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About Literature / Hobbyist VariableNatureMale/United States Group :iconlibertasoct: LibertasOCT
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Lori Nedalph Character Info Sheet by VariableNature
Lori Nedalph Character Info Sheet

So....this is the character I'm going to be auditioning for the second season of Once Dead OCT. MAJOR MAJOR PROPS to :iconcrazyshiro: for drawing her for me. Man, this is a character I've been meaning to use for a while in SOMETHING. Here's hoping everyone likes her!

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know and I'll get back to you!

Name: Lori Nedalph

Age: 35

Occupation: Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Durvandian Army, Head of the 24th Special Assault and Testing Battalion (more colloquially known as the “Blue Tiger Battalion”)

Gender: Female

Species: Human

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 141 lbs.

Hair: Black, cut short.

Eyes: Brownish-Gray

Skin Color: Medium-dark brown

Body Type: Somewhat muscular

Other Notes: Has a tattoo along her right arm of a blue tiger sitting up and roaring, which she received when she first joined the Battalion. It goes from her shoulder to her elbow.

Standard Outfit: “Casual” Military Training uniform, with boots and cap. The top of the uniform, if unbuttoned, reveals a plain white, long-sleeved t-shirt.

Do you have permission to kill this character?: Yes, and I wish you the best of luck. Just make sure she goes down swinging, that’s all I ask.


History: Born to a military family in the Royal Republic of Durvandia, Lori Nedalph joined the Royal Military Academy at age eighteen and, over the four years she studied there, proved herself as one of the rising stars in her class, regularly getting top marks in her classes and rarely performing outside of the top six members of her grade. At her graduation, she was selected, along with her close friend and rival Jackson Katona, to join the high-profile and (in)famous 24th Special Assault and Testing Battalion. The 24th was designed to gather talented and bright members of all branches of the armed forces and be a testing ground for potential weapons that could be more widely used in the future. The R&D people work as designers and builders for the various weapons, while the soldiers themselves are able to demonstrate how effective (or in-effective, more often than not) they would actually be. Many of these weapons are very high-tech and top-secret, and allow the 24th to operate with a level of independence next to unheard of in the rest of the Royal Durvandian Army. As she continued to work in the 24th, she slowly climbed up the ranks of command, eventually receiving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and command of the Battalion, with her second-in-command being Katona.


Personality: A military brat, and a graduate of the Royal Republic of Durvandia’s top Military Academy, Lori has a very healthy respect for authority and order. She is very much a “lawful good” type of person, expecting others to follow the rules and standards, in particular the people she views as her superiors. Lori does her best to try and set such an example for the soldiers under her, however there have been noted (albeit rare) instances of her losing her composure with her rage becoming quite legendary amongst the newer members of the battalion.


Likes: Army, her primary weapon “Inferno” as well as any other types of firearms, her fiancé and soon-to-be step-child, pancakes, her pet ferret Issac

Dislikes: Disorder and insubordination, dark chocolate, extremely windy weather, faulty machinery (especially if there were other, better ways that could have prevented a breakdown)

Fighting Style/Weapons:  

  • Primary weapon: GFB-XX7 MiniGun, more colloquially referred to as “Inferno” for its firepower. It comes attached with a shield that is able to be pulled out from underneath the gun, while still attached to the gun proper, in order to protect the shooter holding the weapon. Should she be holding the weapon while in close-quarters, it is possible for her to swing it around like a large, unwieldy club, but due to its size, weight, and potential for weapon damage, she prefers not to do this.

  • Close Quarters Weaponry: The NY8 (basically a modern-day Beretta M9), and a combat knife, both of which she is very well-trained to handle.

  • Close Quarters Combat: Close quarters, hand-to-hand combat was one of Lori’s weaker areas, although she makes up for technique with strength.


  • Great physical strength and endurance: Lori is very strong and makes it a point to stay in great physical condition. She may just be human, but she is more than capable of handling herself in a fight, especially with her punches (carrying around a heavy Minigun works as a great work-out for upper body strength.

  • Weapons training: She’s been around weapons since she was a child, having been born into a military family, living in army bases as a child, and having served in the Army for years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She knows how to handle weapons carefully and properly, as well as how to care for them and repair them, if need be. Granted, the more exotic weapons might take a much longer time to figure out how to use properly, but she can manage.

  • Leadership and Planning: Rising to being the leader of the 24th meant having training in how to actually BE an effective leader.

  • Survival Training: A core part of Lori’s training was the ability to survive for extended periods of time with limited resources and having to adapt to her surroundings. Identifying the differences between edible and poisonous fruit, basic first aid in the field, etc., were are parts of such training.

  • Bullet Proof Shield: One of the positives of “Inferno” is a riot-shield attachment on the outer-casing of the weapon, which rotates underneath the gun when not pulled out. When it is pulled out, it is capable of stopping and deflecting gunfire, protecting Lori from people trying to shoot her.

  • Patience: You can’t rise in the Army without being willing to take a lot of nonsense. Lori’s been around enough that she can just let enough of it wash over her. But she still does have a tipping point, it’s just farther away than other peoples’. And when it’s reached…..



  • Standard Human: No magic spells, no superpowers. Standard vanilla human abilities and weaknesses in terms of the supernatural.

  • Overspecialization: When a person has a Minigun at their disposal, they are going to want to use that Minigun as much as possible. Lori is no exception to this rule. While she will still have the presence of mind to bring her pistol and combat knife, she will focus primarily on using the “Inferno”, even in situations where it might not be the best option. She very much considers it “hers”, despite it technically being a prototype that is still in testing before being sent into production proper.

  • “Inferno” can break down: It is, after all, still a prototype. It overheats, it can stall, and it occasionally needs a few slaps to properly work. It can, and possibly will, break down in the middle of a fight, and that will leave Lori open to attack until she either performs a quick fix on the gun, or she starts to use something else.

  • Combat Weaknesses: “Inferno” is a Minigun. They have a knockback. The project itself was basically scrapped until Lori was able to develop a stance and show that she can fire the weapon without falling back twenty feet on her ass. This means that she HAS to remain stationary in order to fire the gun; otherwise she will injure herself and potentially damage the weapon. This also means that, should she be attacked from behind, Lori would be basically defenseless.

  • Rage: Lori may have a high tolerance, but when it breaks, it breaks HARD. Tactics at this point just fly out the window, planning gets scrapped, teamwork thrown into the trash; when she’s angry, she wants someone to HURT and by HER HANDS. She becomes so focused that she develops tunnel vision to her surroundings.

EDIT: So, for pre-round stuff, I had to include some things that were taken away from Lori. A few things were a bit hard (namely the "powers" section), but here they are for anyone who needs to know!

Stuff that Veronica ends up taking away from Lori due to her magic spiders:



  • That bullet-proof glass on the shield part of Inferno? The one that VN gave Lori just before he headed off to the hotel? Gone. She’s basically blind firing at full-protection. Full shield means lack of vision. I understand that this isn’t a “power”, per se, but since her only “power” is her choice in weaponry, that’s what’s getting changed.



  • Memories of her fiancé and soon-to-be step-son. Bye-bye love of her life and child she treats like her own flesh and blood!

  • How to perform a proper, in-the-field style fix if anything on Inferno breaks down. Something happens to it, it will be busted. Given that it’s still in testing stages, that could happen very easily.

  • She no longer remembers being in charge of the “Blue Tiger Battalion”, the 24th Special Assault and Testing. As far as she can recall, she’s just another soldier in the group, albeit fairly high-ranking and serving under the Old Duck (the former CO of the Battalion).



  • Control over her Anger. Yeah, Lori’s going to be much, MUCH easier to set off. She no longer has very good control or patience, just a lot of RAGE.

Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)
“Sir, if you could please just step back into your vehicle, we will—”

“No, no screw you.” Jacob was finally at his breaking point. “We’ve been sitting outside here for too damn long! You KNOW who we are, you’ve seen us all a million times before! Just let us in already!”

They had been parked outside of the gate for what seemed like forever. It was only Jacob’s second time actually visiting this facility in person, although he knew well of its reputation. The Royal Durvandian Rock Hill Arsenal, while having the appearance of a standard military base, was the home of the Armed Forces most elite and independent groups, the 24th Special Assault and Testing Battalion. Where the best and brightest of all of Durvandia’s military tested, tweaked, and improved the weapons that would be used on the front lines of battle in the future.

And yet here Jacob was, stuck outside because no one at corporate headquarters realized how expiration dates worked on identifications.

“Sir, I need you to step inside your vehicle,” the first guard repeated. “Once your identifications have been verified, you will be allowed—”

“This is such bullshit!” Jacob yelled, turning around and pounding his fist into the door of the truck. “What, does the Queen herself need to give you a personal OK just to let people in here? Do you not understand who we are?!”

“Jake, get in the damn truck, all right?” Dr. Ian O’Frier sighed, hand covering his face in frustration. “This isn’t helping at all. Let the guards do their job, and we can get in faster.”

“I want to speak the Old Duck,” Jacob snarled. “I have a RIGHT to speak to your boss! This is inexcusable! You can’t just hold us out here! Your entire little base here,” he motioned to the gate that stood in front of them, and the several military buildings visible in the distance behind it, “wouldn’t even exist if we weren’t here regularly, giving your little tiger cubs new toys to test. And I am NOT going to just stand here like an idiot!”

“No, actually, you will.” Jacob, O’Frier, and the guards turned around to the woman who had spoken up, standing on the other side of the closed gates. She was dark-skinned, wearing a standard soldier’s training uniform, complete with boots and a cap that covered most of her cut-short black hair. The guards immediately saluted the woman, who waved them down. “At ease. What’s going on here?”

“I need to talk to Colonel Branston,” Jacob said, taking a few steps towards the woman before being blocked and held back by the guards. “Get off of me, dammit! Where the hell is Branston?”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” the woman replied, in a calm, measured tone. “Kalston, Nash, what’s going on?”

“Apologies, ma’am,” the second guard, Nash, answered. “Their identifications for entering the base had expired, so we were calling in for confirmation before letting them enter.”

“Look, all of this is completely unnecessary! Just let me speak to Major Branston, he can clear all of this up and let us in, like we were supposed to!”

The woman behind the fence looked long and hard at Jacob. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible, given that—”

“Oh don’t feed me that bullshit!” Jacob exclaimed. “I was personally selected to work as lead on the GFB project by the Old Duck! He knows who I am! He is going to let me in!”

The woman looked back at O’Frier, still sitting in the truck and waiting for this entire embarrassing fiasco to finish, with a look of puzzled amusement. O’Frier returned the look with a simple shrug, and turned to the side. “As I was saying,” the woman continued, “Colonel Branston retired last week. He is no longer involved with the management of the 24th Battalion.” She let a small smile appear on her face as she watched Jacob react to the revelation. “I must say, it’s surprising someone who’s so close to the ‘Old Duck’ didn’t already know that.”

“Well…well, then….then get whoever’s in charge, then!” Jacob shouted. “Tell your boss to get out here and make these idiots let us through!”

“Those ‘idiots’ are doing their job, and I highly recommend that you let them continue before have them arrest you for attempted trespassing.”

“Tres…” Jacob couldn’t believe his ears. “Listen, bitch, I don’t know who you think you are, but trust me, the second I meet the Old Duck’s replacement, you will be BEGGING for me to forgive you!

