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Piper of Peril

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Piper-of-peril
Through this portal soon shall stream,
a thing of nightmares, not of dreams!
Welcome him! He comes for you!
To bring a change the Earth will rue!

The Piper of Peril was a Dire Wraith with magical powers who re-enacted the role of the legendary Pied Piper to try and lure the entire child population of a  Scottish hamlet away, he was opposed by Rom - a Marvel superhero.

History

Nothing is known about the origin of the "Piper of Peril" or about his activities prior to the night when the Black Sun of the Dark Nebula moved into a Cosmic Alignment with Earth.

On the night of the Cosmic Alignment between the Black Sun of the Dark Nebula and Earth, the sorcerous powers of all Dire Wraiths on Earth (including the "Piper of Peril") were strengthened to their peak level.
Piper-of-peril2
On the night of the Cosmic Alignment, the "Piper of Peril" visited an (unnamed) hamlet in the Scottish Highlands. Once there, the Piper began using his pipes to play mournful music that cast a Wraith magic spell over all the humans in the hamlet. The Piper's sorcerous song mesmerized all the children and compelled them to follow him while forcing all the adults to remain asleep. The Piper led the sleepwalking children away from the hamlet to a certain outcropping and then stopped playing while he briefly spoke to the entranced children. The Piper then began playing his Summons Song which caused a portal across space to Wraithworld in the Dark Nebula to appear in the air (looking at first like a star in the night sky). As the Piper continued to play, the Cosmic Portal opened wider and wider. When the portal finally reached its full size, the Piper stopped playing and addressed the children, telling them that:
Through this portal soon shall stream,
a thing of nightmares, not of dreams!
Welcome him! He comes for you!
To bring a change the Earth will rue!

As the Piper gloated, he was surprised when he was interrupted by the Galadorian Spaceknight Rom who had secretly watched him lead the children from the hamlet and open the portal and who had (somehow) sneaked up behind the Piper. Now standing between the Cosmic Portal and the Piper, Rom challenged the Wraith, telling him that he would have to first win past Rom if he wanted to use the rays from the mystical Black Sun to transform the sleeping innocent children.

As the Piper was scanned by Rom's Energy Analyzer, he freely admitted that he was a Dire Wraith, claiming that "The time for hiding - - for demeaning ourselves by adopting these disgusting human disguises - - will soon be done!" Even as he told Rom that the Dweller on the Threshold would soon arrive through the open portal to transform the children and doom all of humanity, the Piper played another tune on his pipes and the resulting music took on physical form and bound Rom with bands of force. The Piper boasted that the bands would entwine tighter until they cracked the Spaceknight's spine but Rom realized that the Piper knew that the bands couldn't really kill him and were only intended to immobilize him until the Dweller on the Threshold could cross the portal to Earth.

As Rom struggled against his bonds, the Piper continued to play his pipes, causing a door of light containing the Dweller on the Threshold to appear amidst the lava flows of Wraithworld and then to move closer across the void towards the Cosmic Portal on Earth. Just before the Dweller was to arrive, the Piper reminded Rom about how Wraith magic had already changed harmless Earth dogs into savage and subservient Hellhounds, then asked Rom to imagine how the Dweller's (greater) magic could transform the children (into Wraith-Slaves). As the Piper boasted that Rom had already lost the final battle because the Dweller on the Threshold was here, a desperate Rom broke free from his bonds and used his Neutralizer to shred the Piper's magic and banish the Piper to Limbo. Rom then flew through the Cosmic Portal, grappling with the Dweller on the Threshold and forcing it back from the doorway between dimensions, away from Earth and into a realm of unreality that was neither Earth nor Wraithworld.

Without the Piper to keep it open, the Cosmic Portal closed. When dawn came the children awoke from their sleep and made their way home.

Powers / Abilities

As a Dire Wraith, the "Piper of Peril" possesses the ability to change his shape, color, size and mass so as to become any physical being he may desire (within certain limits). By transforming into an appropriate creature, the Wraith can then use that creature's physical abilities (like flying while in the form of a bird) but he cannot alter his brain/body structure enough to replicate any psionic or paranormal abilities which the being he's imitating may possess.

   As a Dire Wraith, the Piper, in his natural form, has a barbed, razor-sharp tongue which he could use to absorb the brains of victims, thereby gaining their memories. However, male Wraiths (generally) avoid using their brain-eating ability because they consider it repugnant. Like all Dire Wraiths, the Piper was hatched from an egg and has a lifespan of well over 200 Earth-years.

   As a Wraith Warlock, the Piper has a significant ability to manipulate the mystical energy radiated by the Black Sun of the Dark Nebula but, like almost all Wraith magic-users, his sorcerous powers are dependant upon the availability of that particular type of energy. On Earth, the Piper's sorcery was only at its peak during the Cosmic Alignment between Earth and the Dark Nebula. While most Dire Wraiths use incantations and/or gestures to cast their spells, the Piper uses the music he plays on his pipes. It may be presumed that the Piper can play a number of tunes, each of which are linked to a specific effect. One of the Piper's songs could mesmerize all the humans in a small village, compelling the children to follow the Piper like sleepwalkers while forcing the adults to remain asleep. Another tune could cause bands of force to appear (as the music seemingly took on physical form) and entrap someone as strong as the Spaceknight Rom. Finally, the Piper's "Summons Song" could open a Cosmic Portal across space to the faraway planet Wraithworld, awaken the dark force known as the Dweller on the Threshold which lay dormant there and draw it to the portal.

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