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alderwitch

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  • Birthday 01/14/1980

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  1. Talya had made short work of swapping a few pieces for those let overtly felonious in nature. Provided no one went into the bedroom, the open living areas were a little intimidating but at least were less 'look at my ill gotten gains'. As Jack let them in, she was frowning slightly up at an oil painting hanging in the entryway, her head tipped to one side. "I am truly disappointed this is still here," she admitted in an aside to Jill as the door opened. "I keep hoping that it will entice some young up and coming thief to take it to prove themselves but so far, no luck. I might not even steal this one back. It's both heavy and not terribly attractive." Because while Talya couldn't in good conscious set about planning heists like she used to, it was entirely fair game to steal something back. Thus far, however, no one had taken the bait on the current mid century monstrosity occupying a place of honor in the foyer much to Talya's dismay. Did that mean that this entire place doubled as a honeypot? Yes, yes it did. She hung back as Jack made the initial greeting. "Famed or infamous? It's such a fine line," Talya commented dryly, "He's only Mister Blades to his enemies, after all. I'm Talya. Do make yourselves at home."
  2. "First," Phantom said, holding up one fingertip, "Most, if not all, the stories that you read are written by humans. Humanity has a bad habit of turning creatures that they don't fully understand into cautionary tales. I promise you, stories written by dragons will read very differently. It's good to remember that any point of view is going to have its own bias. My family is largely comprised of creatures that tend to be the monster in traditional movies; ghosts, zombies... vampires. There are certainly evil ones of all three but in almost no situation does one's nature dictate one's morality. You might have instincts, certainly, and some of those instincts might not be very... 'human', but in the end, it is your mind that is in control. In the end, that's the heart of magic. Willpower." Phantom's gaze cut over towards the books scattered about and with a single raised eyebrow, they floated into the air, neatly organizing themselves in the air before slotting into the bookshelf in one corner. Her gaze turned back towards Luke and a ghost of sorrow flickered across her features. "It's hard," Phantom said simply. "And sometimes, you do lose those connections. What I do - it takes time, it dictates a lot of my day to day and with that, certain sacrifices become necessary. When I took on the Master Mage mantle, I gave up on my former career; my mortal career. I've lost contact with a lot of friends over the years because I focused so much on my children, my..." Phantom trailed off and gave a little shake of her head, shaking off whatever she was going to say. "I'm very close to both of my boys although the older is growing into his adult life, and I see him less. Some of that you would experience anyway; being a teenager. That you've discovered you're adopted, that's going to cause some stress. That you're another species, that's just going to add layers to it but you just put the effort in. You make the time to do all the things that you can with your family. The bonds there are strong. They'll hold even as you grow and when you grow up. Every parent deals with their teenager stretching their wings; whether those are metaphorical or literal."
  3. "Oh, good. Then it is okay to discuss," Andromeda agreed, nodding as she clearly made a mental note. She beamed up at Ace when he hugged her close before turning to watch with bright eyes as Davyd shifted his shapes rapidly. "I have done that! But only once. It took a lot of work and time and effort and I had to make myself a cocoon because the flesh is so much more fragile than light and heat and fire and it might have gotten damaged when I travelled all the way from there, to here. You are very clever to be able to do it so much and so easily. I can change other things, though, but I think if I had to change myself again, it would be very, very hard. I might have to wait until it was time for the death-rebirth again. I'm not certain." She held her hands out for the go pro and tipped her head towards Ace before she closed the band of the go pro in her hands. The fabric shimmered between her fingers brightly, taking on a subtle sheen before she handed it back. "I have infused your band with the 'morphic molecules' although as I have told Ace, that name is not entirely accurate. But, I think, he is right that you will want someone who is technologically skilled to tinker with the electronics to make them strong and sturdy to survive all the many shapes you can take. Especially if you put the camera inside you. Acid is bad for electronics. I could change the fragile parts to something that is less fragile. Diamond or vibranium or perhaps an alloy but they would no longer function as intended sadly."
  4. "Doesn't there come a point where you have to question that, though? I mean, at some level, don't we end up not quite human anymore? I guess that depends how you define humanity, though, hunh?" Of course, someone who heard the anima in all living things would start to have questions about sentience and what it meant to be human. Tori watched with some concern as Stesha shifted and stretched but relaxed when it didn't seem to be anything more than aches and pains. Discarding her questions with the rapidity of youth, Tori brightened, "Oh, yes, please. I'm allowed to go on any field trips as long as it's not on British soil which, I mean, given the kinda nasty history of colonization is a whole 'nother topic of debate but I am absolutely certain that Sanctuary is definitely a-okay by any definition anyone could think of. Especially since you're there. I'm one hundred percent positive that you could stop anything wonky from happening with my powers." That seemed more relief than anything else to Tori. She had clearly internalized some of the adult worries about the ramifications of her powers. She paused to turn slightly and weave some of the newly grown blossoms into a small bower for her rabbit friend. "Just stay here for now, when it's quiet, you can hop home without any worries, okay? Just don't eat yourself sick." Dusting her hands off on her pants, Tori bounced to her feet with the ease of someone who had not yet learned to appreciate her knees and smiled brightly. "Ready!"
