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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.

JUNE 13, 2019 - Family emergency  took a bad turn so had to stay away but now things are finally calming down. Hope to get going again shortly. Thanks for understanding. ~ZEPH

Rhome Del Santo

Order of Light
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Everything posted by Rhome Del Santo

  1. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    St. Patrick's Cathedral Vaults and Catacombs 2-7-22 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.
  2. Rhome Del Santo

    Begin to Be

    “Find a little serenity, Harker. You got problems with my decisions? Come see me later. But right now, remember that I am your superior.” Eyes moved to the hunter, but his head never turned. The cowboy was not pleased, dressed down in front of someone who he clearly had no respect for. The assassin wasn’t sure how he felt about it either; the quiet morning had gone from bad, to worse. “You good? Or are we going to have more problems?” There were things that could be beaten into a person’s soul, fighting skill, lack of empathy, survival, even instinct. Missing social cues and being punished for it could literally make a brain more unconsciously aware of their surroundings. Abuse was as much psychological as it was physical, and the man had been severely conditioned with both. There was no second thought when he caught the flicker in mana that most definitely wasn’t Cass. He had no illusions that the hunter could aim on a dime, but could he think and reason that fast? If he couldn’t, not just the fire mage would die. Harker’s pivot, said yes. The hunter was fast. They might win this round. Cassandra’s actions said otherwise. She’d stepped between them, the expression on his features when the initial threat was neutralized a mixture of beaten and confused. No, she couldn’t do that. She shouldn’t do that. “What the fuck was that?” “Death,” the answer was cryptic, but absolute, eyes still on Cass. She couldn’t do that again. “You got a phone?” The Italian’s gaze moved from Cass to cock a brow at the cowboy. Christ. He could hold them off long enough to get the two ARMA’s out of the church, then he would unleash hell. He’d never met anyone who could inhale fire, and he could fill the air with it but there was doubt in his ability, and it lingered deep in his gut. Here too long. Alone too long, away from his training too long. His lack of discipline cast considerable uncertainty, a hitch in his drive. The uncontrollable rage he’d been wrestling with. A reaction from Cass when he’d attempted to contain a threat some time ago, the expression on her face when his brutality was visible and unchecked. It made him hesitate even now. Reservations could kill them all. They would kill them all, and it would be his fault. “If possible, we take them alive. . .” Brow furled slightly, he understood the sentiment, but doubted it would be possible. He doubted, and she could see it. He had never been able to hide his thoughts from her. “No. . .” Instinct pushed him forward. Fight, or die. A flicker of motion was met with brutal force, almost impossible someone his size could be so agile and come to such stillness after a devastating blow. His hand was wet, his blade was wet. He’d hit her, the blink disbelieving until eyes flicked to a voice, unmoving when the gunshots rang out and his beloved mentor came to a halt at his feet. Gaze shifted to Harker, heavy. Slow. The room trembled, the very air and stone sounding like twisting leather as mercurial irises leveled at Harker with a distinctive white flash. The floating flicker of a rational voice tickled at his higher thoughts, Vicar Strocsio did not move with speed, nor speak with force anymore. The lucid mind couldn’t hear it. It didn’t make it to the man’s higher consciousness, flittering to ash before it became a second thought. There was no more carefully controlled outward patience and inward fury, it was turning itself inside out with the ire leveled like a scope at Harker. “Something’s blocking it. There’s nothing.” Voice barely penetrated the furled heat that was spilling across the floor, a tick on his cheek. He would reduce the hunter to ash. “There has to be more than just her and that other one. There’s no way they’d try to take him on again without more numbers, and certainly not with me here.” The massive draw suddenly shivered against another’s, a shield, pushing against his like opposite magnets. He flinched. Stroscio didn’t move that fast. Stroscio could not have raised his voice. The thoughts crashed against each other. Logic crushing into instinct, reality locked in a battle with rage. He was pulling violent amounts of mana, but it was dragging across Cassandra’s shield like an anchor, denting his focus on Harker. “If they haven’t encased