The only response he got from the woman was an even wider smile. The guards themselves weren’t able to control themselves, barely containing their laughter. The woman signaled to the guards to let Jacob go and have them open the gate. When they did, she stepped forward and offered her hand to Jacob. “Allow me to introduce myself,” she said. “Leiutenant Colonel Lori Nedalph. Head of the 24th Special Assault and Testing Battalion.” Jacob’s face fell as the information washed over him. “You know, I was wondering who the new guy that was going to head up the design and specs of the GFB I’ve been testing would be, and I have to say I’m surprised at how far below my standards you fell.”

“Miss…Leiutenant Colonel, I thought that—”

“It is remarkably clear what you THOUGHT, sir, judging by your actions and attitude in speaking to me. Now, are you going to wait patiently for your identification to go through?”

“This…” Jacob simply mumbled, barely audible, “this is insane. Completely unfair. I—”

“You know what?” Lori stepped even closer to Jacob, getting right in his face. The two guards stepped back to give them room. “You’re right,” she answered, “this isn’t fair. If it were fair, you would have been told to turn around and head back where you came from, as well as outright banned from ever entering this facility.” She let the threat hang in the air before continuing. “I’m giving you this one break. Now get back in the truck.”

Jacob mumbled something that Lori couldn’t make out and made his way back to the truck, where O’Frier sat and shook his head at the nonsense he had seen.

“Kid, be glad she’s being nice,” he told Jacob, as the guards finally let the transport truck enter the compound. “I swear, if I were her, I’d have kicked your ass good and proper.”

Lori watched them unload the GFB-XX7 Minigun onto the firing range, a group of men working together to carry the large weapon. “Be careful, boys,” she told them jokingly. “I don’t want you hurting my Inferno.”

“I’m sure your little baby can handle any rough-housing,” Major Jackson Katona, her second-in-command, said in a similar manner. “If anything, it’s probably more capable than before.”

Lori nodded in agreement. The changes that had been done on the Minigun were readily apparent just from its design. While before it had been very bare-bones and exposed, now the sides and bottom were covered by plating.

Once Inferno was finally placed on the table, she was able to get a better, closer inspection of it. “So, why exactly do we have all of this additional covering?”

“It…it mostly serves as support, for the bullet-proof shield,” Jacob stammered out. He was still steaming from the dressing down he received from Lori before he entered, but too reluctant to speak up any more than he had to.

“Shield?” Lori asked. She focused closer on the bottom of Inferno, noticing a small handle that she was able to pull out. Once it had been fully extended outwards, she was able to push it up, to a ninety-degree angle.

“It took a fair amount of design and engineering, but we were eventually able to figure it out,” Dr. O’Frier explained. He began rattling off information and procedures that were required to get them to this point, but Lori was focusing more on the actual shield itself. She raised it and lowered it several times before she finally interrupted with a single question.

“This isn’t going to work in this state.”

Dr. O’Frier stopped, puzzled by Lori’s remark. Jacob looked like he was about to mouth off before his intelligence got the better of him and he remained silent.

“I mean, it’s a fantastic idea. Hell, it probably makes Inferno here the closest it’s ever been to being actually 100% useful on the battlefield. But having this shield up has a major problem.” She lifted the shield to its upright position, then lifted up the Minigun by its top handles, slightly struggling due to the additional weight and off-balance. Once it was finally straightened out and pointing out towards the firing range, she continued. “I can’t see where I’m pointing at! Look, even with this in front of me, I’d have to lean way to the side, which makes the balance completely off.” She carefully put the weapon down on the ground and turned around. “Maybe some sort of….eye……..”

She stopped. They were all gone.

Jacob, Dr. O’Frier, Jackson, everyone had just suddenly disappeared.

In fact, the entire base seemed to fall completely silent. Lori couldn’t hear any of the normal sounds that carried the Arsenal on an average day; weapons being fired, the roars of engines, the discussions and arguments of soldiers and scientists trying to figure out how to properly handle a weapon.

Everything was just completely silent.

Lori took two steps forward and called out. “Hello? Anyone?”

Then the darkness came.

It didn’t come all at once. It was like it suddenly chopped the world around Lori into sections swallowing them whole, removing buildings, trees, vehicles, even the very earth itself in sliced-up sections as it was slowly swallowed up by a pure black void.

Lori turned around, intending to outrun the void for as long as she could, but saw that it was approaching her from the opposite direction, removing literally everything in its path. For a few seconds, she was rooted in place, horrified and confused. In all her years of training, she had never encountered or been taught anything like this. It seemed as though the whole world was dying.

So she ran back to Inferno, back to the GFB-XX7 Minigun, lifted it up, and prepared herself. Whatever was going to happen, she would not just stand by and let it wash over her like a tidal wave. She was a trained soldier and officer.

Lori would stand. She would fight. Even if she had no idea what, exactly, she was fighting in the first place.

When it reached her, she was prepared for anything. Pain, a loss of gravity, disorientation, even death or a cessation of existence.

What she didn’t expect, and received, was nothing.

Lori kept her ground, looking around her and moving in as small a circle as possible, doing her best to cover every single angle. Inferno was primed, ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

And still, nothing.

“CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?” Lori yelled. …seven, eight, nine, ten. “ MY NAME IS LEIUTENANT COLONEL LORI NEDALPH! I’M WITH THE 24th BATTALION OF THE ROYAL DURVANDIAN ARMY!” She paused again, this time counting to twenty. “IF ANYONE CAN HEAR ME, PLEASE RESPOND!”

This time, she counted to one hundred, the same pattern she had done for so long, she had begun to lose count. Lori thought of it as a drill, a training exercise that she had to just power through until she reached the end of it. She was initially more hopeful. After all, if she had survived whatever it was that had just happened, then it was reasonable to think that there were other people in her exact situation. People who were lost and trying to figure out what was going on.

They needed to group up, figure out what to do next. Get in contact with someone, get evacuated, just plain get OUT.

But as her self-made drill continued on and on, Lori had yet to see anyone or anything. She carried Inferno across her right shoulder, adjusting occasionally for the extra weight the newly-designed bullet-proof shield and its support brought, but beyond that and the clothes she was wearing, she couldn’t find anything. No people, cars, buildings, trees, animals, nothing.

It felt like Lori was trapped in some gigantic black box, cut off from the rest of the world.

She finally made her one-thousandth step, and stopped. Lori sighed and opened her mouth to shout again. “HELLO? CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?”

“No need to shout like that.” Lori audibly gasped, turning around so quickly to face the person who spoke that she almost dropped her gun. Before her stood a young man in a black t-shirt and jeans, glasses and brown hair. He looked a few inches taller than Lori, at least a decade younger, and was smiling. “Not like you’re going to find anyone else here.”

“You….you’re….” She set down Inferno as gently and quickly as she could and rushed over to meet the mystery man. “Oh thank goodness, someone else. Listen, my name is—”

“Lt. Col. Lori Nedalph of the 24th Special Assault and Testing Batallion of the Royal Durvandian Army. Right, right, I know, you don’t need to tell me.”

“Good. Listen, is there anyone else out there? Do you have any way to communicate with people outside of…wherever it is that we are? I need to report this to my—”

“You’re not going to report this to anyone, Lori.”

Lori took a step back, surprised by this kid’s tone. “I’m sorry, who exactly are you?”

“Call me VN,” the kid said. “Don’t bother asking my real name, all that matters is that I am here to help YOU.”

“V…VN.” Keep him talking. Just keep him talking. “Never mind. Look, where exactly are we? I mean, I was at the Rock Hill Arsenal, but given how far I’ve travelled, at the pace I’ve been going, I’d say I’m somewhere…hang on.” She tried to do the math in her head, but eventually gave up, shaking her head. “Forget it. Do you know where we are or not?”

“It’s called the Black Box. It’s where characters go when they’re not used or forgotten,” VN replied.

Lori raised an eyebrow to that. “Characters?”

“Oh, I should have mentioned this earlier. I’m your creator,” VN said, stated in the same manner one might discuss the weather. “You’re a character for a book I tried writing when I was in high school, and, well, stuff happened. I ended up not continuing it and, well…..” He spread his arms, gesturing at their surroundings. “You ended up here.”

Lori groaned. The first living person she had seen in she didn’t know how long, and he was completely delusional. He was most likely suffering from some sort of psychotic breakdown, given everything that had just happened. Just…just play along, Lori thought. Make him comfortable. He might not be entirely useless. “Ok then, VN,” she said. “You’re my…”

“Your creator, yes. Not in, like, the religious sense, oh no. I wrote a book, or at least TRIED to, and you were going to be the main character.” He chuckled as he recalled his efforts. “Got to say, it’s interesting to finally see you, well, in person.” VN looked up and down, examining her. “Have to say, surprised that you’re black. Not a complaint, sorry if it came out like that. I just haven’t created that many non-white characters, you know? I guess I’m really starting to get more confident in myself.”

“That…look, how do you know you’re my creator? Can you prove it? Happen to have this book you tried to write?”

VN smiled. “Very, very nice. Keeping your skepticism, very good. All right, I’ll prove it.” He started walking around Lori, and began to monologue. “Your name is Lori Nedalph. Age 35. You have a tattoo of a blue tiger on your upper right arm that you got when you first joined the 24th Battalion. Your gun over there is classified as the GFB-XX7 Minigun, although you personally prefer to call it ‘Inferno’. The most recent adjustments it received involved attaching a bullet-proof, pull-out shield that protects the person shooting it. You’re engaged to Alexander DuKleer, a man who has an eight-year-old son from a previous marriage. You have a pet ferret named Issac and your favorite food is pancakes.” He stopped, facing her directly and smiling. “Anything I missed? Or would you prefer I go on about your life?”

Lori couldn’t move. She wanted to move, DESPERATELY wanted to run away, but she couldn’t. There was no way VN could have known even half of the things he just said, not even one-tenth. “How,” she stammered out, “how…how did….you…?”

“Like I’ve been saying, Lori, I am your creator. I literally know everything about you. And I’m here to help you.”

“You…you created me?”

“Did I not…YES, I made you. I made you, your family, your friends, your co-workers, your entire WORLD, I made it as I typed on a computer.”

“Then why are they all gone?” Lori’s voice was low, but the anger was blatently obvious. “Why is everyone, EVERYTHING gone?!” She rushed VN and grabbed him by his shirt, quickly throwing him to the ground with as much force as she could. “You created them? THEN BRING THEM BACK!”

“I will, I will! That’s why I’m here!” VN moaned. “I can bring them all back, I can, you have to trust me, PLEASE OH GOD PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!” He began to cry, scared and in pain. “Puh-please, I can, just…I just need your help. Oh God, please stop.”

Lori stared at VN and slowly stood up. She waited for him to calm down. “I…I’m sorry. Just…what do you need my help for?”

VN collected himself and pointed behind Lori. She turned around and saw a door. “Through that door,” VN began, “is a hotel. In that hotel, you’re going to meet a bunch of people. One of them’s a girl with red dyed hair and a bunch of piercings. Her name’s Veronica, she runs the hotel. You need to get in that hotel and win the tournament that they’re running there.”

“What...why do I need to join some sort of tournament?”

“The hotel…look, you know how this Black Box is weird? The hotel is…it’s like a giant HUB for all of them. A place where a bunch of forgotten characters can get together whenever there’s a tournament. But the most important part is that, if you win the tournament, you get the grand prize. A second chance. The ability to change a part of your story.”

