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Nikolai Utkin

"Life's too good to waste on the boring stuff."

0 · 767 views · located in Artificial Island Ariens

a character in “Under One Roof”, as played by Dae Mec

Description

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[BASIC INFORMATION]


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"See, you're acting like I actually give a damn. That's your first mistake."

Vocal Theme ||Judge | 21 Pilots||
Leitmotif ||Crystallize | Lindsey Stirling||


Full Name: Nikolai Utkin

Origin and Meaning: Nikolai is a variant on the name Nicholas, meaning 'victory of the people.' Utkin is a name derived from the word duck. Yes, the animal.

Nickname: Niko and Nikki.

Origin and Meaning: Niko is the name his friends use. It's a pretty common shortening of his name. His little sister and his parents use Nikki, so using it will make him blink and look around for his family.

Gender: Male

Age: 17

Role: Boy 1—The Slacker

Sexual Orientation: Bisexual

Face Claim: Usui Takumi

Appearance: Being from Fane, Nikolai has the trademark green eyes and tall stature. He's skinny, perhaps even lanky, so he can't pull off that silent imitation that Fanes are known for. His hair is fair, fine, and messy. He could comb it, but he'd rather not. Honestly, Nikolai needs a haircut. His hair falls into his eyes frequently, so he's always brushing it aside. His clothing is a bit loose, but it's also very comfy. It's not unusual for his shirts to be very wrinkled and for his pants to be covered in paint stains. Nikolai does own formal clothing, though. Hanging in his closet is a stereotypical green and gold-buttoned jacket that Fanish men are known for having. Nikolai tans very easily, but he's rarely in the sun, so his skin is somewhat pale. He has a sharp, angled jawline, and his features are similarly sharp. In fact, upon first seeing him, one might describe him as all edges and lines. He smiles easily, yet even his smiles have a severe quality to them. Nikolai slouches a bit. His hands are either tucked into his pockets or fiddling with a pen. Speaking of hands, they're calloused and usually inkstained. Nikolai isn't exceptionally handsome, but he has somewhat of an intense, perhaps rougish, charm.



[PERSONAL INFORMATION]


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"I'm not an idealist. I'm simply the ideal."


Personality: Lazy, caustic, and more interested in entertaining himself than getting things done, Nikolai has managed to get by in life by talent and sheer luck. For himself, the bare minimum is more than enough. However, as he approaches adulthood, Nikolai is beginning to wonder whether his approach will be enough. He's rather self-confident, but his arrogant nature belies a mind used to introspection and self-examination. Though he's found himself lacking, he's too lazy to make a change. Nikolai gets along with people when he makes an effort. Thus, he's cultivated a large circle of acquaintances and one or two good friends. Nikolai has the habit of flirting with anything on two legs. He's rarely serious; Nicolai has never been in a real relationship, though he has had casual flings. But he finds people's reactions to his flirtations quite hilarious, though he does know not to cross any lines.

Believe it or not, Nikolai is quite sentimental. He'll keep sketches and useless trinkets from years past, simply because it reminds him of a certain person or memory. In other words, he's a pack-rat. And he's messy. Very, very messy. Nikolai tries to keep his mess inside his room, but there's no guarantee that it won't spill into other rooms. Nikolai thrives on confrontation, but only if someone else starts it. If given the opportunity, he'll leap on the chance to start a verbal debate. At the same time, he might decide to annoy instead of argue. Imagine a little kid poking his brother with a stick, and you have the general idea. Nikolai has absolutely no time-management skills. He does work well under pressure, though, and he when he puts the effort, Nikolai usually finishes what he needs to in the nick of time.

However, Nikolai is superficially charming. Unlike some Fanes, he has no problem with small talk and niceties. Most people, upon first meeting him, describe him as kind and gregarious. It's only upon closer inspection that his idiosyncrasies reveal themselves. Professors, at first, paint him as bright and full of potential. But as the year drags on, Nikolai gradually gets lumped in with the problem students. After all, intelligence isn't what's needed to succeed in class. Work needs to be turned in, too. Nikolai has a reputation for being flaky. He'll laugh and pout and act like nothing bothers him. Nikolai does indeed have a thick skin when it comes to other people's comments, but he is scathing when it comes to his own flaws. Despite his invulnerable facade, Nikolai is terrified of the future. He doesn't want to become a failure, but he doesn't know if he's capable of putting the effort needed to succeed. At times, his crippling fear causes him to become moody and silent. Nearly flunking out last year was an enormous reality check for him, but Nikolai isn't sure if anything will change.

Hobbies/Interests: He likes all kinds of art, but especially sketching. Nikolai used to be heavily involved in model airship building as a kid, but he's found it to be too time-consuming. (And there's also his lingering guilt and disappointment at his inability to become an Airship Machinist.) Still, when he's feeling nostalgic, he'll build a set or two. Nikolai loves dogs. He becomes a gushing mess whenever he's near a puppy. However, he hates cats, and cats hate him. Nikolai hasn't yet met a cat that likes him. He wastes a lot of time on the PT, playing meaningless games. Despite the amount of time he spends on it, Nikolai is fairly bad at handling the technology. Ask him to do anything beyond opening the game app, and he'll stare at you blankly. He's a bit of an urban explorer. It's nothing serious, but he'll occassionally wander around the city, taking in the sights. Being from a small town, all the people are a bit overwhelming. Unfortunately, he's horrible at sports. Or any physical activity. Whenever he tries, someone usually gets hurt. His favorite food is strawberries.



[TALENT INFORMATION]

"I'm good at everything, so I have trouble choosing."

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ImageEducation: Nikolai has no idea what he's doing. He originally wanted to attend the southern campus in order to build airships, but after discovering the rigorous academic courses needed, Nikolai decided to pursue the arts instead. (Some small part of him still feels guilty for not trying harder to become a Machinist.) Now, he flutters in and out of various art classes, attending when the mood strikes him. Nikolai has a vague idea of doing something with designing airships, but he's uncertain if that's the field he actually wants to pursue.

Special Abilities/Skills: He's a jack of all trades. He's decent at mechanics, sculpting, music (particularly voice), and writing. All of these are helped by his eidetic imagery, which allows him to remember much of what he's seen. Drawing, however, is his true passion. Nikolai will spend hours drawing and doodling in his sketch book. Even when he's supposed to be listening or taking notes, he'll be sketching the teacher or odd creatures. Now, considering that he attends the northern Art campus, it may seem like a good thing. However, rarely draws what he's supposed to draw. Not only that, he almost never finishes his drawings. All he has are pages upon pages of unfinished artwork. Excellent, detailed artwork, but unfinished nonetheless.


