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Lucas Bray




Slip sliding scratching scrape of scrambled sound. A sallow streak scored sharp and sudden snapping across solid slate. Watching the letters shaping themselves from the voices sounding out beside him—the people who were willing to speak up, anyway—Lucas didn’t bother to find his voice with them. But he did find himself growing the slightest bit more interested in the story, the words, the context behind each. The bottle had stopped spinning again, and he was sitting a little straighter as he sifted through his own thoughts on the matter. He still wasn’t exactly invested in the answer, but he was picking up and picking out the words he felt fit while the teacher elaborated on every point. The arrows made it even better, as did the realization that whatever he said might not even matter, as long as it settled somewhere in the loop of drawn out white lines.

Didn’t mean he planned on saying anything.

So, Jonas’ eyes turning to him directly startled him into sinking back in his seat. His head ticked sideways, not quite refusing the request as he stared at the desk with his mouth twitching nervously between a sorry smile and an almost mutter. “It’s not their heads I’m-…. thinking in. Ha! Saved by the bell! Well, door. And tardy student. He finished his answer in an actual mutter, since the words were coming out anyway, but he didn’t expect anyone to be listening. It was only a matter of us and them, and he wasn’t so certain anymore.

Lucas stayed tuned in for the rest of the teacher’s words, but he didn’t look up again until a bit of paper slipped under his nose. Warm, shaking print and the grating grain drawn over each other into thin, thin air. He was happy to let it settle on the desk beside the untouched passcard, glancing over the straight sideways lines of an unfamiliar cipher before looking around as he heard ‘into groups and write…” Worse than class discussion.

Turning to strangers and learning to trust in trouble meant smiling through eyerolls and sighing out of patience. Bottle tucked away and one hand hovering over the paper as he turned from Miss Dahl’s encouraging smile to the other students, Lucas’ thumb found its way to his mouth where he caught the nail sideways in his teeth and bit down. Pressure treated. Good distraction. No one looked happy about it, though some looked less unhappy than others. Well, he didn’t know anyone. Though he recognized one kid from another class, blonde Bobby in a little girl’s voice. Maybe? No. Her? Already picked. Oh.

The boy dressed up for a dressing down was the first his searching settled on who was still looking around. First man up, he thought, started the talk, so he could continue the trend? Pausing to meet his gaze, Lucas offered him a half-hearted smile by way of invitation, preferring not to move but thinking maybe he should, so it was really a contest of wills and that meant he wasn’t going to win unless the other guy gave it to him. But picking out placement played second fiddle to picking out peers.

Second discovery was closer to home behind him. Only two rows over. Red lips and calmer hair… She didn’t look like she wanted anyone to see her. Maybe no one else had. Twisted in his chair, he tried to remember where voices had come from before now—easier said than done—and wondered if she’d stayed quiet, too. Well, she didn’t have to speak up now, just look like she was in on it. He didn’t want to do this either. That thought, giving them a common trouble, had Lucas smiling a little wider her way.

Were they all the leftovers?
Lucas Bray


B U R B E R R Y H E I G H T S:

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - 7:00am | Cross Residence


“Lucas?” Knocking lightly and listening for any sound of movement behind the closed door, all Marianne could hear was the insistent, incessant alarm beeping like mad. “Are you awake? I’m coming in.” And in she went. The boy was lying on the bed, on top of the covers and still dressed in yesterday’s rumpled clothes, covering his ears and glaring at the ceiling. For a moment, she only frowned between his pained expression and what she assumed was the cause, before stepping farther inside and hitting the sleep button herself. The sudden quiet was astonishing.

She considered adjusting the volume to something less jarring as Lucas sat up a little warily. Hard-pressed not to laugh at his expression. “It wasn’t shouting up.” He seemed surprised by this magical skill of hers that turned off alarm clocks, but she could only shake her head and keep her questions to herself. Why he hadn’t turned it off on his own, she didn’t know and might never find out. She wasn’t even sure he needed the alarm, since he seemed to be awake before she was half the time. But this being his first day back to school, she hadn’t wanted him to be late. “Well, never mind it now, the thing’s off and you can leave it off if you want. But come on, then, up. Get changed. Breakfast. Time to get moving. Let’s go.”

