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  1. The fairy ring situation was getting out of control. Stesha kind of hated to admit it, especially when the rest of her pregnancy had gone so well, but it was definitely a problem that wasn't getting any smaller. With Amaryllis it had been mostly the funny kind of annoying, a couple months of extra mushrooms in the yard and the flower crowns she wore becoming lush cascades by the end of a day. She'd never started growing mushrooms in pile carpeting or made exposed wood surfaces start sprouting that time. This kiddo was apparently of a different temperament than her sweet and stable Ammy, even before birth. The good part was that the one surefire cure for excessive plant growth was tiring herself out, and that got easier and easier the bigger Stesha got. Today, for instance, she'd planned on puttering in the Claremont greenhouse until her new mentee arrived, but a morning full of harvest season activities on Sanctuary meant that all she wanted to do now was take fifteen minutes with her feet up and relax. A chaise made of plants gave her the best of both worlds, a chance to lay down and a chance to let the hungry greenhouse foliage absorb some extra energy. It was nice. She didn't really mean to doze off, but it wasn't exactly surprising when she did.
  2. Early Summer 2021 Strange noises often came from the vast honeycomb hives of the giant bees, towering as they did as probably the tallest artificial structures on this planet these days. Songs and dances like distant rumbling thunder, noises of birth and death and a million other things, one sometimes learned to tune them out. At least until a giant bee comes buzzing in, loud as a helicopter and long as a truck, zooming in overhead and landing in a large green space in the midst of human dwellings, roughly equidistant from the homes of the guardians of this planet. It was Super-Bee, wearing her domino mask large enough to cover the front of a Mack Truck. "HEROEZ!" she buzzed. "I HAVE CAUGHT AN INTERLOPER!" Sure enough, she seemed to be holding a struggling human pinned against the thick, sticky hairs on the side of her leg. "HE CAME FROM ZOME PLAZE WE COULD NOT ZEE!"
  3. Late July 2021 Freedom Hall Okay thought Ashley, looking at her helmeted face in the women's bathroom mirror. It's just a normal briefing as part of a larger team meeting. You're going to introduce yourself, say you hope we'll have a good working relationship, and tell them what happened with Revere. We're all adults here and we're not going to fight over territory. Under normal circumstances, she'd have gone in without the mask and secret identity, but there was no reason in the world to have the Freedom League looking into the affairs or for that matter recent professional whereabouts of Secret Service Agent Ashley Tran. She took out her phone and texted a quick Going in. Talk to you later, babe. ? to an anonymous number that routed out to the depths of space before turning off her phone, putting it in her jacket pocket, and tugging it down to match the lines of her costume. No use looking like an ass. With that, and with a deep breath, she walked out of the bathroom, walked down the hall, and headed into the Freedom League meeting room.
  4. It was warm where she was, warm like a sunny afternoon even though there was no light. She could barely move, surrounded on all sides by the darkness, but it didn't bother her. There was no need to move, not when she could just rest, and drift, and let the hurting fade away. Something bad had happened, she remembered vaguely. Something had hurt so much, something had been so scary. It was all gone now, though, and it didn't seem very important. Time passed, minutes or hours or days. She thought she slept, but it was impossible to tell sleep from awake. She could feel her body knitting back together. Sometimes she thought she talked to people or things she could not see, and they told her important things that she couldn't really remember or understand. Maybe that was sleeping too. It was nice. Eventually she became aware of a change in her world. Everything was still dark, everything was still close, but the closeness was softer now, more like being wrapped in blankets than tucked into an egg. The sudden deafening noise of her own heartbeat startled her; she hadn't noticed its absence until just then. She sucked in an involuntary breath, something else she hadn't been aware of not doing, her body jerking with the abrupt resumption of essential activities. The movement seemed to trigger something or break something, and suddenly the closeness was gone, replaced by air and cold and LIGHT! She gasped as her eyes opened, memory and energy and sensation all flowing back in one overwhelming rush! It had taken hours for anything to happen at all after Tarrant had carefully placed the earthen pod containing his friend's body into the newly-tilled soil of one of Mayberry's most distant fields. As dawn crept over the horizon, a tiny sprout had appeared, growing steadily as the hours passed. Over the course of two days it had grown to the side of a cornstalk, then broadened until it was the size of a small tree, for all it was obviously intent on blooming one single, perfect flower. The flower bud started out the size of a basketball and grew to the size of a truck tire before bending towards the ground under its own weight, still growing. Just before dusk on the second day, the furled bud of the flower finally began to move. It gave a single convulsive jerk and then opened wide, spilling out its occupant. Stesha, totally healed, nude as the day she was born, and tangled in her own green hair, rolled the few inches to the ground with a soft thud and lay there on her back, looking around wildly.
  5. In some ways, going to Claremont Academy was like going to any high school. There was plenty of academic work, meals in the cafeteria, sports, dances, all the same drudgery and fun that any teenager could expect from their education. In other ways, though, it was very different. Not all students, for instance, got signed up to do after-school study with members of the Freedom League! Patrol with the Freedom League was something of a pilot program this year. The Claremont students got to experience patrolling the city with experienced heroes who could offer tips and answer questions, and the League members got to serve their community and build ties with the school. It seemed destined to be a winning combination. At least, Stesha certainly hoped it was going to be. Fleur de Joie had been a vocal proponent of the program, and she was eager enough to see it succeed that she volunteered to take the first patrol shift. When she'd gotten the profiles of the students she'd be working with, well, it had been easy to decide who she'd ask to work with her. Tiamat seemed a natural fit, and it would probably be very entertaining to watch her interacting with the kids. Claremont patrols started fairly early, around 9pm, so at 8:45 Stesha was waiting outside the school gymnasium, wearing her costume and browsing through the League's text-tip line to see if anything might be brewing tonight. "Well, here we go," she murmured to Tiamat while they waited for the students. "Ready to teach the next generation?"
