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Melrose

"We're all but devils, reduced to monsters. We do not live, we simply survive."

0 · 227 views · located in Las Flores

a character in “Blurry Lines: Establishing Them”, as played by PoBeeb

Description

Melrose Shade Maiden
He who does no evil simply can't understand the iron-rich taste of immoral fruits.

ImageName
Melrose Allen

Age
Visual Age: Mid-twenties
Factual Age: 23

Appearance
Hair: Long silky strands of dark black. A rich ember hue is only shown when bathed in direct sunlight.

Facial Hair: n/a

Eyes: A soft jadeite color, remarkably resembling the stone it's self.

Build: Lean and athletic, with a medium bust. Small, almost imperceptible abs ripple down the length of her torso. Her muscles are small, but visible in her arms, as she relies on speed in comparison to strength.

Skin Tone: A soft olive tone, as expected from her oriental genes. However, her bi-racial inheritance also permitted her with a lighter skin tone than average. Pale, if you may.

Height: 5"7'.

Weight: 140 lbs, containing most of her weight in lean muscle.

Voice: Normally, Melrose speaks with a normal womanly tone- an infectious voice that, though pleasant to hear, often harbors much resentment and vexation. Her voice is known to elevate when comically embarrassed or angry.

Handed: Left

Body Markings: She is completely barren of tattoos. Her ears are pierced twice, but as she finds dangling jewelry a hassle, she wears small pearls diamonds, and sometimes metal bands.

Scar Tissue: A single scar on her forehead, hidden by her hair.

Unique Body Features: Though not frail or too thin, Melrose is incredibly nimble and flexible thanks to years of acrobatic training.



Her feminine physique and womanly curves receive much unwanted attention. She was born of two races - her mother Japanese, and her father Irish. As a result, she received radiantly pale skin, with just a slight olive tone. Thanks to her eastern ancestry, she does not burn in the sun. Her fair skin does tan, but ever-so-slightly. She's neither too thin, nor fat. She remains at a healthy weight, her body toned and muscular due to her daily training. She however does not rely on strength, and in effect, her muscles are only slightly visible. She takes on her mother's form, her breasts average size (C-cups at most), and her waist thin, as expected of a young Japanese woman. Her hips, however, remain shapely. She often wears clothing that clings to her skin. Though tight in form, it leaves much to the imagination, and allows her more mobility than clothing that would bag, or hang from her physique. She has a delicate face, her eyes narrow at the ends, though large enough to leave her with a doll-like complexion. Her lips full, and often covered with a crimson red lipstick. Her appearance has been sought after by many modeling agencies in the wealthy side of town. Not fond of attention, however, she turned them all down. She refuses to wear necklaces or bracelets, as they create much discomfort for her. At night, she is often seen in a hood - simply to avoid interactions with others. On special events or social outings, she may wear dresses or skirts. However, she never leaves home without a pair of tight-knit pants on hand. Her long black strands of silken hair reach to her hips when straight. To avoid interference during battles, she often ties her hair up or wears it in long flowing pigtails. When in direct sunlight, a red hue can be seen glowing from the black sea of hair. It is normal for her hair to reach such lengths, as she cuts it shoulder-length once a year. A single scar stretches across her upper-left forehead, but it remains easily hidden by her bangs. Aside from that, she bears no tattoos or piercings, aside from 2 holes on each ear - which she fills with small metallic bands and pearls.




Sexuality

Straight.

Personality
Motivation: Resentment and vexation for villains and heroes alike.
Fears: Helplessness, re-occurring nightmares of past struggles, and of course, death.
Goals: To bring down the human-trafficking trade by any means necessary, and to avenge those fallen by the corruption of the city.
Positive Traits: Strong willed + Determined + Polite
Negative Traits: Apathetic - Pained - Vengeful


Truly the offspring of cruel fate, she grips her blade in her nimble fingers. Jade eyes glare back in the reflection of the metal. Melrose - not her given birth name. The her of the past met it's demise long ago - and from her ashes, a warrior was born. A sword slinging young woman, who stops at nothing to achieve her revenge, Melrose clings to the shadows of night. That is her home, darkness is her family. And darkness is where she finds strength, for in the beautiful veil of concealment, no one can see your pain. She's strong willed and passionate - but not arrogant. She knows when to admit defeat, and will honorably bow before her vanquisher. She finds fire in her own weaknesses, and she learns from other's tactics.

Though serious in the line of scrimmage, she stays young at heart. She's a quick thinker, with a body built for agility and aerobatic feats. She prefers the company of animals, and rarely opens her feelings to others. She sides mainly with the villains, for her own personal causes. Though she does not agree with their ways, and will shed the blood of every one of them if it means her goals will be met. She's apathetic to say the least - but for those she can sympathize with, she shows much hospitality and admiration. She has nothing, and is no one. If she was ever to be seen, it would be no more than a foggy picture of a silhouette gleaming in the moon-light.

