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#1 Edited by Mercy_ (92257 posts) - - Show Bio

It had been four months since the near-decimation of the world at the hands of Sha and Final Arrow. In the time since then things had begun rebuilding. It was a fresh face, a new era. Many had died, close friends, an uncatalogued amount of innocents, all for a failed attempt at annihilation and conquest. It left a bitter taste in everybody's mouth. The Order of Sancta Camisia was no more and in it's place a new fraternity of assassins had risen up; La Corp de Hiboux - The Court of Owls.

To the complete frustration of Cassidy, Jean had reunited with his soul mate, Sha, despite the events she had put into place. Upon their self-imposed exile into the mountains of Tibet, Cass and Kaz had taken leadership of the Court. This was their destiny - to lead the world's foremost group of elite assassins into glory.

A black silk dress clung to her lithe dancer's body as she entered the study where Kaz spent most of his time, researching the tomes left to them and finding any information that he could on Esther Cotillard, the illustrious assassin and fabled businesswoman. It seemed that the details of her death were greatly exaggerated. As she leaned against the couch to balance while slipping on her Christian Louboutin heels, she peeked over his shoulder and looked at the tome. "You're going to go cross-eyed if you look at that much longer, you know." The slight smile was enough of a response for her. "I'm going out for the night, a business meeting with an old contact of mine. He went through our old channels and says that he has some pertinent information regarding some acquisitions I had put out feelers for. I'll be back in a couple of hours, I'm sure I'll see you then. The kids are with Kastiel, so there's no need to worry about that." She grabbed her clutch off the table and held it under her arm as she looked back at him. "Really, though, Kaz, Try and get some fresh air, yeah?" She'd seen Jean get like this before, so immersed in something that nothing else mattered. She'd done it herself, it never turned out well.

An Hour Later

The restaurant was bustling with the elite politicians of the country and various royals and diplomats from throughout the world. On the outside, everything appeared respectable and above board, but in reality it was a hot spot of covert activity and secret trading on neutral ground. It was also one of Cassidy's top five favorite places in the world.

Her sea green eyes lit up as she leaned forward, enjoying her top notch food immensely. Taking a small sip of her wine she began business. "What's the deal here, Gregory? It's been seven years since we last spoke. Why now all of a sudden?"

The polished exterior of Gregory hid a killer instinct. Cass had seen him kill innocents in the name of the cause without blinking an eyelash during work in the private sector. "There are mumblings going around that you're looking for a specific piece of technology. There's also chatter saying that you are not so secretly in charge of an elite group of assassins." His eyebrow arched as he casually sat back in his chair.

"That'd be correct. On both counts. Why does it matter?" She only half paid attention to what he was preluding with as her attention was caught by two men sitting at a side table. They looked out of place in ill-fitting suits, the lines of which were ruined by hidden guns. "Excuse me for a moment. I need to use the ladies room." Innocuously pushing her chair out, she grabbed her clutch and slowly walked to the bathroom, using her peripheral vision to keep track of the two men. She'd gotten halfway across the room before one of them got up and slowly followed her to the bathroom.

Closing the door behind her she leaned down and ripped off the bottom part of her dress, almost whimpering at the shame of ruining a piece of couture. Standing to the side of the door, she waited until she heard the approaching steps. Weaponless, it was going to be an interesting encounter, undoubtedly. The door opened and immediately her elbow was in his face, trying to break his nose. He shrugged it off as if it was nothing and reached for her throat. Ducking underneath his arm she swung her leg out, trying to swipe his from beneath him and knock him down to the floor.

It failed miserably. He had some sort of healing factor and super strength and nothing that she did had any effect, at least so far. "Stand down, woman. Don't make this harder than it has to be." His hand connected that time and he grabbed her by the throat, slamming her against a sink, her back slamming into the mirror, shards digging into the skin that the backless dress left open.

Closing her eyes so that she could focus as her breath left her, she slipped off a shoe and kicked out with her bare foot, poising it in a nerve strike right beneath his ribs, resulting in the arm that was choking her going numb. "My name is Cassidy Lockhart-Starks. I'm not sure who sent you and I don't care. But you'll be the message for them to never send somebody for me again."

As she spoke the door behind her opened and the other man entered. One on either side of her and she had to assume that they were both durable. Leaning forward she extended one arm towards one man and her right leg towards the other in a move that showed every ounce of her ballet training with the languid grace in which she moved. Using the Tiger Claw strike simultaneously on two men, she left them on paralyzed heaps on the ground. Able to feel excruciating pain, but not able to scream or move, that's where they'd stay until somebody found them.

Exiting the bathroom appearing as nonchalant as possible she looked over to her table and wasn't surprised to find Gregory gone. It had been a set up, one that bore further inspection upon her arrival back at the Aerie. Stepping out onto the marble stairs leading down from the building she hailed her car, a demure (for her taste) black BMW.

Careful not to hit her torn back on the back of the seat, Cassidy slid into the back seat and shut the door behind her. She was immediately caught off-guard by a needle piercing her skin before she could stop it. "Wh...what?" There was a burly man she had never before seen in her life in the back with her and one look up to the driver let her know that her car had been commandeered. This was the back up team in case the two men sent in hadn't been able to do their job.

Feigning to be faint, she slumped against the car door, double checking to see if she had been locked in. Of course, she had. The car pulled into traffic and headed in the opposite direction of her home. Biding her time, she waiting for her moment and struck the man next to her, breaking his neck in one clean move. Lunging forward toward the front, she grabbed the wheel from the driver's grip and steered them directly into the embankment on the side of the road.

In a grinding moan of metal the hood crumpled and the vehicle tipped onto the side that Cass wasn't on. A moan leaving her mouth as she her seatbelt kept her strapped in, she unbuckled it and fell down to the window, hitting her head against it. Crawling over the man who had been in the back seat with her, she used her telekinesis to break open the window facing skyward and pulled herself out of the wreckage and onto the side of the road.

There was a crowd gathering and she was far too recognizable a face. Limping off into the shadows she pulled a communicator from inside her bra - she was nothing if not prepared. "Aria, send a vehicle for me." It was four minutes before Halle Romanova, one of her closest friends pulled up. The two exchanged a look and not a single word was said between them, knowing each other well enough to know that now wasn't the time.

Her dress was in tatters, her shoes missing, her artfully coiffed hair falling around her face and there were smears of blood covering her pale skin. She limped from the study down to the training room, knowing that if she hadn't found Kaz in the first, he'd be in the second. His back was to her and he was in deep meditiation, something that Cass had never quite gotten the hang of. A grimace of pain crossed her face as she mistakenly leaned her torn back against the doorframe and a hiss of breath escaped her lips drawing Kaz's attention.

"I'm okay, I'll be fine. Somebody's moving against us, though." She pulled out a slip of paper that she'd found in the pocket of the now deceased carjacker. On it was the coordinates of the LCH headquarters.

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#2 Edited by Duchess (5993 posts) - - Show Bio

She made her way down the stone spiral staircase cloaked in black, the hood resting lightly on her shoulders. Torches were placed periodically on the walls along her descent through the dark corridor, their dancing flames providing the only source of light. The rest of them would be there already, awaiting her arrival with apprehension. Rounding her last corner Claire Swanepoel entered a lavished living room built underground the Phoenix Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

It had been four months since she had fought in the war against Ninjans and Final Arrow, her magical prowess pushed to their limit against the Lord of Hell. The battled consumed uncountable causalities and deaths, and the destruction of the legendary league of assassins the Order of Santa Camisia. But from its ashes rose a new legion of infamous killers and aristocrats, the Cour de Hiboux. The new team was gathered by the Living Legend himself, Jean Luc Lebeau, but a lover's call left the Cour de Hiboux in his protege and youngest son's more than capable hands.

Now the Sorceress Supreme stood gazing over the timid faces of some of the world's greatest witches and wizards, all waiting to hear what she had to say. Instead of starting her speech she glided to a table holding a bottle of champagne, pouring herself a glass and savoring the flavor as she sipped it. The delay was merely for her own entertainment. Watching the noble faces of some of the most powerful people on Earth sit and sweat over her every breath was a gracious reminder of her dominance. Slowly she made her over to the cackling fireplace, every pair of eyes following her as she did so. She took one last suspenseful sip before speaking, making sure to make impressionable eye contact with each member.

"The near destruction of the world during the all out assault Final Arrow proves the danger we face allowing experienced magic users to practice their abilities unsupervised. I have sent for the retrieval of each and every one of you, and here you all are. You may be wondering why." She paused, setting her glass on a tray held by a suited server. "You are all magnificent users of magic in your own respects, and each one of you possess a less than clean history. You have all used your abilities to manipulate and control those beneath you. Now, I am here to give your skills greater purpose. My profits through the Hellfire Club has provided me with the funds to organize an elusive group of the foremost elite witches and wizards. Together, under a shroud of secrecy, we will control the balance of power in the world of magic, with the men and women beside you at the head. I invite you to join me in the formation of the Arcane Hand."

After several hours of question and answer, planning arrangements, and forging detail, the room had cleared of all but one man. He stood by the now dying flames of the fireplace, the dim lighting casting and eerie shadow over the room. Jasper Hunter was less nervous in her presence, his demeanor calm and confident due to a past of friendship. Sitting on one of the elegant sofas she gazed distantly into the fire, her mind at multiple places at once as she spoke. "You had news to share with me?" She asked with slight interest. "Yes" He replied briefly, his response breaking her trance. Her arctic blue eyes met his ocean blue ones, eyes that looked seemingly not just at you but into your soul. "Well, spit it out." He hesitated before sharing his information. "There is strong -- evidence, toward the existence an unknown enemy aware of your other affiliates location." He said with slight hesitation. He had seen her rare temper in full force, and even someone as safe near her as he was was not eager to provoke it. She sat motionless for several dragging moments, her poised air undisturbed by the news. "Where is this evidence you speak of, Jasper?" She said irritated. Rubbing his palms against the pants of his Armani suit to regain his composure, he casually pulls an elegant looking envelope from his pocket and steps forward to hand it to her. Her fingers moved swiftly as she opened the envelope and removed a single card. Displayed in stylish writing was the address of the Cour de Hiboux.

#3 Posted by Kastiel (8919 posts) - - Show Bio

Footprints were left in the deep rooted snow as he traveled out of the forest carrying firewood on his back. It was far too cold to have the children accompany him this time around. Humorlessly they didn't give him a choice. The moment Kastiel decided to pick the innocent Aliana up into his arms and telling of his plans she went into a wail of screaming. The further he walked toward the door outside the louder she became. Deciding to turn around and retrace his steps she became softer and the moment the sheets wrapped her small body in the crib again was the moment she actually cooed with a smile. "You win this time, little one." She was too happy at that winning her first battle against her father. Kicking her little feet up in the air as her arms danced around the Symaarian shushed her. "You're suppose to nap, remember?" Giggling she quickly covered her mouth.  For a baby she was such a rambunctious one for her age. Thomas on the other hand was still asleep and Kastiel was in no mood for another battle of wills against the children. It was bad enough taking them out in public with the way gossip would spread among humans. Though none found it more humorous than Kastiel. In fact he had been meaning to put it to good use. Alas for another time unfortunately. Raith was the only one excited for an expedition outside. Constantly he picked at Kastiel's heels to draw him back into reality.  
 
They left the cabin unattended. This wasn't New France nor any populous area. The northern wilds of Alaska were largely unexplored and uninhabited. It was a safe haven that only two people knew about. Compared to New France the amount of threats were little to none which was best considering Cassidy Starks was hardly civil when it came to the safety of her children. Which is why Kastiel sighed the moment he saw smaller footprints in the ground not caused by either Raith or himself. This was going to be a long day. 
 
Carefully he set the wood down in the snow as he couched down inspecting his surroundings. The circulation of his blood flow slowed considerably and his breathing as well. There were two of them. One at the hills above the cabin. A sniper no less while the other was inside the cabin. It was meant to be a trap and Kastiel would play the part of the victim accordingly. After all why ruin all the hard work these fellas put into this? With a simple hand signal he positioned Raith to move toward the assailant with the sniper rifle and on cue it was obvious what the Symaarian had planned. Meanwhile he stepped into the crack doorway knowing he left it locked. Judging by how it was positioned it was left cracked open to not make the noise of a shutting door just in case the victim was inside, however, if he was outside it would be too late specifically if the victim's vision wasn't up to par. And as expected a gun was pointed to his temple the moment he stuck his in. Now was this a message or a real assassination attempt?  
 
"Sit." Kastiel did as he was told and took a seat in his lounge chair. Might as well be as comfortable as possible. "Any attempts to kill me and your children will die." That was the moment Kastiel felt his blood boil. "Oh really? Now what if I told your sniper out there is already dead? And honestly I don't have to kill you personally. Second, you messed with the wrong children knowing if not I but a team of people will kill every single one of you and set this world on fire if they have too. Try again." The gun against his temple did not waiver, however, he could detect a faint rush of a heartbeat. "I already won." The Symaarian crossed his legs as he recognized Raith's presence. "Attack." 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 
"Now that's a warning." Ceremoniously he disposed of the bodies in a bonfire. The notes both had on them was truly interesting. More interesting than the money in their wallet anyway. Quickly he pulled out his phone and called Cassidy immediately. "Wifey, the entire team has been blacklisted. Apparently they know everything and plan to make it public if we actively move against them and in case you're wondering...yes they came here too. Don't do anything rash." He gave a kiss through the phone and hung up. All in an effort to calm her down of course. Adding gasoline to the fire never hurts anyone.  
 
As he gathered the kids Kastiel couldn't help but draw conclusions. It's obvious it could be the newest member behind all of this. The team could be in disarray before anyone actually attacks. This was meant to cause strife and Kastiel doubted everyone would be attacked. Those spared would be considered suspects and right now was definitely not the time to point fingers and let petty squabbles take over. It was time for them to finally come together or be dismantled under their own whims. 

#4 Posted by Charlemagne (6969 posts) - - Show Bio

His legs were ensconced over, and underneath, one another while his hands rested atop his knees. His mind was free off chaos and clutter as he telepathically conversed with his comatosed sister, Angelique. A secret he had been keeping since undertaking the responsibility of her care. But as the tattered and slightly bloodied Red Raven exhaustively came to rest against the re-enforced door frame of Kazarian's incense laced solitude, his mind's eye instantly alerted him of her presence.

Maintaining his composure the exiled LeBeau fluently rolled to his feet before motioning her over towards the Japaneses inspired table situated in the center of the room. A large bowl filled with Epsom salts and Magnesium sulfate steamed in the middle of a black and white decorative yin/yang symbol. Its steam mystically dancing towards the ceiling in a variety of picturesque shapes.

"Please, have a seat. Lets have a look at you." gently dabbing the scraps and small cuts canvasing her face and arms. Completely void of emotional distress, the Last Storm Shadow (Arashikage) continued. "I have not been completely honest with you Cassidy, and for that, I apologize. I've been aware of this outside threat for sometime now. However I lacked substantial evidence to bring this to the Courts attention. Indulge me for a moment." pausing while he lay the crimson stained cloth on the edge of the bowl before taking a seat directly in front of Mercy. "Did you know that the Owl is the only bird that does not build its own nest?" Once again giving delay, allowing the deeper metaphor to sink in. "We are not under attack from an outside enemy....we, are, thee outside enemy. This chateau, this establishment, is not the design of our own architecture as my dear father led us to believe. It has been here for centuries, since before the construction of New France. In fact, it pre-dates any historical document I've attempted to uncover. Accept this one" handing her a loosely rolled scrolled tied with a black ribbon and a small illustration of a French cédille ( Ç) he continued,

"A few weeks ago while researching the history of the supposedly deceased Esther Cotillard, I came across this. Its a comprehensive draft of the Cotillard heritage tracing back to the beginning, the first. It all originated here! Behind these walls, within this foundation. The symbolism is everywhere Cassidy. Its been built upon and built upon but the legacy is all around us. I've uploaded a program into the Arcadian that is currently mapping out every tunnel, every hidden passage, every connecting piece of underlining engineering. But its proven....problematic. Needless to say, our...host has a considerable advantage. I've managed to intercept several Outgoing transmission but have yet to pinpoint its origin from within the Chateau. They're organized Cass with operatives dispersed throughout New France. I fear none of us are safe."


The recently uncovered knowledge that the Court of Owls formation had been built atop the remains of the Cotillard dynasty had shed new light on the recent rash of unprovoked attacks. Cotillard loyalist, and perhaps even forgotten Cotillard lineages had taken the fight to the La Cour des Hiboux. New France was about to be engulfed in an Clandestine secret civil war of aristocratic assassins.

#5 Posted by Ishin (6791 posts) - - Show Bio

In a deep underground infrastructural complex somewhere in an undisclosed location existed the prestigious and architectural marvel known as the Grand Witch Hunter Castle, the colossal home of the Witch Hunter organization's absolute leader. And on the large black marble throne sat the cunning snake, Impero. Amused at how easily he had orchestrated cataclysmic events that led to his selection as the witch-hunting organization's undisputed leader, The Genius could thank only his ingenuity and political genius for his recent position. Not only did he have hundreds of thousands of nigh-peerless assassins, combatants and other followers at his request, the greatest gift was how blindly and loyally they obeyed and followed him. "With the older generation of witch hunters dead, I can now freely commandeer these countless fools who call themselves my followers", the masked manipulator thought, recalling the week-old moment when he cleverly orchestrated the death of the oldest witch hunters in the organization, they were the only source of suspicion, and their elimination was inevitable.

With all devoted witch hunters now viewing mysterious Impero as the hero who attempted to save the older generation from extinction, the nefarious neutral is without restraint in exercising their seemingly endless loyalty. But even he knows not of how much faith has been linked with his being. The vast witch hunter community are not limited to viewing him as a simple hero, no, their admiration for him extends to appreciating him as even a messianic figure who is destined to bring about the end of magic and bring upon the prosperity and age of the Witch Hunters. To the secretive organization, he was delivered to them by the universe as an act of providence. "Foolish as they may be, they are undoubtedly, my most dangerous of cronies. Even my personalized mercenaries cannot compare to my witch hunters. Their deadly combination of technology and martial arts is one that I hold with the utmost respect", The Genius admitted to himself, still lost in deep thought. With his knuckles gently placed under his chin, the hooded figure transitioned his train of thought to the Court of Owls, an organization that he has fruitfully chosen to affiliate with, one that can generate a mass of irresistible opportunities that will accelerate his plans.

"Jean's distrust of me is becoming more apparent as the days go by. His attempts at gathering information on me are relentless as usual. While I do not admire him, I must hold respect for his determination and ambition. His cronies, particularly Flucks believe themselves to have useful information about me", he paused his thinking for a moment, calmly removing his technologically-enhanced mask, his entire upper-body concealed by a looming shadow as he reached for a silver goblet of aged wine resting at his side. Pleasurably sipping the beverage then setting aside, his thinking continued, "The lies that I have fed them.. they will only stray them off my path. This game, it is becoming amusing. The suspicion and distrust surrounding me in the Court of Owls.. it will only work to my advantage", cunning Impero smirked before once again wearing his expressionless mask. Moments afterwards, perhaps the witch hunter that is most loyal to him had entered the composed puppeteer's throne room. It was none other than the organization's lieutenant. Quickly and respectfully, she bowed before her leader, prior to presenting him with vital information surrounding the Court of Owls, something of great importance indeed.

Calmly standing to his full height, Impero approached his loyal lieutenant, the one who followed him without question, she yearned for respect and affection from him that would never come. "Speak my dear, your expression suggests that you have something of importance for me", he said, standing several feet away from. Rising to her feet, she revealed a piece of information, "We have reason to believe that the Court of Owls, your recent affiliates, are being targeted by an unknown external enemy. What we believe have been strange attacks against your fellow assassins are our only evidence regarding this enemy", she informed. "And that is all you know?", Impero asked, "Yes", she answered, obediently. "Hmm... these were unforeseen events. But surprisingly, they accelerate my plans. Thank you, you may go", enigmatic Impero said, waving his lieutenant off as she soon departed. "I'm certain that some of the Court's members are now aware of these attacks. But perhaps this revelation coming from another would motivate them to seek out and destroy this threat. I believe it's time for me to visit my affiliates", The Genius decided, exiting his throne room.

#6 Posted by Shanana (52805 posts) - - Show Bio

Watch the Throne

Every known human civilization began with a person believing they were chosen by God to rule over the masses. However the mind of a mere mortal man or woman doesn’t think past self-glorification, the true Kings and Queens were those with enough influence to move and manipulate the masses. Four months after she purged the world of the undesirables, history seemed to be repeating itself. Sarah Lockhart and Maya Lopez had been expedient on the reconstruction of New York.

The Order Sancta Camisca had been destroyed and reincarnated as the sophisticated Court of Owls; Poland had been mercilessly flattened by the Ninjans and would take years probably even decades to recover.

However in the province of Tibet a cultural rebirth was taking place; the Leader of the Cult of Cardinals had been the one who deemed the world wicked; however she had the whole province eating out of her hand. The young monks quickly rallied behind the Queen of Cardinals, supplying mind, body and soul to her cause. Unlike her previous exploits, she expressed more humility towards her subordinate’s feelings than anything. The world would rebuild, those who understood nothing of the common man would rebuild in the image of Kings and Queens, however the Black Cardinal’s approach had been the same since she and Jean laid the first stones of Utopia.

The power rest within the common man, it’s where her influence drew from. It didn’t matter how vile or pure a monarch happened to be, losing sync with the common man often left sour taste in the mouths of the governed; Hoover experienced this in the 1930’s, Marie Antoinette and King Lois the 18 century.

She had the decorum of a Queen, the humility of a pauper and the ruthlessness of a dictator, the one thing that brought this triple entente together was neither a skill nor power; however he was an icon. Jean Luc gave the nod of approval on the Cardinals, which brought forth a string of praise from the politicians living in Tibet.

Their work in Utopia was Nobel Peace worthy, however Tibet was under jurisdiction of the Nakamura Empire; a powerful force in the East that she didn’t have time to mess with…yet. The Black Cardinal her esteemed husband, where not here to reconstruct Tibet like they had done in Utopia; they were here to instruct and educate the ignorant world.

The Black Cardinal walked the ranks of her followers; the sheer obedience put them in an upper echelon of assassins, not by genetics, not by affiliation but by discipline. The stood motionless watching as the ceremonial train of the Black Cardinal slid passes them. “What are our virtues” she asked, stopping in front of a boy who happened to be a five year old child.

“Patience, Loyalty, Humility, and Courage!” The boy yelled, igniting a thunderous “ALL Hail the might of the Cardinals!” the Cardinals screamed in a thunderous roar. She couldn’t help but let out a smile, she enjoyed their faith in her.

“You are all the light of my day” she said, rubbing her hands across his bald head. Retiring to her villa, she removed her ceremonial clothing. Putting on a pair of grey jeans, with a red T-shirt and her black cardinal overcoat; she readied herself to return to the Temple of Cardinals.

“What’s new Cardenal de la Sabiduria” an elder asked as she marched through the halls of the Lhasa. “Ester Cotillard is a live” she said, slowly moving through the halls. “People get so wrapped up in their thrones, but they fail to see that the watchers are the ones maintaining its upkeep” she said, stopping in front of a huge Cardinal bird, with a decorative gem lined hilt.

“Write this down” She said, using both of her hands to clasp the blade, as she did so she closed her eyes and began to draw words from her own heart.

“Patience is the force behind the calm spirit, on a mission, Patience is the force behind the assassin; every moment provides a window, a window of opportunity or a window of failure; without patience there is a window for failure each time” She said, thinking about the “Court of Owls”

The Greeks believed the Owls to be of good fortune; however the Romans believed Owls to be foul omen. Whatever the mythology was, there was no doubt in her mind that the Court of Owls, lacked patience.

“Loyalty is a feeling like no other, belonging to an elite group; and being 100% dedicated to the cause is a virtue that will be the flagship of this organization. The cause is everything, the family is everything; there isn’t a Cardinal that will die for the cause and not be given the proper burial.

“Humility happens to be the reason I’m here, respect, modest and being civil in life will bring forth true happiness. When the prey his killed, do not gloat; instead be grateful that you are the one still bearing the gift of breath.

