From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Page 2 of 3 Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Wed May 09, 2012 11:38 am

Sophia grimly fought against unconsciousness as her eyes continually lost and regained focus. All she could see were amorphous shapes and colors that somewhat resembled people. One particularly bright spot, almost like a mini-sun, blinded her and forced her to avert her eyes. Voices echoed strangely around her, making it difficult to tell who said what or even what was happening with the rest of the battle.

And she was cold. So cold. Sophia started to shiver from the blood loss and shock. If only she could sleep. Yes, sleep was just what she needed.

“What are you waiting for? Zeus’ birthday? Get a move on or Sophia’s going to bleed out!”

Sophia gave a weak start. That shout came in loud and clear. Was her condition really that serious? A feathery head shoved insistently against her cheek, and frantic emotions from Glaukos slammed into her mind, holding her to consciousness.

Then she felt gentle hands moving over her wounded body, assessing and carefully shifting. One set of hands propped her back against a human body and a furry one – Adelphos and Sellie – while another delicately stretched out her wounded leg.

"This won't hurt for long." She recognized Brenden’s voice – the calm, soothing tone he used to comfort the injured – through her semiconscious haze. "Just close your eyes and think of something warm...something that will give you strength. It will accelerate the healing process."

Something…warm? Sophia remembered feeling warm at breakfast this morning…or was it yesterday? It felt like an eternity ago. She had been eating warm food, sipping hot coffee, and feeling heat rise to her cheeks as she conversed with Lucas, one of the few people who had actually talked to her like a companion instead of a soldier…or worse, an untouchable woman. One Marked by Athena, set apart by the virgin goddess.

Brenden’s hand moved from her now-healed leg to the more serious gashes on her side, and she gasped softly as warmth suffused the wounds, followed by a low moan as the healing light from his fingertips stole away her pain. Her muddled thoughts drifted again to thoughts of warmth. Lucas spoke expressively using his hands. She wondered…what would it feel like to have those hands touch her and share their warmth? Just a simple embrace, nothing more. Ah, gods, it had been so long since she had shared in the comforting touch of another human…

Then the warmth faded, the light winked out, and Sophia’s eyes snapped open at Brenden’s voice. "Just rest a bit, ma'am." By Athena, he sounded exhausted just from healing her. "You might feel just a little stiffness from being healed so quickly. It will go away in a few minutes."

Moving slowly, Sophia sat up fully, nodding her thanks to Adelphos for acting as her backrest. She winced slightly at the stiff tug of freshly healed muscles, but she didn’t feel pain. Her fingertips skimmed the now-unmarked skin where the lion’s claws had marked her, marveling at Brenden’s healing prowess…

…and then flags of color abruptly rushed to her cheeks as her unchecked thoughts from minutes ago flooded her mind. What in Athena’s name had she been thinking?! Think of something warm, he had said! Inappropriate thoughts toward her captain were probably the absolute last thing Brenden would have recommended! ‘I was half-conscious. I wasn’t thinking straight,’ she repeated in her mind over and over, trying to mask the shame she felt.

Then another, more overpowering thought, leapt to the forefront. The battle! What had happened during the battle? And the Titaness! The legionnaires! While Brenden moved among the legionnaires to tend the wounded, Sophia frantically scanned the surroundings for her captain. She found him and the remnants of the battle easily. The Titaness Theia kneeled on the ground, pinned in place by a fading mini-sun. Lucas stood over General Bennett, who was also kneeling, while Julianne stood to the side, shaking like a leaf in terror.

And then time seemed to slow as the next scene played out before her. General Bennett leaned his head to the side, exposing his neck, and Lucas plunged the butt-spike of his spear into the man’s flesh. Sophia felt a scream tear itself free from her throat, but the blood pounded so loudly in her ears that she didn’t even register sound. She surged to her feet as the General slumped to the ground, dead, but a wave of vertigo from the sudden movement brought her back to her knees again. Julianne took off running like a bat out of Hades, and the Titaness vanished into the otherworldly plane after Lucas healed her.

Sophia met the gazes of Brenden and Adelphos briefly, seeing their grief and despair echoed in her eyes. They had come here to save legionnaires, not kill their own General. What kind of victory was this? How would they explain the situation to their superiors back in the city? And…how could Sophia ever look at Lucas the same way again after witnessing him kill one of their own? Sophia sagged back on her knees, head slumped and staring at the ground, and forced her expression into a careful mask of stoniness as she awaited her captain’s orders.
avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Sat May 19, 2012 12:48 am

Lucas looked over the dead body, at the deed he had done, hoping that somehow they would forgive him. He looked at his fire-team and he knew that nothing would ever be right again. He had lost the faith they had blindly placed in him. What cut deeper than the rest was the face that Sophia made when she realized what was going on. For some reason her loss of blind faith hurt more than the rest. He couldn’t put his finger on it and right now he didn’t have the time to dwell on it.

“What have you done!?” exclaimed one of the general’s bodyguards. The rest of the bodyguards rushed forward and shoved Lucas away from the General’s body. One tried desperately to revive the fallen General but had no success.

“We need to bring him back to Grand Rapids for the funeral rights,” Lucas lied. It was a desperate gamble but if it worked he could regain the confidence he had now lost. Lucas stepped forward. “We are safe to return for now.”

“You’ve done enough! Leave it to us you murderer!” yelled one of the bodyguards. The bodyguards placed the General on his shield and carried the body towards the city. Lucas watched them leave in silence. Lucas’ body no longer glowed with light. He had burned out his light manipulation abilities for now. In a few hours he would be able to use his demigod powers but for now he was powerless. Surprisingly his team waited for him to give them an order. Somehow, like all good legionnaires, they followed their leader without question when on a mission.

“Nothing left for us here, let’s head back to GR,” Lucas said quietly. The walk back to the city was uneventful. It was also silent which allowed Lucas to think about what it must have looked like he had done. It ate away at him knowing that he couldn’t tell them his plan. If he did then it wouldn’t have worked. He dwelled on how they must hate him right now. This was not how he wanted the first mission to go. When they arrived at the checkpoint on the highway a van was waiting for them. Armed legionnaires were waiting for them.

“We have orders to take you all straight to Commander Montgomery,” one of them said.

“I expected as much,” Lucas replied as he led the squad into the van. There was more silence as they were escorted to the old community college Main Building where Commander Montgomery’s office was located. The office was empty when they arrived. It was medium sized with a phone and filing cabinets. Papers and files were in organized piles on the desk and the in-box was almost full. There were three chairs in the office for guests to sit in and pictures on the wall of famous legionaries.

“Since we are no longer on the mission you are no longer bound by your oath as a legionnaire to follow me without question. If you have something to say the time is now,” Lucas said matter-of-factly.

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Ruu on Sat May 19, 2012 4:23 pm

Brenden was completely silent during the return home, eerily silent. Not a word passed his lips, and the dazed expression remained. The traces of tears could be seen in his eyes, as much as he tried to hold them back. His thoughts were rather scattered, and his mind was in a fog. At the checkpoint, they were met with armed guards. A hint of fear touched his eyes as he realized what the entire mission must have looked like to the others. It had looked bad enough to him and his fellow legionnaires. What kind of punishment would they be given for allowing such a terrible event to occur?

When they reached Commander Montgomery's office, Brenden sat quietly in a chair, head bowed with grief. He always felt disheartened when a comrade was lost to the cruel pangs of death, but this...this was the most terrible feeling of all...He looked up when Lucas finally spoke, breaking the silence that had fallen over the group since the General's death.

“Since we are no longer on the mission you are no longer bound by your oath as a legionnaire to follow me without question. If you have something to say the time is now.”

Brenden looked from Sophia to Adelphos before opening his mouth to speak. He desperately wanted to say something, anything. He wanted to hear Lucas say that it had all been a mistake. He wanted to hear that there was some reason for what looked like the murder of a fellow officer in cold blood.

"I just...don't understand," Brenden whispered, his voice sounding as numb as his feelings, "Why....why did it...have to happen like that?"
avatar
Ruu
Poltergeist
Poltergeist

Join date : 2010-09-25
Male

Posts : 758
Age : 28
Location : Home


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Tue May 22, 2012 7:02 pm

Sophia could only watch numbly as the bodyguards nearly drew weapons on Lucas for killing the General. A small part of her mind said she should protect her captain, but her body was still too shocked with grief to move from her kneeling position on the ground. A heavy silence hung over their team once the General’s body had departed, which Lucas quietly broke: “Nothing left for us here, let’s head back to GR.”

The walk back to the city passed quietly but slowly. Sophia was still feeling the effects of blood loss from fighting the Nemean Lion, so she had to force herself to keep up with the others. Adelphos offered a steadying hand the few times she got dizzy from vertigo, but other than that she waved away any attempts to assist her. Glaukos was also uncharacteristically silent, as if he knew what horrible events had transpired. He simply hunkered down on Sophia’s shoulder, all his feathers puffed out, and kept his eyes scrunched shut.

Sophia had turned visibly pale by the time they reached the checkpoint and were met with armed guards and a van. She didn’t protest their detainment but instead dozed fitfully in the van on the way back to GR. By the time they reached Commander Montgomery’s office, her color and some of her strength had returned, though she was still emotionally numb. Looking at Adelphos and Brenden, she could tell they felt the exact same way.

“Since we are no longer on the mission you are no longer bound by your oath as a legionnaire to follow me without question. If you have something to say the time is now.”

Brenden spoke first, his expression one of pure misery. As a healer, he probably felt the pain of the General’s death more acutely than the rest of the team. “I just…don’t understand. Why…why did it…have to happen like that?”

At first, Lucas remained silent, and something inside Sophia snapped. Here they were, awaiting the judgment of the Commander, no better than common prisoners. They could be executed as traitors for all she knew, and she didn’t even know why.

She would have her answers, whether Lucas liked it or not.

Within a matter of seconds, Sophia had jumped to her feet, summoned her shield, and had Lucas pinned with his back against the wall, her face inches from his. She pressed the plate of cold, unforgiving metal against his chest more insistently as she hissed furiously, “You will answer him, Captain.” The title felt like poison against her tongue, and Glaukos was so startled that he took off from her shoulder and perched on one of the ceiling rafters. “We trusted you with our lives, and now we could all die as traitors for what you did.” The arm holding her shield trembled as silent sobs shook her shoulders and tears started pouring unchecked from her eyes. “I don’t know what oaths you swore to that accursed Titan, and I don’t care if I get court marshaled for this. Tell us you at least had a good reason – and it had better be good – for killing our General, or I’ll…I’ll…” She started to say that she would send Lucas to Hades herself, but she couldn’t force the words out past the lump in her throat. Her shield vanished back to the otherworldly realm as she backed away, still shaking, and turned her head to try and hide the tears.
avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:24 pm

"I just...don't understand," Brenden whispered, his voice sounding numb, "Why....why did it...have to happen like that?"

Because no one told me we were going to get the General. I would have played it differently, pushed us harder to get there earlier. Lucas thought. He was about to answer when Sophia leapt up. She was faster than he expected. Out of impulse Lucas tried to create a light shield but failed because he was still burned out from fighting the titan. Before he could summon his own shield once he realized his mistake he was pinned.

“You will answer him, Captain. We trusted you with our lives, and now we could all die as traitors for what you did. I don’t know what oaths you swore to that accursed Titan, and I don’t care if I get court marshaled for this. Tell us you at least had a good reason – and it had better be good – for killing our General, or I’ll…I’ll…” Sophia stopped trying to threaten Lucas. She couldn’t take it anymore and tried not to break down in front of everyone.

“I… had a good plan. I just couldn’t tell you in front of the titan,” Lucas started. The rest was cut off by the hurried entrance of Commander Montgomery. The commander slammed the door and shut the blinds. Lucas didn’t salute him which made the commander pause for a moment.

“Something wrong with your arm Lucas?” Commander Montgomery asked.

“Are we starting the debriefing now? Are we on the record?” Lucas responded. This was a very leading question, as Lucas was almost demanding to be recorded as insubordinate.

“No,” Commander Montgomery said.

“I knew it!” Lucas yelled, “This was an off the books mission. We are not a black ops team Commander! We should have never been…”

“SIT DOWN!” Commander Montgomery yelled.

“I’ll stand.” Lucas said defiantly, refusing to move.

“You better listen good…” Commander Montgomery started before Lucas cut him off.

“NO! You better listen good. My spear is the only thing that can save the General and we both know that. You sent my team on a black opps mission without proper reinforcements or proper information about the situation. We all could have been killed because of the lack of information. Everyone knows that if our General is outside the city they will send a Titan. I want to know why you did this to my team and I want to know right now!” Lucas demanded.

“You don’t get to make demands from a superior officer!” Commander Montgomery yelled.

“Considering, that when I revive the General I may be killed like Asclepius was when he raised the dead, I want to know why I may be dying.” Lucas yelled back. Commander Montgomery remained silent for a moment, thinking about Lucas’ demands.

“All right, I will tell you what I know,” Commander Montgomery said quietly, “The General was summoned like all the other city leaders to a General Council of Leadership. We had to keep it quiet otherwise the citizens might panic because their leader was away. The details of the meeting were kept classified but I know it was something big. As in a way to change how the war was going for us. All the rest of the City Leaders made it back without incident but our General was unlucky. I had to send a team quick and your team was the best suited for the mission. I couldn’t tell you anything during the mission briefing because other legionnaires could have been listening. Now, the body is ready to receive its shade back. I order you to finish your mission and bring back our General.”

“I will in a minute. I have something else to say. Don’t you ever put my team in danger like that ever…” Lucas started but was cut off by Commander Montgomery.

“Legionnaires are soldiers and if you have problems following orders then you will be relieved of command and discharged. You don’t get to pick missions, you get to follow orders, which if I remember right you were given one. Do I have to repeat myself?” Commander Montgomery said sternly. I have pushed him far enough. He will order his guards to take my spear if I refuse my orders a second time.

“No. Where is the General?” Lucas said not trying to hide the anger in his voice.

“Winchester Alley,” Commander Montgomery said. Lucas walked up to the office door and left without saluting. He waited for the rest of his team in the hall.

“Do any of you have something to add?” Commander Montgomery asked.

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Ruu on Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:26 pm

Brenden's eyes widened when Sophia pinned their Commander. He hadn't expected her to be that...physically aggressive, but she was probably venting the emotions being experienced by the entire team. He couldn't blame her, and yet he didn't want to see Lucas hurt. Before he could do or say anything, and before Lucas could truly explain himself, Commander Montgomery stepped into the room. The young man saluted his higher ranking officer, astounded when Lucas didn't do the same. He was shocked at how Lucas addressed the Commander, but as he listened to the words being spoken, he knew there was truth in them.

So Lucas did all this out of necessity and with a backup plan in case things went wrong? And the General would be alright? Well, that was a relief...though...it sounded as if this would be a dangerous undertaking for Lucas. Brenden remembered the story of Asclepius. He himself had been reminded of it by his superiors when he had tried to heal his fellow legionnaire, dying of wounds too great to be healed. That day had been horrible...Not only had been out of commission physically for two weeks, it had taken him months to recover from the emotional trauma.

When Commander Montgomery asked if they had anything to add, Brenden shook his head quickly. He had been somewhat shocked at the callous dismissal of lives by Montgomery, but he certainly wasn't going to bring it up when the older man was so visibly perturbed. Instead, he followed Lucas out into the hall. He looked quietly into the older boy's eyes before speaking.

"Lucas...I'm sorry I didn't believe in you...I'm sorry I ever doubted you," he whispered, "I understand you were in a really tough position, and you are in one now. You could really die if you tried to bring the General back to life. You knew that before, didn't you? So...really you risked your own life against not only the Titan, but you also risked it because of the sacrifice you knew you might have to make. Isn't there...any other way?"
avatar
Ruu
Poltergeist
Poltergeist

Join date : 2010-09-25
Male

Posts : 758
Age : 28
Location : Home


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:16 pm

Lucas’ voice sounded hollow and distant as Sophia struggled to keep her composure. “I…had a good plan. I just couldn’t tell you in front of the Titan.” Before Sophia could press him for more detail, Commander Montgomery stormed into the room, conveying an air of authority that demanded their full attention. Sophia’s training kicked in, and her face slipped into a blank, stony mask as she saluted her superior. She tried to keep the horror off her face as Lucas refused to do the same. Was he asking to be reprimanded? Demoted? Or worse?

The exchange and clash of wills that took place between the commander and Lucas made poor Glaukos puff up his feathers and cower against Sophia’s neck. When Montgomery yelled at Lucas to sit down, she glued her rear to a chair as if she had been the once to receive the order and exchanged an uneasy glance with her teammates.

Gradually, the truth behind their unorthodox mission came to the forefront. So General Bennett had been summoned to a secret meeting, things had gone downhill, and Commander Montgomery had resorted to a black ops mission, knowing all along that Lucas would have to kill and revive the General with his spear. While technically the plan had worked, everything about it just felt…wrong, both tactically and morally. No legionnaire with the gift of battle tactics would have recommended this strategy.

Lucas quickly left the room, and Commander Montgomery asked if the others had anything to say. Brenden and Adelphos shook their heads no and followed Lucas into the hall, but Sophia remained. When it was just her and the commander left, she saluted and said, “Permission to speak, sir.” She knew she already “technically” had permission, but the commander was already on edge from the exchange with Lucas. He simply stared at her, waiting for her to speak. “Sir, we legionnaires have always trusted your wisdom and followed your orders without question, but…today could have ended much differently. Sending a team into a black ops mission without the proper intelligence or backup is a grave tactical error.” She indicated the mark of Athena on her forehead to lend credibility to her statement. “While we made it back today, we could have just as easily all lost our lives, and the mission to retrieve the General would have failed. We know death is a common fate for legionnaires, but there are precious few of us as it is. What our enemies gain by sheer numbers, we must compensate with smart tactics.”

