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                      The hot wind out of the desert withered everything in its path - including anyone so foolish as to be out in the sun at midday. It carried reddish dust and sand on its wings, and used both to scour whatever it did not wither.It did not howl, for it had no need to howl and rage for its power to be felt. It only needed to be what it was: relentless, inescapable, implacable, and ceaseless. This was the dry season, the season when the wind called kamseen was king. It swept out of the Sea of Sand, bearing with it the furnace heat that drove man and beast into shelter if they were wise, and sucked the moisture and life out of everything. Nothing moved during the kamseen at midday, not even slaves.

                      Except serfs, like Karsh. Altan serfs, the spoils of war, who were less valuable than slaves.

                      Little Karsh hunched his shoulders against the pitiless glare of the son above him and licked lips gone dry and cracked in the heat. He kept his head bent down as he heaved his heavy leather water bucket along. His arm and shoulders ached and burned with fatigue, and his stomach with hunger; his eyes stung with the sweat that dripped and the dust that blew into them, his mouth was dry, full of kamseen grit, yet he dared not take a mouthful of the water in his bucket or use it to wash the sand from his eyes. That water was for the tala plants, not the quench the burning thirst of a mere serf.

                      The bucket was far too big and heavy for someone as small as he was to carry easily. Not that he had a choice. Serfs made do with the tools they were given, and kept silent about any complaints they might have in the presence of their masters, or they suffered whatever consequences the master chose to mete out. A man might hesitate to scar a slave who had cost him money to buy, and might earn him more money when sold. He would have no such compunctions about a serf, who only cost him money in housing and feeding, who could not be sold unless the land to which the serf was attached was sold as well. How many times had Khefti-the-Fat told him that? You're of cursed little use to me alive, insect! Your death would mean nothing, except that I need not waste my bread in the mouth of one so useless. He sometimes wondered why Khefti kept him alive at all, except that Khefti-the-Fat was so grasping that he never willingly let go of anything.

                      There were laws regarding the treatment of slaves. There were no such laws protecting serfs, for serfs were Altan, and the enemy: spoils of war, prisoners of war.

                      Even when they were little boys.

                      And in Karsh's case, very little boys, indeed.

                      He reluctantly heaved the bucket forward another step. His arms ached so much, and his legs were so wobbly from exhaustion that it was all he could do to keep from dropping to his knees in the dust, but he dared not set the bucket down for an actual rest. At any moment, Khefti might awaken from his nap an d look to see if Karsh was working.

                      Every morning and every afternoon, as long as the kamseen blew, he filled the drip-cistern that fed the fragile pottery pipes that in turn watered his Vinten master's tala plants.

                      Tala could only be grown during the dry season, after the Great Mother River had shrunk to a shadow of her wet-season greatness. It only set its berries after the sun-baked fields of wheat and barley were harvested and reduced to bleached stubble. But tala fruits were worth twice their weight in gold, for tala fruits gave the Jousters their ability to control their great Dragons.

                      His stomach growled mightily, but he ignored it, as he always did. From the moment Karsh had entered Khefti's service, he was always hungry; as the savory aromas from Khefti's kitchen tantalized his nose, he would be making a scanty meal of whatever he was allotted. Breakfast, a palm-sized loaf of yesterday's dark barley bread, or supper, a tiny bowl of pottage he wouldn't have fed the pig and another little loaf of stale bread. Lunch was whatever he could find, in the hour when Khefti slept - a handful of wild lettuce, latas foots grubbed out of the riverbank and eaten raw. Sometimes he found wild duck eggs in season; sometimes there were berries or palm fruits, or dates fallen on the ground. He hadn't seen cheese or meat or honey cakes since the farm was taken. He dreamed about food all the time, and there was never a moment when his stomach wasn't empty. He went to sleep, curled around his hunger, and woke with it gnawing at his spine.

                      The only thing that ever really competed with the hunger was anger.

                      And Anger was as constant a companion as hunger. Not that he could do anything about his anger, but at least when he was angry, sometimes he'd get so worked up that he'd upset his stomach, and then the hunger would go away for a little. And when he was angry, he could make the loneliness and the pain and the fear recede for a little. When he was angry, he wasn't on the verge of tears that so often threatened to overwhelm him. Sometimes, anger was the only defense he had.

                      A few steps more, and he made it to the side of the above-ground stone cistern. With a sigh of relief, he eased the bucket to the ground and went up the two steps that allowed a little fellow like him to reach the cistern lid. He slid the wooden cover aside, pausing for just a second to savor the momentary breath of cool damp that escaped, then groped behind him for the bucket handle, ready to haul it up again.

