BASIC INFORMATION;FULL NAME:
Judith Lennox ArcherNICKNAMES:
24, has stopped aging.BIRTH DATE:
Formerly ChristianPLACE OF BIRTH:
Los Angeles, CaliforniaPLACE OF RESIDENCE:
Used to wander place to place as a vagrant, currently settling down with her employer/mentor for the long-termAPPEARANCE;
There's that sense of...pain--or perhaps a greater understanding of it or something related to it-- that lingers in her eyes, tough for almost everyone she meets to decipher. It's that same pale knowledge in Judith's expression that can make a stranger curious, like so many others of her kind: The Conducti. For this reason, she is not prone to extended eye contact unless being addressed directly; very often she averts her gaze or finds something else to focus on when not being talked to. This changes in a conversation.
In her posture, there is a deceptive slouch, most prevalent in the moments just before she takes action, that greatly minimizes her appearance as a threat--a technique that was taught to her to both aid in defense and lure enemies into giving openings. Still...some of it is not a lie. On some days she'll be lively and strong, while on others, her skin takes an unusual pallor, and her eyes grow dull and glazed. There may be reddish, bruise-like coloring around her eyes, as if she has fallen ill or, more evidently, is suffering from cold. This can happen even in 90-degree weather. PERSONALITY;LIKES:
-Having allies, family, friends, etc. to come back to(she has no such things and her jealousy can show)
-Fruit, especially sweet grapes
-The thick icing on those cakes(where she comes from) usually bought for a birthday. Expect her to always want a corner slice.
-Books and reading(was considering becoming a screenwriter)DISLIKES:
-Liars, cheaters, con men/women
-Anyone she doesn't know that enters her personal space
-Being asked too many questions about her past, she'll slowly turn evasive and eventually shut down--make excuses to leave, etc.
-A generally warmhearted personality, even if it doesn't get much chance to show.
-Acts as a reliable, capable ally worth having
-Adept user of weaponry, has several "teachers" helping her along.
-Immunity to any powers regarding mind control, hypnosis, power negation or increase(so she can neither be helped nor hindered), anything else that would otherwise suppress, enchance, or alter her free will and abilities, whether to be improved or weakened. A mind reading attempt will yield only a storm of voices all crying out at once and overlapping; too much for the typical telepath to make sense of. It's like peering into someone else's mailbox and seeing nothing but a heap of junk mail. The right stuff might be there, but it's going to take some sifting through, and there's no telling if Judith's gonna come outside and spot you.
-Powerful immune system defeats infections
-Mysterious force that sticks to her without her consent, and feels like a nasty scar she can never heal or even cover up. This power has given her strength at critical moments, supplied her with an odd magic she expected ghosts to have a better handle on, and gained a new sense in addition to her original five.
↑-- The magic generally involves brief bursts of power to Judith's physical capabilities, whether that is speed, strength, etc. She won't be winning Olympic races, or beating bodybuilders at arm wrestling (as they're short bursts, not a constant buff), but the boosts can help get her out of a tight spot, if one happens to come along.
Other abilities involve creating illusions; making people see things that aren't there, or not seeing things that are there.The usage of any magic is visible at any time, via a faint rippling of air around her figure--if the hallucination does not involve removing herself from sight.
Small hallucinations, like just making someone see that their mug of coffee has been misplaced when it actually hasn't, have a very high rate of success. Large-scale Illusions, like Judith making herself virtually invisible, will only work:
On the weak-willed(virtually no PC is at this level).
On anyone affected by fatigue, boredom, exhaustion, hunger, thirst, sleep-deprivation, etc.
Any other targets are only affected after dark, and even then, it will not fool the alert, or those already fighting Judith, or those specifically looking for Judith.
-The same above entity has taken away her hope of knowing death's finality. She can never die permanently through normal means. If killed, she will be restored in some capacity, even if her body was destroyed completely.WEAKNESSES:
*ALL weaknesses stated in Judith's app, that are species-specific, ALSO apply to this app even if it is not addressed*
-Suffers from an inability to focus sometimes. Judith will occasionally find herself daydreaming, fantasizing, hallucinating, etc. Reality overlaps with it, but being able to differentiate can become impossible.
