Quiet, sweet, but with a determined, sometimes scary, edge.
The story of the Caros’ is the the story of quite a few families. The patriarch, Rafael Caro, was the third son of a poor family who lived near Tampico Mexico, dreaming of a better life. He, through a long and difficult process, immigrated to San Antonio. Through hard work, perseverance, and just a little luck, he made a home for himself; He got a series of menial jobs to push himself through college, received his degree, and began to make a living through tile, grout and bathroom fixtures. He met his wife, Rosa, and together they had 5 children, two boys, three beautiful daughters. But every family has a black sheep, and for the Caros, that black sheep was their fourth child, Susana.
Rafael loved Susana very much, like he did all his children, Rosa, however, never really cared for her in the same way she did her siblings. Her siblings took their mother’s lead and Susana grew up bullied by her older three siblings. By all accounts Susana was a quiet girl, very shy, but sweet and harmless, but everyone always commented that there was something not quite right about her. She was too quiet, too sweet, as if she were trying to hide something. Susana could say with all honest that she had no idea what they were talking about. Not at first anyway. It wasn’t until her favorite holiday rolled around, when she was eight years old, that she got her first inclination of how weird she really was. It was on that day that she met her first ghost.
The Day of the Dead had always been a big deal for her family. Her mother always hated the holiday, for as long as Susana could remember she locked herself in her room on the night of the celebrations, but that only made things better for the young girl. That was the one day out of the year she felt normal, her family laughed, and sang, she even learned how to play the violin just so she could play it on that one day a year, and everyone loved it! During her eight Day of the Dead, however, Susana caught sight of something in the midst of their celebrations. While she played, she could see more figures around her and her family, indistinct, barely visible, clapping along with the melody, swaying, dancing and swirling around them. Susana hesitated in the middle of the song, but quickly found her rhythm again, having the good sense not to react further. When the song ended she made an excuse to leave, hopping out to the patio to try to get some fresh air.
“You play very well mija.” A voice whispered next to her. Susana stiffened, shooting a glance to one side. Standing there was a man she had only ever seen in black and white pictures. A man with a bushy black mustache, work boots, blue jeans, a stained tank top and a wide brimmed hat… “...U-uncle...Roberto?” she squeaks, all too aware that she was looking straight through her uncle’s head while she spoke to him. The shade grinned a wide grin. “Of course, mija! Who else would it be? Do you know anyone else with such devilish good looks as your poor Uncle Roberto?” Susana gulped a few times. “But...but didn’t you...you know…?”
“Die?” Her uncle finished for her “Yup” He took off his hat and placed it against his chest, staring off into space. “Struck down in my prime by one angry Ford.” Susana had heard the story, everyone in her family had. Her dad's younger brother had been attempting to rovide for their extended family back in Mexico while her father was slogging through the immigration process. He had just gotten a job, an entry level position at some company and while out celebrating with his friends he and two of his buddies were struck by a car. The other two had gotten away with a few broken bones, her Uncle Roberto hadn't “But...But i’m talking to you.” He grins “Sure are!” She stared at him, he stared right back...finally when the silence stretched on for so long she couldn’t stand it, she asked the question. “How?” His smile faded slightly. “Ah, mija, I’m afraid I can’t answer that. Not right now...just you wait, one day I’ll tell you. Just not today. How about another song, eh?”
That was Susana’s first experience with the dead, but it was far from her last. The dead liked her, every day from that point onward her Uncle Roberto would walk her home from school, and every night she had another spirit waiting for her at home just to check on her. The spirits talked, helped her with her homework, taught her new things. One day, however, the biggest upset of her life arrived in the most under dramatic way possible. The guidance counselor popped into her english class, and hurriedly whispered in her teacher’s ear. The 13 year old was quietly escorted out of class and to the principal’s office where her mother was waiting...stone faced, eyes filled with tears, her youngest brother’s hand clutched tight to her own, and her older siblings all gathered around her. It was then that her mother told them all that their father had had an accident on the job. While refurbishing the bathroom in an old house, the water heater had malfunctioned. It had blasted a hole through the house, shooting up through the ground and top floor like a ballistic missile. Their father hadn’t made it out.
