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Jason Carter

"Dude, I wasn't being serious. Seriously."

0 · 1,230 views · located in Aires

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

Description

Image

Name: Jason Carter

Age: 18

Stone: Peridot

Birthday: August 17

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

Height: 6 feet

Weight: 154 pounds

Eyes: A light gunmetal blue with brown flakes - they always seem to have a spark in them whether it's curiosity, excitement, anger, or something else, so if you look at his eyes, it's usually pretty easy to read his emotions.

Hair: Short and brown with a semi-messy style

Personality: Open, Independent, Easily annoyed, Impulsive, Competitive, Intelligent, Curious, A little playful or childish, Not very serious

Quirks:
Has a habit of putting his hand on someone's shoulder or head, especially if they are shorter than him.
Can't handle spicy food.
He usually either speaks before he thinks, or thinks way too much.
Easily flustered or embarrassed.

Equipment: Has a silver scorpion ring with a peridot inlayed on its back. Carries two long knives that could double as short swords.

((ring looks like this but with a peridot instead of a ruby)
Image

So begins...

Jason Carter's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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#, as written by rikura
After one month, Jason still couldn't get use to being in New York. Man, and he thought Nashville was confusing. He didn't see how the people here in New York could actually find their way around. He always got lost. Always! Almost every time he left his aunt's place, after about ten minutes of walking, he'd have to stop someone for directions. Sure, the majority of them were usually helpful and nice about it, but it was annoying how those few would smirk and then make some stupid joke or comment. Kind of like the guy he just talked to. I mean, seriously, he hardly even had an accent, and saying "y'all" isn't something that makes you super country... not that he had an actual problem with people thinking that. That guy was just really, really annoying. But, eh, it wasn't like he'd see that guy again.

He ran a hand through his hair as he stopped walking. 'So, where am I again?' he thought. He looked around, doing a full 360 before slouching and sighing in defeat. At least it was obvious he was near Central Park. I mean, it is pretty obvious with all of the trees and stuff...

He shrugged and gave a little half smile, putting both hands into the pockets of his dark denim jeans, thinking, 'Hey. What the heck? Not like it'll hurt to take a little detour before pick'n up the food for Aunt June anyways.' And with that he found himself walking aimlessly around Central Park.

He liked seeing all of the fall colors, and as he kept hearing his feet crunch fallen leaves, he grinned and looked at the path in front of him. He started jumping and maneuvering around the path, trying not to step on any leaves. After a few minutes of success he stopped, smirked and said, "Oh, yeah, I'm a ninja," then he took one step back and heard a crunch. "... Crud."

"Tch! Oh well, it was a stupid game anyways," he said, sounding a little like a kid whining after losing.

"Ooookay, anyways," he straightened his black and green, long sleeved flannel that he was wearing (unbuttoned) over a fitted black t-shirt. "I should probably get moving." He turned around, started walking, and then paused with a blink. "Wait... which way did I come from? Uh..." He blushed, as he realized he was lost... again. Well, he was just glad, no one was around. He laughed out loud, "That would be embarrassing." He took in a deep breath before releasing it and said "Alright, I'll goooooo," he spun around, and stopped randomly, pointing in front of him, "this way!"

Just about that time, he heard a thump, and someone walking through the leaves by all the apparent crunching he heard, which in turn made him jump. He put a hand on his chest and sighed, "Dang, that scared me..." He turned his head, curious to see what had made the sounds, and started to walk in the direction he thought he heard it from, rubbing the ring he wore on the middle finger of his left hand with his thumb. Soon he saw a guy standing about a yard away from a girl lying on the ground.

'What the heck is she doing here?' He thought, and as he got closer, 'And wearing... that?' 'Whoever she is, she's crazy.'

It didn't look like the other guy was gonna step any closer, so he hurried up and crouched down beside her. "Hey. Hey, uh, person, you alright?" He waved his left hand in front of her face, "Ya still with us?" Then he noticed her ankle at a weird angle and pulled his hand back. "Okay, not good..."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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#, as written by Linnea
The candles flickered uncertainly as the room filled with heat. The flames danced for an instant in the gentle flow of air, threatening to turn the room pitch black with their death. Fearless, the silent guardians remained at their post. It was their sacred duty; one they would not easily falter. Proud and tall, they stood, unaware of their impending demise at the hands of their master. They could not possibly understand that the one they were meant to guard would be the one to put an end to their brief lives. Even if they were to know, how could they possibly fight back? Their entire existence was to serve. To deny this was to invite death. They were trapped, oblivious to the fact that they had only one purpose, unaware that their lives would always be at the hand of their master. So they continued on, lighting the room with their warm glow, blissfully unaware of what was to come.

As the room warmed, their master smiled. She payed little attention to her guardians, for it was her tools that garnered the most interest. Her slender fingers gently flipped over the first card. A young man stood, clutching one of nine long wands. Weary, he leaned on the one in his hands in hopes that it would provide some support. The young girl didn’t need to ponder the meaning of this. After all, it was the past. She had already lived through this part. Overcoming obstacles and continuing with tenacity was something not easily forgotten.