-She can be wounded in ways just like humans can, although she does have some resistance to chemicals and can heal from wounds quite fast. Cuts, bruises, and the like will heal within a minute or two(though she can still bleed to death if an artery is cut and she fails to staunch the bleeding in time). Broken bones, gunshot/deep stab/slash/etc. wounds take anywhere from ten minutes to a half hour. The problem there being whether she actually survives the injury long enough for it to be repaired. Severed limbs--or heavy damage, such as if an organ is forcefully torn out--can be regenerated, but it often takes several hours. Smaller parts that are cut off take less time to return, e.g. a finger. In any case of a limb coming back, there is a period in which her regeneration has to restore past coordination in order to bring the new limb "back up to speed" with the rest of her. Bottom line, she's much better off just not getting maimed in the first place. Or--as the last chance for a quick fix--she can find the severed part and reattach, and hold it steady for a minute. Either way, this isn't a tactic she can really use when the reason Judith was maimed might still be standing in the room.
---With the above in mind, it is possible for a foe to capture her and quite possibly torture her indefinitely in new, previously impossible, and potentially cruel ways, so long as he/she doesn't go too far. The story of Prometheus comes to mind, and being reminded of it is a good way to make her face go pale.
-If she dies and receives too much damage, whether in the process or afterward, she won't revive in the same body, but instead be restored in a new one, in the state she was in before any harm was dealt. This revival takes place within a kilometer or so of the closest "gate", and Judith typically has nothing on hand except the clothes she wears.
-Regardless of any kind of death, revival is an excrutiatingly painful process, the severity of which is proportional to how violent her death was. Disintegrated/incinerated/destroyed by an explosive=by far, the worst; involving pain that rattles her. Further description would not be accurate enough. As a younger Conductus, Judith has less tolerance to the severe pain she could be exposed to. It is not uncommon, after a death, to see Judith curled up and immobile in her next life due to the agony suffered.
--When she dies--if this particular death is slow and would take a few minutes to finish its course--her mind becomes vulnerable to intrusion or tampering. Any ability that functions as a mindfray or that ordinarily would damage a person's mind will work twofold on a Conductus, accelerating their "condition" and, if potent enough, will scatter her mind and inedible soul entirely, like smashed fragments tossed out to sea. Either the below fate happens, or Judith's cycle of existence simply stops(if the mindfray is powerful enough). She will never reform again in that case.
-Being sent back to that nightmare of a realm, and being condemned to repeated deaths, will accelerate the deterioration of her sanity, just as it has done when she was first trapped. If forced to fend for herself again, she is likely to be consumed by the realm, the sentient enemies she has made and the hostile environment for good--and after one of many deaths, she will be reborn as one of the very creatures that once hunted her down so mercilessly. This change is irreversible as far Judith knows--there may be a way to bring them back, but dying in a such a form is confirmed to be permanent--It is the fate of any Conductus that cannot preserve his or her sanity in the world of the mist, and any number of other sentient species may decide to kill this beast form. How many deaths it takes before changing, depends on the person's willpower--they will break down, it is only a matter of patience.
↑--The monster form that a Conductus assumes is based on their personality, mental weaknesses and flaws. Someone wrathful will be an extremely aggressive, combative creature, for example.
-Is not as experienced as Meredith is, concerning the World of the Mist--Judith does as she is told and studies as much as she can, but she can make mistakes, often fatal, that Meredith already knows to avoid.
-Slow to trust anyone
-Easy to tell when she is being evasive
-Crush on Meredith, if you can detect it, leaves an exploitable relationshipQUIRKS AND HABITS:
-Occasional stutter in her voice when startled or talking fast
-Fidgets if agitated, though she is often conscious of this habit and stops it
-Her home--wherever she lives at the moment-- is clearly meant to be tidy, but sometimes becomes messy if she is lax on managing it.
-Still has a pocket-sized stuffed animal--a bear--from her early childhood years; she can't manage to let it go, even after all this time. Its name is Bartholomew.
-Has a crush on Meredith that confuses even herself.
-As a Conductus like Meredith, Judith is no longer fertile--she cannot bear children.DREAMS:
-Living a normal life starting one day, someday FEARS:
-Staying cursed as she is now forever, trapped somewhere to die over and over
-Being locked in the World of the Mist indefinitely
-All feral creatures from that realm
She's always been one to treat others with kindness so long as it's earned. People that find otherwise in wait for them...well, they typically have to do something nasty to deserve it. With strangers, Judith remains polite but neutral, for her habits and gut feelings have often intertwined, and so far neither one has failed her. She's always careful, always on guard--with the exception of being in Meredith's presence--and never dips too far in a situation she doesn't know intimately.
