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"What kind of charity meeting is this?"
Chase Stein[src]

The Rite of Blood was an annual ritual orchestrated by PRIDE in order to restore Jonah by sacrificing a young person chosen by Leslie Dean in the framework of the Ultra Project. Each year, Jonah was revived and could monitor the progression of his plan before returning to his decrepit condition and waiting for another sacrifice.

Background

"You're gonna be doing things you don't want your neighbors to hear."
Jonah to Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder[src]

In order to sustain the lifespan of his host body, the Gibborim Jonah needed sacrifices to be annually perpetrated, with the body of the victims being converted into pure energy which Jonah's own body could them assimilate. For this he founded an organization called PRIDE. It included Jonah's trusted ally Leslie Dean and five couples: Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder, Robert and Tina Minoru, Victor and Janet Stein, Dale and Stacey Yorkes and Gene and Alice Hernandez. Jonah gave them necessary authority and instructions for the ritual,[4] including translating contents of the Abstract.[5]

Rite

First Rite

"He's dead?
"And we killed him?
"It isn't a death. He lives on in another. Eternal."
Robert Minoru, Janet Stein, Leslie Dean[src]
PRIDE's first Rite of Blood

PRIDE's first Rite of Blood

In 2001, Brooks Watten was invited by Leslie Dean to ascend to the rank of Ultra in a special Church of Gibborim ceremony. Unaware that it was a sacrificial ritual held by PRIDE, Watten participate to the ritual. Using Dematerialization Box, they transferred him to pure energy. Tina Minoru recorded whole ritual and kept footage on Wizard servers.[4]

Other Rites

At many years, PRIDE orchestrated multiple similar rituals with another victims. Leslie Dean invited teenagers from Los Angeles to Ultra Project and they was desintegrated to restore Jonah. Their victims list included Adam Cooper, Jamie Baxter, Tim Bennett, Xavier Marquez, Karly Scolari, James Braswyck, Anthony Rocha, Kim Hwang, Bridget Bynum, John Donahue, Emily Wong, Yvonne Taylor and Brian Geparhart.[6]

Destiny Gonzalez' Rite

"Why can't I feel my arms? My legs... What is this?"
"It's the light."
Destiny Gonzalez and Leslie Dean[src]

In 2017, the young Destiny Gonzalez, who had been picked up by the Church of Gibborim six months earlier, was selected by Leslie Dean to be the next sacrifice. Finding Gonzalez at the Los Angeles Bus Depot, Dean took her to the Wilder Mansion's basement, where Gonzalez got to wear a simple white robe and was told to sit and wait for the ceremony to begin. Meanwhile, the other members of PRIDE prepared the sacrifice room for the ritual to come. Dean then signalled that they were ready so that Jonah's body was stored in a Dematerialization Box and went to find Gonzalez.

Runaways Teaser Trailer 16

Destiny Gonzalez is sacrificed by PRIDE

Gonzalez was taken among the other members of PRIDE and noticed that she did not recognize either of them from her time in the Church of Gibborim. Stacey Yorkes then gave her a beverage which Gonzalez could not drink, but Dean and the others forced her to swallow the liquid and then proceeded to strip her from her clothes, although Gonzalez weakly protested. While being carried by Geoffrey Wilder into another Dematerialization Box, Gonzalez noticed that could not feel her limbs and asked Dean what was happening.

Ddespite being drugged, Gonzalez grew more and more afraid about the ritual and began struggling to get out of the Dematerialization Box, especially after Wilder whispered an apology to her, forcing the members of PRIDE to restrain her. Catherine Wilder then ordered Victor Stein to close the Dematerialization Box and to activate the conversion process. As it ended, however, they noticed a strange flash of lighting seemingly coming from upstairs, prompting the Wilder to leave and investigate.

Runaways Team 1

The Runaways witness Destiny Gonzalez's sacrifice

Indeed, unbeknownst to them, the Runaways had witnessed the whole sacrifice and the flash originated from Molly Hernandez's phone as she had tried to take a picture from the scene since Gert Yorkes kept her from seeing what was happening. The teenagers managed to flee in time and Alex Wilder told them to hide in the guesthouse while he went to cut the power in the Wilder Mansion. When Alex returned, the kids pretended to be playing Twister, which was believed by the Wilders when they arrived to check on them.

