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The Age of Gifted

Helton

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a part of The Age of Gifted, by Miss Echo.

A nice safe place to rest... If you don't mind death, decay, and skeletons.

ianna_334 holds sovereignty over Helton, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

348 readers have been here.

Setting

Once one of the first Gifted Cities built after the Gifted-Human Conflict, Helton was taken over by Erubesco soon after the start of the Faction W-r and converted to the most advanced training facility of its time - and its population forcefully recruited as Knights. It only served Erubesco for two years before an angry Curse-Gifted lashed out, and made the city uninhabitable to Erubesco Knights by means of a curse that ended them in four hours. Now Helton is a city of loss and decay, where the remains of the trapped Knights can still be found underfoot. With its location unknown to Liberty and untouchable by Erubesco, it is a favorite resting spot for weary travelers, but the general unease inspired by the area has driven possible inhabitants away.
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Helton

A nice safe place to rest... If you don't mind death, decay, and skeletons.

Minimap

Helton is a part of The Wasteland.

19 Characters Here

Mina Aldridge [20] "If it don't give you a heart attack on the spot, it ain't sweet enough."
Toby Schippers [19] The stuttering one with the sweatervest.
Dawn Memoli [16] "Tomorrow will be a better day."
Kayla Chandler [14] The wolf shifter is shy and quiet...until she bites
Clockwork Pelacour [12] "No side is strictly 'right' or 'wrong'; only a blurred grey."
Gale Eden [11] "'Quoth the Raven; 'Nevermore.'"
Soren Pelacour [11] "A good act can never drown a bad, although the former is still necessary."
Seraphina Iclosis [9] "I can still see, you know."
Talin Melardos [9] "I'm pretty sure this isn't what they meant by 'Live fast, die young' but okay..."
Jake Vale [8] "Looks can be decieving. That does not just apply to me, but all finds a scavanger may come across".

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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Mina approached with the little party wearing her usual hospitable smile, honey brown eyes giving away little of the survey she was taking of the newcomer: She waited for the moments his gaze was on one or all of the others to take careful inventory of the weight of his pockets and the lay of his clothing.

Not that being armed was exactly a crime in the Wastes.

Moreover, it was good to see that the young Mr. Eden had not been granted the chance to inflict any injury.

“Mornin’,” she responded to the general greetings being exchanged, offering no names just as none were given. “Ain’t a bad day for passing through,” the doctor added, taking the opportunity to glance out past the gates for any further backup or secrets the boy could have been hiding, “Nicer than some we’ve had out this way.”

Her stance was open and relaxed, with her arms at her sides and her weight shifted onto one hip in a relaxed posture. Neither the slow, calm gestures that punctuated her words nor the easy drawl with which she spoke betrayed how acutely aware she was of her own weapon. It was a half-second from her reach, to be precise, with one more second needed to flick the chamber closed and ready the first shot.

“Sorry to say that there ain’t a helluva lot left in here to ‘pass through,’ though. Not that we’d mind escorting you, though. Ain’t any one of us can take a quarrel with someone for being an Asher, and it ain’t a problem to keep some company for a short meeting, Mr….?”

She certainly did not want to escort him through the city, but it beat the alternative of letting him wander past unchecked. Their numbers may have been enough to provide confidence and deter most, but the newcomer seemed unfazed by the small party that had converged.

It was disconcerting at best.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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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?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Reith Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Reith Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Seraphina Iclosis Character Portrait: Larke Sterling Character Portrait: Talin Melardos Character Portrait: Jake Vale Character Portrait: Reith Character Portrait: Gale Eden Character Portrait: Toby Schippers Character Portrait: Mina Aldridge
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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.

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