Ashake is an ancient Egyptian sorceress, worshipper of the goddess Ma'at (one of the many nameis of the Vishanti known as Oshtur), and a distant ancestor of the X-Man known as Storm. This is the Joint Venture Universe version of the character.
|Ashake (Joint Venture)|
|Alias(es)||Sorceress Supreme, Speaker of the Bright Lady, High Priestess of Ma'at|
|Relatives||Aisha (mother, deceased), Ororo Munroe (descendant)|
|Base Of Operations||Egypt|
|Universe||Joint Venture Universe|
Daughter of the Sorceress Supreme
By the time Ashake was born, her mother, Aisha, had already ascended to the position of Sorceress Supreme. Aisha herself won it from the previous holder of the title, a cruel woman who had gone only by the name "Salome" by the time of her downfall. The mantle of Sorcerer Supreme was a sacred charge, its bearer tasked with protecting the world from hostile otherdimensional forces, and Salome had perverted it for her own power.
Thus it was that, when Ashake sought to be taught in the Mystic Arts by her mother, the lesson of never using magic to overpower others was drilled constantly into her mind. And so she and her mother wandered the world, protecting Earth against mystic threats while working to make the lives of those around them better.
But Aisha was getting older, and had taught Ashake everything she could. Eventually, she passed away peacefully, and the regalia of the Sorcerer Supreme -- the Book of the Vishanti and the Eye of Agamotto -- left to find their new master.
Ashake mourned her mother, but swore to carry on her legacy, Sorceress Supreme or no. She pledged herself and her family line to her goddess, Ma'at the Bright Lady, known in times long past and in the present day as the Vishanti Oshtur, Goddess of Magic.
She fashioned the Staff of Khonsu, the Egyptian Moon God, to facilitate her magics, and wrote everything she had learned of magic on one of the Sacred Scrolls of Thoth, continuing her journey alone to unlock as many mystical secrets as she could. The Scroll bearing her knowledge, and that of her mother, survives to this day, and is called the Arcane Annals of Ashake in her honor.
Ashake was given a vision by Oshtur when she reached her twentieth year. She dreamed of an empire, covered in flawless white marble, spanning most of the world and stretching to the heavens. But at its foundations, the empire's marble facade was crumbling, to reveal corrosive black filth and sullen red flames. The higher and farther the marble Empire reached, the further the filth and the fire spread beneath it. Taking this dream as a warning, she set out on her journey with newfound purpose and a new destination: Rome.
Reign of Luna Regina
By the time Ashake arrived in Rome, it had been ruled by its Empress, Julia Drusilla Luna Regina Caesar, for some time. Things on the surface seemed peaceful -- citizens were productive, there was trade and labor, massive monuments and structures were being built -- but beneath the surface, just as in Ashake's vision, horrible things were happening. Luna Regina's priestesses of Diana, the Roman Goddess of the Moon, would drag citizens off in the dead of night once a month, and sacrifice them to their God-Queen.
Learning these terrible truths alone would be enough for Ashake to combat the dark ruler, However, there remained still further depths of depravity yet to be uncovered.
Luna Regina vs. the Sorceress Supreme
Through careful spying and furtive, but relentless investigation, Ashake learned of Luna Regina's true identity -- that she had, in fact, been an imposter all along. The dark sorceress Selene had slain the real Julia Drusilla as an infant for her life energy and her title. When the lost Empress returned, claiming to have learned magic to avenge her family and take the throne, it had been Selene, bearing the visage of a young woman thanks to her mutant power to siphon the life-force of others to restore her own youth and beauty.
Furthermore, Ashake learned that Selene had a dark purpose for conquering Rome. Even the position of absolute monarch of the greatest Empire the world had ever seen was not enough for her; she was going to sacrifice the city's citizens in a grand ritual to bring the demon Blackheart, son of Mephisto and a prince of Hell, into the world as part of a demonic bargain that Selene believed would grant her true immortality.
With this knowledge, Ashake made one final, desperate appeal to her Goddess, and the Goddess of her mother, for aid. This time, her pleas were heard, and Ma'at granted Ashake the powers relinquished by her mother upon death -- the Eye of Agamotto, which could uncover the truth of all things, and the Book of the Vishanti, which contained all the knowledge, not only of Ashake's mother Aisha, but of all Sorcerers Supreme past, all the way back to Oshtur's own son, Agamotto, Last of the Vishanti and the very first Sorcerer Supreme.
