"The Flying Fool"

"The Flying Fool"

10/1/2011

I.


Sheng Mo-Yuan emerged from his beloved his beloved silver-grey Ferrari 458 Italia as Wilfred Crosby lumbered up to meet him.

"Nice little car, yes indeed," said the remarkably obese man, moving around it for a survey. "Yes. But I have to say you are not taking as good care of the girl as you might. Look at that scratch on the fender. Oh dear, what IS that debris on the passenger seat, not the remains of a pizza slice wrapped in a napkin? I'm legitimately stricken."

Smiling, Sheng straightened his tie and tugged his dark brown suit jacket down. Still a young man barely past thirty, Sheng stood only five feet five but was so obviously fit and athletic that he made an imposing figure. Most people took his for Chinese, Northern Chinese most likely, but his beaked nose and sharp cheekbones belied that. In fact, Sheng was the only inhabitant of the adjacent realm Chujir currently in the real world.

"It's a work vehicle, not a collectible, I have to admit," he said. "So. Mr Crosby, you told me that one of your antique cars was mysteriously stolen? A Bentley?"

"This way, please. Yes, normally I keep my collection in the storage building but I like to, well, air them out one by one on nice days." Crosby took Sheng's arm and walked him across the vast paved parking area of his estate. The nearby Adirondacks rose up around them in full autumn blazes of red and gold. The mansion itself was a four-story palace of redwood and marble, with a walkway around the top floor and a deck extending out from it with a large telescope mounted for viewing the scenery. Sheng took it all in with reaction. He had had quite a wealthy clients.

Glancing back at the head-high stone wall around the estate and the metal gates that had swung open to admit him, Sheng shook his head. "It's difficult to see how anyone could have stolen one of your cars without being seen. There's only the one gate, I assume?"

"Yes," replied Crosby, already short of breath as they reached the gleaming vintage vehicle that stood by itself. "And the security cameras show nothing. It's baffling. The police have been of no help. Then someone mentioned your Argent Agency. The Fist For Hire service. You have something of a reputation."

"Thank you," Sheng said.

"Today, I'm letting my 1957 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost breathe. Last previous owner did some restoration that I didn't care for. There she is."

"You mean, there she goes!" yelled Sheng as he burst into a full sprint and leaped up to barely grasp the undercarriage of the car which was somehow rising straight up into the air. As he got a grip, Sheng shifted the gralic focus in his body for enhanced strength. His hands locked around the rear bar beneath the car so solidly that another man with pliers could not have unbent them. He could hang underneath by his hands for an hour without difficulty as long as his strength was augmented. He had in fact done so more than once.

It was only then that the situation fully sank in. What was drawing the car up into the air? As far as he could tell, nothing. It was surreal. Sheng looked down and saw miles of forested wilderness gliding by hundreds of feet below him.
He searched his mind for anyone in the Midnight War who could be doing this, but there had only been one warlock who commanded magnetism, Esteban Diego, and he had been dead for more than a decade. Some of the Taurians had limited control over electromagnetism, enough to short out motors or draw small objects toward them, but he had never heard of one with powers this strong.

Well, Sheng thought wryly, at least I'm making progress on this case. He let his body dangle, legs swinging in the wind as the Rolls Royce flew over the forest. He had acted without thinking and now all he could do was to hang on and see what happened next. His Argent ability enabled him to channel gralic force into his body to produce extra strength or speed or durability... but he could only create one effect at a time. He could if necessary become resilient enough that handgun bullets ricocheted off him and baseball bats broke over his head without causing him. But he was not literally invulnerable. If he fell from this height, he was pretty sure it would be fatal. The flexible Trom-devised armor he wore under his clothes was good but it wasn't miraculous. Even between the armor and his resilience, he couldn't expect to survive a fall like that.

Fifteen minutes crawled by. Sheng was considering if he should climb back further on Rolls and try to get up on the rear of the car, maybe up on the roof. But then he saw they were approaching a winding two-lane road and starting to descend. There was nothing but trees and bushes on either side of that road for miles. Yes, the car was definitely landing. He still could not hear anything but the rush of air past him.

When Crosby had called him the day before about the disappearance of the first car, Sheng had entertained the idea of some cargo helicopter hauling the vehicle up on cables. But those craft made a horrendous racket and neither Crosby nor his servants had heard anything. It was still a complete mystery to him what was going on. Now the Rolls Royce was descending slower and slower. Not wanting to be crushed under the car when it touched down, Sheng released his grip at thirty feet and dropped into a thick cluster of bushes by the side of the road. He had shifted his gralic force to increased durability. The impact was only a dull thud as he sank through the foliage and got his footing.

Cautiously, he stuck his head out from the side of the bushes, down near the ground. The Silver Ghost was parking on the road, as solid and mundane as if it had not just flown miles through the air in defiance of all laws of both physics and common sense. Hopping down lightly from its roof was a short thin man in a sky-blue jumpsuit.

Collapse )

"Those Who Remember"

"Those Who Remember"

11/2/- 11/3/1986


Even before the door had slammed fully open, the Dire Wolf was in the smoky room and attacking. The nearest thug opened his mouth but didn't get a chance to yell. Bane threw a left backfist that spun the man completely around and dropped him to his knees. A second thug rushed right into a side kick to the stomach that doubled him up and made him retch. On the other side of the dingy room, one of the goons snapped off a shot but it got nowhere near its fast-moving target. The Dire Wolf swerved and lunged, closing fifteen feet in a split-second. Left forefist to the jaw, then a right sidefist to the chest connected almost at the same time. The guard crashed back against the wall behind him so hard that a framed picture fell to the floor.
.
That left only one thug still on his feet in that room. His expression was complete dismay and fear. A few seconds ago, he had been arguing listlessly with the other hired help about sending one of them out for sub sandwiches and beer, and now his three pals were on the floor. Standing in front of him was a gaunt man just six feet tall, dressed all in black, with cold grey eyes stabbing out at him from a narrow feral face. The gunman knew who this had to

"Forget about going for your gun," Bane said quietly. "Keep your hands where I can see them. Good." Behind the Dire Wolf, the thug who had only taken a backfist groggily managed to get to his feet, one hand reaching into his waistband where the butt of a .38 showed. Without showing how he knew the man was up again, Bane whirled on his right heel, whipping his left leg around in a reverse roundhouse kick that cracked his heel to the goon's jaw. This time, that man would stay down.

As though nothing had interrupted him, Bane returned his full attention to the gunman in front of him. "Let's get this over with," he said in a calm voice that did not need to threaten. "You and your boys here have just re-entered the country. We know you were bringing supplies to Cohen, we found the van you abandoned. The question now is, where is he? Where is the Stone Man?"

"I can't tell you that! He'd break me in half."

"No, I am the one you should be afraid of. Cohen won't be in any shape to hurt you. Where is he?"

As the man hesitated, he suddenly felt a sharp stinging pain on the end of his nose. Somehow, a silver-bladed throwing dagger had appeared in Bane's hand and nicked him. The Wolf held the knife so the light reflected off it. The thug gasped and abruptly there was an identical pain in the lobe of one ear, and he still had not seen Bane move.

"Where is he?" repeated Bane in the same even tone of voice.

The gunman's nerve broke. "Are you sure you can stop him?"

"I know I can. Where?"

"Up in Canada. Toronto. 1138 Chichester Road. But... it's like a nightmare. He has a death squad of things that aren't human. And he's a monster himself! He ain't flesh and blood- he's made outta STONE!"

Bane smiled tautly. "I know he is. We've met. The cops will be here in a few minutes. Long before you and your buddies go to trial, Simon Cohen will be destroyed. That's a promise." The Dire Wolf's Kumundu training had long ago reached the point where he could strike from any position without giving any warning. Faster than a real wolf, he lunged in and his stiff open hand cracked down like an axe blade to the side of the man's neck. As the gunman dropped to the floor, Bane swung to survey the situation. This was the supervisor's office of a construction company in Jersey City, drab and sparse with a desk, some chairs, two filing cabinets and a bathroom in one corner. The four men sprawled where they had fallen. His best judgement estimated they would be unconscious for a few more minutes and not able to get up and walk around for maybe twenty minutes after that. Since the police were already on their way, Bane felt a certain satisfaction in getting here first and getting the information he needed. His informants had been reliable so far.

He was being watched. In an instant, Bane snapped to full alertness and whirled around, the dart gun appearing in his left hand. There in the doorway loomed a manlike figure that filled the opening. Wide batlike wings were folded, but even so it was obviously a Kulan. The beast from Fanedral had red leathery hide, talons and claws and a head like a hound with upright ears and lambent yellow eyes. Bane held the dart gun on the demon, even though he knew the anesthetic darts would not pierce that tough hide. "What do YOU want?" he demanded.

To the Dire Wolf's utter surprise, the Kulan answered. "Justice," it said and laughed wildly before leaping out of sight. Bane rushed to the doorway and looked up just in time to see the demon speed away over the rooftops, wings beating and tail whipping from side to side. He holstered his weapon and stared as the Kulan was gone in the distance. Seeing a beast from Fanedral here, following him, could only mean that Simon Cohen was aware he was being hunted. Cohen was known to command a small army of creatures from adjacent realms. He must have had this demon tracking Bane all the while. There was no time to lose.

Jumping down the metal stairs to the gravel, Bane got in his car and fired it up, pulling out of the construction yard and out onto the highway. Before he had gone more than a mile, two New Jersey State Police cars sped past him toward the construction site. That was close. Maybe the thugs would tell the cops who had thrashed them but he doubted it and he certainly wasn't going to volunteer the information. Bane raced toward the George Washington bridge just below the speed at which he would get pulled over. It was just getting dark.

II.


On the second floor of the KDF building on East 38th Street, Bane ran headlong into the conference room. On his way from New Jersey, he had sent a Blue Alert to summon the members available. Sitting around the long oak table were four remarkable men and, as he glanced over them, the Dire Wolf instantly began planning how to use their specific abilities in the coming battle. Sulak, Steven Weaver, Ted Wright and Shiro Mitsuru. He was in luck, this was a good combat team.

"Thanks for coming," he snapped as he dropped into the chair at the head of the table. "The situation is urgent, we can't wait for the others to finish their own activities and join us. We have a lead on the Stone Man case. A few minutes ago, I cornered some thugs working for Cohen and got an address from their leader. Toronto, 1138 Chichester Lane. We're leaving as soon as I get into my field suit. The rest of you are ready?"

"I need to buckle on my wings," Weaver said. He was a light-skinned black man with a thick mustache and a friendly face. His unprecedented ability at levitation had led the USAF to develop the Black Angel project for him.

"Let's head up to the hangar. My locker is there and the CORBY needs to warm up." Bane jumped to his feet again and led them from the room. Three of the KDF members got into the elevator but Bane started up the stairs to the tenth floor on foot, with Shiro beside him. The Tiger Fury was a master of Kumundu and many other fighting arts, and he kept up with Bane without trouble.

"Too bad Nebel's not here," Shiro said as they raced up the stairs. He was wearing a dark green tracksuit with a white stripe down the sides and white sneakers. Not a KDF member, he did not carry any of the weaponry or wear the armor, which he claimed slowed him down and threw his balance off. He said his skills were all he needed.

"I know. He reverted Cohen to normal human form and he could do it again. But there's no telling where Nebel might be." Bane spoke as easily as if they were standing still. On the tenth floor, they stepped into an big high-ceilinged space that held the black shape of a stealth helicopter without insignia. The others emerged from the elevator just before Bane and Shiro entered.

Stephen Weaver was already wearing the insulated black jumpsuit with red trim of Black Angel. His helmet sat on a work bench and he lowered it over his head as Sulak gave him a hand fastening the batlike wings to their mooring between his shoulder blades. He flexed them experimentally. The wings were red nylon over aluminum tubing, and he made sure they opened and closed properly before he made them fold flat on his back. Sulak was in his black arena suit, and carried no weapons or tools; the big Melgar relied solely on his superhuman strength and decades of combat experience.

A row of lockers stretched along one wall. Bane went to the first one, stripped off his outer clothes and stood there in the flexible Trom armor. It looked like dark silk, but offered better protection than ceramic plate. Long practice let him get quickly in the tough pants, boots and pullover, then to shrug into the waist-length jacket which had its own inner layer of the armor and was packed with various tools and gadgets. He checked the anesthetic dart gun and holstered it at his left hip. Fastening his war helmet on but leaving the visor up, Bane turned to face his team. The knights of Tel Shai, each one a marvel in his own right. He could not ask for better teammates.

Ted Wright stepped down from the CORBY. He was wearing a field suit identical to Bane's, but he did not have the ominous dangerous look in it that the Dire Wolf did. Wright was an American black man with a sad face and grey in his beard. As a Blue Guide, he was a healer and as a legitimate MD in civilian life, he was not happy being armed but accepted the necessity. "Everything is coming up to speed, Jeremy," he said. "We can leave in three or four minutes."

"All aboard, then." the Dire Wolf swung up into the pilot seat and, as everyone took their posts, he closed and sealed the pressurized hatch. Wright took the co-pilot seat. Steven Weaver had been a USAF pilot for eight years, he was much more skilled than Bane and logically might be expected to take the stick but the artificial wings were too awkward. "Systems look nominal, captain. Rotors moving at minimum, speeding up to hover."

"I'm clearing the floor and retracting the landing gear," Bane said. "We'll be leaving through the Eldar crystal. Stand by."
He reached up and slid a panel open to reveal a pale blue gem in silver setting. "Here goes." Placing his fingertips on the jewel, Bane focussed his full concentration and blue light flared up silently all around them. As it faded, the hangar was gone. Now the CORBY was hovering hundreds of feet above a forest. With no external lights, the black copter was almost impossible to spot in the night sky.

Weaver took a reading and announced, "Those are the Catskills beneath us. We're over a hundred miles north of Manhattan. You seem to be able to move the CORBY further each time."

"It sure doesn't get any easier," Bane grumbled. "Every time I use an Eldar crystal, I swear it'll be the last time." He took a deep breath. "Okay. I'm cutting in the Trom impulse engine and disengaging the rotors. We'll cruise at just under the sound barrier. Steve, you have the co-ordinates?"

"Getting them now, captain. The map of Toronto is up, give me a second..."

From the bench behind them, Sulak leaned forward. The big Melgar regarded the complicated array of gauges, screens and dials with disinterest. "Jeremy, perhaps you should tell us something of this Stone Man we rush to confront?"

"Huh? Oh, sorry, Sulak, you're right. He's one of our most dangerous enemies. In 1981, a warlock named Simon Cohen managed to absorb all the gralic power of the Stone of Malberon. It was an alchemist named Lee Hutchins who was to blame. Cohen became a being of living mobile rock. In our first encounter, he fought Khang to a standstill, something I didn't think that was possible, to be honest. Then Garrison Nebel reverted him to Human form. Somehow, it didn't last. Cohen regained his stone body and began recruiting a small army of nonhuman creatures for some nasty purpose. The mind of a powerful cabalist warlock in a body of living rock."

Sulak made a scoffing noise. "In me, he will meet his better. Do not worry, captain."

"Glad to have you on the team," Bane said. He had seen what Sulak was capable of. The CORBY spend on soundlessly through the overcast night, as the Dire Wolf brooded. He had not mentioned his suspicion that Simon Cohen was involved with Those Who Remember.

III.

In the center of a hundred-acre estate was a three-story white frame house within a stone fence. Nearby stood a barn and tool shed. The CORBY circled the area silently, a shadow in the night sky. "Our sensors detect no burglar alarms, no proximity cables, no laser nets to trip," said Wright.

"Cohen may not be much for technology but he's sure to have mystic alarms. As soon as we set foot on the grounds, he will know it." Bane slowed the craft to hover. Suddenly, Ted Wright yelled, "JeremY! Move us away!" The interior lights flickered and dimmed. Bane responded without hesitation, swerving the helicopter far to one side and accelerating. They were a half-mile away when he brought the CORBY to a halt again.

"What was THAT all about?" the Dire Wolf demanded.

"Some sort of damping area," Wright answered. "Sorry I didn't sense it until we were right on top of it." The Blue Guide exhaled sharply. "Cohen has set up an area around that building where tech won't function. Electronics will just go dead. We would have dropped."

Bane growled as he set the CORBY down near some trees. The ground was covered with snow that had a layer of ice over it from daytime melt, and the helicopter made crunching noises. "Oh, he's cute. The CORBY, our Links, the night vision in our helmets.. all useless. I bet even the dartguns won't function. Damn him."

From the bench behind the pilot seats, Shiro chuckled. "Jeremy, calm down. Look at us. You, me, Sulak, Steve, Ted... all of us have innate abilities that aren't affected. We don't need gadgets, we're dangerous enough as we are."

"You've got a point," Bane said after a moment. "Whatever creatures Cohen has in there, we can handle them." He powered down the CORBY and popped open the hatch. "Here's our attack plan, it's as simple as usual. Steve, I want you in the air. Stay near the top of the building and stand by. Use your judgement. Ted, you and Shiro go in the back under a Veil. Stay unseen until the right moment. Sulak and I will storm in the front and draw all the attention. Sound good?"

"It's right to the point!" Shiro said. "I love it, let's go."

They climbed out into a night with a wind chill near zero. Stepping away, Steven Weaver spread his artificial wings and lifted up, soaring up into the darkness. The wings only helped steer and stabilize, his flight was a gralic power from his mind. In an instant, he was out of sight. Ted Wright in his insulated field suit looked dubiously at Shiro, who was only wearing a thin one-piece cotton track suit. "Aren't you freezing?"

"Discipline, Mr Wright," said the Tiger Fury. "Discipline. Let's sneak around to the back." They headed at a trot toward the big house less than a mile away, swinging far to one side. The two remaining members stood next to the cORBY. Sulak smiled and said, "There is something you did not tell us, Jeremy."

Bane raised the visor on his helmet and his breath showed as condensation in the bitter air. "Yes. When I questioned those losers in New Jersey, I caught a Kulan watching me. Cohen must have had him tracking me. If the Stone Man does has watchers on us, they saw me go into our underground garage but no one has come out of the building. We left by Eldar crystal from a hangar without windows, so any watchers will figure we are still at the headquarters. That's why I wanted to get here as fast as possible."

The big Melgar clapped Bane on the shoulder and started walking toward the mansion. He was wearing his arena uniform of blue silk, with white gloves and boots and a white mantle around his shoulders. sulak was the one member of his generation who inherited the Legacy of Malberon, a gralic charge giving him as much strength as flesh and blood could contain. He had been Champion of Androval for decades, and had joined the KDF so he would have membership in Tel Shai. There he could sit at the feet of the Teachers and learn much lore not available elsewhere. Bane marched alongside him. The thought crossed his mind that his own enhanced speed was a fit complement to Sulak's immense strength. They found the driveway up to building and strode boldly along it. When they reached the high stone wall, Sulak casually shoved the wooden gate with the palm of one hand and snapped it off its hinges.

On either side of the mansion's front door, two torches burned in holders at head level. No lights showed in any windows. Before Bane and Sulak had crossed the slick icy yard to the house, that door slammed open and three strange defenders rushed out. A Brumal raced directly at Bane, one of the vile assassins of Androval whose secrets were later adopted by the Japanese ninja. In that baggy black outfit were a dozen vicious weapons. Through a gauze veil, his eyes burned with visible yellow light. when almost within reach, he whipped out a short hooked weapon on a chain and whirled it around his head. In his armored uniform, Bane felt reasonably safe against poisoned blades but he was not inclined to take chances. The Dire Wolf crouched slightly to let the weapon whiz overhead, hopped in close and threw a blurringly fast backfist that smashed the Brumal's nose and snapped his head to one side. As the assassin reeled back, the Dire Wolf blasted a straight side kick to the head that dropped the man. The sound of the neck breaking was low but unmistakable.

Sulak encountered a bulky apelike creature bundled in loose robes. It resembled Dr Kobal so closely that there had to be some connection. As the brute growled and charged, the Melgar met him with a simple right jab that caught beast perfectly and broke its jaw. Badly hurt, the creature dropped to the ground and struggled to get away and Sulak let it go. He was disappointed at the lack of challenge.

Bane had his hands full with the third attacker, who turned out to far more dangerous than he seemed at first. This was a tall, thin American black man in a dark jumpsuit. Across the knuckles of his gloves were lead ridges. Bane had no way of knowing this was a Canalized Man. In a process devised by the government agency known as the Mandate, a volunteer's mind had been broken down and reconstructed by drugs and behavior reinforcement. All his thoughts were channeled into a singleminded urge to kill any designated target. Singleminded as no sane men could be, the Canalized subjects were walking murder machines.

This one was very good, surprising the Dire Wolf as they clashed. The Canalized Man did not feel pain and his hardened body could take a lot of punishment. Bane found a punch or two slipping past his defenses, something that seldom happened. Sudden anger flared up in him. He blocked the man's right fist down hard with own left hand. Then, in less than one-fifth of a second, Bane slammed out three solid punches. Left backfist to the jaw, right forefist to the same spot, then a full power side punch to the chest that slammed the Canalized Man skidding across the icy yard. Bane had felt bone crack under that final blow, seen the way the body dropped and the head hit the ground and bounced. He had killed with that last punch.

"Get the door," he told Sulak. "Let's take the party inside!"

IV.

At the rear of the house, Ted Wright and Shiro Mitsuru stood within a shimmer of blue light that covered them completely. This was the Veil, one of the disciplines Wright had learned at Tel Shai. They were not invisible in a physical sense; they would still show up if photographed or on video cameras. But Wright's power affected the perception of any living being who might otherwise see them. As they walked quietly up to the rear door, a big man in a down-filled jacket came around the corner of the house. He was holding a heavy axe and exhaling loudly in the cold. As he got near, Shiro struck once, an open-hand blow to the nape that sounded like a branch breaking. The Tiger Fury caught the body with one hand and grabbed the axe before it could clatter to the stone paving. Shiro was frowning. Striking down an opponent from within concealment like this did not appeal to him. He liked to fight.

Standing with his hand on the doorknob, Wright allowed himself a smile. He was sure Shiro would get enough combat to satisfy him before this was all over. Making sure the Tiger Fury was close enough to be concealed within the Veil, the Blue Guide opened the door and stepped in a warm kitchen filled with the aroma of spicy stew. The room was lit by gas lamps, since electric appliances would not function here. As the door seemed to open by itself, an obese man in a white smock and white trousers turned in puzzlement. Again, Shiro struck once and caught the limp body but he pulled his blow enough that the man would live. As he lowered the man to the floor, the Tiger Fury grinned and whispered, "Never kill a good chef," and thoughtfully turned out the gas flame beneath the stewpot.

Ted Wright strengthened the gralic aura around the two of them, now that they were within the enemy stronghold itself. He was sure a warlock the calibre of Simon Cohen had already sensed thieir presence unless his full attention was focused elsewhere, Wright opened the kitchen door and stepped out into a dining room with a long polished table, gleaming crystal and fine china. With Shiro beside him, the Blue Guide passed through the far door into a huge, high-ceilinged reception gallery dimly lit by overhead gas lamps. And here the Veil failed him.

As the two Tel Shai knights entered the gallery, something sniffed the air like a beast and suddenly two creatures of the night plunged toward them. The nearer one leaped for Wright. This was a gaunt, white-skinned ruin of a man, dressed in ragged black tatters. Wright had faced vampires before. He dropped the Veil and drew upon his full discipline. The Blue Guides were masters of controlling lifeforce. They could analyze its flow in others for diagnoses, strengthen it and help it run smoother to aid healing and siphon it from one body to another. In Wright's perception, the vampire was an empty shell holding stolen lifeforce like a scarecrow with a lantern inside it. In that instant before the undead thing would have reached him, Wright latched on to the stolen lifeforce and froze it in place. The vampire faltered and sagged to its knees. With a single gesture, the Blue Guide drew the lifeforce out and dispersed it. The undead body left behind fell apart into a stinking mass. The Blue Guide stepped back from the pile of decay, satisfied that at least he had restored the natural order.

Shiro's opponent crouched and growled, and the Tiger Fury had a quick glimpse of dark shaggy fur and gleaming fangs before the werewolf was upon him in a surge of killing lust. The beast's speed to strike was tremendous and Shiro reacted with a high side kick to the face that flipped the beast over onto its back. The Tiger Fury dropped back into a relaxed cat stance, a little surprised that his opponent wasn't hurt. He had felt that kick connect solidly and knew a Human enemy would have had his skull caved in by that. Snarling, the beast leaped out and slashed out with its clawed hands. Shiro swayed back, drew a deep breath and focused his Chi. He would NOT lose. He was Shiro Mitsuru, the Tiger Fury, raised on martial arts, and it would take more than this mangy brute to defeat him.

As Shiro edged in close, the werewolf roared and threw its head back. In that instant, the Tiger Fury stepped forward and smashed his elbow to the monster's heart with all his strength, then drove his other fist to the same spot an instant later. He felt bone crack beneath those blows but the werewolf slashed out with its talons even as Shiro leaped backward out of range. A normal person watching would only have seen a brief flash of motion, too quick to be followed. Both enemies were moving faster than than the eye could follow. The beast was hurt, it showed in his defensive posture but he was far from defeated. Shiro felt a stinging across his chest and glanced down. The green jumpsuit he wore was ripped open from shoulder to ribs and there was a long shallow gash across his body. Shiro touched the wound and slowly brought his fingers to his mouth, tasting his own blood as if he couldn't quite believe it. His bronzed face set in an emotionless mask.

The werewolf circled warily, its brutal mind wrestling with the concept of a prey that fought back. This was something new. The beast threw back his head and howled. Shiro replied with the whiplash roar only a Tiger Fury could produce. It sounded exactly like the challenge of a real tiger and the werewolf was even more confused, actually drawing back a little. In that second, it lost the initiative and the fight. Shiro came up from the polished wooden floor in a spinning reverse roundhouse kick that smacked the werewolf across the muzzle with a sound like a gunshot. Face to face, the Tiger Fury blasted a dozen alternating left-right punches to the body with all his strength, then shifted to hooking blows to the head. Stronger than any normal Human, he smashed home blows that came from every angle. The beast's face was softening under those impacts as the bones of its face fractured. Suddenly stepping to one side, Shiro grabbed the manbeast's long arm at the wrist and elbow, forcing it down on its face. In the same motion, the Tiger Fury dropped to one knee and drove the downward leopard-paw fist he used in tile-breaking demonstrations. With a dull cracking noise, the skull split. Shiro rose with blood and brains on his fist.

For the next few seconds, he seemed unaware of the situation as his breathing slowed to normal. His hair was damp with sweat. To his surprise, he saw that Sulak and Bane had turned up during the fight, although he had not noticed them. Shiro forced a crooked smile, and said, "Sorry it took so long, captain. Lucky this was not one of the howlers that can only be killed by silver."

Bane handed Shiro a piece of linen he had picked off a cabinet and the Tiger Fury wiped his hands clean. His knuckles were swollen and sore. The Dire wolf gestured at the dead werewolf and whistled. "Decent boxing, Shiro. I can't say I've ever seen better combinations!"

"Praise from the master is praise indeed," Shiro answered. He straightened his shoulders and slapped his hands together as if dusting them. "Who's ready for more?"

Ted Wright stepped forward, laying a hand on the Tiger Fury's arm. "First, I'm going to clean and dress that gash across your chest. You're not above getting an infection. Hold still, this will only take a minute."

As Shiro grudgingly allowed his wound to be treated and Wright nodded he was done, Bane started toward the main staircase. "We're going for bigger game... the Stone Man himself!"

V.

Through the light-enhancing goggles in his helmet, Weaver saw his teammates race away from the stealth helicopter as he himself lifted up into the freezing air. The Black Angel suit was well insulated and he felt comfortable. Flying was not effortless, it took serious concentration to draw on the gralic force that gave him lift. Weaver spread the batlike wings and swung around toward the big house where the enemy waited. He glided toward it at his usual speed of about forty miles per hour, which he could maintain without tiring. The suit he wore had a sidearm in a flap a pouch small tools for repairs to the wings and short vanes on the boots and gloves to help steering while in flight. It had puzzled him at first why the Air Force had been willing to quietly discharge him and allow him to keep the Black Angel equipment after they had invested so much time and research into it. Someone with a lot of influence had been behind the scenes with that decision. He didn't think Jeremy Bane had that kind of pull with the authorities, in fact he knew Bane didn't. But then who? Who had wanted Black Angel to be free for the Midnight War?

As he was thinking this over, Weaver neared the house and the light enhancers in his goggles shut down. He slowed to almost a hover, letting his legs drop down. It must be that damping field. Technology wouldn't work in the area. Well, that was annnoying. The tiny motors which operated his wings had cut out. Weaver could still fly, of course; his levitation was innate in his mind. But without the wings functioning, it was much harder to maneuver. With a grumble of discontent, he started moving forward again, coming down toward the house that now was just a dark blot in the night. Some of the windows were dimly lit.

As he drew nearer, Weaver spotted a skylight that flickered as if a fire were burning inside. Slowly as he could, he lowered himself to the roof and landed lightly next to the skylight. For some reason, he felt sudden anxiety that was not a normal state for him. Cautiously, he moved his head over the edge of the skylight and gazed down into a throne room. There sat Simon Cohen.

On an iron throne, the Stone Man sat motionless. He looked like a statue roughly hewn from granite, huge and massive, with thick arms and legs. There were no toes; his feet were solid pads of stone. Each hand had a thumb and three blunt fingers without nails. The coarse black hair which hung down over his flat vertical forehead was really mineral fibers, and his cold amber eyes were crystal which reflected firelight with a yellow gleam. Years ago, Cohen's Human body had been transformed by the Stone of Malberon so that the carbon-based proteins in his make-up were replaced by silicon carbide. He had become a new monstrous form of life never seen before. For a time he had been a near-mindless brute. Then he had been changed back to Human by Garrison Nebel. Now, somehow, Cohen had regained his stone body while keeping his full intelligence.

Watching from above, Weaver felt his heart pounding. The Stone Man was over seven feet tall, more than a thousand pounds in weight but that gave no hint about the overwhelming aura of menace that the monster gave off. Cohen wore white shorts and an open white smock that had pockets sewn down its front. He sat as still a genuine unliving rock, staring into a brazier that burned directly in front of him. Oily smoke rose from the flame.

