|Faith:||4||Perm. Torment:||3||Temp. Torment:||0|
|Supernatural Vision||HT: Claws|
|Wings||HT: Extra Actions|
|Perfect Balance||HT: Quills|
|Immune to Falling Damage||HT: Caustic Bite|
|Bundle of Energy||Criminal Record|
|Early Adopter||Phobia: Illness|
Criminal Record: Helena has a criminal record of five counts of computer crimes, all low-level non-violent felonies. As a result, she cannot legally own firearms or vote.
Infamy: Zophiel has a bad reputation among the Fallen, due to his work as a spy that was never truly revealed by Lucifer or Belial to be fact. Most assume that he was a member of the Host who did something wrong and got kicked out late into the War, or that he was a spy for the Host who simply got banished with the rest of them.
Phobia: Illness: Due to Helena's wasting death from pneumonia, she is deathly afraid of illness. Even though she is immune when she has Faith, she is still irrationally afraid.
Contacts: Her contacts are sources within the hacking world that she can get information from.
Pacts: Her pact is with Julian Ackerman, a young hacker who she spent several months getting herself wormed around. She has granted him increased Intelligence and Charisma, and taken some Faith for herself.
Short and slim, the Latino woman in front of you could be considered cute, though not beautiful. She stands a bit less then five and a half feet, her body dressed in a simple olive-colored T-Shirt that clings close to her body and cargo pants, and occasionally a denim jacket over it. She has a short, slightly upturned nose and a quick smile below dark eyes, though the smile doesn't totally reach them. Dark brown hair goes down to between her shoulder blades, and both earlobes are multiple-pierced along the lower ridge, with a dangling set at the bottom. She has a backpack slung over a shoulder, and occasionally sunglasses to complete the look.
Tall and lithe, the ephemeral being before you stands a good six and a half feet tall, with a set of owl's wings spreading out two feet from it's shoulder in either direction. Large, grey eyes stare out from a face obscured by the winds that swirl around him, the gust ebbing and flowing with his shifting emotions. It has a sanctified look about it, the haunted compassion in its eyes adding a softer touch to the awe-inspiring sense that pervades it.
Tall and lithe, the ephemeral being before you would stand a good six and a half feet tall, with a set of ragged, torn owl's wings stretching out two feet from it's shoulder in either direction. Stooped as it is, it's closer to just under six feet. Enormous, unblinking charcoal eyes stare out from a narrow, hatchet-like face obscured by the winds that swirl around him, the gust ebbing and flowing with his shifting emotions. It has a haunted, malevolent look about it, the haunted pain in its eyes adding a sinister touch to the awe-inspiring sense of fear that pervades it. It seems to be always moving, swaying back and forth, as if it can't stay still.
Switchblade (Hidden in pocket)
High-End Laptop with Wireless Connection
Cellular Camera Phone
Apartment in Harlem
Acceptance was something Helena Losa was not destined to find in her life. Born to a Honduran family in Miami in 1981, she was the third of six children in a low-income family. Thus, she found herself from a very young age striving to be noticed and accepted. Her parents weren’t bad parents, per se…they were just so busy with keeping the family together that there wasn’t time for everyone to get any individual attention. Helena being one of the middle children, she was often lost in the shuffle.
The young girl, seeing how her parents struggled for prosperity and how she herself struggled to even be recognized, developed a strong desire early on to climb out of the position she was in. She wasn’t incredibly athletic, and she wasn’t beautiful. She was an awkward kid, as many are, and would remain somewhat awkward throughout her teens. She did manage to find a calling, though. She was the smart one, particularly developing a talent for computers. The public grade school she attended had a few old, battered computers, and she took to them immediately. Some people are just born with a talent, and Helena’s was a technical one. She whizzed through classes, acing year after year, and spent all of her free time learning the ins and outs of the Commodore 64’s, Apple II’s, and eventually IBM PC’s she learned on. It wasn’t a talent that earned her a lot of popularity, as she was developing a reputation as “one of the smart kids,” and her ethnic traits didn’t help. She found herself isolated from all sides…but to her, the final answer to this problem would be success. And she searched for it with a passion.
