Richard is the son of Ivana Strigidae, born from an early attempt at genetic engineering using one of the Shogun's eggs, in vitro fertilization and a surrogate mother. Early childhood was constant struggle as he was indoctrinated into the cult and taught the martial secrets of the Strigidae. At 17 he became a Strigidae himself, the youngest in living memory. The years following his triumph were a bloodsoaked slaughter as he lived the life of an assassin, a life that filled his soul with a terrible guilt and the day arose when he could endure the torment no more; he fled the only family he had ever known and entered a life on the run, constantly on the move to evade his former brethren who decreed a traitor could not live.
Richard shares his mother's x-gene however when he broke free of the Strigidae cult his x-gene was suppressed through means he does not yet understand.
Richard has no physical superpowers. His body is the result of a lifetime of training at the feet of the Seven Secret Masters who forged him into a weapon of muscle and bone to be used as a tool for their own ends. As a result he can keep pace with an Olympic athlete in any performance category; he can lift as much as a record setting power-lifter, run as fast as an Olympic sprinter or for as long as an ultra-marathoner.
Richard is as strong as any record setting power lifter. His one-rep maximum bench press is 1075, deadlift is 1103 and squat is 1268. Combined with his size and speed this gives his strikes terrifying power.
Though he isn't built for sprinting the Son of the Shogun can hit speeds of twenty eight miles per hour when sprinting. When he strikes his kicks can easily break a hundred and fifteen miles an hour and his punches clock in at around a hundred and five miles per hour.
When it comes to endurance Richard is at the extreme end of human potential. When he escaped from the Strigidae he ran 188 miles in the first twenty four hours. Later he was forced to remain on the move for seven days and covered 530 miles in seven days, while sleeping only fifteen total hours.
After a lifetime of physical combat, beginning when he was a small child, Richard can endure a tremendous beating without being knocked unconscious. He can take multiple blows to his skull with a pipe or bat, survive stab wounds and repeated gunshots and even live through a fall from an airplane or strike from a powerhouse and still get up and walk away. This is largely due to his extremely thick, dense bones, his indomitable will to live, his powerful muscularture which absorbs a lot of force and his strong heart.
At six foot four and two hundred and forty pounds Richard does not appear to be an agile man. Appearances are deceiving; Hawkshade is capable of jaw dropping feats of acrobatics, gymnastics, coordination and precision.
The Strigidae art of stealth. The mutant death-cult is a diverse collection of exotic masters and grandmasters, each of whom is as unique a killer as can be found walking the face of the earth. Yet there is one constant. One style every Strigidae is expected to master" Khaba, or shade. Those who cannot vanish into a shadow as surely as an owl fades into the night sky cannot call themselves Strigidae. Richard is no exception. Like most of the secret order who raised him from birth he is a master of the style and is capable of feats of stealth that seem impossible. As long as there is a single shadow available to him Hawkshade can hide and in fog, smoke or twilight he can vanish from the sight of man or machine.
Daily consumption of tiny doses of toxins, poisons and irritants begin when Richard was seven years old. From CS gas to snake venom, arsenic, cadmium and even mundane irritants such as poison ivy, Richard was exposed to them in small doses until he was largely immune. The daily practice of mithridatism was part of his life for a decade in the shrouded halls of the Strigidae temple.
𝕸𝖊𝖙𝖍𝖔𝖉 𝖔𝖋 𝕷𝖔𝖈𝖎
Also known as the memory palace technique this mnemonic device was first recorded by the Romans. The technique relies upon the creation of a 3D space inside one's mind, often an imaginary location but occasionally a real one. As a young acolyte sequestered in one of the Strigidae's hidden temples Richard mastered the technique, crafting a dismal subterranean fortress of grey stone and oak doors to stockpile his memories in rigorous detail. He can walk through this grim vault in his minds eye and open the door that holds a given memory, at which point it will come flooding back in pristine detail.
Oddly some of the doors in his memory palace are locked. Even to Richard.
Among the esoteric knowledge of the Strigidae is a secret language. A language not of linguistic-concepts of words, noun, pronoun, verb and preposition concepts but of spatial, kinestetic and tactical concepts. This language is of no value in communication; it's only value is as a thought-language for it's ideographic and nomothetic logic allow those who think in it to think about movement and combat in a way that opens up their minds to a world of martial possibility closed to those who think in thought-languages of noun, pronoun and so forth.
It is a secret art and a dying one, even among the Strigidae for the mind of an adult or adolescent is too stratified to incorporate its concepts, regardless of level of intelligence. By five years of age the human brain can no longer learn Iktet-Ur. The last master of Iktet-Ur begin to teach Richard when he was eighteen months old, isolating him from the other children and keeping him in an environment of absolute silence so his infant mind would be exposed only to the linguistic concepts of Iktet-Ur.
Today Richard thinks in the secret language, making his thoughts difficult for a telepath to interpret. This is not telepathic resistance but his thoughts may appear as gibberish to anyone attempting to read his mind.
