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Nicoletta Celeste Ardente

"I often find myself thinking that my life might just be easier if I were to isolate myself from everyone I love, so they don't get hurt."

0 · 208 views · located in Manus Luna

a character in “From Light to Shadow”, originally authored by Jakuri-chan, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
Image


Role: Ignis

Gender: Female
Nickname(s)/Alias(es): Nico, Cole, and Letta
Age: 16
Love Interest: ”I’m not interested in dating.”

Appearance: Nicoletta is a rather slender figured young woman, her form is slight. She’s not too tall nor is she too short, simply, her height is average whilst her body weight falls on the low end of what is considered healthy, so she is built to match her height to weight ratio. Despite being of a somewhat healthy weight, Nicoletta looks like she weighs less than what she really does due to the fact that her body build focuses her weight more into her hips, giving her a very lithe, and slender pear shaped body. She has a figure, but she is slightly on the flat-chested side, so what build her body possesses is mostly only notable by the transition from her thin waist to her hips. Because more of her weight is focused at her hips than anywhere else, Letta has a bit of a bony appearance. Her ribcage is clearly visible through her skin, her collar bones seem to nearly stick out of her skin while her wrists and hands are thin little things.

Because of how she grew up, Nicoletta’s got a few scars on her body from the usual, mundane childhood happenings—falling, tripping or having small accidents. Her parents were loving in regards to her, and her siblings treated her well, so she doesn’t have any markings or scars from anything like abuse. Really, the only places on her skin that are marred are areas on her right hand from developing blisters and calluses from writing too much, discolorations on her knees and elbows from the times she fell or scraped up her joints. Though, from just looking at her, it’s pretty apparent that Nicoletta’s never had to do hard labor in her life to get by, even if she has some mild scars upon her body, they are nothing truly noteworthy, and overall, she looks like a normal young woman with fair skin.

Due to her rather low body weight, Nicoletta is a girl who possesses a rather slim face really, but it still has some baby fat on it, so she looks every bit of her age of a mere sixteen, if not younger. You can make out her cheekbones, but they’re not very defined due to her face still being a little bit round like a child’s, overall, her facial features are rather childlike when you give her a good looking over. She has a small nose, and large grey eyes that really stick out against her rather light colored flesh, and a small mouth as well. Her cheeks are often flush with a healthy bit of color, gained from the time she spends outside in the sun.

Her slightly round face is framed by her blonde hair due to how it’s kept. Falling to just below her shoulder blades, Nicoletta has thick and wavy blonde hair, similar in texture to her father’s, which she tends to keep parted in the middle of her head. Normally, she’s found keeping it back in this kind of weird style, leaving a bit of her hair free on each side of her head, Nicoletta allows those parts to frame her face while pulling the rest of her hair back into a ponytail, having braids woven into her hair on the sides of her head that end as soon as her hair is secured in the back. In truth, it’s rather rare to actually find Nicoletta letting her hair down at all, as she seems to prefer to keep it up so that it doesn’t really get in the way.

As far as Nicoletta’s expressions go . . . she’s pretty ordinary, in a way. She’s someone who cannot hide how she is feeling from the world at all, every sentiment she feels is fully displayed upon her face, from happiness to anger to sadness. If there is anything she cannot escape from—it’s the fact that everyone is privy to how she’s feeling. Really though, her face is rather lively when you think about it, the fact that she’s such an expressive girl gives Nicoletta the appearance of someone who is just full of spirit and vigor. She smiles, laughs, frowns, pouts, glares and grimaces like every normal girl does in the world, at her heart, Nicoletta is like every other girl in her age range. Her smiles are sweet, her sullen expressions are heart moving, and her glares are bone chillingly potent.

Overall, Nicoletta is a somewhat small girl who really just looks pretty ordinary.

Preferred Clothing: What you see is what you get—Nicoletta tends to wear whatever she feels comfortable in, and that being said, you’ll normally find her in some odd getup of a dress with something over it, leggings, boots and a long coat over it. She hates showing skin, so no matter what she’s wearing, you’re not likely to see much out of her.

Height: 5 ft 2 ins (157.5 cm)
Weight: 100 lbs (45 kg)
Measurements: 34-23-35 (86-58-88)
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Steel Grey

Personality: Defining her personality in a few words, Nicoletta is a young woman who is persistent, understanding and honest. She’s not exactly unique in the aspects that define her person, but Nicoletta is simply as she is, she is human and because of this, she has human emotions like everyone else in the world, but how she expresses these traits and such are what set her apart from other people. While most people in the world hold their emotions back, as well as any thoughts or opinions that would potentially irk or rub someone else the wrong way, Nicoletta does not at all do this. The opinions of others do nothing to defer her and her feelings—she claims though, that this is not intentional. Nicoletta says that she doesn’t hold back her sentiments or beliefs because she is simple minded, and that she does not at all think about what she is going to say in some situations when she gets fired up about something. If she feels the need to say something, then it’ll happen, her mouth will fly open and something will come out of it. . . .

The fact that she tends to just say whatever comes to mind rather than think about it first, is something she’s trying to work on, because she knows having such a loose jaw can get her into sticky situations in the coming days if she doesn’t watch it. But really, she’s not a bad person, she just happens to be on the clueless side of things at times. At the same time, she’s also very much a hardheaded young lady, even if she’s not thinking about what she is saying when she’s fired up, often enough the things she says reflect her views and are really what she feels. Honestly though, some of her views are so simple that Nicoletta really seems like she might be naïve and silly, it sounds like she has very little life experience to back up what she feels. This is true, Nicoletta is a rather naïve girl in many aspects. While her life hasn’t always been normal, and she has had a few experiences in it that set her apart from others, she is still lacking in a lot. There are many situations she’s never had to face first hand, and as such, she doesn’t really know how she should handle them. Still, despite her lack of experience, Nicoletta does her best and often sticks to what she says about it. And, if she feels like she doesn’t know what to say or do, she’ll simply provide a shoulder to cry on or lend an ear to someone who might need to just vent.

With all of this in mind, Nicoletta is also a girl who has a rather odd temperament—that being said, she’s naïve in a way, and also simple minded in a sense, she also has an odd way of going about how she gets angry. There are not a lot of things that get her angry, but the things that do push her berserk buttons set her off in a snap, to say it simply, she has utterly no patience for the things that tick her off. That simple mind of hers will break upon the first bit of irksomeness and she’ll go on a tangent more than likely. . . .

But still, she is naïve and silly in regards to a lot of things, and because of this, she seems rather lighthearted compared to other people when it comes to dealing with serious stuff.

Because of her naïveté, Nicoletta comes to trust others very easily. She approaches others with her heart on her sleeve, a smile on her face and no doubts about them; she figures that if she knows nothing about someone, why should she be judging them? This is not to say that she doesn’t have a few shallow thoughts enter her head when it comes to people’s outward appearances, but hey, she’s only human and it’s an unfortunate aspect of human nature to judge others by appearance. Even if she still does fall victim to this, Nicoletta often just brushes it aside and does her best to put her faith in someone until she has a legitimate reason to not. As she is, Nicoletta really gets attached to people easy and comes to trust others at the drop of a hat . . . and also, she’s rather hardheaded when it comes to her opinions on people in general. When she’s formed some ideal of a person in her head, it is very hard to defer her from it. This means that if she sees a person as being good, she’ll stick to believing in this, almost indefinitely. You can barely shake her thinking like this, and it would take a near traumatic event to turn her views on a person she has deemed good. This also applies to her seeing a person in a negative view. . . .

Nicoletta is like many girls her age in the sense that she has a developed view of what she sees as right and wrong. Her sense of ‘justice’ is powerful and etched very deeply into her heart and mind, these ideals though, are not like her views regarding people, Nicoletta’s sense of what is proper and such is rather flexible. The world is not black and white, and she believes there are many shades of grey, which is part of the reason it is so hard to defer her opinions of others. . . . If an action by someone she sees as good falls into the grey area of her views, then she’ll begin to try to rationalize the act immediately by thinking about possible reasons it was carried forth. It causes her to enter a time of denial about the person, until she eventually returns to seeing them as she did before—as being good.

Because she feels like she gets attached to others at the drop of a hat, Nicoletta is liable to latch onto others when she feels like it. Really, it is not uncommon for her to get like this, and to act like a goof around them. Nicoletta can be rather mindless around others without meaning to be, and she’ll say the wrong words or just wind up murmuring something extremely random. She likes glomping and attaching herself to people. Also, it’s actually pretty common for her to go ahead and play rather minor pranks on her friends, and family.

Also, Nicoletta is a lazy girl . . . seriously, she doesn’t always seem like it, but she really IS. She hates having to exert herself and such, and it often causes her to want to just stay at home and watch television. Her lazy ways rub off onto her temper as well, while Nicoletta does get angry with people, she can’t stay mad for too long. She finds it hard to hold any sort of grudge for more than a day, and often when faced with the person she might have gotten upset with before, she’ll simply just put a smile on her face and tell them to forget about it all and that she just wants to move on with her life. As far as she is concerned, it takes too much effort and energy to stay angry. Life’s short isn’t it? Why waste good time upset and being negative?

Oddities: Nicoletta is a major sleepwalker/talker. Her family often finds her wandering around their home after she’s gone and zonked out for the night, and even after they direct her back to bed, they’ll sometimes find her snoozing somewhere else in the morning after waking up. She’s even been found out cold, lying on the kitchen table in the morning. Also, some rather odd things will slip from her lips when she’s like this, no telling exactly what will be said.

For being as small as she is, Letta has an unusually large appetite, she gets hungry often and tends to eat so much food, you’d think she’d be making herself sick. This couldn’t be further from the truth though, as Nicoletta always seems perfectly content after a meal despite having consumed enough food for someone twice her size. The girl is a food lover, and appreciates a good meal, always being polite about it and showing her gratitude whenever she’s served or cooked for.

She has this tendency to half drift off into la-la land at random points in time, though she doesn’t mean to, Nicoletta will sometimes be in a total daze when someone’s talking to her and will miss every bit of the conversation.

Even though it terrifies her, as well as makes her feel rather faint when left to see blood, Nicoletta is someone who will do her very best to aid someone who has been injured—this doesn’t always pan out so well though. . . .

After experimenting with her powers some, Nicoletta has gone and given names to the various different techniques she has either developed or discovered while tinkering about with her pyrokinesis and thermokinesis.

Likes: Books, writing, her family, sleeping, daydreaming, moon/stargazing, being lazy, animals, people, flora, peace, friends, shopping, sweets, good/breakfast food, and dozing off in the sun.
Dislikes: Pain, suffering, her powers, bitter/spicy foods, having to think too much about anything she doesn’t want to, excessive labor, blood, burnt things, pitch darkness, rain, insects, being alone, injustice, Portum Animas’ reigning government, being confined to a small place, and math.
Hobbies: Writing, reading, stargazing, daydreaming, and book shopping.

Fears/Phobia(s):

Achluophobia – Complete darkness
There’s no rhyme or reason for this fear, Nicoletta simply suffered from the normal childhood fear of there being a boogie man under her bed as a child, and that of course led her to being afraid of the dark. While her belief in the boogie man certain faded as she got older, the fear she felt of the dark did not. She can bear darkness now, but she still really doesn’t like it, and she still sleeps with a light on.
Aquaphobia - Deep water
This is simply explained; she can’t swim, so deep water scares her. Nicoletta fears drowning.
Claustrophobia - Tight spaces
Self explanatory, Nicoletta just doesn’t like the idea of being stuck in a small space and having something happen that keeps her trapped there.
Hemophobia – Blood that is not her own
She has seen people get hurt right in front of her before, one of the people she loves the most. And seeing the blood of someone she loved spilled scarred her, and left her frightened of seeing blood that’s not her own. Nicoletta can deal with seeing her own blood, because she knows that it is her that is hurt, but if someone else is bleeding; she doesn’t know how bad that person might be hurt, and the fact that they could be fatally injured scares the Hell out of her.
Necrophobia - Death and dead things
Simply put; Nicoletta doesn’t want to die and she doesn’t want to see anything that’s dead.
Autophobia - Being left alone for too long
Nicoletta doesn’t like the idea of having to be on her own for too long, she’s never had to be alone for more than a few hours before, so she’s never had to deal with too much solitude. The idea of pure solitude is a concept which sends terror right to her very bones.

Skills/Talents: Cooking breakfast foods. Even if she is not the most skilled of chefs, by ANY means, Nicoletta is extremely good at making any sort of food that is breakfast related; omelets, French toast and pancakes, all that.

Nicoletta is rather fleet of foot, though she is not the quickest person in existence, she is rather flighty on foot considering she’s not using any sort of power to enhance her speed. While she is a bit of a little speed demon all things considered, she’s only able to maintain her full sprinting speed for more than a minute, but considering what she can do, that one minute can get her some distance and really get her where she might need to be.

If there is anything Nicoletta might be excellent at doing, it’s writing. Often enough she says that the one area she was given a gift in was in literature, this girl can write up a storm if nothing else.

Preferred Weapon: A small revolving handgun that she keeps on her for emergencies.

Power(s):
Pyrokinesis – Power to control fire.
Thermokinesis – Power to alter temperatures.

Abilities:
Pyrokinesis

Burn Blaze
This is something pretty basic; Nicoletta simply holds her hands out and produces a large stream of fire from them, basically it turns her into a moving, human flamethrower. There is a problem with this though, if Nicoletta produces too much fire, or the streams get too large, she loses control over them and they can engulf her and anyone or thing around her.

BAH-BOOM!
When doing this Nicoletta has to hold her hand outward of her body, and focuses on condensing fire into a rather dense ball before she launches away from herself. The fireball explodes upon making contact with something; this is a very dangerous technique as if it touches something it burns and harms them. Nicoletta has no control over the flames when they leave her, so she can burn something or someone without intending to.