High school came and went, and it was more of the same, except that Helena was developing physically. While she learned more and more complex processes and began to get into the quickly-expanding internet culture, she was starting to get attention from the boys she did computer labs with. For her, though, it was the wrong kind of attention—her older sisters were popular simply because they’d sleep with almost anyone. Helena didn’t want to be used like that, even if she was essentially using herself. She tried to be friends with the boys, but they didn’t want to be friends, they wanted to get into her pants. And that was somewhere they weren’t getting…not unless she met someone she had a real interest in. So her status as an outsider, even within her own subculture, continued, and she become more and more enamored with the internet. Here was a place where she could talk with people and find friends…people who weren’t interested in her as a sex object—or at least less were interested in that way, and if she found some pervert looking for high-school pussy, she could block them or, if she felt vindictive, shut down their systems. Yes, Helena developed some skills at hacking, but they came about mostly as a result of understanding programming systems, and she certainly had no desire to be “elite” if it meant pointless cyberterrorism like bringing down Microsoft’s website. She had better things to do.
Upon graduation in 1999, her ethnic background finally worked in her factor, as she got several scholarship offers thanks for the joys of affirmative action. After sorting through offers, she decided on the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the computer science undergraduate school division of New York University. Her parents disapproved of her being so far away, and there were many fights over it. In the end, Helena defied her parents and headed to New York.
Of course, like most people, the city chewed her up and spit her out; in Helena’s case, it was in near-record time. Her semester spent at Courant was absolute hell. She faced discrimination, both because of her race and her sex, from her fellows and her teachers. Women and Hispanics have not traditionally been an accepted part of the IT industry, and being both made acceptance especially hard for Helena. After an incident in which she was sexually harassed by her professor, Kyle Smith, who implied that if she didn’t submit to it, he could have her scholarship taken away, she reported it. The school covered it up, and Helena found her scholarship voided. She had been destroyed by virtue of simply being what she was.
Helena found a job working as a tech support rep for a low-end internet service provider. She hated it, but she had to do something to pay the bills, and she was too proud to go home. Embittered over the fucking-over she got at Courant and unable to pay the bills with her meager job, she started accepting jobs to do computer work that was…well, less then legal. However, she stood strong to her moral stance, and refused to do jobs that were purely malicious without reason, or that violated her own moral code. Still, she was a good hacker, operating under the handle of “h3li0s,” and the money she made allowed her to keep her apartment and even afford to go out from time to time. Things were starting to look up.
Which, of course, is when everything came crashing down.
Helena had a habit of occasionally performing personal jobs…hitting people who wronged her. It was petty, yes, but she didn’t do it out of the blue or for minor things. Only people who had really crossed her badly earned her wrath. She had held off from hitting her former professor, because…well, one just doesn’t hack a guy who teaches computer programming and works on the side as a developer for security software. However, when she heard rumors that he had raped a young Latino woman on-campus, and that the school was again covering it up, she lost it, and decided that she had to get even, both for her and his victim. She hacked into Kyle’s computer, getting boatloads of private information…not to mention a veritable stash of kiddie porn and emails showing that the school was knowingly covering up his crimes. She downloaded it to an external hard drive, and went to bed, ready to spread it all over the web and bury both Kyle and Courant.
The sound of pounding at the door woke her up. She had barely gotten out of bed before the police broke down her door. It seems that Kyle had caught onto her crime and had alerted the police—just after he got into her system and wiped it free of any incriminating evidence of his. Helena’s computer was seized, and she was charged with 7 counts of computer crimes based on what was found in there. She was well and truly screwed now, having no defense and not enough money for a decent lawyer. Convicted of five of the seven charges in July of 2000, she was sentenced to 5-10 years in Riker’s Island Correctional Facility.