Chivvying her reluctant charge up and off the bed towards his dresser, she didn’t need to keep pressing home the point once he was moving. Slow but steady, she left him to it for the moment, continuing her own morning preparations that the alarm had interrupted. He seemed fine with most every day routine, perfectly able to start the day without prompting, though sometimes she noticed he left out a few bits. Those times always coincided with headaches and obvious frustration though, so she couldn’t tell if he was forgetting them or purposely deciding not to brush his hair or teeth. The first two weeks of living together, she’d watched him like a hawk, using her time off and vacation days to do so. It had helped her figure the boy out. His close-mouthed, quiet turning inward hadn’t, and she’d eventually kicked him out of the house just to give him something other than the ceiling and walls to stare at.

Three hours later, she’d found him crying over a toy in the backyard. And Marianne smiled a little wistfully when she saw the same one peeking out of his bag as he came down the stairs, one hand on the railing, the other dodging pictures on the wall. When Gregory called her not six months ago, sounding like death warmed over, she’d been leery of what he was asking from her. To start with, bringing any kid into her house was a bit of a laugh: she’d never been the nurturing type. But to hear that he’d need extra consideration had given her pause. She’d only agreed to try because of her guilty conscience, though she’d refused to make any promises. Then she’d gone and made all that fuss about letting him have a proper teenage experience instead of holing him up in that hospital (nice though it looked when she actually visited) and she could have bitten her tongue, listening to herself. Maybe it had been worth it though, after the harrowing trip back, to see this odd, dejected boy open up and smile so widely when she showed him the ravine.

She still wasn’t sure she knew what she was doing, but she wanted to be good on her word. And had to admit that she’d be glad to know he had somewhere to be and something to do every day while she was working. Watching him eat his dry cereal while finishing her toast, Marianne hoped he wasn’t as nervous about this as she was, but given his abandonment of the usual routine and currently hunched shoulders, she had a feeling he wasn’t looking forward to the rest of the day. She’d hoped his outlook would improve since they’d gone through the meet and greet with Miss Dahl and been shown around the school. The woman seemed well suited to her job, and ready with all sorts of ideas for helping him get through the day, with an answer to every question. They were both MMS alumni, with their pictures hanging on the wall alongside the rest of their classes. She knew the school staff would do their best to ensure he did his best.

Lucas hadn’t seemed interested, though he’d smiled faintly when he saw the pictures, and her hair… He hadn’t tried arguing against the idea anymore, either. Maybe this was just a case of extra butterflies in his stomach, first day jitters. Maybe a show of support… “Looking forward to meeting your classmates?” A glance up, then back down to his bowl, and she grimaced at the twinge of conscience telling her she was a horrible mother for sending her son to school. The boy was 17 for crying out loud, and not without teacher support, he’d manage. He needed the routine and the socializing, not to mention the education. He hadn’t had to redo the first grade he’d missed, but he still tested out one behind. She wanted to see him graduate secondary, then they could figure out his future. This had to be good for him.

“How about I drive you, just for today since I’ve got the time?” He didn’t even look up this time, so she reached across the table and waved her hand where he could see it. She didn’t like being ignored. “Lucas. How about I drive you?”

She’d expected some hesitation. Getting him into a car could be hit and miss, emphasis on the miss. But the widening eyes and quick shake of his head as he leaned away from her still hurt. An extra pinch of salt for all the years she’d never even called. She just wanted to do something for him, but he was too old to have his mum walking him to school, wasn’t he? And she didn’t have the time for that either. He’d refused to take the bus, too. As stubborn as his father, though not half as articulate. Most of the time it was just a stolid shake of his head and refusal to move. He wouldn’t tell her why he didn’t like it, or complained about noises she couldn’t do anything about. So, she kept her lips pressed together and didn’t try insisting. A glance at the stove clock told her she didn’t have time to argue, nor to wait for him to finish his bowl.

“At least the weather’s nice. Alright, I have to get going.” It felt like she was talking to herself. Maybe she was. Standing, Marianne reached for her satchel and took his arm to make sure he was listening. “Don’t skip. It’ll be fine, Lucas. Miss Dahl can call me if you need anything. Anything, alright?”

He nodded after a heavy pause, eyebrows pulling together, intent on her words. “Alright, okay. It-It’s okay.”

“Good.” Another pause as she wondered what to say next, but after all that, telling him to have a good day seemed a bit… callous. So, she just gave him a smile, she hoped it was encouraging, and his arm a bit of a squeeze before hurrying to the garage door. She was going to be late. It was for the best he didn’t want her driving him, but when she glanced over her shoulder, the last thing she saw was him pressing his hands into his lap, shoulders tense and curling in on himself, sitting alone at the kitchen table.

Mouth tight, she started the car.

