Shadows Out and Beyond

Author’s Note: This is a creative writing for my X-men rpg (roleplay game) original character, Betsy Martin, based on the events in the film “Logan”. In the rpg I am a part of, Logan is Betsy’s mentor, teacher, and alpha; I knew that, after seeing this film, I was going to need to write her way out of all the feelings. This writing contains spoilers for the film so…read at your own risk, darlings.









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[X-men: Legacy] The Time Has Come

Stale cigar smoke. Bitter beer. Earth. The coppery tang of blood that soap can’t touch.

She inhales deeply as iron strong arms wrap around her and hug her. Not too tightly but close. She can hear a heart beating alongside hers; strong, maybe a little slower than in the past, but still there. Tired. But still there.

When he releases her, she gives a small smile. barely there. “I’ll keep an eye on them,” she promises, not needing to state just who “they” are.

He doesn’t say anything in return, doesn’t have to. It’s been long enough that they understand each other without having to say much at all. Time will do that to you. Time marches on but, eventually, it takes you with it.

He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even say goodbye. Just utters a grunted huff, the edges of a rueful smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. No…not just rueful.

Proud. Sad. Determined.

Reaching out he puts a hard, rough, calloused hand against Betsy’s cheek for a moment before letting it drop to her shoulder and giving it a squeeze that would crack the bones of a less hardy person.

Then the old bastard shoulders his pack and heads off down the drive. He hops into the old ’68 mustang, roars it to life, and is gone.

It’s hard to say goodbye. Maybe that’s why they don’t say it. For them, can it ever really be goodbye, though? Or will they just end up side-by-side again when the world has turned enough times?

Who knows? In either case, goodbyes are hard. That’s why they don’t say them. Time will do that to you.

Time marches on and, eventually, it takes you with it.

(Graphic credit: Imgur, by ManWhoLovesSuperheroes)

NaBloPoMo Day 17: The Fiction of Relationships

Author’s Note: Edited, revised, and updated on 11-18-2015. That first draft was quite rough. Thank you for wading through this all with me.

I am an avid roleplayer. I have been roleplaying — tabletop and larp — for the past ten years. Nowadays, my gaming is largely restricted to online forum games but that is still fun as it affords me a writing outlet. There is one that I have been in for the past almost-five years: a Hero System-based X-men rpg entitled “Legacy” where the children of superheroes from both the Marvel and DC universes come together at Xavier’s School for the Gifted to learn to manage their abilities, use them wisely, and, yes, become heroes. I play a young “muggle-born” (in other words, her parents aren’t named superheroes) mutant named Elizabeth Martin and I have played her from an in-character age of fourteen to almost seventeen. And, yes, Zoe Saldana is my character model. Over the past few days, I have found myself reading back through the first scenes, the beginnings of her story years ago. There are 32 pages of bookmarked scenes on my account, ones I have participated in as well as others that concerned her or characters to whom she was tightly bound. And one thing that has always struck me about her is her relationships with other characters, friendly and otherwise.

Betsy has perhaps had the most romantic entanglements of any female character in the game, each of them unique in their own situations and ways. Roleplay like this is an incredibly organic form of writing for me, where my character can change, grow, and surprise me based on her interactions with other characters, plot, and situations within the game. I am able to be startled, surprised, horrified, elated by the things that Betsy does and chooses, how she falls and grows. I have been re-reading and, therefore re-living, some of her romantic relationships and I have happened upon some key differences between them that have struck and clarified some things for me as her writer.

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Once Upon a Time

Author’s Note: This is a piece that wrote for a roleplay character who had the ability to create illusions. Her entire concept was built the ideas of dreams and stories and hemmed in by the imagery of Alice in Wonderland.

There was once a little girl who loved stories, especially Alice In Wonderland. One night, as she was reading, the Cheshire Cat leapt from the book and spun the world around the little girl, drawing her into a rabbit hole, down long and deep. The little girl had tea with a Hatter, scared the DoorMouse, refereed a fight between a Lion and a Unicorn and shared the prize amongst them. She cowed the Red Queen and out-skilled the White. She enraptured the White Knight and intrigued the Black. She danced on rooftops and soared over lakes. She tamed the Jabberwocky and made stars out of the Bandersnatch. The Cat was always there, guiding, teasing, taunting. He became her best friend and confidant, even when she found that she, too, could spin the world and make it her own. She grew stronger and shared her world as two kittens eventually joined them in their adventures and the girl became their guide in turn.

The Cheshire Girl

Dream Memory: The House That Xavier Built

So I am avid X-men fan. Most of you know this. I buy the comics, own the movies, play rpgs. I greatly enjoy the franchise and have since I was a teenager. Last night, I had a very interesting dream.

