May 23, 2016
143. CHARLES SMYRNA
Mumbai, India, Earth (Core Reality); Mid 21st Century
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
Charles Smyrna was born from one of the seven bloodlines of The Veil, which means he is specially equipped to hunt mysterious lost souls known as ghost orphans. He carries a weapon called a living-blade that is infused with his blood. He is an expert swordsman and is trained in a number of fighting techniques.
Charles Smyrna is a member of The Veil, a society of noble assassins, swordsmen and swordswomen who’ve been tasked with hunting down lost and wandering spirits called ghost orphans. (click here to see the full history of ghost orphans). Charles and the other Veil hunters are descendants of seven bloodlines and for several centuries they’ve been using specialized weapons called living-blades to track down the mysterious beings and send them to a heavenly afterlife.
Over the years, the capture of ghost orphans has become increasingly more difficult, as the vast majority of the orphans refuse to give up their earthly immortality despite the promise of Paradise offered through the Seven Families. Furthermore, ghost orphans discovered a way to hide within human bodies through a process called phantom-fusion. This evolution also allowed the orphans to fight back against The Veil.
WEIGHT: 201 lbs.
Despite their new power, the orphans remained mostly in the shadows, however a large group of ghost orphans united under the leadership of Kallisto (today known as Virginia Ice) sometime in the 18th century and launched a violent offensive against the Seven Families. By the time Charles was born, Virginia Ice’s forces had taken control of the war and it was the Veil hunters who were now in hiding. He grew up in a small enclave in southern Mumbai and trained with his parents and siblings in preparation for the time they could strike back against the ghost orphans.
When Charles was 25 years-old he became the leader of the House of Smyrna and subsequently the top Veil hunter. He sent out word to the leaders of the other bloodlines (Sardis, Thyatira, Pergamum, Ephesus, Laodicea and Philadelphia) and they gathered in New York City to create a battle plan that would hopefully dethrone Virginia Ice. Less than a month later they had mobilized over 200 Veil hunters from around the world and Charles lead a charge against the ghost orphans.
Virginia Ice however was ready, as she had not only gathered close to a thousand of her own troops, but she had also equipped them with a plethora of heavy artillery. Charles and the other hunters fought valiantly, but they were defeated. Many hunters died that day and the Houses of Pergamum and Ephesus were both totally wiped out.
The hunters were forced back into hiding for several years until the rise of Disa Philadelphia. Charles Smyrna relinquished the reigns of leadership to her and supported her as she launched a bloody campaign against the ghost orphans which turned the tide of the war in way that would bring the hunters back to a place of prominence.
In her efforts to reestablish the Veil, Disa formed a partnership with Platinum City University’s president and board of trustees in which young hunters could enroll for free while continuing their training. In return, members of The Veil would provide a variety of services to the school. To that end, Charles, who was now in his later years, took a position as a professor in the English Literature department, where he guided students through the works of Greek Mythology.
He was an incredible educator and his students loved him. They had no idea that he he’d been a key figure in an ongoing war against an army of lost souls that lived among the citizens of the world; but they were always interested in hearing “tall tales” of his adventures as a “war vet” and “adventurer” who’d often find himself in “sticky situations,” as he’d put it. His knack for telling stories was second to none. He also continued to train young hunters at the Veil facility in the secluded Deep Wing of the university, as there were still thousands of ghost orphans that needed to be hunted down, including Virginia Ice.
Platinum City University had clearly become a secure and thriving base of operations for Veil hunters, which is why Charles was so surprised when he heard that a ghost orphan had shown up in Disa Philadelphia’s lecture hall and announced his presence. The orphan, named Derek Loman, also announced that thousands of ghost-orphaned men and women would march around the University’s Central Administration Complex for seven weeks. Then, at the end of that time period, the walls of PCU would fall and the Veil hunters would be exposed and destroyed.
Later it would be discovered that Virginia Ice seemed to be playing a key role in the mysterious prophecy; and furthermore the marauding ghost orphan had formed an alliance with Alva Devine, the leader of a group of reapers whose original calling was to hunt down ghost orphans with the intent of sending the lost souls to hell.
Charles was greatly concerned by the prospect of an alliance between the reapers and the ghost orphans. But he was even more worried about the mounting tensions on campus due, in large part, to a riot that had taken place during the 4th week of the march, in which thousands of drunk PCU students celebrating a football national championship had clashed with the protestors. A great number of ghost orphans had displayed their paranormal abilities effectively traumatizing the campus and the city at large; Veil members had slewn several ghost orphans; several students had been injured and killed and one Veil student, Quintonice Philadelphia, had been arrested and charged with inciting the riot.
Fortunately, the problem with Quintonice had been solved, to a certain extent, as mysterious Veil huntress Nirmala Sardis had broken her out of prison and taken her into hiding. However, the general public’s ignorance of what ghost orphans were actually raised tensions between the college, the protestors and the community, as – to the naked eye – the entire incident looked like a scene out of a Halloween Horror House.
Wild speculations attempting to explain what had happened began running throughout Platinum City, and rumors that the marchers were protesting some sort of coverup by the university’s administration were becoming more and more believable. Several members of the college’s faculty, including some of the Veil hunters were being contacted by scores of media outlets. And to make things even more complicated, a couple of emails and documents had been leaked that implicated a number of PCU professors to be involved in illegal dealings with the notorious businessman, Edgar Lockhart. Things were getting out of hand.
Charles Smyrna was suddenly thrust into the spotlight when a student in one of his classes by the name of Amethyst Nagamatsu joined the “protesters” and subsequently encouraged dozens of other students to follow suit. During an interview with a local news reporter, Amethyst suggested that she had been encouraged to stand in solidarity with the marchers because of a lecture Professor Smyrna had given on “The Dangers of Ignoring One’s Own Conscience.”
Reporters began contacting Charles and inquiring about Amethyst, but he refused to grant any interviews, until he received a call from Powerhouse Network journalist Ja’Nique Prescott – also known as Ember Brook, a member of the heroic superheroine squad, The Sista Clique.
Initially the conversation centered around Edgar Lockhart, however it soon became clear to Ember that Charles had an ulterior motive for granting the interview to her. He began to ask her questions about her teammate and leader of the Sista Clique: Kharma Lucky. More specifically he wanted to know how her precognitive abilities worked. Ember demanded to know why he was asking such pointed questions. At first Charles attempted to hide his true motives and pretended that his interest was of a purely academic sense, however he soon realized he would have to be completely honest if the conversation was to continue.
Finally he recounted to her an abridged history of the ghost orphanage, The Veil, the reapers and the war that’s been waging between the three groups for many centuries. Ember couldn’t believe her ears. Next he revealed that the protesters were not protestestors at all – but that they were all ghost orphans. He further told her that a ghost orphan walked in and prophesied that after the seven weeks of the ghost orphans marching around PCU’s Central Administration Complex, the walls of the institution would fall and The Veil hunters would be exposed and destroyed. And finally he told her that the Veil hunters were in disagreement on whether or not the prophecy should be taken seriously.
After taking a moment to collect her thoughts, Ember asked Charles if he himself believed the prophecy was true; he said he couldn’t decide what he believed and that ultimately he was too frightened to make a decision either way. And that’s when he made his request – Charles wanted to know if Kharma Lucky could use her hyper-precognitive ability to see into the future in order to determine whether or not the prophecy would actually come to fruition.
Ember was astonished by what she was hearing and what he had asked. The only other individual who had ever attempted to use Kharma’s powers in that way was Edgar Lockhart. The other members of the Sista Clique had rescued her before the evil businessman had had the opportunity to push her abilities to an unnatural limit; but even in that instant, Kharma had only been able to vaguely see a mere 24 hours into the future.
This info did not deter Charles from begging her to put him in contact with her fellow Sista Clique member. Ember, however refused to do so; but told him that if the ghost orphans did end up attacking the university, she and her teammates would be more than happy to lend a hand in a battle against them. And with that, Ember left his office and began her journey back to Powerhouse Network headquarters in Connecticut.
The story of his meeting with Ja’Nique Prescott would be a story Charles never told to anyone…