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Tallyho Abel

Humans aren't that grand.

0 · 1,775 views · located in Aires

a character in “Birthstone Spirits: The Great Escape”, originally authored by birthstone_spirits, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

/Human's aren't that grand./
ImageImageImage

Tallyho Abell
|Displaced|Desensitized|Demotivated|Aloof|Cool Headed|Weak Swimmer|Drinker|Wanderer|Sunchild|Singer|Troublemaker|Big Stomach|

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Age: 18
Nation: Solace **She is the only neo-month warrior to come from Aires.
Height: 5'4
Eyes: Green
Hair: Blonde
*Sings during leisure activities
*High Alcohol Tolerance and accordingly high consumption
*General avoidance of eye contact
*Easily drawn towards the color blue
*Lives for food

A nameless wanderer on the continent of Solace, no one is quite sure where exactly Tallyho came from. Those who spot her around the villages usually see her loitering for quick jobs at the markets, most often taking food as her payment and rejecting any sort of gold currency. Why she does that is an anomaly to most. Instead of working for money to invest in fancier clothes, she accepts patchwork dress donations of local seamstresses. She refuses to wear shoes because she insists that, “the soil is good for my feet anyway…”

When she isn't earning her food, she's known to be a regular at taverns, sneaking sips of liquor from unattended mugs. Although she has been caught before, it happens very rarely because most of the men she steals drinks from are much too drunk to notice.

This nameless girl seems to be quite the bohemian. The only item of worth she owns is a simple amethyst necklace found draped across her collarbone.

She remains nameless now. But soon odd circumstances will lead her to a pack of people like her—a chain of solitude broken.
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Now don't go running out into the lighting so fast.

The ancient's say that when she gets the chance,

she'll strike you down and steal your soul,

then you won't be able to see in color anymore.




So begins...

Tallyho Abel's Story

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Tallyho gripped the handles of her wicker basket.

Its craftsmanship was pretty sloppy, really. Loose straws pricked the wrinkles of her palms like the hay brush from a wild, frayed broom. The apples inside rolled along the bottom of the basket— turned their green underbellies to the sun in hopes of being burnt red. Dry dust clung to the soles of her bare feet just as white powder clung to the faces of ancient, eastern queens.
She was the queen of apples in her own, pauper-like way. But how many apples were left at the bottom of her basket? Seven? Seemed like the queen was going bankrupt, and her country (her stomach) was about to be seized by the lord of hunger—consumed by his gluttonous taxes.

She acquired her basket from a street vendor who, in turn, asked the girl to tend to his fruit stand for an hour. Instead of receiving money, she was awarded a basket filled to the brim by a village of shiny red apples. And what joy she felt when she was given this gift. She thought that she would be content for the rest of her life, fed forever on crunchy red sustenance. But there she was a few days later, stumbling about town with seven softening survivors, bitter spoils of war.

She stood at the entrance gate of the Tabbard bazaar shifting her weight eagerly, and pausing in the middle of awkward contrappostos. She was the dead-eyed deer girl—a pair of weak and sleepy eyes placed into a slender body so exhausted it was ready to combust with energy if promised food. She wanted more work that day, more apples, more something.
Tallyho bumped the basket up against her chest with her knee and took a deep breath. She threw her head back, exposed her long white neck to the sun, and shook her head until she was sure that every free lock had fallen against her blazing back.

The bazaar was busy—but it usually was. At every booth there were at least three people gathering around the goods and making messy lines before its vendor. The foot traffic was distracting and colorful—a man barreled through the crowd on his bicycle with two gruff hens stuffed in its front basket, and a slab of raw meat strapped across his back with a rope. He plowed past the girl at least three times, heading in a different direction with each passing.

When she finally decided to approach a booth, she found that it didn’t sell food at all, but rather, an assortment of intricately decorated hair combs.

“You, girl, come here,” the woman on the other side of the booth barked. She was a stout, round woman. The fat of her chin lolled over her short neck as she spoke. “Let me see your hair,” she said, “I have the perfect comb for you.”
Tallyho took a closer look. The woman wore a coarse brown dress with a red embroidered detail along the collar. Her breasts curved over her protruding stomach as if she were melting, and her calves ran into her ankles seamlessly, diluting her legs’ definition like sugar in boiling water. Without asking, she took a fistful of Tallyho’s hair and pinned it up with one of her combs.
“Look at this,” the woman said as she held a mirror up to the young woman’s face. The shiny black comb cradled her locks just above the nape her neck, gold paint danced around the teeth and the wings of the accessory with lyrical swirls and dots. Before the girl could finish admiring the comb, it was painlessly swiped from her hair by the old woman. Tallyho watched her in dismay as she felt her blonde strands sink down her back.

“Give me twenty coins for it,” the woman said as she held the comb above the mouth of its satin drawstring bag.

“I don’t have that much,” the blonde said. Her green eyes traced the path of the comb as it plopped down into the bottom of the bag.

“No money and you won’t get anywhere in this world,” the vendor huffed.

Tallyho stepped away as the woman attempted to sell a similar comb to another girl.
Despite her hunger pains and the scent of a few rotting apples, she forgot what she came to the market for. She made her way towards the exit.

But the comb was on her mind, a comb that was cheap but not cheap enough for her to buy. She felt like she was worth something when she wore it. The act of pinning up her hair was like lifting an unknown weight off of her shoulders. Or perhaps it could have just been the fact that the accessory made her feel richer and lovelier.
She took a bite out of one of the few good apples she had left. She wasn’t sure where she was going, but she kept walking even when she felt like she was nearing the edge of nowhere. Her rotting apples wobbled at the bottom of the basket as she meandered down a grassy hill. Finding no further use for it, she dropped it on the ground sloppily. It landed in front of her, and without being conscious of her footing, she stepped on the toppled basket, bending her ankle at an odd angle, before tumbling down the slope of green. As the hill steepened, her fall hardened. Then the sky and hills went black.

She hung from the fork of a tree—leaves tickled her arms and cheeks until she woke up red-faced and displaced. The sky was blue again, but the ground was not green. Below her the grass was scarce, only eerie splotches of dying kelly green and browns indicative of winter suffocation. She felt the chill overtake her bare arms and legs—the cotton of her summer dress rippled in fall breezes. She knew it was fall—because she found it in the leaves, and in the crunch she heard when she pressed her weight against and the many orange and brown splotches littered on the bark.

She tried to comprehend her situation—she wasn’t in a lush valley anymore, but wedged in the fork of a tree, trusting a branch to hold her like a nature god. Her feet dangled high above an odd stone lane only wide enough for a pair to walk. How high above the ground was she? Eight feet? Ten? Maybe a lot more. But surely too high for her to simply jump down.

She touched her cheek. The texture of the bark left an imprint on her face, worked its way down from brow to jaw, and she wondered how long she had been asleep. She massaged the imprint from her flesh as she scanned her surroundings again.

It was an odd spread of land. Stony forms—fountains and benches disturbed the grass to no end. She looked out towards the horizon only to find wider stone roads where odd contraptions in varying colors bumbled behind each other, honking and roaring. Then there were the buildings—large towers that stretched high above her like deities and kings, the refection of the sky prominent on the black glass fortresses.

Tallyho placed her hand on her collar bone to see if her necklace was still there, and it was, though hot to the touch. Brows furrowed— she replaced her cheek against the bark and began to contemplate a way down. Once she was confident enough, she sat up to survey the branches around her. But not overcoming her initial bewilderment, she found herself drawn to the new, strange visuals instead. She felt mystified and a little faint. Her spine began to relax, her straight back curled and wavered, and soon she was falling again.

“It happened so quickly,” she thought, scattered amongst the fallen leaves.

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Nestled in New York's Upper West Side, there lies a quiet little street, somehow removed from the typical hustle and bustle that painted most impressions of the city that never sleeps. Yes, you can still faintly hear the call of New York City's traffic-filled streets, the constant noise of people making their way from point A to point B or just wandering whether they be tourists taking in the sights or residents content to be lost amongst the throngs of people. The point remains that the street filled with mid-rise apartment buildings is relatively quieter, the roar of the city dulled almost to a murmur of background noise. And, on today of all days, if you were to find yourself on that street, you could also hear the musical strains of "The Sparrow" wafting into the crisp Autumn air from the open window of a penthouse apartment. Inside said apartment was eighteen-year-old Dorian Roberts, his attention firmly on the cello in his hands as the bow danced across the strings.

