Origins of Kharon and the Legion of Tartarus




The River Styx,

the cold, lonely, barrier that separates the souls of the dead from their judgement. For thousands upon thousands of years, one single being has been responsible for ensuring that these lost souls find their eternal resting place…

Provided, of course, they can pay the fare.

But the old ways have been lost. Only very few now come with payment. Charon spends most of his time staring listlessly at the wandering souls, some pacing restlessly, waiting for one hundred years until passage is granted to them, others desperately flinging themselves into the caustic stygian waters in the hopes of crossing through their own force of will. They, of course, are never heard from again. On a rare occasion, a soul will come forth, clutching a trinket of some value that they had been buried or cremated with, and the ancient ferryman would grant them the head of the line and ferry them across. Though these souls number certainly less than before the old ways were forgotten, Charon could still earn a tidy sum from seeing to his eternal duties.

This occurrence, however, seemed to be diminishing. Not so much that fewer souls were arriving with payment, but more that fewer souls were arriving, period. And of course, the less souls that made their way to the banks of the Styx, the less likely Charon would be paid.

This is the tale being told to me by the man sitting before me in this dark, dingy, King’s Row loft.

As a reporter for the Paragon City Bugle, I’ve interviewed more than my share of actual and would-be superheroes. Ever since the Rikti invasion, more and more super-powered beings have crawled out of the woodwork: human mutation is at an all-time high; the race towards scientific advancement has left numerous new super-beings in it’s wake; and there are others who, for whatever reason, have dedicated their lives to perfecting themselves through training or through the pursuit of technology or ancient magics. But every once in a while, I will encounter a being that completely surprises me.

Charon just wants to go back to work.

I look over Charon’s Paragon city Hero registration card:

“Wait a minute”, I say, “This card spells your name as “Kharon”.”

“Yes,” the cloaked figure responds, “galling, isn’t it? When I awoke in Paragon, my prayer to be given flesh answered, I knew that registering as a ‘super-hero’ (he spits out the words,) would be the best way for me to keep a certain degree of inconspicuousness. However, it would seem that another ‘hero’ had already taken my name for his own.” He pauses for a moment, seemingly cursing under his breath. “I was completely disgusted at first, but I settled instead on the more obscure spelling of my name. I then realized that it might be for the best, as this way, I won’t have to deal with fools who don’t know how to pronounce my name and call me ‘Sharon’ or ‘Karen’.”

“All right then, so tell me, how is it that you came to Paragon in the first place?”

“I did not agree to meet you to be interviewed. You told me you had information on this… Circle of Thorns. I suspect they have much to do with my predicament.”

“The information I have is very sensitive, I need to know I can trust you. Indulge me.”

“So be it.” The aged being released and exasperated sigh, “In my time as ferryman, I have met millions upon millions of souls. And on each trip across the Styx, each of these souls feel compelled to tell me their tale of woe as to how they met their fate. From the asinine to the tragic, I have heard it all. Betrayed lovers, deposed rulers, prisoners of war… I have heard every tragic story that exists. It wasn’t until one young man explained to me his tale that finally, after millennia had passed, that I felt compelled to act.”

“You found out why less souls are making their way to the Styx”


“And so you came to Paragon to put a stop to the soul-napping.”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.”

“So that you could make more money.”


“So let me get this straight. You don’t care about the pleas of the populace in Paragon, you’re just here to get paid in the afterlife, is that right?”

Suddenly, a sharp pain erupted in the front of my skull. Images flashed through my head: Images of pain, loss, sorrow, and heartbreak. I reeled from the shock and found myself on the ground, Charon now standing over me. I saw his eyes for the first time. Empty, yet filled with knowledge of the ages.

“Tell me what you know about the Circle of Thorns.” I heard a voice in my head.

“The… they’re preparing ceremonies in Faultline, bringing back the souls of their ancients members.”

“That will not do.” Charon stared down at me harshly. “I will remember your mocking tone when we meet again on the banks of the Styx.”

And with that, he vanished.