Ereshkigal's origin is a complicated one. To begin with, she was born of the subterranean race of deviants, from which she inherited her curious skin tone and leathery wings. Secondly, she is a third generation sorceress, who was taught by her mother in the ways of sorcery. Finally, after acquiring the Star Brand from Kayla Ballantine, Ereshkigal has acquired virtual immortality!
Disguise (a): an ability that has allowed Ereshkigal innumerable opportunities to acquire information and power on the sly, this spell can be used to physically alter her appearance. Not total shape-changing by any means, this spell lets her nonetheless assume any humanoid form she can imagine, within her approximate dimensions, at intensity 8 ability - it even hides her wings!
Immortality (s): after she tricked Kayla Ballantine into giving her the power of the Star Brand, Ereshkigal was changed. Though she wound up losing this artifact to the Living Tribunal, she nonetheless held it for a time, and it has left its mark on her. She is now effectively immortal; she can be reduced to zero health or cards, and can even die, but her body will eventually repair itself.
Wings (a): locked into her current form, the sorceress known only as Ereshkigal has a pair of navy blue, bat-like wings issuing forth from her shoulder blades. These additional appendages are not vestigial, in that they actually offer her the power of flight. In essence, Ereshkigal can use her wings to fly about with intensity 4 power, moving at approximately sixty miles per hour.
Schooling: Adept / Philosophical (Evil) Magic
Though she has only demonstrated a mastery of magic that would label her a disciple of the arts arcane, Ereshkigal has, in truth, had several thousand years to refine her talent. As such, she is likely an Adept of sorcery, at least, though this is definitely debatable. To date, this deviant sorceress had demonstrated the ability to utilize these magical spells:
Eldritch Bolt (u) (w): a nice, straight-forward attack, this spell can be used by Ereshkigal to fire a blast of raw, unadulterated sorcerous energies at an opponent (or, apparently, at herself). An intensity 12 spell, the blast this magic produces is particularly potent against non-sorcerous foes, as most defenses do not specifically counter the power of magic.
Longevity (d) (s): Ereshkigal has lived for thousands of years, though no mention of this long life has been tied to her physiology. As such, it would seem that this deviant sorceress has lengthened her life span with magic. The exact power of this spell, and thus the extent of her life extension, is unknown, but it is definitely at least intensity 4 - a low but safe bet.
Magic Sense (p) (w): a staple sorcerous spell, this power allows Ereshkigal to detect sources of magical energy in her vicinity, functioning at intensity 10. It also seems capable of pinpointing anomalous, yet non-magical sources of power as well, such as the Star Brand - this is possibly because magic as she knows it has never encountered the Star Brand before.
Philosophical Awareness (s) (w): as a through and through evil sorceress, Ereshkigal can detect the undercurrent of major philosophical forces in the multiverse. Functioning at intensity 8, Ereshkigal can use this spell to determine whether a body clings to an orderly, chaotic, good, evil, or balanced mindset, allowing her to react to said persons accordingly.
Hindrances / Augmentations:
Lost Power: as a result of her self-destruction after losing the Star Brand to the Living Tribunal, Ereshkigal has been forever changed. Sure, she's now an immortal being, after a fashion, but she can no longer access her inborn deviant ability to take the form of other humanoid entities. On the other hand, this change left her with the wings she wielded while posing as the actual goddess known as Ereshkigal.
Dimensional Harness (i): before she acquired the Star Brand, Ereshkigal traversed the dimensions under her own power, but had to make use of a strange, rocket-sled like vehicle she called a dimensional harness. The exact nature (vehicular characteristics) of this craft are unknown, but the harness allows Ereshkigal to return home no matter how far she traveled from the earth plane.
the Star Brand (w): for a time, Ereshkigal possessed the Star Brand, a device that could be used to draw forth an effectively infinite amount of energy from some unknown source. Ereshkigal never got that far, of course, for she was denied an adequate amount of time to truly put the Star Brand through its paces. However, while she had it, she was capable of using the Star Brand as follows.
The Star Brand is capable of virtually anything, save for the resurrection of totally dead biological entities. Powers it is used to actualize typically function at intensity 15, though if he or she wants to, the bearer of the Brand can boost this operating power level as high as is desired - with a typical ceiling of intensity 25. And even this isn't the upper limit of the Brand's power.
Furthermore, Ereshkigal could utilize more than one Star Brand effect at a time. Operating two powers at once requires an easy difficulty intellect action, and each additional power used at once raised the difficulty of this action by one difficulty level. In other words, she could theoretically use all of her Star Brand powers at once, but this is difficult for her to concentrate on.
At any rate, Ereshkigal has demonstrated these Star Brand abilities so far:
* Body Armor (s): by spreading the Star Brand's energies throughout her body, Ereshkigal can achieve nigh invulnerability. She doesn't have to concentrate on this effect, as it seems to come naturally to her, possibly thanks to her extensive mystical training. As such, she possesses intensity 20 (+5) resistance to all attacks, letting her scoff at even the mightiest of foes.
