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Larke Sterling

Drug addict/Genuinely nice guy

0 · 442 views · located in Helton

a character in “The Age of Gifted”, as played by scoundrelboots



Full Name: Larke Charles Sterling

Nicknames/Aliases: Songbird/Feathers/Lark Starling

Age: 27

Gender: Male

Gift: Life-force transfer, specializing in healing

Loyalty: Erubescan; Prisoner/Researcher

  • 6'2", reasonably muscled build
  • Gaunt, tired facial features; obviously handsome, and more obviously worn
  • Pale skin, with recessed veins and similar marks of hard living
  • Hazel-green eyes and medium blonde hair, rumpled but well-kept
  • Overall good posture and charming demeanor, clearly raised in Erubescan high-society
  • Extremely large wings with tawny and gold feathers; often drag the ground at the tips
  • Prisoner alarm/tracking bracelet around left wrist

Personality: Charming and smooth talking, but honestly well-meaning with a kind heart.

  • Partial medical school training
  • basic combat/ archery skills
  • flight
  • nearly undetectable liar

  • Reluctant to deal damage
  • limited combat experience
  • trusting
  • eager to expect the best in everyone
  • addictive personality/drug habits

Brief History: Larke was born and raised in the Erubescan faction nearly two decades before the war grew hot. His family was wealthy and trained him as a proper Erubescan gentleman, along with his younger brother Aaron. At age 16, he went to college on an accelerated medical track to use his healing gift. Seven years later, his kind heart proved a detriment- He could not handle the stress of facing patient deaths. He developed a drinking problem, and then a narcotics addiction as he tried to live with the pressure of his job.

He was fired and expelled from training, and turned to heroin to feed his addiction. His family turned him out, but his brother remained loyal. Eventually, Larke's influence led Aaron to steal Larke's drugs behind his back, and Aaron accidentally overdosed. Larke found his brother dead, and turned himself in: He was sentenced to 10 years in Erubesco with a service stipulation, charged with possession and manslaughter.

In Erubesco, he was experimented on as his "service." His healing factor was abused and manipulated to force the growth of wings, and after two years of jail time, he was moved into a cell with Wanderer, Drake Coleman. Larke became sympathetic toward the cruel treatment and plight Drake faced, and aided his escape during the Wanderer's raid on the base.

Larke was not able to escape, and reconditioned in training by Erubescan authorities. The intention was for him to fulfill the remainder of his service sentence in combat, but his kind disposition was eventually ruled too much of a battlefield liability. He was transferred to research work, and now aids Oren in the autopsy labs.

Other: Larke is a big squishy pushover who wants everyone to be a good guy.

So begins...

Larke Sterling's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Nicola Varren Character Portrait: Eugene Melberg Character Portrait: Drake Coleman
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#, as written by Hyro
The dark-haired boy had awoken rather early after much tossing and turning in his bed. Or perhaps it only seemed that he had awoken, seeing how he had trouble sleeping throughout most of the night. He had a lot to think about, after all, and not a lot to go off of when it came to solid answers.

His roommate had seemed nice thus far, so that was good. He could only hope he wasn’t disturbing the latter as he moved to the nearest window, especially with it being such an early hour.

It’s just… He wanted to watch the sunrise, that was all.

As he sat on the window sill, one leg propped up and the other on the floor, millions of thoughts reached his head, making it hard for him to focus on the lovely view before him. He had so many questions left, all of them clawing and wracking his brain, destroying any and all chances of a sturdy and substantial conclusion. Being told one could be royalty was… Well, overwhelming. He wasn’t even sure he could take such a role in the first place. Being a leadership position, he certainly didn’t feel qualified, no matter how much free schooling he was expecting to receive in the process.
Not to mention, it would be pretty hard to focus on schooling with everything else going on in his head. The memory block being the biggest hurdle of them all.

He still couldn’t remember a thing.

They said he was in some terrorist group, but… How does one even manage to do that? What interest could he possibly have with terrorists? And mind-manipulators? That sounded simply insane. Maybe a little scary, too. What did they make him do? And more importantly, why him of all people? There was nothing extraordinary about him, so why? What had been their intentions? Did he do anything awful? Had they really planned to use him and throw him away? And why the hell couldn’t he remember a single thing? Surely there should have been bits and pieces, at the very least, but it was all just a haze.

