through him.
Parker’s body was quickly observed to be leaking unstable particles. It was also apparent that whatever process was taking place was killing him. Working together with C.O.R.E., Chronin, and Dr. Mercury, Parker and those Supremes were able to create gauntlet and helmet devices to regulate the particle flow from Parker’s body. What was immediately apparent was that the equipment enabled him to have incredible control over his own molecular structure and also molecules in his vicinity. In the days that followed he realized he could alter his size and fine-tune the extent of his external molecular manipulations. His transitions to giant-size required a lot of control and meant that he could not utilize other abilities when doing so, and even his transformations back to other sizes were time consuming when grown to his maximum height. However it was also clear that the loss of unstable particles from his body had only been slowed by his new equipment, and that in the future he would need to find a more permanent solution.
Now viewing himself as so much more than he had been previously, and also needing the help of Heavy Metal to ensure his survival, Rick Parker became known to the world as Captain Hadron, adopting the nickname his band gave to him in high school. He has fully embraced life as a celebrity Supreme, but the scientist within is certain that mastering the phenomena of Quantum Holes will be the key to his long-term existence. He brings to Heavy Metal a positive attitude, intense and occasionally reckless scientific knowledge and curiosity, and what he thinks is great hair. He hopes with the help of his Team to stabilize and increase his powers. He also strives to unlock the mysteries of the Quantum Hole for the betterment of mankind.

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Lady Cyburn (Hero)

 

 

ladycyburnCode-name: Lady Cyburn

Full Name: Cindy Burns

Faction: Heavy Metal

Not all of Heavy Metal’s members are there because they want to be a part of the most recognizable Supreme trademark. One of them is on the roster because otherwise they would be in prison. Welcome to the world of Cindy Burns, former leader of punk rock band World in Flames, February 1982’s playmate of the month, and charged with arson and attempted murder.

Cindy was never right in the head. Her obsession with violence, fire and body-modding earned her the renown of the true rock rebel at the age of 17. Her band’s first album, heavily inspired by Huxley’s work and early cyber-punk fiction, made it to the Billboard charts and Cindy was rich overnight. However, the rock star life had a high price tag, as she dropped out from school, and drugs, alcohol and sleep deprivation became her new teachers. But the real trouble started when the band was touring the world; addictions, tattoos and piercings were not enough for Cindy anymore, and so she began to modify her body with cybernetic parts.

ladycyburn-page-001As you all know, high tech parts and implants are NOT free in Pulp City, and Cindy had to pay her debts. Her cash pile dwindled, and as the band split up, Cindy, aged 18, was the first cyber-modified woman to make it to the hottest spreads in adult magazines. As if she wasn’t already in too much trouble, the playmate appearance attracted murders of hungry industry vultures that pushed her more and more towards the dark side.

Mark Cunning, who was infamous for a series of privately distributed videos portraying each of capital sins in the most gruesome way, saw her as an angel of death of the new age. The money he offered was, Cindy foolishly thought, a way out of the life she was in and a chance to disappear. She was to star in a movie titled Fire Woman – it was a story of a scorned woman, left to die by her boyfriend crime lord, who had become tired of her. Cindy was to place this half-human, half-machine vengeance engine of fiery death. Her body was appropriately modified further. When she asked about the screenplay, Cunning explained that he had a new method, impulse shooting, where you don’t follow a script, you just follow the protagonist.

ladycyburn-page-002While copies of the video was sold at private auctions for $200,000, Burns was sentenced to prison for life with charges of arson and triple murder. The case attracted the attention of all media and Supreme powers, as some claimed Burns was just a gun in Cunning’s hand, while others wanted to see her burn the way her victims did. Her mods could have not be removed without threatening her life, so for the first time, the US prison system was faced with a challenge of incarcerating a weapon of mass destruction.

As she was too dangerous to keep in a normal prison, a judicial decision allowed C.O.R.E. to take custody of Cindy in return for ten years of service by her in the cause of good.

Lady Cyburn, as she calls herself just like in the early days of her rock career, is a weird mix of broken moral system, guilt-ridden soul and a little girl awed by a burning match. Cindy finds the idea of good not much different from evil. In either case, she can still do what she likes the most!

 

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Boreas (Villain)

Code-name: Boreas

Full Name: Boreas

Faction: The Forgotten

The volunteer team was ready to face metaphorical demons that day, but none of them bargained for the demon they found.