the place, we could send up a magical flare. Though we’ll need a distraction.” She was speaking to him, and his higher thought was trying to grasp the logical conclusion Harker had acted rightly against a shapeshifter designed for diversion. “Also, I have a way to possibly slow her down if you want to work together. . .” He heard it before he saw it, the slice of a blade through the air just out of his eyeline. It wasn’t the same woman that shimmered from nothing this time. There was more than one that could phase. No time to think, it was an ultimate battle of speed, the two moving so closely there was no help to be had. Thoughts were smooth, instinct, training, a lethal dance with razor sharp weapons. Not just a mage. The ingrained mantra pulsed his thoughts a split second before he was hit, pommel of the blade first across the temple and the foe's blade backhanded for a jugular strike. He locked their forearm with his to stop the blade inches from his skin. He was stronger, readying his grip to push him off. Not just a mage. Stumble forward was sudden as the foes phase rendered his flesh to air. The assassin checked his surroundings… heel of his hand to his temple to check to see if he was bleeding. They’d disarmed him. Powered him down. Notched his fighting style and were using it against him. He only used his magic as a last resort and they knew it. They were not here by accident. Studied, trapped and captured. Nothing was left to chance. They’d pegged the damaged assassin’s weakness. He loathed his magic, been trained to control it so tightly it was a furnace contained. Pressure with no release until it exploded. ARMA binding it had pushed it down further until it couldn’t contain itself… what was he? A man that had become a mage, or a magus they had forced to be a man? Forced to develop control of something the Order had been afraid of? Was he even human? The expression cast to the two was nothing they’d seen before, a realization of self. What he truly was would have to be sought later. Right now, to survive he would have to change. Unhinge. Unashamedly. Air quivered, blade coming back at him through the ether for a second round. Arm snapped toward it this time, the thrust unleashing white hot flame from his palm as the momentum of the man surged toward him. Blade incinerated as it crashed against his hand, squeal of a man trying to recoil from burning to death echoing across stone, choked off as the mage grabbed his throat with the same hand and held it, then turned up the heat. The mage erupted in a controlled, violent, licking blue flame that crackled and scorched the stone beneath his feet, dispersing violently in a rushed swirl upward as hand came back to his side. A barely recognizable black lump slumped to the floor. No shame. “The rounded door at the back of the cathedral on the right, go down,” he said quickly as motioned and moved in that direction without losing a step. It was contrary to what they would need to send up a flare, but it would buy them some time. They wouldn’t be ambushed, and he knew the twisting tunnels. If necessary, he could lead the other two out to safety and lead the assailants on a goose chase. “Tell me what you need me to do. I’m right behind you.”
  3. 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…
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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."
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    Just after Dark February 11, 2021 Alley near the old Western Union building Blood was hot. So was his breath. As it quivered in and out of his chest, in came the frigid air… out came the anger of a devil. A thousand devils. Cerberus. Hell, Satan himself; in every tradition, in every faith, every level of purgatory and hell tangled tightly into a frayed knot that was breaking free. He was a ghost whose presence would reverberate across the globe, the building pressure finally bubbling to a volcanic tirade, one small droplet of blood from his finger splashing on the broken asphalt. Thera. Santarini. Vesuvius, the tales from his childhood, his home and corner of the world. A man that had played as a boy in what was left of dormant volcanic caves a harbinger of what would inevitably come when the world broke apart and skinned the callus from a man that had been made into something unthinkable. A man that needed to cleanse the world of the evil that created him. He finally blinked, lifting a palm to look at the red peppering his fingers that everyone always assumed was so bright. It wasn’t. Hot, sticky… leaving yellowish smears as it ran from skin and dried. The assassin was always so clean, meticulous, humane. This was just, just brutal. Hand was shaking. He’d never stayed, never longer than to whisper a gentle last rite over those that had been marked and he’d taken without question. That