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Poem: "The Family Business" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Family Business"

This is the freebie for today's session.  It was inspired by a prompt from rix_scaedu.  It also fills the "childhood romance" square on my 10-6-13 card for the Origfic Bingo fest.  This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.



The Family Business


It's not easy being
the only one in your family
without superpowers.

It's not easy growing up
when your father can
literally read your mind,
when your mother can
still pick you up with one hand,
when your brothers and sister
all have powers of their own.

You learn to keep up anyway,
any way you can.
You figure out other ways
to do what they do.

You lift weights and wrestle
to compete against your oldest brother
who inherited your mother's strength.
You can't outrun your middle brother,
but he's a track star, not a star student,
so you beat him with speed-reading.
You make your mind a fortress
that not even your older sister can breach.

You watch them go into the family business,
one by one, following your parents
your uncles and aunts, and especially
your superhero grandfather
and supervillain grandmother
who started the whole shebang.

They tell you to stick to your books,
because you're a good student,
because they don't expect you
to be able to follow them.

There's a girl across the alley
that you've been eyeing since you were six,
daughter of your grandmother's youngest ally,
and you don't care that she's full of mischief,
you're still sweet on her.

Sometimes she turns her siren voice on you,
but you just smile and brush it off
the same as you do your sister's wiles.
Just because your heart is already set
doesn't mean it's free for the taking --
you expect to get together the old-fashioned way,
with flowers instead of superpowers.

When you turn eighteen,
you put on the damn mask
and join the family business anyway.

You don't need powers
to keep up with them.
You never have.

You'll show them all.

* * *
Notes:

Riposte (Jacob "Coby" Wade) -- Coby has fair skin, light brown hair, and blue eyes.  He is average height with considerable muscle.  He grew up in a family of superheroes but never developed powers himself.  His mother is a strongwoman and his father is a telepath; his oldest brother has super-strength, middle brother has super-speed, and his older sister has telepathy.  Coby's fashion sense is such that he can put together the wildest outfit and still look good in it instead of ridiculous.  He wore a glass-green smoking jacket to his senior prom and had girls hanging all over him.  His specialty is fighting supervillains with telepathic, empathic, or other abilities that allow them to manipulate people.  He is still touchy about lacking real powers, though.
Origin: Coby is the youngest of four children in a super family, and the only one without powers.  So he pushed his ordinary abilities until he could compete on a super scale, finding ways to accomplish the same things.
Uniform: Colorful and expressive, the details change but the flair remains similar.  Riposte likes poet shirts, fancy coats, and hats.  The most common color is yellow-green contrasted with blue-violet and red-violet.  He wears a tricolor half-mask.
Qualities: Master (+6) Armor of Iron Will, Expert (+4) More Than One Way to Skin a Cat, Expert (+4) Soup Culture, Expert (+4) Family Connections, Expert (+4) Strong, Expert (+4) Tough, Good (+2) College Student, Good (+2) Deduction, Good (+2) Speed-reading, Good (+2) Unusual Fashion Sense, Good (+2) Wrestler
Poor (-2) I Can TOO Keep Up With You!
Powers: None.

Ligeia (Lily Acquarone) -- She has long straight black hair, black eyes, and olive skin.
Powers: Expert (+4) Siren Song, Average (0) Flight, Average (0) Water Powers

* * *
A color wheel shows the relationship between complementary or contrasting colors.

This is one example of a tricolor half-mask.

Sirens are mythical creatures associated with the sea, music, seduction, and danger.  Ligeia is among the traditional names.


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4 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: technoshaman Date: March 18th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
*grins* Lily reminds me of Vixy's "Siren Song"... imagine a siren trying to pass as normal in today's world. Not a good idea to let loose your voice anywhere near water.... :)

Love that *Coby* is the one playing hard to get.... :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 18th, 2014 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

From this I got a sequel, detailing the relationship between Coby and Lily. "Shit What You Don't Need" is Coby's list of things that get in the way of a healthy, happy life. It's written in free verse.

144 lines, Buy It Now = $72
lilfluff From: lilfluff Date: February 13th, 2015 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is making me think of one of my embryonic settings, a (yet another :)) school for supers. One of the characters developed for it was the only one in her family without powers. And it's not the occasional villain who targets her who annoys her but her family who insist on treating her as a damsel in distress the moment trouble raises its head. Even after she's pushed herself into being what Terramagne would call a supernary her family decides to send her off to this school in the hope that she'll be protected there. Something she puts up with as she looks over the course listings and sees chances to develop her skills even further.

Rae would be offering Coby a thumbs up. Once she got over feeling jealous that he's succeeded in getting into the game.

"Honest to God I swear one moment I'm taking down an Iron Viper enforcer after yet another family reunion is interrupted and the next moment? I've no sooner cuffed him than dear Auntie Scarlet Dancer picks me up like I'm still a little kid and zips me off to the panic room. 'Hello Auntie! I'm the one who nailed the guy who was striking you from behind!' GAH!"

(Discrimination is a part of this setting with currently unknown canon status.)

Also reminds me of the occasional moments in the comics where the capes will point out that various law enforcement and emergency services personnel are far more heroic. For the policeman, the firefighter, the EMT or paramedic? They all have only their skills and mundane equipment standing between them and harm. Yet every day they go out and do their jobs.

Edited at 2015-02-13 08:57 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 14th, 2015 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> One of the characters developed for it was the only one in her family without powers. And it's not the occasional villain who targets her who annoys her but her family who insist on treating her as a damsel in distress the moment trouble raises its head. <<

Yep, that can happen.

>> Rae would be offering Coby a thumbs up. Once she got over feeling jealous that he's succeeded in getting into the game. <<

:D

>> "Honest to God I swear one moment I'm taking down an Iron Viper enforcer after yet another family reunion is interrupted and the next moment? I've no sooner cuffed him than dear Auntie Scarlet Dancer picks me up like I'm still a little kid and zips me off to the panic room. 'Hello Auntie! I'm the one who nailed the guy who was striking you from behind!' GAH!" <<

Yyyyyeah, not fun.

There are relatives I avoid for similar reasons. It was annoying enough when they ignored my input, needs, and abilities as a child. I don't have to put up with that as an adult.

>> (Discrimination is a part of this setting with currently unknown canon status.) <<

Cool. Super-senses are a part of Terramagne. Nathaniel has them, but hasn't learned to control his yet. My main SF universe has a particular yen for recruiting people with exceptional senses as planetary scouts, the treasured Indrinkers having all five. Terramagne is relatively new, but the main SF universe goes back to junior high or early high school, including that bit and the vocabulary that goes with it.

>> Also reminds me of the occasional moments in the comics where the capes will point out that various law enforcement and emergency services personnel are far more heroic. For the policeman, the firefighter, the EMT or paramedic? They all have only their skills and mundane equipment standing between them and harm. Yet every day they go out and do their jobs. <<

Heroism is all about punching up, yes. It's heroic to rush into a situation that may exceed your skills, because there's a job that needs doing. The civic authorities are particularly in over their heads with super incidents. Terramagne has the advantage of respecting medical neutrality, though, which means that paramedics are usually safe. There's kind of an overlap between superheroes and blue-plate specials in the area of first responders like that. Some countries are actively recruiting them, like Italy's police force with lots of speedsters and strongmen.
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