On a world called Malva, located on the borders of the Lor Republic and the Stellar Khanate, among a humanoid people who called themselves the D'Nai, there was once a young man named Ariax Thone. His one ambition was to become one of the gladiators who kept Malva's decadent population entertained. Indeed, he wanted to be the greatest champion of the games that his world had ever seen. Eventually, after a few dishonorable acts that no one else ever knew about, Ariax realized his ambition. He had become the champion, and in the process had destroyed all possible competition for the title. He realized that decades might pass before there was anyone else who could give him a good fight, and that all he had to look forward to was twilight.
There was on Malva a legend that one day a man of valor would walk into flames and emerge as something more than mortal. It's possible that Ariax hoped to be that man of valor; it's also possible that, as he threw himself into a blast furnace, all that he sought was an ending to a burdensome life. If so, then once more he got more than he bargained for. He came out of the furnace as a creature of cosmic flame -- the Firewing.
The ruler of Malva, the Phazor, advised by the ancient wisdom stones, counselled the Firewing that he was in an ideal position to travel to distant Earth and challenge its legendary protectors. When he had overcome the mightiest of these champions, the other warriors of Malva would follow in his path to overcome those who remained. Then would Malva be the wonder and awe of the many worlds that had challenged Earth and fallen short of victory. Enchanted with this vision, particularly the part where he would once more do battle with foes worthy of his mettle, the Firewing set out for Earth. Even with his power to fly at speeds faster than light, the journey took years. But that was nothing to him.
Unfortunately, when he arrived in the Sol System in 1996, he leaned that Earth's defenders were even more potent than the legends claimed. Under Saturn's rings, the Firewing clashed with Protonik, who'd just begun his self-imposed exile from Earth. The fight was more brutal than anything either of them had ever known, but Protonik managed to emerge triumphant, and he silently indicated that Firewing should go back where he'd come from.
Thoroughly humiliated, Firewing journeyed back to Malva, intending to rest, recuperate and train for a rematch with Protonik. But when he arrived, he found a dead world. As the Stellar Khanate had begun its resurgence, it had attempted to bring Malva under its sway. After diplomatic efforts failed, the Star Khan decided that Malva's gladiators were too dangerous to be allowed to possibly ally with his enemies, and so ordered the planet to be scoured by orbital bombardment. And all this had happened, according to the data discs that Firewing found in the ruins of the capital, before he'd even reached Earth.
What now? He yearned to seek vengeance on those who'd killed his world, yet he knew that it would be an empty gesture; he would be overcome by the sheer number of troops standing between him and the Star Khan, and that the treacherous master of these armies would never face him in single combat. So instead, he turned his fury against Earth's heroes. If not for them, he would have been able to stand in defense of his homeworld -- if the Khan would even have dared to challenge a world with such a powerful protector -- and at least found honorable death with the rest of his kind.
With cunning born of experience, Firewing's second journey to Earth was not made on his power, but rather by "hitching" a ride with a Grue battle cruiser. In 2004, as Earth was defended against the Grue, a different threat slipped through the cordon around the planet, and descended to San Francisco Bay like an angry fallen star. From that point forward, he sought out and did battle with many of Earth's powerful figures -- heroic and villainous -- and left a path of ashes in his wake.
Soon after his arrival on Earth, Firewing realized that he would sometimes need assistance navigating the world's decidedly alien social systems. He found the help he needed in the person of a petty grifter named Jacob Lascke. From Lascke's point of view, it was an ideal arrangement where he had superpowered help for his various petty schemes. Firewing suspected (correctly) that Lascke was using him, but felt it would be beneath his dignity to annihilate such a pathetic specimen.
In 2007, Lascke heard rumors of some sort of underground fighting tournament, the Gathering, associated with the Circuits Maximus. Not only would this tournament's alleged prize make the winner (or rather, the winner's manager, since Firewing didn't care about material wealth) rich beyond the dreams of avarice, it would also afford Firewing the chance to face many of the mightiest fighters on Earth. Firewing found this notion intriguing, and instructed Lascke to find out more.
