• Memory • Bumps and Bruises (Graded)

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Bumps and Bruises (Graded)

Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:43 am

60 Ashan 710

This place sucks.

Maxine's head thumped against the window. She drew her knees up to her chest where she sat upon the wide window sill. Shrill giggles echoed from several rooms over, a sound distant to her ears as she stared at the gloomy urban landscape below. Raindrops dribbled along the glass pane and a gentle fog hung in layers above the street cobbles. The deep bruise burned hot on her cheek. Dark red circles colored the knuckles of her hands, and soon they too would turn a familiar purple. Max's time in Rynmere was miserable in every sense of the word. This new orphanage in Etzos was no better. No matter where she was kicked to, her opinion of people failed to change: everyone was shit.

The consistency of it all was something she could at least appreciate. Mean girls and brutish boys made up the environment she was "raised" in. Schoolyard brawls and childish shade colored the sad excuse of a childhood she lived. Facing that here didn't come as a surprise. That didn't mean she necessarily enjoyed repeating the process of finding her place in this new pecking order. A hierarchy had been established long before she showed up. Her very arrival shook it to its core, and the threat to the resident alpha orphans was real. They sensed it the first trial and they'd been relentless since. She flared her nostrils. It was all fine by her. She was beginning to enjoy the confrontations now.

"You the new girl?" a voice piped up from behind her. Max frowned and turned away from the mediocre world outside to spy one of her peers standing in the doorway of the room. She had hair like spun gold down past her shoulders and piercing blue eyes. The smooth stone of her necklace looked large on her small frame.
"I guess," Max answered evenly. Her arms released her knees and her eyes looked the girl up and down. With two small dolls tucked under one of her arms, the blonde orphan merely smiled in response to Maxine's suspicion.
"It's okay," the stranger explained, daring to venture into the room. "Last season I was New Girl."
"I just know it's not fun. It's not so bad though." The little girl paused before the window sill and shrugged. "You get used to Mary-Ann. And Heidi. Then there's the matrons. They hit less if you listen."
"Anyone that tries to hit me will be sorry."
"Some of them already are I think." The blonde orphan smirked at her. "After what you did to Brenna, I think Mary-Ann's been hiding behind the other girls."
"Hiding? Hiding how?"
"Everyone is afraid of Mary-Ann...but you're not. I think that makes her scared."

Mary-Ann was the pudgy, baby-faced bitch Max really wanted to piss pound. It had been clear from the start that she was at the top of this food chain. She and her little minions sent most of the other girls cowering when they walked in a room, and when they did, they almost always entered with demands. Even some of the boys scurried off at the mere glimpse of her shadow. It was pathetic. It was also real social power the girl wielded. Max made it clear early on she wasn't going to fall in line and go with Mary-Ann's program. That stance had come with consequences. At every turn, Mary-Ann's pack had sought to make her life a living hell. What they hadn't expected was for Max to repay them in kind in each of those encounters. Pain was the name of this petty game, and the newcomer had no qualms about sitting down to play it.

"Those ladies who talk about the Seven came in again to-trial," the blonde girl said when Max neglected the conversation in favor of the window again. "They brought us dolls to play with." She bounced up to take a seat on the window sill opposite of Max, both dolls in a hand. "Here. Just don't let Mary-Ann see. I sneaked over when she wasn't looking." The little girl held one of the dolls out toward Maxine, who slowly took it from her grasp. "They'll be nicer to you if you just do what Mary-Ann wants, y'know."
"Mina!" the reigning orphan shouted loudly from the next room over. The little blonde girl's soft smile deteriorated into an anxious frown. The small herd of foot-steps was the only warning of what was coming.
"Yeah, Mary-Ann?" Mina quickly shoved herself down from the window sill and positioned herself in the center of the room, away from the shunned Maxine.
"Where's my new handkerchief?" Mary-Ann demanded sourly as she stomped into the room with her minions at her heels.
"Your new handkerchief?"
"The one Sister Jane gave you." Mary-Ann menacingly over Mina, snapping her fingers with a sneer. "Give it up. Now."
"But she didn't give it to you to keep. She gave it to me. It's mine."
"Yours?" Mary-Ann laughed bitterly and gave the smaller blonde orphan a harsh shove. Mina fell backward, landing on her rear with Mary-Ann's sidekicks forming a loose crescent around her.

Maxine held the doll in her lap. It was a stupid toy. It was too soft to serve as a weapon. It wasn't worth enough to pawn off for coin. There wasn't even enough fluff for it to serve as a small pillow. It was practically useless in every sense of the word, but there it was in her possession. Given as a gift. Perhaps it was because it had been a gift, one of the only gifts she'd ever gotten in her short life, that made her hold onto it rather than chuck it shortly after receiving it. It was also one of the first toys she'd ever held that was in good condition, let alone brand new. It was something to love. Something that allowed her to be a child and play with it.

"Gimme it," Mary-Ann commanded with a hand extended down toward a seated Mina. "You'll be sorry if I gotta ask you one more time." With teary eyes Mina slowly began to reach into her pocket, feeling for the comforting sensation of the silky handkerchief she'd been given mere bits ago. One of the other girls went to reach for Mina to hurry the process, and found herself violently flung into the rest of her group like a bowling ball to pins. Mary-Ann turned with wide angry eyes while Mina looked up with her jaw unhinged. The queen bee's pack quickly regrouped to square to Maxine.

"She said Sister Jane gave it to her," the resident "New Girl" stated in a matter-of-fact tone, expression harsh as she glared at Mary-Ann. "It's hers."
"You still don't get it, do ya?" Mary-Ann steamed between grit teeth. "Everything in here is mine if I want it to be. I'll remind you of that at dinner, too. Now get out of the way before I add your breakfast to the list."
"It's fine," Mina reasoned from behind Maxine, standing and dusting herself off. She plucked the light pink handkerchief from her pocket and extended it toward Mary-Ann.
"Put that back in your pocket."
"You're really gonna do this?" Mary-Ann guffawed incredulously with a shake of her head as Mina lowered her offering in confusion. "You're gonna get your ass beat over a handkerchief?" The older girls closed in ominously on the out-group.
"Someone is."
"Don't make me even out your face," Heidi, the meanest in Mary-Ann's group, piped up with a slight step ahead of the others and pointed at the bruise on the insubordinate's cheek.

Without missing a beat, Maxine's right fist struck Heidi in the jaw like a hammer. The tall girl's head whipped sideways with the smaller orphan's unexpected force, split lip oozing blood a mere trill after impact. Gasps and murmurs erupted from the others. Mina's hands cupped over her mouth. Mary-Ann's brow rose. Heidi turned back, blinking with teary eyes. Her fingertip touched her face. When she pulled it back to inspect it, it glistened red to confirm what the stinging sensation had already suggested. No one moved. Then a shriek of hurt and anger erupted from Heidi before she lunged at her younger attacker.

The taller orphan dropped Maxine quick, landing atop her with a fist cocked back to return the favor. Max reached up and grabbed a fistful of hair, wrenching Heidi's face down and disrupting her impending strikes while bringing a target in close. The raven-haired spitfire rained hook after hook into the side of the other girl's face. A small audience circled around her to cheer on Heidi while Mina loomed nervously in the background, standing on tip-toes to see the violence unfolding in the center. Somehow Heidi managed to catch Max with an elbow to the jaw, temporarily freeing her hair from the younger girl's grasp. Heidi postured up with a frustrated hiss and focused her tiny fists on blackening Maxine's body. That only gave the New Girl the bright idea of putting a sole-rotted boot to her face. Heidi fell off her quarry, and quickly the hunter became the hunted. Max had the girl flattened out on her stomach, taking two fistfuls of Heidi's hair from behind to encourage her face to repeatedly meet the old, wooden floorboards.

Heidi was screaming when a few bold girls intervened. Hands grabbed her by the arms, dragged Maxine off her victim and hurling her against a wall. Another wild swing by the newcomer deterred anyone from taking a real stand on Heidi's behalf, who was now curled up and crying on the floor where she'd been left. Maxine's small chest heaved. She lifted the back of her hand to wipe the blood from her nostrils. All eyes were on Mary-Ann now and the queen bee knew it. She anxiously licked her lips and steeled her expression. She took a step toward Max with fists curled, making herself seem as large as she could.

"Enjoy not eating," Mary-Ann threatened. She snapped her fingers again. "Handkerchief, Mina." Mina looked from Mary-Ann to Max with the pink silk balled in her hand. After a half bit, a glimpse of panic crossed Mary-Ann's eyes. Her power was waning. She gave Max a shove back into the wall. "You think she'll protect you? You think she's better than me?" Nervous laughter of agreement arose from the girls that weren't reduced to tears. Another shove thumped Max against the wall. Mary-Ann looked away from Max for a trill to intimidate Mina again. "I'll remind everyone what happens when you don't shut up and know your place here."

Mary-Ann was just turning back when Max lifted the candelabra from a nearby end table and swung it into the girl. Mary-Ann yelped as the metal struck her, and a misplaced backpedal had her tripping over her own feet onto the floor. The lit candles on the candelabra splinted and shot from the holder, wax crumbles littering the ground. Max was upon Mary-Ann within an instant, one of the lit candles scooped from the ground and held over the girl's face while she pinned her by the neck. Mary-Ann's eyes were wide with fear as they trained themselves on the burning wick hung just above her gaze.

"Go ahead!" Max snarled down at her peer, tilting the candle menacingly. "Remind me." Mary-Ann squirmed and whimpered as she watched the burning hot wax begin to pool to the edges of the candle, slowly moving to spill. "From now on you leave people's things alone! You don't own anyone's meals, or toys, or...fucking handkerchiefs. None of you bother me again. Got it?" Mary-Ann stirred, but after a jarring shake, she manged to pry her frightened stare from the wax to Maxine long enough to fervidly nod. Maxine stood up and backed off the girl. "Good. Any of you want to try me again, we can come right back here. See if I care." Max licked her thumb and index fingers, and the two digits clamped over the candle wick to put the flame out. She looked over to Mina. "Now put that stupid thing back in your pocket, will you? You said it was yours. Act like it."

Max retreated back to the window sill while the other girls scurried off to lick their wounds and tarnished egos. Mina sheepishly shoved the silk back in her pocket and sat across from Maxine on the window sill, clutching her own doll. The pair sat quietly for a few bits before the blonde finally piped up.
"Thanks," she whispered gratefully. "You didn't have to do all that. I could've just given it to her and you wouldn't have gotten punched."
"It wasn't about a piece of cloth," Max admitted, peeling her stare from the outside to appraise her new acquaintance with a shrug. "They make me mad. They're annoying."
"How did it feel?" Mina pried, a devilish smirk crossing her face. "To hit Heidi and Mary-Ann?"
"Real good," Maxine grinned in return. The two orphans laughed and sat there for a breaks just talking on that window sill. As the time passed, Max was beginning to think maybe Etzos wasn't the worst place in the world after all.
Last edited by Max on Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 2339
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Profession: Mercenary
Renown: +215
Character Sheet
Plot Notes
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 4
Medal count: 2


Re: Bumps and Bruises

Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:43 pm



Points: 10
Magic: Nope

Axes and Bludgeons (Candelabra): Using a Candelabra as a Weapon
Leadership: Stand Up for the Defenseless
Leadership: Standing Up to Another Leader
Leadership: Challenging the Pecking Order to Break Another's Influence
Leadership: Swaying Others to Follow You Instead
Leadership: Power Comes from Dominating Others

Loot: Nope

Bloodied Nose, will heal after a trial
Bruised Jaw, will heal in 2 trials

Renown: +5 for being a very scary child. At least some of those children remember this incident into adulthood.

Aww, baby Max has a soft side. I really love how quickly she goes from "kiddy scuffle" to "I will set fire to your eyeball do not test me". Really paints a vivid picture of what her life's been like up to then.

Word Count: 2339

word count: 143
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