Coming to Atlanta wasn't met with anxiety this year. And, there wasn't this since of doom that usually filled Beth when she was that close to "home." No, the winter spent in Australia had done her good. When they got back to Canada, they were all very surprised at the warmth. Taking it all in stride, Beth decided to change things up a bit while they were doing their convention runs. She just didn't both to tell anyone what she was doing until days before they landed in Atlanta. If they'd been paying attention, they'd have seen the change. But, even though Kylie, Nikki and Dorothy were the only ones who stayed "Down Under," they kept meeting up at conventions and promotional stops. They had all gone their separate ways for the summer/winter, and Beth was proud of them all.
Beth actually couldn't wait to get there to promote the show. Carmen was excited, too, because this time there wasn't a tournament and she was going to show them all "her City." Of course, there were the obligitory trips to Waffle House and the Varsity, the World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium. They'd even gone to Zoo Atlanta. Most of it was fun, but they were all glad that they were helping Layla with her school work. Beth was sure that her proctors and online teachers thought that they spent way too much time gallivanting around the world, but Layla was still grounded considering the wealth that she had. But, Carmen had taken to the places that weren't so touristy and should them where she grew up. Beth insisted that they head down to Piedmont, too.
While in the Piedmont area, they visited some Gay Rights places and made sure to visit some MLK, Jr places, too. Layla wrote a very impassioned piece for her poly-sci/government class and managed to work it into an opinion paper for English. Beth smiled lightly at that. She didn't have too much "raising" to do when it came to Layla. Ava had been smart and had taught Layla well. The teen was compassionate, passionate and humble.
But, the conventions had become something that Beth has looked forward to as they work on the farm during their hiatus. It wasn't that she needed the break. She needed to see what she was doing was helping people, that she was touching lives, and she couldn't think of a better place to see that then the conventions they were going to work. It would give her a better idea on the pulse of the show and its fandom, especially since the studio announced that this was going to be the last season.
She sat at the table and looked down the length of it. Her shaggy reddish, from the summer sun, in certain areas of the world; and working outdoors on the farm; and some Sun In, hair fell in front of her eyes. She swept it back with a jerk of her head as her eyes met those of someone she hadn't seen in a year. Her smile grew. She leaned back to find the organizer's security. The guard looked at her funny as she pointed to two women in the crowd. Their discussion lasted five minutes until he finally relented and walked down to the cue for the show's fans to wait in. Her smile got bigger as the guard escorted them forward and to her spot at the table before their session was even supposed to start.
The two fans came forward. One of them was thin and solid and the other was tall but soft. Beth smiled at them both and turned to find Brittany, knowing that she was going to need help after she signed a few simple ASL signs to the couple.
"Hi. How are you doing? I'm glad to see you again, this year," Beth said as she signed.
"You don't have to sign. I can translate for you. She can hear; she just can't talk," the taller woman stated.
"I remember," Beth answered.
"I don't know what I should call you, Major," the other woman signed.
"Major is fine," Beth replied. "What's your name?"
"My name is Tasha Hobson and this is my wife, Jenna."
"Pleasure to meet you. How have been doing? Everything going well? Has the VA been helping you?" Beth asked.
"Yeah, we've been good. We got married last year and missed Dragon*Con because we were on our honeymoon. Thank you for the gifts," Tasha signed.
"Thank you for coming to see us again," Beth replied.
"I am sad to hear that this will be the last season," Tasha stated.
"I am, too, but I think that the fans will be happy. At least, I hope they will. We're still working out some kinks in the scripts before we start filming next week. But, we've been working on it all summer. I think that everyone will be happy with it, though."
"Hey, I know that you're hear for the convention and everything, but I wanted to tell you about the SHEEP Program that I started with the VA," Beth told her and pulled out a card. "You don't have to do it, but it's there if you need it. If anyone asks, tell them I sent you."
"Thanks," the both replied.
"Well, I'll let you get back. They are about to open the cue. I had someone hold your spots. And, if you need anything, let me know."
"I just wanted to share this with you," Tasha told her as she pulled out a rolled up piece of paper.
