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Studying to be a demigod
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Nicky


A second shot echoed around the yard. Steve Jacobs was tense. The commander had told them to hold off sending anyone else in until they could figure out what was happening inside. Listening to it, standing behind the cover of one of the three armoured vans they had parked outside, had not been pleasant. And from what he could hear, no one was answering their radios inside.

“Damn it!” came crackling over the channel. Jacobs recognised the sound of Frank's voice, the man with the sniper rifle in the next building. “This stupid little monster won't go down!”

A third shot rang out. A fourth. Jacobs, only a volunteer with an ex-military background, glanced up at the body of the policeman they had shot entering the place. That guy alone had wounded two and put up a hell of a fight to stop them. Protecting monsters and freaks wasn't your job, man. But something about this doesn't feel right. A sudden burst of automatic fire, punctuated by another sniper rifle shot and a scream. The commander yelled for a status report. Frank didn't respond. A minute or more of tense waiting. Jacobs wiped away some of the sweat from his cheek.

Out of the ruined front door, through the haze of smoke, they saw a teenaged girl walk out, tossing an assault rifle onto the ground as she did. Everyone raised up their weapons, including Ozzy, who had the crossbow with a bolt tied to the winch on one of the vans. Steve heard the man next to him mutter, “I don't recognise that one.”

They had a had a field report before this mission, a briefing on what to expect inside and what loadouts each team would need to handle the various things that were inside. But his colleague was right, this girl hadn't been on any of them. Her black hair was streaming in the breeze, and she looked-

“Jesus! It's her! Look at her shirt!”

Steve's eyes narrowed. The girls shirt couldn't really still be considered clothing, more a system of bullet holes held together by tattered fabric. But she was moving as though she was completely unharmed. His gaze travelled up her skinny body until he saw her face, and suddenly Steve Jacobs, combat veteran and devoted follower of the Hounds of Humanity's stated goals, felt his bladder let go.

He had seen anger before. Rage, unconstrained violence. But this was not something he could recognize. Her lips were pulled back in a snarl so hard she resembled a dog or a wolf, though she didn't look like she was a shifter. As her hair swept free of the top half of her face, he had seen her eyes, though. Pain and vehement, titanic hatred lived there, and nothing else. Her nostrils flared, jaw clenched so hard she should have broken her teeth. The cords of muscles and tendons in her jaw and neck clearly stood out, even across the thirty metres between them. And then the crossbow bolt hit her square in the chest and knocked her back two steps and bowled her over. Steve almost let go of a sigh of relief, but he knew from those holes she wouldn't-

She stood back up. Easily. She had the deformed crossbow bolt in her hand, staring down the length of cable tied to it, then her glare flickered back to the line of men behind the vans. Someone fired a round and made her stumble back another step. She switched her grip on the bolt and ran forward, into what swiftly became a hail of gunfire. Jacobs emptied his magazine, and, like he had been trained, calmly swapped the empty box for the full one on his belt, snapping it into his weapon without taking his eyes off the girl. Why won't she die!

The ground around her was exploding in gouts of turf and rock, and the force of the bullets hitting her was driving her backwards. But she had begun reeling herself along the cable, fighting the forces tied against her. Jacobs heard someone shout a warning, and three grenades bounced down close to her. She didn't even blink, instead lashing out with her foot and kicking one back, through the open side door of a van. All three went off as Steve ducked down below the line. The van rocked with the shock wave and an impact, and two successive blasts afterwards let him know that the targeted van was destroyed. Several of their men were down behind him. Cautiously, checking his rifle, he and the man next to him peeked over the hood they were hunkered down against.

He heard it before he saw her. She was growling but more high pitched, like a scream that went on for too long. And then her hand slapped onto the hood in front of him. The man next to him reacted quickly, stabbing down with a combat knife on the vulnerable limb, before Jacobs could stop him. If bullets do nothing, then...

The man's wrist was impaled by the bolt, and then that delivering hand snatched up his knife as her terrifying visage rose up into Jacobs view like a wrathful avatar of some long forgotten god. The wounded man cursed, pulling his pistol and firing wildly into her face, but the second he stopped, her head snapped back and she leapt at him, driving the knife through his goggles. She was still doing the keening, wailing growl, and as Jacobs hands lost their grip on his rifle, she turned to look at him. He spun on his heels and made to run, until he felt the knife plunge into his calf, and then three seconds later, Steve Jacobs was dead.




