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Iris Widow is an aged librarian living and working in the city of Chicago, juggling a secret life as a witch and a paranormal detective with her regular, day-to-day life. Formerly and more famously known as Morgen, Iris is a former member of the Orphans of the Blackest Night, an infamous coven that became the immortal Cat Sìth through a grisly ritual. After committing centuries of atrocities, a sudden moral epiphany resulted in Iris abandoning her old allies and going into hiding. Now, seeking to make up for her past sins, she uses her magical knowledge to help others.

Backstory

Morgen was born into the toil of the Early Middle Ages on the coast of Wales, and from the very first moment she drew breath, her life was one of constant struggle and hardship. Never learning the day or even year of her birth, Morgen suffered not only under the oppressive and unstable world she had been born into, but at the hands of her parents as well. Years of abuse made her childhood into one of constant misery, a pervasive emotion that defined these early years of her life.

For many, many years, Morgen accepted this as a simple, inevitable fact of life. Even though she entertained dreams of escaping and changing her fate, she had no real, lasting hopes. The idea of amounting to anything, of feeling any true happiness seemed simply impossible. But Morgen’s life and her outlook on her future changed when a witch came to her for only a moment. This mysterious witch, Morgen’s savior, said that the power of magic could grant her agency and free her from the nightmare her life had always been.

With the slightest ember of hope ignited, the barely-teenaged Morgen desperately turned her attentions towards witchcraft in secret. She did her best to learn as much as she possibly could, despite her limited resources, seeking out forbidden texts. Morgen’s resentment only mounted during this time, and her intense emotions meant that she took to the malicious nature of the magic she explored well. But, before she could gain all the power she needed to set her life on a new path, her fellow villagers discovered her transgressions. The magic Morgen had learned already was not enough to protect herself in such a situation, and a suitably fatal punishment was arranged for her.

Before she could be executed, however, Morgen’s savior reappeared in the nick of time. In a brutal, absolutely merciless show of force, she slaughtered all the villagers who threatened Morgen’s life, leaving only a scorched boneyard in the place of what used to be a village. This massacre claimed the lives of Morgen’s entire family, but this was all forgotten for Morgen as the witch, Sebille, offered her what she desired. The opportunity to join her coven, the Orphans of the Blackest Night, as an apprentice, to learn magic from the best. Awed by the show of power and feeling indebted to Sebille, Morgen accepted the offer without hesitation, and left behind the crumbling, ashen skeletons of her family.

As the name implied, the Orphans of the Blackest Night were a coven primarily made up of other cats who had lived lives much like Morgen, collected by Sebille and her associates from across the British Isles. For the first time of her life, Morgen was among kindred spirits, people who she could understand and properly empathize with. Among her fellow orphans, she found something particularly special with the slightly older and more experienced Seife. However, despite appearances, the coven was as bad an environment as the village Sebille had “rescued” Morgen from. While the people Morgen had been raised among were violent, stifling, and brutish, the eldest witches of the coven relied on subtler means to control their apprentices. Morgen, and the rest of these orphans, were subject to grievous manipulation and, on some cases, nightmarish abuse as their teachers did with them as they pleased.

In this environment, the already unstable Morgen’s mental health only worsened. Even though she grew more powerful and skilled, at a rate that alarmed her mentors, Morgen’s emotional state plummeted. Years of trauma had left her with a hair-trigger temper, and with the newfound power at her disposal and the encouragement of her elders, Morgen was free to vent her explosive anger in sudden, violent displays. By the time she was an adult, Morgen had already racked up quite the body count and amassed a gristly reputation. Her only escape in this time was Seife, who became her lover, beginning an unhealthy relationship that would start and end many times over as the years went on.

The horrid dynamic of the Orphans of the Blackest Night came to a violent end one day, however. The thirteenth and final member of the coven, recruited by Sebille and known as Annis, found that she had more than enough of being mistreated by people she saw as her inferiors. This young witch, not yet an adult, somehow possessed the raw charisma to unite her fellows and turn them against their “benefactors”, revealing the exploitative relationship that lay at the core of the coven. Annis confronted Sebille herself, and after an unbelievably intense duel, the orphan proved her superiority, leaving Sebille nothing more than a scorched heap of crumbling bones, ash, and bubbling fat. To cement her authority, Annis consumed what remained, a show of force that made it clear she was not to be opposed. Sebille’s peers joined their leader in death, and Annis took her place at the head.

Unfortunately, this did little to change the atmosphere of the coven. Even if Morgen was now among peers, these peers were all traumatized as she was, and years of abuse, grooming, and witchcraft had left each one a firm believer in manipulation and violence. They had gained the freedom and power they desired, and were free to roam the world and do as they pleased, but with the bloodthirsty Annis at the helm and the temperamental Morgen at her back, their activities were gruesome and destructive. The Orphans were not spared pain, as each turned their outlooks on life onto each other.

Still, under Annis’ careful and cunning leadership, they endured. Years of activity became decades, and each member of the coven who survived their struggles became expert duelists, with Annis and Morgen standing a head above the rest. But even the greatest fighter is not free from the wages of time, and as the years passed by, these witches found themselves confronted by the encroaching possibility of death. To escape this seemingly inevitable end, the Orphans pooled their efforts and knowledge, seeking the impossible - immortality. Morgen, a brilliant witch, contributed greatly to the sinister ritual the coven slowly conceived together.

This ritual would require a sacrifice of eight souls each, specifically the souls of other felines. These felines were to be burned over an eight-day period, each immolated within great statues of wicker at the centers of magical circles. Each of the witches’ rituals happened together, and when the smoke of the final statue faded and they bathed in the ash that remained, they came out as immortals. Not only had their aging forever stopped, but they had gained an extra eight lives from their sacrifices. They named the evolved magical beings they had become Cat Sìth, and now eternal, their activities stretched beyond the reach of age.