M A T H E R M E M O R I A L H I G H S C H O O L:

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - 12:30pm | Cafeteria balcony


Peace was caught up in relative quiet slipping through the cracks and drifting away. He wanted to follow it. Just walk, out of the halls, out of the school, out of the walls. The park was silent, sinful temptation behind his seat, as close as he could get to the railing where wind rolled around warm fingers and he didn’t mind the chill. But he couldn’t go. If he left, he wasn’t coming back.

There were too many people here. Too many things to count. Too much idle conversation and too much weight in his head. Made his head hurt, figuring it all out. He’d caught himself leaning in his seat more than once, caught himself halfway between closing his eyes to push it all as far as he could and letting it wash on by with every breath rocking him into the simple rhythm of letting go. But he didn’t want to get lost running away in his head here and holding all that up was heavy.

He needed it to stop. Staring at clocks made time slow. Watched pots…

Lunch couldn’t have come soon enough.

The assembly had been bad enough, with so many people in one busy place. Squeaking shoes. Bright lights and bold lines expressed. The subdued racket of chair seats bouncing hard rose and settled beneath the whole student body. He didn’t even wince when the microphone screech announced the first attempt to start over the whispering rush, just whimpered. His hands were already covering his ears. Didn’t care if anyone was staring, just listened to the echoes of never forgetting what the school was called. Mather Memorial. Mather Memorial. Mather Memorial. He was practically glaring a silent shut up by the time the principal rescued the microphone from their musically inclined, or uninclined, librarian.

Splendid show-off the covered everything now. He didn’t care. Just stood up as soon as the hand left his shoulder and walked out. They beat the crowd, but not their feet, and he followed the wall close enough to avoid them all squishing his brain, focusing on the rough texture of the walls beneath his fingers and letting Miss Dahl lead him to his first class. They’d already gone over where everything was. His locker: loudly dented in the middle. Morning classes: far enough apart it counted as exercise. The cafeteria: cluttered with clattering and the smooth slide of trays; there was so much dripping off the edges, it smelled of everything and oil. The afternoon had one free period and one class: just right for playing catch-up. But it was hard to remember in the confusing patterns stepped out on the floor. So, she led, he followed and traced a trail with his fingertips until a busy locker row ruined it. Too many swinging doors and too much hollow rattling.

He picked a desk, each time, in the middle of the back row, away from walls and lockers on the other side. Not wanting to listen. Not wanting to talk.

No one asked him anything. If anyone stared, he didn’t notice. He sat watching the turn and twist of a brown prescription bottle, mesmerized by the steady impact of pills against top and bottom until Miss Dahl prompted him to replace empty bottle with textbook, already turned to the page he was supposed to be looking at, and the words settled a little. She wasn’t there to do everything for him. Three times they’d said she wouldn’t always be there, either. It was just to help him make the transition, during the first few days, so he sat up and tried to follow. It was better when they wrote on the board, and Mr. Alden repeated himself so many times it was almost easy.

Part of him remembered how it all worked. It wasn’t hard to fall into the flow of doing what he was told or sitting still and turning pages. But after so much free time and months of escaping into quiet woods and open air whenever he needed to, Lucas was tired enough by the time the lunch bell rang that he didn’t even realise it was the lunch bell until they got to the cafeteria. Seeing sandwiches made him laugh, relieved to find finger food. But he still picked a table as far away from the walls as he could get, happier outside.

Noticeable enough that Miss Dahl never bothered relocating to the library when everyone vanished back to their classes. There wasn’t much to go over during the spare, but she made sure he’d written down the homework and remembered the classrooms and teachers before leaving him to work. He didn’t need help with that. He just needed time.


Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - 02:22pm | The ‘Loft’


The word of the day was never-ending.

Like start, don’t stop the beaten track meeting in the middle. A breath of fresh air then back into the fray. If he followed the shifting tide of other students he’d never have found the class by himself: last one. Almost there. He did find team spirit pounded through the floor though; clap along to ravens, ravens, ravens. Loud and proud and making him scowl. But climbing the stairs and slipping into empty space seemed strange. Haunted halls.

Where was everyone?

Taking the time to look around before they came to the end of the hall he recognized age as much in the distance between his head and the louder voices as in the old style of worn down floor polish and door handles. It wasn’t as bad up here. The echoes of footsteps followed them down the hall. But the room was a rustle of papers and soft voices and the same tap-tapping scrape of chalk on the blackboard and dust falling like rain as he paused to watch the teacher’s back and brisk motion. Seeing that question mark flourish at the end, Lucas avoided the man’s eyes when he turned around and picked a corner seat, sinking down in the chair and making himself small beneath a mop of unruly hair.

