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6 mos ago
Current That was the worst three months of my life. Health is close to normal again. Here's to making the insurance company cry!
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10 mos ago
"Your copay today is $20,000" How about no.
3 yrs ago
Well, the "I am but an ally" to "queer af" pipeline is real.


I have gone by many names over my life, and the one I go by here is Nori.

I am a non-binary individual who has a love of participating in these stories and creating my own. I am incredibly chronically ill. If my illness flares up too much I may be pulled away.

Most Recent Posts

THE 317


The 317

Jordan took a bite of his tacos as the cool wind of this autumn evening brushed against his face. What a fucking day already. Greenwood showed up and made the proposition, left without getting him high, and was going to show up any minute now in the evening. They better get him high this go around, he had spent the past hour arranging a table downstairs filled to the brim with snacks for their inevitable munchies. As well, he bought out the food truck, with the 317’s event card, so that everyone at least got a good meal on the night. Jasper leaned back in his chair and waited. Tonight was a historic night for the 317. It felt much like the night where they agreed to help fight the Nazis, but bigger. This was a formal alliance, this was the 317 finally deciding to fight for the city that embraced their art collective, this was the 317 finally using its collective strength to help protect those who could not protect themself.

Jordan took another bite from his food and groaned as it was the best bite yet. Los Agavez Taqueria was the one of the highest rated food trucks in the entirety of St. Portwell and it was a local fixture of the 317. They partnered with the owner, who was mundane, a year ago to cater for group for events like this. Luckily, the owner had no plans for the night and was all too happy to have his entire night covered. Jordan took another bite from his tacos and smiled. Tonight was going to be a good night. A moment later his nose detected the tell tale sign that Green was on the wind.

Aislin was in front of the taco truck, looking carefully over the menu while she waited along with the others. She was dressed up a bit for the occasion, in a dress shirt with a loose knitted sweater over top, and slacks. Her eyes gazed unseeingly over the menu, feeling a bit of nerves. 317? Teaming up with someone? She said she’d show up, but as her eyes darted across the gathering, she only felt her nerves getting the better of her.

Surely this was the right move. Leadership knew what they were doing, right?


Aislin looked back at the taco truck’s menu, and sighed.

Meanwhile, Rohan sat posted up on the opposite end of the table. A man not often seen in the politics of the 317, he was here mostly for moral support. Jordan was the kind of person to be worried about this sort of thing, but Rohan didn’t seem very tense. He was as far back in his chair as he could get without it tipping over.

A dull-eyed, unfocused expression lay across his face as his eyes scanned over the area. In one hand, he had one of those amazing tacos, half eaten so far. Tonight was a big deal for his friends, and he wanted to be there for them as that big deal was made. They did a lot for him, it was only fair.

Various rushing winds came out of nowhere, carrying leaves and other pieces of foliage. When the winds reached their zenith, the leaves were spinning in a circle, and then they dispersed as the Greenwood Coven (minus Sully) seemingly appeared out of thin air. Ruby stood in front of the group, holding her tree branch staff with one hand, and took a few steps forward.

“We’re baaaaaaaaaaaack!” Jessica shouted. “Hide yo’ wife, hide yo’ children!”

“... Let’s not start,” Naomi said, rubbing her temples.

“About time,” Jordan took the final bite of his food and flicked his hand as he shook his head, “my man made this extra good tonight. Y’all hungry? Grab a plate, on the house tonight. Faith’s expecting you but she will understand if you wanted to grab some of the best tacos in St. Portwell.”

”Yeah. No rush tonight.” Rohan finished off his taco in one last bite, looking like he was glue to that chair.

“Ooooooooh, shit!” James said, with a grin as he gave his axe a little twirl. “You know I can’t turn down some free food!”

“Do you have veggie tacos?” Kashmira asked. “I do not eat meat.”

“Ohhhh, I thought this was an important meeting… I came sober.” Rien appeared from another building, surprisingly more on time than normal. They had a large backpack, half painted canvas in their arms with paintbrushes haphazardly shoved in the front pocket of their baggy dungarees worn over a green sweater. Their nose twitched at the smell of weed they'd avoided having the last few hours for this. They looked at Greenwood, one hand raising in a half wave. “Yo. You bring any of the good shit?”

“... Why are you acting like I share-” Ruby said as she tilted her head.

“Yes, we brought the good shit!” Jessica laughed, as she dug into her pocket and pulled out a gallon-sized ziploc bag that was full of that premium Zaza. That shit that’ll put your ass to sleep. Only the strong can handle gas of this level.

“If you share,” Jordan said as he reached into his pocket, “and promise to be on your best behavior Ruby,” Jordan paused as he pulled out two glass containers sticky with dabs, “I’ll share my stuff too.”

Ruby rolled her eyes, “... When have I ever misbehaved?”

She grabbed the sack of weed from Jess, and then held it from the top, “This ain’t your regular weed. This is your premium, top-shelf, shit. You’ll get so high you’ll wake up in Miami or something.”

“This is just regular dabs,” Jordan stood up, “I have a lot though.” He looked at Rien with a ‘it happens’ look. He looked back to Ruby with a mischievous grin, “I remember that stuff all too well after we fucked over the Nazis. I’ve been chasing that high ever since. Rien,” Jordan paused as he walked over to them and held out one of the jars, “you know where my rig is! Go wild. Tonight will be a good night, with or without the good weed. Plus,” Jasper smirked, “you usually have to earn it.”

Rien rolled their eyes at him, hand going into their pocket and pulling out an already rolled blunt. “I ain't looking for your normal shit, Jordan, I want the good stuff. I get that on my own… y'know. Those apparitions don't catch themselves.” They shook the half finished painting in their hand.

“This is premium normal shit,” Jordan said as he pocketed the containers, “closest I’ve gotten to theirs. Don’t knock the dab until you’ve tried it.” Jordan turned back to Greenwood. “So, we got food up here if you want it. Otherwise, we can head down whenever you're ready.”

Aislin popped up beside Jordan with a taco in hand, eyes on his pocketed containers. “Really pulling out all the stops tonight, eh? Dab me up later.”

She smirked, hiding her nerves with another bite of taco.

“You're getting fooled…” Rien muttered, shaking their head.

“What, you think yours is so much better? What about mine?” Aislin grinned, tapping her back pack. “Why don't we put them all to the test and see which is better once and for all? Great way to uh, bring everyone together.

”You kids know a lot about weed,” Rohan commented, finishing off his taco and reaching for another.

“... How about we discuss matters before we all get high,” Pearl stuck her nose into the conversation and shook her head. “We have all night, and we should all be fully cognizant.”

“I turned up sober,” Rien raised one hand in mock surrender.

“Agreed,” Jordan said as he looked over to Aislin, “don’t worry, you need a dab after the day you’ve had.”

Aislin relaxed a bit, a sheepish grin coloring her face. “Right, right.”

Jordan paused as he looked over to Ruby, “8th attacked sycamore again today. I can fill you in about it in a second, but they’re getting bold.”

“Oh shittttt,” Rien said with a very bored look.

“I’m getting my first tacos, tho’!” James shouted with a smile.

“Same, I would love some veggie tacos,

“I’ll give you two a taco to eat,” Ruby rolled her eyes.

Juno climbed out of Rohan’s shirt pocket, and nestled into the space between the arm of his chair, and his left leg. He muttered something that sounded absolutely incomprehensible, and Rohan just nodded at the little golem. ”True.”

”Erhrerbrrhhrr…” The little wooden golem replied.

”...Yeah.” Rohan reached into a cooler at his feet and pulled out some cheap light beer, and cracked it open. ”Pretty long, I think.”


“Ayyyyyyyyyyyy!” Jessica shouted as she walked over to it, and knelt down. “Cute lil’ guy.”

”Hrhrraghhh…” Juno said, philosophically.

“I keep asking Faith to make him the mascot. She’s not super receptive, but I think we’ll win her over,” Jordan joked as he looked over to the door. Nothing yet, but Faith will call for them if they are needed any sooner.

“It's too cute to be our mascot,” Rien said.

Aislin mumbled excitedly under her breath, “Would be the beeest mascot.” Before taking another bite of her taco.

“Hey now,” Jessica grinned. “We’re about to take him home and make him the Greenwood mascot! See, he’s made of wood. We’re called Greenwood. It’s a match made in heaven!“

”Everything I make’s made of wood,” Rohan said, taking a light sip of his drink.


“Hear him, everybody!” James shouted as he threw a thumb in Rohan’s direction. “He said he’s got wood!


Naomi facepalmed. Aislin jaw-dropped.

“Ohhhh good one!” Rien sneered. It was difficult to tell if they were being sarcastic and found the joke or James funny as they sniggered. “You sure you haven't hit that shit already?”

“Oh boy,” Jordan laughed. “Honestly, hard to tell with them Rien. Pearl is right though, we have business to attend to first. Then, we can get high.”

Feeling bored, Juno clambered up to the table, stole a taco, and ran off into the direction of the 317’s lair. All that could be heard was the sound of diabolical, high pitched, cackling as the creature disappeared.

“Bitch, I’m always high,” Ruby added. “Or drunk. We established that this morning.”

“You’re high functioning, you don’t count,” Jordan responded quickly.

”You guys got anywhere to be tonight?” Rohan asked, suspecting this was going to take forever.

“Nope,” Naomi shrugged. “We were going to party after this.”

“... Which is why I’m confused as to why we are dallying,” Pearl shook her head.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get to your party,” Jordan paused as he looked around the group. This had already developed into an interesting start to the meeting. He knew the real purpose of this night would happen inside. “Okay, everyone grab your food. I’ll be here to take everyone down,” he quickly pointed to the door, “and then-“

“Jordan,” Summers's voice boomed from inside the building. The voice was clear but had enough distortion to suggest it came from a speaker and not a mouth. Soon, the sounds of whirling joints and sudden, jerky, metallic steps filled the air. Soon, the metallic and thin frame of one of summers humanoid homunculi excited the building. “Faith is about to head up,” the head of the homunculi scanned the area, resting on the Greenwood members, “y’all are good to come down whenever, I’ll let faith know you’re here.” The homunculi turned on the spot, marched back inside, down the hall and entered its hidden home.

