Blood Red Rook
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Blood Red Rook is a villain currently operating in the Rogue Isles. A former CEO, her belief system is centered around how modern society has become irredeemably corrupt and insane, and needs to be overthrown and replaced with a superior system wherein those who lead are those best qualified for it, not those who can win a glorified popularity contest or inherit their position. She's been working in the Rogue Isles to build up her reputation and her organization, acquiring the equipment and personnel she needs to further her cause and to create chaos in Paragon City, while refining her philosophy and methodology.
A firm and loyal member of the Shadow Spiders, serving primarily in the position of strategist and tactician, Rook has been through some rough times as of late due to this association, particularly at the hands of various members of the Black Tie organization, though not to the extent of some her fellow Spiders. The voluntarily joined with the rest of the Spiders when they decided to break off from Arachnos, though she maintains her own ties to Arachnos through Ghost Widow.
Rook stands at five foot six, with a brown eye and red hair. Her distinctive features are obvious, and hard to miss. She's missing her left eye, which is covered by an eyepatch, has a nasty scar running up the left side of her face and a red tattoo under her right eye. She used to wear a breathing mask almost constantly, but surgery recently corrected the damage to her lungs, and now, for the first time in two years, she's capable of breathing properly without it.
She wears several costumes. Her preferred and original costume consists of a suit of black body armor (military grade), with a red rook emblazoned on the front and an old green, army jacket worn over it. A red and black cape completes the ensemble, along with a red and gold military cap.
Her casual, civilian clothes consist of an expensive, custom tailored business suit and red tie, with a red rook pin discreetly pinned on the left breast of the suit. The suit itself has a bulletproof lining, due to the paranoia that comes with living in the Rogue Isles.
Lately, she's also started wearing a blue and red Huntsman uniform, taken as part of her new training focus into direct combat, as well as an Arachnos SMG. Another new uniform has been a red trench coat with armored lining. Red's kind of a theme with her, see.
Rosalyn Taylor was born in New York City, to a middle class household. Her youth was nothing exceptional, but her educational studies were. She excelled in every subject she applied herself to. Her main interests were in accounting, and finance, though she minored in political science and philosophy. Surprisingly, she also excelled in gym, becoming quite proficient at several sports, and generally keeping herself in top shape. She eventually graduated at the top of her class, and eventually acquire a business degree from university.
Rosalyn started Chesspiece Enterprises when she was twenty-seven. She had been working in middle management in various different technology corporations since graduation, building up contacts and experience, and eventually decided to go into business for herself. She acquired a staff of researchers, a few venture capitalists and a simple research facility. Within three years, Chesspiece was a multinational military contractor with profits exceeding forty millions, and over five thousand employees.
This success was due to Rosalyn's ability to both inspire great loyalty in her employees, and thus the willingness to go all the way in their work, her ability to locate talented scientists and engineers to join her R&D teams, and her willingness to take great risks in pursuit of her goals.
This period was also a time of great happiness for Rosalyn. She met a man, a lawyer, named David Williams, whom she slowly fell in love with over a few years. When she was thirty-one, he proposed marriage. She accepted.
This happy period was not to last.
A year later, Rosalyn and David were in Paragon city, along with Rosalyn's brother and sister, her only family since her parents' deaths a few years previously.
They were driving to a hotel, when they turned a corner and wound up in the middle of a battle between heroes and villains. There was a blast of ice, and then flame, and then the car exploded.
When Rosalyn woke up in the hospital, her face was scarred, she'd lost an eye, and her lungs had been seared. And she had no family.
This broke Rosalyn. As she recovered on her hospital bed, she began to think. Her psychology, fragmented by her injuries and the death of her family, put the blame for what had happened on society, rather than any one individual.
A corrupt society was responsible for what had happened for her, by becoming incapable of preventing such things. Leaders were more concerned with their own power, wealth and fame rather than serving the needs of society, and the status quo was god. Humankind was ignoring these flaws, and refusing to do anything about it. Essentially, humanity itself had gone mad.
Rosalyn decided to do something about this.
Being a genius and very, very good at manipulating people, she managed to talk her way past the hospital psychologists, convince them that, while obviously hurting over the deaths of her family, she was suffering no real psychological trauma. Then her work began.
She reviewed works of philosophy and politics, refined her beliefs, determined what exactly they entailed, tried to figure out what the ideal society would be. She came to believe in the concept of the Philosopher-King, proposed by Plato. But first, society would need to be brought down, destroyed, so that this new, glorious vision of the future could arise from the ashes like a phoenix.
It was time for direct action, to strike out at the foundation of society.
She took on the identity of the Blood Red Rook, mainly because it sounded impressive and would stick in people's memories. Putting on a show, being impressive, that was just as much as part of being a villain as waving around a gun or superpower and robbing banks.
She then began finding like minded henchmen, and stealing equipment from her arms shipments to arm them with. Once that was done, she began the first steps of her plan, robbing several banks in Paragon City simultaneously, coordinating an extensive and well planned strike to add a bit of chaos to the financial system.
And was captured by a hero almost immediately afterward.
Despite having no powers, her ability to plan and coordinate such a large act of crime caused the courts to rule her as a villain, and thus sentence her to ten years in the Zig. She stayed there for the next three months. Her charisma and intellect helped her avoid the worst problems of prison life, while focusing on what she viewed as being more important: obtaining a crash course education in practical crime and villainy from the more experienced felons held there. Ironically, the fact that prison was educating her on how to be a better criminal instead of rehabilitating her only vindicated the beliefs that had caused her to turn to crime in the first place.
She learned from the mistakes that had got her captured, learned about heroes and police, learned about weaponry and powers and, most importantly, learned to be less ambitious with her initial goals. She realized that her goal of social change was far vaster than she had anticipated, she couldn't possibly hope to achieve grand results in a short period of time. She would have to settle for introducing small amounts of chaos into the system, speed up the collapse rather than single handily bring it about. Work towards the goal while seeking the power and influence to more directly achieve her results.
