◭◮ The Black Mirror ◭◮
Real Name: Kellan Strigidae (Secret)
Aliases: Grimmwald, Horned Saint, Black Mirror, Red Shinigami, Many Faced Man, New Face of Fear, No One, Horned Master, Shadow King, Devil of Dread,
Many Faced Strigidae
Weight: 208 lbs
Hair Color: Light Brown (Variable - )
Eye Color: Ruby (Variable - See )
Alignment: Antihero (Morally Ambiguous)
Relationship Status: Single
Family: Descendant of صفر
☰ The Horned Saint - Origin/Background ☰
There was no family to raise him, neither guidance from a father nor warmth from a mother. His teacher and parent was the twisted brother of the pleasure principle - the pain principle - for the Strigidae shunned all weakness. And Kellan, bent but never broken by the cruel lessons that raised him, grew to shunned it as well. He sought pain out, matured in its shadow, and in it founded a personal code to stand against the injustices of the world, to stand against those who'd pluck children from their mother's arms and do what the Strigidae had to him. So he left, abandoning the Strigidae ranks and donning the red shroud of no one. Of the horned hero in a world as gluttonous as it was cruel. He became Grimmwald - the Black Mirror of changing faces.
☰ No One - Psychological Profile/Personality ☰
At his best, the Shadow King is a focused hero freed from the moral limitations that held most good men back. But at his worst, he is cold-blooded and cruel, obsessed with mankind's failed efforts in the war against evil. He loves few, and trusts even fewer. Given his defection from the Strigidae death clan, Kellan suffers from significant paranoia, never using his real name in any official capacity and abusing his face-changing skill to constantly change his appearance. So deep is the Shadow King's paranoia that he refuses even simple tasks like using a computer or cellphone due to the risk of being found by technopaths in the Strigidae's service. It is no surprise then that Kellan is hyper-vigilant and always on-guard, staying wary of any threat, be it real or imagined. Although it is a necessary inconvenience, the Shadow King often leans on a dark sense of humor and sharp wit to ease the irritability that often mounts due to general frustration of having to do everything possible to avoid the Strigidae.
Due to his childhood years with the Strigidae, Kellan is often supernaturally cool, capable of maintaining an enormous amount of control over his emotions in highly stressful situations. This exceptional composure is partially responsible for his ability to stick to a strict and rigid code. This code stems from the sympathy and empathy he feels for those too weak to fight for themselves, a feeling developed over the hatred he felt for how cruelly the Strigidae responded to his failures. As a result, Kellan's code of conduct hinges on a razor sharp focus on opposing all forms of injustice and the eradication of what he perceives as evil. And while he does his best to abstain from killing, he will if left with no other choice. Despite the genuine goodness of his heart, the Shadow King possesses dangerous and predatory traits, chiefly stemming from his genetic history and his upbringing as a Strigidae.
He can be extremely cruel (both physically and psychologically) when dealing with criminals and villains, as he appears to hold actual malice for those he considers evil. Instead of killing them, Kellan opts to make villains and their ilk suffer greatly. He punishes them for their unforgivable acts, crippling them, gouging their eyes out, crushes their larynges so they may never speak again, and so on. But he typically abstains from killing them. Partly because he wants nefarious souls to suffer, to feel as powerless as those they've wronged, but also because he does not consider killing to be an effective form of threat management. It is Kellan's belief that the only way to control evil and the criminal element is through fear, by fostering a culture of fear whereby the consequence of great suffering casts such a dark shadow over the modern supervillain that they refrain from evil altogether. So he uses torture, physical and non-physical to create this culture of fear among villains to manage the threat of evil and villainy.
