By Mortality 0 Comments
((Author's note: If you don't feel like wading through all this, Mortality actually has a second, shorter bio that contains much of the same information without much of the confusion.))
A Flap of A Butterflies' Wings
Once upon a time there was a young man named Dorian Gray. He was a beautiful man, and a vain one. A painter noticed his beauty and chose him as the subject of a portrait. It was the painters finest work. Seeing the painting and knowing that one day he would grow old and lose his beauty, young Dorian naïvely wished that he would always remain as young and beautiful as the painting. Some entity heard his plea, but be it god or demon is only speculated, when the wind blows cold through darkened shutters and families huddle around the fire fearing the night. But either way, thereafter Dorian n ever aged, but his Portrait grew old and cruel. The first time Dorian saw a change in the painting, a cruel twist of the lip caused by the suicide of a girl whose heart Dorian had broken. Dorian hid the painting away, but always had a adverse fascination with it. The girl's brother vowed revenge on Dorian, but was called away to war. Dorian grew steadily more cruel, but it never showed on his face. He had an evil reputation, though none could tell of any crimes. Those he came into contact with invariably suffered harm to their respectability, though nothing could be traced. One day, while Dorian was out hunting, the brother of that first broken-hearted girl came to have his revenge. He was accidentally shot and killed by another hunter. Dorian continued his charmed (or cursed), existence. Until he had an unexpected visitor. The painter who had put his soul into Dorian's portrait wanted to put it on display in a gallery. Horrified by the prospect of anyone finding the twisted painting, Dorian invited him inside, showed him the painting, and as the painter staggered in shock, Dorian killed him. From then on there was blood on the wrinkled hands of the portrait. This drove Dorian mad, and he stabbed the painting, ending the spell of eternal youth, and killing him.
But nothing happens in a vacuum. When Dorian broke that first girl's heart, it would have far-reaching consequences.
That girl's brother, the one who died in a hunting accident was enraged. His name was Andrei Bierce. While his sister was lying on the floor, the life fading from her eyes, he was across the seas. His ship was wrecked, and he was stranded. But he loved his life across the ocean. He met a woman, who he married. They eventually had a son, Anton Bierce. He grew up listening to the stories of Britain and Andrei's family. He grew strong sailing the coast and helping his father. Until the day a man came, carrying a letter. Andrei took it. As he read it, his usually tranquil face changed to anger of the worst kind. Only one word did he speak before he hired himself out to the nearest ship, and was never seen on that coast again. "Dorian!" Young Anton picked the letter off the floor where his father had thrown it. It was a death notice, that of his father's sister. A few months passed. Another messenger, another letter. This one to Anton's mother. She read it, then sunk to her knees in tears. Then she ran to her room. Anton again read the letter. His face paled. His father was dead, killed in a hunting accident. This reported by one Mr. Dorian Gray. Anton burst into tears, and ran to find his mother. But when he reached her room he found her dead on the floor, a cruel mirror of Andrei's sister. All this trouble caused by one man. Dorian Gray. Anton sold his home, and got on the nearest ship bound for England. When he arrived, the first words out of his lips were "Where is Dorian Gray!" The people at the docks all laughed. "Boy, 'aven't ye heard the news? Dorian Gray died two weeks ago." Anton cried out, a cry of anger and disappointment. He stormed off into the heart of London.
Eventually he grew tired, and sat on the curb, head in his hands. An old woman, worn from time and opium, put her hand on his shoulder. "I hear you were looking for Dorian Gray." Anton drew away from her, "So what if I was? How does it matter to you?" But the old woman would not leave. "Dorian Gray made me what I was today. A wretched old hag. I have no love for him....or his kin." She spat into the gutter. Anton raised his head and looked at her. "Kin?" The woman grinned, revealing a mouth full of yellow, rotting teeth. "Aye. Kin. I know what few do. Dorian Gray had a daughter. He broke my daughter's heart, and left her dying in the streets with child. Oh! My poor Camelia!" The woman put her face in her hands and sobbed. After a few seconds she raised her head, her eyes full of hatred. "She had a daughter before she died. She was christened Persephone. That is all I know." Then the woman shuffled back into the shadows, leaving Anton alone.
Promises Made, Blood Spilled
Dorian had a daughter….Anton's father would be avenged! He knelt down in the street and cried to heaven. "Grant me the powers to kill Persephone Gray! Grant me the abilities needed to have my revenge, to bring my family honor!" The darkness grew as he yelled. A hint of brimstone filled the air. A shadowy being appeared, shrouded in smoke. "Anton Bierce, we have heard your plea. The future to come holds a dark and twisted path. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...that is the road to purity. Give me your hand and I will give you the power to kill Persephone Gray." Anton immediately held out his hand to the being. A claw grabbed his hand, tearing the flesh. Blood dripped to the ground. "Your path is chosen. Go now Mortality, and bring death to the immortal." Anton drew back his hand. "Mortality...yes, I like it." There was a new gleam in his eyes, of some deep and distorted emotion. The being vanished as it had come, leaving Anton in the streets.