Several minutes later, Nicole stood in the middle of the street, staring around her. Bodies were every where. Two vans were smoking ruins, and the third had no usable tires left. Several men were groaning. One even was attempting to crawl to the safety of the surviving van, leaving a bloody trail from the stump where she had blown off his leg at the knee with a shotgun. She threw the empty pistol in her hand at him contemptuously as she stalked forward. He had some sort of insignia on his back, unlike the rest, so he might be important. Reaching him, she gripped him by one shoulder and hauled him over onto his back. The whites of his eyes were clearly visible in terror. She screamed into his face.

“WHY!?”

“Oh God please no.”

“Don't you fucking talk to me about God, you fucking murderer! Tell me why!”

Sirens were echoing up the street, apparently Patricia had called for back up. She need to have a target and be gone by the time they showed up, or she'd never be able to get these bastards. She picked the man up by his shoulders and slammed his head back against the asphalt several times.

“Because you're not human.”

Nicky stopped, looking up, at a man standing not ten feet away, holding what appeared to be a taser and pointing it at her. He was dressed in a full body suit, and was obviously not one of these basic soldiers. Nicky dropped her victim and stood up. He fired the taser into her chest, but it just bounced off and fizzled. Though it did let her know that she would need a new shirt. The man's eyes narrowed.

“Even if you've got some sort of freakish armour, that should have stuck!”

“Yeah, well, guess you're not perfect either.”

“What the hell are you, bitch?”

Nicky smiled, striding forward. The man drew a sword, and she thought, Really, a fuckin' sword? It bounced off of her skull uselessly. He backed up and thrust it into her eyes, which was a really weird perspective for her. Her head got knocked back, but she was getting used to the idea that it really didn't matter what they had. So she kept moving.

“This is a mono-edge blade! What the fuck?”

He stepped sharply to the left, but Nicky was ready, and leapt forward, catching him around the waist and tackling him into the ground. She caught his blade as he swung wildly at her, then wrenched it from his grasp. Not bothering to shift her grip, she plunged it through his rib cage four or five times, then stood up, getting back to her feet and holding the bloody blade just as the headlights of the police cars swung around the corner and illuminated her.

“Damn,” she muttered, and tossed the sword down. And as her brain caught up with her, she covered her chest with her arms. The fact that she still was naked and coated in blood in the middle of what equated to a war zone was probably not going to make this go any smoother.
@IrishAngelQueen

Ahk blinked as the brusque creature walked in and sat on the cot. Her smaller forelimb just managed to pass a disposable cloth under the wounded leg as it sat down, and then she rocked back slightly to take in the creature's form. Large, probably male humanoid. Purple skin and pointed ears, walking in a somewhat cat-like fashion. It took her a moment trying to remember species statistics, something she would much rather do herself instead of the droid, though for specifics it was best to use the computer so as to avoid potential mistakes. While she thought, however, she spoke to her patient, the droid translating automatically as it had been programmed to do.

"Yes, bullet wounds tend to be easy enough. I am impressed you know my language, but please refrain from trying to speak it again. Your mouth formation makes your pronounciation atrocious. Please do not bleed on the floor." She rotated in place and retrieved a small diagnostic tool from behind her, holding it in her mandibles while she reach over the patient and grabbed a probe. Eyeing the whole in the flesh, she mentally grimaced. This was one of those thrice-damned shapeshifters. She had done simulations, read texts, but had no practical experience with them. They were bipedal mammals, though, so it shouldn't be too complicated. Two notes from her text book stood out as cautionary advice, so she cleared her mind and glanced into the creature's face.

"You are from Ga'iya, correct?" The droid auto-switched to Ga'iyan as it translated. "A few questions before I begin. Any allergies to specific common compounds, such as antibiotics or cleansing fluids?" As she spoke, she dropped the diagnostic tool from her mandible and deftly caught it in her free forelimb.

"Also, have you recently coated yourself in any exotic substances as a defensive measure that I have to worry about?"

She held the diagnostic tool at an angle where she could tilt her head slightly to one side and see the display, which was currently showing her a live-feed ultrasound of the wound, and a fine tipped tube was gathering x-ray data. She had to grin whenever she thought of the frankly barbaric methods she had read in human textbooks from early in their history. Of course, her own species had gone quite some time by simply killing the crippled, so perhaps she shouldn't make too much fun of them.

"Do not shift abruptly in pain, or this could become a much more complicated procedure." The diagnostic machine beeped, and the display highlighted the foreign object. Swiftly, she plunged the probe into the wound, where it extended tiny claws, seized the bullet, and held on as she pulled it out and laid it into a bath of sterilization fluid the droid had prepared while she was searching. Dropping the probe into the droids waiting hands, she snatched a small spray applicator and hosed down the surface of the wound and several square centimetres around it with a combination antiseptic and painkiller spray. Thankfully, the cheap ass kind she got happened to also be hypoallergenic, so she didn't have to worry about that bit. Cloth bandages followed, along with a bit of adhesive tape. A small bag was put together by the droid containing spare bandages, tape, and a skin ointment it had been busy mixing for the specific species to avoid drying out of the wound.
Yuppers. Waiting to see if anything else happens before I post again.
@VATROU New Mexico, not New York. I don't have anyone in NYC at the mo'.
Tiamat

Albuquerque, NM

Early afternoon


Darya pulled a loose strand of brown hair away from her eyes and tucked it back behind her ear, staring across the street and up over the buildings of the University of New Mexico, into the sky and the building thunderheads coming down from the north. Finally, she thought. Monsoons are late this year. She adjusted her head scarf, thankfully made of very light weight, loose-woven cloth, and turned to walk into the brick paved alley that led to Uncle Yousef's coffee bar.

The Bricklight District had seen better days, back when the country was not so full of paranoia. She had no idea what had originally been built here, but now it was the college student shopping district, and while its official borders were barely two blocks long, students from across Central scattered nearly two miles in either direction to the various restaurants, shops, and bars to converse, do homework, and buy unnecessary trinkets. And because of the wonderfully diverse philosophies that came with a college population, Yousef's coffee bar, The Oasis, was one of the more popular spots in the area. This, more than anything else, was what kept Darya in spending money, and prevented her from finding a 'real' job further into the city.

Following the death of her parents, the young Iranian-American (or, as her grandmother preferred, Persian-American) was suddenly made aware of how intolerant people in the country could really be. She knew, from history classes, that most non-white groups had suffered, at least for a time, the prejudices of the majority population, and now was simply the Middle Eastern descendant's turn. She was not prepared for how much it stung. As one of the older of the third generation in the country, she knew that her uncles and aunts took a sort of enthusiastic pride in their heritage, which was the only reason she knew what 'the old country' even looked like. They suffered even worse than she did, and occasionally at dinner she could feel the subtle anger as the news echoed off yet another attack somewhere in the world.

The family wasn't particularly religious, except for Grandmother Fatemeh, who followed the old Zoroastrian ways (which no one else did, and it was a favourite topic of the more educated of the third generation as to how the hell she had even learned them, rare as they were these days). But most of them, growing up in a Muslim country, at least obliquely followed the Twelver Shi'a faith. Thankfully, here everything was much less strict, and with the partial shield of Uncle Hossein being a cleric at the local mosque and also quite liberal, no one complained if she 'forgot' her rousari every once in a while to feel rebellious. But she never did it to feel rebellious, she did it so that she could feel safe. Even in a city as laid back as Albuquerque, she knew she wasn't imagining some of the stares she got. Even on campus, there was a vague, ephemeral fog of suspicion. It weighed heavily on her, so she took the opportunity every once in a great while to dress 'normally' and feel free. Unfortunately, it also had the side effect of depressing her, since it was obviously her nominal faith that inspired the feeling.

She came around the corner and into view of the front of The Oasis, a one story building decked out in false old Persian decoration, replete with arches of plywood painted with the dizzying geometric patterns in blue and white that she found so oddly comforting. The outer patio, fenced off with an ornate wrought iron fence two feet high, held five circular table large enough for four people to sit comfortably. Two of those were occupied by college students, drinking coffee, chatting, and both groups had apparently ordered hookahs. That was a popular enough activity that the alleyway generally smelled of the various delicious flavours they had, and always the warm scent of burning charcoal. Darya waved to one of the students she recognised from a class as she moved through the patio and went inside, the tiny real silver bells ringing to announce her entry.

The inside held a multitude of booths, all able to be closed off with hanging drapes for privacy. Each booth held a low rectangular table for six, and chairs. Each had a subtle colour difference, and were referred to by colour instead of number. Currently, only the Green and Red had customers in them. Darya grinned at her cousin Ahmad manning the register. “<Is your beastly slave driver of a father around?>” she asked as she walked up. Ahmad looked at her darkly.

“<Of course he is, oh wise scholar. He is in his cave, where he has been cursing the sky dark for the past hour.>”

“Oh no. It's rent week, isn't it?” Darya shook her head. “Business hasn't been that bad lately, has it?”

“No,” Ahmad said, smiling. “But you know him. A single penny more than he wants leaving his hand is worth a dime to him. We are doing fine.”

A shout from the office made them both jump “<Darya! Come back here!>”

Ahmad shrugged and went back to reading his magazine. “Best do as he says. You know what he's like when he is spending money.”

Darya shook her head at her cousin as she slipped around the counter and behind him. Even at a year older than her, he had not inherited his father's bulk, and was a skinny lad with barely any facial hair. She knew he suffered many admonishments and unwanted advisements from his father and their uncles about how to be more manly, and that he didn't give a hoot for any of them. Lives like his in the clan made Darya more than thankful she had been born a girl.

Walking down the narrow hallway past the walk-in cooler and the kitchen, she poked her head around the corner of the office door, rousari pulled at an awkward angle by the motion and falling over one eye as she said sweetly, “<Yes, Uncle Yousef?>”

Yousef looked up at her while in the midst a messy wave of paperwork, something she thought he secretly enjoyed more than running the actual business end of the bar, which he generally left to Ahmad and his other son Thomas. Yousef's impressive beard, curled and oiled in the 'ancient' way to make a sort of cone down from his chin, quivered slightly, and he narrowed his eyes at her while she readjusted her rousari.

“<Are we pretending to be Johnny Depp today, Darya?>”

She rolled her eyes. “<No, Uncle. What did you need?>”

He leaned back in his chair, showing his torso more clearly. Darya noted that the diet Aunt Reyhan had begun enforcing, while making Yousef more irritable, had begun its work of cutting down on the pudgy expanse. Another fifty pounds and I will have to stop teasing him, she thought to herself slyly.

“<Hossein is calling a family meeting tonight. It is about you again.>” He held his hands behind his head, and frowned slightly. Yousef had been one of her relatives who, while worried for her, had demanded she be free to use her abilities for the good of all, and took a sort of fierce pride in her powers, more so than the rest of the clan. It was why she was allowed to practise at his house out in Bernalillo, where her privacy was far more assured than anywhere in Albuquerque itself.

“<I believe he means to call for a cease to your practises,>” he said with a sigh. “<And honestly, given the current situation, I cannot find fault in it.>”

“<What!?>” Darya exclaimed explosively. She heard Ahmad jump out front. “<What do you mean, you cannot find fault in it!? You were one of the family I thought I could count on for support in this the most!>”

Yousef's face grew dark with anger. “<Do not blame me for this, daughter of my most beloved brother! Blame those disgusting fools who hunt you! While they exist, it is not only you who are in danger!>” He angrily tossed a newspaper at her, which she caught and snapped open, meaning to throw it back at him. But the front article caught her attention, and she began reading in dawning horror.

The article began with the startling headline, “WAR BREAKS OUT IN URBAN CENTERS!!!” The picture was of a young man being dragged out into the street to a waiting execution squad of HoH, obviously shot candidly from cover. Below, the article's main body described the events relating to the terrorist group, listing names and dates of fights, and which cities had been most affected. Scanning the list, she noted that nothing came any closer to her own town than Houston, but the effects were rapidly spreading. And even worse, they had made good on their speech. Innocent bystanders who protested were shot as well as metahumans, and entire families had been 'purged'. Yousef nodded as her expression hardened.

“<You see, it is not just you and those friends of yours who are in danger. The whole family will be targeted if they identify you. Thus, the family must make a final decision now.>”

Darya glanced up at him, wiping tears from her eyes. “<What do you mean by 'final decision', Uncle?”

“<You will see tonight. Come, there is work to do here.>”




Fatemeh's house, Albuqerque

That night


Fatemeh's house was one that felt like home to all who visited it. Enticing smells often floated along the first floor whenever Darya or her grandmother (most likely both) were working. The place was full of well worn and well cared for furniture, and every inch of tile and hardwood floor was covered in hand-woven rugs, with the exception of the front hall where they gave way to bare tiles so that people's filthy shoes would not muss them. Aside from Fatemeh, Darya, and her siblings, Uncles Zurvan and Sajad lived here in the guest house with their two children, and Uncle Bashir lived here while working odd jobs with temp companies. Tonight, however, every single member of the family had gathered, as this was the heart of the family itself.

Hossein held up his hands placatingly as Darya stalked up to him, the soles of her trainers smacking hard on the tile floor as she crossed the entryway to the front door where he had just come in.

“<Beloved niece, I know that you are frustrated, and I assure->” He stopped short as Darya wrapped her arms around him in a fierce hug, and he chuckled as he patted her shoulder. “<Ah, forgiveness. You looked so angry.>”

Darya lifted her head, staring up a few inches into his kindly, bearded face. Her own brown eyes still had tears at the corners of them, which she hadn't been able to stop for a few hours now. “I am, Uncle Hossein, but not at you. It is at them.”

