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RPG Asgard: Land of Fallen Angels [M-SLV]


DeathKnight
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[color=crimson][i]Monday, August 1st. 6:49 PM - Midas' District[/i]

The rain lashed at Clayton's coat as he sprinted into the upscale apartment complex and into the empty reception area. There was an otherworldly stillness in the room that eclipsed his own mind's disarrayed, garbled chaos. He jogged to the elevators and slammed the 'up' button. The elevator lazily opened up and he stepped inside. His eyes scanned over the floors until he found and pressed 'Floor 55'. The elevator lurched upwards and accelerated into a rather fast clip. He reached under his trench coat and retrieved his XX Combat Pistol, looking it over. He patted one of his coat pockets- four extra clips. "[i]Should be enough.. I hope it's enough.[/i]" He smirked to himself and leaned against the wall of the elevator, eyes locked on the artistic luminosity of the ceiling.

He was going to be the first to the scene- would back up arrive in time? He shook his head slowly, "[i]Can't worry about that now.[/i]" Even if the intruder was still around he had been trained sufficiently to handle combat against a variety of opponents. Close combat? An Arcadian form of martial arts. Gunfight? He could shoot the XX Combat Pistol better than most of his peers. The one thing he didn't want to meet was an Altered- "[i]I'd be chewed up and spit out like a bad piece of meat.[/i]" He shook his head negatively thinking about the sheer power some of his altered friends had- telekinetics tossing around cars like a ball, pyrokinetics with firepower that rivals a dreadnought. There was even an urban legend about a woman had some sort of horrifying, dark power- "[i]Prolly just bullshit. People imagine the weirdest shit..[/i]" He was brought out of his thoughts by a clear 'ding' and the opening of the elevator doors. He took in a deep breath and stepped into the hallway.

He looked to a sign that had no directions just the words: 'Entire floor is residency of Councilman Zane. No solicitations, no uninvited guests, NO MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA.' Clayton smirked at the capitalized portion of the sign and glanced to a nearby, ornate door- it was wooden and carved in an intricate, beautiful fashion. "[i]Wow. Wooden doors are rare enough.. but that looks beautiful.[/i]" He approached it and started to knock before he noticed it was open. "Uh, pardon me?" No answer. "Excuse me? Clayton Smith, Nadine Municipal Police Detective. Is.. anyone here?" Still no answer. He slowly pushed the door open and was greeted by.. darkness. "Councilmen Zane? Lady Zane?... Helloooo...?" He walked in and groped along the wall until he accidentally depressed the button for the entryway's light.

The bodies of four door guards laid strewn out across the walls. Their clothes- or, whatever was left on their dismembered bodies- were clearly SDF uniforms. Clayton was taken by surprise and he stepped back from the grisly sight. "Shit.." He flipped out his communicator and pushed the button to connect to headquarters.

"Nadine City Municipal Police Headquarters- Officer #191, what do you have to report?" A female voice said.

"Officer #191 reporting. I am currently on the fifty fifth floor of the Freya Apartment Complex and have entered Councilman Zane's residency. There are.. SDF causalities. Four, thusfar." He looked into the apartment. "I am going to assess the situation of the apartment further in. Do I have backup en route?"

"Yes #191 you do. A mixed force of Nadine SDF and Municipal Police are within five minutes of your location. We request that you try to locate the Councilman or his wife within the apartment- if attacked, we grant you the full authority to respond with deadly force."

He smiled at the official tone of the woman and nodded his head. "Roger that, headquarters. #191 out."

"Good hunting." The woman replied and he flipped his communicator off.

Clayton slinked into the den and turned on the light, taking in the room. It was lavishly furnished and had several high quality, high priced electronics that Clayton admired. "[i]Damn these council people are loaded.. I mean, most of the city of prospering but this is really something.[/i]" His mind refocused on the task at hand and he crept through the house, searching for some sign of the Councilman or his family. His first clue was a trail of blood that snaked out of the den and into a hallway. He followed it as it led directly to the door of what Clayton presumed to be the master bed room. "[i]Shit.. I am not looking forward to what is behind this door..[/i]" He mentally prepared himself and swung the door open, his pistol raised. He winced at the contorted forms of what had been the Councilman and his wife. Their eviscerated bodies decorated one half of the room with a mixture of guts and blood. He took his communicator out and dialed headquarters again.

"Nadine City Municipal Police Headquarters- Officer #191, what do you have to report on the status inside the apartment?"

"I.." His eyes rested on the bloody mess. "I have confirmed the.. status of the Councilman and his wife. They are both.. deceased."

"Affirmative #191. Can you provide us with a presumed cause of death?"

Clayton shook his head at that statement. "I've.. never seen this kind of thing before."

"... Officer #191?"

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[i]Monday, August 1st. 7:00 PM - Aesir's District[/i]

The assembled members of the Council sat in their picturesque hall- the massive hall lined almost all the way around by windows. It allowed for a wonderful view of the entire city- though, at the moment, that view was mostly blurred by the continued rain. The Council had thirty-one councilors. Four elected representatives from each district, an appointed 'head' of each district and the six permanent members- the Mayor [Mr. Tristan Nido], the Head of the Department of Municipal Affairs [Mrs. Narna Hent], the head of the SDF [Colonel Conrad Smith], the Speaker of the Council [Mrs. Lynn Howl], the Representative of the Empire [Lord Scott Stuart] and the Chief Justice [Judge Angkor Holmes]. The six permanent members sat on slightly raised platform, the rest of the councilors situated in a crescent shape faced towards them. Outside of these councilors were other anonymous participants- officers of the SDF, lower-ranking administrative officials and the like.

They had been waiting for fifteen minutes for the still-tardy Councilman Zane. There was some casual talk amongst the council as they bided their time, the thunder roaring outside occasionally. The Mayor's communicator had gone off just a minute prior- since then, he had been engaged in a rather heated discussion with whomever was on the other end. This brought a few strange glances, a few chuckles- it was mostly forgotten as the Mayor's conversation ended. He slid his communicator back into his pocket and stood, walking to the podium. Everyone quieted down as the Mayor cleared his throat and stated calmly-

"Councilman Zane has been killed."

It took a few seconds for the words to fully set in- and then there was a rather loud fervor from everyone in the room that equated to a massive "What?!"

"Silence!" Council Speaker Howl yelled. "Let the Mayor speak!"

The commotion died down to a couple of whispered conversations here and there. The Mayor nodded a thank you to the speaker and continued, "The only information we have at this time is that the Councilman and his wife were brutally murdered within the last half hour by a unknown person or persons."

"Those bastards in Cadmus!" One of the elected councilmen cried out. "This must be their doing!"

"Silence!" The Speaker yelled again, trying to maintain some sense of procedural order. "I will have no more of you all erratically speaking out! Let us keep some semblance of calm and order in this situation!" The aggravated councilman gave a meek nod, muttering something under his breath as the focus returned to the Mayor.

He took a long sip of water first, appearing somewhat shaken by the entire thing. He took his time, formulating his thoughts into something coherent, and continued. "We have no suspects.. although we can presume that it is probably the work of someone from Cadmus, if not the Guild itself. As you know, three years ago, Chief Justice Tamari was mysteriously killed. The suspicion has been and continues to lay on an element from Cadmus. Thus, there is a precedent for Cadmus taking these sorts of.. barbaric actions."

"Clearly now you see that war is a necessary action." The Imperial Representative stated, gesturing to the councilors. "Without the eradication of Cadmus, these sorts of violent, destabilizing actions will only continue and escalate."

"Permission to speak." A voice said from the Council members.

"Councilwoman Tamari, hm? Permission granted." The Speaker replied.

"Thank you, Speaker of the Council." She stood up and cleared her throat. Before she could begin, an explosion ripped out in the city from the Midas' District that could be heard all across Nadine.

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[i]Monday, August 1st. 6:58 PM - Midas' District[/i]

"Detective Smith, we've secured the entire residency. There is no sign of.. anything, really. There are no other people here or any signs of other people." The SDF private stated. "Also, I have a message from my superiors.. as this crime deals with a member of the Council I'm afraid that the SDF has jurisdiction here. However, we would appreciate the skilled members of the Municipal Police aiding our investigation so you are ordered to continue being a part of this case."

"Right, right." Clayton dismissively said. "I've got no problem with that." He was looking at the crime scene as a nearby SDF officer took pictures of it and marked off various parts of the room. "Damn.."

"My thoughts exactly." The private stated, shaking his head at the gore. "The Guild's barbarism doesn't cease."

"The Guild..? Why the fuck would the guild do something like this when we're on the verge of war? That doesn't make any sense." Clayton rubbed his chin. "Why provoke us with this.. senseless slaughter?"

"Since when do the Guild's actions make any sense? They exist for survival and money. They are animals, really." The private's communicator went off and he answered it. "This is Private Gear. Good evening si- erm, yes, yes. It really isn't a good evening, my apologizes." He nervously fidgeted with his free hand, "Ah huh.. yessir. Mmm-hm.. okay, I understand. Roger. Goodbye, sir." He turned it off and slid it back into his pocket, turning to me. "The Mayor will be informed soon so.. I have a feeling this is going to be a rather agitated session of the Council."

"Yeah, no kidding.." Clayton walked around, examining the room. He heard faint music and tilted his head oddly. "You hear that?" Private Gear paused and listened intently before shaking his head yes. "Huh, strange. Where's it coming from?" Clayton slid on a pair of latex gloves and carefully poked around, searching for the music. He opened up a well-made, ornate chest and inside it was a music box. "Oh, here we go.. wow, look at this thing." He picked it up and admired the artistic look and design of it. He opened it up and arched an eyebrow as he saw a rectangular, electronic device that had a pulsating red light on it going in time to the music. Clayton's eyes widened and he set the box down, taking several steps back. "Private.."

The private looked up, "Hm?"

"Evacuate the room." Clayton shook his head. "The floor.. no.. the building." The music slowed down to a stop, and the pulsating light dimmed completely. Clayton slumped against the wall and smiled strangely. "Shit."

The private looked at him, "What?"

"They are going to trick them all.." Clayton chuckled and looked up at the ceiling. "Ah, man. They got us.."

The private tilted his head questioningly but it was too late for any more conversation. The bomb went off, decimating the entire floor in an instant. The structure shook heavily, struggling to keep itself upright- the people inside had little chance to escape or do much more than scream. The bomb was too much for the building and it crashed into itself, letting off a massive cloud of dust..

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[i]Sunday, July 31st. 8 AM - Jotun's Pit[/i]

Nova stood on a balcony that jutted out of the Beast's Lair, sticking out into the pristine skies. Her adviser, Ark Sivart, stood behind her, briefing her on various scattered topics. Her eyes scanned the city below her- the chaotic mix of dilapidated buildings, shops and slightly more upscale homes reminded her of how tough it was to live in this community but it was the only choice all of them had. Her eyes raised up into the sky and she zoned back into what Ark was saying.