“Alright, if you’re going to get food, get food. It’ll be here all night. If you want to just get business started, follow me.” Jordan motioned as he went towards the door.

“The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can get baked,” Rien said. They moved their canvas to be in both arms again before following him.

“We are gonna get so high after this.” Aislin giggled, following after Jordan. Maybe this was a good thing after all, she though.
“... It sounds like you guys are fuckin’ stoners, now!” Naomi laughed. “We do got that gas, tho’.”

“Eh, I’d rather we just get this over with,” Ruby said with a shrug as she followed after Jordan.

“But my taco!” James shouted.

Ruby stopped on her head, and turned her head around towards James.

“... You’ll be eating Naomi’s taco tonight, won’t you?” She asked.

He just laughed, as Naomi’s face went red.

“So, let’s get this over with,” Ruby tapped her staff on the ground a few times before she walked after them. “Everyone wants to either get high or fuck right now, so let’s not keep ‘im waitin’.”

“Agreed,” Jordan responded as he led the group into the building. It took only a few moments to find the staircase down to the meeting room. Along the way the eagle eyed viewers in the party might spot various eyes, either mechanical or supernatural, peering out from hidden spots along the way. As they walked down the stairs, the group would notice that the entirety of the 317 that wasn’t was outside was present. Save for Aryin and Sypha.

The meeting area was pretty barren as per usual. It had numerous candles on numerous mounts all across the room however the top lights were on instead. There were various paintings, some pathways for Alex and others that sealed apparitions. There were a few arcade games, food and beverage tables, and every form of comfortable sitting options known to man.

“Alright, this is the meeting area. Feel free to mingle, Faith’s office is right over there. Ruby, if you wanted to talk to her before this kicks off feel free. Jessica, can I borrow you in Sypha’s office here?”

“Gladly,” Ruby shrugged as she walked towards Faith’s office. “... Go easy on Jess, she’s our token redhead.”

“Awwwwww!” Jessica laughed. " Are you going to hand me your love letter in private?” She threw her arms behind her head.

“Consider me, borrowed!”

Faith was pacing around her office waiting for the right moment to go out and inform the 317 of the big news. She knew that they were here, and she knew that 8th street had already struck again, and Faith did not know what she was doing. Fighting the Nazis was easy, changing the very nature of their organization was less so.
Ruby poked her head in, and then stared at Faith for a good thirty seconds. Dead silent.

“... Do you want your booty ate?”

Faith’s healed slowly turned to face Ruby and lingered there for just a moment. It tilted ever so, and she looked like to the ceiling as she thought over the proposal. “Not tonight love,” Faith responded as she motioned for Ruby to come, “how are you tonight Ruby?”

“Hey now,” Ruby said as she walked in. “You say ‘not tonight’ as in you’ll be in the mood for it another time!” She laughed as she walked in.

Faith simply smirked.

“I’m good, sweetie, how’s about yourself? Make any cool paintings?”

“Nervous,” Faith responded, “but ready. Nothing new yet. Some are in the loop, some suspect, and the rest are still in the dark. Either way tonight I tell them to get ready for the eventual fight. And tonight, I will be an open book for you. Anything you need to know, I’ll be ready to answer.”

“Same here,” Ruby said. “Greenwood doesn’t hide anything.”

“How about we break the news together, then we can have a more in depth talk. I’ll lay all my cards on the table, you do the same, and we figure out how we can best support each other. Sound fair?”

Rohan walked in, quietly, posting up by the back wall. ”It’s good to finally reach out to people. I’m sure you’ll all figure something out.”

Jordan gave Rohan a nod as he opened Sypha’s door and motioned for Jessica to enter. It was at this moment he realized just how built she was, ‘god damn’ was all he could think. Inside the room Sypha was leaning back in her chair, she was pale and was busy eating a sugar cookie and fanning her face. She clearly was suffering from her blood loss. In a chair in the corner right to the left of the door was a shirtless Aaron. Aaron had numerous visible, painful looking bruises and he held his side right on the spot where George’s kick landed earlier in the day. His breathing was quick, and shallow, and had a look of pain on his face.

“It’s been a busy day apparently,” Jordan said as he pushed his glasses up his nose. He pointed to Aaron, who gave Jessica a weak wave.

“Wow, bro,” Jessica laughed, as she unbuttoned her shirt, “You look like you got bitchslapped by an elephant!”

“That would’ve been preferable,” Aaron weakly responded with a chuckle.

She took off her shirt, revealing a sports bra, before she looked at everyone. “... Ya’ll aren’t trying to paint me like one of your french gals’?”

Jordan and Aaron’s jaws dropped ever so slightly at the sight of her muscular frame. “No, no, unless you ever wanted to be one of our models. I think you would,” Jordan coughed, cleared his throat, “make a fantastic model for out artists..”

“We have a sign up link on the website,” Aaron responded with a weak voice.

“What I brought you in for,” Jordan said as he looked for a spot on the ceiling to avoid a lingering eye, “Aaron’s a bit too hurt for our resident healer. I remember in the fight against the Nazis you helped a few of us get through those fights. Any chance you can work your magic on them?”

Jessica put her shirt back on very hastily, awkwardly laughing the entire time before she said, “... Yes, I’m a model! Instagram model! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!” She kept laughing as she had her shirt back on. “But… I can’t really heal at night, unfortunately, though, we have Kashmira - our dedicated healer - in the other room.”

“Ahhh,” Jordan responded as he finally returned his gaze to Jessica, “I can tell, you’ve put a lot of work in and it shows. If you ever wanted to do a partnership let me know. Oh shit, I think I only fought alongside you during the day so I did not know that. Well, I am sorry for kidnapping you this early into the night. Would you mind if I grab them real quick?”

“Don’t worry; I got it,” Jessica laughed as she walked over to the door, opened it, and stuck her head through, and shouted, “Kash! Can you come here for a moment?”

“Oh, yes!” Kasmira bubbly said as she walked over into the room. She looked to the left, then the right. “... I hope this isn’t what I think it is! Because I’m only getting naked for my future husband. Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

“Hi!.” Aaron spoke through the pain as he saw the head pop through the door. “You have a dirty mind, anyone ever tell you that?”

“What they mean to say is ‘hi! My names Aaron and I got in another fight with George and need some healing’ and that we’d greatly appreciate it if you could use your healing magic to help these two get back on their feet,” Jordan rubbed his temple as he finished.

“Ooooooooh!” Kashmira said with a smile, as she walked over to Aaron, with her hands outstretched. She grabbed onto Aaron, and a green wave overtook him as he was healed. “Call me Dr. Sarei!”

“Pleasure to meet you Dr. Sarei! I’m Aaron, or Aryin, there was no variance to the words at all in terms of sound, “you’ll know which one is which.”. A moment later a green wave washed over him and he gasped. His broken ribs, bruised muscles, and every other injured part of his body began to heal itself magically. After several seconds he felt like he was back to normal. “Thank you Dr. Sarei! I haven’t felt this good in days.”

“Truly,” Sypha said as she stood up, careful not to do so too fast, “my healing is good but it can only happen in short spurts. Aaron, get a shirt on. I think our friends are ready to begin the meeting.”

“I’m glad to have helped!” Kashmira said with a toothy smile. “Let me know if you get hurt again, I love helping people!”

Jessica walked over to Aaron, leaned forward, and whispered in his ear,

“... She charges a fee. A bill will show up in the mail in five-to-seven business days!” She laughed, before she walked towards the door. “The meeting’s getting started already? I wanted to get painted like a french gal!”

“Stick around after the meeting,” Aaron responded, “You’d be the perfect inspiration for my next piece.”

“Heel, Aaron,” Jordan sighed, “you’re free to chill wherever you want. Faith will be out soon.”

“Alright,” Aaron reasoned as he grabbed his shirt and went out into the common area. He walked up to Rohan and raised a fist. “How we feeling?”

As Aaron did that Alex walked up to Rien and nodded to signal their intent to talk. “So,” Alex walked up and looked at the various Greenwood members present. They leaned close and whispered, “they sharing their weed?” Alex was still an odd sight to some members of the 317. They simply appeared in Faith’s office one day, and every since they’ve been paid to hang around and help the group getting from one place to another. Still, Alex had a chill vibe that allowed them to get along with most of the other artists.

“I dunno,” Rien muttered back. They’d been standing in front of one of their apparition paintings, checking to make sure the sealing was still stable. “Jordan tried to push his normal shit on me when I asked, like I can’t get that any day… Y’know what this is all about?”

“Oh yes I do,” Alex said as they leaned in closer.

“Oh yeah, what is it?” Rien leaned in towards Alex, tilting their head upwards.

“Us and Greenwood, fighting together again,” Alex whispered as they looked around. “We’re going to war, bro!”

“Oh shit, dude,” Rien whispered back, eyes widening slightly. “... that’s going to be so much effort, ugh.”

“Fuck,” Alex sighed as they looked to the ceiling, “I forgot about effort. You’re right.”

“Fuck effort,” Rien groaned, also looking at the ceiling.

”It’s a bit ironic that you all decided we wouldn’t be fighting when you made this place. Now look at us.” Rohan had a tired smile on his face.

“Sometimes the fight comes anyway,” Octavia responded as she walked over to Rohan, “and the fight is coming. I’d rather take care of the threat, secure the city, and then go back to our ways.” Octavia wore ripped black boyfriend jeans and fishnet tights were visible underneath. She wore a cropped hoodie that was very pink, but also showed off her tattoos underneath. “We’re not fighters. But we can fight when the situation is dire,” Octavia paused as she looked to Faith’s door, “and the situation is dire right now.”

”Yeah, I get that. I’ll be here one way or another, when you do what you’ve got to do,” Rohan said. ”You’re all smart enough to know how these things work, you’ll be fine.”

