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Angel....or Mutant?

United States

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a part of Angel....or Mutant?, by Ichigo15.

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Ichigo15 holds sovereignty over United States, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

1,218 readers have been here.

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United States is a part of Angel....or Mutant?.

13 Characters Here

Marceline "Marcy" Bernard [48] "What? No Vamps raining from the sky today? Oh, wait, never mind..."
Matthew "Matt" Bernard [41] "The Vamps are coming for us? Gosh, really?"
"Sariya" Eins [41] "I'm not worthless... I'm not! I'm a person too, right? And that means I'm worth something... right? But if that's true... then why? Why does everyone hate me...? Please, don't leave me alone again!"
Samuel Echtin [39] "Running is so much easier than fighting."
Taylor Rice [37] "Life sucks right?"
Michael [29] "Fly away, cling to your hopes for freedom. I'll hunt you forever."
Marcus [28] Character Edited!
Euro [25] "How long do we have to run? I want us to have life...family life....a real life..."
Alice [15] "What is the world?"

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Michael
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Mike closed his eyes for a few moments when his phone vibrated. He fished it out of his jacket pocket, his eyes glazed over as his mind was seiged by another train of thoughts, full of death and bloodshed. Mike's mind had fractured under multiple pressures long ago. He wondered when his ability to reason would go? Maybe it would drift off like a rock in a river. Defiant at first, but worn down by countless hardships. Mike only had a few ops left. He was one of the eldest of Vampires, he didn't have much time left. That was certain. Mike had an unknown lifespan, Mike was a glass half empty kind of guy. He looked up at the sky and flicked his phone open. A voice answered between bouts of jibberish.

"We see one poised behind you on the rooftop, eh's ready to move on you Mike. We need five more minutes to set up, before we can go ahead." Mike nodded his head. He had a few ideas. He knew how to hold up a bird kid. Mike didn't want to show his cards, but if he was about to be attacked... He was left with no choice.

"I'll keep the ones in the store busy, the other one will likely follow to block my escape, if not to intercept me before I get close. I'll get you some time to set up." Mike crushed his phone, and took no heed of the person behind him. He spoke as loud as he could without arousing attention of the humans around him. Whoops he thought with a sad smile. He hadn't even alerted his crew to have a med team on stand by. If Mike was seriously injured, his future would be bleak.

Mike by all rights hoped that he was walking to his death, his bones ached, he was ready to die. Mike deep down was a pascifist, he would never admit it, but he hated violence. With his new found intelligence, he discovered why his heart ached when he was in combat. It hurt him to hurt others. To them he was a monster. He hoped they would kill him. Mike's obedience kept his family alive, he knew there was a great chance that they were dead, but he couldn't take that chance. If Mike died in combat, then he would be putting no one in danger.

Mike took a deep breath, and slipped next to an old woman. She was heading across the cross walk to the store. For all the bird kid behind him knew, Mike was willing to harm any number of civilians. No one with a right mind would engage Mike while he was next to someone so fragile. He cocked his head to the side, and looked at the bird kid behind him, Mike's eyes were cold and calm. Devoid of emotion. He really hoped that none of these bird kids had offensive powers, because he was greatly outnumbered. He pushed the doors open, and leaned against the door. All Mike had to do was to stall them, maybe he wouldn't even have to raise a hand. He made sure to position himself at the door, because his ability would be very effective if they all charged at once.

"Mister & Miss Bernard? Making all sorts of new friends aren't we?" Mike lifted one eyebrow, his face still unreadable. His eyes glancing over to the birdkid that was behind him. Mike couldn't afford to be hit by him, that's all the intel he had on him. Mike rarely did anything too horrible in front of Matt and Marcy, but he hoped they would fear him enough not to attack. Mike was bulkier then the average bird kid, this gave him basic enhancements in strength and endurance, but he lacked in speed, and flexibility. Mike was a shock trooper, designed to take a lot of hits. His strength couldn't best any birdkids with strength mutations, but he could still hold his own. Close quarters, Mike moved quickly, but when it came to flight Mike couldn't keep up. If the bird kids were smart, they'd go out the back. Fly away to fight another day.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart
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Eins screamed in his head: "HELP ME!!!!"
Jude dropped the vamp and spun around. He had to save her. He had promised her before and intended to keep that promise. He heard the vamp softly squeak on the ground behind him. He turned to see the creature with her back against the wall in what seemed to be a type of fetal position. He looked at her, her eyes showed a sense of fear but her mouth was bound with a strap. "You couldn’t be…" he said to himself.
He stood the girl up and turned her around. He removed the gag from her mouth. She didn’t have the fangs that normal vamps had and her complexion was not as horrifying. She actually looked very human like. He stared at her only to break the silence with what he thought was a very dim question but the only one his voice could muster: "Are you the girl? Eins?"

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Character Portrait: Connor Krauklis
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#, as written by ceh12
Connor sighed and sat up unable to sleep. He wandered around the house for a bit and was on the brink of tears as he kept thinking about being normal. He made it to the attic and began to look in the small space. He rummaged through the boxes until he found something useful. It was a small jacket just about his size. He kept looking and found a small knife which he used and cut the slits he would need for his wings. He put the jacket on and slipped his wings through. It fit very well and it was extremely cozy.

He walked downstairs satisfied and decided he had stayed his welcome. He put the candle out and walked into the dark world which was illuminated by his night vision. He walked around the town looking for food but every house was barren. His stomach growled lowly as if it was about to attack. "Ugh" he moaned. He then heard a hiss from the woods and ran in the opposite direction. He wasn't sure what it was but he wasn't going to find out.

After a few minutes of running it was silent and Connor was lost. He kept wandering through the woods aimlessly and shouted "Hello anyone there?" he screamed fear showing through his voice. His biggest fear right now was a Master coming in from behind and grabbing him by the neck and strangling him and taking him back to the ward.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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Taylor


I looked at him, slightly embarrassed when he asked if I was alright. I nodded.

"What do you know about them?"

I pretended to think. "Them. The ward......well, besides the fact that it's a evil corrupted place filled with a bunch of douche bags? And the fact they turned me into a weirdo with wings? I know absolutely nothing" I said shrugging. "Surprise" I said with fake enthusiasm. I mentally laughed at myself. But that lasted for like two seconds before I sighed.

"All humor aside though. I really don’t know anything. Well except about the vampire....things but I guess you know about those too." I said shrugging. Then it struck me. Was I having a normal conversation? Or at least as normal as it could get? I mean, it's not normal when your talking about....wait. Another thought struck my mind. If there was another bird kid here.....then there must be more right? "Hey...have you seen any....more of us?" I asked quietly. God did that sound right? Honestly that was the best I could phrase it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart
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As suddenly as it had begun, the attack was over.

Just when it seemed my lungs would collapse from lack of oxygen - my assailant's powerful grip cut my breath off quite effectively, compounding my momentary suffering - I was suddenly relieved of the crushing pressure on my throat, although this came at the price of being drawn back, then violently hurled against the wall. I struck it as though I'd been fired from a cannon, and for a moment, I was so dazed that the world seemed to turn upside down and twist every which way around me. My legs gave out, and I collapsed, unable to catch myself on my arms - although this would have been difficult even under more favorable circumstances, considering they were fastened together by the restricting garment I wore - before I found myself face down on the pavement, this secondary impact jarring my skull almost as much as the first had.

Once I'd gathered my wits about me, I began to squirm desperately, trying and failing to force my battered, dazed body to a standing position, a task which was made even harder by the fact that I couldn't move my arms. To my surprise, however, I found myself rising to my feet despite the apparent impossibility of it. A moment's check confirmed my fears, for I found I'd been grasped by the scruff of the neck and hauled roughly upright by my captor. Still dazed from lack of oxygen and from the many things I'd been slammed into in quick succession, I was unable to balance, and went stumbling forward, collapsing pathetically against my assailant like a ragdoll, my weakened knees threatening to give out again. But if I were to fall now, I'd be at his mercy. Terrified of what he might do to me, I mustered all of my remaining strength and pushed off of him as hard as I could, staggering backward and out of his clutches. Unfortunately, I had made the rather foolish mistake of forgetting the wall that stood directly behind me, and found myself simply running against it, with no route of escape left open to me and my balance compromised. Worse yet, he was much larger and more stoutly built than myself, and had hardly even budged from the feeble shove I'd given him. I looked about in desperation, but found that flight had been rendered impossible. As he reached out his hand toward my face, I shut my eyes tightly and gave a quiet, stifled cry of terror, bracing myself for the pain I knew was coming.

Click.

That sound... you can imagine my bewilderment when I realized that the buckle of the tight cord wound around my mouth, the pressure of which I had been accustomed to for years, had been forced apart, and that the cloth that once held fast, sealing my lips shut for as long as I could remember, was now hanging loosely, reduced to a mere oversized collar - although it still half-covered my mouth and some of my nose. The man drew his hand back, and for the first time since he had attacked me, I got a good view of his face.

It couldn't have been, and yet it was. His appearance was identical to the one I had uncovered in the thoughts of Jude, who I had thought was my friend, and who had yet attacked me, apparently without provocation. Hadn't he seen my wings? Didn't he realize I was his friend? He couldn't have possibly mistaken me for one of the black-uniformed, gun-toting guards, so why had he reacted to my arrival so violently? I was struck dumb by the realization that the person in whom I had expected a kind comrade and a friend might well be nothing like what I had at first hoped, and by the fear that these thoughts brought me. Suddenly, the one I had returned to the facility to unite with seemed to me more like a fearful and terrible menace than any sort of guardian or ally.

