From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|The Mythic Lady Proserpine|
|Real Name:||Dr. Valerie Irene Spencer, PhD|
|Known Aliases:||The Grand High Ker, The Avatar|
|Species:||Apotheothene (Deified Mortal)|
|Age:||30 (soul is 60)|
|Eye Color:||Ice Blue|
|Nationality:||Dual British/American Citizen|
|Occupation:||Grand High Ker, East Coast of the United States|
|Place of Birth:||London, England|
|Base of Operations:||Asphodel Headquarters, The Dark Place|
|Known Relatives:||Virginia Spencer (née O'Grady, mother), Victor Spencer (father, deceased), Violet Jameson (née Spencer, sister), Vincent Spencer (brother), Arthur Jameson (brother-in-law), William Reynolds (brother's domestic partner), Albrecht Stiles (ex-husband)|
|Temperature control, regeneration, teleportation, dimensional travel, soul transport, various magics.|
|Archmage Designate mystic under M.A.G.I. criteria.|
|Various magical paraphernalia and grimoires.|
The Lady Proserpine, Grand High Ker of the East Coast of the United States, Avatar of the Dark Lady, Handmaiden of Persephone, Tutelary of the Deceased, and Archmage of Stygia, real name Valerie Spencer, is a Security Level 50 heroine and Archmage Designate under M.A.G.I. criteria. She is particularly noted for her vast mystical powers, with which she has aided the heroes of Paragon City on numerous occasions. Largely retired from active heroism, she now serves primarily as an advisor and mystical resource for other heroes, as well as a consultant for M.A.G.I.
Rider on a Pale Horse
Upon entering the inner sanctum of the temple with MacDonald, Valerie stood in awe of the enormous statue of Persephone, Queen of Hades and the Goddess of the Dead. The temple was apparently not of Hades, but rather, of his Lady. (According to Spencer, the temple was dedicated to the Mysteries of Eleusis, an ancient rebirth cult which worshipped Persephone and her mother Demeter. Attempts to locate it have failed, as if it has disappeared. It is posited that the temple was an extension of the Dark Place.) As she leaned forward to touch the marble figure, Valerie was suddenly struck by an incredible cold. Whirling around to scream for help, she saw the professor completely encased in ice.
As she writhed in the agony of the frost, she heard the voice of the goddess in her ears. Granted a choice between her death, which had been Fated by the Moirae, or becoming a proxy of the goddess, she accepted the latter. She had been Chosen as an avatar, an instrument of the goddess on our material plane. Spencer was granted power over the cold snap of death, and physically enhanced. Standing at over eight feet tall, and in peak physical condition, Valerie became more than human. She was then taken to the Dark Place, where she was personally trained by the witch goddess Hekate in various schools of magic. When her training was complete, she was shocked to learn she had spent thirty years on the plane, having experienced only a week. Time in the Dark Place apparently runs on a different scale. According to Spencer, our concept of 'time' generally does not exist on the Olympian deific planes. She was returned to Earth only a second after she'd left, returned to Paragon City by mystical means. MacDonald, as reported by several news agencies, was killed in a car crash later that evening, as had been originally Fated for them both.
Taking the Roman name of the goddess, Valerie defends Paragon City as Lady Proserpine. Though she has immense power over ice and cold, her primary duty is to release those souls headed for the Dark Place from their mortal bodies and then ferry them to the River Styx. Valerie has also been given the task of stopping those who would make a mockery of her goddess's realm; the life-draining mages of the Circle of Thorns, the soul-binding vixens of the Carnival of Shadows, the necromancers of the Banished Pantheon, and the wretched servants of Doctor Vahzilok are but a few of these perverters of death. She only kills if innocent lives are in danger, but she has no qualms in doing so. Bearing considerable magical talents, Spencer has used her abilities with ritual to aid other heroes in overcoming great threats and crises, and will always try everything in her power to find a solution to problems the city faces.
In Recent Years
Approximately six months after she acquired her powers, Spencer came in contact with the group known as the Dauntless Reverie, a fellowship of individuals with lives intertwined in the arcane. She joined the group following an audience with their acting leader, the illusionist Niranen Einar. Dedicating herself to the group, Spencer was promoted and given the title of Anointed Captain, following a ritual ceremony. Not long afterward, she fell in love with fellow captain Albrecht Stiles, a.k.a. "The Haunted Nanuq", and after a whirlwind romance the two were married.
