Dagger of Orion
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Personality and Interactions
Halcyo is the Shadow Name used by Mark in his magical works. The name was bestowed on him by his mentor, a cruel mage he knows only by the name "Master." The translation of Halcyo is "He who is betrayed and forgotten." Halcyo was groomed to be a living magical weapon, encouraged to master the most powerful of the subtle arts, able to bring deadly mystical force to bear on the enemies of his magical order unnoticed by the general populace. He was molded to be a monster, able to stand toe to toe with any creature the underworld go throw into his path and eradicate it to procure safety from the creatures that go bump in the night for those with no ability to deal with him. He is cunning, brilliant, and until recently would not hesitate to use lethal force. Until he was reminded of his human nature, he was a nearly perfect spy, assassin, and warrior for those who guard this world from the next.
Dusk Blade was once a Kheld called Sunset's Shield. He was a soldier, first and foremost, tasked with protecting one of the things which was held most highly by the Kheldian society, their young. When the Nictus began to splinter from the Khelds, Sunset's Shield was nearing the end of his natural life span. Having been isolated from older Kheldians, he knew fear for the first time. He had questions and doubts about what became of a Kheldian who died, and those fears led him to abandon his sacred duty and way of life. Upon becoming Nictus, his intimate knowledge of Kheldian defense practices made him a natural infiltrator. He would slip into Kheldian strong points and gather information or kill high priority threats to the Nictus cause. Dusk Blade had only recently arrived upon earth when he was captured and contained by one of Sunstorm's most seasoned Peacebringers. He was imprisoned, knowing he was rapidly dying, and sought to prolong his life by offering up information about the Nictus methods of operation.
Mark is a member of the supergroup Solace, as is his wife. They were sent to save Paragon City as they have worked to save other cities from supernatural threats.
Mark is almost constantly accompanied by his wife, Harper Calvard, who has taken up the name Starforged since bonding with a Kheldian herself. Nitor, as she was called in magic circles, is proof that opposites really do attract. While Mark tends to be dour, surly, and forceful, Harper is even tempered, gentle, and and generally a very cheerful person to be around. Mark has been known to take offense at people becoming (in his estimation) overly friendly towards Harper without even acknowledging his presence, and usually responds with what is seen to be a quiet threat of potential force, usually simply adjusting his jacket to flash his badge, and conversely the butt of his handgun.
The couple's study in contrasts extends to include everything from religious beliefs (Mark believes his mystic powers were bestowed on him by a demonic figure, potentially The Adversary himself, while Harper believes in angels since she has met one, but has no opinion one way or the other on the existence of God), to the disposition of mystical secrets (Mark believes secrets should be kept, Harper that information was meant to be shared freely amongst seekers.). The two make a careful and conscious decision to not discuss politics, despite speculation of Mark's stereotypical Conservative leanings mirroring Harper's seeming liberalism.
This study in duality is further evident by the methods of the Kheldian Bond. Harper was evidently approached by the Kheldian Ephemeral Horizon as an equal. Mark was unable to deny her something that may bring her joy, but was overcome withe fear at the thought of her taking a path he could not follow. When rejected for a Kheldian merger, Sunstorm introduced Mark to the dying Nictus called Dusk Blade. Duck Blade attempted to posses Mark, but his strong will and mystical training allowed him to fight the dark force to a stand still. As the fight drew on, each sensed within the other a kindred spirit, and Dusk Blade underwent his first consensual merger.
For the time being, Ephemeral Horizon seems to be overriding his hosts deep trust for Mark out of fear of the Nictus within him.
As a WoD Mage Character
Mark -Halcyo- Calvard began life as a Mastigos Guardian of the Veil in White Wolf's Mage: The Awakening pen and paper RPG. He rose to join the ranks of the Subtle Ones, and had mastered the Arcanum of Mind, came close to mastering Space and Prime, and had lesser understandings of Fate.