Hossein nodded. He did not have to ask as to whom she referred. The whole clan held the same feeling at various levels, but none as much as his niece, who held to distinct responsibility of her powers, which allowed her to, theoretically, do something about them.

“<Allah grant you the strength of the Prophet, Darya. We will see what the family decides.>”

Twenty minutes later, most of the clan had gathered into the main living room, with the sunroom given over to those who had not come of age yet and thus did not have a say. The exceptions to this rule where Darya's siblings, who had more vested interest in her affairs than the others, and Aunts Anouseh and Reyhan held sway over the teens. The whole of the assembly was crowded, with people piling on each others laps and otherwise standing, although Leila was left a seat to herself owing to her pregnancy. Fatemeh stood near the center, with Darya and Hossein. Hossein held up a copy of the paper she had read earlier, and it was immediately clear to her that she was pretty much the last one to have read it.

“<They are clearly insane!>” called out Basir, to a chorus of agreements.

“<Yes,>” said Hossein, looking around. “<And clearly they are evil. But they are also powerful enough that they are very dangerous. They do not speak with hollow threats.>”

“This we know,” said Zurvan. “Did you call us here to explain all of this again?”

Zurvan and his brother Hossein did not often agree on much of anything. Their eyes met across the room, however, and Darya got the distinct impression that they had planned this exchange beforehand.

“<No. As this demonstrates,>” he held the paper aloft once more before tossing it onto the coffee table, “<Darya is under constant threat from the infidel dogs. However, it also shows that our entire family is in danger from them, should they discover her identity. So, as we have done before, when she first told us about her powers, we must now decide if we should restrict her to a normal life.>”

Darya felt light as a feather and could not hide a smile as a chorus of boos greeted this announcement. It was evident that not a single person thought that she should do so.

“<Good.>” Fatemeh's voice, always quiet but easily heard, cut through the noise and they entire group fell silent. “<In that case, we have to orders of business before dinner.>” She motioned behind her, and Anouseh appeared, along with two of the youngest of Darya's cousins. Anouseh held a paper bag.

“We couldn't really figure out how to make it really work without your measurements, and we wanted it to be a surprise so we couldn't take them without alerting you,” her aunt muttered as she held the container out. Inside, Darya could see cloth in blue, green, and black.

“You made the costume?” Darya asked incredulously.

“Well, it's not complete yet. Should be in another week or so. Mother said we should rush it, but I said no. It must be good. I eventually got her to agree.”

Fatemeh brushed them both aside and spoke to the crowd again. “<Secondly, we must plan for if they come for us. To that end, Darya has already given us a weapon of sorts.>”

Darya turned to her entire clan. “<I know I have maybe caused some problems with this, but I also cannot be everywhere, and there are a lot of us.>” Several people chuckled, Hossein included. “<So I asked if it was okay, and I was told it was fine. Grandmother will make sure everyone gets the number, but you will all have the ability to call for assistance. And not the police. We have seen on the news that they are in the police, as well.>”

Darya inhaled, hoping this next bit would go over well. “<You know I some times work with the others like me in the area. You may not have actually seen them before, but they have consented to come help as quickly as possible should you call the number. It will connect you directly with the man known as Thunderbird.>” Several people stared at her for a second, but it was Yousef who first voiced what she feared.

“And how will they know it is us, eh? How will they know that we are who we say we are and not a trap of some sort?”

Darya cringed as she answered, trying not to look anyone in the face. “<Because he knows my name.>”

The crowd burst into a fierce argument as several people shouted at her, or at Hossein, or at each other. It took the cleric and the matriarch several minutes to restore order, during which Darya felt smaller than she ever had before. Fatemeh's voice finally cut through and got everyone quiet again.

“<You all should be ashamed!>” the elderly woman decried, neatly tied bun of white streaked black hair loosing a few strands. “<She is doing what she can to make sure that we are all safe! She knows what this means, and she and I discussed it for many hours today before the decision was made. And as insurance, both she and I know his name to, so no one has an advantage over us.>”

The assembled family all looked so sheepish it wiped away Darya's own self-imposed shame. She felt herself stand taller as she spoke. “<Look, I know, it feels very vulnerable. But I cannot be everywhere at once. This insures that, should I be busy, or trapped, or Allah forbid I am killed, someone else can look after you until all of this is over.>”

Hossein and her grandmother both looked at her sharply, and the rest of the family seemed to all have dropped their jaws. Maryam, standing just in front of Darya, looked as if she might cry, and she took the two steps over to her little sister and held her close while she continued.

“<Look, I know it is an awful thought. You think I want to consider it? But this line of work is very dangerous, even with those scumbags out there hunting people like me. You want to support me, you have to accept that it may happen some day.>”

“<Beard of the Prophet, Darya,>” Hossein said. “<You speak truth. We cannot back away from what Allah gives to us to do. But,>” he held his hands up, “<We cannot stand around right now! We have come to a decision?>”

Almost as one, the entire clan cheered. Darya knew that it was one of the sounds that would stay with her forever, like her father's laugh or her mother's singing.

“<Very well, then,>” her uncle continued. “<In that case, I believe my blessed mother and our hero have made a fine feast for us and it stands waiting while we chatter at each other.>”

And this time it was definitely as one, as the clan surged forward. Everyone knew that Fatemeh was the best cook in the family, but it was also common knowledge that she had been teaching Darya and Maryam everything she knew. Clan dinners were one of the most favoured activities they had.




Sometime around midnight


Darya sat in her room, a small, comfy place. Most of the floor space was taken up by the bed, which was honestly too large for it, but she had gotten Leila's old bed when they moved into their grandmother's place, and it had been bought after her sister had gotten married. The whole of the thing was covered in handwoven blankets and plush, squashy pillows. Off in one corner sat her desk, barely more than sticks with some plywood between them, upon which sat an old computer, the hub of her school life and most of her social life as well. The screen was flicking through pictures of the family, throwing odd shades of colour along the tapestries that covered the entirety of the ceiling and most of the walls. A faint waft of incense still clung to everything, and probably always would, as long as she could find the same scent her mother had lit every afternoon just before the children got home.

Darya leaned back, across the bed, and stretched out as far as she could, grabbing futilely at her doumbek, but her stature was not one that lent itself well to such things. While she was in this awkward position, a tap at her door announced a visitor, and she sat up startled and stammered out a “Yes?”

The door opened, and Hossein stood framed in the doorway, his robes fluttering in the slight breeze of the air conditioning, he walked in without bothering to ask, and sat next to his niece, looking at her and then the floor.

“<Darya,>” he began. She could immediately tell something was bothering him. His voice, usually full of vigor and confidence, was hesitant. “<You have thought long on this course, haven't you?>”

She sighed and patted his shoulder. “<Since the day I got these abilities, Uncle. It is the right thing to do, even if it does endanger me.>”

“<And the rest of us?>”

She shook her head. “<I had not thought that people like this would be here, in America, but yes. You and the rest can take care of each other. You taught me how to take care of myself. 'The peaceful warrior', you said.>”

He nodded. “<It is true. We all, the older ones, grew up in a place where it was unthinkable to not know the ways of war. I have told you before how I fear for the souls still there. And you are correct, this is the path laid out before you by Allah, and your soul is pure and innocent. And that is why I worry so.>”

Darya's brows knitted in confusion. “<What do you mean, Uncle?>”

“<The people you face, these dogs, they are a symptom. Humanity is far from all good. I worry that you will be worn down by the evil you face. You are a kind soul, Darya, given to idealism and hope much like my brother was. It hurt him so much to see what people can do to each other, and I would save you that pain, if I could. But you path takes you straight into the heart of evil.>”

“<Let me show you something, Uncle.” She stood up, and walked to her closet, pulling out the costume she had kept overnight to test the measurements. Which, she had found, were spot on, if a little generous in places.

The whole of it was a jumpsuit, with a wetsuit-like interior and lightweight cloth outside. The lines of colour ran down the limbs in curling sweeps and lines, forming the swirls of a river or the tide in blue, green, and black. Running along the black parts, which were by far the most expansive of the surface, was a multi-headed dragon, picked out in silver and gold thread, running the length from her left ankle to her right shoulder. A hood and face mask, with airtight goggles, hung back from the neck, ensuring that her head would be suitably covered and her identity also hidden.

“<You see that dragon? You know Tiamat from Grandmother's stories, I am sure. But she will keep me founded in home, in family, in creation, and ward me from evil.>” She held the suit up for a second, and then hung it back up. “<Allah and Ahura Mazda, Tiamat and the Ameshaspand will keep me from succumbing to the evil which I face.>”

She walked back to her bed, kissed her uncle on his bearded cheek, and pushed him off her bed and out into the hall. “<However,>” she said as she did, “<None of them can keep me from a worrywart like yourself, Uncle, so you must go away so I can be rested to fight evil tomorrow!>”

She fell asleep later, with her uncle's laughter and her mother's incense filling her senses as she drifted off.
Yoooo, this looks intriguing. I may go Egyptian or Persian because that's what I've been reading up on. (And may straight jack my own character from another RP and mod like a crazy lady, if you'd be down.)

