The Fourth Generation
L'Esprit (Vespertilio Lahcen)
A Legacy of fear and darkness
Eighteen-year-old Lio Lahcen is of mixed Moroccan descent, dark-skinned and dark-eyed with wavy black hair in a shortish undercut. She’s built tall, broad in the shoulder and hips, with long muscular limbs. Her features are distinctive, pleasant in an androgynous kind of way. Freckles and numerous pale scars mark her skin.
She’s stylish, favoring a dark hard-femme look, and usually wears at least a winged eyeliner and warm lip tint. She constantly wears a black opal pendant tucked under her shirts; sometimes she wears a matched gold ring on her left ring finger, other times she hangs it on the same long chain.
She’s started to look tired again. Tired and angry, all the time.
As L’Esprit she wears a classic trenchcoat, hat, and gloves, with a patterned scarf to hide her face. The quality of her costume has improved recently, though the design hasn’t fundamentally changed.
In combat she makes liberal use of a stun baton, some self-defense, and some DIY gadgets. While she has a basic understanding of small arms and will use a gun with little hesitation, she’s made a decision not to actively carry anything more formidable than the stun gun — precisely because she’s so quick to use lethal force when it’s available.
When she overextends her powers, her eyes take on the appearance of the black opals — smooth black, but glittering from within with ever-changing sparks of red and blue and purple. So far she’s only done this once.
Abilities: Holmesian deduction, gadgetry (technopathy), intimidation,
fearsome reputation, athletic perfection
Her technopathy passively manifests as Electronic Sensory Disruption: electronics trying to focus on Lio experience glitches and corruption.
(Note: Several moves removed due to my misinterpreting the Playbook change.)
- Won’t let you down. Spend 2 Team to add +2 to teammate’s roll. (Beacon)
- Never give up, never surrender. Roll Savior instead of taking blows from opponents of greater power. (Legacy)
- Before we get started. Roll Savior before battle to hold 1-3 against the opposition. (Soldier)
- Always prepared. Hold 2 Gadgets. Spend 1 Gadget to Unleash with Superior. (Brain)
- Stand Up For Something. Roll Savior to force people to listen when she yells at them.
The Spectre’s legacy is an important part of Halcyon City. The members do not all carry the same name or abilities, but are generally focused on darkness, manipulation, and using the tactics of villainy in the pursuit of justice.
Spectre XI and Lady Night are still active and prominent in the city.
Senka Serero is retired and quite judgmental.
Twilight is the next possible member of the legacy.
The Golden Master is the greatest opponent we ever faced… and she’s still at large.
- Backstory: Movers and Shakers
- Established Family
- What the heck kind of name is ‘Vespertilio’?
I’m falling apart and I know you can all see it and I can’t make it stop. You all deserve so much better than me.
Vanessa “Shield” Signet: Vanna is great. She’s strong and stable and awesome and just… Lio doesn’t want to put too much pressure on her, lord knows Vanessa has enough going on, but Vanna has been keeping her going. …And stopping her when she needs to be stopped.
She wants to be there in return. Lio won’t push, but there’s a lot of things Vanessa hasn’t told her — or anyone, really — that when she’s ready, Lio will be there for. There’s a lot of things that they both haven’t said yet.
She is a little insulted that Vanna hid Pink Lemonade, though.
Sarah “Calavera” Mendez: Sarah’s got her whole life ahead of her, now, a whole world of possibilities they didn’t think she’d have. Lio doesn’t want anything to hold Sarah back from exploring that… but at the same time she wants to wrap Sarah up and never let go.
But why would Sarah want to stay around someone like her?
Joey “Buzzer” Carron: Fuck you.
Mika “Branch” Pena: Mika is… a question mark. On the one hand she seems sincere and she shares Mike’s peacekeeping qualities. And her whole ‘nobody goes alone’ idea is commendable, at least. Lio’s willing to trust her in combat and as an adviser.
