So in 2005, I left my ex, packed up my stuff, and moved back to my hometown. I was going to have a year to wait until I became an in-state resident and could afford to return to college, and I found myself increasingly thinking about some of the ideas that I’d toyed with in “Fire Girl.” A pyrokinetic version of Jack, as a Fire Elemental in the CoR-verse? Why would someone with that kind of power be on the run? It was starting to distill into a story, but then I stumbled across two roleplaying communities on LiveJournal*: Sages of Chaos and Dear Multiverse. In those communities, characters from all kinds of fandoms crossed paths and interacted, along with original characters and all kinds of strange beings. I threw my pyrokinetic Jack into that mix… and things took off in a big way. So below are some of the characters that I ended up either developing or doing artwork for.
Jack B. Badd
My pyrokinetic Jack ended up being a complicated girl whose life had been upended by a lie. Convinced (by a group that was trying to manipulate her for their own ends) that the other “Pyreons” on Quintessa had wicked plans for her, she had fled the planet and gone into hiding. She carried a lot of guilt over not using her powers to help her fellow Hunter-Gratzner castaways, and in general struggled between her desire to keep concealing her powers and her desire to learn how to use them effectively so she wouldn’t have to hide anymore. Reunited with a Riddick who had been mourning her apparent death, she grappled with how to open up to him and explain her issues. And then another Riddick appeared in the Multiverse Nexus… and another Jack… and things got even more complicated than ever. These were some really wild times. Friends of mine, along with members of RGFC and AoVD, joined in the festivities, bringing in a variety of PB and CoR characters and alternate versions of the characters, something that led to a cranky post on “Bad RPers Suck” about how the Nexus didn’t need anymore versions of “your Marlboro Man in Space.” But we were (mostly!) having a blast.
I decided that I would have my pyrokinetic version of Jack strictly use pictures of Rhiana Griffith that had been taken in the 2005 era where she sported short, straight, dark hair (aside from one early image where I experimented with the possibility that a pyrokinetic might have, or occasionally display, flame-red hair). I augmented the small number of images I actually had with some photomanips and a number of images I found on stock photo sites of women with similar hair doing interesting things with their faces mostly hidden (none of those are included, since they’re not really part of fandom and all I did was crop existing images). And her adventures may actually be resurrected soon, since they have inspired a completely original story that I am developing even now.
I was finally getting over my anger about the recasting, and having enough fun playing in LJRP and rebuilding my life that I no longer felt like my “pretendy funtime” escape from reality had been poisoned. A friend from AoVD first added a Kyra to our story and then, after we’d given the character a substantial role to play in the plot we were developing, vanished and became unreachable… so we needed a replacement Kyra. That was how “Dame Zhylaw” came into existence. This version of Kyra had a potent secret: she was the one who had inherited Lord Marshal Zhylaw’s “holy half-dead” powers, making her the new Lord Marshal of the Necromonger fleet. Something she had next to no interest in, because all she wanted to do was get back to her best friend Jack.
I became so taken with this version of Kyra, and her story, that (almost two years later!) I took the concepts I’d played with here and turned them into the first chapter of “Falling Angels.” How’s that for a fun twist?
When my friend brought her Riddick into LJRP, she wanted a very special icon of a sad, world-weary Riddick who looked hard-hit by Kyra’s death… so I made her one using a picture of Vin Diesel’s portrayal of Sean Vetter, in A Man Apart, as a base. I wish I could find the larger Photoshop files I used to create it… because I would love to use the main icon I made her for an eBook cover now. Well, maybe it can be reconstructed…
A weird thing happened as the story developed. My pyrokinetic Jack turned out to have eyes for another pyrokinetic hanging around the Nexus (Johnny Storm, fergodsake, in a stunningly out-of-character portrayal by a problematic player on the site… but I didn’t know at the time how bad the portrayal was because I hadn’t actually seen The Fantastic Four yet) and wasn’t interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with the Riddick who was very definitely pining after her.
Enter Audrey, an alternate version of Jack who was a normal human being and a whole lot more grounded than my somewhat flighty (literally, thanks to Johnny Storm) pyrokinetic. She both was and wasn’t Jack — she was, essentially, the undisguised girl who appeared in Frank Lauria’s Pitch Black novelization, all grown up — but had all of the qualities Riddick truly needed most of all. Their love story was honestly very sweet. I decided that it would be good to help differentiate her from Jack if I used pictures of Rhiana as a blonde, most of them from her run on the Aussie soap Home and Away, and left the dark hair for Jack. The icons are currently not uploaded, as they were just bases and really, who uses 100×100 images anymore?