Kheldians are an alien species. They can be from either a Peacebringer or Warshade, two subraces of the Kheldian species
Kheldians are energy beings from outside our galaxy. They have the ability to join with human hosts in a (usually) symbiotic relationship. When this happens, the two separate personalities merge into one new one with its own identity and name. There are three types you’ll typically encounter in the City of Heroes universe: Peacebringers, Nictus and Warshades.
Peacebringers are regular Kheldians, beings composed of light. The Peacebringers themselves are dedicated to hunting down the Nictus and destroying them for what they did to the Kheldian race (and still plan on doing.)
Nictus are Kheldians who, when faced with the short native lifespan of the Kheldian people, turned to science and changed themselves into beings of darkness. They feed off of life energy, and were at one point able to siphon the life force of the Kheldians from great distances.
“I have told you that the Nictus once fed upon other Kheldians. What I did not tell you was how. The Nictus scientists developed a powerful energy transfer device that could rip away a Kheldian’s life force, even at a distance of light years. This terrible weapon is the reason we Peacebringers have resolved to destroy all Nictus, wherever they may be.” – Moonfire
Warshades are “redeemed” Nictus. These are Nictus that have had a change of heart, merging willingly with another instead of trying to force their way in. They fight alongside the Peacebringers against the Nictus, and have a sometimes uneasy truce with them.
The native lifespan of an unjoined Kheldian is 10 years. Some have said the Nictus lifespan was reduced to 5 years, but this is unverified.
Kheldians can, however, merge with a host being. They aren’t (typically) parasitic, though the Nictus often seem to try to take over the host’s mind. With a continual chain of hosts, Kheldians are functionally immortal. (Shadowstar, the Warshade leader, has been around since ancient Egypt – 3000 to 5000 years.) The powers for Warshade are the same as Nictus
Most beings are, for lack of a better description, like apartments to Kheldians. They can move in, if the host is willing (or very weak,) and they can separate at will. They cannot be forced into someone (again, unless they’re very weak, or “boosted” in as Arakhn tried to do.) And with enough willpower, the host can force them out. No 30 day notice needed.
The joining has advantages for both the host and the Kheldian.
The host gets power – typically seen in-game as attacks, shields and the like. In addition, it seems the host’s natural lifespan is increased as well.
The Kheldian, as mentioned, stretches its lifespan when joined. In addition, in the future it can make an energy “copy” of any being it’s been joined with in the past (So, yes, in the future a Kheldian from Paragon could merge with something else and change to Human form. Or alien, or catgirl, or whatever else it merged with.)
The two personalities merge together into a new single entity. In the case of Peacebringers and Warshades the personalities influence the whole. Nictus, on the other hand, do their best to dominate the host and take complete control. It is possible for the Kheldian to depart the host and the host can actually force a Kheldian out with enough focused willpower.
Other Effects on the Host
Well, other than glowing eyes, it’s hard to say. Given this is in City of Heroes, people with odd colored skin (or made up color) aren’t exactly rare. Given there’s no consistent coloration, it’s a safe bet it’s part of a costume.
In addition, when forcibly separated at least, the two halves can “feel” the other’s out there. We don’t know if this happens with a willing separation or not.
“They used their magic, and they pulled us apart. They pulled Altered Umbra out of Lars Medelson, and trapped it in a crystal. The Kheldian is gone, and so is part of me. I can still feel Altered Umbra, my Kheldian half, out there somewhere. The rituals they’re doing here will sever that connection forever. You’ve got to stop them! And you’ve got to rescue Altered Umbra! I know where he is. I wish I could help you, but I’m… I’m not Shadowcatcher anymore. I’m not sure I’m even Lars Mendelson.” – Lars Mendelson
We don’t know if this is from the magic, a side effect of forcible separation, or if it “always” happens.
For the Peacebringers, the top one We know of is Sunstorm. He seems to have some clout, as Shadowstar refers to him when mentioning the truce between the Peacebringers and Warshades. Moonfire, however, seems to be the Kheld “PR” department and liaison with other superheroes and hero groups.
As for a “ruling body,” the Kheldians ARE extragalactic. While there may be a “ruling council” or something similar, the Peacebringers on earth don’t seem to refer to them.
For the Nictus – Arakhn is the head cheese. On the other hand, Requiem says
“When we are done and this world is under our rule, the Nictus will need a leader if we are to stave off the certain Peacebringer assault and quell the growing number of Warshades. If you show such weakness again, you shall not live to challenge me for the title.”
so it’s hardly a “secure” position. Arakhn’s also in charge of the Galaxy troops and Void Hunter mercenaries, while Requiem has the War Wolves.
Shadowstar is not the leader but a helper similar to Sunstorm.
How long have they been here?
A very long time. As mentioned before, Shadowstar has been around since the time of ancient Egypt. The Nictus have definitely been here at least as long, given references to the Path of the Dark (using Shadow Seeds – essentially Nictus Cysts) being here since Ancient Rome – and they sounded pretty well established by that time. (The cyst in Ravenna mentioned in the PotD arc has been there since the 5th century AD.)
How long have the Peacebringers been here? We don’t know. There are many scattered around the globe, some joined, some not – Sunstorm makes mention of them, as does Moonfire. They have chased the Nictus “across half the universe.”
Alignment: Any but mostly Principled.
Attributes: IQ 4 [4D6], MA +1D6 [4D6], PS +1D6, PP +1d4, PE +2, PB +1, SPD +1D8
Height: As per Host
Weight: As per Host
Average life span: with Hosts nearly Immortal for Peacebringers, can extend a hosts life 1D6 x 10 years plus that of Divine healing.
Super Abilities: Minor: Flight: Wingless, Iron Will, Energy Expulsion: Light Major: Divine Healing
Familiarity with Earth: Very Familiar given that both Nictus and Kheldians existed for 5000 years.