I was an X-man. At least one in training. It was partially living in one of the games I’m in but so much more than that.

Xavier’s Mansion was still Xavier’s mansion but it, too, was so much more than just that. It was like the mansion had a sense of folded space. Outwardly it never changed but, inwardly, it grew and grew as Xavier’s took in more and more young mutants. The littler children and younger teenagers lived in large dormitory rooms together and trained with their powers. As they grew older and gained more control over their powers, students would then be moved into their own single dorm rooms upstairs.

On this particular occasion, the older students were finishing their training and heading back up to their rooms to clean up and change. As they headed past the children’s dorms, the kids, of course, ran out to meet them. Me, being the mother cat that I am, ordered the elder boys, “Come on, boys, upstairs! And you boys, back to your studies. Go on!” When asked why the boys had to go but the girls got to stay, I replied, “The girls put in the request weeks ago. Now give us the room.”

Begrudgingly, the boys vacated the large, ballroom-sized hall beneath the staircase and landings as Storm took one of the little girls up to the second floor landing. I and the other older girls smiled at the younger ones and told them to look. Storm and her little companion were up on the banister and, suddenly, they pitched forward, flying around around the ballroom. For Storm, of course, self-propelled flight was a matter of breathing, but not for Gemma. So I happily announced to the girls, “Today, all of you get to fly.” The mentalists and telekenetics smiled and stood off to the side to control the girls as they flew and darted around the room for about 20 minutes. Listening to them laugh and squeal gave me no small amount of pleasure.

And then I woke up.

“Yes, another post about roleplaying”

So the other night, in an online/live action X-men game that I play, my character set about comforting another PC who had been to emotional and mental hell and back during a live game session a few days before. And I have to admit that dear little Delilah did a pretty good job at comforting her distraught classmate without a single set of dice being thrown for skills or anything. *is rather proud of this fact* The scene was incredibly fun to run and was with someone with whom I do not get to play very often, which is always fun. 🙂 The player also gave me noms (nominations) for the scene: “Noms to Cheshire. It is almost insane how good a mom you’ll make someday.”

Delilah Croft, codename: “Cheshire” – illusionist

That made me feel nice. I do try to transfer my own mothering instincts into the character of Delilah/Cheshire,  as not many of my characters actually end up embodying that trait. She has walls, she can have a very prickly, cold nature if you’ve crossed her, but for those who manage to get through (over) the walls, if she has come to care for you, woe betide anyone who falls afoul of you and therefore afoul of her. Delilah is also one of those characters who embodies her fair share of bitterness. Almost all of my characters have a bitterness seed somewhere; something happened or been done to them that they will be working for years to overcome. Some of my characters have a seed of fear because of what they have done in the past or because of what they have lost. I almost cannot bear to have a character for whom all is perfect and hunky-dory, because then the character feel flat and false to me. Incomplete, as it were. I want my characters to be round and dynamic.

Now, my Hogwarts character, my little Ravenclaw, has had a better life than most of my characters and why not? Her generation hasn’t had to deal with the evils and terrors of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. They have become nightmare tales for her, told to her by her uncle Kingsley when he trips across the pond to visit her and her parents. That doesn’t meant that I’m going to leave my little Dulcet so porcelain perfect. Oh, no. She’s a teenager; things are bound to happen, as we all know.

The hubby and I were having a conversation the other day about roleplay characters and how people create them. I was getting fed up with something and he commented to me, “You know, I think we all create the same characters over and over again, just with different quirks to them.” That we all have essentially one idea that we are in love with and, no matter how many times we create characters and try to make them different and unique (thought they are), they will carry a bit of that beloved idea with them. Because that beloved idea is a part of us or perhaps something we wish was a part of us or that we could be.

Some people denegrate roleplaying as merely escapism and, yes, it can be a method of escapism, of getting away from the real world into one where you can do impossible things from time to time. But that is not all it is, I can assure you of that. For me, roleplaying games are a blessed opportunity to create a beautiful story with other people. And I have done just that. I have created beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting stories with friends, my husband, and even new acquaintances that make me cherish characters and hold them to me long after their stories have ended. For me, much as for Jo March, it is the story that is the thing. I will put my characters through the worst I can think of, if it serves to create a wonderful story. Ask just about anyone that I have rp’ed with in the past and they can confirm my claim. If I can create a beautiful story, whether happy ending for my character or no, then I have served my purpose and my joy in roleplay.

And, what can I say? I’ve got a few more years of this left in me, at least. ^_~

Daily Writing – June 21, 2011: Of Myths and Men, Volume 1

A teaser for one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written, with one of my best friends. ^_^ A crossover of “Highlander: The Series” and “X-men”.

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Nadya came back into the room where Methos reclined on the couch, flicking on the TV on her way to the kitchen. Methos, grunting in disgust as the annoying marvel of the 20th century blared to life, propped himself up on one elbow and opened his mouth to call after Nadya…only to be interrupted by her.

“Yes, I know you want a beer, but, of course, I don’t like that stuff in my house.” She turned and placed a hand on her hip as she rounded the island in the middle of the kitchen. “I’ll brew you some coffee in a minute…or some tea?” she offered as she opened the refrigerator door.

Methos suppressed a smirk. The small figure was clad in a long denim skirt with a slit up the back so as not to slow her down. Covering the upper part of her frame was a violet colored sweater, worn more for looks than for the chill of the mild September thatPariswas having this year. Her feet were shod in her light-blue fuzzy house slippers…the ones with the little bows.

Methos’ smirk became a smile as he responded, “Actually, I am aware of that and was going to ask for the tea to begin with.”

Nadya poked her head around the door to look at him. The old man gave one of his boyish grins that annoyed the life out of her…except for the fact he looked so cute when he did that.

‘Must be feeling better if he is in the mood to play,’ she thought before saying, “It’s fromIndia—Princess Gita.” With that, she ducked her head back behind the fridge to hide her smile at the upcoming reaction.

“…can’t you have any decent tea?”

Nadya wasn’t sure what language he had slipped into but she remembered his rants about Indian tea – namely, the British obsession with it and, specifically, Byron’s obsession with it, among other things. She knew he hated the stuff.

“…..bloody nasty stuff!” Methos paused to get a breath, ending his tirade for a moment. “Could I have coffee instead?”

Nadya composed her face and peeked around the door again.

By then, Methos had remembered his manners, “Please.”

“Of course! I keep some just for you.” She moved toward the cupboard.

“I know.” Methos grinned and lay back down on the couch. Nadya was about to respond when the television drew her attention, followed by the old man’s.

The television portrayed a protest in the streets of WashingtonD.C.The crowds of people holding signs and yelling were lined up behind barricades along streets in front of Capitol Hill. Fists were raised in the air, along with signs proclaiming the country’s growing concern about what some were so bold as to call a world wide epidemic. Mutants.

“Today, the streets ofWashingtonbelie what the Congress voted just the day before: that theUnited Stateswill not require mutants to register nationally. Yet, apparently, the public has not had its concerns met by their representatives,” came an anchor’s voice over.

The camera panned away from the reporter to fan the angry crowds. Some were even chanting, “Death to mutants!” The newsfeed cut back to the newsroom and the anchors closed the story then as they looked to another camera, appearing to leave the turmoil that was gripping the world at large and focus on a public interest story.

“If only it were that easy,” Nadya said as she moved over and turned the television to the French version of A&E.

She and Methos shared a sympathetic look before she asked, almost in a whisper, “Aren’t you…?”

“Afraid they will come after us next?” Methos finished as he looked down at his wounds, almost healed by now.

“Yes.” Nadya clenched a small fist at her side. Her concern for her friend was evident; not just for him but Duncan as well. And all the others.

“I have seen far worse,” Methos replied, mostly to alleviate her fears. If only she knew what he had not only seen but had done. His mind flashed back to a year ago and his own involvement with the bunch of racist…‘no, speciest jerks’. He should have felt guiltier about being involved with Stryker, but well…

‘Well what, old man? You wanted that adamantium! You wanted to keep your own head! You are selfish…yes.’ Methos thought to himself. ‘But, when you have been Death, nothing is too hard. And morals…well, morals are fickle things.’

Methos didn’t regret his time spent playing the bad guy…only that it had proved useless in the end.

“You have?” Nadya asked.

Methos nodded. “The world has seen far worse than this…and I suspect even that will one day be surpassed. Humanity lacks no limits to the depths to which it is capable of descending,” he said as he sat up, his wounds finally closed.

“That…is an awfully pessimistic attitude,” Nadya answered, a somewhat sad tone to her voice.

“Well, what do you expect?! I just got attacked by a bloody big, powerful immortal, almost got apprehended by the authorities, walked several miles with a gaping hole in my side, AND, to top it all off, there is no beer in the place I sought refuge at!” He threw his hands up in a gesture of ‘why me’.

“I…I think some tea would calm you down,” Nadya murmured as she moved back to the kitchen. Her tone was flat and low; he could tell she was hurt by his outburst.

“Nadya…wait! No, I’m sorry. Please, no tea; I’ve suffered enough,” Methos staggered to his feet, cursing himself, and followed the small woman to the kitchen.