A Place to Call Home

A Place to Call Home

A Society Based on the Rule of Two. Two siblings, two bonds, two everything. Recently undergoing extreme upheaval.

2,484 readers have visited this universe since DemiKara created it.

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Introduction

War is over, and Erutino lies mostly at peace. Queen Wing and First Dark Blade now sit on the throne. But the War did not come with out a cost. Many died on both sides of the conflict. Now, social upheaval plagues the nation, and Queen Wing pushes through the council bills reforming the rights of Lights and Darks everywhere. With Blade by her side, the political portion if complete. But now it's not the politics that are an issue, but the people.

Not every Dark wants his Light to have freedom after all.

Society

Education
It is generally held that the Dark, as the stronger, more protective, and also more sedate 'leader' of the two is to provide physically for the weaker more excitable Light twin, thought the Light twin often acts almost as a caregiver to the Dark, cooking, cleaning and generally seeing to the Darks more emotional needs. In this way the two balance each other, and really do not understand how to live without the other.

Thus, the Dark Academy of a sector is never more than a half mile away from the Light Academy, and though separate dorms are available, and encouraged, during these years, it is not uncommon to find Light twins making their way to the Dark's room at night, as Lights do not like being left alone.

However, in the event a Dark takes a Warrior job, or a Traveler job, there are dorms available for the Light half of the twinset. This is provided so the Dark twin may never need to worry of the safety of his/her light twin as the Light Compounds and Light Dorms are some of the heaviest guarded places in a Shapeshifter world/colony.

Each shapeshifter is required to take ten years of Basic Education at an Academy and past that will take an apprenticeship to learn a job field if not going in one of the Academy fields.

There are of course as many fields of education in their culture as there are in their culture. However there are several distinct fields that use the Academy system rather than the standard mentorship system used after Basic Education. These fields are as follows:

Medical
Healers are an integral part of any society, but especially the accident prone Shapeshifters one. This field is almost exclusively dominated by Lights, though there is the occasional Dark working with his/her Light twin out of devotion. It takes 10 years to master.

Warrior
Warriors are integral to any society, but especially one that is as large and rambunctious as Shapeshifters. Each colony and settlement has a large percentage of warriors to ensure the Laws are followed. This is an exclusively Dark field, with one exception in the form of Hope. She is obviously a fairly recent exception and is never actually used in this field. This class includes everything from the Queen's Elite Guard to the common guardsman on the street. It takes from 5-20 years to master, depending on job field.

Traveler
Travelers are the dimensional explorers of the shapeshifter society and the vanguard of the colonization efforts. It is there job to locate suitable worlds that already have a society set up so that Shapeshifters may infiltrate and slowly overwhelm the native inhabitants by sheer numbers. Though they have their own special Compound in Erutino, the Homeworld of Shapeshifter society, most Travelers rarely even settle in a place for more than two weeks. These are mostly Darks as well. Only after having completed the Warrior Academy can a Shifter go on to become a Traveler. It takes 20 years to master.

Colonists
These shifters are trained to blend in in a variety of worlds with a large variety of different tech levels and environments. Often the world they will travel to is picked at the start of their education, so that they may become highly familiar with their world. Both Lights and Darks enter into the field, often as pairs, and many times after being mated as well. It is the largest Academy and the easiest to enter. The government encourages as many shifters as possible to go there, to the point where it is the only Academy in which you get paid to go. However, because it wouldn't do for shapeshifter to stick out on their new world, they are often limited to the birthing cycle of whatever the dominant species is in that world. It takes ten years to master.


Other fields, are often populated heavily by Lights as many Darks go off the the Warrior class. The Lights however are happy to support their Darks, knowing that each has it's place in society.

Government
The Shapeshifter society is a monarchy, with and elected not inherited Noble class, though the Royal family does inherit to the eldest Light. The Queen of Shapeshifters is always the Light of the eldest surviving twinset at the previous Queen's death.

Religion

Religion
Shapeshifters have a full pantheon of twenty Goddesses, though religion plays a small role in their lifestyles. Still, they do observe a Holy Day on each equinox and solstice, along with a Feast Day for each Goddess.

List of Goddesses

♪ Lona – Creator of the Shapeshifters. Goddess of Life, Peace, Joy and Chaos.
♪ Pharaoi - Goddess of Death, Disease, and the Dead.
♪ Sarsail – Goddess of Sailors, Waters, Seas, Floods, and Droughts
♪ Bostaua – Night, Earth, Metal, Ores, and Gems
♪ Hinthu - Goddess of Light, Day, Fire, Dawn and the Sun
♪ Kelabha - Goddess of the Sky, Weather, Air, and Wind
♪ Kiathot – Goddess of Advice, Wisdom, Cunning, Counsel, Intellect, Planning, Forethought, and Prophecies
♪ Matepha - Goddess of Crafters, Handicrafts, Workers, Merchants and Prosperity.
♪ Asihkan - Goddess of Truth, Oaths, Reason, Language, Writing and Memory
♪ Sarllah - Goddess of Afterthought, Excuses, and the Senses
♪ Aurnotho - Goddess of Heroes, Courage, Strategy and Renown
♪ Pholo - Goddess of Tracking, War, Warfare, Warcraft, and Weapons
♪ Yudh - Goddess of Nature, Harvest, Animals, Wilderness, and Shifting
♪ Eiateila - Goddess of Destruction, Bloodlust, Violence, and Violent Anger
♪ Urlo – Goddess of Messengers, Travelers, Trade, and Diplomacy
♪ Shamotulsyne - Goddess of Healing, Music, Poetry, Art and Artisians.
♪ Phate - Goddess of Wine, Parties, Madness, Drunkenness, and Rash Action
♪ Yshane - Goddess of Lust, Beauty, Pleasure and Fame
♪ Skrona - Goddess of Divine law, Order, Mortal Law, Kings, Heirs, and Empires. Patron Goddess of Dark twins.
♪ Othugli - Goddess of the Home, the Moon, Dusk, Fertility, Childbirth, Marriage, and Love. Patron Goddess of Light twins.

Holy Days!
High Holy – Holiest of days and beginning of New Year. Roughly Corresponds with the Winter Solstice.

Feast Days ins order:
Tshyui Holy Week – Lona, Pharaoi Sarsail, Bostaua, Hinthu
Saiyui Holy Week – Kelabha Kiathot, Matepha, Asihkan, Sarllah
Saryui Holy Week – Aurnotho, Pholo, Yudh, Eiateila, Urlo
Phoyui Holy Week – Shamotulsyne, Phate, Yshane, Skrona, Othugli

Technology level
Shapeshifters have found a way to combine technology with their magic and have space-age technology with the ability to colonize and cross lightyears in short amounts of time. However, they have never seen the point of robots, so have a very small robot population.

They do have Implants used with Travelers exclusively that allow the Travelers to understand and speak in any language as long as the implant is functioning. electricity of any level can knock it out though ambient electricity and static electricity often only destroy the ability to speak and understand a handful of languages. These implants are self repairing and planted onto the brain itself, where it proceeds to integrate with the brain on it's own.

Naming conventions

Shapeshifters are often named after something that can be tattooed, with names such as Flower, or Stone being all too common. this is done simply because on birth, shapeshifters are tattooed with their twin's name on the back of their left hand.

Monetary System

1 gold standard dollar is worth ½ Tellin

Tellin are broken into ½ tellin and ¼ tellin.

There are 5 Tellin in a Cowrie.
There are 8 Cowrie in an Ancilla.
There are 3 Ancilla in a Trochus.
There are 10 Trochus in a Cardita.

Shapeshifting
A Shapeshifter cannot shift into a creature s/he has never seen. They have to understand the basic of that creatures anatomy in order to shift. Because of this, anatomy is taught in the basic schools. Talented shifters are able to understand the patterns of anatomy and shift into whatever they see.

Often shifters stick to a humanoid form, though the color, size, and feature may be different. The ability to shift into inanimate unliving objects, or into non-sentient creatures is greatly restricted. Only the oldest of shifters can manage inanimate objects. Generally, this is possible after 250 year mark, though it is very difficult and energy consuming. As most shifters don't make it past 100, due to the nature of their species, this is a very rare occurance.

Often directly after shifting into an unfamiliar form, a shifter experiences a loss of balance. Even shifting to a familiar form can cause a loss of balance if the size descrepancy between the two was vaste, or the shape shares very few similarites.

Shifting form that walks on four legs, to an upright form that walks on two legs is often very disconcerting and takes a minute or two to reorientate the balance. It is wise to stay still for this minute, though not neccessary. Recovery time can be shorter, though no shorter, for such a drastic change, than thirty seconds.

Shifters tend to choose one gender and stick to it, if only for ease of identification. Because of this, they also tend to stick to one form, though of course there are some rebels.

Shifting can be exhausting. It takes energy to shift and because of the energy consumption, there is a limit to how many shifts can be made in one day. Over shifting can lead to death.

Growth
Oddly enough, in their natural form, a shifter does not stop growing. They are generally born between 14-20 inches long, not including tail length, and grow at a rate of 3 inches a year on average, until the age of 22. At this point the growth rate slows down to half an inch per year. Above the age of 200, it has been observed to slow down to 1/4th an inch per year, though it is never smaller than that.

This makes Queen Wing, argueably one of the oldest shapeshifters currently alive, a staggering 218 in long (18ft 2 in or 5m 37cm). Hope is 186 in long (15 ft 6in or 4m 72.cm).

Calender

Summer - Hinyui, Saryui, Asiyui, Yudyui
Fall - Ateyui, Phoyui, Lonyui, Eiayui
Winter - Skryui, Tshyui, Othyui, Kiayui
Spring - Samyui, Saiyui, Urlyui, Phayui

Weeks:

There are five days in each week and 366 days in a year. The left over day is the first day of the year, considered the High Holy Day when the worlds were made. There are 73 weeks in a year.

Each month has between four and five weeks, with some months starting with a holy week that is not actually considered part of the month. They have four weeks each, not including the holy week. These odd months are Tshyui, Saiyui, Saryui, and Phoyoi.

The 'short' four week months are: Othyui, Samyui, Urlyui, Hinyui, Asiyui, Yudyui, Ateyui, and Lonyui
The 'long' five week months are: Asiyui, Eiayui, Skryui, Kiayui, and Phayui

Days of the week: Othuoi Bostoi Kelaoi Mateoi Yshaoi

On Lights and Darks

Birth
All Shifters are born in twinsets, a Light twin and a Dark twin. Due to the rather genderless nature of shapeshifters, their roles in society are based more on their brith order than on the preferred gender.

Because the Light twin is born second, and born grasping the Dark's heel, they are considered the weaker of the two. This means that in life, it it the Light twins duty to care for the home, and to care for any children they may have in the future, including birthing. The Dark twin is considered the stronger of the two and has the duty to protect the twin and provide for them. The Dark twin controls the political, social, and economic portiosn of the Light twins life.

These twins are raised together for the first six years of their life, before entering into seperate Academies often on the same campus. Normally there is more than one twinset born in each. The litters can produce as much as eight kits, or four twinsets. Single twinsets births are extremely rare.

As an example of the average birthing level, Hope's mother gave birth to 747 twinsets before her death in her 98th year of living having given birth from age 23 to age 98, though she died shortly after her last litter was born do to a shifting accident involving a goose form and a hunter. Hope, like most shapeshifters, has never met all of her many, many siblings, and doesn't actually know who they may be outside of her own litter.

Relationships

Between Light and Dark
The Light very much is taught that the needs of the Dark go before the needs of the Light, while the Dark is taught the opposite is true. This means that each is highly concerned that the other's needs are well met and so always strives, not for themselves, but for their twin.

A Light will follow her Dark to the end of the Earths if need be, and often follows her Dark's commands without a seconds thought, knowing that her Dark would never order anything that could cause a Light harm. She will back away from any relationship her Dark even vaguely hints at disapproving of.

A Dark on the other hand, often will go out of her way to fulfill any wish of her Light, especially the little reasonable ones. She will defend the Light from all the harder parts of life and cushion her life's journey to the best of her ability, refusing to allow the Light's hand to go to anyone who can not defend the Light well form life's hardships.

Marriage and most friendships must be approved of by the Dark. Often a Light will seek out the Dark's approval before even speaking to a stranger, though there are many Lights not like this.


Friendships
In this, the Light often has a great deal of control, as Dark's tend to be withdrawn creatures. The outgoing Light will cheerfully make friends with Light and Dark alike, dragging her Dark behind her with an unmitigated glee. The only stopping force in this would be a subtle glance, or a word from her Dark which may slow her down or stop her completely, though never for long.

Family
Shapeshifter families are not close at all, with the only bond normally being one of blood to the sheer size. While yearmates and littermates may know eachother well enough to jump to each others defense, mostly close family bonds are only formed between the littermates of a season, with a more cousinly bond to the other yearmates.

Romance
A Light may seek younger than her Dark would like, but she will not do more than glance at, smile happily, and perhaps make lighthearted conversation unless her Dark allows her too. Often, due to the over-protectiveness of Darks, a Light will have never even kissed until she settles in on her final and normally only relationship. This has led to a very persistent myth among Lights that no one thinks to dispel: A Light can only be with one person their entire lifetime.

Mating
Mating is the permanent marriage bond between to shapeshifters. It allows each to maintain a supernaturally level of awareness with each other, always aware of how the other is doing physical and emotionally as well as establishing a telepathic bond between the two. Light's consider this highly sacred, and while Darks appreciate it highly, they don't take the same religious view of the act of mating as Light do, though they tend to agree strongly on the ceremony of mating.

Shapeshifters mate only in pairs, twinset marrying twinset. Because of Hope and Snow's unique situation however, Hope long ago resolved to marry a non-shapeshifter without a twin, as she hadn't found her twin. Now that she has, that may or may not change, depending on her twin almost entirely.

Death
An all too common problem, this species has an average lifespan of 95, despite being capable of living well until their 3,000s. Unfortunately, due to the mating bond and the twinbond, the death of just one Shapeshifter takes down their twin, their mate, and often their twin's mate as well.

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The Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona frowned at their lost closeness, deciding to have the last word on the matter by kissing his cheek as she walked through the doorway, nodding at him with a soft smile.

“We were not eavesdropping. Kendra asked us kindly to stay out of her way whilst she was designing and by the time we realised there was something going on in here. We didn’t want to disturb.”

Then her tone faded into sweetness, bringing herself down beside them, planting kisses on their cheeks before embracing her dear Light first. “Congratulations to you both,” she murmured, her flush still evident on her cheeks but entirely forgotten. Such joy.

Kendra blushed even more fiercely at that especially knowing that people were listening in. “Yes… well,” she stumbled, thankfully saved from a reply by Hope’s shouting and then Steph’s entry.

She beamed between all three of them, most brightly at her partner, returning Snow’s kiss with a quick hug, holding onto Hope’s hands and refusing to let go.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona frowned at their lost closeness, deciding to have the last word on the matter by kissing his cheek as she walked through the doorway, nodding at him with a soft smile.

“We were not eavesdropping. Kendra asked us kindly to stay out of her way whilst she was designing and by the time we realised there was something going on in here. We didn’t want to disturb.”

Then her tone faded into sweetness, bringing herself down beside them, planting kisses on their cheeks before embracing her dear Light first. “Congratulations to you both,” she murmured, her flush still evident on her cheeks but entirely forgotten. Such joy.

Kendra blushed even more fiercely at that especially knowing that people were listening in. “Yes… well,” she stumbled, thankfully saved from a reply by Hope’s shouting and then Steph’s entry.

She beamed between all three of them, most brightly at her partner, returning Snow’s kiss with a quick hug, holding onto Hope’s hands and refusing to let go.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona grins happily at her twins hugs, returning it quickly, before squeezing Kendra's hand in response to the hand holding. Oh tonight was absolutely perfect! "Thanks! And you were too eavesdropping. You eavesdropper." She teases, staying close to her fiance happily.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey watches the moment with prideful happiness, but decides not to intrude, simply leaning against the wall out of the way of the three's attention and letting the scene unfold.

He flashes back to his time window shopping at a fine jewelry store, the beautiful rings he saw... but instead, grabbed some chocolates. They had been through so much, so fast, but no. They weren't ready for that.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona smirked just a little. “You’re welcome,” she returned, knowing that they hadn’t been eavesdropping at all, her cheeks flushing a little. Not at all.

Then she released her sister and embraced Kendra instead. “Congratulations to you as well and thank you so much for making my sister happy,” she offered before standing and looking across at Steph in wry amusement.

“Do men of your species not hug people in joy?” she mused out loud before glimpsing the blueprint on the workdesk. Oh my… Her eyes tightened but that moment quickly passed. “Hope, Kendra; how about I cook a celebratory meal?”