Spiraling Flare
This is an extension of Nicoletta’s ability to create streams of fire from her hands, only it involves her focusing on extending flames outward from one of her hands into an ever changing, fluid line. This technique requires her full concentration, and she is unable to actually use any other sort of ability while using this. She prefers not to use this because Nicoletta honesty is afraid of it, she still lacks good control over her abilities and creating a fluid line of fire like this, she can’t always tell where it will move or what it will do. She doesn’t want to hurt someone with it by accident.

Hellion’s Shield
Perhaps the technique Nicoletta favors most out of her derived abilities. Nicoletta is not a girl who likes to fight, so if she, or her friends, are put in danger, she conjures up a tall wall of flames to guard herself or those she cares for. She’ll use it to seal off an area around herself and others to act as a barrier, after all, not many people are going to run through scorching flames. This ability can be a very draining one considering she has to keep the flames going herself, and focus on what they are doing in order to keep them under her control; she can only keep it up for under an hour, at most.

Angel’s Inferno
Nicoletta uses her power over fire to summon up flames from her feet and hands and propel herself into the air-basically she’s using her powers to act like a jet pack so she can fly. Problem with this is though that Nicoletta lacks the actual control to use this ability to its full potential, so if she tries using it to fly for extended periods, she might wind up flying into something or spiralling out of control. Normally she’ll just use it for a few seconds so she can gain some distance on a jump or get to the top of a building so she can hop across the roofs.

Augmentation
Although she is able to conjure her flames out of thin air, if Nicoletta focuses enough she is able to control pre-existing flames and bend them to her will. Also, if Nicoletta winds up getting emotional around fire, the fire will react in line to how she feels. Angry or excited, it’ll spike up, and if she becomes drained or sad, it will grow weak.

Thermokinesis

Heat Control
In line with her abilities, Nicoletta is able to control the heat in substances to an extent. She can heat up liquids, solids and melt things if she can get the heat hot enough. Once more though, Nicoletta isn’t very great at using this because she lacks great control over her powers and she can let the heat go up to much and burn something, or cause it to evaporate. At the same time, Nicoletta is also able to suck the heat right out of things and cause them to cool down. She can’t at all control water or any other sort of liquid, but she is able to both heat them up and freeze them.

Breath of the Divine
This is something Nicoletta has yet to fully master, this ability allows her to induce a rapid sort of healing on someone's wounds. By using her powers to control heat, Nicoletta is able to use to force heal an injury by stimulating a person on a cellular level. This causes cells to divide and replace themselves at a much quicker rate than they would normally. However, because she is still lacking sufficient control over her powers, she is only able to actually use this power to the extent that someone might have a non-life threatening injury, to heal that up, and even then she is only able to seal the wound, not make it go away completely.

Personal History: To be frank, Nicoletta’s life started off normally. She was born a perfectly normal and healthy baby girl to a set of loving parents, Csilla and Aelius Ardente. There really wasn’t anything noteworthy about her early life, Nicoletta was healthy, happy, had loving parents and a set of older twin siblings who loved her. Her father was a researcher and scientist who worked for Portum Animas’ science department, he did research looking into the strange ruins dotting the city while Csilla ran a sundries shop in Horizon, right below the family’s home. Nicoletta was never a lonely girl, she always had Isolde and Vincente there to keep her company when she was young, of course her older brother and sister had their moments of teasing her and they would bicker about like siblings do, but they were always there for one another. Nicoletta never showed any signs of being anything but a normal little girl. . . . And her family always seemed to be the same, just ordinary by Portum Animas’ standards.

Instilled with her parents beliefs and views from a young age, Nicoletta began growing up to be a bright and spirited girl as she attended school. The family had their moments of struggling financially if sales were bad in Csilla’s shop, but they always managed to overcome it, and in the end, were stronger and closer together for it really. And, it wouldn’t be until the birthing of Csilla and Aelius fourth child, Nicoletta’s younger sister, that the family’s lives would become worthy of mentioning. . . .

Her name would be Aylin Ardente, and she was a treasured member of the family. A frail thing from birth, Aylin had the whole family’s attention and adoration. She was a loved little girl, and especially cared for by her elder sister Nicoletta. Nicoletta was utterly attached to her younger sibling, and took on the role of her elder sister especially seriously—she was happy to be a big sister just like Isolde was to her. Nicoletta wasn’t much older than Aylin was, only five years, but she was very loving toward the child, and always did her best to make sure Aylin was safe, and happy. Despite the family’s happiness . . . things would of course take a turn for the unfortunate. After four happy years as a whole family, it would be discovered that Aylin was one of the few in the population to be . . . ‘gifted.’

Only four years old, and she came to develop rather potent healing capabilities unlike many others. Her gift was strong, strong enough to catch the attention of Portum Animas’ government. Nicoletta and her family had been living happily together, aware of their daughter’s abilities, but mindful not to reveal it to anyone for knowing what might happen otherwise. . . . But, while Csilla was out and about doing her shopping, Aylin was with her, trailing along behind her mother like children do, when she came across an injured bird. Now, she didn’t understand what was so wrong about using her powers in public, or letting others see what she could naturally do, and being a young child . . . she quickly brought herself about to heal the poor bird wounds so that it might live. So, she did it, Aylin brought the bird in question back to full health in front of the eyes of many people.

Csilla panicked of course, and instantly drug her young daughter back home, praying that no one would report the incident and have Aylin detained and taken away. . . . Of course, it would happen though. Someone, whom exactly is unknown, relayed news of the child’s powers and in the middle of the night only some days later, the detainment team came knocking on the family’s door for her. Of course, Csilla refused them, she refused to let them take her baby away, but it was to no avail, no matter how much the family resisted, they were simply restrained and Aylin was taken away from her home, screaming and crying all the while. Nicoletta had been told to stay in her room by Aelius, but had disobeyed her father out of sheer childhood curiosity. She’d snuck out before everything unfolded and hid in a cabinet . . . where she witnessed everything. Only nine years old, and she saw her sister being taken away by the government’s detainment team while her mother and father were powerless to do anything to stop it. Watching her baby sister getting carried away, screaming and crying, that would be the last time in her memory Nicoletta would find herself every seeing Aylin.

The incident and loss of Aylin drove a rift in the family. Aelius became more consumed by his work, and drove head first into it while Csilla became somewhat distant to her other children without meaning too. . . . Isolde developed a hostile sort of attitude toward everyone, becoming rebellious to the point of eventually leaving home against the wishes of her parents to become an adventurer, so to speak. VIncente might’ve changed the most though, he lost his carefree attitude and became a rather protective lad, losing his connection with his own twin after Aylin was taken, he became rather attached to Nicoletta instead. He took to having a strong urge to always protect her, and to always keep her safe. Nicoletta herself however, well, she was young enough that the memory still does haunt her, and it fills her with bitterness toward Portum Animas’ leaders, but it doesn’t do much to deter her natural personality. Growing up, she was still able to grow and change into a strong, relatively normal girl as far as her emotions and personality go.

While life began returning to normal for the Ardente family however, something else would unfurl that would again stir up trouble and angst . . . Nicoletta herself would begin to awaken to her powers. Her role as an elemental would just begin to become known as she herself wouldn’t understand any of it.

Whenever Nicoletta found herself becoming emotional, she noted that strange things started to occur around her; things would start to get hot, and heat up. Nicoletta didn’t understand it at all, she just noticed that things were changing, she herself would sometimes seem to run unexplained fevers when she otherwise felt fine, her parents had her assessed by several doctors at different times, but none could ever seem to form a positive theory about why it was she was always so hot. Besides the fevers, Nicoletta was perfectly normal!!

Eventually of course, the truth would surface during a rather traumatic and uncertain incident, one that would always live on in Nicoletta’s heart and mind. She was at school, still burning up like always, but it was now normal, when it happened. A fellow ‘gifted’ child lost control of their powers, ones they had been concealing, and it threw the classroom into utter chaos, the child developed powerful telekinesis and in losing their grip, they’d begun to throw everything and one around the room as if they were rag dolls. Nicoletta ultimately became frightened, and panicking, she curled herself up into a tight little ball against the wall while crying, the heat in her body seeming to grow ever worse. It was then that her brother, Vincente, burst into the room without any warning . . . he was in the same school as her, just ahead of her by a few grades when the new had come through about the ‘gifted’ child’s freakout. Knowing Nicoletta’s schedule and knowing that she was in that same room, he came for her, to try to protect her.

As he’d burst into the room, Vincente startled the telekinetic child and caused them to hurl a broken piece of a desk right at him . . . it was a sharp, splintered piece of wood. Hearing her brother’s voice, Nicoletta craned her head up just in time to see it happen, her brother getting impaled right through his chest by the debris. The look up shock on his face, the spattered blood, and the sight of seeing her sibling go limp, and collapsing to the ground caused everything to just stop for her. With her body going numb, and the heat suddenly leaving her, Nicoletta found herself screaming out in protest to the incident. In that instant, she awoke herself. Her powers came alive in full force, and fire engulfed the classroom, and the child who’d harmed her brother.

After the fire had passed, and everything had gone quiet, Nicoletta remained sitting where she was, a detached look upon her face, her clothing and hair smelling of smoke and covered in ash. Everyone but her in the room had been burned by the unleashed flames she’d ushered in. The shock of seeing her brother nearly killed just sent Nicoletta into a state of utter shock. The telekinetic child who’d lost control over themselves and had harmed Vincente was ultimately detained, and the whole matter of the sudden ‘explosion’ in the classroom was chalked up to a leaky gas line or something else, allowing Nicoletta to go undetected as a ‘gifted’ child herself. Csilla and Aelius were nearly driven insane by this event, nearly losing Nicoletta and Vincent in the same day. In the end, the parents wound up withdrawing their children from the school and the brother and sister never finished.

It wouldn’t be until Vincente wound up coming out of the coma that was induced by the near fatal injuries he suffered, that Nicoletta herself would regain her sense of self, and come to understand just what it was she’d done, and could now do. The joy at seeing her brother smile again, and hearing him speak was short lived as a certain horror hit her. If she were discovered, then she’d be taken away, just like Aylin had been. She didn’t want that, she didn’t want to lose her family—so she kept it a secret as best she could.

Eventually, Vincente did recover from his injuries, and was able to come out of the hospital, returning home while Isolde remained unseen. . . . Happy to have her brother back home, Nicoletta found herself taking care of and doting over him much like a mother instead of a younger sister, it wouldn’t be long until things returned to normal between the two though, Vincente assuming the position as the protective older brother and Nicoletta being his younger sister who was often annoyed by his antics. Still, it wasn’t much longer before Aelius would come home with something of a . . . surprise for the family. A set of ‘twins.’ In reality, the children were actually artificial humans he’d discovered during the exploration of a ruin in the city, and while he thought that the two were lifeless and utterly useless, he’d found himself soon wrong when the two began to move about.

Knowing well what would happen to the two if they were found by anyone but him, he quickly drug the two along and away from the site, and back to his home to join his family so that they might live a normal life. The boy humanoid was deemed Momchil while the girl was given the name Amalia. . .. Accepted into the Ardente family in a rather haphazard manner, the two humanoids soon enough became treasured, and very much loved.

As time went on, Nicoletta’s weird family came to a rather stable standing, her parents were distant, but she loved them, and Vincente could be overbearing, but she loved him, and while the twins were odd humanoids, she came to care for them deeply, all the while, she was keeping her powers a secret. In time of course, that secret got out. While she wasn’t able to control it again, Nicoletta accidently caused fire to develop around herself again—in front of her family. She became very scared, because she remembered what happened with Aylin. Nicoletta didn’t want her family to reject her, and she didn’t want to be taken away. But, by some miracle, in her mind at least, her family; while shocked, fully accepted her with her powers. Of course, they wanted her to be mindful of herself, keep it a secret from everyone outside their home, but they didn’t love her any less for what she could do.

Nicoletta was ever thankful for this . . . and has lived on to the current date while maintaining her secret, and holding onto the love of her odd family. . . . All the while, she doesn’t know what fate has in store for her.

Theme Song: Falling Awake ~ Tarja Turunen

Other: In regards to matters romantic, Nicoletta’s sexuality isn’t really defined well. She seems to display no real interest in either sex, and is never on the lookout for anything love related. She is basically asexual, but at the same time she has revealed the fact that while she’s not out seeking love or romance, she’s not against starting a relationship with someone if she finds herself interested in them in that sense. She’s not aromantic.

So begins...

Nicoletta Celeste Ardente's Story

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Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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”Precious little lives, my dear loves, even though I cry, I know that this is the least I can do for you, and that this is what must be done. For the sake of rebirth, this is what I . . . what we must do. . . .”

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- Nicoletta Ardente -


In a way, she could not help but feeling a bit guilty as a rather forlorn sigh escaped from her lips. Yes, the task assigned to her was indeed a mundane one, and even on the torturous side thanks to the hot weather, but it was a simple enough job, and it was not something she really had the right to complain about. Her mother never really asked anything of her beyond going to the grocer’s occasionally to buy some food; normally work such as this was left to Momchil and Amalia before it was left to her. . . . The twins were rather apt at following the instructions given to them, they never failed in their duties and could be considered the perfect assistants, so, there was never a need for her mother to come to her with anything like this.

The package she had her arms wrapped around began to slip from her grip a bit, causing her to stop in place, a surprised noise coming from her throat as she quickly adjusted her limbs to make sure the box didn’t go crashing to the cement below. She remained still for a moment after this, a panicked expression on her face, her grey eyes wide with worry, a silent prayer being said in her head that she would not drop what she was holding. Upon realizing that things were indeed safe, she released the breath she had been holding in, sighing in relief, and promptly groaned, her shoulders drooping a bit as she relaxed. This was part of the reason that these sorts of matters were attended to by the twins, and not her. To say the least, she was not the most graceful of people, by any means.

Just how much stuff did mom order to have to send me, and the twins, to do an exchange? Nicoletta thought to herself blinking with a wondering look on her features. “Well, it’s obviously a fair amount; otherwise she wouldn’t have resorted to asking me for help. She gets edgy when I’m even on the first floor because she always thinks I’m going to stumble, and break her merchandise. . . .” the blonde mumbled to herself, her eyes wandering over the brown, poorly re-taped up box she had her arms wrapped around.

