Recent Statuses

4 mos ago
Current Everyone has detractors, but they can't fault you for being earnest—In the end, you're your own worst critic. Don't worry about being prolific. Focus on writing "you" and you'll find your voice. 3/3
1 like
4 mos ago
If you're only focused on getting better all the time, then yeah, you'll get frustrated and burnt out. Better to write something “bad” but sincere than to write just to show off prose. 2/3
4 mos ago
@Fetzen Putting in my two cents. If your only goal is to "be good" then you may be in the wrong mindset. You should write because you enjoy it. Because it's something you want to do. 1/3


Hey there, lurker. Just kidding, I'm nosy too. You wanna know about me? Sure.

I'm a guy reaching the end of his late 20's and into the age where the human body starts to fall apart for no reason. When I was younger lad, I was a lone wolf full of angst and vitriol; now I've come to appreciate the value of company and connections. Over text my words can sometimes come off as matter-of-factly to the point of being bitingly sarcastic or even outright standoffish. This isn't usually my intent unless I'm joking. You'll know if I'm joking.

Writing has always been one of my earliest interests, and I always end up coming back to it even after lulls in motivation. Aside from that, I enjoy a lot of games, movies, D&D (my favorite class is Warlock), and tried my hand at doing voice acting for a while. I did a little C++ programming too; decided it wasn't for me. Other hobbies I'm currently looking to eventually get into are music and traditional/digital art.

About my writing style and interests:

I consider myself to be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. As far as genres go, my writing mood will shift like a revolving door through classic fantasy, urban fantasy/modern, and cyberpunk (though I feel like a lot of people miss the point on what cyberpunk actually is.) Roleplay-wise, I'm not too big on romance, horror, or school settings, but I may still give them a shot if it fills a specific niche for me. On that note, a lot of roleplay ideas I have are definitely going to be "out there." As for why I'm not big on the three I just mentioned, well, I prefer romance in stories when it's only a subplot, horror is very difficult to pull off effectively, and there has yet to be a school setting story that can keep me invested. I have nothing but the utmost respect for people that can actually do literary fiction. Also, I don't generally do fandom RP's unless I feel it has a unique spin to it.

I love well-written characters and by extension character-driven stories. Worldbuilding is what I'd consider to be one of my weakest attributes in writing, but I thoroughly enjoy fleshing out characters with nuance and coming up with banter. I don't put too much importance on post length in a roleplay, as I myself prefer to keep things simple yet effective. I'd rather read a short 2-3 paragraphs that are impactful than a post that looks like a college student trying to pad out a term paper. I don't like IRL faceclaims, and won't allow them in any roleplay that I host for personal reasons. As for my ethics (not just in writing, but in general) here are some principles I try to adhere to:

-If you truly love and are serious about your craft, you have no excuse but to create a great product.
-Never rest on your laurels. It's hard to get back on the wagon once you get off.
-There's always going to be a bigger fish, so don't fret about "not being good enough."
-Never make a promise while under a good mood.

Hopefully that satisfies your curiosity about me.

Currently Hosting:

Status: Open

Most Recent Posts

Four Years Ago

The maglev ran smoothly on its way to Saffron City, maintaining its precise schedule. Ezra and Levin sat opposite each other in the cabin, playing cards on a tray table. Ezra reached into his jacket and set a sizable stack of golden coins on the table. “No fucking way,” Levin scoffed. Ezra kept a stern gaze and pushed the stack further towards the center with the others, not saying a word. “You really wanna lose your payday all in one go, huh?” Levin reached for his own coins to ante but watched his friend cautiously for a tell.

“I fold,” Levin conceded, deciding not to test his luck. Ezra smiled, scooping up the pot and flipping over his cards to reveal a terrible hand. “Fuck!” Levin shouted, earning himself incredulous stares by other passengers. “Fuck…” he muttered again, shrinking down in his seat.

“You were close,” Ezra laughed. “But you need to learn not to crack under pressure. Remember the job in Pewter?”


“No such thing in this life as a sure thing except death and taxes. At the very least guys like us can dodge the latter. Sometimes you just gotta go for broke. Another round?”

“Fuck off.”

