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A Gift or a Curse?

Earth

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a part of A Gift or a Curse?, by Mr. Baneling Squishy.

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Mr. Baneling Squishy holds sovereignty over Earth, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Earth

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Earth is a part of A Gift or a Curse?.

8 Characters Here

Ara Daniels [14] "Is that really what you're going to do?"
Maxwell Daniels [13] "I swear if you set my bed on fire one more time...."
Juniper Daniels [11] "Whisper me a secret, I promise I'll keep it~"
Lillya Daniels [8] ...
Cariad Daniels [7] "Get out of my room, snotbuckets!"
Jordan Daniels [7] "Don't treat animals as animals. Treat them as living beings, 'cause that's what they are."
Henry Lee [3] The Pale Rider
Mitchell (Mitch) Russo [0] "Life is too short to be following the rules."

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels
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Max honestly wasn't at fault this time. All he had been was hired for was to follow the husband of a wife who thought he was cheating, take some pictures, and and show her who he was cheating with. Max had to say he was surprised though, because this man, who he may currently have neglected to mention was the deputy in town, an Officer of the Law, managed to cheat on her with three different women. One of them being his Math Teacher. And he visited them all in the same night.

Max supposed that is why this Officer was faking charges to keep him quiet. "Say anything and I tell everyone I caught you tresspassing". Which was a lie. He was on public property the whole time. By the street, on the sidewalk, in a park, up a tree next to the road. Not a single time he trespassed. But this officer was mainly just trying to keep him quiet. He supposed that is why he decided to call his brother...one hour later after he shoved him in a cell.

Max could have easily broken out, filled the room with shaving cream, and left him outside naked in handcuffs. But that would require too much public display of magic. He could get away with the shaving cream though, he did it without magic once. He could do it with magic.

The calls Ary would get would be like this. "Yes, Mr. Daniels? We have your brother here down at the police station. If you would please pick him up and tell him to keep away from other people's businesses and property, that would be nice".

He had taken one of his cellphones, but he had a second to use to text Ary. "Officer is lying. WIfe hired me to find out who he is cheating on her with. He has three lovers". Max had the pictures to prove it, he removed the SIM card and hid it magicly. He also had it wirelessly sent to his laptop at home. SO the Officer would be out of luck. ANd have his couch filled with shaving cream.

On a side note, if someone didn't come to rescue him, he would break on his own and Hex this guy so much he won't remember what happened to him for a week and wake up in pain every day.

(Sorry for the delay, was busy)

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Henry Lee
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Henry sat in some small town burger joint eating a bacon cheeseburger when he felt it. Magic. It made the hairs on his neck stand up. A Witch, somewhere, was stupid enough to use their power in an unprotected setting. It was faint though, almost too faint to detect. But it was there, and Henry had a direction; west. He got up from the table and walked out, without paying. Henry didn't normally keep money on him, and there was nothing the manager of the burger joint could do. Nine times out of ten, no one even realized that Henry had been there in the first place. He just blended in.

He went from the burger joint to a train station, and boarded the first train going west. He walked right through the wall of the train, and took the first empty seat he came to. No one noticed him, no one talked to him. If anyone did notice him, he'd likely kill them on the spot. Only those who were magically gifted ever noticed him. As the train began to move, Henry stood up and started walking towards the front of the train. He could still feel the pull of the Witch, and he wanted to be as close to it as he could.

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Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels
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Late.

She was late.

Ara was going to kill her.

She wasn’t even sure Juniper could save her from this one. It wasn’t like her to be late. Of course, she hoped she could just sneak into the side door and pretend like she’d been there the whole time. It wouldn’t be the first time, but she’d never been out this late. Ary was going to kill her for this one.

Lillya was running back to the house, her book bag bouncing on her back. Part of the lie she’d feed everyone for years was that she had after school programs to go to. It had worked for the first two years after she started school. Speech classes. They wanted to try and get her to talk more and easier than she did now after so long they had given up. The next year had been tutoring. She was great at reading and writing, but her other subjects lacked comparatively. So she lied about that. The past year and her current school year were getting more challenging. How many after school programs could one kid be in during elementary? Middle school was going to make it a lot easier, if Ara didn’t kill her tonight.

The blonde, mass of curls, Lily called her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, still matted with sweat. She’d wanted to take a shower, but that would have made her even later than she was, plus everyone would notice that and know her school didn’t have showers there. The shower situation was something she was used to. She simply went in and grabbed a shower as soon as she got home and then ate dinner.

Her entire body hurt as she kept running. She was only a feet streets away from home now. With any luck, no one would know she hadn’t been home at a decent hour. Her muscles were stiff and achy, and all she wanted to do was let the hot water run over them to get some of the knots out. Caleb had healed her spilt lip, but he did nothing to take away the pain.

“You have to know what it feels like to take a hit and still function with the pain. I can heal the evidence so your family doesn’t know, but I can’t nor will I take the pain.”

He said it enough to make her just roll her hazel eyes before she took the next hit. One of these days she was going to get good enough to start making him fear for his life. The two never met at the same place, same time, ever. When she was younger it was extremely hard remembering where to be and when, but after six years she’d gotten everything done pat. Caleb would go to wherever he lived and she went home.

Only home wasn’t what it used to be. No longer did she have the parents to see. They were gone. She’d failed. Lillya shook her head, blinking back tears. She couldn’t think about that. She still had her brothers and sisters. She still had them.

Turning onto the street, she made a mad dash for the side yard where the door that was least used was hidden from street view. With luck no one would be around and she could get away with being late, scott free. Repressing a gulp, the eleven year old unlocked the door, stepped inside, shut and locked the door as silently as she could.

Tiptoeing through the hallway, she heard Ara on the phone with someone. She couldn’t make out what they were saying, but she could see her brother’s face. He wasn’t happy.

Oh no. I’m caught. I’m so dead. And with Ary standing there its not possible to make it unseen. Ugh. Dead. So dead.

Lily bit down on her lower lip as she looked around from her hiding spot in the hallway. She couldn’t get to her room for a change of clothes without going past her older brother. With nothing left to do, she slipped her backpack off and stepped out, went behind him into the kitchen to pretend to get something to eat. Her heart was pounding in her chest, hoping she wasn’t about to be busted for getting home so late.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels
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When Ara got the call, it woke him out of a deep slumber. "Is this Mr. Ara Daniels?" the nasal voice questioned when he answered. Warning bells started going off in his head.

"Uh, yes, this is he," he responded groggily.

"Mr. Daniels, we have your brother down here at the police station. If you could come down to pick him up, that would be greatly appreciated." Ara shot up.

"What did he do?" he slurred.

"Sir, I believe we can discuss that down at the station," the woman said grumpily, and she promptly hung up. Ara stared blankly at his cell phone screen. 1 new message.

Officer is lying. Wife hired me to find out who he is cheating on her with. He has three lovers

Ara took a moment to type out a response (i'm going 2 end u) before pulling on a shirt and jeans. Stumbling through the halls blindly, he shuffled his feet into his flip-flops and swiped his keys from the counter, vaguely recognizing the sounds of someone moving around in the kitchen. The drive to the station was a blur in Ara's mind as he pushed through the double doors. The woman at the desk had grey hair, cat-eye glasses, and a stern expression.

"Mr. Daniels?" she drawled grouchily. When Ara nodded, she pointed a bony finger behind her. "You're brother's waiting for you in there. Please try to keep him off of private property in the future." Ara rolled his eyes.

"Don't think I won't be making a complaint to the city," he said angrily as she unlocked the cell and rolled open the barred door. "What kind of cops throw a 13-year-old in a cell instead of taking him home?" The woman harumphed and stamped off, not offering a hint of apology and leaving Ara to face his brother.

"As for you, Maxwell," he seethed, "what have you done?'

Setting

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Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels
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#, as written by Igari

Image



The young woman smiled warmly at her co-workers, a potted plant safely in her arms as she let herself out of the shop. She hadn't expected to be held up an additional hour but apparently, her last customer hadn't been too pleased with the fact that their vinca plant had yet to sprout any blossoms. She had maintained a straight face throughout the entirety of the exchange, not letting on to the fact that the little plant had been giving her pleas for help. She had immediately known what the problem was, after all. That was her gift. It was hyper-sensitive to the soil it was being given--not to mention the fact that the poor thing had been deprived of sunlight for half of the day. So of course it was melancholy and of course it wouldn't bloom. Trying to convey that and make it sound as if it wasn't accusatory, well, that was a whole other task--though she had a feeling she had done rather well.

Regardless, the encounter was now over and she had a pothos to bring back to her home. She cooed to the plant for a minute or so, rubbing her nose playfully against the leaves before putting it in her basket. She was careful as she got into her car--well, it wasn't her car, technically. When their parents had passed, her and Ara had assumed responsibility of quite a lot, and that included the two vehicles that had been under their parents care. Mmm, had they eaten dinner yet? Probably, it was a later hour than normal. And she had planned to surprise everyone with cupcakes too... She eyed the cupcake mix in the backseat, sighing. Oh well, another day, another time. It just wasn't meant to be, sadly. They never really did anything as a family anymore, well, what family? Things had fallen apart somewhat after the joint deaths and...

Her breath hitched in her throat, painful memories rising like bile in her throat. Feeling a small bit of panic beginning to bubble in her stomach, she forced her eyes closed, breathing in and out deeply. Focus on her central being, where her aura flowed in gentle waves. Reality is an illusion of hatred, strife is a consequence of misunderstanding. Inner-peace, inner peace... She stayed still for a few moments, the sound of her heart the only thing that pounded in her ears--frantic for a bit longer before calming down, finding a steadier rhythm as calm washed over her. She did not deign to open her eyes immediately, letting herself sink into peace. When she finally felt safe, her eyelids fluttered open--Juniper's lips upturning into a smile. It was going to be okay, though perhaps doing some aikido exercises tonight would behoove her.

Her drive home was quiet, she hummed to herself on the way, a whimsical and airy tone. Before long, she pulled up to their house. She parked the vehicle and picked up her plant, grabbing the groceries from the backseat before letting herself in. First stop, kitchen, she had to drop off the food. She wasn't sure who could hear her but she happily called out, as she always did when she arrived back.

"I'm home!" Normally, no one ever really came to greet her, well, not immediately. It didn't usually take a long time for her younger siblings to find her and generally one of them (typically Carrie) had a complaint about another (typically Max)--it was a pattern that suited their lifestyle. Then once that was all settled, Ary would do the whole brooding thing, she'd try to make him feel better and he'd give her that strange look he'd adopted lately. The one that told her he thought that she just 'didn't get it'. Truthfully, she didn't like the look but she did her best to shrug it off. She had to always maintain her positivity after all! And with all his worrying, Ary wasn't helping much in that department.

As she entered the kitchen, a small figure caught her eye--the golden tresses and height told her that this particular little one was Lillya. Her smile froze on her face and she forced down the insecurity that surfaced. She'd not heard her sister utter a word in a long time. Even before the incident. There was a time that the girl had been so full of laughter, Juniper had been so sure that she and Lillya would be super close. But then all that changed and now, things were just tense, awkward, and strenuous. Still, it would get better, it always got better, and she'd be silly to stop trying just because it was hard! Lillya was like the little vinca plant, and with some proper care and nurturing, she'd blossom and smile again. At least, that's what Juniper believed.

"Hello, little sprout," She said, trying to cheer her younger sibling up a bit. There was a look of distress on Lillya's face, Juniper couldn't tell why. But she'd learned that the usual questions of "what's wrong" did nothing to alleviate the muteness of their interactions. She tried for a different approach, putting the bags down on the table before cautiously stepping closer. "Here," She said, bending over a little as she waved a hand over the pothos. One of the vines grew, wrapping around the other girl's head gently to resemble a leafy halo. She smiled, tugging at the vine to break it off softly, leaving the halo behind half-buried in the golden locks.

"Don't be so upset, whatever it is, I'm sure it can't be as bad as Ary's morning breath." She tried for a joke, drawing back to allow Lillya some space. Though now that she did get a better look at her younger sibling... why was she dressed as if she'd been out? Hmmm... "Did your activities run late?" She questioned lightly, beginning to unpack some of the food from the bags casually.

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Character Portrait: Cariad Daniels
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The unnatural light of the screen illuminated Cariad's face. Like most nights, she spent it in her spinning chair across from her trusty computer. The desk that it sat on was organized. A keyboard, a cup of different sized pencils, and an electric drawing pad were the only other things on the white desk. The desk's drawers were a different story though. Drawings, paintings and old homework papers had been shoved in the two drawers.

Moving her gaze, she looked at the title of the website she was on, Carrie's Commissions. 'I should probably change that soon.' Carrie thought. The name had come to her when she first first set up the site but she wasn't too fond of it anymore. She had been making small revisions here and there on the site to give it a cleaner look. Well, an online buddy did all the revisions. Carrie just told them what she wanted done. Taking a break from working she had checked out the "new" site.

It had turned out better than expected. Sure it could still use more help, but for now it was good. Carrie made a mental note to send an email to her friend thanking him for what he'd done. Exiting out, the computer showed Carrie her desktop. A picture of her and her family was covered in many different programs and documents she had saved over time. The picture had been taken only a few years ago, she had been the age of her younger brother, Max. Her parents smiling faces made it feel like someone had just ripped her heart out. Carrie spun the chair ripping her gaze from the screen. Thinking about her parents' death was not something the teen girl wanted to do. Reaching over, she grabbed her book bag from the bed.

Earlier in the day Carrie had run out of her favorite red candy. On the way home after school, she had made sure to make a quick stop at a convenience store to pick up some Twizzlers. Pulling them out from her bag she finally unwrapped them. Some of the twisted ropes got up and started to jump up and down. Knowing this was just one of her own illusions she closed her eyes shut and reopened them to find they were laying the bag again. She grabbed one and stuck it in her mouth.

Carrie sat back in her chair. The sound of the front door shutting made her look at her own door. She guessed it was Ara but she still got up to investigate. Halfway down the hall she heard someone yell they were home. 'Juniper...' Carrie thought, turning back. It's not that she didn't like her sister, she just didn't feel up to making conversation tonight.

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Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels
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It was too good to be true. Lillya held her breath until she couldn’t hear the sound of Ara’s car. She’d done it. She’d sneaked in late and hadn’t gotten busted for it. Whatever the phone call had been about was much more important than dealing with her and for that she was grateful. She sighed a deep, breath of relief. She was safe. Might as well continue poking around the kitchen for something to eat and then get into the shower.

That was when she heard another car. Ary back already? After that phone call? Her thoughts changed course quickly when she heard the sound of Juniper’s voice. She froze. Maybe not so free after all… She repressed a gulp as she tried to hurry herself along and get out of the kitchen to grab her bag and disappear to her room before her older sister got in the door.

Lily’s hopes were dashed as she heard her sister’s traditional words of welcome to herself, most days. Defeated. But it was Juniper and not Ara. There was still a chance, so she stayed in the kitchen making a small plate of food to take back to her room before a shower.

Watching the older female from the corner of her eye, she kept track of where Juniper was. At least until she started speaking to her. Then she turned to face her sister because it was rude not to face someone who was speaking to you. Her parents had taught her that, saying it was even more important if she didn’t want to talk.

I’m not a sprout. She protested to herself, but only managed a weak smile as a greeting. She was still terrified of getting in trouble for being late. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she feared her sister could hear it. As Juniper stepped closer to her, she stayed still. She wasn’t immune to the fact that her sister didn’t know how to react to being near her. Silence never boded well with the elder Daniels and she didn’t want to make things harder on her. So she kept still and watched the top of her head as the vine wrapped around her head.

With a final glance at the crown, she moved her gaze back to her sister and smiled lightly again. She wanted to show that she liked it. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt Juniper’s feelings. It seemed to be working when the one sided conversation continued.

Ary’s morning breath? I try not to get close enough to anyone in the morning let alone Ara. I wonder if his breath smells as bad as a dog’s? That or Max’s farts. Lily repressed a giggle at herself, her face staying the same even though her line of thought was far from stoic.

When Juniper pulled back the feared conversation came up. Her sister was far from completely clueless especially when it comes to how she was dressed. Her and Max’s sneaking out were another story entirely. But then the saving grace came at the same moment.

Lillya nodded her head lightly, biting down on her lower lip. Activities ran late. Much later because they’d been further away and had more material to cover and go over from all the times before. Caleb had increased how much she was learning and the skill levels. The preteen wanted nothing more than to practice with her sister and see how good she was against someone else, but she knew she could never do that. Juniper wouldn’t allow it, or fight a sibling full out, but the girl craved to see how the two styles compared to each other.

She sighed lightly as she helped unpack the groceries and then headed off to the room she shared with Max. She picked up her book bag on the way. Once inside the room she breathed a sigh of relief. Glancing around, she didn’t see her brother.

Max… oh no. You didn’t get caught did you? Maybe I should tell Juniper that Ara left after a phone call… She shook her head. Everything was going to be all right. She wasn’t losing anymore of her family members. Max was fine.

Lillya ate her food as quickly as she could and then ran to jump in the shower. She put the vine down on the sink and picked it up on her way out. Her hair was combed, wet, but she was clean and the smell of sweat in her nose was gone. She headed back to her room to see if her older brother was home or not.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels
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Maxwell had been there for awhile when Ary got there. He knew the accusatory look was coming, and he was ready for it. With the truth even.

"First of all, that officer is lying. I was never on private property, unless sidewalks, roads, and trees in public parks were private property. Because that was where I was. Secondly, this is just him trying to keep me quiet about his three girlfriends to his wife. Speaking of which" he pulled out a SIM card, plugged it into his phone, and uploaded the photos to a secure site. A notification confirming a large cash deposit came after. "So tell me, who are you going to believe? A guy who is cheating on his wife with three people, or your brother who, as you know, can force the truth out of...eventually".

He added eventually to indulge his pride. "Oh, and did I mention they waited an hour to call you after he put me there?" He went in closer and whispered. "When you know I could have easily escaped that place and memory wiped them to get out. But I didnt, because what I am telling you is the truth".

Max was a lot of things. Reckless, headstrong, stubborn, prideful. But not stupid. He knew how to play his cards, and how to twist facts to his favor. Though here he was being truthfully honest. A cop walked over to them. "You know, if you happened to have some photos to prove your case, this could be easier for you". His tone certainly wasn't masking his threat, or demand. But it was more of a threat.

Max reached into his pocket, and gave him a pair of handcuffs. "You forgot to take these off when you put me in there. And if you are going to threaten me, you might wanna improve on it. You know, while your wife is divorcing you. I doubt you will get any fake charge to stick when it's revealed you, the arresting officer, had a severe conflict of inter..."

Max was also two smart for his own good. He intended to scare him off, but that fear made him defensive which turned into anger which resulted in him punching Max right in the gut. "You shouldn't threaten a police officer" he said, before walking off. Max looked at Ary.

"Can we just go home now? Otherwise I may not be able to resist putting some nasty hexes on him".

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Character Portrait: Henry Lee
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Henry sat in the very first car of the train and the Witch seemed near impossible to resist. They were close. He was sure there was more than one of them, but he just couldn't get a baring on them. Then suddenly, a young girl passed by him. She looked him dead in the eyes.

The young girl had auburn hair, and very green eyes. She wore a pretty little pink dress and matching shoes. Henry pulled out his Peacemaker from his belt loop, and shot her between those beautiful green eyes.

In a flash, the train erupted into a frenzy. Henry didn't blame them, a man had appeared out of nowhere and shot a pretty child between the eyes. Two young men moved towards Henry, and were rewarded with a bullet for each. They weren't Witches, but Henry didn't care much. Anyone who got between him and his targets were expendable. He leaned down, dipped his finger into the girl's blood, and put it in his mouth it. With that, he had the taste, and he could sense the girl's family. The damned Witches always had a family, he'd never killed one that hadn't.

Henry went immaterial, and started moving through the screaming and running people. As he moved, he could feel the Witches in the next car. There were two of them, one was an older woman and the other was a young man. He smiled as he thought about their fear and mortification that they must be feeling. They could likely sense the girl's death, and he knew how odd Witches were with families. He went through the back wall of the train, and into the next compartment.

The next compartment was a drinking car. It was a mostly empty space, with a bar to Henry's left, and one or two chairs. Just as he had sensed, an older woman and a young man stood facing him. The woman had fire curling around her arm, and the man seemed to be whispering something. She started moving forward, and lashed out with the fire. It swept through Henry, and even at his sub-particle state he could feel the absolute heat of it. It slashed through the wall, setting it and most of the rest of the train car aflame. Henry moved towards the woman, who had stepped back after she realized that her fire had no effect. The fear in her eyes was evident to a predator like Henry, and it effected her magic. The fire slowly dwindled and turned to nothing as she continued to back up until she was to the door, and she was quick to get through it. She didn't bother Henry, so he let her be for now. It was the boy he was worried about.

As Henry continued to approach, he could feel the magic that the boy was working. The wind from it was blowing Henry's long coat behind him. He was drawing energy into himself, which made Henry think that he was an Energy Projector. They were dangerous. Henry became solid and pulled out both his second Peacemaker. He let off a round from his second gun, and wasn't surprised to see it ricochet off of a wall that the Witch had put up. The boys eyes began to grow yellow, and he pointed directly at Henry. A shot of pure energy burst from his finger, Henry went immaterial, but jumped out of the way all the same. He landed on the floor and let out two more shots from each pistol. The train was all but one big fire at this point, but nothing would stop Henry or the boy. Henry pulled two silver knives from inside his coat and stood up.

"Look, and behold, a Pale Rider; and he had the name Death; and Hades was following with him." Henry yelled over the wind and fire. He jumped at the Witch, like a flash, and deflected a bolt that the boy shot at him. He put one knife into the Witches gut, and the other into his heart. "Go to Hell." Henry whispered as he twisted the blade. Blood gurgled out of the boy's mouth, he let out a groan. Henry threw the body through the burning wall. The magic burst from his body in less than a minute, and caused a massive explosion of golden energy. Henry went immaterial, and started to go after the woman.

He found the woman hiding in the now burning forest next to the train. She was easily dealt with, a single shot to her head without a complaint. Her entire family had been killed, and she didn't want to live without them. She looked at him as he put the gun to her temple "You killed my parents. My children. And now my grandchildren. But you will die in the end Rider. Your end comes at the hand of a Daniels." Then he pulled the trigger.

Henry then started to walk South. The woman didn't know it, but she gave him his next scent. Daniels was the next family of Witches. He would hunt them, and they were to the South.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels
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Ara didn't want to hear any of Max's excuses, and he wanted to make that abundantly clear. "Maybe you were on public property, but did you tell anyone you were leaving the house?" he questioned, his eyebrows higher than he had previously thought they could go. "Did you ask me?" His arms crossed of their own accord, and he shifted his weight to the side. "Honestly, whether or not I believe you is the least of your problems."

Ara was angry, but not just with his brother. No, that cop had succeeded in ticking him off even more than Max had. It was ridiculous to wait an hour to call the guardian of a child, especially one that should have just been taken home. "You didn't escape and memory wipe anyone or use any magic outside of our property because that would be dangerous and could get you hurt," he hissed quietly.

Just as he was about to order a march to the car, a sneering officer who looked like he had just won a particularly satisfying game of "Let's-see-who-gets-in-trouble" sauntered over to them. "You know, if you happened to have some photos to prove your case, this could be easier for you," the cop teased. Ara bristled. Max simply produced a pair of handcuffs from his pocket.

"You forgot to take these off when you put me in there," he snarked. "And if you are going to threaten me, you might wanna improve on it. You know, while your wife is divorcing you. I doubt you will get any fake charge to stick when it's revealed you, the arresting officer, had a severe conflict of inter--" At this, the officer, who had lost his cocky smirk somewhere between the handcuffs and the word "divorce", threw his fist into Max's belly. Ara's upper lip curled, and he barely stopped himself from growling. This was unacceptable. Where did this guy get off hitting a kid? And now he was just walking off?

"Better get used to being freshly divorced and unemployed, because I'll have your badge for this, half-wit!" Ara called after him. He muttered expletives under his breath. "I'll ruin a freaking police officer," he huffed childishly.

Max's question called him back to reality. "Yes, get in the car," he ordered, adding as an afterthought, "And you will do no such thing! Keep your magic in your body." He brought his voice down to a whisper. "I will deal with both problems here when we get home."

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Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels
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#, as written by Igari

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The little nods to her questions came in quick succession, though there was a pause somewhere between her gift and the unpacking of their groceries. Juniper quietly reflected on her younger sister, though the movements of the other girl seemed to relax a lot more once their conversation had come to a halt. With the food put away and the task completed, Lillya had let herself out of the kitchen, leaving Juniper alone again and with her own thoughts. Hmm... it was so hard to figure out what pleased that little one. She had thought her joke funny--it had been funny, right? She shook her head, who was she going to question, herself? Of course it had been funny, but seeing as how her younger sister hadn't smiled in a handful of years, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that the joke hadn't invoked any laughter.

Now that she was finally alone, she could take out her bong and get to smoking some weed. With a bit of a sigh, Juniper recycled the bags, eying the pothos that was on the table. It was difficult to communicate to others what she saw when she looked at flora. To others, she was certain that all they saw was greenery. But in her eyes, there was always a little wisp floating around the plant--and that wisp was what she associated the plants' spirit with. That was what she spoke to. In a way, all living things had a little wisp floating about them--she liked to think that perhaps this was akin to a soul. But she didn't possess the talent to see the wisps of other people, only plants had this kind of energy to her. Though she had to wonder if the wisp was just the reaction of her magic with the plant life itself.

Being a witch was complicated. From day one, the rules and what was "normal" in this type of lifestyle always seemed to be in flux. In fact, she had to think that there was no normal--all of her family members had different talents, and none of those matched up with the skill set their parents possessed. But if there was one rule that never changed, one rule that they always had to abide by... be careful of witch hunters. Never trust a hunter, they would always try and get under your skin. And then kill you. The thought sent a shiver up her spine, but not one of pure fear. No, the thought always gave her uncharacteristic anger. Juniper was a calm girl, she'd known that for years. But if one thing could set her off pretty fast, it was a threat to her family. Hm, that reminded her of... Ary didn't like talking about it and she was pretty sure Carrie had been too young to remember the incident properly.

The second oldest Daniels shook her head, wrinkling her nose a little. Those were some negative memories, and that kind of energy wouldn't sit well with her aura. She couldn't let her new darling be exposed to such things, after all! Lips upturned in her usual smile, she coddled her pothos close to her chest as she left the table, moving towards the stairs up towards her room. Carrie hadn't come down to greet her yet, come to think of it, neither had Max. She half-suspected her youngest sibling was asleep by now--either that or probably watching some owls roosting elsewhere. And even Carrie was one thing, Carrie generally zoned into her own thing but Max usually was the first person she saw when she came home. Why wasn't he coming down? Did she have a reason to be worried?

Wait, come to think of it. Ary's car wasn't in the driveway. Did something happen? Hmmm.... No, if Ary was involved, it was fine--Max had probably lost track of the time when he was out taking photographs--he was such a diligent worker! Yes, that was probably it. And Ary, being a good brother, had gone to pick him up. Mmm, no reason to worry at all. She hummed to herself, going up the stairs to the third floor--Juniper had chosen her room to be the attic long ago. The heat rose the most there, and she had insisted the window panels be changed so that her plants could thrive in a makeshift green house. So it came as no surprise that when she entered into her room, it was a little stifling. But it didn't bother her at all.

Walking into Juniper's room was something like a jungle. She kept a variety of plants.... everywhere. Her personal favorite hung from the ceiling, a venus fly trap that refused to be stationary, so she had grown some vines around its' roots. To this day, it stayed rooted at the ceiling, several of the seedlings staring down at her, waiting for their next prey. Well, not all of them. Two of the traps were sealed--looks like somebody here already found some food. She managed to push her way through the vine covered lump that was near her doorway for some reason (were her plants moving around) and settled on to her bed, which was half leaves at this point due to all the over-growth.

Mm, maybe she had time for a quick meditation session before Ary returned home. With a content sigh, she closed her eyes, letting herself be overwhelmed by the scent of flowers, roots, and fresh soil as she slipped into her own mind.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels
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Max was only slightly irritated. Ary was in his "Not going to listen to reason easily mode", combined with the fact he wasnt aware it wasnt even 8PM. SOmething Max would have to remind him of. "Ary, its not even 8PM yet. I never snuck out, because I hadn't even gotten home yet". He did smile when Ary yelled at the guy.

In truth, there was another reason Max had been avoiding the return home. In their backyard was a tall tree with a treehouse in it. He and dad had built that treehouse together, with only minor magic involved. ANd it was visible coming home. If anyone ever asked him if he wanted it taken down or concealed though, he would outright refuse, and get pissed at you. Max was stubborn like that. Their dad had jokingly promised Max they would put a TV up there. If it goes, he cant keep his promise.

But Max knew that would never happen. He more then anyone else. He got into the car, and looked out the window. Something was bothering him, but whatever that thing was he wasn't speaking it. It was likely something related to their parents though. In truth, it was something only he knew.

The Witch Hunter had killed his parents by ramming a car into theirs and smashing them off the road, before putting two bullets in each of their heads. What Max had never told people was that he had been in the car too. They had picked him up from Paintball with some friends. However, when the car crashed into the side of the road, he had managed to get out quickly and run.

He saw them get shot. And he just ran home, pretended like he never saw it, and claimed they never showed up to pick him up. He was scared about what people might think, if they knew he just left them there and ran. Max almost never ran. He was too stubborn.

Seeing the cops again reminded him of that day. He looked back at Ary and forced a smile. An ill-concieved smile that was about the worst attempt to cover up what he really felt, but it was still there. "And I know that Ary. Why do you think I didn't? I am not stupid".

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Jordan sat with her back against the rough bark of the tall ash tree. She listened to the hooting of the owls with her eyes closed, imagining herself soaring among them. A Barred Owl sat on her knee, tickling her nose with his feathers. Opening her eyes, Jordan stroked the owl's wing. He visited quite often and was used to her. Settling comfortably against the tree, the small girl looked up at the sky. The owl fluttered off as Jordan sat up with a start. She should have been home a while ago. Easily dropping off the ledge she had been sitting on, Jordan ran back towards the home that the Daniel children shared. Ara would take some calming, but she doubted any of the rest would care or be worried.

Slipping in through the front door, Jordan didn't see anyone, not even her big brothers. Juniper had been here, she could tell by the plant soil on the table. Otherwise, Jordan didn't know where her siblings were. They can take care of themselves, Jordan thought. She cheerily skipped to Juniper's room. She didn't hear any odd noises, so Juniper was probably doing her meditation. Jordan knocked, but walked in without any answer.

Jordan was met with both heat and humidity as the door opened. Stepping inside, the small girl admired the life in the room, like a tiny forest. It got her every time. "Juniper?" she called softly, scanning the room for her sister. "It's me, Jordan. Can you come back to Earth?" Jordan teased, sitting next to the red-headed older girl. She stroked the leaves of a nearby flower. Juniper probably knew the name, family, and mood of this plant. Settling into the warmth, Jordan fought a battle to stay awake. Yawning, she leaned in towards Juniper and smiled softly.

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Character Portrait: Jordan Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels
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Jordan sat with her back against the rough bark of the tall ash tree. She listened to the hooting of the owls with her eyes closed, imagining herself soaring among them. A Barred Owl sat on her knee, tickling her nose with his feathers. Opening her eyes, Jordan stroked the owl's wing. He visited quite often and was used to her. Settling comfortably against the tree, the small girl looked up at the sky. The owl fluttered off as Jordan sat up with a start. She should have been home a while ago. Easily dropping off the ledge she had been sitting on, Jordan ran back towards the home that the Daniel children shared. Ara would take some calming, but she doubted any of the rest would care or be worried.

Slipping in through the front door, Jordan didn't see anyone, not even her big brothers. Juniper had been here, she could tell by the plant soil on the table. Otherwise, Jordan didn't know where her siblings were. They can take care of themselves, Jordan thought. She cheerily skipped to Juniper's room. She didn't hear any odd noises, so Juniper was probably doing her meditation. Jordan knocked, but walked in without any answer.

Jordan was met with both heat and humidity as the door opened. Stepping inside, the small girl admired the life in the room, like a tiny forest. It got her every time. "Juniper?" she called softly, scanning the room for her sister. "It's me, Jordan. Can you come back to Earth?" Jordan teased, sitting next to the red-headed older girl. She stroked the leaves of a nearby flower. Juniper probably knew the name, family, and mood of this plant. Settling into the warmth, Jordan fought a battle to stay awake. Yawning, she leaned in towards Juniper and smiled softly.

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Character Portrait: Cariad Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels
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When Carrie snuck back into her room she had picked up a pencil and started to doodle in her drawingpad. The drawings on the pad varied from chibis of her siblings to little stickmen doing backflips. As the pencil sketched across the paper, she heard more doors open and close. And running water which indicated someone was taking a shower. Carrie thought it was weird someone was showering so late, but then again she showered in the mornings. The pencil stopped moving, causing her to zone back into what she was doing. She had been doing that a lot lately. The picture she had drawn was unfinished but she knew what it was. It was dark and sinister looking, and Carrie knew that it had to be a Hunter. Her blue-green eyes had never laid eyes upon one in real life, or at least that she remembered, but she knew the drawing resembled one.

Rolling off her bed, she got up. The drawingpad and pencil stayed on the bed, as she headed back to her computer. Carrie's life was an endless cycle, and she knew this. Wake up, go to school, draw, go on her computer, draw, go back on the computer, and then go to sleep. Sometimes the last part was replaced with playing cello, but other than that it was the same. She also knew that she should break that cycle. Like that was ever going to happen.

With her mouse, Carrie pulled up a program for writing documents. She had been meaning to do this for a while now, write a letter that is. She started it off with "Dear Mrs. Smith,". The letter took Carrie very little time to write. It was short, but it got to the point. It explained that Carrie no longer is to attend regular meetings with the person who was to retrieve it, her couselour. When the highschool girl's couselour caught wind of the death of her parents, Mrs. Smith had pulled Carrie out of class to talk to her. The counselour had then asked her to stay after school that day, and the next day after that, and the next. Something about understanding her loss and wanting to help her to get through it.

The letter was also a response to another letter that had been from Mrs. Smith and addressed for the teen's older brother, and now parental gaurdian, Ara. Her brother had yet to see it though, and Carrie wasn't planning to let him see it. You see, the mistake she had made was giving the letter to Carrie instead of skipping the medium and handing it to him in person or better yet, sending him an email. The counselour's letter talked about the meetings, and what she had gathered from them. The letter included numbers for therapists, and informative sites about passive agressive teens. Carrie also thought the letter and it's writer were crap and that Ary shouldn't have to worry about it. That's why she hadn't shown it to him.

Anyways, it sucked up thirty minutes of her time after school everyday. Those thirty minutes were also filled with tears from her over-emotional counselour which annoyed Carrie further. Thus Carrie made the plan to write up a letter explaining that she no longer had to attend those waste of time meetings and her 'problems' were already being solved. The letter ended with "Sincerely, Ara Daniels." Before printing it out, she quickly scanned it for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Once she hit print, she headed out to the printer which unfortunately for Carrie was not located in her room.

On her way out, she passed towards one of her siblings' room. Popping her head in, she saw only Lillya whose damp curls indicated she had been the one to take the shower only minutes before. Carrie was surprised to see Max wasn't home yet. She shook her head, and silently prayed to a god she didn't believe in to make sure the thirteen year old got in some deep doo doo.

"Hey." Carrie greeted her younger sister. Her body turned to leave again but she stopped when something crossed her mind, "Do you know what Ary's signature looks like?" She turned back to look at Lilly. To make the letter look more authentic, she would need a handwritten signature, and Carrie had to admit, she couldn't remember what his looked like. In fact, she had no idea what any of her other siblings signatures looked like.

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Character Portrait: Cariad Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels
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The warm shower had felt amazing on her sore muscles. After having lost count on the amount of times she’d hit the ground rather hard in one sitting, she was surprised she was still able to move like a normal person. Then again, she never wanted to get caught nor have the questions asked by her family that she would refuse to answer for their sakes. The less they knew the more protected they would be and one day she was going to be able to protect them no matter what came at them. She was determined to make it happen and not to fail.

Lillya sat in the middle of the room, crossed legged. Her eyes were closed as she took a few deep breaths. She had to make sure she was calm, even though Caleb had been training her to make them quick and under pressure. Her home barriers meant she could take her time and do what needed to be done. Her nightly routine never changed. She always reinforced her shields and tried to push them further and further. One day she knew she would have the entire house and yard protected, but she wasn’t nearly strong enough yet. Her trainer was trying to change all of that. He’d pushed her barriers to where they were now.

As the eleven year old breathed out she could feel her energy levels rising. She could feel her powers growing. She could see the green color as it surrounded her. A small smile formed on her lips as she made them circle around the entire room, above and under as well as throughout the space. Then she started pushing it out as much as she could. She could see it all in her mind just how far the barrier was stretching. She had it almost a third of the way into the hallway.

When Lily felt her powers had reached their max, she allowed the barrier energy to swirl around until it grew into a bright white to let her know it was done, which was her problem with creating the barriers in a hurry. She was never sure if they were done or not, never fully sure if they were completed or just there to look pretty.

