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Calliope Alexander

Perilous Peridot

0 · 923 views · located in Aires

a character in “Birthstone Spirits: The Second Revival”, as played by Fabricator

Description

Calliope

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Name
Calliope Alexander

Nicknames
Cali, Alex, Lex

Age
21

Gender
Female

Sexuality
Bisexual

Ethnicity
British (Paternal) / American (Maternal)




ImageHeight and Weight
4’ 9” - 135lbs
Hair and Eye Colour
Auburn curly hair with light brown eyes

Appearance
Easily described as a warm and easy-going woman, Cali can either be impossible to notice or ignore depending on her mood or wardrobe. Usually sticking with simple jeans and tank-tops or casual t-shirts with a jacket over the top she does love going out in the evening in a lovely dress, and enjoys switching out to skirts during the summer. Overall she favours darker clothes often with popular culture references splattered across them or band slogans.
Since arriving in New York she’s had a few nights where she’s tried to capture everyone’s focus and others where you’d never have spotted her. With her winning smile she’ll warm your heart and draw your focus to her eyes. She keeps her wavy hair a little past shoulder length so it frames her face better but ties it back when she’s thinking or wanting to get lost in a game so it doesn’t get in her eyes or offer any distraction. Depending on the time of year and how much she’s spent outside her hair can range from dark brown to an almost golden auburn in colour.
While her skin is mostly blemish free her right leg does have a rather large amount of scar-tissue which is part of what caused her to move away from dresses as she became heavily self-conscious about how it made her look. She does still suffer from these moments of doubt but has mostly moved beyond them, though when she’s tired and struggles to hold her weight they tend to resurface.





Inquisitive ✫ Broken ✫Forthright ✫ Geeky ✫ Stubborn
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Cali may be the youngest of her siblings but she’s not been phased by what she’s had to live up to, and would often get her older brothers into trouble since they were meant to be the responsible ones. Because of this she’s always had a little mischievous streak and loved to play pranks on her family but never strayed into them becoming malicious even though she sometimes felt like doing so. She’s often quiet and tends to focus on whatever has currently got her attention but that doesn’t mean she’s shy per say since she will just become rather single minded and throw caution to the wind.
While she’d get into fights with other kids and her brothers she would withdraw to her room at home to become lost in the world of online gamers to the point where she’d sometimes attend completions or conventions. And when she won she’d be unbearably smug and proud but if she’d lost then she’d be almost as bad while she sulked.
Even though she doesn’t suffer fools gladly she’d rather help others improve rather than belittle them for their inexperience or ineptitude. That being said she still has moments where she’s finally had enough and can explode into a rage of unsavoury words to make sailors blush.


ImageImage
Likes
    Music - I ain’t never gonna get locked up in another cage.
    Fast Food - ”It’s weirdly better in America, that’s why they’re fat.”
    Animated Movies - Touch the sky and we’ll be free.
    Dandelion and burdock - ”I like the weird texture and flavour. It’s ambrosia.”
    Singing - ” 'Cause everone's singing, we just wanna be heard.”
    Rain - ”It’s so warm and dry over here, it’s almost another world.”
    Sci-Fi - ”I aim to misbehave.”
    Competition - ”Victory or Death, Lok’Tar Ogar”
    Gradmothers Necklace - ”My dad gave me this when I was born.”
    Flirting - ”I like making them flustered.”

Dislikes
    Losing - ”I can get quite competitive”
    Heights - ”Well… it’s not so much the fall but the landing I dislike”
    Dancing - ”I’m not as good on my feet as I used to be”
    Boomerangs - ”Well, when I throw things away I don't want them to come back."
    Old Hobbies - ”You can’t do everything forever”
    Being told she can’t sing - ”You don’t have to listen”
    Being Alone - ”It’s nice to have someone to hold.”
    Alcohol - ”I’m not a lightweight and no I don’t remember what happened last time.”
    Drugs - ”My horizons don’t need expanded, thank you very much.”
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Hobbies
    Reading - ”It’s amazing just being able to lose yourself for a little while.”
    Computer Games - ”I play pretty good for a girl. Noobs.”
    Swimming - ”It doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it would”
    Roleplaying Games - ”It’s my world now. Think you can take me?”
    Shooting - ”I can hold my own.”
    Board Games - ”I’ll trade you two sheep for some bricks and wheat?”

Quirks
    Brow furrowing - ”It’s when I’m uncertain, alright?”
    Clicking tongue - ”I do not…”
    Sleeping-in - ”What time is it? Oh, not again.”
    Licks Lips - ”I sometimes hesitate before I speak.”





History

Cali's parents were born on opposite sides of the Atlantic with her mother, Eleanor growing up on a family ranch in Montana, America while her father, Marcus was born and bred in Yorkshire, England. The two were both serving soldiers in their respective militaries for several years before working together on a few joint operations, where the pair ended up at loggerheads for a while. Even so a relationship developed out of their continued exposure to one another and saw them eventually married, with Eleanor taking a permeant station as part of the American defence staff in the British Isles. A few years later she gave birth to twins following a couple of years later by Calliope. Their childhood was a little erratic, with both parents often posted around the country and the children moving rather regularly from school to school. Most of their childhood was spent around army bases in the UK and her holdings but they also got a fair share of time in America as well with them spending much of their summer break on their maternal grandparent’s ranch. She still finds the differences in weather between her parent’s different homelands heavily bewildering.

While her elder brothers went into somewhat safer fields of study with one of them training to become a chef while the other became a doctor, she decided to follow her parents into the military and joined up as an electrician in the British army, serving for just slightly more than her initial four years and attaining the rank of Lance Corporal. At the age of 20 she was in active combat when she was wounded and medically discharged following surgery after injuries sustained to her right leg. This has left her with a rather prominent limp which she’s managed as best she can.

After her discharge she decided to change track and has spent the past year out during which she's spent much of her time travelling the world. Now as the autumn rolls in she's finishing her trail in New York in time to begin an internship as part of a degree in Computer Security with Forensics.




Hexcode: #551a8b Creator: Fabricator Faceclaim: Danielle Panabaker

So begins...

Calliope Alexander's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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[Calliope Alexander] - [#551a8b] - [Mood]
”What was that about not getting beaten by a girl? Eh?!” Cali cried out, her voice tinged with laughter as she pointed at the screen where her character was holding her opponents severed head.

“Yeah, shut up. You cheated anyways.” The guy lightly threw his controller aside, half sulking at the defeat “You always do.” He added, crossing his arms over his bare chest and staring at her defiantly.

She turned, her face flushing slightly as her eyes narrowed ”Slander! How was I cheating anyways? I killed you fair and square!” She’d stood up off the edge of the bed and barely managed to tower over him as she waved a finger in his direction ”Well? Answer me then?”

His sulk melted away to a smile as he chuckled “You’re using feminine wiles to distract me and such. Being topless to say the least, I’d call that cheating.” He would have probably said more but she laughed a little and hit him with a pillow to stifle his laughter.

”Very funny, but you were losing well before I got undressed. Speaking of which, can you find me my clothes while I grab a shower. It’s almost mid-day as it is, I’d better be going.”


Roughly half an hour later she was weaving her way through the hustle and bustle of New York, half fighting a losing battle as she dragged her hairbrush through her unruly mane. Her lips were holding a hairclip loosely while she tried to mumble along to the music coming through her headphones. ”Mm-mm, we’ll be Counting Stars.”

Her backpack was hanging loosely from her left shoulder, as she finished brushing out her tangles so she tightened the strap the straightened up her jacket to ease the weight. Catching sight of her reflection she smiled and did a little twirl for her own amusement as she appraised her if her outfit still worked from the night before, even if it was looking a little more crumpled after spending several hours in a heap on the floor. She’d settled on a tanktop with a black knee-length skirt to go with brown boots. While her leather jacket finished off the look, though even she couldn’t say what it was she’d been aiming for beyond “first thing I found that was clean”. Thankfully she’d made sure to keep a few clean essential items in her backpack for events like this. Her fingers lingered on the necklace for a moment before she continued through the crowds, puzzled a little by its strange warmth given the shade.

Her route after leaving Mark’s apartment was usually a little meandering, but today she felt even more taken by wanderlust than normal. Turned sharply she ducked into a nearby coffee-house and left with a jam-filled donut in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other. Taking a quick bite she turned her hand to allow her to use her little finger to scoop a drop of whipped cream into her mouth. Smiling at the taste she made to cross over central park back to where she’d been staying while she finalised her permanent accommodation. Sighing contentedly as she finished her donut and drink she threw the rubbish into a nearby trashcan and traced a roundabout route through the park. Her fingers were half conducting an invisible orchestra as a longwinded instrumental began to play, causing her to half sing along to the rhythm. While doing so she saw something out of the corner of her eye which caused her to pause, tilt her head and take a few steps in reverse before turning to get a better look.

”You don’t see that every day… At least I don’t think you do.”

As she puzzled at the sight of a strangle girl in a tree she felt the warmth in her necklace flare for moment and reached for her, almost yanking her hand away as if burnt.

”Ouch, bloody hell.” She yelped just as she heard a loud thump. Glancing up she noted that the girl appeared to have fallen out of her tree, on the other side of the nearby bushes. Walking round, which ended up taking her a little longer than she’d thought, Cali saw the girl rushing in her direction before she collided suddenly with a preoccupied girl before falling backwards onto the grass. She chuckled a little to herself as a guy moved vaguely to help before his dog managed to reach her first and slobber all over the rather bewildered girl, while the target of her collision tried to see if she was uninjured. This unusal couple seemed to have now gathered around the rather stunned tree-climber, even if she was no longer tree-bound.

Coming a little closer to them she waved somewhat awkwardly and greeted them, partly out of curiosity as to why the girl had taken an urge to climb trees in a park where they often gave you vicious looks if you lingered too long near the grass.
”Everything, alright? Fancy a climb over there, did you? Central Park might not be the best place for that.”.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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HEX COLOR | #510000
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vegas had seen a LOT of strange things during her childhood in new york city. while this situation had certainly taken her by surprise, it was no stranger than some of the other things that the girl had seen. flipping her dark hair and pulling out her earbuds, the teenager tried to take everything in.

there was a girl in a tree, accompanied by a couple of other curious bystanders. v was about to move in to take a closer look, deciding that she'd judged the situation too harshly and that if this girl was stuck in a tree, she probably needed help. however, the kinder hearted members of the group moved in first, and as the oddly-dressed blonde dropped and tried to scramble away, vegas wondered if she was on drugs or something. she seemed confused, way more disoriented than she should be if the tree fiasco was her own, fully sober, fault.

however, before she could move in or say anything else, the girl collided with another newcomer. v sighed, wishing that she could have had a normal, peaceful afternoon in central park. she tugged at her choker, feeling the metal becoming uncomfortable around her throat. the little opals caught the light, and as the teenager sized up the group, she noticed what a motley crew they must be. the boy who'd flipped over the bench winked at the brunette, and v rolled her eyes. boys and their one-track-minds.

she watched from a safe, comfortable distance, trying not to get caught up in anything she didn't understand. the teenager moved to sit, but before she could, the dog tore past her again, leaping onto the blonde and slobbering all over her face. vegas almost smiled, but the confusion of the whole situation had her thoughts otherwise occupied.

v wasn't quite sure how she fit into this equation. she didn't know whether she should keep walking, ignore the fiasco, and forget about the whole thing- that tended to be a pretty solid plan- or go over and introduce herself. the girl thought for a moment before deciding that any of them were faced with the burning desire to meet her, they could do so on their own. she took a seat, playing with the gems on her necklace and watching the little cluster interact.

she might not want to get tangled up in it, but entertainment was entertainment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Aster Storm

The smell of grass all around was comforting to Aster. She closed her eyes and breathed in deep. The wind was strong today and whipped at her. It pulled at the small hairs not long enough to fit into her braid and whipped at her dress. It was nice to have a moment of peace.

Her village, Le Fey, could sometimes get overwhelming. There was so much expected of her due to her knowledge in healing concoctions. It put her in a somewhat uncomfortable place. She was both expected to let the men in her village, and eventually a husband, care for her and do less the less conventional role of making and selling items. Women in the Rose Kingdom were mothers and wives first and foremost. The only medical role women would generally undertake is midwifery. It was difficult to both be prized as an herbalist and have people turn their noses up at you for stepping outside of traditional gender roles. Aster had learned that people could be really stubborn about change.

Today would be a good day though. She was headed to the grove of trees located not too far from town. There were several herbs that Aster just could not seem to get to grow in controlled environment despite much effort and help from local farmers. The one she was looking for today was one that helped with fever when made into a tea.

With her today was a basket half full of roses she had already picked and the bracelet her father had given to her mother when they had started courting. Though the bracelet made her remember the loss, it also made her remember the pure joy on her father's face when telling her stories of her mother.

As Aster neared the grove of trees, she began to feel disoriented as if the world was spinning and she felt sick to her stomach. The world shifted, and suddenly, Aster was on her hands and knees behind a bush desperately trying to keep down her breakfast.

And it was loud. Really loud. She was also aware of a uncomfortable heat around her wrist. Naak. What was that? What happened?? What is that noise?

She stood slowly, brushing the grass off her skirt and looking around her for the commotion. She looked something like a startled animal. "Where am I?" Aster stumbled toward a bench and away from a small crowd of people gathering around what looked like two girls having bumped into each other. What on Aries?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Central Park, NY
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Soon enough, they were joined by both this guy with a dog and another female, but Heather was momentarily struck by the blonde's accent. Struck enough that she entirely missed the guy - Emerson, see, she had paid attention to something! - speaking as she tried to decipher the accent. Heather had gone to school at a predominantly black institution, but they accepted students from absolutely anywhere, whether they stayed on as long-term, standard four-year undergraduates or simply for a year or two, or even a semester. Tallyho - and Wow, that's, uh, interesting - definitely didn't sound like any of the students whose homeland Heather could name easily. But her accent, the pronunciation and the slight pause she gave in between words - as if the way they spoke now was the confusing one and not at all the way she would speak at home - made space in Heather's brain for her to consider that the girl was definitely not from anywhere nearby, and especially not America.

"Oh, so are you and your family staying in New - ?" Of course, just as she was getting ready to inquire if her deduction was correct, what Emerson said actually caught up to her, having been filed away in her mind when she had been thinking but needing to be acknowledged now that she didn't technically need to figure something out. Which meant she turned to him narrowed eyes, the corners of her mouth not trying to lift out of genuine surprise of his own deduction."Stockholm syndrome? Really, dude?" She asked, unable to not chuckle. It felt more like an exhalation of disbelief, but at least he could say - even after she shook her head - that Heather wasn't randomly angry with him for it. It was just...an odd thing to conclude without actually talking to someone and though it was an option - there were a lot of sex trafficking stories that she had dug up about both Atlanta and New York during her projects with the women's studies department - it wasn't the first one. Tallyho just seemed really lost and definitely not dressed for it.