A woman walked down the aisle and took her seat across from the two, grabbing a book from her bag to occupy herself. Ezra gave her a sidelong glance and a smile, shuffling the cards together.

“We thought you missed the train,” he said. “Would’ve been a shame if you couldn’t join us for the afterparty.”

“Had to take a detour. Too many eyes.”

“And the goods?”

“A hunter always catches her prey.”

“You had it easy,” Levin chimed in. “All you had to do was watch the cargo on a boat.”

“For two weeks.”

“Yeah, and?”

“That’s two weeks Minerva went without pizza,” Ezra said, standing up. He moved over to sit next to her, placing his arm around her shoulder. “Don’t worry, we’ll grab some in Saffron on me. I know a place you’re gonna love. When we’re there, we can talk about our next move.”

“Boss already has another job lined up, huh?”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s an easy gig. Nothing the three of us can’t handle…”

Current Day

The best waves always came in the morning.

Minerva glided on the water, surfboard at her side as Agares swam past her. The competitive Croconaw, eager to show off, raced full speed looking back at his trainer and not at the jutting rock he promptly slammed into. Agares crashed through the other side of the stone and rushed to catch up. The waters further beyond the shore foamed as Minerva approached, ready for the crest to form.

She propelled herself on her board and balanced herself firm, riding up and down the smaller waves. The Croconaw swam on his back alongside Minerva, electing to pace himself this time. Minerva crouched and gave Agares a rub on the belly, while he playfully splashed at her in return. She let off a soft chuckle before turning to the horizon where something caught her eye.

A hunter always catches her prey.

The grandest wave of them all took form, creeping up to swallow all in its path. Minerva chased after, and in perfect form trailed through the barreling tide, droplets of water glistening past her. No longer was there a sense of time, and memories of Cinnabar Island didn’t seem so far away. Then it was over. The waters calmed with Minerva left standing on her surfboard, staring back at the shore. Picking up on her cue, Agares swam behind the surfboard and pushed Minerva all the way to the beach.

“Smooth moves out there,” a man in an Alolan print shirt called to Minerva. “You too, little dude.” Agares placed his hands on his hips and turned his snout upward in a proud pose.

“Thanks for watching my stuff,” Minerva said. “And Shax. I usually hate having to ask.”

“No worries. Little man’s just vibin’.”

Minerva’s Natu nested himself in the center of a sandcastle, basking comfortably in the sun and in no rush to leave. There was no use in moving him now—he liked it there. “Shax, let’s go,” Minerva said, to no avail. Agares puffed up his chest and threatened to kick over the sandcastle but was met with Shax’s unnerving stare. “Guess we’ll get food without you.” In an instant, Minerva felt a small weight upon her head—Shax had teleported to her as a sign of compliance. “That’s what I thought.”

“I didn’t catch your name, by the way,” the man said. Minerva paused for a moment before giving him a lie.


“Well it was nice to meet you, Athena. I’m Shaun. With a ‘U.’ Maybe next time I’ll join you out there on the waves, yeah?”

“Maybe. We’ll see. See you later, ‘Shaun-with-a-U.’”

Agares spotted the fried fish stand and pointed excitedly at it, holding up three claws at Minerva. “You’ll get one,” she rejected, gathering her things. “We’ll get more later.” Agares got his fish, Shax was given berries, and Minerva bought a small cup of shaved ice for herself. Minerva spent the rest of her time enjoying the festivities of the beach—morning became afternoon, and afternoon into the evening.

The sun rested against the skyline, signifying time for Minerva to return home. She grabbed her phone and tapped “Helix Pizza” at the top of her list, right above a contact labeled “Hardass.” The first tone didn’t even finish before someone picked up as if expecting her. “The usual?” the recipient asked.

“The usual. I might not be home right away, just so you know.”

“If you aren’t there, we’ll leave it on your front desk. Don’t blame us if it gets stolen.”


Minerva looked forward to the end of her night, and the pizza waiting for her back home. Every meticulous detail of it burned in her mind: aged white cheddar and mozzarella, caramelized onions complimenting the assortment of mushrooms, and topped with shaved Parmesan and the signature helix swirl of garlic aioli.

Nothing was going to go wrong today.
You're more than welcome to have story beats along the way, as this roleplay is sort of a slow burn. It would've been easier if all the characters became acquainted with each other early on, but with the small group that we have I don't mind doing individual updates. I won't force interactions between player characters, so if it happens, it'll happen organically unless you want to discuss that with each other. Hell, I don't have dedicated GM characters unless you count Angelli or John, but they serve specific purposes in regards to pushing plot along and interactions—the story doesn't revolve around them. With our numbers being few, I as a GM can pay more attention to detail for each player character and provide for more character moments. Take the song I used for Cherry's first update post, for example. It comes from The Mars Volta album "Frances the Mute" where each song tells a part of a story of a protagonist who was abandoned by his birth parents and despite his efforts to live a normal life, he becomes overcome by anger in his journey to seek the truth.

I can say however, that each player character will likely meet the mayor herself before the story's end. In the meantime, even if your characters don't interact with each other, the decisions they make may indirectly still affect each other.
How fast the rounds have been going are likely par for the course throughout this roleplay, so don't feel the need to crank out a post as the updates happen. If you're unsatisfied with your post, feel free to remake it, just let me know when you've adjusted/locked it in because I don't believe I get notifications for edits. If you also want to make adjustments to your character or want to set up potential story hooks and arcs down the line so we know the direction you want to take your story, you are more than welcome to discuss that with me so we can set that up.

Angelli watched the rollercoaster of emotion being told on Cat’s face. Always lost in her little world, that Cat. It was a terrible affair to watch people feel sorry for themselves, let alone watch a friend fighting the ghosts in her head—for the supposed bored masses of Taygete. What a pitiful thing to be: a martyr for nobody. Stars were beautiful, but the night sky had plenty.

“Alright, alright,” Angie conceded. “I won’t keep you for too long. Don’t wanna make your fans jealous. Anyway let’s go get that… that…” Now she was the one wearing the frown. “I’m drawing a blank. I can’t remember why I came here. It’s this damn place, I’m telling you.” She rose from her seat, rubbing her temple. “Fuck it, I’ll probably remember when we pass by it. Let’s go.” The remainder of their time was spent with Angie dragging Cat through every corner of the mall. Hats were tried on, passing men were rated, and a photo booth was visited—such was tradition.

A large fountain centered the heart of the mall, fixed with its own glass aquarium of saltwater fish. Towering palm trees lined the corridors of the ground floor, and a single bird managed to find its way in. Angelli stared down at her reflection in the water for a moment, before letting out a soft laugh and dropping a coin in. She turned back over to Cat.

“I know what you’re probably thinking,” she said. “What’s ol’ Angie—a girl who already has everything got to wish for? Well, I’m gonna go ahead and keep that my secret. Maybe I’ll tell you someday. Y’know, when it’s appropriate.” For all that Angelli spent wondering what went on in her roommate’s head, she gave Cat the opportunity to do the same. A keen gleam in her eyes promised a payoff for those that dared to tread the road.

At last the two found themselves on the bridge connecting to the parking garage, and as promised, Angelli would not rob the world of Cat. “See you at the apartment,” she said, giving her farewell. Angie watched Cat walk away before almost working up the nerve to say something sappy.

“Hey, Cat?”

It passed.


“Looks like my first impression of you was right on the money,” John spoke, listening to Cherry’s voice rather than her words. “You really are an interesting one. Dare I say, my cup runneth over. I’ve been waiting for someone like you, someone with ambition. Someone with drive. Though it doesn’t look like you know where to start.” His voice hit a brief pause when Cherry mentioned the mayor of the city.

“Ol’ Mom hasn’t been seen in the flesh for years, you know. Any trace of her will is only expressed through the proxies who claim to legislate on her behalf, and her voice is only heard through screens and speakers. It’s got people talking. Got ‘em wondering. Wondering if she’s even alive. As far as a lot of people are concerned, she’s about as real as me… take that as you will. I must ask though, is there a point to putting blame on someone who may or may not exist?” He then waited Cherry to finish her tirade.