Sophia knew she was treading on dangerous ground by insinuating that the Commander had made a foolish decision, but she had to get this off her chest. Her eyes narrowed as she concluded, “Every legionnaire lost is like handing over a valuable weapon to the enemy. I hope for all of our sakes that our captain does not meet that fate in completing this mission.” Having spoken her peace, she bowed and saluted the commander one last time and said, “I take my leave now, sir.”

Sophia felt the blood drain from her face as she left the room and rejoined her teammates in the hall. “Isn’t there…any other way?” Brenden asked. Sophia didn’t know what he had been saying to Lucas, but she guessed from his expression that he was apologizing for doubting him. She realized that she owed him a massive apology as well. At least Brenden hadn’t drawn a weapon on his commanding officer. Oh, she felt like such a fool now. This morning’s cheerful breakfast conversation felt like a lifetime ago now. How had the day taken such a dreadful turn? Had she really lost the companionship of the first legionnaire to treat her as more than a solider or an untouchable Mark of Athena?

She kept her gaze lowered in submission as she approached Lucas and spoke quietly, “I cannot apologize enough for drawing a weapon on you and questioning your leadership, sir. I will accept without argument any punishment you deem necessary for my insubordination.” She only hoped that she had not lost his respect permanently.
avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:20 pm

"Lucas...I'm sorry I didn't believe in you...I'm sorry I ever doubted you," Brenden whispered, "I understand you were in a really tough position, and you are in one now. You could really die if you tried to bring the General back to life. You knew that before, didn't you? So...really you risked your own life against not only the Titan, but you also risked it because of the sacrifice you knew you might have to make. Isn't there...any other way?"

“We all know that at this point there is no other way. If I refuse my weapon will be taken from me and someone else will lose their life bringing back the General. I can’t let someone else make a sacrifice like that. I caused this mess, I need to clean it up.” Lucas said solemnly. It was the only way to ensure the mission succeeded once that damned Titaness showed up.

“I cannot apologize enough for drawing a weapon on you and questioning your leadership, sir. I will accept without argument any punishment you deem necessary for my insubordination.”

“You had no reason to believe in me and, from your perspective I was making questionable actions, I would punish you if you didn’t do some form of insubordination.” Lucas responded. I wonder what will happen to my squad once I revive the General. We should be heroes but then again they did let the General be killed in the first place. I guess it depends on how the General decides to spin the story. Lucas thought.

“If you wish to accompany me to Winchester Ally you may. It was an honor serving with each of you.” Lucas said before taking off towards the stairs.

“I know how this is going to end, I would prefer not to be present,” Adelphos said before walking towards an exit.

"I...don't want to see it either," whispered Brenden, closing his eyes, "I...Commander Lucas...I've been proud to serve under your command."

“I don’t blame either of you,” Lucas said without turning around.

Winchester Ally used to be a cafeteria/coffee shop which was located in the basement of the Main building. Now it was an officer’s club which normally only allowed ranking officers. It was packed with legionnaires paying their respects to the General. Julianne is probably still being debriefed by the ranking officers. It’s too bad she won’t realize what happened until after I revive the General. I would have liked to say goodbye. He turned to see if Sophia followed him.

Sophia had followed right behind Lucas the whole time. She could understand Adelphos and Brenden leaving. It would have been especially hard for a healer like Brenden to watch his captain risk his life, knowing full well that he could do nothing to help. But after doubting Lucas and even turning on him, Sophia would not abandon him to face his potential death alone. When Lucas turned, she said, “Until this mission ends, I am still your second-in-command. I would bring dishonor to myself and my patron goddess if I did not support my captain until the end.” Her gaze softened, and she rested a hand on his arm, a slightly more intimate touch than a clap on the shoulder from one legionnaire to the other. “I only wish I could do more to guarantee you’ll come back alive,” she whispered, her expression full of concern.

Glaukos fluttered from Sophia’s shoulder to Lucas’ and rubbed his fuzzy little head against the young man’s cheek, giving a soft hoot. He then made a show of settling comfortably on his shoulder and blinked at Sophia, as if daring her to try and budge him. Despite the gravity of the situation, she couldn’t help but smile a little. “I think he wants to stay with you while you revive the General. Perhaps Athena will favor you with her blessing.”

“My luck hasn’t been that good today,” Lucas said and then he smiled, “then again it can’t be much worse.” He turned to head into Winchester ally. Those are terrible last words. He stopped and turned back to Sophia and looked into her eyes.

“If, by some chance Tyche is on my side this time and I am able to walk away from this one, you want to grab a drink sometime?” Lucas asked.

Sophia couldn’t keep the slight blush off her cheeks. The way Lucas asked her felt more personal than just a casual drink between fellow legionnaires. Part of her said that she shouldn’t dare to hope, that Lucas would most likely die by reviving the General. And yet…he had practically resigned himself to his death already. Surely giving him some hope would be seen as a kindness. Sophia smiled and replied, “As long as that drink is extra strong, you’ve got yourself a deal. I think we’ll both need it after this mission.”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Lucas said with a smile, “It’s a date, then.”

Sophia blushed even more at the use of the word “date.” Her first instinct was to object and say that she had no idea what consequences would follow since she was marked by Athena. Was she even allowed to have normal relationships like other legionnaires? But looking at Glaukos, who clearly liked Lucas, she had to hope that it was a sign of approval from the goddess. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Lucas smiled as he walked into the officer’s club with Glaukos still riding on his shoulder. In the far corner of the room was a mass of people gathered around a table. The rest of the tables were empty. The food counter didn’t have a line and the legionnaire on duty was trying to look into the crowd to see what was going on. He knew it must be the general’s body. Lucas moved over to the gathering of people and began shoving his way through. There came a point where he couldn’t get through anymore.

“Make way! I am on official legionnaire business,” Lucas yelled. After a few turned and saw who he was they began clearing a path for him. He finally made it to the center of the mass of people. There was a regular cafeteria table which the body of Alexander Bennett was placed. A priest of Apollo was preforming the death rituals before the body was to be burned and buried. Angelena was busy watching her younger brothers and sisters while her mother cried over her husband’s body. Her eyes were red and he knew she had been crying before the funeral rights.

“Priest, stand by you may be necessary for my funeral,” Lucas said as he summoned the Pelican spear. The shaft and grown in length but was not yet finished in fixing itself. The shattered spear tip was still missing and the shaft still came to a jagged edge. The crowd began to whisper in hushed tones speculating about what Lucas was doing. He ignored them and placed the butt-spike of the spear on the General’s body. Heal he commanded the spear. Instantly the mortal wound closed and the injury disappeared. The whole room was silent. Lucas waited for the ramifications of this action. For a moment the room stood silent and watched in anticipation. Did it work? It should have brought him back to life. Suddenly color was brought back into the General’s face as he sat up coughing. Lucas smiled. I would rather the city have the general instead of me. It looks as if my fate lies in the presence of the judges of the dead. No sooner had he completed his thought than Hades himself appeared.

Hades had the traditional Roman toga that was pinned in place. The pin was engraved with a three headed dog, a symbol showing to all who the god was. He was of average height with pitch black hair and a long curly bearded. Everyone in the room could feel his divine presence and it was customary to bow before a god or goddess. It only took a second before everyone in the room was on their knees to show respect to the god.

“Who dares to defy the law of death?” Hades voice boomed through the room. Glaukos flew from Lucas’ shoulder to find Sophia.

“I don’t wish to anger the god of death. I just wish to have my General back,” Lucas said and then added, “by any means necessary.”

“Regardless of your intentions, you have brought this upon yourself. Your shade is now mine.” Hades voice once again boomed through the room. An instant later the world changed from a colorful ranged to only black, white and grey. Lucas didn’t know what to think of the transformation. He looked down to see his body lying on the ground. He had felt no pain during the transition from life to death.

“I do not normally show the dead the way to my realm but your noble sacrifice has impressed me enough to allow you to accompany me.” Hades said.

“Lead the way my new king.” Lucas said.

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:30 pm

Sophia followed close behind Lucas as he pushed and shoved his way through the crowd gathered around General Bennett’s body. Glaukos flapped his wings, hooted, and glared at all the gathered legionnaires, as if daring them to stand in their way. She took note of the Priest, the Bennett family, and all the gathered legionnaires. Her heart hammered in her chest as she watched Lucas summon his spear and sent up a fervent prayer to Athena.
‘Patron goddess, please grant him your protection and blessing…’

“Priest, stand by. You may be necessary for my funeral.” Sophia held her breath as Lucas healed the General’s wound and watched him miraculously return to the living. For a moment, nothing happened, and Sophia wondered if maybe the gods had chosen to show Lucas mercy.

But such was not to be. The room grew dark, and the temperature plummeted at least ten degrees as the god of the Underworld appeared before them. Sophia instantly dropped to her knees and kept her eyes focused on the floor. “Who dares to defy the law of death?” Hades’ voice reverberated through the room with an unearthly power and made Sophia shiver. She heard a panicked flap of wings and a series of terrified emotions as Glaukos landed on her shoulder and cowered against her neck.

“I don’t wish to anger the god of death. I just wish to have my General back…by any means necessary.”

At this point, Sophia dared a glance upward to see Hades’ verdict. The god wasted no time, and Sophia’s heart sank. “Regardless of your intentions, you have brought this upon yourself. Your shade is now mine.”

‘Oh, gods, please no…’ Sophia prayed silently. Time seemed to slow as Hades’ voice boomed across the room, and Lucas crumpled to the ground. “NOOO!!!” The exclamation was torn from her mouth almost without thought. She remained frozen in place until Hades vanished from the human realm, and then she launched herself across the distance that separated her from her captain, sinking to her knees by his side.

“Sir…please…” Sophia pleaded, grabbing his shoulder and giving it a little shake. No response. “You can’t be dead… You’re not dead…” She shook him harder. Still no response. “LUCAS!!!” she cried, rolling him onto his back and pressing her ear against his chest. Dead silence…in the worst possible way. “No…no no no…” She fell forward onto her hands and knees as tears blurred her vision.

Sophia heard footsteps approaching, presumably legionnaires to collect Lucas’ body for the funeral rites, and something in her mind just…snapped. Her expression flashed to lethal intent, and she leaped to her feet in a defensive crouch over Lucas’ body. “S-stay away from him!” she warned, her mind instinctively beginning to summon her spear.

Within the blink of an eye, strong, immovable hands clamped down on her wrists and torso, rendering her immobile. She struggled against her captors and shouted curses at them while Glaukos hovered above the chaos, hooting in distress. Sophia picked up snatches of conversation amidst the din created by her shouting.

“…gone completely insane…”

“…mad with grief…”

“…solitary confinement.”

“…grounds for court-marshal…”

Eventually the voice of the General boomed over the scattered conversations, calling everyone to attention. Sophia was still too out of it to follow completely, but he ordered them to escort her out of the building and let her return to her quarters.

Sophia’s mind clicked back to sanity. “Wait! The funeral rites! You have to let me stay for the funeral rites!” The two legionnaires holding her arms hauled her to the doorway and up the stairs while she continued to shout, “You can’t do this! I’m his second-in-command! Let me st…” The boom of the door slamming shut effectively cut off her shouts, leaving Lucas’ funeral to commence in somber silence.

The guards half-carried, half-dragged her to the entrance to the building and threw her out so that she landed on her hands and knees. Glaukos landed on her shoulder and puffed up angrily, hooting and glaring at the guards. “Return to your quarters immediately, Vakros, or you will answer to the Commander.”

‘Right…like I’m really scared of Montgomery at this point…’ Sophia thought miserably as she got to her feet and started walking, not even bothering to glance back at the legionnaires who had carried her out. She would not give them the respect of her salute.

The walk back to the barracks felt like an eternity, one slow, agonizing step after another. It was as if each step forward was just another confirmation that Lucas really was dead. The first legionnaire to treat her like a comrade…an equal…snatched away within a day. ‘Perhaps I’m just destined to live like this for the rest of my life. Or worse…maybe my Mark cursed Lucas somehow.’ An oppressing sense of guilt hung over her like a cloud. “Do you really think it’s my fault, Glaukos?” Sophia asked. “Does Athena wish to keep me set apart like this always?” Glaukos’ eyes took on a sad, confused expression that Sophia couldn’t read as he nuzzled against her cheek. She could tell him from his emotions that he was sad too and rubbed the top of his head with her finger.

As she neared the barracks, Sophia spotted Brenden pacing back and forth. The least she could do was inform him of the fate of their captain. “Brenden!” she called, garnering his attention. He instantly turned to her, his expression expectant. Words died on Sophia’s tongue as a lump formed in her throat yet again, and she simply lowered her gaze and shook her head grimly.

Once Sophia was back in her room, she paused for a moment to process everything that had just happened. ‘Did I really leave here just this morning? It feels like a lifetime ago…’ Mental, emotional, and physical fatigue beat at her senses, and she barely paused to feed Glaukos a strip of dried meat before collapsing facedown on her bed and falling unconscious…

Over the next few days, Sophia received no more summons to either the Commander or General’s offices. Quite frankly, she didn’t think she could face either of them without drawing a weapon on them. No one gave her word on how Lucas’ funeral had proceeded or even where he was buried, and she received no further orders for missions. She simply went about her days in a numb, methodical manner: wake up, eat breakfast, train, eat lunch, train, eat dinner, and sleep. She often felt the gazes of other legionnaires who had undoubtedly heard about the mission by now but paid them no heed. She would not allow her emotions to get in the way of her missions again, if and when they may occur. She was simply…numb.

A week passed in this manner…

avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Ruu on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:11 pm

Brenden had been pacing nervously, berating himself for his own cowardice. He should have followed his commander, if nothing else to be there for him during his last moments in life. For minutes he agonized, but by the time he had made up his mind, he heard Sophia call his name. As he looked towards her with hope-filled eyes, the light was immediately crushed when she wordlessly shook her head. The breath seemed to be sucked from his body and he felt an overwhelming sense of despair and sadness. After all this...it seemed the end had come for their leader. And there was nothing he could do about it. He ran as fast as he could, finding the secluded spot he frequented when tired or distraught. It was a once well-tended garden, but now was filled with wild roses and thorns. Even with the thorns, there was a subtle beauty to it, a beauty that usually calmed his frazzled nerves. Unfortunately...this time...there was no peace for him...It was here he would allow hot tears to fall, grieving for a fallen comrade who had been tricked into an undeserving fate...

A week passed and the pain still had not faded...Brenden wondered what was going to happen next. Would he ever feel whole again?
avatar
Ruu
Poltergeist
Poltergeist

Join date : 2010-09-25
Male

Posts : 758
Age : 28
Location : Home


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:19 pm

Chapter 2: Prelude to Victory

After being led to the Hades’ realm Lucas was judged by the Trivium of Judges (Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus) to be a virtuous soul and sent to the Elysian Fields. He noticed that once he entered Hades’ realm that his demigod mark disappeared. Lucas at first found everything to be incredibly easy. Everyone was treated like a king and no one wanted for anything. If you wanted food there was always plenty. If you wanted to dance there were always bands playing in dance halls. The pubs were always full of people wanting to discuss any topic. The day was never too hot or cold, too sunny or cloudy, nor anything one could consider imperfect. In short the Elysian Fields were a utopia. There were not as many shades in the Fields as Lucas expected. He learned that all the souls that had been taken to Hades realm thousands of years ago were reborn into the world. This left the realm of Hades barren for a very long time. Only the souls that had died in the recent war filled the house of Hades.

One afternoon Lucas was enjoying a beer at the pub while discussing battlefield tactics with Mark, Alexander’s deceased brother, when the whole nature of the war changed. A Nemean Lion somehow found its way into the Elysian Fields. Without his demigod powers or any weapons he was not fond of his chances for success against the lion. Then Hades appeared before him. Two columns of iron shot up from the ground and instantly crushed the lion before it had a chance to react.

“Heroes of the new age gather around to hear your king better,” Hades spoke as everyone gathered around him, “I was hoping this day would never come but we are not that lucky. Theia has found a passage into the underworld and used it to attack my realm. No one attacks my realm. I have advised Zeus of the new situation and our battle plans have changed. Mark Bennet step forward.”

“I am here my king,” Mark said as he stepped forward.

“You are placed in charge creating an army out of the shades in the Asphodel Meadows,” Hades said, “The rest of you will be granted new life, allowed to reclaim your marks and be blessed with a mark of my own. You will be sent to every city that has a passage to the underworld and are charged defending that entrance. Also, you are to create a group and kill any and all of Theia’s marks in the area. She will pay dearly for attacking my realm.”

Lucas raised his hand and Hades pointed to him. “Speak,” Hades commanded.

“What will the rules of our new life be?” Lucas asked.

“Once you have taken the mantel of new life your shade will be placed in a new body based off of your old one, which means that once you die you will again come to my realm. You will regain the mark of the gods or goddesses you had previously with the addition of my own mark. You will all be sent back to your respective cities to guard every entrance to the underworld. You must be careful though as once you gain new life you give up your claim to the Elysian Fields. You will be required to perform as a hero again to regain a favorable judgment and reclaim your place in the Fields. This is a voluntary position but I do not think there will be a shortage of willing participants here.”

Hades was correct as every shade began to volunteer their service to the cause. If the Elysian Fields can be attacked then there is no safe point for the dead. If the Titans gain this realm the war would be lost. I can’t sit idly by and watch that happen. Lucas knew that he had to volunteer to fight once again. Once everyone had volunteered each began voicing their own concerns with Hades while Lucas was able to request a private meeting. After the announcement and questions from the shades Hades retired to the seat of power in his realm with Lucas following. Persephone and Hades sat in magnificent thrones that allowed them to tower over anyone seeking an audience. The room itself was a vast cavern that was lined with precious materials that came from the ground. The ambient light made the whole room sparkle as it reflected off the precious metals and stones.

“My new king, I have volunteered for your strike team but I have a few questions,” Lucas said after bowing to Hades and Persephone.

