The blossoming of the sword.

    Waking up after the crash of the plane I was supposed to take to Japan, I had to make a decision. That precognitive dream I had sure helped me survive, but what I needed after escaping death was simply a purpose. How on Earth had I been able to flash forward? Where did that power come from? How did it work? Could it be one of more powers to be discovered?
 
    My decision to travel to Japan had been taken on an impulse to start with. Sure, I was quite familiar with the culture, but only as an occidental can be. I didn't know anyone there, and yet I had felt a need to go there... almost a calling. Since I was so drawn to this place, maybe there was a reason for it. So I went back to the airport, and succeeded in exchanging my original ticket for one on the next flight - without any added costs due to subtly reminding the attendant that I should have been on the doomed flight in the first place. I thought of trying to squeeze even more out of the situation by requesting a better ticket than my econmy class one, but did not have to as the decidedly charming young woman made to call a superior to allow her to set me up on a business class trip. "What a difference a day makes", I thought. One day you get a crash out in the Pacific Ocean, and the next you get treated like royalty!
 
     (To be continued)

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Suspicions.

 It has been quite a few years now since I discovered I was a mutant, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how little you actually get to know people who are supposedly closest to you. The year 2008 in particular had been a bumpy ride of sorts, with highlights such as my battle against an Aztec priest willing to resurrect long-lost gods or my newfound ability to create holographic imprints of people's past... However, the abrupt death of my beloved grandmother was probably the defining moment of not only this year, but quite probably the last decade at least.

Disturbingly enough, this event led me to a capital discovery: the evil nature of my sister-in-law Olivia. Quite frankly, I have never got on well with her, but then who could? From day one she has been increasingly stupid, obnoxious, snappish and narrow-minded. Her disapproval of my clothes, hairstyles, musical tastes and friends has been a mainstay ever since I met her, at age 14. Of course, getting to discover and control my powers probably changed my outlook on her, as I ended up pitying her for being such a cow - in every possible meaning... But never before had I had the slightest desire to actually scan her mind. When I came back from Japan after some training in using my powers, I did probe her, as well as others in my entourage, just a little... to test myself. But as we were packing my late grandmother's jewellery, I felt some kind of mental twinge emanating from her; it was not much, really, just enough for me to casually scan her...

That's when I discovered she was not being very truthful with us all. All I could get on her was the memory of a shadowy woman congratulating her on her steady position as a frontline watcher of the "Myskin family", before I was effectively shut out of her mind. To this day, I still do not know where her loyalty lies, but this is certainly not what I would call reassuring, having a mole being married to a former double agent's son. Or could it be because of me? I remember one mission in Hungary when my local contact hinted at me being "less alone than I imagined".

It all comes down to one question now: what is Olivia's endgame? And, also worth investigating, why and how come did she blow her cover, even for a fleeting second, while browsing through my grandmother's numerous rings - or was it the necklaces?
 
In any case, knowing her mind to be clouded from my powers forces me to be extremely wary and cautious when dealing with her. Intel-gathering has so far proven ineffective... but I am definitely watching her!

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The double awakening.

The memory I want to share first is actually the very first one of my superhuman life : the genesis of my powers.

Before I discovered I was a mutant, my life was already rather hectic - you cannot possibly have a spy as a father and live an ordinary life, can you? But still, despite all the drama that happened before I even came of age, it was certainly way smoother before July 18th, 19XX.

That night was supposed to be the last one I would spend at my mother's for a while, as I was due to take a plane to Tokyo the next evening. At 0.21 however, I woke up, sweating, and actually quite distressed after a disturbingly vivid nightmare...

I had just dreamt that I queueing up for check-in at the airport, listening to music on my brand new discman, when, right in the middle of the Smashing Pumpkins' The End is the Beginning is the End, I felt a sudden bump in my bum that sent me down on my knees. Upon standing back up, I just found myself facing a rather charming red-haired (and red-faced) girl who asked me to forgive her - which I kindly did of course. So far, so good.

Then there was a kind of flash forward to the two of us sitting together inside the plane, talking abundantly to one another as the stewardess was passing by us with refreshments. It was at that very moment that the lights switched off and beeping sounds started deafening us. The stewardess fell and hurt her head on her trolley, while people started panicking. And the next thing we knew, the plane was going down, faster and faster, and I started feeling the same impression you get in a rollercoaster, only worse: my heart was pounding alarmingly fast, and my lungs felt constricted by pretty much all my other organs, the whole effect growing only worse second after second...