  5. "I am happy to do both of those things but, again, I prefer to do them after ten in the morning," Talya said dryly, her smile slanting towards Jill O'Cure. "Though it does look lovely on you. I actually have tailored street clothes for all of the Interceptors and attached family but the trick is coaxing everyone that there's a good reason to wear it. Chris, especially, seems very set on his personal brand of 'style'." The quotation marks around 'style' were absolutely audible although it was said with as much fondness as exasperation. She smoothed her hands over the tight pencil skirt and squinted a little at the skyline. While Talya was perfectly able to swing across the Freedom City skyline even in the tightly fitted skirt, it would certainly be more difficult. Plus, there was a far more attractive option. Wrapping her arms around Erik's shoulders, she gave him a small smile, "Indulge me and play the hero, would you? I could tell you that it's so I can have my hands free to text the doorman but, really, it's just that my chance to get carried like a rescued damsel comes across so rarely." The building that served as Talya's legal residence had been brand new in the early sixties when she'd purchased the penthouse to serve as her new base of operations. At the time, it had been one of the tallest in the city but several newer buildings had since eclipsed it in size although it retained a degree of grandeur and unlike some of the contemporary buildings, had been meticulously upkept while maintaining the mid-century charm of the original design. It exuded a certain degree of expected wealth of the residents, from the fact that the building employed round the clock staff that were more in line with an upscale hotel than an apartment building. Landing on the deck, it couldn't have been more different than the cozy garden rooftop terrace of their actual home. The plants were minimal and manicured, the furniture was sleek and spotless with a glittering infinity pool in one corner of the expansive patio that was more suited for adult parties than children's sleepovers. The colors were in Talya's monochrome grayscale with occasional pops of red accents or gold hardware and only broken up by expensive paintings or statues on display at various places in the interior. Their children would have destroyed the entire penthouse in a handful of seconds. It was exactly the sort of residence that the average tabloid reader would expect of Bombshell by reputation. For those that knew her, it didn't even hold her favorite artworks; just the most obvious ones and, rather deliberately, the most infamously stolen ones. When Talya's heeled toes touched the patio she hummed softly, "Perhaps you'd rather we meet your classmate downstairs in the restaurant a few levels down, Ellie? I rather designed this place to give me the advantage in meetings but it might not be as warm as you might want for the initial backdrop to the conversation. I've let the doorman know they're coming and we can have them directed wherever you prefer. I might be able to soften up the lounge if you give me a moment... Move the Duchess's Sapphire out to the bedroom, at least." Picking up the necklace in its display case, Talya went to stow a sapphire about the size of a walnut deeper in the penthouse. "I may have to redecorate if we're going to make this a more regular thing. Raina would enjoy that, I think."
  6. "You could join our anime watching parties! I mean, it's basically whoever I can drag out to take part. Sometimes its my roomie from last year, sometimes I can get Ryder. I usually nag Utsawa and he comes and complains about how it's for children." Tori rolled her eyes. "If you ask me, he can use a little more childish whimsy in his life so I'm making him watch Cardcaptor Sakura. He hates it." That was said with far too much cheer. "But anime is fun. Honestly, it's got something for pretty much everyone. They make it for, you know, adult sensibilities but I don't put on anything that's going to get us in trouble for watching in the lounge. Not even the borderline stuff. And I think we should start at Hot Topic and go from there. I have access to my Mum's vaguely guilty 'sorry you can't come home for holidays, buy something fun' money if we want to make a day of it - if you want. There's one of the older kids that will take money and portal-hop to bring in out of country imports if there's something you really want from another country. I may have used their service a time or two when I was craving sweets from back home m'self."