The Wilders soon returned, informing the others that their children were her as well, playing in the guest house, and that the power had been cut in the mansion, possibly due to the Dematerialization Box, which could explain the flash they had seen. They then commented on how hard the sacrifice of Destiny Gonzalez had been before getting ready to go home, leaving only Stein to pack up the Dematerialization Box.[3]

Andre Compton's Rite

"Catherine, you know how grateful I am to have someone. You mentioned he'd been shot. I was just wondering what happened."
"I'm sorry. This isn't one of your grass-fed, free-range sacrifices, but whatever Geoffrey did, just be glad he did it."
Leslie Dean and Catherine Wilder[src]

Due to the sacrifice of Destiny Gonzalez having failed, PRIDE was forced to look for another person to sacrifice in her place. They unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap someone else, which led to them worrying that they could find someone in time. However, when Alex Wilder got kidnapped by the Crips and Andre Compton got wounded in the ensuing confrontation between Geoffrey Wilder and his former gang, Geoffrey decided to bring Compton to be sacrificed.

PRIDE - RWKingdom

PRIDE sacrifices Andre Compton

Instead of performing the sacrifice in the Wilder Mansion, PRIDE gathered in the Church of Gibborim Executive Office, where Jonah usually remained. Stacey Yorkes patched up Compton's wounds to make sure that he would not die before the actual sacrifice and gave him the traditional beverage to make sure he would not resist the sacrifice. Compton was then put in the Dematerialization Box and his body was converted into pure energy, with the sacrifice being successful this time.[7]

Aftermath

"I told you it was gonna be the last sacrifice, and I meant it."
Jonah to Leslie Dean[src]

Upon discovering what they had done when they perpetrated their first sacrifice, the members of PRIDE reacted differently. While Victor Stein, Leslie Dean and Tina Minoru were willing to accept what they had done, albeit for different reasons, others were much more uncomfortable at the idea of killing people. Namely, Gene and Alice Hernandez and Dale and Stacey Yorkes were highly distressed by this perspective, although they knew that they did not have much choice since their crime had been recorded.[4] Over time, Geoffrey Wilder also felt uneasy with these sacrifices as he remarked that the people they murdered were more or less the same age than their own children.[3]

The sacrifice of Destiny Gonzalez was witnessed by the Runaways. Although they had a hard time believing that their parents could actually be criminals, they resolved to investigate in order to find out what their parents were up to.[8] This would lead them to the conclusion that their parents had indeed murdered several teenagers over the years and that they were all alone to stop them. Despite having to face many ordeals and tensions within the team, this pressured the Runaways to stand together and rebuild their friendship to fight against their common enemy.[1]

Assassination of Destiny Gonzalez

Victor Stein murders Destiny Gonzalez

Actually, it turned out that the sacrifice of Gonzalez had failed. When Victor Stein discovered it, he murdered Gonzalez in an attempt to cover up his mistake[3], but the other members of PRIDE soon discovered the truth about it, forcing them to find another person to sacrifice[6], who would in the end be Andre Compton.[7]

The sacrifice of Compton enabled PRIDE to restore Jonah once again, which was supposed to be the last sacrifice since Jonah's plans were nearing its end. Unlike the other times he was revived, Jonah made more public appearances, posing as a wealthy benefactor of the Church of Gibborim and subtly taking control of the organization, although Dean tried to retain some of her leadership in the Church.[4][9] However, due to Compton being wounded before the sacrifice, his life force had already been heavily depleted, causing Jonah to only be partially restored. As such, Jonah quickly began to decay again after an intensive use of his powers during a confrontation against the Runaways.[10]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Runaways: 1.09: Doomsday
  2. Runaways: 1.07: Refraction
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Runaways: 1.02: Rewind
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Runaways: 1.06: Metamorphosis
  5. Runaways: 2.02: Radio On
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named R104
  7. 7.0 7.1 Runaways: 1.05: Kingdom
  8. Runaways: 1.03: Destiny
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named R107
  10. Runaways: 2.01: Gimme Shelter
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