| Art by Eden Carnes
| Methea Ravensong
| Player: @Methea
| General Information
|| Magic / Natural
|| Kinetic Melee / Super Reflexes (Mids File Download)
| Security Level:
| Personal Data
| Known Aliases:
|| 'Thea / Raven
|| Demon / Elemental
|| Salamanca, RI (Croatoa)
| Shadow Manipulation, Invisibility
"First, be true to yourself, and be true, first, to yourself.
Bow your head for everyone, and kneel for none.
Always know where you stand, and never forget your place."
It's a simple creed I follow, and while I could write scores of novels describing the meaning behind each word, it would betray the simple beauty behind it. I didn't choose these words to sway hearts and minds, or win friends and allies. Those words, those brief suggestions of thought, describe a way of life, a way of living, that anyone of any caste and creed can follow.
I am Methea Ravensong, and I call no one Master.
In the Beginning...
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.
My story, like most complicated tales, is not a short one, nor is it easy to tell, but as with most similarly delicate stories, I feel it best to start in the beginning.
Before Paragon, before America, maybe even before the Well, there was the Void; a nebulous, amorphous cloud of dark matter, spanning the dark side of the world, kept in check by the lethal light from the sun, feeding off the radiant energy of the world. Despite it's size, it's power, I can still see it as a scared beast, huddling against the Earth for warmth. As humanity developed and expanded and advanced inexorably across the globe, they brought more and more light to the dark corners of the world, and there were fewer safe places for the Void. But still, it survived, endangered by the ever encroaching light, but always peaceful, accepting it's fate.
Does that look healthy to you?
In time, a particularly cunning Death Mage of the Circle of Thorns discovered what he saw as a vast, untapped pool of power, a tool to be exploited and a weapon to be wielded. He could retake Paragon City, and maybe more, if he could only weild the night as a weapon, and surely, a Void would want an end to the neon and fluorescent blight, wouldn't it?
Communing with a cloud of matter you can't see or touch, however, proved exceedingly difficult. For years, and decades, the Mage studied and meditated and practiced in his isolated underground complex, and met little success. No word, no artifact, no ritual seemed to have any lasting effect on the Void. There was no reliable way to communicate with what was little more than a shadow on the wall. At times, the Death Mage doubted it even really existed. Madness threatened him at every failure, and as with so many countless desperate men before him, he struck a deal with a Demon. As much as I would like to say he fell victim to his own mistakes and met his end there, The Circle is rarely at a disadvantage in such exchanges.
Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein. It's a literary reference.
I would very much like to say he killed the Demon, took it's life-force, and created a monster that eventually slew him in a way that would make Mary Shelly blush. Frankly, I think it would make a better story, with a clear moral, and it could probably sell a few copies here and there if someone tried to publish it. But that's not quite how it happened.
He did create a monster, though. It was me.
I don't think of myself as particularly lucky for it, but I remember being created. I can clearly recall the emptiness, the eternal dark sea before reality. I had no body, no mind, no perception of time or space, and the eternal tranquility of it all humbles me to this day. Sometimes I can still feel the gentle waves radiating through me, the very heartbeat of the universe. And then, I was drowning. It was the first sensation I ever knew, because before I was alive, I was dying. Before I knew of Earth, before I knew life, before "reality" was anything but a distant dream, I found myself yearning, aching for life. Drowning in oblivion before I'd tasted air. And then, I felt it; the Demon. Energy. Life.
Even then, I knew that the Demon had as much a right to exist as I did, maybe more. I knew I could probably take just a little bit, I could leech off what the Demon could spare, and we could both survive. But I was scared. I was panicked. And I wanted to live. In the manner of a drowning person climbing over another to stay afloat, I killed her, not because I needed to, but because I was scared and stupid and greedy. But I was alive.
If I hadn't taken that Demon's life, I'd probably be no different than the Dark Servants so many meta-humans summon and control. When I took that Demon's life, I took her knowledge, her intellect, her strength. Killing her gave me power, and made me who I am, but I'm far from proud of what I did. She wasn't the selfish monster so many people seem to imagine at the word Demon. Maybe if she had been, I could forgive myself. She was just a librarian. An academic.
Before the City
The mage, my surrogate father, had designed me as a potential weapon, but I wasn't created with the skills I needed. I took from the Demon a great deal of knowledge about language, art, life, and so on, but while I learned everything she knew about magic, I wasn't her, so I simply couldn't perform the same feats. My father, the mage, the monster, had to train me himself.
