Van Helsing

Real Name: Gabriel Van Helsing

Identity/Class: Unknown (there are hints of an extremely long life, suggesting he is more than human); briefly infected with lycanthropy.

Occupation: Monster hunter

Affiliations: Carl; Anna Valerious; Frankenstein; Knights of the Holy Order

Enemies: Dracula; Edward Hyde; the Wolf Man; Verona, Allera, Marishka (Dracula's Brides), Dr.Moreau

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Left Hand of God

Base of Operations: Vatican City

First Appearance: Van Helsing (2004)

Powers/Abilities: As a human: Expert with many forms of weaponry and unarmed combat; operates at the peak of physical perfection.
As a werewolf: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina and senses, animalistic cunning and ferocity

History: The full details of Van Helsing's past are a mystery even to him. According to all sources, he was found in 1882, lying on the steps of Vatican City, half-dead, and with no memories whatsoever of his life prior to that moment. The only hints to his past were a strange ring he wore on his left little finger, marked by a seal that resembled a dragon, and vague memories of fighting Romans in Masada. However, the fact that the fight in question took place in 73 A.D. does leave several unanswered questions...

Whatever his past concealed, he was taken in by the Knights of the Holy Order, an elite group dedicated to fighting the forces of darkness that existed in the world, and trained to be one of their warriors against the darkness. Over the course of the next few years, Van Helsing became a master of skills that made him more than a match for any foe from either the human world or the world of the supernatural, tracking down several of the more dangerous monsters of the era. However, he started to hate his job fairly quickly; to everyone back in the Vatican, his subjects may be monsters, but whenever he killed them, he had to watch as they turned back into the men they were before they were changed. However, the Knights refused to let him go, despite the (to them) rather annoying detail that Van Helsing commonly killed his opponents despite explicit orders to bring them back for possible treatment for their conditions.

In London in 1889, he faced the murderous brute known as Mr.Hyde. He pursued the killer when he fled to France, eventually confronting him atop Notre Dame Cathedral, where he slew his foe. With the local authorities searching for him, Van Helsing snuck out the city, though not before he encountered Dr.Moreau deep in the catacombs beneath Paris, where the mad doctor was experimenting with both the merging of man and beast and with a deceased English scientist's invisibility formula. The meeting ended inconclusively; though Van Helsing shut down his unholy experiments, Moreau escaped, planning to start anew elsewhere, most probably on a remote island where he would not be interrupted again.

Van Helsing returned to the Vatican for his next assignment, and was sent to Transylvania to assist the Valerious family in vanquishing their old adversary, Count Dracula. According to legend, Dracula had been created by an unwitting Valerious the Elder back in the fifteenth century, and he had vowed that his family would never get into Heaven until Dracula had been destroyed. Since Valerious the Elder had vanished almost a year ago, and his son Velkan had also recently gone missing, the only Valerious left was Anna Valerious, a beautiful fighter determined to stop Dracula. Determined not to let the Valerious' be trapped in Purguatory, the Knights sent Van Helsing to Transylvania to fight Dracula, along with Carl, a friar who developed most of Van Helsing's weaponry for his missions.

Once in Transylvania, Van Helsing narrowly managed to save Anna from an attack by Dracula's brides - Aleera, Verona, and Marishka - killing Marishka with the aid of crossbow bolts dipped in holy water. While studying the Vaerlious archive for information on Dracula, Van Helsing was forced to go into combat with a werewolf, Anna's apparently-dead brother Velkan, but was stopped from killing him by Anna's intervention; Dracula was rumoured to have a cure for the werewolf condition if it was caught early enough, and she had to see if it was true. Infiltrating Dracula's local base of Castle Frankenstein, whose owner had died a year ago in a fire in an old windmill, the two of them discovered Dracula's scheme. Naturally, having lived with three beautiful woman for over four hundred years, Dracula had fathered a great many vampire children, but due to the notable handicap of being the walking dead, all the children were born dead. However, he was attempting to use Frankenstein's methods to create life to awaken a certain portion of his children, and even tried to use Velkan for that purpose in the hope that werewolf venom would give his children the necessary boost. They did awaken, but they died shortly after attacking the village, leaving Dracula's brides distraught, and Velkan fully submerged under the bestial instincts of the werewolf. Van Helsing and Anna managed to escape Dracula's castle, but not before Van Helsing discovered two rather disturbing things about Dracula; he was totally unkillable by any normal vampire means... and he somehow knew Van Helsing personally.

