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Kit Withers

"If you need me for anything, reconsider."

0 · 376 views · located in Aires

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

Description

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❝ Well now, isn't that interesting? ❞

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✦| Curious | Restless | Inquisitive |✦


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Kit has a youthful appearance and looks to be in his mid twenties. Freckles dot his pale trim frame and he stands at 5'8". His long ginger hair is well groomed, kept either down or in a low ponytail during the warmer months. As a fashionable individual, he very rarely dresses down and whatever he wears ends up looking well put together. Even simple clothes have to be stylish for him. He has a strange scar around his neck that he tries to keep covered up as well as a few other minor scars on his upper arms and hands. Kit is agender and goes by he/him or they/them pronouns.

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Kit is an eccentric and cunning individual, always interested in learning and traveling. He enjoys researching and can easily get engrossed in the projects he starts. However, he's also the restless sort who can't handle boredom well. He always needs to be doing something and so engages in many hobbies. It can sometimes be hard to get him to stay still and he often has bouts of insomnia.

His greatest skills are that of dexterity and with blade. Though, he's also a pretty good chef who enjoys making pastries.

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In the past, Kit used to be a thief. Though he was talented, he was eventually caught and has since spent his time travelling and learning new things.

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Face Claim: Bartek Borowiec

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Character sheet: StarlightPrincess

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So begins...

Kit Withers's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Jason Carter Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Lux Adair Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Mr. Vo Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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With the cramped quarters, the rough road underneath the cart's wheels, the random babbling of the ox-cart driver, the uncomfortable feeling of being touched on all sides (significantly more-so with whoever was burying their head into his shoulder), and hot sun high overhead; Falke had finally fallen into a travel-weary imposed half-slumber. His chin brushed his chest, eyes half lidded against the glint and glare of the sun, and easy breaths parted his lips, hardly a means of lustrous rest but it was something that the past week or more hadn't been graced of plenty with - so any little bit helped, it all honesty.

Falke jolted awake suddenly at Harper's fit of panic and the sudden shift of the person to his left, also being awakened abruptly by the screaming and sobbing out barely coherent words like he was the world's biggest two year-old. His eyes shot open, blearily confused and extremely annoyed. Was his reaction really all that necessary? Of course, he might have been more sympathetic if the person having the panic attack was someone he knew or frankly cared a lick about, and for the most part this seemed like another grab for attention, stealing the show as it would be, or just simply attempting to get his way again (which hadn't worked at all so far, you know), and so he really just did not care.

Good Lord, and Harper kept going - screaming, sobbing, and slobbering at the mouth. Agh. Someone needed to let him just pass out when his brain finally had enough of this panic attack and turned off for a bit itself without babying him through it, or, preferably, someone needed to help him along with a cognitive reset. Bah, who was he kidding? Most of them were to soft to do anything of that sort, and Falke wasn't certain how far away he was in the first place in the confines of the cart itself and his blindness made it more likely he'd hit someone else instead of his intended target. Oh, bloody hell. Something, anything? No...

"Ohk... Halt die Klappe, feiger Hund." Falke muttered in annoyed exasperation, low, under his breath and barely audible. His growling brass of a voice rumbled roughly, clearly not English, but clear enough that he certainty remembered that he really shouldn't be speaking his native tongue or let anyone hear it in a place (or around new strangers) that had never heard of Germany or the Germanic language in the first place.

Falke obviously wouldn't be able to go back to sleep with this commotion, and an hour more of it seemed an unbearable burden to bear; but he would be dammed, if he didn't attempt to try at the very least. He roughly placed his hands on either side of his head, half-covering his eyes and ears at the same time. Pulling up his knees to rest his head back on, as the cart resumed its motion, doing his best to ignore Harper and everything else...

* Oh... Shut up, cowardly dog.

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(ooc: These two riders are just ahead of the group on the cart, and not necessarily right near them. You may be able to spot them riding further ahead on the trail, or you will see them - close enough in person - upon reaching the gates of the Academy. Do with that what you will with that when replying, if your character happens to notice them. Thanks!)

An explosion of sulfurous snarls, intermittent gasps, and wailing cries, barely resembling something human and only that because it made mostly audible words; echoed amongst the mountain ranges like a dreadful song of a dead-man’s failed gambit. Interrupting the quiet, steady purpose of two riders astride their sturdy mounts also making their way up to the Academy, enough that the poor beast the one hooded rider rode chin nearly bruised itself on its own chest as the reins were snatched up in surprise, halting their forward movement abruptly. “By the one,” Came the soft, exasperated hiss of the rider as they released their grip and apologetically patted the top of the rangy, mountain horse‘s withers who snorted roughly and warily in response.

A thin fingered hand escaped the confining folds of the cloak covering the additional long-sleeved flowing dress to pull off the hood their head, revealing a lady with dark golden hair bound in a coiled bun with no signs of age upon her except in the depths of her washed-out, gray-blue eyes. Her already lean and angular face seemed rather pinched as she scowled, as her eyes narrowed as they made an idle attempt of locating the direction of the sound of the apparently ‘dying’ human being somewhere down on the mountain trail(s) below hers’ and her companion’s own position.

“Huh… I wonder why no one’s shut that blubbering idiot up yet. You’d think someone would’ve run something through his throat already, after his innards apparently with that amount of yelling and left the body for the crows. Wouldn’t you say?” The woman mused rather callously to the sufferings of whatever poor individual was currently squeaky screaming his fool head off. Her accent was odd to most Airian standards, and seemed as if she was singing a melody as she wove her words into speech, but able to be understood readily enough. She removed her attention from scanning the mountain side, and glanced back to her companion, as he remarked in turn of the retched cacophony.

A brief moment of mild amusement kindled to life across her fine features, as her teeth flashed in a small grin at her companions’ obviously irritated sarcasm. She hummed softly in agreement to his expressed thoughts, as her hand reached back up to pull the hood back over her head. “We should be at the gates in another 30 minutes or so, come on then.” She stated lightly, and followed her statement by resuming her grip on the reins, clicking her tongue to start the ponies’ movement forward once again up the side of the mountain.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
The cacophony of unintelligible cries had completely ruined whatever was left of the rider’s good mood. His horse probably wasn’t all too happy about it, either. To think, he was actually a bit content before he heard the noises. The sun was shining, he had a nice horse and had even managed to crack a smile earlier when he remembered a joke he had heard. He let out a small sigh, his long delicate fingers gripping the reigns tight in frustration. So much for that.

“No, I’m sure they’re just traveling merchants.” He replied to the other rider. The man’s tone of voice, though soft and higher pitched than most men’s, made the sarcasm in his statement obvious. He narrowed his sharp hazel eyes, the intensity of which provided a contrast to his softer facial features.

He looked feminine, his lashes thick and his features soft. At first glance, one could easily mistake him for a woman. His pale skin was splashed with light freckles and his long ginger hair was tied back into a low ponytail. His hazel eyes, however, had a certain sharpness to them that seemed to stand out. They were soon covered, as he momentarily closed his eyes in a feeble attempt to regain some pleasure from ride while ignoring the racket. This didn’t last for more than a second, however, as he had to open them again to check the road.

“I just hope to goddess it isn’t the warriors. I came here to train fighters, not shrieking children.” He huffed as the horses started to move again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Mr. Vo Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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Whether the stranger chose the travel with them or not, Haru had to keep going uphill no matter how much screaming came from behind. The hour seemed to go on forever for the cat guardian, but it wasn’t until the silhouette of two familiar figures dawned at the end of the path that the redhead found a sense of peace.

“Thank Goddess,” his voice was hardier, richer; he wanted them to hear him. And by Goddess if they didn’t, he was going to make them see him. It was good to see more guardians, even if one of them wasn’t necessarily a friend. And hey, he could turn their kids over to him, the less responsibility Haru was forced to take, the better.

“Lillian, thanks for sending Ryou and Dorian over by the way,” he said this to the woman before giving a sharp nod to the other redhead.

Tallyho, who had been walking a little ahead of the cart, studied the woman. Something about her was rather familiar, and it wasn’t just the fact that she was apparently the owl Haru sent to get Ryou and Dorian way back when. But there was no time for that. The blonde felt like her feet were about to lop off at the ankles.

When the entire group reached the end of the path and congested at the gated entrance Mr. Vo rose from his seat in the cart, a ring of keys orbiting around his wrist.

“Go on down the path,” he nodded to them as he pushed open the gate. Haru nodded and took the reins of his beasts, driving the cart inside of the property. Once everyone was safely inside, Mr. Vo closed the gate and locked it once more.

Before them was a sharp dirt path lined with gums of shrubbery and foliage. High trees billowed towards the sky and dropped their leaves and berries on the heads of the weary travelers.

Tallyho hated these berries. They smelled like literal shit.