As Miss Dahl took the seat beside him, his old pill bottle came back out of his sweatshirt pocket. White top, press down and twist, with smooth sides shiny and dark between his fingers. Every time he turned it end over end the empty air inside rattled against his skull. The medicine was gone, but he could still feel its weight. Making an odd sort of rainstick melody, hypnotizing. Little pinpricks in his head of upside down dazed sliding. He watched the light reflect off the brown tinted sides, blurring the black on white smudged ink of his name instead of watching the other students stepping through the door. Over and over, around and around until someone cleared their throat.

Chain reaction. He paused to glance up, bottle and fingers still for a moment as he registered the voice. Bald head. Bald tone.

He listened without really listening, in one ear and out the other because that was easier than holding onto it all, but he could hear it. Mostly. And the bottle slipped slowly back to its circles, gaze drifting around instead of down as he finally took note of the others in the class. It wasn’t as big a group as he’d thought it would be. The other classes were bigger. Same mix of sharp, distant, attentive though. Were they supposed to be taking notes?

She wasn’t writing…

One guy was though.

Everyone else was talking. Discussion period. That’s what questions on the board were for. Find your own answers until someone tells you wrong. Think out loud. He’d rather not.

He got the question. It was floating white on black and easy to read. But he didn’t want to open his mouth with so many people listening in. And he didn’t know what to say, besides. From was a word that didn’t separate, just stretched distance between here and there, then and now, this and that, because it meant leaving behind a change of pace. The human animal made him think of monkeys walking down the line of evolution like in the textbooks and on the t-shirts. Two hunched figures between them. Didn’t want to think about it any harder than that.

He didn't care about existentialism either. Or was this class not where anyone else belonged? He'd just followed the schedule, and Miss Dahl. But now he was listening properly, too. Confused by the shift in direction between who asked the questions and who answered.
R E C A L L

LUCAS EMERY BRAY 05/05/2001 ( 17 ) MALE ASEXUAL

"Lucas. It’s Lucas, okay? So I know what’s up."


▼ A P P E A R A N C E:

"Lucas, okay? That’s me."
//STATS:
◼ HEIGHT | 5'9"
◼ WEIGHT | 134 lbs
◼ BUILD | Average
◼ HAIR | Haphazardly in his eyes, brown
◼ EYES | Big and brown
◼ ETHNICITY | Caucasian

//DESCRIPTION:
With mousey brown hair and eyes and rather pale skin, Lucas is fairly plain. His hair does lighten with a few highlights if he stays out in the sun long enough, and if it’s longer than an inch (and it’s been consistently over his eyes, these last few years) it flips and curls at the ends and is generally disheveled. He’s got thick, mobile eyebrows and wide but slightly close-set eyes, a somewhat round nose, full lips and a weak chin. His face has rounded out as he grew up and can be quite expressive.

With a relatively slender frame, Lucas doesn’t make for much of a presence. There is very little muscle on him, giving his arms a lanky reach and making his hands seem a bit big, as though he’s still growing into them. He has, however, reached his full height, though he could certainly do with some more filling out. He seems younger than he actually is and wearing mostly cast-offs and secondhand clothing doesn’t help much. He prefers loose clothes, with subdued tones. Baggy pants with big pockets, and sweatshirts over top of casual t-shirts. Looking put together has never been a great concern of his, nor does he manage it often.

His natural expression is a relaxed frown and quiet air of inattention, contentment or concern, but it can shift just as easily into a bright smile, confused disbelief or an angry glare as most, though they tend to be slower to shift through the motions that rearrange the meaning. His hands are often fidgeting, usually with each other as that is the safest for him to touch, but sometimes they skitter over surfaces rather nervously before settling. Lucas has a ragged, quiet voice, often as full of emotion as his expression, though he rarely raises it and tends to use it as little as possible. It is a light tenor, with a slight nasal quality if he raises it too loud. When distracted by his power, it can get a bit distant, but never lifeless or monotone.


▼ B I O G R A P H Y:

"What? Ha, no, okay. I dunno, it’s all just back to being here, isn’t it?"
Lucas was born and raised in the Summerhill district of Old Toronto. He grew up the only child of Gregory Bray, who raised him as a single father after a succinct divorce. It was not a difficult life, at least for Lucas. For Greg, raising a kid became a lifelong harrowing, though rewarding, experience. Thankfully for Lucas, he persevered and lucked out in having a good job, an understanding boss and parents more than willing to give advice whenever he needed it. He’ll admit he’s needed it a lot over the years, he never regretted choosing to ask for custody.