☰ The Many Faced Man - Master Martial Artist & Additional Skills ☰
◈◈ Fighting System ◈◈
As a lifelong martial artist and former Strigidae, few fighting styles and combat systems have escaped the Shadow King's notice. A sniping pressure fighter, Kellan's martial arts system blends elements of karate and boxing. Standing in a wide stance, Kellan bounces in-and-out like a karateka, aiding both his distance management and counter-striking. Yet his foes will find few fighters sharper from the pocket, as against the Shadow King - there is no safety when facing him in the realm of unarmed combat. Although he is a pressure fighter at heart, Kellan does not usually swarm his foes. Instead, he methodically pushes his opponent back, and in so doing forces them to try and regain ground, opening paths for his counter punches to tunnel through. Because of his exceptional length, Kellan's opponents often have little choice but to cover distance on him, and the Shadow King unleashes an entire arsenal of tools to make the opponent pay for doing so.
He pulls and pivots into foes who use shifts, smashing them with a straight or cracking them over the top off the pull to chain into combinations. Exceptional on the lead, Kellan masterfully prods his opponent into opening up for heftier blows. By dipping into his arsenal of kicks, the Shadow King expertly forces his foe into taking action. When combined with his precision and footwork, his diverse array of kicks work as pressuring tools, not only keeping his opponent at range and making them struggle with the distance he maintains, but cutting off their angles and boxing them in. When foes try to escape into his power side, Kellan whips them with either a left kick to the body or head, or a cross. Should his foe circle in the opposition direction, a thunderous spinning back kick awaits them. No matter whether he is attempting to counter or brutalize his foe, Kellan leans heavily on his kicks, attacking with a dynamic array ranging from front kicks, side kicks, spinning kicks, roundhouse kicks, jumping kicks and so on, all of which serve the purpose of keeping his opponent hesitant or lure them into the Shadow King's slip and counter.
Among his most effective kicks is the left roundhouse which he aims to the body or head while forcing the opponent to circle into the kick. Furthermore, when he throws the kick to the head, it plays off the threat of his left cross, as Kellan can dupe his foe to slip into the strike. Still, the meat of Kellan's striking is his razor sharp boxing. On the lead, his boxing is a work of art. As a great hand-fighter, the Shadow King creates paths for his rear hand and can use throwaway straights to disrupt his opponent's rhythm and work out their reactions. Given his supernatural accuracy and sharp eye, Kellan is frighteningly skilled at slipping his punches through the openings of his opponent's guard. Due to his excellent distancing, the Shadow King generally deters takedown attempts, and his skill in the clinch is vicious and opportunistic. Often-times, Kellan uses his length to leverage takedowns and create a multitude of offensive opportunities in the clinch. Additionally, he makes exceptional use of head position, always keeping his forehead or the top of his head underneath his opponent's jaw, allowing him to pressure forward and ensure that he is the one landing damaging blows while simultaneously exhausting his foe.
Furthermore, Kellan makes liberal use of elbows, hooks, uppercuts, knees and wrist-grips in the clinch, in addition to a range of judo and Greco-Roman takedowns. While he fights primarily as a striker, the Shadow King is a fearsome grappler on the ground. With little interest in working from his back, Kellan always seeks to establish top position and apply relentless pressure. His guard passing is phenomenal, his posture is strong, and his hips are always heavy on his foe. If the opponent begins defending a guard pass, Kellan will pause the pass in order to land vicious punches then throw an underhook in and hop around his foe's guard. In line with his instinct for dominance, Kellan renders it extremely difficult for his opponent to secure a full guard because while an opponent limits their offensive options when holding a foe inside the close guard by squeezing, it is a neutralizing position. However, Kellan usually works to pin a butterfly hook or land in half-guard immediately after securing a takedown. From either of these positions, the Shadow King can more easily advance into dominant positions as his foe is now forced to actually grapple with him rather than simply hold on.
And once the Shadow King is passed the guard, he'll transition between positions like side control, north-south and mount. If the opponent offers no resistance, then Kellan will pick his shots with heavy ground strikes. Once the opponent starts to resist his grappling with a more active defense, Kellan threatens a variety of submissions ranging from kimuras and arm triangles to armbars, all of which he uses when the bottom foe's arm is out of position, which is often due to the opponent's need to protect their face during elbow escapes. Against an opponent attempting to catch him with up-kicks, the Shadow King hangs back and uses the up-kick to throw his foe's leg to the side, allowing him to advance into dominant position and nullify the threat of the up-kick.