The second card featured yet another man with wands. He clutched one of the three with certainty. This was the card of the present, telling of the young girl’s travels to this city. It was, unfortunately, not for leisure. Rather, it was for business. Of course, the girl had foreseen this weeks ago. With these cards, she had seen many things. Her eyes, pale blue like glimmering starlight, had scanned the intricate pictures for years. Oh, the things that had come to pass.

Her hand hovered over that last card for a moment as she prepared herself. Whatever that card showed, she would have to be ready for it. Who was to say what would happen in the future? Love? Fame? Perhaps an untimely demise. She bit her lip as she grabbed the edge of the card. Flipping it, she gasped in fright.

“Autumn, I’m heading out! I might stop by a restraint. Want me to get you anything?” The lights were turned on and the door opened, rendering the candles useless. The woman behind the intrusion fiddled with her earrings, trying to put them in place.
Autumn let out a ragged breath, looking at her mother with a mixture of surprise and disdain. “Mom! You scared me!”
“Oops! Sorry, Hun! Really though, you shouldn’t be in the dark all the time. It’ll ruin your eyes.” The woman let out a satisfied hum as her earrings fit in place.

“No it won’t. That’s just urban myth.” Autumn retorted, blinking to adjust her vision.

“Alright. I still don’t know why you insist on using those candles, though. Wouldn’t it be easier to use the lamp next to you? Or the ceiling lights?”

“It’s called ambiance.” Autumn said with a playful smugness.

“Whatever you say.” The woman checked her watch. “Oh! Is that really the time? I have to go. Love you!” She walked out of the room hurriedly, her heels clacking against the floor.

“Get me a burger!” Autumn called out. She could only hope her mother heard her.

Well, she might as well flip the last card. The mood may have been ruined, but she still wanted to know what to expect.
She frowned. This didn’t make much sense. What sort of message was this supposed to be? As far as she knew, she wasn’t going to travel any time soon. Aside from going home, of course. That, however, was no earth shattering adventure.
More travel to unexpected lands seemed like a rather odd future. It had just happened after all. Perhaps she had read it wrong. Either way she had to try again later, or risk another misreading. Travel huh… Well, if it was travel that the cards had predicted then travel is what she would have. Maybe a walk through the park? She had heard it was rather beautiful. Besides, her mother’s meeting would take a few hours and some fresh air would do some good.

For a moment, she almost walked out of the door in her pajamas. Autumn rushed over to her luggage, pulling out a black pea coat and dark jeans. Now this would work just fine. Putting the cards in her purse, along with her makeup and phone, she left the room and set out for the park.

Needless to say, Autumn was a dreamy sort. She thoroughly believed in the paranormal. There were a few times that she had even decided to go on investigations of paranormal hot spots. Nothing really happened, but that didn't matter to her. She was sure that the spirits were just tired or something. Or perhaps her good luck charm had kept her from being attacked by something sinister.

Her “charm” was a necklace. A tear shaped topaz that hung from a golden chain. Autumn had bought it at a flea market and never stopped wearing it since. It was just too pretty to take off. Besides, it looked good on her.

Leaves crunched under her black flats as she walked through the park. Fall really was a beautiful time of year. Back where she lived the trees didn't change color. They didn't change much at all actually. Palm trees sort of stayed the way they were. But New York, as opposed to California, had seasons that obviously changed. It was actually rather nice.

She brushed a loose strand of her light blonde hair out of her face, huffing when some got in her mouth. Really, long hair was such a hassle. Still, she would never dream of cutting it short. Short hair simply wouldn't look good on her.
Autumn gleefully studied her surroundings. It was so very beautiful. She didn't really have another chance to see a sight like this again. That is, not to her knowledge. Perhaps tomorrow she would ask the cards if she would ever see this again. But for the time being, she was content just to sit down on a bench and watch the leaves fall. No, this certainly wasn't a grand adventure. And there certainly wasn't any danger nearby. It was peaceful. Just the way she liked it. That is, until her eyes caught a rather odd sight. A girl in a tree. Now what in the world was she doing up there?

Autumn winced as she felt a cold shiver run up her spine. Curiously enough, it was her neck that was the coldest. Upon further inspection, it was the necklace itself that created the chill. It felt like it was as cold as death itself. No matter. The girl that had fallen out of the tree was more important than the chills. There were already a few people there. Autumn walked over, curiosity taking hold. “You… um. You alright?” The girl seemed fine. Nothing broken or bruised. “Do you need any help?”

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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Harper smirked to himself after giving directions to someone who clearly wasn't from New York City. Or possibly any city. But definitely from the south. "Y'all," he said aloud to himself as he waited briefly at a crosswalk, mimicking the tourist's accent, and promptly chuckled at the sound, "Y'all better git, ya hear?!" he continued, exaggerating into the stereotypical Texan drawl, and laughed even louder. That dude would be perfect for Oklahoma!

The curly-haired Manhattan native whistled the theme song to the musical as he crossed the street prematurely, heading towards the Starbucks on the opposite end. His dad was paying for his hotel room (so generous. much loving father. wow) which left Harper plenty of leftover cash to spend on other, more important things...like coffee. That was really the only other thing he had inherited from his dad besides his curly locks and straight nose: an addiction to caffeinated beverages that rhymed with toffee. But they differed, as always, when it came to drink preferences. While his dad always ordered his coffee black and downed it as such, Harper liked to experiment. And today seemed like a caramel frappucino day. Vente. With whipped cream.

As Harper waited for his ordered, he fingered the new addition to his shark tooth necklace: a small pearl ring he and Sadie had found at the bottom of the hotel pool. It had been Sadie who first spotted it, a slightly shiny speck at the deepest part of the deep end, and Harper had fished it out from the drain, which was actually frightening considering he had TV-marathoned Final Destination only two nights ago. The ring was too small to fit on any of his fingers, and he initially tried to give it to Sadie, but his sister gave it right back, saying that pearls were his birthstone, so it'd be better if he had it. Besides, she didn't like pearls anyways. "Only diamonds for this girl!" she had joked at the time.

"Well, diamonds are a girl's best friend," he mused aloud as he retrieved his drink.

"What?" the barista asked.

"I said thanks for the frappucino!" he shouted in response as he plucked a straw from the container, and traipsed out the store, slurping loudly, heading for Central Park. He hadn't been home-home in months, and the giant park was one of his most-missed locations. Besides the beaches and the pools, of course. Maybe he'd find another wedding to crash, like last time. Or get a photograph by that one dude who posted his photos on facebook...Harper followed that shit like crazy.

He made short work of the frap, and bought a handful of roasted chestnuts not long afterwards from one of the many street vendors along the path. Crunching his teeth on the hot nuts provided a much-needed warmth, especially after that iced drink.

He hadn't traveled too far when Harper suddenly heard a familiar accent. Turning, he spotted the very southerner who had asked him for directions not too long ago! Or...he spotted the back of the guy...at least he thought it was the guy...Whatever. It wouldn't be the first time he'd walk up to an utter stranger. Wouldn't the last either.

Stuffing the warm chestnut-filled paper bag in his letterman jacket, Harper turned right on the walking path, flip flops slapping the leaves as he neared the tourist. "Eyyyyyy!" he called out when he was only a few yards away, announcing his arrival, "Yo, you lost again? I don't remember what street you wanted, but I definitely know it wasn't in Central Park."

Now standing next to the flannel-wearing blond, and grinning, Harper first noticed the other male. Looked younger than him, but taller Darn. He looked to be a native though...if only through the dressing style. Then there was the blond girl...definitely shorter than me he thought with approval. After glancing between both of them, still smiling, he noticed they were looking down at something, and Harper followed their gaze.

"Ohhhh...." Harper said, "There's....yep, there's a girl on the ground. So that's what we're looking at." She....well, maybe she was from SoHo or something...one of those weird artsy students. I mean, look at that dress. And no shoes? Clearly she was into some tree-hugging major. I mean, it looked like she had just fallen out of a tree...heh...the treehugging was probably done without consent.

"Well," he announced, pulling his phone out, "As incredible and awe-inspiring as this sight is--I mean, it is New York City--we all probably have other things to do and weirder things to see, so uh...since your ankle looks all screwy I'll call you an ambulance, give your coordinates, and I think we can all go on our merry way."

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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Tallyho let out a rather unattractive groan; she pulled her brows into a tight furrow before relaxing her face, and opening her eyes only to see a gaggle of people who, in her option, were excessively frightening. The first person she took notice of was a pale, dark haired boy, whose voice was about as dead as the eye of a shark. She began to wonder if the chilly weather was just a result of empty air clawing out of the crevices of his soul. The next was a young man whose speech was drawn out and rather slow. She made an attempt to identify his accent—to figure out what part of Aires he was from—but because of her flustered state and the crowd of people hovering above her, she simply decided that his speech was too slow for comfort, and therefore pretty annoying in this particular moment. She grunted as his palm swept over her face and she turned away, claustrophobic and put off by his close contact. As an approaching blonde joined in on the “are you alright” chant, a loudmouthed man began to yodel something about an ambulance which, at this point, Tallyho hoped was a type of pastry chef because she was pretty pissed.

“I’m fine,” she grunted, voice soft but groggy. She tried to swat the slow speaking boy off of her as she sat up, though with her concussion, her gesture was probably likened to slapping him in the face with a wet noodle. After struggling to her feet, she took a long, hard look at each of the characters surrounding her. Well at least she thought she was staring them down. For all she knew, her eyes could have been zipping about from her dizzy spell.

Cold, hungry, angry, and with a concussion, Tallyho struggled to offer a thanks for their concerns, but managed to get it done through broken, slurred speech.