“Yes, as you know the war for the human survival is not going well,” Hades said, “You personally witnessed your general away from your city. You know this is unusual. He was recommended to change the flow of battle before our side lost, among other things.”

“I understand,” Lucas said, “my problem is not with the assignment or blessings of Hades but with the unknown situation in the realm of the divine. How badly are we losing?”

“I have seen war many times but none such as this,” Hades said, “It is not a matter of losing but a matter of finding the right tactics to win. Such as the first Titanomachy this one only requires finding the right way to wage the war.”

“If such is the case may we try an experiment?” Lucas asked.

“I am weary from the battle to maintain my realm and have no time for games,” Hades responded.

“Let him speak his mind,” Persephone said.

“Very well. What is this ‘experiment’ you speak of?” Hades said.

“You, my king, are in no danger of being short of demigods to protect your existence. Your queen on the other hand will be a greater target now that you are pushing back against Theia. Allow me to carry her mark. I have already fought the Titaness once and injured her. I could assist you in protecting your queen’s existence,” Lucas said.

“My queen has many marks to ensure her…” Hades started.

“Interesting proposal,” Persephone said, “I am guessing there is more to this than what you have said Lucas?”

“You are not wrong my queen. I will do what is required of me. I would also ask some degree of leniency when perusing some of the life dreams that I was unable to fulfill in my first lifetime,” Lucas said pleadingly.

“You try my patience Lucas,” Hades started and was once again cut off by Persephone.

“Aphrodite already mentioned to me something about ‘having fun’ with you once you returned to the world of the living. I am interested to see what she meant as long as it does not distract you from your required duties too much,” Persephone said.

“Be glad that my queen sways my judgments on occasion,” Hades said, “You will be allowed to take her mark instead of my own. Do not let these mortal feelings of love distract you greatly, otherwise there will be repercussions.”

“Then I agree to your terms and will follow your orders my queen,” Lucas said excitedly, “As well as the orders from my king as well.” He had never dreamed that he would get a second chance at life. A second chance at doing things he had thought that he would accomplish while living.

“Do not disappoint me Lucas,” Hades warned before he waved his hand ushering in a guide to the living world, “Death is always the end result of life. Remember that you will be judged again and only the actions of this next life count in your final placement of residence in the next afterlife.”

“My king, I will try to not disappoint you or my new godparent,” Lucas said.

“See to it that you do not,” Persephone said and then added, “We expect great things from you Lucas.”

Hermes appeared and led Lucas out of the underworld. Along the way Lucas had time to think about all the new information he had learned. Hades must have been planning this attack for a while I bet. In the ancient times there were only a handful of entrances for all of Europe, but now he has one in every city. He wanted to create a powerful army and surprise the Titan forces maybe even kill one or two. He can’t wait now because his plan may have been discovered by Theia. Which means if we take her out then I will have greatly helped Hades and once again secured my place in the Elysian Fields. I bet that is the new plan. We are going to kill a titan. This move must be our Prelude to Victory otherwise the war is lost.

“We have arrived in the living world and it has been a week since you left,” Hermes said before disappearing. Lucas walked up a set of stairs and entered the basement of an abandoned house. The stairs creaked as he walked up to the main level. Once on the main level he noticed the sun beating down on him. He instantly rolled up his sleeve and looked for his mark of Helios. Before his eyes the yellow sun reappeared on his arm and he could feel himself grow stronger. He exited the building and memorized the address. It was on the west side of the city across the Grand River from the Legion Headquarters.

“I think I have time for a drink before I meet with the commander,” Lucas said to himself as he smiled.

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:24 pm

(Collab with Sunwolf)

The sun was high in the sky when Lucas arrived at Sophia’s building. He asked to be let in by one of her legionnaire neighbors, who had no trouble pointing her quarters out to him. She had apparently been upgraded from a single room in the barracks to a small apartment since he had been gone. The apartment door was not locked when he arrived, so he let himself in. He kept quiet as he entered her apartment and took a seat at the table inside. Sophia was off doing something in the far end of the apartment so Lucas waited for her to return to the kitchen. Suddenly he couldn’t contain his patience anymore and he shouted, “What do you have to drink around here?”

Sophia had her head in the laundry closet, throwing clothes in the dryer, when she heard the shout. It startled her to the point that she nearly banged her head against the doorway as she straightened and jostled Glaukos on his perch on her shoulder. She had no reason to keep her apartment locked, but she also wasn’t expecting visitors either. The legionnaires had given her this apartment and left her alone in the week since her last mission. Thinking the intruder was some petty officer looking to start some pointless trouble, she made her way to the kitchen, stone-faced, and then froze in place with a startled gasp. Even Glaukos gave a surprised hoot and took up a perch on the counter.

Sophia stepped forward slowly, still not trusting her eyes. Any second she expected to wake up and have this vision turn out to be a dream. “This…isn’t possible…” Sophia whispered as the man stood from his chair to look her in the eye. “I…watched you die…” Tears once again blurred her vision from the memories. She hesitantly reached out with her hand and rested her fingertips against his cheek, needing to confirm with touch what she saw with her eyes. Warm, living skin and dark stubble met her touch. She spoke the name she had thought to never hear again. “…Lucas?”

"It's me. At least from what I know it should be me," Lucas said unsure of how to put it into words. He rolled up the left sleeve on his shirt to the elbow and displayed a small golden circle that was on his forearm. Everyone would know this to be the mark of Helios. Seeing her eyes well up with tears made him pause for a second. He hadn't expected her to take his death this hard. "Are you okay?"

Seeing the mark on Lucas’ arm further confirmed that he was who he said he was, but it was the sound of his voice that convinced Sophia beyond a shadow of a doubt. Hearing him ask such a simple question broke whatever stone-faced façade she had tried to create. Forget her Mark. Forget proprieties. She threw her arms around Lucas’ neck and buried her face in his shoulder to hide the tears that worked their way down her cheeks. Beneath her ear, the heart that had once fallen silent only a week ago now beat strongly and vibrantly with life. “I’m fine…more than fine,” she whispered. “You’re alive, and that’s all that matters.” Regaining her composure, she pulled away just enough to see Lucas’ face. “I…don’t understand. How are you even here?”

Lucas was surprised by Sophia’s display of emotions. He didn’t realize that she had missed him that much. He would have much rather stayed in Hades’ realm than be forced to come back, even if he had another chance to be with her. He was not sorry that he had died and left her or that he had lived in a utopia for the last week. He knew that readjustment to the living world would be very hard. He also realized that it would be completely stupid to squander this second chance. He didn’t know what to say about how he felt so he went straight to answering her question. “Well, let’s just say that the war is not going in Hades’ favor and he really wants to change that. It seems that we share a common enemy and he wants me to help eliminate that enemy,” Lucas said, “You’ll get the details in the professional briefing. I’m going to need a team and I was thinking you would like to be on it.”

Sophia quickly hid the lingering remnants of her emotional outburst as Lucas gave his explanation. When he mentioned needing a team, she gave a confident nod and smile. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Glaukos picked that exact moment to land on Lucas’ shoulder and nuzzle his cheek with a series of happy chirps. “I think Glaukos missed you too. Now then, about that drink…” She rummaged through her cabinets and brought out her secret liquor stash. After pouring a drink for each of them, she gave Lucas a glass and held hers out for a toast. “Here’s to the new team and your return from the Underworld.” Glaukos pecked Lucas on the temple, almost as if chastising him, when Sophia mentioned the Underworld. She added with a laugh as her owl returned to her shoulder, “By Athena, may you never pull a crazy stunt like that again.”

Lucas just smiled and politely drank her liquor. It tasted less than the perfect drink he was used to in the Elysian Fields. In fact the whole world felt like it was in a shadow when compared to the utter perfection in the Fields. He knew that this would change as he spent time in the living world but he would never stop missing the perfection in the Elysian Fields. Still trying to avoid the topic of how the Underworld was he tried to think of something to say. Quickly failing that he took a glance at Sophia. He couldn’t help but be reminded of his feelings for her before his death and want a second chance. Yet, he would never be sorry he left this world for the next nor for how much he wanted to return to the Elysian Fields. He needed time to sort this all out in his head and right now there was little of it for him to use. “I should check in with the General. You want to come with me?” Lucas asked.

Sophia regarded him in silence as they drank their respective liquors. Something was…different…about him. He had just come back from the dead. They had a second chance to pick up where things had left off. Sophia figured Lucas would be ecstatic about these things, and yet he seemed…almost distracted. Even so, he had still come to see her first. Surely that meant something, right? When he asked if she wanted to come with him to see the General, she quickly downed the rest of her drink to buy her a few seconds to think. He just needed time, she figured. Anyone would after experiencing what he had gone through. “Of course I’ll come. I wouldn’t want to miss witnessing the look on the General’s face when he sees you.” She tried to keep up her calm, collected front, but she couldn’t completely erase the seeds of worry and doubt from her eyes.

Lucas led the way to the General’s office, which was located in the Main Building. As soon as he entered the Main Building he could see Angelena Bennet sitting in a chair off to the side of the entryway watching the door. She dropped the book that was in her hand from the shock of seeing Lucas. Lucas just smiled and waved at her like nothing was wrong. Angelena rushed over totally forgetting about her book.

“I was told an Agent of Hades was coming, but I thought it would have been Uncle Mark,” Angelena said.

“He is busy with other duties,” Lucas said, “Can you show us to your father? I have something important to discuss with him.”

“That’s what I was sent here for,” Angelena said as she led the way to the general’s office. Once at the guarded door she said she stopped. “Official business with the General. These two need a private audience.”

The guard nodded and opened the door for them. Lucas and Sophia walked inside to see the General behind a tall stack of paperwork. The office itself had a few comfortable chairs to sit in placed in front of the General’s desk. He shoved the paperwork aside and motioned for the both of them to sit down. “I was expecting Co-General Mark Bennet. This is a surprise.”

“Before we get into this Agent of Hades business I want my team present. Sophia, my second in command, is here but I need the rest of my squad,” Lucas said. Sophia sat up a little straighter at Lucas’ announcement, unusually pleased that he still wanted her as his second in command.

“Normally I would throw out a legionnaire who dared to make a demand in my office,” General Bennet said sternly, “But as you are now reporting directly to Hades I don’t think I have that luxury. I have only heard about this team hours ago and have been trying to put together a fire team from scratch. Most everyone already has an assignment.”

“I told you that I wanted my old team back. That shouldn’t be too hard since it would take a while to put together a promotion from within the Cohort,” Lucas said.

“After your mission the team fell apart. Julianne Aster and Adelphos have already been reassigned. I can assign Brenden Norwall to the Hades team. I have a transfer and a new recruit that will be joining you,” General Bennet said as he reached for a letter of Introduction on his desk and handed it to Lucas. He read it and handed it to Sophia.

Spoiler:

To Commander Alexander Bennet
Grand Rapids Legion
Lost Michigan Peninsula

Or To Whom This May Concern,

All Fortune, and the Blessings of the gods, be with you.

Soldier Mercedes duMonte, Marked Aphrodite, identified by appropriate key phrase, is an honored member of the Liberty Legion, New York East.

By command of Command Major General Roland, Mercedes duMonte is temporarily released from assignment with the Liberty Legion unto the command of Grand Rapids Legion, until such time as the Grand Rapids Commander returns her service, or until one year (marked this date) has passed.

The purpose of this assignment is to better communication between Grand Rapids and Liberty Legion Command, as well as legion command and the Eastern Council. Knowledge, strategy advancement, and tactics will be exchanged through the experience of soldiers sharing service at the most basic legionnaire level.

It is believed that Mercedes duMonte will be a credit to her training and a loyal soldier to the Grand Rapids Legion.

Acknowledged

Office Of
Command Major General Roland
Liberty Legion
New York East

Sophia quickly glanced over the letter and nodded to Lucas in acknowledgement, secretly curious as to how a Mark of Aphrodite would aid in carrying out Hades’ work. “Before this goes any further I want my whole team present,” Lucas said.

“I only brief the commander of a squad,” General Bennet said sternly.

“Well, the last time I trusted a briefing I died saving you. I really don’t want to die again because of a faulty briefing nor someone not understanding the situation,” Lucas said. Sophia’s expression also said all too plainly that it would take the entire army of the Underworld to remove her from the room. She had already lost Lucas once. She refused to lose him again. As if mirroring her emotions, Glaukos ruffled his feathers and hooted imperiously at the General.

“Very well,” the General grumbled and then yelled “Angelena!” Angelena entered the room a moment later. “Bring me Brenden Norwall, Mercedes duMonte, and Dante Martek.”
avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Moon Ray on Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:47 pm

5:25 AM

Mercedes duMonte knew she had been in the field too long when the orange glow of dawn fracturing through the tall glass panes of the Calkin buildng made her blood pressure ratchet up several uncomfortable notches. Long moments passed as she fought the insistent pound of her heart. The small hairs on her neck strained. It wasn't until she could identify the source of the threat her body felt, that she began to calm down.

"Oh brother," she sighed.

It had been more than a year since the night in the Butterfly Hut. That old green house had been a beautiful, warm oasis in a chilly northeast winter. Ultimately, it had been a false sanctuary. She still felt the cut of glass on her perfect skin. It was strange to think windows still bothered her, but living outdoors didn't give her much opportunity to become accustomed.

"Are you alright?" Julio asked, kneeling beside her. He was a narrow young man with dark hair and equally dark eyes. He wore an emblazoned tunic over simple white linens. Mercedes guessed that he hadn't intended to begin the day so early, but his morning schedule had adjusted for the arrival of her team. His expression showed his concern, but he was still composed and professional.

Grand Rapid's medical cohort was impressive. "...As expected," she would have liked to add, given the legion's forward position. But she had learned that just because a strong cohort was needed, did not guarantee one would be there.

"I'm okay," she told Julio, offering a weak smile. "Just a few cuts and bruises." The last trek, down from the Niagara Legion, looping to the west, had left only superficial damage. And if there was one thing her goddess could be counted on to protect her from -it was superficial damage.

"Physical injuries aren't the only ones you have to tend to," Julio told her gently. He tapped her forehead to indicate his point. Then, not wanting to make his patient uncomfortable, he stood and offered her a hand up. "Breakfast began a short while ago. I'll have someone bring you over, if you're hungry."

"Thanks. I think I should probably check in for my debriefing though."

"Don't worry about that," a new voice interrupted. Mercedes turned to welcome John Yu, exiting one of the offices. "I was the team's commander, after all." His eyes smiled when he said it and Mercedes was reminded again why she liked the soft-spoken soldier. Despite all the danger, despite the tension a representative of the Liberty Legion Command brought, John could still laugh at himself. What had been a stressful relationship in the field dissolved into companionable helplessness now that they stood safely at Grand Rapids HQ.

"Are the others okay then?" Mercedes asked, nodding to the doors John had just walked through.

"Oh yes. But between you and me, they're going to be resting for a few days more." When Julio frowned in confusion, John tapped his chest -where his Mark lay beneath his clothing. "Hypnos," he explained shortly.

Mercedes answered her captain's lingering sense of mischief with her own small smile. She dragged her fingers through her loose hair, shaking out the thick, black locks. She let Julio see the glitter that action left on her hand. "Sleepytime Poison," she explained, mimicking John.

"I'll let the boss know," Julio said. "You two should go take care of your own bodies. Eat."

"Sounds like a plan," John agreed, moving ahead to open the door to the stairwell. Mercedes ignored him when he bowed low, raising her head regally as if she disdained eye contact with such a peon. "You'll have to go on ahead," he told her, catching up when he'd finished with his joke. "I have a purse of letters to deliver to Commander Bennet. And then there's the fun task of reporting on this last mission. And my stellar leadership."

Mercedes frowned at him over her shoulder. He was shorter than she was, but on the stairs they matched eye level. John stopped short, leaning away from her with something like panic in his eyes. "You're leadership was beyond reproach," she told him seriously. In her voice she tried to put the authority of a woman who had spent the last three years reproaching leadership across the countryside.

When she started moving down the stairs again, he exhaled shakily and shook his head. "We were expecting some resistance of course," he said. "But we should have arrived almost a month ago. I believe we managed to walk into the territory of every monster between Niagara and here! We led an iron bull straight to Grand Rapids' doorstep!"

Mercedes clicked her tongue impatiently. "The response cohort took care of it with no casualties and no fuss. I'm quite certain they were enjoying themselves this morning." She pushed open the door at the bottom of the stairwell, leading the way into the morning sun. "And the rest of it was bad luck."

"Nobody has that much bad luck," John muttered. They both paused, frozen by some common instinct, as they glanced about the walkway leading from the building. Mercedes' mind cataloged four blind corners, and half of the sky was blocked by the tall building. When she noticed John looking at the glass catwalk overhead, she remembered the danger of overhead attacks. And then, just as uniformly, they remembered they were safe at legion headquarters. Neither said anything about it as they walked towards the main path.

Mercedes remembered the weeks upon weeks of bad luck that had brought them here. Monsters who shouldn't have been so far south, had stalked them. More than a reasonable number of times, the team had walked into webs or pits designed to catch the unwary prey. These things happened to everyone, of course ...except that the team was all comprised of experienced fighters and survivalists. Going by experience and skill, Mercedes would have placed money that they would have arrived ahead of schedule, completely unscathed.

Nobody had that much bad luck...

"I'll see you later," John said abruptly. Their paths separated -he to the Commanders' offices on the right, she to what was unmistakably the smell of the mess hall on the left.


6:30 AM

Mercedes wasn't usually shy, but she wished John Yu had been able to stay to escort her a little while longer. Since being Marked, it was hard to make friends the way she used to. But John was the type to look after his soldiers and provide whatever they needed -including a friendly rib, if the moment called for it. if they weren't actually comfortably easy with each other; at least they could pretend well enough.

She rolled an apple across her palm -not really hungry, but relishing the fresh fruit.

