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Seven
#1
The first thing he noticed was a pounding in his head. It throbbed like the blood was bursting from within, the worst headache of his life. When he tried to move, it was to roll over and choke on the ash washing the air black.
“Elise?” he called out, but no answer was returned. He tried again. “Johan? Karl?” The crackling pops of tinder was the only answer as he crawled from the building.

+++

Squat in a puddle of snowmelt, he stared blankly ahead. Blue and red lights flickered his brow with sickening flashes. The banshee-wail of sirens still hung on the air. He was wrapped in a fire blanket thrust upon him by first responders but was otherwise unhurt. The lodge that he and his friends shared was rendered a charred skeleton by now. The stream of water used to douse the flames made a river pouring down the street. Only the mountain remained untouched.

“I don’t know how it started,” he told the investigator interviewing him. “One moment I was in the kitchen with Elise and Karl. There was a noise. I think one of the appliances? The next thing I knew I woke up in smoke. I looked for them but couldn’t find anyone.” He wasn’t lying, not exactly, but he was self-preserving enough to avoid speaking to unfounded suspicions.

+++

More investigators came the following days. Apparently, the spark of the fire did not align with the story relayed by the sole survivor. Six new graves were dug in his homeland of former Sweden, far from the site of the alpine tragedy that ruined a ski town’s reputation. He attended each and every celebration of life, shared hugs and grieved with fresh tears for each. These were his friends that were buried, and if his suspicions were correct, he was to blame for the accident.  At the conclusion of Johan’s life celebration, he encountered yet another fire investigator of the CCD. Now that the formalities of respecting life were behind him, the heat was intensified. He did not enjoy the interrogations, but he honored the process. Government and families deserved answers, and it panged him to not be able to soothe those gaping holes with rational explanation.

Though still dressed from the funeral, his tie was loosened at the neck. It was while speaking with the investigator in the precinct station when he first felt unwell.
“I think I need some water,” he said at first. They supplied it to him. When the flush took his cheeks, he laid his head on the table. He was sent home to rest, but strongly urged not to leave the city. Some thought his nature to be too delicate to endure so much, but this had nothing to do with an overwrought mind succumbing to shock. He was sick in a way that worried him greatly.

+++

Afterward, his family’s lawyers denied the investigators further access to his person. The truth tempted him to release the guilt that weighed his mind, and it was his mother who finally heard the confession.

“We were laughing, waging bets, and carrying on. They doubted, so, I showed them. I sparked the fire with the snap of my fingers, but without a match and without kindling. It got out of control,” he said. Shame hung his head, but his mother nodded like she understood him better than he did. The next day, the investigations fell dormant. The fire was ruled electrical in nature. Insurance was issued to the families involved. He was absolved of any suspicion. A family friend was introduced a short time later, but one that he had never met before. The gentleman was rather cold in nature, but despite the granite exterior, he issued the kind of teaching that saved lives. It saved his.

The power within was controlled after that. He could summon it at will most of the time and create interesting outcomes, but the experimentation was conducted in safer circumstances. He left Sweden to pursue purpose to this existence under the guise of family interests. They were connected to a tapestry of mysterious figures throughout all of Europe. When one inquired of the right knots within the pattern, more channels opened, but with them poured more questions. He read the runes as they were taught to him, though he did not prefer to call them that. He was no librarian, though sometimes his queries forced him into such fortresses of knowledge. He preferred active investigation and at times, risky experimentation. He never angled to use his worldly status in the CCD to progress in his ambitions, calling instead into the void of that spindly network laced throughout the world. He found he had a way of findings things unseen to the naked eye. After he halted the sale of royal jewels that were supposedly claimed to once belong to the fallen dynasties of eastern Europe, he earned some recognition for himself in the field. He used his powers of course, delving beneath surface grime to delineate the old from new at a spectral level undetected by scans and expert eyes. The network placed him in institutions aligned with acquisition of antiquities, for either the purchase or selling of various heirlooms to identify the forgeries or counterfeit masterpieces. He found the work amusing and did so more for curiosity and connection than payment. He owed a debt to the network that reached out to save him. He gave back without hesitation, and thoroughly enjoyed himself doing so.

By twenty-eight years old, nine-years following the tragedy that sparked this strange life, he found himself called to a new sort of endeavor. This institution was different from the others. Paragon was steeped in the modern cut of a foreboding future, but he was cautiously optimistic. It was his first time in Moscow, although he’d frequented the great cities of many regions these past few years. Rumor said that many interesting persons possessing a great number of unusual artifacts infiltrated the populace. He would fit in well.

He approached a desk where a young lady looked up with a glint in her eye upon seeing him. She studied the fine suit he wore, the shine of his tie, an expensive timepiece on his wrist, and the family ring on his hand.
“Yes, sir?”
“I have an appointment with Mister Ephriam Haart,” he said, hands clasped patiently before him.
The young woman nodded, checking her systems. “And your name?”

“Seven,” he said.

She looked up, puzzled, but Seven was patient. “Like the number?” she asked.

He nodded. “That’s right. Like the number,” he said with a reassuring smile.



Past life: Freyr, of the Vanir tribe, was a Norse god of peace and prosperity. Among being considered remarkably handsome, he was associated with male virility, sunshine, and fair weather. Often depicted with an enormous phallus, Freyr was worshiped across Scandinavia (particularly in Sweden), where he was celebrated at weddings and harvest feasts. Famous for his accoutrements, which included a magical ship, a golden boar, and sword that fought on its own, Freyr was fated to die in mortal combat during Ragnarök by the blow of the fire demon, Surtur. Brought to the Aesir as a hostage at the conclusion of Aesir-Vanir War, he earned a prominent position in the Norse pantheon thanks to his charm and goodwill, being gifted the kingdom of Alfheim (possibly Sweden). To this day, it is said the royal house of Swedish rule were descendants of Freyr.

Real name: He is the grandchild of the last king of Sweden. He would never acquire the title of crown prince, being the middle child of a middle child of the king. He was born in 2018 and was only a couple years old when the world changed around him. He was too young to notice much, and definitely does not remember that time in his life. His mother and father, older sister and baby brother were his world. If he lived in luxury or a shack on the sea, he didn’t mind. Rare persons know his birth name, as he has gone by the identity of Seven most of his adult-life. He was born, Prince Einar Fredrik Gustav. Although the certificate of birth lacks a surname, the Custody required one by law. Therefore, he was given the surname of Withal after his mother’s side. 

Personality and appearance: Seven is generally good-natured and well-balanced. He chooses to infuse himself with a positive attitude that infects others naturally, putting them at ease. He's outgoing and fun, but pours his heart into tasks he chooses for himself with a depth of responsibility that belies his age. He can be immature at times, or speak untruths when there is good cause or to save another from harm. His passions swing greatly from one person to the next, and is easy to fall in and out of love, but even severed relationships end amiably. His list of friends is long. 

He is generally lean, perhaps engaging in more aerobic exercise than strength-building. He wears his blonde hair long on top, typically knotted into a bun or tail at the back of his head. Usually trims wisps of facial hair into various short styles that change fairly frequently. He has greenish eyes. He's currently 28 years old and about 6'1" tall. Despite the height, he does not seem to impose upon others. He dresses smartly, in styles appropriate for the occasion. He often wears a ring on his right hand.
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