the new dawn, broken...
In 1874, a select number of families were chosen to participate in an experiment funded by the Sunlight for Humanity League. These ninety families, gathered from across the globe, would be the forerunners to the next step in human evolution and revitalization. Culling the families from the aristocracy from around the globe, such “famous” names as Selous, Lupin, Mayfair, Stiboons, Savage and Quartermain were initially brought into the fold. Others were offered, many refused.
The progenitors of the SHL, ignoring a rise in population, with a startling spike in the early 1800’s; believed that the race was on the brink of extinction. The League set about on their quest to not only save the human race from itself, but to also improve on nature’s design. It was decided that the League would use each of the ninety to pursue a different line of study.
In 1901 the first leap in “genetic engineering” was witnessed from one of the offspring of the families. The young girl, at the age of seven, was able to retain the knowledge of an entire dictionary. It was written that she could recite any and all entries in the dictionary with amazing accuracy, only having problems with words that began with the letter “D”.
This breakthrough ushered in the next phase for the SHL. The dictionary girl, was but the first of 16 children that followed in rapid succession showing signs of the Leagues extremes making progress in “manufactured evolution”. Most of the children developed similar abilities such as empathic learning, neuro-muscular and regenerative physiology control.
As time progressed the League became diseased, seeking not only to perfect and save the human race, but to help cleanse it of its “defects” as well. This brought the League in direct contact with the Nazi forces under control of Adolph Hitler in 1933. With this alliance, even the first altruistic, but misguided, intentions of the group were lost. Many left the organization, still believing in their dreams. Families such as the Savages and the Lupins, went on to great acclaim and discovery. Others that stayed with the sinister cause found themselves working alongside the 5th Column in later years.
Adolph Hitler, with the children of the SHL.
The Nazi regime sought many ways to gain control of the world; everything from arcane studies to biological engineering was researched…and abused. The League adopted many of these practices. The Sunlight for Humanity League had become a thing of destruction, not salvation. Its twisted experiments would darken the soul of many.
Even though the Thousand Year Reich did not fulfill its destiny, it had a lasting effect on the organization. The League survives to this day, having followed a twisted new direction; the purification of mankind through any means necessary. Diabolical experimentation, occult research, super technological advancement, mystical artifacts hunted from one end of the world to the other, nothing is far from the outstretched iron glove of the SHL.
As with any threat against the natural order, there is always a force that comes to oppose it. Since shortly after the allegiance of the SHL and the Hitler run Nazi Regime a few distinct individuals banded together under no official rank or color to stand against the growing darkness. Most were considered heroes, others just people caught in the wrong place at the right time. Names such as Quartermain, Selous, and even the adventuring Jones family would all unite together. These extraordinary assemblages of men and women have lasted throughout the conflict. Many have since re-organized as Bureaus, Fraternities, even Leagues of their own, some carrying on traditions that have ties to a time before the SHL.
The St.Clair’s, one of the original ninety families of the SHL, had aligned itself with one such grouping, honoring the traditions of it's progenitors this menagerie would stand, steadfast against many a supernatural threat. They have followed the original practices of the League; each child born into the collective is subjected to an extensive educational program, strict dietary regime and physical training from very early on. They have tempered the extreme measures with which the SHL had developed however, and along with the Savage and Mayfair families, are believed to be the most successful and enduring of the legacy.
One such family member was a man named Elijah St.Clair. He was a product of the Sunlight for Humanity League’s second generation of achievements shortly before the St.Clair family left the organization. He was an adventurer by heart and deed; Elijah pursued this path in the form of hunting down occult and mystic artifacts. Safeguarding them, sometimes destroying them, all in an attempt to keep them from the Sunlight League and their ilk.
Over time this had become the St.Clair legacy. While the Jones’ or Quartermain’s would occasionally cross paths with mythic devices and deal with the props accordingly, it was the St.Clair's who claimed this mission as their own. The St.Clair’s were successful in this endeavor, having secreted away many artifacts in a hidden vault under the shores of Rhode Island which became their base of operations, their home.