The mess hall emptied and filled in waves as each unit took their scheduled turn. Those who worked before dawn had already eaten by the time Mercedes arrived. The fighting soldiers finished scarfing down their meal soon after -rushing out to begin another day of tasks. The next influx was made of support staffers -those who could sleep in to a reasonable hour. These were the first who apparently had the leisure (or inclination) to gossip over their food. They chattered around mouthfuls and Mercedes listened.

The majority of the talk centered around the recent drama at legion headquarters -of which there was a surprising amount. Her eyebrows climbed when she heard someone mention General Bennet's death -and she wondered at the lack of funerary flags, before remembering John had mentioned he was going to meet with the man. If it was the same General Bennet (and how many could there be?), Mercedes chalked it up to a prank of one of the estimable ancient gods.

It concerned her that someone powerful enough to bring the dead back to life (or pretend to) was taking an interest in Grand Rapids Legion. In her short life of experiences, she had determined it was better to be completely overlooked by the immortals. Anything else just brought excitement and adventure enough to level whole towns.

The number of stories involving legionnaires suffering from mental stress disorders also concerned her. Not only did she find low gossip over such afflicted individuals distasteful, she found the sheer number to be talked of was a stark indication of the stress Grand Rapids had been suffering as a legion. The extra concern Julio had shown took on a new light. The encroaching darkness was filled with enemies. She wondered if the handful of reinforcements she had brought with her from Niagara (however skillful) would be enough to make a difference.

"Are you new here?" Mercedes met the brown eyes of a fair-faced girl as she bounced down, straddling the bench. She wore the blazon of 2nd Cohort, and the tabs of a messenger. It was a suitable position for the darting wisp of girlhood. "Where are you coming from? I'm Angelena Bennet, Second Cohort. Nice to meet you-" She extended her hand, only pausing momentarily before clasping Mercedes' soft palm. She let go quickly, but covered it up with a smile. "Welcome to Grand Rapids."

Mercedes struggled to keep her face in calm impassivity. She nodded, like a member of a forgotten royalty and asked, "Thank you. Bennet...?"

"Oh yes. My father is Commander General Bennet." She said it off-hand, but Mercedes winced internally.

"Forgive me for asking," she said sincerely. "I'm Mercedes duMonte. I'm transferring into Grand Rapids as of today."

"You must be one of them from Niagara Legion! Come to help us fight off all this new trouble we've been having. I heard you all were still under a sleep spell and wouldn't be up for a few days. I'm glad you're okay. I knew you had to be, when I saw you." Angelena sounded pleased with the confirmation, but Mercedes wondered that she should know so much with the General still locked in a briefing. "Are you done eating? Let me introduce you to some of my friends."

Mercedes didn't move when Angelena stood. Angelena was only a few inches taller in that position, and they were close enough for Mercedes to see the underlying nervousness in the girl's chatter. She wasn't so young that she would never have seen battle, but there was something protected about her. Something was preserving her innocence. It was almost startling to see it after the last mission -after the last few years. Even more so to see it in a legionnaire fighting on the borders of civilization.

"I am done eating," she allowed.

"Good," Angelena insisted. The girl even picked up her tray -though she passed it off to someone headed towards the washing station, rather than take it herself. "If you want to get along around here, you have to stay on top of the news. That means getting to know your friendly, legionnaire messengers."

"Is that right?" Mercedes happened to agree with that point, but she wasn't about to encourage the dark haired whippet to break basic messenger protocols.

"These are the guys," she announced, stopping at a table of lean bodied youths. Each of them with messenger tabs sewn to their clothing. "Guys, this is Mercedes. She's transferring in with the Niagara soldiers."

There was a brief silence while they all got a look at her, and Mercedes let them have it, unabashedly. She knew, without modesty, that she was very beautiful. "Strikingly" beautiful, as the stunned group of kids would probably attest. But having come into the beauty later in life, it was easy to feel detached from it. So she didn't blush. Finally one of the lads squeaked out, "Welcome to Grand Rapids."

"Don't worry," Angelena piped up to reassure her. "We're all nice people. Some of us can even talk." A few blushes spread across the table and Angelena laughed. "Don't be so surprised, guys. Mercedes is a Mark of Aphrodite."

Mercedes felt her eyes widen in surprise. Her Mark was decently covered by several layers of clothing, and it wasn't a fact she often led with. But looking at Angelena's sharp eyes -Angelena Bennet's eyes- Mercedes wondered what there was to be shocked about.

In the end she managed to trade greetings with most of the young messengers. Not all were as free with their gossip as Angelena, but they were a friendly bunch. They were able to point her in the direction of several important facilities on the campus, eager to provide her with the inside-scoop. When they scattered to their appointed tasks Mercedes saw an efficient and professional team depart.


8:12 AM

"What is this for?" Helen called.

Mercedes glanced up from her book, rolling her head along the top of the sofa cushion until she could see what the young messenger girl held. "That's for cursing people with blindness," she said, returning to the book. "It should kick in in about ten minutes."

"Really?" Helen gave one end of the astrojax a shake. Aside from the rings, most of Mercedes' weapons were magical poisons. Sleep, rage, stun,... Helen held the three spherical weights gingerly, cautious of where they might reveal their bite. But Mercedes' tone didn't inspire a sense of imminent danger, so she fingered the thin braided rope that threaded through each weight.

Mercedes ignored her.

One of Angelena's friends had been able to direct her to a private shower. When she had explained the problem in bathing where someone might accidentally stumble in, Helen had been appointed to guard her.

...Or something like that. Helen had the day off and had seemed eager to show the newcomer around. Now they sat in the lowest level of the library where the cement floors echoed a warning of anyone who might pass by, and there were no large windows with threatening panes to disturb her study. As much as she could wish people would stay out of her things, she knew a Mark of Hermes when she saw one. She would check for missing items later, and it kept Helen from interrupting while she read.

Mercedes long straight hair was braided up in a complex and confining pattern that kept any strands from falling in the way. The braid raised a thick line down the center of her scalp, and the tail fell over the back of the sofa, swinging just a foot from the dusty floor. Her skin was clean and distinctly lacking the least blemish from the night before. It shone a happy bronze color. Even her magical saree -which was always clean- was feeling the improvement of semi-civilized life. The skirt was a dazzling white with an elegant silver leaf embroidery wrapping up her legs for accent. The choli was modest, with more embroidery, and showed only a sliver of skin at the bottom of her rib cage. The end of her saree wasn't unduly long, but clung gracefully to her left shoulder, shifting in imaginary winds when she moved.

"Hey!" Helen called in the tone of discovery. The girl had realized if she held one end of the astrojax, the opposite end would swing in a butterfly pattern, anchored by the middle weight.

Mercedes watched with one eye. She had intended to use the time to skim though the local reports of monsters, and maybe catch up on recent missions. Perversely, she found herself drawn into an copy of Bulfinch's greek mythology -a veritable encyclopedia of gods. The lesser gods had caught her attention, and she skimmed through stories looking for references of a toad god. It was just a curiosity, but she felt her brain deserved a small reward now that they were safe.

"Ouch!" Helen yelped. The girl jumped as the astrojax bounced too high in its butterfly pattern and knocked against her fingers. Unfortunately the movement of her response bounced the astrojax perpendicular to where they had been previously swinging -towards Helen's body. She over corrected and the far end shot past her face, swung on the center weight, and caught her in the back of the head. "Owowowowowow!"

Mercedes knelt next to the girl, holding her forehead in one hand and cushioning the base of her neck with the other. "I'm sorry. I should have warned you. You're okay. No blood." No gaping hole in her skull -which was a distinct possibility. Mercedes peered at the maze of black rows made from the girl's hair, just to be sure. "Sorry. You might have a bit of a goose egg."

Helen tried to breath steadily, forcing herself to calm down admirably. Far sooner than Mercedes would have expected, she sat back and tried a weak smile. "It's okay. You did warn me." She glanced at the clock, "Not quite ten minutes."

Mercedes swallowed a laugh, catching the reference. "Don't worry. The blindness is only temporary."

Footsteps alerted them to someone trotting down the stairs. "Helen? Do you have that Niagara Legion woman?" A blonde haired young man jumped down the last steps and peeked into the room. "Hey! I've been looking all over for you! I- ah-" His words stuttered off as Mercedes stood to the full reach of her height. Her saree rippled from her shoulders to the floor, like a silver waterfall and a testament to elegance.

"Keith, close you're mouth." Helen laughed, "Mercedes, you're scaring him."

There wasn't much she could say to that, since it was something that she subtly encouraged. Especially with strangers. Especially with men.

At further prompting from Helen, the newcomer managed to explain, "Angelena's looking for her. Message from the General, I think."

Mercedes concealed a groan and immediately went to gather her things. From the pile of jewelry on the table, she gathered her four silver rings -trusting to size and fit to make sure they ended up on the right fingers. One on each thumb, one on each pinky finger. A thin silver bracelet slipped onto her left wrist. She swiped the rest into a small satchel, took her astrojax out of Helen's hand, and followed Keith up the stairs three at a time. Outside the library's front doors, they ran into Angelena Bennet, looking harried.

"General Bennet wants you in on a briefing," Angelena reported. She explained where and then darted away to finish delivering her messages.

"Do you need a guide?" Keith asked, looking at the ground.

"I think I'll be fine, thank you." Mercedes held the two opposite ends of her astrojax and swung it lightly around her neck. When all three weights clicked together, the rope wrapping around the muscles of her throat, the weapon settled into the shape of a necklace.

She followed Angelena's directions at a steady jog and arrived swiftly, but not out of breath. Taking one last moment to settle herself she knocked and announced herself to her new commander for the next year.


Last edited by Moon Ray on Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
avatar
Moon Ray
Shadow
Shadow

Join date : 2012-05-06
Female

Posts : 212

Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Ruu on Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:04 pm

6:00 AM

Brenden was already awake, looking quietly out the window of his quarters. He hadn't dealt well with the loss of a comrade, and since the last mission he had been reassigned to work within the main complex, tending to the sick and wounded. The young boy had been thankful for the work, as he had been able to take his mind off of the sorrow. He had seen Sophia a few times, but there had been little to say. Still, he took comfort in her presence, knowing that she had experienced the same thing as he, perhaps worse. He couldn't help but notice that Lucas and Sophia had acted more than Commander and Legionnaire. There was something else there...something beautiful...a blossoming romance, or so it seemed. The others in the group had seemingly been reassigned, and it seemed as if the old team had fallen apart. He wondered if he'd ever feel right going on another mission again? He knew it was his duty, but how much more grief could he take...

8:15 AM

A soft yet urgent knock on the door knocked Brenden from his reverie. How long had he been contemplating? With careful steps he went and answered the door. In front of him stood Angelena Bennett. He looked at her in surprise. The last time she had come to his door had been....

"General Bennett wishes to see you. You are to report to him at once," she said in a short, clipped voice as if she were in a hurry.

"He...does?" Brenden breathed, "But...why?"

"You'll find out when you get there," replied Angelena in an exasperated voice, "Anymore questions?"

Brenden shook himself, realizing how rude he had sounded, "Ah...I'm sorry, ma'am. I will be there immediately."

Angelena nodded and was gone. In a few moments Brenden was dressed and ready. As he walked to the General's quarters, he couldn't help but feel unease tugging at the corners of his stomach. He felt as if he had swallowed a carton of creeping, crawling bugs and they were all crawling inside of him. He didn't know what the General wanted, and after the past events, he wasn't sure what was going to happen. At last, he reached the General's quarters and was admitted without preamble.

"Brenden Norwall reporting for duty, Sir," he said, but stopped when his eyes fell on Lucas.

He gasped, trying to speak, but nothing came out but air. But Lucas was dead...Sophia had attested to that fact. She was here as well, standing next to Lucas. What could this all mean? He could do nothing but stand quietly, waiting for an explanation.
avatar
Ruu
Poltergeist
Poltergeist

Join date : 2010-09-25
Male

Posts : 758
Age : 28
Location : Home


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Digital Muse on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:34 pm

****Thanks to Moon Ray for the collaboration!****

A raven-haired, well-built man dressed with an eye for the effect of his physique and dark eyes sat at a table in the mess hall carelessly peeling and eating boiled eggs. He watched as others from the headquarters came and went. He was bored. Most of the people around him were just dull. After a half hour, Dante finally caught the attention of a few relatively new soldiers to the headquarters.

Dante smiled a greeting and knew that with his billowing white shirt open as far as it was that the twin marks of Hecate decorating his pectorals would make them curious. He tended to make the most of the air of mystery the little known goddess afforded him. With an elegant wave of the hand, he invited the three newcomers to sit with him. One had the mark of Hermes the other two, he couldn’t see. “Welcome.” He smiled again. “Blessings on you.” Dante was an expert at cold reading people and he could tell that he had piqued the interest of two of them immediately. The red-haired girl with fair skin and charming freckles flushed in a most delightful way any time he looked in her direction. So, he did it often, being sure to catch her eyes and imply so much more with that look than anyone would have believed. The other, the young man with the mark of Hermes was also intrigued, but more out of curiosity than the sense of innocent flirtation the girl did. The third youth, a boy with muddy brown hair and a strong jaw seemed to take Dante’s glances toward the girl rather personally. Perfect.

“Where are you from?” Dante asked innocently as he poured salt into his palm so he could dip his boiled egg into it and eat it.

The trio explained the various cities they came from, how they found themselves at headquarters and their duties here.

Dante listened attentively noting key words, body language and he worked his dark good looks on the girl without saying a single word. Something the boy that seemed to feel possessive could truly take offense to. Finally the blushing girl asked him, “Your mark…what is it?

Dante smile up through his lashes at her, “Hecate. Goddess of Witches, passages, Magic and journeys.” He paused dramatically and with a tiny flick of his wrist, produced a simple paper flower from his sleeve. It was nothing, but as he handed it to the girl, he let his fingers brush over hers before adding, “And much more.”

The girl’s scarlet flush was gratifying, but absolutely what he expected to happen. The brown-haired youth twitched uncomfortably and looked very unhappy at how things were going between Dante and his apparent girlfriend. He interrupted the moment by belligerently interrupting, “Magic? That wasn’t magic. Just a stupid paper flower. It was up your girly shirt sleeves.” He looked to his companion as if to gain some back up. “Bet you can’t do any real magic. If you could, you wouldn’t be here.”

The red-head was startled and ashamed. “Cory! You apologize!”

Dante shook his head as if despairing for the boy’s intelligence. “Very well, if I can…” He looked around as if to find some inspiration before he took up one of the unpeeled boiled eggs and presented it with a flourish of his right hand. “If I can make this egg stand on end, you have to do my laundry for a month. And I like it ironed just so, mind you.”

“Fine! If not, you do mine.” The boy shot back.

“Dante nodded solemnly, “I accept.” He lowered his head and took a deep breath, building the effect. Holding up his left hand, palm up, Dante delicately placed the egg end up into his slightly cupped palm. It remained standing easily. He then passed his right hand over and around it with fluid movements of a master stage magician. “And there you have it.” He glanced up at the three before he added, “A little starch in the collars, if you please.”

Before Dante could rise to leave, the brown-haired youth, nearly shouted him down, “That’s bull! That’s not magic at all! Anyone can hold a damned egg in their hand!” He slammed his hand onto the table top. “Here! Stand it up on this, pretty boy!”

Dante looked quite put out, “Really. Changing the rules after a bet has been made? Hardly fair of you.” Dante paused, and then nodded. “As you wish, then.” Once again, Dante’s right hand made a delicate flourish over the egg. Picking it up with three long fingers, Dante placed it delicately onto the table top. He allowed the tension build slightly and let go of the egg very gently, spreading his hands to show the egg, remarkably standing on its end on the hard table surface. “I hope you are satisfied?” After several seconds, Dante picked up the egg again. “Laundry day is each Thursday. A deal is a deal, correct?”

The youth looked completely flabbergasted. “Wha--? How did you do that? You cheated! Give me that egg! There’s a trick.”

By now several other people began to gather around their table, much to the chagrin of the girl and the messenger. Again and again, Cory attempted to get the egg to stand on its end, but every time it rolled over and threatened to roll right off the table. Finally, the girl put an end to it. “Cory, just stop. You made a deal and you lost. Just take it and honor your word.”

Dante rose and began to leave the mess hall, he reminded the youth. “Don’t forget, Cory. Thursdays.” Once his back was turned and he was halfway out of the hall, Dante grinned sardonically and brushed his left hand free of the salt that he’d had there from eating the eggs earlier. He’d always managed to sucker someone to get extra rations or a plush bed or, in this case, his laundry done. All it took was his mark’s gullibility. He’d never used his magic once.

***********************************************************************************
Still grinning about his encounter with the young Cory, Dante stalked, almost cat-like across the parade ground toward his room. He needed to see about his armor. He had a feeling…

“Private Martek? Private Martek? I’ve been sent to find you.” A slender young girl waved him down.

His lips twitched upward, “I see. Decided virginity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?”

The girl stopped dead in her tracks, eyes wide, “What?” Her eyes were as large as the proverbial deer in the headlights.

Dante shook his head at her, “Never mind. What do you need?”

“Oh…uh…you’re supposed to go to General Bennett’s office. For a briefing.” She began to reverse direction, “You’ve been reassigned.” She paused, coughed slightly, “At your last Commander’s request.”

Dante’s ebon eyebrow crooked. “Indeed.” He loaded the word with sarcasm. Dante followed the girl into the headquarters and they continued down the gray hall. Ahead of him a stunning woman swayed along the hall. Well now. Things are definitely improving. “And who is that?” Dante inquired

“Mercedes DuMonte. She just transferred here. In fact she’s going to the same briefing you are.”

Dante’s eyes brightened. “Is she now?” He glanced back at the girl absently, “Very well then. Shoo. I can find my way. I hardly need a sitter.”

