Manuel de la Rocha

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This character is currently unplayed, but is open for applications. If you are interested in applying for this character, you can contact the mods at x_moderators @ googlegroups . com and you can find the application form here.

Manuel de la Rocha
Empath Card.png
Portrayed by Gael Garcia Bernal
Codename: Empath
Affiliations: Xavier Institute, Hellfire Club
Birthdate: November 22, 1984
Journal: Redemption
Player: Available for applications

After being in a coma for nearly a year, Manuel under went a six month treatment at Muir Island Research Facility to be able to walk again. As he was unable to control his powers after head trauma from the accident, Manuel returned to the mansion to undergo extensive therapy to reform his personality and relearn what was lost to him.


Character Journal: x_empath

Real Name: Manuel Alphonso Rodrigo de la Rocha

Codename: Empath

Aliases: Manuelito, Manny

First Appearance: December 10, 2003

Date of Birth: November 22, 1984

Place of Birth: Madrid, Spain

Citizenship: Spanish citizen with false American citizenship

Relatives: Father (deceased): Alphonso de la Rocha; mother (deceased): Carmelita de la Rocha; step-mother: Adoracion de la Rocha. Sister: Valentia Dominga de la Rocha.

Education: Graduate of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsterswith a GED.

Relationship Status: Single (previously involved with Amanda Sefton) and Carmilla Black

Occupation: Businessman, currently recuperating at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

Team Affiliation: Hellfire Club - White Bishop



Manuel was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. His father, Alphonso Rodrigo de la Rocha, dabbled in import-export as well as various nefarious activities. His family dates back in an unbroken line to the time of the Ceasers of ancient Rome. His mother was an exotic dancer named Carmelita and only sixteen years of age when Manuel was born. He spent his childhood learning the skills of nobility - how to dress, how to dance, how to play music, and how to fence. He also travelled extensively with his father on business trips all over Europe, specifically to Prague, Paris, Rome, and Berlin.

When he turned twelve his mutation began to manifest itself - he would see colors connecting people and surrounding them that would flux and writhe based on people's emotional states. This is how he learned that both his parents were carrying on affairs behind his back. He was indiscreet about using his knowledge - often, he did so without realizing it. Things came to a head thanks to this new friction in the de la Rocha household, and his father poisoned his mother in a fit of jealous rage. Alphonso managed to conceal Carmelita's death from Manuel, creating a fabricated story that she had gone to visit relatives in Basque country. Manuel's lack of control soon became completely obvious - and it didn't take Alphonso long to realize that his son had cracked and to kick him out of the house.

Living on the Streets

Manuel's power, then thoroughly out of control, ruled his life for two full years. He was at the emotional mercy of everyone and anyone within his steadily-increasing range. He managed to make a friend named Pablo, and with Pablo's help he discovered what he would later call The Mirror. By focusing in tightly on one person's emotional signatures, by losing himself in the colors and threads, he could block everyone else out. The problem with this technique is that he's powerless against the person he's using as the Mirror. His other form of empathic defense was music - as he grew more skilled he could use music as a form of the Mirror, putting himself at the mercy of the emotional feel of a piece of music to block out all other external influences. He became a minor celebrity in the Madrid club scene due to a combination of his empathic ability as well as his natural talent in music. Manuel made a living via empathic coercion - people would just give him whatever he wanted in order to survive. As he grew older, he began using his power as a bludgeon to dominate men and women both into becoming his lover, to taking care of him like he was the most important thing in their lives. It was Pablo in conjunction with the Spanish federal police who apprehended Manuel during one rather spectacular bender.

The Asylum

Manuel, condemned as insane by the Spanish legal system, languished in a very specially-chosen institution. His father pulled some strings in order to get Manuel committed to a facility that was a front for a group of renegade chemists and geneticists looking into doing their own independent research into human mutation. He was tortured, abused, chemically manipulated, and trained in empathic mindbreaking techniques. Various chemicals, such as lithium, were used to artificially dampen or heighten his empathic talent. Due to the sadistic nature of the orderlies, Manuel was also sexually abused for years. He was rescued when he cut a deal with Emma Frost help her escape the asylum - she was being held captive so that Manuel could use his power to break her mental shields and extract information from her formidable mind. The rescue effort was a success and Manuel was taken from Spain to America.

First Year At Xavier's

Manuel spent his first few weeks at the mansion in a coma, recovering from the large amount of drugs that had been pumped into him. Wasted and weakened from months of immobility in the asylum, upon awakening, he was confused and disoriented, a condition that only continued as he became acquainted with his new fellows. Proud and aristocratic, he alienated people from the start with his haughty attitude and propensity to use his empathic powers to get his way, although he made some friends initially: Marie-Ange Colbert, Doug Ramsey and Marie D'Ancato primary among them. Fellow Hellfire Club member and scion of another wealthy family, Shinobi Shaw was another student with whom Manuel made some rapport. But the most unexpected relationship was that with British punk witch, Amanda Sefton. Caught up in one of her power highs and inadvertently establishing an empathic link, they began an on-again, off-again relationship that would prove to be the most constant thing in his life at Xavier's.

Used by Kwannon to help imprison Betsy Braddock inside her own mind, Manuel had his power blocked for his own safety and that of others for several months, made to wear an inhibitor bracelet. Between training with Nathan Dayspring and Charles Xavier, he was weaned back onto his power, but it was in Asgard that he was finally able to overcome it, thanks to the training he received from Loki.

Manuel's libido, never fully controlled, got him into considerable difficulty when he chose Jubilee as his 'bit on the side' as per his open relationship with the emotionally-skittish Amanda. His dislike for Amanda's best friend Angelo Espinosa came close to sabotaging the relationship entirely when he overheard her tell Angelo she loved him, something she had yet to actually say to her link-mate. Feeling betrayed, he took his pleasure with Jubilee, letting Amanda feel everything through the link and driving the witch into another bout with her addiction that was only ended when the dysfunctional pair talked and she finally told him the three magic words he'd been waiting for.

Things continued to be rocky for Manuel, despite the reconciliation. Unable to connect with his fellow students and having lost several friends due to departures or through his own actions, he became increasingly bitter and isolated, realising at last that he had to discard the trappings of his old life in order to establish his new one. Attending a Hellfire Club function for his 21st birthday, he intended to resign his position as White Knight to Emma Frost. His father, Alphonso de la Rocha had other plans - disapproving of his son's attempts to free himself of his family obligations and his choice of girlfriend, Alphonso had made an arrangement with Selene to make his son more pliable. Manuel and Amanda barely escaped with their lives, and Manuel's memory and power were shattered by Selene's mind control spells.

A Clean Slate

With no memory of anything emotionally resonant and disowned by his father, Manuel struggled to rebuild his life. He was able to establish several new friendships and resolve old conflicts, however flashes of the 'old' Manuel continued to dog his life. An exorcism by Amanda's guardian Romany Wisdom and the London Coven removed the bulk of Selene's influence, allowing him to remember more of his old life and a Valentine's 'gift' from his father, a DVD of the beating meted out to Amanda at the Hellfire Club incident reopened his access to his powers.

When Alphonso was murdered, apparently by Pete Wisdom, and Manuel discovered Amanda had known of the plan for months prior, he reverted to his old ways and threatened her with his powers. She left, leaving him angry and grieving, for his father and for Lusyana, one of the Askani empaths who had been teaching him via Nathan's subconscious mind. Reconciliation upon Amanda's return was very slow in coming, but eventually they began rebuilding their relationship, only for Amanda to turn to Selene. In her last 'gift' to him, she tore out the link, before teleporting herself to the Hellfire Club. Manuel went off the rails, nearly driving Tommy Jones to suicide and almost being expelled. Amanda's return, following Selene's defeat at the hands of Pete and the X-Men, drove him from the mansion entirely, and he accepted a position with Gideon Faraday's company, Eris. He began establishing a new life for himself, associating with the only two friends he had left, Marius Laverne and Jennie Stavros.

With Gideon's death, Eris fell apart and with it Manuel's job and prospects. He went to Spain, to attempt and reclaim some of his birthright and using old family connections to sustain himself. When Marius also left the school, it was Manuel and Jennie who accompanied him on his European travels, assisting him as best they could. Caught in an empathic loop generated by Marius' use of Manuel's powers through regular feeding, things ended in disaster when Manuel and Jennie were caught up in a lucksnap caused by her over-using her powers. Manuel saved Jennie from being struck by a runaway truck, but sustained serious injuries in the process. Transferred from a Monaco hospital to Muir Island Research Facility, Manuel slipped into a coma shortly after a final visit from Amanda. His condition remained serious and unchanged for over a year.

