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Juniper McKinney

WIP The School Councilor

320 views · last seen in Olympia
a character in “Land of Gods and Monsters”, as played by Kohananinja

Description

"Mistakes are a part of life, they don’t define us. What’s important is how you pick up the pieces, and if you put yourself back together stronger or not."











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FULL NAME:
Juniper McKinney

NICKNAME:
June

AGE:
28

HOMETOWN:
Clarksville, TN

GODLY PARENT:
Hestia

GENDER:
Female

SEXUAL ORIENTATION:
Heterosexual

ETHNICITY:
Caucasian American

DOB:
August, 3rd

SUBJECT:
School Councilor

HEX CODE
#FF8000





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TRAIT ❖ TRAIT ❖ TRAIT
TRAIT ❖ TRAIT ❖ TRAIT


PERSONALITY

The things people tend to notice first about June is her sense of humor, natural warmth, and seemingly boundless energy. When you’ve got a problem or just really need to talk, June is your girl, and she will go out of her way to fix issues for people. Amongst her friends in college she was jokingly referred to as the “group mom”. A label she did not altogether enjoy, but there is a nurturing quality to her personality that is hard to deny. June is also known for being funny, whether appropriate or not, as it tends to be her defense mechanism to stressful or uncomfortable situations. Her compulsion to take care of others and sometimes play peacemaker is one though that she has had to be careful to temper with a strong sense of self as an adult, as she’s learned from firsthand experience that her people pleasing prerogative can morph into something more dangerous if she lets it, changing things about herself to make other more comfortable.

When out with friends, June has a bit of a sassy side, and she’s not shy about flirting with men when she finds them attractive, at least outside of work. Mortal men she can handle, but the demigod kind are a breed of their own, and while a very attractive one, after Caleb she’s become more careful about initiating relationships with demigods. Not that it will stop her from looking of course, she’s not dead. When it comes to her own negative emotions, June is much more private about sharing them, and is likely to downplay or laugh them off amongst friends. Or bake. One sure fire way to figure out if June is upset is by the sheer volume of baked goods in her house, a habit her colleagues tend to be the beneficiaries of. When it comes to cooking, June can get downright competitive, a remnant of growing up in the south as well no doubt, and insulting her food is a sure fire way onto her shit list. Despite her warm and funny exterior, being enemies with June can be a very uncomfortable experience, as she can get pretty creative when directing her energy into a feud.


BIOGRAPHY

Juniper McKinney was born from an adulterous affair between the goddess Hestia, and a family man that June has never known. The one time June did ask her godly mother who her biological father was, she was met with silence. Hestia’s only explanation that she didn’t wish to destroy her father’s family, which an unwanted and illegitimate child would surely bring upon his household. This position is also one that has caused tension between the two for the better part of fifteen years. Over the years June has pictured her mystery father and his perfect family she wasn’t good enough to fit into, and it was the subject of much of her teenage angst back in the day. Today it’s a subject she prefers to not think about.

Growing up however, before June turned thirteen and learned of her Godly parentage, she had a very normal an happy childhood growing up in Northern Tennessee. June loved both her adopted parents dearly, and in fact wasn’t even aware of the fact she was adopted until her powers manifested. The three were extremely close, which made Melissa’s tragic death in a car wreck that much worse when June was away at the academy for her freshman year. Her death left a wound in June that has never really healed properly. In this stage of her life, June went through a delinquent phase and gained a bit of a reputation as a party girl. This in part is what led to her current career, and determination to help the kids at the Academy as their councilor. As a teen, June was lucky enough to get the compassion and guidance of adults in her life who truly cared, and pulled her life together. She went to college, made dear friends, and met a man she thought she was going to marry and build a home with, which for better or worse she wouldn’t have accomplished if left to her own devices at that time in her life.

Three years ago, June would have seen her life in a very different place than it is today. Her then Fiancé Caleb was a fellow demigod, a son of Hecate, and June had thought they were in love. They had booked a fall wedding, were house hunting, and beginning to build a life together. Their romance was sudden and whirlwind, Caleb was doting, attentive, and treated her like a queen. June almost couldn’t believe how much she loved him, how she could end up so lucky. Their passion was consuming, and once June would have thought nothing could come between them. That changed very quickly when it was brought to June’s attention that Caleb had been manipulating her memories, and possibly even some of her emotions, making her forget fights and his bad behavior, replacing them with loving happy fabrications. Eventually, after she had come to accept what was happening, June broke it off, the relationship ending messy and violent, but she was able to walk away. It was a shattering experience that left its fair share of scars, both figurative and literal, but June has worked hard to put the relationship behind her. From there she picked up the pieces, and went back to the academy, this time as their school counselor, putting herself back together doing what she loves most. Trying to help people.