◈◈ Face Changing ◈◈
Few of Kellan's skills are as unusual as his ability to change his face. By combining convincing acting with what to be a disturbing shape-shifting power, the Shadow King is able to take on the facial features of virtually anyone. While useful, the skill has its limits as Kellan cannot violate the law of conservation of mass to suddenly grow drastically taller or shorter but he is able to change his appearance significantly within these parameters. This face-changing ability is a genetic power. Instead, Kellan's ability to change his face and even seemingly his gender, is owed to an combination of exotic tools, and special training.
When changing faces, he assumes not only the face of another, but an entirely different appearance. It is rumored that the Shadow King collects the faces of those killed in mob executions or from shallow graves. There is however, no truth to this rumor. Oddly enough, Kellan can mimic the voices of others, regardless of gender, a skill he uses to great effect when changing faces.
☰ The Red Shinigami - Powers & Abilities ☰
◈◈ X-Gene & Arcani Abilities ◈◈
A mutant born with the power of extraordinary movement, Kellan's body produces more of the contractile proteins of muscle - actin and myosin - resulting in superhuman physical strength, speed and durability which exceeds the limits of ordinary humans (further enhanced - see below in Master of One). The greatest of his abilities however, lies in his superhuman movement - a marriage of agility, coordination, balance and quickness. When paired with the fruits of an exotic training regimen, this combination of abilities has rendered Kellan uniquely gifted. His balance is supernaturally perfect, and his movement emits no sound. Furthermore, his physical movement is unnaturally fluid and smooth, enabling astonishing accuracy and precision, even by metahuman standards. Despite their incredible strength, Kellan's tissues have significantly greater elasticity than those of ordinary humans and even other mutants and metahumans. His superhuman nerve efficiency is the at the root of his exceptional balance and coordination, further enhanced by an increased number of proprioreceptors and an increase in their sensitivity.
Stranger still, Kellan's entire dermis is extremely sensitive to atmospheric vibrations, enabling him to sense airborne vibrations from even the subtlest of movements. Because of this, the Shadow King appears to be much faster than he actually is, as he reacts to the movement of others the very instance their muscle fibers twitch. Furthermore, his hyper-sensitive dermis acts as his most powerful sensory organ as it not only detects the presence of others, but of objects like doors, tables etc. from their subtle vibrations. The Shadow King's powers however, are not owed entirely to his X-Gene, as his skill with the Arcani art of Absolutio plays a large part in his abilities. Kellan is unique in that he combines a unique ability to interact with shadows, with his Arcani skill - Khaba. He can interact with shadows to store items inside them, drifts through the darkness as if he himself is a shadow, sinking into their blackness and traveling between them for frightening stealth. The greatest application of Kellan's shadow-binding powers however, is teleportation between shadows irrespective of distance, allowing him to move from one location to another under minimal time. Perhaps a more supernaturally-inclined variation of his shadow-binding powers is his ability to physically live in the domain of shadows, a Shadow World so to speak. While he typically uses it to store items, it also doubles as a base of operations for him where he is virtually impossible to locate.
Additionally, as a shadow-binder, Kellan can extend his shadow on any surface as far as he requires so long as there is enough area. And once his shadow comes into contact with someone else's shadow, the two shadows merge and the victim's will becomes subservient to his, forcing them to imitate his physical actions. The Shadow King often tries to use better light sources to increase the size of his shadow or rely on preexisting shadows for his own shadow to tether to in order to reach a target that is out of range.
