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Brandon Rosenfeld

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

0 · 129 views · located in The M-Verse

a character in “Music Masters: Hi-Fi Prime”, as played by Rixo

Description

NAME: Brandon Rosenfeld
AGE: 18
GENDER: Male
ETHNICITY: German / Spanish / Irish

EYE COLOR: Brown (Summer), Dark Brown (Winter)
HAIR COLOR: Brown
HEIGHT: 6'1"
WEIGHT: 130 lbs.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Tall, thin, and somewhat pale skinned, Brandon's dexterity and speed are unmatched by most. He's most often times found wearing dark blue pants and a black or grey t-shirt, and almost always wears a black jacket tied at his waist by the sleeves. He will only wear his black running shoes unless he absolutely has to wear something different, and also wears a pair of black sports gloves for when he practices free running. His eye color is somewhat seasonal in tone, changing from a lighter shade of brown in the warmer seasons and darker in the colder seasons. Because of an accident when he was younger, his left arm doesn't naturally swing when he walks or runs, and has a scar going from his shoulder halfway down to his elbow. He never forgets to shave, and prefers a clean face over any kind of facial hair. He's never seen without a thin silver chain bracelet on his right wrist, which a deep blue crystal is connected to.

PERSONALITY: Brandon carries a quiet, strong and friendly air about himself in public, and to friends he's easy to make laugh and fun to talk with. However professionally, he can be cold, calculating, and not afraid to speak bluntly of the truth. Despite his general friendliness to others, he prefers not to ask for the help of others unless it's offered, and personally thinks that he has very few "true" friends. He's very focused in his studies and seems to know the answer to almost any question you may ask him, and spends much of his time outside of school either free running at an empty location or at home writing code for a program he's working on. He's almost always willing to help those in need, and is almost too modest for his own good. When asked about his father or the chain bracelet he wears, he will either go silent or change the subject immediately, not wanting to breach personal territory. He has a secret fear of smaller bugs and animals, more specifically flying ones, though his fear has a strange exception to spiders, snakes and other such dangerous animals. His odd taste in Japanese music is kept to himself, and when asked, he will usually respond with his favorite American bands: Rise Against, Coldplay, Muse, something or other to hide his true opinions.

Secretly, Brandon harbors dark emotions of his father and those who now work alongside him, and holds equal feelings for those who have harmed him in the past. He would like nothing more than to have his grievances and those who have caused them eradicated. His constant work and free running are only a means of escaping such thoughts, and battles or fights he finds himself in will draw a more serious personality drawn from his harbored feelings.

SKILLS: Brandon's extreme dexterity compliments his speed and his sub-profession of free running, giving him an edge that few others could ever hope to reach. He knows how to play the violin and the piano, and has been practicing with the electric guitar for a few months. He quietly practices singing on occasion, being able to mimic Green Day and Rise Against almost perfectly in sound and tone. His main profession in programming is where most of his spare time goes, and has a knack at being able to play and win any video game he picks up. He's also a good problem solver, able to put together skeptical theories and proving his suspicions correct in most cases, where others could not. His not-so-illegal past gang relations have given him mastery over many small-arms weapons, and often improvises on his surroundings to produce hand-to-hand or thrown weapons.

ENSEMBLE MEMBERSHIP: None
PREFERRED MUSIC GENRE: Favors Japanese songs, overall prefers rock, alternative, metal and electric.
LISTENING GEAR: Black and red Sennheiser Momentum headphones, holds a spare set of black Ear Pollution earbuds in pocket for listening in school.

BACKSTORY: Brandon was born in Mission Viejo, California; a quiet town nearby the ocean and quite pricey to live in currently. He lived with his mother as an only child while his father worked long days at the mortgage company he owned. He had a mostly quiet life through elementary school, scoring high grades and making many friends among his peers. Middle school was much of the same, though he had minor difficulties with local bullies and hard teachers. In the eighth grade, his father had gotten in a car accident while driving him to school, effectively breaking Brandon's left shoulder and totaling his father's 4th car on record. His arm would be healed by high school, but the scars would remain.

His family began to slowly break apart at this time. His father started coming home extremely late, hammered drunk and barely able to walk on a nightly basis, eventually leading to a week's worth of arguments and having him kicked out of the house. Having not seen much of his father anyway, Brandon was barely shaken, though he did help support his mom through the worst of the events. Also around this time, Brandon made friends with 29 year old Kyrian, a local restaurant owner and the leader of the town's gang, which worked toward peace rather than for personal gain (though their methods were less than legal). To help keep the house that they were now barely able to afford, Brandon's mother worked on a daily basis as a cook and waitress at Kyrian's restaurant. Brandon, having homework, could only work Fridays and weekends as a dish and table cleaner. Over the summer and into high school, Kyrian had secretly taught Brandon how to fight and defend himself, as well as how to easily traverse urban and rough terrain with both ease and speed. As a result, Kyrian had shaped Brandon's future profession as a free runner. Brandon was even able to effectively fire a gun by the end of freshman year in high school.

It was in senior year of high school that he discovered his abilities as a Music Master. He had recently bought himself a pair of headphones with money he had worked up from working at the restaurant and decided to free run with them on, music blasting. He had decided to try running up a wall higher than he could handle in order to get on top of it, and was about to fall backward toward the ground after losing his momentum and shoe grip on the wall. Hoping he could still make the grab, he reached as far as he could to the edge, and only saw that he still didn't have enough reach to make it. Closing his eyes in fear of what was to come, he tried reaching even farther a split second before he fell, and was surprised to feel rough stone touch his fingertips. He opened his eyes to look, and there he was, floating in the air and facing the sky, staring in wide disbelief at where he was. It took him a few seconds to actually climb onto the wall and sit, shaking, and he quickly paused the music on his iPod to think about what had just happened. Noticing a certain heaviness when he paused his music, he turned it back on, and felt the same lightness return after a few seconds. For the rest of the day and for some few hours into the night, he practiced with his new found power.

Over the next few months, Brandon had found three more abilities, all of which he kept secret from even his closest friends. Having read many fiction and sci-fi books, he knew the importance of keeping certain things secret. As he finished high school, Brandon would have to move with his mother elsewhere, as even with the restaurant work, paying for their current home would be too much. Kyrian had decided on and agreed to go with Brandon and his mother when they moved, which shocked both the two of them and the Mission Viejo gang he owned. Both the restaurant and the gang would be handed down to one of Kyrian's friends the day that they left. His reasons are as of yet uncertain, and he barely leaves any hints on the matter. It wasn't long until they moved to New York, and after settling in, Kyrian and Brandon's mom went looking for jobs. Brandon spent his time online, writing programs as a freelance coder and hacking on a regular basis for fun. He could only hope that their new life in New York would go smoothly.

SONG EFFECTS:

SONG NAME & ARTIST: Ancient Temple by Demetori
SONG CLASS: Modulation
SONG EFFECT DESCRIPTION: This song effect allows Brandon the ability of flight, as well as enhancing his speed, dexterity, and making him deadly in pure hand to hand combat. While in flight, it would appear as if wisps of fire were floating along the backs of his arms and legs, and while on the ground, these only appear when he's in a sprint or quickly changing direction to dodge. As a result, he can passively activate this ability without alerting others of his powers until he starts running or dodging.

Though he is given insane amounts of agility when using this song effect, it can't be used alongside most other song effects, the exception being Brandon's Rare Groove. There is no real weakness to this song effect, as it's primarily only used as mobility enhancement.
VOLUME RATING: 3
TEMPO RATING: 9
MEDLEY RATING: 6

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SONG NAME & ARTIST: Savior by Rise Against
SONG CLASS: Sentonal
SONG EFFECT DESCRIPTION: This song effect summons a warrior clad in black metal armor from the Soundscape, equipped with a long black sword and a large shield bearing a stylized insignia of the Rise Against band name. It stands 6’8” and can move surprisingly quickly despite the apparent weight of its armor. It quietly and deeply hums along the song as Brandon listens to it, and will execute his orders to the very letter, no matter the risk, without second thought. It’s large enough for Brandon to ride inside, however this seems to hamper it’s maneuverability to a crawl, and carrying the sword and shield’s weight is not assisted. Riding within the armor only serves the purpose of protecting Brandon from attacks, which it manages to do surprisingly well under sustained attack.

The armor is weaker in the lower legs, lower chest and at the grooves connecting the head and shoulders, and will easily sink in water. It is not airtight, so if Brandon is inside while the armor is somehow submerged under water, the result could prove near fatal. The summoned armor will also never slay opponents unless commanded to, only pin or immobilize them without severely damaging the target. The task of murder is left in Brandon’s hands, should he deem it necessary.
VOLUME RATING: 7
TEMPO RATING: 4
MEDLEY RATING: 6

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SONG NAME & ARTIST: Dancer in Haunted Dark Alley by Vaguedge Dies for Dies Irae
SONG CLASS: Overture
SONG EFFECT DESCRIPTION: Brandon’s two hands are engulfed in black clouds which pulsate red flashes of energy, both of which emit two glowing red blades which he can use for melee attacks. As a secondary effect, the immediate area around Brandon becomes cloaked in darkness, and every hit he deals on a target causes their vision to fade for a few seconds or longer depending on the severity of the strike. It is possible for Brandon to fire bolts from his hands instead, however their darkness-inducing effects are much less useful and sometimes completely negated by the target.

The cloud can alternatively be spread over a large area to create wide-enveloping darkness while the song plays, though this prevents Brandon from using this song effect as an offensive ability. Its effect is also dampened by sunlight or other bright light sources. Dim flashlights will not cut through as easily.
VOLUME RATING: 5
TEMPO RATING: 7
MEDLEY RATING: 4

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SONG NAME & ARTIST: Calm Eyes Fixed on Me, Screaming by Foreground Eclipse
SONG CLASS: Variable
SONG EFFECT DESCRIPTION: Brandon's Rare Groove. After a period of focus, Brandon unleashes highly advanced forms of his song effects against his foes. The power's manifestation varies depending on the song effect used previously, which can also be used during the "focus" period of this song effect at half of its original Volume and three-fourths of its Medley, before bursting into the high ranges of Medley and Volume.

The focus period lasts approximately 12 seconds, and the song effect cannot be “looped” (meaning, the song can only play over once). After the song ends, contrary to the fact that Rare Grooves are supposedly one’s most used effect, the song effect cannot be used for a full four hours. Brandon is also left extremely weak, if not totally knocked out, after the song effect ends, often making this his last resort. He has been making efforts to decrease the time between usages and to retain more strength after usage, though he fears that he may be caught off guard when practicing this skill.

The following song effects will change this song effect a certain way:
Ancient Temple – Song class becomes Overture. Enables fire-based lances, bolts, and lasers to be fired in rapid succession and across a wide area, as well as drastically increasing agility beyond the original effect's limits. Brandon also seems to have heightened sensory in this song effect, allowing him to dodge around even the fastest physical and projectile attacks.
Savior – Song class becomes Modulation. Creates a nearly unbreakable black armor similar to that of the summoned being around Brandon while slightly increasing mobility and jump height. He also gains the ability to pick his weapons of choice in any variety and number, as well as in any size he may prefer. It should also be noted that he can summon weapons at will during any moment of this song effect, though he requires at least one free hand to accomplish the task.
Dancer in Haunted Dark Alley – Song class becomes Overture. Enables darkness-based lances, bolts, and lasers to be fired in rapid succession. Extended energy blades will also be emitted from his hands or wrists, with a maximum reach of eight to ten inches. Those within twenty meters of Brandon will have little ability to see and will be tricked by hallucinations in the darkness, though this effect has less effect at it's farther ranges. Those beyond maximum range cannot see anything within the affected area.
??? - This song effect has a currently unknown usage, which will be revealed later on.

"With her calm frozen hands, she gently embraced a world reflected cold and cruel. Brittle - It shattered in an instant."
VOLUME RATING: 10
TEMPO RATING: 1
MEDLEY RATING: 10

So begins...

Brandon Rosenfeld's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld

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--

Blue Moon Manor was quiet tonight, save for the sound of black tap-shoes making contact with the marble floor of the manor's main foyer.The echoes were quite loud, signifying the arrival of the man hosting this particular occasion. As he swung open the door into the lascivious dining room, where his guests waited, he seemed anxious upon fixing his tie.

"I'm sorry to keep you all waiting, but it has been a dreadful week for all of us." he remarked as he closed the two ornate doors behind him.

The dining room itself was grand and quite lavish, filled with masterwork wooden chairs that circled around a alabster table gilded with gold. These things were only some of the expensive set-pieces in the room however; in the center laid the remnents of a half-eaten turkey, various exquisite side-dishes, and three bottles of red wine.

The guests had seemingly eaten well. Their host did not even think to ask how the food was, instead focused on much more urgent matters. He sat down, his light blue suit almost shining in the glow of the dining room's pleasant lighting.

The host was Dean White, a Music Master of high caliber and the founder of the prestigious Ensemble known as the Golden Tones. Over six decades old, Dean's face was sufficiently worn behind the frame of horn-rimmed glasses. His suit and tie seemed freshly pressed, but it was obvious from his expression that he was not in a good place right now.

"I believe Charles informed you of why I've asked you all here." Dean remarked, referring to his personal butler who had welcomed the group and led them to the dining room in the first place.

"Something about betrayin' our Ensembles." Mick May, a twenty-year old British boy spoke up. He tapped the table with one hand, clearly coming off as a bit impatient.

Mick sighed before adding to his statement. "That's a bit to ask of the lot of us, considerin' that you bunch are wanted for murder right now."

Dean took a deep breath, clasping his hands together and trying to regain his composure even though it seemed quite difficult.

"You have to understand," he began, trying to sound as sincere as possible, "that there are factions at work here beyond the knowledge of your petty Ensembles. And I'll be the first to tell you that our group has been working hard to stay out of this conflict thus far."

Dean leaned forward a bit, raising his voice to address all the guests sitting at his table. "I can assure you that this whole foul play business is not the work of one of my own. Clearly, someone is trying to get us involved in a war we are desperately trying to stay out of. Someone wants us out of the way."

Mick thought on the elder man's words as he leaned back in his chair.

Mick May was one of the few people that Dean White had personally invited to his private Blue Moon Manor. It had only been a few days since the murder of one Marshall Shakur, a high-ranking member of the hip-hop Ensemble Unarchy. He had also been a personal friend of the Ensemble's leader, Wallace West.

Needless to say, proof of the Golden Tones involvement came in the form of their hand-crafted insignia, which was found imprinted in golden ink upon the victim's forehead at the crime scene. Once knowledge of this had come out, Wallace West called for the support of over a dozen Ensembles that had previously been involved in the Hi-Fi Wars. He called for them to, in his words "make the Tones pay for their unprovoked attack."

Surprisingly, Wallace West had gotten the support he was seeking. With the force of fifteen of the most dangerous groups of Music Masters now gunning for their respective heads, the elderly members of the Golden Tones were forced to scatter, lest they find themselves in a much more permanent form of retirement.

"Even if the lot of you are clean," Mick brought up, after spending a good minute thinking on it. "what makes you think that any of us would be willin' to put our lives, or the lives of our loved ones, on the line?"

"Truthfully," Dean responded, bowing his head in shame. "I don't expect you to. But I was hoping that I could at least make an attempt to convince you to aid our cause."

The elderly Music Master shifted his chair forward and put on his best, most genuine smile. "I'm sure Charles informed you of the monetary reward for your part. And you'd all be welcome to stay in this manor for the duration of your task. I can assure you that the location is known to only myself and my closest confidents."

"Which means nothin' if one of them 'as double-crossed you." Mick pointed out.

The stress of the entire situation was starting to catch up to him, and so Dean no longer seemed content with sitting down. He promptly stood up, addressing the entirety of the group as he placed both hands down on the table for support.

"Nevertheless, the offer stands. I'm asking that you relinquish all loyalties to your Ensembles for the time being, and find out the true identity of this killer. If you can clear our group's name, then I will be more than happy to reward you each handsomely." the man offered, again his tone filled with sincerity.

"I understand that betrayal is not something to take lightly. I also understand that your respective groups may not forgive you for this." he continued, before sighing deeply again in sorrow.

"I get you there. But you betta' understand that if my group is to come out unscathed, this is the 'and that must be dealt..." Mick replied crossing his arms and leaning back in this chair.

Clearly, this wasn't going to be an easy decision to make.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld

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#, as written by Rixo
Brandon sighed and thought about the situation, with his left elbow on the table and a hand forming a fist to support his leaning head. Someone's out to get the Golden Tones, a group of aged Music Masters who haven't been active for decades, and GT wants our help. The objective would be to find and kill the person responsible for framing GT, and we had no leads or hints to help us.

Brandon tilted his head to peer at Su-Su and Mick, two of the only friends he had in New York. Mick had been the one who called both Brandon and Su-Su to this meeting, saying that one of his friends was in trouble and they needed to help. This "friend" mentioned ended up being the leader of the Golden Tones, and more specifically the ensemble as a whole.

Brandon had met Mick some time back, almost immediately after moving in to New York. Kyrian, Brandon's now father-guardian, had pulled some strings with a friend to get co-ownership of a local restaurant near their apartment. It just so happened that Brandon had to work part time due to the loss of employees as of late, and it was during one of his work hours that Mick walked in, and happened to see Brandon fly away as he left work an hour later. They quickly became friends, and the next day, and Mick had then introduced Brandon to Su-Su.

"...I also understand that your respective groups may not forgive you for this.", Dean had said, bringing Brandon back into the present after his brief flashback.

"But understand that if my group is to come out unscathed, this is the hand that must be dealt...", Mick then said, as if he had already made a decision to go along with this. Respective groups, being ensembles? Brandon wasn't a part of one, but he kept his mouth shut through the entire exchange, letting Mick do all the negotiating.

The way Dean spoke bothered Brandon. People who sounded overly sincere, people who bribed with untold rewards... Such things got on his nerves and raised countless alarms in his head. Dean was also very nervous for some reason. Why? He said himself that only him and his butler knew of this mansion, and even though Mick's group now knew as well, they hadn't even left the building yet. Brandon took a quick glance around at his surroundings again, probably for the fifth time since they sat down. Dean's nervousness was starting to spread, all his twitching and shifting and suddenly standing up.

Well, it was either that he lied about the secrecy of the mansion's location, or he was in a really bad fix and needed our help specifically. Why us? Brandon didn't bother to ask. Nonetheless, he still kept his right hand near the volume controls for his iPod touch. Savior had been on repeat, though muted, since they arrived as reassurance in case something happened.

Staying silent, Brandon peered at Mick again, waiting for him to either go on with whatever he would say or ask for an opinion, or maybe something else.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld Character Portrait: Jacqueline Marie Fortier Character Portrait: Astrid Markum

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#, as written by Quill
Jack’s boots thudded against the manor floor, scraping noises filling the hallways as she dragged the tip of a baseball bat along the wall. They were all muffled by the guitars and basses humming in her head, but even through her earphones the sound of Ice’s paws clunking against marble was a hard one to ignore, a constant peal that reverberated through her bones.

Turning around yet another corner, she spotted two guards standing on each side of a double door. Lowering the volume of her earphones and taking one of them off, she sauntered over to them.

Salut!” she greeted, holding up her free hand and grinning under her mask, loving how it made her voice sound so deep and creepy. The two men didn’t seem all that happy to see her. The bigger one looked tense and had his hand at his belt, where Jack glimpsed a faint glint of metal, but the other one simply adjusted his earphones, both staring at her with stone cold faces.

“Relax, fellas.” The bat was thrown in the air and Jack delighted in their nervous expressions as it spun above her before she caught it, letting it come up to rest on her shoulder. “It’s me, Jack. Or am I really that easy to forget?” She held a hand to her heart, feigning sorrow.