Suddenly, Stephen Weaver drew back from the window. His gun was useless in the damping field. The only other weapon he carried was a survival knife in a sheath on his boot. That would sure be no help against this monster. He had no idea what he could do to attack Cohen. As he tried to think, he heard a rustle above and behind him, coming closer fast. Purely on reflex, without conscious thought, Black Angel dove headlong off the roof and accelerated away parallel to the ground. As he sped away, he glanced back over his shoulder and saw two Kulan gaining on him.

Weaver cursed and sped up. He had fought those dog-headed demons before. Drawing on all his concentration, he hit his maximum speed, just over a hundred miles per hour. His head ached from the effort. Suddenly the light enhancers in his goggles clicked back on, which meant he was outside the damping field.. which meant his gun would work. Looking back, he drew and snapped off two shots at the nearer demon. The detonations of the resonance caps were dull thumping booms in the still air, and the Kulan spun wildly and started dropping, its batlike wings beating erratically.

But the other demon was closing in fast. It held a short rectangular shield in its left paw and a curved sword in the other. Weaver had never heard of Kulan using weapons. That had to be Cohen's idea! With that shield, the Kulan wouldn't be stunned by a resonance cap. The demon was almost within reach. Black Angel arched his back, swinging his arms up and lowering his wings. He shot straight up as fast as he ever had. Could he outfly the demons? He doubted it but he had some tricks up his sleeve. The Kulan was pursuing him, wings beating, growling like a beast, and Weaver abruptly double up and reversed, zooming straight down. The armed demon rushed past him, unable to react or change course as quickly. All those hundreds of hours spent training and refining his skills had been worth it and he was glad Bane had been so insistent on constant practice. Unused to fighting a prey that could also fly, the Kulan would need a few minutes to adjust their techniques and that might give Weaver the breathing space he needed.

swooping low over the snow-covered fields, careful not to approach the house with its damping field, Black Angel saw the Kulan he had shot had recovered and was joining the chase. Damn things sure were tough. He had four shots left in the airgun and he wanted to save them for the last moment. Followed by the howling beasts, he hurtled along, almost touching the ground, in hope the demons could not keep up but they were in fact gaining.

Just ahead, over a slight rise, he saw the bend of a small river and he got an idea. The river was not frozen over completely this early in the winter. Yes, it had to work. Weaver zoomed toward that river at top speed, beating his own record. Just a few feet above the cold dark waters, he looked back and saw the nearer demon almost close enough to grab his lefg. Weaver rolled over onto his back and fired three resonance grenades pointblank at the beast. The three explosions were deafening at that close range, doubling the Kulan up and sending its sword spinning away. Out of control, the beast tumbled toward Weaver with its momentum only slightly lessened. "Here goes," said Black Angel under his breath. Clicking shut the shutters in his helmet faceplate so his oxygen supply would cut in, he tackled the dazed Kulan like a linebacker and dragged the brute down into the water.

Even with the light enhancer goggles, Weaver could see almost nothing in the freezing dark river. Both arms locked around the demon, he held tight and dove down toward the bottom, using his levitation power to its fullest. The Kulan took into a mouthful of water and convulsed in panic, almost breaking free. But the resonance blasts had weakened him enough that Weaver was able to hold on. The water resistance slowed the demon's movements and the chilling cold quickly numbed the beast. Kulan were used to the volcanic climate of Fanedral. Weaver felt the beast suddenly shudder and go limp. Suspicious, he held on for a few more minutes until he was convinced the demon was dead. Letting go, he felt the Kulan sink to the bottom.

Exhausted, Black Angel floated for a moment. He adjusted his oxygen intake so he could catch his breath and he moved his aching arms with a wince. What a close call that had been. Then he realized he had killed a Kulan. By himself! Wait until he told the others about this. Weaver started drifting up to the surface as the cold started to seep through even his insulated suit. Then he remembered the other demon was still up there. Damn. Reluctantly, he rose up slowly and looked around as his head broke the surface. Not ten yards away, the second Kulan was crouched in a feral pose, barbed tail whipping back and forth. As it spotted Weaver, the beast howled, "Human scum! You killed Baruk!"

"Come on in, the water's fine," answered Weaver.

Flapping its leathery wings, the Kulan stepped closer. "Baruk, do not wail in the land of ghosts. Your brother Nuram will avenge you."

Rising up a little out of the water, Weaver had drawn the seven-inch survival knife. He had one tactic left. A few times in the past, he had overcome a more powerful opponent by getting on top and pressing down, using his levitation in reverse to exert bone-breaking force. It might work. But as he looked at the long curved talons and lupine fangs of the huge demon, he did not feel confident. Black Angel gripped the knife in his right hand and readied himself.

A third voice called out, Bagash hulag KU!"

The Kulan whirled at those authoritative words in the language of Fanedral. Just behind him stood a mortal Man, with blonde hair, dressed in a neat suit and tie in the bitter cold. He met the demon's glare without fear.

"Who are you?" roared the Kulan. "How does a low Human speak the forbidden tongue?"

"Have you so soon forgotten me? Or do I not remind you of the captain of your own Red Slashers?"

Forgetting Weaver for the moment, Nuram stepped toward this strange intruder. "The Red Slashers are the elite," he said. "The personal guard of the Dread One himself. Yes, I remember their captain. His name was Gornak, he was the most deadly of them all. But he is dead."

"I am not dead, fool." The blond man began to laugh as if the thought was sublimely funny. As he shook with that laughter, a wave of cold yellow flame swept over him. The fire faded and was gone, but the blond man was not there any longer. In his place stood a red-hided warrior demon larger and more powerfully built than Nuram and Baruk. The great beast threw back its head and roared. "I am Gornak! Flee now, flee for your life. Or would you match your fangs against mine?"

Shrinking back in blatant terror, Nuram leaped into the sky and flew off with his wings beating furiously.

Staring at the red beast, Weaver somehow felt relieved. "You- you're different than them?"

"Very different," Gornak answered. "Do not fear me. I am not here to harm mortal Men but to help them."

Black Angel slowly returned his knife to its sheath on his boot. "I don't understand."

"This is hard to explain," the winged demon said. "I am here as a refugee. I fled Fanedral, I fled the tyranny of Draldros. If you of Tel Shai offer me sanctuary, I will fight beside you. Mind, I have no love for Humans, nor do I hate them. I am motivated by self-interest."

Weaver smiled. "That sounds honest. Who isn't motivated by self-interest? All right, I'll take you to our captain. It's his decision whether to offer you sanctuary or not."

Stepping closer, Gornak grinned with fangs that gleamed in the dim winter night. "More than that. My goal is to become a member of your team and a knight of Tel Shai myself."

VI.

The door at the end of the hallway was a slab of black stone without handle, latch or ornamentation. As the four KDF members neared it, that door swung open on its own. Sulak instinctively took the lead, being nearly indestructible. Behind him came Bane and Wright in their armored field suits, with Shiro following.

In that huge, black-inlaid throne room, a fire blazed suddenly higher from the draft of the open door. Before a chest-high brazier stood a gigantic form like a statue carved of rough grey granite. In his amber eyes, the flame was reflected with sheer nonhuman hatred.

"I knew you would come here in time," the Stone Man rumbled ominously. "And in your ignorance, you are determined to do me harm."

Jeremy Bane knew he carried no weapon which could harm the monster before him, no way to defend himself if those stone hands closed on him. Yet he stepped forward as calmly and confidently as if he was facing a common burglar being taken in custody. "It's not just you, Cohen. It's your connection with Those Who Remember."

"How...?" Cohen began, then caught himself. "Of course. Three nights ago. It was you who captured the cult members in Buffalo and burned their house."

"It was," answered Bane. "A few of them talked. But why are you involved with Those Who Remember? That cult is so stupid I can't take it seriously. Mortal Men can't free the Sulla Chun and even if they could, no Humans would survive the return of those damned things. Not even the Darthim mess with Sulla Chun. You're not a fool, Cohen. What's your real game?"

The Stone Man went back to his iron throne and lowered his great bulk. "The Dire Wolf. You are so proud of your Tel Shai training and knowledge."

"With good reason," Bane shot back. "What's your point?"

"Oh, I do not deny the wisdom of the Teachers of Tel Shai, nor the history of their Order, which after all was founded by Jordyn Himself. What I say, and what you may not quite grasp, is that there are other mystic traditions in this world. There is Voodoo. There is the knowledge of the Visitors, the Greys. There is Chaos magic, and there is Cabalism. It was Cabalism that made me supreme among warlocks and it was alchemy which gave me this invincible stone body."

Beside Bane, his teammates listened and waited.
e
"The Sulla Chun are imprisoned deep 'within' the Earth," Cohen went on, "If only in a metaphoric way. They can be freed and I intend to so through Those Who Remember. Not even Jordyn, Regent of this world, can command the Sulla Chun. Few can even survive being in their presence. But I can. In this form I cannot be killed and I can meet with the Sulla Chun and learn what they have to teach." He leaned back and smiled stiffly. "True, all life will be swept from this planet. It will be cleansed, but no matter. The adjacent realms will be untouched. After I have learned the secrets of the Sulla Chun, I will bring Humans here from other realms to be my subjects and slaves. In time, my subjects will repopulate the Earth and worship no other gods but me."

"You," said Bane, "are REALLY sick. Ted, put up the shield."

Instantly, a faint blue haze spread over the entire chamber like a mist. The fire in the brazier went out, and much of the oppressive atmosophere lessened. Cohen rose to his full height and rumbled deep in his chest. "You dare..?"

"I do," answered Ted Wright. The Blue Guide's face was furrowed with concentration. "That Tel Shai knowledge you dismissed. As long as I maintained this safe zone, your gralic powers are deadened. You won't be blasting any of us with red bolts."

"Schvartze fool! I will pull your head off." The Stone Man lumbered forward, huge leonine paws reaching for Wright. Cohen saw Sulak leaping forward, but he dismissed what seemed to be only a Human athlete without weapons. He was rudely surprised. In a sudden smooth blur, the Melgar champion stepped in and blasted a right cross that sounded like a cannon booming. The Stone Man reeled back and almost fell. As he got his footing, he said, "Who are you? How can you have such power?"

"I am Sulak! Champion of Androval, heir to the Legacy of Malberon. Mark me well, monster, for I am he who will defeat you!"

Cohen's massive brow ledges lowered, almost hiding the amber eyes. "It is the Blue Guide's effect which hampers my gralic art, or I would simply blast you where you stand. Still, I do not need mystic power. With my hands alone, I will slay you, Melgar. Then the rest of you. My plan for cleansing the earth will not be halted by a simple gladiator."

Smiling, Sulak held up his fists. He seemed to be just a man a few inches over six feet in height, muscular and trim, with shaggy black hair over a rugged face. But with the Legacy of Malberon charging his body, he was the strongest flesh and blood creature who lived, and decades of experience in the arena and war had polished his skills. As he faced Cohen, his steps were light and nimble, almost dancing. Sulak came in fast, right fist shooting out to crack against Cohen's face. The Stone Man's head swung back from the impact but he did not fall. With surprising speed, he swung a backhand that caught the Melgar square on the jaw and Sulak was knocked off his feet.

Rolling as he hit the cold marble floor, the Champion of Androval hopped back a step and jumped up into a ready stance. He stood with knees slightly bent, most of his weight forward on his right leg. His right fist was partially extended, his left fist close to the chest. That slap had hurt, something rare for him to experience. His smug confidence had evaporated to be replaced by the grim determination of a final match in the arena.

He studied Cohen intently. The Stone Man was more than a foot taller and outweighed him by hundreds of pounds. If they had been normal Humans, the match would have been ludicrous. There was no way to estimate how strong the monster really was, but years ago he had fought Khang to a standstill and Khang had been considered invincible before that. I must break this enemy, Sulak thought, no one else can do it.

Cohen sudden threw a straight punch for the head with his huge right paw. He was too stiff and slow. Sulak brushed it aside with his left forearm, pouncing in close to deliver a right cross that sound like a gun firing. Quick and agile, the Melgar stepped back and out of reach before Cohen could react. The giant warlock made a rasping noise deep in that granite chest. Sulak frowned. The room was lit only by the blue haze from Wright, enough to show his opponent's movements but not his expression. Had that blow hurt him? It didn't seem so.

Again, the Stone Man attacked. Sulak ducked under a wide looping roundhouse but he underestimated how fast his enemy could move and a massive right fist crashed against the side of his head like a sledge hammer. Sulak lost his footing for the second time, he fell to the floor and rolled clear barely in time to escape a giant foot stomping down where his head had been. The Melgar leaped up and back ten feet, drawing deep breaths and trying to clear his thoughts. He raised his fists and waited with the first faint twinge of doubt.

Simon Cohen smiled, wide chisel-edged teeth gleaming in the blue light. Unhurried, he began to stalk toward the Melgar like an executioner stepping to the gallows. The crystal eyes had glints of red now.

In those few seconds, Sulak drove away the pain in his head. Suddenly everything seemed clear. Looking Cohen in the eye, he said, "My gift- the Legacy of Malberon- has ever made my fights too easy. I see that now. I took pride in striking down opponents who could in no way match my strength. I am grateful to you, Simon Cohen. You give me a foe I cannot slay with a half-hearted blow. This is a challenge I needed."

"You idiot!" laughed the giant. "That revelation won't do you any good, for you see, I am about to kill you."

"Victory is not yours to take nor mine to give. Do your worst, monster."

Cohen took a step forward and Sulak lunged to meet him. With his left hand, he seized the white smock and yanked hard, bringing the stone head down to his own level. In the same motion, the Melgar blasted a right cross with every bit of superhuman strength he had. The Stone Man went down. Cohen landed clumsily on his side, arms and legs flailing as he tried to get up. As the monster rose, Sulak met him with a left-right combination which had no real effect. It took a full power punch to harm the rocklike brute. Standing, Cohen swung his great open hands in an attempt to seize his smaller foe. The huge arms whooshed through the air like wrecking cranes. The Melgar danced out of the way, much lighter on his feet than his ponderous enemy. Sulak saw a wide roundhouse coming and tried to stop it with an upper block but the Stone Man was just too strong. The punch came right through the attempted block and hit Sulak in the middle chest, driving the wind from him. Close behind that blow came a smashing downward hammer punch that caught the Melgar's left shoulder and forced him down to one knee. Even through the pain and the effort of catching his breath, Sulak's decades of combat experience kept him clear. On one knee, he drove out a straight forefist to Cohen's stomach. The rocklike belly did not cave in before that fist as flesh and blood would, but the sheer force of the blow threw the Stone Man back, to land sitting up ten feet away.

Both opponents regained their feet, regarding each other with new wariness. Sulak flexed his arms and shoulders to keep them from getting stiff. They circled, drawing closer.

Suddenly Bane's voice broke as if from a distance. The Melgar had been so focused on his opponent he had forgotten his teammates were in the room. "Sulak!" said the Dire Wolf, "take a break. I'll soften him up with the silver daggers."

"No," shouted the Melgar in a tone he would not normally have used on his captain. It carried the full authority of his status as Champion of Androval. "This is my fight and mine alone!"

Historians of the Midnight War agree that Simon Cohen likely had more gralic-induced strength than Sulak and so should have been able to kill him. But Cohen had been a middle-aged scholar before gaining his stone body. Without the mystic arts he usually relied on, without any experience or training in how to fight, the Stone Man was not able to use his strength effectively. He found himself facing a toughened warrior with strength roughly equal to his own, who had fought in many wars and tournaments for decades, who had studied boxing under every great expert he could find, including the incomparable Teacher Chael of Tel Shai.

Cohen quickly discovered that he couldn't connect any more. Now that Sulak had judged the extent of his opponent's reach and skill, even if it had meant taking a knockdowns to do it, he could evade the Stone Man's blows with footwork. At the same time, he could lunge in like a fencer and land two good solid punches before Cohen could react. Again and again, Sulak punished the huge warlock with alternating backfist-forefist combinations. Cohen bellowed in pain and rage but the elusive Melgar seemed to be always just out of reach until two more blows landed. The Stone Man was swinging wildly, without technique, and Sulak simply danced and dodged, still crashing his powerful fists to Cohen's face.

Nothing on this world could long resist the destructive effect of blows like that. Simon Cohen wavered, the amber light in his eyes dimmed for an instant. Sulak was steering the fight for the kill, throwing more complicated combination strikes that slapped the stone head from side to side. Abruptly, Cohen broke away and reached for the extinguished brazier. He broke the heavy bronze stand loose and raised it like a spear... not to throw at Sulak but at the other Tel Shai knights watching the duel.

"Oh no you don't," Sulak said quietly. As the Stone Man drew back him arm to throw the brazier, the Melgar dropped into a low stance with feet well apart. He pulled his right fist back to his armpit and drove out a straight punch that had everything he could put into it. The impact of that blow had the decisive crunch of the slaughterhouse. Cohen reeled back wildly, arms waving, and landed with a crash on the marble floor. Deep cracks ran diagonally across the motionless rocklike torso.

As Cohen fell, Sulak dropped to his knees with his head lowered. His chest worked as he tried to slow his breathing. The Melgar flexed his sore and bloodied hands and studied them as if he had never seen them before.

Jeremy Bane came over and knelt beside his comrade. "I wouldn't have missed that fight for ten years off my life," he said. "Good work, sulak. Look at your hands. Ted! You want to check them out?"

The Blue Guide came over and examined the Melgar. His art of Kerwandu involved perceiving the flow of life force to promote healing but Wright had been a genuine MD working Emergency Rooms before joining Tel Shai. "The little finger on the right hand is broken, and the knuckles are a hair away from being cracked. Sulak, you're going to be bruised and sore for a week but with your Melgar metabolism, you'll be fine." He took some bandages and tape from his satchel. "Here, hold still."

Bane and Shiro stood over the motionless Stone Man. "Is he dead?"

Glancing up from bandaging Sulak's hands, Wright said, "As far as I can tell. There's no flow of lifeforce."

The Dire Wolf stared down at the rough-featured grey face, its eyes closed. "I've never been more relieved to see an enemy dead. With him gone, Those Who Remember will go back to being harmless cranks."

VII.




With Cohen destroyed, his damping field faded and the KDF equipment worked again. Bane flicked a switch on the wall and overhead recessed lights came on. "That's better," he said. "Okay, our next move is to go through this building and look for any talismans or books we need to claim. With someone like Cohen, I'm sure there are all sorts of forbidden sigils that we don't want anyone to find. If any cultists from Those Who Remember come here, the last thing we want is for them to find a Darthan blasting wand or some alchemy potions. Shiro, how do you feel about going to fetch the CORBY and bringing it here?"

"Not a problem," the Tiger Fury said. He had found a closet and was tugging on an overcoat that was much too large for him. The bottom edge touched the floor and he rolled the cuffs up several times. "I'll be back in a minute."

The Dire Wolf examined Sulak's bandaged hands. "Hurts a little?"

"I'm not used to taking damage like that," the Melgar admitted. "Now I understand how you and Shiro feel after a fight."

Ted Wright suddenly looked up. "Jeremy, I sense lifeforce. On the roof."

Bane reacted instantly, swinging around as the skylight opened from outside, hand dropping to his dart gun. The familiar black and red outfit reassured him. Steven Weaver climbed through and slowly drifted down to land next to him. As Weaver tugged off his goggled helmet, he said, "Listen, captain. Stay cool. Someone is going to come down behind me."

"What? What are you talking about--" the Dire Wolf began but stopped short as the red-hided form of a Kulan dove through the open skylight and descended, batlike wings flapping slowly. Bane drew his gun but Weaver put a restraining hand on that arm.

"Easy, Jeremy," Weaver said. "It's okay. Gornak is a friend."

Bane eyed the winged demon suspiciously, not holstering his gun. Both Wright and Sulak were also poised to attack. "A friend? Steve, that's a Kulan from Fanedral!"

"Give him a chance," Weaver said. "He saved me from another demon when I was unarmed."

"Let me speak for myself," Gornak said. It was strange to see that doglike muzzle open and hear perfectly correct English come from it. "I am indeed a Kulan, but not like others of my kind."

"Wait," Bane snapped, finally putting his weapon away. "It was you I saw in that doorway this afternoon. Back in Jersey. I asked you what you wanted and you said, 'justice.'"

The demon folded his wings and stepped closer, Black Angel beside him. "And it was true. I have come to this world to escape the tyranny of Draldros. I want to join you, to be a knight of Tel Shai and to fight alongside you."

"A Kulan as a hero?" Bane began, then caught himself. "But then... I guess you have free will and can make surprising decisions the same as we do. Membership in Tel Shai is not for me to grant, though. You will have to stand before the Teachers and convince them, as we all did."

"That is all I ask," said Gornak. The red demon grinned, an imposing sight considering his rows of fangs. "You will be glad you gave me this chance."

"I will never say I've seen everything," Bane replied. "There's always a surprise."

12/15/2013

Glossary: H

>H
-HAGEN [SS, 1940] MELGAR, leader of the SEVEN SWORDS
-HAGS Three ancient witches, sisters some say, who have been feuding for centuries. One of the Sea, one of the Mountain, one of the Desert.
-HALARIM. Three transcendental Spirits serving under the little-understood AKURAN, the Source of All Things. DRALDROS (Death), GRELOK (Water) and MARGOTH (Fire). Lesser spirits under the Halarim included ANGDROS.
-HALARIN. Three transcendental Spirits serving under AKURAN, the Source of All Things. JORDYN (Life), CIRKOTH (Sky) and ERYASHA (Earth). Lesser spirits under the HALARIN included EFRIKO (Astral Projection) and KOROMAS (Chains of Stillness). Using the art of INOCATION, a worthy mystic could plead for help from these beings which was not always granted.
-HALESTRA [TCS, 2001] b.-d. 5'8" 140lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Amber. One of the KRASTIDIANS, a family of ELDARIN mutated by exposure to a SULLA CHUN event. It was mentioned that her gralic ability involved wisdom in some way but she did not get to demonstrate it before she and her clan were taken prisoner by the KDF SECOND TEAM and taken to ANDROVAL for their offenses.
-HALWICK, THOMAS EDWIN. Known as 'The Deacon.' b.1934-d.1979 5'9" 1250lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Adventurer and vigilante in the Midnight War from the mid-1950s until 1975.
Although never brought to trial, Halwick was known as an expert thief who chose to rob the extremely wealthy. He also stole loot from criminal rings without being caught. This gave 'the Deacon' a shady reputation. After he became more interested in the Midnight War, Halwick seldom committed his heists again.
Halwick was a chain smoker and drank to a noticeable extent, although neither vice hindered his athletic ability. He was a fine shot with the Beretta .25 he carried, and was good with his fists or a combat knife he wore strapped to his right shin under his clothes, although he was by no means a top combtant. ("Well under average height but fit-looking, the notorious Deacon was well-dressed to the point of excess. He was wearing a light tan suit with a yellow shirt and brown tie, as well as a vest. His fedora was being twirled around a finger. Halwick had a prominent nose and sharp dark eyes, with black hair combed straight back. More than once, people had said he had a ferret-like quality.")
In 1979, after it became known he was preparing to self-publish a book exposing the SNAKE MEN, he was killed by them.
-HARKINS, CHRISTINE 'CRICKET' [TMFIA, 8/2006] b.1987-d 5'10 120 lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Blue Daughter of research chemist Colin Harkins. When her father was abducted by CHIANG SURIGATA, she became involved in the rescue operation by INTERCEPT agent NICHOLAS PRYSHEPA and JEREMY BANE. Unexpectedly, Cricket beheaded Surigata with a sword as a crucial moment.
-HALBRECHT, FREDERIC W [WLTPO, 2013] b.1942-d.2013 5'8" 160lbs Hr:Grey Ey:BRown. HUMAN shape-shifter who could assume the form of a Pterosaur (which everyone except MEGAN SALENGER insisted on calling a Pterodactyl). After several murderous attacks on people, the monster was driven into the freezing East River and presumed killed. ("The creature's torso was bigger than a normal Human, with a wingspan of twelve feet. Its dark blue hide was like leather, lighter in color across the belly. In his winged form, Halbrecht stood on two stumpy legs which ended in taloned four-toed feet. A thick tail which ended in a flat barb whipped angrily from side to side, and the head had a crest extending backward to balance the long vicious beak. In that instant, even as startled as she was, Haley Lawson noticed the sharp peglike teeth set in the beak, the way the wings were not floppy thin skin but were reinforced with stiff fibers and that the bright red eyes focused on her like a predator on its prey.")