This used to look like "home"
Tucked away in his sealed off complex of Oranbegan ruins, it was all but impossible to tell the passage of time. I never saw the sky, let alone the sun, and the concept of days and years washed over me like fairytales. I didn't age, I didn't always eat or sleep regularly, and thanks to his magic, neither did he. I could only judge time by his word, and I learned very quickly that I couldn't trust him.
All I did was train, and study, and practice. I was made to meditate for hours, days at a time, and from that stillness, I would be forced to defend myself from the spontaneous spars he would surprise me with. He had no qualms about injuring or hurting me, saying whatever wounds I incurred were lessons I should learn from. I know he wanted me to be able to adapt to anything, to never be caught with my guard down, but at times, I could only find myself hating him, fearing him. I was never told why I needed to be so prepared to fight anyone and anything. He would attack me with no warning, and when I was lying bruised and broken, he would leave me to listen to the darkness again. If he had told me outright what he wanted from me, I might have doubted him, and myself, so in a sense, it's not unreasonable that he would be so secretive and so brutal. It was after what must have been years if not decades of "training" that it finally happened.
He had beaten me down again, and while I had done everything he taught me and everything I learned for myself to defend myself, I still ended up crawling away with a broken jaw. I sat in my room again, trying to calm myself, when I heard the shadows whispering. I'm still not sure if I just didn't know how to listen to them before, or if they weren't speaking to me until then, but at that moment, I heard a whisper, not of words and sounds, but pure thoughts and emotions. After goodness knows how long, I finally had someone to talk to, as it were. I had someone to learn from who didn't lie to me and beat me more often than greet me.
It was something my father had failed to accomplish for decades. He had struggled in vain for so long to manipulate the subtle life hidden away in the darkness, and yet, as I sat alone in the room, I could hear it speaking to me directly. Everything my father had planned was moving along exactly as he had hoped it would, but the very moment of triumph was also his downfall, because in the end, the "vast, untapped source of power" he saw was very much alive, and it didn't much like being meddled with.
In the darkness, in the silence, I found a new mentor, and together, we made a new plan.
Into the Breach
The Void told me what the Mage wanted to do. I learned that all along, since I was created, he wanted to use me as a weapon to destroy the Midnight Squad, maybe even take over Paragon City, for the Circle of Thorns. A city I had never known, people I had never met, a war I was never part of, and I was expected to risk everything for someone else's goals.
I'm no Master martial artist, but I can hold my own.
The paranoia my father had ground into me made me immediately wonder if it was a ruse, another of his sick tests. After all, why should I trust a voice in my head any more than any other voice? And so, the shadows gave me a gift. They whispered secrets, told me things I could never know alone, and when my father slept, they taught me real power.
My father had trained me in basic martial arts, in basic shadow magics, so it was little wonder that he could best me at every turn. What he taught me was as primitive as throwing stones compared to what the shadows knew. I learned to bend the subtle energies in the darkness to my will, not by forcing them, but by asking them to move. My father had taught me to fight, to brawl with magic, but the shadows themselves showed me how to dance, to sing. But they asked a favor in return. A favor I was perhaps too eager to fulfill. The Void asked me to confront my father.
The phrasing, if you can call it that, took me a bit by surprise. "Confront" instead of kill. The Void still hoped for peace, for reform. In the centuries of human expansion, as more and more light filled the globe, the shadows never struck back, always forgiving and trusting. Even now, as someone intended to twist the Void into a tool of destruction and war, it just wanted peace. But I was young. I was stupid. Despite all I had learned from my surrogate mother and father, they had never taught me how to forget, or how to forgive.
Countless one-sided spars, the berating and chastising, the single-minded cruelty of my father filled my mind, corrupted me. I went to him, expecting a difficult fight, not even sure I could best him, but through the brief lessons the Void had given me, it was hardly a competition. Every blow, every spell, was so easily redirected, turning his own power against him. When he fell to his knees, he might have expected me to stop, but I like to think he knew that through all the years of training, he had never taught me mercy.
You'd figure I'd see more business with property right between the tram and the university.
The thrill of victory waned rather quickly, of course, when I realized I didn't know anything about the world outside the ruins, and didn't have any real resources to my name. After all, the only people I knew were dead by my hand, and that doesn't look as good on a resume as one might think.
Fortunately, once I found my way to the surface (and got over the shock of how bright it is up here), I quickly found that Paragon City is well-accustomed to strange visitors who aren't at all familiar with the world at large. After a few weeks of aimless wandering, I decided I'd do the best I could manage to carry my mother's surname with dignity, and open a bookstore. I scavenged what I could from the old ruins I grew up in, sold a few of my father's relics to buy some property in Salamanca, and I've been collecting books ever since.
