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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."))
October 22, 2017 Evening ARMA Headquarters Cold. Bitter and unending cold. Gritty assignments, surrounded by constant death. Hiding. Moving. Changing. Living alone as always. Juxtaposed with the incredible light and joy of spending time with someone who only knew him as a lie. It wasn’t a lie… he wasn’t a lie. There had been a human within him once, not a mindless killer. The crack had started almost a year ago, the increasing demands driving a wedge in his sanity, only one person keeping his thoughts on the straight and narrow. He couldn’t lie to her anymore. The breach of trust was unforgivable. If he came clean and they killed him anyway, at least he had purged his soul before answering for his actions. She had to know, and he couldn’t keep the secret any longer. It would never be right, could it? Whatever he chose to do afterward, pending his survival, would be without chains or guilt. The building had been under his surveillance for a while, thick with contemplation how to make it right. Decision had been made. Hood was pulled closer around his features, pushing into the stairwell of the roof access, footsteps a death knell as he took them two at a time then jumped to the next landing. He didn’t rely only on his abilities as a magus, the man was nearly unbreakable. A lion on a leash. The leash had been broken. No pause, no falter in his step to cross the street, a beeline straight to the ARMA doors, blade athame pulled and sliced across his palm to release his blood to the air- blade returned to its sheath after wiped on his hoodie sleeve. He was primed to die, not before he got to speak with her... it would be a hell of a fight. Exhale pushed outward, a long seethe as the air around him became a furious flurry of quivering heat, the street’s cool temperature fogging as he wicked the moisture from it with the inferno building off his skin. Paint seared and bubbled from cars as he passed. Dry cracks splintered behind him as he walked toward the front doors, already feeling the wards pushing back at him, no doubt those inside could feel his pushing back. Air was becoming too thick to move in, a linebacker pushing against a football sled. He made it past the main door inside before the ambient protective power of dozens of unified mages disallowed another step… knees hitting the floor, hands pulling back his hood so any cameras could get a clear shot of his face, fingers intertwining behind his neck in an unarmed surrender. Inferno burned from his core, sweltering the immediate air around him in a defensive warning of hell. Normally pale gray eyes were white with heat, gaze straight ahead. [santo]I have killed twenty six of your people. I know who the next targets are. I need to speak to Cassandra Greene. I will ONLY speak to Cassandra Greene.[/santo] Lashes closed, unmoving as the furl of heat suddenly released, the silence before a storm. Waiting for death, or… for life.