- For other meanings of the term "Charon," see Charon (disambiguation).
Charon, the first Ferryman and only Emperor of Stygia, is one the most pivotal figures in Wraith: The Oblivion. Originally from the ancient civilization of Mycenae, Charon is responsible for the formation of several institutions of the dead, including the Ferrymen, the city of Stygia, and the Hierarchy.
Charon was chosen for this role by the fate, through her agent the Lady of Fate. When he first died, the Lady told him that he would be the way by which the restless would travel from the underworld to their final destination. Under her auspices, he performed many heroic quests, including rescuing Nhudri from the Labyrinth and the foundation of Stygia.
In Stygia, Charon's headquarters were the Onyx Tower, the tallest and grandest building in Stygia. From here, bearing his scythe Siklos, he built and commanded the Dark Kingdom of Iron for around two thousand years.
Like every Wraith, Charon was subject to the temptation and occasional control of his shadow. However, Charon was not just any wraith, and his shadow had the potential to wreak more havoc than normal. Exactly what decisions made over the millennia of Stygian history were hard choices by Charon and sadistic choices by his Shadow are open for discussion. However, it is known that as the twentieth century rolled around, he was further and further consumed by the crimes he committed, slipping regularly into madness and despair.
This internal struggle culminated in a potent castigation ritual that separated his Shadow from him; the resulting creature called itself Gorool and fled into the Labyrinth. In 1945, the Fifth Great Maelstrom caused the Malfean Gorool to rise from the Labyrinth. Charon came forth to fight him, and ended up being dragged below the Weeping Bay, taking the beast with him. He did not return, and the kingdom of the dead fell into chaos with his departure. The Deathlords in particular were eager to take his place in charge of the Dark Kingdom of Iron.
What nobody but the Lady and a few Mnemoi knew was that this, in itself, was Charon's plan. Too long corrupted by his Shadow, Charon was unable to save Stygia from the trials to come. However, as a newborn wraith, Charon would not have the skills necessary. To that end, he arranged for his memory to be held by the Mnemoi, fettered himself to the world, and cast himself into the Sunless Sea. All to be reborn and return when Stygia needed him the most.
Fifty years later, it was discovered Charon had been reincarnated as an ordinary human named Charles Anderson living in London, England. He was reaped by a group of wraiths following an attack on Stygia by the Dark Kingdom of Jade. Shortly thereafter, unrelated circumstances caused the Sixth Great Maelstrom to begin; an army of Spectres took the opportunity to attack Stygia with the Maelstrom's first wave. Charon helped push them back, but he discovered much of his memories and wisdom, which he left with the Mnemoi Guild, were lost or destroyed because their planned-out persecution had gone horribly wrong. He transcended shortly thereafter, leaving behind a small group of young wraiths to lead the remains of his kingdom.
Background Information Edit
Author Adam Tinworth has suggested that the Lady of Fate named Charon after the demon of the same name. This demon Charon, a Halaku, created the Underworld. By invoking the name of the builder of the Shadowlands, the Lady passed on the power of that name to Wraith-Charon - something he would have needed to get the fledgling Stygia off the ground.
In the real world, Charon is named for the classic figure from Greek mythology. The original Charon was the ferryman for the river Acheron; he would take the souls of the dead across the river to Hades for an obolus.
The classic Charon also makes a brief appreance in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy.