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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. Claremont Academy Fall 2021 The members of Red Squad had been told their special weekend project was quite a doozy, and they were right - though perhaps not in the usual superpowered way. Escorting selected structural supports and architectural plans from the Centurion's Sanctum to the National Building Museum in Washington was a high honor, even if by all accounts it was just going to involve a trip in a private jet and a short car trip to the NBM. Waiting for them as they reported for their bus ride to the airport was their escort for the day; a woman none of them had met before, not to speak of, but who all of them had heard of. The Patriot, second to bear that title, was a solidly-built Asian woman who looked to be maybe thirty (though really, who could tell the ages of adults well) her face partially obscured by a dark red and blue armored helmet complete with chin guard, eyes hidden by white reflective lenses over the eyepiece. Her armored costume consisted of a blue Kevlar tactical shirt, white stain-repellent trousers, and maroon gauntlets. It's a look obviously inspired by the previous Patriot, with a few upgrades. She was waering a brown leather bomber jacket over the top of the costume with an American flag sewn on the back and white star over the heart. Her tactical boots didn't add enough to her height to make her 5'10" but she's close. Inside her helmet, Ashley was already dreading this, even as she was reminding herself to stow it. You volunteered for this job. That means keeping an eye on the kids, especially the ones Callie is keeping a special eye on. You spend a day with them, talk about working for the government and not hiding in the shadows, it's great. Her red white and blue bike was parked nearby the bus, whose driver was inside grabbing breakfast before they all hit the road. It was early morning for teenagers; Ashley had been up for hours. She stood with her arms folded over her chest and greeted the first student with "Morning. Just wait right there till everyone's here, I don't want to talk over the engine."
  3. Fall 2021 Neko and Danica's room "Falling in love at first sight is less common in Japan than in the West; party because of the - peculiar constitution of Eastern society, and partly because much sorrow is prevented by early marriages which parents arrange. Love suicides, on the other hand, are not infrequent; but they have the particularity of being nearly always double. Moreover, they must be considered, in the majority of instances, the results of improper relationships." Having been speaking in a low whisper as she read the Hearn book, Neko closed the book with a sigh and set it on her desk, the largest piece of furniture on her side of the room. With much more care in picking out her words, she said, "Enough for today." Turning in her seat, she said to Danica, "Can you want to buy some food?"
  4. June 2020 - Riverside Joining the Claremont campus at the start of the summer meant Tori had plenty of free time to get to know her new neighborhood. She was enjoying the mixed bag of reduced parental oversight. It had been a relief to her mother to find a private boarding school that was better suited to her eldest new 'talents'. Shipping a problem child off to an elite institution was perfectly within her idiom but where her mother had been horrified, assessment at Claremont had deemed her new abilities well within Tori's control. She wasn't a danger to herself or others so there was no reason to restrict her to the campus and exploring Freedom City certainly took the edge off any homesickness. And it wasn't as if Tori was alone. In addition to the pair of fox cubs that she'd brought with her, there was no end to the creatures that called Claremont's grounds home. Still, it was nice to talk to the occasional human, as well. Tori was certainly looking forward to when Claremont would fill up in the fall. When the silence got a little too overwhelming, Tori would scoop up her wallet and keys and catch the bus from the campus into the city proper which was exactly what she was doing this morning. Tori settled onto her bus seat, ignoring the looks from the older couple across the way. Tori assumed that they were eyeing the tattoos that covered her skin. The woad swirls were impossible to cover up entirely even if she wanted to. Of course, it could have been the furry animal nestled in the hood of her sweatshirt occasionally poking his black muzzle through her red curls to catch the myriad scents. Flipping through her phone, Tori directed her conversation to her companion. "Where should we go today, Tango? Riverside? How does Riverside sound? Oh, look, there's some little bistros there. This one is vegetarian," Tori chattered away cheerfully only to have Tango snort in her ear. The teenager rolled her eyes as she went to stand up. She reached up to make sure that she wouldn't lose her passenger. "You're an omnivore, you know. We really have to expand your diet. It's what your mum would be doing in the wild. Just because you like burgers doesn't mean we eat those all the time." Tori bounced out of the bus, tucking her phone back in her pocket as she wandered along the commercial stretch of the neighborhood. Eventually, her rambling lead her to a smoothie shop where she paused. "Oh, hey. What about a smoothie, Tango? I bet we can get you some berries if we ask politely." Tori commented absently over her shoulder before she went to push open the door.
