Caleb is awkward. He’s not great in social situations, often not saying/doing the right thing or misreading a person/situation. He doesn’t like being the center of attention and, the moment he finds himself in a situation that makes him uncomfortable, he tends to shut-down. He’ll 100% avoid something that he doesn’t like rather than deal with it. This inevitably leads to him being fairly isolated, especially as he doesn’t like to talk about himself, and he tends to avoiding asking people questions about themselves for fear of them turning it around on him. The few friendships he has had have been over the internet because it was easier to maintain the level of intimacy he preferred.
Caleb’s childhood and his time on the streets have given him a strong survival instinct, though he’ll probably just tell you he’s a coward. His chief concerns are making sure he has the basic necessities that will ensure he lives to see another day and he’d definitely rather run from danger than face it. He believes in taking what you can when you can and always looking out for yourself. He’s indiscriminate about who he’ll lie to or steal money from.
That said, once Caleb’s friendship is gained, its unshakable. He has the capacity to care deeply for people and he’ll look out for those he cares about. If he feels he owes someone, he’ll do almost anything for them.
Spellcasting: Caleb can create and cast various spells. In order to cast a spell, Caleb must first have created it and written it down in his notebook. Currently, the process for creating spells is hit-or-miss. It requires a kind of meditative state in which the correct words or symbols come to him. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes the result is something he wasn’t expecting. In the future, he may learn to have better control over this. Once the spells have been created and written down, he can use them at will.
The use of spells requires on drawing on his own energy reserves, however, and after a time they’ll become depleted and he’ll be exhausted. He’ll need to rest before he’ll be able to spell cast again.
Eidetic memory, drawing, reading
Reading (especially fantasy and romance, or, better yet, any combination of the two), Dungeons & Dragons, his cat
TW: Mentions of abuse, brain-washing, and murder.
Caleb was seven when he and his family immigrated to the United States. They moved to New Jersey and settled in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t long before they discovered that opportunities in America weren’t as easy to come by as they were led to believe and they found themselves struggling. Money was tight, and, though both his parents had been teachers in Germany, they were having trouble finding a job. Imperfect English and accents were, apparently, a dealbreaker for people who felt such things were more important than skill or work ethic. Unfortunately, that turned out to be most people. Eventually, though, his mother found work as a maid while his father was taken on as a high school janitor.
In the time that followed, they were a happy family, though they still often struggled financially. Caleb grew into a quiet, but inquisitive child. He was an awkward boy too and that, combined with his accent, unfortunately made him the butt of other children’s jokes. He quickly learned to keep to himself and instead buried himself in books. From an early age, he had a love for stories of magic. He gobbled up anything that had to do with it, from folklore to mythology to fantasy. If he wasn’t reading stories about them, he was writing his own, making up entire worlds with magics and heroes all of their own.
At around twelve, Caleb was alone in his room, idly sketching made-up words and symbols in a notebook for a story he was thinking of writing when an orange tabby cat hopped in through the window. Caleb named the cat ‘Frumpkin’ and the two became inseparable with Frumpkin following Caleb everywhere and seemingly even following his commands. Now, looking back, Caleb knows it wasn't coincidence and that his mutation called Frumpkin into existence. It is hard to ignore, that as he was drawing in his notebook, he was wishing for a friend.
There were similar incidents here and there in the time that followed. Objects were seemingly created from thin air, or changed from one thing into another. Caleb even lit a small fire once. And all of it happened while he was sketching in his notebook. Sometimes he would be drawing with intent, making up spells and symbols for a story or a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, other times it would happen when he found himself zoning out and doodling in his notebook. Though he wished it was magic at work, Caleb knew what was happening. Mutants were all over the news, so it was hard not to. Terrified of what might happen, he kept what he was a secret, all the while experimenting with and practicing his mutation and, sometimes, he was maybe not as careful as he should have been.
During this time, Caleb was discovered by a mutant calling himself Trent. He took Caleb under his wing and trained him alongside two other mutants. His treatment of them see-sawed between fatherly and downright abusive. He convinced them of a mutant’s place in the world, and that it was their job to protect human and mutants alike from both outside threats and themselves. Caleb’s confidence grew. He felt as if he’d found a place he’d belonged and that he had a purpose, and, though life under Trent’s tutelage was not always easy, he had been convinced to believe it was necessary. It was these lessons that would make him the person the world needed.
One night, when Caleb was 14, he overheard his parents discussing mutants. They were questioning their superiority and worrying that they could be dangerous. It was exactly the kind of talk Caleb had been told to watch out for. Horrified, he went and told Trent the next day. He discovered the other two children had recently heard their parents engaging in similar discussion. Without actually ever saying it, Trent told them the only solution was to kill their parents. One by one, they went to each of their parents homes and killed them. Caleb’s parents were last. They lit the apartment on fire. Caleb was so sure, until he heard his parents screaming.
That night broke Caleb. No longer of use to Trent and having failed his test, he was abandoned and left to fend for himself. Out of his mind with grief, guilt, and regret, Caleb wandered the streets. He didn’t get far before he was snatched up almost six months later by the Right, who had been keeping an eye on him. He was knocked unconscious and, when he awoke, found himself in a small cell. To this day, Caleb isn’t sure if the mutant who healed him within his first few days there was under orders or not, but heal him she did and the fog of madness lifted from Caleb’s brain and, with it, the false memories.
Caleb realized that the conversation that he’d overheard between his parents had never happened. It had been a false memory planted in his head by Trent who had been testing him. He was in the Right’s captivity for another two days before he tried to spellcast by pricking his fingers on a broken, plastic spoon and writing in his own blood on his sheets. His punishment was a new training exercise--Being forced to spellcast fire and use it to burn corpses. The sight and smell of fire sent Caleb into a panic attack. From then on, he got a pat down whenever he left a room, and he stopped trying to escape. There was only one way to survive in a place like this—Keep his head down, do what he was told, and don’t cause any trouble. Inevitably, this caused him to become something of a poster boy to the Right who saw his compliancy as trainability.
The days fell into a routine for Caleb from then on. Get up, eat, train, eat, go to bed. Even though it was universally agreed that he'd make for a very poor soldier, training for Caleb was about the same as it was for anyone else--They taught him how to use his abilities to hurt people. Fire creation and manipulation was a favorite of theirs. He burned holograms mostly. Pigs, occasionally. And, sometimes, just to remind him, corpses. He was also assigned daily to transmuting objects into gold to fund their organization. He leaned a few other tricks as well, slowly gaining a better understanding of his mutation.
During his stay, Caleb met a mutant who called herself Nott. Nott quickly endeared herself to Caleb by stealing him a book from a guard. Though the book was confiscated soon after, the friendship between the two remained and they took to looking after each other. It all came to a crashing halt in late January, however, when Caleb spoke out of turn in support of Nott who was being harassed by a guard. Such an out-of-character concerned the staff who’d already been wary of the growing friendship between Nott and Caleb, so Caleb was beaten as punishment and then shipped off to a different facility.
In his new home, Caleb decided to return to his old motto—Keep his head down, do what he was told, and don’t cause any trouble. Somehow, though, he fell in with Clint and Molly. Even now, he’s still not sure how that happened.
Recently, Caleb was broken out of the Right’s facility along with Molly and Clint by X-Force.