Cali Mara was born and raised in East Cleveland, and after graduating from Oberlin College, found a great job working as an assistant wedding planner in her hometown. She would eventually befriend and fall in love with Adam Hunter, a guy who lived in her building. They had been dating for a while, when Adam found a collection of hyper-diamonds. There were more than two dozen stones, and each of them gave Adam a different amazing hyper-ability. Cali helped him to construct a super-suit, and he soon became the powerful cosmic hero known as Stratosphere.
Stratosphere became the primary defender and protector of a cluster of far-off sentient planets called the Atramental. Through the use of one of the hyper-diamonds Stratosphere was able to communicate with the sentient planets. It wasn’t long after he had rid the Atramental Cluster of the space-pirates, who had been using horridly painful drills to mine the shimmering black minerals of which the planets were made of, that he asked Cali to marry him. She said yes, and they planned two incredible weddings – one in Cleveland with their earthly friends and family, and another on the planet Bloshimio in the Atramental Cluster.
Ebony Raven possesses a hyper-diamond, which gives her control over a mysterious, black energy. It allows her to fly and move at the speed of light, and it infuses her with enhanced strength and durability. She can also produce force-fields, and emit blasts of energy from her hands.
As a wedding present, Stratosphere gifted one of his hyper-diamonds to Cali. The stone imbued her with a powerful black energy, which allowed her to fly, move at the speed of light, and breath in outer space, without the assistance of her husband’s powers. She had also gained increased strength and durability. She took on the name “Ebony Raven”, and The Atramental now had a duo defending them, which was a good thing, because the space-pirates continued to attack the cluster with more and more ferocity. Despite their constant onslaught, however, the pirates could never quite defeat the team of Stratosphere and Ebony Raven.
Then came the day when Stratosphere decided to take a trip back to Earth to visit his family. Cali didn’t have any living relatives, so she would oftentimes stay with the Atramental during Stratosphere’s journey back to the Third Rock. Along with her black energy hyper-diamond, she kept the Atramental communication stone as well. They kissed each other goodbye and he flew off.
After several weeks, Stratosphere had still yet to return. This was out of the ordinary, as he was never gone for more than a few days. The next attack by the space-pirates made it clear what had happened – as during the battle it was revealed that two of the pirates, Ridex and Karadian, had followed Adam to Earth, and ambushed him in his sleep. They had beaten him and kidnapped him, taking his super-suit in the process. Luckily, the pirates believed that his powers derived strictly from the suit, and so they didn’t look for the box of hyper-diamonds that was stashed in the basement of his East Cleveland house at the time of their attack.
The space-pirates were now demanding she leave the Atramental undefended, and allow them to resume mining the shimmery black minerals, or they would kill her husband, whom they were holding captive in their stronghold a couple of light years away. Ebony Raven managed to fend off the invasion, and after taking a little time to regain her strength, she flew out to the space pirates’ hideout to rescue her husband. She was met by dozens of ships, and hundreds of heavily armed cosmic swashbucklers! She charged up her black energy, and went to work. The battle was brutal, as she was pushed to find the extreme power limits of the hyper-diamond in order to just survive, let alone punch through to where Adam was being held. In fact, she was on the verge of being overwhelmed and destroyed, when several Atramental planets showed up.
She was confused by their appearance, for the Atramental were extremely docile, and non-confrontational by nature. However, Raven soon realized that the shimmery black material they were made of could be used to recharge and enhance the power of the black energy hyper-diamond. With over a dozen Atramental orbiting around her, she was now over twelve times as powerful! She re-engaged the space-pirates and laid waste to their forces, allowing her to finally break through and find her husband. He was being kept in an oxygen chamber, in which he had to stay, lest he suffocate in the vacuum of space, as he was unable to exist in the harsh conditions without his hyper-diamonds.
After the battle ended, Ebony Raven positioned the chamber on the surface of one of the Atramental planets, and they all traveled back to the cluster. Over the next year, Ebony used her black energy to create oxygen for him, as he recovered from his extensive injuries. It was a few months before he awoke from his coma, but when he did, he immediately told his wife that the hyper-diamonds were in their house, back on Earth. With her husband in a more stable condition, she was able to move him to an oxygen-based planet not far from the Atramental Cluster called Gensnaf. Then, she returned to Earth.
