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  1. It has been a long time since the first War of the Triat when the Wyrm, the Weaver, and the Wyld were removed from direct influence over Earth as the supernatural community banded together to stop Gehenna. Eight hundred years after the first War of the Triat, with those from Earth scattered among the stars, the second War of the Triat ripped through the universe. Planets, species, breeds, clans, tribes, all known peoples took sides in this ultimate war for the future of everything. In the end, the Triat and some of their more devoted followers were removed from the universe. In this new age of peace Gaia and Osiris, the strength behind the battle, again took themselves from creation, stepping back to allow the universe to proceed and grow on its own. Everyone knows that the reason the Triat had to be removed was that the Weaver caused the Wyrm to become insane, destroying balance and causing the universe wobble dangerously on the verge of ultimate destruction. There are rumors that there was a dark force from beyond creation whispering in the Weaver's ear. And with hushed voices some speak of the darkness as an entity that will not stop until the Universe is destroyed. Rational people know these rumors are the products of overactive imagination and a need to understand the unknown. On the edge of the known universe sits a planet, known as Incarnum, previously untouched by the war on the other worlds. A world of myst and magic in constant flux. Many of the races had spoken of a need for a place of peace where all could gather and organize and speak and trade with each other. A place far enough from normal space that it is not under the influence of any of the current powers. When the planet of Incarnum was discovered, a moon in its orbit was deemed a perfect location for this United Planets Base. The United Planets Base would be a place where all peoples were welcome and could work in harmony. Each major race is invited to send an ambassador for a council that would work to insure fair trading and continued peace. The base would also house researchers who would study the planet Incarnum below the moon base. And it would be a port of call and a place of trade for any non-embargoed items [no drugs no weapons no slaves].
  2. We're currently taking interest in a Halloween thread. It will be in the form of a costume party and there will be further participation beyond the party for 3-4 players. This is not considered a 'main plot thread' but it will be considered a Moderator Sponsored event (meaning everybody gets goodies!). Mostly we'd like to use it as an opportunity to test a few ideas among us mods on how the three of us can accommodate and facilitate a regular posting schedule despite RL happening all around us. OTN, Vivi and myself have been discussing this idea and the general plot now since the beginning of September in PMs so all of us are in the loop. We're hoping to get the thread started on the 1st of October and complete it on the 1st of November. That's one month to complete a full plot 'adventure' and frankly, I think we can do it. The Moderators' PCs may not participate in the plot thread, but their PCs will be present at the party and we encourage everyone to include their PCs even if they won't be participating in the main plot of the thread (participation nets you the bonus XP for plot based threads). If you play more than one PC and you are selected to participate then you must choose which of your PCs will be the participant (you cannot play both in the same thread, but both may come to the party). For example, I play Lucien and Swara-Ann. Were I selected by the mods to be a participant then I would need to choose which of my two PCs would participate in the plot and which would remain at the party and enjoy their night. Once I made my decision, I could not change it. There are a couple of rules: 1. Your PC must have a costume, no cheap tricks or looking for goofy ways around it. No name tags, chintzy dime-store masks you can just whisk on and off, no just wearing a skimpy outfit and claiming you're a bikini model/prostitute/centerfold, and so on; this is a bona-fide costume party, and attendees have to follow the dress code! 2. If your PC is not chosen to participate, don't take it personally. 3-4 characters will be chosen by random die rolls, with the remainder being involved in the party, but not pursuing the plot. They'll be considered "supporting cast" and receive XP accordingly. We want this to run as efficiently as possible, so if you are interested, please post in this thread with the name of your PC, and the costume they will be wearing. This will help prevent someone from "stealing" another person's costume idea, and give the three of us a quick reference as well. If you consistently have trouble posting regularly, please do not offer your PCs up for plot participation. You're welcome to get involved with the party, but we will be working with a timeline on this so we're going to need our active participants to be, well, active. We've got two weeks until this kicks off, which should be plenty of time to figure out your costumes and which (if any) of your PCs will be attending. We're hoping this'll be a good time for everyone involved, so if you've got questions, let's hear 'em.
  3. Thomas Coventry had made a fortune gaining water rights in the Owens Valley. He swindled hard-scrabble farmers and ranchers of the water beneath their feet. He turned around and sold these rights to the City of Los Angeles when they decided to build the aqueduct to feed the growing city's thirst. He profited off other people's misery, robbed them of not only their fortune's, but their livelihoods. The city's growing thirst drained the water table, drying up Lake Owen and lowering the water table. Plant's couldn't grow, even those that were normally drought resistant. Thomas Coventry destroyed hundreds of lives. Thomas Coventry built the Coventry House in 1923. His friends thought it terribly odd that he built it so far away from the city center, in the heart of Bundy Valley. He claimed to have loved the isolation for him and his growing family. The Coventry family was a constant fixture in the LA social scene. Coventry invested shrewdly, showing as much financial acumen in Hollywood as he had shown in Real Estate. People who crossed Coventry tended to come to a bad end. It was rumored he had ties to the burgeoning Mob presence in the city. His ties to the local government were well established so no criminal investigations were ever pursued. On November 1st, 1930, when a local produce grower went up to the house on his weekly deliveries, he discovered a horrible bloodbath. Mrs. Coventry, all of their nine children, and all five of their staff were found murdered throughout the dwelling. The police immediately investigated the property. They searched the surroundings hills for Thomas' Coventry's body. They waited for someone to contact them with ransom demands. Finally, they accepted the thought that Mr. Coventry had done the deed. Descriptions were sent out across the country and to Canada and Mexico. Nothing ever came of these inquiries. Privately, the police and political leaders came the realization that Coventry was most likely dead. None of his accounts had been touched. If he was on the run, he was penniless. For that matter, he was a man in his fifties, in Depression Era America. They decided that Thomas Coventry had been murdered by one of his shady cohorts and that they would never find the body. In 1937, they quietly seized his accounts and lands, adding them to the city's coffers. By the end of World War II, the story of the Coventry House was forgotten.
  4. 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.
  5. Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 Location: Somewhere east of the Pacific Highway. Zane says he knows where we are. I think he's lost. Today was some real shit. Rained until four then we got a cold westerly wind until we found this ruined shack. I ate noodles and dried apples. I would have preferred my rations, but Zane says there bad for the 'Opening of the Mind'. Zane ate my rations. Apparently he's 'Open' enough. Tonight, after eating, he decided to finally start sharing some wisdom. To start off with, he wants to tell me about the real structure of the world. In no particular order, he began with a the Mastigos. To the best of my recollections, these are his words. There is nothing to like about the Mastigos. They are all lying, under-handed, hedonistic spastic gay-boy sluts. Not that they don't have their good qualities, but I've never seen them. Here's what you need to know: Mastigos' Arcana are Mind and Space. Nice right? What that means is that they can fuck with your brain from a distance. This is what they do. If it wasn't for masturbating and preening in the mirror, this would be all they do. Get up and take a dump? Nah, they 'port their crap into the toilet without moving ... unless they have your address ... then they use your crapper ... if you're lucky. Fight? Nah, their favorite saying is "let you and him fight, I'll pick the pockets of the dead." If you find a Mastigos' hand in your pockets, he's not looking for your change. If you find yourself liking a Mastigos, it's because she's made you like her. If you find yourself afraid of a Mastigos, it's because he's made you afraid. If your friend turns on you, it's a Mastigos' fault. If someone you know turns on you, it's a Mastigos' fault. If your enemy shows up and attacks you, ... okay it might not be a Mastigos, but check it out anyway. Now, are there any uses for as Mastigos? Sure. If you run across some Unspeakable Evil(?), have a Mastigos take a look first. If he comes back a drooling wreck, you know to be careful. If she says "nothings there", she's lying, but now you know that it isn't an Unspeakable Evil (what are these?). You've screwed a friend over for no good reason, then blame a Mastigos. Nine out of ten times they'll buy it. (after this, his words became so slurred from the whiskey that I couldn't always make out what he said) If you are going to commit a theft, make sure a Mastigos is in the area to blame. Mastigos Space Arcana makes everyone uncomfortable. They are probably thieves anyway. If the Mastigos is rich, take something. He's got so much, he won't miss it. If a Mastigos is poor, it's because she's hiding it well. Remember, they lie. If someone with both Mind and Space Arcana claims to not be a Mastigos, they are probably lying. If you like them, they're Mastigos. If you hate them, they are Mastigos being particularly clever. More tomorrow, I hope.
  6. Triessa's battered old 1978 Ford pickup rattled and rumbled as it ambled up Lopez Canyon Road, into the outskirts of Angeles National Forest. Once upon a time it had been cherry red, an American muscle car masquerading as a utility vehicle. Those days were long gone though. Its coat was dulled by exposure to sun and rain, and eaten through in patches where the metal had then rusted. It was as far from green as you could get without driving a car that was fueled by burning coal, but Triessa couldn't afford anything fancier at the moment. And it had a weird kind of gravitas, this truck. Like your crazy great-uncle who fought in World War 1, and was openly, embarrassingly racist...but had seen so much and lived through so much that you couldn't help respecting him even though he sometimes needed DePends. It was in no shape, however, to follow the narrow, winding dirt road off to the right when a sign caught her eye. There was a cleared area on the other side of the road that she pulled into. It was probably going to be made into a small parking lot anyway, by the look of it. She got her stuff out and darted across the road to read again the humble sign that had three words that had piqued Triessa's interest so. KAGEL WOLF SANCTUARY Triessa hadn't learned any Fate magic before leaving her mentor behind, but like any mage, she knew Fate was real. It hovered in the grey area between random chance, synchronicity and intelligent design. Something seemed to guide events. Not exactly a 'presence' or an 'intelligence,' but definitely a pattern that could be...at times...predicted. And Fate was all about patterns. A word you hear over and over again, from different sources, apparently at random. A picture of someone. A series of numbers. When things started to repeat, it was a sure sign that Fate 'wanted' something from you. For Triessa, it was wolves. She'd never thought much about them before, but since coming to LA she'd been inundated with wolf-related experiences. Wolf buckles, wolf necklaces, werewolves, wolf spirits...so when she saw, in her path, a sign advertising a 'wolf sanctuary,' she decided that this was probably the moment Fate had been preparing her for. Follow THIS path, it was saying. You've had your hints, now make the right decision. She walked along the narrow winding trail, past a small empty hut that would one day perhaps hold a guard to usher people through, or close a gate and keep people out. Now it was just an invitation to pry further. The mage went along the winding path, under the ancient boughs of a primordial forest, to the Wolf Sanctuary...alert for what Fate was guiding her to.
  7. War is not a fast and delicate dance. It is born of numerous clumsy steps, exercised by the Unready on the Unwilling. ~Anonymous Justine Torjas paced back and forth in the waiting room of her sires court, though they appeared to be nothing more than corporate offices to the uninitiated. Through her numerous contacts, she had already learned of her assignments. One of the Invictus had crossed the line with a one of the Carthian groups. Now, they wanted to exchange some properties held by the Invictus (read: her sire) for the wayward kindred. It was a simple exchange, but one that required a steady hand. The Invictus of Los Angeles, or more appropriately, the Invictus of South Central Los Angeles, were not ready for a war, nor were the various fractious groups of Carthian's. The door opened and one of her sire's favored ghouls came out to politely summon her. She strode in like the proud Ventrue she was, confident and self-assured. She immediately recognized three of the four kindred in the room. Her sire, Amos Cantrell, sat behind the desk. Directly in front of him stood the head of the Westwood Invictus, the Gangrel Jorge. On Jorge's right was the Daeva Moses Collins. Moses was the 'knight' of this domain. The kindred on the left, she didn't recognize right away. Justine did the math in her head and came up with the most likely answers - Adrian Moss, Mekhet. She didn't know much else about him, so he had to be a very low status kindred indeed. Formal introductions were made, long in the Invictus tradition. The stranger was indeed Adrian Moss, childe of Vickers. Justine could only feel supremely confident in her grasp of the situation. Lord Cantrell started into the meat of the conversation. "Madam Torjas, you will take Mister Collins and Mister Moss to a rendezvous arranged by a neutral party. You will go to the Cantor Lines #12 Warehouse at the Port of Los Angeles at 1a.m tonight. A Mr. Oglethorpe will arrive five minutes later with two other kindred as well. Lord Collins is to take the suitcase with the paperwork for the extorted properties and place it half way between your group and theirs. He will withdraw to you. Once he has done this, they will send their hostage, Mister Jenkins to you. When the hostage makes it to the halfway point, one of their party will then to pick up the suitcase. You will load up and return here. Is this clear?" "Yes Lord Cantrell," Justine responded eagerly. "Any questions?" "No Lord Cantrell. Your plan is flawless. I will execute it as you have instructed." Cantrell nodded then placed his hands on his desk. "Very well, the three of you are dismissed. I should see you within four hours." 'Collins was a steady hand, but this Moss was an unknown' thought Cantrell. The Ventrue Lord detested Jorge of Westwood, but right now he needed the help. His faction, while larger, was less fixated on combat. They were bankers and businessmen, either Daeva or Ventrue. He had hoped he could buy Jorge's favor for this assignment, but the Gangrel asked too much. Jorge wanted to be Reeve. Anticipating Cantrell's reticence, Jorge had brought this Adrian Moss as a lesser Soldier to take his place. The cost was less severe - a minor boon to Jorge. Whatever Moss was getting out of this was of no concern to Cantrell. He and Jorge moved over to the Chess board for a 'friendly' game to pass the time.
  8. Every night Adrian felt Gwen's presence in his life chip away and die. Memory, especially the memory of things that lived as long as Adrian might, made way for new experiences. The old wounds were still there, but the needs of the present built up and up until the past was behind a wall that grew higher every day. Gwen faded. The hunting in the club had been easier. As he narrowed his focus on who he preyed upon, he became more successful. It was that Darwinian existence he led. Now he had primarily three options to satisfy him. The college parties had the extra scent of danger. Adrian could never tell when his truce might fall apart. The Guardian had made a choice concerning Adrian, but that didn't give the vampire much insight into the workings of that mind. Still, drunk, lonely college girls made easy prey. Older women, divorced or romantically unsuccessful, saw in him a young man they could control. Only in their homes did that change. Their emotional games meant little compared to the Hunger. He fed and was gone before they could their hooks into their next victim. Those bothered him the least. Loneliness wasn't an excuse for wrecking someone else's life. That left the vulnerable ones. Mostly women, but the occasional young man unsure of his sexuality, they wanted to be accepted by someone - anyone - but had none of the social skills to succeed. So, that sat at the bar, or alone at a table, and looked around. They avoided eye contact and only sipped their drinks. Adrian was getting pretty good at finding them ... and picking them up. Go outside with a man you've just met? When the alternative was being alone, you would be surprised how many followed the vampire into the dark. The one theme that ran through all these hunts was never to be wantonly cruel and to do as little harm as possible. He would get the victims taxis, or back to their friends, or take them home himself if all else failed. He refused to believe Sarah's words. Everything the touched wouldn't get fucked up. He couldn't give in. Adrian was lost in his thoughts on the way back to his car. He noticed her without actually registering her specifics. When she moved away from the wall, he noticed her more.
  9. Personal Information: Public Identity: Aradia McConnell Shadow Name: Calypso Nicknames: Ari, 'Radi Real Name: Same as public identity. Occupation: UCLA Student (Working on a Sports and Health Science Degree), circus acrobat (on temporary hiatus for school). Legal Status: American citizen living in Los Angeles. Marital Status: Single Known Relatives: Vikki (Victoria) McConnell (Mom), Donald Williams (Dad), Tricia Bahaar (Aunt), Rahim Bajaar (Uncle), Oneca Bajaar (Cousin), Saja Bajaar (Cousin) Deceased Relatives: No immediate deceased relatives. Physical Traits: Weight: 109 lbs. Height: 5’ 1" Apparent age: Late teens Gender: Female Ethnic Background: Caucasian Eye Color: Brown Hair Color: Brown (often with colored streaks) Handedness: Right Age: 19 History: Aradia was born the daughter of a selfish circus performer and a naive young military man. By the time she was born, her mother was bored of her "real life" stint, and was ready leave Aradia's father to go back to the circus. She wanted to leave the baby with her (now) ex-husband too, but constant deployments and the lack of anyone else in his life who could watch her while he was away made it an impossibility. In fact, he demanded a paternity test to make sure the baby was even his. But it was, and though he couldn't be there for her, he still loved her dearly. So he made no argument against the child-support that Aradia's mother demanded of him (after all, if she had to raise the little brat, she wasn't going to be the one to pay for it!) Not that Aradia saw much of it growing up.. her mother spent too much of it on drugs and booze to have much left over. She was raised mostly by the carnies (who felt for the unwanted little girl), home-schooled by them, and as a result is much more down-to-earth than her mother. They have a.. complicated relationship. But only if the word complicated is code for "I hate your guts and think you're a selfish, stuck-up bitch. Why don't you think of someone other than yourself for once in your miserable life?". Growing up around the carnies, Aradia had every opportunity to learn their trades, and learn them she did. She showed an early affinity for gymnastics, but she loved the circus animals as well. So she started training to be an acrobat, and she learned how to ride. At about the age of nine, she began to combine the two in her training. By the time she was fourteen, she was performing as both an acrobat and a bareback rider in the circus, and helping with the animal acts behind the scenes. Her mother was furious, of course. She was a huge hit, and her mother the "fortune teller" was quickly becoming yesterday's news in regards to being one of the most beautiful women at the circus. When Aradia was fairly young, she was noticed by a Thyrsus visiting the circus, who immediately took note of the girl's potential. She signed up as an animal trainer, and spent several years developing a friendship with the girl, who was enraptured by the animals and sought escape from her mother's various abuses by spending all her time with them, or on the trapeze. When her father eventually found out about her mother's treatment he offered her a place to stay with him, told her he'd figure something else, transfer to a different position if he needed to.. but by that point Aradia was too involved in the life of a performer to want to leave it, despite having to deal with her mother in order to stay. So stay she did, and eventually the potential the Thyrsus had seen in her Awakened, and she began to train her in the ways of magic and the watchtowers. Eventually, the circus began to fall apart.. traveling circuses are only as good as their talent, after all, and a lot of that talent was getting OLD. And despite Aradia's protests, her mentor informed her that it was time for her to move on.. she needed other experiences, she needed to be somewhere else, and meet others. She had a destiny - all mages did. So she called her father, who was able to arrange a meeting with his sister and brother-in-law, who have two daughters attending UCLA. He volunteered to pay the tuition, and Aradia was sent west to meet them. She moved in with her cousins, Oneca (whom she gets along swimmingly with) and Saja (whom she took an immediate dislike to, the goody-two-shoes little brat), and their roommate August. Oneca and Saja's parents were hoping that she'd be a good friend for their youngest daughter, and a positive role-model for their older, troubled daughter.. though now that they've met the girl (and on her best behavior too!), they have their doubts.
  10. (October, 10th 2011) Randy was moving across campus, another boring day of Comparative Religions gone by. At the moment, he was contemplating testing out of the next semester because he already knew most of the shit and how to bull his way through the rest. Too many instructors wanted to be told "you're right" instead of really handling opposing views. Campus sucked. Randy was trying to figure out just how his day could get any worse when ... "Hey! Randy!" 'Oh hell,' Randy thought, 'It's Hyper-Bunny!' There was no place to hide and the idea that he out-run her across campus was ... unappealing. Besides, she knew where he lived. Randy turned her way, glowered, and gave the barest of nods. Monica ran up to him breathless. He adequate bosom heaving, she stood before him with her peach colored wife-beater (where do girls get these things), red hoody zipped open, sky-blue biking shorts, knee socks with the UCLA logo, and worn tennis shoes. In contrast, Randy was in slightly worn jeans, Marine Corp issue red T, Jean jacket (more worn than the jeans), and hiking boots. He wasn't sheathed in black, but he was hardly putting for the friendly vibe. "Glad I found you," she gasped. "Monica, you know my schedule. I caught you looking over it weeks ago." Monica blushed. "Well ... I ... (pant) (pant) ... want a big favor." 'Please say, "I want you to shoot someone". Please, please. Even assisted suicide would be okay.' "Yes?" he said with as much of the passion sucked out of those words as possible. Hyper-Bunny ignored, or totally de-clued on, it. Randy bet Vegas House Odds on the cluelessness. "Great!" she said as if he had already agreed to something, "I want us, " (big beaming grin with pearly white teeth) "to go to the protest downtown. It will be Great! We'll have fun!" Randy was vaguely aware of the protest movement going on across the country. As long as his student loans kept coming through, he didn't care. That anyone would expect him to want to go to a protest was beyond him. Monica apparently thought he did. Monica probably believed in Santa Claus too. "Let me think about it," Randy said. "Aahh ... No. I think I have to dunk some puppies in Liquid Nitrogen." Monica looked like I planned to dunk her puppy personally ... for about three seconds. "Kidder," she grinned as she started dragging the bigger man toward south campus, "You wouldn't dunk puppies. You're too wonderful for that." If Randy had held a pistol on his hand, he would have shot her in the back of her head, rationalizing that he was doing her a favor, sparing her form life's multiple disappointments. With no pistol, he simply gave in. "Were are we going?" he said with a deep sigh. "The bus!" (yes, she exclaimed almost everything). "Listen you," he wanted to say dumb bitch, but that would have been pointless, "I have a car." Randy saw every word but car flow in one ear and out the other. "A car is even better! Can we pick up some friends?" "No," he growled, "they can fucking walk." This time he won the argument.