Unlike most people his age, Dorian wasn't spending his free time running amuck in the big city that he'd grown up in, window shopping to their hearts content, hanging around in the many hot spots that littered the city or grabbing a bite in the hundreds of restaurants and bistros dotting across the map. That kind of life of careless frivolity, of just doing whatever, consequences be damned didn't fit in his so carefully structured life. Really, he avoided it unless he was invited out and even that was only under extreme duress from his few friends. Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but the point remains that Dorian was never more comfortable(or we could assume that he was happier) than when he was in one of his happy, structured places places. That could mean his weekly class at the dojo, orchestra practice, or, as in this case, simply lazing around his house. It was a boring life, admittedly, but Dorian didn't have much of a desire for adventure. He much preferred the predictability that his life had gained over the past few years. It was safe, it was structured, it was comforting, and, most of all, it was home.

Dorian's concentration was broken mid bow-stroke by the soft chime of his ringtone. He paused for a moment before setting his cello gently down and snatching his smartphone off of the table next to him, answer the call with a flick of his index finger.

"Hello?"

"Dorian!" The voice on the other end of the phone was warm but harried.

"Hey, Dad." Dorian couldn't help the little smile that wormed its way onto his taciturn expression, unconsciously fiddling with the simple, silver bracelet wrapped around his right wrist with a simple aquamarine as decoration. A bit feminine, perhaps, but it was a gift from his father, and who was going to get the courage together to infer that Dorian was feminine? "What's going on?"

"Oh, nothing much," The tone was forcefully nonchalant and Dorian felt the smile drop off of his face. "It's just…"

"You're working late again." It wasn't a question, just a barely restrained statement.

"I'm so sorry, Dory, but the other chef caught the flu, and they couldn't find anyone else at such short notice. Is that okay?" Dorian held back a frustrated sigh. Of course he'd be missing dinner. Again. His lips twitched into a frown, breaking his taciturn expression into one of unmistakable disappointment mixed in with a bit of irritation. Yes, where he lived was a home, but it hadn't felt like it lately with his father so busy. So was the woes of the son of now famous chef Avery Roberts. He tried not to resent it- really, he did. His father was so happy that his career had taken off, they were firmly secure in their finances, but there were some days when he didn't see his father at all and that didn't sit well with him, not to mention the fact that they'd been planning to go out to dinner tonight for at least a month now, and now... And now… But his father was working so hard, and he sounded genuinely sorry. Yes, Dorian was upset, but he couldn't let on, he couldn't burden his father like that.

"That's fine, dad. It's not your fault," The joviality in his own voice was forced, but he'd been faking it for some time now that it was almost an art. "We can just do it another time."

"Thank you, sweetie," Avery sighed with such relief evident in his voice that Dorian felt a little victorious. Yes, he'd lied, but it had obviously been for the best. "I'll see you later, okay? I love you!"

"Love you too." Even after hanging up, Dorian simply stared down at his phone for a minute, the little victory slowly receding and leaving pure disappointment. Suddenly, the room didn't feel comforting anymore; too stuffy and empty all at the same time. He had to get out of here, clear his head for a while. It wasn't like, he noted bitterly, he would be missed if he stepped out for a while. With a practiced ease, he packed his cello away, still taking the time to loosen the bow and wipe away the white rosin stains despite his rush. In only a few moments time, he'd grabbed a charcoal gray coat with a dark blue scarf, sliding it over a blue shirt and black slacks, slipped on a pair of black shoes, tucked his wallet and phone away in a pocket, and, after grabbing his keys and locking the door behind him, was off.

Central Park was only a hop, skip and jump away from the apartment he shared with his father(Avery Robert's excited words, not his to absolutely no one's surprise), so it didn't take much time at all until apartments and busy streets were replaced by grass and trees that had already begun to change into pretty fall hues of red, orange, and yellow. He just walked for a while, eyes straight ahead and pace kept constant as if he actually had some idea of where he was going. The chill in the air was more brisk than cold; pleasant, unlike the previous awful heat of the summer months.

