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Author Topic: [M4F] Craving Raceplay, Superheroes, Blackmail, Fantasy and more! Samples inside  (Read 736 times)

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Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

As the title says, I'm primarily seeking out Superhero or Caped roleplay, so that'll be my priority, if I can get it!  Doesn't have to be heroes or even really super-heroes, it's just never panned out so I wanted to try it.


Hey there!

I’m sure you’re looking here because you’ve clicked a link, or been given one to check out. If you’re really too lazy to read this over, I understand. We’ve all read a million of these, and they all say kind of the same thing. In light of that, there’ll be an outline at the end, and you can simply look at that. 

I have a Gdrive link full of samples, please contact me, I'd be delighted to share them all, but I'll post comments too!

I’m DoctorRed and BeyondGraves, so if you’re looking for one of those guys, you’re there, you don’t need to particularly go farther, but at least know the idea of what you’re looking at here, please!


I only truly looking for Long-Term role-play, and nothing short-term. I can play a bunch of short-term stories back and forth with someone no problem, but for me, looking around for partners is one of the bigger drags to role-playing. I’m only really into finding good partners that I like playing with and can keep around. If you’re looking for a quick fix, it can be fine, but I just don’t have time to juggle a bunch of one-play-sessions.


We can try things on a trial basis, but it’s less appealing to me. if my options are someone who’s committed and wants to play and someone who sounds on the fence about jumping in, I’ll probably pick the sure thing, just like anyone else.

I like to communicate preferably not through a PM system, I can deal with Reddit and maybe a few others, but nine times out of ten, I’m going to decline. It’s simply not as useful to me, and since I work a lot, it’s not going to be a good experience for either of us if we run around with Kik or Skype for more than just OOC and chatting.


I also don’t typically care much for canon stuff. It’s simply not something I’m very good at, so I normally avoid it. Not being a huge fan of something is an easy way to accidentally get something wrong in a character, and I just don’t have time to learn a character for someone. 

That said, there are instances where I’ve made exception and had a lot of fun with, but I’d have to have at least some prior knowledge of it.

There are special scenarios and circumstances where I can be convinced, but it’s atypical; If you don’t have something you think you can sell me on, let’s just stick to something more original. Now and again I’ll have a craving for something more along these lines, but it’s usually a specific look or feel, it’s rarely the stories or characters.


Personally, I don’t think there’s ever really a reason to hit someone with a one-liner, unless it’s a good-bye. It’s just lazy, to me, and it seems silly. If you really need someone to write more to get something passable as a reply, simply asking should be more than prompt enough. I don’t strive to maintain the lengths in this folder, they’re really just old samples of writing, generally the first post in a thread. I don’t pretend to do this all the time, and it’s just a hobby for me, so less than these posts is fine, but less than a paragraph seems like a waste of everyone's time. It’s just a good way for me to lose interest and have to look for partners again, which I’m trying not to really have to do.


Speaking of, I know that real life gets in the way. Silly, but it happens. It’s not a crisis and I’m usually pretty reasonable. I try to get everyone a reply daily or at least within a day and a half. I would be lying if I said it never happens that it gets past me, but I’m pretty easygoing and it’s not an issue if you have to prod me after a day or two. I don’t care, but being prompted forty-five minutes later is another good way to be really unappealing as a partner.



Towards the content, I love all kinds of things. Typically, I send this link to get other people interested in me, so I’m already interested in something you have going on. But, if you look, I’ve tried to categorize the samples by what they’ve got in them and make them more presentable. Some of the samples can be up to five or seven years old, so they’re not all very current. I’ll try anything once,and even do some things twice. I try to keep an open mind and be reasonable about what I will and won’t do. That said, I really only play M x F whereas I am the ‘M’ in the equation. It doesn’t have to be human, and it doesn’t have to present

I’m making an F-List and a little graphic thing, but they’re still a ways from being done.



Outline
  • Long Term partners. I’m not interested in a short-term partner. Dopesn’t have to be the same RP the whole time, but I’m trying hard not to have to look all the time.

    Email (Gmail for me), Google Drive, or Threads only. PM’s are too hard to track for me, sorry!

    OC only, unless you’re really confident in your Canon

    Paragraph +. A one-liner shouldn’t come up often.

    Get my attention. It’s not hard. But don’t be annoying. That’s easy.

    Lots of things to try! Just ask, but stick to M x F pairings.


Contact me!

« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 05:35:00 PM by DoctorRed »

Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

SAMPLE 1

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
The alchemist sniffed a bit at the flavor of the air, hesitating and making a face. Being above ground was always a mixed bag- since he’d been relocated he went ‘upstairs’ infrequently, and now it was a taste of good, healthy wind, and the terrible way the world stretched out, unending before him.

Today, instead of an unbroken stretch of land between him and the woodline, a helicopter had settled down uneasily on the pavement provided, and men were climbing out, dressed well or otherwise in fatigues.

For his part, he was still dressed in scrubs and a long white coat. He had eschewed the stethoscope for his means- if he needed it at this point, he was throwing away his talents. Anxiety made him click the pen in his free hand while the other rummaged around, checking the device in his pocket, flipping from screen to screen idly before putting it away again.

He stood taller than some, with an average build. The facility below was equipped with enough that it was easy enough to stay healthy and in shape, even if his work kept him busy. The discreet clearing was empty save for a grass-covered ridge where a singular door opened. Even that heavy iron door was kept locked most of the time, leading to the elevator. Some ways below, the rest of the facility had been buried in the place of an old mine, buried and reforested with time. The rumors had been that it had been a bunker, before. Now, it was more like… well, to most it was a prison. For some, it was a second chance. But mostly the prison portion.

The doors had been locked behind the white-coated man who pushed hair back and out of his eyes while the other men approached. Business-suit noddes his head and offered his hand, while a few of the Fatigues broke off to flank him, their faces grim. For all their sour-faces, they weren’t carrying much, which he took to mean they didn’t need much. Or that it was warning. It certainly wasn’t trust, the ankle-monitor was evidence of that.

“You’ll understand if I tell you ‘no’ now, and save us some time,” the doctor said, showing a small smile. His jokes amused him, at least.  They didn’t bother with the usual exchange of names- it didn’t matter to the doctor who it was, and surely three-buttons would know who the doctor was, even though they were certain they’d never met.

“Well, I’ll laugh, if it makes you feel better,” the man in the suit said. “Invite me in,” It wasn’t a request, not really- while the man was free to make it annoying, he was hardly the sole authority here, even if it was ‘his’ facility.  “My… associates all tell me that you’re like a wizard, when it comes to medical procedures. That you’re either the cheapest or most expensive practitioner in the world,”

“Well, I guess it depends on what you value human life at,” The man replied plainly, turning and working his key in the door until it opened to yield for the lot. The smile on his face might have looked friendly, if it weren't so unhinged.

