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Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

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Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Incendiary on December 26th 2014, 7:36 am

New York, the city felt dead despite some areas of the city showing signs of recovery. Valerie led the small band of teenage thieves into an old, perhaps once beautiful house that now looked weary and defeated. The building was mostly intact so it kept out most of the bitterly cold winter. It had been a simple affair to break into the building really, just smash a window and climb in. Inside there had been plenty of food, mostly tinned nastiness but when your starving and cold, any pig swill is good.

That night having been Christmas eve, they stayed up for much of it singing Christmas carols by the fireplace as it's flames crackled and spat. The words of silent night echoed hauntingly through the ruins of a once vibrant city. Other survivors took up the songs as well, many unfortunates still dwelt here but at least Christmas most tried to not kill each other.
Her small band of three followers didn't know about her powers, Valerie never really telling anyone about what or who she was. Especially after the way her Aunt acted.

They had been living in the house for almost three days now, enjoying a breakfast of what the labels proudly called 'Pork and beans' she wasn't so sure, however food was food. Valerie sat on a rather fancy leather sofa with several long slashes in it, she pushed her fork around the tin, scraping as much as the bland food out as she could. She turned her blue eyes away from her tin to observe her group, there were only three of them left now, if you excluded herself. There had been four till a chunk of masonry decided it wanted to learn how to fly. Death fortunately happened to be a swift affair, even though it robbed the group of the one guy who possessed an actual intimidation factor since he could easily have been a wrestler.

Dan would be missed, yet Valerie knew she could ill afford the time to grieve over his death. The responsibility for the rest of the group rested heavily on her shoulders, a terrible burden for anyone to bear. It lay down to her to keep them all alive, safe, protected and fed.
Valerie was five foot four in height, slender framed with long bright ginger hair and soft blue eyes, she wore jeans, a worn pair of black trainers, a faded grey t-shirt several sizes too big, a thick black turtle necked jumper and a black ski-jacket. On her head she wore one of those Russian hats, with the fur flaps and her hands were protected partially from the cold through wool fingerless gloves.

Sitting near the fire was another girl, Tess. She never spoke much but she always had a knife on her person so she would not be someone you wanted to get on the bad side of. Sitting near her like a big shadow was a boy named Tom, tall, dark skinned, built like a battle tank, he was the same age as Valerie but protected Tess like a little sister. He was a kind hearted boy, handsome too yet he held nothing back in a fight. Standing near the window looking out was Marlo, he was kinda quiet and always seemed to be sad. He liked to keep watch for trouble, vigilantly protecting his friends.

Yeah... These were her friends, they'd protected each other and kept each other alive more times than Valerie cared to remember. They were a team and she would do anything to protect them. Even give herself up if someone came looking for meta-humans.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Khellendros on December 26th 2014, 8:18 am

Walking through the ruined streets, not sure of why he is here or what he may be searching for or what he may find. Visibly, Cromwell is dressed in a long coat with well worn work gloves, those from his workshop keeping in the heat  far better than what most can find, tall safety boots and a scarf. He was visiting New York on a contract and after finishing it, he decided he wanted to see some of the remaining damage himself and went for a walk. What brought him to this street, he has no clue.

To his understanding this street is mostly abandoned, so when he spots the light of a fire in one of the windows from down the street it piques his interest, he walks over to the door and gives it a knock and calls out to see if anyone is in there.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by The Nekromonga on December 26th 2014, 9:11 am

Despite all the reconstruction work being done in New York, there were always going to be that last 10-15% of lack of coverage, ruins of the city that were not yet tackled. The rebuilding had slowed down in the Holidays, as the cold wasn't conducive to the equipment, contractors were letting their people have holiday plus everyone decided that 85% completion was alright.

To others though, the importance of never letting anyone feel neglected or overlooked also mattered. While debris clearing and rapid reassembly could wait, the Holiday spirit didn't, and that was exactly what a small group of private individuals did this cold, cold winter night. For the lost and forgotten eking out an existence in the fringes of society, a few trucks and vans sponsored for this mission made its way into one of the large cleared lots.

