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Keith Cadwell

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.

0 · 918 views · located in Ariss

a character in “Ashes”, as played by Bliss

Description

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"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."



♦ Name : Keith Cadwell Image
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♦ Side : Ashes

♦ Gender : Male

♦ Height : 5'6"

♦ Eye Color :
A tranquil icy blue shade that often mesmerizes others accompanied by thick long lashes that women often envy.

♦ Hair Color :
A bleach blonde color that is slightly on the long side. His gorgeous locks fall just below his ears and side swept to keep out of his field of vision. It almost appears white at times when in sunlight because of how light it is.

♦ Appears to be :
Fourteen years old.

♦ Face Claim :
Alois Trancy



"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more."



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♦ Power :
"Can't you feel their very breaths? The world speaks to me." He blends in the forest, shielded by the thriving brush and leaves dangling off the branches of trees. The flowers grow as he sits in the meadow and envelope his body. As he rests in the beautiful blossoms the birds and rabbits flap and hop to his side. The birds sing to him and the squirrels bring him tree nuts. The busy honey bees dance around him and the butterflies tickle his nose. The deer nuzzle his hands and the wolves keep watch from the forest for any signs of danger. He wields the power granted to him by the hard and soft ground. With a few twirls of his fingers he can make the plants around him grow tall and large. He can even make them wilt or flourish at his will. The trees lend him their strength with their broad trunks and sheer physical force. Their roots and branches can hit quite hard and they constantly enlighten him with their knowledge. He can trap you in thorns or cushion you with flowers. Maybe he'll summon his animal friends if he so desires. He can communicate with the nature around him and manipulate plant life to his advantage. He is able to understand animals and send them spying for favors in return. Not all creatures respond to his command unless they deem him worthy. He has many animal companions that come and go, constantly protecting him or warning him of danger. The same goes with the plant life. Not every plant responds to his call, especially the trees. The trees are what you'd call wise folk for their many years of life and experience. They've seen many things and contain many secrets that only Keith can access. He is what they'd call the nature boy, one who dwells in the wild.


"I find there is an art in deception."



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♦ Personality :
Keith has a very complicated persona. When the eight disciples were whole he was known to constantly play pranks on his friends and constantly annoy people with his condescending demeanor. He is extremely intelligent and constantly reading books or trying to challenge himself. Many feel mesmerized and comforted by his strange, yet beautiful appearance. He gives off a positive aura and with one long gaze it's as if he's staring directly into your soul. People feel captivated by his gaze and outstanding charisma. Before the divide he was a very gentle person due to his connection with nature. He is also so knowledgeable about just about everything that you believe almost anything he says and many feel as though he can be trusted. However, no one knows better than the other seven disciples that he is not to be trusted unless the smirk on his face has vanished. But his twisted sense of humor makes him spew out nonsense constantly and lies mixed with the truth because he knows others will believe him and he thoroughly enjoys measuring up their intelligence/stupidity. He also thoroughly enjoys messing with people's minds, personal beliefs, and can often go too far in what he says and may terribly insult you though that's not always his intentions. He's just a bit of an awkward person. Keith also has a low tolerance for ignorance. He can't stand when people make arguments based off of beliefs rather than facts. If you don't research what your arguing with him, don't even bother trying because Keith won't hesitate to make you feel stupid or make a sarcastic remark about how you don't know what you're talking about. Aside from his twisted humor, he is extremely conceited and his deep rooted desires are dangerous. He has never been physically built or on the strong side, he is quite frail in fact. This has always made him desire power over others. He knows he has the wits and knowledge, but not brute strength.

Keith's connection with nature has always been a lovely sight to see. He is constantly napping beneath the trees with fluffy animal friends resting beside him. He is always feeling intoxicated by the knowledge the tree's provide him and amazed by the secrets the animals can tell him. He speaks in a different tongue to communicate with the forest and animals through the soils and touch. He cannot speak to anything without plant life around him for he has to be touching what he's speaking to. But he can always have other plants or living creatures send the word to who he needs. Keith cannot command every plant or animal he sees however. In order to do so, that plant or creature must deem him worthy of their time. It takes him so much concentration and a balanced self in order to effectively speak with wooded lands or the grass. He trains with the trees and wild beasts constantly. He can even communicate with insects for their animals too. Keith is always gentle and clear headed when it comes to using his powers. He cannot play jokes or deceive nature for nature will smite him in return. He learned this the hard way in his early days. Nothing peeves him more when those who are defenseless are attacked or killed. It creates a strange relentless rage inside of him. He doesn't even hesitate to stop someone from harming a fellow creature or destroying the wildlife in which the plants flourish. However, once he stops them he'll heave a sigh and calm himself with a few deep breaths. Before he fell victim to his own desires, he was known for walking with men in the woods resolving conflicts that stirred inside them. Keith felt that man's attempts to harm others or wildlife stemmed from their own pain in their lives. He is good at picking and prodding at one's mind and deciphering one's life with only a few questions he'll ask. By the end of the person's walk they always feel enlightened and touched in positive ways after having a one on one conversation with Keith. They'd always feel that all was well in the world again and that happiness awaited them in the near future. Keith had also always viewed the general human population to be a weak and defenseless race whose emotions render them useless almost all the time. He is aware of man's greed and how they have the potential to destroy the world. This often angers him, but he's also aware there's a lot of good people in the world too hence why he'd take the time out of his day to resolve their conflicts when he encounters humans. But after centuries of immortality, the good seemed to have drowned out in the bad. Especially when the world fell into chaos after the Goddess's death, he saw an opportunity to finally seize power and teach regular humans to learn their place in this world. When the disciples divided, he felt no regrets leaving. He found it rather distasteful at the other five disciples lack of action. It angered him and made him view the others to be ignorant and not worthy of his time. However, he always had such a deep connection with each disciple because of their shared immortality. He grew angry and bitter over their great divide. But deep down inside he felt he would finally have a chance to overpower his friends and prove to himself and everyone that he is very powerful. He often denied to himself of his dark desires and at first had good intentions to just protect the world and place it back into balance with nature. Nature cried out to him in a great pain and sorrow that he was especially overwhelmed by when the Goddess died. The sorrow and disarray of the humans spiraled nature out of control and all he could constantly feel was nature's pain. When he and the other Ashes members finally obtained the Goddess's ashes, he felt such a strong lust for power that continuously surged through his veins. It was not surprising when he lost sight of his original intentions and set his eyes on darker goals. But he always kept up his appearances as a sweet little boy who thoroughly enjoyed life and playing pranks on his friends. Sometimes it can even be hard for the disciples to see through his facade and what he's truly after. But his lust for power and the sorrow of nature slowly drives him mad.

♦ Appearance :
Keith loves to wear different styles of clothes and match whatever he wears. However, he usually has a preference for fancy shirts and loosely fitted pants so that he is free to move however he pleases. He enjoys dressing up for special occasions and even loves to dress up his friends. He has a preference for darker colors however. Usually he'll be seen wearing blue, green, purple or black colors. He also carries a small wooden flute with him wherever he goes. It was given to him long, long ago in his naive years by a dear friend of his. That friend has ceased to live centuries ago.





"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature."



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♦ Likes :
- Flowers
- Trees
- Animals
- Traveling
- Reading
- Learning
- Writing
- Making jokes
- Playing pranks
- Music
- Warm weather

♦ Dislikes :
- Ignorance
- Death
- His immortality
- Clutter
- Tight spaces
- Being outsmarted
- Conflict
- The cold
- Burns
- Lots of wind

♦ Strengths :
Keith's charisma and charm with people makes him a very likeable person. He is extremely intelligent and always looking for new things to learn. He is also a trickster and a master at telling lies or talking around the truth. Though so many people are infatuated by his charm he usually gets away with the lies he tells. He always sounds believable and his intelligence makes others doubt themselves if they are not perceptive of his mind games. He is very nimble and flexible in fights making him a hard target to reach. He also has a fierce determination whenever he sets his mind to accomplish something. He has a very soft, caring side to him in regards to nature where he will always defend the weak or those who cannot protect themselves, plants, animals and at one time humans too. He has a lot of stamina as well so you better be able to match his endurance in a fight. Since he is able to command a lot of life he hardly ever has to use too much energy. However, at times he feels uneasy facing the remaining five disciples in battle for he knows they can match his strength.

♦ Weaknesses :
While Keith's smarts allow him to thrive in battle, his body is actually quite frail. A few hard hits and he'll be gasping for air and being thrown off his game, if you can catch him that is. Beating on smaller creatures that are not as strong infuriates him and causes him to lose sight of his goals for the most part. Though he has a great deal of confidence, it is also his downfall because he often believes he is invincible when he's far from it. Due to his atonement with nature, someone who can frost over the plants or burn down the trees deeply effects him. Storms make him even more weary for strong winds can uproot the precious life that lives within the ground's dark soils. He gets his energy from the plant life surrounding him and without it he is rendered powerless and afraid. While he also feels a lot of anger towards his former friends in the Originals, he also can't bring himself to actually kill them. He's not sure where the battle to come between them will lead. He's supposed to preserve life, not destroy it which causes a conflict within him. Ultimately that conflict will also be another of his biggest downfalls. Once his foes realize his inability to complete such tasks they have the advantage in the battle.

♦ Fears :
Keith truly fears failure more than anything. He feels these huge obligations to the world keep it in balance. If he cannot even accomplish that with his powers, he's not sure at all why the Goddess even chose him for the job. He doubts himself more and more as he falls deeper into his own darkness and eventually no longer feels his role is to protect or save the world. He always saw himself to be the weak and fragile one amongst the disciples and constantly feels this need to prove himself to everyone. He also fears his selfish desires at times. He sees them as dangerous and occasionally struggles with his new found power from the Goddess's ashes. It throws him off balance more than he had anticipated. He also fears the consequences that might come with using the Goddess's ashes.



"Please enlighten me on your so called facts."



♦ Relationships :

|| Louie ||
Keith always had respect for Louie and his intelligence. He always acknowledged Louie's natural gift with medicine and sometimes he likes to create puns for him.

|| Yvette ||
Keith's feelings towards Yvette are a mix of fascination and distaste for her impulses and stubborn qualities. He dislikes how she doesn't think before she acts in battle. Generally, the two dislike each other especially now after the split. Though before the divide, they did tolerate each other and very rarely did they work together.

|| Henrietta ||
Keith currently views Henrietta to be a genuinely stupid person. She was always easily influenced by his charm and wit and much too quick to trust. Though before the split he'd often challenge her mind and make her think hard in hopes she'd open her eyes a bit more to her surroundings. He came to understand after awhile that she was never actually stupid but let her emotions get in the way of too many opportunities. She'd always put others before herself which he found to be admirable, but much has changed since he left the Originals and the idea of emotions clouding one's judgement makes a person stupid in his eyes.

|| Iraa ||
Before absorbing the ashes, Keith and Iraa were pretty good friends. Keith often would challenge Iraa's intellect by constantly giving her riddles to solve that would frustrate her a lot and make her walk away. But he's always been most impressed at how Iraa would always come back to learn the answer and why, which he has found many people don't do. This made him rather fond of her and almost like his own student. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge with her and how eager she was to learn. Not to mention they both had a lot of fun times together. But after the split, it's almost as if Keith lost his fondness for anyone and currently finds her lack of wit to be a nuisance.

|| Neris ||
Neris and Keith used to be very good friends. They'd often have lively debates and study together constantly discussing a variety of subjects. Keith thoroughly enjoys Neris's intellect and diplomatic demeanor. She never seemed to mind him prodding at her mind in the past. However, when they obtained the Goddess's ashes, Keith's character started to change in sinister ways and the two seemingly drifted apart. Though their past bond is still there.

|| Carter ||
Keith has always found Carter's qualities admirable. They have a similar sense of humor and Carter never seems to mind Keith's constant amusement and need to make things more interesting. In return, Keith has taken a liking to Carter though he knows Carter does not want to be friends with him or anyone for that matter. Keith is perfectly fine with that, and if anything, it makes him have more of an interest in Carter.

|| Alice ||
In the past Alice and Keith had a romantic relationship with each other. Keith was always fond of how smart and witty Alice is and how she can almost always see through his mind games and riddles. In fact, he found her to even enjoy them. What made him really fall for Alice was how she could understand how nature is not an element, but full of many entities. He was always able to understand what she meant by fire also being an entitiy. They both have similar interests and Keith has always enjoyed her company and has a weak spot for Alice. He avoids encountering her at all costs, she's the one person he was never willing to hurt.

|| Seishin ||
Currently, Seishin and Keith outright do not get along. They view each other solely as enemies and Seishin has no tolerance for Keith's betrayal. In turn, this causes Keith to have a very sarcastic and condescending behavior towards Sei and hopes to continually piss him off. In the past, they were a great match as teammates being able to connect with nature and Sei with spirits and decent friends. But much has changed since.