[EQUIPMENT INFORMATION]


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Personal Items of Interest(if any): He has spectacles, but he hates wearing them. Nikolai only wears them when he needs to read. He also has a checkered scarf that his little sister gave him. He always keeps it carefully washed and tucked away next to her drawings. When he's feeling especially down, he'll wear the scarf. On his desk, he has a framed sketch of him and his two best friends. An old collar sits next to it. His room contains books of every kind, but the majority of his bookshelf is full of sketchbooks. It's more unusual to see him without a sketchbook than with one. Nikolai is very picky when it comes to his writing utensils. He also never lets anyone touch his special pens, which he hoards away.


[BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION]


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Occupation(s): Full-time student, though he does make some pocket money by selling his artwork.

Activities/Organizations: He's in the figure-sketching club and the airship-enthusiasts club. Nikolai used to be part of a few other organizations, but he lost interest. He occassionally volunteers at an animal shelter. The people there know to keep cats far, far away from him.

Citizenship/Place of Birth: Fane

History: Nikolai was born to an accountant father and a stay-at-home mother. While his father was a full-blooded Fane, his mother is only half. Both of his parents were kind and supportive, but in hindsight, they had no idea how to handle a bright and precarious child. Nikolai loved to doodle on the walls of his house, but even then, his childish scribbles were rather accurate. His parents first realized that their child was special after he threw a tantrum at age four. Angry at not getting an airship for his birthday Nikolai (angrily, in a hysterical voice) described every airship he had seen in the last year. Not only did he mention each ship by name, he also recounted exactly how it looked like.

His mother made the mistake of praising his intelligence instead of his work, and the teachers at his school continued that poor trend. He spent much of his time in school reading whatever interested him instead of focusing on the actual classwork, but his teachers let it slide due to his intelligence. In his small town's class, Nikolai was heads above everyone else, so he became used to accomplishing anything without putting any effort. Despite his academic success, he was still well-liked by the students and teachers. His two best friends, Mia and Vlad, were avid gamers who introduced him to the joys of games on the PT. They spent many evenings playing games. Mia was also a wanderer who dragged her two friends around the small town, forcing them to explore with her. Because of Mia, Nikolai learned about the many nooks and crannies in their town, and he gained an appreciation for wandering. Being from a small town in Fane, Nikolai has a strong accent. He also has the habbit of adding "Da?", the quintesentail Fanish phrase, at the end of questions.

When he turned eleven, Nikolai's sister Darya was born. Nikolai became a doting older brother. He'd tell her stories for hours, content to indulge in her whims. Darya was almost his exact opposite, sweet and polite and a genuine people-pleaser. She wasn't as gifted as her brother, but even as a young child, Darya worked hard. While Nikolai took after their father, Darya looks more like her mother's, with dark hair and eyes. Nikolai still has the horrible drawings she made for him. Besides a sister, Nikolai also had a dog. His family had taken care of Floofy since Nikolai was two, so he grew up with the adorable, less-than-intelligent pup. Floofy passed away a few months before Nikolai left for Twin Stars. His death was one of the few times that Nikolai has outright sobbed, and he cried for days afterwards. He still tears up thinking about his old, faithful companion.

When he was sixteen, his teachers recommended that he apply for the Twin Stars Academy. Nikolai did, and he was accepted with a partial scholarship. Coming to the Academy was a massive reality check, however. No longer was he the most gifted, the most talented, or the most anything. He struggled with the workload, and Nikolai was forced to switch into the Arts. But even at the Northern Campus, Nikolai didn't do well. He had no work ethic, and Nikolai couldn't cruise by on his own talents. He nearly failed out the first year, but Nikolai managed to pass by the skin of his teeth. As a consequence, his scholarship was drastically cut. It now only covered tuition, and Nikolai was forced to find cheaper housing. His parents, disappointed with his actions, agreed to help pay for rent if he promised to do better this year. Though Nikolai accepted their conditions, he isn't sure if he can keep the promise...

So begins...

Nikolai Utkin's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Shane Collins
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#, as written by Dae Mec
Nikolai stared at the ramshackle house, noting the peeling paint and faded shingles. The house was just old enough to be unfashionable and ugly, but it wasn't yet old enough to be quaint or antique. The door—discolored in patches, due to its age—was slightly ajar. His roommates had likely arrived before him.

"Well, this is shit," he said, matter-of-fact. With a sigh, he adjusted the duffel bag slung across his shoulder. Most of his items had been delivered to the house earlier. All Nikolai had with him were the essentials. He took a mental picture of the Mayfield House. Nikolai would probably sketch it later. Though... he might add some flames to spice it up. With some extra pzazz, the building would make an excellent rendition of hell.

(Alright, maybe he was being a little over-dramatic. But still, the house was as ugly as sin.) Nikolai, finished with his examination of the exterior, pushed the door open and entered. The interior disappointed him further. It was dusty, with stains on the floor and cobwebs in the corners, and it really needed a good cleaning. It damn well wouldn't be him who cleaned it, though. And for now, it'd do. After all, it was his fault that he ended up in this place.

Though the house may have been run-down, it certainly wasn't empty. Inside were two of his future roommates. One was a tall girl with striking red eyes and hair, both features which were highlighted by her matching red clothing. Judging by her two heavy pieces of luggage, she appeared to be a newcomer to Ariens. Nikolai looked her up and down. She was quite attractive, in a unique sort of way. At the very least, she'd fit right in with the drawing he planned to do of the Mayfield House.

"Why, hello," purred Nikolai. "It's a great pleasure to meet you. You are one of my roommates, da? I'm quite charmed. Where are you from?"

He turned his attention to the other person in the room. In the stranger's hand was a pack of chocolate biscuits. How nice—it bordered on too nice, really. That didn't mean Nikolai wouldn't eat the offered food, though. The other man had average features, but he also had the unique combination of gray eyes and dark hair. The girl may be new to Ariens, but this guy was an outright foreigner. If Nikolai remembered his geography correctly (which of course he did, having a photographic memory), then his other roommate was from beyond the Great Sea.

