Well, you know how it is. I write whatever pops into my head at a given moment, which works out generally but sucks for serials.
So instead of another Blood and Bone, you get this. I'm running a Changeling game tabletop at the moment, and I started writing NPCs for the setting's freehold. After 41 complete NPCs, and another 20-30 one-paragraph writeups, I realized that I had more NPCs than the characters could reasonably meet, let alone interact with enough for their backstories to come out.
The result is this - some of my favorite backstories popping up in something that may or may not be a serial - it might just be a series of character sketches. Either way, hope you like it.
The setting, which is hopefully not needed but might be interesting anyway, is located here: http://wiki.white-wolf.com/worldofdarkn ... =Grovedale
The din of the high school's front lawn was a happy sound, one of chaos and joy and a hint of confusion, and one that brought a slight smile to Clever Maya's lips as she parked her car on the corner across the street. Stepping out, she paused just long enough to lock the car - it was old, and she didn't expect anyone to try and steal it across the street from a high school, but some kids might get it into their heads to check it out while her back was turned, and it seemed better safe than sorry.
As she crossed the street, strolling towards the large doors that children streamed out from, free from the confining structure of the day, she paused to glance around, taking in the street and its surroundings. The wind danced through the trees lining the sidewalk, its patterns creating a rustling whisper of truths ignored by the people that flowed around the trees like water across a dam. She wasn't surprised; to most, it was simply noise. Here and there a leaf caught in the wind, lifted into the air, and danced away. She almost felt that they were asking her to join them - but no. It was only wind, not the hauntingly familiar call of Autumn.
â€œHey, Big!â€ The call echoed across the schoolyard, and Maya chuckled as she heard it. The girl slipping through the crowd bore a passing resemblance to her - at least in the eyes of those around them. Maya could see differently. Where the child's skin was chocolate, hers was purest obsidian, with muscles etched in the fiber of her almost-scaled skin. Her hair was spun glass hanging around her shoulders, to the simple braids worn by the girl, and her amethyst eyes were no match for the younger girl's rich brown ones. But then, none of those around them saw such things. To them, Maya was simply another woman - athletic, perhaps. Beautiful, certainly, with a nobility to her pose that gave even the leering delinquents lounging around a dumpster near the parking lot a moment of pause. But as human as anyone walking the streets.
Maya knew better.
Pushing the thought from her mind, she grinned and nodded to the girl. â€œHey, mini-me. Ready to go?â€
â€œWell, uh, actually...â€ The younger girl coughed, swinging her bookbag in one hand. â€œI was going to go over to Claire's house. Have you met Claire?â€ She waved at another girl, who was having somewhat more trouble flowing through the crowd. â€œClaire, this is Maya - she's a friend of the family.â€
Claire was a blonde girl with an intelligent-looking gaze, although it shifted to confusion at that. â€œAre you named after her or something, May?â€
â€œNo.â€ The younger Maya grinned at the older. â€œIt was just a co-incidence. Big Maya didn't even meet me until a year ago.â€ She shifted her attention to 'Big Maya', who was giving her a dubious look. â€œAnyway, I'm going to go to Claire's.â€
â€œHave you told your mother?â€
â€œWell... uh....â€ May coughed. â€œSort of. I'm going to call her from Claire's.â€
Maya gave her a deadpan look for a few moments, and then shrugged. â€œWell, make sure you do. You don't want to worry her.â€ Losing the look, she reached out with a grin and ruffled the young girl's hair. â€œAnd next time, tell us a little earlier, huh?â€
â€œOk, Big. Sorry to make you come over here for nothing.â€ With an abashed look which lasted exactly until she turned away, May turned to Claire and started walking off. As they did, Maya caught a snatch of Claire speaking.
â€œGeez, your mom sends friends to pick you up? Paranoid much?â€
â€œYeah, well. Something happened a while back.â€ Brushing off the comment, May and Claire vanished into the crowd of kids, and Maya sighed. Turning, she returned to her car, unlocking the front door and getting in. She reached up to adjust her rearview mirror, still thinking about the girl. 'Something happened'. An easy retort for what had...
â€œShe's recovered quite well, don't you think?â€
With almost a year of practice, Maya didn't jump. She barely flinched at the sudden sound behind her - instead, she finished adjusting the mirror, giving the man it now revealed her best fisheye. â€œVery well.â€
â€œAlmost uncanny, one would think, after what she went through.â€ Leaning forwards, the man in the back seat smiled widely. Maya shifted to meet his gaze, his features vaguely reminiscent of her own as he turned to face her. His skin was ruddy and smooth, and gave the impression of a waxwork figure, its actual shape indistinct.
â€œWhat do you want, Jack?â€ Her voice was flat.
â€œNow, now. Maya. Is that any way to speak to the Autumn King?â€ Jack Tallow, one of the most powerful changelings in the city of Grovedale, and the leader of the Autumn Court, grinned another of his insincere grins, raising his eyebrows with blithe unconcern. â€œI was just passing by, and I thought I'd see how the sprout was doing.â€ Reaching into his coat, he pulled out a large manilla file folder, and flipped it open. â€œWonderful reading. Care to take a look?â€
Without leaving his gaze, Maya shook her head. â€œDon't have to. I've seen her progress myself. Complete recovery. No signs of trauma.â€ She let herself frown slightly, showing a hint of fangs. â€œYour point?â€
â€œYou might want to keep it in mind, that's all.â€ Setting down the folder, Jack leaned back in the seat, his expression turning grim. â€œIt's one thing to leave it be. Lots of us do that. It's another to get involved. Dangerously so.â€
â€œShe is not a threat to anyone. She's a fourteen-year old girl.â€
â€œIt is a two-year old construct of magic and shadow.â€ Jack's tone was flat. â€œAnd if you keep treating it as a person, you are going to be badly hurt.â€ He sighed. â€œI understand your concern, Maya. I even understand that, as much as we both know it wasn't your fault, you feel responsible for what it went through. But don't let that cloud your objectivity.â€ He paused. â€œI know that you've been teaching it about us, about the Hedge and Glamour and how to defend itself. If that goes bad, I don't want to have to destroy it.â€
â€œYou won't.â€ Maya's voice was harsh. â€œI saved her from one monster, Jack. Don't become another one.â€
After a moment, Jack laughed. There was an honesty to the sound that was at odds with his usual expression. â€œYou aren't afraid of me at all, Maya. I like that about you.â€ Reaching over, he pushed open the door and stepped out of the car. â€œJust keep it in mind. The Starbringer saved you from a madman, and then you saved yourself from the Starbringer. I wouldn't want to see the third monster that traps you be your own guilt.â€ With that, he closed the door smoothly and strolled away, his cloak rustling in a pattern which had nothing in common with the wind around him.
For a few moments, Maya watched the leader of her Court walking away, and then she cursed savagely and started the engine. God damn him anyway, for the memories he was waking in her. Her fetch was no monster.
And in one corner of her mind, she prayed that the day would never come when she became one.