One notable exception to their artifact hunting was mention of a fable, a prophecy if you will, of a warrior born in the coming century that would be the guardian of the realm. This prophecy mentioned a child born with a birthmark on their leg, Kelsey's mother bore such a mark; similar in fashion but seemingly 'incomplete'. This had become a field of research for them as well; many signs and markers in the old stories mimicked much of their family history, as well as current events. This led them to believe they had a connection to this legend far more than simple coincidence.
Elijah St.Clair and many of his like-minded friends.
In 1942 Elijah followed a bloody trail of lies, deceit and murder back home to Ireland.
Through many translated texts he had discovered the location of an item of nearly immeasurable power. It was said that, when harnessed, it would allow the caster to call forth lightning from the skies, and make the weather bend to its will. It was fabled to be one of the artifacts that when combined with fifteen others could call forth the dread Harbingers of Nil. One such item had already been discovered and was hidden away with the Jones family, one of the families that turned down the initial invitation to the Sunlight for Humanity League all those years ago.
While on the trail of this device, Elijah disappeared somewhere outside of County Cork, his last communication with his family stated he had indeed found the exact location of the “Storm Hammer”. With his disappearance, all hope of finding the artifact was thought lost. Elijah was not a trusting sort, and given the line of business he was in, he committed everything to memory. With his disappearance, his wife and the mother of their now 15 year old child, continued their quest using the vast resources she had at her disposal to launch a two-pronged attack. The first and foremost was of course the search to find her husband, and the second obviously the quest for the lost relics. Neither the item nor her husband was ever reported found.
the rising son...
Young Kelsey St.Clair had already followed in his father’s footsteps, even at an early age. He had shown an amazing resiliency as a youngster, recovering faster than normal from scrapes and bruises, all due to the diet and physical program that had been perfected before his birth. Intensive educational studies with a focus on history, archeology, and the occult were standard fair for the St.Clair family, and especially Kelsey, who grasped the concepts and ideas with ease. By the time he was 18 the young St.Clair had already become a globetrotter in his own right, having spent the last two years under the tutelage of a Dr. Quest in India.
The Vault and it's creator, Sir Isaac Marley.
Around the age of 24 Kelsey had recovered a sacred chalice, used in ceremonies throughout the Middle Ages of Eastern Europe. This was his first find such as this, and with it came another first; the first time he had ever set foot in The Vault. It had been a few years since the heavy doors had been opened, even though Mira St.Clair had continued her husband’s work she had lacked his aptitude for it.
Now though, as Kelsey walked through the reinforced doors he could feel what he described as his father’s spirit. He had made a few attempts at locating him, often accompanying his mother on her many excursions, but when he walked into this room he could feel a fire course through his veins. Instinctively knew where his father was, as if Elijah was calling out to his son from beyond the grave. Once his mother was informed of this unimaginable development all focus was diverted to their quest. They needed to know what had happened to their beloved.
Once in Shannon, Mira and Kelsey gathered a few of their loyal compatriot’s to assist with the expedition, not wanting to trust the locals or risk alerting the Sunlight for Humanity League of their whereabouts. Following his instincts, and the fragments of data Mira had collected, Kelsey eventually found the entrance to this forgotten tomb. The troupe traveled down the gorge nearly a mile before Kelsey found a flattened outcropping.
Following clues Mira had found, they deduced a portion of the riddle. To see the entrance to the protected sanctuary you had to stand with your back to the rock formation and look over your shoulder through splintered metal.
Walking backwards toward the site Kelsey seemed to be engulfed by the rock, as if it had turned liquid upon his approach, the others followed suit. Once on the other side of the rock doorway the group marveled at what they had found. A long chamber stretched before them carved out of what seemed to be one large mass of bronze. The pillars and steps, the inlay, the supporting arches, all of it was a seamless piece of the most brilliant metal ever seen. It glowed with no light source upon it. They had indeed found the Hall of Storms.