-HARAK, JANOS [HODN, 1/1990] Known as Harak the Damned. b.1816-d.1990. 5’11” 225 lbs Hr:Blonde, head shaved Ey:Blue. Mercenary and hired killer given extended longevity by his possession of Darthan artifacts. Harak owned a hatchet with a curved two-foot long handle, a breastplate and helmet all of GREMTHOM infused with gralic force by the DARTHIM ages earlier. Some of the life force of his victims was siphoned into him through the hatchet, enhancing his vitality. He was a member of AREM KAMENDE's group DARK CLOUD. Harak was killed by TANG MING in January 1990; his weapon and armor was confiscated and sealed away in the Vault at KDF headquarters.
-HARAK THE DAMNED See JANOS HARAK.
-HARMON, ADRIAN [TMTC, 1963; ROTGM, 5/1982] Known as GITANO. b.1943-d.1982 5'10" 175lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Troubled wanderer on the outer fringes of the Midnight War, Gitano had been left partially amnesiac after a clash with the GROUP MIND. It was the same incident that gave him his unusual abilities. He could cause healing and pleasure with his left hand, destruction and pain with his right. Gitano had several exploits of his own, including the encounter with the MORBID TABERNACLE CHOIR and the AMETHYST SLUG. He never did find resolution or peace of mind, and died helping out in the final battle of the SNAKE WAR.
-HAUNT See SUDLOW, DREW `
-HAWK, ARTHUR [Arthur Hawk born in 1891, marries Laurel Taylor, is 29 when son Michael is born in 1919. Arthur and Laurel are killed in a plane crash off Nova Scotia in 1921 and Robert takes custody of the boy.
-HAWK, CLAY [AKFITD, 1890] b.1849-d.1922 6' 180lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Original name 'Little Clay Hawk.' A full blooded Navajo educated by a Lutheran family which took him in, former gambler and scout, Clay Hawk became a Federal Marshal Agent in 1881. He was documented to have killed six men in gunfights, although he greatly preferred to arrange matters so that the suspects had no choice but to surrender. Even a master like the Brimstone Kid was wary of any possible confrontation with Clay Hawk. After his marriage in 1890, Hawk moved to a desk job.
He had two sons, ARTHUR (father of MICHAEL) and ROBERT (known as the STING). Clay Hawk thus began a tradition of three generations of crime-fighters.
("Dressed in formal townsfolk clothing, black trousers and a white shirt with a floral-pattern vest and a string tie, Little Clay Hawk wore a flat-brimmed low-crowned hat. His Indian blood showed clearly in the glossy black hair, the strong eagle-beak nose and the deepset eyes.")
-HAWK ISLAND [ROW, 3/1983] Ten miles off the coast of northern Maine, Hawk Island had been the property of MICHAEL HAWK, who left it to the KDF in his will. JEREMY BANE expanded and upgraded the facility to use as a second base for his team. The main building was one story high, made of stone blocks painted white, with a wing on each end. The wing on the left held five rooms for personal quarters. These rooms were small, not much more than a bed, bathroom and work station. They did not belong to anyone in particular but were used by KDF members in turn as needed. The main building held Bane's own office, a command center, a medical ward and a recreation room. The wing opposite the private rooms held training facilities... basically a gym and obstacle course. This area also had two detention cells for temporary holding captured enemies. The hangar was large enough to accomodate two CORBYs at ok same time with all the tools and support equipment necessary. Two miles from the main building was the boathouse which stored two speedboats for ferrying members to Southport in case something went wrong with the CORBY.
-HAWK, MICHAEL Known as MANHUNTER b.1919-d.1983 6'1" 190 lbs TEL SHAI KNIGHT and founding member of the KDF SECOND TEAM 1979-1983 When Hawk's father died young, his uncle Robert (who had been a crimefighter known as THE STING) took over. He spent his fortune having young Michael taught everything useful for a criminologist. Michael was home-schooled but also traveled the world being instructed by experts. Michael served in the OSS from 1942 to 1945, and only learned about Robert's career as the Sting after the war. Hawk died waging war on the Snake Empire.
-HAWK, ROBERT b.1895-d.1966 5'9" 180lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Known as the STING, Hawk was a crime fighter and spy smasher during the 1930s and 1940s with his partner CHEN WONG-LAI, the DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT. Robert Hawk became a tutor to his nephew MICHAEL, raising him to be a superlative criminologist and manhunter.
As the Sting, Robert Hawk wore an elaborate suit of padded clothing, built-up shoes and a full-face black cloth mask under a wide-brimmed fedora. This made him appear to be a much larger man physically than he was.
Relying on trickery and cunning, Hawk used information from underworld informers to manipulate gangsters into turning on each other or to give themselves away while under investigation by the police. Any fighting which could not be avoided was left to his partner CHEN LEE SUN, a master of Gung Fu. Hawk also used nearly harmless anesthetic darts on his enemies, never revealing where he obtained the formula for such a sophisticated drug. These were the same darts later used by his nephew MICHAEL HAWK and later shared with the KDF members.
After his legs were ruined by bullets, Hawk became much more a deductive mastermind, sending Chen out to act. As Chen became more independent (and secretly used the Dragon Pendant), Hawk spent more of his time and energy supervising the raising of his young nephew Michael to be a foremost adventurer and criminologist.
-HEARTLESS MEN. [THM, 1/2002] Group of Humans enslaved by Darthan , using a spell to replace their natural hearts which small black ensorcelled stones. This left them both merciless and under her control. They also did not need air, food or water after the spell. All known Heartless Men were destroyed in their encounter with JEREMY BANE.
-HEIRS OF BULIWYF [HOB, 2/1988] Four Humans who claimed talismans made by MALBERON for legendary warrior BULIWYF long ago. CHARLES LAWSON received the Earth Hammer, his wife CATHY the Water Horn. Their daughter LISA received the AIR GEM and son JIMMY LAWSON the Flame Boots. In 2016, Lisa's daughter HALEY LAWSON took the AIR GEM for herself and became known as WINDCATCHER.
-HELLFACE See MORGAN LEE ELLIOT
-HELLSPAWN 'THE BLADE WHICH DRINKS LIFE' [TBWDL, 1880] Known as 'MALEGIM.' Cursed weapon crafted and ensorcelled by TOLLINOR KJE in the DARTHAN AGE. Hellspawn was made of the copper-colored metal Gremthom, shimmering hotly as if freshly pulled from a fire. It had a blade six feet long and four inches across, straight for its length until the sudden sharp point. Etched into the blade were esoteric symbols of a sorcerous language only the Darthan Kjes could read. Within the metal itself resided a cruel bloodthirsty spirit whose origin no one knew.
In combat, the sword moved of its own volition, tugging its wielder's arms despite any resistance. Hellspawn howled and screeched as it fought. When the blade entered a body, it siphoned lifeforce into itself and into its wielder, leaving the victim withered and dessicated. Even minor cuts inflicted by Hellspawn never healed.
Hellspawn was finally destroyed in 1980, when on MAROCH itself, KHANG broke it underfoot. Several fragments were later found being used as weapons in themselves, but they possessed only a tiny amount of the original curse.
-HELODERMIM [NECTN, 2018] Race of intelligent bipedal Gila Monsters standing between six and seven feet high. Their intelligence varied from minimal to Human-level speaking English. Led by SARIAMENTO. JEREMY BANE and THE TRAVELER had a non-violent encounter with the creatures. ("Still basically a Gila Monster who happened to stand six feet tall, not counting the thick tail which dragged on the ground behind him, the creature had modified hips and spine so it could walk upright. The huge flat head seemed to have a permanent fanged grin that was not reassuring. Decorated with alternating wide horizontal bands of red and black, the pebbly hide looked thick enough to be extremely difficult to pierce.")
-HERE COMES TROUBLE [LAG,HCT 2001] All-girl band popular from 1999 to 2001. The members wrote their songs and played their own instruments. They were talented but the gimmick where the band members slowly stripped down to lingerie during concerts certainly got them publicity. Drummer Little Angel, rhythm guitarist Kitten, lead guitarist PRINCESS and vocalist SCAMP were the members. Secretly, Scamp's voice was augmented by gralic magic from sorcerer KOVACEVIC. After ASHLEY WHITAKER and MEGAN SALENGER removed his powers, Here Comes Trouble's quality declined sharply and the band sank into obscurity.
-HIGH ONE. [WACUTM, 7/1969] The Thirteenth Man, leader of a coven of GRIMUA, modern followers of pre-Celtic cult which included Moon worship in its beliefs. His attempt at assassinating the Apollo astronauts was foiled by MAEVE KEHOE. ("the thirteenth man. His robe differed from his followers in that gold threads ran in esoteric patterns over its surface. The cowl was thrown back. He was a man in his prime, wide-shouldered and deep-chested. The High One's face was impressive enough with its lantern jaw and deepset eyes, only the receding line of thinning hair gave away that he was reaching middle age. Across his lap, the cult leader rested a shepherd's crook carved of ash, with a green gem inlaid at its upper bend.")
-HIGH SCHOOL FRANKENSTEIN [HSF, 6/1965] ("One arm was visibly longer than the other, his barrel chest stuck out further than any normal man's should, his hands were rough and gnarled. But his head, with the square boxlike cranium under lank black hair, was the worst. The deathly white skin hung in strips ready to fall off. The mouth twisted up on one side to reveal his teeth. His right eye was twice normal size, bulging and bloodshot, and from each temple protruding a short round bolt.")
HITLER'S HANGMAN Wielder of the SEEKING NOOSE, 1940-1945.
-HODGENS, SAM Known as the PUDGE [TROTP, 7/1992] b.-d.1992. 6’1” 438 lbs. Hr:Light Brown Ey:Hazel. Human criminal given powers of immense density and strength by RED SECT. He used massacres and brute force to create new mukri-racial gangs in his attempt to dominate the New York City underworld. Despite the fact that he thoroughly thrashed JEREMY BANE in their first meeting, the Pudge was lured into a trap by Bane and suffocated. ("It appeared as if the Pudge were almost as solid as a baked potato, with his internal organs squeezed into a compact mass deep inside the torso. He did not have true blood... chemical analysis showed he circulated a thick plasma instead. Weight was four hundred and thirty-eight pounds. Blood pressure was 160 over 110.")
-HOESS, NORBERT THOMAS [MTIYP, 12/2011] b.1983-d. 6'2" 170lbs Hr:Light Brown Ey:Brown.
-HOGARTY, FRED [TKITC, 3/1973; CNP:TKM, 6/1985] b.1943-d. 5’10” 200KBS He:Dark Brown Ey:Blue. Explorer, scout and guide for scientific expeditions. For more than fifteen years, Hogarty was one of ANDREW STEEL’s closest aides.
-HOLY KAO. Real name Kao Cho Park [ROPS, 2008] Korean thug working for HUMBLE MODEST, always carried a roll of quarters in a sock for blackjacking people.
-HONJABI [TNGOD, 1986] Large town in DANARAK known as the edge of the interface between the real nation and the ADJACENT REALM of the same name. Honjabi was frequented by mystics, adventurers and merchants of every type. The interesting architecture featured low stone buildings with arched doorways and shuttered windows. Many of the outer walls were painted in startling combinations of yellow and green. Bazaars and trade fairs were frequent.
-HOPE'S END, MAINE. [INYHG, 2005] Nearly abandoned town inhabited by a few remaining HUMAN-GELYDRA hybrids.
-HOPEWELL, CHARLES LEE [TWBTW:A, 2/2006] Known as CHAR. b.1965-d. 5'11" 176llbs Hr:Black Ey:Amber. Char had the power to project gralic force from his eyes which manifested as red beams of heat. He could regulate the beams from a mild warmth to an intensity that would melt steel or cut through granite. After he worked with JEREMY BANE cleaning up a warren of GHOULS near Tampa, Char was offered a chance to apply for Tel Shai study and KDF membership. He declined both. Raised in Florida and later moving to North Carolina, Char was happy as an unashamed redneck who smoked Lucky Strikes, drank Budweiser and earned a living as a garage mechanic. He did step up to help Bane during the struggle over THE THREE SLEEPERS.
-HOST See JONATHAN TODD
-HOYT, BARBARA Host for KARINA
-HUANG, WILLIAM LI [RF, 8/2008] Known as RATFACE. Huang was a third-generation Chinese-American with the ability to transform into a humanoid-rat form and back at will. He had many of the usual traits of shape-shifters when changed, including immunity to regular bullets and extreme speed and strength. Huang was Sifu of a modified Hung Gar style, owned a restaurant and really made his fortune with a network of illegal gambling dens for Chinese immigrants. In 2008, he began assembling a gang of over one dozen thugs for extortion and robbery. Ratface was killed when he confronted JEREMY BANE. ("At first, he seemed to be literally a five foot tall brown rat standing upright. But the shoulders were wider and the belly less prominent than they would have been on a real rat. The hind legs were longer and set in the pelvis differently. The long naked pink tail whipped about excitedly, and the ratlike head grinned to reveal rows of sharp yellow fangs.")
-HUMAN CAPABILITY ENHANCEMENT Project. The HCE was established in 1956 by the TROM to facilitate their interaction in the MIDNIGHT WAR. A civilian enterprise with both military contracts and government connections, the Project was on the surface dedicated to advanced medical research but it also served as the facility where both LEONARD SLADE and STEPHEN WEAVER were based. This was where ANDREW STEEL was created. The Human orphan MEGAN SALENGER was raised primarily at the HCE Project.

Ninety miles from the nearest town, the facility was a complex of interconnected buildings with a hangar which held both the CORBY and a regulation Bell helicopter for transportation.("Reaching the high metal mesh fence, he had gotten out to identify himself to a voice from a speaker next to a camera before the gates had unlocked and swung themselves open to admit him. The hot blacktop of the parking lot was surprisingly vacant for a facility that showed six large one-story buildings.. only ten cars were in sight.

The main building had its sign on a post, green letters against a white background, HCE HUMAN CAPABILITY ENHANCEMENT, and a listing of what was to be found in each of the six buildings. The largest structure was marked ADMINISTRATION. The lobby was cool and dry, the lighting subdued and restful. Uncomfortable-looking aluminum tube chairs, a low table and a magazine rack on the wall by the door, a large clock on one wall.")
-HUMBLE MODEST First name HERMAN [ROPS, 2008] 6' 160lbs Hr:Brown, head shaven Ey:Brown. Con artist operating the CLEAR LIGHT INSTITUTE to fleece gullible seekers of enlightening. Partner with Korean thug HOLY KAO. Crossed paths with JEREMY BANE and PROFESSOR SLACK.
-HUNCHBACK. There were two men in the Midnight War who were capable of transforming from a normal appearance into a deformed hunchback state with great strength and resistance to harm. In the 1940s, this was BETRAND MOILLET. In the 1990s, it was film director xx,
-HUNG, HARRY [THHMC, 2012] b. 1963- d. 5'8" 180bs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. World-famous Chinese-American private detective, born in Hawaii but living in San Francisco most of his life. Father of TOY HUNG.
-HUNG, TOY [THHMC, 2012] b. 1991- d. 5'1" 135 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Daughter of famous detective HARRY HUNG, she wanted to follow in his trade but he discouraged her.
-HUNGRY TREES [BGOTJ, 1998] Carnivorous plants found only in VEGANORA, bred to be large enough to devour people. ("The Blind Archer stepped back against a tree trunk and found it had been partially hollowed out. Long vines hanging down like a curtain provided good cover. Feeling he was well concealed, Josef pressed back and found to his distaste that the inside of the trunk was sticky and smelled vaguely rancid. A dozen curved branches snapped shut around his body like a living bear trap. His arms were pinned. Sharp thorns pierced through his clothing and stung with some sort of paralyzing toxin.")
-HUNTING PARTY [WW, 2001] Group organized by EDWIN WEST to try to exterminate werewolves.
-HUROMI. [EITE, 2009] A forgotten civilization apparently existing between the fall of ZHUNE and the rise of early cities in the Middle East. The Belgian mastermind ENRIQUE PASCAL was the only living person to discover hidden subterranean cities in a dozen sites around the world. In Yemen. In Laos. In Chile. The first one he found was beneath the Alps, and he discovered it quite by accident. It was Pascal who called them the Huromi, the 'forgotten ones,' sorcerers and Alchemists of great ability. Of the vast empire they established thousands of years ago, all that is left are their buildings deep beneath the surface. This one here, in the Montana region of your United States, is the newest he uncovered and it was here he clashed with TEL SHAI KNIGHTS JEREMY BANE, MEGAN SALENGER and JOHNNY PACKARD.
Surviving in the Huromi cities were thousands of semi-alive MOLE-MEN, who obeyed Pascal without question.
-HUTCHINS, LEE [CDW, 3/1981; SAS, 1/1982] b.1943-d.1982 5'7" 180lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Brown. An exceptionally skilled ALCHEMIST, Hutchins in his career crafted two STONES OF TRANSITION, many OTHER-MEN inhabited by homunculi and most of the VELKANDU substances. He was also skilled in the FANG SHIH art.
In 1981, Hutchins began a partnership with the GELYDRA warlock LI TUNG, growing OTHER-MEN in exchange for items impossible to get on the surface, including coral growths with rare compounds inside them, and a Fungus that only grows in undersea caverns. Taken captive by the captive, Hutchins had a psychological block placed in his mind by CINDY BRUNNER that prevented him from active participation in the Midnight War. He was set free and allowed to continue research and writing about the subject, though.
Poor judgement and weak resolve led him into one disaster after another, including his defeat by the KDF and his murder at the hands of SIMON COHEN, whom he inadvertently transformed into the STONE MAN.

Glossary: S

>S
-SABLE See REILLY, LAUREN
-SAGEHELM The Eyeless Helmet, weilded by GARRISON NEBEL since 1982. Crafted from white gold infused with many flecks of ENSALIR and ensorcelled by the ELDAR mystic IMTHRIL in the DARTHAN AGE, the helmet revealed Truth, undid harmful spells and restored damaged objects or beings to their natural state.
Sagehelm could shine by channeling the sacred light of the HALARIN which falls upon ELVEDAL. This light confuses and blinds the Children of the Night.
In a remarkable act of trust, the Eldarin gifted Sagehelm to a HUMAN, GARRISON NEBEL. Blind and possessed of mystic perception of his own, NEBEL brought out all the inherent functions of the helmet. When he at last retired from the Midnight War, he kept the Eyeless Helmet for its next destined wielder.
-SALENGER, MEGAN 'TROM GIRL.' b.1979-d. 5'3" 105 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Human orphan raised by the TROM Council in New Mexico to be a liaison between the two Races. TEL SHAI KNIGHT and member of KDF SECOND TEAM 2000-2009. Long-term romantic relationship with ARCHIE MCALLISTER. In late 2008, Megan stepped down to Reserve Duty status with the KDF so that she and Archie could buy a house in Queens together and spend more personal time in 'real life.'
-SALERNO, LAURA 'THE SCEPTRE' [BMIC, 1940; TSS, 1941] b.1911-d. 5'6" 110lbs Hr:Dark Brown Ey:Brown. Vigilante adventurer during WW II. She was the widow of RAY SALERNO, creator of the SCEPTRE and she called herself that as she used the unique talisman in her exploits. Laura was one of the last of the earlier wave of 'mystery-men' in 1940 who wore increasingly flamboyant outfits as they fought criminals and Axis agents.
Her own disguise consisted of a long straight black wig over her shorter curly hair, a padded bra and bright red lipstick which changed the contours of her mouth. She usually wore a canary-yellow longsleeved jersey to further distract people.
-SALERNO, RAYMOND b.1901-d.1939 5'10" 190lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Creator of the SCEPTRE. An explorer, soldier of fortune, and tomb robber in the early 1930s, Salerno accepted commissions from KENNETH DRED to locate MIDNIGHT WAR talismans. On one such assigment,m he returned with a Darthan blasting wand and an Eldar focus gem; not knowing better, he joined the two objects and their incompatible energies exploded to nearly kill him. The resulting device was the SCEPTRE, only one of its kind, able to channel gralic energy into light, heat or concussive force. Following Ray's death in 1939, his widow LAURA SALERNO used the Sceptre in her crusade as a vigilante crime-fighter and named herself after it.
-SALZMANN, GERALD [PRE, 3/1993] Research geneticist who worked on PROJECT REGULUS under the leadership of KARL ELDRITCH. He escaped the destruction of the Project and contacted the three clones who had been set up by JEREMY BANE with new secure lives.
-SAMHAIN [TSM, 1934; LOTPM, 1944; TAM, 10/1992; TOP, 4/1993; MTDIYD, 3/1994; TPFM, 10/2004] b.1911-d.2004 6'1" 185 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. Real name never revealed. A murderous genius with extended longevity and a regenerative healing factor that enabled him to survive many seeming deaths by violence. MARK DRUM fought Samhain in 1951; ANDREW STEEL fought him in 1972. JEREMY BANE fought Samhain more than a half dozen times, usually seeming to destroy the killer (he shoved the killer in front of a Seventh Avenue subway train after the Compass Murders) but Samhain always escaped and regenerated to come back.

Samhain was not a true serial killer by clinical definition. No sex was involved in his crimes, he did not take trophies from the scenes and he was not compelled to repeat his actions. He claimed to be motivated by a philosophy that murder was 'the highest art.' Samhain's killing sprees always involved a theme. The Compass Murders in 1988 involved victims named West, South and North; the White House Killings in 1989 had victims with the same names as lesser-known Presidents like Polk, Buchanan and Tyler; the Astronomy Murders in 1992 chose victims killed by methods related to the various planets. Samhain was finally destroyed by ASHLEY WHITAKER during the PUMPKIN FACE MURDERS in October 2004.

Samhain met Kenneth Dred and Dr Vitarius in 1934 during the SLAVE MAKERS incident. It has never been confirmed but many researchers believe it was Samhain who posed as the patriotic hero VICTORY EAGLE during WW II.
-SAM RYE See HOBWELL FLETCHER
-SANDERS, VICTORIA [SOSR, 1896] Known as 'Queen of the Outlaws.' b.1863-d. 5'7" 125lbs Hr:Dark Blond Ey:Blue. Married to George Elliott but in retirement living under the name Elizabeth Dowling to remain incognito. In 1886, Sanders killed a railroad executive to avenge the murder of her father; she gathered a ragtag band of misfits to help her while she was on the run. They became wanted for train robbery, flight to avoid prosecution and other offenses, and it was during this period that she met JOHNNY PACKARD, the BRIMSTONE KID. Sanders managed to remain at large and settled with Elliot in Cabot City, Colorado to lead a peaceful life.
-SANGUINARIANS [TS, 2/1961] Four occultists who restored youth and vitality by drinking a VELKANDU potion containing Human blood. All were killed in 1961 by DR KOBAL.
-SAN MIGUEL, CARLOS [TOP, 4/2003] Known as CHARLIE PANTERA b.1974-d.2005 5'7" 130 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Mexican-American serial killer from Texas. His only real murder spree was when he took part in the unofficial TOURNAMENT OF PYSCHOS in the Spring of 1993. Captured by JEREMY BANE and convicted on multiple homicides. Executed by the State after many appeals, 2005.
-SARAH BELLUM [PTBBWYFI, 2018] True name never revealed. HUMAN brain kept alive and thriving through technology devised by JOHN GRIM, Sarah Bellum became a criminal mastermind aided by LORENZO. ("On a waist-high electronic console sat a rectangular glass tank ten feet high and six feet wide. Aeration bubbles entered the thick greenish liquid in which sat what had once been a human brain. The monstrous organ was larger than a prize-winning pumpkin, and instead of the classic walnut-halves structure, the brain had a half dozen irregular lobes growing out of it. The horrifying object rested in a shallow depression atop what looked like a platform holding diagnostic equipment. Five thin cords ran from that platform to leads which were glued to the brain's surface.")
-SARIAMENTO [NECTN, 2018] Leader of the HELODERMA, Sariamento was intelligent enough to speak understandable English and to attempt a disguise.
-SCHLEGEL, WILBUR [GWTTE, 1999] b.1940-d. 5'9" 165lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Light Brown. One of JEREMY BANE's network of observers, a skilled researcher and an invaluable source of leads. His daughter had been kidnapped by GOLGORA and when JEREMY BANE brought the girl back unharmed, Schlegel dedicated himself to helping the DIRE WOLF as much as he could.
-SCEPTRE [SC, 8/2000] Potent talisman made of a foot-long rod of GREMTHOM capped by a blue focus gem from ELVEDAL. The two items were joined together by RAY SALERNO in the 1930s, resulting in an explosion which nearly killed him but which created a powerful talisman. The combination of Darthan and Eldar magick was unprecedented and has not been duplicated since, attempts to do so resulted in tragedy. The SCEPTRE could channel gralic energy into heat, light, concussive force or a combination of those effects. Laura later discovered the Sceptre could affect local gravity as well, giving her the power of flight and to lift objects as heavy as cars.
LAURA SALERNO added a rawhide strap to its flat end to serve as a loop around her wrist, as well as an ivory strip with five round buttons down one side. The buttons did not actually do anything, since the Sceptre worked by will power, but they served to mislead any enemies who might get hold of the device. Laura was not heard from after 1955 and the Sceptre itself seemed lost until it turned up in Evaho in 2000. JEREMY BANE claimed it and the talisman has remained secure in the KDF Vault ever since.
An attempt at crafting a new Sceptre in December 1977 [MBO, 1977] resulting in the death of the person fixing the stone to a blasting wand; a young JEREMY BANE confiscated the lesser talisman and gave it to KENNETH DRED for savekeeping.
-SCROLL OF ULTIMATE TRUTH [TSOUT, 6/1984] Darthan artifact written by TOLLINOR KJE himself, it was a tattered tube of yellowed papyrus three feet long. Each end was capped with a globe of GREMTHOM. Although written in esoteric symbols, the Scroll could easily be read by anyone. Its text used sardonic phrases which invariably predicted the imminent death of the person reading it. Knowing its curse, JEREMY BANE burned the Scroll without opening it in June 1984.
-SEEKING NOOSE Darthan talisman, the Noose was a thirty-two foot length of GREMTHOM wire running through a rope of rough hemp. It responded to the will of its owner, strangling or binding or lashing like a whip. During WW II, the Noose was wielded by HITLER'S HANGMAN.
-SEGAL, HENRY [CTI, 1984] Husband of JESSICA SEGAL, killed by ETHAN PETROV in 1984.
-SEGAL, JESSICA Known as 'JESSICA FROST' [CTI, 1984; ROW, 1986; TCW, 1996] b.1961-d. 5'6" 115lbs Hr:Light Brown (white when using powers) Ey:Brown (light blue when using powers) TEL SHAI KNIGHT and KDF ASSOCIATE MEMBER 1986-1988. A former student at Columbia University, she was married for two years to Henry Segal, an insurance office manager. Tortured and infused with gralic force by the Russian warlock VALENTIN RODCHENKO, witnessing her husband brutally murdered in front of her, she underwent a strange transformation. Jessica gained the gralic ability to siphon away heat from any area within her line of sight, effectively producing sub-zero cold. The metamorphosis muted her feelings to leave her unempathic and remote. She fixated on Bane, who was helping her in her last moments of being fully Human, so felt loyalty only to him. This led her to join both Tel Shai and the KDF in order to repay him.
Frost could numb and disorient an opponent without causing permanent harm by instantly chilling the air around him. She could make metal brittle enough to break by hand, touching it did not harm her. When she used her power at full focus, a thin layer of ice crystals formed over her body.
Frost developed only basic skills at KUMUNDU, seldom fighting hand to hand. She did become a fine CORBY pilot.
When her cold-producing powers abruptly faded in late 1989, she had to resign her membership. Her original appearance and emotional range returned. Moving to Clermont, Vermont, she became half-owner of an antiques and collectibles store called YESTERDAY'S TREASURES.
In 196, Jessica found her cryonic abilities had returned after an encounter with AVATHOR but she was not inclined to return to the MIDNIGHT WAR and chose a normal anonymous life.
-SENECA [RNABL, 10/1989] True name never revealed b.1958-d.1989 6'3 280 lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Brown. Cursed killer who drew gralir from the lifeforce of his victims for extra strength and longevity. Seneca roamed the Adirondacks wilderness for decades, apparently only venturing into populated areas to kill when his vitality was running low. Decapitated by JEREMY BANE at Bass Lake, NY.
Seneca wore a plain white cotton hood pulled down to cover his entire head. Two thin slits, barely enough to allow vision, had been cut where his eyes were and for some reason he had painted an upward-pointing crescent shaped line over over the bottom half of the mask. It made the hood look grotesquely like a smiley button.
-SEPULCHER [GHF, 8/2002; DIBAD, 10/2011, EFO, 2018] 6' 155 lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Hazel. True name Henry Lee Howitt. Severely deranged criminal who carried out crime waves and senseless murders for years, Sepulcher was an innocent man wrongly convicted of rape and murder in Texas in February 2001. Something went wrong with the lethal injection at his execution, and although he was declared dead by the doctor, he revived eight minutes later on the autopsy table. After he recovered, proof of his innocence turned up and his conviction was overturned. Although he was released with financial compensation, the man who now called himself Sepulcher was embittered and filled with hatred toward society in general.

After-effects of the botched execution left Sepulchre with the muscles of his face permanent frozen in a mocking grin. He also lost all pain responses and had heightened muscular strength. Sepulcher claimed he had been literally dead but had refused to accept it. He was known to carry five or six handcrafted derringers on his person, guns no larger than a pencil which fired .18 bullets.

