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Emerson Motlilio

WIP

0 · 630 views · located in Aires

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

So begins...

Emerson Motlilio's Story

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Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Blue eyes stared back at Emerson, his reflection unnerving. A black ring circled his right eye, purple and red hues peeking through the bruising. His mother stood in the door frame of the bathroom, arms crossed with a sour expression.

“Dad will be home soon, he got a call from the school too.” Her tone was sad, gaze watching Emerson as he gritted his teeth together. Stepping away from the mirror, Em shoved past his mother. He didn’t need a second beating that day. If he left soon enough, he could take refuge with his friends. Stay out until his father was passed out drunk. But that would leave his mother with his father’s rage. He shook his head, Amelia coming beside him and resting a hand on her son’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry, I’ll talk with him.” She reassured, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “Go, play with your friends.”

Emerson didn’t wait for his mother to urge him on, instead grabbing his skateboard and belongings. He exited the house, jumping over the stair railing and landing effortlessly onto the skateboard before taking off down the street. He felt the need to escape, to run away from his life. But he loved his mother and he couldn’t break her heart like that. He only had a few months until he was eighteen. And when he did, he’d take his mother and move far, far away.

Twisting past the sea of people on the sidewalk, Emerson felt as he was soaring. Flying high, away from the problems of simple humans. Maybe his soul would be reincarnated as a bird. Emerson chuckled at the thought of it.

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It was dark, well past midnight by the time Emerson had returned home. The lights were on, but it was oddly dim for his house. As he stepped inside, he called out for his mother, voice hushed as he hefted his board over his shoulder.

Closing the door, he walked into the living room. The lights were off, and Emerson heard the squelch of wet carpet. His father was sitting on the couch, head in his hands while also tightly gripping a pistol. Emerson stopped in his tracks, nearly tripping over himself as he found his mother on the ground.

“This is your fault.” His father said gruffly, tears streaming down his face as he pointed the gun at his son, “She’s dead because of you.” Emerson was frozen in fear, as his father stood up and reached over to him. It was as if his arms stretched out, grabbing onto him and screaming unintelligible jargon. He felt the cold of the barrel against his skull. And felt the click of the chamber as his dad pulled the trigger.


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Emerson woke up with a start, sweat sticking his hair to his forehead. He wheezed, pulling himself up. The same nightmare, a twisted memory that ends with him either dying or being knocked out cold. The latter was more truthful, less of a fear and more of a reality. He ran his thumb over the band on his finger, biting down on his lower lip.

Next to him, Hades was sprawled out on the bed. Amber eyes blinked up at Emerson, causing him to reach over and give the dog a quick scratch beneath his chin. Slipping out of the bed, he grabbed some clean clothes. As he headed for the shower, he made sure to give Hades fresh food and clean water. At the sound of his bowl being filled, the pit jumped down and raced over, tail wagging excitedly. He chuckled softly, patting his head, “Good boy.”

Walking off to take a shower, Emerson didn’t wait for the water to heat up. Instead, he took a brisk shower, letting the cold wake him and distract him from his dream. Closing his eyes, he looked up, letting the shower head wash over his face. It was a sunny day out, rays of light filling the bathroom. As he stepped out, he quickly dried himself off and dressed. Walking out, Emerson put on his shoes and grabbed his belongings. It was a perfect day to go out. Whistling for Hades, he opened the door for the dog.

Hades was obedient, able to walk without a leash. The blue nosed pit barked and jumped on his paws at the idea of a walk. One good thing about his dog, he could keep up with him skateboarding. “Wanna go to central park?” He asked, the canine barking in excitement. Emerson nodded, “Alright, buddy, let’s go!”

Locking his door, Em raced his dog down the stairs. His pet kept looking back, making sure he was following. Putting his skateboard onto the ground, he hopped onto it and sped down the street. His pet followed in suit, causing quite a few people to yell at the two. They were thick as thieves, even if one wasn’t human. Putting in his earphones, Emerson put on some music.

