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Name: Damarco Vineyard
Age at death: 18 | Actual age: 20
Face Claim: Jordan Calloway
Damarco Vineyard was born on a bright, sunny morning to a set of loving parents who had been impatiently waiting for his entrance into the world from the very moment his mother Cathleen announced her pregnancy.
Cathleen and Darius Vineyard both worked high paying jobs in the fast paced city of The Bronx, New York, and were ready to give their son the world. Damarco’s future was set in stone however, from the moment he exited the womb. His father was a strict man, and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. Damarco’s father was a well known surgeon in New York, while his mother was an Anesthesiologist. It was a romance for the books, people would say. Marco’s parents met right in the hospital they worked in, side by side, and boy did they love telling their story.
When Damarco got old enough, he was no exception to hearing about how the two love birds met. It was on a stormy night, when Cathleen and Darius faced their biggest surgery since working in the hospital. A family of three were rushed in after a terrible car crash, in which none of the three had made it. Cathleen watched Darius work more than 24 hours that night, trying his best to save the families lives without even taking a break. When the last of the three passed away, Darius broke down right in the OR, covered in blood, and feeling helpless. He had cried to Cathleen, and Cathleen took him out to the bar on the other side of the street. The bar had been located across from the hospital, specifically for hospital staff. They figured they’d pull in enough business with there being so many accidents in New York, knowing the doctors, nurses, etc would need somewhere close to wind down after a long, bad day of work. And that’s exactly what Cathleen and Darius had done. Even though the pair had worked alongside one another for the last several years, they had never taken time to get to know one another until that night, a night where they had gotten completely trashed and could barely even walk by the time they were ready to leave. It was a night worth remembering though, and waking up in each other's arms had been even better than dancing the night away. From that morning on, the two were inseparable, even during surgeries. Never one without the other. And, after they had fallen in love, they went and got matching tattoos, got married, and now, years later, they welcomed Damarco.
Hearing his parents story at age 6, Damarco was in awe of them. He felt lucky to have such amazing parents who loved each other, and him unconditionally. But, as time went on, and the years passed by them, the family of three began growing detached. Damarco had started school and at first, he made amazing grades, and did everything by the books. His parents were more than proud of him, but no matter how well he did, his father never stopped pushing him. Damarco got tired of hearing all the talk about his father seeing his son as a future surgeon. Damarco was never interested in his parents jobs, and he hadn’t said anything to this point, out of fear that he’d break their hearts, or at the very least, hurt their feelings. But, holding all that in and keeping it all to himself, did more damage than it did good.
Damarco became isolated, and because of the book worm that he was, he had very few friends to talk to about everything. One thing led to another, and Damarco found himself slipping up in school, his grades dropping lower and lower. With everything spiraling downward in Marco’s life instead of him excelling, Damarco also made a few new friends and began rebelling against anything his parents wished for. Damarco became severely depressed, and no matter how many counseling sessions his parents forced him to sit through, it didn’t solve anything. Through all the ups and downs, Damaco did manage to make one solid friend who he found himself unable to stop thinking about on the days they couldn’t hang out. Ashleigh was her name, and like himself, she was a little troubled. The two bonded at a bonfire party one night, and Marco just knew he had to keep her in his life. Ashleigh was an army brat, as she would say. Ashleigh’s father was in the military, and during his few visits home, Ashleigh’s father told Marco what great potential he had. At first, Damarco just looked at the man like he was insane, but often pondered the what if’s when he was alone.
Marco grained an interest in fire, and for a while, it had worried his parents to no end, and they figured it would without a doubt, lead to tragedy after everything Damarco had rebelled against. Later however, his parents and teachers learned that Damarco was interested in becoming an EOD after young Damarco explained how he had been watching military videos, and talking to a current Sargent who saw potential in him. This ultimately meant that he’d be enlisting in the military when he was eighteen, leaving his parents, and everyone else behind to follow his own dreams, rather than his fathers dreams. It was no surprise to Ashleigh, and she resented her father, for ultimately taking Damarco away from her. What her, nor Marco realized, it was her fathers plans all along. Asheligh’s father hated the fact that his daughter was dating a Vineyard. For reasons unknown, their families had been clashing with one another for years before Ashleigh and Marco had even been born.
