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Found 93 results

  1. This is for OOC talk not related to the other threads. On that note, I'll be starting things off Thursdayish - that gives people time to finish up characters. Changes to submitted and approved characters can be made fairly easily until that time; after the start of game, I'll require more justification. People are welcome to start background fictions now; they will be worth experience, the same as other fictions. Please don't do anything set after the start of game just yet. Otherwise, feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
  2. The Door opened to blackness, but they were expecting that. What they weren’t expecting, once Sean dug out his flashlight, was a lush garden, filled with verdant plants. They didn’t look right, to their eyes; the leaves and stems were an ugly purple-green color, and the flowers were all black. When the light hit them, the blossoms closed abruptly. No stars shone in the night sky, and no moon shone down on them. ,, Deep blue paving stones marked the path through the garden; the night was heavy with an oppressive silence. The students were standing there, trying to adjust to the gloom, when Ahvia pointed at the ground. “Sean, look!” He’d left his flashlight shining on one spot for a long minute, and now the grass in that spot was curling up and dying. The thick, purple blades were shriveling and turning a mud-brown color before their eyes. ,,
  3. It had been a long, long night for the students of Dalton. First theyd split up, with Sean and Swan heading to Denver and the rest sneaking around to one of the empty staff cottages. It was a tight fit; the cottages were designed to hold one comfortably by 1950s reckonings, and it forced the kids to be a little more comfortable than they liked. But they had running water, indoor plumbing and heat sources you didnt have to poke with sticks to keep working. When darkness had fallen, they had snuck out of their hiding cottage and gotten supplies. Sneaking in and out of places was easy for several of them, and by working with those that didnt, they were able to navigate the entire school. It was somewhat unnerving to be wary in a place that had once been completely safe for them. By the time the group at school had gotten their supplies back to their hiding place, Sean had gotten back from Denver. He was tired from the drive, and the other kids could tell he had been through the ringer emotionally as well. He also had a bag of his sisters clothing which he was trying to carry casually but it clearly bothered him. We have an early start. Ms. Dorns voice cut through the room and silenced the kids. Not because she was a teacher, but because she was making sense. Lets sleep tonight and ask twenty questions in the morning. The morning came too quickly; most of them had less than eight hours of sleep or poor sleep, and Ms. Dorn had woken them early. The group slipped back into Lancaster, up to the attic, avoiding the few students or staff up at this hour. Then, back in the attic, the crew relaxed and had breakfast, and time to talk before they left their world again.
  4. The Daltonites in the guest lodge – those who had found sleep and were still in their rooms – were awoken by a sharp pounding on their doors. A male voice added, “Breakfast.” It was then that the guests of DoorHold smelled the heavenly aroma lingering in the air. It smelled a lot like fat and protein, made by someone with no understanding of good and bad cholesterol. Those who stumbled out into the kitchen found that the table was piled high with food. Outside of Sylvia and Ravi’s door were neatly folded clothing that fit well enough. It was all rough-spun linen, wool or leather, much like they’d seen the Chiderans wearing. In fact, once Sylvia had put them on, she looked like a less-buff member of the race. The breakfast was very hearty, full of meat and starches. The only drink was a milk; it tasted oddly meaty and was somewhat warm – fresh from the cow warm. It was also very filling. Ryan meanwhile, found his class with Becor being interrupted by a servant. Becor fell silent as the door opened. The man who entered looked fey, with baby-fine silver hair and wide blue eyes. “Your friends are being served breakfast in their lodge,” the man said, blinking. “Would you like to join them…. Or sit here by yourself some more?”
  5. The time at HeartStone had been refreshing for the Daltonites. With their status as heroes and allies, they found that Chideran hospitality was always more than enough to satisfy. Food, drinks, training and information was theirs for the asking. There were other kinds of hospitality, and for those Daltonites so inclined, company at night. Sean returned from his secret ritual as a full-blooded Chideran, whatever that meant. If nothing else, he seemed more comfortable in his skin – and with Swan. The kiss she’d given him on his return had made their status clear to everyone. Yithaja gave them one night to celebrate with Sean; early the next morning she roused them from bed and started back for DoorHold. The return trip was just as arduous and dangerous as the trip out, and everyone was relieved when the smoke of the city became clear. They were welcomed back again. It was made clear to them by the Pimszt that they were welcome to stay. It seemed that their choices were limited anyway; the door to Dalton would not open. It seemed that the kids might be in for an extended stay, but the Pimszt had an alternate suggestion; she had the Key to the Beast-Skinned Door. She was honor-bound to give it to only Ravi and Sylvia, but the two could bring others with them, if they wished. “Let me know what you’d like to do,” the Summer Shadow who led DoorHold told them, her hard body leaning casually against the wall of the longhall.
  6. They had been at Heartstone for two days and two nights. The other students were settling in quite nicely as they waited for Sean to return from his her Quickening, becoming friends (or more) with the Chiderans, learning the ways of battle, and learning about their abilities. But for Frida, there was no learning to be had.. she had little desire to learn the ways of battle, though one of the Chideran warriors insisted that if she going to carry a dagger, she would at least learn how to handle it, and had taught her some of the basics. But from the Chiderans, there were no answers. She had treated the pictures for the Elders, and they had been grateful. But despite their inquiries on her behalf, there was no one who knew the ways of the undead, or of anyone who did. She saw glimpses of them, here and there, but unlike home, these spirits seemed less inclined to approach her directly, or to wander aimlessly amongst the Chiderans the way they had amongst the students of Dalton. Yet it seemed as if they filled her mind with images of their death, and as a result she slept little, waking frequently from nightmares filled with pain and sorrow. For she had quickly learned that no matter how bravely or heroically a Chideran (or anyone else for that matter) faced death, the rage of battle was still horrifying and frightening, and the pain often terrible to endure. On their third night, she rose from bed from her nightmares, dressing quietly and slipping out of the hut. It was easy to come and go as one pleased here - no matter how much Sylvia tried to keep watch, the vast majority of the Chiderans treated them as heroes - and subsequently, as adults. There was no guarding of rooms, no ten o'clock curfews here. And so Frida stepped out into the darkness, wrapped in her furs to keep off the chill that swept down into the valley. She received a brief nod from one or two of the warrior women standing guard, for even here at Heartstone, they were surrounded by the wild things of the forest. They had grown accustomed to her late-night wanderings, for without her art to occupy her or books with which to distract herself, she was at a loss as to how to distract herself otherwise. So she walked.. quietly, amongst the buildings, until she reached the edge of the village, where the walls of the valley began to rise up around them, soaking in the quiet of the night, and trying to figure out how to deal with the unwelcome infusion of memories that the ghosts of dead warrior women seemed to be forcing upon her, even as they kept their distance.
