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IC [Kult: Divinity Lost] Leave a Light for Me

AndersGabrielsson

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Los Angeles, June, 1993. Late saturday afternoon. It's hot outside, hotter than usual for this time of year.

Akira has fallen asleep on the couch.

Alex is finishing a call from his mother.

Astrid is seeing her therapist.

Joel has received a tip from one of his informants in the LAPD.

Jonathan has finished up a piece in a vacant lot.

Lauren is settling in for the evening at the homeless shelter.

Vincent is out exploring the city.

Let's begin.

Spoiler: Show
The OOC thread is here. The wiki is here, or will be when there's anything there.

I prefer sblocks for OOC to the OOC-tags - they're a little more work, but they don't call as much attention to themselves.

Individual posts are incoming.
 

AndersGabrielsson

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Akira
You wake up with a start, barely suppressing a scream. You fumble around, disoriented and still half-asleep, jumping when the book on your chest falls to the floor. You panic at the sensation of being trapped, that your bed is starting to suffocate you until you realize you’re on your couch and not your bed, and what you thought was the mattress trying to fold itself over you was just one of the cushions that had fallen over your legs.

You sit up, still panting, rubbing your face to remove the clamminess of the cold sweat, then walk to the bathroom on shaky legs to splash some water on your face. When you look into the mirror you look pale and sickly.

It was the same dream. The same dream again, but worse.

You’re walking through a hallway made of living flesh, the walls seeping blood, the floor squishing and squirting under your bare feet. In some places the surface bulges with pulsating organs trapped behind semi-transparent membranes.

You keep walking forward, getting closer and closer to where the corridor turns. You know that whatever’s behind that corner is even worse, but you can’t stop yourself from continuing forward.

Just when you’re about to turn the corner you step on something uneven, something that breaks, and then you hear a sound from under your foot, something between a gasp of pain and stifled weeping. You look down and your foot is on a face, a woman’s face. You stumble backwards, her broken nose leaking blood.

Something grabs you from behind and you scream.

You rub your eyes, trying to erase the memory. That part with the face was new.

What do you do?
 

AndersGabrielsson

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Alex
“It’s a special occasion tonight. You really should come.”

Your mother’s voice on the phone isn’t particularly insistent. It’s been several years since you were an active participant in the family.

“Sorry, but I have a case I need to prepare. Maybe.”

That’s not strictly true, but it’s a convenient excuse. You have work you could do, but it can wait until next week.

“Some other time, then. You know you’re always welcome.”

You listen to your mother chatting about her friends for a bit before you say your goodbyes.

You don’t tell her about the dreams. How could you? How do you tell your mother that you’ve been having nightmares about her cutting off parts of her own body, then handing you the knife and pointing to your naked, kneeling father’s back? About slicing your own skin open?

You rub your arms. The scars are fading, but they’re still there. You vaguely remember riding in the ambulance, the paramedic leaning over you mouthing words in slow motion, but that’s all. You don’t remember cutting yourself, you don’t remember why you did it, and you don’t remember what happened later.

You do remember your father being strong and having an easy laugh where he’s now a shrunken mute in a wheelchair whereas your mother used to be a quiet, mousy woman who is now outgoing and vivacious. Clearly, your dreams are telling you that you’re blaming her for his sickness, as little sense as that makes.

What do you do?
 

AndersGabrielsson

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Astrid
"That's our time for today."

Surprised you look at the clock on Dr. Crane's wall. Sure enough, the hour's passed.

"See you in two weeks."

As always, Dr. Crane's smile is professional but still friendly. Her non-judgmental attitude and her ability to very lightly guide you towards new perspectives on your issues rather than trying to tell you how to feel about things are probably why you've stuck with her for over a year now. Or if it's her that's stuck with you - most of the others gave up the first time you spent a whole session refusing to talk, or stormed out and slammed the door behind you, or, in one case, threw an ashtray at his face when you caught him ogling you. (You missed, but it's the thought that counts.)

Your parents have been patient with you, though if it's because they care about you or their own reputation you're not entirely sure. "Court-mandated therapy" isn't something you bring up at fancy dinner parties, but it probably sounds better than "juvie".

Five more months. Ten more sessions. You're sure it won't be enough to fix whatever's broken inside you, whatever it was that made you break Tyler's arm (and nose, and jaw, and three of his fingers) but you are sure that if it hadn't been for the fact that you're a girl and your parents have money while his things would have turned out very differently.

You don't remember anything about what happened - in fact, you barely remember Tyler at all. You've heard he's at some other school now.

Dr. Crane's receptionist gives you a guarded look as you pass through, and you can feel her gaze boring into your neck as you walk out.

