William Lennox and Elizabeth Reed both grew up in the same Initia tribe. A powerful tribe and both of them were from powerful families in the NYC area. They knew each other from a young age, practically grew up together, and starting from middle school they had a friendly rivalry going on. She was the head of the girl’s soccer team, he was the captain of the football team, they consistently ran against one another for school office, that sort of thing. The bonds of the tribe were strong though, and it certainly didn’t hurt that their parents were so close. Sure enough, by the time high school ended the two were dating. There were always rumors swirling around about if they did it just for appearances or if they genuinely cared but considering that they stuck it out through the many years of college people eventually came to believe that the two genuinely cared.
By the time both graduated college, Elizabeth with a law degree and William with several business degrees, they had been married for two years. Neither of them minded the other’s busy schedule and neither of them minded the less than savory practices the other got up to in order to secure more power and money. It was expected of them after all, their families didn’t get so wealthy and powerful by being honest and neither did they. They were both quite good at hiding their secret dealings, in fact so good at hiding it that their future children even had no idea, both very well versed in keeping up appearances. They had children for several reasons, not the least of which being that it’s expected of a family like them to have heirs to take over their empires.
There was a major thunderstorm the day Jasmine Lennox was born. The howling wind and rain and loud cracks of thunder didn’t bother her parents in the least though, taking the powerful storm as an omen as to what their youngest child would be. A physical manifestation of a storm, in keeping with the traditions and expectations in place from their long line of powerful Initia. Though none of their children were yet old enough to manifest their abilities, their parents were already preparing the oldest for the duties and responsibilities that would come with being a member of their family and tribe.
Jasmine grew up watching her older brothers, Eliot and later Alistair, get their marks and begin training. Both of them excelled with their elements and Jasmine was so excited for the day that she’d be able to join them. Her parents were strict and even before Jaz was in school they had arranged the best tutors around for her just as they had her brothers. She took to her studies better than most, soaking in knowledge like a sponge, and in order to curb her energy and the rambunctiousness common in a child, she was taught dance. Ballet was a wonderful outlet for her and she had quite a talent for it. Their youngest was shaping up to be just as outstanding an heir as her brothers before her and, as the only girl, perhaps got a touch of special treatment during those young years.
Still, Jasmine watched on in awe of her older brothers and the rest of their family. On top of being powerful Initia, her parents were wealthy and powerful in other senses too. Their father was a very successful businessman, their mother a highly respected lawyer, they came from old money. That also meant that they worked quite a bit and left most of the raising when they weren’t home to other family members, most of whom were just as strict with the children’s studies as their parents. At their young ages the children didn’t seem to mind much and the milestones set before Jasmine at the talents of her older brothers were steep.
The same year Jasmine turned 7 Eliot turned 12, marking yet another huge stepping stone in her life for her to meet as he was claimed by the element of fire. Her excitement wasn’t stopped by that though, as their family’s little princess had so far managed to meet the high expectations set upon her. She was excelling in her studies and in her dance lessons, even beginning to compete in competitions. None of that was what made Jasmine proud though. The thing she was most proud of was the Initia mark on her back that marked her as officially an Initia.
That year was when things started to change for the worse for the young Initia. Although she was still excelling in the other areas, she didn’t seem to possess the natural talent that her family prided themselves in. She certainly didn’t measure up to her older brothers, both of whom exceeded their parents expectations with their powers from a young age. Next to them, Jasmine was downright poor with her own control of gravityity and that’s when the young girl really began to feel the pressure that her family placed on her. She could sense the disappointment from her parents as she struggled to keep up with their standards, as in their eyes none of them were allowed to fail. Her mother valued appearance above all else, so the thought that her daughter wouldn’t be able to perform to standard made her angry at the young girl. Their father was even worse. As his family had always excelled, as his sons had always excelled, he had demanded no less of his daughter. Even at the early signs of her failure he began to pull away from her, paying her even less attention than he already was due to his busy work schedule.
