"Midway upon the road of our life I found myself within a dark wood, for the clear path had been lost." -I Inferno
Raymond Alan Archer was born in Theodore, Virginia to Baron Thomas Archer, a patent lawyer and former pastor, and Angela Archer (née Pelle), an art therapist. Three months later, Baron moved the family to Eadsville to pursue a job offer. There, 2 years later, his younger brother Thomas was born. Ray attended Poplar Street Elementary and East Eadsville Junior High School. At 15, he briefly worked as a dishwasher in a fish restaurant. He dropped out of East Eadsville Jr. High at 16 after he was possessed by Rapalion.
Just months after his 16th birthday, Ray began to fail at school and to retreat from his otherwise close-knit family. This earned him a fair amount of concern and attention, and it soon became apparent to Ray's father that Ray was showing signs that he was harboring an evil entity. After taking Ray to see a psychiatrist whom Rapalion manifested to monstrously butcher after only 6 sessions, Mr. and Mrs. Archer tried to exorcise Ray's demon. Their efforts only managed to enrage it. It sunk into hiding, pretending to have been cast out. The ruse was not entirely successful. Tommy Archer, Ray's younger brother, suspected that the demon had not be expunged, and he immersed himself in the occult in an effort to call a demon into himself. He disappeared soon after the ritual was finally performed. Baron and Angela Archer drifted apart, their marriage damaged by the evil emanating from the increasingly withdrawn Ray and by the bad acts the demon engaged in through their son. Ann joined a radical Christian cult and, brainwashed, killed Baron and herself, leaving Ray a ward of the state until he was 18. Over the course of those two years, Rapalion motivated Ray to kill every last member of that cult. It was through this ordeal that Ray gained an appreciation for Rapalion's power.
Rapalion, a Tormentor condemned to eradication by the ruling body of Hell, fled that Infernal realm and occupied Ray's young body out of desparation. Because Rapalion hasn't the knowledge a Possessor about how to form the perfect bond with the possessed, the connection Ray shares with Rapalion is unique and flawed in ways that are both beneficial and detrimental. He retains a singular consciousness, but the cognitive line separating Ray from Rapalion is far from distinct. Their thoughts and feelings bleed together, and one often feeds off the psychic energy of the other. Ray and Rapalion are one two psyches that share one mind, and their personalities can be difficult to distinguish at times.
The dual being comprised of Ray and Rapalion is usually referred to simply as Ray.
Even before his possession, Ray was quiet, humble, and generally removed from society. He is awkward and melodramatic, his emotional maturity having been largely stalled by the possession, but he is nonetheless capable of devotion and deep love. His development has been accelerated by his relationship with Verity, who is the calm and faithful opposite of his angry indifference. Overall, Ray is noble, courageous, protective, and quick to act when his personality is separated from Rapalion's. Rapalion's influence seems to oppress him at times, leaving him fearful and resigned, but at other times it actually heightens Ray's positive attributes.
Ray's outward appearance is being constantly - if slowly - modified by Rapalion's demonic influence. Most of these changes are ongoing, but many seem to have stopped. He is tall and lean with dark brown hair that is gradually falling out. His rust-red eyes are enlarged, as are his lips and mouth. His teeth have lengthened and now taper into fangs. His head has grown wider at the back of his skull, and he has horns curling down from above his ears. A good percentage of his skin is covered in dermal denticles - ridges that, when rubbed against the grain, can cause severe lacerations. What portions of his body do not bear these denticles are soft and pliant and smooth as glass. There is a network or blackness constantly advancing from his back toward his chest and up his neck and cheeks. This is the physical anchoring point for his Infernal Flesh, and the more the blackness proliferates the stronger his Infernal Flesh becomes. He acquired the Crucifix scar on his chest in his first encounter with Verity, and it is the only wound he has ever sustained that has not healed completely.
When wrapped in his armor, Ray tends to stand more upright. He lets the armor wrap around his head to form a mask, beneath which he can see through bright discolorations in his mask which roughly correspond to the location of his eyes.
Powers and ToolsEdit
When not bonded to Rapalion, Ray is no more extraordinary than any other human his age. Rapalion's presence in his body grants him superhuman strength as well as heightened sensory action and speed. His extremely high bone density when affected by Rapalion affords him supernatural durability. Rapalion's Infernal nature also gives Ray command of every human language as well as a high degree of proficiency in the use of demonic magic. He is able to create tentacles, clothing and armor, and weapons using highly malleable Infernal Flesh, which is connected to the Infernal Plane via Rapalion. He uses demon flesh to generate highly dexterous pseudopods which are able to manipulate even very delicate objects with a high degree of precision; this is aided by power cilia which can emerge from the tips of these tentacles and function as fingers. He frequently uses Infernal Flesh to form an irregularly-shaped and preternaturally sharp blade on his right forearm. He wields Rapalion's flame whip, which he calls from the ether just as Rapalion would. The Infernal Flesh armor in which he wraps himself is strong enough to protect Ray even from small arms fire, though it is vulnerable to Ethereal weapons and, to a lesser degree, psionics. Giving his consciousness over to Rapalion entirely, Ray can assume a "demon form." In this form, Rapalion manifests fully and Ray's physical presence is precluded. Demon Ray is tall, fiery, covered in chitinous skin, and easily stronger than any terrestrial being.