“Take off the mask.”

Jack raised an eyebrow at the order, grip tightening around the metal handle. Sighing, she scratched a scar beneath the edge of her blue demon mask and then slipped it off just enough for the guards to see her eyes. “Happy now?” she asked, covering her face once more.

The smaller guard, who was really almost as big as the doors behind him, seemed pleased enough, but the trigger happy guy made a gesture to the bat.

“No weapons,” the tiniest but not-so-tiny guard clarified. Not for the first time that day, Jack wondered if the other one was mute, since this one seemed to be doing all the talking.

“Fine.” She threw it over to them, the smaller, darker skinned one catching it easily. “But you’re giving it back to me after this. I won it fair and square, you know.” A grin stretched across her features when she said that, not that the two men could see it. But she could see the guard’s gaze fixed on the name engraved on the handle and knew he’d understand; it wasn’t her name that was on it.

The dark skinned man gave his colleague a nod and both stepped aside. Ice, who’d taken the form of a 3ft tall jaguar and had been resting beside her while staring intently at the aluminum bat with its dark reflective eyes, got up and approached the doors with its master.

The not-so-tiny guard knocked on the door three times. “My Lord, a guest has arrived,” he announced in a booming voice, ignoring Jack’s snort at the “My Lord” bit. There was no answer, but there was a clicking sound and the double doors were swung open from the inside.

Not wasting any time, Jack took the invitation and stepped right into the dining room. The lights inside were brighter, the warm glow reflecting off of the solid gold that made up Ice’s sleek body, blinding anyone who gazed at it for too long. That was one of the perks of doing this particular job for the Golden Tones; an abundant amount of gold and other fancy metals to work with, and Ice seemed to love the stuff, though not as much as good old fashioned iron.

A dozen or more faces greeted her, some more familiar than others, but she recognized almost all of them. The one closest to her was old Dean White himself, the only one not seated and looking like he was about to throw up at any second now with how pale and frazzled he looked. He was also the only one not surprise to see her; every other guest was staring at her as if she were an assassin or death itself. The traditional demon mask she was wearing, with the white feathers covering her hair, probably didn’t help.

Everyone seemed so... jumpy, yes, that’s the word. How amusing. Maybe old White’s condition was infectious.

“Hi there, boss, sorry I’m late. I’m afraid I had to take care of some punk before I got here.” She took her right hand to her face as she said that, attempting to scratch the long scar on her chin that had been bothering her for quite a while. That’s when she noticed it, the blood clotting her fingers and palm.

Merde...” she muttered, looking around for something to clean it with. She took the handkerchief the ever composed Charles offered her and gave it back stained red. Her hand was more or less clean; it hadn’t been her blood.

Of course she hadn’t killed the little punk; she didn’t make a habit of killing people, though there was no harm in letting other people think that she did. No, the guy had guts and she liked that. But she did remember punching his mouth, that was probably where all the blood had come from. Jack wondered how she hadn’t noticed something like that. After all, she had been invited to a fancy dinner. Wasn’t she supposed to look her best?

Ah, not! Like she’d ever dress up for anything. Plus, she couldn’t think of a better way to annoy the old, too proper for his own good, Dean White. Jack turned to her current boss, waiting for him to present her and to make it clear as whether she could take off the mask or not.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld Character Portrait: Jacqueline Marie Fortier Character Portrait: Astrid Markum

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Astrid had no idea why she was sitting in a room with mostly strangers. The only one she knew was Brandon. He was the reason why she was here too, insisting that she come here and how important it was. Even though Astrid only knew Brandon for a short time, she came to like the guy and even trust him for some reason. It was probably because he was currently one of few people who know she had unique abilities and learned he had the same. She was coming to understand that there were more like them too. Curiosity caught ahold of Astrid and she wanted to know more. However the more she learned, the less she wanted to be involved. Still, here she was. Sending Brandon a frown for talking her into coming here, she continued to listen carefully to all who spoke. Astrid prided herself on her listening skills and stored away all the information mentally.

When another blonde hair woman came in, Astrid did say or do anything as she surveyed the new arrival. Even before the young woman started talking, the American music master knew she'd been in a scuffle. Hell, she still looked like she was ready for action. Something told Astrid that this woman was not to be messed with. The same could be said for the other people she didn't know. A part of her felt sorry for Mr. White for the situation he was in. It definitely wasn't right and that struck a cord inside of Astrid. She knew what it was like to have to be judged without knowing all the facts. Only this time someone was setting up the Golden Tones where the results would be terrible. Time was definitely on GT's side and the person responsible for this mess would have to be found quickly. The question was where to start.

Unease was settling into the back of Astrid's mind too. Astrid was a practical person, but she also had instincts and she trusted those more than concrete facts. She had her iPod and headphones with her for precautional reasons. She waited to see what would happen next.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld Character Portrait: Jacqueline Marie Fortier Character Portrait: Astrid Markum

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Dean White's stress seemed as if was at its limit as it was, and for Jack to barge in in such a violent state wasn't helping it one bit. He could only do so much to glare in her direction, wondering in his head why the rambunctious girl would even begin to think just barging in on his important meeting was even remotely okay.

"Jacqueline, will you please? I am at my limit with this. If you would take a seat and keep silent, that would be very much appreciated, thank you!" he practically shouted, hoping that it would be enough to make the girl understand.

Dean's thoughts went back, and now he found himself wondering why he had even hired the girl in the first place. Truth be told, he had no hired muscle in his Ensemble in the first place. They were all just old men who sat around listening to records and playing with powers beyond their control. Violence was not really a part of their lifestyle. If anything, the burly guards who kept watch in Blue Moon Manor were a recent addition, and even they were non-Music Masters who would prove to be useless against any real attack.

"Aye, so are we gonna just sit around and listen to your whinin', or are you gonna try to actually persuade us?" Mick asked, his patience clearly wearing thin. Dean wiped the sweat off his furrowed brow.

"Ah, yes, I was getting to that. I am very much willing to pay six digit sums to each of you if you take part in this. Consider it an adequate reward once you clear the good name of the Tones." the older man said, but Mick chuckled under his breath in response.

"That sounds mighty fine and all, but who's to say we'll make it back alive to pick up our bank deposits? It'd be mighty easy for you to promise us somethin' only to send us off to die." the British boy pointed out, while Dean regained his composure and waved off the possibility than any of them might not come back alive from this quest.

"I wouldn't worry about that, if I were you." the older Music Master said, as a shadow moved from the door behind him. "I've obtained some extra help. Jacqueline was just the start, really."

