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Super-strong immortal Scottish supervillainess.


Heather McGowrie has never found a place or time she could truly call her own. Born in Scotland in 1644, she was a woman trapped in a man’s world. Though she grew up tall and lanky and strong — stronger than any of her brothers or their friends — she was forced into a woman’s lifestyle. Sewing and cooking and tending to small children wasn’t what she wanted, though. She wanted to ride, and wield a sword, and fight, and have adventures! The only time she truly felt alive was when the old men were telling stories and tales and she could shut her eyes and feel as if she were taken away into another world. When she got old enough that young men were coming ’round to court her, she’d finally had as much as she was going to take. They were all so weak, soft-seeming, and close-minded that she just couldn’t stand the thought of being with any of them. They weren’t truly men, they were boys playing at it, and damned if she’d play along with them. Finally she stole a horse and rode away, thinking to ride to Edinburgh or London or some other city and make her fortune there. She was stopped by a band of brigands and freebooters, or caterans as they were called then in the Highlands, before she’d ridden half a day. Her pretty horse, and pretty self, were rich prizes indeed for those men. But the pretty girl had fangs, as they found out when she broke the arms of two of them and crushed the skull of another with a blow from her fist. Almost before they knew it, she’d convinced them to let her join them. She enjoyed the life of a brigand — it offered her a freedom like nothing she’d experienced before. She learned how to fight, ride, kill, and take what she wanted. Soon she led the brigands, and the “Men of the Heather” became a group to be reckoned with. More and more outlaws, hearing of her band’s exploits, came to join her. But it was too good to last. The lairds of the clans could no longer stand for her depredations and pillaging, and came against the Men with a small army of Highlanders. Seeing no reason to stay and die, Cateran took to her horse and left her men to their fate. She spent the next few years roaming around Scotland and the British Isles savoring her freedom. It was during this time she discovered just how strong she was — why, she lifted the Stone of Dunleavy easily with but one hand, that had not been lifted by anyone at all in seventy-five years! The biggest, burliest men were no match for her in contests of strength. And she realized something more — she didn’t seem to be growing old. Her face and form showed twenty years, but she’d been on this Earth twoscore or more. That last thought scared her. Had she been cursed by the Devil somehow to walk the Earth forever like the Wandering Jew? Feeling her mortal soul was in peril, she rode to the nearest abbey and asked to be admitted. Seeing the trouble that lay upon her soul, the Mother Superior took her in as a lay sister. The religious life lasted about a month for Heather. She soon found she couldn’t stand it. Every minute of the day and night was regimented, ordered, and regulated. What a waste! She quickly came around to thinking of her longevity not as a curse from the Devil, but as a gift — from God or from whom, she didn’t know, and she didn’t really care anymore. She just decided to make the best of it. She spent the next two centuries wandering the world. She saw the glittering spires of London and visited the king’s court in the noble garb of a lady. She explored the Black Forest and wrestled bears in the Russian taiga. She watched Schliemann excavate Troy. In disguise, she crept into Mecca, and later explored the Ottoman Empire in the same guise. She learned how to sail, and traveled the length and breadth of the British Empire, from Africa to India to China. And then, at long last, she came to America. The Twenties and Thirties found her in New York City. Now here, she thought, here is a country where people know how to live! No centuries-old traditions, no caste system, and rules that let just about everyone do anything he — or she — wanted. She took to it like a fish to water. Whenever she needed money, a little bit of robbery or theft did the trick nicely. Then came World War II. She’d avoided the First World War by staying in the Orient, but this time she wanted to get involved. She went back to Europe and, in disguise, joined a Scottish regiment. She acquitted herself nobly and well. When the war ended, she decided to return to America. This time she chose the West Coast. She found San Francisco to her liking. There were a few of these “heroes” out there who sometimes tried to keep her from robbing banks, but she never had much trouble with them — fancy clothes aren’t enough to overcome three hundred years of experience. She decided to join in their fun, and adopted the name “Cateran” for her brigandish exploits. Since then, Cateran’s been a supervillainess, mostly in California, but drifting from time to time to other cities as suits her mood. Lately she’s been spending a lot of time in Millennium City; it has a new and vibrant air to it unlike anything she’s ever experienced before. She’s not as well known to the public as other, flashier, villains, but she’s having a fine time and doing well for herself, so she doesn’t mind one bit


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