Whole volumes could be written about the adventures and contributions of the Promethean; the short space allotted here is not nearly enough to do justice to his story, and not only because he is nearly 900 years old. He is universally regarded as the greatest living superhero, a hero of the Martian War, and one of the principal figures in modern technological progress. His scientific acumen is exceeded only by his magecraft. He is an explorer, a philosopher, a physician, an artisan, and a historian.
But Matteo Mancini is not one of the Nephilim and he was not born an immortal. While studying at the University of Paris in the early 13th century, Mancini began a serious investigation of what would today be called magic and occult phenomena. He was an alchemical prodigy, and began traveling around Europe to learn whatever he could of the subject. In these early years, he had two particularly important encounters. The first came when he was traveling through southern France, and inadvertently crossed into the Empyrean (a plane of existence parallel to our own) becoming lost in a Fairy wood. Here he stayed, ageless, for more than a century, learning the secrets of the Fey from his Undine patroness, whom he turned from captive to lover, wife, and mother of a line of children that would find renown even to the present day. The second encounter came soon after his return to the mundane world, when he was invited to study in the Cave of the Lame Master (the great Exalted known as Vulcan or Prometheus), who tutored him in the secrets of the Invisible World. He learned the Enochian script and so communed with the Eldila and bound the Macrobes, learning much about biology and the secret history of the world. His skill in alchemy soon eclipsed all of the living masters of Europe and the Middle East, and he began to modify his own body to resist the affects of age and disease. Having attained virtual immortality, he turned his attention to other explorations of the natural world, metaphysics, and philosophy. He devoted lifetimes to the honing of all his crafts, becoming a true Renaissance Man, the superior of Da Vinci or any other.
Through the renaissance and into the early modern age, he was embroiled in many of history's pivotal events and contributed to many of its mysteries. He helped turn back the Ottomas at Vienna and Lepanto, authored the Voynich Manuscript, and foiled the plots of powerful immortal villains like the Heresiarch Vartan and the Copper Knight. He drifted in and out of notice, and his careless re-use of the alias of the Comte St. Germain inspired curious rumors in the 17th century. Secondhand whispers of his experiments in reanimating cadavers in the late 18th century inspired Mary Shelley to pen Frankenstein, which in turn would inspire his heroic nom de guerre. In the 1850s, he studied the emergence of metahumans with great interest, but a scandalous affair with more than one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters prompted the abandonment of yet another identity. While in retreat in Pressburg, he rescued and adopted Marius Brezeanu, the young boy who would become the great Doctor Mirabilis. In the run up to the Martian War, he built a lasting friendship with Professor George Challenger, in whose honor he would name his great institution of discovery, the Challenger Foundation, in the 20th century.
With Challenger, Mirabilis, the Signalman, and the other great heroes of earth, he battled the Martians in the War of the Worlds and won several pivotal victories against them. Afterwards, his towering intellect and insatiable curiosity greatly contributed to the advancement of computer science and medicine, even as he plumbed the uncharted reaches of the world as a founder of the Compass Society and served as an unofficial diplomat and secret agent embroiled in the bitter malestrom of post-Martian Europe. After triumphs over the infamous Dr. Fu Manchu and the nefarious agents of the Wotanreich in the 1920s, he suffered perhaps his greatest defeat when he was unable to prevent Doctor Mirabilis from touching off the devastating Eastern War, and their friendship turned to bitter enmity.
For decades after this failure, he retreated from the public scene and turned inward, focusing his efforts on his researches and in building up the Challenger Foundation as a refuge for his metahuman descendants. Events in the 1960s and '70s forced his return to the world, first to combat the psychic criminal mastermind known as the Auspex, and later in the Pan-American War, where he was forced by necessity to enter into the emerging metahuman arms race, overseeing the program that transformed Christopher Ramsey into the Sentinel, perhaps his greatest achievement. Now, in the early part of the 21st century, he continues to chair the Challenger Foundation and remains one of the pre-eminent metahumans in the world.
Properly speaking, the Promethean has no innate superhuman talents. His spectacular abilities derive from the application of his prodigious knowledge of both science and magic, and tools of his own devising. He has improved his body and mind considerably through the years through the application of alchemy, bio-mechanics, and aetherworking, though he was already exceptionally clever even in his youth. He speaks over a dozen languages and dialects, including some that are no longer spoken and others that were never intended to be spoken by human beings, such as Enochian and Aklo. He also happens to be exceptionally wealthy and influential.
The Promethean is a character in the open source Ascension Epoch universe, created by Michael DiBaggio and Shell 'Presto' DiBaggio. The Ascension Epoch is a shared universe for superhero and adventure fiction, built on the public domain. All elements are released under a Creative Commons licence, which states creator credit must be given and if you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.