Name: Ivy Cunningham
Alias: Dr. Cunningham, Professor Cunningham, Lady Cunningham, Lady
Date of Birth: March 20th
Place of Birth: Scotland
Eye color: Celadon
Hair color: Deep red
Occupation: Professor at Trinity Foundation, neuroscientist, psychologist, noble
- Father - Ian Cunningham (Chieftain of the Clan, Duke of Ardmara)
- Mother - Greer Cunningham neé MacLean (Duchess of Ardmara)
- Sisters - Aspen Cunningham, Heather Cunningham
Identity: Mostly known
Marital status: Engaged to Mason Grayl
Affiliations: Clan Cunningham, House Grayl, Trinity Foundation, United Nations
The Cunningham Clan
Clan Cunningham is one of the ancient clans of Scotland. One of the first to join the side of Robert the Bruce in the Scottish War of Independence. Back then called a clan of [heretics], the Cunninghams were what would come to be known as mutants. Throughout the centuries, they have retained their genetic streak of strong psionics. Back in the wars, it was their telekinetics and telepaths working in deadly tandem that helped turn the tide for Independence, as their forebears were the right hand of The Bruce.
As a reward for their assistance, Clan Cunningham was gifted a Dukedom, and from then until perpetuity, the Chieftain of Clan Cunningham would also hold the title Duke of Ardmara. Their ancestral home was granted protected status, and the Duchy of Ardmara became renowned as a safe place for mutants as time progressed.
Throughout the ages, the Cunninghams have served pro-mutant causes. Most recently, Ian Cunningham, Duke of Ardmara, is one of the chief voices among several noted pro-mutant coalitions.
While lacking the noble battle-born history of Clan Cunningham, Clan MacLean is just as esteemed when it comes to the protection of mutants. An ancient mutant house, Clan MacLean’s generational lineage of mutants remains unbroken, with almost or all children of each generation bearing the mutant gene.
While generally acknowledged to be one of the earliest longstanding mutant families, there are also whispers that the MacLean lineage is mixed with something….other, something magical. Lending credence to this is the fact that over half of the children born to Clan MacLean wield some form of elemental powers. Their line has long been considered Druidic because of this, among other factors.
Greer MacLean Cunningham is the youngest of seven daughters, and so it was no surprise when she had three of her own in no short order. She dedicated the earlier part of her life to learning the ins and outs of her elemental powers, with an emphasis on the earthen aspect.
As her sisters, all somewhat older, came into their adulthoods and began starting their own families or forging ahead as experts in their fields, Greer’s vision for herself began to coalesce. She knew that she wanted a family and to carry on her line (although not all of her sisters chose to do so, and each was supported with their own choices). Focusing on her schooling (both actual applicable schooling, and training on her powers), Greer set her sights on a career in law. She would eventually make a name for herself as an advocate, specializing in mutant rights law.
The Middle Cunningham - Childhood
Ivy was born and raised at the ancestral family seat in Ardmara, receiving her schooling at a local institution. Her father insisted that all of his children receive their foundations in Scotland, as the family had before them and would after them. It was of no use claiming and celebrating their heritage if they shipped their children off to fancy international institutions.
It was determined early on that Ivy was a prodigy. Her telepathic powers sprouted at a young age, and exhibiting even earlier than her powers did at the age of seven, was her vast intellect which was apparent from the time she reached her second or third year of life.
Soon enough, no schools were able to keep up with Ivy and she began causing trouble, as so many gifted kids are wont to do. The decision was made to move her to a more advanced school that was better outfitted to deal with her special circumstances.
The Education of Ivy Cunningham
Ivy graduated highschool at the age of 16 and immediately began her schooling at the University of Edinburgh with a double major of biology and psychology. Like her mother before her, she had already set her sights on how she could advance the cause and care of mutantkind, and she knew with her own unique gifts and innate senses, that her focus had to be on the mental well-being and the unexplored, untreated, and misunderstood trauma that mutants and other beings with powers experienced. She sacrificed a normal teenage experience in pursuit of her studies, in pursuit of the understanding and protection of mutants. It’s a regret she has, but her lack of a stereotypical teenage experience could never outweigh the importance of her work.
