From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Loni Stephenson is a young archmage. Through many rough trials in his life, he's grown to be an outgoing, fun and happy young man. These days he spends most of his time as a student and a store clerk. Hero business has taken a back seat, mystical business still sits in the front.
Loni is fun and outgoing. He often is the black sheep of his legion; very frequently forcing the men to dance with him, or shape shifting into a woman and doing the same to the women. He is a jokester, rarely taking anything outside of a world threatening seriously. Often times, he will get scolded by the legion generals for being a "smartass" or a "jerk." His immaturity shows itself often when in large public areas, such as a mall. He very seldom realizes any social standards, often saying whatever he sees fit for the situation. He rarely bites his tongue, especially when he feels like it should be known that he's unhappy with whatever the situation throws his way. Loni also has a very keen eye for fashion, as he works at a clothing store called "Stacy's." He is very partial to having his appearance insulted, often erupting into silly fits of rage at the slightest word against his outfit. Though childish and often immature, Loni won't hesitate to get serious should the situation call for it. When he is serious, Loni is indeed a force to reckon with. He often displays a very clever side when it comes to desperate situations. For example, when Fractured Facade had been kidnapped by one of her former teammates, he instructed War-Pulse to take stones with him into the shadow realm. It was later revealed that said stones were actually temporary conduits, through which the team could travel in and out of the shadow realm. In many situations, it has been Loni's sharp mind that had gotten the team out of sticky situations.
Loni is about the height of your average man, lean and tone. He has milk chocolate skin and keen facial features. Loni has reasonably long, dark hair. He's been mentioned to be quite attractive by his peers, this could be attributed to his younger looking appearance. He is oblivious to his looks and thanks to his childish attitude, Loni is quite often mistaken for a flamboyant homosexual, much to his dismay (even though he's a bisexual). Ironically enough, Loni's fashion sense is rather relaxed and casual. However, most of the clothes that he wear are unisex clothing, so when he shifts into his woman form, whatever he's wearing usually fits just fine. Loni's general choice of clothing consists of a black denim jacket, a grey t-shirt with a black crescent moon on the chest, fitted blue jeans and black and white sneakers. He also wears a necklace with gems in it, given to him by his very first love interest, Gregori Maric. His super suit consists of a black, short sleeved set of spandex that has the Theban symbol for "L" on his chest. He wears a short sleeved, leather jacket laced with Kevlar over top of the tights. The jacket is black on the outside and violet on the inside. The collar is slightly elongated and is popped. He wears black, leather gloves and a green metallic band as a belt. The suit is made complete by a pair of built in boots.
Loni was born on October 31st 1991 in Greensboro, North Carolina. His birthday attests to his abilities as one of the most, if not the most magical day of the year. His family history dates back to early ages, starting with a very young mystic named Taji Lumen. Taji founded the order of the Lumen Mystic, a clan of mystics born with the ability to produce light from themselves. These mystics were also very skilled in the arcane and mystic arts. The clan diminished sometime around the 17th century and died out almost completely in the late 18th century. There are only a hand full of people who come from the Lumen bloodline, Loni being one of them. Loni, almost instinctively took an interest in magic at a very young age. He grew up as a nerdy, weird kid who was afraid to leave his shell.
When he was ten, Loni met his very first friend Samuel "Sammy" Windermere. Samuel and Loni, both interested in the same things, were near impossible to separate. Loni and Sammy both had a keen interest for magic, but Loni, thanks to his bloodline, was more apt to it than Sammy. They were both bullied quite often, but would just go home and laugh about it, busted lips and all. When they reached the 8th grade, Loni and Sammy both took up a self defense course taught to them by their gym teacher, Robert Ashwood. Loni, again was better at this than his friend. A few years later, in high school, they both had developed into an inseparable pair of weirdos, Sammy though, secretly harbored a deep jealousy of Loni constantly outdoing him even though Sammy thought of him as his closest and dearest friend. He only wanted to come out on top once. Loni, thought nothing of it though, considering Sammy his complete equal, and never ever held this over him. Unfortunately, this did nothing more then fuel Sammy's urge to be better than him.
