Penelope Arianna DiamantisAlias:
Penelope is loath to classify herself in such black and white terms as “hero” or “villain”, instead choosing to identify herself somewhat as a keeper of balance between the two. Her outright ignorance of traditional law, however, firmly brands her in a villain in the eyes of the heroes.Loyalty:
Penelope is currently in talks with the mysterious Broker, and has been approached about potentially joining the Jacks.Appearance:
Penelope stands at 6'1", towering over most other women and a good portion of men, but her extreme height is very obviously offset by her extreme lankiness--she is naturally much thinner than most, not quite to the point of being gaunt but very close, and has little in the way of obviously protruding features. Penelope's breasts are small, her midriff compact, and her limbs are almost spindly; it is immediately apparent that her growth concerned itself significantly more with height than anything else. Despite this natural skew in her proportions, however, Penelope is the kind of person that you would consider traditionally attractive. Though her profound height and lack of width naturally make her look almost wispy and airy, like a willow swaying in the wind, her dark and sharp features lend her face a depth and fullness that it would not ordinarily have that helps to anchor her in a more aesthetically pleasing light.
Of course, Penelope does not simply walk around au naturel. Penelope is rarely found when she's not impeccably groomed and dressed up--and she likes to be as visually striking as possible. She wears her hair in a side cut, the right side shaved and her hair swept over to the left side in an exaggerated curl, and has dyed her naturally black hair raven blue. At the forefront, cresting the lip of the curve, is a shock of deep magenta-pink that runs half an inch deep. Copious amounts of hairspray ensure the relative stability of the arrangement, and it provides a shadowy backdrop to her face that frames the lighter elements within. Penelope's eyes are lidded with a faint brush of rusty red eyeshadow and framed by a solid line of eyeliner, ending in a slight flick to match the high angles of her cheekbones. Penelope's lips are always her signature shade of bright, vivid blue--and slightly overdrawn to give the impression of fullness--which provides a pop of visual contrast to her other, darker features.
Penelope's nails are neatly trimmed and manicured, and adorned with a heavy coat of polish the same colour as her lips. She wears a fairly thin tank top, patterned with neon colours, that cuts off just before her navel and allows her bra--the same colour as the streak in her hair--to show through in several places. She can usually be seen wearing a black hoodless jacket over this, with an oversized zipper at the front and additional zippers connecting the sleeves to the jacket, as well as running down the length of the sleeves. Penelope typically wears a belt, usually black but occasionally bright blue or magenta, with a trademark oversized buckle in the centre, pulled slightly up so that it just extends into her bared midriff. Below this she wears acid-washed jeans, worn to the point of severely frayed patches of fabric, which end maybe six or so inches above her ankles thanks to both a conscious choice and the ridiculous length of her legs. Penelope's footwear of choice are converse, the same blue as her lips, not worn to quite the same extent as her jeans (being fully intact) but still visibly distressed.
As Adrasteia, Penelope's attire shifts dramatically. The base of Adrasteia's costume is a simple black catsuit, covering all of her body in its entirety with the exception of her head and her hands. Worn over this is a very large and billowy red jacket with an extremely oversized and exaggerated hood that leaves an easy six inches of space between the hood and her hair at all points. The primary focus of the outfit, however, is the mask that she wears--a combination of the classic comedy and tragedy masks, with the left half of her mask being comedy (bearing the trademark grin) and the right half being tragedy (bearing the trademark frown) that meet in the middle. The mask is a singular whole, carved from a single piece of wood and reinforced with several layers of lacquer, painted two different colours neatly down the middle. The base of the comedic half of the mask is a stark ivory, with the eyes and mouth a deep ebony, and vice versa for the tragic half. The mask is attached to a bolt of cloth within the hood that distinctly keeps it separate from the rest. Furthermore, Adrasteia wears gloves, one black and one white, on the opposite hands to her masks.History:
Penelope Arianna Diamantis began the inchoate stages of her life in Greece in the city of Athens. Born to two loving but dissatisfied parents who wanted more for their child than they'd had for themselves, Penelope's earliest years were spent blissfully ignorant of the misery her parents toiled in. For three years she simply went on with her life as she was taught to do so, before things came to a head and her parents decided that Penelope's future simply did not lie in Greece, and that the ideal of the American dream was something that they could give to her to secure a future beyond the mundane (and, perhaps, that they might be able to live vicariously through her). So her parents packed up all of their worldly possessions, cashed in all of their savings, and uprooted their life for stronger soil and greener pastures. The move to America was not, truth be told, an enormous deal to a young Penelope. At the age of three she really didn't comprehend the gravity of her situation, and she was still young enough that picking up a second language was something she'd be able to do with relative ease--it wasn't like she'd exactly mastered her mother tongue, yet. There was plenty of hope for her to be able to live a normal life.