The cart made its way down the rickety path, the brush began to dwindle away, and the dirt became infested with soft, white cobblestone. Tallyho kept her pace with the cart, grateful not to be riding in it because the way it jostled seemed painful. It promised chomped tongues and slammed molars.

Soon the green was pushed to the side and the group’s eyes were overtaken by a vision of white wood and red accents. The cobble stone seemed to stretch out far beyond the wall of trees that lingered on all sides. Before the group was a large, relatively square building and on either side of it longer, shorter buildings that created wings that lapped around the square campus and rested against the forest walls.

In the middle of the open space was a large, placid fountain with minimal movement of water. Next to the fountain were two figures. One was significantly shorter. It was a woman—she approached quietly but confidently. Relatively relaxed but also rather regal.

She smiled. Her dark hair pinned into an intricate up-do and laced with multiple golden ornaments. Luckily for her, they were just nice enough to escape being overkill.

Her dark eyes retained a look of deep knowledge, it was in the way she raised her brow and tilted her head. She knew a thing or two about the situation at hand.

And she was diplomatic—keeping her hands folded in front of her as she approached. The warriors were like a wounded coyote, easily threatened, ready to lash out. She knew this. Baroque rings rang as lovely fingers met in unconscious knocks. She wore layers of robes, a simple white under a thin pink that bore shallow floral prints. The cloth fell to the ground and covered her feet in a trail of powder.

“Now don’t tell me he is asleep at the back of that cart… ”
A lukewarm smile directed towards Ryou.

She then looked at the group and smiled, “Month warriors. We have been waiting for you. I was so excited I had to do a bit of dressing up… You’re a big deal, you know?” She said this matter-of-factly before looking back at the fountain.

“Katarina, won’t you introduce yourself? You haven’t even gotten to meet the teacher yet…”
The woman back at the fountain didn’t respond but she made a slow pace towards the cart.

Ji Na glanced in Ryou’s direction, “I hope you don’t mind if we picked up a new student while you were gone… She needed somewhere to stay and whatnot.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Lux Adair Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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The scrape with the mound had gone more or less... better. Honestly, Lux had hoped she would be buried under the rubble. She cared not for the magnificent statue that had stood inside, though it had brought a look of awe from her for a short while. Promptly she found her month and her weapon, contorting her face into a visible grimace at the weapon that laid before her. It was nothing but a serrated, curved blade, on a meager bone handle. It was pitiful! A dulled blade, chinks within the teeth of the blade's underside. It must have seen many battles, heck there were dark stains that could be considered blood. But still, it was small and Lux took it personally as an attack on her skills.

Most of the other warriors had larger weapons than this thing! As she endured the cart ride with the screaming, overly dramatic mess that was Harper, Lux seethed even more. She bit her bottom lip to hold in her words. Why break the silence she had put herself in? Why? Staring at the place that would be their home, she pursed her lips. Ah, so this was it? In all honesty, Lux had been expecting the Academy to not look as prestigious as its name implied to her. It was, perhaps, prestigious by the people that lived in this world. But not to her. Turning the sickle over in her hands, Lux wondered if this whole gig as a month warrior was a mere joke on her.

Lux only watched Harper's fainting spell with the stone cold indifference that she had painted on her features during the ride up the mountain in the cart. Silently, she wondered if her guardian would ever show up. It seemed rather unfair to Lux that her guardian wasn't here to greet them, or at least on its way. Then again, she never even knew if the people she was looking at were guardians. For all Lux was capable of knowing in this alien world was that they could be with the Academy! A small glare was cast towards the bracelet that delicately rested around her slim wrist. A huff left her.

Some grandiose way to fame this turned out to be.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
The redheaded rider gave a curt nod back when he heard Haru, but did no more. He was tired, he was annoyed, and he just wanted to go home. He looked at the blonde girl on the path for a moment before deciding that it didn’t demand his attention. For as long as the ride up would be, he would just focus on the path ahead and try to ignore any irritants.

As Harper cried out, Autumn felt bad for not trying to calm him down in the first place. She bit her lip, not quite sure what to do in such a situation. She had helped crying friends before, but nothing of this magnitude. Before she could think of what to do, others were already helping. It put pressure off of her, but she was jealous in a way.

She managed to catch sight of Tallyho leaving the cart, and in doing so also saw the two strangers up ahead. Honestly, she understood why Tallyho might have wanted to leave the cart. Harper was still wailing most of the way up there. Autumn felt bad for him, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t annoyed by it.

Autumn might have enjoyed the path to the academy if it weren’t for the disgusting smell and constant slamming into other people. She bit her tongue at least three times.

The Academy itself was gorgeous, however. Perhaps it was the fountain that made her so fond if it, despite its lack of movement, or perhaps it was the thought that in such a large building she might have a room all to herself. Either way, it was impressive.
The riders who were ahead of them were already at the fountain, along with others. A woman in gorgeous robes spoke about them being a big deal and the woman with freckles approached at a slow pace. That was when Harper hit the ground.

Concerned as she was, Autumn had no idea what to do. All she could do was leave the cart and watch. Silently, she made a promise to visit Harper later.

The redheaded rider by the fountain shook his head in disapproval. “Shrieking children, what a treat.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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Kyle gave the fancy woman a slight smile and nod as he let Tallyho go to the seat she wanted. She apparently didn't really need his help, still he was glad he offered. He flushed and frowned a little when the fancy woman set her eyes on Gwen. saying she could help if anyone else was feeling sick. Yes, it was eerie, but Gwen was shaking. He was angry at himself for not trying to help the other girl. Still, there wasn't much chance for him to change his mind as part of Kwasi's weight already laid on the blond boy's shoulders by then. Both the fancy woman and Kyle himself were shorter than Haru, but Kwasi was the same height as Dorian, who was taller than all three. Somehow the fancy woman and he managed to situate the injured monk into an infirmary bed.

Even though the man didn't seem all that heavy - to Kyle he looked too thin, but the boy kept his mouth shut regarding that - the boy's back hurt after carrying him. He stretched his muscles for a few minutes after letting the injured man gently into a bed. When he turned back around, Ji Na was doing something around both Kwasi and Harper that he couldn't see. "Is there anything else I can do?" he asked in a whisper so low she might not have heard. Her being unable to hear him might have something to do with why she didn't answer.

The boy started when she touched his shoulder and they started back to the rest of the group. Not until they returned to the main square did she speak again. She explained the situation to everyone and mentioned Ryou. Maybe Ryou told her they were the month warriors too, but Kyle couldn't fathom when that was, since the scarred blond had been with them every day except for the first day. If Ryou told her they were the month warriors, then he thought she could be trusted not to hurt them. As a doctor or nurse, she technically wouldn't be allowed to. That still didn't answer the question 'when' or even 'how' though. Yes, he was a guardian, but Kyle still didn't understand how the guardians knew about them in the first place.

Haru's calling out startled him from his thoughts. He also noticed the cat-guardian carrying a cigarette and wrinkled his nose. Cigarettes were one thing that completely disgusted him. He didn't want to be rude either but unconsciously back away from Haru next to another redhead who didn't seem too happy, and an ethereal woman. Kyle gasped slightly, but forced himself to turn away and pay attention to the fancy-dressed woman. "Ready for what?" Too late. That sounded rude.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
Autumn followed the woman, though her eyes did stray from time to time to take in the surroundings. Homesickness started to sink in as she thought of her friends from her old school. What were they doing now? Were they alright without her around? Just thinking about home made her nostalgic.

Autumn made a point to visit Harper before the day ended. There wasn’t much she could do aside from giving a brief hello before she had to go to bed. Still, it was better than nothing.

As the weeks progressed she learned more of the redheaded rider. Curious as she was, she had plenty of questions when he first approached her. His name was Kit Withers. He was from the Rose Kingdom, and he was her guardian. It seemed like a good thing at first. She was excited to have someone to watch over her, especially when she knew next to nothing about Aires. She soon found, however, that he wasn’t the kind of guardian she was expecting. He pushed her hard to train, though he hardly did much himself. He slept often for as long as he could and didn’t speak to her unless they were training. Just trying to communicate with him was a struggle.

At the moment, Autumn was running up and down the mountain with rocks. Even now, she was still incredibly weak. Everyone seemed to be ahead of her and she was practically dragging her feet to continue. The redheaded rider walked alongside her at a leisurely pace. It was a miracle that he was even there, to be honest. He slept in so often that she was beginning to think that he would never wake up before 3 pm.

The company was nice, though. Just being alongside someone was comforting, even if she was sweaty and sore. However, it was far too quiet for her tastes. If she wasn’t gasping for breath, she would have tried to strike up a conversation.

She paused for a moment, hoping her racing heart would slow down a little. It didn’t surprise her when Kit raised his eyebrows quizzically.

“Are you injured?” He asked, his tone almost mocking. He knew what the answer was.

“No…” Autumn muttered, well aware that she wasn’t going to be allowed to rest.

“Then what’s the problem here?”

“I’m just tired is all.” She started her slow pace again. It wasn’t worth it to start an argument. Someone braver than her might have been able to oppose the guardian, but it wasn’t her.

“And I’m tired of everyone complaining, but I manage to get through that just fine. You can go on.” He added, somewhat pleased with his comment.

Autumn thought it to be unnecessary and rather rude, but she didn’t say anything.

“Just one other thing.” He said, looking towards her.

She tensed.

“You’re not going to improve if you keep walking. Unless you’ve got a broken leg, I suggest you start running.”

Autumn never was a tenacious person. She gave up easily and liked to take things leisurely. Such demands were incredibly difficult for her. Still, she tried. She quickened her pace a little, hoping it would be enough to satisfy the guardian. Sadly, it wasn’t.

“It’s going to take more than that. If I can still walk next to you, then you’re not doing your job.”

She tried running again, her eyes burning as sweat dripped into them.

“Try catching up to Tallyho.”

Now that was a ridiculous request. Autumn was already behind. How could she catch up to anyone?

“I can’t do that.” She protested, though her words were wheezy due to her lack of breath. “Maybe I should just keep going like I am right now? That should work, right?”

“Sorry, my mistake. I didn’t realize you were a professional. Clearly, what I say has no merit and is to be ignored.” Kit said, rolling his eyes.

“I didn’t mean-“

“Then keep running.”

Somehow, she managed to at least get near the other blonde. Kit still walked behind, but made no effort to try to get too close.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Lux Adair Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Mr. Vo Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae Character Portrait: Cyclopean Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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Even if no one had told Dorian that Ryou was a part of an Academy of any sort he would have assumed that he was a teacher or, at the very least, the parent of several trouble children. It was the never-ending grace he used to deal with the more difficult members of the group, answering silly questions and fits of pique as if they were seriously asked or thoughts to be considered. It was the look of serenity on his face in that crowded cart with new arrivals, shrieking month warriors, and an insulted ox driver all packed in together like a tin of particularly rude and obnoxious sardines. Dorian's best explanation, therefore, was that Ryou had been so exposed to insanity of the teenaged and young adult variety (or of the children variety depending on which month warrior you were referring to) that this cart of chaos seemed disturbingly commonplace to the Guardian. Either that or he'd managed to procure earplugs, which was doubtful since he seemed to be privately laughing at all of them when they said something ridiculous. The only change in countenance he experienced was to give the new arrivals a cheery wave and a pleased exclamation of greeting before settling back into his spot to wait out the storm of emotions.

Dorian, for his part, tried to make the best of an incredibly irritating situation by privately pretending he was on the New York subway during rush hour, crammed in between the masses of the major city. It was about as noisy as the subway between the various conversation and occasional shouts, and with the oxen driving the cart, the foul smelling berries raining down on them as they trundled along, Harper's vomiting, and the fact that no one had had a decent bath in what felt like ages, it certainly smelled similar. Closing his eyes, he was almost able to trick himself into believing the lie and, yes, it might have seemed a little bizarre, but at least he was coping quietly and taking up as little room as possible. Well, not that it was the best coping mechanism- he hated the subway; it was just that he hated being here even more.

The eventual arrival at the Academy greeted the group with a change in terrain as bumpy dirt roads made way for cobblestones and their journey was now more horizontal in motion than vertical. A forest made itself known, looming over one side like an organic wall of the square they found themselves in. As soon as the cart came to a halt, Dorian climbed out, stretching cramped legs and generally enjoying the feeling of his personal space being returned to him. He was so caught up in alleviating the pins and needles feeling in his legs that he almost missed the arrival of two new people. They, unlike all of the strangers he'd met so far with the exception of Haru with his authoritative leadership style and Ryou who had been greeted more as a savior to the teenager than an intruder to be thrown together with, were unobtrusive and didn't seem to have the hint of trouble that seemed to follow each of the month warriors every step of their journey.

"Dear Ji Na, your confidence in me is inspiring," Ryou replied, exiting the cart with far more grace than Dorian. It was all in good fun, apparently, a light sort of joke as opposed to withering sarcasm. Ji Na, the only one of the two to speak, was like an image plucked from an ancient roll of tapestry, ornaments and fine cloth decorating her like a doll, but she walked with too much grace and her eyes looked too knowing to ever be mistaken as just another pretty ornament. The other, the stranger even to the Academy's master, was stronger looking muscular and dressed far more plainly than her counterpart, but she held her own sort of beauty in an intriguing out of the norm sort of way.

"I trust your judgement, Ji Na. Welcome to my Academy, Katarina." Ryou didn't seem perturbed in the least by the new face, accepting it as he had nearly everything else on this journey.

Soon enough, Harper had made his final obtrusive act for the day, fainting dead away before being carted away alongside Kwasi who, Dorian was pleased to see, was finally getting both the treatment and space he needed after being (un)lucky enough to find his way into the group. Little chitchat followed revealing Ji Na to be a doctor- no, healer- of some sort, and in the midst of the quiet chaos, Ryou slipped away, vanishing from the group. It was hard not to be jealous. Despite being dead tired, Dorian did his best to familiarize himself with the Academy on the tour, futilely clinging to little details to remind him exactly where to go; it wasn't his fault that he was absolute bollocks with directions. The room was uncomfortable to the New Yorker, too open and lacking in privacy to give him any sense of peace. Regardless, when he laid down that night, he fell near instantly into a dreamless world of sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next two weeks were agonizing in a way that Dorian couldn't quite express. Yes, he prided himself on being relatively fit(well, before his solo adventure in Aires took hold of him), but this was like extending his Tae-Kwon-Dog classes to cover almost the entire day. His muscles ached, first a sharp pain that labored his every movement, before fading into a constant throb. Cuts and scrapes joined the nearly healed wounds and bruises that had just begun to fade, but at least he was kept busy and oftentimes was too tired to do anything but sleep and eat in the breaks they were provided with, which was just fine with him. The less time he had to think, the less time he remembered just how desperately he wanted to go home.

Today was no different- sweat didn't so much trickle as it did pour from his face as a mix of heat, exhaustion, and muscle strain attempted to take him down. He persevered however, heaving his bag of rocks for a last mad dash up the mountain to complete his final lap. He let the heft bag fall where it may before seating himself, holding onto just enough dignity to keep from collapsing, wonderingly vaguely what Haru had in store for them.

He had not expected a Cyclopean.

A primal sort of fear tugged at his heart, urging him to run, run, run from the creature. It was an idiotic notion, perhaps, given the cage separating them and the lackadaisical way Haru treated being so close to the monster, but, Dorian told himself, at least his fight or flight instincts were still stubbornly active. The initial fear gave way into a morbid curiosity as Haru lectured on the Cyclopean, gray eyes following every gesture, but never quite leaving the monster. The only weak point… He'd been lucky, all that time ago, that he hadn't gotten himself killed, armed with only that little pocket knife and facing down something like… that. If he tried, even just a little bit, he could remember the adrenaline pulsing through his veins, the layer of blood- mostly the Cyclopean's, but not this- coating his body like a second skin. Well, maybe he didn't want to remember that.

He wasn't particularly hungry at the following meal time, a mix of the heat still clinging to him and the lesson only a short while before making his stomach churn with disgust bordering on fear. Luckily, meal time for the beginning students was never too heavy, and today was no exception as Dorian seated himself as a table with Tallyho. Out of almost everyone in the group, he found her the most pleasant to be around in that she seemed to encourage the notion that there wouldn't be any problems if you don't make any problems. He allowed himself, between a sip of milk and a bite of fish, to glance up at the Elite's table. It was generally something he didn't do if only because he found himself irrationally irritated by the difference in treatment despite understanding and approving of the idea of improving oneself to improve your situation. Today, however, it was different.

For one, Ryou was actually there, seated in the middle of the table, just as vibrant and pleasant as ever. And, on another note, there was a new occupant at the table, scarfing down the fine food voraciously with hardly a breath in between bites. He looked, well, vaguely like a scarecrow. Tall and lean, the adjective "raggedy" seemed to apply itself perfectly to the young man, his dark green shirt a patchwork of where it had been mended many, many times and brown pants and shoes in no better condition and all of it just slightly too big on his frame. His short brown hair curled and spiked every which way, his nose slightly crooked from where it had been obviously broken a time or two before, an assertion backed up by the sword sheathed next to him. The sword and its sheath looked particularly out of place, effortlessly clean and, from what Dorian could see, without the same mended, ragged quality that the rest of the young man's possessions . But, for all that, he seemed to give off an air of friendliness- perhaps it was his wide, green eyes sparkling with mirth at something Ryou whispered, or the fact that, for all of the raggedness, his face was actually handsome in a boyish sort of way.

It was only after most of the month warrior group had started their meal, however, that Ryou made his way over, the scarecrow-like stranger following behind at an easy pace.

"I suppose I should apologize for not being around very often recently, but I'm sure Ji Na and Haru have been taking good care of you," Ryou hummed, his ever-present smile lazily spread across his face. However, he didn't offer an explanation for his absence.

"From what they've told me, all of you have been working very hard-" At least he hadn't lied and said they were doing wonderfully. "And it's come to my attention that you haven't been given a traditional Academy greeting. So, after you've finished your meals and rested, tonight we're going on a bit of an adventure. I wouldn't worry about it- all of the Academy students go through it usually within their first week of training, isn't that right, Dae?" He clapped the tall young man on the shoulder and, to his credit, despite his lean body, he didn't give an inch.

"Ta. Had me do it day two. Suppose that was my own fault, though," he snorted good-naturedly, smiling rather crookedly. His voice was slightly raspy and a thick brogue clung to each syllable.

"Indeed it was," Ryou agreed quite readily, before turning his golden eyes back to the group. "By the way, I don't suppose you've been introduced yet. This is Dae Grimm, one of our resident elites and the person you should be thanking for bringing in your Cyclopean today. Dae's been kind enough to offer to come along with us tonight. Now, the sooner you finish, the sooner we can get this done and you can head off to bed, which I'm sure all of you are looking forward to after today." It was interesting the way he spoke- not patronizing in the least, but genuinely like he understood what they were going through. Then again, given that he ran this Academy, it was fair to say that he'd seen it many, many times before.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
Autumn gave a nod back, though it probably looked more like her head was about to fall off. Was training supposed to be this exhausting? When she finally was finished, she dropped the rocks like they were made of fire. Panting, she nearly ran to the fountain. At least, she would if she could. It was more of a strange hobble. She wasn’t sure if drinking the water was safe, but at this point she really didn’t care. Water was water, and she needed it desperately.

Her time to rest didn’t seem to last long enough. Before she knew it, Haru was already calling the group to do something else. She sighed audibly, but didn’t complain. After all, there were other warriors with plenty of energy who would most likely do so later. Plus she couldn’t think of anything clever.

If she did have any clever complains, she would have said them the moment the cyclopean was unveiled. Instead of carefully thought words, however, she let out a fearful gasp. If she wasn’t so tired, she would have screamed. Tallyho didn’t seem that phased, though she was probably used to such things. Even so, Autumn couldn’t help but admire the girl’s bravery.
Autumn listened carefully to Haru, though she did so as far away from the cage as she could while still hearing him. Eleven feet, flying cyclopeans, now that was a horrible thought. Before she could get too scared, however, Haru quickly killed it.
Just how was she supposed to be able to kill these things if she could hardly look at them? It wasn’t like she could rely on Haru forever.

She slowly trudged to the dining hall, still tired and a bit frightened. It felt a little like finals week back on earth. Exhausting and terrifying. She sat down wherever the closest seat was, not wanting to even try to socialize today. In fact, she hadn’t been in a social mood that much lately. As she ate her fish, she couldn’t help but mull over the fact that no one had seemed to form any friendships. In fact, everyone seemed rather distant. It was a bit sad, she thought, and a bit lonely. She had tried to befriend Kit, but he seemed to want no part in it. She glanced over at the Elite’s table, surprised to find him smiling. Since when did he smile? Was he secretly a pleasant person when she wasn’t around?

He ate slowly, savoring every flavor. This actually wasn’t a rare occurrence during meals. He genuinely enjoyed the food and relished every bite. Today, however, was rather special. Not only was he able to wake up earlier, even the food seemed to taste and smell better. For a moment, he thought about the kitchen. Maybe if he had some time, he could bake something? He did feel up to it. Then again, he was here to train, not take part in his hobbies.

It was a good day in general. Kit chuckled at Ryou’s antics and gave a welcoming nod to Dae. He was actually rather proud of himself.

Chuckling, now that was something Autumn didn’t expect. She finished her meal and went back to her room. Opening up her pack of cards, she suspected that she had enough time to do a reading by sunset. It was strange, however. She was still so tired. Looking at the cards, she didn’t even have the will to do anything with them. The most she could do was shuffle them and look at the pictures. Swords, Cups, Pentacles, Wands, The Major Arcana, she knew all of this already. It was actually a bit nostalgic. She smiled, thinking back on her time on earth. Back when she used to give readings to her friends and decorate her room with candles. Before she knew it, the sun began to set. She quickly scrambled to the courtyard, finding that many others were there already. Kit arrived soon after her, his pace leisurely.

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Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Karma Chu Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
Autumn let out a small cry as the stick hit her leg. Normally, she wouldn't have paid any mind to what the child said. Kids were kids and it wasn't uncommon for them to say insensitive things. This time, however, it struck a nerve. She couldn't see if her leg jiggled through her long skirt, but she sure felt the impact of the words.

She had struggled with her weight for years and had always been a bit chubby. If there was one way to upset her, it was to mention her weight. Even the training hadn't helped. It clung on like a leech, ugly and troublesome. She frowned, almost certain that she would make the biggest splash of all. And then everyone would laugh. Probably say something about a beached whale. It had happened before on Earth, who was to say it wouldn't happen on Aires? Whatever this splash came from, she dreaded it. Folding her arms, she stared down at the path below and tried not to think about it.

Kit seemed to slow his pace, avoiding contact with the pink haired girl as much as he could. He even went out of his way to avoid looking at her. It was bothersome, but giving her too much thought would only upset him. Looking away was the best thing to do.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Karma Chu Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
Actors? What was that supposed to mean? And where was the sound of water coming from?

Suddenly, things looked grim. They were jumping off a cliff, weren’t they? They were jumping down into deadly waters and were all going to die. That’s exactly what was going to happen. This was all a conspiracy to kill them in the strangest way possible. Then again, it was just an analogy. Just an analogy, right?

Autumn followed nervously, her previously casual pace turning into a shuffle. She certainly wasn’t tired anymore, not with the thought of rushing waters and impending doom forcing its way into her head. Of course there had to be a waterfall. It wasn’t an analogy at all. She didn’t even have the courage to take in the view.

She looked the two newcomers. Mori and Liam? Dark and spooky magic? Now that was interesting. For a fleeting moment, she almost forgot that she was about to plunge into the deep unknown.

What, were they spectating? Was this all some twisted spectacle where people watch teenagers fling themselves into their deaths? Probably not. Autumn had a feeling it wouldn’t kill her. Still, thinking such things at least justified her fear a bit more.
Surprisingly, someone actually went to jump. Unsuprisingly, it was the pink haired girl. She made it out fine, boasting loudly. Then Kat jumped. Even Kwasi made it in. For a moment, Autumn almost felt as if she could make it. Then Harper ran.

Kit gave a quick and quiet chuckle, as if he expected it not to end well for the boy. That only further confirmed that there was no way out of this. She glanced at her guardian briefly, but all he did was give his "do this thing" face as he always did while training her.

Within that split second, Haru was already running after Harper.

Once again, things seemed pretty frightening. She had to jump, but she really didn’t want to. The more she looked at the ledge before her, the more frightened she became. It was painfully obvious she needed someone to jump with her.
She backed away from the cliff, bumping into someone in the process.

“Oh, sorry I-“ Autumn turned around, now aware that the person she bumped into was Liam. She paused for a moment. “I think I might need some help down.”

Well, it was one way to make a friend.

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Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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Lux stared as everyone who wanted to jump did. More or less, at least. Harper's fiasco was one thing she had wished she hadn't seen; or she wished she had jumped before all of that went down. Brave, brave little Autumn had jumped before she worked the courage to, and that was something Lux would tell her after she made the jump. If she made the jump. It wasn't the heights that was bothering Lux; it was the idea of swimming after the jump. She tried to make a swim team in her town once, but failed miserably. Her entrance into the water was not a rather happy memory. Nearly broke her head open because of the wrong stance.

But she had to jump. If she didn't, things wouldn't do so good for her with the others; including the Academy team. Lux edged closer towards the cliff. She backed up from the cliff edge. Her arms were crossed over her chest, as if she was hugging herself. Lux couldn't do this alone. She had to ask for help in getting off the cliff. Turning her attention away from the water, Lux shuffled over to the person she had seen Autumn with whenever she happened to glance over. Her head was bowed some, her stance utterly pathetic.

This was the stance of a scared child, not the stance of a proud woman. Lux took in a deep breath and let it out roughly through her nose. Now was not the time to mope about that. She had to get down there, and this person looked like they would be able to offer help. She didn't care about the possible stinging pain the bellyflop would gain, she just wanted off that cliff.

