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    Changeling

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    Wayward Daughter
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Mon 28 Feb 2011 - 22:55

    I spent the next few hours pondering what that weird meeting had been about, certain that there'd been some strange and eerie undertone to it, until I finally convinced myself of my paranoia. With difficulty, I forced it to the back of my mind, before heading back home. That was how I thought of the freehouse, by then.

    By the time I returned, I'd fully convinced myself that there'd been nothing to it, and because of that, I didn't mention it at all, to anyone. I didn't think of giving warning.

    The next few days passed by like the ones before, completely without any event. Calm and quiet, very much the calm before a coming storm. But it was a storm none of us could sense. Again, the next day which changed things started completely normally, without any sign or signal of its importance. But unlike the previous one, it wouldn't be solely my own life altered. I wouldn't be the only one affected, though I would be one of those who would change the most.

    "Where's Sky?" I asked Laurel that morning, walking into the kitchen. Since she'd given me her blood, I'd grown more and more attuned to her presence, and by now I could usually sense her wherever she was. Now, however, for some weird reason I couldn't.

    "She went outside," she shrugged. "Summoned for some old blood Atari business, I think."

    I nodded, accepting that without question. It wasn't rare for her to be called away like that. And maybe it also explained this block; maybe they'd done something to ensure more privacy. It'd be far from impossible for the old blood, I knew.

    Because of that, I dismissed my doubts, and turned instead to focus on helping within the freehouse. I didn't think again of the lack of her presence for several hours. Not until night had fallen, and her lack of a return was becoming worrying. The rest were worried too; I could taste it. It wasn't just my own doubts and paranoia any more.

    "Something's happened to her," I whispered. "I just know it."

    Daniel nodded solemnly, glancing over at his brother. Nick hadn't given any sign that he'd even heard me. His entire stance was tense, worry and dread so clear that they all could sense it. We were all afraid by now.

    "What, though?" Laurel forced herself to ask. I just shrugged. I had no idea what had happened. I just knew that something had.

    The sorry excuse for a conversation went on that way for hours, all of us just really waiting. Waiting for news. Waiting for a return which wouldn't come. With every passing second, we grew more and more certain that something was wrong.


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Mon 28 Feb 2011 - 23:20

    Surprised Shocked Surprised


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    "Iron Man. That's kinda catchy. It's got a nice ring to it."

    "The truth is; I am Iron Man."

    "The suit and I are one."
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Mon 28 Feb 2011 - 23:21

    Any guesses for what's happened?


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Mon 28 Feb 2011 - 23:39

    i don't think she'll be dead.. Neutral But I don't really know, knowing you Razz


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    "Iron Man. That's kinda catchy. It's got a nice ring to it."

    "The truth is; I am Iron Man."

    "The suit and I are one."
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Mon 28 Feb 2011 - 23:44

    lol! I'm not saying anything


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Tue 1 Mar 2011 - 19:13

    *prays that's not a yes*


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    "Iron Man. That's kinda catchy. It's got a nice ring to it."

    "The truth is; I am Iron Man."

    "The suit and I are one."
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Mon 14 Mar 2011 - 19:04

    The second the door was knocked upon, all four of us immediately leapt to our feet, racing to answer since we were so glad of any break in the dismal atmosphere. We wouldn't have been so glad, if we'd have known what news was awaiting us. But then, we didn't know. We were completely ignorant despite our fears, and we didn't have a clue.

    "What's happened, Darren?" I asked, recognising the face of the young new blood Atari standing outside, since he was one I'd met when he'd here before. His expression made it obvious that something had indeed happened, making it unnecessary to taste the fear and shock emanating from him.

    "Ashford.... she was captured," he admitted lowly. "Down by the docks. I was there, I only managed to get away because they were so focused on holding her."

    I gasped, my face turning to sheer horror. Captured.... I knew the risk of it, but I'd never have pictured it for her. She seemed so certain, so invincible and powerful. But if she was captured, she was as good as dead.

    "She'll be ok," Daniel whispered, trying to reassure his brother, whose expression of horror was even grimmer than my own. "She'll be fine, she'll manage to escape. She's done it before."

    I shook my head. Somehow, I just knew that it wasn't the case.