“Yeah, it keeps coming up,” the other man said, pursing his lips a little. “And while I have read the reports, I wanted to see it for myself.”

“That’s… It’s not advised,” The doctor replied, but he gave a shrug. There was a moment of awkward filing into the stainless-steel of elevator and the singular button. It was marked with an up and down arrow, alongside a keyhole. Once everyone was situated, the doctor reached over to descend, turning a new key in the lock. 

“When we discovered the artifact, there was… an incident when it was first touched. There were ten explorers.” The doctor explained to Business Suit. The man nodded and waved a hand to indicate there should be some significant ‘getting one with it’ going on.  “If you know that, you know that one of them was sick. The kind of sick that… doesn’t get better. I’ve read the reports, he should have been dying on his way out of the excavation, if I’m not wrong,” the man went on. “And he was dying, until they changed hands. At first the younger, healthier men carried it, until they reached a lift and the older man wanted a look at what his money had bought the world. The instant he held it, something happened.”

“While I don’t have… complete reports of what their medical histories were like, I do have the history of the dying man. The moment he touched it, it transferred some of his symptoms in a spread between a few of the others. Not all ten, but just to five. Together, his ailments were terminal, a sure path to the grave. Separated, it might… not have been terrible,” he hedged.

“Reports say they were changed somehow,” Suit-coat interjected.

“That’s putting it lightly. I didn’t see them before but of the five, we have three of them still.”

“I was told there were only two.”

“There are only two living. I write the reports, they’re very clear on that point.”  The elevator opened during the pause and the man lead the way down a corridor. It was freshly painted, and though the tiles underfoot were clean, it felt… wrong. Strange, somehow. It was a long hall free of doors until the end where another elevator stood, this one a fair bit nicer, with more buttons.

“When you say changed…”

“They don’t show you the photos? The artifact warps the ones it touches- while the now-healthy man became president, the others were… evolved.” There had been a stiffening at the word ‘president’, though he suit-man waved a hand to indicate that whatever fuss there was about to be had, it was over already. “The one who died almost immediately because he grew gills, and suffocated. It’s hard to say what the leading cause is.” The man was saying as the door opened.

The open lobby was plain, empty. Even the signs indicated what was down each of the four halls were just arrows with numbers assigned to them. The doctor gestured. Past a few closed doors, there was an alcove with a display lit up  Inside the cylindrical tube, a mans body. The three men in fatigues stepped back a half-step while the man in the suit was the one who stepped closer.

The body was tall and lithe, and pale. While it had been dissected once, the sutures from its groin leading up to the chin were neat and orderly, giving a good idea of what the creature had looked like. Angular gills stood out on the neck, the limbs over-long and webbed between splayed fingers. A long ridge started at the upper forehead and disappeared behind. To say he was humanoid was accurate, though there was an uncanny look to him- something that made even the doctor feel a vague discomfort at looking over the man, though he was dead and suspended in some almost-clear liquid. The cables that wrapped around his shoulders to keep him in place extended to the floor and the ceiling where the lights were recessed.

“As you can see, something changed him on a fundamental level,” The man said, pulling a device from his pocket. More flinching went around, but the man in the suit stepped forward to cock his head, looking interested. On the tablet, he scrolled through a few files until he had selected one. Holding it up for his benefit, the man in the suit was able to see it.

In one eye, the image of a young man- broad jaw tanned skin, disheveled hair, dark eyes, stubble. And then there was the other eye- this pale creature who could have been a distant cousin, or maybe a long-forgotten ancestor. If the human miner had been a descendant of fish-men with wicked claws.

The man in the suit stepped away after a moment. To some it might have looked like the pair were taking a commemorative photo with the tablet, and while it was a reasonable thing to step away over, now he was eyeing the doctor from head-to-toe. From his comfortable-looking slip-on shoes, the rumpled scrubs with a lump on one ankle with faint LEDs, to the pressed coat up to his unshaven face, with a tired but friendly-enough expression. It was easy to forget the man was here because not as a privilege but as a prisoner as well. Some doctors or scientists might have been elated to have the opportunity just to dissect the dead man not four feet from them, but this man had had to be rooted here with the promise of pain and more to keep him working. It was easy to forget, tough to remember sometimes. Taking a tour with a felon had a strange way to make one forget.

“The photos are always removed from files. There are a few hand-drawn diagrams, but… the look like ravings more than… well,” he gestured to indicate the man and the display. The doctor laid his fingers on his chest in an effort to look affronted through his wire-framed glasses.

“I’m worried that you just accused me of raving,” He murmured.  “I’m sure you’re here to do more than verify. And while I do enjoy the visit, what brings you here, Minister?”

“M-minister?”

“You were when I was allowed to see the news.”

“Ah,”

“-and I have your wallet,” The man added, sheepishly moving his hand. He still held the tablet, and used his thumb to push the folded leather - now open- to be in plain view over the edge. “It’s weird that they make your license say that. Makes it sound like it’s for life,”

If the way the MPs moved to surround the minister bothered the doctor, it didn’t show. Three hands moved to the holsters at their hips and a singular one in front held out his hand expectantly for the wallet. The doctor tilted the tablet forward until it was offered up like a platter for the snatchy-fingers that grabbed it away and held it out to the minister without moving his hardened gaze from the doctor.

“You’ll have to forgive me,” The man said showing a broader smile, more amused than the earlier one had been. “It’s strange to get a visit. You seem like you’re either here to execute me and burn this place to the ground, or…” He frowned a moment and peered at the other man. “Or you’re looking for a special little miracle. What is it, sick wife? I guess I could pencil them in. Office hours are usually on Wednesdays, from four to five,” He said, folding his arms, looking expectant.  The suit-wearing man pushed his hair back away from his face. In jostling among the MPs it had been disheveled a bit and he looked more anxious now.

“I-”

“I should be clear,” The doctor said, holding up a hand to stall. “The president might have gotten better, but the fix isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t always work.. I’m not here because I know how to use your little toy, I’m here because I can figure out what’s happening when it works. Even he visits from time to time with… guests,” He tapped his chin. “I think my more generous estimates guess that it’s about a one-in-ten for most, depending on the information available. If it’s someone important, you’ll need all their records. I’m afraid I’m fresh out of nurses to run down reports and documents. Seems like our internet and phone lines are down, you know,”

“I… I understand,” the man said. “But there’s a chance. A chance for a healthy outcome.”