To have courage means facing your fears, and going above and beyond for the Cardinal Cause; you are a Red Cardinal, trained to be both emotionally unscathed and empathetic at the same time. Cardinals remember your virtues at the most desperate times they shall bail you out.

Opening her jeweled sapphire eyes, she released the hilt of the blade and then turned to see nearly 50 students crowding the doorway listening to what she thought was a private conversation. A small grin crept across her face. “That’s power” she said, pointing to her students.

“I want that memorized” she said, walking in the wintry mix. “She has escaped” a man said, looking into the eyes of the Black Cardinal. “Fret not, my friend nary of the Owls know what’s coming their way” she said, returning to her Villa.

#7 Edited by Quintus_Knightfall (84363 posts) - - Show Bio

Snaking his way through the numerous columns of brainwashed ecclesiastical zealots, La Chouette Niore (The Black Owl) was deceitfully tabulating every muscle movement down to the absolute percent. His newly constructed suit interfacing with his mutant ability to read and duplicate any maneuver he witnessed while automatically formulating dozens of innovative counter initiatives. Cataloging the very philosophy that drove the disciplined disciples, arrogantly confident in the knowledge that the Cult of Cardinals would never possess a style he was not adequately prepared to extinguish with extreme prejudice.

Universal chants continually resonated throughout the Lhasa training grounds, their Lama reverberating the strict indoctrination handed down by the Black Cardinal herself. Unveiling a cinematic manifestation of complete obedience unequaled in even the most unyielding secular progressions of the Buddhism faith. Combat was their new religion, and Z, their Messiah. Yet the Aristocratic Assassin was neither surprised, nor, moved, by the sudden shift in the Tibetan's seemingly over night transformation. His World knowledge expanding beyond the socially accepted believe of a peaceful monk like existence in Tibet. For like all regions, Tibet was home to its own secret society and shameful past. Their oldest clandestine sect, dGe-lugs-pa (the Yellow Hats) commonly referring to its home land as the Roof of the World, and surprisingly, or not, refereed to Germany as "The Land of the Midnight Mountain." Which is why Tibet had always supported Germany and secretly, the Third Reich.
 
From the Thule Society - " The new “Licht-Reich” (realm of light) will emerge from Germany and therefore the power of the Jews will be taken away from them."

"Absolute corruption corrupts absolutely."
The assassin thought to himself while wandering through some of fortifications more underutilized locations. Still able to hear the thunderous ovations perfectly coupled with the unison chants of obedience raining down from above his location. When a sudden tap on his exaggeratedly elongated shoulder, courtesy of his extra joints, compelled him to turn. Spinning around cautiously only to find an old man with ceremonial tattooed markings lining the sides of his face, and a Yoda like posture clutching a wooden staff with several golden rings danging from its tip. *You are a non believer. You do not belong among the chosen, the worthy, or the enlightened. Why has her grace not touched your inner soul? She offers salvation and yet, you are unable to invite her wisdom into your conscious being." pointing the staff directly at the self-proclaimed King of Kings, he proceeded. "You are the deceiver. The snake among men. She must be warn....* (*translated to English) the swift fluent motion of two hands pulling across his head in opposite directions violently ending his speech before its conclusion.

Callously the La Cour des Hiboux founder knelt down beside the astounded holy man as the light in his eyes faded away, "I am no snake mon ami, I am  Chouette (Owl with tufted ears :P). And Cardinals and Owls can never fly together. I want you to know something before you die, when your religious brethren and their sacred Queen meet dheir end, it shall be at dee hands of dee Court of Owls.  For even Tibet is not far enough away to wash away her sins. My son, my father's Clandestine Order, my friends......no no no mon ami, she doesnt get to walk away dat easy. Not while I still breath....."

As Gambler slowly and pridefully rose to his feet, taking a moment to collect the monk's sacred staff, he flashed his infamous Cheshire Cat grin while simultaneously dispensing several small liquid nitrogen disks throughout the tunnel. " Vous avez essayé de brûler le monde et de nous laisser pour morts, permettez moi de renvoyer l'ascenseur" (You tried to burn dee World and leave us for dead, allow me to return dee favor)

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#8 Posted by Naamah_Obyzouth (3840 posts) - - Show Bio

24 Hours before Naamah meets Jean Luc for the first time.

Riding shotgun in the cab of a Mach 10 Truck by the name of the Porkchop Express. The driver is wearing a Harly Davidson hat, and he smells of Miller High Life. Naamah has the window cracked open due to the smell, and the heat. It seems this trucker who goes by the name of Jack Burton, has allowed his air conditioning unit to breakdown. They are crossing over a large golden bridge in bumper to bumper traffic, as Naamah's eyes gaze longfully down at the choppy waters down bellow. She is day dreaming about being thrown overboard.

Now the hick is swacking off on his CB radio, as he rattles off with half witted words of wisdom. Things any fool could have read inside of a dime novel, or the inside of some rest area's bathroom stall. Naamah is trying her best to drown Mr. Burton out with her selective hearing to almost no avail, which has caused her to whistle and tap her left foot. She is attempting to dull the sound of his stupid with white noise, she looks over at him and smirks as she thinks about killing him and hi-jacking the truck. He notices she is looking at him and he stops talking and smiles.

"Hello there doll face... Lucky for you good ol Mr. Jack Burton was at that truck stop to give you a ride hey?" He says as he hangs up his mic, and takes a drink of his can of beer. Naamah smiles as she is just happy he has stopped ranting into his CB, he is not too horrible to look at even if he could use a well needed make over, it is as if Jack is stuck in the 1980's. "Lucky me indeed Mr. Burton... So you said your friend Wang Chi has a sword he used to slay a demon." Jack slowly pulls off his thick black sunglasses as he winks at her. "Call me Jack, and yes I he does. I should know, I was there. I saw the whole thing. I even killed a demon myself... Well actually when I killed him he was just a man, but I did not know that. I did run him over with my truck however." Naamah is sure this man must have fallen off his rocker, he just seems like a smarta$$, she is sure he is just fooling her.

About an hour later they arrive in town and Naamah has a huge headache. "Well thanks for the ride Jack... But I think I will walk from here." Naamah says as she goes to get out of his cab. He quickly grabs her arm, and her eyes go wide. "I think you owe me something for the trouble driving you to little china, don't you?" Naamah pulls her arm free, and then slams his head against the steering wheel twice before he could even blink. His nose is bleeding and he is freaking out pretty bad, shouting about demons, and floating eyeballs. Naamah quickly jumps out of his truck and shuts the door hard but not before shouting. "Never touch a woman without her permission you freaken creep, and go see a head doc already you big crazy."

She takes off running down the streets of little china in a panic, with one wicked headache and a hunger for some sushi. Her running takes her to a little asian resturant called Dragon of the Black Pool. Naamah rolls her eyes as she walks into Wangs place. It seems Jack was not completely full of crap, the resturant was right where he said it was. She walks inside and see's a group of men wearing black suits with white ties, and black sunglasses waiting for her. They all look at her like they all knew she was comming. "What's going on fella's?" Naamah says with a wicked smirk on her face.

Her baby blue eyes quickly scan the entire room, and every detail that is held withen. She can see that Wang has been taken down by these guys already, his green eyes asian wife is cryng over his highly injured body, as she holds her head against his. Naamah can still hear his heartbeat he is not dead yet, but he will be soon if he does not get help as fast as possible. Naamah smiles warmly at Wang's bride before she speaks. "I will help you as soon as I can love." The woman just gives Naamah a dirty look. Understandable things going down the way they did, she must blame Naamah for this attack.

All at once the men in black pullout strange weapons which are glowing with green energy. Magic weapons enchanted by some warlock most likely The Contessa deducts, based by the look of them. They so pose a threat to her, seeing as how they are filled with some strange magic, one of her only weaknessess. Naamah has no intention of allowing them to even get close to striking her with them however. All at once they swarm her, and all at once their strikes come though on empty air, whooshing fast as they strike themselves. All men fall dead to the floor, killed by one anothers hands. Naamah was able to rollout of the way at the very last moment.

She gets to her feet and starts to work on fixing Wang for his lovely bride, the bastards have beat him to the point of near death even going so far as to cut off his tongue. She needs to stop the bleeding or he will die. Naamah uses her mouth to aid in this task. Much to Wangs wifes displeasure Naamah forces her mouth over Wang Chi's kissing him, as her tongue morphs into her blue demon-like tongue. Her spittle has a healing effect to open wounds, and it closes the wound effectively. As she pulls away the bride can see in shocked amazment what Naamah had done. She stops trying to pull her off of Wang, and even gives Naamah a hug. "Thank you." says Miao Yin.

Naamah then starts to heal Wngs inner body wounds, he has internal damage, and she can tell by the coloration of his skin. She slaps her hands together and rubs them quckly together for a few moments before she places her hands on Wangs bare skin. She presses down on his tummy as her bodies energies slowly start to heal his broken and busted body. As Wang starts to come around, he winces in great pain, before the healing takes full effect and he slowly opens his eyes. Naamah slowly walks over to a nearby table and takes a seat, as she picks up a menu and starts to read it. "Now that is settled how about some sushi on the house?" Wang Chi and his wife look up at her a nod in agreement, as a still bloody faced Jack Burton walks through the door. "Ooh heck." he says as he looks around, and quickly runs back out the door. "I'm to old for this crap!" he yells from the distance.

#9 Edited by Esther_Cotillard (489 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm posting a previous post and following it up with the latest one for those who need or are interested in the backstory.

It was hard not to look at her when she walked passed. Not because she was beautiful, but because she would glide. She was unlike any woman he had ever seen. "Señora, puedo ayudarle?" The young man asked as he watched the woman climb up the small hill to the cottage -- slung over her shoulder was a high tech bow and an array of arrows.

"No rodrigo, muchas gracias. Creo que estoy ok." Esther said with a smile.

Rodrigo raised alpacas near Peru's Huancavelica region -- he was a farmer. Before Esther arrived, Rodrigo and his family had struggled to survive the harsh winters in the Andes. Raising their livestock would sometimes not be enough -- until one cold evening she showed up at his doorstep looking for shelter -- little did he know that this woman would be a godsend to him and to the people of the small village. Esther invested in their schools -- a school for young girls and she began to teach the children the art of self defense. She was a well of knowledge, and evidently, money. That evening was nearly a year ago, and ever since she would -- every two weeks-- travel to the capitol (Lima) where Rodrigo believed she had a home. Why she chose to live in seclusion and so close to the Andes was a mystery to him, but he didn't mind having her around. She walked towards the door and stopped suddenly.

Rodrigo, is someone in your home?"

"No, Señora...I don't think so." He said, startled. Esther stopped for a moment. She knew she had to be cautious.

"Are you lying?"

"No, Señora...I wouldn't lie..I swear."

Then go back. Go back into the pasture. Someone is here. I will deal with this." Esther stepped forward towards the door, and cursed herself for not having a better weapon. She placed a smoke bomb arrow in her quiver and opened the door gently, making sure to press her body against the wall as she did so.

"Who is there?"

"Relax. It's me."

"Jesus Christ, Vincent. You scared the shit out of me." She let a sigh escape her lips. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming?"

"I didn't want to be followed. I've come to warn you. Our intelligence in Mexico has picked up on Gambler's scent. We think he's looking for you."

She slowly slipped the arrow back with the rest and set the bow on the table. She walked toward the blazing fireplace and began to slip off her alpaca poncho and hang it by the fire. "I know," she said looking into the flames. "I felt him. I don't know how he was able to detect me, though. I thought I had severed our connection years ago...and I can't attribute it simply to proximity. I don't suppose he's gotten stronger..." Esther paused for a minute and then looked up at Vincent.

"And could you wear something more discreet? For God's sake. cuff links?"

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

Pft pft pft pft

The sound of the aluminum wings beat rapidly against the cold, heavy air as the helicopter landed in the distance. The cattle had began to scurry and the horses neighed, kicking up dirt as they all raced towards the opposite end of the clearing. Esther watched as it touched the ground. She slung the bow over her shoulder and strapped the quivers to her back, tightening the straps. She had changed out of the simple pancho to a loose fitting white collared shirt, dark khaki riding pants and knee high leather riding boots. Her attire was more appropriate for the meeting she would have to attend once she reached her destination. She watched in the distance as the cattle began to slowly move back toward the heavy machine, not knowing that it would soon lift off the ground again -- but this time, with her in it. Simple creatures. What would it be like to live a life this simple? To live out in the middle of nowhere where no one could find her? She had tried. She had tried to hide from the world and to run away from her demons. But they had found her. They had tracked her down. Her hair blew in the wind as she pressed forward. She turned for a moment to look back at the farm boy.

"Whatever happens, Rodrigo, nothing will harm you or your village. I won't let them. I promise." As the cryptic words escaped her lips, the boy stood in wonder looking at her. She turned quickly and headed toward the copter, hopped in the front seat and lifted off.

--

"Start from the beginning." She said as her cold gaze kept steady looking out the window at the snow capped mountain range below.

"Your 'Red Bird,' he had been keeping tabs on Gambler's clan. You know he had rebuilt France. He had established the 'Court of Owls.' Most of his organization has been built on the back of The Hellfire Club. They continued to keep that underground organization thriving in and throughout Eastern Europe --" Vincent said as he looked at her.

"I never could respect an organization that survived on the back of women forced into prostitution." Her brow furrowed as her gaze remained steady out the window. "Although it hardly surprises me, where he gets his money."

Vincent paused for a moment, and said "You said you had felt him...What did you me--"

"Years ago Jean and I had established a telepathic connection. It allowed us to become an unstoppable force on the battlefield at the time. It was probably the most perfect tool for deception. I mean, we convinced just about everybody that we were the good guys," she said with a chuckle. "In fact, It even helped me keep tabs on him when he didn't want me to --when he was courting other women. Anyway, that connection had been severed, or so I had thought. We had a blissful marriage in the beginning, but as time moved forward I began to realize that our marriage was cursed. I swear, Vincent, the day we were wed my parents rolled in their graves. I'm sure of it. The rivalry between our families cursed our marriage, and soon foul play toppled everything. I discovered his infidelities first, his plans to funnel a portion of the Cotillard treasury to his offshore accounts in Switzerland...but all this was nothing until he began to establish his own faction within the Assassins guild that were loyal only to him. He had my men betray me. He expanded the organization to include prostituion rings in America -- particularly in New Orleans." She was silent for a moment and looked down at her hands as they grasped at her pant leg, gripping the cloth tightly.

"What happened?" Vincent asked looking at her. She moved a strand of hair from her eyes and then looked at him.

"I tried to kill Jean Luc. And I failed. I didn't have it in me. This was around the time that Darkchild destroyed France. I took that as an opportunity to fake my own death. 'Red Bird' sacrificed my double, and Gambler never bothered to check. What gets me is that the telepathic connection between him and I had been severed. Shut off. I shut it off myself. I haven't used my telepathy in years for fear of being detected. How he was able to sense me..." She said shaking her head, "It's not good."

#10 Posted by _Titan (3362 posts) - - Show Bio

'A man should not be judged by the years he's lived but by the miles he's traveled'- Jimi Hendrix

On an island somewhere in tropic of Capricorn, a bronze skinned man rotates above a petite exotic woman with piercing green eyes, something rarely found in nature. They sway back and forth in a synchronized rhythm of pleasure. the woman decides to take the lead, forcing him over onto his back as he grab her by the dips in her hips like he was holding a pot of hot water. He gives her the illusion of control, though it's him controlling her motion.

The cat eyed beauty bends backwards curving her back into a C shape and panting. over her moans, the sound of unsheathing metal can be heard. He knows what someone looks like when murder is on their mind, but instead of stopping, ups his speed exponentially as she tries to stay focused. The deadly woman raises the blade above her reddened face, ready to lay down the strike to his bare chest "Uhh!!"

"POP!"

as the vermilion villain climaxes,A crimson rain falls in slow motion above him, the foreign femme fatales' organs sprayed several feet upward, burned by the controlled expulsion of his plasma. "Ha *hoo* ha... if it makes you feel any better sweets," The dilated pupils of the stunning seductress stare upward as her face is frozen in a horrific vision of euphoria, being slumped to the side on the wet sand "I wrote the same ending for you either way" He whispers turning over onto his dry knees and rising, rummages through her strewn clothes.

He reaches into her cargo pants pocket, to find a surveillance photo from the Guiseppe tailor shop in Turkey, and sucks his teeth fiercely, annoyed by his own amateur mistake. "Not a man alive that knows I exist, except my 'bro'...and Jean Luc " A note lay behind the photo, one with the address of The Court, the same address he had received several days before from the King of Kings. "Lukey, joo gots some splaining to do..." A bolt of red lighting slams the sandy beach, leaving heated glass where the dangerous bastard assassin once stood

#11 Posted by Shanana (52805 posts) - - Show Bio

She stood with her hands behind her back, looking at the starry night; the mountains in the backdrop with the luminous clouds circumventing the mouth; aided in the pacification of her mind. As she gazed into the sky, her hands slowly rubbed the traditional silk Khata given to her by her fellow Cardinals.

“I have brought you wisdom says your god, speak fondly to this new world, and announce to ‘her’ that her troubling times have come to an end, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received the hammer from the fist of the Cardinal.” A disorderly murmur began to resound throughout the temple; even in their temporary stupor she maintained her composure.

“I prophesized about these events months ago, not a soul heeded my warnings; now bitter and angry the world has plotted against me” Her eye’s never came off the mountains, with each flicker of her diamond blues eye’s she saw a personal feat of her during her heroic days; however for each heroic feat, she saw a vile one. “I love this place…and I wish no harm be place upon you. You are all dismissed, go forth and proclaim the glory of what all you have been taught” she said, with a warm smile on her face.

“Editman, Acer, Florian and of course….Stephanie…” she said, removing a black hilted Cardinal dagger, however; it had been frozen for a spiritual purpose. Moving towards the huge black Cardinal that had been carved into the floor she stood with the dagger. “For my sins against you…I too will join you”. Taking the cold dagger by the hilt she shoved in directly into her chest.

Her jaws unhinged at the shear ice, on the dagger. Her grunts were troubled forced from the intense cold slowly moving through her bloodstream. Her face quickly discolored, turning a frost bitten pale; with a simple twist she began to convulse violently before falling to the floor. The blood that spilled from her body, dug deep within the crevices of the carved cardinal. Each segment became filled until the once black Cardinal, transformed into a Red Cardinal. Andferene died a hero; someone had to die a villain. The world was beginning its reconstruction process, after being purged by one of its former saviors.

For the few moments of life she still had left she thought about the people whom were to blame, the people whom poisoned her innocence; there was only one man she that came to her mind.

“Jean…” she whispered as her last breath.

With that, the freezing sting of the blade hit her heart and she left peacefully.

#12 Posted by Mercy_ (92257 posts) - - Show Bio

Her head felt fuzzy, her brain was failing to fully comprehend the words that he spoke to her. She was unable to decipher if it was due to blood loss or something else, but all of a sudden, the spot on her neck began to ache. She pushed the small irritation down and refocused on the scroll in her hand. "We're being moved against. I was hoping it was just me, attempts on my life are nothing new." Unbeknownst to all, there had been five unsuccessful attempts on her life within the last year, one of them leaving her strung up in the infirmary for a day. Nobody needed to be bothered with it, though, this was par for the course for somebody of her ilk - assassin and prominent businesswoman.

Eye to eye with Kaz something sparked, something that she hadn't felt in a long time, something that she buried for the moment, looking away from him in a nearly bashful manner, something completely out of character for her. Gently stroking the scroll he had handed her, she tenderly opened it up and perused it's contents. "This will be our first challenge with the Court. This will be what makes us or breaks ---" she was cut off with the ringing of her phone, a tone designated for priority calls from Kastiel.

Slipping the iPhone out of its holster she held it to her ear and the words coming through the line resulted in her blood running cold. Her eyes widened as she looked straight at Kaz, simply shaking her head. "Stay as far away as you can until I give you the go-ahead. If you don't hear from me within 24 hours, go to ground." Contrary to popular belief, Kastiel Roxom and Cassidy Lockhart-Starks were not a romantic item. He was, however, the father of her children in every way other than biological. There was a look as cold as ice in her eyes as she hung up the phone, her entire demeanor changing with that one conversation. Cassidy was not overly vengeful by nature, but the moment somebody moved against her children was the moment that they had signed their own death warrant and not a pleasant one, at that.

Rising to her feet she shrugged, as if she was shrugging off her damaged and injured skin and replacing it with a bulletproof armor. Her crimson hair cascaded around her shoulders as she pulled it over to one side. "They made their beds, now they sleep in them. I don't know if this is Esther come back from the dead to have her revenge and re-stake her claim, I don't know if this is Tlieso finally re-emerging, I don't know if it's somebody else entirely. Frankly, I don't care who it is. They are trying to destroy my happiness and kill my children. Let them learn what that means firsthand."

Her voice was deceptively calm as she spoke due to her having slipped into that headspace she went into whenever she killed. The only thing that jarred her out of it momentarily was Kaz placing his hand on her forearm in what was a rare show of support from him, he who mostly kept to himself. It took Cassidy by surprise enough to pull her out and act on instinct in that one moment. Leaning down she rested her hands on his shoulders while he sat and placed a kiss that was nothing resembling sisterly square on his lips before pulling away, surprised at herself. Not giving him time to react or shun her, as was expected, she quickly made her exit and headed toward the Aerie.

Sitting at her chair there, she monitored all the holographic projection screens, as well as her mainframe screen. Rearranging them to allow her a more fluid access of information, she pulled up bios on all of the active team members, as well as their contact information. "Aria, send out a mass message to all Court Agents. We are under attack from unknown assailants. They are to proceed in whatever they are currently doing with extreme caution. It is recommended that they make their way back here. Defensive maneuvers are suggested."

Leaning back in the chair, she rubbed her eyes, her neck burning once again. Holding her finger-tips to her lips, she smiled just a bit before immediately getting back to work. All members who had allowed it were currently being tracked using SEER, their progress mapped as she watched. Sliding that off to the side, she pulled up a scanned copy of the scroll that Kaz had handed her, meticulously going over it for any secrets that may unravel what was happening here. War had arrived and it was like no war that they had ever fought before.

Moderator
#13 Edited by Naamah_Obyzouth (3840 posts) - - Show Bio

Molly West

Presents

Naamah

In a Comic Vine Post

PLASMA-COMPETITION

Starring

Red Ninja

Blue Ninja

Green Ninja

Black Ninja

White Ninja

Pink Ninja

Gold Ninja

And Ninja-Ninja as Ninja-Master.

18 Hours before Naamah meets Jean Luc for the first time.

China Town: San Francisco.

As if the world is set on fire balls of green flame shoot through the very streets of China Town. Anyone and everyone that is caught out in the streets during this barrage are instantly fried to a crispy black skeleton, void of flesh and blood. It happens in mere moments as Naamah feasts on Sushi inside Dragon of the Black Pool.

Naamah finishes her last bite of Black Dragon Roll as her eyes blaze with the fury of the many power coins of doom-fisting. An ancient technique taught to the crimson queen by Cao Pi in the second dynasty of feudal China. It is a devastating punch that will cause the targets heart to explode inside of their chest.

The raven haired beauty slides her chair back ever so slightly and very slowly stands to her feet, as she raises a fist in the air and admires its image. The splendor of such a symbol burns into the very souls of those who view such an act. In this case is a small group of people including, but not limited to Wang Chi, and his wife Mao Yin.

They have finally cleaned up all the dead bodies from an earlier disturbance. One that Naamah in point of fact had cleaned up for them, all but the buckets of blood that was spilled all over the walls and ceiling from men in black cutting one another down with enchanted swords. Naamah had given the enchanted weapons to a local street gang called the Lords of Death.

Naamah steps back outside into the now barren streets of China Town, as smoldering skeletons cover the scene with bleakness. A huge ball of green flame remains in the center of the street as a plethora of multi colored Ninja do rolling front flips and spinning side twists out of the hovering mass. There are eight in all.

The first seven in leaps free themselves from the green ball of flame as they take their battle stances. Leaving the flames behind that become the final Ninja the Master Ninja. The colors are red, blue, green, black, white, pink, and gold. The Master Ninja is wearing all of these colors in his Ninja Outfit. His sword is on fire, a fire that burns black and purple in fluxing.

