Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block.   Posted by Retro DM.Group: 0
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 46 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 24 May 2019
at 13:42
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Cereal had been eaten, albeit more slowly than usual. Returning to her room, Malun checked progress on her PortCon's process but found it silent. Probably still trying to download the entire internet or something. The hardware didn't have the memory for that, but it also didn't have the memory for a fully autonomous AI either.

Deciding that she'd rather not wait until her PortCon was done before talking to anyone, since she had no idea how long that would take, Malun picked out clothes for the day(in this case a blue and white striped tunic shirt and black pants), pulled her hair back into a quick ponytail and made her way out to her garage.

Once in her workshop Malun grinned at the two pieces of equipment laying finished on her workbench. Her glasses now served a purpose instead of just being a fashion statement and having bluelight protection. Two small power supplies rested on the sides of the frame, with a cool circuitry design connecting them to new lenses that contained some kind of magical tech that she built under her PortCon's supervision, allowing her to use the telepathy abilities without needing the PortCon itself. Next to her glasses was a single fingerless glove that Malun immediately slid onto her right hand. Three small silver circles on the palm of the otherwise black glove served as the weapon Malun had constructed for herself, one that she could take anywhere with no suspicion as it was just an odd looking glove. Never again would she be caught unable to defend herself and forced to rely on the bravery and/or stupidity of the others for her own defense.

With her new glasses and glove on, Malun put on her shoes and headed out the door towards Whitney's house, leaving both her PortCon and her bag at home for now.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:44, Fri 24 May 2019.

July Coates
 player, 54 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 26 May 2019
at 20:54
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
It was really pretty. July wasn't sure what to make of Garrett's comment. She was even less sure of what to make of the way her stomach fluttered at his words. Pretty.

"I mean, it makes sense. My...magic," July winced at that word, still not quite comfortable with the strange new reality she found herself in. "Kind of feels like fire? But just more? Ugh. I don't know to describe it."

Her room was quiet, and July pressed the phone to her ear with a shoulder as she rifled through her closet. Garrett's idea was...it would probably work, even as she felt guilty for considering it. Pulling out a black suspender skirt she held it against herself, considering. Yeah. That worked.

"I can give it a shot?" July frowned as Garrett brought up dreams. Had they all been there? It sounded impossible, but she'd touched enough minds now to know how permeable the barriers between people could truly be. "I...yeah. We can talk. Just give me like, forty minutes? I'll find a way to get to Noel's, okay?"
Garret Blake
 player, 72 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 27 May 2019
at 05:03
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
A pause happened as she articulated what her powers felt/looked like, and Garrett remembered what it was like to feel all of... that flowing through him. More. Yup. That was definitely a way to put it.

"Well, either way, yeah. Pretty."

Greeeeeeeat recovery, dude. He cleared his throat. Leaned against the door, glad as hell that she couldn't see the stain of red his face had turned. Okay. Okay! She was going to give it a shot. Forty minutes. He could make it to Noel's by then.

"Okay," he said. "Good--excellent. I'll take the bike and head on over. I'll head over and meet you there, and--" he stumbles here, not quite sure what to say at the close of a phonecall and startled by what jumped into his head, which is a thing that he should very much not say. "--take care, yeah?"

A few seconds followed after the call ended, and he stared at the receiver for what felt like a really long time before shaking his head at his own sudden verbal ineptitude. "Seriously? What the fuck?"

***

Forty minutes later, Garrett sat on the edge of the bike, around the back behind Noel's place, watching as his mutual friend with July watched him over the lip of a cup of coffee. For all that the bigger boy was pretty adept at wearing a solid poker-face, Noel was more than able to read his nerves.

"... You alright ese?" He said after a few moments awkward silence. "I know it's been a weird few days but you look like you're about to climb out of your skin."

"Hmm?" The look--surprised, blinking--that the football player suddenly fixed his friend with lasted a little longer than appropriate before he shook his head and ran a hand through his dark hair. "I... I mean yes? But also... really no. I dunno. There's everything that's happened and also I, well, I really don't want to get her in trouble."

It was funny. How literal monsters and magic powers still somehow ranked on par with getting into trouble with your parents or being late for school.

Then again, he supposed, Mr. Coates did have a helluva unnerving stare.
Jason Drake
 player, 44 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 27 May 2019
at 17:23
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
After having a quick breakfast of cereal with a banana, Jason got himself dressed for the day - jeans and a Thor t-shirt - and went to the garage to try to discreetly pack up his stuff. Discreet was not Jason's strong suit, but he figured a bit of noise coming from the garage was normal enough. Tangle, the bi-color tuxedo, jumped up to a shelf and sat watching him try to fit various pieces of his new armor into a duffel bag. Jason stopped when he realized the cat was there.

"Oh, it's you. Come to help me, little fuzz?" Jason smiled as he pet him, eliciting some purring. He looked back at the closed door to the house, and briefly contemplated going back in. Telling his parents everything. He could, right now, it would be so easy. Right? Wouldn't it?

