Name: Sara Landwere
Build: Athletic, wide shoulders from swimming in high school
Hair: A thin, dull blond that is cut about to her chin. Tends to be flyaway and held back with a barrette or two.
Eyes: Brown, slanted just enough to show the Mongolian blood in her family tree
Facial Details: A wide, pale face, with a spray of freckles across a small nose and high cheekbones.
Chosen by: Mudd
Gift Description: A tobacco pipe. Mudd told her and Marx that it had the function of "Trouble." What that means precisely, they're waiting to find out.
Abilities: There's the big one, of course: she can see things that are meant to remain unseen. This includes a wide range of spirits, the true form of the fey folk, and magical energy. It's vaguely known in the magical community as Seeing. In addition, however, Sara is quite competent at reading and analyzing massive pieces of literature and obscure folktales (enough to earn a degree in it), making snarky comments at inappropriate times and playing air guitar.
History: Sara was born in Rochester, Minnesota on March 15, 1987 and spent the next eighteen years waiting only a little impatiently for when she could leave. While she waited, she deigned to live with her parents, Lauren and Mark Landwere and three older brothers. She spent a very normal eighteen years doing very normal things like developing crushes on famous actors, spending summers sprawled on lawn chairs armed with a pile of books, and dying her hair with Kool-aid to see how her parents reacted. She also spent time realizing, specifically around the age of six, that it wasn't normal to see the pixies that regularly stole blossoms from her mother's hydrangeas, or to be able to chat with the lingering spirit of a Sioux warrior that lived in her back yard.
Luckily for Sara, her mother's side of the family was well versed in family members who developed inexplicable abilities. (She had a second cousin who could conjure a flame with the snap of a finger, and her grandpa had remarkable luck in guessing the stock market's next upswing.) Her aunt Gabrielle, who had a certain way with cats, took Sara to visit some friends of hers and they soon ascertained that Sara had nothing more remarkable than the ability to See the things that tended to remain unseen.
Her dad, grasping at minimal experience with unusual abilities, told her that with great power came great responsibility. Her aunt Gabrielle taught her the importance of not mentioning the brownies or dead spirits to people outside of the family or magical community. Her brothers took to requesting that she ask the Sioux warrior's spirit various questions, such as whether he'd ever scalped anyone. Sara's mom said she was just glad it was a relatively useful and unobtrusive ability, and maybe she'd be putting Sara in charge of controlling their pixie problem.
So life went on for Sara Landwere, and if she sometimes reacted to things her friends didn't see, they never caught on. Sara graduated from high school and set out to Chicago to attend DePaul University and obtain her English degree. It was while in college that Sara explored the sizeable branch of the magical community that called Chicago its home. She went to a few gatherings, befriended several people that she met there, and dated a mage for a while. All in all, it was a satisfying four years.
Sara graduated at the age of 22. She decided to stay in Chicago and spent the next two years taking on jobs of varying satisfaction. It was during this time that Sara considered putting her Seeing ability to good use. She'd long been asked by friends and family to help with poltergeists and troublesome spirits, and she could say confidently that she wasn't bad at that sort of work. So she started spreading the word in the magical community that she was willing to help with peoples' troubles. By word of mouth, she began to obtain clients as well as something of a reputation. Sara was just happy for the extra cash to help pay her rent.
Then, on one memorable day, Sara was chatting with one of her college friends outside a café who, among other things, was a faun. After the friend left, she was approached by a solemn, young boy who asked, in a slightly strained voice, if she realized that her friend had the lower half of a goat. Sara said she was perfectly aware of her friend's anatomy.
The boy first looked as if someone had slapped him, then said his name was Marx Santos, and finally told Sara that he was afraid he was going slightly insane. Marx, as it turned out, had abilities somewhat similar to Sara's. He could communicate with spirits, glamour used by the fey folk had no effect on him, and magical energy was as obvious as sunlight. However, he tended to feel these things more than see them.
So it was that Sara found herself taking a fourteen-year-old with an odd mixture of Seeing and Sensitivity under her dubiously competent wing. He took to doing his homework at the diner where she worked and between customers she would explain the intricacies of magic and abilities. After a few weeks of this, she asked Marx if he'd like to join her on one of her cases. He did, and so that evening, Sara and Marx managed to find an ice elemental hiding in the basement of someone's apartment building and convince it to at least stop making the pipes freeze in the middle of summer. The client was so pleased with their speed and success that he paid extra.
It was, Sara realized, quite helpful to have someone with Sensitive abilities working with her. That was when she told Marx he could become her apprentice if he wanted. He did. They thus worked together for several months, having all sorts of exciting adventures and snarky arguments that couldn't all be described here.
Until, that is, they met the creature who called himself Mudd.
Personality: Sara is not a shy person, nor is she lacking confidence. Having grown up surrounded by three brothers, she's well-versed in the art of talking big and pushing people around when they need to be pushed. She is quite good at swaggering about, making sarcastic comments and looking absolutely in control while planning out a hasty retreat. (She's had to use it with more than one grumpy spirit.)
Thus, while she has confidence in her own abilities, she also is not so arrogant as to think she can handle things that are out of her realm. However, when something is in her realm, she'll have no qualms telling people her exact opinion on the matter.
Sara has a big heart. She's unflinchingly loyal to her friends and family and has plenty of compassion for others. She isn't soppy about telling people she cares about them, but always sincere when she expresses as much. She has an easy laugh and friendly demeanor.
She takes her work seriously. When given a task, she remains determined to get it finished, and get it finished correctly. She respects people who are competent.
Name: Marx Santos
Build: He's not particularly athletic, but not exactly skinny. Just hitting puberty, so a little gawky.
Hair: Dark brown, almost black. Cut short and standard with a few tufts in the front that refuse to lie flat.
Eyes: Dark brown, surrounded by dark lashes
Facial Details: His face is round and still boyish. He has heavy eyebrows and high cheekbones. His complexion is dark.
Chosen by: Mudd
Gift Description: A tobacco pipe. Mudd told him and Sara that it had the function of "Trouble." What that means precisely, they're waiting to find out.
Abilities: Namely, Marx can See as well as Feel magical energy, the creatures that employ it and spirits. He's only recently developed these abilities, so he doesn't have absolute control over them at this point. Other abilities include playing piano (a result of forced lessons for six years), a knack for math and a well-practiced monologue on who Carl Marx is and why his parents thought it'd be a good idea to name their son after the guy.
History: Marx was born in the Chicago area to Helen and Rodrigo Santos on December 21, 1996. Besides being named after the author of the Communist Manifesto (the result of his father being a professor of political history at Northwestern University) Marx didn't show any indication of being anything out of the ordinary. He spent his first ten years of life in relative happiness in a comfortably sized house in the suburbs.
His parents got divorced when he was eleven. His father left Chicago for rural Illinois, moving into a house accessible only by a thin dirt road where he raised chickens and worked on his book. Marx's mom sold the house in the suburbs and moved them into an apartment further into the city. For the next three years, Marx lived with his mom during the school year, his father during summer and weekend visits scattered throughout.
A few months before he turned thirteen, he started seeing things. It started small: a flash of movement in the corner of his eye or a confused glimpse of things he knew his mind must have been making up. But then he found the bakeneko (what he later found was a sort of giant demon-cat from Japan) living in his apartment and he knew something was off. As he saw more and more oddities, he started feeling them as well. The bakeneko gave him a shivery, fevered sense. The tiny flying people in the park felt like little cold sparks of light. Certain people in the street could make him stumble from the wave of power spilling off of them. He spent the next few uneasy months grappling with these new and unwelcome abilities. His schoolwork and social life were taking a suicidal nosedive, and he frequently fell into foul moods over the things he saw and felt that no one else could. His mom chalked it up to puberty, and he couldn't bring himself to tell her that her son was most likely going insane.
Then came the day that he saw the girl with the goat legs. He was on his way home when he saw them, bared for anyone to see. Except no one did seem to see. He watched for a while, as if staring would turn the cloven hooves back into skin and toes. He hadn't even realized how long he'd been standing there until the girl said goodbye to her friend and left, her hooves clacking loudly as she passed him. In a slightly desperate fit of courage, Marx got it in his head to go up to the girl's friend and ask her whether she realized her friend had the lower half of a barnyard animal. If he wanted to be honest with himself, he might have admitted that this was his odd way of breaking down and telling someone that he was seeing the impossible.
Except the girl didn't seem to think that her friend's anatomy was impossible at all.
She gave Marx an odd look and asked him if he was alright, because he looked a little shocked.
So Marx told her his name and that he was going insane. The girl, Sara, seemed to think for a moment before she told him to sit down. Over the course of the next hour, Marx found that he was in fact not insane. He just had these
abilities, which Sara had as well. Not to mention the covert magical community in Chicago to which Sara, the goat-girl and countless others belonged.
Needless to say, Marx found himself quite unable to sleep that night.
Luckily, Sara seemed to take pity on him, because she told him where and when she worked, and said he could stop by whenever he had questions. He decided to take her up on that offer the next day. And the day after that. And the rest of the week, for that matter. The next thing Marx knew, he was being offered an apprenticeship helping a post-grad waitress tackle troublesome spirits in apartments belonging to mages. He accepted Sara's offer, wondering again whether he was going insane and finding that he didn't actually care.
Over the next several months, with Sara's help, Marx grew rapidly in his confidence and handling of his abilities. He met several people who were both incredibly odd and quite normal at the same time (such as the goat-girl, Charlotte, who found her legs' role in Marx and Sara meeting absolutely hilarious.) He didn't want to tell his mom or dad anything, however, for a variety of reasons both legitimate and irrational. Besides, things were fine the way they were. He was happy, he realized, running around Chicago with Sara and meeting people and learning what he could do.
And then he and Sara met Mudd.
Personality: Marx would be described as shy by anyone who didn't know him and a stubborn, sharp-minded kid by friends and family. He's fairly easy-going, doesn't like to attract too much attention, and is happy enough hanging out with a small group of close friends arguing over gaming systems. He doesn't let himself get too hung up on anything, but when he does, he has a lot of trouble letting go. He is very observant and of slightly above-average intelligence. He may be described as more mature than most middle-school-aged boys, due to his parents' divorce and his development of abilities, followed by working with Sara.
Marx has a thick stubborn streak that will crop up in the oddest situations. He is prone to moodiness and a lack of confidence, though he's been getting better since Sara's been helping him control his Sensitivity abilities.
Note: Both Sara and Marx can sense magic, but neither can actually practice it. It takes a certain innate ability, which is what witches, wizards, mages, and several of the fey folk posses. They can certainly use pre-prepared spells or charmed objects, but they can't make the magic themselves.