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Jaida Knowls

Looking for a chance to redeem herself...

0 · 594 views · located in Modern Fantasy

a character in “Branches of Power”, as played by FizzGig

Description

Jaida Knowls
Image
"SYNOPSIS"


Profile

Name: Jaida Knowls

Nickname: Jay

School: Alchemy

Race: Human

Age: 23

Gender: Female

Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual

Theme Song: "You're Not Alone" by Saosin


Details

Hair: White and straight, hangs just below the ears

Facial Hair: None

Eyes: Emerald green

Build: Lean build, with modest, proportioned curves

Skin Tone: Transleuscently pale

Height: 5’7’’

Weight: 130 lbs

Handed: Ambidextrous

Body Markings: Runic tramp stamp (on her tail bone). Rune marking over her heart.

Scar Tissue: None


Clothes

Head None


Neck None


Chest Usually wears something with a high neck, whether it be a shirt or her leather jacket.


Back Same


Arm/Shoulder Same


Right Hand Tattoed with a single rune mark


Left Hand None


Right Accessory Silver thumb ring


Left Accessory None


Waist Other than her shirt, she does wear a belt that she often hangs herbs or other ingredients off of.


Legs Dark-wash denim slacks, usually. Never wears shorts.


Feet Leather combat boots, or hiking boots



Weapons

Primary Weapon
Weapon Name: ‘Short Stop’

Weapon Type: Long-ranged crossbow

Material: Carved elm, reinforced with iron fixtures

Ammo: Metal-tipped arrows dipped in various concocted potions

Length: Three and a half feet from tip to tip

Weight: Ten pounds

Weapon Description/Info: The weapon is built like a standard cross-bow, with a stop-lock and trigger system. Meant to be held parallel to the ground, the bow has two hand-holds, one meant for the trigger, the other to stabilize the weapon. The wood is dark elm, with rustic iron fixtures that give the weapon an archaic look. Arrows are two feet, with weighted metal tips, and accented with black feathers. Tips can be dipped in poison or any sort of potion Jaida selects.

Secondary Weapon
Weapon Name: ‘My girls’

Weapon Type: Twin stiletto knives

Material: Stainless Steel

Ammo: None

Length: Six inch blade, twelve inches from hilt to tip

Weight: One and a half pounds

Weapon Description/Info: Two simple stiletto knives, with characteristic blade-shape and pitch-fork style guards that extend out to either side of the center blade in a ‘u’ shape.



Bio

Marital Status Single


Relatives Her mother, Elleanore Knowls, and her father, Roderick Knowls, currently residing in the place of her birth. Alive and well. No siblings to speak of.


Birthplace A largely populated village some two hundred miles away from the school, grew up spending most of her time in the natural preserves


Occupation Apothecary assistant


Bio/History
Born to a well-meaning middle class family, Jaida Knowls grew up with all the support and care an only child could ask for. She didn’t get along with other kids growing up, however, gaining an affinity for working with plants and preferring their company to that of other kids her age. Not for want of social skills, however, but for the simple fact that Jaida was not good ‘friend’ material.

She was too much of a snark, had too much attitude, and thought herself better than others for a little while. What friends she did have grew distant, and her parents eventually pulled away, unwilling to fight with their head-strong child about simple things like doing homework and going to bed on time.

Jaida got mixed up with a bad crowd during her secondary educational years. She loved the heady rush of doing things outside the scope of the law, and used her newfound alchemic talent to create substances that essentially gave her friends a high. One night, a friend went out and didn’t wake up, and while Jaida wasn’t blamed for his death, she did serve two years in a penitentiary. This is where she perfected her skills with concoctions and potions, having more than enough time to study.

After her release, she started to pick her life back up, working with an apothecary and earning more of her training that way. She cleaned up her act, worked on her attitude, and started to make a respectable name for herself.

That was about when Lily came in and messed it all up for her.

.

So begins...

Jaida Knowls's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hanzo Susanoo Character Portrait: Roger Lorry Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Lily Crishon Character Portrait: David Young
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#, as written by Basta
Branches of Power-The Beginning


This was it. Her first recruit. Lily Crishon attempted to look normal, sipping her tea and casually glancing over the passersby, but inside she was wound up tighter than a rubber band ball. Any one of them could be the government agent, a fact that made her even more nervous. What did this person look like? Were they here with backup? Too many variables were unaccounted for and she didn't like it.

Less than three months ago, Lily had been a part of a crazy, Goddess worshiping cult that wanted to take over the world. When she'd found out, she bailed faster than a sprinter off of the starting line. Of course they tried to track her down, but after losing four agents to her, they just decided to deal with her when the time came, if ever. Bad choice on their part.

As soon as she left, Lily started spreading fliers and job offers, informing any one who would listen that she wanted to train up an elite group of mages to combat an "evil rival faction of bastards", as she called it. Disclosing the true intent of the cult would only cause them to re-locate and go underground, ruining her chances of finding them. Last week she hit pay dirt when she opened a mysterious e-mail from someone she'd never heard of before. The message inside was simple.

"Is the offer still open?" Of course she'd replied in the affirmative. Lily wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to get someone to her cause. The next day, another e-mail arrived, this time stating that a high ranking government official was interested in working for her. They'd asked for a time and place to meet. Being a bit suspicious, Lily told them to meet her in two days at her favorite café in her new hometown, Fagiolo Birrai, at three PM. The name always made her chuckle a bit, but they had the best coffee in town. That, plus home field advantage was always nice to have.

Lily pulled her long-coat closer around her body, trying to hide Holimel's Eye. While most people weren't unfamiliar with magical artifacts, the mundane human being still acted wary around those that possessed them. One never knew when such a device might backfire and explode. She didn't want to scare away this newcomer after all, seeing as to how they would be her first recruit if they met the bill. Just as she looked down to check Holimel's Eye for the time, someone plopped into the chair opposite her which caused Lily to jump and swear loudly.

"My, my...A bit skittish are we?" chuckled the man. "Lorry, Roger Lorry. At your service," he declared, as if he expected her to gasp in surprise and begin to fawn over him. Lily simply raised an eyebrow at her guest, saying nothing. When she finally did open her mouth, she simply muttered something under her breath and looked at the man intensely. After a minute, she frowned and tried again. Lorry smirked at her, as if he knew something painfully obvious that she didn't. After she tried a third time, he made a small amused sound and put his hand on hers. Before she could recoil and smack him, a small trickle of energy seeped into her arm, causing her eyes to widen.

"Satisfied?" he asked with that same cocky grin. "There's not many of us around, Lily Crishon. I think you'd like to have someone with my talents on your side. However, before we go any further, let's talk...Rewards. I don't work for free, after all." Lily frowned at Roger, but still said nothing. She mulled it over in her head for a second, her eyes wandering over his form absentmindedly. Finally, she sighed and pulled out her wallet.

"How much?" Roger regarded her cooly for a moment, then replied with "Two hundred thousand a month." Lily's eyes practically boggled out of her head as her mouth spluttered and grunted, uncomprehending. That was more money than she'd ever seen in her life! How was she gonna pay him such an exorbitant fee? Lorry couldn't keep a straight face any longer, however, and he guffawed at her expression.

"I'm joking! Five thousand a month will more than cover my bill. Your expression was priceless though! When do we start?" Desperately restraining herself from jumping the table and strangling the man, Lily shook her head and exhaled through her nose, trying to calm herself.

"Now. You get your government fingers onto the Internet and find anything you can about other magically gifted people. Come to my place when you get your equipment. It's on Fiore che Sboccia street. The third floor, fifth door on the right. Big stone apartment building, you can't miss it. I'll leave the door unlocked."

Lorry nodded and unfolded himself from his chair, stretching out the kinks in his legs and sauntering away. Lily quickly made her way home, setting up a good area to meditate in her living room. Just as she was about to settle in, Roger budged the door open and dumped a steel suitcase onto the floor, letting out a breath he'd been holding.

"Just set up anywhere, then? Right. I'll be here in the kitchen," he stated, more to himself than anyone else. Lily ignored him and plucked Holimel's Eye out of its socket. Letting out a deep sigh, she allowed herself to tune into the magical device, plugging herself into the Ley Line that ran under the street next to her and let her mind expand itself along the entirety of the system.

Over the next 36 hours, Lily and Roger worked diligently, using their respective talents to compile a decent list of potential candidates. They narrowed the list from hundreds to twenty, and ultimately to the final six.

"So, we've got a Necromancer, one David Young, a Conjurer named Hanzo Susanoo, an Elementalist named Isabel Fayth...pretty name...Two Alchemists, Jaida Knowls and Rita Satome respectively, and a Blood mage named Zhang Xiao. Everyone else was either too far off to make it worth it or not talented enough, huh? I guess it'll have to do. Let's get moving, Lily. We've got a lot of work ahead of us.

First on the list, David Young, wasn't hard to track down once they knew his name. Lily and Roger attended Sunday Mass, waiting until all of his "flock" had left before they approached him. While skeptical of Lily's so called cult, he was more attentive when Roger let slip that he knew David was a Necromancer. Since it wasn't exactly common knowledge, he concluded (correctly) that these two strangers either had a lot of power, or were telling the truth. Since the first option didn't make much sense taking into account Lily's story, he told them that once he'd arranged a replacement Father for the church, he'd accompany them. Lily handed David a plane ticket for the end of the month and told him that she'd come to pick him up from the airport in Italy at the appointed time.

Next, they hunted down Isabel Fayth. Likewise, knowing her name put her up on a registry for a bar. The duo ordered a pitcher each, and a bowl of peanuts. When Izzy brought out their order, she caught a glimpse of a stack of papers that Lorry was leafing through with her name and photo on it. Roger had figured that this girl would be very down to earth, and possibly a bit cynical, so he figured the best way to get her co-operation was to show her that they knew everything about her, but were still willing to ask for her help. Isabel was of course on her guard and more than a little bit confrontational towards Lily and Lorry, as expected. She calmed down a bit when Lily pulled out Holimel's Eye and showed her that she was similarly a mage. Lily explained why they needed her help, with Lorry helpfully interjecting that it was a paying job. He named monthly salary with a four figure sum almost double what she made in her current job. Isabel turned in her two weeks notice on the spot. Lily produced another plane ticket, repeating the instructions that she'd given David.

Jaida Knowls was the next one in their sights. Her shop was harder to find, since it was one of those hole-in-the-wall places, but find it they did. Jaida proved to be one of the more striking individuals that Lily had the fortune to meet up with, what with her pale complexion and white hair. Still, she looked good spirited enough. Jaida didn't seem to be much of a conversationalist, but Lily wasn't surprised since she was asking the other woman to pack up all her things and just go with a complete stranger, on an unknown mission that may or may not cost her her life, so all things considered the Alchemist was quite friendly. Still, it took a bit of negotiating (and some legal background hint-dropping by Lorry) to convince the girl to come with them. While Lily didn't like strong-arming someone into a potentially deadly situation, she needed this woman. Lily planned to make it up to her later...somehow. After it was all said and done, Jaida had decided to accompany them instead of taking the plane route.

Saotome Sundries came up as their following destination. They made quite a name for themselves in the world of potions and poultices, but Lily hoped that Rita wouldn't be one of those types that believed she was too good for adventuring. Roger and Lily had tried to brainstorm a way to get this girl on their side, but their salvation came from a direction they weren't expecting. Jaida started chatting Rita up about various alchemical techniques and methods, warming the other girl for Lily and Roger's approach. Lily appealed to Rita's desire to improve herself, claiming that she'd improve another hundred fold in her time with their group. Lorry touted Lily's imaginary fountain of wealth, claiming that Rita would get paid compensation for having to leave her business and mother behind. In the end, why Rita decided to join were known only to her, but she agreed. Lily gave her the now standard plane ticket and explained what was expected of her.