Mark met Harper several years after completing his training under his cruel master, and had been placed as a mole inside the Chicago Police Department to keep an eye out for the times when the things that go bump in the night bumped a little too loudly. They befriended each other as regular people who met through the course of work. As a young detective, he needed to consult with a locksmith on a string of break ins that had a very professional level of understanding of private security systems. He still fondly remembers the day he met her on the banks of a lake, watching her skipping stones. Despite the fact that he had been trained as a spy, assassin, and professional demon slayer, it took him some time to work up the courage to actually speak to her in an unofficial capacity. He saw her as everything that he could never have because of his mystical duty. But something in him pulled in her direction like a moth to a flame, and despite the growing pains of having to relearn what it meant to be human, they have fallen deeply in love, and were married recently.
In Paragon City
Mark was reborn as a Dark/Dark Blaster... I mean defender using his shadow name as a heroic identity. Despite his complete and total inability to heal outside of his dark servant, his ability to protect teams where he was the only defender usually resulted in complements on his healing. While the character is still alive on virtue, he will probably get shipped off to another server, and his slot left empty to make room for one of those new scrappers they keep mentioning on the CoH Forums.
Harper and Mark moved in, quickly settling into Steel Canyon. Harper opened her locksmith shop on the North side, Mark joined the PPD, and they found Solace, recruited by Astral Traveler. Astral, using his connections as Adrian Thompson, got them a large apartment in one of the central skyscrapers. Mark has been described as a "Holy Terror" on the resident council, being a stickler for details in the rules and regulations of the building. The couple has enjoyed being able to publically use their powers, in a city accustomed to grand sights they are safe with their abilities, despite it taking some time for Mark to realize that such blatant displays of power wouldn't get him hunted as he had hunted those who used their powers out of hubris.
Mark did his level best to hide his blind terror as Harper explained to him that she wanted to merge with a Kheld. He knew that he could never deny her anything her heart desired, and and spent a sleepless night laying next to her in bed, watching her smile in her dreams anticipating of the adventure to come. It was then he knew he had to follow her, no matter the cost. he demanded Sunstorm give him the same opportunity to merge she had been given. While he was given the chance, no sane Kheld thought they could exist as his partner.
Dusk Blade drifted slowly around the magnetic bottle that was the nictus's cell. Being to near the strong fields that held him prisoner made his entire being ache for the vast open reaches of space, being able to be far from anything. To be alone, not some specimen in a jar. Based on his current situation, though, the odds of feeling anything but the sickening insides of this prison cell were equivalent to the humans figuring out what really goes on once you slip past the event horizon.
He had spent thousands of years since his conversion from a Kheldian to a Nictus working his way up the ranks of his society, perfecting his chosen art of gathering information. There was no secret the enemies of his people could hide from him for long, and he would leave a trail of bodies and dispersing energy waves of his enemies across the stars if that was what it took for him to learn what he wanted to know.
It was that knowledge of the enemies of the Nictus that had made him such a high priority target, and it was his own knowledge of their inner workings that had brought him to this ignoble fate. Forced to shed his host, trapped in an invisible prison, and with days left to give up every last secret he knew before the decay of his waveform was critical, leading to his condensing into a crystalline shard of his former self.
He secretly hoped that that shard got shoved into one of those Void Seekers, and karma would see that his shard would lead to the death of those that imprisoned him. A satisfying fantasy, but still a very unlikely outcome to his current predicament.
Panic and frustration suffused his being, and he charged blindly into the magnetic walls of his prison cell, rebounding drunkenly as the interference of the fields caused him debilitating pain.
“There must be a way out. I cannot die like this,” he thought to himself.
Marcus Jackson Calvard, though only two people on the planet knew him as such, scribbled what could be his signature on the receipt from the gas station.
“Have a good day, Sir,” The young brunette behind the counter said tritely. Halcyo, as he was better known, did not hear her. He grabbed the pack of his cigarettes and the lighter and stormed out towards his sedan. It had been over a year since he had smoked a cigarette. His last one had been stubbed out back in Chicago, at her request. He had changed so much because of her. When she met him, on the banks of that pond where he watched her skipping stone, he had no idea how much she would rock his very definition of how the world worked. Funny, she was able to do it yet again.