Surprisingly, although Sepulcher clashed inconclusively with the KDF SECOND TEAM in August 2002, JEREMY BANE himself did not cross paths with Sepulcher directly until October 2011. In 2018, Sepulcher's face was restored to normalcy by SAGEHELM and he meekly allowed himself to be taken in custody.
-SERAPH See DOMINCETTI, FULVIO.
-SERPENT-HEAD SWORD [TSHS, 1213 DR] Cursed DARTHAN weapon of the DARTHAN AGE. The Serpent-Head Sword was made of GREMTHOM, its The basket hilt which completely enclosed the man's forearm was shaped like a wide head of a serpent and the flat double-edged protruded from that snake-shaped hilt like a long vicious tongue. The eyes on the snake head were two glittering red gems. ("The strange weapon swung from side to side as if alive and dragging the man's arm behind it. Even the gems set in the eyesockets appeared to focus on the Mongrel with eagerness. The effect that the Serpent-Head Sword was alive and malicious seemed inescapable.")
-SEVEN RACES First mentioned in the DARTHAN AGE, the Seven Races were a traditional grouping based on numbers and influence, rather any biological classification. The Seven were HUMANS (Danarin), SNAKE MEN (Gamadim), ELDARIN, DARTHIM, TROLLS, TROM and GELYDRIM. Less numerous or active sub-species such as the MELGARIN or NEKROSIM were often called COUSINS OF MEN.
-SHAI TAZAM Known as 'Brightbolt' [BB, 12/1986] One of the most potent talismans in the Midnight War, Shai Tazam was a spear crafted and ensorcelled by the MELGARIN mystic MALBERON in the DARTHAN AGE. A six foot oak shaft, flat on one end and capped with a sharp barbed blade of steel edged with ENSALIR on the other, its gralic charge made it nearly indestructible. The blade was wide as a spread hand, and engraved with the outline of a rearing horse. The Ensalir on the edges of the blade shone in the presence of danger, disrupted malevolent spells and was effective against creatures of the night, even slaying ANGRDROS himself.
When thrown, the spear accelerated by itself in flight, could swerve on its own if its target tried to dodge away, and returned to its wielder's hand. The far end and half way up the shaft were wrapped in leather strips to provide a better grip.
Following the INVASION OF MAROCH, Shai Tazam was confiscated by BASILOR of the DAWN FOLK, but in 1986, it was reclaimed by PRINCESS VALERA, who has used it ever since.
-SHAMBASI, NJIMI [TMHA, 8/1988] Member of the MONGOOSE CULT, 1983-1992. Wrestler from DANARAK.
-SHAR, CIR'WILLA. Known as VENOM [TMHA, TVOKE, 3/1980, TFTOWL] b.1907-d. 6' 180lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Top AMRATH assassin and soldier for the SNAKE EMPIRE, Venom had lifelong martial arts training in addition to his inborn speed and venomous fangs. He was a peer in unarmed combat to both JEREMY BANE and SHIRO MITSURU.
Venom was a member of AREM KAMENDE's short-lived group DARK CLOUD.
-SHENG, MO-YUAN Known as ARGENT. b 1980-d. 5'5" 155 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Double eyelid fold. Native of CHUJIR, he became a TEL SHAI KNIGHT and member of the KDF SECOND TEAM 2000-2010, then stepped down to Reserve status to open his FIST FOR HIRE Agency. His office was on the third floor of the Hartwicke Building on Lower Canal Street. The building had two gift shops with Asian and pseudo-Asian merchandise on the ground floor, as well as the manager's office. The top two floors were rented out as apartments for senior citizens. The second floor had an insurance company and the SUNNY DAY massage spa. Most nights, UNCLE PAO could be found helping out at Sheng's office.
Sheng drove a bright-red Ferrari 458 Italia which he kept at the IMPERIAL GARAGE at 40th Street and Third Avenue (the same garage where JEREMY BANE and MEGAN SALENGER housed their vehicles).
Sheng's unique ability was to channel gralic force into his body. He could become stronger, faster or more resistant to harm as long as he concentrated, but he could only create one effect at a time. At his most durable, Sheng was bulletproof and resistant to flame but he was not completely indestructible and sufficient trauma such as explosions could still harm him; he also still needed to breathe and could be affected by toxic or anesthetic fumes. Despite his best efforts, he was never able to use gralic force to enhance his senses as SABLE did.
Sheng had taken the war name Argent, because his family name meant "silver" in Chujiran and was pronounced "arjin" in the old school, and he had found the coincidence interesting.
-SHENG, PAO-WANG 'UNCLE PAO' [DDMC, 8/20210; following] b.1938-d. 5'3" 110lbs Hr:White Ey:Dark Brown. Glasses with heavy prescription. Chinese man living in New York City on a pension, Uncle Pao became an aide to SHENG MO-YUAN, nagging as much as helping. He had no fighting abilities nor clerical skill, but Pao did possess a keen understanding of human nature and a sharp sense of when clients were lying. Watching the office, taking messages, cooking meals were ways in which Uncle Pao made himself useful.
Pao met Sheng Mo-Yuan by chance in early 2010, then became caught up in an investigation and immediately insisted that they were related. Sheng did not reveal that, since he had come from the ADJACENT REALM CHUJIR, he could not have any living relatives in the world. Instead, Sheng quickly accepted Uncle Pao, allowed the old man to start helping out at the FIST FOR HIRE offices and treated Pao as a genuine uncle. Maybe it only meant that Sheng missed having a family, since his teammates at the KDF were so unlike him culturally. In many ways, Uncle Pao resembled members of Sheng's real clan back in Chujir, both in appearance and in mannerisms. And he had learned enough Cantonese over the years to be able to converse easily with Pao. They were two lonely men who welcomed each other's company.
Only once did Uncle Pao hint that he realized he and Sheng were not related by blood, when he confided to MEGAN SALENGER: ("Sheng lost his parents in a flood in Chujir when he was a toddler, I was separated from my father and mother when the Communists took power and I was smuggled into Kowloon without so much as a spare shirt. I never found out what happened to them, I became a live-in servant for a wealthy magazine publisher. When... when Sheng and I met, it was not only that we shared the same name that connected us.")
-SHERWOOD, FONDA [DOQ, 4/1988] Known as PERIL. b.1962-d. 5'7" 130lbs Hr:Black Ey:Green. Originally a college student named Kristin Tierney, she was the only survivor of the PERIL PROJECT performed by ADVANCED SECURITY RESEARCH. After the extensive plastic surgery, mental deconstruction and rebuilding, she regretted that there was "not much of Kristin left anymore." The agency even killed her immediate family and arranged it to seem like a traffic accident so that she would not have any ties to her previous life. Now code named 'Peril,' she was infused with synthetic enzyme that ramped up her healing factor to TEL SHAI range. She was to be the first of a squad of canalized agents with no distractions and with complete loyalty.
As part of her transformation, Peril was extensively trained by many experts in combat both armed and unarmed. In combat situations, Peril dressed in a tight black jumpsuit with calf-high boots. A belt hanging low on one hip supported a holster and a pair of nunchaku was strapped diagonally across her back; her forearms had wide cuffs with metal strips running from wrist to elbow. These pointed strips could be slid out and thrown as blades. The nunchaku were gimmicked to extend a blade ten inches long from the lower end.
Peril's sidearm was a handcrafted semi-automatic pistol with silencer and flash suppressor of advanced design. It fired what were actually subminiature bombs-- cartridges filled with thiny shell shot in liquid suspension. When the shell pierced a victim, it exploded and dozens of the pellets ricocheted around inside the body. Adding to the lethality, the liquid inside the cartridges was a snake venom distillate.
At some point, Peril's essential humanity surfaced and she rebelled. Fleeing the agency, she went on the run and killed any ASR agents sent to retrieve her. With the help of CHEVAL, BAKWANGA KWALI and CHEN WONG-LAI, she escaped entirely. JEREMY BANE established her in a new identity with a good-paying but quiet job somewhere in the United States. Over time, her abilities faded and her new life became her final real one.
-SHIP OF SKULLS [TSOS, 5/1987] A flying ship that glided over land as well as sea, with a crew of two hundred pirates and renegades of many Races. Ninety feet from keel to prow, made of some black wood with iron strips reinforcing it, the hurtling vessel had no sails or oars. Along its sides and fastened to a central pillar where its mast should be weree hundreds of skulls. Skulls of mortal Men, Trolls, Eldarin, Dwarves, even beasts such as the Speaking Apes of Okali.
The Ship's flying function and haze of harmful gralic force came from the OBANCHU imprisoned within it. KHANG slew this monster at the end of the battle.
-SHOGRENS [TSEC, 2/1943] Inexplicable Norwegian family apparently of recent Asian ancestry. A number of the women accompanied EGIL SHOGREN to New York in 1943 as part of his borderland research
-SHOGREN, EGIL Known as 'Baron Shogren' [TSEC, 2/1943] b.1869-d. 5'1" 105lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Rogue scientific genius who in 1943 opened his spurious SHOGREN EXHILIRATION CLINIC. His research enabled him to partially power up a rare ZHUNE artifact, the DIVULGER. Shogren was forced to flee and his clinic burned down by the GREEN DEVIL. ("The man stood only an inch over feet tall, well-dressed in a tan suit with a matching vest although his tie was loosened and the top button of his shirt undone. Thick bristly white hair and a white brush mustache would have demanded more attention, but this man wore a pair of rubber goggles which thick lenses through which his eyes could not be seen and those goggles distracted from everything else.")
-SICKLE HARBOR [HOTS:GI, 2002] Home of JACK THE PEG, CANOLA SUE and CADGER. Protruding from the Northern California coast was a strip of land that curved into a semi-circular shape irresistably reminiscent of a sickle complete with handle. For more than a hundred years, boats had docked here and a small town had grown up, just under the size where it would get its own post office.
-SIGNARM. ADJACENT REALM of HUMANS. Signarm was best known as the home of the SILVER SKULL.
-SILK TIGERS [TST, 7/2014] Three professional top-level thieves who operated in Europe and the United States. Clashed with and killed AVATHOR. In 2014, their members were Hideko Suragiri, Sylvia Giacomo and Borjona Poznan.
-SHU SHEN Known as the SCHOLAR [BNOS, 3/2013]. d.2013 Chinese ALCHEMIST who tried to use SABLE to obtain and use the BRONZE NEEDLES OF SUFFERING.
-SHY ANNE [FLKNB, 2014] b.1978-d. 5'8" 110lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Wife and accomplice to retired warlock ANTON BELARIC, mother of BENNY and OCTOBER.
-SIERRA [WANLHM, 2012] b.1983-d. 5'8" 122lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Blue. Stripper and escort who manipulated the doting HOLDEN MAGROIN to get a life of luxury. When he found the truth about her, Holden was crushed emotionaklly bjut counselled to accept his gift by JEREMY BANE. Sierra was not punished and went about life in her usual grifting way.
-S-I-G. [JAC]The STRATEGIC INTERVENTION GROUP, led by HAROLD CROFT. He framed JEREMY BANE for murder.
-SILVER HAMMER OF MALBERON [AG 1/1997] Talisman forged and ensorcelled by MALBERON during the ancient DARTHAN AGE. It seemed to have a sentient urge to kill and twisted away from a weilder's grip to strike. Confiscated by JEREMY BANE January 1997.
-SILVER SKULL. Heroic role begun in the DARTHAN AGE and still active today. The Skull wore a black leather uniform including boots and gloves; also a breastplate, round buckler, helmet and three-foot-long straight sword made by HUMANS of steel but incorporating silvers of ENSALIR enchanted by the ELDARIN. The sword was called CHALCEMAR and was ensorcelled to push harmlessly through a victim's body to shock them into unconsciousness without causing permanent harm in most cases. Against hopeless sociopaths or Snake men, the blade became a deadly weapon. This was known as the JUdgement of the Sword. The helmet protected against mind control and allowed the bearer to receive advice and knowledge from previous Skulls in the form of telepathic whispers. All the accoutrements could be summoned to instantly appear on the Skull's body at will, no matter how far away they were. The best known Silver Skull was DR LAWRENCE TAPER, a founding KDF member and TEL SHAI knight.
-SIMEK, SAM. [TAM, 10/1992] Private Investigator who ran an agency with his cousin ARTIE ROSEN. Both men were reliable, experienced detectives and JEREMY BANE hired them many times to help on his cases. BANE first met them when they were working for his KDF teammate MICHAEL HAWK. In fact, Simek and Rosen had helped train the young Dire Wolf and had helped him get his own PI license.
-SIMMONS, SARAH [RF, 8/2008] 5'3" 125 lbs Hr:Light Brown Ey:Brown Sarah was a fourteen-year-old girl who developed an unreasonable infatuation with JEREMY BANE after being rescued by him as a child. Sarah became a runaway to trail around stalking the infuriated Bane, getting involved with the RATFACE incident and being fortunate to escape alive with only a facial scar.
-SINCLAIR, HERBERT LEWIS 'COGITUS'. [TMOTJM, 1943; TSBS, 20126] b.1867-d. 5'4" 115 lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Brown. Enlarged cranium from his own serum ("a forehead twice the normal height and the frontal lobes bulged outward in an expanse of bare skin under a hairline that had been left behind") Criminal mastermind and Midnight War threat for over a hundred years. A record level genius with PhDs in a half dozen fields... applied biochemistry, mechanical engineering, linguistics, quantum physics and xenobiology, Sinclair's academic career was stalled by the way he argued and feuded with every scientist he met. He was also accused of swiping research.
In 1943, Cogitus was taken prisoner by GALVAN and the GREEN DEVIl to be handed over as a prisoner to DR VITARIUS. By 2014, he was not more than five feet high, slightly built to the point of seeming fragile, Sinclair wore a breastplate, gauntlets and greaves of dark green plastic which were part of a sophisticated exoskeleton that allowed him movement. He bore a synthetic heart of his own design. His nervous system was enhanced by experimental proteins he himself developed. It was while experimenting with SUB-SPACE that he unleashed the INSECTOIDS; in a confrontation with the KDF team, Sinclair was himself thrown into SUB-SPACE.
-SIRION. Greatest MELGAR Champion.
-SIRIUS ONE [PRI:TPB, 11/1988; PRIV:TCONL, 12/1991] Sole survivor of the dozens of Sirius clones, he escaped the destruction of PROJECT REGULUS to live on the run with his fellows DENEB, ARCTURUS, RIGEL and ANTARES. Like the other Sirius clones, Sirius One was small and frail, not much over five feet tall, with narrow shoulders and delicate bone structure. His most startling feature was the size of their heads. Above a wizened elderly face, his forehead rose twice as high as normal, with only a fringe of feathery white hair around the ears and nape. Sirius One had intelligence in the genius level regarding technology and biochemistry.
-SISTERHOOD OF THE ALL-SEEING EYE [SOTASE, 6/2009] A MYRRWHAN cult led by DUVINA. The Sisterhood used gralic means to physically steal an eyeball out of a victim's head and transplant it into the palm of a cult member, where it survived. Within a day or so, the victim came under the mental dominance of the Sisterhood member who had stolen the eye. The cult came to the world in 2009 and was broken up by KARINA and JEREMY BANE.
-SITHGAR [tco, 1212 DR] Venomous constrictors found in the jungles of southern KHEBIR during the DARTHAN AGE. They grew up to seven feet long.
-SKANDOR. ADJACENT REALM of HUMANS in the DARTHAN AGE still existing today. Pop:8,600.
-SKORG [BTCOM, 11/2002] TROLL with unusual characteristics. He became a Fighting Troll but stopped within Human dimensions, only slightly over six feet tall and under three hundred pounds. This made him quick and agile as well as strong. With his mentor GREM, he came to the world for Human victims but was beaten by JEREMY BANE and VALERA.
-SKULL BENEATH THE SKIN. Book of poems written by decadent artist BOUCHARD. First edition, Rue Blanc Press, 1922.
-SKULL-FACE See MARGIL
-SKULLHUNTERS [TBOS, 2000] HUMAN tribes inhabiting OKALI, in conflict with the MOUNTAIN MEN and the SPEAKING APES.
-SKULL MUG OF TI-YUAN [TSMOTY, 9/1989] A lacquered Human skull belonging to a warlock named Ti-Yuan, hollowed out with the top open to use as a drinking vessel. It was ensorcelled so that anyone who drank from it experienced visions of the near future but, according to legend, they always regretted doing so. The lower jaw was wired on. In the empty eye sockets could sometimes be seen a faint flicker of red light that was inexplicable.
-SLADE, LEONARD [AOTBC, 1957, following] b.1901-d.1990 6"1" 190 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. A TROM MONITOR, TEL SHAI KNIGHT and member of the KDF FIRST TEAM. From 1956 until his death, he served as Director of Special Projects at the HUMAN CAPABILITY ENHANCEMENT Project. In 1964, he helped the newly idependent ANDREW STEEL begin his mission. In 1968, he aided KENNETH DRED in the hunt for CHRISTOPHER LINCOLN. Slade's main duties were as liaison between the Trom and Humans. He arranged for the KDF to have limited access to Trom technology in exchange for his being accepted as a TEL SHAI student. Slade died in the FINAL HALLOWEEN, 1990.

As a Monitor, Slade had been modified from the norm. He could trigger preconditioned combat reflexes, his system could discharge stimulants into his circulatory system. In moments of danger, tough transparent lids covered his eyeballs. At all times, he worked at fifty per cent above Human speed and seventy per cent above Human strength. If exposed to poison gas or excessive smoke, he could close his lungs and draw on a reserve air bladder good for several minutes. Although he was reportedly almost ninety at the time of his death, Slade still appeared to be in his early thirties most of his life. It was not revealed how long his lifespan would be, nor if other Trom shared this longevity.
-SLAUGHTERMAN See RICHARD MOORE DORSETT
-SLEET See ROBBINS, SHANNON
SLOOP, WESTON 'SPACEY' [ROPS, 2008] 5'10" 155lbs Hr:Black Ey:Light Brown. Student of PROFESSOR SLACK and friend of DEVIL PIE.
-SMALL RIDER See EMIL JORIK
-SNAKE MEN. Known as 'Gamadim.' One of the SEVEN RACES, known as GAMADIM. Advanced reptiles mimicking mammals in many ways, Snake men would be exposed by X-Rays or blood work; if taken to hospital, care is taken to change the results and if necessary to kill any Human doctors stumbling upon the secret. They had retractable envenomed canines which ended in sharp points. Most Snake men wore detachable enamel caps to give their fangs a normal appearance. Their jaws were hinged to gape open wider than a true Human's could.
The spines of Snake men contained some cartilage instead of bone and could bend further than usual. The eyes could be covered with a transparent protective scale if exposed to hazards. Snake men are less adaptive to temperature extremes than Humans are; they become sluggish and dim-thinking if exposed to heat or cold too far from temperate conditions.
Snake men were faster than normal Humans and could endure severe punishment. AMRATHS were a specialized variety of Snake men has been bred for ages to have increased toxicity and greater fighting capabilities. The most active AMRATH in the MIDNIGHT WAR was CIR'WILLA SHAR, known as VENOM.
Following the break-up of the SNAKE EMPIRE, individuals remained as dangerous adversaries but the Race was not longer the insidious threat they once were.
-SNAKE EMPIRE For millenia since the DARTHAN AGE, SNAKE MEN ran a worldwide organization more influential and more insidious than any cabal run by true Humans. Wars without obvious purpose, massive upheavals and economic depressions, feuds and vendettas that served no one... all were strategies that benefitted the Snake Empire. They were the most evil cabal in history, source of many seemingly far-fetched conspiracy theories. In 1983, JEREMY BANE led the KDF and all their available allies in a campaign to break the Snake organization. Hundreds of key Snake men leaders were killed at their headquarters outside Rome. Isolated packets of Snake men remain scattered around the world, still working for the Mafia or the Triads or the White Web, but with their organization was broken up, they were not the worldwide threat they once were.
-SNAKE WAR Events of 1983, when JEREMY BANE led the KDF and all their available allies in an all-out assault on the SNAKE EMPIRE. Hundreds of key Snake leaders were killed at their headquarters outside Rome, breaking the vast worldwide influence of the SNAKE EMPIRE. During the battle, several heroes lost their lives, including MICHAEL HAWK and GITANO.
-SNARKS [ROPS, 2006] Gralic manifestations which become semi-aware physical beings. ("three spirals of dark red smoke swirkling in front of the guru. They were only four feet high, growing more solid and taking clearer form. Features emerged quickly, every detail became clear and three of the Snarks materialized to stand there as vividly as if they had been flesh and blood beings born in the normal manner. The strange little men were all wrapped in beige raincoats that reached their feet. They had full heads of spiky black hair that stood straight up, they had long tubular noses and wide toothy grins.") Snarks often contented themselves with teasing and tormenting people but were known to attack kneecaps with ballpeen hammers.
-SOLAR KNIGHTS [SOTM, 3/1982] Project involving powered armor suits with flight capability and heavy weaponry, devised by JOHN GRIM. Despite Grim's claims to have developed the suits by himself, they incorporated advanced technology created by the TROM. Solar Knights were used heavily in Grim's war with the empire of WU LUNG.
SONG SOO LIN b.1926-d.1953. Former assassin of the WHITE WEB, married to MITSURU TAMAKYO. After they robbed the Shanghai treasury of their organization, they went on the run for fourteen years. Their son SHIRO grew up as a fugitive learning as many martial arts as possible.
-SPACEY SLOOP Disciple of PROFESSOR SLACK
-SPHINX [ANATM, 1993; IM, 1999; TWBTW:A, 2/2006] b.1931-d.2006 5'11" 250lbs Hr:Black (head shaven) Ey:Dark Brown. Flat leonine nose. Minor mystic and international criminal, former disciple of MENEKARTES. Born in Khebir, the Sphinx posed as a modern Egyptian. His true name seems to have been Bilal Hajjir but he often used the alias Nefu-Sobek. He did not have gralic energy powers but was known to various Alchemical poisons; his favorite was Imnefre... 'the Mummy Dust of Death.' The Sphinx acquired mystic talismans when he could but his criminal activity was usually of a mundane nature like drug smuggling, human trafficking and extortion. He committed many murders and assaults. One of his last misdeeds was forcibly claiming the homeless JOCELYN GARMIRA to use her as a sex toy and her RED SPECTRE as a weapon. The Sphinx was killed by JEREMY BANE in the struggle over the THREE SLEEPERS in February 2006.
-SPIEGEL, ERIC [AWOM, 2012] b.1977-d. 6' 185lbs Hr:Blue. Field agent for the MANDATE with outstanding record despite his frequent womanizing and heavy drinking. ("A tall man with crisp black hair sat up... There was no mistaking that good-looking face with its long nose and thin-lipped cruel mouth. Even the faint scar on the right side of the forehead.")
-SPINNER OF WEBS Title used by ALCHEMIST SHIHZU WANG, and then by his daughter OLIVIA after his death.
-STARVE GOAT ISLAND [7/2011] Barren piece of rock one mile across in the Atlantic Ocean where a secret GHOUL cult led by Captain JACK MODEST sometimes met to devour their victims. It had a firepit and evidence of earlier feasts. The cult was wiped out by JEREMY BANE working together with ESPERANZA RIVAS and her partner TROY.
-STEEL, ANDREW [CNP, 1985] b.1964-d.1989 6'1" 340lbs Hr:White Ey:Grey. Unique advanced cyborg-robot created by the TROM, Steel unexpectedly developed self-awareness and self-determination. The Trom were unable to duplicate Steel and could not explain his independent mind. A layer of living Human skin and hair covered Steel's surface, kept healthy by nutrients circulated within minute tubes, allowing him to pass as Human even on close examination. Steel altered his appearance to the grey motif and began a decades long career of crimefighting, advocating social change helping TEL SHAI knights in the MIDNIGHT WAR.

Steel employed several personal aides including SUN CHONG-KYU (1971 to 1982) and SHIRO MITSURU (1982 to 1989), FRED HOGARTY and JENNIFER ROSS.
On missions, Steel wore a field suit of boots, slacks and a waist-length high-collar jacket with a front flap open on both sides. In pockets on the inside of that flap were kept various tools and weapons. Steel frequently sprayed from within his cuff a spray of the anesthetic used by the KDF in their dart guns. He was never known to use a firearm.
The public never learned what had happened to Andrew Steel. The man in grey had evidently just dropped out of sight and his partner Shiro Mitsuru had simply released a statement that Steel had fallen in action and would not be seen again. Only a few knew what had happened. In 1989, John Grim had captured Steel, disassembled him and learned the secrets of his construction. Although researchers working under John Grim did develop MEGAVAC, that was another one-time occurrence which could not be duplicated.
-STIGMA [TMFIA, 8/2006] Established circa 1972. Loose alliance of various independent criminal organizations. Each had its own little empire, whether involved in espionage or gambling or drugrunning. STIGMA was set up to eliminate friction when the member's affairs intersect and to pool their resources as needed. Affiliated with STIGMA were the organizations of CHIANG SURIGATA, JOHN GRIM, WU LUNG, COBALT JACK.
-STING See HAWK, ROBERT
-STIVALETTO, ERNESTO and THERESA. [TBP, 2010) A married couple in their late 80s, the Stivalletos had been members of THOSE WHO REMEMBER. In 2010, they used a DARTHAN spell to siphon calcium from their victims into their own bodies, attempting to rebuild their bones. This was the infamous BONELESS PLAGUE. Despite their commanding a TARGHUL, the Stivalletos were destroyed by JEREMY BANE and COUGAR JONES.
-STOCKBRIDGE, MICHAEL. 'COMMIE BUSTER.' b.1920-d.2013. 6'2" 220 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. During WW II, Stockbridge had served in the Marines in the Pacific and had gone into intelligence work after the war ended. When the CIA had been founded, Stockbridge had established himself as a dedicated agent who was at his best in the field. After a spectacular gunfight with a KGB man near the Pentagon, Stockbridge picked up the nickname "Commie Buster" which he loved.
Working with a team of four support agents, Stockbridge fought KGB spies for ten years. His most persistent adversary was NATALIA KOTYCHENCKO, the RED WIDOW. Both were placed in stasis by the MANDATE in 1954, to only be revived in 2013 to conclude their feud. Stockbridge was tortured to death and Kotychenko's own men were tricked into shooting her by JEREMY BANE.
-STONE MAN See COHEN, SIMON
-STORMGREN FAMILY. Criminal gang belonging to STIGMA. ("The clan of Alfhild Stormgren. They styled themselves the descendants of Vikings and berserkers. They operated entirely in Northern Europe, stealing industrial secrets and sabotaging law-enforcement efforts to break up sex trafficking or drug smuggling. Nothing subtle about the Stormgrens.")
-STRICKLER, GARY [TTM, 4/2008] Private Investigator and Notary Public working in Forlorn Corners, Minnesota. He helped JEREMY BANE solve the TRICERATOPS MURDERS.
SUDLOW, DREW Known as 'THE HAUNT' [ROTRE, 1982] b.1954-d.1980 6'2" 190lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue
In 1980, while trying to apprehend WESLEY GORSLINE the RESURRECTOR, Sudlow was shot three times in the chest and lay steeping overnight in a vat of the Alchemical formula. He revived as a higher grade Zombie to begin his HAUNT career. ("I found out I didn't have much of a pulse and I only breathed when I made an effort to do so. I wasn't hungry at all. I had no sense of smell or taste. Eventually it sank in what I was. I had been floating in Gorsline's reanimation serum all night and it had soaked into my body. I was one of the Undead... I don't feel pain at all. Wounds just sort of close up and vanish in a day or so. I guess I absorbed so much of the reanimation fluid that it keeps resurrecting me.")
-SULAK b.1909-d. 6'3" 250 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. MELGAR Champion and Heir to the LEGACY OF MALBERON. As Champion beginning in 1926, he was a ward of KING HOLMIR and was given rank and privileges of Prince although he was not eligible for succession to the throne. Sulak led the MELGAR invasion of ULGOR in 1929, then partnered with ROBERT HAWK and CHEN LEE SUN during WW II. He was a TEL SHAI KNIGHT and KDF Associate member beginning 1986.
Upon reaching adulthood, the permanent gralic charge settling in Sulak's body gave him superhuman strength. He was never tested for maximum lifting ability, as this was considered distasteful. Sulak was documented ripping oaks four feet across out by the roots, punching through stone walls and throwing cars across a city street.
Aside from his strength and durability, Sulak was highly skilled in MELGAR Boxing, which includes use of elbows. In light contact bouts, he consistently won against top opponents.
Sulak's charge of gralic force gave him a high degree of resistance to injury from bladed weapons or blunt force. He routinely shrugged off gunfire or sword attacks, survived landslides and being hit by a train. Temperature extremes did not harm him, he could stand in open flame without discomfort. He was not literally invulnerable, though. Gralic blasts from a master like WU LUNG or a DARTHAN KJE could harm or kill him. He could be wounded or slain by major talismans like HELLSPAWN or SHAI TAZAM< Although he was barely affected by poisons, he did need to breathe, and to eat and drink.
As Champion, when on official missions including TEL SHAI actions, he was supposed to wear his arena suit. This consisted of a tight long-sleeved tunic and pants of Royal blue cotton, with white leather boots and gloves, and a white sash around his waist into which he tucked personal items. For formal ceremonies, a silk version of this uniform was substituted. A white mantle reached from shoulder to shoulder, marked by vertical red bars in front to denote rank. In Sulak's case, this was a single bar.
-SULEIMAN [NP, 1995] b.1951-d. 6'4" 270lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Vigilante who traveled with and helped HENRY PAIGE as THE JUDGEMENT. Suleiman served both as a valet and as a warrior. ("Suleiman was dark-skinned, with straight glossy black hair, a bristly beard and a prominent beaklike nose with two fierce dark eyes on either side... He claimed he was an Afghan from a tribe that had been wiped out by the Russians, but he sure didn't look like an Afghan. He looked like someone from northern India... a Sikh, perhaps. But he never wore a turban or mentioned his religion. Suleiman was both fast and merciless with the long knives he carried strapped to his back with their hilts up for easy access.")
-SULLA CHUN According to TEL SHAI lore, the Sulla Chun were incarnate gralic spirits, the result of concerted will by the HALARIN and HALARIM. The Sulla Chun revealed THIRTEEN FORBIDDEN ARTS to mortal mystics on ULGOR at the CORRUPTION, beginning the DARTHAN AGE. In the cataclysm which sank ULGOR, one of the Sulla Chun was injured and taken prisoner to ULGOR by TOLLINOR KJE; this was the CAPTIVE, whose energy powered Darthan spells ever since. The other Sulla Chun were imprisoned by JORDYN in 'the space between spaces.'
-SUN, CHONG KYU [TKITC, 3/1973; GS, 8/1986] Known as GOLDEN SUN. b.1941-d. 5'6" 165 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Korean-born TIGER FURY master of KUMUNDU and TEL SHAI KNIGHT, beginning in 1964. Partnered with ANDREW STEEL 1971 to 1982 before joining the Chujiran resistance movement against invaders from CHYL. ("Not more than five feet six inches tall and stocky, he had a wide face and a nose that had been broken at some point. The man was in his late forties and weathered, his head was almost shaven with just a black bristle covering it. Sun wore boots and leggings of soft leather, but his loosely-sashed tunic was of a beautiful gold silk that glimmered in the late afternoon sunlight. In black on the back of his tunic were those Chujiran ideograms for 'gold' and 'sun.'")
-SUNG, KIM CHU [TMHA, 8/1988] Member of the MONGOOSE CULT 1980-1987. Tournament champion in Hapkido and skilled in Tae Kwon Do.
-SURIGATA, CHIANG. [TMFIA, 8/2006] b.1945-d.2006 6'1" 165 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Green Head of Asian-American crime ring affiliated with STIGMA. Used Burmese dacoits and strange experimental animals such as flying jellyfish. Decapitated with his own sword by CRICKET HARKINS.
SU TZE-KYU [TOFOFB 6/1998, TWW 10/2006] b.1923-d.2006 5'1" 100 lbs Hr:Grey Ey:Dark brown Last known teacher of the FURIOUS BUDDHA style, killed by his own student STANLEY PODIOLKA.
-SWAPAL [SC, 8/2000] Leader of the COJOBE resistance against the LEAGUE OF PREDATORS.

Glossary: U-Z

>U
-UBONIDUS [POTPR, 2001] b.1933-d.2001 ZHEKAN Sorcerer
-UGAMESH [TWBTW:U, 1/2006] Oldest and leader of THE THREE SLEEPERS, three enigmatic beings active before and during the Darthan Age. Mate of AZALIN and father of VENDIGOR, Ugamesh exhibited great gralic force but seldom took part in the Midnight War. His origin and true nature were never revealed. Last seen at the Fall of the Darthim, the Three were cast into deep slumber for Ages by JORDYN. They briefly reappeared in Salem in June 1957 when they were imprisoned by the teamwork of MARK DRUM, SULAK, THE STING and THE DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT, CHEN LEE-SUN. In 2006, the Three Sleepers were freed by the SPHINX and some GELENGIM only to be finally destroyed by JEREMY BANE using the UNICORN horn.
Like the other two Sleepers, Ugamesh's physical body was never seen. He appeared as a tall broad figure entirely covered by blue plate armor. His helmet had no openings.
-ULGOR 'The Mountain In the Sea' Adjacent Realm inhabited by the GELYDRIM.
-UNCLE GIALLO
-UNCLE PAO See SHENG, PAO-WANG
-UNGAWER [TSPBS, 2016] Leader of the swarm of INSECTOIDS from SUB-SPACE. As much humanoid than insectlike, covered with a glossy black exoskeleton, Ungawer stood on thick legs and wavded reasonably Human-sized upper arms. A third pair of limbs showed as vestigial twigs halfway down the thorax. Instead of hands, the monster opened and closed crablike claws that were bifurcated. The head was a rounded variation of the smaller creatures, with a pair of waving wiry antennae and protruding bulbous eyes but instead of a single pair of mandibles, a sort of mouth was formed by rows of flaps.
-UNSEEN NATION See FERAL BOYS
-UNICORN See ASHLEY WHITAKER and MARY CASSIDY
-UNICORNS [TBOS, 2000] Animals modified by DARTHAN sorcery ages ago, found only in the ADJACENT REALM of OKALI. The beasts possessed an inherent low-level gralic charge that protected them slightly from predators. A Unicorn horn was ensorcelled by the ELDARIN to disrupt malicious spells and to protect against attack; this talisman gave adventurers MARY CASSIDY and her daughter ASHLEY WHITAKER their war names. ("They looked like white ponies, only three feet at the shoulder and too small to carry a rider. Their legs resembled those of a hart, with cloven hooves and their lionlike tails had a tuft to fur at the end. Most striking, of course, were the horns. Just above the wideset eyes was a slim ivory spiral which extended from one foot to two feet, depending on the individual.")
-USS AEGIR [TWS, 2/1983] Launched in 1983, the AEGIR was still a novelty that the public wanted to know more about, the most advanced nuclear submarine in the world, dedicated to scientific research rather than for military uses. Designed and commanded by Admiral Quincy W McCormack. The AEGIR was attacked by a War Squid controlled by ATRON KE under the influence of KARL ELDRITCH; the vessel was successfully defended by JEREMY BANE and STEPHEN WEAVER.
-UWAN RIG TULE. See THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN

>V
-VALERA THE THIRD [BB, 12/1986; BTCOM, 11/2007; SMTDN, 4/2015,others] b.1940-d. 5'11" 155 lbs Hr:Golden Blonde Ey:Blue. MELGAR champion and Heir to LEGACY OF MALBERON. PRINCESS of ANDROVAL as daughter of KING HOLMIR. TEL SHAI KNIGHT and KDF Associate member beginning 1986- Wielder of the spear SHAI TAZAM also called BRIGHTBOLT. Due to her smaller size and relative youth, she was measurably less powerful than SULAK or GALVAN but still immensely strong and nearly indestructible. Valera was a Tournament Champion of her Race and a skilled warrior, but she was also known for a deep knowledge of Midnight War history and lore.
Valera's charge of gralic force gave her a high degree of resistance to injury from bladed weapons or blunt force. She routinely shrugged off gunfire or sword attacks, survived landslides and being hit by a train. Temperature extremes did not harm her, she could stand in open flame without discomfort. Valera was not literally invulnerable, though. Gralic blasts from a master like WU LUNG or a DARTHAN KJE could harm or kill her. She could be wounded or slain by major talismans like HELLSPAWN or SHAI TAZAM (as happened in 1986) Although barely affected by poisons, she did need to breathe, and to eat and drink.
-VAMPIRES. Cadavers partially animated by gralic lifeforce taken from living HUMANS, usually by drinking blood. The Undeath spell is one of the FIVE FORBIDDEN ARTS taught on ULGOR at the CORRUPTION. More efficient and successful than the ZOMBIE process, Vampires retained full intelligence and memories but lost all compassion and mercy. They needed to drink blood on a regular basis to remain active, usually at least every four or five nights. They did not need to take enough blood to kill a victim, although most got lost in the euphoria and did so. Humans who died from such blood loss became vampires themselves, sometimes at once but usually after three nights.
Vampires were active during the hours of darkness, returning to a deathlike state during the day. Direct sunlight disrupted the gralic charge holding the creature stable, resulting in disintegration. Vampires could most reliably be destroyed by the driving of a wooden stake through their hearts. Holy objects and ELDAR sigils were often effective but not always and could not be relied on.
If they survived long enough and built up excess gralic force, Vampires could learn to reshape their bodies into replicas of wolves or bats or even clouds of mist. Such masters could dominate new specimens of their kind or hypnotize living Humans by catching their gaze. Vampires who gained enough experience were invited to join the VAMPIRE LORDS, especially if they resided in Europe.
There were rare examples of DAYWALKERS, 'living vampires', who were not restricted by the limitations that afflicted other vampires. The only recent specimen of this type was NANCY SINISTER.
-VAMPIRE LORDS Loose association of vampires, each member more than one hundred years old, mostly meeting in Central Europe but with warrens everywhere. Over the centuries, each developed powers not known to newer Undead such as hypnotic influence and control of vermin. They acted often to prevent outbreaks of vampirism from getting so out of hand that Humans become aware of their threat. It was the Vampire Lords who tried to rein in NANCY SINISTER. Notable individuals included LORD JULIAN GABLE, destroyed 1979 and BARON DRALESCU, destroyed 2008.
-VAMPIRISM SPELL First taught to Humans by the SULLA CHUN on ULGOR at the CORRUPTION. A skilled warlock can cast a modified version to create a Living Vampire such as NANCY SINISTER.
-VAN AKEN, BRIAN 'BUZZ' [TTTDNS, 10/2003] d.2003 See entry for sister REBECCA VAN AKEN
-VAN AKEN, REBECCA Known as BECKY [TTTDNS, 10/2003] d.2003 With her brother BUZZ VAN AKEN, one of the DREAMSLAVERS who terrorized Willets, Georgia with months of inexplicable sexual assaults, beatings, forced suicides and robberies all committed by sleeping townspeople who remembered nothing of their deeds. Manipulated into killing themselves by JEREMY BANE
-VANDAGE [THOP, 1978; WW, 10, 2001] Humanoid creatures with wolflike heads and a covering of short white or grey fur. They are derived from the White Wolves of Zimborlin, brutes modified by Tollinor Kje from ordinary timber wolves. Somewhere in the thousands of years since then, a Human warlock bred White Wolves with Humans to create Vandages.
In one of his earliest Midnight War cases in 1978, JEREMY BANE dealt with and killed one who was not using his personal name but was only known as 'Vandage.'
("This close, it could be seen that Vandage was not simply a Human with an animal head but that his body had wolfish characteristics. Aside from the fur, the hind legs bent the wrong way and the thick fingers had blunt claws.")
-VARDOGER, ONSLOW [TDTCTM, 1/1978] d.1978 Leader of the DOPPELGANGERS sent from FANEDRAL as spies and instigators. Killed by JEREMY BANE and CINDY BRUNNER in their first meeting.
-VARGAS, JORGE Known as REPEL [R, 2000;LOP, 5/2000] b.1969-d. 6'4" 255lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown Nose flattened. Career criminal involved in mostly armed robbery. Repel's gralic power involved a skin-tight force field which defended himself against impact from o
bjects up to high-powered rifle bullets. Since he still needed to breathe, gas could affect him. Repel joined Avathor's LEAGUE OF PREDATORS for the raid on KDF headquarters but was not in evidence after AREM KAMENDE assumed control of the gang. Vargas was last reported serving a twenty-three year term in a California state prison.
-VARLAY b.1903-d.1987 A MELGAR warlock, Varlay was the younger son of an aristocratic family. Exiled for sedition, he allied himself with the similarly disgraced PRINCE LANKUR. Slain by ZEMU WATURA, 1987.
-VEALE, SHILOH[BBS, 10/2000] b.1978-d. 5'8" 150lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Brown. Member of a cannibal cult operating deep within the Adirondack Preserve. Veale was an actor on several cable programs aimed at girls in the early teens, which made him moderately wealthy and moderately famous. In October 2000, he was taken prisoner by ASHLEY WHITAKER and MEGAN SALENGER after they killed the other members of the cult, as well as their leader DAMOZAR.
-VEGANORA Adjacent Realm that exists today mostly in Central Africa, accessible only through a gralic gate area. The part in the world remains almost unexplored ("The dense canopy of interlocking trees overhead made even satellite infrared imagery useless. All that reconnaisance photos ever showed was a solid green surface that stretched for four hundred miles. During the peak of European colonialism, this area of Veganora had remained untouched because the lack of exploitable natural resources made its exploration unrewarding. Reports of hostile tribes and disease-bearing insects further discouraged the Belgians or the Germans from claiming any territory. Veganora remained mostly unknown.") Pop:1, 200,000.
Home to OZARA. Unusual animal life includes the huge RED DOGS, WALKING VULTURES, BENGAL TIGERS. Plant life includes the HUNGRY TREES.
-VEIL. A gralic effect taught by KERLAW and mastered by BLUE GUIDES, the Veil made them or others they protected unseen by affecting the perception of others within range. Beings under the Veil still showed up on motion dectectors, heat sensors, photos or video; they were not literally invisible.
-VELKANDU One of the FIVE FORBIDDEN ARTS revealed on ULGOR at the CORRUPTION. A form of ALCHEMY which infuses gralic force into substances to produce effects not otherwise possible. Velkandu serums include: THANATOLIN, the suicide inducer. BERNICAS, for breathing underwater. VERATILIN, truth serum. VELOCITIN, speed enhancer. VINDROL, the 'Hyde Formula.' LIMULUS, glowing green powder which remains diffused in water and which illuminates ULGOR. PALANDIL - Mixture of VELOCITIN and TAGRA, which enhances reflexes more safely; used by MONGOOSE CULT.
A Chinese variation on VELKANDU is sometimes known as FANG SHIH.
The immortal ELDARIN have independently learned how to infuse gralic force into silver to create ENSALIR and into gold dust to create CYRINKYL.
-VELOCITIN [TRB, 1944; BTB] VELKANDU formula which greatly accelerates muscular speed and reactions with severely damaging results to heart and liver. The knees and feet also suffer, and dehhydration is common. The Velocitin compound is derived from the traditional Chinese formula known as TAO-TSIN. Variations on Velocitin were used by the BLUR during WW II and by the MONGOOSE sect in the 1980s.
-VENDIGOR [TWBTW:V, 3/2006] One of THE THREE SLEEPERS, enigmatic beings active in the Darthan Age. Vendigor was seen only in red plate armor and stood three feet tall. He was apparently the child of UGAMESH and AZALIN. Along with the other Sleepers, Vendigor exhibited great gralic force but seldom took part in the War. Their origin and true nature were never revealed. Last seen at the Fall of the Darthim, but the Three reappeared in Salem in June 1957 when they were imprisoned by the teamwork of MARK DRUM, THE STING and THE DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT, CHEN LEE-SUN.
In the late Winter of 2006, the Three Sleepers were briefly freed but finally destroyed when JEREMY BANE used the UNICORN horn to remove the gralic bonds holding them intact.
-VENOM See SHAR, CIR'WILLA
-VICTORY EAGLE [LOTPM, 9/1944] WW II superhero and spy smasher whose true identity was never made known. 6'1" 180 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. The Victory Eagle was a tough, skilled fighter who had evidently been trained in boxing and wrestling. His biggest advantage was a regenerative factor which went beyond enhanced healing such as TEL SHAI knights enjoyed. The Eagle could recover instantly from point-blank gunshot wounds to the head and regrow within days limbs which were lost. He never explained this ability. The Eagle wore a flamboyant blue silk costume with red and white trim, complete with mask to serve as a rallying symbol. He rode a modified Harley-Davidson which for concealment he carried in the back of a white panel delivery truck whose logo was constantly changed.

Because of his general description and the regeneration, many scholars of the Midnight War suspect that the Victory Eagle was actually SAMHAIN, playing hero for whatever reason. This was never confirmed.
-VIDIMAR, LEOPOLD [TP, 8/1986; BBTL, 11/1998] b.1929-d.1998 5'8" 185lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Brown.
Occult researcher who recreated the PREINCARNATION spell which had been lost for ages. He founded a sect of resurrected criminals of the worst type, using them as assassins or robbers or to recover lost treasure. Toward the end of his career, he refined his spell so he could turn a volunteer into a simulation of a legendary figure who may or may not ever have really existed. In this way, he re-created ACHILLES, GILGAMESH, ALADDIN and PROSPERO. His biggest mistake was returning the FIRSTMADE of the Darthim, TOLLINOR KJE. Vidimar was tortured to death by the resurrected Tollinor. Succeeded as head of the Preincarnators by his son WARREN.
-VIDIMAR, WARREN. [DH, 9/2000; TR, 2002] b.1950-d.2002 Son and student of LEOPOLD VIDIMAR, he assumed control of the PREINCARNATORS after his father's death with greater success. He introduced the technique of using any fragment of DNA from a desired subject to a volunteer. Since a direct descendant was no longer needed, the range of potential Preincarnators was greatly introduced. Warren's modified spell also was more permanent than that of his father. It was Warren who brought back the heroes known as PILGRIM, THE MONK, THE BRIMSTONE KID and TOMMY MOON, all of whom immediately broke away from control and went their own way. Warren died of natural causes in 2002.
-VINDOLF [TSHS, 1213 DR] 5'9" 150 lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Blue. Vindolf was the son of Rhume, from southeast Skandor in the DARTHAN AGE. Under the name Yellow Colt, he fought ROMAL in the Open Challenge held in the realm ASUVA. Vindolf wielded the SERPENT-HEAD SWORD and was slain by it.
-VINDROL. Known as 'the HYDE FORMULA,' a VELKANDU serum which caused an abrupt physical and mental change in the user, the effect lasting several hours. The body became more primitive-looking, with a simian face that had a protruding brow ledge, huge pointed canines and a crested skull under coarse black hair. The arms become thicker and longer, legs shorten, the hands become larger and more powerful.
Whoever drinks Vindrol becomes a violent homicidal monster without empathy or regrets. Most users developed an obsession with torture and killing. Since the famous book by Robert Louis Stevenson was published (although its fictional events are unrelated), many Vindrol users took the name Mr Hyde as a gesture of defiance.
The Vindrol user who tortured and broke SHIRO MITSURU used the alias JANOS PELT.
-VITARIUS, MERCADO [TSM, 1934; BTB, 11/2006; FKC] b.1795-d.2006. 6'8" 350lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Hazel. Leading ALCHEMIST of the modern era. It was VITARIUS who had the stone building on 38th Street in NYC constructed which later belonged to KENNETH DRED and then to JEREMY BANE. After working with other heroes such as THE MONK and MARK DRUM in the 1930s, Vitarius retired to experimentation and research in 1937. By 2006, he was living in a house on Grant Street in upstate Poughkeepsie with the Ulgor refugee DEMRAK JIN as his assistant. The Alchemical potions were failing and he had the body and appearance of a man in his 90s, in which state he might linger for decades. A risky experiment restored him to full youth and vigor but also seemed to derange him. He planned a countrywide mass murder through the tainted cosmetics he was selling. In order to save JEREMY BANE, Jin killed Vitarius with a sword thrust from behind, disgracing her own honor forever.
-VOODOO Cult based on forbidden knowledge revealed by the SULLA CHUN on ULGOR at the beginning of the DARTHAN AGE. Notable Voodoo Hungans were SAMUEL WATESA and PAPA LOUIS.
-VULCAN Active in the Second World War, Vulcan was an Italian expatriate whose family had come to America when the Fascists took power. He had the ability to project gralic force from his hands, manifesting streams of visible yellow flame hot enough to melt through steel. The newsreels and papers nicknamed him 'the Human Flame-Thrower.'

-W
-WAKELY, CHRISTOPHER 'KIT' [TSOUT, 6/1984] b.1949-d.1984 Field agent for the MANDATE who was killed by ROOK during the hunt for the SCROLL OF ULTIMATE TRUTH.
-WALKING SNAKE [TPOS, 3/1984] b.1932-d.1984 6' 150lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown SHAMAN of EVAHO who worshipped the SULLA CHUN and who committed many sacrifices and atrocitities in an attempt to free one. He succeeded in manifesting a malevolent Eye which Ted Wright destroyed. His corpse was briefly resurrected only to be destroyed by Karina. ("Walking Snake was a grotesque sight. The Evaho shaman was so thin he looked like a victim of starvation with only a red cloth wrapped around his loins. Up and down his skeletal body, arcane symbols were drawn in red paint, and he wore a headdress of red feathers that stood up stiffly. In one clawlike hand, the cult leader brandished a long staff around which the body of a real snake had been wrapped so that its flat head topped the thick end of the totem.')
-WALKING VULTURES [BGOTJ, 1998] Predatory birds bred in VEGANORA by the inhabitants of CHU-UVINO. ("Eight feet high, the Walking Vultures had long legs bent backwards at the knee, ending in vicious talons. Their wings had grown small and almost vestigial, folded against the round bodies, but the long naked necks and hideous beaked heads remained unchanged.")
-WAKIMBE Known as the first BLACK LION. Mystic from DANARAK who attended the CORRUPTION on ULGOR that started the DARTHAN AGE. He learned the art of shape-shifting and how to focus immense gralic force into the form of a BLACK LION. The claw of that avatar survives today as the CAT'S-CLAW talisman who enables a champion of Danarak to assume the Black Lion form.
-WANDER [YKWCYDM, 12/1880] 6'1 180 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Cardsharp and grifter who in December 1880 teamed up with DOC VALENTINE to swindle some townsfolk in White Blaze, Montana. Their paths crossed that of JOHNNNY PACKARD, but for once no one was killed.
-WANG, OLIVIA Known as SPINNER OF WEBS. [TBNOS, 2013; SOW:MUM, SOW:WL, both 2014] b.1932-d. 5'7" 115lbs Hr:Black Ey:Green. Daughter of TZING-DAO WANG, an ALCHEMIST and sorcerer in her own right. Olivia murdered her father and usurped his role as Spinner of Webs to run his criminal enterprises in a more ruthless and demanding manner. She had a passionate romance with SABLE but it was unclear in retrospect whether she really had feelings for the KDF captain or was just playing a role to manipulate her. ("Nude, Olivia Wang was a hypnotizing sight. Tall at five feet seven, slim with well-shaped curves under a golden peach-colored skin smooth as silk, the Alchemist was so perfect she hardly looked real... but it was all natural. The thick glossy black hair reached her waist. Even in the faint light coming up from the street far below, her feline eyes gleamed bright green.")
-WANG, TZING-DAO Known as SPINNER OF WEBS. [SOW:WL, 2014] b.1891-d.2014 5'4" 109lbs Hr:White Ey:Green. Chinese ALCHEMIST and criminal mastermind active for over a hundred years, Wang was murdered and his title Spinner of Webs usurped by his daughter OLIVIA. ("The Spinner of Webs had a long somber face with a prominent beaklike nose and deepset eyes the true jade green. Every inch of skin that showed was covered with fine, closely-set wrinkles.')
-WAR SQUID [TWS, 2/1983] Gigantic species with cylindrical bodies sixty feet long, the War Squid were sometimes broken and used (not actually tamed) by GELYDRIM in their battles. One such creature was ridden by ATRON KE to attack the nuclear submarine AEGIR in 1983. The beast was last seen dragging KARL ELDRITCH down to the depths.
-WATER BEAST [KOMB, 2014] Unnatural animal created by DARTHAN sorcery, only one individual was reported. The LAKE DWELLERS offered HUMAN sacrifices to the Beast, who promptly ate them. ("A horselike head bigger than a Human body rose up on a thick scaly neck and regarded them with lambent crimson eyes. A hump bigger than a city bus showed where it broke the surface behind the long neck, and part of a broad flat flipper could be seen. The hide was smooth, like that of a whale or dolphin. It had been an air-breathing mammal.")
-WATESA, SAMUEL [FCWOVD, 4/1978; TUD, 2/2003; RPIACD, 2017] 6'1" 255 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Mystic and Hungan master of VOODOO from DANARAK. Allied to JEREMY BANE and other TEL SHAI KNIGHTS but keeping to himself. Watesa attended University in Paris, lived for years in New Orleans but was often found settled on his estate in Sweetwater, Florida; married to Maria Lamoureaux who was related to the WITCH-QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS.
In 2017, Watesa suffered a dreadful fate he revealed only to JEREMY BANE. ("The stiff face revealed was grey and lifeless, both eyes rolled up to show only the whites. When he spoke, his mouth stayed open and the sepulchral voice seemingly came from nearby. ;I wanted to be sure of vengeance, Jeremy,' said Watesa. 'So I resurrected myself and dug free with great effort. It is not full life I enjoy now. I am my own zombie.')
-WAXFACE [WF, 9/1953]
-WEAVER, STEPHEN JAMES Known as 'BLACK ANGEL' [STTW, 1980] b.1950-d. 6'1" 180lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Only graduate of top-secret USAF BLACK ANGEL PROJECT. TEL SHAI KNIGHT and KDF member beginning 1980, he stepped down to Reserve status 1990 after losing levitation ability. In the Air Force, Lt. Weaver was certified as a Mechanic Test Pilot. He saw combat in Operation Desert Storm. After the BLACK ANGEL project closed, Weaver was discharged with honors but remained on Special Reserve Status, due to behind the scenes intervention by the TROM he worked with in New Mexico.
An exceptional levitator, Weaver could lift off the ground and propel his body through the air using gralic force to overcome gravity. While the artificial wings of the Black Angel suit helped guide and steer him in flight, he could fly without them.
Weaver's normal cruising speed was sixty miles per hour, which he could maintain for forty minutes before the mental effort grew too wearying. He could hover, ascend vertically and fly backwards as he wished.
Underwater, Weaver could move at twenty-five knots despite the resistance. He was capable of carrying a person or object under two hundred pounds in flight, although with reduced speed and duration. While standing on a firm surface, Weaver was able to project his levitation field and lift an object weighing up to six hundred pounds; this did not involve physical strength but was still very tiring. Weaver was able to use his power in 'reverse' as well, pressing down on objects or beings with an effective weight of half a ton. Using this application, he could prevent a car from moving by holding its bumper.
BLACK ANGEL SUIT. Originally called 'Red Angel,' the suit was first designed by USAF researchers and then improved by LEONARD SLADE when Weaver joined the KDF. Worn over a suit of the silk-thin Trom armor, the Black Angel rig was a thin shirt and pants of tough black leather, with a single red stripe running along the outside of each arm and leg,. Stiff fins on the backs of the gauntlets and boots aided in steering. The Trom power source (replacing the Air Force battery) and wing motor was attached to a plate worn high up between the shoulder blades. The power also maintained Weaver's body heat when flying at high altitudes. A rack on top of the power source could hold a small oxygen tank which fed into the helmet.
The motor which controlled wing movement, including extension and retraction into a compact square, had manual controls on a flat plate worn by the left collarbone. Experiments with direct neural commands to the wings were tried but felt not completely reliable when the Black Angel was under stress or injured. The wings themselves were of articulated aluminum tubing covered with red nylon, and gave a batlike appearance when in use.
The Black Angel helmet was made of molded fibreglass with a Kevlar outer layer. Closing the mouth shutters activated the feed from the oxygen tank on the bank. Built-in goggles could be switched from normal vision or infra-red or telescopic functions. The original USAF radio built into the earpods was replaced by the more advanced KDF communications system.
Weaver normally wore a leather belt with several pouches to contain KDF tools and weapons, as well as personal items. One of the anesthetic dart guns was in a flap holster at his right side, although he much preferred his standard issue 1911 Colt .45 automatic.
WAR SUIT - Only once a few times during his career, the War Suit was designed for heavy combat situations. All-black with no red trim, it incorporated a double layer of the Trom armor and a larger, more protective helmet. The wings were much sturdier, with reinforced points at the upper ends for use as battering rams. Grenades and air-to-ground miniature mines were fastened to his belt.
Two 30mm electric cannons could be attached to a support plate, pointing straight ahead when in flight but capable of being manually aimed. Due to weight constraints, these weapons had limited ammo.
-WEBBER, HOLLIS [LTG, 11/2004] Necromancer who used his position as caretaker of the ancient COLLIER CEMETERY to obtain secrets by questioning the ashes of cremated bodies. When he attempted to use this forbidden magick on MEGAN SALENGER, she killed him and burned the funeral home and crematorium down.
-WEISHAUPT, HAROLD J. [TGM, 12/1983] b.1934-d. 5'11" 165lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. An ALCHEMIST who studied under DR VITARIUS, Weishaupt used his knowledge for minor sordid criminal activity. He was defeated by CINDY BRUNNER.
-WELLES, MAX [ag, 1/1997] Middle-aged black man operating in various low-level criminal rackets. He tried to take possession of the SILVER HAMMER OF MALBERON and was killed by it.
-WENG CHIANG [BI, 4/1989] b.1873-d.1989 5'9" 170lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Chujiran. A Fang Shih Alchemist and sorcerer of illusions, Weng extended his lifespan beyond its natural limits. When he began delving into the FIVE FORBIDDEN ARTS, Weng was confronted by GARRISON NEBEL, who brought him to his true age and caused him to wither away.
-WEREWOLVES. Also known as 'Howlers,' Werewolves were HUMANS who assumed wolf semblance either wholly or in part. Shape-shifting is one of the FIVE FORBIDDEN ARTS taught on ULGOR at the CORRUPTION.
In most cases, the transformation was voluntary and consciously started, but there were victims of werewolf bites who became afflicted and changed against their will, usually with a full moon as trigger. Werewolves were all unique in appearance, varying wildly in shape and degree of change due to subconscious influence on the transformation.
Silver disrupted the effect, and ENSALIR was even more effective. Although most Werewolves could be killed by mundane means, the most powerful Howlers could only be slain by a silver weapon, whether blade or bullet.
-WERE-WYRMS. Rare HUMANS capable of transforming into a DRAGON body, either permanently or back and forth at will. The only known example was SATORU KOJIMA, known as MARDRAK and DRAGON MAN; his ability came from a pact with DRALDROS.
-WEST, EDWIN. b.1947-d. 5'10" 185lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Light Brown. Founder and leader of the HUNTING PARTY. West had been infected with lycanthropy by a bite from JAMIL MARDIGAIL. His affliction was arrested when a young JEREMY BANE fired a silver bullet into the man's left arm. The bullet remained in place, preventing any transformation. West still retained a few traits which left him with enhanced night vision and an ability to sniff out nearby howlers.
-WHEATLEY, KATHERINE ANNE (b.1959-d.) 5'4" 110lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. British-born TELEPATH who moved with her parents and older brother to Endicott, Massachusers in 1974. With her family's support, she stayed at KENNETH DRED's building from January 1978 to June 1979 to receive help training her to develop her emerging telepathic abilities. Katherine worked as a field agent for Dred along with JEREMY BANE but she was not emotionally well-suited to cope with the horrors of the Midnight War. Her unrequited feelings for the emotionally repressed Bane added to her unhappiness. After she accidentally killed ARMIDROS with a telepathic blast, Katherine left to return to her family and had no more involvement in the Midnight War.
In 1981, Katherine married William Barret in Boston. She had two daughters, Sarah and Wanda, and spent the next two decades working as a claims adjustor for her husband's insurance agency.
-WHITAKER, APRIL [TGU, 7/2016] b.2012-d. Daughter of ASHLEY WHITAKER and CORY ADAMS.
-WHITAKER, ASHLEY [TBU, 5/1991; AG, 2/1997; SR, 6/1999, further] Known as UNICORN (the second). b.5/1980-d. 5' 100 lbs Second UNICORN succeeding her mother MARY CASSIDY, who gifted her with the ensorcelled Unicorn horn on Ashley's sixteenth birthday. TEL SHAI KNIGHT and member of KDF SECOND TEAM (leave of absence after December 2011, she gave birth to daughter April in April 2012). Romantic relationship with CORY ADAMS.
Raised by her mother almost from the cradle for a life in the Midnight War, Ashley was ten when she went on her own to find JEREMY BANE and CINDY BRUNNER to locate her missing mother. At that point, she made a deal with Bane (which he did not take that seriously at the time) to be sponsored for TEL SHAI membership when she turned eighteen.
-WHITE CROW [TGU, 7/2016] b.1960-d.2016 True name and appearance never revealed. A minor criminal known for extortion and blackmail, the White Crow tended to work through henchmen while remaining off scene. When he did appear he was disguised, wrapped in a white raincoat with a face entirely hidden behind a full-head white cloth mask and topped with a white fedora. Even his hands were concealed behind white cotton gloves so no skin showed anywhere.
The White Crow used an anesthetic gas with a formula based on the KDF's Trom-based darts. ("To tell you a secret, a few of their darts were retrieved undischarged from a battle last year and my chemist broke down the anesthetic formula enough to rework it for my gas gun.") He made the mistake of kidnapping APRIL WHITAKER, the daughter of ASHLEY WHITAKER and CORY ADAMS. Within a few hours, the White Crow was shot dead by the child's grandmother, MARY CASSIDY, the original UNICORN.
-WHITE WEB An organization of assassins for hire, hundreds of years old that operates all over the world but mostly in East Asia. Anyone can become a member if they pass the rigorous intitiation, which includes killing someone who already belongs. The White Web has no agenda other than profit. It arranges matters so that a middleman keeps assassin and client from meeting. ("The Triads and the Yakuza fear the White Web... Russian gangsters and Colombian drug lords keep their distance.")
Best known members were MITSURU TAMAKYO and SONG SOO LIN, who stole most of the Shanghai treasury and fled. They survived until their son SHIRO MITSURU was fourteen, raising him to master as wide an array of martial arts as possible.
-WHITE WOLVES [TWWOZ, 1987] THRACOSIM, predatory species of ZIMBORLIN who occasionally attacked elderly or sick members of the ORULIN. 6' to 6'3" 180 to 220 lbs Fur:White Ey:Red. ("The size and weight of a large man, the White Wolf was covered with short bristly white fur. Its lupine body had an expanded ribcage and shoulders wide enough to offer the forelimbs full range of motion. The head remained mostly wolflike, with only a higher brow ledge between the upright ears to hint at increased intelligence.")
-WILKINS, CHESTER 'CHET' [FCWOVD, 4/1978] b.1955-d.1978 5'10" 180 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown American black man who worked as drummer in a free-form jazz band in Greenwich Village. He became caught up in thr influence of the DEATH DRUM which had belonged to ADOBELE and committed the 'Forehead Murders' before being killed by JEREMY BANE, KATHERINE WHEATLEY and SAMUEL WATESA.
-WINDCATCHER See LAWSON, HALEY
-"WINCHESTER" [PMW, 1/2007] b.1979-d.2007 5'3" 1o5lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown STIGMA agent, true name never revealed, who murdered and impersonated the INTERCEPT operative known as Winchester. She managed to lead JEREMY BANE into ambushes and traps but was killed by him while doing so.
-WINSOMEBERRIES [WAOW, 5/2002]
-WINTER SNOW Chinese martial arts school connected with many criminal activities
-WITCH-QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS
-WITHER MAN [FTAYNOF, 2006] True name unrevealed b.1956-d. 5'10" 145lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. The Wither Man's face was covered with tightly spaced wrinkles, not deep but right next to each other. He looked like an apple that had been left out in the sun to dry. He was not technically a serial killer; his murders were commited because he had a delusion that the spirits of his victims would be his slaves in the afterlife.
His favorite weapon was a two-foot-long ice axe. Its head had a sharp spike facing one way and a hammer head facing the other, and the lower end of its shaft tapered into a needle point.
-WITT, DIANA 'DEE' [DNAHVOD, 9/1977] Known as DEE NILE. b.1954-d. 5'7" 135 lbs Hr:Light Brown Ey:Hazel. The overnight DJ at station WBAY in Silent Creek, Idaho, Dee Nile was unknowingly given a strange power by a RED SECT witch who owned the station, Mrs Cullen. After drinking a VELKANDU serum, for a time Dee's voice was literally compelling to the extent that people obeyed her direct orders without realizing it. In one of his earliest cases for KENNETH DRED, JEREMY BANE caused the deaths of both Mrs Cullen and her disciple. Dee was left seemingly unharmed by the incident but with a stash of a Velkandu herb she told no one about.
WOLLHEIM, DANIEL [LSOTA, 1979] NYPD Inspector who had worked for eleven years with KENNETH DRED on Midnight War cases. Following Dred's death, Wollheim reluctantly became unofficial liaison with the new KDF for the first few years of their operation. Never fully trusting the KDF members, Wollheim eventually was replaced several other officers and eventually by HAROLD KLEIN.
-WORTH, DONNA b.1941-d. 5'6" 120lbs Hr:Dark Red. Ey:Blue. Attorney representing JEREMY BANE and the KDF for decades, she handled the red tape, applications and endless paperwork which Bane would have not had a clue about. Donna also handled court appearances and plea deals on the many occasions KDF members were charged with crimes or had to testify. Under her guidance, the Kenneth Dred Foundation was established as a non-profit research organization dedicated to investigating paranormal events.
She also referred their bookkeeping to an accounting firm she trusted.
Worth was a longtime romantic partner to the much older MICHAEL HAWK, founding KDF member. Following Hawk's death in 1983, Donna married a man whose identity remains undocumented and got pregnant rather late in life. Their daughter TAYLOR WORTH passed her bar exam and took over as Bane's attorney following Donna's stepping down from active practice.
-WORTH, TAYLOR (C, 2009) b.1985-d. 5'7" 125lbs Hr:Dark Red Ey:Green. Daughter of DONNA WORTH and unnamed father whom Donna met after the death of MICHAEL HAWK. Taylor graduated law school early and joined Donna's firm to represent JEREMY BANE and the KDF teams after Donna began stepping down from practice.
-WRIGHT, THADDEUS JAMES 'TED' Known as 'the BLUE GUIDE.' b.1943- d. 5'11" 210 lbs Hr:Black (later White) Ey:Dark Blue. Master of KERWANDU healing art taught at TEL SHAI by KERLAW. TEL SHAI KNIGHT and member of KDF FIRST TEAM 1979-1990, Wright stepped down to reserve status followimg the FINAL HALLOWEEN. A veteran of the US Navy Medical Corps, Wright had attended Columbia University, had done his internship at Mount Sinai Hospital and established his own brief practice before discovering the Order of Tel Shai, being sponsored there by John Robert Chase. He joined Kenneth Dred Foundation because the Teachers at Tel Shai had confided he would be needed among them to balance their warlike spirit with mercy and good judgement.
Wright was an MD specializing in trauma surgery, but in practice he acted as a diagnostician. He kept an office in the building next to KDF headquarters where he unofficially lived after giving up his apartment; he also had quarters at the KDF building which were his legal residence, although he seldom stayed there. He worked at at his consultation clinic five days a week and usually Saturdays as well, mostly ten or eleven hours a day, and then helped out at Metro General hospital at least two nights a week, more often three.
Wright could make himself or others unseen by creating the VEIL. This was a gralic effect which reduced the perception of those present. Beings under the VEIL were not literally invisible, still showing up in photos or on video. He could also raise a wall of blue light in front of him. Luminous and shimmering, the gralic barriers worked by repelling the lifeforce of any creatures attempting to get through them. Enemies bounced off a blue wall because their own bodies convulsed backward when touching it.
Wright never willingly went on a mission without his black leather satchel slung over one shoulder. It included standard medical supplies such as shears, needles and sutures, flashlight, gauze pads, tweezers, clamps, alcohol swabs, and a varying assortment of medicinal pills and salves.
-WUGAN [C, 9/2009] b.-d.2009 Elderly MELGAR who acted as valet to AVATHOR in the world. Died during the CASTAWAY incident.
-WU LUNG [ACRFD, 9/1218 DR; TFTOWL, 9/1987; DOW, 11/2000] Known as SINJIR, the TALON and the DRAGON OF WAR. Height and weight vary with each incarnation, as do hair and eye coloring. Invariably he appears Asian, specifically a tall Northern Chinese man.
A Chujiran sorcerer named SINJIR dared attend the CORRUPTION on ULGOR and survived the cataclysm which followed. Among the Forbidden Arts he had learned was spirit projection. If his body was dying, Sinjir could place his consciousness into a static state until it encountered a suitable body to usurp. Over the ages, Sinjir returned to life many times, was mortally wounded or stricken only to revive again at a later date.
In modern times beginning around 1920, this spirit became known as WU LUNG. He built a vast empire of criminal enterprises and conducted occult research. Many times a hero thought he had rid the world of this malicious force forever, but Wu Lung eventually cohered again. Wu Lung possessed cunning and patience he had learned over the ages, vast knowledge of many subjects and an array of gralic-based powers which included the Deep Fear, gating and launching fatal bolts.
Not since since his conflict which the MANCHURIAN resulted in unleashing the great Dragon YFEL, Wu Lung is thought to have survived another catastrophe and is now rebuilding his organization.