Kendra accepted the hug, very pleased that Snow was happy about this. She knew how important the Dark’s approval was to Hope. “Thank you. I’ll do my best to keep at it.”

At Snow’s request she nodded, relieved.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey shakes his head, with a joking grin on his face. "..... Nope, we don't."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona grins happily. "I'd love it." She tells Snow happily. "You're an amazing cook." Seeing their interaction made Hope positively beam.

"And men of your psecies obviously lack Steph. the woman however..." she strails off, smiling lovingly at Kendra.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona laughed openly at her sister’s return jibe at Steph, already moving towards the kitchen in accordance with the accepted request.

“I’m inclined to disagree however,” she said simply, setting about opening cupboards and finding out where things were kept. Logically it seemed.

Kendra looked startled at that comment but right now had no trouble taking it in her stride, her smile turning from amused to affectionate.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona Snow Anona says,
 Hehe, this is so the wrong seven to be going to bed at. I must fix this.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence smiled down at those designs with a grin. After she had returned from the bar, she had set back to work, having the place to herself for once.

The silence was at the same time both a relief and worrying. She was getting used to having people around.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona slips into the apartment with a smile, wrapping her arms around Kendra quietly. With a pleased, "Boo!" She kisses Kendra's cheek.

It was wonderful to have such a beautiful person like Kendra as her love.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence started at the sudden embrace, blushing a little at the kiss. "How do you do that?" she wondered aloud about her love's ability to sneak in without her noticing.

Her face was covered in smudges, as were her fingers... but she'd never looked happier.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona grins slightly. "Cat's paws. Or rather, I pad my feet like a cat's paw and walk quickly and quietly. It seems to work." She tells the other girl highly amused. "Don't let Snow know."

She had to be able to one-up her sister in the sneaking department after all. It was essential to her sanity.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence grinned in return, giving her twin a sly look of contemplation before nodding. "I won't; you know I think you're capable of knowing when things are dangerous," she explained, giving Hope a kiss on her nose.

"Oh! I heard something a little alarming."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona frowns slightly. "What'd you hear? Nothing too bad I hope." As long as it didn't put her family in danger she could handle it, but still. Alarming did not equal good. Not by a long shot.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence set her pencil down, turning to face Hope with a sly smile. "I heard you tried to get Steph to 'dance' with you... for practice," she said slowly, looking at her partner levelly. "You really have no idea do you?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona blushes bright read and shakes her head, highly embaraased. She couldn't believe she had! Oh... "I don't know anything. They don't teach us any of this at Light Academy, and at Warrior and Traveler, the Darks just didn't discuss that!"

Her cheeks are a rather vivid shade of pink.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence brought her arms around her sweet, innocent Hope with a soft smile. "It's okay... really. It's just... that's not something you should ask others to practise with you," she soothed, looking uncomfortable.

"Ah... love, have you ever heard the word sex?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona turns bright red. "I...I think I heard it mentioned, once or twice. I really don't know what it is though." She bites her bottom lip and looks to Kendra.

"Could you tell me?"

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Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence looked stricken for a moment, losing her comforting persona. "I... my goodness... what kind of culture keeps half their population oblivious like that?!" she cried out, upset for some reason.

Clinically, she knew just how to describe 'dancing', but by her pencils, what if someone had hurt Hope before now in that way and she never even knew?!

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Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona frowns slightly. "There are some problems with our culture, I will admit. But is it really that important Kendra?" She is curious now, still uncertain over it all.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence blinked, forcing herself to calm. "Yes... yes it really is my sweetheart. What if... what if some poor Light had been abused... and they didn't even think they had been... because it wasn

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence "because it wasn't dancing... Sex... making children, it's a very personal thing for a lot of people. You can't just be ignorant to that."

Of all the things Kendra thought of her Hope, the last thing she wanted was to believe her naive, but goodness, she was. "I will tell you. Of course I will tell you. I'm nervous but..."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona frowns slightly. "Abuse? Like...when people hit each other? No Dark would ever hurt a Light Kendra. It just isn't done." She is clearly highly confused. "I mean, even in Warrior Academy, they barely tapped me if I did get hit. Most of them keps the blows from hitting me though."

"And I didn't know Sex is how children were made. I thought the goddess jsut put them in your belly after you had been mated."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence 's eyes softened. If their society was really like that, then Kendra was envious. Truly. "Then I'm glad... but it happens a lot away from Shape Shifter society, my sweetheart. I've no personal experience but... but..."

She trailed off, closing her eyes and sighing, unable to help a laugh. "Oh Hope," she breathed, giving her little Light another kiss. "No; children are made through biology, though it may feel like a gift from the Goddesses."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona frowns slightly, but nods, uncertain. As far as she knew, her society was truly like that, but she hadn't been allowed near many twinsets, not truly. Still she kisses Kendra back gently, and smiles. "Biology? Like...plant cells and stuff?" Lights were not taught a whit of science, not really. Math Hope had taught herself, strugglign the entire way. it was partly why Kendra's drawing fascinated ehr so much.

"You have to explain."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence shook her head, quelling her gall at the dependency that people like her dear Light must have upon their Darks.

Instead, she changed her tactics. "Sort of like plants. Can I ask you to do a favour for me?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona nods happily. "Anything!" She promises Kendra happily. "You know I'd do anything for you." She meant it too.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence almost beamed in response. She was nervous; no, that was an understatement - she was terrified of what she was about to ask.

Hope trusted her so much; was she really that deserving? "I... I... know you don't like it... but if you..."

Then she mumbled something that sounded awfully like 'if you shape shift into a guy, then I can show you...'

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona bites her bottom lip then nods slwoly. "I...I can. You'll have to give me a few moments afterwards though. It's...not the easiest of shifts." It wasn't either. It required a level of skill and dedication most didn't have, as well as an intimiate understanding of anatomy. Slowly, carefully, Hope changes forms, growing taller, her breast changing to a muscled chest. Her hips disappears into a man's hips and she loooks to Kendra, hair shorter but eyes still blue.

As she speaks, it's obvious her voice is deeper as well. "In...in this gender, I am known as Halo...but...you can still call me Hope." It was awkward for her to be a him, but she could manage it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence blanched, looking quite shocked. "I'm sorry! You can change back... I don't want you to be uncomfortable," she reasoned, babbling like a panicked child.

"When we 'dance'... I want you to be yourself, not Halo. I'll do some research into how... girls go about such a thing together. I want my Hope, my beautiful girl."

Not that Halo wasn't attractive, but she didn't love him... no, definitely Hope. So there.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona relaxes the control she has on that shape quickly, happily, and returns to her Hope form much sooner. "I...thank you. Being Halo is draining."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence hugged her fiancee tightly. "Hope... you are my Hope," she murmured, nodding. "I can teach you what I do know now... if... you like," she said haltingly, biting her lip and colouring vibrantly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona blushes brightly and nods. "I...I'd like that. Yes." She would like it quite a bit too. "C-Can we?" She stutters, nervous as to Kendra's reaction.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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Kendra Lawrence pulls back and takes a deep breath, nodding confidently, feeling less so on the inside, but Hope would never laugh at her.

So, with this in mind, she reached out her hand to her girlfriend. "We can," she grinned, trying to relax. Everything would be alright if they were together.

The setting changes from Kendra's Apartment to Steph's Apartment

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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#, as written by Imehal
Kendra Lawrence couldn't believe her luck. First, she had convinced Hope that it would be *fine* to pop out whilst Snow was in the bathroom. Then, she had played innocent Kendra oh so well when Snow re-emerged, convinced the Dark that Hope had had a call from Steph and that they'd both be home soon.

There had been a smile of anticipation on the Dark's lips then. How she would enjoy revealing the truth. Snow Anona, one of the best warriors to emerge from the Academy had gone soft.

Now she waited for Steph to return.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey passed right through the door of his suite which opened for him upon detecting the pass in his pocket. He was quite dirty, having been out in the woods with Kruxis training, and was exhausted more mentally than physically. His friend had put him through the works.

Upon entering, he sees Kendra alone. "Uh... Hi, Kendra. Didn't expect to see you here." He -was- going to toss off his dirty shirt, but for now he just removed his jacket.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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#, as written by Imehal
Kendra Lawrence "Steph!" she'd cried out immediately. Her state was sorry to be sure, messed up and her arm in a make-shift splint. "We got attacked... at my place. Snow and Hope went out looking for you but I stayed here, just in case you came back."

Her face was all fear and pain. After all, a broken arm still hurt.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey His jacket tossed to the side, he noticed her injury... but it was her words that set him off the edge. "What? Attacked by who?" he said angrily, going over to his medicine drawer for a first aid kit and some pain killers. "Here, take a seat. Let's get you patched up."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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#, as written by Imehal
Kendra Lawrence Perfect. "I'm... okay. Snow and Hope did the best they could," she replied, eyes watching as he moved across the room. She would have to time this well.

"Thunder and Rain. I think they were littermates of Hope and Snow. They... turned on Hope and then Snow attacked Thunder. Rain attacked me when I was trying to take him away from the violence."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey was nearly steaming with rage, and he almost dropped the bottle of pain killers he had collected. "Their own siblings... huh? What's next, the fucking pope?"

He goes over to the couch, but notices she is still where she was. "I can't patch that arm up if you're standing around, come sit down."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

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#, as written by Imehal
Kendra Lawrence didn't smile at that. She figured Kendra wouldn't. "I... pope?" she replied, moving over to the couch as instructed, sitting down delicately beside him.

"They only just left. I'm sure they'll be a while. How was your day?" she asked friendlily.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey She questioned who the pope was? That caught him. He paused... Snow knew where he was going. Why would she go look for him? Kendra was human, and she didn't know the Pope...? and here she was, standing around in his place, which she had never BEEN before to know where it is, with her broken arm.

He drops the first aid kit and the bottle where he stands, turning to face... Thunder? Rain? It didn't matter. His pistol was up, and he was holding it at the fake's head.

"You have three seconds to shift, before I kill you. If you move, I kill you. And if you don't start explaining just what the hell you want with Hope and Snow, I'll kill you painfully."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kendra Lawrence

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Kendra Lawrence scowled at the pistol. "Come now," she said in Kendra's innocent voice, the sultry tone ruining the innocent architect's persona. "Kill me and you'll never find..."

There was a crash against the double doors that led to Steph's apartment, making Kendra scowl further. "Smart Dark. She'll be next, after the little human girl. We won't kill them; just torture them."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

Earnings

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Hope Anona follows Snow into Stephs' apartment, taking full advantage of the smashed doors her eyes wide. Why were they coming here? Kendra hadn't minded her leaving too badly and-

Then sh caught sight of Steph holding a gun to Kendra's head, fury in every ounce of her being. Oh. Oh no he did not. With a snarl she launches herself between Stpeh and Kendra, protecting the woman as best she cane.

"Get the hell away from my girl!" she orders, glaring at Steph as the false Kendra smirks and wraps her arms around Hope, faking a sob rather loudly.

"Hope! It's horrible, he just started threatening me." She sobs again, burying her face into the very protective Light's back.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey tries to keep his gun trained on the fake. He knew she was a fake... she actually said... ugh, he couldn't let Hope be so naive. She was attacked by shape shifters, for Christ's sake: How could she not expect this?!

"Hope, she's a shape shifter! I can prove it, my laptop is linked to surveillance cameras in this room!" he points to the laptop which was open and on on his coffee table. "Check for yourself, the bitch admitted it."

When Blade stepped over the wreckage of the doors, his eyes were alight with fire. "You cunt." he says, drawing his .500 S&W and pointing it at the head of the faker. "You aren't even carrying a scanning mask, you incompetent pig. Who sent you, the Council?" he barked angrily, pulling back the hammer.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey looked over to the newcomer. "And just who the fuck are you?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey Blade turned to face Steph for only a moment, keeping his weapon trained on the shifter. "I'll explain later.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona looked barely relieved for a second. Steph knew. Thank Goddesses... "Hope?!" she cried out disbelievingly, watching her twin dive past her helplessly to put herself near the imposter. "No... no. Light, that's Rain!"

Please, she begged silently, eyes fixated on her sister. Please believe me. "Steph, don't take your gun off that fake."

Blade stepped in alongside her, grinning despite herself at his accusation. "If they're not our littermates, which I'm beginning to suspect they weren't, yes the Council."

Sheathing her mace, she knew that tact was going to have to be used here. Trust and faith. Not violence. As such, she began to walk forward, stopping a few feet from her dear, sweet sister. "That's not Kendra, dear Light."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

Earnings

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Hope Anona snarls at them both staying protectively in front of the sobbing and clearly frightened Kendra. Guns. She hated guns. Why did Darks all seem to want to solve the world's problems with guns. She hisses at Blade and Steph, reaching behind her to gently touch her girlfriend.

The false Kendra immediately clings to the hand, nuzzling it. Unfortunately, that was thw wrong move to make. Hope's eyes flashed an unholy red as she pulls away from the false Kendra her own gun drawn and aimed in seconds.

This close not even Bad Aim Hope could miss and she shot, blasting the false Kendra's arm off. Oh dear. She was pissed. "Where is my mate." She demands of the other, now screaming in pain, shifter.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey Hope's sudden realization gave Blade the room he needed to advance. He launches forward, kicking the now extremely wounded shifter to the ground. He pulls out a strange kind of needle from his belt, and forces it down into the shifter.

It was a shape shifter torture device, a phase-blocker, which would keep her from shifting without express permission granted by his implant... unique gear to the Queen's Elite.

"Now, start talking. Where is her mate..." he pointed at Hope, "and who sent you here. Trust me, I have some -very- painful toys with me, and I'm allowed to use every single one of them in the name of her defense... and even if you do escape, you'll be tried, executed, and stripped of your honor. Now..." the magnum was now forced to her temple, the hammer still clicked back.

"Speak."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona shot across the room in a flash alongside Blade, putting a hand over the barrel of her sister's gun. If she shot again, it would take Snow's hand off.

"Kill them and we never find Kendra," she clarified with calm. "You did well, dear Light. I'm proud of you."

Her eyes were furious, trained on the imposter, who had not only kidnapped Kendra but also attempted to injure her dear heart and sister.

"The equipment clearly makes the male," she muttered, looking intensely frustrated at Blade. But she was grateful.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona The false Kendra snarls and struggles dispite the excruciating pain she's in. "That bitch isn't mated at all!" She snarls to Blade.

Hope snarls back, snapping her teeth at the imposter in warning. Still, she lowers her gun, though only to avoid shooting her sister. Instead, she aims to take out thr imposters foot. As she shoot, the imposter struggles, causign the bolt of plasma to only tak off about half the foot. Still Hope snarled in plasure at that hit.

The imposter however, screams in pains once more. "Don't know! don't know!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey just holstered his pistol, and crashed onto his couch, looking down to the ground.. listening to whatever confession the creature had offered.

Blade wasn't about to let this pig off so easy. You lying coward!" he sneers. "And she -is- mated by human standards, if you sickeningly inept serpents had a clue about your Intel. Answer my questions!"

His next toy was a very similar looking needle, although it was blue instead of the other red... this one -forced- shifting. "If I put this into you, the conflict between the phase blocker and this will demolecularlize you temporarily and cause you a pain reserved those who have earned an eternity of burning in hell."

"Now... SPEAK!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona judged her sister without seeing, confident that now Blade had hold of the shifter, Hope would calm down. Hope was a fickle thing and immediately after the shot, the Dark grabbed the pistol and tried to yank it forcefully out of her grip.

"What if you hit Blade? Huh?" she challenged, hopefully holding the bright pink pistol in her iron grip, trying not to focus on Steph too much.

He had no idea... "Love... everything's much worse than we thought. Forgive me."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey shakes his head. "I know. That's why I'm back early." he said darkly. He didn't explain himself further... yet.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

Earnings

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Hope Anona The Imposter is shivering in pain and fear as Blade describes the effects of the shoots and spills her guts. The council had sent her, though she didn't know for sure whcich members. They're ahdns were covered. Kendra could be foudn right where she had been left, cornered as 'Rain.' She had an amulet on her, disguising her as Rain in the imposter's presence, but once she was gone, simply causing there to be a strong aversion to go near her.

Hope listens in stony silence to this painfileld an babbled confession and nods. "Blade. Give her the shot." She orders, completely heartlessly. "The we're talking about your intel's voyearistic tendencies."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona nodded, setting Hope's pistol on the coffee table. She would do the same thing if someone had hurt Steph, her eyes falling on him as she took his hand in hers. "Come, we're going to get Kendra," she said, sighing heavily.

And you can also tell me what you mean.