“Believe it or not, I’m not here to judge you or your perspective of the world. No, I’m here to help you indulge in whatever you plan to do—so long as I get what I want in the end. Suffice to say, a man can’t hold much of an opinion of a world he can no longer interact with.” John’s hollow eyes intensified as he observed each sentiment in Cherry’s movements. “You on the other hand, you want to change the world. You want to start a revolution from the ground up. That’s not something you can accomplish on your own. Wars aren’t won by a single person, and there’s people out there who think like you, waiting for someone like you to come along like I did.”

John stood by Cherry as she leaned against the wall, and pointed out of the alley. “Your people are out there, and all you need to do is find them and be the one who reaches out. You’ll know you’ve done your job well when all along… your followers realize they never needed a leader.”

The train ride this time went without incident, and Isaac safely made it to Arche. With his savings and meticulous budgeting, he was able to lease a decently-sized office space near the Verdenview Apartments for his base of operations. The building was fitted with the necessities to double up as a suitable living space, with a personal bedroom and bath on the second floor, and a full kitchen equipped with appliances on the first. Isaac had been given a complimentary anthurium plant by the real estate agency, which was beginning to wilt.

The wall-mounted television remained on before Isaac locked up on his way out, now tuned to a Jackie J. comedy special. Isaac could hear the laughter of the live audience as Jackie J. went into his routine.

“…Y’know a lot of tourists come to Taygete and spend their entire vacation in Taygete Bay. Just nowhere else but Taygete Bay. ‘We don’t want the rest of the city, just give us the fuckin’ beach.’ And as anyone who lives here knows, Taygete Bay is the place you go when you’re young, drunk, and stupid. That’s the place you go when you wanna make terrible decisions. You’ll see plenty of titties there too—both male and female. You guys stay the hell away from Taygete Bay…”

A warm bed awaited Isaac upstairs, offering to soothe the injuries he sustained tonight. He had only the company of whatever he chose to furnish his quarters with, but maybe he liked it that way.
Angelli Moreno, Road Captain for the Iron Valkyries in The Taygete Project

What do you like to do for fun?

"Like the other Valks, I like my beers cold and my music loud. We can be a rambunctious bunch, and stirring up trouble is always a good time. If I'm winding down, I'm either posting brutally honest reviews on Pasithee or enjoying some billiards. What I love most is finding scenic routes I can take my motorcycle through."

What qualities do you like in a person?

"Honesty and courage go a long way for me. I mean that in the sense that I have respect for those who aren't afraid to wear their true colors on their sleeve and stand up for their ideals. In Taygete, you'll find no shortage of people who will lie and backstab just to get ahead, and that's not even talking about the Herse District. Sad part is, most of the victims of it just let it happen."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

"Shoulda asked me that a couple of years ago. I had something I wanted to change about myself, and I've already changed it. Before the Valks, I was the kind of person that was expected of me. Looking back, it's hard to believe I was a fucking yuppie. You wanna know what it's like working for those corporate assholes? Not for a single second do they ever want you to believe that you're actually worth something. They'll say whatever it takes to keep you under their thumb and discourage anything that they perceive as a threat to the status quo. Back then, I wanted to change all the doubts I had about myself. Now? I leave them all dead and buried."

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

"Ain't nothin' holding me back, sugar. I already ride wherever I wanna go. My dad took me with him during some of his business trips when I was younger, so I've already had my fill of the outside world."

What is your favorite food, and why?

"A lot of people swear by the steak burger at The Heritage, but I personally prefer the hot wings at the O'Sullivan's. Nobody can resist the wings. Nobody."

When do you do your best work? In other words are you an early bird or a night owl?

"Most of the action in my uh... current line of work happens at night, but I'm not picky. If I ever wanna be a bad bitch, all I gotta do is wake up."

Who's had the biggest influence on your life?

"Prez, hands down. She was the one who found me when I was at my lowest and took me in—helped me be who I am today. The other Valks didn't take too well to me at first, but I got my chance to prove myself and I did. I owe a lot to her and I don't think I can ever pay her back for all she's done for me."

What gives you purpose in life? What drives you?