Lights were set up at the perimeter, while tables and chairs were set up. a Christmas tree was rapidly put together, and in about fifteen minutes the first Christmas songs were playing. Soon enough, the dregs of society came out of their hiding places in the rubble to partake of the Charity of these good people.

"Come one, come all! Don't be shy! People from around the country have pitched in to put this together just for you! We even have a special guest, Santa Dragon Girl!" The bubbly Korean-American member of KA 2020, Kim-Jijyun, was on the microphone and urging the residents to come by and join. Beside the popstar was none other than the tall, stunning and heroic Dragon, er, Santa Girl, wearing red thigh high boots and long gloves, as well as a Red-white One Piece swimsuit and a christmas cape. The two asian girls were dressed up like this, while the rest of the dozen or so staff wore more practical working clothes.

"Kim... I feel so... awkward..." She whispered to her friend, while smiling and waving like she was told.

"Don't worry, people like having celebrity looking people on stage." She assured her.

"Can I go help and welcome people and serve food instead?" Dragon Girl asked. Kim nodded and smiled, "that's an even better idea! let's go." Spreading her wings, Xiao lifted her friend Kim offstage and headed to the camp entrance, getting wows from the crowd. Kim decided to head to the food line, while Xiao stayed to welcome and usher people into the feeding camp.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Incendiary on December 26th 2014, 9:23 am

"Guys someone' is coming!" Came the cry from Marlo, who ducked behind the counter fearfully. This would not be the first time a plain clothes cop kicked the pitiful band out of a home they took over. Tom and Tess also ducked as if it would make them harder to spot, as well as less likely to be kicked out. What could they do against the cops? What could anyone do against the law?
The rich only ever seemed to get richer, the poor just tried to survive.

Valerie being the group's leader by default let out a quiet sigh, fully expecting to be told to get out. She put her tin on the coffee table which lay covered with all sorts of mess. They weren't the cleanest house guests. She stood up, heading towards the door when the stranger knocked and called out. The short ginger haired girl opened the door, forcing a friendly smile onto her face, though her eyes looked up at the taller, intimidating gentleman cautiously.

Now she wished Tom had come with her to the door to back her up.
"Hi can I help you?" She inquired, her tone curt and polite. The sound of Christmas music filled the air, not the kind that had been sung on Christmas eve but songs played through speakers. It sounded much better so it was easy to tell. Her friends appeared suddenly behind her, they had all survived too many winters to not know what this meant.

Charity, support, free food, clothes, hot drinks, a chance at a home if you buttered up the right people. Valerie looked up at the stranger. "Do you mind either moving out the way? Or coming with us? Because we got to go get ourselves some dinner." She explained to him, Valerie hated it really because it was only at Christmas time did the world seem to care so much for the forgotten.

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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Khellendros on December 26th 2014, 9:43 am

A look of surprise crosses Cromwell's features at the young girl answering the door, but he quickly recovers. glancing past the girl and into the building with his bespectacled gold eyes, he is less surprised when he notices the group attempting to hide further inside, strength in numbers leading to a higher survival rate was not a foreign concept to him, otherwise he would have never taken to making a companion of his own.

At her inquiry to get out of the way, Cromwell turns his full gaze back to the girl before him. A little curious as to why such a young looking girl was squatting in an abandoned building, but not really willing to press the matter to avoid angering her further. He simply steps to the side an gestures towards the street. "oh, my apologies ma'am, I'll accompany you and your friends, better to travel in the company of others than to continue wandering aimlessly alone through the streets, don't you think?"
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by The Nekromonga on December 26th 2014, 10:02 am

The Dragon Santa Girl greeted the many less privileged inhabitants of the New York ruins with a cheerful and sincere demeanor at the entrance of the camp.  "Welcome. Merry Christmas. Please help yourselves to food and warm clothes. If you think you are sick, we have doctors giving free medicine and check ups. New York will be fully rebuilt soon." The people were mighty pleased to see a pretty girl in an outfit spreading Holiday cheer, young and old alike. The children in the ruins flocked to Dragon Santa Girl like she was a hero figure, and she really was, though they wouldn't know. They thought the flying was part of the show. An old lady gave her a hug, tearful as she said her thanks. Xiao would give the same warm welcome to Valerie and her group, as well as Cromwell, if they came over.