Fueled by a vast intellect and a burning drive, Ivy completed her Bachelor's degree at the age of 18, and transferred to Oxford to begin work on her Masters, in the relatively new field of neuropsychology, essentially creating a sub-branch solely dedicated to the science of powers, and how their use and mutant physiology shapes and changes the brain, thus differing the overall cognitive experience and treatment of mutants. A sub-field of specialty was the ethics of mutants.
Foregoing essentially any semblance of a social life, Ivy completed her Masters degree at the age of 19, and immediately dove into obtaining her Ph.D. As her studies continued to coalesce, Ivy began to receive renown and acclaim first in her own specialized circles, and eventually in an outer spread. She began to be asked to lecture, both in the academic and scientific circuits, as well as the legal circuit, as the law and ethics regarding mutants was only beginning to kick into faster development considering the proliferation of mutant-related crimes (both committed by and against), and higher upticks in the mutant percentage of the population, beginning at the start of the 21st century.
Branching out from Academia
Ivy completed her Ph.D at the age of 22 and jumped headfirst into the natural expansion of her work. Already acquainted with the lecture circuit, she was almost immediately contacted by the United Nations, and requested that she attach to their mutant rights envoy, where her mother had first built her name and continued to work. Without second thought, Ivy took up the challenge and began building her name in new, different ways. Her primary focus was on the mental toll that powers took, and she frequently worked with mutants who had used their power to a degree they shouldn’t have (whether in their control or not), and those who had been affected by said use.
While the extent of her telepathy had been kept under wraps, word and whisper began to travel among the powers that be, that Ivy could be of more use than just from a scientific approach. She was eventually approached by the Mutant Neutralization arm of the United Nations, a special group solely dedicated to stopping rampaging mutants (those who were rampaging of their own choice, and those who were not). For years they had been searching for an effective countermeasure to telepaths, and while the technology was being invented, anything that was surefire enough for them to use, was hard to procure, whether by cost or other means, or was too actively harmful to those they would need to use it against.
They eventually came to the conclusion that they would require an upper echelon telepath to neutralize other telepaths. And they needed somebody without any questionable allegiances. Telepaths who had engaged in work on behalf of governments were out, as were telepaths who played power games for their own personal gain. This of course conflicted out essentially every telepath of the power level needed to do this work.
Ivy demurred once she was approached, wanting nothing to do with this side of the work. Her powers were for healing, for guiding through psychological trauma, for defense. She had never offered her powers in such a way, nor would she ever again. But she was called to the work, and she knew that if she did not accept, somebody with ulterior motives would. So, she took the job as a side-gig to her more crucial work. She would be available on an as-needed basis to neutralize telepathic threats.
After one particularly harrowing experience, Ivy turned in her resignation, deeply uncomfortable with what she was capable of, and the ramifications of completely neutralizing an inherent part of somebody’s mind and abilities, even in the service of saving others.
She dipped under the radar for some months, diving deep into her research, and surfaced only when offered a position as professor at the Trinity Foundation.
Relationship with Mason Grayl
Ivy and Mason first met while Ivy was in the process of obtaining her Ph.D. Mason was a guest lecturer. The two ended up engaging in an...errrrr...animated discussion revolving around the ethics of metahuman powers, specifically the intersection of free well and telepathy. When the discussion grew a little too passionate for the lecture hall, they went to get coffee. When it grew too late for the coffee shop but the conversation had not abated, they moved venues to a bar. And when they were buzzed and still debating, they went out dancing while continuing their discussion of their different philosophical viewpoints. Following a dance of words and bodies, they shifted the venue to a local hotel where they spent the night taking out frustrations on each other’s bodies. They have been nearly inseparable since that day, with a simultaneously slow and meteoric romance.
The only bump in their road has been external. The conflict between the Grayl and Cunningham families arises due to the staunch Scottish separatist views of the Cunninghams, in conjunction with the Grayl’s less than stellar opinions of telepaths due to the monstrous abuse of telepathy by a former telepathic Grayl.
Despite these obstacles, each respective family has done their best to put aside their differences in support of Ivy and Mason.
