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Falke der Herrscher

fei, Adventure?

0 · 1,373 views · located in Aires

a character in “Birthstone Spirits: The Great Escape”, as played by listentothetimpani

Description

Falke der Herrscher
Es ist keiner so blind, wie der, der nicht sehen will.

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Falke is a young lad, tall, with broad shoulders. He has cheeks that could cut bread, and is built lean, mean, but well-muscled. He carries himself with a casual pride and a confidence that shows in every line of his body. His hair is an extremely light, bleached or winter or whatever the bloody trend is now days, blonde, mildly streaked with early silver-white strands. It is styled like a shaggy dog, with haphazard curls and waves amongst and mixed with straighter locks. His blue eyes often looked faded, weary, and are blind. His voice is a gentle, ringing bass with a rough, humming German accent accompanying his every word.

5'10 and a half. 17 years old. 146lbs.
6'. 20 years old. 152lbs. [AFTER TIME SKIP]

Falke is calm, calculating, and clever. He values silence more so than brilliant words and loud speeches. He is quiet, but can be pleasant enough to hold a conversation with. But even then beware, he speaks little and rarely ever starts a conversation; each word uttered from his mouth is carefully drawn-out, thoughtfully and artfully educated, conveying more into fewer words. He lacks the ability to trust very easily or quickly, thus seemingly acting shy around new people or things. But once you get to know him, he is as sweet tempered as a lamb but is also as fierce of heart as a lion. He is loyal to those that fight with and stand by him, and is honor-bound to what is right and true.

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Falke has never allowed his tragedy of birth to shape his personality or hopes for the coming years, but has merely accepted it as it is. He is blind, and will forever be, so why bother anymore with it? He lives out his days as normally as he is able, tolerating a few more babying reactions from his dearest mother and the "you poor fellow" from passerby's on the street. His 'sunglasses' and dog, Otter, are his faithful, forever friends.

Falke carries a dark, brilliant azure star-shaped sapphire wrapped in silvery steel-bound coils, in a ring wrapped about his right index finger. He does not know when it came to be in his possession, but has worn it ever since he can remember. Unbeknownst to him, yet, it is in his sapphire that contains the soul of the warrior, September, naming him the heir and bearer of his powers.

Falke was born an only child to a happy family. His father is a business man, often gone from home on work related ventures. A walrus of a man, short of temper and strict with discipline; but has always been able to be taken advantaged of by Falke or his wife for simple treats or goods or adventures. Falke knows that his old man wanted a son (or strong daughter) to take over the family business, and believes Falke can't or will never take his place like he'd wish. His mother is a simple house-wife, often plagued by minor colds and sickness that haven't aloud her to do much other than clean. She is sweet, kind, and smells of licorice. She loves her only son and is constantly doting upon him. He tries to tell her to stop, and at times act annoyed by it, but it truth he adores her attention and loves being her one and only son.

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* Cannot/will not drink anything with ice in it. Doesn't fancy 'cold' and his 'mouth' ever meeting up.
* Is Blind. But is able to see faintly outlined, quick moving shadows from time to time (often scaring him).
* Writes with his left hand, but does everything else right-handed. So, ambidextrous of a sort in short, more or less?
* Regularly mispronounces certain words or uses redundant terms when describing things (English is not his first language).
* Has taken up the occasional habit of smoking from time to time, like his father - all though cigars are a little too much for him, he prefers light cigarettes.

x.....Image.....x

So begins...

Falke der Herrscher's Story

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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A young fellow sat in a faded navy-blue arm-chair in the midst of a nearly empty room, save for the bed and linens and sole chair that made it mostly comfortable if not livable at that. He had the quality of boyishness with his light blond, extremely messy with lopsided attempts at waves or curls or perhaps both at the same time, hair and seemingly mischievously glazed blue eyes. But with his cheeks that could have sliced bread clean, a lean but well muscled frame, and a stillness that few youth as young as he could ever achieve, he seemed rather too serious in turn. His head tilted slightly, giving his full attention to a mousy, brown-haired woman as she spoke, noting things as she went on upon her fingers with the index finger of her other hand, taping familiarly in his ears. “Es gibt Lebensmittel im Kühlschrank, ich habe es mit einem Aufkleber für Sie markiert. Un-…” His mother continued, fretting. He did listen to all she had to say, truthfully, but was tiring of her latest decision to dote on him today. He’d survived days without her being there for him before, this day wouldn’t be any different he suspected. His blue eyes blearily attempted to focus in the vague direction of her voice echoing somewhere above his head from the chair he sat in, with a mild success after years of practice, and nodded whenever she paused to take a breath much like clock-work oddly enough. “Maria, wir werden zu spät, der Junge überleben, bis wir nach Hause kommen. Kommen Sie jetzt.” Came a rough, gravely male voice from across the fairly spacious apartment/lounge they rented whilst staying in New York for new business opportunities across the ocean for his old man, waiting at the door. It was rare his father talked much with actual words, and less hrumping, grumbling grunts, and even rarer he seemed to be trying to save Falke from the fond doting by his mother or really didn’t want his image to be possibly damaged if he was a few minutes late. Maria sighed, nitpickingly touching his shirt by making sure all buttons were buttoned and smoothed out wrinkles once again, before kissing him lightly on the fore-head and departed out of the room, “Wiedersehen, meine Kleine.” “Tschüs.” Falke breathed deeply in relief once the door had shut and the voices of his mother and father departed down the hall, soon disappearing into the elevator he guessed and on their way to the dinner they were attending with other business associates, releasing it with an exasperated but amused snort. It had only taken five minutes this time to get her through her babying him and hustled out the door, which was an improvement at the very least. And she was constantly improving as he grew older, maybe one day he'd have her not blink an eye. Not likely, but still a pleasant thought. Falke returned to present thoughts instead of high day-dreams, glancing with bemusement around the empty room. What to do with his freedom the rest of the afternoon? Humm.

“Otter?” He called softly. In return came the slow, faithful pads as the old mutt walked to the chair its' master sat in, flopping down to lay at his feet, his tail whacking a few times into his shins. He leaned down, rubbing the ears of his faithful companion over the years as the dog pressed his head into his palm. “Möchten Sie einen Spaziergang, Central Park nehmen?” He questioned. In response, Otter made a sound nothing sort of an accusing and scoffing groan. Great. The dog, his dog, was in with his mother on the keep Falke a safe hermit for the rest of his life. Well… They did have a point, he would reluctantly agree on, given his condition. But he really just needed some fresh, or at least not as stuffy air, and Otter would follow him anywhere anyhow. He struggled for a moment, pushing himself out of the chair, currently attempting to engulf him whole with all the creaking and moaning noises it made while sucking him into the material. On his feet, he walked to his small closet, opening the door grabbing a black turtle-necked sweater to tug on over the blue dress shirt he currently wore, imagining himself to now look like a respectable if causal young man out for a walk in the brisk fall breeze. It would do well enough to be able to walk outside in the slightly nippy weather, and come home without a cold, he was certainly eager to keep the doting sessions with his dearest mother five minutes or less. He made his way to the door, grabbing the keys to the apartment stuffing them into a back pocket of his jeans, gingerly shuffling around on the kitchen counter for his 'sunglasses' and settled them lightly on the bridge of his nose, and also grabbed the harness lying haphazardly beside his ‘sunglasses’ even as Otter’s anxious tail began whacking his shins again. He leaned over with the dog’s cold nose touching his hands to tell him to hurry up and put the darn thing on, and it took longer than he (or Otter for that matter) liked; but without too much fumbling of his fingers, Otter’s harness was on correctly and his leash was snapped to his collar. Falke stood up, leash in hand, opening the door with a creak, closing and locking it securely, before setting out down the hall and elevator when he came to it. He dipped his head politely as he slipped past the door-man, Otter thankfully not giving the poor old-man the stink eye or a growl this time around, and out into the relatively crowded, smelly street of New York. In reality it wasn't all too bad, but it certainly wasn't home for him.