Zhang Xiao, daugher to the famed Vice Commander Hetaigo Xiao was deceptively hard to track down. After Vice Commander Xiao died, his wife and children fell upon his earthly goods like carrion animals, leaving nothing for his youngest. Luckily she was well known in the city, and the trio traced her to an inn downtown. Zhang, after having lived on her own for a year, had hardened up and was a little belligerent towards them, however when they offered her a chance to gain back the riches she'd had before plus interest, as well as a journey to prove her strength to herself and the world, she changed her tune. Xiao, having very little in the way of worldly possessions, took up travels with Lily's growing crew.

The last man on the list, and certainly the hardest to locate, was the mysterious Conjurer, Hanzo Susanoo. They decided that the most plausible way to find an assassin was to put out a hit request, however, and that's just what they did. Roger Lorry subtly spread a rumor that someone was looking for a man named Haze and wanted to kill him. Lorry left an address at each place he visited, hoping that one of them would do business with the shadow man at some point. Apparently, word didn't take long to travel, as the next night one of the wards that Lily had rigged up in their temporary staying place alerted her of an intruder. Lily got a lucky shot on Haze with Holimel's Eye, catching him off guard and giving her enough time to convince him that he wasn't really wanted dead. Quite the opposite, actually. Lily explained that she wanted someone of his talents to accompany her on her journey to stop a crazy cult from destroying the world. Haze accepted immediately, simply because he had nothing better to do with his time. While surprised, Lily was pleased that she didn't have another person to owe exorbitant amounts of money to.

Finally, the time came to unite everyone and get started. While each of them were gifted in their own way, they still weren't a coherent team and they all had room to grow. Once back in Italy, Lily hijacked a large flatbed truck and picked up the remaining three members of her new group from the airport. The ride to her hidden castle was long, boring and dusty, but the view of the Italian countryside was beautiful. As she pulled into the tunnel that led to the front gates, she explained that she discovered this place during her search for everyone, and that it was ideally located in the center of a square of the Ley Line gridwork. The tunnel went under the hilly environment, occasionally opening up to show the sky or to allow in a small stream.

As Lily parked the truck, she told everyone to find a room in the castle and get settled, but to watch out for bugs or snakes, as the place hadn't been cleared completely yet. The group took the time to stretch and unload all their cargo, filing one by one into the castle.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by FizzGig
Well, wasn't this a haphazard adaptation of the 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'?

Sprawled in the back of the truck, using her one duffle bag as a pillow, with the other resting across her lap, Jaida lay dozing, surprisingly comfortable in the cramped, contained quarters that smelled of rust, dust, and sweat. It had been a long time since she'd shared such close company with other people, having run an apothecary on her own for the last three years or so. If people talked, she wasn't paying attention, if people spoke directly to her, well...she guessed they were a tad S.O.L. The traveling had really taken a lot out of her, and being chronically anemic certainly didn't help her in this scenario, so she looked for opportunities to rest when and wherever she could. Some called it lazy, she called it necessary.

She looked at the sky through slitted lids, enjoying the way the clouds and blue sky played across her vision. It was like a dream come true, almost. She'd always wanted to travel, and now that she had a legitimate excuse, it made it worthwhile. Nevermind the fact that she was trying to save the world. Thinking of it as a vacation made the idea seem less exhausting.

It also made her feel less irritated about the way she'd been roped into these goddamned shennanigans in the first place.

She glanced up as the bell tolled the entrance of another customer. Putting on her polite, welcoming smile, Jaida stepped out from the back room, her hands smudged with dirt. Her eyes went round when she spotted the pair standing shoulder-to-shoulder near the customer service desk, both of their eyes fixed intently on her.

"Something I can help you folks with?" she asked, doing her best not to appear guarded. Innocent until proven guilty, Jaida. Don't jump to conclusions...


Long story short, the pair knew a lot more about her than she was comfortable with. No stranger should have been able to dictate some of her more regrettable past events, and use them as a bargaining chip to sign her up for some war she didn't even realize she was supposed to be a part of. For the record, she'd signed up for Lily's sake, not for that bastard Lorry's.