And for that matter, intimacy? She's confused about it herself. Ordinarily she views herself as straight, though...there is a strange, alien bond she feels for the Conductus she knows and works with. Her eyes soften, thoughts become clearer, and it seems to her as if, for only that moment, she has entered the calm eye of the storm that's surrounded her for so long that she's gotten used to it. Separation brings her back into the mess.
In her hallucinations, reality twists. People turn to ghouls as they talk to her. That model on the television? Her skin suddenly peels off in patches. A plate of food she's enjoying? It turns to a rotting, slimy mess of flesh and pus and maggots. Though a shake of the head, a blink of the eyes, and an iron stomach help her to ride through it. Although, no matter what the illusion entails, even if all the people and objects around Judith deteriorate, Meredith is the only thing left unchanged if she is present.
Judith herself, with one long, hard look into a mirror, can tell that a natural, taken-for-granted human element within her has been torn out irreparably at some point. And this is the basis for what she is now: Hollow and steadily weakening at her foundation as rot begins to set in her supports. HISTORY;
These days of late, Judith's memory of her past before crossing the Gate is fluxing and fading slowly. Imagine the first few years of your life as a toddler; only a few significant memories remain here and there, and the rest is a long gap between entering childhood and the present. Here, Judith has realized this is the same thing, and of course she cannot miss the implications; these events have left her reborn, in a sense... But as what? Regardless, each day makes remembering the past become a more and more difficult struggle, the present holds no certainties and a storm of impossibilities...and the future? She has no idea where she's headed.
In a bid of enthusiasm, Judith has tried to record her thoughts and recollections by handwritten and typed documents. One day she'll have plenty; a week later, she might not even remember some parts of her writings or her memories might be skewed. With that in mind, the story thus far might not even be fully accurate...but it's worth a shot.
Judith was born into a family of three, including herself. Her parents now are nameless people in her lives, who she knows are important, but can't pull the information from her head, no matter how she tries. She knows, though, her standing with her real parents. Father had and Mother were around for the first few years. Something happened; they were in a car, headed out somewhere and left a babysitter to take care of Judith. They never came back. She'd asked the babysitter next chance she had:
"Where did mommy and daddy go?"
The teenage girl had moisture in her eyes, silent for a long moment, and the answer she gave was odd. They'd gone someplace...nice. A better place. Why? Couldn't they come back for her if it was so great? Judith wasn't satisfied with this answer, but it was all she got out of the older girl. When she was able to understand, some time after she had been adopted, and age gave her ability to understand, she was told they had been killed in a car accident. The loss didn't seem to rattle her like it should, as if some part of her had not believed it or just preferred the first story she'd been told.
The rest of her childhood was an awkward, stumbling experience like so many others', but with an element missing that Judith presently cannot pin down.
Soon after finishing high school, she'd chosen to enter the Army--not an easy choice, but it would help with paying for college further down the road--she wanted to be a screenwriter eventually. Her job would likely not be as infantry, but she'd still have to go through Basic. And that was far from easy. Quite often she got smacked around--more than once earned a few bruises--, in training she'd be insulted over the course of it like many others--"KEEP YOUR FAT ASS DOWN, ARCHER, THIS ISN'T A GODDAMN BEACH RESORT!"--, and was PT'ed so much she vomited on one occasion, and had to suffer a punishment for it as well. This surely wasn't the time of her life.
But she powered on through it, despite wanting to quit, and made it to the last few days of her training. And that was the last fuzzy memory she has; everything afterward, she can still see cleanly.
Still on the base, it was during her unit's rest period, in the middle of the night, when she heard gunshots. Unorganized, sporadic, overlapping. Very close by. An alarm sounded shortly after Judith woke. What was happening? She thought this was a drill or a joke. They were on American soil, who would attack them here anyway? Then she heard screams...male and female, blood-curdling terror she couldn't miss from any distance that put her within earshot...and she started to have doubts.
She and many others took up arms and made their way outside--
And were greeted by a thick, heavy mist that hampered their visibility. Up above, the sky held no reassurance; the only defining feature in that sea of grey was a round, distant object--the moon, Judith reasoned. In the distance she could see muzzle flashes, hear the rifles fire. There was one explosion to which she flinched as heat stung her face and rushing debris skittered audibly on the ground. In patches it looked as if someone had splashed buckets of blood along walls, on floors. In the air it stank.
"Well we didn't need to end it on bad terms..."
"No no no, please!"
"I'm not a fucking slave..."
"Just tell him what I said...please..."
The mist around Judith and her companions fluttered with movement, and whispers about random subjects filled her ears. A man near Judith strayed a little further from the group. She could still see him when he was taken; she didn't see what did it, but watched as he inexplicably lurched forward as if some force pulled him away, and his limbs twisted at odd impossible angles. She heard a scream...then it stopped short with a quiet crunch.
Judith faintly felt something wet spatter her face as she lost her nerve and screamed. Others had seen and heard, and in a heartbeat's time the scene erupted into gunfire. The whispers on the air turned into animal-like howls, one from only a few feet away.
A monster, surprisingly human-like, towering eight feet in height but in a hunched-over, crouching posture. Skin white as paper. Taloned fingers stained bloody; body slim but with unmistakable muscle that pulsed with power. Its chest sported a handful of bullet holes, from which she could see black sludge trickle. It was seemingly naked, and male. It lacked ears, nose, mouth. Sported one eye the size of a small fist in the center of its face, shocking pure blue like a human's eye, with rods and cones showing brightly. Judith emptied her rifle into its chest and she felt its blood land on her in thick splattering clumps.
And like that, the gunfire around her stopped short. The beast standing before her seemed unaffected, and with no reason to do otherwise, simply advanced. She began to backpedal away and fish for a spare clip, rifle smoking. Fumbling hands slipped it in and worked the action, and Judith lifted to fire--
A quiet crunch interrupted.
It took a moment for her mind to catch up with what it saw; the creature had closed the distance between them at a blur. One of those hands had punched her in the stomach, almost comically sinking into her. Blood welled up around the wound; Judith realized its hand had gone through her. The air, along with all the strength she had, left her body through a shrill wheeze. The rifle tumbled out of her hands and she retched, her eyes going wide and panicked as the agony of what was just done to her began to register.
The humanoid creature stared for maybe a few seconds more before sharply twisting and yanking its arm to the side. Judith heard a meaty tearing sound and her world exploded into unfathomable pain. Something came out of her, splattered on the ground. She dizzily felt much more lighter than before, then airborne; it had thrown her aside. Judith couldn't find the strength to get up, to move, to talk...and she was terrified of what she might discover if she looked down at what was left of herself. Deep in her mind something told her this was it. It had killed her for good.
It couldn't be real...no, this wasn't supposed to happen. Impossible, why wasn't she waking up? She could not even find the voice to scream, only whimper. Tears spilled; she silently cried, shoulders shaking with the sobs and struggling gasps, something running out of her nose...Should never have fucking joined the Army...killed before even leaving training. Before reaching her career goal, finding out about herself further...She was looking death in the face and left so much work behind. What would it be like...? There were other people near her still standing and shooting, some of them being slaughtered on the spot. Would they join her? Judith coughed and heaved, it got harder and harder to breathe. Wouldn't be very long now.
And that's the sum of my life, then. Dead at 21 after accomplishing nothing... She squeezed her eyes shut, felt herself fading as if something inside was finally detached, unplugged. What was agony before was a light numbing now, actually pleasant. Maybe it all didn't matter in the end...
As a moment that seemed to come far too early, Judith jolted awake. Trees, reaching anywhere from 20 feet to beyond, surrounding her. A forest? But how'd she get here? Still in her hastily thrown on clothes from the night before, and now wandering God-knows-where with only a knife, one nine-millimeter pistol with one clip, and no way to reach out and communicate with anyone. It didn't make any fucking sense. She couldn't be dreaming; Judith felt every sensation as if she were alive, even pain when she slipped on the soggy forest floor and fell. "Anyone!" She screamed out. No response.
Then, in a blood-chilling heartbeat, a howl rang out that tore through her memory. Then another. Then three more, closer, closing in from different sides. Surrounded, she had no chance.
That was how her life ended then. For an untold number of lives after, Judith would always wake up in the same state, under the same pale sun and sky, and while the monsters were different, their intentions were the same, with no motive she could understand. Perhaps they were there to cause her pain, simply. The world surrounding her was even less forgiving, if you could call it that. Plants she desperately ate that she'd recognized as safe in the past? They poisoned her. Small lakes scattered about offered sour water and foreign, alien animals that seemed like herbivores crowded it.
The longer she spent time here, the less she could recall about the Earth she used to live on. Why try remembering? She'd died and gone to hell anyway for a sin she didn't know...and nothing in the past would save her.
Further, she thought she was beginning to hallucinate. People, more like shells, that she'd spot in groups, floating about. Some were unnervingly silent as they stared at Judith with sad eyes, while others were unbearably loud and violent, spluttering curses and nonsense that made her flinch on reflex after days on end of hearing nothing louder than a twig snapping.
The monsters, the demons, had seen to that habit. Just a shout and they'd come running. Judith became even more of an expert in stealth because of them. Every lesson learned and earned in pain, her teacher trial and error. The very first time she'd been ambushed, she used her gun, and that brought them down on her in unbeatable numbers. She never used it again after that. Every death was to her advantage. With caution and acquired knowledge, on top of the training she'd been given, Judith managed to settle and carve out a life for herself...somewhat. She got used to the strange, ethereal population and accepted them. Some she even talked with, became friends with, and learned from.
An object dangled from her neck; she couldn't seem to remember how it got there, and so she took it out to see.ARCHER
"Never thought I would find you here." A masculine voice.
She snapped up at attention: a man and woman, looking vaguely familiar, approached her camp and spoke directly to her. No, she did not recognize them as people she knew...but they told her stories. Knew her name, what she wanted to be when she grew up. When she next looked at the dog tag, the memories crashed back on her like heavy weights. Mouth agape, she crumbled into a broken-down grieving mass until she managed to get herself together, tear stained and sniffling. The two strangers did not interrupt.
When Judith could talk, they began.
"What are you doing here?"
"That's what we were going to ask you, Judith. Look...we could sense it. You... shouldn't be here."
"What do you mean, shouldn't be here? Isn't this supposed to be Hell?"
"No, in a sense...it's not. Now, listen, because there's not much time. We don't have many answers, but we do know one thing: you have to get out of this world. This is neither your place, nor your time."
"B-but what about you?"
Her mother spoke up now. "....I'm afraid there's nothing that can be done for us. Our fates were already decided, and it's already happened decades ago." She sighed. "I wish we hadn't been in such a hurry...that we held you a little longer. But still...I'm proud. Of what you're doing and what you've accomplished. We both are. There's so much to say....but not enough time to say it."
Voice weak and quiet, Judith spoke shakily. "I love you." She went to reach for them...and her hand went through. She withdrew, stared at it and them. Unable to touch, or hug, or even just feel another's presence.
Her dad now. "We love you too. And believe me...you'll find us again. And then we can catch up." Both he and Mom pointed to a hill off in the distance, west, Judith thought. "Go in that direction."
She froze, not wanting to leave them. "But I--"
"Judy, please. You've got to! You can't stay here. We....saw what the monsters do. You stay here and it'll never stop. Do you understand how watching that over and over feels to us? You're not ready for this place." They were right. Judith knew it, and so did they; she slumped, managed a weak smile.
"All this time and you still lecture me. Some things don't change." She turned to leave, took three steps, then stopped, her voice coming with an edge. "But...you listen now. I promise, I will come back. So don't get any funny ideas. 'Kay?"
Both laughed. Mom spoke: "Oh, we know you will. We knew for sure the moment you looked at that dog tag of yours for the first time since coming here. Now hustle, young lady."
"Yes, Ma'aaaaaam. What am I looking for?"
"You'll know it when you see it."
So Judith took that to heart and walked, left them behind with a tight smile on her face that didn't last long. But she knew she was coming back. Bet on it.
When she crested the hill, she saw it some distance down the other end: A flickering orange glow, a campfire, carefully nestled in the cover of the forest and several boulder-sized hunks of stone. Walking closer, she saw three figures, all armed, all with hooded cloaks. The first resting on a log facing her, his hood off to reveal a worn, tired face with the beginnings of a beard. A sword was stuck in the ground in front of him, and he nearly grabbed for it when he saw Judith appear at the hilltop; the second tending to the fire, Judith off to his side so he'd notice her in the corner of his eye shortly. There was a long, sniper's rifle slung over his shoulder and fitted with a suppressor.
The third, however, had his or her back to Judith, hood up, and was left unaware. A black, sweeping cloak draped over the shoulders and reached down to about ankle level. Judith's foot crunched something underneath softly and this stranger turned. It was a she; her figure was unmistakably feminine, and there was a steel plating over what was was a ballistic vest--she was not sure. A sub-machinegun with a suppressor slung over her shoulder, a sword sheathed at her belt...
The three stared her down and she stared back, the moment stretched into silence. Then the woman lifted up her gloved hands in a gesture of peace, and pulled her hood back.
Her dark red, nearly black hair was the first thing that stood out to Judith.
," the woman hissed with an English accent. "Anyone ever tell you the wisdom of announcing yourself first, you sodding twat? So maybe you don't get shot
That was how the next chapter began.