"Sounds like a spiritual question, and I'm not really a spiritual person. I wanna say I'm happy where I am in the Iron Valkyries. We all take care of our own here and a lot of the newbies look to me like an older sister. It's nice when others can place their confidence in you."

How do you feel about your family?

"I think I just answered this question. Oh, you mean my biological family. By functional standards, I'd say we get along well enough. Never had any serious issues with my dad, but my older brother questions the kind of path my life is heading in. As for my mom, it's hard to say. I'll get back to you on that if I can ever manage to separate her from a bottle of wine long enough to get a heart-to-heart going."

Do you have any particularly noteworthy Allies or Enemies?

"Don't have anyone in my corner other than the Valks. Oh, and my roommate Cat. I'd go to bat for her any day. As for enemies, we have our fair share of rivals, but the suits are on my personal shitlist."

What's your pet peeve?

"Too many to count. If I had to give an example, it'd be people who like to flaunt their wealth. If you ever find yourself in Taygete, don't brag about your bankroll like someone isn't going to fuck you up and take it from you just to teach you a lesson. Because they just might."

After a stressful day, what calms you down?

"On rough days, you'll find me at O'Sullivan's, slamming back some cold ones and shoveling wings. I don't really sweat the small stuff, though."

What is your favorite animal?

"Chicken. They're delicious."

What are your hobbies?

"Ask anyone, I play a mean game of pool. Not so much at O'Sullivan's anymore—That creep Jeremy is always trying to stare at my ass, especially when I'm trying to lean in for a close pocket shot. Jeremy, if you're listening, fuck you. Everyone knows you got crabs when you went out of town last week."

If you suddenly came into a lot of money, what would you spend it on?

"Assuming I don't lose it all at the poker table? I'd probably get a nice house with a swimming pool. If I have enough left over, I'd hire a bunch of people to follow my old bosses around all day and have them just stare at them."

How much time do you have left to live?

"You serious? Are people born with expiration dates tattooed on them where you're from? Last I checked, I wasn't a replicant."

What would you dress up as for Halloween, or your world's equivalent thereof?

"Slutty nurse."

What is your favorite scent?

"I went from liking the smell of perfume to liking the smell of gasoline. Comes with the territory, I suppose."

What's your favourite season?

"Spring or autumn. It's a bitch to ride a motorcycle during winter, and you wouldn't believe how sweaty it gets under all this leather during the summer.

Who do you consider closest to you?

"Some of these questions are starting to get a little redundant. Like I said, it'd have to be Prez. She's a sister to me."

What power do you desire the most?

"I used to think life would be a lot easier if I could read minds. It lost its appeal when I stopped caring what others thought."

How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

"However much it damn well pleases."

There is no question. Merely differing paths to a preconceived answer.

"Waiter? I'd like a new fortune cookie. This one's defective."

What are you most afraid of?

"Losing that which gives me purpose."

What would it take to get you to commit murder?

"You're asking someone who sees blood almost on the daily. My answer? Not a whole lot. I once iced a guy for scratching my bike."

What is your personal definition of love?

"Open roads with the wind at my back. I can't even begin to describe a more cathartic feeling."

Got any siblings/sibling figures of your own? How's your relationship with them?

"Got an older brother. He hasn't looked at me quite the same when I threw away my last job at an office. As far as sibling figures go, the Iron Valkyries themselves are a sisterhood."

Do you collect anything?

"Some people owe debts to the Valks, and I collect on them. That count?"

What advice would you have for your younger self?

"Don't take criticism from people you wouldn't take advice from."

If it was to protect something, someone or the world- for any reason whatsoever- would you suffer any punishment? Would you sacrifice yourself to save someone or something else?

"Whatever it goddamn takes."

If you only had one day left to live, how would you spend it?

"Honey, I already live each day like it's my last. Not a damn thing would change. I believe the Taygete Shoegazers have a motto they live by. 'Live fast, eat ass.' Wait, what do you mean that's not it? It's actually 'Live for free, forever?' That's fucking stupid, I like mine better."

