He wasn’t born with a name. He was born with half a brain, and an aggressively deformed body, and he scared pretty much anyone who saw him. He lived in isolation in a desolate Norwegian cottage for the early parts of his life; instinctively developing the skills to hunt animals for sustenance. But he also had an intensely innate longing for human companionship, and , fortunately for him, he also had a metaphysical ability to create a sense of fondness and longing in others to be in his presence.
In fact, it is this ability that earned him the name “Sven Stockholm” – taken from the syndrome of the same name, which suggests the victim of a kidnapper would, or could become dependent, or even biased toward their victimizer. Over several decades Sven captured and kidnapped dozens and dozens of people. And just as many rescue missions were implemented to bring those people back. Sven’s hyper-strength made it difficult for normal humans to engage him, so heroes were usually sent. But even after defeating him, the Stockholm syndrome he imbued in his victims would be the greatest challenge when attempting to free someone from his clutches.
Sven Stockholm was born with hyper-strength and nearly impenetrable skin. He also possesses a metaphysical ability, with which he emits an aura that causes people, and other living things to, want to be around him and stay in his presence.
Unfortunately, many of his victims would grow so fond of him that they would rather end their own existence than be taken from him, which meant many of the stories involving Sven Stockholm ended in tragedy. This was almost the case, when the creature traveled to South Carolina, and kidnapped a man by the name of M’Deigh Rogers, who was the lead sheriff of Summerville, South Carolina, and had recently gained a bit of international notoriety for bringing light to social injustice and police brutality issues in his city and state. Tapped by President Enid Remington and Vice President Lawrence Mitchell to speak out at national events, campaign rallies and political TV programs, M’Deigh was making a name for himself.
After watching him for several weeks on the television, Sven decided he wanted M’Deigh to be his friend, and so he went to South Carolina, and paid Sheriff Rogers a visit. Little did he know that M’Deigh just happened to be married to Genesis Philadelphia, a member of the Veil, and a skilled swordswoman and assassin. When he busted into the house, however, Genesis’s sword was not within reach. M’Deigh pulled out his firearm and unloaded his clip at the creature, but Sven was unaffected by the bullets, and simply batted the gun aside. The tactically skilled Genesis attempted to engage him in hand-to-hand combat, but with his incredible strength he was able to easily dispatch of her, injuring her internally in the process. Moments later, Sven had secured M’Deigh, and begun his journey back to his cottage in the icy Norwegian wastelands.
It wasn’t long before Disa Philadelphia and the other Veil hunters found out about what had happened, however, because of the fallout from the Virginia Ice Legion’s Gate incident several months prior, the Veil was unable to allocate the proper resources to launch an adequate search and rescue mission. It was a hard reality to accept, but Genesis had to come to terms with the fact that she may never see her husband again.
Quintonice Philadelphia, (the daughter of M’Deigh and Genesis) however, was not willing to accept that reality. For some time, she had been hiding away with off-the-grid Veil hunter Nirmala Sardis because of her own controversial incident, which ended with the death of some of her fellow classmates at Platinum City University. But when she heard Sven Stockholm had taken her father captive, she begged Nirmala to help her get him back. After initially refusing, the seasoned Veil hunter finally agreed to the mission.
But before setting off, they would need to recruit some help. Again, the vast majority of the seasoned hunters were either dealing with the fallout from the Legion’s Gate event, or, like Peter Philadelphia, were in exile. But there were some hunters who were available, capable, and willing – the Veil students at Quin’s old school, Platinum City University. She and Nirmala traveled to the institution, and successfully recruited the prodigy hunter Nidia Sardis, and Quin’s best friend, Terrance Smyrna. But that wasn’t all. They also approached the rebel student hunter, Xylia Laodicea, who jumped at the opportunity to use her blades in aggression. Then, they sought out Zane Kicklighter, a student who was actually not a Veil hunter himself, but had been raised by Veil hunters. It didn’t hurt that he was also a powerful pyrokinetic hyper-being.
The crew was using an off-campus apartment, rented by Veil hunter Mio Sardis, to sharpen their blades and prepare for their departure, when a key turned in the lock, and the door flew open. They all brandished their weapons in anticipation. But they quickly realized they didn’t need them, as their visitor was revealed to be Amethyst Nagamatsu. She was the former roommate of Mio, and had extensive knowledge of the Veil, and the ghost orphans they were tasked with hunting. Also, being a well-read grad student, and an advocate for social justice, Amy was quickly able to figure out that Quintonice, Terrence, Xylia, Zane and Nidia were about to go rescue M’Deigh Rogers from Sven Stockholm. And finally, she wanted in.
The fact that Amethyst had no natural hyper-abilities or combat skills, coupled with the details of her own family tree, which included ghost orphans and hyper-villains, made her inclusion on the squad a hard sell. However, it was actually her lineage that eventually earned her a place among them, as her para-powered aunts had gifted her with an amulet that gave her the ability to summon and control a specific set of ghastly and ghostly creatures. Quintonice welcomed her to the team, and they set out to find Sven, and rescue M’Deigh.
A few days later, Nirmala and the Veil kids located the remote cottage, and launched an attack! Sven, however, had grown accustomed to fending off attackers, and retaliated. His brute strength was an absolute terror to deal with, and in many instances, Quintonice, Nidia, Terrence and Xylia were tossed aside when trying to engage him head-on. Zane hit him with multiple fire-blasts, throwing the monster off balance, but still, he could not be felled. Amethyst unleashed a pair of ghost-spirits on him, which proved to be effective for a while. However, the creature was able to withstand that as well. Nirmala’s experience, of course, proved to be the most detrimental to Sven, but his strength soon overwhelmed her.
They realized that ultimately, they would not be able to defeat Sven, so instead they turned their attention to surviving his onslaught, retrieving M’Deigh, and getting out of their alive. As the others kept the brute occupied, Quintonice was able to break into the cottage and locate her father. But, just as with all of Sven’s victims, M’Deigh had grown to love being in his presence, and was willing to fight his own daughter if she tried to take him away. It was Nirmala who burst into the house and hit M’Deigh with the hilt of her sword, knocking him unconscious. Unable to carry the sleeping man themselves, Amethyst summoned one of her ghost spirits to pick him up and carry him out. Zane then unleashed a blast of fire that caused an avalanche from a nearby mountain to bury Sven and his cottage, allowing Nirmala and the Children of the Veil to escape.
It would take a few months and the work of counselors, mystics and hyper-cogs, but M’Deigh was eventually cured of his attachment to Sven. It would also take a couple of month for Sven to dig himself out from under the snow, and rebuild his cottage. But he did so without any complaint or animosity, and instead fixed his gaze on a new victim.