Lucas spent his days amusing himself and making his dad laugh (or despair for a moment or two) until school started. Then he became very serious for half a year, full of a pretentious “I’m learning stuff” attitude that his kindergarten teacher reminded him of right along into secondary. But she was a sweet little lady whom he couldn’t begrudge the ribbing, and he liked visiting her during the lunch hour when it wasn’t nice enough to play outside with his friends. Winters were for sitting in class until you were allowed to go outside and have snowball fights. And then for shoveling the walk and getting hot chocolate after plenty of tobogganing. Summers were for swimming and sailing and eating ice cream at the cottage they shared with a friend of his dad’s. Along with plenty of camping in the nearby national parks.

It was a normal, nice life broken only by the few rough spots of occasional arguments and sports induced injuries and the odd bad grade. Not that he always had good marks, but, y’know, some were worse than usual.

Then, a few months before his 13th birthday, Lucas caught a football and suddenly couldn’t stand straight. The dizzy sensation of spinning uncontrollably unnerved him completely, but his friends just laughed, thinking he’d tripped, and he didn’t know where it came from. He shrugged it off at first; maybe he just needed a drink more than he thought. But that wasn’t the end of it. Gradually he started hearing and seeing things too, sometimes clearly and other times too faintly to make out. But he found himself answering questions he hadn’t been asked, or feeling people nearby when there weren’t any. He managed to keep it quiet for a time, but anyone who knew him couldn’t help noticing the changes. He was more jumpy and stopped talking as much, afraid to hear the telltale “What? What are you talking about?”

His dad certainly noticed. Lucas was never good at keeping things hidden, and distracted as he was by these new, unbidden, complications, it was even harder than usual for him to act like everything was just fine. But Greg thought maybe it would solve itself, one of those phases everyone is so apt to say teenagers suffer from. He was still hoping it was an ordinary bout of teenager rebellion when Lucas’ grades slipped too low not to point out. They had a talk, and while Lucas wasn’t happy with the consequences, he didn’t bring up the real problem either, just a vague, ‘having trouble focusing, haven’t been getting enough sleep or something…’ It didn’t work. He failed that year, and finally caved under his dad’s disappointment. It wasn’t his fault everyone preferred talking over paying attention to the teacher!

So, Greg went to the school and talked with Lucas’ teachers. They all said the same thing: their students weren’t generally unruly, there was the odd conversation they had to stop, the occasional trouble, but nothing to disrupt class enough to explain Lucas’ poor grades. In fact, some said that he was the one doing most of the distracting, speaking out of turn or jumping at nothing.

Lucas came clean when his dad told him that, ashamed to have been putting the blame on other people, but honestly not knowing what else to blame. He didn’t know who was talking, sometimes he thought he recognized a voice, but often enough they were complete strangers. And it wasn’t just at school either. The rest emerged more hesitantly when Gregory took Lucas to see a psychiatrist. He didn’t want to go, and Greg wasn’t sure he wanted to take him, but they went.

The eventual diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia and they prescribed a treatment to help with the symptoms as soon as it became obvious they were there to stay and other causes were ruled out. The effect was, unfortunately, mostly the opposite of what they’d expected. The drugs, meant to diminish or stop the hallucinations entirely, seemed to work for the first few doses, but they wound up unbalancing an already changing brain and, after the first month, they left him more susceptible to the outside influence of past moments and he lost contact with his own thoughts for a while, unable to fight the influx of sounds and scents and feelings.

When he came back to himself, he was missing a whole month and sitting in the car watching his dad carry bags into the old cottage, with no memory of the trip. The psychiatrist had changed their diagnosis to disorganized schizophrenia when Lucas’ mental condition deteriorated so rapidly, a disorder that had a worse prognosis than their previous conclusion, and Greg had wanted to get away from every other responsibility while he tried to accept it. To say he was relieved when he saw Lucas getting out of the car on his own is like saying a flooded house may have waterdamage. He was in tears. And Lucas was scared as hell. But he’d pulled through the worst of it.

While still taking the drugs, Lucas’ recovery was neither instantaneous, nor complete, but he did benefit from the more isolated setting at the cabin, and he and his dad started working together to learn his triggers. It became clear very quickly that city life was part of the problem, but it was Gregory’s opinion that his son couldn’t go forever living in the middle of nowhere. And for all Lucas likes the outdoors, and his opinion was definitely raised higher every time they helped clear his head, he didn’t really want to spend the rest of his life alone in a tent either. So, they continued trying to make it work in the city, finding a new psychiatrist who was considering autism as another possibility, to help him learn to focus through all the extra stimulus.

His dad wasn’t as certain that it was a known disorder by that time, having heard a few too many repeated conversations Lucas had never been party to, but he had no one to tell his suspicions to, and he was afraid of anyone else finding out. So, he stopped the sessions when Lucas gave him undeniable proof, before any sure progress could be made, and they went back to trying to figure things out on their own.

Unfortunately, Lucas was not the only one having problems during this time, and Gregory fell to lung cancer within weeks of deciding they’d stay at the cabin and make things work no matter what. He’d been ignoring the signs for some time, too long for the eventual, forced, doctor’s visit to do much good. Lucas had been aware that something was wrong, but he’d not had the mental capacity to put together the clues until it was too late. With his dad in the hospital, his grandparents took over his care, and Gregory got in touch with his ex, thinking that as much as he knew they loved him, they might not be up to the task.

No one was aware of his actions until she showed up after his funeral, arguing against their decision to put Lucas into a highly recommended medical teaching centre where they thought he could be given the attention and help he needed. It was a reasonable idea, since they weren’t aware of the core problem, but after spending a week in the place, clean though the halls were and kind though the staff were, Lucas is more than a little grateful to the woman he’s suddenly supposed to call Mum for taking him home with her. There was too much weight in the walls left behind by all the other visitors.

He’s been living in Crestwood Hollow for a few months now, adjusting to a different house and different city and different caregiver and not really sure what to think of it. The house is new, mostly quiet except for the work parties Marianne’s hosted. There’s a ravine he can go exploring in almost right across the street and the city’s got plenty of parks and all. Marianne’s not the most attentive, always busy with her work and not exactly mothering material. There’s a reason she let Gregory have him in the first place, but she is trying, if a bit haphazardly. And she adapted quickly enough to leaving him notes about important things instead of telling him and hoping he’d remember what she said. Lucas is fine with doing his own thing though, he was fine with her leaving him to settle in and didn’t mind the microwave dinners, or the days he had to fill up himself, but now she wants him to go back to school since he seems to be doing better, and he doesn’t know if he’ll make it through the first day, let alone the whole year.


▼ A B I L I T I E S / S K I L L S:

" Ha! There’s too much in the corners for awake and dreaming it’s not funny, so it’s all weird and still in my head. Okay? I don’t ask!"
//ABILITIES:
◼ HIDDEN |

//SKILLS:
◼ OUTDOORS KNOW-HOW | He’s been camping every summer since he was little and knows the general survival basics, along with paddling and sailing small craft and some orienteering.

◼ ATHLETE | He is an active kid, liked soccer and frisbee, and he still has some of his endurance and agility, even if sports are no longer his thing.

◼ BILINGUAL | He speaks English and French with some fluency, though he’s generally better at English.

◼ PATIENT | Lucas can and does get frustrated about things, but it takes quite a lot for him to finally blow a gasket, and he’s remarkably good at waiting or repeating himself as necessary to be heard or understood.

//LIMITATIONS:
◼ HIDDEN |

//WEAKNESSES:
◼ UNDERSTANDING | Being able to communicate with others clearly and coherently can be a constant struggle. He’s willing to work at it, but he won’t always have the luxury of time.

◼ STRAIGHTFORWARD | If he wants something, he’ll ask for it, or take it, if he doesn’t, he’ll make it obvious. If he doesn’t understand, he’ll say so. He is easily led and easy to fool. Occasionally, he’s excessively honest. Secrets are hard to keep around him, and he’s forgotten the value of someone sharing or keeping his mouth shut. So, his company isn’t always going to be appreciated.

◼ FOCUS | He can get easily overwhelmed and finds it occasionally hard to keep touch with reality. Any sudden influx of stimuli can leave him relatively unresponsive or unaware of his immediate surroundings for a short time. When he’s sick or tired, paying attention to everything is that much harder.


▼ N O T E S:

//SUPPORTING CAST:
▼ FAMILY
GREGORY BRAY | His father (deceased).

MARIANNE CROSS | His mother. She works long hours and isn’t home much. Lucas still isn’t sure what she actually does, though he’s pretty sure it pays well. She is the only one he has much contact with these days.

IDALEE BRAY | His grandmother.

ARTHUR BRAY | His grandfather.

▼ ALLIES
EVELYNE DAHL | The teaching assistant meant to keep him on track and focused during class. He’s hoping she’ll help enough to get by, and she does have a friendly smile. Also, good taste in music.