"Blade, do what you will with them. If I can assume that the other assailant was their twin, neither of them deserve life."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey "Gladly." Blade hisses, plunging the needle into the faker.

They wouldn't even have time to scream before their body would crumble into a bleeding jelly that looked like it was boiling on the ground. He left it that way for several seconds, and pulled it back out... giving her... him... it time to rephase.

Too late. It was dead. The puddle of goo began to evaporate into nothingness.

"We'll be checking intel for an unexplained, sudden death, so we'll know who their pair was can identify them that way. In the mean time, we finally have solid proof of the Council's actions, now we just need evidence so the Queen can start removing some heads."

His gaze turns to Steph. "You. You did well. You're Steph Grey, correct? Snow's to-be mate?"

Steph simply nods, taking Snows hand. "Let's go find her."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona felt a small smile grace her lips, even in the horror and dark realisation of all this. All Hope needed to do was give permission and they would be bound. Snow would personally see to it. "Indeed," she replied to Steph, tugging him to his feet gently and going past the mess and painful memories unseeing.

The sooner they got Kendra back, the better.

The setting changes from Steph's Apartment to Kendra's Apartment

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona was extremely wary. Both had acted in Darkish manners, so it was entirely likely that they were equals, but in fact two separate Darks. What if the second one had returned to take Kendra? What would they do then?

The drive over had been relatively silent, Snow fussing a little bit just to make sure that Steph wasn't too tired or freaked out.

Now they stood in front of Kendra's apartment door and realised something quite prominent. They didn't have a key.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey Despite Snow's fussing, Steph wasn't going to piss around with this situation. In all likelyhood, the two that had attacked Hope Kendra and Snow weren't a pair, but two Dark's.... that meant that the other might still be in there.

He had brough his SPAS-12 Combat shotgun, just to be confident that he was the one packing overkill.

Upon the discovery that they were locked out, Steph looked over to Snow. "Stand back." he said blankly,... his expression was oddly cold. There was no anger, fear, or panic... almost like he had expected these events all along.

Two thunderous bursts of the shotgun had the hinges of the door blown in, and they were inside the room. Shotgun pointed forward, Steph advances...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona watched with a shiver of fear at her beloved's actions. Something clearly had changed... "Steph," she whispered, reaching out a hand to his shoulder, hoping to halt his movements. "What happened?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey stopped at her touch. The shotgun pointed to the ground, and he half turned his head to give her the impression of his attention. "I was shown a few things. Things that scare the hell out of me... I'll explain when we find Kendra."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona sighed nodding, taking point past Steph if he did not try and prevent her, heading immediately for the open door of Kendra's bedroom, sighing in relief at the sight of a prone 'Rain' on the floor, a bruise forming where Hope had pistol-whipped the poor transfigured girl.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey put his shotgun back out front as he searched the rest of the apartment, making himself useful as Snow made sure Kendra was alright.

After a few moments of checking every area of the apartment, he shouted back to her. "Clear!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona had reached Kendra when Steph shouted through, nodding in recognition. Indeed, there was a strong revulsion for her to step near the fallen girl. However, her desire to return her sister's mate to her was much stronger than that.

It took not a moment to discover the amulet that was hiding Kendra's true form, ripping it over her head in a moment to restore the broken architect's features in a moment.

"Goddess," she breathed, arching up Kendra's neck. Her arm was broken and left untreated for so long, a hand coming to smooth the hair away from her face. "She's alright. Injured but fine."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey went into the room where poor Kendra was held. "How injured?" he said before seeing her for himself.

"Son of a bitch..." he scowled, kneeling down to check her injuries. Indeed, her arm was messed up very badly. She was going to need hospital attention... not to mention a couple of other bruises.

"We're going to get you help, Kendra... you're going to be okay."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona stood, picking up the broken girl like she was a limp rag doll before setting her on the bed with a heavy sigh, drawing out a first-aid kit.

Kendra was unconscious, which would make this easier. "Talk to me whilst I work Steph. What happened?" she queried as she set about drawing about implements to create a second splint for her second Light.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey shakes his head, other than finding the safe toddler who appeared to be distressed out of his expertise, the apartment was completely quiet as far as he could tell. Shotgun still held at the ready, he wanders back to the bed where Snow was taking care of Kendra, and he decides to at least briefly answer her question, knowing that she would press him for more anyway.

He pulls three bottle-like objects out of his pocket, oddly designed with two larger ends connected by a smaller tube with no apparent opening on any surface. There was sand contained in different positions in all three.

He sets them on the bed within Snow's eyesight. "Do you know what these are?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona glanced up briefly at the objects. "Sand-timers," she replied off-handedly, busying herself with organising a proper splint for Kendra's damaged arm.

"What do they have to do with anything?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey [color=navy]"These are very special sand timers... He showed me where my past wife, Autumn, had perished. In the chamber where these were kept."

He pulls a fourth out, and tosses it on the bed with the others. It hits one of the others, but not even the slightest crack appears in either as though they were made out of some kind of invincible glass. "These are what Kruxis called the timers of fate. They're representations of a link to our own souls, counting down a timer to our deaths."

"That one is hers." it was still mostly full, and ticking very, very slowly.

He points to the second one... it was empty, no longer ticking. "This was mine. Autumn died because she... She switched them." his voice quiets in sorrow, but he carries on: that wasn't the point of what he needed to tell Snow. Neither of them needed that right now.

He points to the last two... both at the exact same amount of time, but oddly, the sand was frozen in place, with some particles simply floating in place. "These are yours and Hope's." They may hav

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 “ /me\
He points to the last two... both at the exact same amount of time, but oddly, the sand was frozen in place, with some particles simply floating in place. "These are yours and Hope's." They may have been frozen... but they were almost empty. ”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 “ /me
He points to the last two... both at the exact same amount of time, but oddly, the sand was frozen in place, with some particles simply floating in place. "These are yours and Hope's." They may have been frozen... but they were almost empty. ”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey He points to the last two... both at the exact same amount of time, but oddly, the sand was frozen in place, with some particles simply floating in place. "These are yours and Hope's." They may have been frozen... but they were almost empty.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona stopped working at that. Wife? Good gracious, that was news to her, but that probably wasn't what he wanted to confess, suppressing the envy from her eyes immediately.

Timers of Fate, eh? Well she knew what she thought of Fate. Kendra's was fine - expected. His explanation of Autumn made her smile involuntarily. Doing that for him, just so he could live; she decided she would have liked this woman, no matter Steph's affection for her.

But it was the last two he seemed to hold the most concern for, her reddish eyes frowning alongside her mouth and then her eyes looked up at Steph's and realised what it meant. "Frozen in the point before death..." she breathed. They were living on borrowed time. Always had been, since the moment they'd both died the first time.

She fell backwards a little, stumbling from the shock. What did this even mean?!

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey continues. "Kruxis explained that it means you're bound by fate." a pause. "And until it's fulfilled, you're free from the chains of destiny."

"... what worries me is what happens after whatever that fate is... and I don't even know if I can stop it."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona looked afraid. Intensely afraid. "Blade said Hope had a destiny. Borrowed time..." She looked across at him, sorrow filling her eyes. "I'll never let you become my mate, Steph. The cost of that is too great."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

Earnings

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Hope Anona appears in the apartment's living room, and immediately forges ahead to the bedroom. "Kendra!" She calls out, not botherign to check her passeneger as she normally did. Blade could take care of himself as far as she was concerned.

The Light had been, unfortunately, un avoidably detains, somethign she was not pleased with. Someone up there had a serious death wish, and Hope was highly upset over their interference. No matter though. The woman made her way to Kendra's side, pushing by Steph and Snow to get there. "Oh Kendra, heart, please forgive me."

Her fingers hover above where she pistol whipped her fiance and she sobs, obviously about to break down. Too much! It was all too much.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey [color=navy]quickly grabs the timers off the bed and stashes them in his jacket again before Hope can see them. She didn't need to know this... not yet. Seeing Kendra like this she didn't need to be told she was living on a thin line of borrowed time. Instead, he just stands back, and let's the moment unfold.

Blade had appeared with her, the bodyguard only barely noted the presence of the others before he was marching around the apartment scanning for any signs of shape shifters: they could be hiding as a mouse under the couch, anything. He also checked for surveillance bugs and other spying equipment.

Angrily, he discovers one, his scanner picking up a small disc hidden behind a couch cushion. He pulls it out, and squeezes it until it shatters. An even smaller disc is contained within, which he keeps.

Going back to the bedroom where the others resided, he was about to interrupt with demands that they equip themselves properly, but instead just waits until the distressed Hope had her time with the woman his Int

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey Going back to the bedroom where the others resided, he was about to interrupt with demands that they equip themselves properly, but instead just waits until the distressed Hope had her time with the woman his Intel identified as her fiancee... the person the scum from Steph's apartment tried to copy.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona looked across at Steph and then down at her sister, not wanting to ruin the moment. Kendra’s arm could be healed later and although the human female was unconscious, she knew her Light needed this moment.

Instead of hovering, she walked past Blade into the living room, feeling suffocated by the truths her Dark seemed to enjoy pouring on her like hot coal, burnt into her mind and onto her heart.

Kendra would wake soon, she knew, but Snow wanted her mind clear for that to accept her failure.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

Earnings

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Hope Anona sobs, into her hands, at the site of Kendra. A broken arm, a concussion...what had she done? Hope touched the slit in Kendra shirt where the shifters own knife had cut into her and begins shaking violently. Never again. Never again would shw allow anything like this to happen.

There was, to the Light's knowledge, only one way to accomplish this. A mate bond would prevent this misunderstanding from ever happening again. As soon as Kendra was ready then. Hope refused to allow herself to be frightened over the idea.

"Blade!" She snarls, still remaining protectively by Kendra's side. "Get your ass in here!" She had censored herself heavily, just saying that. But still. Manners. She chided herself, almost reflexively.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey brushes past Blade, following Snow to the living room. He stops beside her, and puts an arm around her shoulder in comfort... speaking to ensure the neither Blade nor Hope would hear him.

"Now that I know where the Chamber of Fate is... there has to be something I can do. Autumn proved that the manipulation of the timers is possible... I'll find a way to save you. I promise."

With a kiss on the cheek for reassurance, he continues. "Just remember... this changes nothing, alright? I love you, and I promised to protect you and Hope, and I'll do everything in my power to make sure that this insignificant little chunk of glass doesn't ruin that for us." -c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey Blade enters the room at Hope's command, his expression indifferent. "What do you require of me?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona felt the arm and groaned, her weakness creeping up on her like a snake sliding silently through long grass. "I'm done fighting Fate Steph. I meant what I said. If I mate with you, you'll die with me. I won't have that."

And don't make promises you can't keep.

The kiss made her sigh, curling into him reflexively, needing him close to her. Safety. He would protect her, when she couldn't protect herself. "I love you too. I want to believe you, but now with Blade here, I feel like I'm just in the way."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

Earnings

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Hope Anona snarls at him, warning him not to get too close. As far as she was concerned, no one was allowed too close to Kendra right now. "Equipment." She rumbles, everything about her showing how tense she is.

"So that I will be able to identify shifters on sight, no matter what form they're in. guns. and Lots of those little needles you used on the bastard back at Steph's." She lists, gently petting Kendra's head, even though the unconscious woman wouldn't know, and the action was almost directly opposite of her voice.

This would never happen again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey shakes his head, having nothing to say to that. He still hadn't talked to this Blade man properly... just who the hell was this guy?

Instead, he simply keeps his arm around his Dark, seeking to comfort her.

Blade stops, also at her command. He promptly answers her. "That was the intention. I'm not only here to protect you, but to make sure you have the ability to not only fight at a caliber beyond anything in the Academies, but to keep yourselves alive in the presence of all of the galaxy's best hunters."

He sighs. "And for exactly why this is all happening, I'll will explain it all to you the moment you're ready... for now, it seems you all have your hands..." he frowns. "... quite full."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

Earnings

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Hope Anona nods satisfied, and climbs into the bad, curled protectively around Kendra. "Go fetch a healer, Blade. We'll be safe enough here, for now." She shoos him away, having figured out that he would, apparently, do whatever she ordered. "I won't have Kendra heal so slowly. I want he better within the hour."

Impatient, impertinent and rude, but Hope was too angry for anything else right now. "And..." She pauses, looking a bit embarrassed. "Could you, possibly, have Snow and Steph come in. I need a hug or two."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey Blade shakes his head, annoyed that he was sent for that task. He suddenly wished his Light Bow was here with him, a pang of longing for his other half making him hesitate before he turns to the door. "I'll be back within the hour." he explains, leaving the room.

Before he leaves the apartment altogether, he speaks to Snow and Steph who were standing in the living area. "You two, Hope wishes to see you." With that, he leaves. -c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey nods at Blade, and gives Snow a quick kiss on the cheek. "Comon, the poor girl probably needs some comforting."

With that he goes to the bedroom with Hope and Kendra, his face melting into one of pure sympathy seeing Hope's tormented expression... the little beacon of boundless light in front of him was quickly turning into the vengeful killer she so effectively contrasted before this catastrophe.

"Are you going to be okay?" he says to her quietly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona Snow managed a nod of consent, her eyes falling upon her Light with despondency that she didn't think possible before this day. "My Light..." she breathed, her own troubles pushed to the background in favour of comfort.

It took some effort, but she perched herself precariously on the bed, her hands resting on both Hope and Kendra's shoulders.

Now she felt truly helpless, beckoning Steph over with a look of support.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona shakes her head, looking upset. "No! I didn't want that man to die. I was just so upset and I lost my temper, and then I made Blade kill him." But this point she's cryign hard enough she can't go on, obviously highly upset by her own actions.

Between finding out that she was the one who had hurt Kendra, and helping kill a man, Hope was torn to pieces. At Snow's gentle touch, Hope leans into her twin, clearly feeling better with the touch. "Snow, how do I make them stop?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey approaches, taking a seat beside Hope. "Somehow, I think that man was going to kill the imposter anyway." he says, recalling the professional, yet still violently satisfied look on Blade's face when he had done the deed. "Hope, any of us would have done the same thing. If Blade hadn't done it, I would have done it. If I hadn't done it, Snow probably would have." he looks over to his Dark... hoping that he didn't assume incorrectly.

But then, quickly his attention returned to the distressed Light. "When someone threatens someone we love, it's a part of who we are to lash out to protect them. That's not a weakness, it's what it means to be strong if you're willing to commit to indecencies in the name of protecting the ones you care about."

He sighs... "at least that's how I see it."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona shook her head. "He had one chance. I would have let him go free... this time."

It hurt to admit that but she still had her honour, if not her stoicism to hold close to her, like armour. "We will make them stop through fortitude and strength. Kendra will be fine and we will educate her so that she is not fooled again. If you can take on the task of keeping her safe, then Steph and I will dedicate ourselves to making you two safe."

She didn't mention Blade; he'd be a prick and butt in when he wanted to, most likely. That's what most men did, glancing over at Steph with a wry grin. "I agree with Steph; you taught those coming after us a valuable lesson. We are not to be trifled with."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey shakes his head. "That's what I'm worried about. Whoever's coming after us, they'll turn up the heat now."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Anona

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Hope Anona shivers again, keeping her hed touchign Kendra's gently. "I...I don't want to have to kill again Snow. Please don't let me." She says, knowing her temper will no doubt get the worst of her again, soon enough. It had been doing it so often lately she was beginning to wonder what was wrong with her.

Poor Hope. She knew little enough about her own biology that she would continue to have no clue. (Bwahahahahahahahaha!)

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona looked up at her Dark with a confident, almost arrogant smile. “Then we have to get better and fast. Kendra’s blueprint for your guns is at your place. That’s the start. Then you and I learn to fight together cohesively and apart sensibly. Hope learns self-control and Kendra wariness.”

Her strategy emerged effortlessly, as if she’d been wanting to say the words for so long, her trepidation at Steph’s earlier revelation leaving her face, eyes hardening at Hope’s plea to her. “Never again, dear Light. “You will never spill blood again, by order or your own hand. I swear it.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey frowns. If only that promise was one Hope would be able to realistically keep... Steph had a feeling that whoever was trying to kill them, they would not allow the liberty of picking their first line of defense.

He only hoped that when the time comes, all of them would be ready.

The setting changes from Kendra's Apartment to Steph's Apartment

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey started the engine as Snow speechlessly sat down in the passenger seat beside him. He hesitates to leave, though... instead just looking out the front windshield, his mind occupied with everything that was happening.

"... Just what kind of shit have we got ourselves into?"

Hope... responsible for bringing cultural change to a society of trillions scattered across the Multiverse...? Has there ever been a more unfathomable task assigned to one person?