  6. Even though she knew full well what time it was, the dark and the cold were still a bit of a shock to Stesha as she stepped out of the largest knot in an ancient oak tree. She'd spent the past fifteen hours of a very long day much closer to the equator, helping out with a World Food Program/UNISON/Freedom League joint humanitarian project in Haiti. Evacuations ahead of the unseasonable tropical storm had kept casualties low, but the damage had still been extensive and a huge amount of arable land wiped out. She'd done good work helping put things back together, but it had been exhausting, miserable work in soupy humidity broken only by periods of pouring rain. By the time she'd finished doing what she could, her uniform was so soaked she could barely pull it off so she could change into somebody's spare UNISON jumpsuit. Even with as long as the day had been, even as tired as she was, Stesha wasn't quite ready to go home just yet. Ammy was out with her class on an overnight camping trip, and the house was so big and echoey with nobody else in it. She thought often about removing the extra bedrooms and going back to a cottage, but every time she considered it, some disaster or other filled all the rooms again. Tonight, though, it was empty rooms and tomorrow another tremendously long day of trying to organize the tax information for the 501(c)(3) that funded Sanctuary's needs from Earth Prime. Unless of course some disaster came up, she thought wryly, and wasn't it terrible and wrong to wish for a disaster just to avoid paperwork? Liberty Park, like most of downtown Freedom City, was never truly dark. Here on the footpath near the Children's Zoo, blue twinkle lights were strung along the path and through the trees, making soft shadows over the bench she sat down on. Just a few minutes to unwind, she figured, and she'd be ready to go home. Or at least cold enough to want coffee. With a rueful grin, she pulled a handful of seeds from her pocket and began flicking them across the path one at a time, letting them take root and grow into flowers as they fell.
  7. Player Name: Electra Character Name: Fleur de Joie Power Level: 15 (244/250) [260] Trade-Offs: -5 Attack / +5 Damage, -5 Defense / +5 Toughness Unspent Power Points: 0 In Brief: A plant-controlling heroine who balances Freedom League membership, caring for her own personal planet, and single parenthood, Fleur de Joie believes in the power of networking to get the job done right. Alternate Identity: Stesha Madison (formerly Lumins) Identity: Open Secret Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois Occupation: Freedom League member, CEO of nonprofit organization Sanctuary World Inc. Affiliations: Sanctuary, Freedom League, Nicholson School Family: Amaryllis Lumins: daughter, b. 06/03/11. Father: Paul Madison, Mother Annie (Lispzyanka) Madison, Sisters: Grace (b 1975), Chloe (1987), Brothers: Basil (1978), Jasha (1980), David (1983). Derek Lumins (Dark Star): ex-husband, married 2010-2015. Description: Age: 35 (DoB: May 1, 1985) Apparent Age: About 30 (immortal) Gender: Female Ethnicity: Caucasian Height: 5'3 Weight: 160lbs Eyes: Blue Hair: Green, thigh-length, kept up in braids and crowned with flowers Under normal circumstances, Stesha is about the most harmless-looking person you're ever going to see in your lifetime. Small in stature, with a soft-edged, curvy body and an open, guileless face, she's the person most likely to be ignored or overlooked in a fight. Her most distinctive feature is her extraordinarily long green hair, which she generally keeps in intricate braids pinned close to her head, and accented with a plaited ring of live flowers. In her civilian life, she favors blue jeans and sweatshirts or t-shirts, depending on the weather, with soft makeup whenever she can manage the time. Her costume is a loose green tunic and matching slacks, brown boots and gloves, a belt with many pouches, and a brown cowl-coat that buttons to the bottom of her rib cage in front and hangs to her calves in back. Power Descriptions: All Stesha's powers are of the magic descriptor, and can also be affected by anything that affects plants. History: Stesha's childhood wasn't idyllic, but it was reasonably close. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago and the home of Northwestern University, where her father was a professor of botany. Her mother was also an avid gardener, as well as a complementary medicine practitioner and midwife, so growing up, Stesha had plenty of exposure to the science any mysteries of plants. With five siblings, she also had plenty of company and competition in every walk of life. All those brothers and sisters meant someone was always around to share the work or the blame, to tell a secret to or take on an adventure. Most of the time she enjoyed her big family, but as she grew up, the problem of dating when one has three overprotective brothers became increasingly annoying. An avid learner, Stesha followed in her father's footsteps and studied plant biology at Northwestern. She enjoyed biology and did well, but soon discovered that her passion was elsewhere. Science was great, but she preferred the magic of a gorgeous flower in full bloom to the colorless data extracted from a crushed and dissected plant specimen. She got her degree in biology, but her minor was in art, and as soon as she graduated, she decided to become a florist. She was able to get an apprenticeship at a highly-regarded shop in Chicago, and discovered a knack for it that she'd never had for lab work. Before long, she was caught up in the life of her community, providing flowers for celebrations and consolations, gifts and gardens, parties and patios. It was very rewarding! She'd been working at the shop for about a year when a shipment arrived that would change her life. Called the Fleur de Joie blossom, the rare specimen was said to bloom only once ever hundred years, and then only for a matter of hours or days. In order to fully capture the event, Stesha and her coworkers set up round-the-clock watch to be on hand for the opening. When it did finally open, very late one night, Stesha happened to