“I guess?” the man said, holding up a hand. “You know you’ll need… bodies. These might do, depending on their blood-types, and relative health,” the doctor said, indicating the men who’d relaxed that tensed right back up at his words.



SAMPLE 2


Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
His head hurt and he was sure that while he had been careful not to drink too much, he was starting to feel it. The tall man rolled his head on his shoulders as if there was some form of stretching his neck that might lessen the ache there at the end of it. He supposed he had only his appearance to blame.

Like all deva, he had a blue-violet hue to his skin and the whitish-grey markings that danced up and down his body on the arms and legs, across his hips and back, which in turn made his hair a dull white bordering on a grey, giving him a look that spoke more of age and wisdom than it might have youth if it had been a different coloration. Even cropped somewhat short and closer to his head it had never seemed to matter, and altering it seemed like more trouble than it was worth.
 
But his older appearance to the villagers had made him the target of a minor attack- not physical so much as mental. He’d retired back to this no-name village for a chance to rest, and recover. His latest struggle with the local goblin population had been exhausting- and while he believed with all of his heart the ways of Freedom, there was a lack of when critters and creatures like that started taking farmers' wives and cattle for their own means.

The attack had come just an hour ago before the sun had finally finished setting. There in his rented room, an older man had knocked and come in, looking more like he’d been peddling something than having been much authority. But he’d assured the traveler that he was, in fact, second only to some local governor and while he was very sorry to have troubled the man, he was sure that the man could save them from some… nuisance nearby.

Something had made its stay just too-near the village, and a farmer had seen some evidence of… something. There was some debate in the common room as to if he'd seen something out there, or there were strange tracks. Since the story had come second and then thirdhand maybe even fourthhand to the man, there was some measure of skepticism on his face as he listened, but he did feel a stirring in him. So he’d accepted despite his tiredness and how full of wine and spirit he’d been when he’d finally wandered to a rented room from what passed for a tavern here.


And that’s how he found himself redressed in his leathers and wandering the line between a farmers field- pumpkin, of all things- and the woodline, looking for what he supposed might as well been a big dog, for all anyone seemed to know. He rather hoped it would be a bear- at least that he could justify running off deeper to the woods south, whereas a dog he was as likely to adopt as bludgeon with his staff. He'd always liked the beasts, but he'd had terrible luck with them.

He stood taller than most men- as a Deva, his skin was an unsettling shade, and his eyes were colored a pale grey so much so that if the edges weren’t just a tad darker, he might have looked to have only a pupil. His face was square with a cleft chin, though his cheekbones weren’t high enough to give him much regal appearance anymore so than his wide nose. He might have been handsome to some, though he’d certainly had the nose broken and mended once or twice, and the scars across his skin had broken the white design across his skin. At his side he had few weapons or anything in the way of gearing- a simple coil of rope, a knife and a waterskin that he’d already mostly drained, half of it splashed down on neck and chest. Any luck and he’d run off this ‘animal’ and could go back to his other cups.

In his hand he carried a long staff he’d supposedly had in a past life. The long steel was ornately detailed with wings and feathers from one tip to the other and gave off a faint glow as he wandered, free of any real clues or information, his head still grinding away. As he walked he fingered a few of the tears and rents in his boiled leather, trying to enjoy the soreness of the now-dressed wounds underneath. There hadn’t even been someone who could fix his armor here, he’d been worried about getting his wounds dressed.

Next, they’d try to run him around tilling the fields!

The man paused at the edge of the field and the wood, glancing in. It turned his stomach to consider wandering so late and so tired, but what else was there? Nothing in the pumpkin patch thus far- the gods only know how many of the orange devils they were going to need- but this was the spot, supposedly. He groaned as he rolled his head on his shoulders again, trying to clear it of the fog that crept over him.

“You’d better at least be a good damn dog,” he growled, using the softly-glowing staff to ease a branch aside as he started past the woodline and brush, ignoring the way it snagged some of the frayed edges of his things.


Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

I should clarify- Raceplay preferably being the elves and dwarves kind, but the other kind is fine too. I don't have to necessarily play the majority one, it's just a fun kink to fool around with sometimes. It doesn't have to be there~

Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

Added a writing prompt from not long ago

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
[A local healer a good one, and your people love him. But he does not truly heal wounds, he merely transfer them… The people of the valley below know him under a different name.]


Dark clouds rolled above, promising to return later with a heavy rain, and slick down the dirt roads, limiting travel.  The village under them lay on the edge of the rolling plains, their backs to the mountain range. It had served for hundreds of years this way, dividing their labor between the agriculture to the east, and the mining to the west. Trade routes helped to barter for the things they were without and trade what they were rich in.

Many such villages were the same, and it was simply what worked. All over the region, people traded in what they were rich in, for what they were poor in. It was a delicate balance, and people were now calling it ‘Economy’.  The man could hardly remember what the name of this town was, even though he was sure it was named for something like the mountains nearby or a river somewhere.

The merchant could remember when it was just ‘bartering’ and one person traded one thing for another because of a mutual need. He supposed it was just the same. Time renamed everything, boiling away what was not essential.

The mountains as lined the horizon as he turned his  horses down the path towards the village square, where a place had been set aside for those who peddled and traded. The children were already piling out of their homes and scurrying about, notifying one person or another to his arrival.

The village was stirred into a small frenzy, like a beehive falling from a branch, boiling over with activity where it had been somewhat subdued. First, the children poured through, running about in seemingly mindless movements before the younger adults appeared, looking skeptical.

After, the skeptical youth were moved by the approach of the full-grown adults, who had been expecting but not over-joyed by the arrival of a stranger - not that he was one, mind. After a few cursory glances from the adults confirmed what they were looking for, and they sent one of the younger generations to fetch still older folk.

Or, they went themselves to fetch the sick and the wounded. The horse-driver practically salivated at the thought of his client base being roused from beds or carted into the square.

Merchants were a tough people who found themselves at odds with the way the world worked. Every village was a society to itself, no matter where borders or kingdoms stood, deciding what they called one people or the next. They were suspicious of newcomers, outsiders, or even a too-distant neighbor they thought might be up to some trickery.

Fortunately enough, this merchant had been to this village before, and often enough that his painted wagon wasn’t so unwelcome a sight in this particular corner of the village. Once the horses had stopped, the man hopped down from his perch and set about, dragging free a rolled-up rug over the green and dragging out a simple chair that he would eventually be settled into. One more thing had made it’s way from the cart, and settled beside him, a strange looking set of scales stood at his right hand. The scale seemed odd, and but marked with simple rings and markings, clearly a tool for measuring something.

None of the villages moved to help him, though plenty had appeared and congregated by the time the man had settled. A hushed murmur ran across the crowd as he settled, and it they were going to sit staring at one another until noontime.  Finally, a gruff voice started to bark orders to clear the people from one side, and people shuffled to make room.

This was the way of it every since his third visit to the village, which was plagued with mining and farming accidents. Once every third month, the visitor would arrive and he would change things. He would make things better, at a cost.  For some, it cost less than a bag of rice from the southern villages when the grain was in season.

As the crowd parted around the village cheiftan or mayor or lordling - whatever he was nowadays, the stream of customers made their way forward, behind him.

Once the mayor stepped close enough to the edge of the rug to be within speaking distance - too close to be impolite, but far enough that one might have thought the merchant a wild boar- he greeted him with a solemn nod, and turned his gaze from the man that had limped behind him to the man, urging him to approach.

A middle-aged man, broad of chest and shoulder, he looked to have crushed a bone in his leg, causing him to limp and lean heavily on a crutch as he approached. He waited a few moments, but it became clear that the man seated would not be providing another seat or getting up from his.

Peeking from under his trousers, where they’d been cut away to fit, was a splint. Constructed from loose cloth and some wood, a more practiced eye might note that it had been applied wrong, was doing more harm than good now. The man gracelessly fell to a seated position and looked warily between the scales and the man who had appraised him while he approached.

“I’m Jorge,” he said, a bit awkwardly, reaching with the hand not too busy supporting him to offer a shake. The seated merchant ignored him, instead watched him, his whole body still save for the slow breathing and patient blinking. After a few moments, the man spoke, indicating the ornate scales.

“Place your palm under the scale, and push up until the scales are even,” the man said, his eyes looking as if he were seeing an injured lamb, not a human who seemed to have experienced a real discomfort.

“I… of course, Master Healer,”

“Very good,” the healer said as he used his palm to start pushing the scales accordingly. He waited for a few long moments for the man to press his palm up, making the scales level from where they sat. At first, he pushed gently, seemingly afraid to make it fall over, but it took more muster as he concentrated, forcing the scales level through some extra gumption.

The man leaned over, almost with disinterest it seemed, peering at what the scale displayed. He spoke aloud, though his voice only carried to the chief and the man on the rug with him.

“Seven silver,” he said.

“S-seven?” the man said, his hand dropping away from the scales, as if it had shocked or burned him. In a way, it had. He looked to his ankle, where it lay limp, splinted inexpertly.  “Seven,” he repeated, his voice more steady, if less than happy.

He reached into his belt pouch and pulled a fistfull of coins, holding them with shaking fingers. The fingers and hand shook so much as he held the loose fist up, they rattled noisily. The healer leaned forward, taking his one great hand in his two, one on top and one at the bottom.

Something seemed to fall from the man on the ground, his lungs sucking in a sudden breath and then wheezing out. He slumped even more, but did not pull his hand free of the healers. Finally, he opened his palm and dropped aside with a groan. He blinked up at the sky sightlessly for a long moment, before he sat up suddenly. His palms went to the ruined leg and tugged aside a rudimentary splint that looked to have been cracked.

He rose unsteadily to his feet, eyes marvelling at the feel of weight applied on his once-ruined foot. He looked close to jumping for joy once he found himself stepping, first tentatively, then firmly with his mangled leg. He jumped and hollered a few times before moving off, his footsteps light, even though he’d paid most of the wages he’d collected before his injuries. The healer favored him with a small smile as he moved away, turning his passive gaze to the next of the assembled injured or sick.

A young woman approached, carrying her child. The healer tilted his head, but if it troubled him to see the sick child or watch as it mewled weakly, it didn’t show. He collected his fee all the same, measured by the scales that the troubled mother had to push as a proxy for the weak child.  The woman blinked up at the man when he’d made his judgement, and looked as if he’d just asked her to pull the mountain down by it’s peak. Using her teeth.

In answer, the mayor stepped forward, holding a few coins in his fist and putting them in hers, whispering something. A muttered agreement about repayment, no doubt. The woman thanked him numbly before shoving the money into the healer’s hand, and holding up her babe. The healer laid his palm on the child’s head and then pulled it away as the child writhed and cried out.




You see, this merchant didn’t trade or sell goods that could be bought or sold with anyone else but for time itself, in some cases. No, this man traded in something very special. Carefully, he weighed the injuries of the one before him against the weight it would put on the artifact he wore under his tunic. With that, he charge the price he’d chosen, and simply took the injuries or illness from them.

Sometimes, when he’d arrived at the village, it had been light, something weighed down more by the simple chain the healer wore around his neck than itself. Now, it had stolen the wounds from twenty men and women, and it took all of the composure the man had left to stay upright and pretend nothing had changed. Of course, the pendant had been heavier than it had any true right to be when he’d arrived, after all. He had been to a few villages and towns.

He stood, the crowd starting to disperse and took his time moving the pendant to his belt, where it was cinched tight to prevent it from creating a spectacle. His travel around the villages had been longer than usual this season, and it weighed heavily on him in a much more literal sense than it might have a healer who might have found it weighing on him in an… emotional sense.

He looked passively on as a stablehand brought his horses back to him and harnessed them as they had been when he arrived. They looked to have been well cared for; their coats were brushed and the had been fed. The man tipped them as was customary for their time and turned wordlessly back to the cart.

- - - -

Every time he arrived for the first time in a place, and displayed this part of the power, it was the same. The people at first would protest, or fuss over the money. Over the years, it had numbed the false healer so much that he hardly seemed to hear it. Now, when faced with some haggling or trouble over monies, he would turn and invite the next guest to come sit before him.  His methods had changed greatly over the years. Time had taught him not to show the artifact, or to show the other half of it’s terrible gift.

The first years he had done much for little, taking on the wounds from the injured people who he happened across and storing them in the tiny stone face. The weight had been reasonable, until it had not been. After time, he discovered that if he charged little, everyone who knew about his strange gift would bring every minor malady or slight injury to his side, professing it to be a great bother.

He’d also once had two chairs, and weighed wounds with the people who came to him. Now, it hardly seemed worth the bother of having two chairs at all. The wounded and ill were content to crawl to him and kneel. In truth, it seemed to help, and increase the effect. Of course, every cripple or invalid who leapt to their feet after his touch emphasized the difference in what was before and then after.

- - - -
 

Standing at his cart as the people started to tire of the spectacle and move away, he fingered the icon that he’d found all those years ago. The small carving was jade, so far as he could tell; He hardly could have every rocksmith or appraiser touching the thing. On it’s face was carved a face, that changed, corresponding to its weight. At present, the carving seemed despairing, weeping openly. When he’d arrived, it had been less so, but once lightened, it would be a blissful smile.