"Are you the girl? Eins?" He asked sternly, his expression unreadable as he gazed down at me like an avenging angel preparing to crush the head of some loathsome devil beneath his boot heel. Considering the feathery wings sprouting forth from his back, which seemed to glisten in the light of the full moon that loomed behind him, and how he towered over me as though preparing to deal me the death blow, this was a terrifyingly apt analogy. I was frightened out of my wits at this point, and so decided it would be most prudent to simply comply rather than do anything rash, although I found myself shrinking backward despite this, even if all I did was press myself more tightly up against the cold, hard wall that blocked my escape. Unused to using my voice after being silenced for so long, I instead gave a quick, fearful nod, making a slight affirmative squeak as I did so.

I was shaking all over, although whether it was from the cold or from my sheer, mind-blowing terror, I couldn't say, although the cold sweat that was beginning to soak me from head to foot would point toward it being a symptom of the latter. What was he going to do to me? Why was he doing this? What was going on? All of these questions filled my mind among several of a similar sort, but more terrifying than the need to ask these questions at all was the complete lack of answers I had at my disposal. All I could do was watch, wait, and pray that he didn't choose to kill me here and now...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Carter McAdams Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Haley Price Character Portrait: Michael
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Brendan McAdams:

What's wrong with 'twat'? That's exactly what he is.

I stepped forward and gave Marcy a high five anyways, even if she had just made of my insult.

Of course, as is the life of a bird kid, nothing can stay light and easy for long. I waited and extra couple seconds after Marcy took a look before doing an idle 360 with my eyes to make it less obvious that I was in fact looking somewhere specific. I have to be honest, he blended in well. There's a chance I would have just overlooked him, no question Carter would have.

What really caught my attention though was the man on the roof above him. He surprised me enough that I almost had to do a double take. The possibility of an adult bird kid had never even crossed my mind. Not in a 'oh I didn't think they were real' sort of a way, no, I had actually never even considered it before. Why would I?

Mary's words pulled me back to the present and I nodded. Well actually, first I fought back the urge to laugh because what kind of bird kid can't fight? That would basically be like signing my own death certificate.

"Carter can too." I said quietly, "and hopefully the girl he found can too." I still wasn't positive she was a bird kid, but judging by the fact that Carter was still down there the odds seemed to be in our favor.

I kept calm when the vampire landed. It seemed strange that a vampire would ever try to take on three bird kids alone, so I automatically took another subtle glance around. Nothing.


Carter McAdams:

Two days out? Wow, I knew I was good, but that good?

"We've been out for just over a month." I said as I plopped the last bit of food into her arms and headed for the counter to pay. Seriously, why did Brendan always want to pay for things? It was so much easier to just take them! Paying meant waiting in line. Stealing saves time.

"Wait-" I said, more to myself than to Haley, "somethings wrong."

The freaky twin thing never fails, and something was most definitely wrong. Without any explanation I grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the store, taking off at a dead sprint for the woods as soon as we were out. Somebody called after us about paying for out food but that was really the last thing on my mind.

"Stash it, we've got to go." I said quickly. There was a small hole in a tree to our left so I took a few things from her arms and shoved them into it.

My wings were already out before the food was even done being stored. "We need to run a quick perimeter, okay? We fly as a pair, high and wide, and look like we have no idea there's anything up. Just a peaceful evening flight, yeah?" I said. Perimeters were always a pain, but Brendan swore by them, and as much as I hate to admit it they've come in handy on more than one occasion.

I gave her a quick smile before launching up out of the trees from a standstill and flying high and wide into the night just as I'd specified.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Carter McAdams Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Haley Price Character Portrait: Michael Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart Character Portrait: Connor Krauklis
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Settings: Heated lab in the freezing colds of Antarctica

Dr. Gunther stared at the various monitors secured to the lackluster gray wall in his office. What better place to have a secret lab than in the isolated white plains of Antarctica?

Each screen was filled with one interesting image or another. A few of them even ineffectually displayed the outside of the Antarctican Ward in all its insipid glory.

But the most interesting monitors were the ones right in front of Dr. Gunther. The ones that showed them.

Generation 5

The most advanced form of Pouli Anthropos.

There they were in all their glory. Tall, graceful creatures, that looked almost as endearing as softly painted pastel angels. Their wings were smooth and shiny, as healthy as any well fed fowl, and they expressed the slim musculature that was to be expected of their generation. They were beautiful.

Okay, who was Gunther kidding? The children were ragged, poorly dressed, escapees, with little to their names but the few various items they’d conned and stolen out of innocent, unaware, humans. Still, it was better than nothing.

Their cunning showed their willingness to survive and thrive in relatively poor conditions. Weather they accomplished their survival by brute force or trickery varied from child to child, but, 88% of the time, resulted in victory.

They showed poor social skills in regards to humans, but seemed to trust one another (out of the few that had actually encountered each other), and showed a willingness to work together, or become accomplices.

Carefully, he looked from monitor to monitor, meticulously observing the actions that took place within the walls of the black boxes.

The first one he glanced over showed two of the older children speaking, strangely enough, near a dumpster. For a millisecond, he wondered how they were tolerating the repulsive scent of garbage, before shifting through his files.

“Taylor Rice” and “Samuel Echtin” were their unnumbered names. The poor boy, in an attempt to divulge answers about the Ward, questioned the girl. She answered in a typically sarcastic manner. Then, she asked a literal question. Something Gunther thought was a plausible question.

“Hey...have you seen any…more of us?” came her quiet frizzled voice through the monitor.

Gunther chuckled, low and devilish, something that would send chills down the bones of the innocent.

His eyes traveled to the next monitor. One of the younger subjects, “Conner Krauklis”, was out and about in the forest, lost and screaming. No doubt his terrified shouts would eventually attract the attention of those mongrels Gunther had created so many years ago.

The next screen was a bit more interesting. A boy had a death lock on her. For a moment, Gunther was petrified that he would kill her. But then, she was dropped out of his grip. Fear ran rampant in her eyes, and Gunther made no attempt to hide his disgust.

“Dear Eins,” He whispered to himself, shuffling through her papers, “He is your friend. Do not be afraid,” Speaking to himself in this manner, Gunther sounded almost crazed. Of course, with Eins being more than complicated, the doctor had no plausible way of knowing what she was thinking without being close to her. He cared little. Eins had just been a stepping stone for his latest project. The boy, however, was more than a stepping stone. Generation 5, his name was “Jude Oakheart”. Surprisingly he had manifested the power that allowed him to escape.

Then, to the right of his present screen, there was “Marcus”, or so it seemed he was named. The child had cleverly stolen a credit card, proceeded to clear the scene of any plausible evidence, and went on to use the withdrawal money to his advantage. Gunther found the amount of items he had ordered impractical, but kept it to himself.

“Clever, very clever…” Gunther grumbled, as the child disappeared within the confinements of a bathroom, to which Gunther refused to have his camera follow.

Then, his cameras went to the scene of drama. His most least desired experiment, vs his most desired experiment.

Michael, that mongrel of a Vampire, had approached three of them. “Brendan McAdams”, “Matthew Bernard” and “Marceline Bernard”. Gunther’s lips edged into a smile as he wondered how each individual child was handling the confrontation between Avian and Vampire. He doted on it little.

A “special” thing caught his eye.

A Generation 4. They had all been eradicated. Or so his scientists had reported to him. And yet, here was a twenty year old Generation 4 male, with big thick muscles, and a clear mutation that had caused it. Even his wings were broader than the norm.

Screen capping his face, Gunther plugged the image into his databases.

No name. Just an image of the same man, though younger, with a smaller body (the beginnings of his advanced muscle development had begun to show in the teenage picture).

He was coupled with a young, quite miniature, female, with a darker skin tone.

Both of them had supposedly died in a plane crash.

Gunther was going to have a word with the employees of the South American Ward.

Suppressing his anger, his eyes moved on to the next screen.

A boy very similar to “Brendan” popped up on the screen, along with a innocent, and very confused looking girl, who happened to coincidentally also be another experiment. “Carter McAdams” and “Haley Price”. He was urging her to get a move on, do a perimeter of the area. Gunther theorized “Carter” knew trouble was on the rise by the fact that the twins, “Bredan” and “Carter” had been observed expressing a special connection with one another. It disappointed him that “Marceline” and “Matthew” had not developed a similar power, both children also being twins.

However, “Brendan” and “Carter” were identical. “Marceline” and “Matthew” were fraternal. Maybe it made all the difference.

“Alice!” he called. A small girl, no more than six years, with curly blonde hair, bounded over to him, placing her hand in his.

“Yes, Daddy?”

“Do you see the children, Alice?”

“Yes, Daddy.” She responded, ice blue eyes grazing over each Avian filled monitor with intelligence far surpassing the age of six.

“Alice, one day you will rule them all.”

“Yes, Daddy.”

Marceline POV


I resisted the urge to immediately run for my life.

One thing that remained, however, was that everyone stayed calm.

Brendan, Matthew, me…not a single one of us showed any apparent fear.