There were three main types of tables, food, supplies and medicine. Pretty much everyone started with the food table. The Holiday spread was fairly generous, and people were told to form orderly lines as they were handed plates and utensils, then to help themselves to Eggnog, buttered corn on the cob, breads, fried chicken, grilled pork chops, big slices of ham, vegetables, pumpkin pies, fruit cake and a few more.  The children especially looked happy. The popstar Kim took pictures with her smartphone of the kids, then with the kids.

The set up tables were quickly filling up, and people were having a good time, so far. Once people finished their meals, they were offered winter packages such as sweaters and oil lamps, while the sickly were given free medicine and checkups. The team of health workers was led by a Latina Doctora with long wavy hair and the most striking emerald eyes behind spectacles, who made swift diagnosis to the patients assigned to her.

Many people were very thankful for all of it. Christmas had come to even this remote corner of New York, and people were ever so grateful to them all.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Incendiary on December 26th 2014, 10:11 am

It seemed they would be stuck with the rather intimidating stranger and since she wasn't in the position to argue with him, she agreed. "Fine you can come with us welcome to the band." He didn't appear to be one of the homeless folks scavenging on the left overs, he seemed different.
Being different was enough to rouse Valerie's suspicions.

They made there way to the camp, trying their best to ignore the bitter cold. A few years back, Valerie lived the sweet life, money never an issue, roof over her head and hot food in her stomach. How times change?
This life she now lived had been much harder but there was a certain amount of fulfilment in it. It might not have been an easy life, her friends helped to make it a good one.

The smell of hot food hit the weary band like a tidal wave, it was over powering and inviting. Her friends forgot their usual caution and scurried inside the camp before Valerie could say anything. She had a pained expression on her face, the kind a mother would have when her children first went to school. They were her family, she never wanted to see them get hurt.

The Dragon Santa Girl towered over Valerie, even over the tall stranger who knocked on her door. Who by the way, she still believed he worked for the police. She looked pretty amazing, well fed for a start, soft hair, beautiful in every way. Valerie failed to realised that she stared up at her. Well... It would be impossible to look at her on the level unless she found a box or a small building to stand on top of.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Khellendros on December 26th 2014, 10:26 am

Cromwell knew he was being eyed with suspicion the whole way, he didn't belong travelling with such a group and he knew it, but it was nice to not be alone for once.

He travelled along with them mostly in silence, generally asking random questions of people has garnered less than favourable responses in the past and he's pretty sure he knows better than most what it's like to have people pry at the things you know and not wanting to give up your secrets. He was trained by CSIS, an agency with far less fame to it's name then it's American counterpart the CIA for a simple reason, discretion.

Upon walking up to the camp, the first thing he noticed was the sheer number of people coming and going, the second was the 7 foot tall beauty at the entrance among the flow. Looking at the rest of the group for their reactions, he smirks when he sees the girl who greeted him at the door staring at the dragon girl. Upon observation, he knows that there is something about the dragon girl, she definitely isn't human and that certainly isn't all costume. Thinking on this, his smirk turns to a grin, turning to the girl who greeted him at the door "Want to go and find out if her flight is really a parlour trick? My name is Cromwell Faust by the way, to whom do I have the pleasure of addressing myself to?"

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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by The Nekromonga on December 26th 2014, 10:54 am

"Please, come in, eat. You must be hungry or cold." Xiao waved at the girl staring at her. Valerie, her group and Cromwell would have ample time to get food and winter supplies if they wanted. Kim meanwhile got onstage to personally sing Christmas carols, and a few of her own upbeat Kpop style songs in english.

About an hour in, the crowd in the camp lingered while more people kept coming in from the ruins. With little surprise, the food and winter aid would be quickly depleted. Unfortunately, some people decided to be Scrooges.

"Hey that's mine!" Two ladies of adult and middle age fought over a winter aid pack. "I got it first." They rip open the packaging and got the sweater and lamp fuel over the ground. While at the food table, the delicious spread was thinning out, while people continued coming or going for seconds. Some people didn't like it when they went for seconds, while others complained why couldn't they!

"Please, please... don't fight. We have one more shipment coming in, but we certainly can't feed everyone living in New York." Xiao tried to explain and stop the squabble over a sweater.