Let alone to someone so innocent as Hope...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona slid into the passenger seat, looking across to him at his rather abrupt question, wincing because in all actuality, it wasn't his fight. Yet, he would take it in his stride and commit.

So, she didn't answer that, reaching a hand across the distance between them to try and go inside his jacket pocket. "Hope says ask next time, okay? Otherwise, they're a bit stunned but forgive you."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 With a turn of the key, the car started with a purr-like rumble, and they were off the side of the road into the concrete jungle. "I just want to do what I can to protect you all. I guess they already knew that, though..."

He sighs. "I'm more worried about this Blade guy and everything he said. I'm half stunned that he would bring this all onto Hope's shoulders... but at the same time... it's a once in a lifetime opportunity - no, more than that!"

He shakes his head. "Still, it's not right for anyone to force that on one person. Hope would be right to refuse."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona successfully drew out those little sand timers, smiling a little at his admission. Of course they knew; he was worse than her at times. Hope accepted it and Kendra smiled throughout, confident in a happy resolution.

Definite Lights, the two of them. "Blade is a true Dark; taking on the burdens of the world and expecting everyone - except his Light, naturally - to do the same. He is what I was. Once."

They started to move and instinctively she reached for the seatbelt, clicking it into place with her free hand, the other holding two frozen in time devices. "If she accepts and I wager in time she will, we need to be ready to defend her. From everything."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 He nods, ignoring her having taken the sand timers. They were nothing but clocks, and replacements that tell the same thing would apparently grow back at the Chamber of Fate.

Although, he felt terribly guilty for bringing it up.

"A true Dark..." he kicked that one around in his head for a minute. "I guess I underestimated just how strong the twin bond is... I look at that man and see the same devotion to his sister as the bond between parent and child."

Her last words make him nod. "Defending people is part of the job I've been doing for my whole life. I've made my obligations. All that's left is to put them to action."

This brings a grin to his face, his mind back in business. "First thing we need to do is get a safe house. Neither of our apartments are safe anymore, and that bar sure as hell ain't any better."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona listened to the clinks as the two little items collided in her hand. It was harrowing, holding them physically. Would breaking them kill her and Hope for good?

No, she told herself firmly. Do not even think about that. His words about the bond brought her out of her reverie, nodding. "I... was always ousted for my lack of comprehension of that strong bond, forged over years and years of companionship."

Despite everything, she wryly grinned at his business-like manner, trying not to look at him too much. "Is that all we are to you? Obligations?" she half-teased, resting the sand timers in her own jacket pocket for now.

For a time, she pondered upon his words. They needed a safe place... one they could access easily from the city... "The bar is the worst place; I'm almost glad I decided to come with you, though I loathe leaving Hope without my presence." -c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona A safe house, eh? "Something like Hope's teleportation could be useful and if we could wire it so it only responds to the specific call of those who mean Hope no harm - perhaps using a keyword or even a mind-scan to prove intentions... It's a start, at least." -e-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 He shook his head, still confidently grinning. "Snow, if all you were to me were obligations, I would have been long gone by now. If I will ask anything of you, it's that you don't mistake my intentions as a simple urge to retain my promises... I love you, and hell nor high water is going to change that."

It sounded so simple coming out of his mouth... but he didn't think he had meant anything in his life more than what he had said... although the gravity of what exactly he had promised was only just starting strike him.

Her idea makes him nod. "That sounds like a secure plan if any, if it can be done... we'll have to ask Hope how we can do that. We could hide in any little cranny in the universe like that, probably."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona Good, he had taken her playful jibe as intended and his mood seemed to brighten. There, now she felt better also, though a twinge of guilt flickered through her eyes as she turned to face him, startled by the clarity of his words. "You had no idea what you were getting yourself into when you made those vows. I would not blame you if you wanted to run for the hills after tonight."

Her reasoning was quickly off-set by a kiss to her own fingertips, lightly pressed against his cheek moments after. She didn't want to distract him from driving too much. "You know I love you as well but I meant what I said earlier; in combat, we must put those feelings aside, trust one another to live and fight on, no matter the injuries we sustain."

He liked her idea; good, she didn't feel quite so useless anymore, drawing his approval around her like a warm blanket. "Indeed. We could use an accessible place as the entry point. A frequented shop perhaps, to throw them off." -c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona Hope. Her dear, easily provoked Hope. Her sister was in the middle of something so much larger than her and Snow would give anything to ease that burden, even if it was only formulating ideas. -e-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey was warmed by her touch, heart melting with the gesture... but his attention could barely leave the road. At least their apartments weren't too far away from each other.

Her reminder of his duties steeled him. It was the only time he had hesitated for a second to be her lover... it put both of them at risk. If he was brought in on the mate bond, his death would take them down too. "It scares the hell out of me, Snow, knowing the danger you two will be in... I live and breath danger but this is something on a whole new caliber. Knowing I'm with you and the others helps, but..."

"...This ain't going to be easy... and I'm with you until the end of it."

Suddenly, his eyes drifted to those damned sand timers... Was their sacrifice really worth it? Was there no other way?

No. He would find a way. Those damned objects would not define their fate. -c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey Locations flowed through his mind, he considered several locations. "It can't be too public, or it would be too easy to trace us or draw suspicion. An alleyway, maybe, or somewhere outside of town."

"That, and we need to go weapons shopping." he sighed. "The cops would probably have been called to assess the damage of my apartment, so all of my guns will be on file. I need to get fresh pieces, and wipe my computer drives so those tracking bugs will be useless... and we need somewhere to stay for the night. My place is just as insecure as Kendra's."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 -e-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona tried not to show her own fear, her eyes averting to the side. "I meant what I said earlier; I will not mate with you. I refuse to be your end," she asserted, her hand coming back to rest upon her lap, reddish eyes cast downwards. "I've spent my whole life search for her... just to hold her in my arms and be with her, like is my right. Easy has never been something I sat comfortably with."

She noted his gaze to the sand timers. "If we can't escape it... I'll waste not one moment that I live with you by my side."

Then their conversation returned to no less serious, but more practical matters. "The lake... it would be appropriate. It's sufficiently out of the way and visited enough not to cause great suspicion," she offered as a potential location, pausing in her thoughts to listen to his concerns.

She felt quite awful for breaking down his door, realising in that moment that her mace was still at Kendra's place. Now she felt vulnerable. -c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona "Let us handle getting you new equipment. Hopefully Kendra's blueprint will be retrievable from the police and if not, she won't mind drawing it up again, I assure you. Let us shifters handle that part; I'm sure Blade will enjoy being helpful."

She said the name with some scorn, like she thought less of him than she did, discarding that thought immediately. "As for a place to stay, we'll just have to stay awake at your place as you're correct, it is not safe to sleep there. Unless you know of a place we can go?" -e-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 It hurt him more than he would ever admit out loud when she said that to him, but he would argue it anyway... any indication of a good mood fading away. "Snow... there's no waste in every moment we spend together. I'm not going to sit here and listen to that, just so you can abandon everything we've gained together."

He was almost angry, but when he questioned the feeling, he calmed down again... why was he angry? "I won't accept the rolls of fate. I never have, and I never will, and if I'm not going to give up on you, that's my choice... just don't push me away because you feel it's your responsibility to hold my feelings on your shoulders. Because it's not. I'll follow you to the ends of the Multiverse before turning away because those little..." he points at the sand timers "... things tell me you're going to die."
-c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 
The rest of her words caught up with him, and he calmed down back into business mode. "...Anyway, yeah, I know a couple of people. This friend of mine, Gage Birse, hes an ex black-ops spook, now he deals in military grade weapons and the like. He also has a couple of old government-owned and abandoned safe houses, we should be able to borrow one for the night. I can remotely kill my computer's disks from there, if the cop's haven't taken them offline... which they probably didn't."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 -e-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona [color=maroon]Always, he chastened her and yet at the same time, reminded her of her grounding. He had very clearly - and quite aggressively, she noted - declared his intentions to never give up on her. Why couldn't she give him that same devotion and courtesy?

Because knowing that her death would kill him destroyed her more than it did thinking of Hope. The latter bond was involuntary but making that commitment to Steph... she would be binding him to die with her. "I... you're right, of course," she replied lamely, her eyes fixed upon him with confusion and yet, uncomprehending recognition of him.

"But if you... I won't kill you."

His return to business made her brain snap back into logical means. He needed comforting but she couldn't do that in the car. "Okay. I trust you on this and I'll even give you your space to do what you need to do," she acquiesced, looking down at her hands. Deferring to another was a strange thing for her and although she was loathe to do it with Blade, Steph... it was easier with him. [/c

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey sighs. "Snow... if I left you... I would just live and die with nothing but regret." it was a hard thing to explain... especially while he was -driving-, but it needed to be said. "I would carry on, doing what? Killing people for money, and every night until I die it'll haunt me how I just left you to be alone until Fate silently pulled you into your grave."

"I can't do that. Don't ask me to do that." he says quietly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona fought the urge to stab knives harder into the wound; to tell him that watching her die would be the worst. That watching him die would kill her, both literally and emotionally. "We shouldn't be having this discussion right now," she countered, a hand coming up to fiddle with her hair-tie; a sigh of restraint.

"Once we're settled for the night somewhere, then we'll carry on."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 "Alright." he said, guilt taking over. And what about her feelings? Should she be forced to know that it's their connection that drove him to his grave? If only she could understand that a grave found with someone you love is the only grave anyone could ever want. The ominous shroud of death is a realm where loneliness alone can tear apart the souls of the mightiest... to live his life in guilt or die early with satisfaction? That was the choice he had made for himself.

But was it so much to ask of fate that they could live on, together? Was fate so cruel to take from him the chance for fulfillment?

No. He already had fulfillment. Fate couldn

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 Fate couldn't take that from them.

They were starting to reach Gage's place, in a dirty looking neighborhood that no one sane could truly call home... but to him, Steph knew, the only home was back in the field where he belonged. Steph was distracted for a moment by pity for his friend.

"We'll be there soon." -e-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona They had fallen into quiet for a long while following his one word reply and Snow hadn't much liked the company of her thoughts. It brought her indignation closer to the surface; it made her furious to think that she had no control anymore, especially not over Hope and Steph. What was she if not her Light's protector and her Dark's equal?

Nothing, she reasoned darkly. Nothing at all.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona There was only a nod at his statement.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey The car eventually was turned into a side street and then pulled out in front of house that was much cleaner looking than most of the others on the block, but less by maintenance rather than simple misuse. Whoever this Gage man was, he didn't appear to have much love for decoration or making a place homely. -c-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey The car stops in the driveway, and the engine is cut. Before either of them can even get out of the car, a rugged looking figure comes out of the house with a shotgun... but he quickly recognizes Steph's signature car and lowers it.

As Steph opens the door with a smile, the man named Gage Birse slings the shotgun over his back, and puts on a welcoming grin.

"Didn't expect to see you back so soon, what happened to your toys this time?"

Steph shook his head, sharing Gage's friendly grin. "It's a long story... suffice to say, I'll be doing a complete restock while I'm here. Also, I need to borrow one of your old safehouses for the night."... before continuing, he waits for Snow to exit the car. -e-

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona felt a tad nervous as they pulled into the unfamiliar driveway, eyes immediately cool as the man with the weapon emerged.

Then Steph got out and as the two shared a friendly exchange, Snow slid herself out of the car, closing the door with a gentle shove.

Her stance was that of quiet observation, falling into old practices instinctively. She would not speak unless spoken and especially not before being introduced.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey offered a hand to gesture to Snow. "Gage, meet Snow. Snow, this is Gage."

The scruffy looking man, cigarette hanging from his mouth, offered a curt nod, dropping the shotgun off of his shoulder to a loose grip at his side. "Nice to meet you." He looked between Steph and Snow. "Known each other long?"

Steph understood his meaning. "Don't worry about that, she can be trusted. You have my word..."

"I trust you." he says with a tone that suggests he's not quite convinced. "Come on inside, stash is in the basement." he eyes Snow with suspicion rather than checking her out, but it might be mistaken for such.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona nodded at the now identified Gage in return, her gesture slightly brisker on account of her holding back... well, everything. "The same to you."

The questioning was something not unfamiliar to her but yet, she found herself appeased by the fact that he didn't trust her off Steph

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona The questioning was something not unfamiliar to her but yet, she found herself appeased by the fact that he didn't trust her off Steph's word. Good - sensible.

"I'll prove that faith not misplaced," she returned, a slight smile coming to her face.

Now she would remain silent and let Steph talk, following silently wherever her Dark went.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey led the two to the front door, and Gage let Steph in first... but before Snow could pass through, he stopped her.

"I've lived a long time and I've seen a lot of people both trustworthy and not, and I don't get any bad vibes from you..." he whispers. "But, if you misplace my trust, or his... you ever seen Steph fight?" he points back to his friend. "I taught him everything he knows."

His expression spoke of no lie.

With that, he allowed her to pass, calling back up to Steph. "You know the way, help yourself to the armory and just stack up a bill. I'll deal with the expenses from your usual accounts..."

He changes direction, going into the kitchen. "You two want anything to drink?" he yells back to them.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona listened, a slight grin forming on her lips at Gage's words, her eyes flickering to the man in question, lighting up with awareness. "I've seen and if you're his mentor, I owe you my life also. I would never hurt Steph... I would sooner die."

After her response, she passed him with no obstructions, choosing to settle in the living area, though she took no seat. Instead, her eyes never left Steph until he vanished from her sight, the query reaching her ears.

She was thirsty. "A glass of water would not go amiss... if it's no trouble," she said over-courteously, wincing.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey calls back out at Gage's request. "Whiskey!"

When he notices Snow take a seat, he stops and turns around. "You don't want to take a look at the armory, Snow? Maybe you'll find something to your liking." he says with an eyebrow raised, trying to tempt her into spending a bit of shopping time with her.

Gage comes out surprisingly quickly with two mugs in one hand, and a similarly sized glass in the other. He hands Snow the glass as he passes, and Steph rushes over to claim his own drink.

"I gotta make a call and make sure the safehouse I'm thinking of is empty, if it is, you can use that." Gage grunts to Steph, but loud enough so Snow could hear.

"I appreciate it. Take whatever tips you want from the stash." he said.

"I don't want your merc money..." Gage grumbled. "Just gimme enough to replace the guns and we'll call it even."

To this, Steph simply shrugs.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona looked like she was almost tempted, taking the glass from Gage with a small 'thank you' as she pondered. "Very well. I don't acquire new equipment often and I won't use your money to fund myself," she explained, pushing off the wall to begin to follow him.

Her eyes darted between the two. Mentor and student once, eh? She accepted right then that she knew as little about him as he did about her.

And yet they loved one another. How strange.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey leads the way down to Gage's basement, passing a series of dirty, misused rooms, assuming that she were to follow him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey gets to the basement, letting himself into the padlock-guarded door that he appeared to know the code for off by heart. The door swung open into a room that was sterile and brightly lit compared to the rest of the house.

Rack upon rack, shelf upon shelf, and table next to table filling the surprisingly large room was filled to the brim of tons of different guns of all shapes and sizes. Assault rifles, handguns, shotguns, sub machine guns, sniper rifles, LMG's, and even chain guns were stored about neatly.

"Welcome to the supermarket." he says to Snow when she would catch up to him. "Sure beats close shopping." he snickers.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona followed briskly, a little relieved to be out of the presence of Gage, unwilling to admit she felt a little jealous of his close relationship with Steph.

After quite some time, they reached the basement, by-passing various large and unused rooms, making the warrior wonder at the need for such a place if you weren't going to use it.

The display of weaponry was impressive, frowning at the almost exclusivity of the projectile weaponry. She had her heart rather set on that boomerang still.

"I'll even agree that the company is better too," she teased in return, finally dropping her cool demeanor, her negative emotions only flickering through for a moment.

Then she schooled herself back into calm. Later, she told herself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey starts almost skipping through the room like a kid in a candy store. "If you see anything you like, let me know... I know you wanted that boomerang but hey, maybe something will catch your fancy."

He stops only two racks in, where there is a big stack of assault rifles. He pulls down two, an XM8 machine gun variant and a FAMAS Marksman, the former a longer weapon with a drum magazine and the latter a more skeletal looking bullpup-condensed gun with a long barrel and a sniper scope.

"I always love coming here, he even has a range out back for testing these babies out. Just completely ignoring the implications of owning these things and comparing them based on your own tastes."

He seems almost giddy with enjoyment.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona resisted the urge to smirk at that particular comment, her eyes scanning the shelves with almost disinterest. Something in this room caught her fancy alright, but nothing Gage had.