This marriage did not last long, and while the two remain friends they divorced the following summer. Stiles retired from active heroing, while Spencer left the Dauntless Reverie to accept an offer of promotion from the Dark Lady. Assuming the position of Grand High Ker for the East Coast of the United States, Valerie now supervises the ferrying of souls rather than performing the duty herself. She is something like a middle manager in the corporation-like hierarchy of the Dark Place. Upon accepting this promotion, she was granted divine wings by her patron goddess, and the immortality she had sacrificed to destroy a global threat years earlier was restored.
Now mostly retired from heroic duty, Spencer visits the mortal plane to assist heroes when called by magical means, and occasionally checks on the friends she has made during her stay on Earth. She works closely with the Dark Lady's nephew, The Psychopomp, who also serves in the capacity of tutelary for the deceased.
Powers and Abilities
The Cold Fire of Tartarus: The Lady Proserpine's primary combative power is the Cold Fire, the divine energy of the Winter Queen Persephone that courses through her veins. By channeling this primal force, she is able to control temperatures, produce minor weather effects, and synthesize ice and snow from thin air. She can shape this ice and snow into objects, use it to entrap her foes, or propel it forward in pressurized blasts.
Guise of the Reaper: In order to prevent newly dead souls from panicking at the sight of a Reaper, all agents tasked with the guidance of the deceased have the ability to render themselves completely invisible.
Hekate's Blessing: By whispering an invocation to the Goddess of Witchcraft and Crossroads, Valerie is able to defy gravity and fly through the air. This spell has become largely unnecessary now that she has been gifted wings by the Dark Lady.
Off the Books: As a Reaper, Valerie is immortal. She briefly sacrificed this trait to destroy the rampaging spirit of the previous Lady Proserpine, Countesse Erzsebet Bathory, but her longevity was restored when she accepted the promotion to Grand High Ker and as a result gave up most of her mortal life. Regardless of her mortal or immortal state, Valerie, like all of the Reapers, heals at an advanced rate and does not scar.
Planestepper: As part of her station, Valerie has been granted the ability to travel at will between Earth and The Dark Place, with little more than a thought. She can also teleport people and objects through the void, bringing them to a different location by way of temporarily pulling them though the Dark Place. Doing this requires an incantation to Hekate, and objects she wishes to transport must be prepared with a ritual beforehand. She can also partially shift herself between the planes, making her body intangible.
Ritualist: With the proper research and the proper materials, Valerie is capable of various mystical effects. These things take time, however, and there are limitations (detailed below) on the types of spells she can perform. In the past, Valerie has employed her mystic talents to perform such tasks as calling forth a message from the spirit of a deceased loved one, projecting herself astrally, curing a woman of a vampiric illness, divining the nature of a foe, and binding an evil homunculus.
Archmage: The Lady Proserpine is an extremely skilled mystic, trained in the art of sorcery by Hekate herself. She has been officially designated as an Archmage-level magical practitioner by M.A.G.I.
Educator: Before she was Chosen, Valerie Spencer had recently acquired a PhD in Classical Civilization, at a rather remarkably young age. She was serving as a teaching assistant for her then-fiancé, Dr. Rudolph MacDonald. For a time after her transformation, she worked teaching into her schedule, and she is still a capable instructor.
Fencer: As part of her Reaper training, Valerie was instructed in the art of swordplay by the Greek goddess Pallas Athene. She is an extremely skilled swordfighter, and generates a sword made of ice, called The Blade of the Lady, for use in combat. Of late, she has been instructing newer Reapers in the way of the blade.
Linguist: Valerie is fluent in English, Latin, Arabic, German, Greek, and the Olympian language of the gods. She can also read Classical Greek.
Deference: Valerie must obey the orders of an Olympian deity who outranks her in the pantheon, as her very existence is that of a servant to the divine.
Height: At a staggering eight feet tall, Valerie has trouble with many day-to-day activities. Doors are a problem. Shopping for clothes is an event that requires personal tailoring.
The Natural Law: As an agent of the Goddess of Life and Death, Valerie is unable to undertake any action which might violate the natural laws of the universe. This includes, but is not limited to: reanimation of the dead, destruction of souls, transplantation of souls, blood sacrifices, blood magic in general, and the destruction of spatial fabrics. Similarly, when faced with a person who violates the natural law, she must resist the compulsion to destroy them.
The Dark Place
The Dark Lady: The goddess called Kore Persephone by the Greeks and Cora Proserpine or Proserpina by the Romans. She has assumed control of The Dark Place after her husband's retirement, and has updated things considerably. The kingdom now looks far less like a kingdom and more like a vast corporate empire.
Hekate: The goddess of Magic and Crossroads, she was Valerie's mentor in the mystical arts and has provided her with much of her arcane arsenal.