"... also, there might be shipping delays because of Tropical Storm Antony. Nadine's meteorological center issued a statement earlier that, to summarize, says to expect it to strike sometime tomorrow evening. It will cause heavy rains for the next few days.. but I guess most of us are fairly used to heavy rains here." He flipped to the next page on his clipboard. "That tropical storm will be affecting communications across the island, which is very bad timing for us since it will affect our audio feed from tomorrow's council meeting. We should expect poor quality [i]if[/i] we can hear it at all. However, we will acquire a written transcript of the entire meeting as quickly as possible following it's conclusion. We plan to send an order to the Scavenger division to send one of it's people in to retrieve the transcript from our operative within the Council. Given the rain and poor traveling conditions.. I expect that the written transcript won't arrive until at least two AM on Tuesday."

"That's adequate considering the conditions. Will the winds be a problem?" Nova leaned against the balconies railing.

"No ma'am. Winds are expected to be up to 55 MPH. Minimal damage. The main problem will be the rainfall over the next few days. Localized flash flooding and heavy seas can be expected. Rather mild affects for a tropical cyclone."

"I see." Nova turned around and looked at him. "What have you to report on the skirmishes between the Self-Defense Forces and the Darkfire?"

Ark flipped to yet another page and adjusted his thinly-framed glasses. "There has been minimal skirmishing since last week's flare ups. We still expect them to launch some sort of offensive in the future due to the Empresses' continued pressure. No real hope for peace, although one could be optimistic by the limited fighting since last week."

Nova snickered. "The Empire, huh. To survive they signed a contract that sold off their soul and here are the ramifications of that. We had no souls worth anything and built up this community with one goal and that: to live." She turned back to look at Cadmus. "All of this is just out of the need to survive and yet we are deemed removable just because we needed a way to live. What idiocy this planet breeds." She rubbed her chin a bit before continuing. "I.. wish to schedule something."

Ark arched his eyebrow and dug a pen out of his pocket. "Alright.. what is it?"

"I will make my first public announcement as acting leader of this city." Ark's eyes opened in surprise but he dutifully began to write. "On Tuesday, in the afternoon sometime. Two thirty PM." She nodded to herself. "I will address the reorganization of the Darkfire into something resembling a fighting force and address the pending war with Nadine. Get the word out." Ark nodded to her and saluted, walking back into the Beast's Lair.

She smiled amusingly at herself. 99 percent of the people in Nadine didn't know of or doubted her existence. In Cadmus she had been leading from the shadows, everyone knew her but no one [i]knew[/i] her. Now she arrived at the point where she was forced to reveal herself to all so she could efficiently command the city's defensive effort. With a quiet sigh, she turned and went back inside..

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OOC: It is currently July 31st- just a day before the bombing occurs. I want you all to post starting from this date and, well, do whatever- embellish your character a bit more, meet up with other characters in your city, muck around with NPCs, whatever. I'll move along to August 1st pretty soon- but use this as sort of a 'calm before the storm' where you can establish things about your character. Or, do whatever, I suppose.[/color]
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[B]Mid-Afternoon, July 31st.[/B]

Zach walked down a dirt road accompanied by his platoon sergeant, Kenneth Reinbach, whom was talking to Zach about the recent patrol. The road they were on led from 'Inner Nadine' (Inner refers to the highly developed areas of Nadine in the immediate vicinity of Aesir district...) to the outer edges of the districts, then belted around the outskirts. They happened to be in Godheim and were moving toward the West, heading for Dominion. Zach's platoon had arrived in Nadine that morning and were settling back down, most in the barracks provided, some like Zach and Ken heading toward home. Ken was tall, stocky, a long beard, shaggy hair and a grizzled face looking to be around 40. He was also an Altered, on the battlefield he often appeared to be incredibly fast, but that was just a trick of the mind. Instead he was seeing a few seconds into the future, seeing when harm was about to come his way, and reacting right before it happened, however the ability was weak; he could only detect danger immediately to himself, and only a few seconds into the future.

Zach nodded his head in agreement with Ken, only partially listening. "Any thing else?"

"yeah, while you were reporting in there was a racket as another delivery of the Model M's."

Zach perked up at this, his platoon had recently been brought up to full strength, and while he hadn't gotten the weapon's squad he had been hoping for, all in all he decided he was much happier with the long-range recon squad. Especially if they netted him a couple of Model M's. "Hopefully we can get a few...You think we can arrange the shifts so that everyone spends a little time learning how to work them? If we manage to get one or two, I want someone to be able to operate them, even if Anders is off achieving other objectives."

Ken's eyes glazed over for a moment as he pondered, then he shook his head. "You know, that would be a hell of a lot easier if we weren't forced to babysit politicians while on break." Zach allowed a flicker of a smile to cross his face.

"Yes, it would be. But if they allowed you to [I]actually[/I] relax then you might get a bit to comfortable, and we definitely can't have that, you guys get comfortable enough as it is on patrol." Ken made a show of grimacing.

"There goes my hope of a nice long siesta once your up top." They both laughed for a moment. As they did, they entered a small village - a small cluster of houses around the road. Ken stopped and turned toward Zach. "I will see what can be done, but as things are the men will only be getting the minimal free time." Zach frowned, even though this was a [I]break[/I], one didn't get to relax and rest when on Aesir duty, not with all the bigwigs around.

"Hum...I will get one of the buildings put onto someone else's plate. The commander of C toon owes me a favor."

Ken nodded, again his eyes momentarily glazing over.

"That should free up a shift for each man, I will split the shifts between working with the Model Ms and some extra free time. Good?" Zach nodded, then returned Ken's salute. Ken turned and walked toward his home, while Zach resumed his walk down the road. The Sea breeze in his nose, he was now officially in The Dominion. Home was only only a couple more miles away, might even make it in time for a late lunch. Zach's thoughts paused for a moment, thinking of home, and the sea.

As he thought of home, his brain shifted gears, and he began to think of clan matters. Mother would of course bother him about not having a mate...He didn't think he had the time, but Terra and Sea were already expecting third-gens. The clan was still weak on that count, but so was most of Asgard. Each House had 2 'Elders', first-gens...and on average, each house had three children on average, but all of the first-gen women were to old to breed now, so that mantle fell to the second gens. Fortunately every child born to The Clans was an Altered so far, whatever other research the [I]Lab[/I] had done, they had seemingly turned the Talent gene into a dominant one. Unfortunately Sea's youngest daughter, Calypso had a fling, and gotten pregnant, with a seemingly random stranger. Zach didn't care about that, if He, or any other clans man or woman, went off; impregnated a girl; disappeared for 9 months; returned and took the baby and then never saw her again the entire clan wouldn't give it a second thought and even support him if she made a fuss. However, he agreed with his father in that the stock should be known, and he had no intention of randomly breeding. Thankfully though, Zach was not expected to marry like the [I]princes[/I] of history were. Marriage didn't fit into the Clan's system. Children were raised by one, or both parents if they decided to be partners, and the houses they belonged to, until it's powers manifested (some do immediately, some not until puberty) and then it would be given to a house*, which it would belong to for the rest of it's life. If a none Altered appeared, it would belong to the house of it's mother (or father if mother is not a clan-member). Even if two clan-mates choose to become partners, they remain in the house they were born into, and none Altered are considered clan-members for only as long as they are partnered with a Clans-man. Zach blinked to himself in surprise...It dawned on him, that his father wasn't House Star-Wind, but his mother was...and now that he was an adult, he was, of course**. This realization changed nothing, just a momentary epiphany. Shaking his head to himself, Zach decided that he would try to find the time to find a mate. Preferably one who would support him and be life-long, like his parents had been so far...However one thing was for sure, she would have 'Talent'.

Zach looked around him, coming out of his thoughts, and realized that he was entering Wind-lands, and he picked up his pace, turning off the road. According to the City Databanks, The clan owned around 6400 acres (10 square miles) of land, stretching from a small rocky beach to about 6 miles inland and curving south to a small series of cliffs. The houses were scattered around Wind-land - Sea was directly on the beach, Terra was as far inland as possible, Whisper was nestled in a small forest north of Star, Dark outside a series of caves about a mile away from Sea; which had served as clan-home until things settled down. In the 'center' of Wind-land was a open clearing, surrounded by a forest. House Star was located here, as were the 'commonlands' - the buildings which were used when the houses gathered. Rustling and Twilight were in the north, Storm South and East, and High located along cliffs to the far south. Zach was now passing between Storm and Terra, he could see both Houses in the distance, but he was taking a bee-line to Star. The last patrol had been long, and even though he considered his toon as a second home, no place was like 'The Clan'.

Zach glanced once more at the sun, it looked to be about 1600, then he amongst the trees. As he approached Star-House he could hear voices, mostly younger ones, so more then just Star was there. Near the edge of the woods a girl stood, her back toward him, staring toward the clearing. She was about 5'6" and was wearing a forest-green hooded cloak like Zach's, the hood was pulled up. [I][B] Welcome Home. You have missed lunch, but are in time for tonight's gathering and Dinner.[/I][/B]

"Hey Neandra, how are things?" Nea merely turned and smiled to him, lowering her hood. Nea was probably Zach's closest friend, along with her brother. Closer then even his family were. This stemmed from the fact that they had been born shortly after Zach, and with Whisper so close, were near constant companions. [I][B] Things are well. Been worrying to much about girls have you Zach? She won't let you off this time.[/I][/B] "Hey! don't go prowling where you aren't invited. At least pretend to have the discretion your father and brother have." [I][B] Don't give me that. You aren't exactly blocking me out.[/I][/B] [I]I have nothing to hide.[/I] Zach thought to himself, deciding to stop wasting his breath. [I][B] I know. [/I][/B]

"And Neas is fine." Nea finally spoke in a whisper, responding to his thoughts now without implanting her own.

She seemed small and frail because of her voice but Zach knew this was a mis-perception, She, along with her twin, was an heir - and strong, in some ways, stronger then Zach. "Your last patrol was long, how many weeks has it been?" They turned and headed into the clearing toward Star-House, which also served as the 'city-hall' for the clan. Within the clearing were a number of smaller houses, unoccupied, formed in a circle. In the center of the circle, children were playing and adults were gathered around a large 'campsite', talking. Star and Whisper, and often, a few other Houses came together for Dinner, to hold meetings and pass the evening hours till bed with company. If the weather was good, it was held outside. If it was bad, inside Star-House. Though clouds were brewing, a storm obviously coming, the weather was still nice enough to be outside. The last for a few days.

"There was some heavy skirmishing for a while there...We were on the fringes of it, the platoon came out whole. How long till your term is over?" Zach smiled [I] thank you for letting me speak.[/I] Nea smiled again to let him know she heard him.

