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Name: Alvaro Sebastian Martinez
Age at death: 20 | Actual age: 51
Faceclaim: Alberto Rosende
Intelligent | Perceptive | Humorous
Messy | Forgetful | Hesitant
**Trigger warning: Violent death**
Pablo and Maria Martinez came to Chicago in the mid 1970s from Cuba hoping to start a better life for themselves and their first son which would be born within the next few months. Luckily for the Martinezs’, they had family members in Illinois who opened their doors to them, even if space in the three bedroom house was a little cramped. Pablo was soon helping his brother in the construction business while Maria became a secretary at one of the nearby preschools.
Several years had come and gone and the family had made enough money to rent their own apartment on the cusp of the downtown area of Chicago. By now, the Martinez family had grown. Mario was the eldest boy by three years and then came Alvaro in the spring of 1979. The two children couldn’t be any more different. Mario was constantly getting into trouble, but had a knack for anything that was athletic. Alvaro, on the other hand, always had his nose to a book of some sort. He loved comics and video games, but above all, dancing. Ever since he was young he would watch his parents dancing to music from their country on a record player and Alvaro could be seen as a baby trying to imitate the steps.
It was no surprise to their parents that the boys took the paths they did in school. Mario was a star football player, becoming the most popular kid in school and being scouted by colleges from around the country. However, it would come as a surprise to many of the students to learn that Mario had a brother who was also in the same high school. Al excelled in his classes and was on the student council, choir, school plays, marching band, and many of the other school clubs that people like Mario wouldn’t be seen in. Not that Alvaro minded. Popularity wasn’t something he was after and his brother never treated him any differently despite his ‘higher position’ in school.
His fifteenth birthday was the day that would change Alvaro's life forever. Mario had seen how much his brother loved to dance and it was clear that the kid had some talent. He seemed to pick up any kind of dance with ease, but it was breakdancing which was the one that lit Al's eyes up the most. Mario would constantly catch his kid brother in their very small room with a piece of cardboard on the floor, copying the moves of the dancers he would see in hip hop videos and his favorite movie Breakin’; a terrible movie in Mario’s opinion. So on his birthday, Mario dragged his reluctant brother with him to a nearby club where the bouncers let them pass inside because of his star status among the town despite being very underage. Inside, the place was bumping with house and 80s hip hop music. Alvaro watched as all the people had gathered to the middle of the room to form a giant circle where dancers of all genres were letting it all out on the floor. Mario ushered his brother to go to the center of the circle, practically pushing him, but Al was entirely too nervous to be around such great talent. Eventually the patrons of the club saw that Alvaro was hesitant as Mario tried to get him to dance, but they encouraged the teen by clapping and cheering him on. His nerves made him shake and his heart could be heard in his ears despite the loud music, but Al found the courage and entered the circle.
The exhilaration was nothing like Al had ever experienced in his life, but it was in that instant, with the people cheering and the positive energy buzzing in the room, that solidified what he truly wanted in life. He wanted to become a professional dancer. His parents and teachers were a little bit skeptical on his new direction in life. Dancing was meant to be a hobby only. It was never meant to be the focus of his dreams, but their opinions didn’t slow Alvaro down. If he wasn’t at school, he was at home or at the park practicing. Many of the other youths in town saw him and joined in the battle circles. Without even trying, Al had become the leader of their small dance troupe and began putting together choreography.
One of the biggest dance competitions in the country was coming to Chicago and Al knew he needed to enter their group. It was his chance to finally be noticed and prove to the doubters that they had the talent and will to be the best. His parents and brother came to be supportive and seeing them in the audience was enough to get him through the jitters that threatened to break his resolve. The competition was stiff, but in the end, Al and his crew pulled out as the winners which guaranteed them a spot in a major music video along with $25,000. The elation and validation the young man felt was the driving factor in his life that he was on the right path.
Some years later and Al had graduated high school and began attending the School of the Art Institute in Chicago for the performing arts program. His life was moving in the direction he had dreamed. His appearances in music competitions around the country was bringing him lots of recognition and opportunities to create choreography for major artists’ music videos. In fact, he was set up to have an interview with one of the labels in Chicago to become a staple in their company with a proper contract of employment.
Mario had come to have dinner with his younger brother the night before the big interview to help Al calm his nerves. He always liked to joke that if it wasn’t for him bringing him to the club when they were teens, that he would never be the big shot he was now, demanding 10% of his earnings. Needless to say, the brothers had remained close through the years and decided to visit that very club they had gone to those many years ago.
After their meal, they started out on the walk to the nightclub following the path along the waterway. The two had been joking and laughing with one another in a world of their own, not seeing the scene that was unfolding a little further down the docks. A group of men could be heard arguing which caught their attention, but it was the sudden explosion of gunshots ringing out that took them off guard. The men quickly scattered and as one came speeding past them, he knocked into Mario, sending him to the ground along with the small bag of drugs. As Al bent down to help his brother up in the chaos, a bullet struck him in the chest, sending him to the ground.
Things had happened so quickly, Al wasn’t even sure what had happened. The searing heat he felt in his chest was unbearable and he was unable to breathe, not really understanding why. Mario was screaming as he pulled Al's head up looking down to him frantically and unlike he’d ever seen his brother which was making him more worried than the fact that he couldn’t catch his breath. It was choking. He was choking on his blood which he saw come spurting from his mouth and onto the front of his brother’s stark white button down in contrast.
A crushing darkness began pulling at him and before he knew it, Al was waking up in an unfamiliar darkened place. He rolled over on his stomach, looking out into the emptiness where he was very alone. He called out to the nothingness for help and at first there was no response to his cries until a screeching sound that was unlike anything he’d heard before rang out. Al spun around and saw a creature that was even blacker than the darkness around him that moved unnaturally towards him. Saliva pooled from its mouth which was the only real discernible feature Al could make out as the monster came charging for him.
Al took off in a run, wondering if this was some nightmare that his mind would not let him wake from. The large creature was right at his heel and it pounded towards him, moving faster than his legs could possibly carry him. Just as he could feel the breath of the thing after him, a sudden bright light rushed through the darkness and he could hear the creature behind him screech as if the brightness was painful to witness. Al himself shielded his eyes with his arm for a moment, but felt no pain like the monster that had been chasing him. The sounds of the creature faded into the distance he could not see and when his eyes adjusted to the blackness of this horrific place, Al saw a being of light before him. The man said his name was Lucien and he was there to bring him home.
Of course, it wasn’t the home he’d expected. It was no Chicago. Lucien had explained to Al what happened to him, but it was something he couldn’t just accept. In fact, he got angry and aggressive, very unlike his normal self. This was death after all. He had a reason to be angry with being plucked from the world while it was just beginning with the greatest opportunity of his life.
The sadness was hard for him. It had taken several weeks before Al had finally started to come around. Lucien was watchful over him and had helped him through a lot of his frustrations which he was thankful for. Al also couldn’t just forget that his soul would’ve been lost forever to that voidling had it not been for Luke showing up when he did. In that, he felt like he owed the Aurazin and wanted to help other young people who were dealing with their deaths as well as visit younger people on Earth who had lost a loved one.
Lucien set him up with training as he transitioned into this new phase of his existence. He had quickly chosen to first start the path of an empath, wanting to get back to what he was used to on Earth and feel the energy of people again. It wasn’t the same though. Being an Aurazin had somehow made things a little more dull now that normal human needs were no longer necessary to him. He would never appreciate the things he did in life now that he essentially had eternity. Still, Al loved being able to help younger generations through what he did best in life; dance.
The decades flew by and he had been in his first year of working in the void once his voluntary rotation came up. The darkness had been terrifying to see again. Nothing had really prepared him to see that void when the last time he’d seen it was the moment of his death and potential destruction by the voidling. Still, Lucien was a great teacher, and Al had instantly become addicted when he was able to save his first soul and guide them to the veil. He’d want to save as many as he could just as Luke had done for him those many years ago.
The training mission he’d been on was going as smoothly as one could expect. He closed his eyes and moved about the void, reaching out with his abilities to find the energy of the lost souls that were wandering about while his trainer stayed a distance away to observe. Al could see a man who was in a heap on the ground, whimpering quietly into his knees. The glow which emitted from Al was powerful as he stepped forward to reach out to the man, but then an explosion rocked the ground nearby. He was thrown back to the ground as a ringing pulsated in his head, but as he looked up, a large portal had appeared from the blackness. The magic of the portal was pulling Al towards it and with no way to stop, no matter how he clawed at the ground, the newly appointed shepherd went tumbling through the opening and cast from the void.
When he awoke, Al realized he was in a river, immediately recognizing that this was not the veil, but Earth. He reached out to the veil in some hopes to get in contact, but there was nothing in response. The panic began to creep up inside him, not knowing what to do as he gazed to the sky which gave no answer to his silent pleading. Al took a deep breath and remembered his training. The Aspects on Earth would be the best place to find answers as the Gods had favored them as they did the Aurazin. It was his only plan and he’d hoped it was the right one, but he also couldn’t help but be somewhat thrilled to have a bit of free will of his own as he smirked and walked the Earth again.