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Found 12 results

  1. Gizmo

    Time Out

    Friday, November 13, 2015 Even with Merlin around to help supervise Raina was a little surprised to find herself to be anyone's first choice for a babysitter, short notice or not. Still, Talya had been as difficult to say no to as ever and it wasn't as though the young pyromancer couldn't use the extra income. And so she found herself in the apartments above the Espadas School on a Friday night, armed with a list of contact numbers, money to order a pizza, the knowledge that one of Erik's other students would be downstairs using the training equipment after hours and instructions that, should anything go truly badly she should literally call for 'Vince', whatever that was supposed to accomplish. While little Mia Espadas sat on the carpet in front of Raina concentrating mightily on her efforts to maneuver her own foot into her mouth, her older sister Eden looked up the tall blonde expectantly.
  2. Although Talya's reputation might give the impression that all her New Year's Eves were spent at fabulous parties or madcap adventure, the fact of the matter was she'd had plenty of quiet New Years as well. There were certainly enough years where time's steady march onwards had not been a matter to celebrate. Still, in all of the New Years that she had celebrated, loud or quiet, Talya had certainly never fallen asleep a good half an hour before the overly-hyped television special had even begun it's crescendo. Yet sleeping was just what the blonde was doing, rather uncomfortably in her position as human barrier. Sometime between when Min and Erik had stepped out, the former to bathe Eden and the latter to produce snacks, Talya had curled up on the floor to keep Mia from getting past her and was now serving as an even better handhold for cruising than the couch had provided. How Talya continued to sleep through the chubby - and potentially sticky - baby hands yanking on her side was anyone's best guess. Normally, the ex-thief slept relatively lightly. Today, though, Mia's hand catching in her hair earned only a sleepy snort as Talya shifted, one arm encircling Mia absently.
  3. alderwitch

    Old Fiends

    Talya's directions had them parking well away from the school. The racy sportscar was more suited towards the life that went with the high end apartment building than her West End activities so she never parked it in the same place and never close to the school. Walking wasn't exceptionally onerous, after all. When she stepped out of her car, she pulled a different jacket over the top of her blouse, modernizing the pencil skirt enough to distance it from the tailored retro style she favored in public appearances. As Talya's quick changes went, it was relatively minor on the spectrum of what Dimitri had seen before as far as Talya's efforts went. There was no wig and only very minor make up and clothing adjustments. He was well aware that there was probably no less than four or five very different disguises in the trunk of her car. She threaded her hand through Dimitri's parka covered arm, her Russian still flawless despite the definitely loose swing of her hips and the roll of her steps. She wasn't sober, but it would take a discerning eye to notice such things. Talya put on a very convincing facade of sobriety, aided by the fact that she could probably still scale the building in her heels and narrow skirt without missing a step. Fortunately, that wasn't necessary as she fished a key out of her pocket to unlock the closed door to the front of the dojo, "We ought stay down here. If the girls are asleep, I don't want to wake them." Talya said as she opened the door and then locked it behind them, "But, I can show you where I'm spending my time, nonetheless. You can tell me what you think of the very minor addition I made."