be standing right in front of it. The blossom heaved, then released a cloud of shimmering pollen, all over her! She choked and passed out, and when she woke, she felt... different. When her hair began turning green days later, it sealed the deal. The plant had given her powers, and she wanted to know what to do with them! After some cautious experimentation in Chicago, she decided that the best thing to do would be to move to Freedom City, where she could become a real superhero. It didn't take more than a few days in Freedom City for Stesha to realize she was in way over her head. Her powers were useful and fun, but they didn't take her very far if she got into trouble. Luckily, she started making friends almost immediately. With allies like Phantom and Divine, she didn't feel nearly so vulnerable in her hero work, and gradually became braver and more skilled. Divine also introduced her to a friend of hers named Dark Star, who in civilian life was a shy, gawkily handsome man named Derrick Lumins. Stesha and Derrick hit it off right away, an affection that quickly deepened into love. Stesha knew that Dark Star was a cosmic hero who did a lot of his work off Earth, but in those early days he took pains to be around as often as possible, and she convinced herself it wouldn't be a problem. Practice and training broadened Stesha's skills, and eventually she discovered the ability to reach other dimensions through the plant life common to each. While training with Phantom, she came across an Earth that was blasted and dead, obviously from some kind of war decades ago. She thought it looked like a great place to get away from Earth Prime and practice all the plant-growing techniques that just didn't work in the middle of a city. She christened it Sanctuary and made it her home-away-from home. It wasn't long before a situation arose where her nemesis, Beekeeper II, unleashed a swarm of giant bees on the population, then got himself promptly thrown into jail. Once pacified, the bees had nowhere to go, so Stesha took them in on Sanctuary, creating a meadow full of giant flowers for them and asking her friend Gaian Knight to build them a hive of earth to live in. Later on, she discovered a small group of human survivors on the planet as well, and began working with her friend and neighbor Gabriel to give them a better quality of life in a village on her reclaimed land. A year later, the population exploded when she agreed to take in ten thousand refugees of a world lost to the Terminus. As the number of inhabitants grew, the Sanctuary project began to take up more and more of her time. Back on Earth Prime, things were busy for her as well. Her engagement to Dark Star nearly fell through due to his frequent absences off-planet for important hero work, but a promise of his commitment coupled with true love and a surprise pregnancy were enough to convince Stesha to go through with a rescheduled wedding. It was quite lovely, and Amaryllis was born six months later. Unfortunately true love and promises could not hold up forever against the press of a universe full of needs and demands. Within just a few months Derrick was gone all the time again, leaving Stesha to handle things on Earth by herself. She moved her main residence to Sanctuary, building a home of plants and leaves that was comfortable and easy to take care of, safe in a place where she had plenty of support in raising her little girl. In 2015, after Dark Star had been gone from Earth for two years and only came back for the Communion invasion, Stesha called an end to their marriage. The divorce was complicated by neither of them living on Earth and it became public as well, due mostly to them allowing the public access to their early-relationship love story. Stesha, although still a beloved heroine in general, took it on the nose from the tabloids and wound up withdrawing as far from the public eyes as was practical in her situation. Despite the ongoing disaster of her personal life, Stesha's powers and heroic abilities continued to mature. She was offered membership in the Freedom League Auxiliary, where she served for several years before being promoted to full membership upon the retirement of several longtime members. As a member with little ability to leave Earth, Fleur de Joie is rarely called upon for cosmic threats, but does often coordinate with organizations like UNISON for disaster relief and other humanitarian work. Sanctuary has continued to grow as well, to a current population of nearly twenty thousand humans and several thousand bees, in a space covering much of Southern New Jersey. Personality & Motivation: Stesha is a naturally hospitable person with an optimistic outlook and a generalized desire to make the world a better place. She enjoys meeting new people and making friends, and takes particular pleasure in befriending and mentoring brand new heroes. She takes her many responsibilities seriously and works very hard taking care of them all, but she also tries to take time for fun and relaxation whenever possible. Despite her friendly and caring nature, she is a deeply private person who has learned through hard experience to guard the softest parts of her heart. These days it is common for Stesha to happily listen to others' stories all day while offering very little information on her own life, except to her closest friends. Powers & Tactics: A plant-controller through and through, all Fleur's powers involve the manipulation of greenery. Oftentimes she'll start out by throwing a handful of seeds wherever she wants to work, then growing them instantly into mature plants she can use. Her powers are often subtle and indirect; she is a fan of keeping a villain distracted with words while a vine creeps up behind them. Her first impulse is generally diplomacy, a fight avoided is a fight won in her book. If diplomacy doesn't work, she typically moves to attempting to clear the field with her snares and dimensional pocket. She can also act in a support capacity, moving civilians out of danger and healing the wounded. Despite her subdued fighting style, Fleur can put on a heck of a show when she wants to. In her element or on her planet Sanctuary, her displays of power can be awesome and landscape-changing as she raises forests in seconds or turns acres of scrub into piles of mulch with a wave of her hand. When she was pregnant with Amaryllis, she began forming fairy rings of flowers and mushrooms wherever she stood or sat, even indoors, but that has tapered off, much to her relief. Her dimensional teleportation involves traveling through plants, whether by making doors in tree trunks, portals formed of vines, or massive flowers to jump into, depending on what's around to work with. Complications: I Need You, Baby: There are a lot of people counting on Stesha for their very survival. Amaryllis is always first and foremost in her mother's mind, but she's the tip of the iceberg. The giant bees rely on her to keep the flowers that sustain them growing, and the human population of Sanctuary would have a very, very hard time getting by without her, especially if an emergency pops up. Getting away from it all is not an option. Only the Lonely: It's been five years now since Stesha's divorce, and though she knows she should be over it by now, it's still a very sore spot. Most of her friends are busy with their own lives these days, and she herself has a hard time freeing up a moment for coffee, much less dating or bonding with new friends. Her acute and pervasive loneliness is a weakness in an otherwise well-adjusted psyche. With Flowers in Her Hair: Stesha's long green hair is actually alive, and an important component of her powers. The last six inches or so are dead cells and can be cautiously trimmed, but anything above that is part of her body and will cause pain and damage if cut. If too much of her hair is damaged or lost, she will not be able to use her immunities to food and sleep, nor will she be able to regenerate her health. Take My Breath Away: Stesha “breathes” much more the way plants do than humans do. She inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. This is harmless in the everyday, even useful if she's trapped in a tight space with other people, but not great for, say, scuba gear, or if some well-meaning medic tries to put an oxygen mask on her. Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Stesha technically has a secret identity, but it's a very poorly kept secret. There isn't much she can do to hide her highly distinctive coiffure, and she's not great at maintaining an air of mystery. She doesn't always even need to be in uniform for people on the street to know who she is, one more reason she spends a lot of her downtime on Sanctuary. Let Them Not Pass Like Weeds Away: A naturally compassionate person, Stesha's first inclination is to safeguard all life, even of people who are trying to kill her. It is also very hard for her to accept that sometimes you can't save everyone. What You Give is What You Get Returned: Stesha is friends with many, many, many superheroes, and she knows that if she's in trouble, she can call on them for help. On the flip side, if one of them calls her for help, she will do anything she can to assist. She's also a member of the Freedom League, which carries a whole other set of responsibilities that she strives to live up to. But there are only so many hours in the day! Abilities: 0 + 0 + 14 + 4 + 4 + 10 = 32PP STR: 10 (+0) DEX: 10 (+0) CON: 24 (+7) INT: 14 (+2) WIS: 14 (+2) CHA: 20 (+5) Combat: 16 + 16 = 32PP Attack: +8 (+10 Flower Power) Defense: +10 (+2 Dodge Focus, +4 Flat-Footed) Initiative: +8 Grapple: +8, +28 w/Move Object Knockback: -10/-3 Saving Throws: 3 + 10 + 8 = 21PP Toughness: +20/+7 (+7 Con, +13 Protection) Fortitude: +10 (+7 Con, +3) Reflex: +10 (+0 Dex, +10) Will: +10 (+2 Wis, +8) Skills: 120R = 30PP Bluff 15 (+20) Skill Mastery Concentration 8 (+10) Diplomacy 15 (+20) Skill Mastery Gather Information 16 (+21) Skill Mastery Intimidate 8 (+13) Knowledge (Life Sciences) 8 (+10) Skill Mastery Medicine 8 (+10) Skill Mastery Notice 13 (+15) Skill Mastery Profession (Florist) 3 (+5) Skill Mastery Sense Motive 13 (+15) Skill Mastery Stealth 5 (+5) Survival 8 (+10) Feats: 30PP Accurate Attack Benefit (Freedom League Member) Connected Dodge Focus 2 Equipment 10 Environmental Adaptation: Heavy undergrowth Improved Initiative 2 Inspire 5 Interpose Leadership Luck 2 Skill Mastery 2 (Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Info, Knowledge (Life Sciences), Medicine, Notice, Profession (Florist), Sense Motive) Uncanny Dodge (auditory) Well-Informed Equipment 10PP = 50EP Headquarters: 47EP Size: Planetary (18EP), Toughness: +20 (3) Features: Animal Pens, Computer, Defense System 3 [blast 15 [BEES], Snare 15 (entangling vines), Stun 15 (stun flowers)], Gym, Holding Cells, Infirmary, Isolated, Living Quarters, Personnel, Pool, Power System, Sealed, Self Repairing, Think Tank, Workshops Powers: ESP (3), Impervious Toughness (1), Super Senses (1) ESP 9 (visual and auditory; Extras: Duration [Continuous], Simultaneous; PFs: Rapidx10, Subtle) Impervious Toughness 15 (Active/Sustained) [15PP] Super-Senses 1 (Communications Link w/ Fleur) Masterwork Commlink: [1EP] Masterwork Flashlight: [1EP] Masterwork PDA: [1EP] Powers: 2 + 63 + 3 + 3 + 14 + 2 + 6 = 95PP Feature 2 (Distinguish Seeds By Touch Instantly, Instantly Make Flowerpots) [2PP] Flower Power Array 24 (48 pp, PFs: Accurate, Alternate Powers 14) [63PP] BE: Snare 20 (entangling vines, PFs: Indirect 3, Obscures Senses 3 [Visual + Audio], Reversible, Subtle) {48/48} AP: Create Object 15 (plant shapes, Extras: Duration [Continous/Lasting], PFs: Precise, Selective, Subtle) {48/48} AP: Dimensional Pocket 5 (inside Flora, Extras: Duration 3 [Continuous/Lasting], Range [Ranged], Feats: Indirect 3, Progression [Cargo] 10 [1,000 tons], Subtle) {44/48} AP: Damage 14 (Extras: Linked +0, [Drain], Range 2 [Perception], Flaw: Limited 2 [plants]) + Drain Toughness 14 (Extras: Affects Objects +1 Linked +0, [Damage], Range 2 [Perception], Flaw: Limited 2 [plants])(PFs: Incurable, Precise, Reversible, Split Attack, Subtle) 48/48} AP: ESP 9 (Flora's gaze, Visual + Audio Senses, 20,000 miles ["Anywhere on Earth"], Extras: No Conduit, Simultaneous, Flaws: Action [standard], Feats: Dimensional 3 [Any Dimension], Subtle) {43/48} AP: Healing 15 (medicinal plants, Extras: Action [standard], Total, Flaws: Distracting, Feats: Persistent, Regrowth, Stabilize) {48/48} AP: Healing 15 (plantsboon, Extras: Area [Targeted, Burst, 75ft radius], Range 2 [Perception], Total, Flaws: Distracting, Limited 2 [Plants], Feats: Persistent, Regrowth, Stabilize) {48/48} AP: Move Object 20 (mobile vines, Effective STR 100, Heavy Load: 12288 tons) (PFs: Indirect 3, Subtle) {44/48} AP: Nullify 10 (photosynthetic mastery, All "Air" Powers, Extras: Area [General, Burst], Effortless, Selective, Flaws: Range [Touch], Feats: Progression [Area] 3 [500ft radius], Subtle) {44/48} AP: Snare 15 (nature's grasp, Extras: Area [General, Shapeable], Obscures Senses 3 [Visual + Audio], Selective, Flaw: Distracting) {48/48} AP: Stun 20 (stunflower, Extra: Range [Ranged], Flaw: Action [Full], PFs: (Indirect 3, Sedation, Subtle, Variable Descriptor 1 [any plant]) {46/48} AP: Super-Movement 3 (plant doors, Dimensional Movement 3 [Any Dimension], Extras: Duration 2 [Continuous], Portal 2, Feats: Change Direction, Change Velocity, Easy, Progression [Portal Size] 5 [250ft x 250ft], Turnabout, Subtle) {28/48} AP: Teleport 9 (plant doors v.2, 900ft per Move Action, 20,000 miles per Full Action ["Anywhere On Earth"], Extras: Accurate, Affects Others, Flaws: Medium [Plants], Feats: Change Direction, Change Velocity, Easy, Progression [Cargo] 12 [500 tons], Turnabout, Subtle) {44/48} AP: Teleport 9 (plant doors v.3, 900ft per Move Action, 20,000 miles per Full Action ["Anywhere On Earth"], Extras: Accurate, Linked [super-Movement], Flaws: Medium [Plants], Feats: Change Direction, Change Velocity, Easy, Progression [Cargo] 14 [2,500 tons], Progression [save DC] 5 [DC24]) [40PP] + Super-Movement 2 (Dimensional Movement 1 [To/From Earth-Fleur], Extras], Flaws: Medium (Plants)) [4PP] {40+4/44/48PP] AP: Transform 11 (plants into plants, 2,500 lbs., Extras: Duration [Continuous/Lasting], Feats: Innate, Subtle) {48/48} Immunity 3 (ambrosial, Aging, Disease, Poison) [3PP] Immunity 2 (plant physiology, Critical Hits, Sleep) [3PP] Immunity 1 (photosynthesis, Suffocation [CO2], Extra: Affects Others) [2PP] Protection 13 (lignin skin, PF: Subtle) [14PP] Regeneration 2 [ambrosial, Resurrection 2, 48 hours] [2PP] Regeneration 10 (botanical rejuvenation, Recovery +2 [+9], Recovery Rate: Bruised 3 [No Action], Staggered 1 [20 minutes], Injured 2 [5 minutes], Disabled 2 [1 hour], Flaws: Source [sunlight], Feats: Regrowth) [6PP] 32 + 32 + 21 + 30 + 30 + 95 = 250/250PP ATTACK RANGE SAVE EFFECT Unarmed Touch DC15 Toughness (Staged) Damage Dissolve Plants Perception DC24 Fortitude (Staged) Drain Toughness Perception DC30 Toughness (Staged) Damage Entangling Vines Ranged DC30 Reflex (Staged) Entangled/Bound Grow Plants Ranged DC20 Fortitude Transform Magic Flower Ranged DC20 Reflex Dimensional Pocket O2 Burst Ranged/Area DC20 Reflex 1/2 Effect Ranged/Area Contested vs Power Rank/Will Nullify Step Through Plants Touch DC24 Reflex Teleport Stun Flower Ranged DC30 Fortitude (Staged) Dazed/Stunned/Unconscious Vines (Thrown Object) Ranged DC35 Toughness (Staged) Damage
  8. Location: Freedom Hall, Freedom City Date: Thursday, July 25, 2019: 1:37 PM FREEDOM LEAGUE TO ANNOUNCE NEW LINE UP AND ANSWER QUESTIONS: 2:00 PM Outside of the shining walls of Freedom Hall, a small crowd of interested onlookers formed up behind press. Staff were making sure that any random bystanders were finding a place in the crowd, overseen by Cynthia. For once, the lobby and reception area were closed to the public while everything was set up. It had been a gradual transition, in many ways, as the vanguard of the League retired and handed off their duties one by one to the former Auxiliary members. It was known, really, that these heroes had become the New Freedom League, but this would be the first official press conference, confirming the retirement of many of Freedom's best and most beloved and the rise of their new League. A lot of work went into those preparations, most of it by staff but the heroes were busy themselves. After all, there were speeches to be made, questions that would have to be answered and not all the press invited was all that friendly. There were bound to be hostile reporters looking for gossip or tidbits to make their headlines pop. Plus, after the press conference, there was to be a reception open to any who might visit Freedom Hall and their old-but-new heroes. Of course, planning a party for 'any who might show up' would have been enough to keep staff busy. Leilani slipped between two harried staff members to offer Dimitri the notecards that were supposed to be his script. No doubt, he'd find some place new to discard them. She wasn't in costume as Leilani was here to join the crowd with the other interested on-lookers although she'd probably end up drafted by staff to help set tables and other minutuae when the League went out to talk. Raising her voice so that it would be heard, Leilani offered, "Cynthia says its ten minutes to showtime."
  9. At first glance, the tall man leaning against the exterior of the imposing Freedom League headquarters, looked like he might be smoking far too close to the building's entrance. A closer look, however, would reveal that the ember dancing along his tattooed knuckles wasn't connected to anything at all, and certainly not a cigarette. Bowing to the winter weather, Ray wore his leather jacket over the tank top and BDU's that he worked in. Immortality did not, sadly, provide an immunity to cold and while the spark of light in his hands kept his fingertips warm, he'd have to summon something far larger and far more eye catching to heat anything more than his fingertips. Technically, he was finished offering his 'consultation', although Ray didn't think that he'd provided anything unknown to the magic-users attached to the Freedom League, but Ray was trying to be a bit more environmentally conscious and take advantage of the city's public transportation system. His good intentions, however, were going straight out the window if the damn bus took another ten minutes.
