“Dad would be really disappointed if he knew but, I love to bake. I just do.”
Sabine Pelletier has lived in Tala Springs for as long as she can remember, the latest of many in a long line of graced Florida Panthers. Her parents very much drilled in to her head the fact that this was their rightful land, that they shouldn’t have to share it with humans. They recounted to her the tales of the gods and the sacred position their direct ancestor held towards them. She herself doesn’t really believe in the gods and what she perceives as legends and myths surrounding them. It did however leave her with a trained sense of superiority that seems to be a natural part of her aura. On the other hand she blends in perfectly with the locals in terms of habits and behaviour, the only thing distinguishing her seems to be her refusal to fraternize with humans. Ordinary people think she is being selective, but the other graced are aware she only sticks with them, when she chooses to be sociable. While Sabine does try to live up to her upbringing there is in truth, much more to her.
To begin with, her father was a skilled hunter both under his human form and his animal form and just like his forefathers lived primarily off of it, as well as a wildlife and forest guard. Indeed, there has never been a single poacher in her family. Why poach? This was their land, they respected and loved it, as well as the creatures inhabiting it. And while Sabine found this admirable, she was never able to admit to her father while he was still alive that she didn’t want to hunt. Her real passion was in baking, and she was very skilled at it indeed, which is why she became an apprentice baker at the town bakery. She doesn’t particularly appreciate the fact her superior is a squirrel of all things, but she recognizes his talent, he doesn’t charge to teach her and even pays her occasionally when she helps for larger orders, with the promise of a position when she’s done with her apprenticeship.
The other reason she hides her sensitive, artistic interior with an abrasive personality and aloof demeanour is not just because she was brought up to act like she was superior. It was also a matter of self preservation. Had her father known she was pining for Brandon during her teenage years, he would have tanned her hide and killed the boy himself. Her father was well aware that Brandon was the son of the hunting shop’s owner, whom he happened to know was a poacher. He was unfortunately never able to prove it, but the hunting accident that killed the man may’ve not been an accident at all. Even after her father died, or maybe especially after her father died, it left her with an internal dilemma in regards to liking someone who was not only human, but a poacher, technically thieving off the lands that were her birthright and killing the nature she loves.
“I know what I am but that doesn’t mean I cannot have a hobby. It also happens that I’m fucking awesome at it.”
If someone asks in Tala Springs who Christian is, no one will be able to answer that question and they might ask if there is someone in town with who goes by that name. They will even look at each other, very confused and start chatting in a lower voice, trying to figure out who on earth this Christian is. It might even take several minutes, until someone comes up with something close to that. Chris. That’s a nickname, right? Yes. Yes it is. Then they will figure out that Chris’ actual name is Christian but don’t expect them to remember that name. Everyone knows who Chris is and they know better than to call him Christian. Because Chris is Chris and when someone says his name, a couple of people will smile and everyone will start talking about him as if he was some kind of Hollywood star. The fact that he’s the ranger’s younger brother just makes him more appealing to everyone in town. If you don’t know who he is, you’re clearly new to Tala Springs. Him and his brother are admired by the graced animals because they are Florida Panthers, a very rare animal, and by the humans because both of them are real gentleman, the kind of men that make girls swoon and the fact that he sort of ignores them only make them want him more badly. Chris knows that if they ever found out about him being a panther, they would soon start running and screaming. He often wonders if that would be a good solution to the problem.
Chris is a gentleman, he’s funny, playful, a bit cocky but not enough to make everyone loathe him and think he’s a complete jerk. He looks like a saint but he’s far from it. He smokes and drinks because as much as he stays away from the humans, their lifestyle is too tempting for his own good. It’s not like he doesn’t love being a panther, which he does, he’s very proud of that, but sometimes he just wishes he could have a normal life since panther girls are something so very…rare.
Having one talent and passion is actually something very good for him. He’s a cook at the local diner, even though it’s a very modest job. Cooking the meals of the inhabitants of Tala Springs is not his dream job but he takes a lot of pride into doing it. In fact in his mind he just wishes he could open a restaurant of his own but he also understands that it’s a human ambition and that’s something he’s not. He’s an animal and therefore knowing he has the possibility of cooking and the Diner and being appreciated by the whole town because of that is the best reward he could ever ask for. Do not mistake this for resentment or sadness because this doesn’t make him feel that way. At all. In fact, he loves being what he is and having the friends he has. During his brother’s parties with the graced animals, he’s the one in charge of the barbecue and everyone always congratulates him for his good job. As much as he loves cooking, this doesn’t mean that from time to time he doesn’t enjoy going on a good hunt and behaving like the panther he truly is at heart, hunting, cracking bones and tasting the fresh and bleeding meat of the animals he has just got the chance to hunt down. It would also be useful to mention that once, he almost killed Brittany while she was in her animal form and seeing her shift in front of him made him apologize immediately. Ever since, he’s way more careful and watches very closely what he hunts, not willing to kill a graced animal by accident.
“People think I protect them from the animals, but I am protecting us from them.”
James is not only handsome and sexy but a real gentleman. Despite the bad boy looks or the rumors about his wildness back when he was in highschool, the truth is that James is the perfect gentleman. Always ready to help and showing up from nowhere to help perhaps an old lady carry the bags of the supermarket to her car or maybe stop a fight between teenagers or in the local bar. He’s not the Sheriff of the town but his job leans in very close to that, because to the graced animals, he is. James is the ranger, the one in charge of making sure people don’t get lost in the woods and if they do, he finds them. Now it’s quite useful being a panther at heart, for when he chases the hunters away from the woods and stops the animals from stepping out of its limits, he handles the same ferocity. He’s the closest thing to a sheriff that the graced animals of Tala Springs have. Alongside the alpha male of the pack, he’s highly respected and the graced ones will all obey him, knowing it’s better not to get on his bad side.
Basically, James’ role is to prevent the humans from entering certain parts of the woods. His role is very important, because if he wasn’t able to do his job for some reason, their secret would see the light and humans would find out about the animals living among them. The weight of this task rests on his shoulders, although luckily enough, he loves doing his job and has the occasional help of the other animals on his patrol. Christian, his brother, will usually help him, the two of them being very close despite the big age difference between both and some of the wolves such as Jane, Emily and Alec and Ian. Even though he’s a deer and he’s James’ prey, the two of them get along very well.
Denying it would be stupid but he used to be the one that, thanks to his reputation and the fear he would inspire in people in general, would keep his friends in check and prevent them from acting like jerks towards the humans or even harm them. He has nothing against humans, he just doesn’t particularly like them since they usually try to hunt them down illegally in the woods for laughs, but he knows that not all of them are that way and you could definitely say that he’s capable of scaring them to death so they won’t come back. It usually works out very well. Besides that little tiny problem he has with humans, he enjoys being able to shift into a human form and definitely enjoys walking on two legs. His hobby, besides his work, is to go fishing and he will usually take his brother with him. James rents a boat in a small town next to Tampa and from there they will head off all the day into the sea, spending time together, bonding and fishing, to sell what they catch afterwards or maybe organize a dinner for all the graced animals. To James, most of the time, it’s about sharing and even though he doesn’t have a pack like the wolves, considering the panthers are more lone animals, he likes to make meetings in which all the graced animals get together to talk about what’s going on, be organized and just have fun eating, sharing and being themselves without the need of having to pretend that they are human.