    The desolate silence of the past hours fell over us once more, but this time it was even heavier. We now had confirmation. She'd been captured, and we all knew what would await her if she failed in escaping, what would await all captured Atari. Imprisonment, experimentation and death. It was certain.


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Mon 14 Mar 2011 - 21:13

    Surprised Crying or Very sad alright Great chapter Very Happy


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    "Iron Man. That's kinda catchy. It's got a nice ring to it."

    "The truth is; I am Iron Man."

    "The suit and I are one."
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Mon 14 Mar 2011 - 22:03

    Thanks Smile I know it's shorter than usual, but I just felt it needed a pause there


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Tue 15 Mar 2011 - 7:26

    Nod I wondered why it was so short, but I guess it makes sense Sad


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    "Iron Man. That's kinda catchy. It's got a nice ring to it."

    "The truth is; I am Iron Man."

    "The suit and I are one."
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Tue 15 Mar 2011 - 16:04

    It just fit Nod


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Sun 10 Apr 2011 - 14:06

    I knew immediately, when it happened. Something just felt like it'd changed within me, and I knew we'd lost her. Maybe it was a result of receiving her blood, the genetic echo within me telling that she was gone, that the one who'd saved me couldn't be saved in return. Maybe it was a part of the old blood skills I'd gained from that. Whatever the method - which didn't matter, in comparison - I had no doubt of what I knew.

    I raised my head desolately, knowing I'd have to break the news to the others much as I hated to. My voice was hoarse and almost unrecognisable as I spoke.

    "She's... they've killed her," I admitted hollowly. Immediately, the entire house seemed to fall silent. I couldn't bring myself to raise my eyes, but I could still feel them all staring at me. I could feel their eyes boring into me.

    "How... how do you know?" Laurel asked at last, after the silence had stretched on for what had felt like eons.

    "I sensed it... I just knew. But it's true."

    Again, my voice had held that same hollow tone. Devoid of all emotion, like I could risk feeling anything. It was painful enough to have their shock and grief pounding through me.

    "She can't be..." Daniel whispered, shaking his head in vain denial. I could sense that he couldn't believe it. None of us could believe it. But my gut instinct was screaming at me that it was true. Briefly I glanced over at Nick, who was still sitting forlorn in the corner and saying nothing, that realisation sending a rush of pain through my heart as I realised it'd been the same low stool Sky had been seated at the day I'd arrived. After a second, I had to look away. The pain which radiated from him was too bitter to bear.

    "I'm sorry," I whispered, pointlessly, my tone now even more hollow than before. I knew it didn't change anything. But I still felt I had to say it.

    We continued to sit there for several more hours, saying nothing and avoiding each other's eyes. The cold numbness felt like it were seeping deeper into our souls with every passing second. Eventually, they began to realise that there was no point in waiting further, and began drifting away through the house. I, however, couldn't move. My realisation was still paralysing me. Nick too hadn't moved, hadn't done or said anything, that same sheer pain radiating from him. The taste of it was choking me. But I couldn't move away, either, so I just sat there sharing the grief. It was too late to do anything, before we'd even began considering the possibility. Far too late.

    It was the next morning before I could move on from the crushing grief of knowing, before I could look past that and wonder how exactly she'd been captured. She was too careful to have just slipped up, I knew that. She wouldn't have lived as long as she had with her past experiences, otherwise. And, yes, it could have been sheer bad luck, I knew it could happen and to any of us, but something was making me doubt it. Something was making me suspect something much more nefarious. I couldn't place it, I couldn't come near to naming my suspicions, but I knew there would be more beneath the surface. Had she been tricked somehow? Trapped, or betrayed? Almost as soon as I'd considered the thought, I knew it to be true. I knew, now, what that hidden agenda in the other old blood Atari's expressions had been, when I'd seen them leaving. I knew that they'd done.


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Sat 7 Jan 2012 - 17:51

    Just a note saying I've restarted writing this, and the next chapter should be soon Smile


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Sat 7 Jan 2012 - 20:54

    I knew what they'd done - how they'd betrayed her. They'd handed her over. The earlier business call had undoubtedly been a fake, and possibly they'd even tipped the authorities off to lead them to being there to catch her. There was no other way. She wouldn't have been caught otherwise: I knew that she was too good at what she did, too experienced. This was their way of punishing her for her refusal to agree with their plans. For what they saw as her insubordination. The only part I didn't understand was why.

