Monday, May 19, 2014

Cool Characters: The Chaste

 

The Creation: The Chaste is a fictional mystical martial arts enclave led by Stick, that was created by Frank Miller in the pages of Daredevil #187 for Marvel Comics.

The History: The Chaste are an elite group of mysterious warriors whose base lies atop a mountain in an unknown location that can only be accessed by climbing "The Wall," a sheer cliff. The climb also serves as an entrance exam - those who fail the climb are not considered worthy. The primary function of The Chaste is to combat The Hand, an evil ninja group dominated by a demon. Led by Stick for a time, and now led by Stone.

The Origin: Master Izo was one of the founding members of the Hand several hundred years ago, and was a close follower of their leader, Kagenobu Yoshioka. (Yoshioka was a blind martial artist, who used a radar sense to fight and "see" the world). Izo blinded himself in order to see the world in the same way Yoshioka did and develop his radar sense. However, when Yoshioka died, Izo left the Hand because it was growing darker, more dangerous, and devolved into a ninja cult criminal organization, prone to serving a demon known as the Beast.  In order to counter the Hand, Mater Izo founded a rival martial arts group, known as the Chaste. However, soon after the team's creation, Master Izo was voted out by his students for his excessive drinking and gambling, which they found disgusting. Therefore, the leadership of the Chaste was then given to Stick.

Abilities: Chaste members are required to rid themselves of emotions that are considered impure. They have also developed mental abilities of either a psionic or mystical nature, such as the power to communicate telepathically. The warriors have developed astounding mental and physical abilities, and their names are associated with powers or weapons they have mastered.

Stick - Leader of The Chaste. He is known for his use of the bō (staff).
Stone - Stick's second-in-command. Can withstand any physical attack, as long as he is aware of it.
Shaft - Uses a bow and arrow.
Claw - Uses handheld metal blades (similar to Wolverine's adamantium claws) in combat.
Star - Uses shuriken.
Wing - Power of levitation.
Flame - Power of pyrokinesis.

If Electra had become a Chaste member perhaps she would have adopted the name of Sai.

Elektra's Story: After her father's death, Elektra went to Japan, to study the martial arts at a school headed by a sensei who had been cast out the Chaste years before for being unworthy of membership. Under this unnamed sensei's guidance, Elektra achieved great prowess in the martial arts. However, she was filled with hatred towards the world for the death of her father. The sensei told her about Stick's order in the hope that Stick could teach her how to achieve the peace of mind and spirit that had been attained by all members of the Chaste.  Stick accepted Elektra as a pupil, and she was trained by him for a year. During this time, she improved her combat skills even further and also began learning to develop and use the same mental powers possessed by the members of the order. Finally, though, Stick expelled her, since she was unable to rid herself of the destructive emotions that had filled her since the murder of her father. Stick realized that Elektra might join the Hand as a result, as indeed she did. Still later, Elektra left the Hand and became an independent mercenary assassin.

The Daredevil Story: The Chaste and the Hand have clashed in battle for many years. Daredevil (Matthew Murdock) first encountered members of the Chaste during a period when he had temporarily lost his radar sense. He sought his old master, Stick, to help him recover his abilities. At the same time, the Hand ascertained Stick's whereabouts and launched an attack. The blind old man was able to thwart the four attackers, but he knew he needed help in the event of another attempt on his life. Stick summoned the other six members of the Chaste. Only Stone, Shaft, and Claw arrived; Star, Flame and Wing were presumed to have been killed en route. The Hand’s deadliest warrior, Kirigi, had been resurrected for the battle, but was defeated by the surviving Chaste warriors. Soon thereafter, a gang of the Hand's ninja stormed Matt Murdock's apartment, attacking the Chaste, Daredevil and the Black Widow. Claw was killed, and Stick soon realized they were fighting a losing battle. He joined hands with Shaft, and together they drew the life energy from the attacking ninja. The ninja dissolved, but all the energy that transferred to Stick and Shaft was too much to contain. Both were killed. Stone later learned the Hand would attempt to resurrect Elektra. Stone, Daredevil, the Black Widow could not stop the theft of Elektra's body from her grave. At a church, the Hand was in the final stages of Elektra's resurrection when the trio arrived to halt the procedure. Daredevil though heard Elektra's heart beat, and he attempted to revive her with a variation of an energy transfer once performed by Stick. Daredevil thought he had failed. But as the Hand fled, Stone saw that Daredevil had somehow cleansed Elektra's soul. Stone secretly took her body back to the Chaste's mountain base and completed her resurrection there. Later, Stone dealt with a traitor in his group: a new recruit named Spear, who sided with the Hand's warrior, Izanami, in battle. Stone and Elektra also returned to New York City to confront the Snakeroot's attempt to forge a new warrior, Erynys, from the dark essence of Elektra that resided in John Garrett. During that mission, Daredevil discovered Elektra was alive. Erynys was defeated, but her dark essence re-entered Elektra. The Chaste could not allow Elektra to return to their group; because there was no guarantee she could control the impurity that the essence carried. The Chaste have since been involved once again in battle with the Hand in Japan. It has also been revealed that Stick has been reincarnated as Baby Karen.

Dork Note: I would love to see a well done mini-series of this group - maybe revolving around Stone.

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