From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp! When the stars threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
-The Tyger, William Blake
|"I'm a simple beast, really."|
|Player: User:Iron Ghost|
|Real Name:||Erica Nidhogg (ne Thialfi. Legally changed in Philadelphia Superior court)|
|Known Aliases:||Erica Thialfi (Birth Name), Dragesdatter (Official Title), Maiden Havoc, Wings|
|Species:||Magically Altered Human|
|Nationality:||American Citizen with criminal record (Probation contingent upon service as a registered superhero)|
|Occupation:||Agent of MAGI|
|Place of Birth:||Johnstown, PA, USA|
|Base of Operations:||Salamanca, RI, USA|
|Marital Status:||Currently Dating (Valkisintharsis)|
|Known Relatives:||Lars Thialfi (Father, Deceased), Yutte Sorensen (Mother), Nils Thialfi (Brother), Nidhoggur (Ancient Dragon/Contractual Parent)|
|Invulnerability, Tactile Pyrokinesis, Flight, Altered Physiology, Heightened Senses, Limited Superhuman Strength|
|Types 58 WPM, Speaks Fluent Danish|
|The Nastrond Armor(A suit of armor consisting of bronze plates bolted to Chainmail), Magically Inscribed Ring that temporarily grants her human appearance, Ordinary Sledgehammer|
| All observations made upon Licensing. Subject is notoriously secretive.
Erica Nidhogg was born Erica Thialfi on July 1st, 1984 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Danish immigrants Lars and Yutte Thialfi. Just a year earlier, her father had accepted a post with the Central Intelligence Agency as a member of it's elite group of occultists, the Astrum Argentum. The Astrum was composed powerful magicians in the service of the government and at the time were charged with foiling Soviet espionage within the United States. Lars was no exception and was in fact a skilled Gallowsman. A wizard/runesinger of the highest order in the old Scandinavian traditions. Prior to the birth of his daughter, Lars Thialfi sought to safeguard her future through occult means. He called up Nidhogg, a primordial creature of ruin and entropy and master of the destructive side of nature, to safeguard his daughter and spare her the withering effects of his touch. It was pure hubris that made him think that he could outwit the ancient wyrm. Term after term the hoary old dragon outwitted the runesinger, tricking him into unwittingly agreeing to deals that would bind his unborn child to Nidhogg's service. He is capable of only destruction and wanted nothing in the world more than the one thing denied to him: Progeny. Now a powerful wizard was offering up his first born on a plate? It was simply too good to refuse.
Erica grew up fairly normally. Though small and shy, she was a happy and well-adjusted girl in a stable and loving family. The old dragon kept his end of the bargain and as a result Erica was energetic, optimistic and was never sick a day in her life. More of a bookworm than anything else, she was always content to remain in the background and shied away from attention at every opportunity. After she spent her high school years dedicated to academic pursuits, she struck out on her own, moving out of her parents home shortly after graduation and enrolling in Pierce College while working full time as a Court Clerk and later Stenographer in Philadelphia. Determined to make it on her own, this state of affairs continued for a few years until her twenty-first birthday when the Dragon's pact entered it's final phase.
Erica called in sick the day before her birthday. She was suffering from a high fever and wasn't feeling up to work that day. As evening fell, her condition rapidly worsened and she checked herself into a local hospital. Her fever continued to escalate, when a routine blood test showed evidence of leukemia, an oncologist was called in to verify the test results and she was rushed into an emergency MRI. The results were stunning to say the least. Within an hour, the leukemia had spread to her lymph nodes and branched out to every system in her body. Believing they were about to witness a new medical condition, she was moved to the ICU and kept under emergency observation as the tumors in her body continued to metastasize at a rate previously thought to be impossible. Her prognosis stated that she was unlikely to survive the night. At midnight, she opened her eyes and began howling in pain as a pair of horns pushed out of her forehead and leathery wings grew from her back. Her skin yellowed and she grew to monstrous proportions. Driven wild by the pain, she fled the hospital leaving a trail of destruction in her wake. Before fleeing to the woods, she bit an oncologist, knocked over two nurses, toppled an ambulance with the paramedics still inside and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of structural damage to the hospital.