Meanwhile, completely randomly, James walked over to Thomas, and put his hand up and said, “... Dab me up, bro!”

“What’s up man,” Thomas dabbed James up, “I’m Thomas, how you been?” Thomas was in a relaxed fit. A simple carhartt hoodie, relaxed blue jeans, and some red low top converse. “Are you who we were supposed to meet tonight?”

“Who else but Greenwood!?” James boisterously said.

“Alright Greeeenwood,” Thomas responded as he pulled out a small baggie of already ground mushrooms and smirked, “I’m going to make some tea in a minute. You down?”

“Ooooh, you know it!” James said. “Hurry up before Ruby sees that shit. She’s gonna hog all of it!”

“You got it man,” Thomas said with a smile as he left to make some magic happen.

Several moments later Faith emerged from her office looking confident, energetic, and ready. She wore the typical sports bra underneath a mesh shirt underneath a jean jacket that defined her style. It was pulled together by the leggings that she decided to wear tonight. She walked into the middle of the crowd, her presence alone commanded the attention of many of the 317 members. She took a deep breath and waited for Ruby.

“So, we have much to discuss. I know many of you have a lot of questions, and I ask that you hold them to the end. Before we begin, however, I’d like to introduce a good friend to the 317 and St. Portwell at large. Some of you may already know her, and some of you have heard some fantastic stories, but I’ll let her introduce herself,” Faith motioned for Ruby to introduce herself to the 317 as a whole.

Ruby took a few steps forward, her tree branch tapping against the ground with every step. “Hello, I am Ruby White, also known as the Spring Maiden, leader of the Greenwood Coven,” She began. “I’m glad to meet you all here tonight, and I hope this is the start of a prosperous alliance… Not just for our combined protection, but I hope we can all connect and become close friends.”

“We’ve fought side by side with Greenwood once before against the Nazis, and we’ll do so once again against any mother fucker who threatens our city,” Faith responded as she looked around the room, “I know some of you may not want to fight, and I will not force anyone to fight. If you do not wish to, there will be no changes to your lease, no changes to your status, and no changes to our love for you. We’ll protect you as we have always done, and always will. Starting tonight we are going to begin preparation to get ready for whatever comes our way. We will train, look to those who have fought more than us for guidance, and keep it business as usual during our open hours,” Faith paused as she placed her hands on her hips, “any questions?”

Rien raised a hand. “If there are any Apparitions, do I get first dibs on them?”

“Rien,” Faith pointed and looked towards Ruby, “sealing and apparition summoning.” Faith paused as she looked at Ruby, “Rien is one part of our Horde, if you don’t mind they do have a love for the art of capturing them all.”

“Yeah, I’m like a pokemon trainer for apparitions,” Rien said, flashing a peace sign at Ruby. They pulled a smaller, square canvas out of their front dungaree pocket and held it up. It showed a forest landscape with a small, relatively human-like creature in it… aside from the mushroom cap on her head. “This was one of my first. I can demonstrate if you want, to prove that I should get first choice of Apparitions to seal.”

“We don't have any Apparitions to seal,” Ruby said, before turning to Autumn, “But we do have someone who can, sort of, create them.”

Autumn awkwardly waved her hand, before pulling the Adept Hunter from underneath her shirt. “... Are you sure it's a good idea to tell them?” She asked.

“Go ahead,” Ruby said.

Autumn sighed, “This is the Adept Hunter, if an Adept dies in my presence, I can create an Apparition I can control with their entire spellbook.”

“Remind me not to die in your presence then,” Thomas joked as he returned with two cups of his special tea and held one out towards James.

“Ohhhh,” Rien stood up, canvas held in one hand as they approached Autumn, looking at the Adept Hunter with a hint of curiosity. “So if I died, and you created an Apparition from me… you’d have access to all my Apparitions? Like Apparition-ception?”

“I… Honestly, I don't know. Maybe.” Autumn shrugged.

“Well… if I die, make sure to turn me into an Apparition so we can find out,” Rien nodded.

“If we were to fight an apparition, would Greenwood be opposed to Rien being the one to seal it away,” Faith asked towards Greenwood as a whole.

“Hold on! Hold on! Hold on! I know exactly what Ruby gon’ say!” James ran up, waving his hands in the air. Everyone looked at him. “... ‘Unless its some ass eating Apparition’!” James broke out laughing.

“Oh… I already got one of those, I don’t need another,” Rien shrugged.

“We have one of those,” Jordan asked from the back.

“Do we?” Faith looked to Rien with a curious look.

“Question, is the ass eating monster a literal one or like…” Alex asked with a confused look on their face.

“Yes.” Ruby answered.

“That doesn’t help,” Alex moaned.

“I said I have it,” Rien emphasised. “It’s part of my private collection… I was worried about what Jordan would do if he got his hands on it. But I can bring it in if you want?”

“What did I do,” Jordan asked in response.

Rien turned around and pointed to him. “You know exactly what you did. Tone down the sexiness and maybe I’ll bring it out.”

“That’s what I’ve been saying,” Summer chipped in.

“Regardless, apparently we do have an ass eating monster,” Faith sighed.

”I’ve got a few sealed away too,” Rohan said, with Juno sitting on his shoulder. ”Mostly just the dangerous ones, right now. And the ones that aren’t very useful for more than spare parts.”

“Rohan,” Faith pointed towards the man, “and Juno who is not our mascot.”

“They are, embrace it,” Jason shouted.

”Myehhhrhrhrhr…” Juno said, philosophically.

“Maybe we can experiment with our abstractions,” Autumn said to Rien. “Maybe see how the Adept Hunter interacts with yours.”

“Oh yeah, I’d like that… they never let me get my Apparitions out,” Rien complained, side eyeing faith. “They’re not decorations- but whatever. It’ll be fun.”

“If you’re sensing a common theme, your senses would be right” Octavia interjected, “we have a lot of apparitions, and monsters at our disposal.”

“It’s The Horde,” Faith responded. “We’re not the best fighters by ourselves, but we can fight beyond our weight class with them.”

”It’s usually the best we can do. We aren’t supposed to be fighters, on a good day. We’ve always had a rule against fighting, and getting ourselves wrapped up in St. Portwell’s politics,” Rohan added. ”We shouldn’t ever need to worry about being spread too thin, though.”

“We’re not all fighters, but a lot of us are willing to fight to protect our city, and everyone in it,” Jordan chimed in.

“Okay ‘Hulk’,” Lori finally chimed in. She was wearing the long skirt, tube top combo as she always did. She had her headphones on and her violin at the ready.

“Isn’t he more of a Jekyll and Hyde?” Zeri chimed in.

“The point is he’s a fighter, he can take the hits and dish them right back out,” Lori responded quickly, “if someone tries to get to me I have to hope that I can enthrall them them!”

“I mean, fair and valid,” Zeri responded, “I’m not much use in a fight either.”

“Don’t worry,” Jason said with a grin, “I can protect you all.”

Aaron swapped to Aryin and stuck their tounge out, and flashed a peace sign to the room, ”As long as I’m around I’ll keep the back line clear,” they paused as they leaned against the wall.

“My apparitions draw enough attention, anyway,” Rien said, waving a hand in front of their face. “Some of them, at least…”

“Aryin, or Aaron,” Faith said as she pointed their shapeshifter to Ruby, “a fucking tank in one form, and destructive force in the other. They may try to spar with your strongest fighter. Feel free to ignore them if they do.”

James’s axe crackled with electricity, as he threw it over his shoulder - then he cracked a grin. “... They can come at me any time!” James laughed. “Just don’t get mad when yo’ hair gets a lil’ frizzy!”

“This is James, a lot of ya’ll probably remember him from the fight against the Nazis,” Ruby gestured towards him. “He’s the current wielder of Shango’s axe… and he killed Kaiser Draeger.”

“Wish I could do it again!” James laughed before he turned to Ruby and gave her a flat look. “... What do you mean ‘current’?

Ruby grinned, “You’re not taking my Axe back to Atlanta, James.”

“You seem like you might leave a scratch,” Aryin teased back, “if you’re lucky.”

“My money is on Thor,” Lori said as she pointed with her bow.

“Naw, naw, naw,” James laughed, as he raised a hand in the air and it exploded like a torch. “Thor can’t do this.

“Ehhh, Aryin can tank hits, even from George,” Jason said as he rubbed his chin, “you think he’s stronger than George?”

“More versatile for sure, I saw what he could do against the Nazis,” Jordan said with a grin, almost relishing the memories of what befell those dicks when James got to them, “Aryin is a smart fighter, they’d make it close.”

“Why don’t they have a friendly match now?” Rien suggested.

”We’re busy right now, Rien.”

“Spoilsport,” Rien muttered under their breath.

“After the meeting then,” Aryin said as they winked at James, ”Find us a nice quiet spot and have a friendly little spar. I’d like to see the capabilities of my new found friends!”

“You know where to find me!” James grinned, and Naomi rolled her eyes.

“Next up, is Naomi, his girlfriend,” Ruby explained. “She, like James, joined right before the fight against Das Sonnenrad and I can’t thank her enough for powering through it all. Things got tough.”

“You know, I can’t run away from some skinheads!” Naomi laughed.

Rohan and Juno exchanged a silent look. Phrasing.

“She’s the current wielder of Anansi's Gift,” Ruby said.

Naomi cupped her hands together, and crawled her arm into her hands was a small, spider Apparition.

“You’ve already met Summer, Jason, Jordan, and Alex,” Faith paused as she pointed out those who were there this morning or fought against the Nazis, “that is Thomas, he has telekinetic powers, Zeri who is our resident spy, Lori who wields the Maestros bow.”

“I can play you a tune and make you do what I command,” Lori said with a wave.

“Like a Jedi,” Thomas said as he took a big sip of his tea and held it up to James.

“If there’s something behind a wall, or by my camera, I can see it all,” Zeri said with a wave.