Honestly, she still didn’t really comprehend how it was such a mix up could have occurred. It wasn’t so unthinkable that a package or two might get swapped by mistake here and there, but for something like this to have happened, seriously, it was baffling, to her at least. Blinking, and tilting her head skyward, Nicoletta turned her neck and glanced over her shoulder, to behind her. Halted a few feet behind her, were two rather odd-looking children, silver hair, crimson eyes, and skin left without pigment, the boy and the girl almost looked identical. They even wore the same expression, a dull and bored one. . . . Dressed in their frilly clothing, the two stood quiet, just looking at the blonde teenager who stared back at them. It seemed as if they were waiting.

Looking over them with her owl-like eyes, Nicoletta kept her mouth shut, just lingering about herself. Moments passed between the three, and still no words were exchanged. These two, are they ever going to learn how to be the ones who speak first? she sighed, before swinging one of her legs up and around, using its weight to turn her body on the toe of her boot to face the strange looking children. Nicoletta allowed a dull expression of her own to overtake her features as she just gazed upon them, and finally she opened her mouth up and spoke. “Momchil, Amalia,” she started, her eyes going to the boy first, then to the girl, “Is the order mom placed so large that she really needed the three of us to go out to get it together?”

It took a moment, but the twins looked to one another before returning their gaze to Nicoletta, and both nodded. It was then that the girl called Amalia spoke, the voice coming from her throat being a monotonous one. “Yes, mother’s requested shipment was one which called for a dozen large bolts of assorted cloth.”

When Amalia stopped speaking, it was then Momchil took his turn, his voice almost the same as his ‘sister’s.’ “The items ordered should have been delivered to us today, yet this did not happen. Instead, the package that is being carried by you, sister Nico, was left on the doorstep of Ardente Sundries.”

Taking in a breath Nicoletta found herself letting out a groan, “Right. Instead of the textile bolts, we got this box full of junk that’s cheaply made, full of fake magic tricks and stuff used for sleight of hand. Then mom wound up looking up the number for the store name listed on the address label of the box, called them and confirmed that they received her shipment of cloth.”

Amalia nodded, “Correct. It was then that Mother called upon all three of us to carry out the exchange of commodities for her, so that she could continue minding the store.”

“And . . . that’s why we three have had to haul ourselves out from Finitor and all the way into Dominion Hecate. . . .” Nicoletta sighed, turning her head from side to side, taking in their odd surroundings. “On the hottest day of the summer, and waste an entire afternoon correcting the mistakes of yet another idiot in Portum Animas’ population nonetheless.” This was so not what she felt like doing right now. No, she wanted to be at home, in her room, where the hot summer sun couldn’t reach her, just laying on her comfy bed, reading. Ah, what she loved to do the most~ Thinking about what she really wanted to be doing, Nicoletta’s eyes grew a touch distant, “So not fair.”

The slightest bit of confusion seemed to play over Momchil’s features as he listened and observed his human sister, “Sister Nico, are you upset because your indolent routine was interrupted by Mother’s request?”

At hearing the word ‘indolent,’ Nicoletta’s face went red in embarrassment. “I-I am not indolent Momchil, you shouldn’t call someone that! The only reason I’m irked is because of the fact that someone went and made a mistake in their work that couldn’t be more obvious to a person with half a working brain!”

“You are lying.” Amalia stated, her voice as apathetic sounding as ever.

“I-I am not Amalia!” the blonde shouted, her voice breathy and rather high-pitched, garnering a few glances from passersby. Despite her shouting at them, both of the twins remained as they were, just standing in place with expressions that couldn’t be more calm.

“Amalia is correct, sister Nico. Your deceit would be apparent to an individual whose intellect was only halfway operational.” As soon as Momchil spoke those words, Nicoletta’s cheeks simply turned a bright shade of crimson as she realized what the false little humanoid had just done.

He turned my own words around on me. she thought, blinking from the surprise of it. While it wasn’t uncommon for one of the twins to become rather . . . snarky, Nicoletta herself was still getting used to the fact that they were becoming more and more human with each passing day. Little snipes as Momchil’s comment was proof enough of the changes happening in the two of them, even if said comments were sarcastic, insulting or rude. They were still evidence of the unapparent.

A tried expression took over Nicoletta’s features as she adjusted the heavy box against her middle, Getting into it with these two just is not worth it. It’s not like they know what is right and wrong to say to someone yet. They are still learning polite socialization techniques. she thought, opening her eyes partway to look over them, “Whatever you two, let’s just get on with this so we can get home.”

“Yes sister Nico.” The two twins answered Nicoletta in unison as she spun about on the toe of her boot to begin walking forward yet again, trekking on ahead to locate the address scrawled upon the label of the package carried in her arms. Even if the journey from Finitor to Dominion Hecate was a nuisance, given the fact that Portum Animas did not have a tram that ran too far into Xibalba, at the very least, the three of them were already within the bounds of the metropolis’ black magic district. Even during the day hours, the area had some rather . . . interesting characters lurking about. Whether they hid in the shadows of the alleyways or in the confines of their dilapidated buildings, the people in the Dominion were definitely characters of some kind. As far as Nicoletta was concerned, she was just glad that the sun kept the weirdest of the weird hidden away. That spared her and the twins from having to deal with them since they would more than likely be able to slip in, and out of there before nightfall.

Those were the plans at least, if there was one other thing the little blonde didn’t want to have to deal with, it was getting stuck in Xibalba later on at night. While Dominion Hecate lay within the bounds of the dangerous district, it itself was not nearly as bad off as its parent. The black magic district just had some outlandish things going on in it really, Xibalba, on the other hand, was not a pleasant place to be after the sun went down. No, it was Portum Animas’ dark side, a haven for those hiding from the government’s detainment teams and control squads. . . . The area housed criminals of all kinds. It was an okay place to enter into during the day, but if you were in there at night without proper protection, or if you couldn’t protect yourself, you were honestly just asking for it.

If I have to get stuck somewhere after dark, I think I’d rather put up with the mumbo jumbo black ‘magic’ of the Dominion before I face the dangers of Xibalba. she thought to herself, shuddering at the very notion. Even if she possessed a small, revolver on her person for the sake of emergencies, the idea of having to use that on a person was not something that she liked to consider. Shooting a person, injuring them . . . blood. That was just a no. Well, it wasn’t as if all that thought even mattered. Nicoletta was certain that she and the twins were going to be finished with their business before it came to that, after all, her mother had called ahead and arranged for the exchange of goods between herself and the shop who’d gotten the textile bolts. . . .

With her grey eyes glancing between the numbers written on the package, and those painted onto the fronts of the buildings she passed along, Nicoletta let out a rather loud, “Ahah!” when it was she found the match. Her strides ceased and a triumphant enough smile played over her lips, as well did a sense of relief. “Finally! Momchil, Amalia, this is the store that got their things mixed up with ours.”

Both of the artificial humans turned their gazes up, and at the building in question, no notable expressions on their faces. Before Momchil had returned his crimson gaze to his human sister, Amalia glanced back to her first, responding with a simple, “So it is.”

Rolling her eyes at the lack of emotion in the girl’s voice, Nicoletta simply rolled her eyes. “Momchil, would you please get the door for me?” Upon hearing the request made of him, the strange boy snapped his transfixed gaze from the storefront and hurriedly headed for the door, pulling it open without a sound. “Thank you~” Nicoletta said, heading onto into the shop, into ‘The House of Cards,’ the twins in tow behind her. Of course, given the contents of the package that had been delivered to the sundries’ shop, Nicoletta had an idea of what sort of place the store she’d be heading to was going to be like, but, she had not quite been expecting a place fully dedicated to . . . all of this. Shelves and walls lined with an assortment of goods, items which would give one the illusion of being ‘gifted,’ and talented in the ways of magic. . . . Okay, so maybe the ‘junk’ in the box isn’t so cheap after all.

Shaking her cranium back and forth, the teenager forced herself to snap out of it. So, maybe the store was something in itself, that didn’t mean she could go on to act like some gawking fool. She and her ‘siblings’ had come here for a reason, to correct the mistakes of another. Breathing out softly, Nicoletta headed toward what she presumed was the checkout counter, and hoisted the box off herself using her knee to help lift the heavy thing onto the flat surface while Momchil and Amalia were off, examining a small kit of items. At seeing the apparent interest the two seemed to have in illusionary magic, Nicoletta couldn’t help but smile a bit to herself, even if they were both turning into sarcastic little things. Turning her head back toward the counter, she remained silent, aimlessly looking around for an employee or . . . someone who could tend to all this. But, she saw no one.

Perfect, did everyone decide to go on break at the same time? Or is it that they are mingling about in the back? she thought before calmly setting her hands on the counter, at the sides of the box she’d hauled in, and edged herself onto the tips of her boots. Nicoletta glanced about again, her ponytail hitting against the back of her neck as she did so. “Um, hello?” The best course of action seemed to be just shouting now, “Is there anyone here, or is your shop closed? I-I’m Nicoletta from Ardente Sundries, I believe you received a call earlier from my mother, Csilla? I was sent with my siblings to exchange the goods that got mixed up by the postal service. Uhh, is there anyone here . . . ?”

The setting changes from Manus Luna to The House of Cards

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd Lastern


Syd had awoken that morning in a foul mood. Not minutes after his eyes opened to the plain white room he called his, there was a soft knocking at the door. Syd could easily tell that it was an Ace of his, for who else was stupid enough to knock on the door of the CardMaster before 10 am? He shut his eyes, hoping that the person behind the door would just go away until he had fully awoken, but the knocking continued. He made a low growl in his throat as he ripped the covers off of his body, with Syd only wearing his boxers. Still wiping the sleep out of his eyes, he opened the door to the Ace of Diamonds, who was better known as Teddy Salra- and no, he wasn't very soft, nor was he very huggable. Syd had to look up a little to meet the man's eyes for Ted was slightly taller than their leader was.

"What the hell do you want Ted." Syd said in a low voice, not at all like his normal tenor, which sounded quite sweet. Instead, it sounded gravelly, like his voice was rarely ever used. Ted shifted a little in his boots to get a little more comfortable, and ignoring the fact that the CardMaster wasn't dressed yet, he gave his report.

"Well, Syd, it seems that the Spade and Club of 5 have been compromised. Their last mission had them going after a possible weapons cache, and instead are now in police custody. It was a trap." Syd groaned angrily. He hated having to deal with the police, for they always loved papers. Killing the trees came naturally to those moronic people that Syd could only wonder why there were still trees left. If he got caught up in the legal business, and started getting swarmed by warrants, corruption and shit he would be screwed. Not even Syd could get out of the legal system once you were inside those doors on your own free will. "The techs recieved word around 3:30 am this morning, and the fives are being charged with multiple counts of..." Ted paused, and Syd felt like he had to coax the damn words out of him. The man wasn't very good with English. "A bunch of crap."

Syd nodded, none to happy. "Alrighty, contact the Kings in the area and get their asses back here. We will need their media influence to get those poor bastards out of there alive. Hopefully we don't have to spend too much, but you know what to do if we can't get them out." Ted nodded. "Now, Ted, if you would be so kind as to get your ass out of here so I can shower?" Syd shut the door and leaned against it, his blonde hair resting against the hard wood. Too much to be going on for a morning, especially before ten o clock. He stood up straight and went into the washroom, where he stripped down and stepped into the shower, letting the hot water hit his skin. The steam began to fog up the room quickly as he just stood there, staring at the faucet. He could tell that his brain was going into overload, with the water hitting his face, so he started blinking constantly, hoping to avoid a painful memory, but it was too late.

Syd laid on her bed as, in the background, the shower was running. The room was a frivolous pink color, and he had to laugh every time he was at her house: The walls stood out way too much, making it look like Alicia was a 4 year old obsessed with the color. She always wore the color when she was at school, no matter what part of the clothing it was: She always had it on. Syd was amazed as to how one girl could be so loyal to one color, even though he had always stuck with yellows and greys. He smiled as he heard the shower stop running, and closed his eyes pretending to fall asleep. When she came out of the bathroom - in just her towel, go figure - Syd kept very still and motionless, looking fast asleep as best as he could. He could feel a hand on his forehead, then her lips kissing his forehead, before he struck: He jumped up and grabbed her by the waist, flinging her onto the bed beside him and rolling over her as well. They were both laughing as they lay there, until she kissed him on the lips. It stopped the laughing, her lips caressing his as he returned the favor. The kiss started small, slowly gaining passion until...

"ENOUGH!" Syd slammed his fist against the wall, the water spluttering for a few seconds before continuing. He was panting now, a cold sweat forming over his body as he tried to recollect his conscious. Once his breathing slowed slightly, he finished his shower and jumped out, quickly drying himself off and rushing into his room. In a flash he changed into a simple grey, longsleeved shirt and black jeans, with his converse shoes to match. He effortlessly slipped on his chain of bullet casings, and placed that behind his shirt. Once he pulled on his jacket, he reached for his bed to find the locket resting there, the same as it always had been. Before he could contemplate anything, he shoved it into his pocket and reached for the door: there had been enough incidences this morning.

He made his way down the stairs and into the store, checking to make sure somebody was working the store front. The House of Cards had slowly become his baby, growing into a very popular, LEGIT magic shop over the past 2 years in an effort to make it less suspicious. He unlocked the 'Employee's Only' door and made his way into the Common Room where most of the numbered members were quietly discussing what happened to the black 5s. Syd rolled his eyes, annoyed with the situation already, and spoke up quickly.

"Look guys, being all prissy isn't going to solve our problem. 5 of Spade and Club did as they were told, and went on that job. We didn't suspect it to be a dam cop trap, even the Queens didn't, so stop moping. The contractor is already being hunted down," He stared at the only Queen in the room who had been filling in the people on the details, saying with his eyes 'At least, we better be.' The Queen took the hint and ran back into the ComRoom to inform his fellow co-workers. "And all that is left to do is take care of the 5s, be that mean we save their asses, or their dead. Plain and simple. It would be best if we could save them, since I don't need the cops finding their tattoos and tracing it back to us..." Tattoos of the Network were places quite smartly, with some being under the tongue, like that. They usually were plain, so most could normally never figure out what they were, but still...