When her mind is set, she will stop at nothing. Once she has a target in sight, there's no holding back. She slights into the cover of darkness and sheds blood again and again, until her thirst is satisfied. She's driven by pain and sorrow, and gruesome slaughter is the only resolve to alleviating her remorse.





Likes
- Animals, specifically felines
- Dark, isolated spaces
- Challenges
- Ice Cream - STRICTLY chocolate flavored
- Music, though she can't play any instruments of her own
- Cold environments

Dislikes
- Vigilante scum, claiming to 'put their life on line' to save the city
- Villains absorbed in selfish malefaction
- Addicts
- Bright places or objects
- Hot, warm environments
- God-complexes and cocky behavior
Relationships
Melrose has always been alone. She's never cared about most people, and in return never given them the time of day. For those she did build an attachment to, they had either been ripped from her life or simply vanished on their own.


Power
Melrose has the ability of stealth. Her athletic ability allows her to fade into darkness, without the use of "supernatural power". The tactic becomes impossible when in a well-lit area, or broad day light. However, she is also able to control her own visual matter, ripping herself into shreds of ribbon that quickly fade into transparency. (The visual appearance of the skill resembles that of ink dropped in still water) This ability works, no matter the environment she's in. It takes much of her energy to do so, and she can't hold the stealth for more than 10 minutes. She is able to manipulate anything she touches, as well, however every additional piece of matter sucks up more of her energy. The disappearing act takes much concentration as well, so attacking will interrupt the ability. However, it does come in handy during assassination or intell missions. Her lack of super-human power is substituted with her advanced weaponry skills, and precision. As a superb marksman, she has never once missed her target. However, her ability to aim efficiently is void when using weapons such as guns. For her accuracy, she prefers throwing blades, and bow and arrows. In effect of her training, she also has the ability to run, walk, crouch, or climb in complete silence. This is essential when using her stealth to escape enemies. Lastly, she is an efficient martial art fighter. She has the ability to fend for herself without a weapon or super human ability.

Equipment
Melrose uses skin-tight suits. Anything with pockets will work - so long as it's black. If she's expecting heavy combat, she'll wear her most flexible piece - a black pair of cargo shorts and a tank top. At night, she cloaks herself in a hoodie to hide her identification. Her weapon sets consist of this: 3 medium-size throwing knifes. One modern compound bow along with a set of 10 military-grade arrows, and her favorite: Dual falchions, with beautifully sharpened and maintained blades.

Strengths
- The ability to disappear into the darkness: This was a method of defensive combat that she spent many years researching, and seeking a tutor for. She finally found one, who agreed to teach her the method for a sum of $500,000.
- Stealth: The ability that Melrose was born with. It's useful for escaping overpowering enemies, or quietly assassinating your enemies.
- Advanced weaponry: Melrose trained with the best weaponry coaches that money could buy. She advances in speed, precision and timing.
- Advanced precision: She has the ability to break a match from 40 yards away, using nothing but her bows and arrows. She was once offered a job as an assassin sniper, but turned it down because it would require firearms.
- Fast Thinker: She has the ability to problem-solve in mid-battle. She's accurate when assuming her enemy's next move- however she's never 100% correct.
- Apathetic: She can take out an opponent in a moment's notice, without a drop of remorse or guilt.
- Martial arts: After training in martial arts for many years, Melrose has the ability to take down most of her opponents without a weapon or special ability.
- Leader of MYTHIC organization.
Weaknesses
- Light: In well-lighted areas, Melrose is unable to use her shadow sneaking abilities. She is left practically helpless if the enemy turns out to be more powerful than she.
- Animals: If a human life is threatened, so long as it doesn't belong to someone Melrose cares about, so be it. But if an animal life is threatened, she will do everything in her power to save or avenge the fuzzy creature.
- Hallucinogenic attacks: If anyone were to use these attacks to bring back her painful past, she'd be paralyzed in battle.
- Fire attacks: Her disdain for heat can effect her fighting performance
- Intimate touch - such as hugs: These sort of gestures make Melrose incredibly uneasy. She prefers to be left untouched.


Home
Melrose is usually seen sleeping on rooftops, under the light of the moon. She prefers areas close to water, as the temperatures are much lower and make for a more comfortable sleep. She does have a small apartment in a shabby location, but it's usually barren of any personal belongings.

