Portrayed by Omar Sharif
|Known Aliases:||The Shadow King|
|Socked By:||Doqz - all logs must be approved by the mods before posting|
|Introduction:||June 18, 2007|
Amahl Farouk is a telepath of considerable talents whose psi-abilities began to diminish several years ago. A History Professor from the University of Cairo, he used a teaching position at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngstersas a cover while he sought Charles Xavier’s advice as to controlling the cause of his ailment, the Shadow King. Following his 'cure', he wound up associated with X-Force.
Character Journal: x_shadow_king
Real Name: Amahl Farouk
Aliases: Professor (semi-mocking nickname within the Alamut).
First Appearance: June 18, 2007
Date of Birth: April 22, 1961
Place of Birth: Beirut, Lebanon
Relatives: Grandparents; parents (deceased); wife and children (deceased)
Education: A Ph. D in history from the University of Cairo
Relationship Status: Widower
Occupation: Professor of History, University of Cairo; teacher of advanced history at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
Team Affiliation: Ozymandias.
Early Life and the Alamut
Amahl Farouk was born in 1961 in Beirut, Lebanon to an Egyptian Coptic father and a Palestinian refugee mother.
He was a teenager during the civil war that erupted in Lebanon in the 1980s. His family was part of a fairly affluent upper crust of Lebanon urban society, although it (and he) did experience social alienation due to their outsider status.
Unusually, he was an only child, contributing to the close-knit relationship between him and his parents, which was strengthened by the estrangement from his father’s parents. The latter disowned their son for marrying beneath his status and outside the faith. Both of Farouk’s parents were active in contemporary political scene but neither was fervently religious and his father was outright contemptuous of the faith, seeing Pan-Arabism and socialism as the way forward for the region.
At a young age Farouk witnessed a mob lynching of a recently manifested mutant on the street, literally tearing the unfortunate girl apart.
The shock of the event had a two-fold effect:
1 - the subconscious block it engendered delayed his own manifestation until fairly late in life;
2 – it created a fascination with the mutants that defined his academic career in many ways.
He lost his family (parents, wife and both daughters) during the war, despite his strident attempts to stay out of the fighting, and it greatly affected his character. It cemented the cynicism toward the religion he already inherited from his father, provoked the long-delayed manifestation of his mutancy and defined what would become his life-long obsession. (In course of his convalescence he became convinced that the person responsible for his family’s death is a malevolent, long-lived entity that has an unexplained vendetta toward him.)
His graduate studies in history contributed to his obsession, evolving into a complex theory about a perennially reincarnated mutant known as En Sabeh Nur who had been alive for several thousand years, preparing to take over the world. Mere hints of this thesis had almost cost Farouk his academic career and so he kept it primarily to himself after that. At this point only a handful of people in the world are aware of his theory.
Over the years Farouk has built a significant set of contacts within the fairly sophisticated network dedicated to protecting mutants in the Middle East and/or helping them leave the region - the Alamut.
As with any organization there are factions and doctrinal differences – the biggest being over whether or not the organization should undertake centralization (currently it is much more of an oligarchy) and expansion. Farouk is especially the advocate of latter, arguing that at the current strength the organization is increasingly undermanned and dependent on outsiders, considering the geographic scope of their operation (Maghreb to Iran).
By necessity (considering its semi-clandestine status and predilection for working through intermediaries) there is considerable interaction between the mutant community and the regional criminal networks, and it is within this gray area in between the two groups that Farouk established himself as a middle man and information broker, warily trusted by most factions in the region.
The Alamut is especially dependent on outsiders for ‘direct action’ operations: a typical example of which was extraction of a Sudanese mutant businessman kidnapped by Janjaweed militiamen who suspected him of selling arms to Haraka Tahrir Sudanin in Darfur. Lacking any assets in the area the Alamut, through Farouk, negotiated with Achmed el-Gibar who in turn, for a modest fee, convinced the local drug runners to ‘procure’ the man and get him out of the country.
Through a successful series of such operations, Farouk has fairly recently began to approach the stature which would allow him to wield real influence within the community. In this context he sees his slipping powers as a catastrophe, since the strength of one’s powers is the predominant measure of status in the mutant society of the Alamut.
The field of Mutant History, was fairly narrow and, until Farouk, was largely dominated by the Modernist School first articulated by Stanislav Li, and tangentially supported by Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr in the papers they published in 1980s. Tangentially, since the papers dealt primarily with political and scientific theory of the Mutant Question, rather than historical theory per se. The Modernist school of thought considers 20th century (specifically the second half of the 1900s) to be the natural starting point of Homo Superior Era.