The term "Shadow Manipulation" is a bit of a misnomer for what I do. The shadows I twist and bend aren't just the absence of light. There's a life there, an energy, and it responds to my call. You can call it Dark Matter if it makes you more comfortable. It's normally all but undetectable, but I can bring it forward and make it tangible. Turning a palm strike or a simple gesture into a crushing or cutting force is where most of my strength comes from in a fight.
It's not pretty, but it gets the job done.
Combat utilizations aside, I'm able to forge simple, mundane objects from little more than a shadow on the wall. It takes a certain concentration to maintain, so I can't make particularly complicated objects or they'll break down. I can make simple weapons, but they're never dense enough to stand up to any real fighting, so they're mostly for show. This entire faculty may seem useless, but I've gotten rather practiced at making my own clothes. I don't claim to have any sense of fashion, but I certainly don't waste time on the subject.
I don't exactly go around picking fights, but if it comes down to it, I suppose I can handle myself. All my life, I studied and practiced a mix of casting and fighting, and in the end, it's not entirely dissimilar from Baguazhang or T'ai Chi Ch'uan in appearance. Of course, it's been heavily modified to fit my needs and abilities. The movements often serve as a means to twist and throw the shadows themselves.
When it comes to defensive capacities, I have an advantage in that I'm not as organic as most expect me to be. Poisons and toxins have no effect on me at all, and I'm more tolerant of extreme temperatures than most, but that only gets me so far. In a typical confrontation, I have to rely on my martial training to avoid being hit in the first place. Being an Elemental doesn't mean I'm immune to bullets.
When I am injured, I heal much more quickly than a normal human would, assuming I can rest in a sufficiently dark place. Broken bones and deep wounds heal perfectly in just a few days, which doesn't do much for me in the middle of a fight, but it's certainly more than most can say.
It's worth keeping in mind that I'm as much an Elemental as I am a Demon, if not more. I don't have any chemical reactions with the world, so I naturally can't smell or taste anything. My hearing is no better than a typical human's, and I have the same three basic tactile senses of pressure, temperature, and pain. My vision is where things get a little exotic.
I don't see color, for starters, and the greyscale I can see is probably something close to inverted from "normal" vision. There are a few other quirks and details, but they're not really worth getting into. Suffice to say, I do very well in the dark.
Without any chemical components to my body, poisons and toxins have no effect on me at all. I don't need to eat, drink, sleep, or even breathe to survive, but I've made a habit of doing all four, if only for the novelty and routine of it. I can tolerate more extreme environmental hazards than a typical human. I could live in a volcano lair or the arctic with no ill effect, and even mild radiation has no effect on me, but I'm speaking only of relatively mild threats; A flamethrower, for example, is still just as dangerous to me as anyone else.
Forgive me if I'm not exactly thrilled to iterate and itemize all of my weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but I suppose this is for the sake of posterity. I don't have any psychic defenses to speak of, to my knowledge. The best I could offer on that front is my strength of will, but I'd rather not put that to the test.
My biggest weakness is my rather obvious vulnerability to bright light of nearly any kind. A flashbang would probably be more dangerous to me than a grenade. I can tolerate a sunny day for several hours if I really have to, but that's near my limit; more than that would start to burn me. I learned the hard way that the spotlights over the theatre in Atlas Park can blind and cripple me for several minutes just by flying over them. I tried to petition the theatre to make the spotlights stop sweeping back and forth in what is clearly a health hazard, but nobody seemed to take me very seriously.
I'm not sure it properly qualifies as a vulnerability, per-se, but I have a bit of a soft spot for books. If I had to choose between saving someone's life and saving a particularly rare book, there's a fair chance I'll choose the book. Let's face it, most people don't live very long anyway, but that book could be important and useful for centuries to come.
"Yeah, well, same to you, computer."
I don't profess to understand why it happens or what it means, but I've always had a somewhat hostile relationship with technology, especially electronics. I don't understand them, I don't like them, and they almost always malfunction when I try to use them. Computers crash, cellular networks crash, planes crash... I'm beginning to suspect they're doing it deliberately.
I get most of my appearance from the Demon I killed, or my "Mother", if you prefer. Not entirely unlike a human, with horns, wings, a tail, and pointed ears. That I am a Shadow Elemental means, of course, I have no natural color. I've been mistaken for one of the rarer "Grey Demons", and for the offspring of a Drow, and while I can understand why people might think that, neither is accurate.