Helena was determined to do her time, keep her head down, and get out. She really, really wanted that, and for the first three years, she did okay. Life in prison was hard, of course, and once again, she was lonely—she would have nothing to do with the ethnic gangs that saturated the prison culture. Then, in April of 2003, she ran afoul of a white supremacist gang. They noticed that she kept to herself and stayed out of the Hispanic gangs…and thus, she was easy pickings. And pick they did. They made her life a constant living hell for six months, constantly surprising her and beating her down. Finally, in October, was coming back from lunch to her cell, and came face-to-face with one of the supremacists, a crazy little bitch named Josie who was her most common tormentor. Josie pushed her against the wall…and this time, something finally snapped in Helena. She fought back—or tried to for about five minutes, until her back exploded in pain. One of Josie’s compadres had snuck up and jammed a shiv directly into her back. Josie and her friend ran off as Helena called for help. The two racist bitches did a week in solitary and had six months added to their sentences for the incident. For Helena, it was to be a death sentence, slowly drug out.
After three weeks of sub-standard medical care, Helena was released back to her cell. Her last two years in prison went uneventful, unless you count the constant pain she was in from her back, which had become infected and never healed properly. The pain left her addicted to the weak painkillers the prison provided her. Finally, in December of 2005, she was released back into the world, a total wreck of a person.
Helena had nowhere left to go. She was in a halfway house for three months until being able to get a shitty apartment. The first thing she did was violate her parole and get a computer. She needed money, and the best way to do that was to start performing jobs. Her morals quickly vanished with her need for money so she could get a hold of painkillers, and she ended up doing weaker and weaker jobs. Everything was a downhill spiral from there, and an immune system weakened from addiction and a new infection of her back, coupled with a complete lack of will to live, left her sick. On March 13th, 2006, Helena Losa died of pneumonia…or mostly did. Zophiel did the rest.
In the beginning days of Creation,
the Second House were charged with the all-important task of carrying the Breath
of Life to every plant, every animal, and then humanity itself. Among those in
the Second House was Zophiel. Zophiel was, like his brethren within the House of
the Firmament, singularly devoted to this task, and flew on swift wings to
perform the responsibility entrusted to him. This singular dedication to his
task earned him the title of The Swiftest Wing, one that would stay with him
throughout time, but would eventually be eclipsed by another, less benevolent
Zophiel, like many of his House, found opportunity to indulge every protective and loving instinct humanity inspired, and he found perfect bliss in doing so. There was no purpose to him but the well-being of those within his care. Thus, when God’s command came down, that no angel was to reveal themselves to humanity, it struck him deeply. It was unbelievably difficult to reconcile his fathomless caring for and emotional closeness to his charges with the idea that he and his brethren would never be known by those same creatures they loved. Worse still was watching humans go through their own pain, as well as unconsciously trying and failing miserably to reach the heights that they had been given the potential to reach. It tore at Zophiel to know he could help, but couldn’t by the Creator’s decree. How could he reconcile the idea of God’s will with the seeming negligence of his duties, as he left mankind to suffer as they were? It was a no-win situation for him.
The role defined for him as one of the House of the Firmament, that of guardian and protector, made his eventual choice in the Fall inevitable. That did not make it any easier. He spoke with Lailah, the member of his House who was present at the beginning of the Great Debate, about his feelings. Lailah argued as she did during the Great Debate, that the Creator would never condemn His creation to destruction. She pointed out the risks involved, and how it was important for them to trust in the Lord. Zophiel thanked her for her time and sought out the Morningstar himself.
Lucifer listened as Zophiel described his torn feelings on the matter. The Swiftest Wing told the Morningstar about Lailah’s comments on the matter, and then explained that, tormented as he was by the idea of thwarting God’s decree, he couldn’t help wanting to let mankind know their creators, and to be able to be more closely and directly protected by them. Lucifer nodded a little bit and asked him a simple question: “What would you give, Zophiel, to help those you gave the Breath of Life to know a world as perfect as you have?” To Zophiel, the answer was simple: “Anything.” The Morningstar smiled at that, and said that he had a task for Zophiel, if he truly wanted to help. He may have to truly give everything, but that, should they succeed, it would all be worthwhile. Emboldened by Lucifer’s words, Zophiel listened as the highest agent of the highest House outlined what he had in store for Zophiel.
It was risky, that was truth. Zophiel would remain behind as Lucifer and the rebels plunged toward Earth, in case the worst came about. Someone would need to remain behind, in order to see that the catastrophe that the Fourth House had seen could be avoided in another way. Zophiel and a small handful of others would do so, and should they be needed in the future, then so be it. Zophiel, after much thought, agreed. He ascended with Lailah, Usiel, and the others who had decided against the Morningstar, and watched as the rebels descended to reveal themselves. Half of him was glad to not be there...the other half ached to be among them.