Moving along with his long legs, Dante quickly rounded the corner after the woman in the saree. He was just in time to see her knocking on General Montgomery’s office. Closing the distance, Dante placed a hand on Mercy’s right shoulder but presented a stunning white rose to her over her left. “I believe you need rescuing, Ms. DuMonte.” He was certain to lower his chin to get the fullest effect of his dark eyes and lashes.

"Specialist," Mercedes corrected the stranger, tasting the new rank on her tongue.
She turned slowly under his hand, ignoring the rose for the moment. An about-face brought her eye-level with the stranger's chin, close enough for a kiss. She canted her own strong chin up, displaying her best regal poise. Black eyes met green -flecked with gray. She did not recognize the man; he was beautiful and oppressive. It was only a tight control and years of experience that stopped her from calling her sword to her and opening a hole in his gut.

With that thought she took her fingers from the ring on her thumb and softened her face minutely. The skin of her shoulder warmed where he touched it.

"The entire countryside needs rescuing, soldier." Her voice came out a little more sharply than she intended. "What danger do you find me in?"


Unperturbed when Mercedes corrected him about her rank, Dante merely pursed his lips at her. The effect gave the uncanny impression that he had read her thoughts about being close enough to kiss. While it wasn’t true, Dante had never had the same sense of personal space that most others did. When Mercy didn’t immediately take the offered rose, he inhaled its scent deeply before answering her.

“Why from making a poor first impression. I should hate to see you make a misstep first thing, after all.” He bowed very slightly. “I am your servant.” His sardonic smile made a lie of the statement. “You were about to enter the office of Commander Montgomery. I believe you are to meet with General Bennett?”

Once more, he offered the rose to Mercy. “I would be happy to show you the way, perhaps after a tour of our delightful home?”

Mercedes took the white rose gingerly, thoughtfully. The thorns were not cut and she brushed fingers over the man's to hold the stem in the same place he had. That small, deliberate touch was to let him feel the pulse of electricity that had melted a more infatuated man.

She glanced at the door, seeing it was marked by a number, not a name. Though now that she was looking for it, she saw the rank cut into the plaque beside the door. Both Generals, but the difference of assignment was in the details. "Thank you for correcting me."

It bothered her that he knew both her name and where she was headed, but she didn't count it as unusual. Legion Headquarters were -each and every one- gossip mills. Quite aside from Angelena's indiscretions, which were a matter of security and professional integrity. Mercedes had admitted a long time ago, that there was no sense in expecting people wouldn't talk about a Mark of Aphrodite. It wasn't a conceit to expect the entire campus would know her preferences and habits by the end of the week.

What did surprise her was the flower. She couldn't profess that the language of flowers had ever been of interest to her, but a single rose was kind of obvious.

Eternal devotion, said a gift of a single rose. And he had claimed, "I am your servant." But neither statement rang true. Mercedes knew what that sentiment sounded like when someone was in earnest. Her power of Charm encouraged it too often. This man's heart, she guessed, must be occupied elsewhere. But then why the facade?

And there was the color to consider. White suggested chastity -or weddings, perhaps. Both concepts sounded absolutely ridiculous coming from this confident, deft predator. His voice rumbled deep and soft, bringing to mind distant thunder and satin sheets. That was a learned voice; not one a person was born with. She didn't even know his name, but she knew chaste was not an adjective to describe him.

And if he's trying to apply the label of girlhood to me, he will be the first, Mercedes observed, sardonically.

She spun the stem in her fingertips and found her mood inexplicably improved by this strange mystery. "A tour will have to wait. If you would point out the correct meeting place...?" She didn't think it would be so hard to find, now that she knew where to look.


Dante did his best to look positively crest-fallen. “You wound me. Are you saying your briefing with General Bennett is more important that a stroll of the grounds in my company?” His eyes twinkled now, showing his humor for the first time. “I shall fall into a deep depression later, I promise you. But I suppose in the mean time I will go to my briefing with General Bennett as well.” Laugh lines showed at the corners of Dante’s eyes finally and the left side of his lips twitched upwards. “His office is just down the hall, actually.”

Dante lead the way, smiling the entire way and just before knocking on the door, he paused and asked, “You’re sure? The weather truly is lovely today.” He tilted his head at Mercy, inviting a different answer than the first one she’d given him.

Mercedes duMonte ignored the suggestion entirely. She reached forward and struck the door thrice with her knuckles. When they were called to enter she immediately turned the knob. One carefully arched brow was the only hint of an expression as she pushed past the man on her way in.

"Mercedes duMonte, transfer out of Liberty Legion, reporting." She stood at attention and waited for her guide to do the same.


Dante chuckled softly and he was certain that the woman with the obvious mark of Aphrodite upon her was going to make his dull life very interesting indeed. He glided into the room behind Mercy and leaned his tall frame against a wall deliberately looking negligently graceful. But then his dark eyes fell onto Lucas. Shock must have shown on his face quite clearly before he got it under control again. The man had been dead. That had not been a mere rumor. “Well now. Curioser and curiouser.” He murmured to himself.
avatar
Digital Muse
Guardian Ghost
Guardian Ghost

Join date : 2009-08-12
Female

Posts : 1381
Location : South Dakota


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Lucas watched as his new team gathered in the General’s office. The shocked look on Brenden’s face told Lucas that he would have to explain the situation to the team. Mercedes duMonte and Dante Martek arrived at the same time. Lucas couldn’t help but have his eyes drawn to Mercedes. The first thing he noticed was her beauty and how she appeared to outshine most of the women he had ever met. Without a doubt she is marked by Aphrodite. I ask for soldiers and I get a charmer. Are we really that short on personal? Lucas thought as he forcibly turned his gaze to Dante. Lucas had heard of Dante but had never worked with him. From what Lucas knew of the Dante he was not impressed. To Lucas it seemed as if Dante cared more about swindling people and chasing women than about winning the war. Lucas turned back to the General to see him still staring at Mercedes.

“General, we are now ready for the briefing,” Lucas said forcing Alex to stop gazing at Mercedes.

“Right. As some of you know I recently left the city for a secret meeting with the other generals of the area to discuss battle strategy. I ran into an ambush on the way back and a team was dispatched to retrieve me. At the meeting a new strategy was discussed in length and was given to us by Athena. All Legions are to restructure into a force to be used for offensive operations. This restructuring was to be completed over the next few months but our timetable got moved up. Now I have a massive mess to deal with and now I am ordered by Hermes to create a task force to be handed over to an agent of Hades to counter Theia’s attempts to put an end to our offensive operation,” Alex said, “Now Lucas I am sure there are a few holes you could fill us in on as the agent sent by Hades.”

“The Underworld was attacked by Theia’s minions, which means she knows an entrance to the Underworld. If she can take it from Hades then she will greatly strengthen the Titans. She would be able to create an army out of the shades there and take every city. To stop this Hades sent out a small army comprised from the shades sent to Elysian Fields. As far as I know we are every bit as alive as we were before we died and we have had our marks returned to us. Our goal is to stop Theia by removing the threat to our operations,” Lucas explained to the group. General Bennet looked shocked.

“You mean to tell me you are going to kill a Titan?” the General asked.

“That’s the plan,” Lucas said with a smile, “We are going to kill off all her marks and then kill the Titaness herself, in doing so we will tip the balance of the war to our favor. If we succeed our place in the Elysian Fields will be almost guaranteed. Trust me, it’s a very nice place to spend your afterlife. I know that the General here has ordered you all to my new squad but if you feel as if this task is too great for you then I will have you reassigned. This will be your choice to be on this squad. Think about it and let me know what you decide.”

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:43 pm

Sophia and Lucas stood to greet the legionnaires that would comprise their new team. She was not surprised in the least when Brenden was the first to arrive. “Brenden Norwall reporting for duty, Sir.”

She chuckled silently to herself at his open-mouthed reaction to seeing Lucas alive again, and she gave him a reassuring smile. “I know, I had quite a similar reaction as well,” she remarked to him. No need for the young man to know that her reaction had also involved tears, a heartfelt embrace, and the strongest liquor in her cabinet. The door opened again to admit two legionnaires that Sophia had never met.

“Mercedes duMonte, transfer out of Liberty Legion, reporting.”

“Well now. Curioser and curioser.” She assumed this was Dante.

Sophia quickly assessed the two newcomers with the same tactical eye that she would use for reviewing battle strategies. Mercedes carried herself well, saluting her commanding officers and awaiting orders like a good legionnaire, though she certainly didn’t look dressed for combat. In contrast, Dante skulked into the room behind her and leaned casually against the wall without offering a name or a salute. Sophia glanced over at Lucas, waiting for him to start the briefing, and then she noticed that his gaze was fixated on Mercedes. She instantly felt a stab of…something, though she kept her expression neutral. She couldn’t place what this negative emotion was, but it felt like her insides were twisting while at the same time growing a cold, hard lump in her stomach. Whatever it was, she didn’t like it. Glaukos puffed up indignantly, as if picking up on Sophia’s emotions, and hooted loudly at Lucas.

Lucas finally snapped out of his trance to acknowledge Dante, and then Sophia followed his gaze back over to the General…only to find him also staring at Mercedes. “General, we are now ready for the briefing.” General Bennet also seemed to snap out of a daze, and Sophia decided that maybe it was worth having a Mark of Aphrodite around if only to witness her effects on their normally stoic – not to mention married – General.

The information that General Bennet and Lucas provided quickly filled in the gaps of the past week and answered most of Sophia’s questions. Restructuring the Legions for offensive operations was certainly a bold but viable strategy worthy of Athena’s name, and Theia’s attempts to halt their plans by attacking the Underworld were equally advanced. Sophia now also understood how and why Lucas had come back to life, along with every other shade sent to the Elysian Fields. She wagered that quite a few bereft families were about to receive a major shock, if they had not already.

“You mean to tell me you are going to kill a Titan?” General Bennet asked, as if in disbelief.

Lucas seemed confident about his plan to kill Theia’s marks and then destroy her, and it made sense to target the marks first to weaken the Titaness’ power. “If we succeed our place in the Elysian Fields will be almost guaranteed. Trust me, it’s a very nice place to spend your afterlife.” Sophia keyed into that last statement. The way Lucas described the Elysian Fields with such longing…was that why he had acted so distant earlier? Was he still longing to return to the paradise he had left in his afterlife? If so, where did that leave her?

“This will be your choice to be on this squad. Think about it and let me know what you decide.”

On one hand, Lucas had a viable strategy for taking on the Titaness. On the other hand, his plan was also absolutely, positively insane. How could five legionnaires hope to destroy all of Theia’s marks and then Theia herself? Sophia and Lucas had the most combat experience, but two legionnaires against a Titaness was hardly a fair fight. Brenden was a skilled archer and healer, so hopefully he could keep the squad alive. As for Mercedes and Dante, what could they do? Charm Theia to death and skulk at her? Despite these tactical disadvantages, Sophia knew that she could only make one choice.

“Sir, as your second in command and a Mark of Athena, I would join this squad and see my patroness’ strategy carried out.” Sophia’s mark – a pair of stylized owl eyes – tingled on her forehead as she invoked Athena’s name. She took it as a sign of approval from her patroness and awaited the others’ responses.
avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Ruu on Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:27 pm

Brenden could only stand in astounded silence, for a few more moments until he finally gathered enough courage to move. As if a trance, he reached out to tap Lucas' arm, but quickly pulled back looking embarrassed.

"I-I...I'm sorry...I just wasn't sure if you were..." he hesitated before smiling from Lucas to Sophia, "This is more than I could have hoped for! I'm just so glad you're here again, no matter what the reasons!"

He blinked and looked up as the two newcomers arrived. His eyes widened upon seeing the woman, and young as he was he could not help but feel spellbound. He finally dragged his gaze from her to look at the young man. He was an interesting character, and there was something different about him...Brenden wandered what his mark was and what kind of skills he possessed. Still...if the General chose him, he must be a worthy addition to the team.

He turned to listen quietly to the debriefing from the General and his Commander. So...Hades was worried about his own realm...Theia was a threat even the forces of the dead? That was the reason Lucas had been allowed to return, to carry out his will. It seemed they were truly going to kill a Titanness and her marks. It sounded ludicrous and yet here Lucas was, back from the dead. Surely nothing could be impossible. Even before Lucas asked them to consider his offer, Brenden already had answer, and it seemed Sophia did as well.

"You're going to need a healer on this dangerous mission. I would be more than honored to serve under your command once again," said Brenden, bowing his head.
avatar
Ruu
Poltergeist
Poltergeist

Join date : 2010-09-25
Male

Posts : 758
Age : 28
Location : Home


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Moon Ray on Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:50 am

That left two.

Mercedes kept her face mild though the question that lay before the room had startled her. She tapped her wrist with the hand that wasn't carrying a rose, bringing attention to her bracelet that was a legionnaire's shield. "Either with this, or on it," Mercedes quoted.

She found eyes on her again, but now that the initial shock of her entrance was over, many of those gazes were tinted with evaluation. Assessing. She knew too well what they saw: a strong, Native American nose; browning skin; absurdly long hair; a tall, toned body; and clothes that were better suited to an evening affair among high society. It all added up to a Mark of Aphrodite -albeit, not the image brought to mind in ancient Greek texts. And Aphrodite's patrons were not meant for the battlefield. Oh well, her internal voice sighed wryly.

The General nodded to himself, acknowledging her answer. She felt some sympathy for his position, but privately she was very surprised by the format of this briefing. Mercedes had done her share of briefings to Generals and other officers of rank, so she was not entirely unnerved by his grand presence. But she found herself unsure of protocols given the situation. She hadn't even been introduced to her apparent new team leader -this Lucas. Nor any of the rest, save perhaps the walking Equal Courtesy (EC) violation she had met in the hall. Was it appropriate to ask questions with the General watching? She felt that might breach the chain of command policies. And while General Bennet had begun the briefing, control had slipped non-too-subtly into Lucas' hands as he took his turn addressing his new command. To whom should she be presenting her questions?

In the end she decided it would be best to ignore the Legion General. As if he were merely shadowing to inspect his subordinate officers.

She moved forward a moment after she spoke, making a physical statement of allegiance.

If she was honest, she was dismayed by the people selected for this team.

A young leader -well that was normal enough for his grade. What she had seen of Lucas, in the few minutes of their acquaintance, did not inspire a lot of trust. His words edged towards insubordinate when speaking with General Bennet. (”I know that the General here has ordered you all to my new squad but if you feel as if this task is too great for you then I will have you reassigned.”) His briefing of what was clearly an overwhelming undertaking built on a complex foundation was rushed and vastly incomplete. And the idea that he had very recently been in the Underworld –seemingly looking forward to returning- was, frankly, unsettling. The best she could say for him was that those who had worked with him were eager to do so again. But perhaps that was just a legionnaire’s loyalty and courage.

A Mark of Athena was usually a good sign; even had she not announced it herself, Mercedes couldn’t overlook the shining Mark on her forehead nor the owl making obtrusive noises on her shoulder. Putting the bird aside, Athena’s Marks should make good soldiers.

Are and Ought are often far apart, her internal voice spoke up again, singing. She had known several fists of Athena’s followers –the goddess was popular among the legions’ soldiers, especially among the women. Some, she remembered, should have prayed to their patron a little more frequently. Some, received blessings that had little to do with battle. Paula Derrikson’s skill, found in the White Mountain Legion ranks, was for underwater basket weaving and it had been the most useless blessing Athena could have summoned.

This Mark at least looked like she could handle a weapon. Tall, and muscular, were the firsts words brought to mind. Young, quickly followed. Sadly, the girl spent very little time on beautification, though she wasn’t ugly. Worst of all, she was a woman who didn’t seem to be the least caught up in admiring Aphrodite’s work. Mercedes steeled herself for a long, hard slog to build a workable relationship with this one.

The healer at least looked agreeable. (So very very young.) However talented, she could not fathom this healer –this boy- being much other than support.

That left herself (and she had no bias in admitting her presence was a disruption to any and even the best team), and the Dark Flirt lurking behind her (as if he were a cat watching the amusing antics of a trapped mouse before stepping in to eat it). As bad off as this team looked, Mercedes still hoped Dante would opt out. For his own sake, at least; any extended time with that man could only end in skin lacerations. She rolled the stem of her rose in her fingers.

Mercedes forced herself to focus on the matter of discussion. Team dynamics could be assessed and addressed later.

“What will your tactics be in this case?” She asked Lucas. “Do you know where the Titaness is? Or have a way to track her? Or her Marks for that matter?”

Her eyes flicked a map posted on the wall. Various charts and tables were hung about the room –a supply schedule, a list of names for consideration,… Nothing classified, but reminders and notes constructed in meetings. Mercedes glanced at one which graphed the legion’s area of operations. It was obvious from there, in conjunction with the status of the other legions, that this offensive push might be coming too late. The old land bridge, even the northern tip of the peninsula, were lost –a standing question- behind a swath of battle sites.

“Are we anticipating a need to engage the other Titans?” She wanted to know, bringing her eyes back to Lucas. “Will we also be facing the mother’s husband, and her children?” Mercedes devoutly hoped the last was not true. It might be too much to hope Theia was isolated and open to attack, but she wanted nothing to do with the laughing monkey children of the great Titaness. Her skin crawled with the faint memory of giggles in the oppressive dark.
avatar
Moon Ray
Shadow
Shadow

Join date : 2012-05-06
Female

Posts : 212

Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Digital Muse on Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:36 pm

Dante watched the other men in the room fall under Mercy’s spell and had to smile. He certainly wasn’t immune, her initial appearance had hit him like a sledge too, after all. He just happened to be a better actor than they were. When they dragged their eyes off of the Mark of Aphrodite and looked him up and down, his smile grew more sardonic. He could almost read their thoughts; they labeled him as trouble, useless, untrust-worthy. They’d learn otherwise. Maybe. With the same superior smile on his face, he simply dipped his chin at the room in general and introduced himself with a hint of amusement, “Dante Martek.” He did not acknowledge his supposed rank. He had never considered himself as part of the army. “But, you can call me Dante.” This last was said while looking specifically between Sophia and Mercy. He never could resist working the room.