  5. Claremont Academy Dormitories, Third Floor September 5th, 2020 "I'm not actually sure if the markings are magic," Ryder attempted to clarify as he led Utsuwa down the hallway with Cyan perched on his shoulder and the rest of the Robugs following along nearby, "just that they showed up at the same time she got her magic powers. Which I guess means they're qualitatively magic but not necessarily that they're functionally magic in a meaningful way. Y'know?" He looked over to the more taciturn teenager with a grin to check for understanding or at least continued patience. "Plus Tori's from out of the country, too so you guys can talk about that! It'll be good! We'll have you making friends like an experienced friend-maker in no time!" He gave Utsuwa an enthusiastic thumbs up before checking his phone to confirm he had the correct room number.
  6. Location: A stately manor just outside Glastonbury, Somerset, England Date: May 5th, 2020 It wasn't unheard of for Vanguard to be tapped when one of England's children developed sudden meta-human abilities. It was slightly less common for the request to come directly from the current director of the Ministry of Powers. Of course, this particular manor had once been the country home of the Lady Amanda Phipps-Gordon, the late Lady Celtic. These days, her direct descendants called the manor home. Rather than a servant, the door was opened by Nadia Griffen, who looked to be near her wits end. "Oh, thank goodness you're here. She's in the gardens. She's always in the gardens now," Nadia said, without even a hello or the usual niceties. She seemed more the harried mother of a newborn rather than her usual elegant socialite self. "And if she's not in the gardens, then she's just brought it inside with her. I've had to send the staff on holiday after the mice in the pantry. Truly, we've never had even the slightest trouble with vermin before but if she can control it, she certainly doesn't seem to be of a mind to do so." Despite her agitation, the floors of the manor were hardly in ruin. There was perhaps more dirt tracked through than was socially acceptable but it was hardly a disaster zone. It was, however, clearly out of Nadia Griffen's control and she was not a woman used to things being out of her control. "Thomas has taken our son back to the city. He doesn't need to be unnerved by his sister. He's off to Eton in the Fall for the first time, you know. Honestly, we survived the vegan phase and the vegetarian phase and even the 'eat local' phase that she was just in but this... this is just too much." With that dramatic pronouncement, Nadia flung open the back doors to the stone patio overlooking what had once been manicured gardens and a well kept hedge maze. Now, however, trees and brush thrust up from the ground that seemed more appropriate to deep wilderness than a stately English garden. A young teenager stood at the edge, just in the grass where it was reclaiming the gravel. She was barefoot, her bare legs mud streaked and covered with blue markings. She was too young to have gotten tattooed but those blue marks swirled over her bare legs and her bare arms. Wild red corkscrew curls were tossed by the wind and the teenager shook her head impatiently to clear her vision. As a rabbit took a few hops towards her, those tattoos lit up like there was light just under the girl's skin. "Tori, stop playing in the mud, dear, and come say hello," Tori - Victoria Griffen dutifully turned, once she'd gathered the bunny into her arms to take in her mother and their guest. Her blue eyes widened with recognition and surprise. "Mother! You called in the Vanguard!?" Tori gasped, her words absolutely horrified. Her gaze shot to Synapse's face. "It's just a hedge maze. You have to have more important things to do. I'm so sorry."
  7. Kid Celtic Power Level: 8/10 (150/155 PP) Unspent Power Points: 5PP Trade-Offs: 0 In Brief: Neo-Druid, Looking to live up to the family legacy. Catchphrase: Theme: Queen of Argyll (Tempest) Alternate Identity: Victoria 'Tori' Griffen Birthplace: London, England Residence: currently: Freedom City, USA Base of Operations: Claremont Occupation: Student Affiliations: Claremont Family: Clarence and Nadia Griffen (parents), Thomas Griffen (younger brother), Michael Griffen (younger brother) Description: Age: 16 Apparent Age: Teenager Gender: Female (CIS) Ethnicity: European Height: 5' 3" Weight: 122 lbs Eyes: Green Hair: Ginger After generations that took after the all american Human Tank, Tori was born with her great grandmother's flaming red hair and brilliant green eyes. As a teen, she has the sort of ginger corkscrews that are clearly entirely natural and also a pain to manage. After a disastrous preteen episode where she tried for 'cute short hair' and ended up looking uncomfortably like little orphan Annie, Tori keeps her hair long enough that it can be clipped back from her face or braided to try and keep her mop of curls under control. Like most redheads, she's pale with a smattering of freckles across her skin. Now that her abilities have awakened, Tori has vivid woad tattoos on her skin that wrap around her biceps and forearms, shoulders, thighs and ankles, and over her face and under her hairline. In addition to abstract symbols, the animals whose spirits she taps into are also depicted in her markings. She has a notched brow over her left eye. When she's not in costume, Tori wears baggy jeans and cropped t-shirts with heavy boots. Her aesthetic tends towards vaporwave. Her wardrobe at bedtime is a revolving collection of shirts from nonprofits focused on the environment that she's collected over the years. In costume, as Kid Celtic, Tori wears tight leggings and knee high leather boots that match her leather corset. She has a wrap skirt that covers her to mid thigh and is split up the side for ease of movement. She wears bracers and a fur trimmed cloak although she's been known to shuck the cloak right before launching herself at an enemy. She wears greens and browns with the bright blue of her woad markings on display. If Tori has time, she'll braid the sides of her hair back to help keep it from her face. History: Tori was born to the British aristocracy. After the death of Human Tank and Lady Celtic, Lady Celtic's estranged parents involved themselves in the lives of their orphaned children. Eventually, their son would rise to a position of prominence in the Ministry of Powers. He married and had children of his own, including Tori's father. Unlike her great grandmother, Tori's black sheep position in the family was more one of fond indulgence. While Tori's parents and younger brothers are content to be in the upper class, enjoying the perks and privileges, Tori has been raging against capitalism and the monarchy since middle school. At fourteen, she eschewed her parents' Anglican faith to embrace Wicca which they took in stride. Until her Awakening, her parents assumed that it was a phase that would mellow with time. It was not a phase. On her sixteenth birthday, Tori awoke and left her home in a near trance. When her feet touched the manicured green lawn of her parents' grounds, she was sucked into a portal and greeted by the same Druid that had awoken her great-grandmother. When she emerged, Tori was covered in the mystic tattoos of Lady Celtic's legacy, her sleeping clothes tattered and her bare feet covered with fresh earth. Thankfully, her parents were more phlegmatic about such things than the original Lady Celtic's had been. Her grandfather had been called and his connections at the Ministry of Powers had been tapped. Within a few hours, admission to Claremont had been secured for Tori's sophomore year. Personality & Motivation: Stubborn and strong willed. Tori has a strong sense of right and wrong and at an early age, she realized that a lot of the adults in her life didn't seem to be taking things like climate change or poverty as sincerely as Tori felt like they should be. Yes, they're complicated problems but her family is not without power or influence. The dichotomy of the deep love for her family and her deep frustrations with them have shaped large parts of Tori's personality. She was relieved, even eager, when she was chosen to bear the Lady Celtic mantle. At least now she could DO something rather than feel powerless and impotent. Tori will always chose to act rather than stand by, even if she doesn't know for certain what the right course of action is. She knows she's intense but Tori hasn't learned to throttle that for other people's comfort yet. Honestly, she struggles with whether or not she should throttle her passion for the people around her. She feels the injuries done to the world around her keenly, even more so now that she's awakened. Tori didn't have a lot of friends before gaining magic, and she has less now. She's always been the kid that asks for donations to non profits instead of presents. Tori has half a dozen animals that she's adopted that were injured and nursed back to health. She's a person who feels deeply and wears her heart on her sleeve. Tori has little to no poker face. Even if she manages to keep her mouth shut, it's going to be pretty clear if she thinks you're a jerk just by her expression. Powers & Tactics: Tori's abilities come from her connection to nature. In addition to a strong connection to all things green and growing, and a natural affinity for animals, Tori can call plants from the earth to meet her needs. Beyond that, she can open her mind to the spirits of wild creatures that once roamed the British isles. When she does, a ghost of the creature appears behind her like a corona as her powers activate. These aspects allow her to channel different elements, taking on aspects of that creature as well as abilities associated with them. In a fight, Tori is generally an up close and personal kind of fighter. She fights with the same sort of ferocity that colors much of her actions. There are certainly people who grew up with stories of her great grandmother that are a little