"Then what good are you? People are starving and freezing out here! We don't need some Skimpy Santa Sl-" The man's very misogynistic word was cut off by an older black man who tapped him on the back of the knee with a cane.

"Hey, watch your language son! At least some help got here, and leave the girl alone. She might be tall but she's clearly young, and she's just helping." He defended Xiao and these people, who were trying to spread some good in a crappy world.

"Helping? She can help by bringing in more food!" The unruly man said, and soon enough an argument started breaking out at what was just some minutes ago a peaceful gathering.

Meanwhile, with people distracted by their petty squabbles, almost no one except the observant would realize something discreetly burrowing through the ground, sneaking up to the sparse table, grabbed a drumstick and a ham... so hungry was the rather chubby, hooded burrower that he started eating on the spot rather than leaving the way he came. He ate like a squirrel, nibbling on his food in hand.

"Oh my god it's a freak!" Someone eventually spots him, and screams break out. Scared, he dives right back into his tunnel, swimming through concrete and frozen earth with the ease of a fish in water. The word 'freak' or 'meta' started to spread, but Xiao would have none of it. Not now.

"Everyone please CALM DOWN! He's gone!" Xiao shouted- vocalized quite loudly really, and got some order back as well as a few odd looks. Did she use a megaphone or was that her natural voice? However, it was clear no more people were coming to the Outreach, as despite all the good intentions, some desperate metahuman decided to show up, consequently making it uncomfortable for the humans. Xiao was sympathetic, and decided to quietly leave the grounds to follow the Food thief.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Incendiary on December 26th 2014, 12:05 pm

Valerie didn't go over to the really tall lady. Instead she found her friends, got some spare clothes and stuffed her face with as much hot food as inhumanly possible. It kicked the seven shades out of pork and beans. No one would ever want to eat that sort of stuff willingly. She began to think that perhaps everything would be okay,  she lowered her guard, deciding to keep her head down with her friends.

Staying out of trouble had become a speciality of her's, save when she did the odd heroic nonsense. Well if you called stealing from the rich, upper class thieves who kept the rest of the world oppressed heroic. She gave what she stole to those who needed it, the theft of food or money was easy. Stealing actual belongs was far much harder... Not everyone wanted to by objects that had been liberated from the rich snobs.

As soon as the words freak and meta started being screamed by the crowds, Valerie looked up in wild alarm. She remembered her Aunt kicking her out after discovering that her niece was a Meta. She feared the crowd finding out that Valerie too happened to be a Meta. Acting quickly she raised her hands, next moment an incredibly bright white light appeared, causing everyone to flinch, covering their eyes to avoiding being blinded.

When their vision recovered, Valerie had disappeared, bolting for the nearest fence. There were more cries of Meta and Freak, she reached the fence and focused her mind. Removing her gloves she put her hands to the simple chain link fence, the metal glowed white hot before parting. Quickly she moved her hands down cutting a Valerie sized whole for herself to crawl through. She slipped through the gap, scrambling to her feet and sprinting off into New York, heart pounding.

Valerie always feared persecution for being a Meta, her friends would want to know why she bolted like a cat hearing a dog bark. She stopped after running a few blocks, her stomach killing her with painful cramps. Running on a full stomach never good. She leant against a wall, trying to focus on something else other than the pain.
Valerie never imagined her life to turn out like this, living a harsh, meaningless existence on the fringes of humanity.  There wasn't much hope in this kind of life, no real future beyond survival...
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Khellendros on December 26th 2014, 7:24 pm

The blinding flash was certainly something he hadn't seen coming, when he recovered, Cromwell noticed the hole in the fence, "Well shit, not only does she reveal herself in the middle of a damn crowd, it's a crowd that hates our kind. Damn idiot, you should know better than to run off by yourself, there's no telling what kind of assholes you'll run into in this kind of situation." And with that, he takes off for the hole in the fence and just barrels right through it, not even getting a scratch as the fence tears apart around him thinking to himself, she shouldn't have gotten too far and she only has a slight head start on me, hopefully she doesn't run into any assholes before I find her... He runs a few blocks before calling out to her in hopes that she'll answer "you shouldn't be running off alone like that! I can help you, I understand why you ran, but you don't have to hide from me, we're the same!"
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by The Nekromonga on December 26th 2014, 8:09 pm

AID CAMP

The relatively minor presence of a burrowing metahuman that quickly fled was fairly manageable. That a girl used her powers right in the middle of a crowd? People were quickly fleeing back into the ruins, if they weren't so adversely affected. Even Xiao had to stop for a moment to recover her vision. She blinked and knelt motionless, before collecting herself.

