From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Gloria Vanderveer Jane James (current assumed name)
Jane James (current assumed name),Galatea (name given to her by her saviors in the Supernal Realms)
|Date of Birth:||
March 18, 1909 ( age 109 ) (Temporal Age 30)
Occasional Consultant to M.A.G.I
|Place of Birth:||
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
|Base of Operations:||
Allister Vanderveer (father, deceased) Abigail Vanderveer (mother, deceased)
Master of the Arcane Arts
|[ Source ]|
The Vanderveer family was a family of wealth and privlidge. Allister Vanderveer was always interested in history from a young age, and naturally when he met Abigail VanRysen, daughter of explorer and archaeologise Hans VanRysen the two quickly fell in love, married and had a child, Gloria.
Always on the move, going from dig site to dig site, the Vanderveer family surrounded itself in the history of ancient lands and fallen empires. This was the world that young Gloria was brought up in.
Over the course of several years of research, Allister became convinced of the presence of a reputed "Chamber of the Ancients" that was a repository of almost limitless knowledge dating back to an unknown empire that existed beyond the veil of currently understood history. After several years of searching and exploring, most of the time for naught, though occasionally finding a tidbit of knowledge or arcane reference, Allister became convinced that the Chamber of the Ancients lay beneath the enigmatic artifact known as the Sphynx of Giza. Many times did Allister apply to be granted a permit to conduct an expedition there, but each time he was denied by the Bureau of Antiquities. Allister grew ever more convinced that some great repository lay beneath the sentinel of the Giza Plateau. Eventually Allister assembled a small team of local workers, lead by a man by he name of Sayed Badreya-Awad. Sayed had many of the guards under his pay and was able to gain access to the site under the guise of workers shoring up the walls of the pit that the great Sphynx lay in. Breaking away from the main body of workers, The Vanderveers (Allister, Abigail and Gloria) along with Sayed , made their way into a small seeming dead end tunnel in the rear of the sphynx. There the group discovered a well hidden entrance to another small tunnel,and with the knowledge Allister had gathered from his researches, began to work their way down the cramped confines. Eventually they exited the small tunnel, finding themselves at the enterance to a large chamber.
The doors of the chamber were at least 8 feet tall and seemed to be carved from single slabs of bronze. Bas-relief depictions of dragons covered the door, entwining amongst one another, their bodies one writhing mass. Allister and Sayed pushed the doors open, revealing a large chamber lined with shelves piled high with scrolls, amulets, weapons and other strange and arcane looking items. Perhaps the most interesting thing was the pedestal sitting at the center of the room. Sitting upon it, was a single golden helm that seemed to radiate power and seemingly filled the room with a golden hue.
It was at this point that the dig foreman, Sayed Badreya-Awad, showed his true intentions. He deftly pulled a knife from him robes, slitting the throat of Abigail in one swift stroke. Young Gloria screamed as a splash of blood sprayed across her face as she watched her mother slump lifelessly to the floor. Immeditally, Allister lunged at his wife's killer and began to struggle with him for control of the knife. The fight went on for several minutes, neither side gaining the advantage. Eventually, Sayed backed Allister against a wall, slowly turned the knife agianst Allisters chest slowly and powerfully sank the knife into Allister's heart.
He turned to the young girl, who was immobile from the shock of seeing both her parents murdered before her eyes.
"For 4500 years, I have awaited this day child. I am Suten Hamu, once a priest in the service of the one known as Ii-em-Hotep, known to you as Imhotep. I served the God Ra at the great temple of Heliopolis, until Imhotep accused me of great crimes and caused my soul to be cast adrift on the winds of time. This vessel, one of my descendants, was open to me and now once again. I walk in the domain of the living. The priests of my age held a myth, ancient even as the great empire of the nile was mighty, that an ancient land once held the keys to magic and in this place is the collected wisdom of their lineage. Now it is all mine."
Confidently he strode to the center of the room and gazed at the helm before him, seemingly forgetting about the cowering figure in the corner. "The secrets you have held from me will soon be mine", he said as he reached for the helm.