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So begins...

Keith Cadwell's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Louie Orihara Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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The book hit the floor with a loud thud, and along with it came a loud clap of thunder. Distaste and exhaustion was written all over Yvette's face as she stared at all the books she'd thrown at the floor. Each one she'd marked and read over at least three times before she let it hit the ground. None of them were useful. There were too many possibilities. Hundreds of books, thousands of pages, millions of options. How long had she been awake trying to narrow it down? They could've boosted their powers with almost anything. She was getting nowhere, and yet, she still looked for an answer.

Yvette popped yet another strawberry into her mouth. The others, regrettably, are smart. They would not challenge the four who agreed with Yvette without some kind of--- some kind of advantage. An edge. That much was obvious. But the question remained, what was in their favor? What gave them the upper hand? This, Yvette could not figure out. Out of all the books she read, she found at least one hundred possibilities. And what were the odds of her finding the right enhancement? Not high, that's for sure. But Yvette couldn't rest until she found it; until she knew what gave them such confidence.

When she reached for another strawberry, to her discontent, she soon found she'd eaten every last strawberry in the box. Yvette heaved a sigh when she saw an empty mug sitting right next to the anything but full plastic box that used to be overflowing with red, delicious strawberries. So not only had Yvette run out of her precious strawberries, but she'd run out of the one thing that had been keeping her awake--- coffee. She'd always had a caffeine addiction... It kept her going through nights like these.

As Yvette hopped off of her bed and took a few seconds to stretch, her thoughts wandered to a different subject. Namely, how quiet it was in the room. In fact, this silence happened to be getting on her nerves. It was too silent. Her room was too vacant. Yvette, quite uncomfortable, snatched the mug off of her nightstand and made her way out of the room, tugging on the hem of her sleeve, slowly tearing apart the fabric. Speaking of attire, Yvette was wearing what she usually wore to sleep; a pair of loosely fitting gray sweatpants that she found most comfortable, and a purple knit sweater. Though, one sleeve is shorter than the other, due to Yvette's unintentional dismantle of the sweater-- it was just a nervous habit Yvette had; fiddling with the hem of her sweater until it began to rip itself apart.

"What time is it?" Yvette suddenly murmured. Surely, it can't be that late, she thought. "It has to be somewhere... somewhere around eleven at night, right? Maybe even midnight."

The more she talked to herself, the more she eased her panic. She could never stand silence, or being alone. And on that note, she thought, where is everyone? Well, they're in their rooms, of course. At least, the four she still called allies were. The other three disciples... she didn't have a clue. After they split up, so far, there hasn't been much news. In fact, they'd only split up about a week ago... after the fight, things had been pretty silent between the two groups. Though the tension is always there, even when they aren't present.

But, speaking of the other disciples... they were talking about them last night. Everyone seemed to agree that there was no way the others would challenge them without some kind of edge. So, Yvette volunteered to try and narrow down the options. But of course, that wasn't working out so well. It's not like she had any hints to lay the tracks with. There were thousands of possibilities...

But that didn't mean she wasn't going to give up. She wasn't going to stop until she read every book about enhancements as she could possibly find. As Yvette made her way to the kitchen, she scowled at the new environment. Due to what some would call security issues, the five of them switched living quarters. If the other three were willing to fight this out... It wouldn't exactly be a good thing if they knew where the five lived.

Having entered the kitchen and started up the coffee machine, Yvette opened the door to the refrigerator-- only to find there were no strawberries left. She stared at the fridge for a while, her thoughts not on food but the other disciples...

She still couldn't believe they had left them... After an array of hurtful words and nasty burns, Yvette was actually left quite sorrowful... And regarding the disciples, they were a subject she just couldn't get out of her mind. Slightly dismayed and distracted due to her lack of strawberries, she began to connect the two subjects. Just as the strawberries were, after what seemed like barely an hour of debating, the others were simply... gone.






[COMMENCE POSTING! Also, quick side note here, with this post my main goal was to set the scene for everyone else. ((The time is supposed to be six in the morning. Our friend Yvette here pulled an all-nighter. Also, winter is supposed to be around the corner, so the cold weather is approaching... Just something to keep in mind. And as you might have caught, there is indeed a thunderstorm outside, supposedly caused by Yvette.)) Anyway, I think I set the scene pretty well for the Originals... my theory was that they didn't know about what gave the Ashes their power boost, but they highly suspected some kind of edge.

And I'm not exactly in the position to set the scene for the Ashes, regrettable as that may be... Uhh... well, they probably found themselves somewhere else to stay as well. Their plans, I cannot be sure of, whether they want to take defense or offense is really just up to the Ashes. As for the Originals, I'd say the same thing-- offense or defense, your character can probably suggest something. I was really just giving us something to start on. Also, if you were wondering, Alice is sleeping. That's why I didn't post for her... yet.]

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Louie Orihara Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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#, as written by Arisato
Image "Dad, I can't sleep with all this noise." Jurdy came rolling out of his be and into the his fathers Potions Room/Store. It's the one place he is found most in.

Their home is a little different from others here. It's located right smack dab in the middle of everyone. Their home is pretty much the borderline from the Ashes and the Originals. The Potions Store is open to everyone who wants to buy. He only has one major rule. If anyone fights on his property, he will drop them forever from his life and banish them from his land.

"Would you like a sleep potion?" Louie turned around with two different colored potions in his hands with a slight smirk like smile.

"How many times do I have to tell you! No! Get those things away from me!" Jurdy started to back away.

"Aw come on! It will only take a second!" His smirk became a big grin as he started to step closer.

"Dad I mean it! This isn't funny! Ugh, Fine, I'll sleep in your room." Jurdy started to run away and slammed the bedroom door shut.

Louie chuckled to himself as he put the Potions down on the counter. "Don't forget your studies. I'll quiz you later!"

Silence came from the next room, causing Louie to laugh a bit. Jurdy never went to school, he was home schooled; by his father. It was the only way he knew how to keep him safe from everything that was happening.

It was a long night, even with the storm that came by, it still hadn't stopped and it was already 6am. Still, it didn't stop the smell of winter that lingered in the air. Soon it would be time to pull out the heaters and turn on the fireplace. If his potions where to get frozen over it, would be bad for everyone.

Doc! Help! We were just playing and...and...I don't know what happened! A boy came in carrying another boy on his back. Panting and sweating, he tried to come inside the doors.

The smell of blood flushed over the room in an instant, Louie could tell right away where it came from. "Don't worry, he'll be fine. Just tell me what happened?" Louie went straight to the boy after picking up a potion. He took the boy off the other and carried him into the room next door of the shop.

This room was where he did his 'magic'. He placed the boy down on the operating table and then quickly washed his hands and slipped on some medical gloves. After that he started to cut off a leg of the boy's pants. The bone was piercing out of the skin. it was broken perfectly in half.

"We were playing and all of a sudden this wild animal came shooting out after us. It took Richy down and.."

"Wild animal?" He looked at the boy laying on the table. It didn't look like it came from an animal. Most likely a human. There were finger prints on his neck as if the boy was being choked right after his leg broke.

"I think so, I couldn't tell. It was too dark."

Louie poured the potion over the boys leg and in an instant the boy let out a howling scream of pain. "I'll have to push the bone back in place. Excuse me, you'll have to leave." And next thing they knew, he slowly started to push the bone back in, the boys cries became out even louder and he kept passing out after ever scream. Quickly, Louie jammed the bone back in place until he heard the bones grinding together. Sliding his chair over he sat down and started to cut open the leg skin and began drilling in bone bolts right into kid. "This should help keep the bone in place. He'll probably have to keep it there for about half a year. It was a pretty messy break..." He paused after mumbling to himself, the potion was kicking in and the boy was knocked out. He got up quickly to grab some gauze and clothes to soak up the blood.

"He's losing too much blood, you should have hooked him up to a blood pack before doing this." He looked up at the boy, his skin was a bit paled. Spinning in his chair he slid over to the fridge and grabbed a blood bag. Getting up he hung it from a metal pole and shoved a needled into the boys arm after disinfecting the spot. "There, he should be fine in about 5 minutes.

Looking at the wound and sighed. "Time to close him up before the potion wears off." That's just what he did, the whole time he mumbled to himself as he worked. He answered himself and slid around the room many times. It was enough to make one dizzy, but not Louie, he was use to it.

After he was done it was about 6:40 am. The boy was asleep on the table and his friend was waiting in the shop. "Your friend is fine, he's just resting. You can stop worrying now." He walked up the kid, placing his hand on the boy's head to calm the boy. "Go home and let his parents know. I'll have to keep him for the day to see how he is doing."

The boy thanked him and left. It wasn't even 8am and it was already a busy morning. "You'll need coffee and you'll need to start working on 'that' potion." He yawned and did just that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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#, as written by Fable



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Carter's golden-coloured eyes were narrowed, as per usual, as he tried desperately to focus on the distinct features and colours of his blurred surroundings. He zipped through the busy city streets with an unspeakable level of speed and natural-born agility, allowing him to easily dodge the mortals that were hurriedly going about their daily lives, which caused most to turn their heads in what could only be described as a mixture of surprise and wonderment. The wheels of his skateboard were rolling so violently against the poorly concreted terrain of the streets that they were almost threatening to break away from the board; his skateboards, however, were almost always of the finest make and were designed to cater to his needs, meaning that they were much more durable than most would've thought. Without the slightest hint of hesitation, Carter shifted his weight and forced the skateboard into a new direction as he turned a sharp corner, then pressed his foot to the floor and used the strength in his leg to push the board forward once more.

It was quite a journey from the shop in which he had no choice but to purchase the food and bare necessities that he and the Ashes needed in order to survive. Ever since they split from the other five Disciples, Carter had taken it upon himself to deal with the fundamentals of survival, such as finding a place to live and purchasing supplies. He promised himself he would take care of them, and he'd be damned if he ever found himself living on the streets, starving and freezing half to death. The thought of it alone would cause an ice-hot rage to pool in his belly. Carter shook his head slightly to reassure himself in a way and discard the unwelcome feeling, threatening to compromise his vision as the weight of a scowl pushed his brows lower and caused his lips to tighten into a straight line. Distracting himself, he once again focused on his surroundings and pushed the board forward, gaining speed.

Within time, Carter drew closer to his destination. Ever since he left the others, accompanied by Keith and Neris, they'd been finding refuge in odd places here and there, until they finally settled on one destination. The burned-down factory stood in the slums of the city, in the sort of area that wasn't even worth the bother of reconstruction. Its walls were crumbled and grey, most of the windows were shattered, boarded up or altogether missing from the frame. It really was, for all intents and purposes, a complete dump. Abandoned many years before when a fire blazed up in its walls and charred every object and person within. Though it had succeeded in providing shelter for him, Carter felt sick at the very sight of it and decided from the very first moment he laid eyes on it that he despised fire. Having heaved a sigh, Carter turned the board and skidded to a halt in front of the dark entrance. He stepped off his board and kicked it up into his free hand, before proceeding to walk into the building, where he imagined that the others were waiting for him to return with their breakfast.