In hind site, Jaida was glad that she'd come along. She'd met Rita that way, as well as a handful of other people, and it felt really good to be in the company of men and women who were talented, gifted with magic, who had similar interests and who didn't think of her as some kind of a freak with a plant fetish. Her only condition was that everyone keep their space, that she be allowed to have her own privacy. She didn't come out here to make friends after all, she'd come out here to help with a good cause.

She just hoped Lily knew what she was doing. She certainly had a lot of trust in the six of them, if she thought they were going to be able to single-handedly stop the end of the world.

The sky disappeared, replaced by monotonous black tunnel that flew by overhead. Jaida sat up then, scooting her numb behind closer to the duffel bag, and took a look around. Found this place by accident, Lily had said. She had some rotten good luck.

When the truck finally pulled to a stop, Jaida was the first to grab her duffel bags, swinging her legs over the side of the truck before sliding to the ground with a audible 'thump'. Whistling to herself, she glanced back over her shoulder to Rita, offering a slight smile before gesturing towards the castle with her chin.

"We should take up our own wing, Alchemist. Otherwise we'll stink all the others out with our brews." Her eyes flickered to Lily, to see if she approved or disapproved of this alliance formation of sorts.

Needless to say, it seemed as though the woman had taken a liking to the other potion-master.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roger Lorry Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Lily Crishon Character Portrait: Zhang Xaio Character Portrait:
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Zhang Xiao was quite surprised to find herself tracked down, she hadn't had much luck with work and was beginning to fear that she would lose herself in the depression of deep poverty. Yet here there was a white woman telling her that she wanted her to go work for her, and it sounded like something that was very dangerous. She tried to refuse the woman, deep inside her she did not want to go and felt she could not trust this woman. Yet as the prospects of money and a place to prove herself came forth, Zaisu began to tighten around her neck. She might have refused if it weren't for that, but she knew better than to refuse her companion. Zaisu settled her indecision, and she knew that she was giving up her fate to the winds of fate. There was only one last thing...

Words are weak, contracts are fallible, yet blood is true, Xiao said these words softly as she reached for a dinner knife, as she slid the blade over her palm she showed no signs of pain, for the caress of a blade was something intimately familiar to her. "By my blood, I serve this contract, and by your word I am your soldier till a time that you prove yourself false or should speak words to release me." She felt that was enough, as long as they paid her in cash and didn't turn out to be the evil cult they claimed they would stop, she would be loyal. It was as things should be.

Xiao, as she favored being called, was truly daunted by the beginnings of their trip and by the sheer resources of her new employer. She had never been hired for any major task like this, and she allowed herself to fall into a childish awe. Silence took her, and she responded only when being spoken to for the remainder of her trip. Her emerald eyes constantly studying Lily Crishon and Roger Lorry, wondering what their motives might be, wondering how many of their words were lies and what few might contain twisted truths.

As they arrived in Italy, Xiao realized just how far away from home she really was. In this beautiful landscape, she though of how truly massive the world really was. The castle looked derelict to her eyes, a worn down relic of another era, but that might simply be the level of care that Europeans gave to their ancestors. The tunnel felt cold and as they came to a stop she had already shifted her legs against her chest for a bit of warmth. She got out of the flatbed last, standing quietly as the others started to head inside. She found it a little difficult to accept that they would be staying in a place like this, but perhaps it was better that they remain in a place hidden from the public view.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by FizzGig
“Sounds like someone wants the penthouse suite.” Jaida said good-naturedly, glancing back to Rita with a steadily growing smile. Funny, back in her old town, alchemists tended to be competitive for business, barely sparing others in the trade a polite smile. It was a wicked, cut-throat business to get into. However, here with Rita, working towards a similar goal without the idea of earning funds in mind, everything was far more casual. It was just easier.

Jaida could do what she liked to do without the stress of dealing with other, more competitive personalities. She was sure that if she kept her head down, she wouldn’t be met with much trouble. In Rita she’d found a kindred spirit. It wasn’t hard to be friends with someone who shared several interests.

