The hero known as Sandman is the guardian of dreams. He is empowered by the mystical sands of sleep and charged with defending the dreamlands and waking world from the depredations of creatures of nightmare. His more mundane alter ego is Dr. Elis Sanford, an anesthesiologist at Freedom Medical Center. A recent widower and father of two he plays a careful balance of work, family and the mandate of his powers.
Elis was born to Harold and Maude Sanford of Hanover New Jersey on June 14 1977. Harrold was an ad executive in Freedom city and Maude a homemaker, their suburban home would be joined six years later by his only sibling Grace. The Sanford family lived a delightfully mundane life their moderate wealth and privilege as well as the relative safety of Hanover even amidst the struggles, invasions, and near catastrophes that so often strike Freedom City kept them insulated from the often harsh realities of life in the ever exciting city. Elis worked hard and made good marks in school, though more through thorough effort and strong familial support than native talent. He saw the effort as the cost that must be paid for his eventual dream, becoming a doctor. The quick reactions of a doctor to his grandfathers minor stroke had stoked an admiration for the profession in the young mans heart and he strove to join that respected profession.
When he graduated high school, high marks ensured his entry to Freedom City University on the Pre-Med program, his fathers prudent savings ensured that they could afford the program. College in the competitive Pre-Med program at FCU was initially a bit of a shock to Elis who questioned his dedication for a time but resolved to prove to himself he could stick it out. He was aided in this by a woman he met in one of his early Biology courses, Barbara Braska. She was studying clinical psychology and the relationship begun as study partners soon bloomed into more. Barbara was brilliant in Elis' opinion, she ought have been the doctor he oft would say though she did not have his devotion to her studies with part time jobs and frequent family obligations eating up much of her study time. He asked her to marry him nearly a year before they graduated, and to his great joy she said yes. Elis made his way through his pre-med program and into medical school at FCU, with the support of Barbara who went on to graduate studies in psychology, they agreed to hold off on the wedding until they were better established, Elis always felt there was more to her reluctance likely something to do with her family who often needed her for this or that but who he had met only her father a gruff man of militant demeanor.
While pursuing their advanced degrees they got an apartment together and the oddities of Barbaras schedule became more obvious to Elis, he feared many things when he'd wake to find her gone or so deeply asleep he couldn't wake her for an hour or more. Eventually she had to reveal her secret. She was a hero, of sorts, a defender of dreams, as she would put it poetically. The Braska line had passed on the legacy and power of the sands of sleep for innumerable generations, defending the lands of dream and waking world from fearsome creatures of nightmare. It was a shock but Elis loved her, and was in no small part relieved it was not something simpler like an affair, addiction, or criminal tendencies. They however did not often discuss her other life. She wanted their time together to be for them after all. He did know she had potent abilities to affect dreams and that her father had trained her (in a major break with tradition) in the many secrets of the lands of dream and creatures of nightmare. She shared tidbits of this knowledge over the years but Elis always considered her sideline as dream hero something akin a hobby he indulged as she indulged his golfing.
Elis and Barbara were wed shortly before he began his internship not long after she achieved her masters and became a licensed therapist. They were happy despite his long hours in internship and residency, perhaps because of them as his grueling schedule left plenty of time for his wife's extracurriculars without eating into time available for the both of them in most cases. It was of course more difficult once the children were born, her father came briefly out of retirement when she carried each of the children first hte girl Jenifer, then Gabe their youngest and a boy. Unfortunately a long life in service of the dreamlands finally caught up with the elder Braska when their youngest was just shy of a year of age. A heart attack, in his sleep, Elis hadn't at the time thought twice about that oddity of course, many men his age with hard living suffered worse. Barbara took it harder, he was her last surviving relative, but with Elis help and through no small measure of personal fortitude she pulled out of the dip. Elis felt her even stronger for it, more balanced to be sure.
Two years later Elis completed his residency and his parents left Hanover for Boca Raton Florida for their retirement. The lack of grandparents took some adjusting but Elis sister Grace stepped up to help with childcare when both Elis and Barbara were busy becoming a common fixture in the children's lives. Elis began work at Freedom Medical Center as an attending physician and Barbara was able to cut back her time as a therapist converting and updating a small granny unit on the property to an office to see occasional clients. Life had settled into a comfortable routine despite Barbara's continued duties to the world of dream, their eldest was past the age when Barbara had begun her own training though she had yet to begin training her perhaps waiting for the traditional male heir to come of age or perhaps the difficulties of her father's death being too much to bear to begin the training. Elis was quite satisfied with this as the only real concern he had maintained over her heroic moonlighting had been the perceived injustice of foisting such responsibility upon children so young.
It was just over a year after the end of his residency that it all came crashing down. Elis had been working a late shift and didn't get home until well after midnight. When he arrived the door to the house was torn from its hinges, rushing inside as he called 911 he found Barbara collapsed at the top of the stairs. He pulled her into his arms as her costume faded back to her nightclothes, her breathing was labored and he tried to calm her keep her from sliding into shock but she was already beyond that. With rattling breath she explained an ancient foe of her family had come for the children, she had protected them but only barely. Her own wounds were too great and she knew it. Pulling Elis to her she shared one final kiss and passed her power to him, telling him he had to care for the children. She was dead by the time the paramedics arrived. Elis was able to ensure the children didn't see her like that but was himself at a loss. For him it was as if the world had come to an end.