was a lifetime ago, a life that required of him total conformity and discretion. Now, one last cough from his target curdled stringy blood from the man’s lips, then crackled wheezing as he watched him die. It had been ragged, vicious, unrefined and effectively violent. Water magus unprepared for a magus that didn't need his power to kill. The same bloody fingers curled tightly into a fist, a signet ring so fragile against his burgeoning heat on cue threatening to cave entirely molten as he pressed it against the side of the man’s throat… leaving the brand of the Order in a scalded bubble of flesh. A conundrum for the law that would find the murdered Order magus; the third in as many weeks. Credentials were always left scattered over the magus' chest. The Order signet branded into skin above a throat so deeply cut it was almost severed to the spine. Starting with the "army", the foot soldiers, to flush the generals out of their offices and onto the streets. Out of the Long Lines and into his fire. For a moment, his soul felt at peace until the vitriolic rush of native tongue hissed forth... È la fonte della mia energia e il mio legame con tutti coloro che così toccato Noise woke his senses from the rush of justice, the ghost in the gray hoodie moving suddenly with the agility of a gymnast to kick off a dumpster and catch the bottom of a fire escape- the vertical leap almost impossible, but made with the ease of a trained killer. Up the fire escape, to disappear onto the rooftops and into the urban tangle that was New York. This was only the beginning... ((Translation/Italian- the third line of the Oath of the Order of Light; "It is the source of my power, and my bond to all those so touched."))
  11. 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.
  12. 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?"
  13. 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?”
  14. 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.
  15. 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.”
  16. 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.”
  17. 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.”
  18. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    He didn’t hear the phone call, or feel the cold sidewalk as he lay there with the panicked server hovered over him. He’d never been in an ambulance, and wouldn’t remember it anyway. Dead to the world. Vulnerable. Eyelids flickered every so often, the fight or flight response ingrained in him viciously trying to right the sinking ship and bring him back into the land of consciousness. It was dangerous for him to be this way on so many levels; it was more dangerous to others because he woke in fight mode. Always. He was so close to the surface, almost touching the light… warmth in the ambulance starting to thaw his chill. Fingers twitched slightly when the gurney hit the ground and wheeled into the ER. Breath quickened, the pound of a body in pain dragging him back into the depths of unconsciousness. Shadowed fingers whispered dangers in his subconscious, uncertainty. There were faces there. Familiar ones, others he’d never seen before. "Hey, can you hear me?" Don’t touch me. The thought existed noiselessly, and then fell away into a lifeless chasm. "Listen if you can hear me and possibly wake up within the next 10 minutes, please do not freak out on me" Cheek began to flinch, twinkle of his Uriel charm on a black cord wound around his wrist catching the metal on the side of the gurney as his fingers twitched… the sound between barely touching fingertips eerily like the flick of a lighter. His skin was becoming warm like the sun, flashes and pops of light illuminating the depths of his unconsciousness. Numbness was replacing pain, a cheekbone knitting back together, soaking into his skin and flickering the dormant mind to life. Thoughts were in Latin, moving to Italian, faster, repetitive. It was at that moment he thrashed, and there was a flash of fire in his palm that quickly snuffed. Through some kind of blessing, the higher thought process had “won” and there wasn’t a wild, crazy mess of thrown tables and knocked over metal instruments... or scorched surroundings. The grace of a lethal killer had taken him up and off the gurney to the opposite side from her. Pale gray glared back at her trying to orient himself; freezing cold, to this. He couldn’t focus. Dizziness won out, hitting the floor hard as his legs crumpled and he almost took the gurney with him as he tried to catch himself. Squeal of skin and shoe sole was still dangerously quick as he slid away from her until he was backed completely into a corner, finally able to assess… outstretched palm warned her not to come closer. “Hospital,” breathing was ragged, absorbing his situation, stating the obvious. Then the pain hit again, hand that had briefly lit with flame moved to hold his side. “Where am I? What hospital?” He tried to push himself up, unsuccessful, flinch and seethe deep. “You're a healer....” again, the obvious. He was reassuring deadly reflexes that they didn't have to be deadly. Head thunked quietly on the wall behind him, finally resolved that he wasn't getting out of this on his own.
