Thornmallow

From WestGuard

Thornmallow

Albert Thornmallow, also known as The Iron Lich.

Thornmallow, with hellhounds

Thornmallow

Quotation   (rasping metallic voice) "You interfere with my plans at your peril."
First Appearance   [comic reference needed] [#], [year]
Alternate ID   Albert Thornmallow
GM/Player   Brandon Blackmoor

Appearance

Hair   none   Eyes   none
Height   3.50 m   Weight   1600.00 kg

Thornmallow long ago cast aside most of his flesh and the weaknesses to which it is heir, replacing it with a metal body of his own design. He has had several such bodies, improving the design each time. His current body is a metal colossus three meters tall, weighing roughly 1600 kilograms. Thornmallow's metal shell is fueled by necromancy and diesel fuel; an exhaust pipe rises from each shoulder, and black, foul-smelling smoke billows from these pipes whenever Thornmallow physically exerts himself. In lieu of a head, the metal body has a thick round window in its chest, behind which is a noxious fog or liquid, which glows with a sickly yellow light. Floating in this yellow miasma is the skull and a few withered organs of Albert Thornmallow: all that remains of his original human body.

Background

Albert Thornmallow was born in Scotland in the year 1765. A brilliant child, he excelled in his studies but was never well liked by his tutors or his classmates. As he grew older, Albert made few friends, and he preferred it that way: Albert was much happier in the company of such luminaries as Paracelsus and Albert's namesake, Albertus Magnus, whose works he pored over until the early dawn, cursing the weakness of his body that it required sleep. Albert continued to be fascinated by both the natural sciences and the supernatural, reading voraciously and studying the work of every great thinker he could discover. And yet, for all his genius, Thornmallow was unable to reconcile the arcane secrets of the ancients with the natural philosophy of his time. He felt, nay, he KNEW, that the ultimate secrets of life and death were almost within his grasp, but they continued to elude him. Had it not been for two exceptional events, Albert Thornmallow may have lived and died as a brilliant but unloved man.

The first exceptional event was the work of Antione Laurent Lavosiser, who overthrew the philogiston theory and replaced it with an atomic theory of matter based on identifiable elements that make up the air, water, organic material (earth), and fire. Lavosiser's work in chemistry in the late 18th century shook the foundations of all the physical sciences, including biology. They shook Thornmallow, as well. With the revelations of Lavosiser at his disposal, Thornmallow could combine his arcane research with modern science. The building blocks of life, of matter, of the universe itself were finally subject to his control. He could rework the fabric of reality, the weak and fragile fabric of life, according to a better design -- his design -- if only he had the funding. Unfortunately for Thornmallow, what small fortune his parents possessed had funded his early education. By the time Albert had graduated from the University of Ingolstadt, where had made much use of the best anatomy theater in Europe, his parents were both dead, and Albert's funds were exhausted.

A second exceptional event was to rescue Albert from obscurity. During a festive May Day celebration in the spring of 1792, the entire royal family of the small Eastern European country of Ventimiglia were all killed in a bizarre photography accident. The last living relative in the line of succession was none other than Albert Thornmallow. Albert ascended to the throne of Ventimiglia in the winter of 1792, and has held it ever since. Finally, Albert had the resources at his command to fulfill his ambitions. Over the next hundred years, he delved into the secrets of life, and of death, mastering numerous sciences arcane and mundane along the way, but always returning to his passions: biology and necromancy.

The Grand Duchy of Ventimiglia is a small, mountainous country bordered by Germany and the Czech Republic, with a population of just over 70,000 people, and a land area occupying roughly 470 square kilometers. Thornmallow is a gifted warlock and a brilliant scientist, but a mediocre ruler; Ventimiglia's fortunes have been mixed under his rule. While he successfully kept Ventimiglia out of the entanglements of the World Wars, it was at the cost of a Soviet occupation lasting nearly 70 years. Thornmallow did not care: he allowed the Soviets to handle the drudgery of administrating his country while he occupied himself with his studies. The years since the Soviet withdrawal have been difficult for Ventimiglia, requiring Thornmallow to take a more active role in its governance. He has overseen the creation of an elected Parliament, and has drafted a Constitution granting the Ventimiglian Parliament specific and carefully circumscribed authority (reserving all other powers to himself).

Thornmallow is a member of the Circle Of Eight, a group of powerful sorcerers and necromancers whose only common interest is staying out of each other's way. Thornmallow rarely engages superheroes directly, doing his best to avoid them unless their destruction is actually his goal. Thornmallow is viciously vindictive, and will hold grudges for generations, making it possible for him to Hunt heroes whom he has never met because of an offense caused by one of their ancestors. However, Thornmallow considers it a waste of his time to make a special trip simply to settle an old grudge. Any appearance he makes will certainly have some other purpose.

Thornmallow's primary motivation is the accumulation of knowledge. To this end, he conducts bizarre experiments and collects rare artifacts and tomes. He does not usually allow the matter of an artifact's current ownership to interfere in this acquisition. A secondary motivation for Thornmallow is his own longevity. He has every intention of living forever, in one form or another, and would certainly investigate any scientific or arcane discovery which might extend his already considerably-extended lifespan.

Personality

Thornmallow is as patient as death and as vindictive as an ex-lover. He never forgets, and he never forgives, no matter how small the insult. However, he rarely indulges himself in feuds or rivalries, deeming them to be a distraction from his research. Thornmallow is content to bank the fires of his hatred and take his revenge when it is most efficient. However, he is not without virtues. Thornmallow respects those whose passion for knowledge mirrors his own, and he even displays a grim sense of humor on occasion. He does not allow these traits to interfere with his goals, of course.

Thornmallow is rarely seen outside of Ventimiglia. Most of his time is spent in the bowels of his castle, conducting obscene experiments or deciphering ancient tomes. On the rare occasions when he is encountered elsewhere, he has a specific purpose in mind: sometimes several specific purposes.

Tactics

The enchanted metal colossus which serves as Thornmallow's body is strong enough to lift around 25 tons, and is virtually indestructible. In addition to his merely physical strength, Thornmallow is one of the most skilled warlocks and necromancers on earth. Although he is capable of potent and varied effects, most of these require significant preparation and equipment. In the press of combat, his options are as varied but somewhat limited in power. In his subterranean laboratory, however, there is very little which is beyond his power to accomplish.

Thornmallow also carries a massive staff which resembles a double-bladed spear, called the Great Key, which allows him to control the arcanowave vibrations of reality itself. Thornmallow has created several Great Keys, each more powerful and more massive than the last. His current Great Key weighs approximately 800 kilograms, and is capable of opening dimensional portals, creating powerful barriers, and absorbing a variety of natural and magical energies, in addition to other effects. Most of the effects of the Great Key are activated by Thornmallow slamming its base against the ground. At need, Thornmallow can also wield the Great Key as a blunt instrument in combat, but he rarely engages in combat directly, preferring to observe a battle and aid his allies indirectly or through the medium of summoned creatures or arcano-mechanical horrors like himself. Even when on an otherwise peaceful errand, Thornmallow is always attended by two or three of his hellhounds: massive armor-plated wolves with steam-driven steel jaws. If pressed into physical combat himself, Thornmallow is likely to use the Great Key to escape at the first opportunity.