Summer in November OOC
Posted 07 June 2011 - 03:15 AM
A recap of how I feels going into this RP and the FPL in general:
I wonder sometimes if there's an art to writing people as actual people, and if it's been lost now that superpowers and extraordinary children are the norm in popular media. Not that there's anything wrong with superheroes and the ilk of Naruto-Dragonball-Bleach demigod teenagers. There's a lot of entertainment value in those shows and comics. But with the emergence of vampires and lycanthropes as the hot new thing, where the real world must be invaded with the overtly magical for anything to be worthwhile anymore, does the world care about good stories versus exciting ones? Is there any success to be found in a love story that has everyday strife in it, without any glamour tacked on? While the extraordinary has its merits, I feel like something is being lost if we forget real life and all the mundane things that bring out the best and worst in people. Reality has its merits too and seem to be forgotten in popular media right now, and I find that sad. So perhaps instead of letting this be lost, some time can be taken to remind ourselves how to write real people rather than superheroes and villains. A chance to revel in the ordinary.
I think the FPL has a unique thing going for it in that one must earn the right to create characters that are above street level, that you are forced to create less powerful beings before you can create your obscenely destructive all-being. It also provides a unique opportunity to write for these characters, flesh them out and make them into more than a character sheet, which is what has drawn me to start this RP. An RP of street level characters might not be the most thrilling concept or writing exercise in the world but to me it has all the potential to be great if some people take the idea to heart. While there is some plot already cooking up, it's meant to feel very much like a slice of life anime, one where the greatest threat may come in the form of bad grades and direct competition for some prize. I think that using one's street level characters might prove to be a bigger challenge for some writers as well. The point would be to bring these less exceptional characters to life, filling them out with personality rather than excessive power. Perhaps they will be more potent and admirable characters given a chance to perform. So that is the experiment.
I suppose a brief discussion about what street level means must also take place. In a previous incarnation of my artist circle, we had created a universe called G.eh. It was a strange place in which every single person had a power. Whether it was useful or not was an issue. For example, a random secondary character whose name I can't remember had the unique power of being able to throw oranges and at a certain velocity they would turn into galloping horses. Only oranges into only horses. He was a sniper in the world's army and held no special rank. Creating characters for this universe was at times tricky, mostly because there was a point where you were writing people as just people, but were inconvenienced in that you must give them a power. This practice ingrained a bit of dispassion in me for powers, in that powers are not the source of character development for me, simply a facet of a character's design. Taking away from that experience, street level to me embodies the idea that you're creating a person with a fairly average lifestyle. Not that they can't be fantastically rich or well-endowed or prosperous, but that they are below the superhero level. They are in fact simple civilians with everyday lives, a step removed from the fantastic. I think in creative writing, this group of people is somewhat lost, characters often too touched by their powers or the powers that be or otherworldly conflict to have real normal lives. And I don't believe that a character can be street level and lack a certain amount of normalcy. Whether people agree or disagree is something I'd like to hear about.
Onward to the setting.
The entirety of the story will take place in the tourist trap city of Nethel, a port city on the southeastern end of the island of Khazan. It sits on the north side of the eastern peninsula, protected from the southern winds and freezing temperatures and generally temperate the entire year round. It's roughly the same climate as one would find in the British Isles. It's a nice city with enough wealth coming in from tourists that it's been substantially gentrified from being a fishing town back in the day. Now it boasts warm beaches in the summer, great sport fishing, a cavalcade of fine dining, hotels ranging from five stars to dingy beachfront motels, and anything a tourist might want besides a theme park. For the residents of Nethel, it's home with upscale and quiet suburbs to a bustling downtown. While in a far flung corner of the world, Nethel is decidedly modern. Like all of Khazan, Nethel has its mixed population of individuals with and without powers but it's never been a hotbed of power struggles or congregation for those with powers. It's just a nice place to live and people for the most part are adapted to having a neighbour or two with a little something extra.
It's the tail end of September and things are starting to warm up and the tourist crowd is starting to rotate out. The sun worshipers and boaters and fisherman are coming in as those looking for the quite reprieve of winter are migrating north. The Great Shark Hunt will begin a few days and seals and sea lions are stretching themselves out on the rockier beaches by the thousands. That alone is drawing researchers and environmentalists opposing the shark fishing tournament. A few hundred Great Whites will be ripped from the waters surrounding Nethel by the time the tournament's ended. The beach goers will be grateful at least, as will the sea lions. There's a rumour that a circus will grace the area this year, a rare treat this far away from the rest of the world. Things will be starting to pick up for all the businesses in town and the residents of Nethel look forward to this time of year. If anything scandalous is going to happen, it'll happen during the sun-drenched months ahead.
The Port of Nethel
Normally people come to Nethel by sea, coming on ferries from the more populated areas of the island subcontinent. It's a five hour drive from the nearest airport but only a two hour boat ride from the same city. As such, the Port of Nethel is the first site that welcomes tourists to the secluded city. The port is a busy place, never truly asleep as ships come and go at all times of the day and night. Besides the multiple ferries that flit in and out of the harbour throughout the day, a huge fleet of fishing vessels calls the Port of Nethel home. Some of the best tuna in the world schools to the south of the port and it was the first thing that put Nethel on the map. The fishing industry is the mainstay of the city and for hundreds of years has sustained it. But there's no room for small fry here, Nethel's reputation depends on quality and quantity. The port's denizens are rough and seasoned men and women, tough and homegrown in southern Khazan. Competition is fierce between ships that pull in the same fair and sometimes, vandalism is the least of a crew's worries. Goods come and go in cargo ships, behemoth next to the smaller fishing vessels and the ferry service's catamarans. Canneries and fish markets surround the port, filling the dock warehouses. The Port of Nethel is the true heart and soul of the city, despite the shiny new downtown that's sprung up in the last couple of decades years.