"My turn to ask, right? Alright. You can learn a lot about a person by the music they listen to. What are your favorite songs?"
No need to apologize, I appreciate the communication nonetheless. I was going to make the leader of this group of thugs an established character, so I’ll be in control of him. I can tell you what he’d say in response to what Isaac would say or we could work on a collab post in DMs.
@Guppy FranzThat's kind of a vague question and I'd hate to answer it with another question, but it would help if I knew what you'd want to try and accomplish in the next post. Obviously, I know that Isaac is going to want an out to the situation, but it's unlikely that he'll come out on top considering the conditions: He's already sustained injuries and he's outnumbered by guys who got the drop on him while he was sleeping on the train. The thugs are trying to reason with their demands—they know Isaac is just a merc with no personal attachment on why he attacked them prior, so they don't have to kill him as long as they think he's going to stay out of their way. If you want to turn this into an all-out brawl on the metro, I'll roll with it, but from a reasonable perspective it doesn't really need to escalate.
No worries. If you have any questions or anything you want to discuss that can help you, let me know.

Angelli sipped her drink until the straw rattled from the last drops, watching intently at what Cat was showing her. More importantly, she was watching Cat. “That’s not what I meant,” Angie said, her eyes moving away from the phone and to Cat. “There’s a difference between loving yourself and falling in love with yourself, it’s not that deep. ’Course, if you really wanna blow up, then consider incorporating a pole into your act.”

A beat.

“Ha ha, sorry. Couldn’t help but read off one of the comments,” Angie went on. “Seriously though, I don’t see the big deal about giving a shit what others think about you. Here you are saying you love yourself and yet you’re trying to be someone else. Is being popular that big a deal?” She looked off to the side as she took a bite of her pizza. “High school was ages ago. Guess some people stay addicted to the attention.”

True, yet poignant. She hated lingering on being a downer, so Angelli reached into her jacket pocket. “While we’re doing show-and-tell,” she said, placing her phone on the table and bringing up a list of emails. “I ever tell you what I did before I became a Valk? Bunch of shitty office jobs. I tried being the person everyone wanted me to be. The person they expected me to be.” She flipped through the emails one by one through her cracked screen, a smile forming on her face. “You know what these are? Termination letters. I collected them like trophies. I thought I had it all figured out a couple of years ago. ‘Be professional, work hard.’ It’s what I was told to get ahead in life. My bosses would make your manager look like a damn saint if you ever met them. Look at this one, it’s my favorite. I’ve got it memorized word for word.”

Angie cleared her throat and put on her best snob voice. “Dear Miss Angelli Moreno, we regret to inform you that your employment at Stevens & Stephens Acquisitions ends as of the date of this email. The reasons for your termination are listed below. As of the end of the quarter, you have failed to meet your productivity quota by a staggering four percent. A client contacted higher management when you refused to volunteer extra hours onto their project, in which you cited that you were not authorized to distribute that time. If you referred to the employee manual section 87A, you would know that you are not authorized to disclose to clients what you are authorized to do within your position. Your attendance has also been unsatisfactory, as you have only arrived every day on time while ignoring the company half-hour early guideline. Lastly, the other employees in your department have submitted reports of unsavory behavior. Referring to Assistant Supervisor Daniels as a ‘limp-dicked cocksucker’ is beyond unprofessional and unacceptable. If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact our Human Resources Manager.”

She was proud of herself, without a shadow of a doubt. Her grin broadened as she reached the bottom of the list and shut her phone off with a contented sigh.

“You wanna know how it felt to finally stop giving a shit and live life by my rules? Liberating. To each their own, though. You do you, Bestie.”

John gave a look of surprise, if only his face could be read. “This is progress. Good, good,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Cherry. Officially.” He placed his hand over Cherry’s, with no touch felt and only the intent of returning a gesture. “Now, we could spend the next couple of minutes talking about each other, but I’m afraid it’d be one-sided. I wouldn’t have much to say about myself in return so let’s leave some of the answers up to the journey, yeah? At the very least, you can tell me what you’re looking for, and I might be able to help.”

The break of dawn had made its arrival with the sun peeking over the horizon. There was a silence again, but not the same desolate silence that wracked John’s mind. There was a tinge of genuine calm in this one. Only in the endless solitude did he learn the subtle flavors of it. Like bitter wine.

“Sun’s up,” John said, well-disposed in the outcome of the fateful encounter. “Might want to get moving before the ‘wolves’ wake.” With the light of dawn, Herse’s sins were once again laid bare. Small spots of blood flashed from parts of pavement and partitions in the street. Every road sign had its own special arrangement of dents and bullet holes. No other place was as poisoned and devoid of friendly faces.

“Y’know Cherry, I think we’ll get along just fine. Now, I don’t want to get into all that ‘destiny’ crap—and you don’t look the type to believe in it, but I’m thinking this isn’t a mere coincidence. I mean, what are the odds, right? Well, I’ve been around the city practically a hundred times over, so if I were to meet someone that could see me then it would have to happen by matter of statistics. Still, it’s almost unreal. By the way, let me know if I’m talking too much. I tend to ramble on when I have a captive audience, and up until now that’s just been me. So… what’s on the agenda for today?”

Light filtered through the windows of the subway car as it made its way out of the terminal. The night had come to a close, and Isaac would have naught but his own wounds to keep him company. The train’s rumbling across the rails was the only audible sound, as many other passengers were fixated on their phones. Everyone minded their own business, with more words being exchanged through text than with each other. So close, and yet worlds apart.

Isaac had his moment of rest, too bad it would be short-lived. The life of a mercenary had a glamorous allure, promising many excitement and a fat bank. What the stories neglected to tell was that it also came with unwanted baggage. The pay could afford many things, but never the right to get careless nor ignore loose ends. For a mercenary, there was one lesson that each eventually learned.

Peace had to be earned.

Several of the passengers rose from their seats and gathered around Isaac halfway through the ride when he closed his eyes. A swift hook was delivered to his already bruised jaw and served as the only greeting he would get from these men. “Get up, asshole,” one of them sneered. Two of the assailants picked Isaac up by the arms and brought him face to face with a man patched up with bandages of his own—one of the thugs Isaac had paid a visit to prior that night. His fists worked Isaac’s ribs while the other bystanders in the car avoided getting involved. They shuffled over to the other end of the car with some of them recording the incident on their phones—not to report evidence to the police, but rather filming content for Pasithee.

“First, you’re gonna tell me where my package is. Then, you’re gonna tell me who put you up to this,” the thug ordered. One of the others swiped Isaac’s wallet while he was being held.

“No hard cash on this guy,” the lackey said, pulling out the contents. “Looks like he’s creds only. Pfft, wow. This guy actually has his own business cards. You sure got balls to be doing public merc work when you’re riding solo.”

“Or he’s stupid,” another lackey chimed in.

“Or he’s stupid, ha ha!”

“Both of you shut the hell up,” said the ringleader. “I’ll do the talking here. Well, tough guy? My package. Your boss. You tell me what I wanna know and you might make it to your stop.”

It was going to be a long train ride.

Taygete bathed in the light of the setting sun, the chill, mountain air grazing her skin with the evening’s final bite. At last, she escaped the noise. But this peace would never last, and Angelli would soon have to return down to the land below—for now she was queen of the mountain.

A small mewling cut through the silence as a small cat appeared, taking notice of Angelli. A suitable first subject for her reign. To commemorate the occasion, Angelli set her phone to record as she beckoned the cat closer. Cautiously, the cat approached. Instead of offering reverence, the cat delivered a scratch and a hiss before scurrying off.

And so it was treason.

“Fuck you too then, you little bastard,” Angelli scoffed, treating the fresh marks on her hand. At the very least, Catherine would enjoy the moment. She sent the recording to her, followed by a snapshot of the sunset. Angie was never really the kind for sentimentality. Never really the kind to consider the world around her, as Cat would eventually find out. But she was learning. She was trying.

Her detached mind shifted into gear along with her motorcycle, riding back down the trail and into the city. The noise reared its ugly head once again, and the rare moment of peace was shunted into the back of her mind.. The Galleria rose above the street, towering higher and higher as she drew closer. There was something odd about the mall and the power it held over people. It was a symbol of damn near everything she hated, yet it brought her a strange catharsis by being there. Maybe it was the glamour and pretty lights. Perhaps she was no better, falling for its charms.
She eventually found a suitable parking space among the clusters of cars in the lot and strolled in along the crowds passing through. She deftly swept past women attempting to spritz her with sample perfumes and offer her various makeup supplies. Angelli may have had her reputation, but these women were fearless. Relentless. She managed to escape unscathed by grabbing a random man as a human shield—unfortunately for him, he now had the combined smell of “No. 14 Elle McLaren” and “No. 18 Pastel de Urinario”—his displeasure reflected in his screams of agony.

With the worst of the cosmetics department behind her, Angelli made her way into the food court via the escalator. She piled a tray with a slice of pizza and a cup of cola, and actually paid for it this time. Cat wasn’t too hard to spot, even with how inconspicuous she thought she was being. Angelli set her tray down and sat across from her while she was distracted by her phone.

“Watching one of your old videos again?” she asked, brushing aside a stray lock of hair. “Careful not to fall in love with yourself now.”

Of all the people that he could finally talk to, he didn’t expect to meet one so neurotic. Still, beggars couldn’t be choosers. Apprehension was a natural reaction for anyone seeing a such a ghastly sort such as himself, and to that he gave credit. John watched as Cherry barraged him with questions and disjointed ramblings, only offering a shrug in return.

“Still can’t get a name out of you, can I?” he asked. “Very well. I think I’ll just call you ‘Happy,’ since you’re such a ray of sunshine. From the looks of it, you don’t seem to like a lot of things.”

Cherry’s attempt to prod John’s shin was futile, as her foot passed through him without resistance. He looked down and then back at her, as if bewildered by her method of rationalization. “If I can’t even remember my actual name,” John went on, standing up. “Then I’m afraid I’m not going to be good for explaining why you can see me. Hell, I’d like to know as well. But to answer your question, what I really want is a solution to my predicament. I don’t very much like being a shadowy bogeyman, y’know.”

John leaned in closer, venom seeping into his voice. “And do you know what it’s like to be invisible, intangible, and immortal all at once? It’s boring. Dreadfully boring. What I want is an end to it all. I need someone to help me revert to who I was before I became like this… or find a way to actually kill me. Right now, you’re the only person I can work with. So what do you say, Happy? Of course, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t offer anything in return. If you help me, then in the meantime I can be your eyes and ears wherever you need me to be. You’d be surprised the kind of dirt you can get on people when they think they’re alone.” Finishing what he had to say, John stepped back giving Cherry room to breathe.

“You have nothing to lose.”

Star watched on as Isaac stirred about hopelessly in his own pain, rebuffing his groans with looks of disappointment. She knew what lip service sounded like when she heard it, and Isaac was only going to learn the hard way. Star leaned back in the booth as she imparted her last bit of wisdom.

“Yeah, I know all about your history with Herse,” she said. “And I would think that all the blood that was spilled would be enough to keep you from going back. Look, you’re a grown-ass man now, and I’m not going to try and run your life for you. But take it from me, there are better places to end up than a ditch riddled with bullets. You have the liberty of choice, which is a lot more than any street rat that crawled out of Herse could ever say. If you don’t care about yourself, then think about the people that do. Don’t choose to be stupid.”

After saying her piece, Star left the booth and disappeared back into the nightclub. Aurora came along and began to wipe down the table.

“Miss Star isn’t angry at you,” she assured Isaac. “She just worries for you, even if she doesn’t outright show it.” Aurora gathered the empty plate and mug placed them on a cart. “I was… in a similar situation once. At the time, I endured with what I was going through, as I thought it was the best option for my future. Miss Star found me and told me that she could help me, but I would have to say that I wanted to. That it would have to be my choice. I was stubborn at the time. Uncertain of what would happen to me. In the end, I made my decision and I’m glad for it. I’ve been here ever since.”

For someone as reserved as Aurora, this may have been the most she had ever shared with a former coworker, let alone a patron. Chances were, something about Isaac’s story had resonated with her. “If you’d like another drink, come up to the bar,” she said. “I’ll take care of your tab for tonight, just don’t tell Star.” She then left Isaac to tend to the other patrons.
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