“Now,” Faith said as she took a step forward, “I know you are busy with your lives. If you want to stick around and meet each other, feel free to utilize our facilities and eat good food. If you want to get to your night of partying feel free to leave whenever. Ruby, we can continue our earlier discussion if you’d be open to it, otherwise I’m sure we can make time!”

“Orrrrrr,” Jason interrupted, “we can have Greenwood show us the ropes. Maybe do some limit testing.”

“If we’re going to fight side by side I’d love to know just how strong you all are,” Aryin said as she had her eyes fixated on Jessica’s muscles.

Jessica put her hands behind her head with her arms up, grinning.
Ruby also grinned as she took a few steps forward.

“... Ya’ll got somewhere private? I mean real private,” Ruby began. “This might get a lil’ noisy…”

“Abandoned farmhouse about ten miles outside town, no neighbors for miles and the land is barren this time of year,” Alex paused as they began to draw on the empty wall behind faith.

“When did we get that,” Jordan responded back with a bemused look.

“I got it last year,” Sypha responded as they entered the room, “It’s a place we acquired as a part of our investment portfolio. We grabbed it to prevent a developer from doing it, we have some plans for it but,” Sypha paused as they tilted their head, “it’ll work for this.”

”I guess it won’t be standing, after you’re all done.”

Ruby grinned.

“... Then let’s get to work my lovelies.”

I’ll revisit these sights again soon and I shall spare no detail when I paint them

“Jasper,” Jasper shouted as he fell to his knees as it was finally over. He took a deep breathe, and followed it up with another, and he screamed a deep primal scream as he punched the ground. A primal rage began to brew within him at what he was just subjected to. Whomever had summoned that mist would be the first person he shot the next time they fought. Jasper knew that he was able to at least help turn the tide of the battle with his abstraction, but the natural forces of the world were still all it took to make him worthless in battle. He needed to make his abstraction stronger, more durable, and able to resist the corrosive nature of water. Otherwise, how would he protect the others? How would he protect his friends? How would he protect Luca?

The thought snapped his head up in an instant, his waterlogged hair flew with it and slapped back to his scalp. His eyes scanned the battlefield for Luca. He first spotted Lynn and Ken. Lynn was single handedly keeping the battlefield wet with tears alone and Ken was trying to snap her out of it. He then spotted Britney, Auri, Linqian, and Edict. Linqian was busy punching a vine which did not tell Jasper whether she was upset or simply bored. He then settled on Drake and sully tending to…“Sloane?” Jasper whispered with a shocked tone at the sight of her decayed body. It was decayed to a point that suggested she had gotten nice and close to Luca, no doubt in whatever dream the mist gave her. He knew that she would be in pain and that brought him no joy. He hated what Sloane stood for, hell he hated the woman to her core. But she did not deserve to be hurt like this, and Jasper knew that Luca was devastated that he did it.

He wanted to check in on her first, to make sure that another name wouldn’t be added to the mural. Jasper rose to his feet and began to run over to the huddled group. Jasper ran with a speed that was neither blazing fast but was not anywhere close to slow. He arrived just as Anya was giving Sloane her jacket. He saw that Sully had managed to heal her up but even with that healing she was in a rather rough spot. Jasper sighed a sigh of relief at the sight all the same. “Stick with Sully for a minute Sloane, heal up. Feel better, okay?” The pleasantry felt like poison on his lips but less bitter than it was in years past. Maybe Luca and his relentless optimism had started to rub off on him? Maybe seeing his hated rival wounded softened his opinion of her? Who knew why, but Jasper did not want to dwell on it for long. He wanted to find the man who had visited his dreams, and he wanted to be with him again in the present.

His eyes quickly turned around the battlefield in search of Luca and his mouth dropped when he spotted Lila instead. She was covered in feathers, blood, and was crying in a way that he’d never seen from her before. She gripped herself in a way that drew more blood. And she was doing everything in her power to seem small despite the fact that her wings made her appear very, very large. She needed help. And Jasper would be the one to help her. Jasper quickly crossed the distance between the two in a sprint and slowed to a stop right next to her. “You okay,” Jasper knew the answer but asked all the same. Lila simply shook her head ‘no’ as she buried her face underneath her wings. “How about I get you to Sully, he can help fix you up,” Jasper also knew that the chalice would not be able to fix her feathered body, but it would be able to heal the damage its arrival caused. Lila nodded her head up and down. He thought of how best to help her, as her wings made carrying her a lot more difficult at least on first glance. He simply thought fuck it and leaned down and invited Lila into his arms, bridal carry style, and Lila was all too quick to accept the help.

Lila allowed herself to be carried by Jasper, and she could not stop crying as she did. She felt weak, broken, disgusting and…. And…. The crying stopped, with only the sniffling sound filling the air. Her eyes were on Jaspers exposed chest and she raised an eyebrow as she looked up. “Bro,” her voice broke and was overtaken by the a few more seconds of crying, “why the fuck are you shirtless?”. She laughed, briefly, before the crying returned slightly. It was less than it was before, and Jasper knew it would be only a matter of moments before his friend was back. And he knew a joke was a sure fire way to lighten the mood.

“Contractual obligation” Jasper joked back and he chuckled extra hard as he leaned his head back as he looked up to the sky. His friend was still here. Eventually he made his way back towards Sully and the assembled group. He gently placed Lila down on the ground near Sloane and Drake. This spot was as good as any for a makeshift healing station, and Jasper was ready to help carry anyone who needed healing here. He was ready, after he found and checked in on Luca. He looked around the area, and finally spotted his muse a distance away. He began to make his way towards him with a hint of concern on his face. Luca would not be well after what happened, and Jasper was ready to help him feel better no matter what it took.

Interactions: Auri
My dear Lila, it will get so much worse.

In an instant the illusion melted away from Lila, and she was left in the middle of the rain soaked grass almost entirely alone. Lila’s eyes flashed to the ground in an instant, half expecting to see the corpses there once more but breathed a sigh of relief when she saw there was none. Lila looked across the battlefield and saw the burning ruins of the house still smoldering, she saw Amara nearby, and she saw a small group forming around someone in the distance. A moment later Sully was there and feeding someone the healing waters from the chalice. Someone was hurt. Someone was hurt, because Emily Reed was a monster. This time anger did not rush to her mind, this time Lila realized that all of this mess, the ruined house, the injuries, the hallucinations, and everything else was because she punched Emily. She could not let Emily Reed win today. Emily did this, all of this, to get back at her. If Lila was to show any sadness, any regret, that would mean that Emily Reed won. And Lila could not allow that. She needed to be strong, defiant, and a beacon for the sycamore tree coven in the bullshit to come.

“Is everybody okay? I need an immediate headcount! Everyone! Shout your name if you can hear me!”

Lila knew that she needed to let the others know she was okay. Britney and Lila were the targets, after all, so it made sense for her to make sure she was okay. Lila took a deep breathe, forcing back a tear that had begun to well in the corner of her eye. She could do this, now they’ll know this. Especially now while there was still a lot of struggles to be won. Lila would not let the coven down, never again would she let the coven down like she did when she tried to play nice with Emily Reed. She truly believed that things would look up from here.

Until she took her first step towards the rest of the coven.

In an instant a pain unlike anything she had felt made itself known as something terrible revealed itself to her conscious mind. Her eyes slowly, slowly, ever so slowly crossed the distance and her foot and she gasped. Between her left and right two most toes long, sharp claws had erupted forth from her skin. She did not remember that happening during the fight but they were there all the same. Circular pieces of skin were still wrapped around the end of the claws, and a steady and consistent trickle of blood began to mix with the wet marsh beneath her feet. As her eyes slowly moved upwards she could see that her entire leg up to the mid point of her calf was completely covered in feathers. She slowly moved her hands into her field of view, which quickly shifted back to her normal vision, and saw that the line between what was the maiden and what was Lila was gone. Sure, there were spots where bits of her skin could be found trapped beneath the dense layer of feathers but the meeting point between that and her normal skin had completely melted together. Her fingers were turned completely into claws, her once smooth skin texture now tough, coarse, and almost leather like.

And then she caught the sight of the wings in her peripheral view.

They were gorgeous, large, and the feathers were as black as a night sky without stars. Each one looked more vivid and pretty than the next. Yet she could feel each one like it was apart of her. She could feel the way the wind hit it, and she felt the muscles connected to it move. It was almost like controlling her arms, and she moved the wings too and fro to confirm that she truly was in charge of them, and to confirm that they truly were attached to her back. That realization made her acutely aware of the pain that expanded outward from their rupture point. Her whole body was in pain, and as she felt less and less of the maiden she felt more and more of this pain.

“That future felt ravishing, my dear Lila,” The maiden whispered in a sultry tone, “finally able to spread my wings as I have always wanted”

“Please take your gifts back,” Lila muttered in response as she finally noticed just how naked she was. She crossed her arms over her feathered chest as she looked around. “I…I don’t want this, I don’t want that, I just want to-,”

“Oh my dear Lila you did want this,” The maiden chuckled a devious chuckle, “why would you invite me in otherwise?”

“No I- no, I was trying to get rid of you,” Lila responded weakly as she wrapped her chest inside the embrace of her wings.

“Oh so you say. But, thanks to Britney, we both share the same vessel now. And I can feel what you feel,” the maiden laughed again, and her mind was filled with the sound of all the crows chuckling in turn, “that vision sated much of my desire, for now, and as my thank you,” The maiden paused.

Lila lurched forward as the worst pain yet filled her body as the claws on her feet began to slowly, ever so slowly, began to retreat back inside her body. She wanted to scream, she wanted to shout for help, but the sound seemingly refused to leave her body.

“Now now child, you have to at least try to put on a brave face for the others,” The Maiden teased, “Not all gifts can be taken back, some can be hidden but you’ll figure it out. Now, I must be going. I have much to think about and much to plan.”

As The Maiden finished taking the claws completely retracted back into her body somewhere. The holes that they made coming out of her feet were still there, and were still leaking blood, but her feet were at least her own. Her hands were still clawed, the feathers remained across her body, and the wings still adorned her back, but at least her feet were her own once more.

