3) "The Grandeur that was Rome" (Harold Pinter)
Selene was introduced for the first time when Xavier’s younger students, the New Mutants, accompanied Sunspot’s mother, an archeologist, on a trip through the Amazonian rainforest and stumbled across an outpost of ancient pre-Augustan Rome – Nova Roma. The New Romans’ ancestors had feared (quite rightly) that, with the death of Julius Caesar, the republic of Rome would be doomed and give way to an Empire and had therefore fled Rome to eventually found a city built on the old ideals in the rainforest. They were joined by descendants of the ancient Inca Indians. The two cultures shared an uneasy coexistence in this city state.
Introduced as the obedient but dangerous wife of the ambitious Senator Gallio, who schemed to overthrow the republic in favor of a tyranny (with him as ruler, naturally). Selene addressed her husband as „Roman“ at one point, and other hints were given that she was Inca or of mixed heritage.
Selene supported her husband’s schemes while, at the same time, as the “Black Priestess,“ being the secret object of devotion of a secret death cult that abducted young girls in the citystate and threw them into the lava pits as a sacrifice to Selene. For she was an energy vampire, feeding on others’ lifeforces and these sacrifices kept up her youth and vigor. As well, she displayed the ability to control inanimate objects and hypnotic control of others.
Selene came into conflict with the New Mutants when she took prisoner their new friend, Amara Aquila, daughter of her husband’s political rival, Senator Lucius Aquila. Selene had already been responsible for the death of Amara’s mother and now wanted to take Amara’s life as well, while at the same time intending to make Danielle Moonstar, the first other mutant she was aware of (or so she claimed), her apprentice. Selene threatened to make the girl a life-force energy vampire like herself as well.
The scheme failed, as her attempt to murder Amara actually served to ignite the girl’s latent mutant power and Amara and the other New Mutants fought Selene, seemingly killing her, by throwing her into a lava pit and then burying her under an avalanche. They believed this to be the end of Selene, but they were very much mistaken. Taking along Amara, they left for New York, not realizing their paths would cross again.
Much later when Xavier’s School and the Hellfire Club worked closer together on occasion (by virtue of the School’s headmaster also being the White King), Selene once taunted Amara cruelly by hinting that she was in fact an ancestor of hers. Amara believed this to be a lie and, of course, she was right. What she didn’t know was how much of a lie it was. [New Mutants #9-11]