When the boys had turned 16, Sammy had found a ritual that would evoke a spirit that could grant them power. Seeing this as a prime opportunity to gain more power than Loni and ultimately be better than him at something, Sammy urged Loni into preforming the ritual with him. Loni Reluctantly agreed. Once they had gathered the materials up, they had gone to an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town. There, Sammy insisted that he set up everything because it was his idea, Loni again reluctantly agreed. Once everything was set up, they had begun the ritual, and everything was running smoothly, until Loni sensed that something was wrong and something was very wrong indeed. Sammy had drawn out the wrong circle, and because of this, the ritual that was supposed to summon a benevolent spirit summoned a demon instead. The demon, named Doraamu, was enraged, and made quick work of Sammy. Loni, only wanting to save Sammy at this point, fought with all of his power against the demon. Unfortunately for him, the demon was far beyond his power, and he was crushed under Doraamu's might. Even when Loni knew he was going to die, he still met the demon with a vicious gaze, and his inner light did not die out. He finally died. Loni had gone to the afterlife, but this was short lived, as Doraamu used his power to snatch his soul back and chain it into his dead body. He didn't stop there, going so far as to posses the body and mutate it to give it life.
He used Loni's body to go on a murder spree, killing Loni's close family and a few random people. He did so in a very secretive way however, using his powers of toxic radiation to kill them. Doraamu forced Loni to watch, powerless from the inside. Once he had finished killing off those people, he cleaned up the mess himself (by making the deaths look like an outbreak of a serious virus), not wanting to be in a body that would be in jail. Satisfied with the amount of death he had just caused, Doraamu went dormant, leaving Loni to pick up the pieces of his now shattered life. When Loni came back to reality, he found that his body was mutated, he was no longer human. He was toxic and dangerous. Knowing this, he used his parent's money and moved up to Paragon City, in hopes of finding a way to fix himself. Still only 16, Loni took it upon himself to learn biology and in time, biochemistry, in hopes of understanding his body and the effects it would have on others.
Life as a Super
Years later, Loni had grown to the age of 19. Though still toxic, he had found ways around being such a danger, though they were taxing and often painful to him. He had learned his body and what it could do, and he used that knowledge combined with his magical knowledge to fight crime as a nameless hero. He also had been attending college for a year, but thanks to his knowledge on biology, chemistry and bio-chem, Loni had been recognized by the Paragon science department and was able to bypass the standard years in college and actually has his master's degree in all three fields. He's decided that he would acquire his doctorate in bio-chemistry because he wants "to be a magical doctor, like doctor strange or something." These are all amazing feats for such a young person. He has Doraau to thanks for all of this, because if not for him, Loni would have never cared about biology or bio-chemistry.
A few months into year 2011, Loni encountered an Archangel named Matthew, who was a general in the super group "The Legionnaires". Matthew did not see the demon inside of the young mage, and invited him to the legion despite his dangerous body. He even offered to use his own scientific knowledge to build him special accommodations in their base, so he could live a bit easier. Loni happily joined, quickly accepting the legion as his new family. Loni had not told anyone of his possession until one night, after they had gone into the shadow shard, where the Soldiers of Rularuu woke Doraamu. That night, Loni told the legion of his problem. From there, his condition would only get worse. Loni, in an effort to keep himself and the legion safe from Doraamu, locked himself in his room, and refused to come out. That is, until Matthew convinced him to come out, and the night he did, Doraamu surfaced again, mocking some of the legion's most powerful members. Loni, finally having enough of Doraamu and his horrible ways, asked Matthew to kill him, a request that he had reluctantly agreed to. He blasted Loni with his powerful energy, and literally blew him to pieces. This didn't last long, as Doraamu simply reconstructed his body, did more mocking and then went dormant again.
Loni had finally had enough, and started searching ways to separate himself from Doraamu. He'd found a ritual and immediately told legion mate Apex Crush about it. He went with Elltenia and a secretive woman called Fractured Facade to retrieve the required materials and the proper ritual instructions. Enraged, Doraamu took control and before the legion members could return, he literally poisoned the entire base and was prepared now to fight the legion, to prevent them from completing the ritual. Apex had preformed the spell and thanks to that, Loni was separated from Doraamu, and had found the strength to banish him to darker realms. Unfortunately, this was a bittersweet victory as Loni had to die again in order to be free from the demon, and since he was keeping Loni alive, Loni's body died too. Fortunately, Loni had enough spiritual potency to remain on the physical world as a ghost long enough to guide Apex through a ritual that would restore his body to life so he could inhabit it again. He then instructed him to create a blood seal with his own blood to seal his soul back into his body so he could be human again.
Now, human again, Loni has discovered and unlocked his family's bloodline power to produce and control light energy from his body. His new powers combined with his past has led him to chose the super name, Afterglow. He has quit his super group due to what he called unfairness and now works on his own.