A small summer breeze stole through the air and Heather patted down a curly-coily stray strand of baby hair against her temple, glancing at the newcomer. Another female, less lost than Tallyho and asking questions. It brought Heather's attention to the tree in question, which was a weird point of interest since she hadn't seen Tallyho when she had been stuck in. Hadn't seen her until they collided into each other, so it was puzzling that everyone was talking about tree climbing. "She's not - " Heather stopped addressing the newcomer then, feeling a bit rude when there was clearly a person asking for help. She'd clearly hate it if someone talked around her - over her - when she was literally in their face. Probably would've snapped at someone. So, she gave Tallyho her full attention, speaking again. "Sorry, shit, you are literally right here and - are you and your family staying in New York or something? Is your hotel nearby? Do you think you could remember which one it is if I take you to it?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Jules Fontaine

It was, by most people’s standards, a lovely summer evening in New York City. A little warm perhaps, and the bits of garbage and dumpster crud littering the sidewalks did not smell any better for the hours of direct contact with the sunlight, but overall a relatively nice evening. The city was out in full force, eager to grasp onto some of the last summer days before school started again and tourists retreated back to their homes with stories to tell and a little less money in their wallets.

Central Park was a popular place to be at this time of day, the daylight promising some modicum of safety and the vast green space almost impossible to resist. Its emerald allure drew in families, tourists, joggers, and, almost as an unwelcome requirement for all large gatherings, a certain percentage of douche bags.

“Hey ba-by!” Shouted Sean O’Connor, bedecked in the khaki shorts and the pastel polo shirt that tended to be the uniform of his ilk. He was stationed at one of the park’s official entrances, leaned up against a light-post. “Give us a smile. Come on, you know you want to.” The girls walking by (almost all in groups of threes or fours by the time-long tradition of safety in numbers) huffed and hurried along, hoping that he wouldn’t follow. He didn’t, thankfully, instead laughing loudly and imagining how cool his friends would think he was when they finally showed up.

He imagined himself to be rather funny, a ladies man practicing his best pick-up lines before college began again and sorority girls were once more available in droves. And there were plenty of attractive young women to practice on this evening, obligingly wearing the shorts and skirts short enough to survive comfortably in New York’s heat.

The laughter broke off into immature chuckles as his new prey approached, this one surprisingly alone. She had thick blonde hair tied up into a messy bun and was wearing a the uniform of one of the local bakeries; black pants and a black button-up, the top unbuttoned enough to hint at a lilac tank-top underneath. A heavy looking purple shoulder-bag was hoisted over one shoulder, and her lips were pulled into a thin frown of exhaustion.

A little skinny for Sean’s tastes and perhaps a little tall, especially in those heeled boots, but she did have pretty eyes, dark blue rimmed with only slightly smudged black eyeliner. This is, of course, what prompted him to shout:

“Hey, ba-by! How you doing? Come on, don’t be like that. Smile!”

She stilled, frozen on the sidewalk, which did cause Sean a little pause. He’d only been cat-calling women for a relatively short period of his life, and this was the first time the possibility of confrontation had occurred to him.

“Get bent,” she retorted, hand flicking up to deliver a sharp one-finger salute. And with it, several things clicked for young Sean O’Connor including the fact that-

“That’s right, asshole. He/Him and they/them pronouns,” the feminine young man scoffed. “Got a problem?”

“Well I-“ Sean was trying to rally himself, to save face. This was probably the time to act tough, Sean decided, and rose to his not terribly intimidating height of 5’9. “Yeah, I-“ He stopped again.

The cat-called boy had a pair of sharp and large fabric-cutting scissors in his hand, fished out of the over-sized purple bag during Sean’s moment of indecision. He held it languidly, dangling from the index and middle fingers of his left hand, and stared down at Sean, nearly two inches taller than the other man.

“I said, you got a problem, ba-by?”

Sean was an idiot with poor decision making skills, but he was also an idiot who’d grown up in New York. Sharp metal objects were things to be avoided, especially if the person wielding them was completely furious with you. Crazy came in so many shades that you had no idea who was actually sane around here. So, he made a decision that he knew would haunt him through the upcoming school year but would ultimately save him the greater embarrassment of someone he’d cat-called actually beating him up.

“Nope. Not at all.” Sean said quickly as he turned to walk away, as hurried and flustered as the girls he’d been harassing all afternoon. “Sorry. Have a good evening.”

~*~*~*~


“That’s what I thought,” Jules snorted as he slid the scissors back in his bag and continued down the concrete path. There were way too many weirdoes in Central Park for his taste*, but it made for a pleasant enough shortcut back to his apartment before he had to report to the theatre in a few hours. Fifteen minutes of extra rest was well worth the risk, especially during a tech week where he was also workings nine hour shifts at the bakery. He should probably go in early tonight, too, since there were so many d* adjustments to make before dress-rehearsal began.

*Jules himself was one of these weirdoes, but not because he had threatened someone with scissors. That was just practical in a world where deviating from gender normative behavior made life a little too risky to be taking chances. No, Jules was a weirdo because he was Jules, and that meant he was a weirdo with panache.

The leading lady had been more demanding than usual, a relatively new London transplant who thought her voice was worthy of the Broadway treatment despite being in an off-Broadway production of Elisabeth (newsflash: it wasn’t, but nobody asked Jules, which was probably for the best). The dresses were never sparkly enough or soft enough or form-fitting enough. Everything had to be perfect for her big moment. after all, and apparently every moment onstage was her big moment.

Ugh. Kill him now. If he had to hand-stitch one more crystalline bead into that monstrosity of a ball gown, she’d end up more disco ball than star soprano. And while that may be hilarious, he wasn’t sure if his sanity could take it. Or his fingers for that matter.

He checked his hands and grimaced lightly. The electric blue nail polish was already beginning to chip, but such was the life of a theatre student/wardrobe apprentice/baking assistant/God knows what else. Still, even while chipped the paint would do the job of distracting from the calloused fingertips and otherwise rough hands, worn from years of stitching, ironing, sewing, hot gluing- the whole backstage shebang. He liked what he did most days, but he’d always been self-conscious of his own appearance. Callouses didn’t exactly go with the image he was trying to project.

It would be easier in a few weeks when he’d take a break from his summer bakery job and return to being a full-time student at NYU. And, of course, he’d still be continuing his costuming apprenticeship with Madame Belle, a stern Belgian woman who was as acclaimed in the theatre world for her costuming skills as she was feared*. Don’t get him wrong, it would still be havoc on his sleep schedule, but at least he wouldn’t have to exist with dough stuck under his nails, sugar and flour dusting his hair, and the arid heat of the ovens drying out his skin. The things he did to support himself. Well, no one ever said school life or theatre life would be easy. Or life in general.

The landscape was changing now as he continued along one of the many paths snaking through the park, manicured patches of grass expanding into open greenery, trees replacing the usual sky-line of steel and glass. Each step forward brought him one step closer to home. That thought wasn’t an active one, but it wormed its way into his mind regardless and his footsteps began to slow.

*Jules had already lasted longer than even Emmeline Belle’s most tenured past assistant by a good three months, although it had been a near thing. He’d almost quit three weeks in after she’d insisted he stay at the costume shop all night to finish a particularly garish suit, which she then threw out the next morning after changing her costume idea in a sudden moment of inspiration. What followed was an intense explosion of pettiness the likes the theatre world had never seen with Jules mercilessly and thoroughly ripping into her new design. Madame Greta threatened to fire him over it but ultimately must have agreed with his critique and respected his ability to stand up to her because she did keep him on and the suit he’d put together was used in the production. Pettiness- 1. Demure toadying- 0.

Did he really want to go home right now? He thought about it for a moment and realized that, you know, maybe he didn’t. His parents would be there, which was bad enough. The more important fact was that they would be there with their theatrical protégés for one of their weekly acting seminar dinners.

The thought of all of them clustered around their dining room table, giggling and reciting lines from whatever play they were studying this time made him want to gag. The fact that he wanted to gag made him even more frustrated because he was not petty*. He wasn’t bitter because they got to continue on with their acting careers and had his parents’ greatest admiration and joy. No, he was bitter because of the looks they would give him. The false interest in his work, the endless platitudes (oh, he was just such a good actor, when would he be on stage again? ), and the inane pity that so many actors had when they looked at a member of the stage crew. Even his parents were guilty of it.

“Poor dears, they couldn’t make it as actors, so they clung to theatre in any way they could.”

*This is factually accurate. He wasn’t petty. He was very petty.

Oh, fuck that. He liked his job, thanks very much. He enjoyed working with costumes and there was no denying that he was good at it. Madame Belle had even complimented him yesterday for his work on the Ensemble’s looks for the show’s first scene. Jules was good right where he was, right on the fast track to professional costume designer. Never mind the fact that his parents could barely hide their disappointment. Never mind the rejection e-mail he’d received this afternoon from his most recent audition still sat in his phone’s inbox among scores of others. Never mind, never mind.

So, no. No he would not be going home. He had a change of clothes in his bag, and, Hell, he could take a shower at the theatre when he got there if he felt the need. For now, he’d just have to find some relaxation in Central Park. That should be easy enough.

It was not easy enough. There were more people out this evening than he’d first imagined, screaming children, posturing teenagers, and ineffective, uninvolved, or drunk adults seemed to cover every square inch of space. So Jules kept walking, through the people, through the mayhem until he finally wandered into the quietest spot thus far. Only a few people were scattered around, and the trees loomed tall overhead. It was… almost serene. Well, except for the aforementioned people. All young adults or teenagers, clustered in two or three small groups, all talking at once. Some looked out of place, but, Hell, it was New York. You could wear a potato sack and people would hardly bat an eye.

One young woman was demanding to know what was going on, a dog was barking excitedly, and one girl was wandering around in a daze (drugs? Booze? General ditzy behavior?). And yet, somehow this was still the least obnoxious spot in the entire park, so he decided to forgive the surrounding people for causing several scenes at the same time. That didn’t mean he was going to stick too close, however.

He made his way off the concrete path, intent on finding shade under one of the many trees, hopefully without stepping in anything too horrifying. How was he to know that a young woman had appeared in one only a few moments ago? How was he to know that it was the exact wrong (or right, as he would debate with himself years later) place to be? Well, maybe from the way the pearl on his seashell necklace began to grow cold on his chest was an indication. He ignored it, as humans often do when a situation they can’t really explain occurs.

“Okay, this may just be a thought that everyone is having, but what the Hell is going on here?” Another girl, this time a pretty brunette (and, God, weren’t they all disgustingly pretty? Was this actually a reality TV show he’d wandered into?), demanded. Jules resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Right. Like this was weird for New York. This was barely a blip on the radar.

Now, what happened next? That was weird, even for New York.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Dorian Steinsson

It is common knowledge that Hales is an unforgiving country of ice and silence. Any Airesian boy and girl could tell you that. Nothing grows there, the people are as cold as their homeland, and their cities are fortresses made of iron that no one may enter or leave without permission from the leader of the military.

All of this has been an irrefutable truth ever since Callum the Wanderer, one of Aires’ greatest historians, had written an account of his visit to Hales, beginning with the enchanting line, “Hales is a country of night, as dark and cold and inhospitable as the ice that threatens to consume it.” Poetic, foreboding, and, above all else, fictional.

Callum had never actually visited Hales. He’d refused to go past the border after slipping on a patch of ice and bruising his rump, so he had instead relied on the irate grumblings of some ex-patriots from Hales to cobble together the image of the country that most Airesians imagine today.

This opinion of Hales was, frankly, unfair. The first settlers of Hales hadn’t been idiots. Perhaps a little crazy, but not idiots. Beyond the frigid tundra at its borders, beyond the foreboding icy slopes that foreign poets so love for their apparent symbolism, there is green, however little, for the rural inhabitants to grow what they can and raise the sturdy, robust cattle and other animals that make up a good portion of the Hales diet. Beyond those areas are the cities of Hales, thriving places full of oil, machinery, and, alright, a little iron. Each place is alive with the sounds of people, of crackling fire fighting off the bitter chill, of machinery whirring, and of factories belching.

Don’t misunderstand, however. A good portion of Hales is quite icy and silent.

“This is bullshit.”

At least whenever there are no people the ruin it.
Consider this last bastion of humanity, an old stone outpost far from the nearest city and even a good trek away from the nearest farm. Here ice and rocks are starting to intermingle to suggest the beginning of dramatic and icy slopes that rose further in the distance, and a thick, packed layer of snow covers the ground. It was a dark and bitterly cold night, dark clouds hanging overhead blocking the moon and stars’ attempts to cast their feeble glow. The only light came from the outpost, firelight flickering through small cracks around the door and windows.

Inside the outpost were four men, three lounging around the fire pit at the center of the room, swigging a jug of Hales’ notorious Pyre Water*.

*Pyre Water is made from the root of the Pyre plant, which, surprising absolutely nobody, was as spicy as the name suggested. A normal person could perhaps take a shot of it before running off to fill their mouth with snow, but the people of Hales were a bit heartier than that. Either that or they’d built up a sort of evolutionary resistance against it over the years. Regardless, they swigged where others would have screamed “Oh, Goddess, it tastes like burning!”

“Absolute bullshit,” one man continued. His name was Yuri, and he was the youngest in the group, still scrawny and knobby-kneed but with a big mouth to compensate. Yuri wrapped a thick woolen blanket around himself, taking another swig. “Why in the name of the Goddess were we the ones that got suckered into this wild goose chase?”

“Not suckered into. Ordered,” corrected another man as he took the jug from Yuri’s hands. His name was Gregory, a lazy but affable man who had reached as far in the ranks of Hales’ military as he cared to. “And who knows? Maybe there’s some truth to it after all.”

“You don’t really believe that, do you?” Yuri scoffed.

“Maybe not, but I do know there’s a lot worse things we could be doing than drinking around a fire,” said Gregory with a warm laugh.

“It’s not the worst outpost I’ve ever slept in, anyways. Even the wind’s stopped blowing through the cracks since we’ve gotten here. It’s almost cozy.”

“You have Steinsson to thank for that,” said Ivan, the third man in the circle and by far the oldest in the group. He stroked his gray, unkempt beard and nodded to the last man in the room who was currently hunched over like a gargoyle, staring steadily out of the room’s only windows. He hadn’t moved in at least an hour. “I’ve heard the wind always seems to cooperate when he’s here. It’s probably too scared to show up.” The three men’s laughter petered off as soon as it began when they became aware that Steinsson was not, in fact, staring out the window anymore. He was gazing directly at them, gray eyes as cold as the night air.

