The Midnight Kestrel
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Midnight Kestrel is a character created in the MMORPG "City of Heroes". She was initially created for the express purpose of joining the Sky Pirates supergroup, as well as to see if the archery blaster set was really as poor as everyone had assumed. She turned into something much, much larger, and became my first--and only, as of press time--level 50 character.
member of the Sky Pirates
The Midnight Kestrel has a sharp tongue to compliment her quiver of sharper arrows. Quick to throw a sarcastic remark or random quip at almost any situation, she looks at most things in life with a freewheeling and devil-may-care attitude, a viewpoint that has brought her no end of trouble. Her penchant for speaking first and thinking later tends to lead many to believe her air-headed, but that too ends up working in her favor, as many of her enemies are surprised by the various tricks up her sleeve. She is an impulsive woman, completely driven by her whims at any given moment. Her deep love of good friends, good times, good sex and good drink can lead her to sticky situations often, but usually she manages to power her way through.
The Kestrel has a complicated network of neural enhancements fused directly into her nervous system and higher brain functions. These "neurals", as she calls them, allow her to perform superhuman feats of physical prowess. The neural network compliments her swift eyes, keen senses, and deadly aim with her bow.
Primary Set: Archery
The Kestrel has been using a recurve bow as a hobby since she was a little girl. Trained by her father, she has developed a deep love for her weapon of choice, and used it as her calling card during both her stints as a street thief and mercenary. Through intense training and practice, she has become a crack shot, and can even perform a couple of trick shots.
Secondary Set: Energy Melee
The gloves of Kestrel's original sneaksuit empower her blows with incredible energy, sending her foes flying from her or dizzying them for follow up arrow attack. Additional neural enhancements can increase her accuracy and strengthen her arms, allowing her to get more draw on her bow than most normal people, and therefore dealing more damage.
Due to the neural enhancements in her body, The Kestrel can leap an incredible amount of distance, allowing her to hop from rooftop to rooftop without too much injury. Her only complaints with her mode of travel are that her thighs and backside end up hurting after a great period of time.
Kessie's body is coated in a light-refracting polymer. When charged with her own biological electricity and activated by certain neural connections, she can bend light around herself and render herself completely invisible.
During a contract against the Council, Kessie had managed to raid a weapons cache for a shotgun. Over the course of several other contracts, as well as through a mysterious parcel from Ein Dose, she has further modified the existing shotgun to fire a variety of typically illegal munitions, including an experimental cryonic freeze ray and a short-range surface-to-surface missle.
Through her years as a thief and pickpocket, The Midnight Kestrel has developed a swift eye and even faster hands. She can break into most locks without too much effort, and can swipe useful or expensive-looking items right from almost everyone's nose. She also has something of a silver tongue, and can usually persuade people to her point of view or explain away almost anything. When her gift of gab fails, however, she falls back on beating her target into seeing things her way.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Kessie is an impulsive woman, prone to whatever need motivates her at any given moment. As such, her aspirations are usually small, and involve nothing more than the gaining of any random item or person of interest. While most situations tend to roll off her back, her past mistakes continue to shadow over her, and when her past actions are ever mentioned, she becomes deflated and distant, or even resentful.
The Midnight Kestrel carries with her a rune-carved recurve bow gifted to her by Ein Dose, her modified shotgun, a quiver of specifically designed metallic arrows, and a small flask that's usually filled with rum and Coke.
The only child of Anna Fairchylde and industrialist Jonas Fairchylde, Jesslyn led a simple but comfortable life. Her mother, a recovered heroin addict, was a caring and loving woman, content with her role as mother and housewife. Her father ran several manufacturing plants in the greater New England area, and though he was a strict businessman, he was a gentle and loving father, and supported Jesslyn's needs and wants. After a long while, however, Fairchylde's maunufacturing prospects began to falter, as new technology firms began to take root and take away business. Eventually, Jonas' entire company went bankrupt. During this time of financial dischord, fights between Jesslyn's mother and father grew frequent, and eventually Jonas was driven from his home and from his daughter.