Then she realised that she was channelling her anger into more constructive vents and shook her head firmly, listening to Steph but not really paying attention, dancing her hand over a few handguns. She hadn't been lying earlier; she wasn't going to use his money to fund herself.

"You're... cute like this," she commented, noting the irony of someone being adorable whilst holding a powerful rifle. Yet, he managed it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey turns to her, holding the XM8 up with a wide, satisfied grin. "I think this gun would make -anyone- look good." he says, completely oblivious to her meaning.

He put down the rifle when he noticed her sliding a hand across the handguns... and he went to stand beside her, pulling out a couple.

Both were fairly large. Well, overkill large. One was 11" barrel 12 shot revolver, the next looked like a normal pistol but longer. Steph seemed to hold them up naturally as though they -didn't- appear impossible unwieldy.

"Guns like this you don't even need to fire. Intimidation is just as much a weapon as any gun, some times."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona tried not to look too startled at his abrupt closeness, listening to his explanation with something akin to pleasure. That wasn't half a bad idea, if she could get over her issue with wielding such devastatingly misused weaponry.

"Intimidation can be just as much achieved by a well-placed sentence or blow from a mace, but it is... something to consider. I can't get anything anyway," she reminded him, reaching to take the pistols from him to set them back down.

"Boomerang for me." Her grin was playful, the serious talk seeming to have calmed her down somewhat.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey frowned. "Can't get anything? I have enough to buy this whole armory twenty times, sweetheart. Buying one of these would be like buying you coffee." he explains... but he already knew she wouldn't take up up on his offer.

When he mentioned the boomerang, he just frowned. A boomerang over these beauties, where's the justice!?

"Suit yourself." he says, letting her take the weapons from him. "My offer still stands..." he says, planting a playful kiss on the cheek before going back to his giddy search. He stops by the shotguns aisle next.

"Spas-12... m1101A..." he grumbles to himself, grabbing several weapons off the shelf. "God, I hope there's enough room in my trunk for everything I want to bring."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona blinked at the endearment, still not quite used to him doing so. Hope and Kendra were openly affectionate but him and her... not so much.

His frown made her laugh though. "My choice... Besides," she gestured to him after she set the guns down. "If I get good with these, I won't need you anymore."

Then there was a moment deliberation as she slid her right-hand glove off, watching it change to a rather large size as she removed it. "Here; I want you to take it."

It was her energy shield; she wanted him to be able to protect himself whilst keeping his hands free.

She tried not to blush at the kiss, focusing hard upon the guns that he was talking about. Her knowledge was nearly as good as his, but she just wasn't interested.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey frowned skeptically when she jabbed at him. Only useful for his bullet expertise? Really? It hurt him subconsciously, but he was too amused with the moment to care.

He merely blinked at her offer, staring at the glove for a couple of seconds.

"Wait. You're already hurt in ranged combat and you want to give your best defense to even the playing field with? Forget it, Snow. You need it more than I do." he nudges it back to her, absolutely refusing to take something like that off of her hands.

In the meantime, he had a small pile going of different weapons on an otherwise empty center table, and he wandered off to another shelf nearby... the sniper rifles.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona frowned herself now, letting him walk away from her without a word, her grip tightening on the glove noticeably. Fine.

Instead of replying and starting an argument about how she was allowed to be concerned for his well-being as well, Snow moved out of his line of sight before raging silently at a very precise point in the wall. As if it had done her foul, not her apparent partner.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey was intent on the sniper rifles aisle, and a M14 EBR catches his eye. He pulls it off the wrack, and starts admiring the forest camo hanging off of it.

Then he notices Snow scowling, and his face falls. He puts down the rifle with the others, and moves in behind to comfort her. His arms wrap around her waist, should she allow.

"I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean offense by it... but something like that is far better used in your hands. I'll find weapons and armor that fit my niche, okay? Just let me feel my way around... I'm totally new to the melee combat world."

He doesn't let her go, instead just hoping he could comfort her... although his grip was loose enough that she could shake free should she try.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona barely noted the clattering of metal against the racks ceasing until she felt him try to embrace her, reflexively flinching away.

"It wasn't for melee combat, you prat! It was for when others shoot you. Nothing gets throw that shield, not even your plasma!"

It was wrong to be this frustrated over such a small thing but she couldn't help it, stiffening a little as she went to walk away. "I won't do this here; I will not make a fool of myself in front of strangers. I'll make my way back to the bar."

Then she was making her way through the racks, knowing her words were foolish but they had been deliberate. Something in her subconscious was begging him to come after her.

If she'd have noticed it, no doubt Snow would have kept her trap shut and just left.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey is suddenly forced out of his position as Snow gets going to leave. He stands there, stunned for a second at how angry she had seemed. Did he say something wrong? He -thought- what he said was logical.

"Wait, Snow!" he says, but he doesn't chase her yet... only if she doesn't stop.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona flinched, halting abruptly halfway through a step, lowering her foot to the floor with a stomp. What could he possibly want to say to her?

Apologise, she told herself sternly, before he does. He hasn't done anything wrong. "It's not you... it's never you," she said quietly.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey quickly scurries up behind her, leaning on a rack next to her. His face is a stern look of both worry and sympathy. Something was wrong...

Well, a lot was wrong, but something in particular was wrong. He would try to comfort her. It was all he could do... because he certainly wasn't going to let her walk, unarmed, through this neighborhood all the way back to the bar. Even she can't take on a street gang of six or more armed men with her fists.

"Well, then what is it? We talked about this." His hands touch her waist delicately, but he doesn't pull into another embrace... he just aims to show that he's there for her. "Gage is upstairs doing whatever, on the phone. This place is just as private as any other place... you can talk to me."

"What's troubling you, Snow?"

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona vented her frustration physically, tightening her hand on her glove reflexively. She would not snap at him, sighing at his touch.

"This isn't easy for me. I can't just talk," she tried to explain, aiming to take a step away from, waving her hands in a dismissive gesture. "So much, Steph and I don't want to snap at you. You're... innocent. You've done nothing to earn my fury. Let me go and rage at some idiot who thinks it's a good idea to attack me in the street."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey frowned as she pulls away from him again, this time he doesn't bother re-closing the distance, it was obviously just making her lash out. "Well if you put it that way, you definitely shouldn't go." reminded again of the seediness of that neighborhood.

He sighs. "Innocent. If only you knew how ironic that sounds on my end." he pauses for a moment, thinking what to say. "Look, one of the jobs I took on when I made my vows to you was to be there when you needed to vent, right? If something's itching at you, just let it go. That's what I'm here for."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona whirled on him then, finally feeling that last thread snap. Why wouldn't he just let her go and stop her from doing what she was about to do?!

"And why not?! I'm not a Light Steph; I can take care of myself," she snapped, taking a step forward back towards him but making no bid to touch him. "You really want to know what

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona "And why not?! I'm not a Light Steph; I can take care of myself," she snapped, taking a step forward back towards him but making no bid to touch him. "You really want to know what's bothering me?"

Her tone was harsh, her eyes like amber - just as they had been when she had confronted Blade. "I'm being superceded in my duty by a prick who I actually believe is better at it than me. I feel helpless that I can't make you feel any better about your own concerns about all this. I lost control with Thunder and nearly got myself killed."

She threw the glove away, feeling the distinct urge to pick up one of the guns and possibly turn it on herself. Then she realised that wouldn't make life any better; Steph would stop her anyway.

"And every, single, fucking time you try and be nice to me - to help me - I react like this! Me feeling is a very bad thing."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey "No." he says sternly. "You're not a light, and until recently, you never had a Light. Kendra is taking up your Light's time, and that's why you need my help. You were never taught how to deal with any of these emotions you're feeling."

"Now." he says. "Let's take this one step at a time. If you were useless, why would the Queen have waited until you two were reunited to step in? Why wouldn't they just carry out their plans, I don't know, two hundred fucking years ago before she had obligations like Kendra to worry about?"

His voice quiets to her last comment. "And maybe you're forgetting again, but I love you. Trying to support you is my choice, because I know from experience that feeling is -not- a bad thing. Instead you're running around with the emotional maturity of a small child with no one to confide to but me. Not only was I aware of this fact when I fell in love with you, but I'm just as willing to help you as I was the day I fucked you on my couch!"

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona felt like she'd been slapped. Hard. In all actuality, she supposed she had. His verbal reprimands made her hesitate, not at all sure what to say. If she even could say anything to that.

Her mouth opened to argue, but there was no solid argument to fall back upon; he had her, hook, line and sinker. So, she closed it again.

She wasn't even aware her eyes had widened to the size of saucers by the end. "I..." she started, looking away, starting to shake quite abruptly.

Crying was not going to solve anything, she told herself sternly. "It's because we were reunited that she had to step in, because Hope told her superiors that I found her. She was oblivious, like I was to the threats we faced because everyone decided it would be better to just leave us in the bloody dark."

Emotional maturity of a child? She smirked at that, knowing he was right. "Thank you. I needed that."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey almost wanted to take the first ship out of Wing City and talk to this so called Queen himself and ask just what right she had to do this to Hope and Snow... "Snow... you're a strong fighter with a stronger heart, and you care nothing more than for the ones around you. That's what I love about you. What more can anyone ask of you? Hell, what more can I ask you for?"

He looks down into her eyes and takes her hands within his own, hoping that his words would make their way right into her heart. "We all have choices to make. I just want you to remember that everything I do is my choice, and everything you do is your choice. I choose to love you. Hope chooses to accept you as her Dark, despite being drowned in spite of them for centuries..."

"I should also mention, that Blade didn't look at any of us the same way as he did you. He was sizing you up as an equal, he gave the rest of us the cold shoulder... trust me, I note these things."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona reflected her sisterhood to Hope in that moment, blinking up at him with determination in her eyes. It was gone as soon as she nodded but still, it had flashed there for a second. She so wanted to be good enough; to be worthy of everything he thought of her.

Speechless, she let him take her hands numbly, listening and understanding on a subconscious level and eventually it seeped into her consciousness. The reaction was immediate; she realised quite a lot all at once, her eyes tightening.

Her choices, huh? "If I ever meet those who did that to Hope at the Academy, they're going to wish they'd never been born. That's my choice," she growled protectively. -c-

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona Yes, she chose to love him as well but she looked appalled at his assessment of Blade, shaking her head vehemently. "Hardly. He thinks me rash, unthinking and far too unstable," she spluttered, but there was a glow to her cheeks.

He was complimenting her. "You're mad for loving me. Totally stark raving mad, but I love you too and I don't think I'll ever stop." -e-

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey "Mad for loving you?" he chuckles. "Perhaps. But the only thing separating a mad man from a genius is whether he wins."

"And this..." he says with a smile. "... I definitely consider a victory."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey
He just shares that moment with her, looking into those eyes he found it so easy to get lost in.

But they couldn't stand there in Gage's basement forever. "I'm just going to grab a couple more toys, and then we can get going... Gage would have found one of his old places by now." he whispers. He leans in for a reassuring kiss.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona wondered if he knew that he was the worst thing for her emotional state, constantly throwing her off-centre. This time, she was making a conscious effort to just go with it and she had to admit, that made it the teeniest bit easier.

Thank the Goddesses.

That smile. He better never do that in combat or they were screwed. "Then you'd be a genius then," she murmured absently, feeling her agitation melt away like it had never existed.

"Mhmm," she replied in response to his assertion. "So you better get on that then. I'd hate to drag you away from your toy collecting."

She didn't push him away but made a little shooing gesture with her hands, a small smile on her lips as he leaned forward.

That took her by surprise but she welcomed it, feeling calmed and comforted by this particular kiss. Now she pulled back, albeit reluctantly, a little lingering. "You really should get back to your little task."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey pulls his face back from hers. "If you insist..." he says. Although, breaking off so soon gave him a pang to approach again... but he would leave her alone for now. There would be plenty of time for kisses later, when he wasn't in his mentor's basement.

He doesn't bounce around this time, instead just picking out his favorites and throwing them into a pile, taking mere moments at each section to pick one, not picking out anything particularly massive except for a Barret .50 caliber sniper rifle, which was almost a massive five feet long.

Before long, he had a notepad out from his coat and he was quietly tacking on expenses, checking a little price tag on each weapon and copying it down...

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona raised an eyebrow at him, catching his expression with a soft smile. She was only insisting because otherwise they

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Snow Anona raised an eyebrow at him, catching his expression with a soft smile. She was only insisting because otherwise they'd end up spending the whole evening here.

Instead of watching him with amusement, Snow now observed him with a touch of serenity melding in with intensity. If only she could figure out the key to this feeling; then she'd be set.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey stops scribbling down prices and looks back up to her with an eyebrow raised, as if he hoped she would say yes. "Last chance, I still think you should take a look around... we aren't in a rush."

Apparently he didn't much like the idea of that boomerang...

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona opened her mouth to protest, but her expression made her sigh in defeat. There was a nod and then she glanced around. Rifles and shotguns were out - she would need a gun that allowed for quick inter-change between her mace.

"You really want me to have a gun?" she teased, before shrugging her approval. "Then help. It's your money. Single-handed only. I need to make quick changes between melee and ranged."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey nods, and slides back over to the handguns section, dozens of different types all lined up in racks and the more expensive ones on shelves.

The first two he pulls out are both fairly large handguns, a revolver and a heavy pistol.

The revolver was monstrously long, with a scope running all along the top barrel. It was finished in a nice silver, with a red band around the handle. "Taurus Raging Bull 22H. Heavy rounds, intimidating, good for one hit kill snapshots. Originally designed for elephant hunting."

He shows the other weapon. "This is the classic Magnum Research Desert Eagle, the first magnum and still the best to fire the .50AE round famous for it's use in heavy machine guns to use against vehicles. Same principle, just a bit shorter range but also easier to reload... it also comes in plenty of different colours." He looks at the shelves, and it appears that Gage has quite a collection of them indeed.

He sets those on the table for consideration, before grabbing more...

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona When he got right to it, it amused her vaguely before wiping the grin off her face and focusing on what he was telling her, as it would ultimately be her choice to pick a gun that she liked.

The Raging Bull was hideous to her, scowling openly at it. She didn't care if it could take out elephants... it was awful. Besides, she wasn't after one hit kills. Not yet.

So instead, she hefted the magnum off the table, testing its weight in her hand and smiling idly. Other girls admired clothing and shoes; she liked shopping for weapons, albeit not normally this kind.

It looked nice in her hand, tilting it this way and that to get a good look before setting it back on the table. Steph wasn't done gathering yet, it seemed...

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Character Portrait: Steph Grey Steph Grey says,
 The next two weapons were smaller and more practical looking, both of these were black but next to each of them in the wracks there were several different colours, albeit less variety than the Desert Eagle.

The first was a small, one handed sub-machine gun, that looked almost featureless. "This is the Steyr TMP, one of the most wieldy automatic weapons every built that isn't just an auto pistol like the G18. This thing is very modular, with available scopes, laser sights, and silencers for any situation..." starting to sound like an advertiser, but still with a grin, he sets it on the table.

The second was a much more basic looking pistol. "This is the famous H&K USP, professional, reliable, and has a very large number of parts and accessories. It's accurate, easy to store, and a very convenient go-to weapon for quick draws and storage." He puts that one on the table as well.

"Of these four... like any in particular? It'll round it out a bit, Gage has a lot here."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona didn't look terribly impressed with the Steyr TMP, though his grin seemed to ably keep the frown from her mouth, if not her eyes. He really did love guns with a passion and that did bring a smile to her face.

The fourth choice was simple in appearance but Snow didn't really particularly care for customisation when it came to this choice. Really, she was only doing it for Steph anyway, though her eyes kept drifting back to the Desert Eagle.

Slowly, she nodded towards her chosen style, feeling a little grin crawl onto her lips. "The magnum. I'm not sure why though. It's a pull... like it was with my mace. It's not exactly common for women to go around throwing maces about the place."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey nods, before putting the other three back. "The desert eagle's been a tentative choice for a long time. It's got a lot of bark, just often people tend to consider it overkill and go for more efficient weapons..." he says, apparently disappointed.

"But I would them around any day." the grin returns. Going through the rack, he looks for weapons in a similar light but stops... there really was nothing quite like the Desert Eagle.

"Whole bunch of colors here for them... gold, blue, even one in tiger camouflage!" he says, partly surprised.

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona 's smile didn't waver at his seeming disappointment at her choice. He lived for these guns and was a master in using them but she... she just wanted it for emergencies. That was all, so the Desert Eagle would do fine.

Snow walked after him, leaning over his shoulder curiously at the different colours, a little bemused at some of the more gaudy ones.