“What did you say?”

The words weren’t necessarily a threat, but his deep, raspy voice and the sharp, serious look that was permanently settled on his face certainly seemed to imply one.

The three men tensed. None of them had worked with Dorian Steinsson before, and, if they were honest, it had never exactly been on their bucket lists. Even among other soldiers he had a certain notoriety, known for his ruthless efficiency and extreme dedication to his homeland. It didn’t help that he gave off the same vibes as a wolf on the prowl, all lean and hungry for his next prey.

“Nothing, Steinsson. Sorry. Just joking around,” Ivan quickly amended before the three men hastily turned back to their conversation and, more importantly, their jug of Pyre Water. Yuri glanced at Steinsson out of the corner of his eye and shivered. He looked even angrier than before. Had he heard them? What on Aires could he be thinking?

What Dorian was thinking was that, honestly, he felt a bit left out. It seemed like he was always missing out on something, and no one ever seemed inclined to fill him in. Maybe it was just one of those things that you had to hear the first time, or maybe it had been a dirty joke that they’d been too embarrassed to repeat. That would at least explain the discomfort on their faces.

He sat up slowly, straightening out as he worked out a kink threatening to develop in his neck. Usually he could hold position better, but this was his third consecutive week of field assignments, camped out in the boonies day and night with only the other soldiers on assignment with him changing. He would say that the sights changed too as he moved from camp to camp, outpost to outpost, but if you’ve seen one snowy desert or icy hill, you’ve seen them all.

One could always tell just how long Dorian had been out on assignment from the beard developing on his usually clean-shaven face and the way that his black hair had begun to outgrow the military cut it was usually shaped into. He looked a bit wild, but out here there was no one to impress and, more importantly, a severe lack of mirrors.

Dorian’s gaze flickered back to the window for a moment. It was an unusually dark night, and even with the help of the flickering fire inside he could barely see four feet in front of the outpost. That didn’t stop him from remaining in position, however, although he allowed his mind to wander towards the conversation that had picked up again among his team members.

“I’m not sure what could cause all that damage,” Gregory said, leaning back on the floor. “Did you hear about the bodies? Absolutely disgusting.”

“It was a bear, probably. Or a wolf. Maybe a pack of them,” said Ivan, finally taking his own pull from the jug. “Probably starving and desperate. People are just getting spooked. Things like that happen this time of year. It’s because the nights are so long. It’s easier to believe in scary stories when it stays so dark.”

“What was that scream they talked about, then?” Gregory asked, more out of amusement than any desire to start a real argument. “They said it was still ringing in their ears a day later, you know.”

“Definitely not a fucking Cyclopean,” Yuri grumbled. “But what can you expect from ass-backwards farmers? Most of them grew up with that fairytale bullshit. It’s rotted their brains. Makes them see and hear Month Warriors and monsters everywhere. Fucking embarrassing.”

Ivan glared at him. “My wife’s from a farming family, so I’d watch my mouth if I were you.”

“Well, if I were you, I’d-“ None of them ever found out what Yuri would do, although it did promise to be something quite creative given his penchant for artistically turning foul words even fouler, because a single sound rang out in the night.

The thing about sound out in Hales’ uninhabited region is that it wasn’t swallowed by the silence; it was amplified by it. Even a whispered conversation seemed to carry on for miles, and this noise was no whisper. It was a screech, blood-curdling and as painful to hear as nails scraping down a chalkboard. There was something primal at work here, forcing the men to drop to the floor and cover their ears instinctually as if it was the most natural reaction in the world, until the last of the scream had faded away into the night.

“What the fuck,” Yuri breathed, the first of the three around the fire to recover, as he shakily sat up, clutching at his heart. It was silent outside again, but this time uncomfortably so. They knew they weren’t alone.

“Should… Should we go check?” Gregory asked in a tremulous voice that clearly expressed what he’d prefer the answer to be.

“You want to go out and see whatever that was, be my guest. I…” Ivan trailed off. He couldn’t even bring himself to sit up, still huddled over and trying to calm his nerves.

A humming, electrical sound sparked in the room. The three men jerked around to see Dorian already slipping on his thick wool gloves and pulling on his hat, the light of his artificial torch (“Science, Dorian!” His uncle had exclaimed while presenting it, waving it around like a crazy person or, to an Earthling, like someone at a rave) slowly growing in strength as it warmed up.

“Steinsson, what in the name of the Goddess do you think you’re doing?” barked Ivan. He didn’t get up to stop him, however. “You want to go out there with whatever made that noise?”

“My mission is to take care of whatever that is,” Dorian said simply, pulling out his sword and picking up the torch with his other hand. It might have been wiser to wait for day, but who knows where it may have gotten to by then. He opened the door, and the wind suddenly began to pick up, biting and bitterly cold as it swept into the room, making the fire flicker.

“What if it’s… it’s not. I mean-” Yuri couldn’t bring himself to say it.

Dorian paused, considering for a moment.

“I’ll kill it,” He said firmly and shut the door behind him. No one moved to stop him.

~*~*~*~*~


Even bundled up as he was in the thick gray, fur-trimmed uniform of the Hales military, the frigid night air managed to seep into Dorian’s bones, nipping at the exposed flesh of his face. He ignored it as best he could, hunching his shoulders against the wind as he followed the steadily growing beam of his torch in the direction the scream had come from. The way the snow crunched underneath his boots and the noisy hum of the torch did wonders to stave off the eerie silence.

Dorian was scared. Of course he was. If you’d asked him, he would have easily admitted it. It was the most natural thing in the world to be scared right now. Fortunately for Hales and unfortunately for Dorian’s own well-being, fear had never been much of a deterrent for him. There were worse things than being scared to Dorian, like disobeying direct orders.

Whatever this thing was, it had been terrorizing small farming communities on the edges of the Hales Empire, which, as his commanding officer had assured him, could not and would not be tolerated. Dorian was inclined to agree. It was the duty of the Hales military to look after and protect its populace.

And maybe, just maybe, it was a bear. Well, a bear with a nightmarish voice, but Dorian could deal with bears and wolves. He had in the past. Those were simple, living creatures. You killed them if they tried to kill you. Just like people. Simple.

He was far from the encampment now, so far that the firelight dancing in the window was only barely visible, a soft, beckoning glow. He pressed onwards into the night.

What happened next occurred in less than a minute’s time. Something was suddenly behind him. Dorian could hear the quick steps skittering on the snow. That sound was his only warning before something was on his back, pushing him bodily down onto the snow and rocks beneath him. It was pure instinct that drove him to roll to the side as he fell, narrowly avoiding a long, sinister black claw longer than his own forearm that pierced the ground right where his head should have been.

Dorian never stopped moving, struggling to his feet and dodging to the side again as the creature reared up, screeching once more as the light of the torch finally encompassed it. Black scales glittered in the artificial light. The creature was at least two feet taller than him, but thin and dragon-like its features*. Its teeth were bared into a snarl, long fangs sharp and glistening with black saliva. It was a familiar face, the face he’d seen in nightmares as a child and in those morbid occult books his grandmother tried to insist were for children too. A Cyclopean.

*It should be noted that a Cyclopean actually more closely resembles a lizard. Dorian, however, has never been quite sure what a lizard was, even though he’d read about them in the Hales comedic classic “Callum the Wanderer”. Dragons, at least, he’d seen in paintings.

The creature lunged for him suddenly, and, in his haste to get out of the way, the torch slipped from Dorian’s hands, light fading with a sad little whine when it hit the snow until there was only darkness left behind. Dorian blinked rapidly, trying to let his eyes adjust as he scrambled backwards, away from the creature. The Cyclopean was so close now that he could see its glittering outline vividly even in the dark night, and with it came shadowy claws darting forward, talons grasping and slicing at its prey.
He gripped his sword with both hands and parried against the claws as well as he could. Sharp claws still managed to catch at him as the monster advanced, tearing clothing and finally catching his right arm, slicing into the flesh. His arm was burning, and Dorian could already feel the hot blood rising, soaking his sleeve.

It had never been in Dorian’s nature to give up. Well, maybe it had been once, but years in the military academy had beaten that trait out of him. His feet dug into the packed snow, and he swung his sword towards the Cyclopean’s side, putting all of his weight into the movement. The resulting clash sounded like a thick pane of glass breaking. The Cyclopean stumbled forward, alive but wounded. Dorian moved back, preparing his next move when quite suddenly he realized that there was no more Earth behind him.
It could have been a tunnel, a cave, or even an old spot where someone had once drilled for oil. Whatever it was, it had been covered only with snow until he took that step. He was falling backwards, and the Cyclopean was falling with him.

That was, according to Dorian when he would later recount this story, when things got weird. When asked why the Cyclopean wasn’t the weird part, he would simply tell you that he could handle something trying to kill him, even if that something was a fictional monster. Fighting something trying to kill you just made sense, after all.

The fall seemed to take an eternity, and the Cyclopean above him kept fading in and out of sight. One moment it was above him, the next somewhere to the side, and then just gone. It was letting out that blood-curdling scream, for all the world a wounded, frightened animal. He didn’t have time to worry about it, however, because the world around him was rapidly changing, starting with pure darkness, then a sea of stars glittering around him with strange, amorphous blobs moving in his peripheral, followed by a veritable kaleidoscope of bright colors and shapes. All the while, something was burning under his shirt, right where his aquamarine pendant should be. The heat was hot enough to blister skin, but it kept him present, kept him grounded as he continued to fall. Then he stopped.

It wasn’t that he hit the ground. There was no thud, no actual impact. He had simply stopped falling and could now feel something solid beneath him. It was soil, loose around him, surrounding him like a shallow grave. Dorian flailed for a moment before his sword thrust through the loose dirt above him, and he scrambled out of the earth, dragging himself out of the hole and crawling a short ways away. Dorian attempted to open his eyes as he staggered to his feet, but it was too bright. When had the sun risen? And, he realized as all of his senses started to come back online, why was it so hot?

He was broiling beneath his heavy layers, a humidity unlike anything he’d ever experienced weighing heavily on him. It was like the saunas dotted around Kora, only worse because there was no way normal weather should feel like this. He stopped for a moment, catching his breath, before hesitantly attempting to open his eyes one more. It still hurt, but he pushed through the initial bright flash and finally got a look at the world around him.

It was green. Vividly, painfully green with other dramatic and bright colors added in. He’d never seen plants so bright and so many trees with bare bases, not a needle in sight. There were people here too, but they looked so strange, their clothing something embarrassingly otherworldly, holding strange devices, yelling, and standing around in small groups. And there, there on the horizon. What was that? It looked like a giant shiny metal tower, glittering and gleaming with glass and other metals woven in. There wasn’t just one, however. He could see more clearly now. The skyline was dominated by great metal towers.

Where in the Goddess’s name was he? The best case scenario was that he was dreaming. The worst case… Well, the worst case scenario was that the Cyclopean would suddenly appear behind him, climbing out of the same hole and bleeding black ooze everywhere from a wound on its left side, and immediately attempt to enact its murderous, bloody revenge.

This was, of course, exactly what happened.

Dorian let out a frustrated snarl as the creature charged forward, sword at the ready. He paid no further attention to the people around him. If they were smart, they'd run. Simple as that. There wasn't much else he could do for them apart from, say, finishing this battle as the victor.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Emerson was about to speak; when a guttural snarl interrupted him. Turning to where the noise came from, Emerson could not believe his eyes. A man was sword fighting what looked like a Death Claw, scales and sharp teeth intact. He didn’t know how to react; especially since he couldn’t tell if this was just some street performance. Turning over to the confused girl, he pointed to the monster and young man fighting it.

“Are you with them? Is this some kind of method acting?”

The monster looked so real, black liquid like outdated oil oozing from it. He didn’t know what it was, but it smelled similar to blood and animatronics don’t bleed. He realized, in terror, that the monster was actually a conscious thing. People around him were screaming, a few bystanders were recording it while covering their mouth in shock. He had no clue what to do, frozen in terror.

Hades was going batshit, snarling and taking off towards the thing. “No, no, no, no.” He scrambled, the leash being yanked from his hand. The canine lunged at the thing, biting its haunches and growling loudly. He was not letting his dog die because of some monster. Or was it an alien? He didn’t know nor care, as he raced and grabbed his dog by the harness. He yanked backwards, all the while backing away from the monster.

It was massive up close, foreboding and terrifying. But Hades didn’t seem scared, instead pulling on Emerson’s grip as he snapped his jaws and barked furiously. “Fuck my life.” He hissed between his teeth, giving the swordsman a look of pure bewilderment and fear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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“Okay, this may just be a thought that everyone is having, but, what the hell is going on here?"

Great question.

A sword-wielding man, clad in layers of hide and fur, appeared almost out of thin air. Tallyho drew a quick breath, lurching back slightly as he fell into well… existence . But despite an unconventional entrance, he seemed to Tallyho to be the most normally dressed individual in the area if she discounted the fact that he was off-season. But the blonde soon learned that his appearance was nothing, if not a slight surprise, compared to what came in after him.

Tallyho would later come to think of this scene as a personal moment of reckoning. A moment where every prayer skipped and dance half-assed culminated into this brush with the physical manifestation of death (a punishment). Even later, she would reckon that her witnessing this event was her signature on a lifelong contract that she would never live to break. But that is a tale for another time.

It was something out of her Baba’s most depraved bedtime stories, and Tallyho always thought that her grandmother was a sick old broad for forcing images like this on her before rest. But it was a figure whose likeness she shuddered at nonetheless, who stole her way in fever dreams. A legend that most people mocked by the time they were old enough to ride horses by themselves, but it was no less terrifying in theory. Besides it was easy to make fun of something you didn't know could come maim you in broad daylight. And now the cyclopean was here in the flesh, ready to rip her apart like a tender breast of hen, bronzed and seasoned over the fire of the hunt. Tallyho felt the ringing in her ears as the young man next to her inquired frantically:

“Are you with them? Is this some kind of method acting?”

She searched her brain for the words, but her thoughts were stifled by the intensifying barks of his dog.

Tallyho’s instincts told her to run, but she was frozen in fear, worried that any sudden movements might agitate the cyclopean and make her its second course. A week ago, Tallyho would have said that she felt indifferent toward the idea of death. “Bone to bone, dust to dust,” she would have hummed. It wasn’t that she necessarily sought death, it’s just that she decided that there wasn’t much for her to look forward to. Yet she never desired life more than she did in this moment.

In-between panicking and straining to remember the appropriate prayers to save her soul after all was done, she probed her brain for anything ever learned about cyclopean at bed time—any piece of information that could kill this Airesian boogeyman.

The ringing in her ears continued and the sounds around her became more distant. She could feel a fainting spell coming as the songs from childhood flooded back:

The darkness, it hadn’t been fed./ Tore the town allaway to its red/till the butcher, he chopped of its head!

And then she remembered. She pressed the pads of her fingers firmly against her temples. Shutting she her eyes tight against the stress pains (and hunger pains too, she realized.)

“The head,” Tallyho huffed under her breath. She said it a second time but her voice was still weak, “The head. Take it off.” She wasn't sure about this... What if she was wrong? What if she got the only armed person in the vicinity killed and everyone else shortly after? She wondered if the warrior heard her, or if anyone who could pass the message along did?

As far as Tallyho was concerned, this entire situation—her sudden appearance in a foreign land, the supernatural events, hell, even her lack of having been able to eat a proper breakfast—was stressful and downright disrespectful. It had to stop.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Central Park, NY
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Considering the fact that there was a girl in a tree that she definitely didn't hallucinate because she was talking to said girl and there happened to be other people who saw her as well, the day honestly shouldn't have been able to surprise Heather any further. It just shouldn't have. She was supposed to just help this Tallyho person, if she could, and then probably get back to their hotel since she and her family were checking out first thing in the morning to get to their family's home (they only checked into a hotel because the drive had made her mom super tired and they figured that stop wouldn't have been too much). Never mind the fact that her bracelet had felt like it had been trapped by the heater for too long and there was seriously something up with the specific people who happened to wander into this part of the park where they were the only people on this side of the park. Never mind that because that was happenstance. All of those things were happenstance. Shit happened, that was the way life worked. She could accept that. A creature and a guy appearing out of literally nothingness was an entirely different story and Heather was definitely sure she had drank more wine than she had been pretty sure that she had because absolutely anything was possible at this point.

"Holy fucking shit, are you fucking serious!?" Was the only appropriate outburst at that particular point. Beasts like that one were on television. You could perhaps catch one on MTV's Teen Wolf if you went back to that one season with the original were-creature - she didn't even want to attempt to figure out what this creature-thing was - or even Supernatural. Hell, Game of Thrones was the best option - where the hell was HBO to come get their shit when you needed them? They could post all the nudity and unnecessary rape of their female characters, but can't come get one of their CGI thingies out of Central Park...Heather might have been ready to have a nervous breakdown. But Heather had to contend with the reality that this wasn't some story and she wasn't in front of a television. This was real fucking life and they all needed to really fucking get out of here...except she couldn't. There was fear, definitely. Her heart was racing, she couldn't take her eyes off of the creature - nor stop the gasp when it charged at the guy with a sword worthy of King Arthur - and it felt like something was trying to claw its way out of her chest...a scream, perhaps? It was a situation where she really wished she could call for her dad. But she didn't. And she didn't exactly think it was fear. It was awe - a deep, irrevocable sense of shock that just disallowed her to make one movement, though she did grab a hold of Tallyho, a steadying hand on something real, something else solid. Plus, it would probably be helpful to make sure that if they needed to run, the other girl actually ran.

They probably needed to run right the fuck now, but again, not being able to move was being a bitch that Heather couldn't ignore.

"W-wait, what?" Heather managed out, glancing at Tallyho. She had muttered to herself first, something almost indiscernible, but when she spoke louder, it made Heather's smooth brow furrow up slightly in consternation because how the fuck would Tallyho know that. "Hold on, how do you - ?" Yo, we ain't got time for that, her brain helpfully supplied and Heather ground her heels into the solid ground beneath her, turning her attention back to the mysterious fighter. And no, she was not going to acknowledge what he was wearing nor acknloweldge that he was wearing it during the summer. Nope, not at all. Heather cupped a hand on the side of her mouth and yelled, "Hey, take off the head!" She didn't even know if Tallyho was right - and how can anyone be right in this kind of weird ass situation? - but it was something. At least it semi justified them still being there and not getting the absolute fuck out of dodge.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Ron lifted another bite of pasta to his mouth, savoring it once it reached the destination. He was dining at Mick's Italian down 6th street. It was a nice, family oriented restaurant that had Irish and Italian food. The food was great, but what Ron kept coming back for was the whiskey, which was all imported from Ireland. Some people say that wine is great with every meal, to which Ron would interject. He downed rest of his drink after finishing his meal and waved the waiter for the check. After paying he got a cab to Central Park.

There was a meeting that Ron was making his way to in Central Park between his investment manager and man with a potential factory startup. He planned on creating a chemical plant in the Bronx, though they would be talking about ways around certain city regulations. Since the meeting was casual, Ron wore a sports coat with jeans and dark loafers. He looked forward to the meeting as he was trying to make a name for himself in the city past Wall Street.

Getting closer to the destination, he noticed an odd sight off to his side. There was a crowd of people standing around what looked like a medieval soldier and some kind of monster. As he got closer he became very impressed. The monster seemed so realistic. He looked around for any cast members and walked over to a girl with a basket of roses.

"Hey Gypsy girl!" Ron called out. "What kind of movie is this?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Sorrell felt her throat swell with fear, and her eyes widened as she slowly looked the thing standing in front of her up and down. It was large; and furry; and very, very intimidating. Suddenly her question about what was going on here seemed a lot more prevalent. Clumsy-guy asked about method acting. Sorrell snorted. This guy must be some sort of creator or something, with all of his ideas trying to explain away what was happening tonight.

"Cut the--what! You know what this thing is?" Sorrell looked to Tallyho in shock. And then her head snapped back to the monster and the cute-looking soldier-man who was fighting it. Sorrell was good at assessing people in situations, looking for their reactions. It was what she did. There was no better way to get the gist of a conversation than just to look at someone's face and know what was happening. So, when she looked to the rest of this ragtag group's faces, she knew she wasn't the only one who was scrambling to try and explain this away.

Her mother had said that some things couldn't be explained, and Sorrell was starting to think that she was right. She may be clinically insane, but looking at the scene in front of her, Sorrell could understand her justification. Only, even she didn't think it was possible for so many people to be having the same hallucination at the same time. This had to be real. Right?

"Well, someone has to get the head!" She yelled out again as the monster prepared to charge. Her feet were rooted the ground. Why wasn't someone else fixing this? She wasn't even supposed to be here, so this clearly wasn't her problem. She shouldn't have to fight this thing. But, the better part of her psyche told her that she could never forgive herself if these people died today because she couldn't just take this in stride. Even though taking the appearance of a horror movie character in stride isn't usually a requirement of life, apparently the stars were messing with her a lot today. At least Fate was having a little fun.

She saw soldier-man standing in place, ready to take on the beast with everything he had. She did not know him, but she found herself admiring his courage. Or his stupidity, depending on how this whole thing ended. Sorrell wanted to help. It was in her nature. So, she analyzed the situation. She had no athletic prowess to speak of, but her mind was sharp. And her mind was able to find a possible solution in the tree that Tallyho had gotten stuck in. The tree that seemed to start this whole mess. Just like it was in her nature to help others, it was in animals to meet a threat head on.

She sprinted for it, swinging up onto the lowest branch and staring down at the monster. She wasn't that high, barely five feet off the ground, but she was now eye-level with it, and it was staring at her. She'd had a hunch. She was not a hero in any way, but she had a feeling that soldier-man was. "Kill it now! While it's looking at me!" The beast started to snarl, but she knew that as long she stayed still, it wouldn't move. At least, if it was like the bear she'd dealt with last year, it wouldn't move. This thing was bigger than a bear, but predators were all the same, right? So, she waited for her distraction to pan out and for someone else to come and save the day, because that was what she could count on. This wasn't going to be her problem for much longer.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Dorian Steinsson


If Dorian had been concerned about fighting a legendary monster with just a sword (which, as a relatively sensible person who was already injured, he absolutely was), there was some modicum of relief for him within the following four minutes. People were screaming the moment the Cyclopean arrived, something Dorian could hardly fault them for. The words were mostly in Common, he guessed, stained with accents he couldn't quite put his finger on (not surprising given that his encounters with foreigners were few and far between, even in Kora. Those that he'd actually interacted with were more keen to practice their own grasp of his language than to let him practice theirs, as was the way of foreign diplomats eager to impress), and he was momentarily grateful for his mother's insistence on teaching him more than just the language of Hales. Well, grateful until he realized the initial gems of knowledge being throw his way were simply to run.

That was all well and good for them, Dorian supposed, but turning your back on a nine-foot nightmare that seemed relatively eager to rip out your spine simply wasn't in the cards for this soldier. He dropped into a more appropriate defensive stance, adjusting his grip on his sword. No, there was no running away. The name of the game was survival, and, as the Cyclopean lashed its tail feverishly from side-to-side and jerkily began to thrust forward a menacing claw already glistening scarlet with Dorian's blood, Dorian was reminded that one of the most important elements of survival was luck. Which, as it turned out, most people around here didn't really have.

Take for instance the dog (or at least he thought it was a dog, although not a breed he'd ever seen) hurtling towards the Cyclopean and sinking its teeth into the monster's haunch, a bewildered and horrified boy not far behind. The nightmare creature let out another blood-curdling screech, another chilling message being sent to the prehistoric hind brain of all those who heard it to run, run, run. It was a wounded animal, after all, not one seeking revenge. It would go after the most pressing threat, and that did not exclude small beasts with sharp teeth, even if it didn't succeed in breaking through the Cyclopean's thick, scaly hide.

The boy pulled the dog off but froze to the spot as his dog continued to howl and snarl, lunging for the Cyclopean again and again. The boy hissed something, something foreign and strange (and maybe about ducks and life? Was that the Common word he had used?) and turned to stare at Dorian. And now, Dorian realized, he had a responsibility. Great. There were few things worse in a battle than having to worry about another person, especially one missing both weapon and appropriate protection from the elements. It was even worse in close quarters where they made life more difficult simply by being too close, a possible further obstacle in an already difficult fight.

That was when the call was made, a yell among the chaos that caught even Dorian's attention in the heat of the moment.

"Hey, take off the head!"


He spared the speaker a half-second glance, an oddly dressed girl possibly from Nomansland standing next to a nearly catatonic blonde, the only person here who didn't look strange apart from her clothes being the wrong season. The call was in Common, but he was adjusting quickly enough, always better at comprehending than speaking the other language.

The head. That was right. That was the appropriate way to do it. It was always the head in his grandmother's stories, always the neck that needed to be chopped through to kill a Cyclopean quickly. There were other ways to do it, but this was the way of the human hero, not one of the glistening Month Warriors with their spectacular powers and weapons.

Which left his next course of action clear. Step one was to get the other man out of the way, and it wouldn't be pleasant- for the other boy at least. Dorian's unarmed hand was already lashing out, thrusting a palm painfully and forcefully into the other boy's chest. The movement ached, Dorian remembering too late that he was using his injured, bleeding arm, but with any luck, the other boy would go flying back, out of the range of the Cyclopean's swooping claws and thrashing tail. The dog may be loose for a moment, may even turn on him for attacking its apparent owner, but Dorian was far more willing to take that chance than risk another untrained person running around underfoot.

Now was his chance. The beast was still distracted, black, black eyes narrowed in on the dog and its master, and it was time for step two, to simply cut off the creature's head. It would have been that easy if another person hadn't entered the fray.

It was a girl, a brunette running towards them and jumping onto a tree branch, yelling at him to... yelling at him to move while the monster was distracted. And the Cyclopean was distracted, but perhaps not in the way she had hoped. The Cyclopean was confused, but it was like an automaton, a being that would keep moving, keep fighting until it was no longer able, regardless of wounds and the odds against it*. It would go for the closest threat, and this pale little thing throwing itself into the creature's space and yelling alien, alien words was as good a threat as any.

*When later recounting the moment, Dorian would feel an odd sort of kinship with the Cyclopean at that description, which he decided to never dwell upon again because that was just depressing.


The Cyclopean reared another arm back, claws sharp as swords arcing forward in a sudden movement. Dorian didn't have time to do anything about that because it was moving too fast and just a little too far for him to intervene. He pitied her fate, but didn't feel any particular remorse on his own part. She'd thrown herself into a battle, had likely known the odds, and this was the price to be paid by all combatants some day. Instead, he let himself move behind the creature, sword arcing backwards to take its head. Too late for the girl, but not too late for Dorian or the rest of these strange people.


Jules Fontaine


This, of course, didn't happen. To pull our attention back to another player in this incredibly bizarre game of Monster Fighting, Jules was, against his better judgement, still on the scene. Of all of the Earthlings in Central Park, he was possibly the only one convinced of the monster and his vicious looking opponent's authenticity almost automatically. After all, Dorian had literally burst from the Earth about three feet from Jules, dragging an unmanly shrill shriek from Jules's mouth when the sword popped out first followed by an actual human. And that was weird. That was incredibly, stupidly weird, so Jules began to back-pedal, out of the way of the bizarre man with an honest-to-God sword who'd just randomly popped out of the Earth.

Wide-eyed and confused, he'd observed the man with the same sort of shocked way the man was observing his own surroundings. He was a fierce, dark looking person, a little too sharp, a little too lean, and a little too wolf-like for Jules's taste. His clothes were thick and the fabric- it was breath-taking, all wool and a type of cloth he'd never seen before, something painfully foreign and old-fashioned. He looked every part the villain from some Game of Thrones knock-off, and common sense had Jules inch slowly backwards, careful not to draw attention to himself.

But maybe this man wasn't the villain of this piece, he later realized, because a giant monster was suddenly digging itself out of the same hole. Now that... That was villain material. The other man looked practically heroic in comparison. The thing was a piece of Jules's darkest nightmares, too alien, too lizard-like, and too frightening almost to comprehend. He stumbled backwards, unheeding of being quiet or careful now, throwing himself behind the nearest tree. The tree that started it all, although he was never to know that.

He wanted to run, wanted to get out of there and make it for home (he would choose even the pretentious scoffs of actors over death any day, although it was a near thing), but his legs were like jelly, buckling around the knees until he collapsed behind his hiding spot. Oh, God. Oh, God. Why hadn't he just gone home? He was going to die here, and... Nope. This was not his fault. This was definitely going to be someone else's fault because Jules did not ask for this. Whether it was the monster's fault for springing into existence from the depths of human terror or his parents' fault for being so dumb and disappointed that he didn't want to go home, this was not on him. Fuck that. His choices were fine.

Despite his panic, despite the way that his teeth were set on edge and the goose flesh that rose on his skin in primal terror when the monster screamed, he was soon able to move a little, to turn back and witness the scene behind him. There was that dog again, its animal instincts driving it to attack the giant, looming threat, despite its owner's protests. And the warrior, he was still there (thank God), pushing the boy and dog back and heaving his giant sword (if it had been any other situation, he might have giggled at the phrasing) backwards, ready to take the advice of someone shouting about cutting off its head. Good. Good, yeah, that was good. Things could end well.