In the corner, young Gloria finally mustered the last remaining ounce of courage she possesed. She felt along the shelf nearest to her, and her hand came to rest on a jeweled dagger. Pulling it to her she crept closerto the man who had just killed her parents. Just as his hands made contact with the helm, she punged the dagger into his back. Sayed let out a howl of pain as he turned and backhanded the girl who went flying backwards landing in a heap in the corner. Pulling the dagger from his back, he slowly approached Gloria.
"You show bravery child. That is admirable. It is unfortunate that I must now release you from this world. You would have made a spendid pet."
Suddenly, the room began to fill with a bright glow, what was getting ever brighter. The room began to shake and sand began to spill from cracks in the celing. Sayed looked around, realizing that some defense mechanisim had been triggered. Turning from the girl he lunged for the helm. As he touched it, a bright flash of light filled the room and he was flung back with force.
"The knowledge of this room is not for you, murderer. Your tainted soul will never possess the knowledge of the Isle of the Dragon.", a deep and thundering voice boomed throughout the chamber.
"NOoo! I have waited thousands of years. The knowledge will be MINE!", Sayed screamed.
The shaking in the room became more violent and steady. Shelves began to collapse, and the walls began to crack. Sayed once again made a lunge for the helm but was thrown back with much greater force this time, thowing him out of the chamber alltogether. Gloria tried to crawl out, but a piece of falling rock pinned her leg, keeping her from being able to make her way out of the chamber. The quaking became more and more violent as the rocks of the celing began to come crashing down in splinters of shattered rock. One of these sets of rock shards hit Gloria on the face, severely maiming the young girl and making her fall unconscious. In the outer chamber, Sayed could do nothing but watch as the Chamber of the Ancients came crashing down. The quake began to collapse the outer chamber and Sayed only barely escaped being crushed himself by quickly climbing up through the small tunnel and out of the Sphynx alltogether. He stood, watching dirt and dust billow out of the small hole and vowed to regain the knowledge that had been within his grasp but was denied him. He turned from the ancient edifice and slowly walked back into Cairo.
Inside the chamber, Gloria slowly managed to regain consciousness. She could feel blood stream from her ruined face and could feel the weight of a block of stone that was pinning her leg, keeping her from being able to move. She manages to open one of her eyes and could make out a small glow in front of her. It was the helm. It had been knocked from the pesastal and was sitting mere feet from her. Gloria managed to to reach out with her uninjured and stretched to touch the helm. She didn't know why, but she dknew somehow it could help her. The pain was intense and the helm was just beyond her reach, but with a massive effort she managed to free her leg just a bit allowing her the last few inches she needed and the tip of her finger came to rest upon the golden helm.
"Hello child. It brings us great sorrow to see you in such pain. Let us go to a place where your pain will be eased." The helm once again flashed brightly and Gloria found herself in a different place. Indeed, a different realm... the supernal realms. The realms of magic.
There she was healed, though the scars of her injuries marred her once pretty face. The mages who lived there, decendants of the mages who were able to escape the destruction of the Isle of Dragons, known to the modern world as Atlantis, took the girl in and raised her and taught her, and there she was given a new name, Galatea. When Galatea was transfered to the Supernal Realms, the helm had come with her, and though the mages of the Realms were excited to once again have one of their powerful artifacts returnd to them, they were dismayed to learn that only the young girl could commune and interact with the Artifact. Taking this as a sign, the mages took turn sending the girl to all 5 of the great magical Houses of the Supernal REalms, giving her an education in the Arcana (their word for Magic) that was rarely afforded to any, save the most adept and prodigious of mages. Galatea spent many years in the realms, though time in the Realms and time in the Fallen world (as they called the Material Plane) did not flow at the same rates and even in the same direction at times. Galatea learned, grew, and came to accept the Supernal Realms as her new home. She also learned of the world she left behind, though over time, Galatea came to believe that there was something about the Fallen World that was being kept from her, and certain facts that her teachers were being elusive about.
Years passed, and Galatea joined the ranks of a group known as the Adamantine Arrow. The Arrow were the warriors of the mages of the Realms, and it was they who protected the Fallen realm from the great threat of the Abyss: A great rend in reality that separated the Fallen World from the Supernal Realms. The creatures and powers of the abyss were constantly seeking to invade the Fallen world and wreak havoc in the world of mortals. For many years, Arcana fought and struggled against the wicked creatures that sought to invade humanity's thoughts, souls and lives. Many of the mages would make forays into the Fallen Realm to complete various missions and investigations, but Galatea was never allowed to accompany them. The Archmagisters of the Great Consillium (the ruling council of the Supernal Realms) told her that her destiny was along a different path.