She remained in the forest surrounding Philadelphia for three days. Drinking from streams and preying on the local wildlife, before she was able to get back enough of her presence of mind to return to civilization. Making her way back to her childhood home in Johnstown, she returned to her parents and showed them the transformations that had so suddenly and violently taken place. Lars had never told his family about the magical side of his life and his involvement with the intelligence establishment. Until then, his wife and children believed that he had been employed by the Department of the Interior, though this had only been a cover story. Now, as he told his loved ones of the hidden life that he'd kept secret for so long, Erica lashed out one more time, nearly strangling her father. Fortunately for all parties, her brother Nils was able talk her down from her destructive moodswing before she could cause serious injury. Unsure of how to handle her newfound ferocity, she returned to Philadelphia and surrendered herself to the authorities. Pleading guilty to several counts of Destruction of Public Property and Aggravated Assault, she was sentenced to five years of probation and public service contingent upon her completion of a Freedom Corps training program. Erica packed up and traveled to Paragon City to make a new start. Pennsylvania held too many bad memories and her parents marriage fractured beyond repair almost immediately thereafter.
There are times in our lives
When our hearts fear our minds
We can't afford to ignore
What our hearts are beating for
My Soul wants to go one way
But my heart and mind playin' a tug of war with me baby!
-Nikka Costa, Tug of War
At her core Erica is at heart a sensible, practical person who is working to recover from a great, personal catastrophe. She is first and foremost a highly competent individual. The sort of practical homebody who would otherwise be found in an office or cubicle quietly attending to the business of running society, collecting a paycheck and finding someone to settle down with. You see her everyday selling cars, delivering mail, talking on a payphone and silently waiting in line at the DMV. She has her share of flaws and a couple of quirks and at the end of the day tries to do the right thing (even if she doesn't always succeed). A hardcore introvert, Erica values her privacy first and foremost, almost defining the antithesis of the "rockstar superhero". She never consents to interviews or makes public statements and nor does she maintain a blog. Preferring to think of herself as a "quiet professional", she disdains all public attention and feels most comfortable with a tightly-knit group of close friends. Scrutiny of any kind makes her intensely uncomfortable and noticeable body image issues make her very conscious of any wandering eyes that happen to fall upon her for too long. Nonetheless, Erica remains an emotional anchor. The stable, emotionally mature person that groups rely upon but never center around...
...On the surface. In truth, this is more due to an attempt on her part to maintain as much normalcy in her life as she can and indeed, still identifies as human. Though she maintains the same outward mannerisms that she has since her more normal days, this is little more than an unconscious facade. Her transformation has stripped away the wall between action and instinct to reveal something that is both pure and terrible. In effect, her conscious mind and previous personality serve only as a control system for the magical bio-weapon that she has become. Erica is purpose built for violence and it shows. She displays a level of aggression that she never did before gaining her powers and can be confrontational to a fault. She suffers from an ingrained need for conflict and can get very much on edge and cranky if she goes for two long without the sting of battle. As such, she's felt a certain amount of alienation from herself and to date has had trouble reconciling this new side of her personality with the person that she remembers herself as.
Appearance and Behavior
Civilian Appearance and Behavior
Those who have seen the needles eye, now tread
Like a husk, from which all that was, now has fled
And the masks, that the monsters wear
To feed, upon their prey
Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved
The blackness of darkness forever
Portishead, Wandering Star
Combat Appearance and Behavior
Some people, they call me monster
Some people, they call me saint
My Talent feeds my darker side
yet no one will complain.
