it's a name you may have come across in the past, yet when you try to find out what you can about the person, somehow you're attention is mysteriously directed another way. you never questioned it. in fact you forgot about it. the only time you wouldn't have forgotten about it is because he planned for it. and wallace blackburn never makes mistakes.
he's a powerful man. not much is known of him to the normal public. people in higher places might know more, like the fact that he's been known to associate himself with the likes of spies and assassins -- people who are exceptionally good at what they do. but wallace blackburn is not a bad man. quite the contrary, in fact. whoever he may interact with, and whatever he may do, it has always been directed to one goal -- keeping the earth a safe place.
as of late, his methods have taken a drastic turn. for years he's been watching, looking out for potentially important people, even if they themselves didn't know how much they'd be valued one day, and now he has created a list. eight people, with extraordinary abilities, are invited to meet with him.
well so he can form his own league of crime fighters, of course.
only, he'd make it sound much cooler than that.
wallace blackburn has recruited you, and it is both an honour and a curse. your training starts soon, whether you're proud of your powers or not, no matter how you got them.
are you ready to take a step into the line of danger?
she's the one with all the great ideas. she comes up with the attack and defence strategies instead of being out in the field, and she's basically the de facto leader of the group because everyone automatically listens to her too. [ played by @nymphadora.]
he's the strong one, and perhaps the most powerful one in the entire team. every superhero league needs a powerhouse, and this is him. he may not be too smart, but he can be relied on to deal with other strong threats. [ played by @natasha.]
she's the smartest one in the entire group. she's got a lot of helpful knowledge, and she's also great when it comes to science and technology. without her, there'd basically be no team, and hacking into any system would be virtually impossible. [ played by @ShadyAce]
a master of disguise and excellent with his words, he is often used to get intel or to act as a decoy or a distraction to give the team whatever time they need. he can slip into a second skin like it's nothing. [ played by @nymphadora.]
she's the quick one. she's known for getting in and out of places, rather than fighting things head on, though she can do that too if needed. she can be relied on for most stealth and spying operations. [ played by @natasha.]
one of the softer members of the team, and the one to always rush to people's aid in the middle of battle. he will always undoubtedly be able to help the injured, whether they're civilians or part of the team, but don't underestimate him. he's got a vast knowledge of drugs and poison under his belt. [ played by @ShadyAce]
That's what Wallace Blackburn told you the last time you spoke, because there's no way for the two of you to have met, and had that meeting ending with Blackburn not getting what he wants.
Just two weeks ago you accepted Blackburn's offer to join his task force, to use your powers for the good of the world, no matter how good or bad you've been in your life up to now. This is your chance to make a difference, and Blackburn strongly believes that the task force will bring a change to the way the world works -- and hopefully reduce crime rates by a large amount.
Yesterday, you received a package with files on all the other members of the force. Today morning, a man or woman arrived at your doorstep in a black suit, in order to drive you to E.L.I.T.E's London base -- or drive you to the nearest air field where a private jet took you there instead, in case you're outside England.
You all arrive at similar times, maybe minutes apart, and you're shown to a meeting room that is as grand as the rest of the base -- from what you've seen so far, at least.
Blackburn isn't there yet. He likes to show up late.
Or maybe he just wants to see how his little team of superheroes interacts with each other first.
Welcome to the E.L.I.T.E task force.
What are Soul Guardians, you ask? Simply put, they are a person you are bound to. A partner. Someone you look out for and someone who always has your back.
Once Wallace Blackburn made his choices, he came up with a concept to enhance the quality of team work. When all of you arrived for the very first meeting with Wallace Blackburn, after accepting his offer (or being forced to), he injected you with a tracker, in your forearm. Of course, he has to keep an eye on his merry band of superheroes. But what none of you know (yet) is that every two trackers are unique. With the press of a button, it will inject a dye into your skin, which creates a pattern similar to that of a tattoo. Those with matching tattoos are each other's Soul Guardians.
The tracker allows the two people bound as soul guardians to communicate with each other telepathically, should they choose to. It also alerts the other in cases of bodily harm. If one gets stabbed, the other will feel the same pain for a few moments, though will not receive a similar wound. It's just a sensation.
Should one soul guardian die, the tattoo on the other soul guardian's arm will disappear. Similarly, should one somehow remove their tracker, the tattoo will disappear on the other.
Without further ado, here are the bound pairs, as chosen specifically by Wallace Blackburn, for various particular reasons, along with the tattoo that appears on your arm, and the team name wallace has assigned to your pair, since certain training missions will be team based:
quinn mcnamara & callum jensen
katja rebane & casper hyde
axl remington & vanessa o'callaghan
need to know info
- You all were recruited within days of each other, and approximately 2 weeks before the present day.
- You all received a file on the other members which included their: name, age and power description. No pictures though, so let the guessing games begin.
- You were all injected with your tracker when you were picked up by your personal E.L.I.T.E chauffeur, but none of you know your Soul Guardians yet. You have however, been briefed about what a Soul Guardian is, and that you would be assigned one.