"Excuse me...?" She inquired with a tentative tone. "Would you help me in... jumping off the cliff? Please?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Lux Adair Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
No, he wouldn’t. First, it would ruin his coat. Second, he would be completely soaked and it would take forever to dry his hair. Third, he just plain didn’t want to. There was no way he was going down there. At least, that’s what he wanted to say.

Kit let out a small sigh of discontentment, making it clear enough that he really didn’t want to do this. Ryou was his friend, however. Not that he would ever admit it, but he would do almost anything for the man. That’s what friends were for after all. As long as he got to complain afterwards, that is. And boy, would he complain later. He would complain a lot.

“Alright.” The redhead replied. He took his coat off first, carefully folding it and placing it nearby. He adjusted the sleeveless turtleneck carefully, making sure his neck was completely covered. Then he removed his hair tie, certain that if he didn’t place it with his coat he would simply lose it in the water. Finally, he removed his boots. It would be easier to swim this way, and he would just get them later.

“Are you ready?”

Kit didn’t give her a chance to respond before he grabbed her and dove. He made sure to hold on tight, only releasing his grip when they hit the water. His long hair spread out like paint, getting in his face and obstructing his vision. Swimming away just far enough to let Lux stretch her limbs and swim on her own, he adjusted his turtleneck once more. His hair was the least of his concern. In fact, he was used to it. He casually brushed it out of his face, checking to see if the warrior was alright. “There, you see? That wasn’t too bad.”

They made it to shore safely, much to his relief. Though, he was fairly sure he looked like a drowned rat. His wet hair clung to his body stubbornly. Ryou owed him big time. It was then that he saw the Xabier’s scars. At least he wasn’t alone in that department.

“New rule. No one else is allowed to drown, or even come close to drowning.” He said, wringing his hair out.

Autumn sighed with relief. Harper was safe. She walked over to him, making sure that she would be there when he woke up. If he needed emotional help, she was sure to be there for him. She smiled at Dorian and Xabier, “Nice save you guys.”

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Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Lux Adair Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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Lux listened to Kit and nodded gratefully. The rush of the air through her hair during the plunge made her almost want to scream. But she didn't, for the sake of the man jumping with her. Impacting with the water, Lux watched the redhead as he went through the motions. Following him wasn't hard, after all she did train to join a swim team. She oddly felt at ease with this. Lux pulled herself onto the shore.

Watching as Harper woke up some odd distance from her, the brunette gave off a nod. It seemed that the group around him was the ones who revived him. That was something. Her hands wrung out the soaking mess of her hair. She'd worry about the wet clothes later. Approaching the man that jumped with her, Lux gave off a small smile. "I'm sorry..." She said before backing off to walk over to Autumn. She had a girl to congratulate.

Smiling lightly towards the blonde, the brunette let out a small chuckle. "Autumn... you were brave enough to make that jump, and you helped someone even after..." Another small chuckle left her. "You... did great." Her attention was then taken from Autumn to the sack. It looked like something out of a survival plot, really. Flour, dried goods, or something preserved would definitely be in that. Perfect for a night out camping; especially camping on the beach.

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Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Lux Adair Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
“Not too many.” Autumn replied, her voice gentle just in case. After all, Harper had almost drowned.
“I think they should be coming down soon. But, in the meantime, are you alright? I mean, I know you’re saved, but are you ok?” She asked, scooting away slightly to give him some space. “Maybe you should rest?”

She smiled as Lux walked towards her. “Thanks, but it’s not like I did all that much. I still needed help, myself. You did great, too! Asking Kit for help is pretty brave!” She chuckled.

“Yes, it is. Don’t do it again.” Kit huffed, brushing the sand off of his pants. “Well, as fun as this little get-together sounds, it’s warriors only. I’m going back. If anyone needs me for anything else, reconsider.”

He walked down along the trail for a while until he was sure he was out of sight. It was then that he transformed, as it was much easier to walk along a forest trail as a fox than it was to walk along a forest trail without shoes on and soaking wet. He shook his body violently, trying to rid himself of the water that desperately clung to his fur. And so he continued until he made it back to the cliff, becoming human once more and putting his coat and shoes back on. His hair, he decided, could wait until it was dry. It was too much of a pain trying to gather the wet mass into a ponytail.

Autumn glanced over at the sack and sighed. “Whatever is in there probably isn’t that good, huh?”

She would have checked herself, but was still certain that Harper required more attention. In fact, it was rather rude of her not to try to help him through his phobia in the first place. Just what was she thinking? Helping others should have been first priority. Just because she was busy didn’t mean that could change.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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The sleep she found back on the island was eased, calm. The thought process she gained from the attempts at meditating was not. She shifted and slid in her chosen spot. Nothing would escape from her mind. Not a thing. Lux always found that it was better to sigh roughly to herself at this time instead of do it closer towards the others concentrating. She wasn’t sure if she was making progress; which set something gnawing at the pit of her heart.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyclopeans. Vile things she’d rather not see ever again, particularly since that day in Central Park. Her wishes were not vocalized, however, due to her stronger wishes of not stepping over any boundaries. These things were grief enough. As seen by the chalk-white, terrorized face she wore when her name was called. The metal cage felt like a death chamber. A guttural roar rang out among the metal scraping against metal. Her own heartbeat pounded in her ears, her hysterical breathing being barely drowned by the sheer magnitude of it! If anyone was to die today, it was going to be her.

Lux never seemed so heavy footed before.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Again, meditation became an obstacle she couldn’t seem to surmount. Lux tried everything she could think of. Picturing serene places, closing her eyes, doing both at the same time! None of it worked. So, she tried her methods of easing away the slight tinge of stage fright. They helped some, but didn’t work the way Lux wanted. She didn’t want to burden anyone with her questions about how they meditated. Lux wanted to just give up and roll over and say “defeat me now”, but her stubborn, prideful nature would not allow her to do so. Cracks often appeared on her lips, some being barely healed before they were torn open again, from the constant biting and licking she did.

Lux wasn’t rather proud of that, either. It seemed fruitless to worry about it after another day. The cold pit in her heart was growing, gnawing even more. Something inside her kept on telling her that she couldn’t do it.
She couldn’t do it.
--------------------------------------------------------------
The same chant rang through her mind now as she stood inside the cage once more. Three years had been kinder to her than she expected. Scars, one major one riding high on her left forearm, littered her body. Her hands, once soft and manicured, had become rough and calloused. It was from gripping the hilt of the weapon so hard. Black blood splattered the tattered skirt and shirt she wore, marking her face now, too. Instead of shying away from the fear of dying, Lux had grown to acknowledge the feeling and used it to her advantage. Much to the stage fright she had when she first started acting. Funny, how theatre proved more helpful in her life.

When, not if, she got back to Earth, Lux’d have to personally thank her dear acting coach. But that wasn’t the problem at hand now. As before, she had traveled in here last, praying that the others’ eyes were not on her. Her stance shifted and changed as the Cyclopean caught on her scent and charged once more. Its wounds were bleeding heavily, but the thing wouldn’t die yet. A grunt left Lux as she sprung, her sickle’s chipped blade glinting in the sun.
A sharp contrast to the black stones that littered her feet now; Lux wiped the sweat from her brow as she trudged out of the metal death trap. Weary chocolate optics swept over the forms of the others, people somewhat familiar to her now. The only real friends she had were not in her sight yet.

Autumn, the shy girl, opened herself up immediately to Lux ever since the waterfall trip. From her, Lux was able to learn more about the tarot cards that had caught her eye in the tavern after they first met. It was through her self-esteem teaching of the blonde that Lux dropped the drama queen attitude of hers. The group had enough of Harper before, why need a female incarnate? Skylar couldn’t be counted as a friend, more so a begrudging acquaintance. They still butted heads, often. No matter how changed she was, Lux would never drop the sting she got whenever Skylar remarked her as “princess”.
In Dorian, she found a somewhat kindred spirit. She didn’t dare branch out further to him; Lux felt as if he had enough friends. Besides, she knew he was close to Tallyho. Lux felt like she’d be trespassing on that friendship if she dared for a deeper connection. It didn’t stop her heart from yearning, however, not matter how many times she tried to deceive herself.

The warmth flowering in her heart for Dorian, one she knew was the blinding warmth of a crush, sometimes overpowered the freezing doubt that sat in there. It was just enough to keep her smiling to herself. It was just enough to lull her to sleep.
Relations with the others involved with the Academy were tricky. Her hand to hand combat skills were poor, and she was easily wiped with onto the floor. She paid well enough attention in Ji Na’s class, but never tried to form a friendship with the teacher. Dae, Mori, and Liam were also figures that eluded her scope of potential people. Dae more-so, due to her fear of scarecrows; and Dae looked eerily close to one. The only guardian she managed to try talking to was Kit, but even then that wasn’t often.
Lux could only wonder when hers would come. Perhaps she could make a better friend that way? Ah, she didn’t know, and she was severely confused. Lux had never really valued the presence of other, living beings. She had been too busy playing the façade of a cold, heartless drama queen. It was her shield from the other people of the world; of her high school. In this dog eat dog world, Lux had thought that an icy exterior would protect her fragile heart from breaking.