Lori wasn’t done interrogating VN yet. “What do you mean, change?”

“I mean, you can alter it to your own liking! Make yourself Head General of the whole goddamn armed forces, become Queen of Durvandia, fight and win a million battles, whatever the hell you want!” VN took her hands into his. “I just need you to win this tournament, Lori. You do that, and I’ll make you the best story I can.”

“So do that now. You’re here, you’re my creator, why can’t you just fix all of this without this…hotel and Veronica and whoever else there is?”

“Because…because I have no idea where to go,” VN admitted. “Lori, I’m not that good a writer. I suck. I make crappy stories, and you were the first time I ever seriously tried to write a full-length novel. I was eighteen, I sucked, and I wasn’t proud with what I came up with. I’m at a creative roadblock, here. This tournament, it can change all of that. But I need you to help me here.” He looked into her eyes, pleading with her. “I just need you to win. If you do that, I’ll know what to do next. Please?”

Lori sighed. “Fine. Fine. I’ll do this. But it better be worth it.” She went over and picked up Inferno, double checking every aspect of it so carefully she didn’t notice that VN had walked up next to her.

“Hang on a second. Could you pull out the shield part?” Lori shot a questioning glance at him, but proceeded to do so. When she did, he snapped his fingers. A small, clear, see-through glass suddenly appeared where Lori’s eye level would be when she picked up and held the gun. “Figured you should have that, to help when you’re shooting it. Hope it helps.”

Lori looked at VN, then folded the shield back up. Once she was done, she gave VN a hug. “Uh, o…ok then,” he said awkwardly. “This is…happening.”

“You better be right about this,” Lori whispered. She let him go, picked up Inferno, and walked out the door.

VN sighed and sat down on the ground. “Yeah, I better be right.” He walked away, opening up a second door that had suddenly appeared. “Please, please let this work,” he muttered to himself.

Lori stood in front of a metal gate, Inferno on her shoulder. Several odd, rune-like scribblings covering the stones around it. At the very top of the gate was a sign that said “Hotel de Las Arañas”. When she reached out to the gate with her free hand, it automatically opened, swinging out and away from her and letting her enter.

She carefully examined her surroundings as she followed the path. The large body of water in front of her was like nothing Lori had ever seen. It was a thousand different colors swirling around in a chaotic blender. Lori was curious what swimming in such a thing would be like when she saw the twenty-foot-long koi fish jump out of the water and land on its six legs. It let loose a gigantic roar, tore out a tree with its teeth, then leaped back into the water.

No swimming. NEVER swimming.

She eventually made her way to the front desk, walking through the sliding doors and was immediately confronted by the woman she assumed to be Veronica. “WHAT in the name of FUCKING SHIT ARE YOU DOING? Do you just carry around giant-ass guns all the time, or is Shiro too much of a pussy to come here for herself?”

“Shiro? Who….never mind. You must be Veronica?”

“Fucking aces right I’m Veronica! Now who the fuck are you, G.I. Jane?”

“Leiutenant Colonel Lori Nedalph, of the 24th—” Lori began, before Veronica put a hand over her mouth.

“I don’t want your fucking serial number and all that bullshit. Let me guess, you’re here for the tournament?”

“Yes, actually,” Lori answered after carefully removing Veronica’s hand. “Listen, I was hoping you could explain a few—”

“Uh-uh! Nope, not now. Listen here Little Miss Overcompensation, I’m trying to run a damn fine hotel AND a tournament here, so you can get in line with the other freaks and rejects if you want to ask questions.” Veronica turned around back to the front desk and rummaged around, eventually pulling out a key and tossing it to Lori. “Room number’s on the key, enjoy your stay, blah blah blah all that shit. Now beat it.”

Lori knelt down and picked the key off of the floor. “So….thank you, I guess.” She turned around and walked out the door, but stopped just short of the exit. “Oh, I’m…I’m not sure how to say this, but….a giant fish ripped out one of the trees near the entrance, and I think—”

“ARE YOU SHITTING ME I JUST PLANTED IT FUCKING YESTERDAY!” Veronica ran out, nearly knocking Lori over in her haste.

When Lori finally made it to her room, she gently placed Inferno down on the ground. The room wasn’t too large; a desk with a chair sat on the opposite side of the room. A second door that opened up to the bathroom, complete with a shower, toilet, and sink. A third showed the bedroom, while the main living area itself connected to a small kitchenette.

It wasn’t much, but Lori would have been comfortable with much less. She walked into the bedroom and took off her jacket and boots, leaving only her long-sleeved white t-shirt and pants. She laid down on the bed, accidentally sitting on the note that had been left there. Lori picked it up and began to read it, hoping it might make some sense of her surroundings.

Her entire world disapeearing, her conversation with VN, this whole tournament…Lori didn’t know what exactly she had gotten herself into.

But she knew she’d fight. Even if she didn’t know what, exactly, she was fighting in the first place.
Once Dead OCT R2 Audition
This is my audition for the Second Season of Once Dead OCT, starring my character Lori Nedalph.

And with me seeing her off in the Black Box. If I get in, I'll be trying something...interesting, plot-wise.

Veronica is owned by :iconcrazyshiro:

All other characters are owned by me.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

“No, Erica.”


“Erica, how many times to I have to tell you no before you realize that I’m not going to change my mind?”

Erica groaned, but kept arguing with her mother. “Mom, I’m thirteen years old! I’m tired of being stuck in the house all of the time! I have, like, no friends at ALL! And these online classes you’re having me take are SO BORING! Even the art classes! THE ART CLASSES ARE BORING!”

“Those classes are some of the most highly regarded online courses available for—”

“I. DON’T CARE!” Erica shouted. “I want to actually go to a SCHOOL school. With people in a classroom, and a teacher and clubs and people my age!”

“You know plenty of people your age, Erica. There’s Samuel, Louis, Sean, Charlotte, Taylor, and many more!”

“But I’ve known them for YEARS, Mom. I don’t have any new friends, it’s just the same people over and over and over!”

“If you’re truly interested in attending a school, there’s always the Northern Collegiate Preparatory—”

“Mom! I don’t want to go to a boarding school!”

“I met your father at that school, Erica. It’s perfectly fine.”

“But there’s schools here! In this city! Multiple schools that I can go to!”


“I promise I’ll keep my grades up and everything! I’ll be an awesome student, don’t you trust me?”

“You changed.”

Erica stopped and looked at herself. Her skin was now covered with short, grey fur. Her hands were shifted into a hand/paw hybrid, with her claws slightly visible, and her bare feet appeared the same. Her tail hadn’t appeared, thankfully, so her skirt wasn’t ruined. A concentrated effort later, she was no longer in her human/wolf hybrid state, and now looked fully human. “Mom…” she began.

“You want to spend several hours a day, every day, every week, for years, with people who don’t have lycanthropy? When you can’t even control yourself enough to not change in a single argument with your mother?” Her mother turned her focus back to her work. “Now, I’m in the middle of preparing my arguments for the trial tomorrow, so could you please let me work?”

“I can handle it,” Erica muttered.

“Northern Collegiate is a wonderful program.”

“I don’t want to be shipped out to the middle of nowhere!”

“You’ll be around people just like you.”

“I’m tired of ‘just like me’, I want to meet people NOT like me, I’m being…being…

Erica’s mother sighed. “Fine. Fine. It’s against my better judgment, but I will try to convince your uncle to look the other way this one time. I’ll have you enrolled in a public school here.”

Erica leaped over to her mother and grabbed her into a tight hug. “Thank you, thank you, thank you THANK YOU MOM! You are, like, literally the most awesome Mom ever!”

“BUT,” her mother continued, “I will be watching you. Your family will be watching you. The Pack will be watching you. And you know what happens when someone breaks the rules.” Erica nodded, not particularly caring about whatever the Pack would want. “Furthermore, you need to be on your BEST behavior. You don’t skip out on any of the meetings. You keep your high grades. You do everything you are told to do, chores or otherwise. Understood?” Erica nodded again. “And I’m going to have to talk to your uncle once he’s back home. And if he decides not to do this, than you don’t get to raise it up any more.”

“Fine, fine, yeah. I get it, I get it,” Erica said. She hugged her Mom again and raced up to her room, eventually collapsing onto her bed in a state of bliss.

She was going to go to a school, like normal people.

She couldn’t wait.

She started to have second thoughts about this entire idea, and wondered just what she had been thinking to believe that this was going to be a good thing.

Her mother had driven her to the school herself, and parked the car at the front entrance area. “Well, go on,” she said. “First day of your life at James F. Byrnes High School.” She looked at her daughter, waiting for her to make a move. “Isn’t this what you wanted?”

“It is, it…it is, yeah,” Erica replied. “I’m just…nervous, all right? You win, I’m a little nervous.”

“I can always drive the car back home—”

“NO!” Erica shouted, surprising even herself. “No, I can…I can do this.” With a deep breath, she grabbed her backpack and opened the car door. “I’ll see you at four, Mom.”

As she stepped out of the car and towards the school, she could feel her mother watching her every movement, waiting for any excuse to rush out of the car and drag her back home. It wasn’t until Erica had entered the front doors that she felt somewhat safe from her parent’s gaze.

However, actually being inside the school presented an entirely new problem. She had never imagined that it would be so, well, big. She had visited it before, when summer break was still going, but it had been empty then. Erica had walked around the halls, making mental notes on where hallways and stairs led, but with so many people all bunched together, going in seventeen separate directions for seventeen different classes, it was starting to be overwhelming.

“You alright?” Erica’s had snapped over to where the voice was coming from, and saw a young man looking right at her. “You’ve kinda got a ‘deer in headlights’ look going on.”

It took Erica a few seconds to speak. “Yeah!” she finally said, in a bit of a too-loud voice. “Yeah, I mean, it’s just so, well, you know, different,” she blathered, “and really big, and lots of people and there’s…classes and stuff? So, I was just, uhm….Hi. I’m Erica.” Emotionally, she felt like an idiot. The first person to talk to her, and she entered raving lunatic mode.

“Hey, Erica. I’m Brandon. Let me guess, you just moved here?”

“What?” Apparently, Brandon wasn’t put off by her temporary verbal diarrhea. “Oh, no! No, it’s just, well, new school year, you know?” She laughed nervously. “I just, well, I guess I don’t know where a lot of stuff, uhm, IS.”

“Well, what’s your schedule say? My older brother goes to this school, so, maybe I could help you out?” Erica smiled nervously and pulled off her backpack, unzipping it and pulling out one of the several binders for her classes, each one colored differently. “Wow, that’s…a lot of binders.”

“Yeah, well, different class, different binder, you know?” Keep embarrassing yourself, Erica. Just keep it up, you’ll probably change right in the middle of the school. “Ah, here it is!”

“Let me…oh, you’ve got Mr. Daniels’s math class too! Awesome, I can show you where it is, come on.” Brandon walked over to the stairs while Erica zipped back up her backpack.

Apparently, her first start to the school year was not as bad as she, or her family, had envisioned it.

After fourth period was lunch, and Erica wandered around the cafeteria, tray full of food, trying to find a place to sit. Every table already seemed to be occupied with groups of people, and she didn’t want to just suddenly barge into them and make a faux pas.

“Yo, Erica! You can sit here, if you want!” Towards her left she saw Brandon wave his arm to get her attention. He was sitting with two other guys and some girl. Erica smiled and happily walked over to the table, taking the seat next to the other girl and putting down her tray and backpack. “Liking your first day so far?”

“The History class I had was really boring,” she said. “It’s like, I already knew everything he was teaching. And his voice just droned on and on and on!”

“Let me guess,” the girl said. “You had Doc Railes?” Erica nodded. “He’s older than dirt. Literally, there’s probably dirt at this school that hadn’t even existed when he was hired. I don’t blame you.”

“So this is the new girl you were talking about, Brandon?” one of the guys asked.

“You didn’t have to say it like that,” Brandon mumbled.

“Hey, you started talking about her, then you called her over, I think I can say a lot just based off of that.” The teenager smiled at Erica. “The name’s Tom, by the way.”

“Alex,” the other guy said.

“And I’m Lucy,” the other girl said. “So, where’d you move from, Erica?”

“Uh, I didn’t move from anywhere. I’ve lived here my whole life.”

“So…home-schooled?” Lucy asked.

“Well, kind of. Basically, I guess,” Erica admitted. “So, how do you all know each other?”

“We played baseball together,” Brandon said. “You’re looking at three extremely talented players right here.”

“And this one’s all mine,” Lucy said, scooting closer to Alex and grabbing his hand.

“Cut it out, Lucy,” he said in a resigned voice. “You’re making things creepy.”

“Well, uhm…thanks for letting me eat here, guys.”

“Hey, no problem,” Brandon said. “So what other classes do you have?”

Erica pulled out her History binder and flipped through the pages, trying to find her schedule. “Uhm…fifth period I have some math class, sixth is English…I don’t know what seventh is, it just says—”

“Woah, woah, woah, back up a second!” Lucy flipped a few pages back and stopped at some of the notes Erica had taken. In the top section, she had drawn a wolf howling at the moon. “Did you seriously draw this?”

“Oh, that?” Erica asked, flustered and shutting her binder immediately. “It’s, it’s, it’s nothing, just a, you know, quick sketch I did, anyone could have—HEY!”

Brandon swiped the binder and opened it up, eventually finding the page in question. “You drew this? Erica, this is seriously awesome!”

Even though it made her proud to hear people praising her work, she didn’t feel comfortable having people focus on her drawing of a wolf. “It’s nothings, seriously guys, I did it in a few minutes, give it back!” She snatched up the binder and put it back in her backpack, hoping to turn her focus on eating her lunch.

“If you did that in a few minutes, I really want to see what you can do with some time,” Brandon continued. “That looked really cool!”

“Thanks,” Erica said, still focused on eating her food as fast as possible. Once she had finished as much as she could stomach, she got up. “Well, nice meeting you all! Later!” She grabbed her backpack and tray, and walked over to the tray return area.

Her second meeting with Brandon, she decided, could have gone better. But it also could have gone a lot worse.

It certainly didn’t mean she wanted to not see him again.

“Happy sixteenth, E!”

“Thanks for inviting me over, Lucy.” Erica stepped into Lucy’s house with Brandon, who had driven her over. “But I already told you, I didn’t want to do anything really special. It’s just a birthday, I haven’t really even done anything.”

“No, it’s your SIXTEENTH birthday. That’s, like, the first major milestone in your life! Get your license, get a car, go ANYWHERE, how is that not special?”

“Is there a reason you invited us over here?” Brandon asked. “Because I’m really curious why I got dragged into this.”

“Mostly because you, unlike E here, already have a license, and live closest to her. And you two are such a couple.”

Erica and Brandon spoke up at the same time. “We’re not a couple.” Lucy let their silence after their simultaneous declaration speak for itself.

“Anyway, come on. Alex and Tom are already here.” Lucy closed the door behind them and escorted them to the living room, where there was a giant television in front of a couch and some chairs. “Though I’m surprised that you actually WERE able to make it. I thought that you said your art contest thing was maximum priority.”

“Well, my parents are under the impression that this is going to be a ‘study group’. So as long as I’m home by midnight, I can hang out.” Erica couldn’t help but smile. Her parents and extended family didn’t approve of her hanging out with her school friends, so they tried almost every excuse they could think of in order to limit her free time. But even they couldn’t contest the upcoming mid-semester testing would require some studying, and heaven forbid any of them actually show up and stay at their place. She had to lie about exactly how hard the testing would be, but there was no way tonight wouldn’t be worth it.

Lucy nodded in approval. “Way to go, E! Showing off a bit of your bad side for once!”

Tom and Alex got up, wishing Erica a happy birthday. Alex then walked over to Lucy and kissed her briefly on the lips. “Man, come on,” Tom said. “Can the four of you not rub in the fact that you’re dating each other tonight? Starting to make me feel depressed.”

“I’m not dating Brandon,” Erica protested.

“SURE you’re not,” Tom replied.

“Guys, hang on for a second,” Lucy said. She cleared her throat and began to speak. “Well guys, thanks for coming over for a little impromptu celebration of E here finally being allowed to terrorize the road!”

“Seriously, Lucy. You don’t have to do anything special. I’m happy to just hang out with my friends.”

“Oh, it won’t be anything special,” Lucy said, making her way to the kitchen and pulling out several cases of beer. “We are going to hang out, watch some awesomely crappy movies, and get drunk! How is that special?”

Erica wasn’t so sure. “Uhm, Lucy, your parents are going to freak out if they catch us drinking.”

“Good thing they’re up in New York for the week, then! AND I can easily replace this stuff. Come on, you’re already lying to your parents about tonight. Live for the danger, E. LIVE FOR THE DANGER!”

Erica still looked unconvinced. “If she doesn’t want to drink, you can’t make her,” Brandon said firmly.

Lucy sighed. “All right, all right. You want some soda or juice or whatever, E?”

Erica remained silent. She looked at Lucy, glanced back over at Brandon, and sighed. “Fuck it,” she muttered, and grabbed one of the cans of beer.

“YOU ROCK E!!!” Lucy passed some cans over to Tom and Alex. “Brandon?”

“I’ve got to drive tonight, thanks.”

“E, you have a wonderfully responsive man. Don’t lose him.”

“Will you stop teasing her?”

“That’s just the sort of thing a concerned boyfriend would say.” Erica couldn’t help but laugh at that. She popped the tab of the can and took a quick sip, trying out the flavor and finding it wasn’t entirely disgusting.

The five of them eventually decided on a movie to riff on, with the continued objective of “everyone drinks when something incredibly stupid happens in the film”. By the time they had reached the halfway point in the movie, they had all paused, laughed, and talked for three hours.

“See…see…hold ona shec,” Lucy slurred. “We gotta….shop. STOP. Stop dis. I am…am WAAAAAY too drunk.”

“Agreed so SO so sosososo much,” Alex replied.

Tom nodded in agreement, then wobbled to his feet and excused himself, making a slow, slightly staggering walk to the bathroom.

“I can put the cans away,” Erica said, putting down her own can and picking up the unused containers.

“How in da HELL are you standing?” Lucy asked, sprawling out over the couch and moving next to Alex.

“I guess she can handle beer better than you three,” Brandon guessed.

“No, no, no, shut up Brandon. This is, this is just crazy unfair,” Lucy continued. “You may be the…the…birthday gurl, but you had jusasmuch beer as I, I, I did.”

Erica did feel perfectly fine. A small buzz from all of the alcohol, feeling a bit looser and giddier, but nowhere near the level of drunkenness that Lucy was. “Just lucky, I guess.”

“But COM’ON! Wha’s your secret?! Yoga? It’s yoga, isn’t it?”

Erica laughed that off. “No, stupid, it’s probably just me being a werewolf.”

Immediately everyone shut up. Erica herself froze up in sudden terror of what she had said. Why had she said that?! Was she actually drunk? What if her parents found out? What should she do?

“Being a what now?” Brandon asked.

Think, think, THINK OF SOMETHING YOU STUPID IDIOT! A plan soon formed in her mind. She slammed the refrigerator door shut and strutted out into the living room in a relaxed fashion, as Brandon, Alex, and Lucy watched her. “You heard me. I’m a werewolf. I can turn into a giant wolf, go hunting in the moonlight, have super strength, super hearing, super smell, AND I CAN DRINK A FULL KEG WITHOUT GETTING DRUNK!” she yelled bombastically. “BOW BEFORE ME, MERE MORTALS, FOR I AM IMMUNE TO YOUR PETTY BREWS!”

She stopped and waited, hoping that her sudden and over-the-top behavior would convince them to leave it as a joke. No one said anything. Erica waited a bit longer. Still, no one spoke up.

Finally, Lucy couldn’t contain herself anymore. She burst out in gut-wrenching laughter, falling down from the couch and rolling around on the floor. “Oh my GOD, E! That was hilarious!” She kept laughing so hard that she had to stop for a few seconds so that she could breathe properly. Eventually Alex and Brandon couldn’t help themselves and joined in. Even Erica chuckled at the scene before her.

“Well then, Wolf Girl,” Brandon finally said when he had stopped laughing, “you certainly have a better sense of humor than I thought.”

“ ‘Wolf Girl’? Really?” Erica asked as she sat down next to Brandon. “That the best you could come up with?”

“Ohmigawd we need to make Wolf Girl a thing with you. I DECREE IT A THING! ALL HEAR ME, FOR WOLF GIRL IS A THING!” Lucy laughed as she tried to get up, but couldn’t. “I think the night is officially over. I can’t get up. That was THE funniest thing, Erica. Like, outta NOWHERE!”

Brandon escorted Erica back out to his car while Alex went to check on Tom and make sure he hadn’t locked himself in the bathroom. “That was honestly kind of awesome, E. Seriously, you’ve never done anything like that before.”

Erica shrugged, trying to move on from the moment. “Maybe I’m drunker than I look.”

“Maybe,” Brandon admitted. When they got to his car, Brandon stopped, with a thoughtful look on his face.

“Brandon? Something wrong?”

“It’s just…you’re really awesome, you know that?”

“You’re just saying that.”

“I mean it, you are. I mean, you’ve got awesome art skills, you clearly have an absurdly awesome sense of humor, and you’re, well…”

“I’m what? Come on, spit it out.”

Brandon mumbled something to himself that Erica couldn’t hear. “Speak up, Branny, I don’t actually have super hearing, remember?”

“You’re actually kind of hot,” he mumbled a bit louder. Erica stopped what she was doing and paid full attention to him. “And I’ve been trying to figure out what to say, and I don’t want it to be awkward, since we’ve known each other and been friends for two years now, and I don’t want to say anything stupid, but I…like you. I really like you. And…yeah.”

Erica didn’t know what to say. “You…you like me?”

Brandon nodded his head, looking down at the ground. “Like…REALLY like me?” He nodded again.

Eventually, Erica figured out what her response to Brandon’s declaration was. “Happy Birthday to me,” she said. She moved up close to him, and they started to kiss.

“Wow,” Brandon finally said. “Happy Birthday, Wolf Girl.”

Erica sighed, bringing in Brandon for a close and loving hug. She probably couldn’t be any happier than she was in this moment.

There was a loud pounding on Erica’s bedroom door. “I’m a little busy with something!” she shouted, her eyes concentrated on the drawing tablet in front of her. This was the first piece she had ever done for a paid commission online, and she wanted to get it perfect. It may have only been for five dollars, but it would be the start of her professional art career.