The flowing lava on Etna’s slopes turned the night into the fourth of July. The blackened mountain spewed fire that drowned the vineyards and villages.

As soon as the chopper landed, people in orange vests jumped out and started setting up a field hospital and distributing sleeping bags and blankets for all those who lost their homes. Most of the volunteers were unaware that two Americans who wandered off in the darkness right after landing had very little to do with the charity that had organized the relief operation. The only charity that The Coven carried out since the day of its founding was offering a quick and painless death to all who opposed it.

The pair climbed the slopes. At some point they had to stop and strap on breathing apparatus as the fumes became increasingly toxic. Their ESP trackers went crazy when they finally reached the summit. Suddenly, the screens flickered and died.

“John, what was that all about?” asked Martin, a second before he looked into the red eyes of his comrade and his own body was sent tumbling into the boiling crater.

 

The chopper landed on the deck of a ship harbored in a Sicilian port. The pilot informed everybody on board that the rest of the team had decided to stay a couple of weeks more. Two weeks later, when the ship ran aground on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, no survivors were found.

 

Fast forward. Moonchild wakes from her feral dream as she smells an intruder in Twilight Hills. She pokes a razor-sharp nail into the muscled side of Six Feet Under to wake him up. A second later, a man in a black suit shows up on the rocky road. Come on – Twilight Hills? Late at night? Strange man in a suit? You don’t have to be able to smell a trap to know there is something wrong.

The man takes his time to climb the path, and the wind picks up. When the suited man is finally at the summit, facing the two Blood Watch sentinels, he does not seem to be spooked by the presence of a she-coyote nor the hulking man. There is something weird about his eyes and Moonchild bares her teeth and leaps at him, only to be caught in midair by an invisible whipping force that hurls her back into the onrushing Six Feet Under.

The wind turns into a hurricane and both heroes fly high on this lethal carousel ride. The air crackles but they clearly hear how the stranger hisses: Greetings from Stygian, you are all dead, humans. There might have been some more of this dreadful poetry coming, but patience is not Six Feet Under’s strongest suit, so he swims down through the spiraling wind and hurls his shovel, breaking the neck of the visitor.

The wind howls and Moonchild could swear she saw a demon face with fangs dripping of blood in the tornado juts a second before all goes quiet and all that is left is the body of the stranger.

 

A week passes, and all of the heroes in Pulp City know about this new threat – the just-awakened Forgotten that joins the ranks of Stygian’s followers. Blacksmith claims that the evil demon is Boreas, once good but now a harsh godling of the wind who was apparently captured by a Greek pirate king, Aeseus, who kept him in slavery and mistreated Boreas for years.

Aeseus would draw on the godling’s power to rule the seas. In return, he would feed the chained Boreas with the blood of his fallen enemies.  With the passing years, controlling the force of the wind became more and more testing and since the seventy-year old pirate king did not want to pass on his secret to anyone else, he cast the golden cage that restrained Boreas into the fiery bowels of Etna.

When Stygian learnt about the fate of Boreas, she knew that if provided with a human host, the demon of the winds would slowly regain his powers. Instead of sending her underling Hellsmith to do the job and potentially alert other Supremes, she passed the information to one of her cultists that she suspected to be The Coven’s snitch. Once again, her machinations deceived all others.

Boreas is new to Pulp City and his bloodlust and hatred of people high as never before. Fortunately for humanity, he is still weak at this time and cannot support a material body for a long time before having to find a new host. V.H. and other heroes are desperately seeking to permanently banish the demon while he is still vulnerable, and before his true power rises again.

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Howler (Hero/Villain)

 

 

HowlerCode-name: Howler

Full Name: Howler

Faction: Ape Revolution Committee

Howler – the poster-boy gun-ape of the Ape Revolutionary Committee.

Many would probably call him an ‘early adopter’ since while his Team-mates have more recently begun appreciating the convenience of wearing clothing, as well as using guns and explosives; Howler truly enjoys life as it comes. Guerilla has turned a blind eye on Howler’s new Walkman, fancy shades and such distractions, but his absolute love for action movies and human damsels in distress has placed the revolutionaries in frequent danger.

howler-page-001Howler could easily be the role model for all those teenagers whose mothers constantly complain that watching TV and mindless movie violence gets you nowhere and nothing. In his case, it got him cool guns, cool Ray Ban sunglasses and other cool things. When watching Howler fight alongside his A.R.C. comrades, viewers can pretty much tell what was on the TV or in the local movie-house the previous night.

