Heze stands at the slightly above average height of 5'8, with little really remarkable to her. She has a rather slim build and well-toned body, something which her usually loose clothing doesn't always give away. Her vivid light-blue eyes pair well with her straight brown hair, and are quite capable of intense stares which contradict her usual calm, placid appearance. She's got a naturally pale skin tone, and never really seems to manage to get a tan.
She is the type that prefers to wear casual clothes, only really wearing something formal when required to do so. Heze's casual does remain very presentable however: she isn't the type to show too much skin or go with daring outfits. She's a functional casual, simply preferring comfort and clothes that go well with a more active lifestyle. Out on the field the 'functional' part becomes even more explicit, which in her opinion means rugged and ready for just about anything short of a natural disaster, while avoiding anything too militaristic if possible.
Some other things that can be noticed:
- She always wears a silver cross, usually having it visible if her clothing for the occasion allows. It is identical to the necklace her wife, Sophie, wears.
- On her left ring finger, there's a plain tungsten carbide wedding ring and a more elaborate silver engagement ring, set with a diamond and sapphires. Again, these are identical to the ones that Sophie wears, except for the engagement ring having sapphires instead of emeralds.
- On her right ankle, Heze wears a fine silver anklet with tiny bells on it whenever possible, even if that means tucking it into her boots or socks.
- She has an odd awareness of the people around her. Not something you might catch the first time around her, but it is something that'll be obvious at one point or another. She's perfectly happy to sit with her back to a crowd and will rarely look behind her, she'll dodge aside for someone she couldn't possible have seen (yet) or be able to point right to where someone is without having to look for them.
- She has a warm touch, just warm enough to be noticeable as not entirely normal. Her clothes also feel somewhat warm, especially thinner clothing, which may be a better giveaway.
Note: this is an OOC history. Some of this you could dig up, but certainly not everything.
Heze was born as Alice Bishop on September 20, 1988 to Katherine and Trevor Bishop. In the years following her birth, her mother developed a bad habit of substance abuse, which eventually led to a divorce and Heze's father getting the guardianship. They moved away from London and up into southern Scotland, settling in the Sterling area. All of this happened too early for Heze to remember, and thus all of it has had little impact on her. She has never known her mother, and hasn't ever cared that she didn't.
For as far as her childhood went, Heze hadn't much reason to complain. She did not have a mother-figure in her life, her father having remained single after his divorce, but her father did well in taking care of her. Not that they always had everything they wanted, single-parent family with her father working a minimum wage job doesn't even manage to reach the middle class, but they made do.
The Secret World
Heze was Initiated during the Autumn of 1997. She got stung by an Agarthan bee in her right hand, leaving a stinger there that would remain in place for well over a decade. This all happened because of her older self getting disembodied in the future, and the stinger would end up serving as an anchor for her older self to come back.
Until that point in time however, older Heze couldn't do much as younger Heze was still present. All that she could do was teach herself a preparation for later. At the moment she got stung, all her abilities were latent, which is how she escaped notice by the secret societies initially, but that wouldn't remain so. For nearly four years Heze taught and prepared herself while her abilities started to slowly manifest, and remained entirely under the radar.
It's in April 2001 that she got discovered. A slip up with her powers ended in a rather tragic car crash, which left both Heze and her father dead. Only Heze didn't remain dead, and was discovered by the Templars as a result. It being too late to change the news and records about her death, she instead took a new identity, which is when she adopted the name Heze.
Starting September 2002, she attended a private boarding school, easily impressing with her knowledge and skills up to that point, everyone remaining quite oblivious to the fact that she had help from her older self still at every step along the way. It's also how she got through being a nobody New Blood in between a bunch of Old Blood kids. By the time she graduated from secondary school, her latent psychic abilities had been discovered, which together with her good grades, a grant and some sponsoring from Templars interested in seeing a New Blood succeed, gave her the chance to attend the Oxford University of Occult to study parapsychology.
It is during her time at the OUO that she had her 'accident', during the summer of 2009, which disembodied her younger self and made room for her older self to return back into her body. The younger Heze would take a trip back in time to complete the loop, while the older her could finally go on with life. This event is also what unlocked her telepathic potential, Heze no longer being bound inside of her body but instead being only loosely anchored to it. She graduated a year later with a remarkable bump in her grades during her last year.
Good grades or not, politics are still a bitch, and she ended up being assigned as a regular field operative grunt. This has likely been at the basis of her tension with the Templars as her employer, along with an attitude that doesn't quite fit into Templar doctrine. Her education may have done a lot to help her fit in initially, but in the long run small annoyance became issues which in turn became serious problems.
Before her break with the Templars, around the summer of 2013, she got romantically involved with Sanneke DeJaegher, and made a lot of contacts with Illuminati agents because of that relationship. One could say that Heze fit more in with her Blue friends than her Red colleagues, which likely was another factor in her break.