    Hadn't they needed her? It'd seemed that way, before. She had as much as confirmed it, saying that their strategy couldn't be put into operation without her aid. So, with her dead, wasn't the plan also dead? She'd been so certain of that..... but then, they wouldn't have risked doing this, if it was true. She must have been mistaken. There had to be someone else out there with that power, a long lost distance relative of hers, or maybe a new blood who just happened to have gained it, by chance. The threat was still there.

    As soon as I'd realised this, my first thought was that I had to warn someone - do something. But immediately after I'd thought it, I faltered. Who could I tell? No human would listen. No human would believe an Atari. Well, apart from the sympathisers like Laurel and Daniel and Nick.... should I warn them? Ask for their help? Or was it Atari business and none of their concern? I didn't know. I didn't know what to do. Because of that, I remained silent, hiding my fears and doubts from all but myself. I didn't know of any of my own kind I could tell, either, not knowing who'd agree with the conspirators and who would potentially stand by me. I hadn't given up - not exactly. I knew that I had to try to fight this - for Sky's sake, if not for anything else. They had to be punished for their betrayal of her, and the best way would be to somehow foil their intentions, the intentions they'd killed her for. Even if I didn't have revenge in my mind, her earlier horror at the mere mention of it would have still driven me. It was almost like it was her last request.

    I didn't know what I was doing, though, really. I didn't know what I was risking. There was no strategy - I didn't even know what I was trying to foil. I'd made a few, brief attempts at discovering the truth, but it didn't really work. I couldn't identify which ability they needed. The skill of identification wasn't one I'd gained from her. Because of this, I spent much of the next few months wandering around idly, trying desperately to think of a new realisation, a breakthrough. On one such day I found myself wandering down to the riverside where she'd once saved my life.

    "Ariana, once more?" a sudden voice broke through my reveries. I raised my head, then instantly narrowed my eyes in hate as I recognised the speaker.

    "What brings you here?" he asked jovially, when I didn't return his greeting. Again, I didn't answer. I had nothing remaining to say to him, to any of them.

    "Well, I was thinking.... since receiving the tragic news about Ashford..."

    "What would you even care about that?" I interrupted harshly. His face showed no emotion at my response.

    "Of course I care about it, dear," he replied. "We all care. But the fact remains - she needs to be replaced. I don't believe you fully understand, yet, the role she played in our society, her importance..."

    I listened to his waffling while gritting my teeth, barely able to believe that one of them now would have the audacity to even mention her, after what they'd done, let alone offering lies of condolences.

    "Have you given the matter any consideration?" he continued. That startled me.

    "What consideration could I ever give it?" I asked before I could stop myself. He smiled thinly.

    "You are unaware? Ashford.... she had no living relatives. That means there was none to replace her, to inherit her position. Apart from you."

    I gasped at that, my mouth uttering wordless protestations. Me? It couldn't be.... I couldn't believe it. And yet... it did make sense. If she had no relatives.... it'd mean I was the only host of her bloodline. I was the closest to a blood relative of hers.

    "Do you understand?" he asked. "And the question of our race's survival.... it now falls to you, as it had previously fallen to her. Only you can aid us, save us...."

    "I'll never do as you ask," I interrupted furiously. "No! I don't even want to wait to hear what you're asking, the answer is no, automatically!! Sky refused you; I'm keeping with what she did. You can all just go to hell as far as I'm concerned."

    He just eyed my face for a moment, obviously shocked by the cold response. He'd underestimated it. That was clear.

    "Well, if that is your answer," he replied at last, sighing.

    "It is."

    "Then goodbye, I guess," he shook his head, walking away.


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Thu 26 Jan 2012 - 22:43

    Surprised Surprised Surprised


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    "The truth is; I am Iron Man."

    "The suit and I are one."
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Thu 26 Jan 2012 - 22:49

    Any guesses?


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Fri 10 Feb 2012 - 12:15

    I made my first mistake, then. I let myself assume that they'd just give up. I didn't think that they'd step back and reconsider their plans, though now it seemed blatantly obvious, in retrospect.