"It ended shortly after you left. Now I only have caretaker duties. None to soon. Why are you so happy to hear me speak?" Zach blinked, taken aback for a moment, and wondered if maybe he had been to long away from the clan. [I][B] You have. [/I][/B]

"Whisper has such beautiful voices, they could easily be minstrels if they wanted..."[I][B] WE DON'T![/I][/B]"...yet because of their Talent they rarely speak. Shouldn't I enjoy it while I can?" [I] and I wasn't away for to long, you just missed me after I came home from the Academy.[/I] Zach frowned for a moment at her reaction to his minstrel-joke. The Whispers, also due to their Talent had a tendency to never leave Wind-land unless they must. Within the clan they were around people who were open to them, who hid nothing to them, and so they felt comfortable, free to use their Talent, outside of the clan those who found out about their Talent usually feared them and the complete lack of privacy they represented. Zach also knew that unless it was a threat to the clan none of Whisper would ever speak of what they 'felt' to others. [I][B] That's right.[/I][/B] So Whispers 'job' was to watch over Wind-land, patrol it, and tend it; in return they never had to leave, except for the required SDF service. This was 'caretaking'***. Zach grinned and Nea moaned before he even opened his mouth. "What will the clan do if you guys breed out of control?" Zach laughed at her moaning, and the mental image he received of him being slapped around by Nea.

As they entered the inner-circle, Zach's face lost it's mirth and he grew serious. His eyes flickered over each of the gathered Houses, not really registering what he saw. [I][B] What's wrong?[/I][/B] [I]There are expectations.[/I][I][B]What expectations? We have no expectations. We know you. [/I][/B] Zach staggered and for a moment struggled to retain his concept of self, overwhelmed by the Whisper House intruding on his consciousness. When he was in control again, he noticed 4 sets of eyes focused on him, aside from Nea these included her Father -Tyler, Neas - her twin, and Zera - their younger sister. [I] OUT! [/I] As Zach shouted this to himself, he began to put up a mental barrier, feeling himself surrounded by a field of energy. Wind-Clan had found that all Altered had the ability to put up a mind shield that could interfere with mental abilities, it wasn't impenetrable, and useless against those which manipulated physical conditions, but it was better then nothing. They shared this secret with no one, Ace up the sleeve. After a few seconds, Whisper turned their eyes off Zach and he allowed the barrier to drop. He felt now instead the light touch that Whisper used on groups - passively reading but not actively imposing, except for from Nea, The light touch was comforting to him where all 4 actively imposing on him had been overwhelming. [I][B] What's wrong?[/I][/B][I] I don't need the distraction right now. Stop looking so hurt, it was just overwhelming...[/I] Nea winked at him then ran ahead and joined her twin by the fire. Aside from being broader in the shoulders, Neas was identical to Neandra, and so far as Zach knew, the two were basically one mind.

[I][B] Not quite, but maybe we should be.[/I][/B] Male this time; Neas, He nodded to Zach, then returned to listening to the Clan.

As Neas nodded, Zach felt the presence of the clan shift. Now they were aware of him, and although they had individually been aware of his presence, the attention of the group was on him. Zach shivered, The last time he had been home it had been a small affair, only home long enough to visit his family for a day, and only Whisper had attended that 'Gathering'. He had never had such attentions on him, ever, as a child. The children grew silent and watched, sensing the change. Zach finally stepped forward, and as he approached the edge of the circle, it opened. The Prince had come home. He couldn't help but feel that this was to much, even for how long he had been away, and as he entered the center of the circle he glanced at each House again. All members of every House was here. Sean motioned for Zach to stop, the only empty chair his own on his father's right.

"Welcome Home." Sean said as Hannah nodded to Zach.

"Thank you...Is something wrong...why is everyone gathered? Did you know I would come?"

"Yes. Pacifica located you and we decided to call a Meeting." Zach merely nodded, and kept his eyes locked on his fathers. "Zacherai Star-Wind, as an SDf Officer, what do you think is coming to Asgard?" Zach blinked, but he was not entirely surprised, he had been meaning to discuss it with Star anyway, so discussing it with Wind was no big deal.

"War."

"Why?"

"Arcadia has stepped up her shipment of Military supplies, We have more small arms then Cadmus has thieves. Enough ammunition to supply them to the end of the world. New vehicles seem to arrive everyday. Patrols have increased, and my platoon has been brought up to full strength, something which looked like it would never happen. I can't say when however, maybe tomorrow, maybe next year." Sean merely nodded and the gathering remained silent.

"Wind has long felt that the current state of affairs could not remain. What do you think the chances are of a successful resolution?"

"I don't know the numbers, but Cadmus has always been larger then Nadine, so it's safe to conclude that their military power is equally so. Also Cadmusians, according to Nadine intelligence, operate largely as mercenaries - the adults who aren't in the Cadmus army isn't because of a lack of skill. We are better organized and are used to operating in group operations on large scale, we also have standard issue equipment instead of having to provide our own. This doesn't answer your question, but their are to many factors."

From behind Zach a voice called out - Zach recognized it as Emery, Head of Dark. He was unaltered. "Do you doubt Nadine's ability?"

"No. Nadine has it's limits however. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if to many Naturals are at the top of the current administration, and the current Colonel does not seem to fully understand the power of Altered." There was a murmur from a couple of Elders. [I][B]Innocents.[/I][/B] Nea and Neas...

Sean waited for it to quiet down. "What of the Militia?"

"I suggest it be put on stand by. If Nadine goes through with this war, Chaos could come. We must be ready."

Zach watched his father's eyes light up, and Zach knew he was fulfilling the role needed for House Star, serving as a rallying point for something which had most likely been debated amongst the Elders.

"You may sit down now." Zach moved to his seat at his father's side, and this time looked over each of the

Elders faces slowly. Whisper was passive, observing, listening. Zach would almost bet money on Tyler feeding Sean on how the other Elders were feeling. Twilight, Sea and Rustling were listening intently to Sean. High and Dark were scowling. The anger from Emery was almost palpable. Head of Storm, Matt, was grinning broadly, seemingly in anticipation. "We shall do as my son advises and put the Militia on standby. However, unless Nadine is herself penetrated, it shall not act." Now a scowl from Matt. "Nadine has the SDF, with our clan's men in it, to protect her. That should be enough." Small murmurs began to spread as Sean sat down, inner-House talk, but then..

Hannah stood up. This was so rare that their was silence once again, Nature herself seemed to become silent for her.

"We are all forgetting something...or rather, someone..She is still out there...We have all read the file..." Auburn was the Head of Twilight. She worked within the Council building, a secretary. She often brought tid bits of information which would be useful to Wind. "..It revealed nothing we didn't know or suspect...Nadine knows little so it is our job to contain her..."

Matt growled. "Wind has grown, why don't we just remove her?"

Hannah shook her head. "...Even Wind...would be lucky to survive...We all have seen what she can do...Half of us remember what she has done...Memories we don't want...Our only fortune is that she may not wish for [I]our[/I] blood..."

Zach was in a state of personal shock, though his face didn't show it. These were more words then he had probably ever heard his mother say at any single time. She sat down after asking that question, not expecting a response.

Sean just stared at Hannah for a moment, then took it upon himself to respond. "She is right, we have forgotten her. Nothing in years, nothing since before our children have been born. But we remember. If she appears, then we may have to mobilize." Sean took a breath and stood up. "Wind, if you encounter her, especially you in the SDf, do whatever it takes to get out. Do not engage her. Even if you must defy your superiors. If you are forced to remain, make it clear who you are, that may be your only defense. [I]DO NOT ENGAGE.[/I] This is Wind Law." those last words were not uttered lightly, for they were the highest decree Wind could pass down on her own. Violating 'Clan Law' was tantamount to suicide for any within Wind. It meant expulsion from the clan, and shunned, no second chances. As far as Wind became concerned, you stopped existing. The only other 'Clan Laws' involved treason onto the clan, namely, murdering a clan-mate. They had never been violated. Zach was not so sure of his belief in her existence, but if that was the decision, he would obey it to the later. His platoon would not engage her, ever. If they were forced into a position he would move out to inform her of who he was, and hope. "If we must fight her, we will do it as Wind." Sean sat down.

For a while, the clan discussed other practical matters, mostly in regard to it's militia and school. Then Hannah along with Whisper and Sea went into Star-House and began moving plates of food out to everyone. As they began to eat the serious form of the meeting subsided, and cheerful stories began to ruminate around the circle, Children began playing in the twilight again. Zach smiled and conversed, telling a few stories from his patrols.

For a while, he watched the children playing, apart of him finally realizing that that was no longer his world. He shrugged it off, it had never really been his world anyway, he had never played like the kids before him were now playing. One of them was his sister, Rhiannon, 8 years younger then him, chasing Zera around in some game. Zach didn't even know the rules.

"Miss it?"

"Miss what?"

"The game your watching...oh wait...you never played those games. Always to busy. Always willing to show us who was strongest though."

"Eric..." Zach turned and stared at his younger brother. "when does your term start?"

"...." His brother glared at him at mention of a term, it was answer enough, he still hadn't signed up. He had already graduated school of course.

"Go play with the children. It's where you still belong." Zach turned away from him and heard him walk off.

"That wasn't nice." Zach shrugged as he heard two more walk up to him. "You could at least attempt to be diplomatic."

"He's still my brother, and he's still a child. When he act's like an adult, I will treat him as such."

"Well then, [I]Prince[/I], shall you also shrug us off?"

"Of course not. Neas, your term is also finished?"

"Yes...but I may renew, especially if war is coming." Zach faced them and could almost see Neandra arguing with him.

"So this is what you meant by not completely of one mind...If you need a toon Neas, you know me. If not my own I can find one that is more...friendly." Nea straightened and glared at him. [I][B] Don't you encourage him![/I][/B] When he just stared back, she turned and walked off. "Sensitive subject?"

"She didn't have pleasant experiences, neither did I for that matter...especially being separated for so long,

that was probably the worst."

"I understand..."

"Do you?...Well, I better go and appease her before she makes to big of a deal out of it."

"...well, the Clan will need you Caretakers in War, especially if Cadmus starts poking around more." Neas smiled as Zach said that, knowing he was basically telling him to not renew. [I][B] Later. [/I][/B]

Most of the other second-gen came up to say hello to Zach, and discuss minor matters with him. They respected him, even supported him, but were not particularly close. They would follow his commands, sought him out for advice, especially regarding Talent. Zach did not mind the lack of friends, it was his place in the world.

[B]Later that night[/B]

Zach found himself summoned to his father's study. He entered seriously, and stood waiting to be addressed. "Zach. Take a seat, you did well tonight. Sorry to spring that on you so suddenly."

"Thank you...and it's no problem. Does she really exist father? should we fear her so much?"

"yes, she does. and yes, you should. What are your plans?"

"We have a couple weeks break, babysitting in Aesir, then more patrols I imagine. Tomorrow I am going to report to the council. Ive been summoned. We were sent closer to Deadwood then usual, scouting out the road."