However, this only brought more trouble to the Orphans. Presenting a greater threat than ever before, they attracted the attentions of many spellcasters following the Right-Hand Path, as well from rival groups of witches. Over the course of countless fights throughout several centuries, many of the Orphans lost some of their lives - in some cases, all. The situation only worsened when one of them realized that, by killing another Cat Sìth and performing a special ritual, they could reclaim a lost life. Quickly, they turned on one another whenever convenient, taking every chance to replenish a lost life rather than linger too close to death. Their numbers slowly dwindled as many Orphans were claimed by death nine times over, ultimately leaving only seven. Among these were Annis, Seife, and Morgen herself.

With the misery that had forever permeated her life at a peak, having intensified seemingly without limit after centuries spent fighting, running, and suffering, Morgen’s temper worsened. One day, she vented her frustrations on a small village, as she had many times before, reducing tracts of land to smoldering cinders. During this rampage, she came across a young child, a kitten that she had made an orphan. Usually, such a deed wouldn’t have affected her at all, but the day was a different one. Feeling the burden of years of anguish and constant anxiety, Morgen felt a tremor of guilt, which grew as she watched the child sob and beat at her with tiny fists. It brought back memories of the abuse she had lived through, of the massacre Sebille had wrought on the village she was born into, something she had never had a chance to fully process.

Wracked by alien emotions that she had repressed for centuries, Morgen broke down sobbing. Horrified and nauseated by the feelings of remorse that threatened to consume her, Morgen fled from her coven, seeking solitude to sort out her feelings. However, Annis was not so keen on losing one of her best assets, and quickly tracked her down. She made it clear to Morgen that death would await her if she did anything but return to the Orphans with Annis. It was a simple choice for Morgen, who, deep inside, wanted nothing more than to die.

But she did not die. The battle that followed was the most intense in the both of their lives. The Blackest Night’s greatest duelists pulled out every spell at their disposal, every underhanded trick, and every drop of rage and malice. Ultimately, Morgen proved that her hate was greater, claiming more of Annis’ lives than she herself lost, becoming the first to defeat her in a simple, unambiguous one-on-one fight. Not wanting to test her luck by continuing the fight, Morgen fled as the battle reached its peak, leaving Annis to revive with no one to fight.

Burning with fury and shame, Annis tried to locate her killer, but failed to do so, not knowing that Morgen had already escaped to another country under a new name. She tried to blend into a society that had once rejected her, for the first real time in her life, but it was a struggle. Finding a place in the world was impossible for Morgen, who had only ever known violence, and keeping herself under control was a challenge. She moved from city to city under pseudonym after pseudonym, eventually finding herself in the “New World”. Here, Morgen ended up finding a city she could disappear into - the city of Chicago.

In her new home, Morgen took on a new name and a new life, becoming Iris Widow, a bitter old librarian. Though she was far from Annis, who was keeping up her activities in Ireland, Iris kept up on her magic, fearing that she could one day hunt her down again. Having settled down for the first real time in her life, Iris slowly began to slip into increasingly self-destructive habits. Still haunted by her past actions, Iris simply failed to take care of herself and turned to alcohol as an escape, becoming an alcoholic. She slipped out of shape and found that her old age had caught up to her, leaving her body frailer, unhealthier, and weaker than ever before.

This did little to hold her back, however, as Iris one day discovered when she killed a monstrous wolf who had lashed out at a child, a regular at her library. After this fight, Iris came to a realization. Whether than simply waste away and slowly die, she could use the knowledge she had amassed over a millennia to protect the masses from the magical underbelly of the world. This way, she could give back to the world, and attempt to, on some level, redeem herself for her sins.

So, Iris became a paranormal detective of sorts, a witch who would follow the Left-Hand Path and use her magic for good. Slowly, she would work towards the idea of becoming a better person. Someone who could give more to the world than she had taken. No matter how impossible such an idea may seem, Iris would not give into fate again.

Appearance

Iris is a very tall cat, well over six feet tall, a height so great that she often needs to slouch through doorways. She slouches all the time anyways, the weight of her age taking a great burden on her frail body and making her appear shorter than she really is. Her extraordinary height is still highlighted by her lanky, bony build, and she moves with awkwardly because of this. While Iris was always this skinny, her poor, self-destructive habits have only led to her losing more weight, and with it, her once athletic build. She has not lost her fur, however, a thick, shaggy black coat that covers her entire body and is broken by only the occasional spattering of white flecks, and a fluffier patch on her chest; though she's certainly plenty fluffy all over. The slight greying throughout Iris' once pitch dark fur betrays her age.

Amber eyes glow in the dark, as dull and exhausted as they often are, only for them to sharpen and grow increasingly focused as Iris enters a combat situation, eyes perfect for shooting the glares she likes to use whenever possible. As her eyesight has grown worse in the daylight as she's aged, Iris often wears rounded reading glasses when it comes to fine work, and, of course, reading. One of her tall, fluffy ears has a sizeable notch taken out of it, one of the many injuries she's sustained throughout her life, and one that never ended up healing. Iris' claws, hardly trimmed, slide from her large, fluffy black paws, and a large, fluffy tail swirls behind her back in a constant anxious swirl.

