From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Once two beings, Murenthalis (a Shadowling) and Katrina (a human), this woman now calls herself MurKat. She is an amalgamation of her previous selves, containing their memories and personalities. Whether or not she is a completely new being is up for debate, as she is only the third such amalgamation known to exist on this plane.
Kat's body has been visibly marked by the symbiosis with her Shadowling friend, "Mur". The most obvious is that she finds it incredibly painful to talk naturally, and even mildly painful to talk even with magical/technological aids. Most of the time, she resorts to either typing a response on her Blackberry, writing on a pad of paper, or using a combination of expressive gestures and facial expressions. The other obvious mark is that her skin is now covered with a series of indigo glyphs that almost resemble birth marks rather than tattoos. New glyphs are occasionally added on a (seemingly) random basis. Her hands are the most tightly covered with these glyphs, rendering the skin almost blue from any distance away.
There are also less noticeable changes as well. Her eyesight has been changed, making even complete darkness as clear as daylight to her, but rendering her vulnerable to sudden flashes of light. She has often compared sudden flashes to normal people being hit with a flash-bang grenade in the face. To shield herself from daylight, she often wears a deep cowl that provides enough protection she can function without too much pain. Often the only skin showing on her body are her glyph-covered hands, which she rarely gloves. The rest of her skin is nearly white, due to the fact it hasn't seen sunlight in many years. Even when not wearing a cowl, she tends to face her body away from any light sources in the room, or squint.
An obvious sign of Mur's presence is the shadowy tendrils that occasionally drift around her hands when she is distracted or agitated, and the more obvious tendrils/tentacles that emerge when she is engaged in protecting her allies.
Since her "rebirth", MurKat has had several physiological changes. The most obvious is that her hair is now completely white, due to various stresses on her system. Physically, her apparent age reflects her reservoirs of life energy. The more life energy she maintains within her system, the closer to her early 20s her physical appearance is. Stresses on this resource can visibly age her, especially if she runs low during healing. When this occurs, MurKat can cannibalize her physical body to fuel her healing energy, converting mass to energy. This only happens on rare occasions under desperate circumstances, and it is theorized MurKat could cannibalize herself to death if not careful.
When agitated, shadows around her tend to reflect MurKat's move, behaving and moving in a liquid fashion, often seeming to crowd closer as if seeking to comfort the woman.
Kat is incredibly kind-hearted and trusting (especially for someone living in the Isles), as evidenced by the fact that she volunteered to take a dying Shadowling into her body and serve as its host. She is drawn to help those in need, often acting as a healer not only of bodies, but of minds, hearts, and souls. Oddly, she seems to show no signs of fear, even in cases where a little fear would be wise. Most often, it is curiosity that drives her to ask as many questions as her current target will answer. Fortunately, she is sometimes easily distracted by tangents, forgetting to come back to the main line of questioning during that session. For those she has adopted as friends or surrogate family, she affects a more motherly demeanor, often worrying over their state of health or happiness.
She is slowly becoming more perceptive, as her innate subliminal empathy grows and develops. Often, she only has to talk with a person a little while to get a rather accurate idea of what sort of person they are, even if they try to pretend to be something else. Her curiosity and determination to protect those around her has also lead her to extend more arcane senses during her studies of magic. However, for her to use these senses, she must descend into a light trance that leaves her almost oblivious to the world around her.
Her recent duties as the "Aspect of Life" for the Phoenix Insurrection have matured her further. Most of the time, she manages to juggle her volunteer work at local hospitals, her studies (she is scheduled to graduate near Christmas), and the various tasks she takes on herself to protect and nurture her charges. One has to wonder how many irons she can keep in the fire without eventually getting burned.
Since her 'Rebirth', MurKat has spent much time coming to terms with the multiple millennia of memories that had belonged to her Shadowling half, as well as the loneliness of being a single entity, rather than a dual one. Still, those who knew here are comforted to know she still maintains the compassion of her human side, even if it is sometimes tempered with the practicality and drive of her Shadowling half. Her empathy has blossomed into a gift that allows her to project images and concepts into others, allowing her a primitive form of communication similar to the method of communication her previous selves shared together.
It is fortunate she has entered into a light soul-bond with her "sister" Mirey, another Shadowling-Human amalgamation. Mirey provides a much-needed stability to her psyche, allowing her to better weather the various slings and arrows life hands those who try to fight for the good of others.
Because of her new state of being, MurKat has grown more focused on ensuring her Duty to protect all Radiants is fulfilled. Woe betide anyone who tries to harm one of her Charges, as she will act with almost uncharacteristic (for those who know her as a sweet pacifist) ruthlessness to protect them.
Kat grew up in the ordinary suburb, as a perfectly normal child. Her insatiable curiosity and zest for knowledge set her a bit apart from the rest of the children. She was the quiet nerd in the corner, always reading, and never had too many close friends. However, she did have a close relationship with her family, and her younger brother, James.
However, things change. Kat was 15 when she found a Shadowling named Murenthalis, wasting away in the sunlight. She carefully scooped it up, taking it to her parents' basement to protect it. The two disparate beings had a brief discussion not involving words, then Kat agreed to act as the Shadowling's Host so it would not die. Some changes were immediate. Kat awoke from the shock of their joining, finding that attempting to speak caused her incredible agony. She also noted shadowy tendrils tended to drift from her skin if she and Mur weren't paying attention to keeping them under control. Other changes came in time. Gradually, her eyesight at night became so acute that daylight was painful for her. Then, there were the glyphs.
The glyphs on Kat's skin began to appear after the first tragedy of her young life. When walking home from school with her brother, James was struck by a drunk driver and seriously injured. Urged by her Shadowling friend, and relying on pure instinct, Kat managed to heal most of the physical damage, though she nearly killed both herself and the driver in the process. (The driver later died in the hospital.) Unfortunately, the loss of her own energy caused her to go unconscious before she could heal the trauma to James's brain. When Kat awoke, she found a line of indigo glyphs on both arms, and her brother in a coma. James never recovered conscious, and after a difficult period of time, her parents yielded to the inevitable. James was brain-dead and would never recover. It was time to disengage life support.
Other glyphs appeared over time, seemingly at random intervals whenever Kat and Mur worked together to do something. The final straw for her school was when she publicly healed a cheerleader's broken arm in the middle of the Homecoming Football Game. The school requested that her parents remove Kat and place her into a private school usually reserved for juvenile delinquents. After a year-long legal battle, Kat's parents won the right for Kat to remain in the High School long enough to receive her diploma. A social outcast, surrounded by children who feared her obvious differences, Kat threw herself into her studies and graduated a year early. Her academic achievements won her a full scholarship to Paragon University. Perhaps, she thought, she would be less ostracized in a city known for the people who were "different".
A Paragon Hero
Her time in Paragon City was brief, but informative. She changed Majors shortly after she arrived at the University, from Engineering to Medieval History. She also registered formally as a "Hero", once she realized she and Mur really could make a difference, even in the "City of Heroes". However, she never truly made any close friends in Paragon, either in her University studies or during her after-hours Hero work. Then she learned of a place where both Heroes and Villains gathered - an interdimensional club known as "Pocket D".
Kat spent quite a bit of time frequenting Pocket D, enjoying watching the various people who visited the club, and occasionally having "conversations" with them, either using gestures or writing notes on the notepad a friend named Joe had given her.
A Chance Meeting
Oddly, it was Kat's sensitivity to light that caused her to literally run into a man named Run Riot, who was also drinking at the bar. Though he was a bit standoffish at first, Kat learned that he was the leader of a group called "Inevitable Evolution". Surprisingly, to her, the group was dedicated to making the Rogue Isles a better place. Though she didn't quite agree with the methods Riot said he'd used, she eventually was drawn in when she saw him with his daughter and the other children he had taken responsibility for. This, she thought, was what she had to do: protect the people of the Isles who couldn't protect themselves. There were plenty of heroes in Paragon, but so few in the Isles.
Moving to the Isles
A few weeks later, Kat had mostly moved to the Rogue Isles, taking an apartment in the better section of Sharkhead Island. To her surprise and delight, her new group welcomed her as a family member, and she responded in kind. Even more surprising (to her) was her meeting with Mortal Man, and their subsequent romance (urged on by Run Riot). Her healing skills have improved, as has her symbiosis with Mur. In addition, due to a tragedy where Clint (Unleashed Force) was duped into being the cause of death of his own daughter, she has changed her major at the University again from History to Magical Studies. Driven by the need to prevent future tragedies, Kat studies almost every waking second when she is not helping her friends or looking for innocents to succor.
After a time, she chose to follow her friend, Clint Sanders, also known as Unleashed Force, and help him create a group known as Phoenix Insurrection]. As the Aspect of Life, she seeks to protect and nurture the members of the Insurrection, as well as others in the Isles.
When the past came back to haunt her closest friend, Jaime Synge, it came with a vengeance. The Skinless One, an aspect of a malevolent ancient force, took controlling interest of Jaime's soul and left the man in near-catatonia. Driven both by Kat's friendship with the unpredictable warlock and by Mur's oath to protect beings like Jaime, the pair worked tirelessly with the members of the Phoenix Insurrection to try to liberate the shards of Jaime's soul from their imprisonment.
