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Do you really think we've only been here 300,000 years? Construction doesn't last that long; concrete disintegrates, tar pavement erodes into the Earth from whence it came. Sapiens or Neanderthalensis, countless brother races of a genus leaving only us to carry on the legacy. We cannot disappoint them. We carry them through our blood and our souls, countless lives spanning across time in a way that we can't perceive from our physical coils. But we can't disappoint them.

Hello, hi and hey! I call myself Atom. Some call me Fen. Others call me Ego, blessing the journey of guiding the individual toward the inevitable endgame that is rejoining the flow of life. I try to keep identity suppressed as much as possible, but I'm not a fool; we're here to express our creative selves. I like to think that our love and desire for creativity carries over far beyond the personal and individual. It's a part of the music of Humanity, and I do love the dance we do.

So, creatively, who is this dork trying to kill his own ego? What's he like? Is he decent?

I'd like to think so. I'd like to think I at least know how to write technically. I'm almost always lacking motivation, but I've just been spoiled over the years. I've had a handful of teachers who have really changed the way I look at creativity and working with the individuals who I'm trying to be creative with. My biggest goal is to give that back to the people who I work with. I want to foster an environment, or at least an expectation that if we're writing together, you'll be writing with a professional.
Professional to me means courtesy and friendliness without ambiguity: A guarantee that one can always expect to be treated with the same values that I would want to be treated with.

So what do I do with my free time? A whole lot of struggling with myself for the willpower and discipline to muster the ultimate muse. So far I've managed to get strong inclination toward effort and motion again, but inclination isn't guaranteed. We've really gotta MOVE THOSE MUSCLES! That's what I'm here for! I want to talk to people about ideas and flesh scenarios out with people that I'm interested in, and I do hope to find others with the same strong sense of creativity that I have. I want to push and pull and stretch the dough of creativity, top it with the things we want to devour, and dive into the pizza we've made together with skill and love!

Lets make it happen together!

Most Recent Posts


Mentions: Auri Auclair, Lynette Hunter-Richoux | Location: St. Portwell, Oregon: Gravity Gym - One Week Ago

Whump Whump Whump...

The sound of the heavy bag swinging in between the guitar riffs kept the pace. Leon stared at the thing as if it had killed everything he loved, an intensity that hadn't been matched in some time. His blood was boiling, and at this hour of night he should've been sleeping rather than up punching something that didn't care about being punched. Something was telling him there was shit going wrong out there, and ever since the call about Ashley came in, the Remnants had been on lockdown. Or, at least the ones he and Daisy could account for.
Whump Whump

The last blow caught the heavy bag deep in the gut, driving it upward on its chain and causing the whole supporting structure to rattle as Leon continued to pound away with bare knuckles at the inanimate object. It was focus: Sheer focus on one thing and one thing only. Getting the job done fast as possible with as few mistakes as possible. There was no score card after you drive someone to the brink of life and death. You leave them there, they falter, and once they regain consciousness the match has already been called. You had to be able to deliver the killing blow from anywhere, and he couldn't help but catch a glimpse of his own physique as his body contorted hard to the side to delve another devastating kidney shot to the, again, inanimate opponent that didn't seem to care at all about his assault.
Whump Whump, Whump Whump, Whump...
Whump, Whump, Whump!

The hundred plus pound bag hoisted upward again like a Smash Bros. trial participant, yet showed no signs of yielding in its slow and methodical counter-assault as its chain slammed off the support beam above it. Everything was probably fine... Just another late night energy attack for a kid who was always doing too much. He tried to think about the current events: A wolf statue ended up on Ashley's doorstep, then she's dead? Why? He knew she wasn't the greatest witch, she wasn't even necessarily the greatest friend, but when the time called the people rallied to her call and, what? She's condemned to death? He already had suspicions that it was one of their own. Some other rejected member of society who can't fit into either world they exist in, some corrupted Stygite for whom the war never ended and the Sycamore Tree never stopped screaming in their ears.

The phone in the office began to ring. Leon took deep, protracted breaths meant to bring his heart rate back down as quick as possible. Sweating like he'd just been out in a storm, he picked the towel up from it's hanging place on the equipment nearby and began to run it across his face and head.
Never good news at this hour.
No... No it wasn't ever good news at this hour. He tolerated the jabbing from his inner prison, long ago having come to accept that he would never be able to shut her up without holding the pillow tightly over her face while she slept. While she still had access to his physical senses, his own mind was a secure office in which he could think and plan without her knowledge or consent. It was her punishment for preying upon the Coven... Now here they were almost a decade on, and things hadn't been an issue until now. Why now?
He stepped into the low-light of the office, leaning himself against the table like it was a stool for his massive frame. The phone looked little in his similarly sized hands, but he still pulled it from the receiver to his ear with grave.

"Gravity Gym, you've got the Wolf: Howl at me."
A practiced answer. The reply wasn't so practiced. At first, Leon's face caved forward into a confused scowl, but that very quickly shifted into a far more open and peeled back look of fear and concern.
"Auri, listen... Listen to me! There's an explanation! There has to be; Daisy wouldn't say something like that to you and then not follow up if there wasn't a good reason!"
Another pause. He was starting to think that there was probably a good reason for his heart being up tonight.
"That's the last thing we're gonna think about right now! Let me call Lynette a-"
Interrupted. She didn't want the Temple involved. Frankly, he didn't either. His Mother always had a bad habit of getting stuck to things she didn't belong in, but she and Daisy were family. Direct family, and Leon thought that her involvement was justified. Auri wasn't so convinced.
"Fine, fine! I'll be there in ten then, just stay alert and flood the fucking place with butterflies!"


Mentions: Greenwood Coven, Alizée Altieri | Location: St. Portwell, Oregon: Veni Vedi Veni

Fucking Judas... Hadn't shown up all day. Leon had spent the earlier parts of the day staked out in a nearby coffee shop hoping to interrupt some of the Wolfpack's business. While there was no surefire tip that the man in charge knew anything about Father Wolf or the ongoing problems for members of the Old Branch, it was too difficult to have his own moniker dragged through the dirt while some fuckass used it to kill his friends. Ex-friends. Some were still close, but those memories were cold in the grave. He missed seeing the guys, or hearing about what others were getting up to. Even some of the more troublesome people...
His right arm was occupied by one of the floor matrons of Veni Vidi Veni, and while he hadn't been especially receptive to advances, he was perfectly happy to have her there for getting him stuff. He'd already stuffed a cool grand in her pocket to keep his name out of her mouth when dealing with the other girls, and had done so similarly with another who happened to greet him when the establishment opened. He came with a band, and was prepared to spend the whole thing to make sure that when Wolfpack did eventually show up, Leon would be the first person Judas Bennet would be dealing with.

But, that was hours ago. It was getting later, and he was half a bottle of rum deep with the Earth seal pulled back ever so slightly to keep the alcohol metabolizing at a higher speed. Booze, as it turned out, was great fuel for the Lady. Spirits. Leon giggled to himself in a stupor as he listened to the music. Still, he was staring at the front door, only occasionally peeling away to place a drink down or pick it back up. Even conversing with his hostess was half-hearted, his focus too pointed on the issue at hand. He passed the drinking off as an energy store in case things went south with the MC, but frankly this was the first time in a week he'd sat down for more than ten minutes... He didn't want to go to the meeting Auri was having, hoping to hear about who actually came through before he decided to get into the business of briefing and debriefing people about the involvement.
Then, who came through the door? Certainly not Judas fucking Bennet, but a familiar face none-the-less. From the corner booth, he'd recognize the pale white hair and slender features of his fellow Aberrant anywhere: Alizée Altieri! He nearly broke off from the dark corner booth, but decided that his legs were too gelatinous and sludgy to reliably carry him on into a conversation with her. But, he was able to question what the fuck she was doing here: Out of anyone, he figured she'd be at Auri's little meeting, if anything to save face for the nightly business. He was curious about what drove her off, but equally curious as to what her intention was here. She wasn't looking to hunt, was she?

The Hand, the Hand! It grips and pulls at us! Break the vessel, break the beast!

Leon frowned a bit. Drunk bitch... Leon continued to stare as some kind of exchange was happening at the bar. The red head looked familiar, like someone who had shown up at the Gym a few times. She was ripped, and he found himself nodding along. Maybe she'd get away from Voidlight. Leon's hand slipped into the pocket of his jeans, and he pulled out a small wad to hand to his hostess.
"Y'know, you've been swell tonight. But, I think I'm gonna be going here soon, so-" he politely folded the bills into her hand. "-be free, ma tourterelle. Don't spend it all in one place now, and... If you see me sleeping? Just nudge me awake and I'll slide on out."
"You sure you don't want me to call you a cab Mr. Richoux?"
"Nah, no worries. My ride is here." he said, pointing up toward the bar at Alizée.
The girl nodded, taking him at face value and thanking him for the relaxing shift before prancing happily back into the back to get ready for ending her shift. Leon, now alone, knocked back the rest of the drink that was sitting in front of him before fully outstretching his legs. Even in that short span, things had begun to turn at the bar. Alizée had started in on her own beverage, interacting with the red head and seeming to be joking about in some way.

