It does occur to me that a general sound-off of character concepts could help people make decisions about what they want to play. Frame of reference, I'm currently considering a Lunar Full-Moon caste as an Old Man(tm) based on Snakes, particularly larger pythons and vipers.
@Sola Did someone say stalking? I'm actually interested, though I haven't really done anything with Exalted before. If there's still room and you're willing to tolerate the know-nothing I'd be happy to jump in.
Breaking huddle, the two teams set up positions on the field. Blaine walked up to the midway line with a solemn grace unfitting of his size, one foot in front of the other. Scooping up a red brace, the faunus cinched it tight against his left ankle. The less he gave the opponents to catch onto during marks, the better.
Squaring up behind the line, Blaine felt his nerves clutching at his mind, sinking their claws into his stomach… He closed his eyes, took one deep breath, settling his mind into a smooth corridor of stone, one goal, a start and a finish. There was victory on the opposite side, glory and a good impression and possibly lunch, it had been a while since breakfast… But no, he had to focus on the task at hand! Right now, he had one job, and one job alone: get the ball from one side of the field to the oth-
The whistle gave a shrill blast. Trad was in the air already, his well-defined musculature sending the ball screaming towards Selena. Both teams were already moving, Blaine’s moment of resolution costing him the first heartbeat of action. Swiftly, his eyes rocketed back open, his head swiveling to follow the ball. Others were already moving, Selena was soaring in the sky with the composed grace of a particularly confident dodo from a catapult, Krysanthe was bolting down the pitch for a catch, but Selena was hesitating, eyes flitting around the pitch. The defenders were doing their jobs, just as Blaine knew they would.
Blaine was a simple man, generally quick on his feet, and the rules were exceedingly clear on what happened when someone was tackled. He could jump after her, but he knew that speed was her forte. That being said, if nothing was done, she would pass and the moment would be gone, the ball well on its way towards the dreaded Blue Team's first six points.
Thinking quickly, he made his decision. The shoe was worth it.
With the precision of a well-oiled machine, the student lowered his bulk to the ground, lined his foot up, braced his right foot against the back of his left shoe’s heel, dug his toe into the turf, and felt his aura drain as he activated his semblance.
A loud popping noise signaled his launch, his shoe exploding from a size thirteen to a ten-foot long elevator, the rapid expansion paired with the thrust from his right leg launching him bodily towards his silver-haired opponent in the same trajectory as a graceful, one-winged eagle made of lead and dreams. It wasn't pretty, but it would get the job done. If she came from a catapult, he would enter the field from a cannon, the school-issue footwear falling off like the first stage of a rocket launch, falling back to the earth at its normal size with an anticlimactic thud.
Years ago and miles away from the beginnings of a raging game of football with rules made by a colony of exiles in a land made of poison and sunstroke, a bulky young fourteen year-old was working his way through lush rainforest, following the kind of route game took that only the most enthusiastic of woodsmen would have the audacity to call a trail. He was big for his age, but that didn’t help much as he trudged his way through the mud and vines. Uphill. In the rain. It was one of those days.
The sun was beginning to set, and Blaine grew concerned. The mountain was dangerous at night, supposedly Grimm wandered from the ruins on the other side from the village… Or at least that was what the adults had always said. Personally, he had never heard anything at night, but regardless it was going to be trouble if Alistair and he came back after sunset. Moira was always pissed whenever one of the acolytes got into trouble, and Gods Above and Below knew that being on Moira’s bad side was as good as having a target on your back from the Hunters, the Grimm, and everything in between. Girl had a fury like a bear. But like, a large bear, with a bad attitude and some cubs. Maybe the bear was going through a bad divorce, who knew? The point was, Moira was a scary bear.
These thoughts keeping him company, Blaine stumbled into a small clearing below the cliff face in the mountainside, providing shelter from the pouring rain. Droplets hammered around him like a thousand tiny drums as he pulled a small scrap of vellum from his pack, glancing between it and the clearing. Near as he could tell, he was close to the summit, which meant that Alistair…
“MOTHER OF-!” The faunus whipped around suddenly, pancho slapping around him as he brought his walking stick to bear in the face of… nothing. Not a damn thing. His eyes narrowed in a false glare as he bared his teeth, growling as he spoke. “Alistair, so help me you almost had a meal of your own teeth. Come out or I’ll have you eat your coat.” It would’ve been quite menacing if his voice hadn’t cracked like your grandmother’s favorite china against the linoleum.