Powers and abilities
Hexes - Loni's specialty when it comes to sorcery is hexing. This is attributed to his accidental master, Doramuu. Loni's hexing can be done remotely or by physical touch. His skill with these are such that he rarely has to speak any words and can cast them via intense thought. While Loni does not believe in killing, he could literally cast a killing hex on anyone if he so desired, though this would cause a rather nasty backlash on him, as in any magical art, an equal price must be paid. For example, Loni could hex a person's car to make the axle break, or the breaks stop working. He could also hex someone in a way that cripples their health, a killing hex.
Charms - Loni is just as adept at casting charms as he is casting hexes. Charms can be looked at as the opposite of hexes wherein they alter something for a positive outcome. Loni often charms his teammates or others for things like fast healing or protection against harm. Loni often leaves charms in the places he visits frequently like, Spanky's or his apartment. Like with hexes, Loni does not need to say the worded spell for them, rather he can just cast them with thought. Essentially, charms have the same backlash as hexes, however since the intent is positive, so will be the return.
Seals - Loni has shown considerable talents when casting or undoing seals or banishing spells. One notable instance would be when he undid a binding seal on War-Pulse when he was being controlled by Umbraxis. He has been known to cast very powerful seals on even spiritual beings. Loni has even sealed himself for fear of Doramuu awakening and taking over his body. This would be useless, as Doramuu was the one who showed him these spells. He is able to cast seals that even some of the more powerful beings have a difficult time breaking. Seals work differently from charms and hexes wherein they do not alter something positively or negatively, they disable it. For example, he could seal a person's movements, or seal something within something such as a spirit in a rock. He cannot cast seals wordlessly however, and often times the seals will need symbols or other materials to be cast.
Reality alteration - As with most sorcerers, Loni alters reality via magic. He is very careful about what he alters however, as the backlash of such effects could be devastating. If he does alter something he is sure to put it back in place when he's finished.
Trans-location/Teleportation - Magic allows Loni to teleport himself, others and objects at will. While he can do this without words, he's stated that even he's not good enough where he'd confident in his ability to do so. Loni needs to know where he's sending something when he's using this ability. A picture or memory will suffice. When Loni changes his clothes via magic, he merely trans-locates his outfits.
Shape Shifting - Loni is able to morph himself and others at will. Thanks to his biological knowledge he is able to change into pretty much any human and then back, however, Loni will only cast these spells on someone else with their permission. He often uses this skill to transform into a woman just because he thinks it's funny. Using this power, Loni can alter parts of his body for various reasons, however, his body has to be able to support the change. For example, Loni could change his voice tone by altering his vocal chords. He could not, however give himself an octopus arm without changing the rest of his body to suit that transformation; extra blood vesicles, more muscle mass etc. He could not give himself gills without removing his lungs. Loni is knowledgeable in mainly human biology, therefore he could not shift into something in-human without long hours of research. If he did not, Loni could hurt or even kill himself.
Divination - One of Loni's magical practices is divination. He is not as adept at this, as he fears that a malevolent spirit would come and show him something that he doesn't want to see. When Loni does this, his irises fade completely out and his eyes become a chalky white. Touching his body while he is in this state could be disastrous for him. One could break the bond with his physical body, and that means he could become a vegetable. As such, Loni is extremely vulnerable when he is in a divining state. No matter what form of divination he is preforming, he will always enter a trance.
Thanks to Loni's magical bloodline, Loni has the ability to generate and control light from himself. His inner light is also the source of most of his magical energy as such, Loni does not need to draw from outside sources to cast the vast majority of spells he knows. This inner light allows him to do a number of things. Should Loni be in a situation where his magical skill is crippled, he can still use his light powers, as they are technically a meta-human gift, not magic. The extant of this is unknown however, as this is a magical meta-human gift. The inner light seems to be a separate part of Loni all together. At one point, he was able to completely remove the power from himself and pass it onto another via enchanted necklace. As the inner light is the power source for most of his magic, Loni has a difficult tie using is inner light while using his magic. He often simply chooses one or the other to engage in combat.
Invisibility - Loni can create and bend a light field around himself in order to hide himself completely. Loni, being as mischievous as he is, generally only uses this power for spying on his friends and scaring them.
Force - Loni is able to generate light from himself and bend it in various ways, as such, he is able to generate various constructs of force the most notable being a shield or force bubble. He has stated though that he "can't just make anything", implying that this is a greatly limited ability. He also uses this ability when he's fighting hand to hand to add an extra 'kick' to his attacks.
Illusions - Loni can bend light in various ways to create illusions.
Blackout - He is also able to absorb the light out of anything in order to protect himself and teammates. The light he absorbs can be used to augment his power, but only by a tiny amount. This power can also be used to cause a small area of darkness.
