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Black Knight (IX)

Real Name: Sir Percy of Scandia
Occupation: Knight of the Round Table of King Arthur Pendragon
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Knight and citizen of England
Former Aliases: None
Place of Birth: Camelot Castle, England
Place of Death: Garrett Castle, England
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: King Arthur Pendragon (distant cousin), Lady Rosamund (wife, deceased), Nathan Garrett (descendant, deceased), Dane Whitman (descendant)
Group Affiliation: Knights of the Round Table of King Arthur Pendragon
Base of Operations: Camelot, later Garrett Castle, England
First Modern Appearance: MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #17
Final Appearance (as a living men): MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #17

History: Sir Percy of Scandia was born at the castle of King Arthur Pendragon in England during the first years of Arthur's reign in the sixth century A.D. Percy's father was a distant cousin of King Arthur Pendragon of Camelot, and was Arthur's ally in battle during the king's youth, as well as a friend of Arthur's advisor, the wizard Merlin. When Percy was a child, and Arthur securely in power, Percy and his parents moved to their estate in Scandia, the area now known as Scandinavia. Following Merlin's advice, Percy's parents had the boy educated in all known forms of combat, in which Percy proved to be a master. Merlin had plans for Percy, who won knighthood in his adolescence, for Merlin knew that a great warrior would be necessary to battle the coming dangers to Arthur's throne and thus to stave off the fall of Camelot for as long as possible. One of the principal sources of danger was Arthur's illegitimate son by his half-sister Morgause, Mordred. Arthur welcomed Mordred into Camelot, where he was euphemistically referred to as the king's "nephew," but Merlin knew that Mordred would conspire to bring about Arthur's death and to seize the throne himself. Merlin needed a warrior who could stop Mordred but whose identity would remain a secret, so that Mordred could not have him killed.

After the death of Percy's parents, Merlin sent a message to Sir Percy, summoning him to Camelot and telling him what to do once he arrived there. At Camelot Sir Percy sought and received sanctuary from King Arthur upon telling the king that Sir Percy's lands in Scandia had been seized by the Baron of Emsore. In fact, the lands were still under Sir Percy's control. At court Sir Percy played the role of a timid fop upon Merlin's instructions, so that no one would suspect how dangerous an opponent Sir Percy could be. Merlin then took Sir Percy aside, explained to him the dangers that Mordred posed, and gave him the armor and enchanted sword, the Ebony Blade, that he would use in his new identity of the Black Knight

Over the following years the Black Knight foiled numerous plots by Mordred against the king, although he was long unable to gain proof of Mordred's treachery to give to Arthur. The Black Knight also played a major role in defeating various other foes of Arthur and of Camelot. His greatest adversary proved to be the sorceress Morgan Le Fey, who was Arthur's half-sister and the aunt of Mordred. After the Black Knight led Arthur's forces in a tremendous battle against the forces of Morgan and of Mordred which ended in Morgan's and Mordred's defeat, Merlin cast a spell which prevented Morgan from physically existing in this dimension outside the castle in which she had been entrapped.

At some point in his career, Sir Percy of Scandia married King Arthur's ward, the Lady Rosamund, to whom he had revealed his secret identity. Sir Percy, using the wealth from his estate in Scandia, built the castle now known as Garrett Castle in England, and there he and Lady Rosamund went to live arid raised their children.

Finally, after the revelation of the affair between the king's wife and Sir Lancelot threw England into civil war, Mordred openly gathered armies to lead against the forces of King Arthur. Merlin's astral form appeared to the Black Knight and directed him to ride to Garrett Castle to plan strategy with Arthur for the final battle against Mordred's forces. But due to sorcerous menaces that attacked him along the way, the Black Knight was unable to reach Garrett Castle until after that final battle had been fought. During that battle Arthur and Mordred had mortally wounded each other. The dying Mordred ordered a few of his remaining men to bring him to Garrett Castle where they could ambush his other great foe, the Black Knight. Mordred had learned that by Merlin's enchantment, the Black Knight could not be killed as long as he held his mystical ebony black blade except by a weapon made of the same meteor as the blade. Upon entering Garrett Castle Mordred's men attacked the Black Knight. The Black Knight drove them off, but then Mordred struck the Black Knight from behind with a dagger made from the same meteor as the ebony blade. Mordred immediately died. Merlin appeared before the dying Black Knight and cast a spell upon him that would enable the Knight's own spirit to return to Earth whenever Mordred's spirit returned to do evil.