Once they finally got down to business and Lucas explained Athena’s plan, Dante’s eyebrows kept rising. The plan was absolutely mad. But on the surface, at least it just might be crazy enough to work. Taking out the followers to weaken the Titaness made complete sense to him. His own patron was often said to have been a Titaness that Zeus chose not to banish after the first war. Finally, Lucas gave each of them the opportunity to join him or step out and Dante almost laughed aloud at the man. “You don’t have enough manpower as it is. You’ll need every single asset you can get your hands on.” He paused as if considering whether he thought the mission was worth bothering with. “Well, I have nothing more pressing to do. I suppose I can come along.” He crossed his arms across his strong chest, “Besides, if we’re going out to take out the followers of Theia, you’ll need me.” He looked at Lucas specifically, “And you, might find me especially useful, Captain.”

To his surprise, after introducing himself, Mercy stepped forward and showed a remarkable grasp of tactics in her questions. He was forced to admit he was impressed. His initial assessment of her contributions took a complete turnaround. What other mysteries might she be hiding? The thought was intriguing to say the least. The look she threw his way made his lips twitch upward again. It actually cemented in his mind that he would join this mad group. It was probably time for him to step up…though he’d never admit that aloud.
avatar
Digital Muse
Guardian Ghost
Guardian Ghost

Join date : 2009-08-12
Female

Posts : 1381
Location : South Dakota


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:50 pm

Lucas watched as Sophia accepted the position as his second in command once again. I knew she couldn’t turn this down. Lucas listened as Brenden was the next to speak up accepting the position as implied healer on the new squad. I’m glad he accepted, his skills will come in especially useful for this type of mission. Lucas was hoping that the other two would decline based on the semi-complete briefing, which was purposely lacking details to drive them away.

Lucas turned his attention to the two newcomers to the squad. Mercedes seemed to be surveying the group, sizing them all up and thinking. Dante spoke first. “You don’t have enough manpower as it is. You’ll need every single asset you can get your hands on.” He paused as if considering whether he thought the mission was worth bothering with. “Well, I have nothing more pressing to do. I suppose I can come along.” He crossed his arms across his strong chest, “Besides, if we’re going out to take out the followers of Theia, you’ll need me.” He looked at Lucas specifically, “And you, might find me especially useful, Captain.”

Damn. I thought he would have decided to stay in the city to chase more women. Lucas thought. When Mercedes spoke his thoughts were interrupted.

“What will your tactics be in this case?” Mercedes asked Lucas. “Do you know where the Titaness is? Or have a way to track her? Or her Marks for that matter?” Lucas was taken aback when she mentioned this and looked at her oddly. She doesn’t even understand the difference between strategy and tactics and she is trying to question me about it?

“Are we anticipating a need to engage the other Titans?” She wanted to know, bringing her eyes back to Lucas. “Will we also be facing the mother’s husband, and her children?” At that comment Lucas had had enough.

“My tactics will be whatever I deem necessary based on the situation,” Lucas said, “If you remember your American history you will recall that General Washington never settled on tactics until he surveyed the battle site first hand. He had a strategy and used it to formulate his tactics. To reverse the process is to invite defeat. I would assume that most of our tactics will revolve around sneak attacks or setting up ambushes meaning we have to move quickly and quietly to take out our targets. We have ways of tracking the marks like Sophia’s owlspeak ability. I am assuming that since this is supposed to be a global scale attack we will receive divine assistance, meaning we need to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. As for Theia’s reinforcements anything is possible.” Lucas quickly glanced at one of the maps pinned to the wall. “General the last known locations of a mark of Hyperion never overlap the last known locations of a mark of Theia correct?” Lucas asked while intently staring back at Mercedes.

“No the two never operate in the same location. The same is true for Selene and Helios.” General Bennet answered without looking at a piece of paper. It was common knowledge of officers. The legions kept track of location areas of Titans to figure out operating patterns and forward those to every legion’s officers.

“Now onto the part where you implied that Eos, Selene and Helios would be traitors to the cause after joining with Zeus during the original Titanomachy. This very idea offends me since their support has provided important intel for the whole course of the war. As for her monster-children I am sure our squad will be able to deal with them should they arrive. As for the types of creatures that we will engage I wouldn’t know until I pull up all the files I can. Be prepared to fight anything. Ideally Theia won’t show up on the first mission but she will show up when she figures out her marks are being hunted. Always be prepared to fight her but if things work out right that will be a job for Brenden and I. Standing orders are as follows; One, get to know your new squad mates since we will be out in the field, possible for extended times I want you all to know each other’s moves. Two, get prepared to move out at a moment’s notice for extended field time. Since we don’t know when or where the next sighting will be or when divine assistance might come we have to be the new age minutemen. Sophia, start doing recon with your owls to try and find a mark. You have your orders, dismissed.”

“Finally you all can leave so I can get some work done,” General Bennet said glaring at the team that had taken over his office. One by one they saluted and left until Lucas was the only one left in the room. “You need something?”

“I am assuming you have pulled all the relevant files for this once you heard the Agent of Hades was coming. Things like personal files of team members, action reports involving Theia and her marks, and things like that.” Lucas said eyeing a practically large group of files rubber banded together on the corner of his desk.

“Oh yes with the commandeering of my office I forgot about it. Here,” General Bennet said as he pointed to the stack of files, “take it.”

“Well, I wouldn’t need to steal an office if I had one,” Lucas said jokingly.

“Amusing, maybe I can have you located in the Library,” General Bennet said knowing it was the building furthest away from his office.

“General,” Lucas said as he saluted and exited the office. I should study this over a cup of coffee and lunch, he thought as he headed to the mess hall.

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Ruu on Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:31 am

Brenden could tell that Lucas seemed pleased when he accepted the offer, but it was somewhat obvious in his body language that he expected to two newcomers to turn the offer. They didn't, and for this Brenden was somewhat relieved. Even though Dante and Mercedes were new, he was sure they could offer skills the previous group hadn't possessed.

He listened quietly to the exchange between Lucas and Mercedes. Obviously their commander wasn't pleased at being questioned, but Mercedes did bring up some legitimate points. He was somewhat surprised when Lucas spoke of Theia and implied that either Brenden or Lucas himself would take care of her if things played out the way their commander planned. Lucas he could see taking on the Titan; in fact, he had already done so and won. Brenden wasn't so sure of his own abilities, though. Most of his skills were focused on healing, and though he did have a command of Light, he hadn't perfected them as well as Lucas had. Well...if that was the case he decided he would have to start training as much as possible.

When Lucas dismissed them, Brenden gave him and the General a smart salute before exiting the room. Their orders were to get to know each other better, right? He already knew Sophia fairly well, but he wanted a chance to speak with Mercedes and Dante. He knew Mercedes was obviously a mark of Aphrodite, as all the men in the room had been entranced by her beauty. Dante's mark was a bit more mysterious. At any rate, he was pretty sure Dante would share his skills. The man seemed to radiate confidence. He waited quietly outside for the others.
avatar
Ruu
Poltergeist
Poltergeist

Join date : 2010-09-25
Male

Posts : 758
Age : 28
Location : Home


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:58 am

Sophia nervously watched the clash of wills between Lucas and Mercedes. While she kept her emotions off her face, her eyes bounced between them uneasily while Mercedes first questioned Lucas’ tactics, followed by Lucas explaining in no uncertain terms how they would proceed with locating Theia’s Marks and emphasizing the difference between strategy and tactics. While such a concept was practically second nature to a Mark of Athena, Sophia could understand why Mercedes might think to use the two terms interchangeably.

Lucas paused in his explanations, and Sophia decided to chime in to address a couple of Mercedes’ concerns in a little more detail. She gestured to include Dante in her first point. “I have not worked with you two before, so you probably don’t know how my owlspeak abilities work. I can use Glaukos here,” she scratched her owl’s head, “and any wild owls as extra sets of eyes and ears. I can pick up mental images, sounds, and basic emotions from them, which is useful for scouting. They can help us locate any nearby Marks, particularly during the night when Helios’ powers,” she nodded briefly at Lucas, “are dormant.” She then focused her attention on Mercedes, speaking in a bit gentler tone of voice than Lucas had used. “Regarding Theia’s family, previous experience suggests they will not pose a major threat. The god-children are on Zeus’ side, and Hyperion does not operate in same areas as Theia. Furthermore, Theia faced us alone last time, which suggests she will likely do so again. Even if she is threatened, Hyperion may not back up Theia and risk the wrath of the god-children and Hades. Finally, I agree with Lucas that we could handle the monster-children, since they are only two in number.”

Lucas gave the squad their standing orders and dismissed them, wasting no time in telling Sophia to start looking for a Mark. Only problem: she had never used her owls to seek anything in particular. She used them to obtain basic information about her surroundings, not search for something as specific as a Mark, particularly over any significant distance. She would have to get creative and hope that the blessings of Athena were with her.

Sophia departed the building with a simple nod to her squad mates. She would worry about getting to know them once she had the owls out on assignment. But first, she had to actually find the owls. She headed for the parking lot first and borrowed a car from the gate master. Surprisingly, he didn’t ask questions and simply tossed her the keys when she cited being part of the special Hades team. With only Glaukos for company, she drove the borrowed Jeep to the east checkpoint on I-96, the same route she had taken barely a week ago. Had it only been that long? That mission seemed so far removed, like a distant memory.

Sophia pulled off to the side of the road once she reached the edge of the forest. She didn’t dare venture any farther without backup, but monsters rarely prowled the edge of the forest. It was still too close to HQ for their comfort. Sophia got out of the Jeep and approached the line of trees, already reaching out with her mental senses. The sun was just starting to lean towards the horizon, so the owls in the forest would soon awaken to prepare for the night’s hunt. She quickly located a few screech owls close to the border, but she needed a number of larger owls to cover any amount of distance. She probed deeper into the forest, stretching her mental reach to its limits until her head pounded and beads of sweat trickled down her face. Her search soon bore fruit in the form of dozens of screech owls and nearly twenty great horned owls and barred owls. Then came the hard part. Locating them was one thing, but gaining their attention and keeping a hold of them long enough to plant orders in their minds was downright exhausting.

Through a colossal mental effort, Sophia organized the owls so that they would search outward in a circular pattern, with each one radiating from the center like spokes on a bicycle wheel. The screech owls had a shorter search radius due to their smaller size, but she sent the larger owls on long-distance excursions miles away. She placed mental images in their minds of places where humans still lived – outposts, villages, and cities guarded by legionnaires. She impressed upon them the overwhelming instinct to seek out the Mark of Theia on any human. Over and over, she drilled the image of the Titan’s distinctive Mark into the owls’ minds and did not release her mental hold until she received a general sense of understanding from the owls. With a sigh of relief, she severed the connection and sent them on their way, swaying from the effort of commanding so many owls at once.

Finally, Sophia turned to Glaukos, who had been sitting quietly on her shoulder the whole time. It only took a few seconds to plant the same instructions in his mind. Compared to Glaukos, she practically had to beat the wild owls’ minds with a sledgehammer to get them to understand anything. The little owl blinked intelligently and gave Sophia a longsuffering look. He didn’t particularly like the idea of embarking on a long scouting mission during a time of the day when he would rather be sleeping. Nevertheless, it was either that or let the less intelligent owls do all the work, and he already had enough jealousy issues as it was.

“Sorry, little guy, but I need you to do this. I trust your abilities over any of the other owls,” Sophia said, though she didn’t know how much Glaukos actually understood. She held out her forearm for him to perch on, fed him a strip of dried meat, and sent him on his way with a reluctant sigh. “Be safe,” she whispered.

Sophia wasn’t gone very long, but she was exhausted, starving, and swaying on her feet by the time she returned the Jeep to HQ. She hadn’t expected her owlspeak abilities to drain her like that, but then she had never used that power so extensively before. She needed to eat and rest before exerting even more effort to check in with the owls, so she made her way to the mess hall. Not surprisingly, she found Lucas sitting at a table, sipping coffee while perusing a stack of papers. She figured she would kill two birds with one stone, so she got a plate of food and some coffee before joining him to give her report.

“Is this seat taken?” she asked rhetorically, giving him a small smile as she eased into the chair with a tired sigh. “I’ve got every owl within the first five miles of the forest off I-96 searching for Theia’s Marks. I’ll check in with them later tonight when their senses are keenest.” She sipped her coffee and coughed at how strong it was. “For the record, I just learned the limits to my owlspeak abilities. I had to take a car out of HQ to get close enough to the forest to find the owls, and then I can only stretch my mental reach a certain distance before I get dizzy.” She dropped her voice to a hushed tone before continuing. “Also, I didn’t want to say this back at the briefing, but I can’t guarantee that this scouting method will actually work. I’ve never used owls to seek a particular target before, and they won’t be able to see the Mark if it’s hidden underneath clothing. I just hope your divine assistance comes soon…”
avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Digital Muse on Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:00 pm

Dante watched Lucas’ and Sophia’s expression when he accepted their new mission. He could almost see Lucas’ face register the curse just behind his lips. Sophia looked surprised, she probably thought he was too narcissistic to take on a mission that would take him away from his creature comforts. And mostly she’d be right. But, he knew that if he didn’t fight back, there’d be no creature comforts left to be enjoyed.

Lucas’ frustration seemed to get redirected and unleashed on the Mark of Aphrodite. Their leader didn’t appear to like his plans being questioned or was it just that they were questioned by a beautiful woman? Lucas lambasting her for questioning him and schooling her on the difference between strategy and tactics, Dante wouldn’t have blamed Mercedes if she’d take umbrage in his behavior and tell him right off. She showed remarkable restraint, however and accepted the challenge just as he had. Again, Dante could see Lucas and his Second were less than thrilled.

The smaller young man in the room was very soft spoken, but also accepted a place on the team, which surprised Dante. He looked as if he was barely out of training, but obviously Lucas knew something that Dante didn’t. Lucas’ Second was given the task of sending out owls to try to locate a mark of Theia. Could they do that? Dante considered idly. While the Second was given something specific to do, the remainder of them were simply told to ‘get to know one another’. Dante rolled his eyes. Were they going to have to learn to share and take naps too? The young man and Mercedes snapped sharp salutes toward the General and excused themselves from the office while Lucas remained behind to talk to the General a little longer without his squad mates being present.

Dante smiled sardonically and leaned away from the wall where he had chosen to ‘display’ himself. No salutes were forth-coming from him, only a nod of his dark-haired head before he followed the ever-entrancing Mercedes and the young healer out into the hallway. Perhaps he could yet convince her to have that walk around the compound with him. Or he could be sensible and check on his armor and prepare to leave with no notice at all. And he could ensure Dog was ready too. Although, Dog never needed to be told anything. He was always just…there.

The tall Mark of Hecate didn’t have time to consider his mysterious companion when he spied the young healer lingering in the hall. Waiting for the lovely Mercedes, perhaps? Dante grinned, he could hardly blame the boy. But as he began to step past him, Brendan greeted him shyly.

Brenden looked up at Dante and smiled as the middle-aged man exited. Here was a good opportunity to get to know one of his future teammates a bit better.

"Hello, sir," he said, his voice soft and sounding as if it were little used, "I'm Brenden. I know we were at the same briefing during, but I thought maybe it'd be good for us to get to know each other a bit better since we'll be working with each other on an important mission. And I think forming friendships is probably one of the most important things we can do since I believe that it can help us be ready for anything."

Brenden was interested in discovering what mark Dante possessed. While Mercedes' mark was fairly obvious and he already knew both Sophia's and Lucas' Marks, Dante was still a bit of a mystery. In fact, there seemed to be a very exotic aura around the new addition to the team.

Dante almost walked right past the young healer, despite being addressed, but the young man seemed so earnest, he had to pause. Dante’s eyebrow shot upwards when Brenden called him ‘Sir’. It made him sound old. Well, compared to Brenden, he was, Dante supposed. Dante offered a knowing grin, “Friendships? Friendships are usually reserved for children.” Dante paused for effect, “Comrades.” He tried out the word, drawing it out and rolling on his tongue as if tasting a vintage wine. “Yes, Comrades will do nicely.”

The Mark of Hecate stepped closer to Brenden and placed his arm around the smaller man’s shoulder to lead him down the hallway. “Well, Brenden, do you drink yet?” Dante looked down, “Or shave?” He peered at the boy, “No I suppose not.” Still leading the hapless Brenden along and heading outside, Dante waved an elegant hand toward the young man, “And what is your mark, young Brenden? The good Commander seems to have a great deal of confidence in you.” He lifted a brow and added an aside, “If not in much else. Tell me everything about you. Do you have family? How did you come to be here?” While it might have seemed that Dante was being condescending, he wasn’t. He’d learned long ago that people liked to talk about themselves. And someone with a good memory could use those tidbits of information down the road.

Brenden blinked in surprise when Dante said that friendships were reserved for children. He hadn't heard that before, but perhaps it was true. Comrades did have a nice ring to it anyway. Besides, it didn't really matter what title you used. Comrades and friends both meant people who worked together and stood up for each other.

"I'd be honored to be your fr....comrade," Brenden replied, sounding as if he were trying out a new word.

He looked a little taken aback, shoulders stiffening when the legionnaire put an arm around him and led him down the hall and eventually outdoors. But with Dante's easygoing words and seemingly casual questions, Brenden was able to relax. Dante was not as imposing or foreboding as he looked. The shaving and drinking questions were rather odd but Brenden had heard them from others who had questioned his age. Indeed, he was one of the youngest members in within the division. Maybe they didn't have as young recruits where Dante had been assigned from.

"Well...I...I'm a Mark of Apollo. I have some...control over light and I can..work with poisons. B-but I think I do best in healing. I don't like to see other people in pain..." Brenden began, stammering at first but slowly beginning to speak freely and easily, "Commander Lucas is a good man. He believed in me even though I was a new recruit and he gave me some important missions. That first mission though...it was hard one."

He stopped, shaking his head to clear them of the memories. It was over now, and for the moment, at least Lucas had been able to return.

"A-anyway...I lived with my mother before I came here. My father...was a Mark of Demeter but he...he was killed in battle. I...I joined to take his place even though my mother didn't want me to..." Brenden said slowly, unable to stop a stray tear from falling down his face.

The death of his father was still hard on him, and something he chose not to think about often.

Dante’s eyebrows rose very slightly, Brenden was almost no challenge to his skills at cold reading at all. The stiffening of his shoulders when Dante touched him, spoke of a boy with few contacts or friends. Possibly even bullied. The stammering emphasized that and his extreme lack of self-confidence. Shaking his head Dante continued through the laundry list of impressions he got from Brenden. He felt obliged to join the Army to live up to the memory of his Father, the first mission obviously was the one when Lucas supposedly died, which would have shattered the young Mark of Apollo and finally, the fear his Mother felt and the guilt he feels for causing it. He sighed and tried to pay attention as Brenden did the very thing that Dante had asked of him. He did look down at Brenden, “Two Marks in the same family and not from the same patron? Impressive. Yes. Very impressive indeed.”

“The good Commander makes you feel important and worthy. That is a trait I’m surprised to hear about. But…” He shrugged his broad shoulders, “I have only known him for…” Dante made a show of looking at his bare wrist, “2 hours.” As the pair walked across the courtyard, Dante casually unbuttoned his uniform jacket and removed it. He hated the damned thing. He rolled up his sleeves to reveal strong forearms and elegant hands with long, slender fingers. Tossing his jacket over his shoulder, he kept his eyes moving around the compound. There were always women to be admired and to be admired by.

Dante suddenly switched tacks, “And the redoubtable Sophia? Tell me about her.”

Brenden brushed away the tear, smiling at Dante's compliment. He had heard it was rather rare to have Marks in the same family, let alone different ones.

"Thank you, sir. Though my father...he was much more skilled at fighting than I am," sighed the young man, "I'm good with a bow but not much else."

Brenden tilted his head slightly when Dante said he was surprised to hear that Lucas had made him feel important and worthy. Why was that hard to understand? Well...come to think of it, Lucas had seemed somewhat harsh with Dante and Mercedes. Perhaps he just hadn't been pleased about accepting new members into the group.

"Don't worry," Brenden reassured him, "Commander Lucas is a very good man. He is very skilled at finding out the strengths of his team members."

He was just about to ask Dante about the older man's Mark, when Dante switched gears on the conversation.

"Oh...Sophia? She's very brave, loyal, and a strong fighter. She can fight better than I can," Brenden said, almost ruefully, "She actually defeated a Nemean Lion. She also has many owls who can help her, because she's a Mark of Athena. She sent them with me during my scouting mission. "

Dante suddenly laughed brightly and fully. “Lucas is a good man, and I am most assuredly not.” The thought seemed to delight the Mark of Hecate enormously. Lucas was simply going to hate him. But, he most certainly going to be glad he was there.

He listened to Brenden belittle his own fighting skills. “Is Apollo known for his fighting prowess, Brenden? No. He had other skills, as do you. Never. Ever. Feel as if you do not measure up. Life is what you make of it, my young Brenden. If it doesn’t fit, make alterations.” For once Dante seemed very serious. “No one is more or better than you. No one.”

As if he was unaccustomed to such serious discussions, Dante turned his attention back to his other team mates. He was not surprised to hear of Sophia’s skill in battle or her gift of communicating with owls. But he smiled admonishingly at Brenden. “Not her skills, Brenden. What is she like? Is she angry or calm? Does she like ice cream or popcorn, you see? Personal things. We all have lives outside of the Army.” Some more than others, obviously. He thought to himself.

Brenden wasn't sure what Dante meant by not being a good man and didn't feel it would be appropriate for him to ask. He nodded solemnly at the Mark of Hecate's words. They were very wise, and made the boy feel just a bit more confident. Besides, hadn't Brenden himself just been talking about how Lucas was talented in discovering the strengths of his legionnaires? Everyone had certain strengths. It was just knowing how to use them that was key.

"You're right, sir," he nodded, "I understand. You sound like you're a wise person."

His eyes focused in thought as Dante inquired of Sophia personally, "Well...She's a very caring individual. But she can also be a leader when the situation calls for it. When Lucas was out of commission for a little while, she took charge of the situation right away. She and Lucas seem very close."

Brenden stopped when he realized he might have been reading too much into their relationship. Not only was it possibly untrue, but it wouldn't be good to spreading rumors about the two.

Absently, Dante waved a hand, “Don’t call me Sir.” The way he said it, he barely seemed to register it. He thought more of Sophia. He’d likely have to talk to her himself to get a better read on who the girl was. ”She and Lucas seem very close." And out of the mouths of babes. Dante grinned to himself. “Oh?” He asked innocently. Brenden had stopped talking suddenly, obviously feeling he’d spoken out of turn. Dante nodded, “Ah, I see. I completely understand, you aren’t supposed to say. You needn’t worry.”

Dante knew that Brenden trying to deny the rumor would likely just give the taller man what he really wanted to know. That being; was it true? He pretended great disinterest in the whole subject. Instead, he asked, “How do you feel about this new mission?”

"Ah, I'm sorry...Dante," Brenden replied, remembering that was how the man had been introduced.

He was used to addressing others with respect, a mixture of his upbringing by his parents and his stay within the army.

Dante seemed to be nonchalant about Brenden's small slip but the boy couldn't help but feel that the Mark of Hecate was beginning to grill him. He was asking many questions, more than one would ask of someone that you had just met for the first time. But that was the only way to really get to know someone, right? He shook his head, focusing on the next question. If they were to teammates, it would be best for them to be level with each other.

"I believe in the Commander's plan," Brenden said simply, "I know that there are still questions to be answered, but Commander Lucas was given a difficult mission last time with very few tables and we were able to...successfully complete it, though not without some sacrifice. I'm a little worried about facing a Titanness to be honest, but if Lucas orders me to combat her I will do so without hesitation."

Dante looked down at Brenden with a smile. “Don’t worry, I’ve been called much worse than ‘Sir’, I can assure you.” He listened to Brenden’s opinion of the mission, his caution of fighting a Titaness and yet the boy’s determination to do just that if asked to. Somehow, that impressed Dante. “Maybe I’ll give the Commander a chance to redeem himself after his decided lack of enthusiasm in the General’s office then.”

Dante paused part way across the large parade ground as if deciding where to go next. “Armor, nap or food?” He glanced down at Brenden, and plucked a large silver coin from behind his ear. It was a simple bit of sleight of hand, but still fun to keep in practice. “We’ll forgo actual work. So a nap or food. Call it!” With that sudden order, Dante flipped the coin into the air expertly and caught it again. Slapping it on the back of his bare forearm, he glanced at Brenden for his call.

Brenden smiled warmly when Dante said he'd give Lucas a chance, "Commander Lucas must really have gone through an ordeal after...the last mission. I'm sure he just wants to make sure that this mission is a success in every way possible."

The smile faded for a moment when he thought about what would happen after the mission. Would Lucas be forced to return to the Underworld? But there was no time to dwell on that at the moment. The most important thing was to focus on the mission and to hopefully return victorious. Somehow, Brenden felt even more bolstered knowing that Dante would be on this mission. Maybe it was because the man pretty much was overflowing with confidence himself.

Surprise was once again easily read on his features when Dante asked him what they should do next. The surprise quickly turned to a boyish grin when the Mark of Hecate drew a silver coin from behind his ear. It reminded him of the times his father had done similar things.

"I call...tails," he said slowly, surprised at his own eagerness to see the result.

Dante lifted his hand revealing the head of the coin. “Ah! We shall have some food then. I’m sure there is something edible to be had at this time of day.” As they walked toward the mess hall, Dante absently allowed the coin to flip across the back of his knuckles effortlessly and back again. “I heard a bit about your last mission, I doubt I would have made the same choice Lucas did if I were in his place, but as I said. I am not a good man.” He shrugged, vastly unconcerned how that must seem to the young Mark of Apollo.

Entering the mess hall, Dante mused, “Although I will have to get my armor back fro…tended to.” He finished the sentence smoothly. “And see if Dog is coming too, although I never know where the beast will be next.”

Brenden felt his stomach grumble just a bit at the mention of food and nodded, "I am a little hungry. I could do with something to eat."

"Why do you...keep saying you're not a good man?" Brenden asked innocently, "You seem nice to me. Actually...I know it's silly...but you remind me a little bit of my dad, though I know he was a good bit older than you."

Brenden looked with interest when Dante mentioned Dog. He had always loved animals from an early age and had begged his parents for a pet. Unfortunately, his mother was allergic so he had never been given the chance.

"Dog? Oh...I love animals very much," Brenden smiled, "Do you think I could meet him?"

"Oh...by the way? I don't think I got to ask you what your Mark was or to ask you a little bit about yourself," he added almost as an afterthought.

Dante laughed again, low and melodious. “I say it because it’s the simple truth, my good Brenden. I chase women, I drink, I prick the pride of fools for I am one myself.” Again, he eloquently drew his hands out to the side as if displaying a large box. “I love nothing so much as having things my way. And I am not above doing unscrupulous things to get them.” His smile broadened and he looked down to see if Brenden looked alarmed.

Jokingly, he pretended to look offended at being compared to a true legionnaire like Brenden’s Father. “Don’t soil your Father’s memory by comparing my unworthy self to him.” Despite the words, he smiled brightly.

At Brenden’s obvious enthusiasm when he mentioned Dog, Dante could only shrug. “Honestly? I have no idea. Dog goes where he wants, when he wants. But generally he comes on missions with me. He leads the way more often than not, especially at crossroads.” They headed to the chow line and Dante got only a cup of coffee for himself, but waited for Brenden to collect what food he wanted. Rather than answer Brenden’s question about his mark directly, he unbuttoned his shirt to show the twin tattoos revealing his mark of Hecate and her 3 faces of Maiden, Mother and Crone. “A Titaness, actually. Hecate. Lover of the dark. Guide to Persephone from Hades as the Mother of pathways, journeys and crossroads.” Dante grinned and then added conspiratorially, “Oh. And Grandmother of magic.”

Brenden did look just a bit taken aback at Dante's words, but then smiled and shook his head, "I think you sell yourself short, Dante. Just because you do those things, you aren't a bad person. You've obviously been successful in this war and have helped mankind with what you have been able to do. I'm not going to say you're a bad person unless you give me a real good reason why I should think otherwise. I do think my Father would have liked you. He had a sense of humor like you do."

Brenden listened quietly to Dante as he grabbed a bagel and a glass of orange juice. A mark of Hecate. He really hadn't heard much of the Titaness, but the way Dante described her sounded pretty exciting. To have control over pathways and magic sounded excited, though the control of the dark worried him a little bit, only because his patron was a god of light. That didn't mean anything, though. They could still work together. In fact, they'd be able to bolster each other's weaknesses.

"A Mark of Hecate," he breathed, "That sounds awesome! I'm sure you can do lots of amazing things!"

Dante had to chuckle at Brenden’s naïve enthusiasm. “Well, we’ll see, I’m sure.” Having gone through the line so the young Mark of Apollo could get some food and turning toward the main part the mess hall, Dante spied the Commander sitting alone at a table to the west side of the hall. Curiously, nearly every table near him was completely empty. Dante glanced from Brenden to Lucas and considered. “Well…shall we go disturb your Commander? Or shall we allow him his space?

Dante examined his nails in a great show of laissez faire, “Me? I would quite happily invade his space and make him dread every minute.” He tilted his head and peered at Brenden in a pseudo-serious fashion, “But you know him better than I.” A wave of an elegant hand invited Brenden to choose a seat, either with Lucas or elsewhere. “I will allow myself to be guided by your superior knowledge.”

Brenden looked over at the Commander with bright eyes, hesitating for a moment when Dante asked if they should join him. He didn't want to disturb the Commander but he did want to hear a bit more about what had happened and to talk to Lucas a bit more, especially after his presumed death.

"Well...I don't know if we should bother him, but I would like to talk to him for a little bit at least. If he tells us he wants to be alone, though, we can just sit somewhere else," said Brenden slowly.

Dante smirked when Brenden looked unsure, but it was equally obvious that he was curious about Lucas’ return from the dead. Sauntering behind Brenden toward Lucas’ table, Dante sipped at the cup of coffee he was holding mere for the effect of it. As they approached the Comander glanced up and the man’s eyes grew hard when he saw Dante. A dark eyebrow rose and he shrugged strong shoulder, “Subtle.” He commented with a sardonic grin.

The Mark of Hecate glanced down at Brenden, “See to your armor and I’ll see if I can scare up Dog somewhere.” Dante’s eyes returned to meet Lucas’ gaze, “Welcome back, Commander.” The fact that Lucas hadn’t wanted to talk to him mattered not at all. Dante was rather used to the animosity of his superior officers. He decided he really should take his own advice and see to his armor, if he didn’t, it was a guarantee they’d be called out in the middle of the night. Just then, a Mark of Hermes was trotting past him, almost without a thought, Dante reached out and snagged the young man’s bicep, spinning him about in a graceful arc, not unlike a waltz move. Drawing the young man closer, Dante ignored his alarm and confusion, “Go to the armorer, tell him Dante wants his armor. If he argues, tell him I’m on a mission with the representative from Hades and get it back to me.”

The boy started to argue, when Dante jerked him nearly off his feet and growled lowly at him, “I’d think twice before another word comes out of your mouth. Commander Lucas won’t tolerate it. Are we clear?”

The boy looked startled and a little ashen, so Dante let him go again and headed on his way back to his own room with a sudden grin. “This is going to be very advantageous. Marcus can go hang for that loan I still owe him.” Crossing the compound with little else to capture his attention, Dante decided that nap was definitely in order. Dante unlocked his door and stepped inside.

Belly up, all four paws in the air and snuggled into the exact middle of his feather mattress was a large wire-haired mutt. Its coat was an odd mixture between gray and brown and one ear was perked like a German Shepherd while it’s partner flopped over at the tip. The beast never stirred when Dante entered.

Dante shook his head and grumbled loudly. “Damn it Dog. Right in the middle of the bed? And now it will smell like you. Hardly something the ladies will find acceptable”

Dog opened a gray eye to peer at Dante with grand unconcern. It watched the tall man kick off his boots and peel off his billowy shirt to toss onto an already full chair.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Dante tried to shove his way onto the bed or at least to get some room on the queen-sized mattress, as he often did, though, he failed in budging the dog. With a low sigh, Dante rose and settled into a recliner across from the bed and was soon comfortable enough to sleep.
avatar
Digital Muse
Guardian Ghost
Guardian Ghost

Join date : 2009-08-12
Female

Posts : 1381
Location : South Dakota


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Moon Ray on Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:26 pm

A pigeon, speckled brown across his shades of gray, plowed through the open sky, intent on his target, and Mercedes watched the airborne passage idly. The birds were not an uncommon sight, used as they were for messages beyond the reach of line-of-sight radios and ground run cables. They were noisy creatures though, and rude, and so she had rarely chosen to carry them -despite the advantages.

She tracked the messenger's progress, wondering carelessly how owls compared as companions while on a mission. The breeze stirred her clothes; a welcome sensation after the enclosure of the meeting room.

Thwnk!

"Pull your elbows in!" Across the practice fields, an older man roared advice, pitching his voice to be heard by all but the dead. A line of soldiers shuffled themselves obediently and a few more crossbow bolts were released. They arched slightly and clattered into the target squares -none other reaching deep enough to bite the wood.

"Good shot, that one," Robinson observed. "You alright?"

Mercedes tried a self-depreciating smile as she stood up, not quite banishing the fright from the corners of her eyes. Instinct had sent her to a crouch when she heard the string release; instinct allowed to assert itself because she had been daydreaming.

"I'm fine. Did you find it?"

"No problem." The man hefted a camp bundle before leading her to the side of the road. "I'm not sure it's what you're looking for though." He laid it out on the packed dirt and they both knelt to inspect the contents. Stakes, cord, a handful of waterproof pouches,...

"Do you have anything thinner?" she asked, lifting one of the metal stakes. They were crusted with dirt.

"I have plastic stakes," Robinson offered.

"Not lighter. Thinner. Like a support pole for a tent?"

"Those are larger," he shook his head. "I might have something... Wait a minute?" He took off towards the shed again.

Mercedes pressed open one of the pouches and extracted a sewing kit. The thread was intended for canvas and the needles looked sharp. She sighed, leaning back against the fence as another volley of crossbow arrows sped across the yard. This time she didn't duck. Fewer of the arrows hit the targets.

The memory of Dante and Brenden made her smile. Her opinion of them as soldiers hadn't changed, but the pair made her optimistic. She had caught some of the conversation between the men after the briefing had ended -the two following Lucas' parting orders surprisingly well. Brenden was honest, and they seemed not to have any trouble falling into whatever fraternal relationship was given to males of the species -despite their surface differences.

Oppositely, Sophia had departed immediately and without a word to her new team.

Mercedes had followed the lads out of the building before being called away by a friendly face. She'd seen them head towards the common halls, but decided to prepare her equipment before catching up. It would give Dante and Brenden time to build their relationship without her influence.

Robinson, as Angela had introduced him, was on the logistics side -though no less a fighter. He had been predictably eager to assist, but it wasn't standard issue gear she required. Her field equipment was in good service after the last few months of travel, and she had successfully pared her luggage to the most basic essentials. Thread, oil, paint, powder, and spice stores were easily and swiftly replenished; what she wanted now was what she did not expect to find without some honest-to-Aphrodite creativity.

Lucas' plan -if it could be called that- lent heavily on potential (if, when, wherever,...); Mercedes wanted to give him a little more foundation to work from. His blustering dismissal in the briefing worried her; she could blame some of his reaction on the effect of her presence, but the rest was what? Inexperience? Fear? The asymmetrical warfare he proposed required much more subtlety (much more planning) than the approach to a force-on-force battle ...like between, say, a full squad and a Nemean Lion.