The door opened anyway, and she turned and saw her mother and uncle enter her room. “Mom! Uncle David, what are you doing?”

David had a letter clenched in his hand. “You mind explaining what the hell this is?”

Erica carefully pried the envelope from her uncle’s fingers. The return address was clear as day: D.C. Walker Institute of the Arts. She reached into the already open envelope and pulled out the papers, reading them quickly. The moment she got to the third line, she squealed with glee. “I got accepted! I GOT ACCEPTED!” She jumped up and hugged her mother. “I’m actually going! They accepted me!”

“Erica, this is serious,” her mother replied. She took the letter from Erica’s hands and pointed to a different part of the letter. “Why did you apply for Early Decision?”

“Because it’s my first choice and they’re the best arts school in America?”

“You told me you wanted to go to Hefstader University!” her mother protested.

“Well, looks like I can’t go there, huh? Oh well.” Erica smiled. “Nothing we can do about it, is there? And when did this letter come in, huh? Shouldn’t I have gotten it the second it arrived?”

“Erica, this college is all the way in Seattle! On the other side of the country! The rest of the members of The Pack that are your age are all going to local colleges, wasn’t that—”

“Well, too bad, Mom. This is Early Decision. I’m literally not allowed to go anywhere else, it’s against the rules.”

David stepped in closer to Erica, and began to get in her face. “As Pack Leader, I don’t particularly like you travelling so far for college.”

“How many ways can I tell you it’s out of your hands, Uncle? Because it is.”

David straightened up. “Are you challenging my authority?”

It’s a loaded question and everyone in the room knew it. Erica responded as best as she possibly could. “I’m only stating facts. Mom’s a lawyer; she can probably find the rules or whatever that say I have to attend.” A wide smile appeared on her face. “You know, it must suck, seeing something you don’t like happen, but not have any power to change it.”

The doorbell rang. “And that’s my cue to leave,” Erica said. She grabbed her jacket and moved quickly out of the room.

“Erica? Erica! Where do you think you’re going?” her mother asked.

“Out with my friends,” she responded. “I don’t have any homework left to do, AND it’s Friday. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll take my leave.” She gave a mocking salute to her Uncle and walked down the stairs. When she opened the door, Brandon was waiting. They were about to head on out for their movie date before David arrived and pulled the two of them back in.

“Now you listen here, I have put up with your nonsense long enough!” he shouted.

“Hey, who the hell—”

“Stay out of this, kid,” David growled. Brandon shut his mouth and cautiously
backed towards the door. “Erica, who the hell is this?”

“I’m her—”

“He’s my boyfriend. We’re going out on a date.”

Brandon looked shocked. “Oh, so NOW we can tell your family we’re dating?”

“I wanted to save it for the perfect opportunity,” Erica replied. And judging by the shocked expressions on both her mother’s and David’s faces, this was it.

“You…you two are…ERICA!” her mother shouted. “I…I can’t believe that you would, would DO this! I thought you knew better!”

“Oh, I do know better, Mom. I know a lot better than I did when I was just a kid. Come on, Brandon, let’s go.”

Brandon, however, stayed rooted to the spot. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Brandon, drop it.”

“No, no, hang on a second.” He took a few steps forward towards Erica’s mother. “Ma’am, I don’t know what you seem to think of me, but I can assure you, for the past two years I have been nothing but an awesome boyfriend to your daughter.”

“TWO YEARS?!” her mother shouted.

“And she is an amazing woman!” Brandon continued. “She’s intelligent, and beautiful, and awesome, and smart, and everything you could want in a girl! I treat her nicely, I’ve been considerate to her. Hell, I’ve even put up with what I thought was her own paranoia about being introduced to you! Well, clearly I was wrong. Mrs. Desmond, I’d appreciate it if you weren’t so hostile when you don’t even know me.” He turned back around to face Erica. “Let’s go, Wolf Girl.”

The second those last words left his mouth, time seemed to freeze solid for Erica. Her heart didn’t seem to beat. She couldn’t breathe. Her body refused to move. Everyone remained completely still, save for Brandon, who looked confused with the shocked expressions on everyone’s faces.

David closed the door and locked it. “Kiddo,” he growled, “you have no idea how much trouble you’re in.”

“Oh, what are you going to do, hit me?” Brandon asked, mockingly.

“David, please, he doesn’t know, it’s just a joke, you need to understand, it’s just—”

Erica stopped, silenced by the hard slap across her face David gave her. “You shut your mouth,” he said. Brandon yelled as he charged at David, only to be casually picked up and pinned to the ground in a body slam. “Sis!” he yelled. “Call up the rest of The Pack. Emergency meeting. NOW!”

“What the hell, man?” Brandon struggled to get up from David’s grasp. “Get off me! Let me go!”

“Oh no, no no no. You’re not going anywhere.” He pulled out the knife he carried with him everywhere and held it against Brandon’s throat. “See, a few of my friends and family are going to want to meet you, especially since you’ve left SUCH an impression with my niece.”

“Uncle David, please, just let him go, it was just a nickname!”

“You open your mouth one more time, and I’ll slit his throat here and now!” her uncle barked, keeping his eyes on Brandon’s terrified face. He leaned in closer so that he could whisper to him. “You get that? You understand how out of your depth you are here? You’re not leaving this house—”

Erica lunged at her uncle, changing into a wolf as she did so and tackling him off her boyfriend. Brandon scurried back as quickly as he could, entirely confused about everything. “Wha—what—how—how—what…?”

“Brandon, RUN!” Erica shouted as she kept her uncle’s attention. Brandon’s mind decided to forgo any questions he had about what was happening and ran to the door, unlocking it and moving as fast as he could to his car. Erica, still in wolf form, hurried after him. He turned around to open his car door and saw her running towards him. Screaming in surprise and fear, he jumped back, while Erica leaped into the car and settled into the passenger seat, where she changed back into her human form.
“Get in!” she shouted. Brandon hopped in as fast as he could, locked the doors, and drove like he was trying to outrun the Devil.
“What the actual fuck just happened?!” he screamed.

“That’s pretty much everything you need to know,” Erica said, finishing up her summary of everything about her family, lycanthropy, and any of Brandon’s other questions.

Brandon struggled to find the right words. “So…so you’re actually, like, you’re really…a werewolf?”


“And your family is all werewolves?”

“It’s genetic.”

Brandon paced back and forth. The gas station they had stopped at was several hours outside of town, a long enough distance that Erica felt comfortable to stop temporarily. “So, I mean, what happens now?”

“I don’t know,” Erica admitted. “We can’t go back. They’ll kill us just to make an example for the rest of The Pack.”

“Oh, really? So where do we go instead? Erica, I’ve got almost no money on me, and I don’t think you do either. Where will we live, huh? What about school? What about my entire LIFE? My family, all my friends, what about them?”

“They’ll be watched,” Erica explained. “They’ll be looked over, but they won’t be bothered if they think they don’t know the truth.”

“You really know how to comfort someone,” he muttered darkly.

“Brandon,” Erica began, before stopping. “You…you might be able to run. I can handle myself out in the wild, I can hunt.”

“No way am I leaving you alone for those animals to find and kill you! No, we need to stick together, we can figure something out.” He pulled out his cell phone. “I need to call Tom, Alex, and Lucy. Let them know what’s happening.”

“DON’T! You want to drag them into this too?”

“You want to leave them hanging? You want to leave them for dead?”

“You think Lucy can hide the fact that she knows? What do you think will happen if my Uncle finds her?”

Brandon sighed and put away the phone. “So? What do we do now?”

“I don’t know,” Erica said again. “I’ve never heard of something like this happening before.”

Brandon breathed in and out a few times before he said anything. “OK. OK. We can do this. We’re intelligent. You know how they think, so we can stay one step ahead of them. We just need to get somewhere safe. Out of the way. Where they won’t find us.”

“Just a second ago you were freaking out about not knowing what to do!”

“You think I’m still not?” He walked back over and grasped Erica’s shoulders with his hands, looking straight into her eyes. “Erica, this is all my fault.”


“No. Stop. It is. After everything you’ve said, that’s clear. So I’ll…I’ll figure something out. WE will figure something out.”

“How can you say that? How can you be so confident? We might not even last three days before they find us!”

Brandon simply smiled sadly. “Because you’re my Wolf Girl. And I love you. And I trust you to know that I will do everything in my power to make sure you can stay safe.”

Erica returned the smile, and its feeling. “I always hated that nickname,” she admitted.

The two shared a kiss, one that lingered in case it was one of their last.
Wolf Girl (One Shot Version)
Hoo boy, this piece.....I'm of the opinion that it did NOT age well. Reading it back I feel just icky. Lack of character descriptions, jumping around the timeline a bit too much...still, I really really want to post this.

This is the second piece I wrote for my Senior Creative Writing class (the first being "Argument of Gods" and the third probably never ever seeing the light of dA) and I'm finally posting it about six months afterwards. The primary reason I wrote this? I really, REALLY like werewolves. Seriously, werewolves are horribly underrepresented in modern media and I don't know why but they are so awesome WE NEED MORE.

Sorry, fanboying happened. Calm now.

Also, the "One Shot Version" that's included in the title? That basically sums up how I felt when I finished this. It felt like a quick introduction, a story with a beginning, middle, and end that could be expanded on so much more, and...that's really it. Will I actually do anything else with it?

No idea. But let me know what you think in the comments!
According to the Priests and Priestesses in their multitudes of temples, based on how people count these things, the Gods created the world in a year.

I, Adera, a singular Goddess, created Home in two weeks.

And none of them have been happy about it from its very beginning.

Describing Home to someone who’s never been there is a rough challenge. No single summary can do it proper justice. Certainly it has the basics of a standard independent city-state, a trade district, a port on the western side of the city, places for people of various social and economic classes to live in, walls to defend it (although the necessity of those walls has always baffled me), but it only describes its appearance, not its soul, its heart. The museums of almost every size and shape, serving as secular houses of worship for any and every method of art and expression that could possibly be thought of. Parks where the trees and flowers would bloom in a perfect splendor, theaters housing the works of playwrights and actors and dancers and singers, a city housed full of such beautiful creativity and production that people travelled from across the world just to get a glimpse.

And the magik. Oh, the MAGIK. Give humanity nothing else, but even the most stubborn of the deities would have to admit that their skill of taking the world around them and changing it through sheer will was impressive. But here, in Home, in MY city of Home, it went so much further. People learned and studied magik, consuming knowledge like it was bread and water offered to a man dying of hunger and thirst, and used it for everything. Of course, for every success there were twelve dozen mistakes, mishaps, and casualties, but occasionally, if everything went right and Luck itself was on their side, once or twice they would create something even I, a goddess, could not help but marvel at and envy that I had not thought to do it first.

It was paradise for me. Full of painters and sculptors and writers and singers and so many people with the desire to make something new, it filled me with happiness as the Goddess of the Arts and Creativity. It was a place where I could make anything and everything I had ever wanted, where my works would constantly be appreciated, where I ruled not only as their Goddess, but as their Queen.

It was also my prison, my burden, and while I love Home for everything it gives, I hate it for everything it took away from me. The freedom to see the rest of the world, to travel, to go back amongst the Gods to my “rightful” home in the Celestial Domain. Even though I never regretted taking my leave from the rest of those foolish deities, there were a few moments where I found myself missing it.

