Helena Bertinelli watched her entire family slaughtered in front of her, part of a mafia hit carried out by a rival family. Using the pain and the darkness, she became the Huntress with all organized crime families her prey. It's open season in Gotham..
Early Life of a Mafia Princess Gotham 1988-1996
Maria Bertinelli was an abused woman. Her husband, Franco, was the head of one of Gotham's strongest Mafia families and a man of ill temper. An ill temper he took out on his wife and young son with alarming frequency, although he always coldly avoided injuring his trophy wife's face. And then one day, Maria had an affair with her bodyguard, Santo Cassamento, as a way to get back at her husband and show one last spark of independance. The affair was suppose to only be the last act of a broken woman, but the two fell in love. They were discovered in the act, however, and Santo was fired.. Mafia style.
Her husband beat her for this, nearly aborting the baby. But appearances had to be kept, and so Maria gave birth to a little girl she called Helena Rosa. And because of appearances, Franco played the part of a doting father, spoiling Helena like the true mafia princess she was and keeping her blissfully unaware of the criminal dealings that took place at home.
And then one lovely spring night, while the family ate dinner out in the garden, a man burst into the Bertinelli household and opened fire on Franco, Maria and Helena's brother, Pino. Although covered in blood and gore, deeply shaken and severly traumatized Helena was spared with the shooting going so far as to pat her on the head after kicking her brother's dead body. She was abruptly went from spoiled mafia princess to traumatized orphan, given over to the legal guardianship of an uncle.
Omerta, A Silent Cry for Blood Sicily 1996-2002
Her uncle, Tomasso, took over the crumbling remains of the Bertitelli mafia while ruling in Helena's name. Helena he gave over to the care of an newphew in Sicily, his sister's son, Salvatore Asaro. To protect her and thus Tomasso's claim to the positon of Don, Salvatore took Helena back to the old country where the Asaro family, long allied closely with the Bertinellis in Gotham, could watch over her in a place of strength.
Upon arriving, Helena was a broken creature plagued by nightmares. One night, her cousin took her aside. In her he had seen the wellspring of rage that was suppressed by her trauma and fear. And he taught her how to tap into that rage, explaining that blood cries for blood and only through vengence could she truly become free. And for the next six years Helena trained with her assassin relatives, learning all she could about their deadly arts. She learned how to fight hand-to-hand and with a bo staff. She learned how to track and be hidden. And she learned how to use a crossbow, proving to be a natural.
However, that year her life was shaken again when she was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland following a crack-down on the Mafia by Italian authorities. And her beloved cousin and mentor, Salvatore, was put on trial. Through TV broadcasts and newspaper clippings, she learned the truth of the 'Family Business'. That for over a hundred years, her family had ruled Gotham city through fear, violence and corruption of the innocent. And through the rare letters from relatives, she learned that her beloved Sal was being thrown under the bus by their uncle so that he could continue to rule the family in her name.
The Hunted becomes the Huntress Gotham 2003-2010
That Christmas, Helena returned to Gotham at the age of sixteen to spend the holidays with her uncle and have her debutante ball. And she hated all of it. All she could see was the corruption behind the smiling faces, and hear the smug note in her uncle's voice when he talked about managing her affairs for her. During the party, she learned the identity of who had hired the assassin that killed her family and the identity of the assassin when some guests, not seeing her in a dark corner brooding, laughed about her family's murder.
Just as she was about to snap and do something unforgivable even for a debutante at her debutante ball, she witnessed her despised family finally show fear towards something. A man in a bat costume, that fought the enforcers and exposed an weapon-smuggling operation using her ball as a front. And she realized how she could fight them.
When she went back to Switzerland, it was to plot her vengeance. After graduating, she went to the old house in Sicily, taking up the hidden stockpile of weapons that she learned with, including the crossbow she learned how to shoot with. She enrolled at the university in Palermo, studying the mafia even as she persued a degree in education science to serve as a front.