Only she could see them. And none of her siblings ever seemed to notice that they’d walked into her barriers before. If they did, they had never said anything. Which was fine with her as it meant other witches or the ones that hunted them wouldn’t know about them either.

With a deep breath, she allowed her power levels to come back to her. Her heart rate had increased. She was even more tired after the day she’d had, but every day was getting better. As she stood up the door opened. She turned half expecting to see her roommate. Only it wasn’t Max. It was Carrie.

Max isn’t home yet… This could be really bad. Maybe I should tell Juniper… No, no, he’s fine. He’s got to be. Still she couldn’t shake the thoughts that something bad had happened or was going to happen. But she had to chalk those fears up to their parents’ death.

Lillya waved to her older sister, the only one who seemed to understand her as she started to leave. She was used to it. They tended to do that to each other. Nothing really said nothing ever really needed to be. It was like a visual confirmation that the other was there, alive and everything was good. No need to add anything extra.

But when her sister turned back towards her, she knew it meant she needed something. The question came and the girl wanted to smile to herself. She was right. But Ara’s signature…

Wait… I think I do. Ara has to sign my binder everyday for my progress in school. Not like I ever get into trouble but still… I wonder if he just initials it or if it’s his whole name? I can check. Mine or Jordan’s will have it. Why does Carrie need it?

Lily went over to her book bag and pulled out the binder she was required to have on her at all times during school. She opened it up and looked down through it. There were quite a few initials, but on one of the pages about her refusal to speak at all now was his signature. A paper that came right after the deaths of their parents. With a shake of her head, she held up the binder to her sister, her brows furrowed in confusion, her silent way of asking why.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels
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"It may not be eight yet, but you should have been home," Ara scolded. "It's been hours since school ended." Ara felt a small mite of control seep back into his brain as Max filed into the car. He slid into the passenger seat, surreptitiously checking Max's seatbelt before fastening his own and starting the car. He took a deep breath before he maneuvered out of the parking lot.

The drive home was oddly, uncomfortably silent for Ara. True, he was giving Max a sort of silent treatment, but it wasn't really like his brother to return it full force. Everything about the younger boy's posture and expression made the older's skin crawl. Ara cleared his throat as he pulled into the driveway and put the car in park. "From now on, Max," he started, "I absolutely need to know where you are at all times. Right when you get out of school, you text me exactly where you are going and exactly what you are going to do there. I mean it. No exceptions." He didn't wait for a response before getting out and starting toward the house, steeling himself for whatever chaos had been created in their absence.

He was very well shocked when the house was almost completely silent. Not suspicious enough to break the silence, Ara didn't announce his arrival. The quiet was too good to pass up, so he sank into a dining room chair and reveled in it. His stomach growled angrily, reminding him that he hadn't eaten dinner after classes before collapsing in his bed. The night before had been an eventful shift, just as that night promised to be in a mere couple of hours. He kicked off his flip-flops under the table and began shuffling to the fridge, his mind temporarily, blissfully, blank.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Jordan Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels
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When they got home, Max snapped out of his mini trance. He heard the little Ary said, but he had gotten engulfed by the bad memory. "Technically, I would have gotten home at six thirty if he wasn't such a total ass".

As they entered the house, Max noticed a lack of noise and immediately wanted to change that. Plus, clearly something was bothering him. He didn't even try to argue with his brother. He said one sentence instead of his usual essay for his explanation. "Anyone here? Did you all leave to have a girls night or something?" He then finally found someone. "Hey everyone. What did I miss?"

Max thought he heard a noise outside, but he dismissed it. He smiled, though it was a little forced, and mustered the strength to return to his usual happy fun loving self. "Any leftovers remaining?" He immediately went to the fridge anyways before he got an answer. "I am starving".



(Because I used my phone, I had some tagging issues. Will try to fix)

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Jordan Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels
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#, as written by Igari

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Lost in the world of her meditation, the eldest daughter felt like she was floating amongst clouds. It felt like her whole entire body was levitating, maybe even soaring somewhere in the depths of the astral plane. Juniper wished that she could astral project, she was certain that was a thing, but perhaps she lacked the dedication to achieve that sort of accomplishment. As the rush of cohesive thoughts filtered back into her mind, so did another voice, which was coming from her side. Her eyelids fluttered open as she pursed her lips, trying to figure out what... or perhaps, who was referencing her. It took her a moment to snap out of her reverie completely--the temperature of her room combined with the haze of meditation always did leave her feeling rather sleepy.

She yawned, noticing a small figure leaning into her--one she recognized as the youngest of their household: Jordan. Instantly, a smile touched her lips and she reached over, ruffling the younger girl's hair. Jordan had become her favorite sibling in the years, their love of nature had led for many positive bonding experiences out in the wild. And that one time that they went sledding and... well, she wasn't sure if the neighbors ever forgave them for what ended up happening but when you spot a wild porcupine, sometimes, caution needs to be thrown to the winds. Most of her memories were fond with this particular sibling, a sentiment she wished she could share with the rest of the family. Still, it wasn't as if there was no time at all to make happier memories--even if the recent hardship was wearing down on them.

"Hello to you too!" She chirped, and then noticed that Jordan's eyes appeared to be drooping somewhat. She held in a giggle. It was very common of Juniper to forget the effect that her room had on other people. It tended to make them drowsy, even straight up knocking out some visitors who had deigned to enter her room. It was an unfortunate side-effect to having an in-door greenhouse but what was a botanist to do? She shrugged, steadying her sister upright as she glanced around the room. The door had been left slightly ajar--not that she minded, Juniper wasn't a very secretive girl with her things.

However, it was the noise from downstairs that made her continue to stare at the door, straining to hear what was going on. It sounded as if the two males of the household had returned and were shuffling around downstairs. More than likely looking for something to eat. She stood up, offering a hand to her younger sister to assist her before moving towards the door and calling down in a soothing voice.

"I'll be down in a moment!" Feeling excitement over the prospect of getting to eat with at least a handful of her family members, Juniper waited for a minute or so to allow for her sister to follow her before gliding down the stairs. Her cheeks were flushed as she reached the bottom step, glancing around and noticing that Max and Ary were in the kitchen. Grinning, she skipped to greet them, stopping to pat Ary on the arm and then swooping down to give Max a warm hug.

"Welcome home, you two! I went shopping, maybe you want to help me make some food?" She offered, hoping that her peppy attitude would rub off on the others. Ary didn't look too pleased and she was trying to ignore the fact that perhaps the reason for their lateness was not overly positive. She didn't show this doubt on her face, however, no need to alarm Max or Jordan to this--at least until she was certain of what had happened or how bad it had been, if at all.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Jordan Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels Character Portrait: Cariad Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels Character Portrait: Henry Lee
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(I am summoning all people to post here)

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels
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Ara considered the leftover status in response to Max's question. "I don't know," he said. "Maybe there's some casserole. Or something." He started when Juniper's hand patted his arm. "Oh, hey," he greeted. His stomach growled loudly again, and he was still so angry about everything that had happened. "You don't have to make us food," Ara said. "Haven't you already eaten?" He checked the clock on the oven behind him. Two hours until he had to leave. "It's a little late for dinner, don't you think?"

If Juniper hadn't eaten, he could only imagine that the rest were still going hungry as well. Where is everyone? Ara wondered. They can't be in bed already. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "I can just make something quick for the two of us," he insisted, "so you needn't bother."

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Jordan Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels Character Portrait: Cariad Daniels
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(Tagged Carrie to see if we can lure Children back. If I dont hear anything soon....meh, I will figure something out. Probably will involve duct tape and foam swords)(added a bit extra just for the fun of it)

Max couldn't really tell from Juni's face, but he had a feeling they were probably curious about what happened. Or maybe that was just him wanting to explain things again so they realized he wasn't even guilty of what he was falsely charged with. But, he would rather not do that in earshot of Ary and risk getting him angrier. Or at least, he thought Ary was still angry. He wasnt going to risk finding out.

"We could order a pizza!" Max suggested. "Then no one has to bother cooking! Of course, I could just charm the kitchen appliances to cook for us whenever no one was around. That would be a lot easier".

He doubted that he would get them to agree to that any time soon. His parents never budged on the topic. Something about "the smell of cooking when its done by a person". Whatever that meant. He put his hand back on his pocket, but he felt something missing. He quickly grabbed everything out of the pocket, and went through each item to see if he was right. He knew he had it earlier today. It was his grandfather's coin. Apparently, his grandfather had been working on a powerful charm on the coin right before he died, and Max had been trying to figure out what it was.

And now, it had just randomly disappeared from his pocket. And he knew exactly who was responsible.

-------------------------------------------

The cop flipped the strange coin in the air. It had all sorts of weird symbols on it. Maybe he could somehow convince anyone that kid had gone insane, if he had more occult items like this. He flipped it again, and he swear he thought he saw a flash of light emanate from it. He disregarded it, and put the coin in his pocket. He thought he saw it glow again, but he figured it was just him stressing out over that kid.

He would need to get revenge on that kid for the meddling he was doing. He didn't care how.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Jordan Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels Character Portrait: Cariad Daniels
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Jordan skipped down the stairs and into the kitchen. Three of her siblings stood around, and she walked up to join them. "Hey, guys! How are all of you? It's great to see you! Max, what did you do?" Jordan talked quickly, adding the last question due to the brooding look on Max's face. The brooding disappeared instantly as her brother dug in his back pocket. He pulled out all of his items and sifted through them. She hoped nothing was wrong; as Max looked worried, and then angry. Jordan glanced at Ary and Juniper as they discussed dinner. Maybe Max was missing a charm- that didn't happen often, and it would worry him. She shrugged to herself and leaned against a window.

A tiny pecking noise issued from the window behind her, and she opened it almost instinctively. A peck usually meant a bird was asking to enter. This was indeed the case as a small blue jay swept inside. The small avian creature folded his wings and hopped around on the counter. Then, he fluttered over to Max and plucked a sunflower seed from the array of items from his pocket. The bird chirped and flew over to Jordan with the seed. The dry husk fell off as the jay pecked at it a couple of times. Chirping again, it pecked at the seed. Jordan smiled lightly and stroked the feathered head with one finger.

The bird pulled off a strip of the seed and Jordan noticed a small silver object inside. She deftly pulled it out and examined it as the blue jay disgruntledly finished his snack. It looked kind of like a hieroglyph, and Jordan instantly knew it was a charm. She rolled it around in her fingers, and it seemed to be iridescent. She put the charm on the table with Max's other items and shrugged. His charms were not to be messed with. "So... what are we having for dinner? I'm starving."

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Daniels Character Portrait: Jordan Daniels Character Portrait: Ara Daniels Character Portrait: Juniper Daniels Character Portrait: Cariad Daniels Character Portrait: Lillya Daniels
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After Carrie had used her binder and Ary’s signature for whatever reason, it was returned to her. Still she needed to get it signed. Otherwise the teacher would be highly upset at her. So she took the thing and headed back down the hallway. It seemed almost every member of their family was now present.

Lillya stood just outside of the kitchen as she watched her siblings banter back and forth. Without her and Carrie around, they were the perfect family. Everyone always loved Jordan more than her simply because the girl was outgoing, loving, everything Lily wasn’t. Max even though he always got himself into trouble, was the youngest boy. Honestly, he could do no wrong.

With a shake her head and water dripped from her wet locks reminding her of the recent much needed shower, the preteen walked into the room over to Ara. She held up the binder for him to sign. She knew how awkward her presence was going to make things now especially since Juni was still in the room. She felt so wrong for ruining their time together, but just because she didn’t talk didn’t mean she didn’t like being around other people.

The only thing going in her favor was that both Ara and Max understood. Neither of them pressured her nor made being in the same room weird. Funny it was the complete opposite when it came to the siblings of the same gender. Maybe she just got along better with the opposite sex. She had been hanging out with Caleb for six years. It made sense.

Glancing across the room, her roommate seemed to be in the same downcast mood that she had put herself into. She wanted to find out exactly what had caused him to be later than her tonight. He was always so careful about making it back on time. Like her something had caused that to go wrong. She knew she’d probably find out later when they were back in their room alone. Although at times she wondered how long she would still bunk with Max. She was sure Ara or Juni had already figured out there was a free bedroom now. Course, she hadn’t even touched the door knob since their parents’ deaths.

At the mention of food, she felt bad. She’d eaten. Not much but something she hoped would hold her over until breakfast the next morning. With everyone else wanting to eat, she knew she couldn’t refuse. She hated how her not speaking made everyone feel bad for her. Doing everything else she could was the only way she could think to ever make up for it.

But now it was up to the eldest to decide what to do. She was fine just sitting beside her oldest brother and watching her siblings interact.