L'Esprit (Vespertilio Lahcen)

A Beacon of light in the darkness... but, like, in a stealthy way. Shut up.

Description:

tumblr_oq5ipjDoNx1upwqdxo1_540.png Eighteen-year-old Lio Lahcen is of Moroccan descent, dark-skinned and dark-eyed with long loose curls (currently dyed violet). She’s built tall and slender but broad in the shoulder, with long muscular limbs. Her features are distinctive, pleasant in a somewhat androgynous kind of way. Freckles dust her face and shoulders.

She favors a ‘hard femme’ look with a vintage flavor, and usually takes the time to apply winged eyeliner and a warm lip tint. Frequently gloved and wearing a light scarf, regardless of weather. She normally wears a necklace tucked away under her shirts, a marquise-cut black opal pendant in a white-gold setting, but currently it’s in the possession of one Lady Night.

As L’Esprit she often wears whatever she needs to pass notice — anonymity is more important than brand identity — but her official costume is a closet-cosplay of The Spectre’s old getup: a classic trenchcoat, hat, and gloves, with a patterned scarf to hide her face and hair.

When possible she stays out of fights, but for close combat makes use of a stun gun flashlight. Only recently has she begun carrying anything more formidable — a pair of unmarked .45-caliber automatics. She’s usually hesitant to use them against people. Usually.

Abilities: Camouflage and stealth, Acrobatics

Current Moves:
- Straight. Up. Creepin’. Roll Mundane to assess person or place.
- Won’t let you down. Spend 2 Team to add +2 to teammate’s roll.
- Never give up, never surrender. Roll Savior instead of taking blows from opponents of greater power.
- I know what I am. Once per scene, when defending a teammate, can up Savior and down another Label, and add 1 Team to the pool.

Current Drives:
_ Help a teammate when they most need you
_ Get a new costume
_ Stop a fight with calm words
_ Earn the respect of a hero you admire

Primary Skill: Reminding Pete that he has a spaceship.

Bio:

ToC

  1. Backstory: The Broken Legacy
  2. Relationships
  3. Secrets of The Spectre
  4. What the heck kind of name is ‘Vespertilio’?

Backstory: The Broken Legacy

Lio has always been active and people-oriented. Like any kid she dreamed once in awhile of being a superhero, but it was never a serious consideration — not for an unpowered, untrained middle-class kid stuck in the wilds of Michigan. Instead, she focused on things like studying psychology, learning first aid, and physical training. She had every intention of becoming a volunteer firefighter and a therapist.
Clipboard01.png
While Lio’s family was close-knit through her childhood despite the distances that separated them, one by one they fell prey to accidents or illnesses, often without warning. By the time she was sixteen Lio’s only surviving family members were her grandmother, Ada — whom she was living with — and relatives in Halcyon, Lavinia Meunier and her adult son Marquis. (Lio refers to them as aunt and cousin for simplicity’s sake.) When Lavinia developed early-onset dementia, Marq was going to put her in a home, but Lio nixed that idea and moved to Halcyon to care for her personally.

For two years, Lio’s life consisted of little but school and taking care of her aunt. Then, only a few months ago, Lavinia passed, leaving Lio with a decent inheritance and most of her property. Lavinia’s townhome was too large for one person, so Lio started cleaning it out to put it on the market.

While cleaning, Lio discovered a large fireproof safe in what had once been a closet, now behind a hidden panel. The combination had long since been lost, but Lio devoted all her free time to cracking it and eventually succeeded, finding it filled with carefully-preserved files, books, and keepsakes. In reading a few of the files, Lio found that they were all handwritten, autobiographical accounts of a golden-age hero called The Spectre.

The Spectre was, for a period from the early 30s to mid-40s, a name that struck terror into the hearts of criminals everywhere. No-one was ever quite sure of anything when it came to The Spectre: whether he worked alone, with a single helper, with a team of flunkies, or even with multiple ‘Spectres’; whether he was really a hero or just clearing out the competition; whether he had powers or was simply so competent he could fake them; whether he and his archnemesis The Golden Master were actually working together, possibly dating; whether he was a merciless and perhaps even unbalanced killer or only killed when necessary. Many would swear he wasn’t even human.

This much was certain: The Spectre dual-wielded powerful automatics, and he dealt swift justice to any who dared prey upon the innocent.

