Monday, July 1, 2013

"Firestick" by Angelica Fyfe - Creating a Female Superhero Challenge #CAFSC

by Angelica Fyfe

Name of female superhero: Firestick

Name of human alter ego, if different: Jaseline Oranth

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): Jaseline's ethnic origins are not entirely known – she has tanned skin, and gentle freckles peppering her cheekbones and nose. She has an unusual pale birthmark just below her hairline, in the middle of her forehead, which glows bright white when she is powered-up. Long, thick black curls, sapphire-blue eyes, heart-shaped face, petite frame, about 5ft 3in. She has tiny wrists, and cute little feet, but never likes to stay on them for long! When powered-up fully, she is coated in flames, deep red flames surrounding her coal-black hair, making them appear as fuel for the flames. Under abnormal circumstances she has blue flames, the kind that could almost burn you just by looking at them, which accentuate her eyes and make for a most foreboding persona. These are usually reserved for dire situations when her fire takes over and her conscious mind takes more of a backseat.

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): Small and meek, Jaseline is an unassuming girl with bright eyes. Same physical features as above, but she covers her birthmark with make-up. She doesn't dress very outrageously, and usually lets her hair fall in front of her face when not tackling villains. She works as a waitress in a cute little café not far from her secret sanctum, and is often seen in her uniform - name-badge, apron, and all.

Costume: Firestick likes her colour-code for apparel to be white, like magnesium heated up to a blinding whiteness. She also sees it as a kind of symbol of the purifying powers of fire, and as a symbol of her good, pure flames. She has a couple of outfits, but her usual villain-foiling attire is a leather armour-style outfit, with fitted pants and corset top. Skirts are just far too impractical for her taste. For other superheroine matters (such as ceremonies or award-giving) she also has a long, flowy white dress, made of soft, silky material that moves like flames of a fire. She coats all her clothing – daytime work clothes or crime-fighting costume – with a special resin extracted and modified from a rare plant located where she was born, which prevents them from burning up in her flames.

Personality: Quick-witted, bubbly, and spry, she believes in always doing the right thing. She likes to think that even the dark of heart can be warmed up by a good soul, and if not, she will defend the innocent from those who would wish them harm. Her tendency to believe in everyone being inherently good, and only choosing to become bad, often leads her to make some poor judgement calls under pressure, and when others use her weakness against her and make her regret her mistakes, she comes back with a vengeance as fierce as the flames she bears. There's only enough oxygen for the world to stay warm, so any truly cold hearts she cannot abide by.

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): Jaseline was a lab rat. She didn't know it when she was younger, but the truth came out eventually. Born during an intense tribal ritual somewhere in the dense forests of South America, and taken to an isolated military base along the coast of California, Jaseline never knew her birth parents. She didn't know why they took her to the military camp, or what they did there, but something about her made them come for her in the first place, and somehow she'd managed to escape at a very young age, being picked up by social services at a later date. She accepts the fact that she was born already different, and she accepts that she has her powers for a reason. So, it was this mysterious ritual birth and military intervention that lead to her unusual and unlikely abilities.

Powers: Firestick can fly - being a superhero, this is a pretty nifty skill to have. She can work the winds into shifting about to lift her where she needs to go, and this air-affinity also aids in her main power, for which she is so well known -  her flames. She can produce various amounts of flames from her body, through her hands, her breath, or her skin. She does not burn in it, but can manipulate it and direct it as she likes – again, using the wind to guide it.

Anything else important: She was marked at birth with a symbol on her forehead, high up near her hairline, consisting of three commas (or “flames”) swirling together, the outside of which forms a perfect circle. She has no notion of what it means, or why it is there, but the mark is easy enough for her to conceal with a little bit of make-up and a loose-laying hairstyle.

Her main adversary out of all her confrontations with evil is the lady Eris, a militant woman with a coarse, deep voice. Eris has unusual beliefs, and revels in causing chaos and disruption to the world. She works with a number of other overlords at the Facility, the military camp which Jaseline was brought to as an infant. There they imprison and experiment on various “unique beings”, like her. They use these powerful prisoners to do their bidding from time to time, whether they are willing or not. Jaseline has met a few of the others they keep there, and she pities them though she has to defend against them. Eris is their keeper whenever they are brought out of the Facility to be utilised by the government order in whatever way they choose. She is the only one of them to be put out in the field, which is likely due to her immense skill in wreaking havoc.

Firestick landed gracefully on the tarmac not far from one of the libraries of her city, where an entire portion of the street was ablaze with crisp, scorching flames. People were fleeing from the wreckage, some trapped behind walls of flames. With a twirl, she whipped the winds around her, forcing them to whisk away a portion of the unruly fires around her.

“Oh, good.” A low, raspy voice called over the sounds of the chaos. “I was wondering when my Little Flame would arrive.” A women in olive drab uniform emerged from between two overturned vehicles, hands behind her back. A dark liquid ran out from under them, and Firestick tried not to think about what it was. “Fortunately, I had fun in the meantime. Do you like my work, child?” She held her hands out, indicating the carnage surrounding them.

Keeping her eyes on the woman ahead of her, Jaseline did not move - The woman liked traps a little too much for that. “Eris, you always were a discordant being. Why do you create such destruction?”

Eris laughed, a harsh, low sound that traced a shiver down your spine. “Well, you know what they say – fight fire with fire, no? I thought you'd appreciate my efforts to be more like you... what a shame you aren’t impressed. Now, I must be on my way – got places to be, people to terrorize - the usual. I brought you an old acquaintance of yours, though,” she turned her back on the girl, heading for the Library entrance. “He ought to lift your spirits a bit.”

As Firestick made to pursue her, claws pierced into her arms, dragging her upwards. The sound of wings flapped around her as she was dragged into the sky.

Struggling against her captor's grip was painful, so the flaming heroine lit up her arms. The creature holding her howled and released her, skin sizzling. Firestick dropped from the sky fast and hit the ground hard. She peeled herself from the floor, feeling sore. She really needed to work on slowing down mid-fall. Carefully she stood, brushing herself off.

“Hello, Zachariel.” she said glumly, not at all pleased to see him again.

A winged boy landed several feet away from her, shaking his burnt hands feverishly in the air, pulling hot metal claws off as he did so. “Hey, Fire Chick. You know, I really hate it when you do that.” Grinning sarcastically, he applied a green tincture from his belt onto his palms, sighing with relief. “Ah, that's better. Now,” he said, taking a step towards her, “I believe you are supposed to accompany me back to a happy life of imprisonment and manipulation of the mind.” He held a green palm out to her. “It's not so bad, really – I mean, look how I've turned out! Have you ever seen such a magnificent specimen?”

Firestick watched him puff out his chest, preening like a bird. This was pretty amusing, given the wings. “No – you're the only freak of nature I've come across, Zach.”

His hands dropped to his sides. For a moment, she heard nothing but the crackling fires and the steady 'beep, beep' of her adversary's collar. She stared at it then, and felt guilt for her words. It soon passed.

“Look who's talking.” He retorted much too late, and shook his wings out, the feathers fluttering in the breeze. “Come with me now, or I'll scratch your pretty face up so badly you'll come willingly so that nobody has to see the scars.” His claws were reattached and he traced her face in the air.

Bristling, she held her ground as he advanced. His presence was not something she had counted on, and those talons frightened her.

When he was close enough, Zach reached out for her, but Firestick dropped to the floor, sweeping her leg out at his feet. He leapt in the air before she made contact, and stayed in the air, firing a beam of pure white light at her. She rolled away from it, leaving it to crack the ground instead.

Leaping up, she ran for the library where Eris had gone, ducking under another light shot from her flying adversary. Eris was her main problem - Zach was just a toy Eris favoured using.

Firestick burst through the library doors and into a cavernous hall lined with books, skidding to a stop in the centre. Eris stood on the base of a phoenix statue, hands on her hips. “Took you long enough.” she called.

A moment later, Firestick spun at the sound of running feet, watching as five charcoal-grey hooded figures swiftly surrounded her. They were the Ash Warriors, and they never seemed to voice any opinions. She was starting to think they had ash for brains, too. Three trained guns on her, and a pair unsheathed swords.

“Come with me, Firestick.” Eris cooed, “You're too unique to live out here, in this monotonous mess of a world. You belong with the others. They're like you, my beautiful flame. They're special.”

The superheroine shook her head and Eris's lips curled upwards as she glared. “Have it your way, but you will come with us!” Gesturing to her men, the swordsmen began to advance on the small girl in the centre of the room.

She held her ground, pulling a staff out from a strap on her back and preparing to fight. Zach grabbed her from behind, wings rustling, and she flared – literally. Flames coiled around her, licking across her staff and over her armour. She brought her staff around and down, cracking atop his head. He howled, backing off quickly. Parrying a sword swing, she focused on Eris, retreating from the conflict. Propelling herself forwards, she whipped fire from her hands, directing it at her.

A gunshot reverberated off the walls, followed by a disturbing silence. The superheroine's world dimmed as pain blossomed in her ribs. Putting a hand to her side, warm blood trickled across her skin. Her staff fell to the ground, and her flames died out. She staggered, but looked up at the glass dome above her. She shot upwards like the bullet in her side, and burst through the massive skylight, heading in any direction that would take her away.

Blood dripped from her wound, held tightly in her hands. She flew recklessly and far, her mind dulling with her energy. She faltered in the air, the world going black as she lost consciousness. Firestick fell from the sky.

Vision blurred by pain, an angel knelt over her, wings silhouetted against the bright sun. They spoke something with urgency and a warm light came from their hands as they were placed over her side. The pain intensified, making her cry out before all went dark again.

Zachariel removed his hands and dropped the bullet to the ground beside her. He scooped her unconscious self into his arms, and set off into the air.

Looking down at her, Zachariel flew back to his keeper. “It'll be alright, Fire Chick. The Facility isn't as bad as it seems.” But the steady beep-beep of his collar said otherwise.


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