In particular, a navy blue one caught her eye and she reached out, looking to him for permission to pick it up. After all, until they paid for it, it was technically still Gage's weapon.

But he wasn't around, so she looked to the next best thing.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey nodded to her approach to the weapon. "Go ahead, I'll throw it on the bill." he says with a smile. With that, he goes over to his notepad again to scribble that detail down...

"In fact, grab a gold one and a silver one for me, will you? I miss using those guns."

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Snow Anona quirked an eyebrow at his colour choices, but nodded, retrieving the specified guns, eyes narrowing at the colouring. Awful choices in her opinion but as long as he didn't expect her to use them.

Obligingly, she carried the three pistols over to the rather significant pile, wondering how all this was going to fit in his car. "Thank you," she said haltingly, eying her new weapon once more before setting it down.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey finishes the bill, before turning up to face her. "Don't thank me... I bugged the hell out of you to pick one up. God knows you might not even end up using it..."

Beside the bill, there was a note that he would call with a delivery location later. For now, he just pocketed his two Desert Eagles.

"Alright. We're set." he says with a smile.

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Snow Anona chuckled. That he had, but she reckoned it was better to wear a pistol and not use it than need one and not have one in the long run.

As he scribbled down the last of the note, eying his handwriting with a smile, she retrieved her glove, sliding it back on.

"Back upstairs then?" she questioned, watching as the glove adjusted to her hand again.

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Steph Grey nodded. "Right."

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Steph Grey leads the way into the small apartment lent to them by Gage. It was a small, one room place that was spotless as if room service had been here a few times to make sure the place was ready for when it's official tenant returned: which was no one but the ghosts the government would send around once every few months.

Finally glad to relax after everything that happened that day, Steph crashes on the couch, head lying back. "Long day..." he breaths.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona slid off her jacket, draping it over the back off the couch with a slight grin. "You're not done yet my love," she cooed in his ear.

Then, she clocked him over the back of the head with her hand. "No more bugging! If you really want to keep tabs, let Kendra know and she can gussy up some communicators. That way, I don't feel like my partner is a stalker."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey takes the hit with a wince. Damnit, he thought he got off scott free. "Alright!" he says, rubbing his head where she had hit him.

"I only meant well, okay? I should have told you first but it just felt like second nature... don't know, don't care, right...? I wasn't expecting anything like this to happen..."

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Snow Anona frowned but nodded slowly, bent over towards the back of the couch, her arms crossed and rested upon it languidly. She looked surprisingly content with that act of violence. "I know you did and if you really want to, I'll let you keep tabs on me. One of us should usually be with the girls at all times, so if you watch me, things will be alright."

Then her head tilted towards his, leaning forward to try and remove the hand that was rubbing the spot she had slapped. If she succeeded she would kiss it gently. "I think I hit you harder than I meant to. Sorry."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey let her move his hands away, left with naught but a frown. "It's alright. I deserved that."

He sighs and shakes his head. "It's just hard not to worry. One of us has been close to death, like, how many times in the past couple of weeks...? It was an act of paranoia, and I should have talked to you all first."

He looks over to her, intent to let her know his apology was sincere. "I had no right to watch any of you without your permission."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona reached forward, placing a finger over his lips with a sigh of discontentment. "You had to talk about death and conflict didn't you? We were having an honest-to-Goddess couply moment for a second there," she chided, tutting.

His last words had obviously made her think a moment and then she nodded enthusiastically. "As Hope said, just ask next time. We're not going to stop you unless it's dangerous to our health as a collective."

Then, a mischievous grin crossed her lips as she straightened, stretching her arms out like a cat. They had spent a lot of time driving today. "Besides, you can't help but watch me," she teased before turning to go in search of potential drinks.

Did they even stock safe houses with food and drink at such short notice? She was surely about to find out.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey was frowning as she walked out to the kitchen. "No kidding..." he said under his breath, watching her backside as she disappeared into the other room.

"Gage told me the fridge and the pantries should have plenty in them." he yelled out to her.

He paused for a moment, looking around the room, before he realizes what he needs. "If there's any alcohol out there, I would love a glass...!" if the Government was so kind as to stock their black-ops safehouses with alcohol, which he certainly doubted.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona nodded at Steph's advice as she disappeared, her attention on the pristinely kept kitchen. Really, they had cleaned up before both of them had arrived.

Quickly, she set about acquiring tumbler glasses - top left cupboard - and opened the fridge to get some orange juice for herself. She had very little self-control around Steph when they were alone as it was. Alcohol wasn't going to help her cause.

There was a spot more of rummaging through cupboard before search ended fruitless. No alcohol for her Dark, she thought, a little disappointment that she couldn't give him what he'd asked for.

Instead, she poured two glasses of orange juice and sauntered back out to the living/sleeping area, daintily offering one glass to him. Then, she collapsed on the sofa herself, careful not to spill her drink as she did so.

"No luck I'm afraid. Apparently the government forgot to include a mini-bar in their establishments of secrecy," she joked, grinning.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey shook his head, accepting the drink and taking a sip immediately, at least glad to quench the minor thirst he was experiencing. "It's okay. I didn't really expect any but it doesn't hurt to be sure."

He sighs, laying his head back on the couch again and looking to the ceiling if only only for a moment, before his head rolled in her direction. "It's nice to have some downtime for a change... it's been a crazy week."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona took a long drink from her own glass, setting it down on the table after a satisfied sigh. "Still. You wanted it. We need to carry around liquor in future," she noted with a smile at the constant, odd lolling of his head.

An eyebrow shot up at that statement? Their Lights were currently staying in the bar with Bow and Blade because both of their apartments had been trashed by the two Darks. Now, they were resting in a government safe house and he called this downtime?

"Strange man; calling this downtime," she muttered, reaching up a hand to muss his hair with a grin. "It has. Everything just sort of... exploded."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey "Yup, this is downtime." he grinned. "You think this is bad? One time, I was stuck in North Korea on a job for the US, they wanted me to recover the abort codes for this one nuclear missile silo... turns out that everything within a mile of that place was jammed, so, of course my contacts thought I was dead when I dropped off radio..."

He looked back up, and rolls his eyes. "I must have burned through enough ammo to start a small war, and my only break after wards was the ride in the helicopter to my debriefing before I was on my next job."

He smiled happily when she messed with his hair; he didn't really care about his state right now. Instead of getting drunk from alcohol, he would get drunk off the presence of his lover.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona blinked, trying not to rise to his challenge and failing miserably, retracting her hand with a sly smile. "That does sound pretty bad, I agree," she said slowly before raising a thoughtful finger to her cheek, tapping.

"Fine, fine. This counts as downtime. Calm before the storm and all that garbage," she assented, grinning. "I think you bought enough guns today to start a small war. Planning on repeating the past, hmm?"

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey "Well, a wise man once told me..." it was probably obvious he was talking about Gage. "If you don't know what to expect, bring enough to kill anything and everything." he said this with a devilish grin.

"We go way back, me and Gage. I used to be a Marine Ranger when I was approached by him to join Black ops. We worked together for a while until I finally had enough of being a government pawn..."

He sighed. "...I left, and he stayed until he retired."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona knew that feeling, turning away from Steph at his grin. Every encounter they had in private would not turn into sex. "It's little wonder he was so touchy about trusting me then," she mused aloud, blinking as she realised what she'd said.

Oh bugger. There was a moment where she sipped at her orange juice, hoping that he didn't ask further. "I say better to be the target of governmental rage than their pawn any day," she said briskly, setting her glass down with a sigh.

"There will be no killing on my watch... unless they fucked with any of us. Then there will be killing and it will be by me, using my brand new shiny gun."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey shook his head, taking a drink of his juice. "Unfortunately, Snow, that might be the case, and I don't know about you, but I'm not about to hesitate in my own or any of your defense." he said completely seriously.

... but his smile returned playfully. "But... I would very much like to have the chance to prove to Blade that I'm not the pushover he seems to think I am."


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Steph Grey --- , he joked

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey Her last comment made him smile. "I'm going to have to put you through advanced techniques with that yet, especially if you're gonna learn to quick draw..."

To demonstrate what he meant, the Desert Eagle he had just bought seemed to appear in his hands just like magic, although everything around was disturbed by the insanely fast movement, including his drink... which, while it was shaken, it didn't spill a drop. He was holding the silver weapon by the barrel, pointing the handle to her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona He stunned her sometimes, looking across at him and judging him deadly serious. Any man that would collect such an armoury and intervene in combat they were stupidly out-matched in to save someone was quite capable of killing for them also, she wagered. "We'll get our chance; he's only one person and I wager he cares for Bow just as much as you and I do for Hope."

Snow smiled, despite herself. That reason had brought them to their second meeting; training. "Show-off," she shot back at his impossibly fast drawing of his new weapon.

The effects made her raise an eyebrow in question at him, but she said nothing out loud, taking the gun by the handle with a grin. Carefully, almost as if she was out of practice, she spun the gun around on her finger.

It really was a nice weight; out of the four choices he had drawn out for her, this was by far the best one for her. "Silver, really?" she posed, looking a little bit disappointed in him.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey nodded. "That's the standard color for them, it makes a good counterbalance to the gold one. It may seem pompous, but being skilled in a weapon that also gives off style is a big thing in the mercenary world. Trademarks like that are part of what keeps clients coming back... advertisement, if you will."

He shook his head but he was still smiling. "I won't be worrying about that any more, probably, but old habits die hard... besides. I like the color." he says matter-of-factly.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona gripped the gun's handle again, chuckling at his last words. "And here I thought you had taste, Steph Grey," she mock-taunted before setting the gun down on the table with a dull clink.

"We were two quite different types of mercenary, weren't we?" she queried rhetorically, cocking her head to the left against the cushions of the sofa.

She had always kept a low profile, ducking below the radar of government and police. Evidently he had done the same but still... having trademarks suggested a very different lifestyle.

"Old habits do die hard," she agreed, thinking upon her situation with him. Right now, she felt more relaxed than she had been in decades and she knew it.

Later, she would revert back and it would take so much effort to break her down again. Why did he even bother?

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey nods solemly. "Old habits -do- die hard... hell, old -anything- dies hard." he says, the society Hope was meant to reconfigure came to mind. A lot of things came to mind, actually; so many things that were built upon time and taught across generations that are wrong but so hard to fix because of how integrated they were...

He supposed that finally she was seeing how this was downtime. He was relaxed, he was sure she was relaxed due to all of the playful quips... and he had just ran out of orange juice, too lazy to get another glass. Oh well. He sets it down.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona guessed he must be deep in thought as their banter filled conversation descended into silence. Not that she minded, watching Steph with a careful eye, bemused as he refused to get up and fetch some more orange juice.

Well, she was hardly his serving girl but she did prop her glass loosely into his hand, smiling playfully as she lay back against the cushions.

It was a nice feeling to just sink into cushions, arms resting either side of her. Hmm, safe houses had comfy sofas.


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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey looks to his hand, now loosely holding up her empty glass, and sighs. Guess he was getting more drinks after all. "Want a refill?" he says with a raised eyebrow. It was mostly rhetorical question, considering she had given him the glass... but he wanted one as well anyway, so he stood from the couch getting his own glass rather than wait for a nanswer.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey looked at the HALF FULL glass Snow had set loosely in his hand with a warm smile. He knew it would be redundant to make sure she didn't want it, so he happily took a drink from it.

"It's boggling, you know... what we're getting ourselves into." he says quietly, before turning to face her again.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona felt herself smile in contentment and then he brought up their situation. Again. Abruptly, she sat up straight, putting another finger to his lips. "Hush already. You've got me relaxed. Don't wind me back up again; I'm good enough at that myself."

He had turned to her and so she took advantage of that, leaning in to give him a swift kiss before going to lie back down. "The weather, chipmunks... anything but that."

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey almost pulled her in with his lips... he enjoyed kisses from her far too much. When she spoke, he shrugged, seeing her point all too well. "I like chipmunks." he says jokingly. "And the weather is fantastic, lately."

He looked at her with a wide grin, and then closed the distance, putting an arm around her back... just wanting to cuddle, for a change.

When was the last time he had cuddled with anyone...? He couldn't even remember. It was an odd place, under odd circumstances... but it was with her. That's all he really wanted.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona laughed at his turn on her comments, feeling her lips tingle slightly with the after-effects of their kiss. Intoxicating things, they were - blast him.

Snow had never cuddled before, staring at him in unabashed shock. He didn't seem like he wanted that from her but here he was, snuggling up against her like she was a large cuddly toy.

Well, now she felt a little awkward, stiffening ever so slightly.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey turned his head to look into her eyes, with an eyebrow raised. "You're stiff again." he said, completely oblivious to the fact that she might not have ever done this before... still his contact remained, augmented by a quick kiss to her neck to maybe calm her down.

Then, he suddenly realized... what? "You've never cuddled to anyone before?"


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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona didn't say anything at first, eyes fluttering closed at the kiss to her neck. Really, she was trying to be calm about this!

The question made her shake her head instinctively, trying to force her limbs to relax. "I was primarily... driven by lust seeking out partners in the past. Darks and Lights wouldn't touch me with a ten foot barge pole because I was alone."

So no, she hadn't cuddled before and it was very strange.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey shook his head... the poor woman had been denied affectionate physical contact for over two hundred years? Steph didn't know if he would be able to handle that. He was amazed Snow could.

"Well, it's the same thing as a hug, right? except more prolonged." ... and sometimes leads to sex, he didn't add... "If it would help, I could give you another massage. You seemed to enjoy it last time."

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona shrugged at his stunned reaction. It was hard to miss something you'd never known existed. Now she had his arm around her and that she knew what was going on, she smiled lightly.

"A prolonged hug?" she queried, falling silent for a moment as she seriously considered his request, before shaking her head slowly. There was a pause and she brought her own arm up to wrap around his waist, turning so that she leaned into him propped up on her left side.

"I enjoyed it a great deal and I will likely ask you for more in the future," she mused with fond memories dancing across her mind. "But for now, I can cuddle."

She then leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips, not pulling away unless he did. Steph was quite sweet sometimes, not even seeming galled at her lack of knowledge of cuddles.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey was glad she wasn't so adverse to the idea. Her arm going around him let him close the distance the rest of the way to the point where their warmth was evenly shared, and he enjoyed every bit of the contact.

When her lips met his, he was surprised for a moment before remembering that she hadn't done this before. Oh well, kissing was fine as part of cuddling in -his- book... he melted into it, keeping the kiss going more than gladly.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona smiled, pressing herself against him in reactionary response, pleased he had pulled away from her. Though - perhaps arrogantly so - she hadn't expected him to, parting her lips ever so slightly to deepen the kiss for a few seconds before pulling away completely.

Her eyes were bright with merriment. "I think I like this cuddling lark," she intoned, squeezing him just a little with her arm.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey smiled back to her lovingly. "It's a shame you went so long without it... guess we're going to have to make up for lost time." he says with a wide grin, closing the gap to kiss her again, re-deepening it with wider strokes and barely opened eyes... his arms tightened their grip, not keen to let her go.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona Whatever she might have been going to say in reply was muffled as her lips connected with his again and this time, he was more insistent upon her attentions.

Technically, she shouldn't have been surprised, melting into the kiss like butter did when cut with a warm knife. It would be difficult to pull away and so this time she surrendered to him, earnestly returning his gesture of love.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey toyed with the idea of taking it further. They were alone, making out on the couch again... but his self control kicked in, he didn't want to take advantage of her like that.

Nonetheless, his free hand rested on her opposite thigh, and began to stroke it smoothly. So close together... even her scent was driving him mad, flaring him up. Her posture softened into him and his grip became more gentle and caring as it did, his hands becoming less fixed into place as she softened.

No. Self control. The kissing only slowed a bit as his mind relaxed a bit... he had made a promise to ask Hope before he would do this again.

Although, subconsciously... he wished he could put that aside... just for tonight.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona Instinctively shuddered at the sudden soft, yet teasing hand on her thigh, closing her eyes slowly at the motion.

She shifted closer, eager to make sure there was nothing between them, gently bringing her previously unused hand to rest on his shoulder, tilting him just so towards her.

Then she tried to break away, needing oxygen, offering a leg intertwined with his two in compensation. She would go back, but air first.

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Character Portrait: Steph Grey

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Steph Grey reacted to her sudden pulls, breaking their kisses to give them both a chance to breath... although the moment they were done gasping, he would move in to reseal their lip's passionate dance. Her shifted leg made the hand on her opposite thigh instead drift over closer to him onto her offered leg, where he would rub her thigh more roughly towards the gap between her legs.

The setting changes from Steph's Apartment to The Park

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona strode along the path in as relaxed a manner she could muster. This was for the good of them all, she reasoned in her head. Blade was impossible to crack - to get along with - so perhaps talking with his Light might help them bridge the gaps.

