Agent of Discord/Powers
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
As a Spectre, Agent is bound to a Netherwordly being called an Entity. This seemingly symbiotic bond lets him channel and manipulate energy from the Netherworld, to aid his allies and weaken his foes rather than for direct combat.
Agent's Entity enables him to tap into an opponent's life force both to weaken and to heal himself and his allies. A more potent version of this ability creates a momentary rift to the Netherworld, draining all targets in the vicinity. However, transfer of that much life energy to a conscious ally is inherently dangerous.
A draining and risky process, Agent is capable of restoring those recently dead to life, although a equally fitting way to describe it is "scaring the life back into them". This method is not without its downsides though. It requires that the person's soul hasn't moved on and the gathering and channeling of a large amount of life energy. It may also cause the revenant quite severe psychological trauma.
By opening a momentary rift to the Netherworld, Agent can create a Tar Patch at a designated location. It is an autonomous if short-lived Netherwordly being that covers a certain area around the rift. It has enough rudimentary sentience to be able of differentiating friend from foe. The latter will find themselves snared by the being's tendrils, slowed, grounded and weakened against incoming fire. By comparison, friendlies will be unimpeded.
A recent developement of the power causes those snared within the power to find their actions slowed as well as their movement; however, it is still experimental, and is known to backfire and affect Agent as well.
Agent can direct his parasitic Entity's attention against a particular foe. The affected target becomes a living siphon of Netherworld energy, constantly draining life energy from itself and its surroundings, significantly weakening them. As the attack is locked onto its target, is simply impossible to avoid; however, Agent's Entity is incapable of maintaining the siphon beyond a certain range and it naturally collapses.
A recent developement to this power weaves Shadowshape strands around the siphon, sometimes slowing those affected.
Agent can create a dark mire that seeps from his body into his surroundings, silently floating along the ground as he moves. It envelops his allies, hiding them from sight; they appear to melt into the mire and rapidly emerge from it when they break it by attacking. In addition, it also prevents sound from exiting, so that only those within it can hear each other. The mire disperses energies, not only both positive and negative, weakening such attacks, but also psychic, making the minds of those within resistant to attack and difficult to read. Its presence brings about the feeling of a slight chill which albeit unpleasant at first, is tolerable and brings terrified minds back to reality.
Playing with others' fears is a common tactic amongst Netherworld denizens, and Agent's Entity is no exception. He can harness its ability to create a wave that sweeps across his opponents' subconsciousness, weakening them in both body and mind as most find it difficult to act. If he needs to, Agent can also use a more focused version of this ability to attempt to lock down a single opponent's mind, rendering him completely helpless. However, this is a brute force approach, easier to resist by a prepared individual.
Agent is capable of flight with good speed and excellent maneuverability by harnessing his Entity's ability to move through the Netherworld unimpeded by gravity. Flight comes somewhat naturally for him, and he moves through the air with a certain grace. He is quite capable of reaching and maintaining high speeds for prolonged periods, useful when he needs to travel under his own power. In combat with certain enemies, Agent is known to hover in place rather than let himself be thrown all over the place. If neccessary, Agent can reach high speeds and maintain them (in theory) indefinitely, though it is a straining task.
Agent's transformation occurred before the development of Netherspeak, thus, he's unable of using it.
Following Archmage Tarixus' failed attempt to siphon off unleashed powers that were rightfully Agent's, the Spectre gained the ability to magically solidify channeled Netherworld energy into a shiny, opaque black matter that is cool to the touch, shaping it to his whim. He can also animate those Shadowshapes, instilling them with part of his own life-force and granting them enough rudimentary sentience to perform simple tasks.
Messengers were amongst the first Shadowshapes Agent learned to create, and the first one he managed to animate. They resemble smooth dragons with insect-like wings and pinpricks of blue light for eyes. Depending on complexity, their size varies from mice to pigeons. The smallest ones are little more than affectionate pets, but larger specimens can be made that can carry small items, remotely relay their vision to their creator or, to which they owe their name, carry and relay messages with their Netherspeak. So far, Agent is capable of creating "pet" Messengers that last up to twelve hours before dissipating, but there is a case where a specimen could survive indefinitely by feeding on a particular brand of nanites.