There was one person there though, who thought the light show was quaint.  She watched as the girl generated the light then scooted for the fence. "That can't be good for her digestion." She thought to herself.

NYC RUINS

Now, metahumans fleeing through the vast desolate, cold and dark ruins would have made finding anyone difficult, nearly impossible, but the green eyed doctor was able to keep up just fine with the kid with the flashy hand, as well as the young man. She decided to help, affirming Cromwell's statement with something a bit more convincing than just words.

Shauna took a few steps then floated into the air, stopping at a hover. Her body was then surrounded by a very warm, apple green light, gentle on the eyes. She looked like she was a Green Lantern doctor or something. "He's right kid. Please, you don't need to be afraid of showing yourself. You're not alone." She scanned the area for where Val might be hiding and looking at them. Shauna looked her straight in the eye, because her vision made tracking a piece of cake.

"It's Christmas, we don't want any trouble. We just wanna make sure you're going to go through this rough time a little less hungry and a bit more warm. Trust me... I've been there.  Growing up with these powers can be just frustrating, but I can help. You have my word as Laser Ladette." She hoped her kid hero name might help a little. If there was any paragon of cheesy heroic values marketed to children, it was her way, way back.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Incendiary on December 26th 2014, 8:39 pm

There was always a place to hide in the city, particularly in the ruined part. You became best friends with the rats, like them, if you wanted to live long you needed to stay unnoticed and more importantly undetected. Valerie peered out at them both through the a fist sized hole in a breeze block wall. Her heart pounding, if the guy, who she thought as some cop hadn't called out to her, she never would have scrambled into the ruins of this building.

Well one should use the term building loosely, others might prefer something along the lines of mound of rubble, wreck or a building that had been completely destroyed. Running on all that food really had been a foolish thing to do, panicking actually probably ranked top of her list of foolish things.
What ever happened to the British stiff upper lip? Unfortunately there wasn't a regiment of redcoats to provide some support, nor a colour Sargent with a trim moustache to yell out encouragement.

She couldn't move far or fast not with the stomach cramps. Valerie tried to think of options, she didn't trust these people. Some Metas would capture others and haul them off to who knows where, others would kill them.
Perhaps it was a way of reducing competition? Similar to how some predators kill younger predators of the same species to reduce the amount of competition they have to deal with.

In the end, there could only be one obvious conclusion. Surrender, she couldn't fight them both, nor could she run. Valerie might be able to hide but they might still find her anyway.
It was then that she noticed Shauna looking at her straight in the eyes. Oh... Well, guess surrendering got bumped up a notch to the only plan she had. She did not know that Shauna had tracking or that Shauna had followed her. Too late Valerie realised that it may have been wiser to keep moving than hide.

"Fine." A weary voice declared from the ruins, marching out with her head raised proudly but her hands up slightly, as if she expected a gun or powers to be drawn on her if she didn't. "Don't take offence but I don't trust either of you, your not family so I can't." She once had been a trusting person, but history taught her to only trust those she knew... And these two, even if one had been a hero, she recognised the name. Valerie couldn't bring herself to trust them, especially as she was a criminal.
"Your going to arrest me now right?" She asked her voice tight, revealing both her pain and fear. To be a Meta in these parts was a near death sentence, to be arrested as a Meta... Let's not even go into that.