She had her own, military-styled duffle that was just about as big as she was. Inside, the clinking of glass bottles could be heard, along with the familiar shuffle of fabric on fabric. Slowing her pace to match that of the other woman, the pair made their way up to the castle at an even pace, keeping to themselves, allowing others to pass them as they wished.

For a few minutes, Jaida said nothing, appraising the antiquity of the old building before them. If Rita was trying to give off the appearance of light-loving, air-hogging alchemists, then this certainly wasn’t the best place to give the impression. Still, she figured that the pair of them could figure something out that was to both of their liking. Making her way up the stone steps to the front entrance, Jaida lifted a foot, nudging the large door inward before stepping inside the massive stone foyer.

High arching ceilings, a candelabra that looked like it could have seen better days, with tapestries, portraits, and pedastals containing ancient, unknown busts lining the walls, Jaida felt like she’d walked into the middle of a museum, where the aged of society spent the last years of their lives reminiscing over things that could not be changed, wondering over the bygones and worrying about the achievements of their life. In the presence of so much history, it wasn’t hard for Jaida to suddenly feel very young, and very inexperienced.

“I smell mothballs…” she said under her breath, wrinkling her nose before turning left down a long stretch of hallway. “Rita, I think there are stairs up this way…”

Sure enough, roughly three-hundred yards down, there was a spiral staircase that extended upwards toward one of the towers that served as a foundational corner of the castle. With a wide grin, Jaida began the ascent, occasionally glancing back to her new room-mate to make sure that she was keeping up okay. Before alchemy, Jaida had been a very active individual. Active, meaning, a street-fighter, someone with a criminal record she was trying to anull. So, physical activity wasn’t far beyond her endurance level.

At the top of the staircase was a wooden door, much like the castle of Rapunzel. This door, like the one downstairs, creaked and groaned but gave in rather easily, giving way to a room that was large, circular, and very open to the morning air. Dust-streaked sunlight poured through four open windows placed at each of the compass points. And the room was large enough to house two sets of furniture.

“This is fabulous,” Jaida said with widened eyes. “What say we move this stuff up against the walls and open up the floor space for our little factory of mixed goods, hm?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"Never. Again." Rita panted as she pulled her massive silver trunk through the open wooden door. A thin sheen of sweat was apparent on the young alchemist. Unlike her counterpart Jaida, despite being slim, Rita was most definitely out of shape; she wasn't active before nor after taking up the art of alchemy. If anything, being cooped up in a basement with books and brews possibly made her body even more lethargic, if possible.

Taking a few moments to catch her breath, Rita took a quick survey of their potential room. It was a rather large and circular room with four large windows set spaciously apart from each other. This was the perfect room for the two of them to stay in.

"I wonder though." Rita stated as she pulled her bag and trunk against one of the walls, quickly noting that, despite the space, the room lacked furniture of any sort. "That Lily girl mentioned something big happening. I just worry that, if we have to travel often, whether or not we can afford setting up here."

Looking at the heavy metal trunk propped against the wall, Rita made a small note that she'd rather not have to drag it up and down the ridiculous stairs more than once.

"We might also need to do something about finding sleeping accommodations..." Rita mused, once again noting the lack of furnishings.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by FizzGig
Jaida took a turn, glancing around the room with slightly narrowed eyes. “You make a good point, however, I’m sure there’s a few anti-gravitational concoctions we could whip up in the blink of an eye.”

She wondered why she hadn’t thought of that before subjecting Rita to the torturous climb up the spiral staircase. Deciding to let that one go, the woman turned to the wall, observing one of the massive tapestries that hung between the windows.

“Funny,” she noted, glancing back at the other woman. “I seem to remember the tower being larger from the outside.” She walked towards the tapestry, fingering the worn edge before tearing it aside. It was heavy, thick with dust that showered the woman in a cloud. She squinted through the mess, resisting the urge to sneeze or cough as she looked at the stone wall behind it. There was a massive brass knocker, almost like a door knob, fixed to the cobbled surface.

“Rita!” Jaida stepped aside to show the other alchemist the doorway. “Think the furniture might be in here?”

Or bodies. Or perhaps a perilous drop to the ground below?

