|The Black Widow|
|Claire Voyant (Scenesys ID: 1754)|
|Superalias:||The Black Widow|
|Species:||Ascended Human; Demon|
|Occupation:||The Bride of Satan|
|Apparent Age:||115||Actual Age:||115|
|Date of Birth||30 Oct 1904||Played By||Face: Veronica Lake, Body: Betty Brosmer|
|Hair Color:||Platinum Blonde||Eye Color:||Blue|
|Theme Song:||In League With Satan - Venom|
The Black Widow is an infamous figure from the period before and during World War 2, feared by her enemies and her allies like. During the waning days of the war in Europe, she vanished - and, outside of occult circles (she was cited as a major inspiration by Marjorie Cameron and Kenneth Anger, who *claims* to have known her and devoted an entire chapter to her in HOLLYWOOD BABLON) and the goth subculture (where the rare images of her became popular during the 1970s and 80s, serving as one of the icons who helped to inspire the style), was largely forgotten.
Recently, she and 11 compatriots from the 1940s were discovered in experimental cryogenic cells beneath Berlin - and now find themselves far more famous than they ever were during the height of their respective careers.
*1902: Claire Voyant born.
*1910: Claire's sister, Deborah, born.
*The 1920s: Claire is active as a medium.
*1928: Claire's sister, Deborah, is murdered by her lover, Lester Maddox. Due to Maddox's connections and wealth, no charges are filed against him. To avenge Deborah's death, Claire becomes one of the chief agents of Lucifer on Earth and slaughters Maddox after the better part of a night spent terrifying him.
*1928-1945: Claire sends an untold number of souls - potentially numbering in the thousands - to Hell for their misdeeds on Earth or for attempting to contravene the pacts they have sworn. She is active in World War 2 (famously appearing in a shot by award-winning photographer Phil Sheldon) and is known to have undertaken countless missions for the OSS, including many on the Russian Front.
*April 25th, 1945: Claire participates in the invasion of Berlin. Along with 11 others, she is captured by Nazi super-science and held in suspended animation for the ensuing seventy-five years.
*1959-1975: Various editions of Kenneth Anger's HOLLYWOOD BABYLON include an entire chapter on The Black Widow, who Anger claims to have known.
*Late 70s/early 80s: The Black Widow becomes one of the influences in the development of the gothic aesthetic, alongside Theda Bara and Musidora. One of the few surviving photographs of her (not the famous Sheldon photo) is used as cover art for a single release by Bauhaus, and remains a popular design on t-shirts.
*2020: Claire and her compatriots in "The Twelve" are discovered beneath former Eastern Germany and awakened by the US military.
The Devil's Bride:
Claire is not a human. She was born one, yes, but so were many demons - the difference, chiefly, that *they* endured eons of torment before being raised, while Claire went right from mortal to being among the highest ranks of Hell.
In exchange for this empowerment - and the chance to punish the man who murdered her sister - Claire became Lucifer's agent on Earth. And, now, almost very night, she turns a locked room into a sulfur-stinking abattoir and sends the soul of an evil man screaming down to Hell.
She, as often as not, enjoys her 'job' - her 'victims' are usually among the worst sinners on Earth, individuals whose wealth and influence has shielded them from every other form of justice but which cannot protect them from divine punishment. (She took a particular joy in killing entire bunkers full of Nazis during World War 2.)
Claire, to most, is cold, and she is distant; she is also more than a little cruel, and she often does her best to prevent anyone at all, especially anyone in the superhuman community, from getting too close to her.
But, with those rare few persistent enough to overcome her reluctance to socialize with them, those willing to endure the abuse Claire heaps upon most to drive them away, she proves to be every bit as loyal to them as she is lethal to her enemies.
Even when judged by the standards of superhumans, a community where even the most trivial imperfection can doom you to a life of villainy, the Black Widow is a creature of stark and unearthly beauty. As a mortal woman, Claire was attractive - but the pact she swore with her dark master left her unerringly perfect with a dark and predatory beauty that cannot be equaled by a mortal.
The demonic body "gifted" to the Black Widow so that she may carry out her master's designs is, even by the standards of a demon, an inhumanly resilient thing - during her service in the second World War, she slaughtered an entire bunker of armed soldiers without so much as breaking a nail. She is functionally immune to all conventional weapons and to most non-conventional ones, and even a deranged, super-humanly powerful android was not able to crush her throat.