  7. "They are, indeed, mean," Andromeda said gravely. "I have had to make them float more than any other humans combined. It makes Ace laugh though! And I do not spin them. I understand that the inner ear is sensitive. I do not wish to cause discomfort. I just do not wish to be touched without permission. That is important. Everyone needs to agree before touching and I did not agree. Not even with the unspoken social contracts of handshakes or cheek-kisses of greeting." The bemused smiles that the Dangers aimed at the star-turned-mortal didn't seem to register although she smiled back brightly with clear fondness, even if she didn't really understand why she was being smiled at. "Claremont is not to be talked out unless everyone knows the truth about Claremont. Everyone here knows the truth about Claremont?" Her brow furrowed in concern as she looked to Ace and Veronica for verification even though it was clearly the case. It proved that despite Rachel's concerns, Andromeda could keep secrets at least when the necessity was explained to her clearly. Something that Ace had not done about the business secrets of Danger, Inc.
  8. "Sure," Tori agreed amicably, taking the veggies and starting to sort them in a way that wouldn't crush anything. "I'd like to see it. I think a recovered ecosystem is just as neat. Neater, maybe. There's a lot of places that have been totally thrashed by people and getting a feel for what works and what doesn't in rehabbing it for modern use. Part of me feels like I should just rip it down and let things grow wild but I know that isn't necessarily the right answer even if it might feel good in the moment." Once the veggies were stacked, Tori sat back on the soil, letting the greenery twine around her fingers while she watched Stesha work with open curiosity. Tori knew just how rare it was to see someone as powerful in a very particular brand of magic and she wasn't going to waste a moment. Part of her was taking mental notes to add to her journal later. "D'you think I could maybe help? I dunno if I'll get weaker further from England. I don't really notice it other than 'home' and 'not home' but I've never gone to another planet before. I'd be happy to help work on rehab or whatever, if I can help at all? I used to be super active in a bunch of charities but, uh, it gets a little weird now. I can't really keep my private and public life separate though I totally get why someone would. When you have the power to - you know - free the whales from Sea World, it's hard not to feel like you should do just that. You know?"
  9. "You got it," Tori replied with an easy going nod for Patrioteen to head up to the front. With the wolf-spirit cloaked over her own, Tori's steps were quieter and more fluid. Her body language changed to something that slinked along between the seats with sure footed ease. Despite the adjustments on the physical side, there was no change to her personality. "Don't worry, Patriot, we won't let you down. No joyrides until after the work is done, right?" She was kidding clearly, her smile lopsided and easy before she followed Patrioteen towards the front. Despite the earlier ribbing, she offered easily, "The wolf lends me speed and strength and stealth. My nose is keener and my vision drops into lower light ranges. Quicker reflexes. If something does happen, I have an owl that's willing to lend me their wings if I need it. Can't talk to the plants while I'm vibing with an animal but that's probably not as useful up in the air. Can call out to bear or fox if I need to switch it up, or drop the connection and focus on making plant magic happen but it'll take me a second to adjust. Sometimes that's a second that matters. I'm a good all-rounder, but it means I don't do any one thing really well." Did Tori think that there was going to be an actual problem? No, she did not. But if she was going to be on a training mission, she was going to give it her all and it had been drilled into her that part of being a good teammate was setting the expectations for what she could provide.
  10. "Someone is having a little trouble adjusting to turning thirty four this year," Talya agreed with some amusement as she slipped through the room on sky high heels that really should have made more noise than they did on the tile floors. She leaned down to press a fond kiss to Mia's head and ruffle Eden's hair before giving each or the twins a quick snuggle. Somehow, despite all the little hands, the stark black of her skirt and jacket was unmarked by any sort of mess. The smile she aimed at Gina was fond. "I've offered to get him a truly rediculous sports car so he can embrace the midlife crisis in style but so far, he remains uninterested. Good morning, Gina." It didn't show on her features. The black cat-eye was immaculate and the signature red of her lips looked picture ready but there was something in her eyes that suggested weariness. "I do wish, though, that you could use that vaunted leadership role to gently suggest that perhaps next time we could meet at a more civilized hour. You'd think there'd be some appreciation for the fact that some of us work nights." Talya pressed a quick kiss to Erik's lips as she deftly stole his coffee from his hands. It was a testament to the fact that she really was tired that had her taking a few sips with only a mild grimace or two at the bitter taste. "I laid out clothing for you on the bed."
  11. "It's sometimes my job," Phantom said, her smile faint and more heard in her voice than seen. "A good teacher makes time to listen. Sometimes the lesson needs to change to suit the pupil." Phantom waved one hand slightly, sending a flicker of power with an absentminded air towards the walls where the runes flared to life. Keen senses might pick up the soft pop of the room sealing to prying eyes. "There, now whatever you say stays in this room and travels no further." She tilted her head to the side then, "I have sons; one older than you, and one younger. Neither are human. It's difficult to be a teenager. Even more so when there's no one quite like you. Even Claremont, in all its variety, can be lonely. Most teenagers feel alone but it's harder when you feel like the only one of your kind." Phantom paused and then added, circuling back to his early statement. "I've met dragons; several of them. There's one adjacent to the Freedom League. Has anyone introduced you? It's alright, you know, if you meet dragons and don't feel like you belong their either. You'll have one foot in one world, and one foot in another. I suspect that's the reason you were suggested to me as a student."
