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About Finn

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  1. Had she not had her back turned as she beat a hasty retreat from the premises, Swara-Ann probably would have laughed despite herself. The expression on Finn's face as he watched her go was, to quote those old credit card commercials, "priceless". He'd never had a woman (and a hot one at that!) say anything even remotely similar to him before and his brain was doing the mental equivalent of hydroplaning: all four wheels were spinning madly, but none of them seemed to be getting any traction. *...make out with a girl... totally end up having lots of really great sex with you...* ((emphasis added entirely by Finn)) The words floated through the giant feral's mind like really great fantasies forcefully injected directly into his cerebellum (this didn't mean the fantasies any less pleasant, but it did mean they were much more shocking). Finn wasn’t sure if he should try and stop Swara from leaving, or go find something alcoholic for her first... “Hey, wait!”, he managed to blurt out just before Swara-Ann reached the back door, but she didn’t even slow down or turn around as she called over her shoulder, “Gotta go! Bye!”, and then she was out the door and gone. Finn thought about going after Swara, but in the end, he let her go. He didn't really want to. Sure, Swara had turned out to be one weird gal, but she'd also been extremely cute, adorable, and even charming in her offbeat, quirky, and (let's be honest) awkward kind of way. Plus she was smokin' (<-- hot). Most importantly, she'd shown a willingness to stand up to him and assert herself in a fairly aggressive manner (not in a skillful manner, necessarily, but aggressive at least). Finn was Xa'aidlatha - one of the Oceanborn whale-kin; his kind naturally formed into matriarchal societies, and that meant that a strong-willed woman was, for him, pretty much the ultimate aphrodisiac. Meanwhile, the part of him that was human, and had been born into a primarily male-dominated culture, found her obvious shyness and vulnerability very appealing. So the ditzy Uratha sex-bomb currently beating feet away from him was (unwittingly) hitting Finn from two sides, and with a vengeance. But after a moment of extreme indecision, Finn decided to let it be. He realized this might have been one of those kooky situations where, even though Swara was pretty much fleeing his presence at speed, she actually wanted him to come after her, proving that she really was desirable and worth chasing and blah-blah-blah-all-females-are-utterly-insane... But it didn’t matter one way or the other, because Finn already had his work cut out for him trying to keep his own personal beast under control, without becoming the sort of guy who chased girls half his size out into the night after they’d made it clear they wanted to be somewhere else - no matter how charmingly he did it - just because he was feeling horny and really wanted to get laid (whether his thinking might have been different if he’d known that Swara was only half his size in her current form was up for debate)! Yeah, it might all turn out fine this time, but what about the next time something like this happened? A part of Finn was an animal, sure – and he was even more in touch with that side of himself than many of his kind were – but a part of him was human as well – and he was just as in touch with that side of himself as he was the animal side – and that side of him knew that the human capacity to show respect for another’s desires even when that other person was (seemingly) weaker than oneself was one of humanity’s most admirable traits and one that he needed to cultivate in himself. Not toss to one side the first time a tasty-looking meal bolted in his presence. So, after staring at the door that Swara’d just fled out of for another second or two, Finn one-shoulder-shrugged to himself with a disappointed expression on his face, and then turned around and headed back in the direction of the raucous-sounding crowd of merry-makers busily getting as drunk as possible. He had come here to party, after all, and there very clearly was one of those happening somewhere nearby, so there was still hope for the night! Finn rounded a corner and came within view of the Circle of Death crew; "Hey guys!", he announced, his winning smile already back in place, "I'm back. Is there still room for one more?" "Sure!", exclaimed half the female population in the room. "Excellent!", Finn rejoined, "Because my jealous nature is really struggling with the fact that you are all obviously so much more drunk than I am right now!" "We're playin' Circle've Death!", Kaitlin chimed in drunkenly, with an enormous and obviously inebriated grin. "It's basic'ly n'excuse to get wasted," she added in a tone that suggested she was imparting a wonderful secret to him (from across the table and loudly enough that people in the next room could probably hear her), "so yer in luck!" "Fantastic!", Finn exclaimed with mock-excitement, "Your plan is brilliant!" And, sure enough, this little 'witticism' was met with way more giggles than it actually deserved. Finn wished people thought he was this funny all the time, and not just when they were torsido (as they called it in Bolivia), but he was not too proud to take his laughs where he could get them. Being the only sober guy in the room wasn't all bad. Finn went to where a space was made for him and sat down with the beer he'd grabbed on his way back (hey, he was a man with simple tastes - at least when it came to alcohol), and debated whether or not to ask someone to explain the rules to him. If his plan was to get drunk it might just be more fun if he didn't even know about a rule until after he'd broken it!
  2. Just a heads-up: I'm going to try very hard not to be completely MIA around here for the next few days, but my schedule is such that I'm either going to be at work, or involved in various volunteer projects outside of work, from morning until late evening (as in, until around midnight) from now until Sunday afternoon/evening. Until then, expect me to be somewhat scarce. Thanks for your understanding, and hopefully I'll be back and rarin' to go in just a few more days!
  3. "Fair enough", Finn answered her as Swara-Ann shook his hand. The confidence was already creeping back into his grinning face as Swara suggested they talk and 'get on the same page n' stuff', and he replied simply and with apparent pleasure, "I'd like that." His grin eased back into a charming half-smile and he glanced back over his shoulder towards the crowd still playing their card game. "So, uh, you wanna go get drunk?" Finn asked, looking back at Swara-Ann. "I know I wanna get drunk, and there's a whole crowd of people right over there getting drunk right now and that, to me, seems like a sign if ever I saw one." Finn's half-smile got a little bigger, letting Swara-Ann know that he wanted her to be in on his silly little joke, and then he shifted his position so that he was half turned back towards the group playing Circle of Death. "So you wanna go get drunk?"