  11. Prowling his own quiet backyard or asleep by the fire, he is still only a whisker away from the wilds. ~Jean Burden (Continued from Chapter 9) All was quiet for some minutes after the heavy wooden door shut behind Renata, bar the crackle of the fire and the faint moan of the wind outside the shutters. Mari found herself focused on the boy (Boy. He's a boy, not a panther) in her arms, her small hands caressing the solid muscles through the beautiful midnight-black pelt as she rested her head against his shoulder, draping herself over his form. Ravi was rumbling softly, content and at peace with his massive head on her lap. The angelic girl was struck by how different he was, moment to moment, hour to hour. This complicated, mercurial young man with a violent dark side she'd seen several times in the last week, the raging fiend who'd killed an expert warrior-woman in the span of seconds, the boy whose fervent, delightful kisses in the movie theatre had become a stinging bite and who she'd caught tormenting another pupil with malice and rage in his gleaming eyes was the same person who made her smile with his words, who lifted her little heart simply by being around, who sauntered through the hazy minefield of high school adolescence with a bold, devil-may-care attitude that was as inspiring (in it's independance) as it was scandalous (in it's irreverence). He's all kinds of the wrong sort of boy she thought to herself with a small smile. Was that it? Was it the 'bad boy' thing Yani had talked about? Mari didn't think so. All the 'bad boys' she'd seen back home were kind of silly, posturing kids playing at being men who still jumped when their mama said 'Boo'. Ravi could stand up to the scary Ms Dorn and defy her - he probably wasn't a mama's boy. You're gonna hurt her, kitty-cat. Hector's words to Ravi came back to her then, and she felt a small chill. Until tonight, she wasn't sure she'd believed that. But Yithaja had tackled her out of Ravi's path like she knew the enraged panther would go through anyone between him and his foe. What had she said? "...when some Beast-Skinned slay their mates in unknowing rage, they end their own lives. Ravi's people are far too few to allow one to die thusly..." Would Ravi have killed her, then killed himself? Mari wasn't stupid - the creature she'd seen in the tavern (and how she wished she hadn't) was out of control, full of rage and frustration, a trapped and angered animal. "I was worried about you." she said quietly into the thick fur of his shoulder. "When you killed that woman, I was so scared they'd put you down like you had rabies. I was scared that you'd hurt us all... hurt me." She felt the panther shift position a little and clung to his neck. "Wait." she urged, feeling him still again before she continued. "I know you wouldn't want to hurt me. But that wasn't you in there... Was it?" she asked, drawing back a little and looking into the large eyes. Ravi looked back at her, the clear intelligence of his shimmering gaze a counterpoint to the madness she'd seen in the drinking hall. He sighed, a great gust of a sound, and sat up. Mari noted the wound in his side had almost disappeared now, shrinking to a scabbed cut that didn't look much larger than her hand. Ravi regarded the girl with a pensive air, the words he wanted to say dancing on the inside of his head, trapped by the form he wore. He wanted to explain, to tell her how it was to be beast and man, but this shape, so suited to many endeavours, was not very good at cross-species communication. He sighed again, blowing out the last of his defensive wariness, and feeling the urge as he relaxed some parts of his soul, he went with it and Changed. To Mari, it was as though his outline blurred, the fur receding all over the great body as it shrank. The process was as fast as it was smooth, and in a few eyeblinks it was Ravi sitting in front of her, the firelight playing over his coffee-coloured skin and turning it bronze as sparks danced golden in his green eyes. He was dirt-smudged and bloody, dried blood on his upper arm under the wound, but he was human, or at least human-shaped again. He drew Mari to him, feeling her lithe arms wrap around his neck as she gratefully hugged him back, and he buried his face in her wealth of dark hair, breathing in her scent. "I'm sorry." he murmured. "Sorry I scared you. Sorry I made you fear for me. I'm sorry I lost it like that. It was like a berserk fit... It was like the whole world slowed down and became white-hot, and my whole being just wanted to hurt the person who dared to touch you like that. It was like with Kurt, but a dozen times stronger." he sighed, his face still hidden in her hair. "But it was me, Mari. I'm not going to dodge the responsibility. I was in there, and I wanted to hurt that woman. The urge to fight for you might be stronger because of what I am, but the feelings are mine. I'm not going to try and claim 'the devil made me do it'. If Yithaja hadn't saved you... I hope that I would have been strong enough to steer myself like I did when I first Changed. Thanks to her, we didn't have to find out. I owe her." He hugged her tighter for a moment. "Please... don't do that again. If I'd hurt any of our friends I'd be mortified, but if I hurt you..." he left that hanging as he relaxed his grasp a little and straightened enough to look into her eyes. "Well... Just be careful. For me. I'm different now, and I need to learn how to control that." He glanced at his wounded shoulder and made a face. "I wish my family had told me more about being... well, what I am. Maybe there's a trick or secret to controlling the darker impulses."
  12. She came knocking on his door late in the evening, long after he'd came back from dinner. He was angry when he went to the door. There was still so much homework to go through, and that last thing he needed was ... Her. Shadow had been crying, and recently. She stood at the door, hand clasped in front of her so hard, her knuckles were white. Randy gave a deep sigh, stepped back and opened the door. Shadow skirted him as she came in, avoiding contact. He slammed the door shut. The last thing he felt he needed was some Emo-girl crying all over the place. She was upset and he didn't give a fuck. "What do you want," Randy said as he went back to his desk. Shadow sat down on the bed and sniffed softly. The Magus made to sit down when he saw some movement at the edge of his vision. Shadow's hand reached out snake-like, grabbed the knife he kept under his pillow, and lunged at his back. Randy spun and shifted his weight. He caught Shadow's untrained strike, grabbing her wrist. His other hand pulled back in a strike posture. With a quick twist, the knife went flying out of Shadow's hand and she stifled a scream of pain. His free hand struck her in the sternum, sending her flying back on the bed. There was a moment of silence. Shadow's gaze went from Randy's angry eyes to the knife on the floor. She began crying, which only made Randy angrier. He moved to backhand her. Shadow stuck her chin out, tears streaming down her face. "Do it!" she screamed. "Just kill me." Randy held his hand. He backed away and picked up the knife while keeping his eyes on her. "What the fuck are you doing here? Did you come to kill me? Done now?" he growled. Shadow fell back on the bed and brought her hands to her eyes. She was weeping louder now. He reached out and grabbed her by one of her wrists. Randy yanked her up as she yelped in surprise and pain. "I've had it with you. Get out." Shadow struggled against him, but he was bigger and stronger. Randy made it to the door. "You've ruined me," she sobbed. "You should have killed me." 'Here comes the drama,' Randy thought. He relented primarily because he didn't need her weeping and wailing at his door. "What do you mean?" he ground out. His disinterest clear in his voice. "I ... I tried to get past you ... past what you did to me ..." Randy said nothing. Shadow was searching his face for something. "I tried to get past you. I did. You raped me, and I tried to get on with my life." "Shadow, we've been jogging every morning for the past month." Randy didn't address the rape issue. "You are hardly avoiding me." Her eyes still puffy, tear tracks on her face, Shadow looked rather pathetic in his sight. "I tried ... I ... had a date tonight. I tried, he tried ... I was screaming and hitting him ... I can't go on like this."
  13. The first exam was out of the way. They had done pretty good. Shadow and Randy had squeaked by. Monica and Laura had done well enough not to worry. Mikio had made an A, but it was Trent who topped them all, acing it. By their rough estimate, a third of the class hadn't passed, which meant most of the wouldn't be back come Monday. It also meant that things would only get harder. Randy kept up his air of indifference toward most of the students. They knew he tried. They also knew he was struggling, being so old, and so long away from their kind of studying. They also knew he was hitting the books five days a week. Things had also settled out a bit. Mikio had a boyfriend who seemed decent enough. Laura had a girlfriend which seemed to surprise almost everybody. Trent had a roaming eye and the manners of a Howler Monkey. Shadow wasn't the same. Everyone knew it, but no one could figure out why. She would hang close to Randy, but Randy would ignore her outside of school work. Monica had a boyfriend, lost him, had a boyfriend, lost him, had a girlfriend, and lost her ... and it hadn't been six weeks. From Randy's perspective that much hyper energy would drive anyone crazy. That was the group dynamics. Midterm was in three weeks and the cramming instincts were kicking in. Trent and Mikio pretty much led the group, answering questions and correcting the weekly tests. The others would do most of the 'leg-work' in return, figuring out translations and pumping out the answer to the book questions. It sucked pretty much for the slower members, but surviving the grade kept them going. As this study session progressed, Randy kept noticing Monica staring out him when she thought he was otherwise occupied. It was getting annoying. When they broke up for a break, Randy got up and went for a water. Monica's eyes followed him and she began to stand up. Shadow kept to her seat next to where him, but she kept her eye on him too. 'Way too much drama,' thought the rather plain looking Death Mage. 'Why does this crap follow me around?' "Hey buddy," Trent said on a low voice, surprising Randy. Randy cursed his distractions. "I need you to cover me with something," said the kid, all creepy like, licking his lips and staring too intently into Randy's eyes. "I'm noticing you and Shadow. She's getting no were with you, so I figure I can make my move." Randy did his best to look totally disinterested. Trent plowed on. "I'm going to nail that ass, if you know what I mean," Trent continued with a conspiratorial wink. "You double with Monica and Shadow is sure to go out with me. We get some beers into them, then POW, we nail them. What do you say?" A man of lesser will would have blinked. Randy didn't have time to blink. He was too busy getting angry; that cold, killing anger only a man comfortable with death and killing could have.