History
Melrose (birth name Lucy Allen) was born into a wealthy family. The Allens held the fortune of Allen Estates, a modern mansion in the wealthiest part of town. Her father had succeeded the wealth of his father, and his father before that. They owned shares in many major corporations, and six successful up-scale hotels known as "Heaven's Palm". They had never been an exceptionally affectionate family, but Lucy Allen's mother had always taken time to lecture and teach the young girl the basics of being a polite and decent human being. Her mother's name was Hana Kumamoto. Hana was born in Dublin and spent the majority of her time working in her father's hub. It wasn't until she turned 16 that she met Lucy's father, Brogan. They married immediately (though he was 23 at the time) and Hana became pregnant. Her parents were outraged that she had married without their consent- let alone to a white man. Together, they left to America to escape her father's wrath and strengthen their business ties in the U.S. and Mexico. Lucy was born 9 months later, a plump and healthy Japanese Irish American. Her parents bathed her in expensive lace dresses, brilliant perfumes, and foreign gifts. Her father took her on luxurious business trips with him, and enrolled her in expensive private school. She turned out to be an exuberant child - one filled with elegance and poise. It was the perfect life - one that most can only dwell over in their dreams.

By age 16 Lucy was a brilliant child, but she struggled in literature which resulted in her parents taking on a tutor. They searched for one with much experience and a bright background. They settled on a man named Nicholas Grimbly. Lucy grew to love her tutor, and with every on-coming day, he taught her new things about life and literature that even the most highly ranked teachers in the nation failed to do. She looked to this man as a brother, and she adored him as such. Until one weekend, her parents left for an important business meeting across sea. They agreed to allow Grimbly to watch their daughter, after years of visits had conveyed him as a trustworthy man. They had never been more wrong. Grimbly induced the girl with a sedative, and easily removed Lucy from her home. She awoke in a strange underground facility with many other teens, children and young adults. Many were covered in dirt and tears, some in blood. Some had no clothing, and some sat huddled together, praying to an unresponsive deity.

For 10 long months, she was trapped in the repulsive hell of human trafficking. She was quickly sold for a high bid, violated and then recycled back into the system. Her faith in humanity died along side her innocence, and as did her hope for a savior. She sought light in the other women, giving them strength and guidance. They called her "Melrose" because of the black of her hair that surrounded such prepossessing face. She told them of her family, and her mother's words of wisdom. They made her feel loved, needed. And in the blink of an eye, they would be taken from her to be sold for drugs or cash. Often, she'd hear word of their death, or find they had returned a different person. A hopeless, lifeless doll of defeat. It wasn't until 10 months and 13 days after her abduction that she realized her true potential. News of her parent's efforts to get her back had spread to the tunnels, as well as the monsters who kept her captive. They had taken her to a room where three men stood, waving pistols at the air like metal flags. They conversed about possible options, about beating her to near-death in hope for a rise in ransom. A gun was held to her shoulder, and without hesitation, the trigger was pulled. In immense pain, Lucy sat, terrified. Trembling, she laid bathed in her own blood - and suddenly she was angry. She was furious at the world for being such a torturous place. For being painful, and unpredictable. She let out a petrified scream- not of fear, but rage. Instantly she was gone, like ink dissolving into water. She managed to free herself from the men, and use their own weapons against them. She killed 12 people that night, and rescued 19 women from the confines. For fear that the girl would spill the location, or any details about her experiences, her parents were slaughtered immediately after her disappearance.

Six years have passed, and she's spent every waking moment training, simply for the purpose of never being helpless again. After months of searching, she found masters of weaponry, archery and martial arts, to teach her complex training from past eras, and new techniques unknown by most. She remains associated mainly with villains, as they supply her with the means to continue her operations. She lives off of the fruits of other's labors, breaking into rich homes daily and taking cash and expensive possessions. In fact, she leads a small organization of thieves who steal from the rich and assassinate criminal thugs, as well as police who turn a cheek on the situation. Such is the reason why she's labeled as a villain. She also remains tied to drug trade, as the mules agree to transport sex slaves to freedom, for protection from the organization currently known as MYTHIC. Because of this, her name is widely known, and smiled upon in the kingdom of drug-lords. Her stealthy abilities have earned her the title "Shade Maiden", among criminals and "heroes" alike. Her intentions may be pure, but she has no interest in villains or vigilantes. Her main goal in life is to destroy the very men who destroyed her- to take down human trafficking, and free the women and children from it's insidious grasps. Her parents death would not be in vain. If she has to kill a few hundred dirty old men, so be it.

So begins...

Melrose's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Melrose
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#, as written by PoBeeb
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Her eyes burned from the heat of the sun, her vision registering regardless of her physical exhaustion. It showed her a wall of blackish red, as if pleading "Open your eyes! I wish to see~". She groaned, and stretched her nimble arms, bitterly forcing her body to awake from the mesmerism of sleep. As she turned over onto her stomach, small feline paws struggled to remain atop it's human bed. Like a lumberjack, running along his floating log, the stray cat effectively traveled from the moving woman's stomach to the small of her back. Kneading her clothing with it's claws, it curled into a ball and purred it's self into slumber.

"Atch!" Melrose groaned, surprised by the sudden retraction of claws against her skin. Finally, she opened her eyes to a mess of silky black hair draped over her pink face. She squinted and wrinkled her nose in dismay. The sun was far too bright for her liking. She blinked once, and sighed, breathing in the earthy scent of moss and dirt. She laid atop a roof of shingles, the same stray cat that seemed to find her every night had made a bed of it's human companion. The sun was hot against her skin, but the misty spray of ocean waves replenished her heated body. She yawned, and lifted herself onto all fours, keeping her back straight so as not to disturb the cat.

"Clink!" A small rock smashed against the old, mossy roof top and toppled down only to fall back to earth.

"What did I tell you about sleepin' on my roof, you harlot!" A trembling old man with a grimace on his face stood several feet below, tossing rocks at the groggy Melrose. Startled by the racket, the cat leaped off of her back and frantically raced off into the shadows, sending small shambles of stone and broken singles flying in it's wake.

Melrose sat nonchalantly yawning away her fatigue as the old man tossed stones her way.

"You'll never hit me at this rate." She mused, tying her long black hair into a tight bundle. "Now look what you've done. You've scared Nova off."

"I don't give a damn about you or that demon cat. I want you gone!" The old man bickered. Melrose reached into her bag for a pair of sun glasses, and equipped them to shield her from the vicious rays of sun. Her jade eyes, though beautiful when lit by rays of light, were not accustom to such brilliance. She stood up, rocking back on her heels as the old man tossed another stone. This time she caught it firmly in her palm, an act that both surprised and frightened the old fool. Leaping down from the crumbling roof, she landed gracefully on a fence post, directly in front of him.

Melrose took his trembling leathery old hand and dropped the stone into it. "Do it again, and I'll end your miserable, decrepit life." She whispered, folding his fingers over the rock.

In an instant, she was gone, leaving nothing but a fearful senior behind her. She raced across rooftops, her equipment clattering and echoing off into the distance. She preferred to cling the the shade - such is the reason she was nicknamed "Shade Maiden". She felt comfortable racing through alley ways, and clinging to the tight gaps between buildings - anything that was a challenge, really. Running, in general, comforted her. Something about being free, being fast. She would never be confined again, so long as she lived. Because of this, she pushed herself to new elevations - she sought out strange places she had never been, and places most people wouldn't want to go. Often, she'd travel to the highest point she could find- one that was so distance from the rest of society that not a soul could see her. However, the sun was far too bright today for such a feat. Instead, she made her way to the shaded part of town. There, stood a tall bell tower - one that stretched above all other buildings around, but not so high that it was bathed in the light of the rising sun.

Eagerly, she climbed brick for brick, until she stood like a hawk, over-watching the city. On a normal day, she would stand here for hours at a time, taking in the crisp air and fresh ocean breeze. But today was different. She noticed something in the corner of her eye, a bird perhaps? She glanced up at the sky, her eyes widening at the sight. She had seen humans take flight before - but the ability was rare, and it was one Melrose envied with great sorrow. She reached behind her, yanking an arrow from it's leather quiver. Raising her bow an arm's reach away, she aligned the arrow with her target and released. It zipped through the sky, whipping through the air as it went. It left behind a breeze that blew Melrose's hair back, revealing her small metallic pearl earrings. She watched as it raced through the sky, piercing her target and bringing it back down to earth. The white object landed a few blocks away - an easy venture for the athletic woman. She raced again, leaping between gaps, sprinting to her destination the way she preferred. She preformed flawless landings with her stealthy agility, rubble falling beneath her feet, but never once sleeping or tripping on the unpredictable terrain.

She stopped at an open area - a shopping strip with a single fountain in the center. Grasping the hood of her sweater, she pulled it over her head and let out a nerve-wrecking sigh. Too many people. Descending from the building, Melrose made her way to the fountain, forcing herself to walk with poise and dignity. However, she found it difficult to ignore the curious faces that stared in awe at the armed woman in black. After all, attention was not her strong suit. Soon she found herself staring into the liquid pool to see small circles of water caressing her intended target - a little white origami crane with an arrow through it's head. It sat on the surface of the water, as though it was placed there almost intentionally. With delicacy, she picked up the paper bird and held it in her hands, staring up at the clouds in hopes for another glance at the boy in the sky.