Naamah rolls her eyes. “What is wrong with this town!?” She demands to know, unfortunately for Naamah these Ninja’s are not inclined to answer her questions, as they circle around her with throwing stars in hand. All seven of the Ninja’s take position around this beautiful deadly female. All are waiting for the right moment to strike.

From out of a nearby alley Jack Burton makes his triumphed comeback as he jumps out with a sub machinegun in hand and sprays a flood of bullets at the group of Ninja’s who immediately draw their swords and start to deflect the rounds before they can make contact with their bodies. Much to the Ninja’s dismay however their deflection skills lack control, as their reflections lead the bullets into a swarm of twice as many bullet pieces spraying down their leader killing him instantly.

As the Master Ninja’s body drops dead to the blacktop of the city street, Naamah laughs wickedly as she runs up to the Gold Ninja and uses her powerful punch attack on his chest causing his heart to explode on impact. None of the remaining ninja’s had saw the attack coming due to them being dumb founded by their leader being murdered by their own hands. The Gold Ninja screams in amazing horror as his heart bursts into blood paste.

The remaining Ninja’s lose their cool as they start to panic, and Naamah and Jack Burton but mostly Naamah is able to put the rest of them down pretty handily. Jack was not really doing much but causing interference while Naamah was a blaze of Kung Fu madness. She even was able to do a spinning double foot-plant headlock takedown to the Pink Ninja. The result of which was an accidental decapitation, you could tell by the way Naamah’s eyes lit up with beatific awe.

Jack Burton is staring at Naamah with utter dread burnt into his face, like he just witnessed his own head being torn off by her delicate well trained hands. “Thanks for that… But I could have handled them myself.” She says with complete confidence in her voice. Jack just keeps staring as Naamah walks up to him and kisses his cheek, and then walks away. She has business to attend to elsewhere, she has a man to meet. A man by the name of Jean Luc has gained Naamah’s interest.

Naamah starts heading down the empty streets of China Town in the rain. It had just started to sprinkle and she is enjoying it actually it is a welcomed calming feeling of her body, the body of a warrior queen is many things but weak is not one of them. And as she gets about three blocks away she opens up a portal to send her to her desired destination.

Leaving Jack Burton behind who had finally fell to his knees, and starts to give voice to a blood curdling scream. His mind has been fractured by the sights of brutal flawlessness his weak human mind had just absorbed in a very personal manor. Perhaps he stood to close to pure greatness, and his very soul was stained by her grace. Jack had lost his mind and was going to need time to heal, of that there could be no mistake.

#14 Posted by Jake Malcom (3134 posts) - - Show Bio

It had been at least a 2 years since Jake had been in anything that even resembled a team, the Hell on Earth a few years was what brought him from his hiding to find his old friend Arrow gone absolutely ape sh!t. After these events he took his undead and his soul an kept to himself, but even while he thought he was hidden eyes were always looking upon him. In the darkness they seemed to always have eyes on him, and after two long irritating years he finally broke his silence. For two years he ignored the eyes, until now they were always out of the corner of his eyes an at the back of his mind. Waiting for him to answer their stare, an now he answers.

"For Christ sakes?! Come out you daft fools!" For a few moments they were silent, then from the shadows three took a step forward. Almost in unison they came out, one was a little late on the step , but he hoped the old Vampire hadn't noticed. Jake smiled to the fools misstep, an continued with his irritation "For a two years you lot have kept an eye on me... Why?" The one in the middle was silent no more an spoke his piece "We were ordered to sir, an old friend wishes for your identity to remain hidden. And any ties to him kept secret, he knows of how loose your lips are once you drink." Jake rolled his eyes "Tell that old bastard not to fret, my old an decrepit lips wont spill the knowledge that a high classed Cajun canoodled with a low life like myself." Smiling with the insinuation he flipped the whole lot the bird before turning around an attempting to leave. The one to the right spoke this time "We WERE ordered initially for that reason, now we come bearing an invitation Jacob." Jake stopped in his tracks and cracked his neck at the sound of his real name, no one called him that anymore. No one but the Cajun, he knew it bothered him immensely an now hes ordered his idjit guards to do the same. Turning around he looked to them "Speak fast...." The guard continued "Others are looking to silence any defiance from the Order of..." Jake cut him off "Get to the chase you twat, I don't need a Origin story alright." Jake barked startling the guard, the guard glared at Jake an finished "You are being hunted by an unknown operation, meant to cut all ties to "The Cajun" as you call him. An leave him defenseless for whatever they planned." Jake nodded and asked.

"These folks covered in black an crimson uniforms?" The guard nodded "Traces have been found yes." Jake nodded "They found me..." The guards attempted to turn around an defend themselves but were cut through in a volley of projectile weapons. The attackers leaped from the roof of the building they attacked from "God why did it have to be a suck head, hate these damn filthy creatures." Around Jakes neck a skull necklace glowed, an he grasped it "Dont fret Ralph, these three are idjits. Wont take long..." Cut off from his small speech he found a wooden stake slammed into his chest and a wide grin to follow from his attacker. The man spat in his face "Die vile creature!!" Jake looked to him oddly an turned quickly, chomping down on his neck. His skin wrinkled as the blood from his body was drained, a dried husk left. Jake pulled the stake from his chest an licked the blood from its tip "Gotta say the folks who hired you fed you well, but didnt inform you as well. Bet they hoped you lot died in the process of bringing me down...pity." With the swiftness of a Lion he bolted forward lifting one of the attackers into the air an swiftly slamming him into the wall of the ally. The sound of bones shattering filled his ears and echoed through the ally, the final attacker aimed an oddly shaped gun to Jake an he simply laughed "Alright go ahead fire, Ill give you one shot. Make it good sonny..." An with an echoing explosion the gun fired, taking the left side of Jakes body with it. The rounds were harvested Holy Water, built to explode on impact. Jake looked to his missing appendage an looked to the guard "Well then, that will do it. But should of aimed for the head..." He snarled leaping forward his teeth shining in the moonlight.

Ten Minutes Later

Jake walks from the ally still smoking, reattaching his arm and pulling a flat of skin over his chest to the spot it should be. His hands glowed bright red as he rattled off an incantation, the charm around his neck shined bright red as well. His arm back in place and his chest healed he shook off the dust and disgusting bits off his leather jacket before straightening his collar, tapping on the charm two clouds of smoke shot from the charm and took form. One was of a very dead man, and another of an old monk "So Ralph....seems like were back in business no?" The monk spoke "You honestly thought we would be invisible for long? Your lucky you got two years of silence with the sh!t you pulled at the last five pubs." Jake pointed to the monk "Josh you know very damn well it was that tranny Fairy and that damned Org who started it. Not my fault my penis cant tell the difference between a tart and a man alright!" Jake cut off Josh before he could argue further, tossing a small ring into the air an catching it quickly "Looks like we have a party to get to boys." Looking at the ring it said in "Court of Owls." Jake smiled "Now I would be a right jackass if I didn't come an meet him wouldn't I?" With that he snapped his fingers and the three disappeared into the ground.

#15 Edited by _Warp_ (202 posts) - - Show Bio

14 Hours Ago

The sun went down over Dubai. But the city continued to bustle about, man-made lights taking over for the sun's duties. From the top of a skyscraper, the view was nothing short of amazing. Too bad the assassin known as Warp was not there for a tourist stop. He stood on a helipad, approximately 60 floors from the ground. The wind buffeted against his mask, causing his suit jacket to flap in the wind. In his hands were a pair of butterfly swords. Efficient given the situation he would be in. Peering downwards, he noticed a series of eight black SUV's exiting the parking garage adjacent to his location. It was time.

Stepping forwards, he gracefully fell down off the platform, angling his body in a diving position. Time distorted around his body, a semi-transparent bubble expanding outwards to surround his form. Then he vanished. The driver of the front car was expecting a routine trip to and from a late night business meeting for his employer. Any expectations were shattered when a man clad in a black suit appeared on the hood of the vehicle. There were shouts in Arabic, followed by everyone in the car with a firearm pulling it out and opening fire. Holes tore through the roof of the car, and the driver was forced to duck to the side. Some were lucky enough to get bullets close to their mystery attacker. Each one was effortlessly avoided with flicks of his head and twitches of his body. These minute movements served to unnerve his opponents. The car continued to drive, its wheelman unable to see where they were going. Suddenly, it veered off to the right, and slammed into a building. The assassin had already vanished by the time it did, this time appearing in the back seat of the second vehicle.

His blades shot out to the sides, thrusting through the throats of the men on his left and right. Then they went forwards, through the seats, severing the spines of the driver and the man in the passenger seat. He vanished again, this time clutching the bottom of the third car. Using his legs to grip the underbelly of the vehicle, his hands shot out and punctured the back two tires. He vanished once more, this time in between the passenger's seat and driver's seat of the sixth car. His blades sliced across the throats of the men in the front two seats, then he vanished once more. Just as that car took a sudden sharp right turn, the fifth car smashed into the wreck of the fourth. Next was the seventh car. The assassin landed on the roof, denting it. Pulling a charge out from his pocket, he slapped it onto the roof, detonating it before vanishing again. And finally, he appeared in the eighth car. His blades quickly dispatched all but one man. He was wearing a bright white suit, and was of European descent, German to be specific. Bai's hands reached into his pocket and pulled out a flash drive. Before the man could even do so much as cry out, a blade slid through his neck. Vanishing again, the assassin appeared behind the final car as it veered off to the left. He pocketed the flash drive.

As he was about to walk away, his phone range. "How did you receive this number?" The voice explained that was not important, and made him an offer. The assassin listened silently, then spoke. "Very well. I shall consider it."

Now

Bai Jiang-Sinclaire did not like weapons pointed at his face. Let alone from would-be assassins mistaking him for the member of a secret society. "I will repeat myself once. Put down the weapons if you value breathing.." Three of them laughed. Bai finished his drink. Vintage white wine.. it was wasted on the patrons of this establishment. Looking at the glass, he examined it. "Very well." His hand slammed downwards, snapping the upper portion of the glass off, which fell into his hand. Slamming the jagged glass stem of the drink into one 'assassin's' temple, he rammed the top half into another's throat. Jumping up onto the table, he pulled out a pair of stiletto knives from his jacket pocket. Bringing one blade in a sweeping arc to his left, he slit the throat of another, hurling the same blade into the next killer's jugular. Leaping upwards, he flipped up and over the next one, slipping his blade in between two of his spinal vertebrae. Pivoting left, he snapped the neck of a sixth. Keeping the momentum, he held up two fingers and jabbed a seventh's solar plexus with just enough force to wind him. A second jab killed him. Like a ghost, he was standing behind the eighth. His right arm reached over and grasped the side of the man's head, the other gripping the top.

"Now.. I do hope you realize that pointing weapons in my face was a mistake. One that you unfortunately will not live to regret. In the event I pursue your employers, do relay to them how very poor of a decision it was to attack me." The man started to whimper out a reply, but Bai jerked up and to the left, snapping his neck. "Pity. I was hoping my colleagues would be more of a challenge..." He pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialed the number he'd been given. "I am in."

#16 Edited by Kastiel (8919 posts) - - Show Bio

The Symaarian playing the housewife. No one would suspect his parts in this game of shadows. No wonder many suspected he was in a relationship with Cassidy Starks. What man would take care of another man's children with nothing to gain? Let alone a man who's blood is from a very notorious race of aliens. The same race who butchered and still butcher those who are not themselves. Anyone remember World War Warsman? Of course despite what either would say the public and everyone in the circle would continue to believe what they will. Instead of ignoring it. Why not make use of it? Kastiel doesn't mind playing the role of meager stay at home parent whose base was just a cabin. People had made fun of him for this. This lack of a grandiose appearance of a warrior of his stature. People forget he is a king and he can play this game just as well as anyone else. It was about time to remind them. Time to make another phone call. However, he knew his position better than others. Being the father of Cassidy's children put him in a very dangerous position from the mother of Aliana and Thomas Starks. Betray her with these babies in his arms and he knows very well he is dead on this earth.   
 
Naturally Cassidy Starks showed no emotion while she spoke. They tried to attack and kill her children. That is why he gave a chide remark. Depending on whether or not she reacted to it Kastiel could gauge her mood. She was a leader now. A new found leader at that. She had no time for games while under the pressure of her first hold of power. On the other side of the world Kastiel can only hope she does not crumble with the weight of the world on her shoulders.   
 
Inside the cabin he placed Aliana and Thomas into a framed baby carrier designed by Stark Enterprises personally to accommodate  the two of them. "You two play nice, okay? You'll see Mommy soon enough. Meanwhile we're going on a field trip." Strapping them in Raith came to Aliana's side snuggling against her. Thomas stared blankly at his father. He knew better. He always knew better. "You're too clever, you know that? It worries your mother. You being so clever and emotionless. At least crack a smile next time you see her." What he wanted to add was that it would keep him from getting killed. The longer he stayed  affiliated  with this lifestyle the longer he was in danger. Unfortunately Kastiel was the only one to see this. After all this was all said and done he would argue his peace hoping his words would not fall onto deaf ears.  
 
---------------------------  
 
Adorned in his family's armor it would look rather odd to have two diaper bags strapped across either shoulder and a baby carrier behind his back. Funny how humans took appearances as absolute truth. Funny thing what the eye perceives. "I'm going to need you to be my eyes and ears for the Court. I want you to keep an eye on our mutual friend while I'm away." Purposely he left tracks in the snow. He could fly low below the trees but he truly wanted to see if someone thought they could something from coming after babies. "However, I would like you to take a detour. Go to the commander of the supposed security force of New France. I'm surprised no one has questioned how they're able to get inside such a secure country so easily. After that hold him for questioning and then I'll make another call, friend." With a press of a button he ended his call with cocky grin graced across his face.   
 
A gloved hand on the other end of the line disposed of his phone as he left the Court. Apparently Kastiel has made use of the Corbeau Silencieux. Could be one member or maybe more. Nevertheless he made use of several secret tunnels underneath the streets of New France. Perhaps even Kastiel knew more than he let on. Could it be he knew how to play this game as well but didn't make himself out to be a player? Could be the greatest trump card ever played because he had no need to show off his prowess unlike others. He truly knew how good he was and in exactly 30 minutes he had his target.  
  
"What's the meaning of this?" The assailant brought a glove finger to mask where his lips would be before taking out a small device. It was alien in origin and soon enough a small holographic image of Kastiel appeared on the desk. "Did he rough you up too much? So terribly sorry about that. Didn't exactly give him specific instructions on how to subdue you....oh well it doesn't matter anyway when the end result is always the same." He saw the terrified look on his face. Terrified from a man holding babies and a puppy? That was quite a feat in Kastiel's book. "Now, now there's no need to speak or even try to muster a stutter. I heard there was some trouble in New France. Specifically the members of the Court and more importantly sounds like the chief target is the new leader of the Court who is not Cajun by blood. Hm? Am I close?" Now Kastiel promised himself he would be civil. "Morgaine is my queen. The rest doesn't interest me." What an answer. An honorable answer but Kastiel wasn't looking for that. "Quite right and I am a father to her. Tell me when your men just happened to let assassins just waltz on in was that the queen's orders? Because of course rulers are quite famous for attacking their own people are they not?" This was admittedly quite fun despite the seriousness of the situation. "See now you're not just dealing with Kastiel Roxom. You're dealing with a vengeful father who will go to hell and back for his children. Now tell me who was the one entity that managed to intimidate you to the point you would bend over backwards for them whilst betraying your comrades and forsaking your queen."  
 
The answer? He wasn't sure what to make of it. Who was this person? The old time connections to Europe and more specifically France was quite obvious, however, the named eluded him. "Kill him and then make sure this recorded information goes straight to both of them. One does not need to know more than the other in these perilous times." With that taken care of he ended communication but was not quite done just yet. 

#17 Posted by Trauma (5889 posts) - - Show Bio

Darkness, the only thing that has hugged Nero(Trauma) for years. A small room surrounds the blood assassin, filled with red candles whose flames were the only thing keeping the dark from completely engulfing the room. Nero was alone. Loneliness, a feeling that was not new to him. After the defeat and slaughter of his family's clan, The Mori Clan, being alone was the only thing appealing to the killer. There was such a simplistic beauty of being alone. This room was exactly where he wanted to be. As Trauma meditated, he felt the anguish within the air. The court was approaching war. Or at least the war was approaching them. The eyes of the assassin reveal themselves, blue, like the depths of the ocean filled with so many mysterious creatures. His pupils adjust to the dark with hints of light. He finally rises to his feet and takes a deep breath.

He begins to talk to himself. "So this is what the world has come to." The Assassin begins to move among the small room. His feet barely making a sound as he starts to recite the Five Animal Fist form. " War is a necessity , but this...this is ignorance." An open hand attack swipes the air and blows out a nearby candle. He swiftly leaps to the other end of the room, looking at the shrine of the Mori family hanging on the wall. "What happened to my family, that was ignorance." His moves became harsh and tension started to fill the air. A kick was now delivered, in the form of the crane, blowing out the second candle. Two candles remained lit. The shadows began to close in on Trauma. "I will wait for the threat. Let it underestimate. Then destroy it. The Owl with talent hides its talons." A fist reveals itself striking the air once more, another candle is ousted. Trauma continues the routine until an envelope under the door catches his eye. He stops to pick up the mysterious letter. The letter that had been sealed tightly with a very familiar crest read....

Nero,

Your reign as an assassin will soon be put to an end.

The owl's wings will be clipped. The Court will fall.

All is in place, the pawns are set, now you must wait for your demise.

Blood will spill.

"hahahahahaha" The room is filled with the maniacal laugh of Trauma. He begins to talk out loud once more. " Blood, the currency of vengeance, I would love nothing more than for it to be spilled." He takes the letter over to the last candle lit and holds it over the deep orange flame. The letter slowly burns in the hand of Trauma, the paper crumbles like that of decomposed flesh. " I know you're coming. I am ready for your design. The blood will spill." The letter is now nothing more than ash on the wooden floor. The shadows creep behind Trauma. With one last look to his family's shrine, he blows out the candle. The room is black. " Darkness, all that remains is darkness."

#18 Posted by Joan (93 posts) - - Show Bio

Blood covered Joan's fists, she smirked as she licked her lips waiting for the next barrage of hits. The blood drenched hands were not from herself, but the unlucky thugs that thought they could take her. She squinted her eyes at the next onslaught of brutes, ranging in sizes from 5'5 to 6,7. Ten, fifteen, Joan couldn't tell how many but it didn't matter. She could take them. "Get her!!!" She did a somersault back flip over two of them, twisted the second man's neck as she landed. Next two guys with nun chucks came at her. She watched them twirl their toys as they inched closer. The fact that they thought they had a chance was comical to her. She grabbed the nun chucks halfway through twirl, wrapped the ends around their wrists and broke both of their wrists simultaneously. "Gahhh!!!!" The two men shrieked, she wasn't done yet, she flipped them over unto their backs, raised the heel of her shoe and dug it into the first man's chest cavity. "POP!" She twisted unto she could feel the heel digging into his bone, she pressed on until like a balloon his heart popped. She then looked onto the other man that tried to squirm away. With a devilish grin she grabbed his right arm and twisted it behind him. She went into a chicken wing maneuver, and then with his own fingers jabbed his eyes out. The other men looked on as finally one realized they would never beat her in hand to hand combat, or even combat with weapons.

Joan's eyes twinkled as she watched the men pull their pistols and assault riffles. The first man she noticed flew came back with more men and semi-automatics. "YES." She happily looked unto them like a child greeting the treats of Christmas morning. Without wasting a single moment, she darted forward, eager to dismember her presents and see what goodies were hidden inside. The first she approached was wrapped in a street clothes, he had a Mohawk and tribal tattoos coating his arms, he whipped out his semi-automatic and just started shooting. As if a domino affect all the guns around her started to hire in her general location.

Pathetic, morons...Thought Joan as she weaved in and out of thugs. Each present bursted up with prizes as she flipped over them. All containing the same thing, a ball shot out of one-a heart, a jump rope from another-small intestines, and how much juice-blood! Joan would never need another present or another Christmas after this! The sad part was she on a high right now, all the mindless thugs that killed one another as they missed her. She loved it, craved it, it was really easy to clear out the room that had once been filled with forty plus armed men. I clever flip here, a roll there, they were taking each other out. She stopped and watched as the two most recently shot men fell to the ground. "Wow, you guys let me have it! Some of these guys, man are you on the same side?" She motioned to a man, or lack their of that laid at her feet. "He looks like Swiss cheese!"She smiled as if this was exciting or good news. "Oh well, you lucky--"she paused to count the remaining men, she pointed them out with her index finger. "you lucky nine get the Joan special. An a$$ kicking, and then the slaughter!" The nine men looked at each other as they considered their options. Two went to flew, but Joan picked up a few knives that one of the thugs had dropped. She arched her back, and as if pitching a softball she let loose, four knives in total. Two in the back of the man that barely made to the door. The other two in the other man's groin, and between his shoulder blades. Both men had collapsed to the ground, the man with knives in his head died instantly. The other convulsed for a bit, and spit up some blood before he died off. "Okay anyone else?! Good lets begin!" She did a cartwheel to the man closest to her, landed on her feet did a one-two punch. K.O. he was out. This trend continued until the last man, the smallest of them remained. He quivered as she inched closer and closer to him with each step. Cowered on the ground she flinched and pissed himself as he saw her lean down. "Now, now, I won't kill you. Here, you can go home to your run down apartment or whatever $hit hole you crawled out of." She smiled as she dispensed her cruel words. He managed to stumble to his feet before he was met with a stiff elbow. Knocked to the ground, she curb stomped his face until he was surrounded in a beautiful Mosaic of teeth and blood. "Pathetic, morons..." She thought again, but let her escape her mouth this time. She had business with their boss. She was hired by a client to kill him, a job that was common to her with the type of work she had been getting lately. The type of work she loved. She smirked as she looked around at her masterpiece of corpses that laid disfigured and broken. "And this is just the entrance."

She smiled as she started to open the wide double doors that lead into the grand room, only one more stretch of hallway and she would be to wear the kingpin of kingpins lived. Setup like a mall, there were stairs that lead up to a second floor, there were rooms on either side of her, that could only be opened by sliding door. She took her first step, the doors all slid open as more of open surrounded her, carrying more automatics, then one on the second floor locked onto her. He had a grenade launcher, something Joan might have more difficulty dodging than the other fire arms. She flipped to the side, and crouched behind a column, she peered over and tried to figure out some sort of plan. Her phone buzzed, really what now, who would be contacting her now...another client? She activated her phone and read the distress message. It was the elite group of assassins she had just been recruited into. All the members of the former team were apparently be tracked and hunted down. She scoffed as she slid her phone back behind the cup that held her left breast in place. The team would have to wait, she was on the clock and had a job to finish.

#19 Posted by Little Sparrow (185 posts) - - Show Bio

A silent calm resonated from the young ninja, in the space of a few months, he had been torn apart, his daughter killed by the hands of his true love that he thought was dead and the discovery that it was in fact his daughter that had led to Surreal’s so called death. There was no words to describe the assortment of feelings that where vibrating from his body, the empty regularity of the words used from day to day did not even seem to echo the confusion within him. The world around him was nothing more than a shade, it held no more joy for him, he had followed Jean into this new court only because he had nowhere else to turn, nowhere else to follow. Sadness had engulfed and the Court remained wary of Gamblers guard, he heard them whisper and talk, he knew of their fears of a man with nothing to lose, a man that had almost no end in sight and that is how he fought. His old skills replaced with vicious and uncaring movements, Rokui had seen him take several hits over the last two months and reported that it was as if he no longer felt pain, as if the concept had left his body entirely. Sparrow had known lose before, his whole life was filled with it, his mother, farther, brothers, Surreal and now his only child! He no longer covered his face with colourful masks but had adopted a darker costume one that showed the true feelings of the man inside. He never blamed his wife for the death of his teenage daughter, how could he, it was his fault the darkness had taken her. It was he who had the Oni inside him, he knew there was a danger that he could pass on something to the child, but he never expected it to end like this. No one never really saw the tears behind his mask and no dared ask.