X
-XIAO-SING. Large disputed island claimed by both Taiwan and the People's Republic of China, known as a center for espionage and criminal activity. In 1978, the young JEREMY BANE and SHIRO MITSURU met LAURA LYE here.

>Y
-YUAN, PANG. [BMAWS, 1972; BNB, 11/1979] Chinese Sifu of BLACK MANTIS style who taught his style to a teenage JEREMY BANE awhen tradition had limited students to Chinese only. At the time, Bane had only studied some Western boxing and wrestling. During a clash with the WINTER SNOW school, Yuan betrayed Bane's trust and left the young Dire Wolf even more bitter than before.
-YELLOW BILL See WILLIAM LOUGHRAM
-YELLOW SHIELD (team) ("In 1961, Dr Vitarius tried to make five outlaws into heroes. He assembled them, gave them a mansion to live in and sent them on missions he selected. The Yellow Shield itself was a metal plate, five-sided, maybe ten feet to a side. When the five stood at its points, the Shield transported them and protected them from attack. ZEMU WATURA was one of the Yellow Shield five, he was young and still little-known in those days. THE HANGMAN was another, he carried the SEEKING NOOSE. DR KOBAL was the third member. ATRON KE, using the alias 'Sea King' was another The final member was patriotic war hero VICTORY EAGLE, actually SAMHAIN. The Yellow Shield was an experiment that failed. Vitarius meant well, but the bad guys he chose were just too bad to be reformed. They were betrayed by one of their own in an attempt to turn a bodyguard mission into a kidnapping. The Hangman was killed and the Yellow Shield project was abandoned.")
-YELLOW SHIELD (talisman) A flat pentagonal piece of white gold five feet to a side. Anyone standing on it with hostile intentions is frozen in place and cannot move his feet. At some point before 1977, KENNETH DRED obtained the Shield and had it installed under the floor of the front hall of his building. Ever since, the Yellow Shield has protected KDF members from attack.
-YFEL [DOW, 11/2000] Known as DESTROYER OF WORLDS. A DRAGON of an unknown species, YFEL could speak at a Human-intelligence level. Standing more than sixty feet tall, his manlike body had a thick tail that stood out behind it and swung angrily from side to side. The long serpentine neck ended in a horselike head bigger than a man's body, crested with horns and adorned with two fleshy mustaches that drooped down on either side of the wide fanged mouth. Batlike wings were folded flat across the broad back. Yfel could fly using gralic force and could blast bursts of white-hot DRAGONFLAME from his muzzle.
-YIE, JOHN [SH, 1978] b.1881-d.1978 Former EAGLE STAR in the 1960s, he stepped down to allow Paiute JOE JEFFERSON to take up the duty. Then, increasingly embittered, Yie became a SKINWALKER who was slain by JEREMY BANE and KATHERINE WHEATLEY.
-YLVATAR [TCS, 2001] b.-d.2001 6'4" 260lbs Hr:Blond Ey:Amber. Leader of the KRASTIDIANS and father to both BULIVANT and AYDON, Ylvatar was like his family an ELDAR who had been mutated by exposure to a SULLA CHUN event. Aside from being able to summon his family bodily through gralic gates, Ylvatar had no chance to demonstrate whatever new powers he possessed before he was killed by JOHNNY PACKARD.
-YUGEN [TBU] Inhabitants of CHYL. Yugen had tawny, lion-hide skin and hairless heads, and oddly colored eyes with black sclera and red irises. Yugen literally had no noses. There was only a faint bulge between eyes and mouth, and they breathed in through that mouth in a way reminiscent of fish in open air. The ZOKU-YA were a class of YUGEN highly skilled as swordsmen.


>Z

-ZANDU [TCO, 1212 DR] 5'9" 170 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown The GRAND ADVISOR in the 'Cursed Oasis city THUTHMEK during the DARTHAN AGE. A sorcerer, he carried one of the venomous constrictors which had been paralyzed to resemble a staff but which came to life at his order. ZANDU was killed by this creature.
-ZARITHEN [BTCOM, 11/2007] b.1794-d. 5'5" 155lbs Hr:Grey Ey:Brown. Elderly MELGAR woman, personal servant to VALERA. Zarithen often accompanied Valera on excursions to other realms or the real world.
-ZEMU WATURA 'The Stray Dog' [TFTOWL; SOTYS, 2005] b.1931-d.2005? 6'2" 260lbs Hr:None, skin tawny yellow Ey:Black irises with red sclera. Outcast ZOKU-YA swordsman exiled from CHYL for sedition. Zemu enjoyed a five decade career as a mercenary for hire, bandit and thief. He beheaded many for pleasure, although his use of the forbidden Life-Drinking Spell fed vitality and strength from his victims into his own body and extended his lifespan indefinitely.
Zemu was a member of the YELLOW SHIELD in 1961 and of AREM KAMENDE's group DARK CLOUD, both of which he betrayed and ruined.
Captured by JEREMY BANE and GORNAK in 2005, Zemu was repatriated to Chyl for judgement and not heard from again.
-ZHEKA [POTPR, 2001] The Phantom Realm. Pop:440. In August 2001, Zheka faced disaster. Within its Steaming Mountain, one of the Sulla Chun was stirring because of spells cast by UBONIDUS. The resulting surges of existential force weakened the Walls Between the Worlds so that Zhekites appeared in the real world at random for a few seconds. The danger was that the Sulla Chun would merge Zheka with the real world and cause massive destruction ("Can two hands fit in a single glove?") The KDF managed to relocate the Zhekites to the empty realm COLEGDAR and the crisis died down.
-ZHUNE Post-Darthan Age civilization of which little is known. Its philosophers discovered the ultimate secret of converting mass into energy and energy into mass. Surviving ZHUNE artifacts can create unlikely effects and were sought by KARL ELDRITCH, who was the only person capable of recharging them. (""Zhune flourished right after the Darthan Age ended. The world basically hit a cosmic reset button. Jordyn reshaped the lands and seas and erased nearly all evidence of the Darthan Age. Zhune was founded by Humans who somehow remembered it all. Zhune was older than the Middle East societies that sprang up around the Tigris river by over twelve thousand years. The Zhunites had many genuine geniuses who discovered the ultimate secret of the universe, how to convert matter into energy and energy into matter. This charged their artifacts which what they called primal atomic fire. That was what made Karl Eldritch so dangerous.")
-ZHUNITE ELDER. [VPAHKA, 2003] Mysterious individual who appeared in the recently unearthed ZHUNE city in northern Nebraska in 2003. He evidently had learned the ultimate secret of Zhune, the conversion of matter into energy and energy into matter. The Elder revealed nothing specific about itself, but he intervened in the confrontation between the KDF SECOND TEAM and VERONIKA PETROV and her GREY APES. Once everyone was out of the area, he converted the ruins into light which dissipated to leave no traces behind. ("a nearly-naked elderly man standing on a broken column. The man was bald and skinny to the point of starvation, with space showing between each rib. His arms and legs looked like sticks. All he wore was a twist of white cloth wrapped around his groin. He should have appeared feeble and helpless.And yet...The old man was standing upright, head high, not resting for support on anything. In the bony face, sunken dark eyes gleamed with life and vitality. He stepped down off the piece of stone with an ease and confidence that a teenager might have envied.")
-ZIMBORLIN A remote ADJACENT REALM difficult to reach. Pop:Unknown. Home of the ORULIN and the WHITE WOLVES.
-ZOMBIES. Cadavers partially animated by the Undeath spell which siphoned life force from victims. Unlike VAMPIRES, Zombies ate large parts of their victims' bodies, particularly the brains but they were not restored to full intelligence or mobility. Most Zombies had only vestigial brain functions and acted like sleepwalkers drawn by scent to the living. Those who are resurrected by sorcerers are obedient at first and carry out simple tasks on farms or in mines. After feeding, they become more difficult to control. Only a powerful warlock can keep Zombies docile and prevent them from becoming feral predators.
Incapable of feeling pain or fear, Zombies must be destroyed by extensive physical damage including explosions, fire, decapitation and dismemberment. In time, decay sets in despite the Undeath spell and the Zombies become unusable.
Zombies charged with excess gralic force will regenerate damaged tissue and even heal. Persons bitten by Zombies but not killed by the attack will usually become Zombies themselves at a lower state of activity.
-ZULAYKA [BD, 7/2007] b.1982-d. 5'5" 145 lbs Hr:Black EY:Dark Brown. DANARAKAN woman who was formalized as 'second cousin' to LEVON BINGHAM, and who traveled with him as advisor and trainer in the use of CAT'S-CLAW.
-ZYMANSKI, EMIL 'Mr Vulture' [THHMC, 2012] "The infamous blackmailer had to have passed seventy a year or so earlier. He was thin and bent, visibily hunched over even seated. The bald head was lifted up from where the bent back would otherwise have had him staring down at the floor. Szymanski's sharp protruding nose over a receding chin, the shaggy white eyebrows over mean-spirited blue eyes and the bony hands which clenched and unclenched... the origin of Szymanski's common nickname in the underworld of 'Mr Vulture' was obvious."

"The Final Halloween" (Summary)

"The Final Halloween" (Summary)

These events are referred to many times in the canon, but the story itself never got more further than a few chapters and some scattered scenes. Most of it would now contradict modern stories andf some of the characters appear elsewhere after this event, so rewriting it would be an undertaking I'm not likely to ever get around to actually doing.

At that point, I was still using an electric typewriter hadn't written any new stories in several years and figured this was a hobby I had moved on from, so I decided to wrap things up in an apocalyptic finale that would kill off most of my ongoing heroes and villains. A farewell to them all. (As it happened, a decade later I started writing reviews on the computer and realized how much quicker and easier it would make writing and editing fiction. So everything started up again.)

Set on October 31, 1990, we learn that Quilt (the Patchwork Zombie) has figured out the true purpose behind the ancient ceremonies and beliefs which have survived today as Halloween. He manages to recruit thirteen top menaces (Samhain, Lady Gable, Golgora, that bunch) and brings them to the ruined Nekrosan city of Necropolis, populated only by Zombies and Ghouls which they keep under control by dumping fresh corpses regularly. (It says a lot about how sick Nekrosan culture is that this is their equivalent of Disneyworld.)

Naturally our heroes charge to stop all this. They scatter through the ruins and we have a series of chapters where a hero fights a villain, not always winning. Quilt succeeds in the Final Halloween ritual and a Sulla Chun is actually freed from its prison in the Space Between Spaces. Khang and the Sulla Chun mutually annihilate each other (he says, "This may be the very reason I was brought into being.")

So, during the story the following characters die: Leonard Slade, Khang, Larry Taper, Kwali. Stephen Weaver has his flight ability burned out. Garrison Nebel is critically injured and steps down to reserve membership. Earlier in the year, Chen Wong-Lai died in Chujir and Shiro Mitsuru was tortured so badly he lost his nerve and retired. So it was a low point for the good guys any way you look at it.

Jeremy Bane is more traumatized than he admits. He disbands the KDF. After a month of moping around, he and Cindy decide to spend the next several months trying to occupy themselves with travel, concerts, museum browsing and so forth but remain depressed. Eventually, the Midnight War forces itself on them again and they find themselves going back to normal. In March 1991, he starts taking new cases for the Dire Wolf Agency. It is almost ten years from the Final Halloween before Bane agrees to form a new Second Team.

Glossary C-D

>C
-CABOT, RUSSELL [TCOS, 5/2005] b.1939-d.2005 5'8" 150 lbs Hr: White Ey:BrownLiterary critic dabbling in the Midnight War, he got the sorerer Sagutai enraged enough to send him a death rune. Cabot attempted to trick JEREMY BANE into taking possession of the runes.
-CADGER [HOTS:GI, 2002] Freeloading pal of JACK THE PEG. Although an untrustworthy moocher, Cadger unexpectedly saved both Jack the Peg and JEREMY BANE in a showdown with the HAG OF THE SEAS by turning up with the missing DARTHAN blasting rod. ("He was middle-aged, quite obese with a round stomach and an equally round red-tinged nose that matched. The man had a short bristly mustache under that nose, slitted brown eyes that seemed almost shut and a mournful expression. From the way he was dressed, he had possessed considerable funds at some point... he was wearing grey striped trousers, dress shoes, a white shirt with a knitted silk tie and a dark grey suit jacket. A derby perched well back on his head. But, although the clothes had been expensive and tailored at one point, they were old and threadbare. A button was missing on one jacket sleeve. The shoes were scuffed, one had an instep starting to come loose. It had been a while since that shirt had been pressed or laundered. The soft chin and cheeks had two day's worth of stubble. Evidently, this stranger had come into a long run of bad luck.")
-CALEBDAR [GWTTE, 1999] 1928-1999 5'6" 140lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. MELGAR warlock and master of the THIRD EYE technique. With his daughter MIRUVAR, he came to the world to escape a death sentence on ANDROVAL. Because he mistreated and browbeat her, MIRUVAR stabbed him to death and cut his Third Eye out to appropriate it for herself.
-CALIGARI [TCCFSD, 2009] Name used by Rodolpho Fontana in his crimes.
-CALIGARI PHENOMENON ("The first recorded incident was in 1783. A mounteback calling himself Dr Caligari toured the street fairs of northern Italy with his Somnabulist subject. This was a young man named Cesare, described as thin, pale and unresponsive to the outside world. Reportedly, Cesare had been sleeping since birth and only woke up for short periods under the hypnotic influence of Caligari. When he was briefly conscious, Cesare would tell fortunes and answer questions but his answers always seemed to involve death and disaster. It was later realized that homes had been robbed whenever Caligari was in the area. In one instance, a young woman was kidnapped and found strangled deep in the woods. The first Caligari was never apprehended and wasn't seen again after his summer of terror.
"In 1827, the south of France experienced the same events. A traveling show called 'Dr Caligari's Cabinet of Horror' toured the countryside. In a horse-drawn van, this Caligari exhibited another Somnabulist, also called Cesare. The descriptions are similar but not identifical. This second Caligari was tall and aristocratic, and his Cesare was a redhead. The few experts on crime in that era heard about the traveling show and assumed this was just a charlatan using the name and reputation of the first Caligari. Again, there were robberies and murders wherever Caligari appeared but again he had always moved on before the crimes were discovered."
"The most recent manifestation was in Germany in 1918, at a village called Holstenwall. The same sequence of events as the first two appearances happened but this time Cesare died, apparently from a heart attack or exhaustion. Apparently, the man calling himself Caligari was arrested and placed in an asylum, but that's not clear. Newspaper accounts from that time contradict each other and most of the police documents seem to have been lost or destroyed. One article claims that this Caligari was actually a respected psychiatrist who was not suspected of any crime and it was all a misunderstanding.")
-CALIGARI CENTER FOR SLEEP DISORDERS [TCCFSD, 2009] Research facility near Hawthorne in upstate New York where Dr Rodolpho Fontana studying sleep paralysis and somnabulism.
-CALIYA [QOTHP, 2010] b.1971-d.2010 5'11" 160lbs Hr:Tawny yellow Ey:Green. Queen of the Los Angeles colony of CAT PEOPLE. She was killed by JEREMY BANE in a clash over freeing her HUMAN captives. (""Be fair. Humans keep cats as pets. Let the Cat People keep a few humans as pets. The lucky ones may be called to my bed as the whim strikes me. Perhaps one will be driven up to the north to be let loose for a chase, but humans hunt animals, don't they? We are just keeping a balance.")
-CALLAGAN, JOHN WESTER 'JACK THE PEG' [HOTS:GI, 2002] Weathered sailor and enemy of pirates, witches and bullies. b.1958-d. 5'6" 145 lbs Hr:Dark Blond Ey:Blue. ("Jack the Peg was small, but the gnarly muscles on his bare arms stood out vividly enough to suggest startling strengh. In particular, his large bony hands looked as if they could snap rocks. He was wearing deck shoes, white bell-bottoms and a dark blue pullover with short sleeves. A white captain's cap with black bill was jammed firmly down on his head and he had an unlit pipe sticking out from one corner of his mouth. It was the peg that most drew attention at first, of course. Jack had lost his right leg at the knee and he stood on a plain cylindrical rod of dark wood that was fitted at his stump with a leather cup. Why he did not wear a modern prosthetic in this day and age was a mystery.")

The secret of Jack's unusual strength and toughness was the mintlike herb he grew in the garden behind his small house. He mixed the dried purple leaves of this herb with tobacco and smoked it in his corncob pipe. Whether he knew the full truth or not, he was using an unknown variety of TAGRA, the plant which gave TEL SHAI knights their enhanced healing properties.
-CALLETES [TCS, 2001] b.-d. 6'1' 180lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Amber. Member of the KRASTIDIANS, a family of ELDARIN mutated by exposure to a SULLA CHUN manifestation. Calletes was much taller and more muscular than other Eldarin. His gralic ability enabled him to discharge light and heat from his arms, hot enough to start fires and soften iron.
-CALVERON. 'The Ones Apart' [TDFAGC, 2007; MAW,YMHF, 2009] Originating in the DARTHAN AGE, the Calveron began as Human sorcerers serving the DARTHIM but, as millenia passed, their use of magick changed them. They lived to be three or four hundred years old but did not retain youth and were physical frail. Bearing children was difficult and uncertain. Every century, their numbers dwindled. A Coven led by CORDELIA tried to begin breeding hybrid children with true HUMANS, using AMELIA to marry the unsuspecting DERRICK MANCUSO. The Coven was destroyed by JEREMY BANE and most of its members killed but DERRICK and AMELIA went on to be happy together. Whether they had children or not remained unrevealed.
Calveron did know and use DARTHAN spells but they largely relied on an innate ability to channel gralic force for various effects. They worshipped the HALARIM and often used INVOCATION to call upon DRALDROS for help. Many Calveron posed as Romani or 'Gypsies' to cover up their natures. MEGAN SALENGER and ARCHIE MCALLISTER fought a mother-daughter Calveron pair who had placed fatal curses on three men who had offended them.
-CALVERT, CALVIN [TLTBD, 2010; EPCH, PL, 2019] b.1969-d. 6' 180lbs Hr:Dark Red Ey:Blue. Conspiracy minded blogger and freelance journalist known for many articles in fringe magazines and for his blog WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. Calvert became caught up in MIDNIGHT WAR affairs several times, leading to his working with MEGAN SALENGER and then with JEREMY BANE, although he complicated investigations more than helped. He first learned of the supernatural in 1996 when he worked for the SUN-MIRROR out in Las Vegas, where the Bloodless Corpse murders took place.
-CANOLA SUE [HOTS:GI, 2002] Sailing ship owned by JACK THE PEG, usually docked in SICKLE HARBOR. ("Twenty-four feet long, it had a cabin up front with a sliding door and a hatch in the center of the deck. Near the hatch was a short mast supporting a mainsail and two smaller triangular sails all connected by a hideously complicated network of tarred ropes. Between the hatch and the cabin stood an old-fashioned wheel with wooden spokes.The hull was white with dark green trim, freshly painted, and near the prow was written CANOLA SUE in green block letters.")
-CARNEVALE 'THAT WHICH PURSUETH' [FDR, 2014] 6'3" 160lbs Hr:None Ey:Red. Skin dead white. Wore a black cloak and tight hood which left only the face exposed. Carnevale was roused from his deep slumber by elderly members of RED SECT who wanted him to destroy the FIVE DEAD RIDERS which they had also rousted.
An invisible immaterial spirit by nature, Carnevale only became visible and tangible through an effort of will. In addition to his That Which Pursueth guise, he was capable of appearing as a normal HUMAN wearing typical clothing for the era in which he found himself. In either case, he vanished if his concentration faltered.
Somehow, JEREMY BANE was able to sense the presence of the invisible CARNEVALE as an uneasy feeling of being watched. ("Once, the man called Bane snapped his head around and seemed to be looking right at him, despite the fact that mortal senses could not detect him when insubtantial. Or, at least, mortal senses had never been able to do so before.")
-CAPTAIN CADAVER [CC, 2004] An advanced Vampire who created the guise of a vigilante waging war against drug dealers under the name 'CAPTAIN COURAGE.' This was merely a diversion to keep the authorities from realizing he was actually taking bodies to drain them of blood. The vampire made certain to kill his victims before feeding so that they would not become Undead themselves to give him competition. MEGAN SALENGER and ARCHIE MCALLISTER called the monster 'CAPTAIN CADAVER' and managed to destroy it, although not before Megan had been bitten without lasting effects.
-CAPTAIN COURAGE See CAPTAIN CADAVER
-CAPTIVE. One of the Sulla Chun, mortally injured at the sinking of ULGOR after the CORRUPTION. The Captive was taken prisoner by TOLLINOR KJE to MAROCH. Imprisoned beneath the BURNING PYRAMID, the Captive's gralic force powered Darthan spells for ages.
-CARUSO, JEAN-LOUIS [TUD, 2/2003] Known as PAPA LOUIS b.1938-d.2003 VOODOO Hungan and sorcerer from realm DANARAK, established himself in Florida in a mansion staffed by skilled ZOMBIES. PAPA LOUIS was killed by his own Undead servants through a ruse by JEREMY BANE and ASHLEY WHITAKER.
CARR, SUSAN 'CANOLA SUE' [HOTS:GI, 2002] Longtime girlfriend of JACK THE PEG.
-CASEY STRANGLE See CASEY, BRIAN
-CASEY, BRIAN [FOTUCYES, 2012] b.1985-d. 5'6" 160lbs Hr:Light Blond Ey:Blue. Underworld enforcer and nightclub bouncer. He was known for arms which were thick and sinewy, with long ropy muscles and tendons running from elbow to wrist. The hands were monstrous, twice normal size, thick-fingered and covered with white scars.
-CASSIDY, MARY. [BTCL, 6/1982; TBU, 5/1991; TGU, 7/2016]. First UNICORN. b.1951-d. 5'4" 120lbs Obtained ensorcelled UNICORN horn in 1977. Mother of ASHLEY WHITAKER and grandmother of APRIL WHITAKER, Mary legally changed her last name to 'Whitaker' after Ashley's father but was still known informally in the Midnight War as Mary Cassidy. In 1991, Mary and Ashley were living in a suite on the top floor at 912 71st Street with housekeeper Mrs Duvall. On Ashley's sixteenth birthday, Mary gifted her with the Unicorn horn and mostly retired from the Midnight War. By 2016, Mary had an apartment in the Tribeca neighborhood while Ashley and Cory were living with daughter April in the family estate out on Long Island.
Although Mary claimed she had obtained the horn when it fell naturally off a real Unicorn who died while in her care in OKALI, this explanation seems untrue. Other sources record that the horn was actually very old and had been ensorcelled by the ELDARIN back at the beginning of the DARTHAN AGE. Several of Mary Cassidy's accounts of her past seem contradictory and she may have led a shadier career than she admitted.
CASTAWAY [C, 9/2009] 5'2" 100lbs Hr: White Ey: Light blue. Mysterious being who appeared for one day in September 2009, displayed many unusual powers and departed, taking an unwilling AVATHOR with her. When he returned years later, Avathor claimed to have killed her and escaped but there is no corroboration on this. Castaway appeared to be a teenage girl wearing a white floor-length dress and made ominous statements about an impending doom for the entire world.
-CAT PEOPLE [QOTHP, 2010] Nearly extinct sub-species of SHAPE-SHIFTERS. A Los Angeles warren was ruled by QUEEN CALIYA. She died in the clash with JEREMY BANE to free HUMAN prisoners. Cat People could voluntarily change into an intermediate form marked by retractible claws on fingers and toes, yellow irises with vertical pupils, sharp canine teeth and other visual cues. They were vulnerable to silver weapons.
-CAT'S-CLAW Surviving talon of WAKIMBE in his BLACK LION form, this talisman is six inches long and worn on an ensalir link chain. Its wielder can transform wholly or in part (such as forearms and paws) in the guise of the BLACK LION. In the 1940s, it came into the possession of JACK DENVER, the LION MAN, who only used a small amount of its properties. More recently, the Claw was used by BAKWANGA KWALI and LEVON BINGHAM, also known as Azzalem.
-CELLINI, PAOLO [NEST, 2007] b.-d. 5'7" 145lbs Hr:Bald Ey:Brown ALCHEMIST who recreated modified SABRETOOTHS from modern cats using a PREINCARNATION spell.
-CENTAURS [ROMB, 2014] Unnatural creatures spawned by DARTHAN magic, several hundreds roamed in small herds in OKALI. A few individuals have been found in remote areas of Arizona. ("The creatures were massive. The horse part was the size of a Clydesdale, and from where the withers would be rose the torso of big, muscular Humans. The colors varied widely, mostly shades of brown and white with a few jet black specimens. The Centaurs' faces were broad and brutal, with a flat nose and sunken eyes under a prominent brow ledge. Hair on the head was long, wild and tangled, and neither sex wore any clothing or decorations.")
CHAEL, TEACHER of KUMUNDU at TEL SHAI. b.1876-d. 5'7" 140lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Native of CHUJIR.
-CHAR See CHARLES LEE HOPEWELL
-CHARLIE PANTERA See MIGUEL, CARLOS SAN
-CHASE, JOHN ROBERT b.1742-d. 6' 185lbs Hr:White Ey:Grey Wielder of the GAUNTLET OF JORDYN, Chase was a sorcerer at the upper limits of power a Human can reach. He was also a puppet master who worked behind the scenes and subtly manipulated people into taking roles he thought they should fill.
-CHAT NOIR See BEAUFORT, ALEXANDRINE
-CHIH YAO-YING [TSMOTY, 9/1988] Disciple of THE MANCHURIAN who ran off with many potent talismans including the SKULL MUG OF TI-YUAN.
-CHEN LEE-SUN [TDOM, 1939; BMIC, 1940] b.1915-d.1961 5'9" 175 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. The first DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT and partner of THE STING, 1939-1946. In December 1941, Chen recovered the DRAGON PENDANT from the MOONLIGHT SLAYER, the BRUMAL who had stolen it long ago. With it, he could become unsolid for a few seconds, enough to walk through walls or allow weapons to pass through him harmlessly. This was when he stopped wearing the chaffeur's uniform and made his own masked costume based on the legendary Chinese hero he had already named himself after. Both the Sting and Chen became less active in the postwar years. Chen was murdered by WU LUNG in 1961, but his son CHEN WONG-LAI would grow up to avenge him.
-CHEN WONG-LAI. Known as the second DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT b.1961-d.1990. 5'10" 180lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Son of CHEN LEE-SUN. TEL SHAI KNIGHT and KDF member 1987-1990. In the last year of his life, Chen and TANG MING were lovers, and he left her the DRAGON PENDANT.
In action, Chen wore an all-black Dragon of Midnight uniform based on the one his father had worn decades earlier. The rubber-soled slippers, snug leggings and tunic were the same, with the long sleeved tunic ending in thin cotton gloves. The cowl of the tunic had been drawn up, and under it Chen hid his face behind a full face black mask which was thin as gauze. On the brow of that mask was an outline of a rampant Imperial Dragon in thin white lines.
Chen wore stiff leather cuffs on his wrists, each holding six heavy metal darts. The ones on the left wrist were coded with a blue band. They held the same anesthetic used in the KDF dart guns. The right hand darts had a right band and held a small amount of the explosive used in the resonance grenades. A hit from one would knock down a grown man, probably with a cracked rib and bad bruising. These were his weapons of choice.
Wearing the DRAGON PENDANT, Chen could become unsolid for as long as he could hold his breath. This allowed him to walk through walls or let weapons pass through him harmlessly. Before beginning KUMUNDU study under TEACHER CHAEL, Chen taught himself much of his father's FANG LUNG style from his father's journals.
-CHEVAL [DOQ, 4/1988] True name CORINNE LAMOREAUX. b.1953-d. 5'2" 110lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Green. Teleporter and former freelance agent working with the MANDATE and ADVANCED SECURITY RESEARCH. CHEVAL never became a TEL SHAI KNIGHT or Associate KDF member but JEREMY BANE respected her enough to have her train new KDF members.
Cheval's gralic ability involved teleportation of herself and any small object she could hold, with a range of fifty yards. There was no flash or sound related to her teleporting, which made her activities difficult to follow. For several years, she accepted commissions for INTERCEPT but became quickly disillusioned at the treachery and double-crosses found in espionage. Cheval became interested in the Midnight War and often helped the KDF. She died in 1990 during the FINAL HALLOWEEN.
-CHUJIR Largest and most populous of the ADJACENT REALMS. Chujir is inhabited by people who are said to have been the original ancestors of China's Han people; the DNA and blood type evidence is suggestive if not conclusive.
Chujir is an empire ruled by an Emperor in the Imperial City, with the various provinces run by Governors under watchful eyes. Most of Chujir is temperate forestland well suited for agriculture but there is a dry hot desert to the northwest. Aside from the Imperial stronghold, the largest city is Feng-Gwer at the mouth of the Wing-Hsu River.
Over the past one hundred and fifty years, expeditions of YUGEN warriors from CHYL have established bases on the remoter areas of Chujir and tried to arrange trade exploiting the native peoples. The amazing swordsmanship of Chyl's ZOKU-YA and some potent sorcery have given this attempt success. It was to lead the resistance against the Yugen that CHONG KYU-SUN, known as GOLDEN SUN, moved permanently to Chujir.
Chujir is home of the BLIND ARCHER SECT, small in numbers but highly feared. They buy or adbduct infants of various ethnic types so that they have assassins able to move anywhere. The only Blind Archer currently known to be in the world is TEL SHAI KNIGHT and KDF member JOSEF JUBILEC.
Following the death of CHEN WONG-LAI, TEL SHAI KNIGHT and KDF member TANG MING retired to a small village in the north of Chujir. She teaches martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan and some healing practices.
The curious custom of FENG-LEI has been practiced across the entire empire for generations. At set holidays, Chujirans rub a potion on their faces which slightly soften the bones, then strap a clay mask on tightly for twelve hours. The masks are made with a choice of six different faces. The results are maddening to outsiders, since Chujirans literally look alike. The Chujirans themselves are able to distinguish each other by tiny variations in hair, birthmarks, scars and so forth; in many parts of the Empire, clothing reflects a person's trade or status in small ways.
-CHU-UVIRO [BGOTJ, 1998] Lost City of VEGANORA, guarded by OZARA.
-CHYL Realm inhabited by the YUGEN. Chyl seems to be two large sickle-shaped islands separated by a gulf of choppy seas. Chyl is a kingdom with an absolute monarchy. Most known to other realms are the ZOKU-YA warriors with their exceptional skill and highly prized single-edged slashing swords.
For the past hundred and fifty years, Chyl expeditions have been trying to establish trading outposts in CHUJIR with the real intention of gaining control of the larger nation. GOLDEN SUN has led the resistance movement against these incursions.
The best known YUGEN is the STRAY DOG, ZEMU WATURA, a renegade and outcast who has committed many crimes and atrocities in the other realms and the real world.
-CIRO, TOMMY. b.1935-d. 5'6" 160lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. A messenger and courier working for NYC mobsters, Ciro was used as an informant by JEREMY BANE for several years.
-CIRKOTH. One of the HALARIN, transcendental Spirits serving under HALAR-KOTH. Worshippers asssociate him with the Sky, free will and freedom.
-CLAGTHORN, WILMA JEAN Known as 'DEVIL PIE' [ROPS, 2008] b.1980-d. 6' 185lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. Outspoken young Black American woman involved with the exploits of PROFESSOR SLACK and SPACEY.
-CLAIRE, EVELYN 'Mrs Claire.' [B:PAT, 2009; B:KOTL, 2009] b.1941-d. 6' 190lbs Hr:White, formerly Brown Ey:Blue, glasses with thick lenses. Director of the New York office of INTERCEPT following the death of LIONEL DAVENPORT.
-COBALT JACK [TLBTL, 10/2002] True name never revealed.
-CODY, SUSAN 'Sue' [TMHA, 8/1988] Member of the MONGOOSE CULT 1985-1990. Skilled markswoman and quick-draw expert.
-COGITUS. See SINCLAIR, HERBERT LEWIS.
-COHEN, SIMON [SAS, 1/1982; TWR, 11/1986] b.1932-d.1986 As Human, 5'11" 210lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown/As Stone Man, 7'6" 1100lbs Hr:Black Ey:Amber. A major threat in the Midnight War, Cohen had been a warlock who kept a low profile in his crimes as he mastered the Five Forbidden Arts. In 1981, LEE HUTCHINS accidentally infused him with massive amounts of gralic force, and Cohen mutated into a rocklike body of living silicon. His strength and durability were high enough that he could fight SULAK and even KHANG on an equal basis.
At some point, he assumed control of THOSE WHO REMEMBER, planning to free some of the SULLA CHUN. This would wipe away much life on Earth, but Cohen believed he would survive and rule the survivors. He was stopped and slain in hand to hand combat by Sulak.
("Simon Cohen is not longer a Human being. Much if not all of the carbon which makes up the protein in his body has been changed to silicon carbide by the power of the Stone of TransitionF. We Trom have long believed that silicon-based lifeforms are possible. Cohen is not a naturally-occuring life form but an artificial construct. The creature will be difficult if not nearly impossible to destroy. His outer layer of epithelial cells seem to regenerate in proportion to how they are damaged. He will have high degree of resistance to radiation, temperature extremes, external trauma or poison.")
-COLEGDAR. [TCS, 2001] MELGAR city which was transported bodily to the abandoned realm of KRASTIDES by the mutated ELDARIN who called themselves KRASTIDIANS. Although the KDF SECOND TEAM brought the inhabitants back home to ANDROVAL, the buildings were left behind. Only a month later, the people of ZHEKA were relocated to Colegdar after their own realm was ruined by the stirring of a SULLA CHUN.
-COLLUCHIO, VINCENT [BNB, 11/1979] b.1937-d. 6' 195lbs Hr:Dark Brown Ey:Blue. Sensei of his own Kujin-Ryu style, Colucchio had a low-level degree of telepathy which allowed him to know what move his opponent was going to use just before it was actually begun. This gave him an advantage which made him difficult to fight with any success. Colluchio even defeated JEREMY BANE by catching him off-guard with this ability. Colucchio served WU LUNG by helping to smuggle substances such as rhino horn and tiger blood into the US. His various criminal activities were stopped when Bane captured him thanks to a ruse devised by teammate MICHAEL HAWK. Colucchio's school had an unsavory reputation and was known in local martial arts circles as 'Bad News Budo.'
-COLT, ELIZABETH [TWBTW:U, 1/2006] b.1969-d. 5'8" 115lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Dark Blue Licensed PI and owner of COLT INVESTIGATIONS with her assistant ANGELINA DELGADO. Elizabeth Colt owned and worked out of the small building at 19 Bleeker Street where first MARK DRUM and then KHANG had lived.
Much of the Colt Investigations business came from an online community dedicated to unsolved homicides. There were more than four thousand subscribers offering their opinions. About once a month, someone offered to hire Colt and Delgado to solve a cold case with others chipping in to cover their fee.
-COMMIE BUSTER. See STOCKBRIDGE, MICHAEL.
-CONNOLLY FAMILY. LUCINDA, KENNY and UNCLE TED [PRE, 2/1993] Three clones who survived the destruction of PROJECT REGULUS. Each was based on genetic material unknowingly donated by JEREMY BANE and tweaked to make them female, elderly or childhood stage. Bane felt sympathetic toward them and set them up with new identities so they could lead relatively normal lives.
-CONNOLLY, LUCINDA [PRE, 3/1993] One of the three surviving clones of PROJECT REGULUS. Lucinda was tweaked from genetic material taken from JEREMY BANE so she became female. She was the leader of the Connolly family.
-CONNOLLY, KENNETH 'KENNY' [PRE, 3/1993] One of the three surviving clones of PROJECT REGULUS. Kenny was tweaked from genetic material taken from JEREMY BANE so he emerged at an apparent age of seven.
-CONNOLLY, THADDEUS 'UNCLE TED' [PRE, 3/1993] One of the three surviving clones of PROJECT REGULUS. Ted was tweaked from genetic material taken from JEREMY BANE so he emerged at the apparent age of seventy.
-COPPER-HAIR [CH, 1882] 5'8" 135 lbs Hr:Auburn Ey:Green. An incarnation of KARINA, she was active in the southwestern United States in the 1880s as a bounty hunter and adventurer. Her main weapon was a sawed-off shotgun with a barrel only fifteen inches long and no stock at all, which she weilded like a pistol. She also possessed the advanced martial art skill and impenetrable skin of all Karina incarnations.
-CORDELIA 'Cordelia Giles.' [MAW,YMHF, 2009] b.1612-d.2009. 4'10" 75lbs Hr:White Ey;Blue. Matriarch of a Coven of CALVERON operating in the New York City area. She pressured her daughter AMELIA to marry a true HUMAN, DERRICK MANCUSO, in an attempt to breed children as the CALVERON had trouble reproducing among themselves. Despite her formidable gralic abilities, she was defied and destroyed by Amelia.
-CORMAC [WACUTM, 7/1969] A TARGHUL companion and aide to MAEVE THE SEER during the 1950s and 1960s. Cormac was an unliving construct of hard leather armor, animated by gralic force. He had a basic intelligence slightly below Human normal level. His two brethren were Targhuls composed of iron and of granite.
-CORNISH, GRACE [WOR, 2012] b.1983-d. 5'7" 130lbs Hr:Dark Blonde Ey:Blue. Glasses with noticeable prescription. MANDATE researcher and field agent, she had knowledge of THOSE WHO REMEMBER. She accompanied JEREMY BANE in the encounter that resulted in JEAN-GEORGES BOUCHARD's death.
-COSTIGAN, KARI and PERRY [NECTN, 2018] b.1999-d. 5'10" Cousins who became companions to the TRAVELER. ("Everyone thought Perry and Kari Costigan were twins, but actually they were cousins born to sisters who actually were twins. Kari and Perry had been born a week apart in the same hospital. Both cousins were about five feet ten, thin and a bit coltish at nineteen. Both had curly reddish-brown hair, dark green eyes and long narrow faces with upturned noses. They could wear each other's clothes and sometimes did.")
-CROSSWELL, FRED. Escaped convict who was suspected by JEREMY BANE of later turning up in the guise of PROFESSOR SLACK.
-COUGAR JONES See JONES, DOUGLAS
-CREST, HOLDEN [TMFIA, 8/2006; B:KOTL, 2009] b.1975-d. 6' 200 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown Top Enforcement Agent for the New York office INTERCEPT beginning in 1998. He worked with JEREMY BANE several times.
-CROFT, HAROLD [JAC, 11/1993] Leader of espionage unit STRATEGIC INTERVENTION GROUP.
-CROSS, HENRY WILSON Known as 'BLEAK' b.1934-d.2015 5'9" 160 lbs Hr:Blonde, turning white Ey:Blue. He had been a Roman Catholic priest until his family was killed by Lord Julian Gable. That destroyed his faith and he left the clergy. For years, Bleak became a vampire hunter himself but eventually he stepped down to observe and report on Midnight War activity to current TEL SHAI KNIGHTS, notably JEREMY BANE. In 2015, Bleak was killed and briefly revived as a zombie by the RESURRECTOR and his body destroyed in an explosion.
BLEAK'S MANSION: A fortress fitted with many traps to destroy the Undead. ("waist-high stone wall that ran around the estate. High wrought-iron gates stood open, and a gravel driveway led up to a huge four-story mansion that sat up on the hill. Small lamposts cast subdued light along the driveway. The huge front door was seven feet high, flanked by carved wooden pillars, with a bronze knocker and the name plate CROSS. Two lights were on in cast iron settings over that door.") Traps included automatic stake-throwing machinery activated when floor panels were stepped on, a life-sized marble statue of Jesus, running water in troughs and a chandedlier which blazed full spectrum light which affected vampires as sunlight did.
-CULVER, CHARLES [MWFQ, 2001] b.1983-d.2002. 5'8" 180lbs Hr:Black Ey:Brown. American who animated the cursed Mummmy AKHBET with his lifeforce. When JEREMY BANE broke their connection , Culver went into a comatose state from which he died several months later.
-CULVER, EZRA [MWFQ, 2001] b.1929-d.2001 6'1" 260lbs Hr:White Ey:Brown. Disciple of MENEKARTES, he arranged to have the cursed Mummy of AKHBET smuggled into Manhattan. Culver used his grandson CHARLES to animate the monster, resulting in the doom of all three when JEREMY BANE intervened. Ezra Culver was killed when he tried to seize Bane from behind during the fight with Akhbet.
-CUKAN [TCITA] KULAN demon from FANEDRAL, sent on foray to Manhattan. Defeated by KARINA and dispatched home by GARRISON NEBEL.
-CYRINKYL. "Star-snow." Fine gold dust infused with gralic force by the ELDARIN, Cyrinkyl weakened living beings to the point of being unable to move for a period of time up to a day or so. It also dampened malevolent gralic force to nullify spells and rendered talismans harmless. When they had to defend themselves, Eldarin preferred to use Cyrinkyl. JEREMY BANE inherited a small amount from KENNETH DRED, which he used sparingly.