“Michael,” I responded calmly, and a bit too confidently. I was thrilled. Never before, in my time at the Ward, had I been allowed to directly call a Vampire by his name. Out here, the rules were different.

“Making friends is a good idea. Don’t you think so? Besides, I’m sure one of you make friends with your brethren,” I said, mockingly referring to his team of vampires.

“Why don’t you go ahead and come for us?” Matthew said, a steel edge in his voice.

My eyes, for a second, glanced back towards the building where the “adult bird kid” was stationed. Something looked odd about his feet. They had changed color. It almost seemed like, from his knees down, there was short course fur, and a furry tail sticking out from his behind.

Must be a power or something.

For a moment, his eyes zeroed in on Mike. He crouched down, preparing for flight, or so I thought.

And then, he jumped.

Euro


For a moment, the Vamp had turned to look at me. He knew I was there, and he was letting me know it. I returned his cold hard stare with a much calmer one, making a face as he turned away to greet the children.

The young blonde girl eyes seemed to wander for a moment, falling on me. I ignored her stare to calculate the distance between me and Mike. It was about twenty feet.

No sweat. I had the enhanced muscle strength, not to mention the fact that I was able to half morph my legs into something more lemur like, powerful, and equipped for jumping and climbing.

Perhaps Mike was expecting me to fly to him, attack him from the air. That’s what most Vampires expected, at least.

Nope.

I crouched, down and then, bam, rocketed off from the roof opposite the store. I probably looked just like a monkey, taking a leap like that, but I landed exactly where I wanted to.

Right next to the Vampire.

“You wanna back off, Vamp?” I asked, calm like Solo had taught me.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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#, as written by TheFlag
Samuel


Samuel twisted his head before shaking it in a odd manner, as if he was adjusting to his surroundings his wings bucked before relaxing against his shoulders. Taylor as if thinking for a moment spoke, "Them. The ward... well, besides the fact that it's a evil corrupted place filled with a bunch of douche bags?" Samuel broke down into a short laugh before he nodded in agreement with her. "And the fact they turned me into a weirdo with wings? I know absolutely nothing" Samuel nodded again this time with more seriousness, "Surprise" Taylor said, enthusiasm in her voice which was obviously faked. "I can relate to that..." he noted before clarifying, "Yeah I know nothing... about the ward." It wasn't as if he hadn't tried to find out more about his origins, when he was still one of the Ward's experiments he had tried to find more about them, but they were very illusive the most he could dig up was a few names of the scientists, which now were hardly relevant.

"All humor aside though. I really don’t know anything. Well except about the vampire....things but I guess you know about those too." Taylor said shrugging, Samuel paused before noting dryly "Yeah, the vampires..." he shuddered slightly. He vaguely knew their purpose, and he wasn't eager to meet one, he had seen a few in the Ward and they were vicious, almost feral. Although he could probably fry a few with his abilities, but he didn't want to test that theory in action. Samuel then realized for the first time since the escape, that he was running low on electricity. He hadn't noticed it before, but he felt thirsty, and he somehow knew that water wouldn't cut it, he needed energy. Samuel concluded that he'd absorb some from the nearest power outlet after his conversation with Taylor, after all they weren't in any danger at the moment, he still could pack a mean punch with the electricity he produced naturally after all.

Taylor's voice went quieter before she asked a more serious question, "Hey...have you seen any....more of us?" Us? Did she mean bird-people things or whatever Samuel and she were. Samuel blinked, thinking for a moment before shaking his head, "No unfortunately. I don't think others were as lucky as us, to escape from their grasp." He glanced sideways, before adjusting his eyes forward, "I take it you haven't seen any of us?" His eyes regained their focus, his wings twitched slightly before he spoke slowly, and somewhat wryly "Are you looking for others like us?" Samuel shifted his body forward, into a more comfortable position, he shrugged his left shoulder stretching it slightly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Michael
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Mike's odds weren't good as is, they'd only get worse as the bird kids gathered. Mike only had one advantage, it would be very difficult to land a hit on him for one, and for two time was on his side. For every second that ticked by would allow the town to get increasingly populated by his fellow vampires. Mike knew this was an impossible mission, all he had to do was to keep them talking. No bird kid would talk to a vamipre for one minutes let alone five. Mike was slightly taken through a loop when he was adressed as his name. More often then not bird kids spat curses at him. Then again they had good reason. Mike called bird kids by their names, there was no need to strip them of that right when he could avoid it.

“Making friends is a good idea. Don’t you think so? Besides, I’m sure one of you make friends with your brethren,” Marcy said in a mocking tone. To which Mike found cold irony.

“Why don’t you go ahead and come for us?” Matthew said, a steel edge in his voice.

Mike opened his mouth, ready to speak until the one on the roof sped towards him, with a jump. Mike was shocked, but didn't show it. He breathed a sigh of relief when the bird kid stopped. He was waiting for the last moment to unleash a wave of force, but didn't even have to.

“You wanna back off, Vamp?” The new one asked, just as calm as the others. Mike was pleased with how calm the bird kids were handling his own presence. They would make it far. Mike was certain of that much. He was also starting to think even when his fellow vampires got into position, it wouldn't matter. They would need helicopter support, plus snipers on most of the rooftops. Half of the fire teams were set up, but Mike never had any high hopes for this op. He half hoped he would've been issued a position as a guard in the middle of nowhere. Mike would cope easily with that, for being deployed on many search and capture missions left him worn, and tired.

"An interesting question for one such as myself, surely a crazy beast of a person wouldn't be able to discern the difference between 'wanting to back off,' and 'having to back off.' I wouldn't be able to tell you if I wanted to; however, I can tell you that I have no choice in the matter." Mike finished with his eyes closed, and a genuine grin. He was looking right at the newsest and closest bird kid. Mike was doing a great job of stalling, or so he thought. It was a plus that he enjoyed talking to bird kids, he never usually had the chance. He was usually keeping them in their cages, or dragging them off to one.

"And to answer your two questions previously made known to me." Mike paused to turn to Marcy, and Matt.

"To you Mister Bernard. I am clearly already 'here,' so I have already come for you, and to you Miss Bernard, I am a blood thirsty monster. My kind doesn't place value on friendship." Mike finished with his usual blank expression. Mike anticipated the bone shattering punch that the nearest Bird kid was going to give him. He was ready to use his shock wave if he even so much as moved in a manner that warranted action. Only a few more minutes before Vampires burst through the back. He just had to keep on talking.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Carter McAdams Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Haley Price Character Portrait: Michael
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Brendan McAdams:

I listened idly to the conversation happening around me. My main focus was on the two dark spots I'd just seen launch into the air about 100 yards away. There was no doubt the first one was Carter, and it looked like the second was the brunette, though the back lighting made it hard to make out specific details.

I could only assume he knew about the vampire. Judging by the way the girl was flying though, he hadn't told her. She moved in huge swooping circles that held a playful sort of grace. Not a care in the world.

The vampire on the other hand, Mike they called him, he looked less than amused by the sudden appearance of yet another bird kid. Bird man more like. He spoke with a certain confidence, like he knew he was going to win whatever fight might come from the encounter.

Which brought me back to the fact that this was a lone vampire taking on four bird kids. Most vampires wouldn't even take on two by themselves, but this one looked calm as ever. If it was a scare tactic, it was definitely working.

There had to be more of them.

Instinctively I focused my energy and disappeared. Once I felt that tug that comes along with invisibility I took two steps to the left and one back. What's the use in being invisible when everyone knows where you are, right?

Carter McAdams:

"You've done this before!" I called out as Haley angled her wings down just the smallest bit and dipped down on my right only to come shooting up again on my left for the third time. I never would have guessed she knew anything was up if I hadn't been the one to tell her.

She just laughed and shook her head.

"See anything?" I called again. So far there was nothing. Well, that's a lie. There was a guy walking down the street eating a hot dog, weird. There was a couple walking a dog too, not weird. Plus there were the three kids in the park around the corner from the store. Well, not kids exactly. They were probably about my age. No vampires though.

"Five on the roof of the store we were just in, looks like at least three of them are birds." She said. It wasn't shouted through the night though. Her voice was close and clear, despite the growing distance between us, and it almost sounded like it was inside my head.

My surprise must have been pretty obvious, because before I had a chance she was talking again.

"I can push my thoughts, that's what they called in the Ward anyway." Haley explained, her voice clear as a bell inside my head.

I was still confused, but suddenly her words sunk in and my eyes shot to the roof. There were only supposed to be three. Carter and the two who'd been there before. Not five. Certainly not someone that big.. Was that-

"Is that an adult bird.. kid?" Haley's voice rang through my thoughts.

"Is that even possible?" I called back. I didn't think it was. Then again, I didn't think it was possible to put your thoughts in other people's heads. I mean, mind reading is one thing, but mind... sending? That's kind of cool.

"I don't know." She thought, and then she gave a small chuckle and I saw her turn her head to look at me, "you don't have to yell you know, I can pull just as well as I can push. Pull thoughts that is, just kind of focus on me hearing it and I will."

Pull? What does that even mean? Sometimes I wish the scientists were a bit more creative. Seriously, that's a cool talent, why give it a crappy name like 'pushing' and 'pulling' thoughts?

