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MATURE RPG


May, 2010... Fantasy became reality. Worlds overlay for the briefest moment. Outworlders became stranded on earth as more than half the human populace vanished. Our World, our universe, was transformed.

Fiction is now reality. Humans and those now bound to this world will either learn to coexist, or battle for supremecy.

April 27, 2019 - Family emergency finally calming down. Hope to get going again shortly. Thanks for understanding. ~ZEPH

Rhome Del Santo

Order of Light
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About Rhome Del Santo

  • Rank
    Nicely Seasoned

CHARACTER PROFILE

  • GENDER
    Male
  • PLAY-BY
    Chris Hemsworth
  • SEXUAL ORIENTATION
    Heterosexual
  • RACE
    Human, Magus; Fire Elementalist
  • JOB
    Vatican Assassin; he does not exist
  • 'SHIP:
    None
  • LOCATION
    Italy, wherever the Order sends him. Currently, the Vatican doesn't know his location.
  • FACTION
    Order of Light
  • APPEARANCE
    Physically, Rhome has a darkly striking appearance. Light brown hair is sprinkled with premature grey licks throughout, giving the illusion of being sun-kissed. Short scruff is manicured and neat, defining a set jaw. His eyes are dove gray and oddly pale blue when caught by light, the iridescence and flickering of shadows beneath his hooded gaze unsettling when they finally make eye contact.

    His stature is six feet and formidable. Musculature is pronounced and carried well in suits and private casual wear. Clothes are always impeccably clean and pressed, with a favor for black wing tips and a well-fitting suit. He sometimes wears a watch. Privately in his own quarters, he prefers his casual former priest’s wear: simple white or black tee shirts with a black button up over them, black dress pants and casual dress shoes. He no longer wears his paper collar; he is no longer a priest, still holding a preference for the black dress shirts that accommodate the band.

    Up close, his skin is spattered with faint freckling; giving the illusion of melancholy, boyish innocence that couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps there once, it exists no more. He has a raven tattoo on his left shoulder, no knowledge of where it came from.
  • PERSONALITY
    Rhome is an exceptionally polite gentleman, surrounded by a smoldering kinetic energy that seems to seethe; he runs warmer than the average human. Skin feels feverish to the touch, caused by the continuous processing of oxygen that ignites the chemical reaction to create fire. It also means he is quite often cold, finding great solace in front of a fireplace with a warm blanket during the winter months.

    Highly intelligent, he is an avid reader with the inherited Italian penchant for great coffee. Even on assignment he will relax in a quiet café reading a paper or book, noting their affinity for the perfect cup of coffee to revisit later if he finds them worthy. Mannerisms revolve around neatness, simplicity and abhorrence for extraneous needs. He lives simply, and asks for nothing else.

    Formerly holding a religious position in the clergy, he is still deeply faithful despite relinquishing his vows. However, he is starting to question even that. The further he pulls away from the Order, the more murky the world gets for him. Rhome truly believed at one time he was given the power to eliminate those that refused to follow the path of order, peace and secrecy for the greater good. When given an assignment, he was explosively sophisticated in his death bringing; only concerned with rogues that had been identified for him, otherwise he ignored other magus completely. If marked for death, he was prepared to fight to his last breath to eradicate their existence; a fierce, unflinching and unforgiving killer. Rhome forfeited his life to the Order to this purge for what he believed was a higher power; trusting he was meant to follow this path in penance for killing his love. Now, he is not so sure. Spinning, searching for truth and who he can trust, he is a loose canon with the power to level a city.

    He is however, not without devout compassion. Feeding the hungry, seeking assistance for the poor and sick; it seems the core of his passion still exists even though he moves to evil through hatred. He will also still respond to talk of Lisette with great silence and crushing pain; literally the only way to invoke feelings of guilt so severe it shuts him down completely. Though now, memories drift with other faces and names. He's left at the moment trying to figure out what is, was and might be real in his past; questioning his very identity.
  • PERSONAL BELONGINGS
    Very little; his vow of poverty as a priest only cemented an already pale need for material things. Two suits, two sets of casual clothes and basic needs are all he possesses besides his foci. He is capable of driving a vehicle or motorcycle and is well adept at daily housekeeping business items, just has no need because he owns nothing. Anything he acquires is either loaned or given to him. He has no qualms about giving extraneous items to someone else in need. The Order pays for his travel and living expenses, he asks for nothing else in return. He sometimes wears a watch or carries a cell phone when on assignment, but relinquishes them upon returning.

    Magic Fetish Items: Athame; a double edged knife with black handle in a custom sheath on the inside of his left wrist, silver coin talisman necklace on a chain with intricate carved knotwork of a wolf, and an iron ring with cut runes worn on his left forefinger. All items were found in the Matera tunnel caves when he was exploring as a child. He always wears them on his person.

    Enchanted Item- On a tight leather cord always bound to his right wrist is a silver medallion of the Archangel Uriel. Given to him by the Vatican, it is forged from silver and Black Volcanic Ash- protecting his clothing while using his abilities. It doesn't require any action on his part, as long as it's pressed against his skin it is effective. It he takes it off, his abilities at high temperatures will burn through any clothing he wears.

STAFF APPROVED ABILITIES/SKILLS/HISTORY

  • APPROVED ABILITIES
    Rhome was a broken man when he was pulled from the rubble of humanity, a cup waiting to be refilled. Torn, guilty, full of pain, there was virtually nothing that needed to be done in order to break his will. He was a perfect vessel: disciplined, alone and gifted, with nothing left to live for. Taken and transformed, he accepted every form of “punishment” on his way to what he believed was salvation; distorted into a suave and polite, elegant killing machine.

    Exceedingly intelligent with a gifted learning style, he has honed his skills to sharp control; focused with faith and bent on providing redemption through death for the simple crime of living altered without acceptance to the Order. Coupled with faith-induced lack of fear, he is an incredibly formidable opponent. He does not fear death or pain, fully accepting that he will die in the execution of his life’s duty.

    He has given each of his ability levels a Latin epithet; his simple fetishes focus Mana and his Latin designations serve as the incantation ignition for the spell level. Foci are then used to shape the spell into the sub-type; he is capable of using Will for his low and medium level spells, just prefers not to in order to increase their accuracy and control. If he loses control, he is not immune to searing his flesh at high temperatures.

    Fire: "A rapid oxidation process, which is a chemical reaction resulting in the evolution of light and heat in varying intensities, an exothermic chemical reaction that emits heat and light"

    Rhome’s ability centers on the manipulation of this oxidation process to produce the chemical reaction; after ignition, his oxygen output becomes the fuel and carefully manipulates the balance of backdrafting and flashovers. With lower level spells he can protect his physical clothing, higher level spells make it impossible because he is protecting his flesh. His skill is unique because of its elemental nature, unable to affect magic or other elemental skills unless they specifically can be manipulated by the chemical reaction or are vulnerable to fire. He is highly resistant to burn, but cannot escape injury if he pushes his limit to the brink of losing control. The fire he creates can literally start to use his flesh as fuel when he can no longer control the oxygen output.

    ============

    MISERICORDIA IGNES (Fires of Mercy): Low Level Spells, Iron Ring Foci and Will
    *Limited by duration and availability of Mana

    *Sanctuary- (cantrip)- low level burn of his skin to create heat without flame; used simply to warm himself up or travel through the elements without heavier clothing. He can also gently warm others or heat up something as simple as his coffee in a mug through heat conduction. Depending on the heat necessary, he can keep warm in cool weather for hours, or himself from freezing for a lesser amount of time. Increasing the temperature and Mana drain, it becomes his medium level “Solar Flare” and high level “Hellfire”.

    *Flashover (cantrip)- ignition of his palms and manipulation of the flames across his body. A party trick mostly, the flame is low temperature and does little damage but the theatrical effect is stunning. A snap of fingers produces an incredibly pretty controlled flame that can spread over his hands and move across his skin. It is however, still fire and thusly flammable incendiaries will still react accordingly. He can manipulate for no more than an hour, but practically it's not necessary for more than a few moments.

    *Pulse- small, focused and pressurized burst of flame from his palms or fingertips, similar to a “firebreather’s” short billowed puff of flame. He can also breathe it; something he finds particularly tacky so the use is rare. They are controlled and have a limited range of less than ten feet, duration of less than a few seconds before they disintegrate; limited by continuous bursts of no more than fifteen minutes.

    =============

    VIRUM IGNES (Fires of Honor): Medium Level Spells, Silver Talisman Foci and Will
    *Limited by number of castings, time between castings, duration, and availability of Mana. 6 Castings

    *Solar Flare- a personal shield of high heat burn projected beyond the skin, sparing his clothing, appearing as an aura that can stop a projectile by melting/burning it as it passes through. Stop effectiveness is relative to the size, speed and material of the projectile; unable to affect magic or other elemental skills unless they specifically can be manipulated by the chemical reaction or are vulnerable to fire. This is a fiercely quick spell cast and can either be done in short bursts or held continuously to protect from explosions/shrapnel or rapid fire. 6 castings; maximum 3 minute duration for quick cast, 3 minutes between castings or one 15 minute continuous burn before depletion.

    *Sword of Justice- high temperature, highly focused burn of his left hand in flame. Mimics a oxygen/acetylene cutting torch and can be used as a blade, manipulated to various shapes and weapon comparable lengths. Most used in close hand-to-hand combat when weapons have been lost or failed. 6 castings; maximum 3 minute burn, 3 minutes between castings before depletion. Continuous burn in training.

    *Vesuvius- creates a dome of fire in a ten foot radius, pressurizes oxygen and flammable particles within it and ignites the air with an explosive 40 foot circular outburst; essentially turning himself into a human “fire-piston”. Effective in clearing melee attacks or triggering confusion. 6 castings; each exponentially weaker than the first before depletion.

    ============

    PURGATONIS IGNES (Fires of Purification): High Level Spells, Athame Blade Foci/Blood or Compressed Oxygen
    *Limited by number of castings, time between castings, duration and availability of Mana. Requires His Blood or Compressed Oxygen to Ignite. 3 Castings.

    *Hellfire- physically engulfs himself and anything he touches in high temperature flame; limited to objects similar in size. Flammable items will catch fire, including his clothing. 3 castings; maximum 2 minute burn, 3 minutes between castings before depletion. Continuous burn not available.

    *Thunder of Ares- focused “Pulse” capable of burning hot enough to melt metal within a 100 foot distance. Electrical lines, eaves, and shingling are especially vulnerable and can fall as molten rain. It is also not a quick spell to cast due to melting points of metal, but is a successful diversionary tactic. 3 castings; maximum 2 minute burn, 3 minutes between castings, each a reduced distance before depletion. Continuous burn not available.

    *Archangel- internalization of combustion, giving the illusion he physically becomes fierce, blue flame. The resulting convection can lift him off the ground, rendering him airborne with limited height and maneuvering capabilities dependent on weather, etc. that would effect the build-up of backdraft. If a backdraft cannot be prevented, he will release the spell. The hotter the burn achieved, the higher he can lift himself through a controlled flashover, the shorter the duration. 3 castings; maximum 2 minute burn, 3 minutes between castings or five minutes continuous burn before depletion.

    ============

    IRA DEIi (Wrath of God); Spell of Legend
    *1 Casting, Full Drain, Risk of Death, Requires His Blood or Compressed Oxygen to Ignite

    Wrath of God- focused combination of “Vesuvius” and “Archangel”; pressurized buildup of flammable dust, debris and oxygen that ignite into a catastrophic backdraft that reaches several hundred yards. 100% drain, one time cast that causes extensive physical damage to the magus. Only used twice before, both times almost killed him; the force so powerful it seared his skin and caused aneurism. He is incredibly hesitant to use this, based on the potential collateral damage of innocents; he must be absolutely convinced his targets are clear of any unintended damage.
  • APPROVED SKILLS
    Highly Educated.

    Speaks Italian, Latin, and English; rusty French and rudimentary Spanish.

    Fighting Skills; trained in the art of clean, quiet and effective assassination at close range.
  • APPROVED HISTORY
    After the Resonance, he’d sought refuge, a place to pray out the horrid atrocities that had befallen so many. Finding himself on his knees in the courtyard of the Vatican with countless other cleaved souls, he seemed to pray the loudest with vicious conviction despite the fact he could barely stand, subsequently plucked from their ranks with quiet decision. He trusted wholeheartedly, followed without question and became something unthinkable.

    +++++

    Rhome was the only child born to French parents Sophia and Georges Del Santo in the small village of Matera, Italy. At the time an almost empty ancient village, his youth saw the resurgence of his home into a brilliant tourist entity. Even though they owned a small cafe, they still barely made enough to make ends meet. Rhome grew up a poor but well cared for imaginative child. After his daily work in the cafe, exploring the ancient caves and tunnels of the picturesque hamlet were a beloved pastime; finding his carved coin, iron ring, and athame in their ancient halls. It was also where he met his childhood love, Lisette. Fleeting summers were spent with the girl, Rhome growing into a warm, compassionate and romantic young man; inevitably falling deeply in love with the woman Lisette had become.

    Parents tolerated their seemingly childhood infatuation until it was apparent they would have to face the unfortunate stereotype that their worlds divided them; Lisette to an affluent family with expectations, and Rhome to the simple life he’d inherited. When his mother became deathly ill and passed, his father was not long for the world; committing suicide shortly after. Unable to care for the cafe on his own and pushed away from Lisette by a family certain of his social climbing, Rhome searched for faith. Only after she married another man did he completely drown his bitter sorrow, taking a voluntary Vow of Chastity to become a priest.

    To his dismay, Lisette came to his abbey every Sunday to hear him speak in the tiny congregation. His duties quickly became an uncomfortable but necessary evil as he counseled her withered marriage that was expecting a child. Her husband knew nothing of their former relationship, though became increasingly suspicious of the “good Father’s” intentions the further the pregnancy progressed. Accusations were thrown as the fires of Hell began to engulf the world. Throughout the fallout after the Resonance, Rhome valiantly tried to save as many lives as he could, gathering them at the church and going out daily to round up more, all the while suffering mercilessly from his own change. Despite his better judgment, he finally went for Lisette. Upon entering their home, she was found bound and beaten with a frothing husband in the throes of a L-infection transformation; enraged and without control. Infuriated beyond reason by the priest’s presence, the man covered her with lamp oil and lit a match; fleeing with their child as his wife was branded in flame.

    She burned in his arms, oil coating Rhome as he tried to save her. His skin lit but didn’t char, the blue flames engulfing them both as he held her; his final transformation feeding the fire to burn so hot it eviscerated the house. Wood was vaporized, stone melted, leaving nothing left but his naked and sobbing form in blanket of ash and rubble.

    The warm and compassionate man had been purified in flame, adopted by those he still serves, and converted into a numb and merciless soul. Rhome now cares nothing for his targets, his belief that if he was cleansed through fire and pain then those that are worthy can withstand the same. Deep seated hatred for anyone but recognized Order Magi is unshakable, Lycanthropes at the very hotbed of his hatred. He is the one they send when the talks, invitations, and attempts to speak have failed. Though he kills without question, his humanity will not allow him to forget the monster that killed his love, a special kind of Hell reserved for the man if he is ever found. He is unafraid at his own prospect of death; already through Hell and reborn from the ashes of his own making.