  14. September 5, 2011 9:00 p.m. From a distance, people who lived and breathed and carried on with their all-too mortal lives in the neighborhood surrounding Holmby Park could easily believe that the animal that loped around the area was a large dog, maybe a Husky mix of some sort. They'd long since given up on Animal Control ever removing it... and given how it had chased out the occasional criminal element that leaked this far into suburbia, many were now fine leaving well enough alone. The animal was aware of this general acceptance, and as such didn't really have much concern about patrolling in wolf form. It was handy; all those scents, impossible for a normal nose to distinguish, were a godsend when trying to keep her territory safe and secure from those things she preferred to keep away. In theory, that list included spirits. In practice, there wasn't a whole lot she could do about them unless they chose to manifest... and that was rare. So it was with particular interest that Sarah watched this night as a "bird" that chirped in the language of that alien, otherworldly race flitted through the trees with aggravation, a "bird" that didn't even smell of this world. She couldn't exactly call out to it - even if not in her lupine shape, her mouth had never managed to get around the words of the spirits properly - but she could certainly hear its annoyance. Right now, that grief seemed directed at someone sleeping on a bench. With a quick look around to make sure that mortal eyes were not watching, Sarah shifted back to the form of her birth, and with lean denim-clad legs stalked closer to this odd little scene. The spirit-jay was making a fair bit of complaint, and finally positioned itself on a branch directly above the sleeping form.With Sarah watching with amazement, it proceeded to mark its displeasure as birds everywhere had seemingly done to cars, hats and other convenient targets for ages. As it did, it uttered a word that caught the Dead-Wolf's rapt attention: "Urdaga". Then, apparently having sated its anger, the jay vanished in that peculiar way of creatures with no true connection to this world. The word, however, spoke volumes. Those werewolves known as the Forsaken were not loved by most spirits; the ancient murder of Father Wolf lingered long in the memories of those strange beings. Sarah scrutinized the still sleeping - and now dropping-spattered - form. Underneath the stink of filth that accompanied homeless the world over - as well as the reek of alcohol that seemed the companion of so many - there was an undeniable and absolutely definitive musk, one beyond anything a mere human could produce. It was the scent of the wolf. Swearing to herself, Sarah shook her head. It wasn't like the markings at the bounds were unclear; any Uratha with a nose or eyes would have noticed that this was someone's territory. This one apparently just didn't care. With a cold hand, she reached to shake him to the beginnings on wakefulness. "You're sleepin' in my territory, bub." Groggy and annoyed, the itinerant Forsaken replied, "Your territory my ass..." Sarah scowled, and took an aggressive stance even as the big drunk pulled himself up, first to sitting and then to a slightly swaying stand. "Take a look around. Hell, take a smell around. Think I didn't sniff you out, that I don't recognize one of the People? Those are my markers, you fucking drunk. Now who the hell are you?" "Draw a number and get in line," replied the interloper. "I'll deal with you once I'm done with all the other fuckers who are trying to make my day." This was followed by somewhat drunken but still well-defined growl that could only be taken as challenge. Her anger (and the dank thing deep within that her kind called the Beast) burned hotter, and Sarah allowed her fangs to extend, even as claws appear on her fingertips. "Let's try this again. Who the fuck are you, and why the fuck are you sleepin' in my territory?" The drunk replied, managing decent sarcasm even though the booze-fueled haze, "Oh shit... I'm fucking tired with you Uratha assholes. So this is your territory? Nice place, really cozy..." Sarah's jaw dropped, a look of genuine shock springing up even over her anger. "Wait... you think I'm Uratha?" A full-throated laugh followed. "I'd take it as a compliment if you weren't plastered. Sweet Luna, do you even use that thing?" she added, pointing at his nose. "So you're not Uratha? Why fucking care about territory? Listen, I just wanna sleep, I had a shitty day... no make that a shitty week... ach, fuck this. You wanna fight over this stoopid park bench. Be my guest." Mr. Uninvited took up a classic bare-knuckled fighting stance; the image of an Irish bulldog came unbidden to Sarah's mind, and she shook her head to clear away both the image and the surprise of being so badly misidentified. The Dead-Wolf adopted a fighting stance of her own, and it was brutally obvious that it lent toward knuckles that were anything but bare. "I fucking care because I'm a fucking Dead-Wolf, you brain trust. An' I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut how shitty your day, week or goddamned decade has been. I asked you a simple question: who the fuck are you? It's a question I get to ask and you get to answer, because you're in my fucking territory!" The inevitable fight was fast in starting, and just as fast in ending. The Uratha made a drunken lunge, a massive roundhouse that would have absolutely sundered the broadside of a barn had one been obliging enough to present itself. For her part, Sarah never planted the claws she'd shown; there were largely there for distraction, as she wasn't about to use those weapons on one of "The People". Instead, she delivered a swift and powerful kick to those tender bits that any man - in any form - tries to keep from harm's way. As this particular man doubled over in screaming agony at the blow, she grabbed his greasy hair in her claws and brought his face down to intersect at speed with a very hard, very tough knee. She had to move quickly once he was out cold; with werewolves, it wasn't a state that lasted long, even with the sheer amount of alcohol he had to have coursing through his veins. Sarah dragged the limp, heavy form into a dense clump of bushes that passed for cover in the park. A couple of plastic zip-ties bound his hands; they wouldn't last long, she knew, but it would could give her a few precious moments between him waking and attacking. That done, she began rifling through his pockets, smiling when a well-worn wallet was produced. "All right, Mr. Dumb-Shit. Let's find out who you are...." The smug expression fell completely away after she opened the billfold, and for a very long time she simply stared at the contents. On one side, a very old, very crumpled photograph looked back at her. It was, against all chance and probability, a photo she knew well. Two children of perhaps seven years each, a boy and a girl, both red-haired and smiling, looked out at her from the mists of yesteryear, just as they'd done from above the mantle of her childhood home. On the other side, a Massachusetts drivers licence showed the man's face during happier (or at least more clean-shaven) times beside an impossible name. Sarah closed her eyes, took a ragged and unnecessary breath, and opened them again, half-expecting the contents of the wallet to be gone. But from both childhood and manhood, her brother Shane continued to look back.
  15. The practice was simple. They pick seven students out of the hat (they probably had a computer do it) and assign them a study group. This, in theory, stops the 'smart' students from congregating together, leaving the less capable to fend for themselves. That was the theory. The reality was somewhat different. See, in Edison's experience, there was a reason smart people hung out together. They had something in common. They shared a wheel - a means of having their ideas understood by those around them. Sure, you could talk Plato to a dumb kid. It didn't make him stop being dumb. What it did do was make the smart kid waste his time. Dumb = dumb; smart = smart. Someone in the University of California System didn't get this - thus the study group. So, Edison stood outside the Elemental Modern Chinese with six other students, trying to put their schedules together. No one wanted to say anything. "Fine," Randy grumbled. "I'm Randy. Since our exams are going to be on Thursdays, how about we try something on Wednesday afternoon, or early evening." They looked up their schedules on their PDA/iPhones/ect. "I have a lab Wednesday evening - 6 til 9 ... ah ... Randy," said the all American red-head. "Drop it," the 'Jock-type' joked. "Do you have a conflict with Wednesday after noon ...," Randy started to question. The guy looked only a little worried. Randy didn't look all that intimidating. He just looked off; off enough that the guy didn't want to make an example of him. "James." "Do you have a problem with Wednesday, James?" the Marine continued. "Nah ... , whatever," James said then walked away. Not being the obvious alpha male, he didn't care to hang around. "Wait!" called out the Asian girl in the group. "We haven't decided on the time yet." James walked away, back stiff. "Let him go," said the groups token geek. "I bet he only took the course to be with some girl. He'll probably try to glom on to her group." "Either way, not our problem," stated Randy. "How does four o'clock work for everyone?" They all looked at their schedules. "I have a class at three," said the Asian chick, "but I can make it if it's close." "Everyone else good?" Randy asked. He got nodding heads. "Fine. Next thing is place. Anyone have an idea?" The second girl raised her hand, "Oh! We can use my dorm's common room. Would that work for everyone?" She sounded so excited, hyper-like. They all stood around expectantly. No one said 'Nay' so the motion carried. "Fine," Randy couldn't help but sigh. He wasn't herding cats, he was herding gerbils. "We should introduce ourselves, otherwise ... we ended up pointing and waving. Trust me, that sucks." Goth girl finally did something. She chuckles, but she also managed to say thing. "I'm Am ... Shadow." The other three girls, and Geek Boy all rolled their eyes. She kept her eyes on Edison. He stared back. He didn't care if she wanted to call herself Princess Dandelion, it was her call. Randy had heard names that made less sense. No one seemed to want to go next, so Randy intervened. "I'm Randy Edison." He pointed to the Asian chick. "You're next." "Ah ... I'm Mikio Ka-Sun. Freshman. Asian Languages." She looked totally embarrassed. "Korean," Randy said with the intension of relaxing her. "I served with a Korean-American from around here. That's how I know the name." "You served?" asked the redhead. Randy cut that conversation by pointing to the next person in the circle. "You," he said, pointing to the geek. Geek Boy became Trent Kassum, All-American Redhead became Abigail, Hyper Girl became Monica, and the Quiet One became Laura. By the look of the situation, four girls to two guys, Trent most have thought he was going to get laid. 'Yeah, if only life worked like that. Dupe thinks MTV is life. Reality isn't like that.' "We are done here. Everyone get the date and time for the rende ... study group." With that said, Randy turned and walked away. He knew eyes were following him. That was not his problem, they were children for God's Sake.
  16. Randy entered the scene, an alien in the midst of all this sorrow. Today, at this time, he wasn't something from beyond the pale of human perceptions, he was just a man. He was a man with a past and part of that had caught up with him now. As it had happened all too often in his life, this reunion involved death. Marine SSgt Jose Ramirez was dying - he wasn't an active duty marine, but there were only two ways one stopped being a marine - death, or committing such a heinous act as dictated by the Commandant of the Marine Corp, so help me God. Jose was dying and his old friend from his active duty days - over there, had come to stand by him in these last hours. His family was around too. His wife Anita holding Jose's infant daughter Emily. His older brother and his wife, Carlos and Amelia, stood back to one side. They were avoiding coming close to Jose for some reason. At his side, holding his hand, was Ernesto, himself in Marine BDUs. Ernesto had followed his father and middle brother into the service. The Corp must have given him Family Emergency Leave to be here now. Standing on the other side of the bed, wedged in between the life support machines were Herman and Rositta, the parents. "What happened?" Edison asked Ernesto. "A hit and run, right outside his house. I don't know why." "How is he doing?" Randy said after a deep sigh. He could tell. "Too much bleeding inside his spinal column. The pressure ... it will stop his heart. Any surgery to repair it will likely kill him anyway, leaving him totally paralyzed. He's refused surgery." The Death Mage nodded. If one could chose one's own time, if not means, why wouldn't you take it? Life as a quadriplegic could be full in its own way, but it wasn't' for Jose. Jose's image of life was based on the physical disciplines and challenges he set before himself. He still ran five miles a day, worked out in the gym three days a week, and if his beer drinking stories were to be believed, engaged in a very vigorous sex life. The doctor's couldn't return that to him. Randy stood by Jose, taking Ernesto's place by his friend. He took hold of Jose's cold lifeless arm. There was a pulse, but the will was failing. His friend was already lost to him. Sure, the machines could keep him alive for a day, maybe two if Fate was cruel, but his essence had departed. 'Everything comes to our vaults eventually.' That was the Credo of Death. Dead always won in the end. If you cheated it enough times all you did was invite the attentions of Death's Disciples - people like him. Edison pulled away. He made a head motion to Ernesto to follow him out. The younger Marine followed him. Once they got outside and away from nosy IC nurses, he faced off with the young soldier he barely knew. Still, they were Marines ... and in so many ways brothers of Jose. "What happened?" "Still not sure, Randy. No one is telling me and everyone is keeps looking away when I press. I do know he was hit - hit hard - by a car." "You think it was deliberate?" "I sure do. No one wants to talk about it, but I know something's up. I think I know why no one is saying anything to me. Amelia's brother is a constant fuck-up. He's been staying with Jose for the past few months - since he got out of juvie. Long story. Anyway, I want to wring some information out of the kid. I know he's the key." "I can help with that." Ernesto chuckled dryly. "Jose always said that about you. He said Death hung around you - said that's why you never hung around too long." Randy looked down. The truth did hurt. "He also told me," Ernesto said, putting a hand on Randy's shoulder, "that you were the best man to have in a fight. He said Death would come calling, but you would always sick it on the other guy. He said you had this gift." 'If only he knew ... it would bend his mind and not in a way I could fix.' "Jose was my oldest friend. We came in together, toured together, and got out together. You know that he asked me to be his Best Man first, don't you?" "Yeah," Ernesto said, his voice tinged with the now-sad memory, "he said Dad wanted Carlos, but you told him that I should be the one. He never said why." "That's between him and me, E. My reason's were good, I assure you." 'I somehow knew that Death would come for Jose. I don't know how. That part of the Art doesn't come to me anymore. I have to rediscover it. I saw Carlos, and I didn't see Ernesto. When I see you, it isn't good.' Randy continued, "Let's wait a few days. We'll bury Jose," saying that hurt, "and you go back to base. I'll find out something and get back in touch when it's time to do ... something." Ernesto nodded. Nothing else didn't need to be said. In this, Ernesto and Randy were more like brothers than the bond Ernesto shared with Carlos. Ernesto knew he could rely on Randy, though he barely knew him. Carlos, on the other hand, just didn't get it. He thought the Corp was stupid and that Jose and Ernesto were stupid for following in their Father's footsteps. In Carlos' mind, the Corp was his Father's way of getting out of the barrio, nothing more. He just didn't get it.