◈◈ Mastery of One ◈◈
It has long been the Shadow King's desire to reach the peak of his martial arts potential. Having acquired some of the Keijijo Clan's forbidden martial secrets, Kellan dove deep into the ancient Keijijo scrolls and harnessed some of the clan's legendary knowledge to unify his body and mind. By awakening and exerting control of his qi-nodes, Kellan has achieved what the Damned Monks of the Keijijo call "Mastery of One". Qi-nodes are meeting points of the psycho-spiritual energy commonly referred to as "ch'i", "qi" or "ki" by Eastern philosophies. Believed to permeate the subtle body (the psycho-spiritual equivalent of the physical body), qi, when properly harnessed, pushes the human body beyond its limits by forging energy channels between the subtle and physical bodies. Kellan however, awakened and harnessed his qi as the Damned Monks of the Keijijo had, by forging energy channels between not only the subtle and physical bodies - but the mind as well.
It is a forbidden art among the Keijijo as damage dealt to one's qi-nodes means damage dealt to one's mind as well, putting those who practice the art of body-mind unification at great risk against foes who are well versed in attacking qi-nodes, as well psionics whose psychic assault on the mind mean an assault on the subtle body through its shared energy channels with the mind. So like the ancient Damned Monks of the Keijijo, Kellan routes much of his own qi into forging psycho-spiritual barriers around his qi-nodes and mind to protect them from damage, as well as his mind from psychic assault as these barriers emit neutralizing frequencies against psychic energy. The cost of doing so however, is that his own qi becomes unavailable for offensive techniques without putting his defenses at risk. Still, the union of Kellan's body and mind yields immense martial benefits. Its chief benefit is the change to the sequence of perception-evaluation-planning-conscience-reaction of the body and mind. When one sees a threat, a moment is taken to evaluate the danger being posed, then another moment to conceive of a counter, followed by yet another moment of brief doubt before one either attacks, defends, or flees. Through forbidden rituals and meditation, Kellan has removed all unnecessary nervous system steps and now his body reacts instinctively and nigh-instantaneously, doing exactly what is needed to counter a threat while minimizing the danger without the need for conscious thought.
When combined with his hyper-sensitive dermal senses, the Shadow King can not only detect an attack in its initial stage by sensing the atmospheric vibrations caused by the attack's movement, but he can also execute a near-perfect counter prior to said attack posing any tangible threat. As a result, opponents often feel as though Kellan knows exactly what they are doing before they do so, and it renders him a terrifying counter-fighter. Additionally, Kellan's harnessed qi enhances his physical attributes, rendering him significantly stronger, more durable and faster than determined by his X-Gene, enabling him to lift 35 tons, withstand far greater damage than before, and move blindingly fast. When not concerned with his mind sustaining critical damage from a psychic or qi-based attack, the Shadow King makes liberal use of the more offensive techniques of the Damned Monks. These techniques involve routing specific amounts of his own qi into his strikes to deal critical internal damage. The first of these techniques involves routing volatile qi from his strikes into the internal organs of his opponents. So a strike zeroing in on an organ will always deal dangerous internal damage. A liver shot, for example, will always cause significant internal damage to the liver, even rupture it, as will a strike to the stomach and so on. Another of these techniques also involves routing qi into one's strikes.
However, the end result is different. Instead, the qi transferred into the opponent's body from these strikes attempts to slow/stop cellular respiration, inhibit or destroy the mitochondria (the source of energy in the cells) and interrupt the body's electron transfer to strip the opponent of the energy their body needs to work and live. So while Kellan may occasionally refrain from killing, he still saps the energy from his opponent's bodies to physically break them down from within. He often uses this technique to target the mitochondria of the muscle cells, depriving them of their ATP and inhibiting their muscles' ability to contract and do work, leading to a host of effects including limp limbs. Despite his usual aversion to causing immediate death, the Shadow King has mastered the deadliest of the Damned Monks' techniques - the God of Death. The God of Death is a strike to the heart, a fatal qi-infused punch whose qi stops the heart's mitochondrial metabolism, depriving the heart of the energy it needs to pump blood to oxygenate the body's organs.