Footsteps approaching caught his attention, though he did note that they avoided the patted-down section of green where his rug had been. He turned and saw the mayor, who looked apprehensive at approaching at all, let alone on his own. The healer frowned at him and looked him over with a cursory glance. He didn’t appear ill, or injured, what could he want?

“I… I think I’d like you to stop coming here,” he stammered, sucking in a breath as if he were afraid something might happen. He was right to. The mayor had been the leader here for a few years, and knew that the man had been coming for years before that. The previous mayor had approached the healer with some coarse words about his prices, and the next time he’d arrived, the mayor had fallen ill, and been turned away. Sure, there had been protests at the time, but no one had held too hard onto their reservations when the man had moved to pack up his scales that time.

“Do you mean to chase me off?” the man asked simply, turning his gaze from the mayor to the cart, focusing instead on strapping down the carpet and chair, checking the crates and bags there.

“N-no!” the man said. The stammering fear didn’t suit the large man or his beard. He looked as if he’d be staring at his boots, if he were a bit younger or even a hair less sure. The healer didn’t say anything for a long moment as he worked the straps and belts.

Finally, he spoke; “Why?”

“What?” The man asked, frowning.

“Why don’t you want me to stop here? Do you not care for your people?”

“O-of course I do!” he said, looking offended. The healer didn’t miss that he glanced around, to be sure that those who had taken interest were not so close as to hear them.

“Is it because your father died, I wasn’t here?” The healer asked, frowning as he thought to himself. He remembered the previous mayor, and almost laughed aloud. Of course this mayor looked just a little different than he remembered- it had been his father, a few years ago that had been refused.

“N-no.” The leader said firmly, shaking his head a bit too violently as he looked to the healer and waited for him to have his full attention. When he turned to look at him, he spoke again. “It was my da’ that said we shouldn’t deal with you anymore, said we should turn you away when you came, and I didn’t understand when I was younger.”

“But of course you do now…?” The healer prompted, looking unimpressed and impatient with the speaking, as if the talking itself was more taxing than any healing.

“It’s… it’s the healing itself. It’s not that you do it, or that you charge so much that some people have to move in together to keep a roof over their heads. I think it’s the fearlessness that some of them develop. This year six miners died in a cave-in because of recklessness. I… I think that if you stopped… If you stopped, some of them might get hurt, and might stay that way, but less would get hurt at all,” he said.

“I see,” The healer said, nodding slowly. “Do your people know what you’re asking me, now?”

“N-no!” the man exclaimed, looking more nervous. “But… but I believe it. I think it’s what my father meant, when he stood up against you.”

“Against me? I’m hardly oppressing you,” the healer said, his expression unimpressed. It was nothing he hadn’t heard before. It took years, almost generations, but most places came to it in time.

“P-please.” the words were low in his throat as he spoke, a pleading sound.

The healer didn’t say anything until he had hoisted himself up onto the perch and directed the horses to pull the cart full-circle and looked down at the mayor who stood with his hands empty at his sides, gaping up at the man.

“I will be back in a year, later than I might. Tell your people that I grew angry with you, and said I would not be returning, should they ask and it please you. We shall see if your theory is true,” and with that he was off, working his horses with the reins and crop spurring them as if in a huff until the horizon behind him changed.

- - - -

This village didn’t have a backdrop or a ready source of income. It wasn’t placed well along some geographical advantage by comparison to its neighbors or situated to be well-defended, worthy of building up some great fortress. No, this village had been selected for how very unremarkable the place was in every way except that it seemed exceptionally poor. It was perfect in every way for the Healer.

He had stopped a few times to trade, though only with villages that he had never appeared as more than a simple peddler, trading coin for supplies and goods, before turning on his way, leaving as quickly as he had arrived. This was the way he treated larger towns and cities; if he tried to heal anyone overtly here, it would become a swarm of people. The casual suspicion that plagued small villages kept them from being too loose with tongues or rumor, not wanting to lose out on something they hardly knew as special.

So, laden with goods, he’d set out to come here, a small, out-of-the-way little gathering of people where he visited once every third month. The villagers appeared in a different order than they did at other places, a strange reversal.

First, the sick and wounded appeared, their eyes reflected in the doorways as the sun started to rise in the sky. They looked on with conflicted gazes, half resignation and half tremulous expectation.

The older adults appeared, guiding the sick and wounded away this time, and not to the man who parked his cart at the mouth of the valley. He slid down from his perch and drew the carpet from his wagon, unrolling it unceremoniously in the dirt. He supposed after so long it should not surprise him that the people here did not keep a green in good order for the people who came and went.

Because people, typically, did not come and go from this place. The surrounding villages were just far enough away that they didn’t bother coming this way, and small enough that there wasn’t much threat of them growing to be close enough to merit a visit.  The same reason they did not need a real leader here.

The rug rolled flat to his liking, the man stood and retrieved a chair from the cart and set it down, though this time he simply kneeled in front of it. He didn’t trouble himself with scales; there was no point or need, these people had little enough money to begin with.

More of the youth had appeared, though mostly they peeked from windows and doorways of the crude homes,  even the children not venturing far from their parents and elders. The people watched the man as he settled into a cross-legged position, waiting in silence. Slowly, tentatively, they moved closer, stepping timidly at first and then shuffling closer in a rush. The people were a motley bunch, ravaged across any flesh he could see by the scarring and visible markings of old injuries and wounds.

He watched as they made their way to the edges of the rug, though they took care not to come too close to his wagon or horses either. The horses looked a bit wide-eyed, just like they always did when they came here.  The man sighed and held out his hand, palm up, waiting.

There was a great intake of breath as the people who stood looked between one another, before one of them finally stepped forward and took a seat. They were careful to do it in such a way that they did not touch the man or get too close to him in doing so. It made the entire process awkward and slow, but the man didn’t show any impatience.

The young woman looked down at the man, sheer terror in her eyes, but she seemed to have done a decent job of reigning it in. The man knew from conversations in the past that there were three people in the village that were waiting for him, that they’d been selected with by way of a lottery.  She had known it would be her turn in that chair for almost a week now. The man blinked up at her as he waited for her to lay her hand on top of his and realized he’d barely noticed her before.

Young, probably half an adult at best. He wondered vaguely if there was a way to see what the difference this would make in her life, what it would take away. He didn’t have long to ponder, he saw. She mustered her courage and grit her teeth before slamming her hand down atop his, grasping at it desperately.

Her firm grasp didn’t hold long as he measured a long moment mentally and then unloaded a portion of the weight onto her. He poured the essence into her the same way one would pour from a heavy vase. It took concentration, and a little time, but it was done soon enough, and he watched her change.