horrified by the more animistic intensity of her successor. Power Descriptions: Tori's woad markings glow when she's accessing her powers, the corona of the animals that she's channeling show when she's shifting from one form to another or when she's tapping into their more obvious magic. Her magic aura is always in the blues of her woad markings. Complications: Recognizable: Lady Celtic is a famous legacy and even in her civvies, Tori can't hide her woad markings. (To be fair, she wouldn't if she could. She's stubborn like that.) One With Nature: Tori has strong feelings about disrupting the natural balance or extensive ecological damage. Even if it's the 'right' course of action, she's not going to go along with it. Family Ties: There are expectations on Tori. Her family has been entangled with the British Ministry of Powers for generations and there's every expectation for Tori to return. That's a lot on a sixteen year old's shoulders... and Tori's never been all that good at doing what she's told to start with. Insubordinate: Tori has never liked being told what to do. She's bound to chafe a bit under the rules of Freedom City's super powered school. ABILITIES 40PP Strength: 14 (+2), Heavy Load: 175 lbs. Dexterity: 14 (+2) Constitution: 22 (+6) Intelligence: 16 (+3) Wisdom: 16 (+3) Charisma: 18 (+4) COMBAT 18PP Initiative: +2 (+2 Dex) Attack: +4, +8 Magic Grapple: +6 (+4 Melee Attack, +2 Strength), +16 Plant Control (+8 Attack, +8 Move Object) Defense: +8/+6 (+5 Base, +1 Dodge Focus, +2 Shield), +3 Flat-Footed Knockback Resistance: -4/-3 SAVING THROWS 7PP Toughness: +8/+6 (+6 Con, +2 Force Field) Fortitude: +6 (+6 Con, +0PP) Reflex: +6 (+2 Dex, +4PP) Will: +6 (+3 Wis, +3PP) SKILLS 48R = 12PP Concentration 5 (+8) Knowledge (Arcane) 12 (+15) Knowledge (History) 2 (+5) Knowledge (Life Sciences) 2 (+5) Knowledge (Theology/Philosophy) 2 (+5) Languages 2 (English [Native], Gaelic, Old Irish) Notice 5 (+8) Search 5 (+8) Sense Motive 5 (+8) Stealth 3 (+5) Survival 5 (+8) FEATS 5PP Dodge Focus Luck 2 Ritualist Track POWERS 68PP Comprehend 4 (Animals 2 [Speak To; Understand]; Plants 2 [Speak To, Understand]) [8PP] (Descriptors: Nature Magic) Emotion Control 8 (Extras: Action 3 [Reaction], Area [Type: General; Shape: Visual Perception]; Flaws: Limited [Animals], Limited [Love], Range 2 [Touch], Uncontrolled; Feats: Subtle) [9PP] (Descriptors: Nature Magic Aura) Force Field 2 (Extras: Linked [Shield]; Feats: Selective, Subtle) [4PP] (Descriptors: Force Magic) Shield 2 (Extras: Linked [Force Field]) [2PP] Magic 16 (32PP Array; Feats: Alternate Power 3; Drawbacks: Power Loss 2 [When unable to speak and gesture; Frequency: Common]) [33PP] (Descriptors: Nature Magic) Base Power: [32PP] (Additional Descriptors: Clinging Vines, Grasping Branches, Plant Control) Snare 8 (Extras: Area [Type: General; Shape: Burst], Selective; Flaws: Range [Touch]; Feats: Chokehold, Indirect 3, Progression [Area Size] 2 [200ft radius], Reversible, Subtle) [32PP] Alternate Power: [32PP] (Additional Descriptors: Plant Control, Plant Growth) Create Object 8 (Range: 800ft; Max Volume: 8 cubes; Toughness: 8; Lifting Strength: 40, Heavy Load: 3 tons; Extras: Duration [Continuous]; Feats: Indirect 3, Progression 2 [25ft cubes], Selective, Stationary, Subtle) [32PP] Alternate Power: [32PP] (Additional Descriptors: Plant Control) Move Object 8 (Range: 10 80ft Increments, 800ft Max; Lifting Strength: 40, Heavy Load: 3 tons; Extras: Damaging; Feats: Accurate 2 [+4 Attack], Improved Pin, Indirect 3, Subtle, Variable Descriptor [Animating/attacking plants directly, or using animated plants to move/attack other things]) [32PP] Alternate Power: [32PP] (Additional Descriptors: Plant Control, Plant Shaping) Transform 8 (Plants; Extras: Duration [Continuous, Lasting]; Flaws: Action [Full], Range [Touch]; Feats: Accurate 2 [+4 Attack], Extended Reach [10ft], Indirect, Progression [Mass] 3 [2,500 lbs.], Subtle) [32PP] Morph 1 (One Form: Animal Spirit; Feats: Metamorph 4) [5PP] (Descriptors: Animal Spirit Channeling, Nature Magic) Spirit of The Cunning Fox Spirit of The Hungry Wolf Spirit of The Raging Bear Spirit of The Wise Owl Super-Senses 7 (Magic Awareness; Descriptor Frequency: Very Common; Sense Type: Mental, Default Extras: None; Extras: Acute, Radius, Ranged, Tracking) [7PP] (Descriptors: Magic) ATTACK RANGE SAVE EFFECT Unarmed Touch DC17 Toughness (Staged) Damage (Physical) Create Object Ranged DC18 Reflex Trapped Dropped Object DC18 Reflex Avoided DC23 Toughness (Staged) Damage (Physical) Move Object Ranged Grapple vs +16 Pinned/Bound DC23 Toughness (Staged) Damage (Energy or Physical)* Snare Touch/Area DC18 Reflex 1/2 Effect DC18 Reflex (Staged) Entangled/Bound Transform Touch +5ft DC18 Fortitude Transformed** *Variable Descriptor. Energy against Plants, Physical against everything else. **Plants only. Totals: Abilities (40) + Combat (18) + Saving Throws (7) + Skills (12) + Feats (5) + Powers (68) - Drawbacks (0) = 150/155 Power Points
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