  4. Date: September 19, 2015 Taylor hadn't exactly given Elis all that much choice really. Oh, she'd promised that it was a nice, normal meeting with nice, normal people who just happened to have super powers. Other than that it was just a barbecue with friends who happened to be super parents, at least that was what she'd conveyed on the phone. In Taylor's defense, she really did feel that it was important for the relatively new super hero to have something like a support network. She certainly would have appreciated having had more of a network when she'd first started. Also, her definition for 'normal' might have gotten steadily skewed over the years. After all, Stesha was the most normal person that Taylor still knew - she just happened to be a goddess running her own nature planet preserve these days. Taylor's lack of sympathy for any attempts to cry off might have also been in part in her expectation that it took some strong arming to get people to attend parties. Jack certainly wasn't ecstatic about Taylor's 'we're all going as a family to this barbecue on Stesha's planet before dark hits. No, really. It's important to me' explanation for why everyone was being rousted on a Saturday, side dish in tow. With a soft 'pop' of displaced air, Taylor showed up in Ellis' living room. Huang had his after school job to keep him busy and Taylor didn't think that he'd enjoy a barbecue with mostly adults and the under ten crowd in attendance. Jack and JJ had already been dropped off with Jack entrusted with delivering the side dishes of potato salad and a cooler full of steaks for the barbecue. That she showed up inside the house rather than on the porch was in difference to Ellis secret identity but he might not see it that way. Except for the sudden appearance, Taylor looked normal enough - at least she wasn't in costume. With her hair pulled up in a bun and in a light shirt and denim shorts she could have been any fresh-faced college student. Well, except for the fact that she was still translucent.
  5. The blond slipped in as the most recent class was just starting to wrap up, rather like she'd timed it that way. Talya had paused outside to admire the facade and the rather bold sign choice. Of course, she really hadn't expected anything less. Letting the door shut behind her, she glanced at the front desk before slipping between the students currently filtering out towards the entrance. Crowds were really always the best cover one could ask for and old habits died hard. Although, Talya really wasn't up to any nefarious purpose today. The students didn't spare her a second glance, really, not beyond the occasional appreciative glance an attractive twenty-something blond might usually garner. Perhaps her boots fell a little too softly on the ground as she skirted the training area, working her way around to the professor. "Uh, Mr. Espadas?" She pitched her voice higher, the accent soft and vaguely mid-western. Hesitant, apologetic. "I was wondering if you might have an opening in one of these classes?" The woman asking the question was blond, pretty - certainly, but Talya was well aware that with softer, subtler makeup and her hair pulled back up into a loose ponytail, she presented a very different picture than her normal attire. That, really, was the point. Gone was the tailored 40's clothing in exchange for a soft turtleneck and a pleated skirt and tights that would have looked entirely normal on a woman her apparent age. The only real give away was Talya's laughing blue eyes, which crinkled around the corners as she added, still in the softer American drawl as there were still students about, "Hullo, Erik."
  6. Gizmo