Iris' wardrobe is simplistic and conservative, prioritizing function more than style or anything else. Whenever she goes out, Iris wears baggy jackets, typically trench coats with pockets upon pockets, giving her plenty of room to store whatever she pleases. In more formal situations, though she'll switch into a blazer, she makes no more effort to make herself presentable. A perpetual sight is any sort of sweater, often a turtleneck, and underneath, similarly simple shirts. Button-ups are commonly seen, and once she removes her sweater, Iris often undoes the top few buttons and rolls up the sleeves so that she can breathe better. Rather than pants, she wears simple mid to ankle-length skirts, and little else.

In the past, Iris dressed a lot more dramatically, more like how she, and many others, believed a witch should dress.

Personality

Quiet, reserved, and abrasive, Iris spends most of her time alone, constantly working to find reasons to avoid others. The time she spends to herself is passed by constant brooding and introspection, and when unwanted guests disturb this, Iris lashes out with a cold and harsh wit. This miserable behavior makes it very clear that she is the bitter old woman that she appears to be, but there are a few who are able to avoid this side of hers; her few real friends, and, more commonly, children, which she has a soft spot for, treating them with uncharacteristic kindness. Iris just really wants to be left alone, to her own devices, something she's happy to express. Even in more pleasant moods, she struggles with social situations in general, and has no real knowledge on how to properly deal with others.

Embodying the idea of an aloof and lazy cat, Iris struggles to motivate herself to pull herself out of her perpetual haze of exhausted, drunken depression to get to work. She struggles to motivate herself to do much of anything these days, seeing both her day job and secret activities as unfortunate, exhausting ordeals that she just has to deal with. While Iris is quicker to action when lives are at stake, the things that remind her of her past and her old allies fill her with a dread that makes it hard to act even as the anxious need to deal with the issue intensifies. Once she's gotten started, however, Iris pushes through with characteristic determination until she's achieved her aims. After she succeeds, she simply returns to resting, awarding herself for her accomplishments with blessed rest that is even harder to pull herself out of. It's easier for her to just take every day one at a time, stubbornly persisting through each, surviving from moment to moment as they stack up into weeks and months.

As much as she may be working to become a better person, Iris still struggles, remaining petty and selfish at heart. Playing nice is a difficult thing for her, after years spent using her magic to accomplish whatever she wanted, often at the expense of others. This time has also left Iris with severe empathy issues, and she struggles to understand others, though, due to the similarities in their situations, she has an easier time comprehending the actions of abused children and rebellious teenagers. For such kids and youths, Iris puts quite a bit more effort into this, trying to set a good example and forcing herself to stand just a bit straighter. She herself remains as rebellious as she was in her youth, with a stubborn dislike for rigid traditions and authority, clashing often with members of the Right-Hand Path and stirring up fights because of this deep distaste.

Iris' characteristic temper has faded only a little since her "prime", a time in which she could fly into violent rages at the drop of a coin. Now, her anger issues are comparatively controlled, though, when they seize her, she still often breaks things in destructive bursts of fury. Years of repressed guilt and remorse over her past actions are slowly intensifying over the course of Iris' life, and leave her a severely depressed and even suicidal woman who deeply despises herself. The only reason she has not yet killed herself is because of the difficulty such a task would present, forcing her to muster the courage to end it multiple times in a row. It helps that she wants to prove herself to the world again, by doing some good, but she still vents her suicidal issues with self-destructive behavior such as alcoholism and general substance abuse. Her omnipresent feelings of guilt have given Iris a persecution complex, something that makes her feel like she must prove herself to everyone she meets so that they will let go of the hate they doubtlessly feel.

Cold, bitter, and paranoid, Iris stubbornly persists for all her regrets. She greatly fears intimacy after years of being mistreated by those close to her, and though she is on some level fine with the idea of being alone, she still craves someone who could truly understand her and what she's been through. The danger is too great, however, and so Iris makes do alone, something she has little issue with. Solitude suits her.

Powers and Statistics

Tier: 9-C, 9-B to 9-A with regular spells, up to 8-A with full power, higher with Samhain

Powers and Abilities:

Genius Intelligence, Expert Markswoman and Skilled Hand-to-Hand Combatant, Enhanced Senses (She has the heightened senses of a cat, including an exceptional sense of smell and effective night vision), Extrasensory Perception (She can detect magical energy with incredible accuracy), Precognition (Her refined senses and magical awareness clue her in to the presence of magical beings and the casting of spells, potentially even on their nature and danger level through high-speed analysis, allowing her to quickly react appropriately), Resurrection (She has eight extra lives and will automatically resurrect a short while after one of them is expended, giving her originally nine lives in total; now, she has only five remaining), Immortality (Types 1 and 4)

Magic, Curse Manipulation, Death Manipulation (With her curses, Iris can potentially induce instant death), Fire Manipulation, Memory Manipulation, Metal Manipulation, Mind Manipulation, Pain Manipulation, Shadow Manipulation (She can animate and control her own shadow, which can shapeshift into weapons and grow wings for flight), Soul Manipulation (Iris can force souls to stay in the afterlife or even destroy them outright. She can pump curses directly into souls through Malefic Shadow. She can also absorb the souls of recently deceased beings to replenish energy, increase her overall power, and strengthen her own, and the souls of other Cat Sìth can be used to restock her lost lives), Absorption (Iris' Malefic Shadow can absorb curses, adding them to its stock of curse effects and growing more powerful), Invisibility, Non-Physical Interaction, Power Nullification (She can negate regeneration and counter curses or other malicious spells as they're cast, or strip them away), Reality Warping (Through Samhain, she can create a liminal space in which unreality and reality blur together and she can manifest her thoughts as reality), Telekinesis, Telepathy, Teleportation