A reverse Shadowshape of sorts, Agent has developed the skill of wrapping small, unsophisticated items in layers of gaseous Netherworld energy, and then pulling them into his Entity along with it, effectively making them disappear, or, as he puts it, be stored in Netherspace. He makes good use of it to store small trinkets he might need in a pinch. Items in Netherspace deteriorate slowly but surely, making complex machinery (like grenades) unreliable after just a few days, and prized possessions unlikely to be stored there. Notably, larger, heavier objects deteriorate slower.
A powerful Shadowshape, the Manifestation is not so much a separate being as a Shadowshape puppet directly controlled by part of Agent's Entity, taking the form of a skeletal humanoid surrounded by a gaseous dark energy aura, constantly shifting to greatly prolong the lifespan of such a complex creation to minutes rather than seconds. The durable Shadowshape acts as a living Netherworld vortex, much more potent than the one the Entity is capable of creating remotely. It constantly drains and severely weakens enemies around itself, and is capable of copying some of Agent's powers. To be precise, it can drain life (weaker but more efficiently than Agent directly), create a second vortex to further weaken opponents as well as invoke fear (although lacking Agent's subtlety it can only use the focused version). Lastly, it can create multiple secondary Shadowshapes, manifestations of the Entity's tentacles that spring from the ground, entrapping and draining targets. Although it is not much of a fighter, it is an invaluable support tool that Agent often summons in the midst of enemy forces immediately prior to an attack. The Manifestation's only drawback is how taxing it is upon the Spectre, requiring a considerable investment of energy and time to prepare.
A recent developement, younger than Agent's association with Vanguard, Shadowseers are fist-sized Shadowshapes that wink in and out of reality as a school of them frolics in Agent's vicinity whenever he goes into combat. A developement of Messengers, they resemble smooth, black, spiked lizards with wasp-like wings and eight pin-pricks of light that serve as eyes each. In actual battle, they are completely independent, zipping across the surroundnings. Although increasing Agent's battlefield awareness is their primary purpose, they ocassionally attack targets engaged by Agent or his men. They aren't especially effective, but they contribute. There is some talk in certain arcane circles that fragments of the Shadowseers' workings match Lady Grey's spellwork.
Lost Soul Manipulation
Almost as much a magical as a Spectral power, the ability to summon and harness Lost Souls was taught to Agent as payment for services by none other than Ghost Widow herself. It is similar to the Widow's own powers, however it is custom-tailored to suit Agent's abilities. Rather than the souls of those slain, Agent summons to himself and to the physical world Lost Souls, small, nimble, playful and dangerous Netherworld denizens believed to once have been souls of the living. A normal person that is touched by a Lost Soul will find their freezing touch draining them of life but Agent's unwanted aura, once inverted, protects him from that effect and lets him wield the beings as weapons.
The first and most directly damaging way to use them Agent devised involves summoning of several Lost Souls which are then delivered with the age-old method of a punch. This causes considerable damage, especially since Agent usually cascades this effect to deliver a quick series of strikes rather than just one, with luck even striking multiple opponents in rapid succession.
The second technique Agent invented is summoning and afterwards launching a salvo of Lost Souls, each carrying a charge of Netherworld energy, resulting in a shotgun spread of the beings capable of penetrating and draining multiple enemies clustered or lined up.
Next came the ability to reshape the Lost Souls' physical manifestations, sending a spread of several long beings, each a beacon meant to wrap around a target and bring several of its kin into the physical world as long, grasping tentacles seemingly sprouting from the ground, securely immobilizing and draining most opponents.
Having fought against her, Agent found a way to duplicate Ghost Widow's own signature power, launching a school of Lost Souls that home in upon a target before physically lifting them into the air and keeping them helpless while feeding upon their life force. Agent is known to combine this attack with his fear manipulation abilities to lock down the more resistant opponents.
The final power, testament to Agent's mastery over the Lost Souls, turns them on himself, actually pulling his physical body slightly into the Netherworld. The sama aura that once plagued him now works to his benefit, on command pulsing out darkly from his body, dulling the effect of physical damage and siphoning off negative energy. The Lost Souls that course through his body to maintain this effect make it difficult for toxins to act, lessening their effects.
Although he is not equipped with specialized equipment and implants, Agent has the authority and experience to use the GRID for long-range near-destination teleportation of friendly targets. This can be used both to (re-)deploy his Intervention Squad to himself as well as to bring unaffiliated allies within a certain, considerable range nearby.