//STOMPING GROUNDS
◼ BLACKWOOD CREEK | A wooded area surrounding a small tributary with a few walking trails that runs just past his house. It leaves city limits in one direction and joins up with the pedestrian trails by the river in the other. He’s spent a good hour or three exploring it every day since he discovered it.

◼ MARIANNE’S HOUSE | A new house in a rich old neighbourhood (Burberry Heights), it looks a little out of place with its sleek modern lines, but it’s not too ostentatious, there’s just lots of giant windows and a bit of a garden out the back. Lucas mostly keeps to his room and sometimes tries out the videogames in the den since she bought the console in a misguided attempt to make the house more teenager friendly.

//PARAPHERNALIA
◼ STEGOSAURUS | He carries a little stuffed stegosaurus with him pretty much everywhere he goes. It was a gift from his dad.

◼ PRESCRIPTION BOTTLE | It’s empty, but he likes playing with it.

◼ BACKPACK | It comes with the usual school necessities: pencil and pens, notebooks, calculator, things… He also uses it to hold his snacks and when he goes exploring down the creek.
That, or you weren't waiting and I ran all around the place trying to find you... All I know is it seemed like the most appropriate expression of glee to use, after the dude one.... I don't question these things, neither should you. *sniffs haughtily*
Found you~
Duuuuuuuuude!
I want this plot. Hardcore. It seems like a fun mix of adventure and slice of life, with world building elements and a great reason to stick two strangers together and make them go off on shenanigans.

I'd be happy to write as the dude, and to help figuring out the traditions and reasons behind them and the different regions where the crystals reside. I've got ideas shaping themselves in my head, but they're kind of vague at the moment, mostly just about the dude's character and some about what might cause the lack of regional vestals. But it seems like a really great idea to play around with.
It was not long before Wai saw the heavy, hanging homes of her destination blotting out the glow of branches behind them. In the distance, hanging still and outlined with the faintest sheen of reflected light, they seemed like droplets of water caught at the end of a thread. Suspended mid-motion. A tranquil, familiar sight drawing her in.

She let it. Barely slowing her pace until she could make out the irregular undulations on the woven surface of the closest; bounding forward along the thicker trunks and bouncing off the smaller, leaping casually over the abyss and swinging across larger gaps as she trusted her earlier appraisal of the path here. Only when she saw a splash of brightness on one well wedged deadfall did she pause, dropping into a sudden crouch and slipping sideways into the light beneath the log, its rotten wood an easy source of nutrients for the mushrooms sprouting along its length and illuminating a tiny, disintegrating world. Half hidden by the glow on her skin and half by the slant of the log, Wai took her time unwinding the slender cord at her hip as she caught her breath.

Working by touch alone to pull the line free from her belt, she used her eyes for other things, searching out signs of activity, and watching a single spot of light climbing idly upwards as though through thin air. She knew they were on an anchor line, but it was invisible this far away, so the villager seemed to float, making funny motions mid-air that she could only compare to a lizard caught in a waterbowl. Except, of course, that the lizard would have been flailing madly or floating serenely and had much shorter legs. Still… She swallowed her amusement before it could escape as noise and finally felt the knot give way so she could bring the silk thread to the front, checking the knots attaching it to the carved bit of bone, just in case. The string’s length was a good few feet, but she kept it mostly coiled, even after ascertaining that everything was in order, simply dropping the bone and flicking her wrist so that it turned a rapid circle around her hand. Careful not to hit the wood around her, she spun it faster as its edges caught the air, making it thrum out a high note.

It reverberated in her bones and swept through the darkness all around. The climber paused in the distance when the sound reached them, though not for long, apparently uninterested in possible news.

Sooner than she’d expected, another answered her, twin-toned and warbling slightly. It was the official proof that she’d been heard and was welcome, also, that she wasn’t about to walk into disaster, though the calm climber she was looking at made that last mostly redundant. So, routine custom satisfied, she didn’t hesitate any longer, and with an accomplished twitch of her tail stood and set off again. Paying more attention to how she tucked the huewri back on her belt than where she set her feet, Wai was slower in her approach. There was no reason to rush, though she was wondering why the welcome had come so quickly. She was waiting to hear the reason, thinking that someone had to have had that huewri in hand before she’d called out, so she was not surprised when its voice came again, warbling dual notes lower this time, before she was even ten steps closer.