Flashes of the Future
When his hand had met the demon's his eyes had been opened. He knew he had powers beyond those of mortal men. The power of persuasion...or paranoia. Shapeshifting, reincarnation. And he saw his enemy. A girl, no more than 25 in age. Persephene...no, Portrait. The decades passed. Always Portrait got away, aided by infernal deities of another dimension. Always a step ahead...but no longer. Anton's eyes were open. Portrait would live no more.
Anton Once More: Post Homunculus
When he was still young, still full of rage, Anton Bierce had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for powers. 300 years later, he wanted his soul back. He was not an evil man…not even a man back then. He was still a boy, one who had made a mistake. Hell was not meant for the likes of him. So while he suffered, Anton was able to plead, and this plea set his Homunculus (the Mortality) to rescue him:
The Mortality appeared in the antechamber to hell. Next to him was a portal that would send him back to his office on Earth (where it had been operating as leader of the Order of the Black Hand). He ignored it, and punched through three feet of solid rock. Demons came running, ready to stop the commotion. With his super-human strength, the Mortality pushed past them without a word, and headed straight for one of Hell's circles that was nearby. There the damned souls toiled ceaselessly in futile efforts to be free. Among them, Anton Bierce the young lost soul who had, in the spirit of 'vendetta' sold his soul long ago for a purpose he no longer cared about.
Mortality leaped into one of the pits and strode purposefully towards a young man who was no more than skin and bones. He seized the spectral chain that bound him and it snapped with a loud 'snap'. By now, some of the higher ranking demons had taken notice. They surrounded the lost soul and the soulless Mortality. A trumpet sounded, muffled and gargling, played in reverse. The demons knelt, and Lucifer himself appeared. "What is the meaning of this?" he hissed, black-feathered wings spread behind him in anger. It was the disembodied soul, Anton, that answered. "Well, I've gone back on our bargain, naturally. I'm tired of hunting some girl who's never done anything to me. Actually, realized that two hundred years ago, but it took two hundred to gain control of my old body here." He put a hand on his body's shoulder in a comradely manner. Lucifer's eyes glinted malevolently. "It doesn't work that way. You belong to ME, whether Persephone Gray is dead or not." Anton grinned. "No, you see, the thing is you can't keep me here. The chain is broken and I know quite enough magic to escape here. Plus, I bet my other self knows some stuff." He grabbed Mortality's head and looked straight into the soulless eyes. A strange mist poured out of Mortality's face and spiraled around Anton. For a moment he looked mildly surprised. "My, he did know a lot. Much more than I would have suspected. And he started developing his own personality, strange little homunculus." Anton patted Mortality's head, then skipped out of the pit and onto the rocky ground. With a rustling of wings, Lucifer stood in front of him. "We had a deal! Consider your powers revoked. And good luck getting a new body, this one is ours!" he hissed. Anton smirked at him. "Oh, what a pity, I don't have powers of charisma and paranoia, and I've only got one life. That is going to be SO hard to live without. And as for a body? That will be easy enough to get. Ta-taa!"
Anton had taught himself, with much effort (and a little help from higher beings), how to hijack a summoning. He did so now, and felt the magical bonds snap around him as he was pulled back to Earth.
Before he opened his eyes, Anton heard voices. "Is it working? The body is still cold, and I detect no signs of life." The voice was deep and dark, like a cello possessed by a poltergeist. "Patience Sebastian. It takes a moment for the serum to stir the blood. And do you doubt your own magical abilities?" There was a pause, then the first man spoke. "It's not that...never that. But I can tell that something...different...happened here. Whoever...whatever...is in the body of your assistant is NOT your friend. You can open your eyes, I can tell you're there." This last part was directed at Anton, who blinked and sat up. He was not in his old body, but that of a gaunt young man. Besides the table stood two men. One was a tall man garbed in a pitch-black cloak and suit. A black hat put most of his face in shadow. The other man wore a white lab coat. He had brown, lank hair. One arm was metallic, and twitching angrily. This latter man frowned. "The body was certainly fresh enough. But you're right, this isn't my friend. Who are you, speak up." Anton coughed, then spoke in an unfamiliar voice. "My name is Anton Bierce. I apologize for having taken over your friend like this.., He was never a strong soul, was he?" The man frowned, then turned to the tall man in black. "Thank you for your help Sebastian, but it appears one of us is in error. I knew we shouldn't mix science and magic like this...you may go, I'll handle this from here." Sebastian tipped his hat and vanished. The remaining man turned back to Anton. "Well, I can't say I'm happy you're here, but as long as you are you may as well make yourself helpful. I believe the magic my friend used will make you obey me, yes? Then let me introduce myself. I am Herbert West. I experiment with life and death. You are now my assistant, since my friend is displaced. You will procure subjects and make sure they do not turn on me, as they did before. Got it?" Anton nodded. This was a fine line of work for now. He couldn't expect much more after being dead 300 years. "Of course." He stood up, putting on the clothes Herbert handed to him. They fit perfectly, as they were tailored to a man Anton had never met but whose body he now inhabited.
Back in Hell, Lucifer was furious. He placed a hand on Anton's old body. "You will go back to Earth and hunt down Anton Bierce. Take a name and begone." The body raised its head. "I shall be known as the Homunculus." Red letters of ancient magic flared on its forehead, like a Golem of old. Then it vanished, gone to hunt down its former inhabitant.
Anton liked Herbert well enough, though Herbert despised this trickster who posed as a lab assistant. But the bonds Calamity had placed (for fear the undead assistant would wake a roaming zombie) prevented Anton from venturing far from the laboratory..they were trapped together, whether they liked it or not.
At first everything was fine...Anton had a bit of a crush on Herbert, who was himself totally engrossed in his work, so tensions were low...but gradually Herbert became more manic, and Anton grew bored. He wanted to go explore the world. Herbert wanted the prankster gone from his lab. Unable to make him leave due to the binding spell, he began to take out his hostilities upon Anton. Eventually things reached a breaking point. Anton voyaged to the Land of the Dead, and upon returning, either dragged Herbert to Hell, or was turned into a shambling zombie trapped by iron bonds. The truth is unknown, and hidden within a quantum paradox. No one has broken the paradox, opened Shrödinger's box, and revealed what really is.
Until the paradox is cleared, Anton exists in a strange limbo space. Some times he can, and will, appear at any place he chooses to be. Other times he is theoretically trapped within the lab. Some form of time travel is most likely responsible.
Powers and Abilities
- Super-strength--able to lift about a ton without effort
- Shape-shifter--By tearing apart his own body, Mortality can turn into a predatory giant cat
- Magic--Mortality is an accomplished, but not master, magician. He prefers to use hellfire rather than actual spells
- Regeneration--when killed, Mortality comes back almost instantly
- Charisma/paranoia--to a non-powered person, Mortality appears completely trustworthy. They would follow him to the ends of the earth. To a meta, Mortality evokes extreme paranoia, including hallucinations.
- Weapons--With much training, Mortality is an expert of torture and the use of a blade.
- Magic---Anton is a highly accomplished magician…he is a practitioner of blood magic, and sacrificial magic: that being, either blood must be shed or there must be some form of payment for magic used. He is also familiar with rune spells for less significant magicks.
- Poltergeist: In nature, Anton is a poltergeist. He gets the powers associated with that: astral projection, possession, phasing, telekinesis/levitation, etc, depending on emotional state. He can exist entirely independently of his body, which is more of a shell than anything he really needs. The degree of power he has is completely dependent on emotional frequency and residue.
- Shape-shifting--Anton is capable of transforming into a giant cat, a panther. Why? No one really knows.
- Undeath---Due to Herbert's formula, it is extremely difficult to destroy Anton's body. It is also very hard to destroy Anton, since he exists in spirit only. He cannot be 'killed' per se.
- Hellfire---Anton can summon Hellfire without calling upon his other magical abilities. Though this draws the attention of the Homunculus, [see below] and may accidentally end up opening a portal to Hell.
- Boxing---Anton is a good boxer...not champion level, but good.
- Swordfighting--Anton can use a rapier with deadly efficiency. But he doesn't usually carry one around, so this isn't all that useful.
- Recall: While it is difficult, Anton can call upon the skills he learned as the Homunculi Mortality. Each time he does so the Homunculus gets a bead on his location...
- Real Name: Anton Bierce
- Age: 200-300 years
- Eyes: Green
- Hair: Dark brown
- Height: 6' 0'
- Weight: 185 lbs.
- Sexual Orientation: Gay
- Species: Poltergeist
- Occupation: Assistant to Herbert West
- Place of Birth: Greenland
- Aliases: The Mischievous Mage, The Mad Scientist's Assistant
- Base of Operations: New England