And, for the best part of her childhood, she did. Many immigrants came to America for the promise of betterment, and though they were from different cultures they had all moved to this place and their newfound interest in the culture that awaited them served as a bond of commonality for them to create a community from. Penelope grew up in the very heart of the proverbial melting pot that American culture had come to be, straddling the line betwixt native and outsider, and thanks to the relative lightness of her skin and lack of truly affected accent blending in with the Caucasian natives just enough to have what could be considered an easy time of it. Normality, relative to her situation, prevailed for the large part. She coasted through school, not at the top of her class but fairly close, and participated in the grand game of ignorance that was high school politics without too much in the way of fuss. Being naturally pretty and reasonably intelligent got her quite far, and thanks to her own clique of similarly talented friends she managed to avoid internalising too much in the way of self-loathing that so many seemed to exit high school with. She got a job for herself waitressing in a local diner fairly early on, and though the pay wasn't great and the work was palatable at best her parents had rather emphatically impressed upon her the importance of working hard to achieve the so-called American Dream so that they could have a chance at rising from immigrants to the landed middle class. Penelope came to resent the work not because it was difficult, or dull, or that she was underappreciated--her resentment stemmed from the fact that the life that her parents had to work so hard for was really not that special. The ideal of the American Dream was very real to them, but she had never really known the hardship they'd experienced in Greece. She only knew that she had to fight for what the privileged kids simply had given to them, and though she was too young and too naive to really understand what she was feeling it created within her a knot of discontentment that would fester over the coming years.
University was another story entirely. Her home town of Castle Rock, Colorado was not where she'd want to spend the rest of her life, and though she had simply considered moving to Denver and eking out a life for herself there, her parents urged her to attend higher education. The knot of resentment tightened within her, and she capitulated to their requests if only because she supposed that it would be advantageous in the future and that they had
poured all of their money and effort over the years into making it happen for her. She got a coveted spot at the University of Columbia for Financial Law, and her life seemed to be on the up and up. Her freshman year was spent, as most are, partying as hard as she could get away with while still keeping up with her studies--and she did a damn good job at the former, though decidedly less so at the latter. She was used to working for what she had, but the level of difficulty was something that she'd never really been introduced to before, and her exultation in the glow of newfound social prestige and self-discovery precluded her from giving as much effort as she'd have liked. Her second year was spent reversing the damage she'd done to her grades in the first year--and a part of that process was learning about the minutiae of the financial world and the forces that ruled it. Much of Penelope's life had been blessedly easy, compared to some of her childhood friends, and the more she learned about the nature of the world that her parents had sacrificed so much to bring her to weighed heavily upon her.
It would not be right to say that Penelope became depressed, but as her second year progressed and the work demanded more and more of her the knot festering within her became a tangle of thorns. She secluded herself, abandoning the social connections she'd worked hard to forge, and focused everything she had on the work and getting through her course. Law degrees were by their very nature extremely taxing--even had everything been as good as it could have been for her, Penelope would certainly have struggled. The resentment that she'd carried from adolescence manifested itself as a feeling of extreme isolation and discontent with the nature of the world, and this was compounded with the fact that she simply did not have the time or energy to actively engage in a social life of practically any variety. At the end of her second year, Penelope came to a revelation: her chosen field of study taught her about the true nature of capitalism and what that did to society at large. The feelings of disconnectedness, the resentment, the rage--they all made sense in context... and yet this knowledge did nothing to assuage the bitter cocktail of emotions she was processing. The fact that she had a reason, a concept for her to blame, was simply inadequate in the face of the force of her emotion.
The worrying trend of single-minded devotion to her work at the increasingly debilitating cost of her mental health continued into her final year. The internet had proved to be a valuable resource in venting some of her frustrations about society, and though it enabled her to persevere under the mental strain enough to be at least academically successful her psyche continued to languish in misery and discontent. Still, compared to how she'd felt before, Penelope felt comparatively liberated by her newfound routine--until she found something that she thought might actually fix her problems. She had never protested before, and worried about how she might find the time, but given that the alternative was going to lead to her breaking down or dropping out she simply had to try something to give her faith that she could continue. Groups calling for drastic measures to take down the 1% were not uncommon by any stretch at this point, but finding people that wanted to do more than sit around on their smartphones and posture while enjoying their privilege was significantly more of a challenge. After a few months of delving she found what she believed she was looking for and set about preparing herself for the beginning of what she hoped would be a healing journey.