                      It wasn't there.

                      The anger in him roused and gave him a flare of energy. Karsh whirled, expecting to find that one of the Vinten boys who apprenticed with his master had tilted the bucket on its side, allowing it to spill its precious burden onto the hard-packed earth. Or worse, had stolen the bucket - which would force him to go to Khefti, who would beat him for losing it.

                      Someone had taken the bucket, alright, but it was no apprentice.

                      Behind him, a tall, muscular Vinten - a warrior, by his build, and a Jouster, by the heavy linen kilt, the wide brown leather belt, and the empty leather lance socket hanging from it - held the heavy bucket to his lips, gulping down the master's well water with the fervor of one who was perishing of thirst. And where a Jouster was, his Dragon could not be far away. Karsh looked wildly about, then a snort made him look up, to the roof of the pottery-drying shed, and there was the great Dragon itself, looking down at him with an aloof gaze remarkably like that of one of the pampered cats that swarmed the Temple of Pashet.

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                    OWEN SCOTT

                          Last name: Ever / First name: Greatest / Like a sprained ankle, boy, I ain't nothing to play with /

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                                              "If you're sure that's the best idea, Mr. Dulaney. I guess we can't really get much worse." said Owen as he stood and reached out to shake the principal's hand. "I'm really sorry about the burden, Owen, but we didn't want to kick him out." Philippe Dulaney was notoriously easy on his students, and was one of the few principals who was in it for the kids, not the paycheck. Owen couldn't fault the kind man for trying, so he gave one of his fabulously bright smiles. "Honestly, it's no problem, sir. Have a nice day." And he was out of the red wood and green upholstered office as quick as he had entered. He had always been a very quick and subtle kid, and it had carried on into adulthood easily. One of the things that made him such a great center.

                                              As he made his way down to the gym, he reviewed what Dulaney had told him about this kid, this Claude Delacroix. He was trouble maker who had issues with authority. Well, that's easily handled with threats. He was apparently suffering from some sort of superiority complex, or so the counselor read from him. Cut him down quick, and don't let up. Owen knew how to handle trouble kids. Hell, he was the hockey coach. Most of the kids were here because they had either been trouble kids at a younger age and were forced into pee-wee hockey, or were there of their own volition because they were smart enough to realize they needed an outlet.

                                              Owen pushed open the doors to the arena, and shrugged deeper into his jacket. A little puff of steam escaped his lips as he looked over the iced floor. His starters were running pass drills, without even being told, and he grinned proudly. Some of the newer members, benchers mostly, were being directed in suicides by the team captain, one Matt Downy, trying to build up their stamina. That was good, they were learning how to take direction and be a team. He glanced over at the bleachers and sighed quietly when he saw Claude wasn't participating in the drills. Alright. Part one, break him down.

                                              Fumbling out his favorite whistle, a gift from his little sister who was state-side at UCLA for her teaching degree. He blew three sharp bursts, and that got everyone's attention quick. They had already learned to answer to The Whistle. "Alright, gentlemen! Listen up!" Matt skated up the the edge of the ice, and knuckle-bumped the coach's elbow. "This-" Here, he pointed his notebook at Claude. "-this is Claude Delacroix. You all know him! He's gonna be on our team this season. He's gonna drill with us, he's gonna bench when he breaks the rules, and he's gonna play a game or two if he can skate and move a puck at the same time." He threw a smile Claude's way. "You're their teammate now. So let's get you suited up to run suicides with the underclassmen." he said sternly before waving a hand at the others. "Back to it, boys. Show Downy some hustle." Matt put his mouth-guard back in and skated back over to the benchers, urging them to start skating again.

                                              Owen nodded in satisfaction before making a motion for Claude to come to him as he leaned against the banister. He would make a player of this kid yet, even if he was a scrawny one.





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”A fast body-contact game played by men
with clubs in their hands and knives laced to their feet."
>> Paul Gallico

YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME

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                    ╚╬═Ģʊʂ═╬╝

                          It does not do to leave a live Dragon out of your calculations, especially if you live near him.

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                                              Morning. Lovely, warm, bright blessed Morning. It had always been his favorite time of day, mostly because that was when the fresh coffee was put out. On their way to the school, he and his mother had stopped for large cups of wonderfully hot coffee. French vanilla for her and hazelnut for himself. They had continued the walk to the school, which was very near the hotel they had been staying in until the dorms opened. His things were already at the school waiting on him, As it were, his mother was giving him her very Metropolitan version of sage advise, and Gus was trying his best to enjoy his coffee and the walk.

                                              "Now, remember, Courdion, dear, you are the representative of our family. You have to look your absolute best at all times."