Moving from their small condo in Founder's Falls to a tiny apartment in King's Row, Jesslyn's life turned for the worse. Her mother fell backwards into depression and her old habits of heroin use. Jesslyn was left to fend for herself and to try to support her mother and their tiny apartment. After several failed attempts at working standard jobs, Jesslyn turned to a life of crime, first as a pickpocket and eventually working her way up to breaking and entering. Her favorite targets were the large, high-tech office firms that took root in King's Row, as something of a small bit of personal revenge against the companies that caused her family to collapse. In time, she became enamored with her infamy as one of the Row's more skilled B&E artists, and even adopted the moniker of the King's Row Kestrel--a title she gave herself due to her smaller stature and fearlessness in taking on larger opponents, much like the bird of her namesake.
Her mother eventually died of an overdose, but Jesslyn's fate had been sealed regardless of the fact that she no longer had someone's bad habit to support. She continued with her exploits, hoping to become Paragon City's most famous thief. Despite her many heists of notable and normally thought secure high-tech companies, she still did not gain the popularity she craved, as her work was often overshadowed by the feats of the city's superpowered populace. Jesslyn then had an idea...if she were to gain superpowers in some fashion, she would then grab the media attention she longed for.
Having heard of a secret research and development laboratory located in Independence Port that was working on an experimental sneaksuit that allowed the wearer to perform incredible superpowered physical acts, Jesslyn made her move. She broke into the lab and succeeded in finding and putting on the prototype sneaksuit. However, when she fitted the outfit to her body, it fused onto her, connecting itself directly into her nervous system. Unable to remove the suit, and with the lab's security bearing down, she made good her escape.
It was eventually found out that the lab in question was a secret facility owned by Crey Industries. Jesslyn was now a woman marked for death. In a last-ditch effort to keep herself from being assassinated, Jesslyn registered herself as a hero of the city, under the assumption that Crey would not be foolish enough to attack or kill a hero in broad daylight. She ran into a woman named Remir, a captain of the Sky Pirate ship Angelus, and was hired as a crewmember for her skill with sneaking and lockpicking.
Life as a Privateer
It was aboard the Angelus and with the members of its crew that Jesslyn found the home she had long-missed, and she took to her new role as a sneak thief and privateer with gusto. Selling out her combat services to various contracters and contacts across Paragon City, she became infamous as a deadeye shot with her bow and her ability in combat. She won many friends among the hero community, and made even more enemies among their number for her nonchalant view of justice and right and wrong.
As time passed, she was eventually promoted to Gale Commander, a rank below Remir's captain position, and had established herself as one of the crew's more animated and loveable members. She eventually had worked a way to get out of her sneaksuit, but remained aboard the Angelus out of love for her fellow crewmembers and out of her deep respect for her captain.
Death and Love at Terra Volta
During a large contract she was hired for to protect a reactor at Terra Volta, The Midnight Kestrel was caught in a dire fight. The Raiders swarmed the reactor she and her team were assigned to defend, and the team fell. Jesslyn fell right at the very core of the reactor, and was caught at the epicenter of the resulting blast. The blast blew her sneaksuit completely off of her body, and fused the neural connections in the suit directly into her skin. Due to the intensity of the blast, the hospital teleport beacon failed to activate immediately, and doctors were unable to undo the fusing without risking severe injury. When she awoke, she found that she was still able to use her original enhancements without having to wear a suit, and also learned that one of the crewmembers, Bidon De A, had managed to find the gloves of her original suit and repaired them with armor from her arm. The gloves were gifted to Jesslyn as a sign of Bidon's love, and the two became a couple.
Them Against the World
The duo of Bidon De A and the Midnight Kestrel became a force to be reckoned with. Taking out a variety of dangerous contracts together, the pair fell deeper in love, and became one of Paragon City's more famous crimefighters, even if they were merely in it for love of the fight and for the profit. Over time, the pair would face a variety of adversaries from Bidon's original dimension, Praetorian Earth.
It would be the catalyst that would drive the two apart.
The Fall of the Pirates and the Whims of the Kestrel
One day, the captain of the Angelus, Remir, disappeared without a trace. Morale amongst the crew sank to an all-time low, and the majority of the original crew eventually disbanded. The only remaining members were Jesslyn, Bidon, and their daughter, Jhannis De A, who had come to them from the future. The three stuck it out, but Jesslyn became increasingly depressed. The stress of her promotion to captain of the Angelus only compounded her feelings, as well as her self-imposed pressure to return the Pirates to their former glory. It was during a meeting with members of the Reciprocators that Jesslyn would meet her new love, Cassie Blaze. After the meeting she attended, the two began to spend time together, and quickly fell in love.
