Stein & Roman (Makarios & Aava) The Mavericks: Operation Shear

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Stein, May 3, 2016.

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  1. 2027:

    Beirut, Lebanon

    Pigeon's Rock

    It may have seemed typical, or even cliche at this point, but Makarios felt the windspray whip through his hair and it levied his spirits. After so many years, the silence carried by ocean wind was still cathartic to him. Except now, there was the scent of nostalgia that brought him back to earlier days. Days atop a lighthouse when the world seemed so unattainable. Some things never changed.

    ’Ah that dossier,’ He played in his mind. Ruminating on it. He saw it for what it was, and hated it. It bristled his hair, their ‘request’ of his presence. Makarios LIlis had long since broken himself away from the greater Magni community. He owed nothing to them.

    And yet, that dossier had driven him here. There was something enthralling yet calming about the Pigeon Rocks of Lebanon’s Beirut, something that truly brought him past his “higher place” he normally reached by meditating. He sat atop the Rock and tried to work his way to a decision. The possible consequence if he didn’t act. What kind of situation did the Divine Order have to be in to reach outside of their normally elusive society? What was the true state of the Magni community?

    So on Pigeon’s Rock he sat, hoping the water would whisper the answer or maybe the wind tussle it through his ears and hair. Something, someone. He assumed the Order would be contacting him again in the near future and he would have to be ready with an answer. This Magni community he had already re-discovered and turned his back on, deciding the world of men needed his talents more.

    His mind wandered to Aava, the first person since his mother who’d lit his interest in magic again after his mother’s death. He thought about her often. Well, all of them often, every time he meditated, wishing them blessings, strength and fortuity. And then there were the rare times he could Touch their auras. Flitting and irregular were these moments, a delight gift each time--assurance that his Roots were still alive. He had last felt Aava 3 months ago. Like all others, it was only an instant he could detect her, a flare from her aura pure and simple.

    This is what he reached for as well. Something in him suspected they might have reached out to her. Maybe, just maybe if they could reach…

    There was a flaring sensation in his mind. Nox! Makarios’ hand met the ground from his Lotus meditating stance, the Chimpanzee meeting his soul in a breath. The Magni hoisted his entire body in one fluid motion on the strength of his hand, springing into the air and to his feet. As he landed he felt an err in his choice. Where his foot fell an array of archaic, ancient--magic lines spread forth. Makarios recognized the Seal of Summoning and clasped his hands together. He erected a barrier that fit his form and used a spell of expanding to widen its area. He layered it with a concentrated dose of Dispelling to remove magic from the affected area. A golden light appeared around him hugging his form, and spread out, dispelling the lines and runes that had begun to appear in the glowing black Nox. With a breath he pushed out and forced the barrier wider, Dispelling the Seal to its edge.

    Maki began to relax until he felt a tension against his barrier. The remaining Seal line was surged with power and pushed back! It was with a start and Maki felt his barrier begin to shrink. With fervor he couldn’t fight, the Seal shrunk his barrier and broke it, racing for Makarios again. It met him and traveled up his body. There was a flash of light, a wrenching feeling and he was gone.


    The Divine Order Headquarters

    Inside Mount Fuji

    Makarios blinked, seeing his surrounding of Beirut for a split instant before realize it was simply an after image, he now stood inside a grand room, built entirely of smooth stone. Bathed in a calming almost pale morning blue light, the room was filled with sound of running water. A look to his right showed a torrent of water spilling into the room, a waterfall that cascaded into a pull flocked by a strange set of blue flamingos. Even Makarios didn’t recognize them, feeling no semblance with these creatures. A look to his left showed a row of large windows. 10 stories of them, The windows were an irregular array of colors and some of them even shifted. There were individuals behind them, sitting at desks, talking with others in their rooms. Offices.

    It dawned on Makarios as he finally looked forward and saw the massive set of Oak Doors that simply sat in the middle of the room, and seemed to go nowhere, that he was in the Headquarters of the Divine Order.

    Those bastards Summoned him.

    There was a sound behind him and Makarios spun to meet a familiar, yet unexpected face.