Resistance to Curses (Her experience with curses has left her resistant to their effects thanks to exposure, even curses that inflict death, intense pain, and petrification), Mind Manipulation (Her fellow witches cannot control her through spells like Dominus), Possession (She can drive out attempts at possession with some difficulty, though it depends on the spirit in question), and Soul Manipulation (She has nine souls, but only one can be targeted at a time and each is abnormally powerful and resistant to spiritual attack)

Attack Potency: Street level (Iris has the strength to deform steel, crack concrete, and shatter bones, and can cut through metal with her claws, though not without difficulty), Wall level (She can blow holes in brick walls with casual shots from Dahlia) to Small Building level with regular spells (Beltane can instantly reduce other living beings to piles of ash and destroy buildings), up to Multi-City Block level with full power (At her full capacity, she can create full-sized tornadoes, Beltane can reduce long stretches of land to nothing but smoldering earth and annihilate villages, while Orb of Destruction can level part of a town with its explosion), higher with Samhain (Under Samhain's effects, her magical power is greatly enhanced). Many of her spells can ignore conventional durability.

Speed: Athletic Human (She can chase trained athletes, but lacks the capacity for sustained speed she once had in her prime) with Subsonic combat speed (She can pounce and punch at speeds faster than a human could perceive, appearing as only a blur, and can react to attacks of comparable speeds without issue, deflecting bullets at close ranges), Supersonic+ with Malefic Shadow (Her shadow acts on its own and can easily respond to and swat bullets out of the air, or lash out with supersonic speed, and it can react to attacks from Maleficent Annis), higher with Samhain (Samhain allows her to surpass her regular top speed and maintain this faster movement for longer periods of time, allowing her to dodge supersonic attacks, such as bullets, much more easily). Subsonic flight speed with Malefic Shadow (When using Malefic Shadow to fly, Iris can move at much higher speeds than normal, so fast that she's just a blur).

Lifting Strength: Above Average Human (She can easily lift and throw others of comparable weight, but lacks the strength she once had in her youth and struggles to lift anything heavier), Class 5 with telekinesis (She can lift cars, though it requires effort and concentration), higher with Samhain.

Striking Strength: Street Class (A single punch can knock others through the air, unconscious, and leave small craters in stone), Multi-City Block Class with Malefic Shadow (Malefic Shadow is her most powerful spell, and its weapons can slice through forcefields that can block her full power Beltane), higher with Samhain.

Durability: Street level (Despite her old age and its various complications, including arthritis, Iris can withstand the force of her own attacks and take attacks that launch others several meters, getting back up despite the power of these blows), Wall level with Witch's Coat (Her enchanted coat is effectively bulletproof and can deflect low-power spells) and up to Small Building level with Magic Wall, Multi-City Block level with Malefic Shadow, higher with Samhain

Stamina: Physically, Iris is far past her prime, and her various health complications, including arthritis, asthma, and COPD make prolonged physical activity torturous for her and exhaustion an inevitability, especially in combat situations. The full extent of both her physical and magical strength takes quite the toll on her body, forcing her to use both more carefully. Mentally, however, Iris has a strong willpower, one that allows her to push against the odds and continue to act and fight even when her body and soul are screaming at her to stop.

Range: Standard melee range, tens to hundreds of meters with magic.

Standard Equipment: An athame, her revolver, Dahlia and various enchanted bullets to go with it, a variety of pentacles with different effects, and an enchanted coat.

Intelligence: Though her body may have withered over the course of her long life, Iris' mind has not. She retains the cunning she's had throughout her lifespan, a dangerous thing that marked her as one of her Coven's greatest threats in the past, alongside her violent temper. She is incredibly creative, using her abilities in inventive ways, even in the midst of combat, something that makes her an unpredictable opponent. Even when it comes to more practical forms of dueling, Iris is remarkably skilled and ruthless, using her knowledge in hand-to-hand combat, spells, and curses to brutally overwhelm her opponents. While she may attempt to resolve issues non-lethally in the modern day, that does not mean that Iris is a pacifist; she's a violent opponent who fights with harsh efficiency. There is a reason she was the first opponent to defeat Annis in a fair fight, using her own genius in magic and dueling to skillfully outmatch her while countering her curses. Her magical knowledge is extensive, among the greatest in the world, as shown by her extensive array of spells, many of which she has created herself, and the evolved, immortal state she has reached through her magic.

Weaknesses: Iris is past her prime and struggles with a number of health issues, both physical and mental, including alcoholism, nicotine dependence, arthritis, and COPD, among others; because of this, she has severe physical stamina issues and cannot use her full strength - physical or magical - without it taking a toll on her body. Her high-strung personality makes Astral Projection difficult, and it leaves her body vulnerable when performed. These days, she's reluctant to use her most powerful and lethal spells against most opponents, preferring to resolve things non-lethally, though, against more dangerous opponents, she won't hesitate. Her Malefic Shadow is difficult to control and only becomes more unwieldy the more powerful it becomes, and its range and power are limited by lighting. Many of her spells require some sort of incantation or ritual, or even a blood sacrifice, with Samhain needing a particularly lengthy ritual. The time it takes for her to resurrect depends on the extent of her wounds when she died, taking up to thirty minutes, and she will not reform complex objects such as Dahlia if they are destroyed when she is killed. After losing all eight of her extra lives, Iris will be left with her original, mortal soul, which will begin to age at an accelerated rate, leaving her with only around ten years of her life left. Only the souls of other Cat Sìth can be used to replenish her lost lives. Iris' focus on black magic has left her with less knowledge in spells that can be used to heal or help others; as a result, she has trouble performing even rudimentary healing spells regardless of the target.

