Dr. Erin Ryan: Archeologist and Professor of Nordic and Celtic Mythologies, Paragon City University
----------The Following is Unknown to Crey Industries----------
Banshee's first appearance coincided with Dr. Ryan's return from an Icelandic archeological expedition. It is therefore assumed that her powers are derived from an artifact or event which was found or occurred at that location. Investigations are underway to learn the exact location of the dig site in order to determine the true nature of her powers. These investigation may yield methods of countering her powers and/or duplicating them in our own agants.
Dr. Ryan's alias "Banshee" appears to be a reference to her own ethnic mythology, likely an attempt to disguise the possible Nordic origins of her powers. We have assumed that the above referenced expedition to Iceland uncovered an artifact of Viking origins. "Banshee" is possibly a vailed reference to the nearest Nordic analogue "Valkyrie". Both figures are instrumental to the disposition of the dead in their respective traditions.
If her powers are determined to be derived from a "stolen" artifact, Dr. Leif Andersson, Associate Curator of the Paragon City Museum of Natural History and sponsor of the expedition, may provide valuable assistance in our attempts to combat Banshee, as he would undoubtedly wish to recover the museum's property.
Against the time when the riders of Muspelheim, with the Giants and evil powers of the Under-world, would bring on battle, Odin All-Father was preparing a host of defenders for Asgard. They were not of the Æsir nor of the Vanir; the were of the race of mortal men, heroes chosen from amongst the slain on fields of battle in Midgard.
To choose the heroes and to give victory to those whom he willed to have victory, Odin had battle-maidens that went to the fields of war. Beautiful were those battle-maidens and fearless; wise were they also, for to them Odin showed the Runes of Wisdom. Valkyries, Choosers of the Slain ...
-Padraic Colum, “Nordic Gods and Heroes”
Dr. Erin Ryan was an archelogist and Professor of Nordic and Celtic Mythologies at Paragon City University. While on a dig in Iceland, her group uncovered a small stone box that contained a handful of extremely rare clay Viking runes. Since the expedition had been sponsored by the Paragon Museum of Natural History the curators had reserved the right of first refusal on all significant artifacts. The University was to receive everything else. As the leader of the dig it fell to Dr. Ryan to ensure that the relics were delivered to the Museum for inspection and evaluation, and because of the extreme importance of this particular find she had decided to hand deliver them herself.
The flight itself was rather uneventful, save for a bit of turbulance over the open Arctic Ocean. The runes were packed securely inside the professor’s briefcase, which was in turn stored in the luggage bin directly over her seat, safe but momentarily forgotten. As the pilot made the announcement to prepare for landing Erin removed a ticket from her handbag to confirm the time. Because of the storm delay in New York her flight was arriving two hours behind schedule and she would have to go straight to the theater after taking only a few moments to change clothes and freshen up in the airport lavatory. Before sending the rest of her baggage on to her home she carefully removed her precious cargo from the briefcase and placed it in her handbag for safekeeping.
She detested the opera but had to make this small concession to her benefactor Leif Andersson, Associate Curator of the Paragon Museum of Natural History. Dr. Andersson didn’t particularly care for the opera either but he refused to miss any production that sang the praises of his proud Nordic heritage, and he wanted the lovely Professor Ryan at his side for this performance of “The Valkyries”. As the performance dragged on the young archeologist found herself growing more bored with every passing moment, thinking more and more about the priceless artifacts that she carried. She hadn’t mentioned them to Dr. Andersson yet as she was planning to make a grand presentation to the museum during tomorrow’s monthly progress report.
It was unusual for a Nordic rune to be carved into anything but wood, making these small bits of clay all the more interesting to her. She quietly slipped her hand inside her small purse and attempted to use her fingertips to read and decipher the symbols that had been etched into the clay, which over the centuries had now hardened to stone. The small stones themselves were extremely smooth and oddly warm to the touch. As her fingers slowly caressed their surfaces she was surprised at how easily she was able to read them without looking directly at them. They also seemed to grow increasingly warmer the longer she handled them. Had she glanced down she might have noticed the faint yellow glow coming from her bag.
As she visualized each symbol, images began to swim through her mind. At first they were incoherent but as she continued her blind study of the runes the actions being portrayed on the stage below her seemed to take on a realism that was far beyond the capabilities of any actor. Layed out before her was a history of the Nordic peoples and their gods and she began to understand them in ways that her formal education would have never allowed.
Waking from an almost trance-like state Professor Ryan slowly looked around at her fellow audience members. The instant her eyes met those of another spectator she was able to instantly judge the character of the soul behind those eyes. In most she saw very little, often nothing more than a desire to continue a mundane existence from one moment to the next. In some she saw malise, deceit and hatered. In a very select few she was able to see a true caring for others, exceptional courage and a genuine sense of justice. Individuals in the last group were very rare and she felt strongly drawn to them, which was very unlike her because until this moment she would have fallen into the first group.
Fully regaining her senses, and knowing that she was now changed, Erin heard not a voice, but more a force of will speaking to her. Brynhilde, youngest yet wisest of the battle-maidens, was granted much. But until now, none have seen a greater number of the Runes of Wisdom than she. Take what you have been given and seek out those who would aid you in this new war for the soul of humanity. This city is but a battleground in a much larger war and you, my Valkyrie, must now once again choose the couragous and just to help defend it. Show the rest no mercy as they neither deserve nor grant any.
As the diva on the stage below completed the aria that told the tale of the fall from grace of the Valkyrie Brynhilde, Erin carefully considered the ramifications of what she was about to become. Knowing that they were now a part of her, the runes had to remain with her. If word of their existence was to get out and a new Nordic superhero were to appear at the same time then it would only be a matter of time before Dr. Andersson made the connection and came looking for the museum’s property. Taking from her own cultural mythos Erin Ryan became "Banshee," courier and guardian of lost souls.
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