Home for the Holidays

a topic in Orsa of Terminus, a part of the RPG forum.

The lull in the war has ended, and the Orsa of Terminus is on the rise once more. Will the battle hardened Patronus remain strong, or fall under the growing might of this renewed threat? A mature roleplay. This forum is one large roleplay within a set world and designated story lines.

Home for the Holidays

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Tiko on Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:06 am

Private residence, near Washington D.C.

(Post order: Ylanne, Cryovizard)
I've moved on. If anyone stumbles on any of my old roleplays or wants to hit me up for nostalgia sake, feel free to shoot me an e-mail me at RPGTiko@gmail.com or hit me up on http://www.storytellerscircle.com. Good luck RolePlaygateway.

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Re: Home for the Holidays

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Ylanne on Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:12 pm

Washington D.C.

There were at least eight brown boxes crammed into the backseat of the little car, most of them marked with the ominous word “MOVING.” There were even two in the passenger seat. Ayasha Ziedins still wasn’t sure just how she had managed to squeeze that many of them into the small space, but then again, packing her life into boxes was no small task. She sat in the driver’s seat, eyeing a large bag with a Nativity design, full of wrapped presents labeled “Mom” and “Dad.” For the longest time, she couldn’t gather the willpower to move; she stared at the presents as if they could open themselves. It was an odd sight, the enormously tall woman sitting inside the tiny car, her hair scraping against the roof, head bent downward, a dark red scarf obscuring most of her face. She could have been sleeping or dead.

It might have been ten minutes before Ayasha finally turned the car off, leaving her weapons securely locked in the glove compartment. She had never brought her weapon into her parents’ house before, and she wasn’t going to start now—especially not when the futuristic appearance of her newly issued weapons would lead to questions she didn’t want to answer. They probably already knew enough about the changes anyhow. CNN was still broadcasting, last she’d checked. Ayasha held her wand in her hand, debating. That she wouldn’t part with.

She grabbed the bag and shut the car door, making her way to the house. As she walked, Ayasha’s footsteps crunched in the snow and she tried to smile, remembering Boston snowstorms and the inevitable school closings from her childhood. There wasn’t nearly as much snow in Washington as up north; Ayasha could see the jagged blades of grass peeping from under the white blanket. Her Blackberry buzzed, and she stopped on the doorstep, glancing down at the little screen. It glowed white with an email from Amira.

Merry Christmas! Tell your parents they need to visit Philadelphia. Come see me before you head back to Langara. I miss seeing you around.

Ayasha slid her phone shut, slipping it back into her purse. She pressed her finger against the doorbell, peering through the foggy glass in hopes of watching her mother or father come to the door. Inside, she heard a muted version of Big Ben. Ayasha noticed a new paint job on the door—dark red paint, with a freshly cut pine wreath hung over the door. Her parents lived on nearly two acres of their own land, about thirty minutes out from Washington D.C. proper, which was probably why they hadn’t been affected much by the Coalition occupation. Most of their land was forested, with enough trees to provide fires and furniture for a lifetime. What Ayasha liked most about her parents’ house was that it was private. The light on the porch came on, and a moment later, the door unlatched.

Ayasha released a breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding when she saw Tamarijn Ziedins in the hallway, wearing a knitted red sweater with a reindeer face and white furry slippers and holding a wet kitchen towel in her hand. But the former special agent didn’t have an opportunity to inspect her mother longer before she was smothered in a bear-hug and a cloud of perfume. “Merry Christmas, Yasha,” Tamarijn said, squeezing. Ayasha’s eyes popped before her mouth remembered to smile, and she looked down at her mother, an old frail woman who looked nothing like the ghosts in her memory. Behind her was the old grandfather clock that used to wake her up every morning for school.

Always staggeringly tall, Tamarijn had been eclipsed by her daughter by the time Ayasha was a freshman at Newton National Academy. Now, she looked as though she had shrunk a few inches. Her cheeks sagged a little, and her hair was nearly all gray, combed back in a messy ponytail. Tamarijn stepped back from her daughter, grasping Ayasha’s wrists in a surprisingly firm grip. She clucked her tongue. “Oh, Yasha, you look terrible.”