"And are those biscuits for me?" His words were full of exaggerated pleasure and surprise. "I'm a bigger fan of strawberries, but I'll certainly say yes to chocolate." Nikolai winked at the other man. "How very, very kind of you."

He tossed his luggage at the foot of the couch and plopped down, glancing once at the dilapidated TV. As tempting as it was to start watching whatever shows the ancient device received, Nikolai decided that it'd be more fun to see what his roommates were made of. He hadn't yet decided what they'd be in his sketch. Would they be better as the tormented or the tormentors? (Nikolai certainly knew which one he was.)

With a gasp that was too drawn out to be sincere, he pressed one hand to his chest. "Forgive me for my rudeness. I haven't yet introduced myself! I am Nikolai Utkin. And may I know your names, as well?"

Nikolai's eyes flickered to the stairs. The thin layer of dust that covered most of the floor wasn't as uniform, there. Not to mention the unlocked entrance door. Perhaps someone else was inside. Or perhaps not. It could just as easily have been one of the two people standing in front of him.

"So," he said brightly, "was it one of you two that opened up our lovely new house?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster
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"Hello. How are you?"

Dialogue Color ✦#004E00 || Thought Color ✧#8B4513





How... bleak had life been the past year? When he thought about it, the world had no color anymore. Life was black and white. People did not glow like they used to. Had something been wrong with him? It was ever since he stopped actively talking to the two people he called friends did his perspective on life try to change. He could not bring himself to actually enjoy any waking moment. But still, even now it was better than it had been. Any attempts to interact with those two nowadays had been futile, and his heart ached painfully. But could he allow this to go on? What if it troubled other people? He would not want that.

A hero doesn't cause trouble, he ends it.

He wanted to say that he wasn't sure how he even ended up standing outside the house he was supposed to be living in for the near foreseeable future, but that would be false. He was perfectly aware of the boring plane ride to the island, followed by a public train to near the area, followed by walking the rest of the way. This was not the optimal way to get here, he was told. Rather, he could have simply called a taxi and been dropped off much closer. But he did not. He wanted a few moments to himself, because he still thought he was abandoning his friends for his own selfish desires. Even if he had earlier convinced himself that this was for their sake too, he knew that this was mostly for himself. What a selfish person he was.

As Rook neared the building, he noticed a few people loitering about the front of it. Were they to be tenants of the building, just like himself? He imagined so, for what other purpose would they be here? He quickened his pace and pasted a small smile on his face. People would worry about him if he looked so down, and he did not need to be pushing his own emotional issues on them. Rather, it would be much better if he simply smiled the pain away and acted how he always did. He liked it when other people were happy, so this was probably good for him too. It would be hard to make friends otherwise.

"Hello!" he called as they began to enter the house. One man seemed to be named Nikolai, as he introduced himself from inside the house. It was just loud enough that Rook could hear it as he approached the door, though Rook hadn't really caught his last name. He also was not sure what the man meant by 'opening our lovely house', but that's probably something he would have caught if he was a bit earlier. Anyway, Rook approached the group with his bag over his shoulder and the rest of anything he needed already being in the house.

"Hey, all! I am Rook Foster and I happen to also be staying here. I assume everybody here will be fellow tenants, so I hope you all the best." he quickly introduced himself, smiling as he usually did. He was at the door, so he could see everybody here. A blonde boy, another young man, and a girl with an odd hair color reminiscent of the sister who wants to kill him of the character who I stole his first name from a blaze. Perhaps that was a normal color somewhere, though? He couldn't be sure. It was his first time ever leaving the place where he was born. Not that it evoked anything but a slight interest in him, as he had more important matters like making a decent first impression on the people here.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Nadine M. Vallentin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins
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#, as written by Feyblue
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Dɪᴀʟᴏɢᴜᴇ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✦ #0E00A8 || Tʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✧ #5C8AE6


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It had been a few hours, but Nadine had finally managed it. Looking around her, she couldn't help but feel a little bit triumphant. Granted, she'd vastly underestimated the amount of shelving space she'd need to store all of her many books, and had nearly caused one of the rather flimsy portable shelving units to tumble over onto her head when she'd been setting up, but still, at least she'd managed to find places for them all. Of course, part of finding places for them all had also entailed taking up so much space that there wasn't any room to lay out the portable quilted mattress she'd been planning on using as a floor bed... And space had only become a problem because she'd specifically requested the smallest dorm in the house... But she could always use her reading chair as a makeshift bed, anyhow! Right, it was best to think positive. After all, she had liked to nap in that chair back when she'd had it at home. It was comfortable enough to serve the purpose of a bed, too! And besides, this way, she had plenty of space to organize and store all of her favorite books! ...Speaking of which, had she ordered them properly? She'd sorted them first by topic, then by alphabet, when she'd been packing them to ship to the house in the first place. However, she couldn't be entirely certain that she might have unpacked in the wrong order... And now that she'd thought of it, she couldn't shake the possibility that she had. She spent the next twenty or so minutes painstakingly looking through every shelf, trying to ensure nothing was out of place. As it turned out, nothing was - she'd just been being paranoid. While this should have comforted her, it just made her feel stupid for wasting her time on such a baseless fear. ...Unless there WAS something out of place, and she'd just missed it?

...She dismissed this possibility as quickly as she could, ignoring the nagging voice in the back of her brain that told her to check everything over again. Trying to distract herself with something - anything, really - she then noticed something she hadn't really been paying attention to before. Namely, there were people talking downstairs. Had some of the other tenants arrived? It would appear so, at any rate. Considering that they'd probably be too busy moving in to be concerned with her, she supposed that this would be her best chance to see who they were without actually drawing their attention to herself. Reasoning thus, and unable to contain her curiosity - people watching was one of her favorite hobbies, after all - she decided she'd sneak a peek as unobtrusively as possible. So, opening the door of her room as quietly as possible, she slipped around the edge of the upper balcony, peering down from almost directly overhead to see a group of four people standing in the entryway. One by one, they moved over the threshhold, and into her view.

The first was a tall youth, with dark hair and a swarthy complexion. He didn't look Xeran, so perhaps he was from abroad? Curious, indeed. Sheltered as Nadine had been growing up in Agria, she had never actually met an Outlander. She wondered what kind of society he had lived in, and what interesting and strange customs they must have had. However, just as quickly, the next person behind him caught her eye. The second to enter was a girl with vibrant red hair, like the color of a cherry. Nadine quite frankly had no idea where she might have been from, as to her knowledge, that sort of color wasn't considered ordinary anywhere. Maybe she was some kind of ghost or apparition? She smiled at the ridiculous notion, already coming up with her own little "story" of each of the ones who entered.