Eventually it came to pass that Galatea left the ranks of the Adamantine Arrow and joined the group known as the Mysterium. The mysterium's chage was the preservation and accumulation of the lost knowledge of the Isle of Dragons. Galatea's use of the Helm enabled her to be able to translate long forgotten languages, decrypt ancient puzzles and grant new insights into the vast body of knowledge that was lost when Atlantis was lost beneath the waves. For several more years, Galatea studied, and worked diligently, helping to preserve the lost lore of Awakened Society.
Then the war against the Abyss shifted fronts.
The Abyssals changed the direction of their attack and assaulted the Supernal Realms directly. In hindsight this was completely predictable, but it took the mages of the Realms by surprise. They were unprepared for the onslaught and in one night, the ranks of the Arrow were almost totally devastated. The remaining mages took up arms, rotes and tomes and began to fight back against the invading horde. During the fighting, Galatea was ordered to leave the front lines and appear before the Great consilium. Standing before the, she was told that the time of her destiny was at hand. The Supernal Realms were falling and would soon be no more. Galatea was to travel to the Fallen Realms, with the Helm of Atlantis. The great Archmagisters of the Supernal Realms were going to undertake a risky venture. They would attempt to shift the entirety of the Realms into a pocket universe, safe from the assault of the Abyssals. Unfortunatly, the process how to reverse this action was lost in ancient times. Galatea was charged with going to the Fallen world, and search out how to once again restore the Realms from their exile. While in exile, those left in the Realms would rebuild and restore their Society. The Archmagisters told her that the world she was being sent to was one filled with beings who weilded great power to defeat the forces of darkness and corruption. She was to aid in this fight and help protect against further Abyssal incursions into the Fallen Realm. Galatea was given then the name Arcana Magistrix and instructed to seek out those who were virtuous and honorable and to count herself amongst their ranks. Galatea took the Helm and, with the assistance of the remaining mages, weaved a spell to take her to the Fallen Realm.
Galatea appeared into the Fallen Realm in a place called Paragon City. She quickly found that the Archmagisters had forseen her travel there and had prepared for it. An identity was already forged for her, so she could interact in the society she found herself in. In addition a place was prepared for her to collect the knowledge and artifacts she would need to one day return the supernal realms from their exile in the Astral Realms. Called an Athenaeum, this repository was waiting for her to fill it with the lost lore of the Isle of Dragons. It had had many curators over the centuries and she was the latest in the long line of those who were depositing arcane knowledge inside it.
Galatea spent some time learning about her world and of the people who inhabited it, before making herself publicly known as Arcana Magistrix. While helping to thwart the efforts a gang known as the hellions from acquiring an ancient text known as the Malefactorium Daeomoicus (which she promptly sequestered in her Athenaeum) she was shocked to hear someone ask her if she was related to a hero from the 1940's known as Arcana Magistos. Denying any such connection, Galatea promptly researched this person and was even more shocked to discover that this hero too weilded the Helm of Atlantis. Galatea pondered how this could be. The helm traveled with her from the year 1922 to the Supernal Realms where it was in her possession the whole time. Researching this Arcana Magistos, she discovered that he had acquired the helm from a local museum. He was a night shift guard who first donned the helm during an attempted robbery of the Museum, by the forces of Nemisis. Magistos was active for several years before disappearing with a group of other heroes of the Midnight Squad in the depths of the undercity of Oranbega. Her further researches indicated that the helm was discovered in a dig in the ancient city of Ur in 1938, 3 years before it would used by the man calling himself Arcana Magistos. vowing to uncover the truth of this mystery Arcana has worked tirelessly agianst the forces of the Circle of Thorns and Baron Zoria.
Recently, Arcana came into contact with heroes calling themselves the "Gods of the Golden Age" lead by a man named Mr Virtuous. Seeing this as part of the instructions given to her by her teachers, Arcana joined the gruop and has fought along side them, all the time still workng to collect the lost lore of the Isle of Dragons in the hopes of one day returning and saving her true home.