Abilities

Iris is a Witch, a practitioner of the Left-Hand Path who uses her magic in the name of self-empowerment and gain, breaking taboos and rejecting authority in favor of elevating herself and exercising her agency. Unlike other sects of witchcraft, the Orphans of the Blackest Night and their practices are godless and focus entirely on the self, rather than relying on the invocation of spirits or the reverence of any gods.

This remains Iris’ primary magic of choice, though she often dips her toes in other forms in search of knowledge, demonstrated by an extensive array of varied spells at her disposal, from all sorts of sects - in the end, it all comes back down to the specific brand of the Old Craft she taught herself. While Iris may lack the animistic leanings of other, more modern witches, her magic's more internal focus has granted her a greater knowledge on the soul.

Thanks to this knowledge, many, many, many years ago, Iris helped in the development of a special ritual that elevated herself and the rest of her coven to a higher level of existence as the immortal Cat Sìth. This has granted her an extra eight lives and suspended her aging, giving her an eternal lifespan that will never corrode. However, as Iris discovered this magic when she was already in her late fifties, this has trapped her body in this state of old age, the effects of which she cannot escape even if she won’t age any further. Once, this wasn't much of an issue, as Iris kept in shape and properly took care of herself, but years of poor health have taken a severe toll on her body, which is far from what it used to be.

  • Resurrection: Whenever Iris is lethally injured and dies, she will reform in a safe location up to fifty meters away. This will occur after a delay ranging from five to thirty minutes in length, depending on the severity of her injuries when she died; simply bleeding to death won’t keep her down for long, but complete incineration will take longer. When Iris reforms, all injuries she took within an hour of her death will be healed to the point that they are no longer severe, though medical attention is likely still necessary. Her clothing and equipment will also reform, but an object as complex as Dahlia cannot be recreated if it is completely destroyed. Permanently killing a Cat Sìth is no easy matter, as they can return even after the death of their soul. Anti-restorative curses cannot stop Iris’ resurrection, though they can complicate the healing process, and there are no known means by which multiple of a Cat Sìth's lives can be taken at once; even spells that should target multiple souls fail. Iris has a total of eight of these extra lives, giving her nine lives all together; but when all eight are expended, she is left with her original mortal soul and her body will begin aging once more, at an accelerated rate, not so quickly that she would die within even the year, but enough that she would only have around a decade left of her life at most.
  • Soultheft: Iris can absorb the souls of any recently deceased beings in her vicinity to replenish her energy, increase her stock of power, and further strengthen her soul. No amount of regular souls gathered in this way can regain a lost life - only the soul of another Cat Sìth can do so, and this requires a short but complex ritual. As a result, such souls are a commodity.

Over the years, Iris' experiences have granted her a number of other abilities, the sort that would be developed by anyone over the course of a long lifespan with many years spent fighting and handling magic. These skills range from those anyone who regularly fights would begin to hone to supernatural traits that could only arise from exposure to magic. It also includes Iris’ naturally heightened senses.

  • Close Quarters Combat: Iris has learned a number of techniques and ideas for use in hand-to-hand and close quarters combat situations, some from actual teachers, but mostly through experience. In the prime of her life, when she was more in shape, Iris was able to rely more on her strength when it came to such short ranges, but now, as years of self-destruction have caught up with her, her body can no longer handle such intense strain and the strength of her past is gone. Now, Iris relies more on softer techniques to redirect an opponent’s strength and use it against them. But, more than anything, at these ranges, Iris relies on fighting dirty, using underhanded tactics and anything available to win and protect herself. As with any animal, she has natural weapons at her disposal in her claws and teeth, and Iris would never hesitate to use them in a pinch.
  • Cursebreaking: Iris’ knowledge of curses - which she boasts to be among the greatest in the world - allows her to analyze and remove them from other objects and people. She can even redirect and negate curses right as they’re cast, having lived through many battles between witches of the Left-Hand Path, which invariably became exchanges of deadly curses. The ability to detect and shoot down curses in high-speed combat is a necessity to survive such a battle.
  • Feline Senses: As a cat, Iris has senses that are naturally superior to those of humans, though she has no idea what one of those are. She can see well in low-light conditions and even in the dead of night, and identify individuals and substances by smell and even track them at shorter distances. This awareness is assisted by her whiskers, which act as touch-based sensory organs and can detect vibrations in the air. Iris’ sight is slightly worse in regular daylight conditions, however, and her sense of hearing unremarkable save for its higher registers. All of these senses have been refined by centuries of experience, and come together to make her a masterful shot, even if old age and poor health has worsened her sight.
    • Sixth Sense: These heightened senses - along with Iris' plentiful experience, particularly in the area of magic and fighting other spellcasters - have granted Iris a sort of "sixth sense", an ability that alerts her to danger whenever it detects potential threats in her surroundings, accomplished by a combination of all of her traditional senses and her magical awareness of her surroundings. It is most effective when magic is involved, notifying her when other magical beings are around and when other magic users are preparing spells; under optimal conditions, she can even identify a spell's potential effects and gauge the threat it presents through a minute, high-speed analysis of the magical energy being put into it, allowing her to respond appropriately. This increases in effectiveness the more dangerous the phenomena in question, with anything that presents an immediate and lethal threat sending a shock-like sensation through Iris’ body, forcing her into action as quickly as possible and accelerating her thought processes to best comprehend what she's dealing with. It is much less effective against purely natural phenomena, but Iris can still react quickly by taking note of small, involuntary muscle movements and changes in the air.
  • Muted Malice: An odd quirk of felids is their natural ability to “mute” their presence and particularly their killing intent, making it difficult to detect any threat from them through magical means. Having spent years fighting against other spellcasters, Iris can strengthen the effect, but compared to others, she has difficulty fully suppressing her killing intent due to the intensity of her negative emotions. She can, however, remove the effect to flood her surroundings with the sensation of her killing intent, revealing her true nature as a thousand-year old monster. In response to this malice, animals will instinctively flee while other sapient beings may be overwhelmed with fear. This can actually achieve similar results to muting it, as the flaring of Iris’ aura can mask more subtle signs of magic.