Such things don't come without a price, however. The shards of Jaime's immortal soul were cast throughout history, attracted to other points in the Radiant's life when it incarnated into mortal bodies. Traveling through time after the shards, Mur and Kat were forced time and time again into tough decisions which caused Mur to skirt the edges of its oath...finally resulting in a trip into the far distant future to the end of this cycle of creation; the time when the Radiants were tasked with breaking down the existing Creation to make way for a new one.
Desperate to recover the last of the Soul-Shards, Murenthalis was forced to break his oath and battle through creation itself, aided by The Stranger (a former lover of Murenthalis and the Radiant whose actions had caused Murenthalis to be geased to silence in the first place).
The forces of the Phoenix Insurrection were able to retrieve the final Soul Shard and return home, but Murenthalis and Katrina were no more. The trauma of the broken oath caused the Human and Shadowling halves to merge into one being who now called herself MurKat.
It took several months for MurKat to recover from the trauma of the amalgamation, as well as the sudden emergence of a developed empathic talent. She was helped through the transition by concerned friends, though there were several missteps and back-slides. The crushing loneliness of someone who has always had someone else in their head still affects her to this day, though the bonds with Mirey and Jacob (Taint Contagion) help her maintain a sense of balance.
It is debatable at this point as to which half of the pair is actively engaged in casting or channeling, as their symbiosis has developed rapidly ever since they undertook the "Destined Ones" ritual. The Following are powers Kat/Mur have exhibited in Public:
~ Teleportation: Twilight possesses the ability to "Shadow-Step", where she uses a shadow (usually her own) as a portal into the Netherworld, traveling through it nearly instantaneously to her destination, which is another shadow. It is hypothesized if Twilight enters a room where there are no shadows, she will not be able to use this ability. She has also modified this ability to enable her to transport friends or foes similarly, as well as small objects.
~ Energy Transfer: The shadowy tendrils which surround Twilight as a physical manifestation of Mur's presence serve as a conduit for the energy passed through them. They can be used to either suck energy from a willing or unwilling target, or to transfer energy to the target to aid in healing (see Healing entry). She often has an extra store of energy, "just in case".
~ Healing: Twilight is able to use the energy of living beings (including herself) to aid healing in others. Usually this energy is "life" energy, though she has been known to convert other forms of energy to suit her purposes. She is able, with effort and concentration, to control where the energy is channeled to. In turn, the energy "reminds" the target's body of what it is like to be whole, encouraging rapid regeneration.
~ Offensive Abilities: In their offensive form, the shadowy tendrils turn into tentacles, grasping and crushing opponents. She is also able to channel energy into physical blasts of energy channeled from the Netherworld that have a tendency to blind her opponents, affecting their ability to fight. In addition, she can channel blasts of empathy that cause her foes to re-live their greatest fear or failure for a brief moment, distracting them. Recently, she has been working on channeling these blasts through touch, aiming for pressure points and other vulnerable areas on her opponents' bodies to further heighten the effects. If she has a moment to set up the blow, she can absorb a large amount of life energy in one touch.
~ Defensive Abilities: The tendrils that can heal can also, if enough of them gather together, create a form of semi-solid shield that guards against most conventional attacks. It also serves as a distracting element, as allies shrouded in the darkness are harder to hit accurately. If the surrounding area is dark enough, she can fade into near invisibility, blending with the surrounding shadows. With more effort, she can project these defensive shadows around others, protecting them as well.
~ Empathy: Kat possesses a small amount of subconscious empathy that is mostly limited to giving her a stronger intuition than most about people, as well as limited emotional projections. The empathy isn't strong enough to force anyone's emotion into a different emotion, it's just a projection of what she's feeling.
MurKat possesses the same abilities that her unbonded Selves did, with the following modifications:
~ Empathy: MurKat is able to sense strong emotions within those she touches, and is able to use her empathy to project images, concepts, and emotions into another's mind. She doesn't tend to be forceful about this projection, making sure the one she offers the communication to can easily brush it aside if they wish.
~ Sword Training: Due to recent events, MurKat has been attempting to restart training she received in previous Hosts. She is ranked as a talented amateur, but will develop more skill as her friend, Night Sai continues teaching her.
~ Shadowlings: After her rebirth, as if sensing her dire need for their presence, Murenthalis' Shadowling kin began visiting MurKat on brief trips from the Netherworld. It is mostly the young, adventurous Shadowlings of the Collective, as Earth is a place of many fascinating experiences. However, the Light of the plane is inimical to their very nature, and they usually cannot remain for long.