He tore the little strip of cellophane from the pack, and discarded the top of the wrapper before expertly plucking only the front half of the foiled paper that covered the butts of his chosen solace at this moment. His fingers remembered the motions and repeated them easily, shaking exactly one cigarette free of it's 19 companions, but just enough to pull it from the pack. The lighter was new, and the flint stiff. It took him two tries to make flame, not caring how close he was to the pump as he lit his toxic comfort.
One deep breath, and his lungs filled with the acrid smoke. He forced himself through sheer will not to cough, letting the nicotine be absorbed. After so long of not having any in his system, the buzz was almost instant. Two draconic plumes of smoke eased from his nostrils as he slid into the driver's seat and pulled out of the gas station, heading towards Atlas Plaza.
That was where she was going. To meet with Sunstorm. To be joined.
On a deep and personal level the idea of his Harper joining with anything brought that killer instinct he had so long suppressed to the forefront. As energy beings, his dark magics would be of little use. Good thing a true Guardian always has a back up plan. After signaling his intent to change lanes, he let his hand move to the HK USP .40 that lived in his shoulder holster. Security blankets are for children with large, misshapen heads. This lump of plastic and metal had seen him through fights with demons and mad men, and the thought of a smoking hole less than half an inch across in the foreheads of anyone that wanted to put anything inside his Harper brought a smile to the unstoppable living weapon that he once was.
But... it was what she wanted, and there was nothing in the universe he could deny her, even if it killed him. By that same token, no power on earth, the realms supernal, or any of the infinite alternate planes of reality would keep her from him.
He popped his neck by tilting his head as he parked near city hall in a space reserved for the police. A longbow agent looked at him and started to approach until Halcyo tersely flipped open his badge case revealing his detective's shield. The young Longbow recruit immediately backed off as Halcyo to another long, angry drag from his cigarette before tossing the half smoked thing to the ground stepping on it in silent challenge to the hero.
“Give me a reason, any excuse at all to lash out at something. I need a good row, and the hospital isn't that far...” he thought to himself, but the hero let him pass before stooping to pick up the crushed and smoldering litter.
He avoided the worst of the crowds at the plaza by skirting behind the statue of Atlas. His nimbus slipping as the shadows came to his beck and call, chilling the young costumed lovers and the shouting activists. He slid through the mass of people, focusing only on his destination.
“Sunstorm,” He called out in the verbal equivalent of the way a uniformed cop knocks on a door. “I need to have some words with you.”
The half man, half alien turned to face him, eyes glowing like a star, head tilting quizzically. Halcyo saw that the man was taking a breath to speak, to question the approaching stranger, but Halcyo cut him off.
“You are merging a hero called Nitor with a Kheld. You are going to let me merge as well.”
Sunstorm's face took on a bemused and almost condescending look at the pained protector.
“That is not the way it works, Halcyo, and you know it.”
“It is this time. I will be joined. Bigger, scarier things than you have tried to take her from me and not one has yet to succeed. I have literally walked through fire and hell and everything in between for her. Just try and stop me from walking my path with her.”
Sunstorm contemplated taking the challenge for a moment, wearied by the human's attitude. The thought was dismissed, though, knowing no good could come from this confrontation.
“I will make you a deal, Halcyo. If there is a Kheld willing to join with you, you may be joined. It is not our purpose to separate or divide the people of earth, but to bring them together in peace and unity. Come with me.”
Halcyo followed the being into the E.L.I.T.E. Office, where he sat with bad coffee and old magazines, drumming his fingers and glowering at the “no smoking” sign. His wait was thankfully short, his coffee only half swallowed before Sunstorm called him back to a room filled with light unlike any seen with regularity on earth.