  12. Tori gave a small shrug at Kensei and his biting tone that appeared to be somewhat commiserating. Her legacy was nowhere near as fraught and she'd at least had the choice of not copying Lady Celtic's costume. Still wearing her civvies and making no move to change out of them, Tori bounced to her feet and followed Patrioteen out of the bus to take in the view. Halfway talking to herself, Tori tipped her head to the side, "What do we need? Keen senses and speed probably? Fast Reflexes? Seems like scouting would be useful." Cupping her hands in front of her chest, Tori summoned a flame of the magic that ran constantly just under her skin. The blue swirls on her arms lit up with power as she murmured, "Allaidh, please. Lend me your senses and your speed." The magic washed over Tori, creating a brief ghostly outline of a wolf over the teenager's body in the same glowing blue flame. A distant howl sounded, of a creature that had stopped walking the earth long ago before the magic settled fully into the tattoos that covered Tori. "Good to go!"
  13. Tori shook her head a little. "I mean, just the basics, you know. Magic 101 and like, don't accidentally summon eldritch monsters but I think it's taken a bunch of last year to figure out that my magic is more druidic than reports of my great-grandmother's powers. We watched a lot of the old news reels only to realize that it wasn't super helpful for me in managing my powers. She didn't leave behind any notebooks and my grandad was just a baby, so it's not like anyone has any memories of what it was like." It wasn't exactly sorrow - Tori's great grandmother was far enough removed that she was more of an idea than a real person - but there was a moment of wistfulness. It would have been nice to have someone that understood. Tori leaned forward to help with the sort of ease that meant she was used to getting her hands dirty in a garden even without her magic. "I dunno. I wrestle a lot with privilege. I mean, there's this talk of taking on the mantle and what it means to Queen and Country but it seems a big dodgy to declare yourself the soul of Britain when my family's all posh, you know? We have a country manor and a proper house in London - not exactly the salt of the earth. I've heard a little bit about Sanctuary though and it sounded amazing. I mean, a thriving life web that's not completely gorked by climate change must be something to see."
  14. Tori also seemed to pick up on Neko's discomfort but she let the older teenager take the lead as she knew Neko better. As she switched the subject, Tori brightened. "It's reasonable! Tortoises are super neat. I've talked to a couple younger ones but they have this sort of... hmm... like wisdom to them? That's not quite right. They see the world differently. It's a longer view. And a kinder one than most," Tori agreed with a sunny smile. "Though being pregnant for over a year sounds like the pits, if you ask me. I mean, I guess some people like being pregnant but my mum sure didn't. Everytime a birthday comes around, we get to hear how she toiled to bring us into the world." Tori rolled her eyes with typical teen annoyance for a parental figure and their dubious suffering before she finally turned to Neko, her voice a little hesitant. "Uh, so, I'm totally not going to pry but lots of the kids at this school have stuff that they, you know, don't wanna talk about. It's okay. It's totally cool. If you have stuff that makes you sad or uncomfortable, you can just pass and that's a hundred percent okay. Anyone who pushes you on it isn't good friend material, you know? There's like a billion things that Utsawa doesn't like to talk about and I just show up and pester him to watch anime or come play a board game and it's all good." Tori flashed Neko a thumbs up in reassurance before turning the topic back to safer things. "So, do you decorate your inside bedroom and your outside bedroom the same or differently?"
  15. "Phantom is just fine," the master mage assured the teenager with a small smile. "Mystics tend to pick up additional titles as one progresses along the path. Which isn't to say that they don't have their place. They're a tool, like anything else, really, but in an informal setting, Phantom is perfect. As to your friend..." Phantom turned her head, looking away and perhaps through the school for a moment, "I can certainly ask although if Ms. Summers felt that my help was needed, I would have been called in before now. Unfortunately, sometimes the only cure is time. Still, I can check in on the subject. Callie - Ms. Summer's - contacts are some of the most expansive in the entire community." She went quiet for a long moment, and it seemed that might be the end before she finally said quietly, "You know, though, that even when he wakes, the guilt you're carrying. That remains, I'm afraid. The suffering of a friend has been the fire that has forged many a future hero. It can feel a heavy burden at times."
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