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  1. She and Sarah had been texting like mad for the past several days after the incident with Beckett and his Book of Ooky-Spooky. She had classes to attend in the day, and honestly hadn't felt like doing much in the way of patrols around the campus, which worried her a bit, but she needed a break from all the 'Grrr' and the 'Rawr'. A few days off to catch up on her studies and try to be something that resembled a normal twenty something woman. ,, She'd been lazy the last few days, it was true, but lying there on her bed surrounded by her class work and open notebooks she'd decided that she needed a break from her studies as well as being a cursed werebeastie. She couldn't keep putting it off, but then again she wasn't in that much of a hurry to skank herself out to a dead guy. ,, Oh, well... we need his help.... She sent him a text, a part of her hoping he'd not answer and a part of her hoping he'd be all over the invitation. ,, Gary, Dude, it's Swara-Ann. Hey, you busy? I need to talk to you about something pretty important. HMU when you have time. ,, -=XO Alaskan H0ttieXO=- ,, She dug back into her school work, hoping her head would explode and she'd not have to type any of it out later. It sucked being one of the only students in U.C.L.A. who couldn't afford a laptop.
  2. The time is present-day, and the place is Los Angeles, California. There is an ongoing supernatural war being waged over the state, resulting in an upsurge of paranormal activity. There is no central leadership in Los Angeles - no Prince, no Hierarch, no seasonal King - as the city is, along with the state, in effective chaos. Ruleset: nWoD, but open to house rule modification. PbP Mode: Open-World Moderated. Players are responsible for their own stories, plots and content, under Moderation to prevent cheezmode. From time to time plots will be arranged and organised by the Mods or other players for PCs to participate in. First Rule: Don't be a dick to other players. Dicks get kicked. We're all here to have pretendy-fun-time-games. Obviously, if your character is a dick, that's on him/her - good luck finding friends! This is the Official OOC Thread. You know how it works.
  3. "Allo' Little Bird." The worst accent in the world greeted the young blonde as she waited. Leaning against the wall in dark alleyways was starting to become habit for her but she always considered a lot better than being found almost dead in them (long story). The voice belonged to a homeless guy whose fake limp was transparent, but it worked for him. Dressed in a pile of rags Swara-Ann easily noticed that the entire ensemble could be cast off with a simple gesture. She also made a mental note to look up what 'ensemble' meant later. He carried a large duffel on his shoulder. ,, "Hey, Dredge." She said somberly, unfolding her arms and pushing herself off the wall. "You get it?" ,, "Aye, aye... I got it." He nodded his head and dropped the duffel at her feet. "Wozint easy, I can tell you that. Right bit expensive dey iz'. Fair warning Dove, my people aren't to happy bout this. Def Int's givin' you forty eight hours, that's it. And you owe us, not just for the toy." ,, She threw the zipper aside and looked inside the bag. A smile formed on her once lovely features. She was a mess. Deep bags were under eyes and her hair looked like it hadn't been combed in days. He noticed how here fingers and hands trembled as she unzipped the bag. She was a stable as an asylum patient. "Fair enough." She said flatly while lifting the duffel and sliding across her shoulder. "Thanks, see ya." ,, "Dove." The way Dredge said it made Swara halt in her tracks. Like a mentor or a father might hold a child in place because they knew there was something more going on than they were being told. "And you owe, me." ,, With a sigh frustration she about faced and gave him that dread look of valley girl annoyance, complete with the eye roll. On the up side, Dredge was Uratha, like her, so she know sleeping with him wasn't going to be an option. Thank Luna for small favors. "Fine. What do you want? I already hooked you up, four cartons of smokes and I used my phone to record my room mate showering. What more do you want from her? Her number? Cuz, seriously, dude... I don''t think she's into the whole homeless guy schtick. Maybe if you parted your hair the other way she wouldn't notice?" ,, Dredge chuckled, hopping up on a small stack of pallets, he got comfortable. "S'why I like you Dove, yer cute, funny, easy on the eyes. Dumb as bag of hammers, but we can't expect the whole package, right? Been like that since the dawn o' time... we can find the brain, or the body... never both in the same box, pardon my pun. No, Dove, all I want from you is an explanation. I've been more than 'elpful, sweets, dedicated a few outfits for ya, found you trinkets, kept my pack from gutting you... I think I deserve at least that." ,, The bag hit the ground again and the Alaskan native took her place back on the wall, leaning with her hands tucked in the pockets of tight denim. "Kay, fine. What do you want to know?" ,, "How much longer do you think you have, Dove? I can see it in your eyes." He sighed with genuine concern in his tone. He liked Swara, she was a good kid, noble, heart in the right place but there was no room in his pack for her. He hated seeing her trying to live this life of theirs alone, but he knew she'd be all all the stronger for it. "The Rage is eating you up inside. You're on edge, you're lashing out, you can barely sleep at night and it shows. How long's it been since you slept, Dove?" ,, "A few naps," She admitted quietly. "Thirty minutes here and there, but, about four days or so. After I left Declan's, I guess." ,, "An how long since you changed? Vented all that rage?" ,, She was silent for a long time, embarrassed to speak but realizing she had no way out of it. "Th-three cycles." Her eyes were already getting misty. She wanted to just walk away, but the Low Honored the High, and Dredge, for a homeless guy, was not an Uratha you wanted to be on the bad side of. "B-but I use the others! I shift I make use of the other forms, just like you said! Just... not that one." ,, "Christ, Dove! Th' hell you thinking?" He palmed his face and then looked up to the sky as if someone might drop some common sense onto her from upon high. "You have any idea ow' stupid you are? I know you're hurtin' sweetie, I know you carry a weight greater than most, but caging that beast will not give you a happy ending, Little Bird. You think it's bad when the curse grips you darlin' just wait... when you change, and you will change, you'll have a lot to answer for when it's all said and done." ,, "I can c-control it." She tried to keep back the tears but she was crying a little now. Days of sleep deprivation were taking their toll. "It's not easy, and it hurts sometimes... but I can do it. I've a plan." ,, "Right... ain't heard that before, Dove." He rolled his eyes, took a deep breath and threw his arms in the air. They fell with a slap releasing a stagnant cloud of dust into the air. "Bottom line, pookums, you ain't got much time. I've told you what Shiva decided and the twin's 'ave agreed. Either you find a cure, or they will put you down. Normally we don't kill our own kind, but special circumstances exist. I hate to say it again for ya Dove, but there you go. Yer on borrowed time, Little Bird." ,, "Then I suppose I should quit wasting it, huh?" She growled, quickly becoming irritated with the whole conversation. Suddenly she realized she'd growled at him and cupped her hands over her mouth. "Oh, God, Dredge I'm sorry, I didn't mean that... I..." ,, He raised a hand and offered her an expression that was warm and far from offended by her outburst. "S'okay Dove, you're under a lot of pressure. I understand, and you're right. Us sitting here rattlin' our gabbers ain't gettin' you curse free. Go. I'll run interference for you as long as I can. Fly away Little Bird, fly away." ,, She was already gone and running down the alleyway into the street. Even with the duffel over her back she was like pink lightning down the street. With the weight of the wolf's rage bubbling up inside her she need to act fast and she'd need help. Her trip was a one way door and unless she had help getting out, she'd be dead in a week. She slowed down outside an old abandoned steel mill at 190 and South Vermont. She clicked something on the screen of her phone: ,, Sarah, It's Swara. Seriosuly need your help. Only one I trust. Come to Dongbu Steel, 190 and South Vermont. ,, Please! -=XO Alaskan H0ttie XO=- ,, She looked around on the cold, black streets and then finally slipped through a massive tear in the fence. Unwrapping a Hersey's bar she took several large bites, hardly giving pause to chew. Tranquilizers wouldn't work, sedatives were too slow and even then the doses it would take were far beyond her bankroll to acquire. Chocolate, as bad of an idea as it was... was almost free and in every store. The after effects were going suck. Oh, were they going to suck. ,, She sat down and pulled a few things from the duffel. A cordless drill with a few spare batteries and several large, fourteen inch diamond carbide bits. The rusty old smelting bowl she was standing near was huge but she'd been working for almost a month to get it right how she needed it. It was resting at an angle, reminiscent of the old rabbit traps with a box and a stick. One swift kick to the pulleys and tack that were holding it in place with incredibly thick chains and the whole thing would fall down like a church bell. A four inch sheet of solid steel as the 'floor' under neath it and the bowl weighed nearly four tons. With a deep sigh she began drilling a one inch hole at the base of the bowl. ,, Hopefully Sarah wasn't too busy...
  4. August woke up, feeling warm and content. That lasted for about two seconds before she remembered today’s plans. “Aww, hell.” She rolled over again and buried her face in her pillow. ‘Hell’ was the operative word here. ,, Yes, she was going to be spending the day with Declan – no ghosts, no crazy bullshit, just her and her… werewolf boyfriend. ,, Okay, maybe there would be a little crazy bullshit. But it had to be fun crazy bullshit. ,, August showered, though that was probably going to prove a waste of time. However, there was a pride in her that wouldn’t let her show up to Dec’s stinking of sleep and bad breath, even if he was going to smell worse from her later today. She dressed practically, pulling on a pair of sturdy jeans, a black t-shirt and her hiking boots. Her hair was pulled into a braid and fell in a long line down her back. ,, Despite not looking forward to the events of the day, August was looking forward to spending time with Declan. More than that, she was looking forward to spending time having fun with Declan, as Lise had prescribed. They were starting with some fun that would be well within Declan’s comfort zone: camping. ,, August hated camping. It wasn’t that she didn’t like being outdoors, but most of her camping trips had devolved into a bug-filled, burnt-or-cold food nightmare. Declan had told her it’d be fun, and so she was willing to give it a shot. He’d get a chance to prove to her that camping could be fun. ,, She grabbed her bag just as her phone rang. “Hey, sexy,” she said as she answered. ,, “I hope you know it was me.” Declan’s deep voice was filled with humor and a twinge of lust. ,, “I checked the id yes, but I thought I should answer my phone this way all the time. Should make my family stop calling me so much.” August was sorta joking, but since she’d decided to date Declan, her aunt had been calling her almost every day. August knew she did it out of love, but even love had its limits. ,, “Mmm,” Declan murmured, the deep hum going down her spine to her toes. “And I’d call more. Speakin’ of calling, I’m out front.” ,, “Oh, I do declare,” August said in a bad southern accent, “do I have a gentleman caller?” ,, “You got the caller part right.” The naughtiness in his voice made her insides quiver. She didn’t know if they would finally be finishing what they’d started on Valentines but she’d packed protection anyway. And if he kept talking like that… ,, First, she had to see how she handled being around him in wolf-form long-term. Wolf first, then sexy. “I’ll be right down.” August dropped her voice a bit and purred, “Coming down, that is.” Then she hung up; let him think about that for a bit. Laughing to herself, she hurried for the stairs.