When The Spectre disappeared from the public eye in the 40s, theories abounded that he was actually Marlowe Maskelyne, a globe-trotting millionaire who died in [accident] around the same time.

Unfortunately, while his name is still recognized by a few and his iconic style co-opted to the point of cliche, The Spectre himself was soon overshadowed and forgotten.

Lio quickly became fascinated with the files. After reading a few, she discovered a note tucked in among them. The note explained why The Spectre’s things had wound up in a secret room in Lavinia Meunier’s home:

The Spectre was Lio’s great-grandfather.

After his disappearance, The Spectre’s children chose not to continue his hazardous lifestyle. They moved away from Halcyon, and as each started their own families they never brought up their legacy. One son returned to Halcyon, years later, to rescue and preserve The Spectre’s files, only to hide them away again in what would become Lavinia’s and now Lio’s home.

Inspired by The Spectre’s honest accounts — where he revealed the methods by which he succeeded despite a lack of superpowers — Lio decided to give it a go herself. And hey, turns out she’s got a knack for this ‘stealth’ thing. Sorta.

She’s recently graduated from Halcyon High, which gave her time to devote to actually starting this vigilante business. She cobbled an outfit out of her closet and dubbed herself L’Esprit. At first she tried going it alone, but quickly got in over her head and got hurt during an all-too-common misunderstanding with another vigilante. After that she confided in Sarah. Soon after, Lio encountered Officer and took him in, and later a fourth person called Dio joined them. Together they formed The Corps. The name was Dio’s idea, based on L’Esprit and Officer’s aliases. They followed Lio as their de facto leader.

The Corps largely stayed out of trouble until the unfortunate incident with Sharpton. Lio blames herself for getting her friends involved and getting Dio killed.

Relationships:

Lio has been pretty busy and withdrawn since moving to Halcyon, so she never got to know many people before now.

Dr Rasima Nash is the therapist she started seeing last year when her aunt’s condition started deteriorating. Dr Nash doesn’t necessarily disapprove of superheroes in general, but in Lio’s case considers it reckless. It doesn’t help that she’s being treated for major depression and suicide ideation.

Adelaide Del Gardi, née Serero, is Lio’s grandmother and raised her after her parents’ death. She still lives in Michigan. One of The Spectre’s children, Ada and her brothers Erik and Johannes mutually agreed not to tell their families about him, and she would be extremely worried about Lio if she knew what her granddaughter was doing.

Marquis Meunier is her cousin — well, first cousin once removed. Their relationship is somewhat strained. Marq considers the whole superhero schtick ridiculous. He has powers of his own, but would rather use them for goofing off or getting ahead. He’s not aware of their family connection with The Spectre or of Lio’s activities as L’Esprit, at least as far as Lio knows. He’s moved back in with her since his girlfriend kicked him out — a ‘temporary’ arrangement.

Sarah “Calavera” Mendez is one of the few people Lio remained in contact with since graduating. Despite being two years younger she’s Lio’s best friend, first person she calls in an emergency, and first priority in a crisis. She reminds Lio a lot of her little sister Ellie. Lio tries her best to support and protect Sarah but feels like she’s failing at every turn.

Lio considers Joey “Officer” Carron like a little brother, and would never purposely hurt him — but is pretty sure she’s badly damaged their relationship, maybe irreparably. Maybe that’s for the best.

Lady Night is family. Family comes first.

…Although Lio is at the end of her patience with being jerked around by people who clearly do not have their shit together.

Pete Friendly is a cool dude. Lio’s a little disenchanted with his leadership abilities, but that’s not his fault and he’s otherwise reliable and open to suggestion. Also she appreciates the whole not-invading-Earth thing.

Ugat has more than earned her respect and admiration, for what that’s worth. She’s not sure where she stands with him, though. He’s friendly enough but she feels like he’d hardly notice if she wasn’t around.

Lio respects Reflect’s abilities and finds him decent company the few times they’ve talked, but his tendency to court trouble and escalate situations bothers her.

She never seems to have a chance to talk with Bodyguard, which is unfortunate because Vanessa’s cute.

Frankie Forreal is on the shitlist. Trying to engineer a secret invasion? Not cool, bruh. Also he’s just generally insufferable.

Cygnus made a bad first impression, but Lio now considers her annoying but harmless. And she’s handy for keeping an electronic eye on Frankie.

