Created by Brother Grimace (however, the actual term was first used to describe such individuals by Richard Lobinske) and first seen in the Doggieboy fic 'A Little Vacation', the concept of the Ringbearers was inspired by the Green Lantern Corps; in many ways, however, the Ringbearers' lineage, origin and mandate have a closer parallel to the Spaceknights of Galador. (For example, the first Ringbearers were the one thousand volunteers given Rings in order to fight a zombie outbreak on D-476 that was found to be of alien origin, just as one thousand Spaceknights were created to fight the Dire Wraith menace that had threatened their home world of Galador.
While normally operating as a deterrent against hostile beings and destructive events of unnatural origin and acting as a reconnaissance force on other worlds in order to act to prevent such beings or events from affecting those worlds (the primary roles of the organization), the Corps of Ringbearers (the organization's stated title) have found themselves operating more often as a force for preserving order and saving lives (in a covert fashion).
Because Ringbearers possess an overwhelming amount of power, are possessed of a innate sense of morality, and the fact that one of the primary endowments placed upon the Rings keeps them from performing acts that would be considered "evil" by their own sense of morality, Ringbearers are usually not welcomed by political leaders and coalitions on most worlds. Ringbearers cannot be easily controlled or compelled to act in accordance with the political wishes of the moment. In this regard, Ringbearers are in all but the most desperate cases barred from operating on many worlds. When this happens, Ringbearers (usually citizens of the world in question) are recruited, trained and kept secretly in reserve on those worlds, silent watchmen waiting to act if the need arises.
With the events known as the Daylight Crisis occurring in many universes, the Ringbearers narrowly averted a civil war within their ranks concerning how to deal with the crisis. Due to the strict adherence to their mandate, the Ringbearers refrained from any attempts to stop the events from happening. Afterward, Ringbearers (slightly expanding their mandate to assist worlds ravaged by supernatural events) landed on some Earths, setting up secure areas and engaging in massive relief efforts to humanity on those worlds; this included endowing great numbers of humans (and other species) with metabilities, and turning a number of beings into Ringbearers themselves. On most Earths, however, Ringbearers are being sent in under 'Whisperer' status; using their Rings and powers in a covert manner, they are acting to ensure the continued survival of 'pockets' of mankind until the end of the solar instabilities that caused the crisis, and mankind is capable of providing for itself once again.
(There were two notable exceptions to these activities by the Corps of Ringbearers. On one alternate Earth, an alternate version of Beavis who possessed a Ring acted to prevent coronal mass ejections from reaching Earth. Though he perished in the attempt, he managed to shield that Earth for almost twenty-four hours, allowing millions to be saved. The second exception was Danielle Todds; she was instrumental in preventing an extinction-level event upon the Earth categorized as 'D-247' (also the reality of the Legion of Lawndale Heroes' in what is known as the Sapphire Dawn incident.)
Ringbearers are not the only entities monitoring activity among the multiverse. A Corps of Ringbearers developed in one other universe, though that organization was destroyed by the Ringwraiths and they are now referred to as the "Lost Ringbearers". Some portions of the Multiverse are under the aegis of The Agency, first mentioned in the story, "Three." In general, there is normally little overlap between areas of influence between Ringbearers and The Agency. Though all the details are not generally known, the Nova Valdris Accords, adopted after the Vengeance Ring Crisis, formalized the relationship between the organizations. It has come to light that the primary differences between Ringbearers and The Agency are:
- (a.) Ringbearers, while capable of trans-temporal/trans-dimensional travel, generally eschew it for the purpose of 'policing time' and only make changes to the time-stream to correct cataclysmic events on the planetary level when caused by unnatural forces and/or events, and through the application of technology that has caused events that were not predestined to occur (for example, the Class Four undead event that happened upon the world shown in 'A Little Vacation' would have been corrected by the Ringbearers even without the actions of Ezra Stone - but his actions, leading to the introduction of Daria Morgendorffer into the event, assured that Ringbearer intervention would be forthcoming.
