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James Labonair

[WIP] Diamond Warrior

0 · 680 views · located in Aires

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

Description

ImageCONOR JAMES LABONAIR

“One moment was all it took.
One moment and the world turned upside down.”


Full Name | Conor James Labonair - Named for his grandfather.
Nicknames | J.C and Jay are commonly used and accepted.
Age | 21 years old
Gender | Male
Date of Birth | Apirl 9th 1996 - Aries - Year of the Rat.
Birthplace | Broussard, Louisiana / New Orleans, Louisiana
Orientation | Heteroflexible / Panromantic
Occupation | Artist - Bartender
Dominant Hand | Left Handed
Blood Type | Type O
Languages | English mixed with some french words here and there.




AESTHETICS
"In order for you to insult me, I would first need to value your opinion"


Image

Height | 6'2
Weight | 172lbs
Body Build | Athletic, Toned.
Skin Tone | Fair complexion, with a bit of a natural all year round tan.
Hair | Thick, dense, dark blonde with fairer almost white blonde highlights.
Eyes | Bright ocean blue.
Markings | He has a angel tattoo on his right shoulder,that goes down his arm toward his elbow. he has a small crossed roses tattoo on the side of his wrist. A light sprinkling of freckles on his nose and cheeks. Not a marking but something notable. He has a southern accent.
Normal Attire | Comfortable. His style is very relaxed,
casual. Definately more functional than fashionable. He tends to gravitate toward darker colors, and is very much a t-shirt,
hoodie, and jeans kinda guy.

Accessories | He has his right ear pierced once. Wears a simple diamond stud. Is always, without fail, wearing a older plain gold cross necklace. He also tends to enjoy rings.




PSYCHE
ISTP


Image
Passionate Creative Passionate Private Protective Determined

Conor on the surface can come across as serious, and not an easy person to approach. Not that he really bothers to make himself seem approachable. He almost always is either listening to music, or reading a book, and neither of his two favorite pastimes really leave him open for casual conversation and random approaching. He's a little moody and hates being interrupted when he has found that sweet and special 'zone' or when there is a thought or idea inside his head that he simply HAS to get down in one of the many notebooks he often carries with him.

He is not deaf, or hard of hearing, he promises. But, he knows there are times when people often wonder. This is likely due to his tremendous talent for zoning out entirely. Prone to lapsing into long, contemplative silences, even when he's fully visible, in a public setting, and the confused waitress is trying to get his order. He will, unquestionably miss bits and pieces of conversations that are aimed at him, often resulting in him getting only the barest impression of what was being said, and occasionally this leads to rather inappropriate responses or vague responses that hint heavily that he wasn't entirely present for whatever was happening in that moment. He simply can seem infuriatingly blase.

That being said, he isn't antisocial, or unsocial. He mostly enjoys the company of people, finding them fascinating, if occasionally frustrating. In general, why he is on the quiet side of the spectrum, he is also relaxed, quick thinking, and highly opinionated. Do not mistake his silence for cowardice or a meek personality. He can be playful with the right people, or if you catch him in that kind of mood - no, it is not a default setting for him - and he's unfailingly loyal to those he considers friends, sometimes to a fault.

Conor has a thing about control and likes being in control of himself. He is stubborn and can be unyielding when he believes he is correct or that he knows best. He likes stories, and he likes engaging conversations. Small talk is a surefire way to get his eyes to glaze over, and for him to grow restless and bored. Yes, Conor can be a real grump some of the time, and this boy is not a morning person, so morning people beware. A few chosen souls can pester him regardless of his grump level, and be spared any overly snarky comments.

While not easy to rile up - he doesn't have much of a 'temper' - once that fuse has been lit, his anger when unleashed is raw, passionate, fierce. He loses the ability to censor or filter himself, and it often makes him behave rashly and harshly. He is a sociable creature, but he is also very introverted. He needs his space, his alone time, and his independence. If denied these things - which he dramatically views as essential to life - he will become sullen, withdrawn, snappish and lose what precious little patience he's managed to develop over the years. It is only after he has managed to get his 'me time' that he'll calm down, and the more fun-loving man inside will once again come out to play.




QUIRKS AND MORE
"Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you."


Image

Likes| Gumbo. Cookies. Writing his short stories (he posts regualrly on places such as Creepypasta, and Thought Catalog) Sketching.
Water. He loves swimming and the Oceans. Singing at the top of his lungs in the car. Dogs. Flirting. Not being forced to engage in small talk. Alone time. Rainy days. Sleeping in. Coffee - about the only thing he's addicted to these days. Road trips and Traveling.

Dislikes | Being restricted. Being rudely criticized.
Being coddled.When someone he doesn't know discovering he's an artist and asking him to 'draw them something'. Small talk. Being caught not listening. Spaghetti. People with major sticks up their arses. Senseless Cruelty. Shit don't stink types.


Stengths | Unflappable, Determined, Strong willed
Weaknesses | Unyielding, Reserved, Moody
Fears | Relapsing: He is afraid of falling back into old habits, and finding himself on that road again.

Death:The idea that in an instant, everything someone was or could be would simply be gone. Is absolutely terrifying.



Personal History | Warning: Potentially triggering events below. (Substance abuse, death of a friend) James was the end result of a long and passionate evening with a smooth-talking cajun. Neither of his parents intended that night of passion to be anything but that. It's funny how one choice can completely alter the path of your life. His parents - Julianna and Peter - made a go at it, having a normal, somewhat functioning relationship and it lasted a few years. His pops stuck around long enough to see him achieve most of the baby and toddler milestones (some of those early even) until he decided he couldn't continue playing husband and father a nice two weeks before James turned four years old.