Ayasha was saved from having to respond by the sound of footsteps on the stairs. An old man with a head of white hair and wireframe glasses, dressed in a dark green turtleneck and khaki chinos descended the stairs, a glass of champagne in his hand. “Dad, it’s not even eight,” Ayasha said, reaching for the wine glass. Alexander Ziedins chuckled, holding it just out of his daughter’s reach.

“An old man has a right to a drink,” he said with a mischievous smile, folding Ayasha into another hug. The hallway’s bamboo floors had been polished, with genuine pine garland draped over the stair railing, and Ayasha could hear the faint sounds of Handel’s Messiah playing from the new sound system in the parlor, where a freshly cut tree stood by the fireplace. The fire crackled, and for a moment Ayasha felt at home, as if she were ten again and it was Christmas Eve in Boston.

Tears welled in her eyes as she hugged her father back, nestling her nose in the smell of his pine-scented cologne. “Merry Christmas, Dad,” she whispered. “It’s good to be back.”

“Don’t you change the subject!” Tamarijn swung her towel at Ayasha’s bottom. Ayasha released her father, staring at her mother with lowered eyes and pursed lips. “You didn’t think I’d let you get away with it. For Pete’s sake, Yasha, you look like you haven’t slept a wink in days.”

“More like weeks,” Ayasha mumbled.

“Oh leave her alone, Tammy,” Alexander said, heading into the parlor. “Come sit down, Yasha, we want to hear all about your move. Langara, is that right? Must be nice, moving to another planet.” He sank into a dark leather armchair, sipping liberally from his wine glass.

Tamarijn looked at her husband with reproach, gliding into the parlor after him. “And you haven’t called. Leaving your father and I in the dark like this, it’s not like you. What have you been doing that you couldn’t spare two minutes and a few nickels—”

“Cubits,” Alexander corrected, crossing his legs. “Get with the times, Tammy. The currency’s changed.”

“And call your parents?” Tamarijn shook her head, hands on her hips as she stared up at her daughter, ignoring Alexander. “I want to know everything, Yasha. Who you’re working with, where you’re living, what you’re doing now. And for the love of God, put that wand somewhere else. I don’t want it anywhere near here.”

Ayasha’s cheeks colored and she stooped to fit under the arch into the parlor. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I meant to call; I forgot; I didn’t have the time; I literally just moved, Mom. I was going to call but then it was Christmas and I just figured, what the hell. So I came here instead hoping maybe it would be nice to come visit.” She threw her hands up in the air. “And instead I walk in the door and you start telling me I look terrible and I’m a terrible daughter because I didn’t call. Thanks a lot, Mom. It’s just what I need to hear.”

“Oh Yasha,” Tamarijn laid the towel on a small coffee table, reaching up to take her daughter in an embrace. “I didn’t mean it like that. Come sit down.” She let go, motioning to the beige couch that took up most of one wall of the parlor.

Ayasha sat on the edge of the couch, her chin leaning on her hands. “Well, I brought you something.” She reached for the Nativity bag, taking out several wrapped presents and laying them on her lap. She took a large, cylindrical one, and handed it to her father, secretly glad that her mother seemed to have forgotten about her wand. “This one’s for you, Dad.”

Alexander uncrossed his legs, setting his wine glass on the coffee table. He leaned forward to take the gift and unwrapped it slowly, revealing a bottle of imported Italian wine. “This is lovely, Yasha. I think I know what I’m drinking after dinner.”

“I thought you’d like it,” Ayasha said, unable to resist smiling as she took out a large rectangular gift, offering it to her mother. “And for you, Mom.”

Tamarijn took the present, ripping the paper away to reveal a hand-painted wooden frame with an enlarged photo of two young women, one far taller than the other, wearing in light summer dresses. The corners of her eyes grew moist and she sank onto the couch next to Ayasha, murmuring, “I’ve been looking for this picture for months, Yasha. This is precious. Do you know how much this means to me? I remember this day. It was a picnic, next to Lake Quannapowitt, inside that gazebo.”

Alexander came to stand over Tamarijn’s shoulder, peering down at the photo. For a moment, he looked, and then his eyes hardened, his jaw tightening as he looked at the Christmas tree. “It was only a week before, that picnic.”

“Oh, Alex.” Tamarijn laid her hands over the photo, looking up at her husband. “It’s Christmas. Let’s remember the good times.”