That memory of Larke… The only memory he had thus far. They had been prisoners, from what he could gather. He could sort of make out the pain he’d been in, as well as Larke’s concern. Were they in a militist cell? Among Liberty, perhaps?

That was the only thing that made sense.

His thoughts trailed off pretty abruptly as a slight groan escaped him. He clutched his head with one hand and gripped the window sill with the other, fighting an oncoming migraine. The pulsing and sudden fogginess made it hard to think much further on his amnesia.

What a pain.

Well, whatever. The viceroy had mentioned something about medical reviews or… examinations or something along those lines, and while it felt odd to look forward to anything hosted by Erubesco, some small shred of hope led to the possibility that perhaps he would get some answers there. Maybe they could even help him with this whole amnesia thing he was going through.

This all still felt very strange. Being in Erubesco, living inside the walls...
He felt out of place.
Surely his father was rolling in his grave right now.
The thought of this was satisfyingly spiteful, at least.

As the music came on, followed by a rather formal announcement, the boy listened somewhat absently. He had only really caught the end of it out of sheer amusement.

They were hosting a ball.

Much like Cinderella, Drake had never been allowed to go to such an event. Not that he had much interest in it to begin with.
Then again, as potential future Lord, perhaps he should consider attending just this once.

The setting changes from The Wasteland to The Citadel


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Commander Green
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The berserker sat listening, momentarily silenced by the whole of the story she'd only seen bits of.
Lulu had been punished for not terminating Skip? Skip had been set for terminating? This was a bit of a revelation...and really only served to make her feel more wretched from not people more helpful than she had. Still it told her a lot. It had not just been her that Balthazar had been out to destroy.

When Commander Botrelle went to answer the door, Kora took the opportunity to slip out of the way and pull on some of her cleaner clothing. Still aching all over, she did at least feel a little less pathetic. She was wrapping some adhesive bandages around the burned palms of her hands when Lulu returned.

"Oh...uh...yeah...probably." she responded to the question asking if she could keep food down. What that actually meant was that she hadn't really ingested anything other than painkillers, soda and alcohol in days, but that she'd not been vomiting blood since the day before, so guessed that it was okay.

The Knight set down at the coffee table as she tied the bandages off at her elbow, at least allowing her to get hold of things without the sharp stinging of untreated burns.

"You're right, he did set me up to fail.. but what can I do? Varren wants me out. Thinks I'll be better off at the front. How very magnanimous of him." she muttered, a little bitterly.

It was far from lost on her that Lulu had been re-instated in her post while she was getting unceremoniously booted out of the citadel. She could hardly feel resentment when she knew some of the unpleasantness thar had happened in the interim, but Kora could hazard a guess as to why it was.

"I don't exactly play the popularity game very well and it's not as if I've got too many friends in high places. Considering the things Piper had to say about me I think it's probably only having a foot of height on most Knights that's stopped be getting smacked in the face in the corridors."

Kora sighed, flexing her handss they rested on her lap.
"What am I gonna do, Lu? I think I'm really screwed this time.


Much of the Citadel that morning was cheifly concerned with the coming of the big ball. Commander Green was, of course, invited by default. His rank invited it. However that morning the research head was concerned with rather more pressing matters. Business did not simply end when there was some party on the horizon.

And certain researchers did not stop being captives of groups of fanatical terrorists either.

As the base began to stir, Green was stood within the fortified chamber of the teleportation zone, with its Knights stood guard on the exists and numerous signs bidding for ID and clearance cards.

His rather distinct presence was enough to allow him to enter with a short salute from the guard contingent. Tall, slender, his silvery-white hair shining beneath the halogen bar lights, he was hard not to recognize, even with out the bright, carnivorous eyes like radioactive malachite. The presence of the green-eyed figure also to allowd the man with him to pass without questioning.

That was helpful, as there had already been a fair amount of red tape and hoop-jumping involved to get Larke Sterling cleared to leave the Citadel when he was, by all accounts, supposed to be a prisoner held by Erubescan authority on a fairly long sentence. And year there Commander Green stood, ready to release him out into the Wasteland unaccompanied.

Some might say that that was madness.