Three months after she was incarcerated, Arachnos came calling, looking for the Destined One. Rook escaped in the chaos, and found herself deposited in the Rogue Isles.
The Shadow Spider
In early October of 2008, while running some operations in Sharkhead to acquire a few magical artifacts, Rook came in contact with one Arbiter Starkweather. After a bit of discussion, she agreed to join the Shadow Spiders, viewing a closer relationship with Arachnos as being a beneficial to her ultimate goals. She believes that Lord Reculse is the world's best chance of casting down the present social order.
She has since been active in several the Shadow Spiders, becoming more closely involved with the work of Arachnos. Her work so far has been mostly unnotable, she remains on the outskirts of most operations, prefering a role as an observer rather than an active participant.
Her highest loyalties, however, remain to her cause and goals of social change. There has not yet been a conflict between that and her duties to the Spiders.
Recent conflicts with the group known as Black Tie have her concerned, but she still views Arachnos as her best bet of achieving her objectives, and is sticking with the Spiders throughout this brutal conflict, despite receiving severe injuries at the hands of Kevon J. Milno during the raid to rescue Arren Starkweather. She lost both arms, her other eye, and had various internal organs damaged. Cybernetic replacements have kept her stable and functioning since this incident.
It was shortly after this that Rook made a deal with Arachnos in general, and Ghost Widow in specific. In return for becoming Ghost Widow's student and soldier, she would receive magical regeneration of the body parts lost and damaged during the raid on the Black Tie. It took some time, but eventually, Rook managed to prove her loyalty to Ghost Widow through repeated service to Ghost Widow and Arachnos.
The deal was, unfortunately, quite literal. While all the injuries Rook had sustained were healed, her missing eye and lung damage were not, as they had not been inflicted during the raid. She was a bit upset at this, but is dealing with it philosophically. She's had time to get used to those problems, after all, and they do give a distinctive look that sticks in people's memories.
Rook is extremely loyal to Ghost Widow, and has been learning much about the human souls and spiritual energy from her, to the point where Rook has actually gained some ability to manipulate spiritual energy through focus. She is still unsure as to the broader implications and usages of this power, praticularly the effect it might have on her own psyche, and has been somewhat hesitant to use these powers beyond their most basic level.
The Telepath and the Walking Ghost
Recently, after a Black Tie attack, Rook came in contact with a psychic by the name of Kara Nouva. Initially, it was hostile with Kara attacking and disabling Rook during an attack. But later, Rook discovered that there was another personality in Kara's head, the original owner of the body, Melanie. They talked during periods where Melanie had the ability to communicate whie Kara was asleep
She swore to help Melanie, whatever the cost. Rook was a villain, but she had limits, a moral code, things she just simply wouldn't do. And she couldn't tolerate what Kara was doing to Melanie. Rook was also fearful of Kara's status as a Horseman of Evolution, with extremely dangerous powers and ideology.
It was during a conversation with Melanie, when she showed up at the base, controlling Kara's body while Kara was asleep that another crisis occurred. Black Tie, led by Victor, attacked the base, kidnapping Arren and David Starkweather. A micro-nuke was detonated in the process, heavily irradiating Rook, and giving her near terminal radiation poisoning.
Suffering badly, and not sure if she would survive the night, she got in contact with Professor Bikini, and acquired a small but potent incendiary bomb. Acting entirely on emotion, she joined with Markel on a daring two-man assault on the Black Tie sub, after Melanie gave them the boarding information. While Markel worked his magic, and Arren manifested new abilities (she was in the process of escape when the two arrived), Rook simply threatened the Black Tie with her bomb, her finger on a deadman's switch. The tactic served well enough, preventing the Black Tie from using the full range of their abilities, and then gave Markel a chance to teleport Arren next to them, at which point Rook used her Ouroboros portal device to allow the group to escape into the far reaches of time itself.
She has since managed to recover from the radiation poisoning, thanks to the wonders of modern medical technology, though she's still on heavy medication, and needs frequent surgery at a specialized facility at Vanguard HQ.
The conflict with Black Tie continued, with numerous small skirmishes and the occasional large battle. Black Tie has continued to consistently gain the upper hand over the Shadow Spiders, winning numerous victories, and even attracting the occasional deserter from Spider ranks.
Rook, on the other hand, while taking part in and helping plan these fights, also concerned herself with the fate of two people. Melanie, and Ler.
The Kara situation took a turn for the worse, recently, when Melanie managed to take control during a fight against the Black Tie, and turned the tide in favor of the Shadow Spiders. Kara did not appreciate this act of disobedience, and has sealed Melanie away, somewhere outside of her mind. She has persistently refused to reveal where, and while Ler has managed to create a new form of demon mask that allows Rook to take control of Kara's physical body, her mind is still resistant. Rook has, so far, managed to forestall several suicide attempts by Kara as well, because should Kara kill the body she possesses, she'll be free to seek out another.
Ler, on the other hand, start around about the time that Arren was abducted for the second time, has been possessed, occasionally, by a demon from the distant past of Avalonia, Omnitaria. Rook isn't completely clear on Omnitaria's motivations, but they almost certainly revolve around the destruction of the human race. Rook, Markel, Arren and a few others from the Spiders have set themselves to defeating Omnitaria, and keeping her out of Ler's body. They have determined that this will involve defeating Omnitaria in Ler's mind, while she's possessing Ler, a fact made triply difficult because Omnitaria has no intention of letting that happen, the best telepath in the base is Kara, who has no desire to help them in the slightest; and Amok/Mako, their other Avalonian expert, recently became possessed as well and is currently being hunted by the Arbiter.
But Rook takes these problems in stride, and doesn't let them get her down. These are, after all, the Rogue Isles.
Late one night, at base, Rook was drinking with Widow Stacey, finally getting the drink that they promised each other after they met the first time. Laying out some of her problems concerning Kara, Stacey eventually volunteered a solution. Being no stranger to torture, she suggested getting Kara addicted to a drug, and then only providing additional doses in exchange for information. Rook didn't usually condone such tactics, but she was desperate.