Until we crashed. That was the moment when I woke up. I did not scream - utter terror seemed to have had a paralysing effect on my throat. This wasn't my first nightmare, of course. I naturally tried to get it out of my system and go back to sleep, but I simply could not. I was familiar with crashing, having escaped rather miraculously from a car accident when I was 9. The problem was that this dream was way too vivid for my liking and peace of mind, so much that dear old Morpheus simply would not pop back in. By 5 a.m., I surrendered and got up, and went through the various papers I needed for my trip.

That whole day, which I expected to be a mixture of sadness - for leaving my mother all alone for the first time since my father's death - and excitement turned out to be a gut-wrenching affair - quite literally. The goodbyes at the train station were rather teary on my mother's side, but the train definitely soothed my mind slightly, as I abandoned myself to loud and straightforward music on my discman.

That took me through the station, another train, then halls, stairs, and eventually the airport. As I felt a biting twinge in my guts again, I chose another CD as I located the queue for check-in. I went for an old compilation I had not listened to for ages...

I had - and still have - this habit of setting my stereos, discmans or nowadays iPods on random play. As the first bar of the song came flooding my ears, a chill climbed up my whole spine: I was listening to The End is the Beginning is the End! As I was fumbling with the discman to skip that track, I found myself reliving a familiar scene: bumped in the bum, down on my knees, up again, and the blushing red-haired cutie.

My whole world started to spin around, and the airport and girl faded into a whirlwind of sounds, colours, and aches... I woke up with a splitting headache, my head on the girl's lap, in the middle of the airport. A medical team was busy checking on my pulse, heartbeats, eyes, limbs, etc. They were talking to me, giving me orders, or advice, or maybe a recipe who knows? I was not listening to them. I was deeply racking my brains to try and make some sense out of the whole situation. My heart was still racing, my insides were still churning, and the red-haired girl was softly stroking my hair, evidently shaken but trying to make up for what seemed to her to be her blunder. I actually had the impression she was repeating worriedly "Oh God! Oh God! It's all my fault! Oh God!"

I made to get back on my feet, but the paramedics would not let me. I insisted, and seemed to recover all of a sudden my movements and my spirits. I turned around, looked at the crowd that was gathering around me, and almost shouted at them "Don't board that plane! It's gonna crash down!"

Only the soft touch of the girl's hand on my forearm stopped me, and all of a sudden, I realized the utter madness of the whole situation: I was now beyond certain that the flight would be doomed, that these people who were staring at me would soon be boarding for Death, not Tokyo. But I found myself unable to act, equally scared of being locked away in an asylum. One last sweeping stare at them all, and I almost turned to the girl and begged her to come with me. Instead, I found myself looking straight into her eyes and said "No, it's not your fault. And I find you gorgeous, too. And please, come with me and don't take that plane. Please."

When I arrived in my hotel room a couple of hours later, it came as no surprise that the girl did not follow me: the reflection I found staring back from the mirror was plainly unsettling, with its deathly white face, scared-looking eyes and mad hair. Any other time, she would have been easy prey. That day, I went to bed all alone, anxiously switching between news channels. At 2.49 a.m., the plane crashed, and barely a couple of minutes later, live reports were sprouting all over the BBC, CNN et all. Morpheus finally gave me my due, as I woke up half-a-day later.

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CLASSIFIED - Data re: Hellsword

Name: Ivan MYSKIN

Codename: HELLSWORD

Born in Moscow, Russia, on March 29th, 19XX. This however was incidental, as his family was only visiting for a family reunion. Due to these circumstances, owns the double nationality (Russian & British).

  • Father: Piotr Myskin, former KGB-sanctioned superspy, who acted as a double agent for the MI-6. Supposedly killed during a mission in an alternate dimension. His cover was working as a bank manager in St Petersburg, Russia.
  • Mother: Amy Myskin, née Knight. Retired kindergarten teacher of British origins. Moved back to Britain with her three children in 1988 after her husband's disappearance. Apparently oblivious to her husband's activities.
  • Siblings: Two elder brothers, Nikolay and Aleksey.
  1. Nikolay works as a communications engineer in Doha, U.A.E. and seems to be leading a quiet life. No political or criminal connections. Non-powered human. Married with Susheela, a Javanese moderate Muslim. The couple has two sons: Igor and Demitri.
  2. Aleksey is a manager in a traditional restaurant in Firenze, Italy. Non-powered human. Married with Olivia, who works as a chef in the same restaurant. The couple has two sons: Paolo and Enzo .
  3. Unborn identical twin brother, posthumously named Jan.