Once she came into her inheritence, she spent money lavishly. She bought an entire apartment building in a decent part of town, converting the top two floors into a penthouse that she could store her gear in and train in. She bought a motorcycle that she customized for the streets. She constructed a costume designed to bring strength to herself while fear to those she was after.
And she coldly killed the assassin that destroyed her family, as well as the man that hired him, one Mandragora of a rival Mafia family. In their blood she sealed a pact with herself, that the hunted would become the Huntress and destroy the blight on Gotham that was the Mafia while staying true to the principles of omerta as taught by her cousin.
Helena Bertinelli is what happens when a spoiled princess is broken and shattered, but manages to build herself back up through sheer determination not to be broken anymore and a fury to get back at those that broke her. Her personality is difficult to grasp, but surprisingly simple once broken down and analyzed: She is one part stubborn refusal to give in to the darkness of her past, one part driven to make the world a better place, and five parts pissed off Italian broad.
At first glance, Helena comes off like any heiress.. Haughty, spoiled and aware of her own worth in dollar signs. She is not quite as bad as a Paris Hilton or Bruce Wayne, but she has her own set of eccentricities. Such as having bought an entire apartment building and turned the top two floors into a private penthouse and once nearly hospitalized a guy too drunk to realize when no means no. She doesn't seem aware of where her money comes from, and doesn't deal with the Mafia side of her family, but even if she doesn't know, she's still a mafia princess, right? Making her money off other people's misery?
And then upon closer inspection, the mask of a spoiled heiress is revealed to be just that: a mask. She is a compassionate woman that, although with her flaws and perhaps a touch fond of the richer things in life and having been known to knock holes in walls when pissed, has dedicated herself to making the world a better place by becoming a teacher. True, she's only a substitute teacher, but it's more honest a job than anything Paris Hilton has, right? And she is trying to make the world a better place, isn't she?
Lastly, there is a side of her that most people never see with Helena, but that every criminal sees when confronted with the Huntress. Deep under all the rest is a woman that is heroic. Not in the sense of Superman, doing what's right for truth, justice and the American way. But a hero closer to the Batman archetype, who has embraced the darkness and rage in her as a tool and used it to forge herself into something that can, perhaps, make a difference in the world. Not for her sake, but for the sake of those that are still innocent and untouched by darkness or don't know the bitter watches of the night that pass sleepless from fear of nightmares.
Oh. Don't forget that she's got a bit of a temper, alright?
Helena has dedicated her life to bringing down the mob in Gotham. In order to fulfill this goal, she has studied many different techniques and mastered several different disciplines. She has mastered the Sicilian style of hand-to-hand fighting practiced by mafia assassins. She is also quite skilled in using a bo-staff in combat, improvising weaponry using her surroundings and is a passable shot with a gun. She isn't one the best in the world by any means, relying more on aggression and uncanny aim than skill or versatility. But she is a world-class marksman with a crossbow. She is good enough to split a bullet-sided projectile midair, and can fire almost twenty arrows in the space of a minute.
She is also an exceptionally skilled tracker, able to read little disturbances in the world around her and process data to come up with an uncanny ability to trace a path. As well, she has trained herself to minimize any signs she leaves, making it all but impossible for an human to track her. She is very good at shadowing people.. Even experienced people like Batman might not know she's following them if she's on her game. She can even clean a carcass! She has turned her very body into a weapon, practicing parkour, gymnastics, and even long distance running to bring herself to peek human condition.
As well, she has educated herself to the best of her ability; She is perhaps comparable to a world authority on how the mafia system works, especially in Gotham, and has a better than average grasp of criminal organizations in general. As well, she is a fully trained and licensed teacher with a bachelors degree in educational science, specializing in English and World history. She is also well versed in standard lock picking and is an fairly skilled pickpocket, although not good enough to live on.
As the only heir to the entire Bertinelli crime family. In total, she received almost three billion dollars, plus interest and minus expenses, taxes and money seized by various governments. She is no Tony Stark, with Stark Industries, but she has a clever team of accountants that manage the bulk of her money in investments so she is able to live fairly comfortably. At present, she lives in a penthouse on top of an apartment building that she owns outright, with the rooftop being turned into a garden, outdoor gym, and giving her private access to the rooftops around her. It's good to be rich.