Meeting up with Arren later, Rook proceeded with an injection of a highly addictive, custom drug made by Arachnos. As the withdrawal started to set in later, Rook and Arren demanded the location of Melanie, which Kara still refused to provide. She eventually broke when Arren and Rook started destroying needles of the drug in front of her, at which point Melanie was returned from wherever Kara had hidden her.
An unexpected side affect was that when Melanie came back, she arrived in Rook's head. The situation was confused, but Rook adapted well, and then they proceeded to continue to interrogate her, trying to find out how to kill her, when something unusual happened. Minbing, one of the Horsemen of Evolution, arrived. Before Arren and Rook could react, they were pulled into his mind. Rook doesn't remember what happens next, but just woke up on the floor several minutes alter. Kara was still present, but investigation revealed that her mind was gone. Presumably, she wasn't dead. However, it did give them the opportunity to restore Melanie to her own body, and give her control.
- "The name by which she chooses to call herself is ironic yet also fitting. I can think of no finer person to lead the strategic operations of the Shadow Spiders. Rook had proven herself time and time again. I trust her with my life. Her promotion is well-deserved."
- -Markel Darkweaver
A few comments by Melanie made Rook start seriously examining her life. The realization that Melanie could feel that Rook and Arren were going too far in their treatment of Kara, despite her deserving everything that was happening, made Rook wonder if she was really on the right path. Was her goal of societal destruction and recreation really the right way? Was she, perhaps, wrong about what she viewed as the evils of the world?
Rook began to wonder, examining her life and the decisions. Talking over her feelings with some of her closest friends over drinks in the base one night, however, did much to restore her self confidence. She still hasn't fully sorted out whether she's right or wrong about her goals, and whether or not she can achieve them, but she's decided to stay the course for now, continue to incite chaos, and hasten the downfall of the corrupt social order that led to her disfigurement.
Shortly after this, Rook received some very good news. Arbiter Starweather had finally decided to officially recognize her talents, and made her the official strategist of the Spiders. Rook now had the authority to direct the operations of the Shadow Spiders in order to maximize the outcomes of each operation (as well as, hopefully, blocking some of Stark's less well thought out plans). Rook is taking this position very seriously, and while no large scale operations have been conducted since the end of the conflict with Black Tie, she has assisted in several small operations, and looks forward to preparing plans for the next major assault or defense conducted by the Spiders.
One dark night, late in December, Rook received a message while she was reading at the Midnight Club. The messenger was ... strange, and the message was simply a map, leading somewhere in Primeva. Being insatiably curious, Rook decided to follow it. She figured it was a trap of some sorts, but wanted to find out who wanted to trap her. After alerting her fellow Spiders to the information, Markel decided to accompany her to the destination.
As they hacked their way through the jungle, Rook suddenly started receiving mental communiques, urging her onwards, and showing her visions of her family dying. Markel recognized what was happening, realized that a Relic had set his sights on Rook, and urged her to turn and flee. She decided to press onwards, eventually making her way to the temple, where Halius the Cursed and his retainers awaited them.
Speaking through his minions, Halius devastated Rook to her very core. He knew everything about her, knew what levers to pull, to bring her to the lowest she'd been since her family was killed. He pointed out her failures to achieve her goals, and then pinned that blame on her friends and associates, and their weakening influence on Rook. Then he explained that she could change things, could gain the power to achieve her goal, to achieve immortality, at no cost. He sympathized with her losses, and promised to make her whole again.
Markel brutally defended her, having very personal experiences with the Relics of Power. He made it clear that there was a price, a price higher than anyone should have to pay. His friendship, knowledge and loyalty saved Rook. She was on the verge of accepting the relic, but turned it down, refused. And then she blew off Halius' head when he made the mistake of tormenting her again with more visions of her loss. It didn't kill him, of course, but it slammed home her point that she didn't want it. Halius didn't seem disappointed or upset by Rook's decision, seeming to believe that Rook's acceptance of the relic will be inevitable. Rook and Markel then retreated from Primeva, having won for the moment, but Rook knew in her heart that this was only the beginning, she'd be seeing Halius again.
And there is that lingering doubt, in the back of her mind, despite what her friends told her, that maybe she should have taken the relic.
It happened as a complete surprise to everybody involved. Arbiter Starkweather announced that he was standing down as the leader of the Shadow Spiders, and returning to his previous position as an agent provocateur in Paragon City. Specialist Otaris would be replacing him as leader of the Spiders.
This immediately causes numerous problems, as many members of the Spiders, including Rook, felt betrayed by his sudden departure, as well as his failure to acknowledge the accomplishments of some of the other members, such as Markel Darkweaver. There was a leadership struggle, lead by Doctor Havencrabs.
There was no real violence, but when the dust settled, Markel Darkweaver was the new leader of the Shadow Spiders, with Rook at his side as one of his advisors and overseers, along with Arren, the Doctor, and several other important members of the Spiders. They then left Arachnos, handing in their resignation to Lord Reculse himself, and trouncing him in the fight that followed.
Rook was in disguise, in order to avoid severing her own connections to Arachnos. She's loyal to the Spiders, but needs access to Arachnos for her own goals. She's playing a dangerous game, but, these are the Rogue Isles, and that's just life. She also approved of the Spiders destroying the old base and setting up shop in a space station.
It happened one day, early in January, Rook received some very disturbing reports. Someone was attacking Chesspiece labs and offices, utterly destroying them. The tactics and powers used matched none of her various enemies. Rook quickly realized that there was only one group that could be doing it...
She stormed into Primeva and confronted Halius. He denied any actions, taunting her and accusing her of being pitifully arrogant and refused to answer her questions. Then Amun showed up, furious over something. He demanded that Halius tell him where Blood Lord Aergulf and Shizuul were, and then attacked him when he refused to prove that information, furious over Arren's abduction.