He came to a halt in one of the quieter places in the park, only a few people scattered around, all of them, surprisingly enough, rather young. Well, around his own age. Some were simply wandering about, enjoying the bit of greenery in the metal jungle that was New York, others seated on the few park benches, and, finally, there was a little scene playing out in front of a tree. A girl with long, blonde hair came suddenly tumbling out of the many trees dotting the park, tumbling to the Earth with a splash of dead leaves in her wake. He blinked, only giving it a slightly longer glance. This was Central Park, after all, and it wasn't immune to the strangeness that was New York. Still, he wasn't a complete monster, and even if she was stoned out of her mind, he could be content with the fact that he checked at least.

He didn't run, but did pick up his pace a bit as he crunched through the leaves until he was about a yard away. She looked dazed in her bed of leaves, and now he could see how she was dressed. No shoes in Central Park? Maybe he wasn't very far off the mark with his drug explanation. Either that or a tourist who mistook the green bit of land within the city for a park like those found in more rural surroundings.

"Hey, are you alright?" He didn't sound particularly worried or friendly, more curious in a blunt sort of way.

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

"What?" the barista asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. Maybe not.

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

Whatever those were.

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

Setting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Aires to New York, Central Park

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The ominous tree creaking grew louder. It was rather unsettling to see a large oak leaning forward as if to tell a secret.
“I think it’s going to fall,” the blonde muttered under her breath, though not too loudly. Who was she to warn them? In their eyes she found uneasy sentiments towards her, though she couldn’t distinguish their fear from their confusion. This park of what seemed to be overly-sheltered Airians wasn’t the place for her. In fact, she considered a select few to be a little loony. So without much commotion, she continued her walk in the opposite direction of the tree’s path.
But, no, she felt bad. They could have thought she was a crazy dirt bag, but even those judgments weren’t harmful enough to make Tallyho content with watching them get injured by a reasonably large tree. With a decent amount of time in her favor, she posed her first warning.

“I would move if I were you,” she called as she pivoted into a turn and began to walk back towards them, “the tree is falling.”

She only hoped that they respected her enough as a human to take her advice. The tree continued tipping—roots ripped from the soil—until it barreled to the ground. Tallyho, eager to see the damage, made her way over to the plot in which the tree had once been planted.

“Such sloppy city planning,” she hummed as she stood over the plot with her delicate finger tapping against her chin. She took a single step back, turned her head, and offered an even gaze to the others. Long waves of leaf-laden locks swept and looped across her neck, her eyes seemed livelier when paired with the slight smirk that beckoned for some sort of concurrence—for someone to second her comment. It was clear that she thought she was being a little clever but, of course, what little mirth she had died when she figured that none of them would give her conversation the time of day. Instead, they’d call am-bull-lances and perform facial exercises to perfect their “judgmental” expressions.
Unamused, she looked to the plot again.

Then her eyes re-widened, brow furrowed, soft pink lips pursed into a frown.

As she watched a skeletal hand emerge from the plot, she let out a dissatisfied grunt. Really? How could a city be so sheltered when they couldn’t even spare the time to purify the area? She began to surf through vaguely memorized school lessons.
“How do you deal with this again?” she thought to herself as she took a few small steps back—putting some distance between her and the plot. She made sure not to move too far though—if those people couldn’t handle someone falling out of a tree, they definitely couldn’t handle that issue.
Was she supposed to go for the head? No, groin—throat—heart? Wait.
She never had to deal with this hands-on before. She witnessed tavern brawlers do it a few times, but it was always in the dead of night, and all of them were drunk so they threw their fists and knives at whatever living (or nonliving) thing sat in front of them which was, in a lot cases, each other.

She had to think faster. The hand—the thin, black, reptilian hand, twisted its way to the surface—rose with an ominous consistency—it’s darkness overshadowed the blackest of soils. She began to pat herself down in search of a knife.
And, of course she didn’t have one, but it was worth a try. Unsure of what to do next, Tallyho served her final warning.

“If I were you, I’d just go away now,” she said. She really hated herself right now; she could have just fled when she first noticed that something was wrong. Those people seemed smart enough to run away on their own terms, but something in her gut told her to stay.

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Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Cyclopean
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#, as written by Linnea
Autumn frowned. This girl had fallen out of a tree and didn't want an ambulance? What was she, a druggie? Alcoholics she could handle. Drugs she could not. How would she even help someone who was stoned? She imagined it wouldn't be like bringing Emily to bed with a glass of water after she hit the booze.