                                              "Of course, Mother."

                                              "And you have to have the utmost cordiality for everyone, regardless of their class. We can't have the world thinking that the Dorian family thinks better of themselves."

                                              A ridiculous notion. Of course the Dorian family was better than most, if not all of the students at the school. They were Dragons, after all, and the oldest family of Dragons they had found still alive and pure so far in the western world. His mother was of the Braginskaya line of Russia, another long-lived Draconic line.

                                              "Yes, Mother, I know." said Gus quietly, taking a long drink of his coffee before giving his mother a sidelong look as she chattered on about things he was allowed - and subsequently, not allowed - to do at the school. Katya Dorian was a lovely, young looking creature, and Gus had gotten most of his physical attributes from her - his delicate hands, his soft, curly blonde hair, and his expressive eyes. However, he had to give his height and face to his father, Vincent Dorian. A very strong man, and a fourth-generation fifth son. He and his father, though they had little in common, were very close. It was only because of business that Vincent couldn't be with them today.

                                              "Mother, I'll do fine. Relax, and enjoy the Morning." said Gus as they finally reached the gates of the school. With a laugh, his mother pulled him down by his scarf and kissed his forehead. With the final admonition of 'Call me in the morning,' she flitted away. Gus watched her with a smile on his face, as he always did when he watched his mother do anything, before turning to the campus.

                                              He wandered around for a few moments around the outside of the dorms, before taking a seat on a bench outside the center one under the trees to finish enjoying his coffee. He would figure out which one he belong to later. For now, the Morning was waiting to be admired.





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A gentleman is one who never hurts
anyone's feelings unintentionally.
>> Oscar Wilde

YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME
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                    ϟ Јαϲκ Ҏαякєя ϟ


        IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I BEEN AROUND // BEEN A LONG TIME BUT I'M BACK IN TOWN // AND THIS TIME I'M NOT LEAVIN' WITHOUT YOU



                          >>>
                          Today had been one of those days. Not too hot, not too cold, nice and sunny, and totally and completely boring. This had been his third snack run in two hours, and he was still hanging out on the same bench he had drank his morning coffee on in the park, reading. Jack was the type who, once he got good and started, could not put the damn book down. But, hey, as long as he wasn't needed, he didn't see anything wrong with wasting the day away in the park, soaking in the sunshine and eating a crap-ton of fries. He was actually surprised that he'd managed to sit still for so long with all the Starbucks he'd had since waking up. They had a new drink in. Salted Caramel Mocha. A-freaking-mazing. Of course, the fries had made him thirsty enough to revert to his usual Fuji water, but he'd drank enough coffee to spaz a horse.

                          Not long after getting comfortable again, his music cut off and his phone chirruped to let him know that he had a text. "Eh." he said, before pulling his phone out of his pocket and quickly scanning the bored mail from Will. Thinking it rude to go ahead with his first impulse of just ignoring it, he quickly composed a new message.

                          To: W.Hall // From: J.Parker
                          at the park south of the fountain
                          find me if you want
                          i have mc.d's fries


                          As soon as he sent it, he turned his music back on and went back to reading. It didn't take long for him to re-emerse himself in the story of the dragon who kidnapped an elf for the sole purpose of mating with him. Good stuff, actually, though his dad would probably drop dead from a heart attack if he ever found out his son was reading the soft version of gay porn. Call him old-fashioned, or call him a plain-old homophobe. He and his father had never really seen eye to eye on that issue. Especially since Jack himself was gayer than Elton John's fanny pack. On the inside, at least. Not many people in the gang could tell just by looking at him, because he didn't dress particularly effeminate or constantly flirt with all the guys in the group. No, on the contrary, he was very shy and quiet around the guys, even if he considered them close friends, or even like brothers, some of them. Will was one of the ones he considered a brother. He had been the one who had helped get him in good with Black Lights in the first place.

                          <<<



        GOT A WHOLE LOTTA MONEY BUT WE STILL PAY RENT // 'CAUSE YOU CAN'T BUY A HOUSE IN HEAVEN // THERE'S ONLY THREE MEN THAT I'MMA SERVE MY WHOLE LIFE // THAT'S MY DADDY AND THE CITY AND JESUS CHRIST



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[[ooc: links to outfit and song of the moment in the pics below]]

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              > Honest to God // I will break your Heart // Tear you to pieces // and rip you apart <
                    > Honest to God // I will break your Heart // Tear you to pieces // and rip you apart <
                              > Honest to God // I will break your Heart // Tear you to pieces // and rip you apart <





              Location: The field.
              With: Sebastian.
              Mood: Hungry/Content
              Doing: Eating a sammich.


