TITLE: Pyrokenetic Musician

RACE: Human/Psi

PSI ABILITY: Pyrokenesis

MERITS: Performance (French Horn), Empathy, Stealth, Mysterious Guardian, Charmed Life, Time Sense


CHARACTERISTICS: Vanessa is a relatively average looking 24 year old. She is attractive but not horribly out of the ordinary as far as looks are concerned. She has pale skin, redish brown hair which hangs straight at her shoulders, and dark brown eyes. She is 5'4 and of a rather healthy build, she is not as skinny as the supermodels and actresses but her figure is still desirable.

Vanessa usually seems to be inappropriately dressed for any situation, she always hot and is prone to overheating and dehydration. She is relatively modest and does not go out wearing things that are too revealing and designed to bring attention but she does like to wear shorter skirts, shorts, and sleeveless tops for most of the year. Vanessa does not even own a winter coat and prefers to walk around in the dead of winter wearing a long sweater and jeans. She is not too concerned with looks and usually leaves the house with just a bit of eyeliner and lip gloss on.

Vanessa is from Tennessee and has a slight but noticeable accent. She is very shy and would have trouble starting up a conversation with anyone, but when approached she is almost always friendly. While Vanessa is a sweet girl, she has trouble letting any friends get too close to her for fear they will discover her secret. She likes to listen in on other people conversations and people watch as opposed to actually interacting. Regardless of how shy she is in person she is not exactly shy on stage, if you give Vanessa a french horn she can play a solo in front of a large crowd. Vanessa thinks this is because no one is actually paying attention to her, just the instrument she holds and the noises that she creates, thus taking the pressure off of her. While stage fright is a fear that Vanessa deals with easily, she has a tendency to become scared in other situations. If Vanessa feels that things are off she gets scared quite easily, perhaps this would be a good thing if it did not mean setting the occasional thing on fire.

HISTORY: The Past - Vanessa was a freak, she always had been and no matter how hard she tried she always would be. Normal children donít accidentally set fire to their siblings when they jump out of the closet and say Boo. Normal humans from the bible belt donít want anything to do with magic or anything "unnatural," people had of course gotten more accepting over the years but there was still a good degree of prejudice against anyone with powers. Unusual for a human in the South is making the worlds largest ball of twine, not having the power to set things on fire at will.

Vanessa was born as the third and final child of Margaret and Geoffrey Coltrain. Her parents were fine people and did a relatively good job of raising their other children, but were horribly ill equipped for when Vanessa came along. Her parents had not a drop of magical knowledge of psychic talent between the two of them, and that was part of why it was so hard to deal with a child who was exceptionally talented. They didnít know the proper way to deal with the fact that Vanessa had a habit of setting things on fire when she was scared or angry. Her parents told her that it would be best for her to pretend she did not see these things, and that furthermore she should not use her ability to cause fire because it was dangerous. Vanessa could tell that on some level her parents were afraid of her, this made for an uneasy relationship. All the same she tried, Vanessa tried her best to blend in but it was no easy task especially for someone who thought she was a freak.

When Vanessa was eleven she set fire to her neighbors pit bull. She didnít mean for it to happen, usually the neighbors dog barked menacingly at all the passers by but today it had broken free of its chain. The dog jumped at her growling with teeth bared, Vanessa ran but the dog was faster and managed to grab hold of her ankle, her first instinct had been to let her power loose. The neighbor found her crying next to the charred corpse of the dog. He called her every mean thing that a person can be called. She tried to explain that the dog attacked her, but in the end her neighbor cared more about the life of his ill tempered dog then he did for her feelings. He accused of her setting fire to the dog for her own sick pleasure, and swore he was going to tell her parents about this.

Vanessa ran home and confessed to her parents about what had happened to the dog. She showed them the bite marks on her ankle as proof that she had lost control of her powers when she was attacked. Her parents believed her and understood why she had done this, but warned her about how people treated those who were different. The entire family picked up and moved rather then have the entire neighborhood know that their daughter was a firebug.

She became shy, fearful that others would find out about her powers and how strange she was. Vanessa largely succeeded in pretending to be just another average human. She got average grades, didnít get into too much trouble, and was even able to make a few friends. The only thing that she ever allowed herself to excel at was French Horn. Vanessa was strongly pyrokinetic but her control over her power was weak, if angry or scared she often could not control herself. Playing music soothed her and made her feel more in control of her powers, made her forget for a bit that she was a ticking time bomb.

Thanks to her musical talent and decent grades she was accepted on full scholarship to the University of Iowa. She majored in music, avoided any attachment to sororities, and otherwise lived a fairly normal college life. Through hard work, a private room with no smoke detector, a strict policy of keeping to herself whenever possible, and avoidance of certain stressful situations Vanessa managed to keep both of her "gifts" a little secret. The week of her graduation friends had invited her out to a wild party being held for graduates in a local club. After a night of dance and drinking Vanessa stumbled alone along the street quite drunk. A man spotting easy prey followed after her. As many times as she has replayed the scenario in her mind the pieces never quite fit together. A ruffle of fabric, the glint of a switchblade, and the full force of being thrown against a wall, all of it was nothing more then a strange cocktail of sensations which swished around her memories of the nights intoxication. Vanessa clearly remembered yelling out a warning, but she also remembered that she did not try to pull the power back once it had started. The man erupted in flames, and Vanessa for that brief moment enjoyed the power of it the feeling of the flames and the magic which flowed through her. She was terrified by how much she enjoyed the simple release of her powers which had been held at bay for so long.

To the best of Vanessaís knowledge no one had seen her that night. She left town as soon as graduation had finished, terrified that someone would discover who had set fire to that mans body. She figured that New York City would be the best place for a new start, a decent amount of work for musicians and a city where one person with strange powers could blend in more easily. Of course Vanessa was aware that old cities like New York had far more ghosts then the small mid-western cities she had become accustomed, but this was just one extremely unpleasant thing about city life that she would have to grow used to. Life in the city was not going to be easy, Vanessa knew that much but she was certainly prepared for the challenge.