Her gaze travelled to both of them, she had their attention, she could try to blind them both, make another dash for safety. But, what if they found her again? Surely the same trick would not work twice? Heroes, couldn't be fooled so easily, or so believed. Her heart pounded in her chest, beating rapidly, like the timid heart of a mouse staring up at feline predator. She truly believed that they would either arrest her, or kill her despite what they said.
Perhaps then, it was better to simply reveal one's self to them. Let them end it, life expectancy out here had never been very high. She would at best be another statistic, forgotten about swiftly.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by Khellendros on December 26th 2014, 11:16 pm

Cromwell removes his scarf, approaches and places it around the girl's neck, "Arrest you? The bloody hell would I do that for? I might be a merc, but I sure as hell am not betraying my species for any reason." A warm smile creeps onto his face, "And as much as I enjoyed it the last time, I can do without a repeat of the light show you pulled back there, I've dealt with more than enough metaphorical cornered animals to know about three escape tactics have crossed your mind." He turns to Laser, "As for you, I figure since you haven't made a move towards it, you have no intention of arresting her either, yes?" He quirks an eyebrow expectantly.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

Post by The Nekromonga on December 28th 2014, 2:26 am

"Psh. I'm wearing a white coat, not a badge." Shauna said to Cromwell, turned off the light show and landed. She put a wrapped Christmas box on the ground, and slid it to Valerie. It contained all the essentials to get through a couple of weeks of cold weather, as well as a nice thick wool sweater.  

"Look... I can tell you think life as a metahuman is rough. It is, and I'd never say it was otherwise. but you're not the only one out there. Believe me, being a kid hero was no fairly tale either. It messed me up, and it took me a long time to get over it. Our tall Kpop Santa Girl? Escaped from metahuman slavers about a year and a half ago. Now she's striving to be onf the the greatest heroes I've met."  Shauna paused a moment to think what else to say to Valerie. "I've got some seltzer water too, for settling your stomach." She offered. "Now, would you please relax a moment so I can take a better look at both of you in person? My name's Shauna Masters, by the way. I'm a doctor now. Introducing yourselves is considered polite."

Shauna then remember about Xiao going after an unexpected guest during dinner. "On a side note, do either of you know that mole kid that stole some stuff from our gathering? It would be helpful if he didn't burrow with so much ruins about. Might cause a-" She was cut off when she  heard the rumbling then eventually the surfacing of That Mole Kid. Seeing the people gathered, the strange creature quickly scrambled to hide behind Val, sensing she was one of "them" A reject, a smelly hole dwelling survivor.

Dragon Girl followed Mole Kid to the ruins, not too far from where Shauna and the others were due to the doctor's unmistakable light. Xiao flew as she followed Mole Kid, and eventually landed, slowly getting into the collapsed buildings, noticing it marked off with yellow tape as extremely dangerous. She wrapped her wings around her like a cloak, relaxing the muscles to make it appear like a cape.

"No... stop following me! leave me alone!" He said, quite frightened. Compared to the ladies, Mole Kid was some kind of small, fat, pudgy adolescent, whose metahuman DNA unfortunately gave him a face only his mother could love. Probably.

"Please! I wasn't going to do anything! If you wanted food or clothing I would've given you some." Xiao did bring some food and some winter stuff too. She came halfway towards Mole Kid and set it down, then backed up. Even in the dark her unnatural grey eyes shone through, speaking of a greater heritage beyond humanity.

"N-no... you're lying... lying... look at you! You're not one of us! You're pretty and popular and and... tall... and can fly... and came with... with the humans... not like us... ugly... hated... smelly...dirty! and lives in the ground." He sniffed, quick to categorize Valerie as part of the "smelly and dirty" crowd. Still, he was quickly to scamper over, sniff the food and aid, then snatch it up, then right back to behind Valerie. He smiled, if one could understand the smile of someone with... that kind of face. He gobbled down the food and resumed his whimpering.

"No! It's nothing like that! I... I... They don't... they don't know me either." Xiao said, protesting his statement, though partially, it was true. Xiao was always trying to be good, to have things go her way, thinking if she tried hard enough people would like her. And wasn't that what was happening, pandering to humans during their season of kindness?

"Xiao, stop. You remember how hard it is when you started. Give them time. If they want to reach out, they will." Shauna patted Xiao on her tall shoulder. Dragon Girl didn't think to realize that metahuman DNA didn't make everyone as hideous as they were made out to be. A silence fell over the gathering, save for Mole Kid's chittering.
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Re: Unity, survival and generally not getting killed.

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