Though she hasn’t dealt directly with Ghost in awhile, she dislikes him on principle. Especially because she can see so much of herself in him. Is it arrogance to think she played a hand in him going down that path?

According to everything she’s heard, Roy is a pretty stand-up guy. Yet Lio can’t quite shake the feeling that something is off about the golden boy — but maybe that’s just her being overprotective of Sarah.

Secrets of The Spectre

Behind-the-scenes facts Lio has gleaned from her readings. Spectre was very thorough in his record-keeping, so there is a lot to read and Lio has gotten through maybe half of it, picked from a variety of dates.

(She has had a few samples chemically tested. The materials are authentic and the margins sometimes show traces of a unique disappearing ink The Spectre was known to use. She hasn’t been able to procure a handwriting sample to compare, but she’s personally reassured as to the files’ authenticity and veracity.)

  • The Spectre was not the millionaire Marlowe Maskelyne, though borrowed his identity from time to time. He operated under a number of assumed names. He gives his real name as Elazar Serero.
  • Sephardic Jewish, born in the US to a British expat.
  • Joined the war effort for WW1, quickly attracting attention for his skills with multiple languages, aviation, and disguise, and was recruited as a spy.
  • Continued spywork after the war until he was betrayed and captured, and believed killed. Actually he was rescued by another opposing force, but only after he’d been tortured and his face badly damaged. He chose to remain officially dead.
  • His rescuer was later to become The Spectre’s greatest foe The Golden Master, a psychic revolutionary with aims toward world domination. Though philosophically opposed, they remained friendly outside of combat, even to the point of rescuing each other on several occasions and frequently working together. Contrary to popular rumor, they never dated and found the very idea creepy, their relationship being more akin to a mother and son.
  • Due to the limitations of medical science, his face was never fully healed, so he spent nearly all of his time in heavy makeup. He occasionally used his real face to frighten criminal masterminds.
  • Studied tricks and techniques from stage magicians, including the likes of Houdini and Blackstone, from sleight-of-hand to escape artistry to chemical explosives.
  • Maintained a secret hideout where he kept all of his files and a full chem lab. Due to construction in the intervening years it has long since been destroyed, but everything had already been removed by that time.
  • Never joined an official hero team, but was never above working with other active heroes.
  • Worked with a small, picked team of agents: people who were skilled, brave, intelligent, and above all loyal to The Spectre’s cause. The agents served primarily as advance scouts and information-gatherers, as well as backup when force of numbers was needed. A few provided particular skills like stunt driving or safecracking; others provided information and contacts within particular communities like Chinatown or the police force.
  • EXTREMELY protective. The Spectre always went out of his way to protect his own people and any innocents involved, and even criminals as long as they weren’t murderers or active threats.
  • Bisexual and polyamorous. He was seriously involved with two of his best agents, David Jasper and Evelyn Rose, and raised three adopted children with them. On paper, the children are David and Eve’s, who married and took the name Serero. Both partners died in the same accident that killed Maskelyne.
  • The children, Adelaide, Erik, and Johannes are all named after magicians. Erik was Houdini’s birth name, Johannes is named for Johannes Grigg, and Adelaide is named for Adelaide Herrmann.
  • Began to drop out of the public eye as early as the later 30s, becoming more active overseas as WW2 ramped up.
  • The opal necklace Lio wears had two matches. One was a ring that The Spectre wore, given to him by The Golden Master. The matching opals were recovered during another adventure and The Spectre gave them to his partners. The necklace belonged to Evelyn and passed down to Lio, while a bracelet belonging to David was passed to Marq. He keeps it in a safe-deposit box and has most likely forgotten it exists. What became of The Spectre’s ring is a mystery, one which Lio is very anxious to solve.
  • (While he disclaimed any actual powers, relying instead on a vast repertoire of training and psychological tricks, Lio has a theory that he may have been electrokinetic and simply not realized it for what it was due to electricity still being an emerging technology. Certainly lights had a habit of flickering around him far more often than coincidence allows for.)

What the heck kind of name is ‘Vespertilio’?

Look, her mom worked in a bat sanctuary and had a thing for Latin. Her younger sister was named Pipistrelle. They were always just thankful they didn’t wind up ‘Pteralopex’ or ‘Rhogeessa’.

L'Esprit (Vespertilio Lahcen)

The Fourth Generation Cryptix23