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Rami deChartres

Vanguard of Humanity
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  1. Hazel glanced to the side as the older man reached for his phone. Likely tracked, even if the Director didn’t think so. There was a reason the Cavalier didn’t carry one and only "borrowed" those of random strangers to make his contact with the Vanguard. [rami]..unless it is a satellite phone you won't get a signal in Winchester. They seemed intent on keeping it hidden. Someone seems to think there are deep secrets here.[/rami] The cell towers in the area had been purposely destroyed long after the Nevus event. Secrets. The world was returning to the darkness of secrets. It was a world his kind knew well. [vacily]Shit. Soon as we're topside we gotta warn 'em. We at least owe the townsfolk that much.[/vacily] [rami]…are you so sure you do?.....owe them?[/rami] It was a dark and ominous statement. The Cavalier had a strong intuition that those that "lived" here were among those that had set up the director's son….or rather… had set a trap for himself. Though more he thought of it, it was possible the trap really was for Caleb. He was a liability to the sector within the Vanguard that was operating in shadows. He was young, eager and connected. All were traits the shadows would not want close in their ranks. [vacily]Been a while since I've dealt with the dead.[/vacily] The Cavalier had paused behind Enoch who was sniffing at the stone that blocked their exit. Light was snuffed out, the cracks around the stone betraying the glisten of moonlight beyond as he tucked it into the large duffle, pulling instead out a bowie knife for the left hand and a short sword in the right. [rami]…take the head….[/rami] Words were very matter of fact. [rami]…especially these. They pack hunt, not as random as normal Mort infected. Do not waste your energy with anything but a death blow.[/rami] Enoch sat at his right calf, tail thumping gently on the dirt floor. [rami]…..for now the area is clear of them. When we exit follow me close behind. We go directly to the crypt to pick up what I left behind and then we need to find a vehicle to put distance between us and them.[/rami] Shoulder was placed against the stone and boot dug into the earth, the scratch of earth and rock soft despite its weight as the "door" began to swing open. Ducking under the low exit, his steps were light trotting into the dark cold cemetery. As they moved his soft words held little emotion. [rami]…the large tree with the charred trunk on your left.. that is where he died. If that sort of thing is important to you.[/rami] It seemed a cold and callous thing to say… yet it was not meant as such. The Director needed closure. They would not be there long so best to simply point it out to the man as they made their way to a fairly unimpressive crypt.
  2. [santo]Get out of my house.[/santo] Hazel flicked to the man, recognizing that quiet tone. The cavalier did not need to feel the heat to know the danger the man possessed. Yet even under the threat of being cooked the warrior monk's gaze remained infuriatingly calm. Door above slammed, Enoch's nails heard softly on the step as he pulled away to keep his nose from being crushed in the event. But as the heat whispered up around them, the quiet eyes lifted once more to the ceiling of the second floor. The shadow above had changed under the rage. Reacting to the mage? There was a real danger there. It didn’t make sense. There were no artifacts in this church. The volcano was percolating and for some reason the woman seemed keen to feed its fire, tainting the man even as the good Father appeared to recall where he was and force his calm to return. It was the arrogance of power. He had seen it before. Grant was the same, thought she knew all the answers, thought the Cavalier was her personal "dog". It was amazing how much could go unnoticed under the careful watch of arrogant eyes. Hazel slid up the stairs where the door had slammed closed on Enoch. The canine had its nose at the bottom crack of the door and every hackle was up. [dacia]……What happened to you?[/dacia] Didn’t know? Or arrogance blinded? Hazel appraised her a moment before returning to his companion and the shadow above. As the Father moved to finish his preparations for mass, the quiet words slid from his lips. [rami]…. I suspect….. you and your Order happened to him.[/rami]
  3. The Cavalier did not miss the effect the touch of the vicar had on the Father. It was an effect the Cavalier could understand. That some could find great solace in the touch of the faithful was something a Knight of the old world could understand. The shift of the woman to be near the Cavalier was met with cool indifference in the hazel eyes. But the vicious flick of muscle in the Father's neck when the woman glanced to the Vicar was rewarded with a faint uptick of the warrior monk's brow. She played on the edge of a fire branded sword. The putrid hatred this Rhome had for the Order, and more specifically her, was palpable. Interesting. As the Cavalier invited the head of the New York Order to see for herself he was almost amused at the shift in the air. The Father found it a curious response…. the woman…. [dacia] The likes of you keep me from nothing.[/dacia] The snap in her voice almost drew an upturn to the indifferent warrior monk's lips. So much for the ice queen. It seemed Ms Setgrave was as easy as any other Magus to agitate. He held his tongue, the temptation to mention her claws were showing itching at the back of his throat. But he was not here to be bothered with the Order, nor the church for that matter. He was here to ensure the artifacts were still intact, that the shadows that had been growing across the world were not getting closer to finding them. [santo]This house is a sanctuary. There will be no violence here.[/santo] Spoken like a true Father of the Faith. Left hand was still casually holding the strap of the worn duffle, the right still hidden calmly in the pocket of his jeans. Hazel continued their calm appraisal of the man. He was an interesting Magus. Tightly controlled and yet on the verge of no control. Power was like that. The Cavalier had seen it eat a man alive too many times to count. He listened in silence. The slice to the throat had been betrayed already when the collar had dipped and shown the edge of the bandage. No one else was likely to have noticed but hazel eyes were trained and rarely missed a thing. The pupils flicked to the tower as the man unraveled the tale of what had gone down. He would want to get a look up there as well with Enoch. The animal could find things, magic things, that not even Magus could find. That damn wet nose he found too often pushed against his hand could trace the untraceable. As if on cue the hackles lifted a moment before the Magus used his magic to set the reverberation off in the confessional. Low guttural snarl now rumbling just under the level of hearing in the beasts chest. The woman seemed intent to show up that she knew just as much as the Father. What she had put to paper saying more about herself than those she sought to expose. Odd duck. While the Father tried to hide himself away and all that he knew, she sought her own self glorification. Opposites in a world that didn’t take kindly to two sided coins. Magic was a fickle lover the Cavalier had found. [dacia]But I do not have all the answers.[/dacia] The Cavalier's gaze had returned to the tower. Brain churning on the artifacts he knew were in New York, hidden from all factions even his own. The quiet words held no arrogance or spite, yet were likely to rankle the recipient none the less. [rami]… I actually doubt you have any of them.[/rami] Such a high powered individual seeking direct contact with what he could only assume the Order saw as a Rogue said much more about what she did not know than what she knew. They were as in the dark of what was going on as ARMA…. as the Vanguard. She was there to rip forth answers, one way… or another. Though he seemed to have disengaged from the conversation, he did not miss a word as she spoke of potent blood and seeking them out. There was mild amusement once more as he was flagged as devout to the Vanguard. Funny how so many assumed that of the Cavalier….even the good Director Vacilly seemed to take time to realize the warrior monk answered to no order that this world any longer recognized as significant. As she finished by asking the Father for his allegiance the Cavalier had stepped away from the small party, faint nod of respect to the Vicar as eyes and mind that mapped ancient ways stared still at the ceiling and the stairs to the tower. When the living danger sat in the confessional and the tower was supposedly now "clean" it was odd the monk seemed so interested in the latter. There was a shadow that had his attention. One missed in the dancing of candle lights so far below it. Several soft clucks had Enoch tilting his head and looking up at the Cavalier before slinking around the Vicar and heading up the stairs. Hazel met the concerned eyes of the Vicar as a faint but genuine smile slid his lips. [rami]…a precaution only… to be sure the devil has not left his mark in the house he is unwelcome within.[/rami] If anything lingered… Enoch would find it. For now. Hazel moved to the Father once more, tilt of his head betraying consideration before words were chosen with care. [rami]…allies…. in this time…. can be as dangerous as your enemies….[/rami] This time the calm hazel met the woman's instead, nod faint. [rami]… I caution any…. to have either….[/rami]