Halcyo was swarmed by the unbound Kheldians in their natural state. He felt the probes of his mind, forcing himself to let his defenses down and to not lash out at those seeking to know him better. One by one the bright balls of light floated away from him, seeking refuge in distance from the darkness inside him.
“What a load of crap. Dark Father, don't you things die if you aren't bound or merged or... whatever it is you do? You would rather die than let me be with her?” Halcyo's pain bordering on unaccustomed panic at the thought of losing the one person in all the realities that he had ever truly loved.
“Perhaps... you were not meant to walk the path so closely with her, but to mirror the one she walked. There is one other here whose desperation rivals your own.”
“I am not desperate,” Halcyo said with over aggressive denial.
“Yes, I think you and Dusk Blade will get along well.”
Halcyo's trench coat fluttered as he walked quickly with the tall alien to Dusk's small prison. The black and purple ball of darkly luminous energy had settled into the exact center of it's imprisoning magnetic fields trying to minimize the disrupting effect they had on his consciousness.
“Dusk Blade, this is Halcyo. Halcyo, meet Dusk Blade. I think you two have a lot in common.”
Sunstorm dropped the containment field around the Nictus and the thing flew at Halcyo. Instinct had taken over for both of them.
Halcyo instantly called upon his shadow auras, rolling quickly to the side. The Nictus swerved unerringly towards him, only to catch the brunt of a stream of dark magic. Dusk Blade pressed through the magical attack darting close enough to attempt to force his way inside the man foolish enough to attack.
Very few beings had ever been able to hold Dusk Blade out of their mind for long, and Halcyo was doing better than anyone ever had. As they struggle, the psychic feedback resounded through both of them just enough to allow one to learn of the other.
The conversation, if it could be called such happened at the speed of neurons firing. Both were essentially spies, both had been remorseless killers. Both had known loss, imprisonment, and hopelessness. They saw in each other a professional equal for the first time. They saw a means to an end. For Dusk Blade, Halcyo was survival, a way to cheat his on coming death.. For Halcyo, Dusk was a way to understand what was happening to the woman he loved, and the knowledge that he could still be where he wanted to be, shoulder to shoulder with her through all that life had to throw at them.
The merging was mutual and sudden. Halcyo's body was overcome with the energies of Dusk Blade. The change was sudden and excruciating. Halcyo remembered being trapped in the fire, feeling his flesh crack and peel from his burning muscles. Halcyo screamed.
Memories collided like crashing waves in a storm. From Kentucky to the Horse Head nebula, from first kill to the most grievous wounds each had suffered, they blended. Neither host nor Nictus could say for sure how long the process had taken, or how exactly they had ended up collapsed on the floor. The gestalt being pushed himself up from the ground, looking around with new eyes.
A dark woman had slipped in during the merging unnoticed by Halcyo or Dusk. She glowed with a darkness that seemed somehow comforting. Rising to their feet, the joined mage and Nictus knew that this woman was one worthy of respect, and bowed out of difference to her.
“Welcome to the ranks of Warshades. You two will have much to learn about each other. I expect great things from you. I am called Shadowstar. Let us begin.”
Powers and Strengths
Mark had always been a capable combatant, and a wily spy. Able to bring subtle and lethal magics to bear, as well as being versed in hand to hand combat, and a crack shot with most small arms. Dusk Blade's similar areas of expertise only serve to enhance his host with thousands of years of experience. While Halcyo is very disturbed by the metamorphic nature of Dusk's powers, as his physical body doesn't actually go any whereas he understands it, but is equally at home firing the potent energy blasts of the nova form as he is engaging in hand to hand combat as a Black Dwarf. He also is somewhat relieved that he can alleviate some of Harper's worries about his personal safety by using the energies of combat to mend his own body.
Having faced monsters of all sorts, little worries him in roiling combat. The one chink in his armor is his fear of losing his beloved wife, Harper. Not to death, violence, or any other such mundane thing, but that she will leave him for their many deep seated differences despite their belief in forging a better world.