  10. June, 2017 There aren't a lot of things in Sanctuary that look at space. Maybe there should be, after the pirate attack a few years ago, but honestly that was repulsed easily enough that most of the citizens of Sanctuary paid it never-no-mind. They had Fleur de Joie, they had Gabriel, they had Gaian Knight, the giant bees, all their other strange protectors from other dimensions - why worry? And so it was that when the giant silver spaceship descended through the atmosphere on a direct course to Mayberry, close at hand to Fleur de Joie's house, hardly anyone realized it was coming until it had arrived in the upper atmosphere - and the locals weren't immediately inclined to panic. It hovered there visible by binoculars and the sharp naked eye, spinning slowly around its central axis, looking for all the world like a shiny chrome flying saucer from a science fiction movie of the 1950s, even down to extraneous fins placed in each quadrant. From above, with its tall central axis, it might have looked a bit like a compass. When reached by radio, the ship's feminine voice was tinny and old-fashioned too, sounding oddly like it was coming from a vacuum tube radio. "Greetings from the Stellar Ochlocracy! We come bringing gifts to facilitate relations! Where may we land?" The vessel was good-sized, at five hundred feet long, close to the length of a US Navy destroyer.
  11. alderwitch


    From the album: Alders Portrait Project

    Fleur de Joie, Freedom League, 2018
  12. Lilly sat just inside the Administrative Building of the Claremont Academy, anxiety slowly building up as time stretched on with the only distraction being the wi-fi on her phone. The young plant controller had been offered to take part of a mentorship program that the school had been developing for some time. The plan was to pair a student up with another superhero so they could better grasp their powers from someone with more experience. More similar the abilities, the better. It was a coincidence that Freedom City was frequented by Fleur de Joie, a legendary plant controller who had earned a place on the Freedom League and was adored by millions in the country. One could see why Lillian King would be more than a bit nervous. She was not sure if she was suppose to do their first meeting in costume or now. The uncertainty was enough to convince her to stay casual for today. Black jeans, black shirt, leather jacket to keep the cold out and a pair of worn boots just in case she had to do any running. And so, she waited for her arrival.
  13. Content Notices: Violence, Birth Scene Location: Espadas School of Self Defense and Swordsmanship! Date: July 19, 2016 Talya was very good at suppressing the potential consequences for her actions. Leaping off buildings, after all, was much easier if one didn't think about what missing a handhold might mean. Unfortunately, ignoring the eventual ramifications of the biology of how a baby (or two. Two!) would enter the world did not actually prevent the event. The cramps and back ache had only gotten worse despite her refusal to acknowledge that it might not just be late term pregnancy aches and pains. Although, she'd not admitted (and likely never would), it was fairly clear to those closest to Talya that the ex-spy was at least unsettled by the impending birth. Perhaps even frightened. At the moment, though, she was mostly just holding up the relocation to Sanctuary as if not stepping through the portal might some how prevent the next several hours. "I've changed my mind," Talya announced mulishly, her arms crossed over her chest. "Perhaps I could just be unconscious for the entire thing, after all. They still do that, don't they? If we went to the hospital instead, could they just knock me out?" Unlikely to say the least with her magical ability to shake off most things mundane and Talya's mystical biology did not often play well with other magics. Intellectually, she knew that but at the moment, logic was not high on the spy's list. "I'd bounce right back from a c-section. Probably. Almost certainly."
  14. Tuesday April 26, 2016 3PM Palermo Time - 9AM Freedom City time There's an English-language newscrew in Palermo this afternoon, the BBC crew's report on Italian tourism having been transformed into a worldwide spectacle by means of the Internet. "Some sort of hideous monster moving its way through the city-" A hazy image of a warped parody of a man, some eight or nine feet tall and nearly nude, dressed only in rags and covered in hideous, pustulating boils. "seemingly emerged from the bay and is now making its way through the heart of this beachside community-" It becomes abundantly clear as it, he, passes, that whatever he is is infectious - a wave of that giant fist, and a barricade of the city's Carabinieri, military police posted here for anti-Mafia duty, are on the ground, screaming and writhing as boils erupt from their own flesh. "rampaging through this historic city like nothing we've ever seen before-" He doesn't even bother to knock down the house at the end of the seaside street, instead simply powering through it as he heads into the older, more built-up, more populated parts of this city over half a million. It's abundantly clear that there is no power on Earth - or at least no power in Palermo, that can stop him. "With the current Papal crisis occupying Italy's defenders, we may be alone. This is-" The newscaster screams, his handsome face writhing in agony as the boils erupts from his flesh, and the camerawoman drops her camera and screams as well, catching one last image of the monster leering at them as he passes by. - This is the fourth day of the crisis. By the time the Freedom League arrives in Palermo, everyone knows what they're dealing with. This is Shkhin - this is the Plague of Boils.
  15. Date: April 1, 2016 Location: Hilo, Hawaii It being April 1st, the early reports of 'nightmare creatures disgorged from the seabed' were assumed to be prank calls especially since these particular calls came from a less populous corner. It was only when the wedding party showed up for their sunset pictures that the panic truly started. While most of the white sand remained lovely and pristine, close to the water's edge it began to blacken, smoldering in the heat. At first glance it seemed that an odd fissure had opened up in the beach, disgorging lava from some previously unknown magma tunnel - boiling the water that touched the edges of the disturbance and sending plumes of smoke into the air. It was only when the lava groaned and then rolled over that true hysteria set in. Across the country, the Freedom League's headquarters lit up with alarms and reports of monsters and nightmares and living lava from panicked officials that were not sure exactly what governmental service one called for that sort of thing. Thankfully, there was always the Freedom League standing ready. Of course as the panic was happening in the late evening in Hawaii, the League got the alerts a little before 4AM by Freedom City's clock. A hero's work was never done!