  4. The Russian did not dismiss his words. The man clearly knew enough about the Cavalier to know his observation was founded in truth. He also understood the significance of an army of infected that could be controlled. Perhaps the Director would prove less of a liability than he had originally thought. But as they moved out of the arsenal vault, the conversation again turned to his son. Vacilly was emotional, whether he admitted it or not. He was anguished and angry. Neither of which made him a good companion in the fight to come. The Cavalier's blunt explanation of the kid's death was unlikely to assuage either emotion. [vacily]A false lead? A trap.[/vacily] Nod was faint. Hazel watching the bright light fight to turn corners of dirt, chasing Enoch's tail. A trap meant for a Knight….. not a Cavalier. A trap potentially meant for himself but set by seemingly amateurs. No Knight would fall for such a misguided lead. The area, even the cemetery, was not old enough to shield the secrets of the old Order. But, amateurs or not, someone was fishing for old world secrets, seeking to find the lost powers of a bygone era. [vacily]So what's the plan?[/vacily] Steps paused as he glanced to the Russian, pupils dilating in the center of rich hazel as the older man was studied before the Cavalier resumed his forward motion. Liability or not, the Director need information if he was to be even the slightest bit helpful once they breached the surface. Quiet words began to explain. [rami]This is an old smuggler's tunnel. It comes out inside a crypt in the center of the cemetery. [/rami] Head tilted left and then right, neck cracking an echo down the corridor as he rolled his shoulders. The man was clearly loosening up. They were getting close. [rami]…based on the direction they were coming from and going, they should not be directly heading to the cemetery. I suspect they are actually heading to the old stone church. From what I have seen the ignorants seem to think all artifacts are hidden in the halls of old churches.[/rami] Head shook as hazel rolled. It was one of the first real expressions from the distant Cavalier. He returned to the matter at hand quickly. [rami]Caleb had been led to a crypt beside where we will emerge.[/rami] Pace had picked up, the slope of the tunnel had shifted, they were moving closer to the surface. [rami]…. and in a tomb beside that crypt, I have stored several items from the crime scene that I couldn’t let get into the hands of those in Washington.[/rami]
  5. Where the Father tensed at the presence of the woman, the Cavalier relaxed dangerously. It was deceptive. He was silent as the woman taunted the other man. Another might have found insult in the fact that he was dismissed as equal so easily by the Father but the Cavalier didn’t suffer pride. Instead he waited for the cat and mouse to proceed. He was sure the woman thought herself the cat. The Cavalier was not so sure as the hooded expression of the Father reminded him of a building storm. [santo]There is no we.[/santo] The Cavalier was not so different. "Partners"…"allies"…. all were handicaps the Cavalier chose not to burden himself with. On the occasion he would align such as with the Director, but it was a rare and unusual case. Pupils slid to the corner as the woman moved near his side like she was claiming sides. She would find the Cavalier was a poor choice. Brow lifted gently as he remained still watching the exchange. The Father's words hardly holy as the woman was told to look at what she wanted and then to get the "hell" out of his church. More fighter than holy man. Hazel flicked to the side as they were approached, the weight of age was in the light touch on the Father. Rhome…. the name was etched to memory as he observed the effect the Vicar had on the fire that was threatening to boil over. Impressive that what the Cavalier read as a mere human could quell the rage in a magus, particularly a magus who was harboring such a clearly dark past. Hazel watched the step away from the door with calculated calm. Enoch continued to point, nose nearly against the old wood as the tongue continued to snake obsessively out of his lips, jowls sneered back to let the salivation drip from white knives. The animal's reaction and the way the Father had protected it before the woman interrupted told the Cavalier much. It wasn’t the first magic trap he had come across in his investigations. If he was right, and he usually was, the trap would trip if a magic user, particularly a magus dared open the door. The woman asked if he knew who she was but her attention was fixated on Enoch's concentration on the door. [dacia]What's behind there?[/dacia] It wasn’t common, but a dangerous wit could at times worm its way into the deadpan calm of the warrior monk. Head tilted slightly to the side to look at her, a brow lifting a bit over the amber flecked hazel. [rami]You are most welcome to look for yourself, Dacia Setgrave. Far be it for me to keep you from your answers.[/rami] Soft "sss" slid between his teeth and instantly the feral canine slunk backwards from the door until it was crouched against the side of his calf, the dark eyes still glued on the door it wanted to attack while his master's hazel remained softly watching the woman that commanded the arm of the Order. Curious if the over-confidence she had exuded in exposing herself to them also left her easily baited.
  6. Chancellor Avara didn’t know half the story. [vacily] Tell you the truth kid, I don’t give two shits about ‘zombie experimentation’. I can tell you from experience that road doesn’t go anywhere.[/vacily] Weapons were being tucked into his duffle, down his boot, the back of his dusty jeans. Voice was quiet. [rami]..the road has gotten further than you might think. In McMurray… they actually took orders.[/rami] It was a disturbing thought. An army of zombies that might be controlled could tip the balance of power around the world in favor of those that commanded the pack. [vacily] Our main concern is to establish a connection between these research facilities and those people responsible for the murders. One will lead us to the other. Was this what Caleb was investigating?[/vacily] Head shook as he stuffed the last weapons the duffle could manage into its depths, pulling the heavy zipper closed. Chin gestured slightly to the remaining weapons, an open invitation for the Russian to arm himself as he pulled the M4 Carbine's strap over his shoulder before pulling the duffle over the other. [rami]..no… he was chasing a bad lead on an artifact when he stumbled into this.[/rami] It was cruelly honest. To tell a man his son had died for no other reason than because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time could be seen as heartless. To the warrior monk… it was simply the truth, nothing more or less. The heavy light was picked off the table as the soft suck of air set the feral canine forward once more, trotting down the new maze branch to merge once more with the original tunnel. Words continued quietly. [rami]The cemetery out here has a number of mason graves. So to one outside the "order" the lead seemed plausible. I warned him it was a spook lead but he was…. determined to prove himself.[/rami] Whether the monk meant that Caleb was determined to prove himself to the Cavalier or his father was left unspoken. Rami had been in Canada at the time, told him to ignore it, but he had heard clearly in his voice that Caleb was going to chase the lead anway. By the time he got down to catch up with the kid…. It was too late. [rami]…based on the scene, I suspect that the lead was planted in the hopes of catching another Cavalier.[/rami]
  7. The Cavalier did not flinch at the sudden barrier the man of the cloth presented, the beast at the floor seemed unfazed as well, his gargoylesque pointed stance unmoved. He was clearly agitated at the thought that the Egyptian would try to enter the confessional. Interesting. The good Father apparently knew there was something in there and was eager for no one else discover it. This investigation was getting more and more interesting. He remained still, hazel simply meeting the Father's eyes and waiting. There was an infinite calm patience behind the green glimmer as the magus and his wounds were studied. It was quite the battle it seemed. The silence lingered between them. Father Del Santo was trying to figure out if the Cavalier was friend or foe, that much was apparent. [santo]Haec est enim vestra pugna.[/santo] (This is not your fight.) Enoch had shifted his haunch just barely, the tail swishing to the side in agitation. The behavior was a warning. Enoch had sensed a second danger and was flagging it for his partner. The monk remained still and indifferent but awareness spread outward seeking the source of the feral hounds agitation. [rami] Numquid non hoc est deduci ante omnia certamen…. [/rami] (Have you not already deduced this is all our fight….) The statement was ominous. The enemy had become enormous with just the few softly spoken words. But the eyes betrayed calm and awareness. They had slid to the corner in response to the shifted tail from Enoch. They had an eavesdropper. [rami]….. videtur nobis animadversa, Pater [/rami] (….seems we have attracted attention, Father.) Even as the soft words left his lips the chiding tone of the woman whispered over his senses. A soft thundering growl in Enoch's chest was silenced by air sifting between his front teeth in command. Order Overseer. He might be nothing but a distant dream of a legend to the world but he was not ignorant of those struggling for power within it. He would be curious of the good Director's take on the Order's involvement at this level. They were running scared. No different than the Vanguard…. and every other established faction who had taken notice of the growing shadow that was swallowing the world. Calling the Father by name told him much about the woman. Lack of respect for the "cloth" was trivial among them. That the man before him had snarled the Order's name at him said he saw them as enemy which meant there was a history here. A history with the one at the top was….. intriguing. [dacia]…Never thought you'd meet your match.[/dacia] The hazel eyes met hers with the same calm indifference that had pervaded his presence since he had arrived at the church. [dacia]I believe we all must fight.[/dacia] Her words were an echo of his own, but the warrior monk doubted she had as noble sentiment behind her engagement in this growing battle. He didn’t respond to the woman, instead the hazel shifted to the Father, deferring to the one who clearly had a deep seeded hatred for the Order.