Farouk, on the other hand, is the proponent (and the virtual founder) of the Critical Mass theory. He contests that the evidence that the mutants have lived within, or presided over, the human community can be found in most recorded and oral traditions.
Their visibility, in his view, achieved such high degree in the 20th century largely due to the mutant population having achieved critical mass that could not longer be dismissed in the world where scientific method has become the predominant cultural paradigm, and the surveillance and population control methods have improved drastically.
Over the years the historical scholarship of the Modernist School gradually split as the politics of the Mutant Question began to heat up. Moderates advocating integration, as a rule, tend to the original Modernist model (now usually referred to as the Classical), but the proponents of the Genetic Superiority thesis (claiming the title of the revisionists) have began to give much more credence to the Critical Mass model, re-interpreting it to provide theoretical underpinnings for his program of genetically superior Elite which had rightfully dominated Homo Sapiens since the beginning of time.
Much of the work in that area had been bankrolled by the Eris corporation, incidentally. However, Farouk considers most latest academic papers by the proponents of the Revisionist School to be… academically unsound and overly politicized (would be the mildest terms he uses) in their attempts to trace every pantheon and witch-doctor to a real-life mutant historical figure.
The debate shows no sign of being settled in academia by one way or the other and has all the makings of an infinite polemic, with all sides having invested too much prestige into their thesis to admit defeat.
Coming To Xavier's
Suffering a mysterious ailment that appears to have some sort of psychic component, Farouk contacted Charles in order to obtain some kind of treatment. In return, Charles invited him to the States as a teacher at the school. Farouk’s aims while at school are straight-forward. Farouk also plans to ask Xavier to put him in touch with Muir, as a precaution, for the present he and Xavier have agreed that his problem is not medically urgent and does not appear to be physically-induced in its nature. Thus for now he sees the environment of Westchester with its contingent of powerful and experienced telepaths as the best environment for an attempt to solve the mystery of his ailment.
As a certain quid pro quo Xavier asked him to take on call-teaching while at school, as a way of boosting the school’s academic credentials. Farouk was happy to oblige, since he was beginning to feel constrained by government oversight of Cairo University and the pressure from the local religious community.
Amahl's international political connections proved to be beneficial to the school, as a few months after his arrival in New York he provided secret assistance to Sooraya Qadir as she, and others from the school, traveled to Afghanistan after two Canadian aid workers were killed. When an Iranian mutant with the rumored power to enrich uranium was discovered, Farouk traveled to Israel to try and strike a deal wherein the mutant would be relocated to one of Russia's satellite states. He also managed to find the Mossad contact who first broke the news.
The Shadow King
Amahl's illness caught up with him and he was forced to undergo surgery. During the anesthetic, the source of his illness was revealed to be a psionic entity called the Shadow King. The parasite made its move against Cain Marko, and when the mansion's psis attempted to trap the entity they found themselves stuck on the Astral plane. Eventually, by using a human priest as a focus, the astral plane was 'rebooted', allowing Farouk to cage the Shadow King in his own mind once more and awoke just in time to find X-Force preparing to kill him.
With everything back to normal, Farouk was called upon again to use his political contacts and wrangled the release of a group of Xavier's students from Cuba. Then after a nuclear mutant explosion in an Indian city, Farouk's web of contacts proved to be useful once more in locating the surviving member of the Sons of Bakr. He was also integral in trading information with Calysee.
During the attack on New York, after a mass of deaths from a falling bridge caused backlash to Xavier, forcing him out of commission, Farouk took the helm of Cerebro and used it to help communicate with all the teams in the city. Once the dust settled, Farouk, having become impatient with Amanda's reluctant magical tutelage decided to take matters into his own hands. This didn't prove to be the smartest move ever, and he was almost became a host for an interdimensional entity in Paris. Fortunately, Wanda and Amanda were able to save him and granted him a tour of the occult network to satisfy his curiosity. Later, he returned the favor and brought Wanda to Romany Wisdom when Wanda was attacked by the magic users who had helped anchor her during the Shadow King incident.
In April, Farouk attended the Erfurt International Symposium on Mutation a conference on mutancy and changes involved in global security.
In June, after a meeting with the Alamut to discuss the world political situation and India's increasing political strength, Farouk found himself on the run from Indian agents and tried the mansion with a number of unsuccessful phone calls to try and get some help. After finally Doreen finally relayed a message to Garrison's father, the two of them teamed up and head to Madripoor to rescue a missing diplomat. In making a deal with Lilandra regarding his freedom to travel, Farouk was disconcerted - but not terribly surprised - to discover he had been betrayed by a member of his own group. His response was to take an even lower profile, distancing himself from those in the mansion in an effort to protect either them, or, more likely, himself.