"Keith, Neris!" he yelled, the darkness in the large hall allowing his voice to carry and echo throughout the entire building. "I bought some food for us, so come and get it." He dropped the bag onto a pile of concrete slabs gathered from various areas of the building and turned into a make-shift table, then exhaled a deep sigh and moved to a wall not too far way, pressing his back against it and sliding down until he was sitting on the floor. He brought his knees up to his chest and rested his forearms on them, keeping his head up so that he'd notice if someone entered the room. Patiently, he waited for them to turn up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Louie Orihara Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Image Getting up early in the morning was always a drag for Sei, but it was something he had to do in order to keep up with everyone else. He was more of a night person, just like his Spirits, he is strongest and night and more willing for the day ahead. Today was different, today he was headed over to visit Sei and most likely buy a few potions off of him. His potions was the best ever, it worked faster than medication and it tasted better too.

Sei and Louie had a Brother to Brother relationship, it was also the kind of relationship that Sei looked up to Louie, not only for what the mad did, but the man was smart, quick and very skilled. He has yet to see Louie fail in anything he does. It was truly amazing and everyone accepted him for it. Some where deep in Sei's heart he wondered why no one else could be more like this man.

The one thing that sucked about this morning was the weather. Sei's expression dropped even more and he had become sluggish. "Great.." He sighed itching the side of his head. Letting his hair fall out all over the place, though it was never messy even after bed. His reflection shined on the window as he stared out watching the lightening go off along with a loud 'Kaa boom'. He wore no shirt, that revealed all his tattoos and had baggy black pants on. He would have slept naked if it wasn't for the cold winter that was about to come. This also was a drag for him, sleeping with clothes on always felt uncomfortable to him.

I need caffeine. He thought to himself as he started to smell coffee being brewed up. Smells good. Forgetting to put a shirt on by getting distracted from the coffee smell. He headed down stairs and straight into the kitchen, pausing in the door way.

"You're up early." Henri murmured her words and started to blush as she spoke to Yvette. Those two never did really talk and when they did, it always made everyone around them feel just as awkward as they felt talking to one and another.

"Good morning Ladies." Sei's voice was gentle as he smiled tiredly at them. Leaning his body against the fame of the door with his arm up and his hand dangling into his hair that feel over his long neck and shoulders, hiding part of his tattoo. "Mind if I have a cup of that Yvette?" He nodded to the coffee that she was making. The smell was refreshing to him.

Yvette was Sei's partner from the very beginning when it came down the the battle field. They worked well together. Even during the time Keith had to work with them, he still needed her there. As much as he disliked depending on people, he sort of grew up with her so it was different an acceptation in a way.

Henri she was also something he could use for his kind of powers, but never has he tried. Though, she was a sweet girl, he had made a mistake in using someone bounded to the Earth. Keith was a Nature guy, to Sei it was sort of the same thing. And no matter how strong the two were, never was he going to make the mistake again. Besides, for him, the powers with the anything of the Earth, couldn't stretch the way he liked. It was too weak for him, he was use to more power. The Earth was too gentle and so was it's Nature.

He walked up to Henri and placed his hand on her head."You ladies are up awfully early. Couldn't sleep with the storm?" Though, from the looks of it.. His eyes slowly moved from Henri's face, directly to Yvette's eyes as if he was reading her like an open book. Yvette never slept. He smiled briefly, he wasn't about to press that on with her. Telling a women she looks like she needs sleep, is a death sentence.

The door bell started to ring, this put Sei on a bit of the defensive side. He dropped his hand from Henri's head and stepped back, moving his way to the door, staring out the peep hole. No one was there, who ever it was left it seemed. Probably just some kids playing ding dong ditch. He shook his head and headed back to the kitchen. "Kids"

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Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Drip, drip, drop. Water could be heard splattering onto the ground, falling from the cracks of the concrete ceiling. The place smelt disgusting and musky from the burnt wooden wall frames. Occasionally one could hear small pieces of wood detach and fall onto the mucky floor. Sometimes sediment would even fall from the ceiling leaving behind small, scattered holes where the sunlight would escape through. There were cracked windows, broken lights and a surplus of broken machinery. Sitting atop a pile of rubble stood a gaunt looking boy attempting to read a book in a small stream of sunlight. He'd try to shift the book around in an attempt to get the best angle, but it was impractical. What a foul place. This odor is quite repulsive. Keith rubbed his eyes then stretched his arms with a yawn. Laying his head back against the wall, he began to wonder when Carter would return. He felt rather bored. They'd been traveling together for a week only to settle into this dump. Too many priorities, not enough fun.

Keith shut his eyes with a smirk on his face while folding his arms behind his head. He felt himself about to doze off when he heard a pair of fluttering wings accompanied by buzzing. Still smirking, he glanced forward to find a ladybug landing soundly on his knee. Happily, he extended his finger for the ladybug to crawl on. Bringing the insect closer to his face, he began to speak in a foreign tongue that no book or mortal could ever have knowledge of. It was a native tongue unique to himself and the creatures of Ariss.

"Ladybugs don't belong in bleak, desolate buildings," Keith chuckled with amusement. "What brings you to my exquisite abode?"

"Oh my! I knew the rumors were true! You can hear us! No one would believe me, you see. I even began to have doubts so I came to see for myself," The ladybug squealed in a high pitched tone.

"Hm?" Keith snickered. "You ladybugs are such frivolous creatures. Care to hear me play a song? They call me Keith, King of The Forest!"

"Y-You're a king?" the red bug stuttered. "Forgive me your majesty, where are my manners? Though... what is a song?"

"Well of course I'm a king, what else would I be? And as for a song? Oh well it is a tune, an anthem, a ballad, a hymn! It is the very essence of us mortals that shapes our futures." Keith chanted with a clap. "What is your name, my humble bug?"

"Oh my!" the bug squeaked. "My name is Spruce, sir. Yes, it is Spruce."

Keith had a devious smile on his face. This splendid insect was in fact, adorable in his eyes. He fooled little Spruce into thinking he was a king! He felt himself chortle as he continued his little game. Tied to his belt was his wooden flute in which he always carried. It was an heirloom given to him a long time ago. Centuries ago, in fact. After a lifetime of practice, one could say he was a master at playing this flute amongst other things. The flute had an intricate design with tiny music notes carved into it. It was an item he had always treasured but never explained why. He brought the flute to his lips and softly spoke, "Now listen." And so he played a classical tune ever so elegantly. It was as if the flute was an extension of himself. When he finished, Spruce was clapping his tiny legs together with joy.

"How wonderful! How gracious! My King, I adore you!" Spruce exclaimed with smiles and giggles. "Oh! I must spread the news of how beautiful our King is!"

And there went the ladybug named Spruce. Keith could not help but chortle again at the naive red insect. He suddenly felt a yearning to feel fresh grass brush against his feet as he'd walk through a field. But this was a city, and they were in a deserted building with many tasks to complete of course. He disliked how dark it was inside, but just enough sunlight punctured through the building and it was spacious enough. Carter, Neris and himself would make this place into something splendid and luxurious! Though perhaps he was the only one who envisioned red satin carpets running down corridors coated with mahogany wood aligned with gold. When he heard loud footsteps and a clacking sound that vanished upon arrival which appeared to be a skateboard, his eyes darted towards the front of the building. He saw Carter entering while holding a bag of food that he then threw onto stacked concrete.

"Keith, Neris! I bought some food for us, so come and get it." he heard Carter echo.

Keith inhaled a deep breath before front flipping off the pile of rubble he was resting on. He landed soundly on the ground hardly making any noise. As always, he liked to make flashy appearances. With a sly smile, he strolled towards Carter while crossing his arms coming to a full stop a few feet away from him.

"Food you say? You arrived in such a prompt timely manner." Keith noted with a hint of sarcasm, implying Carter had been gone awhile. "What did you bring?"



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"You ladies are up awfully early. Couldn't sleep with the storm?"

Surprisingly, though really not that surprisingly, Henrietta grunted as Sei placed his hand softly on her head. She swatted his hand away feeling herself grow more irritated and began to clench her fists. While glancing at the floor she heard the door bell ring and she felt startled. Yet she felt a longing weld up inside her. Perhaps they're back! Which was of course her first thought. Though she was only left disappointed when she saw Sei shake his head and say, "Kids."

Henrietta felt that familiar frustration inside her again. She grabbed a stool to sit at the kitchen's island and dug her fists into her cheeks. She felt grumpy and began to have second thoughts of going outside during the storm. The lights were flickering here and there with intervals of lightning that made everything bright and seemingly white for a few brief seconds. Glancing at Yvette again, she couldn't help but notice her flustered expression. Okay Henri, you've got this. Just be calm. Be strong. Yes, strong... I haven't been strong enough and I must be now more than ever.

"Hey! Can I join you and Sei with a cup of coffee as well?" she grinned and forced herself to sit upright. "Strange storm we're having too... I was just about to go outside."

And then she heard another crack of lightning. For some reason this storm was beginning to make her feel uneasy. She glanced out the closest window then back towards Yvette. Then back towards the window, then Yvette again. Her suspicions began to rise again and she even arched her eyebrow without really thinking about it. But she forced herself to smile firmly again, hoping no one noticed her array of expressions in the past few minutes.

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Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Carter waited patiently for what seemed like a minute or so, fidgeting every now and then so that he wouldn't accidentally blend in to the dark shadow that the wall cast over him. Though Keith moved without making a single sound, the general darkness of the building meant that not much was hidden from him. Any major movement resulted in a series of hiss-like whispers that would've been completely inaudible to anyone but Carter, even to a Disciple. He glanced up as the shorter male dropped from one of the higher levels of the factory and proceeded to walk forward with one of those questionable expressions that caused Carter's right brow to rise up his forehead. He made no effort to shift his position as his teammate neared him, though his arms moved from his knees and fell loosely to his sides, and his expression managed to remain passive when all he wanted to do was return Keith's smile.

"Food you say? You arrived in such a prompt timely manner," the blonde commented. Carter hadn't even made an attempt to silence the scoff that escaped his throat as he picked up on the sarcasm that was practically dripping from Keith's lips. Carter's eyes found one of the broken windows on the far side of the factory and frowned at the miserable weather. It had been like that practically all morning, and it was only as he watched the rain that he realised how wet and uncomfortable he actually felt in his baggy sweater and shorts. He fought back a heavy sigh as Keith spoke once more, catching his attention. "What did you bring?" Carter eyed the bag, tilting his head to one side as he questioned why Keith couldn't simply have just opened the bag and looked for himself. Regardless, Carter pushed himself up off the wall and stepped into whatever small amount of light had survived the harsh weather and broke through the gloom of the factory.

"Just the basics," he replied, opening the large bag to reveal its contents to Keith. "I bought a few sandwiches. I couldn't remember what sort of food you liked, so I bought several kinds and you can have your pick." He continued to rummage through the bag without bothering to glance up at Keith. "There's... Turkey, cheese... ham... chicken and bacon. Those are all they had," he mumbled as he took each sandwich out individually and placed them on the concrete slabs. "Some bottles of water. A bit of fruit... Those won't last long though so you'll have to eat them quickly. Uh... I went to the shop across the street and picked up some bed sheets and blankets, but we may have to continue sleeping on whatever we can find until we can get some beds." Suddenly, an amused grin tugged at his lips and revealed his teeth. "Also, there's this," he said, pulling out a picture frame with an image of a field of daisies and also some nails. "I got this for you. I thought it was cute. Might brighten up the place, y'know, and it'll help if you maybe get a little homesick." As he spoke, he turned to the wall behind him and positioned the nail to hold the frame up. Without a hammer, he merely pressed his thumb against the end and pushed it into the wall, then stood back to admire his work.

It was then that he turned to Keith and flicked the end of his nose lightly, yet almost teasingly, and reached for the chicken and bacon sandwich; a personal favourite of his. Before tearing into the packet, he looked up at Keith and said: "By the way, where is Neris? Isn't she usually up by now?"


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Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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She was broken from her trance by hearing her name, and she was suddenly made reaware of time. She had wondered how long it would take before the others questioned where she was, even if such wonders had been abandoned as soon as she'd begun, though she hadn't expected it to be Carter to do so; but then again, he had taken it upon himself to provide for them, so it was quite possible he was changing his priorities somewhat. In any case, it was time for her to show herself, lest both of them thought she'd left and betrayed them in the night. She worried about it sometimes. There was no reason for her to think them above such thoughts.