  7. The Chideran world is composed mostly of Amazonian woman. [More to come] Midnight Ice: Black hair, deep, ice-blue eyes, pale skin Summer Shadow: Blond hair, dark eyes, tanned skin Emerald Fire: Red hair, green eyes, pale skin, often freckles Burning Embers: Fiery red hair, pale green eyes, ebony skin Sunset Sands: Auburn hair, dark eyes, dusky skin Russet Thunders: Brown hair, brown eyes, bronze skin
  8. Sean was woken by sheets getting yanked back from his body. The room had chilled overnight and it had been quite warm and cozy curled up with Swan in the bed. The sex had helped lull him into a deep sleep so it was all the more jarring when he’d actually been yanked out of sleep by the cold. “Up, Sean.” Vena’s voice was hard but not unkind; if she was bothered by seeing her naked daughter/son curled around another girl, she didn’t show it. “The time for fucking is done. The time for fighting has started.” “Mom!” Sean was a bright red flush – he wasn’t so much blushing as turning red everywhere. Swan on the other hand was only faintly tinged with indigo on her bare skin as she stretched luxuriously. The older Chideran threw Sean’s underclothes at him, shaking her head as he scrambled into the garments. “Sean, I know what you were doing in here. The whole hold knows what you were doing.” Vena was bemused as she added, “You weren’t shy when your Caramine was kissing your whiskered lips. We all heard you sing her skill.” “Please don’t say that!” “Bah.” Vena looked at Swan, who was casually dressing. “He gets it from his father. Human men are prudes.” “I’ve noticed a certain level of modesty from his father’s people.” Swan smiled at Sean. “Are human girls like that, too?” “Some.” Certainly enough of the ones I dated. “Vena, what’s the plan?” “Breakfast and then your Quickening begins. Savannah has packed your bag.” Vena’s smile softened. “Since she was your favorite sister, I didn’t think you’d mind.” “No, I don’t. What did she pack for me?” Vena shook her head. “I forget you don’t know. Some food, water, extra clothing. All that you’ll need for a Quickening. If you have questions, now’s the time.”
  9. Okay, so this came up in chat today as a funny conversation, just one of those things that gets brought up. We were talking about Ferals and their generally aggressive instinctual reactions to being poked, prodded or pushed around, and I mentioned that thus far in Dalton, no-one's triggered Ravi off amongst the PCs. I'm not so much talking about berserk fury and the eating of the offending person as I am a snarl and a 'casual' swipe of claws, the equivalent of 'Fuck off.' or 'Know your place'. Carver suggested we open a book on the odds of who's likely to trigger that reaction first, so without further ado, here is the rundown. (Note, this is for fun, shits and giggles only.) 100-1 Outsider is Frida. Quiet and generally likes Ravi, and he likes her: unlikely to provoke an attack. 50-1 Mari. Though she's sweet and perfect, her own convictions and willingness to push for the best in people could have an unfortunate backlash from Ravi if he gets frustrated. 25-1 Ryan. He and Ravi are pals, and Ravi will take normal Ryan-banter in his stride and wait for the payback opportunity. Carver noted that Ryan would really have to step over the line to provoke that reaction. 25-1 Autumn. Based on interaction so far, Autumn has a certain level of patience and a head full of tales of the yee naaldalooshi. She really doesn't want to find out if they're true. 25-1 Sean. Without boobs. 20-1 Sean, with Ravi making a boob joke. 15-1 Seanette, with Ravi making a joke about his/her sweater puppies, transgenderism, or Amazon mating habits. Seanette seems to be a little over sensitive (and jiggly too). A smartass remark is likely to be met with a punch, which would escalate things. 10-1 Sylvia. Ms Dorn has bonded a little with Ravi as of 'Underwear', and has first-hand knowledge of what is considered a button for werepanthers. But she's still the den-mother, which means if she pushes, and depending how she pushes, there might be a snap and snarl. 5-1 Lucia. As has been amply demonstrated, Lucia doesn't like to back down from anything. Including big cats that can eat her ass whole. If she feels she has cause, she might well push Ravi into a flash of demonstrative anger. 3-1 Renata. Ascerbic rival for Mari's affections. Simply based on interactions so far and her manner of treating Ravi either hostilely or dismissively, Renata currently holds the title as 'Most Likely to be Mauled Offhandedly'. Especially if Mari isn't in the way. 2-1 (Special case) Sean again, if he/she sees Ravi pimp-clawing any of the girls. Sean(ette)'s chivalric instincts are well-documented, and it's likely (s)he'd get up in Ravi's face. Ray and Micah I am uncertain of, simply because there hasn't been enough interaction to establish the chemistry yet.
  10. Sunday morning, 5:45 a.m. Frida’s mural was still on the wall, offering a haunting reminder to anyone who cared to see that something unusual was going on here. It was a well-done mural, at the least. That wasn’t why Isaac Rotterdown was in the room examining it. His interest was in the supernatural. He’d heard the stories about the painting and had come to see for himself. He’d meant to wait until later today to see it, but he couldn’t sleep. Figuring that he’d take a walk, he decided to swing by the building. To his surprise, it was unlocked and he took advantage of the lapse in security. Slipping into the room, he left off the lights and used his small LED light on the keychain to illuminate the mural in six-inch circles. More than once, he thought about turning on the light but knew that would draw security. Instead, he forced patience and hoped his light would be sufficient. The mural was everything he’d been told it was, and Isaac didn’t have a clue about what half of it meant. There was a whisper of sound behind him; the man turned to see a man with gray skin and wrong eyes – white pupils and irises, black sclera – standing there. He was lean but gave off an aura of power that went beyond the physical. He wore finely-made clothing straight from a Ren-Faire. “This is most unfortunate,” he said, tilting his head. “I believe the current Daltonites say ‘awkward’?” “Uh,” Isaac said, not sure if he was going to demand that to know what he was doing here or compliment him on the outstanding makeup and contacts. Then something touched the crown of his head and the urge to sleep was overwhelming. He dropped into slumber as a female voice spoke softly: “He’s one of them, too. This is-” He had some very odd dreams. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Brihn and Brahn were both waiting for the students and teacher to arrive the next morning. The two looked different today; perhaps they were merely tired. Being early was certainly a contrast to their usual habits of lurking in a dark shadow and then stepping out to scare the crap out of everyone, or at least out of Ryan. One of the students, Isaac Rotterdown, lay sprawled on one of the tables. “We were not sure what to do with him,” Brihn said apologetically. “He had already seen me,” Brahn said, his mouth twitching. Click to reveal.. You arrive in order of posting, please – no posting and saying “But I’m the last there.” If you want to be first-first or last, please say so in the OOC thread and we’ll work it out. The special guest stars will be along soon. Oh, and say hi to Collider! He’ll be joining us.