Six months after the India incident, Farouk revealed to the Alamut that Calysee Neramani had been taken from her house arrest as a part of of a possible plot by her brother D. Ken to use her abduction and likely murder as a reason to invade Pakistan. The Alamut was divided on whether or not they should intervene and, frustrated, Farouk began his own investigation, utilising such old contacts as Father Andrew Connelly and Esteban's mother. The trail led toward apocalyptical prophecy, with all signs pointing towards Calysee being set up as the fabled 'Babylon Woman', intended to herald the end of the world. As the conspiracy unfolded, Farouk and Garrison Kane were (separately) captured by the Opus Dei and the Templars and the Alamut wiped out, due to the actions of the traitor within their ranks, Jacob Reisz. With the help of the London Hellfire Club's Red Rook, Jane Hampshire, Esteban's mother, a Vatican agent by the name of Stick and the Shadow King, Farouk and Kane stopped the ritual, only for the mysterious En Sabeh Nur - the mysterious "Ozymandias" of Farouk's lifelong researches - appearing and taking Calysee away, naming her the "Deathbird".
The bizarre incident shook Farouk to the core. Stripped of the organisation he had created and mourning the loss of many friends, he became stranger and more paranoid. The paranoia seemed appropriate, as he was attacked during the Pakistan earthquake aid operation by Templars and was barely rescued by Kevin Ford and Carmilla Black. Templars dealt with, the three then had to band together to fend off Pulsar, a member of the Imperial Guard.
In May, Farouk left the mansion, not feeling safe and preferring to rely on his own resources. He rejected an offer of CIA protection from David Langstrom and handed Remy LeBeau his Ozymandias file in the event something might happen to him. In return, he agreed to lend his expertise and connections to X-Force when required.
The pressure of his life off the radar began to impact on Farouk, as X-Force discovered when they called him in to assist in a operation against Von Strucker's remaining assets. Farouk was unkempt and sleep-deprived, using drugs to keep himself alert and trusting no-one. He took part in the operation and assisted Emma Frost in telepathically 'encouraging' a NATO general and his staff to act as a human shield when the mission went awry, but it was touch and go whether his erratic behaviour was an act or whether it was his actual state.
In August 2011 he went missing, leaving only a tenuous trail of esoteric connections behind him for Garrison Kane, Amanda Sefton and Wanda Maxioff to follow. Too late they pieced the puzzle together: Farouk had already fallen into the hands of his long-time obsession and foe, En-Sabeh-Nur and was forcibly joined with the creature Bloodscream as part of an ancient prophecy. His whereabouts - and in fact his physical and mental state - are unknown.
Weight: 170 pounds (when he’s in good health – less, at the moment of his introduction to the game)
Other Features: A bullet scar below his left shoulder.
Farouk’s powers manifested when he was in his late twenties, triggered by the deaths of his wife and daughters. Initially a broad-spectrum psi capable of telepathy and telekinesis, his abilities steadily diminished over the years, leaving his only with a form of projective telepathy – the latter being his strongest ability by far from the outset.
While he continues to maintain an intricate control of the powers that are still available to him, Farouk is not able to do much more than maintaining his mental shield and creating what he calls his ‘Ghost Dance” - illusions that are utterly convincing to other people.
While his disease affects his strength, Farouk maintains meticulous control over his powers, able to summon and dissipate his Ghost dance at will.
The original extent of his power is fairly substantial in terms of telepathy, his telekinesis was always very crude and rather weak. At his peak, (i.e. the first year of his manifestation) he could have probably given Xavier a run for his money. However, he will never reach that that kind of strength again and his primary ability will remain projective telepathy and manipulation of brain/sensory interaction. This is likely to be enhanced in terms of the fact that he spent considerable time learning to do more with less. His control over his power is thus likely to be better than of most.
The closest person he has to a friend is his homosexual butler, Esteban Trotsky.
Operation: Anansesem cont'
PB: Omar Sharif
Farouk was originally brought into XP in 2007 as a PC. Doqz originally intended to apply for the game back in 2003, creating the x_farouk journal. Following the Sing Me A Prayer plot in August 2011, he went on extended hiatus due to RL commitments. In December 2012, he agreed to make the character an NPC/villain, in much the same way Nathaniel Essex had been.