Character Name: Dawn
Alternate Identities: Ghost
Player Name: RWallace
|Hair Color:||Honey Blonde|
|Now that she has access to a regular bath and clean clothes, Dawn has turned out to be a beautiful young girl with slightly wild, shoulder length honey gold hair. Though her life has changed for the better, her jade green eyes still seem distance and at time lost. She has yet to put on any weight to speak of and her waif-like appearance concerns Marie to no end. She is twelve or thirteen, even she isn't sure which, just over five feet tall and very slender.|
Ghost Archer stood beside Harry and watched the coroner’s assistants lift the body bag onto the gurney. Coagulated blood covered a surprisingly large area were the corpse had lain. It was the fourth such body since the first of the year.
“I hate serial killers,” Harry growled, his grey eyes squinting against the setting sun.
“A rather odd serial killer,” the bowman said.
“Yeah,” the detective agreed. :”I guess you’d call ripping a man’s genitals out by the root rather odd.”
Archer knelt beside the blood stained grass.
“I’ve got a hair,” he looked up at Harry and pointed.
A crime scene tech appeared and squatted, drawing tweezers and an evidence bag from a case. Deftly he trapped the hair and lifted it. The hair didn’t move.
“How did I miss it?” she muttered and grabbed the hair again.
For a second time it remained where it was. The Archer frowned then looked closer.
“I think it is a trick of the light,” he said to the tech with a shrug.
“Must be.” Putting away her tweezers and bag, she moved around the blood patch looking for other evidence.
Archer plucked the hair from the grass and tucked it into his pocket without anyone noticing. He stood and touched his ear then turned to Harry.
“I’ll leave you to it, Harry,” he said, offering his hand.
The tall cop took it.
“Yeah, go chase some super freak and let us handle the mundane killings.”
Both men knew these killings were far from mundane. Archer turned and disappeared into the crowd and from the park.
Drawing back from the microscope Archer removed the glass plate and sat down on the stool. Holding the rectangle he muttered “Now to find you.”
Golden Gate Park during the day is a vibrant, active place with games and picnics as well as tourist from all over the world. The beautiful Japanese Tea Gardens are a place of quiet respite from the hustle of the city. Between the Steinhart Aquarium and the de Young Museum people ate lunch and listened to the various musicians performing on the stage. One day classical, the next Jazz. Children ran and shrieked at the ducks, laughing when they broke into flight. Couples stroll hand in hand or groups pedal along the bike lanes avoiding the occasional pile of ‘road apples’ left by the SFPD mounted patrol. It is one of the safest parks in the world they say.
Archer stood atop the de Young and gazed across the park, his elvish eyes turning the late night black of an overcast sky into a moon-lit dusk. Three men sat at the outdoor tables before the stage talking in loud voices, obviously drunk. One rose and staggered toward the western end of the aquarium and the patch of bushes there, probably intent on relieving himself. He fumbled with his pants and stood still, his feet spread slightly as even at that distance Archer caught the splash of urine on the leaves.
“Hey!” the man yelped, leaping into the bushes.
His two friends rose at his shout and sauntered toward their buddy one calling out.
“Watcha got, Joe?”
The bushes shook and there was a crashing as if something were running blindly through the thicket. A small figured burst from the brush and slammed into the larger of the two men approaching the scene. Automatically he grabbed whoever it was and held on.
“Gotcha!” he barked in triumph then howled in pain as the smaller figure kicked him in the shins.
The pisser, fly still open, lumbered out of the bushes and grabbed the small figure by the scruff of the neck
“Gimme my wallet!” he bellowed.
Archer watched, still relaxed. One of the street people had taken the chance on snatching the man’s wallet while he was ‘busy’. As long as it didn’t get out of hand, the bowman was content to let things work themselves out.
The pisser started pawing the homeless man, searching for his property in the heavy folds of ragged, dirty clothing; his buddy shifted his hold on the smaller man to a hammer lock. The next words froze Archer.
“Don’t touch me!”
The voice was a child’s voice. Vaulting off the edge of the roof, Archer dropped to the earth with a soft thud and began walking across the amphitheater, weaving his way through the benches. The pisser ripped open the coat the child was wearing and continued his search.
“I said ‘DON’T TOUCH ME!” The note of hysteria in the child’s voice made Archer break into a run.
Though he couldn’t see exactly what the pisser was doing, it was pretty evident he was working his way through the layers of clothing. Then the bowman caught a glimpse of the knife as it flashed in the hand of the man holding the child’s arm. The blade arched down toward the child’s body and there was a scream. Blood erupted, spurting to the beat of a heart and Archer was among them.
Grabbing the assailant from behind, the Ghost Archer hurled him backward over his shoulder as if the man had been a rag doll. The pisser followed a second later as Archer gathered up the bundle of grimy clothes. That was all he got, the grimy coat. Turning quickly Archer was on the knife wielding man, pulling his hands from the bloody mess that was his belly.
“Crap on a stick,” he hissed and snarled at the man. “Be still or you will bleed out!”
Placing the palm of his hand on the horrible wound the bowman relaxed and let the power flow down his arm and out his hand. A forest green light bathed the wounded man and he passed out. After a moment, Archer removed his hand and looked over at the pisser who was being helped to his feet by the third guy.
“Call your buddy an ambulance; I need to find that kid.”
In three steps he disappeared into the bushes, his every sense scanning the area for a spore of the child. The trail was as plain as neon arrows to the experienced half-elf and silently he followed. The path lead around behind the stage to the Tea Garden and for a second disappeared until Archer vaulted the fence and picked it up again on the other side. Seconds later he stood beneath the pagoda, his eyes tracing the spore up into the belly of the building.
“I know you are there,” he announced, not bothering to look up.
Squatting at the edge of the meandering koi pond, Archer rinsed the blood from his hands then stepped up onto the high arched Japanese bridge and perched on the rail. Plucking a twig from the tree that over hung the pond below he pinched off the tiny leaves and tossed them into the water.
“They aren’t the first that have attacked you, are they?” He paused, listening for the slightest sound. “I promise you, it will never happen again if you let me help you. What did the others try to do?”
A small scuffing from the building then a small voice said “They tried to rape me.”
“I know what you can do,” Archer said, idly passing his hand through the wood of the bridge. He let the denuded twig fall and came to his feet. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the painted wall of the pagoda had grown eyes. “It isn’t a curse, or a punishment.” He said as he stepped toward the building, each step lifting him another foot or so off the ground. When he reached the level of the building’s eyes he stopped and smiled.
“My name is Aaron, what’s yours?”
The eyes withdrew then slowly returned. They were a beautiful shade of jade green and Archer’s own eyes widened a little. They were the exact color of his own.
“Are you hurt? Did the man cut you?”
In the distance came the sound of sirens, at least a half dozen.
The eyes moved up and down and an arm appeared out of the wood, blood running out of a wide, vicious looking cut. Archer put out a hand and the arm was withdrawn.
“I only want to stop the bleeding,” he said softly. “And take away the pain.”
The hand returned and one finger crooked at him then disappeared into the wall.
Taking it as an invitation, Archer slowly moved through the wall into the tiny room that constituted the top floor of the pagoda. There was a single candle burning with just enough light to show a filthy pallet of clothes beside a pile of soda cans, chip bags and candy wrappers. The child’s blood was everywhere and Archer began to worry about blood loss.
The kid was backed into a corner, skinny legs drawn up, arm hanging limp as the blood flowed down the dirty skin to drip onto the pallet. Small, very filthy feet protruded from a ragged pair of jeans that must have been more than a few sizes too large. At least three layers of sweaters had been pulled off to expose the arm leaving a red flannel shirt, long sleeved, one pulled up to the shoulder to expose the cut. Several bloody rags lay about, obvious attempts to staunch the flow but ultimately futile.
The jade green eyes watched him as he sat beside the child and gently lifted the arm. It was a ragged wound; the kind delivered by a serrated blade and that would leave a nasty scar. Breathing slowly, the bowman reached behind his back and pulled out a clean handkerchief then produced a small clay pot stoppered by a wooden cork. Taking the stopper in his teeth he slowly poured a sweet smelling cream onto the cloth then replaced the stopper. The pot disappeared as he again took the child’s arm.
Very carefully, he laid the cream soaked cloth over the wound. It was almost instantly soaked in the child’s blood but a look of wonder flooded the smudged face as the magic took away the pain. Archer pulled away the cloth and without fear of causing the child any hurt, covered the bleeding wound with the palm of his hand. Again he took a slow deep breath and let the power flow down his arm and into his palm. The green light flooded the room for a long moment, and then vanished. The bowman released the child’s arm.
With a tentative finger the child touched the newly healed skin then looked up into Archer’s face.
“Dawn, I am Dawn.”
Dawn lay back in the huge bathtub, bubbles covering her to the chin. She could hear Aaron on the phone.
“For God sake, Harry, she’s a thirteen year old kid.” There was a pause as he obviously listened. “Yes, she IS a mutant but a 75 pound girl mutant that hasn’t had a real meal in her entire life.”
Jade green eyes closed as the luxury of the bath nearly lulled Dawn to sleep.
“Harry, I’ll prove it.” Aaron snapped. “NO, I will NOT bring her in. She’s been through enough already. Look, you do what you have to do, but you aren’t going to lock her up like an animal.”
The slamming of the phone on the table snapped Dawn fully awake. She heard a door open in the other room and figured he had left but a soft female voice spoke to Aaron.
“How is she?” the voice said.
“Taking a bath,’ he replied. “Can you see if you can get her to let you look her over for any injuries? She doesn’t want me to and I can understand that.”
“Was she raped?” the woman asked, her tone one of deep concern.
“I have no idea,” he said with a fierce note. “If she was I’ll find whoever did it and deal with them my way.”
There was a light tap on the bathroom door and a small woman with incredibly long raven black hair poked her head in.
“I am Raven,” she declared, then stepped in. “I am Aaron’s wife and he would like me to check you for injury.”
Dawn sat up a little, the bubbles covering her from the chin down.
“I ain’t been raped,” she said firmly.
Raven sat on the closed toilet and observed the girl’s still dirt smudged face. Her features were beautiful, even with the grime, Raven thought then she met the girl’s eyes. Jade green. She sucked in a sudden breath. Those eyes . . . that unique color . . .
“How old are you, child?” There was a quiver in her voice.
The girl shrugged.
Raven pulled her gaze from the girl’s eyes and took in the wet but dirty hair that would probably shampoo out to a rich gold and she stilled, trying to hold back a shiver.
“Your parents?” She asked.
The girl shrugged.
“Who has been taking care of you?” Raven searched the girl’s face.
Again the shrug.
“Just me.” Dawn said as if it where the natural way of things.
“Why don’t you finish your bath and I will take you to the kitchen for anything you’d like to eat,” Raven tapped the palms of her hand on her knees and stood.
“Can I have candy?” the girl asked, those jade green eyes hopeful.
“We’ll see,” Raven promised and backed out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
She turned on her husband, pain and anger in her eyes.
“She is YOUR daughter . . .“ she said. “And Thistle’s!”
Aaron scowled. “What are you talking about, Thistle and I never had any children.”
“Then why does she have your eyes, your powers and Thistle’s hair and face?”
“Raven,” he came to her and took her by the shoulders. “She is not my child. Thistle would have told me if she was pregnant and she became Avatar BEFORE that child could have been conceived. Plus if she where Thistle’s child there is no way she would end up a street kid in San Francisco. She would be raised as a priestess of Ishtar.”
None of it did a thing to convince Raven and Aaron could see the deep hurt in her eyes.
“I’ll run a DNA test.” he said finally.
Raven slowly shook her head. She could see the warring emotions in her husband, hope and fear of disappointment. If this Dawn were Aaron and Thistle’s daughter she knew he would be overjoyed, even after all these years. She would lose more of him to someone she felt she could not compete with, an Avatar of a Goddess and her child.
On the other hand, she knew that if this Dawn were not his child something more in him would die and it would hurt him deeply. She would be with him to ease his pain but in the end, there was little she could do to help save love him.
Either way, he would not change his love for her or their children but her worst fear was that it might spark a need in him to truly find Thistle and return her daughter if Dawn were their child. That Raven could not think about. Her heart ached at the merest thought that Aaron might leave her. Of all things, that was her greatest fear.
“Please do it soon,” Raven whispered and headed for the kitchen.
Archer tapped on the bathroom door and opened it a crack. Dawn spun to face him holding a huge towel to her body. He didn’t look in but slipped a pile of clothes through the crack.
“Hope something here fits,” he said.
She darted behind the door and kept one foot firmly planted to stop it from opening any further. As if he would withdraw his offering, Dawn snatched the clothes and leaned on the door, pushing it closed on his arm. He made no protest but used his power to extract himself. Breathing hard, she leaned against the wall.
Of course he could just stick his head through the wall, she thought. He DID have powers like hers. She didn’t think he would, however, and she moved back to the sink, placing the pile of clothes on the counter.
There were so many things! One by one she touched each, not sure what many of them were for. A pretty cut crystal bottle caught her eye and she picked it up. It was very heavy and . . . she sniffed it. It smelled like the jasmine when it bloomed in the summer. She almost dropped it when she pushed down on the top and a mist hit her in the chest.
“Wow,” she whispered. Closing her eyes she inhaled. Whatever is was it smelled great.
Replacing the bottle she picked up a comb and tried to pull it though her tangled hair. After breaking off several of the comb’s teeth she gave up and did as she always had, ran her fingers through the unruly mess. She eyed the pile and didn’t see a hat so she left her hair down.
Lifting each item of clothing she inspected them. Pants, several shirts, a hoodie, socks, shoes and . . . She eyed the panties. This was new. Stepping into them she pulled them up. For a moment she tried to figure out why anyone would wear them then she found she liked the smooth feel of the material against her skin. Also, she realized, they would protect her from that seam in the pants.
Aaron had given her three pairs of pants, jeans, some kind of softer pants, and a thicker pair like the runners wore when it was cold. This last she pulled on. Next she pulled on a tee-shirt then the hoodie which she zipped all the way up. Sitting on the closed toilet, she pulled on the socks and running shoes. They fit perfectly.
The bedroom was empty when she came out of the bathroom but the door to her left was wide open, revealing a room filled with books. Before she moved she took in the room, the huge canopied bed, the fireplace with the two chairs before it, the shelves filled with books and little pieces of this or that. One caught her eye and she moved to the left-hand chair where she sat on the edge.
On the small table beside the chair was an irregular lump of metal a little larger than her fist. She picked it up and instantly dropped it as a jolt spiked up her arm. The edge of the lump left a dent in the table. Hesitantly she touched it again, this time with a finger tip. Again she felt the jolt, like electricity but this time not unexpected so she didn’t draw away.
Emboldened, she picked it up and the feeling faded. Turning it this way and that, she inspected it. It looked like melted steel and she couldn’t figure out what it was or why it was on this table. A sound in the other room made her jump and guiltily she returned the lump to its place and came to her feet. Aaron stood in the door when she turned.
“Hungry?” he said.
“Raven said I could have candy.”
“I don’t think so, not until after you eat some real food.” He held out an arm as if to put it around her but she slithered past him before he could touch her. “Downstairs.”
He followed her as she sidestepped down the steps into a kitchen. A round table of some light colored wood had three plates on it and a half dozen covered dishes. Her mouth began to water at the smells. Raven was pouring orange juice into three huge glasses.
Aaron pulled out a chair for Dawn. “Have a seat.”
He offered her chair that allowed her to run if she wanted to she noted. She sat as Raven placed a glass before her. Aaron lifted the cover from a dish. It was piled high with bacon and Dawn had to wipe her mouth.
“Dawn,” he said softly. “Go ahead.”
For a second she looked up at him then grabbed a handful and started stuffing into her mouth. Raven sat beside her.
“No one is going to take it from your, Dawn,” she said.
Aaron uncovered biscuits, a pot of gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage links and a stack of pancakes. Suddenly Dawn stopped chewing, taking in the selection. She let the bacon fall to the table then covered her face with her hands and began crying softly.
Both of the adults moved to her, Raven placing a hand on her shoulder but Aaron drew her to her feet and hugged her. For the first time in her life she felt safe and it only made her cry harder. Raven stood and Aaron pulled her into his arms and hugged them both.
“What do you mean you can’t tell?” Archer snapped at the computer.
Spock, unaffected by the uncharacteristic outburst, continued.
“There are certain markers that indicate a possibility but these are not definitive. Nor does it rule it out.”
Dawn sat quietly on the stool, her hands folded in her lap, watching the man argue with the air. Truth be told she was feeling a little sick after downing more food than she’d ever seen in her life and she was getting sleepy. What she couldn’t figure out was what was the test thing supposed to tell him anyway?
“I shall review the test again but the results will remain as I have stated,” the computer said.
Aaron rubbed his forehead.
“Can something or someone be interfering with the results?” he asked.
“That is possible,” the computer admitted.
Aaron heaved a sigh. “Lizard.” He muttered.
Dawn jumped as a man in a long white robe appeared.
“Haven’t you grown tired of blaming me for everything,” the newcomer said. He turned his gaze from Aaron to Dawn. “Oh, my . . .” he said. “You are a beautifully little thing.”
Something in his tone made Dawn slide off the stool and duck behind Aaron. He put an arm around her protectively.
“Are you to blame?” Aaron asked, his tone weary.
Dawn tried to disappear behind Aaron. This man scared her more than the would-be rapists in the park.
“You know that I am not allowed to interfere with you or your family unless asked,” the man said. “Besides, isn’t it exciting NOT knowing for sure?” The man vanished with a half smile.
Aaron showed Dawn to a bedroom and went about the room opening drawers to show her more clothes then she’d ever seen. All of it was just for her, he told her but she didn’t really believe it. The day had been so filled with strange and amazing things that it was all starting to feel like a dream. She was sure that when she woke up in the morning, she would find herself in the top floor of the pagoda or dead. Maybe that was it. That guy had cut her and she was bleeding to death . . .
He pulled back the covers on the bed and guided her over to it then sat her down and removed her shoes. Slowly she toppled over and he pulled the blankets up to cover her. Everything smelled so clean and felt so wonderful but she was tired and her eyes closed. The last thing she remembered was warm lips on her forehead.
“Well?” Raven was pacing, wringing her hands. She stopped and searched her husband’s face.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Spock can’t say one way or the other.”
Raven scowled. “I thought he could do anything.”
“Even a computer is not infallible.”
She softened and pressed her body into his. He held her.
“You know it makes no difference if she is,” he said. “Not to us or our kids.”
|Dawn has the power to manipulate her molecular structure to anything from gossomer to denser than gold. To protect her self she has learned to 'fuzz' out her body, a state some where between solid and her desolid form. While it does not offer the total protection of desolidification it does reduce her injuries significantly. Two powers she developed while living on the street saved her life and protected her from being raped many times. The first allows her to reach into a person and remove the more useful parts of their anatomy while the other allows her to do much the same but while she is safely desold. Needless to say, Archer does not encourage the use of either of these powers though Raven secretly urges her to practice their use for the time she might need them.|
|Dawn is still partly a wild animal, unused to such close contact with so many people. She tries hard to keep up with her classes but she is missing the knowledge that a modern child grows up with. She is not stupid, by any means, but occasionally a few of her classmates tease her because her mind does not quite work like everyone else's. There have been many times when she has disappeared into the woods seeking to escape only to be found by him. When he picks her up and craddles her like the little girl she is, everything is right again.|
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