Civil life:

Raised in Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom. Attended Charterhouse public school in Godalming, Surrey, UK .

After graduating from high school, took a gap year which he reportedly spent in Japan. Returning 18 months after leaving the UK, enrolled in Literature, French, Russian, Spanish, German, Japanese and Educational Sciences at Greenwich University, despite not attending the first semester. Graduated in all fields in a mere 13 months with honours,, and passed his PGCE.

Briefly worked as a teacher before he was offered a career opportunity to own and manage a Translation Agency in Valetta, Malta. Myskin set up his business at the age of 21, and his contracts and profits have dramatically and constantly risen ever since. Has been asked by various renowned universities and colleges all over the world to take up teaching jobs and give conferences, which he occasionally does.

Private Life:

Not much is actually known; Myskin is thought to erase his ex-girlfriends' memories in order to keep a low profile. The few who do remember their relationship with him are unable to either speak or write about him, which suggests that he must have tampered with their minds as well.

Visual footage of him and X-Allies teammate Jelena Hissinova (aka "Sultra") holding hands and hugging after a fight has recently been uncovered, suggesting a possible liaison.

His powers:

  1. Telepathy. Can read and manipulate minds. Can also Impact on the neurological system by creating permanent alterations to the psyche of his victims, as well as project "psi-blasts" that will cause opponents to be knocked out.
  2. Telekinesis. Can lift and manipulate objects with a glance, a wave, or a single thought. Also uses his TK to increase the strength of his physical attacks, as well as his speed. Frequently uses this ability to fly, and has learnt to manifest his powers in the shape of psionic weapons (usually blades or swords).
  3. Genius Intellect and Multilingualism. Both his I.Q. and E.Q. are off-the-chart, maybe as a side-effect of his telepathy. Can learn anything very fast, and has made extensive use of this ability to master numerous languages and dialects.
  4. Limited Precognition. Possibly another consequence of his brain's intense activity. Has occasionally had flashes of future events. However, has no control on this ability, which rarely manifests.

Fighting Skills:

Myskin uses his telekinesis to increase his strength and speed in a fight. His telepathic abilities allowed him to quickly learn and master several martial arts over a period of 8 months while he was backpacking in South-East Asia and Japan. Likes to trick his opponents by making them mistake his location. Is able to predict his opponents' next moves by scanning their minds.

Weaknesses:

Promiscuous and reckless whenever an attractive female is around him. This, as well as his lethal combination of power, has been known to cloud his judgement at times, displaying a cocky and arrogant attitude. Moreover, his stamina in an extended fight decreases relatively fast when he uses his telepathy and telekinesis at the same time.

Alignment:

Good. Has joined the X-Allies, a group of mutants recognised as defenders of both humans and mutants, with a predicament to live and integrate peacefully in our society. However, if he ever happened to switch sides, Myskin should be considered as apotentially high threat due to the lethal combination of his powers and fighting skills.

Origin of powers:

Mutant. He is so far the only member of his family to be revealed as one. His powers first manifested when he was 18, before undertaking a gap year. Little is known about the 8 months he spent in South-East Asia, but upon his return he had gained considerably refined control of his psychic, psionic and even physical abilities.

Known enemies:

Apart from the traditional adversaries of the X-Allies, Myskin has made a few more personal enemies out of...

  1. The Shadow Knight - a telepathic spirit that survives by possessing powerful psychics' minds. Myskin is said to have defeated the Shadow Knight while he was trying to possess his mind.
  2. Oksanna Krasnoroutskaya - a former Soviet assassin who is rumoured to have had an affair with Myskin's father Piotr. She is now the leader of the underground activists known as "The Claws". Myskin is thought to have been the major reason for The Claws' defeat in the Datong War, preventing them from gaining control over the Chinese mafia.
  3. Oskar Januslinen - Once a teacher of Myskin's, now a rival in many aspects. His position at the University of Valetta had been weakened by the success of his former protégé. After a scandal broke out involving accusations of various obscenities, Januslinen had to resign. He then allied himself with a Cypriot scientist known as "Damaskus", who enhanced him with cybernetic prostheses and weapons. His only goal is to get revenge on Myskin, whom he suspects of having revealed his shady secrets to the media.
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