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Mage Profile: Astra Quote: "Huh. What're the odds?" Background: Morgan's life seems to have been ill-starred from the very beginning. She was conceived in a corner booth of "The Luck-E-Star," following the dive's weekly Tuesday night poker game. Whoever the winner was, he didn't stick around to spend his money in Santa Monica, and by the time the pretty bartender realized she was pregnant, it was too late to do anything about it legally, and too expensive to handle it any other way. Once the baby was born, though, Morgan's biological mother got rid of her as quickly as she could. It was easy to rationalize things so that she didn't feel like a horrible person: she couldn't possibly support a bastard child on a single income, and giving the baby up was really just giving both of them a chance at a better life. It wasn't selfish at all, and she wasn't terrified of the responsibility parenthood would entail, and the sacrifices she'd have to make. It was, really, the best thing to do, in her mind. Luckily, infants are almost always adopted quickly, and Morgan was a beautiful baby with dark hair and huge, curious eyes. The couple who took her in, the Westbrooks, were absolutely ideal parents, and doted on the little girl until she was nearly four years old. They would probably have remained an adorable little family if Robert and Ellen had left the house a little earlier, or a little later, for a romantic anniversary dinner. In the aftermath of the accident, Morgan once again found herself "in the system," where she would remain for the next twelve years. Something always seemed to happen to the girl's foster families, and while many of them deserved it, the ones who didn't left their mark on her developing psyche as she was shuffled from one home to another. Bankruptcy. Illness. Debilitating injury. Infidelity. Fire. Psychotic breaks. Overdose. Blackmail. Divorce. Coma. A string of calamities followed wherever she went, indiscriminately laying both the wicked and the virtuous low until even the girl herself was convinced she was cursed. When her last foster mother was diagnosed with clinical depression after attempting suicide, Morgan decided she'd had enough. Instead of going back to the youth home, she bolted, disappearing in LA where she could be just another runaway in a city full of outcasts. For nearly two years, she lived on the streets, surviving in whatever fashion she could. Sometimes that meant picking pockets, shoplifting, or doing favors, and sometimes it meant finding a creative way to get inside a vacant motel room for a few hours before housekeeping came through. Every day was a new challenge, and it was difficult to do much more than scrape by. It wasn't easy, and she was alone, but to her, it was better than knowing people were suffering simply because she was there. There were times she almost joined up with one of the juvenile gangs roaming LA's streets, if only for the companionship, the sense of belonging, but her fear of the consequences of that bond prevented it. Just after her seventeenth birthday, Morgan began to fear she was going crazy. Strange people moved through the crowds wearing odd clothes and weird masks, and when they spoke to her, it was like a dream. She knew without a doubt that what they discussed was important, but afterward, she could never quite remember what it was- only that she should. Reflections in car windows didn't quite match the environment, she couldn't rid herself of a weirdly musical ringing in her ears, and the flow of time seemed maddeningly off somehow. Most disconcerting, however, was a growing tendency to find herself in places she couldn't remember going, with no idea how she'd arrived or how long she'd been there. She dropped everything, getting completely clean and sober almost overnight, but nothing helped. If anything, it was even more frightening, because she knew her perceptions should have been accurate. Even the awful reality of LA's underbelly no longer reassured her with its cruel, banal predictability. As it happened, a Thyrsus was waiting on a contact in the bar of the high rise Argo Navis hotel when Morgan reached the culmination of her Awakening. No one in the lobby noticed when, around 11pm, a dark-haired girl walked calmly into the elevator and took it all the way up. Ten minutes later, when a glowing star that was part of the illuminated constellation on the roof came crashing down into the middle of the street- that got their attention. That Thyrsus, a coffee-skinned beauty called Mayati, extricated the young woman from the scene and taught her what she needed to know in an immediate sense; despite the difference in their paths, Mayati eventually became her mentor. It was an unusual, and sometimes contentious relationship, but Morgan (now calling herself Astra, as it seemed appropriate), was fiercely devoted to her teacher. When Mayati was pronounced dead after a mission to deal with a group of Banishers that had begun seeping into LA, Astra ignored all the previous arguments they'd had about whether or not she could do what her mentor had and approached the order directly. Acanthus are rarely inspired to join the Arrow, but the order recognized that while skills can be learned, enthusiasm and drive cannot. Astra possessed both of the latter in abundance, if little of the former, and so she began her training in earnest. Recently, she has been placed in the University of California at Los Angeles, both to further her education and to monitor the campus from a perspective most in the Awakened orders cannot see. Shadow Name: Astra Aliases: Astra di Bonaventura Real Name: Morgan Ophelia Westbrook Path: Acanthus (Enchanters) Order: Adamantine Arrow Virtue: Fortitude Vice: Lust Attributes Mental: Intelligence - OO, Wits - OOO, Resolve – OO Physical: Strength - OO, Dexterity - OOO, Stamina – OO Social: Presence - OOO, Manipulation - OOO, Composure – OOO Skills Mental Skills (-3): Academics O, Crafts (Painting) OO, Medicine O, Occult (Symbols) OOO Physical Skills (-1): Athletics OOO (Fleeting the Scene. Or, if you prefer, just Running.), Brawl OO, Firearms O, Larceny OOO , Stealth OOO, Weaponry O Social Skills (-1): Empathy OO, Expression OO, Socialize OO, Streetwise OO, Subterfuge O Other Traits Merits: High Speech O, Resources OO, Status (Adamantine Arrow) O, Sanctum O (Size), Sanctum O (Security), Fighting Style: Kung Fu O Willpower: OOOOO Wisdom: OOOOO O Initiative: 6 Defense: 3 Speed: 10 Health: 7 Gnosis: OOO Arcana: Fate OOO, Life OO, Time O Rotes: Body Mind (Life OO), Fortune's Protection (Fate OO), Purge The Unbidden (Life O), Strike True (Time O), Sybil's Sight (Fate O) Mana/per Turn: 3 Armor: Magic Shield: Fortune's Protection Equipment: Cell phone, messenger bag (theoretically for school work), clove cigarettes, butane lighter, Glock 34 9mm. pistol, butterfly knife, small assortment of lockpicks. Dedicated Magical Tools: Deck of Tarot cards, small silver hand mirror Creation Log: Merit Points: Gnosis OO (3pts), Gnosis OOO (3pts), Resources O (1pt) (7pts total) Experience: Date Trait/Exp. Type Rank Gain/Cost Balance 29 Jul 2011 Creation Points - +50 50 29 Jul 2011 Wisdom Reduction - +5 55 29 Jul 2011 Wits Attribute 3 -15 40 29 Jul 2011 Academics Skill 1 -3 37 29 Jul 2011 Crafts Skill 2 -6 31 29 Jul 2011 Firearms Skill 1 -3 28 29 Jul 2011 Weaponry Skill 1 -3 25 29 Jul 2011 Streetwise Skill 1 -3 22 29 Jul 2011 Subterfuge Skill 1 -3 19 29 Jul 2011 Resources Merit 2 -4 15 29 Jul 2011 High Speech Merit - -0 15 29 Jul 2011 Status (Order) Merit 1 -2 13 29 Jul 2011 Sanctum (Size) Merit 1 -2 11 29 Jul 2011 Sanctum (Security) Merit 1 -2 9 29 Jul 2011 FS: Kung Fu Merit 1 -2 7 29 Jul 2011 Medicine Skill 1 -3 4 29 Jul 2011 Sybil's Sight (Fate 1) 1 -2 2 01 Mar 2012 Fiction XP - +3 5