    Interceptors: Mia

    March 20, 2015 It wasn't that Erik Espadas was expecting trouble, not really, but he subscribed to the idea that it paid to be the one carrying the biggest stick. Or to be friends with the people carrying the biggest sticks, anyway. When they'd worked out the rough schedule for Min's pregnancy nobody had been particularly surprised to find her due date landed on the vernal equinox. After the unexpected 'visit' by his extended family in the House of Swords for the birth of his first daughter, though, a whole different sort of planning had seemed in order this time around, just to be safe. Stesha had offered to host them on Sanctuary, of course, but even with one or two super-powered healers on hand the idea of being in a whole different reality from the closest modern hospital made Erik a little nervous. If he were being completely honest with himself there was also the fact that he wanted his second child to be born in Freedom City's West End just as he had. If was their home and he wasn't about to let anyone chase them out. That said, even if they weren't going to an earth goddess, the earth goddess could still come to them. A good section of the first floor of the Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship (!) was covered in toys where Stesha was keeping watch over Eden and Amaryllis laughing and playing, chatting amiably with Gina. Nearby Mara and Liz were engaged in an animated discussion of tweaks and improvements to the building's security over a folding table covered in computer equipment including a laptop displaying Vince's neon-green suit wearing avatar. They'd sent Chris out to get food mostly because it seemed like the only way to keep him from standing watch on the top of the building in full costume while Steve had insisted on standing guard, gargoyle like, outside of the second floor apartment where Ellie was making her sister-in-law comfortable. Yolanda had taken up a position across from Steve, solemnly following the taciturn bald man's example. It was, all told, a small army of love and support. Not that that stopped Erik himself from pacing back and forth with nervous energy, his gaze jumping back and forth between the stairs, the clock and Eden, hands clasped behind his back.
  7. December 5, 2014 2:00 pm Village of Mayberry, Sanctuary There was a light dusting of snow on the ground of Sanctuary as the visitors popped out of the hickory tree-shaped dimensional portal their host had conjured up for them, but the weather this afternoon was clear and cold. The place where they'd arrived looked like the edge of a large garden, with rows of berry bushes still fruiting nearby, and nut trees clearly ready for harvest all around them. Stesha was waiting for them as they stepped out, her cheeks pink despite the puffy brown fleece jacket with matching knit hat and mittens she was wearing. It looked a little like a cold weather version of her costume, if one squinted just right. "Hi guys!" she greeted them cheerfully. "It's so good to see you, feels like it's been forever! Ammy, come say hello!" There was a rustling behind a nearby tree, whose branches parted to allow Amaryllis to come rushing through them without so much as slowing down. She was bundled up like her mother, except all in pinks and purples, and her hat was askew on her green curls. "Hi!" she chirped, finally slowing down just before she plowed into Erik. "Merry Christmas!"
  8. Lynn's apartment over Silberman's Books. August 3rd, 2014. 7:54pm A letter had arrived at the Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship from Lynn Epstein, with a familiar West End address. Inside, was a handwritten note; the penmanship was graceful, almost archaic, but the writer's voice was unmistakable. The changeling was pacing again; it was humanly impossible to prepare for an evening like this, but Lynn had given it the good old never-finished-college try. The furniture was warm, earthy and inviting, she'd been scooting back and forth between the shop and her kitchen all day working on dinner, and she'd cycled through looks for a good half hour finding just the right balance of relaxed and respectable: a nice understated green summer dress, open-toed wedges and small pearl stud earrings (her current thing). As always, the lanyard with its ring was around her neck, and she fidgeted with it more than usual. Her curly shoulder length hair was gathered up, showing off her graceful neck and the points of her ears. Lynn's eyes flicked over to the clock on the mantelpiece, where it dully ticked down the minutes. Soon. Very soon.
  9. Thursday, November 28th "How's the oven looking, Vince, dear?" Gina Espadas called as she pushed her wheel chair into the front room of her family's home, lap piled with brown and orange seasonal decorations which she began placing about the shelves and cabinets. In the adjoining kitchen one of the most advanced human-designed artificial intelligences on the planet native to that era interpreted data from a webcam jury-rigged to a computer monitor yellowing slightly with age to gauge the temperature inside the closed oven opposite it with precision worthy of laboratory testing. To an outside observer, however, an enthusiastic man wearing a cameo pattern apron over a bright green suit appeared on the monitor, raised a comically long telescope to his eye and snapped a salute as he shouted back, "Operation Bird is the Word proceeding full steam ahead, General Ma'am sir!" "Sure, you she trusts with the turkey," Erik Espadas sighed with exaggerated ire as he methodically worked his knife up and down on the cutting board, rapidly turned fresh vegetables into piles of thin slices. Sweet and hot peppers alike joined a bowl of other ingredients as the chef briefly looked over his shoulder to grin at the monitor. "To be fair, Jack-O," Vince countered, pulling a firefighter's helmet and an extinguisher out of virtual space, "you've set a lot more things on fire than I have." "Don't set things on fire, please," came an earnest requests for waist height as the precocious Yolanda set out plates and cutlery at the table with deliberate precision. The stout eight year old scampered back to the counter to retrieve another stack of dishware, moving with the care of someone entrusted with a precious cargo indeed. "Careful, Yoyo, don't carry too many at once," Ellie cautioned as she returned from retrieving the last of the folding chairs from the attic, one tucked under each arm. Pulling them open, she set them down in front of the place settings before inhaling through her nose. "Mm. Alright, that does smell pretty fantastic." Her mother finished arranging a trio of small gourds on the end table next to the couch in the front room and rolled over to the window to peer outside. "Well it had better! Everyone should be arriving soon."