As is fairly obvious to anyone who knows her, Kat has some basic weaknesses:
~ Kat is human, despite her symbiosis with the Shadowling. This means she can be easily hurt, and if she runs out of energy the Shadowling will be unable to heal her.
~ Her trusting nature and lack of fear (or sometimes even common sense) tend to get her into trouble most would otherwise avoid.
~ As evidenced by her symbiosis, large amounts of light tend to hurt Kat physically. Her skin burns easily in the sun, and her eyes are extremely light-sensitive.
Since her amalgamation, MurKat has gone through some amount of physical changes. However, she still tends to be trusting and fearless, and is still extremely light-sensitive. There is debate whether she is still considered 'human', but enough damage will still cause her to die. In addition, her physical form reflects her energy reserves. If she loses too much of her internal supply of life energy, she ages and becomes far more fragile.
Unleashed Force (aka Clint Sanders) - One of Kat's closest friends and the leader of Phoenix Insurrection, she's helped and supported Clint through many problems in the time she's known him. Still, she worries that one day his temper will get the better for him and cause more harm than good. They've had many discussions on the question if the end justifies the means. Over time, the friendship turned to love, though both of them seem star-crossed in fulfilling that love. Kat, for now, is contented to express her love for Clint in a deep and meaningful friendship.
Shadow Strike (aka Malaki Argus) - Kat's relationship with Malaki actually started off in a wild melee in the chalet of Pocket D, with both on opposite sides. He contacted her telepathically just after he had stabbed her with a sword of bone, a conversation which continued well after the fight. They found they had much in common, and their friendship grew and blossomed from there, and eventually turned to love. When he disappeared, Kat was devastated. He has reappeared several times since then, but their romance never rekindled. She hopes wherever he is, he's alright and happy.
Tumultuous Jade - Jade and Kat have an odd sort of relationship, especially considering Jade finds it so hard to trust. Still, through shared experiences, they've grown closer.
Soul Harbinger - One of Kat's closest confidantes, Soul (who she calls Kharon, after the Ferryman on the Styx) is a jokester and always enjoys teasing Kat. Still, when the chips are down, she knows she can always count on him to do what needs to be done.
Jaime Synge - If there ever was a union of opposites, it would be Kat and Jaime. Their pasts are tied through Kat's symbiote, Mur, yet over time and effort, Kat has been working on gaining his precious and rare trust. She now thinks of him as a brother, knowing that romantic entanglements with the Sensation-Addicted Sorcerer would only end in her heartbreak.
Taint Contagion (aka Jacob Ispizua) - The relationship between Jacob and MurKat is...complicated. This is an understatement, especially considering their opposite natures and worldviews; something Jacob has termed "The Plaguebringer and the Life Warden". Still, despite their differences, their feelings have matured to deep friendship. The only catch is that, as Jacob has taken vows of celibacy...anything more than friendship between the pair is forbidden.
Night Sai - Sai and MurKat have a relationship composed of mutual respect and admiration. MurKat doesn't get to interact with Sai as much as she'd like to, but she considers Sai a friend and is willing to back Sai if ever the woman needed it, without hesitation.
Mirey - MurKat's "sister" is also an amalgamated being created when a Shadowling and Human bonded completely during a period of intense stress. MurKat is somewhat grateful Mirey's memories are lost to her, in order to spare the woman the painful experiences such a long existence accumulates. She doesn't envy Mirey's stronger psychic gifts, and works hard to support her sister whenever she can. The pair can keep a light touch on each other at all times due to a piece of soul they've exchanged.
Kinneas - MurKat's relationship with the enigmatic vampire means she is sometimes a student, companion, sounding board, or even a lover, depending on the needs of the moment. To say 'it's complicated' is a bit of an understatement, but then again both are complicated beings.
Adonis Smythe - A protegee of sorts, Kat has taken young Adonis (Don) under her wing and is attempting to teach him how to use his gift to heal as well as harm. Still, she's often confused by his rapid shifts of demeanor, from serious and studious to carefree and inattentive. (Status: MIA)
Blast Asylum - Kat appreciates Blast's odd sense of humor, knowing that even at her most morose he still has the ability to make her smile. Even though he plays the clown, she knows there are depths to him that most others don't see through his joking.
Kheldragon - Kat's roommate and most frequent confidante, Kat can only guess at the extent of Khel's brain damage. Still, she couldn't resist trying to comfort and support the girl as much as she could, even giving Khel a room after she found out where Khel had been living. She regrets that Khel will out-live her, and is subtly trying to prepare Khel for the eventuality.