Outside the heat is oppressive, the air shimmering over the parked cars. You look around for the car that's supposed to pick you up and that's when you see him.

He stands out doubly in his black hoodie and worn jeans in this weather in a neighborhood that is more expensive suits and impractically high heels. He's leaning back against the wall across the street, not staring right at you but not hiding that he's watching you either.

You've seen him before and others like him, half a dozen times maybe. You don't know when it started, but you know they've been watching you at least since your incident with Tyler.

What do you do?
 

AndersGabrielsson

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Joel
Officer Hansen looks professionally bored as he guards the door to condo. You exchange nods and he unfastens the DO NOT CROSS tape to let you pass. You're not so crude as to give him the money he expects here and now; you'll meet him for a beer later and hand him the envelope. If this is as juicy as he claims, you'll pad it with a few extra bills.

"The techs aren't finished yet so step carefully."

You hesitate for a moment, but then he opens the door and you are drawn inside by the rare but unmistakable sense of sensation.

A trail of numbered yellow evidence markers lead you forward. You step around them carefully, staying close to the wall. When you turn the corner to the living room the markers spread out into an uncountable multitude, each of them denoting a spatter of blood or other trace of what's been happening at the center of the room.

All furniture other than the massive, expensive-looking dark wood dining table has been carelessly pushed back against the walls, and the surface of that table has at least a dozen holes drilled through it, mostly along the short edges and near the center. The whole thing is drenched in blood, blood that has dripped down onto the hardwood floor.

The floor... at first you thought the smears and lines were accidental, the result of the perpetrators walking through the blood, but now you see there's a pattern. That arc connects to that line, that's some kind of... greek letter, maybe?

You stagger as you're hit with an overwhelming sense of vertigo combined with an intense desire to throw up, but turning away and closing your eyes while you draw a few deep breaths forces the content of your stomach to stay inside, cold sweat breaking out on your face and back as you grip the doorframe to stay upright.

Haven't you seen something like this before?

Spoiler: Show
All rolls are 2d10 plus the relevant modifier, either a specified number or a given stat.

In situations associated with your repressed memories, roll +0 to see if you keep your memories suppressed or if they surface.

On a 15+, you keep your memories back.

On a 10-14, the memories partly surface and you must Keep It Together.

On a 9-, the memories overwhelm you and you reduce your Stability by 2.

If you have to Keep It Together, roll +Willpower.

On a 15+, you stay the course.

On a 10-14, you gain a condition that gives you a -1 penalty when relevant until you have time to recover:
* Angry (-1 Stability)
* Sad (-1 Stability)
* Scared (-1 Stability)
* Guilt-ridden (-1 Stability)
* Obsessed (+1 Relation to whatever caused the condition)
* Distracted (an additional -1 penalty for a -2 total)
* You will be haunted by the experience at a later time

On a 9-, the strain is too much for you to handle.

In the interest of keeping things moving and allowing you to post a response without waiting for me to react to your rolls, if you roll a 9- on the first roll you will come to some time later away from the apartment without remembering what happened, and if you have to roll Keep It Together and fail you will suffer emotional trauma for -2 Stability.
 

AndersGabrielsson

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Jonathan
“Not bad. The tilt of his head, the arch of his shoulder there, top notch. You can see the anger, even from behind.”

You met Val about a year ago when you were creating a piece on the pillars of an overpass, a connected series of stylized figures that told different stories depending on whether you read them from the left or from the right. You thought you were alone until you were about to leave and she stepped out of the shadows to compliment your work. Since then you’ve bumped into her every few weeks - apparently she favors the same times and places for creating as you do.

The second time you met she was just starting a piece on the wall of an empty warehouse, and when you came back a week later the finished work astounded you with its attention to detail. It was entirely abstract, a swirling pattern of strange symbols and blending colors, but there was a tantalizing sense of meaning to it that kept you trying to decipher it for well over an hour. Her tag, a triangle inside a kind of twisted five-pointed star, was placed a bit off to the side, and since then you’ve seen it in a dozen different places, always near an incredible piece of art.

The third time you encountered her you got to talking for real, working on one piece each on opposite walls of a room in an abandoned house. You were there all night, and you learned more in those few hours than you had for over a year of working on your own.

Lately she’s been pushing you to do portraits and human figures, claiming you have an eye for expressing emotions that you should develop, and gradually you’ve come to realize she’s right.

You don’t talk about anything personal so you still don’t know anything more about her than her name, if even that is true. All you know is what you can observe: She’s an eighties-style punk complete with mohawk and studded leathers, probably hispanic, she smokes constantly, she’s somewhere in her twenties, and she’s an amazing artist.

She takes a last drag on her cigarette and flicks it into the weeds of the vacant lot.