"...better wait till I can really explain this. They have a lot going on."

With his bag loaded, Jason left a sticky note on the fridge saying 'Going to hang out with Garret and July, be back tonight'. Then, bag over his shoulder, he got on his bicycle and made his way out.
July Coates
 player, 55 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 28 May 2019
at 01:15
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Thirty five minutes later found July dressed, a black suspender skirt over a crisp white shirt, her dark hair braided down over one shoulder, blonde bangs skimming the sides of her face. Slipping on her checkered vans, she grabbed her gig bag, loaded up with her P-bass, water bottle, snacks and wallet. Slipping her shoulders through the straps, she took a steadying breath. Right. Time to somehow talk her way out of the house.

She found her mother on the back patio, watering the sunflowers alongside the house. She looked up at July, her eyebrows raising. July interrupted what was very clearly an admonishment.

"I'm fine! I promise, mom. I mean, look at me. I'm not coughing, or dizzy, or nauseous. I'm just running a little warm. I'll drink lots of water and I'll come home right away if I feel sick, I just...I really need to see Noel."

"July--"

"Please?"

Her mother's face creased into a frown. It was so rare that July pushed back like this. After a long moment, she sighed and nodded.

"Okay. How long will you be gone?"

"A few hours. I'll call if I'm going to miss dinner."

"I...alright. Have fun, July."

July bounded forward and hugged her mother, kissing her cheek before bounding towards the familiar path to Noel's home, before she could change her mind.

July Coates rolled 23 using 1d20+8.  Everything's FINE mom, HONESTLY (: (: (:

--

The walk cuts across three streets to Rhododendron Avenue. Three houses in stood the Meza home, a large blue two story house with a sprawling yard. July let herself in the front door, well past the point of having to knock.

"Hi mamá, papá," July called out, moving through the front room. She poked her head into the kitchen, spying Noel's mother. She offered a grin and a wave. "Where's Noel?"

"Hi July. He's out on the deck. You staying for lunch?"

"Thanks! I'll let you know," July chirped, following the directions through the house to the back of the house.

The sliding glass door opened smoothly, and July crossed the deck in a handful of strides, latching onto her best friend with a bright laugh. She'd sprouted four inches taller than him over the summer between their Freshman and Sophomore year, and he had yet to catch up. His dark hair hung long, a dark red beanie slouching on the top of his head that matched the flannel he wore.

"Hi bestie. Missed your face," July beamed, releasing him. She slipped out of her gig bag, setting the bass down by her feet. Blue eyes shifted, landing on Garrett sat perched on his bike. She leaned on the handrail, grinning down at him. "Hey, Garrett."
Garret Blake
 player, 73 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 28 May 2019
at 22:57
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett heard her arrive, his head full of thoughts both relevant and utterly irrelevant to now. Half somewhere far away in a feather-dusted dream that was half nightmare, half here trying not to shift too much from foot to foot because oh shit she was here. Seriously. This was not a big deal. It was the same as always. He became acutely aware of how warm it was outside, and started shrugging off the flannel that rested underneath the jacket he'd already taken off because dammit sweating this much sucked, and tied it about his waist, resting his frame on big arms against the bike behind him.

She set the base down and hugged Noel with that infectious sort of joy and Garrett was for just a moment blissfully unaware of just how dumb his smile looked. For a few seconds it was just like old times and He was with two of the people who first really gave him a social haven away from the Diamonds. Music was supposed to break out next, and he would sit across from the pair of them as they work out the kinks in whatever thing they're working, occasionally offering a suggestion, humming along, or jokingly saying "play freebird!"

But of course it wasn't exactly like that. Because she'd turned that smile on him and for an honest to god second he was thinking about how hard she hugged him two nights ago and her smile was the sunlight and well fuck his knees were mush. Garrett actually meant to lead with the relevant information--the vow he made, the second dream, Swan, and the feather in his jacket pocket. Instead, however, the dumb smile just sort of stayed in place and turned into a big ol' boyish grin.

"... Hiiii," he said, with more stupid in his voice than he meant. A beat followed, and then he remembered, and produced the feather from his coat pocket. "... Right. Um. So we should talk. Did you have the same dream last night that Jason and I did? With the strange figures? Because I had another one after it."

There was a pause as his tone became more somber.

"I learned something about my gift... and it came with a promise. This was beside my bed when I woke up."
July Coates
 player, 56 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 31 May 2019
at 22:25
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Had Garrett always been so...distracting? There was something about the wide grin crinkling his warm brown eyes that made it a little hard to focus. Noel had said something, undoubtedly dry and clever, but she couldn't quite string her thoughts together. Garrett's arms were just really...ripply. Big. Huh.

July blinked as he shifted, his grin melting into something more serious. Right. Focus.

"So I guess we all probably shared that dream then," July remarked with a frown. She had no idea what it meant, but her gut told her it wasn't good. Garrett, however, had had another dream. And made a promise?

He produced a feather and July arched a brow, uncertain what to make of it. There was something...unearthly about it. It was perfect. Something about it put her teeth on edge, skin prickling at the back of her neck.