                  There was something invigorating about being up and about outside in the sunshine. The way the sky was still a full and rich blue, the scent of dew leaving the grass, the sun warming the ground and asphalt. Anticipation was thick in the air as well, and Faust could feel it coursing through his veins as well. He loved a good soccer game. So did the admirers who had been following him around all day, waiting for him to start stretching or practicing. It wasn’t time for that yet, though. No, now it was time for lunch. He had done what he thought was the smart thing and set up a picnic. The ladies in the cafeteria were only so glad to help out such a handsome and polite young man, and they packed a basket full of sandwiches, pretzels, and little sweet cakes like the kind he’d have back in Germany with his family. He then headed out to the field, basket in hand, easily ignoring his followers.

                  Faust had been up since sunrise this morning, getting ready for the event with gusto that would surprise his family were they to see him. He had started off with an apple and a run, and then picked up his clipboard from the gym and finished off making the various teams for the soccer tournament – his contribution to this event. He had tried to make the teams as fair as possible, but it was much more difficult than he imagined it would be, and by the time he had finished it, he had a small group around him that wouldn’t stop asking questions. He had ignored them fairly well, only giving polite smiles and greetings, up to this point. But now, he was getting just a little bit irritated.

                  He had given the group specific instructions not to bother him while he ate, and though they had sulked they seemed to be doing just that, standing at the far edge of the field, just watching as Faust approached the figure lying in the grass. “Sebastian.” he said, announcing his approach so as not to startle the siren. He stood over the smaller boy, smiling that bright smile of his, before taking a seat in the grass next to him. “Can I tempt you with lunch, or would your brother attempt to have me drowned?” he asked, opening the basket and pulling out a grilled steak and provolone sandwich wrapped delicately in wax paper before pushing the basket towards Sebastian.





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              > Honest to God // I will break your Heart // Tear you to pieces // and rip you apart <
                    > Honest to God // I will break your Heart // Tear you to pieces // and rip you apart <
                              > Honest to God // I will break your Heart // Tear you to pieces // and rip you apart <





              Location: Pulling up to the house.
              With: Alone.
              Mood: Contemplative/Tired/Melancholy
              Doing: Nothing.


                  As he drove along the familiar old roads, Parker Scheuster wondered what the hell he was doing back in Valleyfront after so long. After all, once the group split up to do their own thing after high school, he had all but sworn to never come back. Not after the way they’d broken up, like their friendship over their whole lives had meant nothing.

                  Parker shook his head and scolded himself for being so cynical. He knew exactly why he was driving down this road in this rented car with enough clothes and money to last him a few solid months. He hadn’t even hesitated when the call came from Merrain. He applied for leave of absence as soon as he’d gotten off the phone and made it to Hargrave’s office. And, considering all the crap he’d gone through in the last few months, his boss thought he was entitled to a little time off. It might have been the sunrise hitting the building across the street of the station, but Parker had a faint sheen of excitement in his eyes as he left that morning.

                  Something in Merrain’s voice had struck a chord in Parker’s heart. Something he hadn’t felt in over a year – not since Mike had gotten killed. She hadn’t explained anything, not over the brief phone call simply asking him to come back to their house, but there was a catch in her voice, something smoke faint and almost broken, that dredged up the old urge to wrap his arms around her until she could throw out a smile full of sunshine like her normal self again.

                  Part of the reason he used to love her, actually: though, if he thought about it hard enough, he used to love all of them. Merrain was the purest, most honest girl he’d ever met, and she always used to have a way of just making a room seem bright. Valure had been his best friend, and she never had a mean word to say to anyone. And Marcus, his honest to God best friend, had shared his lunch with him so many times over the years when he’d forgotten it at home, they could probably feed a third world country for a month with the same amount. The four of them had gone through so much together, it was impossible not to smile into the rearview mirror at the memories.

                  “Oh, Jesus.”

                  Definitely not one of his good days. There were bruise-like circles under his eyes from the thirty-six and a half consecutive hours of consciousness he’d spent trying to get back to Vallyfront as fast as he could, and his usually neatly brushed back hair stuck up and lay flat in strange patches where he’d tossed and turned in an attempt to sleep on the flight. His usually sharp, violently bright blue eyes were dull and sluggish, and closer to grey in color than actual blue. Usually, he considered himself a pretty good looking guy, maybe just a little above average. He did luck out and keep that crazy metabolism from his childhood that let him keep a nice figure despite all the junk he ate on a daily basis. He had his mom’s light hair and his dad’s rugged jaw and nose. Pretty good looking, yeah, but only on a good day.

