"As the world falls to ruin, I ascend."
Place of Birth: Cairo, Egypt
Occupation: Director of Cultural and Technological Preservation; Morale Committee Chairman
Race: "Mummy" (Magic-Infused Human)
Appearance: Sekhem is a twisted being, in some ways more than human, but less in just as many ways. While tall and strongly-built, his features have shriveled and eroded, giving him the facial resemblance of a burn victim. His skin is a dry, dessicated brown in color, no longer grows hair, and has the texture of parchment. To appease his vanity, his disfigurements are usually hidden behind linen bandages that cover the entirety of his body, save for his dark, bloodshot eyes and perpetually-snarling mouth. The clothes worn over Sekhem's bandages vary depending on his taste, but always included is a floor-length suede trench coat, with a pronounced collar that evokes images of the burial headdresses of pharaohs of old. Suits are Sekhem's usual preference, sometimes with a fedora and gloves, but he will opt for more utilitarian black combat fatigues when the situation calls for them.
Powers: At the height of metahuman society, Sekhem was one of the most dangerous sorcerers in the world. In these fallen times, he may be the greatest magician left alive. Sekhem is a practitioner of the ancient magical tradition native to North Africa and Asia Minor: a tradition later bastardized into the hermetic magic of Pharaonic Egypt. He calls on the power of the supreme chaos: the primordial maelstrom of energy that preceded the gods, and indeed much of the known cosmos. His knowledge of ancient spellcraft is mighty, but not omnipotent, as he is restricted to the techniques known in his past life. Sekhem bears mastery over death and its progeny, able to raise myriad servants of unliving flesh and soul. The stars and their secret masters are well-known to him, and he may call upon them seeking wisdom or power. Base materials are his to command, with intrinsic power over both the natural elements and the artifacts of mankind. Fate is his domain as well, able to grant boons of fortune or most maleficent curses at his choosing.
Sekhem's very flesh has been utterly transformed by the power he wields. He does not age, and his mortal needs have drawn close to nothing. His leathery flesh is unnaturally durable, able to withstand harm that would kill most lesser men. Even should he be felled in battle, the arcane spark within his soul can resurrect him at further cost to his sanity. He wields the strength of several men, and his mental fortitude is inhuman in its power. Something beyond the comprehension of man lurks within his soul, and while not wholly visible, it can be felt by any creature with a soul. Its influence varies, between the enchanting glory of a god-king and the sickness of the mind that true understanding of mortality brings. Though creatures of magic and the mightiest champions of mankind are safe from his influence, common men are driven by his presence either into fanatic devotion or madness, usually both. By unleashing the latent eldritch power from within himself, Sekhem may take on the form of an alien avatar of incomprehensible matter and geometry; the "true form" hidden between his atoms.
Skills: In his previous life, Sekhem was a distinguished scholar, and retains his skills from his past experiences. He speaks Arabic, English and French fluently, and has great understanding of numerous dead languages. He is intimately familiar with ancient human history and mythology, and is an eloquent man of letters. After his "rebirth," Sekhem has devoted much effort to arcane study and theory, though he is not apt to sharing his discoveries and revelations.
Equipment/Resources: Sekhem essentially carries no weapons, though he can summon tools to aid him, such as a blessed ankh of divine electrum, an animated golden medallion of a scarab, and a khopesh forged from pure light and darkness. Aside from these things, Sekhem seems to possess a nigh-endless supply of linen bandage with which to dress his deformed flesh. The living mummy has an almost literal cult in the underbelly of the Citadel, mostly dedicated to espionage, counterespionage and managing his "empire."
Weaknesses: A terrifying enemy of mankind for years, Sekhem is far from easily dispatched. That said, his primary weaknesses lie in his crumbling psyche. Despite his intelligence, Sekhem is quick to allow his pride to blind him, and can be manipulated by those adept enough to exploit this. He is prone to outbursts of irrational paranoia and other psychotic behavior, which can be capitalized upon by his enemies. As the man is exceptionally difficult to kill, and even harder to keep dead, physical violence is usually a poor means of combating Sekhem. That said, as magic is his greatest strength, it is also a great weakness, as magic can be used to pull at the ancient framework of spells keeping him "alive," and quickly weaken and deteriorate his physical condition.