Then again, some might also say that what the prisoner was planning to do was madness too, with Green expecting him to face off against a militant cell that had already claimed the lives of many far better prepared troops, let alone steal two people awat from them.

Of course, if Green felt that way about either of these matters, not a single hint of it could be seen in his face as he meticulously outlined the kit he would be sent with....standard field gear as well as an... 'enhanced' tracker in the unlikely event that he were to wander away.

"Now remember." the researcher stated.
"The group in question are not only violent, but very persuasive. If you are not attacked immediately they will most certainly try and manipulate you. I suspect that they will have similarly manipulated Helena, and encouraged her to fear us. Do not let this throw your judgement. Both her life, and the life of Miss Kovalenko depend on your success. I do hope, Mr Sterling, that you feel prepared for the risks of the mission?"

Green could be almost certain that he was not prepared, when so many had been utterly flattened by this persistent little invasive creeper of a group, spreading through the cracks of the Helton rubble. There was a very good chance he was sending this man straight into the fire, though there was no real remorse or concern in the mind of the Commander.

Worst came to worst, it would at least mean they were likely to panic and kill Oren before she gave away too much data.
You used all your options, even if the outcomes weren't always the ideal resolutions.

Green had taken to playing the longer games.

Kovaleko and Sterling were useful to have around, but ultimately disposable.

And he would take Helena eventually. One way or another.

The setting changes from The Citadel to The Wasteland


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Commander Green
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Larke Sterling could count on one hand the number of times someone had called him “brave”: Once, when he was seven, and he offered to be the first to sing at the school talent show. The second was when he was thirteen, and squished a spider for his mother. The third occurred when he had promised to attend a rehabilitation group at twenty-four (though he never did).

The last had been a mere one day ago, when he had offered to take on the wounds of his friend to save the boy’s life.

As he shifted the pack full of medical supplies strapped snugly between his wings and bucked their straps onto his chest, however, the word “stupid” seemed more apt.

He shuffled from foot to foot against the floor of the South Teleport Zone, his hazel-green eyes unwilling to look directly into those of the Commander as he spoke. A golden-colored feather drifted lazily to the floor as Larke checked the support straps around his wings once more; though he was positive they were in place.

Any action to keep his mind from wandering.

The better part of Larke’s evening had been spent scouring over the details of the thick briefing document: It contained extensive reports on Helena’s condition, as well as in-depth profiles for a good number of the terrorists. He was unsure whether to be more concerned over the biographies that were present, or the small asterisk that said “and two to six possible others.”

The worse part of his night was spent trying to avoid an existential crisis in the face of possible suicide.

And also sweating.

Maybe a bit from his eyes.

“I’m prepared, sir,” Larke replied, and the confident baritone timbre gave away none of his internal dread. Perhaps someone would have believed he weren’t nervous, were it not for the incessant fiddling with every piece of equipment on his person.

Neither the firearm holstered at his waist nor the compound bow fastened across his shoulders helped to put his mind at ease.

“I- I’ll report in as soon as I’ve acquired the targets. Sir.”

He stepped back into the main bay, and did not look at the teleporter assigned to transport him to the designated drop point outside of Helton.

Looks of pity were not was his confidence needed at the moment.

He closed his eyes, offered the gesture of the Erubescan salute, and then—


A thousand feet or more above the ground, with the wind whistling against the thick leather of his jacket, screaming in his ears while biting his face with cold... Larke was hurtling toward the ground.


He twisted. His body writhed in mid-air to try and make sense of the strange weight on his back and the disorientation of being poofed into a free-fall with no warning.


With a cracking whoosh, he unfurled his wings like tawny-feathered parachute, launching his body straight upwards on a gust. He grimaced at the unfamiliar yank against his pectoral muscles, and again at the unearthly feeling of the wind pressing up against his belly and legs as his wings generated lift.

“Holy shit,” he breathed, finally able to hear his own voice. The sickening spinning in his vision settled after a moment or two, and he beat his wings to keep up with the air current below him. He looked left, and then right, still somehow taken by the presence of the feathered appendages that extended almost four meters on either side of him.

And then he glanced around.

The ground that extended for miles in all directions was yellow-green with scrub brush, occasional crossed by a decaying strip of asphalt or a crumbling ruin. The air was as clear as could be expected in the Ash, and smelled vaguely of running water, and something acrid.

