Stories To Be

Bits and Pieces of my stories. Some posts here will be continuances of a story. Some will be details or ideas for a scene or other part of a story that isn't next but I don't want to forget. Each post will be titled with the name of the story it belongs to, to keep things from being confusing.

Stories In Progress

  • Bane of Death
  • Tabled Unfinished Stories

  • Troia
  • The Lost Song
  • New Mutants: Angel
  • The Unending Story
  • Finished Stories

  • End, The - Feint of Heart Warning
  • Faith Winterfields
  • Flight
  • Chronicles of Gaia
  • Project, The
  • What's At S.T.E.A.K.
  • Poems

  • Sense of Wonder
  • Happiness In Health
  • Thoughts
  • Anticipation (of News)
  • Family

  • Please let me know what you think!  Comment or e-mail me.  Both positive and negitive critiques expected!

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    New: Lady May 

    Summoned before the court, May, both a Paladin of Ellonia (Goddess of Goodness, Light, etc) and the Baroness Dov's personal knight, appeared when expected. In her armor she strode down to the foot of the slightly raised dais on which the Baroness Dov stood. The two briefly exchanged smiles, before May knelt as becoming of her station to her liege. Through her long service to Dov, the two had become more than master and servant, they were friends. Good friends. Yet May aspired for more.

    All but the blind or newest to Dov's Barony could see from their interactions out in public that May had stronger feelings for Dov than was expected, or even appropriate. Dov didn't encourage those feelings, but she didn't deny them either. She always maintained their relationship as friendly companionship at best.

    But before the court, they both acted as expected. So on this day, May did not expect anything out of the ordinary. A new task perhaps. Obviously something official for it to be brought up in court proceedings.

    "You wished to see me, Your Ladyship?" May offered properly when her knee hit the floor.

    "Yes," Dov replied formulaically. She swept her gaze over the assembled people, then announced: "I have received a proclamation from the King." She gave a momentary pause for all those who felt the need to acknowledge to get out their murmurings before continuing. "His Majesty is forming an elite team, whose purpose is to be the defense of the Kingdom in any unique ways that may present themselves as unfillable by the offerings of the standing army and scholarly core." Less murmurings this time, but many interested looks, both approving and worried.

    May looked up at Dov, wondering what this meant for the two of them, and the Barony as a whole.

    "He further communicated," Dov went on, "that while his preference would be for me to join this team, he understands that as we are still a new Barony my leaving for the capital would undermine this area's stability." Many nods, and a few sighs of relief, went around at this. "So His Majesty has entrusted me with the decision of whom to send in my place," and with that she looked down at May.

    In the same moment, fear seizing in her chest, May sought out Dov's eyes. No..., she silently prayed. Not me....

    "Dame May," Dov formally announced, "Of all I know, I believe you are the best suited for this assignment. I know you will represent both myself and our Barony with distinction. But more so, you are exactly what the King needs for such a team."

    May stopped listening to the official declaration, for with each word she felt herself becoming more lost. She tried to will Dov's attention to her, perhaps in some way convince the Baroness Mage to magically or officially undo and change the last five minutes. Of course May had no actual power to do so. But when Dov finally did look directly at May, May's attention snapped back from silent desperate whim to the present.

    "In my stead, Serve him as you would me," Dov instructed her.

    May closed her eyes. It was her turn to respond, to accept. As applause erupted around them with expectation of the cursory 'As you wish', May looked up with sadness and pleading in her eyes. "But..." she struggled with her words, "I... I love you," she confessed, barely loud enough for Dov to hear over the noise.

    Dov's expression softened, though she tried to keep the pity she felt from showing. She reached out with one hand and cupped the side of May's face. With a tone of 'That's exactly what I meant,' she replied, "I know."

    May's face fell, both her countenance and her eyes to the floor. It was all she could do to keep tears from forming, and in this moment she barely had the will for that.

    Dov quieted her voice for only May to hear. "I can't be the partner you want," she said gently. "You need a new Lord, new Liege," she corrected herself on the title she used, then continued. "And that is the King. Serving him, you will be to able find the person you love, who will love you back," then she added for clarification, "in the same way." Dov tipped May's head up, to try and get May to look at her. Even though it didn't succeed, she went on. "May, I want you to become the best you can. But that's not possible with me." She then leaned forward and kissed May on the forehead. Then stood and took a step backwards. Returning her voice to a courtly level, she proclaimed quite clearly for all to hear: "I release you from your oath to me-"

    May's head dropped. Already on one knee, she appeared to be bowing in acceptance. But in truth, her heart was shattered and dashed to the ground at those words.

    "- and an oath of fealty sworn to the King shall replace it," Dov declared with finality.

    An order then, her last to May. And though the first part prevented the second from being binding, both Dov and May knew May would follow through on it.

    ---

    (Writer's note: I wanted to bullet out the rest, not write whole scenes, in the interest of time. What's below is the compromise. Will clean up as able, especially since it moves back and forth through time instead of being linear!)

    On her way to the Capital, May finally decided to seek out a bonded mount. She hadn't done so at her earliest ability given her profession, but now heard her Deity's call for it. In very little time a pure white Unicorn called Sunset appeared while she sat in a forest and took her up. In doing so her broken heart began to mend.

    May was the first to arrive in answer to the King's call. While waiting on the others, she petitioned to become a Knight of the Realm, and passing the trials became Lady May. Every day she worked in service to the King, one way or another, just as she had for Dov. But as much as she worked out of love for Dov, she also worked so as not to have to think on her own hurt, turning herself over to her religion and her duties. It's during this time the rotating P around her head grows in strength and shininess.

    Nearly a year later, after knowing who all the members of the elite team are, it is named The King's Fist, for they are all fighter types. Lady May - a Paladin with a Unicorn, Melani - a Ranger with a Pegasus, Shyelle - a Druid with a Blink Dog, Reisin - an Archer Mage, Nikki - a Fighter Cleric, and Gim - a Barbarian. Once assembled, training begins so they all can learn each other and get used to working as a team. The team is formally activated over two years from when the King initially called for it. A seventh member joins shortly thereafter, Cedric - a Fighter Rouge.

    After the team is sent out as a group for the first time, they soon discover since they were not the nobles or leaders that had originally been called for by the King, they are little more than a specialized force, and though they answer only to the King – typically by way of his personal aid Bob - they have no more power or authority, or even support, in the Kingdom than any Captain/Major in the army.

    Then the team shrank in size when Cedric bowed out suddenly. But as he was a late addition it didn't change dynamics much. However, when Nikki finally left due to not fitting in well with the rest of the team and frustrations over philosophy differences with the only person she truly trusted on the team, Lady May, the group was affected by the loss of manpower. She isn't replaced either, though the team's support numbers grow as Reisin gains an Archon follower and Shyelle another animal companion. The the team undergoes a change in membership when Gim resurrects for the third time and decides to return to his order. Another is sent in his place, whom the King's Fist accepts without hesitation out of necessity. He proves to be an adequate fit.

    Eventually the mortality rate in the King's Fist causes membership to semi-routinely change, some willing to accept the repeated deaths as part of their service more than others. As a consequence re-training with new members no longer takes place, as there isn't the luxury of time for it (as you will see). The King's Fist takes to keeping a ranking cleric able to cast resurrection and True resurrection on notice and at least two diamonds of needed worth in treasury for the spells to minimize interruption in their quests, despite the considerable drain on their collective resources and down time to maintain these. But it's finally the arrival of Otto - a specialized Healer - that allows the King's Fist to survive long terms away from the Kingdom's available Clerics, and allows them faster pace in their ultimate purpose.

    However, for her dedication outside of the demands of the King's Fist, the King gave May a small piece of land of her choice within half a day's travel of the castle to make a new life on. May had a small stronghold-like chapel with sleeping quarters and a practice grounds built on her parcel of land. Within a few months, six followers have arrived. Two wished to learn the ways of Ellonia that May followed, two who wished to serve Lady May. And one, Delantim, a full-fledged Wizard she had met by chance during one of the King's Fist's training runs, and then a second time while both had been working independently for the same ends, is most resolute about helping May even though he shares very little with her other than a general philosophy on life. Yet he and May seemed to mesh so well it was as if they had known each other forever. May made room for them all, even adding one actual room for Delantim's research even though she didn't understand it.

    At some point within her first four years of service to the King, May's personal pain was laid to rest and she developed a more personal respect for her King, and thus came to serve him out of genuine loyalty to him and not just her past. It also allowed her to think more on living life and what she truly is able to do, as opposed to simply moving through each day in the way and manners expected of her. Later the King (or perhaps it was Bob) was savvy enough to figure out, long before May realized it, that with her following growing May was in actuality training a future small army of Paladins and their aids. These two developments combined earned her personal notice by the King, to the point of infrequent invitations for a private audience with him.

    Shortly thereafter, the Druid asked May if he may claim the unused land next to her stronghold to plant a grove. With a shrug, May agreeed. Unknowing that the two of them had just laid the groundwork for a future association of yet to be established Druid and Paladin orders. In addition, the fledgling grove quickly becaome the home forest for Sunset, and so also ends up the future residence of a prolific family of unicorns. Over time a very magical and goodly set of land grows hand-in-hand, the fortress Eastward towards the Capital and the grove Westward with only a little creep into and around the fortress' land.

    By the time the King's Fist is beginning to be known and recognized on their own Kingdom wide, the King comes down with a mysterious magical illness. The team is sent after the only divided cure, an artifact amulet with the power to bolster the wearer's constitution. The idea being it would provide the ability to fight off the illness that the magical part is sapping away. As time slipped away from them in their quest for the amulet, May began to truly fear for the King's life. Eventually successful, the ordeal brought the King to seek May's counsel for the first time. And after the abrupt disappearance of Bob, May found herself more at the King's ear. Both honored by and respectful of the trust, she tried to not abuse the relationship, instead approaching it with a healthy sense of fear. But she knew she also needed to learn what she could, and keep the King's health and the Kingdom's interest in mind. The amulet only allowed the King to recover, it didn't actually remove the illness from him. Which meant he would have to wear it for the rest of his life if a true cure wasn't found.

    During their efforts to retrieve the amulet the King's Fist began to learn about ancient history of the land, and a threat that would destroy the Kingdom if it managed to free itself, and had apparently been attempting to do so for decades. "It" was Lantier, now a being of Taint, formerly the last King of the long fallen Kingdom that had spanned all the lands from the ocean to the mountains. Lantier had grown so powerful and corrupt before his overthrow that none existing today could stand against him. (Indeed, in the years to come the entire army sent to stand against the Taint's advancement out of the tower - half the Kingdom's forces - would be lost while the King's Fist attempted to solve the Lantier issue the needed way.)

    There were 13 artifact amulets, 12 of which time had scattered throughout the land, that originally had been used together to seal the being away in a tower, and which could again be used to relock the weakened and now fracturing seal. Followers of Lantier attempting to break free of his tower prison had already begun gathering the amulets years before, and Taint was slowly spreading outward from his tower over the land nearby. However, other beings or groups also after the powers of the amulets had begun collecting them recently, complicating efforts of both Lantier and the King's Fist. The last complication for the King's Fist was that not only had the 13th amulet not been seen or heard of since the time of the creation of the seal, there was also no record to be found of what it looked like or what its power was. Even the Watchers' Tower and records kept by that Order – the group that trapped the being and created the seal and then maintained existence to watch and make sure it was never broken - had no answers on the 13th amulet. Any page with that information was missing from their books, and the original Masters of the Order hadn't woken from their stasis sleep in centuries. Nor did they conveniently wake now. Instead, the King's Fist had to join the Watchers' Order to gain their powers against Taint and access to whatever knowledge was in the Tower still. But that meant they also gained their curse.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @2:52 AM
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    Monday, August 13, 2007

    New Story: Alyssa (Caducus) 

    Fairy tales are for humans. And they know nothing of the truth. But if you must know, here is a real story.

    All I remember of my youth is my mother. There wasn't much more to my life then. I lived with her wherever she took me. I was happiest when we had a place to call home. Sometime we did and sometimes we didn't, but at least I had her.

    She taught me all sorts of wondrous things, each more amazing than the last. Even when they were warnings, her lessons were wonderful to me.

    I still remember the day she told me to sit as still as I could. I tried, but her movements entranced me - I had to watch. The trees seemed to dance with her and the sun appeared to shine down only for her wings. The clouds came to crown her hair and the dew rose to glisten her cheeks and eyes more than they already were. For one moment, it felt like I saw the magic of the world. And then she touched me, and it tickled, and I couldn't help but move as I broke out in laughter... and the beauty around me shattered. But back in the normalcy that was everyday life, my mother simple smiled at me. She turned my head back to the position it was supposed to be, and touched my cheek again. I did my best not move this time. She used some brush I could only feel to draw a triangle, then let me go. Ever since that moment her spells worked on me as they did her.

    I later learned that triangle means Youth. It has stayed with me until this day. No matter how hard it's washed, rubbed... or cut. It's a symbol of the magic within. Within me. All I do not know is why my mother placed it on me for the world to see. For it makes me a target.

    When I was young and afraid of things that scare children, my mother would lull me to sleep at night with the same rhyme.
    "Go to sleep, slumberling
    No one will wake you.
    I promise to watch So
    no human can take you."

    That lullaby has stuck with me because of what it didn't teach me. When I was young, my mother constantly warned me about humans. I eventually learned my father had been human, but mother never said anything more about him. Humans were worse than our own kind, she told me. Whenever we had been near a town, other Sidhe parents wouldn't let me play with the children my age. Mother told me it was because they were afraid, because my father was human it meant I was half human and so the Sidhe didn't know what I might do. I never did anything, not back then. But mother and I would still have to leave soon after I was ever seen playing with another child, sometimes fast in the middle of the night. She didn't explain why, and I stopped asking. It was clear it was because of my human father.

    We never saw any humans, yet mother put the fear of them in me anyway. But in the end, it wasn't a human that took me.

    My mother didn't try to fight, for she was unprepared when the Taur came. Her last words to me were "You can't die, little one. Remember this: you - can't - die." If they killed her, I do not know. We were separated quickly, and I was given a new life. It was awful, but not for the reasons you would think. The pain caused to me as they taught me obedience was new and so I found it interesting. I didn't know there were so many ways to be hurt. I did tire of it, which is when I learned how to act properly. The Satyr varied in personalities as any races do, so I was at no lack for social interaction when a Taur wasn't around to care. In fact, that was the only time in my life thus far I have had friends. What an amazing thing to have, friendship, an incredible feeling. And with the Taurs I even I had a consistent place to call home. I lived in the same place longer with them than I had at any other point, apparently that matters to me. But all the good of it could not outweigh the bad. I had never been without my mother, and I felt lost on my own. Bigger still, after all my life of constantly growing, learning in everything I did and saw and heard, it was torture to be forced to the same set of tasks over and over again, day in and day out. Once I had learned all I could, I was not allowed to learn any more, about anything. That, was the worst of it.

    As with every story, there is at least one pivotal point. For me, this one came the day the Taurs were attacked. It was a surprise to all, who would attack a Taur village? But they did. Beings I could not name. I have seen Orc, I have seen Wilde, I have seen Ogar and obviously several kinds of Sidhe. The attackers where nothing like these, though I think I saw an Elf or two, and definitely an Orc with them. It finally dawned on me that they must be human.

    The Taur started to lay waste to them, but they kept coming and fighting. They were well trained together, and displayed tactics better than the Taur. There had to be a hundred of them, if not more. In the middle of the battle, one fell near where my friends and I were hiding, watching. Its sword clattered as it hit the ground and came to a rest a hair more than an arm's reach away from me.

    Pick it up, I heard a voice in my mind. I shook my head no.

    This is your chance, it won't last long. You can get away, if you just pick it up, the voice encouraged me. It sounded like my own voice. But I didn't know how to use a sword.

    Yes, you do, My voice assured me. Pick it up!

    I was uncertain, but the thought of being able to get back out in the world was too luring. I looked around first, then hesitantly reached out and grabbed the hilt of the sword. I had to just barely leave the protection of the hiding place to get it, and by the time my hand was on it I was spotted. Now committed to a sequence of actions that was sure to get me killed, I quickly rolled off so as not to give the others away. I surprised myself with the amount of ability I had to block swings coming my way. And that's all I did as I backpedaled to the nearest edge of town. Much to my continued surprise, more than one human attempted to aid me, and did. But a twist of fate, and my ankle, brought my sword down wrong in a moment where a Taur and a human were both converging and I struck the human. Confused by the turn of events, the human lost his life to the Taur, but to my benefit the Taur left me alone, under the same impression the human had been that I was on my "master's" side. We three were not the only ones who saw what happened. The last being between myself and my freedom was a human, who cut me down.

    It was when I woke up that I first started to learn again. The battle still raged, and I wondered why I was okay. Had the human missed somehow? I checked myself, and there was no wound. Only a long thin scab forming where I had been scraped by the human's sword. But there was a mighty tear in my clothing, surrounded by blood. I knew I didn't have time to sort though that enigma just then. I saw the sword I had before was still with me, so I grasped it close and started to slowly move away. I crawled as quietly and carefully as I could until I heard a call and turned to see someone had seen me.

    Run!

    My voice, my instinct had been right so far so I had no reason to doubt it now. I scrambled to my feet and ran as fast as I could. I wasn't chased very far, the humans turned back to continue their fight. But they know. They know I helped kill one of them, and they know what I look like.

    I have no idea how long I've spent wandering, constantly checking before I enter somewhere and frequently looking behind me to see if I'm being followed yet. I've stayed a couple days in a few places, but don't dare any more time in one location than that. Thankfully, in however much time is has been, I've been able to learn more. I realized my mother's final words to me were not her beseeching me to do all I could to survive, they were a last lesson. I died back in that battle, and yet I am alive. I've felt the pull of the world, or rather the magic within the world, more so since then. And one day I noticed in my reflection in a lake, that the triangle on my cheek has changed. There is a line through it now. The symbol, I've reasoned out, now means novice. I'm learning more each day, especially about magic, and I've found the more I figure out the easier it is to learn even more.