  4. "Now", said Finn, with that cocky-but-somehow-still-charming half-smile of his, "it's sink or swim time. Or maybe it should be 'sink or surf'", he added offhandedly. "Whatever. Anyway, the point is, now that you lovely ladies have made it out this far - and great job with the duck-diving, by the way! - it's time to paddle into a wave and actually ride it." Seeing the three 'lovely ladies' looking at him a little questioningly (and maybe even a little accusingly), the big Native American laughed good-naturedly and said, "There's really not much to it. Seriously! The hardest part is getting all the way out here to the breakpoint." Aradia and August simply stared at Finn and then they each arched one very pretty eyebrow in almost-perfect (but unconscious) unison at him. Kaitlin would no doubt have joined in as well but, still half-convinced that it was better if she just figured out all this surfing stuff on her own, she was already too focused on the surrounding waves, trying to watch other surfers as they dropped into a wave to figure out how they were doing it. "Yeah, okay", said Finn, trying not laugh at the 'A-team's' synchronized eyebrow action (which had been utterly adorable in his opinion, but he'd learned long ago - and the hard way - not to make light of a woman's disapproval, even if unintentionally or with the best of intentions), "I guess there are a few more things I could go over with you before you start riding waves." He paused for a minute, lips pursed as he seemed to be getting his thoughts in order. "Alright, first thing: you notice how all the other surfers out here are all kinda lined up?" The girls all muttered and-slash-or shrugged in affirmation. "Right, well - oddly enough - that's called 'the lineup' and that's just what it is: a line." "What", asked Aradia, "now that we finally make it out here we have to wait in a line?" "Makes sense," Kaitlin answered her, "the same thing happens at skate parks. Keeps things from getting too crowded and people from getting hurt - or punching each other in the face." Finn chuckled and nodded in agreement. "Right", he said, "it's the same out here. You may not know it to look at them, but most waves only really have room on them for one guy - or girl", Finn added, smiling as his calm but piercing gaze flashed back and forth between each of the bikini-clad beauties floating attentively around him, "to surf at once. There's also usually one spot that's the best for dropping into the swell - into the waves that're forming that day - and that's the drop line, the sweet spot, or just 'the best spot to drop in on a wave'. Call it whatever you want to, really, but the point is: that's where the lineup's usually gonna form up at." The giant feral surfer pointed and, sure enough, there was a surfer just in the act of 'dropping into' the last wave to roll under them while they'd been listening to Finn. As the surfer vanished over the lip of the wave another floated into the slot he'd vacated, waiting his turn for the next good wave to come along. "That's the drop line", continued Finn, "and it's usually the one spot where a surfer can drop into a wave just as it's breaking and get the longest ride down the line on that wave. What that means", he went on, in a voice that drew the girls' attention back towards him, "is that if you drop into a wave at any point other than at the front of the lineup, you're cutting off another surfer that dropped into the wave before you, further up the line." Finn smirked distastefully as he described this and continued his explanation, "Not only does this make someone a total, snaking assmunch" - by which Finn apparently meant 'it's rude' - "it's also really dangerous! If you drop in ahead of someone, you can wind up with some other dude's board plowing into you at high speed, and the guy you cut off usually ends up getting rag dolled by a wave after he ditches his board trying not to hit you. It's not much fun for anybody, so don't do it!" "Got it", August declared with a cute little smile, "no cutting!" "Well, alright then!", Finn replied with a grin, "Then let's you girls surfing!" And with that Finn set about getting the girls into the 'lineup' and, while they waited for their turn at the drop line, he went over the basics of paddling into a wave and riding it: ow it was important to try and position yourself so that the breaking wave would reach you just as it was reaching its steepest point before 'crumbling' (as Finn called it), how it was important to set your angle on the board to avoid the possibility of an 'acid drop' (where the bottom of the wave unexpectedly dropped out from under a surfer, usually cuz they're too deep into the curl), and finally, how to pop up on the board and get both feet under you in one smooth motion. "After that," Finn finished, "the rest is up to you. Just remember to keep your weight back on the board, your toes hangin', and your butt out of the water and you should be fine!" None of that took too long, though, so the rest of the time in the lineup was spent in light chatter. Surfers generally engaged in surprisingly little conversation out on the lineup (they even had a word for chatterboxes who ruined everyone's fun by talking to much: 'dildude'), but today was a little different, because it wasn't everyday that three such completely 'filthy hot femes' came out to ride waves with them. Needless to say, the girls had fend off (or maybe that was 'got to enjoy'?) the attempts at flirtation by pretty much every grommet on the line. Finn, for his part, alternately got razzed for bringing three noobs out and given props because all three of them were ridiculously good-looking. Finally their little group found itself at the head of the lineup, with Kaitlin floating along in what loosely passed as the front of the line. This close to the break point, the sound of the last wave to pass under them crashing was pretty loud, so Finn had to almost holler at Kaitlin in encouragement as the next wave in the set rolled their way, looking steeper and steeper as it approached. "Alright, you're up Kait! You got this - it's practically the same thing as riding a half-pipe - just use all those mad skater skills of yours and you will own this wave!" Behind them, Kaitlin could faintly hear some of the other surfers as they hollered encouragements of their own - hell, they were practically cheering for her as they watched the super-hot skater-girl attempt her first paddle in to a real wave.
  5. Finn's reaction to Swara-Ann's words was immediate and obvious, whether he wanted it to be or not. After a brief moment, during which his face was a study in mildly amused confusion, Finn's mouth actually dropped open a little and his eyebrows shot up as he realized what the gorgeous young woman meant. "Smell it on me, she says", the huge feral muttered to himself in quiet amazement, fighting the irrational urge to sniff under his armpits or do something equally ridiculous. Unlike his fellow 'shifters, Finn's sense of smell wasn't enhanced at all - in fact, his sense of smell was, if anything, less acute than a normal person's. His other senses - most especially his hearing - were all much sharper, but the subtle world of smells and scents that those like Swara-Ann and Declan lived in was as alien to him as it was to any mundane human. So while he'd certainly picked up on the noticeably more 'feral' aura surrounding both of them, and could tell that there was something just a little different about them, it wasn't like he could 'hear the wolf' in their voices or anything. "Uhm...", he started to say, then stalled out for another second, "huh." Reaching behind his head with one massive arm, Finn scratched at the back of his scalp as he regarded the pretty Uratha looking back up at him, took a deep breath, sighed, and then tried again. "Well," he said, "if I knew what you were 'like' I might be able to answer you better, but for now all I can say is that you obviously know more than me, sister. And that you look really cute in that hoodie." Finn stopped again for a moment and smiled in a way that he hoped would ease, if not break, the tension between them (he kinda hoped maybe she'd think it was charming, too - the girl was sort of hot, after all), and then looked over his shoulder at the other party guests before turning back to Swara-Ann and continuing, "As for them? I didn't come here to mess up theirs or anyone else's life. I promise. I came for the party, just like everyone else. OK?" The big Xa'aidlatha took another step closer to Swara-Ann and stuck one large hand out at her, opened in an obvious offer of a handshake. "Friends?", Finn asked her simply.
  6. Hey, Cent/Kazuo here. Heritage, just wanted to let you know that I'm still interested and will hopefully be getting you a character submission sometime before the weekend is out. Sorry for the delay, but I've been dealing with a heapin' helpin' of RL for most of this week and didn't have time for much else.
  7. "A dead woman", said Finn, a bit shortly, and with an oddly serious expression on his face. To that strange statement he quickly added, "Like I told August, here, just a minute ago, she, uh... passed shortly after she put this on my chest. So, you know, it's sort of a touchy subject for me..." The big man smiled, a bit tightly, a Triessa but seemed visibly relieved when Lucien and Astra came over to rejoin the main group. Finn smiled wryly at Lucien's joke and then looked down at his 'abnormally-large-pectorals', cupping them like a woman would her breasts, before glancing back up at Lucien with one eyebrow arched in mock-coyness. "They can?", he asked, his wry, confident smile still firmly in place, "Hey, thanks beautiful!" Right about then Finn noticed the good-looking blond standing off to one side and scowling at him something fierce. He blinked in confusion at this and his smile slipped a little before he forced it back into place. Looking back at Lucien, Finn's grin changed from wry to genuine and he continued, "Seriously, though, I'm pretty sure I heard, uh...", and he paused while he screwed his expression into one of thoughtfulness for a moment before going on, "Kaitlin, if I'm remembering her name right - she kept distracting me with her jail-baityness, so I might be getting her name wrong - say something about a card-slash-drinking game of some kind. But card games and my pecs aside, I just got here so I'm up for pretty much anything that involves fun and drinking." When he looked again the blond was still staring - and scowling - at him, so Finn returned his attention back to those gathered near him and held up one finger while pursing his lips in a classic 'just gimme a minute' gesture, and then separated himself from the crowd and moved over to where Swara-Ann was standing. "Hi", he said with a cautious smile once he'd reached the beautiful Uratha, and then he just stood and looked right back at her, matching her glower with a placid expression of his own. This close, Swara-Ann could really smell the Shadow on him now - and the ocean. What was up with that? She was also much more aware of just how big Finn really was too, and not just in the literal, physical sense, either. There was something about the man's presence itself that was just plain huge, and again, it reminded her of the ocean. Like the ocean, Finn seemed easygoing and open in a way that bordered on indifference and, also like the ocean, there was a sense of something hidden beneath the man's surface, something enormous and incredibly dangerous that could surface at a moment's notice and was just waiting for an excuse. For all of that, however, Swara-Ann wasn't left with the impression that Finn was waiting for an excuse to let that side of himself surface, just that he wasn't hiding it from her.