>D
-DAMOZAR Father of the GHOULS. He was a sorcerer who attended the CORRUPTION on ULGOR at the beginning of the DARTHAN AGE. Damozar learned a life-drinking spell which was a lesser variant of the VAMPIRISM SPELL. Cultists using this spell who ate Human flesh for several years began to metamorphize into GHOULS.
-DAMOZAR [BBS, 10/2000] A modern GHOUL who took the name of the original DAMOZAR. In October 2000, he was killed by ASHLEY WHITAKER and MEGAN SALENGER after trying to capture them.
-DANARAK Nation existing partly in the real world of West Africa and in its own ADJACENT REALM. Danarak had a history stretching back to the Darthan Age. The modern nation was a fairly successful and stable country on the west coast of Africa, mostly farmland with some mining and manufacturing, but within its borders was an area with easy access to the adjacent realm also called Danarak. This was where great sorcerers like AREM KAMENDE had come from, where the WAKIMBE CLAW traditions centered, where the strangling cult of the NIGHT GORILLAS was strongest. The most widely spoken language is JUFARI. One notable town was HONJABI, where the interface with the adjacent realm began.
Notable DANARKANS included AREM KAMENDE, BAKWANGA KWALI, SAMUEL WATESA and NJIMI SHAMBASI.
-DANARMYL [SOTRS, 12/1999] Known as 'Subterrans' and 'Children of Margoth.' A Variant offshoot of HUMANS, the Danarmyl were modified by DARTHAN KJES for life in caverns far beneath the surface. They were reclusive and seldom interacted with other Races.
Danarmyls average height, weight and lifespan were within normal Human limits. They had hairless skin of a tough leathery texture and bright crimson in color. Bony ridges encircled the cheeks and brow, two short curved horns extended up on temples of adults. Normal skin temperature was at 200 degrees F but could surge up to 600 degrees under stress.
Danarmyl wore minimal clothing, mostly loinclothes and mantles of asbesto fibers. They used sophisticated stone tools and when fighting relied on tridents.
-DANDELION See DZUBENKO, MIKA
-DANOMEDE [TCS, 2001] b.-d.2001. One of the KRASTIDIANS, brother of YLVATAR. Danomede was like the rest of his family an ELDAR who had been mutated by exposure to a SULLA CHUN event. He did not demonstrate whatever abilities he had gained before he was killed by JOHNNY PACKARD.
-DARK CLOUD Organization founded by AREM KAMENDE as a strike force for looting and extortion to gain wealth. Its members consisted of VENOM, HARAK THE DAMNED, MALACODA, JOTUN OF TAURON and ZEMU WATURA. Like its successor, the LEAGUE OF PREDATORS, DARK CLOUD suffered from in-fighting and treachery, making its existence short-lived.
-DARTHIM. One of the SEVEN RACES, distorted by DRALDROS in mockery of the ELDARIN.
-DAVENPORT, LIONEL [TMFIA, 8/2006;B:TPL, 2009] b.1935-d.2009 5'9" 190 lbs Hr:Dark Brown Ey:Brown Former OSS agent. Director of INTERCEPT, 1972-2009. Killed by a brainwashed NICHOLAS PRYSHEPA.
-DAWN FOLK See ALMADIM.
-DEAD ONE [TCBTC, 2013] Corpse of an OBANCHU kept by the people of Kingdom of Tamberlet, the City Beneath the City. Exposure to its presence changed and mutated them.
-DEATH DRUM [FCWOVD, 4/1978] Talisman brought from DANARAK by sorcerer ADOBELE. When young jazz musician CHET WILKINS fell under its malignant influence, he committed the 'Forehead Murders' before being killed by JEREMY BANE, KATHERINE WHEATLEY and SAMUEL WATESA. The drumhead was bound with tanned human skin, marked by a symbol which had been a tattoo.
-DEE NILE See WITT, DIANA
-DELGADO, ANGELINA [TWBTW:U; 1/2006; RF] b.1984-d. 5'2" 115lbs Hr:Black Ey:Dark Brown. Licensed PI, assistant to ELIZABETH COLT.
-DEMIS BAR [CDW, 3/1981] b.1923-d.1981 6'5" 300lbs Hr:Black Ey:Black. Warlord of Ulgor, a gigantic warrior who was ordered to put down the secession of some GELYDRIM in forming the state of NEW ULGOR. With a handful of Gelydra lieutenants, Demis led a vast number of OTHER-MEN. He was slain in a duel with ATRON KE. ("Demis Bar was immense, perhaps six feet five and muscled like a blacksmith, with a deep chest and massive arms. He wore trousers of the rough sharkhide but was bare from the waist up. A carved pendant of walrus ivory hung around his neck, and he wore a crown seemingly crafted from red coral which left his brutal face exposed. Under heavy brows, his eyes were black and cold, and he had a wide lipless mouth. The leader of the Ulgor army wielded a metal axe with a double-edged head, which he swung lightly. It was coated with fresh blood and blood was also splashed over his chest and arms.")
-DEMRAK JIN [BTB, 11/2006; FKC, 8/2007; KOTS, 10/2007; further] b.1987-d. 5'3" 110 lbs Hr: White Ey: Dark Blue. A GELYDRA exiled from ULGOR. Associate member of KDF THIRD TEAM 2013- but not accepted at TEL SHAI. Romantic relationship with GALVAN, 2015-. Jin was a lesser princess of the ULGOR royal family, not high up in the line of succession but still forced to flee after a palace coup. Seeking refuge on the surface, she became an assistant to DR VITARIUS in early 2006. When Vitarius went mad as a result of his rejuvenation, Demrak Jin was forced to slay him to save the life of JEREMY BANE and Bane repaid her by taking her under his care. Eventually, Jin became an Associate Member of the KDF THIRD TEAM. Because TEL SHAI turned her down as a student, she could not become a full member. Demrak is the family name, Jin her personal name in the Ulgor system of nomenclature.
In May of 2019, Jin gave birth to a boy DEMRAK POL, who was biologically a Gelydra despite having been fathered by the Melgar Galvan.
In addition to being able to breathe in open air or underwater, Jin was stronger and faster than any Human her size, as well as more resistant to harm. She had been taught fencing and unarmed combat beginning at puberty, and was able to meet most opponents in the Midnight War on equal footing.
Jin preferred to wear a long-sleeved tunic and trousers of sharkhide with the rough denticles on the outside. Her weapon of choice was a long knife with a three foot blade she crafted herself of bone from an unidentified animal, as well as a cuff of walrus ivory on her left forearm for blocking strikes.
In her rooms on the third floor of the KDF building, Jin had replaced the shower stall in her bathroom with an old-fashioned cast-iron bathtub coated with porcelain. She slept completely submerged in this tub most nights. On her days off, she drove out to Long Island to fill gallon jugs with seawater. This routine kept her healthy when she spent so much time in the open air.
-DEMRAK POL. b.2019-d. Son of GALVAN and DEMRAK JIN, first known offspring of MELGAR and GELYDRA parents.
-DEMRAK SUM b.1903-d. 6'3" 280lbs Hr:Blond Ey:Blue. GELYDRA warlock and ranking member of the Ruling Council of ULGOR. Sum was second cousin to KDF member DEMRAK JIN; they knew each other but were not close.
-DENEB ONE. [PRI:TPB, 11/1988; PRIV:TCONL, 12/1991] b.- 5'7" 115 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. Sole survivor of the dozens of Deneb clones, she escaped the destruction of PROJECT REGULUS to live on the run with her fellows SIRIUS, ARCTURUS, RIGEL and ANTARES. The Deneb class were designed to serve as records-keepers and archivists but they had also been tweaked for good looks and sexual attractiveness for use against outsiders.
-DENVER, JONATHAN 'JACK' [LOTPM, 9/1944] Known as LION MAN. b.1918-d.1949 6' 185lbs Hr:Blonde Ey:Lambent Green. Reporter for the NEW YORK MESSENGER who found the CAT'S-CLAW in 1940. With no training or information, he never learned to use the talisman to best effect. Instead of becoming the full BLACK LION, he transformed into a bipedal leonine form that stood up on its hind legs, with a lion head and paws but sort of human legs and arms. He was bulletproof and incredibly strong and resistant to harm.
After the outbreak of WW II, Denver was asked by the War Department to work more openly with other heroes such as MARK DRUM, SULAK and THE STING. He began to wear a colorful costume with a mask resembling a lion's upper face, as well as gloves which resembled lion paws. In 1949, he was found dead with no signs of violence and the Cat's-Claw went missing for many years.
-DEVIL LIGHTS [DLITS, 9/1994] Series of advanced disc-shaped aircraft devised by JOHN GRIM using stolen TROM technology. Reported over Virginia as 'flying saucers.'
-DEVIL PIE See CLAGTHORN, WILMA JEAN.
-DINSDELL [TWWOZ, 1987] An ORUL who made a rare appearance in the real world to meet social with the KDF.
-DIRE WOLF AGENCY. Established in 1981 when JEREMY BANE obtained his Private Investigator license from the City and State of New York. While the KDF was active, he only took occasional cases during slack periods. Beginning in 1992, he put the agency on a full time basis. It was located in the front office of KDF HEADQUARTERS until 2001, when Bane moved it to an office building at 40th Street and Third Avenue. He retired and closed the Agency in 2015.
-DIVULGER [TSEC, 2/1943] ZHUNE artifact partially powered up by EGIL SHOGREN. Its effects made people lose inhibitions about privacy and feel a compulsion to reveal what they most wanted to keep secret.
-DJINN [JOTD, MFG] Intelligent beings composed of gralic energy, of uncertain origins, dating back at least to the DARTHAN AGE. Djinn could be imprisoned against their will or bound to a Human master of sufficient knowledge. There are those who believe both the RED SPECTRE and Timothy Limbo's CASPERS are variations of Djinns.
-DOC VALENTINE [YKWCIDY, 1880; TPOV, 1943; DVAHPB, 2003] b.1838?-d. 5'10" 265lbs Hr:Blond going white Ey:Blue. Protruberant red nose. Infamous con artist and grifter who in some unexplained way was active in the late 19th Century Old West, in the WW II era and in the late 20th-early 21st Century NYC. In 2003, the fast-talking Doc Valentine befriended and used a shape-changing creature named BOGUS to commit low-level robberies.
-DOMINCETTI, FULVIO [PBA, 8/1997] Known as SERAPH. Top hired gun and mercenary, rival of and sometimes reluctant partner of JOB. Tricked by JEREMY BANE into incriminating position so both he and JOB could arrested and prosecuted.
-DON COYOTE [MFG, 10/2012] Career grifter and con artist, caught up in struggle over possession of the jar holding the Djinn AFIFA.
-DR KOBAL [TRODK, 2001] Real name ULAMON b.-d.2001 5'8" 360lbs Hr:Black Ey:Green. One of the SPEAKING APES of OKALI who learned sorcery from a DARTHA, Dr Kobal participated in the Midnight War in a minor way, preferring to keep a low profile. For the years 1961 through 1965, he wandered with an aide named SCOTTY LANSDALE. He did help the KDF in a major battle against AREM KAMENDE. Aging and arthritic, he trained a disciple Kobal named YANDERE to eventually replace him; unfortunately, the Darthan rite of passage for a warlock demanded the student slay his teacher. Trying to offer a substitute for his own life, Ulamon attempted murdering JEREMY BANE, who was forced to kill him. Yandere officially became the new Dr Kobal.
Both Ulamon and Yandere were heavily concealed when they entered the real world. They wore oversized brogans, a heavy wool suit and a ground-length cloak with a scarf wrapped around their faces and a wide-brimmed slouch hat pulled low so nothing could be seen of their true appearances. ("Dr Kobal had thick bristly black fur, dark tan skin and deepset green eyes under the brow ledge. He was not exactly identical to a true gorilla, since he lacked the sagittal crest and his chin was more pronounced. The Kobalim of Okali also had a different hip structure than true gorillas, allowing them to stand upright more easily, and their thumbs were long and dextrous as a Human's.")
Dr Kobal's abilities were derived from Darthan knowledge and tended to be harsh and damaging to others. He could fly with a top speed able to overtake a fleeing car. He threw destructive slashes of gralic force which acted like blades to sever victims. With warding gestures, he was able to deflect gralic bolts or mundane weapons. Kobal never learned healing spells and his protective powers were limited to defending himself and anyone directly next to him from attack. Although he had no martial arts training, his apelike strength made him a terrible opponent.
-DR SABBATH [TOP, 4/1993] Real name unrevealed. b.1946- 6'2" 230lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Light Brown Dr Sabbath was the name used by a serial killer who posed for a year as one of his victims, CAMERON ECKHART. After the Tournament of Psychos where he competed with SAMHAIN and PANTERA, Dr Sabbath was captured by both JEREMY BANE and CINDY BRUNNER, found incompetent by reason of insanity and placed in pyschiatric care for life.
-DOPPELGANGERS [TDTCTM, 1/1978] Visually identical duplicates of specific people, created by DRALDROS and sent from FANEDRAL to infiltrate Maybrook, NY. The assault was stopped by JEREMY BANE and CINDY BRUNNER in their first meeting.
-DORSETT, RICHARD MOORE -'The SLAUGHTERMAN' [SM, 2008] 6'2" 220lbs Hr:Dark Brown Ey:Brown. Deranged killer who was under a DARTHAN spell which fed him extra vitality and longevity from his victims. Every time he was free, Slaughterman committed many brutal murders as he could, without planning or intention to avoid arrest. Often captured but often escaping, Slaughterman experienced a progressive loss of intelligence which left him not much more than a predatory beast. By 2008, he was incapable of speech or driving a car. JEREMY BANE stranded him thousands of miles deep in the interior of ANTARCTICA.
-DOS MANOS See RAUL GARCIA LUPEZ
-DOUBLERS [DON, 2001] Nonliving constructs of crystalline substance, animated by gralic force to mimic life functions. Doublers did not breathe or produce body heat. Their thought processes were erratic and unpredictable, with a strong random element that made their speech often impossible to follow. Odd rhetorical questions were mixed with incomprehensible jumbled sentences. Their skin was a dead lifeless grey with blue lips and fingernails, hair was stiff and wiry, the eyes moved in different directions. Doubler voices were high and as squeaky as if the Doublers had been inhaling helium.
They were a threat because they believed they were in fact the KDF members they resembled. They retained enough memories of the originals to be able to enter the headquarters building and to steal the CORBY. Since their bodies were as dense and hard as quartz, blows from the Doublers were deadly.
The Doublers were a creation of the team of POLTRONIS, an ALCHEMIST who had studied under MELCHIUS for seventy years, and DR PARK HYU-SHIN, who had obtained research notes from PROJECT REGULUS. They could not obtain satisfactory results. Following the KDF members around in public for months, Poltronis and Dr Park obtained enough DNA from a strand of hair or an abandoned half-eaten sandwich to create Doublers in the likenesses of SABLE, UNICORN and JOSEF JUBILEC. After the two creators could not add needed Alchemical serums, the Doublers disintegrated. The Ashley-likeness one's last words were, "It wasn't much of a life... but I'm glad I had even that."
-DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT
-DRAGON PENDANT - Ancient talisman which enabled its holder to become insubstantial as long as a breath could be held. Suspended on a fine-linked ensalir chain, it was a flat golden figure shaped like a rampant Imperial Dragon but with the body shorter and more manlike than most traditional representations. The Dragon Pendant passed from CHEN LEE-SUN to his son CHEN WONG-LAI and from him to his lover TANG MING.
Like the CAT'S-CLAW, the Dragon Pendant had a gralic charge which blurred photographs and made video images grainy and unreadable.
-DRAGONWING [DOQ, 4/1988; TSMO, 9/1988] Named after the original vehicle driven by CHEN LEE SUN, a black Lincoln Continental that was extensively modified by LEONARD SLADE with armor panels, advanced communications and weapons systems, to help the new DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT, CHEN WONG-LAI. The Dragonwing did not have an internal combustion engine but ran on A small Trom impulse engine like the ones which power the CORBYs. It did not need to be recharged for years after its construction.
The vehicle was more than bulletproof, a cannon shell would be needed to breach it. It had smoke screen and tear gas dispensers. The headlights were polarized so anyone outside will not see lights on. On a straight dry surface, the Dragonwing's top speed was limited only by the driver's reflexes.
-DRALDROS "The Dread One.' One of the HALARIM, transcendental Spirits under ENAS-GOTH. Draldros ruled the ADJACENT REALM of FANEDRAL.
-DRALESCU 'Baron Dralescu' [POD, 2008] b.1544-d.1598, Undead thereafter. Destroyed 2008 6' 140lbs Hr:None Ey:Red. One of the VAMPIRE LORDS ruling in Eastern Europe, he came to New York to confront NANCY SINISTER. Destroyed by JEREMY BANE. ("Baron Dralescu was an all-out horror. There was no hair on his head, not even eyebrows. A long beaky nose extended from a bony face in which two red-irised eyes glowed visibly. The ears rose to sharp points and, as he grinned at her, two long canines gleamed in the darkness. Dralescu was wrapped in a dark robe of thick material, with a high collar and a gold-linked chain which held a round amulet. The ancient Undead raised a skeletal hand with nails so long and sharp they were weapons in themselves.")
-DREAMSLAVERS [TTTDNS] HUMANS with a psychic ability to make sleeping people act out mental orders like puppets. Deeply entranced, the victims were unaware of the experience and puzzled or frightened by evidence left on their bodies when they awoke. A brother and sister pair of Dreamslavers were challenged by JEREMY BANE and forced to kill themselves.
-DRED, KENNETH b.1900-d.1979 5'9" 165;bs Hr:Brown, later Grey. Ey:Brown. Scholar and hero of the MIDNIGHT WAR, Dred only briefly took active roles in combat as a young man. Most of his life was spent accumulating knowledge, gathering his vast library for research and sponsoring heroes. He purchased the house on East 38th Street in New York from DR VITARIUS in 1937, where three succeeding generations of TEL SHAI KNIGHTS assembled. Dred's most significant achievement was winning the trust and respect of JEREMY BANE, who inherited the old man's wealth and belongings and who founded the KENNETH DRED FOUNDATION.
-DRUM IN THE NIGHT. Unauthorized biography of MARK DRUM, 1954. All copies were supposed to be destroyed by court order but some survive.
-DRUM, MARK b.1908-d.1957 6'4" 225 lbs Hr:Black Ey:Grey. BLUE GUIDE, KNIGHT OF TEL SHAI. During WW II, he often teamed with SULAK, the STING and THE DRAGON OF MIDNIGHT as well as others. Although a Blue Guide healer, Drum also mastered KUMUNDU and often fought his opponents on a physical level.
In 1946, he married SONIA PETROV, daughter of his bitter enemy IGOR PETROV, THE RED BLADE.
Drum owned a two-story white building at 19 Bleeker Street which was later occupied by KHANG and then by the Colt Investigations agency run by ELIZABETH COLT.
In the summer of 1957, Drum went into a house where a supposed warlock was hiding and a bomb went off which wrecked half the house. The structure had to be demolished. No trace of Mark Drum was ever found and he was never seen in public again. His wife Sonia was pregnant at the time and, a few weeks later, she herself disappearerd. Drum was actually taken by JOHN ROBERT CHASE to the Order of TEL SHAI, where his ruined body was kept alive until he was resurrected as KHANG in 1979.
-DRUM, SONIA. [AOTBC, 1957] b.1931-d.1957 5'10" 120lbs Hr:Black Ey:Blue. Daughter of Russian sorcerer IGOR PETROV and wife of MARK DRUM, Sonia disappeared while pregnant and due to deliver in October 1957. There is a gravestone in the cemetery near the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston NY with her name and dates, as well as a smaller stone which reads PAUL DRUM 1957. This seems to indicate she died in childbirth, but there is no conclusive evidence of this and more convincing misdirections have been done.
Many in the Midnight War suspected that JEREMY BANE was actually the son of Mark and Sonia Drum, because of his date of birth, orphaned childhood and resemblance to the alleged father. He seemed to resent the idea and became angry when it was brought up.
-DUFFY, STUART [LOP, 5/2000;SC 8/2000;NOSH] 6'9" 430 lbs Rogue Sumo with powers of increased density and strength.
-DUNLOP, FERGUS See FERGUS
-DURAN [KOMB, 8/2014] Known as 'Lord of the Lost Realm.' 5'10" 165lbs Hr:Dark Blond Ey:Amber. Golden skin, pointed ears. Amnesiac ELDAR Prince (son of ELZULANG) with immense strength and resilience at MELGAR Champion level, DURAN ruled the realm of OKALI by force. He was helped by his pet GRIFFIN called LITTLE FRIEND.
-DURGAN [TBWDL, 1880] b.1809-d.1880 6'3" 270lbs Hr:Brown Ey:Brown. MELGAR bodyguard hired to accompany the ELDAR woman EMBAR on her search for her brother ALMEK. All three died violently because of the cursed sword HELLSPAWN.
-DUVINA [SOTASE, 6/2009] MYRRWHAN mystic who led the SISTERHOOD OF THE ALL-SEEING EYE. She established the cult in the real world in 2009 but was stopped by KARINA and JEREMY BANE.
-DWARVES [TSOS, 5/1987] One of the COUSINS OF MEN, a reclusive Race seldom seen outside of their adjacent realm GAMULKOR. Most adults were barely five feet tall but wide and heavily muscled. Their proportions were not quite right, with the trunk too large and the head too big but this was normal for the Race. They were not normal dwarfs, that is Humans with a medical condition. Dwarves were the ancient Race that the afflicted humans took their name from. Nearly all of them were killed by YFEL in November 2000.
-DZUBINKO, MIKA Known as DANDELION [BHNH 9/2006; B:PAT and B:KOTL, 4/2009; ETT 6/2016] b.1975-d. Hr:Platinum Blonde Ey:Dark Blue. Professional assassin and mercenary with uncanny marksmanship beyond normal HUMAN capability, Dandelion was a rejected TEL SHAI student. She often played groups like STIGMA and INTERCEPT against each and had an uneasy relationship with former friend JEREMY BANE. Over the years, as she carried out contracts on innocent civilians, she became increasingly harder and more callous until Bane regarded her as just another villain.
Although she was skilled with many types of firearms, Dandelion preferred small Walther P22s with silencers she crafted herself. The low muzzle velocity was more than compensated by her unnatural accuracy. Normally, she carried two of these pistols in holsters built into her jackets and coats, with a third horizontal across the small of her back. She also toted a two-shot derringer in her right boot.
She often drove canary-yellow Maseratis, owned a chateau by Lake Geneva and could be found at European casinos.