    One moonless night there was a sound, and I needed to know if I was being followed but I could not see how. Scared and insistent, I accidentally called a dim gleam of light to my hand. It was fascinating. Since then I have learned how to create brighter lights also, the glow of a candle and even a beam that can pierce the darkest cave from a distance.

    While I am not at all fond of the sword - I would prefer a heavier weapon I could use from any angle - I kept it with me. I've even found a way to magically make it strike deeper. It takes a great deal of my strength to cast that spell, but it's come to my aid more than once to have had it already upon the sword when defending myself against a wild animal.

    I passed a town once. I don't know of what race, I did not dwell to check. I only came close enough to grab a set of clothing off a line, as mine had all but deteriorated due to my travels and hiding places. The pants are too short and the shirt is much too big, but the boots are wonderful. My poor feet have never been happier. And in the size of the shirt I found an advantage because I can tuck my wings under and cover them as well as myself with it. Since the look of my face has changed as I grow more knowledgeable, perhaps the humans will not recognize me in this shirt. Hopefully.

    I recently came across a group of people traveling across the planes. At hardly more than a glance one could tell they are not a group trained together. They appeared to be simply traveling. They are lead by what feels to be a powerful creature. I held back and let them go by at first, but something beckoned to me that I should follow them. My instincts told me it was the right thing to do, even though there are humans in the group. So I went, shadowing them from as far back as I could. But they had food, which at night I was able to sneak in and steal a bit of, and a large group means protection. Wild animals and other dangers tend not to approach when out numbered so blatantly.

    I've been following them for several days now. I'm sure the leader knows I'm here, I've seen him look my way multiple times. But he has not made any moves towards or against me. I think... he is simply checking that I am still there, following. I don't know where the group is headed. I've gotten close enough at night to hear some of what they talk about. Out Homes, new lives, mysteries, magic. They are woefully ignorant on that last subject. Other than that, it's actually been very interesting to listen in on their conversations. It seems, though we are different races, we are all beings called Shades. Like I, they don't die when killed, though I've learned from them eventually we could die, if we are killed enough times. And our leader is a Knight. His job to protect us, lead us to the Out Home that will be our new home, and enforce some set of laws we are all to live by. I haven't learned them all yet. Likely, at some point I will have to stop hanging back from the group, if I am to learn much more.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @12:06 AM
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    Monday, January 01, 2007

    The Prophesy says thus: 

    There shall come a time, when the Earth is cold and the Moon is high,
    and the pride of men doth turn the tide.

    When war is near, from future not past,
    the era of Peace nearing end at last.

    One unnamed rises from the way,
    taking his time, biding day by day.

    A ghastly plan he does concoct,
    Preferring patience and precision he hath will to wait
    decades and leaders and turns of fate.

    Through countless efforts and gifts of trust,
    he learns the secrets that one must,

    To do what he wishes, to take it all
    To cause first the Masters, then Kingdom fall.

    For one note, one piece of text misinterpreted long
    He will discover turns out to be wrong

    And with that knowledge armed, and well built force
    besiege the Guardian for the proper course.

    Against his will the Guardian reveals, tactics and ways
    To give the unnamed's plan its final plays.

    But what he does not know, he can not fore plan.
    For you see:

    The children ache, but are not all dead
    Notice the Circlet does not sit on her head.

    The Masters are chosen, by not by either side,
    They are four from far down a tunnel ride.

    What they must do, is simple and true:
    Find the armor where the last Earth tree grew.

    Then seek out the unnamed and strike before too late.
    Thus do they seal the Kingdom's fate.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @1:58 AM
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    Monday, October 02, 2006

    New Story: Crystal Worthington 

    When did it start?



    Daddy wants to know why I'm like this. What happened to me.

    What does he mean? What am I like? I'm just me, like I always have been. Right?

    Right.

    We don't understand. I told him we're okay. He didn't seem to like that answer.

    When did it start?



    I know when....

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @5:14 PM
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    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    New: Melody Richards 

    Not sure if this is a final version. I only just finished it and I haven't read through it to see if I go "Eh" or not.

    Background:
    Born in December of 1988 as Amber Marie Greenhouse in Austin, Texas (the "Live Music Capital of the World"), while her mother was chasing down her father, both of whom were from LA. Afterwards, her mother followed her father to NYC.

    History:
    Her parents never married. Her father successfully obtained a restraining order from her mother when she was 2. After many attempts to skip out on child support, when she was 6 he was finally successful in leaving the state and "disappearing."

    Mother then managed to provide a roof, meager meals, and the occasional new piece of clothing for herself and Amber for a few years, with the help of the public school system's latch key program so she could work full time for minimum wage. But her seeming inability to make any headway in her life caused depression to set in. She turned to drugs to deal with her problems, being only careful enough to keep her dealings from interfering with her job. As her addiction grew worse, taking care of the apartment and herself and her daughter fell more and more on Amber. While Amber was learning to adust to the role of care giver in her family her grades in school started faltering. Eventually a concerned teacher uncovered the root of the problem. The teacher convinced Amber's mother to enroll in a recovery program, and with support from the school's Principal, helped her mother through it.

    Fortunately not enough damage had been done in Amber's academic life to have to keep her back a grade that year. But unfortunately, her mother's recovery was only temporary. Eventually the depression took it's hold again, and her mother turned back to the only way she knew how to cope. But this time she pressured Amber to not let on at school so no one would meddle in their lives again. Amber ended up giving up her after school time with friends and TV so she could keep up on her assignments at school as well as being "the wife" of the family.

    With all her mother's problems reaching their extreme when Amber was 10, it was overly easy for Amber to keep her budding new power from her mother's notice. Even despite the new issues beginning in school. She was in fourth grade. Amber had always had exceptional hearing, even being able to hear things only dogs could. But now her teachers began sending home notes saying she hummed too much, especially during study times, and that she was having problems with "keeping her thoughts to herself", though she always claimed she hadn't said anything. She lost friends because she "babbled" too much and it bothered them. But she look quite a liking to music class, and earned herself one of the solo's in the annual recital as well as two musically inclined friends.

    In Middle School Amber excelled in music classes, drama classes, joined the orchestra, and landed the female lead in the school play both her 6th and 7th grade years. But her success earned her jealousy amongst the other music and drama kids instead of popularity. And with music being considered dorky at the time, she did not find support elsewhere from her peers except for those two she knew in elementary school. Added to that her quirkiness about always listening to music, whether because she was practicing or memorizing or just listening to the radio, gained her ridicule instead of friends. On the academic side of things, Amber did fine grade wise but started frequently running afoul of certain teachers who simply would not put up with her constantly making noise in class. Amber started carrying a small radio with her as a cover for no longer being able to completely shut down her power, and had to refuse to turn it off or hand it over to a demanding teacher, which earned her many trips to the principle's office for being disruptive and defiant. Eventually most teachers simply chalked her up as "one of those hooligans" and allowed her to play her "radio" in class so long as she kept it quiet, after all she did keep showing up to class and actually learning.

    When Amber was twelve, one day she came home from school to a normally quiet home, did her homework, and dutifully began making dinner. But when her mother never materialized from the bedroom to eat, Amber knew she'd have to nurse her mother through the night again. She put away the breakables in case this ended up being a violent fit, and moved the furniture out of the center of the living room in case her mother started convulsing. Then she went into the bedroom to help her mother out of bed. At first she couldn't wake her mother up. It was always harder to feed her mother when she wasn't awake, and Amber couldn't quite carry her out to the living room. But her mother felt cold to the touch, making Amber assume her mother was sick on whatever she had taken. So Amber tried harder to wake her, until she noticed her mother was still in the same clothes from the day before. Which meant she hadn't gone to work. Amber almost started to worry; the one thing her mother had always been good about was going to work, since it was the only thing that kept them going. But before concern could set in, Amber realized her mother wasn't breathing. It didn't take her but a few seconds to realize what had happened. Sometime during the day her mother had died of an overdose, quietly and alone, in their apartment.

    The whole experience of finding her mother, and having dealt with her mother's addiction for so long, put Amber off drugs for life. It also left her with the need to turn on the radio or tv whenever things got too quiet. Silence started to give her the creeps, like how most children react to the dark.

    Amber didn't tell anyone. She didn't have anyone to tell. And until the money stash in the apartment ran out, and therefore soon after the food, her mother's death hardly changed her life. Except for sleeping out on the couch instead of in the bed with her mother. Even after she dragged her mother's body out back to the ally once the smell got too much for Amber to stomach, Amber still slept on the couch. She had no desire to use the bed ever again.

    Eventually Amber had to leave apartment, due to non-payment of rent. She took only her favorite stuffed animal, a few pictures, and the couple papers she knew were important; those turning out to be both her and her mother's birth certificates and social security cards. At first she slept over at her friends' houses and hid out at her school overnight for a while. But when winter vacation came she was forced to the streets for the first time. She was lucky enough to be found her second night by someone who gave a damn, who took her to the local YWCA. With her friends' help and the school open again, Amber managed to finish out the winter school term of 7th grade.

    It was Spring break that did her in. She ran across one too many street folk and ended beaten up so bad she missed the first couple days back to school. And without the school meal program, she wasn't eating. Weakened from the whole experience, Amber lost what little control she had learned over her powers and started producing sound continuously. It was a slippery slope she never recovered from. She bottomed out at having to trade sex for food. The only things she owned that survived her initial experiences where her life, a single picture of her family when she was a baby, her mother's birth certificate, and her own social security card.

    The streets force people to learn quickly if they are to last there. Amber picked up the basics of where not to go and who not to cross or deal with. She regained control of what kinds of sounds she made - or more accurately the ability to prevent her sound generation from betraying her thoughts out loud - simply out of the need to not piss people off. Music seemed to be the safest recourse, especially sticking with whatever was most popular on the streets that week. But eventually she found out the noise she made continued even while she slept when she was kicked out of a shelter for not observing the quiet hours. She also soon learned the general population's reaction to mutants, and the street's reaction to mutants that "weren't useful", and started taking steps to hid her powers as best she could.

    Things weren't so bad for her over the summer, with the warm weather it was easy enough to find places to sleep, and she found ways to earn - or take - money for food. When she wasn't running or starving, she loved to just sit and listen to all the goings ons around her. Eventually she realized she could mimic other sounds beyond the human voice, and used her time to practice doing so. Amber also discovered she could create sounds away from her that she could turn off. But her favorite discovery was the day she realized she could still hear the radio after she turned it off. After that she practiced at listening to individual sounds amongst a whole mess of noise, and thereby picking out and hearing clearly only what she wanted to hear. She worked her way into being able to hear any sort of sound wave, not just vocal or radio.

    One day Amber was overheard singing in the park by director who needed a child for his new little off Broadway musical. He offered her the job, which she gladly accepted. She forged her mother's signature on paperwork she 'took home'. She mimicked her mother's voice over the phone when calling the director from a pay phone whenever he wanted to speak with her mother. Most importantly, she arranged to be payed in cash. The musical ran a whole season, but failed to take off and so didn't get picked up for a tour. But it helped Amber regain her self worth and realize what she wanted to do when she grew up: Music.

    At the age of fourteen, Amber jumped the turnstiles of the subway and headed back to her home borough to find her only two friends, whom she hadn't seen in about a year. It was the end of Middle School for them, and they happily decided to start a band together with Amber. The three worked all summer before the start of High School: earning money to buy instruments and equipment, finding rehearsal space (which her friends' suburban parents were happy to lend their garages for), getting sheet music, and learning songs together.

    Suddenly, Amber found herself face to face with a distant memory. A man claiming to be her father pulled her off the sidewalk and starting babbling at her. Her mind had no problems following what he was saying, due to her abilities, but she was stuck in shock at the concept of her father existing. He said he had seen her in her play and had been trying to track her down ever since. Even though he knew a lot about her early history, she had to pull out her family picture to be sure it was him. But on verifying it was indeed her father, she willingly and quickly accepted him into her life. She so wanted a family and a home again. They went to lunch together to catch up, and eventually she told him all about how her mother had died and how she'd been living the last couple years. He was very sympathetic, but also seemed distracted a lot of the time. He seemed most interested in her singing talent and the possible career that lay ahead of her, which they talked about at length since that was a favorite topic for Amber as well.

    When she finally got up the nerve to ask "where do we live?", her father frowned at her and abruptly changed the subject, asking about what she had done with the money she had earned from the play. The conversation quickly degraded even further from there. Soon he asked her to turn off the insipid music she was playing and practically demanded her money, saying since he was her father and she was a minor he was in charge of it. She tried to vaguely explain that she couldn't turn off the music, but she gave him all the money she had on her at the time, which was a fair amount since she had the band's last set of car wash earnings. He seemed placated, and even smiled at her. Then said he had to get going but promised he'd be back to take her home when he was able.

    A week later he reappeared, much to Amber's happiness. Again he conjoled her out of her money after a lengthy discussion about what she was doing now and promises of helping her. Then he disappeared once more.

    The next time he surfaced she even gave him her social security card so he could access any money tied to it that she might not know about. When he went to leave without her again, she pleaded with him to take her with him. The explanations that followed turned into an argument when Amber wouldn't give up begging him. As the volume of the argument rose, so did the music playing around Amber, and the tone of the music changed to match the rising tempers. Eventually her father started to realize what was going on, and dragged her out of eye sight and ear shot of anyone else. Amber willingly confessed to him that she was a mutant, hoping it would prove to him she was willing to do anything if he would take her home. Much to her dismay, he literally threw her away from him. He called her a fraud, saying she would never become famous once everyone learned it was her powers that let her be so good, and that she was utterly useless to him. He stormed off, leaving Amber in tears on the ground.

    After that Amber no longer wanted any reminders of where she had come from. She decided to best sever all ties to her past she should change her name. She chose Melody Richards because it represented her new life and she liked the sound of it. Her friends went along with the name change, both of them deciding it was a cool idea to choose a stage name and so chose ones for themselves.

    Melody was lead vocal, Duke was bass, and Jacob was the drummer. Jacob could also play the keyboard, and Duke lead guitar, and Melody seemed to be able to "fake it" with most other instruments, but the group knew if they didn't get more members they would be limited in the songs they could play. So the next several months were spent promoting the band, gaining a following, and then auditioning new members. Grades slipped, but the band members didn't much care, they were too focused on the band, and Melody never found out since they didn't tell her.

    Melody loved having music be so important in her life. When the rest of the band was in school, she filled out her time with trying to find gigs for the band to work, learning new music, practicing with her powers, and try to find herself food or a place to stay when weather was bad. All while trying to avoid the druggies and gangs of the streets. She had started to be noticed by the street folk as being good at avoiding trouble, which seemed to mean to them she had developed useful skills. Once in a while she couldn't get out of being pressed to help in some stunt or another. And it was during one of these "events" when she was almost caught that she discovered she could cause someone temporary deafness.

    Eventually the rest of the band wanted to drop out of school too in order to pursue their music career, which was starting to take off locally. But at Melody's prodding and insistence, backed up by her life story, her band-mates returned or stayed at home. Making sure they had places and people to take care of them was important to Melody. With them she easily fell back into the care giver role that she had grown up in. They were her only family now, and she only knew that one way to deal with family. As a side effect, having them in their parents' homes meant all the money from the gigs they got Melody was able to put back into the band: practice space, instruments, equipment, and outfits. Whatever they couldn't afford, they would buy used and cheap, or if it was a smaller item: steal. Melody took care of the band and the equipment to the best of her abilities, some times even forgoing her own needs to do so.

    Melody would sleep in the band's practice space or gig if she could manage it. Occasionally a band member would be able to sneak food from his house for her. Over the years she had adjusted to going long durations without food, so it wasn't necessary every day. But she would eat whatever she came across whenever it presented itself because she was never sure when she'd be able to eat again. She used the YWCA to bathe and to wash her clothes. And she made sure to keep one work worthy outfit nice, and only wore it to a gig. She kept herself from feeling lonely when away from the band by playing out loud the radio stations and other transmission she could hear. Or sometimes she replayed conversations she'd had with her friends, which is how she realized she could remember word for word, and tone for tone, more than just songs or scripts she heard.

    One day, much to her surprise, Melody received an invitation to check out a special school in Westchester. It briefly explained she had been highly recommended by a benefactor, and the visit had already been arranged for her, all expenses paid. Not one to turn up free anything, Melody called the number on the invitation and accepted. Days later she found herself a sixteen year old student in Xavier's School for the Gifted, thanks to Alison Blaire - Melody's anonymous benefactor - who had heard Melody's band and realized both Melody's talent and her still growing mutant powers needed a safe place to live and grow for her to have a chance to survive. Melody also learned the feedback the band's instrumentation rarely succumbed to but that caused her severe pain, to the extent that her ears would bleed, was not actually due to the equipment being old or cheap but Melody herself. Part of her powers she couldn't control. She made an agreement with headmaster Scott Summers to take classes and keep her grades up in exchange for being able to live at the school, with all the benefits every student gets.

    But having not been in school for four years, Melody isn't the only one in for a rude awakening....

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @1:01 AM
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    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    New Scene - Troia: Step One 

    Step one: show up. Done.

    Step two: knock on the door...

    I raise my hand, but it stops mere inches from the door as I just stare at it. The door to my par- my father's house. My *parents'* house. The door to my past. The old me.

    I start to turn to Troia for strength, but she's not there. It's empty where she used to be. I knew that, of course, but it's so hard to remember. It only happened a few hours ago. I don't feel different. Just... lonely.

    Sighing, I raise my eyes back to the door, and my hand that is still hovering before it. The door to my future happiness. Maybe. I won't ever know unless I knock.

    Somewhere inside of myself I find the strength I expected had left with Donna. My own courage, to attempt this feat. To return home after almost a year to try and bury the hatchet. To try and regain the mother I should never have left go so easily.

