The late 1400s and early 1500s were a dangerous time in Europe, even more dangerous for anyone who seemed out of place or had earned the ire of influential people. The Spanish Inquisition was in full swing for a period of fifty years and during that time, Elizabeth hid herself away in Italy, still a young vampire who had only relatively recently broken free of her sire.
She was posed with a few problems during this time, namely the unnatural dormancy that overtook her with every rising of the sun. However, she was able to bend even this to her advantage by becoming a cortigiana when she had attracted the interest of an Italian duke. In return for her affections and companionship, she was given a general education and access to more wealth than she had previously ever known.
Victims were plentiful so long as she was careful, and her contact with high society helped greatly in preventing any suspicion being cast on her. The Sistine Chapel opened during this time and that proved something of a nettle to her, unable to set foot inside to see the magnificent work that was said to grace its ceiling. A few years after that, however, bell chimes were invented and she would often give over a little time each day to listen to them ringing through the air.
Still, it all seemed only a step above what she had left behind when she had killed her sire; a gilded cage was still a cage and she disliked being indebted to a man who she didn't really care for. Murdering the duke in cold blood, she took what modest wealth she could and went on the move again. Not daring to return to Western Europe at this point, she ventured further East, into the Ottoman Empire. It was there that she was introduced to life as a trader and she attached herself to the various caravans that traveled along what would come to be known as the Silk Road.
All manner of new sights and sounds made themselves known to her as she traveled between China and what would become Turkey. She picked up more new languages to augment the French and Italian that she already knew, adding Turkish, Arabic, and Mandarin to her repetoire. Of course, more than a few caravan workers met their end at her hands, but they were few and far enough between that they were often simply thought lost to sickness or climate when she was through with them.
By the time the 1530s rolled around, she heard word that the Spanish Inquisition's activities had largely died down and she was beginning to feel rather homesick, so she returned to more familiar hunting grounds.
Eventually, England came to be at war with Spain. In fact, Europe had been in a considerable amount of turmoil in general, and it seemed a good time to take to the sea for a while. While Beth couldn't be guaranteed regular victims, becoming a member of the Sea Dogs along with people such as Sir Francis Drake, John Hawkins, and Walter Raleigh proved to be sufficient enough to keep herself sustained.
She cut her hair short every day, bound her chest, and dressed in men's clothing since women were still not highly accepted on ships in those days. It was easy enough for her to remain undiscovered as her mental powers were really coming into their own then, and she didn't need to concern herself with all of the same bodily functions as the humans with which she sailed.
Serving as part of a fairly reputable privateer crew, Elizabeth would take in her fill with every ship they raided and every port they put into, both in blood and in coin. However, picking off Spanish ships in and around the Caribbean was not without its obstacles, given the presence of the sun. At this point in time, she was only just growing out of falling dormant during the daylight hours, and so she took night duties as often as she could.
After forty-five years of moving from crew to crew, Beth finally returned to land once word reached her that England and Spain had grown peaceful with each other again.
By the year 1888, Elizabeth had returned to familiar London. The Industrial Revolution was over and she found the air a little fairer once again. The easiest place for her to go unnoticed was, of course, the section of town known as Whitechapel. The area was crammed with immigrants and the destitute, poverty was rampant, and so was the alcohol abuse and violence. Perfect hunting grounds for a vampire.
Her kills began simply, falling into a common pattern of luring the naive and foolish to a place she could feed without interruption and then dispose of the body. It was a lifestyle of secrecy and deceit that she was long used to, but forensics were coming more and more to the fore, and sometimes made it difficult for her not to draw attention to herself. It was that autumn, however, that things changed.
The unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper made himself a useful scapegoat for Elizabeth's own victims. She began to prey on women more frequently, and when she was finished feeding, she would mutilate or even dismember the corpse. Much as Jack the Ripper's murders created a stir, so too, did her own. The incident known as The Whitehall Mystery was entirely her doing, and there were a handful of other victims that eventually led authorities to believe there was more than one killer at work after all.
Once Jack the Ripper's modus operandi began to disappear from London's streets, Beth was able to continue her vicious hunting for a time before deciding that it was again time for her to move on when she began to hear whispers of rumors about herself wherever she went.