“I have another one for you, Dad,” Ayasha said in a quieter tone, reaching into the bag to pull out a small box wrapped in gaudy paper. After a moment, Alexander turned around again and took the present. Tamarijn laid the photo face-down on the other side of the couch.

“You didn’t have to get me anything,” Alexander said, peeling away the paper. Inside there was a box of fine Cuban cigars. “Cuban?” His eyebrows shot to the ceiling. “Isn’t there an embargo against Cuban products? Yasha, I thought you worked for the government.”

“Get with the times, Alex,” Tamarijn said in a sweet tone, smiling at her husband. “New government, no embargo.”

Alexander chuckled, shaking his head. “Thanks, Yasha,” he said, laying the box of cigars next to the bottle of wine.

“And lastly, for Mom,” Ayasha said, pulling out another small box, which she handed to Tamarijn. “Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad.”

Tamarijn took the box, unwrapping a plain silver box. She removed the lid, gasping as she pulled out a turquoise pendant, the stone encased in a sterling silver floral design. “Yasha, how dare you spend this much money,” she scolded, holding the necklace in her hand. “Alex, look what your daughter did. All her hard earned money, and she spends it on this. Yasha.” She clucked her tongue.

Ayasha leaned over, smiling ear to ear. “Let me help you with that, Mom,” she said, undoing the clasp and slipping the necklace over her mother’s head. She clasped it and let the pendant fall. “It looks beautiful.”

“You didn’t have to,” Tamarijn said. Ayasha leaned over and kissed her mother’s forehead.

A moment later, smoke wafted into the parlor. “Do I smell something burning?” Alexander narrowed his eyes, coughing as he waved his hand, trying in vain to dispel the smoke.

“Oh Lord,” Tamarijn stood, wringing her hands. “The turkey.” She rushed into the kitchen, Ayasha and Alexander following. White clouds of smoke wafted from the oven, and Ayasha could just make out a new granite countertop through the haze, a few candles burning on the counter. A moment later, the fire alarm went off. “Shut it off, Alex!” Tamarijn opened the oven door and more smoke poured into the kitchen. Alexander sighed, shaking his head as he disappeared down the hall.

Ayasha glanced left and right, and then withdrew her wand, muttering a small spell. The kitchen windows opened. She muttered another spell, and then the smoke traveled to the window in a single column, despite the suspicious lack of wind. When her mother turned around, turkey in both hands, Ayasha’s wand was out of sight. “Smells delicious, Mom,” Ayasha said, breathing in the aroma of homemade turkey.

“Why are those windows open? My goodness, we’ll all catch cold.” Tamarijn set the turkey down on the counter and walked over to shut the windows. The fire alarm stopped.

Ayasha shrugged. “Beats me.”

“Now where is your father? Oh never mind. Help me with the dining room. Set the table, will you?” Tamarijn opened a drawer, taking out a steak knife. “I need to slice this turkey.”

“Tammy, it’s Christmas, and Yasha is our guest. Don’t tell her to set the table.” Alexander appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, hands in his pockets.

“Then you do it, Alex,” Tamarijn responded, cutting into the turkey.

Alexander sighed in resignation, setting the places in the adjacent dining room. Ayasha peeked over her father’s shoulder—it wasn’t too hard—and saw her mother’s poinsettia tablecloth, the same one she used to see every Christmas, with red candles and holly as the centerpiece. There were a few poinsettias in the window. The chandelier was new, she saw. So her parents had dug into their retirement funds.

Dinner was a quiet affair. There were no doting grandparents, no smothering aunts and boisterous uncles and sniveling cousins. The last family Christmas had been in 1995.

“Do you remember the time Mom almost burned down the house?” Ayasha chortled through a mouthful of turkey and pudding.

Tamarijn set her fork down. “I did not almost burn the house. I set the turkey on fire.”

“You almost burned down the house, Tammy,” Alexander said, taking another sip of wine.

“I most certainly did not!” Tamarijn glared at Alexander.

“She did,” Alexander said, winking at Ayasha.

Ayasha smiled, and then she felt a warm lump brush over her feet. Instinctually, she kicked at it, and a loud, piteous mewing arose from under the table. The witch frowned, lifting up the tablecloth to see an enormous tabby cat staring up at her with wide eyes, its whiskers quivering. “Where’d this little guy come from, Mom?” she asked, letting the tablecloth fall again.