  19. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    He wasn't getting up. Knocked out cold, not dead... quivering fingers reached down to check his neck for a pulse. Bruises fresh, blossoming a painful pink and already flushing purple. Voices in his head telling him to finish it off, every shred of his being screaming at him to beat the man to death. To get it over with, unleash the anger that was raging at his very core against some shadow in his soul that couldn't claw to the surface. Several steps were taken backward, his thumb clearing the blood from his eyelashes but the sting of salt still lingered. He was trying to get on the straight and narrow, or at least pick a side. Thoughts so fractured, body becoming so cold. The first gust in the alley caused a severe shiver, so hard he almost crumpled into the wall. Cold, was a vice, and he'd never been this hurt and trying to call on abilities to get him home. He would leave the man where he lay, he would survive and be found to follow him another day, understanding the fire magus could have seared the man's flesh from his bones, yet didn't. The bogeyman of the Order that was to be killed at all costs... had left the man trying to kill him, alive. A new leaf perhaps. The cold wall felt like needles on his palm, needing the damn brick building to hold him up as he staggered toward another alley to a short cut home back to the church. He could hole up somewhere, but most likely the witch hunt that was going to follow would leave him in prison, or dead. The magus had to get back to St. Patrick's. There was no more shoot to capture in this venture. It was shoot to kill. How many blocks he traveled, he lost count. The wind whipping, rattling his bones, gray hoodie pulled up around his features and cuffs over his hands as he walked on and shivered violently, sniffling at the frozen blood on his lip. The dark Carhart coat and jeans did a little to keep the cold out, but not enough to keep him conscious. He was lost. Miles from where he needed to be, miles from where he wanted to be, and miles from where he'd left the man unconscious in the street. Darkness, sparse traffic, but a warm light in the window of a small restaurant closing for the night caught his attention. He was giving up. He'd never given up in his life. Quivering fingers tapped lightly on the window to get the lone server's attention, the tapping the last thing the magus remembered.
  20. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    His brain was chaotic, so focused yet so frantic. His deathbringing was normally a surprise, a slice and it was over. This man fought back, his hands at first trying to pull the magus’ hands from his neck, then thumbs going for the Italian’s eyes. Rhome was tall enough, with long enough arms to pull his face out of the way on every reach until a sharp “THWAK” to his throat from vicious fingertips caused him to gasp for air. His split second break in pressure was all that was needed for the man to get a sharp uppercut in edgewise and squirm out from under him. They both gasped for breath, ragged and raw, reassessing this altercation… the fire magus wiping his lower lip with the back of his knuckles. Bleeding. He was bleeding? He’d bled before, the church, repeatedly during his training. Not like this. This was disorienting, an odd familiarity that he couldn’t place, brow frowning at the bright red on the back of his hand, and then the man who had done it. All hell broke loose, launching at each other like two fighting dogs. It was a brawl, his opponent clearly with some kind of boxing training, and the elegant assassin… something else entirely. There was training, but in a ‘no holds barred’ way. Brutal, effective, and craving the need to beat the other man to a pulp without ever engaging his magic. Higher reasoning screamed at him to just knock the bastard out and leave it at that. Something else, more human, needed this… and needed him to suffer. Drums in his head. Trumpets in his head. Sand and fields and cheering... endless cacophony of a crowd... his headbutt sending the man snapping back and again clattering to the ground. This time he didn't move. He wasn't dead. Unconscious. The magus fell back, hands at his sides, chest heaving. Blood from his brow, blood from his lip. Cheek. Knuckles, the growl through his teeth an unrequited anger that was spilling to get out. Breath was slowing, but not by much. Waiting for the man to get up. Stay. Or go. Stay.... or go...
  21. Rhome Del Santo

