X-Men: Heroes Unlimited
Cinder (Mark Williamson)
Mark comes in at about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and has long dark hair that he keeps tied back in a ponytail. He’s typically wearing a half-length black coat and can often be seen petting stray animals around campus.
Mark comes from Ponoka, where his family has lived for most of their lives. His grandparents immigrated from Germany in the 40’s before the war, and he has a strong connection to his home and culture.
Despite growing up in close proximity to a large mental health facility, Mark is a fairly well adjusted teenager. He’s an animal lover and goes out of his way to find stray cats and other animals whenever possible.
His first mutant experience wasn’t especially traumatic. He went for a walk out on the country road by one of the many Alberta farmsteads, and found a cow in a ditch, struggling to breathe and bleeding from a wound in its side. He slid down the side of the ditch to get a closer look, and leaned in to touch the poor creature.
He awoke a few feet away from what remained of the cow, which was now a charred pile of bones and tissue. He was soaked from head to toe in blood and gore. In the state of shock that he was in, he didn’t really know how to feel or what to make of what just happened. So he just laughed for a good ten minutes. He felt terrible for the poor cow, but the only decision in the state it was in was to put it out of its misery anyhow. At least it was probably painless.
It was nearly dark by the time he shook himself out of his stupor. It was getting chilly, but Mark felt warm. Warmer than he should have felt for being soaking wet and out on a February evening. He had a hunch, and had always dreamed about being a superhero. He raised his hand in the direction of a nearby tree, and a ball of flame streaked out of his outstretched palm, colliding with the branches and exploding.
He stood back, looking at his hands in wonder by the light of the blazing tree. He almost screamed with joy, running the rest of the way home. His parents were aghast at his appearance when he walked through the door. He decided to tell them what had happened, in full detail. His elation made it impossible to lie. After some time to digest, his parents made their peace with it, and made sure to lecture Mark on the dangers of pyromania.
It wasn’t until a couple months later that Mark discovered the full depth of his powers. He was out drinking at the only bar in Ponoka. In rural Alberta there can occasionally be some rough customers passing through. Needless to say, tonight was one of those nights. His friend Amy was walking through the door she bumped into the back of a biker in the middle of a game of pool. He turned around, advancing on the girl, making a good show of being intimidating. Mark got up from where he was sitting and ran to get in between the two of them. The biker was easily twice his size, and took a swing at Mark.
He raised his hands, trying to shield himself from the blow. He was entirely unsuccessful, flying across the floor and into a table. He got up slowly, sucking wind. The biker however, was looking around frantically.
“I’m blind!” he screamed.
Mark felt his hands go warm when he was impacted by the punch. He certainly had intention to hurt the man who was endangering his friend, but he hoped the effect wasn’t permanent. He got to his feet shakily, grabbing Amy as he rushed out the door.
A few weeks later he was contacted by the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning with an offer of residence and study. He had his way out of Ponoka, finally! A ticket out of this crummy town and he wasn’t going to say no. His parents reluctantly agreed when he told them about how they were going to help him control his powers and hopefully not accidentally blind anyone a second time.
He said his goodbyes, most tearfully to his cat Checkers, who stood at the window as the car pulled away. Mark waved goodbye to his home, his family and his life.