"[i]Let's just fly high and see what happens.. can you hear me?" I thought, focusing hard on sending my thoughts out. Haley just nodded and swooped up again.

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Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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Taylor


I don't why I had gotten my hopes up. But unfortunately I did, and once he told me hadn't seen any more bird kids, I felt like everything inside me crashed.

I know it's stupid for me to even have a glimmer of hope but it's not my fault okay? I just thought....

Anyway, I snapped back into reality.
"Are you looking for others like us?"

"Yeah" I sighed. I don't know why but my stomach was churning and stuff as if I were nervous. Was I nervous? Honestly I had no real reason to be nervous. Maybe it was because I still believed that there were more bird kids out there. Maybe we just hadn't come across them yet! I began to get excited just thinking about it!. I know I know, I’m getting my hopes up again but whatever. I do stuff like that.

"Maybe we should look for them? I know we're not the only ones" I said. I was slightly surprised at how much I had managed to convince myself. "Oh and what's your name? I've told you mind now fess up" I said crossing my arms over my chest, frowning slightly. I flapped my wings and hovered about one or two feet in the air. I loved the feeling of always being on top. Mainly because so many times I was used to being on the bottom.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Michael
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(I apologize if this post seems....meh...I was very tired when I wrote, but I doubt I'll have time to get this in tomorrow, so I had to do it tonight. Might be too busy tomorrow morning. Once again, I apologize.)

Mike
(@ Guardian Angel, My rping my not exactly be the way yours is, but I tried my best to keep him in character.)

Mike’s glance idly passed over the back door of roof. Just a few more minutes and he would be home free. Distracting these kids was what he had come up here to do. Distracting he had done.

For a moment, all of them were silent, Vampire, and Avians alike. The atmosphere felt tense with anxiety and anticipation, and Mike felt sour regret bubbling up inside of. These kids had a chance. They should’ve run.

Abruptly one disappeared from his view. If Mike was panicked, he didn’t show. But the kid had just disappeared, vanished, out of sight.

Invisible.

Just then his phone vibrated, an almost indiscernible feeling against the thickness of his protective gear. But, then again, he was Vampire. Everything was different through these eyes. What was dull to a human was as clear as daylight to him.

He flipped open the phone, keeping a careful eye on each child, even acting as though he could see the one that had disappeared.

“Boss, we’re good to go. We’ve got the building surrounded. Caught a couple o’ them mutants up by a dumpster too. Sent six of the men after them. We’ve got about 20 remaining, three in the store, incognito, five surrounding the perimeter, ten above the clouds ready to come down.”

“Clear.” Mike said, before snapping the phone shut.

In an almost regretful whisper, he said, “Time’s up.”

Flipping off the roof, he did a loop, before flying upwards.

Then all hell broke loose.

@Marcy, Matt, and Brendan


The Vamp dove down from the clouds, his colleagues following suit. Immediately, his vision clouded red. He would have to resist the urge to smash these kids brains right through their skulls, as was the typical Vampire way. All of them would.

They jetted past Mike, diving to whichever kid was closest.

One grabbed the girl in a deadlock, trying to choke her into submission. Two others aimed for the same girl, coming down with incomprehensible speed.

Another Vamp whipped the blonde boy in his head with his foot and devastating accuracy.

Three others came down on the spot where the invisible boy had been formerly standing, whipping their arms back and fourthly, blindly aiming for the kid. They had to catch him at some point.

Two others descended upon the adult male, grabbing him by each arm.

@Taylor and Sam


The six vampires were descending upon these in particular two children with a slow speed. The kids were close to the public. They had to be careful.

With a brief nod from the head of the small splinter group, an in particularly fast female shot out and caught the blonde girl, who had been floating off the ground a bit, by her head, snapping her teeth dangerously close to the girls ears.

“Why don’t I cut all the pretty hair off from this head,” The Vamp hissed into her ear.

Another went to apprehend the boy, crashing into him with brute force.

The rest followed slowly, lips pulled back in frightening smiles.

“Say hello, to goodbye,” one growled, grinning like a maniac.

Marceline


I was barely able to screech before a Vampire grabbed me by my throat, causing my former screech to choke out of my mouth.

Another was dashing from my feet, at which point I promptly thought, fight, fight, fight.

Using the choker as a prop I raised my feet, ignoring my stifling lungs, and kicked the incoming Vamp in the face. He screamed, pulling back and holding his nose. Then, in a split second decision, I decided to use the shield.

It erupted from my skin, a light blue sheen, with enough force to frighten the choker away. He banged at it, causing an immediate headache.

But I couldn’t stop to think. Another was already clawing at my shirt. Up, up, and away. I dropped my shield as I ascended, looking down only to observe who was following me.

I flapped powerfully, using my speed to my advantage. I had fast flight. One of my few freak powers. But if I kept it up at this rate…I would lose too much energy between fighting and flying.

And so, folding my wings, I dropped like a rock. The three Vamps that had been tailgating me yelped as fell back down, smashing head on with the very third.

We tumbled in the sky, before I snapped my wings out, catching myself the last minute. I was only faintly aware of my bleeding nose, the pain in my back when my wings opened, the bleeding left wing.

Pain. Dead on pain.

Matthew


“Ow,” I shouted, holding the left side of my face. There was a delicate trail of blood dripping from my lips, and I almost felt sorry for my face. Too bad, I’d already been hit like that at the Ward.

“Sucker,” I shouted in a Vampire esque voice, and I turned back around to smash my fist into his forehead. His eyes bulged out, faltering with the surprise attack.

Looking up I spotted Marcy. She was dropping. Fast.

Just as I was about to snap out after her, the Vamp jumped me from behind, sinking his claw like hands into my shoulders.

I gasped, stuck between fear, and panic for my sister. Only when I saw her floating slightly above to ground did I feel safe to resist the Vamp. Dropping down, I rolled on my back, tumbling along with the Vampire, and trying to grab for his wings.

God this was going to be a long night.

Euro


What the hell. The knew exactly where to strike. Holding my arms like pitbulls, both vamps gave me devilish grins.

I frowned, trashing around. One of the Vampires tripped, clear surprise flashing across his face, surprised with my strength. The other, however, was a bit more resilient.

He held onto my arm, aiming his teeth for me. Ew. I jolted my half lemur leg upwards, kicking him in his chin. He gasped, and blood burbled from his mouth before the second grabbed my tail and pulled.

God, I think this was how Goku felt every time his tail got cut off. Except, mine was still intact. My lips pursed together, and, doing a roundabout, I clipped the Vamp in his ribs. He crumpled to the ground, and I flew up towards the sky before broken jaw there grabbed my foot.

“Coming with me, huh?” I asked.

I looked around.

We were surrounded.

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Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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#, as written by TheFlag
Samuel


"Yeah" Taylor sighed and Samuel drooped his head in response before sighing hesitantly, he then paused before saying reassuringly "I'm sure others like us, have escaped. I mean we escaped the Ward, right?" Samuel thought sadly to himself 'For now anyway' as he knew deep in his heart that he wouldn't escape the Ward until he was dead, or they were destroyed. Fat chance of that happening. Perhaps he and Taylor were just delaying the inevitability, of dying or going back to the Ward. Although Samuel would rather die then go back to that place, he would just keep running he guessed and stay out of the Ward's path and hope for the best.

Samuel found himself lingering on the thought of finding others like himself. It sounded promising, and somewhat rewarding, as he'd have someone to talk to, someone who would understand what he went through, what he's going through. Samuel was glad that he had found the presence of another like himself, and he felt a certain reluctance to part company with her, although he was almost certain that they would have to at some point, this troubled Samuel's mind and he quickly tried to shake it from his mind.

"Maybe we should look for them? I know we're not the only ones" Samuel nodded in agreement "Yes, we." he repeated putting emphasis on the word 'we' it gave a particularly nice sensation and he almost repeated it again, but he refrained from doing so, he didn't want to look like a complete fool after all. "Oh and what's your name? I've told you mind now fess up" Taylor hovered two feet into the air, and crossed her arms frowning, Samuel grinned before speaking roughly, "I'm Samuel. It's a pleasure to meet you." He was surprised at how eloquently he had said that, and managed a short dry chuckle afterwards, he guessed he was a gentleman at heart.

Samuel didn't feel quite right he heard something, and for some odd reason he felt paranoid. Samuel paused concluding that his mind was playing tricks on him, after all he hadn't slept for awhile, and he was completely starving, he noticed he still had that pastry in his hand he hadn't eaten it yet. His stomach grumbled and he sighed, his hunger was beginning to become an inconvenience, as it wasn't particularly painful, it was mostly annoying.

Samuel glanced back at Taylor before casually saying "C'mon get down from there. You could attract unwanted attentio-" he was interrupted when something shot at Taylor, and grabbed her head, Samuel's eyes widened and he gasped, it was a female vampire "Why don’t I cut all the pretty hair off from this head,” she practically hissed into Taylor's ear. Samuel dashed towards Taylor frantically, desperate to help her, but there were several more and one crashed into him and he slid along the floor and yelled with surprise. His chest muscles seemed to absorb most of the damage, and any damage that Samuel had sustained would be fixed in a few minutes.