Instead, it proved to weaken and chip at it more. This realization became something that left a vile, sour taste in her mouth. Lux had taken her seat towards the end of the table, away from the others. She had an air of melancholy about her as she brushed a few stray hairs back from her face. Her long hair was chopped short, thanks to the claws of a cyclopean. On the bright side, her neck felt cooler. Her meal was eaten in silence and Lux left when she had cleared her plate. She wanted to lie down on her bed and think about the calm of the Academy during the dinner meal. Or wallow in her own self-loathing pity

Whichever lulled her first to sleep that night.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Karma Chu Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
Kit spent the night mulling over the hangings in his home country. They were brutal spectacles. And the robes, the pure white robes. He had nightmares that night.

The smell of smoke was always welcome in the Jones household. Smoke meant meals by the fireplace or burnt meals that ended up as a family joke. It meant incense that lit up and calmed the room.

The only time fire ever threatened her was when she was on a field trip to see firefighters. They told her of the danger and in her young mind she was terrified. As she grew older, she became less interested in fire prevention and more interested in the firefighters themselves.

All in all, fire was positive for her.

It was positive until she heard Tallyho’s voice. She didn’t even see the girl after she woke up, she only heard the crackling flames and the screams of other students. It took a moment for her to fully comprehend the situation. She almost thought that she had been back at home.

Her weary eyes opened quickly. The light was what first alerted her to the danger.

She grabbed her bag and weapon, despite what she learned in her youth, and fled.

The voices rang in her head in a cacophony as she tried to shove her way through the crowd. More and more voices entered her head, pleading for escape. Some didn’t even realize that they were dead.

Autumn passed through a student briefly before nearly stumbling over their burning corpse.

She couldn’t even tell who was living or dead at this point.

Her heart pounded so loud that her head hurt.

The smoke stung her eyes as she ran, realizing that she hadn’t even warned the others. There was someone else to do that, right? Someone had to be helping. Of course, it was Tallyho. Tallyho had helped. She could rely on Tallyho.

It was too hot. She felt like she was already burning. It was hot and she needed to escape.

It felt like years had passed. Time moved slowly as faces blurred. Some tried to guide her to the exit. Autumn followed.

She fell to the floor, crawling in a desperate attempt to try and get some oxygen. Her face was pouring sweat and her weapon was burning to the touch.

She barely made it out.

She spilled out of the doorway and ran into the courtyard, desperately trying to find the others as she coughed. Pink hair. Safe, comforting, familiar pink hair. Tallho and Haru, too. Autumn scrambled towards them, only to be pulled back.

Kit gripped her shoulder tightly, his eyes fixated on the forest. “Don’t move.”

Autumn dropped her weapon, no longer able to stand the burning metal.

“W-“ She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t even question what was going on. She could only stand there and tremble as Kit pulled out his daggers. His bag was covered in soot and the straps were completely torn, leaving him with no choice but to carry it.

“We’ll be fine. We’ll be just fine.” His voice was gentle. As gentle as a voice could get when it had inhaled so much smoke.

The smell was enough to make her feel like puking.

She fell instead.

Kit was there to catch her.

The spirits were screaming at this point, barely any spoke. Most of them were students.

She could only hope that they weren't her comrades.

Only a few could be heard, some she had met before, their dead lips pressed close against Autumn’s ears.

“It’s them. They’re coming.” They whispered.

“It’s Amber.”

Autumn had no idea who Amber was. If this were any other day, she might have asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Amber (Edwin Bradley) Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
Kit watched the man carefully, his hazel eyes fixated on him. The redhead silently wished that the man would hurry up. He hated long battles, especially when he was injured. If he were able, he would gladly slit his throat and be done with it. However, that wasn’t always the best option. And Haru was in charge, not Kit. As much as it pained him to sit aside and do nothing, for he would much rather charge in or flee the battle all together, he waited.

The fireball was sent up into the sky like a balloon, bothersome but not threatening, before it fell. Kit furrowed his brow. Just what was the man planning? Surely such a display wasn’t without reason. There had to be some sort of trick to it. He stood still for a second before listening to Haru and stepping back a ways. Autumn did the same, making sure to keep a greater distance. She could hold her own against a cyclopean, but this was a new enemy that she had no idea how to face. It was better to let the guardians handle it.

Fire lit the sky as the embers exploded, sending Kit flying back. A rather large rock pelted and cut him in the right arm, forcing him to drop his dagger. Pain seared through the injury. He was fairly certain that it was fractured and could feel blood dribble down his arm from the sharp impact.

“It’s nothing.” He said, hissing out the words in pain.

Autumn backpedaled. So this was Amber.

The spirits grew silent. No more whispers. No more screaming. Now that Amber was there, they seemed to want nothing to do with him. They fled.

Autumn started wondering why she wasn’t doing the same.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Amber (Edwin Bradley) Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
A warning shot? How was that a warning shot? How was any of this a warning? People had died. If Amber considered this a warning, then he must have had some pretty twisted morals. Or perhaps he simply thought of the others as white noise.
Whatever his thought process was, he was terrifying.

Autumn glanced at Haru, looking for reassurance as more figures approached. Instead, he faltered. It was at that moment that she truly felt like she was going to die. If even Haru was afraid, then there was no telling what would happen.
Autumn stood silent as Ji Na and Kat walked up to Amber. She had never really interacted with them much, but she did hold a great deal of respect for them. The blonde wasn’t sure if the tears dripping down her face were from the smoke or from the betrayal. Her heart sank.

Who was he to tell the Month Warriors to stop? How would he accomplish this? Kit really wanted to believe that the group was prepared to fight Amber, but from the smell of vomit and the sight of tears he knew they weren’t up to the task. Not yet. They had been training to fight mindless creatures of destruction, beasts who could be tricked and would shatter when stabbed. Not humans. Not people who could plan and think. And certainly not the people they had thought to be their comrades.

Was Kyle trying to get himself killed? Kit gritted his teeth, expecting the worst. Surprisingly enough, Amber didn’t kill him. He only laughed. That, Kit thought, made the situation much worse. This man was fearless, wasn’t he? And not in the good way. More like in the way that a man with nothing to lose might feel. People like that, people who were so sure of their success, were quite possibly the most dangerous.

Autumn didn’t like confrontation. She never liked it. As much as she wanted to be the best, she just wasn’t up to the task of fighting for it. It had taken a long time for her to be comfortable fighting cyclopeans, and now there were new enemies. There was no way she could kill a human.

Working for mankind, did he really believe this? Was he crazy? Autumn had heard of madmen claiming to be saviors of mankind when they murdered people. Was this one of those times? Was she about to die?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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#, as written by Linnea
They left. A layer of smoke and they left. Autumn tried to wipe the tears off her face, but more kept coming.

Kit waited for a moment, just to be sure, before embracing Autumn with his one good arm. She began to sob, but the smoke quickly stopped her ability to do so. She could hardly breathe.

Kit used the bandages that Autumn had given him and a nearby stick for a makeshift splint for his upper arm. It was hardly perfect, and he needed treatment as soon as possible, but it was all he had for now. He was just lucky that Autumn always kept the bandage wrappings on hand. Still, he never thought he would have to make a splint using only one arm and his teeth. It hurt like hell just setting it up and was a bit flimsy, but it was something at least.

The blood flow on his arm had pretty much stopped, mostly due to the fact that the blood was caked over the wound. There was still the occasional dribble if he moved his arm too much and cracked the surface, but it wasn’t as bad as the injuries of some others.

There was some bandage wrapping left over, but Kit could hardly help anyone with only one arm available.

As dawn began to break, Kit joined Kwasi in prayer.

Autumn was among those who searched for the dead. She treated the bodies carefully, making sure that they were as far away from where Amber was as possible. Spirits were one thing, but corpses were another. The blonde had always thought of corpses like the ones on TV, a little bloody but alright enough for her to handle. The reality was much different.

They were still warm. That was what surprised Autumn the most. If they weren’t so incredibly stiff, she might have thought they were still alive. The areas where the blood had pooled were bluish and blotchy, like a bruised fighter. It was enough to make her vomit, though she made sure to do so away from the bodies.

She lined them up carefully, trying to ignore the queasy feeling in her stomach and the voices surrounding her. Many were only now realizing they were dead. Out of respect, she made sure to place them as far away from where Amber had been as possible.
She had heard a rumor that many spirits clung on to their bodies. It was why spirit activity flared up when graves were disturbed. It was also why location was so important. If she were to place the bodies in the courtyard, who knew how they would react.

