Laurel
Justice has a cute butt
Justice has a cute butt
Laurel
Player: @Fox Lee
Origin: Mutation
Archetype: Scrapper
Security Level: 31
Personal Data
Real Name: Laurence Ellis
Known Aliases: The Prince. Also Skirt, Kilt and Sporran, thanks to Moloch.
Species: Human
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Height: 6'0" (182cm)
Weight: 167lb (76kg)
Hair Colour: Blonde
Eye Colour: Blue
Biographical Data
Nationality: American
Occupation: Student
Place of Birth: Boston, MA
Base of Operations: Kings Row
Marital Status: Living with Knight Rain
Known Relatives: Dr. Reed Ellis and Dr. Virginia Ellis (nee Spalding)
Known Powers
Negative energy manipulation, flight
Known Abilities
Oriental sword training, team tactics
Equipment
Light plate armour (medieval style), katana
{$footnotes}

Not all heroes use the capital "H". Some are antiheroes, some are mercenary, some simply adapt because it's less trouble. Others, however, are essentially born in a cape and a righteous pose. Such is Laurence Ellis, a young man who - when his mutant ability to create negative energy emerged during adolescence - immediately resolved to to fight the morbid nature of his power and use it for the good of all humankind.

Shortly, Laurel was approached by the youth Supergroup, Project Corona - or rather, their marketing department. He was young, dutiful, faultlessly altruisitic and photogenic, with just a hint of angst - and an appreciation for the importance of codenames and costumes. A little sword training, and he was an instant posterboy.

Laurel takes his role very seriously, and considers himself an important example to young metas. Unfortunately, since his recent coming-out, the media has focused more on his sexuality than his achievements. Not to mention his parents…

Laurence "Laurel" Ellis is a Katana/Dark Armour Scrapper played by Fox Lee. He was designed from the beginning for the Supergroup Project Corona, which worked hard to be a success as an organisation - to the point of having a marketing department. With that in mind, Laurel was made to be a posterboy character - somebody carefully engineered to appeal to as many young people as possible. Somebody who was youthful but powerful, intelligent but down-to-earth, kind but not submissive, baby-faced but not girly, athletic but not beefy, attractive but unattached. Preferably a dyed-in-the-wool good guy who had to contend with a darker power in himself.

Since his creator was playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess at the time, she came to the following conclusion: everybody loves Link. The Zora armour from that game, which includes a helmet-and-face-mask combo, was primarily responsible for his visual style, though the tools to perfect the look aren't really available in the game yet. The Veteran Reward kilt conveniently served to layer something over the armour, while simultaneously covering up for the fact that there aren't really any good-looking medieval belts.

Laurel also draws inspiration from Ishida Uryuu, of the anime Bleach, and Suou Tamaki of Ouran High School Host Club, both overly serious characters with a comedic obsession for costuming and style. To be truly approachable, Laurel had to have a dorky quirk in addition to all his marketable qualities.

Personality

Laurel is a kind, outgoing, educated, polite and generally well-balanced young man. Though he's a little naive and takes himself a bit too seriously sometimes, he's a truly noble and altruistic person, almost too good to be true; he is genuinely able to care about other people, no matter how trivial their problems might seem. He does sometimes wind up as a bit of a doormat, admittedly, but he's not unable to stand up for himself when it's important. Eternally optimistic, Laurel is always looking out for his teammates, and even those who are annoyed by his boy-scout nature (or mystified by it, in some cases) find it difficult to genuinely dislike him.

Laurel is slightly worried about the nature of his powers - namely, that they may be indicative of some connection to death or demonic energy (as with many other dark-powered metahumans), and that he may become influenced by dark forces in the future. He has not made this concern known, however, and has privately set out some measures to deal with such an eventuality.

History

Laurel has had a rather dull history as a hero, but that's mostly because it's been so short - his powers first manifested when he was thirteen, and he spend a brief while trying to hide them from his parents and his peers before he was fortunately noticed by Project Corona's "Talent Scouts" and extended an invitation to the group. Though wary at first, his parents were glad for the chance to turn a son who might otherwise be viewed as a freak into an icon (and, in all honesty, were eager to see what kind of sponsorship deals he might attract - they're not exactly uncaring people, but they are a little mercenary).