Sean nodded taking it in. "very well, I won't keep you to long." He reached into his desk and pulled out a small file. "Read this before you leave tomorrow. Memorize it if possible."

"Yes Sir."

"Also Zach, try to get along better with your brother...Your mother saw you two earlier and wanted me to say something. I know he provokes you but..."

"...I will...what was wrong with Emery?"

Sean's tone changed, sounding angry. "Those [I] Demons [/I]. Jason was on patrol...I guess reconing like you were, and they got ambushed. Jason has returned to the Winds."

Zach was stunned for a moment. It was the first time a Wind had died to a Cadmusian. Until now they had survived every encounter without direct injury. "I...see. Now we have a direct wound to repay them..."

"We've been lucky till now Zach. Nadine has suffered, and now we share in the pain the city has known for 30 years. It may of been bound to happen, but those demons will be purged eventually. It should have been taken care of during the revolution. Now it will be the job of our children."

"Then we shall have to see that job done." Zach stared his father in the eye. "...So...when is the next Game?"

"Not until your gone I'm afraid. To bad, I was hoping to see how you operate. Think you can take on Clans-men now that your out of the Academy huh?"

"I would like to try. I probably know a few tricks now that you don't."

His father laughed at that. "Ive been in war, you haven't. And you aren't ready to take my position yet." Zach frowned at this, which only made his Father laugh more. "As a kid, you always wanted to participate in the Game, and now you are off playing with real soldiers, not good enough for you? I know I know, you want to prove yourself to the Clan. You will have your chance." He smiled again then turned back to the file in front of him "I will talk to you later. Sleep Well."

Zach left the room, dismissed, and smiled at his Mother as she passed him, She smiled back, then stopped.

"Zacherai..."

"...er...yes?"

"...When are you going to find a mate?" Oh shit, Zach had completely forgotten with the night's council.

"...Well...I don't really..."

"Don't say that, If nothing else..should treat it as one of your duties." Zach winced as she said that, of course, she was right.

"...Even with the war?" Zach wasn't particularly fond of this subject...Although, his mother never failed to mention it.

"Especially." She smiled at him, Zach couldn't help but find her eyes a bit menacing as she said this. Giving it a [I] or else [/I] feel. Meri, the pregnant Terra-Wind, was about seven months along now, and Zach could tell his mother felt that Star should be moving toward a third generation. Rhian, the youngest of Star, was old enough to bear a child. Which meant Zach was lagging behind in his Mother's eyes, he was Eldest, he should be first amongst the House, since it was to late for the Clan.

Zach dug around in his mind for something to say, one of the augments he had prepared earlier; "I will...do my best." To this she smiled a smile that she saved only for her children who had pleased her. Zach momentarily reminisced about working hard to earn that smile when his abilities had manifested, then meandered toward his bedroom as she entered the study. Now he didn't work for smiles, but to keep his place in the world. To be worthy of being the Heir.

When he entered his room, he began reading the file, learning it. An hour later, he set it aside, rubbed his eyes, and laid down. It felt like forever since he had been in his own bed. He was asleep however, before this thought even fully registered in his mind.

[B]The next morning...[/B]

Zach made a token approach to his brother. His brother accepted it, a show for the family, and told Star that he was going to be signing up today, along with David Dark, probably his best friend. Good, Zach thought, about time he fulfilled that duty. His sister was gone about as soon as she finished eating, Zera waiting for her. Zach smiled, enjoying seeing another Star so closely tied to Whisper. All was well in The Clan. As Zach prepared to leave, he glanced up to see his mother with the same glint in her eye from last night.

"Ok Ok, I get it!" His mother merely nodded, and his father glanced him, not expecting his outburst.

"Get what?" He asked innocently.

"My duty." He looked toward Hannah, whom Zach was staring at. Then understanding seemed to dawn on him and he smiled, returning to his food.

Zach left that morning after having read the file again, and was surprised to see Nea waiting for him. "Not with Neas?" [I][B] He's gone to Storm. He has the east border today. Thank you. [/I] [/B] "Well...I...couldn't have separated Twins." [I][B] Liar.[/I][/B] "Guess so..." Zach went about imagining taking Neas, and tossing him into a meat grinder "Gotta do my butcher duties." [I][B] Don't even joke about it! [/I][/B] He felt a strong wave of hate. Not directed at him, but at the idea. "..." [I][B] And don't you start with duty. We do our duty, to the Clan, Nadine can be damned before she takes other-self. [/I][/B] Zach paused, staring at her, not thinking anything, just letting it seep in. His tone became formal. "As is your right, Caretaker." Nae reacted like he hit her with a sack bricks. Stopping in her tracks and glaring at him. [I][B] Don't get formal with me! I know your contempt for them![/I][/B] "They are necessary..." [I][B] I'm not going to discuss this with you.[/I][/B] Zach sighed [I] I know. I have no right to pass any judgment on you or yours. Let's just forget it ok? [/I] [I][B] Agreed.[/I][/B] They walked on, heading in a general North-Easterly direction.

Zach stumbled in his mind for nearly 10 minutes, trying to decide on a way to get her talking again...then realized...she was listening to all his thoughts. "... ... Having fun?"

"Yes." she smiled and seemed on the verge of laughing.

"the Prince makes an ass of himself again huh?"

Nea laughed as he was saying this. "I would never phrase it that way, but it might be accurate." He got a picture of his face imposed on a Donkey.

"Well, since you seem to deem me worthy of being spoken to, why don't you sing me a song?" He grinned as he said this, imagining her singing a song dressed up like a bard. Her face contorted as she slowed to a stop. [I][B] I'm not a minstrel! All your imaginings aside! [/I][/B] "Well... maybe it's better that way, all you probably know are drinking songs from the SDF and those..." Zach and Nea shuddered simultaneously "...things Rustling calls songs." [I][B] I doubt my voice could even simulate that, yours on the other hand...This is the edge.[/I][/B] Zach paused and turned to Nea, he had just noticed she had stopped walking. [I] Edge?[/I]

"Your off Wind-Land." [I] Know the borders down to the last millimeter huh? [/I] "Yes. I will see you tonight."

"Ok, later Whisper-Wind, may your voice never Rustle."

[I][B] You feel safe cause your out of reach, but I know where you live! [/I][/B] She was already walking back west, mirroring the border exactly.[I][B] Fair Winds.[/I][/B] Zach could feel her keeping track of him, knowing she was merely doing her job, but grinned [I]Miss me that much?[/I] [I][B] Go away.[/I][/B] He almost laughed, her response it's own answer, but he had entered the neighboring village.

He seemed to just then notice it was pouring down rain. He pulled his hood up, covering his face and turned down the road, heading for Aesir. Clan matters suddenly took backseat, and Zach reviewed what he needed to get done. By the time he entered Aesir he had on a poker face of seriousness. He flickered to the Sergeant he passed, knowing everyone would be in place, and on time. The secretary in the lobby looked up at him. He lowered his hood. "Ive been summoned by the council, Zacherai Star-Wind." The secretary glanced down at a computer screen, then an elevator opened. Zach stepped in, and in a minute he was 50 stories up. Stepping off the elevator he hoped that the council would be quick. He wanted to go and snag a Model M or two, and he had to track down C-toon's commander. He knew it wouldn't be. Zach turned and waited for his time in the Council, staring out the windows into the storm.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Each House is considered to govern a different set of Talent. Here is the list:

Star - Vitiakinetic ( Most often thought of as Remote Healing, can also work to the opposite.)

Whisper - Telepathy

Twilight - Electrokinetics (manipulation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Exp: Bending light, or remotely operating Electronics. )

Sea - Clairsentience (Ability to extended the senses beyond the body. Limited past and future perception.)

Storm - Psychokinetics (Manipulating the movement of Molecules. Exp: Telekinetics Remotely move objects, Pryo and Cyro speed up and slow down their molecules, respectivly.)

Terra - Biokinetics (Manipulation of one's own celleur strucutre. Exp: Growing extra internal organs, shapeshifting.)

High - Teleporation (Both physically teleporting Self, and Out of Body.)

Dark - Quantiumkinetics (Manipulating atoms to form physical objects. Exp: creating a knife out of thin air.)

Rustling - Aberrant (physical Mutations.) - Currently a Large Cat/Human crossbreed.


** As of yet, all partnerships have been life-long. However the clan decided to do away with certian concepts during the education of thier children. Marriage for example does not lend itself to the Clan Houses, and could even create 'ties' to outside the clan that were unnessacery.


*** Shortly after the forming of Nadine, there was an episode involving Whisper (Tyler) to have a nervious breakdown within Aesir district. After this event, Tyler refused to leave Wind-land. This effectivly left the Clan supporting Whisper without it contributing. After a week of near continious debate - due to the usefulness of Whispers abilities it was decided that they would be allowed to contribute to the clan in other ways. Namely, Caretaking.
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Teryk hadn't been expecting anyone at three o'clock that afternoon. There were no appointments on the calendar, and he would have remembered if he had set up a luinch date with a coworker.

Besides, it was too muggy out to leave the air conditioned confines of his apartment. He knew he needed to go grocery shopping, but the humidity caused by Tropical Storm Antony made him put off the task.

Instead, he was grading papers. The students in his English 3 and 4 classes had taken a test yesterday on the books they were reading--The Fountainhead and The Scarlet Letter, respectively--and he preferred getting the grading done early before they all got lost in the vortex that was his office.

Sunday was his only day to do that; Nadine High School was in session all year. The only compensation for the students was a long winter vacation and various week long breaks scattered throughout the year.

One would be coming up within the next couple of weeks, and he knew the students would start to pester him before long.

So, when the knock came at three that afternoon, Teryk jumped.

It was hot and sticky out, and he wasn't expecting anyone. Of course he wouldn't have gotten dressed like he usually did! All he had done all day was shower, throw on a pair of ancient jeans, eat throw some clothing into the washer, and grade the tests.

He scrambled around the room, and grabbed a ragged t-shirt he reserved for outside work only. He didn't like it much, but it was better than nothing. He pulled the shirt on as he hurried to the door.

"Coming," He called as he brushed wayward locks of hair out of his face, shook his head, and gave up on it.

He smiled pleasantly as he opened the door, acting as if nothing was wrong at all that day. Sure, he looked like he just got out of bed, but for all the person outside the door knew he probably did.

"Ah, hello Harper." He said and stepped outside to join her. Natalie Harper, a spunky fifteen year old, smiled in return . She may have been eleven years his junior, but she was the sort of young woman who could easily be mistaken for an adult. She was tall too, tall enough to meet his eyes when they stood across from each other. But, it was as if God knew that most men were intimidated by tall girls, and he had blessed her with a lovely figure.

"Hello, Mr. Collabel."