Syd's thoughts were interrupted by the muffled words of a girl, to which everybody stopped their quiet conversing to listen to. Um, hello?” Every single man and woman in the room grabbed for their weapons, where ever they may be, and made quite a ruckus until Syd put his hand up to continue listening. Movement stopped as she continued. Is there anyone here, or is your shop closed? I-I’m Nicoletta from Ardente Sundries, I believe you received a call earlier from my mother, Csilla? I was sent with my siblings to exchange the goods that got mixed up by the postal service. Uhh, is there anyone here . . . ? Syd turned his head around to a bunch of very sheepish looking gang members, who all looked away. He frowned deeply, going over to the grate that allowed them to talk to the Queens. "Techies, what is she talking about? Did we receive a call?" He heard some papers swishing about, some screeching of the chairs, and then silence for a good bit until a feminine voice spoke.

"CardMaster, about 40 minutes ago we did receive a call for the front end. We patched it through and thought they were making a mistake, so we ignored it." Syd groaned, highly annoyed by the situation. How bad is the postal service on this damn planet?! He then swung around to the members who still couldn't look them in the eye. His eyes narrowed dangerously. "Alright. Who was on shipment duty?" All eyes gave a quick dart towards the 9s, who were fidgeting in their spots until the Diamond, a very curvacious female named Sharlette, muttered. "We thought it was the redecorating textiles you ordered. They're in the back." Syd rolled his eyes, aggravated. Many of the Network, especially the numbers, had been complaining about the need to redecorate. He waved his hand as a command to go get them, so the 9s ran off to get them.

"You all stay put down here, I can handle a girl. Don't be so damn edgy." He stepped onto the first step of 16 and ascended up to the store floor. There he opened the 'Employee's only door' into the light to see that nobody was running the store front. It dawned on him that it was probably his day to run the store, and he was more than happy to take care of it: But that also left to him having free time to let his thoughts wander, which was dangerous. Best having the thrill of a job than nightmares in the shop.

When his eyes quickly refocused to the sudden change in light, he saw a young lady behind the counter with two twin-like humans staring at him. He instantly deduced that they weren't normal, but who was anymore. What made him stop in his tracks for less than a second was the lady: blonde hair, a steel grey coloured eyes that, if caught the wrong way, could be mistakenly blue, short and lean. Syd thought he knew her, until he remembered She looks like-

NOOO!
His mind screamed at him and he shook his head physically, shaking away his thoughts. His face remained the same neutral as it did for everybody that wasn't in the Network, with his dull blue eyes seemingly staring right into another person's mind, yet not looking like they were even focused. He walked up to the counted and leaned on it, looking down on her. The twins kept staring at him, which he returned for a few seconds until formally speaking to the miss.

"Sorry about that miss, I was informing my employees of the error in their actions for not telling me immediately that your mother had called." He paused, his eyes glancing over to the box. It was from a particular company that left hidden messages in the crates for the next weapon cache or assignment, so he had to make sure that nothing had been taken out. Syd kept his monotone stare on the box as he noticed that it had been already opened, so he needed to be sure everything was intact. "This seems to happen too often enough nowadays." He faked a sigh to make it look like he was exasperated with the entire system, but he really didn't care. "Anyways, my employees will be arriving with your package quite soon, they just need to go and grab it from the back. It is fairly large, so you should be grateful you brought more than yourself." He gave a sideways look at the twins before getting onto the point.

"However, I need to know that everything within the box hasn't been broken and is all accounted for. I am sure you are aware that if you had taken any of the goods out and kept them for yourself, that it is an unwritten code that I must keep an item of equal worth? I would rather not have that, so I would like to inspect the box and invoice, which should all be inside. May I?" He motion for the box. He was really being quite formal for it being so early in the morning, but he needed to keep appearances up for the shop's sake.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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It had probably been a little more than a minute she’d had to wait before someone had slipped out of the ‘Employee’s Only’ door. In that time, she’d gone ahead and gotten herself down from standing on the very toes of her boots, and ceased from having half herself leaning over the checkout counter. While waiting that short time, Nicoletta had gone on ahead and turned her gaze back to the twins as they curiously seemed to be examining several of the products stocked on the shelves of the magic shop. Amalia maintained that rather dull expression upon her face, as she usually seemed to, while a slight bit of wonderment seemed to creep onto Momchil’s features. Truly . . . as the days passed onward, there was no denying that the two of them were indeed becoming more and more human, little by little.

It was, well, even if the two false humans could be snarky little devils, seeing them growing into their own made her feel a bit happy, and she couldn’t deny herself the smile that happened over her young face when she got to see that. At the same time, it left a dull ache within her heart, a sort of hollowness would surface when she saw the twins acting as the children they looked to be, curious and full of astonishment. That ache was there . . . because it made her remember Aylin, and the things she herself never got to experience with her younger sister. She’d been so young when she had been taken away, and Nicoletta had only gotten to do so much with her. And what she had gotten to do, it wasn’t enough, no, those memories, they just weren’t enough. Some were dull, old, and worn out, barely even coherent anymore.

I miss her. . . . she thought to herself, before hearing the telltale footsteps of someone coming to respond to her earlier shouts.

Quickly enough, Nicoletta had spun herself back about to face the counter, accidently jamming her right knee into the side of it in the process, that earned a quick hiss from her, but it weren’t as if it were a life threatening injury, so the blonde simply sighed and made herself quiet about it. Okay, just get this done and you can go home Nicoletta, you and the twins can just go home and you won’t have to think about Aylin.

She sighed to herself as the door opened up, and revealed the employee who’d come to answer her call. He looked like he squinted when he was exposed to the light, I guess that door must go to a really dark place, basement. . . . she thought, blinking kind of dully. The man looked to the twins, who had ceased their examination of the items on the shelves to look at him upon his emergence. Nicoletta herself couldn’t deny being guilty of staring at him herself, a slightly questioning look happened over her face, and a glint of it ran through her grey eyes. This caused her to tilt her head to the side ever so slightly as she continued to ignore the throbbing coming from her damn knee.

A few things were off about his appearance, but even still, the teenager realized that he didn’t look too far off from her own brother, from looking like Vincente. Of course, this man had longer hair, it was lighter as well, paler skin and eyes that were not at all of the same color. . . . He was about the same height, but, he was built differently, and also . . . he had an entirely different aura about him than Vincente did—it wasn’t the most pleasant of ones to say the least, and the impression he gave Nicoletta made her feel a bit on edge. Like, she needed to maintain a certain sense of cautiousness.

When she realized that the man had sort of, froze in place for a moment or two, looking at her specifically, she couldn’t help but wonder if she reminded him of someone he knew, like he did to her? Well, a lot of people say that everyone has someone out there who resembles them greatly, even if they aren’t related at all. Truthfully, with the expression that passed over the guy’s face, Nicoletta was ready to stand on her tip-toes again, and wave her hand in front of his face and do the routine, ‘Hellooooo? Anyone home?’ bit to snap him of it, but when he seemed to break himself free of whatever had bewitched him so, the girl just blinked and maintained a simple expression when looking at him.

He was taller than she was, but then most people were, even with the sense she had, that sentiment that told her to be wary, Nicoletta herself consciously felt no fear or anything of the sort, there were really no thoughts in her head about him, other than the fact that he kind of looked like her older brother. Even then, there are a ton of things different in his appearance. He looked to Momchil and Amalia again before he went on ahead to actually address her directly. Even with the height difference, and him leaning on the counter to look at her, the girl just stood there quietly, listening to him speak. . . .

"Sorry about that miss, I was informing my employees of the error in their actions for not telling me immediately that your mother had called. This seems to happen too often enough nowadays." He glanced to the box while he was speaking to her, but that was to be expected, the thing had been opened up by her mother after all, and the items inside were meant to be the merchandise he sold in his store.

But that sigh, maybe I’m having paranoia or something, but it seemed sort of . . . off. Nicoletta thought, keeping her mouth zipped shut with her own thoughts. Last thing she needed to go and do now was wind up mouthy and end up getting the shopkeeper angry or irked.

Anyways, my employees will be arriving with your package quite soon, they just need to go and grab it from the back. It is fairly large, so you should be grateful you brought more than yourself." the man looked to the twins, who simply went on ahead and silently returned the gaze with their off-putting, and unnerving crimson gazes, no readable emotion upon their features whatsoever. Whatever the two might have been thinking, Nicoletta herself had absolutely no idea. Even living with the twins for over a year, she still did not know how to read them. "However, I need to know that everything within the box hasn't been broken and is all accounted for. I am sure you are aware that if you had taken any of the goods out and kept them for yourself, that it is an unwritten code that I must keep an item of equal worth? I would rather not have that, so I would like to inspect the box and invoice, which should all be inside. May I?"

When he pointed down to the taped up box, Nicoletta allowed her gaze to follow suit before she turned her eyes back up to looking at him, blinking dully. With her knee still throbbing on her, the girl decided just forget whatever thoughts had been pushing themselves upon her about the man, that lurking sentiment to be edgy, and the slight suspicious, which was roused by his sigh. He was a person as much as the rest of Manus Luna’s population, and she knew nothing about him, so she had no right or reason to assume anything about him in the least. He was just doing his job. . . .

Talk of unwritten codes about products, mixed up shipments, and yada yada, she didn’t get any of that—her mother was the one who ran the shop, she didn’t. Folding her pinky and ring finger into her hand, and securing them in place with her thumb, Nicoletta raised her right arm up, and gave the blonde shopkeeper something of a mock salute. “Just do whatever it is you need to do, the code you’re going on about, or whatever, I don’t know anything about that sort of stuff.” She told him, dropping her arm back down to her side before moving to placing her thin limbs over her diaphragm. “My mom runs the store, I normally have nothing to do with it, and besides, I wasn’t the one who got into that package. She was.” With this, Nicoletta gave him an agreeable enough smile, before the thought of how he sort of looked like Vincente wandered through her mind again.

That thought present in her skull once more, the teenager’s head tilted to the side again, and she absentmindedly tapped her cheek with her index finger before she went and opened up her mouth without thinking about it, “Y’know, you kind of look like my older brother. . . .” She pointed at him without meaning to, and blinked before she went red-faced and she promptly smacked her hand over her mouth. Damn it, why did I go and say that for? There was no reason for me to say that!

While her hand was still present over the lower half of her face, Nicoletta failed to notice the light set of footsteps coming along her right side until a figure entered her peripheral vision. She turned her head to see that it was Amalia standing beside her, the false humanoid’s crimson eyes locked on the shopkeeper’s face still, as if she were examining him thoroughly. “Sister Nico is correct in her musings sir, you do indeed resemble our elder brother.” In the girl’s sleeved covered hands was one of the things she and Momchil had been looking over.

Removing her hand from her mouth, face still tinged red, Nicoletta cleared her throat, “Ah, I’m sorry about that, I sort have a tendency to think aloud, um, I’ll just leave you to it then.” She prattled on, turning around to walk away.

The setting changes from The House of Cards to Manus Luna

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Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Alexi took a bit of a detour, avoiding every major street, before he got to a blue phone box. He put a magnet on the phone, his paranoia kicking in again. The magnet was to ensure that no one could listen in or retrieve any possible call logs. Of course, its been noted time and time again that those things aren't even possible or don't work by government officials, but again, paranoid. He quickly began to call two people in particular he know he could trust with his revelation. The first was Nicoletta. She wasn't at her house, but her mom provided her intended destination. The second was Tam Monroe, but everyone called him Tammy. Tammy picked up. He didn't say anything, but he could tell. Well, that's exactly how he could tell, no noise at all. "Tammy, its me. We need to meet. First of all, promise me you wont tell anyone about anything about this". Tammy's reply was simple, but clear...ish: "Ribbit". Which pretty much meant yes. Tammy was unique that way. Alexi then added "Alright, meet me at 'The House of Cards' to meet Nicoletta. See you there!"

Alexi took off, but not before taking the magnet off the phone itself. He then made his way to The House of Cards. Avoiding attention, he walked there. Not much was going on. A guy in a blue cap was talking to his neighbor apparently, some guy in a white business suit. However, Alexi was getting tired again. He continued to walk at first, but found himself getting incredibly tired. He momentarily sat down again. His Nightmares did take some energy out of him. He fell asleep for just a moment.

"Chaos. Trouble. Searching. Nicoletta. Tammy. Armed men. Book. Parts. Scar. Box. Tammy again. Cards. 5s."

He quickly woke up again. He looked around and then up at the sky. He was only asleep for about a minuet. He quickly got up, and began heading towards the store. When he got there, Tammy was already there.......doing a head stand. Alexi only had one thought about that: "Typical Tammy". Tammy then waved, and sort of fell over, and smiled. Alexi walked over to Tammy, helping him up, before then heading towards the store. Tammy was also wearing a long sleeve shirt that looked like it was 1, maybe 2 sizes too big. However, he heard someone, and turned to the store. He then found Nicoletta. "Cole!" he exclaimed, walking up. "Cole, listen, i just discovered something big, but i need you to promise not to tell anyone first. And i mean not anyone". Tammy was already pretty much certain not to, since he rarely says a word.

However, before Alexi could say anything, some official looking people came up behind him. They passed them, practically pushing Alexi into Nicoletta and Tammy to the side. Tammy made a noise of what Alexi could guess was pain. These people just went in, without a warrant, and began searching. The government's people to be exact. Apparently, someone believed this place to be a threat to the government. He could see a variety of things. A book for starters. THere was also a box of parts and stuff.

This one man with a scar then looked at Alexi. "What are you doing here?" "Just coming to meet up with my friend here? Nothing wrong is there, officer....?" "Not important, but very well, be on your way then....".