Retreating to an abandoned windmill that had been burnt down a year ago, Van Helsing and Anna discovered a very unexpected shock there; Doctor Frankenstein's 'monster' was still alive, and had been living there for the past year, unable to leave without risking attack from the villagers. Although it attacked Van Helsing and Anna, Van Helsing refused to kill it; he knew evil well, after having fought it so often, and he could sense that evil did not rule Frankenstein, as the 'monster' wished to be called. With this in mind, he talked with Frankenstein, and discovered that the creature was the key to making its father's machine work; if he was used in the machine, Dracula would be able to permanently revive his 'children'. With few options, Van Helsing and Anna was forced to take a couple of carts pulled by Transylvanian steeds (capable of outrunning even werewolves), and race for the Vatican, with Verona, Aleera, and the Velkan-Wolf on their tails. They managed to kill Verona and the Wolf, but were left with another set of problems; Aleera had captured Anna and wanted Frankenstein in exchange for her, and Van Helsing had been bitten by the werewolf. If they couldn't find a cure, he would turn into the very thing he'd hunted for seven years...

With no other option, Van Helsing and Carl knocked out Frankenstein and hid him in a mausoleum before attending the masquerade ball where they'd decided to meet Dracula, in the hope that he'd be less inclined to use his vampire powers in public. Unfortunately, everything went wrong; not only did Dracula manage to capture Frankenstein thanks to the use of some zombies, but also, every single other person at the ball was a vampire! In a desperate move, Van Helsing swung down on a 'hijacked' trapeze artist's rope and rescued Anna, before the three of them made their escape through a window, Carl defeating the vampires with a 'bomb' he'd developed that released light equal to that of the sun, destroying all the vampires - save Dracula and Aleera - at once. Dracula escaped to his secret castle with Frankenstein, leaving Van Helsing, Anna and Carl with only one chance to stop Dracula; find a castle which had remained hidden for over four centuries, and stop a creature that was utterly indestructible.

Fortunately, Carl and Van Helsing ventually managed to find a secret door to Castle Cracula, only accessible with a piece of parchment Van Helsing had acquired back in Rome. Once inside the castle, Carl remembered something he'd read back in the Valerious mansion, and realised why Dracula would have a cure for the werewolf condition; a werewolf was the only thing that could kill him, the venom in its bite counteracting the vampire blood within the feared Count, destroying his cells from within. With this in mind, Van Helsing decided to take a gamble; he'd try and save Frankenstein from Dracula, then tackle the Count once the full moon had brought the werewolf venom within him to full power, while Anna and Carl tracked down Dracula's cure. There was just one small catch; if it wasn't used before the twelfth stroke of midnight, Van Helsing would be trapped as a werewolf forever, and Anna and Carl would be forced to kill him.

Despite the odds, Van Helsing raced to the top of the tower where Frankenstein was being held, using what parts of his werewolf self he could now access to accelerate the climb. Upon reaching the top, he managed to free Frankenstein, though not before Dracula's children could be awakened. Then, as the clock struck midnight, Van Helsing transformed into a massive black werewolf, and fought desperately with Dracula. He managed to cripple Dracula, tearing up the Count's right arm, but was briefly forced back into human form when the moon went behind the clouds. Dracula tried to persuade Van Helsing to let him live by promising him answers to his questions about his past; he even revealed that, back when he had first died, he had been killed by Van Helsing himself, and that the ring Van Helsing wore was originally his! However, Van Helsing decided that some things were best left forgotten, and, transforming back into a werewolf, tore Dracula's throat out. Then, on the last stroke of midnight, Anna managed to inject the cure into him, restoring Van Helsing to human form... but at the cost of her own life.

She was cremated on a cliff overlooking the sea, Van Helsing remembering her mentioning to him that she had always wanted to see the ocean, and, as he watched, she and all her ancestors ascended into heaven, her spirit expressing her family's gratitude with a warm smile before their final departure. Van Helsing and Carl then rode back to Rome, ready for another asignment.

Comments: Played by Hugh Jackman; based (very, very loosely) on Abraham Van Helsing of 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker.

Profile by David Spence.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

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