As a result, Firewing found himself as one of the ultimate contenders for the prize of the Gathering, having firmly demonstrated his might against such foes as Barbarak, the Galactic Tough Gal. And his opponent in the final match? A tiny wisp of a girl, in whose empty eyes he could see the same world-weariness he himself had once felt before the furnace. The reminder of his mortal days disturbed him quite a bit, enough to make him violate his own code against attacking from surprise, simply to put an end to the matter as quickly as possible.
Nevertheless, she persisted. And won.
Both Firewing and Lascke were taken into AEGIS custody in the wake of the Gathering, and though Firewing was able to escape fairly soon (abandoning his 'manager' to his fate in the process) he was not able to fly away from his bewilderment at this defeat. This was not a case of him fighting a being of comparable power, as with Protonik, and the turning of fortune simply not favoring him. He'd had a power advantage, and
he'd even cheated, and still he had not gained the victory to which he was entitled. It made no sense.
Inevitably, he confronted Trouble a second time, demanding a rematch. She patiently demurred. He threatened the safety of the refugee camp where she was working, and he saw her eyes go cold and empty once again as she agreed to fight him after all. "And I'll win again," she said. "Because I won't be fighting alone, or just for myself." And just as she'd promised, allies from all sides rose up to stand with her, and together they overcame Firewing even more soundly than before.
This time he found himself in UNISON custody. It was even easier to escape, and this time he fled Earth entirely, for now nothing made sense to him. Was there truly strength to be found in such combination? How could there be, when any ally might become an enemy in exchange for a slightly greater share of glory? And yet, that hadn't happened. At least, it hadn't happened here. He found himself wondering if that had been what happened on the last day of Malva, if the defenses had been lowered by someone who sought advantage or the settling of some grudge.
Slowly, for fire is not the element of swift thought or deep, especially fire that burns without air to fuel it, Firewing is coming around to a more humane point of view. And as he does so, and as he hears of the stories of what goes on in the Stellar Imperium, he finds himself wondering whether, in combination with other champions, he might be able to overcome the murderer of his world. What might he do then? What might he not do?
Firewing -- PL 15
8 | STA
8 | AGL
7 | DEX
8 | FGT
12 | INT
5 | AWE
5 | PRE
Powers: Cosmic Life Force
(Immunity 10 [life support]; Impervious Toughness 8), Firey Aura
(Array: Ranged Damage 15, Affects Insubstantial, Subtle, AP: Ranged Cloud Area Damage 10, AP: Perception Range Damage 8, Concentration Duration, AP: Perception Area Cumulative Affliction 10 [Resisted by Dodge; Visually Impaired, Visually Disabled, Visually Unaware], Limited to One Sense, AP: Perception Range Shapeable Area Damage 6, Concentration Duration), Force Field
(Sustained Impervious Protection 10), Spaceflight
(Flight 15; Movement 4 [environmental adaptation (microgravity), space travel 3])
Agile Feint, Evasion, Improved Defense, Improved Initiative 2, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 7, Skill Mastery (Perception)
Acrobatics 8 (+15), Athletics 8 (+16), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+16), Insight 6 (+11), Perception 8 (+13), Technology 6 (+11), Vehicles 6 (+14).
Initiative +15, Unarmed +16 (Close Damage 8), Firebolt +15 (Ranged Damage 15), Firey Cloud -- (Ranged Cloud Area Damage 10), Immolate -- (Perception Range Damage 8, Concentration), Firey Flare -- (Perception Area Affliction 10, Resisted by Dodge).
Dodge 12, Parry 12, Fortitude 18, Toughness 18/8, Will 10.
Abilities 122 + Powers 111 + Advantages 13 + Skills 23 + Defenses 20 = 288 points
Seeking A Purpose--Motivation. Honor. Temper.