Like most demons, she is completely immune to natural and supernatural flame and heat. She does not require sleep, and is immune to all things that require something approaching human biology to function - while an unknown gas agent employed by the Nazis once rendered her unconscious, it did the same to even an android.
In addition, the Widow possesses strength far beyond that of any mortal - and, in truth, beyond even that of many super-humans, capable of lifting more than 25 tons under optimal conditions and more than capable of ripping an ordinary body apart with only her bare hands.
Granted the gift of silent flight, The Black Widow can move through the air at a speed of several hundred miles per hour without creating even the smallest breeze or softest sound.
The Black Widow can heal her own wounds and, under specific conditions, the wounds of others. Her own wounds heal at supernatural speed; while she does not 'regenerate' in the way the term is most often used in describing superhumans, injuries not specifically designed to inflict damage on demons will vanish within only a few hours.
The injuries of others, if inflicted by one who is truly evil, or by someone marked by her master for death, can be made to vanish entirely - even the most grotesque wounds may be healed, even lost limbs regrown.
(She is *not*, otherwise, able to heal others. As an example: when a con-artist persuaded the father of an injured boy to trust in his fraudulent mysticism rather than medicine to treat his son, the Widow restored the boy's leg after sending the con-artist to his doom.)
The Black Widow has not aged a day since 1928, nearly two decades before she and her comrades were trapped in stasis. As part of the pact she swore with Lucifer, she is a true immortal - she will never grow old through the passage of time, and there is no force capable of inducing such a thing. For so long as men make foolish pacts with forces they do not understand, the Black Widow will continue to exist.
Even if some force were to overcome the preternatural resilience of her demonic form and "kill" her, she would - unless she were to forsake her role as Lucifer's instrument of vengeance or to turn against her master - simply materialize in Hell and, soon enough, form a new body to inhabit.
The Black Widow's body, not truly a living thing, is capable of shifting in ways minor and ways profound, from the color of her eyes or hair to the sudden appearance of terrifying 'natural' weapons so sharp as to easily cut through hardened steel or, more likely, to inflict especially horrific injuries. Unless she desires otherwise, the process is instantaneous - there is no 'transformation' to be seen unless, for example, she wishes someone to witness her eyes shift to glowing red as her hands become terrifying claws.
When she desires to be, The Black Widow is entirely silent - she moves without sound in flight, she vanishes from sight with teleportation, and is simply *very* good at not being seen or being heard, and she combines them all with eerie proficiency. Her steps go unheard, and even shattering a window would make no sound if she wished it. She also, thankfully in the modern world, leaves absolutely *no* forensic evidence behind to mark her presence - no hair, no skin cells, no fingerprints, no footprints, nothing of the sort, and has no distinctive scent unless she wishes otherwise.
(Individuals with the ability to sense the use of mystical abilities, especially those attuned to infernal energies, might be able to sense her presence if not necessarily know her precise location. As with spirits, some animals can detect the presence of infernal beings.)
Unless such devices were tampered with through the use of other supernatural abilities, the Black Widow would be captured on film - she is not invisible, 'just' supernaturally gifted at remaining undetected.
Even before her pact with Lucifer, the Black Widow possessed occult skill - and her transformation into a demon has only heightened them. She is able to conjure hellfire and soulfire to the mortal plane, and to control them; to influence the minds of others (primarily, to heighten the worst aspects of their nature - fostering paranoia, violence, and the like, in those already prone to them - driving a gang member to betray his leader, and the leader, in turn, to react to such betrayal with immediate retribution); to draw forth the dark energies of Hell to inflict curses and hexes (causing even minor wounds to bleed profusely; inflicting natural or unnatural sickness; twisting fate so that luck conspires against someone, so that things that might go wrong are assured to do so).
She can alter the environment in considerable ways - lights dim or change color; bulbs shatter and hang in the air as if suspended in aspic; shadows warp or move; fog rises from nowhere to fill the room. She may also alter the manifestation of her powers - appearing to become smoke and seeping through the door rather than merely 'teleporting,' or appearing in a grand burst of light and flame.
She is able to see and converse with spirits of all kinds, and - unless the soul resides in paradise - to draw forth the dead and force them to speak, and is able to command, or banish, all but the highest orders of demon.
