The ultimate warrior, the Vica is a title passed down through the history of Shambhala. In the beginning, there were twelve guardian spirits, each assuming the form of an animal of the Chinese Zodiac (though they preceded the Zodiac and it is likely that the Zodiac was based on them). The rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the ram, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig. The spirits built the mystical land of Shambhala alone, creating a perfect utopia, and welcomed those humans they deemed worhty to their paradise, granting them the power of immortality. The spirits were worshipped and adored by their people, but the paradise could not last. Eventually the magical city was found by adventuring humans. At first these outsiders were welcomed, but when they left, they eventually returned with an army in tow, seeking to take Shambhala for their own.
The spirits tried to hold back this force and eventually succeeded in defending their paradise, but at a great cost to their people. It was decided that something must be done and eventually the spirits agreed that they must choose a warrior to defend their borders. Each spirit would create a trial, a test that the chosen warrior must pass in order to prove themselves worthy. Once the warrior had passed each trial, he would gain the powers of that spirit. The idea was for each spirit to channel all their power into one man. If all the trials were passed, that warrior would gain the title of the Vica and become the protector of Shambhala, with all the powers that came with it.
The experiment was a success and quickly became a tradition. A warrior passed all the trials and become the first Vica. The name of this warrior has been lost, through time. Even the spirits themselves cannot recall his name. For being the greatest warrior in a land of peace was no fun at all. Few Vica have ever chosen to live in Shambhala, most ventured to Earth, to fight and push themselves to the limit. To gain glory and fame. As a result, no Vica ever lasted very long, which is why most of the names have been lost. Thousands of individuals have taken on the mantle and none ever lasted very long. All were born in the city of Shambhala, until one...
Sir Walter Woodlock
An adventurer and scientist under the employ of the King in the 15th Century, Walter Woodlock found the hidden entrance to Shambhala and was welcomed into the city. He was treated like a citizen and was astonished by the generosity and kindness of the total strangers in the city. The adventures of Walter are kept in his journals, which are kept safe by his son, so little is known about his life. It is known that he left Shambhala to return to London, with many gifts and treasures, in order to bring his wife back to the city with him on a return journey. He returned in a time of great change in England. Upon arriving he gave many treasures to the King, seeking his permission to make a second expedition to Shambhala and remain there.
But before the King could make up his mind on the matter, he was overthrown and the new monarch proved to be totally unsympathetic to Walter's cause, taking all his treasure and imprisoning him. Walter somehow escaped, most likely through the machinations of the Shambhalan spirits, and he and his wife acquired passage to the Himalayan mountains to the entrance of Shambhala. They were welcomed once more and granted the immortality given to all residents of the city. Then, something miraculous happened. While on the mortal plane, Walter and his wife had been unable to conceive a child. Yet, in the mystical lands of Shambhala, anything was possible... A child was born and they named him Victor. Soon after this miracle, Walter became fascinated by the lore of the Vica and set about taking on the tasks in order to gain the mantle. He succeeded and was named the Vica.
Growing up as the son of the greatest warrior in all Shambhala, Victor rarely saw his father. Walter was one of the few Vica who did not spend most of his time on Earth, but despite this the natives kept the man away from his family. He was invited to many ceremonies, and participated in several tournaments. But while Walter had proven himself worthy of his mantle, many natives were jealous. They did not approve of an outsider becoming their defender. Before Walter, it was unheard of for a Vica to be challenged for his title, but it soon became a regular occurence. Hundreds of Shambhalans attempted to pass the Twelve Trials, some perished through their Trials, while others passed. The Spirits could only channel their powers into one man, however, so once a native had passed the Trials, they would have to fight Walter to the death. Woodlock avoided killing his fellow citizens as much as possible, overpowering all of them even without his powers. Some chose to leave the arena with their lives, but many would not give up until Walter had extinguished their lives.
All this took its toll on Walter. He did not want to be the Vica anymore, but there was no way to resign without sacrificing his life. The Shambhalans had grown bitter and cold over the years, they were no longer worthy of the mantle. Bidding his family goodbye, Walter journeyed to Earth, away from the resentment of the natives. He would occasionally be called back, to defeat a challenger, but eventually the number of challengers dwindled away into nothing. By this point, Victor had grown into a young man, with all the adventurous spirit of his father. In trying to prove himself to his peers, Victor took on the Trials, not really knowing the responsibility he would bear if he succeeded. The circumstances are unknown, but somehow Walter was killed after Victor passed his Trials. At the time of Walter's death, Victor was the only Shambhalan left who had passed the Trials. The title of Vica was passed on to him.
Seeking to avoid the mistakes of his father, Victor immediately left Shambhala for Earth, returning only when it was demanded of him. He came to love the people in his new home, and while he did not seek out battles, he eagerly paricipated in wars, defending his comrades.
Powers of the Vica
By defeating the previous Vica and passing the 12 trials of the Zodiac, Victor Woodlock has gained the signature powers of the Zodiac spirits: Rat – Telepathy: Each Vica has utilised the gift of the Blamul the Rat differently, but Victor has been the first to use it with such variety (no doubt because he has lived considerably longer than his predecessors). He can use it to listen in on another’s thoughts and project his own thoughts into their mind. This allows him to communicate telepathically with friends and mentally manipulate enemies, though the latter is more of a telepathic suggestion. However, he is only able to control those with a weak will, as stronger men would argue with his voice in their mind and force him out. He is also able to use these abilities on animals, and while he cannot communicate as effectively, he is able to control them with ease.