It wasn't until Pink and Violet started their stage set that things got weird. Out of nowhere, the bartender was whistling for security and the red head seemed to ghost out as fast as possible which... Well, it didn't go well for her. At once, Alizée's massive spectral hand gripped her by the chest and squeezed tight. Leon had felt it dozens of times, some willing and some by chance, but no matter what it sent a visceral sensation through his body. It was a sympathy pain of the highest order, and kept him from moving for a moment as the adrenaline of his body began to mix into his own charged blood. He leased the Water seal, followed by Air and Fire, letting the energy pool in him before flushing it out through the Spirit seal. It didn't mean he wasn't still drunk, only that in a few minutes he'd not be drunk, and if he kept things to a light strain, he'd probably soak an extra five minutes out of the sugar in his gut and the booze in his liver.
Alizée pushed out the front door with her target in tow, and as he felt Lelou's connection, he stood up with a great big exhale. The giant at the corner of the bar slipped down, grabbing his hat and his flannel from the booth and slipping them both on before slapping another couple hundred on the table and making his own path to the door.

As he immerged, the Greenwood Coven was already moving to surround Alizée, so now it was pretty clear that backup was a necessity. He let the doors swing shut behind him, sauntering closer and closer until he was looming over Alizée from behind.
"Quel est le problème, ma douce main? La nourriture ne peut pas être si rare, non?" (What's the problem my Sweet Hand? Food can't be so scarce, no?)
His voice growled, and his Emotional Field pushed outward as Lady Lelou's energy bolstered his own. He'd only slightly released the seals, the hair on his face thickening into a black fur matching his long flowing hair that cascaded down his shoulders. Leon's eyes looked up at the Red Head in the clutches of Alizée, then back out at the assailants.
"Let me guess... She's with you?" he asked toward the Greenwood Members, having only a vague idea of exactly who these Portwell Power Rangers actually are. "And, who is you, exactly?"

Mentions: All Meeting Attendents | Location: St. Portwell, Oregon: Flowers and Canvases

Edict had been ready to leave the moment Kali mentioned he was a fed. He was even trying to play things cool, and was on board with bringing Linqian and anyone else who wanted to leave along so that they could have some sort of actual pow-wow over the concerns facing them as a group. He didn't much care for talking like this in buildings anyway; all it took was one laser beamed in from a room a hundred feet away at the top of a building across the street, and every single word they said ends up in some file somewhere. Was there any real reason in staying? Did he want to? No!
But, then there was the matter of that funny little itch that he was getting. With everyone in such an emotional state, it was difficult to not prod and poke just a little bit. Just to see where everyone's minds were at. Though they had to let him in to know what was wrong, he knew that as long as he rubbed up against those angry, upset and fired up feelings, he'd be able to start popping tumblers. Breaking and entering of the emotional field: A slow process that required finess and time in order to accomplish. Granted, the moment he released anything, everyone would know. Everyone would be able to feel that Warm Little Center getting cozy against their fields, and it would probably bring the heat back onto him with plenty of ire to spare. Currently, he was trying to figure out why Eve was being so friendly, especially after what had happened with the whole heist thing. He grinned as she passed off a Gray Strike cigarette, remembering the first time she'd given him one as some sort of joke.
It's spelled with an E, Dumbass.
Back when they had better days. Well, maybe her better days. Edict's best days were back in Minnesota, where his money was. He thought about the club, and about the feelings he got when he was able to just unfurl his spectrum of mind altering pseudochemical impulses on a mass amount of Blinds. But, they didn't have Emotional Fields. There was no pushback, no tactile sensory response like he got whenever he found the occasional Triclops among the crowd. It was usually a rush, especially sending the dogs to hunt them down, tracking them by the stress of being pushed and prodded until they were a scrambled mess. He had to set ground rules, after all; and having any Paranormals in his club meant bad business. Meant that there could be someone tracking him, or aware of his business. The only similars allowed were business partners, and they were not allowed to stay and party.