Lila took a step forward and the pain once again radiated upward from her feet. She then limped into another, and then another, and soon enough Lila was consistently walking forward towards the group. She could ask Amara for help, or shout for Sully to run over and heal her, or she could just wait for someone to come find her but that’s not what Lila needed right now. She needed to be strong, strong for the coven and most importantly herself. No matter what The Maiden, Emily, or any other transphobic asshole threw her way she needed to take the hit in the chin and keep pushing forward. Eventually she could see she was almost with the others, they all had their attention on Sloane who looked terrible. She was alive, but she knew those markings well. Sloane had been rotted. She looked over and spotted Luca who was beside himself, and that confirmed her suspicion. Lila felt the tears welling once more and it took every ounce of strength she had left to stop herself from sobbing hysterically. This was all her fault. She nearly killed Sloane, she nearly made Luca kill his friend, and she nearly killed the coven.

Lila shuffled a few more steps forward before the pain finally forced her to stop. She spent a solid second composing herself before she dared to speak. She looked towards Auri. “Lila,” she whispered before she looked at Sully, but she could not speak another word. Instead, she began to softly whimper as the weight of everything finally came crashing down. She could not hold back the tears now. Her clawed hands gripped tighter onto her sides, accidentally gouging herself as she did, and she brought her wings in even tighter. She knew that she had to at least say something more than just her name. “Can someone fix me?”

Why must pain follow me?

Oh shit.

Jasper quickly followed Britney’s lead and covered his mouth and ears, but made the mistake of not taking in a breath before he did so. He felt his heartbeat slowly, but surely, increase as he fought against the surging suffocation sensation in his chest. His eyes scanned around him and noticed that Aryin was busy throwing hands with an invisible enemy, and Lynn had a smile that was filled with more life than any smile he had seen on her face before. They had already inhaled whatever the mist was and Jasper was curious as to what the effects of it were. Was it a sedative, was it a drug, would it make them all easier targets? His chest lurched as he kept trying to hold in the need to breathe, his body fighting his attempt to not breathe in at every second. His heartbeat began to sound in his ears. He did not have long, something must help. He looked at his canvas and began to paint a crude mask. He noticed that 8th Street had them on them and thus was planning to drop whatever this mist was. Jasper knew he did not have long, and every detail would matter yet needed to be done quickly. Eventually, Jasper looked over to Britney and saw that she too was holding her breath. He paused his painting as he pointed down to the canvas and then flashed two fingers to indicate he was almost done with his, and once done he would make her one. He added the final bits of details and then pulled it from the page. It looked like a modern respirator, and simply slid into place and Jasper was able to strap it behind his ears moments before his fight against his body was lost and he was forced to take in a deep breath.

Nothing happened.

Jasper took a series of sharp, quick breaths as he leaned over and placed his hand on his chest. He looked down and saw that the mask had made a good seal with his face, and the yellow lux infusion he did was withstanding the corruptive influences of the rain. It would not hold long, but it should hold long enough to get a mask made for Britney. Yet a familiar voice cut across the pink battlefield. A familiar voice. A welcome voice. The voice of his crush Luca. He called for Jasper, trying to find him through the hurricane-force winds and mist. Jasper looked to Britney and she seemed like she figured out a way to avoid the mist with her abstraction, a literal field of magically enhanced flowers were simply sucking in the mist creating a pocket for Britney to breathe freely. His eyes followed the ground and saw they stretched far away to another set of plants that was pumping the pink mist back out. She was so smart and skilled, and Jasper was incredibly impressed with her resourcefulness.

”Brit, pull everyone you can with your vines back to this spot. I hear Luca out in the midst, I will grab him and bring him back! I will make enough masks for us all to get out of here,” Jasper shouted and got a nod of acknowledgment from Britney who began to pull Aryin and Linqian into the safe bubble.

Jasper took off into the midst in search of Luca. It did not take long for him to find him. Luca was standing tall as he walked through the mist. A few zombies came up to him yet they were no match for his abstraction and they were turned to dust on the wind. He had his own gas mask on, and Jasper wondered where he found one in the middle of the battle before the obvious answer hit him in the face. Carol. After Carol was dropped Luca must’ve rushed over to check on her, and had taken her mask to be able to breathe. A look of fear fell across his face. Jasper knew very well that Carol was his close friend, and if Jasper was the one that momentarily killed her, he was worried that it would ruin any chance they had at a relationship. Luca’s eyes settled on Jaspers's face and he began to stomp his way towards him. A few more zombies tried their luck only to be sent away on the wind like all others before them. Luca was strong, Luca was intimidating, and Jasper knew that an anger that he’d never seen from Luca was heading his way.

”YOU”, Luca yelled as he walked up to Jasper and jabbed a finger into his exposed chest. Jasper winced expecting the familiar rotting sensation but instead, his breath was stolen by the lack of it. Luca was touching him once again, and there was no pain to it. Was he able to control it better when his emotions were high? Jasper took a rushed breath at the thought. Maybe if Jasper made Luca’s life filled with a different emotion, happiness maybe, he could control the Rot like this every day? ”You and I need to talk after the battle….”

Jasper knew the conversation would be rough, and that he had a lot to make up for, but in this moment Jasper was once again with Luca, and touching did not hurt. Jasper quickly threw his arms around Luca and pulled him into a hug, careful not to hug him too hard to hurt the body where pain was the only feeling Luca felt. ”Okay…Okay, after the battle. We will talk. I am just so glad you’re okay.” Jasper felt Luca wrap his arms around his waist and he felt Luca put all his strength into the hug. Jasper was surprised because the hug felt strong, much stronger than he thought Luca was. Something felt different in this moment, in this hug. Jasper pushed these thoughts to the side. ”My mask won't last long, Britney has created a safe spot for us. Follow me,” Jasper reached down and grabbed Luca’s hand and his stomach erupted with the sensation of butterflies once more. Suddenly, the pain and destruction that was brought to his dead friend's home was gone. He was with the one he wanted to be with, he was able to hold hands with Luca without pain once again, and Luca felt like he was stronger and healthier than he thought he was. This day had gotten infinitely better and if Jasper did not have a mask on, everyone would see he was smiling.

A few moments later the duo found their way back to the safe spot. Britney, Aryin, and Linqian were all together now and it seemed like they were all safe and back from whatever high the mist gave them. They all saw that Jasper was holding Luca’s hand and smiled. A new realization set in. Jasper realized that he was finally truly safe to bring out that other side that he had repressed for so long, his chosen family would accept him for his more queer side. Hell, it felt like the coven just had a token straight member so he wondered why he still chose to hide that side of himself from them. He could be with Luca and be accepted without worry of his parents' wrath, and he could be happy with a man for the first time in his life. He was pulled from these thoughts by Britney asking him to make more masks. He looked down at his own and saw it was still standing strong. Jasper knew he was about to busy, and he loved it. He loved supporting the coven like this, providing them with tools to succeed and providing them with his constructs to help them win a fight. Jasper quickly pulled Luca over to a spot away from Britney, Linqian, and Aryin and began to paint.

”I don’t know how the battle will end,” Luca started as he ran his fingers across Jasper’s free palm, ”and I don’t want to wait to say something I have been meaning to say.”

Jasper’s head tilted as he looked away from the painting and to Luca’s. Jasper noticed how perfect his skin looked. It was like there was never a blemish, nor any signs that pointed to a war against acne long since fought. His smile was radiant, and his eyes filled with a life he had never seen before.

”This battle put things in perspective. I know you're straight but I have to tell you that I have had a huge crush on you for a while now and I wanted to know if you felt the same. I know it is putting you on the spot in the midst of a-,”

”YES” Jasper shouted without control, sorry. Yes, yes I feel the same…I feel the same,” Jasper took a deep breath as he looked over the Luca in front of him once again. There were no scars. No blood, his clothes were perfect and there was nary a sign of the rots presence. Hell, if Luca had not killed those zombies he would’ve thought that the Rot was already gone. Suddenly, the realization hit. This was not his Luca. His eyes drifted down to his mask. He knew he infused it with his yellow Lux to try and strengthen it against the rain, but what if it failed? What if.. Jasper paused the thought as he smiled. Would it be so bad if this was fake? Luca was healthy, and happy, and had told him that he had a crush on him. Would it be selfish if he chose to stay in this dream if it meant ignoring the nightmare of reality right now? Jasper pondered the question for a minute before his eyes slowly shifted to Britney, Linqian, and Aryin. They were all looking at the two and smiling, yet they were not doing much else. The rest of the coven was in danger, and those three were simply so happy for Jasper finding his happiness and strength to be himself. They were so happy that he was able to find someone as amazing as Luca. How egotistical was that?

”This isn’t real, is it Luca?”

”It could be,” Luca said as he leaned his body into Jasper’s. His fingers twirled Jasper’s chest hair as Luca smiled up at him, ”all you have to do is stay.”

Jasper smiled as he put his painting down. He used his free hand and cupped Luca’s face with his hand. How small his face looked in his hands, how cute, and how perfect this would be. Jasper leaned forward and kissed Luca on the forehead and smiled. Jasper then took a finger and booped Luca on the nose. ”No.”

In an instant, Luca faded back into the mist, and Aryin, Linqian, and Britney did the same. Instead, they were where they were just a few moments ago. Aryin now was celebrating something, both arms up in the air as she danced around and Britney was still struggling to breathe. Jasper looked down at his mouth and saw that the mask had melted a long time ago and the bottom half of his face and the top of his chest were covered in his art. Jasper looked back up at Britney and he ran over.

”Can you make plants that act as a filter for the air? Suck away the mist, it’s so intoxicating.”

“Aryin, what do you say to the critics who feel that you haven’t earned your spot at the top,” a reporter asked from the crowded room in front of her, and Aryin couldn’t help but chuckle. Aryin knew that they deserved to be here and that anyone who said otherwise was simply delusional. She had fought her way to an 18-0 record over her career thus far and she had done so without the use of her durability. Thanks to the marvelous gift that Stormy gave her after they solved those pesky murders all those years ago she was able to compete as Aryin, without worry of tainting her skill by using her inbuilt cheat code.

