You are Asher Smith, an Overhuman that has just chosen to join the terrorists zealots known as "The Followers" as they invade your home, America. You were often alone, not having close ties with your mistake of a family. So it is, you've chosen the path that would ensure your survival as these people make grand claims to be the winning side of the war, and you believe them.You've seen their mastery of otherworldly magics lay waste to an entire city in the span of a day, leaving no room for retaliation as they forcibly awaken others through torturous methods.These people are insane.These people are powerful.You are now one of them.You had been with a survivor group not too long ago, pulled out with them from the birth of titanic tital wave that swallowed the city. You have left them as well.A man of ebony skin with a white smile bright as god's shoeshine sits before you, speaking as though you've all been friends for a very long time. He hasn't spoken his name, you only know of him as a "friend."Your awakening cost you your left eye. leaving you with a slowly recovering hole in the left side of your face recently rebandaged by fresh linens from their medic stock.The woman beside you that's made a choice quite similar to yours, cradles herself in her arms, rocking back and forth ever so slightly, the odd pulse of her veins an indication of her unstable powers. Her mouth is covered by bandages, likely concealing her own marks.A boy, a teen to your other side stares at your "friend" with some obstinance, yet he's more patient than you'd give him credit for. No discernible marks are seen on his body. His clothes are ragged, but his skin is clear. He seems to be the type to heal."Friend" is here to explain some things to you.
"Friend" flashes his noteworthy smile to the three of you,"You all are looking hungry. Let me get you something to eat."He claps his hands, calling over to a man standing behind the cafeteria's stainless steel counter,"Over here. We need breakfast for these three!""I'm not really hungry." The woman mumbles, her voice muffled and haggard behind the bandages. Her eyes stop short of meeting his, an obvious nervousness."I-if it's all right sir, I-I'd like if we kept speaking o-of the magic. What do y-you want us to do?" Her voice drops into something of a quiver, as though she's to break out into tears at the slightest push.How typical of a woman to get so stressed out by all this. THen again. you've probably either gone past your own breaking point, or maybe you just adjust quickly?Your gut tells you that this woman is fragile as glass. It's no wonder she raised her hand after the speech. She just didn't want to die."I agree." You say, sliding forward a little in your seat to listen a bit more closely,:You've given us a chance to be great. We want to see what you have in mind. How do we use magic like the others?""Friend" raises a hand, and looks away from the two of you dismissively, staring at the out of place teen among the three of you,"What of you? Would you also pass up the pleasure of breakfast in pursuit of power?"The kid looks over at the two of you, away from the man. A clear expression upon his face to seeking approval. You capture a glimpse of this from the corner of your eye, but you, nor the woman acknowledge him.Submitting, he sighs out a "yes."
"Friend" goes over the basics for each of you. Instructing each of you to use "call" upon your power as you've grown accustomed.You seem to have the easiest time of it, already having gotten used to it through your practice."You are what we call Nerve." Friend breaks your condition down first."A nerve is capable of changing the world as they like, though we all find ourselves favoring a certain sort of 'way.'" He puts air quotations on that word."You Asher, appear to have begun on the Way of Water. What you decide to make it become or what you learn in the future is up to you. For now though? Water is something that you feel, that you command, that you shape. The Nerves, the ones of glowing eyes are the ones among The Followers that called upon the force that demolished this place."He seems to stop himself, thinking for a moment,"You will find that you receive a burning sensation when you call upon your power. Do not ignore this, or you may lose feeling and command over these parts of yourself. Worst case? You fall unconscious or even die."You look to your own illuminated nervework after his explanation. Flexing your fist and moving your fingers.Illuminating it doesn't burn while you're relaxed like this. If what he says is true, then all that steam you threw around last night could've ended up with your hands becoming paralyzed.Better be mindful of that."How does it work?" You ask, with piqued curiosity. The woman seems to pay attention, though the kid's just waiting his turn."Susej has said that Nerves change the very sea of thought itself, and thus also reality."You bear a placid expression, as you look into the man's entrancing chocolate brown eyes,"Is that an 'I don't know'?""Friend" chuckles a little bit at that,"You will understand in time if you do not now."He moves onto the other two...
Briefing the other two, you get the general grasp of the three types, of magic ability along with yours.You're a nerve.The Woman is a Vein:They apparently use their own souls to use their powers. They can become stronger, faster, and even control things that has been imbued with their soul. He warns her of possible contamination as she uses her power, stating that he'll walk her through the cleansing process later on.The kid is a bone. His power is a lot less artful than yours, giving him the ability to change his shape, and how the world treats him. Apparently that Susej guy that all these people are talking about has said that they "drink in" power from thoughts. He can become stronger, faster, more agile, a werewolf, a fishman, you name it so long as he doesn't overdo it. "Friend" warns that overuse will make his bones ache, splinter, and eventually bleed out of the body regardless of any attempts to heal.
You bring up the fish-woman from before, Eshe was her name, and recounted how she had let herself fall from around ten stories, slowing just before hitting the ground, like a feather in the air."Friend" smiles at that,"We will tell you once you have proven yourselves to us.""And how do we do that? I've already stood with you, and seen the way people are, what more-"Friend places a finger to his lips, giving you a quick '-Sh' before he goes on."Now, it is true, however you have sworn no oath with your power. You have stood with us, and even enemies may do so to strike against us. While we welcome it, that is not what the path of enlightenment is." His demeanor shifts noticeably, as he goes to a darker place."I will tell you what you must do, and you will not yet question why. You will question why afterward. It is then that you will have an answer.""Please... Tell us." The vein woman stares at him, a sort of glimmer in her eye. Ever since her briefing, she seems to have calmed quite a bit. Her eyes also actually meet Friend's now."Yeah, we haven't got long right? You said that you leave in three days." The bone boy seems to have a similar draw to the man.Truth be told, even you find it hard to speak against him.He said something about an oath for his "charm" right? This has got to be another kind of magic that he won't talk about right now."I would have the three of you go out and spread the word to come to this place. Those of the blood may yet come after you. Through your own eyes, you will see their wickedness. We expect you to return with others that want to learn, for whichever path they may choose."Friend pauses a moment, taking a very slow and deliberate blink as his gaze passes over the three of you."Or you may choose not to return, to betray us if it is in your heart."His smile fades into an expression of dramatic sadness as he leans back a bit.
"It would indeed break my own if it were to come to that however. I expect you all to return."You recline in your chair a little bit, taking a deep breath in through your nostrils. The tang of saltwater still permeates the air, even within this place. The dim fluorescent lights from above beam down at you, kept alive by some kind of generator. hidden away on this campus. Or maybe it's magic?Does it matter?"Well, since we got through that, could we eat now? Maybe some coffee?"The woman blinks at you, yet says nothing, the boy kind of groans at you now."We were just about to get to a good part. Why should we eat now? Let's get going."The Kid gives you an irritated look, slouching back into his chair as a wave of power passes through his skeleton intermittently, like the beat of a heart.You dismiss him with a smile,"Well friend?" You look to the man before you,"Some food before a mission?"The man shakes his head at that,"Now, now, I've offered it to you once now. This is not the time. Though we will give you some water before you go. The ocean would only increase a man's thirst after all." he gives you a kindly grin, despite his refusal and you kind of back down from the prospect."Alright then, that's fair enough." You blink your own eye, and stand slowly, pausing in the middle of it as the others relieve themselves of their chairs."Oh, one more thing. Do these powers work against each other at all?"Friend stands up himself, sliding his chair back into the table politely,"Yes, that lies in what you have already learned. Remember the words of Susej."You actually kind of frown at that,"Alright." You say, as you head over to the cafe to grab some water. This talk of Susej is starting to sound like a broken record...
The three of you leave the building, the dull beat of helicopter blades spinning in the distance, drawing your view.For a moment, you feel that it's wrong. They should have shot down the thing by now, but then, it's also not landing.There are watchers atop the buildings, bearing their own glow like beacons even amongst the day as the choppers pass and float well beyond a normal human's reach."What are they doing?" You whisper aloud, more to yourself than anyone else."They are watching, and we are waiting." A voice from behind you growls, the wolf-man from before stepping forward from his post at the door, baring his fangs before reigning in a human bearing."Waiting?" The woman asks, idly touching at the wraps upon her face, yet the man says no more on that matter."You three have a task. Do what you will, as we do what we must."On that, you stride from the campus, checking up on the sky now and again, the helicoptors keeping their distance, watched endlessly by your new "peers."
"Think they're watching us too?" The boy asks low and silent as the three of you tread down the grassy hill, coming into the part that still feels freshly wet and lush with water."Who?" You ask, absently, your mind focused mire on your half-imbibed water bottle. Your mind races with some what-ifs and hows as you test your power upon it.The boy whispers again,"Like, all of them. The people up there, and on the helicopters.""It doesn't really matter, we can't do anything about it anyway. We have to do what they told us to do, right?"You look back to the two of them. You don't know when it happened but you ended up walking in the lead. They're following you.The woman shakes her head with resignation,"He's right, we just need to do what we came out here to do. Friend wanted us to spread the word right?""Should we tell them to follow the light at night? Or go to the College?" You ask them for their opinions, as though it really mattered. Your instructions were loose, too loose. Friend seemed more interested in the three of you braving others again.A second rite of passage?
You set course for that Whole Foods from yesterday. If other people have gathered there, it'll be a perfect opportunity to fulfill your objective. You won't even need to give away that you're on the path of enlightenment. They'll be none-the wiser as you do them a favor.Your calmed state of mind gives you a feeling of being "cool" and it dawns on you that you should try freezing water instead of just making little shapes with it in your bottle.With a bit of focus you still, still, still it. You see at first the translucent mass of water stops moving, not even giving to the light squeezes from your fingers through the plastic. Then as you continue, from the inside the crystallization begins to come through, though it looks a lot more like slush. You let it go and turn it on its side to observe it.Clumps of ice formed inside of it in the middle of a summer day.Yep, this world really is going crazy.You shake the bottle up, letting the ice break down so you can start over again, letting the slight burning in your nerves go back down."So, I control water, and I'm just figuring out how to do ice. What can you two do?"There's a sort of stunned silence amidst the strange, almost noiseless ambiance of the city, interrupted only by the beating of helicoptor blades and the gentle creep of a thin veil of water upon the pavement, the majority of it having returned to the ocean.
"I'm not really sure." The woman says something you really didn't want to hear."Have you tried? They must have let you go when you used it."The woman falls silent for a moment again. After a couple moments, you get fed up with it and look back to her to see that the veins from all over her body are radiating a mustard-like yellow. Water and stones tremble around her as you feel a sort of presence pressing against your body, or is it your mind? No that doesn't feel quite right either.Her glow dies down after making her stick out like a sore thumb, the lack of pressure causes her weaps to fall off. She's been hiding a cheshire smile beneath those things. The flesh of her cheeks is cut halfway to either ear, exposing he teeth and gums when the flesh parts.a subtle yellow barely holding the flaps together. Like Alder, she looks like something out of a horror movie or something."Don't look!" She cries, chasing her bandages as they fall down, catching them in her mitts and throwing them back on her face, a dull glow forming around the bandages like a mask.A thought occurs to you, there may be a way for her to use her power if you tell her what to try...
"We all have scars" You say this while touching over your own sore eye-hole, the sting of your raw nerve still running deep.You slide your hand away and flip the water bottle in your hand, a flash of your power stabilizing it upon your finger,"Don't worry so much about it."The woman looks a bit nervous at that, her eyes turn up to yours and then back down, obscured slightly by her singed hair."Come one, it's not that bad."You run a hand over the top of your head, through your hair thinking for a moment. A deep breath of the downtown air smells nothing like it once did. Twice as humid, the lingering sickly smell of death on the air.The water and heat must be speeding up decomposition somewhere.Disgusting."You seem a bit unfocused. Maybe if you tried to direct your force or..." You roll your hand in the air trying to grasp for some kind of idea. Or maybe wearing an armor? You could throw things or something? Just pick some way to direct it."The boy, he's next, he seems to be lost in his own train of thought right when you pick on him,"And you kid, you got anything up your sleeve?"The kid seems to think for a moment, a bit uncertain."Well?""I don't really know how to explain it man. I just sort of move well and see well or something.""How did you make it to the stage?"The kid stares at you for a moment, confused, before he finally gets it,"Oh, right, that! Yeah, well. I saw that people left you alone when you went up there. I just kind of slipped past people like a...""Like a what? Come one, say it."The kid frowns at first, but then kind of smiles,"Like a predator. My last name is hunter, and I just thought about that."That's a weird idea, and he's being kind of unclear. At least he's got something. The woman seems to be the most useless right now, at least until she figures something out.Hunter's power at least, will become clear when shit hits the fan.
-It's kind of a good feeling you think, in your group, you're quite feasibly the most powerful.The three of you eventually make it to the whole foods, a cluster of people staring into it from the outside.They number right about five, so they're a decent-sized group. From this distance, you can see what they're looking at. The progression of ice from within that place has crept outward slowly. It now covers just about the whole store, turning it into its own little glacier.
You hail the group of people from afar, a call and a wave.You maintain distance from them out of caution, and also so as to not alarm them too much.Need to be careful after all. They could easily see you as an enemy. You know that they'd see you as an enemy if they knew."You there! You're friendly, right?" A young lady calls back, freshman year of college, or right about there by your estimate-your age.The other people withdraw themselves some, their glares lingering on the glacier before fully acknowledging you."Of course we're friendly!" You lie, and there's a sinking feeling in your gut. Hunter and the woman turn to each other behind you, and whisper behind your back."Hey we're really going to do this right?" He says."This feels kind of wrong."You snap back to the others,"Quiet," You command through grit teeth.If they think you're an enemy, you could all end up dead and that's not on your agenda today.The girl isn't the one to approach, at least, not alone. She comes forward with a man standing taller than you, thicker too with obvious muscle definition upon his forearms.The rest of their group looks on warily. A littlle girl, a man in a ragged water-drenched suit, and a woman that looks like she hits the gym a bit much."You here for food too?" The Young lady calls over, drawing your attention to the front again."Most places are still soaked from yesterday. With the streets so empty, you'd think that we'd have an easy time doing some survivor looting but, but, ah... Well, you can see that it's totally frozen over, not much to do with it, right?"
"I might be able to help with that. Not sure about the ice, but I can at least dry you off."You take a step forward, before minding your manner,"Unless you mind?"The Young lady looks up to the man, and then back to the group,"Yeah, just three more people, they seem alright. Guy wants to dry us off and deal with t he ice."The man in the suit shuffles forward quicker than you'd expect, from the distance, you can't see his damage,"Yeah, tell him to get over here, and do whatever he needs to! This water is ruining my suit!"You kind of roll your eyes at that. Oh, so that's how it is.The man besides the girl stares at you,"If you can open the ice, we found this place first, and we've stuck with it. It's ours."You raise your hands defensively,"Hey, hey, of course, I don't want it." But your stomach really does, when was the last time you ate something? "All yours if I can do anything about it."The man besides the woman waves his group over and the two of you meet fully in the parking lot.They look a bit odd, but Hunter and the Vein Woman keep their mouths clasped pretty tight to avoid lying to these people, or worse, getting caught up in their own tangled web.You set to work on removing the water from everyone's clothes, succeeding in pushing out just the moisture as your power passes harmlessly over the human body.The others show an occasional hint at their powers without ever being wholly obvious.Up close you can see that the young lady has light scars around her neck, the man that was beside her bears stumps of pinkie fingers, the man in the suit is missing some teeth, hastily extracted by god knows what. The little girl appears untouched, and the Gym-woman... You aren't quite sure there, Aside from the fact that her chest is very flat.
You make idle chat about waking up after almost being drowned.These people were in a situation not unlike your own, and yet you have little doubt that they would choose the path of blood.You move onto the ice.It certainly has grown, You didn't want to tell the others, but you still remember the humanoid form trapped deep within this ice.You touch it carefully, feeling the strange sensation of it being warm to the touch.You reach out with your power and the wall of ice shrouding the Whole Food, cracks, granting you entry within.>End