A plume of smoke accompanied the sultry figure of a tall and electrifying woman, who emerged behind Dean White with flair and poise. Her long black gloves and ruby dress shimmered in the light of the room, and her delicate cigarette holder seemed only to intensify her look. If one didn't know better, one might think she walked right out of 1925 and into the Dean White's dining room.

Even Mick lost his composure for a moment, as this brunette beauty made her presence known. It was a combination of her figure, her face, and her wardrobe that made it almost impossible to not stare.

"May I introduce you all to the exquisite Ms. Suzy Rogers." Dean told the group before he motioned to Suzy, who simply gave the group an almost devious smile before taking a seat.

"Oh, don't bother with all the the pleasantries, dear." she commented, clearly enjoying herself as she scanned everyone around her with striking eyes. "I'm sure we'll all get to know each other soon enough. Yes, I think we'll all get along splendidly."

Mick's mind cycled through the situation ahead. Clearly, there was more to this than he realized. He thought about the possibility of death that came with helping the Golden Tones, but then he thought about the money involved. With enough money, Mick realized that he could pay someone off in Gracious Door. And paying someone off meant that he could escape the dreaded Ensemble and be back to the one place he knew he belonged...with his family.

Mick furrowed his thick eyebrows as he examined this woman for a distance. She was absolutely beautiful, that was for sure. A looker in every sense of the word. He couldn't tell how old she was, but it didn't matter to him. She was certainly worth being around, if anything else.

"Well, I think I'm convinced." Mick stated, with a small smile. He looked back towards Brandon and the friend he had brought along, Astrid. Then of course there was Dean's other hired gun, Jacqueline, but Mick assumed she would be involved either way.

"But I can't say I speak for everyone. I just know that certain...elements, have made me realize, I'm in." Mick pointed out.

He couldn't help but wonder...was this all really going to be worth having to possibly face a myriad of Music Masters who'd probably wipe the floor with him and his company? Mick could only guess on what Brandon and Astrid were thinking and if they were ready to agree to this madness in the first place, even with this Jacqueline girl and the mystifying Suzy in their group.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld Character Portrait: Jacqueline Marie Fortier Character Portrait: Astrid Markum

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#, as written by Rixo
Brandon's composure remained mostly solid during Jack's rather brisk entrance, though he did wince a bit when she entered. He had heard the scraping noises from across the building, of coarse, and suspected that the visitor would be friendly, since Dean didn't seem bothered by the scraping or the bursting open of doors. The mask which the girl wore was slightly chilling, and the blood she wiped off of her hand was all the more disquieting. So this was one of the other Music Masters Dean had hired, it seems.

A move which Dean seems to regret now, Brandon thought to himself after Dean's little outburst. What good would it do you to yell at one of your employees, and directly into her face, for that matter?

Brandon almost felt sorry for dragging Astrid into this, and peering in her direction, he saw that she'd been glaring knives at him. Brandon widened his eyes and turned his head a bit, motioning to the fact that he hadn't been expecting anything like this either. They'd come to meet some amazing guy who was an elite member of the so-called "amazing" Golden Tones, only to meet a frail old man who was begging for help and hiring the assistance of some of the sketchiest people around. And apparently, Jack wasn't the last, as Dean soon pointed out, signaling the appearance of some lady who could have been Dean's wife, for all Brandon cared.

"Oh, don't bother with all the the pleasantries, dear. I'm sure we'll all get to know each other soon enough. Yes, I think we'll all get along splendidly.", the lady said, giving the group a once-over with a rather suspicious glare as she sat down. Brandon, feeling offset by the developing situation, tilted his head down a bit and brought his right headphone over his ear while leaving the left behind his other ear. He glanced at Mick after doing this, who was silently pondering to himself and probably mulling over the facts. Lots of money and super brownie points from GT, with the bonus of working alongside the striking (yet extremely suspicious) Suzy Rogers. Brandon could also see Mick watching Suzy from a distance, and he wondered if Mick was really going to let that factor in to his decision.

Hopefully it hadn't, because Mick agreed after half a minute of silence. "But I can't say I speak for everyone. I just know that certain... elements, have made me realize, I'm in." Mick said, peering to Brandon and Astrid for their responses. Was it worth it? This was a hundred-thousand dollar deal they were getting into, just to kill one guy. Yet they had no leads, how would they track the assassin before his next move? And Brandon would be putting his family and friends at risk too, if he chose to accept the task... Though, seeing as Jack was wearing a mask, he assumed that he could quickly make one of his own so his identity would be kept hidden. All facts considered, as long as this wasn't some sort of trap, Brandon had nothing to lose.

Brandon peered around and could have sworn that the lady Dean had summoned was peering at him through the corners of her eyes. She must have looked away pretty quickly, though, because Brandon wasn't sure whether or not she really had been looking in his direction. He frowned a bit at this, but let it slide. Music Masters alone were easy to underestimate, and Brandon had run into people who underestimated his physical abilities quite often back in California. New York wouldn't be any different.

With a sigh, Brandon voiced his opinion. "Well, I see nothing to lose. I guess I'm in.", he simply said, right before his cell phone vibrated in his pocket, and he fished it out to see who had texted him. It was a black LG slide phone with a sideways keyboard, which he favored over the newer and "smarter" designs which were beginning to be introduced to the market. He'd always favored some of the older things.

The message had come from Kyrian, both Brandon's fatherly figure and occasional boss for when Brandon decided to work at the restaurant. A man who carried respect almost naturally and drew shivers from those who dared to think of bringing him bad news, he had been a large part of Brandon's life since his middle school days. Drawing away from the past, Brandon opened the text to see what it read.

"Busy tonight, HS and college sports teams, need you down here", so the message read. Though he had a choice whether to help out or not, Brandon rather enjoyed working at Kyrian's, and at the moment was not enjoying Dean's mansion atmosphere. Plus, a little tip money goes a long way, as Brandon has found out. Though he was offered six digits of hard cash for helping the Golden Tones, it wouldn't be coming for a long while.

"Something's come up, and I'm afraid I'll have to excuse myself. Family in need, you see." Brandon said, attracting Suzy's gaze and almost stopping him in his tracks. Damn, what was with her? It's as if she wants me to sit back down. Brandon resisted the temptation, and made his way to the door. "Mick, text me if anything comes up.", he added, before closing the doors behind him.

As he exited the mansion, he pulled his other earphone on and changed the song on his iPod, turning up the volume so he could hear the music. The two guards were talking among themselves, distracted as Brandon slowly began to hover, then suddenly take flight as the song rushed through him. The effect was almost immediate, a burning rush that flowed through his legs at first for running speed, then spread to his arms as he willed himself to shoot skywards. As he slowed himself, he felt a cold chill pass through him, diminishing as he ceased deceleration. He had a moment to think about how he left Astrid there, and felt a little sorry for leaving her there alone. But Astrid knew Mick, though if only a little bit, so at least she wouldn't be left alone with a masked nut and a shaky old man.

Okay, which way to the restaurant..., Brandon wondered to himself, and soon saw a landmark in the middle distance he had remembered to take note of. He flew off and away from the mansion, musical fire trailing behind him, toward the establishment he called his day job.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld Character Portrait: Jacqueline Marie Fortier Character Portrait: Astrid Markum

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#, as written by Quill
Dean White's outburst drew a chuckle from Jacque, who had a finger in her free ear to muffle the old man's shouting. People like him were so easy to rile up, how could anyone resist a bit of teasing. There was no point in giving the poor music master a heart attack though, so she did what she was told, giving the man a mock bow before heading to the table, Ice following close behind.

Slumping down into a chair, she swept her gaze across each familiar face seated around the table. Most of them were senior members of Golden Tones, all of whom she'd learned to recognize during her short stay on the mansion, but a good number of guests were from other ensembles, and there were even a few she didn't know from any group. When it came to young blood like her, there was Mick May, the chained dog of Gracious Door, but also two others sitting close to him, a young blonde and a brunet that Jack had a though time placing. Knowing people was both a deep rooted craving in her and an essential part of her job, so she made a mental note to find out more about those two. For now, she was content just observing them, following every little gesture and expression she could read.

Her employer had resumed the night's discussion, but she'd already heard all the details of the job he was offering, one she'd already accepted, so she quickly grew bored. The food didn't interest her, not that there was much left of it, so she took the cutlery set in front of her and gave it to Ice instead. The gold jaguar took one sniff of the knives before turning its head away, refusing them. "Don't be a snob," Jack whispered to the big cat in french, ignoring the odd look Mrs Du Pont, one of the wealthiest women on the table, gave her.

She was distracted, wondering why anyone would need so many different knives to eat and why Ice had no problem munching on the dessert spoons, when the conversation suddenly took a more interesting turn at the smoky entrance of a new guest.

Ms. Suzy Rogers. She hadn't been staying in the mansion these past days, or Jack would've definitely noticed a young woman like that sitting around. Where did the old man find this one? Was she a recent member of the Golden Tones? What was her agenda? Who was she, anyway? All these questions flew around in Jack's mind as she watched the sultry brunette take a seat a few chairs away from her.

Ms. Rogers had everyone's attention, a lot of them even visibly enchanted by her. It was amusing to Jack, how human beings were so affected by appearances, not excluding her person, though she did give herself credit for being more objective than most. Maybe a little bit too objective, some would say.

"Beauty is a powerful and discreet weapon. Would anyone think me a devil?" A handsome smile was painted on thin lips as the man said this, perfect teeth glowing in the darkness.

Jacque's hand went up to clutch her throat, the scar on her lip itching and head throbbing with the fading echo's of that familiar voice. The pain was gone as quickly it came, leaving a numb feeling in its place. In an effort to ignore it, Jack turned to the member of Gracious Door, Mick May, just in time to see him giving her and the others a quick glance.

"But I can't say I speak for everyone. I just know that certain...elements, have made me realize, I'm in."

She snorted at that, knowing pretty well what elements he was talking about. As far as Jack was concerned, money and attraction were never motivations. Of course she needed money just like everyone else, but more often than not she'd find herself thinking how she wouldn't mind it one bit if all her cash burned right in front of her. In fact, she'd probably enjoy the blazing flames. No, It was the thrill of the job, how dangerous and fun it could be, that motivated her. As for attraction... well, that was a complicated subject she'd rather not delve into.

The young brunet was the second one to accept, though without much enthusiasm, only to then abandon them after receiving a message of sorts. She could tell by his face that it wasn't anything urgent, but he left regardless, though not after having an odd staring match with Ms Suzy. Old man Mr. White clearly did not appreciate his leaving and the other members were taken back by it as well. Jack didn't mind, at least now she could confirm that Mick and him were friends, and by the look on the blonde's face as she stared at the brunet's retreating back, she thought it was safe to assume that those two also knew each other.

After the doors closed there was a short moment of silence. She gladly interrupted it, "Well, Mick's in, that boy's in. I'm in, of course. How about you, blondie?" Jack asked, leaning on her chair with her arms behind her head and looking at the brunet's friend across the table through her mask.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld Character Portrait: Jacqueline Marie Fortier Character Portrait: Astrid Markum

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As Mr. White continued with the discussion, Astrid kept an eye on all the other people in the room. They all to seem on edge, especially Mr. White. The old man sounded like her favorite violin instructor. He was generally a good natured man, but he did have his limits. Mr. Stanlisky had been her first instructor and while she was his prized student for years, some of the others tested his patience because they liked to cause mischief. The thought distracted her momentarily, but when Mick started talking, Astrid was all ears again.

"Ah, yes, I was getting to that. I am very much willing to pay six digit sums to each of you if you take part in this. Consider it an adequate reward once you clear the good name of the Tones."

Six figures?! Astrid was normally excellent at hiding her true emotions, but even she couldn't stop her eye brows from raising. At least she didn't gapped. Her first thought was that there had to be a catch. There normally was. Than her brain started working again. The place she was at was very luxurious. Even for someone like Astrid, who came from a poor background, knew quality material when she saw this. This place had to cost an arm and a leg. Six figures for each person here was bound to be chump change for Mr. White.

Thinking about the offer now, Astrid pondered if it was worth the risk. The last thing she wanted to do was get involved in something that was none of her business. At the same time though, she knew immediately what she could do with that money. In her free time, she often helped out at a nearby orphanage, but it was in desperate need of updates. The building itself was in Brooklyn in a rough area and was a fire hazard waiting to happen. Astrid worked part-time and half of her earnings went towards the orphanage. There was another problem with getting involved though, if she got involved, she could possibly be getting them involved. However, would these ensembles really go so low as to target kids? It was a pickle.

Astrid was still thinking of her decision when Ms. Suzy showed up. Immediately Astrid looked at Brandon and Mick to see their reactions to the beautiful woman. Both reacted, but in different ways. Brandon seemed a bit more tense and Mick looked a little flummoxed, even though it was for a second or two. Resisting the urge to grin, Astrid instead looked back at the brunette. There was something about her that made Astrid uneasy. It was no wonder Brandon tensed up a bit. Maybe he was feeling the same thing. She would ask him later. However, soon both him and Mick gave their answers. Mick left as soon as he got his answer and soon Brandon's phone went off. Looking at him as he checked it. Suddenly he stood up and said he had to leave. Astrid instantly knew what was up. It probably had something to do with his day job.

