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Safe Haven Games Chapter 1 Scene 1
13-year-old Clayton Joseph Riley is new in town.
He was born in a small town in Texas. His mother was a schoolteacher, his father a social worker. He was always a good kid—helpful, nice to others, the kind that kids and adults alike could rely on. A little shy, but a great friend once you got to know him. Even his big brother Jonathan had to admit the pipsqueak wasn’t bad as far as annoying little brothers went.
He had a real love of reading, too, and as he grew older he was constantly at old Elias Donbrook’s bookstore. He and the old man became fast friends, and Clay could often be found there after school, chatting merrily away with Elias about new book releases or newly discovered older works. That was where he discovered role-playing games, too—it was small, but Elias had a section of the store reserved for gaming and the boy and some of his friends played there from time to time.
It was also where he started to remember weird things. Special words that did stuff—little stuff, not much, but things that shouldn’t have been possible anyway. Weird little patterns you could draw, and things would happen. He didn’t understand why, but he just knew things.
And it was where he discovered, one day, that one eye had turned green and part of his hair had gone white.
Elias was worried, and spoke to Clayton’s folks. Next thing Clayton knew, they were moving and Elias came to say goodbye.
He didn’t tell Clay much—just that he knew about what Clay could do, but Clay should be careful not to use it too much. That Clay might not stay Clay if he did it too much. That was why they had to move, too…Elias thought whatever was going on was related to the town, so maybe being further away would make it reverse itself.
It didn’t, but it hasn’t made progress, either.
So now Clayton is in a new home, with a new school. Transferring in the middle of the year sucks, and he hasn’t really managed to make any friends yet. But there’s this neat gaming store he found, Safe Haven…sure, most of the kids that go there are a few years older than him, but if they share a hobby, maybe they can get along anyway.
Clay, at heart, is just a nice kid. He's loyal, friendly, honest, and kind. He's sympathetic and hopeful, and does his best to help others. He's also quite idealistic, believing that the world can be a good place if everyone will just help each other. He can be naive and too trusting, though he can be swayed by evidence (as with Father Abaddon).
He has a strong faith, coming from a Protestant Christian tradition, and has demonstrated multiple times that it is the sort of true faith that can ward against evil. He is true to what he believes, but also tends to be accepting of others. His faith is loving and kind, supportive, not something to tear others down.
When he puts himself into danger, it's not for thrills or curiosity, but to support his friends and protect the people he loves. Clay feels a deep responsibility to do what he can to make the world a better place, and can push himself too hard or expose himself to too much danger for that purpose.
He fears the powers that he's discovered he has, knowing that if he overuses them, or gives in to the temptations they present, he could end up disappearing and being replaced by a much different soul. Fortunately, thus far his faith has held the powers at bay...still, his fear of them is rising, and he wants help.
Safe Haven Games
New in town, Clayton sought out Safe Haven Games in hopes of finding some new friends through a shared hobby. He quickly bonded with some of the store regulars, despite being younger than most by a few years.
When a younger kid told a story of being chased by a frightening dog, Clay joined the others in investigating. When they found the dog, it changed into a monstrous thing and gave chase, and Clay's natural clumsiness made the escape narrow. Fortunately, they made it to the church, where they met Father Abaddon and Sister Abigail. During the further events of the investigation, Clay's green eye began to ache--it seemed to resonate when the teens encountered evil supernatural power.
Clay threw himself into investigating the strange things in the town, and led the group to their next case after one of his schoolteachers went missing.
In the group's further investigations, Clay would demonstrate two sides. One was an unknown power contained within, usually echoed through his green eye, which gave him the ability to sense supernatural power and read auras to a degree--though he also believed whatever granted the power was trying to take him over. The other was a true and honest faith in God, strong enough to allow him to hold back some of the supernatural creatures they encountered--such as when he used the sign of the cross and his faith to hold back a vampire that was attacking Aiden.
The two sides were clearly in conflict--whenever Clay depended on the unknown power within, his hair would further whiten and his blue eye would start to turn green. Whenever he gave himself over to his faith, the change would reverse itself.
As events went on, Clay came to believe that Father Abaddon was not what he said he was. Clay struggled with who to trust, and uncertainly allowed himself to be guided by his eye for a time, even summoning up some magical powers at one point and forcing an attacker to drop a gun by superheating it in moments--an act that astonished even him. He didn't get to think too much about it in the midst of the brawl, especially after seeing someone die at the claws of Greebo--but after he'd recovered from the events, he realized he had to hold back from using that power or he'd risk very quickly losing himself.
At last, Ms. Pragetter revealed a truth about angels and a seal, and Father Abaddon's true identity as a fallen angel. Clay joined the others in racing to stop Abaddon's ritual, but Abaddon grabbed him and started to forcibly enact his transformation. Fortunately, Clay was saved by Lea before his consciousness could entirely fade, and, recovered, he joined with Sister Abigail to use the power of their faith to drain Abaddon's demonic strength. As the others all joined in in turn, the fallen angel fled.
Following those events, Clay decided to work at the church and help Sister Abigail undo the damage that the false priest had done--in part to help the town, and in part because it should help hold back the darkness inside him.
Clay will also appear as an NPC in Monroe Academy, where he's started attending in hopes of getting help removing the dark powers he holds within.
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