The trip through the winding city streets, and somewhat hazardous cross-walks, he met little foot-traffic on his way to the park. Most surprisingly going out of their way of their busy lives (that had worlds revolving around them alone usually, of course) to give him and Otter room as they confidently strode down the side-walk amongst the people around him. He would have liked a little less pity in the looks or whispers he earned, but what was, was. And he dealt with it by simply ignoring it most of the time or by giving them a reassuring grin of thanks and bobbed his head with a faint nod as he passed. As he made it to the park the air seemed a little cleaner, and the honks of distant cars of city seemed farther away than they really were, it was the most peaceful place in the big city he'd found more often than not, a home away from home for him really. He walked calmly, the clicks of Otter’s paws on the narrow pavement heard every now and again made sure that he’d never to stray from the path. Farther down along the path, up to the point where the bench he usually sat down at most days he came here, finding it occupied on one end but not the other. Slowly, he eased himself down into it, ignoring the suddenly sharp sensation of cold radiating up from the material beneath him and was very grateful then for his extra layer however bothersome to struggle into at first. In a comfortable sitting position, he briefly nodded in polite greeting to the person on the other end of the bench, but didn’t voice anything as it seemed with the sound of a briefly fluttering page that she, well he assumed she because of the scent of her perfume or shampoo tickling his nose, was reading and likely didn’t want or need to be disturbed. Otter had crawled underneath the bench to be out of the way of others passing by along the pathway, but hadn’t quite curled up successfully and as a cause his head and a fore-foot stuck out as he lay down – he was smiling in the only way dog’s could, panting from the walk but happy to be out and about. With the dog situated, mostly, Falke had let the leash go slack, leaning his own head back a touch, shutting his eyes, and let stillness wash over him. Yes, he liked this part the best. Certainly it was always fun to go out of the apartment, especially when his parents assumed (and likely wanted him to) he would stay there. But in all honesty, Falke enjoyed the relative quiet of being out alone, on a bench in a park, in the middle of a city that never slept or well, however that saying went. However, he didn’t realize that silence was something that was going to be lacking relatively soon…


-x-x-x-

* There is food in the fridge, I've marked it with a sticker for you.
* Mary, we are too late, the boy survive until we get home. Come on now.
* Goodbye, little one.
* Bye.
* Would you like to take a walk to Central Park?

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Skylar had been lying to herself when she’d thought she’d be able to get a head start on her reading. She loved college, loved the independence it gave her and how she had the freedom to choose what classes she took, but these general education requirements would be the death of her. Who needed philosophy anyway?

Dragging her highlighter across the page in order to make it look like she was at least putting in somewhat of an effort, she let herself look up and take in everything that was going on.

An elderly couple slowly strolled down the path, arms looped together. A young mother wearing neon sneakers and leggings pushed a baby carriage with one hand and held the end of a dog’s leash in the other. And one of the teenagers from the group she’d noticed earlier was waving to her.

Skylar paused for a moment, glancing over her shoulder to see if there was anyone else the boy could have been waving to. No, he was definitely waving at her. Biting down on her lip, she waved back, not sure if she should do anything else.

Shortly after the cute boy waving incident (as she’d dubbed it in her mind), she was joined by another boy who gave her a short polite nod as he sat down. He too had a dog, and Skylar felt her smile widen at the sight. She debated on saying anything to him, after all he hadn’t said anything and he looked like he might have been resting, she didn’t want to bother him.

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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Harper turned back towards the girl on the bench in time to see her wave back, which prompted a wide, admittedly silly grin to spread across his face. Biting his lower lip while still smiling, he slipped his phone into his back pocket, along with his fingers, and turned back towards the tree, contemplating his next move.

His thoughts were interrupted, however, when the white-dressed girl spoke, denying the ambulance. "Am...bull lance?" he repeated, wondering why she had pronounced it oddly. Before he could give it too much thought, the girl had already started to run off. "Hey!" he shouted after her, and grumbled to himself about stupid, artist, hippie tree hugger wannabes and their aversion to modern medicine. Still, there was the other girl....

He glanced back briefly, just to make sure she was still there, and then looked up to the sky. Whistling the theme from "Enchanted", Harper stepped backwards, hands still in the back pockets of his jeans, until he was just a foot away from the girl's end of the bench. Moving only his eyes (with just a small strain on his neck) he peered over her shoulder.

"Philosophy, eh?" he asked, hoping that was really what the textbook was about (he had only managed to catch the heading), "Is that what you're studying?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait:
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It was very nearly quiet enough this morning in the Central Park of New York, that Falke thought he might be able to fall asleep. Of course, that was if one imagined the occasional flick of a page of the book the girl on the other end of the bench was reading, the timpani of honking cars and the living, breathing city surrounding the green swath of lawn to be little more than the whisper of static background noise. But he could do so, if he let himself wonder in thoughts, letting daydreams turn into dreams rather alarmingly quickly. And that wasn't exactly the short of "out of the apartment" adventure he'd been planning for this morning, or rather want to explain to his parents if he got mugged, or jumped Lord forbid, while he was snoozing. So, he kept himself awake, alert but relaxed for now. Until the time he got bored, and/or his leg's started to fall asleep, then he'd get up and head back 'home' to be waiting for his parents like he'd hadn't been gone.

It was only when he started to get uncomfortable, and debating about getting up, that sounds of commotion started echoing around him. First, was something coming out of the bush, further along the path but still close enough for him to hear the gigantic rustle of creaking limbs and little leaves flying all over. What the? It was entirely too big to be a stray cat or dog, or one those huge rats that were as big as dogs that supposedly lurked in the alley-ways all over the City - he'd heard that from the door-man of the Apartment the other afternoon, his father said it was a silly rumor New Yorker's liked to brag about and Falke honestly doubted it himself. Rats as big as dogs? No way. And this sound was bigger, and unfortunately even at this distant, the smell came to his sensitive nose of unclean, greasy, and for some reason, 'person'. Ahh, one of those stray persons that lurked in the alley-ways with the rats... Wait? What? No, not stray person. What was the word again? There were stray cats, stray dogs, giant rats, and-... Er, oh, Homeless people! That was it. He shook his head with a repressed sigh at himself, for his lack of political correctness in the English language. Easing the tension out of his shoulders, that had popped up at the first sign of disturbance near him, after recognizing the potential of 'threat' as nothing more than losing a few cents perhaps if she or he came his way. He relaxed again, even when distantly hearing some conversation involving Americans that didn't sound like native New Yorkers, something about a girl in a tree, etc. It wasn't his concern, or really anywhere nearby him that he should be concerned about it. Another person came walking up, steps steady and purposeful, and Falke didn't tense up like he had for the homeless coming out of the bush earlier (he could hear this person coming from a bit away at the very least, and it certainly wasn't a 'sudden' noise). The other, a he he could tell now by his deeper voice, flirting with the girl on the other side of the bench he also currently resided. While it was fair to say that it was common all over, it was equally fair to say that this was more than just common in New York since he'd stepped off the plane. It was likely due to the high volume of people stuffed in one area, he assumed. But still... It was a little uncomfortable listening to it going on right beside him. Jealous was he? No, not really. His sharp, angular features were hardly attractive, and his blind eyes well, they sort of killed the date-able material right at the start. He ignored them as best he could, tightening his grip on the leash when Otter started whining for some reason. Likely, wanting to go lick off their faces, as dogs often tended to do.

