"My name is Aaron Nile. Be mindful around me, or suffer the wrath of..."
Penitence is a character in the world of Champions Online MMO.
Aaron Nile was a businessman in the new community of Cleveland, Ohio in the early 19th century. He was aggressive and overbearing. He was always right, never wrong, and he doubled-down on every assertion he made. He was an abusive soul who didn’t care who got hurt just as long as it wasn’t him.
It is said that he was once married and that the love of his life died in childbirth. Many who knew him afterward could not believe that he was someone that could be loved, but they suspected it was the reason why he was so abrasive afterward. His abusive behavior turned him away from any future potential wives, much to his later regret. But that was far from the only casualty.
He was a contradiction of character. He debated with ministers, local leaders, even teachers. He was kind and generous to some, curious to others, and abrasive to the rest. There was no filter to his wrath when unleashed. There was also no length he would go to help those he felt needed it.
When the daughter of a wealthy landowner was subject to Aaron’s verbal wrath, she killed herself. The landowner challenged Aaron to a duel, which Aaron won. The landowner’s son then challenged him, and he also was killed. Afterward, Aaron hounded the surviving family members until they left or ended up dead.
He also was the subject of much gossip and accusations of carrying on with other men's wives. This led to more challenges, and to more misery.
Aaron’s life would not last long, though. An unknown hand would shove him in front of an oncoming carriage and he would be trampled to death by the horses.
Aaron found himself in a land of shadows, with a white light on one side and a reddish glow on the other. A fellow soul told him that he was in Purgatory; a place in between that was neither Heaven or Hell. It was someplace where he had to stay and relive the best and worst parts of his life over and over until the determination would be made as to where his soul belonged.
As he re-lived only the best and worst parts of his life repeatedly, he began to notice that he was reliving more and more of the bad parts of his life and fewer of the good parts. He feared that soon there would be no “good” parts of his life left and that he would repeatedly re-experience the bad parts, which would mean he would be condemned to Hell.
He asked if there was a way out of it. Some way to change this sequence so he could “forgive” his bad parts and earn a chance at redemption. Because he had asked, he was given a choice to either resume his time in Purgatory until that determination could be made, or he could “balance” his bad parts by eradicating the evil in others on Earth.
He was sent back to Earth in a body that could not be recognized but with the power to rip the evil from the souls of the living. He could be “defeated” but never killed, as he was already dead. And he would not be able to leave the Earth until his “debt” has been paid, which would be for a very long time.
He would bring Penitence to the world, one evil soul at a time.
Powers and Abilities
Penitence is a supernatural being, with powers that transcend mortal limitations.
He has three basic forms of existence: Human, Condemned, and Penitence. Each form has some level of dark power, which includes the power to fly.
"Human": As Aaron Nile, he is “human”. Or at least as “human” as one can be in his situation. The only sign of his supernormal existence is the purple tint in his hair. Aaron has learned over the years to be careful about how he presents himself. He is quiet and reserved. He is highly intelligent, with the manners and habits of a monk. He has learned to appreciate his human form, as he feels it gives him a second chance at redemption.
He has very few powers in this form other than his “cursed” power of resurrection. Although “human” in appearance, he does not need food or drink to survive as he is still dead. But he can still enjoy them out of nostalgia.
Condemned: In his “condemned” state, Aaron is his more aggressive, abusive side. He is not intelligent or mannered. He is rude and crude. Here is taller than his human state and he taps into the dark energies. He is attuned to the dark dimensions, able to see the evil in others, and can siphon the “evil” from others to sustain himself. He is powerful in this state, but not as powerful as his true form.
Aaron hates this form of himself as it reminds him of his prior existence. He is conscious of his actions in this state. So is his “pure” form of Penitence, which constantly urges him to give in fully to his demonic side.
Penitence: In his “pure” form, Penitence is absolutely demonic in nature. He has shed his human form and is larger and fearsome. Flames even erupt from his eye sockets when engaged. He is neither good nor evil. He is not reserved. He is judgment. If there is evil in the area, he is compelled to purge it. The power that he taps into is in its purest form. When he “siphons evil”, he is literally ripping souls from bodies, killing them in the process.
Aaron “sleeps” when he is Penitence. He has no idea what happens during this time. Sometimes he experiences “flashbacks” of the lives of those he “siphons”. He learns something about those people during that time. Penitence, however is aware of everything in all forms. He is the monster that haunts Aaron all the time. Penitence will always refer to Aaron in the third person.
“Cursed Return”: In all these states, Penitence is “cursed” to remain on Earth until his mission is fulfilled. He can be defeated, even destroyed, but he cannot die. Aaron Nile is already dead. Penitence simply “returns”, with full knowledge of what happened.
As a supernatural being, Penitence can be subjected to magic and other otherworldly influences. But even though he is "undead", he cannot be affected by supernatural entities such as Takofanes. The nature of his powers is such that he cannot be deterred from his mission, even by the self-professed "lord of the dead".
Aaron/Penitence's personality varies depending on which state he is in.
In his "human" state, he is cordial and polite.
In his "condemned" state, he is ruder and cruder. His base feelings are raw and exposed. He is corrupted and coarse.
As "Penitence", he has no sense of humanity. He is fully dedicated to his mission of purging evil and to carry out justice. He is the most dangerous in this state.
Aaron has never sought romance since his "return". He has, however, sought out companionship. It would be short-lived, though, as his baser states would always chase those potential companions away.
Aaron managed to acquire a sanctum during his two centuries on this planet where he finds all sorts of mystical and metaphysical items. Sometimes he donates them to other mystics. Sometimes he keeps them to further his cause. Aaron uses this knowledge to try to ascertain just how long he would have to carry out his mission until he has “bought” his way into Heaven.
Sometimes a soul is so evil it cannot be purged. Rather than send it to hell, it is contained inside one of the many books in his study. These souls will always try to beg for freedom whenever any being is nearby.
The lair is also his “sanctuary” from the effects of supernatural events such as the Blood Moon Event. Here he can be “human” for as long as he wishes.
According to David 2, Penitence was inspired by several supernatural characters in comics, including Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider from Marvel Comics and The Spectre and John Constantine from DC Comics.