Sparrow marvelled at the temple he had found himself in, the court yard was ancient and the weather had begun its battle against the dark ancient stone, he remained in the court yard letting the Himalayan winds ride over his armour. Sparrow no longer tried to remain in the shadows as he used to, now he wore navy and orange armour allowing all to see him, the armour was heavy but something he had come accustomed to. Their footsteps where incredibly light, almost inhuman, but he heard them none the less, he turned to his phantom footsteps, as Arias voice rolled over the open coms link. They had still not come into view, but they were there in the shadows, but he could hear no heavy breathing or heart beats, it was as if the ghost of his past was playing tricks on him. Sparrow knew better then to believe in shallow sprits, he never moved as he saw the several small silver stars crossed the space between him and one of the attackers, he felt three thuds as the sharp shrunken cut into the armour, the sheer force of the throw forced Sparrow back two steps, but he never moved, even when he felt the trickle of warm blood from each sharp blade roll down his skin. Sparrows eyes were locked on the man in front of him, he was dressed head to toe in black skin tight armour that showed each muscle perfectly, his eyes where covered by what appeared to be lenses.

As sparrow took in the attacker; another burst from the Shadows on the left, a sword sparked across the ground, Sparrow moved his head at the last moment as the blade came across, what followed next was a flurry of lazy movements that kept him just out of reach of the blade, until the warrior struck forward and impaled the sword into Sparrows right shoulder, but instead of pulling away, Sparrow moved forward pushing the blade up to the hilt and , blood poured down his back, as the blade passed out the other side of his body. The new attacker went to let go, but was caught by a head but that knocked him back, before he could focus again Sparrow had spun, removing the blade from his shoulder and brining it down cutting the man in half. Sparrow tilted his head and focused again on his first attacker, the warm blood melted he snow as it fell from the tip of the blade. The remaining foe never even looked at her fallen companion, Sparrow dropped the sword and waved with his hand for the attack to start. Within an instant the black clade warrior had pulled out two small knifes from behind his back and was now moving towards Sparrow, the knife came in from both sides and Sparrow replied by knocking away the attack, by slapping his foes wrist. Each movement was fast and testing, with a block came a faint or an attack.

The battle continued back and forth for few minutes, until Sparrow reach forward with tiger claw, grasping the man’s throat, the force of the attack instantly crushed the man’s wind pipe. Sparrow let a little smile cover his face and then felt the blinding pain from under his arm pit, as the attacker stabbed over and over again with his free hands. Sparrow pushed the man away and marvelled as he kept to his feet, the attack should have levelled any man. He went to move forward but was stuck, he glanced down to see the man he had cut in half holding his legs in place, he had crawled from where he should have died to catch Sparrow off guard. Sparrow looked up as the other warrior began to charge again, he began moving his hands slowly in a circle motion and brought both hands up to his mouth, just as the attacker was about to strike a giant fire ball escaped Sparrows mouth engulfing the knife wielding assassin and firing him against the far war. He turned his head downwards and his checks puffed out again and another ball off fire erupted from his mouth engulfing the half man, but still he held. There was no screams from their mouths, sparrow looked up again seeing the smoke rising from the remains of the other assassins and again it began to rise.

His armour was heavy with blood, he could feel it escaping from the numerous attacks he had allowed himself to take, a hiss escaped the lips of the smoking assassin, “The owls will perish” it said in a shallow voice, Sparrow smiled pulling his own blade with his good arm, it moved swiftly cutting the head of the man who held him in place, “I am no owl” Sparrow whispered to himself. The last assassin charged him, and Sparrow span avoiding the attack, but the assassin followed using its own blades to keep him at bay. He was impressed he had trained with Surreal each day they had been married, he had watched and studied the greatest martial artist in the world and yet this creature was able to keep him from a killing blow. But he had also seen how Surreal had once been beaten at the hands of her own brother and knew that having the most skill did not always win you the battle. His left arm was almost numb now but he could still move his fingers, reaching into the side pocket of his armour he pulled out a small piece of paper and threw it to the side. A large white wolf that stood easily five feet tall now growled at the assassin Sparrow forced the charred remains to keep blocking his attack as the wolf circled behind it, and in one fluid motion it lept forward removing the creatures head.

Sparrow looked at the remains off the two assassins, and patted his wolf “Charisca you did well” the wolf muzzled his master sensing the pain and smelling the blood and suddenly growled “I hear them too, my friend” Sparrow turned and gazed all around him at the temple walls, he was surrounded and for the smallest moment he wished his brothers Oni was still within him, the wolf bent low his teeth for all to see, his ears back and Sparrow lifted his right arm, his sword guarding him as he looked forward, he felt the sting of the shrunken still embedded in his chest, the sting of the blades that had pieced his skin under his arms. At once they all whispered the same thing “The Owls shall perish” , Sparrow smiled his fingers could still move on his left hand, he pressed a small pressure point and his mask slid back, ravelling his face, Gambler had paid for the plastic surgery to rebuild what had been taken from him when he was younger and he was thankful for that, Sparrows short black hair bristled in the night air, his emerald eyes tightened as he looked at them. “I am no owl, I move faster than an owl” several shrunken flew towards him, Charisca charged forward towards them, her nimble speed allowing her to dodge most of their attacks “I am more nimble then an Owl” he dodge several them before the rest hit him in the chest and he was forced to his knees, his armour kept the brunt of them from touching his skin, “My small size allows me greater movement, it allows me places Owls cannot go” as he stood he removed several the shrunken and throw them back, each hit their mark, “I am no hunter” he finally said “For I seek a nest, a home of my own, I build and protect” he pulled up his blade from the snow “I am a sparrow, but my talons are sharp”. The temple covered in dark assassins and Sparrow had found a reason to fight again, for he had a family, in Gambler and Surreal, he had reasons to live.

#20 Posted by Cynthia (138 posts) - - Show Bio

Her Afternoon.

She was swimming in the private comfort of her training outpost center, doing laps inside the luxury of an Olypic standard-sized pool of three-lanes. Cynthia was making good time as her slim atheltic form snaked through the water, much like that of an otar, or an eel. It's uncanny the way she takes to grace her every movement commands the notice of even the very elements. Its as if the water was admiring her golden tan body, helping it along, pushing it with its own might.

Ten minutes or so go by, and Cynthia is ready to towl off and have herself a drink of Absinthe. The good stuff she can only find in Europe, only through the right channles, and only for the right price. She has a guy, one in which all things can be procured, for the right price that is. Cynthia swims to the edge of the pool, to the ladder as she she grasps and pulls, he legs do step, and soon her body is back on dry land. She slowly makes her way over to her snackbar, dripping little pools of water as she walks, she pulls off her goggles and tosses them aside, and then she removes her swimming cap aswell, as her golden locks fall down along her sweet shoulders.

Cynthia pulls her bathrobe from of the withen arms reach wall, as she covers herself with it. Its warm, soft, and absorbent. Very quickly the robe starts to dry the extra water from her slender frame. She takes a seat on the nearby sofa as she reads the News of the Wold for today, smokes a cigarette, and prepairs herself a nice glass of Absinthe. Icewater and a sugar-cube, become one with the green glowing greatness. She takes a sip, takes a hit, and then draws her eyes to the pages of News text. "When will I learn not to read these things?" the blonde bombshell says, as she tosses the paper down. "So depressing."

(My connection is being scary so I will stop here and finish this later. It keeps freezing and I don't want to lose it.)

#21 Posted by Charlemagne (6969 posts) - - Show Bio

The sand filled winds of the Syrian Desert had wiped away the lonely footsteps of the Arashikage. Only its rare mixture of reptiles and uncultivated inhabitants were aware of his shadowy presence. It had been days since the red haired Raven known as Mercy had graced his lips with an unexpected show of affection, but the apple gloss adulteration still lingered. He had never known love outside that of his exiled mother and legendary Sifu of the Arashikage clan. His usually mediated state of mind was now infused with uncontrollable thoughts and desires. Cultivating a strong iron like ball in the pit of his stomach as he knew his father would never approve of such a union. Cassidy O'Rourke was more then just a protegee of the Living Legend, she was his successor. Methodically molded beyond any of his other pupils with a stern yet delicate sense of maceration. If he were to ever find out of the feelings they shared it would result in the first assassin civil war since the fabled "Thieves Assassin wars of New Orleans" almost thirty years ago. For now Kazarian would have to shield his emotional covet for the prominence of the Court. An unexpected foe had declared war upon France's clandestine power structure with rumors as to their identity ranging from hero, to villain, to ghost. Leading the skillful martial artist on a transcontinental journey into the granular sea of Irag's Syrian desert. The last known resting place of the Surreal DiaBlo lead League of Assassins. Direct descendants of Le Assassins Sliencuix.

A military style Arab Shemagh Kafiya Scarf Mask loosely snaked its way around the assassins face as he forged deeper into the unforgiving landscape. When the sudden eruption of several submerged combatants emerging from the sand caused the Last Arashikage to unsheathe his sword with skillful abandonment. The harmonic melody of swordplay echoed around the sand swept dunes as both parties engaged in a cinematic opera of spins, twirls, faints, and water mimicked elusiveness. Like all Arashikage Kazarian wielded his blade in the unorthodox manner of his left hand. The blade reversed allowing it to flow up the backside of his arm allowing for a more stylishly versatile attack.

In a matter of dramatically calculated minutes the battle was over. Kazarian victoriously knelt down resting against the stability of his blade as his fallen foes sank back into the sands from which they came. Small streams of blood trickled from underneath his sleeve as minor injuries made their presence known. His attackers had fought with skill but no honor. Their traditional values having been perverted, warped. No longer were these the illustrious ghosts of the LaS, but something far more dangerous. Strapping his blade to his back Kazarian continued on. Determined to locate the mystical Ziggurat built in the ancient Mesopotamia valley of the western Iranian plateau.

Like all LeBeau's the exiled outlaw was vendetta bound to take the fight to whoever had instigated the original conflict. His research pointing out the possibility of an unlikely suspect. Surreal Diablo's death needed conformation and Kazarian was the only one Gambler trusted with such a task. Entering the sacred masque during one of their ceremonial burial rituals Kazarian was able to subtly slip through virtually undetected. Slipping down into the lower regions displaying his trademark Parkour prowess as he vaulted from wall to wall until landing in a crouched position at the bottom of the pyramid shaped installation. Traditional torches lined the separated columns adding poorly lit shadows cascading around the ancient inscriptions decorating the foundations inner workings.

Directly in the center of the room rested a molded likeness Sarcophagus of the Black Orchid, Surreal Diablo. Haphazardly tilted to the side the cover rested at a slight angle. With meticulous maneuvering the assassin approached only to find a beautifully illustrated burial mask and several venomous Black Mambas occupying the tomb. The death of Surreal had been greatly exaggerated. But why.....?

#22 Edited by VictorRoss (149 posts) - - Show Bio

Shortly after RossCorp's "Genesis" announcement

The crowd was still roaring as the charismatic CEO of RossCorp turned and began to ascend the steps to his company's building. He walked slow and deliberately, each movement carefully placed so as to enhance the formality of his body language. Turning one, he flashed a grin to the press, then waved with his hand. Then he stepped into the building. Walking towards the elevators, he motioned for a man to follow him. "I'm going to assume the.. Longshot situation is being handled appropriately. For now, we have other matters to worry about." The man was his new 'bodyguard'. One of the many clones he'd had a hand in creating, and thus one of his liaisons to The Facility when he was not directly involved with it. However, that meant he also assisted Ross in any matters necessary. They entered the elevator, and Ross pressed the button to go to the top floor. At the same time, he pressed a button on his phone to disable the security cameras. "Now, I have been offered a.. position with the Court of Owls. Apparently assassins aren't the only thing they recruit." They rapidly ascended, and he picked up the sound of padded boots softly landing on the roof of the elevator. "So, that undoubtedly means that I will soon be the target of one of their enemies." Ross had done a considerable amount of research into the Court. What he had turned up was a series of isolated coincidences across the globe. Assassins, killers, or people of other importance were being attacked. The one thing they all had in common? They had been offered, or had accepted, a position with the Court. That meant Victor was next. "So, I have already ordered several of your batch to be placed in my office. We will lead our attackers there, then spring the trap." The clone nodded, and the elevator continued to go upwards.

A few moments later

The elevator stopped, the sleek gold-coated doors sliding open. Victor walked out, motioning for his bodyguard to follow. His office was on the top floor, and overlooked the city. The south end, where his desk and work-space was located, had a massive section of reinforced glass. It was strong enough to stop anti-tank rounds.

The office itself was elegant and luxurious. Next to his desk was a shelf full of oddities and gems he'd collected throughout the world. Next to that, a shelf occupied by rare, insanely expensive first edition books. On one wall was an aquarium filled with exotic fish, one or two of them among the last of their species. The floors and ceiling were fashioned from black marble with gold trim, the walls made with darkly stained wood. Lining the walls were eerily lifelike statues that took the form of Roman gladiators.

Victor took a seat in his leather chair, spinning it around to face the window. His bodyguard stood a few inches away from him, likewise facing the window on Ross's orders. Ross took out a tablet and turned it on. Pressing a few keys, the room's defenses went online. Not a second later, the enemy assassins slipped into the room from various angles, surrounding the desk in a sweeping pattern.

Ross smirked. "Activate." All at once, the 'statues' sprung to life, their formerly closed eyes flying open. Dropping their replica weapons, they pulled out daggers. Silence fell upon the room. The Romans waited on Ross's command, and the enemies were frozen with surprise. "Exterminate." The gladiators launched themselves at the assassins. There was the sound of steel clashing, followed by a succession of 13 puncturing sounds. Ross stood, turning to find the 14th assassin being held still. Calmly walking over, he shoved his hands into his pockets. The man was shaking in fear. Ross reached in and grabbed a cyanide pill, ripping it out of his mouth. His illuminated blue eyes locked onto the face of the captured killer. "Dispose." At the command of his voice, his men retrieved the dead bodies and dumped them one by one into the incinerator. The two holding the surviving intruder forced him to watch as his comrades' corpses were tossed casually into oblivion. Ross knelt down, meeting the man's eyes. "You were being watched from the moment you got within a half mile of this building. You and your men didn't have the slightest chance against me. You may be good assassins.. but mine are better." Ross's voice had become semi-hypnotic and colder than ice itself. "We will be retrieving every last bit of information we can from your brain, and you will be awake for every. Last. Minute. Watching, as we use you to get to your employers. And if your employers thought the Court was a threat before.." His lips curled into a grin, and he slowly began to stand, taking out a syringe full of anesthesia. He flicked the needle, then pressed it into the assassin's neck. "..then they are in for a big surprise when I get there." The assassin's world started to go black, then his body went limp.

"Transport him to The Facility. If I am not there shortly, have the lab begin the information extraction process." Victor fixed his suit jacket, then took out his phone, intent on contacting the number he'd been given to confirm the Court's offer.

#23 Posted by Cynthia (138 posts) - - Show Bio

Her evening.

Cynthia sits on her livingroom sofa watching the boob tube, she is catching up on her True Blood fix. Her attention is drawn to the large flatscreen plasma Sony, and she has reached that full comfort mode, where her entire body is relaxed. She wishes her love Gideon was there to massage her feet, and tell her how silly she is for watching this drivel. She doesn't care if the show is silly she loves it anyways. Just as the episode is starting to pick up pace and get interesting to her their is a knock on at the door. "God d^mnit!" she rolls her eyes as she slowly breaks herself away from the seat cushion.

Cynthia opens the door and there is a man wearing a driver outfit on the otherside. He smiles as he with lightning quick reflexes pulls a hiden .45 cal revolver from his pocket and fires all six rounds. Thunder claps sound out as bullets strike true, four to the body and two to her head. Cynthia's slim well toned body does a backflip, as she falls limp and lifeless to the floor. The driver walks into the house, stepping over her body, as he starts to steal items and mess the place up making it look like a robbery. The b^stard is even smiling and singing as he lays waste to her domain.

Cynthia has had enough of this crap, as her tough as nails demon body has even almost completely healed from the bullet wounds caused by the gunshots. She slowly gets back to her feet and makes her way over to this would be assassin, as she wraps her arms around his wide shoulders. She sqeezes hard on the side of his neck blocking off his blood and air supply with one quick grapple hold. She even locks her hand under her other arm in order to make it a complete hold so that he can not break it as easy. Not that she is worried about it, she is alot stronger than most humans, unless he is some kind of superhuman he won't break free.

"Hey sweetie pie... Its not nice to kill people you know?" she taunts him as he starts to blackout from her efforts. She is sqeezing him very hard afterall, to the point of which the blood vessles in his eyes burst and his eyes go red. Cynthia giggles as she sqeezes even harder for a moment, before she slowly relaxes her grip. "Now what is this all about... You did not come here for my stuff, its not that awsome, and you don't look that hard up for the money?" The driver chokes out an answer to the best of his ability, only Cynthia doesn't like it. "Go to hell... Demon. We were not sure if the rumors were true, but we do now!"

Cynthia smiles as she snaps the mans neck like a twig, breaking his neck and killng him. "You would not have answered any of my questions anyways, plus you ruined my new dress, you deserved to die... Pig." She drops his body as it falls to the floor limp and heavy, a loud thud sounds off. Cynthia can feel that there are eyes on her, pictures are being taken of her, she can see the flashes. They are far off however she would never catch up to them, they are safe for now. It still does not stop her from walking over to the door and slamming it closed putting a stop to the show.

#24 Posted by Sovereign Son (1901 posts) - - Show Bio

The snow was crimson with hot blood, It was no longer a battle, they had the greater numbers and where harder to kill, Sparrow may have found a reason to live; but he did not know if he would survive the forth coming onslaught. Several bodies now lay at his feet, and Charisca was panting heavily, he looked over at his wolf companion and smiled at her, before she vanished in a puff of smoke, her chakra full depleted, Sparrow himself had nothing else to give, his left arm was useless now, he had never been given the chance to heal his wounds, his eye sight was fading in and out, but he would not go down without a fight. Several blades came at him at once, he deflected the ones that were aiming for a kill, but had no choice but to let the others strike. His sword span across the snow, as he fell to his knees, he felt the thick metallic taste of blood in his mouth, one of the assassins moved forward and lifted his sword for the final strike and Sparrow replied by lifting his head showing no fear. The blade came down and the clash of metal shocked everyone including Sparrow. Sparrow never needed to look at who was holding the sword, he knew that blade, he knew that only one man had ever been given the black sword of Jean house hold, the black mamba.

Jean had given him the nickname years ago it was not because he dressed in black, but his fluid motions, his quick and deadly strikes and one of the deadliest minds. To this day Jean had always seen him as a friend and deadliest enemies, Jean had once told him that if he was to die by any man’s hand it would be his and vice versa. The two had been counter sides of a coin since they met and measured themselves by the others success and failures, their mind games and battles where stuff of legend within the underworld, when one thought they were winning the other would turn the tables, each man was the height what we all could be and everything we never want to be. It took the assassin mere moments to regain their battle stances, as Michael Lockhart shifted in front of Sparrow, “Any info here would be good” he said backwards, sparrow fought to speak, “Their heads..” Sparrow said before passing out. Mike shifted his gaze towards the twenty or so assassins and smiled while throwing something onto Sparrow, as two of the assassins charged towards him, Sovereign Son rolled over their backs and kicked another assassin in the face, as his feet touched the ground he spun back on himself and cut the off the legs of the two assassins behind him, their bodies fell to the ground with a thud, they instantly rolled over onto their backs and forced their swords forward, trying to pin the him.

But Mike was already moving forward twisting and turning, he moved like water, every attack he would behind and twist around it. Only striking to drop another assassin to the floor, he never struck at the head, as Sov battled with some of them, the others turned their attention back to Sparrow, once again they lifted their blades to finish him, but struck noting, a small bright blue pulse emanated from their attacks, showing the shield that now protected the fallen guardian. They let out a collective hiss and turned towards Sov, who was dancing around them, he knew that their vast number would prevent him from wining out the day and their skill level was nothing to be laughed about, one false move and they could easily…he stopped his train of thought as he hear a bow string release, he twisted his body to the side, his waist pivoted as his torso went the opposite way the arrow passed him and hit one of the other assassins in the chest, Sov instantly turned back, to face a flurry of attacks. They were silent when he struck, like hitting air, they had started to move as one, for everyone he knocked to the ground another was there to continue the relentless battle.

In the distance Mike heard the sound he had been waiting on, the engines of Crazy Eights war armour, to most it would sound like the flame of a Bunsen burner, but Sov had made sure the assassins focus was on him and him alone, into his coms unit he said one thing that he knew Crazy would understand, “Zombies”. A bright red beam shot out from the hand of the huge grey armour it looked like MR’s armour but on a much basic level and also the fact it was covered in guns of many different assortments, the members of Section 8 all brought something to the table, Mike was the tactical genius, who had a flare for stealth, MR was the genius who not only made their tech but also was a mix between Sov and Crazy and Crazy was the big gun…well he liked big guns. Mike hit the ground as several of the assassins heads exploded, covering the ground in brain matter, there was five left when Mike got back to his feet, but just as one of them was about to strike, Crazy eight landed on him. “Classy” Mike said with a laugh “Oh what was I meant to do jump around for half an hour, getting everyone lined up for a perfect shot…” Crazy spat back at him, “Did it work?” the great metallic armour lifted a middle finger.

Again Mike heard the bow string and this time spun and blocked it, “Seriously…your using arrows against me…you realise I made using arrows cool”. Crazy laughed “Using arrows is never cool”, Sov flicked up the arrow with his toe and in the same motion started a round house kick, as his toe met the shaft of the arrow, it flew off hitting the archer in the head, Crazy whispered to himself “okay that was kinda cool” Sov nodded his head at the last three, “You want to do this or shall I.” Crazy lifted up one arm of the armour and fired several small missiles from the fore arm, each struck the assassins in the chest, Sov looked at him as several seconds passed, “Um…” just as he was about to finish the three of them blew up. “All done” Crazy said turning to the passed out Sparrow “What about him?” Mike walked over and turned off the shield, “He’s family, he comes home with us. Plus Gambler will owe us one.”

#25 Edited by Esther_Cotillard (489 posts) - - Show Bio

Tap tap tap tap

He walked briskly down the hallway followed by a small entourage of men wearing dark suits and comlinks. Even in his old age, he still moved with the effortless finesse of a cat. She waited. He wore a long, red silk robe that dragged across the floor as he moved. She walked over to his desk and moved some of the files that were resting on the glass. She slowly dragged her fingertips across the mahogany wood until she reached a picture frame. She lifted it up and traced the outline of her parents. The door opened, bringing her back from her thoughts of her parents and she looked up.

"Is it true? I don't understand how?"

"I don't know, Mon Oncle." Esther seemed incredibly calm; eerily so. He thought back to the days of her youth where her mind and spirit would be overcome with impatience and aggression. He smiled to think that those days were long gone now.

"I'm going to Rome." She said softly. "You can come with me if you want. However, I insist that the base in Huancavelica remains protected. I think that's vital to our success. Don't you agree?"

She opened the wooden humidor on his desk and removed a cigar. Clipping the edge she put it to her lips, struck a match and lit it. She passed it to him after doing so. Josef placed it to his lips and nodded. "Merci." Esther walked to the window and leaned against its frame, moving the curtain to one side she looked outside. After the fall of France, and her faked death, she and her Uncle had come to South America to build a new Empire. After all, the Mayans, Azteks and Incans had such vast Empires; it seemed like the perfect place to start again. And she did, with some great success; and not without having some very prominent organizations indebted to her.

"What do you think they'll say?" She asked without looking back at him, her gaze still focused on the many men surrounding the perimeter of the building.

"I think they'll give you what you're asking for. But you have to be careful. What if he confronts you, what if --"

"Jean is a fool, no different than his father. He's so consumed by his own ego that he won't see what we are trying to do. After all, it took him this long to realize I'm not dead. But a secret organization doesn't work if it's no longer secret." She said turning to look at him.

-----

The Vatican City is one of the oldest in the world. Littered with underground catacombs and secret passageways, its easy to get into the center of the city undetected, so long as you know your way. She had taken a private, overnight flight; landing her in the Leonardo da Vinci airport, just outside of the city. She rode a Ducati stopping just outside of the Vatican City's limits and made her way through the secret, underground tunnel entrance, stopping just outside the steel guarded door. The two men outside the door punched in an access code and opened the vaulted door. She nodded at them in thanks and stepped inside.

"Your Holiness," She said as she knelt down on one knee.

"Mademoiselle Cotillard, as I live and breathe" he said in Italian. I was beginning to worry.

"As much as I would like to say this is a peaceful mission, I've unfortunately come under dire circumstances." She said as she rose. "I'm going to need access to those codes."

#26 Posted by Quintus_Knightfall (84363 posts) - - Show Bio

He hadn't moved for what seemed like hours, crossed legged cradling the head of the fallen Cardinal messiah in his lap. Periodically sweeping the heavenly locks of aureate colored hair from her angelic face. Completely alone atop the rocky mountain ledge where she had taken her own life. Committing the ultimate sacrifice for her knew found theology of spiritually influenced combat. More then a legend, she had truly become a religion. A martyr for a cause larger then anything Gambler could anticipate. Her Cardinals set forth upon an unsuspecting World.

As the blacked out helicopters of Miranda's Science Branch division descending upon his location, Jean slowly wrapped the blood stained artifact responsible for the Ninjan's demise securely in Ziccarra Liafador's crimson shaded cape. Tucking it safely behind his back within the yellow tinted utility belt he had become obsessed with. Watching  closely as the team of meticulously dedicated scientist rushed to the body frantically attempting to preserve its structural integrity through cryogenics. Specially ordering the unorthodox request the LeBeau Legacy was secretive as to his intentions. All they knew was to rapidly freeze and store the body back at the LcH installation underground within the cave like Arcadian.

"We may already be to late. If compilations should ari...." the scientific technician's words were cut short by the swift backhand of his employer. "Dhere will be no complications. You shall take her to France and store her in dee containment unit and wait for my return." Stunned, the scientist questioned, "Return? You're...you're not coming with us?" Turning to board his own state of the art aircraft the assassin shrewdly replied, "I have a more pressing matter I must attend to. Do as your told, and nothing more."
 
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South America, Peru:

The jewel box design of the architectural avant garde chef-d'oeuvre (masterpiece) known as the Teatro Municipal de Lima was one of the few luxuries enjoyed by the dashingly debonaire Josef Cotillard. A Peruvian palace of operatic commemoration, the theater offered the Cotillard blue-blood a small taste of aristocratic elitism. His favorite piece of course, the ballet Les Sylphides, one of Fredrick Chopin's purely orchestral suite with a plotless romantic reverie. Seated high in the balcony void of any security detail Josef let his thoughts venture free as the memorizing melodies methodically marinated with his mind. Hanging on every lightly fingered piano struck before a comforting warmth washed over his shoulder. Peering over, the Cotillard nobility gazed upon the cotton colored glove of Jean Luc LeBeau. A man he had at one time held in the highest of esteems, and vise versa. Josef was the only man other then his father Jean admired. Even in his advanced age the confidence and dignity in which he conducted himself was unprecedented. A gentlemen assassin of the highest order. As the two lightly conversed their shared admiration was instantly identifiable to anyone in attendance. Seated next to his esteemed colleague the deadly duo began a series of underlining code buried within the overall context of their conversation.

"Tis good to see you again Mon ami." (why are you here Jean?) "Like wise old friend. Tis a shame Esther is not alive to see us together again, no?" (You can not hide her from me forever. I shall find her sooner or later) "Ah yes, yours truly was a fabled love story. My heart goes out to you." (You'll never be able to hurt her again Jean. She is far beyond even your reach now) "Dank you for your honoring words. You've always been a close and dear friend" (After I kill you, dhere is no end I will not go to to find her. And when I do, she shall join you on dee otherside)
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#27 Posted by Esther_Cotillard (489 posts) - - Show Bio

Regardless of the circumstances and what had fallen between the two men all those years ago, Josef still held a certain amount of respect for Jean. He was, by blood, an Assassin as far as he was concerned; thanks to both his and his father's deep seeded commitment at one time to the LAS.

"Dank you for your honoring words. You've always been a close and dear friend" (After I kill you, dhere is no end I will not go to to find her. And when I do, she shall join you on dee otherside)" the words slipped through Jeans lips like the venomous slithering tongue of a snake.

Josef turned to look at him and smiled smugly. On the stage, the pianist graced his fingertips across the pearl keys and the melancholy sounds of Chopin's Nocturne Op.27 No.1 in C sharp Minor rang throughout the orchestral hall. Jean looked down into the crowd to see both men and women bring their handkerchiefs to their cheeks, blotting their eyes. It was such a moving, powerful piece. But it was one drenched in sadness. He looked again at Jean. How appropriate.

"Why? Why kill me? We've existed undetected all these years, and have made no effort to topple your organization. No endeavor to destroy your pathetic Empire. Sure, kill me. That's it then? Put this old man out of his misery. I've already watched my family fall from grace in France; killing me might be doing me a favor. And what better place than here, listening to this...this masterpiece. To the only music that puts me at peace." Josef scanned Jean's eyes for a sign of weakness, "You want to introduce me to my Maker, you can try. I am not afraid of him. I've made my bed. But one thing she didn't do to you; Esther never took your Father from you. Why do that to her?"

They had planned this, he and Esther. They knew that Jean would come, and they chose this moment for this very confrontation. Josef knew there was a chance that Jean would not let him survive; but he took that risk anyway. Deep inside of him, he knew Jean wasn't strong enough to kill family. If Esther survived, he wouldn't want to have to live with the guilt.

"You think I am stupid, Old Man? You think I don't know my ex-wife? That I don't know that she would wait to strike until she knew she had a chance to win?"

"And now with your last wife dead and burried...would now be a good time to -- well -- strike?" He said looking up at Jean. "your quarrel is not with me, and I suggest you make your way back to Europe to ensure that your assets are safe. In fact," Josef leaned in, narrowing his eyes. The shadow cast over his face at that moment in such a way that the old man appeared almost demonic, "I HIGHLY recommend it."

--------

Before Esther made her way to South America, she had fled to the Vatican City, under the sanctuary of Pope Benedict XVI. There, she began to rebuild looking to a continent seemingly untouched by her adversaries: South America. The spread of Protestantism throughout South America had taken its toll on the Catholic Church. Baptist and Evangelical churches sprouted throughout the continent. It was then that Esther realized that she and the Vatican had similar interests, and the best way to gain more power, is to assist another person of power. She rebuilt churches, she hired out missionaries; she spread the word of the Catholic God -- but her actions weren't all that innocent. In a few short years, Catholicism once again reigned supreme across the continent thanks primarily to the help of Esther's Assassins who, with the quick slight of their hands and lightness of foot, mass murdered many of the church leaders. The Catholic Church regained their control over the region and got to keep their hands clean, while Esther got to keep the Pope deeply indebted to her.

The Holy Man walked towards his desk encrusted in gold and precious stones. Slipping the key from around his neck he opened the desk drawer.

"Tell them to leave." She said as she watched him move. Benedict looked up, and with a wave of his hand, motioned for the Vatican guards to exit the room.

"Close the drapes."

"But, Mademoiselle Cotillard...But, why?"

"Just do it."

The old man slipped his hand into the desk and removed a file. He set it on the desk's surface, opened it, removed a slip of paper and handed it over to her.

"You're doing the right thing." She said taking the piece of paper.

-------

Wherever she went, Red Bird was never far behind. Equipped with a new passport and a new identity, she looked out the window of the Air France Airbus A320 as the commercial plane began its final descent. She looked across the terrain from above. So much had changed in so little time -- and although Paris was certainly destroyed, the Aéroport de Bordeaux-Mérignac outside of Bordeux looked very much the same. She felt her stomach fall as she realized she was one step closer to her old home. The plane landed, and Esther and Francois exited through customs. As they passed through, she turned to look at him and smirked.

"I haven't had to use fake papers in a long time."

"Hopefully you won't have to ever again."

The decision to take a commercial flight and travel in coach was an easy one; it was the best way to keep a low profile. The two hopped into a regular cab and drove outside of Bordeux's airport and towards the magnificent French countryside. After a half an hour they stopped outside a tiny Bed and Breakfast, L'Annexe De Gerald.

"This was where he proposed." Esther said gazing out the window of the taxi. The driver hopped out and opened the car trunk. He began to remove the bags one by one. Esther turned to Francois (Red Bird).

"You think he will know to come here?"

"If it means a chance at getting to kill me? I don't doubt it."

#28 Posted by Joan (93 posts) - - Show Bio

Present

"Bzzz, bzzz...BZZZZZ!" Joan looked down at her phone, it laid in her hand. Possessed by warning messages that Mercy had sent out to all to the member of the Court of Owls. Joan wasn't much of a communicator and this was driving her up the wall. No shit they had to be careful, they had to be careful everyday of their lives! A slow day for an assassin would be maybe only one attempt at their lives, and only two kills. Today was a rather busier day than usual for Joan. She had only moments ago slain a room of level one rookie thugs. The fools had been protecting their boss, a man that they loved for his money, feared for his power, and hated for his iron fist.

Two Days Earlier

Joan had grown used to the underbelly life of the assassin. Where to go when you wanted a lead, a job, anything you wanted. The public barely understood this, based everything off of crime shows and HBO dramas. If only everything was that picaresque and you could just turn it off when the episode ended. For Joan her series was far from being canceled. She was the top female assassin in the Western Hemisphere of the world, and one of the top assassins in the world. Her creditably had sky rocketed since her days of starting out at the measly age of thirteen. Back in those days she was a pick pocket and body guard for some fries that saw her for what she was. A cut-throat monster, that hungered for the thrill of bloodshed and good beat down. Yes, even in those days when all the other kids were going to the movies and having sleep overs, she was training. Killing, stealing, whatever it didn't matter she knew her fists were the only things she needed. No friends, no fun, just fights were and always have been the only constant in her life.

The alley where she found herself was a dump, drenched in pity and broken dreams in laid in front of her eyes torn down. Trash, graffiti walls, and a drunk that laid slumped over by the dumpster. She took a whiff of what she hoped would be fresh air, instead the breeze carried the scent of bourbon and beer. If she breathed in hard enough she would digest the foul odor from the drunk's stench, possibly even get a little tipsy herself. She closed her eyes and walked toward the fire escape, tried to block out the smell and only focus on getting to her apartment.

Within five minutes she had arrived in her apartment, a decently sized place it was lavish compared to the neighborhood she lived in. Hardwood floors, two bedroom, with a kitchen, and living space. Her room consisted of the essentials. A mattress, complete with bedding, a closet with a few hangers that hung like skeletons as they collected dust. She had a few outfits, and besides the shoes she was wearing a pair of tennis shoes. She had money that wasn't problem, she was a minimalist though, that with her line of work may need to move in a heartbeat. Her room also contained a table, lamp, and trash can. In her living room there was only a TV, couch,and punching bag; all her equipment and training gear were housed at an undisclosed location on the other side of NYC. She had just dropped her last payment on her bed, a few hundreds wadded up, when she revealed that she had sensed the man's presence.

"Agent Grant, to what do I owe the pleasure." She gave a sarcastic grin at him as she started to pull her boot off. The man walked towards her from the shadows. He was her old boss from the FBI, a skilled fighter, one of the only few non-metahuman fighters that would be a slight challenge to Joan. The man was worn down and aged looking, even though he was only roughly in his mid thirties or early forties. He was tall in stature, tanned complexion, in a younger age possibly could have been a model if he hadn't gone to the this line of work. He had too much of a tactical mind and fighter spirit to do that though. He was her mentor, and as much as she tried to stifle all and any feelings, she couldn't help the pitter patter of her heartbeat when he was around.

"Joan, I have something I need you to do for me." He was glad to her see her, at least he gave the pretense he was. She gripped her shoulder with his hand and gave a tender squeeze. If she was any other girl or in some romantic comedy she would be jelly in his hands right now, and mindlessly agree to whatever it was. Joan was smarter though, the few seconds of irregularity in her heart had passed. She was all business now.

"Grant, what is it?! I am not a FBI lackey anymore, so unless your gonna pay--"

"Plop."A new friend joined her on her bed, a silver briefcase, Grant had reached down beside him and retrieved it as soon as she made her request. Grant never would do something like this, pay Joan off for something, that was unless it was a big deal. Something he could lose his job for if his superiors knew he was here.

"Joan, this is strictly business, I need to bring someone in. A mob boss, dead or alive I don't care. In that briefcase is two mill, enough to pay for the expenses with the job, loss of time, and pay for any other clients you may miss out on." Grant had never asked her to kill, occasionally host a training session for agents, or help with a capture, but since she has started her carrier as an assassin he never once come to her.

Without any question, without a glance inside the briefcase she had made her mind up. She knew he would never double cross her, that this was a legitimate threat he wanted dealt with the sooner the better. "Okay, I'll do it, just give the information and two days to prep. Expect the head on your desk Monday morning." He picked up another briefcase and laid all the papers and files of her hit on her bed. They discussed the details of the hit in detail, and then engaged in other extracurricular activities for the rest of the night and into the morning.

Present

Joan had another onslaught of thugs to take out, these however were more experienced than the first batch, armored with grenade launchers, semi-automatics, and other lethal weapons. She knew that only after careful planning would she be able to navigate her way to the Yoshicamora's office. Her hit, the Asian mob boss, he had done the impossible merged all of the Asian gangs into one collective group which he controlled. Besides being the ring leader, he was a killed killer himself. Joan, sweated with anticipation of the fight the fists from the West would have with the swordsman of the East.

#29 Edited by VictorRoss (149 posts) - - Show Bio

March 5th, 1996.

Things were peaceful at the Ross estate. Young Victor Ross II was in his room furthering his studies. His mother was draped across a couch in one of the numerous lounges. Her eyes were scanning across some posh magazine, as if she was trying to look important for people who weren't there. The head of the household, Victor Ross I, was in his study. Like always, the man was hard at work, a phone in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other. "Yes. Well, damnit Robert, I told you to have the god damn reports in last week! We wouldn't be having this problem if you had just listened to me for once. But now we're sitting on a pile of-" His expression turned into one of anger, and he slammed his glass down onto the desk. "Do NOT interrupt me you overpayed piece-of-shit! A snap of my fingers and you'd be gone!" He ran a hand through his hair, listening to the man on the other end of the line stammer out apology after apology. "Yeah, you can stop grovelling now, Robert.." Victor took the glass and lifted it to his lips, taking a long drink. It tasted exactly like the whiskey he drank every day.

"Look, just get the reports done.." His voice trailed off as he noticed a sudden pressure in the center of his chest, followed by a shortness of breath. "Yeah, I'll just.. talk to you later." He hung up the phone, standing up. The older man squeezed his eyes shut for a few moments. A pain grew in his chest, his hand moving to press against his chest. His heart was pounding. The elder Ross felt himself get lightheaded, his hand wildly shooting out to grab something for support. It missed, sending him falling to the ground. He managed to turn around and look to the door, and saw his son standing there. Smiling, an empty bottle in his hand. "Good night, Father." The older man's eyes widened, then he rapidly lost consciousness. He was dead within minutes.

Young Victor ran off, convincingly fake tears streaming down his face. "Mother! Mother, quick, call for help! I think Father is hurt!"

The Present

The limousine was travelling across France at a casual pace. Ross was making his way from a nearby airport. A notification on his phone told him that RossCorp had just acquired a pharmaceutical company. His illuminated blue eyes flashed from the screen, then to the television screen that hung from the roof of the vehicle. It displayed a series of pictures, mostly photographs from commandeered satellites, though he had been given GPS coordinates and a picture of the Chateau. With a press of a remote, he changed the screen display to the GPS map. They were a half mile away. Victor turned to the group of men in the car around him.

"We are nearly there. Now, you are to fan out around the perimeter. I want you searching for any and all people who should not be there. If you find them, eliminate them as quietly as possible and notify me of your exact position. Under no circumstances are any of you to advance onto the Chateau without my expressed permission. This meeting requires a delicate touch that none of you possess. Am I clear?" All of them gave a unified, robotic nod. "Good."

The vehicle pulled up to the Chateau, then stopped. As ordered, the men darted out to explore the perimeter. The limo driver opened the door and Victor stepped out. "You are to remain here, and if you must move.. notify me." Victor adjusted his suit, then looked to the building. After a few moments, he began to walk towards it.

#30 Posted by Quintus_Knightfall (84363 posts) - - Show Bio

The emotionally gratified audience slowly migrated outside in an organized assemblage still clutching their program guides. Enthralled by the nights entertainment their distracted thoughts offered the perfect camouflage for the opportunistic assassin. Unlike Josef, Jean Luc had not come alone as the myriad of decoratively cloaked shadows appeared atop the illustrious theater. Crouching with heightened anticipation as they peered down amongst the crowd pinpointing their Sifu (master) and the target walking alongside him. However, displaying equally impressive anticipation, the Cotillard Count whipped his Gianfranco Ferre double breasted black wool coat off his lackadaisical shoulders, revealing his gloved hand wrapped around the exquisitely crafted Hanwei Renaissance Style Swept Hilt of his antique fencing Rapier. The very weapon he had slain many a vengeful LeBeau with before the truce.

Stylishly he placed his right hand on his hip while elevating the aristocratic weapon within eye level, staring down the shaft at his deceitful opponent ready for whatever opposition the Cajun threw his way. Instantly igniting the reaction of the Corbeau Silencieux (Silent Ravens). Descending upon the defiant swordsmen with their own assortment of edged weapons ready to claim the life of a Cotlliard legend.

With a quick feint Josef's innovative side step maneuvered his body gracefully out of of the line of two simultaneous attacks aimed at his blindside. Intuitively sensing the dishonorable strikes. Parrying around using the hilt of his blade to lock the overextending strikes into position before allowing his blade to slide off with intentional arrogance. Piercing the exposed midsections of both attackers. The emptying of their stomachs coupled with the musical harmonization of metal clashing against metal alerting the discombobulated public to the severity of the situation. Hysterical screams resonated throughout the night as the distinguished swordsmen repelled attack after attack.....

France:

From the roof of the L'Annexe De Gerald Jean watched as the Eco-friendly cab pulled up. The driver, a tall slender man with a handlebar mustache eagerly jumped out before unloading the beautiful assassin's luggage. Her long legs extending out of the door towards the curb, causing Jean's eagle eye'd gaze to sharpen as he concealed his arms beneath the trapping so his cowl. Instantly gauging her companions physical stature with instantaneous accuracy. Deducing the man's athletic prowess and close quarter combat efficiency. Disappearing from the roof the unsuspecting Cotillard followed the uniformed bell hop while Francois brushed his stylishly prepped hair back, maintaining a vigilant eye as he perused their surroundings.

As they entered the elevator, an obnoxiously overweight man with a reseeding hairline and two pieces of arm candy draped off both sides bungled his way inside. His loud overbearing voice reeking of liqueur and tobacco. Without warning Esther flashed her hand forward, a hidden switch like blade propelling itself out from underneath her sleeve attached to her wrist. Her precise aim targeting the drunken fool, but not to her amazement the man effortlessly slid behind one of his dazed companions. The blade plunging into her chest as she screamed out in horror. "Very clever chere" the man mocked as he shoved the perishing body into Francois. Briefly pinning him against the wall before delivering an elbow to the side of his face, incapacitating the skillful body guard. Frantically wavering her arms about in confusion the other lovely beauty acted as an unintentional shield as the heavyset man grabbed Esther's wrist striking the blade at its center breaking it off. In one fluent motion Esther wrapped her arm around the woman repositioning her behind her back while simultaneously unleashing a flurry of close quarter strikes. Back and forth, their bodies never moving, the Esther and the stranger exchanged rapid strikes. Deflecting, countering, and firing at breathtaking speeds until the elevator rang opening its doors on the third floor.

Vaulting herself up Esther grabbed hold of the ceiling swing kicking the fat bastard out into the hall. As he rolled end over end, theatrically ending up on his feet, he smirked before peeling away the prosthetic mask. "You've grown quicker, me femme cher." (my dear wife) Flashing his trademark Cheshire Cat grin he continued to gloat. "Josef sends his regards" tossing the silver plated Rapier of the Cotillard count at her feet.

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#31 Posted by Mercy_ (92257 posts) - - Show Bio

Nothing was ever what it seemed. She’d spent the last 24 hours poring over the scrolls and texts that Kaz had left in her position, forcing her thoughts away from his precarious position away from the nest and onto the research that needed to be done. What she’d unearthed was a legacy of death and treachery, one that the LeBeau family was deeply entrenched in. It was a legacy that she had seemingly inherited, not by birth, but by choice. This is what she thrived in, apparently.

The main room of her Aerie was filled with holographic projection screens and she’d spent the majority of the last 24 hours staring at them, trying to give the mess that the Court had gotten itself into some rhyme and reason. There were too many possibilities, too many unknowns. Esther, Surreal, Tlieso. It could be any of them; it could be none of them. God help the Court if it were all or some of them working in collusion with one another.

The assassins of the Court of Owls were a diverse bunch, all with their own angles. It was the one thing that Cassidy disliked about working with an entire team of assassins, they always had their own motives and there was always at least one snake in the grass, that much she had learned from her beloved sister Angelique.

A mass message had been sent out eighteen hours ago. Kaz had been out of contact. Kastiel had more than likely gone to ground. She had no communication from anybody else up until this point. There were one or two lurking around the chateau, but everybody else was unaccounted for out in the field. They were under attack and it was time to consolidate resources and bring the fight to their advantage.

Pulling up the communication for all past members of the Order of Sancta Camisia and the current members of the Court of Owls, she broke into their phones on the chance that their communicators were off or disabled and broadcast her voice. “This is Cassidy Lockhart-Starks; codename Mercy. I’m currently broadcasting from the LCH Chateau. We’ve been compromised. Unknown assailants are attempting to thin ranks. These are not amateurs.” She spun away from her desk and pulled up on a projector all information that she’d been able to gather on them, mostly from her own experience. “They’re better or as well trained as you are. They have nothing to lose. They’re going in for the kill. To better chances of survival, make your way to the Chateau. As a precautionary measure, emergency protocols will begin in two hours. You will be barred access for the duration if you are not here by then.” She paused for a minute. “This is an unknown threat, which makes it all the more dangerous. They know us, they know our movements and they know contacts that we’ve buried in the past. Do not underestimate them, for it may very well be the last thing that you do. Countdown begins…now.”

Opening up a private link to Kaz, she spoke softly with as little emotion as possible, despite the feelings that were festering beneath the surface. "Things are going to get bad here. They're going to get worse before they get better. Always darkest before the dawn and all that, yeah? I need you on the outside, at least for now. If something goes wrong...there's a self destruct protocol. I'm hoping not to go 2-0 with our headquarters, though. I need you to be my eyes and ears out there and I need you to stay as safe as you can, for everybody's sake. Try and contact former members if at all possible, specifically Little Sparrow. I have no idea his current whereabouts, but we could use him." Her breath hitches for a moment. "Take care Kaz." And with that, she cuts the signal.

Wheeling away from the screens, she stood and cracked her back. It was going to be a long night, possibly a long few days. In the process of stripping off her clothing, she accessed the AI program she had dubbed Aria, who had seemingly grown a personality of her own. Standing in the center of the Aerie clad in undergarments, she made her way over to a specially sequenced vault and began the process of opening it as she spoke to Aria. "Access Protocol I-Z. Begin countdown now, commence in two hours from this mark."

>You are aware that you're the only being who can lift that? If something happens to you, they're all stuck.<

"Great to know you have such faith in me, Aria." Pulling out what she was looking for - a protocol of a suit that she'd spent the last four months working on steadfastly, Cassidy stepped into it, zipping it up around her. Pulling the mask over her face, her entire head was obscured, save for her hair and mouth. She was vain enough that she wanted that trademark out there. It was always so much fun when your enemies knew who it was coming to kill them. The Raven on her right shoulder and the mark of OSC on her left would make her identity undeniable.

The mask was fitted with an AI system of her own, one that showed up on the interior of her visor and allowed her to access anything that her satellites and systems held mid-fight. The suit was a kevlar weave with nanobots mixed in, which meant that it was self-repairing and incredibly durable. The built in holsters on her hips fit her kukri blades like a glove and there was a holster on fitted on the back that allowed her to slide in her katana.