Not half a year later her actual break happened. When the Inquisition got involved, Heze decided it was time to start kicking back, which resulted in events spiraling out of control, ending in her death. She had been prepared for this however, and had removed her stringer before this happened. With some help, she anchored herself in a new body. This didn't go unnoticed by the Templars, but by the time they noticed Heze already operated as a freelancer under the CoV. The resulting bureaucratic nightmare, both internally within the Templars and between them and the CoV ended up in the Inquisition dropping her case, not considering her worth the trouble.
After breaking away from the Templars, Heze worked as a freelancer under the CoV, most notably as part of the Phoenix Group. She would have preferred joining up with the Illuminati, but while the Inquisition was still figuring out what to do about her that wasn't on the list of options. Outside of her work at the PG she also did some personal contracts on the side, which all together left her quite comfortably off, and professionally gave her little to complain about.
While with the Phoenix Group, Heze also got into contact with another telepath, whom took her on as somewhat of a student. In a relatively short time she suddenly managed to make a few great strides forward with her telepathic ability, suddenly turning it into a practically useful skill to have, even though she nowhere nearly got as good as her teacher.
Her personal life was another matter. Sandrijn broke up with Heze after she returned from her break with the Templars, something which hit Heze hard and would take her a few months to recover from. It is during this time that she first met and became friends with Sophie, whom at that point was still in a relation with Alicia Villicana. It is only after Sophie also had a break up that the two would get romantically involved. Between the two of them, it was Heze whom first realized she had found her soulmate, which again made things hard on her as Sophie also had a relation with Rovena, Heze's boss at that point. Heze and Sophie briefly broke up in October 2014, only to get together again after barely a week, and another one more definitive break-up in January 2015, which left them as close friends bordering on family.
During the first half of 2015 she lived in Sophie's home in Manhattan, eventually moving out in the summer of 2015 under pressure from Rovena. She got a remote villa in Scotland that she officially moved to, but never really settled in there. Instead she mostly focused on doing freelance work and drifted to wherever that took her. More and more of that work was being issued by the Illuminati as they developed an interest in Heze. In the Autumn of 2015 she dropped off the radar again as a contract went south.
She resurfaced again about half a year later, officially having been rescued from captivity. Off the record she more escaped herself in the chaos caused by a raid on the facility she was being held in. Exactly how she was captured remains unclear, as Heze herself can't remember and there weren't really any witnesses, although it is suspected a precog was involved whom didn't survive whatever happened. Heze had been left severely injured and beyond what she could physically recover from, and had to be moved into another body.
After her 'rescue' it became clear during Q&A debriefs and medical check-ups that all-together she'd been treated well. The only real problem she had was a dysfunctional memory, a result of her accident and the change of body not happening in the usual manner. To kickstart her memories, Sophie was brought in to meet her. This was quite successful, and Heze rather quickly recovered once things began to fall into place again, only the months before her accident and all her captivity not coming back, something which they likely never will, maybe for the best.
Once it became clear Heze would make a full recovery, she was officially recruited into the Illuminati. Rumor has it she managed to impress someone at Q&A, whom decided they rather had her close instead of having her floating about to be picked up by Gaia knows who. To avoid any risks however, and keep her away from field duty or too much stress, Heze was assigned to HUMINT and got to deal with the 'left-over' cases that weren't a high enough priority to be assigned to someone else. The right work for her to get started again and play around with her telepathy, but not something to keep her busy on the long-term. Eventually she opted to apply with Cerberus, with success, rather than try and climb up in her current job which would still have her mostly doing the same work she was already tired of.
Heze's re-acquaintance with Sophie also led to the two of them getting together again, all Heze's previous issues with their relation being no longer relevant since Sophie broke off her engagement with Rovena. Heze immediately moved in again with Sophie, and things went quickly from there. They got engaged about a month later, in June 2016, and married on the 30th of July, 2016.
Some of the general things that Heze is capable of:
- Bee-Stung: Heze never swallowed a Bee, she was stung by one, and thus shows some similarities to a Bee due to being 'anima touched'. These include most of the physical enhancements that Bees enjoy, such as the increased agility, durability, endurance, stamina and strength. Her body will also use anima to heal itself, doesn't age and can travel through Agartha. She is NOT capable however of manifesting or channeling anima like Bees do, and her body doesn't get whisked away to safety by the Buzzing either should she die. It simply stays where it is while regenerating.
- Anima reserve: She has a large reserve of anima in her body, which can be noticed, and uses it primarily to heal her injuries or revive her body. She passively draws in anima from nearby sources, or lacking any real source will draw in ambient anima from her environment at a reduced rate. This allows her to revive even when her reserves are depleted, it will just take a lot longer, how long exactly depending on the extend of her injuries and how much anima is present around her.