To their astonishment at the far side of the hall, nearly a mile long itself, sat the near mummified remains of Elijah St.Clair. It was obvious from the condition of his skull, and the Nazi uniformed skeleton at his side, that Elijah was not the only one to have found the relic. Mira was past tears at this point though; having made peace with the fact her husband had lost the never-ending battle. Instead she smiled, knowing that he had died protecting humanity, living his dream, fulfilling his destiny.
Kelsey too didn’t react as one might guess; instead he quietly knelt before his father’s stoic remains. A voice in his head, saying “thank you” reverberated through him as he reached forward. It was hard to see given the glowing illumination of the hall, but his father clutched something in his near skeletal left hand. Kelsey touched the hand as the others gasped and stepped back. The reaction wasn't for nothing though, as the hand reached out on its own, offering its contents to the son of it’s would be protector.
It was a small wooden carving of a hammer, nothing ornate, but the power in it was palatable.
The young St.Clair grasped the totem, clutching it in his own left hand, as the remains of his father crumbled before him. It seemed Elijah’s mission was done.
Retreating back to Rhode Island, the St.Clairs made no mention of having found Elijah there. As far as anyone knew he had been lost in the sands of Egypt, never to be seen again. Kelsey however didn’t stow the artifact away in the vault like his father would have done. Kelsey believed that these items needed to be proactively protected, that the forces that sought them out didn’t just need to be defended against… but destroyed outright.
Feeling the power flowing through the carving, he felt he had an understanding of the device. He would use its power as a force of good. Over the next few years Kelsey quickly came to understand the power he controlled, harnessing it to change his form, to light the sky on fire as it had been foretold. Then, the 5th Column and the SHL caught up to him.
The St.Clair Manor, one year before the "gas leak" that destroyed it.
Mira and Kelsey found themselves defending their home from the 5th Column and it's cohorts, many of their allies arriving during the confrontation. Two of the League’s most diabolical agents, Tick Tock and Grimalkyn arrived during the final assault on the St.Clair Estate killing most of the families’ allies in the process. As Kelsey employed many of his father's inventions to fend off the attack, Mira went about a much more final solution. Kelsey fought a small grouping of Sunlight Agents in the antechamber as Mira blared in over the short-wave radio pleading for him to get out of the manor. He ignored her pleas, continuing to defend hearth, home... and his legacy.
Lady St.Clair, running out of time and praying that Kelsey had followed her requests, reached for a small gray box on the lab table as Grimalkyn and Tick Tock emerged from the shadows. Understanding what she was going to do, they both lunged at her with death in their eyes. Grimalkyn nearly sliced off her arm as Tick Tock gutted her with his razor covered fingertips. Mira St.Clair laughed as she fell into a puddle of herself.
The two diabolical warriors stood triumphant over the woman, not understanding how she could laugh given that every breath spilled more of her life onto the stone floor. Kelsey burst into the room, screaming as he saw his mother. Mira turned over, shocked at her son being here if for nothing else, gurgling blood from her nose and mouth as she stuttered.
She gazed into her sons eyes with love and understanding as he held up the Storm Hammer.
The switch was flipped on the small gray box as she had fallen, and the countdown had begun. Suddenly, the St.Clair Manor exploded, engulfing much of the property in a ball of white flame, claiming the lives of anyone that was within a mile radius in an instant… reducing it all to nothing more than ashes. It would later be blamed on a horrible "gas leak and chemical accident".
No one knew that under those ashes, located just off the coast would lay devices of wonder and power the likes the world should never see again. One of those devices, the medallion that Kelsey had clutched in his hand would come to lay to rest there as well. After the explosion, the charred body of the young St.Clair had drug itself down to the vault, staying alive with the help of the ancient power that resided in the bronze trinket until it was safe for it to rest… safe for him to regenerate.
from the ashes...