Over the course of her mercenary career, Black Corsair had established a network of contacts all over the world. One such contact is a fellow mercenary who goes by the name of Rex, and he called in a favor from her to come to Millennium City and give him a hand tracking down his arch-enemy. She agreed, and after finally meeting face-to-face and finding out how well they worked together, they became business partners and Rex assisted her on occasion with a particular thorn in her side called Parting Shot who is an overzealous vampire hunter. Eventually they grew close and their partnership evolved into a romantic relationship. After a time, Rex became Elizabeth’s familiar, which meant that they were mentally linked together and he was granted some measure of her power. It didn’t take long for there to be complications in their relationship, however, as Beth’s state of being presented a few limiting obstacles. She took it upon herself to begin searching for a potential cure for her vampirism, which led her to establishing operations in Vibora Bay.
After extensive research, investigation, and interrogation it seemed that Vladic Dracul might have had a cure in his possession. Despite having wanted the cure for herself, Black Corsair’s lust for power took over and she began to undermine his New Shadows vampires, recruiting many of them over to her own side with promises of power once she overthrew Vladic. Her intention became to steal the cure and use it as a weapon against Vladic Dracul after having it synthesized for use against other vampires should they threaten to try and overthrow her in kind. She would have succeeded, if Rex had not convinced her to abandon the ruthless scheme and reminded her of her original purpose in searching for a cure. While she did resume her search for a cure elsewhere that wouldn’t escalate the faction war in Vibora, she still took it upon herself to be a thorn in Vladic’s side so that she wouldn’t appear weak and open to retaliation. It was during this time that she met Zarek Nightwood.
Ironically, Zarek is a hunter of vampires and other creatures, but he didn’t kill indiscriminately. He and Beth established something of a friendship over their mutual dislike of Vladic Dracul and Beth’s intentions of forsaking her darker nature to become human. Having been to many different dimensions over what amounted to thousands of years, Zarek was familiar with a cure for vampirism and agreed to make it for Elizabeth. However, when she finally acquired and took the cure, instead of returning her to humanity the elixir drove her to madness. As her final act of sanity, she fled to Monster Island so that she would not bring harm to Rex. However, being mentally linked with Beth was torture for him and he was eventually forced to hunt her down and slay her.
Normally, that would be the end of things. However, while she had been reduced to a feral existence of madness she was tagged by a mage named Matthias Trent. When she was slain, her essence was captured and placed into a new human body that the mage had created. Much to her dismay, Beth found herself bound into slavery again after so many years. This persisted for about two years until she was finally able to contact Rex and make a miraculous return. However, Rex had moved on with life after her death and was involved with another woman by the name of Vip, who is the leader of Cerberus Tactical Solutions. Despite that, Beth still asked him to help her escape the clutches of Matthias who was hunted down by Rex and Vip and killed. When it seemed that Rex intended to stay with Vip instead of returning to her, Beth resigned herself to returning to the nature she knew far better than humanity, setting out to be turned once again.
While Elizabeth managed to attain what she was after, it produced unforeseen results. From what analysis she’s had done, it seems that somehow there was something of a freak supernatural accident when she was turned a second time; her age from her previous bloodline and the age passed down through her new bloodline combined and catapulted her into a somewhat mutated and extremely advanced vampirism. In this new state, Beth discovered that she could now shift her shape into that of a grotesque, winged hybrid. The powers she possessed as a regular vampire were somewhat amplified, allowing them to be more potent and longer lasting. After a time, Rex and Elizabeth reconciled their relationship and he decided to be with her again, leaving her once again in the position of looking into becoming human despite taking Rex on as her familiar once more. However, within a few months of her new vampiric existence, Parting Shot learned of Black Corsair’s return and seemed to know a disturbing amount about the changes she had undergone. When they faced each other again, Beth was inflicted with a toxin that Parting Shot artificially developed to target vampire blood, nearly destroying her. Rex stepped in and donated his blood so that she might combat the effects of the toxin. Beth tried to refuse, but in order to save herself, was forced to feed on him.
Shortly thereafter, not wanting to feed on Rex, Elizabeth was pleased when she met up with a willing human donor by the name of Max. An ex-marine from the future, Max carries an unusual alien symbiote within him, which alters his blood somewhat and apparently causes Beth to get high for a short time after drinking it. Once she recovered from the immediate danger of the toxin, Beth once again encountered Zarek Nightwood and confronted him about the cure’s failure and how it brought her almost to complete ruin. Intent on atoning for the error, he has agreed to work more carefully on another cure and also work on cleansing the toxin from her body.