The Black Widow can sense the nature of someone's soul and the nature and degree of their sins. She possesses a near-total, instinctive awareness of Hell - its geography, its denizens, and the damned who are imprisoned there. Like most mystical beings she can detect magic used around her.
The Black Widow possesses the ability to pass without movement from place to place, able to vanish from sight or ambush one condemned by her dark master. When moving from place to place upon the material plane, she is limited - able, generally speaking, to move 'only' a few miles in less than an instant - but, when teleporting to somewhere from Hell, she is able to travel essentially any distance whatsoever - if a place is connected in any way to Hell, she can reach it.
She may also, obviously, rend the wall between worlds, and travel freely to Hell. (While the Widow could in theory allow others access to the infernal realms, she can teleport ONLY herself on the material plane.)
Empowered as she is by Lucifer, there are vanishingly few things in this world more intimidating than the Black Widow when she calls upon his infernal power. The entire world seems to darken; shadows grow long, and all light bleeds to red. Behind her is glimpsed the vast, alien visage of the Lord of Darkness. Even the most hardened killers are unnerved by the sight, and few who glimpse It survive what follows next.
Only those who possess a soul - even one they have bartered away or have stained with the most wicked of deeds - are thus affected. Artificial beings, such as androids, have proven to be vexing immune.
The Widow's Sting:
Even at the height of her infamy before and during the second World War, the Black Widow was best known for a single thing: that she may kill with only a touch. It is no mere rumor - by touching her target, she may consume someone's life force, send their soul screaming to Hell, and leave the mark of a black widow spider burned into their now-dead flesh.
Despite its fearful reputation, most need not fear the Widow's Sting - it affects only those whose souls are truly black, who have given themselves over to evil or are otherwise consigned to Hell. Because it is linked to the condition of one's soul, it is entirely ineffective against those who never had a soul - androids and automata.
(Even on a consent-based game, it probably bears mention that the Widow's Sting requires consent. Setting aside its specific requirements - that the target be truly evil, or specifically targeted for death by the Black Widow's dark master for their actions or a pact they have made with him - It's dreadfully lethal, and most people don't want their characters to /die/.)
The Black Widow's body is resilient, true - but the strength of her spirit puts it none the less to shame. She cannot be frightened nor intimidated, for she is the servant of one of the most dreadful and terrifying of all possible entities; she cannot be swayed towards corruption, for the one she serves is at the heart of all things crooked and broken; she cannot be moved by words, for she long ago abandoned her freedom that she could punish the man who murdered her sister. She does not even fear death - for there is a sense in which she died almost a century ago.
Coming as she does from an age where martial arts were found almost exclusively in pulp magazines, the Black Widow has no particular training in combat - but having spent the better part of twenty years fighting a certain value of "crime", she couldn't help but pick things up on the year. Of course, the Black Widow rarely 'fights' in such a sense; she wields strength and terror and fire and shadow, not high-kicks, and given her preternatural resilience and aforementioned incredible strength she has, thus far, found little that would motivate her to improve such skills.
There are times when simply appearing in someone's apartment and leaving behind a crime scene sure to make even the most hardened detective turn white is not, in fact, the easiest way to dispose of someone. Luckily, Claire is a master when it comes to deceit and deception. Like most demons, she understands human psychology on a level to rival even the most skilled psychologist - and due to the nature of her 'body,' she produces absolutely none of the 'tells' that might otherwise inform a knowing observer that someone is lying. And, like any good liar, she knows when someone is lying to *her*.
The Black Widow speaks and understands essentially all human languages, and a wide array of supernatural ones - chiefly, to the surprise of none, those spoken by the endless legions of the damned.
Before assuming the mantle of the Black Widow, and between the years of 1928 and 1943 when in need of a 'secret identity,' the Black Widow operated as mystic and medium, and over those long years, gained a truly astonishing degree of knowledge in all things strange and inexplicable - if The Unknown offered doctorate degrees, she would surely have one in several of its fields. In matters infernal, of course, she is even more versed - for she is herself 'matters infernal' by most definitions, and a direct servant of Lucifer himself. Terrifying indeed is the one who knows more about demonology than the devil's favored tool of vengeance.