- (b.) While Ringbearers are capable of monitoring multiversal activities, they do so primarily for the purpose of detecting and monitoring extra-dimensional HST incursions/ activity on unsuspecting worlds in order to dispatch forces.
- (c.) Operatives of The Agency will not act in any manner that may interfere with the natural course of events (for example, Richard allowed himself to be injured in combat rather than possibly kill while at Camp Grizzly (during events chronicled in 'A Visit to Camp Grizzly'). However, Ringbearers will act in similar circumstances through covert use of their Ring-endowments - or will use their rings to alter memories if they are forced to act in an open manner.
The Judith Conflict ('Worldburner')
The Ringbearers were drawn into the machinations of the dimension-hopping villainess Judith. Initially, the Ringmasters enabled her to act due a pre-existing prophecy, and she'd agreed not to visit their homeworld of D-476 again. Despite this, she deliberately crossed the Ringbearers in several cases to further her agendaL the most prominent of these operations involved the theft of a 'RSV' (Ringbearer Slipstream Vessel - a craft designed to travel through several methods in order to reach any point in the Multiverse or outside it) in order to retrieve the being known as Apocalypse and set her forth on clandestine assaults against them. It was only through the heroic sacrifice of a group or Ringbearers led by a 'good' version of Odell Jones that the Corps of Ringbearers was made aware of that new threat.
Once she gained the power to destroy entire realities (as "the Worldburner"), both Ringmasters and Corps attempted to find a way to restrict her rampages, though direct combat failed on D-2000. They discovered that the the time-control and banishment endowments of the Defender Rings could counter her effectively and hoped to trick her into not realising this, but this failed: Judith responded with a deliberate slaughter of multiple Ringbearers, followed by a blitzkreig assault directly against primary Corps worlds and facilities. The Citadel of the Ringmasters itself on 'D-476' was destroyed first, followed by key Corps installations such as Beacon Terra One and Ringbearer Command Headquarters on Nova Valdris (as well as the universes those worlds were within).
Responding to the Fall of Nova Valdris, the Ringbearers' invoked the Nova Valdris Accords to be given sanctuary by The Agency: all seven Sky Vaults (including the previously unrevealed Avalon) entered lunar orbit around the Agency's Earth, designate SCR-011, and the Ringbearers and fleet regrouped around it.
Warhammer leader Brittany Taylor (of an unknown reality) has declared that the Ringbearers now exist in a state of total war against Judith. Agency commander Richard confirmed in A Very Judith Christmas that this doctrine is not true of all Ringbearers but the Warhammers are currently calling the shots. He also states Brittany is pretending to be subserviant to Commander Rita Conroy - indicating Taylor doesn't have the legal or moral authority within the Corps to make the declaration - though Conroy has been seen going along with it.
To date, hundreds of thousands of Ringbearers, and an unknown number of 'gifted humans' and Corps allies, including the Legion of Lawndale Heroes and The Alliance (probable), have fallen in the prosecution of the war against Judith. Due to the scale of the carnage, in Worldburner fic The Platinum Guard, the supervillain Black Majesty believes the Ringbearers will be left shattered after Judith's defeat and intends to take their place in a post-Judith omniverse.
In Worldburner Finale: The Heart of the Matter, Judith used a stolen Vengeance Ring to send a "Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure" right down the quantum resonance frequency used by all Ringbearer artifacts - causing a reality shift that abruptly removed all but one Ringbearer from the Daria Multiverse.
The lone remaining Ringbearer - the Ringbearer Jane Lane captured by Judith - was being held in stasis by Judith through unknown means. However, as of The Heart of the Matter, Jane's Ring (also know as the 'Beta Ring') mysteriously disappeared from her finger. (This would suggest that there is one other Ringbearer still in existence and in need of a Ring, as there is no other reason or purpose for which a Defender Ring would leave its owner's finger under it's own ability.)
The official rank-structure within the Ringbearers (one of many changes that occurred due to the events of the Vengeance Ring Crisis) is as follows:
- Ringbearers Postulant: Novice Ringbearers with one year or less in service.