In 1970 a middle-aged man with longish hair and burn scars over the majority of his body emerged and claimed stake in the St.Clair family estate. The holdings had been safeguarded by the Quartermains since the horrible accident. Declaring himself to be Kelly St.Clair, a long lost relative of the esteemed family, he took possession of the land where the manor had once stood. In the years since the decimation, the Quatermains and Jones family had cleaned the land of the debris, turning it into a private park and recreations center for
In the construction of the park and recreation center, the Quartermains had moved the Vault and its contents wholly untouched up the coastline, nearer Paragon City and their base of operations. It was kept underground and a fortress of sorts was built around it, this is where Kelly had awoken, this was now where he made his home.
Kelly followed the path set by his family’s friends, letting the St.Clair Foundation handle the day to day operations of the organization as he went about the original work his ancestors had begun. The man had confided in the Fraternity that he was indeed and actually Kelsey St.Clair, having survived the explosion all those years ago thanks to the Storm Hammer. The Hammer itself now resided inside the Vault, safe from abuse by both sides of the fight.
Kelly traveled the globe for many years, finding and secreting away many artifacts of unnatural power. Many times he would stumble upon writings bringing the old legacy of the Sixteenth Warrior to the forefront of his studies. It was during one of these fact finding missions that Kelly met a young lady by the name of Isabella Fergerson. Fergerson herself was a ghost hunter of sorts, her line of duty though was more in the vein of debunking mysteries, than finding the relics that empowered the old tales. The two were entwined in the study of the prophesied warrior though, having found they shared ties to the fable through their lineage. Isabella's mother had bore another portion of the birthmark as Kelly’s grandmother (actually Kelsey’s own mother Mira) had. This one was more complete, yet still lacked the detail the old text described.
This match soon turned romantic and the two began traveling the world together. Soon however, Isabella had to put her adventures on hold, and take a more maternal role in their shared life. She had become pregnant. Izzy became the figurehead for the St.Clair Foundation at this point; taking a more hands on role in the organization; nurturing the business and making it flourish. It became a stalwart supporter of the Rhode Island area, and is to this day a boon to the community.
the sixteenth born...
The pregnancy was normal, even though fate would ensure the day of the birth was not. That day has been earmarked as a tragedy over all for the close-knit community. From stillbirths, to complications during delivery, to three pregnant women, and soon after their children as well, dying in unrelated accidents on their way to the hospital, their little baby girl was the only one to survive the day and declare October 31st, that year, as its birth date.
This made the little girl an almost instant celebrity, and the media stalked the St.Clair family, wanting interviews and comments on the tragic day. Everyone wanted a piece of the family whose child was the only one out of 17 births to have survived the entire debacle. After a few months of living in reclusion, the family moved out of the country to Ballyskelligs Bay, Ireland, Kelly’s homeland and his father’s birthplace. Using influence Kelly didn’t like to abuse, they changed their daughter’s place of birth on her certificate. If they had their say about it, Danielle St.Clair would never know she was the survivor of, and the sixteenth born on, the Day of 16 Deaths.
Kelly and Izzy were troubled over other things as well. The prophecy that had originally united them and their family, seemed to be inexplicably tied to, had left its mark on their daughter as well. Young Danielle had a birthmark on her right hip, like her “great” grandmother... and her mother... but complete. A bird, with wings outspread could be seen in the discoloration if you looked at it with a knowing eye. This rattled them. The Gregorian Year was right, the events surrounding her birth were similar if given a broad look at the “facts”… had they given birth to the Phoenix Acolyte?
Given what they believed, both Kelly and Izzy came to understand they had to prepare their child knowing that if the prophecy was true (and at this point, how could it no be), they had thrust their child in the Never Ending Battle simply by bringing her life.
They had no choice but to ensure she would be able to survive this world they had accidentally given her to. She followed the same regime the St.Clair family had for over six decades; intense studies, strict discipline in mind and body. All of this would hopefully allow her to survive, to flourish, and maybe even to fulfill her birthright.
today it begins...