As Samuel lay on the floor with the vampire that had tackled him, his eyes focused on several more which were slowly following. Samuel's mind was frantic, and in pure panic, how did they find him? was his main concern, did Taylor lead him here into a ambush? He doubted it since Taylor seemed to be getting the same treatment he got. “Say hello, to goodbye,” one of them growled, he couldn't tell which, although Samuel knew he wasn't going down without a fight. He didn't have enough electricity to deal with all of them, he could stun them though, he nodded quickly warming up to the theory. Samuel's eyes snapped shut and he let off a discharge of massive static electricity in the area, he didn't know if he caught all of them in the blast, he hoped Taylor had managed to avoid it.

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Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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Taylor


I nodded. "Samuel" I repeated slowly as if testing the words inside my mouth.

"C'mon get down from there. You could attract unwanted attentio-"
Before he could finish, something grabbed at my head and I jerked sideways. Instinctively, I put up both of my hands, clutching my face as if that would stop whoever was trying to pull my head off. "Why don’t I cut all the pretty hair off from this head?” She hissed. I froze and a brief shudder ran through my body. I could feel her breathing on me, oh god it was gross. It took everything inside me not to shudder again. I saw Samuel out the corner of my, on the ground. One of the vampires had knocked him to the ground.

This made my blood boil. I began to thrash around, bringing my foot up as high as I could, then swinging it back. I felt the heel of my foot hit her flesh, probably her knee and her grip on me loosened slightly. But did I take this chance to try and get away? Hell no. I kept bringing my foot back and hitting, hitting and hitting. Each time I connected with flesh and then the grip on me loosened completely. I swung around and flew backwards as she lunged at me. I balled my hand into a fist and swung. My fist decided to say hello to her nose and blood started pouring. I looked around for something to use telekinesis on. The only obvious thing was the dumpster but id I really have time to try and move something that big and that heavy that quick?

"Say hello to goodbye" a voice growled and I turned to see a vamp. I charged right at him only to be knocked aside from the female vamp from before. I went sailing sideways, still in the air. I looked just in time to see her heading towards me. Blood was streaming quickly from her nose. Good lord, what was her deal? Couldn't she wait or something?

She and I were both fairly low to the ground. She stopped though and flew towards the ground, running at me. Was she going to fly at me at full speed by getting a running start? Just in case, I flew upwards slightly, reading to fight. Then out of nowhere she stopped and dropped to the ground. Well I for once was very surprise. Then I looked at Samuel to see if he had anything to do with it. I was of course correct. A few of the other vamps were also stunned. I nodded impressed. That was definitely a useful power.

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Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart
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Jude Oakheart
The Lab





Jude felt badly about attacking the girl. He bent down on his knee and tried to console the girl who sat terrified against the wall. "Hey, it's me, Jude. I'm not going to hurt you."
Jude heard something. He focused his hearing- losing his other senses while he did- and from behind him heard a little mechanical buzzing, and a couple of clicks. He turned around to see a tiny camera pointed at him and the girl. He immediately got scared. He and this girl had somehow escaped from the building that had held them captive for so long. Then he heard the same screeching from inside the lab. "We need to get out of here." He grabbed her hand and pulled her away from the building running a little ways through the tree line, to hide from the vamps.
Jude commenced tearing off the shackles the girl had around her hands and wings. He looked back and saw actual vamps fly out of the roof of the lab and start circling it. "Can you find anyone else like us? I can't do anything but fight with my fists and you're in no shape to fight. We need to find someone else to help us protect ourselves."
Just then he saw a boy a little younger than he was with dark black bird wings and white tips. He darted off not even noticing the three vamps following him at a safe distance but still keeping an eye on him. Jude thought to himself again- they should help him out, then enlarge the group: there is safety in numbers.

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Michael
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"All remaining forces, move in; and take care to remember that lethal force is not an option." Mike spoke into the phone with a commanding tone. One had to be firm with Vampires, they tended to challange other Vampires for rights as leader. Mike put down many vamps, that's why he was never challanged. He was feared amongst even his own, he has a reputation for being cold, calm, and collected. This was an alien trait amongst Vampires. This difference inspired respect through fear. Mike usually was deployed on suicide missions, things that couldn't be done. All things considered, his marks were nearly perfect. His record had a few blemishes, though nothing to be killed over. Mike closed his phone, and put it in one of his chest pouches. He threw off his jacket during his escape. His armor was slightly standard, his was a tad heavier. Mike's suit had to withstand the force of his ability without suffering wear. Mike replaced his phone with an ear piece.

The time for stealth had passed as soon as he realized Marcy and Matt were his targets. A test perhaps? To see if Mike was indeed loyal. He was struggling to coordinate the attack. Mike didn't feel right about this. He could give his forces advice: Avoiding the adult Bird hybrid would be key. From what Mike saw, he was very versed in combat, the experiment had even been gifted with high strength levels. They would need to stop him with sedatives, no the only thing they could do to that experiment now, was to simply keep him occupied. That would mean throwing reserve forces at him whenever possible. The Invisible one would be problematic, Mike would probably suggest finding a way to void that ability. Whether that means pouring water all over the ground, or marking the target somehow. Marcy and Matt were tough, but all one had to do was throw enough Vamps at them, and they would fall eventually. Mike didn't have intel on any other bird kids, so it would be vital to focus on the ones he did know how to counter. Atleast somewhat anyways.

Mike maintained radio silence, and swooped up to a building. He sat on the side, dangling his feet over the edge. Mike folded his wings in, the leathery texture of the membrane rubbing on his spine always made him want to shiver. He used his sharp eyes and senses to observe the battle field. Mike looked at his hands, scarred by cuts, his knuckles worn by countless punches. Mike stood up, his wings jumped out from his back. Soon two vamps landed on either side of him. One was too afraid to make eye contact, none-the-less he still spoke. "There is a bird kid in the woods, should we engage?"

Mike nodded and told them both to go. After they left Mike leapt into action. He allowed himself to fall, he flew low and as fast as possible. A few of the vamps that engaged the two bird kids behind the store had flatlined. Mike grunted, and flew over the battle. He signaled for three vamps, and pointed at Matt. Mike made a circle in the air with one finger. They'd understand, Mike wanted them to keep Matt out of the air for as long as possible. Marcy seemed to be occupied. The adult bird kid was proving problematic. Mike signaled at two more bird kids in the area to engage the adult.

The only sound Mike could hear was the flapping of his wings. He wanted to change that. Mike drew his sidearm, and signaled the rest of the vampires hovering over Taylor, and Sam to move in. Mike fired two bullets at Sam while still in flight, the projectiles roared towards Sam, coliding with the pavement a foot away where he was positioned. Mike ensured the shots were opposite of the store. His intention was to provide incentive for Sam and Taylor to move towards the other group of bird kids. Together the bird kids could wipe the floor with any number of vamps. Together they can do this. Mike was confident. The lack of powers hampered his vampires. Mike's guilt silently lessened. He spiraled through the air. Mike knew what he was doing was wrong, but he had to get into the fight. He landed on the roof, he masked the sadness of his aching heart. The weakness his emotion gave him. His reluctance to cause pain. Mike was about to charge until his radio came to life. "Mike flank around, stay airborne, if the experiments get away we'll need a heading." A scientist spoke through the Communications network. Mike nodded, and took to the skies once more.

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Character Portrait: Connor Krauklis
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#, as written by ceh12
Connor kept walking, everytime a twig snapping he jumped in the air. He then calmed himself and continued on his journey. He didn't care where he was going as long as he could get away from the Ward, and the Masters, and the Vamp...oh no. He spun around and there were three staring him about to attack. "No no no." Connor shouted as he darted in the other direction. He heard them getting closer and closer to him. "They're faster." he thought but really he was going slower. He was still feeling tired so he couldn't run at full capacity.

Connor didn't care about speed he only needed to escape. The constant obstacles were no match for his night vision but the vampires kept on him not letting anything get in their way. The movement of vampires was admirable but still average at best. Connor then had an idea. He kept an eye out for a hill and eventually located one just large enough. He ran till he got as close to the edge as he could before stopping on a dime and ran past the group who skidded down the hill and fell onto eachother.

Connor sighed a quick breath of relief then he took off to what looked like another town. This one was much more vibrant (at least compared to the last town) and looked like there was a lot of commotion going on. He fixed his silvery wings to go inside the jacket and Connor walked over and tried to see what was happening.

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Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart
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(Please forgive the slight godmodding, but you didn't really provide any details of how long they were running, where they were going, the surrounding area, or your character's actions, beyond simple dialogue, so I expanded upon it a bit for the sake of a more thorough narrative.)

As my attacker - no, Jude - knelt closer, I fully expected it to be the end. My arms were trapped in the enveloping sleeves of the garment I wore, several clasps fastening them together so that I could not so much as budge them to defend myself. I had my back up against a wall, and my abilities, as I knew them, were useless against him. The power to hear the thoughts of others, and to send your thoughts to them, would help me about as much now as a megaphone would in the middle of a vacuum. Even if I did cry out telepathically, who would there be to help me? The other experiments? They were stowed away, sealed off from this scary outside world in the world of darkness I had just escaped. The Vampires, then? Even if they were apparently a lot like me, I had gathered from Jude's thoughts that they either would or could not save any of us. The Masters would not come, either, and, in any case, I would rather face death than return to be imprisoned and executed at a later date. No, they were even more terrifying to me than was the enigma of Jude's betrayal. Here, at least, I could see the face of the one who would kill me, but in that world below, nothing was as certain, as solid, even as this. No, it would be better to die quickly at the hands of a foe that I could not understand, rather than to have my live slowly torn from my body by a far greater enemy I did not even know.