This possibly coolest primate in Pulp City loves high-octane action-filled TV shows and blockbuster movies, and all of the twisted creations in them, with a special place in his heart reserved for the biggest action heroes.

howler-page-002Howler wants to be just like them. In fact, some commentators claim that he carries a check-list with the twenty most heroic actions culled from his favorite entertainments penned down. Skewering the alien head hunter using its own spear? Check. Escaping the skyscraper in wreathed in flames? Check. Stopping a murder cult? Check. Driving a motorcycle at high speed while listening to Kiss? Check. Dating a human babe, well, that came later.

Howler’s actions very often fall out of sync with A.R.C.’s plans and objectives. This is mostly because his heroic approach (even if only mimicking his small and big screen hero idols) puts him in dangerous situations where his primate allies do not want to participate. In this regard, he is even more of a solo operator than Chimp Chi.

HowlerWWWThe rest of A.R.C. treats Howler as a useful annoyance. Many of them would probably be very unhappy if they knew that their ally hangs out with June Summers and lets her know about pretty much everything that happens on the Team. Worse still, most of them would call it an appalling aberration that runs counter to the revolution if they knew he actually started dating the human a few months ago.

However, as long as Howler’s foolhardiness wins the day, they do not seem to notice or care.

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Gentleman (Hero/Villain)

Code-name: Gentleman

Full Name: Danny Ortega

Faction: none

If Danny Ortega is to be called ever a victim of anything, he is a victim of fashion and trends.

Blame it on a childhood of misery in the poorest and most dangerous district of Pulp City, New Port. Growing up in that tough environment would make or break the spirit of any who lived there. Danny Ortega was a born survivor and life in New Port hardened him and honed his now-legendary skills.

These days better known as the Gentleman, Danny has a thing for the trendiest suits and shiniest guns. His clean and precise methods of eliminating his targets have forged his reputation as one of the best hitmen in town, capable even of assassinating a Supreme. In fact, he is most infamous for reputedly taking down Black Jack, a speeder hero from his block, although there has never been enough evidence to pin the crime on him.

Things are never as simple as they seem, and the Gentleman is not utterly evil; he considers moral standards more or less a matter of individual taste, and money is usually the only absolute. Just as you may like a Prada suit, so you may like being a hitman.

Ortega has invested his money smartly, and even covertly became an owner of stock in a new technologies company. Even with a growing wealth, Danny continues to remain active, suggesting he has a longer game in mind. Despite his criminal career, he is definitely a local patriot. Many citizens recall an elegantly-attired silhouette sniping Ulthar soldiers from the roof of the City Hall during the last invasion by the alien force. It is Danny Ortega’s resources and his skill with guns that are the reason he gets invited to fight side by side with the even most powerful Villains, and has even been seen alongside a few vigilante Heroes.

Gentleman hardly qualifies as a Supreme in the strictest sense, unless money and an almost unerring shot is to be considered a special power. On the battlefield he brings with him an arsenal of gadgets, gizmos and contacts, and of course his trademark sniper rifle. He has become known as a very particular hitman, taking only the contracts that he considers will be ‘fun’ and that will challenge his considerable skill-set. Not only does he work for the best, but he works with the best and all the people he hires are top notch criminal specialists and hard-boiled operators.

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Ace of Wraiths (Hero)

 

 

aceofwraithsCodename: Ace of Wraiths

Full Name: unknown

Faction: Blood Watch

Even over one hundred years later, they still talk in Pulp City about that night of poker. That was the night a dazzling card-sharp became the Ace of Wraiths. His name is long-since forgotten, but the legend says that he was the greatest gambler of his day. He could bluff his way to a win with just a pair of deuces, and today Ace of Wraiths is the oldest resident of Pulp City’s Crossroad Hills district.

Over one century ago, that was his night; nobody could best him at cards, until a stranger joined his game. The stranger’s native blood did not match his white man’s clothing, nor did his Old World accent. The two played for hours until the momentum swung back to Ace in the gray hours just before the breaking of dawn. It came down to one last hand.

The stranger had no money, but he laid his gun and card box on the table. At first glance, the gun appeared to be nothing special, but as Ace stared at it he saw its exquisite workmanship along with ornate etching on the barrel. The same pattern was impressed on the solid silver box.

The final game was five card stud. The stranger took one card, Ace took three and drew aces over eights. He laid his cards down. The stranger sighed and looked Ace in the eyes. A smile came to his lips that grew into a laugh that chilled Ace’s soul. Then the stranger’s body collapsed into a pile of ashes. Ace flipped over the stranger’s cards: six, seven, eight, nine, and the one-eyed jack of spades.