    Just Another Day at the Office....

    The words “kinetic vacuum” hadn’t escaped his ears as he’d dropped through the collapsed bit of ceiling. It had already begun to turn wheels in his head, simultaneous with the need to leave and not engage Seiko- and the realization people had indeed died in the room they were now standing in. He could feel it, like some kind of force pushing against his personal bubble. When he’d let it go a few seconds prior, it was viciously fast. He had a few ideas, raveled with what Darius’ colleague seemed to be fetching from a vehicle. It was the snapped fingers that drew the eyes in a quick flick to Darius, keenly aware that the thing was trying to move again. Hey! You! Yeah, you! Who the fuck are you, and what are you doing here? The name’s Kayne, and it’s awfully suspicious of you, just popping up out of nowhere on a crime scene. You’d better have some answers for me right now. He's your replacement…. …glance moved then to the rocket launcher on Seiko’s shoulder. He hated guns… err… rocket launchers… whatever the hell it was classified as. The plan in his head was stupid, and it would probably get him killed. But, it might definitely work. You're talking to me. A single, mocking snap of his own fingers answered Kayne, who he’d surmised was either Pharos or Arma. The brief flame that flashed and extinguished on command answered pretty much any questions they needed to know. Maybe it was irritation, or his recently burgeoning temper, but he suddenly had the urge to sucker punch the man to shut him up. “I’m the fucking Order,” he said quietly anyway, once nodding to both of them indifferently as he kept his eyes on the rogue artifact. Cursing, was also new for him. It felt good. A sucker punch would make him feel better, dark expression back to Darius. Well… skulls don’t do much to stop it, concrete just traps it momentarily and only when its embedded from its own momentum. Small projectile explosive…. … only cause a deviation in direction but have no perceivable impact on the artifact itself…. not so much as a scratch…. He was afraid of that, attention back on their problem. It was going to move and he didn’t really have a lot of time to think about it, hands immediately pulling apart to produce a veil of blue flame within them as it whizzed by Seiko and sent Pharos ducking. He released it as it sped through, whizzing through and dissipating the flame like a bull through a red cape. It angrily sped faster on its path and slammed into the wall with a threatening shudder. “Kayne’s right. It’s kinetic.” Hood pulled down quickly and he started to shrug off the worn gray hoodie and toss it to the side, it was going to get in the way. He was oddly young for a stuffy Order member. “Projectile changes the direction, explosive is probably not hot enough to impact its speed like I just did.” He was thinking out loud. It potentially was catastrophic, it couldn’t get out- but that was a given. It was going to go until it knocked the damn building down. They couldn’t keep standing around, they had to try something. “If Kayne has the “kinetic vacuum” he mentioned, we could most likely stop it. It would take all three of us to get it where we can "catch" it… unless one of you screws up and gets me killed, then it’ll probably kill both of you… or the building collapses first. I think I can stop it, but only for a few seconds if Kayne has what he thinks he has. We can shut it down long enough to contain it.... It also had to be in something before it started flopping around out here. A box maybe that kept it bound... maybe? That'd be a start?” That was one part of being in the most inner circle of the Order was good for. He'd seen some of the craziest artifacts that existed. Everything could be bound somehow, and it was usually what it was stored in before some jackass opened it. "Badge knocks it into me with that...thing. I stop it, Kayne binds it, Badge stuffs it back in the box. Kayne takes it home. If you can find the box." This was... the worst idea ever. He was going to have to let it hit him before he could stop it. But, it was the only idea. Broken ribs. He'd have a few when this was done... "It's your crime scene, find the damn box." It was unclear who the comment was directed to. He wasn't going to stand around twiddling his thumbs until Kayne's companion made it back, quietly and carefully picking his way through the rubble. He knelt every so often in the growing dusty haze to whisper last rites in Latin to those he found that were now beyond life. He was here for them, after all… right? That’s why he’d stayed.
  22. Rhome Del Santo