Beyond these abilities, Iris has amassed an impressive arsenal of spells over her long lifespan. Many of these spells require incantations, symbols, or some other ritual to be used at their full power, but Iris has the experience and knowledge needed to circumvent these things and cast weaker - though still potent - variations. Often, due to her basis in witchcraft, her spells require a blood sacrifice, something that is a bit harder to circumvent.

Rather than a traditional wand, Iris uses her revolver, Dahlia, to cast and channel many spells, but she does not need it to do so; it serves only as a way to focus her power and minimize backlash. In her old age, this is more important than it once was. Along with Dahlia, she has other equipment, mostly but not all magical, to assist in her work.

  • Athame: A ritual knife with a black handle used in modern witchcraft. Ambivalent towards modern occultism, Iris only made herself her own athame for convenience’s sake when her last ritual knife broke. Iris does not use her athame just as modern witches do, instead using it as she does any other ritual knife; to etch magical circles, draw her own blood, and in close quarters combat. Her athame has a silver blade and has been enchanted to withstand the wear and tear of physical combat.
  • Dahlia: An enchanted revolver with nine shots, made specifically for Iris by a now deceased gunsmith, and her primary weapon. Unlike the other members of her old coven, Iris has taken to modern weaponry, using this revolver as a wand or blasting rod of sorts with which to cast her magic. Its enchantments have granted Dahlia firing power, muzzle velocity, and durability greater than that of most firearms, even without channeling the full extent of Iris' magical power. These enchantments have also made it so that only Iris can fire Dahlia; in the hands of anyone else, the gun simply fails to function, unless they somehow manage to replicate the minute intricacies of her aura. Dahlia can be used to cast a number of spells, often in the form of specialized cartridges with specific spells encoded.
    • Cursed Bullets: Bullets encoded with curses, a favorite of Iris' and a mainstay of any witch's arsenal, now built into her firearms. These curses can have any number of effects, but one of the most dangerous is the rejection of healing, preventing any wound the bullets inflict from healing, rejecting even restorative magics. When the curse is as its strongest, blood won't clot, so even the smallest injury can eventually kill a target through blood loss. The curse can be negated by removing and destroying the bullet through magical means, or whenever Iris chooses to cancel it.
    • Shadow Tag: Bullets encoded with a spell that allows them to catch opponents by their shadows, pinning them to whatever surface the bullet impacts with, embedding into it and preventing Iris' target from moving away from that location, even through teleportation. This also anchors any entities possessing the opponent to that body, allowing them to be dealt with.
    • Spirit Sleeper: Bullets cursed to prevent the spirit of their victims from being called upon after their death, or from escaping death by traveling to another body. At a low frequency, this just forces the spirit to stay in the realm of the dead, but at a high frequency, it destroys the soul itself. A mainstay in any necromancer’s arsenal, this is a curse useful for killing ghosts and preventing forensic necromancers from divining the truth of a crime.
  • Pentacles: Iris has a wide assortment of pentacles, mystical talismans used in magic for various purposes. While she made many of them herself, just as many were looted from long-dead rivals and opponents. She may as well have a pentacle for any given situation, but it’s not like it matters when she loses them all the time and has forgotten what the majority even do. Some of them are even cursed. The pentacles Iris actually keeps track of are mostly useful in warding off magical attack, particularly possession by demons and other spirits, and in diverting attempts to track her. This last pentacle is one Iris keeps on her at all times to help with her paranoia.
  • Witch’s Coat: Whenever Iris sets out, by habit, she reinforces whatever jacket she wears (typically a trench coat) with magic, greatly increasing its defensive power. This allows it to dissipate the force of many attacks and also renders it effectively bulletproof - it can easily deflect low caliber gunfire and low-power spells. It has its own magic resistance, making it useful in fights against other spellcasters, while it conducts Iris’ own magic very well.
    • Predator Cloak: When needed, through a short ritual, Iris can enchant her coat to allow her to blend in with her surroundings, becoming invisible. This is a highly useful enchantment, not only making her nearly impossible to see but also erasing other signs of her presence, such as her scent, magical signature, footprints, and any small sounds she may make.

As a witch, Iris is very well-versed in curses, the basis of offensive magic, spells meant to bring harm and misfortune to others. Curses can be used through a variety of vectors, from as little as a single spoken sentence spelling out the curse’s aim to a more complex ritual that may use an effigy or a part of the target’s body to afflict them from a distance. Generally speaking, curses are more powerful when backed up by a ritual and some part of their target. Curses are empowered by the malice their user feels, both in general and for their target, and Iris is not lacking when it comes to the negative emotions curses thrive on. Many curses are improvised when a situation presents itself, and Iris has the skill to transmit them through more subtle and quick means.