As the girl stepped on a pine cone, Autumn winced. Yeah, she was definitely stoned. The situation was starting to make Autumn a bit uncomfortable. Sure, she had been to parties with alcohol. Drugs, however, were never present. Just the thought of them freaked her out. What if the girl started yelling at traffic or worse, attacking others? Autumn wasn't quite sure of the effect drugs had on people, but she was certain they weren't good.

Honestly, this whole day was just weird. A girl falling out of a tree, a young man bumping into another and presumably ready to start a fight, it was all just too much. Autumn backed away, not willing to deal with whatever nonsense was going on. Maybe this was the norm for New York, but not for her. She pondered going back to the hotel. Though, she could get some shopping done.

The other blonde gazed at a tree, leaving Autumn feeling more uncomfortable with each passing second. She bit her lip, hand covering her purse. She felt a little bad for fearing for her safety, but one could never be too careful.

She turned, noticing a girl who had fallen to her knees. "Hey, are you okay?" She asked, feeling a slight sense of deja vu. Oh yeah, she had asked that earlier to the tree girl. Great, now this girl was looking at the tree, too. Autumn gave it a glance, just to see if there really was anything going on there. As far as she could see, there was nothing there. What was this, a mass hallucination? Though, if only two people saw it one could hardly call it mass.

The blonde extended her hand to help the girl up. She could only hope that this one wasn't on anything. From the looks of it, she seemed safe. "Here, let me help you up." The act was short lived, however, as she heard a creaking sound from nearby. She turned her head, eyes widening as the tree leaned forward with an unsettling groan. Quickly, she tried to find an explanation. Root rot maybe? That sounded plausible. She gulped, forgetting about the girl on the ground for a moment.

Autumn was well aware that the tree was falling. She didn't need anyone to tell her that it was. This didn't mean she didn't appreciate someone telling her, though. She glanced back at the fallen girl. "Come on, grab my hand." The roots flung upwards, reaching towards the sky. Not waiting to hear the girl's response, she made a grab at her and tried to get them both out of harms way. She herself was fine, but she wasn't sure if the girl she had tried to help had made it. She could only hope.

Her fearful eyes locked with the other blonde's for a moment. Was she enjoying this? She looked away, back to the fallen tree. This was crazy. This was just too crazy. Autumn shook her head, ready to just leave. She would much rather be at the hotel than in this mess. It was the hand that stopped her from walking away. She felt her heart sink. Trembling, she stood in place. Try as she might, she just couldn't will her legs to move. They twitched occasionally, as if they were teasing her. She heard the tree girl speak, though her voice seemed much farther away than it actually was. "I'm trying to run." Autumn squeaked out a reply. "I really am. I just can't seem to move." With all her willpower, she managed to step back by about two feet.

The setting changes from New York, Central Park to Aires

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Aria Delaine Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Cyclopean Character Portrait: Yuki Ryouta
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Yuki looked on and the commotion and was starting to get bored again. The blonde damsel was leaving the scene and one of the first responders left for another girl to disturb the peace of reading a book. Typical flirt… he thought, rolling his eyes. Is there anything else to look at? I thought there would be some exciting shit going on!

Suddenly a girl fell to her knees, feeling pain on her neck. Yuki tried to focus on the girl to see the cause of pain, but can only see a necklace that she flinched from when trying to touch it. Afterwards, he felt an icy searing pain on his wrist where his bracelet was and immediately dropped down, losing his grip on the camera. It was as though his wrist was being encased in ice. Although it was an icy kind of pain there was a similar sensation of burning, as though it was a cold fire burning his skin. “Arggh!” Yuki grunted. “What the heck is this pain?”

Hearing a cracking noise coming from the tree made Yuki scramble to pack up the tripod and his camera before he missed another big excitement. He slipped his fingers zipping up his large black bag carrying the tripod and his other supplies before recording the fall of the great tree. He ran away from its direction but tried his best to position the camera towards it. His hands shook and he fell back from the impact of the tree, right next to the flirt, the reading girl, and the other silent guy next to them. Looking into the camera once more, Yuki noticed something peculiar. He focused his lens onto the strange object and beheld the sight of a skeletal hand coming out of the ground. He shook his head thinking his camera was busted from the fall and looked around. His own eyes can see the hand and it seemed the girl near him saw it as well since her eyes were fixated at it. He turned to the reading girl and focused the camera on her face, not really knowing what else to do but to get witnesses for the strange phenomena.

“Looks like thriller is on the loose girl. What’s your name and how do you make of this pre-apocalypse situation?”

Setting

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Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Cyclopean Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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It was only a few seconds ago when the cyclopean was only a hand out, and Tallyho was admittedly frightened when it was nearly out of the hole. She increased her distance by a great amount, picking up pinecones as she moved back.

Luckily for her—and technically everyone else—the creature clawed itself out of the ground facing the opposite direction and had no clue about the humans behind it. Tallyho took that opportunity to perch behind the fallen tree as she cradled pinecones in her dress.

She made silent gestures towards the others, shooing them away. Her plan was to lead it away from the group until she ran into a really good trapper. Hell, if this town couldn’t even purify their land, did they even believe in trappers?

What a bunch of naturalist hippies.

The creature, for the most part free, knelt over and it yanked its spindly feet from the soil. It was about nine feet tall—much taller than a considerably tall man—and its teeth cracked and clicked as it adjusted its jaw.

Tallyho rolled her eyes. She hated the way they looked—their mocking grin and large, protruding heads.

She kept herself focused, but struggled to find a time to lead it away. Were her legs ready? She felt them falling asleep.

She decided to count backwards from ten.

“10…”

She wondered if there were any fools still hanging around. She told them to run, she warned them.

“9...”

The onyx beast let out a piercing screech. It wasn’t too deep or too high, but somewhere in the middle and rather uneven. Almost like its voice box danced on the ridges of ripped paper and the threads of torn cloth—just like a freaking prepubescent boy—Tallyho hated those.

“8...”

Its mossy teeth clicked once more, and its knees cracked as it shifted its weight—a well-deserved stretching session from being tightly enclosed in the ground for so long.

“7…”

The pitch of its screech grew higher—a siren—as it bashed a clawed fist into the ground, barely missing its own foul toes. Oh, the heinousness!

“6…”

The monster—a sensitive creature—could feel the fear of humankind knocking against his back like an unknown visitor in the night. Tallyho, coming to terms with the fact that some of the people probably didn’t listen to her and were still standing there, had to prepare herself.

“…Ah, shh—, 1.”

Tallyho, deciding that she didn’t need what might have been the last few seconds of her life, jumped into action. She shot up from behind the tree and yanked the first pinecone from her foliage arsenal before chucking it.

“Cyclopean! I hear you like a chase? Come on, boy. Come here,” she jeered condescendingly. The cyclopean, enraged by being hit by a projectile turned to her and unleased one of its signature high pitched screeches.

Tallyho threw another pinecone to secure herself as a target. When it began it’s lunge, she immediately dropped her pinecones, yanked a sizable branch off of the tree, then made a mad, clumsy dash in the other direction, plowing past any people who chose to stick around.

She wasn’t worried about them. Cyclopean were stupid—they preferred moving targets—and oh great, something she remembered from school.

“Now how do I kill it?”

She ran for a little while when she realized that she sorely underestimated her task. There she was making a fool of herself again, breathless by the time she passed the big-mouthed yodeling guy from earlier. Her knees grew weak, but the cyclopean was still on her trail.

“Don’t you people have any trappers,” she heaved as she threw her head back in exasperation. The breeze from running consumed her swan-like neck. The cold was stabbing her joints.

She barreled into one of the benches, nearly planting her face into a seat before throwing herself away and stumbling into the grass a wheezing mess.

She heard the cling of metal and looked up to see it lodged in the bench she crashed into moments before—twisting and welting its contours into the metal and by consequence, getting its head wedged in between the bench’s back and seat. But it didn’t look like it would take long for it to pry itself free. The bolts at the bottom of the bench were breaking. Tallyho, having had her heroic deed of the day sizzle out in vain, having knees blushed from tumbling and a face red from panting like a dog in an Ira desert, remained in the grass, no longer motivated to avoid the fact that somebody, or everybody, was going to be its dinner.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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