But upon her arrival, she found that both she and Adam had been considered dead, and that funerals had already been held. Additionally, the house they lived in had been sold, and the hyper-diamonds were nowhere to be found. Cali wanted to tell their family and friends that they were in fact still alive, but it would be impossible for anyone to understand any of the circumstances surrounding the previous year. She decided the best course would be to simply leave Earth for good.
Ebony Raven took off for the Atramental Cluster, but before she had gotten too far into her journey, she suddenly found herself caught up an incredibly powerful vortex! Blindingly violent pain shot throughout her entire body like electricity, then she lost consciousness.
When she awoke, she was lying on the ground of a vast bush garden, in which every last single one of the thousands of bushes were on fire! She was startled, afraid, and extremely confused, as flames raged wildly around her. The bushes, however, were not consumed by the fire. In fact, the flames and bushes seemed to all be a part of one massive, sentient entity, which actually reacted to Ebony Raven’s movements. When she attempted to quell the flames, her black energy was easily deflected. When she tried to fly away, the flames would rage so violently and so intensely that she could not reach escape velocity.
Ebony screamed in frustration. And that’s when she heard a voice emanate from the flame-engulfed greenery. It was the voice of the goddess Sedah, and it welcomed her to the alternate universe called the 5th Oblivion. Ebony demanded that Sedah show herself, and before, long she did. The goddess informed Ebony that she and her sister, the goddess Nevaeh, are the absolute rulers of the 5th Oblivion, and that they often bring beings to their realm to participate in extreme challenges, with the promise of extreme rewards.
Ebony speculated aloud that it was her turn to be put through one of these challenges. Sedah informed her that she was correct, however, this particular event would be much different from previous 5th Oblivion adventures. For instead of the usual order in which the realm would end up shaping the lives of those who were brought into it, this time, it would be the other way around – the future of the 5th Oblivion would be determined by the actions of Ebony Raven, and the other warriors.
The hero was immediately curious about so much, but of course, her first questions was “what other warriors?” And with that, dozens of other women suddenly appeared around her. But not just any women – these were all hyper-humans, powered beings, superheroes and hyper-villains. She recognized a few incredible heroes, such as Cybernetica and Madam Deadhead of the Sista Clique, as well as Encore of the Alpha Initiative. But she also recognized some of Earth’s most dangerous hyper-villains, such as Chaos Kao Kwan of the Blue Zone Killers, Attrition, Militia, and members of the Disturbed, Hysteria and Kray Kray. Then, there were others who were clearly not even from Earth, like Carina of the Denizen Supreme, and the reapers Alva Devine and Jezabella. And finally, there were several women whom she simply did not know or recognize.
There were over thirty women present in the burning garden, and all of them were just as confused and disoriented as Ebony Raven. The goddess Sedah set out to alleviate them of their bemusement, and told them that they’d been chosen to be part of her army, the Chainmail Militia. She further explained to them that in order to be given passage from the 5th Oblivion, they would have to travel to a huge palace at the other end of the realm, and rescue a woman who simply went by the name of “Slate”.
Ebony Raven, assuming the role of spokeswoman for the group, asked why their release depended on the rescue of this mysterious woman. Sedah replied that Slate was an ethereal being, who had been chosen to rule as Empress over the 5th Oblivion for a time, while its regular rulers, herself and her sister, Nevaeh, were away. However, Slate was currently an infantile being, and her creators disagreed about how she should be developed. While Sedah believed she should be surrounded by other powerful beings who could imprint their powers and abilities onto the young girl, Nevaeh believed Slate should be allowed to grow and flourish without outside influence.
The Chainmail Militia was there to help decide which method Slate would mature under, and they would not be released from the 5th Oblivion until that was done. Their task, however, would not be easy, as a group of warriors called the Daughters of Deborah were guarding the palace that held the child. They would have to fight their way through; they would have to use every bit of strength, cunning and power they could muster; they would have to risk their lives; they would have to wage war.
And with that, Sedah disappeared, leaving Ebony Raven to prepare her Chainmail Militia for battle. The Empress Wars had begun.