  2. "Aava?"

    She smiled. She'd missed his voice. The lines on her skin calmed their shine, her pupils returning to the middle of white glow. Magic peeled off of her, and was quickly taken into the floor of the chamber.

    "Makarios." Aava moved forward to embrace him, at first seeming to lean in for a kiss but faltering at the last second and instead pecking his cheek as she delivered a warm hug. Old, inappropriate feelings. She stepped back, adjusting her coat - a regal affair, similar to the one she wore last time she'd seen Maki, seen any of her former comrades, those that had witnessed her becoming. "You've been reaching out to me-" she stopped, correcting herself- "my Nox. I must admit, it's been comforting. did make bringing you here rather easy." She smiled sympathetically. "I'm sorry. I know you hate being summoned."

    She turned away and surveyed the room, a grand chamber of psuedo-commerce, centre of the Divine Order. She'd received a letter a few days ago, much like Maki; she had answered hers much faster. It hadn't surprised Aava that her ex-companion had been reluctant; nor did it surprise her that she had answered her request so readily. Given her nature, she felt like she owed a debt to Magni's as a whole; after all, it was a magni - blinded by ambition - that had given her life. She stilled for a moment, peering into her depths, stirring around. Nothing stirred back. Exentaser remained quiet.

    "They're going to debrief us soon." Aava said, breaking the silence. It was better than 'I missed you'. She hoped it was, at least.
  3. The Divine Order Headquarters

    Inside Mount Fuji

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Makarios pulled in Aava for another hug, squeezing her tightly and lifting her up. Words were useless in this instant, so he let his body and emotions speak in place. This was family, and quite literally a part of him. He finally set her down, the smile unabashed on his face. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]That’s how you give a hug after such long hiatus,” he teased. Like Maki, Aava hadn’t seemed to age a day, though her face now held a knowing he couldn’t place but felt a familiarity with. The sense of One of many, a mind spanning a great distance.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]He chuckled slightly giving her another shrug, “I can’t deny it. I reached out to all of you, just to check in. What can I say? I’m a Den Mother eternal.” He balanced on one foot, flexing his other bare foot, “I’ve got to say, you do a good job of caging a beast. Those seals, they were resilient.”He was out of hero attire, standing in his meditation clothes. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]A more formal tone crept into his voice. A reconnection would have to come later, he could almost feel the ominous force of the Divine Order. “I’d imagine so. To be honest, I hadn’t quite made up my mind to accept. But,” he locked gazes with her for a moment, “I take it you want to?” He smiled. “That makes it worth it to say ‘yes.’”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]At that moment Makarios sensed a presence. He didn’t feel it gradually come up or even magically flare from teleportation or summoning. It just was all of a sudden. He turned to observe a rather pale individual standing behind the two heroes, silently waiting and watching. His obsidian hair rested slick and pulled against his head. Every feature on his face detailed from his stern yet solemn brow, defined chin and noticeably straight mouth. His eyes held a low scrutiny as he surveyed the guests. A dark dress robe fit his form and he walked with a deliberateness. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Greetings, Mr. Lilis. Miss Arkham,” the man nodded to both of them. “I am Silas, Right Hand of the Echelon and Commander of the Shade’s Veil. The Upper Echelon requests your presence, if you would,” he gestured to the oak doors that seemed to go nowhere. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Ah, they’ve found the time for requests,” Makarios mused, taking a languid step forward, eager to proceed. He smiled at Silas, “that’s nice.” Maki glanced at Aava, “Shall we?”.[/BCOLOR]


