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Bast Kipling

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night."

0 · 636 views · located in New York City

a character in “Gifted”, as played by fivehours

Description

โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”
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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxXXI'M LOST IN THE NIGHT, GOING OUT OF MY MIND.
IN THIS NEON JUNGLE, YOU FED MY HUNGER.

XXXXXโ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”








      โ–ˆโ–ˆ FULL NAME: XX SEBASTIAN ISAIAH KIPLINGXX { KEYBOARD WARRIOR }
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ NICKNAMES: xx BAST, SEB
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ AGE: xx NINETEEN
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ DATE OF BIRTH: xx SEPTEMBER 29, 1996
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ NATIONALITY: xx AMERICAN
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ ETHNICITY: xx ITALIAN, ENGLISH
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ SEXUALITY: xx HETEROSEXUAL, HETEROROMANTIC

      โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ

      โ–ˆโ–ˆ HEIGHT: xx 1.85M; 6'1"
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ WEIGHT: xx 78KG; 172LBS
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ EYE COLOR: xx BOTTLE GREEN
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ HAIR COLOR: xx BROWN-BLACK


      โ–ˆโ–ˆ ABILITY: xx TECHNOLOGY MANIPULATION
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ DIALOGUE COLOR: xx #99A894
      โ–ˆโ–ˆ THOUGHT COLOR: xx #AEA790



โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ
TONIGHT, THE FOXES HUNT THE HOUNDS




Image โ–ˆโ–ˆ ABILITIES: xx TECHNOLOGY MANIPULATION ; CYBERKINESIS

Since the beginning of time itself, and we're talking from the dawning of retro gaming classic Pacman, members of the specific collective known for their love of technology and all that comes from it - the gamers, the computer whizzes, that one IT guy that smells like microwavable burritos and works in your building - have been dubbed with the title of "nerds." And quite frankly? Bast carries such a title with the utmost pride. Gone are the days where being called a nerd, a geek, or otherwise was supposed to offend and degrade. Because Bast knows what you're all about- he knows that you're out playing PokรฉmonGo and you're loving it. It's never been so cool to be nerdy.

Alright, alright, so Bast might be a little bit biased. So what? Just because he has the power of technology manipulation doesn't mean that gaming isn't a multi-billion dollar industry, or that BattleBots isn't a wildly successful competitive sport. It just means that Bast and technology are the two closest buddies that buddies can get! You see, Bast knew that he wasn't just your average, run of the mill tech dork when he first got his sticky little hands on an old computer at the tender age of... whatever he was at the time, and suddenly he felt as if the thing, an inanimate object that still ran on dial-up, was alive. Numbers, algorithms, and codes had stormed through his very soul and danced within hidden aspects of his mind. It was very much a concrete, even palpable, concept that the young Gifted felt to be a fundamental part of himself. Now, aged nineteen, Bast can control the flow of intricate machinery, communicate with computer data, and assemble and disengage programming at will.

If you'd like a textbook definition of what Bast can do, it is simply this: he can devise, configure, and manipulate anything that falls under the category of a technological construct, including computers, robots, and hardware. Perhaps in ironic juxtaposition, the power by which Toby is known for, sorcery, is nothing like Bast's own abilities, and if Bast is entirely honest with you- he might have gotten flimflammed, bamboozled, and handed the short end of the stick. Because what the hell! As cool as his powers are, why does Toby get to be Harry Potter? He gets to do the thing with the wiggly fingers and all of a sudden he's casting spells and getting invited to Sabrina the Teenage Witch's sweet sixteen!


โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ
MISTAKES CALL OUR NAME UNTIL WE SHAKE IT OFF




Image โ–ˆโ–ˆ APPEARANCE:

Mirror, mirror on the wall... it's clear that Bast is the fairest one of them all. Known to be the better looking of the pair of identical twins, a conviction held by Bast, at least, Bast can happily say that he's never known a more attractive man than himself. Move over Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, Leonardo Di- whoever, there's a new sexiest man alive. He hasn't gotten the official title just yet, so you're safe for now, Ryan Reynolds, but he figures that it'll eventually just fall into his lap once he's been discovered. From top to bottom, Bast is a piece of art crafted by the hands of God himself, every inch being a thing of utmost perfection. You just have to turn a blind eye to the fact that he doesn't take it upon himself to shave, shower, or work out consistently.

In many respects, some might consider Bast to be a good looking guy, despite perhaps not being on the level of Hollywood actors as he so claims; he has dark hair, brown or black depending on the lighting, which often looks soft to the touch and brings out the bottle green of his luminescent eyes. A five o'clock shadow darkens a masculine jawline and defines well-sculpted features, bringing out the best of a striking countenance. A crooked smile is sure to grace the young Gifted's face, ultimately reflecting the boyish, mirthful demeanor that Bast carries himself with.

Here's where Bast begins to lose give or take a few points on the hotness scale, certain factors influencing the overall mien that he presents himself with. Such attributes, common among basement dwellers such as himself, could easily be remedied if he only took those extra steps mentioned earlier: shaving, showering, and at least going for a walk every once in a while. For example, due to the reason that Bast simply cannot be bothered with a consistent shaving schedule, that five o'clock shadow that is seen gracing his face grows to an unreasonable length, becoming mangy and unflattering rather than favorable. Also, people this day and age have just become too obsessed with the gym lifestyle, the perfect beach body, which is exactly why Bast thinks it be much healthier if he didn't exercise at all. After all, he's confident with himself and having a bit of pudge in your midsection is a small price to pay for that extra slice of pepperoni pizza.

The fact of the matter is, Bast is a tad too pale from the lack of sunlight he gets, sometimes he looks a little greasy because he hasn't showered in three or four days, and that boyish smile that sits crookedly on his face gets to be too much when it turns into a goofy grin. The teen merely points out that he puts in effort when need be and there's really no point to doll himself up in the comfort of his own home; in the meantime he'll ignore the finger-shaped Dorito dust smears that stain his tee-shirts and keep not wearing pants around his apartment.

โ–ˆโ–ˆ QUIRKS AND HABITS:

It is incontrovertible that the core purpose of a joke, a spoken quip or wisecrack, is that it's something that is supposed to be funny. For Bast, a boy who seemingly lives and breathes to receive and to deliver bad jokes, it's best to prepare yourself for some of the worst. For all one knows it may be a habit Bast has as the result of an aftereffect of his abilities, but he is often found occupying himself by taking apart, fixing, and building things, usually of the technological sort. Then again, it could just be that Bast has trouble keepings his hands still because the mindless drumming of his fingers against a surface may be heard. Lastly... no, it's not your grandmother you're smelling, Bast just likes taking lavender-scented bubble baths. He knows how to treat himself.



โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ
IN ANOTHER LIFE THERE'S NO TELLING WHO I MIGHT HAVE BEEN



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โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”X LOVEX โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”‘

Any one normal individual with a healthy, thriving social life would be out on a Friday night. Bast, on the other hand, would much rather be in the comfort of his own home playing some video games and keeping his thumbs limber. Surely a night out on the town is incomparable to a marathon of League of Legends campaigns. The only thing to make an evening as exciting as that complete is having a few cartons of greasy Chinese food lying around for his consumption. However, there's only one thing in this world that Bast loves above all, nothing else, no one else, coming to top his affections. This young man swears up and down that one day Trish Walker, former child star, current radio personality extraordinaire, and blonde Goddess, will be his wife. His Tumblr fan accounts are thriving. To top it all off he's a die-hard Star Wars fan and has a secret love for romance novels.

โ”•โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”™

โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”X HATEX โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”‘

Remember when Bast mentioned that he thinks that people these days are just getting gym-obsessed? This exact conviction, indolence, if you take a true look at it, is what makes him abhor any form of physical exertion. Along with that, he holds the firm belief that pants should have actually been named "leg prisons," and there is great liberation that comes along with taking off your trousers at the end of the day and watching Game of Thrones in your underwear. Despite tech support being his job at the local Best Buy, having to explain how computers work to those who are tech-handicapped is certainly his not his favorite thing to do. Have you tried turning it off and on again? Don't even get him started on how much he hates being caught in traffic and having to eat peppers. Lastly, for reasons undoubtedly personal, overt Christianity - the extremists - will never fail to make him sneer.

โ”•โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”™


โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ
PLAY AN ILLEGAL SONG AND TURN IT UP LOUDER



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โ–ˆโ–ˆ STRENGTHS/TALENTS:
XXXXTech Savvy, in all of it's explicitness, the obvious nature of this strength, it may not even be worth mentioning since it's simply a part of who Bast is. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that Bast is more technologically inclined than the average Joe, so whenever you're having a spot of trouble with your devices you can always rely on him for a quick fix.
XXXXLoyalty, always one to show steadfast dedication and unwavering support, Bast has a tendency to remain loyal to the persons or the institutions that he sides himself with. He may show to be a reliable ally in times of need.
XXXXConfidence, a little bit of confidence can get you a long way and luckily for Bast, he seems to be in abundance of such a trait. It is debatable, however, as to if this is an attractive attribute to have in Bast's case, as his overconfidence can make it hard to take him seriously. If only he could apply his confidence when it comes to talking to people of the opposite gender...
XXXXFelicific, he may not always be the most bearable guy to be around, depending on who you are, but it is clear that Bast isn't the type to wallow in sadness. Many a time, Bast provides some much needed comic relief and his goofiness can bring a smile to any face; spreading happiness is the name of the game.

โ–ˆโ–ˆ WEAKNESSES/FLAWS:
XXXXLying, Bast is many things but a good liar is certainly not one of them, the term "fake it 'till you make it" only applying to those who can actually, well, fake it. The perspiration that collects on his forehead, his awkward mannerisms, and the way his voice raises a few octaves are only a few obvious tells that Bast is lying.
XXXXVocal Stupidity, never has there been a more severe case of Foot-In-Mouth syndrome than Bast, the poster boy for saying a lot of pretty stupid things. It's never his intention to come off as foolish or tactless but a lot of the time he leaves his listeners groaning in either second-hand embarrassment, disbelief, or frustration.
XXXXPuerility, a child in a man's body, Bast has the sense of humor of a prepubescent boy and still watches Saturday morning cartoons whenever he gets the chance. Needless to say, it's safe to label Bast, as he still excitedly sings along to the SpongeBob theme song, as a certified manchild.
XXXXOrganized Messes, he always claims that there's a method to his madness, but he always leaves those around him wondering if there's an actual organizational system that he lives by or if he just doesn't like people moving his random garbage and knick knacks. Still, it's either that he's the only one who understands his methods or that he needs to have an intervention on Hoarders.

โ–ˆโ–ˆ FEARS:
XXXXPublic Speaking, one of the earliest memories Bast possesses in his mind's eye is a traumatic one, flashes of this moment occasionally replaying in his head just to torture him. It consists of a few basic ingredients: a first grade recital, a spotlight singing Jesus Loves Me, and a whole lot of projectile vomit. To this day Bast's confidence goes right out the window whenever he's faced with a microphone and a sea of people, a case of extreme cold feet leaving him with glossophobia.
XXXXLosing Toby, given that Bast didn't try to eat him in the womb and instead decided to sacrifice the little bit of legroom that he had, probably the first sign that he liked his twin brother, Bast can openly say that if there's one thing in this world that he would give up anything for it would be Toby. A childhood of extreme co-dependence has left the pair ultimately inseparable. Although on occasion they may appear to be sick of each other, the bond that they share can never be broken.




โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ
WE WILL WALK AWAY FROM EMPTY GOLD



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โ–ˆโ–ˆ PERSONALITY:

It had been Bast's high school English teacher, Mr. Frank Bagnoli, a middle aged man whose hairline was leaving him faster than his ex-wife and smelled tragically of cat food and peppermints, who had compared him to a Shakespearean comic relief character. If Bast could remember correctly, although his memory was a little foggy due to the fact that it was spoken in eleventh grade, placing the statement at give or take a few years ago, the exact words that he used were that he was "appallingly unaware of the situation around him" and "makes comments so awkwardly timed and irrational that it's laughable." All things considered, he had been likened to a bumbling, wisecracking, and tension-relieving side character, putting him with the Porter in Macbeth and the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet.

Bast had only been a teensy bit offended at the remark. After all, he would have much rather been the intelligent Prince Hamlet or even the femme fatale Lady MacBeth pre-mental breakdown, but all evidence points to Bast being entirely goofy and tactless. As the reigning champion of the foot-in-mouth syndrome (not to be confused with hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which Bast had to learn was not in fact the correct analogy), the things that can slip out of this young man's mouth will make those around him want to simultaneously laugh and cry. On countless occasions his friends will either laugh or roll their eyes, reminding him to think before he speaks to avoid making a fool of himself further.

It's pretty fair to say that Bast is a bit rough around the edges, but he's definitely not a fixer upper. For all it's worth, beneath the one hundred and seventy-two pounds of goofy manchild is a young man who was an honor roll student and continues to prove himself surprisingly intelligent in regards to his studies. It seems that he comes off rather unlike himself when it boils down to pen and paper. Not to mention that he's hopelessly jocund, cheerful and lighthearted, and it's entirely rare to find the boy in a state of melancholy. It's joyfulness of the infectious kind. A person who is known to be highly emotive, Bast can be read as easily as an open book- a children's book. With pictures.

There are sides to Bast that most do not see, manly dictated by his own choice, but they can be uncovered as time passes and bonds are strengthened. For instance, his twin brother knows Bast inside and out, which also means that he knows that Bast keeps a box full of romance novels, ranging from Nicolas Sparks to borderline harlequin novels, under his bed. No amount of denial is going make amends for that fact that they're there. He might as well proclaim what he is for all to hear, that being a hopeless romantic. In an odd role reversal, it's Bast that dreams about taking long walks on the beach and having a spring wedding somewhere amongst bluebells. He can pretty much quote The Notebook word for word. In contrast to this smitten kitten attitude, nonetheless, there is a gravely serious side to Bast that has been unleashed in unfavorable moments.



โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ
RISE UP ABOVE, TAKE THE WHOLE WORLD WITH YOU



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โ–ˆโ–ˆ FAMILY:

XXXXAmos Kipling | Father | Non-Gifted | Estranged
XXXXRebecca Kipling | Mother | Non-Gifted | Estranged
XXXXTobias Kipling | Twin Brother | Gifted, Sorcery | 19

โ–ˆโ–ˆ HISTORY:

As far as Sebastian Kipling is concerned, jus soli is a concept that does not apply to him, for just because he had been born in the midwestern state of Oklahoma does not mean that his allegiance remains there. No, his roots had become ingrained into the rich soil of New York the moment that his father had been offered a job position there and the whole family had packed up their belongings to be relocated to the bustling metropolis. Gone are any sort of inclination Bast could have had about becoming a cowboy, right-wing Christian, or a professional rattlesnake wrestler. Instead Bast finds himself clinging to the utmost familiarity of New York City, New York, where the people are always willing to push you out of the way if it means hailing the last taxi and the air always has the lingering scent of stale hot dogs.

On the other hand, Bast does agree that the Oklahomans just might be on to something when it comes to deep frying pretty much everything they eat. Do you think deep fried day old Chinese food will taste any good? Bast will have to remember to try that later.

You can take the native-born Oklahomans out of Oklahoma, but you can't take the Oklahoma out of the native-born Oklahomans- at least this is true when it came to Bast's parents, Amos and Rebecca Kipling. Somehow this translated to how their crazy extremist views, ones that had been little less than common conviction back in the boonies of the small state, stuck with them like white on rice. Take it from Bast, he really has nothing against religion, his own agnositic beliefs not hindering his understanding that people can do whatever they want, but he begins to have a problem with it when it makes people go absolutely insane. Toby likes to utilize the word "repressed" when it comes to their shared childhood, and Bast supposes that he can't deny the correct terminology. They had been repressed, the justification behind it being that it was apparently what the lord had wanted.

There's a tiny pea of jealously that ignites within Bast whenever someone else speaks so fondly of their childhood years, arousing the reminder of what his parents had done to himself and his brother. While he listens to Jane Doe speak of her favorite childhood television show, he can't help but recall the way his parents closely monitored and timed what and when he could watch television. God forbid he accidentally watch Zoboomafoo, which can imply undertones of evolution, the concept of the Anti-Christ. There was one instance when Bast had snuck a Gameboy, a console he had found broken in the park and repaired himself, into church on Sunday. He would have gotten away with it had it not been for how the volume had been turned all the way up when he turned it on. He received a good lashing from his father when they got home from Church that day, that's for sure.

His parents: devout Christians, conservative extremists, and last but not least severe anti-Gifted persons. God must really enjoy a good dose of irony every now and then, something to just to make him giggle, because Rebecca and Amos had birthed two children with unprecedented superpowers. It had been drilled into their heads for as long as Bast can remember that the Gifted population were freaks, humanoids as products of an unholy force that could eventually end in the demise of mankind. To this very day Bast can still remember the looks on their faces as they walked in on Toby while he attempted to hone his craft, sorcery, even at such a young age. It had been equal parts uncontrollable anger and pure, unadulterated sickness. Bast... Bast got lucky. Time and time again his parents would write off his own powers as simply an increased interested in computers and other forms of technology. It simply couldn't have been their normal son's Bast doing when the television channel changed without a single finger on the remote.

The day that Bast kissed his parents and that twisted household goodbye was one of the best days of his young life. As soon as they had made the decision to kick Toby out of the house on account of him being gay was the day that Bast would no longer take any of their shit. In a serge of bravery, attributed to an overwhelming sense of protectiveness for Toby, he had told his parents that they could shove that Bible they loved so much right up their asses because he and his brother, his only true family, were packing up their things and leaving. From that moment on it was going to be Bast and Toby against the world and there was going to be no one to stop them. They're so much better without them.



โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ โ—ˆ
WE ARE GIANTS



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M I S C E L L A N E O U S

Mountain Standard Time (MST) = UTC-7

A special thanks to Verix for elements of the sheet format!

F C & P L A Y E R

Matthew Daddario | fivehours

So begins...

Bast Kipling's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

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๏ผฎ๏ผฅ๏ผท ๏ผน๏ผฅ๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผณ ๏ผค๏ผก๏ผน, ๏ผฎ๏ผฅ๏ผท ๏ผน๏ผฏ๏ผฒ๏ผซ ๏ผฃ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผน

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It's no secret that the New Years is no mere passing holiday in the eyes of those living in the metropolis of New York City, the name itself enough to set its rambunctious populace abuzz in anticipation for what is to come. The citizens of New York? They know how to party. The dawning of a new year comes a new excuse to pull out all the stops, along with an alarming amount of second-rate booze which may taste like cat piss in the beginning but become more bearable once one hits the third or forth drink, as many acknowledge that it is the one night of the year that is truly meant to paint the town red. Whether it be a small house party among friends who had preparing weeks in advance by buying party decorations, a gathering of lonely souls at a local bar who just want to get away from the worries of life, or families of all types who condensed within Time Square to watch the famous dropping of the ball, people were out for blood and looking for a good time. The feeling of elation rippled along society and enabled an atmosphere that was shared among all.

On this night in New York City, minutes inching ever nearer to a fresh stretch of time, alcohol was overflowing from the cups of the masses and there wasn't a soul whose eyes weren't occasionally straying to their clocks, watches, and cell phones, checking to see how much longer they would have to wait until midnight. With baited breaths, there wasn't much else to do other than enjoy the chicken wings that were on for cheap because of the New Year special or keep an eye out for that possible other who might want to share a kiss at the peak of the evening- neither of which was really a tragedy. For those willing to brave the slight chill in the air that came with the winter season, they were able to experience the wonder of bright, exploding color, light illuminating a sky that would have otherwise been dark, dreary, and full of smog. The fireworks displays alone were enough to leave those who had witnessed its splendor, breathless.

There was one specific individual who was breathless for an entirely different reason, however, not a single firework bright or colorful enough to catch his attention. No, his heart was racing in such a way that could only be the result of not happiness or jubilation, but rather, the feeling of becoming helpless prey in a scenario that was not in his favor. The blood that coursed through Lionel Lee's, a man who was unfortunate enough to call the dirty city streets his home, veins ran an icy cold as he stopped to catch his breath. He was in desperate need to stop running, to allow his screaming muscles a moments rest and his pounding heart a chance to steady itself. Lionel Lee could only press himself into a crevice of a red brick wall and attempt to suppress the scream that wanted to rise out of the back of his throat.

The Shadow was still after him; it was lurking somewhere in the alleyway with him, an alleyway that had been transformed into a labyrinth when Lionel became a mouse in a maze riddled with cats. The dark figure was out to get him- it was out to kill him, Lionel was sure of it. It was a dark, tenebrous shape that loomed over even the tallest of walls and buildings, overwhelming the area with an aura of power and dominant so staggeringly potent. The Shadow was nothing less than a natural-born predator with a lust for blood.

Lionel had been living on the streets for years now, and with that in mind he knew the very culture that coupled with that lifestyle. He knew that some of the best places to sleep were in playgrounds and beneath bridges, places deemed safe enough to spend the night and warm enough to evade the bitter cold. The schedule of the local soup kitchen, when was the best times to ensure that Lionel would get a hot bowl of soup to eat, was permanently engraved in his mind. Lastly, but most importantly, he knew how to steer clear of the potential dangers. There were some people that could not be trusted, places that he would never intend to visit, and conditions that he would avoid out of his best interest. But those were dangers of the earthly sort, mainly defined by the dealings of the black market and gang movements. They were unlike the kind of The Shadow: an unearthly danger.

Suddenly, rapidly, something darted out of the corner of his eye, a black shape that moved with speed and agility that could be dubbed inhuman. It was a movement enough to draw a loud whimper from between Lionel's lips and cause his shaking hands to push him away from the wall, springing the homeless man into the middle of the alley. As his feet thudded against the ground and his body seemed to turn from corner to corner to corner of the maze, it was pure instinct that overtook his mind and flooded his thoughts of run, escape, and survive. He could pay no heed to the patch that slipped out of his pocket and drifted to the ground, a singular beam of moonlight shining onto the words "SGT. Lionel Lee."

He didn't want to run any more, he was tired and consumed by fatigue, but he had to. The Shadow was everywhere all at once. It dashed and flew, scampering out of the corner of his eyes and disappearing before he could truly construe it. Finally, it would be the way The Shadow swiped along the length of his spine that would send Lionel tumbling to the ground beneath him, a scream ripped out of him as he scurried to pull himself up and face the demon. As he did, Lionel squeezed his eyes shut and felt the tingle of vapor at his fingertips, water from a nearby leaking pipe collecting on his palm. It was a sensation no longer familiar to the man, as he had long since abandoned the use of his abilities. On an occasion like this, however, it was his second nature as a Gifted individual to try and preserve his life.

Flinging the water in the direction of The Shadow did nothing. It was a pathetic attempt that portrayed the weakness of the prey, a mist of water that only seemed to send The Shadow into a hoot of joyous laughter. It was if the thing was equal parts pleased and mocking at Lionel's little display of Adam's ale. The Shadow knew that he had won.

In the darkness of the barren alleyway his screams had not been heard or attended to as The Shadow overtook him, and instead the cheers of nearby party-goers could be discerned in the far distance. While people laughed merrily, kissed enthusiastically, and roared with delight at the strike of midnight, they would not know of Lionel's demise on account of a battle lost. Nor would they care.

On January 1st, 2016 Lionel Lee would die a homeless veteran, his legacy having fought in wars smothered, and lines and scratches marring his arms would show that he had been driven to drug use and addiction. He would be a man forgotten. A man murdered.



โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

๏ผฏ๏ผฎ๏ผฅ ๏ผท๏ผฅ๏ผฅ๏ผซ ๏ผฌ๏ผก๏ผด๏ผฅ๏ผฒ, ๏ผฎ๏ผฅ๏ผท ๏ผน๏ผฏ๏ผฒ๏ผซ ๏ผฃ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผน

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

Anyone born in the last few decades can attest to how revolutionary the creation of the internet was. Its development since has created a whole new method for obtaining information. Suddenly anyone with a home computer could cruise the web, information was only a mouse click away. Chatting with friends halfway across the world, or meeting like-minded people on anonymous chatrooms was easy.

One such chatroom, entered only through a password, has had a steady stream of patrons for the last month or so. It was originally created as a safe space for Gifted kids to communicate, those individuals who felt they couldnโ€™t speak with anyone face to face about the many problems they might face day to day. Recently, the chatroom has been dedicated to the disappearances that have been plaguing the homeless youth of New York, and the ineffectiveness of the local police.

โ€™This is bullshit.โ€™ KidBig66 writes, breaking the momentary silence that had hit the board after the most recent disappearance had been announced. โ€™How come no oneโ€™s looking into it??โ€™

โ€™Same excuse as last time, I reckon.โ€™ Lucky_Lady types back, โ€™Police say itโ€™s not suspicious. Claim heโ€™s probably just on some drug binge or moved cities.โ€™

โ€™Basically, they donโ€™t fuckn care about any1 hu doesnโ€™t โ€˜fitโ€™ into their picture of society.โ€™ The_Alpha8921 types.

He wasnโ€™t far off the truth too. For several months now there have been losses, street kids disappearing, homeless men and women vanishing without a trace. Bodies have been rare, only a handful have been found and even then, itโ€™s hard to identify the remains. Yet, the police have remained largely inactive. Their excuses? Not enough evidence, or not enough resources to investigate the disappearance of individuals who are prone to moving without word. After all, who would spare an officer when the victim in question is one of those who have fallen through societyโ€™s cracks, whose โ€˜homeโ€™ moves depending on the weather and the good grace of others?

โ€™Fucking hell! Theyโ€™re gonna sit and do nothing while some psychopath picks us all off.โ€™ KidBig66 writes, the anger evident even across the internet.

โ€™We do it then.โ€™ The response comes from renegade777, one of the quieter presences in the chatroom.

โ€™Do what?โ€™

โ€™We find and stop this killer.โ€™

The words are read across the city, fingers stilled against their keyboards as pros and cons are weighed. Could they? Could they do this themselves? Do what the police wonโ€™t? It was a mad idea, and yetโ€ฆ who was to say they couldnโ€™t? A stream of replies come at once, some for the idea, some vehemently against it.

โ€™Youโ€™re crazy.โ€™,
โ€™FUCK YES!โ€™
โ€™How could we do anything? Weโ€™re just a bunch of nobodies.โ€™
โ€™Iโ€™d rather do something and die trying than watch as more are killed.โ€™
โ€™Screw u, im nt dying for shit.โ€™

โ€™We can do this, guys.โ€™ Renegade777 explains, gaining the chatroomโ€™s attention as they continue, โ€™Think about it. Weโ€™re all gifted, weโ€™re strong and powerful, and we know the city better than any police officer. Together, we can do this.โ€™

โ€™Not all of us can control our powers.โ€™ Someone points out.

โ€™Then weโ€™ll train. Weโ€™ll share information and tips, help each other out. We can do this!โ€™

While some refused to be part of this supposed madness, there was enough of a consensus that a date, time, and place was picked. Word spread, radiating out from the chatroom by word of mouth and rumour. As the time drew closer, an exact week after Lionel Leeโ€™s disappearance, the meeting had grown from the handful that frequented the chatroom to more than a dozen individuals. Some came with the intention of doing good, others out of pure curiosity. So it was that, on the 8th of January, as the sun was about to set across the City that never sleeps, a small gathering of Gifted young adults was assembling.

Outside the weather turns from chilly to cold, a blanket of white snow turned to discoloured sludge as pedestrians and vehicles crush it beneath feet and tires. Thereโ€™s no sign of snow at the moment, though thick, heavy clouds hang low in the sky, sunlight catching the underside and offering a crisp winter vision above the cityโ€™s skyscrapers. For those with the option, it would be a perfect evening to watch the sunset from an insulated and heated penthouse apartment, but for those forced out into the biting air, it would be best to wrap up tight.

They trail in alone or in pairs, pushing aside rusted metal fences and entering through a door thatโ€™s on its last breath. Graffiti decorates the walls, while empty beer bottles and the evidence of furry inhabitants litter the floors and corners. In the middle of the warehouseโ€™s hall a patch of blackened floor remains as evidence to when some miscreant attempted to start a fire within its four walls. The walls are rusting, the ceiling looks set to cave in, and yet miraculously it still lives, as if the abandoned building has been imbued with an unnatural ability to survive whatever dangers is thrown at it, natural or not. Decrepit and lonely, a shell of a building that once held the industrial hopes of the neighbourhood, it now offers the ideal set for a meeting of concerned youth.

They take up places around the edge, or huddled in small groups in the middle, waiting for someone to start the affairs โ€“renegade777 perhaps? Yet, the chatroom member doesnโ€™t step forward, assuming theyโ€™re there yet. Instead, it is another member of the chatroom that kicks things off. The back door squeaks on its hinges as one individual pushes through. To those from the chatroom, heโ€™s known as The_Alpha8921, while in real life heโ€™s Garth Holden, a troubled twenty-one year old with the power of super strength โ€“ fitting given his internet pseudonym. He comes to stand in the middle of the room, glancing around at those already there, a cursory gaze that is at once judging and cocky.

โ€œWell? Are we going to do this thing or not?โ€ He asks, cracking his knuckles out of habit as he eyes up his peers. โ€œWhatโ€™s the plan? We go round anโ€™ tell what we can do?โ€

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
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โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
the wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
hex: #9BA9B4
โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

Image

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

T O B YXK I P L I N G
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B A S TXK I P L I N G

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

Image

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
the wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
hex: #99A894
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The day had been a beautiful one, for wintery New York, and yet neither Kipling twin had been able to witness the colourful hues the heavy clouds took, or the way the sunโ€™s faint rays had cast breath-taking shadows across snow drenched streets. Instead, Toby Kipling had been confined to his room, head bent over his desk in an attempt to decipher the latest book of โ€˜spellsโ€™ that he had managed to acquire. Sighs of frustration had escaped his lips, his fingers aching from the intricate movements heโ€™d put them through, and all for nothing. The book was a dud, one of those new age magic tomes that simply stuck irrelevant words and ingredients into its pages in the hopes of duping modern day โ€˜witchesโ€™ out of their income. Well, the book was either a fake or Toby was just terrible at this magic stuff. It could be either or, really. Toby didnโ€™t have much faith in his abilities.

With another irritated huff, Toby pushed himself back from his desk. He had wanted to master at least one spell before the meeting. Something other than the cheesy mini-fireworks display that was currently one of his only mastered spells. As pretty as the little exploding lights looked, he doubted that it would impress anyone. Though, as Toby glanced at the time he realised with a start that his spells wouldnโ€™t matter if he and Bast missed the meeting entirely.

Jumping to his feet, Toby strode out into the living room, โ€œBast! You ready for the meeting? I almost forgot.โ€ He called, searching for the pantless sod he called a brother. Sure enough, Bast was still sitting on the couch, controller in hand, probably battling some fourteen year old on one of his games.

"Bast! Pants!" Toby cried, exasperation clear in the tone of his voice. His feet stomped into the younger twinsโ€™ room, stepping over empty packets of cookies and random doritos strewn across the carpet in search of the item of clothing that Bast refused to wear within their own home. โ€œWeโ€™re going to be so late.โ€ Toby continued as he searched through Bastโ€™s drawers for a pair of half-way decent trousers. There wasnโ€™t much that wasnโ€™t dirty or crumbled on the floor, yet luck was on Tobyโ€™s side as he pulled out a pair of jeans that had no stains on them and werenโ€™t five years old.

โ€œPut these on now and turn off the game, or Iโ€™llโ€ฆ Iโ€™ll hide the console.โ€ Toby threatened as he returned to the living room, throwing the pants at his twin. He wasnโ€™t very good at threats, and Bast knew Toby well enough to understand that Tobyโ€™s words were hollow.

There was nothing more difficult than being the self-proclaimed king of the technological jungle when your title was constantly being threatened by new opponents; they were opponents that had little to no chance up against him, no less, but the occasional reputable foe dared to step out onto his turf. But listen, if this was an analogy, you know, like, one of those thoughts that have another thought's hat on, Bast would be the lion, the very king of the jungle, and everyone else would be the lambs or the squirrels or whatever sort of weak, defenseless animal who lived in the same niche. Because Bast? Bast had the most limber and controlled thumbs than anyone else on this Earth, and that much he knew he could claim with the utmost amount of assured confidence.

But as Bast was saying, living life as the main man was no easy, breezy walk in the park when it required his attention in it's entirety, thus resulting in his current position on the couch for the past couple of- few- er, however long he's been there for. Everywhere his graphically-rendered cartoon self turned, a new challenger appeared to attempt to shoot him down and demand that the title of high-score holder be given to them. To that Bast says that they can drop dead (and to that they respond by saying some pretty mean things about his mother and his sexual orientation) because there was not a chance in hell that he was going to give anything up. He was going for gold.

They could kiss his godly tushie.

Needless to say, he didn't exactly notice when one hour had turned into two and two had turned into a shit ton, and he may have, in his trance of concentration, only recognized the semblance of Toby's voice saying something to him at one point. He was probably saying something like Bast, pick up your clothes. or Bast, did you take out the garbage? or Sebastian Isaiah Kipling, what the hell did you do to the laundry!? Did you, or did you not, separate the lights from the darks because all of our whites are now pink!... he was kind of like the adults off of Charlie Brown when they talked.

It wasn't until Toby charged into the room full speed ahead, like a cute little extra off of Thomas the Tank Engine, and tossed a pair of pants at his face did Bast startle and break from his very deep, video game-oriented tunnel vision. But in that moment it wasn't like he could actually see anything now that the legs of the pants were wrapped around his head and blocking his vantage point, so he could only begin to flail and sputter as he pulled the article of clothing off of his face.

"Toby! What was that for?" He could only whine when his twin came into view. Looking at Toby was kind of like looking at himself, devastatingly handsome and the picture of perfection, only less adorable and looking very stern with his hands on his hips. "I swear I didn't do it! I don't exactly know what I didn't do, but I didn't do it and that's the important part! There's no need to go put pants on about the whole thing."

Exasperation was a default setting for Toby, at least when dealing with his brother. He pinched the bridge of his nose, taking a calming breath in order to steady himself before replying, with some measure of patience, โ€œBast, weโ€™re going to be late to the meeting. Put your pants on so we can go.โ€ Honestly, Tobyโ€™s ability to remain patient in the face of suchโ€ฆ Bast-ness, should mark him for sainthood. He supposes, that when youโ€™ve shared a womb and a troubled childhood together, dealing with your twin brotherโ€™s inane nonsense isnโ€™t the worst.

For a moment Bast struggled to comprehend what Toby was talking about, his head swimming with images of his top title being taken away from him as more time ticked on. In the corner of his eye he could see his character lose a life, red filling the screen along with the current player scores, and his fingers itched to grab the controller and keep playing. Hand twitching, his gaze turns back to Tobias "Grumpy Gus" Kipling, and Bast takes in the look of exasperation that etched his handsome features. For a moment Bast considers telling him that his face will get stuck like that if he keeps on looking so ruffled at the feathers, but before he could open his mouth the memory hits him.

Oh, that meeting.

Bast paused, gaze flickering between the screen and the pair of jeans in his hands and... well, Bast is kinda busy right now, so maybe if he gives Toby the puppy eyes they could stay home. He might have been the one to bring it up to Toby after coming across the forum, but things change! Plans change! That being said, Bast fixed a look upon Toby and he doesn't need twin telepathy to know that his message of let's-just-stay-home is being relayed quite well.

Of course, just because the message is being relayed, doesnโ€™t mean that Toby is in anyway likely to agree with it. In fact, instead of a happy nod, Toby bites his lip and rolls his eyes. โ€œPants, Bast! Weโ€™re going in two minutes.โ€ Toby replied, even as he was turning and making his way back into his bedroom to collect his wallet and phone. One might wonder why the pants-wearing twin didnโ€™t merely go to the meeting on his own. Certainly, at the age of nineteen Toby was old enough to hold some independence from his twin. And yet, the shy boy didnโ€™t quite find the idea of addressing a room of strangers a happy one. So, he would wait for his brother to dress and hope that they werenโ€™t too late.

Grumbling at his brother's relentless response, Bast feels himself drooping in disappointment as he turns off his gaming console and begins to pull the pair of jeans on over his legs. In an instant the freedom and liberation that he once felt was stolen from him, the legs of the pants oppressing not only his appendages but his will, sovereignty, and birthright to uncovered limbs. Alas, Bast can only do so much to please the public and he doesn't want to get charged for indecency, nor does he want Toby to give him the 'I'm not mad, just disappointed' look because it rouses the worst feeling ever. With the pants now on, Bast meets one Toby by the front door and he sulks. "The pants are on. The console's off. My will to live on is dwindling. Let's go."

Shrugging into his coat, Toby fights back another urge to roll his eye and leads the way outside. Their little house quickly falls behind as the twins slog through melting snow towards the nearest bus stop. Despite Bastโ€™s earlier protests, Toby is sure heโ€™s appreciative of the extra layer between his bare skin and the cold outside, and as they wait for their transport Tobyโ€™s sure the temperature drops as the sunโ€™s rays become masked by the surrounding buildings. The bus arrives late, the driver smells like old cigarettes, and an old woman glares at the two boys as they take a seat across from her, but at least itโ€™s warmer in the clunking metal vehicle than outside.

Their stop leaves the pair with a little over a block to walk, which they do quickly to avoid the creeping cold and because Toby is well aware that theyโ€™re definitely late. โ€œIs that it?โ€ Toby asks, squinting up ahead at the ramshackle warehouse. The neglected building looked more like a death trap than the meeting place to a group of Gifted vigilantes. With the sun setting all the lower as they approach, Toby is even keener to get inside, yet he pauses momentarily as his eyes catch on what he thinks is a figure crotched on the roof. Toby blinks, wondering if it is merely the light playing tricks on his eyes, or his eyes playing tricks on his brain after straining for the whole day to read his book.

โ€œIs thatโ€ฆโ€ Toby starts to ask his twin, before noises from inside the building catch his attention instead. Shaking his head, Toby puts it down to tricks of the light and then heads towards the entrance.

It was Toby's questioning voice that had called Bast's attention, eyes flitting over to see that his gaze was fixated on the rooftops, and soon he was following Toby's line of sight to see... nothing in particular. "What is it?" Bast asks, only to receive a shake of the head as Toby ultimately brushed off his original statement in response. Shrugging, he pulls his hands out from the depths of his jacket pockets to reach for and open up what seemed to be the entrance of the warehouse; it was a bit worse for wear, he had to admit, but what else did you expect from this area of New York? Bast could accept the chipping paint and crumbling walls as aspects that added a little bit of rustic charm to the whole building, and rustic charm was totally cool.

Having decided to take the lead, Bast was able to enter the warehouse and survey the area before Toby could peer his head in, taking into account the small crowd of Gifted gatherers that stood within it. It couldn't have been more than a couple of dozen people, but still, it was more than Bast thought would show up to this meeting... all knowing the intentions. Perhaps a few Gifted were simply curious and wanted to know if anyone was going to do something about the recent murders, for peace of mind, and perhaps some were hot-blooded and eager to play hero, but there was a sense of nervousness and disarray that made the whole crowd seem unorganized. There was a particular group of individuals that everyone seemed to be fixated on- a couple of people Bast recognized instantly and wanted to pick his hand up and wave to as if he were a first grader waving hello to his mom after his first day of school. But there's a time and place for everything.

Suddenly, the appearance of a boy stepping up to the center of the group caught Bast's eye; he was a bit mousy in stature, small and skinny, someone who looked like his heart beat too fast for no real reason, and his facial features were soft and Asiatic. There was a blush high on his cheeks, giving a rosy hue to ivory cheeks, while there was a slight moment of silence as it looked as if the boy was attempting to build confidence. The voice that tumbled from his lips suited his meek, boyish appearance as it rung shaky and unsure. "I'm... Sunny. Sunny Ahn. A-and I'm from here. In New York." Sunny stuttered over the words and he couldn't maintain eye contact with anyone for very long. "I-I... my power isn't very... like your guys'. But I want to help."

A loud scoff sounds from a large, beefy-looking man who reminded Bast much like a bull in stature. "So what is it that you can do then? Get it out! We already have someone who turns into a fucking tea kettle." He motions to another guy standing near him. "Your power can't possibly be worse than that."

Tobyโ€™s eyes dart around the group as he enters, finding comfort in the sight of familiar faces โ€“ Frankie, Sam, Grace โ€“ while taking in the many new individuals who had come seeking justice, or merely come out of boredom. The twins are late enough that they had missed the earlier introductions, which apparently included an individual with the ability to turn into a tea kettle. Toby absently wondered if that was the only thing they could turn into. Yet, before he can contemplate it too much, his eyes are drawn up to witness a bulky young man growling at an obviously intimidated boy.

โ€œClouds.โ€ The smaller boy mumbles, his cheeks turning a bright red at the scrutiny being directed his way. Sunnyโ€™s head ducks further at the scoff pulled from the bullyโ€™s mouth.

โ€œClouds?โ€ Garth repeats, glancing around with an incredulous look on his face, โ€œWhat, you mean you can create storms?โ€

โ€œNo, I-โ€ฆโ€ Sunny swallows, looking decidedly more nervous by the second, โ€œI can just m-move them, slightly.โ€

โ€œOh, well thatโ€™s going to be useful against a fucking killer!โ€ Garth spits in return. He looks ready to blow, anger seething from his bulky body as his small eyes glanced around the group. His gaze lands on the twins, his lips forming into a sneer as he spat, โ€œWhat about you two? You gonna contribute a power thatโ€™s actually fucking useful? Or join this pathetic lot?โ€

Having all of the attention placed upon them without warning suddenly made Bast feel as if he was connecting with Sunny, the boy having turned pale at the bigger dude's response. Startled and rendered clammy at the large group of people who looked at the late pair with interest, it takes Bast a moment to collect himself before he can respond to being called to. Out of the corner of his eye, Toby was already making himself small, shoulders bunching and head ducking, in an obvious tell of his shy nature. "Uh." Bast manages to spit out. "I don't- I mean, Toby and I just came here looking for a good time and this atmosphere is pretty weird, dude." And alright, maybe that wasn't the right thing to say because a vein throbbed on the guy's forehead. Quickly, Bast rushes to add. "I'm Bast and the handsome devil beside me is my twin brother. I do computery things and he does magic."

So sue him if he's not good at introductions, but he didn't expect the guy to let out a frustrated growl and bark out a, "You've got to be fucking kidding me!"

"No, on the way here Toby said he made baby fireworks using his magic! He's pretty good, if I do say so myself." Bast's arm comes around Toby and he squeezes the other with pride.

Tobyโ€™s cheeks turn a light shade of pink as attention jumps between him, his twin, and the angry troll currently glaring daggers at the pair. He wishes he could take a step behind Bast and disappear, but at the evident anger in Garthโ€™s eyes he feels he should make some sort of addition to Bastโ€™s introduction. Anything that might make that anger evaporate slightly.

โ€œIโ€™m still learning, but I-โ€ฆ we want to help.โ€ Comes Tobyโ€™s quiet reply. Apparently, however, theyโ€™re not the words that the red-faced man wants to hear.

โ€œYou want to help?โ€ Anger surges from Garth Holden, and itโ€™s all Toby can do to not take a step backwards, away from it. โ€œI thought this meeting would bring together people with actual, fucking fighting powers! People who can do something about that killer. And instead I find little shits who can manipulate clouds or make baby fireworks. How the fuck does anyone think those powers are useful?โ€

โ€œHey asshole, we didnโ€™t come here to judge everyoneโ€™s powers. Lay off.โ€ Frankieโ€™s voice was the first to stand against Garthโ€™s rant, though it only caused the brute to round on her instead.

โ€œOf course we fucking did! If someone doesnโ€™t send the useless kids home, theyโ€™re going to end up getting themselves and anyone forced to rely on them killed.โ€ Garthโ€™s words ring out around the warehouse, and Toby canโ€™t help but notice that a few of those gathered around โ€“ those individuals hanging around the outskirts of the room โ€“ were nodding in agreement, โ€œI donโ€™t know about you, but I donโ€™t plan on being murdered because some little shit starts playing Disney princess instead of fighting, or canโ€™t back me up because there are no fucking mirrors around.โ€

"I think we came at a bad time." Bast whispers to Toby at the explosion that was suddenly released out of the human equivalent to actual testosterone. His words are soon drowned out by Garth's impassioned statements, but it seemed as if Toby was too caught up by Garth's rant himself, leaving Bast's words unheard. The man began breathing heavily through his nose while he spoke, chest heaving, and a crazed look in his eyes sparked while he looked about the room.

"So does anyone here actually have a useful power? Or better yet, a fucking plan as to how we're going to take this guy down?" Was is just Bast, or was everyone's ears popping at the sound of the dude's voice? Nevertheless, it didn't really matter because at the questions, it seemed as if no one was willing to speak up, a silence settling within the warehouse while people began to look at one another. Did anyone actually have a plan? Did they have a power that might be useful to take down a serial killer? Those were the questions that danced among the members of the meeting. Biting his lip, the young, mousy boy, Sunny, looked to finally break the disturbed silence.

"I'm s-sure that if we all put our heads together and think we could-"

"Oh, what, so we have nothing!? Come on, we all gathered here because we're getting hurt. Some motherfucker is out there trying to kill us and-" Garth's bellowing voice is reeled back in when he stops abruptly to suck in a breath. His voice is lowered when he speaks next. "It's clear that this is all a joke. Clouds? Magic? Mirrors? What's the use of fighting when we don't have a God damn fighting chance. Listen, I don't know about you all, but it's pretty clear to me that we're in over our heads." There's a ripple of chatter that courses throughout the room, most muttering their agreement. "So what I say is that if you're smart, like me, you're going to pack up your things, walk out that door, and go home. Because if not we're going to risk our lives and never get anywhere." Garth looks around the room. "I'm leaving. And anyone else who knows that leaving this shit to the authorities might be the best thing after all can come with me."

And with that, Garth walked out the door. What a small group of rag-tag teenagers weren't expecting was that he'd take almost everyone with him, leaving a fraction of the original meeting on their own. The kids who still wanted to make a change.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
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The rest of the introductions were lackluster, but not entirely uninteresting. Even as names and powers were being showcased, there were still a few late stragglers sweeping the streets below, charging into the meeting place with beady strings of sweat lining their brows. Kina could swear that one of the Gifted entering the warehouse had his eyes on her, but before she could so much as meet his gaze, he turned away. Her lips fell into a straight line. From his angle, he had surely attained a clear view of her position. If he had spotted her, she hoped that his mind would persuade him otherwise. In some cases, she found that the most intelligent minds were the easiest to trick. Stagnant brains barely challenged anything, and leaped into accusations with blind courage. Garth Holden seemed to possess that kind of judgement. Shrewd minds, on the other hand, held skepticism. Shigeru had taught her the pattern: skepticism leads to questioning, and questioning leads to doubt. If the boy who had noticed her held any shred of intelligence, he would dismiss the mysterious figure he had seen perched upon the roof. With the sharp expression he exhibited, Kina assured herself that he would take what he had seen with a grain of salt. After all, the exciting shenanigans inside the ramshackle building would surely guide his thoughts elsewhere.

She stooped over again, narrowing her eyes as she continued to watch the meeting unfold through the privacy of her hidey-hole. Another lanky boy with a sparkling grin stepped forward, introducing himself as Percy. He had a cadence about his voice that reflected confidence and good character, and it left Kina more entranced than she would have cared to admit. He pushed forward a mopped-haired teen with an average build, no distinguishable features about him. His expression was pretty average, too. "Felix. Electricity," he seemed to groan. This boy was an absolute antithesis to the last, but opposites attracted, or so Kina presumed.

Garth approached a girl next. She was tall, wore almost nothing beneath her unzipped jacket, and possessed a greasy smirk that reminded Kina of the shady street cons she encountered her first day strolling through the city. Her power was illusion manipulation, and she had no problem addressing this to the whole crowd. Despite the unsettling judgement Kina branded upon the girl, she couldn't help but snort at the quip she punched at Garth before revealing her identity and ability. Maria was such a pure-sounding name. It didn't seem to match her appearance or demeanor in the slightest.

Then came the ghost boy Kina had spotted just before Felix had introduced himself. Unlike the girl before him, his name seemed to suit him rather well. Casper was slick, captivating, and acquired a knack for pissing off others; Frankie the redhead, in particular. Her face scrunched up into a fearsome glower before he could so much as step forward. His tongue was sharper than his attitude, and he made an impressive display of his second power, which, unsurprisingly, was invisibility. He faded from view for a long minute, the panicked expressions of the other Gifted being the only indication of his presence. His footfall was mute. Suddenly, she could hear Frankie squeal in anger, her hair suddenly tugging at the end. Kina's brows lowered. There was a deep, dark history between the two, she was sure of it.

After that, a boy named Dylan turned into a teakettle and smashed into the ground. Cute. He was followed by a small sprout of a thing, stuttering his name and intention. He was Sunny, and he was reluctant to reveal his power, but he wanted to help. Kina respected his wish from afar. Up close, Garth Holden did not.

"So what is it that you can do then?" he growled. "Get it out! We already have someone who turns into a fucking tea kettle."

Her fingers balled into fists as the pressure in the room began to boil. Sunny described that he could manipulate and control clouds. Not create storm clouds or anything ominous in intent, just move normal clouds. Much unlike the mousy boy's impression or warm name, Garth did not take his explanation lightly.

โ€œOh, well thatโ€™s going to be useful against a fucking killer!โ€ he spat, silencing the room.