Psychological Profile: Sekhem can be laconically described as a cunning politician, corrupted mentally and morally by degenerative megalomania. He retains his intelligence, creativity and social intuition, all of which making him a dangerous foe. However, his rampant narcissism and paranoia are pitfalls to which he frequently falls victim. His morality has crumbled to dust with his madness; he demands power and respect as he believes he is deserving, and will crush any in his path to achieve his goals. Even so, he is at least somewhat aware of his own insanity and corrupt nature, and will take efforts to disguise it behind a persona that is equal parts an imperious king, an erudite wizard, and an affable businessman.
Biography: Gwafa Abudllah was born into affluence in Cairo. His mother was the daughter of a member of the National Assembly, and was an ethnic Berber. His father was a well-respected pediatric oncologist for the 57357 Hospital. As such, Gwafa grew up in a comfortable, culturally rich, and intellectually enlightened home. He proved to be a bright boy, earning good marks in his private school, and his parents adored his curiosity, doting upon him many books and toys such as telescopes and aquariums. As Gwafa grew older, he found his calling in studying the history of the ancient world, taking special interest in both the history of his native Islam and his legendary homeland.
He studied at Al-Azhar University, earning his undergraduate degree, and then traveled abroad to Oxford to earn his doctorate in anthropology. His grandfather's political clout was able to secure Gwafa a place in a reputable archaeological team, with whom he traveled for years, studying ancient ruins and lost civilizations. It was in the years following the emergence of Zenith that his team made a breakthrough discovery deep within the Rub' al Khali in Saudi Arabia. It appeared to be an ancient city, deep beneath the sands. However, their radio-imaging equipment suggested that ruins at that depth spread throughout Asia Minor and into much of North Africa. Having possibly uncovered a truly lost, ancient civilization, they quickly began their excavations. Once the ruins had been uncovered, the young and eager Gwafa lead the expeditionary team into the catacombs that had been preserved beneath the sands. It was in the bones buried beneath the Empty Quarter that his fate was changed forever.
Happening upon a sarcophagus in the sand-flooded tombs, Gwafa found himself unnaturally drawn to its mystique, as though it radiated power. He wandered toward it, as though in a trance, and with great effort heaved off its tremendous, stone lid. The warnings of his expedition mates (urging him to be cautious of traps or to not disturb the historical sanctity of the tomb) fell on deaf ears. The coffin had been opened, and the being within seized Gwafa within its deathly power. An ancient sorcerer-king of the Nameless Empire, which would be succeeded by the Egyptians, this particular mummy was an distant ancestor of Gwafa himself, and was imbued with the unholy magics of undeath. Their biological bond resulted in the two beings, Gwafa and his ancestor, to be fused into one. The resulting creature was a half-living human, scarred and exalted by tremendous cosmic power. He called himself Sekhem, and only the world was large enough to be his kingdom.
After the unexplained death of the entire expedition crew, the ruins returned to anonymity, and the powerful Sekhem began to unfold his grand schemes of global conquest. From the shadows he manipulated world leaders, taking on a role remarkably similar to that of the mythic Illuminati. Always separated from his scheme by several degrees, he elevated lesser villains to sow chaos where needed. Though more heroic forces were vaguely aware of his presence, the shadows surrounding him were too great for him to be confronted or brought to justice. As such, his schemes unfolded nearly unabated, as even his "failures" pushed the world toward the precipice of destruction.
As the world fell, Sekhem made his move. The territory that was formerly southern California held one of the largest concentrations of superhumans in the world, and there he began his master plan. By allying himself with the remaining superhumans, they together constructed the Citadel, a last bastion for mankind. His peers were far from trusting him implicitly, but in their desperation could not turn down such a powerful ally. As the Citadel stabilized, Sekhem stepped back from his role as a mover and shaker to assume a more humble position scavenging and preserving what remained of human culture and technology. Sekhem as well took it upon himself to maintain a library in the Citadel, and on occasion personally leads scavenging expeditions into the ruins of Los Angeles. Even so, he as well claims to the dubious title of "Chairman of the Morale Committee," running a ring of secretive clubs, bars, brothels and other such low establishments in the Citadel's seedy underbelly. These places are maintained by the elderly and the invalid, as well as survivors that Sekhem has been smuggling into the Citadel. Other superhumans hesitate to end his operations, as the Morale Committee has also established a cinema and a youth center for more tasteful leisure.
To maintain his underground operations, as well as spy on the activities of various other key players in the Citadel, Sekhem has established a network of informants and underlings, comprised of both normal humans and some lesser superhumans. While structured like a criminal organization, the temperaments of his followers more resemble religious devotees than hirelings. Some other superhumans are aware of his slowly growing faction of supporters, but none are sure of its true size and control, and thus refrain from rushing to dismantle it.