It was weeks before Damarco’s birthday and graduation, and his parents planned a surprise party for their son. They knew he had made his mind up about enlisting and all they wanted was to show him that they truly did love him no matter how many times he had screamed out the words ‘You don’t love me’ to them. Marco’s father still continued pushing at him in those last weeks that they had together. And, just for a split second, Damarco had doubts about enlisting, which made Ashleigh utterly happy. With that, Asheligh sided with Marco’s father, against her own father, telling Damarco that he wasn’t built for the military and that he’d never make it. This had only motivated Damarco though. He wanted to show everyone who doubted him, that he would indeed make it. He would be the person he desired to be, and not the person everyone wanted or expected him to be. Not even Ashleigh’s father. Damarco explained to Ashleigh that as much as he loved her, he had to do this for himself, that it wasn’t because her father had pointed him in the direction.
The last few days before his 18th birthday seemed to drag on. There were plenty of fights between Marco and his father, and Marco and Ashleigh. Cathleen, Damarco’s mother, stayed indifferent, and she supported her son all the way. A family broken, finally sat down at their table for breakfast the morning of Damarco’s eighteenth birthday. No one had much to say, and Marco’s mother tried her best to break the silence with her humble words. Damarco and his father didn’t do much more than exchange bitter glances. That breakfast was probably the longest that the Vineyards had ever had together. After asking for permission to be dismissed, Marco went to his room, and packed for later that day, where his father joined, and much to his shock, helped him pack his bags.
Darius explained to his son, that it was never ill will. He just didn’t want to say goodbye to his first and only son, and fear never seeing him again. That was unfortunately the way it went with enlisting and being tossed on the battlefield. Damarco joined his father later that evening for a day out, while his mother Cathleen and girlfriend Ashleigh, prepared the house for his surprise party. The two females invited over Damarco’s closest friends, which were only a few, and decorated the house with string lights, sat gifts out on the table, and had a huge buffet of food, even a drink bar for the adults. Damarco and his father went to the mall, maxing out Marco’s father's credit card to buy new things to take with him when he left for his EOD training.
No one really knew where Damarco’s interest started, or why, sometimes not even Damarco knew that. What the young 18-year old did know was that it felt right, and he was advanced in learning everything about it. When Damarco and his father arrived back home, it was to a crowd of people jumping out of their hiding spots, shouting Happy Birthday to Damarco. The young 18-year old smiled, and shed tears of happiness. However, an older couple approached him. And while Marco knew he had never met them before, he instantly felt a connection with them, and learned that it was his grandparents. It was a nice surprise, and probably the best gift he was given that day. Damarco spent his eighteenth birthday surrounded by family, and the people he loved most, including his girlfriend Ashleigh. And, now that Marco was 18, a man of his own, his parents decided they would allow him to end his night with Ashleigh however he pleased. The decision to sleep with her wasn’t an immediate one. In fact, Ashleigh had way more experience as Marco had never been with anyone before Ash. The two of them spent the rest of that night showing each other how much they’d miss one another, and morning came around in the blink of an eye. Ashleigh’s father was the one who’d shown up to take Damarco to the airport. But, things didn’t go too well when he realized his daughter had slept with Marco.
After a heated fight between Ashleigh and Marco’s fathers, Damarco drove off in his own car with Ashleigh, after bidding his parents a tearful goodbye, and spent his last remaining seconds with his girlfriend at the airport. It was a tearful goodbye on both Ashleigh and Damarco. Damarco made Ashleigh promise not to forget him, and promised he would call home whenever he could, as he promised his parents the same. The two held each other for as long as they could, and when Damarco’s flight began boarding, he let go of her. It felt right to be leaving, but deep down, it felt as if someone had taken a hammer to his heart. He was as broken as he was excited. The excitement grew as Damarco landed in Afghanistan. His training as an EOD started immediately, and time began to cease for young Damarco.
In the middle of a battle zone, you never truly knew when your last day would be, and this was how Damarco lived for the next few years of his life, never taking a single second for granted. Damarco was granted one visit home, and sadly for his family, it would be the last time they all saw him. Damarco returned to his station in Afghanistan and within the blink of an eye, his station had been attacked, something no one could have been prepared for. It all happened so fast. Damarco hadn’t been given time to register what was going on as his world began fading to black.
Damarco gasped as new air filled his lungs, having no clue where he was, or how he’d gotten here. He did know that he was scared, and felt lost, empty even, and very alone. Damarco couldn’t remember what had happened exactly, only that the explosion he remembered seemed to ring in his ears still. In his frantic thinking, a warm breath of another presence on his neck made him slowly turn around. Creatures darker than the darkest of nights surrounded Damarco, their saliva glistening as it dripped from their very nonhuman mouths, and Damarco tensed up, waiting for it to eat him, or at least that’s what he assumed it would do. Damarco had just closed his eyes, and prepared for the worse when a bright light approached him and the creatures surrounding him. The bright light seemingly scared the creatures away that terrified him, almost as if the light hurt them. Later that day, Damarco was introduced to the very man who had saved his life. Lucien.
Lucien explained that he had been surrounded by voidlings, and from that moment forward, Damarco wanted to learn everything that he could about the hideous monsters. Damarco couldn’t even describe how he felt, but he did know that those voidlings had scared him beyond expression, and he couldn’t handle being that afraid. It had without a doubt shaken him to his very core. Later, Damarco began his training in learning his new abilities as an Aurazin. Damarco was very hyper and friendly, and often annoyed those that he approached, or, so he assumed. He was always in the mood to ask questions and learn new things. Having all his memories perfectly intact, he knew he would miss those that he’d left behind, but he felt that he was growing closer to some of the other Aurazins he had trained with. Damarco had taken up training in the void as a Shepherd. While he knew he had a deep-rooted fear of that darkness, and the creatures that lurked in it, he also kind of felt like he wanted to conquer that fear, and save people, just as he had been saved himself.
It had been a normal day in the void, when Damarco found a woman sobbing, screaming for her life as voidlings lunged for her. Damarco used every thing he had learned to save her, but during his mission in saving the woman, Marco had been tossed to the ground as the ground underneath him rumbled him off his feet. Unsure of what was happening, Damarco tried to regain his stance, only to be crippled by the ringing in his head. While Marco held his ears and rocked back and forth, he found himself being sucked through a portal of light from the blackness of the void. Marco tried with all his might to hang on, but no matter what he did, he was cast out of the void. Upon waking, Damarco knew he was some place entirely different. And as if he had died all over again like the first time, he was afraid. Fear didn’t last very long however, when he gained his composure and stood, he remembered everything he had learned in the void as a Shepherd, and natural instinct kicked in, and led him to the Ailwards, whom he also knew had been favored by the Gods much like the Aurazins had been themselves.
Damarco had a profound sense of dread as he walked the earth, realizing that he could be stuck here for quite some time, and had no idea what he would do should he have to adapt to life here on earth. Like many of the humans on earth, he figured out he would have to act accordingly anywhere that he went. It had been no time before Damarco learned quite a bit about his new home, and that there was more darkness here on earth than there was in the void. Perhaps voidlings wouldn’t be anything in comparison to the threat the Aurazins would face here on earth.
Since they had no other choice but to settle in Evermore and call this place home, Damarco began teaching others how to blend in and remind them to eat and sleep again, and in general act as normal as they could in this present day. Marco spent a lot of time around the Ailwards, hoping someday they could find an answer and return home. But, until then, Damarco had accepted that this was his new life, and he decided he was going to make the most out of it. He did feel somewhat thrilled to think of how many possibilities he now had. He knew some of the others felt a sense of fear and discord because of their newly gained freedom, but for Damarco, he couldn’t wait to try his said freedom out.