In Love

In the beginning, Rain simply made sure to accompany Laurel in public often - due in no small part to the fact that Rain was acutely aware of Laurel's marketability. Two young, attractive, slightly effeminate men spending a lot of time together wins a lot of fans amongst a certain demographic, and Rain constantly worked to provide situations which might be misconstrued by such fans. However, despite feeling genuinely attracted to Laurel, Rain had long refrained from making any explicit moves, both out of concern that Laurel might be genuinely straight, and that it might hurt Laurel's public image to actually have a partner.

Things changed when Rain gave Laurel a puppy as a gift - something which would have made the younger man overjoyed, but for the fact that he couldn't keep a dog on campus. As it turned out, this was Rain's somewhat awkward opening bid to get closer to Laurel - Rain just happened to have enlisted Fatal Harmonic and his golden economic touch to acquire an apartment in Kings Row, which just happened to have a spare room available.

After a brief and rather tense few weeks of living together - along with their newly-named Golden Retriever, Achilles - Rain confessed his affection to the younger man. While this at first caught Laurel by surprise, he soon came to realise that he felt the same way. It was kept somewhat private at first, Rain not wanting to push Laurel too fast, but then there was an incident where Laurel introduced Rain to some newcomers as "my fellow prefect", without even realising it hurt Rain's feelings. After a bit of a talk about it, Laurel habitually overreacted and made a rather dramatic announcement over the Project's radio channel, making them an "official" couple.

Thus, Project Corona's Marketing Department found themselves in possession of well-loved posterboy who was set to attract a huge press interest by coming out. Equally interested were a number of gay rights groups who'd had their eye on popular youth Supergroups for some time, hoping for just such an occurrence. For the first time in his life, Laurel has gotten a little sick of all the hype; he harbours growing concerns that he's going to become more known for being gay than being a hero, and that his popularity might be misused by any activist group with which he allies himself. As he has remarked to Rain, he doesn't want to be demonised for it, but nor does he want to be idolised - acting like his sexuality makes him better than other people is just as wrong as thinking it makes him worse.

At Home

Of course, Laurel's relationship with his parents became even more difficult after he publicly came out, and made them aware of his commitment to Rain (whom they had previously regarded as "Probably an untrustworthy type, I hope he isn't a bad influence!"). After putting off the inevitable discussion for as long as possible, Laurel resolved that it wasn't fair to hide something this important from them, and nor would he go on acting like he was ashamed of Rain.

Details of his visit home are not widely known, as would be expected. However, it seems that while the Doctors Ellis were not at all happy with the news, neither were they angry enough to do anyting drastic (like, say, disowning him). When pressed on the subject, Laurel was reported as saying in one interview: "My parents aren't homophobic. You have to understand, it's just not something they ever expected to happen - of course I want them to be happy for me, but these things take time. I can't pretend this isn't a big deal for them. I just have to trust that they'll accept me."

Affiliations

Laurel is strongly affiliated with the Supergroup Project Corona, having been recruited there not long after his powers awakened, and later made a Prefect on campus. Although he tries to be a friend and role model to all the students there, he is most commonly found in the company of two fellow Prefects, Moloch Tartarus and Knight Rain.

Rain has always been a close friend to Laurel, and in love with him for some time. Recently, what had previously been quiet adoration and mischievous encouragement of fan-theory turned into reciprocated affection, leaving both of them a little uncertain, but definitely happy.

His keeping company with Moloch, on the other hand, is something of a mystery. As the rougher, more manly, more streetwise representative of the Project, Moloch makes it his business to playfully torment Laurel at every opportunity. Although the younger man often seems at his wits' end dealing with Moloch, underneath the sarcasm the pair do seem to have something of a bond.

Dr. and Dr. Mrs. Ellis

Laurel is somewhat embarrassed of his parents. Both doctors and prominent high society figures, Reed and Virginia Ellis are not bad people. They are, however, really snobbish and upper-class, and sort of racist - they tend to look down upon less fortunate people, happy to attend charity dinners and donate to missions, but not interested enough to learn their housekeepers' last names. In short, they're "Better Than You And Me" people; Laurel owns an extremely expensive engraved pen which was a gift from his parents upon starting high school, which tells you mostly what you need to know about them.