The Strigidae language-art goes beyond inconveniencing a telepath, opening his mind to martial concepts that might otherwise take a lifetime of study to master. Richard was a master martial artist before he was ten years old and by the age of seventeen had become the youngest Strigidae in living memory. Martial concepts come easily to him and he absorbs new styles of combat like a sponge.
However the thought-language has opened his mind to worlds of martial potential, giving him the following abilities:
Richard's understanding of kinesiology is so great he can memorize and replicate any movement he witnesses, even if he only sees it once. He can even imitate the personlized blend of styles utilized by martial arts grandmasters.
The depth of his understanding of the human body is so great he can even mimic voices with enough fidelity to fool voice recognition software.
Not only can Richard imitate the movements of others but he can predict them with preternatural accuracy. The tension in a calf or the way the fingers in a fist are folded tells the Heir to Shadow volumes, far more than it would any human mind. He can often predict a foes movements before they have made the conscious decision to act.
Hawkshade's equipment is composed of the best technology money can buy, financed by Excalibur, the former Avalon which itself was once Kamelot, home of the Knightfalls.
Fabricated by hand from an mishmash of a leather construction workers belt and home made components this durable leather belt keeps his equipment dry and protected from outside elements such as sand or mud. However it is both heavy and bulky.
Parachute cord (50ft)
Titanium Field Hatchet
M7 CS-Gas Grenade
M8 Smoke Grenade
M84 Stun Grenade
Bandages and Antibiotics
Rare Earth Magnet
Night Vision Goggles (Second Gen)
Zip-ties and Handcuffs
Rubber Gloves, Paper Bags and Zip-lock Bags
The Strigidae cult does not send it's acolytes into the world unarmed. It is linked to the Arcani, families of wealthy and powerful mutants which have supported the mutant cause since the days of Rome. The Strigidae and the Arcani are bound together by complex codes and blood oaths and these mutual obligations serve to provide the Arcani with physical protection against their enemies and the Strigidae with the financial support necessary for their sustainment.
Richard was no exception. He was adorned with the panoply of war and sent to slay the enemies of the Strigidae but the majority of his equipment was lost or destroyed when he defected. The cowl of his old costume is all that remains.
Miniaturized components and micro-processors combined with nanocarbons and impact-absorbent jells provide Richard with a number of sensory boosting capabilities as well as providing him with a modest level of protection.
Flare Conspirators: Lenses that automatically darken in response to bright light. This protects him from being blinded when he is exposed to a flashbang, a laser 'dazzler' or even something as simple as walking from a dark room into a bright one.
Low-Light Vision: Light-gathering lens rings that amplify the ambient light when it falls below a certain threshold. This allows Hawkshade to see normally at night however the lenses cannot amplify light that does not exist.
Magnification/Enhancement: The lenses are in a constant state of digital adjustment, responding to environmental cues and the cowls on-board processor uses a self-learning algorithm to clean and enhance the clarity of the image. They also offer a magnification mode so Richard can zoom in on distant objects.
Thermographic Display: A thermal display mode allows Hawkshade to flip to the infrared spectrum and see heat patterns.
Decibel Filter: Automatically filters out sounds above a certain volume. This protects Hawkshade from being disoriented by sonic booms, the shock wave of explosions and long term hearing damage from exposure to gunfire.
Enhancement/Isolation: The same self-learning algorithm that enhances his vision also enhances the clarity and quality of the sounds Richard hears. Additionally they allow him to hear in high and low frequencies as well as isolating a single sound-- such as one voice in the midst of a concert.
Inbuilt Speaker: A radio, cellphone, computer or other devise can be plugged into his cowl and it will serve as a speaker.
Impact and Ballistic Protection: The cowl is reinforced with nanocarbon arches and honeycombs of jell that hardens on impact, allowing it to resist most hand held weapons and even one or two direct hits from a pistol cartage.
Wove from Aramid fibers soaked in a Polyethylene based sheer hardening fluid. The fabric combines the traditional resistances of Kevlar weave to tearing, cutting and ballistic weapons with the protection of non-newtonian fluids that harden when subjected to a high velocity impact.
Neoprene reinforced by a Fluoropolmer weave. The neoprene is closed cell and thus waterproof. Because it is waterproof it protects against chemical agents with a liquid delivery system. It also insulates Hawkshade against the extremes of temperature and will not conduct electricity. The Fluoropolmer weave is acid, base and solvent resistant which protects Hawkshade from most other types of chemical weaponry.
The suits design elements are based on the suits of the Knightfalls as well as many other Gothic vigilantes. This is a deliberate choice to obscure his identity from the Strigidae by making him blend into the crowd of wannabes who have followed in the Knightfall's footsteps and make it difficult for investigators to differentiate him from other Gothic vigilantes.