No definite join, though, because life has been kickin' my butt recently, but I will work on a CS regardless, and if this takes off like I hope it does I will slam the "yes" button so hard the console breaks.

Character you have created: Darya Anat Kamaliazad
Alias: Tiamat
Speech Color: Aquamarine (7FFFD4)
Character Alignment: Hero
Identity: Secret


Character Personality: Darya is a sweet girl, caring and loving of all humans regardless of their faults, though she has a core of hatred for those who inflict needless suffering on their fellow humans and defenseless creatures of the world. Being raised with her grandmother, she grew up believing that magic was still real, and while she has not encountered it yet, she will be delighted to know that her grandmother was correct. She enjoys music and dancing, loves cooking, and is all in all the mother of the multitude of friends she has. Despite how exhausting this is, she would never dream of letting them down.

Her flavour of love, however, is a tough one. She is more than willing to call others out on their stupidity, though out of care for them instead of mocking. She is deeply spiritual, though not necessarily religious. The Islamic mosque she attends in her hometown is more of a way to stay social in her college career rather than a desire to attain Heaven, and she has deeply seated concerns about most religions.

Uniform/costume: She's working on one, but so far, she has not gotten a good design yet, and is relying on a ski mask and baggy clothes.

Origin Info/Details: Darya was born to a caring family who had recently fled the violence and foolishness of their home in Iran, and were making do as they could in America. They settled in New York at first, where Darya was born, but economics forced them further away, until they finally settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There is where Darya and her younger brother grew up. Her father and mother were victims of racially motivated hate crimes when she was thirteen, but thankfully, her family had been steadily filtering over, and several uncles and aunts were around to help her grandmother.

Darya's grandmother always had the air of a mystic, and she raised her grandchildren on stories of the old country, of Persia, of great kings and djinn, and other fantasies. She always held that the family was descended from the Sassanid dynasty, though no proof was ever forthcoming and no one believes it any more than they do her other fairy tales. However, Darya believes at least that magic exists, and that her grandmother has seen it, and her beliefs were further driven home when she developed her powers at age nineteen.

Walking to work at her uncle Yousef's coffee bar one day, the periodic heavy rains of Albuquerque came down hard and heavy while Darya was completely unprepared. She made a mad dash down an alley, attempting to find cover, only to find to her extreme surprise that she was still completely dry, despite water pouring from the sky in buckets. She swept her arms a few times and watched in wonder as the standing water on the ground and that still falling responded to her motions as if she was in that one Nickelodeon cartoon.

She hid her newfound abilities for a few weeks, but finally, guilt and excitement drove her to tell her uncle where she was disappearing to on her breaks, and why. He was relieved, momentarily, to find she wasn't off having sex or smoking drugs, but relief swiftly turned to abject horror as he realised the implications of what had occurred. A family meeting was called, and various comments and demands were made before Darya's grandmother, matriarch and undisputed authority in the family, ordered Darya to decide for herself. Darya, being who she is, decided to balance family and duty and hero-work.

Currently, Darya serves as one of a very limited number of heroes in the southwest, most of whom belong to the United Southwestern Hero Association. They have been actively trying to recruit Tiamat, but the family, even Fatemeh, are concerned about fulltime heroing and what effects that might have on Darya's future. The Hounds attacks on other metas, however, has driven all the fear out of the whole clan; as much as anyone else, they see the same lunacy that threatens their homeland, and no member of the family would dare argue that they nee to be stopped. And so Darya has been thrust onto the world stage, hesitant but ready to do her part.

Hero Type: Elemental: Water
Power Level: World

Powers:
Hydrokinesis: By far the most impressive of Darya's abilities is direct control of water. She is not limited by volume, and can draw it directly out of the air or nearby standing bodies and move it at the speed of thought. Water, being what it is, has an impressive display of forms, and she is practised in transporting herself, making rain, putting out fires, and forming blades. If she were to move to a more humid area, she would have much more to work with, and on the coast, she is capable of making tsunamis and other extremely impressive/destructive displays.

Other Liquids: Darya has not tried to do this before, but her abilities are not limited to water alone, and anything which is a liquid, she can manipulate. Terrifyingly, this includes such things as powerful acids, and even the blood inside living creatures. Semisolids are liquid enough to fall under this control, anything up to and including oobleck.

Ice and other solids: Given enough training, Darya could actually play with other objects as well. She simply needs to learn how to convert them to their liquid form. Water ice being the foremost of those, but as long as it contains water at all, she can get it to it's liquid form, and then manipulate it as normal.