The third to enter was much easier to place, by his voice alone. Smooth and low, the unique emphasis he placed on his words made it obvious that he was Fanish. He seemed quite at home already, introducing himself and striking up casual conversation in an instant. Given his blonde hair - one of the few things Nadine could make out, peering over the railing from above and behind them - and the distinctive green eyes which she could only assume he had, maybe he was one kind of ladykiller? Smooth, sauve, and confident - yes, that was the character she'd give to him, perfect for the leading man of some great adventure drama! And finally... And finally...

The last to enter, compared to the others, seemed impossible to place or identify. He was of average height, with his face concealed from view by his long, dark hair. He introduced himself in a simple and collected, yet friendly manner that made it difficult to guess what sort of person he was. For a few moments, Nadine tried to come up with a "story" for him, but couldn't really think of anything. There was just too little to go on.

She might have lingered longer, but, returning her attention to the Fanish boy, she noticed him turning towards the stairs. Wondering if he'd seen her while she was busy examining the last to enter, she decided that it would be best not to risk it, and slipped back into her room, shutting the door swiftly behind her with a quiet "click" as the lock slid into place. Breathing a sigh, she tossed herself down into her basket chair, the new centerpiece of her room, lying on her side at the bottom of a nest of pillows and blankets. Exhausted from both her trip and from unpacking after her arrival, she decided that it would be best to just rest for now. The Academy wouldn't be starting in earnest for another few days - unless one counted a few events to welcome new students, which she'd probably just skip anyway so as to avoid having to socialize. That meant she'd have plenty of time to grow accustomed to her new home, and, most importantly of all, observe the routines of the house's other tenants so that she could use things like the laundry room, the shower, and the kitchen without bothering the others. Once she could confidently settle into self-sufficiency, then she could focus her full attention on attaining her goals.

This wasn't going to be easy. But, at the very least, she hoped it would be livable.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins
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"No dice huh...?" Aquina sighed, having been met with silence upon yelling out within the house. In a way, it is quite disheartening to find nobody--save for the other tenant--around to at least conduct or orient them around the house. On another note, that may very well be a sign that they would be given free reign around the place. Which delighted the red lady's thoughts all the more.

"Why, hello--It's a great pleasure to meet you. You are one of my roommates, da? I'm quite charmed. Where are you from?"

Aquina pricked up upon hearing another voice from behind. Standing there was a young blonde man. "Another tenant, perhaps?" Aquina immediately concluded as any representative of the owner would've known her. She wasn't really surprised that he chose to approach her first, having seen that behavior many times back at Zest.

"Likewise. Not a roommate per se though. More of a neighbor really." Aquina replied promptly, reiterating that they were to stay in separate rooms. "I hail all the way from Zest, although the hair says otherwise." Aquina replied, flicking some stray strands of hair away from her face.

After her, the other guy immediately approached the earlier one for a biscuit. He appears to be rather energetic, although that could easily be a front. She realized that this boy hadn't introduced himself yet; a thought he immediately picked up on as he introduced himself to Aquina and the earlier guy. Apparently, his name was Nikolai Utkin, a native of Fane. Realizing that none of them have really introduced each other, Aquina deduced that now was a good a time as any.

"Aquina Rosenberg. I'm fine with just Aki though." Aquina replied promptly. "And no, the house was already open when I arrived." She turned to face the other boy in the room after answering Nikolai. "Was it you who unlocked the door Mr.--?" She asked, although she deliberately let her words hang as she didn't know his name.

"Hey, all! I am Rook Foster and I happen to also be staying here. I assume everybody here will be fellow tenants, so I hope you all the best."

Another boy arrives. Like Nikolai, he too seemed excited upon arrival, if only a little less playful than the latter. Seeing this tenant arrive, Aquina surveyed the surroundings. "So...will I be the only female within the bunch?" She wondered, her thoughts more curious than concerned. Besides, there were other matters she needs to sort out before anything else. She hadn't really unpacked yet, for one.

"Well, it's a pleasure to meet everyone here. I'm going on ahead to unpack, if you guys don't mind~ We can get to know each other better at dinnertime anyway...Ciao~" Aquina excuses herself and disappears with a wave, walking up and disappearing in the corridor leading to the rooms.

Her room was on the far left side of the right wing. It wasn't too big nor was it too small. She could probably fit a couple of power tools inside. Still, as she barely had anything on her in the way of luggage, she'll have to find a way to maintain her own keep. Maybe she can upgrade the room later on.

All-in-all, it took her just around twenty minutes to get everything sorted properly. Clothes were in their respective cabinets, with the uniforms arranged neatly. Other items were placed on the side table while her dresser had a toolbox for working with steel instead of a makeup kit. "Not really surprising, given that I barely brought anything with me. It would've been hilarious if the train guy's tale turned out to be true though. Who knows? Maybe the shady business will be of more help financially." Aquina smiled to herself before leaving her room.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins
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#, as written by Mustafa
Shane had been thinking for a moment before he answered. "Hello everyone. I'm Shane Collins from Midland. It's a land far behind the sea and... I will tell you about it later. Forgive me, but I'm tired after the long flight and I need to rest." Before he left his newly met tenants, he had reminded himself about his little gift - Nokolai's question was helpful. "I have a little gift for you," Shane said to his new friends, "I bought a box of chocolate biscuit, I hope it helps us to break the ice, bon appetit." Shane put the gift on a small wooden table near the old TV. He noticed that Nikolai winked at him. "Why are winking at me? Has something dropped into your eye?" Nokolai's behaviour was quite strange but Shane isn't going to care about it. "The biscuits aren't only for you Nikolai, they will be public goods. And don't worry, they weren't poisoned." Shane laughed a little.

Acquina asked Shane if he had been a person who had unlocked the door. He answered that the door was already open. During this talk someone entered the home and said that he is Rook Foster.