    Was it so easily? It's been long enough, and SO much has happened, that it's hard for me to remember exactly what caused us to part on such awful terms that we haven't exchanged any words at all since then.

    'That's not my daughter,' my mother's voice echoes in my head. My hand falters before the door. Yes, that much I remember quite vividly. But... why? Why didn't we try, instead of disowning each other? We took the easy way out. It's easy to hurt, easy to blame, easy to give up. Did we not care enough to not hurt each other so?

    I want my mother back. Perhaps it can't be, but I need to know that for sure. As sure as I had been last year when I left. As sure as I am not sure now.

    I knock.



    The door opens before I finish knocking. She had been standing on the other side, for who knows how long. She looks at me, her face empty of any emotion. We stand regarding each other for several seconds.

    "Can we help you?" she asks. From her tone I could have been any stranger knocking on her door for any reason.

    My nerve fails me. "I came to visit," I tell only half of the truth.

    She stares at me for a moment more, almost scowling, but then drops her arm from its place on the door and takes a step back to give me room to enter. "Your father is in the kitchen," she informs me.

    I nod slightly as I walk past her, my eyes staying on her even though my face turns into the house. "Thank you," I mumble once I'm past her. Then head to the kitchen.

    My father is preparing dinner. "Allie!" he exclaims with a broad smile. "What a surprise!" He sets down a knife and moves over to me to give me a hug, which I gladly return.

    "I can only stay the night," I reply with a smile of my own.

    "That's fine," Dad says. "There's still time to make more." He motions to one of the chairs as he heads back to cooking. "Come, tell me all about what's been going on with you!"

    My eyes widen slightly. "Ooookay," I say with a warning in my voice, indicating he asked for it.

    --- Time Lapse ---

    After I finished recounting my experiences on Olympus, I look to Dad with expectation and shrug slightly.

    He's sitting across the counter from me with a partially dumbfounded look. Several moments pass in silence. Finally, the oven timer rings. Dad is slow in responding to it, but the second ring gets him moving. He puts on an oven glove and pulls out dinner's main course. Then he puts in the rolls to cook quickly while the other food cools.

    He glances at me. "Set the table, Allie," he says as if it was the second time he had to remind me.

    Huh? My brows furrow slightly. He never asked me to set the table. "Uh, sure Dad," I reply, getting up to retrieve plates.

    I set the table, all the while my mind racing to try and figure out his sudden behavior shift. Did I accidentally scare him? Does he not remember somehow? Strange things like that have happened, so I shouldn't be surprised if my telling of my experiences weren't allowed to stay with him. But... I don't know. His reaction was just beyond random.

    He finishes the food. I help bring it all to the table, then he calls for Anita.

    I need to know he's okay before she gets here. I couldn't stand to have to sit and eat with two people who have problems with me. "Dad?" I ask.

    He turns to me. "Yes?"

    "You haven't said anything-" I pause a second, to see if he might know what I mean, "- about everything I just told you."

    He thinks for a moment, then walks over to me. "I just don't understand it all," he says quietly. He directs me to my usual seat at the table, then sits down next to me. "Are you okay?"

    I nod. "I think so. It's just-" lonely, I want to say. But I don't want to worry him. "Quiet," I settle on to say.

    He nods back. "You're scared," he comments.

    It strikes me wrong. What? Scared? Where in the world did that come from? I narrow my eyes slightly at him. Sure, I had been while on Olympus, but now? I don't think I am.... Am I?

    "No...," I stall trying to find the right words. "I'm..."

    "Uncertain?" he offers.

    I half nod, and kind of shrug. "I suppose, I don't know what to do from here," I confess. "It was quite intimidating. And now, it's a bit daunting. I mean, what's expected of me?"

    My father smiles. "Nothing more than what was expected of you before," he says with assurance, and pats my hand. "And nothing less."

    "Except now I'm on my own," I add with a touch of concern.

    "You're never on your own, Allie," he tells me, "unless you make it that way."

    I look at my Dad and can't help but smile. When did he get so wise? I give him a hug.

    When I open my eyes, I notice Anita standing in the door way, and catch a glimpse of something in her face. On seeing me looking at her, she quickly turns her attention from us to the table before I can determine what it is.

    Other than the occasional request for some piece of food to be passed, half of dinner passes in silence. Eventually my mother is the first to break.

    "Why are you here?" she finally confronts me, just as I am about to put my fork in my mouth.

    "Anita," my father says almost sounding like a plea.

    "No, Herald," she admonishes. "She never comes unannounced. It's disruptive, and rude. Suppose we were to have guests over tonight?" She looks back at me. "Why, are you here?" she demands to know.

    I pause a moment to look at her, then pull my fork out with the food still on it and put it back on my plate. I look down at my plate to steel myself. Okay Allie, it's time. "I came to see you," I say, then look back up at her.


    Only those who know my mother well enough could tell the look on her face of unhappiness was simply masking that of being shocked. "And why, pray tell, would you be coming to see me?"

    "I wanted to make up," I answer matter-of-fact like.

    She harrumphs. "Wanted to?"

    "Want to," I correct myself. "It just, ended up being harder to broach the subject than I expected."

    "Let me get this straight," she starts with as she leans over the table. "You dream you get whisked off to some make believe place where you're put on trial, loose your companion in arms, and become an Amazon, and suddenly you want to come home and make up like nothing ever happened?" Though she managed to keep any accusational tone from her voice, it certainly felt like one to me.

    Keep calm Allie. You need to do right by this. "Not as if nothing happened," I replied as neutrally as I am able, "but I would like to try and bury the hatchet."

    "No," she replies standing up, catching the napkin that was on her lap before it falls. "That's not it at all."

    I sigh with exasperation. "What it is then, Mother?"

    She seems caught of guard for a moment, this time staring at me with a real stunned look. She raises a finger towards me. "Don't -" she starts to tell me, but stops and purses her lips.

    Don't? Don't what?

    "You replaced me with her," she continues, switching back to the original subject. "And now that she's gone, you want me to fill the hole that's left." She puts her napkin down on her plate, and turns to leave. "No."

    I scramble out of my chair to catch her by the arm. "That's not true."

    "Oh no?" she replies her voice full of doubt. "You're lonely. You're practically lost. I can hear it in your voice. So you run home, looking to me to-"

    "She didn't take me away from you," I assert, throwing us right into the heart of all our problems since things first began. I move so I'm standing right in front of my mother, and look her directly in the eyes. "Donna did NOT take Alesha away. She's still here. Right here, right now. Wanting her mother back."

    She pulls out of my grasp, but doesn't move away. "Yes," she replies sadly, "she did take you away from me." She looks me up and down once. "And even without her, I see you haven't changed from the person she created." She looks down for a moment, then back at me. "Alright then, you're not here to fill the hole. So why are you here?"

    "Because I want-" I start to repeat myself.

    "The truth," my mother insists on, "all of it."

    I hesitate, exhale, and nod slightly. "Because I'm afraid of what might happen, now that I'm an Amazon, who let go of her mother."

    I can't bring myself to meet her eyes now. That's not the right reason, is it Allie. Am I an awful person? I would love my mother back, but I didn't come to do this for only love. Love was overshadowed by anger. Maybe it still is. Maybe-

    "I understand," my mother finally says.

    I look at her in surprise. Shakes her head slightly. "And, you didn't let go of me, you walked out on me."

    The truth of her words sting my chest. "Mo-"

    "But you had help," she cuts me off to say. "Honestly, you had more courage than I. You did what I wanted, but couldn't do myself." She takes my face in her hands, the way she used to when I was young. "This isn't your fault. And it's not going to be your downfall." I'm starting to cry now. Tears slightly making their way out of the wells in my eyes. She lets go of me. "But, I don't know if we can make up." It sounds like there's something she's not saying.

    "Maybe?" I offer with a weak voice. "Maybe in time?"

    She shrugs and turns away from me.

    I wipe the tears from my face, take a couple breaths to calm myself, then look after her as she heads up the stairs. "Can we at least have dinner?" I call to her feet.

    She stops. I head back to my chair, and look at my father. His face is in his hands. He gets up as I approach and heads into the kitchen. By the time my mother returns to the dining room he comes back as well.

    "Yes, we can have dinner."

    Step one: Have dinner. Done.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @12:40 AM
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    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Edited: Catrina Maximoff
    (First Half) 

    Father is Pietro Maximoff. Mother is unknown, as it's inconsequential for she was human.

    Born in 1984, Pietro found out about her two years later, and when it was determined she was a mutant, took her from her mother. Five years later Pietro married Crystal (of the Inhumans), which means his daughter grew up amongst the Inhumans starting before the age of seven (when her father married), but as she was not an Inhuman she was not exposed to the mists. She has a half-sister, Luna (daughter of Pietro and Crystal), and a half-uncle, Watts (son of Magneto and Polaris) who she is a year older than.

