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Maxwell Lessard

0 · 478 views · located in Luskonios

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Lialore

Groups

An up and coming family that seeks to spread its influence. As individuals they have their own goals and desires for the family and Wing City, but as a group, power is the name of the game.
Citizens of the Lutetian City State of Issunar

Description

Image

Image
Full name: Maxwell Lessard
Nickname: Max
Age: 22
Height: 6’2”
Build: Heavyset, broad shouldered
Eye colour: Blue
Hair colour: Blonde

Origins: Maxwell Lessard, or better known as simply ‘Max’, is the illegitimate son of Leandra Lessard. Although they never spoke much about his father as it was always an uncomfortable subject, Leandra had led him to understand that he had been a werewolf. The short love affair resulted in Leandra being disowned. After being written out of the finances, she had nowhere to go, and so turned to the slums of Lutetia City. This was no place for a pregnant woman, and Leandra sought help from her brother, whom she had always been close to. He too turned her away, leaving her desperate and disheartened.

Begging was not profitable when taking into account the lost self-respect. But for a while, joint with the pickpocketing, it was enough to sustain her. However, after being brought up in a wealthy household she had acquired skills which were desirable. Being particularly talented in the arts – mainly the visual arts and music – she was able to scrape a living through tutoring. With a reasonably steady income and plenty of pity taken, she was able to rent herself an extremely modest room above the Vargeras scene.

Max was born healthy. Within the next three years Leandra had worked her way up a little in the world and was able to rent, and eventually buy, a small house in Mervilleux. Max’s upbringing was not a deprived one. He was mostly happy; though he harboured bitter feelings towards the family and father he never knew for the strife they had caused his mother over something which he considered trivial. The relationship between him and his mother was always a close one. She often suffered bouts of depression and was sickly. She relied on him quite a bit.

Leandra Lessard passed away when Maxwell was 17, suffering from a disease that had been spotted too late after helping clear up after a flood.

Max’s reaction was to fly off the rails. The next year he spent getting into trouble. He mainly blamed his uncle for the weak state of his mother, even though she had been sickly ever since she was a child. All sorts of sour thoughts dominated his mind for a while. He spent some time trying to track down his uncle with no luck. The same went for his father. What few friends he did have found that they were frightened of him now that only the darkest of ideas held any meaning to him. He was alone. Totally.

Sometimes, Max liked drinking down in Vargeras. This marked the year since his mother's passing. He’d made a few acquaintances when searching for his father and liked the general dangerousness of it. Though it was more likely that he was searching for his identity, for something to define him. One night, in a dingy bar owned by what he understood as one of the more lowly packs, he ended up getting himself irresponsibly involved in a spot of brawling. It was safe to say he was crazily out of his depth. He could handle himself reasonably well with his knives and fists, and might make a somewhat formidable figure by these skills and his size… if this were not Lutetia, supernatural stronghold. Max was thrown out onto the street. No help was offered, just a few curious glances. He had to drag himself back home.

And still, he kept returning. Scenes such as that weren’t uncommon, though none hit him as hard – mentally and physically – as the first one.

4 months after first wandering into the Vargeras scene, Max found himself in The Den. He felt that his presence was causing quite a bristle. But for some reason unknown to Max, the atmosphere was ordered to calm and he was allowed to stay, thanks to the pack leader, Baron. He began to frequent The Den, and eventually made friends. This change lit up a new path for him, and he left the sulking and sorriness for a lighter way. His time at The Den and eventually, the job offer, brought him closer to becoming his normal self again.

Over the following years Max was to become more accepted within the pack, and involved in more of their business, their secrets. And yet, he was still painfully ordinarily human. He felt useless. All suggestions of them turning him were met usually with a sort of amusement or indifference. Max knew that others could be turned to join, though it was rare. Was he thinking too highly of himself? Did he really mean little to them? Just a pet. As his time amongst the pack nears 5 years without any progress on the issue, he begins to grow impatient and distant.

So begins...

Maxwell Lessard's Story

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Character Portrait: Baron Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Lialore
Max was late. And he couldn’t find it in him to care.

He shouldered through the entrance to The Den a solid thirty minutes after his shift was supposed to have started. His hands were in his pockets, chin tucked in, gait sloppy. The haze was disturbed as he stomped in, manner not unlike a teenager who had just been denied his petty little heart’s desire.

Max had good reason enough, so he thought. After selling the last of his mother’s possessions, he’d made his way straight to work. If you could call it ‘selling’, more like; ‘giving away’ or ‘being absolutely conned out of a decent sale by scrounging necromancers.’ His lips twisted at the thought. The beloved piano should have fetched way more than he’d sold it for.

On reaching the counter, he flipped up the section used to gain access to behind the bar then hesitated when his sweep of the bar brought his eyes to a resting spot – Baron’s table. He had to bite back a dramatic sigh, blowing lips and all.

The thought of having to narrate his personally awful day made him uncomfortable. But it wasn’t just that. Meeting the man’s gaze brought more frustration. More feelings of inadequacy. Usually, he’d be able to scorn himself. Rein himself in. Ungrateful, Max. Not today. He was too far gone in the self-pity which his mind had been indulging in, the sale of the piano having been the catalyst.

Snapping the section of the counter back down with a sharp bang, he gathered all the respect he could muster and stepped through the smoky clouds towards the Pack Leader. He’d planned on demanding answers, perhaps throwing in some points about how bad his life was, how he felt useless, like a nobody, like he was fading away…

All that came out once he’d entered Baron’s aura was: “Sorry I’m late.”

His heart jumped up into his mouth. Do it.

“Is-“ Max cleared his throat, balled his hands up at his sides and took a deep breath. “Is there something wrong?” His voice came out sounding exasperated. “It’s been five years. I thought I’d at least get a-“

It came out in a flare of anger.
“Where’s my promotion? Have I not proven my worth? My loyalty? I can't do anything more, Baron, not unless you change me. I want to be something more.”

Setting

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Character Portrait: Baron Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard Character Portrait: Carlisle
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#, as written by Tiko
A hush fell over the room as everyone turned their eyes to Max and Baron, and the silence was broken only by the clacking of pool balls that seemed to resound eerily loud in the absence of any other noise, but soon the pool balls fell still also.

Baron took one last drag of his cigarette before blowing it out slowly as he stubbed it out on an ashtray sitting next to him. He followed it with a sip of his glass before he leaned forward to look Max dead in the eye.

"Is that so?" he asked. "Tell me, what exactly have you done for this pack? Get your ass beat down from poking your nose where it doesn't belong? Showing up late to work?"

There was bite to his words, and something about Max's request had riled him. It was difficult to say why though, and he didn't seem intent on sharing his reasoning. Instead he leaned back in his chair and took another sip of his drink before dismissing Max with a wave of his hand.

Another man approached Max from behind and clapped a hand down on his shoulder.

"Come on kid, not tonight," he said as he nodded towards the bar where Max was supposed to be working as of a half hour ago.

The voice belonged to Carlisle, an older member of the pack and sometimes friend to Max. He had been with the Bloodstone pack going on thirty years now, but he wasn't of the local bloodlines and served as something of an oddity. He had in fact found his way to Lutetia all the way from Quelaya.

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Character Portrait: Baron Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard Character Portrait: Carlisle
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#, as written by Lialore
Baron’s apparent carelessness only infuriated him more. His smooth, time-consuming movements had Max gritting his teeth. He didn’t notice the stares that were turned on them; his world consisted of only himself, his annoyance, and the man who - at the moment - he blamed for it all.

He didn’t just want to be something more.
He felt like he needed to be something more.

From the Pack Leader’s demeanour after his outburst, Max had already guessed what was coming. It didn’t hurt any less. The reality check sent him spiralling back to earth. He felt some shame creeping in at how he’d handled the situation. Still, he held Baron’s regard as best as he could despite the wave of his hand. Max had already hurdled the immediate intimidation; he intended to run as far as he could before it caught up with him. Though he was well aware it could end in a good black eye or a few broken ribs, or worse.

Get your ass beat down from poking your nose where it doesn’t belong?
Where it doesn’t belong?
Doesn’t belong.


The hand that came down on his shoulder reminded him that he had an audience. Max collected himself. Calmer, he continued in a more hushed voice, addressing them both.

“Not tonight? When?” He said, eyes flitting to Carlisle then returned to Baron. It came out in a soft hiss, only slightly venomous.
“You know I wouldn’t get beat down if you made me one of you. I don’t want to, just, be an errand runner; shining your glasses, pouring your liquor. Is that all you saw in me when you took me in?” Max unclenched his hands and turned the palms upwards as his tone grew pained and somewhat pleading.
“This is all I have. Let me make something of it. I won’t let you down.”