Her body twisted, arching and shifting under the pressure, one of her legs kicking out while the other hung limp. Her otherwise healthy skin started to change, reddening in some spots before angry sores opened up and then withered in rapid succession. The man watched as bruising spread up her leg toward the shift she’d been wearing.  The bruising, blue-black at first, faded to a yellow as other changes took hold. Her teeth snapped together where her mouth had hung open, causing her head to rock back. She seemed to be struggling fruitlessly to pull her arm from where their bodies joined.

As an added touch, he pushed a little extra through the bond that had flared up between them and then released her. He could feel the weariness and fatigue from the road ease away from him, slipping off of him like rain on shingles. Not their shingles, mind, but good ones.

When he pulled his hand back, she was mewling, but not because the transfer had rocked her like the others. The reverse was true; the transfer of wounds or health in reverse crippled those he did not measure out properly. She would be bedridden for weeks, possibly years. The man watched as a pair of young men came and eased her out of the chair, carrying her off toward the shanty-town.

Another came, his footsteps careful, as if he expected the rug to fall underneath him into a viper's den. The man made it to the chair in a similar fashion, though maybe it was worse than a snakepit.

- - - -


His cart unloaded and his wagon moving again, the ‘healer’ reflected on the eyes of the people behind them. It had been this way for a long time, and he wondered where it stopped troubling him.  He fingered the pendant at his chest and wondered. It had been what seemed like lifetimes ago that he’d happened upon the thing.



Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

I was looking for some kind of GM set-up if I could find a Play-by-Post

Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

Looking again!

Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

New samples!

Quote
The man blew out a breath, watching the hot air becoming steam as it slid around the air before vanishing. It was something that never really got old, from childhood and on. Now, he was watching it the same way. The sight of it made him chuckle a little before he turned, adjusting his grip on the glass he’d carried. Glancing back, he could see a stern face and a pair of folded arms watching him. He must have left the bar with it, and raised it. Slowly, he finished the last of it off and set it on a nearby bin, gesturing magnanimously. He supposed it would have to do.

It was meters back to the bar, and he was done there. Probably. He waved a second time and turned to the alley nearby, rolling his shoulders on his chest idly, letting the heat of his drink slither across his body, and looking surprised when his eyes found someone else in the long alleyway.

“Hey, looks like he’s here.” A voice said, stepping away from the walls. It might have looked fearsome, but it wasn’t quite dark enough for the speaker and his friends to have really been hidden as anything but people-shaped refuse across the alley.

The newcomer hesitated and wobbled a bit on his feet, glancing back and considering the mouth of the alley. Meters away, again. He huffed out a breath and turned his gaze back to the other end. That was forward, at least.

“Don’t bother running,” One said, swinging something idly as he adjusted his weight to accommodate the chain he was swinging idly, looking the man up and down. “Just give us your money, and we’ll… well, we won’t go easy on you, but that’s a lie,”

“You’re makin…” The man who had entered the alley hiccuped and covered his mouth firmly. “Makin’ a mistake,” he said. His voice had been an uneven lilt and changed into a low rumble of promise. Something about the way he had been idly wandering changed as he took a few more steps, finding the center of the alley.

“Yeah, heard that before,” another said, rolling a flickering bit of something reflective in his fingers, looking the man up and down. “Just get it out. It’s hard to your pockets off without cuttin’ you, we know from experience.

The man blew out another slow breath, watching the hot breath mix with cool air, steam bubbling along to dissolving as it so often did. This time, a steady stream of it wafted down and over the damp floor of the alley. Slowly, it started to congeal into a thick carpet of grey smoke. It spilled from his end and started to build until it washed its way down, spreading steadily.

“Yeah, your steam trick doesn’t impress me,” Another voice said, this one further down. There, at the opposite end of the alley, a figure slid out. It was just shy of perfect timing as the man appeared, eyes flickering orange and red as he folded his arms. “Get hi-”

The shout was cut off as another yowled and danced back from where the nebulous cloud slithered near his feet.

“It’s hot!” the voice cried, as knife-man danced back and shifted his grip. He hopped up onto a dumpster, crouched.

“Just rush him. He can’t burn you if he’s knocked out.”  The flickering eyes commanded. A glance went between Knives and Chain, and they both nodded carefully. The source of the steam had stopped and was striding through it steadily, making his way forward until he was about halfway, only a few scant meters between him and their pair, though Chain hadn’t moved- boxes nearby had kept the hot vapors from reaching him just yet, though they were surrounding him.

“I’m… I’m only going to give you one chance to apologize and go.” the man said. “It’s not really my thing anymore, so just... “ he hiccuped again and shook his head quickly. “Fuck off,” he finished. The man was tall and might have been imposing like the others. Even on the asphalt, he was near to a height with the man crouching on the dumpster-lid, looking only up at him a bit

“Are you kidding me? I can smell the booze on you from here. Just cause you have some shitty power doesn’t mean you can’t be cut. I’ve cut loads of assholes with trash powers like yours, dumbass!” Knives said, leaping with his namesake out, swiping for the man.

The man jerked his head in his direction, centering a moment and jerking his head to the side out of the way and dodging it at by a close margin and catching the man by his pants as he overshot him a bit. Snatching him, he deposited him bodily into the steam. The howling that erupted was horrifying as he writhed and tried to struggle free of it, clawing his way to the side, dragging his fingers at the wall, only a clatter of metal letting everyone know he’d dropped his namesake.

The sound of him wailing filled the air for a moment before the man Knives had attacked gestured, holding out a hand and closing it to a fist. The sound cut off abruptly and the sight of swirling cloudy vapors settled quickly where he’d been. Chain looked hesitant but he glanced back at the man at the mouth of the alley before he swung his chain overhand, trying to hit the man and avoid the obstacles just a short distance between them.

Once the chain hit the ground, leaving a shower of tiny sparks where it parted the cloudy white, but the man was gone. He drew the chain back, frowning but it was too late already. The man with fiery eyes could see a figure rising from the floor of the alley, like a silhouette of fog being blow upwards but not apart before it rushed over the confused Chain and left him in a similarly silent heap of silent swirls. 

“Dad was right about you, you’re a big deal. Or you were,” The man said, folding his arms and hesitating. That hadn’t really bought much time, like he’d hoped when he’d roused them into helping him out. But he was going to make a name for himself. He would make a… He felt his eyes widen as he settled his gaze on the alley. He had thought the man they’d attacked had vanished, but he knew, suddenly, where he was. At the far end of the alley, the fog had built up and congealed higher up until it was taller than two stories and started to wash forward at a startling speed. The first sight of it hadn’t been so bad- it was so far away!- but…

He put his hands together and shoved, sending a gout of flames down the alley, centered on the wave of fog rolling in with a sinister steadiness. The fog burned a little, but slowly, the fog was making progress, even as he divided his hands and tried to beat it back like a desperate leafblower beating back the leaves that came.