“Help me pull this open,” she insisted, grasping the brass handle and proceeding to tug.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roger Lorry Character Portrait: Michael Vizi Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Rita held onto her shoulder as she swung her arm around in small circles, seemingly preparing herself for the physical activity. Grasping onto the handle, Rita noted the smooth furnish and style. The castle, or at least this section of it, was quite obviously old.

Before Rita gave an actual tug, however, a shrill noise echoed throughout the castle, making the dark haired alchemist cringe with sensitivity.

"Ugh... D-did you hear that?" Rita said, opening a single eye to look about the room. "I dunno what it is, but let's go check it out. We'll deal with this door later." Grabbing onto Jaida's wrist, Rita pulled the girl along out the room and down the long spiral stairs. However, with Rita's obviously inactive lifestyle, Jaida quickly overcame her until it seemed like Rita was holding on just to catch up.

Arriving outside, the two alchemists noticed that the rest of Lily's comrades had gathered together as they seemed to side against a well dressed blond haired man. The man seemed to be tapping into a larger source of energy that gathered quickly around a deck of cards he was holding. In a bout of surprise however, Rita watched as a black bolt of energy erupted from the deck to strike the man Rita remembered as 'Lorry'. Despite the rather impressive display of power, however, the magic seemed to fizzle against him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Michael Vizi Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Lily Crishon Character Portrait: Isabel Fayth Character Portrait:
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#, as written by FizzGig
Jaida was in the process of attempting to give a mighty tug on the large brass ring, when the sudden, shrill noise had the woman cringing, with one ear pressing uncomfortably to her shoulder. Gritting her teeth, and peering around the room through narrowed eyes, she was about to make a comment on it when Rita beat her to the punch, grasping her wrist and tugging her out of the room and on down the spiral staircase.

The pair stumbled upon the gathering of the ‘chosen’, with Lily and Lorry standing at the center, facing off against a figure she didn’t recognize. Hmm, there were more people here than she’d originally anticipated. The cards that floated around the stranger figure radiated a unique, pulsating energy that actually put Jaida on edge.

She’d never been a fan of black magic.

She held her breath as Michael finally started to march after Lily, hesitating and standing off to one side, closer to Lorry and Izzy as the angry black magician stalked away.

“So, “ She said to no one in particular, “What stick got rammed up that guy’s ass?”

And not just him, it seemed as though everyone down here was tense about something.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hanzo Susanoo Character Portrait: Roger Lorry Character Portrait: Michael Vizi Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Lily Crishon
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#, as written by Basta
While waiting for everyone to assemble, Lily went over scenarios in her head. She wanted to word things just right, without making things seem too grim, but she also didn't want to sugarcoat anything. They were in this together, for good or for ill. Her reverie was broken as both Isabel and Zhang popped up next to her.

"I heard your call. That was the signal for us to gather up, or did I misinterpret this? I need to ask for help, when we are done with this gathering." piped Xaio. Nodding absentmindedly, the older woman kept scanning the group as they arrived. To Isabel, she held up a finger to ask for a moment. All would be explained once she was sure they were all there. Lily cleared her throat and adjusted her hat.

"I have some news, both good and bad," she stated matter-of-factly. Mentally she winced at the cliché line, but kept going. "You all know that you're here for an important task, but I want to make it doubly clear. We are here to stop the end of our existence. It won't be an easy task...Hell, it'll probably be the hardest thing anyone has ever done, but it's up to us. You all are the cream of the crop, or have the potential to be."

Lily paused for a moment to gather her thoughts. "First, a warning. I would say that if you don't think you can do it, you may leave...But you can't. Not because I'm telling you that you can't, but simply that if you leave now, everyone will die. Second, your best won't be good enough. Not on its own. We all have to be the best. 'Cause you see, our enemy isn't just this cult. It isn't just a group of crazy mages with insane power. It's that, as well as a Goddess! I don't mean the empty deities that people worship in temples, but a real being with real, infinite power. Well, nigh infinite, actually. The cult of Caernavon is researching a way to bind their Goddess into a mortal shell. If that happens, they will have access to all her destructive power and it'll all be over. In case none of you have researched into obscure occult gods, Caernavon happens to be the Big Boss. Her weapons are Pestilence, Plague and Death, and believe me, she will know how to use them."