But while I lived in my jail cell, at least I could decorate it as I wished. For starters, I ensured that there would be no temples in Home. No houses of worship, no palaces of divine providence, nothing. I was not entirely unreasonable though, as all one had to do was simply step out of the city gates and they could find temples and churches for all fourteen of my most holy and idiotic brethren who believe that the world is theirs to play with as they see fit.

When I had initially made that decree, each of them personally appeared outside of the city gates, having the common sense to not just barge into my own private chambers. Syalia herself, my sister and the only one of the Gods that I can tolerate, had tried to persuade me otherwise. I was in a bit of a foul mood of being interrupted in the middle of making an opera I had been trying to write for three decades, and said the only way they’d get in my city is if they’d cut off their right arms for the privilege.

I honestly never thought that Syalia would actually go through with it. After agreeing to letting her temples exist inside Home publicly, and chewing her out for doing such a stupid thing privately, I made it a permanent ban.

Hell, all SHE would have had to do was ask nicely. For her, I would have been more than happy to bend the rules.

It had been ten years since that horrid incident, and thankfully no one else had tried to interfere with Home again, afraid that I might actually follow through on the threats I had made if any of the Gods entered or in any way bothered the city-state. Leaving them stuck outside, and myself stuck inside, lest they all capture me and take my Home for themselves.

And everything that’s I had hidden away within it, for most likely the worse of everything in existence.

But still, there were times I was tempted. Tempted to just throw it all away and surrender myself to my family, possibly even apologize personally to Calus, my father and ruler of the Gods themselves, to plead for his forgiveness and offer up Home on a decorative silver platter.

As long as it meant I would never have to hear Senator Heric’s droning filibusters ever again.

He had rooted himself in my living room, taking advantage of how I would occasionally have my doors open to help offer solutions to the peoples’ problems, listen to them as they worshipped me and begged for my assistance. Sometimes, they would come to me looking for inspiration, a way to cure their writer’s block or critique the recent selection of poems they had written, which could often be quite fun. Once in a while, they wouldn’t even ask for anything; they would simply arrive and give some work of art they had made “in my honor”, as they said. I treasured all of these, no matter how misshapen and garish they may have been.

Other times, like with the Senator, they would drone on for what seemed like an eternity about some minute legal issue that required extensive knowledge of three separate treaties, eight legal rulings passed down by the Grand Court, and fifty-nine by-laws of legislation. All of this, in order to explain why some trees had to be removed, or a building needed to be one floor higher, or that the taxes needed to be one-tenth of a percent higher for those who sold a specific type of fish. It was maddening.

The second he paused for a breath, I took my chance. “Senator, I GREATLY appreciate you informing me of all of this,” I said, stepping up out of my chair and escorting him towards the door. “Rest assured, I will do everything within my power to ensure that this issue is dealt with the utmost precision and care.” As I opened the door I spied my assistant Baldren and motioned him over. “Get the Senator out of here as fast as you can, and make sure he never bothers me again,” I whisper to him.

“Of course, My Lady Adera,” he whispered back, taking the Senator away and making some sort of idle small-talk with him. I made my way back to the living room and pour myself an extravagantly large glass of wine. The hassle of bureaucratic nonsense sometimes made me wonder how normal humans could handle it. I sunk back into the chair and took a long, relaxing drink.

When Baldren returned, I was in the process of pouring myself a second glass. “Baldren, how long until the elections? I need to desperately support whoever will be running against Senator Heric.”

“Not for another three years, My Lady Adera, unfortunately. Would you care for a different vintage, or is that one pleasing to you?”

“It is most pleasing. Pour yourself a glass.”

“I’m afraid I will have to pass for now. There is still one more supplicant awaiting you. A priestess of Syalia. She wished to discuss some personal matter with you in private.”

I can’t help but sigh. I had seats reserved for the latest play tonight, and did not want to miss it. “Bring her in. Hopefully it will be quick.” She stepped into the room wearing traditional Syalian garb, a long-sleeved grey, hooded robe and a blank white mask that entirely covered her face, excluding the eye holes. It was just so…plain, so ordinary, that only my sister could have inspired it. It was supposed to represent how all of Syalia’s worshipers worked for the greater good of the people and not for personal glory and other such symbolic nonsense.

I took a sip of my wine as I studied her. “You know, Sister, if you wanted to see me, you could just knock and forgo the disguise. I’ve always told you you were welcome in Home.” The woman tilted her head in confusion, then turned around to face Baldren, who simply shrugged.

When she took of her mask, it was impossible to mistake her for anything other than divine, the Goddess of Peace and Order. It always made me laugh how people would wonder why the two of us got along so well, basing their views only on surface claims. She had the young, matronly look to her face, with bright and hopeful eyes and long, thick blonde hair. I, meanwhile, had a much more mischievous grin on my face more often than not, and had turned my hair into a full rainbow of colors rather than settling for merely just two or three as I often had.

But that’s the thing about art: it requires order, a careful design, a plan. Merely splashing paint against a canvas without any semblance of planning would be nothing but ugly chaos. And I suppose that was part of why we had always gotten along so well. She probably understood me better than anyone else in the Pantheon, and I was always there to listen or provide help when she needed it.

“How did you know?” she calmly asked.

“Sister, you do realize I’m still a Goddess, correct? You might as well try hiding a scent from a hound than hide your divinity from me. Baldren,” I said, “a moment of privacy, if you would?”

“As you wish, My Lady,” he replied, shuffling his way out of the room and softly closing the door behind him. I offered to pour Syalia a glass of the wine, but she politely declined, simply raising up a hand to say no.

“Are you sure he will not inform anyone?” Syalia asked, a twinge of nervousness in her voice.

“Who would he tell?”

“Father Calus, for one.”

“That old fool won’t hear anything you don’t want him to hear, Sister.”

“Adera, if he finds out that I—”

“Oh, spare me.” I took another, longer sip of wine. “I’m not afraid of our father. I haven’t been for so long I don’t even remember.”

Syalia sighed. “I suppose you’re still reluctant to apologize to him?”

“For what? Being right about not getting involved with mankind’s wars? Being right about trusting Raie to make war on the Primarchs? Being right about not mating with mortals if we weren’t careful?”

“That last one certainly didn’t stop you,” my sister muttered. I was taken aback by the bitterness in her voice.

“Hence my use of the word ‘careful’. But let’s not talk about me.” I focus back on her and can’t help but see that her left arm sleeve just dangled at her side, empty. “You’re still not going to get a new arm?”

“Adera, sacrifices don’t mean anything if they can just be given away like they’re nothing. If I were to use my power to grow a new arm, or find a replacement, than what I did—”

“What you did was not realize I was purposefully making an exaggerated claim! Calus and the rest of them wouldn’t have the guts to actually mutilate themselves for one city, so why would you—”

“Because it would have been perfect,” Syalia snarled. I put my glass down, focused entirely on her. “You get to be the rebel, the artist who never submits to anyone. And you scared our family to pieces, every god and demi-god left you alone after that day, right? And, well, how could I not be the sad little sacrifice, doing all in my power to help my followers?” She smiled, and there was something in her eyes I did not immediately recognize. It was…enjoyment. She liked the shocked and stunned expression on my face. “I have a part to play, Adera. We all do. No matter how much I might not like it, it is who I am.” She stopped and took a long sigh. “I think I’ll take that glass, please,” she finally said, gently taking my wine and sipping it carefully.


“Don’t. Please. We should not dwell on the past. I came for your help, and I will be to the point,” she said. “I want you to use The Void.”

There were so few times I had ever been stunned into silence, unable to form a coherent thought. This was one of them. “Are you…you are. You ARE serious about this.” I could not believe it was Syalia, of all my relatives, to come asking about this. “Absolutely not!”

The Void is, as best as I can describe it, something that literally should not be. I have attempted to write down its physical description, paint it, sketch it on a piece of paper, but it all proves entirely fruitless. All I can talk about is its malevolence, the emotions of hatred, anger, and jealousy that radiate from it like heat from a fire.

As far as I can tell, The Void dates all the way back to the original creation of the world, when all of the Gods and Goddesses argued over what it should be like. One singular God could have probably done it in a week, less if they wanted to hurry. But for us, it was different. Ni’Kolo thought the tiger should be dominant, Uncle Barsoloq tried to make the whole planet a vast ocean, everyone had vastly different ideas. And from all these conflicts, arguments, disgust at the compromises they had set, The Void was born, hidden away deep underneath the ground of what I would eventually make Home. It was part of the reason why I made Home in the first place, if only to ensure that no one else would try to tamper with it and accidentally destroy the world by annoying it.

Once my family had become aware of what I had found, they did their best to take it an Home away from me. I had to threaten to literally tear the world and possibly all of us apart with The Void to force them to stop, but it left us all in a perpetual stalemate, leaving me trapped in Home, lest they free The Void from the multitudes of protective boundaries I had secured it with in an attempt to control it for themselves.

“Syalia,” I continued, “I am not going to do ANYTHING that would let that…thing…have a moment of freedom!”


“No. No, I’m sorry, but whatever you think I can do with it, you’re unfortunately mistaken.”

“But you told all of the Gods—”

“Sister, do you not remember who you are talking to? I make up paintings and sculptures and stories all of the time! What makes you think I would not also make up the truth?”

“But…but you have it sealed away, kept imprisoned, just in case…”

“There’s a difference between keeping a sword locked in a case, and a rabid dog kept fenced in a yard. The Void is the latter. I could no more control it than a new-born babe can control the sun.”

“We can work together, then! The two of us!” Syalia’s eyes were full of some manic hope, so bright I felt bad for her. “It should be easy, the two of us working together, we can do this, Adera. We HAVE to do this, to save the world!”


Syalia looked at me, her face hard with determination and severity. “Adera, you have absolutely no idea what it’s like out in the real world,” she explained. “All you have to worry about is this city and the surrounding countryside. Miniscule in comparison to the rest of all creation. A world that I have been doing my best to bring up out of the mud our family consistently throws humanity down into!”

“Sister, please, it can not be that bad. Sure, a few of our fellow deities are rather dumb, but—”

“Valix and Ferrono have been fighting over who should be Laloni’s lover worse than before, and the nations they serve as patrons of are feeling the effects; priests denouncing one another in the streets, entire armies being raised, there are already skirmishes in some contested freelands!”

I remembered hearing something along those lines before from an ambassador, but the specifics eluded me. “Val and Ferry have been going at it since the dawn of time, you just need to relax.”

“And then there’s Barsoloq! He’s taken Celesba’s daughter as his newest wife, although how and why she went along with it none of us can figure out. Celesba’s forcing her followers to stop tending the crops and sending them to the islands of Barsoloq’s worshipers, so he’s responding with hurricanes and typhoons against HER cities! And neither of them is willing to even try and listen to me, or let me mediate some sort of compromise between them!” Her voice was starting to grow more and more manic with each

“There is…there is always stormy weather around this time of year, Sya. Besides, if Father thought that—”

“Our Father views it all like some sort of farce! A comedy of errors for his own private amusement! I begged, pleaded with him to do something, until I was literally on my knees and crying, but he just laughed when I asked him to stop them! He refuses to use any of his power to intervene! Innocent people are dying, and he thinks it’s nothing short of hilarious!”