"I wasn't expecting anyone," He confessed, looking sheepish. It was enough to diffuse the almost ridgid air that Natalie had then, and her smile went from merely a formality to something genuine. "Anyway," Teryk continued, "How may I help you?"

"I was wondering if you could help me with something..." A light blush colored her cheeks. "You see, I kind of...lost...my book."

"Ah..." As an English 2 student, Natalie was reading Shakespeare's "The Tempest" in class, as part of a group assignment. All in all, they were supposed to pick out a favorite scene, alter the dialogue so that it would fit with the current era, and perform it in front of the class.

Such an assignment would be difficult without a book.

"Do you know when you lost it?"

"No. It was either yesterday or Friday...I don't know!" She looked on the verge of tears, and her green eyes were staring at some unknown spot on his front door.

"I didn't tell you yesterday because I thought I would find it in my locker, or maybe Chelsea's locker. I guess I didn't, though." Her gaze shifted to the floor, her fists clenched at her sides and her face red.

"Natalie." Teryk rarely used his studen't given names, and that very fact caused Natalie to look up.

"Mr. Collabel?"

"It's not the end of the world that you lost your book. The worst thing that can happen would be you having to pay the library for the lost item. Besides, are you sure that you looked in every possible place?"

"Yes. I looked everywhere! My bedroom, my desk, the kitchen table, my dog's bed, my little brother's room..." She shook her head, holding her hands up in a gesture of futility, 'I don't know where else it could be!"

"It's all right, Natalie." Teryk placed his finger under her chin and gently pushed her face up. "I'll make you a deal," He said. "If your book doesn't turn up by Tuesday, I'll let you borrow my copy. Okay?"

"Are you sure?" She eyed him warily.

He nodded. "Yes, I am sure."

A bright smile returned to her face, and her eyes no longer looked so worried. "Thank you so much, Mr. Collabel!" She backed away, in preparation to leave, "I'll see you tomorrow!" She said as means of goodbye.

"Wait!" Teryk called, wondering if it was right to say what he was going to.

Natalie stopped, and glanced back at him with a curious look.

"I wouldn't expect school to be in session tomorrow," He explained, leaning against his door.

"Why's that?"

"Well," Teryk chose his next words carefully. "There isn't official word yet, but I've read on my e-mail that the administration is considering cancelling school for the next couple of days." He smiled gently. "It's Antony, you know. It's been a long time since a storm hit Asgard. At least, that's what I hear."

Natalie nodded. "I understand." She continued on her way, "In that case, I'll see you in a couple of days, Mr. Collabel!" She called, then burst into a light jog as she (presumably) went back to her house.

Teryk smiled as he watched her go, and silently congradulated himself on a catastrophe averted.

But the stickiness of the air had caught up to him, and he hurridly went back inside. Even as he rejoiced in the air conditioning, he knew that there were still more tests to grade.

He pondered the fact for a moment, then decided to find something in the kitchen that wasn't plastic or paper so he could eat.
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Garon rose from his bed slowly, looking about the room as if to see if everything was still there "Guess that makes day twelve with no break ins." He said to himself as he got to his feet. He left his room and walked through the mess clutterd hallway to the kitchen where he quickly made some eggs and toast. He sat eating quietly, light russtling of feet outside. The city was already awake and alive, though it was seven AM. Garon took his plate and began to scan through out the rest of his single floor house. Though it was heavily clutterd, it was not that dirty. The kitchen had been particularly well taken care of.

Garon made quick work of his breakfast and gatherd his equipment and left for the lair. He had to go pick up a new assignment or he wasn't going to get paided. His last job was already a week behind him and he needed the money pretty bad. He walked into the first floor to the emense lair and saw that, as usual, it was croawded with others trying to find the best jobs. While Garon scanned over the postings he saw one imparticular requesting the help of an alterd. It was for an un-named party and would pay top dollar. It was some sort of job involving Nadine, there had been more and more of those showing up. Even for as dense as Garon could be, he knew that it was only a matter of time before all out war broke out. He looked at the post optimistically, he had the power and it paid top dollar. But something didn't sit right with him about the job. To spite this he decided to at least meet with the client. He went to the main desk and registerd himself. As he left to the location on the notice to meet the client it started to rain. Garon turned his focus to the sky "I hate rain." He said to himself, he then turned his head back down and went on his way.

He walked up 'The Pit', a popular bar for most mercs in the area and was a fairly common meeting place for private clients. He walked in and saw the dimmly lit bar strangly empty. Only four people in the place aside from the bartender, normally the place was packed. What was going on that noone was in? Ignoring this, Garon lifted the notice again to see where it mentioned the client would be seated. 'Far corner both' he looked up from the notice to see a woman sitting at the corner lot, so he causually walked over "So, are the client?" The young woman looked up from her drink and smiled "Yes" She said with a woice as smooth as silk, it was almost hypnotic "I have requested someone with alterd power. Do you meet this requirement." Garon smiled and brought up his hand and brought up a small flame with a snap of his fingers. He waved his hand quickly and the flame was gone. The young woman smiled "Perfect. Someone like you should have no problem with this job." Garon leaned in to the both and looked the woman in the eye "What kind of job is this anyway? Your notice wasn't very specific." She smiled again, this time it was much more sinister "I need some help dealing with someone." Garon laid back in his seat, assasination, he had done it a thousand times "So, what's the name and the location." The woman looked up again, the dim light refleting off her smooth, pale skin "Councilman Zane. He's been a thorn in my side for to long and I need someone with skill like yours to deal with him." Garon a bit taken aback "You want me to take out a council member. The war is coming fast enough, do I really need to spur it on." THe womans calm face suddenly became very vicous "So you won't do it?" Garon shocked to see such a mood swing "No, I'll do it if the moneys right." The tention that she was exuding was suddenly gone as the smile returned to her face "Very well. You shall be paid handsomely for your help in this job." Garon felt at ease again, this is exactly what he wanted to hear "So what are my mission peramators?" The woman bobbed her head behind herself "The man sitting in the front both will be your partner." Garon frowned a little bit "I don't like working in groups, I prefer solo jobs." The woman continued to smile "He is one of my men. I need someone to a company him." Garon sighed "Okay, if that's what you want." He looked down to the amn who was suppose to be his "partner". He saw a gaunt gittery man, fidgitting violently and whispering to himself as he widled with a knife. Garon suddenly felt uneasy again as he continued to watch the man. He looked like a lunatic, this pale, frail, babbling, unkept nut job was suppose to work with him. Something felt out of place, but he needed the money, but he also might not survive this job. He had quite a decision to make, work with the nut job who looks like he might kill you as likly the target or turn it down and starve. Neither decision seemed that great. Finally, never one to turn away a good challenge he shoke on it and decided to go ahead with it. He rose from the both and preceded to leave with the woman right behind him "You'll leave to ngiht and strike tomorrow morning. He has the equipment you'll need." She said gesturing to the crazy man again.

Garon left the bar and the woman stayed inside to avoid the rain. Shortly after the door closed that guy came fummbling out after Garon. He reached out and grabbed Garons' coat sleeve "We.....partners..mission." Garon yanked his coat away from him "Yes fine. Just don't get youself killed or else she'll deduct from MY pay." Garon said in a haunty tone. Garon walked back to his place get his dads old pick up truck so they could reach Nadine by sunset and be ready in the morning. he turned back the strange man againa nd saw him clutching something under his cloak, Garon paid no mid to the insane man, if he tried anything garon would take him out in a puff of smoke. For some reason Garon still felt uneasy about the whole set up. Why does she want some politician from Nadine dead? Was it really a good idea to work with this nut job? Or should he fear for his life. Garon wan't sure what to think, all he knew was he was going to do this thing.

They made it to his place and Garon went around back to get his dads old half deuce. He wasn't even sure this old thing would still run. Though he had kept in good shape, he hadn't acctually fired up the engine in over a year, so there was no way to tell. He stepped in and heard a thud in the back, that weird guy had already hoped in the back of the truck. Finally without distraction, he turned the key and listend for the engine to start. It took a few tries, but hell if the old thing didn't start right up. He threw it into gear and rolled out the back and left the city and went right through the forest, next stop Nadine.

occ: Let me know if this is okay
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[FONT=Times New Roman][COLOR=DarkSlateGray][i]-Sunday, July 31st, 0530 (roughly)[/i]

Sergeant-at-Arms Anders Svensson started awake as a finger gently tapped his shoulder.

"Sergeant Svensson?" The intrusive digit in question belonged to a camoflaged Corporal, still panting slightly from carrying a heavy sniper rifle, provisions and binoculars up the tree to reach him. "It's time to change shifts."

Anders, once conscious, was instantly alert. He identified his shift replacement as Corporal Hinreck, albeit a Corporal Hinreck with some leafy add-ons and splash paint. "Thanks, Hinreck."

Anders blinked out over the darkened horizon. Deadwood sprawled before him as far as he could see. Dawn's tentative reach had just begun to show over the tops of the forest's wooden giants. [i]It always looks so serene around this time of day,[/i] he thought. He squeezed through the trapdoor in the disguised recon booth's floor. From there, it was a quick scramble down the branches of the tree and a short hike back to the main camp. Things had already gotten brighter by the time he had reached it.

------
[i]-Sunday, July 31st, 0715[/i]

Anders surveyed the small collection of camoflaged tents from the small dirt clearing in the center. The camp was a bustle of general inactivity. People were constantly moving, but only to stay active. Still, he could tell that a change was in the air. Something was strained. Something big was going to happen.

"Sir! Weather report!" a Private saluted him, clutching a peice of paper freshly printed off.

"What's the forecast?"

"A doozy, sir! Tropical Storm Antony's gonna hit Asgard, they say. Could disrupt communications for a while. They say it might even head inland, sir!"

"Wow, been a while since somthing big's hit. Sounds like drinks are on me, boys!" Those that heard the exchange laughed at the small joke. Anders' Altered talent was no mystery to the camp. "Still, this storm's gonna be something. Hope nothing important happens. Ah, well," he slapped the Private on the back. "Won't be the first time the Rangers've been stranded in the wilderness, cut off from HQ. We'll be fine!"

--------
[i]-Sunday, July 31st, 1900, Transmission from Anders' Recon Base to Nadine City Special Defense Forces Border Control:

"Border Control outpost be advised. Truck spotted approaching Nadine City through Deadwood. Departure location presumed to be Cadmus. Two persons in the vehicle, presumed armed and dangerous."[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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Guest Arisaco
[I]July 31 11:00 am[/I]
Ari was still sleeping in his cot when the owner of the inn came up for the rent. The owner saw Ari sleeping and tipped the cot over with his foot. Ari woke up instantly and looked stupidly around for whatever had disturbed his sleep. He saw the owner and waved absent-mindly. "Hello. If you're here about breakfast, I'll be down in a second." Ari suddenly found himself on the next floor with blood trickling down his chin. He stared up at the owner as he grabbed a dagger from his boot and threw it with all his strength. The knife missed the owner by inches but, as he turned, found out that Ari had started a brawl with one of the patrons of the bar. Amidst all the chaos, Ari had gone back to his room and gathered his belongings. Before he left, however, he went to the other rooms and quietly stole the most valuable things he could find.

