Character's Full Name: Valen Santiago
Created By: JP
AKAs: Val Solace
Character Type: Immortal
Apparent Age: 40
Actual Age: 80. Born in 1922.
Additional Languages: Spanish
Personality: Stubborn and brooding, but often not unpleasantly so. He believes in freedom and will defend freedom with a gun if pushed to. He also believes in taking care of those who cared for you.
Skills: Keen with a sword, explosives and guns.
In the early 1900s, Argentina was one of the 10 riches countries in the world. Seeing an opportunity to spread his business, Ryan Edwards moved from England to Argentina with his wife and daughter Jolene. Edwards was in agriculture and made a great deal of money quickly through inexpensive labor. His daughter Jolene attended Argentinean schools where she met Jorge Santiago. Jorge was the son of a military man who stayed close to the government working for President Roque Sáenz Peña but kept ties with revolutionaries who wished to keep Argentina a democracy.
In the 1920s, Argentina saw it’s first fierce wave of political upheaval and Ryan Edwards and his wife decided it was time to vacant and move back to England. It was only then that Ryan realized his daughter was seeing a local boy. He disapproved, wanting his daughter to marry a proper English gentlemen. Knowing it was just a matter of time before she was dragged back to a war-torn England, she took off with Jorge and married him in a small ceremony at his local church. She never saw her parents again.
In 1922, Jolene and Jorge had a son and named him Valen meaning ‘strong’. Being born in an era of turmoil, Valen saw leaders come and go and swift changes in government were weekly occurrences. His father taught (as his father had before him) him how to survive the shifting world, by keeping in good with the government while aiding revolutionaries. That way, when the dust from the war settled, you were always on the winning side, regardless of the outcome.
He was trained from a very young age to use guns, blades and explosives. His father and he both fought against the government as guerrillas, while posing as an ideal Catholic family in the public eye. Val believed in freedom for all and equal rights. He orchestrated and partook in ambushes and raids all in the name of freedom. It was a young man’s dream and despite seeing his brothers in arms killed off one by one without causing any great change to Argentina, he still believed in the cause enough to keep fighting.
In 1962, the Tacuara Nationalist Movement, a radical far-right group who protested against Jews having equal rights captured several members of Val’s group, including Val and his father. They tortured and killed those they caught and returned their corpses to their families as a warning.
Strangely Val, who appeared cold and beyond death when his mother and their neighbors first brought the body inside, seemed to recover quite rapidly. His mother thought it was a miracle and to protect her son from being kill now that his enemy knew his face, she sent him up north to Arizona in the US to live with his father’s sister, Lavina.
Lavina had married Pablo Solace and moved to Arizona when Jorge was in his teens.
Pablo Solace had a modest home and took Val in without question or hesitation. Val found a job in a factory and remained with the Solaces for some time. Eventually, Val found a place of his own near by, but stuck close to the family he’d come to know as his own.
Seven years after his arrival, Pablo and his wife welcomed a daughter and named her Sophia. The little girl grew up knowing Val as part of her family, her ‘uncle’ as it were. It was easier to lie to the child and tell her that ‘Val Solace’ was her mother’s nephew in order to protect him from anyone who came looking for Lavina’s brother’s son. Val was also asked to be Sophia’s God-father. He accepted, of course, practically loving the girl like a sister or daughter.
Sophie was a bright girl who wanted to be a nurse. When she was fifteen, however, it began to become clear that she was pregnant. Val wasn’t even aware she had a boyfriend. Worse yet, the son of a bitch didn’t even hang around to help out. ‘Greg’ wanted nothing to do with the kid and Val intended on making it clear to the punk that the decision was now – either he was in or he was out. He couldn’t come into Sophia and her child’s life and then go out again. It was all or nothing. After a stern *ahem* talking to, Greg, the father of the unborn child decided it was best he skipped town. Val firmly believed that Sophia was better off without the jerk anyway. Val was there for her over the next few months, especially when her mother or father would express disappointment in the way things had turned out.
Yet, before the child was born, things took a turn for the stranger. He crossed paths with a man at the steel yard who told him a tale about how both he and Val were immortals. He knew he’d died… he just didn’t understand how he came back. All the pieces to the puzzle began to fit together.
The man also told him that there would be others that would hunt him, seeking his head for ‘the game’. Val knew it would be best if he left the Solaces behind – to protect them. He told them his mother was ill and that he had to return to Argentina. He’d miss the US and them, of course, but he knew it was better this way. There was a child on the way and his presence would put that child at risk.
Sophia took it quite hard, having grown quite attached to her uncle. At first, she was too mad and too busy with Malcolm, her son, to return Val’s letters in a timely manner and with time, it was just easier to not write back. He had been like a big brother to her and when she needed him the most, he’d gone. It hurt her. Val understood that, even if he didn’t like it. He never told her the truth of why he left.
With the pain of having to break away and the knowledge that he could not be killed, he began to work again with those who were seeking to free Argentina. Only his mother recalled his face so despite the fact the years hadn’t changed him, no one questioned it but her. He told her the truth and she told him such gifts come from God.
His mother passed away in 1982 and he was grateful she did not live to see the ‘Dirty War’ that swept the country. The military killed thousands of revolutionaries, college students and professors in an attempt to suppress the population.
It seemed like nothing had changed.
And then, it began to. Democracy seemed to finally take hold in 1983 with elections that were not rigged and votes not cast at gun point. Good, fair men were elected to office for the first time in his country’s history.
The rebels who now became the government offered Val a job: legal assassin. As military personnel, he was to hunt down and kill every member of the radical groups that attempted to suppress freedom and democracy. It was a thankless job, a dirty job, but someone had to do it and who better than someone who could not die? He did as he was asked and kept democracy in place.
He’s been holding this position since the 80s and in 2002 when a flu began to sweep it’s way south from North America where it had killed the bulk of the United States citizens, Val knew the whole situation was about to change again. In the final days, chaos ensued but soon after that, everything grew still with the stench of death. He found himself alone as everyone he’d ever known had died around him.
Then the dreams began… an old woman and a dark shadowy figure both called him northward. He answered the call but did not know to which voice he wanted to go. In Boulder, the old woman promised democracy. In Las Vegas, the dark man promised freedom and democracy, enforced by law and order. Both seemed right and yet wrong at the same time so he stopped in Las Vegas where he met Randal Flagg, a curious man, who offered him a job – to continue his former work as a sanctioned assassin. He was to head to Boulder and take out those who posed a threat to democracy. Flagg said the Colorado City had ‘leaders’ in place that had taken control rather than put it to a vote. It was Val’s duty to keep them in check… which sometimes meant six feet under ground.
He took the offer although he wasn’t sure what he’d find in Boulder. Either way, he’d decide only when he saw Bolder for himself what he aimed to do once there. Flagg had an insurance policy, however. He told Val that Sophie was alive and somewhere between Las Vegas and Boulder and if Val ever betrayed him, he would tell Sophie who and what her ‘uncle’ really was – an immortal cold blooded assassin.
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