Ivy, like all of the current Ardmara generation, is an omnipsionic, talented in multiple areas of psionics. Ivy’s primary talent is telepathy, while Aspen’s is telekinesis, and Heather’s is empathy.
One of the world’s foremost telepaths, Ivy has the potential to be a massively powerful force. Due to her own personal code of ethics, she focuses her powers into more latent and defensive applications than other aggressive telepaths who focus more on a front-facing offensive when in combat, or who take a looser stance on the ethics around telepathy.
As a telepath, there are general blanket abilities Ivy has and utilizes frequently, such as the ability to communicate telepathically and to read thoughts. The upper limits of both of these abilities has yet to be reached.
However, Ivy’s chosen utilization of her powers focuses on healing. She spends much time with survivors and victims of various traumas, working to help them build boundaries and to heal. She is also called in as a consultant on particularly severe neural defects and traumas. Aspen and Ivy have worked as a telepathic surgical team many times before, where Aspen is able to telepathically perform surgery in a way that physical tools cannot, while Ivy is psychically able to repair damage that does not exist on the physical plane.
As mentioned above, the pool of Ivy’s telepathic powers runs deep. However she chooses to focus her talents and training on the following:
Ivy is naturally extremely resistant to telepathic attacks specifically, and all psionics generally (such as empaths). She has natural latent shielding, but can also focus her psionic shield into an impenetrable force from concentrated attacks. Ivy also has the ability to expand her psionic shielding. The area of effect for this ability has yet to be determined, nor has an upper threshold of people been reached.
In its latent state, Ivy’s presence and telepathic abilities are shielded from nearly all telepaths. When being actively focused and used, Ivy is able to mask her telepathic presence and abilities from all but the most upper echelon telepaths, and even then, it has not been tested against the likes of Valerie Huntington.
If Ivy enters a trance (via deep meditation, intense concentration, or lucid dreaming), she has the ability to separate her spirit from her body. Her astral self can exist both as an astral and/or corporeal projection, depending on intent and level of concentration. Ivy is also able to communicate and replicate physical contact with other psychics on the astral plane. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, astral plate combat.
Ivy has the ability to perform neuropsychic surgery telepathically. This is both scientific and intuitive, drawing on her immense education and the natural telepathic intuition that accompanies her powers and all usage of them. Using this ability she is able to heal brain defects and damage present on the physical plane, as well as mental damage that would not appear on any scans and is otherwise indiscernible by modern medicine and scientific means.
While Ivy utilizes this skill to heal, it also has the same propensity for damage. She could cause psychological defects, incur brain damage, and otherwise apply the inverse effect from those she chooses to utilize.
Psychic Energy Manipulation
This ability allows Ivy to shape, create, and manipulate psychic energy. This is most often utilized through creating psychic forcefields powerful enough to protect from psychic and physical damage. While these shields differ from a telekinetics shielding and do not interact with physics in the same way, they are very similar. Also within this subset of powers is the ability to create psychic weapons. Ivy’s favored form of psychic weapon is a bow and arrow, with which she is able to inflict psychic and/or physical damage, at her own discretion.
Mental Perception Manipulation
Ivy has the ability to alter how your mind perceives the world around you. This power can be used to alter your perception of natural laws (making you feel like your clothes are weighing you down and preventing you from moving), your perception of the physical world around you (making a room appear neverending) and your perception of time (making it seem as if much more or much less time has passed than actually has). While similar, this is a distinct power from her illusion and camouflage capabilities.
Ivy is able to utilize her telepathy for what she sometimes refers to as a “kick,” or otherwise a neural jumpstart. She is able to increase the speed of neural signals in the brain, with the effect of vastly heightening the strength of others abilities. This ability can deplete her reserve of psychic energy, and is normally utilized only in “do or die” situations.
An alternative version of this power is the ability to telepathically work with others to help remove psychological barriers that prevent them from unlocking the potential of their powers. Or, alternatively, lead them down the path that will allow them to do this work themselves.
What telepathy giveth, telepathy taketh away. The inverse of the Telepathic Kick, Ivy is also able to inhibit powers via mental block, both temporarily and permanently. This can be used to prevent those with powers from harming themselves or harming others, or as an offensive ability in the midst of battle. This was used regularly when Ivy was sent after rogue telepaths.