    I'd returned back home to the freehouse, and tried to push the meeting out of my thoughts, but hadn't had much luck in doing so. His words haunted me. The request.... they really believed I'd help them?! After what they'd done to Sky? After the disrespect they'd shown before, calling me her visar? I was, after all, only second best and the sole option now. So even as I tried to forget it, I couldn't, and I found myself dwelling on it and trying to constantly guess what their intentions were. Only if I knew could I neutralise them, I thought.

    I spent several days trying to guess those plans, before I began considering that there ought to be a simpler, better way to go about it. Surely there was something, in the midst of all the gifts I'd gained from Sky, which could guide me? Surely there would be?

    "There has to be," I muttered to myself, alone again in my room. I'd been spending almost all of the time there. The others had been concerned, at first, but eventually they'd just taken it as my own internalised way of grieving, and had chosen to leave me alone. "There has to be... but how?"

    Almost as soon as I'd thought that, inspiration struck. I remembered the way Sky had identified my own abilities. Could I now identify hers?

    I closed my eyes, focusing, trying to look at things at an angle which wouldn't be blocked by my immunity. That took a while. Slowly, though, ideas or realisations began to form, which slowly began turning into an identification. There was something.... a kind of foresight. A kind of way to seek answers. Then what were they planning?

    I didn't get a clear answer. It was more like a shudder which ran through me. It wasn't an explanation; I just knew the horror, the scale, of what they were planning and willing to sacrifice. The price I'd heard her mentioning before.

    "I have to stop it," I murmured. "I have to protect them.... somehow...."

    The reasons for that had suddenly increased, as it was no longer just trying to punish them for their betrayal, their arrogance. With this.... I couldn't turn my back on those I'd once been. I couldn't let them sacrifice all of humanity, even if it'd save the Atari. Even if those humans hated us. There were some who'd need sparing... sympathisers, protectors.... the 3 faces of the people whom I now counted as family sprang into my mind, immediately. I had to protect them.


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Fri 10 Feb 2012 - 22:38

    My mind was running cold now, at the thought of this danger. I had no clue, none at all, of how I was still being played. I hadn't even looked for any catch. The threat had completely blindsided me, and really, that's what they had been expecting. I know that now. I didn't grasp it, then.

    Desperation raced through me, as I searched through those abilities again, looking for something I could use to save the humans. I suddenly remembered Sky's reassurance that they needed her to fulfil the plan. That'd mean that they'd need me, now. I could still stop them.... could I? Would refusing be enough? But if it was, why did I still sense this threat so urgently? It was real.... it was more than real.

    "What can I do?" I implored at myself. I couldn't just stand by.... was there anyone who'd even know? Had there been anyone whom Sky had trusted enough to tell this secret? She'd trusted me with her blood, her powers, but she'd still refused. Said she didn't want to burden me. How ironic now that the secrecy was the worst burden possible.

    I considered briefly the idea that she might have told one of the other 3. Nick maybe? It was he she was closest to. But I dismissed him seconds after consideration; she wouldn't have. It'd have intensified the very intimacy she was trying to avoid. Who, then? Laurel? Or Daniel? That was possible - confiding in one brother because she wanted to speak with the other. Leaping to my feet, I told myself to pursue this thought before I'd chicken out and dismiss it.

    "Daniel...." I asked. "Did Sky... did she tell you anything about what the other old blood were planning? The plan they needed her help for?"

    He shook his head.

    "No, sorry. But why are you asking, anyway?"

    "It's nothing," I lied immediately. I barely even thought of it. It was instinctive; the same protective urge as had made Sky refuse to answer me, too. I didn't want to burden them. If I failed, he'd be one of the ones lost, and he didn't need foreknowledge.

    Moments later, however, I reconsidered. Who was I to decide if he needed to know? Hadn't I just been resenting Sky for sharing this approach?

    "There.... there's a danger," I began explaining, falteringly. "Their plan.... I think they've found a way to implement it without her. And I don't know if you know anything about it, but the price.... it's bad. It'd kill you all. So I need to find a way to stop them, and I don't know how."

    "Can't any of Sky's powers block it?"

    I shrugged.

    "I'd been considering that. But I don't even know what half of those are...."

    "She could identify them all," he pointed out. I smiled thinly.

    "I tried that. My immunity gets in the way. I barely managed to find enough of her foresight to find out this much."

    "Find out what?" Laurel asked, entering the room. Again, I had to force away a surge of guilt. I couldn't help but think that I shouldn't be telling them this.

    "It's the old bloods' plan to protect the Atari. At the cost of all of humanity," I answered. My words were stark. I couldn't sweeten it anymore.

    Laurel immediately paled as she heard them, and her eyes widened, showing sheer horror. I felt another pall of sympathy towards my old species. To be wiped out so carelessly, in order to save another race.... even if the majority had caused this problem in the first place with their fear and persecution.

    "Do you have any idea of what I could do?" I asked.

    "Some form of protection?" she offered. "A shield? Can you share your immunity?"

    I shook my head, but I was answering only the final question, and answering reflexively, too. My thoughts were rapidly considering everything else she had offered. There had to be something... if I was one of the only people who could do what they intended, could I block it? Undo it? It was possible.... no. There was something more I could do. I could really protect them.... protect them all.

    I didn't even know how I was going to do it. That last thought hadn't come with an explanation. It'd just appeared in my mind, stark and stunning, almost shaking me in the simplicity. There was something I could do.... I didn't even know what it was... but whatever it was, I would do it. I closed my eyes, intently focusing, intently focusing......


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by ItsAGibbo on Fri 10 Feb 2012 - 23:08

    I like it, nicely done! Very Happy


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Fri 10 Feb 2012 - 23:11

    Thanks Smile Have you followed it before, though? I'm wondering if you're now completely lost Laughing


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Mon 13 Feb 2012 - 20:10

    I didn't raise my head, at first. Daniel had called out several times, his voice questioning as he asked if I was ok, before I looked at him.

    "Ariana? You blanked out for a while, there..."

    I blinked repetitively, trying to bring his face - or anything - into focus. Everything seemed blurred. My head hurt, now, and I felt exhausted and drained. Had I done something? Even the attempt seemed to have taken much out of me.

    "Did it work?" I croaked.

    "Did what work?"

    His tone was completely blank. However, I finally managed to bring one thing into focus. His hand. Once I did, I could barely look at anything else.

    The sight was frighteningly simple. As frighteningly simple, and as world-changing, as it was on any skin, as it had been on my own face all those months ago. Those small, simple interlinking little lines.... that Mark.

    "Daniel!" I exclaimed. "But you...."

    "What is it?"

    I shook my head. How didn't he know? How hadn't I felt it? I knew from my own experience that the Change was entirely unmissable, and unmistakeable. And that Mark meant he was an Atari, now.... he'd changed.

    "You're.... you're one of us," I whispered. Immediately, his eyes widened, as he knew exactly what I meant. There was no other meaning possible. His eyes dropped, seeing the lines on the back of his wrist for the first time.

    "How?!" he exclaimed. "But I didn't.... I didn't feel anything... no rush, or anything like how they all describe it. Nothing...."

    I shook my head for the second time.

    "I don't know..." I answered, completely dumbstruck. Had I done that? Had I invoked the Change in him, in my attempt at protection?

    "What's happened?" Laurel asked. She hadn't yet noticed the Mark on her boyfriend's hand. Both Daniel and I struggled to find the explanatory words.

    "Daniel.... that's.... that's...."

    "The Mark," he nodded. His tone was sombre. I could hear the faintest tone of fear within it.

    "But..." she gasped. Rising, she headed towards the window, looking outside whilst thinking as was her wont. After a moment, she gasped for a second time, more loudly. She span around. Wordlessly, she raised a hand, moving her hair away from the base of her neck. Revealing an identical set of marking lines hidden there.

    "You too...."

    "I noticed in my reflection in the glass," she nodded. "But it isn't just me.... outside... it's.... it's everyone."


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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Fri 17 Feb 2012 - 23:25

    Question Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised AWESOME Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Surprised


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    "Iron Man. That's kinda catchy. It's got a nice ring to it."

    "The truth is; I am Iron Man."

    "The suit and I are one."
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Sun 19 Feb 2012 - 15:10

    That's what I was aiming for Wink Thanks. That's Arc 1 finished.


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    Mrs P Sylar
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Mrs P Sylar on Sun 19 Feb 2012 - 17:43

    How many arcs are there? Smile


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    Wayward Daughter
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    Re: Changeling

    Post by Wayward Daughter on Sun 19 Feb 2012 - 17:48

    2 which are planned, maybe more. But 2 which are essential. I couldn't stop where it currently is, obviously.


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