I'm out of my head
Of my heart and my mind
'Cause you can run but you can't hide
I'm gonna make you mine

Out of my head
Of my heart and my mind
'Cause I can feel how your flesh now
Is crying out for more


As he entered into the park, Emerson spotted two attractive girls. His eyes lingered longer than necessary. Due to his distraction, Emerson hit one of the parks benches, causing him to wipe out and somersault over it. He groaned, laying on his back and resting a hand over his face. Hades ran up to him, licking at his face and barking, uncaring that his owner just humiliated himself. “Get, go, Hades you fuckin’ bastard get offa me.” He struggled with the dog, shoving his face away from him and sitting himself up. Hades simply wagged his tail, tongue lolling out the side of his snout.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Sorrell peered out of the curtains shyly, staring at the city below. In many places, sunset might mean things were shutting down. In New York City, though, things were just about to get started. She saw her club, Le Vide, turning the lights on and bringing in the new supply load. On any other Thursday she'd be there with them, helping them bring in steel decks, booze, speakers and the like. Tonight, though, she was peacefully sipping her coffee and admiring the way the orange sun hung below the horizon. She felt a little tickle on her ankle, and looked down to see her cat, Maelee, cozying up to her. Reaching down, Sorrell strokes her ears affectionately.

"What do you say, Maels? Should I go get some fresh air? See the sights?" Of course, the cat gives no response, but Sorrell makes one up for her. "Central Park is probably gorgeous at sunset," she says to herself. Sighing with relaxation, she straightens and gets her jacket from the hook. Pulling it on, she checks her pockets for her keys and opens the door. "Sorry, nugget, not today," Sorrell says as she keeps her foot in the door to stop Maelee from breaking out. She'd already had to chase her down the hall twice since moving there a month ago, and her neighbors wouldn't like it if it happened again. Especially when she usually likes to duck into random rooms.

The air was nice and brisk as Sorrell made her way over to Central Park. There were food stands and bikers and horse-drawn carriages. It was big, and busy, and beautiful, just how she liked it. Chicago had been fun too, for awhile. Eventually she got tired of homeless men pissing on her porch, though. Yeah, that wore off quick. She stayed another year before making the jump to the Big Apple. So far, she liked what she saw.

She had just entered the park when she heard the crash of metal hitting pavement, and the subsequent groan that followed. Snapping her head to the left, she saw a young man had flipped his skateboard over the bench, and his dog was anxiously waiting to see if he was alright. "Oh, shit," she said as she started sprinting over to him.

"Nasty spill! Are you alright?" She asked him, looking to see for any visible injuries. Her friends thought it was insane that she would go up and talk to anyone, regardless if she knew them, but she couldn't help but respond when she saw someone in even a little bit of trouble. She knew this guy could probably take care of himself, but a concussion was nothing to be messed with. Looking around, she didn't see anything out of place that would have made him trip, though, except for a girl hanging from a tree. Wait, what? She did a double-take, making sure that there was, in fact, a young woman hanging from a tree in front of her. "Did you hit that girl?" She asked, debating on who she was supposed to be helping in this situation.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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v had left the apartment before sunrise this morning. her father hadn't returned home last night, but now that vegas was eighteen, she intended to talk to him about moving out. one of them was going to have to give, and while vegas wasn't intending for it to be her, anything was better than living with him. with her job at the agency, she had enough to afford rent for a couple months- long enough to figure out what she was going to do for college. senior year had just ended and she had been accepted into multiple different universities. most offered good scholarships, and she needed the money now more than ever.

v was on her way to central park for the evening. she enjoyed spending time in the huge park, meeting new people and forming valuable connections. after all, in new york city, one never knew who they were talking to. she made her way through the crowds of tourists and city-folk alike, striding with confidence through her city. she stepped to the beat of the song playing in her headphones, alert for cars and distracted pedestrians.

she stumbled back as a boy on a skateboard flew past, his dog in tow. "hey! watch where you're going!" she fussed, sure that he didn't care. the dog was cute, though. she kept walking, making her way to the park where people milled around. she'd spent all day on her feet, modeling a new shipment of dresses, and she was ready to sit back and have her moment of peace before she was forced to return home. she'd considered spending nights in central park, maybe sleeping on one of the benches, but her ego wouldn't allow it.

as v approached the spot she always sat in to think, she noticed a small gathering of people already there. the skater who'd almost run her over earlier was flipped over a bench, and there was a brunette tending to him. a blonde girl was stuck in a tree, and a confused cheerleader-type was trying to help. she took out her earbuds, just as confused as everyone else, and spoke loudly and clearly- to get everyone's attention, hopefully, so they could figure out what was happening.

"sorry to interrupt, but what the hell is going on here?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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"Um, hey there. Do you... Do you need some help?"

It had taken Tallyho a while to realize that the words were directed toward her. She was too distracted by the skyline beyond the tree— a soft palette of blue silhouettes towering in the distance— to notice all the attention she was getting right under her nose. Beyond the gate rang a symphony of foreign horns, deep roars and exhausts of air that made Tallyho wonder what great monster slept peacefully behind the façade of buildings. She finally looked down at the button-nosed blonde who peered up at her with eyes wide as dinner plates. The way she spoke was unfamiliar, a loose string of words that sounded nothing like the yo-yoing and vowel swallowing of commonspeak in Solace. Her thumbs stroked a shiny rectangle gripped firmly in her palm as she spoke. And her way of dress…well… she was dressed pretty strangely if you asked Tallyho. Not that the blonde could play the role of a fashion aficionado—the average sun girl owned two dresses at a time and ‘owned’ was a pretty generous word.

And then there was a bark. A dog went barreling into its owner’s face—gleefully licking and nuzzling the strewn-out man with its snout. The casual sounds of his accent felt a little more familiar, but even then, it was nothing she’d ever heard. And if she were being honest, it was like they were all speaking another language. Then came a brunette to his rescue, appraising him with all the care in the world before turning to Tallyho and pondering whether or not he had hit her.

The petite woman stiffened a bit as the sunken-eyed brunette looked her over with concern. Tallyho had to admit, she wasn’t sure how his fall could have had anything to do with her. After all, she was up in a tree, and he was a six foot man that she wouldn’t have been able to physically rebuff enough to knock off of his feet.

And then a more abrasive voice rang out:
“So what the hell is going on here?”

With all of this attention, somehow Tallyho felt like she was in trouble. Attention wasn’t something that she ever desired, and this episode didn’t do anything to change that. Was this tree some sacred spiritual icon to them? Were they elementalists? She thought about all the stories the elders told children about tribes who would throw people in tar bogs or burn them alive as human sacrifice.

Her face got hot as she imagined herself being stoned to death for sitting on someone’s God, and her hands trembled involuntarily but very slightly. It was time to get out of here.

“I-I…” She felt scared to speak, not wanting to betray her own distinctive accent and position herself as an outsider. As she struggled to find the most discrete way to say ‘Oh Goddess, please don’t kill me…’ she leaned forward in the tree, scooting her hips outward in anticipation of a bounding sprint toward escape.

“I—Agh!” She collapsed very suddenly from the fork of the tree, landing on her elbows and knees and ripping a bit of the skirt of her dress. Her body seemed to move faster than her words, and her gasp of surprise was met by the sound of cloth ripping crisply in a long line. She paused there after the fall, shocked and a little embarrassed, but mostly hoping that she wouldn’t be struck while she was down. She lurched away from the feet of the blonde who had been looking up at her from the tree, ignoring the few scrapes on her legs and elbows that she’d acquired from hitting the bark of the trunk.

And with what little adrenaline she had left, she made a run for it, turning a corner on the path, but not getting too far before she ran into a young woman who had been curiously appraising her wrist. She wasn’t completely positive if she had knocked the other woman over, but Tallyho herself fell back in a winded burst, her mouth agape as she began to realize her adrenaline rush had ended and her legs were pumping with pain.

“Sorry Sorry!” The r’s in her apology rolled softly and quickly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Emerson ignored the woman’s question, instead getting onto his knees. He used the bench, pressing his weight onto it to straighten out. While he wasn’t majorly injured, it hurt like a fucking bitch. He rubbed at the blood from the scrape on his arm, looking over to the woman in the tree as she started to speak. Her voice was soft, more like frightened squeaks of a mouse than words. But as quickly as she spoke, the woman fell from the branches. The girl nearly fell onto Hades, making the dog bark out in surprise.

As soon as she hit the ground, she seemed to flee. The frenzy of it excited his dog, causing the animal to take off after the girl. “Hades, get back here! No, Ah – Fuck!” He yelled at his dog, gripping at his hair and sighing in frustration. Grabbing his skateboard, took off after his canine. Turning to the girl who had first spoke to him, he winked at her. Bringing his hand up to his ear, he made the universal symbol for a phone. His lips turned up in a grin before his attention was adverted back towards getting his dog.

She didn’t get too far, Hades quickly jumping onto her, playfully covering her face in kisses. The dog was practically wiggling in excitement, sniffing her hair and licking just about every part of her face. Emerson caught up with them, grabbing the dog by his collar and yanking the dog backwards.

“Shit, I’m so sorry, he just gets super excited and he really meant no harm.” Emerson apologized to the girl, a firm grip keeping his dog at bay. He shrugged sheepishly, offering her a hand. “Do you need any help? Are you like some Stockholm syndrome victim? Should I call the doctor?” He slowly stopped speaking, realizing he was coming off rude. It was never his intention, but Emerson grew up in a household where you spoke your mind, regardless of how hurtful it was.

“Uh, anyways. I’m Emerson Motlilio, this is my dog Hades if you wanna report us for a dog attack, But I will have you know, Hades is my emotional support dog and if you have him put down I’ll be very sad.” He imitated a gun to his head, turning it into a wave as he pulled his dog away from the girl. Emerson always brought his harness and leash, just in case he decided to act up.

Tossing his board to the ground, Em crouched to put on Hades harness. He felt as if enough odd events had happened for the day, and he was ready to go home. Probably grab a bottle of whisky on the way home.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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"Hey, are you okay?"

As Tallyho took a few moments to decompress, she wondered if she was, in fact, okay. It didn’t seem like a perfect situation: Here she was, possibly miles away from her caravan with no money, no sense of direction, no shoes. Everything about this backward village had to be a part of some sordid fever dream. She appraised the girl who she’d previously barreled into like a blind cow: First, the tiny designs on her loose-falling gown, then her hair. There weren’t many people who looked like her in Solace but judging by her intricate hair style and the bright colors on her dress, Tallyho figured that she looked somewhat important. Perhaps she was some sort of leader?

Tallyho moved to sit up, but before she could offer a response, a wet slopping tongue descended upon her jaw and a cool nose squelched against her cheek. Tallyho, now resigning herself to the warm breath of doggy kisses peeled backwards once more. Any adrenaline she had was completely tapped out by this point.

Suddenly the dog drew back, and a cool breeze assaulted the blonde’s now slobbered face. She looked up to see a hand extended toward her, and without much resistance, she took it. As she hauled herself upright on sore legs, the unusually friendly man who helped her introduced himself as Emerson and asked if she needed a medic.

Tallyho, feeling significantly calmer now that she was sure she wasn’t going to be sacrificed, sifted her slender fingers through her hair, and picked away the stray leaves her tresses swept up amidst her scramble.

“I am fine,” she said to the duo resolutely, although she was sure that she didn’t look it. Once she finished picking her hair free of leaves (she missed a few), she cleared her throat and stood up straight. She still felt like she was on thin ice and she had to at least pretend to be confident, even if she had the composure of a newly birthed fawn.

“I am Tallyho,” her eyes shifted between them nervously. She really wasn’t really selling this confidence thing very well was she? When she thinks about it, she would have been better off pretending to be a mute instead. “What is this place? You know?”

That was dumb. Of course they knew… Nonetheless, she pressed forward, careful not to say much more. “I come here with my family and I separated from them. Now I am a bit lost.”

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel 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

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Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Sorrell frowns as clumsy-guy pays her no attention. "Well, fine. Bleed to death for all I care," she mumbles under her breath. He turns and winks at her, and she shakes her head in dismay, already convinced that this was the personality that had irritated her entire life. Just then, his dog runs off after tree-girl and he shouts, following after them. Sorrell looks to the sky and shakes her head. Not that she believed in any higher power or anything like that, but some days she was convinced that there was an angel up there who was drunkenly pulling her strings. Hiss. A steaming noise makes its way to her ears and she hisses in pain, looking down at her hand. Her ring was burning. Shaking out her hand, she gets to her feet and starts charging after the group that followed tree-girl. There are plenty of people helping her, however, and more strangers have gathered around the area. Sorrell notices that everyone here is fiddling with some trinket or another, some wincing in pain and others looking confused.

"Okay, this may just be a thought that everyone is having, but, what the hell is going on here?" Sorrell exclaims in the midst of chaos. Tree-girl is talking with clumsy-guy and another woman (who has great taste in clothes, for one), and then there are others who are trying to help and also looking out of place, and it is almost too much for Sorrell's brain to comprehend. "Tallyho, huh? Cool name," she nods affirmatively.

Just then, another woman stumbles into the group assembled there, and she looks just as confused as Tallyho. Walking a spot to her left, she looks at the newcomer. Sorrell's nature was help, and she felt like she needed a purpose. There seemed to be a purpose in these foreigners who had never seen New York before, apparently. "You're in Central Park, hun," Sorrell nearly patronizes. Looking back and forth between Tallyho and this woman standing before her, she cocks an eyebrow. "Is there some convention going on or something? How could you get here but not know where you are?" Her ring burns again on her finger, and she hisses. "And is there some sort of electro-magnetic something or other going on here?!"

Sorrell can't help but wonder if going outside was really a good idea, after all.

Setting

Characters Present

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



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: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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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: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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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: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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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: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Emerson fell backwards in defeat. His ass hit the grass, watching as the monster turn into sparkly dust. His hands were shaky, tightly gripping at Hades harness. The dog was still barking, canines snapping in anger. Emerson grabbed the dog, tugging him close until he calmed. Letting go, Emerson watched his pet walk over to the pile of shards, sniffing it.

Nothing was making sense to him, except the tremble of his hand as he fished out a pack of cigarettes. He placed the firestick between his lips, producing a little flame from a Zippo lighter. He inhaled deeply, holding onto the breath for several seconds. Smoke slowly began to waft out of nose when he exhaled.

Dropping the pack and lighter into the grass, tossing his hat aside as he ran his hands through his hair. His hand felt like it was on fire, the burning centered around his ring. Paying it no mind, Emerson closed his eyes. Noises of a crowd was all he heard, the click of a camera. Some people were even clapping. Looking up, he watched the man with the sword. He was striking, albeit dressed a little out of season. And century. He watched the man as he examined the shards. He watched Hades, tail wagging as the pup looked up at the soldier. It was almost as if Hades was telling the man a job well done, nudging at his hands that had the shards.

Emerson stood up, grabbing his belongings and walking over to them. As he walked over, he had his hands up in surrender, just in case the guy felt like he needed to hack his neck off too. Instead he crouched down, putting his hat on and twisting the cap backwards. Patting his knees, Hades jumped up to greet the man. He grabbed the canine by the face, pressing his skin together, ”You’re a fucking ballsy idiot, aren’t you?” He cooed.

He pet the dog, making sure not to blow smoke into his dogs face. Hades seemed pleased with himself, licking his owners face and receiving all the praise Emerson gave him. Looking up at the man, he rose to his feet. There was something foreign about him, but Emerson felt as if he owed his man his life. Frankly, he probably saved many lives today.

“I don’t who you are, or whatever that thing was, but thanks.” He practically stammered the sentence, holding out a free hand to the man. He had no desire to piss off the man with a weapon, instead giving him a gentle smile. “I’m Emerson, this here is Hades.” He gave his pet a pat to the head. He stepped closer to the man, his voice lowering, “Now, a bunch of crazy shit has been happening, any idea why?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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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: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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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: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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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: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Sorrell knew within the span of one minute that her decision had been a very poor one. Her instinct to just act had clouded her (usually) sound judgement, and she was going to pay for it. As the beast regarded her, she felt herself prepare for death. She prayed the soldier-man would at least be able to kill the thing once it was finished with her, if only for the sake of the others that had gathered here in the park. She thought of her sweet kitten, sitting at the door waiting for a reunion that would never come. Sorrell hoped that someone would check on Maelee and care for her after Sorrell, herself, was gone. Sorrell thought of her small, triangular, face as she closed her eyes and waited for death...