-Cake, The Opera Singer
Jungle warfare turned urban combat
Conversations tapped, operations turned black.
too late to turn back
Survival is how well we adapt to change in habitat
The intelligence they lack
Are the concepts we grasp
Pains of our past etched in man's fiber
History transcribed by hands of these liars.
dälek, Gutter Tactics
Human? Only marginally. Erica has been physically molded in the image of the dragon Nidhoggur, who considers her something akin to his daughter. Altered to serve as his Agent on Earth, he has gifted her with increased Size and Muscle Mass as well as the hallmarks of any mythological dragon: Wings, horns, mastery of flame and a reptilian tail. In addition to these features, she stands just shy of eight feet tall and is broad shouldered and well muscled. Though her body maintains the layout and structure of a baseline human in her default form, she is gradually evolving into a new and unique being. As time passes, she moves further and further from normal human physiology. The trend is always the same: She becomes less human and more of something rugged and wild. Not long after her transformation, she lost the ability to draw nourishment from vegetables and grains. Soon after, she began to develop redundant copies of her vital organs. Eight months ago, she learned how to breathe fire and six months ago retractable spikes pushed their way out of her knuckles. No part of her morphology is ever static as her body constantly strives to make itself better, stronger, tougher or more efficient than it was before. These changes are fundamental and reflected emotionally, mentally and physically on every level down to her genetic structure.
At this late stage in her development, very little of Erica's humanity remains in terms of the physical makeup of her body. By now, almost completely a dragon, she's been known to revert to the form of the mythic dragons of old during times of extreme emotional distress... though it's doubtful that she has any conscious control over this ability.
Before shooting troops was cooler than hula hoops,
high noon was your basic who's who of brutal truth.
Hot summer gun or box-cutter slow dance
turn a young'n to a dozen paper dolls holding hands.
And tricky was a wooden horse pushed up on your porch
so chicanery was yours to engage or ignore.
I was on the latter but a lot adopt pawns,
so we carried lawn chairs and buckets of popcorn.
-Aesop Rock & El-P, Gun For The Whole Family
Erica is both the contractual daughter and chosen weapon of eldest of dragons, Nidhogg (Literally, corpse-tearer or Striker in the Dark). A primal entity so old as to resemble something like a god and representing the destructive and merciless aspects of nature. Forest fires, tornadoes, the process of natural selection, plagues, kudzu-choked forests and the genes that give you cancer all fall within his purview. He spends his days gnawing at the roots of the world ash from his lair in the realm of Niflheim.
A primal and terrible intelligence that predates the universe, long ago he was considered an entity of great dread and was known by many names: The Striker in the Dark, The Eater of the Weak, He who gnaws at the roots of Ygdrassil. None the less, Nidhogg is neither evil nor good. Rather, he is simply a part of the system and maintains the balance between creation and destruction. Similar to the way that periodic fires clear dead foliage and deposit layers of rich ash on the floor of a forest. In doing so, he keeps the world from choking itself with it's own expansion. Erica, now technically an abomination carries out the same function on earth that her "father" does in the realm below. Whether she realizes it or not, she labors to keep the world from caving in on itself. An amoral force of nature coupled to an essentially decent and compassionate mind has led Erica to cause of heroism where she now battles those who would remake the world in their image or destroy it outright.It should be noted that Nidhogg does not exert any direct control over Erica even is she now mentally more than a little bit like her spiritual father. Nidhogg did not want a servant or slave but rather a being that shares his physical and spiritual hallmarks. Erica retains her free will and identity as a being that is separate from yet of the same essence as that of the old wyrm. Currently known only to Nidhogg himself. He has grown tired of existence, his own boundless rage turning in upon itself. Despite all this, it's simply not in his nature to destroy himself but to survive indefinitely through fire, flame and the end of all things on into the next version of the universe. In finding Erica, he'd hit upon a solution that very contradiction. An unborn human child of pure heart carefully stolen from her own father. Nidhogg knows that when his time comes and the world is on the brink of destruction, his own flesh and blood will stand in his way. With a bit of luck, she will succeed in destroying him and take his place while he at last rests in non-existence.