Rook watched, almost horrified, as Amun attacked Halius, vicious pounding him into the ground. Even as his earthly form was destroyed, Halius tormented Rook wth visions of her family. She tried to intervene with Amun, not out of concern for Halius, but worried that Amun was destroying his own humanity by becoming so vicious. Amun told her to back off, that he would destroy all the relics. Rook snatched up the one Halius had offered her, not thinking what she was doing, and told Amun that destroying it wouldn't give him and Arren happiness.
She found herself unable to let go of the relic, horrified with herself. Amun tried to convince her, but Halius was still sending her images of her family and friends betraying her, and then it got worse. Aergulf arrived.
Rook quickly realized that he was the one attacked her corporation and employees. Aergulf, on the other hand, was doing it because he didn't want Rook to be a relic, to be one of his peers. He brutally attacked Rook, injuring her badly. Amun and Markel couldn't defend Rook, Aergulf brutally blocked their attacks with Rook's body. In the end, she had no choice.
She accepted the relic.
And she became a Relic.
Aergulf had to let her go and flee, as Relics cannot fight Relics.
Markel was horrified by what Rook had done, as was Rook herself. She tried to get rid of the relic, but couldn't bring herself to do it. She collapse in a ball, sobbing.
Later, Amun managed to rescue Arren from Shizuul's lair. Rook met Arren, Amun, Markel and Melanie in Ouroboros. There was a confrontation, where Arren tried to convince Rook to get rid of the relic. After several minutes of painful conversation, Rook handed it over to Arren, reluctantly. And then immediately attacked her.
Screaming hysterically, Rook tried to get the relic back, viciously using the relic's power to launch telekinetic attacks on her friends, people she trusted above all else. When the dust settled, she had her relic back, and immediately collapsed to her knees, horrified by what she had done. She tried to kill herself, but Melanie stopped her. Arren, Markel and the others continued to beg with her, trying to save her very soul. Rook, again, gave up the relic, and it was thrown out of Ouroboros, into the depths of time and space. She appologized to her friends, so incredibly sorry over what she had become.
The relic wasn't destroyed though, unfortunately for Rook. She can still feel it, at the back of her head. A lurking presence waiting in her mind, waiting for a weakness.
<Wherein Rook has a direct confrontation with Havencrabs over the direction the Spiders are going, after he sacrifice's Stacey's soul to Labal>
<Wherein the conflict between Black Tie and the Shadow Spider starts again, and Rook shows her mettle as a leader>
It was in late January that Rook made a wonderful discovery. When having Markel follow up on a funny feeling she'd been having, he managed to deduce that Rook's sister was alive, and actually working as a hero in Paragon City. Rook was, at first, incredulous. Rose had died in the accident, horribly, and had been buried. However, eyewitness evidence from Mako, and her friends, managed to convince her to, at least, to follow up on the hunch, find out the truth. For once, in a long time, Rook truly had hope.
This happy state of affairs was not to last, with the explosive return of John Starkweather to the world of the Shadow Spiders.
Starkweather had found out about Rose, and had decided that she must surely share her sister's tactical ability, and so decided to have her kidnapped and force her into work for the Villains of Paragon City as a tactician. Even if she wasn't a tactician, he would have her mindwiped, and reprogrammed.
Rook didn't appreciate this, especially when John told her to her face that's what he was going to do. As a result, she's vowed to see him dead. As a result, the VoPC and the Shadow Spiders have engaged in several fights, with the promise of worse to come.
Earlier in 2009, Amun had initiated his campaign against the relics, getting the powers she needed by making a deal with a devil. He managed to take out several of them before the deal came due, and he was taken into hell. Rook, Arren, Markel and the others vowed to rescue him.
This took some time, but when Amun's body reappeared, possessed by a demon. They had a confrontation, which ended in Doctor Havencrabs having possession of Amun's head, and Arren (who had been missing and avoiding the Spiders for some time due to her own relic use) with the body. It was at this point that they decided now was the time to rescue Amun's soul.
Markel used a book of magic, as well as dark energy from Havencrabs and Rook, to transport the group to a place very much ressembling Dante's inferno. After braving several trials, the group eventually managed to make their way to the center of this hell, where Remus was waiting for them with Amun's soul.
Attacking him failed to work, and just resulted in Amun being hurt. Remus forced Doctor Havencrabs to make a choice. Choose one of his companions to stay in exchange for Amun, or all would be forced to stay. After some debate, in which he tried to convince Remus to take Victor, Rook managed to convince Havencrabs to choose her, which he did.
It was at this point that Rook's relic returned to her, sensing the threat. Rook was imprisoned and caged after the others left. Remus settled down for a chat, but Rook revealed her true nature. The relic was in control, and it wasn't happy with Remus. Rook broke out of the cage and, with the massive powers of the relic at her disposal, began an epic fight with Remus.
It was at this point that her friends, Markel, Havencrabs, Moira and the others, showed up, having repeated the ritual to come rescue Rook. They arrived in time to witness the middle point of the fight, with Remus and Rook smashing through walls, and hitting each other with heavy blasts from their respective powers. The fight quickly went in the Spiders' favor, as a result, with Remus soon being defeated, and exploding. Rook didn't fare so well. The relic was willing to save her as its host, but paid no mind to the damage inflicted on her in the process. She was badly burned, had numerous broken limbs and was almost dead when Markel pulled her body out of hell.
In the middle of February, while Rook was recovering from her wounds suffered during the attack on hell, Rook and Markel finally gave voice to the feelings that had been developing for some time. They had been slowly growing to care for each other.
They kept getting interrupted by other Spiders in the medi-bay when trying to discuss this, so eventually retired to Mercy Island. On a roof top there, they gave words to their feelings. Markel loved Rook, and Rook loved Markel. They took comfort in each others presence, they were attracted to each other, intellectually and emotionally, and had shared many difficult experiences together.
There was only one problem. Moira, she and Markel also had feelings for each other. Markel had to break it to her, in a very painful discussion for both of them. Rook later talked with Moira, in another painful discussion. Moira was strong, but was obviously hurting, she expressed happiness that Markel had found Rook, and said she was glad that the two were happy. Rook, for her part, was feeling incredibly guilty about ending Moira's relationship with Markel.