Ink Dyne (aka Ink Echo) - Ink is the bratty little sister everyone wishes they didn't have. Still, Kat enjoys her company and wishes she could channel the girl's energy into more productive results...even though she can't help but laugh at the pranks Ink pulls.
Mortal Man (deceased) - Kat's first true love, she still mourns his passing beyond the veil. Their relationship started out as a teacher and student, but soon turned to love, spurred on by Run Riot convincing them to try dating.
NightErrant, The (aka Duke Harrison) - Kat's former love, she and Duke share many personality quirks, including a tendency to blush at the drop of a hat. It's been theorized if some way to harness the power of their blushes can be found, the energy could light Cap au Diable for a week. Since her rebirth, they have parted ways, with Duke returning to Paragon and MurKat remaining in the Isles.
Opinions from those who've worked alongside her
((Feel free to add your own opinions, if you know MurKat))
Mortal Man Medical Notes: Kat's physical health is good, all things well within range for her age, weight, and gender. Mur obviously complicates the matter due to the regenerative processes it creates.
The exact nature of Mur is still slightly elusive. While seemingly only a minor spirit, the glyphs and voice loss in Kat suggest some greater meaning in this. I still have questions: why was Mur abandoned in this world? What active intelligent force is putting these glyphs upon Kat? What is gained by ensuring Kat cannot speak at great length, or at all without aid? I cannot help but think there is another active intelligence in the equation somewhere, a manipulator. Glyphs, geas, unlikely dimensional breaches...
To try and remain objective, I will finish this by reviewing the changes to Kat spiritually over time. It seems almost certain she has become attuned to Mur and vice versa, each not only connected, but optimized to operate with such contact. For instance, Mur communicates through sense and emotion and impression- concurrently, Kat has developed an almost superhuman ability to empathize and intuit. Mur seems to have developed an excellent feel for Kat's health and emotional state as well, often reacting to danger without warning.
Is it possible the glyphs are not signs of advancement, but warding's to inhibit development? I need to study these symbols more in depth.
"...Ah, Kat...So concerned, caring. The Isles aren't much of a place for someone like her...But, hmm, to be honest, I'm very glad she is here...People need her...and this place could use some more truly decent people, wouldn't you agree?...Hmm, on a more personal level, I...admit...she's been much of a comfort to me." - Kheldragon
"Kat's sweet, kind, huggy, beautiful, and like most women I meet like that, taken. All the same shes a damn awesome friend and I'm glad to have her as one."- Blast Asylum
"Kat...hmmm...time will tell if her methods will work. She trusts me; I hope that trust isn't misplaced. I expect we'll find out if I ever select her, however unwilling, as a target. If she can't stop me...well, let's just not go there." - Tumultuous Jade
"Kat's got a lot of class - you've got to appreciate that in a woman, and if she could speak I'd be willin' t'bet her voice would be as beautiful as her heart is big. That shadowling thing, though.. Mur she calls it? It gives me the willies." Naomi Briggs
Me And My Shadow - Frank Sinatra
Healer's Dilemma - Mercedes Lackey
My child, the child of my heart, though never of my name
Who shares my gift, whose eyes though young, are mine the very same
Who shares my every thought, whose skillful hands I taught so well
Now hear the hardest lesson I shall ever have to tell
Young healer I have taught you all I know of wounds and pain
Of innocence and of the herbs of blessing and of bane
Of all the usage of all you gift - all that I could impart
And how you learned young healer put rejoicing to my heart
But there is yet one lessoning I cannot give to you
For you must find your own way there - judge what is sound and true
This lesson is the cruelest ever healer had to teach
It is which you must do when there are those you cannot reach
However great your gift there will be times when you will fail
There will be those you cannot help, your skill cannot prevail
When you fight Death and loose to him, of what might yet be worse:
You went to find the wreak he left regards you with a curse.
The worst of all, and harder still, the times when its a friend
Who looks to you to bring him peace and make his torment end.
What will you do young healer when there's nothing you can do?
I can give only council for the rest is up to you.
This only will I council you: that if you build a shell
Of armor close about you, then you close yourself in Hell.
And if your heart should harden, then your gift will fade and die
And all that you have lived and learned will then become a lie.
As you must, I have faced the fear, the pain in dying eyes.
Sometimes I have told the truth and sometimes gentle lies.
As you will I have faced the times my skill brings no redress
And wondered if my gift was truly meant to curse or bless.
My child, your healing hands are guided by your healing heart,
And that is all the wisdom all my learning can impart.
You take this pain upon you as you challenge life unknown.
And there can be no answer here but one: and that's your own.