Some of the catwalks had survived the fire, and while they were rusted and in some places had fallen down, it hadn't really dissuaded her from using them. She'd been seated where she current was for little under an hour, doing what little she could to make sure water didn't get into the factory. It wasn't fun work by any stretch of the imagination, but Neris was sure that her companions would prefer being, for the most part, dry. She stood, taking a good moment to get whatever rust had gotten onto her clothing -- black jeans and a thermal shirt of the same color, sleeves rolled up to her elbows, boots that were very clearly made several centuries earlier, and a light blue scarf that was draped around her neck and was obviously not being used for warmth -- and making her way to the stairs. "I am here," she announced, since the last thing she wanted to do was startle them with the sudden sound of her walking. Not fancying to yell to communicate, she continued in silence, making her way to them and very quickly grabbing the turkey sandwich. "I have been attempting to keep the rain out; the roof has more holes than it appears to."

The wrapper was gone relatively soon and she was biting into the sandwich; she wouldn't admit to the men near her how tiring such a process had been to her, especially given that she could tell that this storm was nowhere near natural. Food would help, she knew, and likely a nap would too, but she knew she would have to stay awake during the duration of the storm in case it got worse. She was about halfway through her sandwich when she realized that Carter was absolutely soaking wet, and she reached over, barely able to touch his shoulder, and began drawing the water from his clothes. She did it slowly, mostly for her own comfort, and while she did absorb some of it into herself, she directed most of it back into the storm. When she was done she went back to her sandwich and wondering whether either of her companions would have an objection to her eating more. She figured that was probably a question better left for when both of them were full.

"It would likely be best for us to remain here; this storm is not natural, and it is not of my doing." Neris had wondered the implications of such a thing, had wondered if this was the beginning of the war, but the storm had not held much malice, and she had a suspicion that this storm was more accident than war. Still, caution would probably be smart. Not that... well, she was mostly expecting such advice to fall on deaf ears. At least no one could fault her for trying.

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Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Keith could only grin at the sight of the picture. It did make him feel longing and think of the forest he'd always escape into. To his luck, that very forest was halfway between their current residence and their old one. Though it was still at least a half day's worth of travel to get to. It was fairly far, perhaps he'd go there once in awhile. He has many friends there that have been missing him. Around this building the most he could find were weeds that forced their way through the concrete floors. Not entirely surprising since the building has been abandoned for so long. The burnt remnants of the place would have provided some sort of fertilizing value. At least the wood ash would have provided some nutrients.

"I must say, how thoughtful of you Carter. As for Neris, I'm sure she is lounging around somewhere in this dazzling residence." Keith said coolly while turning his gaze to the sandwiches.

"I am here." he heard Neris announce as she emerged from the shadows. He watched her grabbed the turkey swiftly so he decided to choose the cheese. He had some qualms about eating meat at times since he was so deeply connected with animals, though meat was so delicious. "I have been attempting to keep the rain out; the roof has more holes than it appears to. It would likely be best for us to remain here; this storm is not natural, and it is not of my doing."

At Neris's statement, Keith then took notice of the bizarre storm. The lightning was consistent and pretty loud. He grabbed his chin and shut his eyes as if he already knew the cause of the weather. After five years of being gone and thought to be dead, their appearance left the other disciples in bewilderment. It was an interesting sight seeing all of their reactions. They had gone back to challenge their former friends. He'd never seen them so distressed, perhaps this storm was of Yvette's doing? The storm was so sudden. They would never suspect they had found their Goddess's ashes. As he pondered he stared at his palms while flexing them. He felt a great energy coursing through his veins and it felt... marvelous. Looking back up at the two he smirked while stating, "An unnatural storm? How very peculiar."

On that note, he took a few bites out of his sandwich. He'd forgotten how hungry he was. He was impressed by Carter's ambition to provide. Carter never seemed to waste time whereas Keith enjoyed being leisurely with everything he does. His ambition made him appreciate his comrade, though he had a desire to know what was really running through his mind. Glancing at Neris, he noticed how tired her eyes looked and how eagerly she ate her sandwich. Being a gentleman, he gestured for her to grab another. He wasn't interested in second helpings anyway.

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Carter was already biting into his sandwich by the time he'd fully acknowledged Keith's reply. "I must say, how thoughtful of you Carter. As for Neris, I'm sure she is lounging around somewhere in this dazzling residence." Carter merely nodded as a response without even processing the level of sarcasm he'd sensed during the second part of Keith's sentence, turning his attention back to his sandwich for what seemed like the longest time, though what could've only been a few seconds of silence. He hadn't allowed himself to smile at Keith for a second time, and once again donned a passive - yet somewhat grumpy - facial expression. Almost suddenly, caught in the middle of a bite, his head jerked upwards as he was informed of movement elsewhere in the factory, and then shortly afterwards he heard the words "I am here." His eyes found Neris as she approached and took a sandwich, then glanced briefly at Keith as he also took one, allowing himself a faint - barely even visible - smile which disappeared quicker than it had appeared in the first place.

"I have been attempting to keep the rain out; the roof has more holes than it appears to." Carter listened to Neris as she spoke, and almost choked on his sandwich when he heard that statement. "I wouldn't have thought it possible," he muttered, almost bitterly, though his eyes held the sheer amusement that his tone of voice and expression would never dare show. Regardless, he nodded appreciatively for the work that Neris had put into keeping the building dry, not that it mattered to Carter either way as he was already soaking. He tried his best to hide a harsh shudder that raked up his spine as a gust of wind came through the shatter window not too far from their position. Carter wasn't complaining though, he rarely ever did when it came to their living situations. A brief silence crept up between them like an unwelcome guest, and Carter stood perfectly still as he finished off the last bite of his sandwich. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that Neris' arm was moving in his direction and he had half a mind to back away from her warily.

Sensing his state of brief panic, the darkest depths of the factory, out of the reach of any light, called out to him and his head lifted upwards, staring at it as it reached out to him. Neris hadn't actually made contact with him yet, but he stood rigid for the longest time, until he felt the moisture leaving his clothes and his body, allowing it to loosen once more. In the exact same instance, the darkness was once again silent... He turned his head to Neris, unsure of exactly what to say other than: "Thank you." He left it at that, deciding that neither of them were really the type of exchange many words. "It would likely be best for us to remain here; this storm is not natural, and it is not of my doing." Carter nodded, offering nothing more to the conversation. Without even the slightest hint of hesitation, he focused once again on Keith, who appeared to be in some state of concentration. Carter's head tilted slightly, but he did not question the shorter male on his thoughts. He didn't really care.

As Keith spoke again, Carter moved away from the piled slabs and over to a window, where he discarded of the sandwich wrappers. He moved back again, but only briefly to grab an apple and a bottle of water, before sliding down the wall he'd been sitting near when Keith had first entered the room not long ago. He bit into the apple as he watched Keith gesture for Neris to take some more food, and watched the brief interaction between the two before he lost interest completely. "So, what, we're just going to stay here all day?" he questioned, sounding somewhat irritated. "And do what? Exchange pleasantries?" He allowed his head to rock back, resting it against the wall. He took another bite of the apple, then decided that he didn't want to sit down and lifted his entire weight back up again. He had his back to the others and he stared out of the window at the gloomy streets outside. They were practically in the middle of nowhere. He sighed.

He hated to admit it but, even after five years, he missed being surrounded by the other seven Disciples. He might not have enjoyed personally interacting with them, but just being in the same room as them was somewhat comforting; though this was back when he actually favoured friendship over most relationships. Now he had nothing. He felt nothing, towards anyone. Sure, he tolerated Neris and Keith, but he'd never imagined that they'd be the only ones who actually saw things the way he did. Most of all, he missed Henrietta. She was, without a doubt, the only person that he considered himself to be relatively close to back then. Some might've even called them 'friends'. Carter wasn't so sure anymore, but he often missed being able to rant to her when he needed to. Now he had the darkness. It was his only friend, his only real confidante left. As the thought entered his mind, he felt something wrap around his leg. He didn't even have to look down to know what it was. He was, of course, stood near enough to a dark corner that a shadowy arm was able to reach out and wrap a faint set of fingers around his ankle. He smiled.

Carter's eyes hadn't moved from the thunder storm, though he often visibly flinched when a flash of lightning shot across the sky. Then, almost suddenly, the rain stopped, the thunder had been silenced and instead of the occasional flash there was only a gloomy, grey sky to stare at. He turned his head to Keith, then to Neris, before staring outside once more. "How curious," he mumbled.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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For a brief moment Henrietta was distracted by Ace exiting the household and Sei preparing to see Louie. She had just finished cleaning up the mess she caused. She ignored Yvette's snarky comment and didn't bother apologizing. Everyone was acting so nonchalant yet their faces said otherwise. Feeling tired of beating around the bush and ignoring Sei's offer, she crossed her arms and directed her attention back to Yvette. "Did you find anything yet?" she blurted impatiently. However, she thought about it twice without even letting Yvette reply. "Never mind, don't even answer."

She then grabbed her bag and stormed out the house brushing past Sei without saying goodbye. She headed for the back where a large field awaited her and began to wonder where Ace had headed. But it no longer concerned her. She stomped her feet on the ground with each step looking for ground that wasn't moist and mushy from the storm. At last when she found a hard and somewhat dry spot she spread her feet apart and began to lift her arms, appearing to be lifting something heavy. While she flexed both her triceps and biceps, she lifted the solid Earth beneath her. It rose in a square shape becoming a small pillar. Inhaling a deep breath, she stepped back then punched the pillar she created repeatedly, sending shards of rock hundreds of feet away that would strike the trees then shatter into bits. With each punch she felt the adrenaline rush from her fists throughout her body. She finished off her exercise by lifting the remains of the pillar into the air, forcing her attention on the gravitational forces all around. At first she struggled feeling herself push past her limits as she altered the forces pushing against and bouncing off the rock. Then suddenly she lifted the rocks at least ten feet into the air but quickly dropped them to the ground. Sweating she felt herself fall back towards the ground from exhaustion. Laying flat she gazed into the sky as the sun began to emerge again amongst the clouds. Why am I so tired today? Oh... wait... it must be because I didn't get enough sleep. Shutting her eyes she felt her heart racing and heaved short breaths, but it wasn't long before her breath and heart rate steadied once more. What are we going to do?



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Glancing back at Carter then around the abandoned building, Keith broke the awkward silence in a more serious tone, "I have a proposal. I'm sure the others are preparing for our next encounter. We should also prepare."

On spur of the moment, he grinned and threw his hands into the air, "Perhaps we can joust?"

But then his eyes fell somber within seconds. He was torn between whether or not they should practice with each other or seek out the other disciples. He wondered what their motives would be. Then his thoughts fell on Sei. His best match when the disciples were together. Together they were practically an army, but Keith felt a strong desire to defeat his former comrade. He wished there were woods or some forest nearby where he could seek an animal companion that would carry him towards their old residence. He was still unaware the five disciples were even smart enough to move. It would be much faster than traveling on foot, but to his dismay there were hardly any greens and just the familiar gray concrete of the city.

"Let us plan our next move. We should practice or at least find jobs to refurbish this dreadful place. Quite frankly, I for one cannot stand this stench." Keith said with boredom. "It's also much too dark in here. Though I'm sure Carter doesn't mind."

He flashed Carter another look with a snicker. But his gaze fell as he felt his heart skip a beat and his vision fade for a brief second. He could have sworn he had felt this before. The strange desire to wring someone's neck. But the thought left his mind as quickly as it entered. Immediately he was silent and staring into space, his icy blue eyes appearing clouded for a long moment.

"I'm headed outside." he stated firmly and left Neris and Carter behind without another word.

The sun was starting to peak through the vanishing clouds even though there was a storm raging out here not even a minute ago. He only listened, hoping for some sign of life to appear. Even birds perhaps, but it was dead silent.