“Now where am I?” she asked, attempting to sound as polite as possible despite her discomfort.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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#, as written by rikura
Jason's shoulders stiffened as he heard a familiar and annoying voice. The same voice of the annoying guy who he got directions from earlier. Seriously!? Seriously? After the guy stopped talking, Jason started to turn his head to give a smart reply, when he heard "I'm fine" and felt a full-handed sort of tap on his cheek. He blinked, looked back down at the girl, 'guess she is still with us, huh?' and then stood up and stepped back, giving her some room.

He watched as she pushed herself up shakily. 'Yeah, you sure look fine, sweetheart,' he thought sarcastically to himself as he started twisting the silver scorpion ring on his finger. He paused, raising an eyebrow as she tried to look intimidating... at least he thought she was trying to look intimidating. After hearing the slurs she gave, he really wondered if she was just some weird drunk, and when she asked "Now where am I?" he nodded to himself. 'Yeah, that's it... or she really hit her head.'

"You're in Central Park.... Do you remember how ya got here?" Though with how she was acting, he didn't think she remembered anything, and an earlier thought came back to him. 'Yeah, she's probably crazy...'

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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Harper snorted when the southerner got slapped...or tapped...by the SoHo chick. "See, that's what happens when we crowd people," Harper tutted, turning away to make his call, "Ya hear?"

He himself didn't hear the girl's questions or the tourist's response. Nor did he see the blond guy barrel into the tall and, now that he thought about it, somewhat intimidating yet familiar face that belonged to the dark haired dude. As he lifted his phone to his ear (he had decided to call the Central Park Medical Unit, since the bohemian girl didn't seem to be in too much of an emergency), he did notice the girl on a bench not too far away, a textbook on her lap. She was kind of cute...He gave a short wave to her, smiling widely, but he wasn't completely sure she had seen.

"Central Park Medical Unit. What's your emergency?"

"Uh, yeah, there's this girl who looks like she fell out of a tree," Harper explained, "Yeah, I think she maybe hit her head too hard." he turned back to glance at her before reaffirming, "Yeah, probably hit her head too hard. Oh and her ankle didn't look that hot either." He provided the coordinates of where exactly they were in the park and answered a couple other questions before hanging up.

"Good news, chica," he hollered to the injured girl, waving his phone, "Your ambulance is on its way! So just sit tight for like ten or fifteen or twenty minutes." He honestly didn't know how long it would take them...a girl who was still functioning after falling out of a tree probably didn't beat out a possible bicycle accident or an injured puppy or a cat or frisbee or kite stuck in a tree.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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Tallyho stared in mild horror as the loud one began to speak to himself with his hand cupped onto his ear. It was when she heard the words, Central Park from the slow speaker that she attempted to place the location within a country. Such a place was not on Solace and besides, there was absolutely no way that she could be there with breezes so cold.

She began to think that she had been shipped to the R.K. Of course, it all made sense. She fell down the hill, a bunch of hermits took her to the piers, then shipped her off to the R.K where a tag team of disgruntled shipmen put her in a tree so that she could wake up and start her new life as a…

No. Maybe not.

“Thanks anyway,” the blonde mumbled, “I don’t need your am-bull-lances.”

Whatever those were.

With that, she began to make her way down the stony path. Her ankle was a little sprained, but it certainly wasn’t broken. As she moved away, she made a half-hearted attempt to clean herself up—to comb autumn leaves from her hair and shake dead grass from the frills of her dress. Though it would be her luck that in the middle of a mildly dignifying exit, she stepped on a stray pinecone, which, to be frank, hurt like hell. Holding in her outcry, she glanced back at the others to see if they noticed.

But what did it matter if they did? It wasn’t like they were particularly nonchalant when she fell out of the tree. Tallyho already looked (and felt) like a crazy fool. She was scruffy from a long, foodless journey in the Airian summer. Her face, though still fair, was lightly tinted with nature’s bronzer, applied through strong winds that sent loose dirt that dwindling in the air from erosion. Her locks were frizzy curls that expanded in the sun, dulled in the fall chills, and as ridden with small twigs.

She was capable of looking a little nicer, but since she was at her very worst, she really had nothing to lose. In an attempt to put herself out of her own, socially-awkward misery, she picked up her pace, avoiding maleficent pinecones as she went.

But something made her stop in her tracks. It wasn’t the searing heat from her amethyst or her desire to figure out what an am-bull-lance was, but rather the unsettling sound quaking from the tree she fell from. She eyed the trunk, watched as it tipped in slight movements that could only be noted if one paid special attention.