On the day of the protest, Penelope was ready. She was here, taking real action, among her peers--people who felt the way she did, who understood what she did, and wanted to bring a brighter tomorrow to the world. But even here, the feelings she'd been nurturing over the past few years simply would not go away. What had started as a mere knot fueled by a hint towards the inequality in the world had developed by now into a twisted mass of razors that had made her every waking moment a trial in just how much pain she could endure--and what she had hoped would rid her of those feelings seemed to be ineffective. In that moment, she looked around and saw her fellows chanting their slogans and hoisting their placards into the air, and time seemed to slow for her. This was the most that she could ever really accomplish. No matter how much she tried, no matter how hard she worked, no matter what she put herself through... it would never be enough. These were all just ordinary people who needed something to blame for the state of their lives pouring their hearts and souls into an ultimately futile act and she was one of them. She was just another face in the crowd, just another body on the pile, just another pointless name in a pointless list.
The realisation knocked the air out of her lungs, and for a solid thirty seconds she simply could not bring herself to breathe. Surrounded by perhaps the most motivated people, who felt what she felt, and still
they were nothing? If they were nothing, what was the rest of the world? The questions thrummed in her skull, her blood pounding in her temples, and just as she thought she was about to pass out from the lack of air her lungs found their rhythm and tried to compensate for lost time. She gulped in great mouthfuls of air, spitting them out almost before she'd actually managed to get them into her lungs, and cried out to the heavens in rage and despair. All she'd ever wanted was to hold these people accountable for what they'd done, for the damage they'd caused, to make them feel all of the rage and misery and pain that she and countless others felt... and then, she began to feel like she could. She became aware of emotions in the people closest to her, and then further out, and further still, until she could almost feel the sea of fire that was their combined rage. At that moment, she almost felt like she could direct it into someone--and out walked the CFO of Goldman Sachs, one of the companies that they were protesting against. It was so easy to pour all of that liquid magma into him, and by the time she had finished she felt so free and so liberated that she collapsed in a heap on the floor.
What happened that day went on to be known as a tragedy. Overcome by a rage so strong he was essentially an animal, the CFO of a major Wall Street corporation tore the throat out of a protester with his teeth and injured at least three others before having to be fatally shot by the police. Penelope had gotten back to her dorm in almost a fugue state, and upon realising that she had become a parahuman felt some of that tension within her release. Now, after so long, she finally had the power to bring the will of the people to the few who sought to rule them.
She finished her final year at Columbia and graduated summa cum laude with a 3.8 GPA. She moved back to Denver, ostensibly to take a break from her rigorous studies and get some experience in the financial world before beginning a job hunt in earnest. The truth was far simpler: if she were to take advantage of her newfound power, she would need experience and she would need resources. Both would be better off if accrued far away from one of the financial powerhouses of the world, and she could use her home state as a testing grounds for her greater plans. With a little under a year of practice, Penelope decided to forge a cape name for herself. She took the name Adrasteia for herself and began using her powers to enact vengeance on the rich and, where possible, redistribute their assets to the poor.
Day by day, person by person, the knot of resentment unravels a little more.Motivations:
Penelope is an extraordinarily ideologically driven woman, and her ideology is most simply summarised by the words "fuck the one percent". She loathes the state of the world and places its blame almost entirely on the magnates and oligarchs who control it from the shadows to the detriment of everyone else around them, and her sole motivation in life is to rip them from their ivory towers and show them what it's like to muck about with the good people of the world crushed under their metaphorical boots. Penelope initially took this ideology in a direction that she, in her more mature years, recognises as misguided and naive--originally, she had hoped to change the world through the power of protest and elucidation. She thought that if she could simply elevate the thoughts of her compatriots to the point of understanding how the world worked then the resultant shift in popular sentiment could liberate them from the shackles of their oppressors. She thought that armed with understanding they could accomplish that which had been denied them since time immemorial--a society that cared for everyone and everything within it.