There was a fierce breeze that rolled over his body and tousled his sandy hair back from his eyes.

But he did not have the luxury of dwelling on the first free air he had felt in years; the tracker strapped to his ankle was more than enough reminder of that.

He reached up onto his forehead and pulled down the scoped goggles that were strapped there to cover his eyes, and took a more scrutinizing look around at his surroundings. According to the compass in the corner of his vision, he was heading Southeast at approximately thirty miles an hour.

On the horizon, he could make out (far more clearly than he was comfortable with,) the decimated city of Helton.

Several quick snaps of his wings lifted him higher into the atmosphere, hopefully enough that his shape as a person would be less easily deciphered as he made his approach.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers
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“Theyr'e right. You won’t find much,” Toby said. None that didn't belong to the Wanderers, anyway. He might have felt more generous to share if this Jake was desperate, starving, or anything less than confident…bordering arrogant. “And I’m—Toby, by the way,” he added guardedly. But politely. There was no harm in that. But no full names. Not necessary. Besides, there was a moderate possibility of an Ashlander associating a very distinct reputation with ‘the Schippers brothers.’

Toby was about to volunteer to help show Jake around when his pupils constricted. His stomach lurched with vicarious alarm when Larke nearly fell. He felt someone who was afraid, dizzy, nervous, someone airborne. He recognized the person's Gift and emotions like a fingerprint, vaguely yet intimately. Toby pinpointed the memory. He had never met this person, yet he had felt this person’s immense pain, one of the voices in a chorus of screams that had almost broken him. Someone in the fire at Erubesco.

His strange relief that the individual was alive was soon overshadowed. An Erubescan. Since no natural flight Gift appeared in Larke, Toby naturally assumed that the intruder was on some kind of aircraft.

His hand shot to his sidearm and his look at Jake turned to a frown. Toby didn’t trust coincidences. “You sure you’re alone, there, Jake?”
/Dawn?/ he called mentally for confirmation before he said something to alarm the others.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers
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There were several certainties out in the waste.

There was, for instance, the certainty that the sun would set in the west. There was also a certainty that one needed water, food, and shelter to live, or that it was hot or if it was raining. A mind reader was allowed a few more certainties, however. Like being certain of when your travelling partners were worrying about supplies, or thinking of how easy it could be to slit your throat in your sleep.

Of course, there were many uncertainties to balance the truths out, but Dawn could allow herself to be sure of a few things, like how this child with the mind of a man had come to them alone. The sudden hint of a presence in the horizon, however, made her much more doubtful. Startled, she reached out to try and enter this new stranger’s mind, but it was still too far for her to properly get a read on. Jake’s mind, however, was much closer, and she quickly dove back in, picking at the cluster of thoughts to try and find anything she might have missed.

No, she thought back. It isn’t his partner or anything- I mean, I can’t find anything about a partner coming here with him… Dawn gave another pass of Jake’s mind, brushing through it with a fine toothed comb. I think he has just about as much idea of who this person is as we do. It might just be another stranger, but…

She drew back again, lips pursed in an effort to keep them from drawing into a proper frown. Another stranger just seemed a bit too coincidental, but unless Jake had a mental Gift, there was nothing…

Dawn suddenly paused, stiffening slightly. However, they had, admittedly, been getting an influx of unexpected guests lately. Her own thoughts returned to the train they had been on when the first visitor had arrived, and she cast a wary glance over to Toby.

Coincidences happened, but if Erubesco had been after them for this long, she highly doubted that they would just give up now.

Nevertheless, she quickly expanded the net of her broadcast once again, nestling back into the group’s heads. We have another problem, Dawn began. There’s someone else coming now- in the sky. I checked him, a mental indication towards Jake, again, and he doesn’t have anything about this, but there’s still someone else out there. I can’t get a read on them yet, but I should once they get close enough.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers
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Before Mina could make out all that she thought of this Jake character, Dawn was in her head yet again.

With more bad news.

Mina was careful not to let her eyes wander immediately upwards; whether or not the newcomers were in league with one another, it would be easy for Jake to use the confusion caused by an additional variable to make a move. She leaned her chest forward to form an arc in her spine, and moved her left hand to the small of her back as if rubbing out a pinched muscle.

The backs of her fingers brushed over the grip of the pistol at her waist.