How she wished she could be so far from humanity.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mako Senshin Character Portrait: Rioned Tuduarge Character Portrait: Afterglow Character Portrait: Kilroy Character Portrait: Sandra Liland Character Portrait: Melrose
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Southern Gate || Abandoned Shipyard Hidden Warehouse || Late Afternoon





His breaths were escaping from his mouth in short wisps of visible mist, thanks to the incredibly cold room he was in. A warehouse, heavily modified with freezer units. Afraid of the heat? Perhaps. Though the presence of not just one or two, not even three or four, not five, six or seven. Eight, nine, ten don't even cut it.

This room was built to help cool down the fifty-something units of computers, all linked up together, forming a kind of supercomputer.

And sitting in the middle of it, a young man with his hood on, but his eerily sharp yellow eyes illuminated as it flickered between the screens, lithe fingers tapping away at keyboards and touchscreens. It seemed that everything seemed to be of no interest to him, as he sighed heavily each time he came across something on his screen. It seemed that there were different people on his screens, some seem to show a detailed file, while others showed live feeds from the cameras throughout the city.

A young woman robbing a bank. With a flick of his fingers and zapping of a bright blue strand of light, one of the screens brought up her file. After scanning it and appearing disinterested, the young man sighed and focused on the other screens.

Two people talking with each other.

"Using the codenames Watcher and Afterglow." he noted, once again bringing up their files and then he sneered when he saw-

"Greystar... let's make a note."

Instantly, the files were prioritized.

To anyone else, there were so many interesting things to watch in the room of over fifty computers. There were multiple people on those screens, killing, being killed, saving people, being saved, stealing, being stolen from, the list was endless. Not even a fly was free from his scrutiny.

The magic man, the immortal, performing a daring show today with his audience sadistically trying to kill the man before them. This would've made anyone sick, but the youth seemed to take it in stride. After all, this guy was on his prioritized scrutiny file. He was unique.

A woman with the power to stop a person in their tracks, no doubt, after all those feeds from cameras... he deduced prowess involving the manipulation of blood.

Two individuals who could disappear, gifted with the powers of stealth. One who could meld with the darkness, becoming one. The other, genetically enhanced and experimented on, achieving a chameleon-like state.

A flying teenager, with presumably powers of the wind.

So many that he could list. So little time. Information could be deleted, but nothing was unable to be recovered. Especially not from him.

After all, everything was connected.

"... Tag, you're it." he murmured, tapping the screen of his intended victim for today. A bald man with beady eyes, multiple scars across his face and tattoos all over his body. Instantly, every screen in the room showed images, files, live feeds of the guy.

"Ihvan Ligardo. 34. Suspected of: Rape, theft, assault of a police officer, drug abuse. Charged with: Multiple first degree murders, mostly involving teenage woman, served only 3 years in prison, death sentence not given. Possibility of ties to primary target: 4.1%."

The youth stood up from his comfortable chair, picking up his short sword, pistol, a pair of unique looking spectacles and his phone, that was docked into the computer layout. He started for the door, whipping on his specs before pulling on his hood even further down his face.

"Chances of meeting and subduing target: 137%."

Everything was connected. There was no way you could catch him. No way you could find him. No way to stop him.

He is Rioned Tuduarge, known as the enigmatic and dangerous 'Grid Ghost' to every organization that feared him, making a new name for himself, 'V1RU5'.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rioned Tuduarge Character Portrait: Afterglow Character Portrait: Synapse Character Portrait: Sandra Liland Character Portrait: Melrose Character Portrait: Ledger Character Portrait: Zephyr
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Central Downtown Las Flores || Eastyard Boarding School || Late Afternoon




Droplets covered a a leaf curled a inches from Aranza. A leaf among many others that was only just settling from the unnatural gale that had made a storm of the private gardens only moments earlier. Aranza suppressed a small shudder of pleasure as she allowed the camera to fall against her stomach, tugging at the strap that secured it to her neck. Seven! I got seven this time.

The girl, young and heavyset, sporting overly large glasses and a busted lip, stood in the middle of the foliage as opposed to the path. Her eyes alternated between the camera screen and the spot in the air that Owen had just vacated. Without meaning to, she muttered a couple awed expletives in Spanish. She really had to tune out her mother's tirades.

Aranza flipped through the images on the digital camera, stills of a young man she went to school with. Standing in the garden, suddenly amidst a prismatic maelstrom, floating dozens of feet above the ground, and finally being consumed by a swarm of small bits of folded paper before taking off. When first being assigned to the task, Aranza was not particularly pleased. The school was a horrible place to seek out any non-expendable personnel. Students with any interest in crime were brash at best and completely unusable sociopaths at worst. The few metahumans that did turn up were usually caught misusing their powers and reported to the authorities immediately. Those that actually came back to school were placed under heavy watch, and had a beaten cast to their eyes that Aranza did not think would be of use to her. Owen was the exception.