Exiting the Aerie, she stood on the rooftop balcony, her own private haven. Her hair whipped around her in the wind as she surveyed the country that she loved with all her heart. The country that she had put blood sweat and tears into rebuilding. Somebody was trying to tear her livelihood from her. Her team, her friends, her family, her life. They would come to learn what repercussions that brought upon them.

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#32 Posted by Joan (93 posts) - - Show Bio

Two and Half Hours Ago-China Town, NY

Joan was getting fed up with this mission by the second. She relented and used a flash grenade she had tucked away for such a case. She broke of the guard's necks that held a katanna, and just started slashing at guards. One by one they fell, one guard held the trigger and took out two of his own men. "Thank you sir!" She smiled at the man as his fountain of blood that had spouted from his chest started to diminish. She had cleared out the first floor within minutes. The second would prove to be more difficult with the added aspect of grenade launchers and more semiautomatics. She did a somersault over the first grenade launcher thug, slice to the left side of the neck. Blood sprayed across her face as she paused, squatting in her finishing sword slash position. She calculated it, a zig zag pattern going for the jugular for each would be most efficient. Or just a quick stab to the heart. Her mind was made, time up. She moved toward the flurry of bullets. She could see them as if time itself had froze. Duck, dive, and dodge, zig zag. Throat, slash, heart stab. She mentally recited these mental instructions until none were left. The ground from littered with bullets that had become drenched in blood, "no for our prey."

Yoshicamora, the mob boss that had unified all of the Asian gangs to one passive power was her hit. "Yoshi! Your head is mine!" Without missing a beat he jumped over his desk, pushed his office guards back and they engaged his a clash of steal. Both were skilled sword fighters, they met each other blow for blow.

Yoshi skidded back as he tried to catch his breath, "wh--who are you? why do you want me dead."

Joan just smiled, "I am just a hired hand, nothing more, nothing less...sides you'll be dead in a few minutes anyway!" She gripped the katanna with both hands, the hilt above her right shoulder, she plowed through the guards. He was already tired out, she didn't care, her second wind came every time she had slain another. The blood spattering across her face in the heat of battle got her adrenaline pumping. She was right, without a few minutes her endless jabs and stabs were too much. One swing, clean off his neck flew his head. Eyes bulged out, and his head still screaming seconds later. She grabbed the medallion that had been around his neck as extra pay, and his head in the other.

When she excited the hideout, Grant was waiting for her. "Excellent work Joan." She neatly tossed the head at him.

"Grant, we aren't done here...I need a favor from you." His look of shock from Yoshi's head being tossed at him turned into any intrigued brow raise.

"Okay then lets talk."

Present-France

The money she had received from agent Grant came in handy, especially with her connections added. She was given an express jet to ride from NY to France to meet with her team, the Court of Owls. To call it a team was a stretch for her though, they were if anything a band of people that only tolerated each other because they each could do more together than they ever could separate. They weren't a hero team, they were all in it for themselves, only bettering the team and supporting each other to only get what they want at the end of the day. Joan, trusted no one, not even Agent Grant, and especially non of her teammates. She would keep them at a far enough distance to work together, but a close enough range that she can put them down if she has to. "Ready to jump?" Agent Grant had agreed to only let her use the jet if he could accompany her to France.

"Yeah!" She smiled and gave kissed him, before she knocked him out. "Sorry Grant, but I am no fool...if you saw where the Court of Owls was located you would probalby have a SWAT team here in minutes to arrest us. You think me naive for trusting you? Think again, trust is the last thing I give, and a swift punch is the first." She tightened her parachute and departed from the jet. "Sweet dreams sweetie!" The wind from the descent took her breath away at first, she started to get closer to the ground, she released her parachute and slowly floated down.

A few cars were parked out front and she knew that must mean some of the members had already arrived. She landed on a balcony that hosted a beautiful young woman that looked onto the property. Joan dropped at the parachute at the ledge. "Hey there, I am Joan... guessing from your attire and I own this place demeanor you must be Cassidy-Lockhart Stark." Joan inched towards the woman as she cautiously judged her body language. "Have the other members of the Court arrived yet?" She took a step toward the side of Cassidy and looked over the balcony as well as she waited for the mysterious woman to reply.

#33 Edited by Surreal SaDiablo (1629 posts) - - Show Bio

The virtuoso assassins eyes closed, she had missed the feel of the bitter night air against her skin, She allowed herself that singular moment of feeling, that reminder that she was still alive. Before her stood thousands of ninja’s each wearing black gappa’s with zukins and kusari underneath, a black cloth covered their face so the only thing that could be seen was two darkened eyes, remaining silent and vigilante of their sensei, her single word was their command, never questioned, never disputed, to them she was the life and death. With her eyes still closed she lifted her arm and pointed, without a word they moved not even making the smallest vibration, so many would die and they would all do it without a single sound ever leaving their lips. She opened her eyes looking upon the empty courtyard that was her temple and yet she felt nothing, nor did any memories come forth, it was as if they were being blocked by something inside her, but as soon as the thought entered her head it was gone again. miniscule smile tugged at her cheeks, She spun disregarding the dark ruby cloak she had dawned as she moved to the roof of the temple, the crimson ribbons of her head band undulated behind her , the crimson of her trade mark uniform only seemed emphasized against the circular moon.

She moved from the roof onto a nearby wall and began running towards one of the several portals that her Chi warriors had opened, just outside the hidden temple, they knew their targets well, some had even trained with them, the so called court of owls, her so called friends who buried her without a seconded thought, her mind hissed, “they threw you aside, they never cared“ and so their fate had been sealed, they would die at the hands of her clan, her ninja’s the dark hand of Surreal Si Diablo had been forced. Each of her assassins where near impossible to kill, only the removal of their heads would give them a true death, they were some of the greatest killers in the world, some would never even know they were there until it was too late. The roof tiles soon vanished and she leapt into the air, suddenly six crimson ninjas appeared behind her, almost following her movements perfectly, they all moved like air, sliding between trees and simple navigating any obstacle with effortless grace, these where Surreal’s most prized students, trusted to run the temple in times of her absence. Finally the shimmer of darkened purple broke between the cherry blossom trees and the horizon, the vortex in between them and their goal seemed almost out of place amongst the surrounding beauty, a reflection of what her life had become.

The purple orb stood six feet high and wide, at first glance it looked as if white lighting shoot around the globe, but on second glance it was more of a strong wind spinning faster and faster. Four Chi priest stood making a square, their outfits matched that of the lower ninja’s but on the cuffs of their gappa’s sat a small purple flame. Each priest held their arms out straight, with their palms facing towards the great purple sphere, randomly between them an almost black bolt of lightning would shoot forth keeping the portal rotating in a clockwise direction. Surreal stepped forward and felt her body be torn apart, she wanted to scream but could not as within the mere moments she found herself standing in France there was no trace of a portal behind her, as for her and all her clan this was a one way journey to destroy what was being built, her most trusted surrounded her as the clatter of metal bounced on to the floor.

"Josef sends his regards"

Escaped Jeans lips as he spoke to Esther, again she felt the smile tug at her mouth as if it was controlled by someone else, but her mind was her own. She stepped forward and into the light and her men followed. But what came next surprised even her, she felt her lips move and the words escape her lips, but the voice was not hers but the words where not,.

Cotillard and LeBeau it has been too long”

Her eyes crazed trying to find the truth, but before she could stop her actions the rest of her clan struck out, every member of the new court would come under attack at the same time, some such as Mercy and Sparrow had already met some of her lower ranking assassins, a distraction to allow her real students to strike when they least expect it. Her body took a step back as the six crimson warriors moved forward three moved towards the women and three towards Jean and again her face smiled.

#34 Posted by Ishin (6791 posts) - - Show Bio

The time for the commencement of one of his prime objectives had arrived, this would shift into a political strategy. Should this prove successful, it will indeed be a testament to The Genius' adoration for shadowy political manipulation. Having exited the undisclosed Witch Hunter headquarters, the information that enigmatic Impero possessed would perhaps prove invaluable to his Court of Owls associates. However, given the nature of the organization's members, it is likely that they too have come to the realization of this mysterious hidden enemy's existence. In a lifeless valley, Impero stood in solitude, the eerie air of silence in the atmosphere, capable of wavering the confidence of even the most self-assured individuals, but strangely enough, The Genius' composure and poise remained otherworldly. "I believe it's time to accelerate one of my objectives. And with the Court of Owls distracted from my movements, there is no better time to act. Then again, I have always been untraceable", vaunted Impero smirked, his elusive thoughts protected from even the greatest of telepaths, and all gratitude is directed towards the intricate technological advancements of his expressionless mask.

His recent meetings with a certain individual have fortunately rendered him capable of executing an aspect of his endgame with far less effort than initially required. No longer would experimentation on his cronies be needed, not even those who are unknowingly under the influence of his mind, the ordinary civilians he has so cleverly affected the consciousnesses of. Lightly tapping the left side of his eerie mask, the manipulative snake contacts the lieutenant of his elusive witch hunters through a technologically complex and ridiculously secure mental link. "Activate our sleeper agents in Portugal, specifically the capital city of Lisbon. While the witch hunters all share a relentless hatred for those who rely on magic, in this case, we are doing it to further our cause. It is for the prosperity of our organization", and in an instant, manipulative Impero's thoughts were transferred into his loyal witch hunter lieutenant's mind. "Very well sir. The sleeper agents will be activated in a matter of minutes", she replied with the utmost sense of duty and determination. "Excellent. This will limit the country's choices in this incident only to those that benefit us. First we strike Lisbon and we gradually activate the rest of our agents in the entire country", Impero concluded, swiftly ending his and the lieutenant's mental conversation. These mysterious sleeper agents scattered across the city of Lisbon were ironically sorcerers and witches who have been subjected to numerous mind-control tactics. In the guise of innocent civilians, they would soon be activated by an overly complex alphanumerical code that cunning Impero's lieutenant will transmit via a highly secure technological link to their consciousness.

And in no less than a day, the Portuguese city will be devastated by random attacks from these hidden sorcerers and witches. With a small but important aspect of this objective completed, The Genius soon returned his attention to the highly respected Court of Owls. "Now then, the Court of Owls. For now, remaining on their good side is a benefit. Although the suspicion I have successfully raised is good, and is functioning as intended... to my favor", the charismatic enigma chuckled, having not yet uttered a single word, all thoughts contained in his remorseless mind. "Come to me now, I need transportation to France. It is of the utmost importance that I get there soon", The Genius' mental request was quickly sent out to one of his personal pilots. And while it would indeed be much simpler for the mysterious puppeteer to put his portal-technology to use and simply teleport to the Court of Owls' headquarters, it would be reckless not only in consuming his suit's minor energy-reserves but it would open a window of opportunity for the Court to at the very least observe any remnant left behind by a portal which would only compromise his plans. A mere five minutes had gone by and a futuristic, almost bleak, white helicopter landed several meters away from the masked enigma. Quickly entering the technologically sophisticated vehicle, Impero set course for France as intended.

Requesting that the pilot hand him his personal communicator which cautious Impero does not keep with him for numerous security-based reasons, The Genius would rely on it for most of his communications for this particular situation. Almost instantly, the political strategist was contacted by Cassidy, more notoriously known as Mercy, she seemed to be contacting as many Court members as possible, having already been rendered aware of this unknown threat to the Court of Owls. Her words warned all to be cautious if approached by these assailants. And as self-confident as he may be, The Genius regardless of how high an opinion he has of himself, still he holds the utmost respect towards the abilities of others, one of the reasons why he so extensively plans against and prepares for his enemies. Eventually arriving in France, his helicopter departing, the mysterious enigma made his way towards Cassidy who had requested that all Court members arrive as soon as possible. Emerging from the shadows behind, composed and poised, his hands folded behind his back, his posture one of self-confidence and class. "I received your message, Ms. Lockhart", he said, soon noticing the presence of the newest Court of Owl member. Nodding towards the new member's direction in acknowledgement, he returned his attention to Cassidy, "It seems that the others have yet to arrive".

#35 Posted by Flawless (185 posts) - - Show Bio

Prologue: Age of Arrows - Spain

Jean and Duchess surveyed the battle scarred area littered with the remains of Ninjan and superpowered clones. The Savant of Sophistication wiping back her hair while maintaining a titled posture full of attitude. "I do not like this idea loves. Seems, risky. Besides, wading through a sea of dead corpses is not exactly my idea of an elegant evening." she huffed. However Jean was un-phased as he continued his search until finally uncovering the prize he had so desperately been seeking. "Over here, I found one." he confidently pronounced. Pointing down at a half conscious body that was an unmistakable replica of the assassin himself. "Look, he is still alive." "Oh goodie" her response followed by an exaggerated eye roll. "Can you do it?" Her arched brow proceeded her response to his apparently unnecessary question, "Of course I can silly. Stand back." she ordered. Her hands emitting small circlular patterns of illuminated lights as she knelt down to place them upon the clones forehead. "!Tegrof"

He had no idea how much time had passed as his eyes slowly began to pull themselves back revealing the elongated florescent lab lamps hanging from the ceiling. Despite his disorientation the unnamed stranger was instantly able to recognize the accent rich voice he had heard earlier. "Ahh good, you are awake. Forgive my excitement it is no excuse for a lack of manners. Let me introduce myself. My name is Jean Luc LeBeau and dis is my......our, home. You took a nasty bump on dee head, tell me, do you remember anything? Do you remember your name?" Tilting his head the stranger thought to himself "What an odd question. Of course I remember my name. It is.....its.....dammit, its....." The horrified expression on his face said it all. Opportunistically Jean Luc jumped in, "Tis okay mon ami, tis okay." pausing as he placed his gloved hand on the strangers shoulder, "You are among friends, you are among, family. Your name is Foret Lafluer Lebeau, and you are my brother. " the assassin's final word cascading from his trademark Cheshire Cat grin.


Now:

The fragmented pieces of Foret's mind were circulating through his thoughts uncontrollably. For although the Aristocratic Assassin had taken excessively extraordinary psychic implementations the Lost LeBeau's recent encounter with the mischievous Clara Mass had left his mental defenses weakened. Just enough for the recovering Angelique LeBeau to exploit. Slowly reaching out to the recently manipulated clone through her own telepathic design, she coaxed him downstairs circumventing the Arcadian's security protocols. Reaching the incapacitated Paper Monkey Foret stood motionless in her presence, unsure what to say. "You do know you've been lied to correct? You most have felt something. I mean, look at you. An exact duplication of the man you want so desperately to be your family. But you are not family, you are not even human. My god, its pathetic!" she taunted. Her calculated agitation serving a larger purpose. Enticing the enraged enigmatic to lung, getting just close enough for her to effortless swat his hands away before placing her own on either side of his head. Unyielding pain raced through his mind as his thoughts flooded over the protective wall placed by Duchess. Memories of a lab far away. Utopia maybe. The Devils Favorite Demon, Arrow, and a facility filled with the duplicates of the Worlds superpowers. Amongst it all, there he was. Strapped inside a glass tube filled with a gel like substance. Implants, genetic alterations, DNA sequencing, it all came back.

As she released him allowing his body to crumble to his knees, tears rolling down his face, she smiled. "Now dhen, shall we move ahead? I have something I want you to do for me in exchange for pulling back dee curtain of deceit. To strike at dee man who used you, you must first strike at dee ones he loves. And he loves no other above dee red haired bitch you know as Mercy." Rising to his feet with his head still hung low he respond, "Tell me what I must do?" As she handed him a prosthetic mask with carnival like distortions she placed her index finger under his chin before lifting his head, "Simply play along, and when dee time is right.....I want you to plunge  dis blade so far into her back dat she'll be able to gaze upon its tip as it exits dee other side....my love" her pact sealed with a gentle kiss along his cheek.
#36 Edited by _Titan (3362 posts) - - Show Bio

20 minutes prior

Time skips a beat. The Deadly bedlamite lands with an untamed ferocity, the earth reacts tossing up mounds of grass and gravel beneath him as though to welcome him back. His commlink activates, set on auto answer. “This is Cassidy Lockhart-Starks; codename Mercy. I’m currently broadcasting from the LCH Chateau." He walks forward with a grimace of annoyance. So much to do, so many plans. The one and only draw back of having useful associates is having to return the favor. He swings open both the front doors "We’ve been compromised. Unknown assailants are attempting to thin ranks. These are not amateurs.” His suede air Jordan limited editions smack the granite as he heads up the stairs.'Neither am I' he thinks, his finger pushed on the device for a clearer reception. “They’re better or as well trained as you are. They have nothing to lose. They’re going in for the kill. To better chances of survival, make your way to the Chateau. " The information was amusing to the fearless figure of mystery. 'No their not, ditto... two steps ahead' He steps down the halls, moving his finger from his ear, the voice so close now it's leaving an echo on both ends " As a precautionary measure, emergency protocols will begin in two hours. You will be barred access for the duration if you are not here by then.” 'Oh no!' he says with a sarcastic suprised look under the clothed vermilion mask. “This is an unknown threat, which makes it all the more dangerous. They know us, they know our movements and they know contacts that we’ve buried in the past. Do not underestimate them, for it may very well be the last thing that you do. Countdown begins…" The office door swings open easily with the wind pushing behind it "now.” his eerily calm and melodic voice reverberates through the room like a monks' chants in a hollow convent, Fitting like a talilored shoe, to the walking omens ethereal demeanor. " Tiii-i-iime, is, on, my side,....yes, it is...!"

Now

A flowing shadow of a man, Impero, enters the office with his classic posturing. At this point it's surpassed being comical, to being respected for the sheer will it takes to compose himself so thoroughly, each motion accounted for. Soon after, another new addition to the list of angry redheads strolls in with confidence in her step like that of a prized boxer walking into a mosh pit; Always ready, but never scared. The emotionless and vacant eyed motif they all seemed to share was complimented by another set, one of which seeemd to be on style par with Lebeu himself nearly. The only one he couldn't account for, to his short knowledge, was Jean himself. He looks around and makes a realization, the narrow holes in his mask widen slightly, looking down a Cassidy while clutching the rail of the upstairs bannister with his soles magnetically, "...This looks like the back of a slaughterhouse... Bunch of pigs and heffers... don't even know what's comin' next"

#37 Posted by Quintus_Knightfall (84363 posts) - - Show Bio

As Gambler snaked his way out of his oversized disguise, the disturbingly emotionless voice of the Black Orchid whispered through the empty hall of the peaceful Bed & Breakfast. Finally unveiling the mysterious author of the recently illustrated attacks perpetrated against the illustrious Court of Owls. Her systematic initiative had spread like an unchecked illness through the teams ranks as they were set upon one by one. Each individual affiliate having faced, in some degree, a member of Surreal Diablo's cryptic collection of cancerous killers. And now the venomous viper herself had come uncoiled ready to bare her fangs.

With a look of indifference Esther tilted her head towards Jean Luc. "Friends of yours? Or is she simply another scorned lover?" Her sarcastic tone pulling a smile from the cautiously postured Cajun. "Stay yourself Cotillard. Do not underestimate her lethality. Surreal may be dee deadliest martial artist in dee World." His warning only fostering the Cotillard Countessa's desire to test his proclamation. "Dat remains to be seen my dear." she said with a confident stare. Sliding her hand down and back against the open slit of her black Valentino dress spontaneously un-holstering  the delicately concealed wood handled steel barreled Derringer strapped to the side of her lavishly toned thigh. Fluently in an underhanded slightly sideways motion she fired. Curving the trajectory of the bullet allowing it to take an unorthdox path. Skimming the hair of the unimpressed Diablo as it bent around the side of her head imbedding itself in the face of a nearby assassin. Painting the back wall with a crimson themed motif of bloody fragments. Her actions igniting a movie styled outburst of guns, blood, and blades as both sides engaged.

In an instant Surreal had closed the distance sweeping away Esther's hand with an inside swimming motion as she had once again taken aim. Knocking the pistol to the ground, the femme fatales exchanged a rapid series of free flowing open handed strikes and counters. Displaying dazzling speed and memorizing technique. Not to be undone the Aristocratic Assassin began mimicking the theatrical dancing of the cinematic legend, Bruce Lee. Bouncing subtly side to side before pausing to extend his hand towards Surreal's remaining entourage, " Venez alors, venez obtenir que votre cou a brisé" (come on dhen, come get your necks broke) he arrogantly antagonized. Ducking underneath a vaulting spin kick before copying the move to level one of the other assailants. His eyes uncontrollably drifting over towards Esther despite his own death defying situation. Ignorantly convincing himself it was simply a matter of wanting to kill the legend himself, and not because he harbored any voluntary emotional attachment.

Furiously using every maneuver in his arsenal Gambler frantically tried to keep pace with Surreal's almost supernaturally gifted entourage. Although able to redirect several critically aimed attacks the self-proclaimed King of Kings was taking a beating. Refusing to falter he reached around his back dipping into his utility belt. Pulling open a tactically selected case, he dispersed a series of smoke pellets allowing a window of opportunity. Slipping back into the elevator he descended towards the lobby floor. His hands wrapped around the collar of the unconscious Francois. "Wake up you useless f#@!." With his words proving ineffective, the Cajun swiftly backhanded the disabled bodyguard finally bringing him to. Almost automatically the trained protector shouted out, "WHERE IS SHE? WHERE'S ESTHER?"

"Hold it together mon ami, and wait here."
Gambler ordered as he held Francois back while the elevator doors opened. Turning back with a mischievous smile on his face and a slender silver tinted red topped cylinder in his hand, he smirked, "Might wanna cover your head." before pressing the red top igniting a maelstrom of chaos as he brought the entire upper level crashing down. Debris and bodies littered the lobby as he scaled along the concrete slabs of destroyed foundation. Francois, now armed with his duel Beretta's, scavenged the wreckage for Esther. Pulling her injured body up and over his shoulders he followed the crafty aristocrat out the dilapidated front door. "Bet dhey didnt see dat coming" the Cajun winked. "Dat was suppose to be for her but I guess one bird is as good a dee next, no?" Briefly checking the condition of Esther Gambler continued, "You dont have many options here mon ami, might I suggest bringing dee lady back to dee Court of Owls. We can treat her wounds dhere. Dee choice is yours....."

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#38 Posted by Rokuakai (192 posts) - - Show Bio

A few days ago Gambler had given Roku very detailed orders "Take a break, if we need you return. Your broken currently, I need you to heal from your wounds." The Barons sheer power had almost destroyed Roku, his ribs and almost all his bones had been shattered from the mans power. His fists still visible in the bruises all over his body, Gambler left without another word but Roku could hear those words even now. Echoing inside his head an he knew the truth behind the words "I dont need a broken guard, Heal or dont come back." Roku shook with anger at his own mind playing tricks on him, Gamblers words twisted into something they were not inside his mind.

Roku passed back an forth down the halls of his large mansion, his body aching still from the wounds he had been inflicted with. Grumbling beneath his mask he caught a glimpse of movement within the shadows, stopping his burst of passing he turned his body an went down the adjacent hallway an made his way towards his main room. Stepping through the doorway he could feel eyes staring at him, and as he bent down for a weapon he nearly jumped out of his skin as his speaker system throughout the house erupted with Mercy's voice. As she spoke of the enemy they sprang from the shadows an Roku barked to the speakers "A hint of stealthiness would of been nice you bitch!!" His left side flanked by three and four more coming from his right, he slammed his foot down and a channel of energy crawled over his body. Redirecting the shining blue an purple bolt of energy outwards from his hands, five were tossed into the walls. Three avoided the attack an raced in swords drawn, thrusting each sword towards his midsection they attacked. Leaping into the air he grabbed a rafter an pulled himself up, flipping onto the next rafter he looked behind as the intruders continued to give chase. A smile came to his face and in the darkness of his mansion all they could see were his teeth, soon they too were invisible as he slipped on his mask. Now naked but a mask and a pair of boxers he ran, dropping down onto the dining room table he was caught off guard as the table cloth was pulled out from beneath him. Falling back an slamming his head on the table he moved just in time as a sword came crashing down where his head was, they didnt speak but there bodies spoke in volumes. They were on a mission an they had to complete it.