When Michael gathered his angels to confront Lucifer and the rebels on the morning after the Fall, Zophiel was standing among the vanguard of the Host, next to Lailah. He looked out among the rebels as Michael proclaimed the All-Maker’s proclamation, and winced inwardly, both in concern for the fate of those who his heart truly stood by, and though he would not admit it to himself, relief that he was not in danger of thus yet. He watches Michael and Lucifer battle, and felt lifted by the righteousness of his decision when the Seraph of the Flaming Sword yielded. He was further lifted by the decision of the Allfather and Allmother to stand by the rebels, even if one of their sons defected. And that lifting only made the crushing blow all the worse as Michael cursed all of the rebels, and then God Himself set the worlds asunder with his slightest touch. Zophiel was devastated. Lailah, knowing her fellow angel’s mixed feelings, told Zophiel to trust in the Creator, and he told her he did. But from that moment forward, he was dedicated to the Morningstar. God’s Wrath had driven him away.
As the Legions formed on the rebel’s side and the Host moved on them, the Silent Wars began. Zophiel was in a unique position as what may truly be called the first spy. He fought with the Host, acting as a messenger between the forces; meanwhile, he found ways to secretly funnel information learned of the Host’s plans to Belial in the Crimson Legion. None of the rebels knew of this besides Belial and the Morningstar—the risk of Zophiel being discovered was too high. And certainly, none of the Host knew. The information provided the rebels with early victories that seemed surprising, and certainly, Zophiel knew the importance of his role in the War. Still, he often found himself a target of the rebels, particularly after the horrors of the Third Mortal’s act of hatred and the coming of the Age of Atrocities. The Malhim and the Ebon Legion descended on each other in a mad frenzy of bloodlust, and the worst of all worlds was coming out. Zophiel was in a panic; to show anything less then the same savagery that his “fellows” within the Host showed would possibly reveal his role, yet at the same time, these were his fellows he would be attacking. He sent a secret message to Belial, asking for guidance. The simple response back was, “Act as you must.”
With that simple yet vague commandant, Zophiel interpreted it to mean that he should act as he had to in order to maintain the fight; surely if Lucifer had wanted him to do otherwise, then it would not be Zophiel acting as he had to, but as he wished to. He joined with the Malhim when he absolutely had to, and continued his work. Unfortunately, this became his undoing in the role he held, as the Malhim were not trusting as the original Host forces were. One day, Zophiel found himself face to face with a Hahaziah, a general of the Host who had uncovered his duplicity.
The spy was, to his credit, defiant to the end. He stood calmly in front of Hahaziah and declared that it was God’s Hand which smote the world, and he would stand by humanity and help them grow however he could. He told Hahaziah that he was ready to face his judgment and be unmade. Hahaziah sneered and said it was not his judgment to pass, but another’s. Zophiel was stunned when the general stepped aside to reveal Lailah, who had advised him to stay with the Host and had trusted him. The two had maintained a close friendship, which might be called intimate if not for the fact that they were constantly apart. The betrayal and pain in Lailah’s eyes struck deep in Zophiel, but still he stood tall, ready to be sent into nothingness.
Why he was cast down, he still doesn’t understand to this day. Sometimes, he’s thought that Lailah couldn’t bring herself to destroy him; other times, he’s thought that she knew it would be a far worse punishment then simple unmaking. Whatever the reason, he found himself cast out of Heaven and the Host, an Asharu like those that he had watched be condemned, that he had fought against and secretly aided. In his heart, it was both a torture to know he had been forced out of Heaven and away from Lailah and the All-Maker, as well as a relief that he could finally stand by the side of those he had secretly wished to. He picked himself up and started to make his way to Genhinnom.