  • Evil Eye: One of the most effective ways to transmit a curse, the Evil Eye is simply a particularly nasty look backed up by magic power. This glare can afflict a target with virtually any of Iris’ curses, acting through eye contact, or, when used against an unaware target, by encoding the curse into their shadow. These curses can be the more common, minor inconveniences that Iris likes to use for petty reasons, but can be powerful enough to cause serious injury, illness, and misfortune, potentially even inducing death when used with enough malice and force against an unprepared victim.
  • Anti-Restoration: Curses that reject the healing of wounds, both through natural and magical means, inhibiting even advanced processes such as regeneration. These curses can be imprinted into specific wounds to prevent them from recovering properly, but this effect can be broken by destroying the curse itself or when Iris decides to cancel its effects. She usually keeps this curse within special, cursed bullets, as it is easier to control in such a form.
  • Blight: Iris directly attacks her target with negative energy, causing physical harm that can be as mild as a broken and bloody nose, or as painful as lacerations and organ damage. It is most powerful when conducted by touch, or when it is used through a targeted ritual.
  • Contagion: A broad classification of curses that covers all those that afflict their targets with pathogens. These diseases can be minor troubles such as the common cold, or more serious and potentially deadly things such as the bubonic plague, malaria, and smallpox. The curses bypass regular precautions through sheer malicious intent, generating the pathogens within their target’s body. While Iris is quick to subject people who irritate her to minor sickness, she reserves the worst for the most dangerous foes.
  • Dominus: An incredibly advanced and dangerous curse that allows for complete, prolonged control of a target, on a scale far greater than ordinary hypnosis. A victim can be directed through silent, mental commands, which they follow to the letter and to the best of their ability. Multiple targets can be controlled at once with this curse, but Iris is not willing to use it at all, refusing to give in to its power by violating others in such a way.
  • Torment: An especially horrific curse that wracks the target with excruciating pain, to such a degree that they may be left catatonic or insane by its effects. If the shock doesn’t kill them first, at least. The curse is difficult to control, and is most potent when Iris has some bit of her target on hand, such as blood, a nail, or hair, focusing its effects entirely on this target. The spell is one Iris avoids using, however.

Malefic Shadow: Iris’ signature curse, by far the most powerful and destructive spell in her arsenal. It is a rather infamous spell that she made for her own use and shared with no one else, a murderous trump card capable of beating out most magic. To activate it, Iris must shed a not insignificant amount of her own blood and pump her shadow full of negative energy, transforming it into a tangible being, a manifestation of black magic that exists only to destroy and kill. Its range and power depend on its size, which is itself determined by the lighting - Iris cannot activate the spell in absolute darkness, as she has no shadow to animate. If Iris is suddenly left with no light, her shadow will dissipate.

These conditions are little comfort to anyone who faces Iris’ shadow, however, and it is a deadly opponent and a strong, versatile asset within its effective range. It attacks by lashing out with tendrils and shapeshifting into weapons, and though it can operate in any direction, it is most dangerous in whatever direction the lighting casts it. While primarily an offensive tool, it can defend Iris by enveloping her in itself, absorbing attacks into its flowing, abyssal mass. Though the shadow itself is plenty strong on its own, what makes it so dangerous is that it spreads the curses within it to every single thing it touches. This medley of curse effects can subject a victim to unspeakable agony, inflict a multitude of diseases, eat away at their body and soul, and ultimately kill them. It acts with enough precision and lethality to wipe out viruses and bacteria, leaving nothing behind.

As with all curses, the shadow’s power is amplified by Iris’ negative emotions and malicious intent, but the intensity of what’s needed to create it makes it as uncontrollable as she once was, and that’s without accounting for all the lingering resentment it still carries after a millennia. In fact, the shadow is on the brink of becoming its own independent being, a demon; even though Iris has deactivated it many, many times, it remembers. It can act on its own to protect Iris, but also to kill a target and anything else in range. Because of this, and because it is a reminder of Iris’ past misdeeds, she is very reluctant to use it.

  • Curse Eater: The nature of Iris’ shadow as a thing animated by curses and malice means that it can redirect and absorb curses utilized by others, taking them into its mass and adding them to its plethora of deadly effects. The more powerful it grows, however, the more difficult it is for Iris to control it. Eventually, it may break away from her entirely.
  • Spiritual Integration: Iris’ shadow can connect itself to the souls of others, often through their own shadows, and from here, analyze their composition and access their knowledge and abilities, potentially even turning a victim’s capabilities against them. Of course, the shadow can simply deliver its deadly payload from here, and it’s difficult to prevent this. When properly controlled, Iris can siphon knowledge from her target and transfer it to her own soul for her personal use.
  • Umbral Carapace: Iris can fully armor herself with her shadow when in need of a more persistent defense, rather than just allow it to to act in her defense when necessary. When fully armored, Iris can control her shadow with greater precision, and it protects her from environmental extremes and pathogens. She can also make use of its shapeshifting powers to extend her range and manifest wings for flight. However, though initially easier to control, Iris’ shadow will begin to burn at her body over a longer period of time, and can affect her mindset, making its use risky.

Besides these curses, Iris knows a number of other spells with less malicious intents behind them, but her focus on the Left-Hand Path and self-gain has left her somewhat incompetent when it comes to Right-Hand magic; that is, magic intended to help and elevate others or aid authority. As a result, Iris is, in a word, incompetent when it comes to healing magic, struggling to patch up even the most basic injuries.