Franak "Fran" Ashm'dai: An empousa, and Valerie's secretary and research assistant. She is a bit crabby on occasion but is a big help when large threats are looming.
Mimi the Beholder: Another secretary, and though not actually assigned to Valerie she often helps Fran with research.
Medea: A powerful sorceress of antiquity, she passes the time in the Elysian Fields by tutoring the Reapers in witchcraft. Hekate often sent Valerie to Medea for lessons.
Captain Valor: Valerie was introduced to the Captain by their mutual friend Niranen Einar, and a strong friendship quickly blossomed. At times, Valerie's flirtatious nature and obvious interest in Valor as more than a friend made him flustered, but this subsided when she met her future husband. When Valor temporarily retired from duty, Valerie was present at his farewell party.
Niranen Einar: The Elvish illusionist inducted Valerie into the Dauntless Reverie, and later promoted her to the rank of Anointed Captain. Though Valerie has since left the group, she and Einar remain very close, and socialise on occasion when the latter is on Earth.
The Elysienne: Charlotte Kennedy is perhaps the only person whom Valerie has ever regarded with a maternal instinct. Mothering is something usually lost on her, as an agent of death rather than birth, but something about Kennedy demanded caring attention. When Valerie left the Dauntless, she chose Charlotte to replace her as an Anointed Captain, and in the time since she has returned on occasion to offer counsel on various arcane issues in the spirit conduit's life.
The Psychopomp: The Dark Lady's nephew and perhaps Valerie's only true confidante, Hermod Imy-ut is her most trusted friend and the only co-worker she feels entirely comfortable with. Valerie occasionally assists Imy-ut's compatriots in the Liberty League.
Gregor Richardson: A frequent consultant to M.A.G.I., Valerie is close friends with their Galaxy City representative, Gregor Richardson. The two have worked together on numerous occasions, and Richardson often contacts her for advice.
Shia and the Royal Jester: Old friends, older allies, and a welcome source of mirth in Valerie's often grim life. While Val adores them both, she is slightly unnerved by Shia's sudden marriage to Hermod, which places Shia above her in the pantheon.
Shinsektor: Valerie doesn't quite understand Shinsektor, but then who does? In the time since they met, she has come to his aid on a number of occasions, and he has done the same for her. Perhaps an unlikely friendship, but one strong enough to stand the test of time.
Star Ember: The first time Star Ember and the Lady Proserpine met, the former exploded in terror at the latter's display of supernatural powers. In the years since that day, Valerie has tried to help Marty become a more confident and self-actualised person. Though they do not see each other often, anymore, Val does her best to ask after and keep track of Marty and her significant other, the angel Atuniel.
Risia Tremane: Valerie sort of took this young sorceress under her wing during her time with the Dauntless, and is exceedingly proud of the feats Tremane has accomplished in the time since.
The White Geisha: The mysterious weaver has been a source of confusion and clarity in the time that she and Valerie have been acquainted. The Geisha calls her 'Avatar', and offers sage but cryptic advice when it is needed. In the world of the arcane, The White Geisha is one of the very few people that Valerie considers a superior.
The Pale Lady
On Praetorian Earth, Valerie Spencer's immense inborn talent for magic was catalyzed at a younger age, when she froze a classmate to death during a playground argument. Immediately detected by Diabolique, Tyrant's magical advisor, she was brought in for study and training, her parents eliminated. As Diabolique's adopted daughter, she became a fearsome mystical combatant, and her power became that much more intense when she was transformed into a vampire by a demon's bite. As the torturemistress of Diabolique and Infernal's chambers, she is known for her brutality and sociopathy. In 2005 she made a brief visit to Earth Prime on an errand for Diabolique.
In the dystopian future of Axis Amerika, Oberst Valerie Spencer is a high-ranking official in the Third Reich's occult division. She wields powerful ice magic and tangled with the heroes of Paragon City during a brief transdimensional mix-up.
The Lady Proserpine is my ode to Greek and Roman mythology, a particular passion of mine. She manages to handily combine this passion with my love for superheroes and comic books. Val draws heavily on Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate, Zatanna, Amanda Sefton and other comic book magicians. The Dark Place and its inhabitants owe a lot of their characterization to the comic strip Dilbert by Scott Adams.
Initially, Valerie wore a very simple costume, primarily black with pale blue flame accents and the 'reaper' cowl. At level 20 her story had progressed to the point where she could wear the Mantle, the armour of the Reapers, and that became her primary combat gear. Now at level 50 she has a number of costumes in similar black and pale blue colours, as well as the black and gold toga that she wears in her capacity as Grand High Ker.