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Black Queen (Joint Venture)
Selene-JV
Real Name Selene Gallio
Current Alias Black Queen
Alias(es) Daugher of the Night, Shadow Queen, Lady of Nightmares, Carmilla, Luna Regina
Relatives None known
Affiliation Hellfire Club
Base Of Operations Hellfire Manor, New York; Nova Roma, the Amazon (former)
Alignment Evil
Universe Joint Venture Universe
Gender Female
Eyes Blue (black or red when she uses her powers)
Hair Black
Unusual Features Age varies depending on her power reserves
The Black Queen is a villainess, a mutant and sorceress, and longtime member of the Hellfire Club and enemy of the X-Men and their sub-groups. This is the Joint Venture Universe version of the character.

History

Early life

Little to nothing is known of Selene's early life. It is established that she is of Mediterranean descent, and at least ten thousand years old, making her the oldest known living mutant, and has had several cults and religions form about her, often outside of or in direct opposition to the pantheons of various religions.

Ancient Greece was the first culture where her name appears in mythology. Calling her the "Daughter of the Night," they often assumed she was the child of either Nox, the goddess of the night, or Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. Selene herself embraced the title, though she has never stated which of these rumors is true, or indeed whether either of them are. Those who come too close to discovering anything concrete about her ancestry or lineage often suffer mysterious deaths before they can uncover the truth.

What is an established part of her history is that her cults have always involved human sacrifice, even in cultures that frowned upon such acts. Indeed, it is practically a necessity, as Selene's mutant power requires her to drain the life-force of others to sustain herself.

Egypt, Babylon, and India all have myths of a Selene-like figure, a pale, black-haired woman of unsurpassed beauty and cruelty, but nowhere is she more infamous than in Rome.

Luna Regina, Empress of Rome

Following the ascension of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus to emperor of Rome in March of the year 37 AD, he took mysteriously ill in October of that same year. Selene, posing as a healer, seemed to restore the young Emperor to health...but in the process had somehow warped his mind, making him dangerously unstable, cruel, sadistic, and perverse. To this day the reign of "Caligula" (the Emperor's boyhood nickname) is associated with power-madness and tyranny. After pronouncing himself "Neos Helios", the new god of the sun, in a sacrilegious display of hubris, Caligula was mysteriously assassinated in the year 41 AD, and his entire ruling cabinet sought out and killed, save for his infant daughter, Julia Drusilla, and the Imperial mystic Selene, both of whom vanished. Thirteen years later, Caligula's uncle and successor to the throne, Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, would suffer from a malady all too similar to his nephew's -- but this time, there would be no miracle healer, and he would die on October 13, 54 AD -- the date, coincidentally, that Selene likes to mark as her birthday to this day.

Julia Drusilla, in hiding those thirteen years, would miraculously materialize, alive and well, on the same day as her great-uncle's death, a young girl of fourteen. Nero -- who was in line to succeed Claudius, and historically was meant to be the last emperor of Rome -- opposed Julia's claim to queenhood and tried to have her killed, but Julia fought back, possessed of considerable powers she claimed came from the gods themselves. Raising herself to Empress, she converted the temples of the goddesses to temples of Diana, the Moon Goddess -- but her vision of the goddess of the hunt was far darker than the ancient myths characterized her. She became high priestess of the Moon, called Luna Regina by the people, and held festivals every full moon. These were times of great joy for the Empire, but also times of great terror, as one young Roman would disappear from the crowd every month, never to be seen again. Nonetheless, Luna Regina Caesar would enjoy a peaceful and prosperous reign -- at least, on the surface. Underneath, there was corruption and depravity to rival the darkest days of Caligula, with the exception that now it was all just behind the curtain, just under the table, the shadows at the corner of one's eye, rather than cruelty and madness in plain sight.

Ashake, Artemis, And A Deception Exposed

Roughly another thirteen years after Luna Regina's ascension to the throne, Rome was prospering beyond the wildest imaginings of its citizens, its enemies held at bay by the Moon Queen's arcane might -- but the shadows of death, pain, and fear hung like a thick miasma over even the brightest day.