Extremely active during the second Rikti War, Erica threw herself fully into that conflict... at the insistence of the U.S. government. Erica was pressed into service as a brevet Major with the United States Marine Corps after the Might For Right Act was illegally and quietly reactivated just days prior to the start of the invasion. She was one of the metahumans selected due to the public nature of her identity, the considerable offensive capability that she wields and her probationary status. In short, she was picked because this set of circumstances combined to make her eminently controllable. Erica already had one foot in the Zig and with no desire to ever see the inside of it's cells, she gritted her teeth and went about the day's work. Officially, she was made a military intelligence officer and charged to provide senior officers with accurate, in-depth knowledge of Rikti weapons and capabilities. Unofficially, she was part of the Pentagon's presence in the War Zone. Not only was she actively combating Rikti Transformationists, she was keeping an eye on Vanguard. As she worked with them to stem the invasion, she was also busy calculating their strengths and noting their weaknesses. Needless to say, she hated it. The lies, duplicity and double-dealing conflicted endlessly with her more noble aspirations. So, at the conclusion of major hostilities she took the most vicious recourse that she could think of: She sued. Naming the Department of Defense in her lawsuit, Erica spent two weeks tossing lawyers through their windows (figuratively speaking). Facing a public relations disaster of epic proportions (for press-ganging super-powered felons), the military chose to settle out of court in a bid to keep the matter away from the eyes of the public. Erica was able to walk away with a tidy sum of cash in the low seven figures and a prototype Sukovsky HARDsuit that was later returned so as to avoid being beholden to the government. Since this incident, Erica has taken a position independence in regards to public institutions. In her mind, she now works for no one but those who need her.
Her Victory was to be short lived, however. A few weeks after putting the matter behind her, Erica became very spooked for some reason and left for parts unknown. Exactly why she has gone to ground is not known and the location was not revealed to anyone. What is known, is that immediately before leaving, letters dated September 10th were sent to her closest associates revealing her intent to return but little else...
Having returned from her time away, and unwilling to speak much on the subject. Erica has returned to Paragon City where she continues to fight evil in all of it's forms. Just recently, she has stumbled upon Nidhoggur who had found a way to cheat and circumvent the curse binding him to Niflheim. In doing so, he had occupied the very body of the man who had sought a pact with him so long ago: Lars Thialfi. Shocked by the revelation and prodded into a rage, she ultimately failed to enact her revenge on the being that was now both her physical and magically bonded father. For now, she nurses her anger and plots her next move.
Skills and Abilities
- Clerical Maven:Years spent working as a government employee in the Philadelphia court system have given Erica a better than average grasp over the workings of a modern beauracracy and hence is very good at getting things done with paperwork. In addition to this, she has kept her certification as a notary public up to date and can type 58 wpm on a good day.
- Wetworker: "Wetwork" is a term used to describe close quarters battle, usually involving hand to hand combat, in difficult or delicate conditions. Erica has inherited a finely honed killer instinct and natural genius for personal combat and can often predict the outcome of a battle based upon a shift in stance or nervous twitch on the part of her opponent. In open conflict, her instincts will almost invariably play out towards a positive tactical outcome. It should be noted that this is not a conscious action on her part. It is not a skill and cannot be learned, taught or applied to others. Rather, it is a mental process that runs in the deepest corners of her mind much like an inborn talent or proclivity. Forever calculating what actions will lead to victory and subtracting those that will most likely end in defeat and judging all she meets on the basis of the potential threat that they represent.
- Rigdansk:Growing up as the daughter of immigrants, English is actually Erica's second language though one learned fluently at a very young age. The Thialfis spoke Rigdansk (Standard Danish) in the home and English everywhere else and as a consequence, she can pass as a native speaker in both languages.
- Green Thumb:Erica's twin passions in life are botany and horticulture. Two subjects she was studying in depth before her transformation and before the second Rikti War. Nothing else in the world reduces her anxiety and satisfies the meticulous side of her nature better than nurturing plants to grow. At the completion of her court mandated service as a superhero, she plans to open a greenhouse.