Killer? So that's what this meeting was about. Everyone situated in the warehouse was prepared to take down a murderer. But who was this killer, and why did everyone want to take him down themselves and not leave the suspicious matter in the hands of the authorities? Wouldn't that be more practical and less of a risk? No one wanted to tangle with Death if the meeting could be avoided. Moreover, what was the morality of the people in the room? Had they done something to provoke the killer? Did they even know of their whereabouts, who they were, why they had killed in the first place?

The situation below was fraught and riddled with murky intents, and in that moment, Kina Qadir decided that she did not want to be a part of it.

As the warehouse became a heated crucible, Kina arose from her crouched position, brushing off the small pieces of wood and tile that had clung to her long black trench. The light that remained on the horizon was slowly being sucked away by the stars and moon. Soon, the sky would blot into an inky ebony color. Although she was curious to learn of the name and power of the boy who had spotted her from below, Kina's full attention was on her stomach, which now growled with the ferocity of an angry lion. She hadn't eaten in several hours, and with all the walking, running, and jumping she had done before, it was about time she rewarded her body for its efforts. When she got home, she would make herself a nice bowl of soup. That would warm her up. Perhaps she'd use some curry in the recipe. It'd make her stuffy nose run like a gushing waterfall, but with the crappy day she had survived through, she needed the favorable kick...

Kina made to leave. Yet, she hadn't judged that the roof she ran upon was in such desperate need of repair, then she would've been more prepared for the spill she took as her legs burst through the rusting ceiling, filling the entire warehouse with plaster, and bits of beaten tile.

She had crashed through the room as soon as Garth had left. The shrill sound of her scream bounced across the walls as she fell. Her mind overcoming shock at the last possible second, she cushioned her landing with a quick blast of wind, which spread to every corner of the warehouse. But even that couldn't prevent the jolt of searing pain she felt as her backside smacked the concrete floor. Bits of tile, dirt, metal, and dust buried upon her as she groaned and grunted. She was locked inside a gravelly tomb, and with the penetrating silence that followed, she wasn't sure if it was appropriate to get up. A part of her wanted to take the pain in privacy.

A slough of Pashto and Japanese curses repeated in her head as she found the courage to rise.

Ignoring the rest of the pain, she burst through the pile of destroyed roof like a straight-spined rabbit peeking from its hole. Her lips tightly sealed together, the girl's brown eyes darted back and forth in fright. Everyone's attention had been focused on Garth as he had departed the scrappy premises. Until now. Now every eye was on her. She was right in the middle of it all, conveniently lying in the center of the circle the adolescents had instinctively created during their meeting. A few seconds ago, she had been hidden from view, invisible like the ghost boy. Now she was the elephant in the room.

She took a second to look up. A hazy beam of afternoon light shone upon her skin like a spotlight. Other than that, there was nothing to be found. She was a trespasser.

To put it simply, Kina looked like a deer in headlights. She blinked rapidly, looking for sympathy. Looking for mercy. She only found cold silence and confused glares instead.

Removing thick locks of black hair from her eyes, she swallowed, trying her best to soften the terrified expression on her face. In doing so, she only appeared more nervous.

She looked at Casper. Then at Gracie, Percy, Frankie, and Sunny. Her eyes finally fell upon the boy who had spotted her on the roof. Glaring at him was the worst feeling in the world.

"Hi," she stated, her voice forcefully calm. "I'm Kina."

[Edited by GMs in absence of writer]

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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#, as written by Layla
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โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”
โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”“

song; bang bang XXX hex; #C58917 XXX outfit; nude gown

โ”—โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”›
โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”

    XXXThere were no concrete walls or titanium doors that could keep Rika Yamada out, and certainly not in, not even ones decorated with gargantuan men.
    XXXHer brother's two bodyguards stood stoic by the entrance of her walk-in wardrobe, their eyes averted to provide her with some minuscule illusion of privacy. They knew better than to wait outside her bedroom, the last men having been fired when she portalled through her shoes closet to Atticus' estate. She'd left a signed copy of C. S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on her dresser drawer for a touch of humour. Her brother clearly did not possess the same supreme sense of humour.
    XXX"If you leave me alone, I'll give you a peak of the girls," she teased as she wiggled into her dress. It fell in soft golden hues around her legs, the silk heavenly against her freshly exfoliated skin.
    XXXNeither of them responded with words, although the broader and balder one exhibited what some might mistake to be a lip twitch, but was actually the equivalent of a full-blown laugh coming from the steely ex-navy officer. Rika was certain he weighed two tonnes naked.
    XXX"Fine," she sighed. "Your loss."
    XXXRika lifted her purse from the love seat centred in her dressing room and pushed past her bodyguards. She swayed her hips vigorously as she walked, hoping they might become so entranced by her derriere they forgot that Kenji had ever paid them to keep her safe and bored.
    XXXEver since the mysterious attacks on the Gifted began, her brother had become even more obsessively protective of his little sister than anyone had ever thought possible. Her life had been reduced. Maimed, even, by his paranoia. Murder might have been a common occurrence in the sleepless city but it was not common to the Yamada family. They were warriors. Lucky warriors. They had wealth, health, stealth, mealth meth... Ah, whatever. The point was, there was no chance in a city as big as this that they would be so unlucky. Also she was cute and smelled like vanilla with a hint of magnolia.
    XXXA chorus of greetings met them as the elevators slid open on the lower levels. She had her own suites in the main headquarters of NEXTech, which was a sprawling steel and glass monstrosity automated at the very height of modern engineering's vast capabilities. It was not the worst of places to live, but their vending machines didn't dispense fried chicken. It was very disappointing.
    XXXShe felt a sudden ache in her chest - or stomach, it was hard to differentiate organs situated so closely to each other - for Gracie's restaurant. They had the best food and Eugene. Oh, Eugene. Sweet, beautiful Eugene. She wished he'd let her eat macarons off his pecs.
    XXX"You look absolutely stunning in that dress, my lady," a voice came nervously from her left. She turned to find one of their newest mechatronics interns, only one of the money she conned into calling her all manner of monarchial names. It seemed nobody wanted to question the daughter of their boss' boss - just as she liked it.
    XXX"Thank you, my tiny civilian," she addressed the 5'5" girl. "Bless."
    XXXAnd that was when the idea took form.
    XXX"Ah, actually," she began. "I need someone to help me touch up my mascara. Are you free?"
    XXX"Of course! A-anything!"
    XXX"Great! Let's go." Rika took the girl's hand and power walked quite admirably towards the closest ladies room in her stiletto heels. Her bodyguards took a step to follow her inside.
    XXX"Umm," Rika started. "That's weird? Like, there are other women in there?"
    XXX"Ma'am, we are under strict orders to keep you in our sights," the fuller-haired one replied.
    XXX"Stephanie-"
    XXX"It's actually Nancy-"
    XXX"Stanley here will keep me in her sights. Won't you, Stanley?"
    XXX"Umm, well actually, uh, yeah, I mean, sure."
    XXX"There, easy, bye!" Rika slammed the door shut.
    XXX"That was a little weird-"
    XXX"Stanley." Rika grabbed the smaller girl's shoulders. "I need you to do something very important for me."
    XXX"Oh, god."
    XXX"I need you to close your eyes and count to 10, then hurtle your whole pint-sized body at the two intimidating men out there in a super subtle, 'oh I tripped, clumsy me' kind of way. Break a few bones maybe. Just to be safe."
    XXX"What?" Stanley squealed.
    XXX"Also, take this." Rika pressed her phone into Stanley's sweaty palms. "And run 20 miles North. Tell no one who you are. Who I am. We never met."
    XXX"I don't-"
    XXX"The fate of the universe depends on you," she said seriously. "An ordinary peasant girl who's made some very poor fashion choices." Rika wrinkled her nose at the floral turquoise scarf wrapped around the small girl's neck, clearly it had been made with Stanley's grandmother's distant great aunt's secondhand curtains. "Do this and we'll stuff you with enough chicken nuggets to kill a man. Also a promotion, I guess."
    XXX"I'll do it!" cried Stanley.
    XXX"Atta girl." Rika grinned. "And please forget you saw this."
    [color=transparent]XXX
    "Saw what?"
    XXX"You're learning."
    XXX"No, seriously! Saw what? I don't understand."
    XXX"All will become clear in the fullness of time," Rika whispered.
    XXXThen she swung her arm outwards and made a portal.
    XXXA cascade of emerald, sapphire and ruby hues split through the empty air, gaining momentum until a vortex large enough to fit a 5'7" girl appeared. Wind, mostly from the hand dryer, lifted the edges of her skirt, warming her skin as she stepped majestically beneath the spotlight of the toilet. Distantly, she heard a whimper that might have been awe or Stanley choking to death.
    XXX"Fasten your seat belts." Rika put one foot through the portal, angling her body so her Stanley could see her sculpted calf - golden and moisturised. "It's going to be a bumpy night."
    XXXShe stepped into the vortex.
    XXXRika likely ruined the surprise of her presence by allowing her foot to appear before the rest of her. But she thought she might allow Atticus time to admire her limited edition Louis Vuitton heels. Still she gave him no time to protest as she marched towards him. She threw out an arm, letting tendrils of light to spill from her fingers.
    XXXRika had not told Atticus where they'd be going, or that they'd be going anywhere at all. Or rather he had likely assumed they would be doing what they were supposed to be doing, which was having dinner with Edwin Clarke, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Atticus wouldn't be too furious that his plans for world domination had been derailed. Right? Right.
    XXX"We're late," she said simply, and they certainly were. The meeting at the warehouse began hours ago, as far as the details in the chatroom suggested. She had a vague approximation of where it was, with great emphasis on vague.
    XXXStill, what was worse that could happen?
    XXXHopefully if anyone was getting stuck halfway through a wall, it was Atticus. She needed wiggling room to snapchat his struggle to her thousands of adoring fans. Also he'd kill her. In fact, she hadn't done anything yet and he already seemed irritated enough to kill her.
    XXX"What the hell are you doing he-"
    XXXRika shoved him through the portal.
    XXXBefore she could allow herself to contemplate the intricacies of her plan, she jumped in behind him.
    XXXBad idea.
    XXXIt was often disorientating for those unaccustomed to inter-dimensional travel to experience the vertigo that came with it. It was like being thrown in a meat grinder and spat out the other end. One was never quite the same afterwards. Still, Rika was relatively unfazed by it more often that not, most of the not's having been caused by her trying to portal all the way to California for a tan.
    XXXBut portalling with only a very vague sense of direction procured from Google Maps was something else. Needless to say, being suspended midair was about as comfortable as one might expect.
    XXXThankfully, her Gift did not defy gravity and soon she was in free fall.
    XXXLike a petal floating gently from a branch, she told herself. Like a petal floating gently-
    XXXNever had a girl screamed so loud.
    XXX"My bones! My butt! Death is coming!"
    XXXThe floor was surprisingly comfortable. Perhaps they had a clairvoyant in their midst and they had predicted their arrival by horribly situated portal.
    XXXRika wiggled her toes. Shrugged her shoulders. She was honestly quite okay with all this. There had been no harm done.
    XXXOr at least, that was what she believed until the cushioned floor moved.
    XXXAh, Atticus. Ah. Ahah. Yep. Right. She threw him through some unknown portal against his volition then understandably landed on his spinal cord. That made sense. Yes, this tale felt familiar.
    XXX"Oh, I'd laugh but you could press charges and orange jumpsuits really clash with my skin tone."
    XXXRika rolled off his body and stood, tossing her hair over her shoulder. She smoothed her dress and checked her teeth in the camera of a phone she took from someone because hers was being tracked all the way to Connecticut, hopefully.
    XXXRika looked around the room.
    XXX"Well," she breathed. "Butter my butt and call me a biscuit." Mostly because she hoped they took her demands seriously, Rika thought she would genuinely be okay with any one of these Gifted's touching her butt. Or any part of her, for that matter.
    XXXGlorious, glorious ecstasy. Such beauty had never been seen in one room since the Parisian Fashion Week of 2014. She was in awe. There were twins - twins! Everyone knew despite being identical, there would always be a hotter one and she thought she'd discovered which. Certainly not the one with- was that a dorito in his hair? But the other. The other. She hadn't felt this much love for a living being since that freshly caught salmon died in her arms and became sashimi.
    XXXA red-haired girl caught her gaze, a cascade of ginger hues framing a gentle face. The sweetest freckles dotted her cheeks, each brown mark a punctuation into Rika's pattering heart. Gay marriage was legal now and Rika needed a green card.
    XXXShe was beside another redhead and a very, very pretty boy. A mess of springy curls illuminated a young face, his eyes wide and decorated with a thick wreath of lashes. Boys always had the prettier lashes.
    XXXAnother redhead stood in the dilapidated room, his hair just a fraction darker to the girl's. He had a distinctly tumblr aesthetic about him - the brooding gaze, the windswept hair, the strong arms that said: I could hold you gently as you fall asleep, but also whip out some handcuffs in a way that might be erotic, might not. Rika was intrigued.
    XXXShe saw a familiar face next. Gracie was also redheaded despite the scarcity of gingers in the world, telling Rika this didn't seem statistically possible. Yet it was. It was a pleasant surprise, as competitive eating was when one assumed a girl of Rika's size could not consume 48 hotdogs in 10 minutes, yet she could. Gracie was cuter than a pomeranian being gently trimmed into a ball-like figure. Cuter, even, than a cake shaped like a cupcake.
    XXXBeside her was Eugene and my god, he wore pants so tight she could see his religion. It was too much. She shifted her gaze before he could think she liked him too much.
    XXXAn Egyptian God sculpted of molten chocolate solidified by the light of the silver moon gazed upon the world like a majestic beast observing its lesser prey. He breathed. Rika felt a second puberty stir within her.
    XXXThe boy beside him was equally beautiful though in a manner that was vastly different. His was a beauty found in teen magazines middle-aged women would read just to catch a glimpse of his flawless bone structure. Rika thought he looked like her next best friend.
    XXXThe next was a pixie-like girl with dark hair that spilled down her back. She seemed familiar in the way staring into a mirror might be. Rika liked her instantly.
    XXXA darker skinned girl stood by the window, sunlight illuminating the brown hues in her eyes. She was lovely and still.
    XXXUnlike the small piece of abyss that stood in the corner. Though he had model features, his vibe was that of someone who drank blood as a sport. Rika decided to stay away from that one.
    XXXPerhaps the face - or hair - that stood out most was the one belonging to a silver-haired boy. He was lean and stunning, his eyes crystal blue and piercing even across the distance they stood from each other. They had a glimmer in them that made her think she'd met her match. She gave him lazy smile.
    XXXThen there was a teakettle - weird.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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#, as written by themis
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As even the city that is said to never sleep slumbers beneath the waning moon, he is awake. For it is the only time that New York is free from disturbance, almost beautiful and in complete darkness lapsed only by the twilight glow of the streetlamps. Tonight, however, there is a hum that encompasses the entirety of the lively metropolis, and there are still remnants of the celebrations that occurred only a few hours earlier. The air even holds on to the faint sound of distant music being played, and assorted drunkards roam the city as if animated corpses rising from the grave.