  10. Tuesday, February 26th 4:18 PM The observation deck at the top of Pyramid Plaza was empty, save for one woman. No one else wanted to be in there right now, except for the people who were paid to be there. Around twenty minutes ago, the young woman had entered the observation deck. There wasn't much odd about here - sweatshirts, jeans, sneakers, short and somewhat untamed hair. She stood before the windows of the deck for about five minutes, not moving. And then she'd started pressing her hands against the glass, and slowly, it had begun to crack. The visitors began to move back when they saw what was happening, while the guards quickly moved forward. They didn't get within ten feet of the girl - she looked at them, and within seconds, they were asleep, passed out on the ground. In two minutes, she was the only person left at the top of the Pyramid. In five, the glass on all sides had cracked, with nothing but air surrounding the frame of the peak. For ten minutes, she stood up there, looking out over the city. Looking out... and waiting. STAR personnel were sweeping over the scene, keeping their rifles trained on the pyramid in case anything happened. The heroes would be arriving soon enough; if nothing went haywire until they arrived, maybe this could end peacefully.
  11. The mid-March weather was warming up just enough to make being outside bracingly brisk rather than an invitation to numbness and a lingering ailment. Wildlife had begun to return and become active again, the still largely bare trees home to more chirping birds than layers of snow. As he adjusted the sizeable pack slung over both shoulders and trekked further into the Wharton State Forest, Erik Espadas had a moment of unusual introspection and reflected that the gradual thaw wasn't dissimilar to the slow return to normalcy after his sister's kidnapping by the cosmic villain known as the Curator and eventual rescue. Then again, the wide eyed infant strapped into a harness across the dusty brown haired fencer's chest was a potent reminder that the normal of the day was a far cry from what normal had looked like a year before. He hadn't been camping since well before he'd taken up the heroic identity of Jack of all Blades but given the connection the mother of his child shared with the natural world, it was something they'd intended to do for a while. In the fallout of what the media had insisted on titling the Day of Wrath, however, he'd been reluctant to let Ellie too far out of his sight and had ultimately dragged not only her but her girlfriend and their adopted younger sister along as well. "C'mon, ladies," he called over his shoulder. "Almost there! ...I think."
  12. May 21, 2012 Erik Espadas was a man who had faced everything from alien armadas to demons from the foulest pits, a living weapon honed to peerless sharpness by talent and training, a hero who risked his life routinely with no regard for risk or fear of failure. None of which helped in the least to prevent him pacing back and forth across the living room of his family home, hands clasped behind his back and shoulders set with stress as obvious as the fretting expression plastered across his face. More than half a year of mental and emotional preparation had evaporated the first time Willow had experienced a 'fake' contraction earlier in the week. Now, as the rest of the house filled with family and friends preparing, the knowledge that he was about to become a father had become somehow more real. Running a hand across his heavily stubbled jawline, the fencer redoubled the speed of his pacing. "Try not to wear a rut into the floor too deep for my chair to get over," a wry, matronly voice requested as Gina Espadas wheeled out of the adjacent bedroom and over to her son. Still inside, his thankfully medically trained sister saw to the heavily pregnant dryad in what, surprisingly enough, was not her first experience with midwifery. Although Ellie had made the case for handling the whole affair in a regular hospital, Willow's fairly obviously more-than-human nature presented a problematic risk to their collective secret identities. Compromising, she'd asked her girlfriend to clear a section of the Lab's extensively equipped medical floor, intending to use Mara's teleportation technology to whisk the soon-to-be mother there once they were sure she was about to go into labour. In the meantime, the West End home had accumulated the eclectic assortment of characters collectively known as the Interceptors, including the artificial intelligence colloquially known as Vince running on a borrowed laptop and the quietly precocious six-year-old girl Ellie and Mara had brought back along with more than three hundred refugees of a recently destroyed alternate reality. Orphaned by the creatures who had devastated her version of Earth, Yolanda had been staying with Gina and Ellie since a few strings had been pulled to have the former expediently declared her legal guardian. While Vince had elected to have his monitor left in the kitchen area with a joke about staying out of the way, Yolanda had taken up a cross-legged vigil in one corner of the bedroom, silently watching the proceedings with wide eyes. Erik gathered that this wasn't even the first time the little girl had been present for a birth and considerably better circumstances. He found himself envying her composure.
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