Ox – Enhanced strength/durability: The Power of the Yuavik the Ox allows the Vica to withstand powerful impacts, massive falls and even the touch of fire. It toughens the skin and flesh, making it difficult to pierce the Vica’s skin when being used. Bullets can still penetrate the skin, but immediately get lodged in the flesh, close to the surface. It also allows Victor to access the physical strength of the Ox. There is no upper limit to this strength, it depends on the strength of the spiritual link between the Vica and the Ox at the time, how much power the Ox has already used and how long ago the power was accessed. Victor has mentioned in his journal how he believes that the longer he goes without accessing the Ox’s power, the more infinitely stronger he would become. But alas, the gift is too useful to go too long without using. The greatest strength feat Victor has ever performed was when he separated a huge chunk of of a nearby mountain and carried it to an erupting volcano in order to plug up the hole.
Tiger – Blending: Not invisibility and not quite camouflage, the Vica has the power to blend in with his surroundings thanks to Raphin the Tiger. This is an illusion, a trick played on the eyes and does not physically affect the user in any way, but instead those around him. The gift can be used to simply make Victor unnoticeable, meaning that people simply won’t recognise that he is there or, if concentrated and focused, to make it as if Victor wasn’t there at all. To the opponent, it would seem as if Victor was invisible, even though he is not. However, when using the more subtle version of the power, any particularly noticeable actions, loud noises or fast movements will alert others to his presence. When the more powerful version is used, the power will stop working the moment the Vica makes contact with his opponents, so it is best for Victor to keep his distance.
Rabbit – Super speed: One of the most simplistic powers of the Twelve, the power of Puama the Rabbit allows the Vica to move at impossible speeds. Much like the Ox, the strength of the power increases if it is not used for a long period of time, and with all his other powers at his disposal, Victor tries his best to avoid this particular power, saving up the energy instead for emergencies. It can be used to cross incredible distances in a short amount of time, or simply move the body fast enough to dodge a bullet.
Dragon – Fire: This allows the Vica to summon and control the Flames of Gidein, the Dragon. This mystical yellow fire is superior to all other forms and so it also allows Victor to control lesser fire. The Flames cannot harm their user or those he does not wish to harm, but when they come into contact with an enemy they can be harnessed in two ways. The first is to act physically, burning the skin and creating a massive force on impact; and the second is to act spiritually and burn the soul of the enemy, causing great mental distress to the individual.
Snake – Shape shifting: The powers of Opluf the Snake allow the Vica to alter the composition of his body. He cannot use it to copy the form of another person or animal, instead when the power is used, Victor’s entire body becomes malleable, like rubber. This allows him to stretch his limbs impossible distances, perform ridiculous contortions and alter his general form. (i.e. rearrange his body mass to appear taller and thinner or shorter and fatter; or increase the size of his fists by decreasing the size of his feet, etc.)
Horse – Endurance: The power of Ebrontaz the Horse is the only power out of the twelve which has no limitations. While the other powers can be exhausted through overuse, the Horse supplies Victor with an endless amount of energy. He can access the power briefly, in order to replenish his energy, before focusing on another power again, or focus on the power of the Horse entirely and keep fighting for a limitless amount of time. By accessing the endurance power, the Vica is able to avoid the need to sleep entirely, though Victor usually sleeps anyway, in an attempt to feel more human.
Ram – Unstoppability: Through the powers of Yegsac the Ram, the Vica can become literally unstoppable. This power uses up energy the fastest of any of the Twelve, it is possible to exhaust the Ram entirely in a single charge, and is most effective in short bursts. Channelling the power into one’s fists or feet or weapon is one of the most common uses of the gift, the smaller mass of such a thing uses less energy. The chosen object/subject will become temporarily indestructible and plow through anything in their way.
Monkey – Healing: The gift of Enperi the Monkey, this allows the Vica to heal himself and others. It is a mystical process and so can heal all injuries, illnesses and afflictions. However, Victor must be conscious in order to heal himself, and the only thing the Monkey cannot heal is death itself. It can repair a dead body and heal all wounds, but if the spirit has left the body there is nothing that can be done.
Rooster – Precision: This ability allows the Vica to have unerring aim with projectiles, but also allows him to identify the weak point in his enemies, the precise location of the spot that will cause the mightiest opponent to crumble. He can also use this power with his fists and feet, to ensure they hit the right target. This power is given by Ciotre the Rooster.
Dog – Enhanced Senses: Thanks to Quorro the Dog, Victor can enhance his senses. This includes: vision, the ability to see distant objects clearly and study objects microscopically; hearing, the ability to hear distinct, clear sounds no matter how far away; smell, the ability to detect any scent and follow it; taste, the ability to taste the air, know how an object tastes without even touching it and hence identify poisons; and touch, the ability to feel the slightest movement of anything in the area. When pushed into overdrive, the power of the Dog gives the user total awareness of their surroundings and thus, the ability to make accurate predictions about the opponent’s next move.
Pig – Immovability: Siapred the Pig gives the final ability of immovability. The opposite of the ram, this power has two stages. The first simply makes the user stuck to one particular area, unable to be moved by anything that might seek to do so. Their legs remain glued in one place, while the rest of their body can move freely. The upper level of this power allows the user to become indestructible and freezes their entire body (or whatever other body/object they choose) in place, unable to move themselves or be moved until the power is deactivated. Victor has discovered that this can be implemented as a way of detaining an opponent by freezing them in one place for a while.
The Vica accesses these abilities through a direct, spiritual link with the Twelve; however, they have limitations. Victor has tattoos and markings over his body, each signifying one member of the Zodiac. As he uses their powers, these tattoos fade until eventually, when Victor has exerted himself too much, they vanish entirely. The tattoos and the powers that come with them will reappear over time. Also, Victor can normally only access one of his Twelve powers at a time, though with great concentration and focus he can broaden this range. There was on occasion when all Twelve were channelled at the same time, but this exhausted Victor entirely and he fell unconscious after 3 minutes in this state, remaining so for days.