* Energy Generation (a): by extending its energies outside herself, Ereshkigal can create startling displays of the unknown, paradoxical power of the Star Brand. While she can focus this into a directional blast of power, it typically manifests as a sort of explosion centered on her body, inflicting intensity 15 damage to everybody within near missile range.
If she should increase the effect above intensity 15, however, Ereshkigal must make a desperate difficulty energy blast action to focus it into a beam, as opposed to detonating everything within her immediate area. Furthermore, the blast effect of this energy burst (if unfocused) is increased to affect everybody within far missile distance if Ereshkigal has raised its intensity over 15.
* Flight (a): although she is already equipped with natural wings, wings that allow her to fly under her own power, Ereshkigal can achieve much higher speeds while using the Star Brand to fly. In an atmosphere, she can fly about at intensity 8 power, or approximately 375 miles per hour; of course, she can likely enhance this significantly (in or out of an atmosphere).
* Portability: the Star Brand itself is easily portable, and Ereshkigal can move it about on her person as she sees fit. If she wants to get rid of it, it is similarly easy to just move it onto the body of another person, should they want the thing. However, it is vital to note that the Star Brand cannot exist on an inanimate object; placing it upon such a thing is a very, very bad idea.
This is because, without a true sentience to control it, the power will rage out of control, disintegrating the object (and a very large portion of the surroundings). For instance, placing the Star Brand into a bent ten pound weight destroyed said weight and all matter within a twenty-five mile radius, accidentally creating the Pitt. Needless to say, this also ruined Ken Connell's day.
Similarly, placing the Star Brand into a non-sentient animal isn't a good idea, either. This won't cause the calamity described above, but it will kill the animal over time, as the Star Brand's energies, unchecked, will consume it within days. Of course, this was discovered by the Old Man during his many attempts to rid himself of this thing.
Lore 3 (i):her thousands of years spent as a wandering sorceress have taught Ereshkigal a thing or two about mystical happenings, including hauntings, planar cosmology, random magical events, the practical applications of astrology, and even the origins of various extraplanar entities and abstract beings. In such matters, Ereshkigal resolves actions at a reduced difficulty, and with the benefit of an autotrump.
Before she betrayed Kayla Ballantine, Ereshkigal could've relied on her for aid should she need it - and since Kayla simply thinks Ereshkigal misunderstood, she might still be able to do so. Other than this, the few folks Ereshkigal can call contacts might be far-flung guardians of otherplanar nexuses of realities, assuming they still held any loyalty to her.
Explorer, eventually shifting to World Domination: originally, Ereshkigal's goals were merely the discovery of new worlds, new planes of existence. However, once she discovered the existence of powerful abstract entities that she believed were meddling in her decision-making processes, she wanted only to overthrow these beings to ensure her independence.
Ereshkigal, when not posing as someone else, typically wears an ebon leotard with deviant symbols etched onto it in midnight blue. This is a one piece affair, wholly covering all of her body save for her arms, which are covered by long gloves with a similar motif. Finally, she wears a curious, horned headpiece, which may have either occult or familial significance.
Ereshkigal has demonstrated a cool disdain for the way the multiverse currently operates, and strives to change this status quo, mostly for her own benefit - either for independence from the will of others or dominance over just about everyone else extant. To this end, she craves vast amounts of power, power she can use to turn cosmic law on its head.
Real Name: unrevealed
Occupation: explorer, would-be ruler of the multiverse
Legal Status: Deviant citizen of unknown criminal status
Marital Status: unrevealed
Alias(es), if any: HD Steckley (she's the second person to use this alias)
Group Affiliation: none
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 157 lbs.
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: Ereshkigal has bone-white skin and a rather large pair of leathery, bat-like wings.
Ereshkigal is a third generation deviant sorceress. Her family has had a long tradition of extraplanar exploration, a hobby that Ereshkigal has adopted as her own. While traversing the planes, this sorceress learned of the existence of vastly powerful cosmic entities, beings that administrated the cosmos in far too orderly a state for Ereshkigal's liking - and she decided to do something about it.
In order to make her activities independent of these disembodied interlopers, Ereshkigal began to seek out sources of power - power that could be used against these entities. For several thousand years, she searched the multiverse only to find nothing appropriate she could seize for her own, no power that wasn't already accounted for in the scheme of things, already cataloged by the Powers That Be.
This caused her to regularly return home in despair and defeat. On one such homecoming, Ereshkigal was sent to the City of the Gods by Brother Tode, a fellow deviant, to determine what the Celestials were up to there. Doing so by posing as a normal human on a flight passing over the hidden City, Ereshkigal's plot was ultimately defeated by Ajak, Thor, and an operative of SHIELD who happened to be on the aircraft as well.