- Seid Worker: Before his death at the hands of Nidhoggur, Erica had recently begun to speak with her father again and, with relations hesitantly warming, he had seen fit to gift her with a small volume of occult lore. Thus she has some insight into the working of the norse pantheons (The Aesir, Vanir and Jotun) and with no small amount of preparation can perform a few working rituals and simple spells, though the only ones of any real use being a gateway rite that allows her access to Niflheim, a curse that inspires aggression (and sometimes brain damage) in her foes, The Creation of a small ring that temporarily allows her to appear human (reverse engineered from a spell given to her by Conspyre) and limited teleportation to areas that she places a specially prepared "hearth stone" such as her apartment or supergroup base. In terms of actual skill, she's an autodidactic who's managed to teach herself a few useful tricks and nothing more.
War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate craft awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other.
Despite their supernatural origins, Erica's powers all operate within the purview of the material world and have a decidedly non-supernatural mechanic. Partly due to the fact that she's a creature of the physical world and partly attributable to Nidhoggur's desire to create a being that could exist independent of his patronage and grow beyond him.
- Invulnerability: Erica's skin has taken on some of the legendary properties associated with dragons. It has an extremely high tensile strength and shares many of traits associated with spider silk. Additionally, it is unique in that any trauma inflicted upon it is immediately spread across the her entire surface area making her resistant to all but the most serious damage. Built to take damage, her cell walls, connective tissue and skeletal structure are all shot through with bio-polymers arranged in stable, highly complex worm-like chains. These chains are interlinked and combine to to form a sort of mesh that absorbs and disperses energy throughout her body. Energy attacks and anti-tank weapons all seem to wash off of her without slowing her down in the least, making her a relentless combatant.
- Survival Machine: To add to her survivability, Erica has grown a redundant copy of all of her vital organs. For example, she has two hearts and three lungs and can afford to lose one and still live. She also generates a viscous fluid that seals wounds quickly, allowing her a greater chance of healing.
Dragon Flame (Fiery Melee/Pyre Mastery)
Erica's control over flame is the purest expression of her connection to the violent side of nature and her draconic heritage. Fire consumes everything in it's path and when finished, leaves only a layer of ash that in turn replenishes the soil and allows new life to take over. This power is described as tactile in that it cannot be used to create flame ex nihilo but rather can be used to produce thermal energy that emanates from her body.
- Living Blast Furnace: Her body acting as a conduit, Erica is capable of generating extreme amounts of heat. This aspect of her power seems to be linked to her nervous system, enabling her to channel heat and flame into various close-range attacks, exhale a napalm-like spray of fire and hurl fireballs from her fingertips. This ability seems keyed to the more basic parts of her brain and when angered or otherwise disturbed, she is capable of generating enough heat to melt steel.
- Kinetic Component: A capability most often used while generating fiery swords, Erica can inject her flames with kinetic energy enough to give them some measure of solidity. This can be used to create a literal, solid sword or generate explosive force equivalent to a small mortar shell in destructive potential.
- Predatory Grace: Erica's physiology has been altered into something now almost completely draconic. At this point in time, very little of her original humanity remains. This has made her stronger, tougher, faster and more enduring than even an olympian athlete and on into the lower superhuman levels. She can run faster, jump higher and exert herself much longer than a baseline human.
- Heightened Metabolism: Among these alterations, she has been gifted with a heightened metabolism that imbues her with her incredible reserves of energy as well as leaving her normal body temperature somewhere around 102 degrees fahrenheit.
- Keen Senses: Erica's senses of sight, hearing and smell have been enhanced beyond human levels to aid in tracking and identifying targets. She can hear into the 60 Khz range, See into the infrared spectrum (making her capable of seeing perfectly well in lowlight environments), read a road sign with perfect clarity one mile away and can track targets by smell.