He didn’t know if Baron cared. He didn’t know if Baron was even actively listening.
Max lightly shrugged off Carlisle’s good-natured hand and turned for the bar.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Baron Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Tiko
Baron's glass was slammed down on the table and he was on his feet before Max could turn from him. There was a growl upon his lips as he grabbed Max by the back of his jacket, half shoving, half dragging him towards the cellar door. Jerking the door open, he shoved Max down the steps towards the cold hard pavement below before following him down.

None followed the pair down and Max would find himself alone with Baron in a larger cellar lined with wine racks and casks of alcohol. At the far side of the cellar stood a large cage of sorts that had been partitioned into two cells. It was this that Baron was showing Max as he dragged him back to his feet and shoved his face up against the bars. Even after having been thoroughly cleaned, the lingering smell of bodily excrement was still detectable - as where the signs of rusty blood stains on the bars and pavement of the cell floors.

"Is this what you want?" Baron growled lowly. "Living down here in your own shit and piss for three weeks while your body rips itself apart and you experience the worst possible agony you have ever endured? If the pain doesn't kill you, you'll be wishing it would. And even after you endure all of that, you still might not survive your first turning. Is that what you're asking for?" Baron growled.

He pulled Maxwell back from the cage and gave him a shove back towards the stairs.

"Get out."

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Character Portrait: Baron Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Lialore
Max was literally wrenched out of his self-pity by the scruff of his neck.

He stumbled down the first few stairs which led into the cellar, but he couldn’t regain his balance from the shove and ended up rolling down the last half of the flight ungracefully. Knowing better than to curse or agitate Baron any further, he started to get to his feet in grim silence, without a single complaint. He didn’t have to struggle much as Baron gave him a helping hand by dragging him back up and kindly directing him to where he wanted Max to go with rough hands which mashed his face up against the cage. Now he put up some fight, trying to push his head away from the rusty metal which pressed into his flesh. He didn’t like to think what could’ve come into contact with it. Too bad Baron gave him a lovely poetic confirmation of his badly suppressed thoughts.

That was what he wanted. That was what he was asking for.

How could he explain it? This wasn’t a choice. He couldn’t carry on as he was. For such a long time his life had been nothing but the pack, they were the closest thing to a family he’d ever had, and Max had no one else. His future depended on the pack. His future depended on being turned - or else remain stuck in time. It was what he wanted. He didn’t see why the fact that he could die even mattered when it was his decision, a decision he had made years ago. Besides, why should Baron care so much? Yet here he was, being denied for reasons he thought were unclear. Whether he lived or died, Max believed wasn’t up to Baron. Whether he was a pack member, however, was. And it seemed like Baron had already practically made that decision.

Or so Max had thought.
But he was being deprived of full membership.

Max snarled upon his release, stumbling back a few steps before steadying himself and squaring up.

Get out.
Doesn’t belong.


After a moments quiet, he snorted, both hysteric and infuriated at being - what he believed - led on under false pretenses.
“Guess I really don’t belong.” And never will.

He started up the stairs with his head turned down, shrugging about in his jacket to get it back into position after being manhandled so. Max was planning on leaving The Den for the last time in his wave of deceit.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Baron Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Script
"Max." A calm and cool voice cut into Max's hearing as he stormed out of the cellar and towards the door. The white-haired Adair - generally referred to as 'Snow' by other pack members, a nickname given to him when he was a kid for the colour of his hair, his pale skin and his arctic origins - fixed the younger man with a cold stare.

"It looks to me by the way you're going for that door, that you're about to do something stupid." The white-haired young man folded his arms and raised a questioning eyebrow, "It also looks like you could use a drink. I'm buying, if you stick around."

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Lialore
Snow’s voice brought Max to a hedgy standstill. He was aware of the eyes that had followed him from the doorway of the cellar. Some pairs held him with a sorriness, others curiosity, more perhaps amusement. A few might’ve been disappointed that he’d returned relatively unscathed. But the chatter and clinking was returning to The Den.

He’d already done something stupid.
The sigh that escaped from Max’s lips was one of redundancy.
“I don’t think that’s-“

The force with which the door was flung open caused even one of the most hardy packs some discomfort.

None felt as uneasy as Max did, though. As the werewolf moved in, the damned pup-hopeful fucker who had pissed Baron off, that being Max, sidled into the shadows. Ragenard’s presence was usually an intimidating one; importance tinted with danger. His current state only intensified this. The patrons were momentarily subdued by such an aura. Max only caught a quiet, low impressed whistle from near the entrance. At Ragenard’s final demand, the member who was still working behind the bar - thanks to Max - jerked into action and disappeared.