"What kind of promise did you make? To who?"
Garret Blake
 player, 74 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 1 Jun 2019
at 03:14
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Garrett pushed himself off the bike with a shift of his shoulders, straightening with a stretch and glancing up at the deck as July asked her questions. Maybe he was trying to just get up to the same level as the people he was talking to, maybe he was showing off... maybe a bit of both, but the physical energy just wouldn't abate for once and he abruptly dashed forward, grabbed the deck-rail and jumped up over it, heaving himself over and landing in a crouch beside his two friends, a bit closer to July than he'd intended, honestly. He shifted his weight a bit to keep from tumbling, and leaned against the hand-rail before reproducing the feather.

Proximity. Woops. That was her face. Like. Closer than he intended. Focus.

A deep breath followed, and Garrett's face shifted. He needed to tell them this. It was important... especially since they were all in it  together. Of all people, it was Whitney's words that were suddenly in his head. Echoing around the inside of his skull. An irritant of which he could neither rid himself nor ignore because of the infuriating truth with which they rang.

"I know you have a death wish, but your friends would follow you off a cliff. We got lucky."

The tall boy took a deep breath. "Last night," he said, "I dreamed I was in a small glade with a pond. There was a man there, with a sake jug, who called himself Swan. And he said he was my guardian." His jaw tightened slightly. It felt strange to talk about this. Unreal. But the feather in his fingers--that was no illusion.

"He... said that this... thing that happened in our world two days ago was not foreseen by he and whomever he represents. Also apparently whatever magic that bonded with me was... incomplete? According to him?" He scratched the back of his head as he spoke. July was like. Right there. "Um... apparently part of it is not... working--" Eyes of night. A black shadow at his back that drank the light. "--prop...er...ly. Nevermind that part. Okay. I guess what I have... people are normally born with it, but not me."

Your wings a shadow of what they could be.

"This gift wasn't meant for me. But I have it, and I had a choice," he said. His tone finally sobered. "To use this for a purpose. To do good with it. And I made it. This feather is the symbol of that oath--it was handed to me in the dream and was on my nightstand when I woke up."

He leaned against the rail, the sun on his shoulders and catching the occasional gold flecks in his brown eyes. "'As long as my sword-arm bears weight, I will hunt down evil.'"

Garrett turned the feather over in his fingers. Perfect. Otherworldly. Then he looked back at July, with her face like sunlight. The sober moment was broken and he cleared his throat awkwardly before watching her face carefully. "So yeah. That happened."

I need you to know. I can't tell you how I feel, but I can tell you this.
Jason Drake
 player, 45 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Thu 6 Jun 2019
at 02:21
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Riding in the morning California sun was, naturally, hot. As much as Jason was used to the heat, there was a noticeable difference today. It wasn’t that he wasn’t hot, but that he could feel that strange, otherworldly heat on the inside. It was an odd dichotomy, and thinking about it almost made him miss a turn.

He made a stop at Garret’s house. Of course, Garret wasn’t home , he was at Noel’s. “Right. Of course...” Jason sighed and hit the road once more. Oddly enough, the weight of his bag was barley noticeable. He should have been much more tired, but he felt fine. Hmm, that’s new. He wasn’t sure how that was happening, but it was pretty helpful. I wonder what I can lift now? He pondered as he made his way towards Noel’s

This message was last edited by the player at 14:06, Thu 06 June 2019.

July Coates
 player, 57 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 10 Jun 2019
at 19:37
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
To say that July was surprised by Garrett leaping onto the deck was, well, a bit of an understatement. She took a step back as he was suddenly very much in her space with a graceful explosion of movement. Just...right there. Their arms were just shy of brushing. It was strange--he had suddenly become so much bigger than her, even though they were nearly of a height. When had that happened? July distinctly remembered towering over him and Noel both, not that long ago.

And all of that wondering was completely irrelevant to what was going on. July swallowed, unsure what to make of the skip of her pulse. Her cheeks were warm but, well, that was clearly just her new normal.

July tuned back into Garrett's dream of a strange man and incomplete magic and an oath marked by a feather.

An oath. July looked down at the feather. The fire in her veins shrank away from it, as if uncomfortable. She couldn't blame it. Something about that feather made her feel tarnished. Unworthy. It was simply too bright, too clean, too perfect. As she looked at the shining feather, something in her mind flashed, and she just...knew things.

"It belongs to the Celestial Order," July spoke with a certainty she couldn't explain. The words sounded insane, but she knew in the fire that lurked in her bones that she was right. "You...serve them now, I guess? I..." Her brows furrowed, trying to make sense of the knowledge that didn't belong to her. "You're not the only one to have made that promise. Just the latest."

July winced, touching her temple at the sudden uncomfortable spike of heat. That was...a little unpleasant.

"I don't know--I don't know how I know that." Sucking in a breath, she inched back away from the feather, forcing her gaze up to Garrett and Noel. "Or, um, what it means."

