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Zada min Albahr

I am the shore and the ocean, awaiting myself on both sides.

0 · 200 views · located in Greythorne

a character in “greythorne”, as played by nonconformingrole

Description

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Holes in Your Coffin | Look What You Made Me Do | Oh No!
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"I know that I am beautiful while basking on the ocean's waves and I know that I can eat flesh and bones at the bottom of the sea." - C. JoyBell C.

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i d e n t i t y
xxxxx|| Name || Zada min Albahr, though Zada is the only name she had until she left the sea.
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xxxxx|| Nicknames || Call her anything but Zada at your own risk.
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xxxxx|| Gender || cis female
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xxxxx|| Age || 53, appears 25.
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xxxxx|| Birthday || She isn't sure, but she knows she was born in the summer.
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xxxxx|| Sexuality || Pansexual, with a romantic preference for women.
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xxxxx|| Hometown || Zada grew up in the Mediterranean Sea, near Lebanon.
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xxxxx|| Ethnicity || Zada is a mermaid, and though she knows some human blood is thrown into the mix, she isn't entirely sure of the origin, as human males don't tend to stick around their underwater children.
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a p p e a r a n c e

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xxxxx|| Height || 5'6
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xxxxx|| Weight || 120 lbs
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xxxxx|| Hair Color || black
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xxxxx|| Eye Color || dark brown
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xxxxx|| Identifying Features || the tail
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xxxxx|| Description || Zada is a beautiful woman, that much is obvious. With a slender figure that makes once envision grace, certainly not murder. She has long fingers, and strong legs. Her hair has a natural wave to it, though she often curls it, and cascades down her back like an ebony waterfall. She nearly never wears it up, as she prides herself on the beauty of her hair. Anything beyond a a neutral expression can sometimes look almost foreign on her face, as if she still hasn't fully learned how they're meant to look. She does, however, have it practiced to near-perfection. She has a very classic style; her wardrobe consists of mostly neutral-tones with timeless silhouettes. She, generally, isn't particularly showy in how he dresses, but has been known to be a little daring when the situation calls for it. She loves jewelry, and can almost always be seen with a string of pearls around her neck, or expensive-looking diamonds in her ears. Rich old men can be so generous.
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p e r s o n a l i t y

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Most would not describe Zada as particularly warm- she is the kind who will stare and study your face while you speak, as if trying to decipher some sort of hidden meaning behind your words. Truly, even after all her years on land, she doesn’t fully understand the ways of surface dwellers. She understands enough to live among them without much trouble, but she is still trying to figure out people that do things for others out of the goodness of their hearts. That is still the biggest mystery she has encountered in all her time out of the water.

Zada loves perfection, everything from her hair, to her home, to her well-placed smiles have been curated over years to be just perfect. She’s tried to be a perfect person, in hopes that it would help her blend in, but unfortunately it seems to have made her stand out more than anything. Still, she continues in her attempt at a perfect life, practicing pleasantries and movements until she seems almost robotic, but certainly more like someone who has lived a lifetime on dry ground.

Quick to anger, and slow to forgive; Zada certainly believes in an eye for an eye… Occasionally a heart for an eye. She relishes in exacting her revenge, even if it seems extreme to others. Mermaids take slights incredibly personally. However, she is nothing if not fair, and if someone who has wronged her makes it right on their own, all will be forgiven. She has been known to go above and beyond to repay a kindness, or as recompense for a wrong (real or one she’s imagined) she has done.

To friends, however, she can be more understanding. While a friend still may never call her warm, she is generous, and does have her own brand of friendliness, and a genuine smile that (she’s been told) is absolutely brilliant.

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f l a v o r

xxxxx|| Likes || Zada loves knowledge and learning, so it’s no surprise that she simply adores books, and goes through far too many every week. She loves her jewelry, and she doesn’t deny that it is very stereotypical for a mermaid to love all things shiny She loves to drink tea, wine, and coffee, normally all while listening to orchestral music. She loves watching movies, and feels they give her insight into what humans are like. She loves to go swimming, and most of all, she loves the sea.
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xxxxx|| Dislikes || Zada is not the biggest fan of men, and she firmly believes that most men are only good for food and reproduction. She dislikes harsh sunlight and fire, as she is so prone to burning She hates liars, and often feels like there is no fitting punishment to those who make it a habit to lie to others. Yelling really bothers her, it reminds her of the only man she was foolish enough to love. She can’t really get the hang of cell phones, and she doesn’t really “get” sarcasm.
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xxxxx|| Fears || Zada fears that she may never return to the sea, but she knows she can't return alone.
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xxxxx|| Secrets || She lured a few hunters to a watery grave the night of the attack, and now she just feels hungrier than ever.
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m e r m a i d

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xxxxx|| Abilities || While on land, there likely isn't much that would differentiate Zada from a human, and she doesn't have a full transformation until she's fully submerged in water. The transformation is painful, and with razor sharp teeth, webbed fingers, and a sleek tail. Mermaids tend to live until they're killed, growing to the maximum size allowed by the waters they inhabit, and less human the older they get. They can, however, maintain a beautiful, human appearance. It only takes a bit of the flesh or blood of a mortal, and they can be young and beautiful forever. That tends to get them killed, but vanity is every mermaid's biggest weakness. In the water she's lightning fast, incredibly strong, and undeniably deadly. While still stronger than the average human out of the water, Zada's abilities are greatly limited, though she still possesses a voice that, while nowhere near the power of a siren's song, can easily coax a foolish man to the water's edge. Cold temperatures don't bother her, but excessive heat drains her quickly, she can quickly find herself becoming dehydrated, and it takes ages to heal a burn. Being away from her pod is another weakness of hers; mermaids have strength in numbers. Enough full grown mermaids can manipulate the tide and even coax rain from the sky, but alone they're limited to their beauty, their haunting song, and their physical capabilities.
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|| Talents || Zada is a good singer, a good dancer, and she is very good at making people think that she's very, very interested in whatever they have to say. She is, obviously, an excellent swimmer, and she spends a lot of time in the water. She is also an excellent decorator, and has very good taste.
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xxxxx|| Strengths || Reading people's intentions, patient, strong sense of justice
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xxxxx|| Weaknesses || Warped sense of justice, hot-headed, doesn't trust anyone.
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h i s t o r y

Zada spent her early years in the shallows of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by her mother, her aunts, brothers, sisters, and cousins. Any males were promptly chased away from the pod at sexual maturity, as mermen are highly aggressive. The group was entirely comprised of women and children, and they spent their days swimming, singing, and caring for one-another. Zada was taught not to trust humans, but to especially never trust human men. But she was so curious, and she fell in love. To this day she won't speak his name, but he took her from the sea, took her as a wife, and began to mistreat her the second he got her away from her family. She wasn't human, so he treated her with even less decency that he would treat a human woman (which, she assumed, wasn't much). He constantly reminded her how much of a monster he thought she was. How terrible he considered her to be. He hurt her, locked her out, left her in the sun to burn. One day, something within her changed. While he was sleeping, she summoned all the strength within her, and she killed him. There she ate his heart, and lapped up his blood.

She tried to return home, but her mother and sisters wanted nothing to do with a woman who would leave them for a man. With sorrow in her heart, she almost threw herself into the ocean to let the waves dash her against the rocks, but she returned to her late-husband's home, took every dollar he had, sold his valuables, and she left. She spent the next few decades of her life conning rich men out of their money before leading them to cold, water-logged deaths. She's lived in Paris, London, New York; all around the globe, just under the radar, spending just enough time to accomplish her goals without being found out. And once she amassed enough money to live comfortably for a while, she settled on Greythorne. After all, no one would call her a monster there. Sure, they might if they find out the things she had done, but she wouldn't be a monster on principal. So she moved in, bought a house, hired a landscaper, and spends much of her time alone. Though she does occasionally enjoy the library, the lake, and spending time with what friends she has made. She's lived in Greythorne for about three years now, and hasn't worked- or aged- a single day.

She didn’t attend the festival on the night of the attack, preferring to spend some uninterrupted time in the lake. While mostly unaffected by the attack itself, Zada now fears she may lose the only place on dry land that she’s ever felt at home.





writer: nonconformingrole - fc: Emeraude Tobia - hex code: #78b0ad


So begins...

Zada min Albahr's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Elijah Patrov Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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PHOENIX WOODS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #c4a7be
xxxsome things have changed
xxxwe don't fit like we used to
xxxit's hard to ignore if it's worth the wait
xxxit might just fool you
“Two lattes, a grilled chicken, chorizo and red pepper sandwich, and the Woods Special. Can I get my two favourite customers anything else?” Phoenix asked, provoking a giggle from the two old ladies in front of him. They confirmed that no, they were perfectly happy, and Phoenix told them to call him over if they did need anything. They were approaching closing time, but he knew that Daisy and Phyllis would be out well in time for them to close up. They came in at the same time every day, like clockwork, and always ordered a latte each. Sometimes they would treat themselves to a pastry or a cookie, other times, they would stick with a sandwich, others, just the coffee. But they’d been coming since he opened, and they had stayed coming, even after the attack. And that meant a lot.

And, bang on time, Daisy and Phyllis left, leaving them with plenty of time to clean up. Usually, Phoenix took as much time as he and the staff needed clearing up, but tonight was different. He didn’t rush anyone, but it seemed they were out in record time. Later that evening, there was going to be a town meeting of some kind to try and put a plan in place to prevent something like the festival attack happening again.

Phoenix would have been lying if he had said that the thought of it didn’t make him more than a little nervous. Following the attack, people had stopped gathering in public. The most people he’d seen in one place was his daily lunchtime rush, and even then, he could see the look of anxiety on their faces, the way they looked over their shoulders any time the bell on the door rang. People were afraid. But apparently this was a call to action. An attempt to try and take things into their own hands. And after everything that had happened, he couldn’t blame them.

In an attempt to distract himself, he’d spent the night before baking. He had filled a tray with his ultimate comfort food brownies to bring to the meeting with him, but he also had a smaller box balanced on top. Phoenix had said he’d swing by Alex’s with them to drop them in to his abuela, but in reality he didn’t want Alex to have to walk through town alone. Phoenix had been finding it hard, but it was nothing compared to Alex. And probably understandably so. Phoenix didn’t like to dwell on that night. The memory of seeing his best friend on the ground, covered in his own blood and the way that Phoenix had just… left still haunted him. He could only imagine what it was like to have been the one on the ground.

He called his goodbyes to the rest of the staff as they locked up, pulling his coat on and tucking his scarf into it. Winter had fallen as harsh as ever, and he knew it was a matter of time before it began to snow. At least this winter, he lived right above the cafe and had a functional heating system, meaning he didn’t have to venture too far into the cold every morning. He didn’t waste time walking the familiar path back to the house, eager both to keep warm and get out of the dark. He’d never been afraid of the dark. The things that went bump in the night were commonplace in this town and often showed up first thing to his cafe in search of their usual coffee and croissant, before going home to bed. But all that had changed now.

¡Hola, Abuela! Te traje unos brownies!” He called as he let himself in to Alex’s house. “I’ll leave them in the kitchen!” he added, switching back to English. He’d picked up a decent level of Spanish having spent a significant portion of his childhood in their house, but Abuela frequently bemoaned his grasp of grammar. He left the box of brownies into the kitchen and stopped to kiss the old lady on the cheek as he did so. The old lady chuckled and called out in Spanish, telling Alex that Phoenix was here.



ROSIE THOMPSON
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outfit : herex|xhex: #cc0460
xxxshe's a killer queen
xxxgunpowder, gelatine
xxxdynamite with a laser beam
xxxguaranteed to blow your mind
Rosie had gone straight from class to the town hall to help set things up. She hadn't organised the meeting, hut she'd been spreading the word and encouraging people to come, despite how afraid they are. She'd drawn the line at telling her students, though. She wasn't risking any of them getting hurt if anything did go wrong. They were kids. This wasn't their fight, as much as they might have wanted it to be.

And even if she hadn't organised it, she'd somehow found herself being asked to speak. Maybe it was just because, if she could control a class of rowdy freshmen, she could control a crowd of scared townspeople. Or at least that was what she told herself to calm the slight anxiety. She dug her phone out of her bag and sent a few texts.

To: Markus
you better get your ass here tonight because i've somehow been roped in to speak

To: Zada
babe apparently i have to talk at this thing so you better be coming


Things had been rough on everyone since the attack. But sitting at the top of a classroom, staring down at the empty chairs of students who had been murdered... she'd gotten her freshmen to rearrange the classroom so those empty seats weren't there and so their classmates wouldn't feel as they were sitting in their fallen classmates' seats. Rosie had wondered if she would have been able to make a difference if she had gone. If she could have saved even one of their lives, would it have been better? Or would she have been beating herself up that she hadn't done enough? She took a deep breath and took her seat on the stage as people began to trickle into the hall. She couldn't dwell on that now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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A l e x Garcia

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Outfit - #3a0a4d

After the attack, Alex spent a solid three days alone; he'd locked himself away in his bedroom, let his phone die, and only came out when he could no longer take the silence and solitude of his own grief and fear. Though he couldn't clearly remember much of what had happened between the attack and waking up the next morning. He vaguely remembered the text messages and calls he received, and ignored, between the attack and his phone dying; but when he finally charged it back up after those few days, he'd been completely overwhelmed. He'd only sent a message of any kind to three people: Phoenix, Jaiden, and his boss. In that order. His parents had clearly been updated by his abuela, and only his father bothered trying to reach out to him again in the weeks after the attack, though Alex wasn't sure if he found it comforting or not.

Alex returned to work faster than most of the people in his life would have liked. There was a lot of work to do after the attack, and as difficult as it was, Alex threw himself into it, working hard to give everyone they'd lost the best care he could. He felt a certain amount of guilt: he'd been having dreams and feelings about something terrible for weeks leading up to the attack, but he'd never thought anything like that would happen. Who would have?

He hadn't been sleeping well, not that it was unusual for Alex to not be sleeping, but every time he closed his eyes, he found himself back there. Somewhere between alive and dead, and running for his life. That he could remember clearly, and the dreams were so vivid he wondered if they weren't real, if he was going back there in his sleep. It seemed impossible, but impossible things happened every day in Greythorne.

Now Alex sat on his bed, half-dressed, thinking up excuses to get himself out of going to the assembly. On one hand, he genuinely wanted to hear what the others in the town had thought up to prevent another attack; it was an obvious concern of his, but he didn't know if he could handle it. He'd had a full-blow panic attack the day before when his abuela had touched his arm to try and get his attention. He didn't want to have yet another public incident. He didn't want to be that person.

He heard the front door open. Phoenix was there. Alex wondered if he just ignored him, if he would leave. Somehow, Alex doubted it. He stood up, and pulled a tee shirt over his head, calling out, "¡Espérame! Voy enseguida." After his grandmother. As soon as he opened his door his puppy, (who seemed to not understand that he was a ghost, though Alex couldn't blame the dog for not grasping the concept) dashed down the hall, straight towards Phoenix. "He can't pet you, you know." He called after the ghost, who ignored him in favor of barking and running between- and through- Phoenix's feet, which Phoenix was blissfully unaware of. Alex smiled at Phoenix, though it didn't reach his eyes, and said "I'm almost ready to go, just let me-" He gestured vaguely at himself as he walked into the kitchen, grabbing a sweatshirt that he shouldn't have left on the table, and pulled it over his head. He turned and kissed Abuela on the cheek, before turning for the door, calling, "We'll see you there, right? You're just waiting on Louise?" Over his shoulder. The woman shot Phoenix a quick look, as if to say 'good luck', but she didn't say anything other than to briefly confirm that was the case.

Alex grabbed his keys and his coat, and headed out the door, shrugging on his coat as he walked down the sidewalk. He only spared a sideways glance to make sure Phoenix was following behind, but he knew he would be. He didn't have much to say, so he shoved his hands into his pockets as they walked. He kept an eye out, scanning for anything unusual in the growing darkness. He had tried to avoid going out after dark since the attack, though he had found himself braving the dark to go to the bar a few times, almost more in an attempt to pretend things were normal.

At one point, once they had nearly arrived, Alex reached out and grabbed Phoenix's arm, pulling them both to a halt. It was only Carl Peters, crossing in front of them. Alex had known the older man his entire life. Alex quickly dropped his death grip on Phoenix's bicep, "Sorry," He quickly mumbled, hardly loud enough for even Phoenix to hear, "I don't know what I... I panicked." He didn't dwell on it, picking up the pace to the building. He couldn't wait to be back indoors.

He finally seemed to find his voice on that last leg of their walk, clearing his throat, "Sorry I haven't..." He trailed off, as if unsure of what exactly he was apologizing for, before saying, "Things in town are just so weird, now. You know?" He glanced over at Phoenix, they'd seen each other since the attack, of course, but most of the effort had been delegated to Phoenix's shoulders. Alex felt like a shell of himself, and maybe he looked like it, too. He didn't know.

Kay's voice calling his name made Alex smile, it was bright and genuine, and he returned her hug enthusiastically. His face fell slightly when she said she was glad he was okay, but he recovered quickly, flashing her a charming smile and saying, "How could I be anything but perfect with you around?" He took a short moment to take in her appearance before leaning in slightly, as if to tell some sort of secret, "You look fantastic, as always." He couldn't help but laugh as she struggled to put the flower crown on his head, and leaned in to kiss her cheek before saying, "Thank you. I love it."

He would ditch the thing as soon as he could without hurting her feelings, but it didn't hurt anything to leave it on for now.

As they walked inside, Alex suddenly realized that he desperately didn't want to be stuck sitting in a crowd of people, and turned to look at Phoenix, "Where do you want to-" He stopped, seeing a seat towards the back, on the end of a row, and changed his mind about asking Phoenix's opinion, "Here okay?" He asked, as he sat down, clearly not overly concerned with his friend's opinion.




Z a d a min Albahr

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Outfit & jewelry - #78b0ad

After the attack, Zada hadn't known what to do. She hadn't lost anyone she was particularly close to, though her neighbor's house was now vacant, and seeing the dark windows every evening was occasionally heartbreaking, so she just carried on her life like normal. The only notable additions to her daily routine were helping to clean up the town, and trying to become more a part of it. Greythorne was her home, no matter how she felt about some of it's residents, and she didn't want to lose it. She hadn't felt so at home since she left the ocean, all those years ago, and she wasn't willing to lose it.

She'd kept herself busy that day with chores around the house, and an extra long bath. She was going to have to skip out on her swim because of the meeting, but she didn't mind, she wanted to find a way to help the town, even if her contributions were small. Especially if she got to kill more hunters, or even if it just let to their demise. Perhaps vengeance wasn't the most helpful motivator, but Zada had found that it served humans perfectly well, so she had never once felt guilty for it.

She was just getting ready to head to the meeting when she read Rosie's text, and didn't bother to reply, instead opting to perfect her lipstick. It would be more helpful if she arrived early enough to get a good seat, where Rosie could maybe easily glance on a friendly, and hopefully reassuring face. For all her flaws, Zada was nothing if not supportive of those she cared about, and she cared deeply for Rosie.

It wasn't a long walk to town hall (it wasn't a long walk to most places in town), but Zada still found others shuffling inside ahead of her. She smiled at Kaylessa, who was handing out trinkets by the door. It seemed trivial, and somewhat childish, but Zada knew she had good intentions. The people of this town could use some cheering up, and there was probably no better person for the job. Zada really had no use for any of it, but picked up a little trinket, ensuring it wasn't something meant to be worn, and thanked the girl as genuinely as she could.

Once she made it inside, she quickly pushed her way up to the front, taking a seat and looking up at Rosie. She flashed her friend a hopefully reassuring smile, she could never tell, as she had been told that she looked somewhat terrifying when she smiled with her teeth. She settled in, knowing she would have to wait a few moments while people trickled in, and she hoped that no one would talk her her. Her general vibe was normally enough to deter people from her presence, but this town had done nothing if not surprise her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Travis Graveson

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#, as written by mombie
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c a m i l a x d e x s a n t o

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t h e x d e m o n
#ecaa53 || Outfit || location

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The town bitch, though it was not necessarily an earned title if one were to ask her, walked in like she had one of those heavy metal themesongs. She, of course, was not only late but dressed with the appropriateness of a late night out with all her curves for the eyes to drink in. But that was just Camila, love or hate her. She had made a show of opening the doors with a force unseen, pulled off her sunglasses as she steps through the threshhold, and had her very in auspicious Hell Hounds. All three walked behind her; eyes black as the abyss, coat shining, the rotten egg scent of sulfur for the ones withh those pesky supernatural senses.

Since the attack, she has actually done a few things to earn her town bitch title for once. The big daddy of Hell knew that she was here now, so it was only a matter of time before she was forced back home. Camila might as well as enjoy her last day among the Earthly realm - a place that people would perhaps never suspect her to fall in love with. There had been too much drinking, sex, drugs, being awful to people. She figures that this town expects it, so why the fuck not just live up to the hype of her name? She could tell who she bothered with the things she did, and who couldn't possibly care less about her actions. To ruination, she says. Live because she's going to be out of here. To Hell with all the folks that hate her because they did so before. Literally - she will see half these fuckers there when they finally day.

"Custodi in praetorium," she commands her hounds, and at least two vanish in a wisp of black smoke. Presumably to guard the town hall, as anyone that knew Latin would likely be able to discern that she told then to go guard the Hall. Just in case. Camila was no longer taking that many chances. Not that she cared about anyone else. She'd just really love to know if the Morningstar was going to make a show of things, and Camila didn't quite like surprises.

Her first victim, or victims depending on how one sees her actions, was Alex. After all, he was in the back row and so readily available for her. She slipped behind his seat and let her cool hands grasp his jawline on either side, "Hola mi amor. Estas guapo." Camila both greeted and complimented him. With her eyes pinned on Phoenix, she tilted Alex's head just a tad and licked the side of his neck in that slow, seductive manner. She ended it with a flirty kiss to the side of his jaw, released him, and fluttered on to claim the next unfortunate soul on her radar. That was just about everyone right now.

Travis was next, and she moved toward him like a predator to prey and bit her bottom lip. If it weren't for the fact that she was a fucking evil and vindictive bitch right now, one could say that she was giving off a playful innocent expression. Since he's leaning against the back wall, she just invites herself to press against him and smells the side of his neck while grasping the collar of his shirt with both hands. "You know, soldier boy, you're starting to smell a little bit like Hell," she whispers to him. "You used to smell so... different." She locked eyes with him for a moment, "Can you feel it?" After the inquiry, she kisses his lips, released him, and slipped away. She wasn't going to stick around. Something was off about him, but it helped that she just didn't care right now. At all.

Zada was last on her list, but she was less likely to be a dick to the Mermaid than she would be to all the stupid men in this town. As the Demon's hills click-clacked with command down the aisle, she blew people kisses or flipped them off - whichever one they deserved they got. She turned into the row with Zada and made herself very comfortable at her side. Camila practically leaned on her, one of her hands falling onto the woman's closest thigh. "We could ditch this joint, you know. Go for a dip in the lake. Naked," she offered. The demon's host body smelled a little like booze, even if she wasn't drunk. Buzzed is all she ever got, and that is a word well-suited for this time.

Her remaining Hell Hound prowled the town hall, and the other two were dispatched elsewhere. They left the Supernatural folks alone for the most part and were content to just roam quietly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Elijah Patrov Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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PHOENIX WOODS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #c4a7be
xxxsome things have changed
xxxwe don't fit like we used to
xxxit's hard to ignore if it's worth the wait
xxxit might just fool you
Alex had been like this for weeks but it didn’t hurt any less to see him like this. The hollow smile did nothing to reassure Phoenix, but he returned the smile anyway. Phoenix returned the look that Abuela gave him with a small reassuring smile, promising to look after him.

Alex didn’t wait particularly for Phoenix, only glancing to make sure he was following, but Phoenix caught up easily. It was like being with somebody else entirely as they walked in silence. Before the attack, there had seldom been a silence between them, always filled with laughter or teasing. Now, Phoenix knew not to try and fill the space with noise. Even he found it hard to know what to say.

The contact of Alex’s arm pulling him to a stop shocked Phoenix out of his thoughts as he mentally prepared himself for an attack, but he saw nothing. Just Carl. Phoenix took one look at Alex’s face and thought for a moment about suggesting they ditched the meeting and went back to his apartment instead. And then Alex started moving again, apologizing in more of a mumble than anything. Alex actually spoke as they reached the town hall. Phoenix just shrugged. “It’s okay. I get it. Everything’s different and weird and… Just… know I’m always here, okay? Even if you just want to get drunk or drink tea, or… I dunno, sit in silence on the floor. Any time of day or night.” They’d been friends long enough that he knew he didn’t have to say it, but sometimes a reminder was needed. Alex clearly wasn’t in a great frame of mind right now. And besides, there was plenty of nights when Phoenix found himself awake at three, four, five in the morning, unable or unwilling to go back to sleep.

Phoenix was glad that the first person they ran into was Kay. It was hard not to smile in her presence, and her energy was practically infectious. Her outfit put them all to shame as they huddled in their jackets and scarves. He left the two of them for a moment as he went to put the tray of brownies down for people to take as they pleased. He got back just as Kay put a flower crown on Alex’s head, struggling to balance it on his curls, and Phoenix couldn’t help but laugh. Then she bounded away, and Phoenix could see the slight change in Alex’s expression. He wasn’t in a flower crown mood, but Phoenix knew he didn’t want to hurt Kay’s feelings. And so Phoenix very obviously reached over and stole the flower crown from his head, balancing it on top of his hair instead.“Bullshit, we all know I’m the cuter one wearing this,” he declared.

Alex started to ask wear Phoenix wanted to sit, before darting to an unoccupied seat.“This is perfect. I’m afraid if we sit any closer to Rosie’s skirt without sunglasses, we might do permanent damage,” he joked. The exact location of the seat hadn’t escaped Phoenix either, but if he was being honest, he was happier here too.

He caught that familiar, sickening scent before he saw her. He didn’t even turn around to acknowledge her, not wanting to grace her with a reaction. But he could feel her eyes on him, see her out of the corner of his eye. But instead he kept his eyes forward, trying desperately to keep his expression neutral despite the twisting in his stomach and the anger that rose within him. The only outward reaction was a clenching of his jaw as Camila kissed Alex’s jaw. She slunk away and Phoenix had to resist the temptation to glare at her as she did so. Thankfully, a distraction came in the form of Rosie getting to her feet and walking to the podium, the room starting to fall silent at that single action.



ROSIE THOMPSON
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outfit : herex|xhex: #cc0460
xxxshe's a killer queen
xxxgunpowder, gelatine
xxxdynamite with a laser beam
xxxguaranteed to blow your mind
The hall filled up relatively quickly, which Rosie was pleasantly surprised by. She spotted Kay bounding around, handing out flower crowns and trinkets. The small smiles they produced didn’t escape her notice, and that meant a lot. People looked scared, and confused, and angry. A smile wouldn’t change or erase any of that, but it was a start. It made things seem a little less terrible. Kay quickly ran up to the front and threw her a necklace, which Rosie caught and pulled it over her head, before going to stand at the podium as the last few stragglers came in.

“Good evening, everyone,” she said, and silence fell over the room. “Okay, wow. This isn’t high school English, don’t worry, guys, you can relax,” she added, getting a few giggles out of the crowd. “It’s wonderful to see so many of you guys here. Thank you to the wonderful Kaylessa for these trinkets and to everyone who brought anything. I know that things have been scary… and I know people are afraid. But we rallied around tonight, and that’s a good start. We fought them off once and we can fight them off again. So, let’s get this started. First, Chief Kaner is going to discuss what the police force is doing and what volunteers are needed for them, then I’ll open the floor back up for a discussion. So please welcome Chief Kaner to the stage and hold any questions until the end.”

Rosie took her seat as the police chief stood up to drone on about increased vigilance and whatever. He had never been the most engaging of speakers, but Rosie had long ago perfected the art of listening to boring speakers. Her students tried, but some were always more engaging than others. It was only as the crowd gave polite applause that she came back to herself, getting to her feet. "Thank you, Chief Kaner. So, now that we're aware what the police are doing, it's time to discuss what we can do. So, first up is... voluntary patrols. I'm aware some have already been running, so would anybody like to fill us in and let us know what we can do to help?" She asked, glancing down towards Markus. She highly doubted he would speak up, but maybe someone else might.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Elijah Patrov Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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#, as written by mombie
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e l i j a h x p a t r o v

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#7B5653 || Outfit || townhall

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The man was typically known for his punctuality, but he was late tonight. His broad frame wandered down the street; his figure moving along like a shadow floating quietly and darkly beneath the soft light of the moon. His hands were in his pockets and strking blue eyes flitting from here to there. Another black figure dashed in the dark, but he knew it to be the Demon's Hell Hound, so he pressed on and continued down the pathway down these lonlier town streets to the slightly busier townhall.

Since the attack, he has felt very much the same. When one is such a hunted species as he, there is no surprise that the Mortals always came. They destroyed everything, and it was only ever a matter of time. The Supernatural were never safe - not in a thousand years past, not in a hundred - not in this modern day. This was the life he was used to, and he has grown understandably callous to the casualties that come with this. It wasn't his fault. It was simply that life was so tragic that tragedy has become his sense of normalcy, thus this, to him, was the way of the world. For others, however, perhaps it was not. Everyone thought this would remain their home unscathed by mortal persecution, and that was their own fault. He felt bad for them, sure, but there was nothing he could do to ease anyone's pain. Not that they'd listen given his rather unearned reputation.

Just as the townhall came into view, though the humdrum inside has been playing into his acute sense of hearing for a while now, he noticed Markus and Jai outside. He pulled his hands from his pockets and braced their lower backs, some strange gust of wind parting the doors. Elijah always had this gravely calm tone of voice; masculine and gutturally harsh with notes of his mother-tongue. It resonated gruffly, yet strangely... melodic and calming. There were many ways to describe his voice, but confidence, command, and ease were the easiest to remember. "Going in?" It was one of those inquiries that might normally be accompanied by a smile, but instead, he gently guided them both through the doors with the placement of his hands. Was it one of those strange protective things that were subtle in nature? Perhaps. It was dark outside, and the streets were dismal as the town gathered.

Once the trio made their way into the Hall, the Vampire took a moment to take in Rosie's words. After the blurbs by the Chief and Rosie were done, he simply walked down the aisle. His eyes hardly met anyone else's, and he continued because who was going to stop him? No one. No one really liked him. Everyone stayed away from him. He liked it that way. It could stay. They could be afraid of him or call him what they will, but he didn't care about any of it. He's too old for the petty drama. Though he did sneak a side-peek toward Zada, but swiftly drew it away. He was just checking to make sure she was still there, even though he could smell her. Everyone has their own unique smell.

His steps ceased in front of Rosie, and two hands were placed upon her as gentle as a man could be; one of her elbow and another at her shoulder. He didn't smile, there was no expression to his otherwise serious features, but he tugged at her with something that could be easily misconstrued as asserting his masculinity over her. He never thought about it that way, but he was an old fart and she knew that he didn't mean any ill by it. There was the slightest hint of a smile for her in that fleeting second he believed no one was looking, however.

Once she was out of his way, he took his place in the front of the Hall. His hands grasped either side of the podium and he finally looked at each and every being in the room. He stopped at no one in particular as he commenced to speak with his deeply rumbling and harsh Slavic tongue, "They will come again - we know this because history always repeats itself. This is nothing new to some of us, but it is always tragic. This would be the time to put aside petty differences and settle the feuds in our community - to stop being each other's enemies." This time, his gaze falls pointedly on Camila. He likes her, but damn - she's such a handful and she's grown particularly less manageable and more agitating.

"We have many tools at our expense - more than our enemies if you ask me. They are stronger than mortals, but we are stronger. It is in our nature. There is a power-imbalance, and we hold the advantage. The problem is that we didn't know they were coming, but now we know. If you think you can't help, then you're going to die. You're going to cause someone else to die. Everyone in this town is a cog in the machine that runs it, and it's our duty to defend it."

He shifts away from the podium for a moment and then steps beside it, "If you own a business, perhaps you can help create a rallying point as a place of safety for those who can't fight. The town hall, for one, is easy to secure with the proper people. The bar and other stores - use them to stow weapons or tools that will assist us in fighting back. You may think that these people are gone, but I can assure you that they will return. These are zealous people that can trace their legacies spent persecuting others back centuries. But they do not always win, and we do persist. Speak up. I, for one, am out from sundown to dawn. Camila has her dogs on patrol day and night. There are people that will protect you even if you think they will not. A little less self-pity and more preparation will judge whether Greythorne will persist, too. So even if you don't think you have anything to contribute - search deep. Everyone can." He looked to Rosie for some sense of affirmation or something, and then just dipped to a seat someplace in the middle by himself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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TRAVIS GRAVESON
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #8B4513
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xxx Older than water, stubborn as stone
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for all that you've known
xxx Oh these days, oh these days get heavy
xxx Hotter than friction, subtle as sound
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for you to come around

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As more and more people came in, Travis started taking note of was and wasn’t there, as well as what type of attitude their body language gave off. Most people were slow and hesitant, alot of darty eyes, and a couple long stares at him. He saw two of the witches, Alex and Phoenix, Alex looking paranoid and scared of being here, and Phoenix wearing a flower crown, and seeming more of a caregiver in his movements and how he spoke. . Trav hadn’t seen much of Alex since the attack, hearing he was injured but miraculously survived, he was curious about what happened but hadn’t figured it out yet and knew now wasn’t a good time to ask questions.

Travis ignored most of the others coming in, taking small notes in his head and just acknowledging their presence whenever they would look at him, it wasn’t until a specific demon walked in that caught his eye. Camila. He watched out of the corner of his eye as she walked over and teased Alex, mostly ignoring Phoenix. He knew about her behavior and how she interacted with some of the other beings in Greythorne, but she still intrigued her. Most demons he faced served someone or something, but she more so served herself and her own wild fantasies. He didn’t turn to face her as she walked up to him but knew she knew he knew she was coming.

Camila commented on him smelling differently than before, a little like hell. “Well you know better than everyone we all have our sins. And I might be able to smell the difference in people, but it’s safe to bet most people smell different after the attacks. Fear, paranoia. I might not be able to smell it, but its there.” Travis was a little surprised when she kissed him and walked away, though it wasn’t the first time she had done so, especially in a teasing manner, but still left him wanting more. As she walked away he turned his focus back on the crowd and finally up onto Rosie as she began to speak.

Travis listened carefully, keeping mostly a serious face shown while others relaxed and gave lighthearted laughs to her jokes. Next was Chief Kaner, a Druid, and Trav rolled his eyes at his generic talk about vigilance, looking out for each other, and not being afraid to speak up. Basic stuff that he had heard numerous times throughout his military career. Though what caught Travis’ attention was when the vampire Elijah stood up and gave a speech to the crowd. Trav actually perked up and listened to what the man had to say, curious and fascinated by how he went on and his words, but for a vampire that is a few hundred years old, Travis knew he had some practice. As Elijah finished, he took his seat and the room was quiet.

Travis straightened up his jacket and pushed himself off the wall before starting to walk down the middle. “Well, while Chief’s and Elijah’s speeches were great, thank you you two. I gotta point out something Elijah had said. ‘put aside petty differences and settle the feuds in our community’ to quote him directly.” Travis said as he turned around as he got to the stage and leaned against it. “Look around. We’re suppose to be a community, but the few humans like myself that live in Greythorne, most aren’t here. And it’s because they are scared and afraid, even some of have left Greythorne because some of their close friends wouldn’t talk to them anymore. I’ve heard talk at the bar about how ‘we should kick all the humans out of Greythorne' just because the people who attacked us were humans.” He paused for a second, taking off part of his jacket to reveal his left arm and a healing bullet wound. “But they attacked all of us, not just the ones that aren’t the same as them.” Travis pulled his jacket over. Though the bullet wound was from that night of the attack, it was self-inflicted so he could have a cover story. He wore a sling for a little bit and had to refuse Kaylessa’s many offers to just heal him.

“I got nothing else to say besides that. And I, as well as the few other human’s left in Greythorne, would appreciate it if they were stalked each night by Nymphs and Shapeshifters.” Travis said as he started walking back to his seat. He could feel the eyes staring him down, but as well as some of the guilty looks from supernatural’s that felt bad. He wasn't sure why he even spoke up as it would put more eyes on him, but he felt like he needed to say something, he had seen first hand some of the humans being treated like they were the ones who shot attacked their neighbors, and heard some nasty things at Camila's pub.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Elijah Patrov Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson

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Z a d a min Albahr

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Outfit & jewelry - #78b0ad
There is nothing less interesting than being in a town full of people you hardly know, or worse, that you don’t like. Zada had few friends in town, and while she was sure most of them would attend the meeting, she was fairly content to mind her own business while she waited. Even after years of living on dry land, she wasn’t very good at small talk; unless it involved seduction.

She wasn’t surprised when Camila settled in at her side, she’d heard the demon’s heels the whole walk to the front of the room, and she’d spared a quick glance to see who it was. She raised her brow as Camila spoke, eyes darting to the hands resting on her thigh. A smile smile tugged at the corners of her lips, a sort of mischief twinkled in her eye, but only for a moment. ”You’re free to join me any time I’m at the lake,” She spoke, voice as serious as ever, ”The meeting is important. I want to figure out how to help.” She reached over, brushing her fingers across Camila’s face to tuck a non-existent stray hair behind her ear. ”Any other day, though. I’ll be there.” This was both a promise, and a simple fact. Zada swam in the lake nearly daily, only really stopping when the lake froze over and she couldn’t access the water.

Then Rosie started to speak, and Zada found herself turning towards the podium. She looked aloof and disinterested (then again, she nearly always did), but she was listening intently. She hardly moved when Chief Kaner spoke, she had a high tolerance for boring speakers, and he wasn’t even the worst she’d seen.

When Elijah took the stand and began to speak, her expression did change slightly. To was a sad, knowing look. She hadn’t been alive anywhere near as long as some of the residents of the town, but Zada had still been on earth long enough, and had spent enough time with humans to know their nature. He was right. They would be back, they would be more prepared. They knew now that this was a town with a fighting spirit, and no-doubt they had the experience needed to extinguish their flames. Zada didn’t have any experience fighting back against humans, but she knew plenty of what cruelties they were capable of.

As Elijah took a seat, Travis came forward, and she had to fight to keep from staring daggers at the man. Truly, he had done nothing to deserve any measure of hatred from her. Still, the lessons she’d learned about human men were learned with blood, broken bones, and burned skin; they were difficult lessons, and they would not be easily unlearned. She felt no sympathy for him when he spoke, his kind had been known to kill witches and werewolves for less. Markus spoke next, which was somewhat surprising, but she found his words easier to digest. Perhaps only because she liked him more than Travis, or perhaps because his words gave her something to truly consider. Neden and, frankly, she didn’t much care for their theatrics and dramatism. Zada didn’t find it very helpful, and it was mostly distracting, but she had to admit it did give them a certain charm.

It wasn’t long after that when Rosie wrapped up the meeting, and Zada had someone she wanted to speak with. She leaned over to Camila and said a simple, ”If you’ll excuse me.” Before standing up and making her way back to Travis.

She normally didn’t have much to say to the human, but his little speech gave her something to think about. She stood in front of him and crossed her arms before saying, ”It would do you well to remember that most of us have a bloodline that includes centuries of persecution by humans,” While she spoke, her face was expressionless; it was a simple fact, and didn’t metic hysterical emotion or a big speech, ”Many of our ancestors were hunted down and killed for the simple crime of living. If you want to be trusted, you need to prove to us that you are trustworthy. Many of us were hurt in the attack. You are not special.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson

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TRAVIS GRAVESON
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #8B4513
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xxx Older than water, stubborn as stone
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for all that you've known
xxx Oh these days, oh these days get heavy
xxx Hotter than friction, subtle as sound
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for you to come around

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Travis got back to his spot and took a sip of his whiskey as the meeting continued. The rest of the meeting went as well as he could have guessed, though he did pay attention to when Markus, the resident Werewolf that had been in Greythorne the longest started talking about patrols. He thought about putting his name forward for them, but assumed they would quickly shoot down his help, especially since he caught some of their patrols following him around. Highly unlikely the patrols would let him join without trying to keep tabs on him, so he disregarded that idea. He was a little surprised when Zada came up and talked to him, but not so much surprised when it wasn’t anything nice.

Trav let out a light chuckle, after Zada gave her sense about their kind and his kind being enemies. It was true, that was the real reason he was here, he almost appreicated her reminded him of that. Though what he liked the most was saying he wasn’t special for being attacked. He got ahold of himself before opening his mouth to Zada. “See, I respect that about you, not afraid to say what you think and believe.” He ran his hand through his hair. “And I’m sure you know my ancestors has been hunted down the same for their blood and the same yours have. And I get it, I’m not special. Just trying to say we all were attacked that night.” Travis leaned off the wall, sighing. “Zada, I apologize if what I said came off wrong, living here for just about a year and I’m still trying to get my footing.” He turned and looked out the open door that people were leaving through. “It’s a shame really, place is beautiful. I’m sorry if I’m seen as the enemy.”

Travis said as he then politely excused himself from Zada. He wanted to say more, more impulsive stuff that was building up inside him, but knew this wasn’t the time or the place. These monsters talk about being hunted for just living, and it’s because of what they do to his own kind, his parents.

Before leaving, Travis walked by Neden and heard them say something that made him stop. Anyone could join the patrols, but just had to answer some questions. While he knew he probably wouldn’t be accepted on patrol, and even if he did he would probably be babysat by someone, he was interested in these questions and what exactly was the criteria for being on a patrol. If only certain powers were allowed on patrol. Or if you had to have some sort of experience. Both good information to have. And if what he heard around town was true, they were wanting people willing to leave their homes and go out. He stopped and turned towards Neden and softly got their attention. “Hey, I doubt I’m your model citizen or who you even want on your patrols, but I have free time when I’m not working at the shop, and can easily re-arrange and change my store hours to account for being on patrol or helping your patrols.” Travis said, to her, throwing out his help and his bait to them, seeing if they would take it. “Anything to help out.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Elijah Patrov Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Travis Graveson

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#, as written by mombie
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c a m i l a x d e x s a n t o

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t h e x d e m o n
#ecaa53 || Outfit || location

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t h e x v a m p i r e
#7B5653 || Outfit || Location

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Neither demon nor vampire would be that affected by the violence that would ensue later. The truth was pretty simple - Camila and Elijah were near pariahs in one way or another, justified or not, in this town. Elijah had always just had a quiet and peaceful existence here, whilst also falling into the realm of being subjected to certain untruths simply because of who he chose to be around. Rather, that he chose to be around no one at all. Camila, on the other hand, was just a woman people hated because of a man. Truthfully, it was a tad grating, given that she's never done anything to be genuinely loathsome. Without actual friends here in Greythorne, what did more death mean to them? Nothing. Camila would go back to Hell, and Elijah would move on. That's all it meant.

The lumbering man watched the fiasco that was Alex and whatshisface (he forgets sometimes), and Camila's eyes were on a certain mermaid's retreating bottom once Zada had stood up to say a piece. The gal was right - Humans would never understand their persecutions and the injustices. Hell, they do it to each other - which is the most fascinating and terrifying thing of it all. Humans had no boundaries when it came to who should die and who should live, and much of that to blame is on God and fearmongering.

Elijah (and Hell, Camila, too, but for a totally different and more lecherous reason), almost broke his neck as his gaze followed Zada to the Human. He waited until Travis departed after certain words were likely exchanged, and then stood up to begin removing himself from this area altogether. He didn't much like being in this place with the entire town, and it certainly wasn't safe to be huddled together.

His movement earns the attention of Camila, whose heels click-clacked for only a swift few seconds before her presence was right in front of him. She looped an arm through his own after stepping to his right side and suggested "I say we go to your house, pop open one of those unnecessarily expensive bottles of scotch, and just let the town do as it will."

She had noted that Alex ran out with Phoneix, and the smallest of pangs of guilt crept into her chest. Did she do that? The pair had bolted out of the door and some argument likely took place on the streets. Everyone was so vulnerable and touchy, but she didn't blame them. Not one bit. There is a lot to be nervous about, and death is one of them. Once the mortals latch onto something, their teeth and claws never relent. Tensions would rise as the level of fears did, and that's exactly what they hope will happen. It always happens. Both Camila and Elijah know that there is a pattern to things, and this is irreversible and hard to get away from.

"You are not going to go find Alex?" He looked down at her with a puzzled expression, leading her down the aisle and toward the exit.

She looked up at him, her brows knitted together as he had decided to shove himself into personal problems. If one could call it that. "Not right now. I'll just mess things up, and well - if I am going back to Hell soon, maybe it's for the best that I allow his... relationship with the boy to... go undisturbed." It took her a few seconds to choke those that two words out, but it was true. Time is fleeting and she didn't want to make Alex hate her, too.

"An act of selflessness?" He teased her, a sly grin having crept across his lips. He knew that would bother the hell out of her, but he dished out a light jab here and there. He moved through the door with Camila in tow to bring them down the empty streets in the direction of his home.

"I wouldn't call it selflessness," she shrugged at no one in particular. "We'll call it... concentrating on the bigger picture."

The pair would soon be at the steps of his large and lonely home; a desolate place where it was always as cliche as cliche could get when it comes to all the thoughts one might have of a Vampire's dwelling. It was a haunt, that's for certain. Camila and Elijah disappeared through its doors, and likely wouldn't be out unless something were to occur.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Elijah Patrov Character Portrait: Camila De Santo Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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ROSIE THOMPSON
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outfit : herex|xhex: #cc0460
xxxshe's a killer queen
xxxgunpowder, gelatine
xxxdynamite with a laser beam
xxxguaranteed to blow your mind
Rosie just raised an eyebrow and shook her head a little as Markus asked if his speech was any less awkward. “It was fine, not shitty at all, Markus. You need to give yourself a little more credit,” she said, with a half grin. The update at least put her at ease. She couldn’t go on the patrols, what with having to mark papers and prepare for her classes, but Markus had at least been keeping her in the loop. In a time like this, she'd found herself taking some degree of leadership on this thing. Mostly, she used the information to advise her students to stay away, or to answer any questions they did have. She couldn't do much, but she could try to protect them. Markus turned to walk away, having updated her in his usual brief manner, but instead Neden reappeared in their usual energetic manner.

The grin on Rosie's face rapidly disappeared as Neden mentioned what they’d found during the week. “No. No, he didn’t.” She said, turning to stare down Markus. She just sighed as Neden explained that they’d had a hiccup. And that they now had a guest. She knew exactly what that meant, unfortunately. It meant things were now more complicated than they had been two minutes ago. Neden disappeared as quickly as they’d appeared under the pretense of getting food. Rosie turned fully to Markus.

“Were you going to bring this up?” She asked, folding her arms and raising an eyebrow. “Markus, if there’s one of them, there could be more. What are you going to do with our little… problem?” She asked, keeping her voice low, little more than a hiss to prevent anyone overhearing. “We need to deal with this.” She glanced around and saw Travis looking at her, giving a wave. She smiled back and return the wave, before turning back to Markus. “As quietly and as quickly as possible.”

To give Markus his credit, he told Rosie the full story once they left, away from where they might be overheard and cause a panic. They thought the hunter might be a valuable source of information, but he hadn’t said anything yet. His training was surprisingly good, and he hadn't cracked yet. But he couldn’t stay locked up in Markus’ basement forever, and they needed to do something with him. They spent the next few days trying to hatch a plan. Rosie could use her abilities to get him to talk, reveal everything him knew. But she wasn’t eager to do that. If he escaped, her giving away an element of her ability could potentially be used against them. It was only when she was in Travis’ shop, picking up a few things for dinner, that she had her brainwave. Getting a human to talk to the hunter could work. Let them think there was somebody on their side. Someone who could help. And they wouldn’t be giving away a tactical advantage.

Their plan came together relatively quickly after that. Rosie made a stop into Phoenix's café on her way home from class and managed to talk him into bringing Jaiden and Violet out for drinks. Markus and Rosie had both agreed that they needed to get Jaiden and Violet out of the house, just in case things went wrong. And a third party would keep them accountable. That and, well, from what Rosie could see, they all needed a night out with friends. She hadn't seen Jaiden that withdrawn since she'd first arrived in Greythorne, and now she was possibly worse than she had been then. And as much as Phoenix was pretending that everything was fine, Rosie knew it wasn't. She didn't know the details, but the marked absence of Alex from Phoenix's surroundings seemed to be part of the problem. And Violet had changed too, but possibly the least. Rosie could still see the old Violet every time she went to Markus'. She'd changed, of course she had. They all had. But Rosie could still get a smile out of her, which was more than she could say for some of the others.

She headed straight over to Markus' after class. Travis wasn't going to be finished for another while, but Rosie wanted to be there early in case Violet and Jaiden needed more persuasion, and because, as ever, she had essays to be marking. She wasn't sure whether or not Neden would be coming or if they were doing patrols that evening.



PHOENIX WOODS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #c4a7be
xxxsome things have changed
xxxwe don't fit like we used to
xxxit's hard to ignore if it's worth the wait
xxxit might just fool you
When he'd woken up the morning after the meeting, everything had felt like a horrible dream. And then it hit him again. None of it had been a nightmare. It had happened. And it felt like somebody was kicking him in the chest all over again. But he'd gotten up, as normal. He'd gone for his run, taking a different and slightly harsher path, but one that he knew meant would pose less of a risk of running into Alex. He'd gone home, showered, and gone to work.

And that had been his routine. Pretend everything was normal. Pretend that he didn't stare at his phone, waiting for a text that didn't come, writing texts he'd never send. Pretend that it didn't feel like somebody had cut off his left arm. Sure, he didn't need it, but not having it made things so much harder.

Abuela still came in, like she always did. Phoenix couldn't lie to her, couldn't tell her everything was fine. He gave her her usual supplies of bread and pastries when she came in instead of dropping them over before or after work.

"He misses you too, Phoenix, querido. He just can't say it." He didn't need to say anything. Abuela could always read him like a book, and lying would be a waste of time. He just smiled sadly and handed her the bag of baked goods.

Get up. Go for a run. Go to work. Pretend like the dark circles under his eyes didn't give away the fact he was snatching only a few hours of sleep every night and that that sleep was seldom restful. Nightmares plagued him from the moment he closed his eyes. And it wasn't like he had anyone to talk to them about.

He knew from the moment he saw Rosie's face that she was back into "caring english teacher" mode, and it at least gave him a couple of seconds to brace himself. But she didn't mention him, just said that she'd been around at Markus' and thought Jaiden and Violet needed a night out. He didn't know how she managed to talk him into agreeing to bring them out. But she had always been extraordinarily persuasive, even without having to use her abilities, so he found himself having committed to the plans.

He'd taken his time getting ready, waiting for an excuse to arise that would mean he didn't have to go. Going would just be a few more hours of pretending that everything was fine. It was bullshit, everyone knew it, but Jaiden didn't need his stupid crap on top of everything she was dealing with. He'd even put on eyeshadow and eyeliner to stretch it out, but eventually, there came a time when he had to leave to go meet Jaiden and Violet at Markus'. Shoving his phone in to his pocket, he turned and left, making his way across town.

He knocked on the Markus' door and was let in by Rosie, who chattered in her usual charming way, giving out about her freshmen. He just smiled and nodded, forcing a laugh at appropriate points, and mostly just prayed that Violet and Jaiden would appear soon. He loved Rosie, but he just... wasn't in the mood for that constant chatter right now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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KAYLESSA VALVEN
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #FF4500
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xxx If I'm a bad person, you don't like me
xxx Well, I guess I'll make my own way
xxx It's a circle, a mean cycle
xxx Sometimes I wanna fuckin' scream or run away,
xxxI can't excite you anymore

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Kaylessa smiled as Neden said she would consider working with Travis, she just wanted everyone to be nice to each other and knew that they would need to work together to get through this, and that Travis working with the others would be a start to this. She returned a smile to Travis before turning around and skipping back through the hall to grab her small cart and walked down the aisles of chairs in between people starting to clean up. Kay would quickly grab some of the trinkets she made that some people had left behind and put them in her cart, as her way of helping clean up and to also re-purpose her creations for another time. She knew most people didn’t hold onto everything she made and wasn’t too upset.

As the building started to empty out Kaylessa said bye to everyone and headed back outside to grab the rest of herself and head home, though when she got outside there was something on the ground to the side of the pathway in a patch of grass that caught her attention and she ran over to see what it was. A flower crown, on the ground ripped apart and destroyed on the ground, the same crown she gave Alex earlier.

Kay picked up the pieces of the crown slowly, a little frown on her face and set them on top of her cart. She knew some people didn’t like the crowns she made, but no one had ever destroyed one before, and she always thought Alex liked her and liked her crowns. Kaylessa skulked back to her home with her belongings, thinking and trying to figure out what this meant and why Alex would do this.

The next few days flew by and Kaylessa didn’t do much out in the town of Greythorne, she was more in one of her cleaning moods and cleaned and rearranged her place again. Though as she got almost done cleaning she found the destroyed flower crown from the day before, thinking back to the night, and decided she needed some advice and was curious about some stuff and headed out. First she went by Phoenix's store to ask him about it, but he wasn't there, or atleast ignored her bangings on his store's doors. The next stop was the lake, hopefully Zada would be there to talk.

“Zada! You out there?” Kaylessa shouted towards the water as she plopped down on the grass by the shore of the lake holding the crown, hopefully her mermaid friend would be here. If she wasn’t though Kay wouldn’t mind just laying down and staring at the sky. It was when she heard the breach of water that she looked back to the water and saw Zada. “Hey Zada… sorry to bother you but…” Kay paused for a second looking at the still damaged crown in her hands, before setting it down it down the grass. “I gave Alex this crown last night, and I found it like this. Why would he do this? I thought he liked me, liked what I made. What if he hates me, and just barely puts up with me. I get people don’t always keep the things I make them… but no ones ever done this.” She said staring at the ground, trailing off. “It… it hurts…”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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Z a d a min Albahr

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Outfit - #78b0ad
The days following the meeting had been like any other for Zada: she woke up, leisurely got ready for the day, gathered up anything that needed to be returned to the library (or, in some cases, Rosie), and went about her day. But the last few days had been peppered with thoughts of how she could help the town. She really wasn’t much of a fighter, and wasn’t sure how much help she could be on patrols (what would she do if she encountered a hunter? Yell for help? Run for the lake and hope they follow?) Neither seemed to be particularly good ideas, so she decided to focus her energy on helping the others in town that may not be up for a fight. The town needed a plan, they needed to know what they were going to do when the hunters returned, and Zada wasn’t convinced that anyone competent was going to step up to get that job done.

Still, she wasn’t sure she’d lived in town long enough for many of the citizens to really trust her, or her judgement, and while she didn’t think they should be putting off emergency planning, she also didn’t think it should necessarily come from her.

So she spent her time much like she always had: filling it with books, music, and her evening swims at the lake. No one really worried about her much once she got to the water: only a fool would go swimming with a mermaid. She had eaten the hunters that had encountered her during the attack, so she was fairly certain that they wouldn’t be properly prepared to deal with her if she were in the lake when they returned.

This particular evening was no different: she was enjoying a swim in the cold water, though the cold didn’t bother her much. Still, many of the other residents of the town would balk at the idea of venturing into the lake this late in the year, if any of them went near it at all. Her clothing was stashed nearby; folded neatly on a tree stump just out of splashing range, which was generally a good indicator that she was there, even if she was beneath the surface of the water. She knew there was a good chance that the lake would be freezing over soon, and she wanted to enjoy it as much as she could before then. She tried to stay alert, in case anything happened, but it was hard to listen for anyone approaching with your head underwater.

She did think, however, that she heard someone calling out from the shore. She swam upwards, so just her eyes and the very top of her head was out of the water. Kaylessa. That seemed… Strange, that she would come to the lake. Zada went back under the surface of the water to swim closer to the shore. She let her head and shoulders come out of the lake, treading water to stay in place, and listened as Kay quickly spoke. Zada wasn’t sure she fully understood the young woman’s problem (why anyone would want Alex to like them was a mystery to her), but she still listened with that cold indifference on her face.

Zada looked from the flower crown, to Kaylessa’s face, and briefly considered her words before speaking. She flashed a small smile, lips closed, before saying, ”I don’t know Alex well,” This was the truth, they had only spoken once, and Zada decided he was too obnoxious to even look at, going forwards, ”But I do know him to be a foolish and impulsive man, which makes him worse than many of them.” Tentatively, Zada crawled from the lake, her fin slowly turning back into a pair of legs. The transformation was as painful as it looked, but Zada was used to it, and seemed unaffected.

Without bothering to cover up or get dressed, she scooped the ruined flower crown off the ground and sat beside Kay, silent for only a moment, ”Most every man you encounter will hurt- or at the very least disappoint- you, regardless of your relationship. I’ve found it to be in their nature: they’re destructive creatures.” She shook her head, ”At any rate, I would say he doesn’t deserve your creative abilities to be wasted on him, at the very least.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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KAYLESSA VALVEN
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #FF4500
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xxx If I'm a bad person, you don't like me
xxx Well, I guess I'll make my own way
xxx It's a circle, a mean cycle
xxx Sometimes I wanna fuckin' scream or run away,
xxxI can't excite you anymore

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Kaylessa kept her eyes on the lake, watching the moonlight shimmers off of the ripples of the water as Zada talked, though she did notice her pick up the flower crown. Listening closely as she described what little she knew of Alex, as well as men as a whole, though ending on the note that maybe Alex isn’t good enough for her creative nature to be wasted on and doesn’t deserve her kindness.

“But Zada, I enjoy it. Most people just say thank you and move on, he would always say nice remarks. Compliment me. Not just Rosie saying I look nice today, but more personal.” Kay said as her eyes floated from the river over to the crown in Zada’s hands. Thinking back to what he had said to her when she saw him at the town meeting. ”How could I be anything but perfect with you around? You look fantastic as always.” They felt like more than a typical compliment, like they had feelings behind the words.

And it wasn’t just then, the two always had an interesting dynamic while in school and close friendship. Kaylessa always felt like there was something else and assumed with how Alex treated her that they were the same, but right now Kay felt like he just hated her. “Should I say something to him? Maybe say something to Phoenix or Rosie? They know how he is and might know. Though Phoenix wouldn’t answer the door… Maybe he doesn’t like me either… I guess you are right Zada. Thank you.” She said before leaning over and giving Zada a hug, not really asking first nor caring. Kay quickly stood up and ran back into town, leaving the flower crown with Zada.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson

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KAYLESSA VALVEN
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #FF4500
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xxx If I'm a bad person, you don't like me
xxx Well, I guess I'll make my own way
xxx It's a circle, a mean cycle
xxx Sometimes I wanna fuckin' scream or run away,
xxxI can't excite you anymore

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“I’ve been good, better now after talking to Phoenix. And he fixed the crown!” Kaylessa said in response to Jaiden asking how she was, and holding up the crown before putting it on her own head with a smile. Then Violet asked if she would be joining them, Kay turned her head not knowing what she was talking about as Phoenix hadn’t said yet, but right when she thought that Phoenix explained they were going back to his place. She was thinking of saying no and going back to show Zada the fixed crown and tell her what Phoenix had said, but then he brought up tea. “Oh! Yeah I’ll come! Sounds like fun.” She said smiling before he continued saying they should get of the cold. “It’s not that cold, last year was worse, the lake froze over night and Zada wasn’t too happy about it.”

Kaylessa skipped along side the group, often getting ahead and then skipping back to them. “So I heard that Markus had some new guest over recently, though Neden won’t let me meet them. Like, why? I love meeting new people. I even heard he’s a human like Travis, and sorta like me. Ish.” She brought up. She overheard it between Neden and Rosie but as soon as Kay started asking questions she was told not to worry about it and Rosie tried changing the subject. And Neden wouldn’t even tell her when Kay put on the fake frowny face Zada had taught her to try to use when told no. “It’s weird.”

As the group continued, Kaylessa led most of the conversations with the group, though as they got closer she grabbed onto Phoenix’s hand. “Hey Phoenix. I have a question.” She stopped skipping and matched his walking speed. “Should I get Alex something? Maybe flowers or something? There’s this grotto I found in the woods with these really cool brown flowers, they would match his eyes you know.” Kay asked with a smile. She wanted to get Alex something to show how much she matters to her and she loved making crafts with flowers. So many options and she was really interested in using the flowers from the grotto she found.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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PHOENIX WOODS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #c4a7be
xxxno i've got nothing to lose
xxxexcept everything you are
xxxi'm not looking at the moon
xxxi'm staring at the stars.
Even if it had been the last thing he’d wanted to do at one stage, he was glad he brought the others round. It made him feel a little less alone for a while. It made things feel a little more normal. Made it a little easier to deal with. But it couldn’t last forever, and all too soon, he was alone again. He went back to his repetitive routine. Run, work, sleep. Repeat, repeat, rinse and repeat, over and over again. Sometimes he went to Markus’ to see Jaiden and Violet. He perfected his Opera Cake recipe at 3AM one morning. Abuela still came for her bread and pastries, and Phoenix pretended he was more okay than he actually was. She’d always been able to see right through him, and her sad smile as she left told him that that hadn’t changed. But it was either that or probably end up crying at work when he spoke to her, and he refused to give in to that.

Kay appeared to have forgiven him, at least. She still asked if he’d spoken to Alex again, and he’d force a smile and shake his head and say no, they were just too busy. The flower crown still sat on a bookshelf in Phoenix’s apartment, the only place he could find for it where it wasn’t going to be staring him in the face every time he walked into the apartment. She still seemed convinced that Alex had genuinely meant the flirting, and he wasn’t sure what else he could do or say to convince her otherwise. How could she not have known that he was like that with everyone? Was it because she’d only ever really seen him with Phoenix, and he had never been like that with him? Or did she just really believe that he was different with her? He’d told her to bring him the brown flowers she mentioned. Maybe the flowers might make him smile and it would be worth it.

He didn’t want to leave his apartment, but his cupboards and fridge were so low that he really needed to get groceries. Travis always stayed open a little later to serve the night-dwellers, which meant that Phoenix was able to call in after work. Travis was pleasant as always, but Phoenix wasn’t particularly in the mood for a chat. He took his groceries and left again.

There was a strange energy in the air as he walked back to his apartment. He couldn’t explain it, but it was… oddly familiar, and not in a good way. It was a tension, as if something bad was about to happen.

He’d just gotten back into his apartment and put the groceries down on the counter when he heard the first scream. Something told him to slam the door and lock it, told him to hide. But instead, he sprinted back down the stairs, back into town. The hunters were back. He met one almost at his door, but before he could react, a vampire appeared from nowhere and tackled the hunter, their teeth already in the hunter’s neck. Phoenix turned and ran, running back towards town.

He didn’t expect to see Abuela there. He wasn’t, however, surprised to see her punch a hunter who was at least a foot taller than her in the face and knee him in the groin. “Abuela! Where’s Alex?” He called. He didn’t give a damn about their fight, he needed to make sure he was safe. He hadn’t dealt well with the first attack, so if they were going to be attacked again, he had to try and help. “He went to the graveyard!” Abuela called back, and Phoenix took off running again, avoiding the hunters as best he could.


ROSIE THOMPSON
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outfit : herex|xhex: #cc0460
xxxi'd sit alone and watch your light
xxxmy only friend through teenage nights
xxxand everything i had to know
xxxi heard on the radio
Rosie and Travis excused themselves from Markus'. He insisted on walking her home to make sure she got home safe. And it was there that he told her the truth of why the hunter had known who she was. She wasn't exactly happy about it, but it did make sense at least. It was an answer.

The next few days were quiet. Too quiet. Neden and Travis stayed passing on the information from the patrols, and everything was quiet. Considering they'd captured and killed one of the hunters, Rosie knew that quiet was certainly not a good thing. It was a matter of time before they retaliated. And they needed to be prepared. The patrols got bigger and patrolled for longer. She and a few of the other teachers stayed after hours to make sure the kids who stayed late got home safe, walking or driving them home themselves if needed. They were preparing for an attack, if they couldn't make it obvious.

So when she heard the screaming start from town, she knew exactly what it was. She'd stayed after school to make sure the drama kids got home from rehearsal safe. When they'd announced they were doing a production of Macbeth, Rosie had gotten roped in as director. It was turning out better than she'd imagined, but that afternoon, she hadn't been able to focus on any of it. She was just getting her stuff ready to leave when the screaming started. She and the others had prepared for this. Their first priority was to get the kids home safely.

She and half a dozen sophomores had ended up too close to the centre of town, where the worst of the attacks seem to be concentrated. She'd decided that it wasn't worth getting them all home, and instead was going to bring them back to hers. There was enough room and she could keep them safe. And then a hunter ambushed them. Her kids were ready to fight, but not as ready as Rosie. He hadn't expected her to take flight and kick him in the face from the air. But he recovered quickly and grabbed her ankles, yanking them towards her. She leaned into it and drove the force of her weight into it, knocking him out. She hit the ground and yelled for her students to run. And they ran, just like she'd told them to. They were kids. They didn't need to fight this fight, they needed to be safe. She got to her feet and started following them, catching up to them easily. She was going to protect these kids, no matter what. No matter what she had to do.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr

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Z a d a min Albahr

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Outfit - #78b0ad
After Neden had left the hunter, Zada had gleefully broken him apart and shared his body with what creatures lived in the lake. His flesh and bones gave her strength, and his heart made her feel new. She’d heard Neden say they had things to discuss, but hadn’t acknowledged them at the time. She had to admit, she didn’t have even the slightest idea what they could possibly want from her, but she wasn’t going to push it or try to ask questions. They would come and find her when they were ready for the conversation, and when they had the time. After that night, knowing that the hunters were so close, Zada stopped going to the lake in the evenings. She spent much of her time at home, stocking supplies, trying to be prepared in case the worst happened.

She was sitting in her living room, tea beside her, book in hand, when she heard the screaming. She slowly set her book to the side and listened, she thought she knew what had happened, but she didn’t know, at first, how she could help, or what she could possibly do. But this town was her home, and she knew she needed to do anything she could do.

So she ran to the door and opened it wide, beckoning any nearby members of the town into the relative safety of her home. Many of them had a long way to their own homes, and she hated to think what would become of them if they encountered any hunters along the way: but she was especially concerned about a small group of teenage girls she saw running past, and quickly tried to usher them into her home. The fear in their eyes reminded her of herself, decades ago, and knowing that she could give them a safe place to be, even just temporarily, made her feel as though she had at least accomplished something, like she could help, and not just hide away when there was trouble, like she always had.

Okay, She thought to herself, What else can I do? She was fairly certain that what friends she had in town were out helping in the fight, and she didn’t know where that left her. She wasn’t as good in a fight, but she felt almost certain that she could help somehow. She just didn’t know how.

Still, she found herself leaving the house yet again. Maybe she couldn’t do anything to stop the hunters, but she could help the town. She could try. She ran through the streets, doing what she could. So many people were panicked, running blindly, or having too far to go. She had found that a lack of fear of humans and stunted emotions comes in handy on occasion, and this seemed to be one of those times. Still, she was a little worried. It seemed almost too soon for the hunters to be returning, and Zada had to wonder about their numbers, and their persistence. Would they be capable of doing this until the town was too exhausted to fight back? Until they all either left or lay down to be slaughtered. She knew this was a tactic that some hunters used, and while it was horrible, and seemed morally bankrupt to even her, Zada knew that they did it because it worked. She knew there were already members of the town that weren’t strong enough-physically or otherwise-to stand and fight back.

She managed to help several people, either slow, weak, or just vulnerable, back to her home. She knew she couldn’t save everyone, but she had to do what she could to help. She’d stayed hidden away last time, and while she’d been safe, she felt like there was no point in being safe if you lost your home. Greythorne was the first place she’d felt at home since she left the safety of the sea, and she wasn’t willing to lose her home, her family, yet again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Travis Graveson

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ROSIE THOMPSON
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outfit : herex|xhex: #cc0460
xxxi'd sit alone and watch your light
xxxmy only friend through teenage nights
xxxand everything i had to know
xxxi heard on the radio
There was more hunters than last time. They seemed to be swarming from everywhere. She didn't have enough room between the trees to take to the air, so instead she was using her wings to shelter as many of the kids as she could as they ran. And now they were using freaking arrows. She narrowly dodged one and had pulled one of her group into a bear hug to stop her from being hit. She was trying to think if there was anywhere nearer they could use when Markus emerged from the woods. Rosie shot him a relieved smile, but then they hit him with an arrow too. She knew Markus didn't go down that easy, but that didn't stop the concern from twisting her stomach. He just yanked it out with a grimace, and shot her a look that she understood entirely. When he told them to look away, she listened, spreading her wings to shield her students. It was less for their sake and more for Markus' privacy. She knew the transformation wasn't pleasant, and knew he wouldn't want an audience. The growl made her smile a little, and as the wolf lunged to attack the hunter, she took into a sprint, darting back towards her house.

Rosie had just gotten the kids back inside when she turned around to find the hunters on her porch. She prepared herself for a fight, her wings snapping out from behind her. Someone called her name, a warning as there was a bang, and the hunter nearest Rosie fell to her knees. Rosie aimed a kick at her face, feeling a satisfying crunch as the woman's nose broke and she stumbled back. "Monster bitch-" the woman growled, slashing out with the knife. Rosie jumped to avoid the swipe and came down hard on the woman's hand, sending the knife flying out of reach. The woman tried to grab Rosie's legs to pull her to her level, but another kick to the face and the woman fell backwards, unmoving. The blood loss from the bullet wound would probably take care of her, but Rosie took the opportunity to tie her to the railings anyway, just in case. Her song wouldn't work on an unconscious victim, she'd learned that along the way.

She turned as somebody called her name, and frowned to see Travis limping towards her, insisting she went back inside. "Do you seriously think I'm not going to fight this, Trav? I'm not losing anyone else to them," she said. "And let me have a look at that leg before you make it worse, you hear me?" She said. He shrugged her off, told her they seemed to be wearing armour. She raised an eyebrow as he held out the pistol, but it did make sense. She sighed, and took it. She just smirked as Trav held out a hand to her, saying he wasn't going to let her fight alone. "I'm not going to hold your hand through it, Travis," she teased, striding past him. "No matter how scared you might be." She teased, before striding back into the woods. A hunter charged at her almost right away, and she raised the gun and squeezed the trigger. One shot in the shoulder, and another square in the best as he stared in shock at her. "Travis, come on, back into town!" She called, already starting to sprint through the woods. She spotted a familiar figure helping somebody into their home, and a hunter appearing to try and chase them. Rosie didn't use the gun, instead taking to the air and throwing her weight on top of the guy. As he struggled, she leaned in to his ear and sang softly, softly enough that nobody else would hear. She commanded him to go fight against the other hunters, before climbing back off and brushing herself down. "If you need more space, I've got about a class of high school students in my place but could fit a few more. Let me know if you need help with anything," she said to Zada as the hunter she'd entranced raised his gun and started shooting at his teammates. She smirked at Zada, before turning and catching back up with Travis.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven

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TRAVIS GRAVESON
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #8B4513
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xxx Older than water, stubborn as stone
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for all that you've known
xxx Oh these days, oh these days get heavy
xxx Hotter than friction, subtle as sound
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for you to come around

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Travis let out a light chuckle as Rosie let out a few remarks about her helping him when he was the one actually helping her. As he turned around he watched her quickly put down another Hunter with minimal effort and only a few shots. “That’s my girl…” He said with a smile under his breath after she called after him and the two started sprinting through the woods towards town.

As the two ran Travis spotted Zada helping others as well as a hunter closing in on them. But before Travis could say anything Rosie was already in action, going full Siren. She was quick to get on top of the Hunter and say, no, sing, something into his ear. Trav kept his gun trained on him until he was out of sight and fighting his fellow hunters. He kept a watch out while Rosie and Zada held a small conversation about keeping people safe. While scanning the area he saw a familiar small figure running, Kaylessa. Though it wasn’t running or skipping like she usually does when she was in a good mood but there was urgency in how she moved. He thought about following after her but didn’t want to ditch Rosie behind, so he waited and was going to bring it up to her.

Rosie was quickly back by Travis side. “Hey. Kaylessa was running, she seemed scared or something. A way I haven't seen her before. I think we should make sure she’s okay.” He said to her as he looked back into the town. There was less gunshots going on and he felt as if the tide was turning back into Greythorne’s favor. Rosie quickly replied and agreeing to his worry about the half-elf and Trav led the way in the direction he saw Kaylessa was going.

Travis finally got through the woods and stopped when at the edge of the clearing before the lake, but not seeing Kaylessa anywhere in sight. The lake was clear as the ice had started to form across it over the last couple nights, Greythorne was getting deeper into the winter season. But he couldn’t see Kay anywhere. “Hmm… Do you see her anywh-” Trav was cut off as he heard a scream and barely caught the glimpse of something falling and crashing into through only a short distance from them. “Kaylessa!” Travis shouted as she went into the water and didn’t come up. Zada was all the way back in town and even if Travis ran full speed and his leg wasn’t already injured he probably wouldn’t make it to her and back in time. Him and Rosie would have to act now.

“I’m going in after her.” Travis said as he was already running towards the edge of the lake taking off his jacket, ignoring whatever Rosie was saying. He knew she would think of something, probably something smarter than willing diving and and swimming into the mostly frozen lake, but he had to act now. He fired a couple rounds from his rifle quickly to loosen the ice and dived in and swam in the direction he saw Kaylessa fall.

The cold water felt like needles pricking against his skin, stinging into his already wounded leg. The moonlight shinning through the ice was surprisingly clear and he quickly saw Kay, he watched her struggle as he got closer but eventually seeing her limbs fall loose and her body start to float on its own. Travis was luckily a really good swimmer from his time in the military and could hold his breathe for an extended time, but feeling of the water was nothing he could of ever been prepped for. He quickly got to Kaylessa and swung her arms around his neck and started swimming back towards Rosie, hoping he would make it in time.

As he swam, it got more difficult for Travis to move his limbs. He could feel his skin starting to get numb as he got closer to his entry point into the lake. Just a little bit further… just stay with me Kay… He thought to himself. Travis started to get worried as his vision started to get darker, the cold water not exactly helping, but he could tell he wouldn’t be able to hold his breath much longer. Trav felt like his body was going to give out, he bursted through the opening by the edge of the water and crawled out, pulling Kaylessa out and laying her across the lake bank. Travis was shivering and his teeth was chittering from the cold.

Rosie had yelled at Travis to get out of his wet clothes, something about hypothermia and the clothes would just keep him cold. “H-h-help K-kay.” He was able to barely mumble out in between short breaths, but she was already on helping Kaylessa. His limbs slowly moved as she took off his shirt, he could feel his body start to shut down from the freezing temperatures, but he knew if he gave up and closed his eyes he possibly wouldn’t open them. “R-Ro-Rosie… I’m… sor-sorry.” He breathed out, teeth still chittering.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven Character Portrait: Hayden Byrne

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PHOENIX WOODS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #c4a7be
xxxam i more than you bargained for yet?
xxxi'm just dying to tell you
xxxanything you want to hear
xxxbut that's just who i am this week
They cried more that night than either of them had in years. Phoenix held it together until he was out of Alex’s sight and earshot, but the shock of seeing himself covered in his own blood was startling, and the realization of what had almost happened- what had happened, if only for seconds, minutes- hit home. And once the levee broke, it didn’t take much for the floods to start again. Just pulling on clean, dry then clothes was almost enough to set him off, but the fact that they smelled like Abuela’s washing detergent, that they smelled like Alex, sent him into floods of tears. Hugging Alex again when he got back into the kitchen. Laughter at Phoenix having to rescue the hot chocolate and the mac and cheese that turned into tears all over again. Phoenix waking them both up when he woke up from a brutal nightmare, already choking on sobs.

It got better with time. Once the shock and the horror and the guilt of the night was over, things got easier. Phoenix thought Abuela was actually going to cry when she came back the next morning to find the two of them sitting in her kitchen as if the past few weeks had never happened. And as horrible as the night before had been, that feeling of familiarity as the three of them sat in the kitchen and chatted and laughed made everything feel so much better. It felt like coming home.

But not everything was the same. It seemed their entire lives had been shaped by dumb, reckless decisions- and Phoenix’s decision to kiss Alex again after Alex insisted on walking him back to his apartment was no different. He realised the minute that he did it that he might have messed up, that he might be ruining everything they’d just fixed. But then Alex was kissing him back, and god, it just felt so right.

Figuring things out at first hadn’t exactly been easy. It was only when they stopped trying to figure things out and just let it be what it was that everything seemed to fall into place. They’d kept it just to themselves for a while. But they had to tell Abuela. Her reaction was… not what they’d expected. Apparently she’d been waiting for this to happen since they were kids. And after Jaiden “broke” into Phoenix’s apartment at three am to find them making out on the couch, they’d stopped trying to hide it.

After everything that had happened, Phoenix wanted to make sure that nobody was spending Christmas alone. His parents had been planning on coming home for a week or two then- but given that they’d had two major attacks so close together, they were reluctant to, and so were spending Christmas in Australia. Phoenix was oddly conflicted about the whole thing, but didn’t let himself dwell on it. It meant that he didn’t have any commitments and could do something good.

After the chaos that had been Friendsgiving, Phoenix should have been reluctant to invite that many people over again. But after what he felt was careful planning, he was convinced that he would have totally been able to handle it. It took Alex talking him out of it and Abuela offering up her house before he agreed that maybe the apartment was a little small. And he invited people who didn’t have family in town, or who didn’t get along with their family, over to Abuela’s for Christmas dinner, complete with Secret Santa. In return, he just asked people to bring a side, a dessert, or board games for after dinner.

He spent the entirety of Christmas Eve finishing up the last few things he needed to do. It was different to every other Christmas, but not in a bad way. It felt good to be doing something, something that would put smiles on everyone else’s face, and that was what mattered. At half one in the morning, Alex finally convinced him to go to bed.

And even still, Phoenix naturally woke up early. The sun was only starting to rise, the soft light filling the bedroom. Alex still seemed to be asleep, so Phoenix quietly slid out of bed and went to the kitchen. It was still a little strange, having someone else living in the apartment with him. Not strange in a bad way, but just in a way that struck him every now and when he had the place to himself. The apartment seemed smaller, but cosier, feeling more like there was constant life in it. Maybe it was the stones and feathers and other odds and ends that Alex appeared home with that were now scattered over the apartment, or the way that things were just never left in the same way that they had been when he was living alone. And he wouldn’t have changed any of it.

The coffee brewed and a selection of pastries piled on to a plate, he made his way back into the bedroom and put a mug of coffee down on Alex’s bedside table. “Morning, asshole,” he called with a grin. He sat cross-legged on the bed beside Alex, his own mug of coffee in his hands. “Merry Christmas.”





ROSIE THOMPSON
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outfit : herex|xhex: #cc0460
xxxlittle things i should have said and done
xxxi never took the time
xxxbut you are always on my mind
xxxyou are always on my mind.
Nothing had quite been the same since that night in her house. Nothing had happened that night- Kay had plopped herself down beside Kay and Trav and they’d chatted until Kay started to fall asleep. But Rosie had texted Travis the following morning after he’d left to ask him for dinner.

They’d gone for dinner a few times, gone for coffee a few times, but things never seemed to quite work out. She’d kissed him after their second time going for dinner, but it had been interrupted by her phone ringing. And things like that kept happening. Rosie didn’t mind. She liked just going for dinner or grabbing coffee or going for a walk together.

But after the attack, she’d also taken on a more proactive role in defending the town. Well, specifically, in protecting her students. They were taking it in turns to walk or drive some of the younger students home, as well as any of the older students who lived a little further away. When some of her students wanted to learn self-defence, she agreed, on the condition that it was only to be used if they had no other choice. The most recent attack had been bigger, more aggressive, more damaging, and just telling the kids to run and hide wasn’t going to be enough before long. They had to learn to fight back.

She’d been surprised when she’d gotten word from Phoenix, inviting her around for Christmas. Then he had explained what he was doing and that he didn’t want anybody to feel alone, and she’d gladly agreed. She hadn’t been all that surprised to find out that he and Alex were together. She’d felt sorry for Kay, of course, but she could remember what the two of them had been like in high school. She was only surprised that it had taken this long.

It was nice to sleep in for once. Even still, she woke up relatively early, stretching and yawning. Travis was coming around to hers first and they were going to Alex’s abuela’s place together. She reached for her phone and sent him a text, before having a quick shower and getting dressed.

To: Travis
Merry Christmas! Christmas breakfast at my place?





HAYDEN BYRNE
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outfit : herex|xhex: #005555
xxxoh should my people fall
xxxthen surely i'd do the same
xxxconfined in mountain halls
xxxwe got too close to the flame
Hayden had completely lost track of his days over the past few weeks. He’d known that it was close to Christmas, of course, but he hadn’t realised exactly how close it was until he woke up Christmas morning, went out in search of breakfast, and found everywhere closed. It was only then it sank in what day it was.

Something in him had been urging him to try and find this town for a while now. He’d driven all over BC, it felt, before finding himself in the tiny town the day before. He’d arrived into town, and that constant driving urge finally settled, something in him releasing a contented sigh of “here.” He didn’t know why he was here, or what he was supposed to do, but something told him that it was going to be here for more than a few days.

He’d asked the day before if there were any elves in town, anyone like him. The owner of the B&B had shook her head, before going “Oh, wait, we have a half-elf. Her name’s Kaylessa Valven.” They’d written down her address for him. He didn’t know whether or not he should visit, given that it was Christmas Day. But he didn’t have anything better to do, and he figured that if she seemed busy, he could claim to just be stopping by.

But even as he reached her front door, he reconsidered. Maybe tomorrow would be a better time, maybe she had plans today or just wouldn’t want to see anyone. But before he could knock, the door opened, and he was confronted with a young woman, probably about his age, with long dark hair, and big blue eyes. "Uh, hi, sorry, are you... Kaylessa? Sorry, it's just someone told me you're the only other elf- well, half elf in town, and, well, I'm an elf so I thought I should... come say hi. I'm Hayden, by the way. Oh, sorry, are you just heading out? I can... come back?" He rambled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr

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A L E X GARCIA
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outfitx|x#3a0a4d
xxxglass sky, killin' time
xxxyou leaned upon my shoulder
xxxand my thoughts dried
xxxdidn't mind

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Alex hadn’t wanted to cry any more in front of Phoenix; after all, Phoenix was the one who’d been attacked and nearly died. But the sheer terror of losing him was a weight that hadn’t left his shoulders. When Phoenix left the room, Alex couldn’t fight back the tears any longer. He tried to busy himself and make the food for Phoenix, and also clean himself up the best he could in the kitchen sink, but a retroactive panic hit him, and before he knew it, everything was going wrong all at once, and suddenly Phoenix was there to save the day, just like he’d always done.

But, really, things could never be the same again. They’d opened the gates and began to unleash emotions that had been building for years, just under the surface (probably very poorly hidden), and there was no going back. So Alex was relieved when Phoenix kissed him again. To him, that meant it was real. There were, of course, some bumps in the road: Alex had no idea how to do any of this stuff, but being around Phoenix had always made him happy, and the new developments in their relationship were thrilling and terrifying and perfect.

Abuela was-of course-thrilled; she already had the wedding planned. That freaked Alex out more than a little, especially when she pulled out an entire three-ringed-binder full of wedding plans. After some (maybe slightly hysterical) prodding, she admitted she’d been planning since 2005. She, also, practically kicked Alex out as soon as she could. Alex was a little offended, he didn’t think he was that bad to live with, he did his own laundry, cleaned up after himself; but he was apparently Phoenix’s problem, now.

Alex was expecting Christmas to be just like every other year: sit around with Abuela, get a text from his mother, disappointment from his father, maybe go see Phoenix if he wasn’t too busy with his parents (usually with dinner or some sort of treat in tow), but the attacks meant a change in plans for Phoenix, and that meant that Phoenix was going to start driving himself crazy to try to do something “nice and special” for all of their friends, which-like friendsgiving- was almost certain to be a bit of a disaster. He kept that opinion to himself, however, and decided to focus on trying to get Phoenix to change his mind about location. Sure, Alex’s childhood home wasn’t the biggest, but it had enough room to host a few people, so with a little insistence, they were able to get Phoenix to change his mind about hosting it at the apartment, at least.

Of course, that didn’t stop the planning, or staying up late to prepare, and Alex had to admit that he had no idea how much work went into this sort of thing. He’d mostly been focusing on picking a good present for his secret santa recipient, and then there were the gifts for the people most important to him, all picked with care, of course.

On Christmas morning, he was woken much earlier than he would have liked, and after a short groan he called out a response of “Oh, fuck off,” Before sitting up and stretching his arms above his head, “Good morning.” He grabbed the coffee from the side table and took a sip before carefully considering the plate full of pastries, picking one and practically stuffing the entire thing in his mouth. “So,” He spoke around a mouth full of food, “Oh, this is good.” Then, as if suddenly remembering he was saying something, he added, Please tell me you got me something good.” This wasn’t the first time he’d brought up his hope for a good Christmas gift, and it might not be the last. Really, he wouldn’t be satisfied until he’d gotten it, but that wouldn’t stop him from prodding.





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Z A D A min ALBAHR
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outfitx|x#78b0ad
xxxi called it the moonsea
xxxit is a cruel dream
xxxfrom up so high, I can hardly decide
xxxif you're waving hello, or waving goodbye

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After the fighting had subsided, and the attack was over, Zada found herself sitting in her living room, surrounded by strangers. It was noisy, abuzz with the sounds of cell phones ringing and voices checking in on loved ones. She saw joy and grief all bundled together in that room, and couldn’t help but think that they’d all gotten off easy.

She was a little surprised to get an invitation to Christmas from Phoenix, but she was grateful, all the same. He wanted to do something for everyone who didn’t have a family in town to be with, and Zada figured it couldn’t be worse than sitting around her house alone. However, drawing Alex’s name for the gift exchange wasn’t… ideal. She didn’t even know where to start looking for gifts for him. She’d never had a full conversation with the man, and didn’t intend on starting any time soon. Still, she had to get him something. That was the whole point of it.

Instead of even considering that, though, she mostly spent her time trying to make her house more inviting. Her sudden interest in interior design was mostly for the sake of function: in the event of another attack, she wanted the space to be inviting and comfortable for anyone that may need to take shelter there. It wasn’t much, but it was something she could do to help. She briefly considered asking Travis for shooting lessons, but her pride wouldn’t let her ask for anything from the man, so instead she focused on what she knew she could do. That, and taking long baths. She hated when the lake froze over, she much preferred to swim.

Christmas morning came along with all it’s glory, but no real fanfare. Zada didn’t celebrate Christmas until well into adulthood, and by that point there was no magic to it. Without nostalgia, Christmas was just another Wednesday. She made some breakfast, got dressed, did some reading, remembered she still hadn’t gotten a gift for Alex. She wondered, briefly, (as she looked at the shelf full of books she’d finished and wasn’t planning to read again) if he liked to read. She considered texting Rosie to ask her opinion, she’d taught him in high school, after all, when she heard an all-too-familiar thud on one of the windows in her living room.

She got up and looked out the window, and saw the poor bird laying there on the snow, and then she had an idea. She just needed to make sure she had a freezer bag or something, she didn’t want to risk ruining Maria’s house. She was a lovely woman, even if her grandson was horrible.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven Character Portrait: Hayden Byrne

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Z A D A min ALBAHR
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outfitx|x#78b0ad
xxxi called it the moonsea
xxxit is a cruel dream
xxxfrom up so high, I can hardly decide
xxxif you're waving hello, or waving goodbye

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It didn’t take Zada long to find and scoop the dead bird up from the ground. Its red feathers were a tragic, but beautiful, contrast to the snow. Then she put it in a large zippered freezer bag, and wrapped that nicely in a gift bag, complete with beautiful tissue paper and curled ribbon. That would do. Zada then finished getting ready, applying a deep red lipstick to her lips and putting on her coat. The last step before heading out was grabbing the baklava she’d made for the event. Phoenix had asked everyone to bring something and, honestly, you couldn’t have too many sweets at a Christmas party. She also just, really loved baklava.

She took the walk to Maria Garcia’s house at a leisurely pace: she’d left in plenty of time, and there was no way she would be late. She enjoyed seeing the town in winter, even if the beautiful cover of snow came at the price of a frozen lake.

When she arrived at the house, everyone was just standing in a group outside. Zada was a little confused, and shot Rosie a quick ‘what’s going on?’ look, but didn’t bother trying the door. If everyone was grouped outside like this, there must be a reason. She noted the newcomer in the group, but didn’t make a move to introduce herself. She did, however, greet Kay warmly. It wasn’t long before Neden arrived with a… Comically large bag slung over their shoulder, and it was they that ushered them all inside. The first thing Zada did when she stepped through the door was look for Alex, and when she found him, she said, “Was there a reason we had to wait out in the cold until everyone arrived?”

Alex just stared at her, as if he didn’t have a good answer to her question, and then stood up and attempted to take the baking dish from her, “Here, I can-” Zada didn’t let it go, but instead held tighter to her dish, “I’ve got it.” Alex started to direct her to the kitchen, which she ignored. She knew where it was, she was in Maria’s book club. She went and put her dish with the rest of whatever else was there. All presumably made by Phoenix. She couldn’t help but smile at it all, it really was incredibly kind, and made the town feel more like home, and her friends feel more like family.

She took off her coat and settled down in a chair just in time to listen to Neden’s little speech about presents, and the hats. Zada had no intention of wearing one, and even upon Neden’s insistence that she put it on, just stared blankly at them. She watched as everyone put their own hats on, some with more reluctance than others, and sighed. There was really no harm in wearing the hat, so she carefully perched it on her head, as if to try not to mess up her hair. Still, the whole thing was… Charming, and she couldn’t help the ghost of a smile that appeared on her face.

She’d never had a Christmas that involved this much gift giving (the years she even celebrated had been more private affairs), and the whole thing really was pleasant. Though she wasn’t entirely sure what to think of some of her gifts, she still gave Neden a small smile, “Thank you, these are lovely.” She decided to go ahead and put the necklace on, even as she thanked Neden for the gifts, partially because the color made her look a bit more festive, and partly to show that she did genuinely like at least one portion of her gift.

After Neden was done, Zada picked up the gift she’d brought, and held it out to Alex, but made no move to take it to him. After a short moment, and a confused look, he stood up and took the present from her. He moved slowly, as if he were expecting her to jump up and bite his head off at any moment. He took the gift back to his seat to open it, shooting Phoenix a wary glance as he sat down. “I drew your name. It made me think of you.” Zada didn’t know what reaction to expect from Alex opening the gift, but pure elation hadn’t been it. She had to admit, though, she was kind of glad he liked the bird.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven Character Portrait: Hayden Byrne

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A L E X GARCIA
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outfitx|x#3a0a4d
xxxglass sky, killin' time
xxxyou leaned upon my shoulder
xxxand my thoughts dried
xxxdidn't mind

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When Phoenix said Alex could finally have his gift, a wide-and goofy-grin spread across Alex’s face. He loved getting presents, and this was no exception. He set his coffee precariously on the bed, grabbed the present, opened it up quickly, and turned the pocketwatch over in his hands a few times; looking it over. He nodded at Phoenix’s explanation-he had always liked shiny things. He opened it up to look at the face, before shutting it back and looking up at Phoenix, a smile on his face, “This is great.” He figured he could carry it at work: he often had to dress up a little more than he would like, and couldn’t wear all of his amulets and other paraphernalia as easily, and he often felt he needed all the protection he could, working with the dead. He leaned over and kissed Phoenix on the cheek, “I’m gonna break this thing, though, I want you to know that. There’s no way I won’t.” Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, “Thank you. I love it.” He picked up his cup and took a long drink of his coffee, “You can’t have your present yet, though. I don’t have it. I’ll give it to you at the party.”

He’d had to keep it at Abuela’s, because otherwise he would get excited and give it to Phoenix early, and then he’d have nothing to give on Christmas, and that would be a disaster. They spent a short amount of time talking and drinking their coffee before they had to get going. They wanted to make sure they were there before the others so they could get things set up. Alex also wanted to make sure he had the gifts he was bringing squared away: one for Jaiden (that she was going to love), and one for Travis, who he’d drawn for the secret santa exchange. He’d had a little bit of trouble with that one: he hadn’t known Travis for an excessively long time, and admittedly mostly talked about himself (and the town) when he saw the man. It was probably fine, though. He’d finally decided on giving Travis something he’d found in the woods, which was where he generally went for his gift ideas.

Soon enough they were headed to Abuela’s house, with more foods and baked goods than Alex thought necessary. “What was the point,” He said as they walked, “In asking everyone to bring something, if you were just going to make all of this, anyway?” He wasn’t upset, in fact he found it amusing. He knew that Phoenix just wanted everything to be nice for everyone, but he thought that Phoenix tended to do too much, and stress himself out.

In Abuela’s house, all the pictures of Phoenix were back up, plus new ones that Alex didn’t even know she had. If you didn’t know better, walking into the house, you might just think that Phoenix was her grandchild, and not Alex. Alex couldn’t help but chuckle, “You’re definitely her favorite…” The two spent a little time getting things set up and ready before Alex excused himself to go get Phoenix’s present from its hiding place; and evidently missed the first knock on the door. Everyone made their way inside just as Alex was sitting down to wait for them to arrive. Zada asked him why he’d made them all wait outside, and Alex didn’t know what to say to that. He was a little confused, and he was certainly scared of Zada, so instead he sort of just ignored the question off and tried to help her with the dish she’d brought, but she brushed him off and went to drop it off herself.

He stood still for a moment, face blank as if processing what had just happened. He’d never known how to take Zada, and this was no exception. Soon enough, though, he turned to the others with a charming smile, “I didn’t hear you knock, I didn’t leave you outside on purpose. The door wasn’t locked, though, you could’ve come in at any time.” He noticed the elf accompanying Kay pretty quickly and offered a warm smile, “I’m Alex. This is… Well...” He paused for a second, not entirely sure how to describe the house, “My grandparent’s house. Welcome.”

It wasn’t long before Neden was ushering them all into the living room passing out hats and talking about gifts. They’d gotten everyone something? Alex put on the hat happily enough; he had to admit that Neden had brought some real holiday cheer with them, even if it was a bit… Much. Neden announced that they could open their gifts, and Alex did. He wasn’t particularly thrilled with them, but he smiled and thanked Neden. It was a nice thought. But then, there was the last one. Now, a sword hadn’t been something Alex was expecting to get for Christmas. But when he opened it, his face lit up in a sort of childish wonder, and before he could even think about it he found himself saying, “Oh my god, this is incredible.”

Soon afterwards, Alex noticed Zada holding something out to him. He waited a second, and it became clear that he was going to have to get up and go to her. Fine. He didn’t particularly like being treated like some sort of animal or whatever she thought of him as, but he wasn’t about to argue with her, either. He was, frankly, terrified of her, and the careful way he approached, and how quickly he retreated back to Phoenix’s side made his fear pretty evident. She said the gift made her think of him, which made him even more wary, because he knew she didn’t think very highly of him. Still, he opened the bag slowly, looked inside, and grinned widely. He pulled the freezer bag up out of the wrappings and looked across the room at Zada, “Thank you! This is great… Really, I like it. I can use this.” There was nothing but sincerity in his tone; he was really, genuinely, thrilled. The look on her face dampened his enthusiasm a little. He wasn’t sure if he was meant to not like the gift, or if that was just what her face always looked like, but he decided not to dwell on it.

Alex turned to Travis, grabbing a small box and handing it to him, “I um, I want you to know that I’m about eighty percent sure this isn’t haunted.” The disclaimer came even before Travis had a chance to open up the pocket knife. Alex had only recently felt comfortable enough to go into the woods again, though never far, and nearly never alone, and he’d found it out there while he was digging around for things. He’d cleaned it up the best he could, and just hoped that Travis would like it, or at least not hate it.

Then he gave Jaiden a gift. He had been planning this particular present for some time, it took a lot of effort and time to get everything together to make it perfect. Inside was a fanny pack, since she’d liked his so much. He waited a moment for her reaction, then smiled and said, “The real present is inside.” Inside, however, was just filled to the brim with various different glitters.

He didn’t wait around for her to open it, in fact he started to walk away even as he told her to open up the fanny pack. He handed Phoenix the tell-tale red envelope of a Christmas card, wanting to make sure to give it to him quickly in case Jaiden murdered him. “Merry Christmas, Phoenix.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven Character Portrait: Hayden Byrne

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PHOENIX WOODS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #c4a7be
xxxam i more than you bargained for yet?
xxxi'm just dying to tell you
xxxanything you want to hear
xxxbut that's just who i am this week
The smile on Alex's face made Phoenix sigh a little in relief. He knew it was a little old fashioned, but it was still useful, and still pretty. His grin just widened as Alex leaned in to kiss him on the cheek, before admitting that he was probably going to break it. Phoenix just laughed and rolled his eyes. "Oh, trust me, I know that," he teased back. He just picked up the pillow next to him and hit Alex with it as Alex said he had to wait. "You asshole, I should have made you wait too."

They finished their breakfast, finished up the last few things for the dinner, and then started packing up the stuff to bring to Abuela's. As per usual, Phoenix had perhaps over-catered a little, especially considering that he'd asked people to bring food anyway. But, when Alex remarked on it, Phoenix just rolled his eyes. "Because if everyone showed up with sides, we'd have no dessert. And if everyone showed up with desert, we'd have no sides. And if everyone showed up with board games, we'd be totally screwed," he said. He knew that Alex probably knew, he'd probably heard Phoenix muttering to himself trying to figure out who was likely to bring what, before just giving up and deciding to cater for the worst case scenario.

Abuela's was already feeling like home again, the photos back in their proper places. Phoenix hadn't realised how many of photos of him there was until Alex pointed it out, and then he couldn't stop seeing it. He didn't even know how she'd gotten some of those photos unless she'd been on to his parents for them (which, admittedly, was not outside the realms of possibility.) He just laughed in response to Alex's comment about him being the favourite. "It's because I can make her sopapillas and you nearly burned the kitchen down when I tried to show you how," he called as he shoved up his sleeves and got to work doing the last minute prep.

He only realised that the others had arrived when he heard Neden yelling something about wanting to give them all presents, and Zada brushing past Alex with her usual distaste, saying something about him not letting them in, and Alex retorting that the door wasn't closed. A distraction soon arrived in the form of Neden handing him a hat. He grinned and pulled it on as soon as they handed it to him, before spotting a newcomer, someone that he didn't recognise and that was sticking pretty close to Kay, looking a little overwhelmed by the whole situation. "I'm Phoenix, nice to meet you," he said. Alex had rolled his eyes when Phoenix had said he was going to presume that more people than were invited were going to show up, and he'd been right. But he didn't mind. It was nice to see the excitement in Kay's face as she introduced him to people.

He took the small pile of presents from Neden with excitement and attempted to balance the flower crown on top of his christmas hat. That would have been more than enough- and then Neden handed him and Alex "matching presents." He gasped with delight at the sword, looking over to Alex in excitement. "Holy shit, this is so cool!" He gushed.

He just shrugged a little in response to Alex's look as Zada handed over her present to him. She hadn't been asking Phoenix anything about ideas for Alex, so it was much of a surprise to him as it was to Alex. Upon seeing the dead bird, Phoenix shot a look of confusion at Zada. But, of course, Alex loved it, and Phoenix just grinned to himself and shook his head.

"Maybe- before you open that-" Phoenix said, spotting that Alex had handed Jaiden her present. Once the glitter got everywhere, there would be no dragging Jaiden back. "Here. I hope you like it, I... really didn't know what else to get you," He said, handing Jaiden a flat, heavy object. He'd been pestering Alex for ages, trying to get him to help him to come up with an idea, but Alex had initially suggested the fanny pack as her secret santa present, so he'd stopped asking after that. He knew that she'd been having a rough time of it over the past few months, and knew that they probably hadn't helped things by her finding out about them the way they did. So he'd put hours into the scrapbook instead- handwriting some of her favourite lyrics into it, writing out her favourite recipes so she could make them herself, pressing some of her favourite flowers, and finding every single photo they had together over the course of their friendship, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the blurry, and sticking them in to it. "I left some room at the back so you can add more to it if you want."

Alex left to go retrieve Phoenix's present at last- or maybe just to escape Jaiden's wrath. But he was back quicker than expected, handing Phoenix an envelope. Phoenix raised an eyebrow as he began to tear it open. "If this is an IOU I swear to god I'm break..." he trailed off as he looked at the two tickets in the card. Two tickets to an MCR concert. When they'd started announcing dates, Phoenix had said in passing that he'd been so pissed off when his parents didn't let him go when he was a teenager, but that they probably had a point. He would have been a liability, he would have given them all away. Alex hadn't really said anything, but Phoenix had just presumed it was because he'd heard enough of the complaining at the time.

"Holy fuck-" was all he could get out, just staring at them. This... this wasn't even a "local" venue, this was at least a few hours of a drive away. It was probably almost a day of a drive away, if not more. "Thank you so so much-" he managed to get out, wrapping Alex in the tightest hug he could muster.





ROSIE THOMPSON
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outfit : herex|xhex: #cc0460
xxxlittle things i should have said and done
xxxi never took the time
xxxbut you are always on my mind
xxxyou are always on my mind.
Rosie grinned at Trav's reaction. She'd wondered if it was a little bit cringeworthy, if he would even like something like that, so she was glad when his reaction was genuine. They spent the morning together as Rosie made her mom's stuffing to bring to Phoenix's, as she figured most other people would probably be bringing desserts. It was nice, just relaxing with somebody like this, doing their own thing as they kept each other company. She knew that the dinner was bound to be a little chaotic, but honestly, she was looking forward to it.

They left together, Rosie carrying her baking dish and her presents, having given the bag of drinks she'd also decided to bring to Travis to carry. They met Kay outside, and she awkwardly returned her hug as best she could while balancing the dish in her hands. There was a guy, about Kay's age, standing beside her, and Rosie was pretty sure she hadn't seen him around town before. He'd certainly never been in any of her classes. But Kay answered that question by introducing him. "I'm Rosie," she said, also shaking his hand. "We don't get many elves around these parts besides our Kay here, so it's lovely to meet you!" She said. Travis made a comment about them all being weird, and Rosie batted for his arm. She spotted Zada arriving, who shot her a quizzical look. Rosie shrugged a little, before Neden arrived and led them all into the house.

The scene that ensued was chaos. Neden had, of course, brought presents for everyone, but especially Rosie. She beamed with delight at her presents. "Neden, these are amazing, thank you so much!" She gushed, standing up to hug the angel. The rest of their presents made Rosie watch with interest. The swords were... an interesting choice, and she made a mental note to make a bet with Neden later to see how long they could go without injuring themselves with them.

Zada's present to Alex, and more accurately, their reactions to it made Rosie laugh. She stood up and passed a small bag to Zada. "Happy Christmas, babe. It's no dead bird, but..." she said with a teasing grin. She'd gotten Zada a bottle of their favourite red wine, a selection of slightly obscure but interesting-sounding novels, and a hair comb she'd found entirely by chance.






HAYDEN BYRNE
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outfit : herex|xhex: #005555
xxxoh should my people fall
xxxthen surely i'd do the same
xxxconfined in mountain halls
xxxwe got too close to the flame
They spent a while talking, Hayden explaining things to Kay, telling her that he was a healer too. He didn't know why, but he decided against telling her that he was a druid. Maybe it was because he presumed she wouldn't know what it was- or maybe it was because he was afraid she would. He didn't mind it, never had minded the respect his position had earned him, but he liked just being normal for a while.

He had intended on excusing himself when Kay said she was going to meet with her friends- but instead, she asked him to come along. So he went, curious to see more of the town and to see what the other people were like. Upon shaking hands with Kay's two friends- Rosie and Travis- Hayden got two very clear cut impressions. A good one of Rosie- warmth, energy, authenticity. But there was something... off about Travis. Hayden's polite smile slipped for just a moment as he tried to figure out what it was, but then he fixed it back on as if nothing was wrong. He laughed a little as Travis said the people were a little out there- but it didn't take long for Hayden to realise that he wasn't lying.

Inside the house was chaos to say the least. One person was handing out presents left right and centre, and even had some for Hayden. Nobody seemed terribly surprised or upset to see him there, which was nice, making him feel included almost right away. Hayden opened the presents to find a deep green crystal necklace, a book of poetry, and an denim jacket that looked like it would just fit him. Considering that they hadn't known he was coming, he was extremely happy with those presents, and was glad to be engulfed in the chaos of the party. There were, however, a few things he still didn't understand, like why the dark, vaguely threatening woman gave one of the guys- Alex, he had said his name was- a dead bird, and why Alex had seemed so happy about it. The blonde one- Phoenix, wasn't it?- had jumped up to hug Alex and appeared to be fighting back tears. After a few minutes like that, he gathered himself to excuse himself and go finish the cooking.

Hayden laughed a little and leaned in to Kay. "So do you want to tell me a little about all of these people?" He asked with a grin.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson

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TRAVIS GRAVESON
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #8B4513
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xxx Older than water, stubborn as stone
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for all that you've known
xxx Oh these days, oh these days get heavy
xxx Hotter than friction, subtle as sound
xxx There'll be no forgiveness for you to come around

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Travis heard someone else walking up and glanced over his shoulder to see Zada, a little surprised. He knew her thoughts on men in general, and he was pretty sure she despised Alex, so he wasn’t expecting to see her there. But before he could say anything to Zada, Neden walked up carrying a giant bag and quickly greeted them all, then opening the door to and go inside. The door must have been unlocked, but Travis didn’t want to just barge in.

Trav walked inside carrying his present for Violet and the drinks he offered to carry for Rosie, letting her know he was gonna set them out on the open table across the room for people to pour themselves some if they wanted. As he finished setting out the drinks he felt a tap on his shoulder and was greeted by Neden again, holding out a numerous gifts. A golden necklace, a journal, leather jacket and a flower crown, similar to what he noticed some others had but different than the others. “Wow, killer jacket, I like it. Thank you Neden.”

After Travis wrapped the gifts up from Neden inside the jacket and set them aside they wouldn’t be in the way. He took a glance around looking for Violet so he could give her the small book he had gotten for her, but was quickly met with Alex. He had come to Travis a couple days ago asking for a glitter, and lots of it, but wouldn’t tell him what it was for. The thought skipped through his mind for a second that the gift was for him, but was relieved when Alex just handed him a pocket knife, saying it might not be haunted. Trav quickly whipped it open and examined the blade, not exactly dull but would need some sharpening. “This is cool, Thanks bro.” Travis said as he patted him on the shoulder. He then spotted Violet across the room sitting in a chair a little bit away from everyone else.

Travis excused himself from Alex and headed over to Violet, holding the book behind his back. “Hey Violet. So, uh, I pulled your name for the Secret Santa. Don’t really know you so well so I had to ask around about what you might like…” Trav pulled the book from behind his back and handed faded green book to Violet. “It’s a First Edition, not exactly mint condition, but hopefully you like it.” He returned the smile she gave him thanking him. “None needed, just glad it wasn’t a bust.”

As he was pouring himself a drink, Neden spoke up in the center of the room to get everyone’s attention and spoke. “Merry Christmas!” Travis cheered with the whiskey he just poured himself and saw Rosie talking to Zada. He poured Rosie some Rosé and carried it over to her, messing with the hat Neden had given Rosie and wrapping his arm around her, and greeting Zada with a smile.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jaiden Price Character Portrait: Markus Valegood Character Portrait: Violet Marsden Character Portrait: Phoenix Woods Character Portrait: Alex Garcia Character Portrait: Zada min Albahr Character Portrait: Rosie Thompson Character Portrait: Neden Isimir Character Portrait: Travis Graveson Character Portrait: Kaylessa Valven Character Portrait: Hayden Byrne

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KAYLESSA VALVEN
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outfit xxxxxxx hex; #FF4500
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xxx If I'm a bad person, you don't like me
xxx Well, I guess I'll make my own way
xxx It's a circle, a mean cycle
xxx Sometimes I wanna fuckin' scream or run away,
xxxI can't excite you anymore

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Kaylessa was happy with the others being nice to Hayden and greeting him, and the group quickly entered the apartment, dispersing to do their own thing. She quickly sat crossed legged on the floor as Neden spoke, handing out a hat and presents to everyone, even Hayden. She quickly opened her gifts. She gave out an audible squeak as she saw the dress. “Thank you!” Kay watched as the others got their gifts and awed a little bit at what Hayden got.

Jaiden quickly called over to Kay and handed her another gift, explaining she was her Secret Santa. The gifts Jaiden had gotten here were a little bit more than what Neden got her. “I love this art! Did you do this yourself? It’s perfect!” Kaylessa quickly lunged and gave Jaiden a hug from her sitting position before pulling back and flashing a smile at Hayden, though then a commotion caught her attention. Alex and Phoenix. A weird feeling came across Kaylessa’s chest that she didn’t really understand and she thought back to how she told Phoenix her feelings about Alex and then seeing him kissing Alex.

Kay was then brought back out of her thoughts by Hayden leaning against her and asking about the others. “Oh! Sorry. That's Jaiden, she's a witch, controls fire. A little shy but nice to be around, she gave me these!” She showed the gifts Jaiden had just given her. “Neden, the person who gave us the gifts, shes I think an angel? But her wings were different, but still pretty.” Kay paused for a second as she glanced around the room. “That’s Violet. She’s like a sister to me. I think people have said she's a ghost, but she’s alive now. It’s confusing as well.” She then pointed at Rosie, Travis, and Zada. “You met Trav. Rosie is a Siren and the teacher at the school, she taught me in school. Zada is a mermaid, she eats men's hearts , but she's super nice so you shouldn’t have to worry. Though she doesn’t exactly like Alex.”

Kaylessa paused for a second after saying Alex’s name. “He… Me and him went to school together, and I thought we had feelings for each other… But I guess Phoenix likes him more…” Kay trailed off for a moment before catching herself. “Oh, sorry. They are both witches as well. Well Alex is more of a necromancer type, while Phoenix works mostly with earth-y things and plants-” Kay was cut off when the door opened and she saw Markus walk in. “And thats Markus! He’s a werewolf, and the person I got a present for. So be right back.”

After getting up and grabbing her sundress and the gift for Markus, Kay hugged Markus. “Hey! So I got you for the present exchange thingy.” She held out the small bag with the homemade dog pull toy for Markus’ pup. “Well, more so for Coco.” Kaylessa quickly excused herself and went to the bathroom with the sundress and changed. When she slid the dress on Kay twirled for a second to see how it looked on her in the bathroom mirror and smiled. Most of her stuff was multicolored and more laid back, but she loved the little stitches in the dress. She quickly came out of the bathroom and went back to Hayden, who had gotten up and started talking with the others. She grabbed his hand and smiled.