From that point on, all Jasmine could focus on was how she didn’t measure up. Her claiming ceremony at 12 was more of a defeat for her than an achievement as she could only focus on how far behind she was from her brothers at that age. Of course it didn’t matter to her that she was still incredibly bright or that she was a very talented dancer, bringing home several gold and silver medals in competitions at the time. It didn’t matter that she excelled in her martial arts training, because to her family what really mattered was how well you performed as an Initia. Your value to the tribe was everything, keeping up to standards was everything, and in the only way that mattered she was failing them.
She began to pull away from her family, growing resentful of her brothers and all their success. Alistair, the true prodigy of the three and the middle child, was gaining most of his parent’s affection considering that Eliot was also pulling away from them. However, while Eliot grew rebellious and wild, Jasmine grew distant. She couldn’t stand the constant reminders of her failure, the look of disappointment on her family’s face every time they looked at her. Eliot started to notice a kindred spirit in his baby sister though and, for the first time in a while, the two slowly started to grow close again. He was also incredibly tired of his parents and their standards and rules, as the oldest child they had been insanely strict on him and it had ended up backfiring. Eliot told her of all the trouble he got up to and Jasmine kept it to herself, never ratting out her older brother even as she began to grow worried for him. Seeing the direction he was taking and how worried it was making her, her mindset began to shift.
If she couldn’t win her family’s approval through her Initia abilities, then perhaps she could win them over in some other way. She began devoting herself fully to her other talents, securing for herself a modeling career and doubling down on her dance lessons. Her mother valued looks above most else, so perhaps this would be enough of an affirmation of her daughter that she could win her back over? In her schooling she started studying hard and quickly rose to the top of her class, participating in volleyball too, all of this in an effort to please her father. She really started to come into her own, to form an identity separate from the box her parents wanted to see her folded into, and for a short time she thought perhaps they appreciated her efforts. They were speaking to her regularly again and she didn’t see as much derision in their eyes every time they looked at her now.
Of course with her schedule so full, that left Jasmine with virtually no time for anything else. Although she remained popular in school for being friendly and talented, she had no real friends and certainly never found the time to start dating. The stories of all the cool parties Eliot went to started sounding far less appealing to the high schooler, who was genuinely starting to worry for his health. Eliot saw all the measures she was taking to prove herself to her parents and started to grow angry with her, calling her out for giving in to the pressure they put on her, telling her that they’d never accept her the way they did Alistair. She knew it to be true, Alistair was their perfect child after all, but still hearing that hurt her. As Eliot started to drift away from her too, Jasmine began to realize that she truly had no close relationships in her life. Her parents, though a bit kinder to her now that Eliot had caused such a rift, still were quite cold to her and Alistair was too busy fulfilling every wish their parents could ever have for their children to be worried much about his little sister. At least that’s how Jasmine saw things.
She wasn’t about to let that stop her though, even if she didn’t have their approval or love she would still succeed in her life. She graduated high school with honors, top of her class and moved immediately into college to major in dance and the performing arts. She had a scholarship to Juilliard and her parents covered any additional expenses as would be expected from them by all their wealthy friends. However it didn’t come without a catch. If she wanted their continued financial support through college, then after she graduated she would have to move to Evermore, Colorado to train with the masters there. Naturally she accepted the terms, knowing that there’d be no way she could pay for the additional expenses at Juilliard without them and not willing to let that scholarship and opportunity go.
Much like before at school, Jasmine excelled in university. With slightly more time on her hands now than before, she started branching out and finally making friends. She even did a little dating when she had the time, though never anything serious. Considering her modeling and dancing career, keeping herself in healthy shape was a priority so while she had friends, she rarely attended the parties that most university students consider part of common life. During all of this she began to reconnect with Eliot as well, knowing that her parents had cut him off in most ways except monetarily and wanting to be there for her brother.
She was in her third year of university when the unthinkable happened. One of her father’s dealings with a rival went wrong and the offended party wanted revenge. Jasmine was on her way back to her dorm after a very long day of classes. She had her headphones in and wasn’t paying much attention to her surroundings, something that she will always regret especially since she knew better. Before she even realized what was happening they had her surrounded, wielding wicked looking weapons. She attempted to fight them off, even with her disadvantage, and took great satisfaction as she managed to take a few of her assailants down but their numbers were simply too great for the lone Initia. The crack to the back of her head knocked her out cold before she ever felt the pavement touch her cheek.
She woke to pure darkness and a very sore body. In her hazy state at first she thought perhaps her eyes weren’t open but she quickly realized that it was actually a blindfold and soon after that came the sound of voices, muffled but present as her mind tried to wake up and make sense of things. Squirming, attempting to get up, to remove the blindfold, revealed that she had been bound to a chair. As her head clears so too do the voices. She can’t see them but the volume indicates they’re in another room from her.
“What if he doesn’t pay up?”
“Oh he’ll pay. If he ever wants to see his little girl alive again that is.”
Jasmine lets out a slow breath as the meaning behind the words sink in, making sure to keep her breathing steady. Something about all of this makes her feel detached, cold. It helps to keep her calm as things unravel. She has no doubts that her family will pay if that’s what these people want and so far, apart from the kidnapping, it doesn’t appear as though they’ve harmed her, the question is what will happen until her family does pay.
She sits for what feels like forever in darkness, losing track of the time. By the time she hears footsteps approaching her she has no idea if it’s been minutes, hours, or days, and the sudden blinding light as the blindfold is removed causes her to flinch and squint her eyes closed. When she’s able to open them again she sees that she’s surrounded by several men, all dressed smartly. None of them were smiling, one had a knife in hand. In case she decided to get rowdy he said. They untie her, force her to her feet and to walk. The silence between them is oppressive but she takes the opportunity to check out her surroundings. They’re in some sort of old office building and, judging by the noise she’s beginning to hear, near the water. Her suspicions are confirmed when they take her outside and shove her into a boat. None of them seem keen on talking and she’s positive they know what she is, which leaves taking control of the boat’s computer system too risky. Since they’ve untied her, she does imagine that means they’re taking her back to her family though. Unfortunately she couldn’t be more wrong. Instead of taking her somewhere for her family to come and get her she’s led to yet another building, this one more run down than the last, in an abandoned part of town. The barrels and chemicals around clue her in on what they intend. They’d untied her to get her to drop her guard and now they intend to torment her until her family pays up. She refuses to allow that to happen, not without a fight.
The first one goes down fairly easily, not expecting her sudden attack. The others all immediately spring to take her down, counting on superior numbers and size to give them the advantage. Truly they have it too, but Jasmine isn’t about to go down that easily. She fights them hard until there’s only one of them left facing her, the others laying around her unconscious. She’s tired and hurting from the blows they managed to land on her, but with only one left she’s sure she can make it out of this. She sees the gun when he pulls it but there’s no way she can get away in time. Pain lances through her as the pistol goes off, loudly, causing her ears to ring.
She hits the ground hard, clutching her stomach where the bullet had hit her, the pain fogging her senses. It’s all she can focus on, like fire lighting her up from the inside, and her breath comes in painful gasps. She fully expected to die there, laying on the cold pavement, consciousness fading, with no one that gave a single care about her around. But it never came.
She woke in the hospital, stomach bandaged up and feeling like complete crap, but alive. Eliot was beside her, the rest of the family nowhere to be seen. From him she found out what happened. Their father had sent Eliot and Alistair to rescue her and they’d managed to find her right after she’d been shot. It had been Eliot that carried her to the hospital while Alistair cleaned up the mess that was left behind. The gunshot wound hadn’t been that bad thankfully, the bleeding the worst danger since it had missed all major organs, and once they’d gotten that stabilized she was out of danger.
Her stay at the hospital was short, her body managing to recover quickly, and before long she was even back in classes. Although she avoided the area where she’d been kidnapped, she managed to graduate on time even despite the days missed in her program, and began looking for work in Evermore. The city that her family still held to her going to so she could learn more about her element. Knowing that she didn’t want to go alone, and that her father was pressuring Eliot to go as well, Jasmine managed to convince her brother to head along too so that she wouldn’t be sent off to a strange place all by herself. She managed to secure a job with a modeling agency in Evermore and soon after graduating, she moved to the city with Eliot. While Jasmine is apprehensive about the new place, she’s hopeful for the opportunity to get out from under her parent’s influence and finally have both of them start to set up their own lives here.