And, with those happy feelings, the love of his legitimate night club business in mind, an addict began to do what an addict does: Use. The only difference between himself and some popper, however, was that their addiction was typically for escape. Their lives are hard, they want to get away for brief periods, they just can't stay away from that feeling of comfort... But for Edict, it was never an escape: It was a wholesale delving into the problems and ambitions of souls and minds that were not his, not because he found solace in their pain and pleasure, but because he knew that he could get somewhere that he didn't think anyone else really could.
Slow, quiet whisps rose up from those gold frames like they were burning a hole into Edict's head. Metaphorical tendrils crept from him like a blind beast hunting for its food at the sea floor, finding Eve and Sully close by to begin rubbing against. They would've felt it first, right around the time Eve shoved a gun into the front of Edict's pants. He hadn't really been paying attention until then, but feeling the polymer finish of the Glock on his cock made him giggle. And the fact that she made sure to give it to him meant that she wanted him noticed too... Like she wanted the target on him. Edict didn't mind; especially not with what was leaking out of him now. But, the two of them would feel a very familiar sensation, and it would spread across the room like wildfire until it washed across Kali and Auri.

And then he was there again. Like he never left: One free hand crept up to sweep the messy curls backward until the visage of that same seventeen year old cocky asshole stared back at them. Never leaving the safety of his shades, always with a toothy grin that screamed superiority complex. The other hand popped the clerical collar off, sweeping downward and tossing it into the nearby garbage pail.
"Well, I mean... Great pitch Kali. You wanna help us now?"
His voice up until then had been practiced. The marked shift came with an active pulse of his warmth, again splashing across the emotional fields of the gathered Coven members like hot coffee poured on a sheet of glass. He was gap hunting; like a vampire about the town on a moonlit evening, he was knocking at every door waiting to be let in, but only finding apprehensive and nervous individuals. Some were annoyed, pissed even. Indignant to say the least, and a few more had some fading empathy that he could smell wafting like a maple scent. People actually felt bad for Kali? And then... His eyes traced across the room to a familiar yet unexpected type of tactile feedback. The emptiness of a Blind. The Third Eye Opened sat somewhere quiet... Maybe she didn't think anyone would notice?

He took a mental note of Tayla, grin widening a bit more. At this point, everyone in the room had gotten the Vampire's Knock. His hand slipped up to back Eve off, clearing his throat as he pulled the stole away from his neck. With purpose, he wrapped the cloth around the gun in his waistband before stepping forward toward Kali. His steps were slow, intensional in their stride as he purposefully positioned himself to block off everyone else. The truth was, he didn't want to bump and grind against Kali's field: He was all too familiar with Mimicry and what it could do, like the garlic farmer's house. Nothing there for him.
Yet, here he was, still gently rubbing an old nerve. It seemed to be dead at this point, however... Not that he hadn't expected ol' Chameleon to have the same weak points as he did back in the day. Regardless, he wanted to isolate the man from the group enough that he could get his point across. So, with the gun wrapped in cloth, he stepped into headbutting range of Kali and held it up for him to take. He didn't want anyone else in the room in that moment: Only them.
"You really wanna help these people? Help us? You'll fly back to Quantico, or whatever pit they keep your unnatural ass in, and you'll make up a big fucking story about how you didn't see shit, you didn't hear shit, you didn't find a fucking thing in St. Portwell. Now take your gun and fuck off."
Thoughtlessly, Edict dropped the gun and sniffed slightly as he nodded at Kali. Then, with a flurry, he spun on his heels.

He was good for a moment until he got to the rear where he could start to get to the door... And then something magical happened: Britney Williams...
Every tendril he had out, every little feeler he had released, it all came rushing back to him. Her hair, her smooth dark skin; the way she walked alone brought back a hundred memories of watching her with pure love in his heart. The retraction was only for a moment, but coming to the full realization that she was there triggered an emotional response. The big pink flower unfurled again, and everyone would feel him wash over them again.


Mentions: Finn Reid, Auri Auclair, Alizée Altieri Kali Mahendra, Drake Blackmore, Jack Hawthorne, Everleigh Thorn | Location: St. Portwell, Oregon: Flowers and Canvases

Edict was quick to notice Finn join the party, eyes flicking up and seeing a facial structure that had pain in the ass written in big fat letters across the forehead. It wasn't the guy's fault necessarily, and more often than not Edict found him amicable if not a good natured person.
It was his power that became tenuous. The fact that at any time, if there was someone who was going to feel him peeling the thin pink layers back to get to the soft and squishy gray matter beneath the skull, it was going to be fucking Finn Reid. But, he wasn't doing anything just yet. No need to worry so long as he could just get through this meeting and find a weakling to isolate and cozy up to. For now, he had to stick it out, and he glanced up one last time at Finn as the man waddled slightly away from the door to catch the last bits of what was going on.