“I really don’t think that’s a good idea.” Max murmured to Snow.

He was preparing to slip out onto the street when the Pack Leader returned, announcing the run.

What followed was nothing Max hadn’t experienced before. But now he felt detached as he watched. A week ago, had this happened, he might’ve been wondering how the change would affect him, whether he’d be more powerful than these who transformed before him. In the earlier years he’d sometimes take to the roofs to watch their progress in boyish awe.
Now all he felt was bitterness.

The wolves departed.

“Please, Snow, fund the drowning of my sorrows.” He said, grim in his sarcasm.

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Script
Snow observed the forceful entry of Ragenard silently and without flinching. If he was uneasy or alarmed by the yelling and thrashing about, he didn't show it. He watched the man until he retreated to his corner booth, and turned back to Max in time to catch his murmur of disapproval. Before he could reply, Baron reemerged, and announced his run. The offer might have tempted him were he not preoccupied, but he had to deal with Max. Running off with the pack would achieve the exact opposite.

Finally, it seemed as though the Den was to return to its regular goings on for long enough for him to get a word in. "Take a breath, let it sit for a while. Doing anything drastic now, while your mind is fogged over, won't end well." he said.

It was a line of thinking that was typical of Snow. Whilst he by no means lacked warmth in his socialising and friendships, where many of the pack were emotionally charged and volatile, he was more than capable of being detached, calculating and coldly logical.

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Lialore
Max found himself letting out a long breath which he hadn’t realised he’d been holding whilst more writhed into their menacing forms. With both Baron and Ragenard off the premises, he was reflecting some. Snow had been speaking sense. As always. Instead of heading to the bar, where he was supposed to be working, Max motioned for Snow and sat down at the nearest empty table. Short glasses sat mostly drained of liquor on the table and he moved them out of the way with a sweep of his arm. Just another sign that he wasn’t doing his job.

If there was someone he could confide in and receive some decent, unbiased advice; he was about to have a conversation with him.

Max didn’t bother to hide the dejection written all over his face as he propped his elbows onto the polished wood and worked his fingertips against his temples.
“I spose you guessed it was a no.” he croaked then let out a chuckle at his own stupidity. “Don’t know what I was thinking. Spent years working up to that moment and now look. All those ideas, those dumb ideas about me being turned were all wrong. Sure set myself up in quite the illusion. He doesn’t give two shits.” The hysteric laughter threatened to return but he cleared his throat instead and sat back in the chair, dropping his hands into his lap and regarding Snow with sad eyes.

“So, he told me to get out, anyway. I won’t be here by the time he gets back. I fucked up.”
‘Fuck him’ another part of Max wanted to say. He didn’t. Not just because he was surrounded by werewolves who could give him a good crushing for the disrespect, but he still had immense gratefulness and reverence for the man who had saved him from his slippy descent all those years ago even if that was hard to feel right now. But over the last few months, and especially right now, Max had been left to fall. He didn’t think Baron would be throwing down the rope at all, not after that fiasco.

He grimaced.

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Script
"You think that's why he won't turn you?" Snow folded his arms as he sat down, "Because he doesn't give a shit? You're wrong. If he didn't give a shit, he'd turn you and not care whether you survived the night. Being turned kills as many people as it transforms. The people who it transforms aren't the same person afterwards."

He met the eyes of the bartender and beckoned for drinks. He didn't much care what drinks they were. "Did he tell you not to come back?" Snow's eyes fixed on Max's. "No, he didn't. He didn't want to deal with you being in his face about this, but that isn't him kicking you to the curb. Baron doesn't do that, not without a damn good reason."

The bartender covering for Max brought over a bottle of whiskey and a pair of tumblers. Snow nodded, passing over money, before splashing out a draught for each of them. He downed his, before letting out a sigh. "I don't give a fuck whether you're a werewolf or not, Max. You're my packmate. You're one of us. So swallow that lump in your throat. I've only got so many heartfelt words in me before I'll start feeling like I'm going soft."

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Lialore
“I’m sick of being this person. He doesn’t care enough to take into consideration what I want. This is my life.”

Max knew of the dangers. Hell, he’d seen people turning, heard their screams, and experienced their rebirth. Baron’s harsh reminder still hadn’t deterred him. Surely the fact that he still wanted this to be his destiny showed the sheer amount conviction he held; how much he needed this.

He wanted to look away as Snow gave his version of reasons for Baron’s behaviour, feeling ashamed. Snow was right to have the upmost respect for Baron and what he did for the pack. When his drink arrived he picked it up in a tense hand and took a sip, letting the whiskey burn along with his frustration.

Kind words like this were rare to come by in an environment where poweress was so highly regarded. But, they always managed to come about when it mattered the most to packmates, when you were one of them. One of us. To be receiving such treatment had him rethinking things, yet again.

“He didn’t tell me not to come back. But I don’t think I should, anyway. I was suffering this daily grind with the idea of becoming something more, Snow. And that’s not going to happen.” He took a nostalgic look about The Den.

Max swallowed the lump in his throat and smiled kindly at his friend, a necessary sorrow taking over him.

“I’m done. I love you, I’m grateful for everything that the pack has done for me so far. But if there’s nothing more… I’m done. Staying around, watching the pack succeed and develop… and having no actual, useful part in it, ever? Realising that means I’m done.”

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Script
"You're ... done?" Snow repeated, disbelief evident in his voice. "Max, listen to me, you don't have to be changed to have a part in the pack. You're so hung up on the idea of wanting to be something different, or 'more'. You don't have to be that, it's who you are that makes you one of us, not what. Why can't you get that through your damned thick skull?"

The paler young man ran a hand through his hair, "Uhg, c'mon, don't do this. Man, you can't just ... walk! This is your home, our home. Whose ass am I going to kick at pool every night if you're gone? Who's going to sit and pretend they're not enjoying stupid corny movies with me? C'mon ... you belong here."

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Lialore
“I do have to be that. It’s part of who I am, who I want to be.”
Done.

Snow was making this more difficult than it had to be. He hated the look on his face, those practically pleading eyes. Max felt like a bad person. Gulping from his glass, he tried to keep the reminiscing of his time with the pack at bay. That was it, it seemed like it was already over.

“I’m not going to join a fucking vamp clan, mate.” Max smiled warmly.
After pushing his now empty glass away, he organised the collar of his jacket, indicating that he was preparing to leave.

“Not done with you, Snow. Just… this whole…” He blew out a sigh then got to his feet, stool scraping out behind him. “You know where I am if you need me. Sure you'll find someone to fill the void anyway. Just know that they'll never have hair as good as me."

His apartment in Vargeras was a dusty, uncared for place. In a while it wouldn’t be his at all. Without any income, since he was walking, he’d be out on the streets soon enough. No matter, he’d manage. He'd scrape by somehow.

It was time for a re-evaluation.

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Script
Snow's heart sank as he realised he wasn't going to change Max's mind. "It won't be the same without you, Max." he said, standing himself. "Just don't end up in a gutter somewhere, for fuck's sake."

He placed a hand on Max's shoulder, "You'd better stay in touch. And you know I've still got your back if you need anything." he said, shaking his head. "I still think you're an idiot. But it's your decision to make... I hope you find what you're looking for. If you need help, just give me a call."

Grimacing, he let out a heavy sigh before releasing his grip on Max's shoulder. "This isn't goodbye." he said.

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Lialore
"I'll try not to." Max grinned, all teeth, and returned the friendly gesture, his fingers curling to take a firm grip on Snow's shoulder. He gave it a bit of a shake then nodded his head slowly and sadly, meeting those expressive eyes which he currently thought were full of honesty. "It is my decision to make. Exactly." said Max, referring to more than what Snow had just confirmed. "Here for you too, bud, always." He lowered his arm in unison with his friend then shoved the end into his pocket along with the other one. His stance was awkward, tense, like he was being forced to do something that he really did not want to.

Snow's last words had Max's sorrow surging back.

He could take it all back, forget about his juvenile wishes. He could continue working at the bar. Even if it was all he'd ever do, he'd still be surrounded by friends; accepted.
But that couldn't be all he wanted from life.

"Goodbye" he managed with one last whisper of a smile.

Max left The Den, stealing into the newly turned night without a backwards glance.
Emerging from the haze, he was able to see everything a little too clearly.

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Character Portrait: Snow Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard
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#, as written by Script
"For now." Snow added softly as Max was turning away. His voice was momentarily unsteady.

He watched as Max walked to the door, then a few moments later stepped after him. He caught the door before it closed and stepped out onto the threshold. He opened his mouth to call after him, but stopped before the words left his mouth. He bit his tongue and watched as Max disappeared into the night.

After he was long gone, only then did he speak.

"Fuck." Snow punched the door frame, violently. At least one of his fingers broke.

One of the other pack members came to the door. "Snow, close the damned door. You're letting a draft in." he said, "Come on, mate. Come have a drink, yeah? No good to be had just standing there."

"Yeah..." Snow muttered, "Sure."

The door swung closed behind him.

The setting changes from the-den to Sirene

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard Character Portrait: Alistair Des Coteaux
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#, as written by Lialore
They’d said goodbye outside the restaurant and she’d sauntered off without a backwards glance. Whilst he could still appreciate the view as she did so, it did leave a sort of sour taste in his mouth. He’d pretty much cleaned himself out paying for that meal, and he wasn’t even going to get laid?

She turned the corner and was out of sight. Max gave a grumpy grunt and reached into the pocket of his worn leather jacket for his smokes. He wasn’t in any hurry to get home. It didn’t even feel like home anymore. It was still pack territory, not his, not really. So, he lit up and started walking.

He could see where Sirene got its name. It was pretty.
Max was particularly enjoying the statues, stopping beside each one and giving them a good stare. Sometimes he’d tilt his head to the side as he surveyed, particularly if it was an abstract sort. Most of the things that his mind made from the nonsense were rude. He was doing this now, not noticing the strange looks he was getting from tourists as he snorted out loud at his vulgar conclusion.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard Character Portrait: Alistair Des Coteaux
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#, as written by Script
"Maxwell Lessard."

The voice came from behind Max, a figure separating from the crowd and stepping towards him. The man was thin-faced and tall, not matching Max for bulk but making up for it with a straight-backed and looming posture that oozed authority. Long blonde hair fell over his shoulders, and a cloak covered much of his body. What clothing was visible beneath it appeared to be armour-plated. "The Lady Katherine requests your presence. She wishes to extend to you a proposition, and impart to you some important information. It concerns your family."

Most people in the city had heard the name of Lady Katherine before, though those who knew her family name were surprisingly fewer in number. She was a rich and powerful woman, well connected and respected. Some said (but not when they thought anyone else was listening) that she had connections in all the dark places of the city, and that she had both the Church and the Government in her pocket. It was likely that many of these rumours were exaggerated, however. People did like to talk.

"You are to accompany me to her estate."

The man himself might also have been recognisable to those who made it their business to be familiar with those that threatened the supernatural inhabitants of the city. Alistair De Coteaux, or as he was more commonly known, Alistair De Roux, was an Inquisitior with the Evequan Church, and one with a lot of non-human blood on his hands. Many knew him more by reputation than appearance, however, and so it was likely that Max would not know him from looking at him.

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Character Portrait: Maxwell Lessard Character Portrait: Alistair Des Coteaux
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#, as written by Lialore
Maxwell.
The first word from this stranger’s lips had Max on edge. No one called him Maxwell.

He turned, trying to act casual. What he saw had his eyebrows reaching for his hairline. He subdued them and took a small step backwards, trying to get as much of this man in his sight as possible. This man who was so refined was quite the opposite of Max. He even felt a flush rising when he remembered the thoughts he had interrupted with his arrival.

But the stranger’s next words made him forget all about that.
Lady Katherine. The name rang a bell. From what he could gather from his memory; a woman who should want to have nothing to do with him. Yet… Proposition? Important information? His interest was indeed snatched.

It concerns your family.

Max’s expression of mild confusion mixed with curiosity slipped into one of hostility.
By the time the stranger had finished talking, Max was still warring with himself internally. His family. He’d spent most of his life hating the people who came under that umbrella, those people who he had never met, who left his mother with nothing and had never wanted anything to do with her, or him. But then Leandra had passed. He’d found himself searching for them. Whether he was looking for revenge or identity, he still wasn’t sure. This offer…

He would take it. But he would not do so open-mindedly.

From the man’s tone, Max guessed this wasn’t negotiable.
And so he went quietly.

The setting changes from sirene to Luskonios

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The walk to Katherine's estate was undertaken largely in silence. The crowds parted around Alistair, and by association Max, as they made their way through the streets and into the most high-end area of town. Here, all the houses were large and elegant structures. The streets were practically saturated with wealth. But even amongst these extravagant homes, the Lady Katherine's Estate stood out.

A wrought iron gate provided street access to a large garden and driveway. Alistair buzzed them in after a brief exchange with an intercom and a security camera. The walk up to the front doors led them past water features, hedge sculptures and multicoloured flower-beds. It was a veritable parade of opulence, one thing after another.

An armed man in a cloak similar to Alistair's opened the large front doors as they approached, and held them open until the two had proceeded inside.

Only then did Alistair speak.

"You will refrain from touching anything. I do not know why it is that the Lady Katherine has requested your presence, boy, but..." he turned to fix the long-haired young man with a narrow-eyed stare. "Be aware that I am watching you. Do not be tempted to pocket anything."

And indeed, there was plenty to pocket. Everything from the leather-bound books in the shelves in the corridors to the ornaments laid out on display-tables and window sils. Alistair led Max up a set of stairs and down a long corridor until they reached the doors of a study. He raised his hand and knocked firmly. "Lady Katherine, I have brought the boy."

"Send him in, Alistair." A soft female voice from within spoke - the first that the man's name had been mentioned. "And wait outside."

Alistair frowned. Clearly he had been expecting to be present for the meeting, but he did not question the order. As he sent Max in, he once more met his eyes with a scowl. 'Just try something funny, I dare you', that gaze said.

The door was swung shut behind Max as he entered the study. It was a warmly decorated room, mahogany wooden wall panelling and bookcases arrayed around a desk by the window at the far side of the room, and a pair of armchairs with a small table between them facing a fireplace to the side and centre of the room. A green-and-gold rug was laid on the floor.

The face of the woman who rose from one of the armchairs to greet Max would likely stop him in his tracks. Katherine Lessard smiled warmly - the spitting image of her twin sister Leandra.

"Hello, Max."

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Max had passed through Luskonios only once before and he could remember thinking it was grand back then. He’d only been small, his mother had a student who lived here and on a day where his child-minder had fallen ill, she had had to take Max along. A more diluted sense of awe washed over him this time. He wasn’t gaping, as he had been back then, but more he regarded the area through experience-tinted glasses, taking in the spoils of those who did better than him.

He knew little of his family, but he knew that they were wealthy. As he passed house after house he thought about how one could’ve been his home in another life… Another life where his mother had not been outcast by her family, leaving her in her shame to scavenge and beg. He was winding himself up. These thoughts mingled with the ones dedicated to working out what was going on. It concerns your family. Maybe one of the lowlifes had decided it was finally time to apologise for all that had happened, and was using this Katherine as a mouthpiece. Or they’d summoned him for Katherine to finish their job, and kick him into the dirt, send him off on an even more lowly life than the one which he already lived until he died of disease which he couldn’t afford to cure.
Still, none of it made sense.

As he mused, he sometimes sent obvious stares at Alistair. He seemed like a smarmy prick. Though, Max gathered that he was an important smarmy prick.

The gates in which they finally came to a stop before offered a view between their bars of an exceptionally exquisite building. Their destination might have made Max feel intimidated, if it wasn’t for the rise in adrenaline which had been triggered by those memories turned sour and stirred anger.

The walk up the drive offered more spectacular sights but Max just listened to the crunch of his boots on the gravel and fixed his stare straight ahead, refusing to be sucked into this display.

When the man spoke, it made Max want to punch him. He was certain he could do a good amount of damage.
He might’ve looked a bit rough around the edges, and still hold the smells of pack life faintly, but he was no thief.
He bit back any retort. Having already decided that Alistair was a smarmy prick, he thought the best thing to do was to not feed him.

The corridor in which they walked felt far too long. The answer to all of his fresh questions was waiting at the end. But he thought it too optimistic to think that they were ones he’d like to receive.

Boy, he kept calling Max. His flash of sudden annoyance was muted by the voice that carried out to him. He had never heard it before, but somehow, it still made something within him stir. However, Max wasn’t distracted enough to not smirk smugly at Alistair as the voice proceeded to tell him to stay outside. Before he entered Max bared his teeth at the man – a recently acquired habit.

He hadn’t the time to comprehend the impressive room before his eyes latched onto the woman’s face.

The surge of shock that racked through him brought him to a standstill. He lost control of his body; his knees felt week, his heart prepared to race, his mouth grew dry and his lips trembled, his hands too, they shivered, made cold and nervous by the gush of reminiscence. The memories rained down on him as he stood there, this woman’s likeness bringing to the forefront of his mind those cherished, archived memories of that woman who was gone. Gone. So far, far away. Mom?