Life after Death

Almost a full year and some odd months later, Manuel broke from his coma. Disoriented, he had no recollection of the accident or anything afterwards. He was stuck in a bed and had lost significant amount of weight and muscle, which only made it harder for him to deal with upon awakening. He had lost a year of his life, a year he would never get back. It made him angry and it was very quickly established that because of his broken link with Amanda and emotional/mental damage associated with the asylum, Manuel no longer had control of his powers, despite the effort Charles put in using psionic therapy during the coma. Because it proved to be too much stress for Manuel to deal with – his lack of power, control and anger - with his agreement, an inhibitor was placed on his wrist to keep his powers in check until he was able to be retaught how to control them. During the full year of his coma, only Marie came to visit him and Manuel was embarrassed when he woke after being informed that no one else had come, aside once from Marius and an occasional inquiry now and then from Amanda. This made him realize that he had ruined many people, tarnished friendships that once were and focused so much on the bad that he hadn't seen the good.

Five months of rehabilitation, he had to learn to walk again, exercise his muscles and do puzzles to help with his coordination. At his angry sessions with his therapist, he constantly argued that he didn't need any help. He was fine and could manage on his own. It took many sessions and in one powerful hour, he had broken down to an angry confession of the anguish he felt at the betrayal of his father. He felt abandoned, used and a justice was had by someone else taking his father's life. He felt the world was constantly conspiring against him, that they owed him something. It was summed up to be 'father issues' that bled into everything that Manuel had ever done to others. Several more Sessions followed now that Manuel knew his problem and Charles made a few more appearances to help him with his therapy. He learned to control his anger and thwart any plots for revenge. Knowing he was damaged beyond repair, he felt he was not yet broken in spirit and strove not to be the best, but a better person than what he was.

By no means was he an indefinite changed man but the 'near death' experience, as he liked to call it, woke him up to the relationships he hadn’t appreciated. Instead of being insufferably vocal, Manuel quieted down, found solitude in writing in a journal and eventually picked up music again. He got in touch with Marie and exchanged emails often with her, asking her to keep his awakening a secret, though he was not sure if she did or not. He wasn't ready to face the others yet nor the knowledge that they might not come and see him. The therapist wrote Manuel's change as something pivotal, though far from any good diagnosis and Charles was confident he could be helped.

At times, the Muir staff found him to drift off, unable to focus his attention for very long and it often seemed like he wasn't there. Unsure of where he would fall into society, he was deemed unfit for release as his powers were still unable to be controlled and the full mental damage had yet to be determined due to the accident. As he was under the charge of Charles Xavier, Manuel would return to the school to continue therapy, relearn his powers and be rehabilitated back into society.

Upon his arrival at the mansion, Manuel found his welcome was just as he had originally assumed - full of animosity and very few people were excited to see him back. Even Remy LeBeau came to Manuel with a list stacked in his room of all the past ordeals and grievances he'd caused all the people around him. Manuel assured Remy that he was changed, but Remy did not believe him, telling Manuel that he would be snuffed out if he caused any problems.

Throughout the course of the year, Manuel made a visible effort to try and control his powers, pretending to read books where he was really practicing with his failed power control. He even did long sessions with Nathan Dayspring but there was no change in relearning his powers. He only found that his powers were repeatedly amplifying others' emotions and drowning out his own and any focus he could have on control. It was in December 2008 that Manuel finally realized what was happening, that he was within a loop that Marius had caused before he'd fallen into the coma. Though at this point, it was all speculation on Manuel's part and he was unaware of how to break it.

Hellfire Club Renewed

After Day Zero, Emma Frost told Manuel that she had given his previous position as White Knight to Doug Ramsey and asked Manuel to take the position of White Bishop as he couldn't control his powers and he had to walk with a cane. Reluctantly, Manuel accepted though it was not without a bitterness that lingered into January 2009. Eager to put the petty issue behind them, Emma sent Manuel to Spain to reestablish Hellfire Club contacts. Manuel asked Amanda to go with him due to the fact that everything they had been through, Manuel still trusted her.