July Coates rolled 18 using 1d20+3.  What the h*ck is this vow and feather stuff about???

This message was last edited by the player at 19:37, Mon 10 June 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 75 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 11 Jun 2019
at 21:16
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
She was really close. Garrett had to check himself. Okay. Okay. Cool. This was all fine. The tall boy leaned a knotted arm on the edge of the deck. As July looked at the feather, he couldn't help but... notice things. She gulped. Looked off-footed for a moment. Her eyes darted down for a second, and he saw her cheeks flush. Couldn't help but notice her mouth. Huh. That was a thing. She was acting like--

--like she was really warm. It was damn hot out, frankly. Now that he thought about it, he could feel an intense heat radiating off her. Boy. She hadn't been kidding. He'd noticed it the night he took her home--how could he not with her pressed against his back and--STOP. She was talking now, and his brows curled in as he considered the words. Celestial Order. Service. His mouth opened for a second, then closed again as he fell momentarily silent. "... not the only one, just the latest."

Garrett took a breath. The world was dizzying new information and a distracting heat that had only been amplified since the last time he'd seen her. Adjust. Think. "I mean... Swan said that if they could've taken it from me they would have... but, well... apparently it's irreversible."

He swallowed. The gulp was more audible than he cared for. At once it seemed like he was at the edge of a rapidly crumbling precipice. The height of the rollercoaster before the drop. The edge of the cliff. And before him... a drop there was no escaping. Fear rose like a lump in his throat for a  moment, and it was like he couldn't breathe. The heat rolling off July mingled with it to dizzying effect. It was more intense, today. A powerful sense at the edge of his perceptions that every ounce of him said was dangerous. He should immediately have been wary.

But at the same time, an intense, boiling sensation rose in response. Danger wasn't something he moved away from. Danger was what he moved towards like an arrow launched from one of Whitney's bows. No hesitation. No--

--Stooooop stopstopstop.

He looked down for a moment, back at the feather in his hand, and nodded slowly. Okay. Okay. The cliff was crumbling. The vertigo rose leap-like in his stomach. An inevitable drop from a high place into an unknown about which he knew nothing. But then... deep down, well, he knew why he'd done it.

"I have this, now. I wasn't supposed to, but I do. And if I can really use it to help? I have to. It would be irresponsible as hell, not to."

Silence for a few moments. That had come out weightier than he'd intended. Garrett awkwardly scratched the back of his head. "Um... I uh... I guess it means I need a sword. And... maybe we could study this later? I dunno, if those people have books, we could always... borrow some?"

An awkward throat clear followed, and Garrett absolutely, positively, did not notice Noel rolling his eyes beside him. Because for all his friend saw things that he didn't, the football player was as oblivious as possible.

To so, so many things.
Retro DM
 GM, 44 posts
Fri 14 Jun 2019
at 17:44
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The day greeted Malun with heat. Summer wasn’t quite into full swing yet, but the California sun was undeniably there. A light cross breeze helped to ease the overall warmth of the day. Her father was already in his workshop, evidenced by the dull thrum of a welding torch in the background. He’d likely be busy for a few hours, so there was time before he’d turn his attention to the latest in supernatural events and seek her out.

The walk to the Zabka-Cabot estate was simple enough, despite being uphill. The road up was newly paved only last year, and had barely a blemish to speak of, plus a sidewalk of similar condition. Hedges lining the side of this short road we’re neatly trimmed, as well as the grass. It was a stark contrast from the veritable scrap yard that Malun’s father had built up at their home.

The front entrance gate had a keypad, intercom, and video feed. Malun knew the code, of course, and was a known friend of Whitney’s, and so entered without issue, the gate opening on its electric powered hinge with a slight creak. The walk to the front door wasn’t too long from there. The ring of the doorbell was answered by one of the under-butlers, as Woolsworth was currently indisposed. He looked down at the young girl, all serious and proper as a butler should be.

“Greeting Miss Lunesby. I take it you are here to see Master Whitney? I believe he was just headed to the greenhouse. I’ll alert him to your arrival, if you would be so kind as to wait in the foyer?”

———————

Not moments later, another of the under butlers came to the greenhouse, shocked at what he saw, but doing his best to put on a plain face.

“Uhhmm, begging your pardon Mr. Woolsworth, Master Whitney, your school friend Miss Lunesby is here to see you.”

Woolsworth sighed and shook his head, looking over the mess that was his young master.

“Best you get cleaned up Master Whitney. The staff and I will see to this, don’t keep company waiting.”
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 39 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sat 15 Jun 2019
at 01:53
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
“Of course, I’ll take a quick shower right away. Don’t inform her about Hektor yet however, I think I can arrange a surprise.” The young man’s smile held a mischief it hadn’t worn in a long time.

Whitney, still holding onto the levity of the situation, ran off to his room with Hektor slowly gliding back and forth behind him. Woolsworth saw the young master disappear around the corner of the house.