Roku's eyes darted from one to another, seven were in the room with him an even more spread out through the house. He spoke outloud "Kai....60%!" With that his emerald green eyes changed to bright yellow, his muscles burst from his skin and grew larger an larger until nearly his entire body was simply a mass of muscle. Yet he moved with such fluid motion as he closed in on the first intruder, slamming his fist straight through his face. Blood burst from the back of his head an covered the walls an bodies of the others around him, just as the life of their partner was extinguished they all attacked. Blade pierced the muscle over his body, but there was little pain he chuckled as he pushed his body further "85%!" he screamed as his muscles grew larger an swallowed half the blades length that were embedded in his skin. His muscles sheer size an power snapped the blades like twigs, he grabbed two an smashed their heads together. Their bodies almost seemed to be fused at the skull as he dropped them, suddenly his legs went out from under him as they sent bone shattering kicks to his knees. Bones broken again he looked up to his wouldbe executioners an smiled "Idiots, the whole lot of you." In an instant his body returned to its normal size and glowed a bright blue an purple color, soon the dark room was illuminated with a bright light and the entire mansion lit up like the fourth of July erupting in a massive explosion.

As the smoke died down an the fires raged Roku walked out limping slightly, he removed a phone from his pocket an dialed the LCH "Be there in 30 minutes, I had a bit of trouble at my place. These ones made my fight with Baron seem easy, each are strong their fists felt like cinderblocks. Keep the line open Mercy, I will try an get a hold of Sparrow on my way to the base." He paused for a moment before he continued taking in a deep breath "Only people who knew where I stayed were Gambler an you Mercy, these guys got into our information somehow. I do still have people in Japan I care for, please send them back up. My crews are very unprepared for these guys." Pulling a earpiece from the phone he put the phone back in his pocket an began to run, pushing his body to the limits as he got to his jet starting it up he headed back "Home" to the LCH

#39 Posted by The_Superior_Sapien (840 posts) - - Show Bio
"Patience is the force behind the calm spirit, on a mission. Patience is the force behind the assassin; every moment provides a window, a window of opportunity or a window of failure; without patience there is a window for failure each time. Loyalty is a feeling like no other, belonging to an elite group; and being 100% dedicated to the cause is a virtue that will be the flagship of this organization. The cause is everything, the family is everything; there isn’t a Cardinal that will die for the cause and not be given the proper burial. Humility happens to be the reason I’m here, respect, modest and being civil in life will bring forth true happiness. When the prey his killed, do not gloat; instead be grateful that you are the one still bearing the gift of breath." - The Black Cardinal 28:20

Flashback -

Like a phantom, Florian trained amongst the religiously fundamentalist theology propagated by the Black Cardinal herself, Sha. His allegiance to the Ninjan messiah cemented during the events of Age of Arrows and further escalated after the World had believed him dead, courtesy of Arrow's clone that now rested at the bottom of the glassy top lake of "De la Noire" in France. Guided by an unwavering devotion to her authenticated combat adaptation through spiritual, physical, and  holy communion, one half of the LeBeau Legacy was now an official member of the Red Cardinals. Watching his father from the training grounds completely concealed in plain sight alongside his fellow amalgamations of faith based worshipers as he elevated his already impressive catalog of martial arts techniques. And upon Sha's death, he ventured out with the rest of the Cardinal Illuminati as they began to systematically infiltrate every aspect of human civilization. A New World Order was on the horizon, and France would be the first to unknowingly fall.

Now:

The flickering lights dispatched against the hieroglyphic walls inside Surreal Diablo's tomb added an extra level of accentuated apprehensiveness. Testing the mental resolve of the Last Arashikage as he methodically searched for clues amongst the articulated relics. Determined to piece together the mysterious circumstances involving Surreal Diablo's apparent resurrection and her direct involvement in the deadly attacks against the Court of Owls. A slight breeze slapping the flames however quickly highjacked his attention, his hand sliding towards the hilt of his blade ready to defend himself. Glancing to the right, then left, taking mental inventory of the escalating numbers stirring just out of sight swimming in the depths of the tomb's shadows before they started to slowly reveal themselves. Each one draped with the ceremonial trappings of the Red Cardinals, their arms religiously held against their chests while their hands remained concealed within the exaggeratedly long sleeves of their cloaks. "Patience is the force behind a calm spirit." a voice echoed. Though Kazarian had not seen any of their lips move. In unison the collection of Cardinals followed by shouting, "DEATH IS JUST THE BEGINNING!" "Patience is the force behind the assassin" the mysterious voice continued once again ushering in a unified roar, "DEATH IS JUST THE BEGINNING!"

Unsheathing his blade Kazarian rose to his feet, his mind clouded by the heart felt message he had received from the LcH leader requesting his safety. His love for her consuming his thoughts as the tomb became a backdrop for the regurgitated sermon of the indoctrinated prophecy proclaimed by the Cardinal martyr. Its preacher yet to reveal himself until the Arashikage turned around towards the entrance of the tomb. Disbelief anchoring his sorrow as he gazed upon the man he believed dead and gone.

"Family is everything" Florian continued while advancing towards his younger brother. The sheep skin parchment inked with the Cardinal philosophy extended between his hands as he carried forward. "Humility happens to be the reason I’m here, respect, modest and being civil in life will bring forth true happiness. When the prey his killed, do not gloat; instead be grateful that you are the one still bearing the gift of breath." As Florian lowered the scroll Kazarian took action. Unwillingly to risk the possibility of a sneak attack. Bringing his weapon across his body with amazing speed and technique only to have his progress violently halted as a hulking grasp snatched his arm in midair. The sharp pain that proceeded served as an alarm that his arm had been broken. Limply dangling in Florian's clutch, the Arashikage did not yell, did not scream out. Instead he attempted to vault himself backwards kicking the deadly assassin using his massive chest to backflip away. The move barely stuttering Florian the reaction of his foot subtly sliding back to halt his movement.

"I've come to deliver you from this self-imposed prison of man made idealistic idiocies and blasphemes believes. Accept an honorable death brother and be at peace."

Two hours later:

Both LeBeaus had put forth a fight for the ages, its only witnesses a handful of the Cardinal faithful who had lined the outer walls and statues of the tomb. Their emotionless expressions fixated on the final act. Bloody, battered, and beaten, Kaz was suspended high in the air. His body limp as he simply had nothing left to offer but a heartfelt message. "I.....i love....lov..you...bbbrother...."

"I know you do, I know. And I love you as well, brother."
swiftly bringing the defeated assassin down across the arch of his knee disturbingly bending his body in an unnatural position and holding it there until the lights in his brothers eyes fogged and eventually faded. Hesitation followed as the broken body of Kazarian LeBeau lay at the feet of his kneeling destroying. Silence filled the catacombs before a slow building chant began to resonate -
 
    
#40 Edited by _Warp_ (202 posts) - - Show Bio

4 Years Ago. Chinese Military Encampent.

"<Recuits! Attention!>" The booming Chinese voice was harsh, cutting through the ears of the new recruits like a sonic howl. Afraid of the punishment, they snapped to attention in one uniform movement. Except one. "<Recruit Jiaming! Front and center!>" No one dared move a muscle, save for one recruit. He was large. His heavy frame was rippling with highly defined muscles. His face, one of defiance and anger. When he stood in front of his commanding officer, his eyes met the face of cold fury. Not a single muscle on the officer's face twitched, or even conveyed the slightest of emotions. "<Explain to me why you did not follow my order.>" The officer's stance was firm and commanding. His arms were folded behind his back, meeting at the point where his hands clasped above his hips. Both legs were spread out at just the right stance to display dominance over the other soldiers, at the same time making him appear rooted in his position. "<Well, recruit? I am waiting.>"

"<Because you are not fit for command.. Sir.>" The recruit smirked at his superior. Unfortunately for his ego, it did not even trigger the tiniest of response. "<Very well then. If you think you can do better..>" His hands remained behind his back. "<Remove me from duty.>" Each word was carefully sounded out to express the challenge they brought against this recruit. The recruit's confident laugh signaled that he accepted, and the officer waited for him to throw the first blow.

He did. The recruit's fist shot out towards his face. A hand caught it by the wrist. "<To all other recruits, this is a lesson and an example. Pay attention.>" The arm was spun around, then jerked outward, removing it from its socket. He was not done. Taking a good grip on the wrist, he pulled further outwards, then twisted it in a half-circle, dislocating it. Moving his arm up, he wrapped it around that of the recruit and jerked it sideways, snapping the bone at the elbow. The recruit was barely at the beginning stages of shock by the time a boot collided with his face, sending him to the ground.

The officer resumed his previous stance. The recruits still at attention had not dared to move. "<Now. The lesson was how to take down an opponent who is larger than you in unarmed combat. I suggest you take what you saw and practice it.>" Each soldier nodded, though none had been able to discern a single one of the officer's movements. He'd attacked in the span of a few seconds. "<The example was what happens if you choose to disobey a direct order from me.>"

"<Dismissed!>"

Now. France.

Bai felt himself come out of teleportation a half-mile from the Chateau. Each time he did it was uncomfortable. The force of going back in time forced the air out of his lungs and left him dehydrated. For several moments he stood on the side of the road, quickly regaining his breath. Checking his watch, he was thankful to notice he'd only gone back in time roughly ten minutes. Looking to the left, he saw a limousine approaching the Chateau. He stood as it drove by, then when it was out of view, teleported. He appeared once more in front of the Chateau, just as a postured, elegant man stepped out. His face was of particular note to Bai. It was one devoid of true emotion, and with eyes lacking any resemblance of a soul. A series of eight men fled out into the perimeter, seemingly on the man's command. Shortly after, the man walked on into the building.

Bai followed, making his way through the doors and into the Chateau.

#41 Posted by Y intercept (1434 posts) - - Show Bio

The cocaine goddess stood motionless in the middle of the open jungle; her white ceremonial dragon garb drenched in Cardinal Blood. Her eye’s glazed over from the sweet seduction of cocaine; she foresaw the changing of order. Resting at her base were the bodies of Cardinals, bodies that had been dismembered by the Demon child. “Revenge is that fire that burns inside your soul…” she smirked, sheathing her Black Rose blade into its baphomet sheath. She trained Alistair to her standards, the standards of a dictator; it would seem that one of the major players of this New World Order had plans for her.

She circumvented her feet within the dirt inch by inch surveying the area before she proceeded onwards. “So this is where you decided to retire to eh?” someone stated vociferously. “You must love following me around dear child” Y said, turning behind her to see the blonde hair renegade Maya Lopez.

“You can relax I’m not here to kill you” Maya said, walking closer; Y pulled her blade out until it rest on Maya’s breast. “As if, come no further” she retorted with her eyes squinting. “A Clone…nice” she hissed, before dismissing the Maya clone.

“You don’t understand…the Cardinals are after you!” she screamed; which turned Y’s heightened pace into a mere stroll. “Yes, I know. You just gave away our position” Y pivoted quickly, jamming her sword into the abdomen of a would be Cardinal assassin; as she glared into his eye’s; she peacefully laid him down on the ground.

Slowly gaining a vertical base; she could see them hiding within the trees, drabbed in red hoods; armed with everything from katana’s to assault rifles. “Keep those rifles off of me” she said, walking towards the wood line. “My powers…are weakening” the clone responded; pushing an invisible wall forward.

The Flower of Carnage wasted little time, in going on the attack; using the tree’s for cover; she weaved in and out of them; slashing both vertically and horizontally. Blood dripped over the shrubs as; she removed the head off the final swordsman, darting her eye’s over to the clone; the last of the gun men had been laid to rest.

“I found Sha’s diary in Tibet.” Handing a page to Y, she moved back a bit taking the time to scan the area.

“They are learning at such an alarming rate, soon my CULT OF CARDINALS will be ready to spread my message to the world. With them under my tutelage they have been sent forth to gather the technology for the “Pit of Life” One day, I shall return to this world I will return not as a Ninjan, but as a Predator…an Apex Predator.”

Y chuckled, everything she needed were now in grabbing distance. “It appears it’s now time for a trip to France.” Y said, tossing the paper on the ground before jamming her sword through it.

“I’m pretty sure the Court of Owls will protest to you being on their territory” Maya said, with a bewildered look on her face. “Y=MX+B” She said, with a smirk.

The satanic phrase enraged the young Maya; however she didn’t want to come off as overly hostile. “This is weird…us working together” the clone said; with her hands on her hips. “We’re not” Y shifted her weight to her left side and kicked the young blonde dead in the chin knocking her out on impact.

“Sofia, ready my plane” she said, calling her girlfriend on the cell phone.

Flashback.

“There are hundreds of people in this world Alistair; hundreds of people with hundreds of choices; even you have a choice. “You can choose to be a hero, you can choose to be villain, you can choose to be nothing…I am here to put you in the position to choose” she said, stroking the back of the young boy’s head.

“Work, Stress, Die, Work, Stress, Die” The Green Dragon hopefuls continued their lifeless chant; while continuing their training for the building of Y’s future kingdom. Y stood in the window naked, with her long jet black hair, touching the curve of her buttocks. She rocked and swayed back and forth as if she were a venomous king cobra; listening to the Snake Charmer blows his flute. As he got deep within his music, Y’s trace grew deeper causing her almond eyes to glaze over and her head to tilt back. She then began to wrap her smooth body in the silk sheets, making sure the luxury linen touched every pore on her body. Finally, the Snake Charmer finished, returning Y to her original state. She couldn’t explain why she allowed him to play music that rendered her completely useless; however there wasn’t a feeling like it. The mixture of exotic music, with the peak point of cocaine was the ultimate therapy for the self-proclaimed “Best in the World”.

“Surreal…” she said, with a look of disgust on her face.

Now

Her jet touched down at Le Bourget airport. The moment she made landfall; her attention was on the many suspicious looking figures within the airport. There was a slight notion that they were not expecting her to come; rather they were there for an entirely different reason; which prompted a direr question, Why? A limo waiting for her outside. “Did you get to coordinates?”

“I did.” The driver responded a bit scared. “Relax…there just assassins” she said, as they began en route to the LCH chateau.

#42 Posted by Mercy_ (92257 posts) - - Show Bio

A chilling of foreboding seeped into the night air, causing goosebumps that had nothing to do with the cold to rise on her skin. There was something oh so very wrong and it felt for once that this may be the end of them if they allowed it to be. Her vantage point on the rooftop allowed her the visibility to see the incoming parachute. Her first reaction was to shoot it out of the sky before her better senses took ahold. Waiting for the young woman to remove the accoutrement, Cass stepped forward, every inch the leading woman. "You would guess correctly, Joan." The files that she had compiled on all members were extensive and this young woman held perhaps the most promise of all. "People are tricking in bit by bit. There's a conference room in the center of the building that I've directed everybody to meet in. I'll be there in a bit and would be appreciative if you would make your way there at this time." Her voice was sweet and gentle, with an underlying tone of firm steel.

Turning back to the edge of the roof, she waits for Joan to make her way into the elevator shaft before opening her arms out wide to the night sky. Inhaling the cool night air, she allowed herself one quick moment of solace before every instinct that she had kicked in, bringing her to her knees. The only people unaccounted for that could have this effect on her through formed bonds were her children and Kaz. This was not something happening to her children, she'd know, no, it was something with Kaz. Her current duty was to the lives under her care, though, to the lives here, for if this stronghold was lost, if the Court was lost, so was everything else they held dear.

Fifteen minutes left before the protocol went into action. When it did so, the chateau would become akin to a fortress. Only those with the access codes needed could access it, unless a way to circumvent it was found. Every room inside of it housed a weaponized system of some sort and the rooftop parapets had lovely mounted energy beams. This of course, was assuming that their enemy was just a physical one and not a mental one as well. Nobody would be allowed to leave until the protocols were lifted, the only person with the ability to do this was Cassidy herself and with a single word she could also hold them indefinitely.

A small beep sounded in her ear as her heartbeat fluttered nervously against her ribcage. It was an indicator from Aria that ten minutes now remained. Another chill crept up her spine as she turned her back on the cityscape. >Incursion. Unable to pinpoint bodies, rhythms or heat signatures. Extrapolation would allow us to assume that they are hostile and headed for the Court.<

"Fck me sideways." Muttering the words to herself she pulled her heart out of her throat, buried all her emotions and went to that place in her head that allowed her to function on an entirely different level. Sprinting down to the conference room, she snapped her gear fully into place save for the visor and addressed everybody. "There are guesses as to who this is. All I can tell you is that they're incredibly well trained. The guys they sent after me were fodder and I still had a somewhat difficult time with them. There's an incursion into the country. That means they'e bypassed all defenses put in place. There is a list of about seven people on Earth who are capable of doing that and several of them would not be capable of doing so without my prior knowledge."

Her voice was calm yet quick and all her training as a commander at the hands of Sovereign Son came back to her. "The Chateau will act as our fortress and stronghold. There's a weapons cache in the underground level, all of you are obviously free to it. Defend this place with your lives. If you fail, we all fail. If we fall, there's no telling what happens. You're all on this team because you're immensely skilled and the creme of the crop for what this world has to offer in the art of killing. Don't let me down." Pulling the visor over her face, she turned to exit the room. "Oh and before I forget, all power to the surrounding three miles will be cut."

Exiting the room and making her way once again to the roof, she spoke to Aria through the AI system in her visor. "Cut the power, Aria. Leave all auxiliary systems running, but under my use only. I want as many elements as we can manage to go in our favor. Send out auto-messages to any other possible allies." Accessing the infrared/night vision in the visor she closes her eyes for a moment, allowing them to adjust. "If war is what they want, it's what they shall get. Let his night be remembered in infamy among us as the night the Court persevered against all odds."

>Cassidy, Kaz's SEER signature went dead approximately seventeen minutes, eight seconds ago.<

Resolve stiffened the assassin as she blocked that out. "I'm aware. He knows how to disconnect it. He knows...he knows, right, Aria?" It had gone from a statement to a question and from him knowing how to disconnect to another subject entirely. "He's one of the few people I truly respect in every single way. He knows how to handle himself. Assuming that in this rare instance he was unable to, his assailants will be dealt with using brutal ferocity. But until then, it has to be about the here and now. And here and now, we're under attack. Let them come."

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#43 Edited by VictorRoss (149 posts) - - Show Bio

Victor listened in silence. When she finished speaking, he whipped out his cellphone, pressing a few buttons. The small device opened up, quickly expanding outwards into a rectangular frame. He pressed the power button and it lit up with a bright red holographic screen, holding it horizontal in front him. "I thank you for the offer, Miss Lockheart-Starks.. but I do not go anywhere unprepared."

Tapping a few keys on the display, he linked the teleporters at The Facility to his location. His fingers spread out on the corners of the window he'd just opened and closed together, minimizing it. They then moved up, flinging it off to the upper corner of the screen. Tapping a few more keys, he opened a secure communication line back to The Facility. "This is R. I am authorizing the first of the 1500 batch for use. We have a situation that will require their skill. The teleporters have been linked to my location. You are authorized to outfit them with the upgraded gear, and begin deployment immediately." He likewise minimized that window, sliding it up next to the other window. Opening a third, he typed again. "Open C/U-RI." The screen split into eight miniature windows, each displaying a first-person view of each of the clones among the perimeter. "Initiate remote override." Each clone twitched once in succession, as he was given complete control of their bodies.

The first clone took off, finding a tree and climbing up it. As he climbed, his suit slowly began to vanish, until he had disappeared completely. He placed one leg up against the trunk, wrapping the other one around a branch below, locking himself into position. Reaching his left arm out behind him, he grabbed the branch above and behind him, taking a tight grip on it. Holding the other arm out, he flexed his middle finger, pressing a pressure pad. An adamantium rod ran along his shoulders, and down across both arms, locking them in place. A single, large cylinder extended from his right gauntlet. Completing the process, his lenses went into a multi-filter mode, capable of flicking through a selection of numerous vision filters modes if he so much as twitched his eye in a certain direction.

The second clone ran through the trees. His hand slapped a proximity explosive onto a tree. Another went onto yet another tree. He continued the process, slowly creating a barrier of invisible explosives spanning a large portion of the treeline. Each was carefully placed to expand the blast radius, while making it impossible to detonate one explosive using the explosion of another. When he finished, he vanished, taking position.

The third, fourth, and fifth were running across the next three portions, setting up near-invisible tripwires at seemingly random spots. Each one had a different trap to it that complimented the next, in the event all were set off at once. Though individually they were all incredibly lethal on their own. When they were done, they likewise disappeared.

The sixth was running across the top of the walls extending from the front gates. Every few steps he dropped a metal spike. Upon contact, they would emit an electric shock strong enough to stop a heart. The shock itself would extend 6 yards in each direction. When he'd covered the entire gate, he jumped into a tree and blended into the environment.

The seventh and eighth had been circling the grounds since the last six had started, dropping sensors all over the place. Each time a sensor dropped, it melded into the environment, looking exactly like a piece of its surroundings, and would fool even the most high-tech of sensors. When they too finished, they disappeared into their environment.

Victor looked up from the tablet. "There. That should hold them off until the rest of my men get here."

#44 Posted by Ishin (6791 posts) - - Show Bio

Mercy's call for a meeting in the conference hall had instantaneously surged the emergence of more Court members, even those who were rarely seen dared to make an appearance. However, it was Flucks' arrival that caused a pleased yet sly smirk to manifest in his concealed face. Was it due to the mere fact Flucks' spontaneous unpredictable nature intrigued him? Or did he simply enjoy observing the entertaining interactions between Cassidy and Flucks? Oh how Flucks made her cringe with his mere presence. Clearly, he simply enjoyed watching encounters between the redheaded genius and the impulsive sociopath, perhaps he was anticipating something more to come to fruition between the two, indeed he was hoping that the upcoming tension would lead to something interesting. "Perhaps something interesting will occur tonight", he thought, remaining eerily silent as Cassidy soon began conveying information about their opposition.

She made clear that while largely mysterious for now, their enemy had a vast array of highly trained individuals, ones that could rival the skills of the Court of Owls' seemingly peerless assassins and martial artists. The statement itself tantalized cunning Impero's interest, he would relish the opportunity to test the skills of their opponents, but for this occasion, he would take a more strategic approach. Silently, the poised enigma listened to Cassidy's informative words, every single detail that held a grain of importance was captured by The Genius' attentive mind. His body language unaltered since his arrival, his hands remained folded behind his back, a habit that had become not only a trademark of his, but a testament to his self-confidence and unearthly composure. "These enemies, they seem to possess an impressive degree of rare technology", he thought, mere seconds after Cassidy revealed their elusive ability to bypass all defenses without obvious detection. Whoever they were, they were not to be underestimated, enigmatic Impero would approach these individuals while holding the utmost respect for their capabilities. But of course, he would not do so without relying on his insane amount of self-confidence and poise, they were dangerous, but so was he.

Cassidy urged them all to instill maximum effort into defending the Court of Owls with all they could muster, even offering them access to weapons, warning that their failure could conclude with an unpredictable result. Soon she left the room, having instructed the deadly assassins, however, the manipulative mystery had a plan of his own in dealing with this upcoming threat. Apparently he wasn't the only one though. One of the Court members whom he hadn't paid much attention to during his time there, used a holographic screen to set certain preparations in order to defend the Court of Owls as requested by Cassidy. Mysterious Impero however, simply exited the conference hall, making his way towards an empty balcony where he silently waited for the arrival of these unknown enemies. Having already formulated an effective plan to counter the collective skill of this dangerous opposition, mysterious Impero maintained his composure and patience as he waited, silently. His dark shadowy eyes piercing the night air with their eerie, almost inhuman gaze.

#45 Edited by Naamah_Obyzouth (3840 posts) - - Show Bio

Shadows from time past.

For the second time in her life, Naamah stood before the alter inside the summoning chamber, an ornate knife in her delicate hand. A blonde plucked from the marketplace on a trumped-up charge of whichcraft stared up at her in terror, squirming against her bonds and gag. This one had been strip searched already so thoroughly it was really doubtful she could even be called a virgin anymore. She had no weapons of any kind.

Naamah stood there chanting and with her chanting, the lines of the circle in which Naamah stood glowed, mirroring another circle that appeared above. Naamah watched the circle widen above her, its interior shifting through a rainbow of colors until it became a nothingness that couldn't be described as any color at all. The blonde girl whined, laid out as an offering and as bait. Naamah adjusted her grip on the knife and waited.