Eventually, the truth had to come out. Ashake, the Sorceress Supreme of Earth during the early AD era, came to Rome in searth of the powerful mystical force that held it in thrall...and for the first time, Luna Regina found someone whose mystic might could stand up to her own. During the Festival of the Full Moon, Ashake was captured, chosen as the lunar sacrifice to Diana -- just as she had planned. The Mistress of the Mystic Arts used the Eye of Agamotto upon Luna Regina, and the truth was revealed for all to see: that the child Julia Drusilla, daughter of Caligula, had in fact been killed over a decade ago, and the woman who had reigned over Rome as Luna Regina was none other than Selene, the power-hungry sorceress who had driven one Emperor mad, killed another, and drained the life force from the rightful heiress to the throne.

Fueled by the shock and rage of the Roman people, Ashake then used her mystic might to summon forth the true Diana -- Artemis, goddess of the hunt and the Moon, daughter of Zeus -- who was infuriated by the atrocities committed in her name. She brought an end to the false queen's illusory empire with a single fateful shot from her Silver Bow of Moonlight. Bathed in the pale light of destruction, Rome fell as it had been destined to, and Selene vanished from the annals of history, presumed slain by the true Moon Goddess, for nearly two thousand years.

Nova Roma

It would be discovered, but not for some time, that Selene had not in fact been slain by the Goddess of the Hunt. Instead, she had fled the scene, gathering the youngest of those cultists who were loyal to her and spiriting them away while Rome burned around them. Using much of the power she had left, she cast a spell that sent herself and her followers as far away from Rome as she could -- to the Amazon rainforest. The salvation of her faithful was not an act of benevolence on Selene's part; rather, she had abducted the children and left their parents to die specifically because she needed to start over, and the more malleable minds of the younger generation would prove much more useful to her. In addition, as she had learned from absorbing the life-force of baby Julia Drusilla twenty-seven years prior, children and the young provided her with much more vital energy than their grown counterparts.

To hide from Ashake, and future Sorcerers Supreme after her, Selene refrained from using her mystic powers as much as possible, instead choosing to rely on the toil of the survivors of the empire of Luna Regina. She did, however, expend a portion of her power to acclimatize the young ones to the new environment, ensuring that local diseases and toxins would not affect them -- they were no good to her dead. Thus, they became "Nova Romans," citizens of a new empire hidden by their Black Goddess.

Selene spent nearly two millennia in Nova Roma, treating the place like a combination of playhouse and cattle farm. She raised and cultivated the Nova Romans like livestock, ensuring she would have a steady supply of victims to maintain her life, youth, beauty, and power, while at the same time cutting off all contact with the world outside her small empire, ensuring the place would remain a faithful recreation of the place she had once held absolute power over. Over the centuries, Nova Roma prospered as Rome once had, while still suffering from that same oppressive cloud of fear that followed the Black Goddess wherever she went.

Carmilla

Sometime in the early- to mid-19th century, Selene apparently sought either an escape from the tedium of her absolute power in Nova Roma, fresh blood to help sustain the population (and thus, herself), or simply a fresh challenge to keep her mind and instincts sharp. She made her way to the Isle of Man, in the United Kingdom. There, rather than take over overtly, she instead chose to live what, for her, amounted to a quiet life, appearing once more in the guise of a young girl named Carmilla, as part of the household of a minor lord from Styria and the best friend and confidant of his daughter. There, she fed in relative peace off common villagers, whom she reasoned no one would miss, even as she continued to work to bend the girl -- Laura -- over to her will, hoping to gain an apprentice, someone to teach her secrets and pass on her legacy. Unfortunately for Selene, her reach exceeded her grasp, and when she killed one of Laura's friends -- the daughter of a decorated General with a keen interest in ancient history -- she inadvertently tipped her hand and revealed her true, malefic nature as Luna Regina, the false Empress responsible for Rome's downfall. Exposed again, Selene fled, not home to Nova Roma, but to Britain, where she stayed in hiding, feeding in secret, until the dawn of the 20th century, when new opportunities would present themselves.

Marcus Gallio

In the early 20th Century in London, the Hellfire Club was formed, a place for the powerful, the privileged, and the debauched. Upon her first introduction to the place, Selene felt right at home, and decided to become a member, quietly stealing guards and servants to either feed her or swell the ranks of Nova Roma.