On to vigilante gear! Her costume consists of an experimental kevlar/flame retardant fabric developed in Italy for the military that also absorbs and dissipates kinetic force to a limited extent as well as makes her bullet and knife /resistant/. There's armor pads of metal over chest, kidneys, breasts and even a padded cup over her groin. The knees and elbow joints are also reinforced. The mask features a short-wave radio that can hack into police bands, and the entire costume has a fail-safe that causes an electric shock to keep people from taking her mask off. Her pride and joy, however, is her crossbow. It is a pistol-style military grade crossbow made from steel with a special glove that allows her to perform a quick draw, and can be collapsed down to a foot long cylinder that she can strap to her thigh. She also keeps about two dozen bolts on her at all times, half with field points capable of puncturing steel and half with blunt heads that, when shot from a half-draw, can knock a man out cold. She also has a number of specialty grapple-arrows that she can use to fling herself around with batman-style, and a large bowie hunting knife she keeps strapped to her back. As well, she has a custom-built racing motorcycle with no registration number and no plates that she uses when she needs to get somewhere that she can't get to by rooftop and grapple.
She also has a great deal of contacts, both in the educational system and in the world of crime. When you're a Bertinelli, your name opens doors. Her greatest weapon, though, is her athleticism. She is in near perfect physical condition for a woman of her age, height and maintains peek fitness. She can lift over twice her body weight (350lbs give or take), and function on days on little to no sleep. Her strength of will is staggering, and she can force herself to ignore pain and fear to get done what needs to be done. In many ways, she is a mirror of Batman.
Omerta - Helena functions under the principles of omerta, a code of conduct popular in Sicily. Perhaps most important is that under the rules of omerta, Helena will not go to and is reluctant to work with law enforcement organizations. According to the rules of Omerta, matters should be handled 'in the family', as it were, with no outside help.
Secret Identity - To the world at large, Helena Bertinelli and the Huntress are two different people. Keeping the two identities seperate is a must.. Otherwise, her career as a teacher would be over, she might very well be killed, and her wealth would certainly be seized by the government.
Criminal Legacy - Helena knows all the horrible deeds of her family and feels like she has to atone for them. As well, people expect things out of her because she is a mafia capo's daughter. The struggle to atone for the crimes of her family and the struggle to rise above everyone's expectations are both struggles that Helena will be forced to continue her whole life, and may very well die without having risen above.
Attitude - Helena's brash. She's got a nasty Italian temper that she only sometimes controls. She has an stubborn streak a mile wide and is fiercely independent. All in all, she is the type people dismiss as a bitch without attempting to get to know her better. Woobies.
Morality - Although she knows right from wrong, and has a set of morals that she clings to fiercely, they are quite a bit different than the average costumed vigilante. She has no problem using violence, and while she doesn't kill without blinking she firmly believes in the philosophy that a mad dog needs to be put down, not locked up. If her attitude wasn't enough to get on most people's bad side, her morality would be.
Humanity - Helena is an average human woman. She constantly pits herself against opponents with superpowers and usually no morals. This means that she constantly risks getting hurt or even killed every time she puts on the mask and leaves her house. Especially given her attitude and violent nature. Even the few people that might hesitate at hurting a woman wouldn't feel that way when confronted with someone willing to resort to violence or even killing.
Lily Allen - Ldn
There was a little old lady, who was walking down the road
She was struggling with bags from Tesco
There were people from the city having lunch in the park
I believe that it's called al fresco
Then a kid came along to offer a hand
But before she had time to accept it
hits her over the head, doesn't care if she's dead
Cause he's got all her jewelery and wallet
Logs Including HuntressEdit
- 2010-08-18: There's No Such Thing as Cheating: Huntress gives Green Arrow's new sidekick something of a pep talk.
- 2010-08-19: A New Face: Huntress encounters some veteran masked-folks while beating up some drug dealers, and gets some perspective