”I’d tell them to watch the tape. I’d tell my opponent to do the same, she’s weak and I look forward to knocking her ass out within the first fucking round,” Aryin finished as the reporters all broke into a shouting match asking a million questions she knew she would not answer. Her job here was done. People would want to tune in to watch Aryin back up her words in the ring, and that would mean that everyone would know that she was the real deal. That she should be paid fairly for her skill, that she should be the face of this industry, and that she should already be in the discussion for the greatest of all time.

“Are you claiming that you will knock out your opponent in the first round?”

”Oh, you’re right. Let me dumb it down for her. I will fucking knock you out in round one you weak bitch,” Aryin slammed her palm on the table to make the point extra clear.

Once again, the room erupted with conversation and Aryin leaned back in her chair. The road to this point was hard. That much she knew. What exactly was hard about it again? Aryin’s eyes looked up, around to the side, before they fell down to the ground. That was weird, she couldn’t remember any of the struggles that she endured on her way to the top of the ladder. She knew she struggled, her early career was fraught with many nights where she had to sleep for dinner. But she did not remember much more than that. She would need to double-check her posts online, and in her diary. If it was important to remember she would be able to find a way to remember, and right now what was important was being ready for her fight tomorrow. Aryin answered several questions in rapid succession, and she smiled more with each answer.

The press conference was over soon thereafter and Aryin retreated away from the cameras to her hotel room where a good night awaited her. There was nothing that got her pumped for a fight more than a handsome man in bed the night before, and she had found the perfect subject to give her that extra motivation in the fight to come.

Lila felt Vashti’s grasp on her wings tighten as she began to try and rip them from her back. The problem was, as Lila had realized, that the wings were attached very snugly to her back somehow. Instead of feeling like the wings were being pulled out, it felt like Vashti tugged at the entirety of her back. Something was being pulled out and Lila screamed at the pain of it. She needed to find a way to break free of her grasp. Even the two shots fired by Amara did little to push Vashti off her back. Lila knew there was only one way to free herself. She screamed in pain as claws pushed their way through her toes, longer and sharper than the ones on her hand. Lila knew she was the only one who could save herself at this moment. Her wings flashed green several times in a single second before they fully turned on and shone a consistent, vivid, and alluring.

Even through the pouring rain, the green light would be a very visible sight on the battlefield. Anyone who even looked in their general direction would become compelled to grab a feather. Lila knew, somehow, that this glow would be nearly impossible to resist, and emotional fields could only resist the allure for so long. Lila did not know how long it would take for Vashti to break, and she did not know if she had enough time before something terrible happened to her back. Lila began to kick back with her now-clawed feet, cutting and gouging wherever she could reach.

Suddenly, an explosive expansion of pink gas was spotted behind her thanks to her crows. Some form of a gas was coming her way, and she did not know what to expect with it. What she did know was Vashti had a gas mask on her, a gas mask to no doubt make her killing that much easier when everyone could not fight back, and a gas mask that Lila needed to escape this situation. Faster and faster the gas moved towards them, and faster and faster did the urgency of the situation grow. Eventually, Lila knew she had to try and get the mask from her. Lila readied a kick, used a nearby crow to line up the shot, and sent it back towards the gas mask. She grabbed it away from Vashti and pulled it to her front, trying to grab it with her hand as she took in a deep breath of the pink mist.

Lila coughed as she suddenly fell to the ground. The coughing continued for just a second before she rose to her feet, and turned around to watch as the entirety of St. Portwell burned in front of her. It was dark out, and the vivid colors of the fire shined brightly into the surrounding area. The sound of distant gunfire could be heard, and Lila could see her crow swarms above the city. Occasionally, a crow would use their abstractions sending fire, water, and lightning onto the streets below. The more they used their abstractions, the less gunfire could be heard. Lila chuckled as she looked around the area. There were several bodies on the ground and she could no longer recognize who they were after the battle. Were they members of her old coven? Did that matter?

Lila knew that after her friends were murdered one year ago today she would make the world regret it. Lila knew that after she fully embraced her power she would become a target unlike any before, and so she did something that no one expected. She struck first. The first to fall was the local PRA, she knew it would be easy to take out the rest after she turned Max. Then, she destroyed 8th street and added their strengths to her murder. And now, only Greenwood and the 317 stood between her and the rest of the world. Something was intoxicating about the power she now wielded. Everyone who was converted to a life of pure bliss as a Crow had added their abstractions to her massive arsenal. Tens of thousands of souls, tens of thousands of abstractions, and that number would grow tonight, tomorrow, and every day to come. Lila looked over to the bodies once more and wondered who they were. Were they members of her old coven? Some of them looked like members of her old coven.

An explosion in the center of the city caught her attention. It was massive, and she quickly pulled all of her crows away from the expanding shockwave. The explosion was magical, someone had used their abstraction to try and slow down her horde. It would only delay the inevitable by a few minutes. Whomever they were trying to protect would soon be brought to their knees. Lila looked up to the sky and smiled as a thousand crows began to descend on the city below in a long, tendril-like structure. She kept her eye on it as second, and then third mass descended from the night sky. A hundred thousand crows finally entered the battle. She wanted the defenders to think they had a chance, it made it much easier to turn them after their spirits were broken.

A headache suddenly appeared and Lila keeled over. Her talons gripped her skull and she nearly screamed but the bright light of the day helped coax the headache away. The Maiden must be trying to break free again. It had been so long since she put a muzzle on the bitch that she forgot what it was like when her icy talons gripped her mind. She looked up and saw that the meadow she was camping in had an unexpected visitor. It was her former coven, coming to check in on her.

“Lila, it’s been too long. You know how hard it is to track you down nowadays,” Jasper asked as he put down a cooler filled with beer.

“The future is ever in doubt, but one thing is for certain. I missed you girl,” Lynn said as ran over and hugged Lila. Lila returned it with both hands and wings.

I missed you too, Lila said as she spotted Luca sneaking up behind her thanks to her crows. She let him tackle hug her, his warm hug was amazing after the Rot was taken care of. The small gathering quickly grew in size as the rest of the coven, their partners, and a small army of children belonging to the various members of the coven filled the campsite. Today was a celebration for Lila. Today was the anniversary of when they subjugated The Maiden and freed Lila from her corruptive grasp. It was a long struggle to get to this point, and some days are better than others, but Lila knew that she wouldn’t have to deal with that voice in her head forever more. Still, she wished she could turn her body back to normal. Her hands, chest, and feet were still feathered and clawed and that made existing in the city pretty difficult. And the PRA made it clear that they would take her in if she so much as breathed at them wrong after what she did. It made her weekly checkup with the leader of the PRA a delicate balance for Lila.

Lila looked to the ground and saw the bodies once again as the night sky started to dim as her murder departed from St. Portwell. They were tasked with softening up the cities around them before Lila arrived. Lila knew she needed to move into the city to start the conversion of everyone and anyone still alive there. Lila’s eyes could not be pulled away from the ground this time. She was sure that these bodies were someone she knew.

“Honey,” a voice called to Lynn as she suddenly awoke from her nap.

“What,” Lynn said through a yawn as she pulled herself up from her desk. Her eyes caught the sight of her one year sober chip that she was given last night, and she smiled at the sight. Her body ached, and her mind was still a battleground of emotions but she knew that it was all worth it.

“You ready to head out? Jasper and Sloane are going to be expecting us soon,” the familiar voice responded.

Jasper and Sloane? Something felt off about that still. Lila swore that Jasper was into Luca, but throughout the fight to save Kari from the grasp of the monstrous entity Lynn began to see the chemistry between the two grow. And as it grew, Lynn looked to the future and saw that they actually would end up together. Order and chaos were always a precarious balancing act for a relationship, and thus far they did it with grace. Tonight was the opening night of a new art exhibit that Jasper and Sloane made together, and everyone in the coven was excited to see what new wonders they came up with together. “Yeah, yeah I am. I just dozed off writing in my journal.”

“You’re fine babe, just be down in fifteen okay?” The voice was much clearer now that Lynn was more awake. She knew it very well but the name escaped her lips.

“Of course my love,” Lynn responded back as she stretched. Today was going to be a good day. As Lynn finished her stretch she smiled as she looked down at her engagement ring. The rest of the coven did not know yet, and she wanted to keep it that way for a day or two longer. The last thing she wanted to do was upstage Jasper and Sloane on their big day. As such, she took the ring off her finger and found a chain necklace she could run through the middle. As she finished, she put it on and tucked the ring down into her sweater. Lynn got up from her seat and walked downstairs and spotted Kari putting her earrings in by looking in a mirror. “You look stunning,” Lynn nearly stuttered with her words. Kari was gorgeous, her outfit was gorgeous, and her smile was as well.

“You don’t think it’s too much,” Kari asked as she gave Lynn a quick twirl.

“No, no not at all,” Lynn responded as she walked over and kissed her. Lynn caught her reflection in the mirror and saw just how much she smiled. She was the happiest she had ever been. She was the strongest she had ever been. And she was ready for the uncertainty that her future brought her and embraced her role as the Coven’s first line of defense against possible threats. The so-called ‘Father Wolf’ had made it clear that they lacked an early warning ability as a group, and Lynn quickly developed her skills further once Kari was returned to her. As her powers grew, so too did the accuracy of the future. She had helped the coven thwart several dangerous situations simply by constantly looking forward for them. This was perfect, this life was perfect, and Lynn would not change anything about it.

But she knew it was wrong.

Her smile never faded in the mirror as she hugged Kari even tighter. There was something about this reality that felt fake to her from the moment she stepped foot into it. Her time in the possible futures over the years taught her much about seeing through the lines of a fake reality, and this one was no different.