Markel and Rook continued their discussions over the next week or so, the other Spiders soon coming to realize that the two had developed a relationship.
On the day after Valentine's, having been unable to meet the day previously, Rook and Markel met by the pool in base to exchange gifts. They had gotten each other pendants with their pictures in it, Rook's was a beautiful piece of jewelery, while Markel's had belonged to his former wife. They were both incredibly happy.
After several interruptions from the other Spiders, confrontations with the Mandate that had to be defused, and trouble in the D, Markel and Rook finally returned to the pool to talk some more. After a short while, Markel made a proposal, that they retire to his quarters, to take their relationship to the next level. Rook agreed.
Their relationship has become public since then, with most of the Spiders and their associates now aware of Markel and Rook's love for each other.
The Wounded Soul
Later, after many of the personal and professioanl problems facing Rook had been resolved, she, finally made up her mind. She would go see her sister, Rose, in Paragon. Try to patch the family up. She was scared, but Markel agreed to accompany her.
They went to Paragon City, Markel meeting Rook in a graveyard, where Rook was putting flowers by the grave's of Rose and David, her dead husband. Commenting that she'd have to remove the gravestone of her sister, she worked up the courage with Markel and went to her sister's apartment.
She knocked on the door, and it was answered by Pawn, Rose's partner in heroics. A moment later, and she saw her sister. Rose stood up, and then her eyes went blank, and she emptied most of a magazine form her assault rifle into Rook's chest, while shouting "Compliments of Dr. Vahzilok."
As Rook collapsed into Markel's arms, Rose collapsed into tears. She had no idea what she had just done, an implanted command had taken control of her body, and she was scared. It was only because of that, and because of Pawn's pleading that Markel simply didn't destroy the both of the them. Instead, he teleported back to the Asgard with Rook.
Rook managed to pull through, thanks to her body armor, Markel's healing, and the med-bays technology. The other Spiders were furious about what had happened, especially Doctor Havencrabs, who went to Paragon to hunt Rose down. Rook was very, very insistent that Rose not be harmed, in any way. She knows that Rose did shoot her of her own accord, and she has no desire to lose her sister again.
Rook's rivalry with Zyren finally came to its zenith recently. Since Zyren and Rook were both Relics, they couldn't harm each other. Rook had thought that would get her to back off, but instead, she chose to start hurting Rook's friends, attacking them in places like the Pocket D.
Furious, Rook vowed to stop her. And then, it happened. Zyren kidnapped Markel and taunted her about it over the comm. Rook raced to the Pocket D, accompanied by many of her friends. Using a bracelet that Noi Kino had given her some time ago, she was able to track Markel down to Port Oakes, at which point they descended on the region, and begin searching, quickly finding the battle site.
Rook, Ler, Maris, Dawn, Shadon and Omnitaria descended on the area, to find Zyren using her powers to try to drown Markel. Rook, horrified and well beyond rage, gave up her own relic at that moment, severing her ties to it, just to get a shot off at Zyren, shooting her right in the forehead.
Unfortunately, it didn't. Instead, she just simply laughed, and then vanished, along with Markel, apparently killing him.
Rook collapsed to her knees, and became insensibly desolate. Her friends, however, got her to snap out of it after a few moments, assuring her that Markel was still alive, and that they would find him and kill Zyren. Rook regained her confidence, and began plotting. She knew the weaknesses of the relics, and soon had a plan, that would make best use of the team's talents and equipment.
Just in time too, as Zyren returned, after taunting Rook some more, and attacked. A furious battle broke out near the villa in Port Oakes, leveling the surrounding area as the Shadow Spiders tried to find Zyren's relic and destroy it. Rook and Maris used a deadly combination of thermite and ice weaopns to boil and freeze Zyren as she entered her water form. After a long battle, in which several of them were wounded (some heavily), Rook managed to retrieve it from where Zyren had dropped it when the fighting got really fierce.
She threw it to Dawn, who then destroyed it with a blast of dark energy, removing the source of Zyren's power. Screaming in denail and agony, Zy vanished, but Markel was nowhere to be seen. Scrying and other magics failed to find him, and Rook almost fell back into depression again, but was lifted up by her teammates, who assured here that Markel was alive and would be find. Rook swore an oath to get him back.
She planned and panicked over the course of the next, scared about Markel. She became even more worried when a succesful telepathic contact through Ler revealed that Markel had been forced into working for Lady Myth, the relic who corrupted him when he received his relic. He was trying to find a child in China at the order of Lady Myth, who had done something to his soul.
Thanks to her friends and teammates, she remained strong, however, and eventually, there came the fateful day when Markel returned to the isles. Havencrabs had come up with a plan to use a soul trap crystal to confine Markel's soul, and then magically split out the evil influence and restore Markel to normal. It was a bold gambit, but the only one that had a chance of working.
In the Cap, Rook and most of the Shadow Spiders arrived to confront Markel and Lady Myth. A heavy fight ensued, though to no avail, as Lady Myth was still immortal. However, despite some severe mistakes, the Spider's eventually managed to subdue Markel and trap his soul, and teleport back to the Asgard. Rook remained behind as the others evacuated, wanting to have a few words with Lady Myth.
Talking with Myth, she discovered that Myth had wanted the child in order to take her relic. Myth was no longer a Relic as a result, but was still incredibly powerful. However, losing it had cost Myth a heavy price. No longer the sane, calm, cruel manipulator she had been, Rook was soon able to drive her berserk with a few well placed taunts and laughs, mercilessly mocking her for not being strong enough to do what Rook had done on her own.
Cursing Rook, Lady Myth eventually attacked, after shaking Rook around and screaming at her, dealing a fair bit of damage, but nothing worse than what Rook had taken before. She tried to imply that Markel didn't love her and tried to push Rook's buttons, but failed. Rook eventually took her leave, leaving behind a pathetic wreck of a once powerful person, going to reunite with her lover. The only thing that Myth did do that got to Rook was giving Rook a vision of having a child, and then a vision of Rook smothering it to death.