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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Yuki

Yuki’s serious and determined face hid the excitement that was burning inside of him, ready to take him over and cause him to explode. Studying in New York, in NYU for crying out loud, was an awesome experience, but studying Journalism was his dream. In high school, he worked his butt off preparing a suitable portfolio for his work, writing in the school newspaper and preparing a mix of photos he had taking over the years from different gigs and scoops he experienced. Now, he was in the big leagues, determined to make a name for himself. Getting through the dreaded Core Requirements was a bad enough roadblock to his path to success, but to be denied of a trip abroad because he was too young and didn’t take the required Journalism classes yet was a huge hindrance to him! Somehow, he got this crazy idea to go up to his professor for his Methods and Practice Visual Reporting class to talk about his situation. His professor saw that he was a determined kid and he said that there can be some leeway if he was ready to take the challenge. Determined, Yuki agreed and the professor suggested that he consult advising first, but that he was going to make a recommendation for Yuki to study abroad early. However, he had to make the best first class portfolio for his visual reporting course and bring together something more unique than a tragedy, comedy, or heartwarming story. If Yuki showed that he had potential through his project, maybe he could do a Journalism study abroad in the summer.

So then, why was Yuki at the Central Park when he had to come up with the portfolio that could determine his future? Well, it was his best place to think and his favorite area for photos. Central Park was picturesque, as though it was made for recording and photography. Yuki was excited about his chance and couldn’t wait to get started. However, where he should start is the question. To find something unique took a chance moment, and chance moment was what Yuki hoped would be in Central Park. He made sure to pack extra amounts of memory cards, his tripod, two journals, and of course his cameras for the hunt for the biggest scoop. Along the way, he decided to practice on some locals. Who knows, his big break could come from something ordinary and unexpected. So he filmed whatever he saw, hoping to get inspiration.

It was a fall afternoon and the leaves were rich in vibrant reds, glowing oranges, energetic yellows, and some vivacious browns. The park was bursting with activity left and right. Yuki took out his video camera without the tripod and set the memory card in place, ready to capture something that would help out his career. He sat down on top of the massive heaps of black rock that were in Central Park to get a good view from the top. Focusing his camera to the left, Yuki captured two little children’s climb to the top of another large mound. To his right, he captured a heated argument between a couple which ended in the lady pouring her bottle of water on her man—er ex—and storming away from the scene. Ladies and gentlemen, the typical New York lifestyle Yuki thought. Adventure in one corner and heartbreaks at another. C’mon, New York is supposed to have some excitement and uniqueness, what’s so unique about all this crud?

Suddenly Yuki heard some commotion near a tree and a leaf pile. He turned his camera and increased his focus to find a blonde girl with strange clothes and no shoes on the ground and people gathering around her. Yes! Some excitement! This is going to be golden. I better get closer...

Yuki climbed as fast as he could safely down the massive black rock and hurriedly got closer to the commotion. He crouched down behind a nearby bush and set up his little film studio, trying to conceal himself. Setting the tripod as low as possible and focusing on the scene, he witnessed a group of people helping the girl who seemed lost and confused. Yuki turned the sound up to try and listen into the situation. It seemed there was some sort of ambulance on the way and he hoped they wouldn't catch him in the bushes. While the situation was still on hold, Yuki took out his notepad and jot down some notes on the situation:

Incident in Central Park: A Damsel in distress
Subject is a female blonde, strange clothes, barefoot, a foreigner. Seems to have fallen from a tree and is lost and confused. Approximately four people aiding her...no wait five.

Yuki observed a man bump into one of the guys on the scene and covered his mouth to muffle his chuckle.

Ambulance on the way. Confusion and unknown situation. Persisting to observe to comprehend the situation.

Where this was leading to, Yuki couldn't know, but it was still something he can observe and something he can feed to his camera.

(OOC: Sources for some of the information here are:
https://journalism.nyu.edu/undergraduat ... sm-abroad/
https://journalism.nyu.edu/courses/2014 ... porting-2/ )

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan
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Someone had thrown away a half-eaten cheeseburger. Gwen just barely caught sight of it, top-down and barely holding together, from within the depths of the city trashcan. She had to stick nearly her entire arm into the bin to reach it, to shove aside the soft drink containers and ketchup-stained napkins and an old pair of shoes. Someone managing the fast food joint shouted and chased her away, but in the end, Gwen had her prize.

Gwen had truly descended into the ranks of the homeless. She chewed on her burger thoughtfully as the flow of the crowd led her into a more crowded part of the city. She had technically lived on the streets her entire life, but she had never actually been homeless before. But things had changed over the past few days, and now she was sleeping in doorways and nicking leftovers out of trash bins.

People in the crowd tried not to bump into her. She was filthy and kind of repulsive, and she knew it. However, dirt was no barrier when it came to licking the last of the greasy off her hands. She wasn't going to waste of bit of that heavenly sustenance. Whoever had thrown away the food had been a smoker. It had tasted more like cigar than cigarette—classy. The sandwich had also picked up some of the foot fungus taste from the shoes.

It was the best damn cheeseburger Gwen had tasted in her life. That grease would hold her over for a while.

Gwen had in mind to pay a visit to central park before the sun went down. She hadn't been there since she was just a child, and benches and bushes sounded a lot more comfortable than doorways and dumpsters.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gwen splashed the cool fountain water onto her face. No one questioned her, even when she removed her sweater and long-sleeved shirt to wash her arms and neck. There was hardly anyone around to object to her behavior, but she could see why no one wanted to get involved in her situation. She looked like she was probably in too deep to be pulled out--unless someone was willing to get covered with shit along with way.