A chain whirled nearby, out of a shadow and caught him by the wrist. The chain was still hot from when it had been among the steam and jerked him off balance and into the hot steam at the floor of the alley, where he scrambled, bursts of his flames working to ‘shoo’ it away fruitlessly. The sound of the chain whirling through the air called his attention and he rolled, half scrambling to his back to try and be ready for whatever came, but the big man just stood there, whirling the chain in his hands, idly.

“Wh-what are you doing?” The boy asked, propped up on his hands. The hot steam didn’t affect the fire-manipulator, but he was worried about what might come later.

“Who’s yo’ dad,” The voice slurred.

“What?”

“Yer… Your papa,” The man said. “Who’s he?”

“He… he w-was Incerater,” The boy managed, trying to slip back away from the other man. He came up against a body and flinched away, finding one of his companions and tried to get up.

“Uh huh. Remember him,” The drunk man muttered, stalking forward. “Was an asshole. You’re an asshole. Pisses me off,” The man revealed, stopping. He dropped the chain and swayed a moment before rushing to the side of the alley, vomiting messily on the stones there, groaning as he upended his stomachs contents into the alleyway.

“A...are you okay?” The fire-man asked, his voice small, unsure of what he should be asking.

“Jus’ drunk. An’ways,” The man said, wiping his mouth with a sleeve and facing him again. “Your friends are knocked out. Wanna carry them to the end of the alley, or… ‘re you gonna make me move three of you?”

Already, sirens were annoucing themselves somewhere in the city as the drunk man watched one young man drag two others down the alley. There were burns on their faces and hands, but they were mostly just red patches. He had suffocated them with his power a few moments and then shoved them aside. He folded his arms and felt his head reel, wondering if he had time to go back to the bar and get another one for the road and… sort of doubted it.

“How’d o you do that?” A voice asked, gesturing to the burns.

“It’s just steam. Steam’s hot.”

“But your thing was smoke,”

“Steam, smoke, fog, mist, clouds, s’all the same, for me,” the man muttered.

“Did you… did you hate my father?”

“No. He was an asshole. Glad he’s dead,” The man replied, patting his jeans and huffing. No flask, nothing to drink.  “But you don’t have to be like him,”

“I don’t want to be a hero,” The man protested, dropping one of his friends and standing over the pair at the mouth of the alley, eyes filling with the same kind of light, fury bubbling in him, though he was careful not to lift his hands much.

“Don’ think you have it in you anyways. But you don’t hafta be an asshole. S’ your power, not his. Just go be the person he shoulda been,”

“Aren’t you arresting me?”

“Just these two. If they rat on you, s’not my problem,” The man said, leaning against the alley and shifting his head to one side and the other, enjoying the cool bricks on his skin and blowing out a steamy breath, enjoying it again.

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. I don’t care. Just fuck off, if you’re going.”

“I… I think I should stay. I’m… I’m sorry.”

“Seriously.” The ex hero said, sighing.

“Seriously,” The other replied, misinterpreting the phrase as a question.

“No, seriously- fuck off. I don’t care if you stay. I don’t care what you do. Just stop talkin’ to me about it, before I get pissed off. Cops’ll be here soon, and hopefully, a hero won’t see you and try to rehabilitate you,” he muttered, coughing and spitting a wad of flem into the alley.

“Why?”

“Why…” He sucked in a breath and tried to still his irritation. “Why what?”

“I mean… you were popular, you were good. Why...this? Getting drunk at the same bar, getting thrashed by thugs?”

“I look thrashed to you?” A growl this time. The boy shook his head. He was probably a young man. They looked younger and younger all the time. He blew out another puff of steamy smoke, enjoying the sight of it disappearing and closed his eyes once it was gone, imagining it being him. Another breath and he pushed himself off the wall.  “Actually, you know what? Gimme your wallets.”

Offline DoctorRedTopic starter

Quote
The man blew out a breath, watching the hot air becoming steam as it slid around the air before vanishing. It was something that never really got old, from childhood and on. Now, he was watching it the same way. The sight of it made him chuckle a little before he turned, adjusting his grip on the glass he’d carried. Glancing back, he could see a stern face and a pair of folded arms watching him. He must have left the bar with it, and raised it. Slowly, he finished the last of it off and set it on a nearby bin, gesturing magnanimously. He supposed it would have to do.

It was meters back to the bar, and he was done there. Probably. He waved a second time and turned to the alley nearby, rolling his shoulders on his chest idly, letting the heat of his drink slither across his body, and looking surprised when his eyes found someone else in the long alleyway.

“Hey, looks like he’s here.” A voice said, stepping away from the walls. It might have looked fearsome, but it wasn’t quite dark enough for the speaker and his friends to have really been hidden as anything but people-shaped refuse across the alley.

The newcomer hesitated and wobbled a bit on his feet, glancing back and considering the mouth of the alley. Meters away, again. He huffed out a breath and turned his gaze back to the other end. That was forward, at least.

“Don’t bother running,” One said, swinging something idly as he adjusted his weight to accommodate the chain he was swinging idly, looking the man up and down. “Just give us your money, and we’ll… well, we won’t go easy on you, but that’s a lie,”

“You’re makin…” The man who had entered the alley hiccuped and covered his mouth firmly. “Makin’ a mistake,” he said. His voice had been an uneven lilt and changed into a low rumble of promise. Something about the way he had been idly wandering changed as he took a few more steps, finding the center of the alley.

“Yeah, heard that before,” another said, rolling a flickering bit of something reflective in his fingers, looking the man up and down. “Just get it out. It’s hard to your pockets off without cuttin’ you, we know from experience.

The man blew out another slow breath, watching the hot breath mix with cool air, steam bubbling along to dissolving as it so often did. This time, a steady stream of it wafted down and over the damp floor of the alley. Slowly, it started to congeal into a thick carpet of grey smoke. It spilled from his end and started to build until it washed its way down, spreading steadily.

“Yeah, your steam trick doesn’t impress me,” Another voice said, this one further down. There, at the opposite end of the alley, a figure slid out. It was just shy of perfect timing as the man appeared, eyes flickering orange and red as he folded his arms. “Get hi-”

The shout was cut off as another yowled and danced back from where the nebulous cloud slithered near his feet.

“It’s hot!” the voice cried, as knife-man danced back and shifted his grip. He hopped up onto a dumpster, crouched.