One of the Shadow King's cruelest techniques involves qi-infused strikes engineered to inflate the qi-nodes in his opponent's limbs to trigger violent imbalances that cause the targeted limbs to violently inflate when the muscle contracts, and deflate when it relaxes. The ordeal lasts for about a minute with the purpose of painfully exhausting the opponent's muscles and discouraging them from pursuing further combat. Furthermore, he is also able to infuse his weapons with qi to enhance their striking/cutting/piercing/ bludgeoning power.
◈◈ Eyes of صفر ◈◈
Genetic artifacts inherited from his forefather, صفر - Strigidae Zero or more infamously, the Brahma Bull - Kellan's eyes are exotic organs that are uniquely sensitive to the bio-electrical energy currents or "bio-energy" fundamental to the functionality of intracellular metabolic processes. The Shadow King therefore, can essentially see the life-force flowing in others, watching them mount in specific organs by glancing at the electrical currents they produce. Additionally, Kellan's eyes use special hormones that enable him to process sight faster. Furthermore, the awakening of his eyes led to an increase in his brain's processing speed. Specifically, his brain is now better able to predict the future via fast probability calculations based on his experiences. This is what allows the Shadow King to predict the potential outcomes of certain battles and mimic physical movements with little more than a glance. His sight is further enhanced by thin membranes that, through focus, enable him to see the molecular structures of physical bodies, resulting in the ability to perceive the molecular bonds of structures and see stressed or vulnerable points which, when subjected to enough stress, will compromise the integrity of those structures.
By combining this perception with his superhuman movement for maximum accuracy and precision, the Shadow King can breach the stressed points in physical structures through physical blows, allowing him to deal crippling damage to objects and foes far beyond the range of his physical strength. Foes many orders of magnitudes more durable than him find their bones inexplicably shattered by his blows, and barriers that stand against hulking metahuman beasts are felled by his strikes. Through continuous training, Kellan awakened a series of abilities from the depths of his eyes:
- ❖ Asura: With an undisturbed ten second gaze, Kellan casts a psycho-spiritual effect which redirects the aggression and ill-intent of his foes back at themselves. It reverses an enemy's hostile intent, essentially willing them into harming, and in some cases, killing themselves. Asura's effect lasts a total of five seconds and experiences a fifteen minute cooldown before the Shadow King can use it once more.
- ❖ Yama: By perceiving and analyzing the "charge" of his foe's life-force, the Shadow King can alter the charge of his own life-force into the opposite of his enemy's, causing any physical contact to act as a life-force magnet, coaxing it from his opponent's core, physically weakening them.
- ❖ Shukra: A passive ability whose purpose is to use the brains of those nearby to boost Kellan's own processing power, Shukra is of particular use whenever the Shadow King is injured and bordering on unconsciousness. He can use nearby brains to run what is essentially the OS of his mind, even when his brain is incapable of conscious activity.
- ❖ Agni: A dangerous ability to both his enemy and himself, Agni severely impacts Kellan's physical reserves, exhausting him if used too frequently. Agni manifests as sheets of black flames he can project at his foes through sight alone. However, the flames themselves do not burn. Instead, their power is owed to a fundamental property of darkness - absence. Those consumed by Agni's flames are attacked not by heat but the absence of thought, negating the very concept of thought in the mind for the few seconds that the flames burn, rendering Kellan's foes - for a brief moment - into thoughtless husks.
☰ The New Face of Fear - Paraphernalia ☰
◈◈ Artifacts ◈◈
The following are artifacts come into Kellan's possession:
◈◈ Weapons & Gear ◈◈
The following are Kellan's custom weaponry:
- Wrist Blades: A pair of wrist blades that spring from mechanical bracers that blend seamlessly into the scarlet shade of his garments, Kellan's wrist blades are forged from vibranium steel.
The following is Kellan's collection of other weaponry and equipment:
- Flash Grenades (M84 Stun)
- Tear Gas Grenades (CS & CN)
- Thermite Grenades (Model 308-1 Napalm, AN-M14 TH3)
- Daggers & Knives
- Steel Sai
- Polearms (Retractable) etc.