People seemed to be hooked into whatever premise Auclair was spinning until someone decided to interrupt the party wholesale. Fucking Feds, if you needed something important interrupted, you could always count on them. Weddings, graduations; they seemed attracted to large gatherings like moths to the flame and always barged in with more gusto than sense. But, beyond all the usual contention and general distaste he had for Government police and their secretive practices, this moment was a truly mixed bag. Mixed as in, on the one hand he was rarely worried about Feds; his businesses were legit and most of his money required little to no washing to get it into circulation. He was, for all intents and purposes, a legit man on the up and up in the eyes of ninety nine percent of society.
But, on the other hand, this man was no normal Fed. Not only was he vaguely unhinged and in desperate need of an anchoring point for reality, but he was... Well... Bad news. Hyper Empathy to the point of intrusion and understanding on a scale that made Edict's entire mentality quiver in fear.

Kali Mahendra. At first, Greyson had thought the kid was just enthusiastic. Maybe a little spectrum based, but even back then Greyson was well aware that few people avoided God's funny little quirk stick. But it was all precursor emotion to realizing the bug that Kali lived with. His little glitch in the system. The two were close at first: Kali didn't seem to be concerned with the group's general perception of Greyson, and in turn the young gangster was happy to let the other boy tag along. He'd treated him well, started seeing himself in him even...
That was the problem, eventually. Kali's unique situation became more like a strain, and while Greyson had imagined a world where the ability was utilized as a final gambit to protect himself, ultimately he couldn't bring himself to stare into the dark that long. The way their powers interacted wasn't ideal, and in the end Greyson had isolated himself from his "friend" entirely.

Now he was announcing himself as a federal agent, and Edict knew that it would be as easy for the man to see through his act as it was for the younger man to see through him then... They hired a fucking abomination to hunt him and every other below the bar freakshow around. Edict's hand slowly crept toward where he'd usually keep his pistol, mostly out of reactive fear, but found only an empty holster. He'd left the gun at the apartment, not wanting to go hot when Lord knew there may have been someone blessed with the ability to smell copper jacketed ten millimeter ammunition and fucking gun oil... You just never know, after all.
But, all his comfort was broken. No longer did he feel like he could hide behind the stole and collar, even if it was a thin veil to begin with. It was nothing now. Just a liar, bare and in the open at risk from a force he couldn't stop and couldn't control. As Auri took Kali away, Edict was quick to follow Alizée's example, standing up and taking a deep breath.

"Now, I'm not saying that Judas and I were close when I was here last or anything, but..."
Edict paused for a moment, an ironic thought flashing across his mind. He pulled the Jim Jones style sunglasses from his pocket, fidgeting with them in his hands as he walked toward the front of the gathering.
"-I feel like out of anyone here, he'd be expecting to see me. So, how about a little faith in Father Devola, huh?"
Edict's eyes rotated like stone sculptures in their sockets. One could practically hear them grinding like millstones as they slowly and steadily panned between people. His smile was, to his best effort, sincere and genuine. He held his arms out to his sides, almost like Jesus without the nails.
"How about it, Drake? Wanna come with? Keep an eye on me just like ol-"

Jack, out of nowhere, landed on the scene. So typical. Edict's mouth was still wide open in his attempt to ingratiate himself, but closed as he spun his torso to see the person coming in.
"Oh, Mister Timeless... Just planning a trip to the local strip club, Jacky Boy! You in?"
Edict spun back to wiggle his eyebrows at Drake, sliding his sunglasses over his eyes with a grin.
"Now you can't even use gas money as an excuse!"

And then the pileup at the door got just a little deeper... No sooner had he opened his mouth to fuck with Drake a little more, another cling cling rang the door bell of the shop. A puff of blonde hair, a face beat half purple: Plenty of people got into trouble like that around SP, but this one was here with them now. He probably would've missed her if she hadn't spoken up, using Finn's stature to hide behind ever so slightly. But the voice was unmistakable. He'd heard that same too-cocky tone for years. He didn't even have to try hard to recognize her.
"All my Stars, little Miss Thorn? No shot... Everleigh? You look..."
Edict visibly cringed.
"Great. Just great. Love what you've done with the bruising."

Mentions: Irrelevant/Auri Auclair Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota: Club Serviteur

Edict sat at his desk passing a book between both his hands. His feet were up, square toed black on black dress shoes shining in the little lamp's weak light. The sounds of the club echoed through the walls as the bass pounded from the song. Weeks prior, he'd installed extra sound padding to the dancefloor walls hoping to keep most of the noise and the funk out of his private space, but it wasn't working particularly well when there was structural vibration one had to deal with. The whole place shook with the motion of the people and the music, and across from Edict were two fairly stuffy looking individuals.