RELATIONSHIP WITH GODLY PARENT:
June is not hostile toward her godly mother, but there is a strain that exists between the two for a few very distinct reasons. The first being Hestia’s unwillingness to disclose the identity of June’s mortal father, which privately she holds as a kind of personal betrayal. The second is June’s insistence that Melissa McKinney is her real mother, and her refusal to refer to Hestia as such. The two will chat occasionally, but it is usually initiated by Hestia.


FEARS:

*Loosing Herself: Part of June’s personality that she’s worked hard to get past is her unhealthy compulsion of people pleasing, and changing herself to please those she cares about. This was more of an issue when she was younger, but it is still something that really worries her.

*Heights: They just really freak her out, she doesn’t know why.

*Ending Up Alone: This one is much more Sub-Conscious, and she blames it on her godly mother’s influence, but June has always had this dream of one day having a big family of her own. (“Five kids, three dogs, and one grumpy looking cat all in a two story yellow farm house with white trim.”) After Her failed engagement, and the major fallout from breaking it off, she’s not really sure that’s meant to happen for her, or if marriage is even something she’s cut out for.

STRENGTHS



WEAKNESSES
(What does your character really struggle with, their Achilles heel so to speak?)




FAMILY:
Melissa McKinney // Deceased // Adopted Mother
Patrick McKinney // 58 // Adopted Father[/center]



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FACE CLAIM
Katherine Heigl

USERNAME

Kohananinja

So begins...

Juniper McKinney's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Slade Character Portrait: Abby Rae Jarvis Character Portrait: Sebastian Rhodes Character Portrait: Wesley Tate Character Portrait: Maya Torres Character Portrait: Juniper McKinney Character Portrait: Leland Shepard Character Portrait: Greer Savage

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The annual pre-Agon bash was Legacy Academy’s worst kept secret. Considering most of the staff were alumni, that wasn’t surprising. Generally, there was a long standing tradition that for this one night the teachers would turn a blind eye, the consensus being if the students were old enough to risk death in the field for gods and glory, they’d earned the right to some Grey Goose. For the students’ sakes that was fortunate, as some idiot this year had decided on a kind of rave theme, and that light show was fucking hard to miss.

“Whatever happened to being subtle…” Lee grumbled, feeling thoroughly old as he stared across the lake to the student side of campus. A decade wasn’t a comparatively long period of time, especially to the company he’d been keeping lately, but in this moment it felt like a yawning chasm that had somehow begun to define his life. Ten years ago, it had been him acting like a dumbass at that party, naïve, reckless, actually eager for the day to come. He’d walked into that slaughter with a grin on his face, so sure he was about to get his petty wish to humiliate his father. How much that wish had cost him…Lee took another swig from his half empty bottle of bourbon, hoping he could wash down the unpleasant memories threatening to surface.

“Ouch, what’s your liver done to you lately?” The voice brushed past him like a soft summer wind, spreading warmth across Lee’s skin that has nothing to do with the bourbon. He shivered, not interested in the peace being offered. Lee didn’t deserve it tonight, and being comforted by a god somehow felt like a betrayal of those he’d lost. The fact they’d engaged in a few drunken mistakes didn’t change that, so Lee said nothing. Stoney silence had a wonderful habit of making people leave.

Side stepping the hint, Apollo saddled up to him instead, gently reaching for the bourbon. “Alright…but maybe we should at least pace ourselves a little.” The tone wasn’t judgmental, but Lee snapped at him anyway.

“I don’t have a drinking problem Andy.” Lee jabbed at the god’s current moniker, cradling the bottle protectively to his side. If Apollo was offended by it, he hid his displeasure well, instead raising a brow as his summer green eyes swept across the pile of discarded bottles Lee may have pre-gamed with.

“Some of those are June’s.” It sounded defensive even to Lee’s ears, but he wasn’t going to apologize for it. Not tonight. Apollo agreed with a wane smile, sliding his hand down to Lee’s in a loose grip that the son of Poseidon was both grateful for, and immediately disgusted with himself for wanting. Even if it wasn’t tonight, demigods knew better than anyone how relationships between gods and mortals ended. Why Lee continued to court disaster with…whatever it was they were doing here, was beyond his logic, but he couldn’t bring himself to pull away from it either; betrayal or not.

***

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Ares // Brawn // Outfit// Hex #FF0000


“WOOOOOOOO! LIZARDS RULE!”

You’d think these idiots never had tequila before. Abby thought tersely, as a junior covered in neon glow paint streaked across the field with nothing but a baseball cap shielding his jewels and a sparkler waving frantically in hand. The scene up field wasn’t much tamer, as throngs of students covered in neon bounced and bobbed (in what Abby could only assume was an attempt at dancing) under pulsing strobe lights and black lit canvas. The makeshift dance floor and accompanying bars were covered in more of that glow paint, which was only made more surreal by the fireworks shooting off in the distance. Someone must have recruited the Hephaestus or Hecate kids for the pyrotechnics, because the colors stayed in the sky far longer than natural with pictures of everything from the classical to obscene dancing around in the sparks.

The spring air was warmer than usual tonight, which was fortunate for the student body since most of their outfits were on the bare side of skimpy. Enough to make Abby feel over dressed in her Aerosmith tee and cut-offs anyway, but she hunched into her jean jacket regardless. Party pooper? Maybe, but she definitely wasn’t drunk enough to be cooped up in this crowd. Big day coming up or not, that was a problem in Abby’s power to solve. Glancing around at the open bars, it looked like the neon theme had extended to the drinks, with brightly colored liquids and jello shots littering every flat surface. Whether it was simply clever lighting, or less perceivable sources giving the drinks that unearthly glow, Abby was more interested in the less assuming bottle of Jack. Unfortunately, it was sitting on the middle bar right by the dancefloor…and Wesley Tate. Just because they were teammates didn’t mean she liked him, much less the gaggle of minions and leeches currently surrounding their self-proclaimed team leader. Abby would be stuck listening to his crap enough starting tomorrow…not to mention Sebastian, (Who came with his own special set of annoyances.) so she decided to take her chances at another bar.

Lux and Greer (The two people here she might actually have enjoyed drinking with.) were nowhere in sight, but she spotted Maya Torres not surprisingly at the one tiki themed bar set up. It was both glaringly out of place with its fake palm trees and plastic birds, and somehow fit in with the accompanying LED sting lights and shimmering iridescent bubbles. Abby had a hunch the tiki bar had been Maya’s doing, if her hula skirt and light up coconut bra was anything to go by. Maya was alright, though not necessarily Abby’s first choice in drinking companion. Still, the lure of rum might have been enough to draw her that way if Abby hadn’t heard Lottie by the neighboring bar.

“Umm t-that’s ok, I don’t mind! I’m actually kind of chilly.” The shy demigod’s voice practically squeaked as she wrapped the ugliest neon green sweater Abby had ever seen more tightly around herself. Lottie was with a couple other sophomore girls in similarly warm clothing. “Lucas, we’re fine..really! We just wanted to dance…”

“Ah come ooooon! Ye don’t wanta overheat do ya? Ye’ll feel looooads better witha clunky thing off; dress for the occasion loves!” Abby couldn’t tell if the overly friendly redhead and his leering sidekicks were sophomores as well, but they definitely weren’t Lottie’s friends.

“Take a hike ginger, they’re not interested.” Abby muscled her way between them as she reached toward the bottle of Hennessy on the counter. It wasn’t Jack Daniels, but it would do in a pinch.

“Oi! Tough girl! That’s my stash there! Ye’ve got to be showin a bit more skin ‘n that te be gettin anything for free!” The leprechaun had the audacity to laugh, but it wasn’t until he grabbed hold of her jacket collar as if to yank it down off her shoulder, that Abby snapped.

One second the ponce was upright by the bar, and a flash of red later he was a good ten feet away, flat on his back while cradling his broken bleeding nose. Abby was looming over him when sense returned, one foot resting on his crotch, which his howling suggested had already taken some abuse. ”Touch me, or any other girl here again without permission, and next time I’ll kick them off.” She ground her heel in again for good measure before glancing toward the miraculously intact bottle of whisky still in hand. ”This is mine now.”

The crowd that had gathered to watch her pummel Lucky Charms parted like the red sea as she walked back toward Lottie, who looked like she was warring between relief and mortification.

“Oh um t-thanks Abby, but he didn’t have to do that.” She glanced nervously around Abby’s shoulder at Lucas’s still prone figure. ”Will he be alright?”

”I changed my mind, I’m taking one ball as insurance!” Abby hollered back toward the crowd. Lucas was up and darting away in a flash, confirming his status as a son of Hermes. ”Looks fine to me.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Slade Character Portrait: Joaquin Wolf Character Portrait: Abby Rae Jarvis Character Portrait: Sebastian Rhodes Character Portrait: Ace Michael Thatcher Character Portrait: Wesley Tate Character Portrait: Ryan Grayson Character Portrait: Maya Torres Character Portrait: Juniper McKinney

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Hades // Brain // Outfit // Hex #262f26
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Apollo // Special // Outfit // Hex #21b794
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Ares // Brawn // Outfit// Hex #FF0000


Wesley Tate was not a man who smiled often, at least not with genuinely gentle intent. His smiles were a mask, meant to tightly conceal any true emotion, or highly calculated to elicit the correct response from those around him. Wes was not a sloppy person, and unchecked displays of emotion were just that. Watching Lux lip sync in his arms though, alive, and unabashed, and completely open was like a siren’s call that Wes couldn’t ignore. Hers was a kind of beauty he found hard to define, which was yet another thing about Lux that left Wes feeling like he was wading through uncharted territory. What he was sure of however, was that he didn’t want this song to end. In that moment, with her arms around his shoulders, Wes felt his lips turn up ever so slightly, lids lowered into something soft and unguarded. And then Seb arrived.

At first, Wes was too stunned with disbelief to react. Besides the fact that his best friend had just stepped on his toes romantically, (a cardinal sin between two friends who’d chased as much tail as they had) riling up a teammate like that the night before the Agon was deeply stupid. Seb was many things, but he wasn’t an idiot. Why he was trying to sabotage their team now, Wes wasn’t sure, but it needed to fucking stop. Before he had time to mitigate any of the damage however, Seb hurled one final insult, and Lux stormed off toward the lake. Wes moved to go after her, but was intercepted be Seb before he made it more than two steps. What his friend had to say did little to stop the churning anger in his gut that Wes was doing his best to keep a lid on.

He and Seb had always been different, though complimentary. He knew who Seb was, the peacock nature, chameleon sensibilities, and Wes had never faulted him for that. In this moment however, listening to him lord a sense of supposed superiority over Lux by reason of mere circumstance of birth, Wes felt nothing bust distaste for how…shallow Seb sounded. Wes did believe in a pecking order of superiority. Some people were born with talent, grit, or an indomitable will that helped them claw their way to the top. He’d built their team from those very values, but the idea that being born to excess was somehow the deciding factor was ridiculous to Wes.

“I have too much respect for both your prides to think an apology would undo any of the damage you just did, but I had better never hear you call her that word again.” Wes didn’t raise his voice, he didn’t need to with Seb. They’d known each other long enough to recognize when the other was deathly serious.

“Who I dance with is my business, regardless of the quantity.” Gently, he extracted his arm from the brunette half of Seb’s entourage, and rejecting the drink as well with a swift kiss to her hand. ”I’m afraid I have a prior engagement this evening my dear, but I leave you in most capable hands.” The words were for the girl, but his eyes didn’t break contact with Seb’s until he turned and walked toward the lake.

Lux was clearly agitated when Wes finally caught sight of her again, and he slowed his approach with deliberately heavy footfalls so that she would hear him coming. Besides the fact that it was profoundly stupid to sneak up on a warrior of Lux’s skill, Wes understood the link between pride and composure. If Lux didn’t want him to see something, she’d have time to put her game face on before he got to her. What exactly he was going to say, Wes wasn’t sure. He hated not having a plan of attack, but he was beginning to grow used to this general lack of footing where she was concerned. “Seb’s an ass.” He began simply, more statement of truth than apology. Seb had a mean streak that was a marvelous tool in their defense, but was rough to be on the receiving end of. Lux knew who she was getting into bed with when she signed on to this team, but as the team’s all but official leader, it was his job to make sure she was okay. That was most certainly the only reason he’d come…he was almost convinced of that. “I doubt he’ll stop being an ass where you’re concerned. I wouldn’t have recruited you on this team though, if I thought you were trash…and I definitely wouldn’t have let you name it.” Wes finished with the ghost of old disgruntlement. He had no idea if those words were the right ones to comfort her or not, Wes was rarely sure of anything where Lux was concerned, but it was the best he had for the moment.

***


As dazed as she was, Maya wasn’t sure just when Joaquin showed up, but she was grateful for his presence none the less as he and Ace helped haul her off the dance floor. The cool night air was both soothing and overwhelming, as suddenly a coconut bra and island girl get up felt far too inadequate to fight off the chill. “Thanks.” Maya bit out, taking the water Joaquin offered and took small sips. As much as she’d like to gulp the whole thing down, Maya knew better, and really didn’t feel like puking it back up on somebody’s shoes.

