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Mundane Mortals

   
Mundane Mortals

Lena Melikhin
Sasha’s Daughter

Born: 1992

Virtue: Kind (Given how manipulative she can be, it’s probably for the best that Lena doesn’t have a mean bone in her body…)
Vice: Corrupt (…though she’s got plenty of selfish ones.)



Background: Sasha’s daughter, Lena is what older and wiser heads politely call “trouble.” Born in Ukraine around the fall of the USSR, Lena ended up by agencies not entirely clear in the Hawksworth Academy, an exclusive girl’s boarding school in Essex, northeast of London. There, she’s proven to have a limitless capacity for getting into and out of trouble. Her curiosity, independence, and thoroughly contrary nature means that she tends to poke her nose into things that aren’t her business, but her wild imagination and rather casual attitude towards the truth (combined with the looks of a Slavic Cherub) means that she’s equally good at getting out of things.

In Hawksworth, Lena is something of a social ‘queen bee,’ at least among her band of budding juvenile delinquents. She’s starting to go a little stir-crazy within the walls of Hawskworth, and can’t wait to be allowed out into London. Then she can meet her Mysterious Uncle Alyosha in the daytime, and find out who he really works for.

Rank: 1
Mental 2; Physical 0; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: Manipulative Minx; Her Father's Daughter


Yanmei Gao
"Mei"



Virtue: Loving
Vice: Lustful (Yanmei's got a good head on her shoulders... If only it didn't completely turn off when a pretty boy walks by. Or a pretty girl. Lena)

Background: The daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman and Lena Melikhin's partner in crime. Mei is quieter and less gregarious than Lena, and more than a few adults hoped that she'd prove to be a calming influence on the mischievous Ukrainian girl, but alas, quite the opposite seems to have happened. Thick as thieves is the expression that comes to mind.

Despite her seemingly quiet nature, Mei's in the drama club, with a penchant for swashbuckling roles. At heart, Mei's a romantic with a vivid inner life, and visions of being swept off her feet by a dashing prince -- or alternatively sweeping a dashing prince off his feet. She's also fences and is in the historical club, which makes one suspect that Mei wishes she had been born in an adventure tale.

Rank: 1
Mental 2; Physical 3; Social 1
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: Dubious Family; Fencing Whiz; Romantic


Ajay Hewitt

Type: Mortal
Profession: Mechanic and occasional waiter



Virtue: Pragmatic
Vice: Miserly

Background:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jewel the Slaver
"Listen to me, my Pale Lady, as I weave you a tale of two brothers, and of the spirit that bore them across a sea of water and through a lake of blood. They were born a score of years ago, in the harbor named for the King, upon the island once known as Xaymaca, and then Santiago, and then Jamaica." Jewel said, her voice falling into a storyteller's cadence. There was something subtly hypnotic in her eyes, brilliant, color-shifting eyes. They were green-blue now, the color of the sea. "One was named for angels, and so D'Angelo he was. The other's namesake strode before the walls of distant Troy, and thus his name is Ajay. They were poor, but ever-willing to work, and so they lived."

"But how does one work when there is no work to be had?" Jewel said, her thousand-faceted eyes shifting to a shade of orange, reminiscent of the setting sun. "And so the brothers hatched a scheme, Ajay convincing his brother to throw the dice once more. They were young. They were willing. And by being born in that distant city, named for the King, they were subjects of this country's queen as well. And so they came to this land, seeking freedom from hunger and want."

"But the darkness of the soul followed them. They were poor, and so they took what work could be found. They painted, and ever was D'Angelo had a dreamer's eye for art. They fixed houses, for Ajay was ever cunning with his hands. And they heard of work, caring for animals at a slaughterhouse, in a town not far." The sunset in Jewel's eyes set, and they showed only crimson blood now. "The brothers came, but they had been lied to. There was no work there, not for them. There would be no workers there, but they were to be the animals. They were beaten, Ajay throwing his form across his brother to shield him from the blows. They were chained. And then a steady stream of blood was taken from them. They were the stock, their blood feeding monsters whose hungers were terrible, in the interests of mortals whose love of money was more terrible still."