    [BCOLOR=transparent]Upon crossing the threshold of those giant oak doors, Makarios was greeted with a sight of almost pure darkness. He now stood in a cavernous marble room, lit by a single strand of light, seeming to spill from behind him. He turned and saw the headquarters of the Divine Order and looked ahead of him once more, seeing the cavernous room. He could see about 2 traditional football fields down, another set of giant oak doors. These glittered with a play of lights and as Makarios noted moving toward them, they were not the only thing of note in the room. Just on the cusp of light and shadow, silhouettes taller than him. He took a step down into the room, moving closer down his provided walkway. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]’Knight statues. Black and white, alabaster and onyx. Life and death. This nox is so blatantly thick.’[/i][/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Maki grimaced as he walked the walkway lined with these statues. They stood idly, but power raced behind them, and he glared with daring. The Echelon wanted them to know they were prepared for any foreign intruder, this time. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Syrys and Vyrys, the twins of Opposition, Chaos yet Harmonious. Life and Death. They bless and move these statues, that is what you feel in this instant,” Silas spoke behind them knowingly. The slight slowing in their step had betrayed them. “They are docile for all of our guests.”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]’Docile? More along the line of “held on the leash only by an oath”’[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]He couldn’t reach the opposing door fast enough. This door glittered with a mosaic of jewels, all playing across each other. They swung open to meet him, revealing nothing but dark.[/BCOLOR]


    [BCOLOR=transparent]Stepping through he was met with a long hall, ivory stone met him. A grand affair lined with an array of portraits the size of a house. Each one swirled with color. At the end of the hall, just a mere football field away, another set of giant oak doors. This set tiled with a mosaic array of glass, shimmering vividly. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“The Galleria Infinite. These portraits are alive with the Nox, showing images in tune with your Nox.” Silas stepped up to admire the swirling masses with them for a brief moment. “These images are rife with vividness, detail, movement. So real even, that a foolish man will get lost and try touch them falling into their world. They have a tendency to be mesmerizing, so I wouldn’t suggest long exposure,” Silas said briskly, taking point and urging them forward. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Maki gazed into a swirling cosmos, astrally lined with the petals of a lotus, it floated atop a pond--and he was off, being pulled along. An expanse of plains, lush with green and sky. Glimpsing a giant tree in another one, it’s green life and flush of life taking solace in its shelter called to him almost. A land in tune with such nature, such peace. He longed to reach out and…[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]’No! Makarios drove his focus forward, looking only at Silas and the path ahead. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Aava, are you okay?” He asked her, fearing a glance back to make sure she hadn’t been too enamored with anything.[/BCOLOR]
  4. Aava couldn't help but grin and nestle in to Maki's toned shoulder as he lifted her into a tight embrace. A welcome gesture from both the first and last person she had deeply connected with, and she felt that bond even now. They had been through so much...and walked away from it all very different people to those who had walked in. Literally, in Aava's case.
    "I have experience with beasts...and seals." She replied, holding eye contact with Maki easily. "I owe it to the Order, I think. Without Magni's, I might not be here at a-"

    She had meant to say 'all', but her mouth tasted of copper and her tongue stilled mid-syllable, a new acrid smell in the air invading her nostrils and chilling the Nox of her being to the core, quieting all processes. It was like all her magic had been dispelled...which, for Aava, meant selects parts of her consciousness. The feeling was gone, and Aava turned on the spot ferociously, marks flaring with renewed magic and eyes burning red, before she dispelled both just as quick. Before the pair of them stood an elder of the Divine Order, every detail of his person constructed to create a false image, to present a man more concerned with formalities than the practice of magic. Aava paid no attention to his superficial features; she cared more about the deep Nox that ebbed and oozed from this man's core. A long time past, she would have taken such power for herself. Now, she had no need.

    "Greetings, Mr. Lilis. Miss Arkham,” the man nodded to both of them. “I am Silas, Right Hand of the Echelon and Commander of the Shade’s Veil. The Upper Echelon requests your presence, if you would.” He gestured down the hall. At the end, Aava could faintly make out grand oak doors with no doorframe, and beyond them, simple, inky blackness.
    "Ah, they’ve found the time for requests,” Makarios mused, "that’s nice.” He glanced at Aava. “Shall we?”
    Aava didn't look back, her eyes narrowing as she kept staring at those doors. She nodded, and the three walked together.


    The hall chilled her in all ways it could. She felt the spirits before Silas spoke of them, and their essence was old, with far more power than Aava had ever known. Their whispers shaped continents, and their thoughts decided fate. She saw the hairs on the back of Maki's neck stand up, and knew he felt it too.