- Ringbearers of the Line: The vast majority of Ringbearers.
- Brevet Ringbearers: Ringbearers who possess the elemental affinities of Quintessence and Earth (the rarest affinities) and have demonstrated an extraordinary level of skill/competence as Postulants or as Ringbearers of the Line. These Ringbearers are given limited leadership duties, and/or special assignments due to the nature of their powers.
- Senior Ringbearers: Ringbearers who have possessed their abilities for over ten years (twenty for Ringbearers who have served their career time primarily as Whisperers, and/or have served less than 12-18 months in active Line service).
- Master Ringbearers: Seasoned Ringbearers who are, by virtue of skill, personality and capability, selected to lead missions or are given command of Ringbearer bases or stations. Master Ringbearers will usually be the first to approach a world in a diplomatic 'First Contact' mission.
- Elder Ringbearers: Ringbearers who have held a Ring for over one hundred years.
- Elite Ringbearers: Ringbearers who have demonstrated extraordinary skills and talent in their duties vastly beyond that normally demonstrated during the course of Ringbearer duties. Being anointed the designation of 'Elite Ringbearer' is the equal of being awarded the Victoria Cross, or the Congressional Medal of Honor, but is also considered more honor than rank, almost in the form of a knighthood. Ringbearers awarded with this designation are technically listed by their current designation, but are addressed as 'Sir' or 'Dame'/'Lady' in formal settings, as according to gender.
- Supreme Ringbearers: Ringbearers with extraordinary records who are specifically chosen to command major Ringbearer bases or large interstellar/trans-dimensional campaigns; will have no less than 25-50 years in service.
- First Ringbearers: Surviving members of the cadre of one thousand Ringbearers who actually came from D-476, fought as members of the first generation of Ringbearers, and then went off-world to actively propagate the Corps by bequeathing Rings to worthy beings on other planets.
- The Ringmasters
Specialized Ringbearer Groups
While all Ringbearers are, by mandate and training, hunters of supernatural threats first and foremost, there are many who have specialized duties beyond this. Some of those groups include, at present:
- Colonizers - Ringbearers who focus on the special endowments and abilities that are useful in assisting beings in post-disaster relief and reconstruction efforts, as well as resettlement or colonization efforts (if deemed necessary). . Colonizers are the largest group of active-duty Ringbearers (second overall, behind the Whisperers), and they are the most likely to be encountered in a crisis that requires Ringbearer intervention.
- Whisperers - perhaps the largest special group, these are Ringbearers who are assigned to worlds where Ringbearers are banned by political fiat, or are placed on worlds where metahumans are unknown or believed to be myths/fantasy. Robert Nelson is an example of a Ringbearer with Whisperer duties.
- Pathfinders - Ringbearers who are assigned to search throughout the Multiverse for habitable, Earth-like worlds for habitation and the possible relocation of displaced populations from worlds where circumstances preclude their return. These individuals are also known as Earth Hunters. Danielle Todds and Archangel are among the most well-known Pathfinders in the Corps.
- Messengers - Ringbearers who are specifically chosen for 'first contact' missions to worlds undiscovered beforehand, or to lead teams of Ringbearers into first strike missions on worlds dealing with HST incursions.
- Warhammers - Ringbearers whose training and primary purview is geared towards military operations. Warhammers are almost exclusively posted to duty aboard a Sky Vault; like the Emissaries, their appearance in the field is a sign of great danger threatening the area.
- Cinematics - these highly-trained Ringbearer specialists are equipped to study and deal with unique supernatural threats that either exist or were discovered as a result of the Gardner Principle expressing itself in uniquely gifted and creative beings. Many 'cinematics' are partnered with Pathfinders and thus, are usually involved with First Planetfall and/or First Contact situations; Priscilla Henry is a noted 'cinematic' specialist, and has been partnered with the Pathfinder Archangel for some time.