Susana was in shock, as were the rest of the children. The funeral took place two days later and her mother all but accused Susana of murder. Grief, bitterness and venom spilled out of Rosa during that moment of weakness, and she told Susana everything...along with the entire rest of the service. Susana, as it turned out, wasn’t her daughter at all. Her father had had an affair 14 years ago, on the Day of the Dead. Nine months later, Susana had arrived on their doorstep with a note and that woman (Rosa had used far more colorful words to describe Susana’s birth mother) just expected to dump her problem off on them as if they didn’t have any more mouths to feed!
Distraught, confused, and lacking the only parental figure in her life that really mattered, Susana ran. She took just enough time to change her clothes and gather up some supplies, then she ran, and left town. She ran and ran until she couldn’t run anymore, curling up in an old grave yard just outside San Antonio. When night fell, her Uncle once again appeared. “I-i want to see my dad! Bring my dad here! I want to see him!” She cried, grasping at the air where her Uncle’s spirit stood. “I...can’t do that mija, he has to find his way back on his own. The only reason I found my way here is...because I needed to see my family. I never got to provide for my family the way your father had and...and I felt like I needed to give back in some way. You, mija, are keeping me here.” she sobbed “Then bring my mother here! My real mother! Where is she!” Her uncle grimaced. “Susana...I can’t do that either. Your mother is...is very important, I can’t just drag her here...but I think it’s time I told you what your father couldn’t...your mother’s name is Melinoe, and...she’s a goddess.” Most demigods have a hard time believing statements like that, but given she had spent the last year talking to ghosts, and after all she had been through that day, Susana found herself much more receptive.
Her uncle told her told her everything that he knew about her mother, and he told her that the dead like to share secrets, and there was a place far to the north where demigods like her could go to be safe, and grow. Lacking any other prospects, Susana began to walk. She slept during the early morning, she played her violin for the spare change of strangers when every they were in a town, spending any money she made on bus tickets and maybe a meal or two. When she couldn’t afford the bus, she’d walk. Every night, she and her uncle would find refuge anywhere they could and discuss their next move. It was...more than a little scary. Night after night she heard things moving out in the dark, and Uncle Roberto would sneak off to keep watch. More than once, things she could barely understand would rear their ugly heads. Usually, Roberto was good about getting her out of there before anything bad happened. Twice he had steered her away from a pack of large black dogs, once, a family of dog faced...things with flippers near one of the rivers they passed by. But the closest call they had near Nashville.
Susana had only just gotten off the bus, it was mid day so she didn't really expect Roberto for a few hours, he tended to show up closer to sundown. So, with her grumbling stomach on her mind, she began to head for Shelby park to play for her supper. Every park in any given city has pigeons, that was just common sense. She didn't think twice of the small gray birds she passed by while walking. She didn't notice when they started to follow her, hopping and gently flapping behind her, their numbers growing larger...she did notice when they flew up in one massive cloud. She let out a shriek and managed to slap one away with her violin case, running as fast as she could down the path with the bronze beaked birds in hot pursuit.
She tried to think back to latin class and her lessons on greek myths...how had Hercules killed these things? Was it even Hercules? Of course it was Hercules, the guy did everything! She thought hard while running, the birds pecking and slashing holes in her clothing. Then, in a flash of inspiration, it came to her. He had driven them away with sound! She ripped open her case, yanking her violin and bow out mid step. She played a note as loud and as sharp as she could, and she was relieved to see the entire flock swoop quickly upwards. She slowed and watched the swirling mass of gray feathers and sharp beaks. Grabbing up her case and quickly backing away. Each time the flock made to dive for her again, she gave them another sour note. Again and again she did this until she eventually put enough distance between her and them that they didn't want to pursue any longer.
As they were passing through West Virginia, Uncle Roberto insisted on a detour through a tiny little town called Thurmond. When she asked about it, all he said was “It just...feels right.” She couldn’t really tell what he meant until they actually got in the town of Thurmond. There was next to no one living there...but that didn’t mean there weren’t people. The town was home to hundreds of spirits, and she soon found out exactly why. Her mother herself had been there at one point in time. She liked to visit a couple of dozen towns in the US; Goldfield in Arizona, Dudleytown in Connecticut, Beeville in Indiana, these were all ghost towns, and in these ghost towns there was always something hidden for her and the children of the underworld to find. The spirits lead her to the bridge, and from it down to the banks of the nearby river.
There, in the clay, after digging and rooting around for a bit, she found a long wooden box. With trembling hands she opened it and found it contained, of all things, a scythe, six feet long, with a shining black blade as long as her forearm, a handle halfway down the shaft for her to grip, and a ruby set in near where the blade and the shaft met. She blinks at it. “I…” It was kinda pretty, in a stuff of nightmares kind of way. She smiles and looks at the nearest ghost. “Tell her...thanks from me…” She began to walk again, the scythe somehow shrinking and wrapping around her finger, now a ring with a brilliant ruby. She didn’t even question it. It was a long walk to the nearest bus station.
Eventually, her uncle lead her to New York City, after just one night sleeping in Central Park, he told her “Alright mija, tomorrow’s the day we’ll be there!” Susana felt her heart leap. The next day, one subway ticket, and one bus ticket later, she found herself on an old road near Montauk. She had briefly wondered if this was some long and needlessly complicated way to get her off in the woods by herself for a moment, when her Uncle suddenly pointed to a hill with a lone pine tree. “There! That’s the place!” He zoomed forward in the twilight before dawn and Susana ran up after him. As she crested the hill, she looked down into the valley beyond, down at the strawberry fields, the kids in orange just waking up, the big blue house, and the sound off in the distance and for the first time in a long time she felt like she was home.
- Children of Melinoe can create weapons made of solid ectoplasm in order to aid them in combat. Only one weapon may exist at a time ,the longer the weapons are maintained, the more energy is drained. They can also coat their existing weapons in ectoplasm in order to temporarily strengthen them.
- Children of Melinoe can send shockwave-like blasts made of solid ectoplasmic energy which feel like a very powerful punch on contact, also momentarily stunning whoever it contacts.
- Children of Melinoe have the ability to become intangible for short periods; making them immune to attacks but also unable to attack naturally.
- Children of Melinoe are able to manipulate the tangibility of ghosts around them to form a shield, that is no larger than the user, to protect themselves.
- Children of Melinoe are innately able to talk to and command ghosts, they can also help ghosts with any unfinished business that is keeping them tethered. They can also use this ghost to spy for them, or gather information.
- Children of Melinoe make the people around them uneasy and sometimes fearful as a result of their ghostly aura; they can turn this off for a long time if they desire.
- Children of Melinoe have the ability to summon a single poltergeist which will fight for them for a short time.
- Children of Melinoe have the ability to summon a banshee, which will instantly begin wailing and stun anyone who is not intangible for a short time before vanishing.
- Children of Melinoe, while intangible, can travel in this manner as a ghost would, disappearing and appearing in another location, however the longer the travel the more it drains the user.
- Children of Melinoe have the ability to transform a weapon into an intangible state for a short time, making it so no one can touch it. They also have the ability to possess an object for a short time and then attack or defend with it. If the object is struck, they are expelled from it.
3 Months After Character is Made
- Children of Melinoe have the ability to cause ghosts (up to 4) to attempt to possess a single other person’s body. The ghosts can then be commanded to temporarily control the body if it is an ally, or for an opponent the ghosts will only be able to hinder the possessed person from what they are doing. This only lasts for a short time, and the more ghosts that are summoned, the greater drain the user feels.
6 Months After Character is Made
- Children of Melinoe have the ability to shed their human nature and appear as either a demon or angel, as their mother has dual chthonian and heavenly aspects. As a demon, the user has the ability to strike fear and despair into the heart of the enemy and emit a scream similar to that of a banshee's. As an angel, the user is granted flight (as angels are often depicted as having wings), and have the ability to instil respect and peace into whomever they come in contact with. The use of this power is extremely draining, and the user can only chose to be either angel or demon, never a combination of the two. After use, the user cannot use the power again for 24 hours.
9 Months After Character is Made
- Children of Melinoe have the ability to enter a intangible ghostly apparition, in this state, they are immune to attacks, and can control up to 15 ghosts at a time. In this state they are also able to use ghostly power to lift, throw, move, teleport, or possess objects; They are also able to command another ghosts to possess an object, and control the movements of that object through the ghost possessing it. This ghostly state only lasts for a short time, and after exiting it, the user will be drained and unable to move, or possibly faint. However, the amount of ghosts the user controlled in this state, will attempt to protect the user for a small portion of the time that the user is incapacitated.
- Children of Melinoe usually enjoy talking to ghosts, preferring their company over the living.
- Children of Melinoe often have two sided personalities, one angelic and bright. The other demonic and dark.
- Children of Melinoe typically enjoy scaring people and are not easily frightened themselves
- Children of Melinoe sometimes grow up to be paranormal investigators.