Armed with these tools and her title, Ashake formed a plan. She began to spread rumors and whispers throughout the fearful populace that the woman calling herself "Luna Regina" and claiming to speak for Diana was, in fact, neither Empress nor devotee to the Moon Goddess, but a pretender.
Such heresy, of course, inevitably landed Ashake in prison, lined up to be publicly sacrificed to Luna Regina at that month's festival of Diana. However, even in her already-long life, Selene had never yet faced a Sorceress Supreme in battle, and so knew nothing of the Eye of Agamotto. Its light of golden truth dispelled the illusions Selene had placed upon herself and upon Rome, revealing the grasping, desperate, insatiable power-lust beneath the city's surface. The charlatan was laid bare for all to see.
However, the truth was still new, and Selene had ruled for a very long time already. When she ordered her loyal "priestesses of Diana" -- in truth dark sorceresses like herself, but of lesser skill -- to kill Ashake, the Egyptian responded by raising aloft her staff -- the Staff of Khonsu, the Egyptian God of the Moon -- and calling, not to him, but to the goddess who was worshipped as Diana in Rome, but had another, older name, from before the rise of the Empire: Artemis. And Artemis answered.
Enraged at the misuse of her name and the perversion of her religion, the Moon Goddess raised her silver bow and, with a single shot, bathed the whole Roman Empire in the silver light of destruction. Rome fell that night, to a great cry that was as much relief as fear, for though many perished, many more survived than would have under Selene's dark plans, and the gates between Earth and Hell stayed shut tight. Selene herself disappeared that night, along with a small handful of followers who were devoted to their Empress, despite knowing the dark truth.
After the Fall of Rome
Ashake, now bound permanently to the mantle of her mother, the mantle of Sorceress Supreme, continued as she had been before, a traveling defender of Earth from mystical threats. Eventually, she settled down, took a husband, and had children of her own, all without relinquishing her duty as Sorceress Supreme until her eventual passing.
In her spare time, Ashake researched the use and study of chronomancy, spells that could alter the flow of time, though to what end remains unknown. What IS known, however, is that through her studies of time magic, Ashake saw the future, and saw that the thirteenth Sorcerer Supreme would be the last one, and that he would hail from a country that was itself not yet born. This prophecy, like so much of her learnings, is contained in the Arcane Annals of Ashake, the Scroll of Thoth containing the sum total of all of this Sorceress Supreme's knowledge and life experience.
Ashake was the Sorceress Supreme of Earth, the fifth person to bear that title since the Vishanti Agamotto. As such, she was the ancient world's most experienced and powerful sorceress. Her regalia as Sorceress Supreme included:
- Eye of Agamotto
- Book of the Vishanti
- Jewel of Isis - A brooch hidden within the folds of her cloak that bore the Ankh of Isis on one side, and the Eye of Horus on another. Both of these in tandem enabled her to fly, like falcon-headed Horus, and heal others' wounds and illnesses, like his mother Isis who resurrected her husband from the dead.
- Scroll of Thoth - Ashake inherited from her mother Aisha one of the Sacred Scrolls of Thoth, of which there are thirty-six in the world. In their natural state, they are simple papyrus scrolls, though magic protects them from the ravages of time. The Scrolls' secondary, and far more powerful, enchantment comes when they are written in. A Scroll of Thoth is literally endless; it can contain an infinite amount of writing. Whole libraries are said to be contained in a single scroll. Moreover, one does not read the information contained in a Scroll of Thoth; one experiences it, first hand, like a memory imprinted directly into the mind.
- Arcane Annals of Ashake - Ashake used her Scroll of Thoth to record her life's story -- her magical knowledge and that of her mother Aisha, her history, her personal thoughts...everything that made Ashake who she was was written down in the Annals. Secrets only she knew are hidden in coded messages within it, and spells long lost to time are there for the casting, if one knows where to look; a Scroll of Thoth is, after all, infinite, and Ashake lived a long and eventful life.
- Staff of Khonsu - A staff with a crescent moon on it, an item forged by Ashake herself. This sacred magical focus stored power in its moon-shaped figurehead, which would increase in size from the tiniest sliver of a crescent to a completely round, full disc. That energy could then be released in a variety of powerful, stunning ways. The Staff, despite being named after the Egyptian Moon god Khonsu, could be used to make contact with any being with a strong affinity with the Moon, and was the tool Ashake used to speak with the Goddes Artemis and call her down to destroy Selene's Roman Shadow-Empire.
- Sandals of Bastet - A pair of sandals with cats engraved on them. With these, Ashake could move as quickly, agilely, and noiselessly as one of those sacred beasts herself.