THE CROSS & SWORD Villain File InkStain Real Name: Howard Stein Backstory: Howard Stein, A German-American resident of Charleston, WV, Stein was employed as an author/artist. When it came to ink, Stein was a success; anything ink related he was obsessed with. He sold his art to the city art gallery, until they rejected any more of his work, selling off his entire gallery, and pocketing the cash, even the cash from his royalties. Down on his luck, evicted from his apartment, and left without any inspiration for art or a story, he wandered into “Little China Town”, where he found an antique/magic shop. There he found a quill with an ancient inscription on it, what he didn’t realize was that the quill was cursed, and that the ink had the essence of otherworldly magic. Upon finishing the inscription, the quill’s ink was infused with his blood; giving him manipulation of anything ink based or similar. He decided he would make a new story—a villain story, his life being the story, him being the ink itself—and went to get revenge on the art gallery, draining all the ink and similar materials from the paintings and artworks, growing stronger. He got so strong; he was able to turn his body into ink while maintaining a human form. After his “robbery” had made headlines, he was dubbed by the media as “the InkStain”, or the smudge of humanity. Rather than rob banks, he robbed tattoo shops, art galleries, and ink factories. He has proved a formidable adversary for the Augmented, the CROSS & SWORD, and the Inverts. However, InkStain possesses a few weaknesses:
Blank Paper- If InkStain touches any type of blank paper, his ink-mass pulls itself onto the paper, reducing the bodily ink concentration composing InkStain.
Regular pens- regular pens, specifically empty ones, act like magic lamp’s to InkStain’s genie—InkStain will get “vacuumed” into the pen and will not be able to escape unless the pen he is contained in is used to write with.
Cursed Oni quill- the quill which gave InkStain his power has a curse removal inscription on the opposite side of the feather. However, once he reverts back to Howard Stein, he simply needs to reread the inscription on the quill to regain his powers. Also, his life force while in ink form is tied to the status of the quill, meaning if it is destroyed, he will die as long as he is in his ink form, the ink composing his body drying up and flying off into the wind, or simply lose his inner human physical form and turn into a puddle of ink. The Oni quill unfortunately has a reincarnation enchantment on it, meaning after a certain amount of time, the quill will recreate itself, meaning InkStain can become reincarnated.
Powers/Abilities: Ink manipulation- InkStain can manipulate ink to do his bidding, even to form solid constructs, especially to make ink-based henchmen.
Ink absorption- If he comes into contact with ink, pastels, oils, paints or other dyes, he can absorb I into his body, to grow more powerful, and even become bigger. Superhuman strength- If he gains enough ink mass, he gets increased strength, and speed if the absorbed ink goes into his leg muscles.
Weapon manifestation- InkStain can transform parts of his body into weapons such as swords, clubs, maces, spears, and even cannons.
Shapeshifting- due to losing “true human form” while in ink form, he can disguise himself as anything, making it nearly impossible to locate him.
Flight- InkStain can fly by either manifesting bat wings, or releasing the moisture in his ink body, in order to be turned to dust, and be carried off by the wind, and later reabsorb moisture in the air to regain form.