It happened so quickly, even his strong sense-sensitivity with his hearing had a hard time keeping up. The conversation he'd so blandly ignored early, had heightened in volume and in earnest. What sounded like a tree falling down, roared in his ears, followed by (he assumed the even odder sounding girl, maybe the one that had been in the tree perhaps, didn't even sound American at all) that commands of a girl - "Go... Run..." Or, something like that. A feathery brown eyebrow raised to be seen over the rim of his 'sunglasses', nostrils flared uncertainly. He tilted his head to share a look in the supposed general directions of the happenings, and then glanced toward the two that-... Well, had been there moments before, but had suddenly taken off for some reason. He didn't have to wait long for an explanation as a sudden screech sounded off from the same direction, he had to fight hard not to shudder at the high alien sound and didn't bother to hide his wince and the shaking of his head trying to rid the ringing going on in his ears. What in the world was that? Otter had slipped out from under the bench, frantically pulling on his leash - barking sharp and fast like false machine gun fire you'd hear in those game stores, movies, and the like. The dog never barked, not even at a cat or the postal-man. Common sense flooded his thoughts, aligning with his Fight or Flight mechanism and picking most definitively flight over staying around all 'this', whatever this was. And he trusted the dog far more with his life than anyone else, save perhaps his mother. Unsteadily he rose from his seat on the bench, wobbling slightly until his legs had feeling returned to them, so he could just leave all this frightening nonsense behind. Another screech sounded off, and Otter suddenly yelped, ducking sideways and bolting, taking Falke with him out of the way. Just in time as something small crashed into the bench he'd been sitting at for a moment before darting or really rolling off near his own feet in the grass, and then something rather impossibly large, the thing those screeches were, crashed into the bench as well. He could hear the metal itself warping, groaning, and screeching it's own metallic pain, amongst the alien screeches of some great beast. Otter had begun barking again, snarling intermittently, warning whatever is was off but really Falke thought it drawled a little too much attention for his liking. Good grief, what was going on? "Otter," He begged. "Come on!" Tugging on the leash, as he took a few steps backward, attempting to flee much like everyone else - even if he couldn't quite run as successfully as most, he'd still walk out of here just fine if he could get the darn dog to come along...

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Cyclopean Character Portrait:
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An unearthly shriek interrupted Harper's heated argument, and as he turned back to see, a blur of white flashed a few yards in front of him, followed closely by a larger blur of black. He thought he heard a question thrown into the air, but the next sound he could comprehend was a metallic clang. Blinking, he saw that the giant...thing...had lodged itself into one of the park benches. But not for long, it didn't seem...

A girl suddenly ran up and hit the thing with a branch. The monster squealed in response, thrashing to be rid of the park bench.

"I think she's got the right idea," Harper heard one of the frisbee players say.

"She's just making it madder," Harper retorted. Suddenly he felt a slight gust brush past his ear, and a blur of orange whizzed through the air. It took Harper a couple seconds to register that one of the other two had thrown the frisbee, which now smacked the beast on the side of its throat before bouncing off. A loud screech was the end result, followed by even more thrashing and pulling against the weight of the bolted down park bench.

"Why the hell did you do that??" Harper shouted at the guy who had thrown the disc, "This thing looks like it came out of Alien! What makes you think a frisbee--"

"Well, I just thought--"

A dry grating sound prevented from Harper hearing what the stupid guy thought, and a glance showed that the thing had freed itself, and its head turned towards them.

"RUN!" all three of them screamed, but Harper realized quickly from the earthshaking stomps that the beast was following after them.

"Split up!" Harper shouted at the other two, hoping at least one of them would distract the monster from him. They must have been thinking the same (at least for themselves), and they both veered off in opposite directions. Harper himself stayed straight, heading for the road.

His luck didn't hold, as the heavy footsteps kept following after him. "Shit," he muttered to himself breathlessly. The monster sounded closer...he could hear its breathing. If he reached the road, a car could hit the creature, but that was only if he reached it...a probability that was quickly dwindling.

Changing gears, Harper turned sharply to his left, towards the lake. Sprinting as hard as he could manage, he charged towards the water front. Only a few seconds away he pulled off his jacket (a bitch to swim in) and flung it behind him, willing to risk its sentimental value if it distracted the stupid...whateveritwas, and launched himself off the gravel, shallow-diving into the frigid water. Years of swimming in the Boston Harbor, even in the winter, had given him somewhat of an immunity to the shock of cold water, and he desperately pulled himself underwater away from the shore, sticking to the bottom of the lake for as long as his lungs could hold.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Cyclopean
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Gwen had never experienced a hallucination before. How was it that saying went? You're not crazy if you think you might be. While Gwen certainly categorized the events unfolding before her eyes as unreal, she was slightly put off by how realistic it seemed. Was it possible that one could be conscious of their insanity and yet be unable to control their distorted perception of reality? What was happening? The shudder of the earth as the tree hit the ground, the hideous sight that emerged from the dead space beneath, and the unearthly sounds that rang through the air; she didn't know how to make sense of it. If it was a hallucination and she acted, would she end up being one of those schizophrenic murderers, doomed to spend her life institutionalized and drugged? Or would failure to act result in her getting hurt?

What were the others doing around her? Erupting into chaos, apparently. Falling, running, descending into a mess of noise and movement impossible to follow. How could everyone react so confidently? That is, assuming that these people were actually there and not delusions. Though, they all had the right idea. Running was the most logical course of action, especially in Gwen's situation. She wouldn't put anyone in danger by doing so. It seemed, however, that not everyone had the same idea.

Gwen watched as the creature chased a thin, barefoot woman in roughly Gwen's direction. She and the others on a nearby bench scattered; Gwen herself dove out of the way as the creature impacted with the previously occupied bench. Even through the pain of hitting the ground and the sound of twisting metal from the collision, Gwen imagined herself, a lonely, broken body throwing itself to the ground in the middle of a quiet scene in Central Park. She should run--or at least walk away quickly. It was time to leave.

She stood just in time to see some kid throw a Frisbee at the creature. Really, again? This wasn't a movie. Life didn't work like a story. Heroics weren't always all they were chalked up to be. Heroics didn't make you a hero; they got you killed. She watched as the Frisbee thrower immediately regretted his decision and ran away in a panic, which in Gwen's mind was the appropriate reaction. But her stomach immediately dropped as the three in the vicinity of the Frisbee thrower split up, and the creature began to chase the wrong person. This was what was wrong with heroics. It wasn't even that it killed the wannabe "hero;" others suffered for the stupidity of their actions, and to Gwen there was no worse offense. She had to help that kid.

She wasn't as fast as either the monster or the young man it chased. The distance between her and the two seemed to close at an unbearably slow rate, as though the world was in slow motion. And yet, it seemed to take no time at all until she was dangerously close. She slid to a stop as the creature splashed in the shallow water, apparently confused if its body language was at all similar to the animals she knew. She didn't get any closer; she didn't need to be that near.

She reached her right hand into the neckline of her sweater and down to her left shoulder. It clasped metal, and she withdrew a small dagger, only a few inches in length. Both she and her weapon were enormously outsized by their opponent, yet before she knew it her arm was drawing back and preparing to throw. Remember what you were taught. The thought flashed briefly through her mind, but she couldn't think, there was no time. Driven by muscle memory alone, the small piece of metal flashed through the air and toward the monster.

It hit the creature directly in the back of its deformed skull. Gwen experienced a moment of victory as she witnessed its trajectory playing out exactly where she aimed it. She was treated to an unpleasant surprise when it merely bounced off the skull and flew directly into the lake. She took a step back. Shit. Who was the idiot now? Another step. The creature turned slightly. Fuck. What was it she had just been thinking about heroics? Gwen turned and ran, more or less back in the direction she came. Better late than never. Actually that wasn't true. Late was getting her killed. She heard the heavy footfalls now gaining on her. She had a head start, but as she had already discovered, she was no match for the monster's speed. And Gwen had no escape plan.