Though she was handed over to Ajak and his fellow Eternals, Ereshkigal managed to eventually escape from the nigh-immortal foes of her people. Slipping back into obscurity, Ereshkigal presumably continued her effort to find an exit from what she perceived as slavery to the will of the abstract entities permeating our multiverse. Not that Ereshkigal managed to get all that far, really.
Her luck changed when Quasar returned from a far-flung multiverse with an alien power source, the Star Brand. Initially hoping to swipe this hero's Quantum Bands, Ereshkigal immediately sensed the alien artifact, which he'd inadvertently given to his girlfriend, Kayla Ballantine. Forgetting the Bands, Ereshkigal decided to get as close to this woman as possible, using Moondragon's old alias: HD Steckley.
Insinuating herself into Kayla's life as a sort of confidante, Ereshkigal was present when Kayla was abducted by the extraplanar villain known as Quagmire. As this darkforce-oozing thug thrust Kayla through a portal that led across the cosmos, Ereshkigal leapt through, not about to let this power escape her. This found her on the far-flung world of Scadam, which was under siege by a Black Fleet.
These techno-organic craft were attempting to eradicate all life on Scadam, which was why its protector, the Chief Examiner, was trying to duplicate the powers Kayla didn't know she had. You see, this android was copying the powers of all earth's major heroes, to amalgamate them into a synthetic protector to vanquish the Black Fleet. He couldn't absorb Kayla's powers, however, and was destroyed.
As the world fell apart around the earthlings, Kayla became frustrated with all the death and destruction around her, and let loose with her irresistible power, annihilating all but one of the Black Fleet craft. Soon after, the ladies found their way back to earth, though Kayla fell into an inadvertent conflict with the starfaring heroine known as Kismet shortly thereafter, and seriously injured her.
Thinking Kismet dead at her hands, Kayla wanted nothing else but to rid herself of the Star Brand, and Ereshkigal was more than happy to take it off her hands. As soon as she tricked Kayla into surrendering the Star Brand, Ereshkigal revealed her true form, and after gloating for a bit, flew off to take over the multiverse via the Nexus of Worlds - leaving Kayla to her fate.
However, Kayla sicced her boyfriend on Ereshkigal, as she was in the process of disrupting the very Cosmic Axis within the so-called Interzone. This caused several cosmic powers to take notice, including Master Order, Lord Chaos, and the Living Tribunal itself. He threatened to stop her directly, but when she didn't give in, the Tribunal proposed a contest of champions to determine the fate of the multiverse.
Both heroes would be told they were fighting for the fate of all reality, but not which side they were fighting for, and Ereshkigal liked this plan. She chose Quasar as her champion, and the Tribunal chose the Silver Surfer (who had investigated these events on his own) as his. The two heroes then had a royal scrap, until Quasar figured out he was on the wrong side, and let the Surfer beat him - hard.
According to the terms of their deal, Ereshkigal would've gained the multiverse if she'd won. Instead, she was now required to surrender the Star Brand to the Living Tribunal, and she refused to face this defeat. As such, Ereshkigal used her mystical powers to annihilate herself, and the Living Tribunal seized the Star Brand from her smoldering carcass, eventually returning it to Kayla.
Everybody involved then left for greener pastures, but as the Star Brand always leaves its mark on its bearers, even if they do totally lose its power, Ereshkigal eventually returned from her attempted suicide. However, the experience had not left her unchanged; in addition to having lost every last erg of the Star Brand's power, Ereshkigal found her form had been locked, her ability to shape change destroyed.
Returning to Lemuria, Ereshkigal discovered her people were suffering from a dreadful ailment, and all the males of her kind had been rendered sterile. Thus, she sought a means of rendering the remaining deviants immortal, to stave off their imminent extinction. To this end, she traveled to the ruins of Asgard, in an attempt to locate whatever Apples of Idunn remained there.
This effort was thwarted by Thor, who was alerted to her presence by magics left behind in Asgard's remains. Though he was forced to save Ereshkigal from Asgard's many defenses, Thor was powerless to stop her from recovering the Unbinding Orb of Oshemar, a dread device that was previously used by its creator to unmake his entire universe. As you can guess, Thor was more than a little annoyed by this.
Ereshkigal nonetheless made her way home, where she assembled the deviants to let them know she had seized an artifact that should save them... once she figured out what it did. This didn't play well with the locals, who were given a broken eternal resurrection chamber by Ghaur... along with the means to fix it. Derided by the deviants before her, Ereshkigal fled the scene, only to be tracked down by Kro.
Ostensibly Ghaur's lieutenant, Kro was playing Ghaur against Ereshkigal, hoping the two would take each other out of the picture. He made the mistake of helping Ereshkigal activate the Unbinding Orb, however, and all of Lemuria - if not the very cosmos itself - was suddenly at risk. Though he managed to escape being unmade when Thor destroyed the Orb with Antarctic vibranium, Ghaur and Ereshkigal weren't so lucky.
Having been erased from space-time seems like it would be the end of Ereshkigal's story, but she's endured worse.
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