    Nox leaked from the invisible entities into the great statues that lined the walls - or what Aava assumed were walls, as again there was only that opaque, inky black behind them - and again, Aava knew these spirits were tied to their function before the magistrate explained. It seemed that the Divine Order was taking their security far more seriously now. Aava wasn't sure whether to be pleased or not.

    The trio moved on quickly, Maki seeming increasingly eager to leave the further they made it through the chamber. The twin spirits whirled behind them, champing at the napes of their necks with every step - but despite the lingering threat levied against them by their mere presence, Aava felt a strange kinship that she couldn't quite place. The second set of oak doors came fast through the dark, backlit by some white light. They opened on command, and the three were through to the third chamber.


    Aava almost cast a darkening enchantment as she stepped through the threshold into the final hall; the ivory marble seemed to glow from within with the reflected light, and the sheer contrast with the last two chambers almost hurt her eyes. Across the room, the last set of doors waited for them, tiled in glass and shining vividly, a beautiful presentation that disguised the sinister and very real danger this room held.

    "The Galleria Infinite. These portraits are alive with the Nox, showing images in tune with your Nox.” Aava's eyes darted left to right as she stood in the doorway, spirits behind her and something infinitely worse beckoning her forwards. “These images are rife with vividness, detail, movement. So real even, that a foolish man will get lost and try touch them falling into their world. They have a tendency to be mesmerizing, so I wouldn’t suggest long exposure.” Silas explained, before walking briskly on. Aava followed, almost catching his heels with her nervous speed. She shut her eyes, hoping not to see what was already behind her eyelids. She opened them again, and the whispers began as the light seemed to drain from the shining ivory of the chamber.

    "Aava..." it began, a seductive, wistful tone, playful in its pitch but subtly threatening. "Aava..." She slowed her pace subconsciously, more effort put into ignoring the voice than moving her feet. Silas kept walking and she tried to focus on his footsteps to pull herself forwards, but it crept in regardless... "Aaaaa-vaaaaa..."

    She appeared to Aava, and with her presence all light was drained from the room until the only light was the slight white outline around even deeper dark, a line around an infinite abyss that drew her into the black that the room had become.
    "That's not your NAME."

    Exentaser lashed forwards with an invisible limb and Aava felt her nox tear, paper-like scraps seeming to explode from her belly and float gently to the ground. The outline of Exen morphed, sinking into the floor and becoming a great maw that swallowed up the scraps of Aava. Staring down, she felt like she would pitch forwards into that churning ocean of corruption. Another limb came from behind her.
    "Give it back. Give it back. Give it BACK." With each demand came more limbs, more scraps, more of Aava being swallowed by the demon she had defeated so long ago. Aava gathered what she had and her marks surged with power, her skin burning as her feet lifted from the ground.

    "No." She said, a serene veneer over sheer panic. She raised an arm toward the limb she felt coming and it stopped, before twitching and imploding into itself; Exentaser screeched and drew up from the floor, its humanoid form shed in favour of a multi-limbed shape more akin to ancient horror than human monsters, lashing frantically at Aava. Each lashing limb was frozen in place only to be replaced by a fresh one. "You lost it long ago."

    Exentaser withdrew. She and Aava matched gazes, equal in rage and power.

    “Aava, are you okay?”

    Maki's voice broke through and with it, the illusion was shattered. Aava turned, the room blindingly white once again, her runes glowing faintly and her eyes returning to normal. She hadn't been levitating at all, which she was thankful for. Over Maki's shoulder, she could see one of the portraits, and in the corner stood a mirror image of herself - only, slightly distorted in its outline, and sporting a vicious smile.

    "I'm fine. Let's move on. The Order must be growing anxious."