The soft sound of laughter peeled out from above Blaine as a lithe figure drooped upside-down from the ceiling, warm green eyes accompanied by a familiar smile. His face was slim, much like the rest of him, with pronounced cheekbones and a narrow chin. His hair was wild and so was his grin, but he moved with a grace that Blaine could never match in their sparring. Beneath his scales was a deceptive layer of tight muscle, making him stronger than his hundred and thirty odd pounds seemed. Still, despite appearances, he was older than Blaine, though only by a little less than a year. It didn’t stop him from teasing the younger boy about it. He wore a foreign jacket: blue, slightly threadbare and faded after years of travel, but still thick and warm. It had a zipper, which had fascinated the younger children in the village when they were younger, completely different from their own homespun clothes. Near as they knew it came from Vale, but it was hard to tell for certain. They were so far out from the larger settlements in Vacuo that they hardly knew whether or not Vale still spoke the same language, much less fashion trends for the time. That way lay trouble, anyhow, as Moira reminded them on a daily basis. “Come now, Blaine, you wouldn’t harm an heirloom like this, would you? Think of propriety! The history! How I would have to steal your clothes for my way down this bloody pile of rock!”
At this, the blond faunus’s glare cracked into the slightest flicker of a smile as he stood up straight, his swishing tail slowing to a crawl. He tried his best to ignore the accelerations in his chest that always happened when he was alone with Alistair. It wasn’t that bad, but always seemed like it got worse when the other boy was close to him. Most likely unhealthy. Maybe an allergic reaction. Regardless, Blaine slid into his usual posture, leaning forward on his staff and ever so slightly more forward towards his companion. “...Maybe. Or maybe I’d be less inclined to chase you round with my staff if you told me why we were out here?”
Alistair sighed deeply, hanging from just his arms for a moment before he flipped around and landed on his feet. He leaned back against the taller boy for just a second, his shoulders pressed against Blaine’s chest -ba-thump- pausing for a moment before rapping the back of his hand against the staff Blaine carried before he continued speaking, slowly strolling to the edge of their cover. “Well, I could tell you, or,” He began, wandering back into the rain, “You could follow me, and find out. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the second option more. If you can keep up, that is.” With that, he disappeared into the rain, bolting up the path.
“Alistair, you bastard!” Blaine sprinted after the other faunus, laughing through the pounding rain as he made chase. It was cold and mucky, but soon he caught his quarry. They wandered through the forest for a while, wet and cold but in good company. After some time, all hope of returning to the village by nightfall had passed, and Blaine was beginning to grow nervous. Still, Alistair assured him that shelter was just around the corner, and they would face Moira together when they returned. Eventually they rounded a corner and came to a gap in the mountains, with half of a spire jutting from the ground in the clearing, the other clearly having fallen down the side of the cliff ages ago. The only record of its passage was the lack of trees in its path downward, ending in a crumpled heap of iron.
More importantly for the two boys, there seemed to be the remains of a large complex sitting beside the bottom half of the spire, where Alistair managed to whip together a small fire below the artificial outcropping while Blaine gathered a few edible roots and berries from the surrounding forest. It wasn’t much, but it was something, and after Alistair found a snake they had a right bounty with a little bit of protein. They shed their clothes, drying them by the fire, laughing and cracking jokes across the room as they ate. There was a chill, but not a bad one.
As their clothes steamed off, Blaine tried to convince Alistair to tell him why the hell they were out here, but the smaller faunus just laughed and insisted that he would have to wait until morning, looping the conversation back to gossip about the other acolytes and how Talia definitely had a thing for Morgan. Eventually, things settled into a lull, but Blaine didn't mind. It was a comfortable silence, the kind that fell over things like a blanket, and it kept them company as much as the jokes had. In a way, it said more than they had mentioned all day. There was an agreement in that silence, and neither one of them said anything as Alistair had slowly scooted closer, hand closing over Blaine's as they stared into the flames.