“People die all the time, Syalia. You need to get some distance on this issue.” I could not help but feel horrible for my sister. The two of us, more so than our family, always had more of a connection with the humans who worshipped us. While the rest of the Gods viewed their legions of devout followers as something akin to a status symbol, I could not help but admire and enjoy their attempts at making artwork, no matter how hideous and poorly it was done. Syalia also had a soft spot in her heart for her followers, but she viewed each individual human as something special and cared deeply for their various plights and issues. “I know things seem hard, but just give it time and you can get them to see your side and understand—”

“THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND! THEY WON’T EVEN LISTEN TO ME!” she yelled, getting up and kicking her chair to the ground, crumbling it into loose tinder. “They treat me like some petty nuisance! I’m a GODDESS, an all-powerful being of Order and Peace, and I can’t make them stop fighting! I’m USELESS!” She fell to her knees, hunched over and crying. “They won’t listen to me, even though I know how to make everything better. So, I need your help. Please, Adera. We can control The Void together. Just one time, that’s all.”

Baldren opened the door quietly, accompanied by a few guards. I wave them off silently, not wanting to have them see my sister in this state. Once they left, I crouched down and gave my sister a comforting hug. “Sister. Syalia. Just think about what you are suggesting. We can’t control The Void. Not if we had all the time in the world. I love you, but you make it sound as if you want the whole world to end.”

“Maybe that’s what needs to happen.”

I let go of Syalia and stare at her, unable to believe that what I had just heard came from her mouth. “Maybe…maybe everything needs to be wiped clean. Start entirely over. The two of us can make things better.” She looked up at me with eyes brimming with the hope of a fever dream and the smile of a serial killer. “Yes…yes! We just have to start over! No more wars, no more fighting, no more suffering, no more Gods angry at you for saying what needs to be said. We can do this! The Void…it can let us remake the whole world! I can make everything right, and you can make everything beautiful! It would be a paradise! The two of us, dear sisters, creating a world that would be the envy of everyone and everything!”

She began to laugh, as if she had discovered the solution to a math problem that had bothered her for years, maniacally and with wanton glee. I could only stare at her, my sister, the one Goddess I loved, as I realized she had lost her mind. Stuck all alone in the Celestial Domain with the rest of the Gods, trying to make them all work together and stop fighting, would have been if I were trapped in a blank room with no paints, inks, or anything at all to create with. I would go mad in a day. How long ago had she lost her mind? Yesterday? Last week?

When she cut off her arm?

“Syalia, this is crazy. Listen to yourself! Destroying the world with The Void…it will bring no peace, no beauty. The Void is not something you and I can control, it is something that can only be let loose, out in the world until it destroys everything, including us.”

“We can figure out a way!”

“Sister, you are not—”

“WE CAN! We can. Why…why won’t you believe me? Why won’t you just tell me how you control The Void?”


Syalia slowly got up and grabbed the bottle of wine with her hand, holding it like some sort of club. “Adera. Please. I only want to help everyone. Tell me how you control The Void.”

I could not help but laugh. It was almost as if she were trying to threaten me. “Or what? You hit me until I comply? Sister, this is going to get you nowhere, the whole—”

And here is where I made my biggest mistake. If a human were to try something like this, they would have been too slow, too weak, too harmless for me to even bother trying to dodge. If I did, it would only be to prevent the loss of a perfectly fine vintage.

But if a God or Goddess, even if it is the Goddess of Peace and Order, decides to do so, that would be something else entirely.

I was knocked out before I hit the floor.

As I regained consciousness, I could feel my head throbbing in pain like an off-tempo orchestra of drums. I was not entirely a stranger to feeling physically hurt, but it had literally been centuries bordering on millennia since the last time it had happened to me.

My sister was no longer in the room. Judging from the way that the doors were lying off their hinges, it looked as if she had kicked them open. I had no idea how long I had been out, but I had to stop her before she did something stupid. I ran out of the room, stumbling as I still tried to adjust myself to the headache I had. “Baldren!” I yelled. “Baldren! Where are you?”

I did not hear a reply. Baldren was my head servant, and one of the few people who actually knew how to find where The Void was sealed away. Syalia probably went after him first. I check the guards that lay unconscious, not dead, thankfully, in the hall. Although my sister was clearly insane, at least she retained some small level of self-control.

The secret passage in the basement had clearly been discovered, as evidenced by the door being wide open, displaying a large, long spiral staircase into the earth below. I decided it would be best to save time and just jump all the way down. It was not as if the fall could hurt me.

When I landed, I stumbled for a bit. The blow Syalia landed on me must have taken a bit more out of me than I expected. I was not even sure what I should have expected in the first place, given my overall unfamiliarity towards violence and head trauma.

The final door, guarding the massive cave where I had restrained The Void, was busted open, with its chains torn apart and thrown aside like trash. I can see Syalia gazing at the indescribable abomination further ahead, with Baldren sprawled out to the side, not moving.

I moved as quickly and cautiously as I could, making sure that Syalia did not notice me. I move over to Baldren and check his pulse. He was still alive, thankfully, but knocked out. I moved him from the room as gently as I can, then re-entered it to confront my sister.

“Syalia!” I yelled, trying to get her attention. “Just think about what you are doing! This won’t bring about peace, it won’t end fighting, it will just create destruction and chaos! That is all it is and does! You need help, actual mental help, not this! Just give me a chance!”

“I’ve already given them chances. I’ve given everyone chances,” she said back, still focused on The Void, staring at it in subdued awe.

“You have absolutely no idea what you are messing with!” I tried to explain.

“Oh, and you do?” She turned around to face me. “All you do is lay in your house, making pretty little paintings and sculptures. I’ve seen the ugliness that exists in the world, and I’m trying to remove it. Why aren’t you trying to do the same?” She turned her back to me and started to step closer to The Void, about to cross over the barrier.

As part of one of the multitudes of safeguards I had set up against The Void, a process that took entire days of non-stop spellwork, the first barrier was a standard line, which would serve as a standard alarm to alert me that someone had found The Void. It also, as a defense mechanism for preventing the trespasser from being a threat, allowed for The Void to have greater mobility and access to the rest of the room, albeit in a still limited fashion.

As soon as Syalia crossed that first line, The Void lashed out. It grabbed her with some sort of tentacle-like appendage and dragged her closer to it. She screamed and struggled as it pulled her closer towards it, but I was barely able to grab on to her arm just before she disappeared into The Void.

“Let me go,” Syalia screamed at me. “Let me go! I can handle this. Please, Adera, I can do this, let me go!”

As I tried to hold her down long enough to subdue her, The Void seemed to be almost drawn towards our fight. Another tentacle-like mess shot out from it, aimed straight at both of us.

Syalia saw it coming before I did. She gave me a small kick, sending me out of the way before it reached us, before it reached her.

As least, that is what I think happened.

It is what I really, truly hope happened.

It grabbed her and dragged her in, closer and closer towards it. Syalia struggled the whole time, screaming and kicking and doing everything she can to break free. The Void had almost taken her whole before I grabbed her only arm and pulled, pulled as hard as I could, trying to save her from the maelstrom of unspeakable otherness.

My action seemed to do something, at least. The Void seemed to spit her back out, landing me on my rear end and her flying several feet further. I wanted to see if she was alright, but I had to focus on preventing The Void from loosening the rest of the safeguards. A task that required my full attention.

Once I was fully sure of our safety, I turned around and lashed out at my sister. “You…idiot! You absolute IDIOT! I just can not understand WHY you ever thought this was a good idea! Do you have any sense of scope, any IDEA of what might have happened?” She did not get up to face me. “Oh, please, spare us all your sad, tragic martyr routine. I can understand why you thought you had to do this, but there has to be some part of you that realizes it was stupid. Now, get up!” I tried to lift her up, but she slumped back down to the ground. “Syalia, this isn’t funny. Let’s get out of here before anything else happens.” I tried again, and again she fell.


She doesn’t respond.


Please get up?”

The next month is something of a blur to me, so I have to rely on Baldren’s testimony for the following.

Baldren eventuall woke up, several hours later. The first thing he saw was me, kneeling over my sister’s lifeless body. I would not respond to anything he said. When he touched me, I apparently became hysterical and threw him against the wall, tears rushing down my face.

Eventually I had to get into contact with the rest of my family, and forcefully dragged them all down to where The Void and Syalia’s body were. I do not know what shocked them more: my emotional state, seeing Syalia dead, KNOWING that Syalia was dead, or that The Void was this chaotic and beyond control. They had to explain to the Priests and Priestesses, a conversation and questioning that I actively took no part in. I had locked myself away, doing anything and everything to seclude myself from the rest of the world. No more open doors to speak with me, no more supplicants, just myself, alone in a room, attempting to create something, anything, whatever I could to take my mind away, with a singular focus I had never experienced or had demonstrated before.

The first clear, absolute memory I have after Syalia’s death was waking up in that room, surrounded by destroyed paintings, broken sculptures, and tattered poems.

It was also the time when Baldren finally had the courage to attempt to disturb me. “My Lady…you…er, how should I say this, you have a guest.”

“Tell them to go to Hell,” I mumbled, wanting to continue being alone amongst the rubble of my works.

“I don’t…believe that it would be wise,” Baldren said.

“If it is Senator Heric, then it would be MORE than wise, it would be necessary for his own personal safety. Tell him to go jump in a fire and burn to death, I’m not in the mood.”

“I don’t believe that’s any way to treat your father, dear,” Calus replied.

I shot up, shocked that he’s here. Baldren immediately ducked down into a quick bow, awed as all mortals are by his presence, regardless of personal feelings, and scurries away. “You,” I snarled. “You…what are you doing here?”

“Visiting my daughter, who is desperately in need of help.”

“I don’t need ANYTHING from you. I’ve never needed anything from you.”

“You have locked yourself away more than ever. I can respect pride, but this is nothing short of self-destructive behavior,” he stated.

“Oh, so you care now? You actually care about someone other than yourself? Syalia told me all about what you said to her. She acted like it was some shattering revelation, but it only confirmed what I already knew about you. So leave. NOW.”

“It is, in fact, about Syalia herself that I wanted to talk with you.”

“No. No. No, you don’t get to say her name in my presence. I don’t care if you’re my father, a God, or anything else, YOU DON’T SAY HER NAME!” I shrieked.

He paused, waiting for me to calm down a bit. “You were not the only one who loved her,” he finally said.

I laughed harshly and dryly at that. “What makes you think you know anything about love?”
“Because I feel remorse. Because I realize that I was wrong. Because I came here, in some small hope that we might be able to simply TALK, and that you could realize and learn what has been happening in the world. We have all been shocked by Syalia’s…passing. Some more than others. And many of us, myself included, realize what we must have been to drive her so far.”

“I don’t want to hear it. Leave. Now.”

Calus paused, measuring what he was about to say. “Do you think your sister would approve of this sort of behavior? I came here to apologize, daughter. Not to hurt you further.”

I stopped when I heard him say that. He could not have been serious. This was CALUS, the King of the Gods, and he wanted to apologize? I thought he did not even know the definition of the word. “You…what?”

“I concede in my errors, and ask your forgiveness. On my power, I swear that neither I nor the rest of your family wishes to lay a claim to your…experiment, your Home. We only want to try and make amends.” He held out his hand. “What better way to honor your sister’s memory than to do so?”

I stare at his hand and let out a small chuckle. “You’re still an ass,” I told him.

“And you are still an annoying, insubordinate brat,” he replied.