After his father flew the coop, he and his mom stayed in their small home in Broussard for a year of living paycheck to paycheck. It wasn't easy, and James sometimes thinks he's fortunate to not remember hardly anything from that period of his life beyond the occasional hazy flash or feeling. After the year was up, his mother finally put her pride aside and sought help from her mother and sister. This act was how James would come to be raised in a household full to bursting with women. He lived from roughly the age of five until he graduated high school with his grandmother Adella, his auntie Sophia, and his mother Julianna. Oh, can't forget his twin cousins (his aunt's daughters) May and Stephanie. Being the only boy in a house of women taught him a good many things, one of which was how to make some of the best damn gumbo you'd ever taste (family recipe shhh)

His mom never remarried but dated off and on throughout the years. James responded in a typical boy fashion, he was protective of his mother, and sometimes would do his best to sabotage her relationships. Something he isn't very proud of now that he is a grown man, but as an eight-year-old boy, he saw no issues with putting dog poop into the shoes of the poor fella staying over for supper, or spray painting the side of some fancy ass guys sparkling car. His attitude was poor as shit, he's cross his arms over his little chest, and bit his lower lip in an effort to avoid conversation. It was about this time that he started tuning out conversations and retreating inside himself, coming up with stories, pranks, or contemplating just how he could get away with taking apart his grandmother's VCR in an effort to get her to invest in something newer.

Beyond his home life, which was fairly good, if occasionally chaotic. James did well in school - when he actually tried- and made a fast friend in a boy named Steven. They were thick as thieves from the beginning and managed to create a bond that would be solidified over the years into something unbreakable. This was very apparent late middle-school and throughout their high school years. James had discovered a love and talent for the arts. He stayed up late watching horror flicks and then dreaming up short horror stories that he submitted to various forums for casual reading. He enjoyed taking real-life situations, something believable and twisting them into something that could give a person chills or hopefully nightmares. Sketching became a way to deal with the occasional bout of insomnia or depression, as did music. Music speaks to the soul, and he is never without his iPod and at least two pairs of headphones. Hey, he doesn't have a bad voice either. Meanwhile, his pal went on to become a popular jock, football of all damn things. Which meant parties, and a whole different kind of social group.

But they remained close.

An injury would steal Steven's dream of going pro, and James for all his skills at observing and reading people failed to see the signs that should have been as bright as a flashing neon sign. Two months after graduation, his friend lost the battle with depression and took his life. It rocked James to his core, devastated their families and friends and left him feeling hollow with shock and disbelief. Up until this point, there had been very little in the way of truly earth-shattering events in his life. James didn't remember his father well enough to feel this counted, though it did impact him more than he realizes, even now. The biggest thing, he can't remember the pain of his father leaving. But the pain that was left after his best friend passed away sits like a weight on his chest. It's lessened over the years, but it's never really gone, just comes and goes.

The plain gold cross he wears on his neck belonged to Steven, given to him by Steven's father some months after. James spiraled after his friend's death. His depression deepened, and he lost the urge to write, to draw. He isn't proud of it, but when he wasn't holed up in his room, doing his absolute best to stare a hole into the wall, he was drinking and experimenting with a questionable group of 'friends'. He wanted to numb the pain. Before he even realized it, it had evolved into something else, something that had dug its claws into him deeply, he just couldn't see it. He might have continued on this dark path if it hadn't been for an intervention by family and friends. The initial 'talk' failed. Who were they to tell him what to do? He scoffed at their pleas, rolled his eyes when they talked about junkies who'd died with nothing, and outright laughed when they tried to bring up rehab. He wasn't addicted to anything. He just used stuff to take the edge off sometimes.

James didn't believe they could understand.

Honestly, if it weren't for his grandmother...well, he believes he might ever have bothered changing his ways. It's so much easier to continue down the chosen path, then to try to take an entirely new one. It was a few months after that first attempt, and while he was on bad terms with pretty much everyone in his home at that point and his mother and aunt wanted to toss him onto the streets as a 'tough love' kind of thing. His grandmother had refused. But that night, she'd walked slowly into his room, leaning heavily on her cane, her long silvery hair pinned back into a bun. James will never forget her image, the look of absolute heartache in those pale blue eyes.

She'd taken a seat on his bed, where he'd been laying, exhausted, coming down from one of his 'highs' and taken his hand. How it'd felt. Soft, her skin paper thin and yet like silk. She'd just talked to him for a long time, told him stories, reminded him of things he'd long since forgotten. At the end, she'd laid her hand on his cheek, looked him in the eyes, and told him in essence - that while she loved him, and while she understood the pain of loss - she would not watch him kill himself. Up until this point, his grandmother had been curiously quiet about the entire thing, and when she asked him to leave home...it impacted him in a way that not even his own mother could manage.

Not that he doesn't love his mom to bits. He does. But there was something about the way she said it that night that finally struck a cord. Change is hard, and it didn't happen overnight. James didn't wake up the next morning and suddenly have the will and absolute desire to change. His grandmother didn't just magically change her mind. He was still forced to leave his home, forced to deal with the ugly reality of the situation he had willingly embraced with open arms. He was barely nineteen years old. It took months. It wasn't pretty or easy, and he fell off a few times. But by the time he was celebrating his twenty-first birthday, he'd been clean for over a year and was determined to remain that way. James never did return to his grandmother's home, but he managed to make some peace with her a few months before her death, and afterward, he began the task of trying to repair the damage done to his other relationships.

It hasn't been an easy road, but James has started living again, and working on his art, listening to his music. He prefers to keep looking forward while acknowledging what happened in the past. Honestly, he figures, if he could get through that, he can meet just about anything that might come his way in the future. With that in mind, six months ago, James decided to make a big change for himself. He needed something fresh. While he loves New Orleans, it's his home. He packed up his car, kissed his mama goodbye and headed to New York. The city that never sleeps is fresh, new, different from what he's experienced in his short twenty-one years on this earth, and he plans to enjoy it. When he's ready, he'll move on. Well...thats the plan anyway.




MISCELLANEOUS




Writer Codexx Faceclaim Chace Crawford

So begins...

James Labonair's Story

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: 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: 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: 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



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

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

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

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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OOC: **WELCOME TO AIRES** I've added an event to the Events/Side plots board.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Between two long puffs of his cigar he spoke:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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
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As the world around him faded to black, Ron was taken by surprise. It felt almost like a trip, but too real. Drugs usually gave a daze like feeling to the world, almost as if one was immortal. This was different since he was too aware of his surroundings. Turning around, there was only one thing in sight, a glowing pillar. Ron gasped as he had thought that he had died and was now in limbo. After a moment of hesitation the young man simply sprinted through the pillar, anxious to see what was on the other side.

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

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



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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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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Aster Storm




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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender 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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Haru ate patiently, not paying too much attention to Tallyho who gobbled up her food ravenously, or Calliope who was clammed up in the corner. If anything he felt like his attention would have made their nervous behaviors worse, and so he focused on seeming as non-threatening as possible by just staying quiet and eating (not that that helped any.) He pinched away yet another dash of crumbs from his beard. Eventually, he thought, he would be due for a cut. But the days have been so long and preparations for this… interesting (?) group of warriors had taken up so much of his time that he didn’t get much of a chance to even think about personal grooming.

This group… They truly weren’t what he expected. Haru thought he would be given a cast of toned and well-weathered individuals ready for battle, especially considering what happened to the last ones. But instead he got a cast of, well, pretty people. The thought of training them made him want to snicker and a part of his soul buckled down for another century or two of waiting for the next cast of warriors because if this dinner scene told Haru anything, these kids might just die.

He hunched down for another snarl at his hen when one of the young men inquired about his book. Scrapes to Scabs… Haru hadn’t picked the thing up in ages and was a little surprised that it was still in the house. Even more surprised that this kid had the balls to touch anything in his house and talk about it.

“It’s… One of the first books of its kind I suppose. Written a long time by this man named Constance,” Haru paused, not sure how to continue talking about the book without telling everyone that they were in a completely different world. “Let me… Help explain what happened today.”

By the time Haru sat up to speak an adequate amount of time had passed for people to consume at least one serving.

“I wanted to let you eat first before getting into all of this,” he sighed. He wrung his callused hands on the table and leaned forward like a father preparing to firmly tell his child that Santa isn’t real and that the pet goldfish died last week. He didn’t speak in the most coddling tone, but he was straining to sound comforting.

“I’ll try to answer all of your questions best I can, but I ask that you let me explain a few things first... That monster you saw today, the one that was growling and snarling, snapping jaws at you… Most of you have not seen or read about anything like it. But I’m sorry to say that there are more of them. A lot more of them. And somehow, someway, maybe because we’re all just really unlucky, it’s our job to get rid of them before they destroy everything and everyone.

It’s weird to say, but you’re not on earth anymore. Today you are in Aires. And I wish that I could tell you it’s as simple as “being on another planet,” but it’s a little more complicated than that. Aires is nothing like earth. It doesn’t run on the same fabric of time or development. It has none of the technologies most of you are familiar with. It’s a different line of reality with a different set of physics, and when you crossed that path of stars back there you were dumped right into this universe.

While Aires is very different from Earth on a fundamental level. What you all witnessed back there wasn’t normal for your world or mine. These monsters have been appearing in small numbers across our world, and it looks like they’re about to infiltrate yours.

We call them cyclopean. They haven’t been seen in hundreds of years around here, and that was because we had a full line of defense against them. And at the top of this defense was an elite group of 12 warriors named for the months of the year. They were given special abilities that were activated by the gemstones they wore. And with those powers they were given the task of protecting humans from the cyclopean. They failed their mission and were all killed a very long time ago… And now, coincidentally, all of you are wearing their gemstones. Don’t ask me how they got to your world because I don’t have much of a clue… But they are lodged into the necklaces and bracelets and rings from your grandfathers, and fate brought them to you.

There’s a prophecy that says that the stones will find kindred souls to finish the work that the original warriors started, and as much as I’d like to tell you that you can simply give them away and walk away from this, I need to be frank: You are the next set of warriors and the powers that those stones possess, can only be unlocked by you and no one else. I’m sure you felt your stones burning in confirmation… It was the spirit in your gem telling you that you are chosen and that you are not alone. That the people you are meant to embark on this journey with all happened to be in the right place at the right time. I don’t know why any of you are chosen, in fact if I had the choice I would ask for a more… A stronger group to be generous. But you are who you are.”

Haru exhaled quietly. He realized how ridiculous it all sounded, and halfway through he had already committed himself to all the hell he was about to get for it. But if he was being fair, there was no other way for him to give such a complex explanation for “here’s why you’re at my dinner table” in a simpler way.

“Okay… Now you can ask questions,” the redhead grumbled before reaching over for another slice of hen. If he was going to be roasted by a bunch of super powered, baby-faced infants, he might as well reward himself with more food.

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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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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

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



Haru began speaking and although Heather was concerned about the brunette in the corner, she turned her head to gaze at the red-headed male as he continued. What wasn't surprising was the confirmation of her earlier thoughts, that they were far far away from home. And though she had already contended with that truth before the words had ever left her mouth, when she swallowed, it felt like something rancid had gone down Heather's dry throat. What she didn't do, though, was immediately head for the food yet. Instead, she took one of the cups of water off of one of the empty plate settings to drink. The cool drink did little to squelch the hunger Heather had been ignoring since leaving the restaurant some time ago - which now felt like an entire lifetime ago - but she needed to hear everything first.