    Believes as her father and grand-father that mutants are superior to humans. She also believes this gives mutants certain rights over humans, though does believe humans have their place. But growing up watching and listening to her family, she has decided that in order for mutants to achieve their rightful status as the superior race they need to start acting like a superior race, and not like petty humans. Otherwise she is a pretty typical teenage girl.

    ---

    Full version below based on histories found at:
    http://www.marveldirectory.com/individuals/q/quicksilver.htm
    http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix2/maximoffdjango.htm
    http://www.marveldirectory.com/individuals/c/crystal.htm

    ---

    Once an average young Romanian gypsy woman met a dashing man with strikingly white hair. He told her he was searching for his parents, gypsies by the names of Django and Marya Maximoff. He was noticeably years older than her, but that only added to her attraction for him. She told him she'd not heard of any by those names, but promised to help him, claiming she had plenty of contacts. She asked where she'd be able to find him with any news she turned up. He refused to give a location, instead telling her he'd be back in a week to learn what she'd found out.

    The woman did spread the word of a lost son looking for his parents with the family name of Maximoff. But she did not initially have the contacts she claimed. She used the week to start making them instead. When the man returned, she told him all she had no information yet, but the word was out and she was waiting to hear back from her contacts.

    Each time they met he was constantly looking around and always spoke with haste, but never gave the impression of looking over his shoulder nor did he ever seem to be out of breath. Each time they met she did all she could to make him return to her, anything and everything she could think of to make him want to return.

    Quickly meetings turned into meals. Then meals into full evenings together. The woman was elated. She believed her mystery man was falling in love with her. When he finally trusted her with his biggest secret, that he was a mutant, she was certain. She assumed it was only a matter of time before he asked her father for her hand. And seeing as he never took long to do anything, she knew she didn't have a long wait.

    The moment she discovered she was pregnant, she was the happiest woman in the world. It only lasted a short time however. For when he next returned to her, it was the last time she would see him. He told her he was leaving for good because he was joining some group called the Avengers. She tried to make him stay, even told him "we're having a baby!", but he shrugged her and the baby off with "no, you're having a baby."

    He disappeared after that. Try as she might, she was unable to find him. With her pregnancy advancing, she wasn't able to travel to the only location he had once mentioned to her: Wundagore Mountain in Transia.

    In 1984 she gave birth to a healthy girl. For a year she focused herself on taking care of and raising her daughter, whom she named Catrina.

    After Catrina was a year old her mother resumed her search for Pietro, taking Catrina with her. They traveled first to Transia. Catrina's mother changed their family name to Maximoff on the way. Not finding him there, they two traveled on to other parts of Eastern Europe. They spent nearly a year traveling around, staying with one gypsy tribe after another in search of Pietro or his parents. Catrina's mother figured if she found the Maximoffs she'd eventually find Pietro also.

    Each night the mother looked upon her daughter as she slept, and promised the child her father and a real family. She would gingerly run her fingers over the strikingly white hair Catrina had inherited from Pietro. That hair, which belonged to her greatest love, was also her constant reminder of her greatest loss and pain. It was her constant reminder of why she couldn't give up in her search, and why life ate at her a little more each day.

    All the traveling and constant pining for her lost love slowly took its tool on Catrina's mother. By the time Catrina was two, it was evident to those they were staying with that her mother was dying. That gypsy family took Catrina's plight and her mother's pain to heart, and a new search began in earnest. Within a month came the news that had been waited on since before Catrina was conceived: Django Maximoff was found. He had settled down in Vladivostok a few months before.

    The meeting between Catrina's mother and grandfather was bittersweet and full of tears. Marya Maximoff had died years ago during the attack that had separated Dajango from Pietro and his twin sister Wanda. Django had not known his adoptive children were still alive, but was overjoyed to hear of Pietro and to discover he had a granddaughter. Catrina's mother was saddened that she would not yet be able to find Pietro through his father, but was gladdened to have real family again.

    No one was certain what Catrina's mother died from. Medially it was a severe cold she had caught the day she had learned about Django. Some say in actuality it was a broken heart. Some say she had already died years ago, but had not passed from life only to make sure her daughter made it to another who would take care of her, who was of her self claimed family. Whatever the truth, Catrina's mother gave in to death in a matter of nights after arriving in Vladivostok.

    Django did take Catrina on as his own. But he was scared. He was not any more well off than he had been years ago when raising his own children, and he had lost them after turning to stealing because he couldn't afford to properly take care of them. What if the same happened again? His only hope was in knowing his son could still be alive. He started searching for his son while raising Catrina with some help from kindly neighbors.

    Catrina loved the open life style and freedom to run around in the woods she had while growing up with Django. She loved the dolls he made for her to play with. But mostly she loved her grandfather. He was gentle and kind, and there was never a doubt in Catrina's mind that she was loved in return.

    One day Django found a picture of the Avengers in the Tass newspaper, and recognized Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch as his children. He figured that they had been hiding from him as punishment for the tragedy he had brought upon them and their tribe. Deciding he had paid enough penance, Django returned to his shamanic magicks, and began saving his rubles to travel to the USA and retrieve his children.

    Catrina especially enjoyed the magicks her grandfather did, watching him whenever she had the chance. She grew to believe her grandfather was a powerful man. Since he used his skills to help others, and since no one else could do what he did, Catrina assumed he was much better a person than anyone else she knew. Which made her feel special as well.

    Catrina was five when Django left for the USA to be reunited with his children. He hadn't enough money to take her with him, but neighbors offered to care for her and he took them up on it. As planned, Django returned to Transia with Pietro and Wanda.

    Even though Django thought Pietro and Wanda were his biological children Ana and Mateo, there was no mistaking Catrina was Pietro's child. But no sooner did Django introduce Catrina to her father and aunt, was Wanda summoned to Wundagore mountain. Pietro left to investigate, leaving the two behind. After assuring Catrina would be watched after, Django also headed out after his children. During the attacks that followed, first at the village after Pietro and Django returned to call for the Avengers, and then back at the mountain, Django died saving Wanda.

    Only once everything was over, and after Django had been buried in his forest, did either of the twins remember Catrina. Pietro couldn't recall who her mother was, only a vague memory of once being told by some woman of a child. The two decided they couldn't just leave the child, and so asked around about her mother or someone else who could care for her. No one in the area knew anything other than the mother had died days after bring Catrina to Django. The girl had no other known family either.

    Crystal, who Pietro was courting at the time, and who learned of Catrina through Wanda, refused to let Pietro leave Catrina without any family. She had Catrina brought to Attilan to be cared for. After Pietro and Crystal married, Crystal took Catrina to raise as her own.

    Catrina never quite understood what had happened to her beloved grandfather. She hadn't seen him die nor had she been there for his funeral. She knew he hadn't come with her and her father to their new home, but did not know why and didn't believe anyone when they tried to explain he was gone for good. After all, he wasn't like normal people, he had powers. And she believed he was still the most powerful person she knew, even after learning her father, aunt, and new mother all had wonderful powers of their own. Her love for her grandfather was absolute, and it refused to let her believe he was dead. The way Catrina loved was perhaps the one thing she had inherited from her biological mother, even though she barely remembered that mother.

    The next year was full of changes for Catrina. A new family at a new home. A new way of living and style of eating. Tutors that taught her new lessons on things her grandfather hadn't had the ability to teach her. Learning what mutants and Inhumans were, and all about their history. Learning a new language, as seldom was any language but Inhuman spoken in Attilan, and learning how to write. Learning what was considered proper behavior, and then relearning what was proper in different situations. And learning about her family and her own history. Though some of it came easily to her, much was a struggle at first. Only Crystal's constant guidance and reassurance helped Catrina through. The way Crystal spoke to her reminded Catrina of how her grandfather spoke when trying to admonish her even though he admired what she had done.

    On Crystal's side, she saw how much Catrina was like Pietro. Prideful, resourceful, and charming. The girl made friends so easily, and then would try to get what she wanted by using whichever was more effective of a smile or a pout. But she also had no issue taking care of herself, and always seemed to be looking out for herself even when there was no call for it. It all made Crystal wonder just how Catrina and her grandfather had lived. Catrina had no sense of money or material goods, and Crystal had every reason to believe the two had been very poor, yet Catrina was perfectly healthy and happy. Crystal surmised Catrina must have learned many ways to get by as a child. As Catrina grew Crystal noticed more and more the subtle manipulation Catrina worked on any that came in contact with her, and wondered if Catrina even understood what she was doing.

    Catrina also had Pietro's smile, and soon was adopting mannerisms from Crystal, whom Catrina happily called Mother. But it wasn't Pietro's eyes that peered out from under the white hair Catrina had inherited from him. No matter how much she looked like Pietro or acted like Crystal, those eyes betrayed her to the heritage of another. Pietro recognized them, but could not place who they belonged to, and it bothered him. It bothered him because whenever he thought too hard on whose eyes Catrina had, only bad feelings arose.

    It wasn't long into the next year before Crystal became pregnant. But it wasn't until the first time Catrina told Crystal "I love you, Mother" that Crystal started to feel confident in having a baby. Crystal and Catrina had steadily grown together since Catrina's arrival, and a baby being on the way only brought them closer. Catrina loved the thought of having a sibling, and just marveled that Mother had the baby inside her stomach. wanted to be part of everything that involved the baby, and Crystal encouraged it. All Crystal wanted was a close happy family. And it concerned her to see Pietro had not gotten close at all with Catrina in the couple years she had been with them. It made her wonder how her husband was going to be with the baby, and perhaps even with her after the pregnacy.

    The year after the baby was born, a girl which they named Luna, was one of the most eventful years for the family. It started with the birth, which was widely celebrated for Crystal was the heir in the royal family of Inhuman, which made the baby the next heir.

    Then the mutant Magneto came to Attilan and confronted Pietro and his twin Wanda with news that he, Magneto, was their biological father. Pietro denounced Magneto for the callous treatment of them when they were members of his Brotherhood, and refused to believe he had changed his ways. For a time that drove a wedge even further between Pietro and Catrina, for she mistakenly thought Magneto was her grandfather Django finally come back. After all, he was clearly more powerful than any other single person in Attilan and he was Pietro's father. Such simple things make simple conclusions in a child's mind, and therefore what Catrina knew was that her father had sent away the person she loved the most. For Pietro's part, he found whose eyes Catrina had, and for a time could barely look at her without seeing Magneto as well, whom he despised.

    Once Luna began to grow from a eating and sleeping thing into an interactive being, strange things started occurring around the family. Pietro became more withdrawn and absent, causing Crystal to frequently ask "Now where *is* your father?" Catrina would always answer her, trying to soothe her Mother, but more and more often Catrina turned out to be correct in her answer, even when the answers were odd. At times Catrina would react to Luna, pacifying her before Crystal even noticed Luna needed something, or Catrina would react to something Pietro or Crystal had not said.

    At first it was thought Catrina was simply reading the signs her parents and sister were giving off, as they weren't all that subtle. But then came the night when Magneto returned to Attilan to try again to recruit his children. A fairly long and very loud verbal fight ensued as Pietro got out everything he needed to say to his father. It escalated to the point where objects began rattling and jerking around the room. Wanda and Pietro started to accuse Magneto, until the older man reached out and grabbed one of the objects and physically held it out for them all to see. It was a rubber bouncing ball, not something Magneto could control. Surprised and confused, all three immediately went on alert and started looking around. Rapidly Pietro found an upset Catrina eavesdropping around the corner. As soon as she looked up at him and realized she was caught, everything in the room suddenly stopped moving. That was the moment it became clear Catrina was manifesting mutant powers.

    Catrina was eight, and it was only then Pietro started to look on his older daughter in a new way. It was also only then that Magneto gave the girl any notice. She was a mutant, which made her existence worthwhile to Magneto, and important to Pietro. For the next year Catrina and Pietro finally started to get close as he took an active role in her learning her powers and pride in her achievements.

    Luna's second year ended with the girls' parents breaking up. Crystal had taken too much of being neglected by Pietro. And then Pietro found he could not forgive her for her infidelity. Catrina spent several nights listening to fights between her parents and blaming Luna for the family's problems before Pietro left Attilan and his family for a time.

    For Catrina the one good thing that came out of that all was with Pietro gone, Magneto could visit his granddaughter unchallenged. He thought it important she be brought up and taught correctly, something he had been unable to do for his own first two children. He could not fault Crystal in how she raised Catrina. He did find Catrina's education lacking however, and took it upon himself to teach her those things that were missing, as well as attempt to help her learn her continually emerging powers. It has been easy to pin point Catrina's mutant abilities to being mental in nature, and since Magneto himself had limited mental powers (likely where she inherited her powers from) it made sense he train her to control her own, at least until she surpassed him.

    Catrina loved having her grandfather around again, still unaware Magneto was not the grandfather who had raised her for three years, and eagerly took to him and his lessons of history, Hebrew, and superiority. She was also more than excited to have powers of her own and be as special as her grandfather and parents. Magneto was careful not to contradict the lessons of respect and properness she had received from the Inhumans, and impressed on her the morality of not taking away a mutant's right to be him or herself, even if it was different from her.

    Crystal allowed Magneto time with Catrina, to learn and play, because she still believed in the ideals of family and because Catrina so much wanted to be around him. Crystal and Magneto also made sure Catrina and Luna regularly saw their Uncle David, Magneto's youngest child who was a year younger than Catrina, and their grandmother Polaris, Magneto's wife.

    It wasn't until Crystal and Pietro's first attempt at reconciliation that Catrina realized Luna was not the cause of her parents' breaking up. It had been revealed that Pietro's mind had been swayed to deep anger against his family and the Avengers by one of Crystal's cousins with mental powers. After that Catrina started taking an interest in Luna again, playing with her for the first time since their parents had split up, and letting Luna follow her around and copy what she did as most younger sisters do to older sisters.

    The couple tried for reconciliation at the command of Black Bolt, the current King of the Inhumans. Even after the reconciliation failed, Catrina kept with her the two lessons she had learned. First, that her sister was not at fault for things she had no control over. Second, that controlling another's mind to go against what the person normally would do had repercussions beyond that one person. It was how her father had been taken away, and even after the mind control was over he still stayed away from his wife. Though he did often come by to visit Catrina and Luna.

    At the failing of the next of their parents' attempts at reconciliation Pietro gave Catrina the task of looking after her sister, saying to her the same thing his adoptive father had said to him about his own sister: "she is your true sister and you must always protect her." Catrina took his words to heart, and promised to help keep Luna safe. She was growing to love her sister as much as her grandfather.

    Eventually Crystal joined the Avengers and took Luna and Catrina to Earth with her to live for a while. It was during this time Catrina's powers seemed to significantly advanced for the first time. With so many minds around, Catrina suddenly found herself overwhelmed and occasionally out of control.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @6:21 AM
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    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    New: Melody Richard's Retrieval 

    5 A.M. - Jay stopped the flower delivery van in front of the main door of the apartment building.

    "He just left," Jane's voice reported through the Nextel.

    Jay waited until he saw a man leave the apartment building. "Confirmed," he radioed back to Jane. He turned off the truck and motioned to the man sitting next to him to follow him into the back.

    "This is a standard retrieval," Jay informed his team as they crowed into the back of the van. He held up a picture for the others to see. "Amber Marie Greenhouse. Aka.- Melody Richards"

    "The singer?" Jake asked.

    Jay checked the information before him. "It does say here she sings in a local band. Why? Do you know her?"

    "No sir, not personally. But my kids are always playing their music around the house."

    John jabbed an elbow at Jake. "Be sure to get them an autograph!"

    "Yeah. Right," Jake replied sarcastically with a grin as the team chuckled at the joke until Jay silenced them.

    "We only have fifteen minutes until the superintendent returns," Jay reminded them. He held up the picture again. "Picture is three years out of date. Subject is currently 18 years old."

    "Powers?" Jeff asked.

    "Unknown," Jay replied. "The Shop isn't certain she has actually developed any. If she has powers, she has not been active with them. But both her parents were involved in original experiments, so there is high potential. This is precautionary on the Shop's part." He indicated the dart guns on the floor. "Remember, shoot first. Keep her under. They do the testing. If she's clean we bring her back safe and sound, and none the wiser."

    The three other men nodded. Each picked up a gun, a vase full of flowers, and tucked his gun into his bouquet. Jay opened the back doors to the truck and the three filed out. Jay followed with a stuffed animal and electronic delivery signature pad. At just after five in the morning there were only a few people out, and the occasional car driving by on the street. But with both 75 and 696 only yards away there were still plenty of opportunities for curious eyes to see too much.

    Jake lingered behind the other three only long enough to say a quick prayer the others wouldn't hear. "Please be normal," he whispered to above.

    Jay went to the keypad next to the building's door and dialed the superintendent's number. When Jane answered, he said "Flower delivery." A moment later the doors buzzed to indicate they were unlocked.

    Once inside, the four quickly made their way to the third floor. Outside of Melody's apartment they put down their deliveries, but otherwise hesitated.

    "Sounds like there's a party going on in there," John commented.

    The team looked to Jay, who cursed softly. "Only one way to find out I suppose." He turned towards the door, and knocked on it. On getting no response, he knocked louder. He tried a third time by kicking the door. Finally he turned back towards the team. "Move in. Be careful."

    The three nodded, and retrieved their dart guns. Jay pulled out a standard, deadly gun. All four pulled cloth masks over their heads. Jay turned back to the door, and shrugged. With all the noise, no one elsewhere in the building would hear the door being broken down. He stepped back, and kicked forcefully at the deadbolt. On the second try the door frame gave way and the door swung open.

    The team hurried inside, careful to not be aiming in a direction that could have someone in it. They were greeted by the abrupt silencing of the party, as expected, but also quite surprisingly by an empty room! The four exchanged confused glances. Jay motioned for them to start searching. Jake checked the window, to see if anyone had tried to escape. Jeff checked the only closed door leading out of the room, and found a closet. John headed for the open door to another room, but didn't quite make it before a woman stumbled out.

    She was rubbing one eye and trying to look around, apparently confused, and clearly having just been woken up.