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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If Dorian had expected a pleasant response for tackling someone out of the way of a falling tree, he would have been sorely disappointed, emphasis on the sorely, by the other boy's reaction. He swore, rolling off his assailant and staggering to his feet in one less than fluid movement, right hand clasped over his nose to stem the flow of gushing blood. Drops of crimson already decorated the green grass beneath his feet, painting dead leaves in a macabre fashion. It was only the most pressing injury because, damn, the other boy could pack a punch, even when flailing wildly as he had been. The teen didn't have time to nurse his wounds, however, because there was something that needed his attention more than a possibly broken nose. Monsters, apparently, had that impact on people by making their everyday problems seem minuscule in comparison because, yes, his father not showing up for dinner was upsetting, but not more so than, say, some sort of Eldritch abomination killing him.

The scene had continued to play out when Dorian had been more preoccupied with his own issues. People were scattering to the wind, doing the normal thing, the smart thing in running away, taking off in all directions to save themselves. Others were not, and he wasn't even sure why he was surprised. There was a boy waving a camera around in such a way that reminded Dorian of a mix between an insane paparazzo and those found footage mockumentaries. He was with two of the girls left- the tree girl who, as it turned out, was probably less insane than the rest of them for staying if only because she apparently knew what was going on, and another. Others dotted around the park, either frozen with fear or grasping clumsily for weapons, and there was a dog barking somewhere, but Dorian's attention remained fixated on the immediate problem.

The monster, unbidden, had broken free of the bench that had seemed like such a good trap only minutes before when the metal had twisted forcefully around the creature, pinning it within. Now it was continuing its rampage, but it had a target now, or, rather, the predator now had the perfect prey. Dorian hadn't seen what led up to the fixation the monster had on the girl, but it made a sort of horrific sense. She wasn't in the best shape- that much was obvious even from a distance, too frail, almost sickly looking- and her pace was slowing with each step, or perhaps the monster was just increasing speed. Easy prey. It was looming over her now, and, for the second time that day, Dorian was faced with a choice. He exhaled, pulling a now blood-stained hand away from his nose and groping in his pockets. Keys, phone, wallet… there. He found what he wanted- a pocketknife, another gift from his father. It wasn't incredibly large and certainly wasn't meant to cause harm, especially since he primarily used it to snip off loose threads on clothes, but it was large enough and definitely sharp. He clasped it in his hand, unfolding the blade. Choice made. He apparently didn't have a good track record for making choices today.

Dorian ran then, each step punctuated by a pulsating warmth emanating from his bracelet that he didn't have time to worry about, gradually picking up speed as he sprinted into death's grip with only a hope, a prayer, and a knife on his side. The monster was even bigger up close making even Dorian feel small in its shadow, but he couldn't worry about that now. Now he could only worry about his aim, as he stumbled into the monster's path, dug his feet into the ground, and, with a shout and in one swooping motion, buried his knife into the creature's chest. It went in surprisingly smoothly, and he could see blue blood oozing from the wound, intermingling his his own red covered hands. He looked positively feral then, blood staining his face, knife buried to the hilt in the monster, teeth gritted with the effort of twisting it and digging it in deeper. This was not how he expected his day to go.

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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Harper had broken the surface in time to see something bounce off the monster and splash into the lake. A second later the monster had turned around and was chasing someone else, away from him. He gave an enormous sigh of relief, sinking just a little in the water.

His curiosity piqued about whatever had fallen into the water...it didn't look like a frisbee since the splash was so small. Ducking underwater, a familiar stinging hitting his eyes, Harper swam to the spot where it looked to have landed. Oblivious to whatever was happening above land, he finally found what looked to be the shaft of a knife sticking up from the muddy bottom. Retrieving it, he realized it was indeed the shaft of a knife, with the blade still attached to it. Small, but well-crafted it looked. He hadn't gotten a good look at whoever had thrown it so....finders keepers? Briefly he imagined the look on Sadie's face if she found out he had stolen someone's knife. If she found out...and he hadn't actually stolen it. The person had lost it in the lake...

Lungs reminding him he needed to breathe, he resurfaced. He was wary of returning to the shore, scanning the park. A ways off he saw a black mass fall to the ground, still, before shattering. "Well, good thing that's taken care of," he said outloud, "Stupid aliens should know not to mess with us Earthpeople!" Deciding it was safe to return to land, Harper swam to the shore, his jacket still on the ground, relatively unscathed. Hauling himself out of the water, he shook himself like a wet dog, water from his clothes and locks spraying everywhere. Picking up his jacket and pulling it over his shivering self, he held up the knife he had found and opened his mouth to ask for its owner.

An intense heat interrupted him, blossoming yet again from the same place it had before. With a shout, Harper dropped the knife. This time wrapping his fingers with his wet shirt, he looked down for the source of the pain. He was startled to realize it came from his shark-tooth necklace, and even more surprised to find the exact source was from the pearl ring he had found earlier that day!

"Stupid, cheap piece of plastic," he muttered, struggling to untie the wet cord behind his neck. It took him a few minutes of useless fumbling before he remembered he still had a knife. It was when he turned to relocate it that he finally noticed the whiteness closing in. His eyes widened, and he quickly grabbed the knife before running away from the erasing, panicking. What was this? Some sort of alien thing? Had he stayed in the water too long and not realized it? Was he dying? Was this a trick?

His feet couldn't carry him fast enough, and in an instant white surrounded him entirely...

He hadn't realized he had closed his eyes until he opened them, and was startled by the darkness.

"That's it. I'm definitely dead..." he said out loud. He wasn't even sure how he was standing...looking down, he only saw more darkness. Yet as he kept looking, small pinpricks of light glowed below his damp flipflops, and then spread, creating what looked like a bridge of light. Closer inspection revealed what looked like an ocean, waves rolling not too far below them. When he looked up he noticed the others from the park, standing around and looking just as confused.

A voice started talking, speaking of warriors and gemstones and cyclosomethings. Words that flew over his head until the very end, when she spoke about their "destinies". When she finished speaking, he frowned. Commit to being monthly warriors on the basis of an attempt to suppress those beasts? Not even obliterate or wipe out, but suppress...meaning they'd still be around. And there were supposed to be more of them in this other place?

This had to be a trick. Had to. Some sort of trippy thing, maybe an amusement ride or simulation, where they needed random people's opinions. It was New York after all. It wouldn't surprise him.

What did surprise him was when one of the girls announced she was 'going home' and then walked towards the other world. What was she, crazy?! Squinting, he realized that it was the same girl who had fallen out of a tree, so...yeah, he wasn't surprised anymore.

"Well, I'm going home, too," Harper said loudly, turning back to the blue portal, "Besides, if the only basis for picking us people is because we have a magic birthstone or whatever, I literally just found this ring today, a few hours ago, in a hotel pool, and I'm pretty sure it belonged to someone else, so, uh...yeah. I'm definitely the wrong guy for this. I'm out."

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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#, as written by rikura
Jason' s smile disappeared as he noticed a freaky hand coming out of the tree after it fell. His eyes widened as, not just a hand, but a whole freaking monster thing emerged from it. Taking a few steps back, Jason surveyed the area, seeing most of the people still here. But what was that idiot girl doing still standing there!?

He watched the scene unfold, and it happened fast. From the girl who'd fallen from tree throwing pinecones at the monster, to being chased by it, to it being stuck in a bench, to that first guy he saw stabbing it with a dangerous look in his eyes.