Laurel isn't dishonest about his parents - it's just not in his nature to lie. But he does try to avoid talking about them, or letting his friends meet them, unless it's positively unavoidable.

Powers

Like many of Project Corona's young members, Laurel is a mutant, and therefore has only one actual superpower - his dark aura. While he was concerned about its nature, the power seems to be fairly logical, in terms of science; it is simply negative energy. It dampens things like heat, light and kinetic force (allowing Laurel to protect himself from incoming attacks) and drains vitality from living subjects (making it useful as an attack power). Creatures affected by Laurel's damage aura quickly become fatigued and weakened, and continued exposure leaves a noticeable effect of premature aging - short-lived things such as insects and small plants can wither and decay extremely quickly. If a living subject remains in Laurel's dark aura, it's a rather brief matter of time before they age to the point of death. Fortunately, he made gaining control of said aura his first priority, and - unlike many similar mutants - there's virtually no chance of any accidental death.

Laurel with his white blade
Laurel2.jpg
(click to enlarge)

A good way into his career - well after his mutant power emerged - Laurel sprouted a pair of white, very angelic-looking wings. Since he's sure they're not part of his mutation, and he has no idea what caused them to grow so suddenly, their present is entirely a mystery to the Project. Despite his initial shock, however, he took it in stride, and soon learned to actually use them.

Laurel has discovered, rather fortuitously, that he can cause the wings to retract when he doesn't need to fly, thus avoiding many awkward situations involving lounges and elevators. However, growing them again does cause him a degree of pain, occasionally drawing blood; therefore, he prefers to switch between winged and wingless only when it's necessary. Neverheless, his fangirls seem quite pleased by this development.

Like Project Corona's other members, Laurel has been extensively trained in leadership and team tactics, to best support his teammates. His expertise with the sword is also more of an ability than a power, as it is in no way "super" - it's simply a fine weapon with a great amount of skill behind it. Outside of combat, Laurel is a well-educated young man who particularly enjoys studying literature and classical music, and taking part in track-and-field sports. He also plays the violin quite well.

Equipment

In his early days as a hero, Laurel used a very finely-crafted blade which most closely resembles a Japanese katana. Although it was slightly out-of-place against his medieval armour and kilt, this was a deliberate blending of styles, and the katana was chosen by the marketing department for its stylish appeal.

Quite recently, he instead started carrying an oddly-styled blade, reminiscent of many a fantasy design and pure white from hilt to tip. It is not yet known from whence the white blade came1.

Weaknesses and Limitations

Laurel is, despite his good intentions, somewhat oblivious at times; he's very intelligent, but less perceptive than he would like to be. Similarly, he's pretty easy to manipulate by taking advantage of his altruistic nature - he will try to help with anything and everything, and is almost comedically passionate about it.

Also, without his dark armour, he is merely a very fit human - caught with his guard down, he's quite vulnerable, and subject to normal human limitations on enduring damage and such.

Other Notes

Trivia

  • Laurel is left-handed.
  • Laurel has a terrible sense of direction. If one fork in the cave mish leads to the objective and the other leads to a dead end full of enemies, it's a safe bet that you'll find Laurel in the second one.
  • Laurel has a tendency to use phrases that are very open to misinterpretation and double-entendres, completely without realising it. This is especially trying for Rain, who sometimes feels like he must be doing it on purpose.
  • Fox is fairly certain that heroism runs in Laurel's family. It's not really appropriate for either of his parents, but given the timing of the Rikti War, it seems likely that his grandparents might fill that role. This is born entirely of Fox's desire to inject some angst into Laurel's home-life, in this case very much based on Major Mapleleaf's backstory from the new Alpha Flight series.
  • In character, Laurel is occasionally misidentified by well-meaning individuals as 'Laurei', as that's the name on his hero registration card. This is one of the few things that can visibly exasperate Laurel when dealing with the public, because the spelling error on his registration card is entirely the fault of a short-sighted clerk, and his repeated petitions to Hero Corps to have the correction amended have proven fruitless.
  • Out-of-character, much to his creator's shame, Laurel's name features an uppercase "I" in place of the second "l", because the original name was already taken.
  • It really was pure coincidence that Laurel got a better haircut as soon as he came out.
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