When Haru intimated that the creatures were more than likely just starting to infiltrate their world - and fuck, wasn't that a concept? Their world? - her mind immediately went to her mother, not at all up to her standard of excellent health, still needing longer breaks in between what she normally would have never considered strenuous activity. Of her father whose favorite weapon was an aluminum bat and how puny it and he would look in the face of one of those creatures. And of her sister who had yet to tell anyone that she was dating, that she was happy and planning on moving out. It made something in Heather ache and she clutched the cup in her hand just a little tighter. As Haru continued, Heather couldn't help but glance down at her bracelets, particularly the turquoise one, as she recalled the burning from earlier. It had just been a gift. It was never supposed to be anything more than that, a thank you of sorts...except it was more. So much more. She even remembered when her mom gave it to her, how she had known that Heather preferred bangles and shades of brown, but for some reason, the turquoise just demanding that it be given to her. How right it had felt. A swirl of emotion hit her then and Heather drank the rest of the water in her cup, needing something to occupy her focus with. She almost wished she had drank more of the wine from earlier because clearly this moment required it.

What Heather could have done was call his bluff and walk the hell out of the room, just nope her way out of the situation. She still had half the mind to do it, to be quite honest. She should have demanded for the host of Punk'd to bring their asses out so she could tell them about themselves, and how they seriously need to work with HBO because their CGI had been absolutely believable. However, she found herself going to the exact plate setting from which she had received her cup and took the seat, taking a breath as she sat. "Okay," she was surprised by how steady her voice sounded, even though on the inside, she felt far less together. She felt wobbly and disoriented, to be exact. Like she clearly needed to lay down and go to sleep so that she could wake up and realize that it was all a dream. At the same time, Haru seemed too serious of a person to play games like this and the events of the earlier part of the day had been too tangible for her to deny their existence.

So, after setting her cup down, Heather reached for a leg of the hen, not knowing how the hell she was going to put anything on her stomach, but knowing that she needed to. In some weird way, food seemed like it was going to help hold her together. Or at least fill in the gaps in which she felt too malleable and not at all steady. While doing this - fixing a plate - her gaze stayed on Haru as she continued speaking, "so, say that we buckle down and do this - be this..." Heather had to clear her throat, pausing at scooping up some of the vegetable stew because regardless of how much she was giving this a chance, there was a note of ridiculousness to it all that her Earth-born brain could not ignore, "line of defense you speak of. What happens after that? Do any of us go home?" Because Heather could do this. It was crazy and she was crazy for saying that she could go with it - any of it. But she wouldn't walk away. There was nowhere to walk in the first place, especially after she herself had already come to terms with them not being anywhere near home. "Because while all of this sounds like a load of crap, at the end of the day, something had to be real in all the shit that we've seen and if these monsters are actually going to start affecting my home and my family, I'll be damned if I don't do something about it. I just need to know what the end result's gonna be if we all do this. Are stuck here indefinitely?" At the time, Heather didn't even know that there was an if to her surviving anything at all. Death just didn't seem like an option, not one she wanted to entertain at the moment, even without the knowledge of her powers.

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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Dorian and Jules followed behind their hostess, led along in their small group through the up the stairs and through the wooden halls of the great house. There was a certain relief that came with their entrance along with the woman’s brief explanation. It was a mental shrinking of this strange place they found themselves in to a much more manageable size. Homes, no matter how large, were far less disconcerting for the man born of ice and snow and another who’d grown up in a concrete jungle than the open fields and rolling hills cresting like grassy waves on the horizon. That was not to say that either man was comfortable, however.

Jules, for instance, insisted on walking with his bag clutched tightly to his chest, back hunched as he leaned protectively over it. It was like a child carrying a security blanket, especially given the way that the blonde was absently and anxiously toying with the shoulder strap, although Jules would insist that he was simply being practical. He didn’t know where he was or how long the hospitality would last. It was better to keep his possessions close at hand for a quick escape or at least to hit someone with if things went sour. Given the way some of the others in the group had acted thus far, it seemed like the smart thing to do.

Dorian had his own form of practicality, standing ramrod straight as his eyes darted around the halls. Each doorway, every nook and cranny was noted with a suspicious eye. This was unknown territory in a country that surely wasn’t his own. Anything was possible after what he’d experienced in the past eight or so hours, and he would not be caught off guard again. Short of the Goddess flying in through the roof, he was reasonably certain that he was prepared for anything.

The group was brought to a halt by the natural end of the hallway, three doors the only real disruption in the endless wood panels, as well as the scar-faced woman’s final words. These were to be their rooms. They could bathe, change clothes, wait for dinner, and something about that bothered Jules. Well, many things bothered Jules, especially right now, but that- that was especially not good. They were expected- the bulky ginger had said as much before, the twelve of them guests for their mysterious host. There was a quiet plot here, carrying on at least from the all-consuming light if not further before, and screw that. Jules wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of someone pulling his strings like a marionette, making him gambol and jape towards a destination unknown. His lips twisted into a scowl, and he clutched his bag closer to him.

With the woman gone without another word, the group began to scatter, wandering into rooms or to parts unknown. Some seemed at ease, taking this turn of events into stride, while others seemed harried or upset, tears pricking at eyes and deep breaths attempting to overcome all-consuming panic. They had an hour, maybe two before the light had faded sufficiently to herald the coming of a meal. Now it was all about how to spend that time.


Dorian Steinsson

The room at the end of the hall was filling up quickly, and Dorian found himself moving towards the one closest to the way they’d come. He’d rather be close to the exits should something happen, and if it didn’t, well, one room was as good as another. The rooms were sparsely furnished but almost clinically neat, the beds spread out precisely in a way that kept the room from feeling crowded. Perhaps a few others filtered in behind, so he wasn’t terribly surprised when the blonde person, the one who’d intervened in the fight just long enough to save the brunette girl’s life, wandered in as well, collapsing sulkily on the nearest bed, still cradling their bag.

Never one for breezy conversation, Dorian sat down heavily as well, finally taking the chance to give his person a once-over. The wounds were still gone, not even the crick in his neck from the watch he’d taken in Hales remaining. But the tear in his coat was still there, and dirt and blood, both his and the Cyclopean’s, still stained the fabric. He brushed his hand over the hole in his overcoat and was surprised when someone spoke.