- Parachutes, Wingsuit, Grappling Hook/Swinging Cables, Flashlight, Binoculars
- Metal Batons
- Gas Mask
- Brass Knuckles
- Dai Chui
- Vibranium chain whip
- Claimed from Synergy X - Orochi Katana (Vibranium-Edged, Tungsten-Steel Alloyed, Titanium Fittings & Carbon Fiber Wrapping)
- Claimed from the Orochi - 2nd Orochi Katana
- Claimed from the Orochi - Orochi Bows & Arrows
- Blowdarts (Toxin-Injecting)
◈◈ Psychoactive Agents ◈◈
- 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
◈◈ Blood Agents ◈◈
- Cyanogen chloride
- Hydrogen cyanide
◈◈ Fear Toxins ◈◈
Often deployed via smoke bomb arrows, the Shadow King's fear toxins cause his victims to experience their worst fears, relive traumatic episodes from their past, and drown in feelings of overwhelming dread and hopelessness:
- ❖ Toxin-1: Toxin-1 consists of three chemicals. The first is a mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen; carbogen. When inhaled, carbogen tricks the mind into thinking one is suffocating because the brain interprets the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the blood as a decrease in oxygen levels, causing breathing to quicken and deepen, and an increase in heart rate. Furthermore, any fears and anxieties related to not breathing will arise in the victim's mind. In addition to this, carbogen also causes hallucinations. The second chemical, Tea Tree Oil, is a natural hallucinogen. And the third, Datura, is not only a natural hallucinogen as well, but a delirium (causes a state of cognitive confusion). Toxin-1 is colorless but carries a distinct odor.
- ❖ Toxin-2: Like Toxin-1, Toxin-2 also contains carbogen. However, it is different in that it also contains a corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) which is not only a peptide but a neurotransmitter that's involved in stress response. It triggers feelings of dread and anxiety. The next chemical is 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ Gas), a hallucinogen and inhibitor of acetylcholine that is related to atropine. Instead of causing feelings of dread and anxiety, it causes hallucinations. The final substance however, is what is responsible for causing victims to experience their worst fears. By using a protein called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is encoded by BDNF genes and is a member of the neurotrophin family of growth factors, Toxin-2 can affect a victim's long-term memory. Irregularities in the BDNF protein can be linked to mental disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder. Toxin-2 tweaks the BDNF protein in a certain way by using a chemical agent in order to cause a change in the BDNF levels in the basolateral amygdala to brings up personal fears caused by past traumatic events.
- ❖ Toxin-3: The third of Kellan's fear toxins is a cocktail of a psychoactive herb called Salvia divinorum, a chemical called capsaicin, and a BDNF agent. The Salvia in Timoxotin affects the dopamine receptors d2 in the brain, causing the victim to hallucinate, whereas the larger dose of capsaicin (which causes the burning sensation in chili peppers and pepper spray) causes panic and claustrophobia. Toxin-3 is colorless.
- ❖ Toxin-4: The fourth and last of Kellan's fear toxins is Toxin-4. A combination of dopamine and a BDNF agent, Toxin-4 is a serum that when injected (through an arrow or otherwise) in the nucleus accumbens of the brain, causes immense feelings of dread leading to a sensation similar to the fear that prey animals feel for predators in the wild. This is because the nucleus accumbens deals with both desire and dread in the brain. When dopamine is injected in the front of it, one experiences pleasure. But when injected in the back, it causes one to experience crippling fear. Unfortunately, Toxin-4 serum requires surgical precision when injected in a victim as the room for error is measured in millimeters. As a result, Toxin-4 is the only one of the four fear toxins that cannot be deployed in gas form.
Because the chemical agents that alter CRH and BDNF take time to work, the Shadow King's toxins all contain an accelerating agent to ensure that every substance's effects take place at a much faster rate.