"Ehm, Mr. Devola, Sir..." one spoke, slightly timid. "I think, maybe, we've come at things from the wrong angle here. Understand, these museums aren't banks. The way they record things isn't cursory like some teller, the keepers there are constantly checking up on-"
The man clammed up, a cloth dabbing the sweat away from his forehead. Edict swung his feet off the desk, hitting the floor with a leather slap before tugging himself in tight to his desk. Gently, perfectly straight, Edict slid the book into the center of the desk, directly between himself and them. Both men looked at it, and the speaker (Bert) looked at the thing as though it were an infant or some precious piece of glass. Each motion Edict made with it elicited a powerful cringe response that made the man look as though he was on the verge of a panic attack.
"You don't really get how we do things around here. It's not amature hour at the Devola household, believe me."
Edict's body shifted in his chair, the deep blue dress shirt he wore wrinkling as he tilted over and pulled open one of the drawers on his side. From its depths he pulled a book, and upon presenting it and sliding it into position next to the other, Bert was at a loss. From all the ways he could examine it visually, his well trained eye couldn't tell the difference.

The book in question was a Vatican tome, something kept in a museum separate from their personal collection and on tour with several other artifacts as part of a money gathering operation for the Church. Over five hundred years old, the tome was supposed to have... Well, Edict didn't really care about that part. He had sixteen buyers lined up, and all he had to do was produce a counterfeit that would last long enough for all involved parties to abscond properly. Beyond that, as long as loose ends got tied up, there wasn't anything to worry about.

Edict waved his hand forward, inviting the two men to examine the books in front of him.
"Please, if either of you can find the difference, let me know."
The second man spoke up, incredulity in his voice.
"Mr. Devola... These may look the mark, you may have some fancy printing press and computer system to replicate everything on the paper, but there's no possible way that a replica is going to hold up to sincere scrutiny. There are chemical tests that are run, there's checks and balances, I mean fuck... A scrape of the ink off the paper alone!"
Edict smiled and waved his hands.
"Understand: There's real power in books. Especially old things like this? They... They speak to those who listen in a way that guys like you two just won't get. Case in point, tell me which book is real right now and you just leave with it. No questions."
There was a moment of tension between the two men on the other side of the desk. Finally the second grew fed up.
"No. No more of this. Mr. Devola, we'll be taking both back with us. I won't let you-" he spun to point at his partner. "Or *you*, put my career and my credibility as a historian to shame because of some wild heist!"

Edict hadn't expected the flip. It wasn't exactly wrong of him to be suspicious: The real copy of the book was miles away, packaged for transport to whatever buyer was willing to bid highest. Both present were identical copies of the original text, and he had no qualms whatsoever about both being taken. But, it was all about appearances. He never intended for these two men to get the book back; their mistake had already been made when they handed it over to him first.
He couldn't tell either of them that the copies were magic, or that to any mundane scholar they would be exact replicas down to the atomic level. He also couldn't tell them that they'd disappear in six months since by then it wouldn't matter anyway. What he could do, however, was ease the stress and help Mr. Nervous into the deal through what seemed like his own free will.
Leaning back in his chair, Edict stuck a hand down to the side and let his hand slip into the pocket of the coat that was hung on its back. He felt the warmth of the metal frame within, smiling to himself gently as he pulled it from its place. The gold frame of the sunglasses never seemed to lose the heat of summer, and in comfort he slipped them onto the top of his head very casually. That warmth washed pink over the room, letting those within feel that same summer breeze. The Warm Little Center.

Taking a deep breath, Edict placed both his hands together at the finger tips, a formation of Suggestion. He let the entire spell hang in the air for a few moments, Warm Little Center washing into their brains and visibly softening the expression around him. Mr. Nervous spoke up again before he could even finish.
"Ah, M-mr. Devola... Of course, understand this has nothing to do with you... Your business is-"
Edict released his fingers, letting his hands climb gently into the air until both palms faced upward.
"You should take them."
His words vibrated like the bass of the club in their ears, each syllable delivering a crushing blow to the inhibition centers of the brain. Instantly the two men deflated in their seats, having assumed the worst even as this strange sensation came around them: Saying no to a Gangster like Edict Devola and getting away with it? Surely it was the weight of their professionalism, their involvement with Federal security, something must've prompted him to agree...