“Owen.” she whispered. The look in the eyes of the young woman could only be described as enchanted. His habits, while not particularly noteworthy at first, were noticeable. It was sheer luck that Aranza was held back after classes one day by her peers for some “tough love” that she found herself leaving shortly after Owen. Out of sheer curiosity, Aranza followed the boy only to lose him in the garden. Her curiosity piqued, Aranza spent the next several weeks waiting for him to leave late again. This time she followed more closely. The reward for her diligence was seeing Owen take off into the sky. Aranza took to trying to catch him on film.

In the following months Aranza had compiled over two-hundred photos of Owen in various states of flight. Although she had already reported his existence to Monty, the mental clone felt a certain peace while watching him. As she dusted the dirt and flowers from herself, courtesy of her hiding spot amid the taller plants, a delicious though struck Aranza:

Will I be there to capture the moment he finally falls to the ground?



Uptown Las Flores || Amaranthine Base || Early Morning




“You know the drill, Ledger: no phones.” Monty fixed the guard with a sour look.

“I am well aware, thank you.” with the petulance of someone that thought they were deserving of far better than the lot they were dealt in life, Monty handed over her phone. Both guards stepped forward with a metal detector and magnetic scanner respectively. After a few annoyingly slow passes, the all clear was given and Monty was allowed to pass in to a hundred-foot corridor that led in to the next room.

A large desk of lacquered black wood dominated the center of the otherwise featureless room. An assortment of hardcopy files were stacked on both sides of the desk, some already sorted and the others awaiting inspection. Hands folded and masked face staring ahead, Gabriel sat patiently in anticipation of Monty's latest information. An empty gesture, given the nature of their bond. It was still necessary to maintain the appearance of “lowly bookkeeper” reporting to the “paranoid enigmatic mafia lord”.

Monty took a few steps forward and leaned her backside against the edge of the desk, turning to regard the masked man with a smile.

So, Gabriel, how are things? Her mental voice was dripping with sarcasm.

The mask is itchy. Gabriel's response was curt without being rude. Monty frowned. This particular clone had assumed the role of Gabriel over a year ago and had grown increasingly taciturn with the relative isolation the role entailed. Knowing that he was in essence herself in the same position, Monty could not help but feel the faintest pang of sympathy. Very faint.

Well, I have news that you should bring to the next gathering. Monty began counting off the most recent developments on her fingers. We have located seven new metahumans who are interested in joining the Amaranthine. They shall remain nameless until properly inducted. Greystar has yet to find a counteragent to the two latest drugs on the market, meaning we can keep a few of our remaining non-compliant backers under our thumb for the moment before those bastards buy their way free of us.

The raised fingers slowly curled in to a fist as Monty had to take a brief moment to collect herself after that one. Greystar was becoming an increasingly difficult to dislodge thorn in her side. A substantial chunk of the Amaranthine's legal profit was the donated funding of a couple dozen of the wealthiest business families in Las Flores. The Amaranthine secured these payments by keeping the stupid children of the families doped up on the most dangerous drugs that could be secured, drugs that required constant dosage lest serious health risks pop up. Greystar had already provided “cures” to three of these families, and Monty would bet her left arm that they were working on others.

As I was saying. The last order of business for you to go over next meeting would be that of the MYTHIC. They have been stepping on our toes as of late, and somehow got their suppliers to to get them access to chrace a week before our own was ready for distribution.

Gabriel twitched slightly at the mention of the newest psychoactive drug to hit Las Flores, chrace. Monty felt his longing. None of the mental clones had yet tasted of chrace, so the sensation could not be shared by their neural network. A new pleasure, a new sensation. Pushing away the intrusive impulse, Gabriel nodded. If that is all...?

“I'll see myself out.”

As Monty strode through the corridor and exited the subterranean office to retrieve her things from the guards, she stiffened. One of her older clones, a bankteller, was staring down an extremely familiar power-user that had just finished disintegrating a glass panel and was now facing a Greystar operative. Monty clenched her fists so hard that she thought she would draw blood. The guards simply thought she was annoyed by the leisurely pace at which they returned her belongings.

Keep observing. I would like to know if I lose a potential asset.



The West End || Glades Park || Late Afternoon




Things are not going well for the Amaranthine, Monty reflected. Accompanied by a lanky man of afghan descent–Ismail, another mental clone–she went about the rest of her day knocking off appointments from her list. Potential recruits, payments, shipments, and loans were all handled by Monty. She had to keep up the appearance of a busy little bee for the Amaranthine. Liking the micromanagement that the disguise entailed was a perk that the dark woman had not foreseen.