“You want me to fix that?”

It was his blonde roommate-apparent. They hadn’t sat up yet, but their tired, kohl-smudged eyes were now turned on him instead of the ceiling. To their credit, they only flinched a little when Dorian turned fully towards them.

“Your coat-thing. I can, you know-“ He mimed a needle, stitching it through the air. “Fix it. Stitch it up. Whatever.”

Their Common was a little strange, tinged with an accent he couldn’t place, and their words were broken up, more abrupt than the flowing, flowery sentences used by diplomats or taught in school. It took a moment to adjust and piece together, and that was a moment too long for the blonde, apparently.

“Look, you know, I don’t have to. It’s fine. Just thought I’d offer, since, like, there’s nothing else to do-”

“Yes.” Dorian’s answer was as abrupt as the original question. He’d finally caught up with the other’s train of thought and found that he rather liked it. “You fix coat? Yes. Please.”

He shucked his overcoat and walked it over just as the woman returned, a pile of thin, airy clothes clutched in her arms. She handed Dorian his set, neatly folded light brown pants and an off-white shirt, and hesitated momentarily with his roommate who looked suddenly thoughtful.

“Pants, please,” they said after a moment, collecting an outfit much like Dorian’s. The woman left after catering to whoever else may have been in the room. The clothes weren’t very appealing, too thin and lacking the sturdy craftsmanship of Halesian clothes, but they weren’t stained with blood or sweat and were therefore a bit of a better option. Well, after a bath, perhaps. He may not understand or trust the situation, but perhaps he’d feel more human again after washing off the stink of the last few hours and by avoiding dying of heat-stroke in his uniform.

He moved to leave before glancing back at the blonde who had already pulled out a thick, sharp needle from their pack along with an odd sort of thread. Their face was pinched into a look of pure concentration, ignoring the clothes scattered to their side.

“Thank you…?” Dorian said after a moment, trailing off with a slight questioning look.
“Jules,” The other replied after a moment, not bothering to look up. “Who’re you, then? Since we’re stuck together for the time being.”

“I am Dorian.”

“Alright, Dorian. I’ll take care of it.” Dorian caught the affirmative nod, as good a dismissal as any, and left for the baths.


Jules Fontaine

Jules fixed the hole after twenty minutes, most of that time spent examining the cloth itself. The overcoat felt like it was wool, but not a variety Jules had ever seen or heard of, almost too thick to pass even his sharpest needle through. It was a good challenge while it lasted, but not he was stuck with the reality of the situation. This place was all kinds of fucked up. Weird warriors with almost Russian accents, fabric that shouldn’t exist on Earth anymore or ever, and God knows what lurking just outside this room. It was really all too much, so you’d have to forgive him if the only thing that drew him out of his scowl and his room was a maid peeking in the doorway, urging him to follow her to dinner. Jules followed, however reluctantly, leaving the new clothes behind but dragging his bag along with him.

He wasn’t hungry, not even when the magnificent wave of smells came wafting into the hallway as they approached the dining room. Not when the spread, something stripped out of a fantasy film, was revealed, all mouth-watering morsels and tender bites the likes of which you simply didn’t get in New York without offering up a good chunk of change. Not even when others sat down to devour the feast, the warrior, Dorian (still damp from his bath and smelling a whole Hell of a lot better), perhaps most gruesomely of all, attacking the spread like a starving wolf. He certainly looked the part, the thin clothes exposing a lither frame than Jules had expected when they’d first met. Jules sat down next to him, having labeled the other man as “kind of safe the be around” or at least “he owes me a favor”, and sullenly picked apart one of the buttered rolls.

Everyone, or at least almost everyone, had taken their seat by the time Haru cleared his throat, attention drawn to him automatically. Here were the answers to their questions, a plot unveiled. And what a plot it was.


Dorian Steinsson

Month Warriors, Cyclopeans, magic- it was like the stories of old, albeit with the addition of apparently another planet being dragged into the legend.

Most people do not have simple decision making processes, simply because people are quite complex. Dorian was not an exception to that norm, but allow us a moment to briefly see what was going through his brain at that moment. It’s only a fraction of the million thoughts that surely ran through all of their heads, but this specific fraction does a decent job of simplifying it.

The idea of another planet, another world, was probably what convinced Dorian first. These people from Earth, these aliens, accepted that for a fact. Earth, a place Dorian had never heard of, was a real place to almost all of the surrounding group, and the very mention of Aires confounded them. That would explain the general confusion in regards to legends and their frankly bizarre and mildly embarrassing clothing. And wouldn’t that also explain the world he’d glimpsed only a short while ago? The land of giant metal buildings and people with glowing rectangles (glued? Attached?) to their hands. That wasn’t normal. That wasn’t Aires.

The monstrosity he’d fought was a second clue because that was a Cyclopean. It just was. Despite the fact that he’d very contentedly spent a good majority of his life assuming they were merely nightmarish stories to make children behave, he knew one when he saw one. It would be like if a centaur pranced in front of someone from Earth. You would know it to be a centaur from the horse bits combined with the person bits in a very certain way, and it would be impossible, of course, but there it was, eating a carrot right in front of you. That would be a centaur, and in the very same course of logic Dorian knew his mythical encounter was with a Cyclopean.

The magic was perhaps the most difficult thing to grasp, but already Dorian was posed to believe that more than his Earthling neighbors. For a person who’d seen Aires’ first attempt at a flashlight only six months ago, his mind simply wasn’t ready to propose anything like hallucinogenic drugs or perhaps advanced portal technologies. Magic was a much easier explanation for everything that had happened to him within the past day, something thoroughly engrained in even a more scientific culture like the great cities of Hales. Nothing else fit the puzzle quite right, and it was the last answer standing.

Dorian was a rational man, and sometimes the most rational explanation was also the one that you didn’t really want to believe. When you have managed to discount every other possibility, the only explanation left, no matter how fantastical, has to be the truth. Even if he wasn’t thoroughly convinced that he was the right person, he believed enough not to throw a fit or attempt anything rash.