                  And suddenly, the trees lightened, making Parker glad that he’d decided to put his shades back on to avoid seeing his reflection again. Up ahead, their house loomed, sparkling new and old as the skeletons in their closets. It was … beautiful. Yeah. That was the perfect way to describe the lovely new-old house. Parker pulled up the drive with a shaky grin on his face, and turned off the car once he’d made it to a decent place to park. With a hand he didn’t notice shaking, he opened the door and supported himself out, his shoes making a satisfying crunch on the gravel under his feet. For a minute, he just stared up at the house that was so familiar and so foreign. Behind his eyes, he felt the old ache of tears, and his throat tightened up uncomfortably. He wouldn’t allow himself to let go just yet, though. He had to check on Merrain.

                  Behind the door, a dog was losing his mind. “Good boy,” murmured Parker as he shut the car’s door, deciding to leave his stuff for later. It was a safe enough place here that he wasn’t worried at all about the unlocked car getting robbed. He started up the short walk to the door, and was on the first step when the door opened. And there she was. His heart actually stuttered, and he heard a rushing behind his ears. Blood, the back of his mind supplied as he made his way – it felt like it took so long, like those slow-motion bits in movies – up the steps and within a few steps of the door. He fiddled with the keys in his hands unconsciously, but his eyes were for Merrain. She was beautiful, just like she’d always been and he’d always tried to tell her she was, but now almost painfully so. And Parker couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say, except …

                  “Hey there, Merry.”

                  [[ooc: 880 words and a page and a half. Whew. Links in the b&w pics below.]]





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                                                                    JUST PAINT THE PICTURE OF THE PERFECT PLACE
                                                                    THEY GOT IT BETTER THAN WHAT ANYONE'S TOLD YOU
                                                                    THEY'LL BE THE KING OF HEARTS AND YOU'RE THE QUEEN OF SPADES
                                                                    THEN WE'LL FIGHT WITH YOU LIKE WE WERE YOUR SOLDIERS



                                          Where - Small Group Performance Room
                                          Who - Alone
                                          What - Practicing and Remembering


                                                "Ma, I can do this," said the young man as he dropped his final bag on the ground and stretched his arms over his head, pulling up and managing to pop a few vertebra in the process. It felt so good, he almost wilted on himself with a groan. Jesus Christ, but four hours in a car was hell on tall people. His mother had decided to drive him to school this year herself, and had come up with the brilliant idea of taking the longer way that, though it took them past the Long Island Sound and some lovely scenery, added almost a whole hour to their trip. Now, his mother wanted to help him get his room assignment and schedule, and get his things to his room. Wouldn't have been so bad if he wasn't a freaking senior.

                                                Georgia Scheuster huffed quietly as she slammed the trunk of the family trailblazer with a little more force than needed. "Well, fine, Parker. You just .. be careful, alright? And the phone isn't poisonous. Call us once in a while this year," she said, pushing a fallen curl out of her eyes and looking up at her son with a smile. Parker sighed and reached out to pull his mom into a hug - short and tight, but a hug nonetheless. "Be careful on the way home, Ma," he said, letting her pull him down by his collar and place a tiny peck on his forehead before pulling away, getting back in the car, and pulling off. Parker waved until she was out of sight, then turned to his four bags on the sidewalk and wondered how on earth he was going to get them upstairs by himself.

                                                ~+~+~+~+


                                                It had taken him nearly an hour, but his things were in his room - 109, gotta remember that one - on the empty bed, and another twenty minutes or so to unpack the first bag of clothes and hang/fold/shove them away. He'd have to put labels on his drawers later, but it could wait. For now, he wanted to get something planned for the open-mic tonight. It was always such a big deal, even if nobody would admit that they thought of it as a big deal, that he would hate to embarrass himself this year like he almost had last year.

                                                So he made his way downstairs, given the group in the lounge a friendly wave, and went as quickly as he could to the small group performance room. It hadn't changed at all during the summer, and he was grateful for that. The piano was still on the ground below the stage, and someone had been in here to either tune it or play it earlier today, because the dust cloth had been taken off and put away somewhere out of sight. He sat down on the bench and ran his fingers experimentally over the keys. Over the summer, his older sister had been giving him a few lessons in jazz, and he wanted to give it a try. Especially since he'd decided to forego more ballroom dance lessons this year in place of taking on a piano class and a music theory class.

                                                With a sigh, Parker reached down and pulled his song book out of his bag. It was battered and worn, and more precious than almost anything in his possession. He turned to the song he'd been working on for the last few weeks and put it in place before setting up the right back up track on his phone and turning the volume up enough to hear over his playing. And with his sure fingers, he began to play, and listen, and sing softly, hoping that he'd be able to find the CD with the actual back up track he'd made a few days ago when he went back to his room to change later. There, Parker stayed, pouring music out of his hands, gradually singing louder and louder until he was belting out the song, swaying with the song and smiling like lunatic - or maybe a true music lover.





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[[ooc: link to clothes in the middle icon below. song in the third icon ]]

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                                                                    THESE ARE THE DAYS THAT I'VE BEEN MISSING
                                                                    GIVE ME THE TASTE GIVE ME THE JOY OF SUMMER WINE
                                                                    THESE ARE THE DAYS THAT BRING NEW MEANING
                                                                    I FEEL THE STILLNESS OF THE SUN AND I FEEL FINE
                                                                    SOMETIMES WHEN THE NIGHTS ARE CLOSING EARLY
                                                                    I REMEMBER YOU AND I START TO SMILE
                                                                    EVEN THOUGH NOW YOU DON'T WANNA KNOW ME
                                                                    I GET ON BY, AND I GO THE EXTRA MILE



                                          Where - Casino - Poker Table.
                                          Who - Alone, for the moment.
                                          What - Avoiding my retainer.


                                                The bright lights of the aptly named Sin City were so much more than Etienne had ever expected. Gustav, his retainer, had been right about it being very much not his element. He, who had only left the sanctity of his beloved La Pradet to attend the bi-annually held vinters conferences in Lyon with his father and grandfather, had never been one of the more adventurous of his siblings. He had always been perfectly content to stay on the vineyard land with Grand-père and go to the local community college instead of university like his older brother Jean-Luc and sister Nadette. He loved the vineyard and had never really seen much sense in leaving what you loved. Grand-père, however, had seen it differently. He had all but insisted that Etienne take this little vacation to the states, and his mother had agreed, but only on the condition that he bring a chaperon - a babysitter more like. Gustav had barely let him out of his sight for the whole week he'd been in Las Vegas, and tonight had been the first chance the young Frenchman had had to get away and gamble at his leisure.

                                                So, with a pocket full of chips, he wandered around the casino's game floor, sipping a mediocre-at-best champagne he'd gotten from the bar and trying his hand at the various tables that caught his eye. The night before, he had won a few hundred at Black Jack, a game Gustav insisted was nothing but luck or counting, and before that, he'd lost a hundred or so to a slot machine. His grandfather had told him to at least attempt poker in a real, American setting - the old man having fond memories of an American GI back in the post-war days teaching him and his older brothers how to play during a particularly slow conference week back in the day. He had passed the skill down to his children and grandchildren, and they still played it on the patio when Jean-Luc and his family came down for a visit. They were even starting to introduce the younger children into the game.

                                                The games were going slow tonight - only a husband and wife from somewhere back East, a lovely young lady, and a few loud Texan men - so Etienne found himself more than welcome to join in. He drained off his glass, gave it to one of the various attendants around, and took a seat between the husband and the lovely young lady. The dealer marked him in and as they played, aimable conversation was struck up - surprisingly - by one of the Texan men. "Hey! You're that Jill-uh-mee kid. Et-ee-in, ain't it?" he slurred slightly. Etienne, being a little deep in his own wine glass, was only amused by the way his name was butchered. "That I am, sir. You know my family's wine?" He was always interested in fans from outside the country.

                                                "Not me, boy, m'wife. She's from Bordeaux. Says the wine makin' business is pretty serious out there." The man waved over an attendant and ordered a round of tequila for the table. "I'll bet you ain't never had tequila before, huh, boy?" he asked when the man with the tray of shot glasses came around. Etienne took his and peered off into it's depths dubiously. "No, sir, I cannot say I have. Only wine and beer for me usually." The two Texans laughed, as did the East Coast man, whose wife only smiled and lifted her shot in a mock toast. "To new friends." she said, a very generic thing to toast to. Etienne gave the lovely young lady at his side a glance to see if she was feeling as out of place as he was, a smile, before downing his own shot. It burned.





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[[ooc: link to clothes in the middle icon below. song in the third icon ]]

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                                                                    Location: The Cafeteria.
                                                                    Companion: None at the moment.
                                                                    Action: Eating lunch.

                                                                        The day had started so well for Gene.

                                                                        He had woken up early – a good hour or so before his roommates, the lazy sods – and gotten his last little bit of homework done from the night before. Yes, it was a rather irritating move for his government teacher to give out an essay in the first week, but it was completely in her right, and, really, this wasn’t high school anymore. It had even been an easy topic: Pick a country that you are not a citizen of and sum up the way the government works in two to two and a half thousand words. Naturally, he’d picked America, having had done a report on its government just in his freshman year across the pond at the New York campus. Once he’d finished all that off, he decided that a bit of a jog might be in order, especially since he was expecting a letter from his mother’s girlfriend, Wendy. Lovely woman, and she usually sent tea with her letters.

                                                                        Well, at least the jog to the mail boxes was refreshing, because no letter had arrived for him yet. He brushed it off as Wendy being busy taking care of his mother – a rather daunting task, for Helen was known to skip meals and sleep as often as she could just to get more work done – and made his way back to his room to get ready for class. After a shower and dressing, he made his bed, tidied away his things, and went down to the cafeteria for a bagel and some orange juice. No, he would not drink the tea, because German breakfast tea was vile sweet stuff. So, making due with his juice, he gave his good morning to the lovely Camila – and how lovely she was, even if her attitude was a bit of a chore to be around – and wandered to class with one of the German students he had in his thrall.

                                                                        Class left a little to be desired. He had been turned down for his advanced Literature class, even though his test scores were amazing, and was stuck in the average class. Full of idiots, in his opinion, but it couldn’t really be helped without complaining to the Headmaster, and it was a little too early in the year to make complaints just yet. So he suffered in silence, instead re-reading The Picture of Dorian Grey again ahead of schedule. His next class, government, went smoothly, but for a brief argument with some American white-knight who had decided that he was rude to their lady professor. It had ended easily with Gene calling him a ‘decidedly middle-class mind’ and turning his attention elsewhere. The brute had stormed out without a backwards glance at Gene, and the Briton just smiled when the teacher asked about it.

                                                                        Now, it was lunch time, and Gene was at a loss. He didn’t know who to talk to or who to sit with. So, he’d taken residence of one of the tables under the great windows, alone, with his lunch and laptop. He had a Mahler symphony playing through his headphones and an e-novel opened, half finished. For lunch, he was eating some kind of spicy sour soup he’d never had called Solyanka with water to wash it down. He’d drink a soda later if he felt he really wanted it, but he almost always had water with meals other than breakfast. He was completely and utterly absorbed in his book and food, and anyone who knew him might be tempted to say that he looked like a normal young man, not his usual plotting self.

                                                                        [[ooc - links in the b&w pics]]










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                                                    Location: Parker's School
                                                    Companion: Parker, a few parents and kids, the teacher.
                                                    Action: Parent Night


                                                        There was finally a lull in the usual Parent Night activities. Elliot had been following his little bundle of boundless energy for the better part of an hour, meeting teachers and parents of friends, grateful for the coffee provided by the school. He'd been talked into letting Parker go to a birthday party sleep over on Saturday, and he'd been given homework - as if he didn't already have enough of his own from work. It was easy enough stuff, though, so he wasn't all that worried.

                                                        Now Parker had lead him to her art class, her favorite class from what she'd told him at home. It was a more crowded room, but also much bigger than the other classrooms he'd been in tonight. He could see why now. Their teacher, a batty old lady who was sweet as could be, hung their artwork all over everything. The supply cabinets, the drying racks, the paper closet, the walls, the projection screen, the doors, everywhere. There were even lopsided mobiles hanging from the ceiling. He could pick out Parker's work easily. Pink and orange, orange and pink, with bright green sometimes added and glitter on everything. Here was a princess in a castle, and here was a famous fruit painting he almost remembered from his own art class in high school, but in vibrant acid-trip and technicolor hues.

                                                        "Parker, you're amazing. You know that?" he asked brightly, dropping his free hand from his hip to let it card through his daughters miraculously blonde curls. She grinned up at him and nodded. "Good." he said, wrinkling his nose and grinning down at her in return. Someone called her name from the other end of the classroom, and she untangled herself from his leg to meet up with her friend. "Don't leave this classroom, honey." he called after her before turning his attention to a chalk on black construction paper drawing she had labeled 'Dusty Dreams'. It was blue, unlike the majority of her work, with beautiful grey and white shading. It looked almost like faerie fire.







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[[ooc - sorry it took so long. had to do the dinner thing.]]


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Way too much coffee. But if it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever.



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If one were to look into the bedroom of a certian Cordray Sutherland, one would find themself gazing into what could only amount to a catostrophic mess. Half-finished sketches littered the floor and walls, and several easles were boasting pictures of their own. Charcoals, pens, chalks, and paints of innumerable qualities and colors had changed the once stately cream and honey colored room to a fantastic rainbow of colors. Books also littered the floor in stacks and towers, all well cared for in their strange environment, and very loved, as one could see by how worn the covers and pages were.

Candles of various sizes and shapes and scents were also scattered among the various flat topped surfaces, and even placed percariously on plates on the floor. None were lit at this time of day, but the lingering smell of their perfumes was still thick. In fact, the only thing lit in this pyrotechnic's room was a stick of sandalwood and lavender incense, and that was because it was a part of his nightly rituals for easier sleep. Speaking of which...

Cordray Sutherland was sprawled haphazardly across his metal-framed bed, looking for all the world like any normal young college student after a long day of studying and work. Normal but for two things. His silvery pale hair was almost translucent in the moonlight that spilled into his room through the large window above his bed, and his tan skin gleamed faintly in the way of the Fae. A half-Fae he was, and a pyrotechnic for WyldCard. But he was completely oblivious to the goings-on around him, as he would not be woken up unless strictly nessecary. Oh, how he detested mornings. And most morning people, for that matter. As it were, he was blissfully asleep in his bed, dreaming of fire and paint.

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SPACERNo one can be as calculatedly rude as the British, which amazes Americans, who do not understand studied insult and can only offer abuse as a substitute.
~Paul Gallico
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                                            Where | | My apartment | | Campus Commons
                                            Who | | Alone with my thoughts
                                            What | | Getting food


                                                  Bright noon light poured in through the windows of of Judy Slater's fourth floor apartment - bathing the sleeping bodies in the bed in its warmth. The clock on the bedside table read 11:59 in toxic green letters. In one minute the alarm would go off, and Judy would get up to get ready for her day off - from school, from work, from everything, except Ranger duties.

                                                  BeepBeepBeep BeepBeepBeep BeepBeepBeep BeepBe-

                                                  A slender and long fingered hand slipped out of the covers to give the bleating alarm a firm tap, shutting it off easily. A soft sigh floated out, and the long limbed body the sigh belonged to pushed the covers away and came fluidly to her feet, naked as a jaybird, to stretch every inch of her body. Steely eyes ticked back at the bed for a second before focusing on the dresser at the foot of her bed. Out of this dresser, she pulled a black and white underwear set into which she shimmied and slid, before stepping into her slippers and pulling on her robe.

                                                  The night before, Judy had ended up at a party without the other Rangers, along among the doctors, nurses, and interns of Angel Grove General. Since she hardly left her therapy wing, she only knew a few people at the party. She had had a few drinks with those few aquaintences before wandering around to mingle with some of the others. That's how she met Doctor Henry Urban, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist from the second floor. Smart, funny, handsome, and more than a decade her senior. So they talked, drank, laughed, and she took him with her when she went back to her apartment. What followed was a leisurely night of fun and a relaxing lie-in that had lasted well into the morning. But as much as she might want to surprise Dr. Urban with a little good-morning romp, Judy needed to get dressed and get down to the Commons to meet the others.

                                                  So as Judy made her way to the bathroom to do her hair and make-up, she pressed play on her stereo, letting her 'Wake Up Mix' put her in her usual cheerful morning mood. She hummed along as she brushed her teeth and spread a feather light coat of base on her skin.

                                                  In the bed, Henry Urban stirred awake to the sounds of New York. He was a bit disoriented for a few seconds, but when he heard the familiar humming in the bathroom, he chuckled softly. "Good morning, Miss Slater." he said, pushing the covers away and leaning out of the bed to pick up off the ground his pants from the night before and sliding into them before getting up. He made his way into the bathroom and leaned down to press a lingering type of kiss to the back of Judy's neck, which she leaned into with a smile and a little laugh of her own. "Good morning, Doctor." she said brightly, leaning away from him and towards the mirror to swipe eye liner over her eyes before turning around to give him a more proper good morning.

                                                  Apparently there was time for a quick romp, after all.

                                                  ├ Ɏ ε ɩ ɩ ϙ ω ┤


                                                  The cafe in the Campus Commons wasn't as packed today as would be on, say, a Saturday, but there were plenty of people there when Judy walked in to grab a bite to eat. Henry had given her a lift - such a gentleman - and they had exchanged numbers, but she seriously doubted there was much more than the last few hours to the man. So, as she smiled and greeted the few people she knew and ordered a burger, fries and orange soda, she easily pushed him from her mind. Then, she picked up her order, found a seat by a window, kicked her boots up on the window sill, and began to chow down.


                                                  you cant see me
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                                                  you cant see me

                                                  [[ooc - i hope that's good. it looks good to me. it would have been longer but the whole refresh thing deleted it twice before i finally got this much done and i'm dead tired. ]]




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