They must be really busy to need his help, Astrid thought.

In fact, that was how Astrid met Brandon. It wasn't far from the university she went too and heard about it from other students. She decided to check it out and Brandon had been her waiter. She felt something about him and it wasn't long before they became friends. It was only 3 weeks ago that they found out about each other being a music master. That eventually led to this situation.

Astrid's thoughts where interrupted when the other blonde talked to her. Being called blondie was something Astrid hated hearing. Ironic that it should come from another blonde. Astrid looked at Jack and the talked for the first time that evening.

"My name is Astrid." she replied in a bit of a harsh tone before looking at Mr. White.

Going with her gut, Astrid finally made up her mind.

"I'm in. Is that all?" she asked simply.

She honestly wanted to get out of this place.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld

0.00 INK

#, as written by Rixo
On his way back to the restaurant, Brandon almost crashed into a helicopter that came around a building unexpectedly. He was still thinking about the pilot's reaction when he saw Brandon flying out of nowhere, almost sending the copter out of control from shock. He could only hope the pilot wasn't running a live camera for the late night news or something.

He landed in an alleyway nearby the restaurant, probably only half a block away, and walked toward work. It would've been stupid to just land in plain view in front of the restaurant, even if his short trail of fire when in flight was invisible to non-music masters. Just because people couldn't see Music Effects didn't mean they couldn't see Music Masters, though Brandon had to admit that invisibility would be a handy power to have up one's sleeve. Oh, the things one could get away with...

Brandon walked in a few moments later to see a rather packed room overflowing with people, chatter, yells and screams over the sports TV, and the occasional clang of glass or silverware that plagued every diner no matter what you did. Nobody seemed to care how loud it got, as long as everybody was having a good time. He walked forward, sifting between chairs, tables, booths and roaming people until he reached the opposite side of the restaurant where the bathrooms were. It only took him a couple of minutes to get into uniform, a rather casual black suit and pants saved for special occasions which Kyrian would call whenever it seemed necessary.

"Wasting no time, I see." Brandon heard from his right as he walked out of the bathrooms. He looked on to see a man only a little taller than Brandon was, probably 6'3", wearing a uniform as black and clean-cut as the rest of the staff's. He had short black hair today, which was a surprise, considering that he preferred long hair over short. Sharp brown eyes stared ominously, unnerving Brandon slightly despite how used to it he should have been. And as always, the man kept an atmosphere as respectable as it was foreboding. Even complete strangers at times found it difficult to talk to this man.

This was Kyrian. Brandon's boss, fatherly figure, biggest impact on life and the most impossible person to bring oneself to ask favors from. Brandon had to clear his throat before responding, something he had done all day. Must be something in the air. "Well, the boss called, and we're a bit short on hands anyway." It was the truth, too. The restaurant worked below ideal employment for it's size, though we managed to scrape by without complaints, even on busy nights like this when Kyrian himself would have to step in.

"I'm thankful enough that you could come, even more so with how fast you arrived. There's cleaning to do on those corner tables over there, go start with those while Michel assigns these last guys to them." Kyrian responded, then quickly went to his office, probably to finish some paperwork that was left unattended due to the sudden rush of people. Brandon got to work at cleanup just as fast, then circled around other duties to relieve other employees if only for a few minutes of break time.

That was almost everyone's job here. Do anything that had a post to fill. The system worked out surprisingly well after we got a decent number of employees (yet still small compared to other restaurants), though we all worked long hours when we were called in. Nobody seemed minded it, and work always got done by some daily miracle. Maybe nobody cared because the pay was surprisingly high. Brandon tried not to care, because he and Kyrian combined were paying the apartment bills for both themselves and Brandon's mother.

It was just a little past eleven when he checked the clock again, and he took a break as soon as he got the chance. He got himself a glass of water and a few french fries to munch on from the kitchen, and sat down at the only empty booth available. It didn't look like anybody else would be coming tonight, unless Mick or Astrid dropped by after the meeting. Maybe that Jack person would be with them... They were business partners now, after all. Though it wasn't Jack who worried Brandon. If anyone, it was Dean and that lady who appeared out of nowhere who would most likely turn on Brandon and his friends. Six digits of cash was a lot to gain from a simple kill job, but it was also a lot to bribe with. And with a mansion like that, it wouldn't be a surprise if hundred-thousand amounts barely dented Dean's wallet. There was something more to this, surely, and Brandon found it quite funny that there were more leads on Dean eventually betraying us than leads on the murderer.

You don't know that, Brandon thought to himself. Perhaps Mick and Astrid would have the details after hearing the whole meeting out. Or maybe they wouldn't. It doesn't matter, I already agreed. Let's just get it over with, yea?

Brandon cleaned up after his break and got back to work shortly after, and ended up taking over the receptionist's stand by some accident. All he did was stand around, watch the door, and mark empty booths on a tablet as people left. He refilled his ice cold water twice to keep himself occupied after finishing the glass. So he stood, half daydreaming and half watching the door for customers leaving and entering. "And so, the wait begins..." He muttered to himself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Mick May Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld Character Portrait: Jacqueline Marie Fortier Character Portrait: Astrid Markum

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Mick crossed his arms as he listened to the golden sound of agreement around him. With Jack, Astrid and Brandon on his side, where could he have gone wrong? Sure, Brandon might have run off to take care of his business down at his restaurant job, but at least Mick knew for a fact he could count on him when he needed him.

"Looks like you got yourself some takers, Dean. Get 'im while they're hot." the young Brit quipped before flashing a smile. That smile of course, was directed at one Suzy Rogers across the table. But she had such a powerful, sultry expression on her face that Mick wasn't sure if she even knew he was eyeing her. Or maybe she did, and she was just so used to it, she just didn't care.

Nevertheless, there were more important things at hand. Mick fished into a jacket pocket for his music player; a beaten-up old I-Pod more than two years old. He considered listening to music at a time like this, when Suzy leaned over to whisper something into Dean's ear as the rest of the room descended into discussion. After all, even with some tunes playing, he'd still be able to hear everyone talking as clear as day. That was just one of the pros of being a Music Master, after all.

But something caught his attention right before he popped an earbud into his left ear. Something up above.

He squinted to see what could be up their in the darkness of the impossibly high ceiling. Even with the golden ambiance and multiple lights, the fact that it was night did obscure a large part of the ceiling above. But when Mick glanced up into the darkness, he could have sworn he saw something.

It was only when he could hear the sound of music, a sound of black men singing in high voices, that suddenly he realized his fears were all too true.

The music burst into room like thunder, and the ambush was equally surprising and forceful. A towering Sentonal, a fusion of a stereotypical Native American and a monstrous eagle, crashed into the dining table with considerable force. Mick and the others were sent flying back as its tomahawks dug deep into the masterwork wood, splintering it apart and causing even more of a ruckus.