  8. Finn chuckled softly as he watched Kaitlin practically sprint off after a deck of cards. He'd been flattered by her attention, but he wondered how old Finn was used to the tattoo over his heart getting special attention from people - not that it made him any more comfortable with that attention - but he'd never gotten quite the reaction from it as he got from August. Kaitlin's was a little more typical. He frowned and looked down at the hand print on his chest as he placed one of his own large hands over it, as if testing August's assertion for veracity. He wasn't cold, as she'd said, but then he'd known he wouldn't be, just as he also knew that the hand print on his chest wasn't a tattoo either. Finn forced a smile of his own and looked back up at August. "I've gotta be honest", he said, trying to make his smile seem a little bit cocky and a little bit flirtatious, "I've never gotten that complaint before!" August laughed obligingly, her grin looking - at least for the moment - a little less forced, and said, "I didn't mean you, I meant...", and she gestured a bit vaguely at his chest. She seemed to realize how vague that was, and the fact that she was now basically staring at his chest - again - so to clarify herself she hastily added, "your tattoo. It seemed kinda chilly when I touched it..." As soon as she said this, Finn fixed August with a stare that was so intense and piercing it felt like she was being pinned to the wall behind her and she felt a sense of being in deep water as something dangerous approached, like 'sharks were circling her' only... not sharks, but something larger and more dangerous. And then the moment passed like it had never happened, and Finn was just another very good-looking (if unusually big) guy looking her way. His grin returned with renewed charm and Finn shrugged nonchalantly. "It's probably just the night air", he suggested casually, "I did just come inside a minute ago and I guess it made the bare skin on my chest seem cold, is all." Then he adopted a coy expression and a purposefully effeminate posture, reaching up with both hands to delicately touch his chest - he was only moderately successful at this, however, given that his enormous size and huge muscles were just about the antithesis of 'feminine' - but he did manage to look pretty ridiculous, which was obviously his true goal, so in that sense he was very successful. "Lord knows my nipples sure are feeling it tonight", he exclaimed with mock-surprise and equally false embarrassment as he made a show of caressing said nipples, "little bastards are as hard as rocks!"
  9. "Hey!", a familiar voice called out to the girls as they struggled with their boards in the surf. The three beauties spent a moment looking about, trying to identify the source of the voice, but it didn't take long: it was hard to miss the huge, muscular, tattooed and also familiar form of Finn as he slogged through the water and waves in their direction, waving to attract their attention and smiling that huge, friendly smile of his as he approached. Somehow, seeing him in the water put the man's size into even better perspective, because none of the crashing waves looked all that large as he plowed easily through them on his way to the three girls, but they could each attest to the fact that those waves didn't feel small! "Hey ladies", he said when he finally reached them, his infectious grin still on his face. The three girls couldn't help noticing that Finn was also carrying a surfboard, and though it was shaped a little like the short board Kaitlin was using it was clearly different, being made of what looked like wood and completely lacking the three fins that their boards all had along the bottom. They also couldn't help but notice how much at home Finn looked in the water. It wasn't anything they could've immediately put their fingers on, but somehow he just looked like he was born for the waves and the ocean - like this was his natural element. He looked from one of them to the next, cocking an eyebrow at August's obvious discomfort on her own board, and then asked, "So, what are you three up to on this fine day?" "We're surfing", answered Kaitlin with a coy (and somewhat challenging) grin, "Can't you tell?" "Oh", said Finn, with a slow shake of his head and a dubious smile on his face. "Surfing. Is that what you're calling it..." "We're still learning", said August, "Kaitlin's teaching us." "Yeah", giggled Aradia, grinning mischievously, "except she doesn't know how to surf either!" "Hey!", exclaimed Kaitlin, splashing water at Aradia's face in mock-exasperation, "Who says I don't know how to surf?!" "Uh, you did, actually", August chimed in, a wry grin forming on her face despite the tension she was feeling. Finn laughed at that, loudly but without any evidence of mockery. Rather, he looked and sounded like he approved of Kaitlin's go-get-'em attitude. Seeing Kaitlin trying to laugh along with her friends good-naturedly, but looking a little put out despite herself, Finn subdued his mirth and said, "Hey, Kait, don't sweat it. This stuff's harder than it looks." He glanced at August and, perhaps noticing the stress she was struggling with, he added, "It's pretty easy to get overwhelmed out here, really, but you three look like you're doing fine to me so far." Kaitlin flashed him an 'uh-huh' look, her competitive streak kicking in and making it hard for her to just take advice from some random guy. Even if that guy was all tall and musclely and sleek and wet right now. "You know how to surf, then?", she asked, her tone neutral even if she couldn't quite keep a hint of a smile from quirking the corner of her mouth. Finn smiled again and nodded with the complete confidence that, the three girls were already starting to realize, was typical of him. "Yeah, sure", he answered easily and unselfconsciously. "I can give you three some pointers, if you want 'em." "Ooh", exclaimed Aradia, raising one hand into the air, her carefree attitude and mischievous grin both still firmly in place, "I vote yes! Pointers, please!" "Yeah, I guess", added Kaitlin, noncommittally. "We can use all the help we can get", August deadpanned. Finn smiled with unconcealed pleasure at this news and said, "Well, alright then. I guess the first thing is, we need to get you three out past the breakpoint and into the lineup." "Breakpoint?", asked Aradia. "Lineup?" "Yeah", Finn answered her, "the breakpoint's out where the waves are starting to break, not way up here" - and he pointed around them, to both sides and back towards the shoreline - "where the waves are nothing but nasty whitewash and the shore's only a hundred yards or so away. We wanna be way out there", and he pointed past them, where they could just make out a distant line of figures paddling on top of boards out beyond the lines of waves still rolling their direction. Those figures looked like they were a long way off. "The lineup", he went on, "is just that. See that line of guys out there waiting to catch the next wave? That's the lineup." "And... how do we get way out there?", asked August uncertainly, privately wondering how a person was even supposed to survive a swim that long, through that many crashing waves. She was half-wondering if those people she could see out there hadn't been ferried out there on boats. Or helicopters, maybe. "Easy", Finn answered, with an almost annoyingly self-assured shrug, like it really was the easiest thing in the world, "you duck dive." Kaitlin gave him a look like he was crazy and asked him, "We do what? What's a 'duck dive'?" "C'mon", Finn said with another grin as he waded past them and started heading out to the deeper water he'd been pointing at. "I'll show you." The three girls watched Finn as he moved away from them, and exchanged dubious glances with each other. After a moment, Finn turned back and saw them still standing still in the water, looking a bit uncertain. "You three want to learn to surf or not?", he asked. "C'mon!"