  11. Inits are due by November 3rd. Those who don't reply are sleeping through the fight, with all the ridicule inherent to the situation. Renata - 17 Yithaja - 16 Swan - 16 Sylvia - 14 Ahvia - 12 Sean - 10 Lucia/Ryan - 9 Ray - 8 Monster - 8
  12. Prowling his own quiet backyard or asleep by the fire, he is still only a whisker away from the wilds. ~Jean Burden (Continued from Chapter 9) All was quiet for some minutes after the heavy wooden door shut behind Renata, bar the crackle of the fire and the faint moan of the wind outside the shutters. Mari found herself focused on the boy (Boy. He's a boy, not a panther) in her arms, her small hands caressing the solid muscles through the beautiful midnight-black pelt as she rested her head against his shoulder, draping herself over his form. Ravi was rumbling softly, content and at peace with his massive head on her lap. The angelic girl was struck by how different he was, moment to moment, hour to hour. This complicated, mercurial young man with a violent dark side she'd seen several times in the last week, the raging fiend who'd killed an expert warrior-woman in the span of seconds, the boy whose fervent, delightful kisses in the movie theatre had become a stinging bite and who she'd caught tormenting another pupil with malice and rage in his gleaming eyes was the same person who made her smile with his words, who lifted her little heart simply by being around, who sauntered through the hazy minefield of high school adolescence with a bold, devil-may-care attitude that was as inspiring (in it's independance) as it was scandalous (in it's irreverence). He's all kinds of the wrong sort of boy she thought to herself with a small smile. Was that it? Was it the 'bad boy' thing Yani had talked about? Mari didn't think so. All the 'bad boys' she'd seen back home were kind of silly, posturing kids playing at being men who still jumped when their mama said 'Boo'. Ravi could stand up to the scary Ms Dorn and defy her - he probably wasn't a mama's boy. You're gonna hurt her, kitty-cat. Hector's words to Ravi came back to her then, and she felt a small chill. Until tonight, she wasn't sure she'd believed that. But Yithaja had tackled her out of Ravi's path like she knew the enraged panther would go through anyone between him and his foe. What had she said? "...when some Beast-Skinned slay their mates in unknowing rage, they end their own lives. Ravi's people are far too few to allow one to die thusly..." Would Ravi have killed her, then killed himself? Mari wasn't stupid - the creature she'd seen in the tavern (and how she wished she hadn't) was out of control, full of rage and frustration, a trapped and angered animal. "I was worried about you." she said quietly into the thick fur of his shoulder. "When you killed that woman, I was so scared they'd put you down like you had rabies. I was scared that you'd hurt us all... hurt me." She felt the panther shift position a little and clung to his neck. "Wait." she urged, feeling him still again before she continued. "I know you wouldn't want to hurt me. But that wasn't you in there... Was it?" she asked, drawing back a little and looking into the large eyes. Ravi looked back at her, the clear intelligence of his shimmering gaze a counterpoint to the madness she'd seen in the drinking hall. He sighed, a great gust of a sound, and sat up. Mari noted the wound in his side had almost disappeared now, shrinking to a scabbed cut that didn't look much larger than her hand. Ravi regarded the girl with a pensive air, the words he wanted to say dancing on the inside of his head, trapped by the form he wore. He wanted to explain, to tell her how it was to be beast and man, but this shape, so suited to many endeavours, was not very good at cross-species communication. He sighed again, blowing out the last of his defensive wariness, and feeling the urge as he relaxed some parts of his soul, he went with it and Changed. To Mari, it was as though his outline blurred, the fur receding all over the great body as it shrank. The process was as fast as it was smooth, and in a few eyeblinks it was Ravi sitting in front of her, the firelight playing over his coffee-coloured skin and turning it bronze as sparks danced golden in his green eyes. He was dirt-smudged and bloody, dried blood on his upper arm under the wound, but he was human, or at least human-shaped again. He drew Mari to him, feeling her lithe arms wrap around his neck as she gratefully hugged him back, and he buried his face in her wealth of dark hair, breathing in her scent. "I'm sorry." he murmured. "Sorry I scared you. Sorry I made you fear for me. I'm sorry I lost it like that. It was like a berserk fit... It was like the whole world slowed down and became white-hot, and my whole being just wanted to hurt the person who dared to touch you like that. It was like with Kurt, but a dozen times stronger." he sighed, his face still hidden in her hair. "But it was me, Mari. I'm not going to dodge the responsibility. I was in there, and I wanted to hurt that woman. The urge to fight for you might be stronger because of what I am, but the feelings are mine. I'm not going to try and claim 'the devil made me do it'. If Yithaja hadn't saved you... I hope that I would have been strong enough to steer myself like I did when I first Changed. Thanks to her, we didn't have to find out. I owe her." He hugged her tighter for a moment. "Please... don't do that again. If I'd hurt any of our friends I'd be mortified, but if I hurt you..." he left that hanging as he relaxed his grasp a little and straightened enough to look into her eyes. "Well... Just be careful. For me. I'm different now, and I need to learn how to control that." He glanced at his wounded shoulder and made a face. "I wish my family had told me more about being... well, what I am. Maybe there's a trick or secret to controlling the darker impulses."
  13. (Sometime after Late-Night Consolations.) It was leaves, dry and sere, and not snow that drifted down from above to carpet the forest floor, but the last stanza of Frost's poem kept repeating through Autumn's mind as she jogged down the winding animal paths. Her feet pounded the earthen track at a steady pace, the same easy rhythm from her earlier run. When she'd met Lucia, and Ahvia, and Rosa. And... that freak who'd made them all think she was a dog. Looking back on it, it wasn't possible. People didn't turn into dogs; that's not how magic worked. Magic was subtle, more or less coincidental, and basically completely indistinguishable from the normal course of events. If not for the marks on her palm, she'd just assume she dreamed it all, but those were real enough. There had to be some other explanation. 'Sorcery' didn't exist, and therefore what happened had to be chalked up to some other cause; the fact that she had no idea what that other cause might be was irrelevant. Any number of things might've rendered her, or all of them, susceptible to suggestion or hallucination. Unhappily, she remembered that someone had told her once that crazy is contagious. Could an entire campus of students, and maybe even staff, go nuts? she wondered. History was filled with accounts of ergot poisoning, chemical tests, and so forth, so it wasn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. Her brain began meandering down grim and abstract paths even as her feet carried her down more literal ones- at least until a rumbling, throaty roar split the silence of the moonlit night. Startled, and with all grace abandoning her, she stumbled to a noisy, leaf-crunching halt and whipped her head in the direction of the sound. It might have been a mountain lion, but it sounded as if it came from the school grounds, not farther out in the wilderness. Panting softly, Autumn tried to calm the pounding of her heart as she peered through the half-light of the forest and listened for the tell-tale sound of movement.
  14. Swan's fingers - hard and strong through years of swordwork - kneaded his neck and shoulders, easing the tension Sean had built up with everything that had happened to him since walking through the Door. Whether it was because he needed this, or it was a pretty, naked woman doing it, or even the greater sensitivity of his female skin, it felt immensely good and a moan escaped his lips and he didn't even care how girlish it sounded. Well, not much. He also began feeling another girlish sensation and this one wasn't as pleasant. His own weight was pressing down on his breasts, flattening them against the mattress and though it didn't hurt, the tightness on the sensitive, female protrusions grew from rather pleasant to irritating, knotting his back to Swan's annoyance. "Here, give me a sec, Swan, layin' like isn't workin,'" Sean said, levering himself up with an arm, then stuffing some pillows under his abdomen, right below his breasts. When he lay down again, he sighed, finding the pressure relieved to an acceptable degree with his breasts resting in a shallow trough between the pillows. "That's better." Swan agreed. As soon as she had worked out a knot and new one had formed. Now, Sean was resting limp and relaxed, enabling her fingers to work deep. For a moment, she sat back, her weight rocking across Sean's hips, and flicked the hair out of her eyes as she hungrily admired 'him.' Though lacking the sheer muscular bulk he had as a male, Sean still radiated the same vigorous strength, his curvaceous figure overlayed with a strong, sleekly athletic physique that only added to his allure. Beneath the surprisingly smooth and soft skin of his back, rolled graceful muscle hard as iron in a captivating dance of dichotomy. With his arms above his head, Swan could see the outer curves of his full breasts edging beyond the width of his chest. Sean was in no way a delicate flower, yet there was no denying he was an exceptional, and undeniably female, beauty. And it was that potential of being both male and female that heightened her attraction for Sean, beyond all that he had already done for her. In one person, she could find her notions of pleasurable romance and a valid mate both fulfilled. And from what she had seen and learned of the young man, a woman interested in both his male and female selves would appeal to him. She just had to ensure that if Sean found a way to return to his male self, he would still have an interest in experiencing his female flesh once more. She certainly did. "Yes, it is much better," Swan murmured with a wide grin, leaning low over his back, fingers inching up his neck and through the silky luxuriance of his short, black hair. When her lips brushed the nape of his neck, he shivered. "Too far?" "No," Sean said after a moment, though she could feel his heart-rate increase. Her hands moved back down, flowing across Sean's strong, shapely shoulders, then down his back towards the narrowness of his trim waist and back up again. With each pass, her fingers reached further and further around his ribs, until she was grazing the outsides of round flesh both soft and resilient. She felt Sean freeze, back rising slightly as his lungs filled with an inward gasp. "Too far?" "...No...." Sean claimed hesitantly, the male pride of not wanting to be the one claiming they were going too far for comfort warring with the heady (and confusing) sensations running through his altogether too female flesh. What if he end up enjoying it too much? Did that make him a girl, in fact as well as in body? "I will stop whenever you ask, Sean." "Keep... keep going." Swan smiled even more. Not wanting to turn that hesitant 'no' into an embarrassed 'yes,' she relented her 'frontal' assault. She deftly turned around, her thighs lightly squeezing his flaring hips as she began kneading the remarkable length of his impressive legs. By sun-up, she intended to give Sean a reason to explore the further delights possible between women.
  15. Once outside, the crisp cold air wrapped snugly around Renata as she stumbled away from the little houses. Tiny glass prisms of snow fell one by one from above. It never occurred to her how beautiful the scene was though. She was alone in the cold, and saw only how dark it was. Away from the Chiderean...city? Camp? Settlement?...the snow wasn't cleared, and it got deeper. After a few minutes of high-stepping, Renata came to rest against the gnarly bole of a tree that arched menacingly over her head. In the gloom it looked like skeletal fingers raised high just before the killing blow. Renata didn't notice them though. Her breath was coming in ragged, hitching gasps that sent plumes of vapor spreading into the night in front of her. She had to lean forward...not from exhaustion, but from the physical pain of brutally repressing her natural reaction to a loss she felt echoing through her very bones. The loss of love. Of Mari. She wanted to cry in the same way that a man dying of dehydration wanted some water. She fought herself tooth and nail, trying to hold it back. But water started drooling from the corners of her eyes. Renata scrubbed it away, furious at herself for the lapse. But then another. And another. Finally she knew she couldn't hold it anymore, and let go. The feeling of letting go was terrifying. There was a horrible sense of abdication, like how one might imagine allowing oneself to defecate into their pants might feel. Not physically, but emotionally...a sense of being lessened. Cheapened. Degraded. And then the tears came, and with the the hoarse, wracking, miserable sobs. For the first time in her life since...well, since her first real rejection, Renata really cried. It was an avalanche, a flood, and the catharsis it brought wasn't cleansing, it was like a dam that had held Hell back had burst, showering her in the spiritual equivalent of feces and maggotty meat, and of course...fire. goddamnit, what did I THINK was going to happen?1 was she supposed to just magically fall into my arms?! I had the perfect chance...wide open shot...and I couldn't even throw the ball. now she's back with HIM and why not? why would she choose me? she's a normal, healthy girl. and she's gorgeous...she should have a gorgeous 'mate.' Renata got to her feet unsteadily, holding a tree trunk for balance as she went. The bark under her fingers was hard and deeply grooved, and it dug at her fingers with sharp edges giving her a physical pain that couldn't quite drown out the scourging within. I hate them! I hate Ravi...I hate Mari...I hate all of them! I hate...I hate... Wind raised up and howled through bare branches, picking up speed and bringing a sudden chill with it. "Faaaatimaaaaa." Renata stopped her pounding of the tree trunk. A shiver went down her spine that had nothing to do with the plunging thermometer mercury. In fact, she realized, it was getting tangibly cooler; the cold of winter descending into something that felt like it should only exist in the vacuum of space. "Fatima." It was the wind, she realized. That hollow 'voice.' It was just wind blowing through...except it wasn't right. She could still hear the wind too. The voice and the wind at the same time. "Who's there?" she whispered. It was stupid, it was cliche...if you had to ask who was there, then it was pretty obvious that it was no one good. But the words came out of her anyway, as fearful and dread-laden as in any iteration of a numbered series of terrible slasher flicks. "Who are you?" A puff of breeze gusted over her, and terror clenched in her gut as she realized what it was. Not a breeze. A breath. It was right behind her! Renata didn't scream and run, or collapse and plead. She spun around and drove a fist straight forward, aiming for the spot that breath had originated. But at the exact same instant she threw her punch, something impacted her own face as well. Meanwhile her own attack met nothing but air. There was nothing but air THERE. No tall, hulking maniac. No renegade Amazon out to avenge her dead cousin. No monster. Nothing. The howl of the wind got louder though, and the trees outside that little clearing started to sway and nod between one another. Snow and branches and leaves came up off the ground to create a thick, opaque wall that surrounded Renata and the clearing. It was like being in the eye of a big tornado that wasn't moving. Worse than that though...worse than being trapped with some kind of fucked up invisible thing...was the feeling of it. Even when it wasn't 'speaking' in the wind, she could feel thick waves of contempt boiling from it. Disgust. Loathing. Hatred. All directed at her. It even knew her name. Her real name. What the hell WAS it? She shook off the momentary daze from the blow and darted away from the tree she'd been leaning against. Stay mobile. Force it to come after her. Maybe she'd be able to see it move or something. She twisted around, trying to watch every direction at once."Where are you?!" she finally yelled. "Fatima." Behind her again! This time she ducked low and kicked out in a sweep, hoping to avoid its counterpunch. But it must have been substantially faster than her, because something struck her thigh, then lashed over to her other knee, knocking her down hard enough to roll her. Renata wasn't done yet though. Instinctively she figured if it had hit her like that, then it had to be there. She rolled up back onto her feet as fast as she'd been knocked over and charged the spot it had to be in. An invisible fist hit her in the belly, hard even as her own appendages flailed in the air harmlessly. Renata was forced back, the air coming out of her lungs in a forced 'wuff!' Doggedly she backed up more, hoping it would come after her...a wish apparently granted when Renata suddenly jumped forward and threw what she hoped would be a surprise punch. But the surprise was all hers when she jumped right into IT'S blow, knocking her backwards with enough force that she slammed into a tree trunk behind her. The back of Renata's head hit hard and she collapsed to the ground, semiconscious and aching all over. This was it, she realized dully. She was going to die. A stupid, pointless death for a stupid, pointless life. The tragedy of her life wasn't that she was going to die young and alone and in pain. It was that she'd been born at all. She'd managed to get to seventeen with no real friends. Hardly any real skills or accomplishments. And she'd lost the one she loved to...to a freakish man-panther who killed people and ate them. Maybe this was for the best. When something twined around her, and lifted her into the air, Renata didn't struggle. She waited. Oh, she was afraid. Her stomach churned and her heart beat a staccato rhythm like a bird's. But she hurt too much to fight anymore. Her body ached. Her spirit itself was exhausted. And deep down, the hate this creature had for her seemed like just a shadow of what she felt towards herself. "Have you come to die?" Its voice on the wind again, screaming across her face and rocketing around the outside of the clearing into the tornado beyond. Renata opened her eyes. Was it...asking permission? She saw her predicament too. She was floating in midair, about ten feet off the ground, supported by nothing physical. And while she couldn't move her arms, or do much besides wriggle and kick, she couldn't actually feel anything in contact with her. There was no texture to the thing, no solidity. It was like a magnetic field...it could stop you from moving, but there wasn't really anything there. "What are you?" she demanded wearily. "Do whatever you're going to do and stop...toying with me!" "Have you come to die?" Jesus, how do you answer a question like that? Renata wasn't suicidal. She'd never looked at a weapon and considered using it on herself. Her sometimes morbid curiosity had sometimes wondered what it would be like to die...but that wasn't the same. But then again, it wasn't asking if she wanted to die. It was asking if she'd come to die. Come here. So Renata thought back to when she'd come here. Running from Mari. Running from the sickeningly certain knowledge that Mari was deeply in love with Ravi. But that was just the surface. Like a giant zit, the whole situation was swollen with nastiness that lurked just below. "Are you going to kill me?" she asked. "Are you?" Renata shook her head. "Why do you hate me so much?" "Because you are weak when you should be strong. Because you are slow when you need speed..." Her eyes widened in shock. She knew that litany. She knew it. And only one other person did. "...you are dull when you could be cunning, and..." She finished for the thing, "...I'm blind when I have to see. I'm my own worst enemy." Her body tingled unpleasantly. Her brain felt like it was moving inside her skull. Any second she'd wake up, because that had to be what this was. But she knew it wasn't. The man who had taught her to fight had begun his lessons with that mantra. He'd been a hard man, uncompromising and eager to criticize, while compliments were given rarely and grudgingly. ...in any conflict, your opponent is not who you're fighting, he'd said. You are your own worst enemy, always. You are weak when you should be strong. You are slow when you need speed. You are dull when you could be cunning, and you are blind when you have to see. Only by fighting yourself and your limitations can you win a conflict. Whether that conflict is hand to hand combat, or a boardroom debate, or an argument over leaving the toilet lid up. She'd never told anyone else about her afterschool training. Not because it was scandalous or in any way shameful or embarrassing, but because if she'd told people, then they'd know not to mess with her. And she'd wanted them to provoke her. She'd wanted to fight them. Hurt them. Break them and see them cry the tears that she denied herself. There was a sensation growing in the pit of Renata's stomach, similar to the one she got on a roller coaster as the cars came to the crest of a great big hill. Or watching the fuse of a huge firework light and start to race back along the line. Something big was coming, and nothing could stop it now. Memories were flowing in the back of her mind, things she'd trained herself not to think about. Giant sections of her life that were cordoned off, but had the answers that she needed now. Because she didn't want to die. She didn't want to die, and she had to understand why this thing hated her so much. No! Fatima, stop it! That was her mother. She'd finally cornered Renata in her bedroom one day and had something that had started out as a good mother-daughter heart to heart, but that then had turned ugly when Renata had told her one last bit of information. You're young, Fatima. It's normal for girls to be...confused sometimes when they're growing up. That doesn't mean... But Renata had insisted. She hadn't been confused. Not about her own feelings. Oh, she was confused about the OTHER girl's feelings, but not about her own. And her mother had gone very still, with a tight, pinched look to her lips...the expression she wore when someone had insulted her personally, or blasphemed. Listen to me, she'd said, listen very carefully. What you are describing is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. You're young. Impressionable. You spend too much time watching television and movies where they try to make all this seem 'cool' and 'acceptable.' I'm going to speak with your father about this. Don't worry, Fatima, I don't blame YOU. This isn't you. The Devil is all around us, all the time, whispering in our ears...and you just need to learn how to stop listening to him. She'd been in tears by the end, and had leaned over to kiss Renata's forehead...but despite this seeming kindness, the message had been clear. You are an abomination. You are not acceptable. You are the Devil. And it had all been over a girl. A girl at the private academy she'd been attending. A girl named Charlotte. Just thinking of the name brought her face into Renata's mind; toe-curlingly beautiful, with clear blue eyes and full lips giving her an angel's face framed by curls of golden-blonde hair. She'd been everything Renata hadn't been. Adventuresome where she'd been cautious, social where she was reclusive, gorgeous where she was dumpy, popular versus her own lack of existence. They'd first met, if one didn't count Ren stalking her, in the band room during lunch. Renata was strumming a few ideas for melodies she'd had on the old guitar the school had for practice. That's pretty, she'd said. Renata, startled, looked up and instantly colored. She'd stammered something that could have been speaking in tongues for all of its garbled nonsense. Charlotte just grinned and came over to sit down nearby. Go on, keep playing. So Ren had played a couple of tunes from pop songs that she'd taught herself. That got some giggles out of Charlotte, which emboldened Renata to try improvising something. She'd closed her eyes and imagined Charlotte's face, and started playing. The melody that emerged was rather startlingly pleasant to hear, if a bit sad. It evoked a mood of distance; of yearning. It briefly surged into something happier, something joyful like the sun breaking through clouds...then returned to the far off wistfulness, but with a subtle strain of new hope evident in a slightly different chord. That was awesome, Charlotte had whispered, and Ren opened her eyes...so into the music that she'd actually forgotten the other girl was there. Charlotte had left her chair and was sitting right next to her now, close enough to touch. Their eyes had locked, and Renata felt herself leaning towards her...trapped by some kind of gravitational field. It's about you, she'd said softly. Then the bell had rung, and both girls snapped out of it. Seeya! chirped Charlotte as she scampered off. Sick with a combination of glee and awe and the kicking-of-oneself-for-missing-a-golden-opportunity that only teenagers in love can feel, Renata had replaced the guitar in its case and hurried out as well. Just a week later, Renata and Charlotte were 'an item,' in Renata's mind at least. They'd kissed. They held hands when it was not overly inappropriate. Most everyone just assumed they were friends. Renata noticed that Charlotte never introduced her to her 'inner circle' of popular kids...but at the time she'd been rather grateful. She didn't like them, and knew they didn't like her. Why would she want an introduction? Charlotte was always the initiator. What she wanted, they did. Renata accomodated her desires with puppyish eagerness to please. When they finally slept together, it was because Charlotte, embarrassed but eager to experiment, wanted to. After that first night, it was all Renata could think about. She had fantasies of marrying Charlotte, of using her family's money to research baby-science so she could have her babies. She wanted a family, and a life where she got to sleep, naked, with Charlotte every night. And spend each day with her too...possibly still naked, that could be worked out on a day by day basis. And then the other shoe dropped. Renata had timidly approached Charlotte while she was talking to her popular friends...normally she wouldn't have, but Char hadn't responded to her passed note in class where Ren had invited her to meet her family over the break...and Ren needed to know if she was coming so she could make the arrangements. Um, when you have a second, I need to ask you something, Renata had mumbled, avoiding eye contact with the Alpha Teens that Charlotte pretended to belong among. Charlotte looked at her, eyes narrow for a second, then bright and wide and beaming. Guys, I'll be right back. When they'd gotten a safe distance away, she'd rounded on Renata. What IS it, she'd demanded. I'm sorry, Renata had assured her, trying to smooth things over. I just wanted to see if you wanted to come to my place over the break. Mom's a great cook and you two would get along and...I just thought you should meet....everyone... Fatima, Charlotte had said, arms folded. Why would I want to meet your family? The bluntness of the question had surprised Renata. She just stared, wide eyed, which Charlotte took as an invitation to continue. What is this? You think we're engaged now or something? You want me to meet the in-laws to be? No, Renata assured her hastily. But...we are together so, I don't know. Maybe we should meet each other's parents? Oh my God, Charlotte replied, full of scorn. We're together? Really? The world started to constrict around Renata...it was actually shrinking. She was having trouble breathing. But we...you and me...we... We had some fun, insisted Charlotte. Some laughs. You were kind of cute with the guitar and all, and I was sort of curious to see what it would be like. And now I know. So...I guess we're done now. But. Fatima, explained Charlotte...and while she was speaking more gently now, it only seemed to hurt worse. I'm sorry. I didn't know you'd get all...clingy. I thought we were the same, we just wanted to see how it was. But all the time now, you're calling me and following me around and people are starting to ask... Hey, Charlotte, someone else called, everything all right? Charlotte's eyes widened for a moment, and Renata could see, actually SEE the instant where the other girl made her choice. She pushed Renata back and said loudly, Fatima, for the last time, I'm not a lesbian! If you ever try to hit on me again, I'll report you to the office! Then she was walking away, to her friends, and Renata could hear her starting to go on about how the lovelorn little dyke just wouldn't leave her alone... Renata twisted where she hung in the air, at the mercy of a monstrous thing that could not be defeated. The memory of Charlotte's betrayal hurt worse than the beating she'd gotten. Worse than anything. It filled her with hate, and pain until she could only scream it out into the night. But even then, she was still clicking inexorably along the roller coaster, starting to go over now, could stop it. The dots in her memory were connecting themselves and revealing a pattern. This was her answer, and she was terrified of what it would mean in the end. You are your own worst enemy. She'd been born the youngest, by far, to a family of pushy alpha-personalities. Father a right-wing politician who believed hardball was the only game worth playing. Mother an authoritarian who ruled the household with the Bible in one hand and a ruler in the other. Starved for attention and approval, she'd always measured herself by how they reacted to her. You are weak when you should be strong. In school, she'd applied the same equation to her peers, but got an inexplicably different result. Other kids were unpredictable, their reactions to her all over the board. Frightened by this, and unwilling to take risks, she withdrew socially into the safety of iconoclastic observation. When she understood them, she would try again, she rationalized. You are slow when you need speed. Charlotte had broken that wall, by giving her not just the approval and love she'd needed for so long, as well as something even more valuable. A model to emulate. Charlotte was everything Fatima wasn't, but wanted to be. Growing close to her let Fatima watch her, learn from her. You are dull when you could be cunning. She'd always believed that Charlotte's betrayal had shattered her, but now, thinking back clearly, she realized that it hadn't changed ANYTHING. She'd still tried to be like Charlotte, because it was all she had. But afterwards what 'being like Charlotte' meant was different. Charlotte hated Fatima, so she'd ceased to be Fatima. She'd thrown out her old clothes and things, and bought new ones. She'd stopped going by her first name and adoped her middle name 'Renata' as her new nom de plume. Renata was strong, and didn't take shit from anyone, like Charlotte. She was fast on her feet, quick to take offense and had a lightning jab. She was clever, witty, street-smart. She wasn't like Fatima. Fatima was a joke. Everyone hated Fatima. You are blind when you have to see. Even Renata. No one hated Fatima more than Renata. And just like that, she knew. It was as if a light suddenly clicked on, shining down from above...an imitation of what Mari had become briefly. A light that showed everything as it truly was, without any lie or self-deception that could endure its touch. For just an instant, Fatima saw exactly who she was, and what was happening, and what she was doing and why. All her relationships were laid bare, all her memories stripped of anything but truth. And in response, she did the only thing a sane person COULD do on the event of seeing themselves truly. She began to laugh. Not hysterical, desperate laughter, or giggles and snorts, but the full-lung laughter of someone who was told a really good joke a long time ago, and only just now got it. The laugh of someone who has years of laughing to catch up on, and intends to get started right now. Her feet touched the ground gently, and she wasn't surprised to see that the snow in the clearing was gone...melted away. She was warm too, pleasantly so, even though winter still held the rest of the world in its icy clutches. The tornado was gone, though its legacy of snapped branches and broken trees still described a perfect circle around the clearing. She looked up at one of the trees, at a large branch. It moved, waving like a hand. She grinned and waved back...then winced and rubbed her face where she'd hit herself. That brought another laugh to her lips and she shook her head at herself as she started back to the houses. She'd asked her teacher what happened when you fought yourself and won. If you were no longer your own worst enemy, what were you? His response had always annoyed her because of what it implied and eventually she'd stopped going to see him. Ready to learn.
  16. Inits here, please. Ravi - 18 Sean - 15 Renata - 13 Micah - 12 Mari - 10 Selih - 7 Don't forget your DeM point.
  17. Concept: Too curious Student now in a fantasy adventure. Grade: Junior. (Was) Age: 17. Virtue: Hope Vice: Pride Appearance: Brown hair with dark brown eyes, of moderate height, and he is fit, strengthened by a rough training regimen. He wears regular clothing whenver possible, simple t-shirts and shorts. Right now, stuck with the Chiderans, he's been wearing furs and armor. In his presence, slightly improbable events occur regularly, such as coin tosses always coming up “heads.” Background: Ray's parents packed him off to Dalton in an sharp effort (as they saw it) to get him to actually make some real friends for once in his life. Not that his interest in learning wasn't good, but his soaking up of facts, and the outdoors and interest in novels, particularly fantasy books, seemed to crowd out a genuiene social life. And to be fair, Ray has indeed made some friends in school, but his nature at heart still very much led him into a misadventure. A year ago at Dalton, he found some odd things investigating the school's odd past, and in the process, he wound up on the other side of the Door. Except they were responsible, not he. He's been missing from Dalton for a year. Personality: Ray is sociable and intelligent, with a few friends, but he has a very strong strain of curiousity and occasional impulsiveness that can get him into trouble, as he tends to want to find out things for the sake of knowing. As such, and for personal preference, he enjoys the night time much more than the day. When problems arise, he will often try to sidestep them when he can. Since the arrival with the Chiderans and being trained by them, he has toughened up somewhat, but that flaw is still there.
  18. He'd made it about halfway through cleaning the mess of the ransacking before he was interrupted. He smelled her first - because of his current mood his senses were on high alert. As always, the faint scent of paint and charcoals accompanied her, though her underlying scent was still the simple and clean scent of a young woman who didn't bother too much with perfumes or too many cosmetics. He could also smell fear - not the overwhelming stench of of prey, but the heightened caution of one who'd been recently attacked, and was hesitant to expose themselves to more danger. He smelled it all a few moments before she reached his door and knocked lightly, so as not to disturb anyone nearby. Her voice was a hushed whisper through the door. "Ravi?"
  19. Experience 1a/b - 2 2a/b/c/d - 3 3a/b - 5 Home Again - 2 4 - 3 Pulling it Together - 5 -Ravi and Ryan get 2 each for partial participation Tearing it Apart - 3 5 - 5 6 - 10 7 - 7 8a/b/c/d - 5 a - 3 9 - 7 10 - 7 ,, 11 - 5 ,, 12 - 5 Fictions 8/24 Unexplained Mysteries - 1 8/23 The Sitting - 1 8/22 Angels and Devils - 1 (?) Missing Person - inc Reach Out and Touch Someone - 1 8/21 Meeting Goals - 1 8/20 Suspicions at Work - inc Artistic Intrigue - 1 Stylistic Preferences - inc, PC gone Martial Cuisine - 2 Uneasy in Slumber - inc Dining on Baked Awkward - 1 8/17 Tearing Apart - 3 Pulling It Together - 5 -Ravi and Ryan get 2 each for partial participation 8/16 Off to Mother's We Go - 1 If You Want It Done Right… - inc Hot Gate - inc How do you work this crazy thing? - inc Walking - 2 Pre-game Last Down And A Lifetime To Go - 1 Catching Up - inc Enter the Grind - inc [Open Fic] Summer at Dalton - 1
  20. It really sucked that no one wanted to come with him, Ryan reflected as he eased around the corner of the Admin Building. He really could have used some backup or a lookout guy; maybe put Ravi's eyes to good use for something other than getting into trouble with the girls. Outside the building, Ryan paused to consider his options. There were four entrances, three of which were on the 'ground' level and one on the first floor. The Admin building had been built on a slope, like most of the buildings in this region, and it's lowest level was accessible only from the sides and the back. The ground level held the small game room - a pool table and a couple of ancient video games - as well as a tiny snack bar. The school sold candy and pre-packaged snacks there as well as fountain sodas - just a place to grab a bit between meals and give the school a little more of Mom and Dad's money. A small TV lounge and quiet room completed the 'rec area' with the rest of the floor being taken up with a larger classroom and the Student Services Center. SSC was the place to find information about extra-curricular activities as well as the student counselors. Most of the students were familiar with the ground floor. The first floor was largely administrative offices – the places where the secretaries did their work. Some of the faculty had offices here as well – mostly those who weren’t dorm mothers or fathers and lived off-campus. There was also the teacher’s lounge on this floor. Second floor was where he wanted to be. All of the high-ranking administrative staff were up there. He hadn’t been up there before; few students saw those hallowed halls unless in serious trouble. Ryan’s antics hadn’t garnered him that kind of attention yet; that was reserved for fighting between students or dealing with ‘nine-month problems’. He grinned as he wondered if Ravi would get called up there for eating a security guard or knocking a girl up – at this point, either was possible. Getting up there wouldn’t be an issue; there were elevators and stairs in the building. He could probably scale the outside, but he wasn’t sure which was hers, either. He needed a plan.
  21. High School Junior Always seems to have some sort of illness (runny nose, coughing fits, etc.) Will not generally talk about his illnesses though, most commonly attributing them to a weak immune system (while in fact he has a very strong one that is slowly being overwhelmed by leukemia). Isaac is a bit of a stoic, and doesn't like to show people that his life is quite difficult, though those closest to him could probably figure it out quickly. He will persevere through just about anything, often giving more than he can afford to. He has forced himself through his life thus far, and is determined to make every day count for something. He will generally not ask for help, but will offer help where he can. This can lead to him getting a bit overwhelmed by everything he takes on. School wise, he has a knack for all sciences, and especially chemistry. He is also a gifted investigator, loving to solve puzzles, fancying himself as a young Sherlock Holmes. On the rare days that he is not feeling the pain of his maladies in his joints, he is a capable athlete, running on the track team. He often seems to be a font of unending useless knowledge, although from time to time his mind will make a useful connection to the situation. Physical Appearance: Tall (6'3") skinny (155 lbs) light tan skin (though he has rather severe farmer's tanlines) can have a sickly appearance from time to time depending on his current illness, brown hair and bright green eyes Mental (Secondary) Int 2 Wit 2 Res 3 Physical (Tertiary) Str 2 Dex 2 Sta 2 Social (Primary) Pre 2 Man 2 Com 4 Mental Skills (Primary) Academics 2 Computer 1 Investigation 3 (Puzzles) Occult 2 Science 3 (Chemistry) Physical Skills (Secondary) Athletics 2 Brawl 1 Larceny 2 Stealth 2 Social Skills (Tertiary) Empathy 1 (Lies) Persuasion 1 Subterfuge 2 Merits Encyclopedic Knowledge (4) Natural Immunity (1) Iron Stamina (2) Virtue: Fortitude Vice: Pride Health 7 Will 7/7 Speed 9 Size 5 Morality 7
  22. The library was quiet. It was early in the semester and a Saturday morning; even the single librarian looked like he was trying to find work to do. The magazine room was off to the left as one entered, while the stairs to the upper level – and all the books – were to the right. The librarian’s desk was a massive square that occupied most of the first floor. The restricted books were in a locked room behind the desk. The librarian waved absently at the kids as they walked in; Swan slipped to the far side of Sean and tried to blend with the others. Marcos didn’t seem to notice her because he was looking at Mari. “Hey, Mari,” he said, giving her a smile. He was older and balding, but in decent shape for his age. He also loved showing off pictures of his grandkids to anyone who’d pay attention and one of those people was Mari. “We got a new book in about female saints. It has a great chapter on Saint Barbara. I held it back for you, if you’re interested.” Somehow, it wasn’t surprising that Mari knew everyone.
  23. Lucia followed Yasu, who took the lead once they were in the woods. The thin being of indeterminate gender seemed to know where he or she was going, blazing down one of the riding trails. The double image was still clear to Lucia, so she stopped watching him directly and watched where she was walking. A rustle to the side caught her attention and Lucia glanced to see a flicker of movement. She wasn’t sure it was Ahvia, but it could have been. She didn’t want to draw attention to it in case she was, but the thought cheered her more than a little. Yasu stalked into a clearing, peering around before turning to face the two young women. “First,” he or she said in that odd voice, “we must craft the contract.” Rosa straightened up a little, facing him fully. “What is your full name, child?” “Rosalie Maria Guerra,” Rosa replied without hesitation. “Then, here are the terms, Rosalie Maria Guerra,” Yasu replied. “You will speak of this to no one of this world who does not already know of the secret. If you speak to others, you will be struck dumb and unable to tell another of any secrets you possess.” The strange person extended a hand and said, “Agreed?” Rosa took it and nodded. “Agre-re-red…” Lucia frowned as her roomie stuttered and looked a little dazed. “Wow, that… what was that?”
  24. Those who had agreed to go braid the lioness in her den were left in the Art Building. Frida’s terribly beautiful painting watched them with two-dimensional eyes, alternately white-dead or green-primal. There was a quiet moment as everyone got used to the sudden, oppressive silence. It wasn’t hard to imagine they were being watched with the eyes of that mural boring into them. It was also occurring to them that they weren’t sure where Pritchard was. The most obvious place would be at her office; thankfully, Ryan had agreed not to go there. Was she even there? They needed some intel.