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February 19, 2012 “Out of bed!” The voice snapped through Imriel’s brain, jogging him awake. He was on his feet before his eyes opened, so he was already halfway awake before he saw the time. His mentor and roommate was annoyingly awake, fully dressed and ready to go. He was still wearing his tank top and flannel pants. Whisker liked it a little colder, so he adapted. “Whisker, it’s three in the morning,” he said, realized he’d said it in slurred Japanese, and repeated himself in English. “Yep, and we have work to do,” she informed him. She grabbed his head and he felt something flow through him. Sleepiness fled as she stepped back, grinning. “You might want to call into work now.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- I’m going to lose my fucking job, Imriel sighed as he drove down Foothill Boulevard. This was the third time he’d had to call in since the start of the year, and that wasn’t a good track record. Unfortunately, Seers didn’t wait for convenient times to act out. Whisker pointed at a parking spot on the side of the road and Imriel snagged it. As he parallel parked, she pulled out a tiny spy glass and peered through it. When he shut off his engine, she passed it to him. It looked like a run-down apartment complex of a dozen buildings. The sign out front said it was Last Foundations Retirement Home, but it looked like it had been retired. The building that Whisker pointed out wouldn’t have caught his eye, as it was a dirty, broken-down building in a row of dirty, broken-down buildings. A second look revealed signs that she was right; all of the windows were still in place and the doors was firmly locked rather than just nailed shut or kicked in. According to Whisker’s intel, there was a Seer cell operating in the building. The word was that they had captured supernatural creatures and were running tests on them. This could not be allowed, not just because it allowed others to possibly learn about magic but because it was wrong. It was something his mother would do, and so when he’d learned about it, he’d been as ready as Whisker was to kick some Seer ass. Imriel sighed as he glanced at the dashboard and saw it was now just after four-thirty. Whatever Whisker had done to him had been like a Red Bull, but that didn’t mean he wanted to be up right now. But his mentor had a lead on Seer activity and this time it sounded far more important than the usual Seer bullshit. It sounded like something needed to deal with immediately. Whisker waited until he’d had a good look before she asked, “Did you see the light? On the first floor of that building?” “No,” he admitted, not at all surprised. Whisker’s eyes were much sharper than his. “They painted over the windows, but they didn’t go a perfect job,” she said, her sexy voice serious and smug. She really liked having anything she could hold over the Seers, no matter how trivial. “I can see a spot on one of the buildings.” Her exotically-shaped gray eyes focused on him. “Where’s that friend of yours?” “She’s not my friend,” he said absently, still scanning the building’s black windows. “She’s just another mage I know.” “I wish we had more Arrows,” Whisker sighed. Imriel agreed, but Calypso had been the only one to answer her phone when he’d called around for backup. “I’m going to get some eyes on the inside.” Imriel nodded as she hopped out of the car and slipped over to a shadow. He watched, but only saw her kneeling. A moment later, she returned, looking smug. “A rat’s going to check it out for us. We just have to wait.” Whisker was silent, then asked impatiently, “When will she get here?” “When she gets here,” Imriel replied, used to her impatience. She’d wait, though not happily. And she’d make sure he was unhappy about having to wait, too. “She has the address, and she said she was coming.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Thad groaned and pulled the pillow over his head as the beast roared again. He was trying to sleep damnit, and he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to do that when that monster was making so much noise. The spell soundproofing the apartment complex kept people outside from hearing the noise, but he could hear it and he needed some god damned rest! “Fucking furry monster!” he snarled as he rolled out of his cot and stormed for the door. The noise was even louder when he opened the door that had once separated the studio apartment from its bathroom. This room mirrored the other bathroom, which had been left intact for their use. The far wall of this bathroom, along with all the facilities, was long gone and emptied to make a storage room. The opening led to another former studio apartment. This one was now a large kitchen and dining room for the six-man team who lived here. Emilio was standing at the butcher’s block, chopping celery. The ingredients for an omelet were arrayed around him. The former Mexican was the best cook and usually pressed into service for cooking. “I haven’t gotten any sleep,” Thad bitched to the older man, stopping to watch him. “No one is,” Emilio said, looking up at Thad through salt-and-pepper hair. “I told her we