Mostly, as before, she selected children for Nova Roman citizenry. However, adults could be taken too; Selene now knew how to alter people's minds and memories, rewrite their pasts so that they would believe themselves to be completely different people. To this end, she selected a handsome young man named Mark Gallio, a first-generation Italian immigrant to Britain and a guardsman of the Hellfire Club, and began to work on him. Through machinations, deception, and mysticism, she turned the common bodyguard into a formidable gladiator, wrapping his mind up in fantasies of blood and sand, conquest and glory. Taking him to Nova Roma with her, she renamed him Marcus Domitus Gallio, the prime gladiator of Nova Roma, and her personal bodyguard and lover...whom she eventually even married.

It is unknown what in Marcus Gallio captivated Selene so -- she had had many lovers in her long life, of both sexes, and never been married once. But she married him, and even stayed faithful in that marriage, reigning over Nova Roma as its God-Queen with him at her side, for many years, well into the second half of the twentieth century. She even shared the secret of her immortality with him, and made him a psychic vampire like herself, keeping him as young and vital through sacrifices as she.

In the end, after over nearly a century of unholy matrimony, it was Marcus, not Selene, who broke their union. Selene may have warped the former Londoner's mind out of a twisted form of love, but warp it she did, and the transformation made Marcus into a man like Selene herself -- conniving, opportunistic, predatory, with an insatiable power-lust and a deep well of depravity. Where Selene loved him for what she had made him into, and Mark Gallio might have cared for her in return before his transformation, Marcus Domitus only cared about what his marriage to Selene could bring him. He even went so far as to seek out victims of his own behind Selene's back, usually young women, seducing them with his beauty and then draining them dry through the same black arts as his wife. Indeed, Marcus grew so addicted to the power that within a century, he had endangered Nova Roma's population through his gluttony and sadism. Selene was forced to murder her husband to save her people, and thus save herself, one of the few decisions she has made that causes her remorse to this day. She even retains his surname, "Gallio", having made it her own.

Hellfire and the 21st Century

Now in need of further replenishment of her Nova Roman citizenry, Selene returned to the modern world once more, this time, to New York in the 1990s, during a boom in the superhuman population. There, she became acquainted with the scientific and technological advancements made through the past few centuries, as well as the growing influence of the rich and powerful, no matter their background. The new Hellfire Club caught her eye, as she had greatly enjoyed her time in the old Club. Over time, she found factions forming within the Club's upper echelons: the Council of the Chosen, comprised of the stuffy, traditionalist "old money" humans she had come to associate with the Hellfire Club, and the Inner Circle, which interested Selene far. far more.

The Inner Circle was comprised, not of traditionalist humans, but of wealthy and powerful mutants, a hidden cabal of powerrful beings, ruling from the shadows as she had in those ancient centuries of yore. When the Council of the Chosen tried to stab them in the back, sending a squadron of giant hunter-killer robots known as Sentinels, Selene watced from the sidelines, intrigued, as the Inner Circle not only survived, but emerged triumphant, albeit at the cost of their Black Queen, a Spanish teleporter named Lourdes Chantel. The Inner Circle's two chief figures, Black King Sebastian Shaw and White Queen Emma Frost, slaughtered the Council without mercy almost to a man, appropriating their assets and their unseen position as masters absolute of the Hellfire Club, and Selene's intrigue turned to something even more alien to her: respect. Respect, and the desire to belong to this cabal, to rule it as she had ruled so many other shadow organizations in the past, as she ruled Nova Roma itself from the shadows.

Attaining a position for herself within the Club was easy; a woman of her resources, limitless wealth, and power could fit in among even the highest echelon of the elite. Winning the Inner Circle's trust would prove to be far riskier...unlike the pathetic sheep she so often found herself dominating, Shaw and his associates were well acquainted with the dark, treacherous side of human nature, and thus every bit as skilled at manipulation, and at spotting manipulation, as she. But Selene was nothing if not patient -- what is time to an immortal, after all? And so she waited, hidden amid the Club's bourgeoisie, for an opportunity to win her place in the Inner Circle.

Finally, after far too long a wait, opportunity presented itself in the form of an upstart group of mutants calling themselves the X-Men.