Other distinguishing features
As a result of her accident in the Chamber of the Ancients, Arcana's face is severely scarred.
Arcana possesses the strength of a young adult who engages in regular physical exercise.
Known superhuman powers
Arcana has been trained for many years in a great many aspects of the great Traditions of Atlantean magic, and has achieved varying levels of competence in all 10 of the elemental principles or substances (called the Arcanum) that make up the Tapestry of Reality. The 10 Arcanum, and her proficency in them are as follows. (the ranks in ascending order of ability are : Inititate, Apprentice, Disciple, Adept, Master, Archmage)
- Death: The Arcanum of decay and death, capable of removing souls and affecting or creating undead. - Adept
- Fate: The Arcanum of luck and destiny, capable of defining the random and forcing the hand of Fate. - Disciple
- Forces: The Arcanum of energy and kinetics, capable of creating flames and stopping bullets. - Disciple
- Life: The Arcanum of creatures and plants, capable of healing wounds and creating impossible hybrid beasts. - Disciple
- Matter: The Arcanum of inanimate objects and inert elements, capable of transmuting materials and enhancing mundane objects. - Adept
- Mind: The Arcanum of thoughts and dreams, capable of reading thoughts and controlling thoughts and emotions. - Disciple
- Prime: The Arcanum of pure magical force and structure, capable of enchanting items and manipulating pure Mana. - Adept
- Space: The Arcanum of distance and separation, capable of creating overlapping dimensions and allowing teleportation. - Disciple
- Spirit: The Arcanum of Spirits and their Realm, capable of summoning spirits and forging links through the Gauntlet. - Apprentice
- Time: The Arcanum of the passage of time and aging, capable of manipulating the flow of time and jumping over periods of time. - Disciple
Arcana is the wielder of the Helm of Atlantis, a mythic artifact of the Isle of the Dragon, otherwise known as Atlantis. It is a repository of knowledge and information of the 5 great mythic traditions of the Age of Wonders. Contained in it are the "essences" of 5 great Archmagisters of each of the 5 traditions. Each one of these masters may communicate with and through Arcana in times of need. The Persona's contained within the mask are:
- Merinoc - Archmagister of House Acanthus. Enchanter of the Path of Thistle, Scion of the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn in the Realm of Arcadia, Kingdom of Enchantement and the Abode of the Fey
- Jubal - Archmagister of House Mastigos. Warlock of the Path of Scourging, Scion of the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet in the Realm of Pandemonium, Kingdom of Nightmares and Abode of Demons.
- Styon - Archmagister of House Moros. Necromancer on the Path of Doom, Scion of hte Watchtower of the Lead Coin in the Realm of Stygia, Kingdom of Crypts and Abode of Shades.
- Zanakameil - Archmagister of House Obrimos. Theurgist of the Path of the Mighty, Scion of the Watchtower of the Golden Key in the Realm of the Aether, Kingdom of the Celestial Spheres and Abode of Angels.
- Mato - Archmagister of House Thyrsus. Shaman on the Path of Ecstasy, Scion of the Watchtower of the Stone Book in the Realm of the Primal Wild, Kingdom of Totems and the Abode of Beasts.
The helm also provides it's wearer with special defenses against mystical attacks and especially mental domination. (indeed, one would have to overcome all 5 Archmagisters psyche's in addition to Arcana's to dominate her). As a result of this she is also quite resistant to mind reading or any other form of mental probing, while wearing the helm. Without it, her mental defenses, though formidable, are no where near as strong.
Arcana is in posession of a great number of artifacts, tomes and talismans of a variety of sources. The contents of her Athenaeum have been collected over several centuries by it's various curators, and was brought to the New World at the turn of the the 18th century from it's original location in the Netherlands. One of the items that Arcana has been see to use is a strange Axe that she can seemingly pluck out of thin Air. The Axe is an Atlantean Artifact, constructed of Metoric Iron, with a blade of Orichalcum, it has been especially enchanted by the mages of House Moros to be effective at disrupting the magics holding the undead tethered to this plane. Arcana stores the Axe in a small pocket Astral Realm that she alone knows how to access, and can pluck the item at will from this pocket realm.