    "What is-" was all she got out before a dart from John's gun caught her in the upper torso. She opened her eyes wide in surprise as she looked down at the thing protruding from her chest. "Huh?" was her last statement before she started to slump over. John managed to catch her, and helped her gently to the floor.

    John turned towards Jay. "She startled me."

    Jay waved it off. "She's likely the target."

    "Can we be sure?" Jeff asked.

    John popped his head into the other room, then back out. "There's no one else here."

    Jay held the picture next to the woman. "It could be her."

    "It could also not," Jeff pointed out.

    "Guys?" Jake tried to get the attention of the team.

    "We don't need to be sure," John replied to Jeff.

    "But we should be," Jeff retorted.

    "Guys!" Jake raised his voice so they would pay attention.

    "What is it?" Jay asked.

    Jake titled his head slightly. "Do you hear that?"

    "Hear what?" Jay asked.

    "That music."

    "Yes," they all replied.

    "So?" John asked.

    "So," Jake answered, "were is it coming from?"

    "The radio," John said, pointing towards the stereo system next to the window.

    Jake held up the end of a power cord. "Noooo."

    "Batteries?" Jeff ventured.

    "I'm standing right here!" Jake said as he threw down the cord. "It's NOT the radio."

    Jay started looking around. "It's definitely coming from inside the apartment." With that, the whole team began looking and listening around. But Jay quickly honed in on the source. "It's her," he said.

    Both he and John jumped away, training their guns on her. "She should be out cold," John said.

    "That doesn't mean she is," Jeff replied.

    Carefully, John moved toward the woman to check her while the others waited ready to act at even the slightest movement. First John just touched her shoulder. Then he checked for a pulse. Next he gave her a shake. Finally he checked her eyes. "She's out," he confirmed. He looked up at Jeff. "Satisfied she's the target?"

    Jeff looked to Jay as music continued to waft around the room. "That's just freaky."

    "Come on," Jay ordered. He put his gun away and picked up Melody in a cradle carry.

    Being the last one out, Jake closed the door, not that it would latch. The group then headed down the stairs, as they were faster than the elevator.

    After they were all piled into the van and Jeff started to drive away, Jake looked around. "Next time perhaps we should try being paramedics. You know, less weird for the way out."

    "Oh hell yeah," John seconded the suggestion. "Ambulance and all!"

    Jay shook his head softly with a grin. "We'll see."

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @5:03 PM
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    Monday, July 18, 2005

    New Scene - Troia: Titans Theme 

    So I finally wrote it. The "dream sequence" of what I consider to be our Titan's theme song. It works so well! Usually when I hear it variations of the scene run through my mind as it plays. Much fun, very cool, whatnot you know.

    Read it here. There is also a link from the Troia story page.

    No copyright infringement was intended.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @4:07 PM
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    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Updated Story: Troia 

    I haven't posted here in quite a while, but Troia's page has been updated a fair amount since I last posted! New scenes, new info, new pictures. All happy yay! :)

    The link to Troia's story is here as well as above. Please let me know what you think!

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @12:14 AM
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    Saturday, December 25, 2004

    Updated Story - More Troia 

    There are a couple new scenes up, and a picture or two. More pictures and scenes to come...

    Truth or Dare
    Little Sisters
    Thanksgiving Invite (with picture, heh)

    Link is here.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @1:47 AM
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    Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    Added Continuation: Troia (Finally) 

    I've added the three "Return Home" parts to Troia. Too tired to say more. You can view the new Troia stuff through this link, or by going through the Troia link up top of this page.

    As always, give me your opinions! Thanks.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @1:02 AM
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    Monday, October 11, 2004

    Added Continuation: Troia (Again) 

    I must have been inspired! I ended up writing more for Troia. The new chapter is called "Survival", and can be reached either through the Troia link up top or by clicking here.

    I also put up some more pictures to match chapters. Still have two more to do though!

    Hope you enjoy.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @12:18 AM
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    Sunday, October 10, 2004

    Added Continuation: Troia 

    So I just finished up "Being the New Girl" (here) AND I added a new chapter: "A Beginning" (here). Go me! Lol, though these were somewhat easy to do as I had help from others. But that's okay. I forced myself to get these done before I started writing for a new character of mine. So I'm not sure if my next post will be more Troia stuff or new stuff. We'll see!

    You can view the new Troia stuff through the two links in this post, or by going through the Troia link up top of this page.

    As always, give me your opinions!

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @1:07 PM
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    Thursday, September 30, 2004

    More Ideas for Troia 

    - As an after to the most recent entry in Troia's story (Being the New Girl), Troia realizes the only person who can really help her is Cassie. The problem is, Troia doesn't quite know how to get a hold of Cassie....

    - Troia's fear of heights, which developed when her powers came, is abated when she discovers blunt things don't hurt when they hit her. Which means hitting the ground from far up won't hurt, which was the actual fear: falling and going splat.

    - Develop friendship between Troia and Kyle, kinda like a kid brother thing. She enjoys being around him and playing with him because he makes her feel more kid-like, more like Allie before Donna.

    - Develop relationship with Krypton/James where Troia playfully/sarcastically picks on him pretty consistently. Why? Because as the group's leader and Mr. Invulnerable he needs to not get too large an ego and remember that he's not infallible.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @5:27 PM
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    Friday, September 17, 2004

    Idea for Troia 

    Had another idea for Troia. I need to do a scene (or two or three) between her and Liz. Such as:
    - Troia telling Liz what's going on, and Liz's reaction
    - One of the two asking the other "When do I get to see you again?"
    - Maybe Troia consults with Liz about whether or not to take/keep a secret identity

    This all pretty much means I have to flesh out Liz as a person. Which I should do anyways, I just haven't given it much thought before now!

    Afterthought: A scene between Troia and her parents for the first time since she left home. Perhaps parents/Mom treat her differently, as if she squeezes too hard she might break her daughter. Does the get together end in another fight or well? Hm..., have to think this through as well.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @3:25 PM
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    Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    Idea for Troia 

    Want to get this down before I forget it, 'cause I don't think I'll be writing the scene for a while. (Which makes me wonder, all these ideas I'm writing down in here, will I forget to go back and write them?)

    Anyhoo, the idea is that Troia is listening to James and B (who hasn't arrived in the story yet) argue about who's the Best. Finally Troia has enough and tells them neither of them are the best. They, of course, think she's implying she's the best. She sets them straight and gives them a mini lecture about why he JLA is the best - no individual can be the best because there's always a way to beat an individual. But a team that's diverse, where every member can cover for another's weakness, and that works together without having to think about how to, that's the Best.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @10:03 AM
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    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    Added Continuation: Troia (Again) 

    More has been written for Troia! "Victor's Reaction" is done and "Being the New Girl" has been started. The link to these two is here as well as above by clicking on Troia and then clicking on the links under the section titled Formative Months.

    Let me know what you think! It's not a whole lot, but at least things are getting written. :)

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @12:28 AM
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    Friday, September 03, 2004

    Added Continuation: Troia 

    Woo hoo, I finally fixed up the stuff I'd already written for Troia (had to change where she was from). And after that I was all psyched to continue writing her! So I've gotten another chapter on her done, based on chats with others playing people in the story: her arrival at her new home. You can follow this link here to the new stuff, or you can click on Troia in the list up top and then click on "Arrival".

    Happy reading! And as always, please let me know what you think.

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @10:31 PM
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    Sunday, July 25, 2004

    Added Story: Troia 

    Well Wow, I did a LOT of writing today! I ended up writing every scene I had so far in my head for my character named Troia. She's the one who inherits Wonder Woman like powers. I'm really happy with the way things are coming out with her story. The link to it is here as well as above at the end of the left column. The site isn't fancy yet, but I think the writing's good!

    As always, please let me know what you think!

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @11:24 PM
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    Added Story: Chronicles of Gaia 

    I've added a link to the history of the character nicknamed Gaia, who is like an incarnation of Mother Nature. It's actually about the history of how such a person came to be, not of her or her life (just yet anyways). I've titled the short story the "Chronicles of Gaia" for now. I kinda like that name so it might become permanent.

    The link to the story is here as well as above at the bottom of the left column. Please let me know what you think!

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @2:08 PM
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    Thursday, May 06, 2004

    Added Continuation: Angel 

    More of Angel's diary is finally up! There's also been a couple updates to her website. The link to it is here as well as at the top of this page in the center column, titled "New Mutants: Angel".

    As always, I'd love to get feedback! E-mail me or leave a message on the board above. Thanks!

    Labels: ,

    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @9:55 AM
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    Friday, March 12, 2004

    Added Story: Angel 

    "Where's all the writing?!" you ask? Well, remember that one line a couple months ago where I mentioned about an X-Men character? Probably not, but that's where my attention's gone. I'm almost caught up on writing for her now.

    Angel's Story can be found here as well as above. This is all being written based off a roleplaying game I'm playing her in, so the site has her history and her diary, as well as some other misc. little things.

    As always, please let me know what you think!

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    posted by Jennifer Michelle  @1:08 PM
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