Jason had unconsciously started to sprint towards them when the monster was towering over the girl, his finger burning with a white searing pain as he moved. "Damn it!" he stopped sprinting, the pain too hot for him to focus, and tried to yank the ring off. It wouldn't budge. It would twist when he twisted it, but it wouldn't move past his knuckle. "W-what the hell is going on!?" And though he saw the guy stab it, he wasn't really focused on it, only on his ring. Until, that is, he saw everything starting to be swallowed by a wall of white. He closed his right hand tight around the fingers on his left and did a 360.

"There's no way out of this thing... crap." He closed his eyes as the white closed in and waited. For a second, he felt a very strange shift in the air around him, and the pain from his ring stopped. In fact, everything stopped, and it felt like he was paralyzed and having the air pulled out of him before things snapped back to normal. He opened his eyes slowly to see blackness. "What-" He cut off as lights arranged under him and in front of him, creating a path. He started and looked down, and with a blink of surprise noticed that under the lights it looks like there were churning dark waves. He looked around slowly to see eleven other people there as well, all of them he thought he recognized from the park.

"Okay, what is going on?"

His eyes shot forward as he heard a smooth voice start to speak, almost sounding like it came from every direction. He heard as the voice started to talk about things he wasn't familiar with, and his curiosity caused him to listen, really listen as she mentioned the legend, the birthstones, and the monster thing. What did she call it? He tried saying it out loud in a whisper, "Cyclo... Cyclopean..." And as the voice finished talking, giving them a choice... well, he'd already decided without really thinking about it like he should have.

He heard someone say, "I'm going home," and was surprised to see the girl who he'd before thought was crazy walk towards the other world, and after a second, things clicked in his mind. She wasn't crazy, she must have been from this, this Aires? If everything happening wasn't just some illusion or dream or something... He glanced back at what he assumed would be the way back to Earth, and then looked in front of him to where the girl was walking.

Yeah, there was no way he was changing his mind now. The peridot on his ring started to glow right as that previously annoying guy said, "Well, I'm going home, too," and he started to walk before saying, "Well, I'm in. I'm not sure if any of this is real or just some crappy dream, but I don't think I could walk away even if I wanted to... It feels... right to me." Not that I can actually DO anything...

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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What in the? Falke’s brain felt groggy, like the times he'd stayed up far past his self allotted bedtime or tried to do too much in one day straining body, mind, and soul. How long had been sleeping on the floor, again? And, wait-... Voices? Familiar somewhat at that, and yet-... Reality returned with a short, unpleasant jerk. Already standing upright, he wobbled slightly, off balanced by the sudden spell of dizziness plaguing him. He sucked in a breath of fresh air, unaware that he'd been holding it, with a gasp. He'd been getting away with /it/ and whatever was happening, finally getting Otter to follow him by tugging on the leash, and then nothing, absolutely bloody nothing. Coo like clinks echoed and rolling waves roaring softly became noticed by his ears, seemingly falling directly underneath him, or above him maybe, or really both at the same time. He honestly wasn’t sure, but all he could say was that this certainly didn’t feel like he was at Central Park, or in New York City anymore at that. Alright, set priorities straight. Monster had been attacking, clearly not in the park anymore, and a whole bunch of teens crashed on the floor around him. Something was happening, though he wasn't quite sure what. Wonderful. He raised his hand to rub gently at the side of his temples, wincing slightly because of the rope-burned flesh of his palms stinging painfully, noting the disappearance of his blind-man’s ‘sunglasses’ as he did. Great. That was his third pair this year, his parents wouldn’t be pleased to get him another. But then again, losing his glasses seemed less of a problem currently, than the pickle he was currently stuck in And, wait… Rope-burns? The leash. Crap. Where was Otter? He’d been right behind him, tugging on the leash, still barking his silly head off at the monster. And now? There didn’t seem to be any hide or hair of his dog. Depp… He didn’t however have time however, to continue chewing himself out or perhaps calling out for Otter, as a Voice echoed forth.

His brain was able now to comprehend what was being said but not at the same time, maybe it was the echoes fault, likely. Or, well… He couldn’t quite believe this was all happening. Month warriors? Spirits stuck in stones in their jewelry? Save the world? Destiny? Yea, right – a ton of stuff worth investing his sanity in, no not really. All 12 or nothing, well, that didn’t sound pleasant… Falke glanced about, his eyes narrowing wearily as they made their unfocused trek about the room. Listening to the others varying remarks of going home, both heading in opposite directions, more than slightly disconcerting he’d might mention if asked, and another’s happy-go-lucky why not giving it a shot. He stayed silent however, not voicing a comment or opinion. Because really, while he was not sure on his own answer to the question asked of course, but - blue portal to earth or gold portal to wherever that was again? Well, the humming listless noise that he assumed were the portals happening on either end of the room – didn’t really shout out blue or gold to him, so like he knew where to go if he did decide. Great.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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Skylar watched with wide eyes as one of the boys who had been standing near the tree earlier stabbed the thing right in the heart, a deafening shriek filling the air as the creature dissolved in front of her. The burning sensation coming from her necklace intensified, the sudden increase in pain bringing her to her knees.

She opened her mouth to scream but couldn’t, her heart thudding away in her chest. An overwhelming sense of panic washed over her, her eyes squeezed shut as she struggled to take in air. She was going to die, she was going to die, she was going to die…

Just as quickly as the pain had increased it was gone, the burning replaced by a comforting warmth that seemed to envelop her like a thick blanket. Skylar felt like she was floating, the panic replaced with a strange sense of calmness.

If this was what dying was like, she was totally satisfied.

Slowly her eyes opened, her surroundings gradually coming into focus. She definitely wasn’t in Central Park anymore, the familiar chaos of the city replaced by a serene setting that she couldn’t even begin to explain. Her older brother had told her about patients who explained their own near death experiences, saying that it felt as if they were traveling through a tunnel towards a bright light. While Skylar didn’t consider herself to be religious, maybe this was what heaven was supposed to be like.

Regardless, Skylar wasn’t exactly sure what to think about this whole situation. The rational part of her kept saying that this was ridiculous, that she should turn and go back through the portal that led back to Earth. The other part of her was attracted to the idea of being an “undoubtedly special being” though. That and the fact that she was pretty sure she was already dead, and what else did she have to lose anyway? Not much.

"I'm in." She stated, glancing back to see if any of the others had made up their minds yet.

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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#, as written by Linnea
Black blood oozed from the beast like pus from an infected wound. It flowed to the ground, leaving its mark on the earth. Autumn blinked, not sure if she was grateful or disgusted. She let out a slow and tentative breath, as if to test if it was alright. So far, so good. If she could breathe, then perhaps she could walk. Her unsteady steps seemed less difficult than before as she slowly tried to make her way out of the park.

The beast shattered into onyx shards like glass falling from a broken window. It was a pitiful death to be sure. This terrifying creature was left as nothing but a pile of tiny black stones on dead leaves. Autumn didn’t even question how such a thing could happen. She could only think of how it sapped away her fear. There was nothing scary about tiny stones.

Her steps grew steadier as she tried to pass the scene. She was definitely going home. No need to stay around here. She stopped, however, as her necklace pressed harder against her skin. Underneath her coat and sweater, it was supposed to be warm. Instead, it felt like ice. The piercing cold dug into her like knives, forcing her to hug herself tightly to try to ease the pain. She let out a sharp gasp, doubling over as the unnatural chill tormented her. This deathly cold, it went straight to the bone. There was no shivering, only pain.

The world started to fade, white erasing the skyscrapers. Perhaps this was a side effect of the pain. Was she dying? Surely a cold necklace couldn’t kill someone. Through squinted eyes she surveyed her disappearing surroundings. The whiteness was closing in, engulfing the world in emptiness.