She could only hope.

It was a nice enough day. The sun was shining but it wasn't particularly warm and as Snow looked back across her right shoulder at Bow, she managed a soft smile.

That might've been Hope if they had been together and despite all of her years alone, the Dark wouldn't have wanted her sister to be so timid. "I'm glad you agreed to come out with me Bow. I've yet to thank you properly for healing Kendra," she started, broaching conversation bravely.

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Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna

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Blade Ulenna Bow smiled as brightly as the sun that shone down them. "You're quite welcome. I've lived for helping people, and I'm glad I could find a way to still do that despite coming here with my brother."

She looks up to the taller Shifter. She was almost exactly as Bow had imagined; distraught with feelings about finding her Light, but equally dedicated. Bow kept seeing that flicker of uncertainty in her eyes, and it almost made the older Light giggle some times.

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona nodded slowly, bringing her eyes back up to the sky for a moment, sighing. "I get the feeling we're going to need all the hope we can get. Hope will accept her responsibility at some point."

Snow was torn in so many directions and it killed her that one of them meant that she would have to follow her family into darkness, not knowing whether they were going to survive the night.

"Your Dark... he is a puzzle." She grinned then, her gaze falling upon the Light with a soft smile. "He wants to help but he won't relent to us. It is our lives as well."

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Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna

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Blade Ulenna Bow nods with an understanding frown, as though she were an old sensei giving a lecture. "He can be a real jerk, some times... well, to most people. To him, manners and consideration are just things that get in the way of his job. He only means well for you all."

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Snow Anona chuckled, pleased at the Light's honesty. Although she would never admit to it, she had been worried that Bow was going to be a typical Light in personality as well as appearance.

"Most people? I expect he's only not a jerk to you and her Majesty herself," she returned quickly, waving a hand out dismissively. "It's no matter though. I know you speak the truth. I just wish we could find some common ground with him."

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Blade Ulenna Bow shakes her head. Snow was asking the Light to peep on her Dark's feelings... and that would be terrible of her. Although, it would be nice in the end to see everyone get along. Bow was growing tired of the bickering already. Why couldn't everyone just be friends?

"You suspect right!" she says cheerily. "If you want some common ground with him though, it'll be a tough ride. Blade is a pretty straightforward guy. He takes care of me, and he listens to the Queen."

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Snow Anona knew she was being under-handed and abhorred herself for it, but it wasn't as if Blade was being particularly amiable about the whole situation. He was gritting through their conversations, remembering his duty and nothing else.

All they had in common was their species really. "I see. I'm not going to ask for your help. That would be wrong of me," she explained, halting in her steps for a moment.

They were pretty faraway from any other people in the park, so that didn't cause a problem. "I've an idea to crack him somewhat. It'll have to be away from you Lights of course. He seems to care for you a great deal and I won't ever put you in harm's way."

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Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna

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Blade Ulenna Bow stopped with her, spinning on her heels to face the Dark and waving a finger in front of her face, as though to tell her she was a bad girl. "Hey." she said as sternly as the bubbly Light could. "Don't try anything crazy, okay? I'm sure if you just talked to him he would be more understanding."

She shakes her head. "Snow, remember how you two met? The first thing you did was try to punch him. Of course you can expect bad blood, right? Just get to know him!"

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Snow Anona looked remarkably stunned at Bow's reaction, a small smile gracing her lips at the girl's attempt at authoritative. "Crazy? Sparring is not crazy," she said with a grin. Darks communicated best via combat. That was the best language she understood. Other than... No, not now, she told herself sternly.

Just get to know him? Snow snorted in amusement. Yeah she could just see it - her and Blade sitting down to... hang on, that wasn't half a bad idea. "Okay. Okay then. Bow, do you mind staying the night with Hope and Kendra tonight?" she asked, her hands coming together in front of her.

Poker night. She grinned.

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Blade Ulenna Bow raised an eyebrow. Was she really thinking what she thought she was thinking?

No. Absolutely not.

Bow nodded happily after giving it a couple seconds of thought. "Sure! I could just turn into kitty form and curl up in their room, if it's okay with them."

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Snow Anona looked pleased with that notion; her Light wouldn't mind at all. She hoped. "Thank you. I appreciate this. Hopefully a couple of games of cards will provide enough casual conversation and time to ease the tension."

She looked a lot happier suddenly. Steph could play too though she wagered he had a damned good pokerface. Bollocks.

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Blade Ulenna Talking about kitty form, Bow suddenly shifts into a small white cat. Her tail sways freely as a bright and perfectly round pair of eyes stare up at the Dark. Would she pet the little one? Would she?

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Snow Anona Yes, she had been all bravado and surety earlier but standing outside their room's door, Snow confessed she felt a little cowed. They didn't get along well and what if he rejected her invitation? Then they'd just all be back where they started.

Reluctantly, she forced herself to raise a hand to the wood of the door, knocking rapidly three times.

The setting changes from The Park to Multi-Dimensional

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Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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Snow Anona Yes, she had been all bravado and surety earlier but standing outside their room's door, Snow confessed she felt a little cowed. They didn't get along well and what if he rejected her invitation? Then they'd just all be back where they started.

Reluctantly, she forced herself to raise a hand to the wood of the door, knocking rapidly three times.

The setting changes from Multi-Dimensional to The Palace

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Character Portrait: Wing of House Erutin

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Wing of House Erutin glances around curiously, searchign for Blade quite happily. Tallie had absolutely promised that he was sending for Blade to reutnr, and Wing did so want to be there when that happened. She bounces on her chair happily, eagerly.

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Blade Ulenna entered the throne room with gusto, his Queen's summons driving him to see her without a hint of hesitation in his steps. Gratified to finally be within her presence again, he stops before her in her seat, and bends to one knee.

"Your majesty." he greets, head bowed in respect.

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Wing of House Erutin smiles brightly at him. "Rise Blade! Rise and tell me ho you're doing? How is your charge treatign you? Talon says he met he the toher day, but you know him. He's horribly vague on details."

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Blade Ulenna smiled at her kind greeting, and stood up from his knee, offering her his gaze as opposed to the bow. "My sister and I have been well, and as has been young Hope and her sister. Although, I have troubling news to report."

He falls slightly into a frown. "The Council has already mobilized, I arrived only just in time to see the trailing end of an assassination attempt. We didn't gain much knowledge out of the assassin other than the fact that he was indeed working with the Council."

He sighs, and shakes his head. "On the bright side, the Anona twins seem to have surrounded themselves with very capable allies in the form of their mates. I am certain that between the six of us, no harm will come to the twins."

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Wing of House Erutin beams at Blade, bouncing slightly. "Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful." It was good to hear that everyone was well. Though at the news of the council already on the move, her smile falls. "Oh blast. Those men." She sighs heavily. "I'm glad to hear they have such capable allies, though I admit to some surprise. I wasn't aware that there were any twinsets anywhere near Snow and Hope. Unless Snow arranged something for when she did find her twin?" It was, after all, entirely possible.

"Tell me about these mates. And since you claim that all will be well, I'll make sure Tallie doesn't sent further guards out, despite his crush on little Hope.

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Blade Ulenna grits his teeth, and hesitates before answering her queries about their mates. "Your majesty... their mates are not Shifters, but mortal humans."

He stands in silence, waiting for her reaction.

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Wing of House Erutin 's eyes go wide in shock. "Humans? Mere mortals?" She verifies before takign a deep breath. "I see. Well." How was she supposed to react to that. Finally deciding on a path she nods. "Alright then. Tell me of them. Are they at least twins, or has Hope far exceeded my expectations of revolutionary."

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Blade Ulenna shakes his head, distraught that the news brought his Queen such a start. "No, they are not related. Hope's mate is a human woman, a fantastic designer and architect by the name of Kendra Lawrence. Snow's mate is a man named Steph Grey, who is a skilled gunslinger and is surprisingly devoted to their cause. Last I heard before I left, both twins are now engaged to their mate, Steph having proposed only last night."

He sighs. "This must come as a surprise to you, your Majesty, but I assure you I speak no fable."

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Wing of House Erutin nods slowly. "I...see. I suppose as long as they love each other I can do naught but approve." She says, sounding slightly amused. "Very well. As long as their mates are devoted to them, and understand that leaving it simply not an option, I have no issue."

She grins mischviousl. "Has Tallie foudn out yet?"

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Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna

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Blade Ulenna shakes his head, partially sharing her devious grin. "I don't believe so. He seems disturbingly attracted to Hope, and that hasn't appeared to have deviated so I can only assume he remains ignorant of the status of her relationship."

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Wing of House Erutin giggles, covering her mouth with her hand. "Oh he's had a crush on Little Hope since she was a week old. I think he's more in love with the idea of her than her, but it is very amusing to watch him worry." She admits with a happy grin.

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Blade Ulenna 's grin turns to a warmer, reassured smile. "I don't doubt it."

Then, he sighs. "The only real problem I have had with this assignment so far is that Hope has an awful tendency to try to escape her grasp. While I can see where she is coming from with her independence, both natural and developed... it's making keeping tabs on her simply infuriating. I've had my implant upgraded to track her better, but..."

Again, he sighs. "I'm sorry, your majesty. It is not my place to grovel."

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Wing of House Erutin looks amused. "She is a handful, isn't she?" She looks slightly amused. "Even as a babe she had a tendency to try and escape from everyone but Tallie. It was actually rather cute."

She looks to him amused, and jots down a a note. "You know Tallie would never let me leave Erutin without an entire contingent of guards, but here. As Director of the travelers, even an MIA one she answers to me, and an order from the Queen ought to help."

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Blade Ulenna 's eyes widen at her suggestion. "Oh, I.." He shakes his head to clear out the cobwebs. "That would certainly help, I would think, although I'm not sure if she would be so compliant. If I may, your Majesty, I think I would prefer trying to earn her trust on my own. Trying to get out the easy way like that may very well make her turn a blind eye."

He looks to the ground. "She was already upset enough as it was when I explained to her what she was to be put up to."

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Wing of House Erutin nods. "Keep this in reserve then. And I had hoped she'd be more accepting of it, but I really don't blame her." She shrugs and smiles. "Still, Perhaps eventually she'll be willing enough to return and meet with me over the situation. Please, suggest it to her when you feel the tiem is right."

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Blade Ulenna nods. "Of course. You will be done, your Majesty." He bows quickly, accepting the order.

"Should I be leaving to return to her side immediately, then, or would you prefer I stay the night?" he asks outright, trying not to balance bias towards either option.

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Wing of House Erutin looks slightly amused. "You say her cell is strong? Stay here for the night. I miss my favorite guard." She says with a pout. "Besides, I'm sure you have catching up to do with the others."

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Blade Ulenna nods. Her favorite guard, huh? He appreciated the sentiment, but he kept the emotion to himself. "Of course."

He almost wants to walk away, but his curiosity begged him to stay. The seriousness about what he was going to ask made him frown. "My Lady, if I may... what should we be trying to accomplish? Hope has told me of some progress she has made in convincing her fellow Lights to look to her cause, but... I cannot help but be consumed with doubt."

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Wing of House Erutin smiles slightly. "I understand the doubt. It is hard to believe in such a girl, isn't it? For now, I need her to slowly bring about a social change, and do what she must to convicne those on the outlying colonies that Lights and Darks are equal. It will have to, I'm afraid, move from teh outside in."

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Blade Ulenna nods in understanding. "For all of the time it takes, rest assured, my Queen, that I will be at her side as long as you command."

Regardless, he can't help but space out, his eyes zoning into the distance. "I suppose all I can do now is protect her best I can, and hope for the best. My power is hers."

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Wing of House Erutin nods and smiles. "Get whatever upgrades you need to track the little Light. No doubt she'll test each and every single one fo them out. And do give her some room. It will be dificult to instigate change when she is too sheltered."

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Blade Ulenna "Understood." then, he sees fit to mention another part of his business in returning to the castle... "As well, I would like permission to collect implantation supplies from the medical quarter. Some upgrades can only be done with supplies we do not have, and it is best that all of us involved with the Anona Twins, including the twins themselves, be armed to the teeth with the best technology we have available."

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Wing of House Erutin nods. "Do so. No doubt Snow is chomping at the bit to get an implant herself. And see about having Hope teach the lot of you the basics of teleportation. Transportation takes much logner to learn, but I'm sure you'll all be able to learn teleportation in a short order."

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Blade Ulenna nods in turn. "Snow has already been implanted, she awoke from her surgery the previous night, although we are out of supplies for upgrades.... Although..." he frowns. "I'm not certain how willing Hope would be to teach us teleportation, especially considering how it would help me track her better. I shall ask, as per your command, though."

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Wing of House Erutin waves a hand. "Perhaps get Snow to ask then. You would merely be there as her guard, and if you picked up the basics then..." She shrugs, "What is it the humans say? Que sera,sera."

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Blade Ulenna "Yes, my Lady. I'll see that it is done."

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Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna Blade Ulenna says,
 test

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Blade Ulenna pushed his way through the large double doors at the front of the regal throne room of Erutino Palace, audience chamber to his liege, Queen Wing. For her and no one else, he was dressed his absolute best in full commander

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Blade Ulenna - full commander uniform, with every detail down to perfectly polished boots glinting in the sunlight through massive windows.

The fall of said boots were one of the only sounds reverberating through the chamber as he walked, sword extended but sheathed as part of his uniform, towards the throne where Her Majesty sat.

Upon reaching a speakable distance, with a bow, he sunk to one knee.

"Your majesty, Dark Blade Ulenna reporting."

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Wing of House Erutin lounges in her throne, very bored. As Blade appears, she perks up immediately and straightens up. With out a doubt, he was her favorite Dark, next to her won. If Talon would just be amenable to breaking traditions, everything would have gone much smoother already, she was sure.

"Rise, Blade. Rise and tell me what you have to say, favored among my guard." And favored he was, as he no doubt knew. Otherwise, she would never have made the decision to send him so far away where she couldn't keep an eye on him, to protect a person very dear to her kingdom's future.

"Tell me of Hope's latest misadventures. She isn't pregnant yet is she? You must discourage this until things have settled. Somehow."

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Blade Ulenna stands with a wide smile at her questions, dissipating his weapon in its sheath. Ah, the dearest Queen and her amiable concerns. How they were a beacon in his day next to his comparatively confrontational encounter with Hope.

"No, she is of good health and as far as I can tell, remains... mostly flowered.... however..." he adds with his smile rapidly dissapating, "I come with little more good news than that."

This was the part he hated. Wrecking the dear Queen's mood.

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Wing of House Erutin frowns at this and nods. "Go on then Blade. Tell me what our beloved fools on the council have done now. I can only assuem it is them, after all." She sighs, wishing that she didn't have to govern with such hard headed fools.

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Blade Ulenna hesitates for a moment. Go on then, Blade. Admit your failure.

Shut up, conscience.

With a sigh, he elaborates. "Your perception is naught but astute, as always, my Lady. I... I am afraid I had almost lost the dear Light on my watch. A council assassin had her in her grip, but thankfully for my own blunder t'was only to deliver a message of warning. A warning we will no doubt, ignore."

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Wing of House Erutin winces and shakes her head. "I wish it were nto so, my Blade. We will simply have to keep a closer watch on our Light. She is a handful, after all." She leans foreward and smiles at him. "Do not worry over so Blade. She is still alive, after all. And a warning is all they dare send now, thank the goddesses. She is fast becoming a public figure you know."

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Blade Ulenna [color=navy]nods, thankful for her forgiveness. "If not for her request to send me here to collect information on the second set of troubling news... my eye would still be on her. For now, she is under the care of a warrior I have come to trust as loyal and incredibly skilled."

For he had indeed sparred with Kruxis, who had handed the Shifter's ass to him, to his shame.

"... and yes, it appears her popularity is ballooning more rapidly than anyone could have possibly anticipated. She has a plan in motion that has destroyed even my own expectations for her capabilities, that I unfortunately have promised by blood not to share any details of. But, as for the other set of news..." he carries right along before she can, quite easily, pry the information out of him...

"As you may very well have heard by now, the Council is proceeding with their planned research on breaking the sacred Twin Bond. It is Hope's desire to halt this research indefinitely, and my own as well, should your royal permission allow us such a deviation

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Wing of House Erutin shivers at this mention and nods quickly. "Do it. As soon as you can, please. I...just mentioning this subject distresses me. Greatly." It did too. The very idea of being twinless was completely horrorific to her. What woudl she do without Talon?

Well, other than throw Blade down and have her way. But really, that was a moot point.