  10. Finn glanced Triessa's way as she broke out laughing, apparently at him, and then dropped to the floor just like that. His expression was caught somewhere between surprised amusement and cautious offense - after all, whatever his other talents, he wasn't a mind reader and he had no way of knowing that Triessa wasn't mocking his 'costume' - but it was obvious that he wasn't letting her behavior bother him too much. Instead Finn focused his attention on Declan, gladly taking the man's offered bottle. "Thanks, brother", said Finn, who used the word 'brother' not like some wannabe gansta trying to sound cool or a new-agey hippie trying to sound spiritual, but in the way of someone who knew what the word meant and who recognized its truth - and the importance of that truth - and was simply acknowledging it with his own words. Finn returned Dec's handshake using a hand as work-worn as the Vargr's was, even if it'd been worn rough by a different sort of labor. As he shook the other man's hand, the Vargr's keen nose was assailed by the scent of rather too much cologne (it was Jake Cologne, not that Dec was likely to know or care about that, but the guy had sort of gone overboard, especially in the opinion of a feral wolf-man who could've smelled a drop of the stuff from across the room), but lurking underneath all that cologne was another smell, one that Dec almost didn't recognize at first. But then he had it: he was smelling the ocean on this guy. And not in the way he'd expect someone to smell if they'd just spent the day at the beach or something, either. Finn smelled of the sea, literally, as though it were as much a part of him and his odor and the smell of forest and wood were a part of a deer's odor. Or a wolf's. In fact, between all the cologne and the strange, wild smell coming off of him, Dec almost found it hard to smell the human in the guy. No, Dec reconsidered, that wasn't right. It wasn't that Finn didn't smell human - he did, absolutely - it was that he smelled so strongly of Nature itself that Dec almost forgot he was standing in the middle of a party in the hills of LA for a moment. And there was something... else about the man's smell, too. It was nothing that Declan could put his finger on (or his nose, in this case), but whatever the smell was, it was like nothing that he'd ever smelled before* and it instantly made him feel wary. Not enough to start disliking the guy already - he'd let Finn demonstrate whether or not he was worth Dec's disdain himself - but enough to raise the Vargr's hackles. No one could watch the two big men as they shook hands and fail to notice how oddly similar they seemed (and not simply because of their size, either). Certainly, their similarly large size played a part in it, but it was more than that. Both men possessed a vital intensity that was quite simply more than that found in most, and that constantly threatened to overwhelm everything around them. There was also the veritable reek of The Wild about them, too. Watching Declan and Finn shake hands was like watching two living cracks in civilization meeting for the first time, and the threat seemed all too real that those cracks might give way and let the wildness hiding behind them come pouring through. That sense of 'wildness' was noticeably stronger in Finn, whose appearance and bearing made him seem more like some character out of a story than a real flesh and blood person, but whatever Dec may have lacked in wildness when compared with Finn he more than made up for with the aggressive, alpha-male presence that he was so notorious for. As the two men-slash-apex-predators finished their greeting, August cracked a joke that was simultaneously at Finn's expense and yet very flattering towards him. Finn laughed good-naturedly, and a little self-consciously, his slight embarrassment only serving to heighten and accentuate his good looks. "Uhm, thanks", he said, grinning, "I guess in that case, I'll just tell him myself the next time I see him - on behalf of women everywhere, of course. Then I'll kill him." Finn was still grinning when he realized what August was staring at, and his grin slipped, just a little. When she asked him about the tattoo and where she could get one like it his smile slipped just a little more. "Yeah...", he said, his large expressive eyes flicking to one side as he obviously searched for words, "that's gonna be hard. The... artist who did this", and he laid one finger against the handprint on his chest, "is, uh, dead, unfortunately." Finn smiled a little weakly at August after he said this and then shrugged. "I guess you could say it's one of a kind. Sorry...."
  11. If it’d been the middle of the day, with the beautiful California sun shining down on it, Finn had a feeling that there still wouldn’t be much to say about the Leo Carrillo State Park, other than that it was a state park, and one that allowed camping with tents (as opposed to a lot of the beach-side campgrounds around here, which only ever seemed to allow RVs for some damned reason). But it wasn’t the middle of the day and the sun – Californian or otherwise – seemed like a distant memory at the moment; it was the nighttime, and a long ways into it, too. And right now there was something distinctly otherworldy about the park – and not in the vague way that humans used the word to describe anything that didn’t fit into their limited, and usually self-centered view of what ‘the world’ was, or that they simply couldn’t explain. When Finn used the word ‘otherworldly’ to describe the Leo Carrillo State Park, he meant it in precisely the sense that there was something about – or at least somewhere within – the place that was quite literally not of this world. Leo Carrillo State Park was just a little place, nestled inside of a small, narrow valley that sat comfortably in between low, scrub-covered hills along the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sat landward of the Pacific Coast Highway, but it connected, via a tunnel underneath the highway, with a fairly nice beach (which was the real attraction for Finn). The place had been the brainchild of, no surprise, a guy named Leo Carrillo who’d been semi-famous at one point, back around the dawn of Hollywood, for playing ‘Pancho’ on some old television show called The Cisco Kid. And yeah, that really was about all one could say about the place from a mundane perspective. But from an otherworldly or supernatural perspective, however, it was obvious to Finn that there was significantly more going on here. It made sense, really. A tiny, out-of-the-way park, miles from any sizeable center of urban development, lots of people passing through, relaxing, having fun, building memories, and then moving on. It was the kind of place that slowly built up its own kind of energy, a sense of weighted expectation that even mundane mortals might pick up on. Clusters of trees and scraggly bushes often seemed to conceal more than just the landscape beyond them, while the low scrub-covered hills crowding in on three sides seemed to be watching from above and it almost felt like something was waiting beyond each twist or turn of the paths that snaked throughout the campground. There was a sense of things and events that were always just out of one’s sight, or that one had only just missed, or that would happen soon, if one could simply wait in that spot long enough. If a person did wait, and waited long enough, they might imagine they could hear voices on the wind, mingled with the sibilant rustling of sun-parched leaves, whispering half-heard remnants of stories never told, in a language as old as time. Finn knew that this feeling or presence would be there, if only as a barely-noticeable prickling in the back of a normal man’s mind, even in the daytime. But it was the middle of the night, with a full moon in the sky, and there is nothing blacker nor deeper than a shadow cast by mother Luna. A shadow cast by the sun conceals little – and that reluctantly – but even the smallest of moon shadows is capable of concealing all the mysteries of Nature within its bottomless depths, and stories untold are amongst the least of these. So Finn was only mildly caught off guard when, upon passing through the shadows cast by a stand of trees and stepping into the outer edge of a semicircle formed by the simple (actually rather unimpressive) outdoor amphitheater that sat in the campground’s backmost corner, he suddenly found himself within the Spirit Realm. There had been no warning, nor had there been any effort or desire on his part. One minute he’d been walking through some very dark, but nonetheless mundane shadows, and the next minute he’d stepped fully in the realm of spirits. Having spent much of his life – both as a human child and as one of the Xa’aidlatha – on a sparsely inhabited island far away from the intruding presence of human civilization, and living as he now did in the border realm where land met sea, life met death, and spirit met flesh, Finn had experienced this before, if only rarely. A Verge. Probably not a permanent one, but one of the ones that came and went, depending on times or events. Finn did not pretend to know how or why such things came into being, he just knew that they did and that, in his experience at least, it never happened without a reason. Whereas the amphitheater and its surroundings had been swathed in midnight darkness in the ‘real world’ (Finn was less and less sure that that term was in any way an accurate description of the place), here it was roughly illuminated by a large bonfire that burned just in front of the theater’s tiny stage – a stage so small it was barely more than a raised podium. The fire in front of it crackled and burned with a brightness and a vitality that didn’t exist in flames outside of the Spirit Realm and the shadows it sent flickering across the aged and weathered benches surrounding the theater’s stage surged and pulsed with a life all their own. Finn looked again, and saw that here, in the Shadow, the platform wasn’t made of cut and painted wood, nailed together with machined nails from some factory, but was made of sticks, logs, and mud and looked like something one might find in a recreation of an Indian village from back in the 1800’s – if any of the Pacific coast Indian tribes had been into building stages. Finn looked a third time, and this time he saw the spirit seated upon the stage itself. The spirit looked like a man, who seemed ‘aged’ without seeming to be any certain age in particular – he might’ve been fifty and he might’ve been one hundred – or, more likely, neither, seeing as how he wasn’t even a man in the first place. For convenience’s sake, Finn decided he would refer to him as one anyway. The ‘man’ looked decidedly Native American, but Finn didn’t pretend to know enough about any of the local tribes to try and posit a guess as to which one he was supposed to belong to. He had long, thick hair, mostly black but with a hint of salt mixed in with the pepper, which was divided down the middle and braided into two braids on either side of his head. Over clothes that looked like they might belong to any time after about 1880 or so (old boots, faded jeans, and an equally faded dark button-up collared shirt), he had on a blanket whose color was as indeterminate as its owner’s true age and was frayed and worn around the edges. A hand-rolled cigarette was in his mouth and a knowing smile on his face as he watched Finn approach. “Wind-Dancer”, the man said and nodded at Finn in greeting, “You, Finn of the Xa’aidlatha.” “Alath”, returned Finn with a polite (if wary) smile. “You”, he began, attempting to duplicate the spirit’s archaic greeting protocols, but then he faltered and finished somewhat lamely, “… I don’t know your name.” The strange spirit chuckled easily and blew ephemeral smoke from his ephemeral cigarette. “Just th’way I like it, sonny”, he said. Finn gave him a friendly enough smile, but he stopped his approach and watched the ‘man’ with frank wariness now. It wasn’t the first time that a spirit had known Finn’s name without him telling it, but that wasn’t what was making the big Haida feral nervous. Spirits generally didn’t look all that human, unless they’d breached somehow or another and were riding some poor mortal, but this spirit was still inside the Shadow and he didn’t just look a little human, he looked almost perfectly human. If Finn hadn’t already noticed that his eyes glimmered with a light that came from somewhere other than the fire, moon, or stars, or that the shadows under his blanket moved independently of the flickering firelight, Finn could almost believe that he was human. The feral Wind-dancer noted with some amusement that he was made more uneasy by the sight of a normal-seeming human inside a Verge than he would have been by the appearance of an obvious spirit. The spirit chuckled at him again, seeing his discomfort, and pointed at himself while saying, “You can call me Hides-in-His-Story, if it’ll make ya feel better, little brother.” Finn gave the ‘man’ a half-smile and a little nod, saying, “Yeah, I guess it would, thanks.” He hesitated for only another instant and then approached the spirit deliberately and sat down across from him. “Hides-in-His-Story, it is an honor”, Finn said, using some of his patchy First Tongue to add an extra element of respect to his greeting. It was always a good idea to be polite to the spirits. Grandmother had taught him that early on, and the lesson – thankfully – had stuck. “So”, Hides-in-His-Story asked, “what brings ya here to my campfire on such a fine evening, little Finn of the People Who Guard the Boundaries of the Worlds?” Hides-in-His-Story was speaking only in Uremehir now, and Finn was a little surprised at how easily he could follow him so far (his First Tongue really was a little rough). “Just passing through, actually”, answered Finn (also using Uremehir, though he didn’t immediately realize it), “on my way to the City of the Angels in the mortal world.” “Oh?” Hides-in-His-Story clucked his tongue in disappointment, his strange eyes shimmering as he regarded Finn. “Too bad”, he said and took another drag on his hand-rolled cigarette, “s’pose that means ya won’t have time t’stay and listen ta any stories, eh?” “That what you do”, asked Finn, “tell stories?” “Might be”, answered Hides-in-His-Story, and the shadows under his cloak shook like trees in the wind. “But if’n I do, little changer”, he went on, “there’ll be a price t’pay at the end.” “Price?”, Finn asked, one brow arched high, and with an edge in his voice. “Sure’n there’s a price”, the aged spirit answered mildly, puffing smoke from his nostrils as he did so. “They all gotta pay, so it’s only fair t’ask the same o’ you, sonny.” “They?”, asked Finn. The old spirit only smiled wryly and stuck his chin out towards the rows of benches lining the darkness out beyond the fire. As Finn’s hyper-acute eyes strove to peer into the otherworldly darkness that gathered beyond the flames, that same fire surged briefly, illuminating everything from the little stage to the backmost bleacher, and in that brief moment he saw them all. At some point since he’d sat down next to the old man (or spirit, or whatever), the benches around the stage had filled up with other spirits – and these ones had the decency to look like spirits, at least – but Finn had missed it entirely until Hides-in-His-Story had pointed them out. This bothered Finn. There were mostly bird spirits filling the benches, from what Finn could see, but also a fair number of coyotes, serpents, and lizards, along with the odd assortment of other animal spirits. But there were also other, stranger forms scattered here and there. Tree spirits, desert spirits, a few mountain spirits – who always made the Oceanborn feral just a bit uncomfortable, for some reason – and something that Finn took to be a spirit of the Road, or perhaps of hitchhiking. And three hirdab – scorpion spirits. This bothered Finn even more. He looked back at the old spirit and the spirit looked back at him with eyes that glimmered with their own subtle light and a smile filled with too-large teeth. “C’mon”, Hides-in-His-Story said in an almost-whisper, “stay awhile.”
  12. Quote: "I'd rather be surfing..." Background: Alexander Hoya grew up in the small town of Skidegate, one of only a few on the Haida Gwaii islands (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte islands). His father, Jack Hoya, was a craftsman by trade and his mother had died giving birth to him. As he grew, Alex learned from his father how to shape and build canoes, kayaks, and pretty much anything else that was made out of wood and designed to float. Alex took to the art quickly and enjoyed it, but his real passion was always the open ocean and the wild outdoors – and there was plenty of both in and around the Haida Gwaii. And so Alex's childhood was spent running through the wilds of the woods that dominated the island he called home, or paddling across the bays and inlets that surrounded his island, but always in his heart was an urge to paddle further and farther out, onto the open ocean. For some reason, for as long as he could remember, Alex felt that he belonged out there, out in the water. The land beneath his feet seemed solid enough, but he only ever felt really real – really at peace – when he was in the water. As he grew older, Alex began to range further into the wild terrain of the Haida Gwaii, and even further out into the wild waters that led, eventually, to the open ocean of the Pacific. It was during these later trips that he first began to have close encounters with the sgaana – killer whales – and from the first such meeting the connection between the young boy and the giant predators in the waters underneath him was immediate and readily apparent. Also, as he grew older, he began to more and more frequently witness strange and difficult (sometimes impossible) to explain creatures and events as he wandered in the wilds away from the homes of men. In the forests he would often see strange and often frightening forms watching him from afar, and once he encountered a strange old crone living along a deserted beach; she seemed to mean him no harm and even read his fortune, but she also seemed to know more about him than she should have and told Alex that she had more to tell him 'when he was ready' and would be waiting for him there on that beach when the day came. Out on the water he loved, Alex's encounters with the mysterious were even stranger, and he often worried that he was hallucinating, so strange and, at times, terrifying were the things he saw down in the waters beneath his canoe or kayak. At times the things he saw were enough to frighten him away from the ocean for a time, but always the longing in his heart would eventually draw him back. When Alex was sixteen his drive to explore the ocean's vastness finally outreached itself and he found himself caught in a severe storm with nothing but his canoe to keep him from the churning, and now very ominous-seeming waters below. During the two or three years leading up to this, Alex had become more and more difficult to control, and would sometimes disappear for days at a time. His father and the other villagers began to warn in increasingly strong terms against going so far afield and venturing so far out into the open waters in just a small boat, but the headstrong youth would not heed them, and indeed, at times he seemed absolutely uncontrollable – wild even. But now Alex was caught in a storm that was bigger and stronger and more heedless than he would ever be, and it seemed that he would finally pay the price for his hubris. Of course he lost of control of his boat and was hurled into waves and the water, but what happened to him after that is not something that Alex can adequately describe even now. What he remembers is being found and rescued by killer whales, but instead of taking him back to the surface they took him further down into the ocean depths, eventually reaching what seemed to be a village – like those his people used to live in before the Europeans came – that sat at the bottom of the ocean. There the sgaana treated him like a guest of honor, introducing him to their chief and holding an old-fashioned potlatch festival in his honor, along with dancing and feasting and the telling of old stories. Finally, they asked him if he was ready to join them and become one of The People, to which the young man emphatically answered 'YES!'. And so they awarded him with his very own dorsal fin to wear and, putting it on, he became like one of the sgaana, a killer whale. Then he and all the killer whales swam out of the village to begin their hunt; they tracked down and killed a great whale and feasted on it, and it was good, and Alex felt more alive and more free than he had ever felt in his entire life… That's what Alex Hoya remembers, when he tries to think back on that night. All he can really say for certain, though, was that he woke up naked and alone, floating in the tide of a far beach the day after the storm sank his boat, with blood and whale blubber still clinging in bits and gobbets to his face and hands. After a brief (and very traumatic) period of discovering what he now was, Alex began to slowly make his way back towards civilization. If there ever was a 'magical village beneath the waves', where a tribe of killer whales go to feast and dance and entertain foolish boys who paddle out into storms, Alex has never found it or seen any sign or hint of it since then. What Alex did find when he finally made his way back to Skidegate, was that his father had ventured out into the storm after him in his own, larger fishing boat and had drowned after the storm capsized it the same way it had capsized Alex's boat. Alex was still struggling to come to terms with what had happened to him, so learning what had happened to his father nearly sent him over the edge. Reeling with guilt at having caused his own father's death (even if unintentionally) and overcome with remorse at his loss, Alex found himself cast adrift. He hung on and stuck around long enough to attend his father's funeral, but as soon as that was over he ran away before the civil workers could come and haul him off to some orphanage or place him in foster care. Alex wandered from port to port and truck stop to truck stop, introducing himself only as "Finn" (after the fin that the orcas in his vision had given him to make him one of them). Eventually the teenager managed to make it all the way out to Hawaii. Hawaii was, in many ways, ideal for a young Oceanborn Feral struggling to figure things out without any parents or mentors to turn to for help. Civilization was always ready to hand on any of the islands, but so was the wide open ocean, and it was easy for 'Finn' to slip away and give in to his 'wild side' for a time, learning how to be what he now was out among the waves; swimming, playing, hunting and killing – often alongside other, mundane orcas with whom he now found he had a greater connection than he'd ever had before. Back on land, amongst 'regular' humanity, Finn had little trouble finding work. He was surprised and very pleased to discover that the 'alaia' – the original wooden surf boards that ancient Hawaiians used before European or American colonists ever showed up – was making a comeback amongst the surfing community, and that his skills in wood water crafting were perfectly suited towards the wooden boards. Soon, building the boards turned into using them as Finn took up surfing himself, and after a while the young man was almost always either near, on, or in the water. For the next few years Finn managed to find a measure of happiness and, even more importantly, peace in the life that he'd built for himself on the islands of Hawaii, but he'd known in his heart almost from the moment he'd arrived there that he couldn't stay forever. And so, with a certain amount of regret, Finn left the Hawaiian Islands. For a time he traveled through Indonesia, hitting some of the best surf spots in the world, but he could only ignore the urging in his heart for so long, and eventually he gave in and followed that urging, which took him back home. The other villagers in Skidegate were both surprised and happy to see Alex 'back from the dead', but the young man had changed so much that he found he no longer had much of a connection to the town he'd grown up in. He was the only son of an only son, his mother was long since dead, and after travelling through so much of the world, the tiny harbor town really didn't seem to have much to offer or people that he could connect with. The villagers, meanwhile, found that 'little Alex' had quite grown up, and that he had become a strange and imposing figure who was, if anything, even wilder than he'd been as a child – there was just something disturbingly other about him now. Finn wound up spending the majority of his time in his primal form as a killer whale, swimming the bays and inlets surrounding the Haida Gwaii. It took more than two months before he finally stumbled across that lonely stretch of sand he'd found as a boy so many years before where the strange old crone had been waiting for him and had read his future. A part of him wasn't even surprised to find that she was there waiting for him still, all these years later. This time the old woman introduced herself to him as 'Grandmother', claiming that this was because Finn was actually her grandson. 'Grandmother' went on to explain to him that she was the mother of his own mother, whom he'd never gotten a chance to know. Far more amazingly, she revealed to him that, while his own mother had been as 'normal' as everyone else Finn had ever known, Grandmother was like him. It seemed that the Changing Gift had skipped a generation, she said, adding that it sometimes did so. For more than three years Grandmother taught her grandson a great deal – things about the history of their people (or at least what she claimed was their history – it wasn't like there was anyone else around to dispute or correct her if she were wrong or not telling the truth), amazing things about his own nature that he would never have guessed otherwise, and perhaps most importantly, about the mysterious Spirit Realms that border our own. Grandmother had explained to Finn about how it had always been the duty of the Xa'aidlatha* (as she called 'their people') to watch over and protect the border between the realms of flesh and spirit, just as they watched over the border between the ocean depths and the surface world that abutted them, and so it was vitally important that he embraced that portion of his heritage and learn to interact with that strange and ominous world. Finn will never forget the first time his Grandmother helped him cross the Gauntlet – he still has nightmares about it sometimes, actually. Through his training he learned much about maintaining a balance between the Spirit Realm and the physical world he'd grown up in – and about maintaining a balance within himself as well. His Grandmother also taught him the importance of cultivating the environment – in both worlds – rather than simply 'managing' problems as and when they arose. He learned more than he really wanted to about the word 'chiminage'. And, finally, Finn also learned about the uratha – or at least, he learned how much they disapproved of 'interlopers' like he and his Grandmother 'interfering' in their business. Fortunately, the wolf-blooded did not have much of a presence on the Haida Gwaii and knew that they couldn't adequately watch over the entirety of the islands themselves, and Grandmother had been living and operating in the area for longer than most of them had been alive, so she and Finn were grudgingly accepted. Also, as Grandmother was keen to remind him (and the werewolves, when they would listen), the Xa'aidlatha had been operating amongst the Haida Gwaii for at least as long as the Uratha had been, and their domain was the waves and the sea where the wolves couldn't go anyway, so there was no reason for disagreements between them. Though the Spirit Realm was strange enough, stranger still – and more disturbing – were his occasional brushes with the dead. Finn has always seemed to be a magnet for the otherworldly and the unnatural, but even for him ghosts are something out of the ordinary. Even so, he's had a few encounters with them and one of them has left its mark on him, literally. The ghost of a young woman from Skidegate who had recently disappeared began to appear to Finn whenever he was in town, and though he at first tried to ignore her (he's no more comfortable around ghosts than most 'normal' people), the woman would not leave him be. When he finally gave in and started paying heed to her gestures and attempts at communication it led to him discovering where her body had been left. He got the local police involved at that point and they quickly determined that she'd been raped and then murdered, but there were no further leads forthcoming and the woman's spirit wasn't showing any signs of leaving Finn alone. More problematically for Finn, he was now under suspicion after mysteriously finding the woman's body "by chance" (he couldn't exactly tell the police that her ghost had showed him where to find the body). As it was, the townspeople of Skidegate had found him to be increasingly strange and disturbing since his return, so he honestly seemed like the likeliest candidate for the murderer to most anyway. Now just as eager to clear his name as he was to be rid of the disconcerting presence of the ghost, Finn continued to investigate the killing on his own and, with the spirit's help, managed to track down her killer, who turned out to be one of the town's most respected members. Though Finn had no doubts that this man was the killer, he had no proof. Hoping to provoke the man into a confession, he lured him out to the ravine where he'd found the young woman's body and there confronted him about what he had done. Far from confessing, the man instead became angry, and then violent. The two men fought briefly before the ghost appeared, manifesting not only to Finn but also to the man who had raped and murdered her as well. She rushed at him with a horrifying expression on her ghastly face as a blood-curdling and otherworldly scream poured out of her. In his terror as he scrambled to get away from the ghost of the woman he'd murdered, the man stumbled and fell into the same ravine that he'd dumped her body in, breaking his neck on the way down. Seeing her killer's unmoving body lying at the bottom of the ravine that she herself had been left to die in seemed to satisfy the woman's vengeful spirit, and she began to discorporate as Finn watched. Before she vanished for good, however, the ghost silently reached out and placed her ephemeral hand against Finn's chest, just over the heart. After she'd vanished, Finn found that a handprint remained where she had touched him, almost like a tattoo, and it remains there to this day and shows no signs of fading. While Finn was glad that the woman had found some measure of peace (or at least had her vengeance) and wasn't all that heart-broken over the death of her rapist-killer, he knew immediately that he was now even worse off than he had been before. The police already suspected him in the woman's death and now there was a second body tied to him. Wasting no time, he stopped briefly by his place in town to gather up what few possessions he still had (and would actually need on the road), and then made his way back out to the remote beach where his Grandmother lived. He explained the situation to her there and, though she would be sad to see him go, she agreed that her grandson would need to leave immediately, and so Finn once again left home for the open road (or ocean, as the case might be). Though he misses his Grandmother – and even his hometown of Skidegate, filled as it was with people who never quite understood him – at the same time he is privately pleased to be wandering again, as it seems that being continually on the move is in his blood. Since leaving the Haida Gwaii Finn has slowly worked his way down through British Columbia, into Washington and Oregon, and finally into California. He stopped for a time in Seattle, building back up his meager savings and supplies, before once again going on the road. He's recently arrived in Los Angeles, and his funds and supplies are once again running low, meaning he'll probably need to hunker down for a bit, find a job, and save up some more cash before he moves on. How long he'll hang around the City of Angels remains to be seen – maybe just a few weeks, maybe much longer. Who knows? Maybe he'll like it here. *- "Xa'aidlatha: This is a made-up (by me) First Tongue word that's supposed to mean "The People of the Boundary of the World". It's based off of a word from the Native American Haida language, "Xhaaydla", which means something along the lines of either "worlds" or "place between worlds" (I'm not entirely clear on this point). Anyway, it's understood in the original language that "worlds" here refers to the sea and sky, specifically the "border" where the two meet – or in other words, the horizon. I thought it was a fitting name for Feral orcas who, as aquatic mammals, are creatures that are neither entirely of the sea nor of the land, and who are only really at home at that place where sea and sky meet. Appearance: At 6'6" and 264 lbs., Finn is a very big man and certainly qualifies for the description, "tall, dark, and handsome" (or just 'hawt', as all the girlz like to call it these days), if not quite in the old-fashioned sense that was perhaps once intended, what with both of his arms, all the way up to the shoulders, being covered in thick, bold tattoo sleeves made up of various tribal designs. Finn also has what appears to be a tattoo of a hand print done in unusually black and glossy ink on his left pectoral, right over the heart. He avoids discussing the meaning behind this tattoo if at all possible (and will resort to "lies of omission" if it can't be avoided). Even as good-looking as he is, what really stands out about Finn isn't his height or his looks, but the sheer intensity of his presence that is, at times, simply overwhelming for many people. The man gives off a notable sense of wildness and the 'other', and there is a literal, if subtle scent as well as a 'feel' (for lack of a better word) about him that reminds most of the open ocean. Meanwhile, his expressive brown eyes seem to stare right through a person with a gaze that virtually defines the word 'piercing', making many on whom that gaze falls feel that he can see more about them than they might like. And then there's the fact that while he has one of the most open and friendly grins most people ever get to see, there's something that's just unmistakably predatorial about it. Finn's primal form is that of an enormous killer whale over 35 feet in length and weighing more than 11 tons, with a dorsal fin that stands as tall as he does in human form. Aside from being enormous even for an orca, his eyes also radiate a sense of calculating intelligence that goes beyond even the not-inconsiderable intelligence that most mundane orcas display. Very unusually – and somewhat unfortunately for Finn – his 'tattoo' of a handprint (actually a ghostly mark left behind where the spirit of a dead woman touched him as she went to her final rest – or perhaps judgment) does not fade as normal tattoos do when he undergoes the Change. The print remains even when in his animal or throwback form, and can be clearly seen against the white underbelly of his orca body. In his 'Throwback' form, Finn transforms into enormous man-like creature with the gleaming black skin and patches of brilliant white that his killer whale kin are so famous for. In this guise he stands almost ten feet in height and weighs over one thousand pounds. His face becomes broad and round, with an equally broad (and most often smiling or grinning) mouth, and a broad nose with wide-flared nostrils. His lips, nostrils, and eyebrows take on a brilliant blood-red hue while the bridge of his nose and his forehead turns a deep dark blue color. The result closely resembles the killer whale masks used by Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest in their ritual dances and ceremonies. Though his smile is usually friendly enough, it's also filled with the sharp teeth of the ocean's deadliest predator and this, combined with his enormous size and an appearance that seems like something out of a shamanistic vision, is enough to provoke the Delusion in almost any mortal. Personality: Finn has the intense personality and dangerous aura that one might expect from a Feral whose Breed happens to be the world's largest and most successful apex predator of the past 10,000 years or so - and it can be positively room-filling when he needs it to be – but he is also surprisingly laid back and lacks the often domineering and hyper-aggressive demeanor possessed by most other Feral predators. This is absolutely due more to his Breed than to his personality though, as Finn is actually somewhat unusual amongst his kind (or what's left of them at any rate), being more aggressive and more of a loner than is typical for one of the whale-kin – though this isn't surprising given his calling as a Wind-Dancer. Unusually aggressive or not, Finn can't escape what he is, and killer whales – despite their fearsome name – are not known for their aggressiveness, even if they are known for being arguably the most sophisticated, efficient, and effective pack hunters on the planet. Orcas have a matriarchal society and, moreover, it is always a given that the oldest female present is in charge of her pod and that there are never any challenges from younger females, and certainly never any challenges from any adult males. So, needless to say, as an orca-blooded Feral male, Finn generally lacks the desire to – as he would put it – posture, strut, and generally behave like a bully, all in an effort to prove to everyone watching that he somehow deserves to be the asshole in charge. If at all possible, he'd rather let some other asshole take the job, support the guy in that role if he can, and try not to laugh out loud – or too hard at least – at all of his no-doubt-very-impressive posturing. True to his Breed, Finn is also highly social and unfailingly supportive and trusting of anyone he calls a friend, to the extent that some would call it naivety or foolishness. He will readily share anything he has to give with those who seem to be in need, even when he has little enough to give, and will do so without a second thought (and he has been taken advantage of because of this on more than one occasion). On the other hand, those who do betray that trust leave him feeling deeply hurt, and the ability of a killer whale to enact its vengeance upon those who've wronged it is the stuff of myth and legend – literally. As vengeful as he can be towards those who wrong him, those who are stupid enough to wrong his friends are the ones who truly experience his full wrath. Such unfortunates would have done well to remember that one of the lesser-known names for a killer whale is 'the smiling assassin', and still another is 'the grinning killer'. Name: Finn ("just Finn") Real Name: Alexander Hoya Concept: Shape-shifting Surfer Species: Orca Accord: Wind-dancer Virtue: Charity (compassion) Vice: Pride (ego) Height: 6'6" Weight: 264 lbs. Hair: black Eyes: dark brown Age: 24 Attributes Mental: Intelligence: 2, Wits: 3, Resolve: 2 Physical: Strength: 4/8/11, Dexterity: 2, Stamina: 3/7/8 Social: Presence: 3, Manipulation: 2/1/1, Composure: 3 Skills Mental: Crafts (wood water crafts): 2, Investigation: 1, Occult: 1 Physical: Athletics: 3, Brawl: 3, Drive: 1, Stealth (moving through water): 2, Survival (hunting): 2 Social: Animal Ken: 1, Empathy: 2, Expression (singing): 1, Intimidation: 1, Persuasion: 1, Streetwise: 1 Merits Direction Sense - 1 Feral Heart – 6 (+2 dots) Language (First Tongue) - 1 Pleasing Aura - 3 Quick Healer - 4 Striking Presence - 2 Nahual: Oceanborn Feral Heart: 3 Harmony: 7 Respect: 3 -Insight 3 Willpower: 5 Health: 8/15/24 Initiative: 5 Defense: 2 Speed: 11/15/21 Size: 5/8/16 Favors & Aspects Favors: Aquatic Echolocation Fang & Claw (Bite) 3 (L) Size 15 Limbless (-1) Aspects: Darksight (1) [Can see in the dark, reduced penalties in poor visibility conditions, and gains +2 to Stealth rolls in the dark] Extraordinary Specimen (1) [+1 Str and Size in Primal Form] Keen Sense (hearing; 2) [+2 on Perception rolls and distance-related penalties reduced by up to 3 in all forms] Shadow Bond (3) [Can Sidestep and cross the Gauntlet] Weather Skin (1) [immune to extreme weather conditions] Tell (-1) [What appears to be a tattoo of a handprint is visible on his chest in all forms] CREATION LOG ATTRIBUTES Mental: Intelligence: 0, Wits: 2, Resolve: 1 Physical: Strength: 3, Dexterity: 0, Stamina: 2 Social: Presence: 2, Manipulation: 0, Composure: 2 SKILLS Mental: Crafts: 2, Investigation: 1, Occult: 1 Physical: Athletics: 3, Brawl: 3, Drive: 1, Stealth: 2, Survival: 2 Social: Animal Ken: 1, Empathy: 2, Expression: 1, Intimidation: 1, Persuasion: 1, Streetwise: 1 SPECIALTIES: Crafts (wood water crafts), Stealth (moving through water), Expression (singing), Bonus from Accord: Survival (hunting) MERITS Direction Sense – 1, Feral Heart – 6 BEGINNING FAVORS Aquatic Echolocation Fang & Claw (Bite) 3 (L) Size 15 Limbless (-1) ASPECTS Darksight (1) Extraordinary Specimen (1) Keen Sense (hearing; 2) Shadow Bond (3) Tell (-1) Weather Skin (1) Experience: 50/50: 10 points spent on Dexterity 2. 10 points spent on Intelligence 2. 10 points spent on Manipulation 2. 6 points spent on Pleasing Aura merit. 8 points spent on Quick Healer merit. 4 points spent on Striking Presence merit (2 dots). 2 points spent on Language merit. Xa'aidlatha: Wolves of the sea Breed Favors: Aquatic, Echolocation, Fang and Claw (Bite) 3 (L), Limbless (-1), Size (15) Breed Bonus: Orcas, like dolphins, can ram opponents, inflicting an additional three bashing damage (this is, in fact, one of their favored hunting techniques). Throwback: Strength + 4, Stamina + 4, Manipulation -3, Size + 3, Health + 7, Speed + 4 (species factor 5), + 1 to perception rolls, Fang & Claw Favor (Bite) Primal Beast: Strength + 6, Stamina + 5, Manipulation -4, Size +10, Health + 15, Speed + 9 (species factor 8), + 3 to perception rolls.
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