  16. Despite the mound of paperwork waiting for him Ellis left the now empty exam room with a goofy smile drawing confused looks from a passing nurse and any staff who had seen two others enter but not leave the room. Of course he didn't care in the slightest at the moment and while it might make the rounds on the rumor mill it would soon enter the, 'yet another weird Freedom City Story' realm and fade from memory. Even more astounding than the disappearing act however was managing to complete a shift with no effusions marring his clothing. He finished up his shift on time and quickly exchanged his lab coat for a overcoat to ward off the crisp autumnal air. A quick check of his slacks and sweater vest for any stray detritus and he was on his way arriving at the appointed meeting spot a few minutes early and walking past once so as to not appear too eager before returning and waiting once he convinced himself that was absurd and he was a grown man not some smitten teen. He sent another text off to his sister confirming he was indeed meeting a 'colleague' for a 'social engagement' and would be home a bit late as they had discussed earlier. That done he tucked his phone away and tried to look casual, and likely failed to look anything of hte sort, as he awaited Steshas arrival.
  17. 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.
  18. From the album: Alder's Artistry

    Linework for Stesha and Elis' awkward hand holding.

    © K Keppeler

  19. May 16, 2015 Wharton State Forest Dry weather had turned parts of the big forest into so much kindling - and a lightning storm had turned kindling into a fire. Luckily no humans were hurt, but the ugly patch of burnt woods on either side of the Mullica River stood out like scars on the landscape the next morning, and the rest of the property damage inflicted by the fire was enough to suggest that the park staff needed some help. It was a good place for a visiting plant controller to come and clean up the damage (while leaving enough for the forest to recover from the fire naturally), and for a Claremont student to get her community service credit. "We're glad to have you both here," said Ranger Rick Buchanan as he led Fleur de Joie and Cerulean down the path from the ranger access road to the burn site. "The biggest damage we took was the loss of Tower 4," he went on, pointing to the half-melted steel watchtower had had collapsed into the burnt-over area. "We've been trying to convert the old lookout towers into historic sites for years - but now all we have is Towers 2 and 3 on the far side of the park." He turned and eyed the damage, the ashy area of fallen timbers and molten metal still warm from the recent flames. "Worse, Tower 4 was built almost a hundred years ago, which means they used a lot of heavy metals we'd never let into the park now. If you can't dig them out now, we're in for a long, expensive cleanup."
  20. 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.
  21. There was not an OOC for this thread! Now there is.
  22. Stesha had a problem. Actually, Stesha had a lot of problems, some of which would work themselves out with time, some of which she would have to entrust to other people, and some of which she would deal with herself. But at the moment she had two problems she didn't know what to do with, and there was really only one solution. She needed a lawyer. It wasn't as though Stesha had never used a lawyer before. She'd gone to one of the League's attorneys just a few months ago to help her with the messy and unpleasant business that was even the simplest and most drama-free of divorces. She'd tried to do it herself, but had needed the help when it turned out that the court had problems figuring out jurisdiction when neither of the involved parties made their primary home on the planet. The briskly efficient League attorney had done some kind of legal wizardry involving domicile and precedent and degrees of contact, and it had all worked out in the end, but she kind of never wanted to see that lawyer again, friendly and professional though he'd been. She needed another lawyer. A little asking around in the hero community netted her a good possibility. Lucy Harker was not exactly an average lawyer, being a superhero on the side, but she had her own office on the West End and was open for business. Stesha hoped that, being a superhero and all, she'd be flexible enough to help deal with her two unusual problems, or at least point her in the right direction. She called and made an appointment for Fleur de Joie, then set herself to gathering documents. Lots of documents.
  23. The Southern Queen was somewhat ideally situated (near 76th & Wading), or so thought one Maybelle McQueen. Though technically in the North End of Downtown Freedom, it was just as close to Parkside and Lantern Hill. Meaning even people from the West End or Midtown came in sometimes. But, mostly it was the college crowd mixed with the odd person who actually lived in the North End. The people who ate there more than once swore by it. The food wasn’t of any particularly style. In fact, the menu itself was more of a list of suggestions than a hard list. The Head Chef was known to produce virtually any dish on request, provided the Queen (or the customer) had the ingredients on hand. That said, the menu itself was full of generic fare. The kind of thing you could find in almost any home kitchen in America. There wasn’t a drop of fussiness or fancification about it. It was the dinner rush, but Maybelle was prepared. Honestly, the cooking was finished for everyone currently seated. So, she was doing her “pretend to be a waitress†thing. Most of her customers had no idea what the Head Chef looked like, or even what her name was. Not that either thing was a secret, but really, how many people going out to eat really care about that sort of thing? The Queen was the draw, not Maybelle herself, and she liked that just fine. She wandered around the dining room, quietly making sure everyone was currently satisfied with their meals. Like every night, there were some dissatisfied customers. Can’t please everyone, after all. But that was all right. Maybelle smiled and smoothed things over. The staff swooped in. The problem got solved. A normal, everyday night.