Leaping through the way he came, Whitney galivanted town the hallways and up the stairs back to his room. Throwing off his cloths, he slid right into the shower room. The hot water and the steam filled the glass and tile, the slight slant of the ground let the water slide into a long grate where the excess flowed away. The excess energy he felt from before slid away with the soapy water. Whitney began to feel more like himself, or perhaps more of himself was there to feel.

In the back of his mind, he thought of Hektor perched on his four-poster bed. The bird had quickly adapted to its current form. Hands outstretched; Whitney leaned into the wall. Thoughts of Hektor flew through his head, the Owl form had suited it very well here. Hands outstretched; Whitney reached out instinctually. Parts of memories and knowledge filled his brain, combined the with the smell of dusty books and the soap that covered him. Hands outstretched; he closed his eyes. His breathing and the heat faded.

Whitney found himself perched on his bed looking at the door to the shower. He turned his head left and looked at his own bed. He continued to turn his head left and looked forward again toward his door. The sound of the shower from the next room was calming.
Then Whitney opened his eyes and he was back in the shower. Or rather, he had never left. His knife smile returned, “Oh that’s fun.”


A few minutes later, Whitney found a suitable Sunday suit for a warm summer’s day. It was a lightweight lilac shirt with a thin white jacket. Everything was crisp and fitted. Suitably prepared for company, he stepped out of his room to meet with Ms. Lunesby.

Hektor made to follow, but Whitney held out a hand to stop him. “Now, now, let’s be a surprise. How about you make yourself scarce for a minute.” Hektor, with a quick nod, disappeared into the aether.

The aether is real, I guess. And with that Whitney made his way to greet his guest. Perhaps over breakfast, he hadn’t had a proper bagel in a while.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 47 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 15 Jun 2019
at 05:43
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun blinked a bit owlishly at the "underbutler", once again caught off guard by Whitney's family and their combination of immense wealth and commitment to pretenses of aristocracy. "Ah...yes, of course."

As she followed the man inside to wait in the foyer, she couldn't help but wonder how they got butlers this...British...all the way out here in California? Did the family import them? Is being Aggressively British just part of the curriculum in butler school? Was Woolsworth even the OverButler's real name or was it an affectation to seem more...butler-y? The world that her closest(by geographical proximity) friend lived in was one that seemed frankly impenetrable to her scientific mind at times.

So it was that Malun was caught up in trying to make sense of the many questions about the Zabka-Cabot family she had(and kept coming up with more of) that she did not notice Whitney's approach until she realized he was just...there.

With a small jolt of visible startlement, she stood up and blinked at him a few times before remembering to do the vocalizing thing, "Ah, there you are." She almost apologized for keeping him waiting but remembered that she was the guest here just in time to not do that.
July Coates
 player, 58 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 04:04
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"So, uh," Noel's voice cut through the awkward silence. "All that sounds pretty crazy."

July grimaced. Her best friend leaned against the deck, coffee in hand, calm despite his observation. He took a sip of his coffee, heavy brows knitting together over dark, concerned eyes.

"I know," She agreed, shooting the feather another wary look. Celestial Order, she had said. Like...heaven. And, if the implication of this feather meant anything, angels. Angels. That was going to take some time to truly unpack. "But this whole weekend has been crazy. What's a little bit more weird on top of the impossible sundae?"

Noel drained his coffee, setting the Spider-Man mug aside. The look he gave Garrett was equal parts confused and suspicious.

"So what does that mean? Hunt down evil? That's kind of...vague. Like, does that just mean things like the weird bony dude, or like...are you going to have to hunt people?"

"I...don't know," July winced, fingers touching her temples as if she could trigger another flash of insight. Nothing. An oath. She turned her blue eyes onto Garrett, meeting his gaze with a small frown. "Did this Swan say anything else about what this oath means? Or like, what the Celestial Order expects you to do?"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 40 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 19:58
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The foyer of the mansion and its imperial staircase was one of the greatest parts of the restoration when the Zabka-Cabot’s purchased the long derelict mansion. Apparently constructed by new money rich off the gold rush, the family had fallen from grace many years ago. The surrounding town had been founded by that family, but poor investments and time had long removed them from memory.

When Whitney’s family came here, his father had been ready to find another town for their youngest to rub elbows with the hoi polloi. The Zabka side of the pair, she saw the bones for what they were. Whitney’s mother fell in love with this staircase and spent time herself acquiring the period appropriate material and design. The carpentry alone had to be done by a specialist on the era, a woman from Maine whom was now gainfully employed by the Zabka-Cabot’s. She even carved a recurve bow for Whitney’s birthday last year. Mrs. Zabka-Cabot loved craftsman, practical art she called it.

Whitney looked down from the top of the sweeping staircase that led into the foyer. The chandelier, a testament to crystal popular in another time, shown in the early morning light coming from the windows. Ms. Lunesby was either distracted by her surroundings or by her own internal machinations. As he descended the widening wooden steps, it occurred to him that this was the smallest she’d ever seemed. Ms. Lunesby usually projected a larger than life persona when she was in her element. Whitney chastised this thought; it would do them both a disservice to underestimate her.

When he got to the bottom of the steps, he noted her different choice of arm wear. Whitney had begun to think the PortCon had been grafted to her arm. It reminded him of a person who wore glasses suddenly gaining contacts, the eyes never seemed the right size.

The young woman managed a somewhat surprised greeting when she noticed him. Whitney managed to keep his smile to himself; the lifelong etiquette lessons rang sharply in his ears.

“Here I am. Good morning, Ms. Lunesby. I apologize for keeping you waiting. I have made a rather curious discovery this morning that kept me occupied.” Whitney gestured to his right, “If you’d like to join me for breakfast, we can prepare most anything you’d like to eat. I for one am famished and could use a proper bagel.”

This message was last edited by the player at 20:05, Mon 17 June 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 48 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 20:15
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"Really you can just call me Malun, you know." Malun exhaled a bit in mild annoyance at the eternal formality. At his invitation to breakfast, she scrunched up her nose a bit in consideration, then nodded, "I had cereal earlier but could happily snack on some fruit. An apple or a banana, or whatever you have is fine."

Then she paused and asked a follow up question as they made their way to wherever Whitney had food served to him, "What exactly separates a proper bagel from an improper one?"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 41 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 20:56
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
“I suppose we are rather more familiar now.” Whitney knew his particular affectation was odd to some. But it never ceased to ruffle his feathers when someone was over familiar with him. Circumstances what they were however, Whitney realized he might have to refer to Mr. Drake more casually as well.

The small dining room was a mere stroll down the West wing of the home. Woolsworth had just finished placing the last silverware on the table. “Excellent timing, Master Whitney. Might I suggest a bagel, Marigold seemed rather pleased with this batch.” Whitney sat down in his chair that the butler had pulled out.

“That would fantastic, Woolsworth. A lox if you would.” Whitney nodded to his guest, “And a selection of fruit for, Malun.”

Woolsworth left the dinning room. A small 12 person table was set for two in front of an unlit fireplace. Tiffany light fixtures gave the room a warm glow, paintings old and modern made an oddly cohesive statement. Whitney’s mother had her touch all over the room.

“As to what makes a real bagel. Well the largest difference I suspect, is a New Yorker’s believe that everything is better in New York.” Whitney gave a wry smile, but the joke probably landed better with a different audience. “The actual answer is the process that makes them. New York bagel shops, the good ones, ferment the dough overnight. That gives it better flavor. Then I believe they poach them before they bake them. My understanding is that this process creates the chewiness.”

There were of course other explanations as to what made New York bagels superior. Soft water of New York gave it the extra spark. Secret recipes that bakers kept to themselves. For the first time in a while, Whitney missed his family on the east coast. Such sentiments were silly of course, he spoke to his family regularly. And Woolsworth was always there.

Not too much longer and the food was brought in. A bowl of fruit filled with pears, apples, bananas, peaches, and grapes was placed in the center of the table. Woolsworth assured her she need not eat any or all of it, merely take what she desired.

Whitney’s eyes reflexively grew wide to the smell of his lox. But before he dug in, he had to show off his new joy.

“Hektor, would you be so kind as to pass Malun an apple.” Appearing without sound, a large white and gold trimmed barn owl appeared on the other end of the table. Doing a small series of bird hops to the bowl, Hektor grasped the stem of an apple with his beak and made one final hop to Malun before placing it before her.

“This morning, after an odd dream, I was compelled to summon him. He’s apparently celestial in origin. I suspect I can even influence his form using a similar ritual or even recall him if he’s destroyed on this plane.” Whitney let his knife smile creep back onto his face.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:01, Mon 17 June 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 49 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 21:13
Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun jerked her head slightly as the owl appeared, but it was not in shock or alarm...simply the reflexes of someone who was very high strung reacting to sudden movement. As she watched the owl move, her fingers began to twitch on the table, she usually started fidgiting when her mind was kicking into high gear.

"Sudden appearance, clearly intelligent as it can tell fruit apart and recognizes me by name or perhaps simply by your intent, summoned by magic ritual...." Malun rattled off observations as they occurred to her, "Hektor would be what is most commonly referred to as a 'Familiar' then? Usually attributed to witches or perhaps warlocks, or occasionally simply terribly clever people. Thought demonic or fairy in nature...I had not seen reference to one being divine in nature before, but folklore and the realities of magic surely have many as yet undocumented differences."

Finally finished with her observations, she accepted the apple and began to fidgit with it instead while looking back up at Whitney instead of his new familiar, "Also, that dream is exactly what I came here to speak of. We were all there, yes? Along with those who looked like they had idealized skillsets resemblance to our own? Confirmation of shared unconscious magical-mental phenomena would surly mean something to our...benefactors." There was a slight pause even from Malun before using the word. She trusted her father implicitly of course, but the rest of this society was not her father, and Malun was slow to trust.
Garret Blake
 player, 76 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 20 Jun 2019
at 02:10
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"I..." Garrett faltered. Doubt flared potent in his mind as he tried to answer the sudden spike of concern both of his friends had expressed. No, it absolutely made sense. Of course it did. He'd sworn an oath to something about which he knew basically nothing, on just... a what. A sense of fate? Duty? Obligation?

...Inadequacy?

A long pause followed, seconds stretching by with the tall boy ever more aware with each passing instance that he had managed to sound thoroughly uncertain about something grave and severe. A breath. What sort of evil? It was vague. And he didn't quite have a roadmap for the answer, other than a sense deep down in the marrow of his bones that he hadn't senselessly tossed himself on some sort of sacrificial fire.

Or maybe he had, but perhaps sometimes that was necessary. The black darkness spread from his back in his mind's eye. Garrett drew in a breath, closed his eyes, then looked back and forth between his dear friend Noel, and July... one of three people in the world for whom he would do basically anything.

"I don't think it's like that, no," he said. "And when that bone-guy first appeared, I could literally feel him coming. It was like his intention was a sick boil somewhere underground and I knew that he was coming. I think this is... I think I'm supposed to find things like him, or other... I don't know... things that want to hurt, kill, or destroy innocent lives, and deal with them. Swan didn't say a lot more, but I had this sense that he wasn't lying to me. I don't think he could. He even said they would lift this burden from me if they were able, but it's not an option."

People. Evil people though. He'd avoided thinking about that. A gulp. Audible, this time. The heat from July was... distracting. It pulled at his senses. Dangerous... but also not something he could stop paying attention to. It was like a buzzing in his head, making him faintly dizzy. With some effort he pushed it aside, before it could mix with the potent fear that surrounded talk of hurting people and Noel and July... two of the first people who had accepted him after he'd left all of that behind.

"I think," he said, finally settling his eyes on July, "that this is going to be... very hard. I don't want to kill anyone. Or hurt anyone, even... but I keep thinking about what Malun said. What if someone like Damon were to have powers. I don't know if my oath is intended to cover something like that, but..."

Another deep breath followed. "I don't like bullies. And bullies with powers are worse. So I'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and hope that it doesn't come to it." The breath came out in a sigh as brown eyes looked into blue with a conflicted look that was resolute, ending in a bit of a sad smile. "And if it does, I... well, I'll protect people. And do whatever I need to do, to do that. I think if that's my lodestar, I wont be on the wrong track."
Retro DM
 GM, 45 posts
Sat 22 Jun 2019
at 19:45
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The morning passes into the afternoon. Jason finally catches up with Garret and July on his bicycle, looking sweaty from the heat but somehow not tired from the weight he carried in his duffel bag. Conversation about the shared dream between the three, and Noel, was brief, since they had intended to go over things more thoroughly when all five of the dreamers were in the same place. Breakfast at Whitney's, though it only consisted of fruit for Malun, was as pleasant as could be expected. The new addition, Hektor, was oddly pleasant to have around, despite, or perhaps because of not speaking; but his presence around both Whitney and Malun was oddly comforting, like a routine they used to enjoy but had long fallen out of.

-----------------------------------

As the sun started it's decline in the afternoon, the five + bird found themselves back at Malun's house. Being that is was around lunch time, Woolsworth saw fit to come down from the mansion and provide the group with a platter of mini-sandwiches and various snacks. Malun's PortCon was still plugged into the internet wire, and a blue light on went from dim to bright, dim to bright, indicating it had completed it's task.

Mr. Lunesby entered the house from the back door, his fingers and the cuffs of his lab coat stained with grease. Just behind him, there was an odd metallic and electric sound. Clink-tink-clink-tink, whiir-wuur-whiir-wuur, both sounds together as a robotic facsimile of a Golden Retriever followed behind him. It appeared to have polished steel plating on it's exterior, and joints that were far more complex than any pneumatic or electric engineering had thus far produced.

"Ah, kids, you're all here. Splendid! Allow me to introduce my latest creation, Unit D101. I ah, suppose that's not much of a name for a mechanical companion, but I had figured that you all might have some input there? Anyway, his technology is partially based upon my Supranatural Signal Locator, but instead of just finding the stuff, this machine can harness the ambient energy that now permeates through the world. Quite remarkable results if I do say so myself."

The robotic dog looked at Hektor, and both animals engaged in a staring contest.
Garret Blake
 player, 77 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 23 Jun 2019
at 04:04
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Jason got a bear-hug when he showed up. He always did.

This was the second time in a few days that Garrett had made a ride on the dirt-bike with July just behind him. And... that... that was still not something he was used to. Especially the heat. Up close and personal, it washed over him in a wave that made him faintly dizzy. Unease. There was an almost weirdly magnetic quality to it, and the fact that some part of him registered this faint sense that it was dangerous did precisely nothing to affect the impulse to move towards it.

So it was good that he was driving and therefore had something to focus on other than the girl holding onto his back.

Pulling into the driveway of the Lunesby house, he gave her a second to get off before killing the engine and slipping off the vehicle himself, putting his helmet over the handlebars. A glance at July and

He gave waves to everyone, his general spirits seeming higher than the last time everyone saw him, and his appetite had returned. Malun a big smile and then... Whitney... who received a nod and a bit of a smile, which was more than last time. He didn't seem entirely sure how to behave around the other boy, to be frank, but once you've beat the snot out of another person and gotten some of it in return, there was a certain rapport that couldn't be completely ignored.

And then Mr. Lunesby was there. With a... robot dog. A robot dog.

That was SO. FUCKING. COOL.

Garrett was on his feet again, the biggest, goofiest kid-grin that any of his friends had seen suddenly splayed across his face before he crossed the distance and dropped down to one knee in front of the machine. "Hey buddy! Holy crap look at you! You're perfect and amazing and The best boy ever!"

And Garrett proceeded to--ignoring the machine and metal completely--scratch the dog behind his ears, pat his head, and generally love on the machine as if he was Duke back at home. A glance upwards at the name. "D101... D101... Like 101 Dalmatians? Well hell, Mr. Lunesby, we should call him Pongo!"

A quick blink followed, and slowly the big-framed teenager registered something that he somehow hadn't noticed yet, looking back at Whitney.

"Uh... is that an Owl?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 50 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 23 Jun 2019
at 15:58
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
Malun could hear her father and Garret from her room(as all the doors were open) so she didn't miss anything while she was collecting her PortCon, unplugging it and securing it back onto her left arm where it rested nearly every time she was not actively in class.

Coming back into the kitchen/dining room(there was no wall between them) that everyone was gathered in, she quirked an eye at the robot dog, "Hmm. Two new animal or animaloid companions in one day, is it? As fascinating as that is, before we get sidetracked I would like to take the opportunity to ask everyone else if they had the same dream that Whitney and I did? All of us together, there were also figures that seemed to have skillsets and powers that were much more advanced versions of what we all can do?"
Jason Drake
 player, 46 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 24 Jun 2019
at 16:06
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
The hug Jason got was welcome. He said a quick hi and bye to Noel, feeling a bit rude to show up just to leave, but they had important hero stuff to do now. Man, that felt weird to think. A few days ago his biggest responsibility was to study for class and clean up the garage when he worked. Now they had some tenuous alliance with this White Tie Society, and powers greater than they could yet understand. Like living in a comic book. Wild.

Riding his bike to Malun’s behind Garret and July, the weight of his bag still seemed light. He had no hope of keeping up with a dirkbike, even at his top speed, but they weren’t going too far, so he could catch up eventually.

As they reached Malun’s house, he couldn’t help but notice some extra tension between his two friends. It had always been there, but maybe the circumstances forcing them to be in more regular contact were increasing it. It certainly seemed that way with Garret and Whitney as well, though that was a very different sort of tension. He gave a nod to Whitney and Malun, and Woolsworth, very grateful for the sandwiches. He was mid bite when Mr. Lunesby came into the house with the amazing robot dog.

“Is that for real? That’s amazing!” He exclaimed with half a bite of food still in his mouth. He swallowed that, and was trying to think of a good name for a robot dog when Malun interrupted. Right, that dream.

“I had that dream, yeah. So you were all there. That was... I don’t know. It was like watching a movie while being part of it. And it just makes more questions. Why did we all have that dream? Who were those people? What the hell does it mean?”
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 42 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 26 Jun 2019
at 00:24
Re: Chapter 2: New Kids On The Block
"His name is Hektor, so don't worry Garret. You won't have to overtax your imagination for another brilliant name." For Hektor's part, the owl was currently on the floor inspecting the new robotic edition to the team.

Whitney idly wondered if they really were a team. It had only been a few days. Now they were sharing strange dreams.

"You may pet him if you wish, I do not believe he will bite." Hektor was strange one to be sure. A facsimile of a barn owl, yet not a being relative to this plane. Whitney would've liked to have known more, but at the moment he was just content the owl was there. It seemed correct, like his keel hadn't been straight until this morning.

"It was actually thanks to that dream that I-" Whitney paused on the ramification of his next choice of words, "That I summoned Hektor. I explained the procedure briefly to Malun earlier. It was like the dream we saw was incomplete and I needed to fill it. I was compelled."

Whitney felt like he should be more upset about doing anything against his will. It was like that muscle memory again, accept it felt more apart of him now. He wasn't quite sure where Whitney began and the new information ended. Perhaps that wasn't even the right question.

The words of his mother rang in his head. Whitney, did you ask a good question today? She asked him this everyday after he came home from school. The young boy took so much pride when he said yes and endeavored to do better when he didn't. Even when asking about his day, his mother was always setting him up to do better.

His old Rabbi's words rung after this. There is no word in Hebrew that means to obey, only shema. It meant to listen, to hear, to understand, to internalize, and to respond. Maybe if he was unsatisfied, it was because he had yet to respond.

"Garret, July? I assume you had this shared dream too? Did either of you get a similar sense? Maybe something like Hektor? New piece of information or a need for something?" Perhaps the mad doctor had an explanation; Whitney didn't fully trust him yet.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:27, Wed 26 June 2019.