“What’s wrong babe?” Kari asked as she tried to push herself out of the hug but Lynn held her in tight as tears began to stream down from her eyes. Lynn did not want to leave whatever this was, she wanted to stay in it forever more and live perfect life she’s wanted forever. Just her, her soon to be wife, her friends, and safety.

“Babe, talk to me,” Kari said as she leaned back and looked at Lynn.

“I wish I could,” Lila said as her tears gave way to sobbing, “but I can’t stay here.”

“Why not,” Kari asked with a sad tone, “why don’t you just talk to me?”

“Because they still need me,” Lynn said as she broke down completely. This was everything she ever wanted. And it was a lie. Lynn’s wails began to fill the house. “Because if I talk to you I’ll stay, if I tell you how I’ve been feeling finally I’d stay, and if I stay my friends will all die,” Lynn paused her crying reached a higher point, “the last time you asked me to just talk to you I told you to fuck off and I fucking left and I have regretted it for every second, why the fuck do I have to go through with this again?”

In an instant the illusion broke and Kari, the house, and the ring quickly faded from view as Lynn collapsed onto the ground below. Her wails were loud, but not everyone could hear it over the hurricane that raged around her as she fell to her side and curled herself into a ball on the muddy ground.

Accidentally posted to wrong thread.

Oh the crazy things we’ve seen, oh the crazy things we must do.

INTERACTIONS Carol, @Punished GN Vashti@Atrophy Linqian @FernStone Ken @AtomicEmperor

A pain unlike any other manifested in Lila’s mind. It was sharp, quick, but the feeling of the pain left a sense of unease. It felt, for the briefest of moments, like the pain came with a scream. Not her scream, nor that of the maidens, but someone else. The scream only lasted as long as the pain did, and the pain only lasted a second, but it was enough for Lila to pause her run and look back to the murders descent on 8th street. She then watched the sky catch fire and get mind was filled with the brief scream of a few hundred crows, and a pain that threatened to split her mind from her soul.

Lila doubled over as her clawed hands gripped her head as she began to press against her skull to alleviate the pain but it offered no relief. Lila pressed, pressed, and pressed done more claws digging into the flesh of her skull causing a steady and warm stream of blackened blood to spill forth. And the psychic pain only grew. And grew. And it grew with each subsequent bird that got burnt by Emily’s inferno. Each second that passed a new scream was added, removed, replaced, and the cycle repeated and repeated until the last bird caught was nothing more than a charred crisp. Lila felt herself try to fall as her vision narrowed, but she managed to pull herself away from falling unconscious.

Yet the silence did not bring Lila peace, the lack of screaming voices did not bring peace. Instead, it brought a clarity that she never knew. The crows were once people, and Emily just killed whatever was left of them. She knew that she would not let their sacrifice be in vain. And she knew it was time to start replacing her losses. All across her exposed chest feathers began to erupt outward with a rapid pace, covering herself within a few seconds. Her black eyes began to seemingly leak, sending pitch black tears streaming down her face. Lila and the maiden weeped together and as one for their fallen murder. And their dour expression slowly turned insidious as they caught a slightly wounded Vashti running towards them. The two knew in a straight up fight they’d lose to Vashti, she was far too strong and quick in her storm. However, even the strongest could not resist the temptation of the maiden, and the duo cackled with laughter as she drew close.

Vashti launched herself at Lila, no doubt trying to kick her into the fire wall that Emily oh so confidently put up to block her exit. They made one crucial error Lila thought as she side-stepped the kick, grabbing Vashti legs with one clawed hand and stabbing the other hand into Vashti’s thigh.

Lila turned her body, pulling Vashti along with the turn, and launched Vashti back towards the house. Lila took a step forward as Lila and The Maiden chucked a devious chuckle, their wings flashing green several times in a second. Their crucial error was they were not afraid, and Lila was about to remind them that they should be.

Emmmmily, the two shouted as one, ...watch.

Jasper frantically added detail to his painting, using his large frame to block out as much of the rain as he could. He was close to the wood line on the side of the house, and he slowly crept towards the shelter offered by the canopy above. On his canvas his greatest creation yet was nearly finished, and he hoped that he could catch Carol by suprise once more. The Magnum Opus was a complex construct, featuring layers upon layers of paint and infused intentions. His intention to protect, to safeguard, and to kill.

Jasper still knew that shooting Carol would not be murder. Her little hourglass would simply bring her back at the end of the day and she would simply be angrier.

Once he reached the tree line he quickly returned to painting his weapon. This would be his moment to protect the coven, to show them the power that he possessed. This would be his moment to make a difference in a real fight, and not just act like the creator of distractions. No one else would die while he was around. Jasper quickly added the finishing details and dried the painting with his spell. It was ready. He’d only pulled it once on an enemy, and this time he was ready for the kick of the gun. Jasper engaged his abstraction and used his paintbrush to pull the gun from the canvas and grabbed it with his arm. Jasper pressed up against a nearby tree, pushed the butt of the gun and raised the rifle and aimed down the field. In an instant he cursed his decision to make this a bolt action rifle with a iron sight instead of something lighter, and more modern. He was finding it hard to not only locate his target, but to also get the sight on her. Jasper exhaled completely and found that he was granted a bit more control over the wayward weapon. A moment later he had his target in sight, and he squeezed the trigger engaging the magic within the gun, firing it, and sending the first round down range. Whatever it would hit it would burry itself deep into the target, exploding outwards a moment later.

The kick was strong, however, and the barrel fought its way back and upwards. Jasper groaned at the pain he felt in his shoulder but he could not let that stop him. He pulled the bolt back, ejecting the hot painted casing that hissed as it collided with a drop of rain, before it melted away with it. He slammed the bolt forward, got the sight on what he thought was the target, and sent a second round down range. As the second shot left the barrel the gun was finally caught by the raindrops as well, with parts of it melting away. Jasper did not know what would happen if he tried to fire a third time and instead of testing that idea he simply threw the gun into the open and let it get dissolved in quick fashion.

Jasper couldn’t make out the after effects of his attack but he did catch the tail end of the Aryin George fight. He began to paint his hammer just in case someone tried to sneak up to him. He began to move towards Linqian, keeping to the tree line to protect his painting as he did.

Aryin saw the kick coming and she did not move. Instead she threw her arms out wide and as the kick connected with her body, the impact exploded outward with an explosive boom creating a momentary umbrella with the shockwave, and then grabbed George’s leg with her arms. She could only hold on for a few seconds before the sheer power of George’s kick launched her across the battlefield . Aryin skipped across the ground once, twice, and a third time more before she finally caught the ground properly and gouged a path through the dirt. Eventually her momentum slowed and she eventually rolled to a stop. The ground left a sizzling trail marking where she hit and a small steam cloud showed where she travelled.

That hurt. Aryin had forgotten that Too Hot To Handle came with a noticeable reduction in defensive power, and she was thankful for the magma like skin because she knew she’d be even worse for wear in this moment without it. Still, she was broken, bruised, and no longer able to carry on a fight like this. She needed her normal durability back. She needed Aaron.

Aryin began the slow process of walking towards Linqian. She knew she was alive because their magic was still strong however it looked like she took a beating when she faced Vashti. They both needed a quick sip of that good healing juice from Sully before long. They would also need clothes once their spell wore off. One problem at a time.

Eventually the arduous journey was nearly complete. Aryin could see Linqian, and she could see she was truly alive. Good. If she was alive she could survive what needed to happen. ”I thought you were stronger,” Aryin said before they pulled back their arm and punched Linqian in the gut once more, pulling back her own part of the spell breaking Too Hot To Handle in an instant. They slowly pulled their fist off her exposed stomach and offered her a hand up. “Get up bitch, the fights not done. And CAN SOMEONE GET US SOME FUCKING CLOTHES?”

“Here,” Jasper paused as he put his painting down and took off his coat, before he unbuttoned his tucked in shirt. Both were big enough that they should offer some ‘protection’ against wandering eyes. The removal of his clothes revealed his hairy muscular chest to the world, and a small smile crept across his face at his fate.

Lynn looked at Ken as tears streamed down her face. There was a look of shock on her face at the words Ken spoke to her. Kari wanted many things from Lynn. Dying on the battlefield was not one of them. And with what Lynn just learned her story was not going to end here. She knew this much to be true. “No, I don’t die here,” Lynn said with a dismissive tone that suggested that, in this moment, she was upset at that fact. Despite Ken’s kind words Lynn still remained in the funk. The battle, the zombies, and Lila falling further into the maiden all felt like it was not worth it anymore. Lynn was a burden that needed to be babysit. Lynn was a failure who could not help her coven. Lynn was-


The sound of Jasper firing his gun broke Lynn from her spiral, at least for the moment, as she swapped to the possible future to see what he was trying to do. Her eyes remained glazed for a few seconds before she returned to the present and she chuckled. Jasper was smart. Carol was the key to opening up the rest of 8th street to defeat. It just sucked that his power was rendered so inert by the rain. In the possible future Jasper’s range of attack was great. In some, he developed a new spell on the spot for a pair of revolvers, in another he turned his ranger into an army ranger by giving it a semi automatic magically powered rifle that made up for his shit fucking aim by putting that responsibility into his creation. Regardless, he was never able to take out Carol. She always had an early warning system.

“Ken, take out Carol,” Lynn paused as she pointed towards the man shooting his gun at the kid. Lynn knew it wasn’t a kid but she had no idea what he actually was. “That guy is keeping her safe from Jasper, he’s distracted but Jasper won’t be able to do much with that rain. Take Carol out, take out their ability to keep up the fight.”. Lynn’s eyes fell to the ground.

“Once we’re done here today you and I need to have a little talk,” Lynn paused as she slowly looked Ken in the eyes, “because I know Kari is alive. The future is certain with that at least.”. Lynn paused as she looked over the battlefield. “We need to leave this battle, we’re not ready for this fight yet.”

Interactions/Mentions: Sloane @Atrophy Amara @Blizz

So this was the correct possible future. What a fucking shit show.