Or maybe not because a girl was suddenly at the very same damn tree he was trying to hide behind, yelling and swinging on a branch to catch the monster's attention. And the monster was moving too fast for anyone to stop, deciding the yelling girl was a threat to be reckoned with. Enormous claws sliced through the air, aimed right at her throat. That's when Jules did an incredibly stupid thing.

There wasn't much thought that propelled him forward, no real common sense. He was just moving, and it felt like an out-of-body experience because surely this wasn't Jules Fontaine rushing forward, surely it wasn't him jumping and grabbing the girl around the middle, pulling her forcefully down, down, down to the earth below, landing among the winding roots of the tree in a tangle of limbs. The claw passed through thin air, striking the tree itself and sending shattered bark onto the two beneath the tree.

"You crazy bitch," Jules breathed, in shock of his own actions, and one could never be sure if it was to Sorrell or to himself.


Dorian Steinsson


Now that was unexpected. Dorian hadn't seen the person behind the tree (an issue he'd have to work on because he knew better than to ignore his surroundings during a fight), but he'd certainly seen the blonde person move, yanking the girl out of the way in one quick, brutal move. Well. Good on (her? him? Dorian didn't have the time to really tell or really care).

Dorian took his opportunity, moving swiftly, unhindered by his familiar blade and the pumping adrenaline of a fight masking the ache of his arm. He could feel the necklace under his shirt pulsate with his heart beat, now warm and grounding instead of burning. He didn't bother to cry out when he moved (screaming at enemies was typically frowned upon in a sneak attack), instead swinging his sword with a quiet precision at the Cyclopean's neck. The first blow didn't cut through the scales completely, stopping halfway. The second nearly had it as the Cyclopean let out its last blood-curdling screech. The third, however, finished the job, the head toppling to the ground in a dramatic, but surprisingly clean fashion. There was no spurt of blood, no slow ooze from the stump of its neck as the body toppled over soon after. Instead, the body seemed to glisten in the sun, glitter like a thousand jewels before shattering into onyx shards.

Dorian stood above the mound for a moment, breathing hard and resisting the urge to smash through the stones again with his sword just for good measure. Instead he knelt down and grabbed a handful of them in a gloved hand. A good trophy, perhaps, or at least something to deliver back to Hales as evidence.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Aster Storm


It's just a dream.Aster told herself, denying that the painful heat coming from her wrist meant that it could not be. Really. It will be okay. I don't know where I am, but it will be okay.

She desperately clutched at the basket of, admittedly ragged, roses that had somehow managed to come with her. The tension in her stomach eased as she took a deep breath and tried to get her bearings.

Then came the roar, unlike anything she had heard before. The color left her face and, though she certainly did not want to see what had made the awful sound, she could not stop herself from turning around. Her eyes met the creature and, for a moment, Aster was completely in denial.

Impossible. It isn't real. It cannot to be real.

Of course, the people in Le Fey believed fervently in the Old Thought, and therefore the Cyclopeans. Though that was what she was raised to believe the stories of the King of the Void and the mother, she had always assumed them to be old superstitions. She never dreamed them to real, and definitely never thought to see one.

Having little idea as to what else she could do, Aster ducked behind the bench, hoping in vain for any amount of protection the small thing could provide, not even noticing the battle ensuing behind her.

Some man strolled up to her like there was no danger whatsoever and started talking to her.

Bewildered, she rambles in her almost British accent,"What are you doing? What are you talking about? What is a movie?" Then she pulled at his hand to try to get him under some sort of cover as well. "Why would you be so laid-back about a Cyclopean? They kill people!"

Nearly as quickly as she had finished her little freakout, she heard the creature's cries of pain and then a hush. How much crazier could this get?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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vegas had grown up in new york city.

this didn't mean she was immune to all weirdness, and the chaotic drama happening as people materialized on the ground was mostly easy to handle, as long as she didn't think too hard. sure, it was confusing, but she'd learned to prioritize and figure things out one step at a time. v had considered, strongly considered, just walking away and leaving the scene for the rest of the people to deal with, but the sudden burning pain from her choker convinced her otherwise.

she pulled the metal away from her skin, wondering what could possibly have caused such intense blistering pain. she noticed a few others tugging at accessories as well- perhaps whatever was bringing these people out of thin air reacted negatively with the metal. she unclasped the choker, sliding it into her pocket and hoping that some thief wouldn't snatch it.

it was clear that a pickpocket would be the least of her worries as soon as a man appeared from seemingly nowhere like the rest had. he was attractive enough, she supposed, but with how bundled up he was she couldn't really see much of him at all. the odd manner of dress reminded her of period pieces that she'd seen her father directing- clothing that she couldn't quite place, but seemed aged nonetheless. the girl backed away, careful to avoid the group clustered by the sidewalk.

it wasn't until screams of pedestrians sounded in her ears that vegas truly glanced back to the scene. a massive, godzilla-esque monster had appeared along with the mysterious strangers.

v wanted to run, to hide with the pedestrians, but something pulled her back towards the creature. she fished in her purse for a second before procuring a small can of pepper spray.

she didn't want to get too close, but if the thing charged at her, she wanted to be well-protected.

luckily, she didn't end up needing it at all. her mind was spinning, but she was sure that she saw a couple of the people distracting the creature while the man in thick clothing swiped at it with a sword that was most definitely not a stage prop. she couldn't look away- she had a strong stomach, and biology had always been a favorite class of hers. she found herself inching forward, knowing that it was quite dangerous to do so.

one of the girls from before called something out about going for the head, and things clicked for v. were these people from the same place as this monster? did it follow them here?

she watched in twisted interest as the bundled-up-man took multiple chops at the thing's neck. she didn't mind the blood and gore, and the fact that it looked like no creature she'd ever seen before piqued her interest. she walked closer, only a dozen or so feet behind the man as the creature dissipated into dust. he crouched to collect something, scale-looking rounds, and v peered down at them. she was hesitant to pick them up, but when the man shoveled a bunch into his pockets, she delicately bent down to pick a couple up. maybe she could match them up later if she had some free time.

now wasn't the time, though. she glanced around, trying to take in the aftermath of the creature's attack. the guy with the dog returned, talking to the man in coats, and v decided that she might as well try to figure out what was going on too. she stepped up, physically inserting herself into the conversation. her eyes glanced down to the dog, a tiny smile curving her lips.

"i'm vegas," she interjected. he voiced her thoughts, and she added on to the end-"are these things from wherever you guys came from? i'm assuming you're not from around here, considering those jackets."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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Tallyho hardened her stance as the woman with the intricate hair gripped her arm firmly. She couldn’t blame her, utter chaos was unfolding around them: The sweet pup who’d doused the blonde’s face in sloppy kisses only moments before, was now unsheathing its teeth, gnawing at the cyclopean like a particularly empowered mosquito. People around them were screaming and gawking, aiming their small rectangular devices in the direction of the monster. She wondered if the curious knick-knacks agitated the cyclopean more, seeing as they didn’t seem to be doing anything to kill it. One woman even threw herself upon the very tree that Tallyho had been trying to finesse her way out of since the beginning of this fiasco. And when the cyclopean let out another blood curdling screech? Well, Tallyho’s heart sank to the absolute pit of her stomach. Her legs felt weak and her waif figure threatened to collapse into the grass like a skipped stone sinks to the bottom of a river bank. Tallyho’s ears seemed to fill with water as she watched the warrior take a few messy swings to the monster’s neck. She couldn’t clearly hear the curdling hack of the warrior’s sword into the cyclopean’s tough, scaly neck, or the tingle of small onyx shards raining down on the width of his blade as the terror shattered from existence.

She stood there for a while, watching the pile of shards as a few hands seemed to pick through the dark gems left behind. As pieces were taken, Tallyho wondered what part of the cyclopean they were taking with them? Arm or leg? Jaw or claw? She halfway wondered why they’d want this sort of memorabilia at all. Her light head seemed to float back down to reality and the echoes in her ears corrected themselves.

She was a bit pleased (just a little) that her advice was right. That for once, she could definitively prove to her Baba that she had been listening to something all these years. She would have counted this accomplishment as a personal victory for the day, except what happened next gave breath to a whole new list of things she could have given herself a pat of the back for surviving.

There was a soft, low rumble in the distance. A sound Tallyho likened to wind rippling past her ears when she rode a horse at full speed. The sound was dense, and increasingly becoming loud. And then there were the trees—the leaves shuddered slightly and then more abruptly. Her green eyes were trained on the foliage, and without thinking she slowly reached up to grab the other girl’s arm too. It was a non-verbal gesture—one that would have translated as “not today Satan,” had there been such a figure in Airesian lore.

And then there was a light, a growing dome that seemed to creep from between the tall buildings on the horizon. The light inched slowly at first, but as it grew closer, one would realize that it was barreling in their direction at such a high speed that there was no chance at out-running it. As it came, the slow tremble of the lawn became more of an earthquake accompanied by a fantastic gust of wind that licked back Tallyho’s tresses in a single brush.

Tallyho, if she wasn’t already gone, decided that she was going to die today. The wall of light wasn’t stopping. It was far from stopping. It was going to decimate everything in its path and all of this extraneous stress would have been for absolutely nothing. Tallyho’s existence would have meant nothing. That cyclopean? Nothing. The wind felt increasingly suffocating as the light hurdled closer. Tallyho always thought that if she was going to die young, it was going to be on her own terms. But now, she supposed that she was a total fool because, hello, who could ever forget the great big explosion of light that occasionally ravaged the planet at unexpected moments? Silly, silly Tally.

The light was here now. Blinded, the child of the sun closed her eyes, held her breath, and let the wall of energy crash into her being.


*** THE CORE ***


It was like experiencing death while still being very alive. Sounds like some form of torture, but Tallyho didn’t seem to feel much of anything. It was a form of removal. Not the emotional kind she tended to excel at, but a more spiritual sort. She was floating in the center of nothing and everything. In nothingness for eternity. Incubated and independent of all facets of reality. Healed of all that ailed her only moments before: The dizziness, nausea, and heaviness in her heart was spooned from her chest and poured somewhere far away. The scrapes and scars on her knees and elbows that she acquired from her fall were wiped smooth from her skin. Her eyes were open, but everything was so dark that she wouldn’t have known the difference.

Another light flickered in the distance, but it was nothing like the frightening wall of energy that brought her here. It was warmer, softer, like a fuzzy laser pointing to the center of the universe.

Tallyho no longer felt like she was floating. Something cold pressed against her soles, and the pull of gravity felt gradually more apparent. Below her feet, a sprinkling of small white lights, almost like stars in a night sky. They forged a path running toward the light.

Beneath the transparent path of stars, a murky body of water was churning as if it wavered in a storm. And then she looked up, catching a glimpse of a flock of twelve large birds. They, glided above her gracefully, a mass exodus of white underbellies fleeing toward the warmth of the light. Their forms were soft and round. But what was behind her? She turned around to see a wide gaping vortex, muddied with shades of blue and black.

And as if on cue, it was like the houselights came on in a theatre. Gradually, scattered along the narrow path of stars, the blonde was able to make out the forms of the other people around her. There weren’t many, but she actually recognized some of them: The girl with the intricate hair, the warrior, the man with his dog, and others. She wondered if they could see her as well as she could see them? She took a step forward and physically she felt great. It was like she never jumped out of the tree or was on the verge of throwing up. She wondered if they felt the same inexplicable pressure to make a decision: To walk toward the light? Or not?

She looked toward the soft light, the direction in which the twelve birds flew. Then she turned to face the warped vortex at the other end of the path. It didn’t seem particularly inviting.


She wasn’t sure whether or not she should inquire about what everyone else was going to do. It was simple for her, she had made her decision. Besides there weren’t many options to choose from.

“I don’t know what happen,” she began. “But I go this way, I think.” Her voice echoed softly in the darkness. The blonde turned on her heels and began a hesitant stride toward the light. Her pale skin and light hair looked luminescent as she went.

The water below seemed to grow increasingly restless. Tallyho stopped half way across the path, growing ridged as she felt the faint vibrations from the star path at her feet. She thought of it as a threat that the path could shatter at any moment and dump them all into the mysterious waters below. Tallyho knew that she wasn’t going to allow herself to fall into that, but she halfway hoped that the others would pick a side of the path and scram, because this didn’t seem like a very stable place.

The blonde flinched, sucking air through her teeth as a cold wave of water billowed up on the path and took a lick at her feet. More waves seemed to follow suit. The water was rising and it didn’t seem like they had much time to meander in the void any longer. It was now or never.

She glanced pleadingly at the group before continuing on even faster, nearly sprinting toward the light. The warmth enveloped her and she fell into what felt like a nosedive into the sun.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Central Park, NY
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Heather could've smacked the brunette for running over to the tree in the way that she had, ineffectively trying to distract the monster so that the warrior guy could do as they instructed. Heather herself would've did the same thing, if she had the opportunity, but it was easy from the outside to be upset, to worry. To mother-hen, as her sister said she was capable of doing. Heather denied it, but there was some truth to the accusation. When it was herself doing the risking, it escaped her primary thought process that she mattered as well and therefore, should think of her own self-preservation, not just everyone else's. But that didn't mean that she couldn't scowl at the brunette for endangering herself like that, especially since the monster had already been distracted when she did it and she only made it slightly more difficult for warrior-guy. However, then a blonde snatched her from the tree just before the girl could obviously die and Heather breathed out a sigh of relief, sending an almost ecstatic smile to Tallyho before realizing that the blonde beside her was looking at something much different than she was a moment later.

The sound that whizzed past Heather's ears reminded her of her childhood of taller roller-coasters that went faster and flipped her around and around, and it was near deafening. But more importantly, the light approaching them was overwhelming and yet beautiful. It reminded Heather of all of those Sunday school jeers from classmates that believed that the world would end in fire. That they would all be swept up in a suffocating flurry of all-consuming flames and heat, and everything that they knew would be disintegrated. She remembered crying the first time she heard it because God had promised that he would not flood the earth like he had done before, and fire seemed plausible to her younger brain. It also had seemed painful. And this light - though obviously not flame-like in appearance at all - promised a fate that Heather knew she couldn't run from. So, she stayed, a tear she hadn't even realized had been welling in her eye, dropping onto her cheek as she felt Tallyho reach out for her. As it closed over her, swiping through her being with such a blinding ferocity that Heather had to close her eyes on a gasp, she wished she could see her mother at that moment. She had promised the older woman a self-portrait before they left.