- Limited Superhuman Strength: Erica's strength has been rated by M.A.G.I. in the five-ton range. Well below levels exhibited by Ascendant, Jack Wolfe or Statesman (Or any other superstrength hero) but still sufficient to heft a car, hurl a motorcycle or shatter concrete with a punch. She has been rated at six on the U.N. approved Marvel System Strength Scale.
For the first year and a half of her life as a metahuman, The large, leathery wings upon her back remained mostly non-functional. In recent months, they've experienced a noticeable growth spurt and now permit flight at speeds of over one hundred miles per hour. In flight, she uses her tail to help steer as well as shift her balance, thus permitting exceptional maneuverability.
- PPD Communicator: Erica carries a standard PPD communicator as part of her duties as a Quick Responder. It allows her to get an up to date stream of information about the goings on in whatever sector of Paragon City she happens to be in.
- Nastrond Armor: A suit of armor forged by Nidhoggur in Nastrond and hardened by prolonged exposure to the void between worlds. It consists of laquered steel plates riveted atop a suit of Iron mesh. Erica wears this when high intensity combat is expected or when she wants to inflict the maximum possible amount of shock and intimidation in a fight
- Ghost Slaying Axe: A fairly standard ghost slaying axe that she received from M.A.G.I. at the begining of her crimefighting career and usable against the Undead.
- Sledgehammer: A fairly normal if oversized sledgehammer that Erica acquired at Home Emporium. Mainly used when she needs to add some extreme blunt physical trauma to her repertoire of attacks. It should also be noted that she has the disturbing habit of routinely breaking them through overuse.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Despite her much vaunted resilience, subfreezing temperatures affect Erica the way they affect any normal human. In the snow, she is exceptionally uncomfortable and takes great pains to keep herself warm whether through magical means, increased activity or merely bundling up. If left exposed to extreme cold for too long, she will go into shock and hypothermia as quickly as a normal human and not long after, die. Sonic attacks have also proven effective in the past. Erica's heightened sense of hearing has sometimes proved a liability as extremely loud and/or high pitched noises have been known disrupt her thoughts and cause her physical pain. Additionally, her mind is virtually without defense against mental intrusion. Her psyche is an open book to even a marginally skilled telepath and this has lead to serious injury on multiple occasions even leading up to near death during a recent and public battle with Mother Mayhem.Unbenknownst to herself or anyone else, her skin can be easily pierced by objects made of the bone of poisonous snakes.
Shortly after her transformations she also lost the ability to digest vegetables and grains. If it isn't highly processed or doesn't come from an animal, she can't eat it without becoming physically ill for about a day.
Did you know that Erica Nidhogg...
- prefers White Russians.
- makes a mean mojito.
- Has seen "The Blues Brothers" thirty-seven times.
- also happens to be a fully qualified notary public.
- is big in Korea. She has her own line of Manhua and merchandise, all of it completely unauthorised. She's still trying to figure this one out.
- has never, despite what unauthorized manhua adaptations of her adventures may lead you to believe, fought Kim Jong Il and very much doubts that he even has a set of power armor.
- refuses to reveal her middle name to anyone: Gvuthbjorg. It's rather ethnic, after all.
- is an Ascendant fangirl.
- spends most of her time at home, fussing over a large collection of potted plants.
- sings in the shower. Badly. Like, seriously, it's really bad.
- has a number of theme songs. Tug of War by Nikka Costa, Stray Bullet by KMFDM, Shapeshifter by Bombardier and Almost Sleeping by Laika
- is a huge fan of the music of Snow Patrol, Fischerspooner, Interpol and Junkie XL.
- That being said, she keeps a hidden stash of Norwegian Black Metal CD's for "Motivational Purposes".
- considers purple her favorite color.
- was inspired primarily by the Iron Age of comics. More specifically, comics made between the late eighties and early nineties. Primary influences include Hellboy, Spawn, Caitlin Fairchild, Revy Two-Hands and Grant Morrison's Take on The Doom Patrol under the vertigo imprint.
- would be played by Carrie-Anne Moss in the hypothetical virtueverse movie with the aid of a lot of CGI.