She closed her eyes, hoping it would go away. Maybe this was a dream. She would wake up at home in her nice bed, surrounded by stuffed animals and posters of her various interests. Her eyes would fall upon the picture of her and her friends and she would know she was safe. Oh, how she wished this was the case.

The pain left just as quickly as it had arrived, leaving her both relieved and confused. Cautiously, she opened her eyes and stood up. The world was black now, a more discomforting nothingness. Autumn bit her lip. Maybe this wasn’t a dream. Maybe she wasn’t dying. Maybe she was already dead and this was simply her journey.
She looked around. Most of the people from before seemed to be there.

Before her was a golden pillar of light. Heaven perhaps? Autumn had never really given Heaven much thought. She had always believed in regeneration. Would she get in even if she didn’t believe? Had she sinned too much? Was she hellbound? Trying to communicate with the dead wasn’t a sin, was it? She tried to think of the seven deadly sins. Which ones had she committed? Gluttony. That was for sure. She wasn’t a whale, but she was certainly chubby.

Before she could worry any more than that, a path revealed itself. Tiny dots of white light, stars of varying shapes, formed beneath her feet. Beneath them, an ocean in the middle of a storm. Autumn stared at it for a moment, entranced. Perhaps she wasn’t a sinner after all. This was too pretty to be hell. She almost wanted to touch them, just to see if they would respond. Above her, white birds flew in various directions. Her eyes followed one of them as it soared to the vortex behind her. Surely, that had to be hell.

The star path lit up brighter as a voice spoke. “Welcome to The Core.”

She sounded godlike, beautiful and wise. The feeling was inexplicable. It was as if her body simply wouldn’t let her feel anything but whatever this was. It wasn’t quite positive, yet it was nowhere near negative. One could describe it as neutral, but there was too much emotion there for it to be so. Warm perhaps? Trusting?

Autumn listened intently as the woman spoke. At least this wasn’t Heaven or Hell. Though this all sounded outlandish, she didn’t question it. Perhaps this was due to her wanting to believe in such things. Perhaps the voice was simply too convincing. Or, perhaps, she just liked being called special.

A demi god. It sounded nice. In fact, the whole story sounded nice. Gods, powers, stones. There was, of course, the fear of these “Cyclopeans”. But to be revered, to be a god, it sounded wonderful. Frightening, but wonderful. As the story continued, and Autumn finally caught on, she found it a little less positive. Her destiny was really to fight those creatures? How was she expected to fight them? She couldn’t even move when she saw one!

Still, there were people depending on her. If this was real, and she honestly couldn’t think of how anyone could fake this, then she would be dooming millions of people. It was a terrifying, and also a little flattering, thought. She gulped.

Her eyes looked upwards as she thought it over. Assuming this was real, there were two worlds at stake. Hers, and this “Aires”. If she were to go home, she would not only be keeping the rest of the group from fighting but she would also be allowing the worlds to fall to ruin. The Cyclopeans would invade and her world would die. Then again, the military would surely get involved. They would figure out how to kill those things soon enough. But would the war end? On the other hand, if she were to go to Aires, she would become a demi god. She would gain powers and be revered. Of course, she would have to fight the Cyclopeans. Still, superpowers. Finally, she decided to go to Aires. It was better than waiting for her world to burn.

Others started making their choices. The other blonde opted to go home, which appeared to be Aires. Well, that explained how she knew what the Cyclopean was. Others agreed to the terms, saying they would go to Aires. There was one, however, who chose to go home.

“Wait.” Autumn said, walking up to him. “You can’t leave now. You heard what she said, it’s all or nothing. If you go, then none of us can help either world.” She reached for his arm, trying to stop him. “What about the people back home? They’ll die without our help! Are you really willing to risk millions of lives just because you don’t want to do anything? Do you really have no one you want to protect?” She protested, though her voice remained steady.

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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Everything happened in matters of mere minutes, shattering a once peaceful day that almost signaled the end to a near perfect vacation. The people flocked to the park like some unheard call had lured them step by step into the trap that sprung the moment the strange blonde was encountered. The appearance of the monster, its slaying and the scattering of what was left brought a chill to the warmth of the autumn sun. Onyx stones that glinted hard and cold amongst the autumn leaves that made the park beautiful at this time of the year.

The brunette that was called here by that same instinctive lure watched all that had happened from afar. A small twinge of ice radiated against her wrist, the worst of the pain emanating right where the turquoise stone pressed into her skin. The image of everything around her, flashing and fading to white to only be replaced with the spectral like area around them. When the woman appeared, speaking a greeting, the one who had kept silent stepped closer to listen.

As dialogue was exchanged, more information filtered into the mind of the watcher, her nutmeg eyes glinting with some emotion be it pride, hunger, or lust. It was hard to tell. A coy smile curled its way onto her rosette bows, deft fingers brushing through the chocolate curls that rested on the pretty little head of the female that had kept quiet. A demigod? Now... that is better than Lead Actress! And that weird monster... so that was what the woman meant by a 'cyclopean'...interesting. The thought brought an entertained chuckle from the seventeen year old. Her fingers curled around the bracelet at her left wrist, her coy smile twisting up further.

People depended on her! This was the most exciting thing to happen to her! Lux couldn't help but let another chuckle escape her, feeling nearly light headed from all of this! Imagine me, Lux Adair, a demigod! Someone that people depended on protecting! More and more thoughts of the same nature dashed across Lux's mind, allowing her to keep her silence. However, she knew what she was going for.

With sure steps, the brunette allowed her feet to carry her across the crystalline path towards the portal that would lead to the world called Aires. Where she was to be the hero, but... Lux stopped in her tracks, her eyes glancing over the others she was supposed to work with. Another one had went to talk to the male that seemed to be staying behind or indecisive. It did not matter what he was to Lux, but it appeared that even if she went ahead, nothing would be done if he didn't follow. Perhaps it would be best to wait for them? It must be suicide to walk into a world she knew nothing of alone, when she had these others to have her back.

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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"Do you really have no one you want to protect?"

Harper froze mid-step at those words. His eyes widened briefly as he thought of his sister, Sadie...she was the only person who had ever cared about what he wanted, who actually cared about him, and she was also the only person he ever cared about.

With an exasperated exhale out his nose, Harper spun around slowly on the inhale. Exhaling into an annoyed smile, Harper looked down at the blonde girl.

"Look, you," he said in an irritated tone, "This game that you're trying to pull, this guilt-tripping, reverse psychology bullshit? Whatever it is, it's not gonna work. Even if we all help, who says it's gonna work? You heard the lady: attempt to subdue or suppress or stifle or whatever she said. Not eradicate. Not annihilate. Not "get rid of the problem entirely". And there's not even a guarantee our attempt will pay off. An attempt is like a half-assed try"

A quote from his father right there.

Harper continued, "I'm not about to throw away my life on the slim chance that it'll prevent something that apparently is bound to happen anyways. I would much rather, on the other hand, use the remaining time we have before the cyclowhatevers invade Earth, which sounded like a decent amount of time to me, to build up on some ammo and home defense to prepare against them. Oh, and also to spend some quality time with the one person I actually want to protect, who I have a date with in two hours for ice cream, so if you'll excuse me, I will be off."

With that, he turned around and resumed walking towards the blue portal. "Besides!" he exclaimed, throwing up his hands, "How do we know this isn't just some elaborate stage performance? We're in New York City! That Cyclowhats it was probably just a man in a costume, or an animatronic!"