”I’m not sure.” Maya answered honestly after a moment. Her visions were rarely clear cut, usually more visual metaphor than anything concrete. Some things in them were fixed, events already set in motion, but there were always variables at play. A kaleidoscope of possibilities to be parsed through made an interpreter of the vision more important as the vision itself. It didn’t help that accurate readers were rare, and a misinterpreted vision could often do more harm than good. While Maya was considered somewhat gifted in this area, the pressure to produce good intel felt crushing.

It wasn’t until Ace slipped his hand in hers that Maya felt she could breathe again, and she squeezed back while taking comfort in his reassuring warmth. “It’s dangerous to speculate, but there was a lot of blood…and my father was involved.” Those details alone were concerning, but they didn’t tell them anything conclusive. An obvious conclusion, was that it was a warning of death, likely for herself or one of her siblings, but that was a rabbit hole Maya knew better than to jump down. If she was fated to die tomorrow, there wasn’t much she could do about it. Greek literature was littered with the tragedies of those who tried to defy the fates, and the results were never good. Floating that particular suspicion would only upset her team mates, and none of them could afford to be distracted tomorrow.

“It looked like some kind of temple, stone, tight quarters, nothing to identify it though from the inside.” Maya listed off pertinent details as clinically as possible, trying to distance herself from the gore she’d seen.

***


Abby could practically see Calden’s eye twitch as Ryan chimed in, and any hope Lottie had of deescalating the situation died as Cal began cracking his knuckles. It was a bit of a tell really, a habit Abby had picked up on from their matches in class. The son of Zeus wasn’t looking to pull any punches tonight, which was bad news for Abby since he outclassed her when it came to pure physical strength. Not by much granted, but enough to be a mark in his favor. Luckily, Abby edged him out in the speed department, and despite her close proximity to a perfectly good bottle of whiskey, she remained annoyingly sober. Going by smell, Cal was not.

“You know, I was going to wait until tomorrow to do this, but fuck it! Why wait?!” Cal’s grin was all teeth, as he lunged forward fist first. Abby barely had time to push Ryan to the side and out of the line of fire, but it was a good thing she had since the impact of the hit to her middle sent her sliding back a good five feet, dirt tracks in the grass carved out in her wake. If she hadn’t been a child of Ares, Abby was pretty sure she’d have some broken ribs. As it was, she was probably going to have a seriously nasty bruise, and she coughed doubled over while trying to regain her breath. If there was blood in the spittle she spat out, Abby ignored it.

“I’m gonna grind you down to where you belong, under my boot! Maybe I’ll even let you up once you lick it clean!” Cal didn’t let up, trying to follow up with a knee aimed toward her face, but Abby dodged to the left at the last second and let his own momentum carry him forward and off balance. His guard down, Abby pivoted before driving her foot up and into his gut like she was punting a football. If her opponent had been mortal, that would have been game over, but it only winded Cal. Seizing upon the momentary advantage, Abby connected a quick upper cut to his face, (Cal would definitely be sporting a nice shiner tomorrow morning.) then latched hold of his arm and launched him toward the bar. Luckily everyone had scattered pretty quickly, as Cal crashed into it with enough force to leave it a virtual pile of rubble.

“Stick to grunting asshole, your smack talk sucks.” Abby ground out as she straitened back up. A fighter of Cal’s caliber wouldn’t be down for long, and she shifted into a guard stance as she waited for the next onslaught that would inevitably come. Sure enough, Cal began digging himself out of the rubble, and launched himself at her again.

“ENOUGH!” A crisp British voice boomed out, and suddenly Cal was suspended in mid-air, surrounded by some kind of crimson essence. It might have been funny, watching him dangled motionless like that spewing profanity, except Abby couldn’t move either. That realization was like a bucket of ice water being dropped on her, Abby’s muscles tensing painfully as she struggled to hang on to any semblance of reason.

“Cool it you two, save it for tomorrow!” A much more feminine voice chimed in. Whatever Abby had expected to end this fight, it wasn’t the sudden appearance of Mr. Holden and Miss McKinney walking through some kind of portal.

“Honestly, you two couldn’t leave each other be for one evening?” Mr. Holden’s tone of voice was aggrieved, but there was an intensity to his gaze that Abby found unsettling. She wanted to hit him, jerk away, gain some distance, anything but stay frozen here like some kind of rag doll. Everyone’s intentions felt sinister to Abby when she was restrained. “Very disappointing.”