- Host body: Heze's current body isn't the body she was born in (she lost her original body somewhere in late 2013). Few people know exactly how she does it, but when she gets disembodied (due to her body getting destroyed or other means) she can - with someone's help - migrate to another body. So far, she's only migrated to dead bodies (which she then heals and revives). It is entirely unknown if she can take over a living person's body, and it is not something she's exactly keen to try out, losing a body is a highly unpleasant experience.
Arguably Heze's most important ability is her telepathy. She can establish a two-way mental link, through which thoughts can both be felt and/or sent. Although technically multiple links are possible, she can only maintain one herself. The exact range at which she can do this seems to be around 20 meters, but can be impacted by the circumstances. Increased familiarity seems to have a definitive positive effect, while being unable to focus (such as is likely to happen in a fight) will reduce her range. Closer proximity seems to help her establish better links which take less concentration to maintain.
Without establishing a link, she is still capable of sensing people around her. She has less of a problem tracking multiple people this way, and can do so at roughly double the range at which she can link. This sense only gives a vague awareness of the whereabouts of people, and the margin of error quickly goes up as people are further away from her.
It also is important to keep in mind that because her links are two-way, anything she can do to people with them those people can also do to her. At least in theory, in practice Heze is far more experienced and practiced with her telepathy, giving her a big upper hand, usually to the point where she just completely dominates a link. It still is a weakness however, as other psychics can establish and use links against her, making Heze an easier target for them as she cannot block them out.
When it comes to using her links, Heze's preference goes to tricking people with them through illusions. She's capable of doing anything between completely overwriting someone's sensory input to adjusting small details in what they perceive. In most instances, she'll rely on doing small changes, building upon things already present or someone's expectations, as these tricks are much easier for her to pull off with less focus. However, if there is a need for it and she can focus, then she can create highly complex and detailed illusions.
Her illusions rely on the person they are being used against to be willing to believe them. A sudden change of scene, no matter how well the scene is made, doesn't make sense and can be easily seen through if the other person doesn't want to go along with it. Doing something subtle that makes perfect sense is a lot harder to detect, only relying on the person being unaware of Heze's interference and their usual trust in their perception. Focus and training can make it harder for Heze to interfere and create illusions. She has a hard time against multiple people as well, being only able to trick them one at a time. There's some room for her to be creative and possibly cause some chaos to divide and conquer, but the fact she can only link with one person at a time remains a painful limitation in such circumstances, and there is only so much she can do.
During her time on the field, she has gotten quite successful in mixing her ability to sense people, read their minds and create illusions with combat scenarios. If being aware of what people are planning on doing doesn't give her the opening she needs, then she will make one use her illusions. Against numbers her tactic is to divide and conquer, generally creating chaos with illusions or even having the enemy turn upon itself in the confusion, and then just picking the easy targets off one by one to create some room for her to more fully bring her abilities to bear against the harder targets. Although by no means a guaranteed formula for success, when used under the right conditions and in the right circumstances, she can be quite the force to be reckoned with.
Emotions will 'bleed' through the link as well. They suffer from a reduced bandwidth however, making it nearly impossible to significantly impact someone's emotions, and impossible to overwrite them: under normal circumstances that person's emotions will simply drown out anything send over the link. The bleed would also never really feel quite right to someone else, so they would know those feelings received through the link aren't their own. The bleed-through can be useful to sense someone's most important emotions however, but this requires either focus or a very good familiarity with that other person to get a good read on them.
A last important thing to know is that her telepathy is still developing. When she was Initiated in 1997 it was only a latent ability, it didn't get unlocked until 2009. Even then, it took her 5 years to be able to decently use it without being lucid dreaming, and the help of another telepath to teach her. After three years of actively being able to use her telepathy she's got quite a good grip on the basics. But still, she has only gotten so far and has only had limited resources available to her to develop her telepathy. She hasn't hit the ceiling yet of what she can do, and likely still has a long way to go before she will.
Things Heze can do that aren't really magic:
- Swordsmanship: sword practice was a part of her education, and she has spent over a decade and a half training with a sword on an almost daily basis. She prefers to use a katana to go for quick, clean strikes as opposed to clubbing people to death with more traditional European swords, but anything with a sharp edge will do for her if the situation calls for it.
- Martial arts: mostly something that goes along with the swordsmanship, she can hold her ground unarmed as well. She will still have her telepathy, which most people might not immediately be aware of, or simply forget when they see an 'easy', unarmed target.
- Marksmanship: a more recent skill she has been working on in the past year. She's getting a feel for and practicing with all sorts of weapons on all kinds of ranges, but seems to lean towards the heavier end of the spectrum, not necessarily to use at longer ranges but also just because it can punch through walls at closer ranges.
- Lucid dreaming: one of the subjects she focused on during her studies, and something she can do. Mostly just something she uses for exercising purposes and fun rather than anything practical ever since her telepathy more fully developed.
- Trained mind: combination of her studies and necessity. She does every effort to stay mentally fit, both to keep her mind as sharp as her sword and to hopefully stand even a slight chance against whatever psychic she may run into.