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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Black blood began to burble from the wound, gushing and spurting from the incision, decorating the grass beneath its feet and, unfortunately, Dorian as well. He winced, shutting one eye as the black ooze sprayed onto his face, but dug the blade further in, twisting it once more for good measure because the dry-cleaning bills were going to be awful, but a few extra dollars spend on laundry were preferable to death. Then the most remarkable thing happened, and, for the first time since this unfortunate adventure had started, remarkable was actually the appropriate word. He could hear it, an audible sort of crackle as the monster began to harden before his very eyes before shattering, onyx shards flying everywhere leaving Dorian standing where he was, panting, painted with blood, knife still posed where it had been before the creature had promptly exploded.

This was too unreal. This was insane. He'd just- there had just been… A monster had dragged itself out from a hole in the earth underneath a tree, run rampant in Central Park, and Dorian had just killed it. Probably. He'd just… He'd just killed something, something unearthly, violent, and over eight feet tall. His hands shook, but he stood frozen, dazed, unable to move for just a moment. That is before a white handkerchief was thrust in front of his face, breaking the spell as he whirled around. No, it as just that boy from earlier offering up the cloth in combination with a muttered apology. To be honest, Dorian didn't hear most of it, the apparent apology muffled by the sound of his heart beat still thundering in his chest.

"I…It's fine," He finally choked out, taking the handkerchief with a trembling hand and pressing it against his nose, wiping slightly and doing more harm than good as he smeared the two colors of blood together before tilting his head backwards, closing his eyes with a deep, shuttering breath. So he didn't see his beloved New York City skyline begin to vanish, erased by a disturbing blankness blanketing the city, muffling for a time every one of the senses. When he did finally open his eyes, to his horror it was to the last of the trees disappearing, the grass beneath his feet not far behind. The bracelet on his wrist was throbbing now, but not terribly uncomfortably, and he clung to the sensation as the world apparently ended around him, erasing it or possibly him from existence. It was dark now. He couldn't see his hand in front of his face, even the one still clutching the now stained handkerchief. Just… nothingness until a brief glimmer of light appeared on the the horizon and slowly, slowly sensation came back. There were lights beneath his feet, fashioned like stars in the heavens above- or perhaps they were stars, he couldn't tell- and the sound of flapping wings, the gentle cooing of birds flying overhead, towards two swirling vortexes, just now making their presences known. And then, there was a voice.

It wasn't just any voice, it was a precise, beautiful voice, tone equal parts soothing and authoritative. And it didn't stop there- that magnificent voice was spinning a magnificent tale more fit for a best-selling fiction novel than the reality he existed in. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, there was silence, the star path dimming visibly leaving all twelve with a choice. Some didn't take long at all to make up their minds, wandering through the portal into the unknown or, as Dorian began to realize in the case of the girl from the tree, into the only world she knew. Others made uncertain declarations then and there, some heroic like the Southern boy, and others less so, like the dripping wet local demanding answers that Dorian was certain would never come. And then it was like all progress was frozen. Even those who had said they were going were still loitering around, either hesitant to go alone or too nervous that someone would stay behind. If it were the second case, they had a right to worry.

Even after one of the girl's- the one who'd checked on the girl in the tree(and, really, he wished that he knew their names to make all of this much more simple)- impassioned protest, no one seemed too convinced. There was that New York boy's attempt to force rationality on a very irrational situation, another girl- the one he'd saved- expressing her doubts that this was even real. All of their voices were breaking the silence at once, swirling together in whines and declarations and Dorian, who had just killed a monster with only a pocket knife, had a possibly broken nose that was still gentle trickling blood and hurt like Hell, and who had had a very bad day even before this whole disaster, had enough.

"You want to know if this is real?" His voice echoed in the otherworldly cavern, something halfway between a sneer and a frown frozen on his face. "See this blood on my face? On my hands? On this knife?" He was illuminated in the cold starlight, black blood evident as it stained his features and body alongside his own violent red, holding his pocketknife up for all to see. "I killed that- that thing back there, stabbed it between the ribs, felt this blade go through its scales as it screamed, was sprayed with black blood, and felt it disintegrate beneath my hands into little shards, so I think I would know if it was fucking real." His bracelet was throbbing now to match his elevated heartbeat, warm upon his wrist.

"I don't give two shits about the rest of you, but this is an all or nothing deal, and if you're too much of a coward to try to save your own planet, to save the people that you want to protect, that's your own problem, don't make it mine. This is the deal; we go through that portal and try to stop whatever the Hell is happening before it happens on our planet and puts everyone at risk, or someone goes home because they're too scared to even try and you've fucked two planets over, your loved ones included. I'm sure none of you want that on your conscience, and it's sure as Hell not going on mine." Not once did his voice crack, keeping his tone at somewhere between a cold monotone and a harsh whisper as if too afraid to speak loudly in the Core.

"And if it's a hoax, and I highly doubt that any of you believe that right now, what have you got to lose? Your dignity? If that's the case, then any dignity that you had is long gone by now. I refuse to let any cowards get my family or me killed when we could have done something to prevent it."

There was silence for a moment before Dorian spoke again, an aching tiredness in his voice. "Look, I just had to murder a giant monster with a pocket knife. Just go through the damn portal."

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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Harper ignored the guy, continuing to walk up to the blue portal, hands in pockets and mentaling "lalalaican'thearyou"-ing.

But when the guy started telling everyone what to do, then Harper finally stopped. And not out of obedience.

If Harper had been irritated before, which he was, now he was supremely pissed off. And on the verge of anger. "Listen, you," Harper snapped, marching over to the taller boy, "I don't give "two shits" about being called a coward or scared. Or about any stains on my conscience. Or about "dignity". But I do give A LOT OF SHITS about being told what to do! Especially by some snotty, twiggy, kid who only happens to be taller than me through genetics. There is no deal, Capische? I would much rather spend whatever remaining time we have with my sister and making plans for our survival with ample time and no immediate risk of dying than wasting it on some futile "attempt" to stop something that'll probably kill us two seconds into that portal."

He took a breath.

"As for it not being a hoax," he continued with the same amount of pissed-off, "You ever seen a movie, son? Ever been to a play with gore and violence? If it was an animatronic they could have easily filled it with fake blood that evaporates or disintegrates quickly. Or maybe you were just tripping balls. EITHER WAY, I don't give a damn what you think or what you think you can tell me to do. I am NOT going, this is stupid, it's suicide, it's fake, and you need to f***ing deal with it!"

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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The slap stung the lower half of his face, causing him to bite his tongue, both literally and figuratively. He had been slapped by girls before, but never this hard!

If it had been a guy who slapped him, Harper would have certainly returned the favor, and then some. But he didn't hit girls, so instead he just stood there, stunned and in pain as this blond girl, the one who had fallen out of the tree and undoubtedly caused all this, lectured him further on what an asshole he was and how immature he was acting and how unreasonable he was being even though everyone else seemed to have no regard for their own lives. Basically, things he already knew. In fact, the only thing he was really thinking about, besides feeling angry, was that the monster was called a cyclopean.

Some other guy pitched in, calling him an idiot and preaching about his philosophy on life. Seriously, these people all looked younger than him, from what he remembered. And they were lecturing him?

"I'm not an idiot!" he shouted, but before he could continue he felt the collar of his shirt yanked forward. He yelped, not just because he was now being dragged towards the wrong portal by a girl much shorter than him, but also because his necklace had slipped past his shirt and onto his bare skin, scalding him.

"Stop, you...crazy...bitch!" Harper hollered as he tried to undo just the pearl ring. The cord was still wet and he had already forgotten about the small knife in his jacket pocket. Giving up on his necklace, he tried to pry the girl's fingers off his shirt, but her grip was strong. Finally, two feet away from the portal, he leaned backwards as far as he could, planting his feet in front of him and slowing down her progress as he applied more resistance.