“Pumpkin?” Tamarijn blinked a few times, a sly smile crossing her face. “He was wandering outside in the backyard, and we couldn’t find any identification on him. So we took him inside and fed him some milk.” She sighed, peeking under the tablecloth. “In the morning, we took him to the veterinarian a few towns over, and the veterinarian said he was probably about one year old. We tried calling everyone we knew, but no one knew where he came from or where he belonged, so we adopted him. We love—”

You adopted him,” Alexander growled. “Your mother means she saw the durned thing and took it inside the house. I had absolutely no part of it.”

“Oh don’t be ridiculous, Alex. You love Pumpkin as much as I do.” Tamarijn helped herself to a few more bites of turkey.

“When was this, Mom?” Ayasha asked. “I don’t remember seeing him before.”

“Two years ago, Yasha,” Tamarijn answered. “And you would have known if you had come to visit before then.”

Ayasha opened her mouth, started to protest, started to defend herself with explanations of how the MEA had sucked up all of her time, and then the war with the Orsa—she was sure her parents had read about that in the news—and then Congress’s ratification of the treaty with the Aschen. But she couldn’t bring herself to say a single word and so she sat in silence for the rest of the meal. Conversation was effectively over.

After dinner, Tamarijn helped Alexander out of his seat, and the three of them returned to the parlor. “Your mother and I got you a little something too, Yasha,” he said, his speech slightly slurred.

“Dad—” Ayasha began.

“Shush, Yasha,” Tamarijn said, stooping behind the tree. “You’re our daughter and we love you very much.” She emerged with a large wrapped box, which she carried over to the couch where Ayasha sat, heaving it onto her daughter’s lap. Tamarijn dusted off her hands, sinking onto the couch beside Ayasha. “Well?”

Ayasha found the seam of the paper, sliding her finger along until the wrapping paper fell around the box. Inside was a cardboard box taped shut. She raised her eyebrow, cutting the tape. Alexander leaned forward. Ayasha lifted the first of several recently dusted photo albums, laying it on her lap. She slid the box over to the other side of the couch. The year read 1985. Ayasha opened the album, finding a large photo of a younger Tamarijn—her hair was brown, then—smiling next to a younger Alexander—his hair was blond—on a beach somewhere in Maine. In front of her parents, there were two girls, one a smiling twenty-one year old with a martini glass in her hand for the first time, the other only three, with wide eyes staring up at her sister, angelic face framed by dark curls.

“Now you see why I was looking for that picture you gave me,” Tamarijn said, pinching Ayasha’s arm.

There were six albums in total, all containing family photos Ayasha hadn’t seen in years. There were tents in the Vermont campgrounds, boats along the Maine coast, the girls with Mother Goose at Story Land, birthdays in bowling alleys and pizza places, first days of school, and graduation. There were two sets of most photos, but the younger girl disappeared from the albums after her eighth grade school portrait. There was only one set of graduation photos. One set of prom photos. One of Ayasha receiving her special agent credentials—she looked almost absent despite the clear jubilation of the other new MEA agents in the background.

The hands on the old grandfather clock in the hall turned. It was almost ten by the time they had finished laughing and crying over the albums. “Surely you’ll stay a few days,” Tamarijn said, stroking Ayasha’s arm. “It’s been so long, Yasha.”

“Yeah,” Ayasha said, a shy smile creeping across her face. “I’ll stay a while.”

After her parents had gone to bed, Ayasha sat alone in the parlor, packing the photo albums back into the box. They would go with her when she returned to Caprica City. She hefted the box onto the table, heading down the hall to the guest room. She flipped on the light, revealing a grape-patterned bedspread on a mahogany bed set. It looked like Alexander had repainted the walls. She remembered them being the same olive green as the blankets on the bed, but now they were a softer cream. The dark brown curtains were the same though. Ayasha set her purse on the bed, laying her wand next to it. It had been a long day.
​“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
― Arundhati Roy

Stunning letter from autistic survivor of electric shock torture in USA

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Re: Home for the Holidays

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lobos on Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:22 pm

The Raven slipped forward almost silently, peering at the home of Ayasha's parents from across the street. It rested low to the ground, shrouded by darkness, swirling snow, and the low brush it now crept among. It clicked quietly to its partner, Cameron Fields, a sign that here was where they would lie in wait, observing their target and familiarizing themselves with the surroundings. But its gaze never wavered from the house, dark violet optics set firmly forward.