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Blade Ulenna nods quickly. "It will be done, your majesty. Although... her plan calls for non-lethal ending of the research, while my own reccomendation leads to the utter destruction of the facility and the incarceration of all involved under Royal order, but I of course require your permission for such an advancement..."

He sighs. "So, it of course comes to your own decision, your Majesty. I will follow your command by my honor, and your decision is law... but I feel that a harsh example must be made if we are to prevent a possible catastrophe. I... doubt I need to extrapolate the risks if there is even a trace left of this research when all is said and done."

He felt cruel for placing this decision on her, but it desperately needed to be said. He truly had very little confidence in passive action. If not for said Darks having Lights, he would slaughter them all... but life in prison would have to do.

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Wing of House Erutin takes a deep breath, uncertain. "I...I admit to being conflicted on this, my Blade. However, I am afraid, in this I will defer to the leader of the rebellion, if only so nothing happens to y- bring about war on our people. The council cannot know I sanction many of your actions. Destroy it in the non lethal manner, but..see about destroying the buildign as well. Perhaps a pip explosion or gas explosion or something that is 'clearly' an accident, to hide your hand in the matter."

She knew better than to say that she could nto stand what the council would do to him, should they discover his hand in all this. A body guard for the director fo the travelers was odd, but understandable, as she was a Light. But for Blade to kill would be...

Well. It would be a death sentence for him, at the council's hands.

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Blade Ulenna sighs for a moment, but he well understood the meaning behind her decision. "Your will be done, my Lady. The research will be disposed of and the premises destroyed."

He tried to come up with some excuse to stay and talk longer, but their business was more or less concluded. Bah, Hope could wait a few more minutes. He trusts Kruxis.

"I... also need to ask. Should push comes to shove when the rebellion inevitably starts... any actual action would be horribly one sided in the favor of the Council. Is our faith so far into Hope that we do not have a plan to settle any eventual confrontation?"

After all... he feared that if Wing were to directly step in should an emergency occur... the Council may very well target her. That he would -not- abide. Not while he was with Hope.

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Wing of House Erutin smiles at Blade and stands from her thron taking a step off it's dias and glancing about. Talon should be gone for sometime soon. Though it was forbidden, she couldn't help but moving closer.

"Blade, if violence is need, we are in trouble. Use what skills you can to sabotage before you try violence. I would suggest Guerilla tactics. It may be the only choice."

Sad but true. "I fully expect violence ot tear apart our streets."

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Blade Ulenna nods. "You will have me loyally until my last breath... anything that can be done for our favor will be done. Should worse come to worse, there is none amongst our race that could stop me from obliterating the council. It is that threat that will always remain as a last string.

Her approach... so forbidden, her sacred self within arms reach but no matter how much he wished to, his duty told him to keep back. He didn't move... he just relished her presence.

"But, nonetheless... me and my men are few, and the Darks of our society are many. I can protect you and Hope... but I cannot fight a war."

After all, that was what Hope was for... if he never had confidence in her, he had it now. She would have an idea. "My trust is with the young Light Anona, now."

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Wing of House Erutin nods. "We must trust her." Ever so gently, she places a hand on his shoulder, uncertain. Talon kept her from most physical contact, so she wasn't certain how to proceed.

"My...My twin will be gone for some time, off on matters he will never explain. Spend time with me? The other guards, are much more formal." They were also all out of the room, so they would be safe from prying eyes. She always had the guards leave when she was in Blade's presence, so he could whisper to her what she needed to know without eyes on them.

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Blade Ulenna sighed... taking all too strong a note that they seemed to be alone. She must have ordered the rest of the guard away...

It was her touch that set him off, taking a deep breath as though to cool down his heart that was speeding up with contact. So forbidden. So wanted... He could worry about the First Dark, later. "Alright... I will." he says, not adding on his usual 'by your command...'. This was something different. All the same, he could have been oh so wrong. Maybe she just felt more secure under his watch?

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Wing of House Erutin bites her bottom lip, nervous still and drops her hand. "Tell me Blade. How...How forward thinking is your twin? I know my own is very stagnant in his, but...Bow? I do no know her as well as I would like."

The answer was incredibly important to her. Though she could never define exacly why.

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Blade Ulenna bows his head, hesitating. "My sister... she was once as dogmatic about our ways as any of us, purely through being taught so... but, both of us have changed being with Hope. She is a beacon, that girl... now both of us question what we are."

He looks back up to his Queen, looking down to her face. "I know she seeks love outside of our race, now. She confessed so to me herself, convinced that the Anona's success on that matter was proof that the old ways are perhaps not what we always made them out to be."

He spoke heresy. Two hundred years ago if he had said this out loud in front of anyone else with power he probably would have been executed... but he felt secure to be honest with her Majesty. With Wing Erutin...

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Wing of House Erutin glances about, almsot as if she's frightened, before moving closer and standing on her toes to ever so shyly kiss his cheek, should he allow it. "That...That pleases me more than anything else." She admits, before coloring.

"It would be selfish of me to ask her too though, and I find I cannot do such."

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Blade Ulenna 's heart almost stops with her kiss. Did... she feel the same way? He didn't know what to think of it, such a display...

Oh... so forbidden. So wanted.

He wanted to take her hands in his so desperately, longing for her touch again. Her lips... "I'm glad." he says quietly, realizing he had been standing there hesitating.

"I'm sure, my Queen Wing, that she would be as delighted to answer that as I was." he says, barely avoiding coloring himself, still feeling the brush of her lips on his cheek.

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Wing of House Erutin bites her bottom lip. "Please, call me Winnie, when it is just us too. I would not even include Talon among that number." She murmurs to him, shyly reaching for his hand. She had seen couples with their hands linked, after all.

Perhaps Blade would allow that touch as well. Though his hesitance frightened her.

"Please, my Blade. Do not feel you must because I am your Queen though. I would never have that." She tells him, her cheeks painted a rosy red.

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Blade Ulenna was gratified to see her hand extended... the moments of hesitation shortened, and he reached out to take her own half way, ever so careful not to bring her pain.

So soft was her skin... so sacred. "I will, Winnie." he says affectionately. He reaches for her other hand, intoxicated by her touch... but everything about his instincts built over three hundred years told him to go back.

"If not my Queen, Winnie... what would you rather?" he asks, as though speaking too loudly would shatter her.

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Wing of House Erutin glances up at him from under lowered lashes. "Your friend at the least. More later, if I can convince my wretched twin to allow such a thing. He is always such a brute when it comes to me though."

He was also determined to fidn a suitable mate for her, now that it had become clear even to him that Hope and Snow were untouchable.

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Blade Ulenna 's heart sank. The First Dark... of course. Of course she would need his approval. Sense flowed back into him, but still the rest of the dam Hope had built for him held strong.

"Friend, then." but more later, she had said... but the First Dark would never allow it. They treated each other with respect but had always been underlying at odds, or, at least, that was how Blade saw it.

Still, it brought such a small chuckle out of him... "I used to be the same way with Bow. Hope is such a powerful influence... I can't help but watch her mingle with naught but a smile, now."

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Wing of House Erutin shakes her head. "I am queen. You would think I was a puppy with how he treats me. I suppose I am lucky enough to be queen. His bedfellows never seem to leave quite the same, though no doubt he doesn't think I've noticed him take any!"

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Blade Ulenna was left with the slightest sting of anger at her words. Of course, the womanizing bastard would carry on with his mistresses while leaving his Light to her loneliness... he had killed men for less, before.

"It's a great thing, Hope is fighting for." he says quietly... but he couldn't help but worry. "... he has no right to coddle you like that, Winnie."

There, he dared say it. "After all, you are the Queen. Have you no right to your own desires when he lords such over you like that?" he stopped purely out of guilt. What did he expect to do, turn her against her own twin? Ridiculous.

"I am sorry." he says, bowing his head. "That was not my place to say."

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Wing of House Erutin laughs and shakes ehr head. "It is my twin's own behavior we aim to change. His and every Dark whose behavior is ismilar. That is what it will take to win this conflict." She admits, placing her free hand on his cheek. "Now. We must seperate quickly. My twin approaches."

He hand linger slightly, as she looks up at him, not wanting to seperate at all.

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Blade Ulenna 's hand drifts up to her own, relishing her touch for a few long moments before his self control wraps his fingers around hers and pulls her away gently, finally letting her go, his heart begging the opposite.

"Of course." he says... avoiding the nickname within earshot of the First Dark. There may very well be a time when they would conflict, but that time was not yet... not until the eyes of Lights across the Multiverse were open.

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Talon of House Erutin slips into the grand throne room, just in time to see his little Light locked in an embrace with the First Guard. The First Dark growls loudly, and stalks over to them, though they have separated by then. "Dark Blade, how dare you touch the Queen's sacred flesh!"

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Blade Ulenna turns, half enraged, half shocked by his entrance... but he remembered his place. "First Dark!" he fell to one knee.

"I sought no ill thought or intent, my liege. I beg your forgiveness." he says, head bowed to the ground... lying through his teeth. Sacred she was... but not yours, Talon.

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Wing of House Erutin jumps away from Blade and slips into her throne as fast as she can, absolutley horrified. "Talon please, it was all my fault. Bl- Guard Ulenna would never even approach me on his own, you know him that well surely!" She begs of her brother knowing she can't make him see sense.

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Talon of House Erutin snarls at Blade. "Out! You took advantage of a Light's innocence and lured ehr to you! Out now, least I kill you! As it is, My dear Light will be signign you exile papers on the morrow." He says, intent on making her do jsut that.

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Blade Ulenna resisted the urge, the horrifyingly strong urge to snap back... but that urge only grew. This... womanizing maniac, this "First Dark" demanded him to step out of the service of the Queen, no, the woman, that he had served for three hundred years more closely than he ever had.

He would not abide it. Hope would be proud.

"No." he says quietly, at first. Then, he stands. He owes no homage to this pathetic, soul-less monster. He faces Talon. "A wind of change is coming, a beacon that signals freedom for the suppressed. Man-whores like yourself will on longer sit in power, deluded by powers thought sacredly theirs."

He drew his sword and pointed straight at Talon.

"Mark my words, that that wind is a fierce one, and I will be riding it's current to the demise of the ill-gotten powers of those like you, Talon Erutin. You threaten me death; then so be it. Draw your weapon, and let me show you finally, after three hundred years of serving as your loyal dog, who is truly the stronger.

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Blade Ulenna did not intend to kill him... for that would slay his dearest Wing. No, he would humiliate him. Show him the false extent of his power.

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Wing of House Erutin shakes her head. "I shant sign any papers, Talon, not against Blade!" She tells him firmly, then looks between the two, going silent in fear. For what else could she, weaponless, do?

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Talon of House Erutin draws his weapon with an omninc shink sound. He glances to the side at Wing, dismissively. "You'll do as I say, Wing. Bcause I said it." He tells her quite firmly.

"And a loyal dog, you? Ha! More like a mutt who place I plan on teaching you!" He says, charging Blade, intent on destroying him in front of Wing.

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Blade Ulenna smirks, holding his ground and tilting his weapon so it is pointing diagonally, downwards. This was going to be incredibly satisfying.

"Let us see how polished your swordplay, is, Talon, when you have been spending your free hours with mistresses?" he mocks, ready to deflect whatever he throws at him.

Reluctantly, he does not draw his magnum. One shot of that thing would definitely kill him, and that would be catastrophic... no, he had to disarm him or disable him.

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Talon of House Erutin laughs and strikes at Blade, aiming to cut him in twain about the middle. He would destroy this brat, remove him frolm hope's side, somehow destroy the mating and the win bonds, and have little Hope for his own.

She would, no doubt, prefer him as it stood. He'd take care of her mate, hre brat, and her twin and have Hope to himself, to be locked ot his bed.

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Blade Ulenna blocked his slash deftly, bringing his own blade in the way and giving little ground for the momentum as they clashed. His free arm then swung to elbow the madly charging Dark in the face, aiming to throw him off balance, or if the hit was direct enough, knock him out there and then.

Talon was also very, very lucky that Blade cannot read minds, or this would be a very, very bloody scene.

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Talon of House Erutin attempts to dodge, but it has been too many years since he hasd even drawn his sowrd, and the First Dark goes down heavily, much to his own shock.

This he would ever have expected. He was th First Dark, forbidden to touch except by explicit permision, none owuld ever harm him.

It appeared, he was wrong. And reflexes that were weak now would, once he regained himself, have to be honed again.

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#, as written by Colyo
Blade Ulenna brings his elbow back as the political giant struck the floor of the throne room. He twirls his sword, activating its Ice sheath, and brings the tip to bear down to him... daring him to move. Like this, he could remove limbs without killing him.

"Pathetic." Blade hisses. "You were honestly never afraid? Never afraid that even one amongst trillions would see the disgusting nature of your seat and seek to put you down like the dog you are?" he says cruelly... almost completely forgetting the presence of Wing.

"If it weren't for your sister, I would put you down now."

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Character Portrait: Talon of House Erutin

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Talon of House Erutin stares up at Blade in absolute horror and faints dead away from fear. As he does so, he loses control of his bowels, causing a wet spot to appear on hi s pants.

This was the vaunted First Dark. So certain of himself, he had denied himself security and training.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wing of House Erutin

Earnings

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Wing of House Erutin stares in horror at the short but horrifyign battle and moves form the trone ot Blade's side, checking on her twin. "I know he lives, as I do too but..."

She shivers. "I do no believe it safe for me to be in the palace anymore, Blade. But where can I possibly go?" She seems shrunken in on hrself. "With me there, surely Hope would be in that much more danger?"

"Either way, I must have my vestments of office with me, if only to keep him from doing horrible things in my name. Specifically my seal, as I already wear my ring."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Blade Ulenna sheaths his weapon. "We have been preparing a Safe House on Terra that will suit our needs more than nicely, and I am sure that the others will more than welcome your company... Winnie." he says, quickly calming down with a mixture of her soothing words and the satisfaction of his victory.

"Neither you or Hope will be in danger under my watch. The Council has no power over me, and with me at your side, they have no power over you." he assures... only fleetingly reminded of his near failure back in the bar. No. He would redouble his efforts, especially if the Queen were to come with him.

"As always, I follow your command. I can best keep both you and Hope safe back on Terra, away from the prying eyes of the Council."

He tried to think of anything else that could help him. "I... I don't know about the rest of the guard." he said, wondering if they should be brought along. "While extra protection they may represent, they also represent extra attention."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wing of House Erutin

Earnings

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Wing of House Erutin shake sher head. "They will answer to Hope now. Hope and you of course, as her soldiers. She will need able bodied fighters after all. Even to train her other fighters, if jsut that. I can live wiht just you as a guard, though it is cruel to do that to you. Two charges is...will be difficult, I imagine." She murmurs, looking to him.

"I. Oh!" She gives in and throws herself at him, hugging his fiercely. "I can not help but be glad!"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Blade Ulenna

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Blade Ulenna gasps as he is touched by her embrace, and he shares it with her, wrapping his arms around her comfortingly. The Sacred skin of the... No, she is no Goddess. She is Winnie. The woman he...

"I will do everything you ask." he says, almost breathless. "Difficulty is naught next to my duty to you... and my duty to Hope."

So be it. He would defend them to the death. He would train Hope, Snow, Steph, the lot of them. They were the Royal Guard, now... everything he stood for over the last three hundred years is now all on the line.

"I swear, Winnie, I will protect you. I will see this through to the end, or until I draw my last breath in your service." he vows quietly.

The setting changes from The Palace to Steph's Apartment

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#, as written by Colyo
test

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#, as written by Colyo

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona Heck no! Chat changed.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey is sitting, cross legged and shirtless in the middle of the living room floor with his eyes closed and his hands resting on his knees. His breathing is slow, and deep... he is meditating, connecting with the spirit forces of The Mother.

Which, being in the safehouse, was limited to the soul of the potted plant in the corner. Oh well.

The coffee table is shifted out of his way, off of the mini-carpet between the couch and the TV. On the table is a half empty bottle of rum, although Steph still seems to have his balance, or perhaps is simply boggled on the drink so much that his conversation with the potted plant was purely in his own imagination. Or not.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Snow Anona

Earnings

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#, as written by Imehal
Snow Anona fumbled with the keys to the safehouse, grinning in triumph as the door slid open a margin, putting her foot forward to hold it open as she knelt to retrieve the bags, pushing the door open wide with her right shoulder and halting immediately as she saw the room's rearrangement before her, a half-naked Steph positioned in the centre.

"Well darn," she muttered under her breath, setting down the bags as quietly as she could before going to leave again. The irony of telling Kruxis that she would try and relax her mate enough to convince him to visit the groves again and then barely minutes later, walking in on him meditating... It was not lost on her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Steph Grey

Earnings

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#, as written by Colyo
Steph Grey took a sudden, deep breath as his eyes