...only to be catapulted from the tree a moment later. She felt the impact around her waist and the thud of the ground she landed on. Her ribs were screaming from the impact and her eyes blinked away stars. I'm not...dead? She thought wondrously. Still dazed, she looked to her left to see her rescuer laying next to her, appearing equally dazed from the fall. What on Earth prompted you to do that? She pondered. "You crazy bitch," the other guy says. At least, Sorrell thought it was a man. He had to be, right?

Chuckling slightly, she groans to a sitting position as the monster is, at last, beheaded by soldier-man. She hoped her act of stupidity wouldn't jeopardize their relationship in any way, but she also supposed that that probably wasn't what she ought to be thinking of at the moment. Turning to her momentary companion, she smiles brightly, "Only the mad are worth talking to, anyway. Or rescuing, I guess." Sorrell liked to think she was being clever in the moment, but her internal fist was already jabbing at her brain for saying such a weird comment instead of something normal and simple, like, thank you.

"Thanks, by the way. I'm Sorrell." She reaches out her hand and firmly shakes his. Others had begun to walk around aimlessly, either playing with the monster's remains or standing in utter shock of what had just occurred in the park. Sorrell had no interest in touching even one ounce of the thing she had just been face-to-face with, so she merely stood and watched the others, as was her way. She supposed that it all would have worked out well after that, if it hadn't been for the sheer wall of light that was making its way towards the assembled party.

Her initial response to the threat was to back into something, anything, so that she didn't feel so alone standing there. She felt something cool against her back, but was too threatened by the Light to fully comprehend whether it was an inanimate object or an animated one.

"What the--" but her words were abruptly cut off as she was enveloped in the light and the world around her ceased to exist. Sorrell had the brief assumption that God must be screwing with her in some way. Surely she must have been meant to die by the hands of the monster, and was not destined to be saved, after all. This was merely His justification of the ripple of time. She must have altered Death's plans in some major way, if He was going to such extremes to rectify the situation.

Of course, Sorrell did not meet Death, as she had once thought. Instead, once the Light faded and she had regained her sight, she realized that she was in some sort of landscape. She saw water and trees, and at first she thought that nothing had changed; that she was still in Central Park, and she was indeed going to see Maelee again that night. This idea of hers also proved to be too fanciful, as the shapes of her other companions began to materialize, and she realized that there wasn't even a lake anywhere near where she'd been before. So, somehow, she and the rest of these strangers had been transported to some unknown location for some unknown purpose. I need to stop drinking Hot Chocolate before bed, Sorrell concluded. Surely that would stop this strange event from taking place.

There was another Light appearing. Sorrell stiffened, almost imperceptibly, thinking that It, whatever her transition had been from place to place, was about to happen again. But the light stayed where it was, and she watched as the birds flew directly into it. She saw no blood come from the light, so the birds had not been killed on impact, but she had no interest in finding out. Looking to her other side, she saw a dark void. Sorrell knew, thought not understanding how she might have been drawn to this conclusion, that the dark was bad and the light was good. That much was easy to tell just by looking at them. However, Sorrell was content to just stay where she was on the starry path that they had been placed on. That much was safe, so far.

So, when Tallyho decided to run for the light, one could say that Sorrell wasn't pleased. It took her a moment to realize why the blonde had begun to sprint, though. When the path she was standing on began to dissolve and the Void seemed to draw itself so much closer, Sorrell knew what needed to be done. As with the earlier monster, her instinct took over and she pumped her legs in the direction of the warm light. As she leaped into it, her only thought was that it felt almost like a warm hug from someone she loved. Something innocent and strong at the same time. Something that settles in a person, without them really understanding why. Something that makes living worth doing.