Ala has been called Constantine, Van Helsing, as well as a smattering of other names and pop culture references. He has been called the inspiration for characters like Ghost Rider and many a supernatural hunting TV show or comic. Dr. Ala Okoye was born in the 1870’s in the Republic of Congo, then the colonized French colony of Equatorial Africa. He spent his time among the ministry as a youth, and eventually came to the realization of his birthrite—both that of his saint’s blood, and that of his mother’s dealings with dangerous spirits and demons through her work with the spirits of voodoo and her traditional understanding of the Yoruba religion, something akin to modern Santeria.
Ala lived between this mixture of religion as represented in Santeria, between rigid Catholicism and spirit work like his ancestors had done. The Malleus Maleficarum grabbed him up first, and at a young age he learned to suppress the demonic whispers and dreams he received as being the temptations of the devil and evil spirits. He joined the good fight and entered into school where he received his Masters of Divinity, and in time, he would also join that with a PhD in broader Religious studies, focusing on traditional West African religions, Catholicism, and esoteric cults and splinter religions from Christianity. It was at this time that he began his true work as a hunter, utilizing his saint-blooded powers on behalf of the Malleus for fellow hunters, he originally only played support and academic. But it was not in the nature of hot-blooded young Ala to stay on the sideline, and once when his cell was dominated by a vampire, he alone withstood the power and had to be the one to force the stake into the heart of the creature. It was not long before the Cainite Heresy collected Ala into their fold, and he quickly became one of the greatest vampire hunters in all of West Africa. His focus was completely lethal, and he was the most dangerous enemy of the night stalkers to be found.
However, his name did not remain a secret, and it wasn’t long before the Knights of St George looked into him as well. His saint-blooded powers of resilience and fortitude made him ideal to deal with witches as much as it did with vampires, and he joined them for a period of time, until his 23rd birthday, when the Knights of St George intercepted a letter he received from the Lucifuge. They refused to deal with him any longer, though they agreed to keep his secret from the Malleus and the Cainite Heresy, if only for what good he had done so far. For years, Ala maintained his roles in the Malleus and among the Cainite Heresy as a superb monster hunter. He met many forms of beast, and even exorcised a demon once, though it was a trying experience and he shies from them when possible, largely due to his fear of what may actually be his own blood tie to the beings. Regardless, he was a stalwart and near blood thirsty zealot for a long time, and as he reached older age in the 1930’s, he longed for some change to his violent life.
A 60 year old man would not last much longer in this vicious business, and he had begun to contend with warlords for territory—though the warlords had no idea what it was Ala was after in their lands, nor the favors he did for them by killing the undead and other, worse beings that slumbered in the warlords’ lands. Migrating across the sea, he followed a lead to Louisiana, and settled there. During this time, the Lucifuge had been passing more letters to him, and Ala finally consented to meeting another member of the order. Over the next ten years, Ala found himself learning, though begrudgingly, the dread powers inherent in his blood. The intensity of his faithful ties to his divine powers greatly dampened his abilities, and he barely managed two separate castigations before he was reaching a great age, all the while utilizing what he already knew to put down the vampires and witches in New Orleans on behalf of the Malleus. He lived there for ten years as an old man, withering away into his late 70’s and nearing 80 years of age. In the depths of his zealotry, Ala became blinded and prideful, and in his dying days he began to scrabble for methods to continue his life—and found them. Controlling demons, witches and other supernatural monstrosities at gunpoint and hell-tongue, he eventually transferred his soul to the body of a young comatose boy.
Faking the boy’s death, he reprised his role as ‘The Man in Black’, the death dealer to the wicked, but did not make it more than a few months before he suffered the depths of his own depravity. The demons, in their wickedness or benevolence, Ala does not know which, had altered the boy’s body to resemble Ala’s at that age. Before his own eyes, he grew into his own young adulthood once more. This soul displacement and body stealing estranged Ala from the church, though he still acted on their behalf dispatching monsters, believing that at the very least he would glimpse the light once more if he could just kill enough of the world’s evil. He embraced new powers, esoteric ‘cult groups’ in New Orleans that were hunting the world’s evil. He found Les Mysteres. Through them, he learned more about werewolves than he had known before, and acquired a new set of skills and abilities, this time through learning as opposed to natural talent, tailored to dealing with spirits, something Ala found himself more and more comfortable with the further they entered his body. It was not the Malleus, but it was home to him. He excelled at something once more, and began a determined hunt for the werewolves, believing that if he could become a champion of the people here, he might re-obtain a feeling of goodliness that he had felt little of since he had stolen this boy’s body.
And he did well, ‘The Man in Black’ became the boogeyman for the werewolves of Louisiana, and Les Mysteres respected him greatly into the 1980’s. Ala was now reaching his late 30’s once more, but looking back on his life he knew he was truly past 110 years of age. All of his contacts with his past organizations were weakened now, or dead. His name was legend in the Malleus in Africa, but as far as anyone was concerned, he had already died. Ala was fine with this, but he still felt like he owed something to them. Traveling north, he left his lifetime of zealous damnation of the creatures of the night, and looked for something more. Contacting the Malleus in Chicago, Ala worked in shelters and opened small church gatherings on the streets. He ended up collecting many hunters in his folds, and he found himself unable to escape the desire and drive to purge the evil. Everywhere he went, from town to town, city to city, continent to continent, he found evil underlying everything. Here, he found the Talbot Group, a group of hunters linked not by supernatural powers, saint blood or demonic heritage, but by a common belief that the evil of the world is beset on the innocent, and the people can be saved from it. Ala began to remain at shelters and churches to aid his new allies with his sacred hands, and his depth of knowledge of the supernatural. He became more interested in saving the evil, and in this way, surprisingly, made connections to a few vampires in Chicago, tied to the Ordo Dracul who believed they could become once again something mortal. Ala now believes anything can be saved, but his attempts to do so have been temporarily silenced.
During the events of Accord I, Ala was in his mid-60's, and found himself drawn back to the Big Easy over whisperings of this Church of Truth. Aiding the Accord Group of New Orleans in dealing with some Spirit troubles, Ala remains as a font of information and esoteric aid to any who seek his help.