Physically speaking, I don't have any muscles or organs in the normal sense. I barely even have bone structure. It's all a loose simulation of a body, based off my Mother. The body I have is little more than a rough analogue of a living thing. I have yielding flesh and brittle bones, but no proper organs or biology, and in the end, I've been able to recover from every injury I've suffered with a little time in the dark. My appearance is quite literally designed to make me appear to be organic and alive in a traditional sense to a typical, casual observer, and no more.
To be clear, my eyes don't glow, technically speaking. There's an odd reaction between light and unshielded, living shadow, not entirely unlike the Leidenfrost effect, in some ways. The reaction may seem violent, but in practice, it's a sort of barrier that keeps my eyes from being damaged by exposure to "normal" lighting. In brighter light, my eyes would seem brighter. In dim lighting, or total darkness, they would seem appropriately dimmer.
When it comes to clothing, I suppose you could say my sense of fashion is a bit outdated, and from what I'm told, my clothes never have color. I've been told I dress somewhat conservatively, though given that too much light can hurt or even theoretically kill me, I think it's reasonable that I try to protect myself. And to be blunt, while I may not have taste or style, I like to think I have standards, at least.
To say I'm a recluse would probably be a bit of an understatement, but in my defense, it's not entirely my decision. I can hardly go outside when it's too sunny, and in Paragon City, it's always too sunny. I usually stay in Salamanca, where I'm safest. It may seem gloomy or dull to you, but the cloud cover is as warm and welcoming as a heavy blanket to me.
Still, as much as I'd like to, it would be inappropriate to blame the sun for all of my social issues. I spent far too many years with far too few people, and the only person I did know was one I couldn't trust. I've built up an admittedly unhealthy paranoia. I generally don't trust people I don't know, and I generally don't like the people I've met, but I give everyone an opportunity, and I try to offer everyone a little respect and an open mind, so long as they offer me the same.
When it comes to entertainment and hobbies and whatnot, I admit I'm well behind current trends. I spend most of my free time reading, and my music preferences are usually well within the Classical genre. I'm an amateur pianist, but there isn't much call for that, it seems.
I spend most of my time either managing my store or... aquiring new books. My mother was a librarian, and it runs in the family, as it were. It's not that I enjoy it so very much, and though I loathe to admit it, I'm not even terribly good at organizing the books I care for, but I have little choice in the matter. Collecting books is a near psychotic compulsion I can't help but follow.
What can I say? I'm popular among entities who don't have to listen to me babble.
I should probably start by making it clear that I'm not a registered hero. There are probably a few organizations with dossiers on me, but I try not to get involved in the transient politics of Heroes and Villains. If I was pressed to pick a label to assign myself, I would probably fall under the purview of Vigilante, if only because I have a trend of reclaiming books from wherever they're being kept if I'm not satisfied with their safety and security.
Petty labels aside, I have an agreement with the Cabal of Croatoa which could be loosely called an alliance. I give them the basic medical supplies they can't get from the proper medical facilities in the area, in exchange for their meager security services. I suspect you can imagine how troublesome owning a bookstore can be when the Fir Bolg are restless. My dealings with the Cabal are usually quite brief, but for better or for worse, their sprites have taken a bit of a liking to me, and tend to follow me around.
My pride and joy, my sanctuary, my Grey Lair.
To be honest, I usually don't sell my books. The store is mostly just a means to put my collection on display. I'll try to sell one or two now and then, and I might complain about slow business, but it's just to keep up appearances.
I've carved out a rather comfortable home behind the store. I might sell one or two book from the store itself, but the books in my private libraries are scarcely even seen by others. A fair number of them come from the collection my father kept, but most of the books I have are my own acquisitions. I've made a habit of "rescuing" books from anywhere they might be misused or mishandled, whether the Circle of Thorns, the Midnighters, or MAGI think they "own" them. An arbitrary system, I know, but I don't pick sides if I can avoid it.
Of course, the entire store and everything behind it are quite thoroughly protected. I wouldn't dare jeopardize the safety of those tomes by giving too many details, but suffice to say, nothing happens within those walls that I'm not aware of, and nothing can get in or out if I so will it.
Most of the security, though, isn't my own doing. Through what I admit is a bit of an odd technicality, I managed to inherit a number of licences from my mother's old library, so much of the protection the books have comes from Demons older and wiser than I am. Even if I die, my collection would be given over to the proper authorities.