Within the machine's eyes, it was flicking through several varieties of filters, obtaining more of the layout of the house and tracking the location of the target, one Ayasha Zeidins. Krycis' orders had been very specific in that she not be killed in this attack. It knew what its master had planned, of course. It was not so much predicting the mind of a god, as it was sharing the thoughts between two parts of a whole. Ayasha would be captured, interrogated, and likely broken, to be rebuilt as a sleeper agent among the depths of the Patronus, a weapon that once used, could cripple them further than they were about to be. The Raven checked across its networks to determine how close the assault was to happening, warbling slightly as it noted that there would likely be no time to join after this assignment was complete.

The creature began to turn its body, allowing its eyes to capture the surroundings and build a mental map. This would be vital for the upcoming confrontation, for the Raven had no intention of being drawn within the home. Just because it had not detected traps and defenses did not mean they did not exist, and so the logical option was to draw the target out to it, where the familiarity of the field was now shared between both sides. It had often been ridiculed for this careful, organized approach to a strike by not only its fellow Hunters, but also its very master. But none could deny the efficiency of its actions, and though relatively new compared to its brethren, its equality was plain.

Cracking open its beak, the Raven spoke then, softly. It addressed Cameron with his own voice, its preferred way of communication with another. Mimicry was one of its most renowned talents, and it liked unsettling others. Even its allies.

"Take time, wait and watch. Soon, we strike. Be ready."
Serenade the moon, and let loose your howl.

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Re: Home for the Holidays

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Ylanne on Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:50 pm

(OOC: That /is/ sketchy. I can imagine being spoken to in my own voice; it would probably result in a panic attack or conniption or both. I like the post. I'll respond soon -- I'll replace this message with my post. I also need to post in Izoi's roleplay "The Unseen" and in both of my own [linked in my signature.] Sadly, life decided to continue its mauling of me and with any luck, posts for all four will be up this week...)

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Re: Home for the Holidays

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Ylanne on Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:02 am

Cameron Fields nodded, trying not to think about the sound of his own voice coming from another direction. Through the mist of snow, he could see Ayasha through the windows, laying the plates at the formal dining room table. Dressed in a long wool coat and flannel scarf, he was still cold in the below freezing temperatures. So much for balmy D.C. weather. The snow storm that had blown in only a week before had left its mark on the former American capital. He had never been out here. Cameron had certainly been to MEA Headquarters and even to some of the dozens of museums and memorials that dotted the city, but never had he been to this particular neighborhood, where the houses were on average a few acres apart, away from the urban center. There were trees everywhere, their dark silhouettes rising like shadowy gremlins.

It had been months since he had set foot on Terra. "There are two others in the house," he said to his companion, his gaze sliding over to the Raven. "No one close enough to hear the sounds of a struggle." And even if there were loud sounds, the trees would muffle any sound waves and keep nosy neighbors from inspecting or calling for help. Cameron looked back into the house. He watched the three slide into their chairs around the table, felt some pang at the sight of their smiles, was seized at once by the insane desire to join them. But of course, he had no place at that table, and given the status quo, had no place to even imagine such a possibility.

Ayasha had invited him for dinner once, years ago. He had never taken her up on the invitation. And how here he was, preparing to harm and capture the only woman who had tried to save him. "I was your enemy," he whispered to himself, his breath curling in the air before his face. Yet even with that knowledge, Cameron did not truly know how he felt about what he was about to do. In war, all's fair. Sacrifice was a necessity, not an option. If he had any emotions, then they would have to be compartmentalized, inhibited, tempered in order to enable him to carry out his work. Cameron had no reason to do anything but follow orders. Ayasha Ziedins was no longer his boss, nor was she his friend. She was his target.

(OOC: Sorry for not getting this up earlier today, as planned. Real life sort of grabbed me and didn't release.)

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Re: Home for the Holidays

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Tiko on Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:09 pm

[Scene unfinished due to Cryovizard dropping out. Ayasha is assumed to have escaped the resulting attack]

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