The Casualty and the Meeting
It happened one night while Rook was away, on an assignment. The initial event was all over when she got back.
MAris and Crabs and broken up, violently, which Maris shooting Dawn in the head for no apparent reason. Doc was thrown into a severe depression.
The situation was worsened when it was revealed that Moone had planted nuclear bombs on board the ship, and that nuclear missiles were being launched from an unknown source. Only the daring heroics of the Spiders present managed to save the day, though one of the bombs on board the ship did detonate, though it was contained.
Then, the final blow hit. After being saved from atomic death, Doc shot himself, in a state of severe depression over Maris and other events. Markel was devastated, as was Rook. They eventually vowed revenge, and prepared themselves for the worst, going to war with Moone, whom Maris had sought shelter with.
Information collected from various sources revealed that Moone was acting as part of a large organization named UNITY. A sort of government from a parallel universe with access to massive resources that didn't like the Shadow Spiders possessing either a spaceship or a stolen UNITY rifle. The war seemed hopeless.
Fortunately, Moone agreed to a meeting between him, Markel and Rook, which took place a week after the attack. Despite some setbacks with Shadon and Timmy getting involved in conflicts with Adversity Solutions members, Rook managed to keep the peace, though she was close to tearing out her hair, as was Markel, who, running the Shadow Spiders alone now without Crabs, was finding the situation akin to herding cats.
The discussion took place on board the Asgard in Markel's room, and was interrupted several times until eventually Wind was asked to handle security and keep everyone out, which she did with her usual remarkable efficiency.
Moone started by revealing several facts about UNITY, their manipulations of earth culture and technology, their presence on Earth, their power, their technology. The fact that his leaders were exceptionally paranoid and would do anything to maintain their own existence, including destroying an upstart villain group.
Rook eventually interjected when Moone pointed out that the Spiders couldn't do anything about UNITY, that they were incapable of retaliation. She revealed that her people had stripped the nuclear bombs Moone had left on the ship of fissile material, and used it to construct new nuclear devices which, in conjunction with Arachnos portal technology, created a system capable of striking back at UNITY's home should they be attacked again. Deterrence, in other words. Moone was unimpressed, but Rook chalked it down simply to his arrogance and faith in his government.
Fortunately, the discussion managed to avoid going anymore hostile (leaving aside numerous threats from Moone that Rook mostly ignored), when it was determined that a man named Dale Richardson, a person from UNITY who had headed up a faction that favored wiping out Earth's inhabitants and taking it for their own, was the own who had launched the missiles. He was an old enemy of Moone's.
Eventually, Rook and Markel agreed to an alliance of convenience with Moone, ASI, and UNITY, to hunt down Dale. Rook still doesn't trust him, though, and is keeping her eye on him and her deterrence device functional and ready to go.
(In which Havencrabs is restored to life, and the aftermath)
(In which Markel finally proposes marriage to Rook, and she accepts)
In recent weeks, Nemesis cast his eye upon the Shadow Spiders, for whatever reason, is completely unknown. The effect was that several Spiders were kidnapped. The Shadow Spiders figured this out relatively quickly, but unfortunately, had no idea who was robot and who wasn't. All tests were inconclusive and it seemed almost impossible to figure who was real and who wasn't.
The following day, Rook figured out that Markel was a fake, however, and that her fiance had been kidnapped, because of her mental link with him, but the fake Markel overpowered her, and convinced the other Shadow Spiders that Rook was the fake! Before Doc could dissect her, she made a daring escape from the ship, vanishing into the jungles of Primeva to hide from her shipmates, all of whom now believed she was a fake Rook, who had replaced the real one.
Once she'd lost her pursuers, she sank into a deep depression. Her fiance was gone, and she'd only managed to acquire a brief, momentary contact with him, enough to determine that he had been imprisoned and drugged, but no more information than that. She had no idea what to do, or where to go.
Shortly after this, she was approached by Acanous, a fellow Shadow Spider. Rook wasn't sure how he'd found her, but he explained that he believed she was real, and offered to help. A discussion ensued, which was soon continued in Warburg, at one of Setsuka's safehouses. Rook was initially glad that someone trusted her, but soon grew wary.
Acanous begin to try to convince her that everybody else on the board the ship was a Nemesis duplicate, including people Rook knew could not be duplicates, and then tried to convince her that maybe she was wrong, maybe she was a duplicate. Eventually, she realized the truth. Acanous was a duplicate, trying to capture her. This suspicion was confirmed when Acanous tried to kill her, resulting in a brief battle that Rook won, killing Acanous. The steam-tech spilling out of his head was ample proof of what he was.
Rook used his comm to threaten the other duplicates over the Shadow Spider comm network, then fled to Mercy with Acanous' head, where she begin to study it, to try to figure out how to use it to find Markel and the other missing Spiders.
It was at this point that she had a visitation... Melanie appeared to her. Melanie, one of the few people Rook trusted above all else, and Melanie, who was dead. They talked for a little while, Rook revealing her upcoming marriage, and Melanie convinced Rook to go back to the Spiders, rather than try to fight this on her own. She also revealed that she was being held prisoner by a dark force. Rook swore that, after the Nemesis duplicates were disposed of, she'd do everything in her power to save Melanie.
[In which Rook and Markel finally get married]
[In which a long period of time passes]
Recently, Rook celebrated the first anniversary of meeting Markel. It's been quite the ride, she's done a lot of things with the Shadow Spiders, fallen in love, gotten married, fought off numerous villains and heroes that don't quite understand her, and done a fair bit to advance her own goals, trying to make the world a better place.
With recent invents involving Trent and Rook the Vaulted's abductions, and Black Hoods new enemy, the new year is looking to be just as exciting as the last one, with just as many crises and problems that she intends to help resolve.