  8. He watched the silence rage behind the eyes. A mirror to his own hazel orbs. They breathed in a dangerous unison, as though a pure vacuum had engulfed them both. Acute awareness did not miss the furl of warm air that rippled low along the ground. This one was powering up. Interesting. The Cavalier made no sign of awareness, not so much as a muscle tensed as he spoke of ignorance and old churches. He was watching for reactions. He got it when gaze strategically moved to the vicar. He had been correct. This man was protective of the vicar, he was willing to start an apocalypse over the flick of attention the Cavalier had paid the old man. [santo]Non indoctus…..non est paratum.[/santo] [rami] Imparatum venire, quia sanguis est ... stulti ignorantes.[/rami] (coming for blood unprepared…is foolish ignorance.) Eyes did not shift but in the periphery they watched the fingers open and close. The corner of his vision not missing the candelabras lighting on their own. This one controlled fire….heat. Controlled it and threatened his life in the same moment. Mistaking the Cavalier for coming after him. Brow quirked upward ever so slightly in amusement as the onslaught continued. He could interrupt now, advise that he wasn’t after the priest at all. But he found that letting people have their tirade they often betrayed much about themselves. The priest didn’t disappoint, slipping into what the Cavalier could assume was his natural language. People with strong emotions lapsed into what was familiar. The Egyptian didn’t speak Italian, but he did speak both Latin and French…romantic languages that echoed the priests home tongue. He understood the words well enough. A ghost as well….and still threatening him. Order? Now there was an interesting jump. So… was this man hunted by the Order then? For what reason? Former Order member? Former enemy? The groans of old wood protesting against unnatural heat said the priest was on the brink of lost control… or attack. But the Cavalier suspected it was the former as a poignant blink from the priest seemed to bring calm to the swelling warmth. He had pulled back in his control. So what exactly did this magus have to do with the enemy the Cavalier had been tracking? He had already ruled out the Order as the source of the enemy. The enemy had operatives in the Order, not just the Order…the Vanguard and law enforcement. If he wasn’t mistaken they even were embedded within Pharos. But none of these factions was the headquarters of the enemy he hunted. It kept its secrets, much like his own sect. [santo] Non sono più il vostro cane. Dite loro il fuoco dell'inferno è in arrivo per loro.[/santo] [rami] Pulsatus canum cum primum periculosissima sunt verae libertatis.[/rami] (Beaten dogs are most dangerous at their first taste of freedom.) As the quiet words finished, Enoch suddenly shook his head in exaggerated motions that flopped his dark ears, letting the Cavalier know a sound was irritating him. A second later he heard glass falling and became aware of the hum himself. Interesting. By the time the priests gaze went to the confessional and returned to the Cavalier, the hazel eyes were no longer his to capture. Orbs were fixated on the last confessional, brow offering a faintly interested quirk. Air sucked through his teeth and instantly the feral dog was off, slinking around the column, around the priest and towards the offending confessional and the sound that had its ears laying flat on its head. [rami] Pater. Non ego te hic, nec vicarii. De venatione mea, ut ego suspicor, venerunt ad te.[/rami] (Father. I am nor here for you, nor your vicar. I hunt the shadows that I suspect came for you.) With that the duffle strap was adjusted slightly on his shoulder, two strides closing the distance between them but heading for the confessional not the priest. He paused when his shoulder was nearly against the other man's. [rami]…. nisi fallor, non reliquissent tibi gratia periculosa Pater.[/rami] (…if I am not mistaken, they have left you a dangerous gift Father.) With that the heavily booted strides fell in absolute silence on the holy floors, confident as they followed the feral animal that now crouched in front of the door with ears flat and all teeth bared, tongue slicking between the white weapons obsessively as saliva slipped from his jowls to the floor. Whatever it was… it was very…. very dangerous.
  9. Duffle shifted on his shoulder, Enoch playing in and out of the light spread down the tunnel with a puppy-like carefree nature that seemed to show his complete lack of awareness of danger. Truth was, this was the feral animal hopped up on adrenalin awaiting the moment he had to come to strict attention. Enoch knew danger was there just a shovel of dirt away. The animal was craving confronting it. The Cavalier was quiet a while, contemplating the Russian with him. The older man was still likely a liability to the warriormonk. But perhaps a bit more knowledge sharing was in order before the faced the potential battle on the other side of the tunnel. [rami]…my report in Washington…. It was grossly incomplete.[/rami] Ahead Enoch reached a T juncture and spun like a top in the center with dizzying effect on the shadows cast around the walls, faint squeak came from between the Eqyptian's teeth and instantly the canine shot to the left. It had been awaiting orders. Following, the man was forced to hunch a bit more, the ceiling coming down before lifting once more as they entered a carved out "room". The space was only about twelve foot by eight and it lacked the cobwebs and grayed color of aged soil. Here the walls looked dark and wet, freshly carved. It was not part of the original tunnel, a fact made more apparent by the array of modern weaponry that was stacked in neat rows on wooden racks and on the small table in the center. Enoch curled up under the table as he dropped his duffle on the table lightly, high beamed light set on a corner to illuminate the entire earthen room as he began to check cartridges in weapons on the wall, snapping them closed and loading them. As skilled hands moved, he finally continued. [rami]…the only important part of the story at the time was the clear connections in deaths I had come across in my investigations. The report held nothing of my actual investigation.[/rami] Clip slammed back into the front grip of an M4 Carbine, the weapon set beside his duffle before moving to a rack of knives and machetes. The caliber of weaponry here was military grade and hardly the stuff that was standard issue by Vanguard. As if having an arsenal for small invasion of a country was normal, the monk quietly continued. [rami]…I have been investigating makeshift laboratories that are scattered all over the North American region, including as far north as Fort McMurray. [/rami] Vanguard were not really sanctioned to head that far into the former Canada territory, but as the Director had likely already concluded, Rami was not controlled by the Vanguard. Unsheathing several knives to check the blades before slipping them away again, he began to arm himself, a large bowie at the small of his back, knife in his boot. He nodded to the Russian and then the wall of weapons inviting him to do the same. [rami]…I have come across dozens of them. Many destroyed before I got there, the caretakers of the facility killed. So I am not the only one aware of them and attempting to shut them down.[/rami] Metal box was slid out of a carved "shelf" in the earth wall, set on the table and unlocked with a key that hung around the Cavalier's neck. Inside the metal safe were several shiny silver boxes, popping one open to inspect it clearly held a set of anti-virals. One case was slipped into his duffle and another was slid across the table towards the Director. He had not been joking when he told them in Washington they needed to arm their people with anti-virals at all times. The cases were cool, the earthen tomb acting as a natural refrigerator. [rami]They are run by an array of altered and infected; and they are experimenting with the morteximius virus. [/rami] Dangerous hazel orbs flicked to the Russian as if to make sure the point was not missed. [rami]…they appear to be trying to make a controllable M-infected army and from what we saw, I would say they are closer than I thought.[/rami]
  10. The southern European accent told him much, but the instant halt of motion, told him much more about the "Father". The Cavalier was still attempting to determine if this was the man attacked or who had performed the attack but he started to have a hunch it was the former. The way the cold eyes warmed and softened at the vicar betrayed emotions that were absent in the enemy he had been hunting. In the "indifferent" calm the hazel eyes absorbed every facet of the man. The wounds, the attire, the stance that betrayed a predator-not a saint, the attempt to hide wounds from further scrutiny, even the way the hair fell on the man's head was drunk in with the precision of one trained to observe everything, and miss nothing. It was the first breath of a spoken word that betrayed Del Santo. He had been the one attacked. Few in the world spoke the dead language as though it were meant for colloquial dalliances, and not one of them would be the kind to plan the use of infected to take over the world. The religious were historically fanatical, but even that was beyond what they were willing to resort to. Interesting. So. Why were they after this Father? They were a frightening pair across from eachother. The quiet stillness, to the ignorant, seemed genteel. To a trained killer, there was potentially catastrophic power in the air. Hazel matched the slow blink. The man's words said more than what was spoken. He was….misleading? This church was masonic but held none of the old secret treasures. It was doubtful the mages that attacked were seeking artifacts as they did in other hallowed places. Which left the man himself they were after. The intrigue got thicker and thicker. The last question was the Father's test. How the Cavalier answered would determine how the predator reacted. Head tilted ever so slightly studying the man. The infinite calm still bleeding from every pore. [rami] Ego sum ........ [/rami] The hazel eyes held a hypnotizing quiet. [rami]…et spiritus.[/rami] Enoch's ear flicked, the wet nose faintly lifting to sniff the air. Something was catching the feral hound's attention. Only three things typically did, blood, death and magic. More and more interesting. [rami]Et ignorare videre sacerdotibus infirmis infirmus ut infirmos, Pater.[/rami] The first statement was clearly not a fluke. The language still held the weight of his Arabic heritage but it was spoken as one that could hold natural conversations in the dead language. [rami]... et utique non haberet. In Ecclesia non est masculini.[/rami] Hazel shifted ever so slightly, the vicar was paying too much attention. Concerned for the Father it seemed, he had spent far too much time with the vagrant from the street. Words continued quietly as the eyes calmly returned to Rhome's. [rami]Quod ignorantia sola probat.[/rami] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Translations: I am…. ….a ghost. It is the ignorant that see priests as weak, Father. …and of course you do not have it. This church is not old enough. That alone proves their ignorance.