Head tilting, she went still to listen: one long, low groan followed by a breath of staccato whirring. That sound always made her think of hiccups…

It was a general summons. Not for her though, as she wasn’t a part of this village, and she weighed the idea of sleeping now against satisfying her curiousity before giving in. Her plan to slip in, find a bed, find a meal, and slip out wasn’t exactly inflexible. She had time to deviate since she wasn’t carrying any package or news to be delivered, and it was a Runner’s right to sit in on any, well, almost any, meeting they might like to, provided they knew how to keep their opinions to themselves. Wai had never had to worry about that, she was better at listening than talking anyway. So, as soon as her huewri was securely fastened again, up she went, strong fingers and toes catching at the slightest hold with practiced ease. She was no orn though, the effort was more of a graceless scramble than anything, though it did the trick.

The high platform, suspended on long poles stuck into the trees on every side, was her destination. It was a regular gathering point, and every village she’d ever visited had one, with a row or two of specialized huewru carefully coiled and hung from the rafters, neat and organized and ready for use beneath an arched roof of resh petals that kept off some of the damp. Now, seeing the small group of people who’d arrived before her, she stepped carefully across the supporting poles to duck under the overhang and tuck herself into an unoccupied corner while they awaited the stragglers.

Looking around, there were a few she recognized, though even fewer that she could name, and one pride straightened fellow next to the elder just finishing hanging up the huewri he’d used to call them here. She could see the nerves in his twitching tail, the tip unfortunately bright enough to attract attention. Young, she thought, though his shoulders were well filled out and he was likely taller than her. Chances were good that he had been alive longer than she had, though by how much, neither would be able to count. There was no sign of trouble or concern amongst the others, in fact, she caught a few surreptitious glances of amusement between the older generation and encouraging gestures from the younger. But that tail…

She felt a sympathetic buoyancy spreading in her stomach as she guessed at the reason for this gathering, remembering her own steps from apprentice to peer. The nervous delight of all her effort being acknowledged even as she worried that it wasn’t enough, that she’d never know enough. But, of course, she’d had a good mentor, and her fears had been unfounded. By the satisfied curl of the elder’s tail, as well as the happy squinting of rheumy eyes, Wai was certain he would be no different.

It started well. The elder, Peya, she thought his name was, raising his arms high to catch attention. It worked better than shouting, silhouetted as he was against the dark overhang of resh petals, and Wai was sure she wasn’t the only one to catch her breath in anticipation. The quiet came almost immediately, and into that expectant pause, Peya’s raspy voice was more than audible, asking them to see the man before them who had once been a child among them. It was a set speech, rote, routine, formal, though different exact words than she thought her own mentor had used. But it was the message that mattered most. She was happy to be a witness to his growth. Glad for his accomplishments.

She was impressed by the fine hammock he’d woven as proof of his skill and, apparently, as a gift of gratitude for the patience Peya had shown him. Ha, so, he was older! Though she supposed the missing forearm might have something to do with the required patience. It could not be easy having to find new methods to cope with a missing hand. He’d be a good weaver, regardless, it seemed, and she raised her voice in welcome along with the others, inviting him to step into the circle they made on the platform so they could give him their first long look adult to adult.

However, happy for this Iln though she was, he remained a stranger, and Wai would have been hard-pressed to deny that she was more pleased with the good timing that saw her arriving before a celebratory feast than with the chance to watch him receive his whiskers. And she sat impatiently through the rest of the ceremony as another woman carefully cut into Iln’s cheeks the same diagonal lines most of them wore. She couldn’t stop thinking about the meal sure to come.
<Snipped quote by Nemaisare>

How many throwing knives did the character have?


I think the count was 3 or 4 depending on whether I also had him using long knives... Which I forgot about until just now. Obviously, it was smart of me to make him lose stuff cuz I can't even remember what everything he should have had. Pffffft, well done me.

It doesn't matter so much anymore as this character was rejected for various reasons but the main problem seemed to be too many weapons :/ I was just looking to see if I had maybe over-stepped in terms of number of weapons on one person or whether the GM was just being picky with the characters :) I hold no judgement against said GM, it's just disappointing not to be able to use the character :(


One probable reason why too many weapons might be an issue, barring weight restrictions and cumbersome ones, could be that a lot of them require some training to use, maybe? Or well, use efficiently, if one doesn't go by the whole, stick em with the pointy end schtick. :P
I think I've had one character who, theoretically, should have owned 6 or 7 weapons all told. And in some iteration, he should have been able to lay claim to all of them at once when travelling or at his home, but I don't believe he ever actually had all of them at any point of my playing him. He'd always left some behind or lost a few or had one break. But he was a trained guard/potential assassin, plus lived in a place where being able to hunt was considered important, so he had a sword, a bow, some throwing knives and a garotte. So, unless you count the throwing knives individually, I guess it was only 4....
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