  5. Evening, May 1st, 2012 ,, The sunlight filtered through the thick vines and thorns, still strong enough pierce her eyes with pain nearly as much as the thorns if she strayed from the narrow path and brushed against them. She had to keep running, though, even if it meant stumbling and pricks along her half-bare arms. She couldn't remember how long it had been since the last time since....since someone had gotten close, but she knew she was being chased and she had to keep running. Had she ever done anything other than run? Memories flickered through her mind and a rock scooted onto the path to trip her. ,, She tumbled down to the ground, throwing herself as much to the center of the clear line of dark earth winding between the tree-sized vines as she could. The rock snickered nastily and grew to the size of a boulder; she could hear the groan of the ground as it began to roll towards her. She scrambled, crab-like, away from it. She knew if she took the time to stand up, it would roll over her and crush her. It kept growing larger and gaining speed, expanding to fill the entire path and even push on the vines along the edge. Her heart pounding, she covered her face with her arms and rolled towards the vines, wondering if death by impalement was worse than death by crushing. ,, Death is death, honey. It's not cruel and it's not fair, it just is. It reminds us to live every moment as happily and fully as we can. That's what your mother would have wanted. Her father's voice had been with her for as long as she could remember, little snippets of conversations around campfires or in a warm bed just before sleep. ,, Thorns ripped into her flesh, tracing bright red lines down her arms and legs and setting her entire body on fire as the boulder rumbled past her, grumbling at her escape from it. It was rolling too fast to slow down and turn around on the path quick enough to crash through the vines onto her before she could run, though, and it lazily continued along the path, looking for another bit of prey. She curled up on herself, tears slipping through her arms and watering the ground beneath her, mixing with her blood and the soil. Small iridescent red flowers began blooming beneath her, the petals metal-sharp and keening in a mockery of her own crying. ,, I fell down, papa. I broke my knee. ,, It's just a scrape, sprout. You're barely even bleeding. ,, It hurts! ,, It's just a little blood, kiddo. Time to get back up. You're almost there. ,, Almost where, papa? ,, Can you see the stars, Zoe? Can you see the Swan? ,, Swan? ,, Something bit at her, a dull half-circle of pain digging into her arm, followed by a loud honking. She opened her arms enough to see a white swan standing over her, honking impatiently. It nipped at her arm again and then spun around, trundling off into the thick of the vines. She pulled herself up as much as she could, stumbling after it through the green foliage. The thorns ripped at her again at first, but the farther she chased after it, the smaller they became, slowly transforming from wicked instruments of torture into soft, pliant leaves. The vines became smaller but denser, taking on a brown, woody texture and eventually forcing her to crawl on her knees after the bird. The light, blinding before, faded from above, but the swan itself gave off a lustrous white glow. After a short eternity, the plants gave way entirely to a green ground of soft grass, rolling gently away towards a building. The swan gave a final honk from the middle of the grass then thrust itself into the air, wheeling up into the sky until it burst into a half-dozen glowing points of light and faded into the Cygnus constellation. ,, She laborously pulled herself upright, staring at the night sky. Shouldn't I be up there? An evening breeze wandered by and cooled her skin, goosebumps flushing over her. She blinked and pulled her eyes from the stars, looking at her earth-bound surroundings. Papa, where am I now? ,, ,, Zoe's Clothing
  6. February 19, 2012 “Out of bed!” The voice snapped through Imriel’s brain, jogging him awake. He was on his feet before his eyes opened, so he was already halfway awake before he saw the time. His mentor and roommate was annoyingly awake, fully dressed and ready to go. He was still wearing his tank top and flannel pants. Whisker liked it a little colder, so he adapted. “Whisker, it’s three in the morning,” he said, realized he’d said it in slurred Japanese, and repeated himself in English. “Yep, and we have work to do,” she informed him. She grabbed his head and he felt something flow through him. Sleepiness fled as she stepped back, grinning. “You might want to call into work now.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- I’m going to lose my fucking job, Imriel sighed as he drove down Foothill Boulevard. This was the third time he’d had to call in since the start of the year, and that wasn’t a good track record. Unfortunately, Seers didn’t wait for convenient times to act out. Whisker pointed at a parking spot on the side of the road and Imriel snagged it. As he parallel parked, she pulled out a tiny spy glass and peered through it. When he shut off his engine, she passed it to him. It looked like a run-down apartment complex of a dozen buildings. The sign out front said it was Last Foundations Retirement Home, but it looked like it had been retired. The building that Whisker pointed out wouldn’t have caught his eye, as it was a dirty, broken-down building in a row of dirty, broken-down buildings. A second look revealed signs that she was right; all of the windows were still in place and the doors was firmly locked rather than just nailed shut or kicked in. According to Whisker’s intel, there was a Seer cell operating in the building. The word was that they had captured supernatural creatures and were running tests on them. This could not be allowed, not just because it allowed others to possibly learn about magic but because it was wrong. It was something his mother would do, and so when he’d learned about it, he’d been as ready as Whisker was to kick some Seer ass. Imriel sighed as he glanced at the dashboard and saw it was now just after four-thirty. Whatever Whisker had done to him had been like a Red Bull, but that didn’t mean he wanted to be up right now. But his mentor had a lead on Seer activity and this time it sounded far more important than the usual Seer bullshit. It sounded like something needed to deal with immediately. Whisker waited until he’d had a good look before she asked, “Did you see the light? On the first floor of that building?” “No,” he admitted, not at all surprised. Whisker’s eyes were much sharper than his. “They painted over the windows, but they didn’t go a perfect job,” she said, her sexy voice serious and smug. She really liked having anything she could hold over the Seers, no matter how trivial. “I can see a spot on one of the buildings.” Her exotically-shaped gray eyes focused on him. “Where’s that friend of yours?” “She’s not my friend,” he said absently, still scanning the building’s black windows. “She’s just another mage I know.” “I wish we had more Arrows,” Whisker sighed. Imriel agreed, but Calypso had been the only one to answer her phone when he’d called around for backup. “I’m going to get some eyes on the inside.” Imriel nodded as she hopped out of the car and slipped over to a shadow. He watched, but only saw her kneeling. A moment later, she returned, looking smug. “A rat’s going to check it out for us. We just have to wait.” Whisker was silent, then asked impatiently, “When will she get here?” “When she gets here,” Imriel replied, used to her impatience. She’d wait, though not happily. And she’d make sure he was unhappy about having to wait, too. “She has the address, and she said she was coming.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Thad groaned and pulled the pillow over his head as the beast roared again. He was trying to sleep damnit, and he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to do that when that monster was making so much noise. The spell soundproofing the apartment complex kept people outside from hearing the noise, but he could hear it and he needed some god damned rest! “Fucking furry monster!” he snarled as he rolled out of his cot and stormed for the door. The noise was even louder when he opened the door that had once separated the studio apartment from its bathroom. This room mirrored the other bathroom, which had been left intact for their use. The far wall of this bathroom, along with all the facilities, was long gone and emptied to make a storage room. The opening led to another former studio apartment. This one was now a large kitchen and dining room for the six-man team who lived here. Emilio was standing at the butcher’s block, chopping celery. The ingredients for an omelet were arrayed around him. The former Mexican was the best cook and usually pressed into service for cooking. “I haven’t gotten any sleep,” Thad bitched to the older man, stopping to watch him. “No one is,” Emilio said, looking up at Thad through salt-and-pepper hair. “I told her we should kill the hombre-lobo.” Thad winced. “You and everyone else, Milo.” The Biologist was super creepy, and when Emilio had told her to kill the werewolf, she’d just said ‘No’ and no one had said anything else. Just that single no had made his skin crawl. He tried to avoid The Biologist with her staring eyes and face that never, ever showed a single expression. He preferred DeathFire, sorta. The guy had the corniest name ever, but after seeing him make black fire from his hands, Thad had never ever laughed at the name again, even privately. He looked like nothing; just some punk with stringy hair and the tendency to wear ripped t-shirts that had band names on them. All the bands had Deth or Death in the title, so at least DeathFire kept to a theme. He was scary too, but not in the testicle-constricting way that The Biologist was. DeathFire was terrifying because of what Thad had seen him do; he didn’t ever want to see what the Biologist could do. Thad once again wished he’d never answered the ad for a vet tech specialist working with exotic animals. A wealthy employer with a private collection who needed round-the-clock vet techs and were willing to pay were few and far in-between. Only once he’d taken the job did he learn why he’d gotten it: he saw magic without freaking out. DeathFire had shown off his fire-tricks, The Biologist had stared – and then things had gotten weird. He was so not suited for this. He was a vet tech, for fuck’s sake, not a… whatever you called people who looked after fucking werewolves. He’d been watching Emilio prepare breakfast when another roar tore through the kitchen. Scowling, Thad pushed himself off the counter and walked over to one of the industrial fridges in the room. This one was the one for food, he knew, not the other one – that was a mistake you only made once. Reaching inside, he pulled out a raw steak and a beer. “Whatcha doin’?” Emilio asked, watching him. “Bribery,” Thad explained and stomped over to the next door. This door led to a library of sots; the room held bookshelves and the Biologist’s desk. Thad wove through them, crossing through another set of former bathrooms, this one with only support studs left. The autopsy room was next and Thad winced at the smell. A man was on one of the tables, his chest and other parts splayed open. Yvette, a slim, petite black woman, was examining something from the dead man that Thad deliberately didn’t look at as he stalked past. He was supposed to be working on animals, damnit! Yvette glanced up at him as he walked by, her dark skin clashing with the blue hospital coverings she wore. “What’s up, sugar?” she asked, glancing at his hands. “Can’t sleep,” he snarled as he entered the next studio apartment. In this one, both bathrooms had been removed again to make room for six cages. Thad’s steps slowed as he looked at the newest occupants of the cages, freshly arrived last night. Of course, then they’d all been unconscious and blissfully quiet. The first cage on the right held a shivering woman. She was actually more of a girl, younger than he, at twenty-nine, would have been comfortable dating. Even with that discomfort, he admitted that the girl was blonde and gorgeous, with a body that would not stop. She was also high out of her mind, shivering and muttering softly to herself. The first cage on the left held a young man; he was in his early twenties with short black hair and pale green eyes. There was something unsettling about that one, and Thad glanced away. There were two empty cages, then the last cage or the right held the source of the noise. Thad’s lips curled in an angry grimace as he understood the cause of the monster’s outrage. Roman, Yvette’s half-brother, was stabbing at the beast through his bars with dowel rods. The monster was snapping them, but Roman just picked up another. Thad considered shoving Roman against the bars and letting the monster do as he would to him; the bars were too close for the werewolf to get his muzzle through, but he could rend the man with claws. Thad settled for kicking Roman in the backside. That was bad enough; Roman spun and glared down at him. Unlike Yvette, Roman was big and ugly. Yvette had been hired for her medical skills; Roman had been hired because he broke things. “You lookin’ for hurt, Tad?” he grumbled, his voice like rocks grinding. “I’m looking to get some fucking sleep,” he snarled, ignoring Roman getting his name wrong again. “Leave it alone so it’ll calm down.” “It was making noise before I started,” Roman protested. “Stop it,” Thad snapped, “or I’ll tell The Biologist what you’re doing to her experiments. If she wanted you to be riling them up, she’d say so. Now get.” The threat of The Biologist was enough. Roman scowled, but he pushed past Thad, bouncing him off one of the empty cages. “Asshole,” Thad muttered when he was sure that Roman was far enough away he wouldn’t hear. Now alone with the werewolf, Thad tossed the steak between the bars. “Truce?” he asked, then held up the beer. “I’ll give this to you, too, if you agree. I just want some damned sleep.” Lips curled back from teeth as long as Roman’s fingers. “I know you can understand me. Just nod and you get the beer.”
  7. There was a road - plenty of them - running through the LA National Cemetery, which made it easy to access, it was a short distance from the UCLA campus area, and it gave the proper atmosphere for the knowledge Gary intended to impart to August - without actually putting her on the spot with real ghosts. Despite the age old horror stories - graveyards usually were not anchors for ghosts in Gary's experience. ,, The cool, lightly warm air wafted across his face in the early evening as Gary leaned his back against a sturdy beech tree on the other side of Antietam Avenue. Declan had been making noises about Gary assisting August and teaching her, and eventually they'd had the time to put something clearly down on the schedule. ,, Gary was here a few minutes early, to get focused and prepared for tutoring the medium. The Rotting Scholar rustled against his mind, and Gary remembered that a mere undercooked burger had driven him from his comfortable dreams of magic and occult pretensions, to this more dark yet thrilling truth of the Sin-Eater life. ,, But as per Astra's warning back in March - was August ready for the challenges and potential sacrifices involved in the group's path, and Gary's path? Would she ever be?
  8. The cool night breeze embraced her, enveloping her snow white coat like a loving mother held her child close to her breast. The scents and the sounds of the night were like a narcotic, each one a new and wondrous experience and curiosity for her to discover. The pads of her paws crunched the leaves beneath her as ran and leaped over elder fallen trees and slid swiftly under others. She was a wolf but her mind was that of a woman. She could think and act on more than instinct but now she was consumed by the wolf, the scents, the adrenaline... ,, ...the hunt. ,, Hurriedly the young woman ran through the woods. Sweat poured from her brow and her skin was bleached from fright. It was close and she knew it. She stumbled and fell to the soft earth blanketed by leaves of uncounted autumns and in a panic she crawled feverishly on her stomach before scrambling to her feet. She collapsed against a tree, tears roiling from her eyes down her young, unblemished cheeks. She looked down at the palms of her hands. Blood. She cried tears of fear and pain as she pulled a broken stick out from her side. ,, The leaves crunched in the distance... it was close. She ran. ,, The trail was warm, the scents in the air were like a stream of of invisible smoke she could follow to exactly where she needed to be. She'd find her. She couldn't have gotten far. She lost traction and slid on the leaves as she adjusted her weight towards the direction of her prey. She snarled and sped on. Nothing could outrun Swara-Ann, not in these woods, not tonight. Her pursuit took her around the eldest trees in the wood and the youngest saplings, their scents, pure and awesome, were like instants shots of adrenaline. The more of nature's splendor she took in on the hunt, the more it invigorated her. She was close, real close. ,, "Oh, God no..." The young woman whimpered. "Please... someone help me..." Her sobbing and heavy breathing just added more scents in the air. Fear. Anguish. Desperation. The meat and drink of the beast that hunted her. The pain was unbearable in her side so she leaned against a thick trunk. A rest, just a small rest. That's all she needed. Her breath was visible in the chilled Los Angeles night. She could hear it getting closer and closer. Running was futile and she knew it. Maybe death wasn't so bad... ,, The snow white wolf leaped on a fallen stump and launched itself into the air, spiraling around and like a space robot from a Michael Bay movie her form rippled and shifted until it's protean form resembled a lovely blonde woman with sparkling blue eyes who landed expertly on her newly formed, perfect feet. She cracked her neck from side to side. "Aaaaaaaand she nails the dismount!" She threw her arms back like an Olympic gymnast. "Oh, yeah. I am so treating myself to some Ben and Jerry's later, that was awesome." ,, "Why are you doing this to me?" The student sobbed, gripping her side. ,, Swara had been watching too many supernatural T.V. shows that featured a strong female lead lately. The brown leather vest she wore was a slight too small for her to better accentuate her breasts and the matching brown leather pants hugged her urathan booty perfectly. Yeah, she needed to lay off the Buffy for a bit. "Seriously!?" she looked the student of the campus with a cocked brow and half grin. "You're going with the innocent victim routine? Oh my gawd... dude... I'm new to this but not that new. Cut the crap psycho. I totally saw you kill those campers. Why do you guys think we're all as stupid as you? So, c'mon, cut the retarded crap and let's get on with this... I still have studying to do tonight and I have this track meeting tomorrow really early. Oh my gawd, you wouldn't believe this coach I have, he's like, really, really, cool but he always schedules these really early meetings where all we do is just go over an itinerary for the meets we already know are coming up." She paused for a breath. "Oh, and I have that Ben and Jerry's to pick up, and Jersey Shore is on in a little while. I'm totally addicted to that show, have you watched it? Oh, you should check it out, it is sweeeeeet, so much drama. It's great." ,, "Would you shut up!?!" The young woman was rubbing her temples, apparently her side didn't hurt so much anymore. "Jesus Christ you are fucking irritating. Is that your plan? Annoy me until I put a gun to my head and do the work for you? God..." ,, "Wow, pissy little duguthim, aren't you?" Swara-Ann raised her hand dismissively, scoffing at the student. "I'm just trying to be friendly before I force your colon and your head to trade locations. Chill, geez." ,, The woman head and appendages began to twitch with an unnatural speed and pattern, like those freaky ghosts do in the movies. Her abdomen was sucked in like she'd went from healthy to emaciated in the link of an eye. Bone cracked and sinew tore and rearranged itself in mere moments. Her spinal column suddenly pushed her head clean from her shoulders as her rib cage tore open in a splash of gore. Her fore arms unfolded, tearing through the skin like a preying mantis's scythe-like talons. Within a moment the poor young woman's body was flayed and all that remained was the physical manifestation of the evil spirit that inhabited her. Her neck was nothing more than gore and viscera, her head hovering high above her shoulders attached to a spine that was twice the size as normal, like a demonic giraffe. Skin sloughed off her new grotesque form in heaps of bubbling ooze, consumed by the essence of the transformation. ,, "I am so not cleaning that up." Swara-Ann mentioned pointing to the oozing mess. She took a few steps away as the creature finished it's final transformation. It was a risky and more strategically sound to simply strike while she had the opportunity, but there was no honor in that path. She would challenge this beast on equal terms. This honor was hers to claim. "You wanna play!?" She felt the wolf roiling up inside her. The adrenaline, the anticipation of glorious combat in Luna's name. This night with see the purge of one more evil. "Fine!" ,, She slammed her fists into the earth in a hammer blow and the impact triggered a change within her. She looked up like Bill Bixby at that pivotal moment in every Incredible Hulk show. He reyes were bleached white and her form began to grow. Muscles expanded, bones cracked at they lengthened and ligaments popped at they acclimated to her new size. Her coat returned as her clothes faded into her form, melding with her body. The Gauru within her was unleashed. Rage consumed her heart and the spirit of war was her companion. Her massive claws gripped the earth, scooping up handfuls of soil that left sizable holes in the ground. She rose to her feet, standing nearly twelve feet in height (few werewolves ever stood taller than ten) and offered a bellow that bordered on a roar and a howl. Her feet dug into the soil and she braced herself for the conflict. ,, She leapt forward with the rage of ten thousand angers in heart. ,, And they played. ,, Ten minutes later, for miles all around, Los Angeles could hear the howling cry for Luna to accept Swara's victory in her name. ,, ***** She hoped no one saw her. The pain was intense and she'd lost a lot of blood. but thankfully the wounds were knitting swiftly. She could barely walk though, often stumbling and her boots refused to gain traction in the damp alley with her legs wobbling like they did. She hated this part. The pain, the misery, the aching reminder that her power came with a price. She felt woozy, she'd lost a lot of blood by under estimating her opponent and should have simply stayed in the forest and healed, but Jersey Shore was on tonight... ,, She leaned against the back wall of the Golden Dragon, a Chinese restaurant close to campus, but she was too tired to continue on. Just a moment... just going to rest for a second... ,, Before she realized she slid down the wall, her knees finally giving way as her body craved the rest it needed to mend such grievous wounds. Slowly he eyes grew heavy and the world faded to black...
  9. It was Thursday night. Saja had left for the duration of the summer, headed to San Francisco for an internship. August had made her first appearance at the house that same day, for the first time in the month since Oneca had left. Earlier today, Aradia had received a text message from Oneca that she was heading back into town as well. They were about to spend an entire summer together under the same roof - thankfully a Saja-free one - and still her two roommates were keeping her in the dark. August had spent most of the last month with Dec, the hot-as-hell werewolf. They had a shape-shifting were-cat 'crashing' (Hah! - She'd been living there just barely shorter than Aradia had, at this point!) in one of the spare bedrooms. Yet, all of the life mage's attempts to extract who (or what) her roommates were up to now had been rebuffed, ignored, or flat-out rejected. It was like living in the center of a minefield, and yet everyone kept insisting it was a city park. She stepped back and surveyed the battlefield that was the den. Fruity drink mixes were August's favorite, and the add-your-own alcohol versions allowed for Oneca to get as plastered as she so chose. She'd sent August a text with the time to be here by, stating vaguely that they "should hang out, since Oneca was gonna be back". She knew August loved Greek food, and there was enough pita bread involved there to keep Oneca from getting wasted too quickly. The delivery guy had just dropped it off, and she'd laid it all out on the huge cocktail table that was centered between the deep-seated, soft, curl up in it upholstered furniture that outfitted the entertainment-centered room. She'd rented a few movies from Redbox, a variety of different things meant to appeal to whatever random mood the other two were in, although honestly Aradia didn't care if they got around to watching any of them. She took in a deep breath, and then checked her phone briefly for the time. August should be arriving any minute, and Oneca shortly after that. If I can't get them to talk this way, I'm going to have to resort to more extreme measures.
  10. Aradia glanced around the deserted street nervously. Kick-ass magic slinger or no (and in her opinion, she wasn't that kick-ass yet), walking around a run-down, deserted industrial in L.A. as a nineteen year old woman dressed for clubbing seemed like a bad idea. She was dressed in Oneca's smallest pair of leather pants, the ones Aradia couldn't quite figure out how her curvy cousin managed to squeeze into. They were almost capri-length on the goth girl (and who the hell had ever heard of leather capris before?!), which put them at just about the right length for Aradia, and loose enough for her to move in while still looking decent, and ready to party. Over that she'd thrown a tight tank top and a thin, too-large t-shirt advertising an obscure punk band. It had come pre-ripped from the thrift shop, but Aradia assumed that added to the effect. Her hair was down, she'd changed the streaks to various shades of bright pinks and reds through the brown, and altered the cut to look straighter and edgier. She'd styled it with the part off to the side and teased to high heaven, and slid at least a dozen multi-colored glow-stick bracelets on each wrist, a pair of boots with four-inch thick soles that were laced over the pants with cheap LED fiber-optic shoelaces she'd found locally. She'd topped it all off with a half a kilo of fairly dark glitter-punk makeup, and hoped she was dressed well enough to blend in without standing out. Latigo was nearby, wandering along out of sight, ready to warn her if he saw anything dangerous. Finally though, she found the place. It was, at first glance, not even worth a look. Only the loud noise emanating from the old subway entrance gave any indication that there was more than rats scurrying around in the abandoned station. As she descended down the stairs, the darkness gave way to the glow of black lights and hundreds of glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark raver clothes, and LED accessories. At the bottom of the stairs were the bouncers, but they waved Aradia in without even glancing at the fake ID she'd been ready with. At one time (before some official rerouting cut this section of the city off from the subway lines), this had been a very utilitarian station. Once you decended the stairs, there was a very long stretch of flat concrete, with pillars on either side overlooking the opposing train directions. But in the time since, heavy-duty surfaces had been fabricated that stretched over the subway tracks, almost like a flat bridge to nothing except barren wall and the short ledge on the other side. These were referred to as the dance bridges, where hundreds of young men and women writhed and raved, their emotions high on the music and their bodies high on drugs and cheap booze. The bar was a half-circle set back near the blocked-off back wall, where the station stopped and the tracks kept going. It extended out from the DJ booth, which was built high up off the ground and required climbing a short ladder to reach it. That modification had been made after the third or fourth DJ had been ripped away from his audio controls by an irate mob unhappy with his song selections, and bouncers also guarded the ladder leading up to the sound booth. In the ceiling, the original fluorescents had been replaced by an elaborate track lighting system that flashed colored spots all around the dance floor. Flush with the back station wall, heavy black barricades had been constructed blocking off the remaining tracks, and no one was allowed through the doors that had been built into them. The barricades were guarded by even more bouncers - burly men in plain black t-shirts and pants that didn't bother blending into the throng of dancers. No one knew exactly who ran this place. It was officially called Le Sousterrian, though everyone called it the Sous. No one knew how it had become an actual place, either.. at least one that the cops didn't shut down. Either way, it was well known amongst the music scene as the place to go for a wild fucking time. Aradia knew Latigo would follow somehow, staying out of sight in that mysterious way of his that sleepers never noticed. But she danced her way into the throng, doing her best to blend into the madness so she could get a good look at the place. Her latest tip regarding missing people had led her here, and at this point, it was the only lead she had. Of course, she had no fucking clue what she was looking for.. but at least it was something. Livy, girl, I haven't given up on you...
  11. (This thread is back-dated to take place immediately after Boot-Scooting Boogie.) Aradia drank that shot, and the next one, with good grace. Her concerns about drinking too much seemed to have evaporated as the party went on. Her mother's crowd had been full of a different type of drinker - angry, bitter, mean drunks who liked to yell at act like assholes and bitch about every little thing. On top of the alcohol there had often been drugs, and when not sitting around bitching about life, Aradia had often come home to find her mother too stoned or high to function, much less laugh or have a good time. For good or ill, the pretty young acrobat was having too much fun to monitor herself tonight. "Five of diamonds - get me some beer, bitch!!!" Aradia groaned as the rest of the players started chanting-- "Beer bitch! Beer bitch! BEER BITCH!" --and tossed her cards down onto the table, standing up with a small stumble. "Okay, okay! Beer bitch, I got it. Okay. But, I can't carry it all myself.. I need ash - assish - assistance!" She steadied herself on the chair, and glanced around the table, briefly. August was out - she'd was probably only still upright because of Lucien, and that took him out as well. The pasty librarian-looking dude looked like he couldn't carry lift a backpack, much less carry liquor. Ari's eyes paused for a moment on the big guy with the tattoos - Finn? - but it was Astra's shameless flirting that caught her attention, the obvious way she laughed as she leaned closer, showing off her assets to the silver-eyed stud that made Aradia want to switch games.. from poker, to smack-a-ho. "Hey, you - Dec. Yeah - you. Pretty eyes. C'mon.. be beer bitch with me." Without waiting, she turned and walked into the kitchen, confident that he would follow. Dec arched a brow in amusement, but he stood up and followed, despite Astra's pout.. after all, how could you turn a demand request like that down? By the time he made it into the kitchen, she had the fridge door open, and was shuffling things around inside, looking for more cold beer for those who were drinking it. But she glanced up at him, a half-annoyed, half-amused smirk on her lips. "You guys get a kick out of that shit, don't you? When those girls fawn all over you like a cat in heat? I've never met one guy - NOT ONE - who didn't lap that shit up like sweetened cream. Tell me, are ALL men that easy, pretty eyes?"
  12. Name: Kaitlin Vandussen Personal Information: Public Identity: Kaitlin Vandussen Nicknames: Kat Real Name: Same Occupation: Working on that... Legal Status: United States Citizen, living in Los Angeles Marital Status: Umarried Known Relatives: Reynolds Vandussen (Father), Felicienne Devereaux (Mother) Deceased Relatives: - Physical Traits: Weight: 143 lbs Height: 5' 7'' Apparent age: Late teens Gender: Female Ethnic Background: Caucasian Eye Color: Gold-Flecked Green Hair Color: Honey Blond with pale highlights Handedness: Left Age: 17 Appearance: A very cute and attractive young woman, with a lean and trim figure, toned curves, and a pair of firm and perky breasts. She's particularly fond of her long and strong legs. Her hair falls short of her shoulders and is worn loose and windblown, and her eyes are large and green, flecked with gold. She moves with a remarkably fluid and easy grace and favours casual clothing and sportswear, worn loose or tight to aid movement. She has several piercings through each ear and one through an eyebrow, and wears a friendship bracelet around her right wrist. Personality: Energetic and vivacious, almost always moving, with a never say die attitude - when Kaitlin gets knocked down, she gets up again, an almost necessary trait in a freerunner and skater. She alternates between enjoying company and preferring solitude. She's sort of uncomfortable with her rising bisexual, but like most everything else, she'll take her lumps and deal with that too. However, the revelation that there really are things that go bump in the night has severely knocked her off kilter. Background All her life, she's been running... But was it towards something or away from something, something she couldn't even define, that was the question. Kaitlin was born and grew up in Las Vegas, raised only by her father, since her mother ran out on them when she was just a baby. With no mother figure in her life and Reynolds Vandussen working long hours as a security guard, Kaitlin often had to fend for herself and was a tomboy and wild child growing up. She learned to cook and be handy around the house from an early age, it was just her and her dad, after all. But the energetic wildness in her heart called to her and as much as she loved her father, he wasn't enough to keep her content. Almost running before she learned to walk, Kaitlin spent most of her time outdoors, active and enthralled with extreme sports, competing with the boys of the gang of street kids she ran with. And she was treated just like one of the boys... until she entered her teens and started to develop more woman curves. At first she was annoyed, thought it was stupid they were treating her as if she were delicate porcelain just because she had boobs, but she quickly she was every bit as tough as they were. And when they started showing interest in her, as a girl, Kaitlin learned the fun in a whole different sort of extreme sport. Kaitlin and her father didn't have much money, so she was mostly self taught in her athletic endeavors, even sneaking in to watch the Cirque de Soleil performers train when she could - the friendlier ones showed the cute and enthralled girl a some moves, to her delight. Her father found enough cash to enroll her in kick-boxing and martial art classes - if she was spending so much time on the streets, he wanted his to know how to defend herself - but he couldn't enroll her in acrobatic or gymnastic classes, despite her pleading. With hard won skills, Kaitlin considered some of the street kids she ran with, wondering how they could afford such sick boards and skates, or to attend competitions in other cities, other countries, even. Some of them even lived in the Underground - which in some places, wasn't nearly as bad sounding as you'd think. And then one night, when she was twelve or thirteen, she found out. She was running with a gang of amateur freerunners through the landscaped yards of the high-class residences surrounding the Las Vegas Country Club, when passing through a yard that was dark - the security lights not flashing on, she was pressed into climbing into an open second story window, being the only one small enough to fit... Excited and scared, she did it, only finding out later that the guys had cased the place and knew the owners were out of town. Her take from the easily fenced swag, mostly jewelry, watches, and personal electronics, was more cash then she had ever held in her hands. It was a lot more than she ever got from shoplifting or dining-and-dashing. This was how they could afford all their things and how she could afford it too. Besides, it was only from people who had more money than they needed anyway, right? They could afford a few small loses, so she could afford to attend professional competitions with professional equipment. And maybe a few other things... Besides, it was a thrill and a rush. To her father's consternation, his daughter was as likely to spend the night out on the streets as she was in her bed, and though he never said anything or had firm evidence, he suspected what she was up too. He tried grounding her, but then had to deal with her morose sulking or the fact she'd just as likely ignore him, so he relented. Still, he worried, feared that like her mother, she would disappear without a word, but Kaitlin always came back. Nighttime was her favourite time in Las Vegas. The heat of the sun was cut down and if anything, the city seemed even more alive. She loved the blending of shadows and neon lights, and even knowing there were bad sorts out there, she never feared the night. It just added a spice of danger and possibility. Running through the shadows and across rooftops, it felt like you could find anything and nothing could find you. It was awesome... Until one night, after graduating high school, she saw something she never expected to see, and suddenly, the night was irrevocably changed in her eyes. Kaitlin and her first and only girlfriend Madison Madsen were partaking of the liquor cabinet and seeing what small items they could find in a conveniently empty house. How she had ended up with a girlfriend still surprised her - Madison had pursued her all year and had finally gotten her drunk at a party they had invited themselves to and to Kaitlin's chagrin, she found out she liked girls as much as she liked guys - maybe it was growing up mostly with guy friends and having many of the same interests. Her street friends were certainly jealous that she ended up with a girlfriend hotter than theirs, the ones that even had girlfriends. There was something... odd about the house. Though of modern design, the furnishings all seemed old, Victorian, if in good condition, with few modern electronics. There was even a turn-table with records! And the place was eerily clean, as if it was a showroom. There wasn't a single thing in the fridge or freezer and the blinds were heavy and black, blocking out all traces of starlight. But the bar in the den was fully stocked and the antique jewelry chest was just left out in the open on the vanity in the master bedroom. Kaitlin and Madison where in the master bedroom, handing a bottle of Jack back and forth, giggling as they tried on some of the jewelry by the moonlight filtering in through a window they had opened, when they heard the front door crash open, followed by a muffled scream. The girls barely had time to hide in the closet before a tall, pale-skinned woman strode in, holding a boy about their age by his neck, a hand over his mouth. At first, Kaitlin thought she was stunning, then the woman turned, moonlight falling across her cheek, revealing the savage claws marring her face and damaging an eye. And then the 'woman' smiled, revealing lengthening canines and bent over, biting the boy on the neck! Clutching each other, Kaitlin and Madison watched in horrified fascination through the slatted door as the woman drank the boy's blood, a thin line of crimson, looking black under the moonlight, trailing down the line of his throat, and they could see her terrible wounds closing right before their eyes, as if they never were. They couldn't say it, but both of them were thinking it: Vampire! And this one didn't seem like the sparkly kind. Their hearts pounding, not daring to look away for fear that if they did, the vampire would be on them, they started as the blood-drinking woman's head snapped around, looking back and down as if her gaze could pierce the floor, blood-stained lips peeled back in a snarl. Then the woman dove for her bed, reaching for something under it. A second later, a large man burst into the room saying something that the girls, in their fright, didn't understand, just as the woman flowed back to her feet, a pair of silver knives in her hands. The terrible strangeness was just beginning. As the woman darted forward, the man howled, tensing as he grew, flesh and bone contorting with a sickening crackle, grey-black fur sprouting from his skin, face extending into a muzzle, fingers lengthening into claws. He met the vampire's attack head on. Werewolf! And not the hot Taylor Lautner kind! The girls screamed, clawing open the closet door and making a run for the window and escape. Kaitlin made it. Madison didn't. The sudden movement had attracted the attention of both predators. A silver dagger found Madison's bowels while a casual sweep of a huge, clawed hand ripped away half of her head. Tears flowing, Kaitlin didn't stop. She leapt through the window and fled while the vampire and werewolf turned on each other. She couldn't stay here. The night used to be her friend, but now it was full of monsters. Full of terrified desperation, she began packing her old, beat-up stationwagon with all her belongings. The commotion woke up her father, who demanded to know what was going on. She wanted to tell him, she really did, but either he'd think she was insane or worse, believe her and then the dark would be full of monsters for him too. And what if the survivor in that fight tracked her down to him? She couldn't do that to him, so she mumbled something, saying she just wanted to leave early to attend the X-games in LA, praying he would buy her excuse and almost begged him to come with her. She almost cried when she saw the look on his face. He thought she was abandoning him too, just like her mother, and he had no intention of leaving his home. He thought her larcenous activities had led her into something dark and heavy, but he had no idea how bad it was and she couldn't explain it too him. She gave him a fierce hug, promising she would be back, praying he would believe it, though not sure if she believed it herself. She had lost her girlfriend, her home, her love of the night, and maybe even her father in Las Vegas, she wasn't sure if she could ever come back. So with a heavy heart, she finished backing in a frenzy, and as the sun began to dawn, Kaitlin fled Las Vegas, heading to LA as the only other place she sort of knew, having competed there several times during the Summer X-games, and planning on competing again. She was running again, away from an old life and into a new one... one full of things that went bump in the night. Name: Kaitlin Vandussen Concept: Freerunner-Thief who saw too much Breed: Bastet Species: Pumonca (Were-cougar) Accord: Sun-Chaser Virtue: Fortitude Vice: Gluttony Attributes Mental: Intelligence - 2, Wits - 3, Resolve – 2 Physical: Strength - 3, Dexterity - 4, Stamina – 3 Social: Presence - 3, Manipulation - 2, Composure – 2 Skills Mental Skills (-3): Academics 1; Crafts 2 ; Investigation 1; Physical (-1): Athletics 4 (Climbing, Jumping); Brawl 2; Larceny 3; Stealth 3 (Moving in Darkness) Social (-1): Expression 1; Persuasion 2; Socialize 1; Streetwise 1 (Black Market); Subterfuge 2 Merits: Sleepwalker **** (Free); Parkour ****; Fleet of Foot ***; Iron Stamina ** Striking Looks **; Contacts * (Fences); Fame * (X-Games Champ: Girls' Skateboard Street & Climbing), Fighting Style: Evasive Striking (JKD) ** Parkour Merit New Merit: Parkour (• to •••••) Prerequisites: Dexterity •••, Athletics •• The sport of parkour began in France, and has quickly spread to other parts of the world. Parkour demands a level of athleticism from its practitioners that few other sports do. The purpose of parkour, which is also called "free running" or "urban running," is to move as quickly as possible through an environment with a variety of obstacles, sprinting through the terrain and using a variety of climbing techniques, leaps, rolls and other athletic movements to navigate. Watching an expert traceur (one of the terms for someone who practices parkour) at work is awe-inspiring, like something out of an action film. Though the technique comes from well-disciplined training, imbedding a certain body of movements and techniques into the parkour's instinctive reactions, the goal is a flawless, seamless flow of movement from one obstacle to the next, with hardly any pause in speed or movement. This "flow" is the goal of traceurs — it is the highest achievement of a practitioner of parkour to achieve a Zen-like state of lack of thought, where purest instinct and reaction drives the movement. Skilled traceurs speak of sometimes being aware that they've accomplished a tremendously difficult feat heartbeats after they've accomplished it. Through intensive training to drive home certain actions when confronted with certain obstacles, the traceur can depend on his instincts, rather than his thoughts — which are vulnerable to fears and doubts — when moving through the urban environment. Traceurs gather in clubs. Though the sport has begun to catch on, and some of these clubs are receiving corporate sponsorship, the clubs tend to be quite informal, with members gathering in a given place on a given day of the week to work on their techniques. Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to special athletic maneuvers. Each maneuver is a prerequisite for the next. So, your character can't have "Cat Leap" until he has "Flow." The maneuvers and their effects are described below, most of which are based on the Athletics Skill. Flow (•): Your character has some basic training in the techniques of parkour, allowing him to act instinctively to obstacles and jumps. When using running or using the Foot Chase rules (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 65), your character may negate hazardous terrain penalties equal to his Rating in the Parkour Merit. Additionally, the roll to gauge a jump distance (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 67) is a reflexive action. Cat Leap (••): Your character has mastered some of the twisting leaps, landing rolls and wall taps used by traceurs. When using a Dexterity + Athletics roll to mitigate damage from falling (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 179), your character gains one automatic success. Additionally, add one per dot in this Merit to the threshold of damage that can be removed through this roll. Thus, if the Storyteller decrees that only three successes may be garnered to reduce falling damage, the traceur with three dots in this Merit may actually use six successes (assuming the player accumulates that many, including his automatic success). Wall Run (•••): Your character has mastered the quick wall-run and leaping climb techniques of parkour. When using Athletics to climb (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 64), your character is capable of scaling heights of 10 feet + 5 feet per dot in Athletics as an instant action (rather than the normal 10 feet), though every full 10 feet beyond the first imposes a –1 die penalty. Expert Traceur (••••): Your character has trained so extensively in this athletic discipline that its maneuvers are normal and instinctive for him. Your character may designate any Athletics roll that involves running, jumping and climbing as being a Rote Action (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 134). However, when doing so, he is less able to react to events that don't have to do with navigating the environment, causing him to lose his Defense for that turn. Freeflow (•••••): Your character has achieved the freeflow that is the holy grail of traceurs everywhere — he acts without thinking, his movements flowing, graceful and quick when he enters "the zone." He can perform any Athletics action that involves running, jumping or climbing as a reflexive action, rather than an instant action. Doing so requires that the character has been running for at least a full minute previously; any use of this ability before that minute mark requires the expenditure of one point of Willpower, however. Feral Heart: 1 Willpower: 4 Harmony: 5 Respect: -Ferocity 1 -Passion 2 Health: 8/13 Initiative: 6 Defense: 5 Speed: 15/26 Size: 5/7 Perception: 5 Perception Roll Bonuses: +2/+4 ,, Favors & Aspects Fang & Claw 2 (L) Keen Senses (All) Catwalk 1 ,, Darksight 1 Extraordinary Specimen 1 Leap 3 Righting Reflex 3 Tell -1 (rib tattoo appears in animal form as dark fur on the flank in the same design) ,, War-Beast: None Dire Beast (Including Extraordinary Specimen): Strength +4, Dexterity +4, Stamina +3, Size 7, Health +5, Speed +11 (species factor 8), +2 Perception Rolls Primal Beast (Including Extraordinary Specimen): Strength +3, Dexterity +3, Stamina +2, Size 6, Health +3, Speed +9 (species factor 8), +2 Perception Rolls Experience Log Trait/XP Type Rank Gain/Spent Current Total Creation - +50 50 50 XP From -2 Morality - +10 60 60 Strength 2 -10 50 60 Composure 2 -10 40 60 Strength 3 -15 25 60 Striking Looks 2 -4 21 60 Contacts 1 -2 19 60 Iron Stamina 1 -2 17 60 Iron Stamina 2 -4 13 60 Brawl 2 -6 7 60 Fame 1 -2 5 60 WoDA Restart Bonus - +5 10 65 XP Earned for August - +3 12 68 XP Earned for September - +3 15 71 Escape From Las Vegas - +1 16 72 Evasive Striking (JKD) 1 -2 14 72 Evasive Striking (JKD) 2 -4 10 72 October - +3 12 74 November to February - +12 24 86 March - +3 27 89 Boot-Scooting Boogie - +3 30 92
  13. As per the Rules thread, base XP is 3 per month for active characters, plus 1 per finished fiction or live Cali-Chat. For this first month, the Mods have decided to award everyone a 'Welcome (back) to WoD:A' award of 5 XP. So everyone starts with 8XP as of the 1st of September, plus: OTN: There's Always One; Feeding A Wolf; Comes With The Territory; Lost To The Night pt 3 = 4 XP August: She Who Interferes...; Feeding A Wolf; Giving the Gift of...; Lost To The Night pt 1 = 4 XP Jeremy: She Who Interferes...; Lost To The Night pt 2; Lost To The Night - Corvus...; Communication Issues = 4 XP Sarah Dead-Wolf: Giving the Gift of...; Comes With The Territory; Communication Issues = 3 XP Sam Spaid: Just One of Those Days; Lost To The Night pt 1; Lost To The Night pt 2; Something Wicked... pt 1; Lost To The Night pt 3 = 5 XP If I missed anyone's completed fiction, let me know in PM or the OOC thread. Please note all players will be expected to keep an XP log on their sheet in an easy to read format.
  14. February 13, 2012, 11:30 p.m. “You’re gonna lose your shirt,” August threatened as they cleared the dishes from the late dinner. Her internship had her keeping odd hours, and fitting her workouts around the demands of her last semester was always interesting. “You say that every week, frail,” Declan chided her as he started to run the water for the dishes. “And yet, I always get my fill of the peanuts.” “This time will be different,” the woman insisted, shoving the sleeves of her shirt up her arms. The spaghetti and meatballs were long gone; August tried to make enough for leftovers, but every time they had a post-training dinner, Declan ate every scrap. “Washing or drying?” “Washin’,” he said and plunged his hands into the water. “I made it hot.” “You always make it hot,” August snorted as she grabbed a towel. A second later she blushed, then blushed harder as the werewolf unleashed one of his slow sexy chuckles. “Hey, you wanna get spanked, I have no problem delivering,” he told her, automatically washing the dish in his hands. He rinsed and handed the steaming plate to her, adding, “In poker or anything else.” August flushed again, taking the plate and drying it. “Not this time,” she vowed. “I’m winning tonight.” “Well, better hurry up and get to it then,” Declan said, doubling the speed of his dish-washing. They kept of the light banter as they cleaned the kitchen and wiped the table. Then Declan went to get the cards while August located the peanut tin. When the werewolf came into the kitchen, August was holding the tin and frowning. “We have a problem,” she said. “What’s that?” he asked, about two seconds before he remembered having a craving for nuts a couple of days ago. “No peanuts.” “No, three peanuts,” she said, smirking a little. “You ate all but three? Really? And put the tin back with three peanuts in it?” “I only ate what I wanted,” he defended sheepishly, racking his brain for appropriate stakes. August was thinking, too, but her mind was going somewhere different. “Alright,” she said, then drew a deep breath. “Strip poker it is, then.” She colored at the look he gave her and said faintly, “Unless you have a better idea? I mean, with two people, it’s gonna be a short game…” She rather hoped he didn't think of anything better. Tomorrow was Valentines, and being alone on that day was really pathetic. Sure, she, Oneca, Araida and Kaitlin would go picking up men, but that wasn’t the same. August didn’t want to pick up strange men for meaningless sex. She’d rather have meaningless sex with Declan. Hell, she’d rather have sex with Declan altogether. She knew it. He knew it. Only that little sliver of doubt was holding her back and on the eve of Valentine's Day, it wasn't enough to stop her.
  15. The great wolf lay on his side, dead to all visual senses until an ear twitched or his side heaved in a great sigh. The spirits of the Hisil gave it wide berth, despite the lack of concern the uratha was giving his atmosphere. Normally, that was sure death to one of the forsaken children of Luna in the spirit world. But several spirits, large and strong despite the weird wavering of their bodies, glared menacingly at any spirits who dared to come to close to the great wolf. He was called Drunk Since Sunday by the spirits and so that was his deed name. The wolf wasn’t sober enough to realize he had a deed name. Any time he started to come out of his stupor, a touch from one of the alcohol spirits put Drunk right back under the haze of intoxication. He was their meal-ticket, their perpetual source of spiritual sustenance. The spirits had only had food like this once before, when the overpass in the other world had become home to alcoholic vagrants. They had been strong in that time. Drunk was feeding them better than that time, and they were loath to lose him, either to himself or others. The werewolf heaved himself to his feet, swaying a bit. The spirits hovered close, worried until they heard his stomach growl. Though he swayed and wove an zigzag across the Hisil, the wolf was hungry enough to go seeking water and food. The alcohol spirits followed closely, their eyes sharp where his was bleary. He didn’t spot the squirrel-spirit; they did. He didn’t catch it, not until they hounded it until it was out of essence and exhausted. He ate in several quick bites before staggering over to the nearby source of water. Then it was back to the spiritual representation of the overpass where the alcohol spirits crowded close. The werewolf slipped back into the bliss of oblivion with a relieved sigh; memories had already started to haunt him – that and the ghost. She hounded him all the time, but being a wolf and being drunk both helped to keep her at bay. If only he were stronger. The thought, the only truly coherent one in his head, taunted him as he sank into himself. If only he’d been strong enough to survive her death. If only he’d been strong enough to survive her ghost. He had things worth living for – a sister, he vaguely remembered that. There were other women, too. He’d met one at a grocery store and she’d wanted to help him. But somehow, he’d gotten into the hisil and then he found peace here. It was easier to die in slow pieces here, than to get up and fight. So much easier, and so Shane O’Neally slept and dreamed of a better past.
  16. February 9, 2012 August jerked into sudden wakefulness, blinking at the sunlight-bathed wall opposite her bed. Green eyes rolled wearily upward and she groaned and shut them again when she saw it was seven in the morning. Why the hell was she up at this hour? A second later, the culprit identified itself with a muted buzz. It was her cell phone, buried under yesterday's jeans. Mumbling curses at the caller, August fished out the offending machine. "What?" she snarled as soon as she'd thumbed it open. "August, are you alright?" The sheer concern in Madeline's voice removed August's anger. "Yeah, I was asleep," the brunette said, sitting upright and pulling her knees to her chest. She hadn't meant to put so much emphasis on that word. "Oh, what time is it? Eight, which means its seven for you. Oh, hon, I'm sorry," Madeline said apologetically. "I just woke up and immediately called you." "Alright... apology accepted," August said, aware that she was being way too nice but too well socialized to stop herself. "Now, why did you call?" "I think I had a bad dream," Madeline said. "It must have been. A ghost was warning me that you were in danger." August swallowed. She'd seen ghosts here and there; it'd gotten better for her once she'd accepted them. They'd ignored her for the most part and she'd ignored them. It had worked well for her to this point. The thought that it might change soon was disheartening and terrifying. Why couldn't they leave her alone? "But you think... it's a dream?" Madeline paused. "I think so. I was asleep and usually ghosts only contact me when they're awake." "Alright, so a bad dream," August said. Her phone beeped and she pulled it away from her ear enough to see that she had a call from Remy. "Madeline, Remy's calling. I should take this." Even if I don't want to take it. "Just be careful, please," the older woman said, the relief that had been in her voice being replaced by worry. "Ask him to call me as soon as he's done with you." "I will, bye!" August said and switched over to catch Peter. "Hey, there. What's up?" "August, I need some help," Remy said with little preamble. "I have some associates who have gone missing. They were filming a haunting in a mental asylum - one of those reality show things - and have all gone missing. Given the setting, this calls for your particular talents." "Wait, you want me to go into a haunted asylum?!" August barked, her green eyes growing wide. "Do you think I'm dumb or suicidal?" "There are people missing," Remy said with quiet intensity. "They may not have been the smartest people, but they were decent. Jack's got a little girl and a wife. Duke's his mother's only living child. Renee is a film student at the Academy of Art. Neil's -" "Stop it," August sighed. "I get the idea. Tell me everything you know." "The show is called Grave Encounters," Remy said immediately. August could hear the relief in his voice. "They were filming their seventh episode. The usual pattern is that they get locked in the haunted area overnight. The caretaker was supposed to come back and let them out in the morning. When he opened the door, he found some of their equipment in the lobby but no people. He hollared for them but became upset when he saw one of the lights was broken. You know the big lights?" "Yeah, I'm a film student," August reminded him. "Those are pricey." "The caretaker was concerned by this," Remy told her. "So he called me." "Why you?" "Because he was instructed to do so," Remy replied. "If there were any problems, he was to call me immediately. It will be another twelve hours before we can file a missing persons report and I fear for their safety if we wait that long." "So you want to go now," August sighed. She could call Declan and ask him to go with her so she wouldn't be alone. Thank god this was a Saturday and he had the day off. They'd planned to go hiking up into the mountains together. Not as a date. No, no... just two friends hiking together for the day. "Hey, Dec, I know we were supposed to go kick about in nature today. How about hunting down idiots in a haunted asylum instead?" "Yes and I need a medium." He didn't see her wince; she hated that term. It made her sound hokey, and she wasn't comfortable with having that label applied to her. "I've got two other people going with me..." His voice trailed off into a sigh. "And if I don't include Oneca, she'll set me on fire." Shit... August wasn't sure if Declan would be alright working with other people. She knew what he was and that was awkward enough. More people knowing wouldn't please him. "Uh, I had plans, but I'll cancel them." "Thank you, I appreciate that," Remy said sincerely. "I'll be by to pick you up in thirty minutes." "Right. See you," August sighed as she hung up. She immediately called Declan, sure that unlike her he would actually be up at this ungodly hour. He was much better then her about maintaining a 'normal' schedule, ironically. "Hey, you," she said, smiling involuntarily as he answered. "Sorry to call so early, but something's come up. I wanted to yet you know that I have to cancel on you sooner rather than later. Maybe we can go tomorrow?"
  17. [Late evening, 25 Jan 2012] I have got to be out of my mind. As she looked westward from the edge of her territory, a light and cool wind wafting inland from the coast, Sarah considered once more what she planned to do, how dangerous it was... and yet, how necessary. The land to the west of here belonged to someone else. And try as she may, nobody else came to mind for the advice she badly needed. Had this been territory back home, Sarah would have shifted to her wolf-form and let out a howl of greeting. But this was the middle of suburban Los Angeles, not a half-dozen blocks from UCLA. People noticed a wolf howling in their backyards. Nor should she leave a note on a tree or rock and hope it might be noticed. People took care of their yards here, and stray paper tacked up wouldn't last long. With one last look around, Sarah stepped out of her territory and into that of the werewolf she knew only as Owns-The-Night. Her neighbor. --- Half an hour of sniffing and scouting and furtive glances later, the Dead-Wolf stood before the door of an unassuming and tidy little house on a corner directly across the street from campus. The signs were unmistakable; the scent was strongest here, and there were tell-tale marks on the trees that were as loud a message of "Stay Away!" as anything man had ever made. Unfortunately, staying away would leave her no better off than she'd been these past several months. With no small amount of trepidation, she reached up with a cold, dead hand and knocked on the door of the wolf's den.
  18. Setting up a meeting for the magi of LA had been harder than Triessa had expected. They couldn't meet at any one of their houses or sanctums because that wasn't neutral ground, and they didn't know each other yet. And finding neutral ground in LA that wasn't too public to discuss mage matters, or too remote for folks to get to, or unappealing in its own special way (the dump would have been fine, except it was a dump), was a challenge worthy of Merlin. Then she had to call everyone, which was fine. But then she had to juggle everyone's schedules. And for mages, few of them really seemed to have their time well planned. There were several calls that came down to, "Wait, I can't do it that day after all, what about the week after?" And each of those meant calling everyone else to wrangle a new time. Finally consensus had been reached between the mages who'd come to Lucien and Oneca's party...which Triessa still felt had marked some kind of cosmic alignment. Six mages, though one was still just a fledgeling. Triessa. Lucien. Aradia. Astra. Thomas. Wakiki. The gathering was to begin at sunset in one of the conference rooms in the university student union building. As for how she got the key despite not being a student, well...it helped that Triessa was on good terms with the groundskeeper. The room was isolated, but was also a place where six people in their late teens and early twenties wouldn't be a comment-worthy sight. It wouldn't be suitable for full ritual, or vulgar magic, but Triessa didn't see a problem there. They weren't a coven yet. She started out by setting up the one thing vital for any get-together involving anything remotely human. Snacks. A tin of frosted brownies and 2 liter Coke along with a jug of green tea and some trail mix filled made sure sweet teeth and health nuts alike would be appeased. Then, with flocks of butterflies in her stomach...she waited.
  19. Word spread through certain groups in LA like fire. People that knew the right people got to hear the whispers of a get-together up on Copa de Oro Road. It was mostly people somehow associated with the UCLA campus, but a few others caught wind of it as well. People who made it their business to know where the good times were going to be happening were very aware of this party. They also knew that Lucian and Oneca, the host and hostess for this epic End of Summer bash, didn't mind what zip code you lived in, so long as you didn't drag down the party with anything that would rouse the interest of the cops. The winding road of Copa de Oro was one of the wealthiest in LA and the houses there were home to people with more money than things to spend it on – usually. In this case, the house housed the offspring of people with more money than things to spend it on and their broke friend. Tonight, the house was already thick with cars, with several parked on the U-drive and more in the yard. A line was building in the street as more and more people showed up, ready to have some fun. Most people were following the path around the outside of the building to get to the fun. The outdoor fireplace faced the patio; despite the summer heat, a fire burned merrily in the hearth. Massive speakers played music loudly enough that everyone at the party could hear it, even if they weren't close to the house. Entrances to the living room and dining room off the patio gave ready access to both air-conditioning and the kegs purchased for the party. The pool, just down the steps from the patio, was open as well, with a wet bar near the water to create more pool-worthy drinks on demand. An electric bull was not far from the pool, surrounded by hay bales and set in a sand box to mitigate the impact of a fall. Carefully maintained lawns were now host to a variety of games and groups mingling and chatting. Trees, set back from the lawn and house, gave convenient shadows for couples looking for a bit of privacy, if not comfort. Those inside found the luxurious house a delight to chill out and drink in. The floors were hardwood and tile in the public areas. The kitchen's granite counters were full of finger food and drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Spacious rooms had plenty of furnishings and places to sit; the numerous rooms allowed people to form groups and chat or play party games. There were a few locked doors but the party-goers had plenty of places to play. Cowboy hats and boots were the unifying apparel tonight. While the cowboy theme was there, it wasn't overstressed; country music wasn't the only music blaring out of the speakers on the patio. A mix of songs kept playing, though most people weren't here for the tunes. Most were here for the host and the fun. Even the 'charity case' as Saja had so eloquently put it, was here for the host. August had a final project to worry about, but she was going to party tonight. She'd had way too much stress this summer; this was her turning point. She was going to have fun tonight, damn it! August peered at herself in the mirror, inspecting herself from all angles. Her green bikini top was daring, as was her Daisy Dukes; she'd cut them earlier today and like most self-tailors, she got them a little shorter than she'd meant to. Buck up, she ordered herself, fighting a blush as she took a look at her backside in the mirror. You want Lucian or not? The answer was yes, so she put up with feeling nearly naked. Her boots were black with silver stitching, while her cowboy hat was a simple black one. She hesitated, her fingers on the cording, but she finally left her wolf's head pendant alone. It hung between her breasts, the silver glinting in the light. Satisfied wither appearance, August shut and locked her door; hard experience told her that if she didn't, she'd find her bed occupied when she wanted to use it. And if she finally snagged Lucian, she damn well wanted her bed free and clear. At the very least, if she wanted to sleep, she didn't want to have to kick people out of it, strip the sheets, deal with any wet spots and have that icky 'strangers had sex in my bed' feeling. If people wanted a bed, there was the guest room, or the guesthouse. Shoving the key into her back pocket, she wandered downstairs, fiddling with the camcorder as she came. Oneca would probably roll her eyes at August, but the pretty grad student didn't care. If something interested happened tonight, she'd catch it on film. People were already thick in the house; August scanned the crowd before plunging into it with a grin. This was the last hoorah before she had to start facing school again. August wanted to make it count. Click to reveal.. All and sundry are invited; feel free to assume that your character has heard of an epic party where Lucian Hunt will be attending. The main OOC rule is: if you join the party, you must leave the party - remember to write yourself out if you're done.
  20. The Seers came for him just before dawn. Wakiki was going to get his ass tumbled out of bed in just twenty minutes by Whisker anyway, so his body was preparing to cycle into wakefulness. When the covers where wiped back, Wakiki jerked fully awake, his fingers reflexively curling around the handle of the gun he kept under the pillow. Before he could react further, something grabbed his ankle and pulled him off the end of the bed. He hit the floor with a thud, only the sheets already strewn on the carpet saving him from friction burn. To his surprise as much as his attackers, when Wakiki rolled off his stomach, his Glock 9mm was still in his hand. He saw several shapes in the room and reactively fired at one of them. In the cramped quarters of his apartment, with no ear protection, the sound of the gun was an ear-killing roar. He saw the form spin away into the darkness but he was trying to focus on the next attacker. A hand closed over his hand, shoving the gun down and clawing it away from him. Wakiki twisted toward his new threat, trying an off-hand punch that barely connected – he could tell it was useless. With a roar of outrage, he tried to get his gun back, only to have a fist connect to his face. The blow jarred him to the bone, leaving his jaw aching from the attack. It also left his senses swirling like water down the drain. His vertigo wasn’t helped when the bag was thrust over his head. “No!” he shouted, but he might as well been speaking in Japanese for all it helped. In short order, he was tussled up into something; it felt like his living room rug. Whatever it was, it wrapped around him completely, pinning his arms, restraining his legs and making it hard to breathe. He felt someone pick him up and carry him; when he tried to shout for help, he felt like he couldn’t get enough air in his lungs anymore. How long he was in there, sucking in and out stale air that stank of his floor, the young mage wasn’t sure. All he knew was that after he was put on the floor, something shoved him the side. He went rolling, and when he stopped, he ripped the hood off. He was lying on the floor and gasping for air in a room he’d never seen before. It was well lit with white walls and a white tile floor; his black and red rug was a garish mark on the floor. He wasn’t alone; he was surrounded by six other people. His first question, who the fuck these people were, was answered when the blonde women just in front of him said, “Hello, Atlantian.” “Fuck you.” Only one group used that term with such scorn. “Your mother says hello,” the blonde said, smiling at him. “Fuck her, too.” “For someone with your Shadow name, you really need to choose better words,” she told him. “You aren’t worth better than ‘fuck you’,” Wakiki growled. He spat on the floor and suggested that she do something anatomically impossible in Japanese. “Eloquent enough for you?” “You’re such a charming, young man,” the woman said, smiling. “I see why your mother is leveraging favors to have you returned to her.”
  21. August 24th, evening The last arc of the sun lay simmering on the horizon, burning a deep blood red, and staining the city like some kind of profane prophecy. Long shadows stretched out into the crimson light like ghastly claws stretching through pools of blood. Sam sat in her car and fought against the raw nerves that were making her regret getting out of bed that morning. She was clad in black from head to toe, a conceit to stealth that did nothing to help cope with the late day heat. Black boots, leggings, tee-shirt under a black sweatshirt, and a black ball-cap with her hair pulled through the loop in the back. Her car was parked down the street from Brad's bloodsucking leech of a master's home, and she was waiting and watching. Once the sun fell below the horizon, which would be very soon by the way the ember was dripping down toward the sea, the creature would wake and then it and it's blood addled slaves would apparently leave apparently to rob the UCLA business school. Sam intended to shadow them, follow them to hopefully win an opportunity to free Brad from the monster's clutches, if that was even possible. The woman, Bonita, probably deserved it too, or maybe she had at one point; now she was as cruel and evil as her master, but she was at least human. The whole process wasn't an exact science. Hell, it's barely even a plan, Sam grumbled to herself. Night fell. Officially. That just meant that the last burning trace of the sun finally fell below the horizon. In actuality the dark merely took a stronger hold as the last long streamers of direct light evaporated into nothingness. Twilight now clad the city in in dim light that would wane for the next hour or two before full dark finally banished the last of the reflected natural light. In her car, Sam lurked like a living shadow until the barely glowing hands of her watch indicated half past ten. The garage door rolled up and a van backed out. Sam started her own car and followed the van, sparing to thought to the possibility that all three may not be within. Whichever of them drove they drove carefully, never going above the speed limit, never running a light or rolling through a stop sign. It was so conspicuously safe and legal that only somebody unaccustomed to crime would think to drive that way. The drive took nearly forty minutes but finally they breached the campus perimeter. The van stopped, the lights going out immediately. Sam quickly pulled into a spot further down the street and got out of her car. In all black she was a shadow walking in darkness, and she hoped that that would be enough. The three figures got out of the van and started walking, Sam wondered why they didn't drive directly to the business building, but then figured that it would be more conspicuous for a van than for three figures with fully laden backpacks. Whatever they were planning to steal would be small and valuable. That or there was more to the plan that Sam would learn in time. It didn't matter, she'd find out soon enough. She trailed along behind the three, her rubber sole boots making little noise, and her slim, black clad form darting from tree to shrub, to car. Up ahead the two ghouls plodded on with singular purpose, oblivious to their tail. Henrik was a hunter, and man with experience. He had made Sam long ago, almost as soon as they left the haven. He smiled; tonight's meal had come to him. Shadowing Sam [jameson] 9:20 pm: Dex 2 + Stealth (shadowing) 2(3) = 5 dice, just for giggles and drama jameson *rolls* 5d10: 6+4+2+1+3: 16 [jameson] 9:22 pm: Brad 5 dice jameson *rolls* 5d10: 6+5+1+7+3: 22 [jameson] 9:22 pm: Bonita 6 dice jameson *rolls* 6d10: 5+3+4+7+2+7: 28 [jameson] 9:23 pm: lulz [Jeremy] 9:23 pm: lol [jameson] 9:23 pm: Henrik 5 dice jameson *rolls* 5d10: 10+8+8+9+8: 43 jameson *rolls* 1d10: 2: 2 [Jeremy] 9:23 pm: ....your luck run out [jameson] 9:23 pm: ruh-roh [jameson] 9:24 pm: Sam's gonna need some help [Jeremy] 9:24 pm: hmm... [Owns-The-Night] 9:25 pm: The Yard Snake to the rescue!
  22. June, 1992. Somewhere in Montana "He was always striving to attain it. The life that was so swiftly expanding within him, urged him continually toward the wall of light. The life that was within him knew that it was the one way out, the way he was predestined to tread." He didn't like the truck. His uncle had explained that it was necessary. That the machine was no different in essence than a rifle or a stove. But Declan didn't like the truck. It smelled funny, made too much noise, and for a six year-old boy who hadn't even seen or heard of an automobile before his uncle had retrieved it from the old shed and spent yesterday repairing it, the contraption was terrifying. "Don't fret, boy." His uncle told him without real impatience as he glanced sideways to where the dark-haired boy was moodily kicking at the underside of the dash. "You got to get used to riding these things. They make life's journeys a little faster and easier." "Why can't we walk?" Declan didn't quite whine: his uncle was a kind enough man in a rough-hewn way, but didn't tolerate whining. The odd cuff around the back of the head had quickly cured the boy of that. But his question was definitely accusatory. "I don't care how far it is. I want to walk to Livvy. I can walk to any place." "It's Libby, Dec. And yeah, you're a good strong walker. And yeah, we would get there... by evening." His uncle grinned through a short dark beard streaked with grey, pale blue eyes twinkling. "All the shops would have shut, and you and me would be stuck in Libby for the night." He reached over and ruffled the child's hair, prompting a mutinous glower from his nephew's silver eyes. Bob Perault was a little taken aback. Damn, last time I saw anyone with that look, his dad kicked my ass. "Don't you look at me like that, boy." he said, forcing a growl into his voice. "You got to get a lot bigger and whole lot meaner before you can throw looks like that one around, goddamnit." The tone worked, and Declan dropped his gaze and mumbled an apology under his breath. Bob reached out and laid a hand on the kid's shoulder. "Is it that bad, Dec? Look outta the window, kiddo. Ever go this fast before?" His question roused the boy from his sulk, and Declan clambered up on the bench seat and watched the world go past, face pressed to the window as he forgot his gripe in the way children do. The rest of the trip was more harmonious. The kid was a quiet sort anyway. Apart from the occasional question about something he saw, he would just watch the landscape blur past. Bob privately wondered what he'd do on the day that he couldn't face down his nephew. It was coming, sure as snow in winter. Pulling the truck into a parking space outside the store, Bob got out. "You stay with the truck, Dec. It needs watching." Declan's disappointment at being left behind was softened by being given something important to do. He started to get out, but his uncle shook his head. "Stay inside the truck, Dec. Folks around here aren't always friendly. If anyone causes trouble honk the horn, okay?" The large man indicated the horn button, and Declan nodded. "It'll make a big noise, and I'll come running out." Declan nodded again, then watched his uncle walk into the general store. He spent some time watching the street, but Libby was a small town and there was not much to see. After a few minutes, however, a small knot of local children gathered to stare at the beat-up old truck and the pale-eyed boy staring out at them from inside it. Eventually, a group consensus achieved, they approached the truck behind a chubby ten year old wearing an orange t-shirt and faded jeans. "Hey!" The leader, a kid called Joe, said, looking up at the open window that Declan was currently staring out of. He knew how this was supposed to go: harass the new kid, see how they fitted into the pecking order. But this weird-eyed kid didn't answer, he just stared at Joe like some kind of creepy dummy. "Are you a retard or something?" Joe asked, not entirely unkindly. It wasn't nice to pick on retards, after all. "He looks like one." giggled Steve, one of Joe's friends. The strange kid just tilted his head to one side as if considering Steve, then answered in a soft voice. "What's a retard?" Joe blinked and glanced at his friends as though seeking some sort of advice, then looked back at Declan. "Wow. You must be real young to not know that." He said patronisingly. The weirdo frowned at that, looking defiant. "I'm six!" He said with some heat, falling for one of the oldest pieces of bait in the schoolyard fishing compendium. "Oooh! Siiiiix!" Steve giggled again. "Are you a big boy now?" The other kids laughed. Declan felt his teeth clench at that sound, shrill mockery and humor at his expense causing his hands to grip the window's edge harder. "I'm plenty big enough to do lots of things I bet you can't! I can track, and hunt, and one day my uncle will teach me to shoot!" Declan said with anger in his voice now at their continued laughter. "Which is more than you all can do. You stink so bad that you'd scare the game away!" "I don't stink!" Joe stepped up to the truck door, clenching pudgy fists as he looked up into Declan's silver eyes. "You come down here and say that to my face, or are ya chicken?" Declan was torn now; on the one hand, his uncle had told him to stay with the truck and honk the horn in case of trouble. On the other hand this fat boy, with his soft features and smelly breath, was calling him chicken. The inner conflict didn't last long. It couldn't. Something inside him whispered that a challenge had been made, and something in Declan's soul rose to it, teeth bared. He jumped out of the truck window with a little growl, landing on Joe's upturned face and sending them both crashing to the floor. The yelp of pained surprise from Joe stifled the noise of the other kids as Declan rolled and came to his feet in a crouch, not even concerned about the grazes and cuts on his arms and bare legs under the shorts. The older boy struggled to his feet less gracefully, touching one finger gingerly to a bloody lip. He looked at the blood and glared daggers at the unflinching boy crouched before him. "You're DEAD!" With that shrill battlecry ringing in the sleepy main street air, Joe rushed at the wiry kid with his arms outstretched. Growling under his breath, Declan swayed to one side before launching himself at Joe's ample midsection. They went down in a tangle, punching and grappling with each other. Size and experience was on Joe's side, however, and despite the wiry strength and ferocity of his opponent, the older boy gained the upper hand and was soon kneeling on Declan's chest. "Give in?" Joe was sweating and breathing hard from the effort of the fight. Declan's answer to the civilised question was as simple as it was primal. A fist-sized stone, held in a small hand, came up and smacked the larger boy on the side of the head. Crying out in pain, Joe rolled off Declan and tried to get back to his feet, shaking his head to clear it. The watching kids saw the strange boy roll to his feet in one smooth motion, a killing light in his silver eyes as he stalked towards the still-kneeling Joe, taking a firmer grip on his rock. He raised it high, teeth bared in a snarl... Only to have it snatched from him by a large hand. Growling, he whirled on the interloper, only to receive a cuff that sent him sprawling as Bob Perault tossed the rock to one side. "Stay down there, Dec." Though he didn't sound angry there was steel in his uncle's voice, and the boy heeded it and stayed put as Bob helped Joe to his feet and examined the lump on the boy's skull. "You're alright, kid. Get some ice on that and you'll be fine." He told the other kids to get Joe home, then turned and moved over to the prone Declan. Squatting down next to him, he reached out and ruffled the boy's hair. "Let's get you home, boy. You need some lessons on handling your temper in a fight so's you don't kill folks." Declan took the offered hand and was pulled to his feet. "You also need lessons on what "Stay in the truck" means, dammit all ta hell!" His uncle growled at him before walking away. Scuffing his shoes on the ground, Declan followed. Sure as snow in winter, Bob thought as he opened the truck door, a chill running down his spine as he remembered the look in Declan's eyes. I just hope it ain't the death of me.
  23. December 22, 2011 August was not in a good mood. Despite the festive nature around her, she had no desire to participate. She was alone in this mood; the other film TAs were excited to be shutting down for the semester. All their cheer made her feel even sorrier for herself. This wasn’t entirely unusual for her; she usually dreaded the upcoming mandatory family-time. Thanksgiving was bad enough but Georgie would be home for Christmas. It was always harder seeing her black-haired, green-eyed cousin. Georgie was the same age as August, and they could pass for sisters. It was like seeing what should have been. And there was Declan. Two days ago, he’d dropped her off at her house after their workout, chipper and eager for his trip into the mountains. August doubted he’d even noticed that she’d been brooding and silent, already missing him. He’d given her an odd look when she’d hugged him, but said nothing as he climbed in his truck and headed northeast. Sighing in disgust, August tried not to think about the handsome, brooding werewolf anymore. Sadly, he was like the elephant in the room, albeit much sexier: the harder she tried not to think about him, the more she found herself daydreaming. She missed him a lot, there was no doubt, and she’d expected that. What she hadn’t expected was the missing being an actual ache in her heart. The depth of her unexpected emotions were scaring the crap out of her. Do not fall in love with him! she ordered her mind, pretty sure she wasn’t there. Yet. And it could also be somewhat innocent: she could love him non-romantically. August was sure that was possible, assuming they could ever get past all the lust that tangled up her head. So in truth, all she really knew was that she was definitely very fond of him, enough that his absence was noticeable. Her phone rang and she checked, a wild hope that it was him calling to ask for a tow or saying something had come up and he was coming back. It wasn’t him; it was Aunt Molly. “And so it begins,” she muttered before thumbing the call to active. “Hey,” she said with more warmth than she was feeling. “What’s up?” “I just wanted to know when you were coming over, honey.” Aunt Molly’s voice was slightly too high pitched for a woman of her age, making her sound like a teen when she was over fifty. “Mom is already here, and Tracy and her brood are due at six.” August glanced at the clock; it was just after three. Less than three hours to hell. “Uh… between five and six.” She heard the disappointment without Molly saying a word and added, “I have work at the lab that I have to finish first.” “Sure sweetie,” Aunt Molly said and had August not known the woman, she’d have never heard her unhappiness. “Just be sure you bring a side dish, ok?” She’d planned to make roasted veggies but now remembered she hadn’t bought any of the groceries. Fuck! I am the worst niece ever. “I will,” August promised, resolving to get something on her way over. A nice veggie tray from the store should be sufficient.
  24. August 27, 2011 Enough was enough. August was lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling. She had been assessing her life for the last few weeks, and she’d come to one inescapable conclusion: she couldn’t take care of herself. She’d always thought of herself as a survivor. She had survived things that would make others crumble. But honestly, instead of surviving stuff, why didn’t she try to stop it? It was a new concept for her. But it had a certain allure to it. Of course, the question was how. August was pretty sure that she didn’t want to learn this the hard way, by picking fights until she was proficient enough to win them. And learning cost lessons. She’d had free self-defense classes provided by the UCLA cops, but having done that once didn’t infer the ability to kick ass. No, she needed something more, especially since the weirdness that was her life wasn’t slowing down. So where could she get some tips on self defense that wouldn’t actually cost any money? August thought about it for a moment, then rolled over onto her stomach. Her fingers dug into her purse, fishing out her phone. Once she had recovered it from the purse-ian depths, she selected a number and hit talk. “Hey, Dec,” she said in greeting at the hello. “Whatcha doin’ tonight?” Her voice was hopeful, but also a bit shy. She didn’t know if he’d be interested in this; the only way to know was to ask, and she didn’t really what his reaction would be. The uncertainty left her feeling a bit vulnerable and it was clear in her tone.
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