Near the end of her list, Monty found that she was supposed to pay Sandra Liland today. A frown tugged at the corners of her mouth as Monty crossed the task off of the list. Sandra proved to be a far shorter lived experiment than Monty would have liked. Even if she did survive the encounter with Greystar, Sandra would be incarcerated or put under surveillance for the rest of her days. In any case, Monty would not be visiting her any more unless some miracle made the girl worth running the risk.

The last of her appointments for the day was looking into a potential recruit. Spotted a few weeks ago by one of the other gang members, the lanky little boy could purportedly create electromagnetic disturbances over a wide area. Perfect for knocking out cameras, lights, and electronic grids for quick raids. The boy, Kyle Gregson, was contacted shortly after his discovery and offered a job. Today they were to meet in a park in the lower side of town.

As she and Ismail entered the park, Monty fell back into her thoughts. Her power was crumbling as surely and inexorably as the sea wears away at the face of a cliff. The Amaranthine was growing, surely, even richer than it had ever been before. Not quickly enough, though.

The most obvious threat was of course, Greystar. If they could do here what they had done already in Europe, then this was all for naught. The only thing keeping them from overrunning the country with metahuman restrictions were a few flimsy civil-rights laws. In the meantime, the organization was making examples out of power-abusers and criminal organizations. That would be fine if they were not succeeding. Slowly, very slowly, Greystar was earning the approval of the people.

Then there was the matter of those three. The mental clones who were too smart for their own good, and in possession of bodies belonging to people influential enough to abuse their power. One had started a gang of his own, and the other two were threatening to reveal Monty for what she was unless they were afforded new positions of power.

Melrose and the Gridghost were the least of her major concerns. The new kid on the block, Melrose and her MYTHIC were causing problems all across the board. Monty felt in her bones that a demonstration would be needed to put them in their place. The Gridghost was another matter entirely. The only thing she knew of them was that they were watching almost everything in the city, courtesy of what glimpses of the strange program the ghost used that her people could catch. Which is to say, mere wisps of a presence. The only reason Gridghost was not higher on her list of concerns was the method in which Monty preferred to keep her real information to herself: Telepathy. Everything that needed to be said was being communicated in a way that the ghost would not catch anyway. Unless they could read minds. In that case, Monty was doomed anyway and would roll with the punches as they came.

“Ledger,” Ismail's thickly accented English broke Monty from her stupor. He was pointing at a wispy young man in a wheelchair up ahead. He was playing a morose tune on the violin. Ledger perked up in interest almost instantly. “Is that him?”

“I believe so. Thank you, Ismail. Go wait by the gate.” Ismail nodded once and gave the boy ahead one last glance before returning to the entrance. Short dark hair, white, skinny, and small. He matched the description to a tee. Monty strode up to September, her heels clacking on the pavement and golden bangles clinking with every step. She stood in front of the open violin case, taking in the scene with unhidden curiosity.

“Hello. I believe you desired to meet me.” Monty fixed September with a warm smile, glancing to the sides to make sure that no one was near enough to hear them. “We have been observing you for a while. So is that how you do it? The violin transmits your abilities? An odd way to use a power, but I've seen less convenient methods.”

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Central Las Flores ][ Commercial District ][ Late Afternoon



Owen hadn't been flying for long, maybe an hour or two maybe, before he was jarred from his thoughts by an arrow let loose. He knew he wasn't its intended target, the trajectory was all wrong, but he prepared to be evasive if it somehow did something out of the ordinary. It didn't, however, and pierced one of his cranes and kept arcing through the air as he flew onward, neck craning back to look at it land before looking forward again and carrying on.

Why anybody would randomly shoot one of his cranes down puzzled him, and he had half a mind to turn around and confront that person to retrieve his crane. Then again, he could always make another. Or could he? Owen wasn't entirely sure, though, and he didn't want to risk it, either. He lowered his altitude significantly, coming to a rather gusty stop over an SUV parked in an alley. It appeared to be empty, and Owen paid no mind to it either way before turning around and accelerating towards where he assumed the crane had landed.

He arrived at a fountain, just in time to see a hooded figure, whom he assumed had shot the arrow, bend over to pick the crane out of the water. He observed the figure, which he deduced was feminine enough to warrant a gender specific pronoun, and was too lost in his quizzical expression to think about hiding before she turned her glance upward at her. He remained there, frozen in his floating position and staring at her. His fight or flight responses began to trigger, causing his hair to stand on end. Whether or not he stayed or flew away as fast as he could depended on her reaction to seeing him there.

