June 9, 2016
160. SHELDON SARDIS
Platinum City, USA, Earth (Core Reality); Mid-21st century
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
Sheldon 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, which is infused with his blood. He is an expert swordsman, and is trained in a number of fighting techniques.
Sheldon Sardis is the oldest living member of the Veil, a secret society of noble hunters and assassins who’ve been tasked with hunting down mysterious lost souls known as ghost orphans, and sending them into a heavenly afterlife. Originally, seven bloodlines comprised of thousands of Veil hunters battled against the dangerous spirits. However, over the centuries the war had taken its toll, and two of the bloodlines (Pergamum and Ephesus) had been wiped out. Additionally, by the time the 22nd century rolled around, a third bloodline was down to its final member, Paula Thyatira.
It was unusual for Veil hunters to live as long as Sheldon (he’s now in his 70s), for the life of these warriors is fraught with danger. There is no such thing as a quiet existence for the members of the Seven Bloodlines, which is something Sheldon learned from an early age. Born off the coast of southern Platinum City to Veil Hunters Frederico and Majesty Sardis, he was introduced to the war when the deep sea facility their extended family was using as a base of operations at the time was discovered and attacked by a swarm of ghost orphans.
WEIGHT: 189 lbs.
The House of Sardis was known for their elaborately hidden habitats, as they were by nature much more cautious and careful than the Houses of Philadelphia, Smyrna and Laodicea. However, the ghost orphans had discovered a number of Sardis hideouts, and this attack on the Deep Sea Habitat was one in a long line of violent strikes. Majesty and Frederico, along with dozens of other hunters, fought back, and eventually destroyed the would-be invaders, but the facility was damaged beyond repair, and they had to abandon it before it was totally flooded.
Through the subsequent years Sheldon’s parents would continue to hunt and battle ghost orphans, while teaching him the history of the war, and training him to use his living-blade. By the time he was in his 20s he was was a proficient assassin, however, the rise of the ghost orphan known as Virginia Ice had ushered in a dark time for the Veil. She had built a massive and heavily armed militia of ghost orphan marauders, and subsequently began a systematic extermination of the hunters. Sheldon and his clanmates and peers were forced into hiding, and despite several valiant attempts by then Veil leader Charles Smyrna to rally against Virginia Ice, the noble warriors found themselves unable to turn the tide of the war back in their favor.
Then came the rise of Disa Philadelphia, who would become the greatest warrior in the history of the Veil. Sheldon, along with Charles Smyrna and Caesar Laodicea, supported the young huntress in her 40-day rampage, in which thousands of ghost orphans fell under her living-blade. That period became known as The Flood, and it effectively ushered in an era of incredible prosperity and success for the Veil.
Under Disa’s leadership, the Veil established a relationship with Platinum City University, in which young hunters could attend classes, while continuing their training in the school’s secluded Deep Wing. In return, several hunters would serve as faculty members and school employees. Disa became a professor, and asked Sheldon to serve as one of her key advisors. He agreed, and eventually became one of Platinum City University’s most respected deans.
For more than three decades Sheldon served the school, and provided a calm and steady guiding hand for Disa and the other Veil hunters, who continued to hunt down and battle ghost orphans throughout the world. In times of confusion or disagreement among the bloodlines, it was Sheldon who mediated and gave practical solutions. Very rarely did anyone go against his wisdom and advice; that was, until the young hunter Peter Philadelphia came knocking on his door. Peter would eventually succeed his mother, and take on the mantle of greatest and most skilled of all hunters, but at this point his burden was much different – he was in love.
Peter, who was merely 21 at the time, met with Sheldon because the woman he was in love with was Virginia Ice – the leader of the ghost orphan marauders, and his own mother’s long-time personal nemesis. Peter and Virginia had encountered each other numerous times on the battlefield, and despite their often brutal battles, neither had been able to lay the death-knell into the other. Though Peter assured Sheldon they had never actually given in to their physical desires, the elder hunter could tell that Peter was deeply affected by his relationship with the villainous woman. Over the next couple of years, Sheldon counseled Peter, and attempted to help him quell his feelings for Virginia. And despite what seemed like good progress, Sheldon knew that Peter and Virginia were still secretly tracking one another.
Disa, who suspected her son was keeping a secret, came to Sheldon several times, but the elder hunter never betrayed his young client’s confidence. Eventually, Peter began a relationship with fellow hunter, Reagan Smyrna, and once they were married, Peter broke off all contact with Virginia, and assured Sheldon that all was well with his heart and mind.
For the next several years, Sheldon continued in his duties as mentor and elder, with no serious issues ever crossing his desk. And then came the fall semester of his 35th year as a dean at Platinum City University. A ghost orphan named Derek Loman had walked into Disa Philadelphia’s lecture hall, and prophesied that after seven weeks, the walls of Platinum City would crumble, and consequently the Veil would be torn asunder as well. During these seven weeks thousands of ghost orphans arrived on campus, and began silently walking around the Central Administration complex. The Veil could not simply charge out and begin fighting them, for Sheldon reminded his fellow hunters that the general public had no idea what a ghost orphan was.
Sheldon continued to provide counsel to numerous hunters, as a number of events during the Seven Week Walk shook the Veil to its core, such as a campus riot involving ghost orphans and hunters, in which young Veil members Mio Sardis and Quintonice Philadelphia were shot and arrested, respectively; the return of a renegade group of hellspawns called reapers, led by Alva Devine; an assassination attempt on the President of the United States and the Mayor of Platinum City by the reaper Jezabella, during a tour of PCU; and the arrival of Seraph Solomon, a supreme holy warrior who needed the Veil’s help to stop the cataclysmic event known as the Age of Serpents.