The walls of his home soar far above the dissonant chaos of the city, so much so that if the clouds are particularly low he can lean from the railings and almost touch them. They cascade from the skyscrapers, against the stillness of the winter winds and bathe the buildings beneath him in a wash of soft white. If he listens well as he floats above the water in the infinity pool that covers the right side of the balcony, he can hear but a hushed buzz of miscellaneous cacophony- the occasional siren, the whisper of music played from a large subwoofer, he is the the beekeeper looking upon a hive. Atticus feels removed from what occurs on the streets below him, the backalleys, the criminals and the violence. He exists in a different realm, one of excess and luxury. Perhaps a rather pretentious opinion, yet he pretends not to notice.

His loneliness seems almost tangible at this time, as the night fades to morning. While soon staff may stroll around, fixing him coffee and crepes, ironing his suits, cleaning, family may visit- laugh at inside jokes, look at family pictures, friends may stay over, drink some wine, watch a movie- he knows all of it is fake, and they all want something that he can provide. Money, attention, promotions, favours. We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone, they say. Rather melancholic, yet he knows it to be true.

I suppose the times in which he feels the most free, yet the most lonely are times like these in which he feels the biting cold of the wind across his skin, hair clinging to his face, staring at the view from a balcony so high it makes his head spin. He leans against the railing of the balcony. Whilst not suicidal, he supposes he wouldn't care too much if in this moment, someone pushed him.

"Now you're just being idiotic... why even for a moment would you..." He scolds himself, yet he knows it is an exercise in futility. The words, barely a whisper, are swept away by the wind and disappear into the dawn.


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Atticus sleeps lightly for around an hour, awakening to the aroma of breakfast, the thick smell of pure coffee and harsh words in French. His cook, a rather curt Quebecois man, is currently insulting him. What Jean Laliberte doesn't know is that every affluent family worth their salt forces their child to attend foreign language lessons.

"Le enfant gรขtรฉ..." The spoiled brat. "...ne fait rien pour lui-mรชme" Doesn't do anything for himself.

Daybreak is when he always seems to feel the most fatigued. It is also always daybreak in which coffee touches his lips, burning his throat and tasting bittersweet against his tongue. He mumbles a slight thank you to his cook as he hands him the expresso, though Atticus' hand becomes purposefully unstable until the cup plunges to the ground. An explosion of scalding hot-coffee and fine porcelain detonates against the floor, waves of the dark liquid splashing against the cook's uncovered skin. He recedes in pain, swearing under his breath.

"Ah! je suis trรจs stupide." Remembering French lessons from his childhood, though stumbling slightly with a morning haze he adds "Je m'excuse." a slight smirk escapes him when he turns his back, gaining momentary satisfaction from his petty vengeance. He's lucky I didn't just fire him. My father doesn't pay him a salary to insult me.

"That's another Cuban expresso, si vous plait.
"


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The sun breaks through thick clouds of grey, the upcoming sunrise colouring the sky orange fading to dull amaranth. He leans back against the chaise, closing his eyes in some attempt for rest. Almost as soon as he attempts this, the phone resting beside him buzzes to life, awakening him harshly- a text flashing against the screen. Something from one of his father's assistants, Chris Grodszinsky. While not entirely unpleasant, perhaps even one of the better assistants his father had hired in a good few years, he had an air of rushed neuroticism about him that caused people to fret.

[ โœ‰ Chris G. โ†’ Atticus ] : Are you awake? Urgent message
[ โœ‰ Atticusโ†’ Chris G.] : I'm awake. What is it?
[ โœ‰ Chris G. โ†’ Atticus ] : Edwin Clarke wants to have dinner. You, your father and the Yamadas. Are you able? I'm about to book the reservation. Everyone has already agreed. You need to make the decision A.S.A.P
[ โœ‰ Atticusโ†’ Chris G.] : Edwin Clarke? Why?
[ โœ‰ Chris G. โ†’ Atticus ] : I wasn't told, I'm sorry. I advise you to dress smartly, arrive early. Good luck.

His eyes wander to the text, reading it over. The Yamadas. Rika. Rika Yamada. He prayed silently that this time she would not mention to his father how hot the waiter, Mario, was- and suggestively remark on how she would like a slice of that "Italian-American pie", or tell the CEO of NetBank of their childhood escapades and how Atticus had to wear plastic cleaning gloves and a surgical mask to go play in the woods of his upstate manor.

"She's going to do something stupid again, I know she is. It's Edwin Clarke. This can't happen." Rubbing hands against his eyes in frustration, he tries to think objectively, weigh out the situation . Edwin Clarke, the elusive business magnate, the hedge fund collector, the generous philanthropist. He has seen him on a few occasions in person, before his skin grew a permanent deathly pallor and he had to breath into tubes, before he retreated from the public eye, he was only a child at the time. Only recollecting fractals of memories, he cannot decipher if they are mere creations of his mind or are grounded in reality.

Yet, the proposition somehow off to him, an omen of absurd proportions. Why now? Why them? But of course he hadn't properly seen his father in a while- or the Yamadas except for Rika for that matter- and meetings with the Edwin Clarke are extremely finite and hard to come by, even for those as powerful as his father. Being one of the richest people in the world would cause time to become a valuable commodity, Atticus imagined. Perhaps he may have developed an off-kilter sense of humor in his senility, and would find humor in Rika's... quirkiness. In a perfect world he would've grown so hard of hearing that he could barely hear the words that fall from her mouth.

"Ah," He sighs, the lead in his bones pulling him towards the earth, eyelids closing and opening as he buries his face into his knees, "I should probably leave the house" He knew as he left the door bodyguards would have to accompany him in fear of any sort of danger, yet he just wants to be alone, clear his head, stretch his muscles. Or I'll start to descend into insanity.. It seems like he is constantly around people- yet he feels the loneliest when he's around them.


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The mirror holds nothing of substance.

While refraining from touching the surface in some vacant fear of disturbing the immaculacy, his fingertips hover just above the glass, tracing outlines of himself, the arch of his cupid's bow, the decension of his nose to the angle of his jaw. Half-lidded eyes stare back at him from behind the surface- while they are his own, while they resemble his father's in some superficial way (Joseph Zhao's eyes were said to contain the souls of a thousand men, Atticus' barely contained the soul of one), they are not entirely there. They seem as if they are staring into some great abyss, expansive and ink-black.

"It's probably because you haven't slept more than a few hours for the past week" His voice rests quiet and hushed within the confines of his walk-in closet, more of an extension of his room. He lifts languid fingers to smooth out a dark tie with the tiniest stripes of white. No. No. It clashes with the shirt. It's much too garish. Lifting a second, more conservative black tie from his tie closet he exhales, turning his head slowly to examine each area of his appearance. To Atticus, even a singular strand of hair out of place could mean the difference between sloppiness and sophistication. Dressed in a monochrome suit which costs more than the average car, a watch that would have supplied a family with adequate nutrition for a year, with shoes of fine Italian leather and a newly ironed shirt of crisp white- he feels a slight feeling of contentment quell within the hollows of his body.

As soon as it comes, it leaves.

For of course, from the far side of the room a burst of ephemeral light appears, and from it none other than the legendary Rika Yamada. Or atleast, the legendary foot of Rika Yamada, decked out in the latest limited edition of Louis Vuitton's Winter Collection. It seemed, as soon as he felt the slightest echo of normality she would apparate in front of him and pull him into the depths of adventure. They were mostly likely going to the dinner though- yes? No, he sighed inwardly, of course not, as there is no logical reason as to why she would appear and cause this much trouble if they were just going to arrive at the dinner as planned.

"We're late," She breaks out into a incredibly fast pace, and Atticus realises that running or calling for Jean to rescue him is definitely not an option. They were not yet late for the dinner- he knows that she means something different by this- and he knows that it's probably not pleasant.

"What the hell are you doing h-" A sentence is barely formed before the tail end of it becomes lost against his tongue, as he enters- nay, he is pushed- into the tangled fibers and the blinding light. His skull is cracking open, his brain being destroyed and regrown as each second passes and every tiny cell of his body screaming with whatever kind of unearthly pain he is experiencing. While prone to light seasickness, he feels like he is being thrown as if made with cloth and sewn with thread, lurching against the waves of reality within the infinite expanse of time and space- perhaps he is, he doesn't know the exact specifics of Rika's power. Again, almost as soon as it had begun, it ends. His head hits a hard surface with an audible thump, and he tries to curl into fetal position in some feeble attempt of relief, yet finds himself pinned to the ground by a body- Rika's body. The heels of her shoes dig into him and if he was more than semi-concious at the moment he would have protested. Yet, all that escaped him was a strangled groan of pain as she moved from his spinal cord.

He blinks in an out of darkness, his sight blurred and struggling. The scene around him begins to become clearer, and as it does a feeling of utter confusion brews within him. Here lie Rika and Atticus, dressed in possibly the finest clothes a human can drape across their body- surrounded by a kumbaya circle of- teenagers? they couldn't have been much older than twenty, by the looks of it- with expressions of shock lighting their faces. He focuses his gaze more and the first thing that appears is a person- at least he believed it was a person, covered in what seemed to be bright orange crumbs that laced into his hair. He immediately felt... extremely overdressed for whatever kind of place this was.

Moving his hand slightly he picks up a layer of dust, recoiling in horror almost immediately and shaking his wrist- before reaching into his pocket and smearing hand sanitizer across his skin. He rises to his feet- shakily, staggering almost immediately before his knees buckle against the weight of his own body once again. A feeling of deep embarrassment found it's way to him. Wherever he was... this was his first impression. He imagined in that moment he resembled a fawn walking for the first time. If that fawn was intoxicated and also born with a searing migraine. Nobody seems to want to help him from his feet- a little rude, he muses. Do these people even have basic manners? But he supposes everyone would be fairly shocked by the two people that toppled into existence in front of them, dressed in the latest designer clothing as if their life depended on it.

A slight sigh, and he musters up the will to fake a small smile.

"If you don't mind me asking," He directly addresses the group in front of him, "Where exactly am I?"

Before turning his head to face Rika directly, creating a half-false look of endearing confusion, cocking his head slightly to the right "... and why are we here?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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#, as written by Cloud

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wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
hex: #9c8786

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JACK LACEY
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At the age of seventeen some teenagers have already experienced the harsh truths of the world; the lies, deceit, and scandals. Others, however, remain cocooned within the comforting confines of childish naivetรฉ, where trust is given to strangers with ease and happiness is bought with the simplest of devices. Stupidity has no implication here, for even the smartest individuals can be ignorant to the darker aspects of the world. Jack Lacey, seventeen years and two months old exactly, would easily be put in the latter category, that of blissful naivetรฉ. In the case of the curly-haired boy, it is his upbringing and a kind nature which offers up such an image of childish innocence. Coddled and protected by a close-knit family, attending the same school for the entirety of his education, and barely being exposed to the harsher realities of the world have all combined to make Jack who he is today.

Of course, that innocence is perhaps the reason why heโ€™s standing in a rusting warehouse at a meeting aiming to stop a mysterious killer. Simply put, Jack wants to help in any way he can. It may seem backwards and decidedly out of his comfort zone, but people were being killed and cruelty, to animals or humans, didnโ€™t sit well with the young boy. Nor, for that matter, did Garth Holdenโ€™s tone.

Jackโ€™s brows furrowed slightly at the perceived slight to himself and Frankie, yet he didnโ€™t raise his voice in protest. Instead, Jackโ€™s arm came up, his bright pink glove coming to press lightly against his lips as warm brown eyes followed Garth Holdenโ€™s path into the corner.

Truth be told he was worried. Had he done anything to upset the other boy? Surely not, theyโ€™d just met! And yet, the way Garth had called him a โ€˜Disney princessโ€™, as if it were an insult, left Jack fairly certain that something Jack had done, had irritated the other. Jackโ€™s eyes darted across at Frankie, and something in the young manโ€™s gaze must have caught her attention, for she leaned in and told him softly,

โ€œDonโ€™t worry about him, Jack. Heโ€™s an ass.โ€

Jack nodded, though his eyes still fell back on the bulky young man. He watched, slightly stunned, as Garthโ€™s anger once again overflowed, this time directed at another young man who, at first sight, seemed just as young as Jack. As Jack watched the exchange he grew certain that such confidence had to belong to someone older. Jack had never been a loud person. Shy wasnโ€™t exactly the word, for he was never reluctant to talk. Rather, he merely preferred to listen and pipe up when a subject of particular interest caught his attention. Like felines, or canines, or really anything in the animal kingdom.

There were so many people in the warehouse, it wasnโ€™t long before Jackโ€™s attention was shifted away from the pair in the corner. Jackโ€™s eyes, wide and excited, jumped from individual to individual as figures stepped forward, introduced themselves and became names and a power. They were an eclectic collection of young Gifted from almost every walk of life, some faces he recognised โ€“ Grace for one received an excited wave and a dimpled grin as she entered. Another young man, a red head who walked through a pillar without even blinking, also caught Jackโ€™s eye. If Jack wasnโ€™t mistaken, he had seen him at the veterinarian clinic a few times in the process of bringing in a wounded animal. Other faces were new to the boy, their powers sounding amazing even if they gave no demonstration.

Everyone seemed impressive, and it amazed Jack that most people had come in the pursuit of justice. Slowly, Jackโ€™s mitten shifted from its position worrying against his mouth, and his frown turned into a dimpled smile as introductions continued. Another teenager, who would introduce himself as Sunny, came to stand beside Jack and together they shared a gleeful laugh as a newcomer turned into a teakettle. Then, Jackโ€™s new acquaintance stepped forward, introducing himself with a nervous stutter. It was then that Garth decided to step back into the mix, showing clear derision not only for Sunny and his power โ€“ and how cool did Jack think Cloud manipulation was! โ€“ but for the vast majority of those gathered around. Sunny stepped back, cheeks a deep red, eyes downcast as a result of Garthโ€™s derision.

โ€œI think your power sounds great.โ€ Jack mumbles to the other boy.

Sunny smiles slightly, his eyes taking on a curious spark as he whispers back, โ€œYours does too. Can you really talk to animals?โ€

Jack nods, about to continue their talk before Garthโ€™s loud voice drowned him out. Sunny stepped forward, showing far more bravery than many might give him credit for as he suggested that they could put their heads together to come up with a plan. Garth didnโ€™t appear to appreciate Sunnyโ€™s advice, for the next minute he was stalking out of the warehouse with at least half of those gathered around. Jack watched with worried eyes, though his own feet made no move to follow. He was here to help, and he had every confidence in those gathered around that together they could come up with some plan to find and stop this killer.

The awkward tension that had been left in Garthโ€™s place didnโ€™t dissipate quickly, and Jackโ€™s mitten was once again pressing against his mouth in a clear sign of worry. Then several things happened in quick succession. A loud creaking and the sudden shower of small roof particles preceded the arrival โ€“ fall โ€“ of a girl into the middle of the room. Her scream echoed around the cavernous space moments before an abnormal blast of wind cushioned her downward acceleration. Eyes wide in shock, Jackโ€™s gaze flicked up to the roof and the hole that she had apparently fallen through, before landing back on the girl in question.

Kina was her name, and that was all the information provided before two more arrivals once again diverted attention. Jackโ€™s first thought was that they too had fallen from the roof, at least until he looked up and saw the odd shape hovering in the middle of the warehouse space. It vanished after the second figure fell through, leaving Jack wondering if it had anything to do with one of their powers. The girl was first up, her gaze taking its time to inspect each member of the party. Jackโ€™s own gaze in turn looked on curiously at the new three members. Unlike Kina, both of the new arrivals were dressed for something much fancier than this meeting. A floor length dress certainly seemed like an odd garment to wear to a dirty warehouse, not to mention the suit the boy was in.

Jack hadnโ€™t even gotten his thoughts straight when Scott, the boy who Jack recognised from the vets, responded to the latest arrival with clear sarcasm. Even Jack, who sometimes missed sarcasm, couldnโ€™t mistake the comment for anything else. His eyes darted back to the new pair to see how theyโ€™d respond, but all that was uttered from the pair was a clear display of confusion from the male.

Casper, whose smirk indicated that he found all of this very amusing, spoke out next, โ€œI think you two might have dropped into the wrong party. Like Red said, weโ€™re all about to go home for milk and cookies.โ€ Casper's eyes fell slowly down each of the pair, noting and admiring clothing and bodies, while a grin spread across his face. โ€œThough, seems youโ€™re a far way from your own homes, so youโ€™re welcome to come to mine.โ€ Casper didnโ€™t wink, but the implication behind his invitation was clear enough without it. Whether he was joking or serious was another matter not so easily discerned.

Jack, for his part, was more concerned that no one had yet answered the male's questions. In an attempt to be helpful, and lowering his mitten so that his words wouldnโ€™t be muffled, he offered, โ€œYouโ€™re at the warehouse.โ€ The exact address escaped him, which shouldnโ€™t surprise anyone who knew that he had been partially led here by a dog named Diggles. โ€œWeโ€™re trying to stop the serial killer.โ€ Jack continued, perhaps missing the fact that the last question was directed towards the girl. Eyes turned to look at him, and Jack had to hold his hands behind his back to stop himself from covering his mouth again. โ€œThe-โ€ฆ the police arenโ€™t doing anything, so we- weโ€™re trying to help.โ€

Beside Jack, Frankie stepped forward to support him, her voice filling the space, โ€œThe killer that has been targeting Gifted youth and Gifted homeless. Weโ€™re here to figure out some way to stop the death, because so far the police have refused to take it seriously.โ€ Her gaze flicked around the standing group, the numbers severely diminished since Garthโ€™s exit, โ€œWe may not have a plan yet, but like Sunny said, we have enough heads here that I donโ€™t doubt weโ€™ll be able to come up with something. Even if weโ€™re just able to prove to the police that this is a real case, weโ€™ll have done something.โ€ Her eyes turned back to the three new entrants, โ€œSo, if you guys are planning on hanging around, how about you introduce yourselves?โ€

โ€œOr we could skip introductions and get right to the good stuff.โ€ Casper suggested with his usual grin. When Frankie huffed a sigh of exasperation and rolled her eyes in his direction, Casper held up his hands and added with an innocent bat of his eyelashes, โ€œI only meant, show us your powers.โ€

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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#, as written by themis
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โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”


Words move past him. He can hear voices speaking, yet they are distant and indirect. A migraine rests firmly against the dells of his forehead, throbbing dully. Finally managing to lift himself to a chair, he rests. The voices become clearer.

โ€œYouโ€™re at the warehouse.โ€ Yes, I can see that. He quips within his mind, back resting against the chair, which is completely uncomfortable ergonomically. Surprisingly the speaker, instead of Rika, is a boy with a head of curls. Atticus turns to face him.

โ€œWeโ€™re trying to stop the serial killer. The-โ€ฆ the police arenโ€™t doing anything, so we- weโ€™re trying to help.โ€ Interesting. So Rika hadn't brought him here for some sort of group therapy- which is what he had feared. She kept calling him "emo" lately, and he thought this was the last straw.

"The killer that has been targeting Gifted youth and Gifted homeless. Weโ€™re here to figure out some way to stop the death, because so far the police have refused to take it seriously.โ€ A girl this time, a flash of red hair greeting him as he turns to face her. โ€œWe may not have a plan yet, but like Sunny said, we have enough heads here that I donโ€™t doubt weโ€™ll be able to come up with something. Even if weโ€™re just able to prove to the police that this is a real case, weโ€™ll have done something.โ€

Atticus cocks his head, trying to organize his thoughts. So what have they been doing here if not planning? Of course, you can't expect a group of teenagers to posess any real organizational skills, he looks at the group before him. Mismatched, odd. While not adamant of the cause, something stirs inside him- perhaps it's his love of murder mystery. Perhaps he hit his head just a little too hard, and was on the cusp of a concussion.

โ€œSo, if you guys are planning on hanging around, how about you introduce yourselves?โ€ Atticus almost begins his name yet is cut off again, a boy with peroxide blond hair, bordering white.

โ€œOr we could skip introductions and get right to the good stuff.โ€ He grins, the redhead sighs and rolls her eyes. Atticus stops himself from following her. โ€œI only meant, show us your powers.โ€

"It's Atticus, like Finch" Pausing for a moment to remember his last name, lost in the space between his home and the warehouse he currently occupies, "Last name Zhao, middle name Yanlin, but I suppose that's not important unless you're taking roll-call. Which of course-" You're rambling, stop it.

"Sorry, I'm rambling now." Fingertips grazing the back of his neck, he forces a practiced smile of embarrassment. "My powers?"

Time slows as he recalls first learning of his- "gift"- a momentary lapse in facade, a fragment of sadness, he returns to normalcy in a matter of a seconds. "Are you sure you want me to demonstrate?" He takes the silence as a yes, and lets his eyes fall upon a random member of the group. A boy, his cheeks full with the remnants of childhood and eyes bright with hope.

"Sorry about this, but it's not going to hurt you" His voice quietens so that only those who listen, and the boy himself can hear. "Your name is?"

"Sunny Ahn" The boy smiles, yet Atticus feel the fear hum across his body, the force of it pulling his fingertips upwards. Atticus' wrist circles slowly, his fingers following, each joint tensed and concentration completely focused on the kid. For a while, nothing happens, and the room seems to still in anticipation. A few quiet mutters, wondering if he's some sort of impostor, or someone that insanity has blinded into believing they were gifted. Atticus, however, is scarily calm. His power takes a while to come into full effect, he accepts this. It's often not very flashy until about thirty seconds in.

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In 10 seconds

Atticus watches as brown eyes widen before him, staring blankly into some unknown pit of fear. His thin body freezes, and Atticus notices the boy wrapping his arms around himself as the chill sets in. Sweating, darting eyes.

In 20 seconds

Legs are brought to chests, and he buries his face in between the valleys of his knees. Rocking faster now, more frantically now, he lifts his face. The heart quickens.

In 30 seconds

The screaming begins, it reverberates against the walls, threatening to burst eardrums and causing Atticus to almost cover his ears. One of the loudest, he remarks to himself. This is usually where flight, fight or freeze comes into play. He stumbles from his chair, gasping, falling, sprinting impossibly fast to nowhere, pounding on the walls as if some ghastly monster were to devour him. Flight. Atticus stops here to ensure a speedy recovery.

A minute later

Silence. Sunny returns to normal. "Did I black out? W-what happened?"

"No, no- you didn't. Well not to us. You freaked out." A disembodied voice calls from the group, the rest soundless.

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Atticus averts his gaze, almost embarrassed. He had never shown his power like this for a while, nonetheless a room of entire strangers.

"That's my," He makes quotations with his fingers, "Gift. I don't exactly have a name for it. Truthfully, I've barely used it in years. Something like panic inducement? Fear manipulation, perhaps." He avoids adding the part about being able to sense the worst fears of others by touch. He's never really spoken of that one, and intends to hide it as long as possible. "So that's it"

"Anyway I have somewhere to be at the moment, If you can't tell, but I can come b-" He gazes in Rikas direction, lifts his head and sighs, "I... suppose It's too late now" He tries hard to contain his irritation. The dinner will have started around ten minutes ago, he checks his wristwatch for confirmation Fifteen, actually. For one, he has no idea where he is, secondly, there will be investigations as to why and how they left the house without the guards noticing, he doesn't want to deal with that presently, and thirdly he has no mode of transportation, and traffic is gridlocked around this time, especially in Manhattan. Unless Rika opens up a portal, which he knows she has no intention of doing, they are going to miss the dinner. Cold hands sooth his temple, sighing for what is to be the hundredth time as he speaks once more.

"I don't fully grasp the situation" The words fade and elongate as the sentence trails on, and his forefinger and thumb trace the edge of his jaw.

"However, you've piqued my interest, and as Edgar Allen Poe once said- As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles. It seems we have a case of disentanglement on hand." His manner of speech is more suited for the eccentric rich who he usually speaks with, who delight in pretentious conversation, classic literature and shameless quotations. He forgets this.

"Logically, the first step to take is to find our first lead. Witnesses, sites of any of the murders, no one has anything at all? In such a large city, someone must have seen something, even if it is not one of us. From there, we find clues. However perfect a serial killer appears, within them is a subconscious need for recognition which causes them to slip up." He pulls his suit jacket inwards, straightening his posture "But that's just my opinion, of course" Another perfectly subdued smile.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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xxSCOTTxCARTER
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xxxspeech: #79abb3 xthought: #b38179

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xxx"there's a war we can't ignore
xxxwaging silence on our lives
xxxwe will overcome
xxxlet the cowards run and hide."

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So, apparently Scott had a new nickname. Red, as dubbed by Casper. Being familiar with the whole situation already, that was the only thing he really paid any attention to when other people were debriefing the new arrivals. The boy didn't seem quite as irritating as the girl, but even his mannerisms radiated money. He doubted they'd ever even walked past a homeless shelter.

The boy's ability, though, did catch his attention. Fear manipulation. He was somebody they needed on their side- because the thought of working against him was... Well, terrifying. The boy didn't seem particularly proud of it, either. For a moment, Scott sees past the fancy suit and the eloquent words. For a second, there was something more to Atticus- and then it disappeared as he mentioned a previous engagement. Scott's expression shifted from whatever it had been, back to his scowl. Good to know where Atticus's priorities lay.

And now he was quoting famous authors Scott hadn't even heard of. Hopefully, he had more important engagements because Scott wasn't entirely sure he could stand the pretentious behaviour for too long. He then went on to overly simplify the situation, something that Scott could no longer hold his tongue about.

"And enlighten me, sir, on how exactly we are to obtain that information. Should we go around knocking on doors and asking those who answer? Or, how about this, should we ask the police to kindly share their information with us?" He asked, stepping forward and walking towards Atticus, momentarily distracted enough to forget that he was in a room of strangers. Or, well, mostly strangers. He was just hoping that Grace would have his back if anything was to happen.

"And, besides, I'd be willing to bet that witnesses are few and far between. People don't notice u- People don't notice homeless people. Gifted or not. Potential murder victims or not." Had anyone picked up on his slip? Hopefully not. "They're always just there. Even when they talk to people, ask them for help or even just saying hello, they're invisible. Homeless people are attacked all the time, and you don't hear about it. The police don't care about them. The general population doesn't care all that much. If people really cared about the homeless people, the homeless Gifted, don't you think that there would be more general outrage? That things would have been done already?" He asked. "There was a physical assault on a group of homeless Gifted teenagers a few years ago. At least one person was killed." He swallowed, forcing himself to keep calm and to maintain his mask. He sure as hell wasn't exposing his life story to these people. Exposing his back was bad enough. "The police didn't care. They said they'd look into it. They didn't. Did you even hear about that?" He asked, but he didn't wait for any answers.

"If we want information, we're going to have to steal it. We don't even know if the cops took that much information. But they won't give it to us, and the general public won't remember. Any physical evidence will have been logged by the cops and destroyed by this point. Any blood, fingerprints, or anything like that will long have been washed away. The only information available is in some office somewhere. If anyone else has any ideas, I'd love to hear them," he said, somehow making it sound like a genuine question. He knew that they were just trying to help, but... The only reason he wasn't still on the streets or even dead was because he'd gotten lucky. In a different set of circumstances, he could have been one of the victims, or living in fear of being one of the victims. And in that situation, he would sure as hell be hoping that the people trying to help would be going about it in the right way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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#, as written by Cloud


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the wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
hex: #9BA9B4

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T O B YXK I P L I N G
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If Toby thought his entrance, and the subsequent exit of Garth Holden and well over half of those gathered in the warehouse, was dramatic, it was only because he had yet to witness not one, but three individuals fall from the sky. Well, technically one of the newest arrivals fell from the sky, or roof, while the other two came through some kind of portal. If Toby had any doubt that this was a meeting for Gifted youth, it was well and truly squashed at that. Toby's earlier confusion regarding the figure on the roof was also solved, his gaze holding for a moment with the girl - Kina - who had fallen first.

As others in the group sought to find out who these newcomers were, while one of the new arrivals apparently attempted to find out where he was, Toby took the time to inspect those that still remained. He recognised several of them of course, Frankie and Sam, Grace, and their familiar faces eased the nerves that tended to gather when Toby was pushed into a new situation with strangers. Bast, standing beside Toby, was a welcome presence too.

The twins missed the majority of the introductions, but Toby learns one new name as Atticus Zhao speaks his name. Atticus' display of his powers is more than a little... unsettling. Toby watches quietly, anticipation and confusion growing as first nothing happens, and then suddenly Sunny reacts. Toby feels his heart go out to the younger boy, yet he can only watch as Sunny stumbles from his place standing in the circle and hastily begins thumping on the warehouse's rusting walls. Sunny's screams echo around the otherwise silent room, the thuds of his fists making dull thumps too. And then he stopped, confusion apparently setting in as Sunny's fear vanishes.

Toby watches both Sunny and Atticus as the latter reveals that his power is linked to panic and fear. That much was obvious from his display, even though Sunny doesn't appear to know that he just made a mad dash for an exit a few minutes ago. Toby wraps his arms around himself, repressing a shudder as he thinks what he would see if his worst fears were realised. He fights the urge to take a step closer to his twin, instead distracting himself as Atticus continues to talk.

Toby thinks the young man's suggestions show some merit, even if how they were ever going to find any clues was beyond Toby. It was one thing to hear rumours of the killer, to know the police were brushing it off, and then it was another thing entirely to find any potentially witnesses, discover clues, and connect the dots. At least, that was Toby's opinion. Personally, he would feel as if he were drowning if forced to do any of this alone. He guessed that was the advantage of numbers, they could pool their talents and resources to do things they might not be able to achieve alone... Toby just hoped that he had something to offer as help.

Toby's gaze finds another boy, longer red hair, passion shining in his eyes as he questions Atticus' suggestion. He offers his own alternative, to steal the information. Toby gulps, a growing feeling of uselessness overwhelming him. He couldn't steal anything, not because of a particularly strict moral code - though stealing did make him uncomfortable for that reason too - but because Toby knew he'd be more likely to get everyone arrested than sneak in and out of a police station escaping detection.

"We need to do both." Comes Frankie's reply, her voice confident despite her own uncertainty with what she was about to suggest. Toby had always admired that confidence, as he had both admired (and cursed) his brother's. "We need whatever the police have, and we need whatever they've missed. We need to figure out... I don't know, the killer's patterns, if there's somewhere they usually hunt. For fuck's sake, what he even does with the bodies. Anything."

"Stealing police information shouldn't be that hard." Frankie's twin, Sam, adds. The male de Vries rests his arm on his sister's shoulder and flaps his hand from Casper to Scott. "Not when we have guys who can turn invisible and walk through walls." Sam's gaze flicks to the well-dressed female who had fallen through the odd portal, "Or when we have whatever that was." he adds, waving his hand next at where the portal had been.

"Yeah, 'cept I can't turn anyone else invisible. And police stations usually have cameras and passwords and shit." Casper pipes up, grinning as he adds "I'm too pretty to go to jail."

Toby's gaze met Frankie's across the circle and he knew without words that they were both thinking the same thing, that Frankie, technically, could replicate both of the powers and slip in and out of the police station without being noticed... if she knew how to control her power. Frankie gave a small shrug, as if telling Toby she wished she could do more. More than once the friends had commiserated together over their lack of control of their powers. Frankie always told Toby that he'd get it, eventually, but the magician could tell that right now Frankie was feeling frustrated that she couldn't do more too.

Gulping back more nerves and shoving shaking hands into his pockets, Toby takes a tentative step forward. "Maybe..." Toby began, hesitating slightly as eyes fell on him. He can feel Casper's gaze too, and that more than anything has Toby nervous. "Maybe some of us... we aren't all... I mean, maybe for those of us who can't control their powers that well, like me... maybe we could set up some kind of practice. I... I want to help, but I need more practice." Toby's words trailed off, his eyes trained on a spot on the floor rather than meet anyone's eye.

"Good idea, man." Comes Sam's words of encouragement, before a teasing tone sneaks into his words, "I know Frankie definitely needs all the help she can get."

"Hey!" Frankie protests. Toby looks up in time to see Sam give his sister a shrug and a wide grin. Frankie rolls her eyes, shakes off Sam's arm and adds a moment later, still grudgingly, "He's not wrong. I do need some training."

Perhaps boosted by this partial acceptance of his idea, Toby finds himself offering up another, "And maybe... Maybe Bast you could look into the police records? Or... or Grace you could freeze time and if someone is fast they could run in...?" Toby shrugs his shoulders and glances around at the group. He didn't hear what half of them could do, but he was sure that together they would be able to figure it out. Somehow. They had to, or risk letting this killer continue picking people off.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
MARIA IKEDA
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WAREHOUSEXX#a69eb0XXATTIRE
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Maria watched with exasperation as the crowd withered away. Her teeth gritted in annoyance, before forfeiting with a sigh. Damn. Well, if they were that easily convinced to scram, I doubt they'd be much help, anyway. Not an inspiring thought, nor much of a consolation, really, but it was all she could think of to boost her own dwindling morale.

She looked over who was left with growing uncertainty, her loyalty to the 'cause' slipping as she noted who was still present. Oh, thank God. We still have Bambi and the teakettle-

Then a girl fell through the ceiling. And then two more teenagers fell out of a swirling, glowing... thing. Maria wasn't entirely sure what one's typical reaction would be for such occurrences, but everyone else seemed to take it all rather well. Perhaps she should have expected that; this was literally a meeting for super-powered New Yorkians... they'd all likely seen a hell of a lot weirder.

The arrivals added a sense of courage to the air, at least until the young man, Atticus, revealed his ability. Then suddenly, everyone was uncomfortable again. He made up for it, though, by quoting the world's most depressing author. "As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles." The Murders in the Rue Morgue... at least the guy's got a sense of humor.

She liked a bit of bleak irony here and there, to take the edge of the dully morbid. Which this situation definitely was.

A small smirk touched her lips as the phasing redhead snapped back at Atticus' suggestions. Her eyebrow quirked at his little stumble, unnoticed by the majority of the others. Some skeletons in the closet there, I see.

"Maybe some of us... we aren't all... I mean, maybe for those of us who can't control their powers that well, like me... maybe we could set up some kind of practice. I... I want to help, but I need more practice."

Maria looked to the boy that had spoken. He was quieter, softer, than most of the others that made up their little group. His shyness was endearing, but his idea was actually a rather good one. She could do with a little practice. Practice that didn't involve screwing over well-off assholes.

"And maybe... Maybe Bast you could look into the police records? Or... or Grace you could freeze time and if someone is fast they could run in...?"

Maria frowned slightly, and with a sudden thought, turned to look at the tea kettle still settled near the edge of the group. She nudged it with the toe of her boot. "Or, Mrs Potts does people as well as he does kitchen appliances..." He could just walk in, pick out whatever he wants from the police records, ask a few questions while he's there, and walk out.

Ah, this was better. The more illegal side of the issue -the lying and cheating and rule-breaking. To put it simply, Maria had more... experience, in this particular area.