Iris’ arsenal of more general spells includes, but is not limited to the following;

  • Alarm: Wards an area or object so that, if another being enters or touches the target, Iris is alerted by a silent, mental alarm, or a more audible ringing sound.
  • Animate Dead: The most fundamental necromantic spell - the basis of reanimation. This spell is one Iris is well-versed in, allowing to raise large quantities of the dead as mindless undead subject to her complete control.
    • Command Dead: Iris can use her necromantic knowledge to control mindless undead that she did not animate herself.
  • Astral Projection: Iris goes into a meditative state and projects her consciousness across reality in an abstract state. This allows her to observe locations from a distance, and act to some extent, though it leaves her body itself vulnerable. Due to Iris’ high-strung personality, it is difficult for her to calm down enough to actually meditate, and so properly inducing the necessary mindset may require a ritual and even the usage of sedative drugs.
  • Beltane: Iris’ primary offensive spell, a fire spell that covers all of her fire-based magic. Of all the elements, Iris is most compatible with fire for obvious reasons, the raging, temperamental nature of her personality simply taking to it well. Through this magic, Iris can produce and control flames of varying intensity. She can start controlled fires, launch fireballs, create protective walls of flame, and emit a focused stream of blazing heat that can incinerate long stretches of land. Beltane is often used to create a light source for Iris’ shadow.
  • Blink: The most basic form of teleportation, which instantly transports Iris a short distance. The spell is usually rather imprecise, but with greater concentration, Iris can improve its accuracy significantly.
  • Bullet: Iris materializes a projectile composed of whatever metal she pleases and of whatever size she desires, and then fires it. This “bullet” moves at supersonic speeds, as if fired from a gun, and can be channeled through Dahlia or used to create its bullets. If the revolver is not available, it can be used as a sloppy, less precise substitute.
  • Door: By drawing an opening - such as a door or window - onto a surface, Iris can then move through this gateway to appear at a visualized destination, one that she’s been to before. No matter the distance, the journey is instant.
  • External Eye: Iris creates an invisible magical “eye” that can observe its surroundings, transmitting everything it sees back to Iris.
  • Hypnotism: Using a combination of magic and hand gestures, Iris can put others into a drowsy, suggestible state, necessitating eye contact for it to function properly. As long as a target is hypnotized, they are highly susceptible to suggestion and can be effectively commanded for up to an hour, by which time the effect will begin to fade. Iris isn’t fond of using such an ability these days, but will do so when necessary or practical.
  • Lightning Bolt: Iris energizes her paw and blasts her target with a bolt of high-power electricity, which can arc to other targets, carrying with it a potentially fatal charge. During a storm, Iris can use this spell to divert actual lightning bolts.
  • Lockpick: A self-explanatory spell that can be used to force open mechanical locks, including those that are combination-based.
    • Electronic Lockpick: A more advanced version of the original lockpick spell, which can be used to unlock electronic locks, such as keypads. With more focus and time, it can be used to hack into a variety of devices, such as computers and phones.
  • Magic Wall: With significant focus and a quick magical circle, Iris can condense particles in the air using magic to create a simple defensive forcefield. As her magical knowledge focuses primarily on offense and utility, not defensive tools, this is difficult for her and her forcefields are far from perfect.
  • Mind Probe: A psychic spell used to invade the mind of a target and comb through their thoughts and memories. While mental defenses can protect against the spell, Iris’ skill allows her to easily circumvent such things with her sharp intellect.
  • Mute: Iris “mutes” her surroundings, greatly dimming sounds and preventing them from carrying over long distances. This is most effective when used on either a single target, or when its bounds are clearly defined, such as muting a single room.
  • Numb: Iris can numb any body part she touches, cutting off all sensation. She primarily uses this on herself as a makeshift painkiller when her arthritis becomes too much to handle, and she is quick to utilize it in combat so that she can ignore her body’s limits a bit easier.
  • Orb of Destruction: An extremely powerful destructive spell that conjures a sphere of pure energy, which Iris can then set upon an opponent. When used normally, the orb simply drifts towards its target, and can be easily avoided, but when launched, it soars through the air at high speeds, detonating on contact with the first thing it touches. Iris can also detonate the orb at will.
  • Panther’s Pursuit: If Iris has an article of her target, such as some of their blood, hair, or skin cells, she can use this spell to track them down. The spell heightens her senses, giving her a vague idea of their location in relation to her own, and once she’s close enough, she can track them down by scent. Its maximum range varies depending on how much Iris has on hand to activate the spell.
  • Passwall: Iris can alter her body structure to allow herself to pass through walls and other inanimate obstructions as if they were not there at all.
  • Pocket Space: A storage spell that creates a small pocket dimension which can be used to store and transport items, having enough space to contain a backpack’s worth of supplies. Iris uses this to carry ammunition and other emergency items, having performed the ritual to create the space long ago.
  • Scribe: Iris magically inscribes a message onto any available surface, typically in her own handwriting. However, if she has a sufficient sample, she can perfectly replicate the handwriting of another individual.
  • Scry: Iris can use any reflective or glass surface to view a desired location from a great distance, so long as she is capable of visualizing it accurately or has some sort of trinket from the original location to aid in the ritual. This can be used to spy on individuals if Iris has an object associated with them or a part of their body in her possession.
  • Signal Conduct: A modern spell that allows Iris to expand the range of her psionic magic by channeling her magic through her phone calls. It allows her to affect any target within the same range of wherever her call is directed.
  • Whirlwind: Iris whips a small torrent of intense winds around her, creating a small, localized tornado that can deflect projectiles, causing them to veer off course, and slash apart victims. At her full power, she can actually create full-sized tornadoes capable of tearing apart buildings.
  • Samhain: One of the most advanced spells in all of witchcraft, Samhain brings about supernatural activity at its peak. It can only be activated following a lengthy ritual that requires a sizeable blood sacrifice and a number of specially prepared materials. The sacrifice can be the life of another, but Iris would much rather give up her own blood. Once the ritual is complete, Samhain alters the liminality of its surroundings, blurring the boundary between real and unreal. The sky changes to unnatural colors and the everpresent Moon reveals itself. Within this space, while under the effects of Samhain, all supernatural phenomena is greatly strengthened, bringing Iris’ magic to its peak. This amplifies her faltering body as she is a work of magic, and, more importantly, allows her and any other supernatural being to materialize their thoughts as reality.

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