It was after one of their meetings that Manuel felt an empathetic pull that he had never felt before. They drove to a house where it was coming from and found a couple that lived there. The couple had a little girl in their care, though they claimed they were well paid for it, but the money was starting to run out. Also, the little girl that went by Valentia, was a mute. After a little disagreement, Manuel and Amanda took Valentia back to the hotel where Amanda made arrangements for the little girl to come to the mansion with them. In a futile attempt to calm Valentia down at night, Manuel only worsened her crying until, unaware that he could not communicate with her through empathy because of his empathetic loop he was caught in. Frustrated and upset, the four year old ripped out the loop as though it was nothing, freeing Manuel's shields from their confines and allowing Manuel's powers to grow once more. Though they were damaged, already he had noticable control over what he could filter in and out. Relieved, they returned back to the mansion, with Amanda suggesting that maybe Valentia was Manuel's relative. Finding this notion ridiculous, Manuel went to Jean and got blood work done, only proving Amanda to be right. Reluctantly, Manuel assumed position as Valentia's guardian until she would be able to care for herself.

In July 2009, Manuel and Carmilla Black sparked an interest in one another, a love/hate thing that continued to intensify and on the many occasions that Manuel slept with Carmilla, he was forced to push his powers to the limit in order to keep hers from leaking into him. Unknowing to him, he was gaining control by doing this and it wasn't until Manuel saw Nathan (after Fiddler's Green) and helped Nathan piece back together some of the emotional damage done to him, that Manuel realized he had gained the control he had before his coma. This improvement allowed him to assist Jake Gavin, as well as Cammie, during various incidents causing strong emotional upheaval.

In August 2009, Manuel began to teach, and his new found responsibility found him attempting to reconcile with both Tabitha and Amara, as well as Angelo following the end of the latter's relationship with Amanda. His issues with Laurie, however, continued, exacerbated by their clashing powers.

Over the next six months, Manuel devoted more and more time to the Hellfire Club, despite Emma's subtle testing of his loyalty to the White Court. His duties included some rather risque liaisons in an effort to gather information, but Manuel was scrupulous about his activities remaining confidential to his students, taking his teaching duties very seriously. This, plus her constant self-loathing and lack of direction, caused tension with Cammie, with him pushing her towards college as "something useful to do".

In February 2010, the risks associated with his allegiance to the Hellfire Club came violently apparent with an attempted abduction of his sister by individuals identified as former cronies of Selene. The attempt was thwarted by Amanda, but Manuel decided New York and the school were no longer safe for them, and relocated abruptly to Spain.

Physical Characteristics

Height: 5'10"

Weight: 158 lbs

Eyes: Brown (glow red when using his power)

Hair: Brown

Other Features: Scar tissue over his heart (from a tattoo being removed). Recovered from multiple broken ribs and a fractured skull.


Manuel is an empath, a type of psi, able to both perceive and manipulate the emotions of others, extending to some higher-intelligence animals such as horses. His receptive range is approximately five kilometres, and he by necessity must use a portion of his power and his attention in shielding himself from the emotions of others.


Manuel needs a cane in order to help him walk, held in his right hand for his right leg. The shaft is made from the finest quality exotic ebony wood with a cast sterling silver wolf head and can be converted to the sword cane. It was custom made and given to him by Marie-Ange for his twenty-fifth birthday.


Manuel is a male tetrachomat, capable of seeing more colours than is usual to the human eye.

Manuel's cologne selections are distinguished and he does switch them up from time to time. The main ones he wears are Givenchy's Pi for meetings (a heavy, musky distinguished scent), Givenchy's Blue Label for evening parties, events and clubs (a fresh light scent) and Jean-Paul's Gaultier for any other occasion (light Musky scent with a distinguished air about it, but not as heavy as Pi). On occasion, he switches it up to Ermenegildo's Zegna (a scent that fades over the course of the day, much like Gaultier but not as strong).

The suite he resides in is shielded from the emotional onslaught of the mansion.

External Links

xp_communication posts

xp_journal posts

xp_logs posts

Phase 1 Comms

x_staff posts




Daddy's Girl

Red X Mission: Stonewall

Collateral Damage

Asgard (plot)

Blaze of Glory

Skippy (plot)


Heiress Discordia

Shadows Fall


Hellfire and Damnation

Lost In The Woods

Fear Itself

High Cost Of Living






Valentia's Lullaby

Pas de Trois


Song of Isaac, Key of Solomon


Hotel California (as an illusion)





Player Icon Base: Gael Garcia Bernal

Meta Trivia

Manuel was previously played by Erik and was picked up by Andrea in April 2008 until her departure in February 2010.

Former PB Nicholas Rodriguez