should kill the hombre-lobo.” Thad winced. “You and everyone else, Milo.” The Biologist was super creepy, and when Emilio had told her to kill the werewolf, she’d just said ‘No’ and no one had said anything else. Just that single no had made his skin crawl. He tried to avoid The Biologist with her staring eyes and face that never, ever showed a single expression. He preferred DeathFire, sorta. The guy had the corniest name ever, but after seeing him make black fire from his hands, Thad had never ever laughed at the name again, even privately. He looked like nothing; just some punk with stringy hair and the tendency to wear ripped t-shirts that had band names on them. All the bands had Deth or Death in the title, so at least DeathFire kept to a theme. He was scary too, but not in the testicle-constricting way that The Biologist was. DeathFire was terrifying because of what Thad had seen him do; he didn’t ever want to see what the Biologist could do. Thad once again wished he’d never answered the ad for a vet tech specialist working with exotic animals. A wealthy employer with a private collection who needed round-the-clock vet techs and were willing to pay were few and far in-between. Only once he’d taken the job did he learn why he’d gotten it: he saw magic without freaking out. DeathFire had shown off his fire-tricks, The Biologist had stared – and then things had gotten weird. He was so not suited for this. He was a vet tech, for fuck’s sake, not a… whatever you called people who looked after fucking werewolves. He’d been watching Emilio prepare breakfast when another roar tore through the kitchen. Scowling, Thad pushed himself off the counter and walked over to one of the industrial fridges in the room. This one was the one for food, he knew, not the other one – that was a mistake you only made once. Reaching inside, he pulled out a raw steak and a beer. “Whatcha doin’?” Emilio asked, watching him. “Bribery,” Thad explained and stomped over to the next door. This door led to a library of sots; the room held bookshelves and the Biologist’s desk. Thad wove through them, crossing through another set of former bathrooms, this one with only support studs left. The autopsy room was next and Thad winced at the smell. A man was on one of the tables, his chest and other parts splayed open. Yvette, a slim, petite black woman, was examining something from the dead man that Thad deliberately didn’t look at as he stalked past. He was supposed to be working on animals, damnit! Yvette glanced up at him as he walked by, her dark skin clashing with the blue hospital coverings she wore. “What’s up, sugar?” she asked, glancing at his hands. “Can’t sleep,” he snarled as he entered the next studio apartment. In this one, both bathrooms had been removed again to make room for six cages. Thad’s steps slowed as he looked at the newest occupants of the cages, freshly arrived last night. Of course, then they’d all been unconscious and blissfully quiet. The first cage on the right held a shivering woman. She was actually more of a girl, younger than he, at twenty-nine, would have been comfortable dating. Even with that discomfort, he admitted that the girl was blonde and gorgeous, with a body that would not stop. She was also high out of her mind, shivering and muttering softly to herself. The first cage on the left held a young man; he was in his early twenties with short black hair and pale green eyes. There was something unsettling about that one, and Thad glanced away. There were two empty cages, then the last cage or the right held the source of the noise. Thad’s lips curled in an angry grimace as he understood the cause of the monster’s outrage. Roman, Yvette’s half-brother, was stabbing at the beast through his bars with dowel rods. The monster was snapping them, but Roman just picked up another. Thad considered shoving Roman against the bars and letting the monster do as he would to him; the bars were too close for the werewolf to get his muzzle through, but he could rend the man with claws. Thad settled for kicking Roman in the backside. That was bad enough; Roman spun and glared down at him. Unlike Yvette, Roman was big and ugly. Yvette had been hired for her medical skills; Roman had been hired because he broke things. “You lookin’ for hurt, Tad?” he grumbled, his voice like rocks grinding. “I’m looking to get some fucking sleep,” he snarled, ignoring Roman getting his name wrong again. “Leave it alone so it’ll calm down.” “It was making noise before I started,” Roman protested. “Stop it,” Thad snapped, “or I’ll tell The Biologist what you’re doing to her experiments. If she wanted you to be riling them up, she’d say so. Now get.” The threat of The Biologist was enough. Roman scowled, but he pushed past Thad, bouncing him off one of the empty cages. “Asshole,” Thad muttered when he was sure that Roman was far enough away he wouldn’t hear. Now alone with the werewolf, Thad tossed the steak between the bars. “Truce?” he asked, then held up the beer. “I’ll give this to you, too, if you agree. I just want some damned sleep.” Lips curled back from teeth as long as Roman’s fingers. “I know you can understand me. Just nod and you get the beer.”