His eyes darted wearily down to his shirt, the impression of his aquamarine necklace under the thin cloth now more ominous than comforting. Dorian didn’t like the idea that a myth was around his neck, dangling like a noose. He wasn’t fond of the fact that now everyone was in an uproar and his life was going to be changed no matter what he did. He certainly disliked the fact that he was miles and miles from home and his worldview had been tilted on its axis. And he hated, absolutely hated, that he had no questions to ask because all he wanted to know was when he could go back home. Home to his job, his family, his beloved country. His home, which was in danger because even if Dorian had rationalized away everything Haru had said, he knew that Cyclopeans were real now, that their attacks would likely increase. So the only question he could think to ask was the one he already knew the answer to; once the job is done.

All of these complex thoughts translated outwardly in this manner: Dorian’s eyes widened a bit, he nodded his head with a little grunt of agreement, and then he turned moodily back to his banya. Because he knew, he knew he couldn’t even think of leaving before he found out a way to bring a solution to the most pressing problem of evil monsters once again terrorizing the land back to Hales. This place, this man, was his best shot. And if it was fake, what had he done other than survived a strange encounter in a strange land? There really wasn’t much to lose

Jules Fontaine

Others did not take the revelation quite as well. Others who had thoughts that echoed Heather’s own initial desire to leave, which she’d squashed down for a more sensible attitude and questions that might actually get them somewhere. Others who did not feel the natural inclination to be mature about all this. Others like Jules.

“Nope.” The single word almost echoed in the initial silence before Haru could reply to Heather’s question, the “p” popping loudly. Jules was already standing up, almost knocking his chair over in his haste. His face had gone white as a sheet, his lips pressed together into a thin line. He was backing away from the table now, quick little steps leading him to the door as he shouldered his bag once again. “I'm gonna ..."
Jules stopped at the doorway, fingers tapping nervously on the door’s frame for a fraction of a moment as he surveyed the table, eyes flashing over everyone gathered together before landing on Haru. He took a shallow, shuddering breath.

“Excuse me. Just a minute." And with that announcement, Jules was gone leaving only the sound of his footsteps fading behind.

Where was he going? Jules really had no idea and was oddly comfortable with that fact. His present destination was “not here” or, alternatively, “far away from whatever the Hell was happening”. There was only so much a modern, reasonable human could be confronted with before his mind reverted into something a little simpler to help him cope.

As far as Jules was concerned, he’d already been subjected to a giant lizard monster, almost dying, what was maybe a pocket dimension straight out of a sci-fi novel, and with what he was beginning to expect was a dinner from maybe Game of Thrones. You would have to pardon him if being told he was on a different planet and had super powers he had to use to save the world was a bit too much. He didn’t have a better explanation, of course, but fever dream and an elaborate prank were at least possibilities he could accept, unlikely as they may be.

Jules wasn’t running as much as he was striding with determination. That is to say that he was going as fast as he could without actually running because he wasn't particularly desirous if a heel getting stuck in a gopher hole. He’d find a cab, eventually. Maybe a surrounding house that wasn’t completely batshit backwards like this place. With that pace he made it out the front door with no one to stop him and was halfway across the yard, headed towards the fields or the hills or wherever the Hell he was going when he noticed that something was off.

It was nighttime. That much was obvious. The blue skies had been traded for a blanket of darkness and stars twinkled overhead. That was fine. That was normal. It was just that there was a strange brightness about everything, the world a little less dark than it should have been, especially with no electric lights to be found. His gait faltered for a moment as he glanced upwards and found the moon. And the moon. There were two moons, both nearly full and glowing in the night sky. It was beautiful, it was fantastic, and it was horrifying all in one. That was it. There was no denying that this wasn’t Earth anymore. This was somewhere else completely, a world away from home.

Jules heard a little whimper as he fell backwards into the grass and was only slightly surprised to realize that it had come from him. He sat there, body still and eyes glued on the alien impossibility hanging overhead.

"Fuck,” Jules breathed, frustration, and the first notes of acceptance staining his words. He lingered for a moment, gazing at those impossible moons before getting to his feet. Well he might as well keep from dying for awhile longer. Somehow cowardice meant not running away, which was very disappointing. Running away tended to be much easier. Well, self preservation must win out in the end.

Jules made his way back inside, slower than his initial exit. If he was going to have to play the marionette, he was going to do it with all the reluctance he felt. No gambolling or japing included.

Jules returned to the dining room, although he refused to let any sheepishness or embarrassment bleed through.

"Yeah. Yep. Best option only option."

"They have two moons, you know," he said dryly as he sat, arms crossed. "Just in case you people were wondering. Jesus."

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
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As Ron sat through Haru's long explanation of their current situation, he could not help but let his emotions run rampant. On one hand he was now the main character of what was essentially an RPG/Manga plot. On the other hand he would never be able to finish that final season of Game of Thrones. Overall there were probably more pros then cons. In this world he would have superior technological knowledge and magic to boot. He could use his powers to place himself at the center stage of importance.

Ron began to run through all the scenario's in his head on how the shows placed the protagonist in power when they were sent to a new world. If he had an offensive power he could raise an army and use superior weapons and tactics to claim vast territory; If instead he gained a passive magic then he could gather a cult of personality. Earth was a violent, wicked place that he felt indifferent in, getting high with no clear purpose in life. However, in this world he could be the savior.

Feeling giddy as a school girl he decided to voice his thoughts. "Don't you guys see? This is a blessing in disguise! We'll have the knowledge and power to reshape this world as we see fit. I personally don't want to go back to being a gear in the cog like on Earth. However, I want a few things before signing on. First I want all the books on the history, culture, and geography of this world. Second I'd eventually like a keg of gunpowder. Third, I'm more of the gun for hire type so I'll need a payment up front or I'm sitting right here." Ron reached for the bottle of wine on the table and began to pour wine into his cup, before realizing the last question he would need to ask. "By the way, what's my power?

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
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Tallyho felt a little flutter in her chest when the young man who had threatened (at least she supposed he had) the farmer from earlier spoke up. But it wasn’t a flattering kind of flutter — the kind that makes a person steal looks across the room between the warm rushes of blood swelling their cheeks. No it was the kind of flutter that signaled a bit of baffle and shock. Maybe a bit of disgust.

Reshape this place? Them? If she understood everything correctly, now these aliens were coming to change her world to how they saw fit? Tallyho wasn’t the smarted person, but she definitely wasn’t an idiot. If there was a moment where she was kind of on board with the month warrior thing, this new element of world domination really took her back to the drawing board. Especially when he had the audacity to ask for payment. And Goddess only knew what a gunpowder was…

Tallyho pressed her lips firmly together, stoic. The only expressive behaviors that gave away how turned off she was at the nerve of this man were the glances she stole across the table toward to the only two dinner guests who, by dress, she could assume were from Aires. The warrior and another blonde.
Then she looked to Haru.


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Haru wasn’t the most patient person, but he had will power.

“Well Ron,” he put an emphasis on his name as if to signal that he knew all of their names, and he did. “I can certainly get you the education you need. First lesson: There is no gun powder here. No guns even. This is the kind of world where men fight fist to fist and sword to sword, which might be honorable to some… I highly recommend you get trained in hand to hand combat, especially with the power you have… Which is why I’ll be talking everyone to a special academy north of here for training at the break of dawn. It will be your home for a little while. A hero’s journey begins with your ordinary world, a call to adventure, the refusal to said adventure and then a brush with a mentor. And I am your mentor, not your contractor. Therefore, I won’t be paying you. But you’re welcome to forego the journey. Sit here, run off, you’re welcome to take some food too. But if you choose not to cross the threshold of this adventure, then you ought not to know anything about your power, right? You’d be safer not knowing anything if you’re not committed to the cause. So go off if you’d like, or stay. But these are the terms.”

Haru stood up and his chair slid back with a heavy grunt. “For those of you who will be here tomorrow free of charge, be ready. When we get to the top of the academy, I’ll tell you your true potential. But for now, sleep. It will be a very long day.”
And with that, Haru left.

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: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair
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#, as written by Linnea
When Haru first spoke, Angela’s heart muddily skipped a beat. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Rather, it was one of inevitability finally arriving. Like test scores being revealed or checking your credit score. It didn’t help that he was an intimidating man. Though different than the soldier that slayed the beast and ate like a man condemned to death, Haru still had an air of power about him. Angela swallowed a bit of stew. For whatever reason, this didn’t seem like something to listen to with her mouth full.

And it really wasn’t, for she just might have done a dramatic spit take had she actually had anything in there when she heard the news. She could deal with the reality of monsters. The park had solidified her thoughts on that. But another world? Even she found that hard to believe. As he went on Angela stared wide eyed. It was a lot of information to digest.

Angela wasn’t exactly what one would call a sceptic. There comes a point where after buying multiple candles and going through so many seances (failed though they were) that one simply has to admit they might be a bit of an eccentric. Still, even Angela had her limits. Even she needed some shred of evidence. Some reason to believe. She brushed her fingers over her own gem, hoping it would burn as it did before. Any bit of confirmation would have been wonderful. However, it remained the same. So, she was left to think about this situation. Questions just couldn’t come to mind. She was too confused.

This was all unbelievable, but it had happened. A monster appeared in central park. A bridge of stars and oceans had led them somewhere. There weren’t any other explanations. At least, none that Angela liked. Drugs, kidnapping, these thoughts had been racing through her mind. But for some reason they seemed less believable. Maybe, the more she thought about it, the less she wanted to believe it. A reality where they were warriors and there was magic, that one was more palatable.

Others spoke up, and Angela found herself nodding in approval. She even had the brief thought of following the blond who left the building. But, she remained in her seat. Even if it was out of nothing but begrudging acceptance. She couldn’t stay skeptical for too long. It just wasn’t in her nature. So, fine. There were monsters, and other worlds, and warriors with magical stones. It was better to believe in this reality. In this reality, they had a fighting chance.

Maybe that’s why she stood up after the threatening man spoke, her face flushed with anger. Haru left, and had said his piece. Truthfully, Angela thought he said it well. He said it far better than she.

“You gotta be kidding, dude! Like, holy shit. Reshape? What, like a god or something? I mean, if this is all real, these are peoples lives we’re dealing with! Man! I know this is weird, but you don’t gotta be a creep about it!” The words tumbled out of her mouth, clumsy and awkward. She sank back into her seat sheepishly, refusing to make eye contact. But she continued to speak.

“If there are people in danger, in whatever world, and we can do something to stop that, then shouldn’t we? Do we even have a choice, like, as humans? It’s just the moral thing to do, right? Be good and helpful and stuff? So, I’m going along. If there’s any way I can help, I want to. And even if this is all just some dumb thing or drugs or whatever or who knows, at least I tried. I can be proud of myself for that.”

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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One would be lying if they didn’t admit that the Month Warriors had a collectively chaotic day in Malboro. Nonetheless, the strange encounters they’ve experienced were no reason to not move on from the walled city before day break. Haru made sure of that, taking it upon himself to wake up early and personally round up the warriors, even if it meant snatching the wool blankets right off of their unconscious bodies. They had one more day of travel left.

You see, Haru wasn't the only immortal who had been waiting for the next group for hundreds of years. There was more of him where he came from, twelve to be exact. And while he knew not of where most of his fellow guardians went, he knew of at least one person who was only a cart ride away. And today, they were going to him.

Tallyho, who had been one of those who slept so soundly that Haru had to physically snatch her covers off, didn't take kindly to the rude and early awakening. In fact, she was a little angry, although she was much too scared of Haru to outwardly voice her wrath. And so she spent the earliest part of their ride quietly fuming in the corner of the cart. To be fair, that wasn't the only reason why she was peeved though.

All of her “best friends” growing up were her cousins and even then she didn’t feel like she had that much of an attachment to them. But in the off chance she made a friend with a settler, the friendship seemed to end almost as swiftly as it began. Such was the case with Ingra, at least she thought so at the time. When they parted ways last night Ingra invited Tallyho to visit her in Malboro whenever she wanted. Tallyho accepted the invitation uneasily. But in her heart she knew that she’d probably never see the towering feminine figure again. Especially when she didn’t know where she’d be next.

The next five hours were probably the most trying. There were no more snacks in the cart and a strong scent was beginning to develop amongst the group members. They travelled so much before this point but Tallyho, years later, would always remember those five hours as the most uncomfortable hours of her life. She needed to get out of this cart. Fast. And it didn’t help that they had gained some altitude on the mountain path. The ground was far below them, hidden by canopies of trees and autumn mist. The snow was going to come down soon enough.

She wondered if they’d be trapped on this mountain and how high they were going to go. By this point they were nowhere near the top.

“We are almost there,” Haru assured them, as if on cue. “Ryou lives here. He was a guardian too. And when we went our separate ways he built a modest training ground up here. Takes in a handful of students, many orphans, and teaches them how to fight. Many go on to be mercenaries. This academy will be your new home for a few months. You need to learn how to defend yourselves because there will be lots of people who want to challenge you, test you, kill you… So you need to be ready.”

As they weaved and turned precariously on the winding mountain path, Haru proceeded to name each of the teenagers and their associated powers off to them. He hadn't forgotten his promise to tell them who they were. But Tallyho, being Airesian, was quite aware of who she was already.

Soon after, the upward path levelled into narrow road that wedged through two slabs of mountain face. And soon, they were surrounded by forest. The view over mountain ledge was gone, and besides the fact that Tallyho’s ears had popped, she wouldn't have been able to tell that they were in fact, on a mountain.

“It looks like we’re here,” Haru said.

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: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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The upward narrow lane wound through a forest of mostly oak and maple, where most of the trees were so ancient that only the most meager grass and brush could grow beneath them. By the time it leveled between the two faces of mountains, there the forest was not so old, and smaller trees and brush, some of it still living despite the lateness of the season, stood thick and heavy. Golden and scarlet leaves had begun covering the dried skeletons of the smaller brush, and the naked, sleeping trees swayed in a chorus of gentle creaking. Signs of humanity began shortly after, after Haru’s statement: They traveled passed a barren orchard, beehives, and a quaint field laid fallow for the season; and the dirt pathway became more heavily laden with soft, white cobblestone, jostling the cart and it’s passengers almost painfully. It was the signs of a strong holding, that the academy’s central buildings had walls higher than some military encampments, reaching nearly twice the height of a man and made of seamed, dark grey stone, laboriously raised from the mountainous ground over many years. The gates, heavy wood bound with a primitive steel, were half-closed, and a woman precariously perched on the wall above them, squinting laconically out over the distance.

The woman was lean, with darker skin than most people they’d seen so far of Solace, and had her long brown hair drawn painfully tight to pass an illusion of a mane of hair. Her colorful, flowing loose, tunic-dress and multiple layers of fine, jingling jewelry upon her arms and neck, left far too much skin on display – not that she seemed all that bothered by the cold seeping with the mountain mist clinging to the protected valley – and the prominent scars that came with it. She seemed to observe the coming cart with a slim mixture of annoyance and indifference for some time, before deciding they were close enough to skinny down the wall on a thin braided rope attached to a thickly made gray-fletched arrow wedged into the cracks of stone and landed on bare feet (ankles tinkling with their own noise-making jewelry in turn). Wordlessly she nodded in reluctant greeting as she pushed open the gate, allowing the driver to get his beasts and the cart inside the property; and once everyone was inside, she closed the gate and locked it with a ring of keys orbiting unnoticed upon her wrist.

Inside the gates there was a significant open space for communal gatherings and/or training; with what looked to be a deep well to one side, a large placid fountain with a minimal movement of water in the center, and stacks of various weaponry to the other side. Past it was a trio of large, rustic stone buildings, and beyond them a small barn and pens for animals resting upon a distant wall of the forest beyond. The woman approached the head of the cart, her sea-glass eyes retaining a distasteful yet knowledgeable look about a thing or two of the situation at hand as she passed over the heads of the warrior crowded in the back, before focusing on red-headed Guardian – the distaste lifted some, but she offered no more than lukewarm terse ‘smile’ to part her lips briefly. “Haru, and month warriors. We have been waiting for you… Ryou had another matter to attend too, and asked for me to greet you in his stead.” She spoke matter-of-factly, her voice quick and melodious and with minimal effort to separating the pronunciation between words. The brief pause in collecting her breath before continuing, allowed her gaze to shift briefly towards the cart driver / farm-hand and the tired horses appraisingly.

I will call a student over to help take your cart to unload and allow your beasts some rest and hot grain. But dinner is not for some time I am afraid, and while I understand you must all be very weary from your journey – I have only a tour and general things to offer you in the mean-time.” She finished shortly. Pursing her lips to deliver a short whistle, a younger man (really a boy, if his half-finished build and gangly limbs were any indication) materialized from a distant building, nodding in quick affirmation to her proposal / orders, as he stepped forward to take the reins of one of the team and stroke the equine’s bristled nose absently. The woman hardly spared the lad an appreciative glance, with all her authoritative attention focused upon Haru and the month warrior crew, yet was truly thankful not to be entirely alone dealing with this group of unknown variables even momentarily. Ryou had certainly done his best to feed her to the wolves to deal with this delicate matter in the most elegant way she knew how. Goddess help her...