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Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Carter stood in complete silence for what seemed like the longest time. The shadows, by this point, had given up on Carter's ankle and were slithering their way back into the darkness of the corner. It was then that Keith broke the silence. "I have a proposal. I'm sure the others are preparing for our next encounter. We should also prepare." Carter turned slowly so that he was then facing the shorter male, his expression almost quizzical. He wouldn't have thought they'd needed to prepare after boosting their powers to such a level, but he did not offer anything to the conversation and instead listened to Keith regardless. "Perhaps we can joust?" In response, Carter almost barked a laugh and raised a brow at Keith's suggestion. "Sure... All we're missing is a few horses and some jousting sticks," he retorted, though his voice was low and the lack of response made Carter unsure where or not Keith had even heard it.

Carter's eyes focused warily on Keith's sudden change of expression and took only a few steps forward without speaking. He was, without a doubt, quite worried, though he tried not to let it show too much. The feeling of worry passed almost as quickly as it had came up. "Let us plan our next move. We should practice or at least find jobs to refurbish this dreadful place. Quite frankly, I for one cannot stand this stench." Carter nodded in agreement as his eyes scanned their surroundings. It really was a dreadful place to live in, but they barely had any money to share between them and so a home large enough for all three of them, and of course their individual needs, wasn't really within their means. They would simply just have to put up with living in squalor for just a while longer. Carter, for one, didn't mind the general darkness of the building - as was to be expected from the Disciple of Darkness - but they didn't even have any furniture and were forced to use concrete slabs as a coffee table. Carter's attention was drawn back to the conversation as Keith spoke up again. "It's also much too dark in here. Though I'm sure Carter doesn't mind." Carter merely offered a smirk in response, then looked around again. He could probably put up with the light. "Lights would be good... For you two. However, I'm keeping the basement of this place all to myself."

Mid-sentence, he noticed a questionable expression had painted itself on Keith's delicate features, and Carter grew somewhat worried again, because this time it was much more sinister. There was a sort of darkness that Carter saw in Keith's cloudy eyes. That's not good, he thought, not at all... There was a long silence and Carter had no idea how to break it, simply glancing at Neris with a concerned expression and a shrug before turning back to Keith. "I'm headed outside," the blonde suddenly stated, before leaving without a word. Carter was more confused than anything else, and such a feeling brought with it sudden surges of frustration - maybe even anger. He felt his fingers curl deeply into his palms as his fists tightened into balls. "What the hell was that?" he growled, aiming the question at no one in particular. He tried to calm himself down and, in failing to do so, only made himself more angry as a result. His entire body whirled around to face Neris. "Whatever just happened, I honestly couldn't care less," he muttered bitterly. "The training can wait, in all honesty, but we cannot continue living like this. Something needs to be done. However, we have a limited amount of money... As for supplies, there are some sheds and things out back that I'm guessing the fire didn't reach. I'm gonna go check them for supplies. See if you can clear away some of this crap, like the old machines and stuff. I'll be back shortly."

Carter exited the same way that Keith had, passing him without sparing a glance, and walked around the corner to the back of the building where the sheds were hidden. They weren't the best-looking sheds he'd seen in his time, but they weren't charred either so they'd have to do. Small though they were, they might've had some decent supplies and tools that would allow them to build furniture. Carter approached the one to the far left, out of the three that stood next to each other, and analysed the door in close detail. It's locked, he thought to himself, then lifted his leg and rammed his shoe into the wood - not too hard - to test its sturdiness. A few seconds later, he kicked it open and fought a smile as he watched the door fly from its hinges and onto the concrete floor of the shed. It was dark in the shed as it had no working light source, but that made no difference to Carter. There were shelves either side of the room, and it stretched for at least 4-5 metres from one end to the other. His eyes scanned the shelves as he walked the distance of the shed, grunting with approval every time he noticed something they could use.

After a few minutes of walking up and down the shed, he bumped into something - or someone - and released a silent gasp as he jumped back to see that there was no one in the shed with him. Carter's eyes narrowed as he thought through all the possible explanations. Perhaps his mind had simply been playing tricks with him? Carter scoffed at the mere thought. Carter's mind, although scattered and rash at times, was a predominantly well-trained and obedient thing, as it needed to be to handle the illusions he would often cast over his enemies. It would certainly not, under any circumstances, ever play tricks with him. It was only then that he realised how unusually silent his surroundings were, when they ought to have been filled with the incoherent whispers of the darkness. Carter exited the shed promptly, and merely stood there for a few moments, utterly confused, before making his way back to the main hall of the factory. "There's... uh, yeah, there's supplies. Some wood, some tools. Nothing extravagant." His voice trailed, as did his eyes, before he focused once more on Neris' form. "You know anything about building?" he questioned, fighting to keep his voice above a mere mumble.

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There was something... there was something not quite right here, and she didn't even know how to begin analyzing it. She'd stayed silent while the boys had talked, more focused on the ham sandwich she'd picked up as soon as Keith had motioned for her to help herself, and even if she didn't even particularly like ham it gave her something to do while she thought. They needed to do something, sure, but there were very little options as far as to what; training could potentially attract attention, despite it being a good idea, and she was sure anyone would notice them fixing up the building, but it needed to be done if they were to be staying here. They would need to figure out a way to get food and the other things they would need, which would of course take money, and she doubted any of them had thought to bring it along when they had fled. And even if they did have some form of currency, they still had to watch themselves, because going out into public could be a good way for the other Disciples to find them. They were currently more or less stuck in a storm that would last for who knew how long, with very few options, and none of them overly appealing.

So yeah, Neris wasn't going to interrupt to bring overly grim tidings. They came anyway though, or at least something similar happened; she wasn't sure what, but she could tell something was going on with Keith, and it seemed Carter at least knew or guessed, given his following outburst. She didn't dare talk then, not knowing how to calm the generally not-calm Disciple, and decided letting him be would be the best option... even if that meant he was going outside, and that she would more than likely have to dry him again when he got back. Did neither of them realize that it was nearly winter? Did neither of them realize that rain would be cold? They were immortal, but she was pretty sure hypothermia still wouldn't be fun.

Still, she'd let them go, and she honestly doubted she'd have the ability to stop them. She finished the sandwich, feeling much better (at least for the time being; she would have to make sure what she'd done was holding up, and she would likely have to expend more energy this day), though she did pick up one of the apples. If she was going to use the energy, it wouldn't hurt to consume more, though for the moment she looked around the factory and tossed the fruit in her hand. There had to be something they could do with this machinery, but she had no idea. Turning them into traps would be her idea, but it was easier said than done, and in any case they may not work. They could possibly salvage things from them, but in retrospect, this place had probably been picked clean of everything useful ages ago. All that remained was the shells of machines, and even then they were rusted and no longer operational. And large, in the case of some of them, and she wondered if it would be easier to leave them. Those she could leave, she decided, and she began moving the smaller ones towards one of the entrances. Carter did mention those sheds; perhaps, as they used things from the sheds, they could move the machinery in them? That way, at least, they would be hidden.

She bit into the apple right as he started talking; she hadn't heard him enter the building again, and she very nearly jumped out of her skin. But then she heard the peculiar tone in his voice -- so different from the anger that had been there a relatively short time ago -- and she turned to look at him. His stare was alarming, and she almost felt self conscious. Her own stare was very obviously questioning, and her brows even furrowed slightly. "Nothing about building, I'm afraid. I hadn't thought the knowledge would ever be necessary." She waited a few seconds, deciding whether she wanted to ask or if she wanted to just leave things be, but finally she made up her mind. "Are you ok?"

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Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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At first, Henrietta felt a bit surprised at Ace's question. How am I doing? Tch. With a bit of thought, Henrietta began to glare at seemingly nothing far into the distance. Her lips were pursed as she shuffled through the things that had been bothering her. When the three disciples returned it was like they came back from the dead. She remembered how she began to cry uncontrollably at their appearance... only to lead to more disappointment and hurt.

"See, we're here on unfinished business," Keith announced with that provoking shrewd smile of his.

Henrietta's astonished tears immediately stopped, she felt skeptical. Something about them was just... off. With a furious glare she retorted, "What the hell are you talking about?"


Snapping out of her memory she recalled her wrath, the rage, the sort of frenzy she's found herself in for the past week. But it was time for her to stop weeping and start doing. Through gritted teeth she finally responded with, "I just know that when I see them, my fists will speak for themselves." And then she briefly paused before adding, "They're going to pay for hurting all of us. For betraying us."

It was then where she felt a strange wind rush around herself and Ace. Strange, gentle and unnatural. Almost spinning around them then trailing off back into the world. A grin was seen spreading across her face, she knew it was Iraa. "We should go back inside Ace. Everyone's up now. I think Sei and Yvette are going to see Louie. Maybe Louie can give us ideas? I'd go but I don't want to argue with Yvette." she stated finally thinking clearly and sharp again. "Something about those three wasn't right. I sensed it. Oh and by the way... thanks for the hand."

She lifted her previously burnt hand clenching and releasing the muscles with a new determined look on her face. It was time to progress with the situation rather than continue crying. They all needed to figure out what happened and what the hell was going on. It was true they were left bewildered amongst other things. Sure those three may have had Keith's smarts, but she believed that if they worked together they'd be able to solve this mess. And so she quickly rose to her feet extending her hand to help Ace back up. She'd protect her family no matter what. She'd save the others and end this mess.



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There was this strange unease stirring inside of Keith. Like an unsettled ocean that raged inside of him. He couldn't help but notice how above he felt over nature as of late. But he quickly shook that thought away refusing to acknowledge it. The cool air that pelted his face like darts was refreshing. It was starting to get chilly which indicated that winter was approaching. After a couple of minutes the unease seemed to have vanquished and Keith felt like his normal self again. This left him scratching his head, even he couldn't figure it out. A thought occurred to him. This place has been abandoned for years, most things are charred and he was certain ash had coated most of the area at one point from the fire. The concrete, solid ground was cracking due to weeds poking themselves through including the grass.

"There must be seeds underneath." he muttered to himself observing the area. The thought of the others disapproving of his next trick did trickle into his mind, but he decided it was worth it. After watching Carter return back inside the building, he came to his knees and placed both of his hands flat onto the ground. He felt the struggling life forms somewhere deep inside. Perhaps this would be his own personal training. He had never pulled such a thing off before. Though he was confident the ashes' power now gave him the ability to do so. His energy pulsated from his hands into the ground and rippled throughout the perimeter. Patches of grass began to force the concrete to rip open and a variety of flowers rose from the cracks. He forced the weeds to dissipate and made the flowers more vibrant in color. Soon there was a decent amount of plant life surrounding himself and the building. Brushing the dirt off his hands, he grinned feeling impressed with his work and strangely excited that he succeeded in doing this. "Much better." he sighed as he turned around to follow Carter back inside.

Before he said anything, he heard Neris asking Carter, "Are you ok?" Peaking his curiosity he looked at Carter seeing him a bit... out of sort? His icy blue gaze was fixated on Carter observing him up and down, inside and out. He did not say anything, he wasn't even sure if they noticed his presence yet. But he was studying Carter's body language and pondering hard. It reminded him of his previous unease. He held his chin as he skimmed through all the books he's read in his mind. Especially the psychology ones. However, it seemed as though his efforts to come to a conclusion were useless. This left his mind blank and annoyed that he could not figure it out.

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Carter's eyes would continuously drift away from Neris, only for them to snap back towards her before he even had time to focus. He barely even noticed her expression shift in the slightest of ways. He was distracted; it was obvious. That encounter had his thoughts racing wildly in his mind, but any time he felt those unwelcome creep their way into his mind, he discarded them just as quick. "Nothing about building, I'm afraid. I hadn't thought the knowledge would ever be necessary." The sound of Neris' voice was enough to bring his focus back, most likely permanently, but he couldn't be sure. He nodded in response, though he hadn't bothered to hide the disappointment in his general expression. If he'd had the time, he would've tried to find somewhere better for the Disciples to stay... Somewhere near to a forest with working lights and actual furniture. He never would've admitted it but even he had to realise that he'd made a major mistake with the factory. Fighting back a sigh, Carter raised his eyes once more.