Lynn of course saw this as a possibility a few moments ago but to her, this was a false future and she paid it very little attention. In the great scheme of possible predictions, those with a frequency as low as this were barely worth exploring, remembering, or mentioning. You would have thought Lynn would’ve learned this painful lesson ten years ago. You would have thought that the blood on her hands would have always forced her to be more open about what might happen. Yet what good would it do if it was someone like Sloane hearing that prediction?

Lynn did not have long to dwell on these thoughts. The building was on fire and Amara had arrived on time to save them, just as that future predicted. What happens from here is a bit of a mystery as she did not pay enough attention to it during her venture forward, but she knew one thing. She needed to get to Lila, she needed to stop what was about to happen, and she knew she was going to be too late.

Lynn followed Amara’s to the letter as she retreated from the building, the army she commanded was incredibly versatile and her use here was not only unorthodox but effective at the same time. When Lynn hit the ground, her eyes immediately turned to Lila just in time to see her back convulsing underneath the clothes. It was too late to stop this, and Lynn could only close her eyes to shield herself from the brief exposure to the coming hex. Lynn heard the rip off the skin, she felt the warm spray of blood and viscera splash across her, and then she heard the maidens' voice taunt Vashti to follow her. The footsteps she heard marked the departure of Lila towards a future of uncertainty. A future dominated by a struggle and agony, and a future that would lead to a confrontation.

That would come after their group survived today, and Lynn knew they all would have a part to play if they wanted to survive. Lynn, for example, needed to not be a distraction for once. She needed to not be a part of the fight, she needed to trust her friends and trust in their abilities. If everyone had to worry about keeping poor, useless, and vulnerable Lynn out of danger they would not be able to fight effectively. And this hurt. Lynn rarely lamented her lack of ability anymore, it was a sore spot back in the day and she remembered all too well that it was something that nearly got her, Lila, and Jasper killed. Yet it did nothing to help the feeling that she was truly worthless to the coven. She predicted that 8th street was going to attack, a moment before the attack actually happened. She predicted that Kari was more than likely alive, but could not narrow it down any further than that.

Lynn was a burden to her coven, and she was only around because their only other seeker was presumed to be dead. That’s it. That’s the only reason she was invited back. Lynn knew that everyone mostly tolerated her, and this was beginning to weigh heavily on her. Her best friend was turning into a giant bird, and she was being chased by an alligator whore, and here Lynn was being delegated to Amara to find a safe place for her to ride out the fight.

“No, no I,” Lynn started before she swallowed the desire to cry, “i can get to safety, Amara help the others.”. Lynn flashed her eyes to the possible future for a brief moment before she returned to the presence and turned away from the small group and began to run away from the fight, away from Lila, away from Sloane and Amara, and away from the crushing realization of it all. Her footsteps took her to the far side of the property. She could still see the fight but she was far enough away from it all to be considered safe. She leaned her back on a tree and slid down, watching the fight as she did.

And then she started crying. Crying at the thoughts of her friends being in trouble, crying at the realization that she was worthless to the coven, and crying at the fact that the best thing that had ever happened to her might not be dead, but also might not be the same person she remembered. And she cried some more.

Interactions: VASHTI

"They’re fighting for you and you want to run," The Maiden whispered to Lila as she was turning to help the Amara clone on the ground. Lila stopped in her steps as her head twitched violently at the words. All across her mind she could feel the feathered bitch pushing her influence like cold tendrils that wrapped its grip around her thoughts. Lila forced her head to stay still by placing her hands on her heads side pressing down as she did. "No, no, no no nononono," Lila whispered. "They’ll die fighting for you while you run," The Maiden continued, " you have always been a coward no matter what lies you tell yourself.". Lila groaned as she felt The Maiden push even harder to be let in. The Maiden was suspiciously quiet before this, and it seemed she thrived in the moments of chaos and emotional turmoil. And this was a moment of both.

For starters she saw Vashti wearing one of her favorite hoodies. A confirmation of who was at fucking fault for the damage at her house and the pain it caused her gram. Lila wanted to punish her, to rip her hands from her arms, and then her jaw from her face. Lila wanted to make her feel nothing but pain for a brief moment before she sent her off to the dreamless sleep. The joy that would bring flooded Lila’s brain and she smiled a wicked smile once more at the thought. Vashti walking through the world without her hands, her jaw, just a worthless shell of the woman who once grabbed life by… Lila paused the thought as she saw her vision get that much more clear. She blinked once, twice, and a third time as she looked over the battlefield. She could see Emily, Vashti, and every one else with such clarity. She gasped. The Maiden had found a foothold once more.

"Fuck, nonononono," Lila whimpered as she began to feel the bones in her hand push to the side as her claws began to push its way out. Lila tried to stop it, she tried to think of the monster movies she loved, the friends that she cared for, and the various cute animals she saw in her day to day at her job. Yet despite these pleasant thoughts she yelled in pain as her fingertips split open, and as the skin on her arm’s split pushing feathers through like a thousand papercuts. Lila doubled over as the pain surged with each subsequent feathers and claw and tears began to stream from her eyes as she tried to scream but couldn’t force a sound from her lips. More and more feathers sprouted from her arm, higher and higher the pain surged, and more and more of the ground became coated in her crimson blood.

After what felt like an entirety, Lila’s breath was the only sound that escaped her lips. A soft whimper soon followed by Lila still felt like she was in control. She looked at her arms, her claws, and tried to push herself up from the ground but something suddenly felt off with her back. And as something began to press against the skin on her back she suddenly found The Maiden pushing for control. Lila held on in her mind as her back began to visibly push outward at two spots on either side. Further and further out the skin began to stretch, the bulging mass visible to Sloane, Amara, and Lynn. The pain was back and this time it was a hundred times worse than anything she felt to this date. She screamed at the top of her lungs, revealing her presence on the battlefield. The scream continued, growing in intensity as her back bulged outward, more and more, and more still. Eventually, the strength of whatever was trying to get out was too strong to hold back and her skin ripped in two even lines and her wings shot outward with such force that it ripped her shirt and bra from her back.

The force of the wings shooting out shot blood and flesh particles across the area, with the three women caught in the crossfire. In this moment Lila and the maiden had merged, both were one and both had their eyes on Vashti across the battlefield. They lingered for a second before they slowly moved to Emily. A wicked smile crept across her face as her head twitched slightly, before Lila laughed entirely too loud for the situation. The monster, the arrival, the threats, all of 8th street finally revealed that they were a joke. Lila’s head shot back to Vashti, twitched once more, before she licked her lips.

Vashti, Vashti, Vaaaaashti,, Lila paused as she took a step back as her wings flickered a green glow, anyone who was looking at them would briefly fall under their curse, come get me.

Lila took off in a sprint running behind the burning house. At the same time, the air was filled with the sounds of a murder approaching fast. Far above the battlefield. Suddenly the sound of their wings ceased, and the air grew silent for just a moment. It would not last for long as the murder braved their way through the storm clouds and began to swoop down on the 8th street below.

Bring it down, bring it down, bring it down

Jasper dove to the ground as the house exploded behind him. In each hand he carried a canvas, one knight and one ranger, both ready to be summoned. All they needed was the finishing touch, their specific intention, and a decision on which one would come out first. Jasper pulled himself away from the burning house. Jasper worried for a moment that there were still people inside, that they were trapped and needed help. Yet he could not help them if he was dead himself, and he turned his attention to the giant monster and the apparition that she summoned. It was big, but quite as the snake, and for some reason that made this fight a little more palpable. How did he get roped back into this chaos? He sieht so many years chasing a high to forget the horror of a supernatural war and here it was once again in front of his face, and all here felt was anger. He looked towards the huddled frontline of the 8th street and saw Aryin and Aaron already in the fight. They had gone molten, early, and this meant that 8th street muscle would be pinned down.

That made the decision easy. If George was tied up with Aryin, and Vashti was tied up with Linqian, that meant Carol had no one to tank a hit. And Carol was someone who could die and come back later on thus his conscience could remain clear. Without their healer the 8th street would have a much more difficult time sustaining this kind of fight, and maybe they could force them to retreat less they end up permanently dead. To target Carol he would need to paint in his intent to be discrete. She could not know she was the target until it was too late. His Ranger would be perfect for this. Jasper added a quick layer to the painting, pushing his intent to target the monster with the first three arrows before unloading everything else on Carol, near Carol, and if that failed to seal the deal he’d at least get a canvas back to bring out his Magnum opus. Jasper looked over to Luca and knew that this decision would not be without consequences, but given the situation Jasper hoped that Luca would forgive him for this.

Jasper flipped his paintbrush and pulled the Ranger from the page. It was as tall as him, sporting a very similar muscular build. It wore no armor per se, thus revealing the Kaleidoscope of color that made up its body. It did have a quiver filled with twenty arrows that each had a magical explosive tip strapped to its back and to the untrained eye it would appear that it was covered in jewels.. As it hit the ground, it drew its first arrow and let it fly. It hit the top head of the monster first, digging in before detonating. It then drew its second and let this one fly towards one of the throats, hitting and exploding a moment later. Finally it let one final one loose, impacting with the left leg digging in, exploding, and hopefully causing some damage. Without missing a beat it drew another arrow, aimed the bow at the other leg, before it quickly shifted and aimed at Carol and let an arrow fly. And then another. And another, and kept shooting until its quiver ran dry.

Jasper did not wait to see if the arrows hit, if they caused damage, or if Carol survived. He needed assurances, and that is where his knight would come into play. His knight had his hammer, and if Carol survived the sudden barrage she would find it much harder to survive a few blows from the hammer. He used his paintbrush to pull the knight from the painting, thus causing the Ranger to melt into a puddle of paint, and exhaled a little harder this time as he did. The knight hit the ground running angry and he had the hammer ready to strike. It wore a plate and mail armor that was more traditionally composed, with a red and gray color scheme.

Jasper meanwhile began to put distance between him and the fight. He knew that his normal constructs would not last long in this fight. He knew that he needed his gun. But he needed to find a place to paint it away from this god damn rain.
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