Alexi could tell however, from a slight hand movement, that he had his men keep an eye on him. Or, you know, his paranoia was acting up again.

The setting changes from Manus Luna to The House of Cards

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd Lastern

Things were getting way to out of hand, but it made Syd so confused that one simple girl brought so many random people into his store.

He waited patiently for her response, until she did something bizarre: She gave him some mockingly weird from of salute, which was responded with an extremely confused expression from Syd. Was shy saying that he was her superiour, or was she just mocking his formalities? His brows furrowed a little before she spoke, and his dulled face resumed. Just do whatever it is you need to do, the code you’re going on about, or whatever, I don’t know anything about that sort of stuff. That explains a few things... Syd thought to himself as she continued. It became extremely apparent that she had no clue what she was doing when she spoke next: My mom runs the store, I normally have nothing to do with it, and besides, I wasn’t the one who got into that package. She was. The lady Nicoletta gave him an odd sort of smile, like she was agreeing with him or something, and he gave a little 'Ah' before grabbing the box to examine it.

Sure enough, everything was slightly disorganized - what do you expect from another person who received the wrong package? - until he found what he was looking for. It was in the shape of a deck of cards, but this one was slightly different, and he could tell instantly: It had the Deck's trademarked D on it, and he smiled slightly to himself. To most, it looked like a regular deck of cards, nothing more, but inside were calling cards for clients, weapons drops, the jazzy stuff. The supplier of the package was a business partner, once a rival group, whose agreement with the Deck was simple: The other group (whose name cannot be mentioned due to confidentiality) would use their extremely large influence in Portum Animas to get the Deck weapons and jobs, while the Deck wouldn't take any jobs against them. It was the only standing alliance that Syd had ever agreed to go into, for they did it out of fear.

He wasn't paying attention to her, instead reaching for the 'deck of cards' when he heard the teen say something, stopping him cold. Y’know, you kind of look like my older brother. . . . Syd whipped his head around, his attention gone from the deck that was now in his hands, and he stared at her. He raised an eyebrow, but underneath his exterior was a very panicked Syd. Don't say it Syd. You know what will happen to you if you do, so don't do it. You have a job tomorrow dude, don't throw it away! That's right, keep thinking about the job tomorrow... No, wait! His inner mind screamed at him, but it was already too late: Syd spoke in a softer voice. "Interesting. It so happens that you resemble my..." He faltered, almost able to stop himself, but instead of halting in his tracks, reworded what he was originally going to say. "A girl I once knew." Anger, pain, distraught, vengeance, and a multitude of depressing and violent emotions streaked through his body, yet only being able to be seen through his pain stricken eyes.

The girl had placed her hand on her mouth, but she had already done the deed: what made it worse was that her little... thing (Syd couldn't tell if that person was human or not, crimson eyes were not usually normal) walking up to Nicoletta and musing over how the miss was correct about the fact. He stared down at the magic tricks, how all of them were completely useless in light of his situation. He wished that he could stop hurting, stop the nightmares, stop the torment, but he knew of no way to. And the more he brought her up, the more this kind of thing would happen. He could faintly hear Nicoletta speaking once again, but he was tuning her out. Ah, I’m sorry about that, I sort have a tendency to think aloud, um, I’ll just leave you to it then. He looked back up at her, finally back in control of his emotional state. But before he could say anything, two new customers showed up in his store, both looking under the age of 12. Syd frowned slightly, wondering why two preteens would be wandering around the fringes of Xibalba, but it was day time still. He would be slightly concerned if it was past 6.

As they conversed, Syd heard a knock from the Employee's Only door, and opened it to find the 9s carrying boxes and textiles. "Here they are." Syd nodded, and indicated with his head where to put them, which was on the counter. After slowly putting the 2 boxes and the one role of textiles on the counter, they went back downstairs and shut the door behind them with a soft thud while Syd turned back to the counter. He was going to call out to the now distracted Nicoletta and tell her that her goods were ready for her to take, but that was when something bad went down: Men in business suits entered. Syd's facial expression remained neutral, but his emotions were slightly tightened with annoyance and caution. Only 2 types of people wore suits in Xibalba: Conmen, and Government Officials. And Conmen at least attempted friendliness.

The officials instantly started snooping around his store, which began to irk Syd slightly. Possiblities swirled through his head, trying to piece together reasons, hoping that they hadn't discovered the location of the network. They had a small force with them, not enough to take out the Network's members that were present, but that wouldn't solve their problems: The government would just come back later. They were even keeping an eye on the kid that just showed up, which made Syd suspect that they believed this place to have some form of foul play. However, Syd kept his expression blank and spoke up.

"Excuse me there, sirs. Do you need something, or can I just see the search warrant that you were issued to search my store?" Syd said with utmost politness. This time he wasn't even having to fake it, he had gotten tips from Azariah when he joined on how to make yourself sound sincere always, and get away with it every time. Syd just hoped that they were just cops searching for clues to a bomb or murder and not with an actual warrant.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Why can I never seem to keep control over my brain? she thought as she turned about on her heel, facing away from the shopkeeper who happened to bear a bit of a resemblance to Vincente. With a still red stained face, the teenager honestly felt like a total idiot for telling someone she’d just met that he looked like her brother. Although, she had heard him say, almost begrudgingly, that she indeed looked like someone he knew. In a way, even if his words had not been the happiest of the bunch, the fact that the man had said that she resembled someone herself, it made her feel a little less like an idiot for blurting out that he looked like her brother. Of course, just flat out saying something like that to anyone was anything but normal. . . . One step at a time, Nicoletta, one step at a time. It’s a problem, you’re aware of it, and you are trying to remedy it best you can, so relax. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she did her best to regain her composure, and to stop feeling like a damn fool.

No matter what happened, she always seemed to have a tendency to go ahead and think aloud, and to make things as awkward as hell for other people. Eventually, she somehow managed to make it happen. Scratching the back of her neck in an uncertain manner, Nicoletta simply allowed herself to take a couple of steps forward, moving around the store while trying to figure out what to do while she waited for the business exchange to be completed, magic and sleight of hand, neither were things she could say she was particularly interested, unlike the twins it seemed. Momchil remained where he had been before, curiously seeming to examine product after product, perhaps attempting to figure out and understand what made the items so ‘magic.’ Amalia, on the other hand, was still standing at the counter, staring at the blonde man who was going to be looking at the package she’d brought in for her mother. The false humanoid’s pallor face was near expressionless, save a semblance of intrigue that was barely notable on her features. Whether or not Momchil and Amalia were slowly becoming more and more humanlike, the two still were unaware of the simple decencies of manners, which included not staring at people for long increments of time. . . . The very sight of seeing Amalia with her faze transfixed upon the man’s face caused Nicoletta to sigh to herself, and place a hand to her forehead.

It wouldn’t matter if she went and told the girl to stop, because Amalia would end up just doing what it was she choose to. . . . The only true sorts of orders she followed from her human sister were those pertaining to labor, or things to do with the Sundries shop. While it was that Nicoletta was looking at her ‘sister,’ that someone shouting at her, using one of her nicknames caught her attention. "Cole!"

How many times have I told people to not call me Cole? she thought, feeling a touch of annoyance well up in her. Nicoletta wasn’t sure how many times she had told people to not call her ‘Cole,’ but she had done it a lot. . . . Though the girl had a powerful urge to give the person using the nickname a good tongue lashing, she refrained from doing so, because the voice was coming from a child, or one whom she considered as such. And . . . also, she knew who it was. Although she wouldn’t go so far to say that she was best of friends with the boy in question who was calling out to her, she did at the very least know him enough to call him a ‘friend.’ Of course it’s him, he’s one of the only people who will not stop calling me ‘Cole.’ she sighed, turning herself around to face the entranceway of the magic shop, knowing full well where he would be coming from.

Sure enough . . . it was him, Alexi. He darted right up to her, getting into the space Nicoletta liked to call her ‘personal bubble.’ The result was a startled look on her face, and her taking a small step backward before the boy could continue with what he had to say to her, "Cole, listen, I just discovered something big, but I need you to promise not to tell anyone first. And I mean not anyone.” he informed her, his voice sounded both serious and frantic, okay, she knew enough about Alexi to know that when he was serious . . . he was indeed serious, whatever he had to say was obviously important. But, the need to go and make her promise not to tell anyone was sort of ridiculous, because, the boy knew that she herself barely had anyone in her life she could call a friend. Yes, she had her brother, but that’s what he was, her brother. . . .

The instance of Nicoletta being called by her unliked nickname garnered the attention of both Momchil and Amalia, who turned their distant gazes to look upon their human sister and the one she called her ‘friend.’ Yes, they knew him too.
Although she found it pointless to go and vocally promise the boy that she wouldn’t say anything about his news to another, the blonde teenager went ahead and opened up her lips to do so, but before the words could even leave her throat . . . Alexi was suddenly shoved right into her by a man she did not know. A man who was not alone, Nicoletta did not know them, but she at least knew where it was they were from. Government agents . . . just like those who detained Aylin. While a small exchange took place between Alexi and the man with a scarred face, Nicoletta felt her small hands tighten into fists at her sides, a terse expression passing along her face. Her jaw tensed up as she bit on her tongue to keep herself from fully speaking her mind toward the arrogant acting bastards.

Control, keep control. she told herself, her heart beginning to pound in her chest from the anger. Ooh, how she loathed these sorts of men. If they even had the rights to be called ‘men’ for what they went and did. They just bust into a place, shove a child out of the way and begin to aimlessly search about for no stated reason. They also went about aiding in taking children away from their families, and they made those left with ‘gifts’ live in fear within Portum Animas’ bounds. Why had he spoken to Alexi? What did that man want with a child like him, or his friend Tammy? Who knows what these asinine, supercilious nimrods are up to. . . . What they could want. There was an obvious look of anger on Nicoletta’s young face, and her very presence had shifted from one of normality, to a slightly foreboding one. One look at her, and it could be easily deduced that she was not happy. The truth was, while she herself was a Gifted, she should have been scared to be so close to those sorts of people, but Nicoletta was just filled with rage. She hated them; she hated all officials from the government like them. . . .

Alexi still standing in front of her, and her still having an apparent glare on her features, Nicoletta set her eyes upon those men while Momchil and Amalia stood as silent as before, being the natural onlookers they were. Oh, those two false humans knew well the extent of their human sister’s displeasure, they knew. . . . "Excuse me there, sirs. Do you need something, or can I just see the search warrant that you were issued to search my store?" the voice of the store’s keeper came from behind her, almost startling Nicoletta from her rage induced transfixion, but it didn’t do enough. She could hear the civil tone in his voice, but at the same time she could hear it, she could feel it was a false one.

With that heart of her still pounding away within her chest, and her body beginning to quiver from the mounting irritation . . . Nicoletta could feel her body beginning to grow a little too warm, a certain heat was beginning to come from her skin that could not be considered a natural occurrence. No, no! Not now, not now! she mentally hissed, realizing just what was happening to her. What her anger was doing to her body . . . to her powers. A few minutes ago, the girl’s upmost concern was the fact that she’d just acted like a total idiot toward the man who she was suppose to be making the exchange with, and now she could not have been in a more opposite situation. Now she had to make sure she did not lose control over her powers in front of the worst people possible, no one could know of her status, what she was. Only her family knew . . . not even Alexi had been made privy to what it was she could do.

Just calm down Nicoletta . . . c-calm down. she told herself, breathing out a shaky sigh, trying to quell her raging heart, and to suppress the unnatural heat beginning to come from her bones.

It was when Momchil spoke up, that the girl was utterly caught off guard however, “Sirs,” the boy began as he set the item he’d been holding onto to the side, “May I please inquire the reasons of your being here? Though I do believe I know the reasons of your presence here already. . . .”

Following this, Momchil’s words were followed up by Amalia’s own, “If your persons would happen to be at this location based upon the threat of bombing within Xibalba or Dominion Hecate, I believe the location of your investigative efforts is wrong. Am I correct, brother Momchil?”

To this, Momchil nodded calmly, “Yes, sister. I am certain that it was reported within the very news this morning that areas under threat for bombings lay upon another street, two blocks over.”

“Indeed so, brother. That is what was stated, or, was it that false information was given out?” Amalia accused, her voice without emotion. This little accusation caused Nicoletta to stop breathing . . . the things Amalia said at times sent a true fright through her, she was so unabashed, fearless.

Nervous now, heat still radiating from her skin, Nicoletta took a step to the side, and forward, ahead of Alexi, “She is not mistaken, Amalia’s memory is never wrong . . . sir.” the blonde strained herself to show even that much respect to the scarred man, a look of obvious tenseness and irritation lay over her as she spoke. “You coming in here and beginning to simply ransack the place without stating a reason, or asking permission from the store’s owner is a violation of the law, being from the government and all, however, I would expect you of all people to know and understand this simple matter.” Nicoletta’s voice took on a sarcastic edge to it, “ After all, that is one of the most basic principles of our city’s existence and establishment, is it not? A certain granted freedom to its citizens, both private and otherwise. So, you are either have proper designation to be on these premises, to carry out a search, or you don't. If the case is the latter, well, then it might be best for you to leave.” A very, very bitter look took over the girl’s face as she had spoken, that mouth of hers running on again. . . .

Even if the store in which she was in was not hers, and even if she were not truly associated with it in any manner beyond the exchange she’d come to carry out, Nicoletta could not hold back her tongue toward men such as them. So, whether she seemed to be a fool or not, that was simply something she could not help.

The setting changes from The House of Cards to Manus Luna

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Alexi wasn't thrilled with them either. Of course, its more of self defense anyway, due to his gift. He then, after thinking through the anger at fear at them, he then backed up a little and noted "Oh, sorry Nicole". Granted, pushing into her wasn't really his fault at all, but Alexi was nice that way. he then asked Nicole "Are you okay? Come on, these people are not worth the time.....". Thats when the man with the scar grabbed Alexi. "Careful what you say there boy....sort of looked like there you were Gifted there......". Now the threat, that made him mad. He was about to hit him as he turned around, but Tammy caught his arm, stopping him. Alexi struggled a little, but Tammy made a noise in protest. Alexi regained himself, but he still wanted to beat the crap out of the guy.