Because of the morning's excitement, Ari found himself wandering the streets as he had done the night before. He recalled the last job posting he had accepted very well. A woman, who did not give her name, had asked for some information from an informant for the Nadine SDF. She had asked that Ari keep a lookout for him in the western part of Dragon Heights. She told him that he would be paid very well and, with the amount of money she was offering, how could he refuse? It had taken a while and money, but Ari finally tracked down the informant. After "persuading" him to tell Ari what he needed to know, the man was later found on a rooftop, apparently the victim of suicide.

A few days later, Ari had gone to met with the woman. She seemed very pleased that Ari had not only gotten the information she wanted, but had taken care of him as well. Ari remembered seeing the money he was promised, then he blacked out. Ari was furious when he woke up, angry that he could not see tha trap and sad that it had to come to this. Today, however, he knew that he needed some money. Ari walked over to the Guild to look at the job postings and saw a posting for an un-named party for good money, but saw that it was already taken by another person. Ari contiued to look around and finally saw one that sparked his interest. It was a job offering for "acquiring" some items from Nadine. He had hardly ever been to Nadine and he needed some money pretty badly.

When Ari went to see the person who had put up the post, he was met by an old man who simply called himself Gorn. They ordered drinks and Ari waited for the instructions for the job. Gorn finally spoke and said, "The job is fairly simple. All I want you to do is find Councilman Zane and...relieve him of some important documents before tomorrow. Do you own a Hellspawn?" Ari, who was still in shock over what kind of job he was taking, shook his head and said, "No. I like to travel incognito as much as possible." Gorn then set a pair of keys on the table and said, "Well, you need speed to get this done. Can you do it?" Ari looked at the keys, smiled, and said, "How much is the job going to pay?"
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[color=Navy]Katchya sat with a group from the Guild, they were at the tavern where most of them met up and just hung out together. She lurked in the shadows and watched on as the table of men gambled away all their money. She smirked as she saw one of them lose their whole pile.

[b]"Tough luck, Anders. Think smarter before betting up your lot." [/b]Katchya joked.

[b]"Think you're so smart, eh? C'mon Katz, take a shot!" [/b]he replied with a grin.

Kat rolled her eyes, the other men all cheered her on. She reached into her coin purse which hung at her waist, she took out a few of them and tossed them onto the table. They whistled as she put down a large amount.

[b]"Call it." [/b]

[b]"Odds." [/b]Kat looked to her left.

The man juggled the die and rolled them. All of them at the table besides Kat watched the die as they skittered across the table top. As they landed the group cheered, she had guessed right. Kat smirked and reached forward, grabbing a fistful of coins like the ones she had put down, she put them into her purse and left the rest.

[b]"Don't want the rest, Katz?" [/b]the men looked at her.

[b]"Nah, I got enough, the jobs play well." [/b]she grinned, patting the bulging purse at her hip, and reaching into a pocket to reveal several other pouches bulgingly full.

[b]"Speaking of jobs..." [/b]she said quietly as a man none knew entered the tavern.

He talked to the bartender briefly, the bartender shrugged and continued cleaning glasses. He started talking to the smaller groups of the Guild, none of them revealed anything. He finally walked over to their table.

[b]"Excuse me, do you know who Katchya Valentine is?" [/b]he questioned.

Katchya yawned and stretched her arms above her head, looking him over. He obviously had a lot of money, his clothes were clean and looked expensive, from head to toes.

[b]"Nope, never heard of her." [/b]Anders told him easily.

Kat smirked and the man nodded, looking at them carefully. She was the only female sitting among them. She could see him working up the courage to ask, that was where a lot faltered and left unsatisfied.

[b]"A-Are you, Katchya Valentine?" [/b]he asked nervously.

Kat rolled her eyes, he had was a wuss, no wonder he needed her help. She stood, her chair scraping loudly across the floor. Kat walked toward the stairs of the tavern, as she walked past the bar, the keep tossed her a key which she caught with ease, going up the stairs.

The man stood at the table, staring after her confused.

[b]"You're supposed to follow 'er." [/b]one of them supplied.

He snapped out of whatever daze he was in and thanked them, running after her. Kat was leaning against a wall beside a door, her eyes flickered to him and she jerked her head at the door. His eyebrows came together and he opened the door, walking in. Kat pushed off and entered behind him, locking the door. She sat at a plain wooden table with a few cabinets behind her. She extended an arm, gesturing at the seat across from her and he sat.

[b]"This is the room I use to talk to clients. It's spelled to keep whatever is said in here alone. So, congratulations, you found me, what do you want?" [/b]Kat sighed.

[b]"I need an assassination..." [/b]he explained the details that he wanted and Kat nodded.

[b]"Got enough money to pay my fees?" [/b]

He reached into a pocket and threw a bulging purse onto the table. She reached across and opened it, digging her finger around, there was a lot of money. She nodded and pocketed it with her other pouches.

Kat leaned back and slid a drawer out from a filing cabinet, her fingers deftly sifted through the files, pulling one out. She opened the empty file, there was empty sheets of paper there. Kat picked up a pen that sat on the desk and hurriedly wrote the details; client's name, the job, who the victim would be, details of victim, amount payed, etc.

[b]"Right, it'll be done before two days are over. Now sign this, and this." [/b]she pulled a sheet that had writing all over it from the file and set it in front of him, passing over the pen.

[b]"What's that?" [/b]he asked.

[b]"It's a contract that says you can't tell anyone my description or where to find me, it includes reporting me to authorities. If you break the contract, I'll know, and I'll kill you." [/b]she said calmly.

He swallowed and signed on the line, sliding it over. She checked it and nodded, tucking it into the file and slipping it back among the others in the filing cabinet.

Kat stood, he extended his hand so she shook it. He exited the room, followed by Kat whom locked it up afterward. She slowly walked back downstairs and tossed the keys back.

[b]"How'd it go?" [/b]the men asked as she walked over.

[b]"Looks like I've got another job. He's a wuss, but he's got the money to pay." [/b]Kat smirked.

[b]"Speaking of jobs, I gotta get, got a different one to do. Here, take this and go home before you lose any more money, Marla'll skin ya if she finds out you lost more today." [/b]Kat pulled a small pouch from her pocket and put it in front of Anders.

They were all good friends with each other and always helped others out. They were also close with everyone's families. Marla, who was Anders' wife, got very angry when Anders lost a lot of money.

He opened the pouch and looked though it, there were a few gold coins, a bunch of silver, and the rest were bronze.

[b]"Thanks a lot, Katz..." [/b]he said looking up.

He was fast enough to see the door to the tavern close as Katchya strode out, she had someone to kill.

Kat slipped into an alley and ascended to the roofs. She made her way across town and landed silently at a house. She slid up next to a window and peered in, the man she was after was alone, he was a spy in the team against her client. She chuckled, for a spy, he wasn't good at his job, no security, asleep in his chair.

Katchya pulled out her right gun and screwed on the silencer. She aimed and shot through the window, hitting him in the heart. His body tensed as it was hit, but instantly relaxed in death.

She turned, and saw a man in all black standing there, staring at her. Kat raised her gun, he rolled out of the way and she immediately guessed he was a colleague of the man she had just killed. She cursed, it was unexpected that a friend would turn up.

Kat drew her second gun and ran out, the man had already brought out his gun. She rolled quickly and got up on her knees, shooting several times, the bullets pierced his body and he fell backwards. Kat hauled his body next to the window where she had shot the man from and fled the scene quickly. She slid her guns away into the holsters and tugged at her gloves with a smile. Mission Complete.
[/color]
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[size=1][b][u]Sunday, July 31--0913[/u]

[i]"Aaah--ahhhh...choooo!"[/i][/b]

There was a deathly silence, except for the dozens of echoes that followed the initial sneeze. The dust stirred madly in the air, swirling and glittering in the streams of light that pierced through the dodgy ceiling. Mel watched the peaceful dance while lazily thumbing through a crusty book. Her eyes darted over the yellowed pages, this book was in a foreign language. She'd never seen it before, except for in this one book. For years, Mel found herself staring into the streams of an unknown culture. She'd often imagine herself in this country, whatever it may be. It was a different country every time, a different adventure every time, a different life every time.

But just as she began to zone into a new era, a small shift in the crumbled floor caught her keen attention. The noise was so muted, that any other person would not have ever noticed. Slowly, Mel closed the book and slithered her way down from the shelf she was perched on top of.

[b]"You know,"[/b] the voice paused, and a sharp grind of the rubble underneath his foot gave Mel the idea he was turning around, [b]"they say a sneeze can fly out of your mouth and/or nostrils at a speed of 90 miles per hour. Doesn't that sound painful?"[/b]

Silence, not even his footsteps were audible. He was either as good as Mel, or he wasn't moving at all. Even though the library was lit up by the morning's soft light, the man was not in view of Mel's eyes. He was in the shadows somewhere.

[b]"But, we don't feel it. Why is that?"[/b] his voice burst out of nowhere, and a gust of wind brushed behind Mel.

She spun around to see a small spark and a red glow in the corner of the room. From the way the glow kept randomly brighten then dim, she assumed it was a cigarette.

[b]"Who are you?"[/b] Mel folded her arms across her chest and propped her shoulder against the bookshelf. Her voice was so meak, the man plucked the cigarette from his mouth and leant forward.

[b]"I beg your pardon? You'll have to speak up, Melody. I always hated that about you,"[/b] he chuckled.

[b]"Xaiver Grahmm. What the hell do you want after all these years,"[/b] Mel sighed heavily, obviously this Xaiver was not the company she cared for.

Before she abandoned Scavenger training in the Ruins, Xaiver Grahmm was her instructor; and her worst nightmare. The man was the only thing that made her fear, that made her skin crawl, that shook her of her focus. His eyes seemed to never fully blink, and would cast a never-ending gaze at you. Mel could never figure out what color his eyes were. The lids covered most of his iris, and the rest was shadowed by thick eyebrows.

[b]"Is that any way to talk to your master?"

"Piss off, Grahmm. You're not my master."

"Oh, right. You had several [i]masters[/i] back then. Didn't you, you dirty little girl?"[/b] Xaiver sneered, now coming halfway out of the shadows. He flicked the burning ash of his cigarette to the ground and proceeded to approach Mel.

[b]"What do you want with me?"

"You know what I want,"[/b] he dug a fingernail over his bottom lip, peeling off chapped, dead skin.