But what of the other use of my abilities? The power to discern the thoughts of others... perhaps, if I used it, I might be able to understand why Jude was attacking me, and what he planned on doing? And, in turn, if I knew this, I might also be able to convince him to leave me alive. So desperate had I been in my panic that I had, quite simply, forgotten that this could be done. Now that my thoughts were made a little clearer by the knowledge that they might well be my last, and that panic might only seal my fate forever, this idea occurred to me. And so, driven equally by a final gasp of hope and by the simple urging of necessity, I extended my senses, reaching out in the hopes of discovering what would become of me. But, it was as I feared. This - even this final, desperate attempt - was in vain. Jude's thoughts were too clouded by my crippling terror - or perhaps too guarded by the presence of danger for both of us - for me to read properly. The confused, nonsensical things I beheld were simply fragments, tiny bits and pieces of the thousands of thoughts streaming through my captor's mind, that individually could not be interpreted one way or the other, and could not be assembled into any sort of greater picture. Then there was only one option: wait, and hope against hope that I might live.

And yet live I did, for the next instant, words reached my ears that, unlike the thoughts I had received a moment before, I could plainly understand.

"Hey. It's me, Jude. I'm not going to hurt you," he said in a voice that might have been interpreted as reassuring were it not for the baffling hypocrisy of his statement. Hadn't he hurt me just a moment before? He had nearly suffocated me, had bashed me against a wall and thrown me violently to the ground. The pain of these attacks still echoed through my body, drawing tears to my eyes even now, so why was he trying to assuage my fears, to convince me that everything was alright and wasn't going to attack me when, in fact, he already had? I wasn't sure if this was supposed to imply some sort of excuse for the previous attack, but I had a feeling - inexperienced as I was at interacting with other people - that I was missing something.

On the other hand, what was the point of trying to comfort me if he was going to continue attacking me the moment I let my guard down? No, if he was leaving me alive now, it seemed logical to assume that I was safe, at least for the moment. And so, reluctantly, I allowed him to grasp my wrist and raise me to a standing posture once again, although this was more because I could not rise on my own with my hands bound and my legs collapsed beneath me, and I shrank back somewhat the moment I had my balance. But, to my surprise, the moment I began to feel secure in the least, something changed about his expression and his demeanor, and quickly, he tore off the buckles sealing my hands together and then took off, grasping me tightly by the hand and dragging me with him. Had he somehow noticed something I had missed in my panic?

"We need to get out of here." That was all he said before he took off at a full on sprint, with me reluctantly in tow behind him. He was much larger than me, and thus had a far greater stride. On top of this, I wasn't exactly in peak physical condition, given how I had spent trapped in a tiny chamber deep underground. You didn't get much practice running in a place like that, and it clearly showed in how I tripped along behind him, barely able to keep up save for the speed I gained by him hauling me along, a momentum which I could control about as well as one can control the weather. I was stumbling over my own two feet, let alone the countless uneven patches - something I was entirely unused to, given my only experience walking had been across flat, immaculately level floors - and strange, fibrous limbs extending along the ground from the bases of what I recognized as the plants known as "trees" - although I had never seen these incredible life forms before, I recognized them from thoughts I had picked up in my cell. I might have stopped then and there to marvel at the wondrous and previously unimaginable world unfolding before my eyes in all of its magnificence, but, unfortunately, I was still being unceremoniously pulled at breakneck speeds over the ground and into the forest that opened like a gaping, black maw to meet us. I nearly fell several times, my feet simply unable to keep up with my body as they slid out from under me, but each time I began to trip, I found my arm being yanked upward again as Jude continued his maddened dash for freedom, sending a jolt of pain through me as the said limb was nearly ripped out of its socket, which motivated me enough to get my feet beneath me once again despite the seeming impossibility of the task. His grip was firm and rigid, like an iron cuff that clamped down tightly on my hand, seeming to crush my very bones. I wanted to cry out in pain, but was cowed into silence by the memory of the beating he had only just finished giving me, and by the fear of the unseen, unknown pursuers that drove him to such a flight. Instead, I simply bore it as best I could, although I prayed for it to end as soon as possible. At this point, I wasn't sure if I had escaped, been rescued, or been kidnapped, but there was no time to ponder such things, for I was beginning to falter again, and my seized arm was once again screaming in protest as I was hauled to my feet, only to keep running and to fall again. But still, I bore it in silence. Even if Jude's actions made no sense, even if now, he was almost as frightening as the enemies that even now must have been hot on our heels, I couldn't bear to compromise him by any loud noise, or by slowing him down. I was useless - that, I knew. But despite that, I still didn't have to be a burden if I could help it. And so I struggled. I ran for the first time in my life, and I ran faster than I probably ever would in the forseeable future. Even as I felt as though I would collapse, I struggled not to so as not to drag him down with me. Even as my body groaned in protest, pain wracking my frame, I continually rose to keep sprinting, ignoring the fatigue I was beginning to feel along with the pain my bruised and beaten body was currently informing me to insistently of.

After seemingly an eternity of flight through the woods, we finally stopped. Evidently, Jude was satisfied that we had evaded our pursuers, and had stopped to get his bearings, and to make a plan. I was all too happy to take this chance for a respite, however brief it would have to be, and so the moment he finally loosed my hand, I fell back against a tree and seated myself, relieving the stress that had caused my legs such agony until now. I brushed the cold sweat from my brow, and went limp, my body motionless save for the swift rising and falling of my chest, drawn into stark relief by the form-fitting prison attire I was clad in, as I tried in vain to reclaim my lost breath.

"Can you find anyone else like us? I can't do anything but fight with my fists and you're in no shape to fight. We need to find someone else to help us protect ourselves." The blunt, sudden inquiry snapped me back to the present, shattering my brief moment of relief like thin ice as my captor or companion - I couldn't tell which - gazed coldly down at me. I couldn't tell what was going through his head, as I was feeling too confused, tired, and afraid to venture using my powers, and his expression was a blank, unreadable mask. His no-nonsense manner was, however, so chillingly emotionless that I quickly averted my gaze, instead focusing on how interesting my hands were and the many intriguing ways I could fidget them, pressing my fingers together in this manner and then that, although even I couldn't see any detail of what I was doing, as my hands were completely covered - nay, consumed, even - by my vast, oversized sleeves. I pursed my lips against the almost comically high collar of my jumpsuit, as though in the hope that the gag would simply fasten itself over my mouth again and give me an excuse to remain silent. But, it was no use. If I didn't answer him, all I'd be doing was being a nuisance, and even if he, quite frankly, scared me to the point that I was worried my very clean white outfit would soon be stained a rather prominent shade of yellow from the waist down, he was also the only person I could even hope was on my side, so being useless to the one person I should have helped was simply not an option.

"A-ah... I'm... not sure..." I stammered at length, the sound of my own voice - the cadence of which I had not heard for several years now, as I had been incapable of speech during my period of imprisonment - so foreign to my ears that it nearly scared me into silence. My hands began to move more feverishly, fidgeting about aimlessly with a will and a purpose that seemed paradoxical. But, it was rather difficult to be frightened of the quiet, soft and very confused sounding murmur that emerged from my throat, rendered even more high pitched than its usual sound by the manner in which I half spoke, half-whispered out of anxiety - although, to be fair, this would probably have been the manner in which I would have spoken to any other sentient being, as the thought of Human interaction, quite frankly, terrified me. Despite how fearful my voice clearly was, however, it held in it a gentle quality that seemed contradictory to its pitch, sounding more like a tentatively rung bell rather than a terrified, ear-piercing squeak. "I've never really tried before... a-and... and I don't know if I could connect my thoughts with anyone who I hadn't already... But I remember a few of the voices I heard back in that place, s-so if someone else had escaped, if I got close enough, I might be able to recognize them..." I added lamely as a means of explanation. He simply sighed slightly - although he might have just been trying to regain his breath - and turned away, glancing out through the tree canopy at something I couldn't see. I followed his gaze, and, to my surprise, noticed some sort of light streaming out of some sort of building just beyond the tree line. Slowly, I rose, and tentatively crept up beside him, trying to get a better look at what had suddenly caught my captor/comrade's interest.

It was a small, one-story building, surrounded by an empty lot and a few shrubs. There didn't look to be many other buildings in the area, which meant this couldn't have been one of the big cities I had heard so much about from the thoughts of those around me. If I recalled correctly, that meant this must be a "little town," or perhaps a "village" or "hamlet," although I was unaware of what the distinction was between these various terms. There were several large symbols on the side of the building, which I recognized as letters, even if I did not know their meaning. Judging by the small groups of people eating around tables by the windows, this must have been some kind of place where one procured food, although the sorts of things they were eating were not anything I recognized, save for the occasional roll of bread or bowl of soup, which had made up my entire diet for as long as I could remember. But, even if I didn't know what those mysterious delicacies were, I didn't have to, for their incredible, tantalizing scent reached my nose even from where I stood tempted me to break from my cover and to move closer in the hopes of getting some of these wonderful dishes for myself. At this moment, I realized just how hungry I was, as I hadn't been fed in the past few days, likely in preparation for my execution, which, combined with the fact I was cold, tired, hurting, and afraid for my life, only served to further inform me of how miserable my circumstances were.