On the other hand, she’s taken over the Sanctuary at an alarming rate, and Lio’s trust doesn’t extend to letting Mika be in total control of the living situation of half the team. The entire magic grotto makes her skin crawl.
Robbie “Reflect” Rust: Aggravating as all hell sometimes, but ultimately a good guy and can be counted on in a pinch. Took ’Buzzer’s’ side awfully quickly, which has Lio annoyed with him.
Pete Friendly continues to live up to his name and roll with whatever the universe throws at him. A little too quick to cozy up to ‘Buzzer’.
Thomas “Siphon” Alcott: Motherfucker, I went to bat for you.
Dio/Satin: Lio doesn’t know what to do with him. He deserved better, but she gets the feeling he only wants to be on the team to hang around Sarah, and Sarah doesn’t need that shit. Besides that, he’s reckless and likely to be another liability, and she has enough issues with the team without adding another rogue element in.
Miracle Woman: Still kind of an unknown quantity, but still the most trustworthy person around with any kind of administrative power, which they kind of need. Especially if they’re going to be taking prisoners alive.
The Spectre (Original): He was a dick, but she’s glad she saved him. Sometimes she still thinks it’s the only thing she’s ever managed to do right.
The Serero Family: Lio’s relationship with her family is… complicated. She’ll still move heaven and earth to protect them, and she still takes their orders almost without thinking. Family comes first. Family has always come first. But if someone within the family is trying to hurt them… if that someone is her own mother or father… Where do her loyalties lie, then? She doesn’t have an answer for that.
The Spectre (Nasir Serero) is slightly less of a dick than Elazar was. He’s been kind to her, and his distress seemed genuine enough. She feels bad about manipulating him (even if she thinks he’s blowing it a little out of proportion), but surely he’ll understand that it was necessary…?
Lady Night: To be fair, Lio fucked up her stealth mission, so she had every right to be angry. Lio doesn’t blame her. Maybe she genuinely hates Lio, maybe not.
Ellie: Seems to hate Lio slightly less, by degrees.
Dawn Lahcen: Lio’s mother, married into all of this. Wants her daughter back and is willing to fight for her and support her — or so she says. Lio wants to believe her.
The Golden Master: She destroyed the family once, now she wants to re-integrate into it and take it over. Can it be that simple? Her outside influence corrupting the Troika? Or is she just taking advantage of corruption that’s already present?
The Junior Guard: An alright group. Coffee is a sweetheart. Quebecois was pretty stand-up. Dany’s enthusiastic. And they took care of Vanessa, and later Sarah. That counts for a lot.
Blue Hydra: Lio always had hopes of getting somewhere with Blue Hydra. Maybe that’s possible again. Maybe not.
Dr Infinity will need to be dealt with. She’s gone back on every deal she’s made with us. No more deals. No more second chances.
Backstory: Movers and Shakers
Like any kid, Lio dreamed once in awhile of being a superhero, but it was never a serious consideration.
In another world, Vespertilio Lahcen was a normal kid born and raised in rural Michigan, facing death too young and never wholly coming to terms with it. She moved to Halcyon at 16 to care for one of her last remaining relatives. Two years later, when cleaning out her late aunt’s home, Lio discovered a hidden safe full of files from her vigilante great-grandfather, and her life changed. She donned a uniform and dubbed herself L’Esprit, and she sought out wrongs to right.
That world’s gone now, and selfish as it is, Lio wouldn’t go back to it for anything.
Seventy-eight years ago, with war heating up in Europe, millionaire Marlowe Maskelyne and three friends went up in his personal plane. The craft went down, killing all four passengers and burning their bodies beyond identification. Officials ruled it as mechanical failure. They were not present to see lurkers emerge and check the wreckage, taking only an opal ring from one of the bodies. The ring was delivered to a hidden room in Halcyon City, to the Golden Master, who laughed and began the next phase of her plans.
Maskelyne’s fortune was willed to the adopted daughter of the friends who had died with him. Claimed by other relatives, the child quickly fell off the radar. Even The Golden Master was unable to track her. Frustratingly, the death of her greatest enemy did not seem to make her world domination bid any easier, either.
Seventy-nine years ago, Lio told The Spectre everything she knew from the two timelines she had experienced. He was prepared.
The Spectre removed his loved ones — not only his two partners and (eventually) three children, but his friend Maskelyne and a number of identity-compromised agents — from danger, but they never stopped their work. In addition to overseas work during the war, and continual quiet sabotage of The Golden Master’s efforts, they also dealt with other miscarriages of justice and prepared for future threats.
By the time the Golden Master was (theoretically) finally defeated in 1973, the family had extended its influence deep into Halcyon’s inner workings. Certain family members took up traditional heroic mantles, especially those with superpowers. Others infiltrated particular industries or social circles, political movements and crime syndicates. Still others worked as Spymasters, curating their information and seeing it got to where it needed to be. All had a place, depending on their skills. All were supported by the family network, which had somewhere along the way gained a name: The Troika.
It was into that environment that this Vespertilio Lahcen was born. An extensive family with love, support, and resources to spare, but one with powerful expectations and dangerous secrets.
In this world, Lio always knew that she was going to be a hero, in some form. She’s been training for it her whole life.
Becoming L’Esprit was a minor act of rebellion. Sick of training and drills, Lio set out to deal with crime firsthand. Her family pretended not to notice her attempted double-life — as long as she kept her grades up and didn’t cause too much damage, it was good practice. Teenagers gotta rebel.
She still became friends with Sarah and tries her best to protect her. She still met Joey and gave him a place to stay with her perfectly normal, everyday civilian family.
She still formed the Corps, and still accidentally got Dio killed. Her family stepped in, then, and she hasn’t operated outside of Troika influence since.
She still joined with the Delinquents, but at Troika urging, to keep an eye on this upstart youth group that the Exemplars were showing such an interest in. They don’t know that she’s here basically as a spy, and this version of Lio would never have told them.
She still sincerely believes in justice, in helping innocents, righting wrongs, and fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, and believes that her family’s methods are the best way.
She still participated in the sabotage of Frankie’s wedding — but she was killed in the destruction of the Dreadnought. Her family held a funeral and recovered her necklace.
And now, she’s back.
Lio’s family is extensive. Here’s a brief look at the established ones.
The Spectre (Elazar Serero), David Jasper Serero, and Evelyn Rose Serero: Great-grandparents. Probably dead by now. Probably.
Adelaide “Ada” Lahcen: The eldest of The Spectre’s three children, and Lio’s grandmother. Ran the Troika for most of her life, mostly in a managerial position but occasionally in the field in her younger days. Nearly ninety, retired, but still respected as the matriarch. Always seemed to favor Lio and have high expectations for her, despite her being relatively unremarkable. There was quite a stir when Ada gifted Lio their family heirloom.
Erik and Johannes Serero: The Spectre’s sons. The Sereros fostered a number of children smuggled out of Nazi Germany, Erik and Johannes were the two that remained with them.
Senka Serero: Current leader of the Troika, Ada’s first child by her first husband.
Nasir Serero: Senka’s son, current Spectre.
Lavinia Meunier: Erik’s daughter. Dealing with early-onset dementia, but the family’s connections ensure her the best possible care.
Marcus Meunier: Lavinia’s only child. Mid-twenties.
Isaiah “Ike” Lahcen: Lio’s dad, Ada’s youngest child by her second husband.
Dawn Lahcen: Lio’s mom. Animal behaviorist and bat specialist
Pipistrelle ‘Ellie’ Lahcen: Lio’s little sister.
Lady Night: Most likely one of Johannes’ descendants, making her a second cousin like Marcus.
What the heck kind of name is ‘Vespertilio’?
It’s the scientific name of a genus of bat. So is Pipistrelle. Look, their mom works in a bat sanctuary and has a thing for Latin. They were always just thankful they didn’t wind up ‘Pteralopex’ or ‘Rhogeessa’. Or ‘Mormoops’.