Shaya of the Living Goddesses (Iron Fist enemy) (Marvel Comics) using her cloak of darkness


(Living Goddesses)


Shaya and her sister Ushas are two minor characters seen in early Iron Fist stories, in 1974/75. Both are fighters/priestesses with magic items.

In the end they were but sidenotes, but they could be useful. For instance if you want a series of pulps -style “exotic adventures”. Or on the contrary, if you want to rework them to be actually credible characters from the subcontinent.



  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Ushas (sister).
  • Group Affiliation: Cult of Kara-Kai.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 115 lbs..
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black

Cults of Kâli

Caliban from  has identified three distinct cults of Kâli in the Marvel Universe. All had seemingly endless armies of Thuggee killers.

  • The Cult in the Himalayas which gave the Shroud his powers, then vanished. It was presumably the same cult that was dismantled by Shanna the She-Devil.
  • The Cult headed by the Living Goddesses Shaya and Ushas, which was later taken over by Nekra. It is often called the Cult of Kara-Kai.
  • A resurrection of the first Cult, which was battled by the Shroud years after Shanna did.

All these are firmly in the mould of the colonial-pulp-men’s-adventures version of the real-world Kâli  worship. The version seen in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom would be typical of this fictional approach.


Powers and Abilities

Shaya is a fair martial artist. She usually wields a stout chain with a spear head at one end.

She also wears a Kâli relic, the Cloak of Darkness. Opening it allows her to drown a large room in pitch darkness, and she can choose to have her allies not be affected by the dark. However, maintaining this magical effect requires heavy concentration.


The Living Goddesses, reputedly the daughters of Kâli-Ma the Black, are the priestesses of a cult of thuggee. Decades ago, this cult come into possession of the Book of Many Things. But they lost it in a disaster.

Professor Lee Wing eventually discovered the Book in a collapsed temple of Kâli. The cult immediately knew that they could recover their sacred tome. As a result, they launched over 40 attempts on Professor Wing’s life. All failed, mostly due to the intervention of the Ninja who was trapped in the book.

When Iron Fist became the research assistant and bodyguard of Professor Wing, the Cult heightened its attacks. They finally captured the professor while the Ninja was away. The Living Goddesses were elated that they had found the Sacred Book again – even though no master of the Cult of Kâli had ever been able to decipher it.

However, both Iron Fist and the Ninja rushed the temple to free Professor Wing and his daughter. In the fray, the sacred Book was destroyed.

The Book is lost

The fight ended when a huge statue of Kali was toppled, threatening to kill the cult members. Ushas expended all her remaining Hero Points  smashing the statue back with her nunchaku. Shaya had to drop her darkness field to come to her help. Both daughters of Kâli then fled, with Shaya dragging the exhausted Ushas despite her protestations.

Most of their followers died or were wounded and arrested engaging Iron Fist, the Ninja and New York’s Finest, who had reached the scene.

Some time later, the mutant Nekra happened upon a partially-reconstituted Cult in an abandoned subway tunnel in New York. In a mad bid of power, she offered herself as a sacrifice for Kâli. Her hate-powered body easily withstood the sacrificial blade, and then she demanded that the Living Goddesses be subjected to the same treatment.

Awed and full of religious zeal, the cultists agreed. They seized both Ushas and Shaya on the spot, reportedly sacrificing them.


Shaya is a very attractive Nepalese woman with unusually fair skin. Which doesn’t make sense for a supposed daughter of the Black Goddess, but hey. Everybody in that story but Misty Knight had the same skin tone, anyway.


Haughty priestess assuming everything she does is divinely inspired and thoroughly justified. Still, she truly cares for her sister..


“Iron Fist ! Cease your battling at once ! Such is the command of the Living Goddesses !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

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Dex: 04 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Fanatic
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Cult leader
Inf: 05 Aur: 03 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 013 HP: 020

Occultist: 04, Weaponry (melee): 05

Expertise (Kâli rituals), Language (Nepalese).

Cult of Kâli (High).

CIA to serving the Cult.


  • CLOAK OF DARKNESS [BODY 04, Darkness: 06, Bonus: Shaya can have her followers and sister ignore the Darkness power if she so wishes ; Limitation : Darkness cannot be shaped, and maintaining it consumes all actions for that Phase].
  • Bladed chain [BODY 07, EV 04, Extra limb: 04, Stretching: 00, Limitation : Stretching has No Fine Manipulation].
  • Curved dagger [BODY 04, EV 03].

Followers of Kâli

The followers were mostly fanatics with loinclothes, turbans and curved daggers. A few seemed to be skilled assassins, able to strike by surprise and escape . For instance, one pair carried umbrellas concealing a throwing dagger. But they were generally of low calibre.

You could always add the Large Thuggee Fighter to their roster, though.

The servants seen in the comics had the usual big street thugs stats, plus Language (Nepalese) and a SIA toward Serving the cult.

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

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Shaya — Averaged PL4.8

00 01 01 00 02 01 01 01


Chain-fighting ● 3 points (Easily removable – needs a fighting chain) ● Descriptor: Skill
– Enhanced Parry 2.
– Close Attack 2.
– Improved Critical 1.


Cloak of darkness ● 11 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Magical artifact
Darkness field — Burst-Area 2 all visual Concealement, Precise, Passive.

Combat Advantages

Close Attack 3, Defensive Roll 1.

Other Advantages

Equipment 2, Language (Nepalese), Ritualist (Occult Lore).


Athletics 2 (+2), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise (Occult and Kâli lore) 6 (+7), Insight 2 (+3), Perception 3 (+4), Persuasion 1 (+2).


Bladed chain Slashing Strength-Based Damage 3, Improved Grab, Improved trip, Reach 2 ● 7 points
Dagger Piercing Strength-Based Damage 1, Improved Critical 1 ● 2 points


Initiative +1
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 0
Bladed chain +7, Close (Reach 2), Damage 3, Crit 19-20


Dodge 05 Fortitude 04
Parry 04**/06 Toughness 01*/02
Will 05

* Without Defensive Roll
** Without a chain


  • Comic-book thuggee Shaya is a fanatical devotee to a death goddess.
  • Cult leader It’s a great job until they turn against you.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 5, Dodge/Toughness PL 4, Parry/Toughness PL 6, Fort/Will PL 5.
  • Points total 57. Abilities 14, Defences 13, Skills 8, Powers 3, Devices 11, Advantages 8. Equiv. PL 4.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Old Iron Fist stuff.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Pawsplay. The information about the different cults of Kâli in the MU was assembled by Caliban on .