Her allies shifted uneasily as her speech went on. Lily frowned slightly, realizing that she was painting a bleak and hopeless picture for them. "Don't worry though! The cultists are only humans, and humans make mistakes. Their first one was letting me in and then not hunting me down when I left. We won't let them make a second. However, in order to stop them, we have to train. They won't be as cohesive as we will. The cultists will be a group of individuals, easily divided...easily slaughtered. We will be one unit, a thresher to their wheat. When I'm done with us, we will be the ones that they will fear!"

Her voice rose in pitch as she neared the end of her pep talk, oozing emotion and confidence. Lily fully believed that this group of eight, maybe nine, could become something more, and she made sure they knew of her faith.

"Today, rest and get set up, because we start tomorrow, bright and early. We'll have to fix up the castle, get supplies, set up training areas. It's going to be an involved task, so prepare yourselves.That's all I have for you."

Lily allowed the group to disperse as it pleased, some breaking into pairs, others alone. After a while, she turned to Xaio to see what the girl needed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hanzo Susanoo Character Portrait: Roger Lorry Character Portrait: Michael Vizi Character Portrait: Jaida Knowls Character Portrait: Rita Saotome Character Portrait: Lily Crishon
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#, as written by Basta
After hours of tossing and turning, Lily gave up trying to get any rest for the night. In the two weeks that her group had been 'training', progress was little. There were still pieces of the castle in disrepair, the electricity was faulty, and worst of all, her crew still hadn't improved much! Their abilties may have progressed some, but function as a unit, they did not. Lily had been searching in ever widening circles for a test of some sort for the past couple days, and just the night before, she'd found it. A small hamlet, isolated like the castle, had been taken over by a group of mages. They'd slaughtered most of the inhabitants, using the remaining live ones as playthings and experiments.

Throwing on her traveling coat, Lily strode briskly to the main courtyard and whistled shrilly, once and then again after a few seconds. She didn't much care if she was disturbing their precious night's sleep. If Lily wasn't sleeping tonight, neither was anyone else. She took to pacing and muttering under her breath as the rest started to arrive, making her displeasure known.

"Ok since everyone's here, I'll make this quick. You've not been improving...at least, not in the ways I need you to. So we're gonna take a field trip and get some real life testing done. There's a small town to our southeast that's been taken over by hostile mages. We're gonna take it back. Now, some things to remember while we're there. We are a team, and that means we work like one. Use each other's strengths and cover each other's weaknesses. I don't want to see anyone by themselves, and whatever gods you pray to so help me, if one of us gets hurt because someone else wasn't covering them, I'll make you regret the day of your conception!"

Lily stopped herself for a moment, massaging her temples. The last thing she needed was to get angry and lecture these men and women like they were children, but it was hard.

"In the last two weeks, you've all improved individually quite well, but you're still individuals! The culties are individuals too, but there's more of them then us. In order to counteract that, we have to be one unit. I've said all this before, but you didn't seem to take it to heart. Well here's your chance to prove yourselves to each other. You fight together...or die alone. Suit up and meet me at the flatbed in ten minutes," finished Lily with a growl. The end of the world wasn't going to go easy on anyone, and neither would she. These were grown ass adults, and Lily wasn't about to pussyfoot around to spare their feelings. She couldn't afford to.

As soon as everyone was on-board, Lily slammed the heap into gear and took off. The hamlet was about a seventy miles from the castle, so they had to go pretty quick to make good time. About two miles out, the truck puttered out and died. After a couple minutes trying to revive the beast, Lily gave up and had everyone simply take their gear on the march. It'd be stealthier this way anyways. On the outskirts of the village, Lily stopped them.

"We do this quiet like as for as long as possible. Once the alarm goes up, stick together unless otherwise instructed. Remember, under NO circumstance should anyone get separated. Ok, move out."

The moon shone dimly from behind the cloud cover, providing a decent atmosphere for their work.