"But a man cannot give blood forever." Jewel said, as the blood in those crimson eyes dripped away, leaving a wash of slate-grey, like stones upon the beach or a corpse's skin. "And so they became weak. And D'Angelo, never so hardy, fell ill. Dead men are of no use to they as hunger for blood and money."

Jewel scuttled off the thick cable, her feet still clinging to the silk even as she put her hands on each of the occupied cages. She hung like that, upside down, as she finished her tale. "But the spider could use them. Or find others that could. They are weak, Pale Lady, and sick. But they have a fire in their souls that not hunger nor blood could extinguish."
Ajay, along with his brother, immigrated from Kingston, Jamaica to the UK, only to fall into a rather unpleasant state of blood-slavery. He was being sold at the Goblin Market of the Spider-Span when Erin rescued him and his brother. These days, he works at the Cat's Cradle, though he tends to leave the front service to his more personable brother. He also does small jobs to earn more of a nest egg, and has recently become engaged to a nice girl named Jasmine "Jazzy" Palmer.

Rank: 1
Mental 3; Physical 1; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: The Man with the Plan; Slow and Steady Wins the Race


D'Angelo Hewitt

Type: Mortal
Profession: Maître d’hôtel of the Cat's Cradle, Painter



Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Gluttonous

Background:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jewel the Slaver
"Listen to me, my Pale Lady, as I weave you a tale of two brothers, and of the spirit that bore them across a sea of water and through a lake of blood. They were born a score of years ago, in the harbor named for the King, upon the island once known as Xaymaca, and then Santiago, and then Jamaica." Jewel said, her voice falling into a storyteller's cadence. There was something subtly hypnotic in her eyes, brilliant, color-shifting eyes. They were green-blue now, the color of the sea. "One was named for angels, and so D'Angelo he was. The other's namesake strode before the walls of distant Troy, and thus his name is Ajay. They were poor, but ever-willing to work, and so they lived."

"But how does one work when there is no work to be had?" Jewel said, her thousand-faceted eyes shifting to a shade of orange, reminiscent of the setting sun. "And so the brothers hatched a scheme, Ajay convincing his brother to throw the dice once more. They were young. They were willing. And by being born in that distant city, named for the King, they were subjects of this country's queen as well. And so they came to this land, seeking freedom from hunger and want."

"But the darkness of the soul followed them. They were poor, and so they took what work could be found. They painted, and ever was D'Angelo had a dreamer's eye for art. They fixed houses, for Ajay was ever cunning with his hands. And they heard of work, caring for animals at a slaughterhouse, in a town not far." The sunset in Jewel's eyes set, and they showed only crimson blood now. "The brothers came, but they had been lied to. There was no work there, not for them. There would be no workers there, but they were to be the animals. They were beaten, Ajay throwing his form across his brother to shield him from the blows. They were chained. And then a steady stream of blood was taken from them. They were the stock, their blood feeding monsters whose hungers were terrible, in the interests of mortals whose love of money was more terrible still."

"But a man cannot give blood forever." Jewel said, as the blood in those crimson eyes dripped away, leaving a wash of slate-grey, like stones upon the beach or a corpse's skin. "And so they became weak. And D'Angelo, never so hardy, fell ill. Dead men are of no use to they as hunger for blood and money."

Jewel scuttled off the thick cable, her feet still clinging to the silk even as she put her hands on each of the occupied cages. She hung like that, upside down, as she finished her tale. "But the spider could use them. Or find others that could. They are weak, Pale Lady, and sick. But they have a fire in their souls that not hunger nor blood could extinguish."
D'Angelo, like his brother, immigrated from Kingston, and passed through blood-slavery and Hedge-slavery. Mostly, D'Angelo works at the Cat's Cradle, usually at the front desk. A dream, pleasant sort of man, has an easy manner with customers. Also unlike his brother, D'Angelo has precious little in the way of ambition, mostly focusing on painting.

Rank: 1
Mental 2; Physical 1; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: Dreamer; Sweet-Natured

Emma Baxter

Type: Mortal
Profession: Receptionist



Virtue: Hopeful
Vice: Indecisive

Emma Baxter didn’t have the worst childhood, but there was a very generous amount of room for improvement.

Born in 1985, Emma spent her first two years with a mother who was not abusive so much as she was neglectful. Emma’s value was tied to the government benefits her mother received. When a neighbor spotted a grease fire in their backyard, Emma’s mother lost both the checks and the child. Thus began Emma’s experience with Mississippi’s infamous foster care system.

Her first set of foster parents treated their 14 cats better than their foster daughter. They were eventually evicted from their home after their hoarding rendered the place uninhabitable. Later, she ended up with a pair that was outright abusive. When Emma showed her supervisor the bruises, that somehow turned into them deciding she had behavioral problems and she went to a psychiatric facility. And so on, and so on from one unfortunate placement to the next.

Emma did her best to be the model child. She followed “children should be seen and not heard” before anyone had ever scolded her with the phrase. She was the picture of politeness and did her best to follow every rule her foster parents put in place, no matter how unreasonable. If Emma was perfect, there would be no reason for groundings, beatings, or being sent to bed without dinner. Unfortunately, no one can be perfect, and her foster families were more than happy to tell her just how far from perfection she was.

Under these circumstances, puberty for young Emma should have been a disaster… but she finally had her first good stroke of luck. This round of foster parents were actually somewhat competent at parenting, but more important was the other orphan she’d been placed with. In many ways, Cass was everything Emma wasn’t--outgoing, charming, and possessed of of a sizable rebellious streak. The two found they complemented each other well. Cass pulled shy, polite Emma out of her shell, and Emma sweet-talked teachers to get Cass out of detention. They were a perfect team.

Despite the downright pleasant home environment, Emma’s stay with her first good family lasted about as long as the previously awful ones. Their parents fell on hard times and both girls were moved--Cass to Louisiana, while Emma found another (mercifully tolerable) family nearby. The loss of her best friend hit Emma hard, but she’d promised Cass she wouldn’t go back into her shell. Not only did she keep her word, but she even mustered the courage to join the cheerleading squad in high school.

Emma considered herself a realist, then as now. She’d seen the uglier side of people. She knew that Hollywood happy endings didn’t actually happen, not really. Not for people like her. And yet, when she fell for a basketball player on an away game, and he for her, she couldn’t help but feel giddy as her life seemed to transform into a high school romance story. She and Michael met when they could, either at games or on weekends when one drove out to see the other. In between visits, they clogged up their family’s phone lines taking way too long to say goodbye.

But Emma-the-realist was right--these things didn’t have happy endings in real life. Not for her. When Emma announced her pregnancy to Michael, it was followed by the news that she was no longer welcome at her home. They were at least granted a small window of hope between Michael promising to stay by her side and his own disownment.

They managed to make the wedding special, even though the guest list was depressingly short. Their first apartment was a hole in the wall in the tiny town of Butler, but it was their hole in the wall. Life for the newlyweds wasn’t easy, but they did at least get the satisfaction of proving the rumor mill wrong when they both graduated.

Emma had Noah, Michael got a job, and they made things work well enough. After a few years, they even moved into a real house, albeit one that needed some work. Their relationship wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but both parents adored Noah and their devotion to their son was enough to help them through any rough patches.

It wasn’t quite a happy ending, but Emma told herself she didn’t believe in those. This was real life, and this was as good as real life got for a couple with no family in a tiny Mississippi town. She taught herself to be happy with what she had, and by the time her husband walked in front of a truck, she really was.

It was almost too good to be true when Cass, of all people, showed up at her door to help Emma pick up the shattered pieces of her life. Since they had split up as children, Emma had survived, but Cass had very clearly thrived. Her rebellious streak seemed to have manifested itself in an actual streak of white through her acid-green hair, and she was living in London while Emma got by in a town with more buildings falling down than going up.

When Cass’s charming Korean friend offered to move her all the way to London to work as a hotel receptionist… that was definitely too good to be true. She’d be free of Butler, Noah, now seven, would have a nice school, she would have Cass…

For all that Emma wants to be jaded and realistic, she’s never quite managed to strangle that part of her that refuses to believe this is all there is to life. If she would just dare to hope for it, she might find something more, something better. Emma knows it can’t last, that at some point the other shoe is going to drop, and yet there’s still that voice inside her that whispers, “but what if it doesn’t?”