“Merrick…” Miss McKinney warned with a quick glance at Abby. As the school counselor, June knew better than most that this was the wrong form of punishment for that particular student.

“Right…yes of course.” Mr. Holden agreed languidly walking forward, and with a lingering pat to her head, the red essence reseeded from Abby. Instinctively, she shot back, needing space to collect herself. Cal was also released, hitting the ground with an unceremonious “oomph”, before Miss McKinney pulled him up. “I think you’ve had enough for one evening.” She drawled with a frown. Cal still looked pissed, and he’d be a pain to deal with tomorrow, but he knew better to try anything now that teachers were involved. So instead, he stalked off toward the dorms with as much dignity as he could muster.

“Campus patrol is sweeping by in an hour, I suggest you all aren’t here when they arrive.” Mr. Holden announced like a question, once again their jovial, if eccentric, Arcane studies teacher.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Abby Rae Jarvis Character Portrait: Juniper McKinney Character Portrait: Shannon Theodos

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Hermes | Support | Outfit | #51849c

Image Some universal clock was against her. Being late to a party with superior speed on your side? Unlikely. She rolled up her sleeves as she paced and wiped down her bare arm to pull her less than stylish five nights at freddy's yet attempt at raved theme bracelets around her wrist once again.

Once inside, she caught up like a champ with a few drinks and jig of her shoulders to the beat like she had been there from the minute it commenced. Then again, that was always part of her attitude just like turning a blind eye at times was. Shannon was fully aware of Hermes lurking about and likely to put her and Jace in a sour mood but ignorance was sometimes bliss and there was no way he was going to ruin her night so she pushed his presence to the back of her mind. Not that that became much of conscious effort as Cal came hurtling towards the bar. Shannon quickly jumped to the side to avoid being collateral damage and managed to save a glass from its shattering fate. She sipped on the burning liquid and became the face of a half anxious spectator. Abby and him had differences sure but Cal was....yeah, a jerk at times and hard to defend sometimes, and that just magnified with alcohol in the system. It made sense he and Abby tolerated each other a lot less but it was stressful where the line would be drawn.

As things turned out, it was brought to a stop by force by their elders and teacher interference. Shannon slank back so the death glares and words exchanged could be between the culprits and teachers. Shannon kept her eyes ahead as if there was something worth getting lost in as she kept her lips by the rim of the glass. Her ears heeded Mr. Holdens edition of a warning and she knocked back the rest of her drink silently cursing herself for her tardiness. The question then became what could she make of an hour? The population had already withered away due to what she presumed as the classic bedding of couples and drama, moods, fights. Admittedly a few bodies were still hanging around but when numbers dwindled so too did the party. And when a warning of sorts was issued, even more so.

Habitually she moved her fingers under her chin and slowly moved her thumbs to mime pulling the trigger. Her eyes then browsed the selection of peers for somebody she could have the shortest but still effective blast with but she didn't get her hopes up since she had missed near enough half of the night and everybody had turned serious.

For her own sake of sanity, she needed to lighten to mood for herself. A guy and modest girl were giving each other eyes and their bodies were drawing closer together. Shannon brushed by as if she had places to be and the other end was compellingly intriguing. As she did, she reached around one-handed and squeezed the girl's butt. The daughter of a famous deity gasped, scowled and spun on her heels and left the boy standing there dumbfounded.
“I’m not even sorry,” Shannon stated to herself with a smirk. Because of that simple move, her night felt accomplished.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Slade Character Portrait: Joaquin Wolf Character Portrait: Abby Rae Jarvis Character Portrait: Ace Michael Thatcher Character Portrait: Wesley Tate Character Portrait: Maya Torres Character Portrait: Juniper McKinney

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Hades // Brain // Outfit // Hex #262f26
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Apollo // Special // Outfit
// Hex #21b794
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Ares // Brawn // Outfit// Hex #FF0000[/left]

Wes listened to Lux’s complaints patiently, they were valid after all, and he couldn’t exactly blame her for reacting that way after how Seb treated her. How he always treated her. Wes loved Seb, but there was a snobbishness to his best friend that often frustrated Wes. In some ways, it wasn’t his fault, Seb had grown up most of his life in a very tight Manhattan bubble, unaware of his own heritage and the implications of that on the wider world. Every demigod was already inherently superior, they were the legacy of celestial beings after all. Regional elitism held little merit where they were concerned. In some regards, Wes suspected Seb still viewed the world through that narrow perspective, and time and exposure was the only thing that could change that. That didn’t make Seb useless, but Wes highly doubted Lux would be receptive of any defense on his friend’s behalf at the moment. Her admission to holding back on his behalf twisted something in his gut. Guilt, admiration, warmth, it all mixed into a confusing cocktail that tried to turn his stomach. When she tried to use Seb’s own logic to pull away from him however, Wes was through with listening.

“That’s bullshit and you know it.” Wes practically growled, stalking forward. His hand paused briefly, but extended out to brush a stray lock from her face as gently as he could muster. “If you don’t want to be with me, that’s your choice, but don’t let it be because some asshole tried to steal you confidence.” Wes wanted to grab hold of Lux, shield her, cage her, keep her close, whatever it took to stop Lux from pulling away from him like this. Wes did none of those things.

“If you walk away now, it’s because you’re afraid, not because of Seb. You’re a lot of things Lux, but you’ve never been a coward. It’s part of what makes you so damn special.”

***

Maya wasn’t sure what to do with Joaquin’s advice. In some ways, it made sense, but ultimately she feared it might do more harm than good. Maya still had no idea what this vision meant, other than an obvious warning of danger. Her father’s presence could mean a hundred different things, and it was hard to think of an immortal god as the subject in danger. More likely it was someone connected to Apollo, but there was no way to know. Lux had a strong connection with their father, and telling her about a threatening vision that vaguely involved their father would undoubtedly distress her. What if the vision was about Lux being hurt tomorrow, and the cause was from being distracted by Maya’s warning? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a misinterpreted prophecy spelled doom for the ones who tried to act upon it. As Joaquin walked away, Maya resolved to keep the vision to herself, at least until she could puzzle it out more.

Soon, the party was slated to come to an end, the fight between Cal and Abby punctuating an end to the evening. Maya didn’t really feel in the partying mood anyway, and smiled gratefully as Ace asked her to walk him back to the dorms. Ace had never gotten enough credit for being as thoughtful as he was, and Maya was glad to be one of the few people who really got to see that side of him.

“Sure.” Maya smiled, gripping his hand as he helped her up, and they made their way back to the dorms.


***



The granite pillars practically sparkled in the morning sun, the weather absolutely perfect for the opening ceremonies taking place. Weather that weather was natural, or produced specifically by the gods to enhance their own lighting was irrelevant. The spectacle of the Agon had a standard to live up to, and this year did not disappoint. Each team had been ushered through the amphitheater to a hail of applause and white petals, their names announced and saluted by last year’s victors as they stood proudly amongst the gods. A torch was magically lit for each student as they were transported to their drop points, armed with their carryon packs, a single weapon each, and a bewitched hand glass from which they would receive their instructions. A surprisingly few number looked queasy as they were bustled off, but two did manage to puke as the magic that transported them took hold.

Lee felt rather green himself just watching them, remembering the unpleasant sensation from his own time in their shoes. Or it could just be the hangover. Distinct possibility. “Why does this thing always have to be so damn sunny. What’s wrong with a somber ambiance? It’s more appropriate anyway.” Lee grumbled as he massaged his temples. June’s hangover cure had taken the edge off the worst of the effects, but the splitting headache had yet to pass completely. His friend merely rolled her eyes as they stood in the stands with the academy students not competing this year. Most were scattered throughout the stands in some semblance of chaperoning duty, but the festival atmosphere was palpable, and most teachers didn’t even try to keep order in their sections. The mere presence of their godly parents was enough to keep most students in some semblance of their best behavior regardless, and the students’ antics were pretty mild compared to the crap they pulled in class on a daily basis.

”Only you could be grouchy after waking up with a literal god between the sheets.” June mumbled affectionately between cheering along with the students. Heat rose up Lee’s neck to the tips of his ears, as he shot his friend a dirty look. His relationship with Apollo was complicated to say the least, but the fact that it was becoming some sort of public knowledge was incessantly irritating. ”Why aren’t you the one up there with them?” June asked with a sidelong look, her tone as close to casual as she could muster.

”Do I look like the event coordinator?” Lee bit back defensively. The honor of standing with the gods during opening ceremonies was usually reserved for senior staff and those who help coordinate the logistics for that year’s challenge, but the gods were known to personally invite other teachers to share in that supposed recognition as well. While it was true that Lee was the teacher who had logged the most off hour training sessions with competing students, he didn’t exactly advertise that fact. Being a good screw (if Lee could say so himself), wasn’t a prerequisite for being fawned over, which is the only other reason one particular god might have had for requested his presence. The hell he was was going to stand there and be gawked at like some kind of glorified sidepiece. June held his eye a moment, brow furrowed in some kind of obvious disapproval, but she didn’t comment immediately.

“I think the weather is nice, it really highlights the vomit.” June changed the subject, and just like that Lee was reminded why he loved her so damn much. June could be a pitbull when she needed to be, but she’d always been able to read Lee. She knew when to push, and when to give him space, a skill few other people in his life possessed. Lee managed a weak smile to show his appreciation, but neither spoke the sentiment aload.

“Blood of my blood, this day marks the passing of a great trial, a test to showcase the most worthy among you.” Zeus boomed from the elevated stage above in the opening toast that Lee had heard a dozen times. Very little of the pageantry ever changed, which meant soon the challenge would be revealed on the monitor below them, and instructions given to the teams. Lee’s hands gripped the railing like a vice, knuckles whitening, as June laid a gentle hand over his own. Sacrifice and courage, the qualities all great heroes must display on their proving ground. Today we drink to their honor, prepared to bring more into this hallowed fold. May the worthy prevail!” Zeus lifted his goblet in the air, the other gods following suit before they brought the edge of the cup to their lips, and drank in unison. What happened next was utter fucking chaos.

Which god began convulsing first was anyone’s guess, but Lee couldn’t rip his eyes away from Apollo...Andy. Seeing a god in pain was as shocking as it was terrifying. These were celestial beings, their faces weren’t supposed to contort like that. Lee watched, practically paralysed as slowly they began changing, a gray crusty layer creeping across their skin. Andy’s green eyes were the last to go, their warm depths morphed into a stony mask of confusion that twisted Lee’s gut. He wanted to run toward that stage, but June gripped his arm, holding him back among the screaming students. Soon he realized why.

”Lee!” June warned, conjuring fire in her hand as she hollered orders for students to get down. They had come out of nowhere, an entire flock of dragons descending up the amphitheatre of the gods. Students shrieked as they dove for cover, others reaching for weapons to defend themselves as the beasts dove closer. The dragons were relatively small, the one consolation in the raging chaos that ensued. Several teachers tried to herd the younger students to safety, doing their best to ward off attacks from above. That’s when the doors flew open, armed men dressed in the armor of Achillon mercenaries flooding through.

This had to be coordinated… Lee’s mind screamed as he grabbed for his sword. He didn’t want to believe what he was seeing, but to deny the truth would be fatal. Too many lives hung in the balance for Lee to fall to pieces, so instead he ordered the seventh grade students into the pavilion, and stood guard with June at the entrance, back to back as they prepared to face their foes.


======

The tremor was almost inperceivable, but Wesley’s hand shook as he held the glass, watching the bloodshed that was unfolding within the amphitheater they’d been standing in not ten minutes prior. Students younger than they were lay bloodied in the grass, while warriors charged through the stadium, and dragons rained death down from above. It was the scene from a nightmare, and if Wesley hadn’t seen the rising flames on the mountain in the distance, he would have thought it was a trick.

“H-how is that even possible?” Lottie’s voice trembled, on the verge of tears.

“I don’t know.” Wes admitted quietly, as painful as it was. His mind was spinning itself in circles trying to explain what had happened, but no logical conclusion presented itself. Something terrible had just happened to the gods, and the timing of that enemy assault had been too perfect. Someone on the inside had to have helped them, but he had no idea who would have the motive to do such a thing, much less the power.

“What are we doing just standing here?! Let’s GO!” Abby practically shook with rage as she paced about, the screams of their classmates threatening to work her into a frenzy, she felt so helpless.

“And do what?” Wes challenged in his best impression of calm, silencing the glass before tucking it away.

”Fight, kill those bastards, do something!” Abby shot back incredulously. [color=#FF0000]”They’re getting slaughtered in there!”

“Were at least half a day away, probably more on foot.We’d never get there in time to make a difference, and even if we did, there’s a small army overrunning them. We don’t have the numbers to stop that kind of assault.” Wes fidgeted his hands, a nervous habit he’d picked up when he tried to cobble plans together on the fly.


“We need to move.” Wes decided. “We’re too close. An army like that has to have supply lines, possibly reinforcements, and probably scouts in the area. We need to get our bearings, and figure out what the fuck just happened. If we get caught up out here, we won’t stand a chance.”

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