The first things that Heather saw when she was able to again were the birds. They were concentrated in their swarming, a cloud of pristine-white that glided effortlessly with one another. It was like a little show, she mused. And they were all moving towards another light, and Heather felt its beckon even as she felt a flicker of trepidation. Looking back, what she had noted as a sort of ephemeral darkness - the one that had overwhelmed her mere moments ago - looked like a black hole to Heather. It looked like it would suck her into nothingness and spit her out chewed out and damaged beyond repair. And she didn't want that, not when it felt like there was something better down the path. The decision was made even more apparent by the backward steps she took from the Void, refusing at all to be lured by it. There was a surge of energy in her core, a light presence that had not been there when they had been in Central Park, and it propelled her towards the light, her steps faltering only when the path beneath her trembled in what Heather believed to be impatience, but that was also her brain feeling slightly muddled even as she quickened into a jog. Briefly, before she passed through the light, Heather thought of her mom. She also thought of her sister and how whenever she got back home, she was never letting her older sister try hallucinogens. Because Heather was witnessing something fantastical beyond her wildest dreams without the aid of drugs. Obviously, her sister didn't need that shit.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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[Calliope Alexander] - [#551a8b] - [Mood]
The strange girl's confusion, who now that Cali thought about it appeared to only be wearing a slightly torn nightdress, didn’t appear to have been improved even though she was now standing. Cali wondered a little to herself if she was perhaps the victim of a freshman prank as her cousins often talked about and had warned her before she started studying over here. She was able to pose further queries to the girl as the boy with his yapping dog was already trying to do something similar but before he could complete anything concrete they were all interrupted by what sounded like a beastial roar from nearby.

She turned round; trying to find their source before spotting what looked at first glance to be an oversized human in shape but upon closer inspection looked to have a singular eye. Whatever the creature was cyclops or not it was locked in combat with a figure wrapped in thick, fur-lined clothing more suited for the middle of winter than a warm autumn afternoon. At first she’d simply rolled her eyes and been about to turn back to confused girl putting the creature down somebody else’s problem as it was most likely some kind of promotional event.

”I wonder why Polyphemus is hanging out in central park” she muttered to herself before noticing that the strange girl was almost rigid, staring at the creature in shock and perhaps a little fear. The other couple were looking at the creature a little more uncertainly which was causing Cali to have doubts about her initial assessment as well, more so given that she could feel the hair on the back of her neck standing on end. The sensation brought back memories of when she’d been out on deployment and her nerves had been on edge when things just felt wrong. Her perception of the world faded in and out a little as she heard people shouting suggestions to the fighter. She finally snapped back to reality as a girl called out to the man fighting the beast to attack while she distracted it. Cali couldn’t help but feel strangely helpless and wondering if she should do something but her body wouldn’t obey her and she honestly didn’t know if it was because it couldn’t or just because she didn’t know what she wanted it to do.

Staggering backwards as she refocused on the fight she was struggling with the concept that it might be something real rather than simply a staged effect show. Her mouth began to feel dry as steadied herself, glancing round to see who else was nearby and if the creature was real what threat it posed. Her reactions were far slower than they’d been less than a year earlier and she silently cursed herself, grimacing as her leg twinged under her weight.

Suddenly the park fell silent, leaving only the sound of her breathing and heartbeat ringing in her ears as not animals made a noise as the giants headless body hit the grass with a soft thud. The world around her seemed to be getting brighter as warm, white light suddenly began to pour from a space beyond where the monster now lay. Looking around now she saw that most of the people nearby were either being engulfed by this strange light or for one or two of the more stranger looking of them simply dashing straight into its path.

As it swept closer, almost touching her, Cali felt a sharp burning in her chest and reached up her hand to where her necklace was now flaring as if it wanted to outshine whatever was coming. The pain was beginning to cause her to cry out as she clasped her hand tightly around the glowing stone. Through her streaming eyes she saw herself staring back at her, with a strange calm as she beckoned Cali to follow her. Confused and whimpering a little she thought she caught glimpses of herself standing all around her, closing in on her as if to make her claustrophobic.

She felt a sharp tug and push on her back as she tumbled forwards into the whiteness that enveloped her. And she fell into nothing. While behind her a black void faded.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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OOC: **WELCOME TO AIRES** I've added an event to the Events/Side plots board.



Tallyho was face down in the dirt, basking in the warmth of the sun like a fried egg. The skirt of her white dress and her yellow hair spread about her in tangles, crinkles and knots, the kinds of imperfect textures a person discovers after waking from the deepest of slumbers. Once again, the bounties of nature pressed deeply into her cheek as she nuzzled the soil, sleepily brushing way the itching and pinching sensations brought on by the dry grass and small pebbles that cradled her face.

Tallyho was alive. The corners of her mouth tugged slightly, she knew it was all a dream! She knew it. She didn’t hear the loud rumbles of those machines and didn’t struggle to wheeze in the thick (likely toxic) air she was surrounded by only moments before. She was ali—

“Ahy!” Tallyho’s eyes flashed open at a sudden jut in her side. She could feel immediately that it came from a hard metal object, but it definitely wasn’t a sword. It didn’t even hurt really, it was just the kind of sensation that would make a person scream “OW” if only because they were caught off guard. She recoiled, lashes fluttering as her eyes bugged and blinked trying to pinpoint the offender, her corneas were assaulted by the sudden burst of light from the sun high in the midday sky.

Bleary-eyed, she made out the silhouette of a man. She squinted— a red-faced older man with thick grey tufts in his salt and pepper hair. He wore a white cotton shirt, dirty and untucked from thin trousers that resembled potato sacks. He gripped a long garden hoe and without much hesitation he tapped at her again, jabbing her in the side like she was a tiny spud, fresh from the dirt and ready for harvest. She sat up this time—her brows tangled in a fury that non-verbally seemed to scream, Are you serious? She curled her lips, face fixed to chew the man out, but she was so disoriented that she could only let out a winded huff.

The man, stared her in the eye as he called out, “Mary, get th’ boss. It looks like ther’re a lot of em!”

Well Tallyho could tell by the crude, unflattering accent that she was still in Solace at least. But what did he mean by a lot of them? Surely he didn’t suggest that the others from her strange dream were also in this field, strewn out around her in this neatly groomed plot? Wait, what do you mean that’s exactly what he meant?

As Tallyho pushed herself a butts’ scoot away from the old man, she looked around in panic, noticing more than a few familiar faces around her. All of the people from that strange city, all of the people from that bridge of stars. All eleven. The man continued to look at her. His voice was stern and on the offensive.

“Now look here girl. I don’t know what you and yer friends were stealing from this farm but yer gonna have to answer to the big boss now.”

Tallyho trembled quietly in fury and confusion. Steal? If Tallyho was going to steal anything it was going to be a hot cooked meal, not this guys’ nakky crops. And who exactly was this ‘big boss’?

“I-I don’t know what you talking about…” Her voice trembled but she brought it down low so that she didn’t sound too mousy.

“Don’t play dumb, girl!” his voice seemed to boom down at Tallyho and while she flinched out of shock, she was definitely feeling very attacked. The blonde almost expected him to stand tall and knock her out with his hoe because of how passionately he barked at her. She never really cared for most men, but this guy was really trying her nerves. This whole experience was trying her nerves. Tallyho was never one to anger quickly, but she was so confused, emotionally exhausted and irritable, that there was a very limited list of things a person could do that wouldn’t absolutely send her over the edge at this point. She didn’t even know if this was real life or a dream or anything really, and here was this three-toothed peasant man slinging his rancid breath and spittle down on her face like some Goddess-given natural disaster. That is where she had enough.

“I not play anything, old man! You the one who play dumb!” She barked accusingly. Her soft spritely features were highlighted by a flush of red that beamed just below the surface of her entire face. “You jab me again with that thing? You will be sorry,“ she hissed, finally swallowing her outburst at its vaguest point. Moments like these were when she wished her mom would
have let her carry a dagger, maybe then she could actually show people exactly why they should be sorry. But unfortunately for Tallyho, this man would never know. And for the record, she definitely wanted to cut him.

Yet somehow the blonde swallowed her anger nearly as quickly as it shot out. She looked away as the older man grimaced above her, his hairy knuckles were curled into two tight knots of anger. The red left Tallyho’s face and it was almost like she never raised her voice at all. This was how it always was, when Tallyho got too angry, excited or happy, her state of neutrality always overcame. She wasn’t exactly sure why she was this way, because it certainly wasn’t the case in the earlier parts of her adolescence, but she definitely had a talent (?) for calming her emotions.

“What’s going on out here?” a voice from the distance implored. Tallyho’s attention whipped to the other end of the field. Another field hand, a younger looking man who was landing a finishing swing at the loosened soil in front of him, wiped his brow and squinted out at the group. He was statuesque, a muscular frame towering six feet high. Tallyho thought he looked a bit like a candle with papery skin and fiery red hair fell in disarray from what looked like a hard day’s work. He was dressed simply—not too dissimilarly from the man Tallyho had been arguing with—but his presence felt a bit more stately. And his voice commanded an air of respect, finer and more confident than the voice of the old man towering above her in an intimidating fashion.

“We’ve got thieves!” The older man howled like a hurt dog cowering to its owner.

“No they’re guests. Stand down. They look worn,” the redhead said resolutely before dropping his gardening tool and walking up toward a grand old house in front of the field. The wood looked old but one could tell that the two story house was well-cared for and rather charming.

As the man swaggered onto the porch, Tallyho wondered if he was going to go get “the big boss” himself. But imagine her confusion when a woman with a large, prominent scar jetting across the better part of her face came gliding toward the man expectedly. On the tray she carried was a brown cloth and a small mysterious box. He took the cloth first, wiping the sweat off of his sun-burnt face and prominent brow before reaching into the small box. Out came a hand-rolled cigar which the woman immediately lit with a sulfur match fished from her apron’s pocket. And like a shadow, she retreated back into the house as quickly as she came.

Tallyho watched the man curiously, the way his narrow eyes appraised the ragtag group. If she didn’t know any better, she would say that he looked a little disappointed.

Between two long puffs of his cigar he spoke:

“You saw some things I presume. I have your answers,” he hummed, squinting at the mountains in the horizon. As he released smoke from the side of his mouth the scar faced woman came back again, this time presenting a saucer that he flicked his ashes into.

If no one understood by then, this man was indeed the big boss.

“Dinner’s almost ready. I’ll answer your questions there.” He said. He seemed so relaxed about it, as if he was used to people stumbling upon his farm like this. He looked at the scar-faced woman, “They’ll be cleaned up and settled by dinner.”

The offer caught Tallyho off guard, but when the man turned around and lumbered into the house casually, leaving no room for questions or banter (at least not with him), Tallyho realized that it wasn’t an offer at all but a fact of life.

The woman with the scar, who looked to be in her late twenties, stepped forward. She had warm brown skin, and dark silken hair that gathered into a tight, almost reflective knot of a bun at the nape of her neck. Her face, even without the scar, would have been average enough, but Tallyho couldn’t help but wonder what she would look like without it even before she wondered what could have caused it.

“That is Haru and this is his farm,” she said. She spoke crisply, offering every syllable with a sharp upward edge. Tallyho could tell even before she spoke that she was another free person (a term the nomadic tribes use to describe themselves as a greater entity)—an Oni tribesman if she was being specific.

“Please. You are welcome to our bath, food, and beds here as our guests. You look like you have many questions. Haru knows lots of things and I’m sure he can help you.”
She nodded approvingly at the group, encouraging them to step forward.

Tallyho glanced at the others, hesitating. To be quite honest, she could use the meal and the bath. But she was already the first to walk into that light and as far as the sun girl was concerned, all of her leadership credits for the day had been expended.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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As the world around him faded to black, Ron was taken by surprise. It felt almost like a trip, but too real. Drugs usually gave a daze like feeling to the world, almost as if one was immortal. This was different since he was too aware of his surroundings. Turning around, there was only one thing in sight, a glowing pillar. Ron gasped as he had thought that he had died and was now in limbo. After a moment of hesitation the young man simply sprinted through the pillar, anxious to see what was on the other side.

Suddenly the darkness transformed into a lush farm. The skies were clear, the air perfect, the birds chirped, and he could hear no automobile from any distance. This must heaven. Ron thought to himself, grinning like a school child. The thought of Hell always hid in his mind, though knowing that he made the right choices in life or receiving great grace filled him with joy. Off in the distance he saw the pretty girl who was in the park speaking to an old man. It looked like an intense argument so he made his way over, so he reached into his inside jacket for his revolver, just in case.

The closer he came, the more the words became clear. The old man accused them of being thieves while the girl furiously retorted. "Shit, I guess I was wrong." He mumbled to himself. If this really was heaven, then there would be no point in coveting resources without mortal bodies. Then a woman with a scar broke the argument by stating that a man named Haru was expecting them all along and was waiting for them.

As Ron made his way to the house he stopped by the old man and cocked his head. "I know you think you must be hot shit, old timer, but if you ever talk to her like that again then I'll shoot you dead." He formed his hand into the shape of a gun and jerked it back violently. "BAM! BAM!" He smirked as he made his way to the house.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Aires
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Without warning, Heather felt warm, soft grass beneath her hands and sliding against her bare legs as she moved, and she quickly scrambled up into a sitting position, eyes adjusting to the...landscape. And what a landscape it was because this wasn't New York. Not at all! Heather half-expected the theme song for Little House on the Prairie to start playing because obviously, the universe was fucking with her. It had to be. Today had been racked with frustration and then surprise after surprise, and Heather had reached her surprise quota for the day, thank you very much. When she had stormed out of the restaurant away from her family, Heather had no intention of seeing some random girl in a tree who was clearly more lost than Dorothy in Oz, some warrior-dude and a monster that gave the writers of Game of Thrones a run for their money, nor some random ass gust of pure light and energy that forced her to go down a path (because walking into the black void-thing wasn't even an option that Heather was going to entertain because that had all kinds of the devil in there). And here she was with a group of absolute strangers - whom she clearly was not going to be rid of any time soon - in the middle of nowhere-she-felt-particularly-safe-in and Heather wasn't going to freak out, not in front of these people, but something had to give in about two point five seconds -

"Whoa, hey, Tallyho!" Heather had only heard a small noise from the small distance between herself and Tallyho, but when she heard the blonde yell, that had been enough to get Heather to her feet and jogging over to the girl. At the back of her head, Heather surmised that her shoes were definitely not meant for this terrain. Even though by the time Heather got to Tallyho's side, there was a redhead male peering over at all of them and the older man who apparently been harassing Tallyho backed off, Heather still glared at anyone who wasn't in their rag-tag group, glancing at the side of Tallyho's face to inspect her carefully. "Are you okay?" If there was an answer, Heather couldn't hear it over the redhead male speaking up and Heather watched with narrow eyes as he basically ordered them to get bathed and to have dinner with him for answers, and she huffed in irritation. Big boss or not, Heather didn't like being ordered around, especially after a day like the one they had. But before she could utter a complaint, he was back in the house. "What in the hell is any of this?" She hissed, more to herself than anyone else.

The woman with the scar spoke up then and Heather had to take a fortifying breath if she didn't want to snap at her. The woman wasn't the one who had dismissed them and even though this Haru was offering them a kindness - again, given the day, she still wanted to snap. But the woman before them didn't deserve it. So, when Tallyho pleadingly stared back at the rest of them, Heather sighed, glancing back at the others imploringly. "We should go," she stated and then gestured around them. "We're not getting any answers out here and," Heather finally noticed there was blood on the warrior-guy, "dude, you look like you need medical attention, like, yesterday." Back to the others, she added, "And I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't know where the hell I am and I'm not waiting for another creature thing to come and let me know with their claws, so I'm going in." Sighing again, Heather turned to the woman, putting on a cordial smile, stepping towards the house. "Umm, thank you."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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Dorian Steinsson


Dorian fought the urge to sink down to his knees in the grass- and it had to be grass although it was so lush and vibrant- and simply breathe for a moment. He’d probably been awake for nearing twenty-four hours at this point, and he’d just fought what was most likely the most interesting battle of his life thus far. All he wanted to do was have a seat, maybe drink a bit of water if something stronger wasn’t available*, and then figure out what in Her Fury was going on.

*Of course he had something stronger available. Stereotypical though it may be, many Halesian citizens did wander around with small flasks of Pyrewater. It was good for battling the cold and had gotten many shepherds and soldiers through the aching chill of Hales in winter.

He refrained, however. It was a matter of dignity as a soldier not to show weakness in front of strangers, especially when representing Hales. Also the strange others had begun converging on the area where he stood, whooping and chattering loudly in a bizarre variety of Common, some raising odd flashing devices, and other pocketing shards of the shattered Cyclopean like so many curious little baubles, which, alright, sort of weird.

He’d heard of people collecting the supposed relics of Month Warriors* to display, but never of Cyclopeans. Okay, yes, he’d taken up the shards first, but he had fought the thing and had earned his victor’s prize, and it seemed relevant to get something like this back home where people might like to know that a mythical creature that shattered into onyx shards was stalking the tundra. He’d never expected to be a trendsetter, and these strangers seemed like they were more inclined towards such morbid things as creature collectables, even after said creature had eagerly attempted to slaughter a few of them.

He’d seen one such relic at a little church his grandmother had taken him to. The main draw had been the favorite left shoe of June, placed on a dais for pilgrims to worship and pray towards. Dorian had never quite understood why it had been June’s favorite left shoe rather than favorite shoe overall, but he’d been too afraid to ask given that his grandmother was in what his mother referred to as “one of her religious fervors”.

He frowned a little or, to be more precise, his permanent scowl lost even more of its pleasantness as he wandered away from these flippant strangers, already more concerned about his own wound than their jovial actions and magpie-like tendencies. His arm had begun to ache as the adrenaline wore off, even if the jagged wound was now only bleeding sluggishly. It was at least a clean cut, Dorian realized as he tore at the hole in his jacket, then shirt sleeve, exposing the wound to his sight. No dirt, not deep enough to really butcher the muscles beneath, no obvious signs of poison or immediate infection (because who knew where those claws had been?). He would like, Dorian decided as he pulled out a scarf from his pack, a spare his mother had made that was a little too lop-sided to wear with his uniform, and began to dress the wound.

Then there was something pressing up against his hand. Even through his thick gloves he could feel it, soft and snuffling intently. He glanced down, piercing gray eyes meeting something far more pleasant and warm. It was the dog from before, the one who’d charged forward to try to take on the Cyclopean, tail wiggling warmly, a far cry from the way it had snarled and lunged and snapped earlier.

Dorian didn’t have a lot of experience with dogs and certainly never one that looked like this, but he accepted the small comfort with gratitude, reaching down and awkwardly patting the creature’s head. Dogs liked that, right? Well, it didn’t bite him, so there was that.

Then the dog’s handler was approaching, the first non-scavenger to come too close to the impromptu battlefield. He seemed to be showing Dorian that he had no weapons, hands up and open before crouching next to his canine companion and pulling the dog into an embrace. It was a little insulting, honestly. There was a cigarette dangling from his lips, or at least what Dorian supposed was one. It smelled more toxic than the ones in Hales, pungent and foul in an uncomfortably artificial way.

The other man, bizarrely clad in colorful clothes and a strange hat that extended backwards (possibly to shade his neck but not his face?) was saying something to the dog, and Dorian tried to pick out the words but could only manage a few. He took a moment to shake off the cobwebs of his mental Common dictionary and escape the exhausted fog that was threatening to set in. Now was no time to let his mind wander. The stakes were too high, and he couldn’t afford to let himself get distracted. Just because one danger was over didn’t mean that another wouldn’t soon begin.

He glanced back again when the dog-handler stood, the first person to deign to get too close. The words and meanings became clearer with each passing moment, and he was finally beginning to understand what was being said. It was just an introduction at first, a small thanks for Dorian killing the beast. The man- Emerson… his name was foreign and strange, as was his dog’s, but he should have expected that. He clearly wasn’t in Hales anymore, wasn’t anywhere he could possibly understand.

And the newly introduced Emerson was speaking softer now so that Dorian had to lean in to catch the foreign language tumbling from his lips. Was it some great secret? No. Just a request for information Dorian didn’t have. If Dorian had been anyone else, he would have laughed. Perhaps he would have said “I don’t know, but be sure to let me know if you find out” in a companionable and earnest way. But that wasn’t Dorian’s way, no matter how hilarious his attempt at casual levity might be.

He settled on a shrug, trusting that to be a universal sign throughout Aires. After a moment, he realized that might not be enough and he had a few questions too, damn it, so he attempted to cobble together a sentence, his ability to speak the language not quite as good as his ability to comprehend it.

“Dorian,” he said, hand flickering to himself. He took Emerson’s offered hand, shook it just once with a too-firm grip (the people of Hales were not fond of limp handshakes) before retracting his hand. “Me… I am…” He struggled to find the appropriate words before settling on, “This is… Where?” a question tinged with a demand filling his tone. The words were thick, framed with the typical Halesian accent, something like a mix between Russian and Norwegian*.

*The Halesian dialect differs depending on your location in the country. More provincial towns and villages tend to lean towards comparatively Norwegian lilts as opposed to the thick Russian-like accents found in larger cities.

Before Dorian could butcher Common further, a woman approached. He recognized her from the few that had wandered over the pile of shards, squirreling a few away as some sort of morbid souvenir. She was no-nonsense, interjecting herself into the conversation without so much as a by your leave, demanding to know if… if these things were from where he was from? Things? Now that was truly bizarre. Every Airesian knew the story of the Goddess and her Month Warriors, a tale so universal that it was found in every continent, every country with little variation. Had she really not recognized the monster for what it was?

“Cyclopean,” he reiterated, gesturing at the pile. The word was universal too, a phrase found in every language known to man on Aires. As for Hales, well… “No. Cyclopean is… Cyclopean is not-“

Whatever Cyclopeans were not, Vegas and Emerson would have to wait quite a while to find out because the light had descended on them, swallowing Dorian from behind. It would infuriate him to no end knowing that he’d been too distracted to see or feel it coming.



Jules Fontaine


In the meantime, Jules was also not having a very good time of it but for very different reasons.

When he’d pulled Sorrell down, he had been moving on pure instinct, the last of an adrenaline filled rush. With that gone, he was simply strewn out like a marionette who’d had its strings cut, gazing at the closest thing- the girl he’d sporadically helped and…

Was she laughing? Was she seriously laughing right now? Jules laid dazed on the tree’s roots, as the girl stood, groaning and chuckling lightly like she hadn’t almost died. Like she hadn’t been a completely idiot. In retrospect it was only a little laugh, something that dazed and shocked people are likely to do, but things were so muddled in Jules’s mind that it might as well have been a big belly laugh or a horse-like guffaw. Chuckling while the Man Out of Time hacked away at the monster’s neck, chuckling as the monster shattered into onyx shards, some flying through the air and dusting his face. He moved reflexively, sputtering as he tried to wipe off the bits of glittering gore that had gotten into his hair. He was met with limited success.

When he stopped his efforts, the girl was smiling at him, a bright, warm grin that contrasted painfully with the world Jules was currently experiencing.

“Only the mad are worth talking to, anyway. Or rescuing, I guess.” It was quirky, it was cute, and it sent Jules into a sputtering mess, phrases like “That doesn’t make any-“, “You crazy-“, and “What, what, what-!” warring with one another until he just staring dumbly, absently flicking a few more pieces of tiny onyx shards off of his person. It wasn’t her fault, not really, but she was the most abnormal, normal thing around him right now, and he had to grasp onto that reality.

So when she finally thanked him and shook his hand as he struggled to his feet on shaking knees, Jules could really do nothing but stare because who even was this Sorrell? How was she not having a panic attack? Is that what was happening to Jules right now? A panic attack? Yeah, well, pretty f*ing likely. He leaned against the tree, breathing shallow, little breaths as cheers broke out, cameras flashed, and others came closer and closer.

He closed his eyes and stilled because he would not make a scene in public. He was one thousand percent better than that, even if he did deserve a little meltdown because, yeah, he had been that close to a giant monster and his own horrible death. All he had to do was back away, find himself a drink (just one, to settle the nerves) and make it to the theatre to hide in his safe space filled with fabrics and sewing machines and not monsters that turned into jewels when their heads were chopped off. Plus, it wasn’t as if he could miss work. While almost dying and seeing something nearly inconceivable might be an acceptable reason to miss work for most people, Madame Belle certainly wouldn’t see it that way.

He was so preoccupied that he didn’t hear the low rumble rising in the distance, couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to the way the wind began to pick up and the ground began to tremble and his necklace had turned ice cold under his shirt. He didn’t notice anything, too far gone in his own mind, until Sorrell moved backwards, bumping into him. His eyes shot open, arms reaching out to steady her automatically as the cold from his necklace seemed to spread to Sorrell, a swear on the tip of his tongue until he saw the light.

It was already bearing down on him, and he couldn’t do much more than scowl because really? Really?


Dorian Steinsson


Dorian’s only thought, drifting or perhaps flying or maybe even staying completely still in this realm of nothingness was something akin to “here we go again”. Did these things happen to other people because Dorian was starting to think that it was just him. At least this sudden bizarre trip through space didn’t include a Cyclopean appearing in nightmare flashes around him like a demented firefly (or at least what he imagined a firefly to be).

There was none of the panic of last time, none of the fear and anger. Just exhaustion and a certain surrender as his entirety began to shift with the environment around him. He wasn’t used to it, but at least he had a better idea of what to expect than last time. Additionally his wounds were beginning to heal, torn flesh stitching together, phantom aches and pains evaporating like all of his wounds had been wiped clean with a single swipe of a warm compress.

He waited patiently as the world began to grow clear again, something solid appearing under his feet. IT was already an improvement from bursting out of the ground like a hare wiggling out of its burrow. What he’d mistaken for the sea of stars now lay underfoot, now revealed as a solid path of the Heaven, glittering as if a beacon over a murky lake, urging it him to follow it to the warm, dull light shining ahead. It wasn’t very frightening, Dorian thought, if only because had only the swirling dark vortex behind him and the rough waters below to compare it to. It was honestly downright inviting. Others seemed to think so, a handful of people who’d also been found in that strange place only moments ago- Emerson, Vegas, the girl who’d shouted her advice… All here with him.

So he began to move forward, pace hastened by the way the waters were now rising, quickly and steadily and ferociously towards those still on the path.



Jules Fontaine


Jules’s trip was not as self-assured. The calm that swept over them all brushed over him as well, kissing upon minor bruises, trailing a touch up the scrape on his hand from where he’d fallen and erasing the small aches and injuries tenderly. It was like being swaddled in a cocoon, but… But Jules had never been good at being told how to feel, unless it was in an acting sense. It was warmth, but it was artificial, and something inside his mind was demanding that he fight it, swinging fists at the soothing emotion as if yelling “Make me, you sonovabitch”

So he thrashed and gasped and found he could not speak, which made him fight it even more. He liked the sound of his own voice, thank you, and he would not be, could not be stifled.

So he arrived in the… in the nothingness, in the darkness still thrashing and gasping and a strangled snarl that echoed loudly, too loudly among the others. He quieted instantly, pulling himself together as the world became whole around him. He stood on a pathway of stars, glittering fairy lights flickering beneath his boots. It drew the eyes, like a powerful stage design, towards the water below, thrashing and murky and ominous before making you want to look up, just in time to see the large white birds overhead, flying towards a warm light, less overwhelming than the one from before. It beckoned silently, a sharp contrast to the less thank welcoming void humming behind him.

It was a simple choice, in terms of basic common sense. Beautiful white birds, warmth, light- it all seemed to point in one direction. The void was a thing of fear, of swirling dark shades of black and blue, the color palette of something more painful, more unpleasant in comparison. Others seemed to agree, stepping slowly towards the initial light. The first one seemed to be glowing, angelic as the warm light pulled her forwards, pulled her in. Others followed, some taking trance-like steps forward, other hurrying forward, flinging themselves into the light.

Jules lingered where he was, content to stay for the moment to assess the situation. Or maybe he was just too tired, too shocked to do much more than gape at this place outside of known reality. That is, he was content to stay until something wet lapped against his ankle. He glanced down, eyes widening. The angry waters below were rising, rising upwards towards them, and urging them to choose their paths now or face something more definite and destructive. The choice was easy. The timing a little less so.

So he began to run, and that was fine except his heels were slipping on the quickly developing puddles, his body already off-kilter from the heavy bag he hugged to his chest (he always said that he’d rather die than lose its contents, and apparently the world was trying to call his bluff). He was falling, falling towards the side of the path, towards the edge, towards the murk that exuded only unpleasantness and fear when a strong hand caught his arm, dragging him up and up and up, then onwards and forwards to the light. It was the Stranger, eyes forward and hand clasped firmly around Jules’s arm, and Jules for one appreciated the assist.

“We go,” the man said, glancing at Jules only once, his voice thick with some odd accent but firm. Jules nodded once, dazedly, as both men picked up speed and jumped through the light together.

Side by Side


They awoke in a country that wasn’t their own, and both men knew from very different signs. Dorian came to facing the sky, a more relaxed heat warming him from Aires’ familiar sun than the place he’d been spirited away to before. But it wasn’t Hales, clearly. You could tell from the weather, from the fields spreading here and there, from the absence of Hales’ jagged, icy peaks on the horizon. No, he was somewhere else. Solace, perhaps, but hopefully not, he barely held back a shudder, the Rose Kingdom.

Jules’s world upon awakening was a world of dirt and pebbles. He was face-down in the soil and couldn’t be bothered to move, hunched over as he was over his bag. He was being childish, he knew that, but he didn’t want to get up and face the reality of the situation. He knew this wasn’t New York. This place was silent in a way New York could never be, the air actually weightless rather than bogged down with smog and general big city stink. Nope. Jules was good down here, defiantly lying face-down on the ground.

So it was Dorian who watched Tallyho’s verbal spar with the crotchety old man, her snarled retort to his spittle-filled rage. He never thought to step in, didn’t quite see the point given that she was holding her own and the old man had done little else than jab at her with accusations and a garden hoe. It was far more interesting to see her retract her emotions, an impressive feat in Dorian’s mind to be able to beat back the incendiary flames of anger so quickly.

But it was Jules, finally dragging himself upwards, clearly under protest, who spotted the other man first. How could he not? A ginger giant, all big and buff and with a swagger permanently set in his step. Jules resisted the urge to groan. Was this just a bizarre lucid dream? Was he in a coma somewhere or maybe Purgatory? It sure as Hell better not be the latter. Jules was not going to play that Lost game.

What happened next felt like a scene from a play, the man pulling out all the stops to show just what position in the pecking order he held. Cigars were lit, ashtrays proffered, and a smooth offer of answers and food were laid before the eleven people, linked together by a single moment, for their consideration. He left them then, seemingly knowing how they would answer.

They stared on in dumb silence. Jules still trying to comprehend what in the name of God was going on and Dorian turning over his own emotions. When the man had spoken, he’d felt the need to stand at attention, but that… That wasn’t right. This man wasn’t a military commander, wasn’t the leader of a mission. Why had he been so compelling? And where had he heard that name…

Haru. That was the man, his scar-faced attendant revealed, a pretty enough woman made all the more striking for the marking. She was more inviting, more polite and succinct in her words. She was waiting for them the make the first move, and for a moment they all shuffled their feet.

That is before one of them, someone neither Jules nor Dorian recognized, began moving forward, self-assured and swaggering. That wasn’t too terribly exciting. No, the really striking thing he did was threaten the old man nearby, the one who’d mistaken them for thieves with a g*d* gun before wandering inside. Dorian narrowed his eyes, the threat clear but the method a little less. Jules stared, mouth agape. This. This he could focus on in a world of insanity and confusion.

“Are you fucking serious?” He breathed, throwing up his arms in exasperation. “Let’s not wait to let everyone know we’re a goddamn sociopath, I guess.”

He turned to the scar-faced woman, lips pulled into a thin line. He didn’t really care what the rest of these chuckleheads did*, but the bulky red-head had mentioned that by the time they’d been cleaned up dinner and, more importantly, answer would be ready. Another girl was already willing to politely take up the offer, team leader level advice included.

*That wasn’t true. He was well and truly invested in what the man with the theoretically itchy trigger finger wanted to do and how to avoid ever going near him again.

"Not exactly any other options," he mumbled, blowing a strand of hair from his face. He glanced at the scarred woman and shrugged, his version of deference. "Mind showing us the way?". A moment of politeness. Remarkable.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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Aster Storm




She really only had a moment to ponder the man completely ignoring her talking to him before a huge bright light obstructed her vision. As the light moved toward her she tried in vain to shade her eyes with her hand.

There was a moment of nothingness before a feeling of nothingness before a wave of blissful ease. No pain, and no fear.

The sound of waves came to her before she was able to see again. There was a light in the distance and it seemed the people from the place she was before were all with her. There were beautiful birds flying toward the light and it seemed that most people were making their way there as well. Some people were running, some walking. Two of the men were walking together.

After a moment's hesitation, Aster took off towards the light holding her skirt so she wouldn't trip. She loved to run, and the feeling of her legs pumping towards a purpose made her grin. She dove for the light, following those who had made it there first.

Happiness wrapped around Aster like the warmth of a fire on a cold winter's night. She remembered the years in her childhood before her father died and the smiles on her's and her father's faces as he told her stories of her mother. She remembered the feeling of accomplishment when she saw that her first healing concoction had worked.

The grass around her was was sweet and soft. She felt like she could lie there forever. There were no strange lands, people or monsters to bother her now. The peace only lasted for a moment before she heard the ruckus of an argument that was quickly put to rest. She sat to see the man with vibrant red hair invite them to bath and eat with him. What else was there to do, but to comply? After all they were in yet another land, and it didn't look like any of them knew what was really going on. She yet again followed the others into the farmhouse, thanking the woman at the door and waiting for anyone to have an idea of what was actually happening here.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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[Calliope Alexander] - [#551a8b] - [Mood]
Her vision was blurred as she stumbled aimlessly with the sounds seeming to be filtering in as if from underwater. She could hear the cries of people in pain and the faint echoes of what could be explosions. It felt as if everything was closing in, trapping her with no escape. Her skin was beginning to drip with cold sweat as it started to prickle and inch. She wanted to scream, add her voice to those all around her as she collapsed to the floor, her leg buckling as flared in agony, blood coating her fingers as she stared around wildly with sightless eyes.

She bolted upright, gasping for air and whimpering in pain while her hands reached instinctively for her leg to find no blood, nor pain. Shuddering a little, her body shaking as she tried to calm down she felt the pain return again and clasped her hand over her necklace, grunting with a sharp intake of breath as it seared her skin before its warm receded. Glancing down she noticed that the gemstone was flickering slowly, causing it to increase in heat in time with her heartbeat and had managed to leave a significant mark across her collarbone. Whatever had caused it to burn as brightly as it had seemed to have ceased now she was awake.

Looking around she felt herself even more confused that she had while asleep since nothing around her looked familiar. Nearby a rather weather-beaten man was berating the tree-climbing girl for trying to steal from their farm. ”What farm…” she mumbled to herself as she tried to ease into a standing position, wincing slightly as her leg struggled with her weight. The pair seemed to be content to argue about the current predicament of roughly a dozen strangers having appeared in the middle of a field when another of the locals announced that they were not simply thieves but instead guests that were expected. Clearly this simply had to be a dream within a dream to explain such madness, something like that DiCaprio film, whatever it was called.

The man who had explained away their presence rather dismissively introduced himself as Haru, before inviting them to refresh themselves before attending dinner. This was certainly a much more formal and lucid dream that she was accustomed to and the confusion seemed to be evenly spread among the rest of those in attendance. She could already find flaws in her own reasoning for this being simply a dream but had not yet dismissed the possibility entirely and was in part clinging onto it for some modicum of comfort rather than trying to face the potential reality.

While the others, be they real or just figments of her dream went about their own ways she decided to perch herself in a secluded corner of the room where dinner was to be served after asking for a glass of water. Once seated she simply pulled her jacket tight around herself and kept watch on the entrances as she tried to make sense of what was happening. At best she was keeping herself tightly wound to avoid succumbing to the panic attack she could feel bubbling in her chest as realisation stole over her that this wasn’t just a dream. Glancing around she kept thinking she saw her own reflection mouthing her fears back to her which was honestly now starting to bother her more than panic her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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Tallyho spent the sunset wringing her hair dry. After her argument with the old farmer, she hadn’t had much of a reason to get all riled up. She was clean, she was alone, and there was the promise of hot food and a warm bed right on the other side of those sun-beaten walls. If you asked her, it was all so eerily pleasant, and strangely, she didn’t seem to mind it one bit. In fact, she wasn’t as scared of being on this farm as she was of being left behind on it. She briefly thought of the others, if they were huddled in their cots, plotting an escape.

The sound of tin rang across the farm, a promising sound that could get a rise out of the most exhausted farm hands. It was a common thing to do in Solace. Wood to tin means dinner’s in. It’s such a common practice across households that in many residential areas, families have to compose their own family chime so that children running home don’t confuse their neighbor’s dinner bell with their own. Tallyho had a faint memory of a dinner bell competition that happened in a smaller village the caravan was touring though. It was wholesome event: Enthusiastic families performed their (surprisingly elaborate) jingles in front of a judge panel of shop keepers (butchers, blacksmiths, tailors) and the family with the most impressive jingle won a huge ham.

Tallyho absolutely sucked at music, but if she had to choose her favorite instrument, it would undoubtedly be the dinner bell. And if not for the unique culture that developed around it, definitely for the fact that it meant food was just a few steps away. And so, Tallyho hadn’t hesitated when the dinner bell rang. She rose smoothly, almost like an apparition, and strode across the lawn and through the back door.

She’d say that the thick wafting smells hit her like a truck if she knew what a truck was. She was so hungry it felt like her stomach was spreading outward, stretching wide as if it were preparing to envelope her first bite into a huge congratulatory embrace.

The maid who rang the bell was still ringing it enthusiastically, leaning out of the dining room window in case there were a few stragglers finishing their baths in the back.

“Dinner! Dinner for our guests,” she called out, the dinner bell clutched tight her small pale hands.

The blonde slid her hands through her hair as she mounted a chair nearby one of the girls from the cyclopean attack. It looked to Tallyho like she had been sitting there for quite a while, sipping on water rigidly. The sun girl stole glances at her, though she never fully turned her way, especially since the other girl seemed to be looking intently at spaces where, as far as Tallyho could see, nothing was there. So if the way the other young woman’s eyes darted around the room in slight paranoia was any indication of this, it didn’t seem like everyone was settling into this situation as well as the Tallyho was.

As the bell ringing wound down, the blonde began the winding her damp hair into an imperfect twist of a bun high on the crown of her head. The dinner setup was intimate, wedged in a room not much bigger than the large wooden table that occupied it. Tallyho, as slender as she was, had to hike up her hips and shuffle behind the chairs on her tip toes just to seat herself in one of the tighter corners. The furniture itself was very simple. For a place that looked so grand on the outside, Haru seemed to have a taste for the rustic. No room was doted on with fine décor or accents. Every room seemed to have exactly what it needed, no more no less.

It hadn’t taken more than ten minutes for a couple of maids to start slinging food on the table. It was a small feast: Iron cast cauldrons were huddled lip to lip at the center of the table, steaming with an assortment of meats and starches. One pot was heavy with red potatoes, quartered and patiently roasted with oil, herbs and salt. Another had a dark beef tip stew with a flour-based broth, and the third carried a hearty vegetable stew with carrots, corn, onions and beans. At the end of the table there was a honey-glazed hen with light, flaky skin drawn back from the heat of the furnace, and next to that, a plate of warm golden rolls. To Tallyho’s delight there was even a bowl of Banya, a dish from Solace that bakes sweet corn, grain, eggs, cream and sugar together to make a sweet dessert casserole. She had a particular fondness for the dish, and made it her business to reach for a spoonful of it as soon as it hit the table. She pulled the bowl close, scooping a large glop of the delicacy onto her dish.

The maid who rang the bell sucked her teeth at the sight. How could the blonde have the audacity to start tearing the food apart even before her host had arrived? The older woman itched to chastise her, but held her tongue when Haru entered the room. It would have been easy to miss him since he moved into his seat at the head of the table with a cool calm. His hair was damp so one could tell that he’d just bathed even if his fresh set of clothes looked just as rough and worn as the ones he was working in earlier in the day. He took the cloth folded under his utensils with a coarseness and plotted it on his lap. He hadn’t even taken the time to smooth it out evenly over his pants so one could have wondered why he even bothered putting the napkin down on his lap in the first place. When Tallyho finally noticed him, her body was hunched over her meal and her arm swung around the circumference of her plate like she was a prisoner protecting her food from the thieves around her. Haru met her eyes with a coolness and she stiffened a bit, not sure if she should have been more polite or at least a little more graceful in her consumption of food.

“Please eat,” he said. The deepness and resolute nature of his booming voice was just as startling as it was the first time he spoke. “We have plenty of time to talk.” The redhead then reached for the hen, pulling a sizable portion off the bone and onto his own plate. He ate contently, occasionally brushing stray crumbs from his facial hair.

Tallyho, not wanting to strike up a conversation, dove back into her food, continuing to eat if only because she was nervous. She would continue to eat until everyone reached the table, and by the time he’d given them the same “eat now, talk later" spiel the petite girl was stuffed. But instead of looking at Haru, or even taking another serving, she chose to stare at everyone else’s plates as they scooped and scraped the food into their mouths.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Aires - Haru's Farm
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Heather had a quick bath.

Normally, she could soak for an entire hour, feel the sudsy surface of her nearly scalding hot water glide across her skin silkily, softening it as she lay back until all but her head was submerged in it. But she knew it wouldn't be like those baths and swallowed down the discontent when she finally saddled into one of the tubs. Besides, she wasn't doing this for enjoyment, not really. Her host had offered it and Heather wasn't about to turn down his hospitality, carrying around the dress that had been offered for the evening. So, she hurried herself along and once done, she slipped into the dress. She took a moment to use the shea butter mixture on her skin; new place or not, if Heather control it, she wasn't going to allow herself to go anywhere with ashy skin. It just wasn't happening. Sliding back into her sandals, Heather released her faux locs from the bun she had styled it in that morning, slipping the scrunchie onto her wrist for safe keeping. Gathering her things, she headed back into the house, the woman with the scar's words still resonating in the back of her mind.

At the time, the woman's brief story had left Heather stunned, lips barely parted in a wordless apology as an expression of sympathy and awe that this woman could find a semblance of amusement in her reaction to what had happened to her. Heather didn't know what she would do in that situation. She would've probably tried to kill someone, honestly. But the point was that she didn't know if she would've had the strength inside of herself to relay the story to anyone else. Heather barely talked about the most mundane if they bothered her. And then to now not fear anyone? Heather liked to believe that she could be fearless, that she already was, in her own way. But then the memory of earlier - of her helplessness at the sight of that monster, of not really doing anything - added itself to the mix and she paused at the back door, frowning. She couldn't do that anymore. If they were going to be confronted with another one of those...things, she needed to be better. She had to be.

"It smells divine in here," Heather exclaimed by way of announcing her presence, not really feeling it to just slip in without saying a word. Before she could sit down, however, her eyes fell on the figure huddled in the corner, eyes partially glazed. "Why is she - ?" Heather briefly glanced at the others in wonder - at Tallyho's ravenous disposition, Angela's somewhat cheerier, one of the other males and Haru - before stepping to the brunette, lowering herself gently without touching her. Heather tilted her head slightly, worried, as she inquired in a softer tone, "Hey...you with us?"