Nothing and everything about her relayed to those around her that she needed help. Beneath her torn clothes, the bottom layer of which hung from her shoulders like a veil of cobweb, her skin was dry and damaged and pale under a coating of city dust and grime. Disguised under the dirt she was covered in bruises, and she sported a half-healed split down her lower lip. Her hair was so tangled and dirty that it would probably retain the shape of her ponytail if she took out the tie.

There was nothing about her, however, that remotely suggested she couldn't handle what were merely inconveniences of appearance. After living on the streets for her entire life, Gwen couldn't honestly see dirt and bruises as an overwhelmingly negative thing. She’d been bruised and dirty since the moment her family lost their house, as far as she was concerned, and since that time had suffered much worse than dirt under her fingernails or body odor. Or cigar-toe fungus-cheeseburgers, as far as that went.

Washing away the top layer of dirt from her skin made some of her bruises more visible, though most of that didn't matter since she would be covering her arms. But even after she put her layers of clothing back on, an old purple-yellow bruise boasted its existence from her lower left jaw, its presence like a slightly embarrassing tattoo she wasn't sure she wanted other people to see. Using her wavering reflection for reference, she prodded the blotch to see if it still hurt. It didn't. The most impressive ones never hurt.

Gwen didn't like looking at her face much. Her reflection always unsettled her, a face that seemed both younger and older than it should. She looked young, but not in the way that a child’s face did; rather, young in the way a person looks when they have been malnourished and haven’t properly had a chance to grow. At the same time her eyes were too old, especially right now. They held defensiveness and put up a strong front, but Gwen could see right through herself in a heartbeat. But, of course, she was prone to over-analyzing herself. People always see what they expect to see, as it was said. More than likely, others just saw a face.

As the sunlight sunk below the skyscrapers of New York, plunging the city into a premature darkness, the park became quieter. Gwen kept moving until it was completely dark, the sidewalks illuminated by isolated pools of flickering electric light, before she found the quietest place she could and settled down to sleep. She decided against sleeping on a bench and instead went for hiding in a bush. She figured that she was less likely to be disturbed in the morning that way, though she didn't know for sure, not having explored either scenario.

Gwen settled down under the ample leaf cover, sacrificing some comfort in order to maintain discretion. Sleeping on bush branches was better than sleeping in a doorway. She arranged her drawstring bag, mostly filled with the rest of her clothes, under her head as a pillow. Pulling her hood low over her eyes, she shuffled once among the greenery before sinking like a rock into a deep sleep.

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When Gwen first woke, she wasn't aware that anything in particular had roused her. As was usually the case, it could have been anything from a passerby to a car horn. It was quiet, though, quiet enough that she almost mistook herself for being somewhere else. The next moment, she realized both where she was and what had woken her up. It felt like someone was pressing ice against the warm flesh beneath her left breast. With a small gasp, a groggy hand shot underneath her layers of clothing, clumsily reaching to find the source of the cold. Her fingers caught hold of the snake amulet she usually tried to wear well-hidden, and she clenched it tightly in her fist until the metal once again warmed.

With a groan, Gwen stood from the bush and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Her awakening had been strange rather than rude, and she found herself grumpily perplexed as she stooped to pick up her belongings. Still, she was rather pleased that she hadn't been woken until now. By the position of the sun, it was probably later in the morning rather than earlier. It looked like sleeping in bushes was going to become a regular thing.

Gwen stepped out of the bush with a rustle and a shower of small green leaves. Nearby there seemed to be a bit of a scene playing out, and while this wasn't anything unusual, Gwen's interest was piqued. Commotion could possibly indicate tourists--or it could indicate another bat-crazy homeless druggie who would be of no interest at all. Either way, her current situation hardly allowed her to leave it up to chance.

Gwen moved closer to take stock of the situation. Some people were a train wreck, honestly, and that coming from a homeless person. She could probably squeeze a few dollars out of some of the people involved in the activity; Gwen's eye was particularly on the young man with the country accent. He looked like a gullible tourist if ever she saw one.

Setting

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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

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Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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#, as written by rikura
Jason's hands twitched as that annoying dude said "Ya hear?" He cut his eyes at the guy, whispering to himself in an annoyed tone, "I'll kill him. I swear, I'll..." He blinked, turning his head as he noticed someone at the edge of his vision. There was a girl there who looked like she'd just been thrown off a wild horse, especially with the tangled hair and the bruise... not that it made it any less obvious that she had an attractive face... Kind of made him curious, though. Homeless, maybe? He shook his head to clear it, looking away from her. "I kinda got a bad feeling for some reason..." he mumbled to himself.

And that's when he noticed the strange girl who fell out of the tree starting to move away. How he noticed? Well, because the annoying guy shouted, "Hey!" right next to his ear, causing Jason to flinch. 'Oh, thanks, because I actually like being deaf,' he thought sarcastically. He sighed, then blinked as he saw the girl striding away, "Ah! Hey, wait a sec-" He cut himself off as he saw her stop suddenly and she seemed to be... studying the tree?

