A Hebdomad is an arcane principle pattern with roots that date into antiquity. Every week has seven days. Earth has seven continents. There was said to be seven seas. The rainbow has seven colors. The Lotus flower on Buddha's pedestal has 7 petals. There are seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues. There are only 7 ancient sages or Saptarishi. A group built to represent this concept always consists of seven members, each member is known as an archon and has sworn to uphold the group's sacred purpose and while they are true to this cause, the Hebdomad is protected to survive, even when it should not. Though its archons may fall, the Hebdomad blessing promises that at least one archon will survive, so long as they remain true... and if they always remain true, they will be victorious.
There have been many of these seven-strong-societies. While always formed by seven sworn to the cause, the number of their ranks may vary between one to six, as archons fall in battle or lose sight of their calling. Sometimes there may be an eighth disconnected figure which, while not part of the Hebdomad, acts as a guide or mentor known as the demiurge. As a construct tied to balance, whenever a Hebdomad is formed, whether by forces of order or forces of chaos, the universe will always cause another Hebdomad to be created in opposition to it eventually.
Knights of the Round Table
Founded in the dimension of Albion, in the nation of Camelot, the Victorious Hebdomad was originally formed around the Round Table with King Arthur and his first six knights as archons and Merlin acting as the demiurge and architect of the Hebdomad's creation. While the Knights of the Round Table may have grown in ranks exceeding seven, there always remains an inner circle of seven archons. When one archon fell in battle, another would take their place.
When Camelot fell to the Sheeda invasion, Arthur Pendragon himself charged into the Sheeda onslaught to buy his Hebdomad time to take a number of sacred relics out of the Sheeda's grasp. Among the surviving archons was Ystina who came to Earth and quickly found a new iteration of the seven-strong-society, including Jason-of-the-Blood, Nimue, and a Themysciran calling herself Exoristos. Though Ystina, Jason, and Nimue became a constant triad of the septet for centuries, Exoristos would soon leave and be replaced by others.
In the fifteenth century, the Hebdomad was said to represent the Seven Deadly Sins by the Spanish Inquisition as Etrigan was known to travel in their ranks, and thus the Hebdomad became known as the Demon Knights. Despite their moniker, the seven was called upon by many desperate royal courts to undertake missions of great importance. On a mission to hunt down a rogue knight Templar, driven mad by the Suit of Sorrows, the ranks of the Demon Knights consisted of Ystina, Jason Blood, Nimue, Exoristos (who had been recruited while trying to raise a family in the French countryside), Vandal Savage, Al Jabr, and the mysterious Daughter of Ducra. Though they stopped the knight, the Demon Knights were betrayed by one of their own.
Still, the Hebdomad survived, filling their roster with new persons of importance. Soon, however, Jason Blood and Nimue left, leaving Ystina to keep the seven-strong-society intact, but even she grew tired of this burden and longed for a chance to find an archon worthy of relieving her from this burden. Ystina finally found someone she thought might be up to the task during World War II. After having fought at his side for many bloody battles, Ystina trusted Greg Saunders to carry on the tradition during the reign of the Cold War as she left to pursue a life in seclusion to dedicate herself to protecting the Holy Grail, a task she nearly failed at during the war.
Greg carried on the tradition. He tried to mutate it, creating a band of seven archons, each one who also acted as a demiurge to their own Hebdomad. This was how the United Nations' International Operations Covert Action Teams 1-7 came to be, but when one archon fell, Greg lost faith and disappeared to ride solo for over two decades. A near-death experience and a chance encounter with Ystina resulted in her scolding him harshly for being so reckless. Reminded he nearly broke his promise to the Shining Knight, Greg formed a new Hebdomad, this time under the auspice of being a joint-military taskforce that monitored extreme terrorist threats, like those the Sheeda might pose. In so doing, Greg thought that his Hebdomad would be ready for Sheeda incursions.
Greg's time with the unit known as Project Victory was short-lived in the grand scheme of things, but during his brief time with them, Greg found not only a bevy of trusted companions that would become long-time allies and stalwart archons, but he also found an enemy in the Sheeda, the enemy that the seven-strong-society had been originally built to defend against was now threatening Earth, just as it had Albion. This gave Greg's team of seven that which it had been missing before: a sacred purpose.
Seven Soldiers of Victory
When Greg's military contract was terminated, he was allowed to restructure the team among the DEO and continue his battle against the Sheeda. Naturally, he knew this meant he had to bring an expert Sheeda fighter onto his team. Ystina was his first recruit. This recent incarnation is now known as the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Originally founded in Star City, which had its veil between our plane and the Void weakened by occult architecture, Greg's first Seven Soldiers consisted of Greg, Ystina, and an early Team Arrow (Oliver Queen, John Diggle, Roy Harper, Thea Queen, and Dinah Lance), but when the Sheeda threat to Star City had been neutralized, Team Arrow wasn't willing to pack up and move, so Greg and Ystina went looking for five other archons.