Strength - This is a more innate talent of Loni's, but it can be attributed to the inner light. In times of need, Loni is able to use the light energy to augment his strength levels, though this is very dangerous to him because not only will he be forcing his body to do something it doesn't usually do, he does not have the muscle mass nor bone structure to support such strength. This ability often leaves him in a very critical state.
Light Bolts - Loni is able to fire blasts of intense light energy. These blasts feel like powerful currents of static electricity.
Because Loni has been bonded with and mutated by a demon, he has many demonic qualities.
Lust - Loni has the lust of a demon. He is a very sexually frustrated man, and when he gets excited this quality shows itself in very strange ways. Loni is a clubber, sometimes when he is out clubbing and he gets into his dancing, his magic and his darker side takes hold. He literally starts spreading his magical energies over the area. This often causes confusion and very intense feelings in others.
Mischief - Loni gets his childish, mischievous nature from Doramuu. He is often too harsh with his jokes and pranks. He rarely ever holds back on his jokes, though to him, they're nothing more than harmless jokes.
poison Loni has a very high resistance to poison. When he was possessed, Doramuu's weapon of choice when it came to causing harm and chaos was poison. As such, his host needed to be immune to these effects. Loni is very adept in making poisons himself, as he learned from Doramuu. Loni is also able to mix and create chemicals in his stomach. This ability would technically make him a mutant, he still refers to himself as a human. His most famous serum to be created is a reanimation serum called "life gravy", a title he gave to it.
Pain Though he won't admit it, Loni is very much a sadist. He often enjoys causing pain, rage or sadness, but mostly physical pain. He fights this side of himself with all of his might, mainly via his morality. He often tells his teammates that killing and causing pain is wrong, but he knows that there's a part deep inside of him that wants to indulge in those horrible activities.
Hand-to-Hand artsLoni is a competent martial artist, having learned to defend himself at a young age. His middle school teacher taught him to defend himself using Aikido and a more defensive version of Baguazhang. By the time Loni was in high school, he had become good enough to fully defend himself. Even not, Loni still trains his martial arts skills. He is by no means however, a master at these arts. As such, Loni will only engage in melee combat as a last resort, and even then he fights defensively.
Staff fighting Due to a recent injury, Loni had lost almost all of his balance and physical skills. He contacted Greg again, with the hope that he could help him regain these things. Greg, wanting to go the extra mile, not only helped him to rehabilitate himself physically, he also is training him to fight with a bo-staff. Loni isn't very good with this style as of yet, but thanks to his previous martial training, he has quickly picked up on the basics.
Acrobatics Loni is a highly skilled acrobat. He has displayed a high degree of flexibility as well. Loni has been seen climbing up various constructs and objects, maneuver through harsh environments, evade damage, preform various acrobatic movements (Handstands, handsprings, front and back flips, somersaults, etc...)and even balance himself on precarious surfaces such as bamboo chutes.
"Afterglow" actually belonged to another hero in the game. Loni's Afterglow was always accompanied by a period either in front of or behind the name.
His super handle is also a sexual innuendo.
Loni was originally right handed, but after a near fatal head wound, Loni had to learn to use his left hand as his dominant hand. He is now ambidextrous, but medical professionals have determined that as he ages, he will slowly lose fluent motor functionality in his previously dominant side. -Loni is already showing signs of this, as he has a slight, almost undetectable limp in his right leg. He also notes having migraines and spotty vision at times.
Loni has died twice. He suggests that if one's will to stay is strong enough, then one will stay.
Loni does not appear his proper age due to his previous demonic possession.
While his immediate family is dead, Loni does have extended family in the world. One of these family members is also a meta human, though his power does not come from the Lumen gene. This is Loni's favorite cousin, Dion who is also known as "Blackout." While Loni is unaware of Dion's secret identity, Dion is aware of Loni's. This is due to the fact that Loni does not have a secret identity, and is actually well known as Loni Stephenson as well as Afterglow.
Loni has noted that there are probably other "cousins" that carry the Lumen gene in the world, but the are likely few.
Loni has appeared in multiple game universes, though he is never aware of himself. In Guild Wars 2 however, the Loni that exists there is actually aware of the Loni from City of Heroes. Likewise, from City of Heroes to Guild Wars 2. Both Loni's, on occasion, have had dreams of living in the others world as their counterpart. Loni Stephenson theorizes that this is him in a strange past life or a fantasy world. Loni Thule theorizes that this is but a reflection of himself through the mists. ((More to come!))