Jesslyn became more and more distant from her current family, and eventually left her position as Sky Captain after a long, personal internal battle, citing her pressures as captain and the fact that she was not strong enough to love a woman who was constantly being near-killed by the Praetorians as reasons for her departure. The resulting chaos from her leaving left Jhannis to become bitter, and Bidon De A a depressed and despondent woman.
With her old life a smoking ruin behind her, Jesslyn turned her attentions to her new lover, Cassie, and even attempted to become a hero--an attempt that failed miserably. Over time, Jesslyn gained full security clearance and was named a Hero of the City, despite the fact that she still considered herself a mercenary. Soon after that, she found no thrill in combat and profit, and found more enjoyment out of taking care of her new home and her lover Cassie Blaze. Jesslyn Fairchylde hung up her bow and retired from public hero work, offering only her advice and her services when dire need arose. Initially she had taken up a part-time job as a dancer for a strip club that a couple of her friends had opened up. However, her short attention span did not see her in that profession for long. Eloping with Cassie, she had settled in for a quiet life at home.
Her hopes were soon silenced, as the second Rikti War ensued shortly after her attempt at becoming "normal". Having aided her friends and her planet, however, she soon fell back into silence, taking several long trips away from Paragon City. It was later revealed that she was out house-hunting--she and Cassie plan to move out of Paragon City, but stay nearby should their abilities be further needed by others. In effect, she had completed her planned retirement from hero work.
The Kestrel Flies Again
Though her planned retirement had been nearly completed, conflict would once more find its way to Jesslyn's door. Her wife, Cassie, had suddenly disappeared without a trace. The Kestrel immediately launched into a frantic search, but was unable to find any leads. Depressed and despondent, she spent the majority of her time at the Pocket D, wallowing in her sorrow and in booze. It was during one day that she was confronted by Bidon De A's fiancee, Holly Andropoulos, aka Emergency Break. The two had a minor scuffle that Ein Dos quickly quelled. After some time together, Emergency Break and the Kestrel began to foster a friendship.
When it was discovered what was happening in Jesslyn's life, Holly, Ein and Bidon all offered to accept her back amongst the Sky Pirates. Since this time, she's been seen off and on, taking on random contracts at both Paragon and the Rogue Isles.
During a recent contract hired out by several heroes working for Ouroboros, Kessie was exposed to trace elements of the Well of the Furies, which she had unknowingly inhaled. Her neural network immediately took this substance as a virus, and began to integrate it into her body. The essence swiftly spread through and became absorbed by her neurals. This contributed to Kes suffering from what she first thought was "planar travel lag", but the effects persisted. After some tests by Ein Dose and by her doctors, it was confirmed that the essence of the Well had become fully integrated, and that she was herself a potential Incarnate--a conduit of immense power that could exceed even her current physical and neural enhancement.
Entering new territory, both Kessie and Ein began to study the effects, and attempted to figure a way to unlock Kes' newfound potential. It was theorized that exposure to other potential Incarnates--most directly, collecting samples of same--would somehow induce a reaction that would help Kes gain further power.
....to be continued....
Kestrel is one of the few characters I've created who is not based on any currently existing superhero or superheroine. Perhaps a tie could be made to the Green Arrow, but that's a stretch.
The use of the kestrel as her name is a happy coincidence, and not nearly as clever as some might believe. I originally selected the name because it simply sounded cool. Later research turned up that it was even more fitting to her persona than I imagined.
For the record, as mentioned on top, I have found through this character that archery blasting is, in fact, nowhere near as terrible as the game's forumgoers would lead many to believe. It's actually quite phenomenal, and was a build that surprised many with its damage output.
Kestrel achieved level 50 almost entirely through the utilization of PuG's (pick-up groups), a method which I dare not attempt to repeat again if I can at all help it.
The Midnight Kestrel's theme song is "Not Ready to Die" by Demon Hunter, from their album Summer of Darkness