Something shimmered on the otherside of the gate, an awareness peering through, Naamah felt her breath catch in her throat. The last time, she hadn't known what to expect, but now she waited for the pivotal moment when the pit-fiend would arrive. It hesitated, but Naamah raised her knife, staring upward. The pit-fiend spotted the girl. Naamah felt itsaw the thing come through, a huge black cloud of smoke and lightning, its eyes ablaze with lust. It came for the girl, and with a yell Naamah drove the knife deep into her chest. Her eyes widened and her body bucked, already dead.

The pit-fiend screamed, its hatred shaking the very walls as it writhed, unable to go to the girl and unable to return to the gate closed behind it. Naamah let go of the knife, leaving it protruding from the girl's body, and glared up into the creature's maddened eyes. "Rex!" she shouted. "I name you Rex! I am your master! You will obey me!"

Rex screamed again, named and held, wanting its freedom and Naamah dead, but a million years of tradition had yielded an effective litany of slavery. "You will not harm me!" Naamah shouted, her voice determined and clear. There could be no hestitation here or the pit-fiend would attack her and kill everyone else before vanishing back to its own world. "You will not allow harm to come me! You will not speak! You will take on the shape I comand and stay in it! You will not feed from my energy to the point where I am endangered! You will not attack except to defend me unless I order it! You will do nothing to betray me! You are my slave, Rex! I bind you!"

Rex's scream was at its loudest, shaking the room. Dust fell all around Naamah as she glared at the thing. "Look!" she ordered, pointing behind him at a muzzled animal on a leash chained to the wall. Last time she had chosen a suit of armor, but this time she wanted something more servile. Other masters described their servent's shape to them, but Naamah didn't have the patience for that. She found it easier to show them. "Take that shape! I command it. Obey me!"

Rex howled, but he looked at what Naamah wanted him to be and he shifted, shrinking until a burly black dog crouched on the alter over the dead girl, teeth bared. "Good," Naamah smirked wickedly. "Heel dog." Rex moved forward, his massive head swinging back to look at the sacrificed maiden. His tongue lapped out toward her, not quite touching, then he leaped down to crouch at his new master's side. Naamah turned, taking a handkerchief from her pocket to wipe the spots of blood off her hand. Rex's hatred was thick, but no worse than that of Samson. It was actually comfortable to feel it again, and Naamah smiled.

Now

Naamah lays on her bed reading a book of anceint magics, as Rex lays at he foot of her bed, and Samson stands gaurd inside her walk in closet. The large beast of a pit-fiend remains still in the shape of an empty suit of armor. Rex guards his Dark Mistress, while Samson guards her personal effects. Nammah keeps some of her books and artifacts nearby and she likes to know they are being watched over. Rex and Samson are loyal to a fault, by no fault of their own. Naamah is a powerful sorceress and her binding rituals are everlast.

Their hatreds have cooled with age however, they have all but forgotten the bad times. Naamah is no longer possessed by Obyzouth the demoness that made her such a pill ages ago. Now she is her true self once again, and they have seen enough of their master to know whom to hate and whom not too. Obyzouth is still a sour subject to the ears of these servents, and their blood does boil just by the meer mention of her name.

Naamah finishes her intended read, as she closes the heavy book with authority. She kisses the spine of the large anceint book and it is sealed closed, only her whispers of secret words will make it open again. She walks over to her walk-in closet and places the book back into its designated place. Everything Naamah does is done in proper fashion, she is very neat, and orderly with her stuff. Only for the reason that it makes her happy, and comfortable.

She pets Rex as he wags his tail, and then she polishes Samson keeping him looking shinny, and free from tarnish. "Thank you my darlings." her voice is no longer a shout when she speaks with her servents. She would free them if she would not miss them so, besides would they be any better off if they just went back to their own realm, to their old dark masters. The shadow realm is a dark dank land, with many dark lords that are void of anything pure. These servents would be heeled and toed instantly by these dark creatures.

Naamah's belly rumbles with hunger pains. She had read for so long that she forgot to eat anything. She calls for a servent to fetch her some foods to feast apon, and even invites some of her new family to join her if they so chose. She keeps her door open with a sign that says tea party, latched onto her door knob. She has the sitting area of her room outfitted with cakes and orderves, of a verity. Then she takes a seat herself, and waits to see if anyone would come join her. She pours herself a cup of hot tea, and takes a bit of coffee cake, which she nibbles from between sips. "Mmmm. Yummy... And now I wait." She has hopes someone will come by and see the spread she has had layed out, but she understands how busy all these folks are.

#46 Edited by Duchess (5993 posts) - - Show Bio

Claire rested casually on one of the chairs in the Court of Owls conference room with her head rested in one of her hands, her index finger tapping her temple in a disinterested fashion. Mercy's call came shortly after she had received her own warning from their mysterious enemy, and the whole Court had gathered, undoubtedly. Glancing around the spacious room in which her fellow Court members had just filed out of she let out a sigh of boredom. Currently she knew no more than Mercy had disclosed within the brief meeting that had just taken place, which had been little. She had yet to decide whether that was due to lack of knowledge on the threat herself, or a hesitancy to share everything she knew. Either way Claire trusted she knew what she was doing.

Standing up slowly she made her way to the tall glass windows that gave a breathtaking view of the ocean. Dark waves crashed ominously against the walls of the cliff on which the chateau was perched on, giving an appropriate foreshadow to the inevitable events to come. Whether outwardly admitted or not, she was slightly concerned with the elusiveness their enemies displayed. So far they managed to stay one step ahead, which is where Claire preferred, and usually found herself, to be. Her prominent blue eyes trailed the descent of a flock of birds from their rest in the forest outside the chateau to over the restless sea.

Closing her eyes momentarily she let her mind stretch out in search for Mercy's, which would be found undoubtedly somewhere in the chateau. As expected her conscious found and brushed lightly against Mercy's with little effort, somewhere on the roof. Her eyelids fluttered open and gazed out at the landscape, transfixed, while maintaining her telepathic link. Communication between them was easier due to a standing trust, which allowed Claire to deliver her message with little resistance. "Once the final defenses are put into action I'll place protective psychic and magic fields within a two mile radius around the chateau. I can't promise they'll be exceptionally useful once I focus on other tasks, but it will alert us to any attacks of mental or magic origin," she said, and continued in the same cool tone, "As soon as I erect those barriers I'll prepare the Arc for telepathic assault against whatever we may be facing." Receiving the brief okay from Mercy she continued to stare pensively out at the birds soaring over the ocean, until they shrunk into small specs on the glistening horizon.

Once again her eyelids rested over her pensive eyes, and her mind expanded outside herself. However this time she pushed her telepathy outside the chateau, a couple miles outside along with a ward of magic. Reaching with her powers like this was similar to stretching a rubber band, the farther she stretch, the more resistance she met. But she had exercised her powers much farther than a couple miles before and finished the task of placing psychic and magical defenses with ease. With her first task complete she swiftly exited the conference room and made her way down the chateau to the Arcadian.

Upon entering the meticulously built massive cave-like facility, Claire quickly made her way through a series of passageways, that lead to various sections of the Arcadian, to a long platform that ended with a circular steel door. Typing in an access code known only to her and a select other on the touchscreen pad beside the door, a thin vibrant green light scanned her body up and down. The light scanned not only her physical properties, but her biological makeup, making it virtually impossible for any unwanted intruders to enter the room. Verify her identity the heavy steel doors slid open smoothly to reveal a large sphere-like room. The room was completely hollow except for a long platform that extended from the entrance, and various thin circular platforms hovering throughout the room. Placed on each of the platforms was one blonde teenage girl, all identical in looks besides their clothing, which were simple but sleek full body suits in various colors. Each girls' eyes were closed and their bodies motionless, reminiscent of a coma-like state. Claire paced across the long platform that ended in the center of the dome, where a large computer sat in front of a singe chair, a helmet device placed on the computer. Resting on the chair she put the helmet on and sat motionless for a few moments. Slowly each of the blonde girls' eyes opened to reveal ocean blue eyes, glazed over as if still not full conscious, before turning a luminous white. Claire's telepathy rang out, audible to only the girls, "Split into two groups. I want half of you positioned on the front line for the initial telepathic assault, and half of you to split up and position yourself to aid Court members where need be. Now go." At her command their eyes returned to blue and became focused, however they still gave no notion of independent awareness. The platforms the stood on floated to the long platform, allowing each girl to step off and file out of the room, before returning to their midair position. The steel doors shut once again behind the mysterious Arc.

Remaining in her chair with the helmet on, Claire used its brainwave enhancing powers in an attempt to locate the presence of any unwanted minds miles from her current location. Her eyes narrowed in frustration as she came up short. She was not accustomed to her telepathy failing her, and was further intrigued as to who the unknown threat was that was able to evade it. Setting the helmet back on the computer, she too left the room, the doors sliding shut behind her, and retreated from the Arcadian. Walking through the hallways of the chateau she made her way to her corridor, beginning her personal preparation for the inevitable war.

#47 Posted by Joan (93 posts) - - Show Bio

First Impressions

"Simply pathetic..." Joan murmured under her breath as Mercy gave her final orders before leaving the room. Mercy had revealed that there was a weapons cache if they so desired to use them. That this enemy should not be underestimated, and if they did it could be the assassins' last mistake. All the others in the room seemed to formulating some type of plan or calling on reinforcements, all of which was weakness in Joan's eyes. The only plan she needed was how to enact the fluid motion of her fist to an intruder's face. Hit first ask questions later, this to the other skilled assassins may seem naive or careless, to Joan though it made sense. She hated the idea of using any type of aid, whether it be weapon or ally. She only joined the team to do two things, to sharpen her skills and make her the top assassin in the world. She looked around at the fellow assassins that had filled the room, a masked man, a wealthy business looking man, and a woman with long flowing locks of hair that looked out of place for the scene of deadly killer. Joan had made her mind up about her though, she was either a vixen that used her womanly wiles to get what she wanted, or a magic user. Probably with the extensive background and skills each of them possessed she was both.Joan channeled out of the room with the majority of the other assassins, her mind was in a rather disgraceful place...food.

Hell's Kitchen, Joan the Butcher?!

Joan knew that this lavish estate must have the fanciest foods tucked away in the kitchen. Before the slaughter started Joan wanted to feel refreshed and recharged. She made her way down several corridors, before finally arriving in the kitchen. The cooks and chefs looked up at the woman that peeped around the corner. She tilted her head, smiled and asked so politely, "would you mind getting the f*** out, that is or get your throats slit?!" The staff stunned at the young beautiful woman's forcefulness quickly cleared out. "Perfect now then..." She wandered around the king sized kitchen, peaked into the multiple fridges, the ovens, and the pots that had started to boil over since being left unattended. Joan had made her way over to the first fridge she visited and had started to concoct the ultimate sandwich. Comprised of five different meats, three different cheeses, and vegetables imported from around the world. Her mouth watered as she sunk her teeth in for the first bite, it was excellent, what made it better was dessert. Her eyes opened as she was met with several red dots that multiplied in numbers across her face. She wiped some mustard from the corner of her mouth and did a sideways flip before the bullets could make contact. "Wow, best meal ever!" The firing continued until three brave souls hurdled through the kitchen window, and two barged in through the door.

Joan popped over from the wooden island table she had hid behind. Her arms raised as a sign of surrender. Before they could unleash another barrage of bullets she had gripped the handle of one of the boiling pots and flung at a soldier's face. She then flipped over the table, the one she had scolded with the boiling water was soon put out of his misery as she twisted his head all the way around counter clock wise. Blood sprayed out of his eyes at the shear force of her grip. The blood sprayed back on her, and she licked the traces that had coated her lips. "Mmm, who will be next? You!" She loosened a pot from the overhang of kitchen gear that was neatly wrapped above where the chefs cooked, so as to be easy access. Easy access was right and before they could lock onto her, she had taken the target out at the knee caps. Reached for a butcher knife and started the process. First a slice her, a slice there, and then she picked up momentum, she then tossed the minced man into an oven that had been preset for 400 degrees already. No doubt from one of the cooks that she had kicked out before the fight started. "Okay, so I'll live him in there...until he is nice and charred." She smiled and dropped the butcher knife and pot, "now for you three, I'll finish in the classic Joan way...with my fists." The three remaining men cocked their guns and locked on. She ran at them full force, the bullets grazed her skin, one made contact with her elbow, she continued though.

Right hook at the first one's temple, shattered the glass that was meant to shield his eyes. Next a swift kick to his groin. He writhed in pain as she moved onto the next one. He had been the only decent shot of the lot and made another bullet make contact, this time her right shoulder. She wound up and made her own bullet make contact. Her left fist launched the man via his chin upward toward the fan blades that seemed to move in slow motion. Normally this wouldn't even leave a cut, but because she had sent him flying with so much force his upper body was spattered and left in liquid form within seconds. The final intruder she dealt with by a simple head lock, which she turned into him ingesting the rest of his rounds into himself. She had left the man she kicked on the ground horrified, as she went through each of his comrades. She reached down to allow her face meet her wrist. "Mercy, I was attacked in the kitchen, one left alive for questioning, four others dead."

The man perked up and gave a cynical laugh, "you'll never get anything out of me...do your worse, the Court of Owls shall be no more after tonight you b***!" Joan smiled, lifted the man by the collar of his armor and head butted him to unconsciousness. The cooks and chefs had ventured to see what all the commotion was, they peaked around the corner and looked unto carnage horrified, bits of what were once men laid dismembered and scattered across the kitchen. Joan tossed the man over her soldier and started to make her way to where she believed Mercy to be.

She stopped halfway out of the doorway, "I suggest if you don't want to be next, you start the clean up." She smirked as she let it sink in that she could end of each of them in a bat of an eye.

This last bit of confidence was what Joan needed to shake off the subtle fear that had leaked into her being. It was unsettling that they could get into the fortress so easily, and whats more is that these five posed no threat. Obviously a decoy, or a scouting team, but for what?

#48 Edited by _Warp_ (202 posts) - - Show Bio

Bai listened in silence, his mask conveying nothing. Even without it, his face would be a blank slate. Looking around, he noticed the various people in the room begin their preparations. A businessman manipulated a holographic screen, a regal blonde woman turned and left, undoubtedly going to prepare her own way. The female with brown hair left for.. food. Bai stood there for a few moments, then vanished. He re-appeared. Across his back was a Miao Dao; a fairly recent Chinese longsword. Turning, he walked straight out through the front door. When he did, he vanished once more, reappearing on the center of the Chateau's roof.

Spreading his legs the slightest bit, he held the sheathed blade horizontal in front of him, one hand on the handle, the other on the end of the sheath itself. Beneath the mask his eyes closed, and he heard foot-steps landing nearby. Guns were raised, and there was a hushed silence for several moments. The masked assassin slowly breathed out, his muscles relaxing all over his body. Triggers were pulled backwards, and his eyes slowly opened. By the time the bullets were in close-range, he flexed his fingers. Time slowed to a crawl, and he simply stepped backwards. Time sped up and each bullet flew off harmlessly into the air; much to the surprise of his assailants.

Looking around, he assessed his situation. Four to his right and left, and two behind him and in front of him. Before they could fire again, his body launched into motion. The sheath went flying behind him, but there was no glint of metal. Pushing off with his feet, he leaped up and over the heads of the four to his left, effortlessly avoiding another barrage of gunfire. Landing, he twirled around and gracefully slid the blade up through an assassin's back, severing his spinal chord and piercing his heart. Puling it back out, he turned back to his left, hooking the blade around another's throat. Moving his hand back in a sharp motion, he severed the head at the shoulders. When the men on the opposite side of him began to open fire, he grabbed the headless body and kicked it into the lines of fire, causing it to soak up the rounds. Flipping his body over to the left, he landed on the ground with his hands, then pushed off once more, his blade slicing the man apart horizontally at the waist. Turning back around, he wrapped his arm around the fourth's throat, and pushed his blade through his chest, piercing a lung and severing an aortic valve. His feet pushed forwards, using the quickly dying man to soak up incoming fire. When he got back to the center, he kicked the body forwards and removed his blade from his chest.

Pivoting to the right, he executed a spin and hurled the blade through a man's eye, causing it to pierce into his brain. Before he could fall down, Bai pulled the blade back out and severed his partner's head. Picking up his rifle, he aimed at the two across from him and fired twice. Each round hit in between the eyes.

Keeping himself in motion, he took off at a sprint. Every few seconds, his fingers flexed, and time slowed. When it did, he twitched in various directions, avoiding bullets as they came his way. Somersaulting forwards, he pushed off the ground with his hands and launched himself up into the air. Executing a horizontal turn mid-flight, he landed facing the backs of the final four men. The first slash was diagonal, and cut from a man's shoulder down to the heart. Slipping the blade back, he twirled in a half circle to the right, impaling the second. Another pivot put the blade through the third's head. A final movement and the last man's head was removed from his body.

Looking around, he made sure there were no more, and took out a small cloth. Walking to where he left the sheath, he wiped the blood from the blade. Once it was cleaned, he picked up the sheath. Holding it horizontally once more, he slid the blade back into the sheath. Taking his previous position in the center of the roof, he waited for more to show up.

#49 Posted by Jake Malcom (3134 posts) - - Show Bio

London was not an easy place to leave as Jake was beginning to find out, more and more of the hunters came after him. Each wave of assailants came with more an more blood spilled, even more of Jakes than there’s. All he could do now was run, they gave him no time to feed with each assault. As he neared his next victim another group of hunters would stop his feed, finally just five miles from where the call was coming from he stopped. His body covered in his own blood, and pieces of it missing from the gun shots and explosions. He stood in the middle of the forest listening to there footsteps, they were silent but not silent enough as he launched a burst of Necro from the earth an covered a nearby tree. The sounds of flesh hitting the dirt filled Jake with pleasure as his acidic Necroplasm did its work. Soon a nest of Hawks fell from the trees, followed by the sounds of men an women screaming for revenge.

“Kill the Vampire!” Echoes filled his ears as if the voice came from all directions. Grabbing his charm around his neck he ripped on it, snapping the chain a burst of light filled the area as he summoned upon his un-dead “FEED!” He screamed as he slammed the charmed necklace to the ground and it exploded. As it did un-dead leaped from the earth an surrounded Jake mouths agape waiting for flesh. Saliva dripped from their snapping jaws as they stared at the group of 30 Hunters, Jake smiled “Save some for me boys.” It was chaos as un-dead and the hidden attackers fought each other, no side giving an inch in their fighting. Bodies littered the ground and Jake took this time to grab a nearby body an flee. It was closing in on the two hour mark as Mercy had made very clear “All doors will close at the two hour mark.” Feeding as he ran he tossed the limp body as he neared the front gates. As he drew closer an closer the sound of a jet loomed overhead and Jake reacted in kind “NOT IN THE MOOD!” He screamed as he launched a giant clawed hand into the air above him, grabbing the Jet an tossing it into the ground. An explosion erupted as the jet was turned into molten slag, a smile came to his face as he watched the fire burn.

Taken aback by the beauty of the fire he hadn’t noticed the attack that was launched at him from above. A swift kick dislocated his jaw as blood poured from his mouth, he looked up filled with anger as his attacker screamed “You bastard! I am with you! Jesus Christ they had to bring you in didn’t they? F%cking A!” Screamed a man clad in Ninja armor, a mask upon his face and Jake immediately recognized him. And his recognition filled him with an intense and mighty laugh as he broke his jaw back into place “Sorry, Roku you looked like the enemy. Mistake I promise, next time I will do you the pleasure of killing you with the molten slag.” He flipped Roku the finger before he bolted into the base and raced to the conference room. Laughing as Roku raced after him trying to lop off his head.

#50 Posted by Ishin (6791 posts) - - Show Bio

Shrouded in the endless darkness of the night, the eerie masked enigma stood silently on the empty balcony, his body motionless as his hands remained folded behind his back. Calmly formulating numerous plans that may function effectively against the unknown assassins attacking the Court of Owls, mysterious Impero focuses on all but more so on one particular strategy. "These assassins, they should prove interesting", he thought, quickly recalling Cassidy's warnings regarding the sheer skill and deadliness of their enemies. "Ms. Lockhart's warnings were.. intriguing. Her abilities, I hold them in the highest regard, if she is truly worried by this enemy, then their skill might actually be quite considerable", he realized, before smirking slyly, every expression concealed by his unique mask. While certain plans had been intricately formulated, the shadowy enigma surprisingly opts not to methodically pick apart his opponents with whatever he had prepared. A different approach will be taken, the cunning puppeteer's interest in his opponents' skills has risen.

An air of patience engulfs the masked enigma as he waits for the arrival of the enemy. "I predict that my associates have already been confronted by the enemy's cronies", The Genius wondered, before either with his own abilities or his mask's capabilities, detected the presence of another sentient being, mere inches away from. "Please show yourself. I have been anticipating an interesting encounter. Do not disappoint me", Impero said, finally breaking the tense wall of silence with his calm yet eerily intimidating voice. Slowly, the martial arts grandmaster turned to face a group of who he assumed were the assassins that Cassidy had spoken of earlier. Simultaneously dropping from the roof and onto the balcony, the assassins stared coldly at their masked target, murderous intent consuming their eyes. Fearlessly staring back at them with his piercing, almost inhuman dark eyes, Impero remained silent, and listened to the verbal comments his opponents had to offer. "Do not underestimate us. We are the very best the world has to offer in the art of killing", one of the assassins stated, almost proudly. "That is why I have been waiting for this. This will be fun", cunning Impero replied, having not yet moved since turning to face them. His unearthly poise and composure under pressure was not simply an aspect of his calm personality and self-confidence, but it was designed to taunt his opponents into attacking first, quickly granting him the opportunity to observe and study.

Instantly, at an almost superhuman speed, an earth-shattering spinning heel kick targeted enigmatic Impero's head. Barely escaping the powerful kick with a quick sidestep, Impero while unscathed, felt the sheer power instilled in the thunderous kick. "Impressive", he admitted, blocking the following jab with his forearm, before rapidly parrying a series of devastating hook, jab, uppercut combos. "Deactivate the vibranium-related defenses of my suit. I want to enjoy this", The Genius thought, mentally commanding the computer systems in his mask to do as requested. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, a shuriken was hurled towards the masked mystery, with Impero narrowly dodging the bladed projectile before being knocked off the balcony by a forceful palm strike. The simultaneous pace at which the group fought at was truly impressive. Landing on the ground, Impero instantly got to his feet, the assassins soon landing gently, lunging towards him, all of them unleashing quick flurries of deadly pressure point strikes and power-based kicks. Dodging a bobbing, The Genius managed to avoid a great deal of the strikes sent his way before falling victim to them, paralyzed by the nerve strikes and knocked off his feet by an unrelenting roundhouse kick.

"Is this what the Court of Owls has to offer? You aren't even fighting back", one of the assassins scoffed, unsheathing an enhanced Miao dao sword before mercilessly piercing nefarious Impero through his heart, seemingly killing the mysterious martial arts grandmaster. Mere seconds had gone by and suddenly, in a heartbeat, the masked enigma somehow got to his feet, the wound on his chest having mysteriously vanished, Impero appearing completely unscathed as he stood to his full height. The eye holes in his mask now enveloped in an endless pit of darkness, his eyes having somehow disappeared. "What the hell?", one of the assassins wondered, possessing knowledge of regenerative skills but perhaps not to this extremity, but this might not be regenerative powers at work. "Your skills are impressive. I may have underestimated you at first. I sense that neither of you are fighting seriously. Perhaps I can help", Impero pointed out creepily, considering that utilizing his more advanced and unknown martial arts skills may be a necessity in this situation. His almost supernatural martial arts grandmastery on the verge of being showcased against a variety of highly skilled opponents.

"How can you just get up from something like that? What kind of metahuman are you?", they asked. "We are Impero", the cunning snake answered cryptically before bracing himself for another assault, his opponents revealing their weapons in the form of numerous daggers, swords and more. "Whatever. Ripping that mask off your face will give us all the answers we need", they proclaimed before dashing over to attack, "Ah, be careful. You might not comprehend what you find", Impero replied, taking an exotic fighting stance, ready to commence a hopefully interesting battle. So far, his plan has been a success, these men were indeed skilled, dangerously so. Even when not retaliating, Impero almost always remains peerless and beyond his opponent's skills, however, against this new enemy, even he would be forced to unleash the full scope of his combat prowess that would truly test both his and their mastery in the art of combat.