She is currently heading up a massive information gathering operation, with hundreds of operatives, both human and electronic; and dozens of shell organizations that spans the entire glob. The purpose: Find Rook the Vaulted. Find Hood's enemies. Get everything set up for the rescue operation. Coupled with her frequent business trips to Europe that keep her way from her husband for weeks at a time, this has left her fairly edgy over the last few weeks, something she's started to compensate for with dry humor as a coping mechanism.
It was in late April that it happened. The Rikti. A mothership, a previously unknown one, attacked the Asgard is it was in high orbit over the earth, teleporting borders on board and attempting to utterly destroy the ship. The fighting, in space and inside, was fierce, and the Asgard's crew took several casualties. Rook herself, battling in the arcane wing alongside Kwelyn, was critically injured as they fought to keep the Rikti from destroying the group's collection of magical artifacts.
Then, the worst happened. The ship had taken too much damage, the engines were out and the Mothership wouldn't let up the fire. The Asgard entered the atmosphere, streaked through the sky, and came to a crashing stop on an island in Northern Canada.
While the Rikti have temporarily let up their assault on the Shadow Spiders, none of them know why the Rikti wanted to destroy the Asgard so desperately, or even if their objective was something else that they accomplished during the attack. But with the sanctity of their home violated, and many of them injured or dead, the Spiders and Rook are not taking it lying down. They're signing up with Vanguard to take the fight to the Rikti, looking to get their ship back in the air and trying to find out why the Rikti attacked and if they're going to do it again. They've been dealt a nasty blow, but as Rook always says: "We'll get through this." And she intends to make sure they do.
Rook worked overtime after the Crash. She through her energy into finding materials, resources and supplies to get airborne again. She helped arrange medical drops, and diverted as much funds and equipment from Chesspiece that she could. It was rarely enough; but with the support of her fellow Spiders, working together in the team they managed to keep it together.
They even found out why the Rikti had attacked. The original designer of the Asgard had concealed an ancient artifact in the hull; a piece of some sort of powerful rod or wand that could command an ancient Demon imprisoned beneath Antarctica. Or, at least he was imprisoned until he escaped shortly before the Spiders found his Prison. The exact reasons why the Rikti wanted the rod, including the Enigmatic Colonel leading their forces, remain unknown.
Also, sometime after the crash, Rook discovered something horrifying while following up on a Rikti scout attack.
Like had happened to so many other people in the Isles in recent months, she'd been cloned unknowingly. But not just once; an entire army of clones had been created by Preatorian forces, led by the Mysterious Alpha Rook Clone.
Why this had been done; was unknown. They didn't seem to be directly serving Praetoria's forces, and frequently acted on their own initiative. But one thing remained clear, after an aborted attack on the Asgard: They were hostile to the Shadow Spiders. And they wanted the Artifact for some nefarious purpose.
Rook is calm, collected and friendly. She is not given to extremes of emotion, and prefers to act based on logic. She has a tendency towards dry humor and sarcasm in her conversations, used as a defensive mechanism for the new social situations she's found in the Rogue Isles. Despite this friendly exterior, Rook is incredibly driven, her cause is her life, and she will do almost anything in support of it.
Her viewpoint is heavily based on Plato's The Republic. She believes in the philosopher king, that those who rule should be those best suited for it, those trained for it, not people winning a glorified popularity contest or inheriting their position. Everybody in society should achieve a position best suited to their talents, and positions should be filled by those best suited to do them. In order to achieve this, she also believes that it's necessary to tear down the existing social structures, so that society can be built anew. She's a firm believer in carefully planning her activities, she lives her life by the maxim that battles are won or lost before they're fought. This has resulted in great irritation with some of her more gung-ho compatriots, who like to charge in without thinking.
Rook is not a psychopath or a sociopath. She values human life, and only takes it when absolutely necessary, though she does acknowledge that death will be required to bring about her vision of a new society. She never, but never, kills casually or inflicts pain for no purpose. She views her acts of crime as battles in a war of ideologies, to be fought between soldiers on both sides, who know what they're getting into. She may occasionally abduct civilians, rob them or hold them hostage, but she won't kill or torture them, except under extreme duress.
She has recently fallen very much in love with Markel Darkweaver and has married him after a long courtship, and would do almost anything to keep him safe. Practically the only way to get her to abandon her philosophy, at least temporarily, is to threaten him, or Rook's sister, Rose. Though, in this case, abandonment of her philosophy means becoming absolutely driven and determined to kill whoever is threatening her family or her lover.
While Rosalyn is no longer the official CEO of Chesspiece (due to her arrest and criminal status), she still has the loyalty of the company officers, and runs it through her alias of Dr Helen Larranbe.
Chesspiece Enterprises has two primary areas of business. Weapons development and manufacture, and private military. Chesspiece Enterprises has numerous contracts with the DoD, and several other western countries, to produce and manufacture high tech equipment that modern militaries need to keep their edge on the battlefield. There's a heavy focus in drone technology, both due to its value in military actions, and Rook's heavy reliance on it. Chesspiece also provides security for corporations in high risk areas, using the equipment they manufacture in their role as an arms purveyor.
The unofficial purpose of Chesspiece is to provide Rosalyn, in her role as the Blood Red Rook, with her soldiers to carry out her villainous deeds, and the advanced equipment she uses in the crimes she commits.
Thanks to her activity in the Isles, she's gained access to plenty of advanced gear, alien weaponry, mad science and mystic items to funnel back to Chesspiece to be reverse engineered and mass produced, shooting her stock options higher than ever.
The biggest competitor of Chesspiece is Crey, though the situation is not reversed. Chesspiece Enterprises ia hornet at Crey's picnic, and Rosalyn tries to keep the company low key, to avoid attracting attention from Crey's intelligence division and their notoriously effective security staff.
Friends and Enemies
[Under a rewrite at the moment]
Friends and Allies
- Markel Smythe: Markel Smythe has become the center of Rook's life after joining the Spiders. Initially, their relationship was distant and professional, marked by disagreements over certain events, and the occasional zombie attack, but gradually, they grew closer, particularly after an operation where Rook thought herself to be dying and managed to rescue Arren with his assistance.