"A Storm of Steel" (synopsis)

"A Storm of Steel"

4/3-4/10/1984

[This was a lengthy story which I'm not likely to rewrite and revise to fit it into the modern canon. Forty single-spaced typed pages with almost no margins, it's really violent with a lot of emphasis on both Asian martial arts and advanced Western weaponry in drawn-out battles. The prominence of John Robert Chase as a well-known fighter in the Midnight War is also incompatible as he has since been depicted as a mysterious seldom-seen puppet master working behind the scenes. There are many other contradictions, such as John Grim being an accomplished telepath.
In the original manuscripts, "A Storm of Steel" introduced Andrew Steel and Shiro Mitsuru to the main narrative. Originally, I intended to keep them in their own little universe and wrote a novel PLAYING AT WAR and a few short stories. But this was resolved by placing the Steel tales in the 1960s and early 1970s, earlier than the main narrative of Jeremy Bane.
Finally, the writing style is so dense and clumsy that I'm embarrassed myself by re-reading it now. But this story DID take place in the Midnight War series, and its events are sometimes referred to. So here is a synopsis to keep the details straight.]

In 1984, John Grim was tricked by the KDF into a war with the rival empire of Wu Lung. Jeremy Bane had planned this for months. He divided his KDF team and their allies Andrew Steel and Shiro Mitsuru into two strike groups. The group disguised as Wu Lung henchmen attacked a John Grim outpost, while those posing as John Grim soldiers attacked a Wu Lung facility, both strikes causing loss of life. Already suspicious of each other after an earlier confrontation, Grim and Lung launched full scale war against each other which ended in disaster for both crimelords. The forces of the Grim organization used technology stolen from the Trom: small two-man attack helicopters, troops wearing motorized armor and armed with hand-held multiple-barreled cannons. The army of Wu Lung relied on traditional weapons of bows and spears and swords, but they were accompanied by winged Garmiri Dragons, semi-intelligent spiders big as dogs and the Burning Bats. The slaughter was horrendous on both sides. Wu Lung lost vast amounts of men and materials, and was forced to flee as a fugitive for several years.

John Grim suffered a more severe and fitting punishment. He had secretly abducted Cindy's parents Henry and Greta Brunner before the clash began and was keeping them in a cell at his headquarters. Grim had been trying to kidnap the KDF members' loved ones but the Brunners were the only ones he could locate. An explosion from a grenade mislaunched by Grim's own men killed them both while Cindy was almost within sight of them. The trauma of picking up their minds being snuffed out made her unleash her full powers in a widening blast of telepathic force which stunned everyone for a mile around into senselessness and ended the battle. Targeted specifically to that brain blast from Cindy Brunner at close range, Grim was reduced to a vegetative state for years; even after his physical recovery, he was never quite the same again.

Following the battle, Cindy spent much of that year at Tel Shai, healing and being counseled by her Teacher Anulka. She only took part in a few KDF missions, mostly as support and on monitor duty. Cindy eventually learned to cope with the deaths of her parents. Her grief was channeled into helped other victims of the Midnight War, this would be her major role for the rest of her life.

In 1988, Grim's legal team managed to get him transferred to a private facility, and during this procedure, the ambulance was hijacked, the EMTs shot dead and Grim taken away by his lieutenants. His next project was the capture and dismantling of Andrew Steel ("The Madness of John Grim," 1989). Doing this opened up huge amounts of Trom secrets and the Grim organization soon after developed Megavac, another one-time Artificial Intelligence Project.

When Bane and Cindy met the crimelord again in 1994 ("Devil Lights In the Sky"), John Grim had visibly deteriorated. ("When they had last clashed, John Grim had been a handsome, tall blond man with almost movie star good looks. Now he looked withered and thirty years older. His cheeks had sunken and his hair was thin and lank. The deepset eyes bulged unhealthily, bloodshot and staring.") By the end of the next year, Grim had died of multiple organ failure including both kidneys, Following Grim's death in 1995, his only son Alexander took over both the business organization and the crime network but at a reduced level of innovation, which he maintained for twenty years.

Wu Lung had been luckier. He escaped unhurt to quickly re-establish his empire through his network of lieutenants. Within a few years, he was secure enough to hold another of his infamous Tournaments.. which ended in the death of his body at the hands of Chen Wong-Lai.

"Kamikaze Bugs"

"Kamikaze Bugs"

9/2/2013

I.

At one-thirty in the morning, Sheng sat at his desk and watched Uncle Pao go through his Tai Chi form. The old man moved smoothly around the center of the office in white-stockinged feet, having left his shoes by his own smaller desk off to the side. Only five foot three and not much over a hundred pounds, Pao slowly went through the pushing and swiveling motions without any apparent stiffness or strain. He had started Tai Chi as a teenager and seldom missed going through the form at least once a day. At seventy-five, he still walked without a cane and went up and down stairs with confidence. His last annual physical had produced approval from his doctor.

Careful not to make any sudden motion or noise that might be distracting, Sheng Mo-Yuan smiled at the familiar sight. Uncle Pao was not really his uncle of course; coming from the adjacent realm of Chujir, Sheng had no relatives in this real world. But the coincidence of their last names had been enough for Pao to insist on attaching himself to Sheng and working in the FIST FOR HIRE office. To be honest, Sheng had quickly become fond of the cantankerous old man and he realized he himself had been lonely for some sort of family here. His KDF teammates were great, he valued their friendship, but Uncle Pao was culturally and tempramentally so much like the people of Chujir...

Their detective agency kept the unusual hours of 12 AM to 9 AM because Sheng had found that this was when his clients were most likely to be in desperate need of help. The Midnight War was well named. That hour was when creatures of the night stalked the dingy alleys and poorly lit back streets of lower Manhattan as they had menaced Humans since the beginning of time.

As Pao went over to sit down at his own desk and started lacing on his shoes again, he glanced over at Sheng. >"You see,"< he said in Cantonese, >"If Americans only had the discipline of Tai Chi Chuan, they would not all carry bellies that seem ready to give birth to twins."<

"I can't argue with that," Sheng replied. "I only hope I am as flexible as you when I reach your age, uncle. You move like a teenager."

Taking up his copy of the Chinese-language newspaper THE WORLD off his desk, Pao rustled its pages more noisily than seemed necessary. He tried not to show it, but the compliment pleased him immensely. "Ehh. Last night saw no customers for your agency, and tonight seems unfortunately to be as quiet. This does not put money in your savings account."

"Something always turns up..." Sheng began but paused. Two floors below, the street door of the Hartwicke Building had slammed and he heard rapid footsteps coming up the stairs. "Hah! What did I tell you?"

"No divorce cases, please," Uncle Pao told him sternly. "Too much crying and bad language."

"What?! When have I ever taken a divorce case?" Sheng stood and straightened the jacket of his tan suit, then adjusted the dark brown tie. He liked dressing well and had his suits tailored to fit perfectly. Although he didn't mention it to anyone, lately Sheng had been buying dress shoes a size larger than what he normally wore and putting two-inch heel lifts inside them. At five feet five, he had been of average height back in Chujir but here in New York City he too often felt at a psychological disadvantage dealing with six-footers.

Through the open office door, a slender woman about twenty poked her head in as if expecting to be yelled at. She said, "Excuse me? Sorry for coming here so late, but you ARE Mr Argent? This is the Argent Detective Agency?"

"Please, come right in," Sheng said, motioning for her to enter. "Actually, my name is Sheng Mo-Yuan and this is my Uncle Pao. These are the hours we keep, so you're welcome to come in. Can we help you?"

"Oh I do hope so." She spun back around to stare at the hallway behind her, the long curly black hair swinging in her wake. Her dark eyes fixed on Sheng like magnets. "I hope I have not been followed. Mr Sheng? My name is Demure. Demure McLaughlin. I've read about you in the papers, you and your Fist For Hire business. There's gossip you can turn bulletproof or strong enough to flip a car over. You're supposed to be, well, superhuman."

"Nothing so grand," Sheng dismissed the thought. "We all have our gifts, I've been lucky."

>"Oh, another pretty young girl for a client,"< scoffed Uncle Pao. >"Be sure the window is closed so your brains don't fly out the window."<

"Yes. Thank you, uncle," Sheng said absently. He came over to touch the back of a plain wooden chair in front of his desk and held it for the girl. On her way, Demure tripped apparently over her own feet and lost her balance. Luckily, Sheng was right there, so she clutched at his lower arms and caught herself in time with a mumbled apology. When their visitor had seated herself, the Chujiran detective returned to his own swivel chair and said, "So. What is urgent enough that you come out so late at night to see us?"

"It's about the death of the man I was working for," Demure McLaughlin replied with a noticeable tremor in her voice. "Dr Wendell Petruski of Columbia University. It's horrible. Have you heard about it?"

"No, I don't think there was anything in the news about it. Nothing that I saw anyway. What makes his death so horrible?"

"That big discolored dent in his forehead. The black foam from his mouth. No one has a clue about how he died!"

>lj-cut text="the rest of the story">II.


"I'll have to talk fast," she continued. "I'm sure I saw somebody following me at the subway platform. Dr Petruski spoke English but not well enough that he felt confident in his writing. He liked to have someone go over his letters and articles for grammatical errors. Some slang escaped him. I was glad to help out for a little extra credit..What was that?!"

Sheng stood up again and motioned for silence as he stalked over to the office door. After listening for an endless thirty seconds, he said, "Please continue, miss."

"Are you sure? Okay. I went to Dr Petruski's house in Queens this afternoon. I was bringing him some papers I had corrected and he had more for me that had to be done immediately. There were three police cars there. Flashing lights. Yellow tape. A body could be seen under a white sheet, that is, the outlines of a body. Two men in suits knew who I was. They started asking me questions. Over and over--"

>"I met a woman once who spoke the truth,"< interrupted Uncle Pao. >"It took me by surprise."<

Suddenly, Sheng swung out into the hall. A man tumbled violently into the center of the office, whirling across the bare wood floor and coming up hard against the desk right next to Demure's leg. The young woman yelp and jumped back, knocking over her chair.

"You must have had a good reason for standing right outside my door in the middle of the night," the Chujiran said with remarkable mildness to the intruder .

"Huh? What?" The man stammered, struggled up to his feet and backed away toward the far wall of the office under the fan window. "How did you do that? I'm twice your size!" This was not literally true, since the intruder was six feet two and maybe two hundred and forty pounds but the difference between him and Sheng was considerable. The man seemed young as Demure, no more than twenty-one, and he had a buzz cut that left his head almost shaved. He wore a grey sweatshirt that read PUMAS in yellow block letters.

"Let's have a name first." Sheng gestured with his hand towards the man, palm up and fingers curling into a fist.

"Sure. Sure. Demure knows me, don't you honey?"

"I am NOT your 'honey,'" she said. "Mr Sheng, this is a classmate, Willie Klumper. He's been following me around like a lost puppy all semester."

"Aw, be fair..."

Sheng stepped forward and his voice had a new edge to it. "Stop that! You're in real danger of getting hurt, young man. I'll ask again. What were you doing in the hall?"

Willie seemed genuinely terrified of the smaller man but then a few seconds ago Sheng had lifted him off the floor with one hand and thrown him across the office. "I was hoping Demure would have time for lunch after she was done with the doc. I know a little Italian bistro in that neighborhood. Then after what happened to Petruski, I figured I should keep an eye on her."

"You're wasting your time. And mine," she snapped. "Go away. Stay away."

Straightening his sweatshirt, the student stuck his hands in his jeans pockets, took a deep breath and unexpectedly took three running steps to tackle Sheng. He didn't have a chance of accomplishing anything. With smoothness from years of Kumundu training, Sheng flung him over one hip in a sloppy cartwheel back out into the hall. Willie scrambled up onto his feet and took off down the stairs two steps at a time.

"Oh, don't hurt him," called Demure. "He doesn't mean any harm. He's just lovesick."

Turning back from the doorway, Sheng saw Uncle Pao had crossed over to stand by the window that looked down at lower Canal Street. "Do you see him, Uncle?"

>"Yes indeed. Heh heh, a rabbit could not run more quickly. He is already two blocks away."<

"What did he say? I don't happen to speak Chinese, you know," Demure said.

"Please excuse my uncle," Sheng told her, coming back to lean up against his desk. "He forgets English when he's excited. Maybe we can get back to Dr Petruski's death..." He paused and sniffed. What was that sickly over-sweet odor? He glanced around, then raised his sleeve. The smell was coming from a small sticky spot near his cuff. That was odd.

>"NOW what?"< demanded Uncle Pao, still using Cantonese. >"Can you concentrate on your business, please?"<

Sheng did not reply. He had learned to trust his instincts and something about the whole scene with Willie set off alarms in his head. The way the boy had tackled him, without anything to gain and a chance of getting hurt, was wrong. The detective examined his sleeve again. That goo had definitely not been there before...

There was a weird buzzing noise in the hall. Sheng swung around and the biggest green wasp he had ever seen cracked right against his face like a bullet.

III.

But over the past few years, Sheng Mo-Yuan had developed the habit of assuming his enhanced durability at the first sign of any attack. Remembering what he had heard of Petruski's death, the Chujiran drew on his Argent gift and channeled gralic force to reinforce every cell of his body. His muscles became like granite, his skin like living steel and the wasp bounced off his forehead with a crisp smacking noise.

Even though he had not been harmed, Sheng said "Ow," out of habit. He had certainly been stung a few times in his life and it was a natural response. Demure McLaughlin had screamed and run over to grab his head and examine it.

"You're... you're not hurt? What a relief? What WAS that thing? Some sort of slingshot pellet? I didn't hear a gun go off." She visibly relaxed and let go of his head but slid her hands down to grip his shoulders and Sheng did not seem inclined at all to object to the contact.

Using a folded page of his newspaper, Uncle Pao knelt and scooped up the dead insect. The hornet was well over an inch long with a dark green body that had orange rings on the abdomen. The wings were transparent. The creature was bent backwards so far that it seemed evident it had killed itself in its strike against Sheng. Pao found the detached stinger on the floor and was exceedingly careful as he brushed it onto the paper. "This is not an Asian giant hornet. I have seen them. This is a real brute."

"I don't recognize it either," Sheng said after a moment. "Sheesh. It's a good thing I switched to toughness. The venom from a bug like that is probably what killed Dr Petruski."

Leaning up against the Chujiran, Demure McLaughlin made a disgusted noise. "Don't you think that this hornet flies so fast that it kills itself when it hits its target? Look how its back is broken."

"Like those idiot Japanese pilots during the war," Uncle Pao spat. "These are Kamikaze Bugs."

Sheng had rummaged through his desk and came back with a small cardboard box that had once held a charger for Pao's phone. "Let's keep it in here for now. Miss McLaughlin, I suppose the police kept you for some questioning?"

"You're not kidding," she replied. "The same questions over and over, they're worse than my mother. But I had been in class and then at the gym, and five or six people will vouch that I was nowhere near the scene where the doctor... died."

Locking the box with the dead hornet in his desk, Sheng let a resigned sigh escape. "I suppose the first obvious thing to ask you is, did he have any enemies? Anyone who would want to harm him?"

"Oh, sure," she said. "Lots. He fought with everyone. I got along with Dr Petruski, but nobody on the faculty could stand him."

"Really. That doesn't narrow possible suspects. Uncle, do you want to come with us?"

"You always benefit from my advice," the old man answered. "Especially when a pretty face clouds your mind."

"Where are we going?" the girl asked.

"We are going to see where your smitten fellow student went after I tossed him out of here." Sheng had unclipped the Link from his belt and was studying its screen. "He hasn't gone far. His signal's stationary."

Demure leaned up against him, as she seemed to enjoy doing, and stared down at the flat metal device. "What the heck kind of a phone is that? Is that a Moto? What is that blip on the screen?"

"That dot represents Willie Klumper. He seems to be about six blocks from here and he shows no signs of moving further away. Are you ready, Uncle?"

The older man had tugged on a well-worn yellow cardigan which had been draped over the back of his chair. "We should take your little red car in case."

"You just like driving my Italia," Sheng said. "And I found out your license expired five years ago, which you hadn't mentioned." Sheng paused a moment longer to dig around in his desk and came up with something he tucked into the back of his belt where his suit jacket concealed it. As Demure and Pao stepped out into the hall, he turned off the office lights and closed the door behind them. Low clicks and buzzes assured him that the Trom alarms which Megan Salenger had insisted on installing herself were activated. It had been all he could do to keep her from placing MRI-level scanners in the entrance to his office.

On the corner of Mott Street, they turned right. Uncle Pao was complaining about how the fine old Lucky Pearl gift shop had been gutted and replaced by a shiny chrome and glass Credit Union. He went into great detail about how this city was losing its character and turning into a family-friendly giant resort. Sheng kept consulting his Link and led them onto a narrow side street where suddenly there were tendrils of fog drifting around them.

It had been a warm sultry September day with a gust of cold drizzle in the evening, so fog was a natural result. Yet it seemed to stir Demure McLaughlin oddly. "Wow, it really looks like a murder mystery now," she said. "So cool."

At the next corner, Sheng Mo-Yuan blinked at the unfamiliar sign. Hampton Street? That was funny. He had been walking this neighborhood the past few years and he would have thought he had a decent grasp of the area but he didn't recognize Hampton Street. Nor were the dingy brick buildings familiar to him. He mentioned this and Uncle Pao replied with an utterly serious tone, "Chinatowns all over the world have peculiar little pockets and byways," he declared. "On nights like this, anything might happen."

"Stop it, you're giving me the creeps," Demure said. "Mr Sheng, can you explain something to me? How can your phone track Willie that way? I don't get it."

Sheng was staring at a darkened window that read HAPPY DUCK- GENUINE SZECHUAN CUISINE in faux-Asian lettering, with a portrait of a demented-looking cartoon duck leering at them. He definitely would have remembered this restaurant, especially since it was only a minute's walk from his office. The Chujiran detective shook himself and forced his attention back to the young woman at his elbow. "Oh, that. That was nothing," he said. "I was hoping for an opportunity to plant a tracer on your boyfriend and when he tried to tackle me, I stuck one inside of his collar. He may not notice it for a long time."

"He is NOT my boyfriend! So, you plant little transmitters on people? That's bold. Say... Did you stick one on me anywhere?"

With a smirk no one saw in the foggy gloom, Sheng replied, "Oh, I wouldn't tell you if I did. You're not my client, Miss McLaughlin. You haven't even mentioned hiring me or setting up a retainer."

"Another dangerous case with no money in sight," Uncle Pao mumbled.

"Yes, thank you, Uncle," said Sheng. "Anyway, it seems to me that Willie is in that building across the street. Whether he's your boyfriend or not."

They were facing a six-story structure of chipped and stained red brick, with air conditioners in many windows suggesting apartments occupied much of the building. On the ground floor were two adjoining doors, a brass plaque on one reading NEW YORK ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Taped below that was a piece of cardboard, TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS.

IV.

Behind Sheng, Uncle Pao was scowling at his phone. "According to the Google, this is a genuine research and historical society. Established in 1957 to study bugs. Its administrator is Dr Onslow Fredmont Kittinger. A white man, as if the ridiculous name did not already tell you that."

"Very good," Sheng replied. "Thank you, uncle. Anything else?"

Switching back to Cantonese, the old man grumbled, >"This child is listed as having graduated White Plains High School two years ago. Or at least, someone named Demure Lisa McLaughlin did. I have warned you before about investigating suspects AND clients."<

"What the heck is he talking about now?" asked Demure. "I don't think it's polite to go on that way in a language I can't understand."

"Oh. Sorry, miss, my uncle is set in his ways. He is trying to find out more about that killer hornet that attacked us." The Chujiran detective unbuttoned his suit jacket and put his hands in his trouser pockets as he stared at the building. A few windows on the upper floors showed lights. "Do you know this Kittinger fellow?"

"Not personally. Dr Petruski had a snippy old-man's feud going on with him, but that's no surprise... Dr Petruski couldn't get along with anyone." She took Sheng by the arm again and he did not immediately shake her hand off.

"You see the bit of light in that corner window?" Uncle Pao asked.

"Yeah. Looks like they painted the windows opaque but a little bit chipped off. I guess someone is in there." He began moving toward the door, with Demure and Pao close behind. "Miss, do you have your friend's number?"

"I should, he's texted me enough," she snorted. "Why?"

"Call him now. I'd like him distracted. If he answers, just ask what he was trying to pull earlier." He heard her lift her phone and then speak into it. Sheng pressed a Trom device to the keyhole. Thin metal tendrils inserted themselves into the lock, stiffened and rotated. The lock clicked and he opened the door to peer into a gloomy hallway. When he had first opened the Fist For Hire Agency, Sheng had resisted using gadgets like these which his teammate Megan Salenger had provided. He had wanted to be as much of a stereotyped private eye as possible. But sometimes the gimmicks were too convenient to pass up.

As Demure said something scornful to her phone, Sheng moved into the building and turned toward a door under which a thin yellow sliver of light showed. He took a deep breath and swung the door inward and strode boldly into the brightly lit room beyond as he heard Willie's voice saying plaintively, "Aw don't be like that, honey...."

And another of the huge wasps buzzed like lightning toward his face.

This time, the Chujiran had focused on speed rather than durability. His nervous system and muscles crackled up beyond normal Human limits. From the small of his back, he whipped up the yardstick he had taken from his desk and slapped the insect sharply to one side. Its body cracked up from the impact. The hornet hit the far wall and bounced to the floor.

Twirling the yardstick and pointing it like a weapon, Sheng said, "You! Don't move. Miss McLaughlin, come in here but I want Uncle Pao to remain out in the hall."

>"Another rash plan of yours dreamed up on the spot,"< the old man muttered unhappily but he did stay where he was. Demure came up next to Sheng, but the detective sidestepped her.

"Oh, no you don't," he told her. "Get over by your pal."

"I... I don't understand," she began to object but a stern glare from Sheng seemed to convince her. She walked slowly over to where Willie stood motionless.

The display room had glass-fronted cases along its walls, exhibiting hundreds of colorful insects. Charts and maps filled the spaces between the cabinets. Only two items were unusual. One was a clear plastic box three feet on each side, containing a swarm of the deadly hornets. Their irritated buzzing was deep and unnerving.

The other unexpected item in that room was a long wooden bench on which a corpse of a man was stretched out, its arms down by its sides. A plain white towel was draped over his face.

V.

Sheng smacked the yardstick against the open palm of his other hand. "And that of course is the late Dr Kittinger, right? I think it's time for the two of you to start explaining what you've been up to."

Letting out an exasperated sigh, Demure strolled over to stand beside Willie, who put an arm around her waist. Her face had turned cold, the smile on her lips was not evident in her eyes. "All right. Do it the difficult way. Tell him what he wants to find out, honey."

"Sure. Why not?" Willie rested his free hand on top of the clear container in which the enraged hornets were flying around. He tapped the handle of the front panel and drummed his fingers. "Let's see. Well, Dr kittinger knew all about the adjacent realms. He was fascinated by the Midnight War, he used to go on for hours about Chujir, where you came from. He contacted some very scary people and managed to do a little exploring in Okali. That's where these killer bugs come from. He bought twenty of them back here somehow."

"Makes sense," Sheng admitted. He quietly spread his feet further apart, shifting his weight so he could move quickly in any direction. "Okali seems to have nothing but weird and dangerous wildlife. Even the trees are carnivorous. So how do you kids fit into this mess?"

"Hey, I'm not a kid," Willie said. "I'm twenty-seven. Demure is the student. I work as an independent contractor for landscaping. Me and Demure have been together for a couple years now."

"That's right," she added. The young woman detached herself from her partner but remained close. "Now, Dr Petruski was hot for me. Can you blame him? He had it bad. Enough so that he put me on a joint checking account so I could handle his shopping and stuff, and of course I've been buying a few things for myself. I increased my salary bit by bit and he never noticed. It was a sweet deal but he was starting to drop hints about, well, sampling my goods. He had to go."

Behind him, Sheng heard a light footstep but he didn't take his eyes off the two killers. "Uncle, I told you to stay out in the hall."

"I want to hear this," the old man objected. "This is crime as old as the world. Ask them why that poor man on the table had to die."

Willie growled,"Look, what's the point of all this? Why are we explaining anything? You're not gonna live long enough to tell anyone." The big young man gestured angrily and pushed Demure behind him with one hand as he slid up the front panel of the case. A dozen of the huge Kamikaze Bugs sped out with a loud buzzing. But Sheng had tugged off his jacket and flung it right on top of Willie, covering the young man's head. In the same motion, the Chujiran adventurer sprang back through the doorway, grabbing Uncle Pao by one bony arm and slammed the door shut.

>"Don't break my arm, you wrestler!"< snapped the old man, nearly falling as he pulled himself loose.

Sheng exhaled and leaned up against the wall beside the door. Muffled but terrible, short screams rang out in the display room but quickly ended. "That was way too close. I was afraid one of those wasps might go for you instead of those murderers."

>"Your concern is greatly appreciated."< Switching back to English, Pao continued. "But, nephew, I really am grateful you thought of my safety. Perhaps I should have stayed out here as you told me?"

"Heh. If you ever start following my instructions, I will think you are an imposter. Uncle, those two are surely dead now. This is going to be ugly work, but I must switch to invulnerability and go in there to destroy those insects. Before we call the police, we don't want officers getting their foreheads smashed in."

"Crushing hornets is time well spent," Pao said. He spotted a chair a little further down the hall and lowered himself gingerly onto it. "I would like to sit. So, evidently you knew your jacket was what attracted the bugs?"

"Yeah, I was pretty sure right away. Willie had a chance to smear something on me when I threw him out of the office, but I think it was Demure who did it. She kept holding my arm and I figure that's when she rubbed something on my sleeves that drew the hornets. Not sure what it was, though."

Uncle Pao raised an admonishing finger. "There is one MORE thing you should have learned. Why did they involve you in the first place? Why even try to kill you when you knew nothing about them? Hah? My friend Harry Hung would have gotten that information out of them and more. I should ask him if he would consider giving you lessons you obviously need."

Despite everything that had happened that night, Sheng Mo-Yuan smiled. "Thank you, Uncle."

3/27/2020