"Hmm... We have a lot of fresh blood here. Hi Rook, make yourself at home." Shane left his housemates and walked to his room, the room number 4 counting from the entrance. The room wasn't big, but it was enough for one person, at least he had a view of fresh green grass through the window. He could let his hair down in the end. He shut the door of his room and fell into the bed completely exhausted.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins
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#, as written by Dae Mec
Nikolai carefully watched for the others' reactions. He hadn't pushed very far, and the girl seemed fine with this behavior, though the other boy seemed a bit unimpressed—perhaps even taken aback.

"Likewise. Not a roommate per se, though. More of a neighbor, really," said the red-head. Despite her hair color, she was apparently from Zest.

"Oh, silly me. Neighbors, not roommates." He rain his fingers through his hair and gave a short sigh. "A Freudian slip, perhaps?" he said slyly. Nikolai looked at the other two. He wouldn't mind being roommates with them, actually. They were both pretty people.

The girl introduced herself as Aquina Rosenberg, though she also offered a nickname to use instead. Rosenberg... the name sounded awfully familiar. Something to do with engineering? Ah, he'd look it up later. There were plenty of people named Rosenberg. It was likely a coincidence. Apparently, Aquina hadn't been the one to open up the house, and neither had the other boy—who was a Midlander named Shane, according to his introduction.

"I have a little gift for you," said the Midlander. "I bought a box of chocolate biscuit, I hope it helps us to break the ice. Bon appetit." Shane set his gift on the table before looking at Nikolai with confusion. "Why are winking at me? Has something dropped into your eye?"

Nikolai laughed to himself. Shane was the oblivious type, then. Or perhaps naive. Well, Nikolai did like the accent. He was just about to say something that was a little more flirtatious—then another boy walked in. With dark hair and blue eyes, the boy was hard to place. He could have been from any one of the islands.

"Hey, all! I am Rook Foster and I happen to also be staying here. I assume everybody here will be fellow tenants, so I hope you all the best."

Oh, cheerful. And nice, too. After greeting Rook, both Aquina and Shane took their leave. Both of them had traveled today, and they were clearly tired.

Which left just Nikolai and Rook.

"Hi there, Rook." He gave the other boy a lazy smile. "I don't know if you heard, but I'm Nikolai Utkin. Where are you from? This your first year at the Academy, da?"

The newest kid was... interesting. (Well, they were all interesting, but Rook was the only one still in the room. Judging from his bags and the slightly rumpled appearance, Rook had likely traveled here as well.) Nikolai always found nice people interesting, and judging by his introductory statement, Rook was definitely nice.

But something else had caught Nikolai's interest, too. None of the two tenants before him had opened up the house. So, either the school was stupid enough to leave one of their dorms unlocked, or there was someone else. Nikolai hadn't bothered to see who he was sharing the dorm with before coming to Mayfield, but now he was curious.

"Odd question," said Nikolai, his smile becoming sharper, "but do you know how many people are staying Mayfield?"

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Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Aza N. Merritt
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Aza sprinted down the street, barely managing to dodge a wall as he skidded around a corner. Dressed in a simple blue shirt underneath an unzipped white hoodie and dark jeans, with battered high tops that thankfully still had thick enough soles to help decrease the risks of slipping as he ran, Aza did not look like your average runner out for a jog. For one thing, he wasn't dressed like a jogger. For another, despite the forced calm on his face his eyes held a panicky look, and he bit his lip everytime his gaze flickered to his watch as if he were helding back a curse. And most telling of all, he was carrying a large luggage case which teetered dangerously whenever it rolled over a bump, which was pretty often.

It was pretty obvious that he was a student, or someone lodging somewhere. It was also pretty obvious that he was late.

Really, really really late. Shiiiii- there it is! A rare grin popped up on Aza's face as he spotted the familiar house, legs pumping even faster. Somehow, he made it to the gates without losing his grip on his luggage or falling to the ground. It was open, crap, that meant the other residents were already there. Not good. Not good at all.

Well, at least the shortcuts made the route to Mayfield quicker. Panting for breath, Aza made his way to the door. He grabbed the knob, fingers tightening on it...

and came to a halt, standing there like a statue as the apprehension and doubts that had been plaguing him since last night came back like a homing rocket.

What if Hawe needs me? What if my roommates were all dickheads? Things were different now. Everyone who had lived in the house last year had either been third years or where moved to a different house. Aza was the only one of the original occupants (from the year before anyway) to return to the house. Hawe had gone off to Substrahta to look for work and a house to sleep in now that the dorms were no longer available. The money would come in handy, yes (Aza tried not to think about how much things costed nowadays and whether his brother was using any of that money for himself) but...

But nothing. Everything changed. This was no different. Just because this was the first time he was spending time away from his brother in an area where few communications and talks could be had (thanks to working times and study taking up most of it) didn't mean that he should pause like an idiot outside the door. He was already here, wasn't he? And there was no way he was turning back. Taking a deep breath to calm himself down, Aza turned the knob and opened the door.

He stepped inside. Noted the two guys standing there, one with dark hair covering an eye and another with blonde hair and green eyes. Catching the last sentence, Aza decided to reply for them.

"Six, including me." He said from where he was at the door. He raised a hand in greeting, giving a short wave before his hands dropped back down, a neutral expression on his face. "Unless there were some last minute changes, there should be six," he repeated, subtly shooting a look around the place.

A feeling of relief passed through him as he saw that everything looked the same, if a little dusty. Looks like some things remained the same. Without further ado Aza dragged his luggage inside and walked past them to place his luggage further inside, in a corner out of the way. That done, Aza joined the two, staying standing up.

"Uh." He turned to the remaining two, slipping his hands awkwardly in his pockets. "Name's Aza Noll Merritt, but just call me Aza. Sorry I'm late, got caught up in traffic. I'm guessing you two are tenants instead of freeloaders," He said dryly, "But anyway, nice to see you. Have you guys finished the rooming arrangements, or am I still in time to add my vote?"

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Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins
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#, as written by Mustafa
Shane has been resting for about a half of an hour. He hadn't wanted to get up but when he turned his head and looked at his luggage, he changed his decision. "I have to unpack my suitcase as soon as possible. Probably the others did it already while I was sleeping. If I don't do it, they will say that I'm lazy or even worse - clumsy," Shane thought. He remembered that his second suitcase had been sent on an aeroplane trip to the other island and that he will have an opportunity to take back his missing luggage tomorrow the earliest. More luggage means more work, additionally the room was quite dusty, it needed cleaning.

Shane has stood up in the end and has begun unpacking his luggage. He hadn't taken too many items, he had some books connected whit his field of study, some casual clothes among which was a black T-Shirt with the logo of his favourite microarchitecture - Snapdragon, a pair of shoes, his own cup and some less important things. After about fifteen minutes everything was arranged in the room. He could start looking for a vacuum cleaner.

Shane left his room and locked the door. Nobody was in the corridor at the moment. The house was also quite quiet, perhaps too quiet. It was a good occasion to see the whole home. After a minute he found the most important place - the kitchen. It was enough big for four tenants, so he thought that they won't have problems preparing common dinner or lunch. Unfortunately they had one problem, the fridge was empty so someone will have to go shopping.

After that Shane walked the lounge area and saw that there was one unknown person. Rook disappeared somewhere but Nikolai was still talking about something. Shane didn't care about it, he went upstairs. On the second floor was a lot of free space. All doors were closed, so Shane decided to check every room, he hoped to find a vacuum cleaner firstly, before the others. The first door was surprisingly locked, "OK. I'll check it later." Behind the second door was a small bathroom. The last room looked like a laundry room, fortunately there was an old vacuum cleaner. "I hope that it won't explode when I turn on it."

When he was going back his room, holding a vacuum cleaner, he looked at the locked door. There was something strange. He even tried to look through the keyhole but the hole was blocked by a key. He knew that all dorm rooms are on the first floor, so this seemed for him slightly mysterious. The room was locked from the inside and probably nobody was inside. He couldn't left this question without an answer, he just had to check it.

Shane put the vacuum cleaner in his room and went towards the entrance of the home. He suddenly met Aquina walking through the corridor. "Oh, you scared me. What are you doing here?" Shane asked. "But it doesn't matter. I have some interesting news. I found on the second floor a secret room that is locked from the inside. Probably there is nobody," Shane said slightly excited. "Now I know why this house was so cheap, it's haunted."

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Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins Character Portrait: Aza N. Merritt
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Barely three minutes have passed since Aquina departed from her room when she met with Shane at the corridor. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the vacuum cleaner he was carrying around. Somehow it struck her as odd since none of the boys, with the exception of her father, were particularly fond of cleaning in her family. "Different strokes for different folks I guess. Maybe I can ask him to do mine once he finishes?" She entertained the thought for a while but ultimately decided against it. Girls shouldn't leave their cleaning up to boys is what she has been taught. Besides, her room wasn't that dirty. Ten minutes of light sweeping and scrubbing should do the trick.

The boy's mention of a locked room on the second floor caught her interest. Upon his mention of it, she realized that she hasn't been fully acquainted with house yet. She did find it hilarious that he thought it was haunted. She didn't exactly peg Shane for the superstitious type. Otherwise he would've already steered clear of the "red devil". Then again, he may just be trying to make conversation in which case, Aquina felt it more appropriate to go along.

"Cheap houses usually have that quirk associated with them. There's usually a catch like being the site where a murder or a homicide took place. On some occasions, it may have been used for illicit activities like--well, you get it." She turned to look at Shane straight in the eye. "Think a dead body will spring out if we open it?" Aquina suggested, half-teasing.

"Although it's probably the condition of the place that decreased the rate in the first place. I've seen some abandoned houses back at home with a much more sound structure than this one. Hey, if you're good with homemaking, you can probably do something to fix the place up~" Aquina finishes with a smile.

There seemed to be a new development over the living room so Aquina suggested heading over there in the meantime. "Why don't we greet our new arrival first?"

Upon arriving in the lounge, Aquina saw that another person had arrived to join them. She could also see that, like the first three who arrived the same time she did, this person was another boy. That leaves her to share a house with four guys. Already, she felt completely out of place. Fortunately, everyone seemed to be decent people. Seemed to be.

"So I just realized--" Aquina immediately started, skipping all the pleasantries and awkward moments of standing there with nothing to say for five minutes. She'll have to take the conversation somewhere, lest she gets drowned out. "I don't know left and right around this place. Shane here mentioned something about a locked room on the second floor; it might be worth looking into." She paused for a little to observe if they were listening and carried on.

"I think we should explore the place; familiarize ourselves with its bells and whistles and whatnot. See if there are any spots to beware of, places with creaking beams, leaking ceilings, floor boards that sink if you step on it." She enumerates some of the common problems she expects to encounter. "Familiarize ourselves with where everything is. Depending on how many bathrooms they have here, we may have to work out a schedule." She realized that she sounded as if she was trying to take charge of things. "Hope you don't chew me out for this; it's just a suggestion." She thought before shifting the flow of the conversation.

"Of course, we can also take this opportunity to see if there are any dead bodies stuffed in the closets or walls somewhere. Or if there are bloodstains that haven't been cleaned. Any of you have a motion detector or a compass? It could help us locate cold and warm spots around the house." Aquina joked, recalling Shane's suspicions of the house being haunted. "Hey, maybe the previous occupants had formed some kind of syndicate and was involved in illegal operations. They may have left their lab untouched with some of the substance still lying around in a secret basement or attic somewhere. We could sell it off, make some money to fix this place up--what do you think?" She finally asked, waiting to see how the boys would respond.

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Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Aza N. Merritt
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"Please excuse me for the short post."

Dialogue Color ✦#004E00 || Thought Color ✧#8B4513



For the most part, it had seemed as though everybody had wanted to get situated in before doing anything else. He sorta had caught everybody's name but it was very likely that he would personally introduce himself to everybody separately at some point or another. For now, Rook, however, was simply glad he had made it here and was in no hurry to put what little stuff he had on him away. He was not the only one to stay behind, as the young Fanish man named Nikolai soon greeted him and struck up conversation with a smile. "Hi there, Rook. I don't know if you heard, but I'm Nikolai Utkin. Where are you from? This your first year at the Academy, da?"

"Ah, yes, I had caught that. It is a pleasure to meet you, and yes, this is my first year here." Rook away from the door and set his bag down right next to where he decided to stand. He had intentionally chose not to answer the question about his whereabouts, as he just had no desire to think about his home at the moment. Then again, he... kinda just decided to pursue enrollment over here because it was a ways away from his friends. What did he plan on doing here? "This is my first time staying away from my own home, too." he admitted, giving a light laugh. He was a bit nervous being in an unfamiliar place. "What about you, Nikolai? Are you familiar with this academy?"

Nikolai had given his answer, and then followed through with one of his own. "Odd question, but do you know how many people are staying Mayfield?"

Rook shook his head. "I'm afraid I do not." but, as fate would have it, somebody else had known the answer. That person, a boy with gray hair and a unique pair of eyes, entered the house while introducing himself as Aza Noll Merritt. He had, of course, dragged a sizable bit of luggage with him, so it seemed like he had not claimed a room just yet.

"Hello." Rook greeted. "I am Rook Foster. I'm sorry, but I think most of the rooms are taken by now. The rest seemed to have already or are on currently staking their claim in the rooms, but you said there were supposed to be six of us?" If that was the case, then it would appear as though one other person was still missing. Rook had hoped that nothing bad happened to them on the way here, like a delayed flight or an accident of some sort.

"So... then we're down one tenant, correct?" he looked to Nikolai to confirm, since it was also possible that Rook had simply not caught the person before.

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Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Aza N. Merritt
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#, as written by Dae Mec
As usual, Nikolai had been right. Rook was a first year. And since the others were also new arrivals to the island, it seemed that Nikolai was the most experienced one here. Though Rook had answered his question about the Academy, Rook still hadn't said where he was from. Nikolai tilted his head, considering. The other guy seemed a little nervous. Well, he'd let it go. For now.

He smiled, laid-back and just a little sardonic. "This is my second year at the Academy. I'm familiar enough."

Unfortunately, Rook didn't know how many people were in Mayfield, but the newcomer did. With gleaming yellow eyes and gray hair, he was quite striking.

"Six, including me." The man waved before looking around, seemingly reassured by what he saw. "Unless there were some last minute changes, there should be six."

"Uh. Name's Aza Noll Merritt, but just call me Aza. Sorry I'm late, got caught up in traffic. I'm guessing you two are tenants instead of freeloaders," said the other tenant, with a hint of dryness that made Nikolai smirk. "But anyway, nice to see you. Have you guys finished the rooming arrangements, or am I still in time to add my vote?"

Aza seemed vaguely familiar. Nikolai wasn't sure where, but he knew he'd seen Aza before. As Rook introduced himself again, the Fane wracked his memory. Nikolai doubted that the yellow-eyed boy was a first year, so he likely knew Aza from the Academy. His fingers twitched for his sketchbook. Drawing Aza would jog his memory, but Nikolai had kept his supplies in his bag. (And he was too lazy to take them out now.)

"Mechanics?" said Nikolai abruptly. "Did you have a class with old Greenwin?" Though Nikolai studied arts, he sometimes took classes in the mechanic side, just for fun. He blinked. "Oh, sorry for being rude," Nikolai added hastily, not at all sorry. "I'm Nikolai Utkin. Nice to meet you."

Rook's question diverted his focus. "So... then we're down one tenant, correct?"

"Da, I've only seen five others." Nikolai frowned. With red-head, the Midlander, Rook, Nikolai, and Aza... his math was right. That was five. "But I find something strange about this. The door was open before Aquina nor Shane walked in, and they were the first two here. So, either the people renting this house out are stupid enough to leave the door unlocked... or there's someone else who did. Perhaps our mystery sixth tenant has already been here."

It was entirely plausible that the sixth member had dropped off his or her stuff before leaving. Or maybe the person was still here. Nikolai didn't really know.

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Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Aza N. Merritt
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Alright, five including him. Rook, Nikolai, Aquina and Shane, whoever the latter two were. That left one.

So we have one missing... Yes! Rooms haven't been taken yet, my old room might be still open. Time to answer a few questions though.

"Yup, six." Aza answered Rook, then turned his attentions back to Nikolai. "Also no prob. Old Greenwin?" Aza frowned slightly, trying to recall who Nikolai was talking about. The name sounded familiar... Oh. "Wrinkly smiling white-haired old man who walks with a cane and taught Schematics? Yeah, been in a few classes of his." Aza raised an eyebrow at Nickolai, reassessing him now that he mentioned a past teacher. The blonde looked familiar... "Were you in his class too?"

Before that, however, Rook and Nikolai began to converse. Aza was about to join in (maybe mystery tenant was upstairs?) when a girl with red hair came down the stairs. Aza raised a hand in greeting as she talked, noting what she said with a distant look on his face, as if he were trying to recall a few things.

Who is she?

Well, her name was probably Aquina. Shane was a masculine name, and as she was definitely of the female gender that left only one choice. Still...

While people would normally just assume Aquina, Aza wasn't so quick to decide. What if her parents had decided for a masculine name for Redhead? His parents had called him Azalea, for freaking sake. Azalea! That was a goddamn flower! Other parents could've been just as stupid.

Better to just leave it for later. For now, 'Redhead' would work.

"A schedule's fine by me, although there should be enough bathrooms." Aza replied Redhead bluntly, raising an eyebrow. "But I don't think they left anything behind - if they did they'd come back for it, I guess. Thane used to run a homeless animal auction up in the laundry room and Marie had a chemistry set she used to do... interesting stuff with in her room, which Kyle helped to manufacture." He leant against the table, a thoughtful look forming on his face as he tried to remember. "I don't think they'll appreciate you selling their stuff. Yeah," Aza continued, shuddering as he thought of how they might react if they'd learnt if their possessions had been sold. Not a good idea. "Yeah, you definitely won't want to sell anything without their permission unless you want teargas underneath your pillow or dozens of cats sicced on you in the middle of the night."

We couldn't get the smell of cat wee out of Fitz's room for a month. And Aza could still remember the grin Marie had on when he had accidentally ate her pudding and woken up to a cloud of teargas a few nights later. Aza's eyes hadn't stopped tearing up until sunrise. Bloody hours!

Aza had checked the nametags on the fridge almost religiously for months after that. But the point was this - you did not want the older members of Mayfield house on your bad side.

"Uh." Shaking himself back to reality, Aza took a deep breath and continued. "Third, fifth and eighth stair creaks when stepped on, The kitchen window needs a knock on the frame before it can open, floorboard on the right in the washing room kind of goes whump when you step on it." Aza piped up, counting it off his fingers. "The kitchen beams occasionally go creaking at night or when someone kicks too much, and I think the walls above are thin enough that you can hear someone singing in the bathroom next room over. There's also the roof - sometimes the shingles wriggle and clank at night. There used to be a leak in the room below the bathroom whenever someone tried to use it, but I think we fixed the problem." He stroke his chin thoughtfully, casting his memory back to last year. "The kitchen windows need to be open if you want to cook something so that the smoke doesn't get trapped, third window in the living room won't close properly and the window a couple distance away from that needs a bang on the doorframe to open it properly, but I think that's about it."

Aza shrugged at them after the overload of information. "I was a tenant last year," he explained, scratching the back of his neck. "Most everyone moved out, so I'm the only remaining tenant left, though. We fixed most of the problems last year, but some problems might've reappeared and I might've remembered things wrongly. Those are the spots to check well though. Also," He continued, swivelling around to look at Redhead with a raised eyebrow.

"Who're you?" Aza asked bluntly. "My name's Aza Merritt. I know Rook and Nikolai, but I don't know whether you go by Aquina or Shane. I'm kind of assuming Aquina because Shane's a masculine name, but I thought'd I'd ask first. Unless you're the mystery tenant?" He asked her, tilting his head slightly to the side quizzically.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Nadine M. Vallentin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins Character Portrait: Aza N. Merritt
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"Bringing up the topic of possible house problems seems to have paid off..." Aquina smiled to herself, listening to Aza go on enumerating the common problems they may encounter. May encounter. Of course, it was entirely possible that the house had undergone a fix. It is the start of a new term after all, and these places need to attract blood. She also found Aza's mention of the previous tenants interesting though whether it was meant as a jest or something to be taken seriously, Aquina had no way to confirm save for asking him directly.

"Wouldn't mind the cats actually. Could do without any further eye irritation though." Aquina was in the middle of listening in on the conversation when Aza suddenly ask for her name. Or to be more specific, he asked whether she was Shane or Aquina. Before she could reply though, Shane spoke up.

Apart from clarifying who was Shane and who was Aquina, Shane had some light jabs at Aza, the old timer. Most were directed towards his appearance and his status as an old-timer. It was probably all meant as friendly jests and light humor. "Rarely do I get to meet two people who can go along with my stories...This is building up to be an interesting term and the day hasn't even ended yet." Aquina thought, smiling.

Shane joked about running their own laboratory and company, with Aza being their runner and her being a Godmother of sorts. "Hmmm... I don't know. Haven't really been in loop with business management for awhile. I'm just more into sightseeing now." She glanced at Aza for a split second before turning back to Shane. "Although if anybody's got any stuff they want to peddle, I may be able to lend a hand. It's what I do after all." She offered, intentionally letting slip her chosen profession in the process.

"Aza, do you know what is inside the room on the second floor near the stairs? There is a locked door and probably none of us have a key."

Ah yes, the locked room. It was the reason why they were talking about ghosts and syndicates in the first place. It was Nikolai who brought up the mention of a sixth tenant, which of course, is the most probable reason. All jokes aside, Aquina echoes the question directed at Aza, imploring with all seriousness this time. "From what I read in the brochure, the rooms Mayfield rents out to tenants are all on the first floor. And you normally don't lock up any utility rooms the day before you expect your boarders to arrive. The house was open before any of us could even arrive. Aza, is it possible that one of the spaces upstairs was renovated into an additional room, expecting the number of occupants to increase?" Before she could be graced with a reply though, Aquina headed towards the foot of the stairs.

"Why don't we try a good o'l fashioned knock on the door? Let's see how this mystery tenant is like?"

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Character Portrait: Aquina Rosenberg Character Portrait: Nikolai Utkin Character Portrait: Rook Foster Character Portrait: Shane Collins Character Portrait: Aza N. Merritt
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Aza bristled a bit at Shane's jabs, but reigned himself in. There was no point picking a fight, was there? Although Shane was obviously looking for one. Calm down, self. Clearly he's a cocky idiot who wants his face to be driven in a turd.

"Aza means 'strong' in hebrew. It's a real name with many different variations depending on language, dumbass. And like I said, I was checking to see what she goes by and if she was the mystery tenant. If you hear someone called Max, you obviously wouldn't have expected a girl now would you? And yet there are girls called Max and Alex and guys called Rowan and Taylor and who knows what else." Aza rolled his eyes at Shane, as if he was berating Shane for being an idiot. "There's no point assuming that just because its a feminine name that the person is obviously a female, and vice versa. It's a disservice to them."

And obviously he knew the difference between male and female - there were physical differences that made it hard not to. Girls had boobs, for one. Larger hips and longer legs, for another. Aza considered retaliating by saying that although he could tell a girl was a girl he'd had second doubts about Shane because he was... lacking down there, but eh. That'd be a bit below the belt.

And he wasn't looking to start a fight. If he did that, then everything would start becoming below the belt and that would... not be a good thing. Aza wasn't sure if the fridge had enough ice cubes for that situation.

When Shane made fun of his hair, Aza responded with an annoyed look. "Much like how you'd run screaming from a ghost if one appears?"[/grey] he asked archly, crossing his arms. [grey]"Don't bother, you blend in so well with the background that it won't even notice you're there. And my hair is genetic." He said irritably, resisting the urge to turn it into a comment questioning Shane's IQ.

Bro, I kind of miss you now. With you here I wouldn't have to deal with annoying first years.

That sentiment cemented itself further when Shane smacked him on the back. Aza scowled and elbowed him in the stomach, leaving him doubled over with a wheeze, but Shane still continued to talk anyway.

-----------------

"Aza, do you know what is inside the room on the second floor near the stairs? There is a locked door and probably none of us have a key." Shane asked.

"From what I read in the brochure, the rooms Mayfield rents out to tenants are all on the first floor. And you normally don't lock up any utility rooms the day before you expect your boarders to arrive. The house was open before any of us could even arrive. Aza, is it possible that one of the spaces upstairs was renovated into an additional room, expecting the number of occupants to increase? Why don't we try a good o'l fashioned knock on the door? Let's see how this mystery tenant is like?" Aquina asked.

Hmm. Aza shrugged. "Sure, why not?" he answered, slipping his hands into his pockets. "It used to be a study room, but it could've been renovated to let the house fit six people. If someone's in there they'd open the door, and if its not, well." He grinned for the first time he had entered the house, although it was just a faint curve of the lips. "We can try breaking down the door or picking the lock."

Preferably with Shane's head as a battering ram. Walking to join Aquina at the stairs, Aza paused a few steps behind her and looked over his shoulder at the others, raising a questioning eyebrow. "You guys coming?"

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