In the twentieth century a descendant of Sir Percy's, Nathan Garrett, visited Garrett Castle and met the ghost of Sir Percy. Sir Percy presented Garrett with the opportunity to battle evil as a new Black Knight, but Garrett failed to prove worthy through his inability to draw the original Black Knight's Ebony Blade from its scabbard near Sir Percy's tomb. But Garrett was inspired to use his scientific knowledge to launch his career as the criminal Black Knight.

After Garrett's death, his sisters son, Dace Whitman adopted the role of the Black Knight, but acted as a heroic crusader not as a criminal. Visiting Garrett Castle, which he had inherited from his uncle, Whitman encountered Sir Percy's ghost. Sir Percy told Whitman of the Ebony Blade, and when Whitman tried to draw it from its scabbard, he succeeded where his uncle had failed. After successfully battling the demonic guardian of the sword, Whitman left the castle with the enchanted blade, which became his principal weapon. From time to time when he had need of his ancestor's counsel, Whitman would summon Sir Percy's spirit by lighting an enchanted brazier in a secret room in Garrett Castle,

The spirit of Sir Percy was bound to this so-called Brazier of Truth due to a curse on the Ebony Blade that prevented him from going to his proper place in the hereafter. Merlin had created a bond between the sword and its wielder when he forged it. Although Sir Percy was one of the noblest and most heroic men of his time, he had committed some "evil" deeds (presumably the taking of others' lives in combat, however justified those killings may have been). This "evil" cursed the Ebony Blade, inducing its present wielder, Dane Whitman, to commit further acts of bloodshed while he participated in the Crusades after he journeyed back in time to the Twelfth Century.

After convincing Whitman of the sword's malevolence, the sorcerer Doctor Stephen Strange instructed him to purge the Ebony Blade of its curse by plunging it into the Brazier of Truth. Whitman did so, shattering the Brazier and thus freeing Sir Percy's spirit from all ties with the Earthly plane. Commending the current Black Knight, Sir Percy's Spirit ascended to his reward. It is possible that Sir Percy now inhabits Otherworld, the extradimensional realm where King Arthur and Merlin's daughter Roma dwell.

Height: 5 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 180 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond

Strength Level: In life the Black Knight possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engaged in intensive regular exercise.

Known Superhuman Powers: In life the Black Knight possessed no superhuman powers. The nature and extent of his supernatural powers as a spirit are unknown.

Abilities: The Black Knight was a master of swordsmanship, of horseback riding, and of all forms of combat known in Britain at the time of Camelot.

Weapons: The Ebony Blade, forged from a meteorite by Merlin, possesses a number of unusual properties, some innate to the metal, and others due to magical enchantments. The sword is extraordinarily hard and invulnerable to all harm. Weighing fifty pounds, the sword is capable of cleaving through any substance up to foot-thick steel, with the probable exception of Adamantium. Its mystical properties include an immunity to magic. The sword can deflect mystical energy and shatter mystical barriers and shields. When angled in a certain way, the Ebony Blade will absorb energy. It is not known whether this latter capability of the sword is due to a physical property of the blade's metal or to an enchantment. For unknown reasons contact with the Ebony Blade once caused the Grey Gargoyle to change back from his stone-like form into his normal human one.

Merlin created a magical bond between the sword and its prime wielder (the original Black Knight and his successor) enabling that wielder, through arcane means, to transport himself magically to the sword or the sword magically to himself should the sword be separated from its wielder.

Merlin also placed an enchantment on the Ebony Blade such that the wielder of the sword could not be killed (although he could be injured) while he carried it, except by a weapon made from the same meteor as the Ebony Blade.

Due to the mystical bond that Merlin created between the Ebony Blade and its prime wielder, "evil" acts of bloodshed committed with the sword by its wielder with mystically taint the sword. The Ebony Blade will then mystically induce its wielder to commit further acts of bloodshed. The present wielder of the Ebony Blade, Dane Whitman, the Twentieth Century's Black Knight, purged the Ebony Blade of evil by plunging it into the enchanted Brazier of Truth, but should Whitman use the sword for "evil" ends, its malevolent influence will begin and start to grow once more.

NOTE: In New Excalibur #12 (2006) Percy told Dane Whitman that there were eight men before him who were also known as the Black Knight. All of whom were consumed by the sword, the Ebony Blade, and had to be "put down."

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