Mel shuddered internally, but was careful not to show any sort of thought on the outside. This creep thrived off of reactions, specifically fear and hate. It gave him a sick and twisted pleasure. Not just the pleasure of being satisfied that you're right, but the pleasure you feel after a much needed orgasm. Even if you didn't know him personally, he clearly sent off the vibes in his body language. His saunter was hungry and his stride was lustful; carefully placing his feet on the ground, giving him a slight bounce. His face kept a slight chesire grin and held a look of expectation.

[b]"You're going to stop right there, and you're going to stay right there,"[/b] Mel pushed herself from the shelf and pointed at him. Her hand held the makeshift dagger.

[b]"If I don't.."[/b] his tone was playful, and hinted misbelief.

[b]"I'll gut you. I'll start here,"[/b] Mel pressed the tip of the blade just under her chin, [b]"and slowly slice you open from chin to naval. I've developed a sort of greed for this technique. It's amazing what the insides of your body look like when they're still alive and pulsing."[/b]

Mel now took her steps, lightly yet precisely. She straightened her arm horizontally, stiff as a board and unwavering. Xaiver stood perfectly still, his eyes following the glint of Mel's blade.

[b]"Where did this sort of attitude come from?"[/b] his throat sharply jolted as he swallowed down a shaken chuckle.

[b]"Oh, you know, when you kill a few times, you get a bit bored of just slitting throats and become a bit more experimental. Curiousity is a wonderful sense of power. It allows you the courage to try things you never knew you could do,"[/b] Mel circled Xaiver, much like a lioness prowling on her dinner, [b]"Now, answer my question. What are you doing here, and what do you want?"

"Th-there's a rumor going around that needs to be silenced. I only know little about it. You know the heads won't give us Scavenger's full information."

"Go on,"[/b] Mel's soft voice hardened, she playfully jabbed the dagger at Xaiver's arm. He jumped lightly, dropping his cigarette to the ground.

[b]"The rumor is that we're on the verge of war with Nadine, like that's a suprise. The Nadine Council is having a meeting tomorrow night to discuss their plans. The Guild's assigned the Scavengers to obtain the documentation of that meeting,"[/b] Xaiver quickly listed.

[b]"And that's where I come in?"

"Y-yes. The heads of the Guild came to me for the best. Your job is to intercept the meeting's transcripts and any other documentation that could be useful to us."

"Kills?"

"If you are attacked, then you do what you gotta do to get back to us. The documents must be kept in the condition to which you obtain them."

"And when I come back, who do I report to?"

"The Guild. You leave at dusk. I suggest you make your preperations."[/b][/size]
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[color=crimson][i]Sunday, July 31st. 2:51 PM - Beast's Lair[/i]

Nova flipped flipped through the pages idly, barely paying attention to the words within- financial reports were one of the more dull, redundant things she was forced to read. It was the beginning of a new month so the dull, redundant reports were coming in at a steady clip- summaries of large deals, plans for shipments, 'comments' from her advisers. Most of them were rather boring in tone- then again, most of her advisers were boring in general so it made sense. She smiled to herself and set the papers down- she had spent the better part of her day thusfar on the paperwork so she was understandably tired of it. It was just a bit before 3PM and the town outside was bustling with activity. She could hear the crowds on the first floor shifting in and out, getting jobs they needed. It was the heartbeat of the town- it had been weak when they first started, but it had steadily gotten stronger.

A light rapping at her door shook her out of her thoughts, "Come in." She said. Ark walked into the room with his usual clipboard full of information. He approached her and bowed formally.

"I've got something interesting to tell you." He said and removed one of the many pieces of paper from his clipboard. He handed it to her and waited. She looked at the paper and began to read it. "This, as you can see, is a job posting that was made sometime today."

The job was a high paying assassination of.. she smirked to herself and shook her head. "My-my, someone wants ol' Zane dead, hm? Who was the client?"

"We don't know the specifics, but it is presumed to be an outsider." He said.

"Oh..? Interesting.. you're telling me a job to kill a Councilman offered by an unknown, outsider client was put up without even a hint of suspicion by our interviewers?" She asked with a glaring look.

"Well, you see.. it slipped through?" Ark said uncomfortably, feeling the glare of Nova burning into him. "It wasn't posted through official means.. none of the client-interviewers on the third, fourth or fifth floors recall such a job being proposed. The man at the main desk was.. lax in his attention. He was punished for it, to say the least. It was noticed just within the last two hours by a rather sharp-eyed employee of ours.. I've rewarded him for his attention to detail."

She snickered at what was being told to her. "Those sly, sly foxes. Someones put some effort into this plan." She set the paper down and began to think, pondering this. She supposed that it wouldn't really be hard to 'slip something through' but this was no small matter- the killing of a Councilman with a Cadmusian aiding in the murder would provoke Nadine, to say the least. Their current relationship was strained enough without one of their own killing a Councilman. She tapped her finger on the desk and pondered. "Hm. Who took this job?"

"A.." Ark's eyes searched his clipboard, ".. Garon Eldmedie. Mercenary for hire.. seems he's rather respectable at his job, has a nice home and a good record of job completion."

"Oh? A pyrokinetic, right?" She knew of most of the Altered and their descendants in the city- she considered them to be like brothers and sisters, really. "I suppose it's far too late to stop him?"

"He was seen leaving in his.." Ark's eyebrow arched at the next word, "truck with a companion of some sort. They are long gone by now- probably within Nadine already if they made it through the border defenses."

"In a truck? How unique.. and impractical." She tilted her head imagining the vehicle rumbling through Nadine's defenses like an elephant. Most people used motorcycles but off-road trucks were becoming increasingly common for some reason- perhaps it was a sign of increasing wealth in the general populous. She reverted to thinking about the situation they were in and smiled sweetly at her adviser. "Ah, well Ark- I suppose we're somewhat screwed, hm?"

"I'd say we are significantly screwed, ma'am." Ark stated matter-of-factly with a shake of his head.

She giggled at his official tone and leaned back in her chair, staring at the ceiling. "We will be forced to do some damage control. We need to send a message to the Council as soon as possible- rush a messenger to them to warn them of the threat to Zane's life. I doubt it will get there in time but one can only hope. Secondly, we need to hire a spy to get some more information on this client of ours.. but who to send?"

"Katchya." Ark stated.

"Her? Hm. Why her?" Nova peered at her adviser.

"She's one of the best spies we have. Smart, experienced, stealthy- she's a prodigy. She's also quite pretty." The last part seemed to have been accidentally said and Ark immediately looked quite embarrassed.

"Oh..? Skilled and beautiful, hm?" She folded her hands and rested her chin on them. "I'll send you personally to talk to her about the job." Ark looked visibly displeased at this, but Nova continued on undeterred. "Tell her the details of the job: we need her to spy on this female client, find out more about what outside nation she is from and, if possible, dig up some information on the plot that is at work here. No time limit on it.. handsome reward."

"Yes ma'am. I will send the messenger to Nadine and then move to hire Katchya's services immediately." He bowed and walked out with a strange expression on his face.

"Good luck." Nova said with a slight wave. "Don't fall in love too easily." She said and smirked. "As for me.." She looked down to the paperwork. "I believe it's time for a walk."

She rose and walked to a nearby coat rack. Resting on one of it's arms was a long black, hooded cloak that was more than large enough to cover most of her body- it stopped just above her ankles. She put it on, raised the hood and left the office. She descended the staircases, past the loud client-interviewer floors and into the even louder second and first floors. Through the crowd she inconspicuously walked, avoiding attention as much as possible. She smiled as she walked- she really enjoyed the outdoors. She went outside a few times per week as an anonymous individual, meshing with the crowds. It was her own time to unwind, if nothing else- it's not like Cadmus was aesthetically beautiful or anything. The environment, however, was still rather well represented in the hodge-podge neighborhoods and areas of Cadmus- trees cropped up here and there, sort of chaotically. She passed the library and frowned at it's dilapidated state. It was sort of an unwritten rule amongst the Cadmusians that you don't steal from the library- it for the community, not for any one individual. Still, that didn't mean that the building got any real upkeep.. or any real librarian. She sighed and wondered just how many people in the city actually took the time to read the books within.

She arrived at her destination- the beach. Beach front property was irrelevant in Cadmus- there was no real luxury anywhere, being on the beach was not too much better than being anywhere else. Still, there were a few rather normal-looking homes on the beach that contrasted the slums she had gone through to get here. All Altered seemed to have a strange connection with the ocean- even Nova didn't really understand why. She put her hood back and stared at the ocean, losing herself in the expanse of it all.

It was so peaceful.

--------

[i]Sunday, July 31st. Some time that evening - Just a short distance from Nadine City[/i]

The rider sped through the rough terrain, making sure he navigated past The Gorge correctly. It had been a while since he had been to Nadine for any courier business.. like.. forever, maybe? He shook his head and concentrated on the terrain ahead. In his pocket was an important message- Ark Sivart had practically shoved him out the door with it, telling him only of riches to come if he delivered it as fast as he could. "[i]Ark seemed pretty antsy about something too- maybe some girl troubles?[/i]" He shook his head. "[i]Nah. That couldn't be. Oh well, doesn't matter to me.. just as long as I get that rich reward. Looks like I'm going to have enough money to support Jane and the kids for a while.[/i]"

It had been a fairly quiet ride thusfar- Deadwood was rather difficult to maze through, with it's dense vegetation and random felled trees. No problem for an expert like him though- he could ride through hell without crashing. He doubted that he had been spotted by anyone- he hadn't seen any signs of SDF troopers in the least, thusfar. It was kind of unnerving but he shrugged it off. He saw the lights from Nadine and nodded to himself- it was time to get out his special pass into the city. He reached into a pouch that hung at his waist and pulled out a white flag- it wasn't his proudest moment, but it was the only way that he could avoid getting shot at as he came into Nadine. "[i]I hope this job doesn't take too long..[/i]"

--------

The motorcycle sped towards the outer limits of Nadine at a high speed. The soldier put out his cigarette and lined up the scope on his anti-tank rifle with the motorcycle- he was the first line of defense against vehicles. The "Boondocks Defense" it was called- the worst job on the planet as far as he was concerned. He sat on a remote hill on the approaches to Nadine, his ATV behind him. "This shot's going not going to be easy.." He muttered to himself. Over the radio came the calls of an incoming, unidentified vehicle- the first alarm had come from a recon base just inside of Deadwood a couple of hours earlier. They had let a few others into the city today.. even a truck. "Some of your friends have infiltrated our city.. but you aren't going to be so lucky. Not on my watch." The soldier continued to mutter to himself in an almost delusional manner, focusing solely on the rider. He was satisfied with his shot and began to pull the trigger before he noted that the man on the motorcycle take out a small white flag. "Hmm? You say you have peaceful intentions..?" He paused and pondered this for a moment before coming to a decision. "Too bad for you- I'm not a trusting person." He ignored it and pulled the trigger. Luck was with the soldier- his shot hit the motorcycle perfectly. It was overkill, really- the damage done to the motorcycle was crippling. It caused the rider to lose control and he crashed at a fatally high speed, sending him tumbling to his death.