The first group he encountered on the way to the city almost proved his undoing. They recognized Zophiel, knew him as a member of the Host, and when the Asharu called out to them, they charged to attack. Only quick thinking and sudden flight spared the Swiftest Wing’s life. From that point on, he made his way around the fringes of the paths inward, avoiding the rebel patrols as long as he could. He had the gates of the great city in sight when he was finally set upon by a group. Luckily for Zophiel, the group did not hail from the Ebon Legion, but the Crimson. They captured Zophiel and brought him into the city. The commander of the Crimson Legion patrol went to speak to Belial; Zophiel stood proudly, expecting his accomplishments to be declared so he could take his place in the Crimson Legion. Instead, Lucifer’s chief lieutenant simply looked Zophiel over impassively and said “Let him go. He is cast out of the Host, and thus his fate lies with us, for better or worse. Whatever he may have done before matters not.”
Zophiel couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Not only was Belial not congratulating him for his work up to this point, but he was making it seem like Zophiel was being graciously pardoned without reason for his actions against the rebels. Believing that this was punishment for having eventually failed in his role, Zophiel joined with the Crimson Legion as he planned, but on the very bottom rungs. His associates didn’t trust him, and even accused him, ironically, of being a spy for the Host. The name “God’s Spy” stuck to Zophiel, and while he was never officially charged as being such, he felt the scorn of all those around him at every turn.
Babel came and went; working as a lowly messenger among the legions carrying insignificant communiqués, Zophiel was barely aware of it. The Grand Experiment fell from internal corruption; and indeed, some looked to Zophiel as one of those who sabotaged it, though he certainly wasn’t involved. The Shattering broke the back of the rebellion, and as the ophanim came down, Michael and the Host came with them. Zophiel saw, standing among the Host, Lailah, staring at him. He’s never been able to tell if the tears on her otherwise stoic face were of despair at seeing him being cast into Hell, or if they were tears of relief at the same thing and knowing he was being properly punished.
Hell was a pain like nothing Zophiel had ever experienced. He was hated during the War, but none ever actually attacked him. When everything fell apart in their eternal prison, hordes of Fallen ripped into him, still believing him to have been a traitor. They told him he deserved this, that they would make his fate a thousand times worse then theirs. Zophiel, in his current Host, is quite glad that he remembers little of this time. All he remembers strongly is pain and torture, and eon after eon of the same, broken up by brief reprieves. For him, Hell was not only the pain of feeling mankind suffer above, but the agony of being punished for all the rebel’s sins, again and again and again.
Eventually, after an eternity of eternities, the Sixth Maelstrom hit, of course. The gates of Hell cracked open, and Fallen made their escape. Zophiel finally knew a bit of relief, as his tormentors left for the world above. He then, after ensuring that this wasn’t a trap laid for him by his tormentors, made his way up. The pass through to the world above was excruciating, yes…but Zophiel had suffered nearly as bad at the hands of his fellows for the last 8 millennia. Coming out, he found himself drawn toward this woman, a spy in her own right, albeit without purpose anymore. Some spark connected with the Swiftest Wing’s purpose, and he inhabited her. Helena Losa was no more; she had become Zophiel.
Once she had rebuilt her body, Helena quickly set herself to re-establishing her reputation. She quickly got herself off the pain-killers and set herself to work. She’s maintained a low profile in the hacking world; high-profile gets you caught, and she has no desire to spend her new existence in jail again. No, she’s had quite enough of that, thank you very much. She established a bond with a few local talents, real up-and-comers in the world of cyber-terrorism, and has guided their hand toward a more moral ground. One of them, a young man with remarkable self-esteem issues and feelings of social ostracism named Julian Ackerman (or, by his handle, “s4ns3i” which means “Acid” in Japanese), quickly developed a very close relationship with her. Helena made Julian feel special, made him feel loved. She made sure never to take it to an intimate level, though she did string the boy’s emotions along. After several months, she finally revealed her true self to him and offered him a chance to become great like he never dreamed of, to become important to her and her work. Julian agreed, and a pact was struck between them. She enhanced his intelligence and charisma, turning him from a social misfit until someone who, if not the life of the party, could at least be part of the party.
Helena has, to date, been somewhat reluctant to seek out other Fallen, considering her less-then-stellar reputation. Still, her desire to be accepted, coupled with Helena’s constant struggle for the same, has made it inevitable. And here, in the opening years of 2007, she finds herself wanted to find others of her kind, to make a new contribution to those she helped and was punished for, eons ago.