His gaze devoured the woman’s face. Doing so in the silence enabled him to establish that no, this was not his mother. Not only was that impossible, but there were differences. Whilst her smile was kindly, it didn’t quite spread to her eyes the way Leandra’s would. Her posture was different. This woman oozed confidence and authority whilst Leandra was much softer, uncertain; charming in her own way.
And he felt no love towards this woman. In fact, as he got over his shock, something about her irked him. Perhaps it was the rage which was sure to ensue once he'd collected himself.

Lady Katherine.
It concerns your family.


This could not be a coincidence.

“Lady Katherine Lessard.”

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The smile on Katherine's face broadened with satisfaction. "Well done. You're perceptive, that's good. I had a feeling that you were more savvy than Alistair gave you credit for. Leandra might have been misled, but she was always a smart girl."

She gestured towards one of the armchairs, "Please, sit." she said, before taking a seat herself. "I'm sure that you have a lot of questions, and I will do my best to answer them all. I understand that my family has not treated you and my sister with kindness, and you have no reason to humour me. But if you would do me the kindness of not dismissing me out of hand, then I would be very grateful."

She took a sip from a glass of whiskey, indicating towards the bottle and glass upon the small side-table between them to invite Max to help himself.

"I will let you speak first, before I broach the subject of why I have asked you here. If there is anything you want to know about your family, or your mother, then I will answer you as fully as I am able."

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Again. He was irked. Annoyed by the way she spoke so nonchalantly and with familiarity about his mother. For over twenty years, they’d all shunned her. A lot changed in twenty years, including people. Max knew his mother better than anyone. He was her only family. This stranger may have shared the same surname with him, but that didn’t make her related in any emotional sense to him or his mother. Not any more. How dare she.

At her offer to sit he quite defiantly remained standing. He wouldn’t set his ass down on anything owned by Lessards. And he certainly wasn’t going to drink any of their liquor. It was all probably bought by money which he also had a right to.

She was correct. They had not been treated with kindness, and so Max would not extend any kindness to Katherine, either.

“How could you?” He growled, taking a heated step forward and slamming his hands down on the desk. His shock had been dismissed and replaced with rage which glistened in his eyes. “How could you do that to her? Your own family? What are you? Her sister? Cousin?”

He thought, that if he’d had a full family, they’d come before everything. All his life he’d been yearning for such a thing. In the pack, he’d been proved right. Family wasn’t important. Family was everything. The wolf in the pack has a greater chance of survival than the one which hunts alone. It was their fault for throwing her out of the pack when she so desperately needed support.

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When Max's fist came down on the table, Alistair shoved the door open and rushed inside, only to be met by Katherine raising her hand to him. "Out!" she snapped. The man shot a glare at Max, but once more retreated out to the corridor.

"I am Leandra's sister." Katherine stated calmly, lowering her hand, "And your mother was very dear to me. We spent our childhood together, playing and running and laughing as any children would. It was not my decision to turn her out. At the time, our parents retained control both of the inheritance and the estates. I was no more able to prevent her exile, once decided, than she was - though I pleaded, begged and demanded they let her stay till my throat was hoarse. It was futile."

She took a deep breath. "That said, I will not excuse myself of fault. It was terribly wrong of me to allow my sister to be treated in such a way. I was not the strong woman then that I am now. Disobeying our parents did not seem an option. I was wrong. And I am so very, very sorry for what happened to her. I do not ask for your forgiveness in that matter, as I know that I do not deserve it."

There was a heavy pause.

"But I will not sit idly now and watch as my nephew is left despondent on the streets. I have had my eyes on you for a long time, Max. Whilst you were with Baron's wolves, I was unable to contact you. I believed that you would reject my invitation outright so long as they maintained their illusion of acceptance. I think that you know to what I refer."

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Twenty tree years. Max puffed out a big breath through his nostrils. That excuse would not cover twenty three years. He was not satisfied. She was right, she didn’t deserve his forgiveness.

He’d spent a year searching for his family. But only now, Max realised with a start that he had already found his true family. What a shame it was that he had fucked it all up.

Looking into Katherine Lessard’s eyes, he felt nothing but hatred.

Illusion of acceptance.

Max snorted.
This was just another illusion, then. An illusion of genuine grief, regret… atonement.

“Yeah? Well I’ll guess you’ll just have to sit and watch idly, Lady Lessard, because I’d go way beyond despondent before I ever even considered accepting a shred of help from you.”

“Keep watching me, go on, I’ll have a middle finger stuck up for you at every turn” he spat, feeling cheated. Any politeness that may have still remained from him vanished in that one utterance.