Discover more from The Scriptorium: Paul Leone's Writings and Musings
An introduction to the Immortal Champions.
Who are the Immortal Champions and where did they come from? In the real world, the Champions crept into my brain about six years ago. I was inspired by a few sources - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series, Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, and Mike Mignola's Hellboy, amongst others. I wanted to blend them together and add my Catholic faith to the mix, and the result was the Champions. As far as in setting...
(art by Romina Jones: https://linktr.ee/RomyJones)
Long ago, before time began, there was a war in heaven. One part of the heavenly host fell under the sway of Satan, one part remained loyal under Michael, and the third part could not bear to take up arms against their kindred on either side. The first was cast down into Hell, the second remained in Heaven, and the third was exiled to Limbo. For long ages, while God shaped His creation for the coming of man, the third host slumbered. In time, they awoke to a fallen world. The chieftainess of the third host, Oreviel, sought to atone for her ancient errors, and taught great wisdom to the scattered sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. In time, the people of a great island in the midst of the middle ocean turned from wisdom to knowledge, and from knowledge to power. Blinded by greed and ambition, the sea-kings sought to conquer not just all the mortal world, but Limbo itself. And so great was their power, they nearly managed it. Only after a long and terrible war were the sea-kings, by now pledged to the service of Satan and his princes, defeated. So utter was their downfall that no trace of their land remains, even in the darkest depths of the ocean. Afterwards, the ice came and scoured away their outposts and colonies on both shores of the great ocean, and only garbled legends of their dominion remained.
When the ice retreated, Oreviel and her mighty siblings, the Motherless, turned again to the protection of humanity. Chastened by their second great error, they did not share their wisdom, but instead a portion of their power. Seventy-two valiant heroes were chosen from the many peoples of the stone-wielding era, given gifts of insight, foresight and might, and pledged to defend their kindred against the night people: the grave-vomit now known as vampires, the stunted imps of hell and their infernal flying machines, dragons, ghouls, spell-slaves of Satan, and stranger things. From that day to this, more than twelve thousand years have passed, and still the Champions fight their hidden war against evil.
And who are the Champions, you ask?
I've only written about a few of them at any length, but there are many more lurking on the fringes of my fictional world.
Elise Cooper, Champion of the Twilight Isles
(The Governess of Greenmere: https://www.amazon.com/Governess-Greenmere-Paul-Leone/dp/B08MSVJBZN/)
A well-educated orphan in Victorian London, Elise was drawn into her calling by Merlin and a somewhat hapless aristocrat with a very special child. She is the Last Victorian, striving to maintain good manners and (what she considers) proper attitudes in a sometimes bewildering world. She tries to live up to an Arthurian code of chivalry, offering her foes the chance to repent and atone.
Ya'el of Bethany, Champion of the Holy Land
(my forthcoming collection Demons of the Desert and Other Curious Chronicles)
Once a shepherd's daughter, Ya'el was called at a young age and lived the life of a typical Champion for hundreds of years... and then at a wedding in Cana, she met a wise preacher and was drawn into another circle entirely, that of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Ever since then, she has tried to be true to His teachings as well as her oaths to the lords and ladies of Limbo.
John Bearkiller, Champion of the Eastern Woods
(The Hungry Dead of Yü-ching and Other Stories: https://www.amazon.com/Hungry-Dead-Y%C3%BC-ching-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B08ZCGYK5T)
John, a Lenape warrior, was the chosen successor of Old Fox, an ancient protector of the people of North America. Today, he lives the life of a reclusive New York City millionaire by day and fights against the night people when the sun sets. He has a harder edge than his good friend Elise and only opens himself to the women he's loved over the centuries.
These three certainly aren't alone! Their peers, past and present, include:
Ying Shihao, Champion of Southern China from the Qin to Tang Dynasties.
Ying Yueji, Champion of Southern China from the Tang to Ming Dynasties.
Swiftfoot, Champion of the Twilight Land (the future British Isles) after the Ice Age, one of the original seventy-two Champions.
Cessair, Champion of the Twilight Land and Swiftfoot's heir.
Danu, Champion of the Twilight Isles, Cessair's successor.
Nodens, Champion of the Twilight Isles, Danu's heir.
Gwydion, Champion of the Twilight Isles, Nodens' successor.
Merlin, Champion of the Twilight Isles from Roman times to the late 19th century.
Bluma Minkowski, Champion of the Black Forests (central Europe) from the 1930s to the present day.
Nataliya Rozenburg, Champion of the Eastern Wilds (far eastern Europe) from the 13th century to the present day.
Hina, Champion of the Stone Spine of the World (the lands around the Himalayas) during the 7th century.
Deng Yanxin, Champion of Southern China from the Ming Dynasty onward.
Xu Xiaochuan, Champion of Eastern China from the 19th century to the present.
Bai Zhishan, Champion of Central China in the Yuan Dynasty.
Liu Daihao, Champion of Eastern China in the Yuan Dynasty.
Cao Jiahong, Champion of Western China in the Yuan Dynasty.
Narantsetseg, Champion of Northern China in the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.
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