Pearl West Marina
In contrast to the port's constant hum of activity is the marina. While it holds its share of ships, they're smaller in size; sailing ships, yachts, speed boats, the occasional handmade dingy. Sport fisherman park their toys here, leaving them for weeks on end. More active sailors tolerate the posers, going out every weekend, toting professional grade rods and radar. The yachts rarely see the open ocean but they pay a high rent for the larger stills and keep the costs low for those that actually use their boats. The marina is more of a tourist spot than the port is and the boardwalk is lined with snack shacks, souvenir shops, gift boutiques, and tour guides. You can catch a ride to the south side of the island with its camp sites here. There are day trips out to the outer islands, glass bottom boats and guided fishing. Local artisans and collectors make a healthy living selling trinkets to tourists. It's worth a visit if you're feeling particularly free with your money and your heart health. Most of the food around the marina is deep fried and comes on a stick.
There aren't a lot of law firms in Nethel, or any other professional businesses that require expensive office space. But those that do lease suites in the two high rise buildings at the center of downtown Nethel. A state of the art hospital stands sentry off to the side, emergency room facing the port, ready to receive. Every year a new swanky hotel seems to spring up in the downtown, starting the modern sprawl that's beginning to consume the city. Luxury apartments and condos crowd the beach front. A few dance clubs have infiltrated the scene, several bars and pubs. The nicer bars and pubs. You'll find the other kind of bars and pubs in Old Town. Five star and up and coming restaurants make up most of the street-level businesses. Downtown is also the only place to find psychiatric help. There are a few therapists that have been here before the new crowd came in but only one of them had a real medical degree. Just good old fashioned common sense and advice, no prescriptions and willing to barter a good casserole for a session. There was beginning to be a major rift in the city between New Nethel and the locals. The locals kept to Old Town near the port while the tourists and newcomers hurried around the new downtown area wedged against the beach, the beginning of the Pelican Beach neighbourhood and Chestnut Hill. In this sliver of tall glass and metal, the nouveau riche cloister themselves.
Nethel is an old city that started out as a tiny blip on the map. A safe harbour where ships rounding the island could take refuge before they headed out into open waters or refuel. It didn't last as captains began to retire, setting up shop at the port, making it home. First there were the bars, and then a diner cropped up. Not to be outdone, a deli opened across the way and then a crab shack. An enterprising young man started a bakery and that quickly became the most popular spot in town. A real town began as homes were built on the beach front and more ships took up permanent residence in the harbour, now a real port. The town stayed close to the port, shops crowding along the few streets that had been paved. Residential areas crawled up the hill and came to be known as Chestnut Hill. Over the last two hundred years, Nethel's older areas have been updated and rearranged but there are several old buildings from the turn of the century or older. Some of the large houses up on the hill are originals and there are plenty of historical buildings. But near the port itself, there's been a lot of gentrification has taken place and it's a respectable part of town, if a little old fashioned and casual.
Nethel's popularity as a vacation spot isn't just for tourists. For enough people, a vacation was about the solitude and relaxation. For the wealthy residents of Nethel, privacy and space is worth the price to own a little slice of Pelican Beach. Only two major streets run though Pelican Beach, one along the coast and one veering off through the hills to meet the highway. The houses are mostly newer with a few antiques and older mansions. They are all large, very nice, the kind of tasteful that real money can buy. Either you're in debt up to your eyeballs or really legitimately wealthy if you live in in this neck of the woods. There's a good amount of space between properties, sometimes enough that neighbours never saw each other through the trees and hedges. Some were luck enough to come with their own boat docks. Oddly, many of them had pools, even with the ocean in the backyard or walking distance away. It's a quiet neighbourhood and nothing terribly scandalous ever seems to happen out here. Maybe the residents just have enough money to squash the gossip before it makes it to the main city.
The city proper is nestled into a valley that the hills chase into the ocean. It's a wide flat spot surrounded by hills that start low and gentle but quickly become tall and steep. The best and oldest neighbourhoods sit on these hills, particularly Chestnut Hill, the big one to the west. Mostly white buildings march up the hill, more densely packed at the base and getting larger and more dispersed as they reach the top. An old fashioned observatory sits on top of Chestnut Hill, functional if not terribly popular. The tourists don't even end up there too often but it's cool to have available when there are major celestial events predicted. Most the homes are blocks dropped into the chestnut forest, glowing framed by the deep green. The roads start out as a regular grid pattern but as the slope becomes steeper, they resort to switchbacks that wend their way up all the way to gravelly roads to backwoods haunts and shacks and the spiral up to the observatory. Chestnut Hill wasn't the upscale suburb that Pelican Beach was, but it was home to most of the natives and beloved by cyclists. In the summer, under the taller canopy of ash trees, the woods buzz with thousands of cicadas.
Character Submission Guidelines:
Physical Description: (Don't make me make up the hair colour and body type for you. I'll default to blonde, green-eyed swimmers)
Your characters should qualify as street-level in the FPL character creator. The point is that your characters are not extraordinarily powerful. Those of you who feel that this is beyond you can PM me and maybe get a special assignment. Maybe, I wouldn't count on it. And while I would urge players to make new characters, I will accept previously submitted FPL characters at my discretion. Link them and I will let you know if I'm interested or not, with the help from a couple advisers. For the most part, I leave the character creation up to you, perhaps with some commentary from my end. I urge you to be descriptive and lengthy! Think of this as also a way to test out a character before formally submitting them. Static character sheets don't always do well as living, moving things.
I'll start things up um... now.
Posted 07 June 2011 - 03:20 AM
Name: Xanthus Vasil Belarkham IV Esq
Description: Xanthus is of medium stature, 5'9" when he isn't wearing boots, although his thin but athletic frame tends to make him look a bit taller as long as he is not standing next to anyone of significant height. His hair is a honey-blond, darker and dulled from a practiced lack of sunlight that has also turned a once athletic tan to an almost sickly paleness. His eyes, when not pink and dilated to the point of being black holes, are amber with flecks of green. He fancies himself a warm, almost exclusively wearing golds and whites with splashes of red and the occasional black.
History: Almost a century ago, Xanthus's great great Aunt purchased a large majority of Nethel's then-undeveloped marshy beaches and began work on that development. Two years later she was "stricken with the pox" and her only living brother gained control of all her holdings. Xanthus's great great Grandfather helped the budding city grow at an astounding rate. Unfortunately his only son proceeded to almost ruin the town during the depression and intervening wars, having gambled with properties in Northern Europe and the Americas before the market's crashed. Xanthus's Grandfather, however, saved the investments through a Machiavellian set of shrewd business transactions that moved most of the Belarkham holdings from the waterfront to the heart of Nethel itself, almost doubling them in the same stroke. Xanthus's Father was equally savvy and kept the family's wealth flowing until his health began to fail.
Xanthus's own history begins nineteen years before his Father's passing. He was born on a stormy Nethel summer afternoon at Hali Lake, the Belarkham estate on the northwestern outskirts of the town. Born to his mother without the aid of modern medicine because of his father's antiquated distrust of the medical profession. He grew up in the lap of luxury, but as with anything it came with a price. He never truly saw his parents, even during his formative years he heard them more than anything else. Scant months before his sixth birthday his mother left, never to be seen alive by anyone again. Xanthus barely noticed, truth be told. He missed her, of course, but it wasn't as though he'd ever known or grown all that attached to her and shortly after his birthday life was back to normal, just quieter. He grew into a teen and young man without incident, and then his father's health began to fail. No one knew, in the end, what he had been stricken with because of his father's refusal to go to the hospital or even see a doctor. Xanthus's father died in pain, but died quickly in the winter of his nineteenth year.
After a year of 'mourning' his father and arranging with his uncle to take care of most of the Belarkham business holdings until he was ready to run them, Xanthus made preparations for college. As an average student with significant funding he had no trouble finding enrollment, specifically at Azenani University to which his father had invested a number of "gifts" to help ensure his son's future. Xanthus continued to be an average student, taking almost two full years to settle on a major. He also continued to run track, although now as more recreational than competitively.
Only a year later something inside of Xanthus seemed to break, perhaps it was the natural wildness that seems to overtake most young men when they leave behind their home and perceived loyalties. Perhaps it was something else, something deeper and darker, in either case he was on academic probation within months and sent back home to Nethel. Using what funds he could, the allowance granted him through his iron-clad trust fund and a few loans from some less than reputable people, he fled the town to see the world. It was during these travels that the first inklings of his abilities began to surface, and perhaps it was the traveling that planted the seeds for how it developed.
Time passed and Xanthus returned to Hali Lake. He had spent the better part of two years abroad and now had debts to repay. And he was becoming more and more aware of his ability and it disturbed him. At first it had been subtle and almost insignificant, knowing where he had left his keys, wallet, or that shirt he liked. Then he realized he knew these sorts of things about others. He knew that things they had lost, and where they were. Vague flashes at first, but steadily they became vivid thoughts and scenes in his mind. Then more elaborate and substantial things seeped into his awareness. It was when he saw a cab driver's lost child, dying from malnourishment in some forgotten slum, that he knew he had to return home. He was still months away from his inheritance coming to him in full, and so there would be men who wanted their money, but he had to get away from that image at any cost. Little did he know it would only get worse.
He spent a fair amount of time avoiding these men, staying in the city and in public places while he played the waiting game. Unfortunately this only exposed him to more people and more connections to lost things. The bars of Nethel were his main haven and after a month he met Oberon Medraut, an older foreign man who was looking for a partner to found a new bar near the cities heart. They struck a deal, Oberon would help Xanthus stave off the loan sharks and Xanthus would allow him to use one of the many Belarkham holdings for the site of the new bar that they would both co-own when the time came. Three months after his twenty fifth birthday, and two days before the first horrors began, they opened The Circle.
The first horror, to this day, is still the thing that has scarred Xanthus the most. For at least a month, he had been repressing his ability. Drinking more often than usual and forcing all thoughts of The Lost, as he had come to think of them, from his mind as he felt them forming. So, when he awoke in a room he had not fallen asleep in covered in mud and laying next to the dirt encrusted skeleton of his mother, it was all he could do to not scream in abject revulsion and fear. The next few hours blurred past as he cleaned himself up and locked the room, never to open it again and subsequently dismissing all of the house staff. He soon found the pit he had apparently dug in his sleep and with his bare hands in the vast back yard. Where, he could only assume, his father had buried her body.
Again, it only got worse. Soon, Xanthus would find he sometimes lost days to sleep only to wake in a room with a corpse or corpses. Sometimes odd and equally horrible artifacts, but the dead far outnumbered the antiquated. He would lock the room and hide the key, not that that ever seemed to be a problem as he always found it again later. His drinking increased, slowly too did his experimentation with drugs. He found he was far less likely to wake up to horrors if he went to sleep inebriated or just passed out. He also stays awake for days at a time, again avoiding sleep like a plague. Still, he attempts to maintain an aire of civility even if his new proclivities tend to bereft him of lucidity and the scarring from what he's seen and knows has left him in a constant state of fear. A fear that one night his sleeping self may take his wretched body into the sea itself in search of Atlantis or any number of things that are far better left lost and unknown to man.
Powers: Xanthus has the ability to know of lost things and people, they seem to speak to him over vast distances and even communicate their whereabouts to him through stark visions. Despite his years of travel and the more recent years of self degradation his body still remembers it's days of track and field. He also has a problem with sleepwalking, his subconscious taking it upon itself to go forth and rescue the lost things that his ability communes with no matter what it takes.
Posted 07 June 2011 - 05:44 AM
Posted 07 June 2011 - 05:51 AM
Posted 07 June 2011 - 06:03 AM
Posted 07 June 2011 - 05:33 PM
Physical Description: Ceci has blue eyes and blonde hair that she dyes red, approximately five foot, three inches and two cavities. She's pale for the most part and burns easily in the sun, never freckling and rarely tanning. Due to dye starting to wash out, her hair is currently hot pink fading to platinum blonde. She's gotten leaner over the years, down to a runner's build. Her pregnancy fat has melted away with her steady diet of parkour and jogging with Remy. By all accounts, she's a handsome lady, pretty eyes in a face with boyish charm. A minor scar on her lower lip remains from an old piercing. There's a tattoo on her back of five stars, each different, each for a loved one who's died.
History: A great deal has happened to Ceci in her near thirty years of life. She's been rescued from a broken home by her own brother, given salvation and a career by her dear uncle, become an aunt twice over and sister-in-law to the only woman good enough for her brother. She's lost the only man who's ever been a father to her, seen her sister commit suicide, been *insensitivity'd* by her ex-fiancee. She's forgiven her father and exacted her revenge on the woman that killed her mother. She's stood on the alter and walked away into the arms of a man the really loved her. She's been pregnant, been a mother, and childless once again. Twice she has loved and has lost once for sure.
Her relationship with Remy is tenuous. Since the death of their son three years ago, at the age of 15 months, they've drifted apart. Professionally, they work well together and they are still in many ways in love. But something was lost when Vann died, and they never ended up getting married like they'd planned. At the moment, they are on break, whatever that means. Ceci seems to be taking things in stride. She's been wildly successful as her great-uncle's successor and she's generally content with her life. But she misses Remy.
Powers: Ceci has always been an empath but it's only been within the last few years that she's gained real control over it. In a way, it's made her more normal. It's allowed her to have enough control to pretend to be normal anyway. She is able to read other people's emotions like flavours and scents. She uses this frequently when completing her commissions, attributing it to her success with her wedding cakes. She hasn't gotten any more powerful but her ability is fairly complete. It's not refined enough for her to operate as a lie detector, but she can usually tell when people aren't projecting their true emotions. As part of her hard won control, she is able to abstain from spontaneous clairvoyant events. But her control is not perfect. Her abilities in parkour have exceeded those of her brother, Tycan, who introduced her to the sport. Her experience as a gymnast has aided her and she grows more adventurous as she begins to drift towards free running rather than parkour.
Name: Remy LaPadite
Physical Description: If Aaron Eckhart had a little brother, Remy would be it. Blonde, grey eyed, tall, handsome, masculine, broad through the shoulders and slim in the waist, Remy is the surfer ideal. Looking good having hit thirty, he's getting smile lines around his eyes. He promises to hit middle age dashingly with all the warmth of a favourite uncle. He's approximately six foot, a similar back tattoo to Ceci's on his back, although he only has two stars. The blue star is identical to Cecilia's dedicated to their son.
History: A trust fund baby, Mr. LaPadite has led a life essentially free of strife. Essentially. His father dotes on him but his mother, the real heir to the family fortune, always wanted a daughter. As a result, he has three other brothers of varying ages and one baby sister. He has general comraderie with his brothers, but there's little love lost between Remy and Antoinette. Besides the seventeen year gap between them, she's an odd child and clearly their mother's favourite. As she was named heir to the family, Remy was free to pursue a frivolous life with a fortune of his own at his disposal. It led him Nethel as a semiprofessional surfer. There he fell in love with a bakery. And then a baker.
Power: Although his power is minor, it's worked in his favour. As a psychic null, he can block the use of psychic abilities in his vicinity if he tries but more commonly, he's able to completely block the use of psychic abilities on himself. Ironically, it's complicated his relationship with Ceci. Previously, he'd only been able to actively use his power, and Ceci was able to channel emotions into him. While she trained to control her abilities, he trained to shield himself more passively, constantly protected against psychic attacks.
Name: Nathaniel Barron
Physical Description: Pretty boys are so rarely truly pretty, but Natty is quite. Mistaken for a girl often enough, he doesn't really participate in any kind of cross dressing except on Halloween. With loose black curls and blue eyes, Nathaniel a lanky man at around five-ten. As a practiced dancer and cheerleader, he's surprisingly graceful for the length of his limbs and seems incapable of retaining body fat or heat. Descended from the Roma, he's stunning with those blue eyes staring out his warm tanned face.
History: Nathaniel's life has been generally very average. His father no longer speaks to him since he's come out of the closet and his mother dotes on him. His brother busts his balls about being a homosexual and he and his sisters blow their paychecks regularly at the mall. He came to Sweet Cake one day and simply demanded a job from an overworked Cecilia and aging Lyndsay. Glad enough to have someone simply handle the front end, They hired him and paid him pennies. In time, they grew very close and consider each other best friends despite the age gap. When she's unable to talk to either brother or Remy about issues, she turns to Natty, who listens well and doesn't gossip. Where Tycan might grow angry with Tristan for a slight, Nathaniel simply listens and brews tea. In a way, he's the closest thing to a sister to Ceci. He rarely works in the afternoons and evenings, either coaching cheer at the local high school or attending dance classes.
Power: Tea reading is an art, according to Natty. But really it's just magic. His particular ability to read tea leaves only appears in tea he himself prepares and only when he serves it to the person whose fortune he intends to tell. It's an innate ability and through trial and error Nathaniel had determined the conditions that allow him great success. He's mostly just grateful that it's conditional rather than constant. He frequently reads people's fortunes who come to the shop and for Ceci and Navutrise. After talking about it with Ceci, she thinks that he's something of a clairvoyant who can read auras. Perhaps why he needs that personal link with his subjects. He's a certified herbalist and can make a poultice as easy as a love potion or tea. Remy finds this positively ridiculous and calls the gypsy man a witch.
Posted 08 June 2011 - 01:38 AM
Physical Description: Pretty big, has been described more than once as "tall and broad-shouldered". An Indian by origin, with the usual brown skin and black hair. Sports a religously maintained beard. Is seen smoking so often that it is generally considered part of his appearence. Usually wears flowery beach shirts that are a size too big for him and a faded pair of jeans.
“It isn’t costing us anything, the magazine covers every expense I wish to spoil myself with for the entire season.” “Hitch” Ganesan slipped his arm around the older woman’s bare waist and pulled her closer. “When was the last time you even went on a vacation? Before Lya was born?” The woman gently pushed him away and lit a cigarette. Only a wild guess could have accurately placed her age somewhere along the late forties; determination and money had preserved her beauty effectively. The twenty year gap between the two of them would elude even the most astute observers.
“Why are you doing this Hitch? I have a life to run here and you know that. But you keep trying to play me like a pawn in one of your stupid games and it really is getting annoying.” she seemed more confused than angry, which he took as a good sign. Convincing a happily married woman to run away with him had been on his to-do list for several years and the instant it became an item on the list, he had known exactly whom the lucky (or unlucky) woman had to be. She walked over to the other end of the room, where the full length mirror was, and began to put her clothes back on, still smoking.
Hitch opened the window behind the bed and let the sun’s rays beam in. He came to her again and stood beside the mirror as she got ready to return to her husband’s room upstairs. “I know you’re angry about what happened the last time I promised a holiday. This is different, you can check for yourself, it’s all over the papers.” She knew this part was true. The Great Shark Hunt had a minor but devoted fan-base in many parts of the world and her lover was one of the most highly sought after journalists to cover quirky events of that nature. “Besides, we both know it’ll be unbelievably fun.” That part, she knew, was probably true too.
“What will I tell your uncle?”
Hitch’s grin widened, he knew he had her. “I’ve already taken care of it. Dad and Uncle Maha are heading to Tokyo this week, you haven’t heard about it because they don’t know it yet. This afternoon, they’ll both get a call from my buddy Maeda telling them their deal is about to go through and that they better get their asses there fast. You tell everybody that you’re going to go stay with your sister while he is gone. That gives us a minimum of three weeks to do whatever the hell we want. If he plans to return earlier than that, I can have you back home and return to Nethel alone.”
It was her turn to smile now. She was flattered that he seemed to genuinely want a vacation with her. “Can I think about it and let you know tonight?” That was all he was looking for. He made a mental note to book a suite at the best hotel he could find in Nethel. He didn’t want to sound as convinced as he already was. “Alright, but give me a good answer.” He pulled her in again for a hug and kissed her forehead. She sighed and rested her head on his chest.
The sun set with slow but steady rhythm and cast a net of darkness over the city, a net that grew as the pale globe of the moon took over. It was surreal even for a dream, an entire city bathed in silver as I patrolled its streets with a shotgun in my hands. There wasn’t a soul in sight and the only sounds I could hear were my footsteps. The skyscrapers around me reached out to the black sky, till they too disappeared into the darkness of the night.
I looked down and felt a strange satisfaction to see myself dressed in black. The attire seemed appropriate for the gothic tone of the dream. The road on which I was walking stretched ahead for a while before merging into a labyrinth of lanes and alleys. I seemed to be walking pretty fast. I knew where I was going.
The cool wind, or something that seemed like it, brushed past my face. The effect was more soothing than I expected, like I was somewhere near a beach. I thought I even heard rushing waves, but I could be wrong.
The lights flashed with startling abruptness and disappeared the same way - they came from the end of the road. I felt my feet raise the pace at which I was moving. Arms tightening their grip over the shotgun, I sprinted as fast as I could. The lights weren’t normal ones, like lightning or flame. They had a bluish tinge to them. They were the unmistakably reptilian eyes of the thing I was stalking. I didn’t stop running till I came to the corner of the road, gun leveled ready and my finger at the trigger. But there was nothing there.
“Looking for something Hitch?” hearing his grating voice behind me, I swiveled around and pulled the trigger. The gun roared and sent me staggering back. It took a chunk off the wall ahead and raised a cloud of dust. By the time it cleared a few seconds later, I got the strange feeling I was alone again. There was no sign of the reptilian eyes or the taunting voice. Only the massive buildings and the eerily silver moonlight remained.
Then, just as abruptly as it began, the dream came to an end. Shit! Six nights in a row and I still can’t catch the damn thing. At this rate, I’m going to lose him forever.
“Hmmmm. So your relationship with this alien entity inside you has taken a turn for the worse. I was under the impression that you wanted our trial session to be more on your incestuous relationship with your aunt Mr. Ganesan.” the shrink tapped his pencil against his jaw and adjusted his glasses. He looked too cliche for Hitch’s liking, but had been very highly recommended for people with “special” problems.
“I think it’s incest only if you’re blood-related doc.And Gotch isn’t really an alien, I don’t know what he is. He’s appeared in my dreams often since I was a teenager, always caged in a cave. He usually appears only to give me advise and answers about things that are troubling me, not to mention valuable tips on making money. But something strange happened last week. Every dream I’ve had since has just been me hunting for Gotch in some weird and abandoned city.”
“So what happened?”
Hitch shrugged. “He broke free.”.
“Yeah, he broke free, thats all I know. I entered the cave during a dream I had last Monday and all I found were broken chains in the usual place and a letter taunting me to catch him. So the hunt has been on since Monday.”
The psychiatrist considered his patient. Reasonably tall and broad shouldered, Hitch reminded him of a Rugby player he knew back from England. The file said he was twenty eight years old and a journalist. The shrink found it strange that such a young man in the profession should have made enough money to afford his services, especially since he had never heard the “Hitch” Ganesan name before.
“What kind of journalism do you do Mr. Ganesan? Maybe your lifestyle has something to do with these disturbances you suffer.” he was used to dealing with patients with “talents”, many of whom fancied themselves as vigilantes and do-gooders, their careers more often than not coming to a sudden end due to depression or death. Being extraordinary, in whatever small way, was harder to cope with than most people would believe.
“Well, I work for a magazine called “Wild Voices”, have you heard of it?”
“I’m afraid I haven’t.”
“I thought not. We publish in over sixty countries but only have a following of about a million and a half readers. We cover events and places that the mainstream more or less ignores, so we have a solid niche of readers willing to pay a lot of cash to read about the offbeat stuff we keep track of.”
The doctor nodded. “This upcoming shark hunt that you mentioned earlier, is it part of that?”
“It is. There’s actually a lot of attention being cast on it because of the idiots who swarm in huge numbers to protest the entire thing as well. Thanks to their publicity, the entire hunt gets more money and attention than it ever would alone.”
“Have you done similar stories before?”
“All the time. I was actually hired by the magazine after they saw the work I had done writing about the underground shoot-fighting tournaments in Thailand. My first major story with them was about the Coorgi wild-boar hunting festival and it was a massive hit with our male readers, so the guys upstairs are hoping I can recreate that magic with the Great Shark Hunt.”
“How interesting.” the shrink mumbled it in a way that was not easy to interpret, Hitch was unable to gauge the sincerity/sarcasm behind the remark. “Tell me more about this being you call Gotch. Your last psychiatrist, Dr Gerald, had some observations.”
“He was just trying to make his job easier by pinning it down to some split-personality type explanation. Gotch first began appearing in my dreams around the same time my adolescent fantasy for my aunt Debra began. Dr Gerald brushed aside his existence by dismissing him as just a way for my brain to cope with the guilt and yearning that this lust had created within me.”
“You think the two are unconnected?”
“I know they are. Debra was just a childhood fantasy, along with many other women. One would think a good psychiatrist was aware that teenage boys have many fantasies, mostly including partners they could never have in real life. The fact that I got Debra when I was older was just coincidence, Gotch was with me for nearly a decade, even when I had moved on to other women and rarely thought of her. Besides, we never spoke about her.”
“So what do the two of you speak about?”
“History, sports, books, films, people, politics, all kinds of things actually. You name a subject and Gotch knows whatever there is to know on it. He rarely shares his knowledge about the future with me unless it is something he feels I absolutely have to know, but he loves to debate. When I was younger he used to tell me what books to read and what movies to watch, so that I could discuss it with him when he next appeared in a dream.”
“He can tell the future?”
“He claims to and I have no reason to think he might be lying. Like I said, he’s given me plenty of valuable information over the years, he even saved my life once by telling me to get out of the hotel I was staying in; a bomb exploded in the building only a few hours after I left.”
Hitch stretched out on the couch and let out a yawn as the doctor spent the next few minutes going through the file he had on his lap. “It is fascinating that you say that Mr. Ganesan because I have...” his sentence was interrupted by the high pitched rings of the telephone on his expensive mahogany desk. The shrink said nothing as he picked it up, listened intently to the voice at the other end, said “I’ll be right there.” and put the phone down. Hitch knew the session was probably over and glanced at his watch. The hour was up anyway.
“I’m sorry Mr Ganesan but I have to rush somewhere. It’s something of an emergency.” the shrink got up and began packing his briefcase. Hitch stretched on the couch again and sprang to his feet. “No problem doc, I can’t keep you for longer than what I paid for anyway.” He smiled and they shook hands.
“Best of luck on your shark hunt story. Nethel might be the right place for you to get your mind off things and get on with your life.”
“I sure hope so doc, I sure hope so.”
Powers: Hitch has no explicit powers to speak of, but plays host to an enigmatic entity residing within him known as Gotch, who often visits him in his dreams and advises him on how to handle the various crises that Hitch has going for him all the time. Some strange things have been happening with Gotch recently, like his escape from "captivity", explanations for which are still not known to Hitch. It is highly possible that Gotch is merely a figment of his imagination - the result of severe drug, alcohol and tabacco abuse over a decade.
Posted 08 June 2011 - 09:28 PM
Description: You remembered her. You didn't think about her actively or anything like that, but you remembered her. The girl who sat next to you in Sophomore Bio. Your surnames were next to each other in the alphabet, appearently, but you never remembered hers. The girl, dressed in gothwear, clad in black with chains bridging the odd places on her oversized pants. The nails on her pale, tiny fingers painted black. And yet her face was free of makeup, her hair without dye. Her circular face, wireframe glasses perched halfway down her nose in your memory, and medium-length, mouse-brown hair. No Dragon Tattoo shit there. She was shorter than you, you remember, but an average size for a girl. Slight. Waifish. Yes, you remembered Neimi. She hadn't changed a bit when she showed up at your apartment door.
History: She was the girl you remembered for the folder full of Jhonen Vasquez and other dark comic books that you read over her shoulder. You saw her draw, a unique, scratch-like style. You remember seeing one of her projects on another class's wall. An entire story, done in German. It fit a meter. It rhymed. And--you remembered her filling an entire college-ruled notebook page with nothing but her writing in the space of five minutes, nothing but her thoughts and random lines from the comic she was reading.
Neimi stops you before you enter your apartment building late at night. Tells you who she is, although you remember. Of course you remember. And she says she needs help, to come to her apartment building. You pause, thinking that this might be a trick, but you look at her and dismiss the suspicion, the absurd suspicion.
You only ask, "Why me?" and she says she found a yearbook, and that you were the first person she recognized. Ah, fate.
She takes you across town, to her apartment, and no sooner has she turned on the light, a bare bulb over the room. Every wall is covered with writing. Black, scratchy writing you can easily identify as Neimi's. The writing covers any flat surface, every cabinet, ever counter, the refrigerator, the windows, even the peaked ceiling has long, unsure writing on it. And in every corner are notebooks, piles and piles of notebooks. You pick one up, flip through it, knowing what you will find--page after page after page of Neimi's handwriting.
Neimi picks up a scrap of newspaper. She hands it to you. It is simply the facts of a bizarre situation in one of the alleys of the city one night. A blinding blue light emitted from the alley, and when police arrived five minutes later, they found two men--muggers, from their possessions--killed, and written in some black, indelible ink on the walls and dumpsters of the alley, something akin to a confession, a written-out process of killing the men and other, stray thoughts.
"I can't control myself, it's all just...stream of consciousness," she says. "When I get Inspired (you can hear the capital), I just write whatever comes to mind. I admitted to murder! I...need help..." You hold her wrist and whisper to her, calming her down.
You sit for the next hour, just talking with her about whatever dumb thing comes to mind, and you can feel your attraction to her returning. At 2:31 in the morning, she gasps and her eyes begin to roll up inside her head. "This...this is it..." she chokes out.
You know what to do. You yell to her. "Write about your high school Biology class!"
Your eyes are seared by light, and when you open them again, a deva stands in Neimi's place, glowing blueish-white. Neimi moves faster than you can see to a notebook, and with no pen in her hand, begins to write. It is a stunning sight.
Some unsure amount of time later, you and Neimi view page after page of Neimi's writing. "It's all one subject..." murmurs Neimi "All just about that Biology class...there are periods! There are semicolons! It all..." she looks towards you. "You helped me! Thank you! Thank you so much!" She kisses you, long and hard.
You make love that night between sheets covered with words, neither of you saying a thing.
A few weeks later, you are on the phone with a publisher. The books you sent him, you say, are from an eccentric genius who will only let the books see print if an edition is never published in Khazan. He agrees, and asks what to call you.
"Muse," you say, "call me Muse."
Powers: When Neimi is Inspired, which can happen for any number of reasons, she is extremely fast, very strong, and very tough, not that many have tried to hurt her. Inspired Neimi writes with a magical, indelible ink that bonds to anything. She only ceases this form after writing to her form's mysterious specifications.
Posted 10 June 2011 - 12:27 AM
Name: John "The Bar Man" Lambert (Newest birth certificate reads John Peter Lambert III)
Age: 109. Physically looks/aged to mid 50's
Physical description: Caucasian. Blue eyes. Light-brown hair, starting to gray from age, however is usually seen with some type of hat whether a worn fedora over 60 years old or a newly purchased baseball cap. Clean teeth with visibly pointed canine incisors. Lean build, 6'1 tall frame. Owns and has worn vastly different costumes and clothing throughout his lifetime (i.e. any piece of "iconic" teenage clothing from the last century and a half). Recently has taken a liking to switching between flannels and an old and beaten 50's era greaser jacket for average days while bringing out a vintage suit and slacks combo, which he hasn't worn regularly since Truman was in office, for more formal occasions. All clothes come complete with hidden gun holsters sewn in "back in the day" for occasions when he decided to take a "just in case" mindset. Now they serve little use other than a good story to tell at (his) local pub. Click for approx picture.
History: Born in 1902, he was raised single-handedly by his mother Nora Lambert in Denver, Colorado. With a modest wealth and peaceful city to live in, John lived the first fourteen years of his life without a single problem as he took proper schooling and learned how to live. However on his fifteenth birthday, he would feel a life changing experience. On a full moon one night, his "powers" awakened themselves. Granted enhanced senses and the key to immense strength, at a price, his mother took time to teach him control. Wanting to use his new abilities for good he joined Chicago PD at age twenty-three after college and having gained control of his powers. He soon figured out things would not be so simple. Within a few years he had risen through the ranks, and just in time for the depression and gangster era to fully hit. Working with the FBI "G-men", he did his best to bring them to justice for the rest of that decade, however the exertion was taxing on John.
It was also during that time in which John learned some of the other perks to being a "werewolf". It had been over twenty years since his first transformation and yet he still looked like he was in his early-twenties. Then was when World War II happened and John was quick to sign up, figuring that taking on the toughest thugs in the Windy City had him more than prepared to handle this new war, however it was a bit difficult to explain to the recruiter how a twenty-something baby face was actually an experienced detective in one of the toughest cities in the U.S. with about 15 years of experience under his belt. John fought bravely over in the Western front of the European theatre, even if he didn't see nearly as much action as he would have hoped due to receiving a round to his chest in the middle of his second tour, which he barely survived. After being patched up and sent back home, he learned that he wasn't quite as invincible as once-thought, so he decided to play it (relatively) safe . After spending all this time doing everything for his country he decided to take things easier, and still having the body of a man in his late-twenties it was a much easier job than most people his age.
It was then that he met the love of his life. Her name was Janice and she was straight out of high-school, he met her at a protesting rally of involvement in Vietnam. The two fell in love almost at first sight. John had found the perfect girl for him and it had only taken 40+ years of looking and a slowed-aging process to find her. For the next two months the two got to know each other closely and did everything together. John really felt like this was the one, so one day he decided to let her in on his biggest secret of all. All in all she took it rather well, even more so since he glossed out a few details involving his age. The two got engaged and had, reluctantly, had a child. The next few years went by, the two having settled down, before things took a turn for the worst. In 1965 John would be given a draft ticket to serve, he was going to Vietnam. Janice begged him to go AWOL or burn his draft ticket, anything to make sure he didn't get himself killed. It was then John realized how much she truly cared for him and while he could have done as she asked easily enough, albeit with some possible problems for him and his new family, John felt a sense of duty as he had all the years before to do what he thought was right. Through Janice's furious response to not wait for him if he left, John somberly left. He spent two years in the service this time before returning home after being injured once again in combat, this time almost fatal and he spent several weeks in intensive care before he was released. Much to his delight and suprise the first person he saw after returning to the states would be a teary-eyed Janice and their daughter. He was given this second chance, but with a warning to never put himself in so much danger again. John promised and it was one he would keep for the next thirty years, give or take a few jobs of once more working with the Feds.
The seventies and eighties were spent well with his family, John having decided he needed to take things easy from that point forward. enjoying each others company until the natural occurance of a child drifitng away and out of the parents lives occured. It was natural, but also particularly heartwrenching for John given his prolonged life up to that point having had her only for that long. Spending the next few years with just his wife as their daughter went off to live on her own, John would begin wonder if he was still of any use to the world. Unbenowngst to him he was having his mid-life crisis, but it would soon be apparant to even him. By the nineties John felt his body begin to change. First a few unwarranted aches and pains here, some gray hair there, and some wrinkling of the face inbetween. At this point he had to face the facts: He was getting old. Not in the meaning of having lived many years, in which case he would qualify as ancient, but his body was past his prime and he just couldn't work like he used to. He couldn't quite pull off new recruit look at this point, yet at the same time he surely couldn't use his past credentials given that anyone that could put in a good work for him was either dead or about twice as old as John appeared to be. With nothing left to live for, John decided to call in an early retirement. He spent the remainder of his wife's years with her enjoying each others company in the simple life. It was the least he could do for the aging woman he had yet to settle down for. Around that time, John had opened up a bar in Old Town, fitting enough given his situation. Decorated with weapons, medals, and other assorted trophies from his century of experience he toted them proud. Though to most bar goers they were merely interesting trinkets with stories behind them that John was more than happy to tell. When not at his place of work, he does visit the beaches as well as what the other cities have to offer. Not much else to do around there after all.
Powers: John has Lycanthropy and is by definition a werewolf. While the transformation is an ability he seldom uses, even in his human form he has cellular regeneration which both causes his body to age at a slowed rate(about half as fast as a normal human) and help him keep in relative health as well as allows him to heal from grievous wounds that would otherwise be fatal, however the extent of what can be healed is limited as he has found out first hand. Other powers he received from the lycanthropy are an enhanced sense of hearing, sight and smell. Compounded with his previous experiences protecting his country, John has become a formidable detective with impressive powers of observation. His decades of experience as various law enforcement and soldiers have also trained him to be a fair brawler and shooter, far from unbeatable but obviously much more skilled than most average individuals.
Posted 10 June 2011 - 01:59 AM
Name: Thomas Nelson
P.D.: Thomas is a little short, but if family history is any indication, he's got one more growth spurt coming in a couple of years that'll bring him up to average heigh. He has a small, well-built frame, capable of handling the physical labors of his chosen profession. He keeps his black hair short, and it's often a bit of a mess; on the open sea this is excusable, but around town it just makes him look a little immature. His skin is tanned from long hours in the sun, and he tends to wear light, loose clothing when not on the job, especially during the warmer months.
History: Thomas grew up as a fairly normal kid in New England. He liked playing outside and doing physical activity, and one of his childhood hobbies included fishing. When his father's brother came to visit from a far-off port town in Khazan, he offered to take the family on a fishing boat trip; Uncle Vernon was a fisherman by trade, and even on vacation he loved being out on the water. Thomas loved it as well; what he would discover on this trip was that he had the same unusual ability that also bound his uncle to his trade as he landed a 20 lb splake in an area that wasn't known for large catches. Subsequent jaunts to the lake all but confirmed that Thomas had an uncanny knack for sensing life under the waves, the same knack that Vernon used to make his business successful.
Vernon offered Thomas the chance of employment when he was of age. His parents insisted that he first finished high school, which he accepted. After graduation, Thomas moved out to live with his uncle, who would begin preparing him for life as a fisherman. Thomas quickly adjusted to the warmer climate and began making new friends. He frequented a local bakery that was once run by an older friend of Vernon's named Lyndsay, and had since been passed on to his great-niece. After a few months of training, he began venturing out onto the high seas with his uncle's other crew members, eager to make a name for himself.
Thomas' first time participating in the Great Shark Hunt was rapidly approaching. He was immensely excited, and also quite nervous; Vernon Nelson was well-known as a perenially strong competitor, so despite his uncle's reassurances, he was somewhat worried about the high standard he would surely be measured against.
When not working out at sea, Thomas can often be found exploring the different sections of Nethel. He's still a relative newcomer around town, and while he's made a few new friends (including those at the aforementioned bakery), being away for days at a time makes it somewhat difficult to maintain a strong social life. He has yet to settle on a particular section of the city, and often spends his free time exploring and seeking out new venues of interest.
Powers: Like his uncle, Thomas has an innate sense of life in the ocean, resulting in an uncanny knack for finding good fishing locations that contribute to his uncle's prosperous business. It's more of a passive ability than an active one; intuition comes in the form of gut feelings, not exact coordinates.
Posted 11 June 2011 - 02:17 AM
Posted 11 June 2011 - 06:29 PM
Posted 11 June 2011 - 06:51 PM
Posted 11 June 2011 - 10:53 PM
[@Kevin] Introduce yourself, get grounded and such. Someone will come play with you if you're interesting enough.
[@Jason] Heh, well feel free to lurk until inspiration hits.
Posted 16 June 2011 - 09:41 PM
Known as: Nutaaq Pattangayok
Description: I ain't the prettiest face to look at, I'll tell you that much. My teeth are kind of a sick brownish yellow from all the cigars I puff away at all day long and I got quite a belly, thanks to the endless supply of beer hidden the back room. I keep my hair long, but I kind of hate it you know I mean? I gotta look the part of being the injun though. Oh don't look so surprised. My skins a little darker than most, but that's mostly cause I spend the day dicing up fish in old town not because my ancestors or somein' like that. My fourth ex-wife was always ridin' me about how chunky I've been gettin'. That's her loss though, there's plenty of me to be goin around but now she's missing on all the fun
History: Now listen here, I don't give out advice too often so pay attention. If you ever need a little extra cash in your pocket, always remember that people are a sucker for a little magic. Tell em' what you have is special and they'll be begging to throw come coins your way. Hell, I can't tell you the bull I've told customers. "This fish will keep away evil spirits" "This fish will make you wife have a boy" And you know what the great part is?! They believe it every damn time!! HA HA! You see, people are always looking for that little flair of magic in their world and if you can give it to them wooooo doggy, you're gonna be eatin' some fancy steak tonight. That's not enough though, you gotta act the part too my man. Now lean in real close, cause I ain't told too many people this before but I'm not even an eskimo. I ain't even been outside of Khazan, and my folks were from Texas. Yeah, yeah the sign above my shop says "Nuutaq's Eskimo Fish Market" but like I said its all about making people believe your something your not. What? My name. Man, I don't even know how to pronounce my name. Just something I looked up online and stuck up on the sign. People come strolling through Town and they see "Eskimo" with a native name they'd never seen before and boom they're already drooling over that 3 day old piece of Salmon that I bought from the market. This is the best part, I tell them that I put a special blessing on it and they pay me twice as much as what I bought it for. Hahaha, man I'll tell you it's a trip. The rest of my life is kind of boring, I'm a here and now kind of guy. Screw the past you know what I mean? Let's put it this way, before I didn't own a damn thing and now I do.
Powers: My talents lie in being able to make up stories on the spot and I can't say why but everybody and I mean EVERYBODY always believes me. Hell, I could tell the next sucker that walks in here that I'm a starving child who's raising money to paint the orphanage and they'd be ballin' they're eyes out while they were writing a check with my name on it. It's a good life my man, it's a good life. And oh before you leave if you could leave some cash for my dog, she needs a big operation, I really would appreciate it.
Posted 18 June 2011 - 11:54 PM
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