The ride to Blackburn's residence was a quick one for Remy, considering he lived in London. He admittedly wasn't expecting a chauffeur to show up and drive him in a limo, but he also wasn't complaining. Remy spent a majority of his life in luxury. He'd grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and he was honestly impressed with how professional Blackburn seemed to be, even if he could come across as unprofessional when he was speaking to someone. He was a strange man, there was no doubt about that, but he also made some interesting points.
Remy was still unsure about how Blackburn came to learn so much about him — or about anyone on the team. He'd seen first hand how people could get pretty much anything done with money. His father was a prime example, but he also currently sat behind bars, so it hadn't turned out very well for him in the long run. Blackburn probably had some other tricks up his sleeve, and it made Remy curious. Given that he'd be living in blackburn's castle of a house for a while, he was confident that he'd get a few answers.
At the moment though, the only thing on his mind was his new home. Every huge house had a gate, but Remy wasn't sure how far the land extended till they entered. A gothic looking structure stood at the heart of it all, and miles of grassy fields extended beyond it. Here and there, Remy spotted a few other buildings. They didn't have the same haunting architecture, but looked more modern. Remy assumed those were newer additions.
"Well, shit,"he muttered, glancing from the window to the man that drove the car. "How does anyone even find their way around here?"
The man, as he had been throughout the entire journey, remained silent. Remy let his gaze fall back on the castle. It reminded him of the kind of place Dracula might have lived. Now that he thought about it, Blackburn could very well be a blood sucking vampire. Regardless, this was unlike anything he'd ever seen, and it was huge.
The car rolled to a stop right in front of the house — Remy just assumed that it was the main living quarters, since it was different from all the others. A woman, that Remy had failed to notice earlier due to his preoccupied gaze, was standing on the curb. She was dressed in a black pencil skirt and a deep blue blouse that was tucked in neatly. Her blonde hair was piled atop her head in a neat bun and she was... tall. And that was something, coming from Remy.
She seemed to be waiting for the car to stop before she opened Remy's door for him. "Thank you," Remy flashed her a charming smile as he got out of the car.
"Of course," the woman smiled before continuing, "You're luggage will be taken straight up to your room. For now, please follow me." Without waiting to see if he was following or not, she turned around and began to lead the way into the house.
Shrugging, Remy shoved his hands into the pockets of his coat and trailed along behind her. He wasn't able to match her pace once they got inside because he was busy slowing down to get a better look at everything. It was even more impressive on the inside. There were two main corridors — one to the left, and one to the right. The woman turned right, and Remy followed behind.
The walls of the corridor were lined with portraits of people Remy didn't recognise, but he assumed it was meant to be like a 'Hall of Fame'. The hallway was long, and silent, the only sound being the woman's heels clacking against the marble floor.
Finally, they reached the end of the hallway where they turned and were met by a set of large, wooden double doors. It opened as soon as a retina scan of the woman was done, and she led Remy inside.
The Grand Hall was grand indeed.
Plush red sofas sat in the middle of the room, opposite a large fireplace. There was no need for it in the daytime though, and sunlight streamed into the room through large, wall length windows, which gave a great view of the rest of the compound. Statues lined the edges of the room, and between each one was a wooden pedestal that held either a bust or a crystal curio of some sort. A large chandelier hung from the ceiling and a long table sat between the arrangement of sofas with an assortment of appetisers. Just looking at them made Remy hungry.
"You're the first to arrive," the woman told him after giving him a moment to look around. "The others will arrive shortly so stay put." She said it with a smile, but her tone was clear -- don't do anything stupid and don't wander.
With those final words, she left. And Remy already felt restless.
He pulled his hands out of his pockets and tapped his fingers against his thighs while he walked around the room, inspecting each of the marble busts. They had names, but Remy didn't recognise any of them.
Remy was sure he wasn't supposed to touch anything, but he couldn't really help himself. He picked up a vase from one pedestal to inspect it. He poked a plant in one corner to see if its thorns were as sharp as they looked. And after drawing some blood, he walked over to another bust that looked vaguely familiar.
Remy paused in sucking the blood from his finger to inspect the name on the bust.
Wallace Blackburn I.
"Damn,"Remy whistled and attempted to pick the bust up to see how big it was. Only, at that moment, the doors opened again, startling Remy and causing him to drop the bust.
As expected, it cracked, and the head slowly rolled away from the body -- or whatever the bottom half of a bust was called. "Ah, fuck."
Great first impression for whoever walked through that door.
❛ && i do not give a damn if you don't believe. my problem is my problem that i never am happy; it's my problem, it's my problem on how fast i will succeed. are you satisfied with an average life? do I need to lie to make my way in life? high achiever, don't you see? baby, nothing comes for free they say i'm a control freak, driven by a greed to succeed nobody can stop me. ❜
London wasn't an unfamiliar environment for Quinn, her childhood was spent travelling and being dragged around by her father. The unexpected limo and chauffeur didn't stun the woman, nor did the beautiful sights of the city. Greeted with a familiar blank expression by the driver, Quinn pulled a complacent smile as she quietly slid into the back seat. Brown hues hidden behind sunglasses were focused on the manila folders in front of her. It was important to Quinn - as the so called 'strategist', as Blackburn phrased it - that she knew her team before she arrived, to be aware of their flaws and possible weaknesses. Lips pursed together as Quinn sighed, lazily throwing the stack to the open seat next to her. "Cryptic bastard."
How quickly Quinn's life had turned upside down. One moment, she was in the middle of fighting to stay in the family company, now she was heading towards her new occupation as superhero. It almost sounded delusional, but there was a small part of Quinn that was hopeful about her future. Perhaps Blackburn was a blessing in disguise, because truth be told, Quinn was almost certain she'd still be back in Vegas battling the media and her family. The car was slowly coming to a halt as they drove along the curb. Quinn's gaze wandered out to the world, noticing her new home moving closer and closer. It'd look like it was ripped directly from the pages of Lovecraft's words, grand but harrowingly daunting. Yet, Quinn fought the feeling off being intimidated by a building - appearances were surface level only after all.
Standing at the front of such a misplaced building was a woman dressed in blue with a neat bun on top of her head. As the car halted, Quinn swiftly moved to open the door for herself, startling the assistant that was midway through her gesture. "I'm capable of opening doors myself, thank you." The femme nodded as her long legs stretched out.
"It's nice to meet you too, Ms McNamara. Your luggage will be taken straight to your room. Please, follow me." The woman instructed, spinning around on her heels without a moment's pause. Quinn huffed, eyes staying hidden behind dark shades as she entered. Ring littered hands fell into her pants' pockets as Quinn swiftly followed, keeping the same pace as the woman with ease.
The femme studied the hall's decorations, admiring the grand paintings that hung in a neat row, most of the painted subjects were unrecognisable to her. Quinn's heels clicked against the smooth floor, in rhythmic sync with the blue wearing woman. Besides the clicking, silence filled between the two women, which hardly upset Quinn. Her mind was busy elsewhere, taking notes about each hallway they passed and the directions her guide took. As the two turned right, Quinn looked behind her, seeing another empty hallway full of unrecognisable paintings. The quietest of huffs left the femme's lungs as the woman stopped in front of two grand doors - a practice smile on her peachy lips.
"The others will be here shortly, you're only the second to arrive." Quinn rose an eyebrow at the words as the woman, a soft huh escaping her. With a final smile goodbye and waving her hand towards the door, the woman quickly left, leaving Quinn to herself. Hands grazed over her sleeves, shoving them up to elbow length and revealing the rest of the white tattoos on her arm. It was now or never, she supposed. Quinn wasn't sure who would be behind the door, she could only hope for someone that was entertaining enough to kill time before the rest arrived. With one hand, the female pushed the door open and headed in.
Quinn bit her teeth at the sound of marble colliding with the ground, pulling her dark shades off from the arch of her nose to properly see. It certainly wasn't a boring introduction, to say the least. Tall, lanky and the ability of crushing objects with just a delicate touch - Quinn assumed it was no other than their Goliath. Her long lashes fluttered as Quinn took a moment to compose herself, eyebrows falling back down into place. "Didn't realise you were the skittish type, Remington." She mused, a sly smirk on her lips as she made her way towards the couch, folding the legs of her sunglasses and shoving them into her pocket. The femme found her seat on the couch, one arm resting on the side and legs gracefully crossed one over the other. "Did no one ever tell you that you shouldn't touch things that aren't yours?"
outfithere.location the grand hall.
interactions quinn, remy.
Everything Callum had built for himself, he'd thrown away like a toddler sick of a toy, instead reaching for the shiny object on a shelf — more than likely unachievable, but he couldn't deny it caught his eye. Blackburn had approached him, a proposal that was not only frightening for its revolutionary ideals, but simply the fact Blackburn knew about... all that. A simple glance into those blue eyes informed Callum that Blackburn was aware of even Callum's unspoken fears, secrets.
Since that conversation, and upon Blackburn's words, Callum couldn't help the feeling of slight dread that settled. Why had he made the decision so hastily, abandoning everyone who were already benefiting from his work? His career wasn't the kind people flocked to, like law or whatever, because it made money. Hopefully he'd do more good by joining the E.L.I.T.E. Task Force. Those words still didn't feel like his; in his mind, it was Blackburn's voice that uttered it.
Life a blur, Callum found himself on a plane, landing in London, being collected by nothing short of a limousine. He knew Blackburn had money but... wow did Blackburn have money. Callum was privileged but he felt like an imposter climbing into the vehicle, this was on a whole different level he struggled to grasp. He desperately needed conversation, Callum was a calm presence, but a natural with people. "So, you work for Blackburn? How'd you end up in this career?" A genuine interest filled his tone, the response an antithesis such. The separator between front and back of limo slid up until they were sealed away.
"Oh, alright then."I see how it is. A bit suspicious but... there shouldn't be a need to worry...
Callum was worried.
Callum glided his thumb over the folder, the familiar feeling of manila somehow calming; or perhaps more accurately, centring. It reminded him of home, the kind of home he'd chosen driven by passion. Everything else was unfamiliar, the leather of the seats, the silent driver sealed off, let alone the fact this was his first time visiting London — although, this was more of a move, wasn't it?
The male had bouts of excitement followed by an overflowing of nervousness; each underlined by a persistent sense of worry settled deep in his stomach. This could hardly be considered an opportunity of a lifetime, it was an opportunity of thousands. Callum flipped through the files of his teammates, hopefully friends, because he would certainly not be able to handle this ordeal if on top of it all everybody hated each other, or him.
Suddenly, the limo came to a halt, and Callum's head shot up to glance out. They were here, and somehow the foreboding walls already felt like they were choking him, despite the rolling emerald hills that surrounded the structure. Callum clambered out one a neatly dressed, refine woman opened his door. Shaking off his sense of awe, Callum offered a grin, "Thanks.""You're welcome, Mr. Jensen. It's our pleasure to have you here. I must ask you follow me immediately. Your belongings will be dealt with." And, as she promised, her heels immediately began to click on the pavement as she moved inside. Callum jogged to catch up, taking a quick moment to glance back with creased eyebrows at his now empty ride. It wasn't all that strange, he supposed, considering a superhero team was arguably a little weirder.
"So, where are we headed?" Callum asked, his eyes focused on soaking in the opulent hallway. Were portraits really this common amongst the uber rich? He was sure that was a thing of movies but, here was the proof, staring right back at him. Callum grit his teeth, the overwhelming wealth becoming more angering by the minute.
"You needn't worry." The woman replied curtly, her pace not even faltering as they continued. "Just head on in." She flashed a charming, pearl white smile, and Callum struggled to return a shaky one back. And again, she was off. It was already feeling a little cold. He took a deep breath, pushing the door open; the scene before him was not at all his expectation. But really, what was he expecting?
Okay great. There was a frankly frightening lady, draped gracefully along the couch, and a very tall guy towering over shards of marble, and next to an empty pedestal. Callum moved further into the room, glancing at the broken bust, as he positioned to lean on a wall. "So, that's rather... unfortunate." The male spared a pointed glance to the piece, "But I'd rather not dwell on the consequences of that right now. How's everyone feeling about all this? He spread his hands out, gesturing to nothing, but the meaning was painfully clear.
To her, this wasn't just another business venture, even though that's all she really entertained in the past. This was something new, different. And Kat always liked a challenge.
Everything about Blackburn was impressive so far, but she'd spent enough time around rich snobs to know that she wasn't leaving his home without nabbing am expensive crystal ashtray or two. Perhaps more, if something else sparkly caught her eye. In any case, theft was not the reason she accepted his offer — can you say you accepted it if you aren't really given a choice?
As much as Kat believed that Wallace Blackburn was in over his head with this whole idea, she was interested in seeing how it would all unfold. He clearly put a lot of thought into it, based on all the files she read the night before. She was still a little foggy on what the hell Soul Guardians were, but she supposed she'd find out soon enough.
The plane ride was pleasant, since Kat knocked herself out with a pill the moment she got on. She didn't know anything about the time differences because she didn't bother to do the math or the research but she was wide awake by the time she landed in London with the escort that Blackburn sent to retrieve her. She realised much earlier on that he wasn't a very chatty fellow, which was fine by her. She never really needed people to respond in order to talk their ear off.
"We almost there yet, Alfred?" Even if she knew by now that there'd be no answer, she continued to try and poke at him, eventually resorting to call him by the name of Batman's butler since it seemed like a fitting nickname. She liked to think she got just the hint of a smile, but that was also probably just wishful thinking.
A couple of minutes after she asked her question, Kat got her answer. The car rolled through a large set of cast iron gates and entered Blackburn's property which was... huge. Kat had had some pretty rich clients in the past, but she could still never get over seeing such extravagant homes when all she was used to in her childhood was a one bedroom apartment in a shady part of town.
Kat let out a low whistle as the car came up in front of the main building, which looked more like a haunted castle than a house. In a way, it perfectly suited Blackburn, but she stood out in front of the gloomy structure in her colourful clothes and worn out combat boots. She definitely did not belong in such a place, but if anything, it made her all the more excited. In her field of work, Kat had become an expert at blending in, even when she looked out of place.
"Thanks for the memories, Alfred," Kat told the male that had escorted and driven her to Blackburn's humble abode. "I will treasure them forever." Once again, the man barely glanced in her direction before driving away. It was only then that Kat realised she wasn't alone. She'd been busy admiring the house that she hadn't noticed a woman standing and waiting for her by the curb. She smiled at Kat once she turned around and Kat couldn't help but notice that everything about her screamed sophistication.
Whereas everything about Kat screamed hooligan.
"Blackburn welcomes you, Miss Rebane," she had a deep, commanding voice. It was kind of hot.
"You can tell him he's welcome too, since I expect he'll want to thank all of us for taking part in this little plan of his," Kat replied with a smirk. The woman didn't seem to find it too funny, but she kept up the smile, for the sake of appearances. Tough crowd.
"Please follow me," she told Kat as she turned around and began walking toward the doors. "Your belongings will be taken care of."
She sure hoped so, because Alfred drove off with them.
So, without much hesitation, Kat followed behind the woman till they were indoors. It was definitely quite a sight, one she wasn't very used to, and she kept lagging behind because she stopped to inspect things. She could have sworn she recognised some of the people in the pictures, but Blackburn couldn't be related to all those important historical figures. Could he?
"The others are right through there," Kat almost bumped into the woman. She'd been so distracted that she hadn't realised they came to a stop outside a set of double doors that were currently closed. She could hear voices inside though, and she wondered if she was the last to arrive.
The mysterious woman seemed to have read her mind. "There are two more yet to arrive," she informed her, a smile still plastered onto her face. "You can just run along inside and I suspect the others will be here soon enough." Without saying much else, she turned to leave.
Kat remained out in the hallway, watching till the woman disappeared completely. She was excited to go in but she also wasn't sure she was mentally prepared for it. She felt like she'd be out of place anywhere in this compound. Based on the files she read, almost everyone had done some pretty great things with their lives while Kat... well, she did several things, most of which weren't legal. And here she was, meant to put an end to all of that.
I need a smoke.
Kat glanced around. The room was at the end of the hallway, and the first thing she spotted when she stepped inside were a large set of windows. Sitting in front of it was a wooden table, and on the table — jackpot.
Kat smirked as she walked over and picked up the heavy, crystal ashtray, everyone else in the room — broken bust included — almost forgotten. "It's like this place can read my mind," Kat spoke to nobody in particular as she dug around in the pockets of her dress for her lighter and a cigarette. She wasn't sure if Blackburn allowed smoking in his home or not, but the thought honestly didn't occur to her as she spent a minute trying to get the window open before letting herself lean against it.
Within seconds, she had a lit cigarette dangling between her fingers, and a puff of smoke was blown out the window every few moments. Yup, this was just what she needed.
And she made a mental note to come back to the ashtray later.
❛ && i thought i'd met you once or twice, but that was just because the dabs were nice & opening up my mind showing me a consciousness is primary in the universe & i had a revelation. i'll be your child if you insist, i mean, if it was you that made my body you shouldn't have made me atheist. i'm an evangelist & if you don't want to go to hell then you better start selling this. ❜
Casper had lead most of his life without a phone, stealing one would be too risky with how interconnected everyone was - it was a risk even he wasn't willing to take, and truthfully, that said a lot about the thief. Besides, Casper always believed life seemed more beautiful without a stupid filter. However, the problem with not having a phone was being able to stay in touch with his newfound boss, Wallace Blackburn. The sheepish grin and awkward shrug spoke volumes for the male and with a tired sigh, Casper was gifted a temporary cheap phone. It was wonderful, only having the essentials before Casper learned how to download games onto it, until he cracked the screen.
There was no need for a plane ride ( thankfully ) but the male still had instructions from Blackburn, cryptic as usual with his short messages. Casper hated waiting, hands fidgeting in the pockets of his pants, eyes glancing everywhere in search of some momentary entertainment. How long did it take for a driver to arrive? He could slowly feel his brain melting out of his ears from such boredom. Brown eyes fell on a flickering neon sign down the streets, like a blessing in disguise, as a small smile grew on the male's lips. Tobacco & Convenience Store!
Beat up converse spun swiftly around as Casper eyed the store like a predator hunting down prey, a quick smoke never did anyone harm. That's what the local drunk always said, and it was true words Casper lived by. Just a few minutes, he'd be in and out within a flash. Dreams of a cheap pack of smokes bloomed in his mind, it was almost like candy to a child. But before he could even take another step, a loud, exasperated cough from a man suited in black interrupted his plan. "Mr Hyde?"
The male spun around once more, eyebrows knitted together with a small pout as he studied the overdressed guy. "Who's asking?"
"Mr Blackburn is asking. Get in the car, please." His voice was monotonous, laced with a thick Scottish accent that meant nothing but business. Casper opened his mouth to retort, just a few seconds of patience and he'd already have his packet of cigarettes in his pockets. The driver burned holes through his dark shades, opening the door for him without another word and headed to the driver seat. Casper watched from the curb, a mix of slightly stunned and irritated etched into his features. By the sound of the driver's rough voice and his waving certainty that he swore a neck tattoo was poking out from his collar, he wasn't going to fight. Casper huffed and quickly scurried to the backseat, dumping his tiny duffel into the boot - he didn't have much to his name.
The drive was even worse than waiting outside the breezy London streets. He was restless, too stubborn to call it nerves. Casper was certain they weren't nerves, he wasn't the type to be nervous. Sitting in the back seat of such a luxurious car and catching stern glances from the Scot sitting in front, he felt like a student being sent to the principal's office - if that principal was a very rich man with a strange obsession with superheroes, and read one too many comic books. As the view of his grand castle came into view, Casper swore under her breath; Eyes widen in awe as the car slowly stopped in front of a woman dressed in blue, opening his door and greeting him with a smile. Lanky limbs stumbled out as the male found his balance on the concrete, watching the car swiftly drive away.
"Welcome Mr Hyde, it's wonderful to finally have you here. If you'd mind just following me, I'll lead you to the rest of the team." The woman's voice was melodic, practiced with a faint posh accent. Casper glanced back at the disappearing car, raising an eyebrow at the woman who already had a knowing look etched upon her face. "Don't fret, Mr Hyde, your belongings will be promptly dealt with."
With long strides, Casper followed the woman. Eyes wandering around the sterile halls with hands shoved into his pockets. Simple questions fell from his lips, the woman's responses short and sweet, yet clearly practiced. Truthfully, he couldn't care less about what she had to say, but rather, how she said it. The details were in the voice, and if he got her talking long enough, Casper would already have the foundations set in place. As they made a sharp turn and headed down another spiralling hall, Casper spoke out loud once more. "What do you think of Blackburn?"
"I think he's a brilliant man, quite dedicated to his work and aspirations to help other."
Casper could only cringe at her response, yet satisfied at his attempt. His voice slowly evolved into hers, mocking her melody under his breath. "I think he sounds like a rich wanker."
As they stopped in front of a pair of grand doors, the woman bid farewell and pushed the door for the male. No time to think, Casper was thrown into the deep end without anything to help. Eyes wandered as he tried to assess the situation he found himself in. Two ladies on the opposite scales of fashion: One dressed for a fancy award show, and the other for Woodstock, while the two other guys shopped at places Casper couldn't quite afford. Standing over a broken bust, Casper could only stare in slight disbelief, until his brown hues landed upon a pretty watch, one he was sure that wouldn't be missed.
"Should I be afraid to ask what happened?" He joked casually, a smile on his face. Casper preyed over to the two guys, moving towards the one with the yellow sweater as he innocently bumped into his arm. It was almost like clockwork, Casper's dominant hand swiftly unhinging the clasp while his free hand softly patted his shoulder, giving an apologetic look. "Sorry, bit of a klutz." He sheepishly grin, sliding his hand and new accessory back into his pocket. Eyes wandered again as he noticed the Woodstock girl sitting nearby a window, a desperately-needed cigarette hanging from her fingers. "Mind if I snag one?" He shouted from across the room, scurrying over eager for a light.
outfithere.location the grand hall.
For Vanessa, travel was hardly out of the ordinary. Her multifaceted career delving into academics as equally as her streaming was a demanding schedule, the kind Vanessa thrived within. Either way, wherever she was headed, Vanessa was always there for a reason; she always had a drive.
Despite wildly disparate circumstances, this was no different.
Her mind wondered to the drive of her teammates — would they be there for such selfish reasons as she? Her fingers ghosted over the folders that laid in her lap, though truthfully they weren't necessary. After a read through or two, Vanessa had the — albeit bare minimum — details of her fellow 'E.L.I.T.E. taskforce' members memorised. They were already an interesting motley crew, their powers being almost entirely unconnected. Though that was likely the point. Blackburn wanted diversity in his team, their weaknesses being covered by one another.
Though, on the thought of Blackburn, Vanessa was puzzled. His intentions would seem so innocent, idealistic even. But a shred of doubt wouldn't lift despite Vanessa's attempts to rationalize his program. Vanessa's intelligence was not limited to her focused studies on the sciences and technology, considering she had dabbled in law, politics and various other subjects. It frustrated her there was a problem she couldn't solve.
The rough skidding of the plane's tires on the tarmac jolted Vanessa into reality, solidifying her decision as her new life. It'd all happened so quickly, Blackburn knocking on her apartment door and coercing her into a discussion over coffee (not in the cafe, he'd insisted they return to her home). A group of superpowered individuals united under a common purpose, to protect and to serve. A thing once only of fiction fantasy became a reality increasingly necessary to contrive a new opinion of powers, and to be the only people truly capable of managing the unprecedented threats. Vanessa knew why she said yes. But did Blackburn? He knew everything else, though conveniently left out some details about his knowledge of her powers.
There were countless reasons Vanessa shouldn't have accepted. Her rather sudden disappearance from streaming would be felt, but Blackburn had reluctantly claimed she may have some spare time to continue on with it — especially after Vanessa argued for the suspicion it would raise. She was remarkably untrained in her abilities, likely comparatively to the others and she was beyond certain there was another out there who was flawless for the role of 'the brains' of the group and who had honest motives for pursuing this path.
Alas, Vanessa was the one settled in the lavish vehicle driving along London's streets, moving out of the city center. Her speculation failed to cease as the city faded into countryside, being cyclical in nature. She often investigated the unknown; dark matter, the possible flaws in Einstein's theory of relativity... those brought her comfort. These unanswered questions made Vanessa uneasy. It worsened as her stomach tightened into knots as the grounds came into view. London was a site to behold on its lonesome, but the vast estate and various buildings were nothing short of stunning and immaculately constructed. Architecture was a lovely blend of physics and art for the daily life.
As they pulled in, Vanessa realised she hadn't spoken a word to the driver. Was that weird? He hadn't spoken either, but Vanessa felt strange not addressing his existence. "Uh, thanks, by the way." Before she could turn to open the door, another woman had stepped out and opened it for her.
"Welcome Miss O'Callaghan. Everyone else is already inside the premises, I shall escort you there now." Her attire exuded professionalism, and her eyes screamed it louder. Vanessa couldn't disrespect a woman concerned with her job, yet this assistant was perhaps as close as Blackburn could get to a lapdog, her vocabulary personally sharpened by the man himself. Such a woman wouldn't dare give answers worth an ounce of honesty. Neither did Blackburn.
Instinctively, Vanessa's arms settled crossed in front of her chest, an eyebrow raised slightly in suspicion. "Miss O'Callaghan, there is no need to worry." the woman spoke with a small, polite smile. Vanessa's eye roll could have been suppressed, but she didn't see a need. "Oh I wouldn't dare worry. I almost feel like I'm not entering a suspicious estate!" Vanessa beamed, following after the woman through the soulless halls. It was merely a fruitless show of wealth.
Within a few moments, they reached a grand door, but before Vanessa could ask any questions, the woman cut her off, "This is where I'll be leaving you. Plead go on inside." And with a glance down at a clipboard in her hands, the woman was returning along the hallway, her shoes echoing behind as Vanessa stood in front of the door, apprehensive to enter. The opening for declining Blackburn and returning to her life was nonexistent. No, returning to her life like this was not an option, the precise reason she was here was to eventually be able to go back.
The doors creaked open as she stepped inside, frozen as she observed the others. It was intriguing attempting to place names to faces, for Blackburn found it to be a cruel joke to not provide description of appearance. Then, her eyes landed on the shattered object on the floor, mentally piecing it together as a bust — once quite a work of craftsmanship. "Well, I can't imagine Blackburn is going to be happy about that." Vanessa burst into laughter, a grin blooming along her features as moved further into the room.
Once Remy had arrived, it didn't take very long for the others to start piling in, one after the other. He was first met by a woman whom he of course didn't recognise, but he tried to think back to the files he'd read to try and identify her. Remy came up with nothing, unfortunately, though she seemed to know just who he was."Just Remy'll do,"he informed her with a charming smile, choosing to ignore her comment regarding the broken bust. He refrained from saying that nobody had, in fact taught him not to touch things that weren't his, mainly because he always got what he wanted, but that wouldn't exactly paint him in a very good light, would it?
He glanced back to the broken bust before realising that by the time Blackburn came, he wouldn't even know who did this, so Remy would figure out what to do then, if it even became a problem.
They were soon joined by another, a young man this time, and as expected, he noticed the broken bust first. Fortunately for Remy, they were thinking the same thing, because he didn't want to dwell on the consequences of the whole thing either."Well, honestly—"
Before he could finish, the door was thrown open yet again, and a girl wearing rather colourful clothes stepped inside. She acted as though none of them even existed as she looked around and then rushed over to the nearest window for a smoke. With an eyebrow arched, Remy watched her curiously for a moment before looking back to the other guy to answer his question. "As I was saying," he began, shoving his hands into his pockets. "I feel pretty good about it. I mean, it's a good thing we're doing, right?" Besides that, the actions of one Wallace Blackburn were definitely questionable but maybe he was just reading into it too much.
The fifth member of their party was another guy. His accent gave Remy a clear idea of where he was from but he was moving around too much for Remy to get a proper look at him. One minute he was bumping into one of them, and the next he was scurrying over to the window to join the girl who sat there. Remy held his head up a little, evidence of his cushy life being show, as he noticed that the two smokers were obviously from... different backgrounds.
The girl seemed to be chuckling about something but Remy couldn't quite figure out what because all she did was point to the guy's pocket and say,"I saw that."
Remy must have missed something but he simply shrugged and looked back to the main door as the last member of their party arrived. "Ah yeah, it might be an issue," he nodded, pursing his lips. "But on the bright side, the world is better off with one ugly bust taken off the grid," Remy added with a smirk, realising that he still didn't know the names of anyone in this room. He had a feeling this wouldn't be the last time Blacburn would expose them to something so frustrating. In fact, it may only get worse.
When the doors opened yet again, Remy was a little confused since he knew all of them had already arrived, but then he remembered that they all had yet to meet the person who gathered them all here.
Flanked by the tall woman who'd greeted him when he arrived, Wallace Blackburn stepped into the room, hands behind his back. Remy suddenly remembered the bust, but Blackburn hardly gave it a second glance before looking to all of them and then finally speaking.
The moment Blackburn entered the room, his gaze floated over to the broken bust nearby, but he barely glanced at it for a second before he looked back at the people that filled the room. His task force. His team.
Well, they weren't much of a team yet, half of them didn't know each other's names yet, but it would all come, and there was plenty of time to mingle before training began. Certain things needed to get out of the way before all of that. The first, and most important, was letting everyone know their Soul Guardians. The faster they wrapped their minds around the fact that they'd always have a partner no matter what, the better.
"Welcome to London's E.L.I.T.E base," he said, arms slightly wide. He had a smile on his face, and it looked genuine even. Mainly because this whole task force was a project that had been years in the making and now it was finally coming to life. "I'm glad you could all make it and I trust your journeys were pleasant enough." Well, of course they all made it. It wasn't like Blackburn would have sent people to take no for an answer.
"As much as I would love to chat and discuss your trips," he made a waving motion with his hand that made it seem like that was the last thing he would ever want to do, "we have matters to attend to. We can all sit and catch up during the gala this evening. For now, I trust you all read the files given to you? It's always important to know who you're working with after all. And aside from that, it would save me from having to explain to you what a Soul Guardian is."
He scanned their faces for either expressions of recognition or confusion once he recited the term, and then heaved a small sigh. "Very well, just in case you might have forgotten, a rather short version is that your Soul Guardian, will be your official partner. So when all else fails, you still have someone to turn to. Someone who has your back. Team work is important, especially in this field, with your abilities, and the kinds of threats that you'll face in the future. So it's important that you know who your partner is right away, just so you can get used to the idea." He had a smile on his face that looked like a mix between deranged and excited. One might almost believe he was here solely to see how this would pan out. As though it were some form of entertainment.
The blonde woman stepped forward, a red velvet box in her hands. She opened it up to reveal three small knives. They were shiny. They were sharp.
Looking to the others with his hands clasped, Blackburn spoke again. "So, who'd like to go first?"
Kat was quite pleased with the team. She didn't know any of them, nor was she able to assign a name to a face as she looked at them all, but they were different. Everyone seemed to bring something unique to the table, which Kat liked. It certainly was an interesting group. She was also glad to know that she wasn't the only one with questionable morals. Her grin only widened when she spotted one of the young men swiping a watch from someone on their team. She was impressed, and made this clear to him as well, though unfortunately, their smoke break was cut short when Blackburn finally chose to make an appearance.
She crushed the cigarette against the window railing and left it there for the time being, reminding herself to take it when they left since she couldn't find a dustbin and knowing her, she'd mistake some 15th century art piece for the trash can and throw her cigarette butt into it. After a broken bust, they really didn't need any more trouble.
Blackburn was exactly as she remembered him. He wasted no time and got straight to the point. The man barely took a moment to stop and greet them, or introduce himself — or, hell, let them get acquainted with one another since she still had no idea who anyone was, yet the guy wanted them to find out who their Soul Guardian was? She'd read about it in the files she'd been handed, so she knew what it was all about, and what having a Soul Guardian entailed, but she at least thought that before finding that out, she'd know the name of the person she'd be 'bound' to.
Kat arched an eyebrow curiously when the blonde — Miss Colette, apparently — stepped forward with a box of knives. This was... interesting.
Kat raised her hand as if she were in a classroom. "What exactly would we be volunteering to go first for?" Kat asked, more curious than concerned.
"Well, Miss Rebane," he began. "If you all read the file, you'd know that Soul Guardians feel what you feel. Not in the same intensity, but the bond allows them to know when you're hurt. Which is what the knives are for."
Kat nodded, seemingly completely fine by this. "So we need to get stabbed."
Blackburn blinked. "As amusing as that would be, there will be no stabbing," he waved off that theory. "Just a small cut would do. In the palm of your hand. Once that's done, someone else in this room will feel it too, and a symbol should appear on your skin, further confirming that for as long as you two are here, you are bound."
Seemed simple enough. Some of the others didn't seem as enthused about the idea. One of the guys, the tallest one, Kat noticed, stepped forward to object. "Wouldn't it be easier to just tell us who it is?"
"I could," Blackburn nodded and crossed his arms. "But, not everything in life will be handed to you on a silver platter. Sometimes, you need to go through the pain, for an outcome. All of you know this, or you wouldn't be here." He looked around the room for any more signs of resistance before spreading his arms once again. "So, volunteers?"
Kat glanced around briefly before shrugging. "Sure, yeah, I can go first."
"Wonderful," Blackburn stood to the side looking absolutely excited, as if he didn't know himself who would be paired up for Soul Guardians. Kat had a feeling that if he could have brought along a tub of popcorn, he might have.
He left some space for Kat to walk up to Colette to pick up one of the shiny knives. She didn't hesitate. Honestly, part of her was really curious to find out who it was, so the moment she picked up the blade, she made a slash across her palm. It stung, but it was a light one, and she was immediately given a cloth by Colette, to stifle the blood flow.
Kat had intended to look up and see who had reacted, who had felt what she just did, but instead, she found herself mesmerised by the formation of the symbol on her forearm. It was like ink spreading through her veins, moving, expanding, till it made a whole shape that looked just like a tattoo on her skin.