He felt that little spark of curiosity in the back of his mind that usually, for him, meant 'step away, kid.' He shook his head to clear it again. 'Okay, this chick is seriously confused. Just forget about it. Don't get curious. Do not get curious! Walk away, go get the food, and go back to Aunt June's place.' He nodded to himself, 'Yeah, I'll do that.'

He took a few steps back and started to turn to walk the opposite direction from where the crazy girl was. When he turned, however, he finally noticed the heat on his finger that he'd been oblivious to up until now, so it sort of shocked him. "Ow, what the heck!?" He kind of jumped, doing a 180 on his heels, shaking his left hand back and forth. 'Seriously feels like a scorpion sting!' Not that it actually hurt...And he was back looking at the crazy girl again.

Twisting the ring on his finger as it burned against his skin, he sighed, defeated. 'And they say curiosity killed the cat.' A small grin formed on his face, as he, not realizing how silly that entire little bout of his probably looked, shrugged and thought out loud, "Well, at least a cat has nine lives."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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The only sound that could be heard was the rustling of paper as Aria flipped a page of her book. The commotion of the outside could only be heard lightly. She was sitting behind a large mahogany counter with a novel sitting open. Though she should have been working her shift, the book store she worked at, A Novel Idea, was usually quite empty around this time. Lucky for her, it left some peace and quiet to catch up on some new novels. It was one of the reasons she loved working there, that, and the pun in the name of the store.

The silence was shattered by the tinkling of the bell on the front door. Aria lifted her blue eyes from the book to see her colleague, Nathan, stroll in. In his hands, he held two coffee cups and a small box of donuts. Nate came and occupied the other stool behind the counter, and set the drinks down. "For you m'lady," he said with mocking chivalry. "Why thank you," she replied with a smile. Cupping the drink, she took a sip and for a donut. Nate gave her hand a small slap, and slid the box of donuts closer to himself protectively. i didn't say you could have any," he teased. "They're all for me." After fixing him with a very adamant glare, he slid the box over to her and let her take a donut.

Munching on a donut, Nate leaned over and looked at the book. So what're you reading?" It took a moment for Aria to tear her attention away from the novel. "Oh, it's Eldest by Christopher Paolini." Isn't that like your seventh time reading that series?" Aria shrugged in return, and took another sip of her coffee. "I don't know, I lost track of how many times I've read it. It's just so good." "Whatever you say," he said with a smile. Nathan grabbed a stack of books off the counter and set about organizing them on the bookshelves.

This was pretty much how the rest of her time was spent. Aria helped a few customers, ate a few donuts, and conversed with Nate. When her shift ended for the day, Aria looked up at the clock and smiled. "My shift's over, I'm out." she said happily. "You sure you're gonna be okay closing up?" Nate smiled and walked over. "I'll be fiiiine, I don't know why you worry about me so much" After a pause, she shrugged. "Alright then, see you tomorrow." And with that, Aria grabbed her novel and left the store.

As soon as Aria stepped foot outside, she was hit with the brisk air of autumn. It wasn't necessarily freezing, but even the light chill made Aria cold. For some reason, she was very sensitive to the cold, and preferred the blazing heat of summer. As she walked down the street, she silently wished she had brought her coat. Even her outfit couldn't stop the cold.

On her walk home, she passed Central Park. She glanced down at the novel she had in her hands and shrugged. It wouldn't hurt to spend a little time in the park and read would it? She had a little time left before she had to get home. Making up her mind, Aria walked into Central Park. She had gotten more used to the cold now, but she hugged the book to her chest to get a little warmer. Her sapphire eyes scanned the park, and landed on a group of people surrounding a tree. Her first instinct was to go see what it was, but then she remembered that this was New York. When you see people suspiciously congregating around a tree, it was probably best not to go near them. But, she was still curious.

Aria inches closer to them, until she was just a few feet away, and could hear their conversation. Something about an ambulance? Someone must've gotten hurt. That was when a girl with wild blonde hair and a weird dress broke away from the group and started walking away, incidentally towards her. Aria side stepped, and watched as the others called out after her.

Aria wanted to ask them what was going on, but she felt a painful sting on her neck. She thought ignoring it would go away, but the burning was just growing in intensity. The pain came so quickly, she buckled to her knees. "Wow, way to not attract attention to myself..." She desperately felt around her neck to see what the source of the pain was. When he touched her necklace, her fingers recoiled. It was hot to the touch, as if it was on fire. She focused on the tree to collect herself and ignore the pain. It was working somewhat, and she stood back up. What was weird was the tree seemed to be vibrating or quaking. Maybe it was just her eyes tricking her. But something felt off about it.

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

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Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Jason Carter
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Well, she hadn't told him to back off yet. That was a plus.

The student question had him stumped for a little bit. She was a stranger....he could really tell her anything. It was unlikely he'd see her again anytime soon. Then again, he had thought the same the last time he had lied about going to college, and it had cost him his relationship six months afterwards.