After a while, Elizabeth decided to let Rex go and sort out his confused feelings for both her and Vip, but for other reasons as well. Conversing with her new sire has caused her to re-evaluate her existence and she has been trying to put her lust for power behind her and turn over a new leaf by trying to become a better person, but at this point in her existence she's become pretty disillusioned and she could just as easily swing back towards evil with the right push. After asking Rex if he wanted her to wait for him to figure things out, he told her he didn’t and she had since moved on to being with a man who she felt may have needed her help even more than Rex did – Zarek Nightwood. Zarek had begun to teach her magic, but after a time she couldn't hold herself to be bound into a relationship again so soon after things went south with Rex, but Zarek also vanished mysteriously around this time and though she searched for him, she was soon doing her own thing once again.
After remaining on her own in Vibora Bay for a time, she met Ferik one night as he was bringing grief down on the heads of some of Vladic's gang that she had been hunting. Curious about the bold man, she stuck around to watch his actions for a time before revealing herself and cautiously approaching him. Beth found it very intriguing that Ferik seemed to share many similarities with Rex, and in fact even knew him. The two hit it off almost immediately and after a few encounters with each other entered into a somewhat casual relationship. However, things rapidly came to a head with Ferik adopting a daughter and seeming intent on taking on a life far more normal than anything Beth had experienced since her human days. Eventually, she decided that life wasn't for her and she slipped away quietly to let them live their lives in peace.
It was one night in Millennium City, where she had moved with Ferik, when she picked up a familiar scent from over a year before... that of Zarek Nightwood. Having thought he had disappeared and was possibly dead, she pursued the scent and found him once again, but things were once again complicated when it turned out Zarek was suffering from amnesia after his disappearance. His brother, Tristian, figured his memories would return on their own; and with a little time, they did. From what Beth was told by Tristian, Zarek had awakened a being known as The Faceless One, and that it was now hunting him in order to further its own power. With that threat looming in the background, Parting Shot and his band of hunters managed to track Beth down and capture her. Bringing her to a remote location outside of Vibora Bay, she was tortured for a day until Zarek and The Etoile Wanderer found and freed her, killing Parting Shot and his men in the process. They brought her a potion that Tristian had brewed to cleanse the toxin from her body, at last, and it seems she is finally free of Parting Shot and his machinations against her.
A little time passed and Beth came across a woman who bore some resemblance to herself coming out of a magic bookstore in Millennium City. As she watched, the woman bent double and clutched at her sides in pain, and Beth picked up the smell of burnt flesh. This made her cautiously interested for she had suffered the same effect while under the control of Matthias Trent. Tailing the woman to an empty house, Beth was only slightly caught off guard as the woman abruptly turned and tried to shoot her down with a spray of bullets. However, mere bullets weren't enough to do much to her and Beth ended the would-be gun fight quickly with a clean shot to the womean's head, killing her. A few heroes came to investigate the scene and determined that the woman's body wasn't an original and that her soul had been pulled from somewhere else and put into a copy. This confirmed Beth's concerns that Matthias had returned, knowing then that he must have had a phylactery hidden somewhere. Bringing the body back to Zarek and Tristian, she allowed them to attempt to recall the soul of the woman and interrogate her about Matthias using a soul trapping amulet. Unfortunately, the Faceless One had anticipated the move, and laid a trap for Zarek. When he used the amulet, he was trapped inside a nightmare and fell into a coma. Tristian and Beth did what they could to help him (with Beth beginning to revive her mercenary network), but after a handful of days, Zarek managed to save himself.
Meanwhile, Matthias had hired a supervillain known as Arcanum to capture two of Beth's acquaintances; The Etoile Wanderer and Tarot, in an attempt to use them as bargaining chips to obtain Beth. Matthias confronted Tristian outside the Nightwood mansion in Vibora Bay, but Tristian refused his attempts at negotiation and defeated Matthias. However, from what Matthias had said, Tristian was able to discern that the soul-stealing mage's phylactery was Beth herself; somehow Matthias had cleaved his soul to hers when she had been in his possession. The Etoile Wanderer and Tarot were freed from Matthias' grasp, although Tarot remained unknowingly tagged. A final confrontation eventually came to pass and Matthias was killed permanently once Tristian agonizingly severed his soul from Beth's. Matthias was greatly weakened by the process, and with the help of Caliban and Tristian keeping him distracted, Beth was able to recover from the ordeal first. Swooping in on him, she grabbed him by the head and squeezed with so much supernatural strength so as to painfully force the blood out of his body and crush his skull, killing him permanently.