Eventually they recruited descendants of Greg and Ystina's old comrades, filling out the leftover ranks with willing DEO agents of some exceptional skills. But this led to what Greg and Ystina called the seven bloody years. The Sheeda threat was ramping up and they were taking a heavy toll on the Seven Soldiers. Those that weren't killed would quit when the danger the Sheeda posed proved to be too much for them to willingly stand against, or the unnatural strangeness of the invaders simply caused them to slip into madness. Among the many casualties to the seven-strong-society, the Sheeda claimed the life of Rod Gaynor, kidnapped Jackie Pemberton, and made an attempt to assassinate Kendra Hall, Greg's great-granddaughter. Still, despite the Sheeda's best efforts, Greg and Ystina stood strong against them.
With an All-Star Squadron consisting of Greg, Ystina, Green Arrow, STRIPES, Skyman, Starman, and Shelly Gaynor (and a tag-along Star-Spangled Kid) leading a charge into the bowels of the Sheeda stronghold, the team managed to strike a powerful blow... but at a cost. The Seven Soldiers were able to rescue Jackie Pemberton but at the cost of her father's life, Starman being made a victim of Melmoth's ravaging magic on his mind, and Shelly Gaynor was swallowed up by a dimensional rift.
For a while, STRIPES and the newly minted Stargirl stuck around to fill in the gaps in the team but they soon left with Green Arrow to fulfill their commitment to the Justice League. Once more Greg and Ystina needed new blood. Though they are currently incomplete, the Hebdomad still survives.
Trivia and Notes
- Alex Parker almost became one of the Soldiers of Victory. Greg considered him one, but Alex was never sworn in.
- Another version of the team consisted of Jim Saunders, Ol' Walter Travis, Ahwehota, Scott Welling, Norm Dodds, Charlie Heywood, and a fresh faced Jonah Hex.
- Seven Soldiers of Victory is a combination of various incarnations of the team, All-Star Squadron, Demon Knights, Tomahawk's Rangers, International Operations, Team One, Team 7, and various other historical characters from DC Comics.
- Ystina, Jason Blood, Nimue, Vandal Savage, Exoristos and Al Jabr were Demon Knights.
- Daughter of Ducra might be a nod to Essence from Red Hood and the Outlaws, Vol 1. The seventh member of the Demon Knights was Clytemnestra, aka: Horsewoman. Roy didn't put her in the team because she didn't fit in the time period.
- Vigilante (Greg Saunders), Shining Knight (Justin), Crimson Avenger (Lee Travis), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and Speedy (Roy Harper) were all part of the first team.
- Sylvester Pemberton and Pat Dugan were part of the team as Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy. Courtney Whitmore was never part of Seven Soldiers.
- Shining Knight (Ystina), Bulleteer (Alix Harrower), Gimmix (Jacqueline Pemberton) and Whip (Shelly Gaynor) were part of the third team.
- Sideways (Derek James), Shining Knight (Ystina) and Bulleteer (Alix Harrower) were part of the fourth team.
- Starman (Ted Knight) was part of the All-Star Squadron.
- Membership of Guardian and Black Canary are nods to All-Star Squadron, but in the comics they were Jim Harper and Dinah Drake.
- In Earth-27 Jim Harper is a composite character with John Diggle.
- Malagigi was a court wizard and trusted adviser to Charlemagne, King of the Franks.
- Son of Thunder was Arak, a Native American warrior and adventurer, raised by vikings.
- Sir Brian of Kent was the Silent Knight. Lady Celia Penbrook was his beloved.
- Kanto might be a nod to Iluthin, one of the servants of Darkseid.
- Jon Haraldson was the Viking Prince.
- Capucine was an immortal warrior and a Swamp Thing supporting character.
- Brother Jonah was one of the previous Avatars of the Green.
- Robert Gadling was a character from Sandman, Vol. 2.
- Tomahawk's Rangers were a group of soldiers who fought for American independence under the command of their eponymous leader Tomahawk during the American Revolutionary War. They were: Tomahawk (Thomas Hawkins), Big Anvil, Brass Buttons (Jud Fuller), Cannonball (Horace Calhoun), Dan Hunter, Frenchie, Healer Randolph, Kaintuck Jones, Long Rifle, Stovepipe (Leroy Johnson), Suicide Simms and Wildcat.
- Wildcat of Tomahawk's Rangers has no connection to Ted Grant.
- International Operations, Team One and Team 7 are from DC's Wildstorm imprint. John Colt, Saul Baxter and Zannah were part of Team One.
- Ystina, Jason Blood, Nimue, Vandal Savage, Exoristos and Al Jabr were Demon Knights.
Links and References
- Appearances of the Seven Soldiers of Victory
- Team Gallery: Seven Soldiers of Victory
- Membership of the Seven Soldiers of Victory
- Membership of the Demon Knights