That gambler Ace did not realize what had happened that night until a wandering preacher on a pale horse, upon seeing the winnings, told him a story about a cursed gun and deck of cards which damn their owner with immortality and eternal torment. He told the tale that they cannot be given away, but the owner can try to outwit another into winning the trophies in a game of cards, thus condemning the winner’s soul to an afterlife in hell. Ace had met his match that night, and his winning streak had come to a damned end.

Ace soon found he could not die. A bullet, or a knife, or a hangman’s noose may take his breath and stop his heart, but he was always reborn on the following night at the nearest crossroads. A few arcanists that know of his curse whisper that his life on earth will one day come to an end, when every man and woman tricked by the cursed Deck of Souls is redeemed with a claimed life of an evil being. And these days there seems no end of evil souls to harvest.

The powers of Ace of Wraiths rely on his artifacts. A skilled gunslinger and a cartomancer, Ace has had more than a century to master the art of paying his toll with the blood of evil men and women.

 

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Solar (Hero)/Dark Solar (Hero/Villain)

 

 

solarCode-name: Solar/Dark Solar

Full Name: Johann Sonnenbrandt

Faction: none

When he came of age, Johann Sonnenbrandt inherited much more wealth than any mortal could ever spend in his life. But he tried really hard nonetheless. Heir to a Bavarian beer brewing family, Johann chose the easy life of a playboy and a hedonistic thrill seeker. As a young adult he left Munich and headed for a place where winters were more kind and life a little wilder – Pulp City.

Residing aboard his luxurious yacht in the Pulp City Marina, surrounded by crowds of gorgeous women, Johann’s vanity and carefree attitude was unmatched, until the day at a gala opening of an exhibition of Mayan antiquities, where he met Jenny Vale, the first woman ever that resisted his personal charm… and the lure of his money.

solar-page-001Meeting this young and smart curator changed his life forever. Jenny demanded that Sonnenbrandt stopped playing the part of somebody who he was not. She sensed that behind the mask of gold he projected there was a caring soul within.

Johann followed Jenny, joining her on a trip to an excavation in Latin America. His persistence and ability to shed the materialism and trappings his wealth and live like a common person slowly won the heart of the beautiful archaeologist.

The dig continued well, and as it did and more secretes were uncovered, the relationship between Johann and Jenny blossomed.

solar-page-002It was when they found a hidden chamber in the temple dedicated to Ahau Kin that a storm broke! Jenny’s discovery was much more than a momentary sensation deserving a cover on American Geographic; it was literally a key to unlock cosmic power. As soon as the door was opened, masked special ops raided the site, silencing all protests with bullets.

Jenny and Johann barred the door to the chamber from within, and when it seemed that their blood would wash the ancient floor, the young playboy prayed to whatever power might hear him at what threatened to be the last moments of his and Jenny’s lives.

dark solar-page-001Suddenly, guided by some mysterious intuition, Johann grabbed the crown that adorned the statue of Ahau Kin that dominated the chamber. The door burst open in at the same moment as bolts of immaculate light shot from Johann’s hands and annihilated all opposition in a blinding flash.

Appalled by the sight of the smoldering corpses of the attackers, Jenny silently left and never said a single word to Johann again. He knew that although he was her savior, they would never be together after that.

The power of the sun god that he now held would be his curse as well as his boon.

dark solar-page-002Johann took the mantle of Solar to wash the guilt of killing from of his soul. Promising that he would never take another human life, Solar patrols the streets of Pulp City day and night, a loner constantly brooding over what might have been and what will never be.

Recently Solar and his only long-time companion, Stalker, have been on the heels of the cultists aiding Stygian to wake up more of the Forgotten. He knows there will come a reckoning between those dark ancient powers and that of Ahau Kin. As the prospect of showdown looms, he may very soon need to turn to unusual allies among those bearing the mantle of other great and ancient pantheons.

fcl_solar-page-001Even now, after years of operating as one of the highest-profile Supremes in Pulp City, Solar is still not fully aware of his powers of the legacy from which they came. The ability to call the sun to his aid seems almost unlimited when he vanquishes his foes, but thoughts as dark as the moonless nights stalk his mind more and more often, troubling him deeply. He has begun to question what additional ultimate price will the Mayan artifact demand from him?

 

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