Beth slowly unrolled it and saw a pencil drawing of her in all her Nephilim Glory, sword raised high, calling for the charge.
"This is awesome. Tell me that this isn't the original," Beth demanded.
"It is," Jenna replied.
"I can't take it. Get a copy or several. I'll sign them and then you can auction them off. I can't take this. This is beautiful. Send me a copy."
Jenna translated quickly and Tasha pushed the drawing at her.
"Take it. I can do it again. I'll do a better one. I'll send you copies. I still have your other card," Tasha signed.
Beth nodded and smiled, "Okay. Okay."
"Thank you," Tasha said again.
"Go, get back in line. I'll see y'all again in a few minutes. Be good to one another," Beth told them and then watched them go get back in line for the autograph and picture sessions with the cast of Demon Hunter.
She stood there for minute, just holding the drawing and admiring the sheer talent that it took to render it. Beth knew that she was going to get it framed when they got back to Vancouver. She also knew exactly where she would hang it in her office. She smiled as she turned around and headed back to the table to sit down.
She was sandwiched between Layla and Nikki as the crowd was counting down time for them to be able to meet and greet with the show's cast. She handed Dorothy the rolled art and it was stored in a bucket behind her. They each had a bucket to put things in so that they weren't clogging up the tables as the fans moved down them. Dorothy had already agreed to take care of Beth, Layla and Nikki's fan given stuff. Brittany was on the other side of the table as security. The rest of the security team and the even security were stationed through out the room they were in.
She didn't even realize how quickly the cue went. Before she knew it, they were standing and getting ready to head to another panel. Nikki was walking with her when a cosplayer walked by dressed as a Shikari in full Nephilim armor. She couldn't believe it and smiled at them. The cosplayer turned and bowed to Beth with the words of "my Queen," rolling off his tongue in Elvish. Beth stopped and looked at the man.
"What is your name, Shikari?" she asked him.
"Callon, Majesty," he replied.
"And, who do you serve, Callon of the Shikari?"
"The queens Magda and Lis'sa," he stated.
"And, Callon, are you in service to Magda or Lis'sa?"
"Magda, my queen."
"And, who is your commander?"
"The great Shikari General Jodhi Meredith," he replied.
"Then walk with us, Shikari," Beth invited him.
Nikki and Dorothy cocked an eyebrow but allowed him to come with them. It must have been a sight for them to be walking through the booths of the floor of the convention with this full armored cosplayer with them. No one bothered them and they were allowed to do as they wished. The convention security kept an eye on them, as did Garth's team that was blended in the crowd. After a few hours of travelling the floor, Beth knew that she needed to head to the Scotia Viking Writers' Panel. She needed to let the man go, but it had been interesting for them to just not be bothered because the cosplayer was with them.
"Callon," Beth said as she turned to face him.
"Majesty," he replied and bowed his head.
"What rank in the Shikari do you hold?"
"What is your rank, Shikari?"
"In my division, we have no ranks. We are all merely soldiers for the true Nephilim queen, Queen Andraste Bevin, the Shikari General to Queen Lis'sa, known as Magda the Great Defender," he told her.
"There are others in your division?"
"Yes, my Queen."
"Are they Fae or Nephilim?"
"Will they be at the armored ball tonight where Lis'sa and I are judging?" Beth questioned.
"We will be there, if you wish, Majesty," he replied.
"Bring them all to me, Callon. I look forward to seeing you tonight. Thank you for walking with us, Callon."
He bowed deeply and saluted, "As you command, Majesty. We will stand and report tonight. Until then."
"What do you have planned?" Nikki asked as they walked to the Scotia panel.
"Did you see his armor?"
"Yeah, it was good."
"It was awesome. He spent time and money on that. Lots of it. Honestly, it is better than some of the extras on set."
"You aren't going to suggest that he come to Vancouver are you?"
"I might," Beth stated, "His armor reflects the Nephilim more than the Elves. It needs to blend both and he does almost like. Plus, you know that we just made that man's day. I'll get him some shit and give it to him tonight. We'll take some pics and he'll be a big man on campus."
"He was alone, right?" Beth asked.
"He spent his money to make that costume, but he couldn't afford the signature line. He paid to get into the event to see us, but he couldn't pay to get pictures with us. He did all that because he is a loyal fan. He is so loyal that he's spent time, money and lost of effort to be as close to actual show armor as he can without being a costumer. Hell, give him a job in wardrobe. He's an awesome designer."
"How can you tell all that?"
"He didn't give me a rank, because the show doesn't necessarily name anything beyond General and Captain. Jodhi became Shikari with Hawkes training and was immediately given a rank of captain because she was close to the royal family and had proven her loyalty to them and the throne. What we do know that there have been groups of Shikari building all over the US to meet and discuss the show. They are hardcore fans. They didn't have anything to lock onto until Magda came and gave them a group name that they could take as their own. Hell, they've started a convention in its honor," Beth stated.
"Yeah," Nikki stated.
"He'll call his group. He'll find a way to get them in to the costume contest. And, they'll win."
"Listen, I know it seems odd, but trust me. He's part of the loyal fan base. Regardless of his views outside of the show, he believes in the show's truth. Also, what a lot of people fail to remember is that we need more Shikari for the show. If we can recruit them, we can get the studio to pay them to come with their costumes and set them up with lodging, too," Beth stated.
"Do you think they will?" Nikki asked her.
"They used cosplayers and members of the 501st Legion to be storm troopers in the Madalorian. They all had their own costumes. It saved production lots of money for costumes and finding extras, because all they had to do was put out a call. They paid them for their screen time and lodging."
"And, then they got to say that they were in the series?"
"Absolutely," Beth answered. "They get behind the scenes pics. They get to hang out with the stars in some scenes. It is a fans biggest dream."
"And, you think that he'll have a decent crowd with him?"
"Oh, he'll have a crowd. He was digging his phone out when he left. The call has been made. Tonight, we meet a new company of Shikari, General. You ready to whip them into shape?" Beth asked her with a smile.
Nikki just laughed as Beth made her way up to the panel and sat down. Nikki took a seat off to the left where she could see Beth. Dorothy sat down beside her. Dorothy handed Nikki a hat and she pulled it down some to hide her face. Nikki wasn't surprised when Kylie and Dakota sat down with her, too. Brittany and Layla sat behind them. They were all changed from their earlier outfits, so they didn't stick out. Kylie was even wearing her Outback hat.
The coordinator started the panel and they talked about turning Beth's characters into the series. Beth added that it was hard creating more characters when the movie was souley based Heather NicAlba's life. She never imagined the life that the fandom would take or that they studio would actually greenlight a series. She was pleased that they let her help with the writing and character development for the show. She was proud that they listened to her when it came to adding Kylie as Heather's friend named Elena Pappas and Taz as Lieutenant Kendra Koh, the resident detective of Seacoma, the fictitious town that Elena and Heather have come to call home for the series.
Beth was surprised by the first question that she was asked by audience as soon as they opened the floor for fan questions. She blinked a few times before Doug reached over and tapped her knee under the table. She looked at him and then back to the fan. She knew that writer's panels were notorious not as full as the cast panels, but the question still threw her.
"Are you going to be a regular character on the show, too?" the fan asked her.
Beth finally turned to the fan and answered, "No, I am not. It wasn't part of my design to be on Demon Hunter, but it happened because the producers, directors, and other writers thought it would be best if I did it because they knew that I could. When it comes to Scotia, I wrote it as purely fanfic for the Immortals. I never thought that it would turn into what it did. I never saw myself as Heather or any other character that I helped craft for the series or my stories. Heather was an original character that was a woman just trying to be immortal through the ages and her story of survival. She isn't me and I am not her. She's just fun to write."
"Are you going to be on the show?"
"The writers have come up with a cameo character for me to play, yes. I've agreed to it because it will only be like three episodes that I'll be in. It is a major arc for the characters of Heather and Elena. I'm just an extra, a background person, and then I'm gone. I'm fine with that. I honestly would rather be behind the scenes writing for the shows than acting," Beth answered.
Another fan got up and asked the panel some questions about how they were going to adapt the series and still keep the core of what I wrote from my stories and the movie as the central theme. Doug answered the question by letting them know that they weren't changing the rules of the immortals, nor were they changing Heather's past as it was written; they were just adding new characters both from Heather's past and her present.
More questions were posed on how they came up with Seacoma, how they chose the character names for the new characters and who helped develop them, and if we would learn about more immortals through the season. Beth checked out a little as the questions kept coming for an hour. It wasn't until Doug tapped her on the leg again that she realized that she missed a question directed at her.
"I'm sorry, could you ask that again?"
"I was wondering what you were going to do now that Demon Hunter is ending?" the new fan asked her again.
Beth nodded. And, that was the biggest question for her. She had no idea.
"Honestly, I don't know," Beth told them. "I haven't really thought about it. When I signed on to do the movie for Scotia, I thought that was all I was going to be doing and then I'd go back home. I never expected to be offered the screenwriter job for Demon Hunter and acting on the show was never even on my radar. It honestly just feel into my lap and it was by mistake."
"A mistake?" someone shouted from the audience.
"Yeah, I was down in the stunt gym working with the stunt crew on the write up for a fight scene. Trevor, the director at the time and Aaron, the stunt director, were there and I didn't know. Trevor had called in some of the studio execs to go over something or trying to get permission to do something when they all saw me fighting with the stunt guys. It was that meeting that the Shikari were born. Trevor knew about Scotia Viking and so he looked up my fanfiction. I got called into the studio's offices the next day and asked if they could take Magda and make her a character. I only agreed if I helped write the parts for her. I didn't want them to ruin her, you know? After several discussion with the studio and then the screenwriters, I was happy with Magda's creation and the role that she'd play on the show. I was later asked to read for the role. I didn't realize that they were using it as an audition. Two weeks later I was on a plane to Australia to meet with Kylie Bana-Urban.
"When I agreed to be Magda, I realized who she was to the former characters of Una and Rhiannon. I knew that I needed to model some of my movements to those of Kylie's. I also needed to be able to mimic her speech pattern. Playing her older sister meant that we had to favor each other, and then I wrote in the background of how long they were together and how they raised to know each other until Morvan's treachery. Magda was growing as a character but the undertones had to be the same.
"But as for being on Scotia, the character that I've been asked to play is completely new. I didn't create her and I didn't want to be part of her story. I had enough on my plate to deal with. The writers have created a good character and I was surprised that they've asked me to play. Unfortunately, I can't reveal anything about her here. You'll have to wait until she's on screen," Beth told them.
"You can't give us anything?" the proctor asked.
"I will tell you that my character is someone important in Heather's past, but it isn't what you think. She is very different from Magda. She's no hero and she doesn't try to be. She is just a person with faults and she accepts that. That's all I can say," Beth told them. "But, to answer the original question, to just be sure. I have no idea what I'm going to do. I have some novels that I've been working on. There is a new series that the studio might be looking into that they've asked me to work on, but nothing is set in stone. Right now, I'm getting ready to go back to work to finish Demon Hunter."
"And, that's all the time we have today with these great writers. If you have tickets for a meet and greet, please head over to ..." the proctor told the crowd as Beth tuned him out. She hadn't signed up for the meet and greet. She wanted to rest before all the night festivites.
"You okay?" Dorothy asked her as they met up by the stage.
"Yeah, just need some rest. Can we go back to the hotel until we have to be back tonight? For the costume contest?"
"Yeah, let's just get your stuff. I'll text Garth and Brittany, so they know. Hang here for a second," Dorothy told her and gave Kylie and Nikki both a look.
"Are we supposed to be dressed up tonight?" Beth asked them.
"I don't know," Nikki replied. "We're just judging this time, not showing anything off."
"Okay," Beth said, but they could all tell that she seemed off.
She asked to go get rest, so they'd let it go. But, they were worried. The last time that she was off, she went running to Australia. They gave Dorothy a knowing look, who nodded at them both before leaving the venue with Beth in tow.
"Should we be worried?" Nikki asked Kylie.
"Not yet. I'll send Dakota to go talk to her. They're talking secretively again. I think it has to do with the show, but they're getting close again."
"Let me know," Nikki stated.
"I will. Trust me. We're all worried about her."