The whispers grew in volume as they informed him of Keith's entrance. He didn't look in that direction, he didn't need to. His focus was mainly on the darkness. From a young age, Carter had always found refuge and comfort in the darkness, but it was becoming increasingly more annoying as time went on. So much so that it never actually stopped talking to him, not for a second. Maybe that's why he found the silence in the shed somewhat odd? Was he just overreacting? He realised he had allowed his thoughts to wander once again, and refocused just in time to hear Neris' question. "Are you ok?" The question hit him like a brick to the face. A few seconds passed as Carter stared endlessly at Neris, almost looking insulted. He straightened out his back, only just realised that his shoulders were sagging more and more with each thought, each possibility. "I'm fine," he answered, composing himself. He even managed to drag the corners of his lips upwards into a smile. A marvellous performance, he had to admit. "Yeah, sorry," he said, laughing a little awkwardly. "I just got a little distracted."

He exhaled somewhat deeply, before crossing his arms to brace against the cold and allowing his eyes to scan the room. Some of the smaller machinery had been moved towards the door. He turned to Neris once more. "That's a shame," he said in response to her previous statement. "But it can't be helped, I guess." And then, without saying much else, Carter moved over to where he'd previously left his water bottle near the wall. He picked it up and took a quick sip; as his arm lifted the bottle, he noticed that it was trembling, very faintly. He lowered the bottle again before the others had the time to notice, and turned to Keith. "Say, you don't happen to have ready any books on construction, have you?" he asked, somewhat hopefully. If worse came to worst and nobody knew anything decent about building, Carter guessed he could figure it out himself. How hard could it be to build a bed? He'd seem them before, lay on them. If he could just remember what they looked like, how the pieces fitted together. He'd really rather not though. He kept his gaze steadily on Keith, not allowing his thoughts to wander much.

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Keith pondered at Carter's question for a brief moment. Judging by the materials, it'd have probably been much easier to mold into something useful if only they had Disciple of Fire's aid. Thinking of Alice made him frown. Enough. I mustn't think of Alice. She... she is dead to me now. Keith was constantly trying to convince himself that he no longer cared nor needed Alice. That he hated her along with the others. Hate... is such a strong word. He was losing focus but once he noticed he finally answered, "Yes, actually. I have read a few. If the shed happens to contain some nails, a drill, a hack saw, and maybe even wood boards or sheets of metal we'd be able to build bed frames. Then we can decide which selection of these cushioned mattresses we have to place on the frames."

Chuckling at himself he walked over towards the scraps of metal that Neris gathered. Metal frames were more uncomfortable in his opinion. But they did not really have a choice. He shifted through the pieces looking for support beams. Most of the metal was just shells of old machinery. When he finally found a support beam he seemed to gleam as he pulled it out of the pile. It was melted at the ends and gloomily drooped downwards, but he was certain they could make good use of it. They just needed a hack saw. Placing the metal support beam in front of the two, Keith then instructed, "If we can find more support beams like this, maybe thinner, we can build bed frames."

If only he had some sheet of paper he could draw out some blueprints for them to follow. Though judging by the looks of it there was nothing around he could write on, let alone something he could even write with. His mood was significantly better now that he brought the plants to life all around the building. He could hear their chatter as their leaves moved back and forth with the cool breeze. They were always so innocent and constantly gossiped about the world around them and how strange humans were. Listening to their voices he understood they were not fond of this place. Keith would explain to them later how it'd become much better. His next goal was to find birds of some sort. He planned to ask if they'd be willing to go on a small mission for him back towards their old residence. Somehow Keith felt it'd be wise to go back and 'see' what the other disciples were doing. His intuition was nagging at him to check. Wild life was his second pair of eyes and ears. Birds could travel must faster than him and also spread the word. Yet for some reason he could not even find a crow lingering in the area. The new plant life was good news for the three however. It was bound to attract some kind of animal life. A chain reaction, in fact, that Keith eagerly waited for.

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Neris felt her brows furrowing more the longer Carter hadn't answered, and she was surprised they hadn't somehow fallen off her face by the time he did. But since he wasn't going to tell her anything -- not that she thought he would, since they had never been close in any meaning of the word -- then she wouldn't press, though she felt she should. If something was wrong, both Keith and herself had a right to know; after all, they were relying on him just as much as he was on them. She spent a few minutes watching however, even as Keith began looking through the scrap, and finally she drew her eyes away. There was no need to be suspicious... was there? Carter did not seem the type to hide his loyalties, but...

She dragged herself out of that thought, nearly angry with herself that she almost went down it, and finally cleared her throat. "You two get the first beds. Worst comes to worst, I'll only require a pillow. I won't freeze to death in the night." Oh, how she would love a bed, but it was only a soft place to lay for her; the blankets only served to bother her, and it wouldn't be a good idea to have someone who preferred the cold -- to the point of freezing the walls and floor of her bedroom in summer -- wrapped in blankets. Or, at least, she hardly saw the point of it. "And this isn't up for debate."

There was a suspicion that neither of them would try to debate it, but in case there was she wanted to discourage it before any such debate began. After all the fighting recently, she wouldn't be able to take another one, and she would likely cave in the second anyone mentioned a word in protest. Or, at least, she would graciously accept that they were right (even if they weren't). There was a dripping noise coming from somewhere, and she shot a look to the ceiling, wondering whether it was worth the effort to go seal the roof with ice now or wait until a little later. She looked at Keith again, tilted her head, and thought for a moment. "Keith, theoretically, would it be possible to figure out a way to patch the roof with living plants?"

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As Keith thought about the question, Carter took a few moments to pace the factory floor, going from window to window for no apparent reason other than he needed to be rid of some excess energy. Noticing that the blonde hadn't spoken for a few moments, Carter spun on his heel and sighed, now facing Keith with an impatient look on his ever-scowling face. "Yes, actually. I have read a few. If the shed happens to contain some nails, a drill, a hack saw, and maybe even wood boards or sheets of metal we'd be able to build bed frames. Then we can decide which selection of these cushioned mattresses we have to place on the frames." As Carter listened carefully, he nodded his head very lightly and his expression softened, even if only by a fraction. "I'm pretty sure the shed contains most, if not all of those things." He went back over the images of the shelves in his mind, trying to remember the equipment he'd seen at that time, but everything seemed like a blur of shapes to him now. "I only looked in the first one, so there may be more in the other two..." he added, his voice low. He made a point to himself then and there that he'd not be the one going back to that shed, then took another moment to scowl at himself for being so weak and afraid.

Carter watched in absolute silence as Keith rummaged through the pile that Neris had created out of old, burnt machinery. He would've liked to help in some way, but he had no idea what Keith was even searching for, so he simply walked over to where Neris was stood, keeping some sort of reasonable distance between the two of them. It was then that he took the time to focus on the item that Keith had placed in front of them. A support beam, melted at the ends but probably still useable. He visible smiled, his eyes moving upwards to Keith. "If we can find more support beams like this, maybe thinner, we can build bed frames." Carter moved forward, picking it up to examine it a little more closely. He flicked the melted end and mumbled to himself, then turned his head to Keith. "Alright, if you go and grab whatever tools we'll need from the sheds, I'll go and search for some more support beams. No doubt there's a few more lying around here..."

He turned his head as he heard Neris' voice behind him. "You two get the first beds. Worst comes to worst, I'll only require a pillow. I won't freeze to death in the night." Carter listened and, for a moment, frowned at the comment. That's ridiculous, he thought to himself, and his lips moved to form the words but he was interrupted before any sound left them; "And this isn't up for debate." Carter had half a mind to growl something in her direction for knowing him all too well for his liking, but ended up simply muttering under his breath and sounding like a grumpy child who'd been outsmarted by an adult. Saving himself the bother, he left the conversation behind as quickly as he possibly could and stalked off to find more support beams not too far from the previous pile of scrap, so that he could still hear their conversation.

Carter bent down and began moving the predominantly burnt pieces of scrap to one side, his eyes mainly searching for the needed support beams. "Keith, theoretically, would it be possible to figure out a way to patch the roof with living plants?" Neris asked from behind him and he practically barked a laugh in response, though he knew the question was certainly not directed at him. He turned only his head, wearing a quizzical smirk. "It'd probably be easier just to board up the holes, don't you think?" he questioned, rhetorically of course, before turning back to his pile. He searched for a moment more, having found a support beam that he then tossed towards the previous. It was much less charred but much thinner than the last. Carter hadn't even noticed that he was stood right in the cover of shadows and wondered briefly if the other two could even see him, but didn't worry too much as he searched. It was then that another support beam was tossed in his direction, not coming from Neris or Keith. He looked up and glared into the empty space beside him, watching the beam roll gently and stop at his foot. "I can do it myself," he roared, then picked up the beam and threw it back.

Carter walked grumpily out of the shadows, arms crossed and lips forming a pout. "Bloody annoying, they are." Out of seemingly nowhere, a support beam flew at his head and bounced uselessly off it. He spun on his heel and stuck a middle finger up at the patch of darkness, then picked the beam up and placed it with the others. "Got three so far," he mumbled, "just another five to go." Without explaining, Carter walked off again and continued searching. As he searched, he thought about his current situation. Before the ashes, before Carter had even met the other Disciples, the darkness had always been his safe place. It was where he went to think, to breathe. He learned to live and thrive within it, and the darkness responded to him in the same way. They really were one in the same, as much as he might've hated to admit that to others. It had not liked the other Disciples one bit and would often whisper to him to harm them, though he never listened. As was to be expected, it was more than thrilled when the groups split, but still didn't act out too much. Then, after they boosted their powers using the ashes, the darkness began to misbehave, in a very weird way. It was something he'd never experienced before, and he could only imagine how much worse it was going to get. Carter sighed to himself as a hand reached out to touch his own, trying his best to ignore it.

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Keith fixed his gaze on Carter who was seemingly growing more agitated and restless by the moment. His impatience peaked Keith's interest as he watched Carter observe the support beam he had laid out on the floor. He continued to watch Carter move about noticing how focused yet distracted he was. Though Carter had finally broke his train of thought when he said, "Alright, if you go and grab whatever tools we'll need from the sheds, I'll go and search for some more support beams. No doubt there's a few more lying around here..."

Smirking as usual, Keith shrugged with a nod silently agreeing to grab the tools before looking at Neris. She was also staring at Carter though with a lot more concern than Keith did. This only confirmed his suspicions and that he was not over analyzing. Carter was acting a bit strange and Keith always trusted Neris's judgement. She was the only other disciple who saw things closest to the way he does. "You two get the first beds. Worst comes to worst, I'll only require a pillow. I won't freeze to death in the night." she affirmed. Being the gentleman that he is, or at least 'tries' to be, he was about to object when she cut him off not even allowing him or Carter to speak. "And this isn't up for debate."

Oh Neris, always acting so noble and dignified. He was grinning at Neris as he thought of her selfless actions. He found it quite admirable but then suddenly he felt annoyance. Acknowledging his mood swing he thought of how strange it was but decided to think nothing of it. "I'll be checking the shed then." he stated as he exited. He felt so exhilarated by all the fresh greens surrounding him. A few flies and a single bee had already made their way towards the newly blossomed flowers. He gracefully walked towards the sheds beside the building and it appeared he was almost dancing as he walked. When he reached the shed it had smelt of mold and rust. "How repulsive..." he grimaced as he pinched his nose to mask the smell. Upon entering, he immediately saw tools all around the shed hanging up in three separate rows. It didn't take him long to spot a drill, hack saw and hammer. He figured the hammer would come in handy though it was not necessary. Next he glanced around for any spare nails. There were a few on the floor and on two smaller separate tables facing opposite each other. However, it appeared there were no metal sheets or wood boards as he hoped. He placed the nails in his pocket and grabbed the three tools making for an exit. He was humming to himself as he enjoyed the short walk from the shed to the factory when he suddenly noticed movement in the far corner of his eye. He whirled around glaring with fearsome, piercing eyes but saw nothing. All the smiles and frivolous faces instantly vanished and a serious Keith had taken control. He kept darting his eyes in all the corners and shadows but did not see anything.