It was about the same time that a powerful necromantic priestess had been wreaking havoc in and about Millennium City. Beth had continued her efforts to take only select contracts and align herself with good causes, but it was an uphill battle for one such as her. In contact with the hero network of the city, Beth volunteered to help them take down the priestess. With the way events unfolded, however, she was soon the only one that could get close to the priestess by posing as a loyal soldier. Unfortunately, despite the fact Beth had helped in the priestess' defeat, the heroes she was assisting took her for a real turncoat and turned on her. With Zarek's help, she fled to another dimension to live in a medieval fashion for a time.
Upon her eventual return, she's once again found herself on her own. For now, she visits old haunts and some new ones as she considers the next steps in her existence. Some of her first actions have been to reconnect with her more recent sire, Red, and to make the acquaintance of one Jason Harper. Sharing some remarkable and fundamental similarities, Beth and Jason have quickly warmed to one another, and have since developed a deep and loving bond (at least as capable of it as either of them are). Shortly after meeting Jason, Beth also met Avner Nephar - a fellow vampire and newly risen Prince of Millennium City, and they became fast friends. Unknown to nearly everyone, Beth has been appointed as Avner's Seneschal (second in command).
After a short time, Beth once again crossed paths with Zarek and the pair of them have reunited as she once again finds him dire straits and tries to assist him...against Tristian, this time. Things certainly have not been dull, as after she made contact with Rex, he tried to assassinate her soon after. She was not about to let him walk away from such an attempt, however, and gathered together a small group of allies to hunt him down and put him to death. It was not the relief that she'd hoped it would be, however, and she actually feels quite guilty over his slaying, even if she does view it as having been a necessity.
Black Corsair has the ability to transform into a chilly mist or a small swarm of bats. She also has a new hybrid appearance with large bat-like wings and distorted facial features. Being a vampire of considerable age, she possesses powerful regeneration capabilities and heightened senses.
Telepathy and Pyrokinesis
Being a vampire, Black Corsair has the ability to communicate telepathically over long distances with her Familiar, should she have one. She’s not big on hypnosis or mind domination, though she can do it. Eye contact with the subject increases the strength of both.
A highly unusual gift for a vampire, Elizabeth has some limited pyrokinesis and is able to create flames that will engulf a target with the snap of her fingers. This requires considerable energy, however and is used relatively sparingly.
Speed, Strength, and Agility
As a vampire, Black Corsair possesses inhuman speed, strength, agility, and regeneration. However her recent mutation has amplified those abilities. She can move from one spot to another faster than the human eye can follow, almost making it seem like she can teleport. Her regeneration has increased to the point where she can recover from 'mortal' wounds within a day, depending on their nature.
Beth is susceptible to holy objects and symbols of faith when wielded against her with belief backing them up, and she cannot tread on holy ground. She must be invited into a private space such as a home in order to enter, though public spaces are fair game. She can only digest normal food in small amounts. Garlic is not enough to repel her. Permanent death can be achieved via decapitation and burning, though the latter must render her to naught but ashes. A traditional wooden stake through the heart is also lethal (though not with the immediate result most assume), and silver remains harmful. Her sheer age has allowed her to overcome falling dormant during daylight hours, and the inability to cross free-running water; though the latter still causes her some discomfort.
Beth has worked with Cerberus Tactical Solutions, but is not affiliated with them.
Black Corsair largely keeps to herself, but she has had intimate personal relations with Rex, and a more casual relationship with Ferik Reshnikov - both of whom were her familiars until Zarek magically severed the links in her mind, at her request. Her second sire is a vampire from the Crusades that goes simply by "Red", whom she brokered a deal with to be turned again; thus far he has been a benevolent sire and is at least partly responsible for Beth's re-evaluation of her existence.
Jason Harper and Zarek Nightwood are both men that she loves deeply, if for completely different reasons, though both of them hold considerable influence over her; she's begun trying to push further along the path towards regaining some of her conscience, as a result.
Quotes and Comments
"A woman that attracts trouble more than an ice cream truck attracts pervs." - Tarot
"You've a strange way of making people care for you." - Tristian Nightwood
"A path of origin that is unknown, but a will and strength to use her strengths to an uncanny degree. Moralistic when needed or cared about, but calculating otherwise, ready and waiting... You know, like a cat, but with guns and fire." - Avner