“Like the others said,” she stated, a grimacing smile gracing her features as she let her hand rest behind her, “I’m afraid there ain’t much left, save for stiff mattresses and bones.”

Her left hand came up to shield the light from her eyes as she spoke, and she moved with intention to watch the sky, checking the position of the sun, “And I’d say it’s still a mite early in the day for you to be looking for a night’s shelter. So, ain’t a whole lot of much for you here, save for an escort in one end of the premises and out the other.”

In the clouds. On my one. Coming right at us, she warned to the network.

There was the faint shape of a bird just a smudge too big, or perhaps to steady, or maybe even too high to be a bird. It was hard for Mina to take her eyes off of it, but she turned her attention back to Jake before she had lingered long enough to give away the check.

Whatever the thing was, it was moving toward Helton with a very deliberate purpose.

We gotta handle this kid before we’ve got bigger problems. Call the others to handle the flier.

Mina turned her back to Jake (again, against all instinct, and nodded forward for him to follow. “Come on, then. I’m happy to walk you along through. Ain’t got much to offer, neither, but I can fish you some ration packs out of my bag along the way.”

The setting changes from The Wasteland to Helton


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers
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Mina whipped around at the sound of footfalls behind her, only taking in Rei’s voice a second after her pistol had been drawn.

And in the span of about ten seconds, the effort spent hiding her weapon and the fact that they were expecting an unwanted incoming was wasted. She tucked the gun back into her waist and cast Reith a nod, before training her eyes back onto Jake.

“Listen, sugar,” she said, taking a step forward into his space, “We’ve got bigger problems than you at the moment, so I suggest you get along out from underfoot. I’ve not got the best track record on watching my crossfire, so back the way you came’s gonna treat us all better in the long run.”

Poor hospitality taken care of, she brought her gaze back to watching the encroaching figure. “We all saw it, Reith. Mr. Talin or Schippers… You got anything to tell us about our new friend? Because I’m not a fan of the way he’s coming in.”

Then, back to the mental channel, ‘Trying to keep the Mind-Manipulator card in the back pocket, for now. But if you’ve got anything, please do share. Or... Sera? You think you can cast some light the wrong way and hide us?’


Larke, meanwhile, was wholly unaware of the situation he was drifting dangerously near to. The healer had been holding himself afloat on a warm updraft, keeping as hidden as possible behind a cloud. While there were peeks he managed to catch below, the small gathering in Helton was all but impossible to make out given his near snow blindness from the thick sheet of white he was gliding over.

The courage to swoop lower and get a better read was still beyond him; perhaps if he flew more directly over, he could descend on the back gate and take them by surprise?

The setting changes from Helton to The Wasteland


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Toby Schippers
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We’ll see. Talin?

On it

“I’m going to check the radar” the speedster announced casually, strolling away from the group. As soon as he was out of sight, he broke into a run, and was on the roof in seconds, gazing down, sharing the semi aerial view with the mind linked wanderers. Mostly for Sera’s benefit, she could create her illusion now. It was from this height, however, that he succeeded in catching a proper glimpse of their flyer, causing him to blink in shock.

It’s odd… he broadcast, tying together the image and knowledge that came with it. It says it’s a…healer? Not quite, it’s how he’s trained though, but no flight gift. Toby, do you get that?

Sera, meanwhile, directed lights to create an empty street below when looking down, although not perfect without being able to see it herself. Should we try to ground him? the young woman asked seriously, while visibly deferring to a leader with her body language.

The setting changes from The Wasteland to Helton


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Reith
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Toby's eyes locked skyward. The closer the Erubescan flew, the more accurately Toby could track the movement, almost imagine a sillouette through the haze. He half-nodded at Talin's note. I thought the same. I thought there might be an aircraft, maybe, but...

There. A shadow, just for an instant, through the clouds. Like an angel of death. Maybe a bit of a clumsy angel of death.

Toby lined the beam of his arm to the tip of his .357 up to his eyeline. The heavy artillery, the rifles and submachines guns Montana had provided, lay back at base. With one shot of the .357, Toby could reliably shatter a bottle at 100 yards. Semi-reliably at 150. If he was lucky, 200. Larke would be a lot farther than that when he passed at his closest, but he was, even without his broad wingspan, a lot bigger than a bottle. Plus, Toby couldn't link his Gift to a bottle.