Just then, however, I noticed something, for on the edge of my thoughts, I once again heard a voice. This wasn't to say that there were not voices I faintly perceived reaching my mind from a distance, for this was by no means true. But this voice, unlike those, which were so quiet as to be almost impossible to notice, was familiar, and it leaped out at me from the chaotic cacophony of my clamorous consciousness. And then, I knew. This was a voice I had heard before, a mind that had been close by for a long, long time. The pain that echoed from across that severed bond was familiar to me, for I had taken it and felt it in the place of the one whose mind I had now touched on. There could be no mistaking it: in that building was a being like myself, one who had been imprisoned alongside myself, and one who now had escaped, just as I myself had.

I let out a quiet gasp of surprise as the realization dawned on me, causing my companion's gaze to shift to me for a moment. I crumbled beneath his stare, quickly turning my eyes to the ground as I began fidgeting once more as means of distracting myself from the icy eyes I knew were boring into my very soul at that instant. He was going to want some kind of explanation, and, if I was going to be of any use, I would have to give it to him. So, I steeled myself, gathered my wits about me, and spoke for the second time in the past decade.

"I... I'm not sure but... That is to say, it seems impossible, but... I think I might have just sensed... one... one of us," I stammered, my words hesitant and broken by my indecisive mind trying to change what I was saying between every few words. I realized how idiotic what I had just said sounded when compared to my previous comment about how hard it would be to find any other mutants, but on the other hand, it was a relief to have it off my chest. Maybe he'd stop staring at me now. I didn't like it when he stared like that...

(Fun fact: Eins can't read. It's to be expected, considering she's never been outside of her prison in her life, but it's still going to be rather interesting. =P)

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Michael
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Marceline POV


I frowned, licking my lips, and tasting the sweet tang of blood. Gosh, I wondered how beat up my face looked. The Vampire I’d crashed into was flailing towards the ground, desperately trying to get his wings to work. He let out a low moan as he slammed against the ground with a heavy thud, a bloodcurdling crack coming from his left wing.

I winced as I shot away from the broken Vamp, now acutely aware of the prickling pain running along the span of my left wing, and the joints where my wings and back connected. Risking a glance at a jewelers window, I hastily assessed whatever injuries I could make out in the fleeting moment.

Blood was still leaking from my nose, but from the way it felt, it wasn’t broken. The source of the pain in my wing became obvious upon the brief glance. A large cut ran along the side of my wing, oozing blood that ran like water, lacing itself between and underneath my feathers, and dying them a dark, almost black, red.

The injury was enough to force me to pump my wings harder than normal just to get my bearings in the air.

Flying up high, I tried to make out the scene as appropriately as I could. Matthew was having a one-on-one with a particularly ambitious Vampire, throwing in punches when he could, and getting his fair share of a beating. His bottom lip was swollen and red, and a bright trail of blood had leaked off his chin and onto his shirt. Something looked awkward about the jerking way his right arm was moving, and I had no choice but to assume that the ball of his arm had popped out of its socket. There was a blue-black bruise beginning to form like a discombobulated fruit underneath his eye on his cheek bone.

All in all, he seemed to be holding his own.

I felt some anxiety upon still not being able to spot Brendan. The kid had prolonged his invisibility to the point where the dumb witted Vampires were still flailing their arms in a blind attempt to clip the boy somehow. I bit my lip, holding back constrained laughter, watching the way they bumbled around in a serious attempt at a go at the invisibly kid.

The strain on my lungs made me realize that I’d probably cracked a rib or two, seeing as a splitting pain traveled up along the right side of my chest.

The adult mutant was being pressured by three to four Vampires at once, but he seemed to be holding his own. Or at least he had been holding his own. But just in case you’re not a mutant freak that’s fought Vampires before, let me tell you, four Vampires is a lot to take on at once.

Fluttering closer to the fight, for a better vantage point, I was able to spot the unmistakable swelling of a broken wrist, and the fact that both his nostrils were leaking rose red blood right over his lips.

Yep, four Vamps are overwhelming. Even our buff mutant-superman was faltering in his fighting.

Getting ready to dive in to help the guy, I stopped cold when I heard the distinctive shot of a gun.

Frantically my eyes searched for my brother, praying, hoping, he hadn’t been shot. Thankfully, he was still standing strong against in his man-to-man fight with his persistent Vamp, only wavering to check and make sure I hadn’t been shot. Our eyes met for a moment, and I could only imagine the relief in his were reflected by my own spectacles.

Scoping my surroundings out, (before being abruptly smashed in the side by a Vamp) I was able to see Mike holding a rifle of some sort, obviously the one that had carried out the shot, and couldn’t help but wonder what he’d been doing? Killing one of his men to save them some pain? Killing an innocent human who’d accidently spotted the fighting? Shooting a fire hydrant?

I don’t know.

All I knew was that I was going to rip the hair off of the Vampire attacking me till he went permanently bald.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Michael
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#, as written by TheFlag
Samuel


Samuel immediately felt the drain from using his abilities he stumbled backwards almost colliding with the floor again, he somehow retained his footing and remained standing barely. He had just used the last of his electrical potential, he needed to recharge either through his natural process which only generated so much power or through absorbing some more energy, which certainly packed more of a punch but he doubted he'd be able to obtain it during this situation, as it took time to refill his energy levels.

Samuel wearily looked around, before noticing Taylor she had managed to avoid the blast, which made Samuel sigh with relief as a weight was lifted off his chest. Although the blast was certainly not lethal, he was sure it hurt, but nevertheless he was glad to see Taylor unharmed. As Taylor nodded obviously impressed, Samuel was hesitant before muttering unsure "I don't think I can do that again. At least not for awhile." Samuel noted he had caught a couple of the vamps in his blast, he was impressed by this feat and smiled mostly to himself, proud of his actions. This should give them leeway to make a run for it.

As Samuel was going to signal Taylor to take flight, he heard the roar of a gun his sensitive hearing picked up on this almost instantly and he fell backwards quickly trying to avoid it, only to notice the bullet marks about a foot away from him, he yelped at how close the bullets had been from hitting him before shuddering. Samuel's head looked up towards the source of the bullets where he saw a vampire hovering a gun in hand, as Samuel twitched he managed to note that several other vampires were descending in on them, it looked like the one who had fired the gun was leading them or something, he didn't realize vampires could do that due to them being so, violent which was the only word that came to mind besides crazy, viscous and pure evil.

Samuel twisted his gaze away from the sky when the vampires had nearly descended to the ground, staying in this enclosed space suddenly seemed like a bad idea, taking to the skies seemed like the way to go, he noted. As he slowly observed the scene, he twisted his head back before calling to Taylor, "We should really get out of here..." his eyes widened as he noticed the vamps landing on the ground, "Because they're calling in the cavalry." his voice was dry, and somewhat sarcastic.

In a second Samuel was in the air, flying past the vampires and maneuvering through the buildings away from the store. He wasn't sure how he had exactly avoided the vampires as he was sure one could have easily grabbed him, but he guessed he underestimated his prowess in flying. He flew very shortly but rose above buildings, he had hoped Taylor had begun to follow behind him but he couldn't risk checking. His flight was short however, as a couple the vampires that had followed, had managed to beat him to the ground. It seemed like a war zone, as he couldn't fly without being swarmed, hit body was covered in bruises which he was sure would heal in mere minutes, a minor inconvenience, he was more worried about Taylor.

Samuel noted that flying was suicide so he had to run, which attracted some vampires. As Samuel paused he could hear a fight just as viscous as the one he was previously in, he emerged from the area only to have his jaw drop, there were several others like him fighting a dozen or so vampires, he stood there bewildered by the situation for a second he looked totally out of it, not sure how to react. His eyes scanned through the others, he hadn't even traveled that far only a block or so, and now he had stumbled across this.

Samuel's mind finally sparked, before it focused on Taylor. He quickly turned around to see if she had followed or was in virew, but all he felt was a fist colliding with his face, he fell to the floor. A vampire was behind him howling with delight at its hit, Samuel scowled rubbing his cheek, before he promptly using both his legs, kicked it full force in the stomach it reeled back, giving Samuel some breathing space, as he scurried to his feet, Samuel looked around even more bewildered at the situation then before.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Brendan McAdams Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Michael
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Taylor

I had quickly flown towards the ground as Samuel began to recover. He seemed okay, but as he mentioned he probably wouldn't be using his power again, I sighed. Oh well then. I jumped, nearly flying into the air at the sound of gunshots. I folded my wings in slightly, afraid of getting them hit. I looked to see if they had hit Samuel since the sound was closer to him but nope. Thank god, I would have panicked if they did. Still, they were too close for comfort. Using my main ability, I searched and saw red moving shapes moving towards us.

Just great. I let out a annoyed hiss. "We should really get out of here..." Samuel started "Because they're calling in the cavalry." I smirked slightly and nodded. Samuel took off into the air, and I glanced at the vamps once more, taking off after him. I kept him in my line of sight while at the same time, glancing back to see if they were following us. And it's pretty hard trying to make sure you’re following someone and at the same time make sure you’re not being followed. Of course though Samuel started landing and I followed, narrowly avoiding a Vampires grasp as I landed. I ran to catch up with him and then saw them. More bird people like us. And more vamps.