“A bit tame, though. You could do something stronger, something more real, y’know.”

What do you do?
 

AndersGabrielsson

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Lauren
"That guy’s back again."

Bill talks to you half over his shoulder, jittery as always, hands and shoulders twitching enough to make the tattoos on his upper arms dance. He's standing between you and the room, like he’s on guard.

"Want me to go talk to him? This is the second time he’s shown up here since last week."

"Here" is the shelter you spend most nights. It’s one of the better ones you’ve stayed at - clean, no creepers among the staff as far as you’ve noticed, and they don’t let anyone in who’s drunk or high. No shelter is ever quite safe, but this one’s mostly safe.

“Last time he was staring at you all evening. Fucking creep.”

Bill chews at his knuckle, whether to calm himself down or to work himself up you can’t quite tell. Bill is a good sort, well-meaning, but he’s been kicked out of more than one shelter for starting fights. You’ve never known him to go after someone who didn’t deserve it, but usually it’s because of something the staff haven’t noticed, or something one of the staff did, so out he goes.

You lean out of your bunk to look past Bill, immediately spotting the one he’s talking about. A tall, skinny guy in a long-sleeved t-shirt and sweatpants, way too clean to belong to someone sleeping rough.

Then he turns around and you go cold. You’d recognize that face anywhere - it’s wrong in some way you can’t quite put your finger on, like some part of it is missing - only now it’s here instead of staring at you from across the road when you’re playing. He always shows up when you’re about to pack it in for the evening, and one time you think you caught him following you before you lost him by ducking down an alley and hiding behind a dumpster.

What do you do?
 

AndersGabrielsson

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Vincent
The metal door under the overpass creaks as you push it closed behind you - not all the way closed, in case it locks, but enough that it looks closed.

There was nothing too exciting inside that you could get to, just a concrete corridor with more locked doors and some refuse left behind by someone living there for a while, but you’re not overly disappointed. The signs confirm that the layout is the same as the other three you’ve been inside, and that’s enough to classify it.

You make a rough mark on the map - this is just your field map, a cheap street map with enough detail that you can mark down what you’ve seen so you can transfer it to your real map at home. That one you’ve assembled from pages cut out of an actual street atlas, covering most of one wall of the den. (Your parents never use it anyway, so it’s mostly been your private living room/hobby space for the past couple of years.)

You haven’t quite figured out what the pattern of the bridges and overpasses is yet, but this is another small piece of the puzzle.

You continue the route you’ve set for the day, stopping when you hear a familiar voice from a vacant lot across the street. When you take a closer look you see that artist - John? Jonathan? - something like that, talking to some punk girl. They’re pointing at a wall you can’t see from where you’re standing now.

What do you do?
 

Choo Choo

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Lauren
Well, damn. She liked this shelter.

"It's fine, Bill," Lauren says with a laugh that wavers a little too much in pitch for her liking. "As long as he just stares, anyway. Don't get yourself in trouble over it."

She doesn't meet that guy's eyes. She's not sure why - with anyone else she wouldn't have a problem with calling them out for being a stalking creep - but there's something about him that freaks her out. Bad vibes, bad vibes. She can feel him staring at her, and it makes her want to crawl out of her skin.

"You know what, it's gonna be a really nice night, with lots of people out and about." She starts packing her scant few belongings back into her bag. "I don't mind playing for a couple hours more, and I need the money. If it gets too late to come back I'll just sleep in my car or something, no big deal."
 

Daxian

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Astrid

So, another successful session down. Astrid shoulders her bag and rubs the bridge of her nose with a sigh as she walks out onto the street. All things considered she was getting off fairly easy. Still, it didn't mean she didn't feel like complete and utter shit. She had been doing so well, too, before the Tyler incident.

'That asshole.' She thinks sourly, remembering what exactly he'd said to set her off. Something racial and totally gross, to be exact. Being a black girl who dresses in an atypical "non-black" manner only seems to attract the attention of the worst sorts of people.

'Doesn't give me the right to wreck his shit, though.' Or at least that's what everyone is telling her. Pfft. Whatever, he wouldn't mess with her again if he were smart... which is something the jury's still out on. Folding her arms across her chest Astrid comes to a stop and starts looking for the familiar car that is her ride when...

"Again?" She mouths under her breath, brows furrowing when she spots the hoodie-wearing guy. She stares back at him, wondering if he can see how annoyed she is from where he lurks. Astrid looks away after a moment. Then, slowly, turns her bead back in his direction. Yep. Still there. Feeling her fists ball themselves up, she decides to throw caution to the wind and starts stalking on over to where he stands.

"Hey! You some kind of perv or something?" She shouts, hoping to scare the creep off via bold confrontation.
 
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