He felt perspiration on his forehead. What if he was a defector? Dread at the idea of feeling Larke spiral down leeched into his mental announcement: I think I have a shot.

He broadcast it as though he would ask for permission, wanting someone else to make that decision, wanting to defer like Sera. As if there was any time for permission or any authority from whom to get it. The stranger would only get farther out of range and closer to the others at the base. Toby had learned by now to somewhat detangle his emotions from others', but if he did that, he would have to disconnect entirely, and then his aim would suffer from the poor visibility. So Toby sent out more mental fibers instead, until he could feel exactly where Larke was - and could feel the pressure of the air under his wings and the moisture of the clouds, the nervousness, determination, and that heady soul-wrenching fuel that could only be loyalty. This man wasn't a defector.

Toby's lip quivered, but his hand didn't. Aiming a few feet high to adjust for the distance, he pulled the trigger, emptying his five remaining hollow-point rounds at a steep angle into the sky. He would be happy to make even one hit.
If happy was the word for it.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Reith
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Larke blinked hard as a bright flicker crossed his vision— a flash of light from below that seemed to originate from nowhere. He squinted through the film of his goggles, but found nothing save for rubble and Ash in the streets of Helton beneath him.

The stillness of it was chilling: It cut through the layers of his flight jacket and traveled over his skin until the hair on his arms prickled as if caught by a static cling. Rushing wind dampened any sound for miles.

He did not hear the shots leave the gun. He did feel one burry itself in his defensive vest, casting him back with a thunk. A rush of air whizzed past his head, and another somewhere near him.

And then something far more direct: A sharp, fervid pain ripped through his right wing, setting ablaze nerves he never knew he had. Feather, skin, and muscle were all ravaged into meat, and his hollow humerus shattered like a clay pigeon. As the shot crumpled inside of his body, spidering cracks splinted from his shoulder blade to the very tip of his wing.

The wind stole the scream from his lungs.

Reflexively, the wing pulled into his body just as the compromised bone snapped from the sheer air pressure rattling against it. It mangled itself in the blustering squalls, folding and twisting into a gore-splatted work of modernist origami. As Larke plummeted toward the ground, his vision swam with black and pain. There was no differentiating between his spinning vision and spinning body as he tried his damned to show his descent.

The air pressure changed, and he was sure one of his eardrums burst.

He did not know whom he was expecting to answer his cry, nor what he gasping for as his arms flailed in search of anything to hold, but his instinct to live disregarded this logic; a bird beating its wings even as the snake gobbled its head. There was no directing this fall, but rather a shallow hope that his remaining wing could provide enough air resistance to break it.

In a horrid moment of clarity, he was struck by the sudden realization that he was going to die.

And then he was struck by the ground.

More precisely, it was the pavement of a road twenty or so yards behind his shooter.

His body stone-skipped across the fractured earth, the concrete ripping flesh and clothing alike his skeleton bashed against it. While the goggles had shielded his face, it was evident that not much else on his body had been spared damage in the ordeal.

Blood flesh flecked the Ash around the Erubescan’s unconscious form, and his backpack had split open to reveal a load of partially broken medical supplies.

A shower of wayward blonde feathers still floated on the breeze, settling long after the man who had shed them


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Reith
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Toby contorted with the scream the wind had stolen from Larke.

His spine arched with the explosion of pain in the wing he didn't have, then reversed in a fetal curl as desperate panic flooded in, twisting like a werewolf just before its first full moon. For a few seconds, he felt everything his target felt, plus a pinch of standard-fare guilt. Dizzy, Toby tried to untie his consciousness from the Erubescan before he hit the ground with same urgency he'd try to untie himself from railroad tracks in the face of an oncoming train. He didn't have time to unsnare himself completely. He watched Larke plummet and felt the crunch of the landing, and very nearly blacked out. Repressing a whimper, Toby forced his shaking limbs to understand they had not in fact been crushed after a drop from the equivalent of a small skyscraper and that he didn't need to limp, before he started walking through the snowfall of feathers.

Like any good dog on a bird hunt, Toby moved quickly toward Larke's crumpled body.

Though he didn't know whether he intended to ensure death for the wretch or to see if there was any life left to save.