The world spun as Mick struggled to regain his composure, kicking aside his falling chair as he surveyed the situation. Behind the Sentonal, a tall African-American stood, his hair clad in a small afro and a gleaming white smile on his face.

"Do it quick, Mighty Gee. Don't have all day here." he said in a upbeat tone. His Sentonal didn't hesitate, wrenching the two tomahawks from the table's remains and turning its attentions to Dean White himself. Mick could see the look in its user's eyes, and he could see Suzy rushing to get a song effect out. The truth was though, she wouldn't make it in time.

Mick was quick to pull up a song, and it was perhaps through sheer luck that the gushing red of Strawberry Fields Forever came out of his hand just in time. The burst splashed onto the man's face as a tomahawk went flying through the air at Dean White. In the resulting confusion of being swept up in his psychedelic fantasy, the man's control on his Sentonal wavered, and the tomahawk, a part of the Sentonal itself, literally swerved in the air. It missed Dean White by inches, landing hard into the wood table right in front of him. As Dean's heart pounded in his chest and he counted his blessings, his bodyguards were quick to scoop him up like a child in an attempt to get him out of danger.

"You chaps alright back there?" Mick said to his comrades, as his music and the man's music clashed in the air. He could only hope they were okay, but he had little time to think on it as the man's attention was now turned to him.

"Hey boy. Don't be a pain in the ass. Dexter don't like no pain in the ass." the man said, as his Sentonal clambered before him. The tomahawk returned in an instant, pulled by some unseen force.

"Sorry to ruin your sport. Maybe you should get going before it gets really rough." Mick shot back, but Dexter chuckled.

"Oh, you don't know rough, boy. But I'd be glad to show you rough." he said with confidence.

Without hesitation, the Sentonal shot its arm out, and suddenly a very real and very deadly tomahawk almost half the size of Mick's body was hurtling straight in his direction. One hit, and he would be bisected in an instant.

Clearly, Mick thought, taunting this guy didn't turn out to be one of Mick's brightest ideas...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brandon Rosenfeld

0.00 INK

#, as written by Rixo
After the last of the customers left, Kyrian gathered everyone up and congratulated them all for a great job. They'd all get free breakfast the day after since they opened up late on that day. Everyone took their leave shortly after, though Brandon lingered for a few minutes to finish some cleanup work. Afterwords, he pulled on his headphones and listened to some newer music he recently downloaded and began to walk home. At this time of night, not too many lights were on in the shopping and dining district, and only late night bars, 24-hour markets and fast food joints remained lit, guiding Brandon through the darkness in the relative direction of his apartment. He wasn't used to navigating New York yet, especially since he moved from a small town where he knew where everything was. He at least knew what was around his home, so he at least knew what to look for to know that he was in the right place.

It was half because of the fact that he was lost, and half because of poor timing, that he passed near a small group of Music Masters who were showing off their abilities in a shallow alleyway. It was in this exact moment that Brandon's iPod decided to shuffle his music into his Music Master playlist, blasting Dancer in Haunted Dark Alley through his headphones. The coincidence of it all made Brandon inwardly laugh, if only for the moment before the Music Masters turned on him. One immediately rushed at Brandon, bearing an ax surrounded in electricity, the other two tried calling him back briefly before giving up and getting their headphones out.

Brandon thought of running at first, but the question of where he would run struck him almost immediately after. He didn't want to risk being followed. With a silent curse, he turned up the volume of his iPod, and his hands were almost immediately engulfed in a dark mist. He only had enough time to glance the swing of the ax away with a half-formed wristblade as he dodged awkwardly to the right. The attacker quickly brought his ax back around in a follow-up strike, and Brandon had to roll to the side to narrowly avoid an electrified strike. He ran deeper into the alley to get some distance between him and his attacker.

At this point, Brandon was caught between the three of them. The other two had just gotten their music effects started, both Overture, and began firing bursts of red and green at Brandon, who dived behind a trashcan for cover. Pain burst through his shoulder as he crashed awkwardly into the brick wall next to the trashcan, and he rolled it a few times to make sure it would still work properly. The first attacker was nearly hit by two of the shots before he yelled at the other two to stop, which got Brandon's attention. Looking back, Brandon could see that the Master was busy trying to pull something out of the ground.

His ax, Brandon thought, and he quickly seized the opportunity to at least neutralize one of his attackers. Surrounding himself in darkness and dampening the sound of his song, Brandon ran out from cover in a rush to turn the fight to his advantage. The two Masters standing deeper within the alley didn't see Brandon's move at all due to his song effect, and one called out, trying to mock him out of hiding. This is exactly what Brandon did, appearing from the darkness as he neared his helpless opponent. He formed a single wristblade, with a length of only a couple inches because of the nature of his song effect, but it was enough to get the job done. Brandon punched forward at the now shocked Music Master, who both hadn't seen Brandon approaching and who was now scared for his life as the wristblade drove toward his neck.

A song was silenced. A breath of shock and fear was heard. An ax dissipated. A wire was cut. Brandon picked up the man by the back of his shirt and turned him toward the alley, putting a now fully formed blade to his neck. The man, who was just a second ago Brandon's attacker, was now a meat shield held in hostage, frozen by shock in the fact that he was still alive. Brandon thought about the situation for a second before shuddering at the fact of what he had just done, but pushed the thought away for now. He couldn't think, not in this situation, not now.

He wanted to say something, to have them leave him alone or not to be caught here again, but right as he was about to, the Music Masters across from him turned and ran, which surprised Brandon a little. It surprised him more when they yelled back, "Don't think you've seen the last of us!". What did they mean? Why did they yell that? Questions quickly circled Brandon's mind, but these quickly faded as he focused his attention back on the man he was still holding.

The man he was holding had apparently now recovered from his shock, and tried calling out to them to stop and help him. Brandon tightened his grip and pressed the blade closer, before pushing him to the ground and pulling his blade away. Brandon then sank into darkness and ran, before giving the man a chance to ask who he was or why he was spared. After running a block from the alleyway, emotions began setting in again, the adrenaline leaving him empty and cold in the night. He'd nearly killed a man, and he himself had nearly been killed. The fight began to wash over him, but he pushed these thoughts away once more. They're the ones who attacked first, and Brandon had defended himself.

He thought this justification over and over again a few times before switching on Ancient Temple and flying not to home, but to the mansion in the opposite direction. Though he would have been perfectly fine with going home, there were two Music Masters somewhere out there who may have seen his face. Though Brandon was sure the darkness hid him well enough, he couldn't be too careful. He'd rest at the mansion, at least for tonight, while things died down.