I pushed away his hand, and we left together.
Arguments of Gods
This was one of the stories I wrote in my last Creative Writing class in college. The first draft of it was literally written in a few hours on a train ride from New York City, and was fairly different that what the final draft looks like now. A (somewhat) different ending, a lot of dialogue re-written, actions and stuff clarified, but now...I really REALLY like this story.

A few things to get out of the way: I pretty blatantly stole "The Void" from the very awesome webcomic "The Order of The Stick", which is something everyone should read, even if you aren't at all familiar with Dungeons and Dragons or tabletop RPG's in general.

Also, I took a lot of inspiration from my childhood interest in Greek mythology. The cultural idea that the Gods and those who created the world had to be incredibly screwed up in order for everything in the world to be as it is has always been a story idea that I wanted to use, and I tried to include as much as I could in this.

Let me know what you think in the comments section!
Damn, I've been gone a LONG LONG time, it seems!

So, basic real life updates first: I have graduated from college! BA in English with Minors in Creative Writing and Film Studies.

Because I really want to make SURE that I'm unemployable!

In all seriousness, this whole summer has just been...weird, for lack of a better word. My 2003 Mini Cooper has been traded in, because holy crap I had to sink in SO MUCH MONEY FOR REPAIRS. I have since gotten a new car (which I am paying back slowly to build credit and be a REAL adult! pleasehelpme), which is also a Mini. I am also back at my usual summer job of delivering pizzas, which has thrown my sleep schedule all the hell off since I'm normally working from 5-11 or even closing at 1 am, going to bed at around 3-4 am because I can't just jump into bed and sleep, bleh. It's something I want to work on, but getting adjusted to new sleep schedules once you're settled into a new one is a pain in the ass.

Now that all that is out of the way...the real important stuff, aka "things relating to deviantART".

First off, the first season of :icononce-dead-oct: is over, and the winner is :iconlegolass1119:, a person I had the honor of facing (and losing to) in the semi-finals. So yay for me for getting 3rd place. I had a lot of fun with that OCT and look forward to doing more with it in the future, maybe using some characters I have in scrapped stories that would be all kinds of fun to play around with (trying to decide between the sentient zombie mage and the superhero with teleportation/gravity powers).

Next, more stories! Yes, in my final semester I was part of a super awesome Creative Writing class, where I was able to write some pretty awesome stuff, as well as read other people's awesome stuff. I wrote three short works, of which two re-written versions will eventually be put on my page, hopefully within the week.

The reason why I'm not posting one of the stories is because it's the one that features Jack Garsto and Jennifer Enburg, aka "those two characters I introduced in :icontbos-oct: and haven't done a single goddamn thing with since". I'm not permanently deleting it from my computer or anything, but I just feel uncomfortable making that story fully "canon" without fleshing out the world more. It MIGHT (as in, somewhere barely above a 0% of happening) eventually see the light of day, but for now, it sleeps.

The other two....well, one's a fully independent short story, one that I literally wrote the first draft for class in the train ride from NYC to my college in PA. The first draft was rushed, contained some grammar problems, had an ending I had to rewrite at least twice before submission, but I loved it anyway. It was originally supposed to be a story of "white-hat hackers discover an Artificial Intelligence deep in the programming of an MMO they've been hired to examine", but that got way too long, and required much more knowledge of computers and games that I currently possess. When I realized that, I had to scramble to find a new topic. What that topic is...well, you'll all see soon enough.

As for the other one, this one is a bit more special than the other two. I'll get into more detail as to WHY I think it's special when I post it, but it should make sense. I'll leave the topic for that one a mystery as well, because I'm a bit of a bastard like that :).

This naturally leads into the "Amy question", i.e. when the hell am I going to get around to writing more Amy Tolson stories, because I really want to and god dammit it's starting to piss me off that I haven't. And...right now I have nothing.

No, seriously, I have NOTHING for her right now. I mean, yes I do have a general idea of what I want to do with her whole "story", but I don't have any plans, any prototypes, any backup. I pretty much have only a hope and a dream with her.

And that leads into something else I really, REALLY, want to talk about.

A week or so ago, I had a personal questioning moment. A few hours when I looked in and asked myself one thing: Did I want to be a writer?

I've said before when people asked me that I wanted to write fiction professionally. I love books and stories, and it would be awesome to have that as my job. But for a while, I just haven't been fully prepared for what "writing a story" actually means. It means knowing what your characters are, what they look like, what they think, what they know and don't know, who they trust, what they believe. It means creating a world that feels like an actual place, characters that feel like real people you might meet in the world, conflicts that make sense and have a logical (if oftentimes entirely unexpected) progression.


So I had to really ask myself: Was I really willing to do that? Along with having a "real" job (i.e. not focusing full time on writing because even I'm not stupid enough to try that right out of the gate), interacting with the real world, and a whole bunch of other things I want to do and/or need to do in my life, am I prepared to actually buckle down and write the things I want to write?

I said yes to myself, and I really hope I wasn't lying.
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Rock Music
  • Reading: Rouroni Kenshin
  • Watching: Korra Season 3
  • Playing: Hearthstone
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Water
Damn, I've been gone a LONG LONG time, it seems!

So, basic real life updates first: I have graduated from college! BA in English with Minors in Creative Writing and Film Studies.

Because I really want to make SURE that I'm unemployable!

In all seriousness, this whole summer has just been...weird, for lack of a better word. My 2003 Mini Cooper has been traded in, because holy crap I had to sink in SO MUCH MONEY FOR REPAIRS. I have since gotten a new car (which I am paying back slowly to build credit and be a REAL adult! pleasehelpme), which is also a Mini. I am also back at my usual summer job of delivering pizzas, which has thrown my sleep schedule all the hell off since I'm normally working from 5-11 or even closing at 1 am, going to bed at around 3-4 am because I can't just jump into bed and sleep, bleh. It's something I want to work on, but getting adjusted to new sleep schedules once you're settled into a new one is a pain in the ass.

Now that all that is out of the way...the real important stuff, aka "things relating to deviantART".

First off, the first season of :icononce-dead-oct: is over, and the winner is :iconlegolass1119:, a person I had the honor of facing (and losing to) in the semi-finals. So yay for me for getting 3rd place. I had a lot of fun with that OCT and look forward to doing more with it in the future, maybe using some characters I have in scrapped stories that would be all kinds of fun to play around with (trying to decide between the sentient zombie mage and the superhero with teleportation/gravity powers).

Next, more stories! Yes, in my final semester I was part of a super awesome Creative Writing class, where I was able to write some pretty awesome stuff, as well as read other people's awesome stuff. I wrote three short works, of which two re-written versions will eventually be put on my page, hopefully within the week.

The reason why I'm not posting one of the stories is because it's the one that features Jack Garsto and Jennifer Enburg, aka "those two characters I introduced in :icontbos-oct: and haven't done a single goddamn thing with since". I'm not permanently deleting it from my computer or anything, but I just feel uncomfortable making that story fully "canon" without fleshing out the world more. It MIGHT (as in, somewhere barely above a 0% of happening) eventually see the light of day, but for now, it sleeps.

The other two....well, one's a fully independent short story, one that I literally wrote the first draft for class in the train ride from NYC to my college in PA. The first draft was rushed, contained some grammar problems, had an ending I had to rewrite at least twice before submission, but I loved it anyway. It was originally supposed to be a story of "white-hat hackers discover an Artificial Intelligence deep in the programming of an MMO they've been hired to examine", but that got way too long, and required much more knowledge of computers and games that I currently possess. When I realized that, I had to scramble to find a new topic. What that topic is...well, you'll all see soon enough.

As for the other one, this one is a bit more special than the other two. I'll get into more detail as to WHY I think it's special when I post it, but it should make sense. I'll leave the topic for that one a mystery as well, because I'm a bit of a bastard like that :).

This naturally leads into the "Amy question", i.e. when the hell am I going to get around to writing more Amy Tolson stories, because I really want to and god dammit it's starting to piss me off that I haven't. And...right now I have nothing.

No, seriously, I have NOTHING for her right now. I mean, yes I do have a general idea of what I want to do with her whole "story", but I don't have any plans, any prototypes, any backup. I pretty much have only a hope and a dream with her.

And that leads into something else I really, REALLY, want to talk about.

A week or so ago, I had a personal questioning moment. A few hours when I looked in and asked myself one thing: Did I want to be a writer?

I've said before when people asked me that I wanted to write fiction professionally. I love books and stories, and it would be awesome to have that as my job. But for a while, I just haven't been fully prepared for what "writing a story" actually means. It means knowing what your characters are, what they look like, what they think, what they know and don't know, who they trust, what they believe. It means creating a world that feels like an actual place, characters that feel like real people you might meet in the world, conflicts that make sense and have a logical (if oftentimes entirely unexpected) progression.


So I had to really ask myself: Was I really willing to do that? Along with having a "real" job (i.e. not focusing full time on writing because even I'm not stupid enough to try that right out of the gate), interacting with the real world, and a whole bunch of other things I want to do and/or need to do in my life, am I prepared to actually buckle down and write the things I want to write?

I said yes to myself, and I really hope I wasn't lying.
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Rock Music
  • Reading: Rouroni Kenshin
  • Watching: Korra Season 3
  • Playing: Hearthstone
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Water


VariableNature's Profile Picture

Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Favourite genre of music: Rock and Roll
Favourite style of art: Writing!
Operating System: PC
Shell of choice: Blue Shell, duh!
Favourite cartoon character: If we include manga, Nao from Liar Game
Personal Quote: "Where's my stick? Someone needs to get whacked!"

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Add a Comment:
Slicer37 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014
You should do rankings of SFC13 when it ends, I'm sure they'll be very indepth and insightful knowing your posting style!
VariableNature Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I might actually do that. Should be a nice change of pace. Will need to re-read the whole season multiple times to be absolutely sure of stuff, though.

Thanks for the idea!
Slicer37 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014
lol my ranking is totally set at this point, and my opinions are not exactly the norm this season so ^_^.

no problem!
crazyshiro Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you for the :+fav:! :heart:
Slicer37 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014
do you do fanfic? I feel like you'd be good at it lol
VariableNature Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I actually don't. Part of the reason is because I prefer working on wholly original stuff that I've created, but it's mostly because I'm too worried about my own personal feelings about certain characters influencing the story, rather than what they were actually like in the canon proper.

Like, I may absolutely hate a character, and in a fanfic I write involving them, their negative traits will most likely get more emphasis. However, that would mean that the good/interesting/engaging/relatable parts of their personality get muted or even outright removed, and I won't be portraying them accurately. I've read a LOT of fanfics, and my favorite ones were always the ones that best maintained the way the characters from the show or books or movies or comics thought and acted. I just don't trust my own judgment and ability to overcome personal bias towards them. It's also why I like doing OCT's, since characters' personality et cetera are all clearly defined for everyone so that there aren't any issues (and even then I still get nervous about mis-portraying other peoples' characters).

I appreciate the compliment, though!
Slicer37 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014
Lol I totally understand where you're coming from. To do a good fanfic you really have to get the *essence* of the characters, and most people don't, or change them to fit what they're trying to push.

But no problem, you seem like a really interesting guy :)
FHYeah1 Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the watch!! :hug:
Light-Trainer Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the watch!
crazyshiro Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you for the :+devwatch:! :heart:
Add a Comment: