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Occular (Worm x SWTOR)

Discussion in 'Questing' started by Aldsan, Jan 10, 2020.

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  1. Threadmarks: Slave 1.6a
    Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    [x] Tell Dean
    [x] Talk with Emma
    [x] Research Martial Arts

    The police had been unable to find Sophia.

    They’d picked up the two morons that she’d gotten to help her attack me and asked me to come in to identify them out of a lineup, but Sophia herself had gone missing. Apparently she hadn’t returned home or gone to school in the past week.

    I would have liked to think that she’d simply run away or been a victim of one of the gangs, but I knew better. The coward had gone to ground. She would be back once the heat was off. It wasn’t in her nature to let this go. The insult would be too much for her to bear.

    Dread churned in my gut. Would she come after me again? Or would she go after Dad? Or maybe Emma? I lowered my face into my hands and took a steadying breath.

    “You doing okay?”

    A reassuring hand settled on my back and I looked up to give a small smile to Victoria. “Yeah. It’s just…”

    “Hey, you’re worried. I get that.”

    I nodded slightly and glanced over at Dean, who had been looking increasingly uncomfortable with each new detail of the story I’d told him. Victoria followed my gaze and asked, “So what do you think? Can you think of a way for me to track this girl down? I was thinking of maybe talking to the Wards about helping if I needed to.”

    “I mean… Do you even need to find her? It sounds like she ran when she heard the police were looking for her.”

    “Dean… I don’t even know the girl and I know that’s stupid. Who do you think she’ll blame for reporting her to the police?”

    He ran a hand through his hair. “Look, I get that she’s probably a bit overly… aggressive. But even if she’s a bully, she probably cares more about intimidation and scare tactics, right? Most bullies are just trying to establish some sort of social dominance. It doesn’t mean she’ll seriously come after Taylor now, especially with the police after her.”

    “Are you kidding?” Victoria’s chair skidded back across the floor as she leapt to her feet. She glared at Dean, but it was me who cringed back. Run. Get away. Escape. I squeezed my fists tight and forced my breathing to calm down. “Taylor had bruises around her throat, Dean! Choking someone out is a lot more than just intimidation and scare tactics!”

    Dean shifted silently under Victoria’s gaze and didn’t respond. Why was he trying so hard to defend Sophia? I frowned slightly and closed my eyes to instead reach out with my feelings. He was… conflicted? Why? There wasn’t any doubt. He believed us. Or at least, he believed that we believed what we were saying. And yet… he didn’t want to believe us? Why? What stake did he have in it?

    I paused as it came to me. “You know her.” My words, barely more than a whisper, cut through Victoria’s shouting as she turned to look questioning at me. “That’s why you’re trying to excuse her. You know her. You’re friends with her somehow.”

    Dean went wide-eyed, confirming to me that, yes, my guess was correct after all. Victoria just looked back and forth between the two of us for a moment before asking in a hard tone, “She’s right, isn’t she? You do know Sophia. How?”

    He licked at his lips, his eyes locked on Victoria. “From the-- From my work, Vicky.”

    “Oh, you have got to be kidding me!” Victoria threw her hands up into the air before grabbing my hand and tugging me out of my seat. She growled out, “C’mon, Taylor, let’s get out of here. Sorry I wasted your time with this.”

    “Vicky, wait--”

    “I don’t want to hear it right now, Dean.”

    She pulled me out of the room. I glanced back and spotted Dean resting his head in his hands, before we moved away from the classroom entirely. “Are you sure you want to leave things like that? I mean… I don’t want to make things awkward with the two of you.”

    “It’s not your fault, Taylor. It’s just…” Victoria pressed her lips into a tight line for a moment before continuing. “Dean always sees the best in people. He always wants to give them the chance to live up to that. And I love that about him.”

    “But sometimes giving people chances just means letting them do whatever they want.”

    “Yeah.” Victoria sighed. “Sometimes words and hope isn’t enough. It’s why heroes like me are out there to begin with. Sometimes you have to act. Sometimes people have to be stopped.”

    I turned the words over in my head. Sometimes words and hope weren’t enough. Sometimes you have to act.

    “Hey,” Victoria interjected, interrupting my thoughts. “So you know Spring Break is next week, right? I was thinking, our family was planning a get-together barbeque thing. You could come hang out if you like? That way I could introduce you to Crystal and Eric and you could help keep Amy from hiding away in her room.”

    I blinked. “Is that really okay? I mean, if it’s a family thing…”

    Victoria waved her hand. “It’s fine. We bring friends over for this sort of stuff all the time. I mean, normally I’d bring Dean, but I think I’m going to let him stew for a bit after today. So you get to be my replacement plus one.”

    “Gee, lucky me,” I drawled.

    Victoria winked in response. “You know it. So come on, you up for it?”

    I rolled my eyes but smiled despite myself. “Let me check my schedule and make sure I don’t have anything else going on, alright?”

    “Sure, sure. And if you can’t make it, it’s not a big deal, just thought it’d be nice to have you.”

    I smiled at that. I’d been doubtful of Victoria at first. Her status here at Arcadia had reminded me too much of how Emma had ruled over Winslow. But for all the similarities I saw between the two, I think Victoria was a genuinely good person at heart. More than that, she was a true hero, the sort that didn’t just put on an act, but raged against injustice. Perhaps that could go too far -- I’d heard the phrase ‘Collateral Damage Barbie’ circled about on PHO a few times -- but I was beginning to be confident that it came from a genuine place of passion.

    I paused and squashed the current of awe that was beginning to thread through my emotions. My opinions hadn’t changed. I think that if Victoria had been at Winslow, she would have spoken out the bullying that went on there.

    On some level, that was the sort of person I wanted to be. The sort of hero I wanted to be. It was like an itch under my skin, the urge to do more with my power than just beat up criminals, but to instead be a leader, to speak against injustice and have my voice be heard.

    Sometimes words and hope weren’t enough.

    If I wanted to help anyone, then maybe I first had to help myself and stop relying on others to fix things for me. I would have to act to protect myself. Sophia was always going to be a threat as long as she went uncaught, and I didn’t want to spend my time looking over my shoulder or worrying over her attacking my dad.

    The police hadn’t been able to catch her and Victoria hadn’t been able to find her. If I was going to do better, then I needed more information.

    Good thing I knew just who to talk to get it.

    ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━​

    I pressed the button and listened to the doorbell echo through the house. It’d always struck me as something odd when I visited, but rather than a short, abbreviated two-note ring, the Barnes’ doorbell played the more drawn out Westminster Chime. It was an uncomfortable reminder of Winslow, which had used the same melody for it’s bell.

    The door opened to Zoe Barnes’ smiling face. “Hey Taylor. It’s good to see you over again.”

    “Hi.” I hesitated, unsure how to refer to her. Miss Barnes felt too formal, but I didn’t feel completely comfortable referring to her as Aunt Zoe anymore. Just referring to her by name felt weird though. I decided to just dodge the issue. “Is Emma home?”

    “She’s in her room. Go on and head up there. I’m sure she’ll be happy to see you.”

    I wasn’t so sure, but I walked up the stairs towards Emma’s room anyways. I still wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach this. If I wanted to demand information or wheedle it out of her. I just knew I needed answers. I paused in front of her door before knocking quietly.

    Emma’s voice answered. “What is it, Mom? I’m busy!”

    “Not your Mom. Are you too busy for me too?”

    There was a thud from the other side of the door and a moment later Emma was yanking it open. “Taylor!” She rushed out, a flurry of red hair flowing behind her as she wrapped her arms around me. “God, I’m glad you’re okay. When the police came by… I mean…”

    I let out a slow breath and forced myself not to pull away, to simply stay still and let her hug me. Where had all this concern been a year ago? I just didn’t understand. Couldn’t understand.

    “I get it. It’s okay, Emma.”

    “It’s not okay. She’s dangerous and I stupidly made you a target by blowing her off.”

    I put my hands on her shoulders and slowly pushed her away. “It’s okay, Emma. I’m not helpless. Now come on, I wanted to ask you about something.”

    She nodded and led me inside and I quietly closed the door behind us. I waited until she sat on her bed to ask my first question. “What has you so convinced she’s dangerous anyways, Emma? I mean, she’s violent, sure, but this seems like more than that.”

    Emma bit down on her lip. She was afraid. So afraid that it filled the room. So afraid that I felt as though I was choking on it. Why? What was it about Sophia that had her so scared?

    “Emma. It’s okay. You can tell me.”

    “I shouldn’t. I’m not supposed to and she’ll definitely come after both of us if she knows I told you.” Emma shivered and pulled her legs up, hugging her knees to her chest. “But… You need to know. You need to know why she’s dangerous.”

    “Emma… what kind of big secret is this that has you acting like she’ll murder us if you tell me?”

    Emma was quiet for a long moment before answering. “She’s a cape, Taylor. She’s Shadow Stalker.”

    I froze as everything suddenly clicked into place. This is how she could get into my locker to trash my stuff even when I’d changed the lock. Because she had powers. Shadow Stalker supposedly had some sort of power to go intangible. More than that though, was that this was the reason Blackwell always overlooked whatever she did. It wasn’t because she was a track star. It was because she was a Ward. A Hero.

    How was someone like that a Hero? How did someone like that have the backing of the Protectorate? Were they just ignorant of what sort of person she was? Or had they just ignored whatever she did the same way Blackwell had?

    My thoughts came to a stop. Dean had defended her. Dean had known her from “work.” I felt my nails bite into the palms of my hands.

    “Taylor, there’s more.” Emma’s voice pulled me from my thoughts. She was pale, trembling as she pushed the words out.

    “She’s killed people before.”




    It is the weekend of March 4th.

    No vote at this time.

    Empathy Dean = 14; Minor interpretation trouble
    +2 XP to [Empathy] from Dean Encounter
    +2 XP to [Empathy] from Emma Encounter
    Hello everyone, you’ll have to wait until next post for the Weekend’s encounter rolls. Would have tried to keep it together, but I had all sorts of delays last week and decided to just get a chapter out. Anyways, it should be a fun one.

    Choices next time, and then we’ll have a set of Interludes.
     
    Garjoat, Kildar, Mikers99 and 16 others like this.
  2. globalwarmth

    globalwarmth ruining the weather.

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    Is she free or is she in a cell in the PRT?
     
  3. Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    Taylor has no way of knowing. (You might get an interlude that answers this soon though).
     
    Eryk, Ragura, Prince Charon and 3 others like this.
  4. Disgruntled Dragon

    Disgruntled Dragon So many beginnings

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    This is an impressive emotional ride. Taylor still has her issues and they are meshing with her new mindset into someone who is horrified by Sophia being Shadow Stalker but also immediately thinks through the ramifications of that information instead of being paralyzed or falling into a spiral.
     
    Prince Charon likes this.
  5. Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    Quick lightning round:

    While on patrol in the Docks area, you come across Rune fighting a group of ABB thugs. This is ABB territory that she is in, and she's a Parahuman fighting against normals. On the other hand, the ABB thugs have guns and are using them. Taylor decides to deescalate the conflict by way of escalating force.

    Who do you assist?
    [] ABB Thugs
    [] Rune
    [] (Write-In) No one. Hide till one side win and attack them, if they look sufficiently weakened.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    Prince Charon likes this.
  6. Its_a_cauldron_plot!

    Its_a_cauldron_plot! ( Or is it Simurgh?)

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    [X] ABB Thugs

    Get rid of the guys using guns. Then we go after the littlest Nazi.

    Plus, leaves her open for * Gasp* Character development! And if said development doesn't happen, we can always just gank her later on.
     
  7. Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    Think you want Rune there if you want to attack the ABB first.
     
    Its_a_cauldron_plot! likes this.
  8. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    [X] (Write-In) No one. Hide till one side win and attack them, if they look sufficiently weakened.
     
    Its_a_cauldron_plot! likes this.
  9. Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    Voting is now closed.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Slave 1.6b
    Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    [x] (Write-In) Assist no one. Hide till one side wins and attack them, if they look sufficiently weakened.
    Technically a tie with assisting Rune. However, given that someone changed their vote to Rune after I declared their write-in to attack both parties unfeasible, I’m tilting it to None. Excuse me while I prepare appropriate music.

    Once again, I found myself hopping along the roofs of the Docks. After Emma’s revelation, I felt the need to take out my unbridled anger upon some hapless criminals. Not that I would seriously harm them. I was a better Hero than Sophia ever would be, and I’d be sure to prove it.

    Just as soon as I found any crime to stop.

    I let out a frustrated sigh and sat down, my legs dangling over the edge. How did the Heroes go about finding crime all the time anyways? Just leaving it up to luck like this felt inefficient. Surely there was some way for me to monitor the city for goings on? Maybe I could get an old police radio and listen in for any reports on their channels… except I would probably need money for that, and I was broke. I put it on the list, right next to a cheap cell phone to call the police with.

    I suddenly found myself very sympathetic for how the adult members of New Wave all had day jobs. Maybe I needed one myself. Except, who would hire a fifteen year old? The cinema, maybe. Or I could babysit, but that wasn’t exactly steady work.

    It’s not like I had the time anyways. Between school, and training, and actually patrolling the city, it felt like I was constantly busy with something these days. Case in point, Zoe had caught me on my way out of the Barnes’ to invite me to dinner next week. I guess Anne and a friend of hers from Cornell were going to be back visiting for Spring Break. A part of me wanted to go. I hadn’t ever been as close to Emma’s older sister as I had been to Emma herself, but there was still a connection there, from back before Emma had betrayed me.

    The only problem was, that the dinner was the same day as the Dallons’ barbeque that Victoria had invited me to. Emma had looked hopeful when I said I’d think about it, and I was supposedly trying to fix things between us… but if I were being honest, I would probably enjoy visiting the Dallons more. There was less baggage there.

    Well, I’d give it some thought. I didn’t have to give an answer right away. I could --

    A sharp staccato that anyone who had lived in Brockton Bay would recognize rang out to the south. I cursed under my breath and scrambled to get to my feet before sprinting to the south, chasing after the gunfire.

    For all my hurry however, it was still a good three minutes of travel, flinching every time I heard another shot go off. I drew on my powers, trying to let them fuel me as best I was able, to make every second count. To never miss a jump. To climb faster than I should have been capable of. I finally leapt down a story and rolled before coming to a stop, taking a brief second to look over the conflict below.

    Five guys dressed in ABB colors had formed a semi-circle facing a car on the street. A red hood peeked out from behind the car for a moment, only to immediately duck back down, as one of the ABB thugs fired a shot in their direction. A moment later, a broken half of a skateboard shot out from under the car to slam into a man’s ankles before returning itself back to whoever had hunkered down back there.

    The man cursed and hopped on one leg for a moment, but I don’t think the attack had actually broken anything. I frowned, trying to figure out who was back there. Clearly it was a parahuman of some sort. I saw the hood pop out for a brief second again and it clicked. Rune. The Empire’s new telekinetic. What was she doing here in ABB territory?

    There were another series of gunshots, but Rune had gone back to hiding. Things went quiet and one of the men started shuffling to the side to try and flank her, only to cry out in pain as half a skateboard flew out to smack him in the face. A moment later, a set of bolts and the car’s hubcap followed, harrying the man as he retreated.

    I frowned. The five ABB guys were cowards, but they were clearly willing to at least wait Rune out and shoot her if she tried to leave. I didn’t have all that much in the way of sympathy for a Nazi, but the longer this went on, the greater chance there was that someone got shot -- either Rune, or some civilian in their house, hit by a stray bullet. Plus, if the five guys hadn’t already called for reinforcements, all the shooting would probably draw other gang members before too much longer.

    I grimaced as I noticed someone leaning out of their window with a cellphone, filming the confrontation. Yeah, that was just asking for something to go wrong. On the other hand… I wasn’t really established on the cape scene. If I jumped out now, I could end up getting associated with the Empire and labeled a villain. If I waited…

    If I waited I could let them whittle each other down. Let Rune take down one or two of the guys before sweeping in to arrest both the ABB goons and the Villain in one swoop. It was a cold thing, willing to risk injury to others for the sake of my own reputation.

    I bit down on my lip. How would that be any different from every person who had seen what I’d gone through at Winslow and simply ignored it? Whether for their own ease or safety or to keep the same thing from happening to them? Hadn’t I just told myself that I would act? That I would be better as a Hero?

    Another gunshot rang out, swiftly followed by the crack of the hubcap against a man’s wrist. My nails dug into my hands. I saw Rune poke her head out from behind the car as another man’s knee bent backwards with a sharp snap. Why was I still hesitating? A bolt smacked against a man’s fingers and his gun fell to the ground.

    I didn’t realize what happened at first. Rune slumped to the ground, the objects she had been manipulating falling with her. The sound of the gun’s misfire blended in with the poorly aimed shots that the ABB thugs had been taking. My breath caught. Rune wasn’t moving. One of the guys was saying something about putting a bullet in her head to be sure, but I didn’t have the mind to listen any more. I slipped down, hanging off the edge of the roof before letting myself drop the rest of the way. The ABB hadn’t noticed me yet, and I had to use that for all it was worth.

    The first guy went down hard and fast. I wrapped my power around his ankles and yanked, sending him sprawling. His gun went skittering away, and with a push, I sent it further. His grunt of pain brought the attention of the other four however.

    “Cape!” I ignored the shout and brought my baton across a man’s broken wrist. The pain made him drop his gun, and I immediately sent it flying to join the first. Two gone, three to go. Disarming these five was the first priority. I really didn’t want to test my ability to dodge bullets. I turned to the next and--

    --jerked back as something heavy hit my shoulder. A second gun went off and I felt another impact in my gut--

    --Fell into a slide. I’d been drawing on my power a bit to push myself through roof hopping, but on a smaller scale, maybe I could keep myself moving even when I was prone. I let myself move between the legs of the asshole who would have shot me and then spun to my feet behind him, my leg lashing out to sweep his from under him.

    I grabbed the gun before he could land on it and sent it to the pile. Next guy was the one with the broken leg and… he’d put his gun down and hands into the air. Alright, I could work with that. I took just enough time to push his gun away and--

    --Felt an arm wrap around my neck, lifting me in a choke hold--

    --Ducked down, spinning around to jab my baton into the final man’s stomach. I followed it up by stomping on his foot and then bringing my fist across his jaw. He went down in a heap and I sent his gun to the small pile. The others were starting to get back up, but they were eyeing me warily. They didn’t have the same stomach for a fight that the three in the alley had a few nights ago. Too used to using the threat of guns to getting their way, maybe.

    I jerked my head. “Leave the guns and get out here.”

    I grinned as they scrambled off. I had to admit there was a certain pleasure in being able to scare off these sorts of goons before they had a chance to put up a fight. True, they’d just gotten finished fighting one cape and another had shown up to kick their ass within seconds. It was probably enough to knock the fight out of most people.

    I took a moment to glance around, before heading over to Rune. The guy with the broken leg had been left behind, but he probably wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Rune though… I turned her over and let out a hiss. The bullet had punched through her shoulder. Even beyond that though, her leg was bent at a sickening angle, and there was a smear of blood on the pavement under her broken skateboard. Had she just been flying through the area and the ABB had shot her out of the air?

    Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and focused on my power. I focused on my connection to the world around me. I focused on my connection to the energy that flowed through everything. Most of all, I focused on my connection to her. Her breathing was shallow. Her heartbeat was faint. But it was still there. I poured myself into her, strengthening her at cost to myself.

    I still didn’t have a good grasp on this part of my power. I knew what I was doing was inefficient, that I could pull on the energy that surrounded us to help. But I didn’t know how, and I couldn’t afford to take the time to figure it out right now, anymore than I could when I’d been faced with that car crash.

    It was inefficient. But it was enough. Rune’s eyes fluttered open and stared up at me. I met her startlingly vibrant gray eyes and gave her a smile. She’d live. I’d see about getting her to the PRT -- I can’t imagine that she’d done enough as a villain yet that they wouldn’t want to try and rehabilitate her. I’d--

    My body jerked forward. What was… It felt like something had punched me in the shoulder. Why was Rune suddenly scared again? I turned. The guy with the broken leg had moved. He’d crawled over to the pile of guns that I’d left lying in the street. I tried to focus on what was in his hand, but everything was so blurry.

    Then, there was darkness.

    ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━​

    “--Flying in ABB territory? I’ve told you before that you have to be careful around those animals.”

    I woke wanting to groan. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to move. Still, I forced myself not to. I didn’t know where I was. It wasn’t the hospital. The bed I was in felt too comfortable, too normal for that. I cracked my eyes open and winced as the light hit them.

    “I was just headed to the library. I thought it’d be fine as long as I was flying. Didn’t think anyone other than maybe Oni Lee would bother me, and at least I’d be able to see him coming.”

    The room was empty, but the door was cracked and voices were coming from down the hall. The room itself was… homely, I guess. It had a certain garishness, not from the decorations themselves being extravagant, but from being decorated by the sort of person who felt every inch of space had to be covered in something. Pictures and crosses and kitschy art projects lined the walls and dressers. The covers of the bed had lace frills.

    Great, I’d been taken back to the house of someone’s Aunt.

    I rolled my eyes and quietly slid out of bed. I had to bite back a whimper of pain, but it seemed to fade a bit once I got myself moving. I stopped in front of a mirror. My hood had fallen back, revealing my dark hair, but my mask was thankfully still in place. A bullet hole laced through the shoulder, exposing pale skin beneath. I stared for a moment, and then raised my hood once more.

    A man’s voice spoke up. “So what’s the deal with the Cape? Do we know who she is?”

    “I don’t know. She saved my life though, and those bastards shot her in the back. Will she…?”

    “She’ll be fine. Probably sore for a few days, but everything major has healed at this point. You, on the other hand, will be limping around for the next few days.”

    I peeked out my door. There were three people in the other room. I recognized Rune’s costume immediately, though she had her hood down, revealing blonde hair beneath. The other two took me a minute to piece together. A woman in a red, skintight bodysuit -- Othala, the Empire’s healer and trump. She could grant powers at a touch, ranging from invincibility to pyrokinesis. The man next to her would be her husband, Victor. He could supposedly steal skills from people. A visit to a dojo was all it took for him to become a master martial artist, all at the cost of the people training there.

    I guess that explained why I didn’t have any extra breathing holes right now.

    Victor tilted his head and asked, “Haven’t heard of any new Wards, and she doesn’t strike me as a Merchant. Think she’s a new Independent?”

    “I don’t know. It makes sense, I guess,” Rune replied.

    “I suppose we could always ask her.” Victor turned and looked at the doorway I was hiding behind. “You can come out, you know. We won’t bite.”

    Rune’s head snapped around to look at me. Well, so much for listening in. I pushed the door open and stepped out. “You sure about that?”

    “Cross my heart,” he replied dryly.

    Othala spoke up. “I’m surprised you’re out of bed. I was expecting you’d be sleeping things off for a bit longer. The Regeneration only goes so far.”

    “I guess I’m just tough that way. I suppose the two of you rescued us?”

    Victor nodded. “Rune had already managed an emergency call. I might not have been in time if not for your intervention, however.”

    Rune flashed me a smile. “Thank you for that, by the way. I don’t suppose my hero has a name?”

    “Seeker,” I replied, trying to ignore the heat suddenly creeping through my face.

    “Seeker. I don’t suppose you’ve had any run-ins with the Protectorate, yet?” Victor asked. “Heard their little speech about joining the Wards?”

    “No. Should I have?”

    “There’s a statistic they like to quote. Most independents don’t last longer than six months. Having a team, or even just a partner, is a big step in making sure that you don’t end up shot in the back.”

    “Is this a recruitment pitch?”

    “Yes and no. I would prefer you join us, obviously. You saved Rune at personal cost to yourself, and I think that’s an admirable trait. I don’t have that same admiration for the Protectorate, who often care more about their optics than making an actual difference in this city. However, I would still prefer to see you join them and have people to support you, than to see you as a corpse in six months, Seeker.”

    I folded my arms. “Talking about making a difference seems pretty out of place, seeing as how you’re part of the biggest gang in the city, Victor.”

    “Crime will always exist. Kaiser believes in keeping it civilized, in protecting the common civilians. The same can’t be said for the ABB, who kidnap women off the street to sell into prostitution. Nor can it be said for the Merchants, who force their poison on innocents.”

    “Yeah… You’ll protect people. Unless they happen to be Hispanic, Black, Asian, Jewish, or Gay.”

    He shook his head. “I will admit that some of our membership takes our rhetoric too far. It is an unfortunate reality of a large organization that is focused on mass recruitment, that not every member lives up to our standards. The Empire as whole doesn’t endorse violence based purely on ethnicity or orientation, Seeker.”

    I frowned. Went unsaid was that while the Empire didn’t endorse violence, it didn’t really discourage it either. And the so called rhetoric taken too far, still talked about how the “lesser” races were lost souls who needed a guiding hand at best, or degenerate beasts who needed to be kept away from “civilized” society at worst.

    “Right. Was there anything else you wanted? Otherwise, I’ll be going home.”

    Rune piped up. “Um, I wrote down my number. Give me a call sometime if you want a partner while you go hero’ing. No strings attached, just someone to watch your back.”

    I let her press the scrap of paper into my hand and shifted uncomfortably. She seemed genuinely happy to have the chance. I wonder if on some level, she’d grown up wanting to be a hero as well, only to end up with the Empire instead.

    Finally, I muttered, “I’ll think about it,” and turned away to head out the door.




    It is the week of March the 7th. It is currently Spring Break.

    You have been invited to two events, but they’re being held at the same time. Which do you attend?
    [] [Dinner]The Dallon’s BBQ
    Hang out with and meet the rest of New Wave.
    [] [Dinner]The Barnes’ Dinner
    Hang out with Emma, her sister Anne, and a friend of Anne’s from college.
    [] [Dinner]Neither
    Gain an extra major action.

    What do you do with Rune’s phone number?
    [] [Rune]Accept her offer
    Get a known villain to be a superhero. Might be bad for your reputation, but maybe you can turn her away from the Empire.
    [] [Rune]Talk but don’t accept
    Use the number to occasionally chat with Rune, but don’t invite her out. Not a complete spurning, but it can still hurt to have a friend who doesn’t want to be seen with you.
    [] [Rune]Reject
    Don’t talk to Rune, don’t look her in the eye, don’t shake her hand. Stay away from the Nazi.

    Where does Taylor patrol?
    [] Trainyard
    [] North Docks
    [] South Docks
    [] Commercial District
    [] Downtown
    [] Southern Coast

    You have 2 Training Actions.
    [] (Write-In)

    You have 4 Major Actions.
    [] Spend extra time patrolling.
    [] Start working on tracking down Sophia yourself.
    -[] Scout out Shadow Stalker’s old haunts.
    -[] Talk to her family.
    -[] Talk to hobos in Merchant territory, see if they’ve seen anything.
    -[] (Write-in)​
    [] Hang out with Emma.
    -[] Doing what? (Write-In)​
    [] Hang out with Vicky.
    -[] Doing what? (Write-In)​
    [] Hang out with Amy.
    -[] Doing what? (Write-In)​
    [] Hang out with Rune.
    -[] Practicing fighting. Turns out she’s had some training from Hookwolf.
    -[] Doing what? (Write-In)​
    [] Search for gainful employment.
    -[] Babysitting (1 minor expense per week, low time commitment. 5% chance of interrupting a major action due to schedule conflict).
    -[] Movie Theaters (3 minor expenses per week, medium time commitment. 40% chance of interrupting a major action due to schedule conflict).
    -[] Retail (1 large, 1 minor expense per week, large time commitment. 75% chance of interrupting a major action due to schedule conflict).
    -[] (Write-in)​
    [] Study at the Library
    -[] Surfing PHO
    -[] Maybe look on some books on acting to have a more impressive cape presence?
    -[] You’ve got some biology homework to work on.
    -[] Research engineering.
    -[] Something Else? (Write-In)​
    [] (Write-In)


    Cape Encounter = 18; Yes | 17 = E88 | ... Forcing a Rune encounter. | Rune Death Saves = 2, 8, 19, 18, 18; Rune Survives | Scare off the goons? = 17; Yeah, they run | Prescience save while distracted healing? (DC8) = 2; Ow | Rescue? = 5; E88 | Mystery Dice = 20; Well, that should be interesting | Info Othala? = 17; yes | Info Victor? = 13; Yes

    Civ Encounter = 20; Yes | Cancelled due to injury.
    +2 to [Quick Reflexes] from Training
    +2 to [Inertia]
    +1 to [Surge]
    +2 to [Push]
    +1 to [Prescience]
    +1 to [Vital Transfer]
    Hello everyone, and welcome here again.

    So some quick bookkeeping. I decided to be generous with the ability gains this time. Prescience is now finished, so you’ll see it’s follow ups now. I’ve also switched “Telepathy” with “Probe,” so there’s a new ability for you to look at on that end. I’ve also done some minor cost decreases here and there.

    In addition, those of you who look back at the character sheet should notice that I’ve changed things significantly. I’ve added “Skills” bonuses. These act as dice modifiers on certain checks, and will grow slower than your abilities. Please feel free to drop any suggestions for other Skills you think should be added.

    I’ve also added a Persons of Note section to keep track of Taylor’s “relationship points” with various people. This is still under progress. Please feel free to throw any art that you think works for a certain character at me. Also, the Reputation scale will run from -10 to +10, depending on whether you’re a hated enemy or trusted ally. I’d appreciate any input on what the different Reputation titles should be as well. (ie, Acquaintance, Friend, etc.)

    I have also codified how your money will work. 1 Small Expense is something on the level of about $20. 1 Large Expense is worth 5 Small Expenses.

    Next couple chapters will be Interludes, so I’ll see you next time.
     
  11. Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    Oh, as a bit of a fun thing, I edited down the Ability Tree so that you could get a visual of what you have so far:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests

    WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests Not too sore, are you?

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    [x] [Dinner]The Dallon’s BBQ

    [x] [Rune]Accept her offer

    [x] Trainyard

    [x] Inertia
    [x] Quick Reflexes

    [x] Hang out with Rune.
    -[x] Practicing fighting. Turns out she’s had some training from Hookwolf.
    [x] Hang out with Emma.
    -[x] Hang out and apologize for not being able to make it to the dinner; you already promised to go to the Dallon’s.
    [x] Hang out with Vicky.
    [x] Hang out with Amy.

    I have come to the conclusion that I am terrible at making write-ins...
    Also, the picture isn’t showing up for me Aldsan
    Edit; nvm, just a loading problem.
    It actually helps a surprising amount to see it like this; thanks.
     
  13. Its_a_cauldron_plot!

    Its_a_cauldron_plot! ( Or is it Simurgh?)

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    [x] [Dinner]The Dallon’s BBQ

    [x] [Rune]Accept her offer

    [x] Trainyard

    [x] Inertia
    [x] Quick Reflexes

    [x] Hang out with Rune.
    -[x] Practicing fighting. Turns out she’s had some training from Hookwolf.
    [x] Hang out with Emma.
    -[x] Hang out and apologize for not being able to make it to the dinner; you already promised to go to the Dallon’s.
    [x] Hang out with Vicky.
    [x] Hang out with Amy.
     
  14. Oathsblood

    Oathsblood Making the rounds.

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    With currently how Taylor is reacting to things we really should increase her skill with healing before she causes more problems with herself. Currently if some is injured she will heal them and it dosn't matter if it makes her sick. Also we will be going to the Dallon's BBQ so she may get healed there.


    [x] [Dinner]The Dallon’s BBQ

    [x] [Rune]Accept her offer

    [x] Trainyard

    [x] Vital Transfer
    [x] Vital Transfer

    [x] Hang out with Rune.
    -[x] Practicing fighting. Turns out she’s had some training from Hookwolf.
    [x] Hang out with Emma.
    -[x] Hang out and apologize for not being able to make it to the dinner; you already promised to go to the Dallon’s.
    [x] Hang out with Vicky.
    [x] Hang out with Amy.
     
  15. Exorsus

    Exorsus Getting out there.

    Joined:
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    [x] [Dinner]The Dallon’s BBQ

    [x] [Rune]Accept her offer

    [x] Trainyard

    Not sure if you can train a new skill branch before mastering the trunk it comes from in the tree.
    If you can
    [x] Force healing
    [x] Redirect shot
    If not
    [x] Vital Transfer
    [x] Quick Reflexes

    [x] Hang out with Rune.
    -[x] Practicing fighting. Turns out she’s had some training from Hookwolf.
    [x] Hang out with Emma.
    -[x] Hang out and apologize for not being able to make it to the dinner; you already promised to go to the Dallon’s.
    [x] Hang out with Vicky.
    [x] Hang out with Amy.
     
  16. Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    You cannot. You must train the prerequisite first.
     
  17. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

    Joined:
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    [X] [Dinner]The Dallon’s BBQ

    [X] [Rune]Reject

    [X] Trainyard

    [X] Vital Transfer
    [X] Vital Transfer


    [X] Hang out with Emma.
    -[X] Hang out and apologize for not being able to make it to the dinner; you already promised to go to the Dallon’s.
    [X] Hang out with Vicky.
    [X] Hang out with Amy.
    [X] Study at the Library
    -[X] Maybe look on some books on acting to have a more impressive cape presence?
     
  18. Threadmarks: Interludes 1.x - Laura, Thomas
    Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    Laura padded quietly down the street, hood drawn up against the light rain. It wasn’t exactly her favorite weather to be out in, but it was ideal for what she planned to be doing tonight.

    Namely, robbing a Check ‘n Go.

    She scowled as she paused across the street from the place. She didn’t feel guilty over the choice -- these payday loan places preyed on the poor and the needy and strangled the life out of them. This was just a bit of karma. No, it was just that it felt so small. So petty. She’d been a big name back in Hartford. Not the sort of big that could stick around to tangle with Legend, sure, but she’d been respected. Feared. Then Mouse Protector had apparently decided that the on and off clashes they had weren’t enough and had made it her personal mission to bring Laura down.

    Every time she went out to rob a place, Mouse Protector was there. Every time she and her friends fled back to a safehouse, Mouse Protector followed. They’d left for Providence and Mouse Protector had still shown up!

    So here she was, in Boston, with the rest of the gang split up, robbing some piddly place to get the cash for food because she couldn’t seem to get rid of the bitch. God, she didn’t even know what excuse she’d be able to give Karen about having moved again when she called next time.

    How long until Karen pieced together that Laura was actually the Villain who kept moving to all the same cities at the same time Laura did?

    She sighed and strode up to the door. Locked for the evening, but that had been expected. Breaking the glass would trip the alarm and send the police scrambling, but she hoped she’d be done here by the time they arrived. It’d taken a careful two days and a papercut on the manager’s finger to figure out how to open the safe here.

    Laura raised the brick that she’d brought to smash through the door. Before she could however, a pebble bounced off the door and hit her in the forehead. What…? No. No, no, no, no!

    “Halt evildoer! Though the city may sleep, Justice never does!” A woman stood atop the building behind her, the mouse ears of her helmet stark against the night. She swept an arm back, letting her cape flutter in the breeze.

    “No! How? How did you find me?! How are you already here?!”

    "A mouse is small and can go unnoticed: but there is no limit to what a brave heart and a fearless spirit can achieve."

    “No, fuck you, that’s not an actual answer! Just go away and leave me alone already!”

    Mouse Protector tossed a small pebble down, and with a small pop, appeared in front of Laura with sword and shield in hand. “I mouse ask you a question, Ravager. Do you remember that bank heist you pulled last year? The one where your whole group managed to disappear right out from under the Protectorate’s nose?”

    She did. The crew had actually pretended to escape while hiding themselves as hostages. She’d had to give herself a scar to sell the part. “What of it?”

    “You hurt a friend of mine, Ravager. I’m bringing you in this time.” Mouse Protector’s voice had gone deadly quiet, a marked change from her usual bluster and cheer. The silence afterwards stretched out for a long, tense moment before she spoke up again, her persona returned. “So I suggest you surrender yourself now, Ravvy! We can do this the easy way… or the Mouse way.”

    Fuck. So Mouse Protector did have a grudge. Laura took a step back, carefully drawing the machete she kept at her waist. “That wasn’t even a pun, you idiot. Anyways, get lost already. I don’t care what happened to your friend, and I’ll do worse to you if you keep coming at me like this.”

    “Aw, I knew you loved the puns, Ravvy. Be warned however, that if you continue down this path, then I shall be forced to use my weapons of mouse destruction.”

    Laura squinted. “Wouldn’t that mean they’d be hurting you?”

    “...Well, nevermind that. En garde!”

    With that, Mouse Protector threw a scattering of pebbles at Laura. She knew it was largely a distraction, as the Heroine appeared behind her with a faint pop a moment later. Laura had fought Mouse Protector enough times to anticipate it though, and her machete was ready to meet the Heroine’s sword.

    “Not bad! But you can do cheddar than that!”

    “Do you ever shut up?” Laura growled and kicked out to try and sweep Mouse Protector’s feet, only for the Heroine to disappear again with a faint pop. Laura immediately threw herself to the side, dodging the sword strike that came from behind. God, that teleportation was bullshit to fight against. She just needed to score one good hit though. One good hit and Mouse Protector would have to fall back to treat it, keep it from festering. One good hit and Laura would have a tag on the Heroine, letting her know whenever she was coming.

    Of course, Mouse Protector’s power made it incredibly difficult to land that hit.

    “Never! Mine is the mouth of Justice, and my words are Wisdom.”

    Laura waited for the small pop before spinning to intercept Mouse Protector’s sword, parrying it aside and driving her knee up into the Heroine’s gut. She popped away a second later before Laura could follow-up, but it was still a moment of vindication. “Yours is the mouth of a moron. Just crawl back into whatever hole you came out of already.”

    There was a pop and… Wait, Mouse Protector was in front of her this time? And not attacking? There was a wide smile on her face… “You did it Ravvy! You punned!”

    “No. No! That wasn’t a pun!”

    “It was! I’m so proud.” Mouse Protector wiped a nonexistent tear from her eye. Laura responded by punching her. She barely skimmed Mouse Protector’s chin however; the Heroine fell backwards into a handstand and held the pose for a moment before flipping to her feet. “Now that was just rude.”

    “Your face is rude.”

    Mouse Protector stared at her and Laura fought to keep the blush from her face. “Uh. Wow. Are you fur real?”

    “Yeah, that was uh.” Could she just rewind time and get a do-over? “Maybe we should just -- SNEAK ATTACK!”

    Laura lashed out as she shouted. Mouse Protector seemed like she was taken more off guard by the sudden shouting than the actual attack. Just as planned. It totally wasn’t to cover up the stupidity that she’d just engaged in. Not at all.

    In fact, it was such a good plan that the tip of the machete just barely managed to nick the Heroine’s arm as she jumped away. Laura grinned as the small cut began to smoke and she felt an awareness slide into her mind. Mouse Protector teleported to the side and Laura followed with an instinctive knowledge of where the Heroine was.

    Another stroke and she cut across Mouse Protector’s thigh. The Heroine was on the back foot now, each of her teleporting strikes anticipated by Laura and countered with a swift slash. Behind, two feet to the right, now to the left, the right again. Mouse Protector was trying to regain the offensive, but Laura knew exactly where she would be now and that made countering… Not easy exactly, but it still gave her the advantage in their exchanges.

    Another pop and Laura spun, her fist coming around to smash into Mouse Protector’s face. The Heroine went down in a heap and Laura immediately took off running for where she’d left her bike. Fuck, that’d felt good to finally do. Hopefully the cuts she’d left Mouse Protector with would delay any sort of chase long enough for her to lose the idiot this time. If Mouse Protector was stupid enough not to get them treated, they’d fester and rot and leave her with one less arm and leg to fight with.

    The question was where to go now?

    She could head west, try to make her way to Albany or maybe even towards Canada. Or she could double back south, lose the Mouse in New York. Laura shook her head at that. Mouse Protector was one of the inaugural Wards. Even if she’d left the Protectorate, she’d still have Legend’s backup if things came down to it, and that was one thing Laura didn’t want to deal with.

    No, the further away she was from that the better. Brockton Bay was supposed to be a mess with the amount of villains they had running around right? What was one more added to the pile?

    Laura ran into the deepening storm.




    “Enhanced reflexes of some sort for sure. She’s dodging hits, but it’s just speed, not training. Some sort of enhanced senses as well. She dodged that guy who came at her from behind… Wait, she started dodging before he even moved. Some sort of combat precog, maybe.”

    Thomas Calvert frowned and leaned back in his chair. Enhanced speed, precognition, and telekinetics was a potent combination for a grab-bag cape, even if they clearly hadn’t refined their technique yet. It made the possibility of her recruitment by the E88 all the more concerning. “Any prior connections to the Empire?”

    “...No, I don’t think so. Has aspirations at being an Independent Hero. Didn’t really want to step in to help the Nazi until after she saw Rune get shot, at which point she felt obligated.” A useful lever, though not sufficient on it’s own. “Of course, with Victor carrying the two of them off in the aftermath, it’s hard to say if that will stay the case.”

    That was the crux of the issue, wasn’t it? Victor and Othala were likely to try and give the new Cape a soft sell, especially in the wake of her saving Rune, but even that could be troublesome down the line. The Empire was already stronger than he’d like. It was a delicate balancing act, keeping the gangs of the city powerful enough to make Piggot seem ineffectual, but weak enough that his eventual strike would remove them all.

    “Sorry Boss, I think that’s all I got. It’s harder to get stuff from a video like this.”

    She was lying, the annoying girl, but that was fine. The PRT had seen the video and done it’s own analysis on it as well. They had failed to pick up on the precognizance -- they had concluded enhanced senses -- but they didn’t fail to notice how whatever the new Cape had done had caused Rune to wake once again. Healing of some sort, was the going theory, though it clearly required consciousness, so it wasn’t gifted in the way Othala’s was.

    A potent combination indeed.

    “Very well, Tattletale. You will receive payment to the usual account.”

    He waited for her acknowledgement before hanging up the phone and closing his eyes. A second troublesome element to add alongside the ticking time bomb that was Sophia Hess and the Hebert case. The activities of Shadow Stalker had always been meant to come to light. When combined with how Piggot had decided the mandatory therapy sessions for Protectorate and Ward members were an unnecessary expense, it would be one more black mark that would see the damnable woman out of office. However, Sophia Hess had managed to outperform all his expectations.

    As it was, things were set to explode early.

    So he’d been forced to delay as best he could. He’d slipped Hess the information that the police were after her and sent her to ground. He’d continue to feed her information on the various gangs, help her with her vigilante streak, in the hope that it would distract her from doing something as stupid as going after her civilian victim again.

    He didn’t anticipate the situation would hold very long.

    In the meantime however, he needed his agents to delay the court date for the Heberts’ suit against Winslow. The entire situation would require more media coverage. Soon, one of his lawyers would offer to take the case pro bono, or at least, that would be what they would inform the Heberts of.

    In the meantime, he would have to keep an eye out for any other troublesome elements that could intrude upon the city. The Slaughterhouse Nine had apparently last been sighted in Winslow, Arizona, which thankfully, was close to as far as it was possible to be with them still in the United States. There had been some sort of meteor strike near Toronto that Dragon had cordoned off, citing radioactive material. Not so unusual, though he would have expected it to be a cover for one of her factories being in the area, except for the files in the PRT that were classified even above his moles’ ability to access. That was worth a raised eyebrow, but was ultimately irrelevant to Brockton Bay.

    No, the largest difficulty was timing. It felt as though he were a juggler tossing spinning plates in the air hoping they did not fall and break. His plans were coming to a head however. A few more months and he would cleanse this city of the gangs and make it the safest place in the United States. A few more months and he would rule this city.

    The phone rang. He checked the caller and allowed it an additional two rings before picking up. “Ah, Mister Andino. It’s good to hear from you again. I trust you’ve reconsidered my job offer?”




    It is the week of March 7th.

    Hello again everyone. A few plot threads here. Next chapter will also be an interlude, so look forward to it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
    Garjoat, Kildar, Mikers99 and 16 others like this.
  19. Darth.

    Darth. Verified Lurker

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    10 bucks says the Toronto meteor strike is a life-support escape pod/piece of a starship.
     
  20. Threadmarks: Interludes 1.y - Alec, Dinah
    Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    Strictly speaking, gambling was illegal in the state of New Hampshire unless operated by the State. Strictly speaking, that only mattered if the government had the manpower to enforce its laws. It was an open secret that the Ruby Dreams Casino operated just outside city boundaries, but with the amount of gang activity that went on in Brockton Bay, no one really had the time or effort to spare for shutting it down.

    There were bigger fish to fry than a modest sized casino.

    That’s what they were counting on anyways. With the Ruby Dreams’ distance from the city, response time by the cops and the PRT should be slow. Their in-house security was enough to deal with random gangbangers who wanted to enjoy a night squandering whatever cash they had scrounged up, but it wouldn’t stand up under a raid.

    Or so Lisa had said.

    “I dunno, Tattles, their security is looking a bit beefier than you described them.”

    “Please, they’re just there to look big and intimidating. They’re basically Mall Cops.”

    “Yeah, no, these guys look a lot closer to fucking John Kimble than Paul Blart, Tats. Pretty sure they’re packing heat too.”

    Brian cut in. “Chill, Regent. We’ve got a plan. As long as we stick to it, they won’t even know what hit them.”

    “Fine, fine, just don’t blame me when things go tits up.” Not that Alec actually cared. It’d probably be fun if it did. He just wanted the excuse to bitch at Lisa for it later. Lisa rolled her eyes. Alec flipped her off from the comfort of his own mind. Lisa smirked back at him. Fine. You win this one, you mind reading bitch.

    Lisa actually let out a laugh at that. “Don’t you forget it either. Now come on. We’ve got a paycheck to steal.”

    “Dumbasses.”

    Alec flashed a grin at Rachel’s comment. “My ass is brilliant, thanks.”

    Rachel growled in response, but the team was already moving, darkness spreading out to cover the casino. A guard panicked and raised his gun, firing blindly into the darkness. He wasn’t anywhere close to hitting them, of course, but still, it was better to avoid that. Alec waved his scepter and the man’s hand spasmed and dropped the weapon.

    The guard went down a moment later, pinned by the weight of Rachel’s dog. Alec casually kicked the stupid fuck in the balls as he walked past. Brian looked at him. Alec was pretty sure he was frowning under his helmet, but he couldn’t see it. So, eh. Not like Brian actually said anything. He began sauntering up the stairs.

    Inside, there were another set of guards, but at least these ones weren’t dumb enough to blind fire into darkness. Alec forced them to stumble and fall and Brian hopped on top of them to tie them up. Heh. Maybe he could rag on Brian later for tangling with big, sweaty men.

    Lisa led them down another hallway, down a flight of stairs, and finally to the manager’s office. There were only another five goons along the way. Pretty disappointing, all in all. The manager himself was a vaguely Asian looking man, probably why the casino got so much business from the ABB, who was cowering under his desk. Brian cleared the darkness in the room and Lisa sauntered around the desk. “Why hello there, Mister Kato. I’m afraid this is a robbery.”

    “Look, you won’t get anything here. Other gangs have tried before. I’ve already triggered our alarm. Everything’s been locked down. Even I couldn’t open any of the cashier’s drawers or our vault downstairs until the owner has verified that we’re clear from a remote location.”

    “Oh, don’t you worry about that, Mister Kato.” Alec raised an eye as he watched Lisa subtly insert a USB into the man’s computer. That wasn’t something they’d talked about during the plan. A second objective from their “Boss,” maybe? “I’m not too worried about the sham vault you have to show off downstairs. No, what I’m more concerned about is what the code is to the vault you have hidden behind your bookshelf over there.”

    The man went pale. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    “Mmhm. Good thing I’m a psychic then.” Lisa tapped the side of her head with a grin. “Let’s see… One two zero eight seven three four seven? Aw, it’s your daughter’s birthday and the last four digits of her phone number? That’s sweet, Mister Kato. Terrible security, but sweet. I’m done with him now, Grue.”

    Ah, there was the moment that the guy pissed himself in fear. He’d been wondering how long it would take. Lucky for him Grue wasn’t the type of thief to kill his loose ends. Didn’t want the sort of heat that would bring. Neither did Alec really. Less attention meant less chance of any of his family finding him. Anyways, it seemed they were just about done here. Grue was finishing tying the guy up, Lisa was cracking the safe, and…

    “Shit.”

    Grue’s head snapped up. “What’s the problem, Tattletale?”

    “Seems like Mister Kato here was something of a naughty boy. He’s been funnelling a portion of the profits over to the ABB.”

    “Protection money? Or is he a mole?”

    “A mole. The owner wasn’t aware. Fuck, he’s going to get outed after this. The ABB’s going to be pissed.”

    “Best we clear out and lay low for a couple of weeks then.”

    Lisa was moving, scooping everything into a set of duffle bags they’d brought along. “Yeah, we’ll talk it over back at base.”

    “Right. Might be good to look into recruiting if we’re going to start pissing off the bigger gangs.”

    “Back at base, Grue. For now, we need to get moving. We’ve got maybe five more minutes before the Protectorate starts showing.” Lisa tossed a duffel at Brian before shouldering one herself. A quick grab of the USB and they were out the door. Alec hung back to hit the manager with his taser before following. A guy’s gotta have a hobby, right?

    Outside, Rachel had already gathered the dogs and Lisa and Brian were mounting up. Alec hopped up behind Brian and wrapped his arms around their leader. “Hey there, honey. No homo, am I right?”

    Brian looked back at him, gaze inscrutable under the skull-faced helmet. Yeah, Brian was totally into it, he could tell. Brian finally shook his head after a moment and looked back forward as the Undersiders took off into the night.

    Lisa spoke up, shouting to be heard over the wind. “Grue, you’re going to want to spread your darkness two blocks south! Velocity’s going to be the first responder and we’ll need to lose him fast!”

    “Got it!”

    The world fell into silence as darkness enveloped them. They would still be able to hear each other, Grue could control his darkness to an extent, keep things visible and audible for his allies but not his enemies; but everything else was cut away. There was only the roiling mass of muscles under their legs, the small grunts every time a dog jostled one of them. Not the smoothest of rides, these dogs, but they did in a pinch.

    “Alright, veer west now. Velocity’s about to catch up, so it’s your turn, Regent. Make him take a spill.”

    True to her word, Velocity came charging through the darkness. He was obviously blind, hands stretched out in front of him, searching. He would have completely passed them by even without Alec’s interference. Still, the nature of his power gave him an advantage in this sort of blind search. According to Lisa, it wasn’t actually increased speed, so much as changing how time affected his body. So to him, the sixty mile per hour sprint through the darkness was actually a careful walk as he searched for a way through.

    Regent made his leg spasm and sent the Hero tumbling. It wouldn’t make a huge difference, but it would confuse Velocity’s sense of direction, especially as he made the man spin a bit to the left while falling. By the time the darkness dissipated enough for him to see again, the Undersiders would be long gone.

    “Piece of cake, Tats.”

    “You suck at nicknames, by the way.”

    “Le gasp. That hurts me right here. Right in my heart.”

    “Cut the chatter, you two,” Brian said, sounding exasperated.

    Alec laughed but stopped talking, letting the Undersiders travel in companionable silence, riding under the high of a well-done heist. It was another forty minutes of winding paths, not travelling straight back to their base, but instead twisting and turning through the city to lose any would-be followers.

    When they finally came to a stop, Alec hopped off and rubbed at his ass. Really, not the smoothest of rides, these dogs. “So how’d we do anyways, Tattles? What sort of haul did we get?”

    “Not counting the bonus from our Boss? Close to sixty. Not bad for a quick and easy job, eh? Think you’ll have enough for your loot boxes?”

    “As a preeminent whale, I’m sad to inform you that there is never enough cash to fill the hole that gacha has left in my heart, Tattles.”

    “Yeah, well, try not to spend it all in one place at least.”

    “Mm, we’ll see.” He started up the stairs towards the loft, only to find Rachel standing in the doorway looking inside. “Hey Bitch, some of us want to get to sleep sometime tonight.”

    Rachel growled in response. The fuck? He tilted his head and saw dark hair draped over the side of the couch. The double fuck? Had someone found their base?

    “Oh good, you guys are finally back. I was getting tired of waiting.”

    The dark hair lifted and turned itself, and Alec spotted a red streak dyed through its bangs as its owner looked at him. “Hey little bro, I’ll be crashing here for a while. You don’t mind, right?”




    Dinah rested with her face buried inside her pillow. She wanted to get up, get an ice pack from downstairs, but she didn’t want to move either. The headache had been steadily growing, a throbbing tension that radiated throughout her skull. Like something was trying to escape. Like a firehose that had no release. It just built and built until she felt like exploding.

    It’d been going on for days now. Her parents had written it off at first -- people had headaches now and then. Migraines, even. But it had persisted. Now they were talking about taking her to the hospital, getting an MRI scan.

    73.42% chance of being kidnapped if her brain was scanned.

    She winced, her headache intensifying for a moment. It was hardly anything though. A grain against the mountain that was already piercing her brain. She had powers. She’d figured that out. The flickers of vision, the numbers that clarified, all of it was enough for her to know. If only she knew what her powers were trying to tell her.

    Another spike of pain and Dinah curled up, whimpering. There was another vision there. A future with thousands of parahumans gathered in one place.

    And then every single one of them died.

    How?

    Another future. The world was barren of all life.

    How?

    She looked and parahumans were fighting something she couldn’t see. And then everything died.

    Why?

    She stood there, ankle deep in snow. She slowly walked through a crowd. Everyone was scared, nervous, pent up, excited. They were expecting a big battle on the horizon. They were fighting for their future against an implacable enemy. But they would fight nonetheless.

    Then someone pointed at the sky. Dinah followed their gaze and saw, one by one as the stars began to go out.

    [FEAR]

    [DESPAIR]

    One by one the stars went out. The world was consumed by darkness. And everything died.

    Dinah shrieked. Her headache was gone, but it didn’t matter.

    99.78% chance that the end would begin within three years.




    End of Arc 1.

    It is the week of March 7th.

    Taylor has gained 1 skill point.

    [] Academics
    [] Diplomacy
    [] Investigation
    []Underworld Connections
    [] Treat Injury
    [] Stealth
    [] Slicing
    [] Artistry
    [] Artifice
     
  21. globalwarmth

    globalwarmth ruining the weather.

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    [x] Investigation
     
    Prince Charon likes this.
  22. Deamon

    Deamon Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] Treat Injury
     
  23. Deamon

    Deamon Not too sore, are you?

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    The ones with a image cover up the rep stat.
     
  24. Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    It works for me, but maybe that's because I'm on a widescreen. :\ I'm surprised it isn't automatically text wrapping though, it should be.
     
  25. Deamon

    Deamon Not too sore, are you?

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    I was and am on a phone right now, probably an error with the site since normally stuff like this works.
     
  26. Its_a_cauldron_plot!

    Its_a_cauldron_plot! ( Or is it Simurgh?)

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    [X] Treat Injury
     
  27. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    [X] Investigation
     
  28. WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests

    WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests Not too sore, are you?

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  29. Threadmarks: Acolyte 2.1a
    Aldsan

    Aldsan (Mysterious Heroine)

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    [x] Attend the Dallon’s BBQ
    [x] Accept Rune’s Offer

    [x][Patrol] Downtown (Tied with South Docks, coin flipped)

    [x][Training] Quick Reflexes
    [x][Training] Push

    [x][Action] Hang out with Rune (Fighting)
    [x][Action] Study at the Library (Biology)
    [x][Action] Study at the Library (Engineering)
    [x][Action] Find Employment (Babysitting)

    [x][Skill] Artifice

    The hallway was carved with patterns layered on patterns, the designs opulent, yet unimaginative. Austere by way of a lack of creativity rather than any lack of money. There were statues, impressive for their size, yet clearly carved by unskilled hands. The gold that had once shone through the hall had long stripped away and all of it was caked in a layer of grime, the disuse was plain to see.

    This place hadn’t started as a tomb, I reflected. It had become one through the ravages of time. Once however, I suspect it was a temple. Or a palace. It had been a show of wealth to those who lived below, for all that the wealth was gaudy and built on the back of slaves.

    There were many places such as this on Korriban.

    Many thought of Korriban as a world of ancient tombs, and indeed, the tombs of the great Sith Lords drew much of the attention that the planet received. Most forgot however, that it had once been the homeworld of the Sith. They had not just been buried here. They had lived here, breathed here, made memories here.

    I trailed my fingers along a statue. The memories in the stone were faded, stripped away by time. Some small remnant remained however, echoes of the slaves’ pain lingering in the rock like ghosts pulled from time.

    Footsteps echoed down the hall, but I didn’t bother to look. The one who was coming had done nothing to conceal herself, and I’d felt her presence approaching some time ago. “So this is where you got to. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what you see in poking about in these dusty old ruins.”

    “Hello to you as well, Sai’da.”

    “Oh, don’t give me that. Those sort of courtesies are for strangers to dance around each other.”

    I rolled my eyes. For being the scion of a noble house, Sai’da didn’t put much stock in playing polite. She was quick to use her biting wit regardless of the target -- oftentimes on her own instructors, even. It was something I appreciated about her.

    “You spend time in the tombs often enough. How is this any different?”

    “There are still relics to be found in the tombs. Artifacts of power. Here, I doubt there is anything but grime.”

    “There are memories. There is history. It’s enough for me, Sai’da. What brings you out this way, however? Did you need something?”

    “You. Overseer Harkun wants your presence.”

    “Overseer Harkun wants a great many things. He wants to be known and recognized as having taught a great Sith master. He wants to have free reign to push his ideologies. He wants his little pet Ffon to stand a chance against me. He should be used to disappointment by now.”

    Sai’da snorted softly, but she waved her hand and started back towards the Academy. We walked in silence for a time, the harsh glare of the sun overhead and the dust of a dead world underfoot. Finally, Sai’da looked back towards me. “Darth Baras is looking for an Apprentice. I plan on taking the spot.”

    “Congratulations. You’ll excuse me if I don’t immediately start planning the celebrations?”

    “You know that’s not what I’m getting at.”

    “And here I thought you enjoyed being showered in praise.”

    Sai’da glowered for a moment before muttering, “We can do that later.” I had to keep myself from laughing. It did take a special kind of person to just come out and admit their vanity like that. “Anyways, the point is that I won’t be here on Korriban much longer. I…”

    I raised an eyebrow. It wasn’t like Sai’da to dither like this.

    She turned to look at me, her eyes serious. “------” My name. What name did she say? Why couldn’t I remember what my name was? “I--”

    ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━​

    I woke with a pounding headache and heavy eyes. My alarm blared at me, insisting I wake up. I reached out to smack it back to silence. I was tempted to go back to sleep. We were two days into Spring Break. I didn’t have anywhere to be. But I knew that would be a terrible habit to get into, so I forced myself out of bed.

    I’d been trying to step up my patrolling recently. I hadn’t actually run into anything since my encounter with Rune, but the late nights and the strange dreams that followed still had begun to take their toll upon me.

    Speaking of Rune… I glanced at the scrap of paper with her phone number on it that I’d left lying on my desk. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. My reputation as Seeker wasn’t well established. Hanging out with a member of one of the gangs, with a Neo-Nazi, would undoubtedly taint it. But… if she wanted the chance to escape that, to be better, then shouldn’t I give her that chance?

    I chewed on my lip before finally shaking my head. I’d have to talk to her at least and sound her out. For now, I had other things to do.

    A quick shower and a change of clothes later, and I was on my way to the library. Arcadia was apparently one of those schools that believed in assigning homework over the holidays. None of the teachers at Winslow had ever bothered, so it had caught me by surprise. None of it looked to be especially difficult, but I still needed to stop in at the library to use their printers, if nothing else.

    I let out a slow breath, taking a moment to enjoy the cool morning air. It was strange. Once, I would have described any sort of exercise as a chore. Now, these runs had somehow become a highlight of my day. I took another breath and caught the scent of rain. Clouds were gathering, and we’d probably have a storm before too much longer.

    Well, I’d be indoors, at least, and even if it did catch me on my way back home, a little water wouldn’t kill me. Mentally shrugging, I ducked into the library, gave a wave to the lady at the front desk, and went back to where they kept their computers. Much like just about everything else in the library, they weren’t exactly top of the line even back when the library had bought them, and it took a while to get anything to load. Still better than the computer we had at home though. At least these weren’t still running on dial-up.

    Before anything else, I clicked over to the job board where I’d posted my babysitting advertisement. It wouldn’t exactly be great money, but I was getting kind of tired of being broke. To my surprise, I already had a reply. I sent a message back to my potential employer and switched tabs.

    I had a couple of things I wanted to do today besides check my mail. Obviously, there was my homework, but I think I could knock that out quickly enough. What was of more interest was the biology and engineering study guides I’d pulled up. Biology was obvious. I had some sort of healing ability. If I learned more about the human body, how people actually worked, maybe I could make it more effective. Engineering was a bit less obvious. I didn’t have anything I particularly wanted to build at the moment. Still, I knew it might come up. Even if I wasn’t a tinker, I’m sure there were all sorts of gadgets that could be used by a cape.

    Regardless, I had a feeling it would be useful, so I was making a point of studying it. It wasn’t fueled by dreams of having a functional grappling hook or jet boots or anything ridiculous like that. Absolutely not.

    That would be silly.

    Dreams of no longer being bound by the laws of gravity aside, it was boring work. I’d fully admit that I didn’t have much experience with building things, and it was kind of going over my head. At the end of the day though, it was essentially homework, and for all that Emma and her friends had managed to tank my grades over the last two years, it hadn’t ever been because I was bad at schoolwork.

    It wasn’t until two hours later, when I heard the roll of thunder outside, that I decided it was time to pack things up. Dumping my work back into my backpack and zipping it up, I stepped outside and glanced up at the darkened sky. It hadn’t started raining yet, but it wouldn’t be much longer. I would have to hurry if I wanted to make it home without getting wet.

    A block later, nature decided to spite me as rain started falling in sheets.

    I could just keep going, run through the rain… but I didn’t really want to risk my schoolwork getting wet. Letting out a soft sigh, I turned to step into a coffee shop on the corner of the street before I soaked through.

    The shop itself was thankfully warm and more tastefully decorated than I’d expected. I guess I’d associated coffee shops with Starbucks to some degree, but this place felt like it was built in a different time, the solid support columns and tables of old oak reminding me more of some English coffeehouse from the turn of the century. I wondered how I’d never heard about it before. It seemed like the sort of place Mom would have loved. I guess both she and I were always more tea drinkers than coffee though.

    Anyways, the shop wasn’t that big, but it was rather full. I did a quick scan of the room and didn’t spot an empty table I could sit at. Great. Just… fantastic. I ran a hand up over my eyes, pushing my glasses up to my forehead for a moment as I simply held it there. Well, I could see if there was anywhere else nearby, maybe. I lowered my hand and did a double take as I saw someone waving at me.

    I stared at the girl, who I was pretty sure I didn’t know. I ran through faces I’d seen at Winslow and Arcadia both, but still didn’t recognize her. The red streak in her hair was pretty distinctive too, so I think I would have if I had seen her. Her companion, a cute blonde who seemed more focused on her laptop than on her, was just as unfamiliar to me. So… why was she waving me over?

    A knot turned in my stomach. A few months ago, I would have suspected that Emma had set this up somehow. As it was… I bit down on my lip before forcing myself to go see what she wanted.

    The girl grinned as I approached. “Heya, thought you looked pretty lonely just standing in the doorway like that. So go ahead, take a chair.”

    “Err…”

    I glanced over to the blonde, and she looked up from her laptop from her second, glancing between me and the other girl for a second before scowling. “Seriously Cherie?”

    “What? You were ignoring me.”

    “You know that’s not why I’m mad. Besides, I didn’t even invite you to begin with, you just tagged along.”

    “Yes, and you’re much better off for having my company.” The girl, Cherie apparently, reached out and pinched the blonde’s cheek. “Anyways, I’m Cherie, and this curmudgeon is Lisa.”

    Lisa glared at Cherie for a moment before sighing. “You might as well sit. She won’t leave you alone until she gets bored.”

    I slowly take a seat, looking between the two. Lisa’s rather pretty, in that girl next door sort of way. I kept finding my eyes drawn back to Cherie though. “You make it sound like she’d kidnap me or something.”

    “Or something.”

    Cherie rolled her eyes. “Don’t listen to her, she’s just being a grump. I haven’t caught your name yet though.”

    “Oh, uh.” I found myself staring into her eyes. They were a rather pretty hazel that seemed to shine as they caught the light. “I’m Taylor.”

    “Taylor.” Something about the warm smile she gave tightened my stomach into knots. “Good to meet you. Can I get you a coffee?”

    “Oh, I wasn’t really… I was just trying to get out of the storm.”

    Lisa glanced up. “Well, you’re in luck. This is just a microburst, should be over in fifteen minutes. The real storm won’t hit until later tonight.”

    Cherie let out a forlorn sigh. “A shame, here I thought I’d found some actual company.”

    “You mean you found a toy,” Lisa sniped.

    “That’s what I said, isn’t it?” Cherie grinned for a moment before reaching out to squeeze Lisa’s thigh. The blonde stiffened in response, looking as though she wanted to muder the dark-haired girl with her gaze alone. “Don’t worry, I won’t leave you all alone just because I found someone new to play with.”

    “Er…” I glance between the two. “I’m not really looking to get involved in whatever lover’s spat… thing this is supposed to be.”

    “You heard her. Also, please leave me alone.”

    “Aww.” Cherie looked back towards me, something predatory in her eyes. “I guess that just leaves you and me, cutie.”

    I felt my face slowly begin to heat up. I mean, she was clearly messing with me, no one besides my Dad had ever thought I was cute, but it was still pretty embarrassing. “I guess so?”

    “Mmhm. So what is it you do for fun, Taylor?” Cherie leaned forward, her fingers wrapping gently around my hand. A part of me wanted to pull away. Back at Winslow, only something bad would have come from someone touching me like this. I was still getting used to people like Victoria who were okay with just casually touching other people.

    “I like to read, I guess? Nothing all that interesting, really.”

    “A reader, hm? Yeah, I can see that. Well, let’s see, how did it go…? ‘That which issues from the heart alone, will bend the hearts of others to your own.’”

    I furrowed my brow. “Goethe? Are you supposed to be Mephistopheles here to tempt me then?”

    Cherie laughed at that. “Maybe! But consider it a bit of goodwill and advice on my part instead. Be bold with your passions, because it’s when you speak from the heart that people will listen. You don’t need to downplay the things you love to hide behind a mask of mediocrity. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

    Boldness, huh? I leaned back, allowing myself to ruminate on the statement. Lisa, on the other hand, was staring at Cherie with raised eyebrows, looking for all the world like she’d seen some alien come down and replace the girl next to her.

    “What? I can give advice too, Lisa.”

    “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.”

    “Don’t worry, I won’t steal your spotlight, darling.” Cherie leaned in as though to kiss Lisa’s cheek, only for her lips to meet Lisa’s hand instead. She kissed it anyways. “Anyways, it seems the rain is letting up, and you’re done with your work, so I suppose that’s our cue to leave.”

    “Oh, uh. Thanks for letting me sit with you then.”

    “Of course. And Taylor?” Cherie stood and moved around the table. I tilted my head up to look at her as she moved to my side, only for the light to be blocked out by her hair, and then her lips were on mine. It lasted a bare instant, but I was left reeling, I was left floating.

    “Don’t be a stranger.”

    I dimly heard her call back as she and Lisa walked past, Lisa scowling at Cherie’s back once again. I couldn’t seem to focus on it though. The taste of her cherry chapstick lingered on my lips. It wasn’t my first kiss, technically speaking. Emma and I had practiced on each other a couple of times back in middle school. That hadn’t been like this. Kissing Cherie had been electrifying.

    Was I gay? I hadn’t thought that I was, but… Truth be told, I hadn’t really been interested in anyone, male or female, up until now. The shit I went through at Winslow hadn’t really allowed for that sort of thing, and… Wait, there had been that thing when I’d first run into Victoria, but that had just been her aura. Right?

    I realized that I’d just been sitting at the table for a full ten minutes after Cherie and Lisa had left and finally forced myself up. I could have my existential crisis later. I had more immediate things to deal with still. Rune’s phone number sat heavy in my pocket, demanding my attention still.

    I still hadn’t decided what to do with her. I think I knew now what I wanted though.

    I would be Bold.




    It is the week of March the 7th. It is currently Spring Break.

    No vote at this time. There is some housekeeping regarding mechanics in the Author’s Note, so please check it out.

    Encounter = 2; Noncom | 10; Lisa | Additional Undersider? = 17; Sure | Who? = 19; Cherie. Well then. | Detect Cherish influence = 2 (+5 Serenity); Oh dear.

    Library: 18 (+4 Academics); Noted for skill growth.

    Job Interrupt? = 3; No
    +2 to [Vital Transfer]
    +1 to [Valor]
    +2 to [Quick Reflexes]
    +2 to [Push]

    Technically, I’m planning the scene for the additional training in QR and Push next time, but I’m putting it on the sheet now for bookkeeping purposes.

    +1 to {Artifice} from End of Arc Skill Bonus
    Hello again, everyone, and welcome to Arc 2. So funny story, I initially rolled Lisa for an encounter. Then I reorganized how encounters worked (more on that below) and decided to reroll. And then I rolled Lisa a second time. So I guess the dice really wanted you to meet her, even if Cherie kind of wound up dominating the conversation here. Sorry Lisa, but Cherie loves being the center of attention. She also loves messing with people when she gets the opportunity.

    Anyways, onto some rules bookkeeping. Let’s start with encounters, since I already mentioned that. I’ve decided to consolidate encounter rolls. So now, instead of having two encounter rolls that have a chance of failure for Civilian and Cape life, instead, we have a single roll. 1-10 will be a Civilian Encounter, while 11-20 is a Cape Encounter. This way, we’re guaranteed to get something each week. The 50/50 percentage can be influenced by taking certain actions or buying certain equipment.

    Speaking of equipment, I’ve decided to remove “Major Expenses” and instead just have the singular “Expense” take the place of Minor Expenses. As before, a single expense is roughly $20 give or take. I’ve also added a shopping list of things you can buy. If there’s anything you’d like added to the list, please let me know and I’ll be sure to get it on there.

    Next time should be hanging with Rune, Taylor’s new babysitting job, and BBQ with the Dallons so please look forward to it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
  30. Its_a_cauldron_plot!

    Its_a_cauldron_plot! ( Or is it Simurgh?)

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    I loved it and I need more of our new smug flirty, friend? yeah, friend for now.
     
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