  5. [BCOLOR=transparent]There was an edge to her voice he could hear and feel. Something had unnerved her, and with the nature of this place, the magnitude of history--he could only imagine the type of control she exerted. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]He grabbed her arm as he strode forward, eager of the exit. He locked eyes with her,[/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]---’Keep your eyes on me.’---“Remember, this is all for show,” he whispered, his eyebrows arched, surveying everything but the paintings, and could sense the spells weaved throughout. “They aren’t to be trifled with, but at the end,” he pointed slightly “they called on us.” [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Finally, they neared the doors, and a light seemed to emanate from it, which it no doubt did. The mosaic pattern of windowed glass played across his field of vision. Those Oak Doors, they were grand and he could feel a final barrier of spells pulsing from the dark wood. A rich array of complex layers weaved over him, subdued yet still strong. The doors turned in on them, leading to seeming darkness once more, and Makarios led the charge inside.[/BCOLOR]


    [BCOLOR=transparent]He stepped into nothingness. Just black sat before him and he held back, balking at the nothing before him. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“It is fine,” Silas announced behind him, “step forward.”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Makarios did as told. Where his foot touched, a shimmering of small lights rippled to view and seeming existence. Makarios observed around him, catching his breath in spite of himself. They seemed to stand on--or in the very heavens themselves--an expanse of stars, swirling masses in the distance that appeared to be galaxies and the like. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]His sight was finally brought directly before him where seven massive masks floated before the group, each easily the size of a one-story building. Each face was a pale different color. One toward the left end of the array--a pale gold, turned to them--sound emanating from the space where a giant mouth would go, though the lips did not move.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Our guests arrive.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The sound resonated across the expanse of the room--if it was a room. Makarios knew the Upper Echelon of the Divine Order went through an extensive process to be chosen. As the governing body and final say-so, steps were taken to disconnect their biases of the world and maintain a state of objectivity. The masks served as the physical presentation of the Order, with their physical bodies housed somewhere else. They projected their consciousness and even power through these things. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]We apologize for the delay, but we request one more moment of discussion,” A feminine voice asked, it seemed to come from the purple mask. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Of course,” Makarios gave them a smile and bow, taking the gesture to slide closer to Aava. He lowered his voice[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“While their bodies are kept in an isolated stasis container, their minds act solely through these giant conduits,” Maki told her. The masks had turned toward each other and Silas erected a dome of white fog. No doubt a dome of silence, they had a moment for now. “Notice the lack of eyes? The belief is not be swayed by the sight of whoever they hold an audience with, but only by their energy and facts. There is no limit on physical age to be one of the Order, but one must be Maven to be considered, versed in the ways of magic and its history across cultures. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]"If I’m not mistaken, final candidates undergo a year of sensory deprivation and meditation as an act of cleansing and preparation….but a year by the magni cycle.” That was almost twice as long as a human calendar year, and Makarios shuddered at the thought.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Though a small spark of allure ran the length of him as well.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Our apologies,” The blue one spoke, interrupting his thoughts. “But a recent development has taken precedence over our traditional formalities.”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Makarios folded his arms and leaned back, shifting his foot. The grandeur was nice, experiencing this HQ was memorable, but he still hadn’t forgotten his original gripe at the situation. He didn’t want to be here. “I’m waiting. What’s changed?”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]There was visible shift in the air, but the Red face, next to the central Purple face, spoke up. “Fine then, Mr. Lilis. Our intel suggest that we have reason to believe members of La’Volace’s militant faction have infiltrated The Tower. If this is true, the Gaurd unit could be compromised.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Furthermore,” A feminine voiced Green mask continued, “we now have concrete evidence that the Shepherd’s followers have indeed retrieved the Devil’s Tongue--[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“This cannot be dealt with subtly,” the Gold mask interjected. “We have seen the havoc wrought when that man is joined with the artifact.”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Makarios felt nettled as he stood, listening to them. Why wouldn’t they speak clearly? Cut to the chase? He felt himself tense, but worked to keep his energy in check. They would no doubt feel the hostility. “You’re dancing around it.” His words were more curt than he meant them to be. “ you want, from us?” [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]He was tired of the thinly veiled way they were trying to justify the request Makarios felt they had no business asking. The silence that fell didn’t phase him, and he merely set his jaw as the answer came from the Orange mask.[/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Your objective is to kill Arturo La’Volace and his followers. They will not be allowed to continue wreaking this chaos.[/BCOLOR]
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