To the casual observer, much was happening in the gym right now. One member of the red team had just changed form to match that of an opponent, both sides were doing their damndest to self-destruct through the mutual powers of net-petulance and sexual harassment, and The Lord of the Swole himself intervened. Exciting day, overall.
The same observer, if his eyes were to linger on the Red Team, would see a red-haired girl simmering, a steel-eyed fellow laughing, one man abandoning hope of harmony in favor of old James Bond references, a girl slowly turning as red as the furious woman’s hair and a large, blonde man wearing a school uniform that was much too tight.
Blaine turned away from his teammates, one hand wiping an eye. His face was slightly red as the shame filled him. He had allowed his team to be besmirched in the eyes of the arbiter of sport, the Bishop of Iron. Truly, this was a day to be remembered in the darkest corner of his heart.
Biting back the words that were held on the tip of his tongue, Blaine’s attention shifted from his soon-to-be missionmate and her shenanigans to the matter at hand: the game was about to begin. There were a few minor details to address, but first things first, he had to make sure there was no lingering ill will in the team, at least caused by him. He would leave leadership to the assigned captain and his second. They would guide the team to glory, he knew it in his heart of hearts.
Feeling his face cool, he addressed the feather-haired girl who had expressed disinterest in stripping. “Do not worry, teammate. I said the attractive members of the team, you have little to worry about. I was regarding teammates Vesper Lynd the now-woman in his-slash-her masculine form, Second in Command Lucas, Violet, and our yet-to-be-named teammate as a wildcard." At this, Blaine nodded towards the masked individual he saw, her(?) hair black and purple. "As their own side has largely female temptation, I was hoping to counter with masculine features and a variety of body types; their own men will be distracted enough. I know not their preferences, however, so the ultimate judgement falls back to individuals concerned. As for eagerness to take off clothes,” The oversized student locked eyes with the silver-haired woman who had come over, “I would not try to pressure those who wish to do otherwise.”
After making sure his message had crossed the room, or at least team lines, Blaine looked towards the small-voiced girl, a red flash upon her pale face. “In other words, no, teammate Violet. Stripping is not required.” His voice was gentler as he spoke in her direction for the smallest moment, though his blazing eyes did not decrease in intensity nor the vein pulsing in his forehead cease it’s constant motion. “As for your semblance, I think you’ll be surprised. If they have any sneakier teammates, you will find use for it. All will be well.”
Lastly, the faunus needed to speak with the short, grey man with his metal extremities. It seemed as though he did not take his team too well into account, but that could be addressed later. The large blonde man smiled broadly, his eyes unchanging from their usual intense gaze, as the problem teammate seemed to address the rest of his allies in a more friendly manner. All was well in the state of Red Team. “As for you, grey one, I agree that there could be interesting combinations, though I warn you, if your arm or leg are connected directly to a ligament, nerve ending, tendon, muscle, or any kind of ball-and-socket joint, I feel my semblance would do more harm than good. It only works on the whole of an object, not individual parts, so the odds are it would destroy your shoulder and hip.”
The faunus shook his head, his voice lessening in intensity, but not volume, as he stooped over to get closer to his teammate. “Also, you may have forgotten, but you have not told us your name, comrade. That, and I would not recommend ignoring the red-haired Amy. She seems as though she is irritated with you. I would address that.” He ended with the best wink he could manage, closing both of his eyes, left cheek twitching slightly.
Physical Education Team: Maybe not the Best, but Definitely Better than the Other Team Team
Listening to his teammates speak, Blaine gave them his utmost attention. This was made manifest in an unblinking stare, his stone brow knit together in the world’s single most intense gaze, unbroken by the womanflesh before him. Admiration could wait for a different time, now was football.
The small, belligerent man made a good point, though he seemed abrasive. That could be a problem. More so, the room suddenly became very hot as it dawned upon the faunus that he had failed to make his introductions. Blithering fool! How can you win a good first impression if they’ve no names to align with you? Blast! In the midst of his own berations, his gaze bore a large hole into the floor, a small vein beginning to pulse in his forehead as his vision stabbed the earth. He panicked internally, the only external hint of tension a single bead of sweat, ever so slowly making its way down his stoic cheek. In this state, he raised his eyes, lips pursed, the words on the tip of his tongue as he struggled to address those around him. His mouth was dry and the ill-fitting uniform seemed to tighten around his throat like a wounded lover, one of the buttons straining to hold the collar shut around his tree trunk neck.
Speak, damn you!
“I… am Blaine.” He paused, glancing as the group of expectant faces bore down on him, his voice being drug from his throat, slow and forced, like cattle to slaughter. “Big man is also acceptable. I am quite large. My Semblance makes things I touch larger or smaller while I touch them, in both mass and volume.” Another pause as he looked around, gaining confidence as the lack of torches and pitchforks became evident. A tiny rip indicated the expulsion of a button from his collar, allowing sweet, cool air to brush his neck. It was appreciated, though he would have to sew it back on at a later time. Stooping down to pick up the offending button and set it inside his breastpocket, the faunus continued, his voice settling into place like an old bull out to pasture, or James Earl Jones after a lunch break.
“Offense is doable, as I would prefer to be farther from our own goal in order to prevent use of my stature for marks by our scantily clad opponents. I will prevent our ballhandlers from being struck down best as I can. Shepherding, as it is stated on the rulesheet. Through my fellow offenders' feet, we will all march to glory.”
"I also believe that if they attempt to distract us with pleasures of the flesh, we may should try the same, captain Ben and second in command Luke. I believe that our coach most likely had a prior manner of identifying who is on which team, such as colored flags. With this in mind, I offer the idea of our most attractive removing their clothes as well. It may help us in the long run."
Hesitating for a moment, the faunus pressed on. His eyes were now focused on the one who previously spoken, gray in attire, grim in attitude. Though he did not judge him, his words must be addressed. Blaine’s facial expression was yet to change, the vein in his forehead continuing it's steady rhythm. “Additionally, I think we would be best served by keeping your powerful limbs in the back, grey one, where we need to be able to launch the ball downfield. I would refer to you as your name, but you had not given one. This is also to contend with your poor attitude and what I perceive as a lack of true confidence, going by your apathetic tone and rudeness to your own teammates, as well as our second-in-command. With all due respect, you sound as though you try to make up for something. Not to be rude. I often have problems with speaking to groups myself, so there is no need to be shy. Even if no one else does, I believe in you, despite your stature and lack of common manners.”
Internally, Blaine pumped his fist. His introductions seem to have gone quite well. Still, he would have to do his best to reassure the estranged teammate, let he think the faunus's words were meant to be aggressive. The last thing he wanted today was to be making enemies. In this state of mind, he offered his kindest smile, flashing his sharpened canines through the parting of his lips. It was obviously forced, but hopefully got the message across.
Stepping forward into the huddle, Blaine stooped down to join the rest of his team. He felt like he should say something, but had only had a little time to glance at the rules of this sport before the team was called to rally. Glancing around, he could tell that overall they were an athletic group, but no one particularly stood out. Or rather, it was that they all stood out, a motley crew, as should be expected.
Blaine took a deep breath, exhaling with closed eyes. It was his first day here, and already he had no clue what was going on. That wasn’t entirely unexpected, but he needed to try his damndest to make a good impression. Think, damn it all! His fists clenched and his jaw tightened, sharp canines showing in a slight grimace. Glancing up, his brows furrowed in an intense stare, he locked his gaze upon the black-haired student who had spoken. An idea had struck. “Team captain, I’ve a plan. We take the ball and bull-rush down the middle, our staunchest blasting through their opposition with extreme prejudice. While this occurs, we fake a pass to one of our easily concealed teammates, in truth pressing on with our forward offense. It would require our strongest and most agile, but I believe it has a strong chance of success. Overall, we do seem to carry a size advantage. What say you?”
The faunus spoke with a voice like a gravel suspended in molasses, deep baritone rumbling out from his throat. His eyes blazed with an inextinguishable fire. Blaine had forgotten to introduce himself or ask for his teammates’ names, but all was forgotten in the face of glory. By the way Coach Roy Roy Fitzroy spoke, this was serious business. Blaine would not fail his allies. Not today. Not ever.