Jesse Vala was just an average, unremarkable 19 year old college student. She lived with her parents and younger sister, Claire
, in quiet suburban Rockland County, NY. Jesse wanted to grow up to become a doctor or veterinarian, to save lives. She never guessed that she would get that opportunity one day - nor could she imagine the horrific way in which it would present itself to her.
On August 15, 2001, Jesse and her sister returned home to discover their parents dead - brutally torn to pieces by monstrous were servants of the Warlocks. Claire killed one of the beasts, but was herself slain by one of its companions. Jesse, too, would have died that night, paralyzed by her own grief, if not for the arrival of Exile
Sent at the behest of Helen Nightshade
, the saved the girl and brought her to safety. There, it was revealed to Jesse that she was the last in the long lineage of Earth's witches. Her powers would be needed to defend humanity against the arrival of the powerful Warlocks, who would destroy the planet once they escaped from the Ashen Realms.
Helen sent Jesse - along with Exile, Golem, and the newly returned ghost of her sister, Claire - on a quest to awaken her powers. Their quest took them to the town of Erant, where a would-be magician named Billy Watkins had raised a powerful daemon that had destroyed and absorbed the town into its gigantic mass.
Watkins used his powers to take control of Jesse's mind, inadvertently awakening her latent magical powers. At his command, she turned those powers on Exile, who was nearly forced to destroy her to save himself.
Helpless to reach Jesse through verbal entreaty, Claire's ghost possessed her sister's body. With Exile's help, the two were able to kill Watkins, only to find themselves absorbed by the daemon.
After Golem destroyed the daemon, they returned to Helen's home, where Claire discovered she could not free herself from Jesse's body, which was slowly dying as a side-effect of her possession.
As a witch, Ascendant has the ability to manipulate the very forces of nature itself. Though still learning how to wield her powers, she has shown herself capable of levitating (via control of the Earth's magnetic field); creating whirlwinds of air; firing powerful lightning bolts; and creating and controlling fire.