Atomic Manipulation and Fine Control: As evidenced by her ability(theoretical for now) to convert solids to liquids, Darya can employ vast amounts of impossibly fine-tuned control over liquids. At the top of her form, she could conceivably control only a few molecules to move, should she wish to. This particular capability comes with the ability to think on that level, with the reaction speed required for such manipulations.

Enhanced body: The mutation that caused Narya's powers has also enhanced her phsyical body, increasing her speed, strength.


**Note**: Darya is aware of her control over water, though not about its lack of limitations, and is not aware of her control over other liquids or her ability to do much with solids and semisolids except that she has played with ice and steam. She is not at all aware of her molecular control, and is only vaguely aware of how much her body has adapted to her power.

Skills:
Darya is well versed in her native languages, Farsi and English, and passable with Middle Persian (her grandmother insisted).

She is well trained by her uncles in weapons handling for modern small arms such as pistols and shotguns, knives, and hand to hand combat forms (Krav Maga and Aikido).

She is an extremely good cook, especially with Mediterranean dishes but can turn pretty much anything that is food into amazing dishes, if a bit unorthodox.

She is good at playing doumbek, oud, qanoun, and Moroccan oboe, though none at any sort of professional level. She's also a fair turn-of-the-hips at belly dancing, even if she's a bit too skinny for it.

She has some scholarly interest in philosophy, ethics, poetry, biology, chemistry, and physics, but has not actively pursued any of these.

Attributes (Select one at each category):
Height: 5'2" (160 cm)
Weight: 110 lbs
Strength Level: ~1 ton range
Speed/Reaction Timing Level: Normal speed/~3x normal reactions
Endurance at MAXIMUM Effort: 3 hours
Agility: 5x normal
Intelligence: Average
Fighting Skill: Expert

Resources: Not a lot. Average college student levels.


Weaknesses:

The obvious one is that she can only manipulate things in a liquid state, and while she can change some of those, solid objects like steel are impossible for her to convert to liquid, as they contain no water, and thus she cannot control them.

Sand, is, oddly, one of her worst weaknesses, both because of its ability to absorb water and because, whatever mysterious thing causes her powers also will severely weaken or even stop working entirely should she get more than a few hundred grains of it in contact with her skin. Currently, she has not given this knowledge to anyone.

While a bit faster and tougher than most people, Narya is proof against no bullet, blade, or even fist, and takes damage as normal.

Supporting Characters:
Darya has a huge clan she comes from:
Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins
-Ahmad (43) and Farrah (41)(deceased), and their four children
-Hossein (42) and Kiana (41), with three children
-Ramin (40) and Goli (41), with five children
-Yousef (37) and Reyhan (35), with two children
-Zurvan (35) and Sajad (36), with two adopted children
-Farrokh (32) and Anouseh (35), with two children
-Basir (31), unmarried

Parents
Giv (39) and Zarine (38), both deceased nine years ago.

Their Children
Leila (23), and her husband Martin (25), no children, though Leila is pregnant
Darya (22)
Massoud (18)
Maryam (15)

Grandparents
Fatemeh (63), and Rostam (64)(deceased twenty years ago)
Roya (67) and Massoud (69), both deceased


In addition, Darya has worked alongside the USHA on occasion, whose member include:
Doc Holliday: Fully committed to a cowboy aesthetic, this idealistic young man treats everyone like a gentleman would. He has healing powers and unerring aim with firearms.

Thunderbird: Native American shaman from the Apache. Concerned mostly with environmental threats. Has weather control powers and supersonic flight.

Broadway: Named that way because this Vegas-based hero couldn't really call herself 'Strip'. Light based powers, mostly flashy and not lasers and whatnot.

Rocky: Modelling himself after the boxer and the mountains, this rough and tumble hero is a veteran boxer, “old as the hills”, and has earth and tectonic powers in addition to being super strong and super tough.
Sorry, I have been away from home waaay too much lately. Hopefully that should change soon, but I am knocking like hell on wood for that one. Regardless, IRL stuff is currently over, so I can actually buckle down and write for a good bit.
Well, the reasons for a merc leader to need recruits again are myriad. He could need to fill out ranks due to a particularly attrition-heavy job; have suffered significant loss of numbers due to people mustering out to either better jobs, retirement, etc; have suffered a loss of potential recruits and current members due to a disastrous last job. Mercs tend to be the highest turnover pool in the job sector for any given period of history.

Ultimately, the decision is yours, but I personally like the idea of a guy trying to build rep after a bad series of jobs. Makes for a better chance for the "motley" in our crew to be realistic.
Annoyingly short post, but it didn't really make sense for Ahk to be wondering around in a crowd without a good reason. So instead we get to play Who Gets Injured in the Intro Arc First?
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