Like most "heroes" attached to the War Department, The Black Widow and her "adventures" were (loosely) adapted for a series of comic books published by Timely. Though short-lived and now difficult to find, they remain well-known simply for how *very* unusual they are. In addition, though absent for decades, The Black Widow remains known in certain circles: most contemporaries from World War II and earlier (especially those from the European Front, even moreso those who did work for the OSS and other covert groups) would remember her; her role as as a hunter of the condemned is well-known in the occult community; most versions of Kenneth Anger's HOLLYWOOD BABYLON contain an entire chapter purporting to tell her story and deeds; and gothic culture has come to regard her, alongside the likes of Theda Bara and Musidora, as one of its founding patrons. Moreover, the revival of "The Twelve" was an international news story carried by almost every newspaper on Earth.
The Infernal Realms:
Part and parcel of her nature, station and abilities, The Black Widow 'enjoys' access to the many realms of Hell. There, the passage of 70 years is nothing - owing to who and more importantly *what* she is, she continues to be among the highest rank of demons. In theory, she would wield considerable influence over her "lessers" and have access to the many resources of Hell but has, thus far, found little cause to call or to act upon such things. (She does, however, procure most of her wardrobe from there.)
The Black Widow remains in contact with 'The Twelve,' the other superhumans placed in suspended animation in 1945 and only recently discovered.
When placed into suspended animation in 1945, The Black Widow was an agent of the War Department attached to the US Military (and, very frequently, the OSS). The Pentagon is of the opinion that this remains the case. She operates under military jurisdiction, granted freedom from liability and prosecution for "actions undertaken in the course of heroism." The military is aware of her nightly activities, if only in the broadest of senses - that she is a killer, and that she kills. Were the full extent of her activities to become public knowledge, assuming attempts to discredit the information or otherwise resolve the situation were unsuccessful, the government would almost certainly disavow her. The military, and agencies to which she is loaned, will from time to time call upon her to undertake "covert activities" - assassinations, in other words - as they so often did under the aegis of World War 2.
While she was not affected nearly as much as the others of "The Twelve" (she had no loved ones, and little life outside being The Black Widow) Claire has nonetheless missed 75 years of history, of cultural and technological progress. Her skills with modern technology are functionally non-existent: she does not know how to use a computer, or a cellphone. She is ignorant of essentially all cultural references not dating to her own era, save for those she has learned from her immersion in the modern goth subculture.
While gaining tremendous powers through her pact with Lucifer, Claire also acquired weaknesses. She may be harmed by weapons that are "holy" or "blessed," and certain spells would be far more effective against her. In theory, one of sufficient power could even cast her out of the mortal plane - but, given her unique role and her ability to freely move between Earth and Hell, it would be annoyance more than defeat. While she is uncomfortable while on holy ground, she is able to enter it - many is a sinner who has sought refuge in such a place, and perhaps the one whose power blesses such place is no more pleased with their actions than is the Widow's master.
As an infernal being, her presence may be detected by those attuned to such things.
To become The Black Widow and avenge the unpunished murder of her sister, Claire made a pact with Lucifer - to hunt and punish mortals, those select whose evil meant their deaths could not be left to fate and those who made pacts but sought to extend their time on Earth with trickery or deceit. 75 years in suspended animation did not alter this agreement, and nearly every night at midnight she is dispatched to send another soul screaming into Hell.
Authorities tend to regard cosmic retribution as horrific murder, however, and should a trail of (mostly rich and powerful) corpses be linked to her, it could dramatically alter her circumstances on Earth.
In addition, because of her intimate and direct connection to Lucifer - she has been called 'The Devil's Bride' - his enemies could very easily become her enemies, as well.
The worst of The Black Widow's abilities - inspiring fear, her 'death touch,' the vast majority of her sorcerous abilities - do not work and could not be *made* to work against someone whose soul is truly free of sin. While her baser abilities would work just fine on them, this is not her role: she is Lucifer's sword against the wicked who have escaped his grasp, not against the virtuous who have avoided his snares.
While in direct sunlight, the Widow is uncomfortable and distracted - it causes her head to pound, and her limbs to ache. She may not use her "death touch," may not employ her full strength (lifting, perhaps, 'only' a few tons), cannot inspire supernatural fear in others (but remains in her own right quite intimidating), cannot make use of most of her sorcerous abilities, and cannot teleport. Her resiliency, however, remains - she is, after all, a fairly select class of 'demon.'
With so few offensive abilities available to her, she tends to spend half the day feigning sleep in a pitch-black room.
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