  17. September 5, 2011, 1:55 p.m. Holmby Park August walked nervously next to Dec, her anxiousness evident in her stance. She was really glad that Declan had agreed to come and even happier that he’d been able to get the time off. “You sure this won’t get you in trouble?” she asked, more because she needed to talk than needing more assurance. “Nah,” Dec said, looking around more casually then August, but still attentive. “My boss owed me time off.” Something about his smile after that statement made August raise an eyebrow. She was suddenly glad Dec didn’t work for her, for reasons she couldn’t name. “Okay, then.” His grin widened some more at her tone, and he lifted a hand. For a second, August thought that he’d hug her but instead she got another manly pat on the back. However, those thoughts quickly faded when she saw Shane. That wasn’t technically true – she saw the ghost first. Lilly was hard to miss; she floated half a head higher than Shane like some spectral weather balloon. “There,” August said, her voice hoarse. She caught Dec’s arm and subtly pointed. “That dark-haired man on the bench.” She swallowed and glanced up at Declan. “Maybe I should approach alone. Let him know you’re coming. I don’t want to get this started off wrong.”
  18. Garfield Randall Edison Richard Mortimer Edison could not have been prouder when he learned he was going to have a son. Sure, his wife had done her part as incubator, but that's why he had married her, right? That it turned out to be twins was even better news. What man of power doesn't need a back-up heir just in case something doesn't work out. Okay, one of the children turned out to be just a girl, but he still was going to have a son, a namesake, someone he could pour the depth and breadth of his knowledge into. It had worked like this for him and his father, and his grandfather before him. The Edison's were men after all. The birth was harsh. The boy was somehow damaged in the procedure. The daughter, April, was born first and without difficulty, but somehow life seemed to evade the infant Garfield's grasp. Only as his mother collapsed into cardiac arrest were they able to tear the boy from his mother's failing flesh. She never made it out of the OR. Somehow, Garfield, or Randy as most of the help called him, was off. He was slow and introspective, and seemed surrounded by the worst luck. His first puppy, Gustav, (Edison men always got them dogs as their true companions) drowned in the pool. The Hector slipped off the second story stairwell and strangled on its leash. The third ... well, the less said about poor Sampson the better. Snakes followed. Lawnmower, rat poison, a rare and majestic eagle stopped by for dinner. Scuppers the Turtle - vaccumed up by accident. The Phirana lived to a ripe old age (but Randy never liked it much anyway). Only April persevered through these harsh times. She became her brother's shield, confidant, and closest friend. Everything else that he loved died, yet she remained. With school came Dick Edison's deepest dissappointment. Randy was, how to put this politely, subpar. That didn't matter, Dick put him in an exclusive school. The only things Randy excelled in were fights and getting expelled. Somehow, Dick couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that Randy wasn't going to follow the long Edison family tradition of a Law Degree from Harvard. Mind you, April excelled at everything she put her mind to. Her sole failure was in attracting her father's notice. "That's nice dear, but you think about getting a good degree from Brown and then we'll see what kind of man you should marry." In time, Dick Edison remarried. She bore him a daughter, after two miscarriages, and after another two she was rendered incapable of having anymore, so she found herself comfortably exiled to somewhere else (we don't need to talk about such things). The daughter, Autumn, barely saw her older siblings and they obtained near mythical standing in her minds. She worshiped April, and secretly pitied Randy because the boy always seemed so sad when he was around her, yet when she tried to comfort him, he would gently shunt her aside. "It's better this way," he would say. By accident, when the twins were fourteen, Dick Edison put both his kids in the same school. Maybe he hoped some of Randy's sister's success would wear off on him ... and it did. Suddenly, Randy buckled down and began doing passably, if not stellar. The fighting stopped. He even managed to make some friends among the 'right' kind of people. Sadly, his best friend Daniel Whitmore died when his family struck a mountain while flying in Alaska, but those things happen, right? Randy was sad, but April was his rock. Randy graduated and not by the skin of his teeth. April was valedictorian, of course, but she gave all the credit to her father. Dick Edison pulled all the strings that money and the influence two centuries of power in Mass. could bring to bear to get Randy accepted to Harvard. Oh yeah, April was to be admitted to. She was Dick's ace in the hole for Randy's future after all. The only problem was that Randy didn't want to go. For the first time in his life, Randy stood up to his father and said "No." And his father browbeat Randy into the ground. Randy cried. School was pure torture for him. He was a freak and he knew it. The world wasn't right and only April understood that, and she knew that umpteen more years in school wasn't what he wanted to do with his life. Randy wanted the dying to stop. He wanted the pain to stop. He wanted a world where it would only be him and April and the rest would be shut aside. Dick didn't care. Randy had to grow a set and Man-Up. Randy had to accept that there was only one path for an Edison man to take, and that was the path he laid out for him. They warred. Dick drank himself stupid and finally slugged his stunned son to the ground. April rushed to her brother's defense, shielding him from their father's wrath. She screamed at her drunken father. She heaped back years of scorn and derision back on Dick with interest. She went so far as to threaten the old man with fists of her own. "Randy may not be as smart as you," she screamed, "but he will be something you will never be. A decent man, a true man." Then he hit her. Her head snapped back and the spell on Randy was lifted. He rose from the floor like an angry wave rising up from the depths and clocked his father hard in the face. Dick's nose shattered and blood was everywhere. No one said a word for a moment. Dick moaned and fell back into a chair, then Randy ran out of the room. April ran after her brother and caught him at the door. He pulled away, screaming "I'm going away and I'm never coming back! I don't want to see you anymore, not ever again!" It was angry and foolish, and something about the tie that bound April and Randy came unbound. April died in a car crash when she went out in search of her brother. Part of Randy died with her. Any tie to the rest of the world passed into dust with April. There was nothing for him anywhere on earth now. No one to live for, and nothing keeping him here. Still ... Randy stood by his father and young sister as they put April into the ground. A clergyman intoned words which were ashes in his mouth, and moths to his ears. Autumn took his hand. "She's not gone, you know," she told her older brother. Randy looked down into those young eyes. While she must have meant something different, it touched something in his soul. Some kernel of understanding that had remained long banked in his heart. 'Death happens. Death is a force, and like other forces, it can be learned and harnessed. Know it, and you can master it.' What could he do? Learn about Death? What did that mean? Medical School was right out. Randy know how abysmal his grades were. So, were could he go to learn about death? and Randy proved he wasn't the dumbest guy in the world after all. "Autumn," Randy said gently, "thank you. You've helped me a lot. Maybe more than you can know right now. I promise you this; no matter what happens, or what you hear, I'll come back for you. No matter what he does, I won't forget you and when I can, I'll send for you and we can be a real family. Can you hang on that long?" Autumn nodded, more than a bit confused. She took comfort in the fact that she knew that Death walked with her brother now, and with Death on your side, what did you have to fear? When Dick Edison said, "You are still going to school," Randy nodded. He made not one word of protest. He looked his father straight in the eyes and said he knew what he had to do. The family chauffeur drove him to Harvard, helped him unload and set himself up in the dorm room (only second year Edison men needed off-campus housing, or better yet, a fraternity). He smiled and waved goodbye, looked in the phone book, and headed to the bus stop. The Marine Corp recruiter looked up at Edison and shrugged. He had certainly seen, and passed, worse. Maybe the kid was a bit soft, but the Corp was in the Man-Making business and was damn good at it. "Welcome Son, what can I do for you?" "I want to be in the Marine Corp, Sergeant. I want Combat Infantryman, and I want to see some action." "Do you have a death wish, boy?" "No Sergeant. I want to kill them long before they can kill me. I don't rightly know if I hate somebody enough to kill somebody, but I aim to find out. I need to know about Death, and I figure it's better if I learn it from the best." The Sergeant smiled. Maybe this kid was crazy and they would figure it out soon enough, but maybe this kid would also make one fine Marine. Something about this kid spoke of a fearless demeanor and a hunger to learn. "Okay then, let's start filling out some paperwork. If everything works out I can have up off to our next induction class by ..." "... the end of the week," Randy finished for him. "That's how I want it. The sooner I put his place behind me, the better off I'll feel." No amount of Dick Edison's influence, or money could sway the Marines to give up their man. Randy wouldn't quit of his own free will, and though he felt the Corp was trying to kill him on more than one occasion (I have to get up at 4a.m. and do a twenty mile run? Seriously?). Classes came and passed. Randy squeaked by, but kept going (he really was soft). Before long, Randy also began to get a reputation. He was a lucky guy, sort of. Bad things tended to happen to other people, not his own. It was minor stuff, but in the combat sims Randy's team won more often than not. Randy became a Rabbit's Foot. Randy also got shipped off to Afghanistan. Men die in combat. That's a fact. They get hurt too, which is why you get to play with guns and other things designed to stop people from functioning properly. In Randy's platoon (he was only a lowly private at first) people got hurt, but no one died. The SSgt soon realized that Randy had a gift for spotting trouble. IED up ahead? Better send Edison's Hummer up the road first. Taliban on that mountainside? Send Randy and whatever rooky that is clinging to him today out on point. RPG hit the squad and you got a man down? "Edison!" "On it Sarge," and off into the chaos of combat would go Edison. He wasn't brave, really. He never volunteered for any of the dangerous crap. He was pretty cool under fire, but what veteran wasn't? No, Edison was a Rabbit's Foot. With him around, no one died (though in the great tradition of the green recruit, many tried) and the wounded recovered more or less whole. The Taliban died. Maybe some civilians died along the way too. Even other units around Randy's took a bit more heat ... but Edison kept his own, somehow, alive. "Death don't like us much," one cocky grunt once said over a beer. "It's afraid of Edison here." "Its not afraid of me," he warned his foolish comrade, "No, its more like an old girlfriend playing hard to get ... punishing me for ignoring her for so long." That made little sense to the men, but then Edison was kind of odd. Eight years of service. It would have been ten, but near the end of his final tour, something happened. It was a clusterfuck. People were dying everywhere and none of it seemed real, or maybe it was too real. I mean, how did someone wrap their car around a light post in the middle of the desert, or run past you in combat only to stagger back and die of cancer. This guy's head come off ... but he aged years in seconds and they were ... and there were other people as well, not just his team. Pedro's little sister, dead these past eight years. Doug's dad, who had passed away just last spring. He had seen these pictures, heard their stories, and in some cases actually met them before they died ... thousands of miles away from this killing zone. Edison took a head wound and his team crowded around him as night fell and help seemed a million miles away. In the darkness, one man snuck into the American perimeter and stole the young marine away. When Edison awoke, the Taliban leader was sitting alone with him in a cave. First the man offered Randy bread, salt, and water as a sign of hospitality, then he spoke. "Welcome," he said. "You have started on a long journey that few of us ever complete. I will help you with the first steps, but it falls to you to reach the Tower of Lead on your own. You are now marked as one of the Awakened. Like me, you are Moros. I have much to teach you before the Day returns. Once you return to base, you will be able to seek me out before you leave this combat zone ... for a time. Now, we begin." Randy found his people looking for him shortly after sunrise. He could hardly explain what had happened to him. It seemed so impossible, yet he knew it wasn't. His old world was the impossible now ... a shackle, but no ... a place where everything possible wasn't understood. There was so much to learn. (Long story cut short) Randy came back to the states and mustered out at Camp Pendleton. From there he migrated north and east, but always coming back to Los Angeles. He walked down the road to the Tower of his Choosing, and came back much changed as his mentor had told him he would. He found other Moros to help him out as he grappled with newfound strengths and limitations, but finally he knew the time had come to strike out on his own. He returned to LA, seeking others of the Mysterium to give him an anchor from which to build something from. He sought allies because the Awakened world was fraught with perils, for himself as well as others. Besides that, there were other aspects of his old life he had to face. His Father knew he was alive, but so what? Would he deal with the man, or could he put that aspect of his life behind him? Then there was Autumn? He had kept up with her over the years, her from her boarding school and him from were ever he happened to be at the time. Did he want her to be a surrogate April for him, or was there something else? Was she a Moros like him, or was that too much to hope for? What of his old war buddies? From time to time, over the past months, he had looked them up. He could no longer see the deaths that awaited them (he was more controlled now) but was that a good thing, or a bad thing? Death happens after all, and knowing that, how can a Moros ever have a true friend? Randy Edison Concept: Guardian of Others Path: Moros Maeror (Latin:Sorrow) Virtue: Fortitude Order: The Mysterium WoD:Attrition Vice: Pride Cabal: (None) Attributes Power Intelligence 2 Strength 3 Presence 2 Finesse Wits 3 Dexterity 4 Manipulation 2 Resistance Resolve 3 Stamina 2 Composure 4 Skills Mental: Academics 3(Archeology), Computer 2, Crafts 0, Investigate* (Body Language) 3, Medicine 1 Occult* 3(Artifacts), Politics 0, Science 0 Physical: Athletics 1, Brawl 3, Drive 1, Firearms 3, Larceny 1, Stealth 1, Survival* 1, Weaponry 1 Social: Animal Ken 0, Empathy 1, Expression 0, Intimidation 1, Persuasion 1, Socialize 1, Streetwise 1, Subterfuge 0 Merits: Language: Latin, Resources 2, High Speech (Free), Status (Mysterium) 1 Size 5, Defense 3, Initiative 8, Speed 12, Health 7 Willpower: 7 Gnosis: 3 (12/3) Paradox (2dice) Time per Roll: 1 hour Wisdom: 5 Mana: 5 Wisdom: 7 Arcana: Death(*) 3, Fate 0, Forces 0, Life 2, Matter(*) 1, Mind 0, Prime 0, Space 0, Spirit (-) 0, Time 0 Rotes Corpse Mask (Death 2) (Intelligence + Subterfuge + Death) Entropic Guard (Death 2) (Wits + Occult + Death) (+1) Self-Healing (Life 2) (Dexterity + Medicine + Life) Grim Sight (Death 1) (Wits + Occult + Death) (+1) Bonus Points (7): Gnosis 2 (3) Gnosis 3 (3) Resources 1 (1) The 'Why is Randy in the Mysterium' Section Mage Book; page 47 under Members 1st Paragraph - 2nd Sentence - "The Society does not reject talented, uneducated sorcerers, but such novices quickly learn the academic skills they need to identify and analyze arcane treasures." 1st Paragraph - last sentence - "These situations require considerable street savvy, and some of the newest members are recruited to fill this growing niche."
  19. Thomas, Initiate of the Void, welcomed Adrian back into his study in the usual manner. He ignored him until he finished with whatever he was doing, which took about ten minutes, then acknowledged the Slave's presence. "Master," Adrian said quietly. "Things did not go well up North?" he enquired. "I think my Master already knows the answer to that," the slave said in the previous tone of voice. "When I ask a question, I expect an answer," a taint of impatience in his voice. "Okay then," Adrian said with some anger. "I learned about blood and our tie to it, how it enslaves our hunger and pushes us toward frenzy. I learned a whole lot about that." Adrian hesitated. If alive, he would have drawn in a deep breath before plowing on. "I also learned that Mistress Tabitha is an EVIL bitch!" Thomas raised an eyebrow. 'Oh crap.' " ... evil bitch, Master." Thomas seemed mollified by Adrian's appendage. He looked down to his desk and picked up a folded piece of paper. "Do you care to know what she thinks of you?" 'Actually, I don't give a rat's ass what she says about me.' "I imagine my Master will enlighten me," he choked out. Thomas read over the page, refreshing it in his memory. "Here it is ... 'Adrian shows great promise. He is instinctually drawn toward a respect for blood and the hold it has on it. I feel my time with him has not been wasted." Adrian looked stunned. 'What kind of carnival do I live in? I mean, she's frikken nuts.' "Aahh ... thanks ... I mean, tell Mistress Tabitha she has my thanks ..." Thomas was waiting for something more, though Adrian couldn't fathom what it was. "... and that I did learn something, though it wasn't the lesson I thought was being taught to me." Thomas nodded, but remained fixtated on Adrian for more. Adrian couldn't hold back his emotions any more. "But why did she have Gwen killed then?" he blurted out, his voice filled in equal measure with anger, guilt, and grief. Thomas' eyebrow arched ever so slightly. "I was not aware of this." "Of course," he continued, "you were still under her tutelage, so she needant have informed me of any such decision. Killing your ghoul was clearly within her rights." With a clear warning in his voice, Thomas added, "It is best to let this matter drop." Adrian's mind was already racing ahead of his surroundings, so he barely heard his Master's warning. 'If the Ordo in LA didn't have a hand in killing Gwen, then who did Tabitha use? Am I so useless that anyone could do this ... or would it be that someone had it out for me ... or for her?' Thomas cleared his throat. "My next assignment is for you to catalog all of Gwen's possessions and determine their significance to you, or someone else she cared about. Don't waste this ... opportunity," he said with the slightest hint of something resembling compassion," and let this mean nothing save a wound to your soul. Evolve, Adrian. Grow from this." Adrian shook now. He felt the darkest, bitterest kind of humor. "Master, they took all of her possessions. It is like they tried to kill my memory of her." Thomas seemed perplexed for an instance. "Keep a journal. Record how you feel and how your life has been impacted by her absence. Leave nothing out. I look forward to reviewing it." Most likely, Thomas meant this as a kindness, as something to keep his mind away from his fettered emotions. To Adrian, if was like someone sticking the knife back in once more. Adrian bowed. "Yes Master." He hesitated. "Is there anything else?" "Not for the rest of the week, Slave. Come back on Monday at the regular time." Adrian bowed again, back away one step, turned and left. He was sorely tempted to slam the door on his way out. It would have been childish, pointless, and uncalled for. Thomas wasn't the enemy. Thomas was giving him a chance and throwing that in his face was dickless and stupid. Instead, he left in the usual quiet manner. On the way home, his phone rang. "Hello Adrian." It was Virginia. "I just heard. I'm so sorry. We need to talk." It wasn't as if Adrian need more conflict rolling through his mind, but Virginia knew how to stoke uncertainties. 'Besides, she is one of the few of us who knew about Gwen ... ' "I'll be right over."
  20. Tuesday, August 16th It was early Tuesday morning and another beautiful day in LA. The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky, the breeze blowing in from the coast with the smell of salt, cutting the rising heat and smog from commuters to something manageable. In Kaitlin's view, it was a thousand times better than the hot winds that blew in from the desert in Vegas, though all in all, she preferred a dry heat to the humidity. Wearing a pair of denim cut-offs and a new, snug, one-piece black-and-blue swimsuit she had found on sale (of the five-finger variety), hips shaking to the music piping through her iPhone, Kaitlin was in the drive-way, putting the final touches on securing the trio of surfboards to the roof-rack of her beaten-up, almost thirty-year old Toyota Camry station-wagon. She had already made a run to Home-Depot to get some pipe insulation to cover the cross-bars and this time, was carefully following online instructions on her smartphone. During her first attempt, the boards had nearly fallen on her when she went to sit behind the wheel. At least, she already had the right kind of straps. Kaitlin's Car This is a pain in the ass! I can just throw my skateboards or snowboards in the back. But it looks like so much fun! Two days ago, she had been at the Venice Beach Skatepark - very sweet by the way - and on every jump and turn on the half-pipe, her eyes had been drawn again and again to the ocean, so tantalizingly close, and those surfing the waves. I betcha I can do that! It's really just skateboarding on water - the skills must be transferable... And I don't think wolves swim and vampires must sink or melt in the water. I'm sure I read that somewhere. She had been staying at Oneca's for a week now, still didn't have a job or a place of her own to stay - beyond the storage unit, which she still had to the rest of the month and that was too confining... and technically, not allowed - and hadn't thought about school or what else she was going to do. Sure, she cooked - she wasn't bad - and helped around the house as she could, but she still felt like a total mooch, which, considering her larcenous ways, shouldn't have bothered her much, but it did. She was coming to see some of her house-mates as friends and she didn't steal from friends. But the idea of surfing sparked excitement and curiosity and that was progress, of a sort. Progress that almost derailed when she looked around the next day and found out how damn expensive a big plank of wood (yes, she knew it wasn't really wood) cost. Well, thankfully, there was another way, it would just take a busy night. She was able to trade in a high-end digital camera - those were great, size for value - for a pair of used longboards at a pawn-shop. The shortboard had purely been opportunity, just sitting there on top of a SUV, no one in sight. It was a huge, yellow Hummer, and everyone knew only douches drove those, so he was practically asking for his board to get swiped. Admittedly, lugging the six-foot length back to Oneca's and stashing it in the pool-house had been a pain and felt unnatural. Maybe three boards was overkill, but she had never tried surfing before, but assumed different styles handled differently and wanted a variety to find out which one suited her. Kaitlin was going over the straps one more time - in the process of reading how to secure surfboards, she had read what happened when they weren't secured properly, she noticed August stepping out, eyes narrowing against the glare of the morning sun. She hadn't seen much of her yesterday and she seemed rather somber, which was a pity. She had a pretty smile. It was summer, it wasn't like she was being crushed under school work. Was she? "Hey, August, whassup?" Kaitlin chirped, giving the pretty, dark-haired co-ed a wave.
  21. Quote: "It's your choice: we can do this the easy way, and that's best all round except for your pride. So tuck tail, chump, or we'll go the hard way." Background: Different. Always different. Dreams of blood, dreams of freedom and the clean scent of sharp winter air. Declan grew up in the Montana wilderness, raised by his uncle and taught to hunt, shoot and forage in the woods and mountains that were the world for him. A world he took to almost too well. His childhood was punctuated by episodes of him running off into the forests at night, only to wake up with no memory of the long chases his uncle would have to endure in order to bring the child back home, regardless of the weather. When he was twelve, however, the old man died of pneumonia doubtless brought on by over-exposure to the elements during a particularly arduous chase through a winter blizzard, and left Declan to the tender mercies of the foster system. It was not a success. Always home-schooled before, Declan did not adapt well to the hurly-burly of public education, and his peers did not adapt well to the taciturn, strange-eyed kid who didn't care about music or cars or video games, who stared out the window and dreamed of running through the woods, drawing idle pencil-sketches on his books. He still sleep-walked, but the episodes got milder and milder as the forests grew more distant to him and the city drowned out the wilderness's call. At the age of 16, going nowhere, having nothing, and lacking any direction to his life he joined the Army. He found a direction there, a focus. He found the hard life of a light infantryman to his tastes, and re-enlisted as soon as his first term was up, volunteering for Ranger School and passing with flying colours. Promotion to sergeant, then First Sergeant came readily. Then came Afghanistan. Despite all the training, something in Declan came apart in the mountains of the Middle East. He started to hallucinate and worse, sleepwalk at night time, causing his platoon leader to worry. The subtle sense of wrongness, of not belonging, crept back into Declan's mind, making him erratic and prone to fits of anger. Finally, the Storm that was hanging over the young soldier broke during a night-time ambush. None of the survivors of Dec's unit can clearly recount what happened that night. Most agreed behind closed doors that they had seen a huge dog or wolf rip into the enemy, shrugging off bullets and rending the Taliban fighters limb from limb in a gruesome display of savage bloodlust. The insurgents broke and ran, the beast following them. The U.S. troops, unclear as to what was really going on, kept their heads down, holding position until dawn and listening to the deep throated howls that echoed over the desert and chilled the blood. Dec woke up before dawn the next morning back at the company's forward base, asleep next to the oasis there and stark naked, covered in blood. He remembered everything of the previous night. The bloodlust, how good it had felt to tear into the prey even while his human mind had been revolting at the sensation of flesh and blood on his tongue. How the Beast and he had talked once the hunt was done, looking into the still clear pool of the oasis and coming to know one another, to complete the bond that had been predestined at birth. Sneaking back into the firebase and donning a dirty, bloodstained uniform was easy for the young Vargr. Pretending over the next two weeks that he had snapped and lost his mind along with his will to fight was harder. Being treated with pity and even contempt by some of his previous fellows was the hardest of all. The dissembling didn't come easily to him at all. Fortunately, the violent outbursts of irrational anger helped convince his commanding officer that the best place for Declan was the V.A Psychiatric hospital. Three months of imprisonment was the hardest burden yet. Dec barely made it through a week, and would not have if it hadn't been for a visit from a woman claiming to be his cousin. It was then that Dec discovered that lycanthropy was not necessarily a lonely condition: he had family. His mother's family, who'd been watching him for awhile now, waiting for his gift to manifest. "Endure", the woman told him. Endure and this would pass, and then his new life would begin anew. She was proven right. The V.A. were pleased to monitor his improvement, and quickly processed him into the outpatients department, finding him a home and a job to rebuild his life with. They continued to watch him and call him in to therapy sessions for another nine months, but have finally seen fit to grant Declan his full honorable discharge. A job as a groundskeeper at U.C.L.A now assists his pension in paying his various bills, and the werewolf has come to regard the campus as his territory, already having dealt with a few 'local issues' and completing his education into his new life. For now, his extended and spread-out family are content to let the young Vargr find his own footing. Like all things, however, that state of affairs is not likely to last forever. Dec acts predominantly as a vigilante in his predations to date. The beast needs to hunt, and the worst of L.A's drug-dealers, pimps, and gang-bangers are his self-justified prey of choice as he seeks to remove the rot from the Herd around him. A frat-boy with a penchant for slipping Rohypnol into girl's drinks has also been on the receiving end of his tender mercies. Dec's not reckless about it: he makes sure that the prey are truly deserving (in his mind, admittedly) of their fate - his boss, Eugene Farquad, despite being an asshole with poor personal hygiene, falls below the demarcation line, no matter how often Dec fantasizes about ripping his throat out. Just being an asshole doesn't mean a guy deserves to be killed and eaten - and he's cautious about leaving signs that a wolf the size of a small horse is killing people in L.A. Some of the time, this means eating the evidence and dropping the cracked-open bones down the nearest sewer or into the UCLA incinerator. At first, he had no compunctions about eating his kills - after all, wasn't it natural to eat what you killed? But as the first flush of freedom and power faded he rethought his position. After all, he was a wolf AND a man, not one or the other, and he wasn't eating out of necessity, he was eating to make a statement. Since then he has confined himself to only a few impromptu meals, usually just tearing his victims apart and dumping the bodies in the incinerator. The local police don't trust him - he sets off their 'troublemaker' vibe even when he's being cooperative, such as in the pusher incident last year. The campus cops resent him - he makes them uneasy and they imagine they can feel his contempt for them in his silver stare. His boss is too scared to fire him - not that he has grounds to - but finds every excuse NOT to be the one that deals with him face to face. Being a Vargr is tough on interpersonal relationships, too. One-night stands and professional association aside, Declan doesn't have much to do with others. The huge wolf-shaped elephant in the room is somewhat of an obstacle to genuine friendship. Yes, he's a monster. But there's worse out there than him. Image: Six feet-and-change of lean, hard muscle topped by shaggy dark brown hair, Declan's looks reflect the harsh truth of a wild thing in human shape. His most noticeable feature is his eyes: a grey so pale as to be silver, with dark circles ringing the outside of the irises. When he focuses those eyes on a person, they often cannot help but feel the urge to step back. Even the most drunken and boisterous frat boys steer clear of "Crazy Perault" when seeking targets for their pranks. Some subconscious signal or vibe the large man sends out sets off most folks survival instincts. In women, however, he tends to set off different instincts altogether. There is something primally compelling about the groundskeeper that is more scary/exciting than scary/terrifying for females (and males) of the right gender-orientation. His wolfen shape is no less imposing. An exceptional example of a Vargr, Owns-The-Night stands nearly six feet high at the front shoulders and weighs in at over 400lbs of long-limbed, deep-chested lupine, with jaws capable of engulfing a human head. His thick, shaggy coat is dark grey with black and brown markings, and even when calm the near-totemic aura of all things Wolf about him is awe-inspiring. When he's angry, Owns-The-Night is nothing short of terrifying to behold. Psychology: An alpha predator, pure and simple. Declan was somewhat dehumanised by the action he's seen, and turning into a large mythical carnivore hasn't exactly made him any softer. Owns-The-Night isn't stupid, and he's been warned that there are other predators out there in the Night he lays claim to. He's met some, too. They didn't taste great, but they died easily enough once he figured out that his massive jaws could readily sever a neck. He's still finding his feet with the whole 'werewolf' deal, but so far he loves being one. He has his territory, his range, and he's the boss wolf in those parts, adopting a 'live and let live' approach to any predators that are merely passing through. Those that seek to stick around without acknowledging his primacy, however, may be in for a rude shock. Name: Declan Perault Concept: Big, Bad, and a Wolf. 'nuff said. Breed: Canid Species: Vargr Accord: Heart-Ripper Virtue: Fortitude (Uncompromising) Vice: Wrath Height: 6'4" Weight: 220lbs Hair: Dark brown, thick and shoulder-length. Eyes: Silver. Age: 25 Attributes Mental: Intelligence - 2, Wits - 3, Resolve – 3 Physical: Strength - 4/7, Dexterity - 3/5, Stamina – 3/5 Social: Presence - 3, Manipulation - 1, Composure – 2 Skills Mental Skills (-3): Crafts - 2; Investigation - 1; Medicine - 1 Physical (-1): Athletics(Long-distance running) - 2; Brawl Bite - 3; Firearms - 1; Stealth - 3; Survival(Hunting) - 2; Social (-1): Animal Ken - 1; Empathy - 1; Expression - 1; Intimidation(Non-verbal) - 3; Subterfuge - 1 Other Traits Merits: True Breed - 2; Fighting Style: Tooth & Claw - 3 (Hunter's Eye, Slip Through, Pounce); Fighting Style: Bareknuckle (Aggressive Striking) - 3 (Body Blow, Iron Skin, Combination Blows); Fighting Style: Grappling - 2 (Sprawl, Takedown); Predator's Bearing - 2; Iron Stamina - 2; Striking Looks - 2; Fast Reflexes - 1; Resources - 1; Danger Sense - 2; Heavy Hands - 3 (+1 damage on unarmed strikes); Two Legs or Four - 2 (x3: Fang & Claw, Grappling, Aggressive Striking); Ground and Pound -2; Feral Heart: 1 Willpower: 5 Harmony: 5 Respect: -Ferocity 3 Health: 8/12 Initiative: +6/+8 Defense: 3 Armor: 1 vs Bashing only (Iron Skin) Speed: 12/25 Size: 5/7 Perception Roll Bonuses: +2 / +6 Favors & Aspects: Fang & Claw: (Bite 2, Claws 1) Keen Senses: (Sight, Hearing and Smell) (+2 on Perception rolls in all shapes) Speed +8 Darksight (1) [Can see in the dark and gains +2 to stealth in the dark] Extraordinary Specimen (1) [+1 Str and Size in Dire Wolf Form] Leap 2 [Triple leaping distance. In human shape can leap half the beast form's distance] Unsettling Eye (1) [Double intimidation dice pool once per scene] Warrior's Restoration (2) [Heals as an Uratha] Alarming Alacrity 1 [Can double running speed for 1 turn per dot] Catwalk 1 [+1 stealth and balance dice pools. Hard soles to the feet in human shape.] Magnificence (2) [+4 dice on Social rolls when making an impression in Dire Wolf shape] Hound's Honor 1 [+1 dice on scent-based tracking, identification or perception rolls] Tell -1: Silver eyes the same in either shape. Date Trait / XP Source Ranks XP Gained/Lost XP Remaining ,, 04 Mar 2010 Creation Points - +50 50 04 Mar 2010 Bonus XP from -2 Harmony - +10 60 04 Mar 2010 Merit: Predator’s Bearing 2 -4 56 04 Mar 2010 Merit: Iron Stamina 1 -2 54 04 Mar 2010 Dexterity from 2 to 3 1 -15 39 04 Mar 2010 Intelligence from 1 to 2 1 -10 29 04 Mar 2010 Aspect: Alarming Alacrity 1 -5 24 04 Mar 2010 Aspect: Unsettling Eye 1 -5 19 04 Mar 2010 Merit: Striking Looks 1 - -4 15 04 Mar 2010 Aspect: Catwalk 1 -5 10 04 Mar 2010 Aspect: Hounds Honor 1 -5 5 01 Aug 2011 Merit: Danger Sense 2 -4 1 01 Sep 2011 XP for August - +12 13 06 Sep 2011 Merit: Heavy Hands 3 -6 7 06 Sep 2011 Fighting Style: Aggressive Striking 1, 2 -6 1 01 Oct 2011 XP for September - +5 6 13 Oct 2011 Fighting Style: Grappling 1, 2 -6 0 01 Feb 2012 XP for Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan - +12 12 01 Mar 2012 XP for Feb - +8 20 03 Mar 2012 Strength 3 to 4 - -20 0 01 May 2013 XP for March, April and Revival - 26 26 01 May 2013 Merit: Two Legs or Four: Striking 2 4 22 01 May 2013 Merit: Two Legs or Four: Grappling 2 4 18 01 May 2013 Merit: Two Legs or Four: Fang & Claw 2 4 14 01 May 2013 Fighting Style: Aggressive Striking 3 6 8 01 May 2013 Merit: Ground and Pound 2 4 4 01 May 2013 Iron Stamina 2 4 0
  22. {Saturday, 13th August, 2011} Adanedhel finished his preparations and sat back on the throw-pillow, looking at the tools spread out before him. Tonight was the night! A full moon, when the gateway between the worlds was at it's narrowest. After tonight, he wouldn't be Evan Nelson anymore. Poor sad Evan, with his greasy hair and coke-bottle-lens glasses, would fall away from the shining truth of his soul like a husk, and only Adanedhel would remain. It had taken so much work. The labour of months, years even, ever since Adanedhel had realised his true identity whilst attending a Lord of the Rings LARP in San Diego. The way his peers had marvelled at his grasp of Qenya, at how melodically and fluidly he had spoken it. He had read them poems he'd crafted in the ancient tongue, and they'd applauded, and the lady playing Galadriel (who'd looked much more lovely and ethereal than the woman who'd played the role in the movies, but Adanedhel still considered Cate Blanchett as very fitting for the role) had kissed him on the cheek and told him he had a truly Elvish soul. An Elvish soul! Of course he did - it made perfect sense now! His whole life had been one of loneliness at best, torment at worst among the brutish, unrefined herd of humanity that had been his lot. His father had called him a faggot for wanting to study poetry and literature, and his mother had just fretted and sighed that her son was a dreamer. Of course he was a dreamer! Who wouldn't want to dream of something better than this inelegant, mundane pigsty. Well, tonight that would be over. No more dreaming. It had taken him a while to find the right rituals, pieced together from fragments of so-called 'Satanic' texts, truths hidden in 'fiction' and even some passages of the Bible! The truth was indeed there to be found, if one but wanted badly enough to perceive it. He picked up the knife and examined it carefully. It was perfect, a shining steel blade with silver Qenya runes etched into the blade near the hilt. It was a reproduction Elven dagger, but the runes were Adanedhel's own addition, signifying transformation and new life from death. He was proud of the work. He set it back onto the cloth roll with the rope and ceremonial robes. Outside in the van was the final component for the ritual - a tormented but pure soul who needed to be released into the grace of the Valar, who would receive her and in the process grant Evan his release from this ugly, frail mortal shell. He'd watched her for weeks. She was a film student, and she was beautiful and good at heart, but tormented. He'd followed her on her visits to her doctor, seen her leave with troubled expressions on her face. He'd watched closely as she seemed to recoil at things that were not there. Poor fragile soul. He knew that he was doing her a kindness, and that she would be better off in the afterlife. Earlier this evening he'd caught her as she'd come out of the doctor's again, taking her by surprise and pressing the chloroformed pad to her face. She'd gone limp almost immediately, and he'd dragged her to the van. Before she woke, he would have to change her into the simple-yet-lovely Elven gown he'd bought for the occasion of her escape from this horrible life. He looked at his clock: a half hour till midnight - time to go. He gathered up his robes, the gown, the rope and the knife, and left his shoddy, shitty little apartment for the last time. It was a full moon, a bright night despite the permanent haze that hung over L.A in late summer. Owns-The-Night was enjoying the night air in one of his favorite lazing-spots, a dense thicket of trees and bushes near the girl's dorm. There were other reasons besides the cover that he liked that spot. He was looking at two of them now. The vargr may not have been a gentleman, but he knew what he liked. Besides, the night was quiet, all the pimps and dealers seemed to be indoors or doing business well away from the campus, so really what better use was there for his time than to watch young women flitting around their dorm rooms naked but for a pair of panties. The freshman drew her curtains, ending the peepshow, and the huge wolf whuffed softly under his breath and flowed to his feet with a grace eerie in an animal so unnaturally large, shaking himself lightly before heading off on another round of his territory. He moved with uncanny silence and stealth, barely seeming to disturb the gloom between the trees as he ghosted past two young lovers walking along a path, holding hands and talking about the movie they'd seen. The humans never had a clue he was there, and beyond the ring of light thrown by the lamps lining the path, silver eyes watched them with a sense of proprietary satisfaction. They could walk aboard safely because of him, and that was worth all the work of the last eighteen months. This campus, and the blocks surrounding it, were his, and he guaranteed safety to the inoffensive and death to the intruder with equal fervor. Vampires, drug dealers - it was all the same to him. No-one fucked with this place unless they wanted a faceful of vargr. That was something to be proud of. He was moving with a steady, ground-eating trot along the western rim of the UCLA campus near the graveyard when the wind shifted, blowing from the west now rather than the north, and carrying a familiar scent to his nostrils. August, and she wasn't far away either. The vargr's head tilted as he considered that. She must be across the street, and that meant she was in the cemetary. What the hell was she doing there at night? Junkies and bums sometimes crashed there, and whilst it wasn't a terrible place to wander and think, it wasn't exactly safe after midnight on a Saturday. With a low puzzled growl in his chest, Owns-The-Night waited for the road to be clear before bounding across, clearing the wall in one leap.
  23. September 23, 2010 Adrian's Rule #13 -Never leave a victim out to the elements, or in a place where they can be taken advantage of. It's cruel, leads to curious cases of anemia, and tends to get your face remembered when the cops come asking "and who was she last seen with?" Gail felt great. She also felt wobbly and drunk, and a bit pissed with herself. Here some cute, quiet guy had singled her out at the party, but they had really been hitting it off. She had talked, he had listened, and they had walked out into the night for what she hoped would be some magic time to take her mind off of graduate student woes. She had even remembered to bring some rubbers in case she got really lucky (and the guy wasn't a total dud - or worse, gay!) Instead, they had kissed (he tasted minty) and necked ... and then = AWESOME! Now Gail was going through the after-effects of blood loss and the nothing but vapors remained of the Kiss. She was leaning heavily on her date and he was trying to talk to her. He was ... asking her were her car was? "No car," she slurred. "I'm over at ... Maramount ... the High School." Her 'date' tensed. "I'm not ... in ... (burp) ... high school, silly." Sigh. "Near ... right next to ... (giggle) ... the school." Giggling felt good, so she giggled some more until some of that beer attempted a comeback. She bumped heavily against this guy and he staggered under the impact. He really was as lightweight. Gail wondered how drunk he was and if they would continue once he got her back to her place. Part of her wondered what it would be like. The greater part of her was far more interested in sleep. 'Across God-damned Campus!' Adrian thought. 'That is the God-damned Valley of Death, and none shall go there and live ... or so the other kindred whispered to Adrian before he headed off on this latest round of Frat-Party hopping. He felt weak in the knees, but steeled himself. He couldn't just leave her, now could he and getting back would be a whole lot easier (he hoped). For now, it was all he could do to keep steering Gail (that was her name, right?). "Okay, Gail. I'll take you home. I suggest you take a day or two off." Thankfully it was Friday so she wouldn't be feeling too bad come Monday. "Work with me, sweets." Gail giggled. "Let's go do it by the fountain," she slurred. 'This is going to be a long walk', Adrian predicted. 'A freaking long walk. Just keep to the lighted paths and we should both be okay. Okay, I should be okay.'
  24. Adrian Moss Mekhet Ordo Dracul Embraced: August 3rd 2007 Intelligence: 2 Wits: 5 Resolve: 2 Academics – 1, Investigation – 4 (Crime Scenes) Strength: 2 Dexterity: 5 Stamina: 1 Athletics – 4, Drive - 1, Firearms (Pistols) – 4, Stealth – 1, Weaponry – 3 Presence: 2 Manipulation: 1 Composure: 4 Persuasion (Seduction) – 3, Streetwise – 4 Merits Ambidextrous (3), Resources – 4, Striking Looks - 1, Status (PI) - 1, Covenant Status (Invictus) -1, Covenant Status (Ordo Dracul) -1 Disciplines Auspex - 1 Obfuscate – 3 Virtue (Charity) Vice (Lust) Speed: 12 Defense: 5 Health: 6 Initiative: 9 Willpower: 6 Humanity: 7 Equipment: Reddish-brown duster, twin 9mm pistols, bullet proof vest (isn’t it nice not to feel the heat in LA anymore?), Collapsible Baton, handcuff keys, somewhat fashionable clothes. Background: Was Bernard Vickers ever sure why he embraced Adrian Moss? If so, he never told his childe. What was known to both was that Adrian had been a member – a junior member – of a gang of four toughs that had accosted Bernard when he was out on the prowl. Instead of twisting the situation to his advantage, or just avoiding his pursuers, Bernard had turned on them and thrashed them soundly. It had been terribly easy for the aged Mekhet. Three of the thugs went rapidly to the ground, but Adrian … Adrian had eluded Bernard’s grasp and then shot him. Despite his Celerity, the young man had put a bullet into Bernard, ruining his jacket and shirt and driving him nearly to a rage. Maybe it was because Adrian looked so pathetic there at his moment of death. Maybe something about the boy sparked the long dormant interest. Whatever happened, Bernard embraced the boy and took him back to his manse to begin a new life amongst the Kindred. The next night and the nights that followed were a keen disappointment to Bernard. His Childer was much more of a feral thing than a stable person. Adrian was insular, mulish, sullen and above all, a dolt. There was no indication that he would make even a passable, if hardly memorable, Mekhet. More than once, Bernard contemplated killing Adrian off and consigning this whole episode to ‘the beast made me do it’. It was as he looked into his fireplace that a revelation came to him. Maybe Adrian was some sort of cosmic challenge? Maybe by delving into the boy’s host of weaknesses he would find out more about his own. Maybe by turning the boy into something worthwhile, he would find a way to advance himself. The next night he inducted Adrian into the Coils of the Dragon and the wisdom that was Clan Mekhet. Adrian’s long, torturous tutelage under his Sire had begun. Recently, Bernard has left on an extended trip, leaving most of his mortal affairs in capable hands. He has allowed his child to continue to live off him until such time as Adrian is deemed capable of maintaining himself. In the past year or so, Adrian has gotten to know a variety of people in the city. He is starting to come out of his shell and do more. Having recently received his Private Investigator's license, Adrian has taken a sabbatical away from LA to further his education in the Ordo Dracul. A few nights ago, he returned to his haven, bitter, heart-broken, and seemingly more alone than ever. Still, something new has emerged in Adrian. A sense of purpose, will, and drive to make a difference. In a way, he has discovered his moral core. Appearance: Adrian is a painfully thin young man with raven-black hair and luminescent grey eyes that seem to look out into the soul. He carries an aura of loneliness and awkward indecision most of the time. He would be handsome, but his look is more given over toward that of a beaten dog, both parts tragic and feral.
  25. With the roar of a thousand horses the sleek, black, Lamborghini Gallardo sped down the avenue. In the rich neighborhoods of Los Angeles such a nice sports car was not uncommon, but a custom designed Gallardo with after market modifications for performance still certainly turned some heads. With very little regard for things like traffic laws, the vehicle sped through the streets and spun around corners with surprising accuracy. Slowing down it pulled into the drive way of one of the most expensive homes on the very large block. The front gate was open and the vehicle pulled up to the front of the estate courtesy of the "U" shaped driveway. Lucien Hunt, aka Lucien Hunt, aka the Lucien Hunt (he never really understood how the 'the' added any flair, but it stuck) jogged up to the front steps and skipped them two at a time. Having just from his classes he was in humble loose fitting jeans and a black tank top with an unbuttoned collared shirt over it. He was a handsome guy, if my 'handsome' the dictionary read: "too freakin' gorgeous for his own good", and on top it he was filthy rich too. It was sort of what separated Lucien from most other guys around campus - no matter how handsome people thought he was or how much money he supposedly had, he was always just 'Lucien', a regular guy like everyone else (with an awesome car). He rapped on the door, folding his sunglasses and tucking them away while he waited from someone to answer. He sung the first few lines of The Zac Brown Band's 'Toes' song as he waited, finally turning to face the large decorative door as it opened. He grinned as he took in his greeter, August Turner. She was hot, no denying that with her shoulder length black hair and near-enchanting bluish green eyes. Physically, she was yummy. Mentally, she was a bit of a dork, always going on about old films or staring off into space at times... but over all she was cool people and considering Lucien had found out only six months ago that he could control of the forced of the cosmos with a thought, he had a whole new respect for the 'dorks' of the world. "This has to be the Victoria's Secret house, right?" He told her with alluring smile and charming delivery meant to seep her off her feet. "Why else would angels be greeting the guests?" She just quirked a brow and stared at him silently, unphased by his 'hello'. "Okay, that could use a little work, I guess." They both finally broke down into laughter as they shared in the joke. He pulled an iPod from his pocket and held it up. "Hey August, how y'been? Is Oneca around, she crashed at my place a couple days ago and left this. Thought I'd drop it off to her."
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