CHARACTER SHEETKnown name, real name:
Charity DeArca, Stephanie Jasmine MilanoTYPE:
Champion of GodJOB:
She has a decent nest egg from her former life, but beyond that, God provides.AGE:
Her usual clothing ensemble is more functional than fashionable, as well as cheap. More often than not, her jeans have holes that look pre-sliced, as if she'd had to cut into them to remove stains. Thankfully, black boots wash off more easily. Her shirts run the gamut from T-shirts to sweaters depending on the weather. Occasionally she splurges with some makeup.ORIENTATION:
- An inability to let go of the past: Charity still hasn't forgiven herself for all the things she's done which were evil. Sleeping around isn't evil (though it's hardly pure) unless the person is married, but she's slept with married men and women. Names and faces continue to haunt her, and she logically understands that one can repent and ask for God's forgiveness, but it doesn't make it any easier to forgive herself.
- Having to keep her head down so she isn't found: you don't ever leave a Family, except in a pine box. She's faked her death, changed her name, and done any number of other things, but if anyone from Miami finds out that she's still alive, she'll have to either convince or kill them before the Family sends enough resources at her to convince anyone else of the foolishness of trying to leave.
- Temptation to return to the Family and a "less pure" existence: Charity mostly does a good job of not getting drunk and fooling around. Mostly. She already knows that she's not great at being a truly good person, but the things she wants to do have no place in serving God. She sees it as a temptation because even getting a family would deter her from her task; how would she go out and hunt evil while she's pregnant? What if the one night she gets plastered is a night where she's needed by God? What if - Heaven forbid - she uses her old name while drunk?
People often hear the news about a serial killer and wonder how people can do such a thing. The thing is, they're looking at it from their own perspective. It can be so easy to stare at a life devoid of grime and wonder why other people aren't so clean and pure.
When evil all you know, the idea of living a good life doesn't even make any sense. That's as true in Miami as it is in Seattle.
Stephanie Jasmine Milano was a lot of things, and none of them were very good, but the one that most people understand best is assassin. Real life isn't like an action movie where people are trained from birth and can execute a person at 300 yards with a pistol, or come in through the vents, and Stephanie needed little more than a pretty face and basic understanding of firearms to get herself a degree of prestige in organized crime.
When she started out, it was simply as a spotter. Working with a team, she'd follow a particular target, eventually backing away to allow someone else to take over. Stealth isn't as easy as the movies, either, because anyone deliberately trying to be stealthy will immediately be noticed for a change in behavior. It takes practice to walk without your footsteps making much noise, staying reasonably close to walls and staying fast enough to not be glimpsed for more than a moment or two.
Eventually, they gave her a gun and instructed her in its use, telling her to put a few bullets in the head of the target. Once she did it, she really, truly belonged. She found out about the Family, the secret group of assassins responsible for any number of deaths throughout the centuries. Most of the jobs were in Miami, but a few of them required plane or train passage while she had an ironclad alibi back home.
A lot of great people worked in Miami, and she misses quite a few of them. Wheels, her driver, would pick her up even if it was three in the morning and she was too drunk to walk straight. She never did find out his real name. The Family accountant kept her inundated with enough money that she could buy a new dress each season, now represented just with her nest egg, a finite resources which should last her for a few more years if she keeps her expenses low. God often provides in little ways, but there's no sense tempting Him by rushing through that money, and she knows that something will happen to help her by the time it's gone.
Once, it was a politician. She doesn't remember which one, but she didn't have to kill him. They were in the middle of having sex when she pulled a gun on him and told him, as she'd been instructed, that he'd have to honor his debts or he'd never feel safe again. The pervert actually got even more turned on, though he promised to do the right thing.
There's just something about having a family that cares about you, even if that family isn't yours by blood. How do you abandon the only people that know you even if they ask difficult things from you? Even if you end up with nightmares? If not for Gabriel Minaco, she might never have left. Well, if not for the other man with him.
Back then, a target was just a target. She knew habits, rituals, appearance, but nothing to actually make Gabriel any more than a corpse-to-be. She didn't know his favorite color, or the sound of his laugh, or any of the other dozens of little things that would leave her desperate to understand the lives she snuffed out.
Gabriel was different only in that he was already dead when she got there. Seated in his chair, he might well have only been asleep but for the recognition she held from someone who'd seen enough dead bodies to know the difference. Standing over him was another man, immaculately dressed and offering her a smile. "Hello, Stephanie."
Quick as lightning, her hands went up to snuff the witness. The only thing to stop her was that he knew her name. This had to be some sort of a setup.
"God still loves you, Stephanie." She hated him for that, for not being afraid of her, for his smug arrogance. "Aren't you tired of living like this? Aren't you tired of the nightmares?"
At the time, she didn't know why she didn't shoot him. Looking back, it only made sense that he was exactly right. She did want a way out; she just didn't know it. She would like to say that she felt something, then, but so much of those moments feel more like a dream.
The only proof she had that it happened was the cross necklace. Belonging to Joan of Arc and passed down throughout history, it gives its bearer the ability to heal wounds that might otherwise cripple a person. With all the damage she's taken over the years since, she's needed it.
Before the night had ended, something - luck, fate, destiny, intuition, or simply providence - brought her up against her first monster. Whatever it was, it had collected quite a few fresh corpses in an alley, with a plethora of bones already bitten clean. Obviously her skills were needed for something better than a group of assassins, and the thing responded as well to bullets as people did.
Years have passed since, but it took only a few days for her to fake her death, use a few contacts to get a new identity, bleach her hair and move all the way to Seattle. It's easy to say that God forgives her, but she'd have to forgive herself first. Certainly it doesn't help that knowing what her old life was life makes it so tempting to go back. As far as she knows, her old life is gone, but there's always the worry that someone in Miami will somehow find her and her old family will want her back.Abilities:
As a servant of God, her presence in a home increases its threshold, providence directs her to specific locations as she is needed and occasionally guides her actions, and her holy presence can be focused like a weapon against those vulnerable to the power of faith. On very rare occasions, things have been desperate enough to make her pray for miracles. Finally, her cross necklace aids her in healing to a degree even beyond that of a wizard.
Her mortal skills are nothing to sneeze at, albeit by mortal standards. Decent talent in shooting may not have been truly necessary as a slayer of mortals, but she's had more than enough time and practice now to hone them to a fine edge. She can make her own ammunition (though she never inherited any jewelry) and prefers a full metal jacket of steel over a core of lead, with each round dipped in holy water just in case it makes a difference. She ordinarily carries a Desert Eagle .50, and she's had practice in working with the recoil so that the gun jumps to where the target will be instead of trying to keep her arms straight, with a .38 revolver hidden in her boot. For even more desperate times, a sniper rifle waits in a briefcase at her apartment.
She's heard stories that some of the Blessed have the ability to make bullets so holy that holy water isn't needed, and each round carries such divine fury that the supernatural have no means of ignoring such judgment. Whether or not it's true, she can't do it, or at least hasn't been able yet.
Outside of firearms, her combat skills are pretty laughable. She can throw a punch or kick, but unless she gets the element of surprise, it's barely going to be enough to handle a mundane. The first time she saw someone draw a sword, she really did laugh; if not for the cross necklace, she'd still be laughing every time she saw the deep scar across her chest. Or crying.
She's very perceptive, and not great at running by marathon standards but she can handle several blocks without issue and can jump to the ladder of a fire escape when her life requires it. Years of life in Seattle, along with being willing to deal with the problems that so many others want to ignore and wait for someone else to handle, have afforded her a number of friends and contacts. She's mastered the art of sneaking around without looking like you're sneaking, and looking for trouble has afforded her some minor talents in investigating.REPUTATION:
Charity DeArca is one of the closer things to a hunter in the modern age, albeit far from an indiscriminate one. There is good and evil in the world, and supernatural doesn't automatically imply evil, but few other people can deal with supernatural evil the way she can. Being born with magic is very different from selling your soul to demons for power, and murder is murder regardless of whether magic is used. She's had more than enough time to separate herself from the religious stereotypes.
6. Writing prompts! Choose two of the three.
1. Your character had a one night stand. Do a write up on the morning after.
She'd done it again.
Charity looked around the crummy apartment, her head still pounding from the alcohol. It was so easy to tell herself that she could just relax, that one drink wouldn't hurt, that she wouldn't slide back to her old way of life.
Even if she didn't have to worry about her name slipping, though, she knew full well that that wasn't true. She knew how easy it would be to stop walking into the valley of the shadow of death, to settle down and live a happy life, but that just wasn't her path.
What kind of a girlfriend would she be to this man, anyway? She tried to think, but couldn't even remember his name. He was sleeping so peacefully, but he didn't deserve to see her sneak out night after night, to come home bruised and battered, possibly even making the neighbors know whether he was beating her.
Quiet as she could, she dressed and sneaked out of the apartment, unable to make herself even write him a letter of apology. Part of her wanted to believe that she'd just been another conquest, that he'd kick her out anyway, and that she wouldn't even care that he was gone.
2. Your character finds themselves experiencing prolonged eye contact with a side dish of soulgazing. How does it happen, and what happens afterwards?
"How am I supposed to trust you?" he asked.
"Do you really need me to go into a theological lecture on what a 'witch' meant back then?" she asked him. "You all do a fantastic job of hiding; does it surprise you that people didn't understand and thought that all of you made unholy bargains?"
Somewhere along the line, she'd been warned about making eye contact. The last few years had been filled with so much information that she'd forgotten about what it meant to look into a person's eyes for too long, especially a wizard.
This was her childhood - no, his childhood. She was never this cold, but she couldn't feel her hands. His hands. His hands were freezing, but no matter how hard she banged on the door, Mom just wouldn't open up. Mom was doing something again in that study that was always locked, and he'd been locked out again.
He was there, then, when he finally got into the study. Maybe he wasn't old enough to be an adult, but he was old enough that things were happening. Magic. Real magic.
Down at the schoolyard again, the bullies were back. Charity didn't want to see this. Didn't she have enough of her own troubles? Trapped on the ride, she wanted the wizard in training struggle not to use his gifts for evil. When he failed, it was little surprise, but he'd ultimately shown mercy. Mercy was what was in his heart, mercy and a desire to end suffering however he could.
By the time Charity came back to herself, the wizard had released his blasting rod, showing her sympathy. "You really have changed," he reassured her. "If anyone can let the past go, you can."
That was not a topic she was interested in discussing. If anything, she wanted to chew him out for tricking her into the soulgaze, but how do you hate on someone when it's your own fault for being goaded. "You ready to go deal with this now?" she asked.
He nodded, heading for the parking lot. "I hope you don't mind a car without air conditioning."