- During Rook's crisis with the Relic's of power, Markel was the first person who offered to assist her, and managed to save her from making a terrible mistake (at least, initially). While she did eventually ending up accepting a relic (under extreme duress), she was now well aware of the risks, and managed to avoid the worst of its affects on her soul, and would eventually get rid of it thanks to him, though that wouldn't come until later.
- The two of them drew closer to each other during this time, coming to admire each other, and, eventually, fall in love with each other, gifting each other locks on Valentine's day, and taking their relationship a step further. They were always beset by interruptions and complications... but they always managed to find time for each other, with Rook eventually moving into Markel's room on the Asgard. They would fight and work together, protect the Spiders together, and support each other in times of trouble (which were frequent in their life), but would always come back to each other.
- And then, after many trials and tribulations in their life, after Rook finally gave up the relic to try to save Markel from Zyren, they married. Rosalyn Taylor became Rosalyn Taylor-Smythe. There was a quiet ceremony in Avalonia, performed by Lezeral Avalar, a very dear friend to Rook and Markel and fellow officer in the Shadow Spiders, with all their closest friends and associates invited, followed by a honeymoon on a parallel earth with no other inhabitants.
- Their relationship since then has continued much as it did before. They work together, help the Shadow Spiders, and constantly suffer interruptions and crises during intimate moments.
- Rook would die for Markel. More importantly, she would kill for him if he was in danger. He is one of only a very few people who she would violate her code of ethics for. There is nothing that she wouldn't do to keep him safe if he was in danger.
- The Shadow Spiders: The Shadow Spiders have changed much in the year and a half that Rook has been with them. She initially signed on to further her own position with Arachnos, improve her own power and influence in order to better change the world, but it was Rook that changed instead.
- The Spiders were initially an Arachnos special forces branch operating on a special sanction. When their leader, Arbiter Starkweather, deserted them, the remaining members of the group decided to break off, none of them having any higher loyalty to Arachnos except for a few holdouts. They abandoned their base, set up a series of safe houses and made arrangements to start construction on a space ship, the Asgard, that would become their new home.
- Once the Spiders split from Arachnos, they couldn't help her anymore and weren't any good for her purposes... but she stayed with them. She found herself loyal to the group, considering them her friends. It wasn't about power or influence anymore, it was about protecting people she cared for. And that she has done, working tirelessly to keep her fellow Shadow Spiders safe and alive in her position as chief strategist.
- And in this, she and all the other Spiders have succeeded. They've successfully evaded Arachnos, established themselves on an orbital spaceship and made a powerful name for themselves... and Rook is actually happy and genuinely pleased to be with them. They may be the cause of stress and hardship at time, but at the end of the day, she knows she can trust her fellow Spiders, and repays that trust gladly.
- Crey: Chesspiece Enterprises, while nowhere near as big as Crey, frequently competes with them for military contracts and technology deals. They don't win very many contracts away from Crey, but have managed to pull off enough to irritate the Countess. And since Crey has no limitations in the dirty tricks they're willing to pull, this can get very ugly for Rook and Chesspiece. She's had her offices raided, scientists threatened and warehouses burned down and was once even abducted and interrogated personally by the Countess. Fortunately, Rook is not like most other corporate executives and managed to escape relatively quickly. And in her identity of the Blood Red Rook, she's more than willing to return the favor: Crey offices and plans are a favored target of hers, she hardly needs an excuse to launch up an attack on the military like Crey security forces.
Comments on the Blood Red Rook
<Feel free to add comments about the Blood Red Rook here>
- "She's got talent... and I like having her assistance when dealing with problems... she can keep watch over me while I'm distracted... I trust her"
- "The interruptions we suffer is almost comical. If it's not one thing, it's another. Even with our dark pasts and suffering crisis after crisis now, when I am with her I feel more happy than I have felt in a long, long time. The sheer normalcy of it is... pure bliss."
- "Rook, one of the most brightest minds I've ever met. Her role as the offical strategist is a great accomplishment and I congratulate her."
- "A lesson well learned, I should hope."
- "She's not a very sellable character. Yet she seems to not have been killed off by the writers. Interesting."
- "...Stupid girl... I'll keep pounding your head in 'till you learn that you're weak and I can do whatever I want... and there's nothing you can do to stop me..."
- "I flirt with her a lot. Well, not anymore. I just find that I need someone to oppose me, to tell me I'm insane. It keeps the juices flowing. Don't get me wrong, she's actually cute, but I'm dating someone. Oh, and there's the fact that she would literally kill me if I tried anything. But she's a brilliant mind, just a bit too logical. But a damn fine strategist, and a welcome hand in the club of officers for the Shadow Spiders."
- "She was quite an intelligent person, or at the very least when she still sided with Arachnos. The reason why I said 'she was' is because she'll be gone by the time anyone reads this..."
- "One of... maybe Six people I trust. That's a feat. Smart, cold, vicious. Perfection. One of the best things that ever happened to the Spiders was gettin' her."
- "Durin' m' time in the Spiders, yeah, I respected her. She might not have been even halfway as good with a gun as I am, but she was pretty fuckin' smart, I'll give her that. Too damn idealistic, though. You'd think with what she's been through she'd understand my side of things better."
- "Never before have I experienced kindness and been approached for anything short of requests of destiny. I am honored to call you my Sister."
- "Rook is one of the few truly level-headed people around here. She almost seems out of place among this little menagerie of weirdness. I've been here only a short time, but she still treats me with kindness and respect... and the fact that she trusts me to repair her equipment means a lot to me."
- "How I so enjoy our talks together..."
- "If you stop smiling, I'll have to hurt you."
- "Mrs. Rook? She is a wonderful person. I respect her endlessly, and would gladly do anything she asks of me."
- "I don't agree with her goals or methods. In fact, we've been known to argue about it. But deep down, she's a good person. I know it and she knows it... There's still a lot of good in this world and I hope she sees the beauty in that."