    Just Another Day at the Office....

    Starts at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Same Time. His eyes drooped slightly, a soft wool blanket on his lap. The fire mage was often cold, and during the winter in his underground "lair”, the goliath labyrinths’ temperature hovered at a consistent sixty five degrees- it didn’t help matters much. He was too humble to ask for another place to stay. The rustic wool blankets in his simple lodging helped, at least a little. Thoughts were fuzzy, almost into the state where the vividness of his usual nightmares kept him from ever truly being rested. Even that sometimes was fleeting as his book began to slip unintentionally from his fingers. When something startled most people, they jumped, flailed, cried out, followed with sheepish laughter or a snarky response to the perpetrator. The sudden slap of the cover on the floor startled him back to the world. Unmoving. He didn’t jump, or flail... he simply became acutely aware. Years of ingrained servitude and deathbringing made him lethal, mercurial eyes sliding to glance at the book, the nearly silent phone ringing on the small side table next to the bed. He was a “ringer almost off” kind of guy. Relished his silence, his simplicity. It was all that seemed to keep him from exploding anger into a million different directions lately. Nothing was said as he answered; the least amount of words his Order mole could say gave him the exact situation. Something he could use and add to his hoard of growing artifact treasure. An arsenal with a purpose only he knew. Definitely useful, and the place was really close. The emergent Smaug answered with a simple “noted”, and returned the phone to its spot. He’d found out the hard way his amulet didn’t protect items that weren’t clothing, and several cell phones later he just decided to leave it in his room when he went out. Dark jeans, black Tims and a gray hoodie, the magus ghosted from the building to climb. Whether it vertical, or a flat out run, his training was formidable. He preferred cover and covert, but he could hold his own in a brawl; rough if he had to. There was an elegance to violence he preferred, not because he liked it, but because in his eyes death should be delivered quickly. Law of minimal motion. Painless. Efficient. His body moved that way. He felt the tremble even as he made his way across the rooftops, hopping to the fire escape and sliding effortlessly into a glass-less window. Cop and other cars were around it on the ground level. Pharos maybe. Nobody was looking up, or in the top area of the building. Serious, or contained. From the groan of the building, definitely serious and not contained. As he alternated between swinging from landing to landing and sliding down the railings of the emergency stairs, the dust was rising upward. Through shouts, sounds of concrete being broken, a hole in the second floor to the first, the occupants of the hammer’s hell suddenly found a silent new form in the middle of the dusty haze as he dropped though the hole. Silent landing most likely left him unnoticed for a moment as he surveyed the scene, eyes peering from under his hood found Seiko first. Not expected. Abandon ship. Time to leave. They could have this artifact. This cop was too good at being nosy and he didn't want to visually be on their radar a second time. People had died though. He could smell it, the wet iron against the dust a unique scent. Eyes narrowed slightly, he couldn’t leave people to die. He was going to regret this, deep breath increasing the heat around him until he could feel the pull of cold air rushing to his position, and he pushed it upward in a billow of flame. Heat rising through the break in the ceiling, it pulled the lingering dust in the air with it to clear the view slightly of how many people were actually in there, and giving him his first look at the thing that was wrecking the building. Hand snapped outward just in time, the standoff not something he was expecting so quickly, the hammer’s head almost to his palm and being held off by a small domed shield of flame reminiscent of the inside of a blast furnace. His feet were sliding backwards as he held it in place, simply because he himself wasn’t heavy enough to push against the thing’s momentum. He wasn't trying to. It gave him a second to get a good look at it before he let it go and snapped sideways to let it pass and sink into the wall. Why target him? Exposed? Attracted to heat sources maybe, that’s why it was attracted to people and not the walls? He didn’t move from his position in the open. Maybe it was attracted to movement. Sound? “Who am I talking to?” he said quietly, watching it angrily try to free itself but speaking to whoever was in charge in the room. "What have you tried?"
  23. Rhome Del Santo

    Blasphemy and Sacrilege

    ”Thanks, I enjoy breathing.” Brow cocked slightly at the response. Smartass; not a surprise given the responses thus far. There were far more thoughts tickling the back of the Italian’s brain however, plans that were unfolding even as they bantered back and forth- the multi-tasking giving him a moment to think. A thick tension wasn’t just lingering in the air, it was palpable and real even after he’d told the man he wasn’t going to be aggressive. Lack of trust, which was predictable and expected. It seemed though that his identity was still ticking in the man’s conscious or subconscious thought. If he put two and two together, this encounter could still go sideways very quickly. He debated just getting it out of the way, but was more interested at the moment in seeing how far from everyone's thoughts he had fallen. On the other front, cold was creeping inward. He wasn’t concerned about his friend upstairs, the fireplace and inner room would protect him until he solved this situation. In here? There was nothing except a boiler that refused to fire. Pilots were lit, still nothing. Gaze moved around the room, bucket next to a slop sink. Did it not get turned on at all before this? Or, turned on without prepping... which made a lot of sense given the lack of help all the religious institutions now seemed to have. The Vicar at St. Patrick's was one of a mere few left to take care of the place. This also obviously seemed to be the case here. ”All the good ones are either dead or chained to desk work now.” “Shame,” his tone echoed his companion’s. Was this guy now a desk jockey, or not good at his job…? Gut said neither. ”The blizzard caught me when I was visiting family and I thought it would be an adventure to go wander around for a bit.” He placed the panel back on the now lit beast, the clinking from the pipes confirming his suspicions. The pilots had gone out because the thing wasn't running properly. No water to boil, threw everything out of whack. He turned several valves and made his way to the slop sink. Knobs were frozen, so was the spigot. He could fix that... if the pipes hadn’t burst yet. ”And the booze, since my stockpile wasn’t exactly prepared for this.” Fantastic. One more problem. St. Patrick's wouldn't have been an issue... wine everywhere. Here, he wasn't sure. “Nobody was prepared for this,” he agreed quietly. Matches weren’t going to solve this issue unfortunately, the opening of his fingers eliciting a low burn of pale orange flame that he hovered underneath the knobs on the sink. His companion would just have to deal, there was no more time to tiptoe around their suspicions of each other. One knob started to drip water, it had been leaking. That was a positive thing, it might not be frozen long enough and far in enough to have burst any plumbing. He set to work on the spigot. “While I have your ear, Arma...” he started, glancing over at him before going back to the task at hand, noting there was no exchange of names to this point. “...coming back later to harass Avi about my whereabouts isn’t a good idea. This is a favor for a friend and I don’t live here. I get this place warmed up and I ghost.” Success. He turned the knob slowly and the water started to drip first, then stream slightly from the spigot. Bucket retrieved, he began to fill it. This was going to take a while. Arms crossed and he leaned on the wall. “I have a message I’m hoping you can deliver to the ivory towers though...” he started, watching the water a moment before turning his attention back to Arma. “Nobody seems to want to listen; they’re too busy trying to kill me. They won’t believe you at first, but they will when more magus start disappearing.” It was ominous, and unquestionably delivered with the impression he wasn’t responsible for the “disappearances”. “That’s only if you want to hear it. I'd rather talk business than stand here and bullshit while you decide whether or not to try and shoot me in the face.”
  24. Rhome Del Santo

    Let the Master Answer

    Heat surged over his skin. Not his terms… his brain didn’t want to do this, but his gut did. He needed it. The restraint he’d shown for over a decade was screaming from his subconscious to break the chains, tightening from his psyche like snapping cables. He had to remove himself from the situation before he couldn’t turn back. …but he didn’t know the guy, but the guy knew him. He didn’t know if this was the same people that had tried to kill him before. Or someone else entirely… It was unlike him to have been on someone this long; torturing them while strangling to death. Christ. “All you need to know about me is that I left you alive... follow me again and I'll kill you.” One last jerk made his point, whipping the cord from its mark in such a way it would draw blood, sting and disorient the person that their throat had been cut- long enough a diversion for him to disappear. He was a ghost. For his size, he could move, gracefully, blending in to a group just exiting the train. Stairs were taken multiple at a time, hands stuffed in his pockets, hood pulled closer around his features and he was up and out. He had to breathe. He had to breathe. The air too cold, breath to fast. Alley and he would disappear. The guy was fast after him, faster than he should have been, running up the steps and picking up speed. Following him. This was a hit of some kind, or a forced confrontation. Somehow the bastard could follow him, like he could smell him? Muscles were twitching, the cold, the frustration, the need to power up like a blast furnace and get the hell out of there. But he didn’t. He did the worst thing imaginable. He turned a corner and stopped, back on the wall. Waiting, the cold wind funneling through the alley, where the fuck his mind was churning he had no idea. It was violent. It was chilling, and the second the man turned the corner he was thrown back against a dumpster by the force of the magus’ fist. Blood, was everywhere. The punch, so uncharacteristic- he didn’t know he could even be so gauche. He had always been an elegant killing machine. This, was just rage. The man’s nose was broken, still… the magus pulled him up by the shoulders of his coat and slammed his forehead into the metal of the dumpster, taking the frustration out on someone he hadn’t even determined was a threat. Logic seemed incontestable. He was following him. He knew his name. He was a threat. Kicked onto his back, the Italian wrapped both hands around his throat and pushed. Skin was slippery. Blood everywhere. There was so much. On him. On the ground. On the dumpster. It’d never been like this… the blood almost, egging him on. He was going to choke the life from him and snap his neck… he wanted to. He HAD to.
  25. Rhome Del Santo