It was only when the world took that hope from her by constant iteration and reiteration of failure that she saw it for how naive it was. How could she incite an indolent populace to revolt if they neither understood nor desired to understand the fact that the barely-gilded cage foisted upon them was not how the world had to be? No, she knew that in order to liberate them from something that they could not even perceive that she had to become as powerful as her oppressors in order to undermine their efforts. Thus, her motivations are twofold: Bring the current system of exploitation and misery crashing down and those who perpetuated it to justice, and obtain enough power to do so. Penelope will go to great lengths to achieve her goals, believing that the sacrifice of the few for the many is always worthwhile, even to the extent that should the correct moment arise for her death to change things she will gladly accept the opportunity. If she has to murder ten to achieve the power to save a thousand, she believes that this is a worthwhile trade--but only if she keeps her morals in check and does not lose sight of her goal. As a result she desires stability in the form of a group of close compatriots who can check her worst and most selfish impulses when necessary as well as damage the current regime in legitimately meaningful ways--and this resulted in her desire to join a group of more morally grey individuals than the Wards who, in her mind, exist to perpetuate the current regime (regardless of how true that may actually be).Sexuality:
Bisexual; Prefers WomenLikes:
- The concept of Justice
- The betterment of society
- The liberation of fighting for an ethically just cause
- Having the power to change the world
- People who stand up for themselves in the face of overwhelming odds
- Lists of Likes and Dislikes, believing them to be incapable of correctly capturing the nuance of complex topics
- The powerful who abuse the powerless
- The execution of Justice as dictated by society at large
- Those who do not seek to enlighten or otherwise better themselves
Judicious use of Penelope’s power has left her with a more volatile emotional state than she would care to admit. She carries fragments of emotions and other such psychological phenomena with her from times where she’s used her power, and when she gets tired or stressed these fragments of emotions from times when she has recently used her power are prone to directly influencing her own mental state—and due to the fact that she very frequently focuses her power on psychological phenomena that incite themes of rage and rebellion, she has to a certain extent taken on more of the traits of a violent revolutionary than she currently realises.Skills:
Penelope’s primary talents are those of an oratory and intellectual nature. She is a naturally gifted public speaker and negotiator, a talent which was only magnified by her powers, and is considerably more knowledgeable than most in matters of finances and the nuances of the law regarding such. She is bilingual, speaking Greek and English fluently, and has recently indulged in the practice of things she thinks she will find useful in the field, such as: lockpicking and hand-to-hand combat.Classification:
Penelope's power is, fundamentally, the ability to sense, connect, and manipulate the psychological phenomena within people. It could more accurately be described as the ability to influence the connections and ties that bind humans together. Practically, this ability has several components:
Firstly, Penelope is always able to sense the most dominant emotion (or other equivalent psychological phenomena under the broad umbrella of "emotion", stretching to concepts such as loyalty or devotion) that anybody within around half a city block (approximately 450 feet) is currently feeling. While she cannot turn this sensory ability off, it is not an inherently empathetic awareness--she does not feel what they feel, and has an awareness in an abstract way as if she has another sense linked directly to this ability. Penelope is capable, if she desires, of reducing the range of this ability to approximately a quarter of a city block (225 feet), gaining insight into more of the emotions people are feeling beyond their most focused emotion and surface emotions. If she focuses on a specific individual she is capable of narrowing this focus even further to the extent that she is able to essentially consider their entire emotional profile. It is important to note that she cannot detect thoughts under any circumstances--her sensory ability is very strictly restricted to the purview of her overall skillset. Penelope's range of power has minor fluctuations based on how currently attuned she is with her shard.
Secondly, Penelope is able to choose a single instance of dominant emotion or a psychological phenomenon within her limited sensory range of approx. 225 feet and bind any number of people she can sense within that area together. Then, all instances of the chosen emotion felt by her selected targets are transferred to a single target of her choice. If any of these emotions are felt towards a specific target by anybody affected by the power, Penelope is able to direct all of the combined emotion towards any one target among those available to her. This typically manifests as Penelope choosing an emotion--for example, anger--and siphoning all instances of anger from all targets within her range, then transferring the accumulated anger into one person. Those who have their emotion siphoned by her power no longer feel any instance of the emotion. While within her range, Penelope is capable of maintaining a single instance of this effect almost indefinitely. Penelope is theoretically capable of using this power to transfer instances of any common facet of the mind that does not extend into explicit thought, which include but are not limited to: loyalty, trust, pain, and pleasure.Limitations:
The exact specifications of the range of Penelope’s power vary, but it is most easily understood as a circular area of effect with variable radius--the lower bound of this area is 10 feet in radius, and its upper bound is 225 feet in radius. Penelope may choose any radius between the two and place the area of effect anywhere within her overall 225 ft. radius provided that it does not extend past her 225 foot distance maximum. As soon as any target leaves Penelope’s chosen range of influence, the effect of her power gradually begins to reverse itself over the course of twelve hours.Equipment:
Adrasteia carries precious little, being relatively new to the idea of being a cape. Currently she has several burner phones, a taser, and pepper spray—but as her needs develop, she will upgrade her setup accordingly.