Honestly though, I was still caught up on the bird kid thing. The vamps were sort of forgotten for a split second. It was still hard to ignore the joy filling up inside me. Though, I was snapped back into reality as strong hands put me in a tight headlock. I grunted. My eyes quickly searched for anything, anything at all to help me. A few lone rocks laid on the ground. It wasn't much but it was something. Concentrating (hard to do when the life is being squeezed out of you) I stared at the rocks. One by one, they slowly rose and flew straight towards me. I flicked my eyes upward, and they quickly changed position. I could hear the vamp wince and let out a small "ow."

Rocks didn't have much effect, but they distracted him, and I wrenched upwards. For a split second I saw Samuel kicking a Vamp in its stomach. Then I had to resume to my own fight. I bit down hard on its hand, and it let out a pained wail. I continued biting though, harder, while at the same time thrusting my elbow backwards into his stomach. He let go of me, and my mouth remained on his mouth for a few seconds, before I kicked him in his rib, and then flew up to survey the scene.

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Michael
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Matthew


God, I was bleeding from head to toe. My Vamp lay on the ground, arm broken, coughing up blood. His blood shot eyes roamed over to my face and we stared each other down for a few minutes.

"Well?" His voice was gruff, sounding almost impatient, as he asked the question.

"Well, what?"

"Aren't you going to kill me?" he spat, looking devastated now. Understanding washed over me, and for a moment, all I could do was stare at him.

"Dude," I said, as calmly as I possibly could, "I'm not a monster. I don't kill other uselessly. And I'm not going to kill you."

Turning away before he could answer, I swooped up into the sky. My sister was tangling with a Vampire. It looked like she was trying to pull its hair out of its head, and I stifled a pained laugh watching her ungracefully tear off a lump. The Vamp held its bald spot, hissing and roaring like a maniac, and attempting a snap at Marce's neck. My sis was damaged pretty badly. One of her wings looked like it'd taken on a pretty sore hit. She looked like she was limping in the air, if that makes any sense.

As for me, one of my arms had been twisted. It'd eventually pop back into place.

Euro had taken his fight to the ground. He seemed to be holding up. One of the four Vamps that'd been attacking him had retreated, probably due to some painful injury or another.

Surveying my surrounding I was able to spot two new additions. No not more Vamps. Two bird kids. One, a male, was in a scuffle with a Vamp, giving it a good kick to the ribs, and then rolling away.

Another one, a female, had flown up in the sky.

Taking one pained breath, I flew up to her. She looked okay, not hurt, but it never hurt to ask.

"You okay?" I asked, realizing how weird it was that a random bird kid had just flown up to her without much thought for introductions. Without waiting for her answer, I motioned to the boy, "Is he your friend?"

Hey, what can I say. In the middle of a battle I was trying to figure out relations.

I'm such a lady killer.

Besides that, the Vamps were slowly falling away, and there seemed to be less and less of them fighting.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Michael
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Mike's eyes grew sad once he realized all of the carnage he let ensue. He should've put an end to it sooner. Mike counted a few were dead already, and the birdkids were getting hurt as is. Mike had done his job, Mike was sure that his forces were just practice. If the Ward was serious they would've deployed helicopters, maybe a few tranq units to back everyone up. His troops were armed with weapons that they simply weren't allowed to use. He gave a deep sigh, a headache was starting to manifest itself, as Mike swooped down with his rifle slung to his back. Mike broadcasted on all channels. The more experience his team had, the better they'd be. Even if that meant keeping them alive after a failed op. That's what Mike told himself anyways. He knew that he hated to see his kind die. He hated all of the death in his life. Senseless death.

"All able troops, we are pulling the wounded out. Disengage, we are in no condition to keep fighting." Mike looked out for his own, even if they were crazed animals. He swooped down, and landed on the roof where Matt has disposed of his vampire. Mike knelt down, one broken arm. Internal bleeding, probably punctured a lung. Broken ribs were likely, for that was the most common wound Vampires usually suffered due to their unprotected ribcages. Mike picked up his fellow vamp, and briefly glanced at the bird kids before leaving. His wings pumped hard to get himself and his cargo out of harms way. Mike angled away with a flock of surviving vampires, carrying the wounded. Mike looked down at the male vampire in his arms. "You did good today, remember that." That's all Mike was willing to say. Mike only knew one thing for certain, though he hated it. He would have to actually fight the next time he met those bird kids. The Ward wouldn't want one of their most lethal fighters sitting back, worthless as he was.

Mike traveled for only a little while, flying as fast as he could. Mike made sure his beacon was running, for he didn't want shooters to kill him on sight. Mike landed once he got the go ahead. "Get the med teams ready, we have a few wounded." Mike spoke calmly. He knew the Ward would just throw a few of them away, but Mike had to try to save the few he could.

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Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart
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Jude Oakheart
Woods




Jude looked at the girl who finally spoke. Her voice was sweet and soft, just as it had been in his mind. He turned to her as she spoke and he listened. His mind flicked back to the boy who was now in the diner. [color=BF0000]"We should talk to him. He could be helpful. Plus he has vamps tracking him."[/color] He gestured towards the vamps that were circling the sky above the the diner. Jude was on edge, never having liked vamps to begin with but there was strength in numbers.

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Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart
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"We should talk to him. He could be helpful, and plus, he has Vamps tracking him."

The concurring words were less surprising than their meaning, but regardless, the moment Jude spoke, I was startled enough to forget that unnerving stare that had been directed at me a few moments before, and my gaze shot up from the patch of ground that had so thoroughly occupied it until then. It seemed inconceivable that he would immediately and unconditionally accept my supposed findings not a minute after I told him how little confidence I had in my abilities, without so much as a taunting word to poke fun at my confusion - considering taunting words were the only kind of speech I'd ever heard with my own ears for the majority of my life, they were also the kind of response I expected to receive under any circumstances, especially when I was doing poorly in my duties as I was now - but even more surprising was his suggestion that they - note that he didn't say he - should go and talk to the newly located Avian child. He... he wanted me to go out there and talk to someone? I couldn't! I just couldn't handle it! To me, people were terrifying. At every second I spent interacting with a Human being, or even a mutant like myself, I was afraid that I would make some terrible mistake or faux pas, and that I would be severely punished for it. These sorts of errors, and the subsequent harsh and often painful corrections, were the only experience I had talking with people, and because of that, I'd become frightened beyond belief of doing so. It had taken all of my courage to even approach Jude, who I had thought to be my friend, and that courage had, at the moment, been dashed against a concrete wall along with my body. Scared as I was now, I probably would have just broken down if forced to talk to someone else with my only protector from violent retribution being someone who had only just finished dealing me that same sort of beating just a few minutes ago, and might even now be called my captor. I could feel my skin growing pale and cold just thinking about it, and already, a cold sweat had broken out anew on my brow.

"W-we...?" I stammered. Even though my voice hadn't reached the shrill pitch usually associated with terror, its desperate, pleading tone and the fear that was doubtlessly evident in my wide, frozen burgundy eyes surely made quite clear both what I meant by that inquiry, and my reluctance to comply with his orders. "B-but... I... that is to say..." My hands were fidgeting still, but at the same time, they were also raised in front of me, in a gesture that was all at once placating, halting, and defensive, as I at once beckoned him not to take me out there into the open where I would have to cope with the inquisitive, terrible eyes that would doubtless fall upon me, and upon my brightly gleaming wings, while also silently begging him not to strike me for disobeying him and preparing for that blow to come down regardless. "I can't!" I declared at last, the force of my unintentionally vehement - I still spoke quietly, but I also spoke with a conviction and a dread in my soft, low voice - denial surprising even myself - perhaps terrifying would be a better word, since I now realized that past experience said he would now have to punish me for my insolence. "I can't go out there... Please don't make me go out there!" I was beginning to become incoherent in my pleading, but I was too frightened to care. In my eyes, I saw - or perhaps simply imagined I saw - my companion tense up somewhat as he gazed stoically down at me, and in an instant, a thousand visions of the possible blow he was doubtless bracing himself to deal me flooded my mind, and, giving a quiet squeak of fright, I instinctively cowered, shutting my eyes and bringing my hands up to cover my head in a vain hope that I might be able to intercept the dreaded stroke of punishment. Overbalancing myself in the process by tripping over a tree root, however, I found myself, instead of stepping back to distance myself from the attack, falling backward and collapsing rather painfully against the tree behind me. Between the concrete wall I'd been hurled into and this injury, I was fairly sure my back was bleeding (among other things), but at the moment, I was too frightened to care. In an instant, I scrambled up on all fours, half crawling, half diving behind the tree as though into some impenetrable fortress. In the same way a mouse peers nervously out of its hole when it thinks a cat menacing it has passed it by, I tentatively poked my head out from behind the tree, fighting the urge to simply break down and run from the punishment I was now certain awaited me with the more terrifying prospect of a much more painful lesson in submission once I was surely caught and brought back. Hiding behind the high collar of my tunic as though behind a mask, and behind the curtains of my silvery hair as though behind a shroud or veil, just as I hid behind the tree like a last bastion of defense, I gazed pleadingly out upon my kidnapper, silently begging him to let me simply hide myself away from the world, so it could not touch me with its frightening, unknown hand...