  24. SanctuarySanctuary is the colloquial name given to the alternate-Earth dimension Earth-D-Self-7(extinct) where heroine Fleur de Joie keeps her headquarters. A formerly populated Earth, a global climate disaster caused by human mismanagement and war wiped out the population and rendered the surface only marginally inhabitable. Fleur de Joie is currently in the process of rehabilitating the surface, starting with the approximate location of Freedom City and working her way out. Sanctuary can be reached by anyone with the power to travel dimensionally to alternate Earths. Geography of Sanctuary<BR>[http://freedomplaybypost.com/maps/sanctuary/ Map of Sanctuary] <BR><BR> The rehabilitated and reclaimed land of Sanctuary where the majority of action takes place consists of a badge-shaped pentagon about fifty miles across at its widest point, stretching from the outskirts of Philadelphia to Bayville, NJ at the east and west, then Upper Freehold and the southern border of Wharton Forest at the North and South. <BR><BR> The original and most-developed portion of Sanctuary began as a rough circle in the western suburbs of Freedom City and expanded to a rectangular area comprising most of what was Wharton State Forest. This area contains most of Sanctuary's landmarks and the majority of its inhabitants. Fleur's personal home is on the southeastern side of the rectangle, in what used to be the western edge of urban Freedom City. Slightly to the northwest is the holding area she created for refugees from Prime who might be transported over during a crisis. A few miles north of Fleur's home is Beedom City, the massive hive where the giant bees have made their home. The northernmost corner of the rectangle holds the village where the people native to Sanctuary now live under the protection and with the assistance of Fleur and her friends.<BR> <BR> Outside the original boundaries of Sanctuary lie large tracts of purpose-developed land. To the northwest is a large rectangular plot rehabilitated for farmland and food production. The monastery founded by Gabriel is located to the western side of this plot, while the village butts up against the southeastern edge. The agricultural plot is not fully utilized, but is dotted with fields, pastures and orchards that provide food and education for the population. Off to the northeast and north of the original plot are the Bee Meadows, a very large open area given over to meadows and massive, specially created flowers for the giant bees. The bees can often be seen roaming for miles over the meadows as they harvest nectar. The Bee Meadows are also a frequent home of Gaian Knights movable floating castle. <BR><BR> South and East of Freedom City, Sanctuary stops and ruins take over once more. The shoreline and areas near it have proven resistant to rehabilitation due to the heavily polluted ocean, and anything north or east of the heavily-polluted Wading River is still in ruins. The damage, most likely from a large concussive superweapon, that leveled downtown Freedom City also sent part of Bayview into the bay, forming a partial earth dam that both choked and protected the South River. The river still exists, albeit in greatly reduced form, and had proven responsive to Fleur's cleanup efforts. Streams flowing from it provide the water to the bee colony and to Fleur's home base. In a similar way, the damaged ruins of Philadelphia to the northwest have slowed Fleur's efforts to further expand her cleanup work. <BR><BR> Locations in Sanctuary Fleur's HomeFleur de Joie's home base sits in the middle of Midtown, corresponding exactly with the location of Stesha Madison's apartment on Earth Prime. It is a single-story cottage-like dwelling made almost entirely of plants, save for interior features and crystalline windows created for her by Supercape. The cottage sits in the middle of what appears to be a clearing in the middle of old growth forest, though all of it was created by her in the past eighteen months. Other plant buildings, mostly early attempts at the cottage, dot the clearing as well and are used mainly for storage. The buildings are connected by a path of grass, which becomes a path of crushed white gravel edged with seashells as one approaches the neatly-landscaped cottage. Behind the cottage sits a small shed with a tall metal tripod rising above it. The top of the tripod holds a windmill and solar panels, the shed holds the generator that powers Fleur's home and the nearby civilian holding area. Inside, the cottage is cozy and homey, though far from large. The main room is both living room and kitchen, with a kitchenette counter along one wall containing an improvised sink, a microwave, a coffee maker, and a mini-refrigerator. A small kitchen table sits against the adjacent wall, typically set with two chairs, though a brand-new high chair already sits in the corner awaiting use. Much of the room is taken up by a comfortable sitting area in the center of the room, a comfortable sofa flanked by two recliners, all gathered around a coffee table. In the winter, a space heater sits on the fourth side of the table, where a fireplace would be in a different cottage. The composition of the house is very apparent, with natural grass floors and walls that change color with the season. At the back of the main room, a hallway leads into the rest of the home. A small bathroom contains fixtures designed for low-impact wilderness living, while opposite that is the master bedroom, a very simple affair with a queen-size bed,a dresser, a television with DVD player (that only plays DVDs, of course), and a bedside table with lamp. A simple wooden cradle beside the bed is the most recent addition to the room. The newest room in the house, freshly grown-in next to the bathroom, is the furnished nursery at the back of the house. The entire house is the size of a medium-sized apartment. Civilian Holding AreaThe Civilian Holding Area is designed to facilitate Fleur de Joie's ability to remove civilians from dangerous situations on Prime without having to bring them to her home or leave them wandering unescorted on Sanctuary. Roughly the size of a football field and bounded on all sides by twelve-foot-high plant matter walls, the most striking feature of the holding area is its faceted clear crystalline roof. Designed and created by Supercape, the roof shines like a jewel and allows sun into the holding area while keeping off the rain. Inside the holding area, Fleur has placed signs welcoming displaced civilians and instructing them to wait to be returned to Prime. She's also stocked emergency food and medical supplies, in case the rescued civilians are injured or need to spend more than a few hours in holding. The holding area sits approximately a half mile from Fleur's home, in what would be the Theatre District on Prime. Beedom City DesignationThe official designation for Sanctuary is Earth D-Self-7(extinct). The designation, which uses Freedom League Standard Notation, indicates the planet's status: 'Earth:' This planet is a parallel Earth, and English is or was a dominant language. 'D:' This planet's environment is unpleasant and unhealthy, but capable of supporting life. 'Self:' This planet is a victim of self-inflicted disaster, not natural disaster or attack '7:' This universe is the seventh the League has explored with similar features 'Extinct:' This parallel Earth once harbored a Primelike population, but the entire population has since been wiped out.
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