It was surreal. For a while, she continued on in a daze. She didn’t listen to the spirits, only heard them like a white noise. This was the same for anyone else around her. Living, dead, she wasn’t paying attention to them. She was only focusing on the moving the bodies. The only time she tuned in was when she had to find a body. More often than not the spirit was more than happy to help. No one wanted to be stuck in the rubble. But as soon as the body was located she went back to ignoring everything else. Moving the bodies. That was her job.

If she wasn’t so upset by all of this, she could have easily used her powers for location alone. All she had to do was listen to the spirits and find the bodies, everyone else could move them. Somehow, though, it seemed impersonal. It was too business like. The thought process was ironic, given that she felt as empty as she perceived a corporate office to be.

Time itself seemed to flow oddly. It was a little too fast. Before she knew it, Haru had called her to gather near the forest entrance. Kit was there as well, fidgeting with the splint he had made. Autumn tightened it for him, making it far more useful.

“Here, the leftovers.” Kit handed the rest of the wrappings to Autumn, who held them in her hand for a while as the others began to gather. Her eyes burned. She was crying again, though she didn’t really feel like crying. She didn’t really feel like anything. She wasn’t sure how to feel.

Her eyes fell upon Tallyho. She was bleeding badly, red rushing down her leg.

“Tallyho. I have some bandages. Here, you can have them.” Autumn handed them to the other blonde, her voice monotone.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Amber (Edwin Bradley) Character Portrait: Ondine Azur Character Portrait: Kit Withers
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Haru’s small stature was over-taken by a mass much larger, and heavier than he was. But this mass, in all of its sobby, slobbery essence was full of more care and sentimentality than Haru could hold in one paw. This mass was, at least to Haru, the very epitome of lifelong friendship and loyalty and Haru truly felt like the Goddess was testing his strength by having this mass, which was carrying a great grief on its shoulders and an even greater heart in its chest, bear its weight on his shoulder. But to the guardian this weight was not a burden.
The readhead did not stroke Ryou’s head like a baby’s, or embrace him and say that everything was going to be alright because he didn’t know. All he could really contribute was leg strength and a sturdy crying spot. When Ryou finished Haru wordlessly turned back to the sun and fished into his pocket. He pulled out a carton of cigarettes, a carton with, lo and behold, the every last of his cigarettes. Haru hadn’t known Ryou to be as much of a smoker as he was, if at all, but he offered his last nicotine stick anyway. Ryou knew how much the cat guardian cherished them and offering up his last would send a bold enough signal.
“That’s right,” Haru said after a while. “Apologize. Ask for forgiveness because you have wrongfully claimed that Ryou Zerrin has let his students down and that he has no to right to shed a tear. Who’s to say that he didn’t do the best he could for his students? What gives you the right to deny his humanity and tell him that he cannot feel pain and just fucking cry it out? Shame. Shame on you.”
Haru leaned on the railing.
“Ryou…. I think we all know that a great loss of life can be a tragedy. But I can guarantee you that this loss wasn’t by your hand or negligence, or whatever the hell you’re blaming yourself for. This was Amber and you should know that. And I know that though he may not feel it now, the psychological effects of destroying so many human lives will catch up with him. But you can’t force it on him. Take it from me, the grief will come slowly at first then graze him with increasing speed. Attach to him. Never wash away no matter how many damned baths he takes in the holy river. Hell, I’m still bathing in the fucking river for what I did and I still fucking stink.”
The cat guardian chuckled. “You know. You’re my best friend and I never told you what the hell I did to be here today. You’re looking at a bad man Ryou, and I mean, heh… A bad. Bad. Bad man. You guardians… I mean despite the fact that you’re guardians I still think you are good people who simply did bad things. Kit did what he did because he needed to save a life by smothering it’s flame. Ondine did what she did because people abused her. You did what you did because you had to play the grind to survive but me, I don’t know why the hell I did my deed. I was young and I was sharp as fuck and I mean not just like… Physically but I was fucking smart Ryou, especially at my tender age. And…. And Hales’ military wanted my mind and I wanted to get out of the cold because it was just so fucking cold and I married young and had people to care for and they had to get out of the cold so I just…I just went where it was warm. And they asked me about problems, and I came up with plans. Soon I went from Haru Karokov the grunt of the Karokov clan to Haru Karokov military strategist, Haru Karokov war instigator, Haru Karokov illegitimate father of the 16 year war, town toppler, baby burner, cattle killer the very person that Amber was last night and I didn’t have to lift a fucking finger to do it because I had men who would do it all for me. Men who were fathers and brothers and farmers who weren’t too young, or decrepit, disabled or stupid to be recruited by the military at the time. I thought I was just doing my job: what the government wanted. ‘Get us more territory’ they said, ‘We need more POWs’ they told me. And I did it, and I did it so well that suddenly they were negating everything they told me before. ‘Have more humility!’ Then my wife fucking smothered me to death in my sleep. And then I died... Then I was given a chance to turn over a new leaf, thrusted into an Aires that I had a hand in creating yet was so much further from what I expected. Placed into an unfamiliar time and charged to protect super powered people who ultimately failed the challenge.”
Haru paused, realizing that he hadn’t taken a moment to really breathe.
“But,” he rasped, “I was partnered up with you. And Lillian, and Kit and Ondine and all the others. People who, from what I could see, were so much better than me at the whole human thing. And... And I thought, wow, I can’t be so bad if I’m lined up with so many other ‘sinful’ people. And… What I’m trying to say with all of this is that I think… and I might be wrong but I that if I am a good person…then you are a good person too.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Kit Withers Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards
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“Nice job, Gwen.” Bryce murmured from his spot behind Falke, his intrigue with her powers overpowering any bitter feelings that she was able to heal so easily while he could have never stopped the swelling in Falke’s leg so quickly.

Bryce was not easily impressed by any means, yet the January warrior’s powers fascinated him to no end. While Gwen’s method of acquiring them differed greatly from his many years of conventional study, he couldn’t help but be impressed with her growing skill. It made him almost wish that he was her guardian- or at the very least that Skylar’s powers were something a little more than glorified rock throwing.

He trailed after Lillian and Nikita as they carried Falke to the ship via a makeshift stretcher (Bryce help them by doing any kind of physical labor? Please, Bryce was a man of brainpower and would not stoop to such levels.) Once they arrived on board and Falke was set up in the infirmary, Bryce was able to fashion a splint for the younger male that would stabilize his leg enough so that it would be able to heal on its own. While he might not have been able to heal the break in a way similar to Gwen’s healing, his methods were just as effective even if they were time consuming.

Once he finished, he turned to find Kit sitting on one of the cots, his injuries looking no better. “I can make you a better splint if you’d like.” He said, gesturing to the guardian’s previous attempt to patch himself up.

-

Between everything that had happened earlier and the dull throbbing sensation in her ankle, Skylar could barely pay attention to Harper’s grumbling and pirate jokes, let alone the tour of the ship. Despite Nikita’s offer to let those who were injured stay in the infirmary, Skylar didn’t like the idea of so openly asking for help (although Kyle had helped her onto the ship earlier and while she appreciated the offer, she hated the feeling of vulnerability it left her with). She made a mental note of where the infirmary was as they passed through it, planning on heading down afterwards to get a better bandage for her ankle.

After they’d been dismissed, she made her way to the infirmary where Bryce was able to wrap her ankle enough so the throbbing didn’t bother her as much. Ignoring her guardian’s advice to rest, the thought of even trying to get any sleep repulsed her. She hated sitting still and suddenly felt a pang of nostalgia for the clearing in the forest where she used to go when she was feeling overwhelmed. They were on a ship though; a ship way out in the middle of the ocean- there was no escaping now.

She stopped in her tracks as she walked out onto the deck, gaze locked on Harper sitting in a dinky little wooden crate filled with water. It shouldn’t have been funny in the slightest, considering that he’d basically vandalized the ship and especially in the aftermath of the fire, but she couldn’t stop the laughter that was beginning to bubble out of her throat at the sight. She sank down to the ground, laughing until her face was red and tears started streaming down her face. Her shoulders shook as she sat there, the events of the previous day hitting her like a ton of bricks until soon enough the tears weren’t from laughing anymore.

It was horrifying. She couldn’t get the image of the flames out of her head, the flames that had not only engulfed the buildings where she’d lived for three years, but that had taken all those innocent lives far too soon. She wanted to throw up.

Bryce chose that particular moment to stroll onto the deck, Skylar’s mental breakdown making him once again question his guardian-ship. While the older male could handle gore like a pro, he was at a loss when it came down to such public displays of emotion.

“Skylar?” He questioned, narrowing his eyes. “Are you… Is everything alright?”