But neither were able to consider it a plot. It was a genuine offer in their minds. Bert immediately stood to scoop both books. Mr. Nervous stood with his arms crossed, nervous and ready to leave despite the strangeness of the exchange. A business meeting ended like this? What kind of business was he running?
"You two go ahead and do whatever testing you need to. If, by some shot, you want to try again when you've seen the results for yourselves? My offer is always open."
Edict stood with them, and then the phone at his desk began to ring. He thanked God and the Fates that Blinds were so easy sometimes. You just had to give them a little extra and they ran away with their own thoughts. Why even try?
"And look, perfect timing. You two go on now. Oh, Mr. Joshua!?" he called loudly. A tall man dressed in a suit opened the office door. "See to it these two gentlemen make it back to their destination safely, there's a blizzard coming in and I don't want them caught out in the snow with such important treasure."

The two men thanked Edict profusely on their way out, and the door closed just before the last ring of the phone. Edict snatched it up, swinging it from the receiver up to his ear.
"Badabing, what's good?" he answered. His face was blank at first, shifting to skepticism before ending in a sour expression.
"Auclair? That's an old name... To what do I owe this pleasure?"

Mentions: Mixed Attendees | Location: St. Portwell, Oregon: Flowers and Canvases

It was difficult not coming back vindictive and just like who he wanted to be. He wanted to rub his business in everyone's face, to tell Auclair to cram her trap and get lost with the Wolf. The driver had brought him directly to the front door of the shop, and he stepped out into the breezy late fall of Portwell with his long jacket covering the garb of a Priest: If one caught sight of the brand tags they may have some questions about how deep his hands were in the donation basket, but the stole and tab collar around his neck would hopefully draw people off small details like that. He had left his hair natural, letting its short length bunch up slightly on his head as it had dried from his morning shower. Not long enough to curl, it simply became ungovernable. But it was a genuine look; like someone who was more concerned about his duty than his looks.
Over his eyes, those same sunglasses he had that most people would've recognized from so long ago. It was no secret that they were his Channeler, and if anyone had been looking at him as he arrived through the store's glass front, they probably would've seen them. But, before he got to the door and walked in, he popped them off and slipped them into his pocket. His fingers lingered on the warm metal, and he took a deep breath before stepping into the melee.

Auri greeted him at the door; he wanted to spit on the floor. Tell her how jacked up the place was. How he was ready to do everything all over again.
"Auri Auclair!" he emoted. It was excitement, happiness, longing. To them, he had to be someone who missed what they had. He did... Did miss some things. But, not the catty leadership of a dead organization. A dead family.
"It has been too long. And, of course what brings us all back? Misfortune. Shame on us!" Edict said in passing as he took a seat near the middle of the rows, but far off to one side.
Taking his coat off, anyone looking would see him pull the face open to reveal the clerical accessories he wore. There was a distinct lack of jewelry and any kind of overt flash, and overall he certainly gave the impression of someone who had calmed down from his youthful days. It was, of course, well curated. As soon as he'd gotten the call he was on a plane to the North-West, making sure players in the area knew he was in town on pleasure so nobody got the wrong idea from the real Family. This wasn't a muscle-in; it was a pipebomb job. The kind of thing that's good for everyone.

More and more flooded in. He saw familiar faces and not-so familiar faces in turn. Tayla Choi, Eksa Thresh, Luca Olivera... Drake Blackmoore's haggard ass was still kicking around in bum clothes. Fucking tough guy. Eventually, Auri felt it right to start off with bullshit as usual. Family; Who the fuck was she talking about? No family here, just a bunch of sad and desperate kids looking for a ghost. Just like old times, the desperate fear for life took hold and sought out warmth and safety in numbers. Edict planned to suck up everything he could. Everything they'd let him get his hands on. Payback, Sycamore. He thought about the axes in his back vividly, tuning in and out until others began to pipe up.
When Britney Williams was mentioned, there was a little sting in his chest. Luca had certainly gotten a bad rap from Brit's meddling, but somehow the guy was still alive and managing. It was, as far as Edict was concerned, quite the accomplishment when he could rot the ground out from under him. Hearing Sloane's voice was like listening to an old pacer test recording: Hollow and mechanical, just like the old days.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!-" Edict started, clearing his throat. "Is it out of our consideration that Sister Auclair is mourning in her own way? For some of us, I'm sure that's the case. A little compassion for everyone can maybe set some things right, no? So she's beating around the bush a little bit, patience and consideration is key here... We're not kids anymore."
He had, and to this day still did, talk with a bit of stank on his voice. A cultivated accent from a cultivated identity. But here, he cleansed it. They had to see Greyson removed from his old ways.
"I know I've had a lot of time to think about the things that I've done wrong... That's why I came here to help put an end to this once and for all. For those hurt by my own actions, and the actions of others. So, let her have her time to speak and explain properly, rather than quickly!"

Interactions: Carrion Crow
The Beach

Owl had come into a moment of relative peace; moving with Crow slowly but surely meant that every piece of technology within the area was unlikely to make its way in the direction of or get anywhere close to the combo of Shells now terrorizing the lowland of the battle. Jets headed their way crumbled under Crow's massive battery of weapons, and any drone that tried to rush up on their position was like a clay pigeon that the massive grape shots coming from Owl's shotgun would turn into instant electronic scrap. Occasionally he pushed on one, or it pushed on him, without him being noticed on account of the lack of thermal signature. These small jumpscares ended in flicking out with the blade of the weapon, practically batting the metal gnats like they're baseballs into the sides of buildings or directly into the pavement.
It was an easy, low intensity job that let him observe their surroundings a bit more calmly and intentionally than some of the others who were in the deep thick of it. He could see Isvogel as they joined in, and King Gizzard going to town in the far distance. He pulled up the localized data feed, checking over the list of participating Vultures and their current vital signs: Greens across the board, few elevated heart rates. They were doing well, and he smiled proudly to himself at the prospect of the younger generation being able to push past this little hurtle.

The vibration of the giant particle beam can opener rocked so hard it rattled Barn Owl's chassis and waggled Owl's head inside the core. It took him a long second to realize what had happened, finally hearing Ava's voice over the comms.
"Ossifrage-80 down. The good news is that you all will get her share of the payment for this mission."

You are my sunshine...
Owl's eyes widened. He used them to scroll down on the list of vitals to Ossifrage-80. Flatline.
"Crow and Barn Owl draw its attention and keep on the move."

Owl almost didn't hear the order. Autonomous Shells... There wasn't even a fucking pilot to kill in retaliation. The sides of his vision began to darken and fade, tunnel vision setting onto the form of the machine that had slain one of their own. Most people worked a little harder after a death: it was expected that the slack would be picked up. But Ossi was a support Shell. Her systems weren't exactly "pickup the slack" kinds of things, she was very intentionally built for a purpose to serve on the team. But, moreso, it was another young life snuffed out. He wished deeply in his soul that she had gotten to stay around longer. He would've traded places in a heartbeat.

The automatic nervous response from his implants prevented him from acting with great deals of impulse, countering the flood of naturally produced chemicals with a replaceable injection that he slotted into his neck. The tunnel vision faded, leaking out as tears falling from his face. Owl snapped a lever on his left side, and the latches holding the pinyons of the Shell's cloak snapped open with a loud metallic clack. The cape fell to the ground, revealing the Shell in its entirety.
The thick digitigrade legs looked like industrial machines, the hydraulic systems slowly dropping into themselves as they pressurized toward maximum thrust. The set of eight jump-jets between the thing's feet and back began to spool up, air ramming through forced systems that already started to put a strain on the rechargeable power array. Owl knew he'd have to balance mechanical movement with maximum forward thrust to keep the balance of charge and not bottom out trying to fight this thing. His weapon's auto-loader was retracting the static shells, slotting them back into their magazine before swapping to secondary munitions. AP slugs, sabot style rounds meant more for a rifled barrel than his own smoothbore, slid back into the weapon's loading tube.

"Crow... I'm going to become a fucking problem now. Watch your own back."
In a fleeting instant, the top-heavy frame of Barn Owl took off like a scramjet. Eighty-eight percent power dump, the kinetic energy transfer from the legs pushing off the ground overcharged the system enough to give him some extra oomph as he let his jumpers rip. The heat and backblast from the machine taking off turned a section of sand and dust to glass like a runway trail as he took off at full speed toward the real problem.
Fuck Ava. Fuck the formation. If everything needed to die, he would be the Angel of Death that he had always been. He would deliver them all to their own Hell, and not a single Vulture more would worry about their demise... Seeking his heat, a trail of drones converged on the Shell's ass and began to fire off their payloads; Owl let the Shell's left leg kick up off the ground, his low and straight arc keeping him mere feet from the ground below him. Replenished five percent power, which he immediately dumped into his right hand adjustment thruster. This sent the Shell into a mid-air spiral that caused the automated drones to spin in turn, converging onto one another in a flaming ball of scrap that hit the ground with serious impact.
"For Ossifrage, and for the Vultures!" Owl shouted as he made the mad charge toward the new threat.

Ava had told him and Crow to keep it distracted, hadn't she? Well, get ready machine...

I can't wait to see where this goes. Light me on fire and send me off.
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