The soldier reached into his pocket and took out a pack of cigarettes. He got one out and sat up, resting his rifle on his lap. He lit the cigarette and smoked it idly, feeling satisfied with his work. He flipped out his communicator and radioed in, "This is Private Gear, I just took out the incoming enemy. It was a single rider on a motorcycle.. not sure what his business was, but he's done for now."

"Good job, Private. You're have district guard duty after this, don't you?" The voice responded.

"Yes, I do. Only real 'break' I receive anymore is playing military policeman.. the Municipal Police just aren't powerful enough to cover all of Nadine from any threats, especially in this heightened state of tension."

"Well, don't complain about it. You'll have some time to relax.. I mean, you're assigned to the Midas' District right?"

"Yes sir, I am. Nothing ever happens in the Midas' District." Gear chuckled and looked up to the sky. "I doubt I'll have much to do for the next few days.."

"Well, at least you got a good kill on your last day, eh?" The communicator crackled a bit with interference as the voice came through.

"Yes, that's a perk I suppose. Won't alleviate my boredom for the next week, though." Gear shook his head, pondering what he'd do in the Midas' District- it was so far within Nadine's City Limits that it was usually left alone by Cadmusians. There were still assassinations, thefts and the like- but that was only done by high ranking Guild operatives sporadically. "Oh well. I'm heading back, now. Spent six hours sitting here waiting for someone to pass by.. I'm eager to get back into Nadine."

"Yeah, most of their infiltrations were earlier. Caught us a bit by surprise.. we don't even know where they are in the city now. Bastards are getting more brazen with their attacks.. but, you got this one and I think you've earned your little vacation. Good luck with your boredom. Over and out." The communicator cut out. Gear got up and walked to his ATV, placing it his rifle in a holster on the back. He took one last glance back to the wreckage of his kill before riding off towards Nadine, the sun setting in the horizon to his right..[/color]
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[SIZE=1][COLOR=Navy][I]Sunday, July 31. 7:58 PM - Nadine City, The Dominion (Southwest District)[/I]

The evening sun was still bright in the summer, and lit the sky with golden beams. However, looking out of her enormous windows, Yerdana saw the a spot of clouds beginning to form in the distance over the deep expanse of the sea. She sighed, hugging herself as a touch of wind blew through the open windows. The clear smell of the sea gave her no comfort, and her worried gaze kept sweeping over the expanse of the city below her.

The maid came in, clearing the barely-touched dishes from the long table, trying not to disturb her brooding mistress. However, the maid needn't have worried - Yerdana's thoughts occupied her very deeply, and she didn't even notice when the maid knocked over one of the crystal water glasses.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Yerdana glanced at the silver clock in the corner before answering, "Enter."

The maid ushered in an older woman with sleek fair hair that was beginning to lighten. Still, she could hardly be called old, and the spark in the icy-blue eyes reflected that.

Yerdana dipped into a graceful curtsy, "Lady Zane."

The lady nodded, "Councilwoman Tamari."

"To what do I owe the honor?"

Lady Zane gave a sharp laugh, taking off her light evening cloak, "Oh, please Yerdana, don't play this silly game."

"And what game is that?" Yerdana's tone was cool.

"Come girl, stop acting spoiled. I know you're still upset at the decision of the Council," Lady Zane smiled, her brilliant blue eyes narrowing.

[RIGHT]Yerdana sighed; she and Lady Zane knew each other quite well because of the business of the Council, most primarily because of differing political opinions between Yerdana and Councilman Zane... Still, inspite of all of their political sparring, Yerdana had grown quite close to Lady Zane. She respected the woman because of her no-nonsense manner and clever mind. The Lady was very wise, and the Zanes together made a formidable team.[/RIGHT]

"I know you and my husband don't always get along..."

Now Yerdana turned, brows raised, "Get along? Please, usually we take opposite sides of all matters. It is a rare occassion that your husband and I actually agree. And now..."

"And now [I]what[/I]?" Lady Zane sat primly in one of the finely polished chairs, looking up at Yerdana. "You act as if this will somehow cause the apocalypse - my dear, you set far too much on this."

"Too much?" Yerdana was astounded. "Too much? How can it be too much? It is war! Of course my heart weighs heavily on this matter - it is our decision that means life or death for Nadine. How can you say that I set too much on this?"

"Yes, it is war, but it would come to this anyway. Cadmus has always been a growing threat - we are eliminating the problem before it has time to grow and spread itself. It is for the good of Nadine - you know this already."

"...Do I?" Yerdana turned back to the window, looking down upon the city. "This is [I]not[/I] the decision the Council should have come to. I fear because Arcadia has had far too much involvement in this matter - since when has the Empress cared for our little city? Not long enough. We are rushing into something that we will not be able to control..." She shook her head, and began to pace again.

"Please, Yerdana, enough of this - you're giving me a headache. Enough of your sulking - it has been almost two months since the Council came to its decision!" She was angry now, or at least, quite put out.

The pacing continued, Yerdana's dark locks glimmering in each turn, "Sulking...yes, perhaps I'm sulking. Perhaps I'm sulking because your husband spearheaded the campaign."

Lady Zane threw up her hands, "Here we go again! When are you going to get over this? Yes, he did lead the forefront to take action against Cadmus, but it's what he believes in Yerdana! What can you do to change that? Nothing - are you going to keep bringing this up?"

"You're right of course, I know... The decision has already been made, and I must make do."

"I'm so glad you've come to your senses," Lady Zane said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. Yet now, the older woman became very serious, and her eyes locked with Yerdana's. "Yerdana...there is something I must tell you."

Yerdana waited, somewhat apprehensive; she could sense Lady Zane's worry, and the older woman's temperature had increased dramatically for a human. She nodded for her to continue.

"My husband and I would not support this war if we did not seriously believe that Cadmus is a threat to Nadine. No, please, let me continue - there is...another part to this story. Somehow Cadmus and Nadine have managed to exist side by side, even with our differences and clashes thus far. Still, we would not push so strongly for this war if we did not believe that Cadmus has already moved to take violent action against our people."

There was silence, and Lady Zane looked up to Yerdana, her ice-blue eyes filled with apprehension.

"Lady Zane...are you saying that Cadmus is planning to attack us?"

"I...well, perhaps not necessarily immediately. But...my husband and I..." Lady Zane stopped, and then looked directly into Yerdana's eyes. "Yerdana, my husband and I believe that we have a traitor within the Council, perhaps even more than one."

[I]10:20 PM[/I]

Yerdana sat now in front of the window, her forehead pressed against the cool glass. The night was beautiful, with a sky of deep velvet, and the lights of the city doubling the number of stars that were reflected in the sea's gaze.

She closed her eyes... [I]Oh, Father, what am I to do?[/I]

[RIGHT]But there was no answer, no transcending voice to advise her, no help in this. Lady Zane's voice was still ringing in her head: [I]"We have no one else that we trust as fully as you. I cannot forgive myself for placing this burden on your shoulders, but we have no choice in this matter. You have your father's wisdom, and this city's love and trust, and...because of this, I ask you to take this risk. I am asking you to do what you can - to find the infiltrator, and make our Council safe again.[/I][/RIGHT]

And now, she sat, the sky and sea empty of the answers she was looking for. No help would be given in this quarter, she knew. This time...she was on her own.[/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[color=Navy][i]July 31 - Evening[/i]

Kat made her way back to the tavern, she had completed the job that her last client had set for her, but since he was a high up guy he had a lot of security. Unfortunately for her, she was caught by a sensor gun. It was camoflauged extremely well, and as Kat sneaked past, it released a barrage of bullets, she dodged most but one hit her arm. She made the kill and escaped quickly, disposing of a few guards that were around.

Katchya entered the tavern and walked up to the bar, asking for the roll of bandage. She took it and went back over to the table where the men still sat, missing Anders who had returned to his wife.

Kat sat at the table and inspected the wound through the hole in her top and took it off, esposing her breast band. They were all family and she was comfortable with doing anything, they joked around but she knew they weren't serious. She carefully pulled the bullet out and cringed, she slowly started to wrap the bandage around the wound.

The door to the tavern opened and Kat looked up to see who entered, it was Ark. He looked around and approached the table, blushing at the sight of Kat without her top.

[b]"U-Uh Katchya, I need a job done." [/b]he stammered.

Kat nodded and clipped the bandage before slipping her top back on. She stood again and exchanged the roll of bandage for the key, going back upstairs.

She pulled out Nova's file from the cabinet and started to list the details of the job, it was a spy job.

[b]"Nova needs you to do an undercover with a female client. Find out information about her outside nation, and if possible, try to get information about the plot that's going on there." [/b]Ark relayed.

Kat made notes on it quickly.

[b]"There's no time limit, and there will be a large reward for the information." [/b]

Kat nodded, she would do the job for Nova even if she didn't get paid, because Nova was incharge of the entire Guild which she was devoted to.

[b]"When I've completed the mission I'll report to Beast's Lair with the information. I need to do some planning." [/b]Kat told him.

[b]"Right, we'll be waiting. Thankyou." [/b]Ark stood.

[b]"Not a problem, I'll always serve Nova without hesitation." [/b]Kat shook his hand and Ark left the room.

Katchya planned out her idea of how she would do it, first she had to find this person, shouldn't be too hard if she talks to some fellow spies in the Guild, one should know her. Then she would have to spy on her for a while and find out her schedule, then meet up with her sometime during the schedule. After that she'd be able to discretely pry out information.

Kat folded the sheet of paper that her plan was written on and slipped it into her pocket. She returned the file and exited the room. Kat left the tavern again and headed over to the hideout where all the thiefs, assassins and spies usually hung out as their small groups.

She knocked on the door and they asked for a password, Kat rolled her eyes at the formality and whispered the password through the door. They admitted her entrance and she was greeted loudly. She grinned and addressed the whole room.

[b]"Alright guys, this is serious, I need some info for a job but I'll need a bit of help." [/b]Katchya told them.

[b]"'Ey, whatta we get for givin' ya the info?" [/b]one of them asked.

[b]"Arty, it's a job directly from Nova, bud. You don't get jack. So, her name's Sharona, anyone know her?" [/b]

There was silence around the room, a few quiet whispers started up.

[b]"Aw, c'mon guys, it's for Nova!" [/b]she encouraged.

Someone stood finally to Kat's relief.

[b]"Yea, I know 'er." [/b]his gruff voice rung out.

[b]"Russ!" [/b]Katchya exclaimed, making her way over.

The two embraced, he had been gone for a long time and she wasn't aware that he had returned. They went somewhere more private and he gave her information, she was told where to find Sharona. Kat thanked him for the info and wrote it down on her plan. She left the hideout and headed off to the area where she should find her to start her spying.
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