Skylar looked up, her face red and tear stained. “I’m fine,” She started, furiously rubbing her eyes with the back of her hands. “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.” She shook her head, pulling herself up off the floor and taking a deep breath before turning to Harper. “You, I…. I don’t think I actually have anything to say to you for once because you look more ridiculous than you normally do- which I didn't think was possible.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Kit Withers Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards
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#, as written by Linnea
Autumn gave a slow nod to Skylar. The gesture was appreciated, but it didn’t help much. There probably wasn’t anything that could help the current situation. There wasn’t anything that could give her what she needed.

The mix of living and dead voices swirled in her mind. Pleas for help combined with murmurs from the survivors. It was nauseating and headache inducing.

Other warriors and guardians arrived, erasing the thoughts of their possible demise. It was a relief. Even if they were fighting already, she was glad that they weren’t dead. She wasn’t sure if she could handle a dead warrior.

She wasn’t entirely sure how she was going to handle the test from the Harbinger, but she would find a way. For the time being, however, she was preoccupied with the images of the dead. She tried to think of other things such as kittens or flowers, but her mind kept wandering to the burnt corpses. Her stomach churned, though there was no food left in it. It took all of her strength not to dry heave. The only comfort she had was that the further she got from the Academy, the quieter the voices became. By the time they reached the ship, all she could hear was the voices of the living and the sound of the sea.

The blonde listened half heartedly as Nikita explained the rules of the ship. They seemed simple enough to follow.

Autumn wasn’t sure why, but the little room felt heavy. Heavy and dark. Voices of unknown origin whispered in the back of her mind in languages she didn’t understand. She bit her lip and closed her eyes, but they refused to go away. They were persistent, but not desperate. It was as if they had plenty of time to convey their message, whatever it might be. Autumn let out a quiet whisper, a plea.

“Please just leave.”

They obliged, but she had a feeling they would return. For the time being, however, her mind was cleared of them. She let out a slow sigh, trying to focus on the rocking of the ship. For what felt like the first time, she wanted to be alone. Completely and utterly alone.

It gave her time to think of her own faults. She really was weak, wasn’t she? What good was she if her powers controlled her more than she controlled them? How could she call herself a warrior if her actions were that of a diplomat?

If there was a way to be more useful, she didn’t know of it. It seemed like her destiny was to simply trade energy back and forth. How pathetic. Here she was given the challenge of a lifetime and she chose commerce to deal with it.

Autumn rummaged through her satchel, trying to distract herself from the quiet voices of Dae and Liam. Oh, she had noticed. She wasn't sure if her suspicion was correct, but she had a bad feeling. Liam would never choose her. She knew from the beginning that it was futile. Still, it hurt.

Her fingers brushed against the bottom of the bag, touching some unknown material. She removed her hand to find dried herbs caught in her fingernails. Autumn furrowed her brow, trying to find out their origin. She dug again, now focused on figuring out the source of the mess. It was soon revealed as she brushed against a small leather pouch. Of course, the medicine bag.

It had been years since she so much as thought of it. Over time it ripped, contents spilling out onto the bottom of the bag. What a shame. It was such a nice thing, though she had long since debunked her sudden bursts of energy from it as a mere placebo effect. The words the medicine man said to her, what were they again? She couldn’t recall.

The room felt dark again. Autumn tried to sleep.

Kit was never a fan of ships. He detested them, really. They always made him feel queasy. This ship was no different. He spent all day in the infirmary trying to remain still, but his stomach still fought him. If his arm wasn’t hurting him, it was the feeling of throwing up that got to him. Seasickness, who knew he would be plagued by it?

“Sure, why not.” Kit let Bryce tend to his wounds as he did his best to ignore the pain. Even with the medicine that Dr. Rose had given him, it still hurt. Luckily, it dulled the pain enough for his shirt to be removed and his wounds examined.

Though the crusted blood was cleaned off and the splint and sling made, Kit still felt uneasy. He had to change into a shirt that didn’t even cover his neck. It was clean, yes, but it was far too revealing for his tastes. Anything that didn’t cover the neck was revealing.

Autumn had bought the shirt a couple of years back when she found out when Kit’s birthday was. It was a nice thought, but the shirt didn’t cover the neck and was quickly abandoned and left in Kit’s bag. However, he had no choice but to wear it now.

The redhead rubbed his neck uneasily, fingers brushing over the centuries old scar. He silently prayed that no one would notice. Maybe they would all be too busy with their own issues to notice his.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Kit Withers Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards
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Skylar's emotional needs were being taken care of, which meant that Bryce didn’t have to pretend to know what he was doing and force out any awkwardly comforting words. Tending to patients and having a calming bedside manner was one thing, but trying to help those he cared about in the slightest was much more complicated. Letting out a short sigh of relief, he turned and quickly made his way back to the infirmary before the girl decided to burst into tears again.

He stepped into the darkened room, slowly circling the infirmary as he checked on the other members of their team. Kit appeared to be doing much better, although it was probably due to the fact that his arm was nicely fixed up in a sling and his bloodstained shirt had been replaced by a clean one.

“How are you holding up?” Bryce asked, walking over to the other guardian. His eyes narrowed as he watched the redhead rub his neck, gaze fixating on the faded scar that was apparent- rope burn? It occurred to him that he didn’t think he had ever seen the other male with his neck uncovered, his discomfort noticeable on Kit’s face.

It was almost an unspoken rule among the guardians not to talk about their pasts- or at least, it was in Bryce’s case. Aside from making it known that he had been a doctor, he didn’t talk about his life before guardianship at all.

-

Harper actually being genuine? Skylar almost couldn’t believe it- she may have known him for three years, but she would be the first to admit that sometimes she couldn’t even tell whether he was being serious or not. But this was a nice change, as different from his usual cheerful, snarky personality as it was. It was then that she realized that it was true what they said- tragedy changes people, allowing for them to show their true selves.

For so long she had been told that showing emotion was a sign of weakness, told that she needed to “suck it up” if she was going to survive in the world. She oozed a false sense of confidence as she kept her feelings bottled up, holding in the tears through everything from scraped knees at age five to countless failed relationships in her teens as she pretended that everything was great and awesome and life was perfect.

She was pathetic. Three years later and a completely different universe later and she still couldn’t get her father’s nagging voice out of her mind.

Skylar was done caring though, and it was at that moment that she let her shoulders slump, wordlessly pressing her face into Harper’s chest as she let him wrap his arms around her.

“Thanks, Harper.”

The sound of Nikita's sharp voice jolted her from her thoughts, and the petite brunette quickly pulled away from Harper to see the ship's captain looking particularly angry as she accused one of them of destroying her ship. What was she talking about? Skylar knew better than to comeback with a witty remark though, choosing instead to shrug and silently shake her head.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Kit Withers Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards
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#, as written by Linnea
“Aside from the ever present desire to vomit uncontrollably, I’m just peachy.” Kit spat, though his malice was directed more at the situation itself than Bryce. Honestly, he was happy that someone came to see him. It had been a while since he had been hurt this badly. Having someone there was nice.

However, having someone there to see his scars made him rather uncomfortable. For a moment, he had almost forgot that it was visible. His gaze fell to the floor. “Don’t worry about it. Old scar.”

White robes, ropes, someone screaming. Memories bubbled up to the surface. Kit bit his lip, trying as hard as he could to push them back. It still hurt. It hurt more than his arm ever would.

“As a doctor, I’m sure you can tell where it’s from.” He said bitterly, turning his head to avoid looking at Bryce. This accusation was shaky at best, Kit knew this. How was Bryce to know the specifics? As far as anyone would be able to tell, they were just old rope burns. Still, there was the ever present fear that the doctor would put two and two together.

A guardian became a guardian because of their crimes. For criminals, especially those in the Rose Kingdom, rope meant only one thing.

Kit went silent for a moment.

“I’m fine.”

~~~~~~~~

Something made the net move. Something heavy.

Good god, were they taking physical form now? Autumn had always been concerned about spirits moving objects but this was beyond what she had imagined. She cringed, not sure if she could handle whatever had come to trade with her. If they were powerful enough to have weight, who was to say that they couldn’t suck her dry?

Whatever this was, it had arrived when she was at her lowest. The room was dark. There were no whispers, but that somehow made it worse.

It patted her head. Oh god, it was touching her. She inhaled sharply, trying to muster up all of the courage she had to tell the thing to go away.

Then is spoke. She knew this voice. The blonde exhaled slowly, relaxing. So there was nothing to fear after all. The patting was now comforting.

Autumn honestly didn’t expect anyone to come see her, no less comfort her. After all, she was the one who tried to do most of the comforting. It seemed a little out of balance for it to be the other way around. It was nice, though. Somehow, the room seemed a little brighter.

The faces of the dead could not be so easily forgotten, nor could their screams. However, it was a start.

“Yeah. That sounds nice.” Autumn said, opening her eyes.