- Dispatchers - those Ringbearers who choose to concentrate on the specific endowments that were crafted for the purpose of subduing or destroying supernatural threats. They differ from the 'cinematics' in that they are summoned to deal with specific supernatural threats that require a coordinated, military-styled response (in this, they parallel the Warhammers in the way they are trained and deployed). Dispatchers must spend at least three years as Ringbearers of the Line before they can ask to begin officially being trained in this concentration, and they must show notably developed skills and mindset for this in their prior work before being considered. Dispatchers consider themselves to be 'the most accurate examples' of what Ringbearers are supposed to represent to others.
- Healers - these Ringbearers focus on the endowments that allow them to provide medical assistance to beings in a number of situations, as well as on their telekinetic abilities. Healers are also deployed during major crises (such as pandemics and Class Four outbreaks); they possess the personal authority to call for temporal resets, inter-dimensional exclusion zones, or for military action (up to requesting deployment of a Sky Vault, if necessary) to deal with threats. A Ringbearer who wants to be a Healer must spend a minimum of twenty years concentrating their abilities/endowments towards this goal, and even then, may not be allowed to do so officially. Healers are one of the rarer concentrations.
- The Emissaries of the Ringmasters - very few in number, these are usually Senior, Brevet, or First Ringbearers whose primary duty is to be dispatched from D-476 to deliver personal messages or commands from the Ringmasters themselves. These individuals are RARELY seen, and their appearance is to be considered an omen of great importance or disaster.
In addition, because of the wide array of endowments that are available to Ringbearers through their rings, almost all Ringbearers find themselves choosing to master their Rings by concentrating their efforts in one specific facet or area within those endowments. This allows Ringbearers to quickly enter into a crisis situation and act effectively without need to waste time choosing an appropriate endowment or ability - a delay that could prove ruinous or even fatal. The most common concentrations are:
- Mentalists - Ringbearers who have chosen to develop the mental-based endowments of their Rings, and the psi-based metahuman abilities that the Ring has gifted them with upon accepting one. These specialists are rarely seen in the field, and are dispatched for special interrogation, memory-modification, and 'temporal reset' duties (when extreme delicacy is required to maintain temporal integrity as required by The Agency).
- Elementals - Ringbearers who choose to explore their elemental endowments in concert with the unique elemental affinity that the Ring has awoken within them, and develop the various ways those can be developed and manipulated. When Ringbearers are called upon to act in overt view of native populations where it is still desirable to downplay their Rings, Elementals are primarily deployed. The vast majority of all Ringbearers have chosen to focus as Elementals, as it is the easiest and fastest concentration to master.
While there are Ringbearer bases of operations on some worlds through the Daria Multiverse, such as the Ringbearer Headquarters located on Nova Valdris, there are also the Mobile Advance Bases like the Tintagel used during the campaign against Apocalypse on D-517. On a larger scale, the Corps of Ringbearers also operates six very large space-borne facilities known as 'Sky Vaults'.
It was revealed in the Tales of the Ringbearers fic 'Balance' that, in order to better prevent themselves from acting in a overt nature of interference with the events of other worlds (a tactic that has brought them into disagreement with The Agency, the Corps has created an non-profit humanitarian organization which they have named the 'Silver Circle Foundation'. Embedded on a great number of worlds, the Silver Circle allows the Corps of Ringbearers to establish legitimate facilities on those worlds where they can more easily act in their roles of surveillance against possible alien or supernatural threats, as well as provide ongoing non-crisis humanitarian relief to the populations of those worlds. It is known that as of present, over fifteen percent of the Corps of Ringbearers (including most Whisperers) are active within the Silver Circle. On many worlds, the Silver Circle acted to save lives and re-establish viable living areas for humans and other creatures alike in the wake of the Daylight Crisis; Archangel mentions that he spent a great deal of time on his homeworld assisting in this manner. (It was also noted that his home-world - D-77 in the Daria Multiverse - was also hit by a zombie invasion nine years earlier and was still in the process of recovery when this disaster his as well.)
Ringbearer apparel and dress
As they strive to blend into their surroundings, Ringbearers will always obtain the appropriate local clothing, or (in the short-term) generate 'glamours' that allow locals to seem them as dressed appropriately.