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  1. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    “Welcome, Captain Greene.” Just his voice made his nerves irritated, but the former assassin’s senses were never trained off the gun, even when it was lowered and holstered. Her presence when she moved closer seemed to make him flinch slightly, the scar in his palm a distraction to keep him focused. “I never thought you responsible. Not even for a second.” He blinked at her quietly. Inside, he always knew that. To hear it spoken pulled the weight from his shoulders a bit. Eyes fell again on Harker at his quip, it was fierce hatred that bubbled up like a volcano and seemed to wash over him every time he made a few steps forward. That was almost it, the flash of white in a vicious dog’s eyes before they tore someone apart. Until she spoke again. Lashes lowered, blink was slow. “Find a little serenity, Harker. You got problems with my decisions? Come see me later. But right now, remember that I am your superior.” The ticking under his feet kept him concentrating on her words. It was like a clock. “…yet here I come asking you to help us which means helping your enemy. It’s unfair. . .” Brow furled, looking at her again. “The Order doesn’t help anyone but themselves. They will betray you…” it slipped out quietly between her sentences, unknowingly prophetic. Silence hung a moment before he delivered his terms. They were his terms, and whatever the consequences he would not be shaken from them. The wolf caught his eye as she pulled it from her sweater and held it in her fingers. He’d not seen it, thought about it in… ages. It tapped at a crack in his brain that itched and ached. From a cave, as a child. With the ring. Found while exploring. The thoughts almost seemed rehearsed. Eyes closed as she spoke only to him. “It was a lie… they lied to me about her. They lied to me to get me to run,” he didn’t elaborate, evident he'd been manipulated to defect from ARMA's eye. The level to which he’d been used was staggering. A pawn. A pawn with the power of the entire board. Twisted to a breaking point. He found himself choosing a side. The decision taking even him aback for a moment. Standing. It felt, new. A baptism of a soul. Cleansing of intent. Words spoken that couldn't be retracted. “Believe me, some of us know more than you might think.” Eyes leveled at him again, the mercurial flash one that heralded the growing viscosity of the air around him as all the magus' invisible walls came sliding off. His presence became heavy, stifling almost. “You know what I want you to know,” the quip was quick and absolute; verbal lash unashamed. He almost seemed to have stood a foot taller, presence radiated with a calm complexity that was not there before. Hiding before. Humiliated before. He’d been given a blessing to be the weapon he was, only now pointed in the other direction. The man though he knew him, but the magus’ invisibility to the world was irrevocable fact. The magus had seen the inner workings of the Order that few alive were privy to. He was the hand that dealt the silent vendettas, and no one would ever know what he truly was or had done. The pressing force that settled around him finally came to a calm equilibrium, elegant and warm. Alive, electric. Comfortable in its intensity. It was as if his natural state wasn’t squashing things under control, and instead when left to flow unchecked they were ultimately the most skilled. “and I’ll be the one to kill you. That’s a promise to you both.” The real tragedy was the man thought he would walk away from it. ARMA needed him, but they needed him clear headed. He watched her approach the man. Something wasn’t right. “You good? Or are we going to have more problems?” Harker had picked up on something, his eyes betrayed him. Anywhere else it would have been a diligent soldier keeping tabs on his surroundings, here… here there was a precedence of the unseen. They had both glanced at the upper level. Had he been betrayed? The enraged thought leapt into his throat, seared away by another realization as the shadowed flicker in the upper level brought unparalleled mortal reflexes to life. No, no no! They were looking up, which meant… He moved toward both of them without hesitation, knowing he was risking getting shot and really hoping Harker was as quick to retract a shot as he was to fire one. The magus was immediately engulfed in a twisted spiral of white-hot flame and the pew to their right was set in motion with a tremendous shove of his foot. Sliding backward toward the wall with the force of a freight train, it slammed into the solidifying shadow in its path, dispersing it with a pained cry before the pew crashed and splintered into the wall and a garrote clinked to the ground next to them without an offender. The world was silent again save for the sound of air rippling fiercely. The evil one… the enemy, the assassin had placed himself between them and the rest of the world, one hand out to tell the two not to move, the other producing a vicious wall of white-hot flame between them and whatever was coming. It seemed alive, focused, and angry. Cass or Harker, it was uncertain who the immediate first target had been, but it was evident they all were now. Brought together into the same place. Three for one. Set up. Betrayal. Something else... it didn't matter now; the world was about to move faster than they could imagine. The moments before the storm needed to include as much information as possible. “Watch where you stand and what you're standing on. Watch where they’re going to force you to go, watch your back. Don’t get close and don’t get isolated. Do not let them push you from this room. Force them out or kill them. Do not engage the phasing mage. If you can call for back-up, I’d do it now.” Shadows swirled again, and she was standing in the middle of the pews. Cynical and normal looking, his age. She looked like she could just be walking through a coffee shop. *npc* How long can you hold that? Can’t stay in there forever. She was right. Current cast would run out in two minutes, the floor already thrumming as he readied to throw the other when this one failed. Fingers slid his athame from the sheath, the razor sharp blade a distinct pitch. A priest with a knife… not just any knife, the one that had ended countless lives. No shame. He would not let himself feel shame. “You forgot I’m not just a mage,” he said to her. This was not a fight. It was a collection. They would take him, take Cass, probably kill Harker or torture him for information. He was going to lose this fight with the phase magus. She was fast as hell and never gave him anything to grab onto. He had failed up to this point so far… one minute on the good guy side and he was already going to martyr himself. The thought that this may be the one responsible for all the disappearances was logical. Without a trace. It was a sound theory. But, if he kept her busy enough, they could get out. He was not going to win this fight with her, but she wasn’t walking away from this in one piece. He looked at both the ARMA agents… they were about to see the worst of him. Promises made would not be forgotten or forgiven. Eyes fell on Cass a moment, he had to get his shit together with this magus or they were going to die. Now, later. Either they got out of here, or this was it. This was the chance to prove himself. Gaze flicked back to the woman that had tormented him for years. The candles flickered and he moved suddenly through his own shield as it fell, one foot off the pillar to launch over a pew and grab her arm before she phased. His movements were insanely fast, no wasted kinetic energy or motion, cassock still spinning as he landed and she was gone. Knife repositioned in his hand with a simple flip as he remained motionless, waiting. He could feel blood on the blade, he’d hit her…
  2. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    “I have offered my assistance only to avoid killing you.” He stopped walking. It wasn’t just Harker that drew a pause from him, there was something else. He’d been in the game too long. The air was different, the room -felt- different. There was no mana coming from the man, he was fairly certain he wasn’t a magus. The guy definitely knew him, which meant the fact he was standing here with a gun and nothing else meant there were many things he couldn’t see that were giving him enough confidence he could escape this without getting hurt. Did he have items that had caught his attention? “The war coming is bigger than either of us, and it’s bigger than your feud with the Order.” There were unfortunately limits to his patience. Limits that had been of late hard to control. Box was set down near a door and he turned to face the man, stepping out finally from the shadows of the overhang. He was not going to cower from a threat. If the man was going to try and goad him to a fight, he would not be shot in the back. Thousands of degrees contained in one mere body were ticking, normally he could feel it by now; the heat, the white hot slide of internal flame thrumming against the inside of his skin like a million points of light licking to break free when he lit the spark on his skin. It wasn’t, and that was truly what caught his attention. The very feel of the world felt odd to him at the moment. “You could do so much good, but the truth is, you’re a loose cannon. Already you’ve hurt two ARMA agents in pursuit of a narrow-minded vendetta. You refuse to align with ARMA, and you refuse to abide by the law…” Blink was slow. ARMA had never asked. “There is too much at stake for you to be allowed to continue unchecked.” The moment the aim was taken, he felt an irregular sensation whisper up his skin. A numbness, the feeling of a freefall, light flickering at the edges of his vision. Thoughts, feelings, foreign and unusual. “You’re coming with me. In cuffs, or in a body bag.” The numbness turned terrible, slithering up his spine and draining into his blood like spilled ink. He felt it under his feet, vibration… rage, serenity, a sense of the floor falling away to an endless dark sky with no boundaries. No mana, no magic, a pure swell of fathomless energy through his blood that burned. He was going to reduce this man to ash. “The choice is yours." “Stand down, Harker.” Limitless turned to self-consciousness, a viciously charged reality splayed far out from his body reeling back with disorienting speed. Pieces of himself slammed back together like a steel tap snapping shut. What had just happened? Small breath was let out. Not a sigh or relief, but one of horrible realization. On the outside, he was a rock. Cold. Mind tried to connect a voice to a face, then a face to break through the psychological drowning he was trying to wake up from; unable to know that the “mad bonkers” described to ARMA was something he was just waking up to, radiating like a beacon. An identity he had only felt, rolling around in his subconscious, bricked up behind psychological walls. She could not be here. He didn’t want her here. He didn’t want her seeing him here. He was just so… bare. Eyes found the floor, wanting desperately to just excuse himself and let the two take care of their business but… something was wrong. He could still feel something moving beneath his feet like the gears of a clock. Turning, twisting, thrumming. Was it him? “There won’t be any arrests here tonight. Father del Santo is considered a rehabilitated rogue magus with a protected status which means that he isn’t to be bothered unless he either contacts us or is in danger.” How she addressed him hit hard enough to elicit a flick of muscle in his neck. “If there is any suspicion that he has broke the terms of his deal with us then Knight Division needs to be contacted and a proper investigation conducted.” He had no deal. He wanted no deal. He’d burned that bridge a long time ago to get free. Even now, after all he shoved away from him in order to breathe… he couldn’t slip the collar. “We keep losing people. Some of them are dead. Others missing. . .” Dove gray watched her hands at the candles. The urge to insist he didn’t kill her brother was there, but it would taint such a pure gesture he’d seen too many pass through to do. It was all most had left, memories and prayers. So he listened. The shy, often “at a loss for words” Matthias when he was around her was clashing with the identity Harker was exposing, crashing against the controlled cassock and collar he was desperately trying to be. He couldn’t breathe. He just wanted to exist without all this, without being tangled in everything so hopelessly he couldn’t think. Everything she said felt like needles on his skin. When she spoke, he listened. It hit too close, and the stress he could see and feel in waves from her tightened his throat. Harker was right. This was bigger than his feud with the Order. It was bigger than him. He was one man with a vendetta, wanting to draw blood and take down what had hurt him; but what attacked him in this very cathedral had the ability to make factions nervous, to seek out every option for defense, including those it had tortured. “I need you. . .” Eyes flicked up at her. It was sincere. “both working together instead of against each other. Everyone does right now.“ Rami and Dacia had been in this very room asking the same of him. Harker. Everything had conditions. Everything. He just, couldn’t. He didn’t want people to know what he was capable of. Against the Order, he was willing to do the worst because they hadn’t spared the rod with him. It would require him to be… him. There would be questions, and he would have to be truthful instead of a version of him that could deny his past. Eyes fell to the floor again. “I can’t help you.” He’d said the same to the Vanguard, to the Order. There was too much to be said, and Harker was there. The weight of the decision was too much to be decided in that one moment. He too, was different. He’d had time to actually exist without chains for once. “I’m sorry.” He went to retrieve his box, just wanting to go down the steps into his world and disappear. Was he retreating because they were there, or was he retreating because he didn’t know how to exist among people who knew what he’d done? Even just a fraction of what he’d done. He would always be tainted in their eyes. No, he was retreating because he didn’t want anyone to know what they’d truly done to him. He would have to be what they made him. In order to be free, he would have to be who they wanted him to be. Now he had a conscience, and now he had free will. It could be different. He would be different. His initial refusals were buckling. He sat again on the end of a pew, forearms leaning on his knees. Thumb kneaded the scar in the palm of his hand. A burn of all things. Stoic reserve was now clearly in turmoil, she’d peeled away the façade. He looked at them both. “We threw our punches and had our black eyes,” he said quietly. “But I would have taken a bullet for your brother. I know he didn’t feel the same about me, and that was fine, but I want you to know that. I believe in what you do even if there isn't a place for me.” Lips pressed together for a moment, a furl in his brow that was truly repentant. “I’ll never be ARMA, it just doesn’t feel… right… given what I’ve done, but as long as you need me I’ll help you." eyes on Harker were absolute. "If I help you, no deals. No terms. No catches. I am not a slave anymore.” The smothering weight seemed to finally lift; scar on his palm was met again with the habitual kneading as he tried to come to terms with what he’d just done. He was advocating for himself, to be free. “Just understand what you may learn about me in the process, I will not apologize for." What he was asking for... was not to be judged. To truly protect, he could not hold back.
  3. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    “You could listen to reason and accept my help.” Reason was relative. He was tired of listening to people trying to explain the world to him, tired of people waving a leash at him. This conversation couldn’t end fast enough. Everyone saw him as a damn opportunity across the spectrum. The former assassin was after all just a thing, the tool that could sway either side of the fight or become somebody’s trophy and bragging rights if they were to take him down… someone they could lie to, insult and string along with false promises of a daughter survived, trick and fool and bribe… a fighting dog to taunt only to kill because he merely had the audacity to stop someone from beating him. That was the definition of sadistic, not him. Still, he was patient, listening calmly with his eyes focused on the floor as the man said his peace. “You should accept my help.” He’d heard that before. “ARMA isn’t here today,” The priest looked up at him finally, something in his countenance changed even though his expression didn’t. The candles, the church, were no longer his focal point. It was the man in front of him, the eerie mercurial eyes unwavering like a viper as Harker continued his lecture. ARMA didn’t even know he was here talking to him. This was an off-roading member, or ARMA was collapsing to the point the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing. Either option was unacceptable where he was concerned; proof of the worst fallout he could imagine. He didn’t care about ARMA. He cared about who was in ARMA. “Nothing is beyond war.” Yes, something was. He’d ignored the situation for over a year, nothing good could have come from him butting his nose into it anyway. Still, it nagged at him that he should have at least tried to reach out, deciding against it because it would have just made things worse. There were things beyond war. Trust. Proving oneself. “Do you care about these people at all? Or are these priests just pawns in your scheme to take down the Order? Is that what you want Del Santo? Are you really that self-absorbed? A narcissist on a suicidal tirade, and what? Just let the pieces fall where they may?” Blink was slow as he watched the man. The magus was far from reckless, he was methodical… painstakingly disciplined to a fault, a spider watching a wasp unaware it was caught in a web. This was the type of encounter that got people killed for no reason. Maybe he thought he was helping, but if Harker had stopped a moment to ask someone in ARMA whether or not he was a threat to them, he wouldn’t have wasted his whole afternoon. Unless, there was nobody left that knew he had a crux. The thought raised his hackles. He needed to see for himself. But there was still the current problem of the gun waving guest. The magus could have asked him what was going on in ARMA… but the brashness of outing the former assassin to potentially the entire church didn’t inspire confidence or trust. Bringing names or concerns into the conversation was not a good idea until he knew where this guy stood other than seemingly just wanting another notch on his belt. Eyes cast over his shoulder at all the candles he was supposed to light on the lectern and pulpit. One way to find out. “If you’ve said your peace, I have work to do.” The sheer fact he could do it as fast as he could screamed he was no typical magus. No mana pull, no words, no motion, no fetishes, the depth of the horrible power oddly quite beautiful. Peaceful. The room brightened to glow in warm light as the wicks on the pillar candles began to ignite themselves from behind where he stood across to the other side in a gentle wave. “If you have any more questions, ARMA can officially come speak to me.” Correction. Cass, and only Cass. Until he had some kind of indication she was safe, or this man could be trusted, the magus was a brick wall. It would never happen; therefore this jackass would never come back. If he did without a badge, the conversation would be much different, and someone was going to get burned. He was going to tell him... they weren't foot soldiers. There was a method to his madness and as an insider only the priest would know that. But he didn't. It wasn't time. Sigh was soft, nod final as he turned to return the boxes to their storage and leave him to his own devices. He needed to change, get on the street and find out what was going on in ARMA headquarters. Now.
  4. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    The man was thinking as he sat smug with his weapon. That was definitely different than he’d experienced before. Everyone else that tried to corner him thought they could win by gutting in directly for the kill. That had proved fatal for them in most cases. Weapons, fist fights, it didn’t matter. The former assassin always had ways to produce the most pain, with the least effort. He may die, but the other would regret they’d lived for the rest of their lives, if they even survived at all. Fire, brought pain. His conditioning was indeed sadistic to an epic level, and that was what burned at him as he fought alone to find himself. Someone actually attempting to speak to him was unusual. Was the firearm a precaution to get his attention that the man was only here to talk? Perhaps, but doubtful. Perhaps he thought it would be effective. “You have a grievance with the Order of the First Light, and I can appreciate that.” He’d yet to identify himself, and the comment didn’t make any more sense than most people’s belief that every Catholic priest was a part of the Vatican- therefore an Order boogeyman. Nowadays they were all thought to be evil magicians that were bent on taking over the world. The majority of Catholic priests were just priests. The simple fact that this man knew his name, knew he was Order, and wasn’t trying to stab him in the face and slit his throat to bleed him dry left only one choice to his affiliation. ARMA. The last people he wanted to deal with were ARMA. He would have rather they been anyone else. His relationship with ARMA was complicated. Hopelessly complicated. “Truth be told, I can’t stand the hypocritical extremists any more than you.” Forehead wrinkled slightly, a brow quirking briefly as he cast him a disinterested glance and continued his work. Three rows done, clean glass, replaced where needed and new candles. The man worked quickly, especially when he was focusing on the world around him. Everything else came more sharply into view when there was a mundane distraction, meditation of sorts. They weren’t hypocritical extremists; they were the most dangerous cancer in the world at the moment. “I’ve killed more than my fair share of them. You’re on a warpath, but there is a time, a place, and a way to accomplish your mission.” He knew nothing of his mission. “You’re trying to send a message, but you’re going about it the wrong way.” This man also knew nothing of anarchy. “I can help you, but my help comes with conditions.” He was met with silence. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence; the priest just was comfortable with thought before action. Long silences made some uneasy. He simply didn’t know how much this man knew about him, and he wasn’t about to offer information. “I asked what I could do for you, not the other way around.” It was deadpan as he continued to work. If he wanted help, he would have sought it out. Whatever this man was offering was obviously to his own benefit, and the priest would not be the sacrificial lamb again. ARMA was shaping up to be no better than the Order, willing to sacrifice and use those it deemed trash. ARMA only had better PR. The box was empty now, and he silently collapsed it flat and placed it on a pew to be used for something of need later. The bottom box was also partially empty, and he left it where it was for a moment, sitting on the same pew as Harker at the end next to where he’d been working. He didn’t face him, just sat quietly with his eyes wandering over the front of the cathedral, completely disinterested in the fact there was still a gun pointed at him. Pretty sure the answer to his statement would either be sarcastic, a trigger pull, or maybe nothing at all, he took a slow breath and let it out. He wasn’t armed, but it didn’t matter, the magus was the worst of the worst. At this distance, in a drafty stone cathedral the fact he naturally emanated heat could be felt. It was like an aura, always there. His hair trigger, ready to pull in less than a heartbeat. He was beginning to hate that power, hate himself, just simply hate. “In the interest of full disclosure, that gun won’t save you. There is a reason I’m not armed. You shouldn’t have come.” In contemplating his own horrific ability, his expression followed suit. He was an abomination, and he knew it, the stoic sadness in his features evident as his eyes found light trickling through one of the stained glass windows. “ARMA doesn’t have the information to have warned you, so either you are incredibly stupid, or arrogant, a rogue, exceedingly desperate, or tremendously brave. But, as long as you’re not here to harm anyone, you are welcome to stay as long as you need.” Conversation over. He stood, leaning down to pick up the box and set it down where he was just seated, reaching to pick up the empty one. Fingers tapped on it a moment. This should have been where the conversation ended. Against his better judgement, he looked at the man. “I don’t need help. I need you to stay out of my way. The fact you’re here, talking to me now is bad for you, and ARMA, and people in ARMA. You can’t be seen here.” Cass. Namely Cass. Her brother, was an unfortunate loss. The commander hated his guts, but the priest respected him anyway. Cass didn’t need his troubles adding to the mix. He could care less what she thought anymore, but he cared what happened to her, and he would not allow anyone to bring harm down around her... even a fuck-up of this magnitude. To his credit, the guy was trying to help. In helping, he’d also screwed up. He simply should not be seen here. To be seen here would implicate him as an accomplice in the former assassin’s activities. ARMA didn’t need that, they had something to lose. He had nothing to lose. Flattened box was placed on top of the other as he prepared to take it downstairs. His voice lowered to an almost inaudible level, hands calmly on top of the box. “I will take over the Order,” eyes narrowed slightly. “And I will burn it to the ground. There will be nothing left. There will be no one left. Every atrocity they’ve committed will be burned to ash. You have no idea the depth to which this goes, the torture they've caused. The things they've done. This is beyond war, beyond pain, beyond grief." He picked up the box to deliver it back downstairs. The man was calm on the outside, but a raging inferno just beneath his skin was boiling. There was hell suppressed in a tortured man, and he had it focused on the Order. He was going to self destruct, and take the thing with him. The magus could have brought the information to another group, could have taught them all the Order's secrets... none of it deserved to be remembered. Or used, or survive to hurt another person. He himself, would cease to exist too. “I will burn the Order to the ground. That’s my message.” He pulled in another long breath and let it out calmly, blinking as if to put the chains back on his anger, and nodding once to him. "You're welcome to stay as long as you like."
  5. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    (Note for future reference- the NPC priests in the church are fearless.) If he'd heard the man, he didn't indicate it, reaching again to the top of the shelves to retrieve empty small glass cylinders. The tin discs on the bottom contained a smidge of wax and the charred remnants of a wick, clinking as he pulled them out. Guns didn't concern him. They were a weak man's weapon. Gauche. Crass. Worthless really. What he was concerned with was completely the opposite; the miniscule expression that flickered across the Vicar's face. He'd been impatient with the Italian before, but this was different. On the surface, the old man was kind, nodding to the visitor even though the ruler of this castle had every right to throw him out on his ass. He would probably call the cops after he left the two and returned to the small chapel. One didn't walk into a cathedral, especially now, and flash a weapon. That was enough to cause a catastrophic press nightmare. Not the Order? Really? By the time the visitor stated the obvious, the Italian was miles ahead. Of course he wasn't the Order. Never. They would never risk this, they had an elegance, as evil as it was. Vanguard, almost as careful. The unseen threat, had already tried and failed. They were very quiet at the moment. Hired. Or ARMA, though to be so brash was uncharacteristic of the group. They still had some semblance of public decorum, perhaps not. "Please, I have this," the Italian said to the older man as he knealt to retrieve candles from the smaller box. "It's fine." The older man didn't move. The Italian looked at the floor a moment, sigh soft, then pushed up and approached. It was immediately evident how tall the magus was, and how frail the Vicar stood. Hands rested on his shoulders gently. "Non erit finis. Perfici istam sermone aliqua proponamus," the magus said. (I'll be fine. Finish your sermon.) "Nihil." (No.) "Est finis. Mihi crede," he insisted. (It's fine. Trust me.) The Vicar's lips pressed into a thin line, and he finally nodded, reaching up to put his palms on Rhome's cheeks. "Dominus vobiscum." There was a flicker of a smile in the Italian's eyes, melancholy. The Vicar's eyes were kind, but intent virulent as they slid to the visitor. He nodded to the Italian again and returned to his work in the small side chapel. The magus returned to his work, how many moments ticked by he didn't count. It was irrelevant. The world didn't give him enough credit. The man had threatened the only person he held dear, the fact his flesh was still attached to his bones was out of pure courtesy. It didn't matter how brash, armed, or whatever -whoever- he was. The magus was unique. Death from his hand, could come from anywhere in the most sadistic of ways. That's what the Order had exploited, and they were going to sugger for that and all the atrocities they'd done. He was planning on bringing down the Order. Suicidal? Definitely. "What can I do for you." His voice, was everything most didn't expect it to be. Calm, quiet, kind. Intelligent. Unafraid. It was the first time the mercurial silver looked at the man, if only briefly, then back to his polishing. The first row was complete. He took a moment, striking a match and lighting the first one, the flame to which the rest would be lit. A fire magus that used matches, the world was a strange place. Glass clinked softly as he continued cleaning one by one.
  6. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    Sometimes being a priest, was harder. He’d gone through the entirety of the storage room. Starting on one side to find more votives, then finding something else, that led to something else, then something else, six hours later the entire storage room was reorganized and mentally catalogued. He dusted off his cassock, lifting both boxes, glass clinking in them quietly. Some of the votive glass cylinders needed replacing as well and he’d found beautiful new ones, the top box full of votive candles being balanced by his chin. Steps were nimble, each foot placed carefully. Worn steps, long cassock, double boxes, chin balancing one, somewhere in-between he heard the doors boom shut in the building above, making a mental note on the never-ending checklist of to-do’s to keep the place running. Seems fixing the tension on the hinges had been on there already. Damn. It was his name spoken that drew the busy list making to a fine pinpoint. He didn’t have to look to see everything, or listen to know exactly how many were in the vast building. It just flicked on, like some damnable curse that couldn’t be purged no matter what he did; training beaten over and over into a shattered mind that would think for him. Stepping through a small side door, the balancing continued, using his heel to quietly close the door behind him and continue his path down the shadowed side to the vestibule under the old choir loft. Despite the imposing stature of the new occupant, the world didn’t cease turning and he had to get these boxes to their destination before he dropped them. “Father del Santo does not hold confessions until the evening,” he said quietly, answering the need with calm. Silver eyes flicked to the older Vicar emerging from the small transept chapel. He knew the Vicar was intending to work his charm on the newcomer, but the magus had cut him off at the pass. With all the times the man had hidden him from the world, it made him wonder if he really was the old priest he claimed to be and not someone like him before the world came to an end. Such was life, and the magus was actually more approachable than the boogeyman ARMA made him out to be. He took orders from no one. Not anymore. People just couldn't seem to leave him alone. Vanguard. Order. The unseen threat. They knew he was here, it had been ages since he'd heard a whisper from any of them. Why now? “But maybe I can help you,” the quivering of the glass was urgent and he lifted his chin, balancing to set them carefully on the floor next to the shelf of flickering candles. He began to carefully collect the empty ones off the shelf, moving the flickering lit ones toward the back and opening the top box. A small hand towel was pulled out, and he began to wipe the soot from each empty votive glass. One by one. This was going to take forever. He had the patience.
  7. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    He'd not lost his penchant for silence, it had been beaten into his core by the Vatican, but even before the world fell apart he'd been quiet and kind. Unassuming. Cups didn't make a noise as he moved them, coffee poured without a splash. He'd heard the Vicar several moments ago making his way to the small kitchen to get his breakfast. The old man's movements had changed over the last six months, gate had slowed, breath was more labored. The assassin studied things most people didn't, and he knew the Vicar was either getting significantly weaker, or something was wrong. The old man wouldn't hear of it though, and the thought of losing the only one who believed in him even after he found out he was essentially the devil broke the magus' heart. Rhome was by far the youngest in the building, the aging half-dozen that lived there with him had clustered together after the Resonance destroyed their own buildings. Strength in numbers he supposed. He was their caretaker now, and of the building by proxy. Errands. Repairs. Even laundry on some occasions. The building was equipped to withstand so much, and it mostly had. He'd almost finished rebuilding the side courtyard that had been destroyed by the Resonance. He'd also replaced the eaves on the alley after he'd melted them to rain molten metal down on several aggressive idiots bent on harassing a fellow fugitive. There was a protective streak a mile wide buried in him, but it was a compass without a north. Those within his immediate daily life were easy to know, those outside... he never knew who to trust, so they all were enemies. The Vicar was carrying something, hooking it on the top of the door as he came in. Rhome reached up to button his shirt collar, the formal dress donned in favor of the clothes he wore outside and under the cathedral the night before. Inside, here in the sacred space, he was seen a priest. He could pretend he was a good man. *npc* Paper collar too, the seated Vicar said quietly as Rhome placed coffee on the small table in front of him. Blink was quiet from the gray eyes up at the hanging coat. It was a cassock. He'd given up his vows, but the Vicar kept insisting. Lips opened to protest, again, but the older man's finger came up to stop him. *npc* Argue with me after I've had my coffee. In the meantime, collar, and that. Older man nodded toward the clothing. Rhome paused. He hadn't worn a cassock since the Vatican. *npc* I know it will fit, you have no excuse. The Vicar sighed softly after a long drink of coffee. *npc* You're just worried if you wear it the girls won't be able to tell us apart. Smile was slight, he was fiddling with his paper collar, "it's just..." *npc* Just nothing. You are here, you are family, I will not treat you like an outsider. Older man put the newspaper down on the table he'd brought with him. It was from yesterday. Rhome could only make out part of the headline because it was folded, but it was a story about the magus murders. He reached up and pulled the cassock from the hanger, sliding it onto his shoulders and beginning the buttons. *npc* I will tell you this until you believe it, you are still a priest because I say so. I can forgive sin, remember? You also need to stop working so hard in the courtyard. Healing knuckles hurt. He swallowed softly, yah those were hard to explain.... smoothing the front of the cassock before flexing the brazen knuckles. Moving toward the sink, the long coat swished, resulting sound jolting electricity up his spine. There was an honest to god flinch, vaulting him into another place and another time. Making that noise would have gotten him beaten at the Vatican. Assassins made no noise. Turn back after dropping off a spoon had found the footing drilled into his muscles. His movement now was eerily silent again. He didn't like this thing, irritation squashed because it made the Vicar happy. "I'm bringing votive candles up from storage today. We don't have many left, I have to find somewhere that has more. I'll clean the shelves too." The Vicar nodded, taking another sip of coffee as he opened up the paper. He caught the headline as he left the kitchen to retrieve the votives from storage downstairs. It was his doing. The paper. That headline. One more Order magus had been assassinated. This one had fought fiercely, but a well placed double strike into the spleen and then between the ribs had been simple. The pattern from his Order signet ring burned into the man's flesh had been just an extra. A message, to those that would listen.
  8. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    St. Patrick's Cathedral Vaults and Catacombs 2-14-22 3am That tiny little thing on those whistles… the plastic… those leather half circles with the tiny piece of metal and a tambour of plastic that you could put on your tongue like a wafer and press to your palate. The high pitched whistle they could squeal was piercing, penetrating through your sinuses like a fire alarm, itching the center of your brain like whipping rain against a window of tissue paper until it popped. It was all he could think, hear, see, feel- that vicious searing sound crescendo through his every sense. Gasp was immediate, the uncontrolled reaction unusual as the world that had spiraled to a pinpoint of focus was broken by some shred of consciousness from somewhere. His hand was on fire, and the dirt floor room was vibrating, fist closing to stave the blood. He snapped the towel from around his neck and swathed it over the flames to extinguish them and muffle the blood that had almost just created something catastrophic. Breath seethed through his teeth at the first look of the split knuckles, then the ancient load bearing beam he’d been hitting. Wood was also spattered with his blood, quickly wiped off as well. His blood was like gasoline. Once he bled, his spark could ignite a firestorm. When his consciousness this time had fallen into seizure and errored, he’d no idea. Meditation was not new to him, physical training and focus were not new to him. Together, was most definitely not new; it was what gave him the intense control he had. This crack was getting bigger, and he was starting to lose longer moments of time. Under recent intense reflection, he had pinpointed it just to before the binding, before he walked into enemy territory of his own free will. His consciousness had bucked even the strongest of cuffs, and ever since then there had been a tiny leak in his brain. Enough to drip over years, testing his patience, his sanity… breaking open a crack that was swiftly destabilizing an already volatile mix of skills and magic. He could see his past so clearly before the Resonance. His hell after. Then numbness as he was a machine, and now. Now was this person he didn’t recognize. He was calculating, and angry. An angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other. The angel he knew and still loathed, but this devil was seductive and unknown. Now as this person in the deep bowels of the cathedral where even the Vicar didn’t go, he was training again. Why? A deeply thought out plan. Physical training was at the forefront, his specialty was quiet and slick death. He needed to inflict more damage, be able to take more damage. The more damage he took, the crack would split further apart. The more he focused on it, the angrier he became, the angrier he became the more darkness flashed in his field of vision. Somewhere else, something else, and he couldn’t hit hard enough to make it either go away- or find the white rabbit. In the wane electric light of old brick, dirt floors and cement tombs, he just kept hitting, letting the fire flush up from his feet and over his form as his hands fell to his sides and chest heaved before it extinguished. Growl preceded the heels of his hands smacking together and palms thrust forward, the fierce blade of flame from his hands turning almost white as it scorched a brick wall, extinguishing as quickly as his temper tantrum had started. Knees hit the floor and he fell to sit, pushing himself back against the wall with the heels of his Tims. Elbows rested on his knees as he tried to knead the tension out of his skull. It felt like he was splitting apart, and all he wanted was another throat to cut. Or a world to burn.
  9. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    "They tried to kill me, I did what was necessary." Eyes settled on her as she studied him. There was no more hiding. Before, he could pretend to be studying at university for something or other and even pass as a scholar- now he didn’t bother. He didn’t need or want to anymore. Had she asked questions, he would have answered truthfully- he just didn’t want to bring trouble to her doorstep. "Then that is even more of a reason to not be blaming yourself. Survival is important. If someone goes after you it's only fair that you protect yourself" “The trouble I deal with is fair penance for my crimes. This though, was unprovoked.” It was cryptic, but it was true. "My.... myself.... I mean. I usually always walk home by myself, I don't typically have a problem when I do, but.... I suppose you never know what could happen." He nodded, made sense. He was old fashioned he guessed, or he just knew there were people like him out there. Brow creased slightly at her worried look… maybe he’d said too much. "What exactly do you mean...." He opened his mouth to say something, then stopped himself. Time to leave. …and wait for her to leave. It was a stupid idea, but it felt like the right one. He could move just out of everyone’s sight line. It wasn’t a talent, it was pure training. Specialty, like walking a tightrope. There were just some things that took unusual skill sets. Three blocks into the walk and he was about to peel off and head home. Back to almost full health and wits, it allowed him at first to smell it… then instinctively know he was being followed by someone who was bleeding. The scent was stark against the snow and slush. Shit. Either the guy had sought out medical attention, or he wasn’t as injured as he’d left him and had tracked him to the hospital. Either way, another confrontation was moving in his direction. Damn it. Peeling off into an alley, he went up with unusual grace for someone his size, finding a point where he couldn’t be seen- but could see the majority of the backstreet. *npc* “Rhome, I know you’re in here. We can talk about this.” There was no talking, was there? The man had followed him before. Was he really following him without ill intent? The fire magus had thrown the first punch at the subway after all. Could they talk about this? After several moments, he slid down the ladder and dropped from the fire escape. Benefit of the doubt, maybe things had changed. ..aaaaand a gun. It was the one thing he couldn’t defend himself against effectively. Bullets were weird things, and the risk of collateral damage to create a shield around himself hot enough to melt something moving that quickly was extremely high. Predicting where it would hit him was another variable. He let the guy move closer to him, life expectancy was shorter every step he took to get closer to the former assassin. The bullet would hit him quicker, sure, but he could torch the guy more accurately… and faster, before he ever got a shot off. The fire magus didn’t need words to call on his power, he could do it without warning. The man stopped. He could feel mana. He was smarter than to get any closer. “We just want you to come in.” Nope. He knew with the disappearances he was enemy number one. He would go in, and he wouldn’t come out. “And if I don’t, you’ll kill me here. You’re going to kill me anyway, you just didn’t want to do it on the street where others could see you. Wouldn’t want to look like the Order. Kinda defeats the purpose of being the good guys." Flame flickered down the skin of his hands. “Leave me alone. You attack me, I will defend myself.” His brain was screaming… just kill him already.
  10. Rhome Del Santo

    Just Another Day at the Office....

    He caught the eye roll at Seiko. Abrasive with almost everyone it seemed. His expression was neutral enough to be unconcerned, but when the guy stepped out into the open with him it changed to hints of sarcasm and curiosity. He’d never been sarcastic in his life; he was indeed losing his mind. Did they just think he was going to reach out and knock it out of the air to protect them? "We call it a kinetic vacuum, a device to deprive a kinetic artifact of motion and impact. In short, something to trick it into thinking it’s still flying across the room, when in reality it’s stuck up against the device. Still with me?" Sigh was soft, betraying nothing else but cool. He got it. Why the hell was he here cleaning up other people’s messes…. he shouldn’t have stuck his nose in. The magus was not a team player, made even less so when he watched the grin on the guy’s face. If he got his ass kicked because someone needed to prove themselves in a pissing contest he was going to… This is indeed why he wasn’t a team player. “I like you, I think, but when this is all said and done, I’m gonna have a lot of questions for ya about all this...” Full gaze went to the man. It was the only time in his life he could recall anyone ever saying that about him. Questions though, questions were bad- he killed people for a living. So much for the quiet exit. “You heard him, people! I want that box in my hands pronto. Go!” “Didn’t come in a box….. chased an officer into this building after they tried to save a shop owner around the corner from it. Killed both.” Great. “Of course Pharos is SUPPOSED to have those kinds of things handy…. containments of all kinds…..” Brow cocked slightly. "…only reason to call Pharos in the first place." Okay, he had things to do other than get in the middle of a tiff, noting she was readying to take aim. He moved off on his own until the suicide plan came together and the elusive Pharos item came into play. There wasn’t more he could do other than tend to the fallen, noticing quickly that others weren’t as comfortable with it. New Pharos, or old Pharos with a new job... the guy seemed to be heebie-jeebied out. It bolstered his suspicion he was out to prove himself. Well. If he could wrap this up in a nice bow for him, he would. “Dammit Kayne… Don’t look at the bodies.” He was about to answer, but the thing was moving, hand snapping up to Seiko not to fire yet. Yes, that type of kneejerk shit would get him killed… the magus absolutely still as the thing almost knocked an agent on his ass. They didn’t have much more time for this thing to flop around before it took down the building. Eyes scanned the room, looking for a bit of predictability as to where the thing would go if Seiko or he missed. If all else failed, there were things he could do to stop it… things he would rather not have to- collateral in the immediate vicinity would be huge. “Ten degrees… ten degrees… “ he was talking to himself in his own little world, glancing back and forth between it, Seiko and his position. He’d been watching it; it did have a method to its madness. It seemed attracted to movement, vibration… like a bat almost. If it moved again, he would have to reset himself. He was probably going to die anyway. “I need the impact -not the explosion- to be less than five feet from me. I hope you’re a good shot,” words were directed at Seiko. “It will restart and slow its momentum, and I can stop it for about ten seconds.” He slid out the athame he always carried from the sheath on the inside of his wrist under his sleeve. Slicing a quick two inch nick in his palm, he made a fist, wiping the blade on his thigh and returning it. Blood was no joke. He could not afford to lose. Gaze went to Darius, eyes reflecting oddly in the light with their mercurial silver. Mana was starting to be pulled in. “Stay twenty feet out from me to my right. Wait three seconds after that rocket goes off before you head toward me or the explosion will burn your face off. I can keep from burning you.” Not the entire truth. If Pharos was slow, or hesitated, the longer it took the hotter it would have to get to keep the thing stationary for him to slam the box or whatever it was around it. Pharos was probably going to come out with a good suntan. He didn’t need to know that yet, no need to plant seeds of doubt that could cripple bravado at go-time. The Magus? The magus was too trusting that when he "ceased fire" in order to not barbecue his partner in crime when he got close, that Pharos would be fast enough to snatch it before it crushed the Italian's rib cage. Fuck this hero shit. “How’s it coming Pharos? Find the thing we need?” It was wiggling like an impatient child. Could it feel the mana moving? Left hand slowly swathed itself with a white quiver before it slithered to life as cooler orange flame. Stop it with the left, be ready to push Pharos out of the way with his right if things went wrong, pray he didn’t need both hands to stop it or get out of the way before it squished him. He had a back-up plan... but it wasn't one he wanted to execute. His Uriel charm wouldn't protect him against that and he really didn't want to end up naked in a small crowd of people. Or dead. Dead was more concerning, but naked would suck too. This was the dumbest thing he’d ever done, trusting others not to fuck up. He was not a team player. "Last chance for a better plan?"
  11. Rhome Del Santo

    Blasphemy and Sacrilege

    He was used to stillness, to ease when discomfort was the more normal response. The magus was conditioned to be calm in the face of conflict or anger; it was that conditioning he was starting to buck. Question. Once compressed and focused like the point of a knife, the magus didn’t know where he stood now. Cutting ties with the Order left him with a freedom to wield his power as he wished. He wasn’t sure yet if that would be his downfall, or theirs. With small shreds of odd unpredictable personality starting to break through cracks of calm, it could very well be both. The magus blinked away his quiet thoughts, glancing toward the spigot and reaching to turn it up as it began to allow more water to flow. ”I got better things to do than harass the elderly and go ghost hunting. I also have better ideas than admitting to my employer that I got stuck on an alcohol run and broke into a church. If it’s all the same to you, I was at home like a sane and reasonable person for all of today.” There was a soft smile dusting across his features for a brief moment. He was rarely amused, and this situation would seem so. What wasn’t funny, was that the 'intruder' truly was freezing. Contemplating for a second on the irony of it he knelt quietly, not missing the focused gaze after he tossed out the need to share information. Nobody would listen to him. They never gave him a chance, the 'shoot first and ask questions later' always applied to him. Fingertips touched the floor. At first glance, he thought it’d been packed dirt. It was a mixture of cement, packed dirt, and years of debris smashed firm into a hard floor. He would have preferred dirt. ”If I wanted violence, I would have never dropped the visual cloak and attacked. It would make no sense for me to give up my biggest advantage in surprise only to attack you first from a point of disadvantage later on.” Eyes were fixed on the floor as the man spoke. “If you want to deliver a message, that’s fine. Just be aware that I wasn’t lying when I said my job is dragon hunting, and I have no idea who you are at this point. If you have info on any sort of disappearances, though, I’m all ears. If you have any sort of proof, all the better and I’ll go out of my way to make sure it gets to people who can do something about it.” Silence followed except the trickle of water into the bucket. He was listening intently, even if it didn't seem like it. The frightening sudden onslaught of frozen weather had penetrated even the foundation, but he was patient. The cold of the floor was deep; it didn’t want to give up the ghost. “I’m very rarely surprised,” there was no malice or chest-puffery behind it, just a quiet fact. After a few moments, the floor began to radiate heat and the room warmed considerably to a balmy, tolerable temperature. It would do no good to send a message through a man that was going to freeze to death first, and he didn't feel like focusing on keeping everybody warm when he was fixing things. Floor radiant heat would do the job. He stood and turned the spigot back to a drip, picking up the bucket to move to the boiler. Clinks were quiet as he worked, the dust on tools left on a ledge betraying the reason the thing was fubar-d in the first place- nobody was taking care of it. He could fix things. Stoves. Fridges. Radiators. Boilers… a hint to the life he had before he became this. “Your boss is missing,” there was no love lost between the two men, and though he understood the stormcaller’s rabid insistence on his obliteration there was still a respect there. “Related to the recent disappearances most likely.” Brow came down as he tried to break the corrosion on a bolt, finally popping it loose. “Order and Arma have been quiet about it. The Vanguard is also involved, though each faction will definitely deny it.” He was about to paint another target on his back. The Order didn’t like their secrets being spilled. He didn’t give a fuck anymore. The more pain he could inflict, the more he would throw off their business as usual. “Humans, are practicing magic using the blood of mages… and other humans. Sorcery, arcane magic. The factions are trying to snap up relics as quickly as possible to keep them out of their hands. So the humans turned to magus, and that’s why they’re disappearing. They can’t have the toys they need, so they’re taking our blood. Everyone, every last magic-slinger is in danger.” Water went in and he began to fill the valves. Water was flowing now, things were moving forward quickly. “I’m not killing Arma. I didn’t kill your boss. I know it’s too much to ask, but they need to trust me. I’m not on Arma’s side, but I will find who’s responsible. What I know, I will share… but not if Arma keeps me backed in a corner.” That was it. Knobs were turned and he opened the pilots again to light, middle finger flicking against his thumb like a match to produce a focused flame. He should have stopped talking, but the new need to piss off his former employer was deep. Spilling secrets. He would spill them to anyone that would listen. It was time. “The Order can go fuck itself,” he wasn’t a very good priest. “I’m Rhome Del Santo. The Order will deny I exist, New York Arma has orders to kill me on sight after I went off grid from their dog collar. I was trained at the Vatican to kill any identified Arma target. I've killed hundreds. Everything Arma believes, alleges against the Order… is true.” The boiler hissed to life and he tapped the pressure gauges. Success. “Tell Arma this recent surge is not me. I’m not killing them anymore, and I'm not in contact with the Order other than to break their fucking teeth in. As for proof?” The bucket was returned to the slop sink. A building this big, there were certainly more boilers and they seemed to be working at the moment. He would check them later. Reaching up, he tugged at the paper collar and unbuttoned his neck enough to pull the shirt to the side. Healed, yet a cherry red line still stretched from the center of his throat around under his ear. An inch higher and it would have been his jugular. Fingers flicked at the paper collar before he buttoned back up and replaced it. “Definitely a human wielding some kind of shadow manipulation with a garrote. They’d built a ritual floor altar and tried to drag me onto it to bleed out. I will find them myself and melt the skin off their bones.” The "so far" calm priest’s demeanor was unsettling against the sudden proclamation of brutal violence. “But I’m not the one killing Arma.” He left the spigot at a drip, moving toward the door to head back upstairs, leaving the weight of the confession where it lay. “Food?”
  12. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    "Don't be blaming yourself because someone else beat the crap out of you. That isn't any way to live. Things happen and you just have to go with the flow" He wanted to say something, to spill his entire life out to a complete stranger because she would likely never see him again. There was nobody he knew that he could do that with. Everyone around him had a stake in the game. The assassin spoke truths to those he knew, and trouble always followed. It occurred to him at that moment that he really should find somebody he could confide in- but who in the world would listen to what he had to say and not call the cops… or ARMA? Nobody. He knew he was being studied as he cleaned up, the magus noticed everything. She had good instincts, but she was too trusting. Too willing to trust first and ask questions later. It would bring her trouble someday. "They didn't," was all he confided. Tone of his voice made it clear he definitely wasn't on the worse end of the fight. "They tried to kill me, I did what was necessary." His glance moved back and forth from the tray to her as he straightened things, looking for some kind of reaction, condemnation likely. Judgment. He'd said too much. Not a very good priest. "I guess we all can't be perfect at what we do or who we are" Who we are. The words resonated a moment. He wished he had the opportunity to figure that out. "You really don't have to do that" He blinked at her, what other choice was there than to clean up a mess he’d caused? But, it was good advice. It was very possible ‘the other guy’ was going to land somewhere, even here. Soon. "Should I walk you to wherever you need to go" Gaze watched her a moment, truly contemplating. She was leaving, so that meant she was going home alone and not feeling well. She’d mentioned walking, which also tossed up a red flag. He couldn’t help but feel responsible. “Then who would walk you home?” the response was quiet. "The coast is clear" “I’m fine, you go home,” he answered, knowing damn well he was going to follow her to make sure she got where she was going safely. “Just…” fingers squeezed the hoodie again. “Don’t believe what you hear about me.” She may put a face with a name and figure it out eventually, maybe not. For a time, his face was plastered across every ARMA most-wanted wall in the city. She could be ARMA, might not be. She was definitely a magus working in the public eye, and rogues didn’t tend to do that. He just didn’t want to walk out and get shot in the back, or have to lose a tail before he could get home. He definitely didn't want her dealing with fallout from being associated with him. The guy was still out there. He should have killed him; brow coming down at the dark thought before he smiled slightly at her and took his leave. “Thank you.” Door was pushed open silently and he moved toward the exit. He could be completely invisible when he wanted to be, able to read where people’s attention was before he slipped past the corner of their eyes. Cold air snapped at his skin and he pulled the hoodie on and the hood up, shoving his hands into his pockets and turning the corner to wait until she left. He was going to make sure she got home.
  13. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    "Well, my name is Altheia," “Altheia.” he nodded, acknowledging the less than opportune meeting. Bloody, beaten up and defensive, but he was still a refined gentleman. "Times are so bad that people are willing to attack a priest. These really are shit times we're living in" I’m not just a priest… and it was always shit times. It looped through his head, but he was silent. The magus felt her wince as his rib popped, it was a testament to her character that she could see the worst of things and still feel empathy. Either she was new and wasn’t as of yet desensitized or she just was a genuinely good person. Though he wasn’t watching her directly, his senses were still splayed out in every direction. In essence, he was still a predator; every little sound, gesture, even the feel of the air was registered with intense accuracy. It was why when she apologized, his guilt bubbled up. It was his fault she was now feeling the effects of her powers. He’d been the one to do something stupid because he was so aggressive, and it landed him here. "Ya know.... you're pretty warm. You sure you don't have a fever" Blink brought him back to the moment. “I’m a fire magus, it’s just the way my body works.” He wasn’t sure why he divulged that either. His name. Fire mage. Priest. He might have well put a giant damn bullseye on his forehead. It didn’t seem to matter anymore though, he was taunting the ethos. It was his turn to wince, more of a distinct flinch away from her when she reach up to touch his face; he'd almost grabbed her hand to stop her. He wasn't used to being touched when something or someone wasn’t beating on him. He didn’t particularly like being touched, it almost always was a precursor to someone trying to kill him. People didn't touch him because they wanted to, they hit him because they wanted something from him. "Don't be silly. The cuts and bruises are the easy things to heal" Fingers reached up and tapped at the spot on his eyebrow that had flooded his lashes with blood not more than a few minutes ago. His skin was still covered in it, but the contusions and gashes that were once beneath them had disappeared completely. He didn’t move after he let his hands fall to the floor on either side of him, enjoying the moment of time next to her in complete silence without pain. Gaze slid to the side when she wiped her nose. "Huh, that's never happened before. My fault.... used my abilities a little too much today it seems" “My fault, I should never have landed here in the first place,” he reached up and fished some gauze off a rolling tray, handing it to her and going for some more to start to clean the major problems from his face and knuckles. His clothes were really hopeless. He’d never get all the blood off and would have some explaining to do if the Vicar caught him before he could slip into the cathedral and change. "Looks like I'm not that great of a healer. Not going to be doing much healing the rest of the night. So please. For me. Don't go and get yourself hurt again." He was still, brushing slightly at the blood on his knuckles that he knew was not all his. “I’m not just a priest… so I can’t promise that,” he wasn’t sure why he said that either, a deep sigh before he got up and extended his hand to help her up at least to a chair. “I’m not a very good priest.” The furl of his brow was rather sheepish as he turned to wash his hands in the sink, then his face, slicking water through his hair to try and clean that up as well. He actually retrieved all the things he'd knocked over when he'd woken up, setting the tray onto the cart with a soft clink, it just was how he worked. Polite, but deadly. “Is there anything I can get you before I go?” he asked as he pulled off his hoodie and rolled it into a ball. He was going to try to at least clean it when he got back to the cathedral. The gray tee-shirt beneath wasn’t nearly as bad as the soaked hoodie. Presentable at least. Jeans were just dirty from the ground, a few spatters of either blood or grease. Tims, the same fate. They were black though, so it helped. He would put the bloody hoodie back on when he left the building, until then he didn't want to alarm anyone. “Can I get you something to drink… food from somewhere in the hospital?” Fingers clutched the rolled up hoodie tightly. “I feel terrible just leaving you here to recuperate because of me.”
  14. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    "Well then I guess that's a good thing for me. I mean, not that you don't want attention, but that you aren't going to set anything on fire" “I only do that for parties,” the humor was soft despite being beat to hell, it really spoke of how used to functioning under pain he was. Fingers touched slightly and there was a soft flash of blue flame that arched between them before extinguishing. It was the odd little trick he actually didn’t do often. It really was a party trick. Lighting candles, manipulation through his fingers like a coin flipping, it was the most harmless thing he did. He blinked at her eye roll, noting the cautiousness of her movement toward him. “If I wanted to kill you, you’d already be dead,” words again were quiet, not trying to frighten her… but the same free hand turned upward, a nimble middle finger sliding a scalpel from underneath his sleeve to offer to her and then set next to him on the floor. Fingers slid it out of his reach, surrendering his need for it. Nothing though… was ever really out of his reach. "I don't think you understand, but you are badly injured and there is no way you are getting out of here until you are healed" “Only… the serious issues if that is your intent. There are more deserving people that can use your assistance more than my bruises.” "Thank God you came to your senses" There was a genuine subtle amusement in his features. She’d never believe him if he did tell her anyway. A beat up priest in jeans and a worn-out hoodie. There had been stranger things in the world. Her hesitation was noted. “I don’t hurt people that have done nothing to warrant it.” "I just need to place my hands on your sides" He reluctantly pulled his hand from his side, not because he wanted it there, but because people tended to clutch things that were injured. For security, peace of mind… some reason or another. Arms lifted slightly, palms visible, reminiscent of hands up and getting arrested. It was for her own comfort. His hands were in her sight, no weapons, nothing to worry about. From what he knew of many, healing was a vulnerable sport. She was probably weakening herself so he would gain strength; an incredible sign of trust from someone that still seemed leery of him. The sensation… was very odd. He was used to an internal hum, a pressure that would dissipate out through his skin to give off unusual heat for a human. He’d never had it pushed back in before. He was watching her hand on his right side for a moment, blinking a few times to squelch the mercurial silver in his irises that was shifting to the surface. "This is only going to take 10 minutes, then you are good to go. I'm guessing I don't want to know why this happened to you. And I'm also guessing that if I ask your name you probably won't tell me, right" “Rhome,” he said quietly. There was nothing else for several minutes, he was trying to focus on whether or not whatever she was pushing into him, was going to have to be controlled or released somehow. “I’m a priest from St. Patrick's. Someone picked a fight when I was out buying food. I took care of it.” It was all true, yet not. He was no ordinary priest, and normally secrecy was the utmost concern. Lately, it seemed to not matter. The invitation to come at him, was there. He almost needed the world to confront him now. Hand finally reached to clutch her bicep when he felt his rib pop back into place, brows downward over eyes that were clearly not normal. It wasn't a transfer of mana that was causing it, it was almost like instead of burning on the outside, he was being lit on the inside. He wasn't truly certain what would happen if she continued, but he didn't want to alarm her. Already too many things dangling unspoken in the air. “Only what’s necessary. There are others that need your strength more, including you. I understand what it's like to be seriously injured. It's just luck this time there's a healer around to help.”
  15. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    Her presence registered in his reality, finally. She was peripheral at first to kneejerk training; the scalpel that had been instinctively swiped as he’d fled the gurney was tucked up further under the Uriel charm’s cord on the inside of his wrist with deft fingers akin to a magician’s card trick. It would stay hidden under his hoodie sleeve until this was sorted out. He could set the world on fire, sure, but fire tended to catch people’s attention. The magus used his abilities as a last resort, he was first and foremost a trained assassin, and that’s what made him dangerous. Pale eyes focused on her face, proximity, the time it would take for him to get to the door versus her alerting security. He registered injuries. Cheek no longer throbbed, but his side did, his small cough producing a wince. Broken ribs. He felt like hell, but torture and punishment in the form of pain was something the Order had doled out freely. They were too careful about head injuries though, they couldn’t demand compliance if you were unconscious. It was the unconsciousness he was worried about. He was now conscious again, he had to get out of there. "You're at the New York Main Hospital. I'm a doctor here. They brought you in not too long ago. Some server at a restaurant saw you outside and called 911." Nod was slight, listening to her confirmation of being a healer. He'd just intended to ask the man for a moment inside out of the cold... seemed to have become a clusterfuck. Mind ticked, brief moments of fog twisted with the calculation of the dangers of staying to get patched up as much as possible versus leaving now still banged up. He wasn’t any closer to St. Patrick’s than he’d been before. He was now conscious… he needed to try to make the trek. The longer he stayed, the more in danger he was; especially now since he was certain the Arma bastard had been found. “So if you'll just let me finish healing you.... you can be up and out of here" Her step closer was met with the slide of eyes back to her direction. The initial flee had evolved into behavior much more fluid and calm in the face of danger and pain. It was unusual enough to be a curiosity. He’d also placed a pretty good guess on the amount of people outside based on noise and footsteps he could hear, how fast it would take him to get to the outside door. He was most likely in an ER which meant main doors were close and usually led to a parking lot, which was exposed and not in his favor. The magus was in no condition to run. Eyes scanned the room again. "I just need you to not start any fires. Especially on me" Gaze moved back to her; moving closer was the worst thing she could do. Too trusting. But, she was moving away from the door, which was better for him. It was apparent the brief disorientation was over. "And if you're going to be a problem I don't just heal" Brow cocked slightly. “Fires tend to catch a lot of attention" he said quietly. One would definitely not expect the refined voice from his appearance; educated, definitive accent and exceptional calm despite his appearance and injuries struck a sharp contradiction. “…and attention for me is a problem, so that’s the last thing I want to be.” The ‘wink-wink nudge-nudge’ deal was tossed into the mix. “I’m conscious,” he began to push himself up, elbow tucked hard in his side to compact the pain of his ribs. “That’s all I need to be to get home.” That wasn’t a good idea. World was spinning. Concussion. He slid back down. “I just need a minute.” He needed more than a minute, and it was getting more tangled for him by the second. Fingers went up to kneed between his eyes. “I think perhaps it’s best I let you continue, for a short time at least.”

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    MODERN FANTASY COLLABORATIVE WRITING RP CATERING TO OLDER PLAYERS (25+) WITH A SLOWER, MORE RELAXED PACE. IN 2010, THE WORLD DRASTICALLY & PERMANENTLY CHANGED BY WHAT BECAME KNOWN AS THE MULTIVERSE RESONANCE EVENT. IN A SINGLE BREATH, OUR WORLD CROSSED WITH AN UNKNOWN NUMBER OF ALTERNATE UNIVERSES, BLEEDING INTO EACH OTHER. EARTH WAS SUDDENLY A REALM OF MAGIC AND MONSTERS. THE STORY IS CENTERED IN NEW YORK CITY BUT EXTENDS ACROSS THE WORLD. IT BLENDS A VARIETY OF GENRES; A MOSAIC OF OVERLAPPING REALMS INCLUDING ELVES, LYCANTHROPES, ALTERED HUMANS AND,OF COURSE, MAGIC.  

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