"All of you...are crazy!" he panted, "You know, two can play this guilt game. You all are what, high school students? You wanna talk responsibility? How bout rent to pay? Food to buy? Jobs to work? You guys probably live with your parents still and don't have to worry about that shit, but I do. Anyone gonna pay for all my new shit once I get evicted because I haven't paid my rent? Anyone gonna give me a new job once I get fired because I haven't shown up? Anyone gonna explain to my sister how come I went missing all of a sudden? And speaking of, how long do you think we'll be in this stupid mythical lord of the rings world? A day? Weeks? Months? If everything's in real time, do you really want your parents or whoever your loved ones are to worry about you for that long? What if it's some inception shit and one second in there is like a day on Earth? Huh?!"

Harper glared at everyone as best he could before finally spitting out, "You guys are just kids. You think I'm the selfish one? You guys don't even pay taxes. Look at all of you. So eager to "save the world." This isn't Avengers. You guys all have frikkin superiority complexes or something."

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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Damn, this girl was good...

He had been formulating his own comeback and eventual dash back to the blue portal while the girl had talked, but once she mentioned his sister...

The part of him that thought the cyclopean was fake tried to reason with him once more, but that image....he imagined the silver chain with the cello charm she often wore ripped off and covered in blood. He had been planning on taking her to his apartment in Boston, which he would have turned into a shelter. But...if he kept up his current track record and failed once more...if a cyclopean broke through and attacked...

The disappointment he imagined on Sadie's face in a few hours by the ice cream parlor killed him, but the image of her being dismembered before his eyes was something he couldn't handle.

"I hate all of you," with a hard swallow he glared at the blonde girl as intensely as he could manage. "Fine...bitch...I'll go through this stupid portal. But don't you think, and don't any of you think" he shouted to the rest of them, "That I'm doing this for any of you, or because you guys told me to. As what's his face said so eloquently, I don't give "two shits[i]" about any of you or who you think you are. I'm deciding for [i]myself whether to go in or not, and that's for one reason only."

He turned back to the girl, and narrowed his eyes even further. "Only one reason," he hissed. Fists clenched, he turned his glare to the yellow portal and stomped through.

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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#, as written by rikura
Jason rubbed the back of his head as the whole fiasco played out. When the first blond said something to the annoying guy, he'd stopped and turned back. She's right. We all have to go.

As the dark haired guy and the annoying guy started going at it, he felt his blood start to boil. Who the hell does this guy think he is, talking like he knows everything? It's freaking annoying. But, whereas Jason made a decision to go to this other world on a whim, not really thinking it over, they're words made him think it through carefully. Overthink it really. . His hands balled into fists, emotions clear on his face like always. His ring was on fire, and he was seriously wanted to break that annoying guy's jaw if he didn't shut up.

Why the hell were they all being so freaking serious and arguing about this, huh? Everything was a clear black and white here, there weren't any gray areas. The pain from his ring and the "pull" he felt towards the other world were definitely real. And the whole deal with the cyclopean things... How could any of them ignore it? Not feel it?

Who cares if there's a possibility that they could fail? That this was impossible? What's the harm in trying? If they try and fail, that just means they got the same result as if they didn't try. Everyone dies. But if there's even the slightest possibility that they might succeed, might stop these things, even if they're only able to suppress them... Isn't it better to try and reach for that one little possibility rather than not trying at all? Giving up gets you nowhere.

He sighed. All of this should be simple. Besides, if you think about it, the voice said the stones chose them because their souls were compatible or something. If that's the case... do they really have a choice, or is having a choice here just some fanciful delusion?

The arguing was really starting to get on his nerves, and the annoying guy was acting like a kid yet calling everyone else the kids. Jason was about to say something, but stopped as the tree girl ran past him and slapped the annoying dude, following up by making him see reason and what he thought as her putting him in his place. He shook his head as the dude stomped by him into the portal, followed by a few others, but smirked a bit thinking of the guy's surprised expression when she'd slapped him. With a glance back at the others still present, Jason walked through the portal more relaxed than he should be.

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel
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Tallyho pulled herself from the palm of the valley—warm and grassy. She looked a short distance to see a spot of yellow on green pasture.

“My basket,” she huffed, “as she rose to her feet, tip toeing and leaping over the other teens that were sprinkled in the grass like a scattered set of marbles.

The blonde bent over and hooked the edge of the basket with her finger, flipping it over. Brown apples toppled out onto the grass and she wrinkled her nose at the stench.

How long was she gone?

She idly wandered over to the group, scanning their faces to see if they were awake.

“Ok…Well…I guess I’m going to town now,” hummed. Her voice trembled with uncertainty, mostly because she wasn’t quite sure if they were dead or not. Maybe their earthly lungs were too fragile for the air or something.

“Well uh… If you aren’t going to wake up…” she hummed as she took a few steps back.

“You’re not leaving that easily,” an unfamiliar voice echoed.

Tallyho looked around hastily to find the source of the voice.

“Over here,” he said.

Her gaze ran up to the top of the hill—where a mysterious ginger was perched, squatting and gazing down into the valley like a predatory bird—and wasn’t it ironic that a fine white owl sat at rest on his shoulder? It was almost a little patronizing, like some sort of socioeconomic portrait. Here was this man on a high hill, well composed, quite handsome, and well dressed, looking down into the valley at a flushed-faced vagabond, who was shoeless and had a record of stealing sips of liquor in taverns.

He stood up straight.

The blonde eyed his fine back pants, and his golden embroidered admiral trench coat—heavy with medallions and gold encrusted buttons. His fine jacket hung over one shoulder, his thin cotton blouse an elegant contrast. He pulled a smoking stick from his mouth, tossed it into the grass, then ground it into the dirt with his polished black shoe.

His bright eyes swam through the valley of bodies, like a shark weaving and wavering this way and that, looking for the right sea lion to snatch.

“Well that was a very dramatic show back there,” the redhead rasped, a slight chuckle escaping from his lips.

Tallyho offered her best poker face a technique she nearly mastered.

“What are you laughing at?” she finally asked.

“You people,” he hummed as he regained his composure, and calmly made his way down the hill. Tallyho moved a step back as he came, not pausing until he made a complete stop.

“You are all so melodramatic.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“’ You wanna talk responsibility? How bout rent to pay? Food to buy? Jobs to work? You guys probably live with your parents still and don't have to worry about that shit, but I do,’ ‘Nothing is certain, nothing except death,' ’A weakling on Aires, is a weakling Earth,’ honestly, you people are really made for each other. But for future reference, don’t take so long in the core. If it’s open for too long, the universe might collapse, you're welcome.”

His laugher faded and he idly reached to scratch the back of the owl’s head.

“Okay so who are you supposed to be again?” Tallyho asked, eyebrows straight, poker face still valid.

“Now how did I forget to introduce myself? My name is Haru Karokav, the first guide on this journey of ours.”

“Guide… What—“

Without asking, Haru Karokav drew close and took a hold of Tallyho’s amethyst. Though his approach was gentle, Tallyho nearly choked herself because she drew back sharply and he never let go.

“What are you doing?” She huffed as she rapidly lost her cool—beginning to wonder if he were some pervert or jewel thief—or both.

But the expression on his face was quite serious as he observed. He dropped the stone back collar bone. Then he drew back.

“Ah so she’s my kid then… Isn’t that interesting, Lillian?” he hummed as he stroked the owl once more.
“Hey, aren’t there supposed to be twelve of you…? It seems that the March Warrior was mis-transported,” the redhead sighed, “Lillian, why don’t you send word up to Ryou?”

Tallyho stared at him, her jaw slightly open.

“What?”