Emma now works for the Fusang Tong, manning the reception desk in a hotel that is just about the nicest place she’s ever spent any length of time in. She does her best to hide her uncultured upbringing by being unfailingly polite and diligent. Emma adores her new life of excitement, not only because she lives in a big city, but some of the guests at the hotel are rather… peculiar. Deep down she knows it’s certainly just rich people being eccentric, but it’s fun to let her imagination run wild sometimes and pretend there really is a bit of magic in the world.

Emma Baxter is a slight woman with delicate shoulders that look as if perhaps the tragedies of her past have weighed her down to the point of compressing her. But her cornflower-blue eyes are still bright and curious, and her smile could light up a room. She tends to wear her long blonde hair down and dresses modestly in soft or neutral colors.

Rank: 1
Mental 2; Physical 1; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: Southern Politeness; Realistic Expectations

Carter Singh Rana

Type: Human
Pack: The Iron Soldiers
Born: 1977



Virtue: Hopeful
Vice: Prideful

Carter Singh Rana sometimes wonders if he did something to be punished. Of course, this is not so. This is not how God works. All things happen for a reason, he knows this. But perhaps, perhaps he did not treat his wife as much an equal as he was meant to. He tried, certainly. But did he actually? His wife becoming a werewolf certainly cleared any doubts he does now. The fact she even still treats him as her equal is something darkly hilarious to him.

But his greatest sin only happened after. When he watched his wife turn into a creature. When he watched that creature tear through men like foil. When his wife awakened, naked, covered in blood, and found him hiding in the back of their shop like a coward. When she said she couldn't remember, he replied, neither could he. It was all hazy in his mind, he said. Half-truths, that added up to whole lies. His memory was hazy. He could barely think of it without going mad. But he remembered enough. He knew she had killed them. And he stayed silent.

He kept his silence over the years, as Avinash attempted to join a pack, attempted to learn more about this strange new world. The werewolves grudgingly accepted his presence... so long as he and Avinash toed the line. But he quickly realized the werewolves were using him as a lever, a weakness, to bring his fiery wife to heel. They were fine with his existence when it suited them. When it didn't, he was a violation of Luna's oath. So he kept his first and greatest secret, but he kept no others. There were wolves lurking outside his house at night, sitting in plain sight, sending an obvious message. Strange people came into the shop when Avinash was gone, with implicit threats that gradually turned explicit. One of them took to barking commands at Carter, commands that he found he had to obey. Every time it happened, he told his wife. And they kept quiet, and plotted, and waited.

Avinash asked him to start carrying a silver knife, but Carter was well aware that would not be enough. What he needed was many men, with many silver knives. So he and Avinash started bringing the community in on the secret, looking for volunteers to join their two-man army. It was a slow process, filled with paranoia that the wolves would find out. He never wanted her to join the Predator Kings, but they offered power, and allies, and most importantly, time. He worries that she joined him for his sake, and so he does his best to keep her off the path of hate. If he doesn't, his greatest lie will have been for nothing.

It seems to have paid off. What Carter has now is a small army of men, who have been taught everything Carter knows about the secret threat around them (which isn't enough, God knows, but it's better than nothing). He does everything he can to keep his head clear. He needs to keep his wits about him, or all his fears will come true, and he'll prove that he's nothing more than a burden to his wife now. He's terrified, yes, but he can't let it consume him. He will not forget those creatures are no more evil than men. After all, his wife is one of them, and she is a good woman. He knows that with all his heart, because she still treats him as something equal. And so long as he keeps his secret, no one can argue with him.

But whenever that terrible day comes up, she looks at him, as if she knows the truth and is just waiting for him to say it. And he never will.