"I cant place it, but i swear iv seen him before...." he noted. Alexi tried to hide it, but he always got a bit more tense around government officials. However, this guy was completely different. Something inside Alex wanted this guy dead. In fact, it felt like Alexi's entire body wanted to rip that man to shreds. He was really tense. Tammy was still holding his arm. Tammy then also looked at Nicole, most likely it was his "Don't do anything youl regret because these people are not worth it nor is it a good idea" look. Well, it was that look, or is "I'm Hungry can we go get ice cream?" look. But Alexi could tell its the first.

Thats when the store keeper ask about a warrant. Most of them kept searching, but Alexi saw one have an annoyed look. But, that one guy with the Scar stepped in, noting on how "this area is known to house criminals". Okay, granted, THAT is true. This is Xibalba. But then again, that is also why it is BS. There is crime everywhere in Xibalba. EVERYWHERE. And the government has never really done anything before.

Actually, thats when it iht Alexi. This is the first time he saw Government people in Xibalba. This couldn't be any ordinary incident. But what? What could have set off this "bomb threat....".

Thats when it hit him. the Car Crash. He was right there. And so was that officer. Harro. The Car, it swerved off the road, but the one that exploded, causing a few more explosions. It didn't hit ANYTHING. it just.....blew up.

It was a bomb.

Alexi was about to suggest they leave, but then, Nicole's siblings started talking.
May I please inquire the reasons of your being here? Though I do believe I know the reasons of your presence here already. . .
If your persons would happen to be at this location based upon the threat of bombing within Xibalba or Dominion Hecate, I believe the location of your investigative efforts is wrong. Am I correct, brother Momchil?
Yes, sister. I am certain that it was reported within the very news this morning that areas under threat for bombings lay upon another street, two blocks over.
Indeed so, brother. That is what was stated, or, was it that false information was given out?
.

Alexi found that whole conversation a bit on the creepy side, but he never voiced that. Tammy never really voiced anything, so who knows what he thinks about all this. Alexi was about to recommend they leave again when Nicole cut him off this time, saying
She is not mistaken, Amalia’s memory is never wrong . . . sir.
You coming in here and beginning to simply ransack the place without stating a reason, or asking permission from the store’s owner is a violation of the law, being from the government and all, however, I would expect you of all people to know and understand this simple matter.
After all, that is one of the most basic principles of our city’s existence and establishment, is it not? A certain granted freedom to its citizens, both private and otherwise. So, you are either have proper designation to be on these premises, to carry out a search, or you don't. If the case is the latter, well, they it might be best for you to leave.


Alexi, seeing their looks on their faces, quickly suggested to Nicole "Nicole, I highly recommend we leave before we get charged with whatever they come up with. Come on, they aren't worth it.... Besides, we need some place a bit less crowded". He looked at the man with the scar. He didnt like him. He seemed familiar in a creepy way.....

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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She heard Alexi urging her out, to leave this whole mess of a situation so that they could speak about whatever matters he wished to inform her of. Nicoletta however . . . she did not move. Alexi’s fears were not at all unreasonable, his urgings were not either. The truth was that he was probably very much right in wanting to leave. Those who worked for the government were not people to trifle with, the things they could try to do to a person and their lives was a frightening thing to say the very least, regardless however. They detained people whom were gifted, they took people down who got in their ways, and more or less they did whatever they felt like doing. There was one matter though, the fact that they themselves were bound to the law as much as any other person if there was more than a few people around.

With a firm look still on her young face, Nicoletta stood her ground, her stance showing that she was ready for a fight if it came to it. Her mind was made up, and when her mind was made up. . . .

Standing right next to one another were Momchil and Amalia, both without anything in their sleeve covered hands. The two twins stood to the side of this, looking on at the two groups, the officials and their sister, and her friend. They knew, they knew quite well what was going to happen, that Nicoletta was not going to relent now that her temperament had been set. Dull expressions set on their pallor faces, the boy and girl looked at one another for a moment, a knowing glint through their eyes despite the silence. Looking at them in such a state, one could’ve almost thought that they were talking to one another via telepathy, in a way, it was almost unnerving seeing the two as that.

Nicoletta herself remained silent in all this, simply, she kept her owl-grey eyes on the man with a scarred face, he was bigger than she was . . . rather so. His very presence was disturbing, one that kept you on edge. Even if she should have been backing down and just minding her own business, going on ahead to just take her mother’s goods and return home, she just couldn’t bring her legs to move. These goons, what they were doing to the magic shop, why they were even there, none of it concerned her. No, all that mattered was her and the twins moving onto taking the textile bolts and leaving with Alexi and Tammy in tow. But, I can’t just go and disappear can I? No . . . I went and opened up my mouth, let it run free and stuck myself into the situation. Simply leaving now wouldn’t do any good. I’m in this.
A sigh left Nicoletta’s lips as she took her gaze away from the scarred official, something of a . . . smirk came over her face, as she shook her head.

With this, both Momchil and Amalia looked back to the blonde, the most placid of expressions upon their faces. They knew that reaction, and with it, Nicoletta’s choice had been made. Quietly, Amalia drew her crimson gaze upon the young Alexi, and the girl’s lips opened, “Master Alexi, I believe this is where sister Nico would ask us to apologize on her behalf.”

Next Momchil spoke, “As it would seem, your request for departure has been heard, but it has been denied. Our sister seems to have made up her mind to remain here, no matter the consequences.”

“Right, as usual you two.” Nicoletta said, her voice sounding almost worn out. “I’m not leaving. Even if none of this is my business, no one said I was quite done with the errands to which I was attending to here, right?” the girl’s voice spiked up, an almost mocking tone had taken root in it. At her sides, the teenager’s hands had clenched up into tight fists in the fabric of her coat. She was nervous, beginning to shake even as she remembered the incident with Aylin, and her own situation, her powers, her status. What could happen to her if anyone beyond her family found out about what it was she was capable of. Taken away, I’ll be detained.

“I’m sorry Alexi, but I’m not leaving yet. What you have to tell me, it’ll have to wait a bit, but if you want to, you and Tammy can go to my place, and ask my mom if you can wait there for the twins and I to come back from our errands.” She said to him, giving the boy a smile. If he really wanted out of the situation, she didn’t mind him leaving and meeting up with him a little later on, but . . . she couldn’t leave, her stubborn head wouldn’t yet let her. A slightly ironic came from her lips and she turned her neck back and looked at the man who was actually in charge of the store, and she apologized. “I’m sorry for sticking myself in matters which don’t concern me. But I’m not quite leaving.”

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Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Alexi looked at Nicole. "We are not leaving you here....". Thats when one of the men, who were now approaching them, shoved Alexi to the ground, and then one of them noted "You know, your friend there.....by being here, he could be informing criminals, spying on government actions. Thats treason you know? perhaps you should just move along. After all.....your brother and sister....they definitely look like they could be gifted....". Thats when the man looked at them, and something struck his mind. "....or maybe they actually are...".

Alexi meanwhile hit his head on the sidewalk, so it hurt like hell. Tammy helped him up. Before Alexi could even ask what that was for, the government agent shoved him back down, saying "Halt. This is a Government Investigation. You shouldn't trespass.....". Tahts when Scarface (again, not his official name, just nick name) came back out. "I assume you gave them our reasons for doing so?". "Of course, purely business". "Good". Alexi then finally woke up and got up again, having momentairily passed out. He had not been shoved once, but twice, to the ground. He then heard a car horn.

But wait, Alexi almost never has a good sleep.....and....he saw something.

"Horn. Rampage. Government. Pain. Running. Scarface. Nicole. Tammy. Run. Momchil. Amalia. Danger. Beast. Sun. Roof."

He walked over to Nicole, to tell her they were all leaving together or all staying together, when Scarface pushed him back down. Tammy looked at them which definently showed some kind of question, probably about their maturity, or sanity. They wee literally brutalizing him for no real reason other then pressure and oppression. When the person who shoved him first walked forward to over Alexi, right as he walked past Tammy, he just seemed to trip, face first, into the sidewalk. Tammy made no noise, no sound, nothing.

But Alexi could see the edge of the roof of the building next to them, and the sun was right in his eyes. But he could make out one thing on that roof looking right at them. He looked back, only to see the Government people had just packed up and left now, like they weren't here. Like they always do. They come, mess up things, usually pull an innocent child from their family, then disappear bee anyone could make any real accusations.

And the Hunter....it was looking right at them. "Nicole!!! We have a Problem!!!!" he noted, pointing out the Hunter.

Meanwhile, noticing everything but not saying anything, Tammy was playing with some rope he found in the alley nearby. Typical Tammy.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd could only raise an eyebrow at the entire situation: It seemed completely absurd.

For one, the girl was actually defending his shop. Defending it. If that alone didn't make today qualify for the most odd of the year, it would soon get better. He watched as the government agents ignored her, and the kid - whom he found out just by listening that his name was Alexi - was trying to get her to leave. It was then that things got weirder, for Nicoletta actually decided to stay in this mess, for which Syd was confused. He had to retreat into his mind just to figure out what was going on.

Alright, so we have a bunch of government agents without a warrant rummaging through my store - bad idea on their part, since they probably don't know the rooms of Xibalba very well. Syd gave a little smirk, and his thoughts continued. Then we have this girl who wanted her textiles, Nicoletta. Seems to me she is extremely... what's the word... ah yes, stubborn and headstrong are 2 good ones. She doesn't want to leave something alone that she feels is wrong. Good job she doesn't know what's behind that door. Then we have that kid Alexi - not really sure what his business is.

I’m sorry for sticking myself in matters which don’t concern me. But I’m not quite leaving. Syd retreated from his thoughts only to find more trouble brewing. With a blank expression, he faced the girl and said in his usual manner, "That's alright. While you are a customer who is actually here on business, these government agents," He tossed them a sideways look. "Are the ones that should be leaving, for I have yet to see a warrant, and until I do, I may have to teach them the first rule of Xibalba." He turned to a government agent who had been eavesdropping. "Without a warrant, you are no different than the rest of us, and the rule is: Rummage through a store, and the owner can fire without warning." The agent got tense, so Syd continued.

"I have no reason to shoot anybody here, for you have all just ignored my requests to see the warrant. It would be nice if I could." It was then that a man shoved the kid to the ground, and Syd raised both eyebrows, startled by the randomness. They started going on about how it was treason for the kids to be interfering, yet in reality Syd could call up the cops and arrest these morons if they didn't show a freaking warrant soon. Syd shook his head, then narrowed his eyes. "Brutalizing children now, are we? Is this the government I know?" He was hoping to provoke them, cause he really wanted to shoot them by now: even his neutral-placement in the world had its limits, especially to those who ravaged his store.

The kid who had been pushed then screamed something about a hunter, to which Syd gave a quizical look. Who was this Hunter? Did he mean somebody from my network?

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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They pissed her off, they pissed her off so damn much. They always did. Whenever they showed up, she almost always lost herself to it by the time they would up and vanish. The memory of Aylin’s detainment was enough to nearly cause her to spiral out of control, to let her powers just utterly consume her. But no matter what happened, that was something she couldn’t allow was it? For the sake of her family, for Momchil and Amalia, she couldn’t just lose it again . . . she had to remain calm and collected. For their sakes, for all their sakes. They were all she had, and if she gave herself up, they were what she would lose.

Haven’t we all lost enough for one lifetime? the blonde thought to herself as her hands remained clenched up at her sides, her gaze had turned downcast, away from the shopkeeper to whom she’d given a haphazard apology for butting her nose in business that wasn’t hers.

The man had said her presence was fine, since she had actual business in his store, but he’d gone onto try to pull the agents into a fit to allow himself proper reasoning for self-defense it sounded like. During all this, Momchil and Amalia simply remained side by side one another, looking onward at the whole of the scene before Alexi’s shout caught the ears of Nicoletta, and they. Though her control still wavered and waned with her powers and her temperament, the sound of her friend’s evidential distress was enough to wrench the blonde teenager from her thoughts, and from wallowing in her own doubts and fears. Bringing her neck back upright, a look of anxiety seemed to play over her features. For Alexi to actually sound distressed, that was certainly something.

She bit down on her lip, shoved all of her worrisome thoughts to the very back of her mind, and did her best to ignore the prickling sensations she was beginning to feel in her palms, a bit of forming heat. No time for this, I can’t let it consume me. And with this, the girl took a flighty step forward before picking up the pace and quickly stepping out of the doorway of the shop to find what it was that had gotten Alexi’s attention.

Her heart skipped a beat in her chest as true anxiety hit her small body, “Oh dear Goddess. . . .” she said quietly, knowing what a Hunter was. It simply stood there, upon the roof of the building across the street, eyeless face turned right toward them, teeth and fangs showing to them fully. “Alexi . . . you and Tammy, get back inside. Now.” Nicoletta murmured to the boy as she very slowly reach her right hand down toward her leg. Even with the threat of a monster looming overhead, she couldn’t conjure up her powers in broad daylight, no she had to take other measures against it. That was the only way.

All of this just had to happen to her on the hottest day of the summer so far, didn’t it? Her mom had to send her and the twins to make an exchange at an obscure shop in the shadiest part of town, with the sun beating down on their heads . . . Csilla just had to go and send her daughter into this mess. . . . And here, all I wanted to do was stay at home, and read. Nicoletta thought to herself, keeping her grey eyes locked on the hulking monster above as her fingers slowly crept toward something kept around her upper leg.

It happened in flash, without warning, the beast suddenly sprung up from the post it had been maintaining upon the building and came flying down, right at her. Just as quickly, Nicoletta had drawn what it was she had been carefully reaching for from a holster placed around her thigh—a small revolver. Before the Hunter could land, Nicoletta had the gun aimed right at it, a tense look upon her face, “Alexi, Tammy get inside, now!” And with those words, she pulled the trigger.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd sat there completely confused as the lady that had called herself Nicoletta ran out of his shop. The agents had yet to answer him, so he simply stood there with an indifferent face. Right before she had ran out of the House of Cards, Syd heard the door to the Network open to Teddy carrying a massive load of the textiles with the other another 9 carrying the rest. Syd had raised an eyebrow, until the 9 looked away in shame and mumbled out a "I lost a bet with the other three, and had to hire Ted here." Syd smiled in a bland way, one of sarcasm and mischief. Ted rarely did anything to help others anymore - unless it was for the greater good of the Deck or Syd - except for when he was getting paid, so many of the guild members were losing money because they needed his help and hired him. The Ace of Diamonds then placed the textiles on the counter with a good thump and smiled to Syd as he was being paid by the 9, whose scowl could be visibly seen anywhere in the store.

When Syd had turned back to announce to the lady that her goods had arrived, she ran out the door and, what appeared to be, started freaking out. She mumbled something, and then told the Alexi boy and his friend - interesting name, Tammy - to get inside his shop. Now that his curiosity had been peaked slightly, Syd causally walked over to the doorway to see what was going on, until it hit him: Nicoletta was staring at a Hunter. When it dawned on him that that was what the kid Alexi had originally meant, his eyes widened with understanding and he nodded his head. So that's what the kid meant. Huh, it is a lot bigger than the last one I saw. What Syd was refering to was one of his jobs that he took a while back, one that had the stories going around the common room table all night.

Everybody knew of Syd's obsession with thrills, especially life threatening ones, so nobody was surprised when he took a job that dealt with a Hunter. Now, according to reports and intel, a Hunter was a massive, ferocious and man eating wild thing, larger than a car. So, when everybody heard he had taken the job, most of the Deck had finally thought that he would be kicking the bucket. What they all didn't know was that it was actually a Hunter youth, barely half the size of a normal one that had been terrorizing the client. When Syd had shown up, completely pumped on adrenaline and giddy with excitement, you could only guess at the extreme disappointment he would have felt seeing an animal about the size of a large dog running around the house, destroying the insides. What made the story so famous was the massive humor that followed: Syd took 3 hours just to chase the thing. It completely ignored him most of the time, as if he wasn't human enough for their species to eat, and kept on raiding other rooms of the mansion. By the end of the chase, Syd had been so wound up tight that the laid waste to the creature using his abilities over light, and then destroyed the entire mansion out of annoyance.

Syd did get paid though, which was why the story was known as 'The Joker and the Mini' amongst the Network.


The thing Syd was staring at though was huge, at least the size of a car if not a little larger, with teeth that could cut a man in half. He could slowly feel the blood in his veins start pumping a little faster than normal, his adrenaline starting to kick in: This was what he had been waiting for during that mission, a massive and extremely difficult opponent that could easily cleave him in 2. His tongue slowly protruded out of his mouth a little, showing his excitment, and when Ted walked over to the window and gasped, he mumbled to his Ace of Diamonds. "Get the other Aces on the roof to cover for me, but don't touch the thing: It's mine, got it?" Ted nodded to his CardMaster and ran off with the agents now starting to get confused and now frightened by the Hunter that had appeared.

And then it jumped at the girl.

Now, in these situations, Syd normally would comment on how silly she was: The smart thing to do wasn't shoot it in the face and hope it died, for it would crush your body anyway. Instead, he would have suggested that she first MOVE her body out of the way and then shoot it as much as possible. However, this didn't seem to be her style of fighting, for Nicoletta yelled at her friends to get inside as she would most likely die from the impact of the beast. Syd gave a little sigh, and then remembered that he still owed her the textiles that were inside, so instead of letting her get crushed while he tried to curb his excitement, Syd used the only skill he had to get people out of these kinds of things: running at light speed, or flitting as he called it. After the shot went off, he dashed forward at the girl's body and tackled her, sending both of them flying across the street. He wasn't sure what he hit, but Syd barely felt it anyway - damn intolerance to pain. I could be bleeding out, stabbed in the back, and I wouldn't be able to feel it.

He wasn't sure where she landed after the impact - probably not far from him, since he did tackle her, and that requires the wrapping of the arms around your target - but he still managed a simple. " You know miss, getting killed by a Hunter will not get you back your textiles."

The setting changes from Manus Luna to Xibalba

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Alexi heard the bang. He also saw Syd tackle Nicole. The Hunter turned towards him. "Woah, how about we just get out of your way, and you just...not....eat us...." he noted, backing up with Tammy, but it swept its arm at Alexi. Now, while it may have been near impossible for Syd or Nicole to see, or and still hard for Tammy to see even, but when the hunter swung, some sort of barrier made of air formed, softening the blow. This sent Alexi back into a wall though. And with a large bump on his head. He also blacked out for split second.

Left. Left. Right. Top. Bite. Right. Tammy. Nicole. Alexi. Blood. Park. Hunter. Wound. Shot.

Alexi, after regaining his head, stood up. That was......something more then archaic. It made less sense then normal. Thats when he saw the Hunter swiping its claw at Tammy. He quickly pulled him back. The hunter then swept the same claw again at Alexi, while Tammy went behind him and started doing something. Alexi moved to the right, and then back to the left as the Hunter swung its right claw. Constantly stepping back at the same time. The Hunter then however lept at Alexi, but Alexi ducted down out of the way. However, the hunter had cut Alexi off from the store. Alexi accidentally tripped and fell back however while backing away.

The Hunter tried to bite Alexi, but when he tripped, it actually helped dodge it. But then, the hunter slashed at him again, slightly wounding him. However, that's when it was hit in the head with a trash can, covering the hunter in trash. Tammy was standing behind it. "Tammy, get ba...." he started, except the hunter then looked at him, not Tammy, when he spoke. The hunter was just hit with smelly, Xibalba trash. It couldn't smell them. It couldn't smell anything really.

Now, as long as Alexi doesn't make a noise, he would be perfectly okay. He was wounded, there was some blood, but it wasn't too lethal.

The setting changes from Xibalba to Manus Luna

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Smartass. . . . That was the only thing Nicoletta could muster up from her thoughts after she’d been tackled out of the Hunter’s area of landing. She had well heard what it was the shopkeeper had said about the textiles. The teenager wasn’t really sure what had happened, but the blonde was sure of something, that it had happened too fast. The shopkeeper had gotten her out of the Hunter’s way too fast for him to have just up and done it normally. Not to mention how damn hard that had been on her, he tackled her out of nowhere, at a pace that was far above normal, and then she’d wound up getting slammed into something. Nicoletta wasn’t sure what it was she’d hit—maybe a lamppost since the pain she was experiencing was localized to one relative area and not a large part of her body.
It was her shoulder that was throbbing, her left one. Getting smacked up against something at some random speed was not good for her body . . . Nicoletta knew enough about health to get that bit of information down pat.

It took her a moment to regain her composure, and to get a bearing for her current situation and position, what was happening after that. By some ‘miracle,’ she was still holding onto her revolver through all that, and she was also slouched over, something was against her back, probably a lamppost like she thought, but she was definitely lying halfway against the ground—the pavement of Dominion Hecate was rather warm against her skin. Then, there was the pain, when she tried to move herself even a bit, Nicoletta could only muster a seethe in response, yep, her left shoulder was definitely screwed up at the moment.

Okay, the pain is not important right now . . . the Hunter is, and so are Alexi and Tammy. I can’t lie here while that monster is around, capable of hurting those two. . . . My injury can wait, as can what the hell that shopkeeper did. she thought, moving her right arm with her revolver still her grasp, using it to force her torso upward. “Y’know something, I don’t really give a damn about the textiles right now, they are my mom’s anyway, not mine. All I care about is making sure this monster here dies!” she shouted, again drawing the attention of the garbage covered Hunter toward herself. It’s head reared in her direction, and the thing’s teeth showed while Nicoletta remained where she was, breathing heavily due to the discomfort her shoulder was giving her.

The sensation of heat prickling in the palms of her hands was beginning to return to her again. . . . At this rate, Nicoletta had a feeling that what control she had over her powers was not going to hold out much longer.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd gave a little smirk when he heard her shout out “Y’know something, I don’t really give a damn about the textiles right now, they are my mom’s anyway, not mine. All I care about is making sure this monster here dies!” She seemed to have her head screwed on straight for somebody that had no clue what she was doing. Or maybe she was just that ignorant? All she had to do was run away with her things, and this Hunter would tear apart Xibalba until he killed it (and, by judging the size of that thing, Syd reconed it would take a lot of bullet holes. He really didn't want to ask Azrael to shoot but if he had to...). Now, as a person of her social standing, that seemed pretty good for her: she got her things, and an apparent threat to her society would be vanquished for a while. Syd just found it hard to not laugh at the fact that she wanted to stay, but he didn't - it was her choice, so it wasn't like he cared much about it.

The Hunter had been momentarily dazed by the trash can flung at its face, which was a useful idea he had to say, but since the girl had opened her mouth, the Hunter knew where he was going to get itself a snack. While that was going on, Syd looked down at his shoulder and swore under his breath. Although he couldn't really feel it, he could see his shirt soaking up with blood as it ran down his left arm.. Wait... where did my jacket go? In his intense speed, his tear-proof jacket had been flung off his body and a few feet away on the pavement, exposing his grey striped long sleeve. Now with a long, jagged tear through the left forearm. Shit.... I liked this one. Hopefully somebody can sew. His vision was blurred for a second, and he swore once again - his forehead had been cut as well. He hung his head in annoyance, and then stood up, unaware of his body's true injuries because he couldn't feel them. Syd shook his hair from his face and stared at the Hunter, who was now advancing on Nicoletta once again.

Syd looked sideways to see the roof of his shop, where four heads were peering over the edge to watch what was going on, with one aiming through the only sniper they had available - Azariah, to be more precise. The guy had a wicked shot, but Syd wanted this one for himself. He needed the rush of pure bliss as he took on something that was easily 5 times bigger than him, and mercilessly butchering it as it probably had done the same to some poor fellow who was now in its digestive track. His excitement level was slowly starting to rise once more and he quickly drew his pistol, aiming it at the beast. With a smile, he fired right towards its head. Before it even turned towards him, he had already started running to a new location, his feet effortlessly and softly jumping from one leg to another, until he was not far from Nicoletta, before he fired again, and repeated the same process once more, in an attempt to not just confuse the beast, but annoy him.

And every time he would fire, he would stick his tongue out in giddiness.

Remember. No Light powers.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Her grey eyes were kept locked upon the monster before her, the Hunter. The expression was a tense one, and her whole body was kept rather still, the thing advanced toward her, but she wasn’t moving from where she was more or less seated upon the pavement, her back half against the lamppost. She should have been trying to move out of the way, but with how her body was feeling, would it have really done her any good to bother trying to dodge yet? The Hunter was smothered in Xibalban garbage, cutting its sense of smell off, leaving the beast only with its hearing to identify the locations of its target—its prey. And because of her need to speak before, that prey just so happened to be her, and she knew that. Against a Hunter, she couldn’t do much of anything on her own, she wasn’t like Vincente, and she definitely wasn’t like her sister . . . she was not a beast hunter like her elder sister Isolde.

No . . . she was the bookworm of the family, the lax one, the girl who preferred to remain indoors, reading or writing, fighting monsters wasn’t her forte. Even if the Hunter was coming for her, Nicoletta already knew that it wouldn’t be so simple for the beast to make a meal of her bony self. She could feel it, control slipping from her grip. As if the irritation caused by those officials before hadn’t been enough of a catalyst to shake the reigns she had over her fire, the threat of death looming overhead well might add enough of a spark for her to lose control completely.

She wasn’t going to die there, becoming the meal for a monster on the streets of Dominion Hecate; her family had already lost enough after Aylin had been detained, Isolde slipped away and become someone else entirely, Vincente nearly died, and her parents had drifted so far apart. If she were to die . . . what would become of everyone then? And what of the twins? What would the two false humans do if she died there? Momchil and Amalia, although they were still adapting to living like normal people, they had never yet dealt with the reality of death. And I will not let those two experience that sorrow. . . .

With her steely eyes shut, Nicoletta heard the sound of nearby gunfire—causing her to lift her head upward, surprise written over her young face. The Hunter found itself pierced by bullets, its tough flesh suddenly vulnerable to something. Nicoletta watched the orange thing slide to a sudden halt, a shrill roar coming from its throat as it succumbed to the pain, and began oozing a strangely green blood from its taken wounds. The shopkeeper of the magic store her mother had sent her to was attacking the thing himself, doing pretty damn well for someone who seemed to mind a simple shop. Everyone has their own story, and are who they are no matter what. she thought, gunfire continuing, the Hunter’s confusion persisting onward.

The whole sight of the battle honestly reminded her of how Vincente handled himself, being fleet of foot rather than relying on brute strength, like Isolde. Ha, I suppose he and my brother have another commonality. . . . Nicoletta laughed to herself, letting her neck drop down as she felt a spike within her body, a sudden rise, the prickling plaguing her beginning to feel like waves of needles piercing her flesh through.

“. . . .there is not much time remaining before I’m consumed, and control is lost. Then, I will be revealed. I cannot allow that to occur.” She told herself quietly, her hand finding its way to the lamppost behind her, gripping onto the rusting surface of it tightly, using it as a support as she forced herself back up to her feet. If the risk of losing control is present, then, maybe I ought to go ahead and take advantage of what I can do, and channel it best I can. It wasn’t impossible for her to actually use her gift and keep it clandestine, after all. . . .

Quickly enough, Nicoletta was looking up, ignoring the pain she was feeling from the knee she had managed to bruise earlier, and the throbbing from her banged up shoulder as well, her decision was made.

With both of her hands gripping onto her revolver, she sprang to life, hastily moving herself to the side before aiming at the still confused Hunter. Taking the thing down without losing total control of herself was not going to be easy, but at the very least, she wasn’t working entirely alone in her efforts, even if said efforts were being conducted separately. As she continued moving, Nicoletta silently moved her left index finger up from its place upon the handle of her gun and placed it at the side of the bullet chamber, pressing into the metal before quickly removing it, and pulling the trigger.