“Just rush him. He can’t burn you if he’s knocked out.”  The flickering eyes commanded. A glance went between Knives and Chain, and they both nodded carefully. The source of the steam had stopped and was striding through it steadily, making his way forward until he was about halfway, only a few scant meters between him and their pair, though Chain hadn’t moved- boxes nearby had kept the hot vapors from reaching him just yet, though they were surrounding him.

“I’m… I’m only going to give you one chance to apologize and go.” the man said. “It’s not really my thing anymore, so just... “ he hiccuped again and shook his head quickly. “Fuck off,” he finished. The man was tall and might have been imposing like the others. Even on the asphalt, he was near to a height with the man crouching on the dumpster-lid, looking only up at him a bit

“Are you kidding me? I can smell the booze on you from here. Just cause you have some shitty power doesn’t mean you can’t be cut. I’ve cut loads of assholes with trash powers like yours, dumbass!” Knives said, leaping with his namesake out, swiping for the man.

The man jerked his head in his direction, centering a moment and jerking his head to the side out of the way and dodging it at by a close margin and catching the man by his pants as he overshot him a bit. Snatching him, he deposited him bodily into the steam. The howling that erupted was horrifying as he writhed and tried to struggle free of it, clawing his way to the side, dragging his fingers at the wall, only a clatter of metal letting everyone know he’d dropped his namesake.

The sound of him wailing filled the air for a moment before the man Knives had attacked gestured, holding out a hand and closing it to a fist. The sound cut off abruptly and the sight of swirling cloudy vapors settled quickly where he’d been. Chain looked hesitant but he glanced back at the man at the mouth of the alley before he swung his chain overhand, trying to hit the man and avoid the obstacles just a short distance between them.

Once the chain hit the ground, leaving a shower of tiny sparks where it parted the cloudy white, but the man was gone. He drew the chain back, frowning but it was too late already. The man with fiery eyes could see a figure rising from the floor of the alley, like a silhouette of fog being blow upwards but not apart before it rushed over the confused Chain and left him in a similarly silent heap of silent swirls. 

“Dad was right about you, you’re a big deal. Or you were,” The man said, folding his arms and hesitating. That hadn’t really bought much time, like he’d hoped when he’d roused them into helping him out. But he was going to make a name for himself. He would make a… He felt his eyes widen as he settled his gaze on the alley. He had thought the man they’d attacked had vanished, but he knew, suddenly, where he was. At the far end of the alley, the fog had built up and congealed higher up until it was taller than two stories and started to wash forward at a startling speed. The first sight of it hadn’t been so bad- it was so far away!- but…

He put his hands together and shoved, sending a gout of flames down the alley, centered on the wave of fog rolling in with a sinister steadiness. The fog burned a little, but slowly, the fog was making progress, even as he divided his hands and tried to beat it back like a desperate leafblower beating back the leaves that came.

A chain whirled nearby, out of a shadow and caught him by the wrist. The chain was still hot from when it had been among the steam and jerked him off balance and into the hot steam at the floor of the alley, where he scrambled, bursts of his flames working to ‘shoo’ it away fruitlessly. The sound of the chain whirling through the air called his attention and he rolled, half scrambling to his back to try and be ready for whatever came, but the big man just stood there, whirling the chain in his hands, idly.

“Wh-what are you doing?” The boy asked, propped up on his hands. The hot steam didn’t affect the fire-manipulator, but he was worried about what might come later.

“Who’s yo’ dad,” The voice slurred.

“What?”

“Yer… Your papa,” The man said. “Who’s he?”

“He… he w-was Incerater,” The boy managed, trying to slip back away from the other man. He came up against a body and flinched away, finding one of his companions and tried to get up.

“Uh huh. Remember him,” The drunk man muttered, stalking forward. “Was an asshole. You’re an asshole. Pisses me off,” The man revealed, stopping. He dropped the chain and swayed a moment before rushing to the side of the alley, vomiting messily on the stones there, groaning as he upended his stomachs contents into the alleyway.

“A...are you okay?” The fire-man asked, his voice small, unsure of what he should be asking.

“Jus’ drunk. An’ways,” The man said, wiping his mouth with a sleeve and facing him again. “Your friends are knocked out. Wanna carry them to the end of the alley, or… ‘re you gonna make me move three of you?”

Already, sirens were annoucing themselves somewhere in the city as the drunk man watched one young man drag two others down the alley. There were burns on their faces and hands, but they were mostly just red patches. He had suffocated them with his power a few moments and then shoved them aside. He folded his arms and felt his head reel, wondering if he had time to go back to the bar and get another one for the road and… sort of doubted it.

“How’d o you do that?” A voice asked, gesturing to the burns.

“It’s just steam. Steam’s hot.”

“But your thing was smoke,”

“Steam, smoke, fog, mist, clouds, s’all the same, for me,” the man muttered.

“Did you… did you hate my father?”

“No. He was an asshole. Glad he’s dead,” The man replied, patting his jeans and huffing. No flask, nothing to drink.  “But you don’t have to be like him,”

“I don’t want to be a hero,” The man protested, dropping one of his friends and standing over the pair at the mouth of the alley, eyes filling with the same kind of light, fury bubbling in him, though he was careful not to lift his hands much.

“Don’ think you have it in you anyways. But you don’t hafta be an asshole. S’ your power, not his. Just go be the person he shoulda been,”

“Aren’t you arresting me?”

“Just these two. If they rat on you, s’not my problem,” The man said, leaning against the alley and shifting his head to one side and the other, enjoying the cool bricks on his skin and blowing out a steamy breath, enjoying it again.

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. I don’t care. Just fuck off, if you’re going.”

“I… I think I should stay. I’m… I’m sorry.”

“Seriously.” The ex hero said, sighing.

“Seriously,” The other replied, misinterpreting the phrase as a question.

“No, seriously- fuck off. I don’t care if you stay. I don’t care what you do. Just stop talkin’ to me about it, before I get pissed off. Cops’ll be here soon, and hopefully, a hero won’t see you and try to rehabilitate you,” he muttered, coughing and spitting a wad of flem into the alley.

“Why?”

“Why…” He sucked in a breath and tried to still his irritation. “Why what?”

“I mean… you were popular, you were good. Why...this? Getting drunk at the same bar, getting thrashed by thugs?”

“I look thrashed to you?” A growl this time. The boy shook his head. He was probably a young man. They looked younger and younger all the time. He blew out another puff of steamy smoke, enjoying the sight of it disappearing and closed his eyes once it was gone, imagining it being him. Another breath and he pushed himself off the wall.  “Actually, you know what? Gimme your wallets.”