  11. Hazel purposefully watched the vicar before moving to inspect the building, trailing over all the doors that led to places such as the directory, the quarters, the baptismal chapel and cloisters. The quarters was likely the best place to start investigating. Weight was just about to shift when the vicar was spotted paying too much attention to him. Neither the man nor the beast moved from their "seat" at the front entry as the old man made his way towards the new "ward". The movements were watched carefully behind calm eyes. The Cavalier was typically a good judge of an enemy and this vicar did not move like one. His age was showing and his approach carried the worldly concern of a man of cloth, not the blade. The second, however, did not have the same genteel, neutral demeanor. This one moved like a man of the blade, he moved like the Cavalier. Like the Egyptian, the man must have recognized what the surface did not show the rest of the world. He approached to intercept the vicar far too quickly. He planned to confront the Cavalier himself. The man and beast continued their calm vigil near the door, patiently awaiting their inspection. Had the Egyptian not seen it already from a distance, the approaching gait gave the man away. The prowl betrayed lethal potential intent. And still the Cavalier did not tense a muscle. He had the calm of one touched by divine, a weapon for a higher cause. Hazel that never dilated with vicious intent reviewed every inch, the wounds betraying what he was looking for. Turned out he didn’t need to go sneaking around through doors on his own. Cavalier also did not miss the gentle protection of the vicar. The old man officially crossed off any list. He was ignorant of the dark war that had likely occurred in his own hallowed halls. Interesting. So the other was the magus seeking to destroy and learn secrets? Or the one attacked? Enoch yawned as the other man approached, as if trying to prove just how relaxed he was, how oblivious to the threat. It was an odd behavior the feral had started long ago to warn of danger. Or perhaps to confirm danger as he picked up on the lethal calm of his companion. Hazel blinked calmly as he was "politely" approached, told his "friend" could have water and that mass was in two hours. The unspoken words clear. "Get out of my house." [santo]Father Del Santo, if you need anything.[/santo] Masquerading as Father? Or really a man of cloth? Interesting. He waited until the man excused himself to light candles. As the shoulder shifted away from him the soft words escaped. [rami] Quod nigrum est oculum habes, Pater.[/rami] Language was spoken with intimate accuracy but the accent was neither Latin nor any semblance of North American. The Middle-Eastern heritage tinged the ripple of sounds as he calmly remained standing right where he had started.
  12. His presence in New York was under the radar. He had been off with Vacily and radio silent long enough that even the Vanguard were cranky with the Cavalier, demanding he come in and report. He had no intention of going in. Bike slid up the alley on the left side of the massive cathedral, tucking in close to the architectural columns to hide the ride from the street before his leg slid off the seat. As Enoch hopped off the duffel, the hazel eyes trailed up the modern monstrosity that the old world had allowed to be built right beside the church that had worked so hard to look like something very old. St John's had not broken ground until 1892. They did not complete it until sometime in the 1940's. Barely even a child compared to the Basilica or Kolner Dom, but they had tried to pay homage to the true artistry that a church could be. There were Masons involved in the early days which kept the church on the Cavalier's radar. It was unlikely relics were stored there, but then again, there had been rumors that the crown jewels of Great Britian were hidden away there in World War II to keep them safe. So there was always a possibility. But that wasn’t why he was here. Their enemy still eluded him, one step ahead of both he and Vacily, even with their extensive resources. But he was getting closer every time. This time, he was only perhaps a day behind. A mage attack in a church was something that caught his attention. Drawing him from his investigation in Ohio at a hidden lab that seemed to have been experimenting on zombies. Seemed to have been because it was hard to tell through the debris. Someone had been there and destroyed much of the lab and all the creatures that had been there. Worn duffel was released from the back before being slung over his shoulder. The warrior monk had great respect for churches and cemeteries, but that didn’t mean he would walk in without his weapons close at hand. Soft cluck had the feral canine glued to the side of his leg as he trotted up the front steps. It was early, a couple hours before Sunday mass. The good thing with churches… they were rarely locked. The massive wood door creaked softly as he pushed it open, careful to close it behind him. Hardly looked like a mage battle had occurred here. But this was the front of the church, and it was a large building. He didn’t move from the door, Enoch sitting with a haunch touching him. Hazel eyes slowly slid over every wall and up to the ceilings before descending once more to watch the Vicar at the front of the alter and another lighting candles and putting out bibles while a few knelt at their pews and seemed to pray. They sure didn’t act like a dark war had happened in the hallowed grounds in the last 36 hours. Duffle adjusted lightly over his shoulder. With the threadbare jeans, the well worn leather bomber jacket, beat up duffle and a feral looking animal by his side; he had all the appearances of a homeless vagrant in need of some salvation. But the hazel eyes held a quiet calm that was both dangerous and at home in the spiritual house. First thing first. He needed to see if he could find where on the grounds the fighting had occurred. Clearly, it had not been here.
  13. Hazel eyes watched the Russian's reaction. He didn’t like the answer. He didn’t flee from it either. The older man seemed to simply accept, for now, that the warrior monk was not going to hand over secrets to anyone; not even the Vanguard. The "poison" was sipped once more, the Russian several ahead of him and continuing to pull away as he poured himself another ounce. [vacily]Well, I think it's time to turn…[/vacily] The Cavalier sat up slowly in his chair just a second before the Russian drew up short on his statement and Enoch began a low gutteral growl. Soft cluck at the back of his throat quickly silenced the animal as he stood slowly from his chair, the mottled glass set softly on the table at the same moment the Russian did the same. Hazel watched the much older man deftly make his way to a window, the Cavalier already at one as well. Pupils dilated as he watched the telltale lumber of infected in the outskirts of the woods. [vacily]What the hell?[/vacily] Finger came to his lips to silently shush the Russian. This was not the Cavalier's first run in with the infected and he found they had remarkably good hearing. Fingers traced the edge of the old lace curtain, pushing it to the side as he assessed further to the front of the house and then the back. [vacily]Bozhe moy! We have to warn them.[/vacily] Hazel flicked to the Russian with a brow quirking upward, soft words barely audible. [rami]…you know they would not do the same for you.[/rami] Head tilted away from the windows, inviting the man to follow. Feet were silent as he trotted up the stairs to grab his duffle from the landing before coming back down and moving to what must have been the kitchen back in the day. Kitchen table was slid out of the way, the threadbare wool rug underneath flipped up to reveal an old cellar hatch. Air hissed through his front teeth as he held the hatch up, the feral hound turning finally away from the front door, hackles still raised as the animal slid down into the dark hole. As the Russian hesitated the Cavalier offered a faint smirk. [rami]…there is a reason I choose the shelters that I do. But you are welcome to stay here if dying was in your grand plan coming out here with me.[/rami] He waited for the man to follow Enoch before he dropped into the space slower, hand on the rug and hatch at the same time, closing and covering their exit. The acrid dust of the rug would hide their scent once the house was broken into. It was a shame, he liked this particular reclusion. Padded feet were already ahead in the absolute dark. Rummaging in his duffle he pulled out a large M800 Tactical high beam flashlight that instantly flooded the hand dug escape tunnel. Light permeated more than 100 yards before stopping and then, only because the tunnel curved. Cobwebs lined thick the walls and draped from the low dirt ceiling. At only about five feet tall, the tunnel would have been adequate back in its day, now it forced the Cavalier to stoop as he quickly followed the canine. [rami]… you may notice it goes down. We will be well over fifteen feet below the surface, the infected will not hear us moving in here.[/rami] Pace was quick, turning with the tunnel in a manner that betrayed this wasn’t his first venture through the underground escape. [rami]…encountered infected often in my investigations. But never this close to a big population….and never this volume. Highly doubt that it is an accident.[/rami]
  14. Thumb rubbed the lip of the mottled glass, thoughtfully watching the Russian. An emotionally compromised travelling companion could be a huge liability. The Director was definitely emotionally compromised, but he seemed to hold himself in check. A far cry from the man that had threatened him in the cemetery just a day ago. The half full glass lifted, sipped before finding a home once more on the vintage table, the haunting hazel eyes watching the capture of the bottle. Brow made a faint quirk upward as the Russian downed the "pill" with his vodka. Sick? If he was, it was just another thing that would slow down the monk. A liability. There was far too much to uncover on this journey to be handicapped with a liability. He wouldn’t babysit, he wouldn’t come to his aid if he fell behind either. Something evil was growing and he needed answers if he was going to hunt it. Vacily would have to hold his own if he wanted the answers to his own questions. If he failed to do so, the monk would at least do him the courtesy of a proper burial beside his son. The older man did not seem pleased with his answers. Surely by now he understood the monk answered to an order beyond the Vanguard. Despite the Russian's displeasure, the silence that lingered between them was comfortable, the monk taking a moment to sip from the vodka once more. [vacily]Who is more dangerous? Those who seek to control the secrets or those who hide them?[/vacily] Glass had paused midway to his lips, faint quirk upward playing at the corner of his lips. [rami] Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.[/rami] Grin continued to ghost as he quoted a Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge. Boot scraped softly on the floor as his toes pressed against the table leg and he tipped the chair back until its top rail rested on the wall behind him. [vacily] Most times, they’re pretty much dead even, don't you think? [/vacily] Head gently rapped against wood as locks that needed to be cut pushed against the wall, eyes drifting to the wood beams of the ceiling. [rami]It depends on the secrets….. and who it is that hides them…. and why they hide them. But in general, historically…. you are correct.[/rami]
  15. He could feel skepticism from the older man but it didn’t faze the warrior monk. Pushing from the chair he moved to the window, the devil's brew hanging from his fingertips that surrounded the less than perfectly round top of the old glass. The sound of another glass sloshing full behind him drew a quirk to the corner of his lips. The Director seemed to be dwelling carefully on his words regarding the Order before the older man broke the comfortable silence one more. [vacily]Aren't you Vanguard? Our faction is founded on the same principles are they not? Why deny your fellow Legionnaires the power that is rightfully theirs ?[/vacily] Hazel narrowed slightly inspecting the Russian [rami]You are as misguided as they are if you truly believe it is their right to hold such power.[/rami] Head tilted faintly, the expression as always infuriatingly calm. [rami]…but somehow I don’t think you are in any way a misguided man.[/rami] [vacily]Better us than the Order of Light.[/vacily] Shoulder rested against the worn frame of the window, hazel eyes fixed out into the darkness beyond the waved glass. He liked coming out here, wild life had reclaimed so much of the area, a fact punctuated by the first calls of the large barn owl that lived inside the cupola on the top of the home. Response was soft. [rami]….better neither of you.[/rami] Glance over his shoulder offered a ghost of a smile at the Director before pushing away and pulling out the chair across the table from the Russian, weight dropping lightly into it as the partially full glass set down in front of him. [rami]They are secrets that have remained secrets for over nine centuries. Why should any possess their power now?[/rami] The Director was highly intelligent. By now he understood that there were Orders within Orders. As they had for centuries, the Knights, the Masons, the Illuminatus had infiltrated and become a part of those societies they believed needed to be under careful watch. While the Vanguard pulled from the lore of the "enlightened", it did not truly belong to the sect that bound the warrior monk. Thumb rubbed the side of the glass thoughtfully, a faint frown lingering before the hazel orbs slid upward to meet the older eyes in the dark. He had already spilled too many secrets, laying trust on the man before him. There was no point in stopping now. [rami]…. the problem is, too few knights remain to guard all the secrets.[/rami]
  16. [vacily]Would that anyone could know themselves so well.[/vacily] [rami]…. “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”[/rami] Grin slid his lips as he quoted Lao watching the dim light betray the older man's softening gaze before the steel returned. The Director was a complex man. He would have been disappointed if he had been anything less. He was also pleased to find the man receptive to waiting. Personal loss often made people irrational but the Russian seemed to understand this might be a long road they were starting to journey upon. As the older man slipped out to get his own things, the Cavalier moved to the old windows and worked two open. The air out here was cool and fresh, two things the old building could use a little of. Since the fall of the world it spent far too much time sealed up growing musty, as did most places the warrior monk gravitated towards. Forgotten relics of a bygone world, like himself. Head turned as the man brought in his duffle, brow quirking as it was nearly dropped on Enoch. The massive canine growled half heartedly, teeth grabbing a corner of the bag as head pulled back moving it further before rolling on his back and flopping his head and legs on top of the Director's belongings, yawn betraying he was not inclined to get up at the moment. The animal seemed to know the Cavalier was in for the night. The small wooden chair was dropped into, boots lifting onto the sill of the open window as he watched the bottle come around the corner to thump lightly on the hand carved table beside him. The monk was not a drinker. The Cavalier treated his body as a worshipped temple, but he understood the ritual the Russian was performing and therefore to not add insult he lifted the second mason jar glass in a gesture of unity and sipped of the devil's brew. [vacily]…to your health.[/vacily][rami] fil-imteHaan yokram il-mar' aw yohaan. qad tartafie [/rami] His soft Arabic words were spoken with a reverence to the Director's loss. The glass lifted again as he translated. [rami] At times of test, a person rises or falls. May you rise.[/rami] Again he sipped from the liquid before letting the half full glass merely rest between his hands on his crossed thighs, dark gaze out the open window as the sounds of night began to play in the overgrown grounds. [vacily]…Artifacts of the Order? The Order of Light?[/vacily] Head shook having been misunderstood. It was a natural assumption these days as his Order was long forgotten by the world outside. [rami]…. Order of Solomon's Temple[/rami] The less common term for the Templar Knights was spoken quietly. Silence lingering as though he might not speak further but in truth he was making final decisions of how far to bring the Director into the dark world. Neck rolled before he glanced over at the older man, story unfolding from lips that knew more than most. [rami]The old artifacts were thought centuries ago to hold power…magic. They were hidden and protected from the world for real reasons.[/rami] Eyes glanced into the vessel in his lap, fogged glass rolled gently in his hands to watch the liquid swirl as he continued. [rami]…the Order of Light has decided such artifacts after the Resonance must now be more heavily imbued with power. They also believe their origins give them rights over such artifacts, so they have set upon the world seeking them. Not to be outdone, the Vanguard who also believe they have a claim to the artifacts has begun to search in earnest.[/rami] Head leaned back against the top rail of the weathered chair to look at the Russian. [rami]…neither are correct in their claim and all will be done to keep the artifacts out of both of their grasps.[/rami] Suddenly the Cavalier's of the Vanguard having taken control of this area made more sense. The false "knights" believed they were the evidence of why the Vanguard had rights to the artifacts so they had started to make claims on numerous areas around the world, searching. Meanwhile Rami and his few "brothers" ensured they never found what they were looking for.
  17. [vacily] You’ve got some stones on ya, I’ll give ya that much. [/vacily] Brow quirked as he pushed off the landing step. [rami]Well we could have met at the cemetery but we would likely have to shed blood to investigate there right now. I thought you might want to keep the killing to a minimum for now.[/rami] It was said very matter-of-fact as the boots quietly made their way down, casually stepping over Enoch who lifted his head, snorted softly and flopped it back down uninterested in their conversation. Hazel eyes were long adjusted to the dark, noting the way a distant engine and taillights caught the Director's attention. Voice quietly broke the still of the museum. [rami]They wont come out this way. It's seen as worthless real estate.[/rami] Soft snort betrayed that he didn’t agree with them. [vacily]Nice place. Planning on settling down here?[/vacily] The sound was rare, soft and almost melodic, the chuckle rumbling in his chest. The man wasn’t far off. [rami]I stay here from time to time, but it really isn't in my nature to settle down Director. [/rami][vacily]Didn’t even know the damn place existed.[/vacily] Nod was knowing as he moved to the window where taillights had been seen before calloused fingers pushed the old lace from the distorted glass window. [rami]….yea….they think they know something but clearly they don’t. If they did they would have set up headquarters here and not in that silly court house.[/rami] Shrug was indifferent as the lace was left to fall once more over the wavy antique glass. The man clearly was unimpressed with the "Cavalier" presence down here. If they were true monks of the temple they would not be wasting so much time digging up the wetland preserve and instead would have honed in on places like the two hundred and fifty year old home that was built on the stones of masons. [rami]They look to collect the artifacts of the Order but they don’t know its secrets and therefore only chase what is written in books. Treasure is never where the X is recorded. We need to wait another day before I can show you the cemetery. There is a planned excursion out to the old stone mill in Newport. They head out tomorrow. They will go down to a skeleton crew out here which stay to the perimeter. [/rami]