Through all of this Sheldon continued to hold the Veil together, however, Virginia Ice was constantly pulling at the loose threads, and finally on the last day of the Seven Day Walk, everything was about to unravel. On this day Sheldon discovered that through a series of circumstances, Peter and Virginia had had contact with each other again; furthermore, Virginia had revealed her previous emotional relationship to Peter’s wife, Reagan; additionally, the ghost orphan marauder had made a deal with Alva Devine and the reapers to team up against the Veil; but she had also cut a deal with Caesar Laodicea to team up against the reapers…
Those two deals had culminated in a bloody showdown the night before the final day of the Seven Week Walk in an underground facility, involving Peter, Regan, young Xylia Laodicea, and Alva Devine’s reaper squad, in which Virginia Ice double-crossed both sides, resulting in the death of the reaper Ravana. Reagan fled with Xylia, as Peter and Virginia battled the reapers.
During this fight, however, something strange happened – as midnight struck, indicating the end of the Seven Day Walk, several beams of darklight suddenly burst from Virginia’s body! The blood of the reaper Ravana, as well as the Veil hunters’ blood that had been spilled, began to seep into Virginia’s body and soul. Her eyes then began to light up with a deep orange glow, and a terribly guttural voice emanated from her throat, as she uttered two words…: “Legion’s Gate.”
These words caused Alva and her two remaining cohorts, Jezabella and Teivel, to drop their blades and kneel before Virginia. Peter had no idea what was happening, but he knew something was terribly wrong. He fled and made it out, just as another explosion of darklight rocked the underground facility. He immediately made his way back to Sheldon’s 58th floor penthouse apartment. Upon entering, Peter explained everything that had happened and everything he had just seen. At the mention of Legion’s Gate Sheldon had finally realized what the Seven Week Walk was leading up to: the earthly arrival of one of the most powerful beings in the war between Heaven and Hell – the creature known as Legion.
Sheldon put out an emergency call, and within an hour his apartment was filled with dozens of Veil hunters, including Disa Philadelphia, Paula Thyatira, Caesar Laodicea, Charles Smyrna, Mio Sardis, Valerie Philadelphia, Reagan Smyrna and several more. Also in attendance was Seraph Solomon, who, along with Sheldon and Disa, had the most knowledge about what was happening.
Sheldon and the Seraph explained that Legion was beginning his transition from a spiritual creature into the physical world; a transition that, if allowed to fully take place, could easily spell doom for not only the Veil but the rest of the planet as well. They continued to explain that a number of elements had to fall into place in order to set the table for Legion’s arrival, but most importantly the creature needed a physical vessel that was both willing and strong enough to be used as the gate he would pass through.
Virginia Ice had spent the previous seven weeks gathering the elements and the physical and spiritual strength she needed to be that vessel. Seraph surmised that she was able to draw portions of strength from the recent Age of Serpents battles that had happened with Walter Tubbs, Jocelyn Heredia, Andrea Leonard, Bishop Cornelius A. Grippa, and the evil spirits that accompanied them all. Sheldon further suggested that Virginia’s underhanded dealings with both the reapers and the Veil had also contributed to the reservoir of energy she was pooling in preparation of serving as Legion’s vessel.
Sheldon then gave Peter a stern look, and told him that if they had any chance of surviving the next 24 hours, it was paramount that he reveal to his fellow hunters what had been happening between him and Virginia Ice. Peter, the most skilled and talented of all the Veil hunters, then stepped up and told everyone that he and the dangerous ghost orphan had been involved in a passionate and emotional relationship. And while the relationship never became physical, their connection was powerful.
Sheldon added that the emotional strength and energy she pulled from Peter was the final ingredient she needed. And at the end of the day, the Seven Week Walk was merely a distraction; something to keep the Veil guessing and off balance. Virginia Ice had pulled off the ultimate caper.
Suddenly the building shook violently, and an explosion was heard from a few miles away. All of the hunters ran to the wall of ceiling-high windows, and looked out toward Platinum City University. Plooms of orange smoke rose from the institute of higher learning. Then several of the hunters’ mobile devices began to buzz, as dozens of new alerts were pouring in: the southern portion of the wall surrounding the Central Administration Complex of PCU had crumbled and fallen – Derek Loman’s prophecy was coming to pass, and Legion’s Gate was opening.
Sheldon, Disa and Seraph Solomon quickly corralled everyone, and told them they only had one chance to stop the coming of Legion – they would have to find Virginia Ice, and destroy her before the transition could be completed. The hunters turned to Peter, wondering if he could reveal her whereabouts. He began to tell them about the underground facility where he had last seen her, but before he could finish, young Xylia Laodicea called for everyone’s attention.
She had turned on the digital video screen at the far end of the penthouse – Powerhouse News Network anchor Ja’Nique NuYork was on the scene, near the Lebanon Memorial Bridge, which served as the main entrance to Platinum City University. In the distance behind her was Virginia Ice, who was elevated about ten feet in the air, floating, as a fiery orange vortex formed beneath her.
The Veil’s target was clear, but it would not be easy to obtain, as the thousands of ghost orphans that had taken part in the Seven Week Walk were standing in their way, along with Alva Devine and a group of reapers. Sheldon looked to Disa and Solomon, then turned to the rest of the Veil, and told them to prepare for battle.
It was time to go back to school…