"Must have been my imagination..." he mumbled still glancing around as he made his way back into the factory. But before he entered he heard something or someone behind him. He turned quickly still glaring. This time he heard them. All his alarms were raised and his senses were heightened. Cautiously, he backed himself into the factory before turning his back again. Was someone watching them? Anxiously he headed back towards Neris and placed the tools down still glancing around and not even daring to make a sound. "Keith, theoretically, would it be possible to figure out a way to patch the roof with living plants?"

Keith quickly focused on Neris briefly considering her question. But before he opened his mouth Carter had interrupted, "It'd probably be easier just to board up the holes, don't you think?" Feeling relieved that Carter was still there and heading back towards them, he was startled by what appeared to be a metal beam being flung at Carter's head. Yet Carter seemed to acknowledge something that had thrown it but nothing was there except darkness. Arching his brow he couldn't help but ask, "Carter... with whom are you speaking with?" The three of them were safe at least, but perhaps they needed to be more careful. Focusing his attention back on Neris's question he answered, "I suppose I could but boarding up the holes would be more efficient. I can make plant vines cover them in the mean time."

And then he heard fluttering wings with a soft buzz. Looking upwards he saw his newly made friend from before, Spruce, the ladybug. Spruce landed on his shoulder while buzzing some more as it seemingly stared directly into Keith's face. "My King! I had just happened to be flying by looking for the other ladybugs when I saw men watching you and this place!" At this his face dropped. The others could not hear what the ladybug was saying except for him. People somehow knew they were there and they were watching them. In response he spoke in the special language the others could not understand and thanked Spruce for the information. Then he flashed Neris and Carter an alarming stare. "We're being watched," he whispered. "There are people outside hiding in the shadows."

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Carter grinned to himself as he pulled out the fourth support beam from the pile of scrap metal he'd crouched near, then turned his head when Keith spoke to him. "Carter... with whom are you speaking with?" He almost snarled at the question, but held his lips as firm as possible in protest. Carter wasn't angry, not in the slightest; his seemingly peeved reaction stemmed mainly from not knowing how to respond appropriately. Then again, Keith wasn't so different... He spoke to nature, Carter spoke to the darkness. Carter glanced briefly at the wall. Sometimes he wished he'd had Keith's power. Nature seemed much more pleasant than darkness by a mile. In response to this thought, the darkness hissed at him and Carter moved rather quickly. He straightened his back as he stood, having already picked up the support beam, then walked slowly over to Keith. Not moving his gaze from Keith's, Carter lazily dropped the support beam with the others. "Mind your own business, Keith," he drawled, then stalked off again without sticking around to see Keith's reaction, not that it would've been anything other than pure amusement. When Neris and Keith resumed whatever conservation they were having previously, Carter crouched again and began sorting through the rubble.

Quite some time had passed and Carter wasn't even aware of how much conversation he'd missed while he wasn't paying attention. He'd sorted through every inch of the pile he'd kneeled next to but he found nothing useable. Suddenly, something flew at him and his head jerked back to avoid a shadowy fist the struck out in front of him. His eyes narrowed, more out of confusion than anything else. "What the-" he was cut off as something whispered in his ear, but he shook his head and refused to listen. "Cut it out, alright? I've had enough of you lot," he snapped. "We're being watched," he heard Keith whisper, and Carter's attention was immediately drawn to the windows as he stood up and moved towards the rest of the group. "There are people outside hiding in the shadows." Carter practically roared in response. "Impossible!" he snapped, "if they were in the shadows then I would've... I would've noticed!" Again, he spun on his heel and paced the factory floor, his eyes darting from window to window. Suddenly, a voice whispered "I warned you," and Carter's body went rigid.

Never before, in his entire time of existence, had the darkness ever spoken to him in the mortal tongue. It understood the language but did not speak it, just as Carter understood the darkness' incoherent whispers but did not speak the tongue in return. Carter's body relaxed as he processed the idea, then nodded and watched the windows again. "Now that they've been found out and lost the element of surprise," Carter continued in a low whisper as he moved towards Keith and Neris, "they'll either run and tell others where we're hiding, or they'll foolishly try to attack... Either way, we need to get rid of them." He shot a look at the two of them, knowing they'd probably rather not fight the mortals; Carter had no such qualms, especially when they were plainly asking for it.

Without saying anything else, Carter walked over to the series of rooms on the opposite end of the factory floor that had possibly once been offices of some sort. The one to the far right was Carter's, as he'd so boldly proclaimed when they first entered the factory. It had no furniture and was merely an empty room with charred wallpaper. He'd put all of his suitcases and belongings in this room. On the far side, there was a large wooden chest. The sight brought a smile to his thin lips. He stalked over to it and lifted the top, revealing a series of baseball bats and other blunt weapons. He chewed on his bottom lip as he thought about the choice he was going to have to make. He guessed that the mortals were travelling in a small group, probably around 3 or 4, to avoid being easily detected. Regardless of their size, they were weak and Carter certainly didn't want to kill them. He felt a liquid trickle down his chin and only then realised how hard he was biting on his lip. Cursing, he quickly grabbed a plain wooden bat and wiped the blood with his sleeve as he slammed the chest shut and walked outside to join the others. "What's the plan?" he asked, excitedly clutching the bat in his right hand and testing the weight of it while waiting for a response.

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Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Keith couldn't help but snicker at how excited Carter was. He happened to agree it was slightly thrilling and exciting. It's been so long since he was able to brawl with anyone. Though mortals were not much of a match. He then thought of a splendid idea.

"How about I go out there as bait? You two sneak out and wait until they appear. Oh how I do love when mortals try to fight us." Keith grinned while clapping his hands. From a stranger's point of view, Keith would be an easy target. He was small and scrawny and happened to look too 'innocent.' The art of deception was his favorite and he used his appearance to his own advantage. Though he was much physically weaker than the others, a few hits from mortals really would not affect him. He was still much stronger than an average human as to be expected. Normally, Keith would never harm a human. He disliked fighting. Though lately he found himself craving a fight and hurting someone. The thought of forcing someone to bow to him was mesmerizing. He felt himself tensing his hands as he considered it. But then he'd snap out of his thoughts feeling baffled. What were these strange violent desires that kept creeping their way into his mind? With one last smile he decided one last thing, "Afterwards, I think I will go out searching for our five little friends myself. I'm much too bored here in this deserted... palace."

He chuckled at himself sounding more cocky by the second. This factory was their palace, and them the rulers of it! What the hell am I thinking... I want to fight. I want to cause pain! His face kept appearing to be a mixture of unruly smiles or expressions of fear. He turned away as soon as he could feeling an unsettling rage. It was throwing off his balance. He wanted to toy with the others and see them desperately try to figure out what their advantage over them is. He wasn't thinking straight. Perhaps he should tell Carter and Neris? No, he'd just go outside. That's the better choice. Why should he hold back from his powers? He was stronger and he'd make sure the world would knew it.

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Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Having stood testing his bat for a few seconds, Carter grinned appreciatively without sparing too many glances in Keith and Neris' direction. It was a simple thing, his wooden bat, but it got the job done when he needed it the most. Every time he glanced down at his fist curling around the wrapped portion of the bat, images of a thorough bludgeoning flashed through his mind and sent shivers down his spine. He saw it then covered in mortal blood, scuffed and maybe even splintered in places. Almost as soon as the thought entered his mind, he shook it out. He didn't want to kill them, of course he didn't... But then again... Do I? he thought to himself, managing to keep all evidence of these thoughts out of his expression, though he fought hard against his brows as they tried to force themselves into a frown.

"How about I go out there as bait? You two sneak out and wait until they appear. Oh how I do love when mortals try to fight us," he'd heard Keith say, and it was only then that Carter allowed his gaze to fix steadily on Keith's. Carter felt a wide mixture of emotions in those few seconds. On one hand, he was merely relieved that he wasn't the only one who wanted to deal some damage to those trespassing little wretches, though on the other hand, he was a little concerned for Keith's safety. If they had guns, it would only take one shot and it'd all be over. He doubted even Neris would be able to calm his rage if anything were to happen to Keith, especially if Carter had willingly let him put himself in that situation just for a bit of fun. "Okay, Keith, but... be careful," he mumbled, keeping his voice low though easily audible. A few moments passed. "Afterwards, I think I will go out searching for our five little friends myself. I'm much too bored here in this deserted... palace." Carter frowned, allowing his lip to momentarily move forward into a pout. "Hey... it was either this or a rat-infested sewer, so I'd count your blessings and be a little grateful if I were you," he muttered. "Now go on," he continued, lowering his voice into a whisper, "get outside. I'll cover you from the shadows... And, Keith, don't do anything stupid with the other five just yet, we'll talk about that afterwards."

Silently, Carter moved over to the far wall, staying clear of the windows and, without saying anything to the other two, blended into the darkness that the wall provided and then stalked through it towards the door. Without moving from the shadows, he managed to crane his neck to the point where he could see outside without actually having to go out. His fist tightened around the bat and he bent his knees, moving into a position most convenient for darting out quickly. His eyes were fixed on Keith while his ears focused on the whispered warnings that the darkness provided. His smile darkened considerably.

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Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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"Hey... it was either this or a rat-infested sewer, so I'd count your blessings and be a little grateful if I were you." Keith chuckled at Carter's remark. He instinctively tried to push Carter's buttons further by snarkily replying, "If I really wanted to I could just sleep in the wilderness or force the others out of their home. But what fun would that be?" With a sly grin he turned his back as he began to step outside. It was early afternoon by now and the sun was preparing to set very soon. Keith always hated the shorter days of winter, it was rather depressing for him. "Now go on, get outside. I'll cover you from the shadows... And, Keith, don't do anything stupid with the other five just yet, we'll talk about that afterwards." He only shrugged when really he ached to stretch his limbs and do damage. He looked at Carter and suddenly made the most innocent of faces and his eyes completely softened. It was that gaze he'd make that always seemed to make Carter and others either really uncomfortable or much too comfortable.

He looked out of place in the rugged landscape as he stepped outside carefully. Each time he stepped on grass or near the newly blossomed flowers he'd slightly move his fingers backwards and forwards making the vines extend from the ground and follow him closely. The movements were very silent and unnoticeable. Though he'd expect Neris and Carter to notice his swift movements. Glancing around, he didn't see much. So he listened carefully as he pretended to play with the rubble on the ground and kicking dirt behind him. The vines continued to grow and that's when he heard movement behind a slightly eroded brick wall that covered a stairwell that led into another abandoned building. There was an empty can of soda nearby, so he kicked it towards their direction pretending to play a game. He skipped after it when someone leaped towards him from behind the wall and a few others emerged out in the open in different locations. The man was holding a crowbar that he struck at Keith. He was fast, but Keith was faster. Swiftly he dodged the attack with a smirk on his face as he directed the vines to wrap around the man's legs snaring him. He started to shout and the more he struggled the tighter the vines gripped his legs. Keith then jumped a fair height onto the brick wall the man was hiding behind with his mind racing. Two... three... four other men were out in the opening each armed with different weapons including two guns that were being pointed at him. The adrenaline was coursing through his veins as he hopped off the wall and hid behind the stairwell for cover hearing the bullets be shot shortly after.

Waiting for Carter to make a move, he quickly glanced from beside the wall to see the men running towards him. He began to grit his teeth as he thrust his hands forward as the vines moved with his hands and they whipped a metal pipe from one man's grip and snared one of the gunman. Unfortunately he could not get a clear view for another attack and did not have enough plants to work with either. The gunman kept shooting at him leaving him with no choice but to cover his head for protection. He would not be able to move from his position and further be of help until their aim was distracted.