"Nah," he finally answered, leaning slightly against the arm rest of the park bench, hands still in his pockets, "College wasn't really my scene, ya know? I tried one semester at City College for engineering, but the structure was too suffocating," a little embellishment of the truth...he was accepted into City College on a swimming scholarship, but he never actually went.

"So, communications," he said, changing the subject back to her, "What's that...like, how we talk and body language and cell phones and things like that? Do you end up graduating as like a master communicator or something?" he laughed at his own joke and would have continued if he didn't hear a sudden yelp.

Turning, he saw the southerner jumping up and down, waving his hand. Leaning towards the girl, he whispered out the side of his mouth, "Do you suppose that's a form of communication? What do you think it means?"

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Cyclopean
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As it turned out, Dorian was far from the only person in New York concerned however mildly with someone else's well-being. He watched in growing discomfort as others began to swarm around the girl in her bed of leaves(well, as much swarming as three people could do, anyways), attracted to the incident like flies to honey. The first was a boy who slipped by Dorian without so much as a glance, instantly crowding the girl, checking her over with an inexperienced eye. Even before he opened his mouth, all uncertain words and a distinctly Southern accent, Dorian had him pegged as a tourist from his flannel shirt to the fact that he was willingly invading the space of someone who had not only managed to climb one of Central Park's tall trees, but also to fall without so much as a scratch. The next person- a girl this time dressed all in dark clothes- arrived just as suddenly, hovering slightly away, but still asking the same question that had already been asked, offering help. Another tourist. Dorian was getting good at this guessing game. The last one was certainly the most welcome because, despite his apparent tendency to narrate whatever he saw, he was taking care of the scene with the same disinterest mixed with practicality that Dorian could appreciate.

But the girl was fine enough for all of their concern(however mild that may have been on Dorian's own part), climbing unsteadily to her feet and staring them down with a hazy gaze and a strangled out thank you that spoke wonders of just how disoriented she was. With an ambulance being called and two other people willingly answering her questions, Dorian prepared to slip off, his role in this little scene hopefully done. Going to Central Park, he decided as he began to step away, wasn't always the best idea. Who knew what sort of strange characters you'd end up meeting? Like the strange character who promptly barreled into Dorian. As Dorian let out an "oof" at the impact, stumbling back a few steps, his mind couldn't help but half-heartedly add, 'this would never have happened if you'd just stayed home today.'

Dorian's accidental assailant went sprawling on the grass, somehow more stunned by the impact than Dorian himself but only for a moment before hopping to his feet, dropping a dirt-encrusted bag, and putting up his dukes like Dorian had been the one to carelessly throw himself into him instead of the reverse. Dorian was unamused, uninterested, and, above all, unimpressed. The two were like opposites, Dorian towering over the wannabe fighter by almost a foot, even with the other boy standing after his little fall. His face was a mess, a black eye and a split lip visible under his ratty blue baseball cap, so obviously this wasn't a one time "let's fight people" occurrence, a far cry from Dorian's own neat and calm appearance.

"Excuse you," Dorian deadpanned, staring down at the boy critically. It wasn't meant to look particularly mean or threatening, but Dorian was cursed with features that made nearly everything look intimidating regardless of his own intentions. Also, yes, he was mildly pissed off. There was a moments pause, the other boy still staring at him fiercely.

"Look, what do you-" the demand died mid sentence because, as it turned out, Dorian had bigger problems than a slightly insane guy with a thing for starting fights. That would be bigger problems both literally and figuratively in the form of a tree being uprooted. This was weird, even for New York. Also dangerous, again, even for New York as the large tree went careening downwards at a remarkable speed right towards the other guy. Dorian had a choice then, a choice to either run away, like a normal person, or to put himself willingly in danger for a person he didn't know nor care about. It only took him a split second to decide.

Dorian tackled the other boy to the ground, pushing both of them out of the tree's descent and rolling in the grass and out of harms way. But Dorian didn't have time to worry about grass stains, however, because no sooner did he look up from his position sprawled above the other boy than something happened that he couldn't quite explain. Someone- no, something- was crawling out of the dirt, all skeletal claws and exaggerated proportions, reptilian skin and fangs, not teeth, fangs. It was like something that had stepped out of a horror story, a sci-fi monster from another world that couldn't possibly exist by any stretch of the imagination. But it did- it did exist, it was there right in front of him. And, perhaps the most disturbing thing was that the girl- the stoner or crazy or whatever she was was leading it away, trapping it somehow. This couldn't be real, it shouldn't be real, but the noise, the smell, the strange, warm sensation on his wrist where his bracelet was- all of the evidence pointed to this scene not being a figment of his nightmares, but to an even more horrific reality.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Cyclopean Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Cyclopean Character Portrait: Isabelle Gentile Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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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."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Cyclopean Character Portrait: Isabelle Gentile Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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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...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Isabelle Gentile Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan
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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: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Cyclopean
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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.