The Long Way (Part 1) - Whateley Theory Prelude

«Scene Starts»

[21:27] <@David-Visage> "You will be sure that everything that you need is in your case?"

[21:27] <@David-Visage> Melony's voice was an intrusion into Kharis' thoughts, dragging her back from staring out of the hotel window at the grey walls of the opposite building. The girl had been seated there, in the single chair in this cheap room, for almost an hour as she tried to cool off in the slight breeze coming from outside.

[21:27] <@David-Visage> It was hot and hard to focus, hotter even than it had been at home, in Boston during this sweltering summer but the sound of her guardian speaking in proper Greek was as refreshing as a glass of water.

[21:27] <@David-Visage> In the six weeks since they had arrived in America this was the first time that Melony had used the language when addressing the teenager. And simply being spoken to at all, beyond needed exchanges, had been rare.

[21:27] <@David-Visage> Kharis looked at Melony, considering the normally stern faced older woman, and vaguely surprised to see a little concern there. She, herself, felt… empty though but managed to give a vague nod even as she reminded herself that there was no servant to help her back.

[21:27] <@David-Visage> "Kharis, you are… glowing again." There was that hesitance again from Melony and the woman stared at her ward for a moment before giving a nod. "I shall fetch something to eat, sandwiches from nearby are acceptable, and you can handle that. If you can then you may go for a walk, but return here within the hour."

[21:27] <@David-Visage> A nod from the teenager seemed to give Melony, once a servant who was accustomed to obeying, permission to leave.

[21:27] <@David-Visage> Only then did Kharis let a few tears flow as she struggled to rein in her power. Everything was so different here, so hard, and she felt so lonely. Why couldn't someone else de-

Thoughts slid past each other, minds merged like drops of water, and memories merged in a container of flesh which gave them form and relevance.

From two came one and, once more, that one was alone again.

Just somewhat more than she had been before.

[21:27] <@David-Visage> -al with it?

[21:27] <@David-Visage> Kharis opened her eyes, hardly realising that she had closed them, and the girl who looked out of them was more than she had been just a second before.

[21:32] <Kharis> …deal. Deal with… that was a doozy. Doozy? …what was with these thoughts? She was taught better than to use such words. …but other wayward thoughts had tugged at those words she felt discomfort at. Hands quickly patted at her hips and shoulders, as if to double check that her figure was still there. …these memories couldn't be hers. Had the pain of separation and scorn from her family finally driven her mad? FOCUS. Yes, focus. She needed to calm herself down. …crying would not get you anywhere. It rarely gets people anywhere. The girl took a deep breath to focus and get her power under control… emotional. She couldn't let her emotions get the better of her.

[21:33] <Kharis> She needed to take stock of the situation. Here, in Boston. …Boston, why did that sound familiar? Too many thoughts and plans came to the surface. Thoughts she were terribly uncertain of. What was going on? Stop thinking on it. Focus on remembering how she got here.

[21:40] <@David-Visage> Memories of why she was there were easy recalled, the events being clear in her mind, yet somehow felt ever so slightly foreign. Kharis was in this American city preparing for her journey to the Academy, to the place which would supposedly teach her how to use her curs-

[21:40] <@David-Visage> How to use her 'powers'.

[21:44] <Kharis> …Whateley. Powers. That made Kharis frown, but at the back of her mind she could feel some sort of… glee? Elation? WHY?! How could this be a good thing?! …well, how could it NOT be a good thing? With powers over conditions and biology, it wouldn't be far-fetched to expand that to more… practical uses. …but WHY?! Why would that be good? This was what

[21:44] <Kharis> drove her away from her family in the first place! To be trapped in this stupid hotel and this stupid situation! …no, chin up. Falling into that won't fix anything. What's past is past. Besides… there could be worse situations. Could always be worse. She can see this as an exile, or a chance to prove how she does on her own. Your call~.

[21:45] <Kharis> …she needed to take a walk. Yes, need to clear her mind of this. …the desire to look in the mirror was underlying her thoughts, but anger and confusion required time to be alone, and this hotel room was absolutely boring.

[21:52] <Kharis> With the deciding factor of 'outside with distraction' being 'better than in here with the heat clearly making me mad', she went to the door to open it up, and head to the elevator to get outside the hotel room.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> It was when Kharis had her hand on the door handle that she noticed something quite troublesome. There, flickering around her slender fingers and her bare arms, was a faintly visible halo of a silver white glow. As she watched it others colours fluxed through the light, tinges of green then hints of red.

[21:57] <Kharis> …wasn't she focusing on… right. No. Need to stop before that. As much as she didn't want to listen to her much more active mind… being incognito is preferable than people finding out you were a mutant. She stopped to focus, to suppress her power and not have it active any more. Who knew how much of a range it had? Well right now she didn't. So definitely

[21:57] <Kharis> taking the time to suppress her powers before finding a pair of sunglasses. It was only after she made sure of these two things that she went for the door again.

[22:01] <@David-Visage> It was a trite thing to say that being aware of a problem was the first step in solving it, but in Kharis' case her problem was when the light manifested without her being aware. When it spread and choked others so easily. A conscious 'tug' reined in the aura, pulled back what felt like some sort of effect on muscles, and caused the light to fade away entirely.

[22:03] <@David-Visage> With that light held tight inside her, and the dark glasses covering her eyes, Kharis felt a touch more normal as she picked up her passkey for the room and headed out of the door. Yet the feel of the cotton t-shirt, of the shorts which weren't properly fitted that she had to wear, reminded her than things were not normal.

[22:03] <@David-Visage> Not for her.

[22:06] <Kharis> …good. Despite the lingering sadness of her current state, she was at least 'hidden'. Mental note to self, try to work on that in the future. …it felt awkward to be actually taking advice from this strange madness that suddenly plagued her mind. Thoughts of being born the wrong way, of medicine and research and mythology. It felt wrong. Confusing.

[22:06] <Kharis> Especially with memories of living like… one of them. Of the lower class who couldn't afford the proper things. Who couldn't afford a real life. Twinges of anger coursed through as she walked right to the elevator. But for the life of her, she could not tell which 'side' was the most angry.

[22:07] <Kharis> Especially since while she couldn't bear the thought of living like this for the rest of her life, these strange memories worked with what they had. With… …good heavens, they shopped at grocery stores? She could not get to that elevator fast enough.

[22:10] <@David-Visage> The heat was more pervasive in the corridor, away from what relief the window provided, and as Kharis passed one air vent she felt it blasting out -hot- air. There was a vague memory of late the night before, when Melony had checked them in, of the receptionist babbling something about the 'AC not working' and something inside Kharis faltered at the idea of how it might be in the confines of the elevator now.

[22:10] <@David-Visage> Still the silver doors waited… or there was always the stairs.

[22:15] <Kharis> … …stairs. As much as she liked the comfort of modern technology, being trapped in a box of heated air would be murder on her. She walked past the elevator and to the stairway to make her way down to ground level. What kind of inconsiderate degenerates didn't have their machinery working at all times!? It was never this bad back home…

[22:15] <Kharis> Home. That word made two different sets of memories appear. One of her beautiful mansion, with family and the fine arts and where comfort was guaranteed. The other… less so. In a horribly tiny town with less than three thousand people, yet five funeral homes and three places of care for the elderly. A town where people go to die.

[22:15] <Kharis> …she didn't want to be like that. To be trapped on the opposite end of things. Which made her walk down the stairs even faster, as if to escape those memories… can't really escape, you know. Looking at this the wrong way. Was she? It was hard to tell.

[22:21] <@David-Visage> Pushing into the stairs provided a little relief from the heat, buried in the building and with a flow of air of its own up the centre of the stairwell, but the scene of warm rubber from the treads was… distinctive. Yet that smell, and the surprisingly pleasant feeling of exertion, were welcome distractions from the the thoughts that plagued her.

[22:22] <@David-Visage> It had been quite a while since she had actually exercised properly, but it was unpleasant to consider in retrospect how long she had spent almost literally curled up in her own misery.

[22:25] <Kharis> Yesss… cool air. She needed to get outside. Maybe find a good breeze and avoid this forsaken heat. How did the Americans last this long in these conditions? …exercise. Fitness. That was a thing she needed. It was odd in that those odd thoughts that seemed so conflicting at first agreed with it. That it was good to stay fit and healthy.

[22:25] <Kharis> She continued down the stairs to ground level, and to leave the hotel to step outside. She wasn't sure why she thought of Whateley having all manners of physical fitness machines and courses, but if that was true they would be a welcome sight to get back into things.

[22:27] <Kharis> …provided they had the proper training and equipment, maybe find a way to do better. No, that wasn't a thing… was it? Maybe? No, think on that later. Outside first.

[22:31] <@David-Visage> The long walk down the stairs towards the ground floor, and the lobby leading outside, gave Kharis plentiful time to toy with these unusual trains of thoughts. Only once did a faint tingle across her skin require her attention, an improvement from how she had been when her powers had first manifested, and she was sure that no light would have escaped.

[22:33] <@David-Visage> The lobby was a hateful place in comparison to the cool quiet of the stairwell. The sun was striking front of the fa├žade like a hammer and the interior felt like an oven despite the doors being widely propped open. Several small children were screaming as their mother ignored then, attention split between the phone in her hand and the college age receptionist, and a frustrated looking man in his older years waited behind the lot.

[22:34] <@David-Visage> There was no peace to be found her, not rest, but a small stack of printed out maps of the surrounding area (apparently obtained from some online site) seemed to be available for guests.

[22:37] <Kharis> That's right, she needed to keep that up. Keep focus, to not lose control. It was strange how that flicker and thoughts of exercise had sparked so many… ideas. Thoughts and plans seemed to formulate as though they were there and just waiting to be grabbed. Her parents had told her that she could be accepted back if she proved herself to be 'great'.

[22:37] <Kharis> Could she not prove herself by using what she thought was a 'curse' and turn it into a blessing? She was not quite sure she wanted to be as… …'fit' or muscular as her thoughts started to go towards, but if she could possibly get str- nope. THAT thought train derailed at the sound of screaming kids. That will do it. Kharis was finding that she needed to

[22:37] <Kharis> exercise control in more ways than one. It was absolutely amazing how American families could not keep a proper handle on their children. Or even make sure they didn't have more children than they could handle. Just… don't think on it. She casually walked to the area where the maps were to get a pamphlet.

[22:38] <Kharis> Just… take this as an exercise in not losing your temper. Just think of it like that. Just don't focus on the screaming kids. Pamphlet first. Then she could calmly walk outside.

[22:42] <@David-Visage> Like a gauntlet the children were between Kharis and her goal. Two screaming, alternating between at each other and imploring their 'mom!' to rule things in their favour, while waving sticky hands about while another younger one was smiling as he waved about a piece of paper and seemed delighted in the differences in how it flopped about.

[22:42] <@David-Visage> Behind them a bored teenage girl stood too, face blotchy where her… generously applied makeup had ran, caught Khari's eye then rolled her eyes dismissively.

[22:46] <Kharis> … …oh… GODS. Wait, plural? She wasn't sure why but IT FIT IN THIS SITUATION. How much make-up do teenagers here apply on themselves?! It was like… caked on or something. Talk about a lack of understanding. The kids were… definitely striking a chord of displeasure. But she was taught the ways of saving face. And the thoughts in her mind knew better

[22:46] <Kharis> than to voice disapproval in any form. Need to be polite! So… …damn it, she had to try this diplomatically. Giving a soft smile and using the English language like everyone here used. "Hi, could you two maybe let me through? I need a map to know my way around." Always do things diplomatically first.

[22:47] <Kharis> Even if the sight of the girl who she was sure was trying for life as a horrible clown wanted to make her gag.

[22:49] <Kharis> …wait, no. It's 'made her want to gag'. Horrible strange thoughts, at least follow the rules of proper grammar!

[22:54] <@David-Visage> "Don't bother my children!" The assumed mother snapped at Kharis before turning back to the receptionist and her explanation of why supposed empty rooms, as defined by something on her smart phone, should get her a cheaper rate for her family. The bickering pair paid her no attention though and the teenage girl was visibly ignoring Kharis, but surprisingly the smallest child looked up with large eyes then tottered a few steps to the side before returning to waving his own sheet of paper around.

[22:57] <Kharis> …well. She was a bitch and a half. It was crass language but it was there. The temptation to DO things would have been there were it not for the little child stepping aside. …it was strangely pleasing? Kharis herself thought that the family seemed quite rude, but these other thoughts took pleasure in that small act. Like it was a small sign that not all

[22:57] <Kharis> Americans are crass and rude. She smiled and whispered a 'thank you' to the child before reaching over and grabbing the map, then being sure to walk right outside to avoid that horrible mess of a family. …that poor younger child. To be buried under all that. Compared to how his life must be, what she's going through must seem like Paradise.

[22:58] <Kharis> …it was actually quite a sobering thought as she walked outside and looked at the map. Remembering that strange 'side' saying it could always be worse. Well she just saw a prime example of it.

[23:01] <@David-Visage> Direct sunlight made it worse, driving such thoughts out of Kharis' mind.

[23:01] <@David-Visage> Out on the street itself heat seemed to radiate from the sidewalk, the blacktop covering the road shimmered like a mirage, and only the sunglasses that she had remembered to take (as ill fitting as they seemed) spared her the discomfort of sunlight lancing into her eyes.

[23:03] <@David-Visage> A look, or more accurately a squint, at the map showed many things marked on it. Car parks, cinema, places to eat, shopping malls, but one leapt out as potentially offering relief: a patch of green on the map marked as a 'park'.

[23:04] <Kharis> …uuuuuuuuuugh. The SUN. That horrible sun. It was so much more pleasant in Greece, but here it felt as though she walked into a nightmare. A nightmare made of asphalt and concrete and brick. Shade. She needed some kind of shade, even if it was under a tree. She would not retreat into the hotel, not with that terrible display inside.

[23:04] <Kharis> The park was decided as the place to go. There would be open space and HOPEFULLY the means for this pitiful city to redeem itself. Just try to avoid the mutant fights… …where did THAT come from? no. Focus on the park. She is going to walk to the park and find a GOOD place to relax! She needed this!

[23:12] <@David-Visage> Cars moved slowly along the road beside her as she made her way along it, barely outpacing her as a traffic snarl somewhere far ahead backed up the traffic for miles. Clashing forms of music blared from more than one car, windows almost universally wound down, and yet the dissonance seemed to fit this city scape of fraying tempers.

[23:13] <@David-Visage> A heavy set man, wobbling in places from his motion, jogged past Kharis in the opposite direction. Obviously unfit and significantly overweight he never the less moved to the side as he jogged, avoiding bumping into the teenager while only giving a nod of greeting rather than the leer that she might have expected.

[23:16] <Kharis> It was absolutely astounding how so many people didn't seem to care for the condition of their ear drums. To say nothing of caring whether people around them were annoyed. It made her worry for Melony truthfully… would she be alright in a place like th- Oh dear god what is that? She read various news reports and television documentaries on obesity, but she never thought… though the nod caused a nudge in her mind. Having her nod back in politeness. …so there was some form of proper manners even here. Even if they weren't as obvious as it was in the higher social circles. …and at least he was trying. That's admittedly more than what most Americans can say.

[23:17] <Kharis> A lot of this journey was quite eye-opening to Kharis. She had been under the impression that most Americans were lazy, irresponsible, and were slaves to their media. She had found some cases where it was right, but… also moments where people were trying to change things. Memories of people enjoying themselves despite their position.

[23:17] <Kharis> The walk to the park gave her much time to think. Except for the moments where she had to keep her powers suppressed and to make sure her ill-fitting clothes weren't causing problems. That was annoying.

[23:20] <@David-Visage> A pair of men bickering in Arabic, dong everything short of actually touching each other as they 'shoved' at one another. A young couple, the woman leaning on the shoulder of her companion, sitting in a car and seemingly wilting in the heat. A somewhat… statuesque woman in her twenties walking along with what looked to have been icepacks strapped to her.

[23:21] <@David-Visage> The heat gave Kharis many things to see as she had made her way to the park, a variety of things which ranged from wince worthy to eye opening, as the citizens of Boston suffered under the summer heat.

[23:22] <@David-Visage> Ahead was the boarder of the park though… yet the promised greenery seemed almost a myth as yellows and browns of dried or parched foliage and grass greeted her.

[23:24] <Kharis> Indeed. Where she had been used to a singular culture in her sheltered life of wealth and social graces, here was more or less a melting pot. A variety of cultures clashing and coalescing into one. All working with and against each other at the same time. Like a machine that didn't know what it was doing.

[23:24] <Kharis> The park… …was somewhat of a disappointment. She had to figure that caretakers were not always available, or could not be afforded for something like this. This was never an issue back home… HER home, not the decrepit grave of a home the strange memories brought to mind.

[23:25] <Kharis> Still. She came all this way. She might as well walk in and see what could be used as a place to sit and relax. Preferably in the shade. So inside she went to look for a spot! Still, that… statuesque woman was hard not to think about. Which was kind of concerning for someone like her!

[23:29] <@David-Visage> While the city park might be yellow and burnt there were signs of some attempts to water it. Patches of green, regions of less 'crisped', and even stands of trees which retained their leaves enough to offer a little shade beneath them. There were ones close to her, close to the road she had just walked from, or the further away trees which promised a little privacy.

[23:30] <Kharis> …further away from the road. There were some things she needed to do. There was more than one way to 'relax' as it were. Plus she could still watch and look around while being away from the prying eyes of the people on the road. There was only so much eye-opening Kharis could take in a day. Yes definitely walking there.

[23:36] <@David-Visage> It was surprising how quickly the sounds of the city were dampened as the teenager moved further into the park. Not lost entirely, but the thumping rhythms of music and the noise of traffic became muffled in short order as she walked down into the hollow which the park filled. It was a little more peaceful here, a little more isolated, and not full of Americans as everywhere had been.

[23:37] <@David-Visage> Or, at least, not -so- full as she spotted a pair of figures seated close together amongst the trees she was approaching and heard a few 'murmurs' in a particular tone…

[23:42] <Kharis> …uuuuugh. She needed a place where she could be alone. Where people wouldn't glare or stare or any of that strange nonsense. She was a human being like the rest of them! …she had to be human. Not those… accusations like her father had spoken or screamed at her mother. A human still had rationality.

[23:42] <Kharis> A small frown at the other thoughts surging back. How 'human' wasn't the catch-all term for 'sane' or 'rational' or 'moral'… you could be anything and still have those traits. That's just diving right into Speciesism. …how is that even a word?! Is she even making sense any more? Well why WOULDN'T she make sense? She's a fairly intelligent woman!

[23:42] <Kharis> Even if she was becoming convinced that the madness was following her from the hotel room… definitely walking by the figures to find a place to sit. To have some more privacy.

[23:48] <@David-Visage> A little more walking and it wasn't impossible to find a suitable spot. To find a patch between two trees which was in the shade and not obviously visible from the path. A place where one could stop and rest.

[23:52] <Kharis> Yes… a good place. A small smile as she walked off the path and in between the two trees. It wasn't as pleasant or grandiose as sleeping near the meticulously cared for lawns and flora of the estate, but it would suit her purposes just fine. Maybe with any luck she could wake up and find this was all in her head. That Melony had gotten word for them to

[23:52] <Kharis> come back home, or that the thoughts in her head would be banished… thoughts that somewhat took offence at that. Perfectly normal thoughts, mind you! She set her phone to an alarm to wake up in time so she could head back to meet Melony… before getting comfortable and closing her eyes.

[23:52] <Kharis> Just… relaxing. A good nap in the cool shade would work just fine.

«Scene fades»

Continued in Part 02

Session Notes:

This session was run on 28 May 2014 between David-Visage (acting as GM) and Kharis (playing Kharis). Minimal alterations to content (primarily in formatting, removal of OOC comments, and correction of spelling) have been made.