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As Yvette rambled on, Henrietta started to consider her initial suggestion, "Do... do you think we could gear this, stirring of humans, toward the others?" For sure they could use mortals as a cover, though wouldn't such a thing oppose their morals? She couldn't be sure what the other three were thinking and remembering how grim and creepy their faces all were made her shudder. Particularly Keith's smile that no longer emitted a sense of comfort for her. It was as if he was completely different. Surely they wouldn't harm the humans though? Even Yvette said so. Would they? Henrietta had a bad feeling, but an even worse feeling of them sitting around at this place in the dark. They didn't know what they were up against, it was potentially dangerous so they'd all have to stick together. Suddenly she had an idea.

Pounding her fist into her other hand firmly, she grinned as she looked at Yvette and Iraa. "Using mortals would be a great cover, but I don't know how we'd get them to be on our side or get them to stir trouble. Unless we lead a protest ourselves or show at a protest that opposes our existence. Any mortals seeing us will cause a lot of trouble and we'd have to act as decoys." Finally she'd get to punch those jerks in the face! They deserved it. But how would they guarantee the three would show? They would have to find out for sure somehow. Maybe they could disguise themselves and promote the riot in all the closest cities? Each option started becoming more and more dangerous. Not only could the innocent get hurt, but they themselves were at risk from the other three and humans themselves.

"This can be really dangerous, Yvette," Henrietta began. "But I think it's our only option. What were your ideas to get the humans to listen to us? And how are we even going to find them?"

Henrietta was built like a rock herself, she was strong and certain she could volunteer herself to travel in the city even though there's a huge risk. But finding the three would be the hardest part. What were they waiting for? Did they plan to strike them too? This fighting needed to end and end soon at that! But Henrietta began to feel overconfident. It wasn't even fathomable that they could possibly defeat five of them with only three on their side. They would have more fighters, therefore they surely had the advantage! At least that was what Henrietta continued to make herself believe. She thought by one good fight this feuding would end and all would return to normal. However, she was being naive for their battles to come.

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Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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Carter watched Keith with a glare as sharp as daggers as the boy moved out into the daylight, into what could possibly be an incredibly dangerous scenario. His hair stood on end and he shivered briefly as a sudden coldness pooled in his stomach. He was feeling worried and he knew that there was nothing he could really do to stop such an emotion, but he mentally protested against it as much as possible anyway. It was then that he caught sight of the vines moving alongside Keith and he allowed a smile to tug at the corners of his mouth, somewhat relieving him. Keith could protect himself; of course he could... Still, Carter waited readily in the shadows as he heard a movement from elsewhere in the area. Suddenly, a fight broke out and Carter watched with a serious expression as Keith dodged and struck with incredible amounts of agility and speed. Carter hadn't moved a muscle until Keith had ducked under the staircase and allowed a few seconds to pass as he moved out of the shadows, stalking towards the distracted gunman who was further behind his friends.

Having laid the bat down carefully, Carter reached up and wrapped his arms around the gunman's throat and squeezed tightly on the windpipe, aiming to cut off the air until he eventually passed out. It took a fair few moments and one of the grunts caught the attention of one of the other men, who then snarled and moved towards him. Cursing, Carter released his grip and jumped for his bat before nimbly getting to his feet. The gunman choked and rolled on the floor, gasping. He was strong, Carter had to admit, and it was his mistake to underestimate how much pressure to apply. He muttered to himself as he raised his bat to block a strike from a long metal pole, wielded by an unusually large man. Had Carter been an average mortal, he'd have fled at the sight of this man, but he merely grinned and ducked under another swipe of the pole, having dropped his bat again in the process, thrusting his fist into the abs of the larger man. He doubled over and coughed, and Carter took the opportunity to swipe his legs from underneath him. He hit the floor and Carter heard his shoulder crunch under his weight, then a scream erupted from the man's tight lips. Carter focused his attention on the melee fighters, hoping that Keith would've acted against the gunman while he was recovering.

Carter raised his boot to deliver one final kick to his chest, but while he'd been dishing out punches another of the men had grabbed Carter's bat and smashed it into his head. The bat connected and Carter stumbled forward a few steps. Again, had he been mortal, that sort of strike would've caused enough trauma to floor him, or even possible knock him unconscious. Carter turned and fought the urge not to laugh aloud as a look of utter shock made itself visible on the man's face. Carter stepped forward and threw his weight sideways to avoid being hit, then darted forward and slammed his forearm into the man's throat. He went down with a satisfying grunt, and didn't get up. By this point, the larger man had already managed to stand up and was, quite pathetically, limping in Carter's direction. With a long, drawn-out sigh, Carter moved forward and pushed a flat palm into his chest, causing him to topple over, then stomped heavily on his knee, feeling it break beneath the weight of his boot. The man screamed loudly and Carter rolled his eyes in response, then looked up to see how Keith was getting on.

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Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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As Keith continued to duck for cover, he heard the men begin to shout and the sound of flesh being beaten. Immediately he knew it was Carter. Barrel rolling out into the open to avoid any forces coming towards him, he hopped to his feet and began to run towards the first snared gunman who was lifting his arms to aim his pistol at Keith's head. He shot but in a blink of an eye Keith ducked and gracefully twirled once towards the man before punching him in the stomach knocking the wind out of him. The man shrieked as he felt the air escape his lips while staring at Keith's puny body in shock. Keith may have looked frail and compared to the others he hit the weakest. But to mere mortals, his strength was still much greater. The man stumbled backwards and Keith gestured his hands upwards as the vines moved with him and gripped the man's arms before pulling him down to the ground and trapping him. Snickering he quickly turned his attention back towards Carter who was acting fast, taking out the melee fighters without even breaking a sweat. His eyes darted towards the gunman Carter had taken out who was groaning trying to lift himself from the ground. He allowed his hands to lay flat at his sides then tucked his thumbs inward. Taking a deep breath to focus his energy, he instantly stretched his arms upright, rolled them backwards in a counter clockwise direction before extending them out in front of him again. The vines from the cracks around them grew and moved like lightning striking the gunman before grabbing the pistol on the ground. He then directed the vines to grip the other unconscious men to ensure they would not move again and try to attack.

He then saw the last standing fighter limp towards Carter as though he had a chance left. Watching Carter use his palm to topple the large man over, Keith began to laugh finding it humorous as though he was watching an unevenly matched tournament. All he really needed was popcorn. He continued to observe as Carter crushed the man's knee and heard the shrill scream of pain before the man seemingly fell unconscious from the pain. Keith began to cheer.

"And Carter delivers the final blow! He wins! Congratulations!" Keith exclaimed while clapping as a few flowers ejected their petals and showered them for their victory.

Keith then took notice of the gunman he had trapped on the floor and a piece of crumpled paper sticking out of the man's pocket. Opening the paper he quickly glanced it over and bellowed. Not only were their faces on the paper, but so were the other five disciples!

"Look Carter, we're all wanted!" he laughed as he crumpled the paper and tossed it in Carter's direction. His face then fell and he revealed a devilish smile. "How unfortunate."

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Henrietta seemed to have been thinking hard. But thinking wasn't really her style. Instead she grinned and shouted, "Well then it's settled. Let's go!" She then took off running while feeling the vibrations ripple underneath her feet. Even with shoes on she was able to 'see' the protestors. Finally some action! They're going to come, I'll make sure they do. In truth, Henrietta didn't have a plan. She was a spontaneous thinker and was tired of sitting around. Many would call her reckless, but she saw it as doing something about the problem. She didn't know how they would get the three's attention, but once they found out what was going on with the humans it'd be easier to figure out. No, she'd hide first before blindly walking into the crowd. She would have to listen to what they were all saying. She had never seen such unified and large amounts of human movement before. This had to be something big. But where were the humans all going was the main question. She couldn't wait anymore, she couldn't sit, she felt sick with anxiety the more she sat around doing nothing. Was this a disciple friendly crowd or a hostile one? Some humans seemed to have had high regard towards the disciples while others aimed to kill and harm them.

What if they created a distraction? Surely there was bound to be news stations around reporting the protest and keeping the public updated. If they showed up, the others would find out eventually. Perhaps at the scene she could pick a fight with Yvette or Iraa? With Yvette it was always easy to tick her off, all she'd have to do was act even more reckless and annoying than usual. But she never fist fought with Yvette before. So much stirred in her mind as she tried thinking of solutions while running. Along the way she felt certain they would run into Sei and Alice eventually. She could spread the word, but did not plan to stop. It was almost as if she felt confident enough to take down all three of those traitors. Her rage would be her aid.

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Character Portrait: Louie Orihara Character Portrait: Yvette Jade Character Portrait: Henrietta Cypress Character Portrait: Iraa Ventillon Character Portrait: Neris Zabat Character Portrait: Carter Gray Character Portrait: Alice Ember Character Portrait: Seishin Horudā Character Portrait: Keith Cadwell
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ImageAlice's suspicions about the mortals were enough to keep her on alert, though Henrietta's warning made her all the more tense. With her luck lately, the humans would surely be out for the disciples... Hurrah, she thought. As if her week wasn't bad enough. And if the mortals were to challenge her and Sei, it wasn't like Ace would set them all on fire. Not only would it be glaring obvious, perhaps the equivalent to a gigantic sign that spelled, "HEY! I'M OVER HERE!", but Alice didn't want to kill them. If she happened to run into the mortals, she'd have to use tactics and strength to win.

Speaking of the others, what were they up to? Surely they weren't just sitting back, enjoying the weather. Alice heaved a sigh. How could someone possibly enjoy winter, anyway? It was wet, and cold! Sure, the cold didn't affect her, but taking thermal energy required more effort, not to mention there was much less of it. And she didn't dare think about snow... She shuddered. Maybe she should think about something else.

...How long had Sei been--- her thoughts were interrupted by the last thing she wanted to hear. Gunshots. Gunshots meant mortals. They'd been spotted; but Ace was a little less than surprised.

"Put me down," She murmured. It came out as more of an order than a request, though how it was taken, Alice couldn't care less. And to her content, she soon found herself on the ground. Thankfully, they'd been walking for a while,so the sun's rays helped to dry the ground, though not completely. They were on pavement now. The ground was somewhat damp, but as long as Ace avoided puddles, she'd be fine.

Alice first found herself seeking cover, above all things, and found herself ducking behind a vacant hot dog stand... What am I up against, she thought to herself. Peeking over the top, she found, to her surprise and immediate distaste, she'd spotted four gunmen and five melees. If they were to be shot, it would mean the opposite of good to say the least. They'd have to take the gunmen down first... She could always---

A sudden daze came over Alice as she was struck on the head by a mortal. The impact, normally, would've been enough to KO a human, but being a disciple had its perks. Though shocked for a second or two, Alice quickly recovered and switched into battle mode. Her leg, now on fire, swept the mortal off of his feet, quite literally. As the mortal let out a loud screech and began to fall to the ground, clutching his burnt legs, Ace took it upon herself to grab him by the collar of his shirt, and slam him into the hot dog cart. The moment the cart fell, gunshots rang out and once again, Alice found herself ducking for cover.

A searing pain in her left shoulder told her she was a second too late. But Alice hadn't the time to focus on a measly gunshot wound; she could ask Louie about it later... Pursing her lips, she scanned her brain for some kind of plan. Within seconds, it hit her. Ace quickly turned to the mortal who'd hit her in the head, as she pushed him away from the hot dog cart. The human, seeing the opportunity to regain his footing, he barrel rolled away, to Ace's content.

Seizing the moment, she made a swift sweeping movement with her hand. She winced; her wounded shoulder was not pleased with the motion. Within seconds, the grease from the hot dog cart was set alight. A monstrously large fire began to roar. Any mortal with his sanity still intact wouldn't dare come near Alice. Even her fellow disciples would be wary of her; she was literally bathing in her element and water would only help the flames, so it wasn't like the disciple of water could do anything to stop it.

The fire was big enough to be seen from miles away, so part of Ace knew she was revealing her location to her fellow disciples, but she wasn't that worried. Surely it would attract everyone, which meant it would end up as a three versus five. Alice was confident in her friends. They had the advantage, for sure, and if their execution was good it would be an easy win.

[Note from Ruth: POSTPOSTPOSTPOSTPOSTPOSTPOST! EVERYONE JOIN THE PARTY!!!! *BURN BABY BURN* IT'S FLAMINGGGGGG DOWN HERE]

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