Becoming the Black Queen

Selene-JV

Selene as Black Queen of the Hellfire Club.

to be disclosed

Powers

Mutant Power: Psychic Vampire: Selene is the oldest living mutant, and tests positive for the X-Factor Gene. Her mutant power, as opposed to the myriad of magical abilities she possesses, seems to be a form of energy-based vampirism unique to her.

  • Life Force Absorption: Selene possesses the mutant power to psionically drain the life forces of other human beings into herself, by physical touch. This life force flows into Selene, restoring her health, youth, and vitality, and serving as an energy source for her magical powers. If she drains a person’s entire life force from him or her, the victim’s body desiccates, and eventually crumbles into dust. To maintain the appearance of a woman in her twenties, at the average rate at which she uses her other powers, Selene drains someone completely dry once a month. Great expenditure of her power causes Selene to age, but she can rejuvenate herself by absorbing more life force. Selene will not age as long as she maintains her supply of absorbed life force.
  • Memory Retention: A side-effect of her vampirism is that Selene takes on the memories of people her absorption power kills. In her twisted logic, she considers this to be a nobility, a way of honoring those she has chosen as her victims.
  • Telepathic Link: If Selene drains only part of a victim's life force, she achieves a psychic link with her victim’s mind, able to sense their thoughts, communicate telepathically with them over nearly any distance, and issue them mental commands. She habitually partially drains nearly everyone in her employ, as there seems to be no known upper limit to the number of people she can maintain contact and control over.
  • Memory Alteration: Selene can affect the mind of anyone whose life force she drains at the same level as any high-order telepath, including rewriting their memories completely to suit her desires. She often does this to propsective abductees, capturing them from the outside world, draining them into unconsciousness, and then reawakening them with the belief that they are, and always have been, citizens of Nova Roma.
  • Physical Enhancement: By using the absorbed life energies that sustain her, Selene can enhance her physical strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, and durability to superhuman levels. At her normal feeding rate of draining one victim a month to death, Selene can lift approximately 10 tons, move at speeds of roughly 70 mph, leap about 50 ft. directly upward, and withstand physical impacts of up to 200 mph with little effort and no ill effect. The more life force she absorbs, the more physically powerful she becomes. However, extended physical exertion, or pushing past her body's enhanced limits, will drain her life energy faster, causng her to age rapidly and require replenishment sooner.
  • Rapid Healing: She has the ability to recover quickly from injuries such as knife or bullet wounds. Often this is subconscious, with her barely even feeling the pain of a wound before it is healed. However, like most of her abilities, extended use of this will drain her psychic energy reserves.
  • Psychic Vampirism Transference: Through a means not unlike blood vampirism, Selene can share her life-force with a human or mutant she has previously drained, causing them to become a psychic vampire like herself, but subordinate to her will, as was the case with Marcus Gallio. However, sufficiently strong-willed individuals can dispel her control and operate independently of her, even rebel against her, though she usually responds to such individuals simply by killing them.
Selene-on-throne

Selene on her throne, shifting into her shadow form.

Magical Powers: Selene possesses a wide array of superhuman abilities that are not mutant, but magical in nature. As her true heritage and nature are unknown, is unknown if she is simply a skilled sorceress or the offspring of one of the many cosmic beings inhabiting the multiverse, like Dormammu or Shuma-Gorath. All that is known is that she possesses sufficient magical power to rival a Sorcerer Supreme, though due to her profoundly self-serving, evil nature, she has never been considered for the post. In addition, Selene has been studying magic for over ten milennia, far longer than any other living being, and so possesses a vast wealth of arcane knowledge unique to her and her alone.

The abilities she has displayed are as follows:

Telekinesis: Her unique telekinetic abilities give her complete psionic control over inanimate objects.

  • Telekinetic Animation: She can cause inanimate objects to move according to her will by projecting part of her absorbed life force into them.
  • Inanimate Disintegration: She can cause inanimate objects in her presence to disintegrate.
  • Matter Alteration: She possesses the power to alter inanimate matter by rearranging the molecules. She normally uses this power to change quickly into and out of clothing.
  • Matter State Transition: She has the ability to affect inanimate matter's state, transferring it between solid, liquid, or gas at will. This affords her greater versatility when commanding her environment.

Pyrokinesis: Selene can generate and project intense heat and flame from and around her body at will, and direct it at certain distances. The exact radius remains unknown, thoguh it is presumed to be line-of-sight. She is also able to manipulate existing flames, alter their shape, magnify their intensity, or snuff them altogether.