Constructed from a sheet of memory polymers this so called 'smart fabric' returns to a preselected shape when the correct electric current is applied. The first shape is a generic glide mode designed to generate lift but it is also programmed with a dive mode for maximum speed, a breaking mode to slow falls and seven shapes designed to facilitate certain aerobatic maneuvers.
Vantablack is a commercially available chemical substance composed of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays. Richard buys it from the dark web black market to remain anonymous and applies it to both his cape and his cowl. It is the darkest artificial substance known to man, absorbing ninety nine point nine five percent of visible light. This has two benefits. First it provides camouflage in dark environments. Secondly it provides concealment against thermal detection such as infrared and thermal vision.
All Iaculum are boomerang shaped and aerodynamically optimized to allow Hawkshade to curve them around corners, obstacles and even back to his hand.
All devices can be triggered by impact, signal from his cowl or by timer. Devices that can be turned on can also be turned off by signal from his cowl.
The simplest but most versatile weapon in Hawkshade's arsenal. Made from bars of tungstan alloyed steel that Arrachtach left behind when his mother abandoned her hideout the blades are relatively heavy, which decreases their range but increases their penetrative power. Blade geometry, heat treatment and synthetic diamond sharpening process make the edge sharp enough to shave with and combined with Richard's physical size, technique and strength he can throw the Iaculum at around a hundred miles per hour, imparting enough force to penetrate several inches into iron.
Non-lethal dual-charge explosive device inside an aerodynamic black frame dotted with cutouts for the light and sound to escape. The device does not disintegrate upon detonation to avoid dangerous fragments. When the ammonium nitrate charge explodes it produces 180 decibels of sound. The second charge is a deflagrating pyrotechnic with a yield of six million candela. The sound from the explosion causes thirteen seconds of deafness and fifteen minutes of sever tinnitus while the shockwave disrupts the fluid in the inner ear, resulting in total loss of balance for seven seconds. Six million candela is bright enough to activate every photoreceptor in the eye. This causes instant blindness for nine seconds and afterimages that persist for fifteen minutes.
The active ingredient is a chemical named orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile, or CS for short. It is stored as a powder and mixed with colloidal silica and hexamethyldisilizane inside the boomerang shaped black fiberglass. A thermite charge incerates the powder which is expelled at high speeds as the thermite simultaneously ruptures a canister of compressed air. This disperses the CS gas throughout a large area almost instantly. CS gas causes coughing, nausea, tears and mucus and severe burning in the eyes, mouth and throat. Colloidal silica and hexamethyldisilzane make the gas resistant to water degradation; so much so that the gas remains in the eyes through long periods of tearing and remain in the esophagus through long periods of vomiting. This doubles the period of incapacitation and makes water an ineffective treatment.
Aerodynamically molded from a plastic that incerates at high temperatures to avoid potentially lethal fragmentation and cored with home made semtex plastic explosive. The shock wave is still powerful enough to kill within two meters. When detonated under water the kill radius is ten meters. Hawkshade does not use these carelessly. They are deployed against superhuman enemies, enemies with significant armor, vehicles and structures that he wishes to destroy. When they are used against ordinary humans he detonates them at a range that will not cause fatalities.
White phosphorus mixed with black dye and on-board circuitry makes up the core. The body is made from vented tungsten carbide because it will not melt as the white phosphorus burns. White phosphorus burns quickly, producing a cloud of black smoke (due to the dye) characterized by explosive expansion. This creates concealment almost instantly as the black smoke is virtually opaque.
At each end of the boomerang shaped device are two short sharp prongs surrounded by a gel adhesive. Prongs penetrate any protective garment, such as a thick jacket, non-conductive costume or light body armor and the gel adhesive holds the device fast. The human body uses electrical impulses to control the skeletal muscle system. The device delivers 20 to 40 milliamps of current repeatedly in pulses to incapacitate the target. This continues for a predetermined period, until a signal from his cowl deactivates it, or until the battery is drained which can take up to seven minutes depending on the milliamp setting.
Gallium is a non-toxic metal that is liquid at room temperature. It is silvery in coloration. Standard Gallium forms a molecular bond with certain other metals on contact. This bond interferes with the crystalline molecular structure that gives metals their strength and the metal becomes soft enough to crumble under light pressure. This process takes several hours. Hawkshade's Gallium universal-alloy is significantly improved. It bonds with any metal aside from Vibranium and Adamantium instantly upon contact. A small amount of universal Gallium will degrade a substantial quantity of steel but metals of a greater density require more Gallium.
Ceramic Pellet Casing
The casings are hollow tubes cast from noncrystalline ceramics. These are hard but brittle and will break if thrown with force, stepped on or deliberately crushed in the hand. A miniature fuse with a micro transceiver is built into the interior of the casing. When triggered by a radio signal from Hawkshade's Cowl a white phosphorus fuse will ignite. The high temperature causes the liquid Gallium to swell, breaking the casing. This allows the pellets to be triggered remotely.