  18. He had taken off for Winchester even as Vacily had left for New York headquarters. The road back began deserted but soon became far too speckled with vehicles, forcing him to seek alternatives to the highways, his bike well equipped for off-roading in the hill country. It was an annoyance but expected. With the firestorm he had started it was inevitable that the Vanguard would be pressing down into the area of the most recent murders. The fact that they came up empty handed of bodies likely only brought a bigger swarm. That had been an intentional decision, one made for no other reason than his respect for the Director. Bodies became evidence in Vanguard. It would not have mattered that one was the son of their own. The body would have gone to a lab for dissection and analysis where respect for the dead had no place. It was still daylight when he grew near. He decided to shift northwest of Winchester, to the woods of Round Hill until nightfall. He had pull among the crowd down here but even then there would be far too many questions. A lone legionnaire doing a perimeter check in Round Hill had the unfortunate honor of meeting his fist, knocked clean out, his phone confiscated for a quick and cryptic message to Vacily before it was destroyed and the "kid" tied up in a shed where he was likely to be found later. It was a good bet the cemetery would have people in it well into dark so it was best to meet elsewhere and the message was cryptic enough that he suspected even the Director would have to work at figuring it out, but that also meant if anyone else saw it they wouldn’t understand. The Cavalier knew this area better than those now protecting it and selected an old museum that had long been believed haunted and which bore a faded mason's mark in the stones that held up its foundation. With a rabbit filling his and Enoch's bellies, the bike hit the road once more at dusk. Dirt roads and wooded paths were taken with his lights off. He travelled all the way south before cutting back over east and then up once more to get to Abram's. The north was where the legionnaires were guarding the heaviest, because the south was unpopulated they didn’t expect an intruder from that direction. He slid through the trees, bike weaving over crumbled retaining walls to the side of the museum where the small portico that protected the side door from the elements had long overgrown with vines, letting him tuck the bike on the small porch unseen before putting a shoulder to the old wood and popping the door open. The museum smelled of old fabrics and wood, the faint must of moisture permeating the upper floor. Eyes quickly adjusted to the dark, moving to the front door to flick open the old fashioned metal latch and more modern deadbolt above it. There was no need for them to break more than one door open in the old building. A wet tongue smacked his hand drawing a faint grin as the massive animal flopped on the wooden floor at the base of the stairs staring at the front door. The Cavalier stepped over the mass of fur to climb to the first turning landing, sitting down, duffle sliding from his shoulder to drop on the landing next to him. The two spent the next day at the museum, slipping out just to catch something for lunch the next day before hiding out in the building again. The musty air somehow suited the Cavalier, sleep finding both him and his companion easily until the next evening. The old pump well on the property worked enough to rinse the dust and some of the caked blood from his skin. Enoch indulging in a long drink before the Cavalier dipped his own head under the stream to drink deep. The water tasted faintly old but it was ground water and likely not too harmful. Enoch made a perimeter check with him before they slipped back into the museum at dusk. He waited for the Director, perched again on the first landing, bathed in the shadows of the unlit museum when distant headlights moved across one of the lower windows. The Director had figured out the reference. Hazel eyes watched the door as he remained sitting on the top step, Enoch sprawled like a dead bear rug at the foot of the stairwell. Head tilted when the front door creaked open. [rami]…finally made it.[/rami]
  19. Quiet hazel watched the inferno build. The Cavalier had too often seen the pull of revenge destroy men. The Director was teetering on destruction. An aggressive response from the warrior-monk would crumble the thin respect between them. Fortunately the calm that infuriated his enemies was part of his very core being so he let the display of aggression go unanswered. [vacily]You seem to know a hell of a lot.[/vacily] At the growl in his voice, a feral nose pushed through leaves, dark eyes hauntingly narrowed. It was eerie the way the man with his back to the bush sensed it, lips parting just enough to push a soft thread of air through his teeth. The ears perked back up before the head vanished once more in search of his lizard prize. As the static built around them, the Cavalier remained still, thumb still pushing the worn leather braid around and around on his wrist as he listened to the venom spill from the well of pain. Hands fall away from each other to slide inside his jean pockets as the older man finally closed his eyes and worked to find his calm. Quiet rustle of wind in the trees supplanted the crackle of static and stone. As the older man seemed determined to play the obstinate child and walk off to his jeep the Cavalier leaned over and pulled the duffle up over his shoulder. [vacily] We’ll do it your way. It’ll mean war. Hope that’s what you got in mind, ‘cause that’s what your gonna get. [/vacily] Weight of the strap was adjusted on his shoulder as a gentle cluck set big paws padding off in the direction of the hidden bike. Barrel chest filled with air before gently exhaling through his nostrils, thoughtful hazel watching the man that struggled with his loss whether he was going to acknowledge it or not. Words were stripped, naked honesty. [rami]Vacily….right about now you are angry thinking I am arrogant or condescending. I am being neither with you. The truth is I am laying out the plan that you yourself would have set in motion had it not been your son. I know a "hell of a lot" because I observe. I learn from those that know what they are doing. I learned such a strategy from watching those skilled in strategy such as yourself work the shadows to seek a greater end through the means.[/rami] Turning he headed for his bike before pausing and glancing back over his shoulder. [rami]…I am sorry for your loss.[/rami] With that he headed around the monument to join his feral companion at the bike. He had no doubt that the Director would meet him tomorrow in Winchester. CONTINUED TO: DEADFALL
  20. [vacily]So you're my priest now? I'm a little beyond absolution father.[/vacily] Soft rumble murmured in his chest, it was a rare sound but the chuckle drew a faint upturn to calm lips. [rami]…don’t mistake devout for holy. I am far from sainthood Director.[/rami] He was a warrior of the Saints, but no Saint. The traitors among the Vanguard seemed to strike a powerful cord with Vacily. Brow quirked at the venom, surprised that he hadn't already figured that out. The Cavalier gave Rezanov credit for being smarter than the average Vanguard. But perhaps the traitors really had hidden well until now. For the warrior-monk they had been far too transparent. [vacily]…. I think he was disappointed to learn that he wasn’t the descendant of ‘old stock’. Not even close. According him, I, and people like me were the ‘evil’ within the faction. Maybe he was right.[/vacily] Head shook as he glanced into bushes that rustled, a nose pushing out of the leaves as Enoch searched for some elusive lizard or spider. [rami]… while your heritage was never known for walking an overly enlightened path, I do not think you are what is wrong with the faction. If I had, I would not have gone to Washington to talk with you.[/rami] It was becoming more and more apparent that the Cavalier had known the NY Director was in Washington. Everything Rami did was with purpose. The explosive rip across the Vanguard that he had started was with purpose, but so was the fact that he stood here, now, with the Russian. [vacily] Right now, I could really give two shits about the Vanguard or the Order. I believe Caleb was killed for something he knew. It’s a theory Salvatore and I were working on. I need to get to where he was killed. Just enter the coordinates and I’ll do the rest.[/vacily] Head shook as the phone was handed back to the man untouched. [rami]….or for something they thought he knew. Going there half-cocked will not bring him back, nor satisfy your revenge as even if the ones that actually killed him fall at your hand, they are not the puppetmaster, merely the puppets. Things are not black and white. [/rami] Hazel side glanced to the older man, brow quirking faintly having twisted the man's own words back on him. [rami]…I believe you already know this.[/rami] Hazel fell to his hands, fingers idly playing with the weathered leather braided cord that encircled his left wrist. The expression thoughtful before continuing. [rami]…need you to keep your head and be the New York Director. Need a man on the inside that I can trust as I work to flush out the master. Need you to condemn Washington and keep them all chasing their tails while we work to find the truth. Need you to strut in there and fire up Grant today. You show up days later after looking for your son's killer and they will doubt your loyalty.[/rami] Hand lifted to rub the back of his neck, stretching his shoulders as he continued. [rami]…after you get that all squared you let them know you are going to Augusta Legion in the morning. There are two Cavaliers there you want to talk to personally to ensure they can spread the word of the divide among the Vanguard to the other Cavaliers and that they are being hunted. In truth you will head out and meet me in Winchester, Virginia.[/rami]
  21. The sarcastic retort on unregistered vehicles was ignored as the hazel eyes instead watched the man light the cigarette with a faint quirk of the brow. A slave to the temple that was his own body he had never understood the voluntary act of putting such a poison in one's own system. The packet exchanged hands and it did not seem to surprise him that the older man did not bother to open it. The flicker of pale across his features said well enough that he knew what it contained. Rami felt no need to "comfort" him, the man would grieve in his own way. For now there was anger to cling to, something that sizzled off the Russian without apology. [vacily] There’s a leak in Washington. But they’re also gunning for your kind. In case you haven’t noticed, cavaliers aren’t all that popular in certain circles. There are those, like Cole, that’d like nothing better than to shut down your order and that fiasco of an exit of yours just fuelled the fire [/vacily] Brow flicked upward, patiently waiting for the man to finish as he knew the tirade was not yet over. [vacily] Dammit! Rami, you can’t go off all half-cocked like that. Something stinks in Washington but it’s not so black and white." [/vacily] Hazel were icily still as they met the grey. Beads were caressed through his fingers before tucking them away finally in his pocket. Soft words carrying in the still of the graveyard. [rami]… you have not known me long Director. But I think you have known me long enough to know, I do not do anything half-cocked.[/rami] Hazel slid from the man to the feral canine that was trying to shove his nose through the bag at whatever other treat might be hidden inside. Air gently sucked through front teeth to squeak ever so softly, instantly the massive animal was called off his prize and trotted into the dark. [rami]With emotions running high there is a decided lack of attention to any plan of attack making them less, not more of a threat. Anger breeds carelessness. You should be watchful of this as well, Vacily.[/rami] It was rare the Cavalier ever used anyone's first name which meant he was demanding a deeper level of attention from the Director. [rami] The Order is now also aware that someone among the Vanguard has been targeting their people which will breed further dissention and begin to flush the rats out into the open if one is patient enough to wait for them.[/rami] Moving to the marble wall, his shoulders rested against the cold stone near the man whose anger still lit against the Cavalier's calm aura. [rami]Tell me, have you never considered that there are two types of Cavaliers. There are the Locks, Prisks, Keenans, Firths, Jacobs, Thomas', Welns, Adians. Then there are Horace, Michaels and myself.[/rami] Silence lingered to let his point sink in. People always lumped the Cavalier together but there were those that worked hard to be the epitome of what a Cavalier was "meant" to be. Then there were the other three. True enigmas. Their names were never put together because they never seemed to cross paths, each dedicated to a different region of the world. But now that it was said aloud it shed a glaring light on the difference. [rami]It would be a mistake to assume the latter ones work for the Vanguard.[/rami] Hazel sought the same sky as the Director yet likely what he saw there was very different. [rami]….as I believe you have already suspected, there is an evil that far surpasses any shadow of the Order or Vanguard that is growing, therefore it is better to let them chase their tails and stay out of the way.[/rami]
  22. Meditation was the most powerful of drugs. The last two hours had slipped away like the flutter of a butterfly's wing as the beads endlessly cycled through his calloused fingertips. Yet for the warrior monk, deep meditation did not mean unawareness. Brow made a faint flicker as he heard the vehicle come through the gates. Best that the director brought it deep into the cemetery to ensure it was not visible from to the outside world. The Cavalier had not moved from his perch on the monument, brows scowling deeper as he heard the radio in the man's car. Cemeteries were places for quiet, it was why he sought them out in all cities he crossed paths with. He caught the last of the war mongering from the Commissionaire. He was sure that in New York the story was different, the media was likely vomiting the Vanguard version, where a rogue division declared war on all protectors of humankind and the New York division promised to not only hunt them down, but ally with other forces in New York to protect the people. It was rhetoric that he knew well and put little stock in either side. [vacily]Rami?[/vacily] [rami]… you are far too loud for this audience Director.[/rami] Quiet words carried easily among the dead. Hazel eyes opened to look down at the man, his relaxed perch unchanged. [vacily] Sorry I’m late. Had to stop and disable the jeep’s GPS tracking system. Son’s a bitches keep on moving the shit around. Heard you got away none the worse for wear.[/vacily] [rami]…that is why my vehicle is unregistered within the Vanguard.[/rami] No one got close to the bike, and when it was left alone for any length of time he recovered it by going over the thing with a fine tooth comb. His eyes were accustomed to the dark, unsure if Vacily saw as well, he hopped down from the monument ledge, bending down to retrieve the large heavy envelope nestled on top of his duffle that was fingerprinted in blood. He held it out to Vacily without a word. The contents were for the Director and no one else which was why he had not shared them in Washington. The contents held Caleb's ring, his Vanguard Cavalier patch from his jacket, a necklace he had been wearing with a Saint Christopher medal that had failed to protect him, his small leather diary book that held his personal notes on what he had found in the short time he had been investigating and the youth's gun and holster. All were still stained in his blood. Back leaned against the monument base, boot resting on the bottom ledge as a faint rustle in the bushes betrayed Enoch nearby. The feral animal had not bothered to take an aggressive stance as he didn’t sense hostility from the man that had "found" them. Instead he came trotting over and nuzzled at the outer pocket of the duffle and sat, looking up at the Cavalier with an almost puppy expression. Crouching he opened the zipper on the pocket and let the dog pull the jerky they had cured on the road out for himself. He couldn’t begrudge the animal, they hadn't eaten in almost twenty four hours now. Standing the casual posture against the monument returned as he didn’t address the items that the Director had in his hands. [rami]You might have noticed, I already knew that Washington was linked to both the Order and Vanguard deaths.[/rami] The Director was a smart man, the revelation would confirm the debriefing the Cavalier had given in Washington was only really meant for Vacily and not the others and likely had omitted some pertinent information.
  23. As he wove through the streets he glanced into his side mirror. He had ten Vanguard vehicles with him with easily more than 20 legionnaires and troopers. More than enough to look like a military escort. There was only two outcomes he could postulate. They ended up in a street slaughter with the security forces of Washington. Or, they convinced the security forces that the Cavalier was already under arrest and was being escorted to New York. He decelerated until the first Vanguard car caught up beside him, the window rolling down. The Cavalier was not surprised to see the red head. Over eager creature. [rami]… need three Vanguard cars in front, one on either side of me and the rest behind.[/rami] Hazel pulled from the road they were moving down to see the puzzled expression. It was all he could do not to roll his eyes. [rami]Security forces have been told to arrest me as well. If you want to be in an all out street war then please, let us continue as we are. My assumption is they have not yet been communicated to that part of the Vanguard has split away. Vanguard would take primary authority if they already have the prisoner in custody and are escorting him to New York headquarters.[/rami] Light bulb clearly went off as the kid snatched the cb in his dash and began relaying the message to the rest of the cars who immediately started to play tetris around the Cavalier. There was one thing that could be said about Vanguard troops, they were highly trained, highly skilled and understood military protocols. The three in front were so close together they could touch at any moment, the ones beside him pulling in behind the outer cars leaving him with just a single width and length of a Vanguard vehicle to drive in as machine guns slid out of the side windows to point at him. He hadn't mentioned that, but it was a nice touch as the last five cars boxed him in from behind, all lights flicking on to demonstrate they were on duty and to clear the streets as they came through blocking the entire road with their escort. The streets were clearing before them but thus far it had been all civilian vehicles. It had taken several miles but the Washington security finally caught up with them. A road block formed that forced the entire caravan to stop. For all his bumbling, Rami had to give kudos to the red head who got out of his car and strode with a confidence he was sure the man did not feel to talk with the local law enforcement. Several of the Vanguard had exited their cars on the side opposite from where they "trapped" the Cavalier, their guns all aimed at him. Again, a nice touch. Bloody and head lowered, the Cavalier looked the part of injured and defeated, though hazel eyes looked through thick lashes to watch every move made by the blockade. He was still counting on the fact that the chaos at the Vanguard offices kept good communication out to the law enforcement delayed. If they were updated too soon this didn’t have a shot in hell. It took several minutes but finally the cars began to pull out of their way, carrottop got back in his car and with the guns still trained on him, the Vanguard caravan passed through Washington without incident. They would have a very small window of lead time. The minute they were on 95, his hand went up and circled rapidly, instantly all vehicles lurched forward and they were heading down the open road at close to 100mph. They needed to be out of Washington's territory before the law enforcement understood their mistake. He waited until they were a good two hours outside of Washington on the deserted road before raising his open hand and then clenching it to a fist, all the cars slowing down to come to a stop. The previously commandeered smart phone was taken again. He quickly called Grant to let her know the loyals would be coming to the NY office and that he would follow shortly before sliding the phone to the messages again. Vstretit'. N Greeley mogila na kladbishche Greenwood . (Meet. N Greeley tomb at Greenwood cemetery.) Phone was tossed back to the red head after deleting the message once more. [npc]…are you sure it is a good idea to split up?[/npc] Brow quirked upward at the kid. There was a reason Cavalier worked alone. [rami]Head in to the New York office. They are expecting you. I suspect everyone will be questioned to ensure loyalties are intact as this is a grievous violation.[/rami] The nod was a bit timid but then came stronger. It was protocol after all. As the Vanguard fleet pulled out, the Cavalier slid off his bike, Enoch hopping down to stretch as he put the duffle back together in proper order before tying it down on the back of the bike, shoulder flexing to loosen it up after carrying the weight awkwardly on the bike. As Enoch came back from a healthy bladder release he tipped his head toward the back, the canine hopping up to spin around and flop down on the duffle as he fired the engine up once more. The Cavalier made the cemetery in a little over half an hour. It wasn’t far from the offices and yet rarely were there people in the area. It was a relic that no one maintained anymore which was fine with the monk as he parked the bike deep in the overgrowth and with duffle on his shoulder and Enoch trotting on ahead he wound his way through to the monument tomb of Horace Greeley. It had once sat alone in the manicured circle of grass with a walkway around it, now the vines had tried to claim the area as the duffle dropped at the base, a packet pulled from its midst and laid on top as the man hopped up to perch on the ledge below the bust, feet pressed against the column while he drew out a set of beads and began to let them move between his fingers. He came often here when he was in New York. More than a few of the tombs and headstones had hidden symbols carved in their designs. The mark of the Masons could be found here, as could the eye and pyramid. There was even two that buried deep in their carvings could be found, the Templar cross. He was waiting for Vacily.
  24. She should have declared him in "violation of the law" a little more quietly. She would come to regret it. Tongue clicked softly on the top of his mouth and instantly the hackles from the feral dog were up, the signal telling the large animal that they were in danger. The red headed soldier was at the end of the hallway, eager to catch another glimpse of his "idol". Cold hazel eyes didn’t even look at him as he walked past, the voice chilly yet that he even spoke made the younger man giddy. [rami]… you have a phone on you?[/rami] [npc]y…yes![/npc] Clumsy fingers were already digging in his pocket, nearly dropping the smart phone before handing it to the cavalier. The monk didn’t carry one himself, but he had numbers fixed to memory for those times when he needed to use one. He didn’t stop moving as he listened to the ringing through the earpiece, listening to the hello on the other side as the recipient tried to figure out who the hell was calling. [rami]Patriarch Grant. Rami. Washington district is compromised. Director Cole has gone rogue, is joining forces with the Order and has named me an enemy of the state. Suspect the leak that has led to the deaths of our Cavaliers is coming from her house.[/rami] He listened to her words as filthy boots trotted down the marble steps, the kid at his side gasping and wide eyed as he followed closely after. [rami]…understood.[/rami] Hanging up the phone he slid the screen over looking for the messages, rapidly entering a different number and beginning to type, hazel eyes not needing to watch where his feet were going. The Cavalier was very aware of his surroundings. "Vashington ob"yavil vrazhdebnogo gosudarstva . Vyvesti sebya." (Washington declared hostile state. Extricate self.) He knew more about the heads of Vanguard than they knew. His Russian was rusty but accurate and he knew only one man in the room could read the sent message as he hit send to Rezenov. Message was erased from the phone before he tossed it back to his "biggest fan". [npc]…is…is it true?... are we compromised?[/npc] The man simply nodded as he started to scan the lobby he was approaching. Quite a few legionnaires and troopers. [npc]…holy fuck….[/npc] The whisper escaped young lips even as he kept following the cavalier. As they reached the lobby there was a call already going to the front desk. He didn’t wait for the girl to stutter her "yes sir" to it, calm voice carrying out across the marble expanse. [rami]Washington district is compromised. Your Director has made deals against the Vanguard and declared war on the Cavaliers.[/rami] Long strides were halfway across the lobby, the men around shifting weight nervously as they looked at eachother trying to figure out what to do. Cole underestimated how ingrained the cult of the Cavaliers was among the legionnaires and troopers. A house divided against itself… cannot stand. [rami]You are asked now to declare your loyalty to the North American Division or else stand and be judged with your corrupt council. [/rami] His voice never rose above his common speech and yet it carried across the lobby where silence reigned. His feet never pausing as he approached the doors. Fan boy had stopped in the center of the lobby, the machine gun in his hand stared at as many now began to receive their orders though their ear-pieces. The Cavalier was to be taken into custody the moment he set foot outside. Guns had begun to slide off shoulders aimed at the back of the man as he stepped to the doors, dog at his side. The kid at the center of the lobby couldn’t breathe, looking at his fellow troopers before the ear-piece was pulled from its place and tossed aside, his voice a quiet growl. [npc]…I am Vanguard…. And I am loyal.[/npc] He sprinted for the door, he was going with the Cavalier. The duffle over Rami's shoulder was slid down as he exited the building, reaching inside the zipper, there was a reason the large sack was always with him as weapons were plucked from its depth. There was advantages to his high security clearance. He had toys even other Cavalier were not given let alone out in these district backwaters. Turning the small silver discs were hurled one after another to the second story windows where they clung to the glass, small red light blinking on their surfaces before he pressed the side of his watch and they began to erupt, land mines the size of half a grenade blowing out the windows and often collapsing the ceilings of the rooms within. Fire beginning to scorch quickly the interior carpets and walls, racing across the floor to impede the escape of those on the higher floors. In the lobby, chaos was also ensuing. Nearly sixty percent of the men were discarding their own earpieces and following the young red-head's declaration of loyalty but the others had also rallied and gunshots were beginning to explode just seconds before the grenades went off. Shouting began to roar out of the lobby as the second floor was rapidly being cut off from below. Bodies were streaming out the front doors to follow the Cavalier, those declaring their loyalty made it out first but those that felt following the Director's orders was loyalty were right on their heels. The gun battle began. Those that made it past the bullets finding the Cavalier could move like a reed in the wind, contorting his body around their attacks to land intimately the dagger in their hearts and throats, earning even greater awe from those that sought to be at his side. One of the flaws of the Washington district was it relied heavily on unaltered troops, mundanes that found fighting a man that was not only a cold blooded killer for god, but altered as well too much for their weapons and combat skills. [rami]Any vehicle you are not driving yourself to New York, blow up.[/rami] His voice was inhumanly calm, even in the midst of the chaos, and his followers heard and were quick to act. Sprinting for vehicles as they shot at the "enemy" trying to take out the Cavalier. He was already skidding over the hoods of several of the gunmetal security vehicles at the side of the building, the last of his land mine grenades sliding off his fingers as he did to blink ominously on the hoods. In the fray the soldiers learned quickly that the feral canine could tell friend from foe. More than one throat was torn from a body before the shrill whistle told him it was time to get to the bike. Sprinting towards his bike, the duffle scooped off the ground as he turned to level his XVR 460 Magnum at those that had chosen the wrong side. More than one gasp was heard as they recognized the high velocity revolver would likely move faster than they could avoid. Five shots were kicked off in quick succession, five men fell like dead weight to the stairs of the burning building. Cars were firing up as he sat on the bike and kicked it to life, the tire squealing before catching traction and speeding forward, Enoch springing from the pavement to land deftly on the back as the man set off the second round of grenades. One after another the vehicles exploded, flipping end over end against eachother as the ones that had been "stolen" by the loyal peeled out to follow the bike. An ominous caravan now heading through the streets of Washington daring any to take on the challenge of "arresting" the Cavalier.
  25. The indifference in the room didn’t seem to register with the emotionless hazel eyes. While Rezanov was bound by bureaucracy, the cavalier was not. The woman was to find out she might not have the sharpest teeth in the room. As she prattled on the cavalier slid the pictures into the duffle and began to look for something else within its bloody folds, hand escaping the bag as she finally fell silent. [rami]…call your panel if you want. I doubt it will lead to any actionable conclusion as this information was not meant for you.[/rami] Standing the left hand curled under the strap of the duffle, the right clenched with a prize from his sack. As with all the rest he had spoken, his tone held a calm indifference. [rami]Oh… and here…in case you need something to look at so you can feel accomplished.[/rami] Hand flicked out, the small white daggers scattering across the table with enough force that the blood that was on them flicked thick onto the woman's hand and down the front of her shirt, sending her scrambling back, her cool composure cracked. Vampire fangs, easily more than 16 of them, the roots still holding shards of bloody flesh rattled on the table until they finally lost their momentum. The "cavalier" she was degrading had single handedly taken down more than eight vampires. The duffle strap was pulled over his shoulder, cold eyes staring her down with the indifference of looking at a toad, hazel glancing at the blood she was snatching a tissue out of box to desperately wipe off. [rami]…I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Not likely infected…… right?[/rami] Her posture stiffened and instantly the feral canine stood, glassy black stare fixating on her as the animal read hostility. Bloody boot planted on the back of the chair, controlled shove pushing it back in place tucked under the table. [rami]Oh and Alia……I don’t answer to you… my presence will be where I put it.[/rami] He had officially declared the woman less than a flea on his dog as cold eyes passed over Vacily, the very faintest incline of his chin showing respect to only the one man in the room before turning his back on the group and heading towards the door, the massive canine glued to his side. [rami]….after all…..Grant needs to be debriefed.[/rami] The final insult of going over her head tossed over his shoulder as he moved to exit the room. She would likely be spitting mad but once she reached the bottom of his profile she would also see that most of his missions were classified above her security clearance. Even his own ranking was marked classified from her. He was a cavalier of unquestionable devotion and had been granted his autonomy by Grant. The director held no sway over him. [rami]…lot of activity was in your district…. do hope that informant isn't sitting amongst your ranks.[/rami] It was his exiting threat as boots hit the hallway marble, soft pad of paws beside him as he started to work his way back out of the building. The cavalier could maneuver as impressively as the woman, knowing full well such a statement would give the Order pause to look at their "host" with more suspicion. Corrupt. The thought burned a hole in the psyche. To show the face of corruption to one as devout as the bloody warrior-monk….was a mistake.
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