Of course it hadn't. The kids needed him, and of course there was the media circus and inevitable investigation. The hospital was understanding, his parents came up and stayed with the kids and Grace and her husband were available as well and somehow he made it through. The investigation turned up frustratingly little, the wounds didn't seem to match any known weapons though in freedom city that meant little, three neighbors reported seeing a tall man in a suit very unsettling in the neighborhood that evening though none could recall any details of his appearance beyond that. The perpetrator was never found not that that was a surprise to Elis, she had told him the truth, it had been the boogyman, the monster in the closet or under the bed, humanity's fear of hte unknown and dark places made manifest. When he began to manifest the powers of the sands of sleep he breifly considered hunting the creature down. But his wife in the fullness of her training and powers hadn't been the things equal and he knew he'd only leave his children orphans if he sought it out.
As life returned to a semblance of normal Elis tried to forget about the powers he'd gained, and about the promise that had gone with them. Barbara had been taken from them because of this legacy and he wanted none of it. When the kids had nightmares about her however he reached out to still their dreams, they'd lived through waking nightmare they didn't need them in their sleep. He started to forget to sleep himself, never noticed the need and would be caught up in a case study or good book, time just slipped by. Elis had Grace and Frank move into barbaras old office as the kitchenette still worked and the help with the kids was more than worth it to Elis, and their parents felt better knowing someone was on hand to keep an eye on him. Slowly he got back into the swing of work and spent more time home with the kids of course, it wasn't the life he'd have wanted but there was comfort in it and he and the children were moving forward.
It was a year later before Elis started to really understand what his wife had charged him with. The full duties of the Braska line, She had said to protect the children and she hadn't meant just thiers. It was slow and creeping, didn't even turn heads outside of a few very esoteric corners of the occult world. The nights seemed a little darker, the dawn a little further. At the hospital he'd heard rumors of children with night terrors so bad they went days sometimes a week or more with little to no sleep afraid to close their eyes. The real wake up call came when they started to go missing. The police suspected a human trafficking ring, or worse a serial. But no bodies turned up giving people hope at least. elis knew he hadn't a choice any longer, the work his wife had done was too important. He cracked open the boxes he'd carefully packed her personal Items in, things too personal to donate but too painful to keep around in the open and began to dig through her journals and diaries. Most of it was personal, about him or hte kids or her family. Some however touched on her work and he slowly managed to piece together a shell of her knowledge.
He had over the year practiced here and there with what the sands could do they reacted to his will almost instinctively and after a few close calls of revealing himself he at least managed to control them well enough to not out himself. A little more and he learned a few basic uses that might aid him if the creature returned for hte kids as she'd warned. He came for the nest of Boggarts the next night, letting the sand carry him through the dream to the tenement the fear hungry beasties called home. It was not perhaps as shining a moment has he would have hoped. He routed the nightmare creatures only barely and their claws were all too real. He was able to stitch himself back up and more importantly able to free the children. Most too dazed from the experience to recall him beyond knowing something had driven off the monsters and taken them to the candy shop where the patrolmen found them. It was chalked up to childish fancy and trauma in large part but they all seemed to recover over time.
Elis' recovery was longer, he couldn't go to another doctor or hospital for treatment so he managed his own care, hiding it from the children and Grace as he did so. He also resolved to better master his powers channeling them into protections for himself as well as others and spending further study on the limited resources left behind by his wife. He now knows how to look for patterns and trail potential breaches. But his inexperience is taking its toll, he knows he can step to the dream realms but not why and they remain for now under-defended whilst he concentrates on the waking world.
Costume and Appearance
In his civvies Elis dresses the part of the well to do suburbanite dad, Khakis and polos, deck shoes or the cardinal sin of sandals with socks. He wears an expensive Rolex on one wrist, a gift from his late wife upon the completion of his residency and retains a tan line where until recently his wedding band resided, it has now joined his wife's rings on a chain around his neck. He keeps his blonde curls close cropped less he achieve perpetual bed head and is blessed with just enough southern European ancestry to manage a passable tan without resorting to the oompa-loompa factories so common in the region. His face is gentle and kindly with an easy dimpled smile belied only by a quiet sadness in his piercing blue eyes. He cuts a handsome figure in that infuriating unaging way older men manage to look only better as they mature. At work it's business casual, a tie for department meetings quickly jettisoned when dealing with patients, On late nights he'll usually stumble home still in his scrubs to try and beat bedtimes.
When adopting his sandman persona he projects a much more ethereal look. The base of hte costume is a white body suit topped with a loose deeply cowled vest in blue. Cuffed mid forearm length gloves and folded calvary boots in a matching blue accent the outfit which is finished with a thick belt in gold and loose gold scarf as well as a classic domino mask in white. On the chest of the suit is an ancient emblem of his position as defender of the dreamlands though he is not certain of its meaning. He tends to plant himself firmly very grounded when engaging enemies though this has more to do with his lack of training in basic hand to hand combat than any particular stylistic choice, he'd just like not to be knocked over mostly.
All of Sandmans powers are drawn from the ancient gift to mankind by the dreamlands, the Sands of Sleep. The bring the world of dreams to our reality and allow the user to cross those barriers as well in body and spirit. The most noteable power of the sands is the ability to render nearly any dreamer calm, lethargic, or unconscious. Additionally it can bring dreams to reality in the form of complex and vivid illusions or as the fears of a foe made manifest a vicious attack on the psyche. Manipulation of dreams and entry to the dreamers mind also are possible with care and Sandman may use the dreamscape to travel vast distances nearly instantly should the need arrive. Finally and as a departure form previous wielders of the Sands Sandman will actually channel them into whatever form he may need be it shield or weapon or grasping arm.
So far the only other hero Sandman knows is Phantom who has offered her aid though she also terrifies him so for the time being he's on his own. Though inevitably as he does more and more he will make more contacts.
Dream a Little Dream of Me - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRpLb4PXVyQ
Last Kiss - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0B-hJ_gotc
Dream On - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHRNSeuvzlM
Nighttime Wanderings: Phantom captures a small nightmare and discovers not only the fate of the last Guardian but the plight of her woefully unprepared replacement.