Sunday, August 21st Kaitlin puttered around the house, an ice-pack strapped to her left ankle. It had been two weeks since she had moved in with Oneca, August, and Aradia - and Satan - and she was both relieved and chagrined that the issue of rent hadn't come up yet. She still had some (dwindling) savings though, so she was able to buy most of her own food and contribute to the household larder. Which she was happy to do, since there wasn't as much meat in their diet as she preferred, and the other girls found out Kaitlin was also actually a pretty decent cook. It didn't stop mentions of her carnivorous appetites, but Kaitlin didn't apologize for them either. An active girl, Kaitlin spent a lot of time outside - sometimes even looking for a job she could tolerate between idly eying the rich homes in the neighborhood for easy opportunities of wealth equalization actions. She would have been today as well, except she had sprained her ankle yesterday when a loose roof-shingle had slipped out from underfoot. It wasn't that she couldn't fight against the pain when she had to, but like more freerunners, she was conscientious about exacerbating a minor injury into a more major or long-lasting one. Which didn't mean she wasn't disappointed. She had had the idea of trying to find out where in and around LA MTV's Ultimate Parkour was being filmed and she didn't want to find it while driving her rust-bucket Camry or not being in top condition to show the stars what she could do. So, instead, Kaitlin wandered around the luxurious house, seeing what she had overlooked before. There were quite a few books on the various shelves and in the study, which made sense, since the other four girls were all in college. She sighed with bitter melancholy. She wasn't all that interested in more years of school, but she was pretty sure her athletic scholarship to UNLV was going to be a lost and she wouldn't be able to afford college otherwise. Not without a serious score, at least. She cocked her head to the side, a finger tracing the bindings of the books, only now really noticing the titles. These weren't sciency or arty textbooks. They were about the supernatural and occult! Just fiction - of course, they had to be - but maybe they were based on the real thing, from way back when. Kaitlin glanced over her shoulders, self-consciously making sure nobody was watching her, then pulled the heavy hardcover Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters from the shelf. She hobbled over to the couch, flopped down onto the plush cushions with her legs thrown over the side and propped the book on her chest, leafing through the pages, looking for a heading on powers and weaknesses... Gonna need silver. Stupid silver! It gives me a rash.
July 26th, 2011, Las Vegas Giggling, the two athletic girls hopped the back fence of the luxurious residence, fleeing the yard-party they had crashed and raced across the rolling, moonlit expanse of the Las Vegas Country Club. After several dozen yards with no signs of pursuit, they slowed to easy saunter, holding hands, excitedly going over the loot they had swiped and hid in their purses and the celebrities they had seen at the party. A moment later, they stopped, falling into a passionate embrace, soft lips pressing against soft lips, tongues entangling. They were young and beautiful and in lust, the night was late and pregnant with potential, and the neon jewel that was Vegas beckoned, home and playground both. The heat of the day dimmed with the setting of the sun and the night was their domain to roam, their favourite time to wander the city. They were free and wild with youth and though there were dangers sharing the dark with them, they scoffed at them, secure in the immortality of adolescence. Life was an adventure and though they both knew some for whom it had ended, surely it wouldn't for them. Kaitlin sighed as the kissed ended and they continued on their way, slipping through the trees bordering the backs of the fine residences lining the golf course, basking in the night noises of the city that never sleeps. Through her lowered lashes, Kaitlin eyed the girl walking at her side. Madison was a few inches taller than her, willowy as a model and with a face that belonged on fashion magazines. Two months ago, they had gone to prom together, and before that, Madison had spent the semester chasing her. Kaitlin's cheeks reddened in remembrance, but her grin widened and she gave Madison's hand a squeeze. She might still have been embarrassed to discover the sapphic desires residing within her, but she certainly didn't regret them or the fun she had with Madison. Cock is fun but she knows damn well how to get me off better than any guy I've ever been with... "So, what now, love?" Madison asked, blue eyes gleaming and dark beneath the stars, auburn hair dark and glistening under moonlight. "We can hit a club, but..." with a graceful twist of her wrist, she glanced at her watch, "... there's only a hour 'til close. I don't wanna head home before dawn, but I'm sure we can find someplace to have some... fun..." The throatiness of her voice and her hand on her ass gave no doubt to what she meant. Kaitlin was in full agreement, heart pounding with too much excitement to return home for the night, despite the presence of a comfortable for them to tumble in. Not that finding a bed was onerous when there was always the possibility of some short-term squatting. And there were other benefits too... "You're on, babe," Kaitlin agreed, green-gold eyes brightening as she noticed the open window of a house she had been keeping an eye on for a few days. It didn't seem like the residents of the fine home had been there for the last several days. Surely they wouldn't mind someone borrowing a bed for a few hours, and they could suffer the lost of a few small items, right? Kaitlin pointed out the means of access with her chin, a wide grin on her face and a rising thrill beneath her breast. "I've had my eye on this place for a few days, Madison. Betcha ya they have a bed they aren't using. And maybe a few things they wouldn't mind losing so we have a bit more spending cash on our trip to LA?" "Well, I did want to stroll Rodeo Drive..." Madison teased. She tilted her head down and gave Kaitlin a kiss, a thumb and forefinger tweaking a firm and perky breast. With her girlfriend distracted with the sensation, Madison chuckled and darted away. "Last one to the house has to take the loot to Greasy Pete the Pawn." Kaitlin blinked, then snorted. "It's on!" With her long legs and headstart, Madison was at the tall wall surrounding the house before Kaitlin was halfway there, but the blond girl was the stronger and more athletic of the two. By the time Madison dropped down the other side, Kristin had reached that wall and was hardly slowed by its height. With momentum and her hands, Kaitlin hauled herself up and launched herself off the top of the wall, coming down in a wall and flowing to her feet... ahead of Madison. "You took the wall to slow, Maddy," Kaitlin opined, slapping the back door of the house with a smile. "But you're getting better." Madison scowled, but stuck her tongue out at her. "You've been freerunning longer than me. But I'll catch you yet." Both girls paused, waiting and listening for any sound from within the house. After five minutes, Madison nodded, indicating it was clear. Kaitlin leapt onto the railing of the deck, then made a short wall-run to boost herself to the roof of the of the breakfast nook. She gave Madison a hand up, then staying low, both padded to the open window. It would be tight, but they should fit. Kaitlin peeked in, and finding it clear, gave Madison a thumbs up, then pulled out a folding knife and flicked it open. With a pair of quick cuts, she cut an 'L' into the screen then slipped inside. A moment later, Madison followed suit. The girls shared a grin then proceeded to explore the empty house.
Name: Kaitlin Vandussen Personal Information: Public Identity: Kaitlin Vandussen Nicknames: Kat Real Name: Same Occupation: Working on that... Legal Status: United States Citizen, living in Los Angeles Marital Status: Umarried Known Relatives: Reynolds Vandussen (Father), Felicienne Devereaux (Mother) Deceased Relatives: - Physical Traits: Weight: 143 lbs Height: 5' 7'' Apparent age: Late teens Gender: Female Ethnic Background: Caucasian Eye Color: Gold-Flecked Green Hair Color: Honey Blond with pale highlights Handedness: Left Age: 17 Appearance: A very cute and attractive young woman, with a lean and trim figure, toned curves, and a pair of firm and perky breasts. She's particularly fond of her long and strong legs. Her hair falls short of her shoulders and is worn loose and windblown, and her eyes are large and green, flecked with gold. She moves with a remarkably fluid and easy grace and favours casual clothing and sportswear, worn loose or tight to aid movement. She has several piercings through each ear and one through an eyebrow, and wears a friendship bracelet around her right wrist. Personality: Energetic and vivacious, almost always moving, with a never say die attitude - when Kaitlin gets knocked down, she gets up again, an almost necessary trait in a freerunner and skater. She alternates between enjoying company and preferring solitude. She's sort of uncomfortable with her rising bisexual, but like most everything else, she'll take her lumps and deal with that too. However, the revelation that there really are things that go bump in the night has severely knocked her off kilter. Background All her life, she's been running... But was it towards something or away from something, something she couldn't even define, that was the question. Kaitlin was born and grew up in Las Vegas, raised only by her father, since her mother ran out on them when she was just a baby. With no mother figure in her life and Reynolds Vandussen working long hours as a security guard, Kaitlin often had to fend for herself and was a tomboy and wild child growing up. She learned to cook and be handy around the house from an early age, it was just her and her dad, after all. But the energetic wildness in her heart called to her and as much as she loved her father, he wasn't enough to keep her content. Almost running before she learned to walk, Kaitlin spent most of her time outdoors, active and enthralled with extreme sports, competing with the boys of the gang of street kids she ran with. And she was treated just like one of the boys... until she entered her teens and started to develop more woman curves. At first she was annoyed, thought it was stupid they were treating her as if she were delicate porcelain just because she had boobs, but she quickly she was every bit as tough as they were. And when they started showing interest in her, as a girl, Kaitlin learned the fun in a whole different sort of extreme sport. Kaitlin and her father didn't have much money, so she was mostly self taught in her athletic endeavors, even sneaking in to watch the Cirque de Soleil performers train when she could - the friendlier ones showed the cute and enthralled girl a some moves, to her delight. Her father found enough cash to enroll her in kick-boxing and martial art classes - if she was spending so much time on the streets, he wanted his to know how to defend herself - but he couldn't enroll her in acrobatic or gymnastic classes, despite her pleading. With hard won skills, Kaitlin considered some of the street kids she ran with, wondering how they could afford such sick boards and skates, or to attend competitions in other cities, other countries, even. Some of them even lived in the Underground - which in some places, wasn't nearly as bad sounding as you'd think. And then one night, when she was twelve or thirteen, she found out. She was running with a gang of amateur freerunners through the landscaped yards of the high-class residences surrounding the Las Vegas Country Club, when passing through a yard that was dark - the security lights not flashing on, she was pressed into climbing into an open second story window, being the only one small enough to fit... Excited and scared, she did it, only finding out later that the guys had cased the place and knew the owners were out of town. Her take from the easily fenced swag, mostly jewelry, watches, and personal electronics, was more cash then she had ever held in her hands. It was a lot more than she ever got from shoplifting or dining-and-dashing. This was how they could afford all their things and how she could afford it too. Besides, it was only from people who had more money than they needed anyway, right? They could afford a few small loses, so she could afford to attend professional competitions with professional equipment. And maybe a few other things... Besides, it was a thrill and a rush. To her father's consternation, his daughter was as likely to spend the night out on the streets as she was in her bed, and though he never said anything or had firm evidence, he suspected what she was up too. He tried grounding her, but then had to deal with her morose sulking or the fact she'd just as likely ignore him, so he relented. Still, he worried, feared that like her mother, she would disappear without a word, but Kaitlin always came back. Nighttime was her favourite time in Las Vegas. The heat of the sun was cut down and if anything, the city seemed even more alive. She loved the blending of shadows and neon lights, and even knowing there were bad sorts out there, she never feared the night. It just added a spice of danger and possibility. Running through the shadows and across rooftops, it felt like you could find anything and nothing could find you. It was awesome... Until one night, after graduating high school, she saw something she never expected to see, and suddenly, the night was irrevocably changed in her eyes. Kaitlin and her first and only girlfriend Madison Madsen were partaking of the liquor cabinet and seeing what small items they could find in a conveniently empty house. How she had ended up with a girlfriend still surprised her - Madison had pursued her all year and had finally gotten her drunk at a party they had invited themselves to and to Kaitlin's chagrin, she found out she liked girls as much as she liked guys - maybe it was growing up mostly with guy friends and having many of the same interests. Her street friends were certainly jealous that she ended up with a girlfriend hotter than theirs, the ones that even had girlfriends. There was something... odd about the house. Though of modern design, the furnishings all seemed old, Victorian, if in good condition, with few modern electronics. There was even a turn-table with records! And the place was eerily clean, as if it was a showroom. There wasn't a single thing in the fridge or freezer and the blinds were heavy and black, blocking out all traces of starlight. But the bar in the den was fully stocked and the antique jewelry chest was just left out in the open on the vanity in the master bedroom. Kaitlin and Madison where in the master bedroom, handing a bottle of Jack back and forth, giggling as they tried on some of the jewelry by the moonlight filtering in through a window they had opened, when they heard the front door crash open, followed by a muffled scream. The girls barely had time to hide in the closet before a tall, pale-skinned woman strode in, holding a boy about their age by his neck, a hand over his mouth. At first, Kaitlin thought she was stunning, then the woman turned, moonlight falling across her cheek, revealing the savage claws marring her face and damaging an eye. And then the 'woman' smiled, revealing lengthening canines and bent over, biting the boy on the neck! Clutching each other, Kaitlin and Madison watched in horrified fascination through the slatted door as the woman drank the boy's blood, a thin line of crimson, looking black under the moonlight, trailing down the line of his throat, and they could see her terrible wounds closing right before their eyes, as if they never were. They couldn't say it, but both of them were thinking it: Vampire! And this one didn't seem like the sparkly kind. Their hearts pounding, not daring to look away for fear that if they did, the vampire would be on them, they started as the blood-drinking woman's head snapped around, looking back and down as if her gaze could pierce the floor, blood-stained lips peeled back in a snarl. Then the woman dove for her bed, reaching for something under it. A second later, a large man burst into the room saying something that the girls, in their fright, didn't understand, just as the woman flowed back to her feet, a pair of silver knives in her hands. The terrible strangeness was just beginning. As the woman darted forward, the man howled, tensing as he grew, flesh and bone contorting with a sickening crackle, grey-black fur sprouting from his skin, face extending into a muzzle, fingers lengthening into claws. He met the vampire's attack head on. Werewolf! And not the hot Taylor Lautner kind! The girls screamed, clawing open the closet door and making a run for the window and escape. Kaitlin made it. Madison didn't. The sudden movement had attracted the attention of both predators. A silver dagger found Madison's bowels while a casual sweep of a huge, clawed hand ripped away half of her head. Tears flowing, Kaitlin didn't stop. She leapt through the window and fled while the vampire and werewolf turned on each other. She couldn't stay here. The night used to be her friend, but now it was full of monsters. Full of terrified desperation, she began packing her old, beat-up stationwagon with all her belongings. The commotion woke up her father, who demanded to know what was going on. She wanted to tell him, she really did, but either he'd think she was insane or worse, believe her and then the dark would be full of monsters for him too. And what if the survivor in that fight tracked her down to him? She couldn't do that to him, so she mumbled something, saying she just wanted to leave early to attend the X-games in LA, praying he would buy her excuse and almost begged him to come with her. She almost cried when she saw the look on his face. He thought she was abandoning him too, just like her mother, and he had no intention of leaving his home. He thought her larcenous activities had led her into something dark and heavy, but he had no idea how bad it was and she couldn't explain it too him. She gave him a fierce hug, promising she would be back, praying he would believe it, though not sure if she believed it herself. She had lost her girlfriend, her home, her love of the night, and maybe even her father in Las Vegas, she wasn't sure if she could ever come back. So with a heavy heart, she finished backing in a frenzy, and as the sun began to dawn, Kaitlin fled Las Vegas, heading to LA as the only other place she sort of knew, having competed there several times during the Summer X-games, and planning on competing again. She was running again, away from an old life and into a new one... one full of things that went bump in the night. Name: Kaitlin Vandussen Concept: Freerunner-Thief who saw too much Breed: Bastet Species: Pumonca (Were-cougar) Accord: Sun-Chaser Virtue: Fortitude Vice: Gluttony Attributes Mental: Intelligence - 2, Wits - 3, Resolve – 2 Physical: Strength - 3, Dexterity - 4, Stamina – 3 Social: Presence - 3, Manipulation - 2, Composure – 2 Skills Mental Skills (-3): Academics 1; Crafts 2 ; Investigation 1; Physical (-1): Athletics 4 (Climbing, Jumping); Brawl 2; Larceny 3; Stealth 3 (Moving in Darkness) Social (-1): Expression 1; Persuasion 2; Socialize 1; Streetwise 1 (Black Market); Subterfuge 2 Merits: Sleepwalker **** (Free); Parkour ****; Fleet of Foot ***; Iron Stamina ** Striking Looks **; Contacts * (Fences); Fame * (X-Games Champ: Girls' Skateboard Street & Climbing), Fighting Style: Evasive Striking (JKD) ** Parkour Merit New Merit: Parkour (• to •••••) Prerequisites: Dexterity •••, Athletics •• The sport of parkour began in France, and has quickly spread to other parts of the world. Parkour demands a level of athleticism from its practitioners that few other sports do. The purpose of parkour, which is also called "free running" or "urban running," is to move as quickly as possible through an environment with a variety of obstacles, sprinting through the terrain and using a variety of climbing techniques, leaps, rolls and other athletic movements to navigate. Watching an expert traceur (one of the terms for someone who practices parkour) at work is awe-inspiring, like something out of an action film. Though the technique comes from well-disciplined training, imbedding a certain body of movements and techniques into the parkour's instinctive reactions, the goal is a flawless, seamless flow of movement from one obstacle to the next, with hardly any pause in speed or movement. This "flow" is the goal of traceurs — it is the highest achievement of a practitioner of parkour to achieve a Zen-like state of lack of thought, where purest instinct and reaction drives the movement. Skilled traceurs speak of sometimes being aware that they've accomplished a tremendously difficult feat heartbeats after they've accomplished it. Through intensive training to drive home certain actions when confronted with certain obstacles, the traceur can depend on his instincts, rather than his thoughts — which are vulnerable to fears and doubts — when moving through the urban environment. Traceurs gather in clubs. Though the sport has begun to catch on, and some of these clubs are receiving corporate sponsorship, the clubs tend to be quite informal, with members gathering in a given place on a given day of the week to work on their techniques. Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to special athletic maneuvers. Each maneuver is a prerequisite for the next. So, your character can't have "Cat Leap" until he has "Flow." The maneuvers and their effects are described below, most of which are based on the Athletics Skill. Flow (•): Your character has some basic training in the techniques of parkour, allowing him to act instinctively to obstacles and jumps. When using running or using the Foot Chase rules (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 65), your character may negate hazardous terrain penalties equal to his Rating in the Parkour Merit. Additionally, the roll to gauge a jump distance (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 67) is a reflexive action. Cat Leap (••): Your character has mastered some of the twisting leaps, landing rolls and wall taps used by traceurs. When using a Dexterity + Athletics roll to mitigate damage from falling (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 179), your character gains one automatic success. Additionally, add one per dot in this Merit to the threshold of damage that can be removed through this roll. Thus, if the Storyteller decrees that only three successes may be garnered to reduce falling damage, the traceur with three dots in this Merit may actually use six successes (assuming the player accumulates that many, including his automatic success). Wall Run (•••): Your character has mastered the quick wall-run and leaping climb techniques of parkour. When using Athletics to climb (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 64), your character is capable of scaling heights of 10 feet + 5 feet per dot in Athletics as an instant action (rather than the normal 10 feet), though every full 10 feet beyond the first imposes a –1 die penalty. Expert Traceur (••••): Your character has trained so extensively in this athletic discipline that its maneuvers are normal and instinctive for him. Your character may designate any Athletics roll that involves running, jumping and climbing as being a Rote Action (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 134). However, when doing so, he is less able to react to events that don't have to do with navigating the environment, causing him to lose his Defense for that turn. Freeflow (•••••): Your character has achieved the freeflow that is the holy grail of traceurs everywhere — he acts without thinking, his movements flowing, graceful and quick when he enters "the zone." He can perform any Athletics action that involves running, jumping or climbing as a reflexive action, rather than an instant action. Doing so requires that the character has been running for at least a full minute previously; any use of this ability before that minute mark requires the expenditure of one point of Willpower, however. Feral Heart: 1 Willpower: 4 Harmony: 5 Respect: -Ferocity 1 -Passion 2 Health: 8/13 Initiative: 6 Defense: 5 Speed: 15/26 Size: 5/7 Perception: 5 Perception Roll Bonuses: +2/+4 ,, Favors & Aspects Fang & Claw 2 (L) Keen Senses (All) Catwalk 1 ,, Darksight 1 Extraordinary Specimen 1 Leap 3 Righting Reflex 3 Tell -1 (rib tattoo appears in animal form as dark fur on the flank in the same design) ,, War-Beast: None Dire Beast (Including Extraordinary Specimen): Strength +4, Dexterity +4, Stamina +3, Size 7, Health +5, Speed +11 (species factor 8), +2 Perception Rolls Primal Beast (Including Extraordinary Specimen): Strength +3, Dexterity +3, Stamina +2, Size 6, Health +3, Speed +9 (species factor 8), +2 Perception Rolls Experience Log Trait/XP Type Rank Gain/Spent Current Total Creation - +50 50 50 XP From -2 Morality - +10 60 60 Strength 2 -10 50 60 Composure 2 -10 40 60 Strength 3 -15 25 60 Striking Looks 2 -4 21 60 Contacts 1 -2 19 60 Iron Stamina 1 -2 17 60 Iron Stamina 2 -4 13 60 Brawl 2 -6 7 60 Fame 1 -2 5 60 WoDA Restart Bonus - +5 10 65 XP Earned for August - +3 12 68 XP Earned for September - +3 15 71 Escape From Las Vegas - +1 16 72 Evasive Striking (JKD) 1 -2 14 72 Evasive Striking (JKD) 2 -4 10 72 October - +3 12 74 November to February - +12 24 86 March - +3 27 89 Boot-Scooting Boogie - +3 30 92