    Blasphemy and Sacrilege

    Why. Why was the world always provoking him. He didn’t know which way his psyche went anymore. Calm, was when he was truly most deadly. Calm, he was deflective and heartless. Agitated, he was catastrophic; a new feeling for him. Anger. Hate. He’d finally been able to focus it on something, and oddly enough it was the hand that used to feed him. It was a precarious balance, one that he kept balanced with quiet… and focus. Fixing something was focus, caring for someone was focus. This situation was not. To this point, he’d gleaned all the information he needed to know. Conversation, was just that. Keep someone talking, keep them guessing, flip tactics every few moments to keep another off balance. Keep them thinking the priest was still trying to figure the world out, trying to find something to use to gain the upper hand. He had everything the second the man had dropped whatever it was he was using to keep out of the assassin’s sight. The magus was a hunter, spending his entire end of the world hell being a ghost. He understood killers, and he understood bullshitters. This man was a lost fish trying to get out of the cold, and he’d walked right into the Italian’s barrel. "Well, looks like we're both wrong for first guesses.” Focus on the task at hand kept him quiet. He was never wrong, not about killing anyway. There were no more wheels turning at this point, this was second nature, a script. “I've been lucky enough to avoid the Order for the most part, being part of a bigger organization like the Silver Winged certainly helped. Dragon extermination wasn't ever exactly their top priority, so they left us alone for the most part." Dragon extermination. ARMA. Eyes blinked slowly, moving to look at the man quietly a moment in calculated contemplation, the mercurial silver deep in his black pupils catching the light of the pilot briefly before attention went back to the task at hand. If the man wanted to confirm the priest was definitely a threat now, it was fairly obvious. Dragon extermination. He'd figured the guy was something and not a rogue, it didn’t really matter to him who he was attached to, but the extra bit was enough to make him wonder if this wasn’t by chance. ARMA had been quiet with him for a long time. The fact he was being harbored in a relative “safe house” didn’t hurt, but it was highly unlikely this was a purposeful encounter given the frigid shitstorm outside. But… dragons. If they wanted to take him out, that expertise was definitely the most useful skill set. Again… doubtful it was on purpose. Maybe though, they were asking questions in all the religious places in the city. He couldn't figure out why he was on their radar again though if that was the case, loose end perhaps, there was no other explanation. There was no other explanation he would let himself believe. Nobody wanted to see him alive. The thought rocked his psyche slightly, he'd convinced himself a long time ago of the "nobody" part, it was too painful otherwise. Much easier to hate everyone. “I’m not going to kill you, if that’s what you’re trying to figure out,” he peered inside the pilot port again, eyes squinting slightly. There were two pilots. Of course there were two, because that was his shit luck of the evening. There had to be another access panel. Fingers were getting cold. “The 'fuck' you're talking to didn’t work in threes. I worked alone.” Voice was quiet, -didn't- being the key word. Past tense. The invisible heat that fed off his skin slowly billowed down his form like molten metal, coating the magus in the warmth that was always there unless he consciously turned it off. He was tired of being cold, and there was no need to fly under the radar anymore. The easy, delicate control of the mana pool around him without so much as a muscle twitch squashed any lingering doubts he wasn't just a threat, but a formidable magus. Hiding in plain sight. Fixing a damn boiler by hand. The man either recognized him by now, or had no idea who he was. Either way the guy would make the connection eventually… here, or back at ARMA headquarters. It was inconsequential at the moment, he would deal with the fallout later. Fingers pried at the second access panel, the metal groaning at being prodded to move. “Never met a Silver before,” panel popped off and he set it aside, peering into the port and striking another match. Lie. He’d killed one before. The guy didn’t need to know that… this encounter starting to feel like the Christmas Truce of world wars' past. "Long way from dragon territory."

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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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