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Kilroy



Central Las Flores][31st street Bank air vents][Late Afternoon



Not a second passes and i hear the booming whirlwind outside again. That criminal can settle this with the electric one, i haven't seen a flyer since i came to this city. I dart back to the rooftop and look around for whoever went through. It's getting dark and i have a hard time telling people apart from the slowly lighting neon lights around the commercial district. There. Floating in mid-air above a plaza. I need to get to him before his foolishness gets him into trouble with the authorities. I gracefully climb down the building to fetch my smelly streetwear from the dumpster. I never knew banks had to handle such smelly garbage. A brisk walk to the alley where my SUV gives me time to think about the situation. The two people in the bank were obviously taunting judging from the tone of their shouts. The authorities might focus there faster than to the idiot floating in plain view, assuming he has been reported. I need to make sure the flyer is not her, otherwise my agenda might be compromised.
Yes, the agenda. My next human sacrifice is a judge. He will be a valuable addition to the squad. I still have time to check out the flyer before getting to work. My associates have set up a warehouse in the outskirts already. I get in my SUV, not before checking that my equipment is intact. I take a short drive to the shopping strip plaza and park my car. There he is. A few select people are already taking glances to the sky. This will not end up well unless they are distracted.
Even if that flyer is her, i need to buy some more time. Luckily i have a low-yield pipe bomb with me. Even if this might compromise my future endeavors, i set the bomb behind a commercial plaque across the street by a fashion store display window and dart past the fountain to a phone booth. People are too busy with their cozy lives to notice me. They are too gullible for their own good to take any details of me. I'm probably a hiker practicing for a triathlon. I'm probably a maintenance guy adjusting a screw behind a plaque. The authorities have assured that the criminals and mutants only roam outside the central.
I take a look at the woman sitting by the fountain, looking up. She'll be distracted soon enough, would be a shame if a piece of shrapnel would touch that finely carved body. Something seems off about her but i can't put my finger on it. She seems to be devoid of lighting even around all these neon signs and tv screens.
A few seconds later i hear an explosion, screams, shattering glass, an alarm. The explosion could have only injured about 2-5 people last time i checked. Even with grave injuries they'll live.

Living is a thing people forget to be grateful of.

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Central Las Flores | Commercial District | Late Afternoon



A presence.

Grim shivers slithered down her spine. She hadn't seen him approach, but instinctively, she could taste the salty iron that dissipated in the evening air. She took in a cool drink of oxygen. The curious taste was something she sought after - a unique smell that left a distinctive flavor on her tongue. Rarely, she could find such a beautiful scent. Immediately, she recognized the smell, the taste, the presence - a mutant. A powerful one at that.

In one swift movement she reached for her belt, wrapping her agile fingers around the smooth curvature of the custom engraved handle. The metal blade sliced through the air, stopping precisely in front of her. She sensed him there, but saw no one. It took a fraction of a second for her eyes to dart into the gloomy magenta sunset, and settle on their target- it seemed almost magnetic. So it is him. The flying one. Green eyes stared intently, filled with both curiosity and skepticism as she froze in a protective stance. It wasn't like her to solidify and arch her back like a stray cat in the eyes of a starving mutt, but something was different about this particular incident. This body that flew no more than a few feet away, it caused her great discomfort. Yet, she couldn't help but admire the sight. Every muscle in her arms stiffened and throbbed, nearly taking control in an unjustified urge to plunge the lengthy falchion into the still-beating heart of the unsettling stranger. However, she had chosen the wrong weapon, and it was far too late to swap for her bow.

And then she saw his face - the strange appearance of his almond blue eyes. Something about his gaze left her with a brooding tightness in her jaw.


Before an explanation could be given, a wave of anxiety flushed through her veins like an eradicating poison. With little time to question the strange sensation, a large flush of air whipped her hair back in a river of black threads. Heat erupted in a cloud of flames and smoke, and immediately she threw her arm over her face in a protective manner, her ears numb and ringing from the blast. Though the shock wave had passed, she struggled to pry her eyes open, the dust and bits of shrapnel still traveling through the air. Screams, crying, and of course, the rustic scent of crimson red being spilled upon the asphalt - it gummed up her senses, leaving her incapable of smelling, seeing or hearing much other than an unpleasant buz, and the thumping plea of her flustered ear drums. Had this been an attack on MYSTIC? Perhaps she should leave in the eruption of pandemonium. It was quite a veil, after all, and in contempt of her endeavor, she was incapable of fighting in her current state.

Still, though.

She slithered through the foggy clouds of smoke, climbing onto a commercial building - just tall enough to escape the chaos and clear her burning lungs.

That taste.