When involved in duties that require the overt use of their Rings and abilities, Ringbearers favor fatigue uniforms made from 'omnicloth' (including boots and gloves, if needed) that are reminiscent of U.S. Air Force fatigues (late 20th/early 21st Century design). Ringbearers below Master rank also wear these fatigues when on duty at Ringbearer bases and other facilities.
When acting in an official capacity (including all formal appearances at Ringbearer bases), Ringbearers of Master rank and above wear what has become a de facto 'dress uniform' - an all-white suit with matching footwear and accessories, like the one worn by Michael Coldsmith Briggs III (Archangel's mentor before his recruitment into the Corps).
The Ringbearer Creed
I am a Ringbearer. I am the light that drives back the darkness. I am the wall that no evil will breach. I am the staff, and the sword, that shall defend life. I am the fire that will light the way to tomorrow. My Ring is Forever. I am Forever.
The Flying Moor, a fictional literary superhero in the Legion of Lawndale Heroes universe, is the owner of a Defender Ring; Priscilla Henry also owns a Ring, as does the DELPHI agent known as Archangel.
Five alternate versions of Robert Nelson are also known to possess Rings, as does Julie Renner, and in Legion of Lawndale Heroes, Mack Mackenzie and Tom Sloane encountered a alternate-reality version of Alyssa Milano who was also a Ringbearer (and offered Mack the chance for a Ring). It has also been confirmed that a Ringbearer has been in Lawndale since the Legion's inception, ordered to only observe their activities and not interfere or even make contact unless in the gravest of situations.
The D-751 version of Daria Von Doom had captured a Defender Ring, as well as a Vengeance Ring and Deliverance Ring: the only individual to have all three. Upon her death, all three passed into Agency possession.
Two alternate versions of Beavis are known to possesses a Ring, but the amount of chaos from that has yet to be seen ("Fire! Fire! Fire!"). One died while trying to protect an Earth from a Coronal Mass Ejection. The other is still alive, and is reportedly kept under the supervision of DELPHI.
Danielle Todds is a well-known Ringbearer who has taken part in many major campaigns and operations.
Jane Lane also possesses a Ring; this is the same Jane Lane who befriended a young version of Robert Nelson during the events of A Little Vacation and The Cynic and The Defender, but a different Ringbearer than Robert gave her the Ring. The events of Neighborhood Improvement take place when Jane is 21-22 years of age, so these events take place several years in her future.
An alternate version of William Dorn possesses a Ring. In the story, he is revealed to be at least 200 years old.
The single known good alternate-universe version of Odell Jones served as a Ringbearer, but perished during the events of 'The Last Stand of Odell Jones', when he led a heroic delaying action in combat against Apocalypse, ensuring the Corps were aware of the being's return.
From Last Man:
From Majesty and The Servant:
From Hungry is the Night:
From A New Assignment:
From Null Again:
From Corrupted Adaptation:
From Rules of Engagement:
From First Day on the Job:
- Mike Cooper, originally from "Daria-159", but assigned to...
From A Rookie Mistake:
From Tabula Rasa:
From Let Vengeance Ring
From Journey's Debt:
From End of the Line:
From Strange Paths to Regret:
- Jim (unseen in story, only mentioned by main character.)
From New Dead:
From Babysitting Duty:
From an unnamed fic located in Scenes That No Daria Fanfic Should Have:
From Temporary Duty
Known People Given Ringbearer Powers/ 'Gifted humans'
Some people are never given a Ring themselves, but instead are 'Gifted humans' - persons who have had their innate elemental affinities activated by a Ringbearer, as well as endowed with metahuman powers innate to the Defender Ring, so that they can may serve in the ranks of the Corps as support, administrative and medical personnel. Besides their elemental affinity, 'gifted humans' are gifted with up to four of the Ring's abilities (chosen by the Ringbearer), in addition to the abilities of flight and telekinesis. (All of the powers, and the elemental affinities, operate as do the abilities of any Ringbearer.
Jane Lane from D-320 was one person gifted with powers prior to being awarded her own Ring. Other known 'gifted humans' include: