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The house was quiet when Glacia got there. Not that it should have been otherwise, because there was only one occupant other than herself, and her sister Infernia’s reputation for being a chatterbox tended to only apply when there was someone to talk to. More aptly, perhaps, it could be put that the house was still. And that, certainly, wasn’t normal.

Glacia didn’t mind the stillness. Calm moments had always relaxed her, as far back as she could remember. The rampant lively chaos that had been her sister growing up was one of their main reasons for never really getting along. Where Glacia preferred to sit at home reading a nice book in an easy chair, Infernia wanted to be out and about playing with all the neighborhood kids, and kicking their asses at just about any sport you could name. Inevitably, that started the early conflicts. Infernia, or more accurately Antonia back then, inevitably tried to drag her twin sister Anastacia into whatever game that the kids were playing, because hiding alone in the house obviously meant she was lonely. Staci inevitably did not want to go out and play, leading to an argument between her and Toni, and sour feelings all around, because Toni felt like she was letting her sister down and Staci just wanted to be left alone.

The change to supervillainy was similar. Toni becoming “Infernia” hadn’t surprised anyone when her powers manifested, but Staci’s powers were much more subtle and she hadn’t told anyone. They’d drifted apart, though Toni kept in touch fairly regularly, always trying to salvage some of their old childhood camaraderie. Staci, for her part, didn’t really bother. She’d always been cooler and more detached than her sister, so the fading of any feelings of affection between them wasn’t particularly mourned. These things happened.

But Staci’s first explosion of power was a complete opposite of control. Faced with a gun pointed at her head and nowhere to go, Staci let loose with her own powers, freezing the man solid before he fell and shattered...and also catching other patrons of the restaurant in the backblast. More than a few were significantly harmed. While her public defender did the best he could, the recent rash of such “untrained heroics”, like the infamous Frostfire case, led to some judges feeling a precedent needed to be made, and Staci received ten years for involuntary manslaughter. Toni fought the sentence herself, tried to appeal, but just couldn’t find the right levers to move to get Staci a less stringent sentence without resorting to illegal means. She’d talked to Staci every chance she’d got, but inevitably, it’d become clear that Glacia was bound for a relatively comfortable but lengthy jail term. And for the first time in many years, Staci felt angry.

Despite all the well-meaning rhetoric and kind words, Toni had abandoned her. Sure, she’d tried to appeal the case, but she’d always had a line she wouldn’t cross. Not for anyone, even her own sister. As much as Toni said that she’d do anything for Staci, when it came down to it, she wouldn’t. She could have broken her out easily enough. Talked to the right people outside of legal channels to get her sentence commuted. Staci wasn’t so naive as to think her sister didn’t know people of that sort. But she hadn’t, and that made Staci angry, through the layers of ice-cold control and reserve she’d always had. Beneath them all, she had loved her sister and thought that they were close....but now it was apparent that wasn’t true.

So be it.

“Glacia”’s explosive breakout made headlines, the savagely efficient use of her powers marking the signature of her coldly analytical mind. Her sister tried to stop her, to bring her to her senses, but Glacia was far past that point. The warmth she’d felt for her sister was buried to prevent it from affecting her. All it would do is result in her sister betraying her again. The rivalry lasted for years, as Infernia and Glacia became well-known as each other’s arch-nemeses. Over time, the facts had gotten lost to the common Paragon citizen regarding how they’d become enemies, but Glacia never forgot. Deep within her, the cold, hard grudge that she’d nurtured for years just grew harder. But despite it all, Infernia never gave up on her. She refused to hate her lost sister. Perhaps that was what kept Glacia from ever being able to cross the line and try to kill her.

The Rikti War a few years later turned the world upside down, and no one proved it more than the Vanguard squad assigned to the twin sisters. They barely talked, but everyone knew about their grudge. In a way, it was inspirational and frightening at the same time. The pair managed to swallow their fight for now to fight the Rikti, but more than a few soldiers wondered if even the aliens could keep these two from each other’s throats. Glacia, for her part, simply took in the situation logically. The Rikti would kill them all, and as much as she wanted to pay Infernia back for what she’d done, now wasn’t the time. It could wait until after the war.

But the war was hardly willing to make it a foregone conclusion that they would both survive it. Glacia barely remembered the feeling of the Rikti plasma lance that took her arm. All she knew was white-hot pain and waking up in a hospital to cold metal at her shoulder, and the doctor describing a situation Glacia couldn’t accept as possible. That her sister, despite a bleeding eye due to shrapnel from a nearby drone exploding in her face, had made it to her, cauterizing the wound with her powers and dragging the two of them over two miles of no man’s land to the Vanguard lines for medical attention. It seemed a fairy tale until she saw Infernia again, this time sporting a bright red patch over her right eye, her left arm hanging in a sling. Despite the impossibility, it seemed that what the doctor said was true, and for the first time in years, Glacia felt the ice cold lump in her chest start to thaw.

When Infernia volunteered for the Omega Team, no one was surprised. But that she did so side by side with her sister Glacia, that shocked almost everyone. Perhaps Hero-1 was the only one not to be surprised, because he simply assigned them their positions in the raid and steadfastly refused to question Glacia’s reasons. In a way, that made it easier for her. Glacia couldn’t entirely explain to herself why she was unwilling to let her sister go alone into the seeming suicide mission that the Omega Team was being assigned to, but some part of her just knew that if she stayed and Infernia never came back, it would no longer be a world that had a place for her. And so they charged into the portal together, fighting the swarms of Rikti alongside their fellow Omegas, and finally, inexplicably, survived.

Trapped on the Rikti Homeworld, the twins had to band together for survival, because the final explosion of the portal’s collapse scattered what remnants of the team were still alive. Yet even the strange laws of portal physics saw fit not to separate them, and in those years, the two managed to reconcile some of their differences. Some things had been said and felt that wouldn’t be able to change, but perhaps if they got back home to Earth one day, they could move past them.

Almost as if to laugh at such plans, the universe gave them their wish.

Bringing down Dra’gon, the twisted former Vanguard scientist turned Rikti converted madman, was a pleasure, and there was a flood of applause when they walked back into Vanguard HQ and reported to Lady Grey. But it was to a different world that they returned, in terms of history if not dimensions. So many things had happened since the Rikti War, and their arrival was in the middle of a Second Rikti War that was almost as fierce as the first. And on top of it all, Glacia had no trouble identifying the secret weapon that Hro’Dtohz brought out at the end of his scheme to break the seal the Omega Team had placed on their dimension. Through the mutations and tortured speech patterns, their Honoree was still Hero-1, which twisted Glacia’s stomach even as she watched the video feed.

But despite the war, the worst was when they returned. Infernia’s old apartment had been demolished by a massive earthquake known as the Faultline Event, and their old family home was now sealed behind the massive blast doors that marked the borders of the cursed Dark Astoria. The Vanguard officer that debriefed them was circumspect about what had happened there, but a little research brought the truth to light, and Glacia felt a pang for the fact that her parents would never know she and Infernia had finally managed to move past their old feud. And Infernia...

Infernia was the reason that the stillness now felt unnatural. Even when silent, her sister had always had an air of energy that was easy enough to feel as she bustled her way through life. She never sat still, always moving or walking about while she did something, which used to drive Glacia near-insane when all she wanted was a moment of quiet. But now, all Glacia saw was her sister, curled up in a ratty old T-shirt and shorts that were in their stored personal effects at Vanguard HQ -- that were now their sole remaining possessions -- staring into the fireplace of the apartment without moving.

“Infernia?” she asked softly, walking up behind her sister, reaching out with her flesh and blood left hand, though she hesitated before actually touching the redheaded woman. “Are you all right?”

There was no movement or sound from her sister, and something in Glacia’s mind noted that that was a profoundly wrong state for the universe in general, despite her wishing for it many a time as they’d grown up. And at this moment, Glacia wished for nothing more than to return to those old annoyances, in a world where nothing else was left of those days.

“There’s nothing left...” Infernia said softly.

“...Infernia?” Glacia inquired at the sound of her voice...before slipping the rest of the way into old, long-forgotten patterns as she sat down beside her sister in her own sweater and sweats, putting her hand on her shoulder. “...Toni?”

“They’re all gone, Staci,” Infernia...no, Toni...said, her voice rough. “Everyone on Omega Team, Mom, Dad, Grandma, my neighbors...everyone. There’s no one left. We went away and they left without us.”

Staci felt herself melt a little more at the words, trying to think of a response to what her sister had said. Cold logic helped her little here. Toni was right. Their parents, their family, their friends were all gone. In the end, there was no way they could get them back. But even as logic failed, Staci remembered the feelings from a lifetime ago, when she’d felt abandoned and lost. What she’d wanted, truly wanted to hear.

“Maybe...but not everybody’s gone, Toni...”

Toni turned, looking at her with a sense of desperation that was almost palpable, before Staci wrapped her arms around her, pulling her close. “We’re still here. You have me, and I have you, sister. We’re not alone.”

It was illogical, emotional, and utterly pointless in the face of the losses both had sustained before, during, and after the war... but as Staci felt her sister squeeze tight against her, the first tears she’d held back finally beginning to fall, the cold woman felt that, perhaps, it could be enough, on its own, to just be Toni and Staci again.
"Oh, silver blade, forged in the depths of the beyond. Heed my summons and purge those who stand in my way. Lay

dark seraph

Very well done OM, you have a skill for taking NPC's we don't really pay atention to/care about and make them in to wonderful charecters.

so which NPC do you plan to do next?

Dunno. I just write as the inspiration takes me. These two have been sitting around for a while and it just finally "clicked" for writing.
"Oh, silver blade, forged in the depths of the beyond. Heed my summons and purge those who stand in my way. Lay