  • Illusory Flames: Selene can also generate flames that are illusory in effect; for example, she can focus her power on an object or person, making them appear to be on fire, even radiating actual heat, without the flames truly damaging them at all.
  • Fire Immunity: Selene cannot be harmed by most conventional forms of heat or flame.

Minor Telepathic Powers: While Selene cannot read the minds of others without first draining their life force, she is capable of various psionic feats.

  • Psi-Screen: Selene is able to shield her mind from psionic intrusion, detection, or attack.
  • Mental Bolts: She can project "psi-bolts" which have no physical effects but which can affect a victim's mind so as to cause the victim severe pain, disability, or unconsciousness.
  • Hypnotic Trance: She can induce a temporary hypnotic trance state in people around her, freezing them in place or making them susceptible to her suggestions. She frequently uses this to lure in victims. A telepath of sufficient skill can block this.
  • Astral Projection: Selene, like the Sorcerers Supreme, possesses an astral form which can leave her body and travel vast distances instantaneously. She often uses this as her primary means of spying.
  • Psychic Illusions: Selene can create complex, lifelike multisensory illusions of virtually any kind, from illusory objects to entire environments. Illusory weapons she manifests can kill, if the illusion is not broken before the victim's brain shuts down.

Shadow Manipulation: Selene wields a form of shadow-magic that seems related to the Darkforce, which she can use in a variety of ways..

  • Shadow Cloak: Selene can shroud her immediate area in complete darkness, which she can see through and move around in normally.
  • Shadow Constructs: Selene can project her shadows into simple mentally-controlled forms, such as rings, columns, spheres, and so on. These are solid, tangible energy constructs with size and strength governed by both her own willpower and the amount of life force energy she has stored up. These objects are solid and well-defined for as long as she consciously wills them to be. If Selene is rendered unconscious, they dissipate. Selene can also project a beam of solid force capable of impacting an object with sufficient power to penetrate three inches of solid carbon steel, or tip over an average, loaded freight train.
  • Shadow Teleportation: Selene can teleport through any sufficiently deep shadow, materializing into and out of seemingly any dark space she desires. By maintaining physical contact, Selene can teleport other persons or objects along with her in this fashion, with an unknown upper limit.

Shadow Form: Selene can transform into a being of living shadow with its own unique properties:

  • Shadow Intangibility: In her shadow form, Selene can phase through solid objects.
  • Shadow Elongation: Selene can extend any part of her shadow form, including her limbs, her torso, or her neck, to great distances. She often uses this power in combat to entrap someone by wrapping them up in her shadow body, like a snake's coils.
  • Shadow Flight: Selene's shadow form can fly at speeds roughly approaching Mach 1.

Arcane Knowledge: Selene possesses several hidden libraries, scattered throughout the known world, full of volumes of magical knowledge she has collected over her preternaturally long life. She has memorized several spells which she can cast at will, and has access to many more. It could be said that Selene is the most accomplished mortal magic-user in the world, and she is easily the equal of a Sorcerer Supreme.

Weaknesses

Life Force Dependency: As a mutant of over ten thousand years of age, Selene must replenish herself constantly via the absorption of others' life-force to survive. As yet, no suitable substitute for the life force of living beings has been found.

Rapid Aging: Selene's body ages more rapidly with greater exertion on either her physicality or her powers. Without a steady stream of victims, Selene will weaken, age, and ultimately "starve" to death, suffering the same fate as her victims as she desiccates and turns to dust. It is unknown how long she can survive without absorbing the life energy of others, but it is presumed to be no more than a matter of months, even at minimal levels of exertion. The higher the exertion, the shorter the projected time frame for survival.

Life Force Reserves: Selene's ability to perform magical or physical feats is limited by the amount of life force she has recently absorbed. The greater the feat, the more absorbed life force she expends. It is conceivable that a massive enough feat would drain her completely, but the effects of this expenditure would likely be nothing shrot of apocalyptic. There are also limits to her ability to heal herself, meaning that enough physical damage could conceivably kill her, though these limits have yet to be approached.

Weakness to Light (shadow form only): Selene's shadow form can be physically harmed if exposed to high enough concentrations of light.

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