Despite his inner troubles, Carter Singh Rana is an outgoing and cheerful man. He wears the Sikh turban and his beard is unshaven, reaching down to the middle of his neck. He wears a pair of rectangular glasses to correct his far-sightedness, and keeps them on a small chain. Being born in England, Carter speaks English perfectly, though he also knows Punjabi. Carter tends toward Western fashion, usually a dress shirt, tie, and trousers, although as he works in a tailoring shop he has many other outfits on hand, including traditional Indian ones. He is also rather wiry and never found without a silver knife, along with a steel bangle around one wrist. He can generally be found manning the front of his shop, while Avinash works in the back.

Rank: 1
Mental 2; Physical 3; Social 1
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: Street General

Helen Sherrow

Type: Human
Pack: The Iron Soldiers
Born: 1975



Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Secretive

Sometimes, Helen Sherrow wishes she still believed people. She certainly still agrees with people. Indeed, most people find that she's the most agreeable person they've met. But she's found that she can agree with everything a person says, and still not believe it. For instance: her inability to have children doesn't reflect anything on her as a person. Besides, there's no proof that her husband isn't the problem. And despite the fact that both she and Oswin wanted a family, he's very happy with her and wouldn't give her up for the world. She shouldn't let any of it impact her feelings of self-worth.

(But she does.)

And Ravi, oh Ravi. The boy who was just finally starting to open up. The boy who was just finally starting to trust again. Who was just finally starting to believe he could have a future. She did everything she could for him, they always say. She gave him a happy life, and that meant something. And it was horrible what happened, but she couldn't have stopped it if she was there. She would have just died too, and what good would that have done? It was a tragedy, but it was the fault of other people, and no one could blame her for anything. She shouldn't feel guilty.

(But she does.)

When her husband was forced into hiding, she was the one picking up the pieces. She arranged the funeral for her son, filed out all the pointless police reports. She hired a part-time worker to try and keep the mechanic's shop going, even though they really couldn't afford it. About two weeks into sitting on the couch, listening to the silence of her flat and wondering if Oswin would ever come back, she broke down. She shut all the windows, locked all the doors - and she stayed that way until Priya showed up at her house, backed by five women carrying lathis. And, on occasion, they used the sticks to drive off prying eyes and nosy supernaturals, but mostly what they did is take care of things around the house. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, paperwork, all done, until the day Oswin came back to her.

In such ways are converts born. Helen might be a greater supporter of Avinash than her husband is. She doesn't join the other women in their patrols - in the end, hitting people with sticks just isn't her. Instead, she does what those women did for her, in those terrible months. She cooks, she cleans, she organizes, she helps arrange events, she tries to bring a little cheer and community to everyone around her. She's as bright as her husband is, unspeakably optimistic, and makes up in enthusiasm what she lacks in any other areas.

What she doesn't mention is her little horde of spirits, who now help her out in return for favors. They came because her husband was Fire Touched, but he's not the one who telecommutes and is at the house most of the day. So she talks to them instead, those few who can talk to her - they translate for the others. It's a nice relationship, really. They're all very small, very humble, spirits of housework and pets, cherished teapots and tiny city gardens. They're not going to make anyone feel threatened anytime soon. But there are a lot of them, and when a lot of little tiny spirits gang up on someone, it can make their day very bad very quickly.

More important to Helen is information. She wants to know the werewolves who killed Ravi. She wants to find them, and look them in the eye, and then find some way to bring them to justice forever.

She has doubts, but much like many things, she doesn't believe them either. Maybe she should be wary of Avinash, but she isn't, and never will be. They're just there to remind her she used to be a normal person, with a normal life. After all, she's thrown her support behind creatures that have stepped out of a horror movie. Maybe she shouldn't trust them so deeply. Maybe she shouldn't treat them as human. Maybe she shouldn't love a monster.

(But she does.)

Stress and worry have lead to Helen looking older than her mid-thirties, but despite that she manages to stay fit and healthy. Being around werewolves who couldn't get sick if they tried, and with the realization that her husband will probably outlive her by decades if nothing kills him, have prompted her to get serious about health. She's a trim, dark-haired, dark-eyed woman, with smile lines about her face. She tends to wear light colors, and she always has a sprig of verbena somewhere on her, usually poking out from a shirt pocket.

Rank: 1
Mental 3; Physical 1; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Notable Powers: Organizer; Spirit-Talker





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