Sure, she wasn’t cut out for these sorts of situations like her brother and sister, but she did at least have a few tricks up her sleeve with what poor control she had over her powers. . . . One of those being what she had just done—infusing one of the bullets of her gun with her fire. It was sudden, and she kept moving even while it happened . . . but in mid-air, before the bullet Nicoletta had fired made contact with the Hunter, the projectile seemed to break apart, fragments of smoldering metal scattered from the once solid shot rained upon the monster, causing it to howl out in pain, rearing around toward the direction it’d been hit from. However, the assailant in question was still on the move, disregarding the pain she felt.

All Nicoletta could do was hope that no one realized that bullet had exploded on purpose. . . .

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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(sorry for the delay)

Alexi stood up, still bleeding, but not excessively. Tammy was standing a few fet away. Any noise and it would follow, the stentch was still strong on it. But it was slowly falling off, and it was getting used to the smell. But their smell was newer, because of the sweat. Sweat from panic, fear, and such. Alexi looked for anything that could help. But other then a street light, there wasn't much.

Of course! Alexi positioned himself in front of a street light, and Tammy looked around, grabbing a piece of wood and staying back a little. The hunter was hurt then, a bullet exploded mid air. Alexi found himself curious, noting "Since when do bullets explode in mid air?" That got the hunters attention. Thats when Alexi whistled. The hunter looked at him, and it leaped forward. Alexi dove out of the way, and the Hunter knocked over the street light sort of, making it tip over and revealing some wires, along with leaning on the store they were at before. No real damage though.

THats when Tammy through the piece of wood away from Alexi, and it started to follow it, but its sense of smell was regaining, and it began to look at Alexi and Tammy. Tammy and Alexi ran over to the street light, putting out a severed cable. The hunter leaped towards them now, but they stabbed it with the loose electric cable after ducking out of the way. The hunter had a ton of electricity go through it, essentially electrocuting it.

"I don't like Hunters. They don't play fair" Alexi noted, before collapsing. Too much action. Now he needed bandages.

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd Lastern


Syd had originally questioned the girl when her bullet exploded, but shook his head, dismissing the question. Sure, he was pretty sure that a girl armed with a petty revolver would not have the scientific know-how to somehow make a bullet explode in mid-air, but weirder things had happened before. Syd knew that first hand, so judging wasn't really in his best interests, nor was judging. The Hunter was disoriented from the blast, that was all that really mattered, but now he was starting to get slightly annoyed by the fact that he couldn't claim the kill of this thing for himself - with the Aces on the roof, they would recall the tale later that night, and most likely the Network would dismiss the slaying as a group effort. This got on Syd's nerve, since he seriously wanted to take on one of those things by himself and butcher the crap out of a creature most of the planet feared.

What caught him off guard were the two little pip-squeaked characters that knew Nicoletta - if he recalled correctly, he had heard the names Alexi and Tammy called in their general direction, so that was probably their names. The one with the brown hair started to question Nicoletta's mystery bullets out loud, which Syd knew was a stupid decision. However, he instantly saw through the plan of the kid, and gave a small grin. The Hunter smashed into the lighpole, and then jumped right into the electrical cables of the street lights, and Syd watched as the massive creature was zapped til death. His smile was short lived, and turned into a small and narrow scowl - not only did he need assistance, but somebody else killed the damned thing, not even using their own skills. Just dumb shit luck. He gave a sideways glace at the barrel of Azrael's sniper, only to see the Aces simply shrug their shoulders, and his scowl deepened.

I don't like Hunters. They don't play fair" Syd seriously wanted to make a very rude comment at that moment, somewhere along the lines of 'No shit Sherlock' but he kept his lips closed. Now wasn't the time to aggravate children, especially with the possibility of cops flooding the area soon. It didn't help that cops were already in his shop, and his eyebrows narrowed slightly. He turned back to his shop, and then walked toward the Hunter that was still attached to the live electrical current. His shadowless body slowly paced its way over, and instantly touched the monster. Instantly his body began to course with electrical energy, but he didn't mind it at all: it was more like a recharge than a deadly dash with death. While he touched the beast, he also examined its odd body, looking for weaknesses in its armor-like skin and ways to exploit them. When he was finished, he removed his hand and stood straight up, and stared at the sky. A small smile grew on his lips as he spoke out to Nicoletta.

"Well, your textiles are waiting for you and your siblings on the counter of the shop. I advise you to get them quickly before the cops fill the streets, armed with their papers and pens." He gave a dry smile before he looked her way, then started heading back into his shop. "Ah yes, I guess I should get rid of this Hunter as well." He stopped, then dismissed his thoughts and continued to walk towards his shop. "Never mind, Xibalba always has a way of getting rid of things."

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Alex "Alexi" Reed Character Portrait: Vincente Flynn Ardente Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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As the best fell to electrocution, Alexi fairing little better from the injuries he’d taken from the Hunter himself . . . Nicoletta found herself not doing quite so well herself. Her shoulder was aching, and her body was throbbing with the need for her inner fire to release itself from the previous battle. It desired to incinerate something. . . . But, there was nothing left o burn up without revealing herself, her status as a Gifted. Death no longer loomed over her head, her life was no longer threatened . . . so why was it that her powers still desired destruction? In this state, what would happen to her? Could she keep control over herself, and resist the urge to burn?

She heard well what was going on around her, and she remembered why it was she’d come to Dominion Hecate in the first place, who’d she come with. The textiles, Momchil, Amalia . . . here for her mother. Her family was still there, and she still had something to do on that hot day, she had been sent to do something simple and had wound up getting caught in a battle with a monster like her sister fought. Mom. . . . I said I’d get your bolts of cloth. Nicoletta reminded herself, her eyes shutting as her small body began to shake from the sense of her powers beginning to overwhelm her. The blonde stood where she had stopped after the battle had abruptly ended, her head cast down toward the ground, her arms hanging limp at her sides, the gun still in her hand. While her shoulder ached in pain, Nicoletta herself had begun trying to stave off the heat that was coming from her bones.

At this rate, she was going to be consumed.

"Well, your textiles are waiting for you and your siblings on the counter of the shop. I advise you to get them quickly before the cops fill the streets, armed with their papers and pens." she heard the shopkeeper speaking to her, but . . . it sounded muffled, completely so. The sounds of Portum Animas were dull in her ears. So, though it seemed rude indeed, the teenager gave no response to the man’s words, simply she stood there as before.

I’m losing the battle . . . the fire is going to win, isn’t it? she questioned herself, body beginning to quiver as her heart sped up in her chest. A nervous gulp came from the girl as in her moment of panic, she found the grip upon her revolver loosening to the point that she let it go, the thing clattering to the pavement below. If I let go now, I’ll end up following in Aylin’s footsteps, I’ll be detained, and forced away from everyone.

Nicoletta didn’t want to have to let go of herself, she wanted to keep a hold on this, of herself and her power, she didn’t want to be shown as a Gifted. But, she wasn’t even sure if she could keep on going as this felt, her body was beginning to ache so much from it. . . . The heat was beginning to consume her from the inside out, her bones felt as if they were on fire, her skin and muscles felt as if they were melting. Tears began to run down the girl’s face as she continued her inner struggle to keep her grip. But, without meaning to, words slipped from her lips as she found for control over her own body, “C-Can’t . . . I can’t keep this up. . . .”

Without warning, she dropped to her knees and her body lolled to the side hitting the hot pavement with a thud. No, Nicoletta was not yet unconscious, but she couldn’t keep standing and holding it at bay. “Go-going to lose it.” She mumbled, voice wavering as her form suddenly tensed up, and her eyes clenched shut. And . . . just as it felt as if she were going to go up in flames and consume everything around her with her fire, incinerate and burn so much, something broke her of those terrible feelings and thoughts.

A voice called from nearby, a voice she knew so well, “Nicoletta!!” Even if she did at times pretend to be annoyed by the owner of that voice, at that moment, the blonde girl could not have been happier to hear it.

Her body felt like it had gone numb for a moment, as she struggled to move her head to look in the direction of the voice who’d called for her. Tears still came from her eyes while the throbbing resumed, yet a weak smile worked over her face as a name came from her lips, “V-Vincente. . . .”

Into view, a sword-toting young blonde man came into view, sharing the same grey eyes as Nicoletta, a look of worry etched upon his face. Nicoletta looked at him, happy to see her brother then. “Nicoletta, what happened to you?!” he cried out, running over to her collapsed form, kneeling down.

“Al-almost lost it,” she told him, her voice soft. “But, I-I think I have control over it now.”

A look of concern overtook Vincente’s face, “You don’t much look like you have control over it sis. . . .”

Nicoletta shook her head, “I think I’ll be all right, it was just an aftereffect of fighting . . . the battle’s over now, and there are more important things to worry about than me,” the girl weakly moved herself up and pointed over to where she’d last seen Alexi with his injuries, “Al-Alexi’s gotten a nasty wound from all this, he needs medical attention. . . . Then, there’s Momchil and Amalia too, they’re still in the shop, waiting to gather the textiles for mom.”

“Nicoletta, the textile bolts don’t matter right now, mom might not thrilled if she doesn’t get them today, but she’ll understand that your health, as well as Alexi’s, comes first. Same for the twins.” Without giving his sister a chance to respond, Vincente looked around and spotted the shopkeeper who looked a bit like himself, of course, while Vincente had much the same thought about that as his sister, unlike her, he didn’t suddenly go and spout it out. “I’m going to assume you’re the one in charge of the shop our mother’s shipping order got sent to by mistake; I apologize for this, but we’re going to have to leave those with you for the time being, Nicoletta’s not doing so well and her friend is injured.”

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Character Portrait: Syd Lastern Character Portrait: Nicoletta Celeste Ardente
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Syd Lastern


After Syd had made his comment about Xibalba, he nearly made it back into his store until the breeze hit his wound. While he had an intolerance to pain, he was thankful that it wasn't to temperature, so his eyes quickly scanned his bloodied left arm. As he had noticed before, one of his better shirts was now cut and the sleeve was barely clinging to his arm while the blood slowly fell to the ground off of his fingertips. His head than swiveled around, for he realized that he had forgotten to get his jacket. When he found it - it wasn't that far from the Hunter - and sighed as he turned his entire body to face his jacket. However, when he strove for his beloved piece of clothing, he noticed the girl Nicoletta out of the corner of his eye: she seemed to be struggling with something, and he nearly dismissed her when Syd heard the solemn clang of an all too familiar sound.

A gun - nay, a revolver, clanging off of the tired, beaten ground.

His head instantly turned to her, and even though he was just a few steps from his jacket, Syd stopped in his tracks to examine the young girl. He hated the sound - not only did it remind him of a past that he didn't want to remember, but it was a constant throughout his lifestyle. So many times had he heard somebody's gun fall to the ground, it was almost aggravating. Besides, it wasn't good for the shiny revolver that she owned. Syd's deep, dull blue eyes shifted from the golden gun to Nicoletta once more, noticing that she seemed to be having a massive breakdown of her nervous system, even her motor functions. As tears began to fall to her face, something that gave Syd a little startle, he barely made out some of the words she mumbled:

"Can't... I can't" That was all Syd could make out until she fell to the ground. Syd's eyes widened slightly, but he made no move to help her, nor call for help. He simply watched her in a dull trance: as if he was in shock. It felt all too familiar to him, but his flashbacks were put on hold by just the oddness of the situation: Nicoletta, a girl that was strong enough to challenge a Hunter, had mysteriously fallen to the ground in some form of comatose. Syd's brain couldn't comprehend what was going on with her, she just seemed to be burning up suddenly. It wasn't until a young man came running and yelling that he seemed to snap out of his little trance. Syd's face instantly changed, almost like a two - faced demon did, from his actually emotional expression to his originally dull and monotone face. While the man - Syd assumed him to be the brother Vincente that resembled him, for it was quite shocking how similar they looked - attended to his sister, Syd walked over to his jacket and put it on slowly, only to stop at his left arm. He sighed, not wanting to get it bloody, when he felt somebody tap his shoulder. To his shock he saw Azi and Teddy, with Teddy holding a first aid kit. Syd nodded his thanks and bandaged himself up quickly. When he was sure the blood had stopped, he placed his left hand inside his jacket.

When Syd finally was about to walk away, the brother called Vincente's voice ran over to him, to which all three of the Deck turned to the man. “I’m going to assume you’re the one in charge of the shop our mother’s shipping order got sent to by mistake; I apologize for this, but we’re going to have to leave those with you for the time being, Nicoletta’s not doing so well and her friend is injured.” Syd nodded, understanding the idea that the man had tried to instill, but not really agreeing with the idea. He didn't like the idea of somebody else's goods simply relaxing in his store and taking up space. No that wouldn't do. Instead, Syd thought of an idea, and as much as he hated to do so, it looked like he was going to do something for free.

"While I understand your reasoning, I have a counter proposal. For assisting in the take down of the Hunter," Syd nearly grinded his teeth when Azi started snickering. "My employees and myself will carry your textiles for you. I do not need them sitting in my shop and taking up space, so getting them out of my shop is a benefit to myself as well." Syd said in his normal tenor voice, foregoing the monotone that he used around strangers and unlikables. This Vincente and his family were quite intriguing to say the least. He nodded his head, and Teddy walked back into the shop, while Azi turned to Syd and muttered a quick.

"I know you love to show off your stuff kid, but I thought you kept your bullets private..." Azi winked at him and then over at Vincente and his sister before lighting up a cigarette and walking over to the store. Syd looked down and swore quietly: His necklace of bullet casings must have slipped out during the fight, for they were now dangling from his neck in plain sight for anybody looking at him to see. Not really caring by this point, he grabbed it slowly and nonchalantly put the necklace behind his shirt once more. By then, Ted had come out with all of the textiles in his hands, with one for Syd to carry as well. He wasn't much of a lifter, but he needed to at least look like he was going for a purpose.