So she would do what she could. Fortunately, it was rather her specialty.

The scavenger hunt took up some time. When she finally emerged from the basement of an old history building with the last item -three metal nibs, Sophia was already on her way to the dining hall. She sighed, exhaling both satisfaction and regret as she did.

"That's the last of it, Robinson. Thank you."

"Here." He took a twisted piece of glass from her, about the size of her thumb, and strung his bracelet through the loop the glass made. "What are you going to do with this anyway?" he wondered, not for the first time.

"Hopefully, help save the world." She swallowed a laugh at her own joke when she saw her assistant take her words to heart.

"Keep this with you." The braided thread of his bracelet had encircled his wrist several times; strung through the misshapen glass pendant, it was long enough to fit comfortably around her neck. She slouched so that he could tie it in place.

"Ah. Thanks. Really." Weak, weak, weak, chanted the inner voice that never offered her anything helpful.

It was nice to be fully equipped again. She couldn't help the glow of contentment that followed her to the dining facilities. Her pack rested -fat and happy- against the small of her back with the sling laying over one shoulder and between her breasts. Her sari still rippled with clean and stately elegance, though her head was already returning to the uncivilized wilds of the battlegrounds. In addition to her new necklace, she wore a newly-sharpened, 18-inch rod lashed into the straight edge of her bag. And a small leather purse on her waist, which clinked when she bumped it.

Bring on the next mission, she wanted to say as she found her way towards her team. With Aphrodite to help, it wouldn't matter that her squad-mates looked like the pick-mix of hysterical disaster and nothing like a team of titan-assassins.

Maybe that was the plan? To foil the target with a threat no enemy could take seriously?
avatar
Moon Ray
Shadow
Shadow

Join date : 2012-05-06
Female

Posts : 212

Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:12 pm

Upon reaching the mess hall Lucas dove right into the paperwork he had been given. It didn’t take long before he was lost to the world attempting to memorize after action reports, statistics, sightings of marks, and most importantly his new squad member’s abilities. Hours flew by with hardly a notice from Lucas. In fact he was broken from his trance by four simple words.

“Is this seat taken?” Sophia asked rhetorically, giving him a small smile as she eased into the chair with a tired sigh. “I’ve got every owl within the first five miles of the forest off I-96 searching for Theia’s Marks. I’ll check in with them later tonight when their senses are keenest.” She sipped her coffee and coughed at how strong it was. “For the record, I just learned the limits to my owlspeak abilities. I had to take a car out of HQ to get close enough to the forest to find the owls, and then I can only stretch my mental reach a certain distance before I get dizzy.” She dropped her voice to a hushed tone before continuing. “Also, I didn’t want to say this back at the briefing, but I can’t guarantee that this scouting method will actually work. I’ve never used owls to seek a particular target before, and they won’t be able to see the Mark if it’s hidden underneath clothing. I just hope your divine assistance comes soon…”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. I have a feeling that it will,” Lucas said barely looking up from his paperwork. Somehow he knew he was on to something important, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. By now he had sheets of paper over most of the table. He shuffled thorough more paperwork ignoring Sophia. Feeling like he was being watched he raised his eyes from the paperwork for a moment. He saw Dante and Brenden walking over to his table. Great just what I need, more distractions.

“Welcome back, Commander.” Dante said as he invited himself to the table. Getting back to the mass of papers in front of him Lucas tried to ignore Dante. “Go to the armorer, tell him Dante wants his armor,” Dante said. Lucas looked up to see a very confused mark of Hermes being talked to. “If he argues, tell him I’m on a mission with the representative from Hades and get it back to me.”

The mark of Hermes started to argue, when Dante jerked him nearly off his feet and growled lowly at him, “I’d think twice before another word comes out of your mouth. Commander Lucas won’t tolerate it. Are we clear?” Then without so much as a word Dante left to some other location.

Well, it’s good to see that the power didn’t go to his head. Lucas thought as he rolled his eyes. I’ll have to put him in his place next time he steps out of line. Again he went back to his paperwork. He knew that the answer was in there somewhere, hidden only by the massive amount of unsorted information.

“What you seek is in the west,” a raspy voice spoke from nowhere. Upon hearing it Lucas looked up to find the source. He had only heard this voice in one location, the underworld. The source was a grey man clad in nothing in a toga was standing in shadows in the brightly light room. The man was see-through and had no color other than grey. The fact that no one else was even looking at the man told Lucas that he alone could see him.

“This is your first time using shadespeak isn’t it?” the man said, “Just my luck they stick me with a newbie. Your legionnaires can’t see me or hear me, unless they have shadespeak. Anyway, Hades said to point you in the right direction. That direction is west.”

“How do I find what I am looking for?” Lucas asked instantly knowing he wasn’t using shadespeak to respond. His squadmates looked at him like he was talking to them. Damnit. This is like learning my powers all over again. It’ll take forever! He looked at his stack of papers and then looked at the western most pieces. There on top was an after action report he hadn’t gotten to yet. Glancing through it he knew this was the breakthrough he was looking for. It mentioned a house outside the Grand Rapids defensive area. This house was constantly covered by a dark aura and a creature ‘with scales’ was reported to be inside it. He pulled papers from multiple stacks and looked for a folder. There wasn’t an empty one so he picked one at random and dumped the contents on the table.

“I’ve got it!” Lucas exclaimed finally explaining his actions, “Sophia I want you to run to the library and pull up any information you can find on creatures with scales. Brenden assemble the squad and meet with Sophia and me in the library. I have to clear a mission plan so we can have logistical support.”

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Ruu on Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:40 pm

Brenden blinked in confusion when the Commander began talking to someone...or something he couldn't see. Well...perhaps there were powers bestowed on those who returned from the dead. Whatever powers the Commander was displaying, they suddenly gave him some great insight into the situation. He looked excited as he gave his orders. Brenden saluted smartly and nodded at his mission.

"Yes sir! I'll gather them right away!" he nodded.

He made his way to Dante and then to Mercedes, informing them both of the Commander's orders. As he himself made his way to the library, he became lost in thought. It was great to have most of the old team together and the new additions seemed to be assets. Even though Dante was a bit eccentric, he had formed a bond with the older man and Mercedes...well...it was hard not to think of her without his face becoming red. He had never felt that way before, but then again he hadn't been around many marks of Aphrodite. When he finally got to the library, he looked for Sophia and Lucas. What was this about a creature with scales? He didn't know if he had heard of such a thing, at least not a creature from mythology.
avatar
Ruu
Poltergeist
Poltergeist

Join date : 2010-09-25
Male

Posts : 758
Age : 28
Location : Home


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Silvan Arrow on Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:19 pm

Sophia couldn’t shake the slight sense of confusion at Lucas’ almost indifference to her company. He barely spared a half glance to assure her that his divine assistance would come soon before diving back into his paperwork. Honestly, she didn’t know what had compelled her to sit with him when she normally took her meals in private, or what she had expected. She chided herself, ‘You fool, what did you expect? He’s a captain with a job to do, so stop distracting him.’ Lowering her eyes, she sighed quietly and ate her food, determined to finish and leave as quickly as possible to get away from this awkward silence.

As fate, or perhaps even Aphrodite would have it, Dante and Brenden walked over to the table, thus sparing Sophia a prolonged bout of silence. Brenden wore a somewhat timid expression, as if he feared interrupting something, while Dante wore the same cocky smirk that Sophia was quickly learning to associate with the man. She raised an eyebrow at seeing the two together. They made an odd pair, the young, naive Brenden with the older, narcissistic Dante. Sophia noticed the hard look Lucas gave Dante as he abruptly grabbed a passing Mark of Hermes and made him relay a message to the armorer. Sophia resisted the urge to roll her eyes as well. Even though they mostly served as messengers, the Hermes Marks weren’t slaves to order around; if Dante wanted his armor, he needed to just go get it himself. Thankfully, Dante didn’t stick around and instead departed for…wherever it was he chose to spend his time. Clearly not the armory.

Sophia was about to say something to Brenden to break the awkward silence when Lucas suddenly spoke. “How do I find what I’m looking for?” She turned back to him with a confused expression, thinking he was talking to her or Brenden, but instead he was staring off into space, clearly fixated on something that she couldn’t see.

“…Lucas?” she probed hesitantly. Something broke his trance, and he started shuffling through the papers strewn across the table. A few in particular apparently caught his attention, as he gathered them into a folder after dumping the previous contents haphazardly onto the table.

“I’ve got it!” he exclaimed suddenly. Sophia shared a confused look with Brenden. “Sophia, I want you to run to the library and pull up any information you can find on creatures with scales. Brenden, assemble the squad and meet with Sophia and me in the library. I have to clear a mission plan so we can have logistical support.”

Sophia immediately jumped up from her seat and saluted at the direct order. “Sir!” After her disastrous attempt at some casual lunchtime conversation, she was all too eager to throw herself into some actual legionnaire business. She took her tray to the kitchen, shoving the last half of her dinner roll in her mouth, and made a beeline for the library at a brisk half-walk/half-jog. On the way, she did a quick inventory of her equipment, tracing her rings, string of pearls, belt buckle, and circlet to make sure all her weapons, armor, and Aegis were on her, as had been her habit for years. She didn’t have her pack ready yet, so she hoped she would have at least a few minutes to throw together her supplies before departing on this mission, wherever and whatever it was.

The antiquated architecture of the library reared up to greet her, its marble columns and flying buttresses looking as though the building really belonged to the time period of the Greek deities. The heavy double doors swung open with a groan, revealing a huge open space of wall-to-wall oaken bookshelves and two dozen computer stations to one side. Sophia headed to the computers first so she could use the online catalog to look up the call numbers for the books she might need. Finding an empty station, her fingers danced across the keyboard while her mind worked in overdrive to make sense of the minimal information Lucas had provided.

Creatures with scales? Scales hinted at fish or reptiles. Since they were landlocked, she highly doubted that this mission would take them all the way to Poseidon’s realm. That meant they were dealing with something reptilian in nature, and the most obvious group of creatures that would pose a threat was…dragons.

‘Oh, blessed Athena…’ Sophia prayed silently as the realization hit her. How in Hades’ name was their squad supposed to deal with a dragon, if that was really what they were up against? By Zeus, she was going to find out with this research. If she had learned anything from her lifetime spent as a Mark of Athena, it was that a little bit of knowledge beforehand could make the difference between life and death in battle.

After a few minutes of perusing the online library catalog, Sophia went to scour the racks with her list of call numbers for a number of books related to mythological creatures and dragons. Before long, she had claimed a table in one corner of the library, with a sizeable stack of old tomes on one side and a notepad and paper on the other. She flipped through the glossaries and pages with a speed that could only have come from Athena, skimming any chapter related to dragons and jotting down notes on anything that looked useful.

As a whole, the dragons she read about sounded unpleasant, but a few were just downright terrifying. She read about Ladon, the great serpent that guarded the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides. Sophia’s expression deadpanned when a text by Ptolemy asserted that Ladon was the brother of the Nemean lion. ‘I…don’t think he would be pleased with me for slaying his brother…’ Luckily, she doubted they would be going to the nymphs’ idyllic paradise in their quest for Theia’s Marks, so she made a few quick notes and flipped to the next book. The Lernean Hydra, with its fatally venomous breath, blood, and fangs and propensity to keep sprouting multiple heads, made Sophia shudder. Heracles had supposedly slain the Hydra, but then…he should have slain the Nemean lion too. ‘Yeah, thanks a lot, Heracles,’ Sophia thought sarcastically, remembering how she had strangled the beast on their last mission. As she read about Python, she hoped for Brenden’s sake that they wouldn’t face that particular serpent. Apparently Python and Apollo had some unpleasant history. A couple of texts spoke briefly of the Colchian Dragon, which guarded the Golden Fleece, and the Ismenian Dragon, the offspring of Ares slain by Cadmus. Those were the most famous dragons in Greek mythology, and she made a few notes about dragons in general, wyverns, and Scylla, just in case they ended up at sea.

After making as many notes about dragons as she could find, Sophia decided to cover her bases and check some references on mermaids and other scaled sea creatures. None of her teammates had arrived yet, so she still had some time.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Meanwhile, Dante had barely gotten 10 winks, never mind 40, when he heard a slightly timid knock on his door. He ignored it, but whoever it was wouldn’t go away. Perhaps it was the messenger with his armor. Levering himself out of the chair, Dante stalked to the door, catching a look at himself in the mirror as he passed it. He appreciated his look barely an instant before continuing on. Opening the door, he barely looked down and began to point to the already overloaded chair, “Just put it over there…”

Brendan cleared his throat slightly to gain Dante’s attention, “I’m sorry, Sir…I mean, Dante. But the Commander would like us all to meet Sophia and him at the library as soon as possible.”

Dante raised his brow and then nodded, “I called it, didn’t I, young Brendan? I hope you have your armor ready to go.” Turning back to pull his elegant shirt back on, Dante looked toward the bed to find Dog had gone. Hecate only knew how the beast came and went. Dante gave up trying to figure it out years ago. “Very well, Brendan, lead on.”

“Oh, I have to find Specialist DuMonte too.” Brendan explained.

Dante’s grin grew, “Good hunting.” He murmured as he headed out the door. “I’ll meet you at the library.”

Dante hadn’t bothered with his uniform jacket, and ambled across the main ground toward the large building that had always been a temple to learning. It wasn’t a place Dante frequented. Well, except for one lively little rendezvous with another Legionaire. What was her name again? Nancy? Marcy? He smirked, it really didn’t matter. They had both enjoyed it and then had never seen one another again.

Entering the dim interior, Dante looked about to see if anyone else of the squad had arrived as yet. He saw no one. At least not at first. What he did see was a couple piles of books towering dangerously on a nearby table. Nearing the books fortress, Dante sensed the magic of someone sitting behind it. From the vantage point of his height, he caught a glimpse of Sophia behind the books. He slipped into the chair across from her, lifted his boots up onto a corner of it and rolling a tiny ancient top in his fingers, her waved a hand and the two piles of books parted and slide apart to reveal Sophia to his dark gaze. “Ah, the lovely Sophia. All work and no play? Such a shame. I could save you from the fate worse than death.” His dark eyes glittered intently at her.

Sophia was so caught up in her new research on mermaids and other scaled sea creatures that she jumped in her seat when her towers of books parted on their own accord. Her head shot up and immediately honed in on Dante, sitting across from her with his boots propped up on one corner of the table. His intense gaze and teasing words instinctively made her shrink back in her seat, not to mention his shirt had one too many buttons undone for her comfort. No man had ever looked at, let alone spoken, to her in that way, and she had no idea what to make of it or how to respond. After all, she was a warrior, a Mark of Athena, and not schooled in the social arts like, say, Mercedes. “I…I don’t need saving, thank you,” she stammered, her cheeks red for a reason she couldn’t identify before mentally slapping herself. Thank you? Seriously? What kind of answer was that?

Dante lowered his chin slightly to allow him to examine the delightful pink of the warrior’s cheeks as she stammered through her retort. So very easy to read. Sophia and Brendan were far too easy. Lucas and Mercedes would be more of a challenge. But, he knew that they too would reveal themselves sooner or later. He offered the Mark of Athena a sardonic smile and with a come hither crook of his finger, one of the books that Sophia had been studying levitated and floated toward him so he could look at it. His curiosity had been piqued and he wanted to know just what could possibly be so interesting.

Sophia, already unnerved from Dante’s sudden appearance, couldn’t stop from jumping a little when one of her books suddenly defied gravity. As it settled into his long-fingered hand, he gave it only a cursory glance before looking back at Sophia. “I imagine you were quite shocked and relieved when the Commander returned from Hades.” He set the book down and offered in an off-hand manner. “Now he is marked twice.” He fiddled with the tiny, ancient top in his fingers, “I wonder if he regrets returning?” It seemed as if he was merely speculating aloud, but in reality he was pressing buttons to see just what Sophia might react to so he might probe deeper.

Sophia’s expression turned slightly downcast, and she glanced toward the floor at that last comment. She felt a cold knot form in her chest again, not completely like when she saw Lucas staring at Mercedes, but she still didn’t like it. “It’s possible,” she replied with a shrug. “He made it to the Elysian Fields, after all.” Once again, her perception of time had flown out the window. Lucas had only just returned, but Sophia already wondered if he would ever stop longing for the perfection of his afterlife. ‘Perfection that I can never give him…’ she thought suddenly, before snapping her head up in shock. Where had that thought come from?!

Going off on another tangent, “Brendan told me a bit about your last mission. He told me you defeated the Nemean lion. Very impressive.” Somehow, the tone in Dante’s tone made it sound as if he doubted Brendan’s story. Naturally, he had an ulterior motive in setting up that impression.

Sophia breathed a quiet sigh of relief at the perceived topic change. She had no issues with talking about missions. “Well, believe me it wasn’t an easy battle…” She would have continued, but Dante cut her off with his next comment.

He turned his head as if looking for mud on his boots and casually mentioned, “Much like the impression I got that there might be more than a simple Legionnaire’s relationship between yourself and the Commander.” He seemed to write the idea off entirely, “Ridiculous, of course.” While he wasn’t looking directly at Sophia, he was perfectly capable of seeing her reaction from the corner of his eye.

Any composure that Sophia had managed to regain abruptly flew out the window. She gasped softly in shock while her cheeks turned a maddening red. “T-that’s ridiculous!” she stammered, using Dante’s own word. “I-I mean…we’ve only been on one mission together, and I’m his second, a-and then he died…and came back…” She made some kind of confused gesture with her hands. “T-there’s no way he would see me in that way…” Speaking those words, however, felt like thorns in her mouth.

Dante turned a lazy gaze toward the shocked Mark of Athena. Her look and stammer told him everything. She had feelings for Lucas. He could only speculate whether it was reciprocated. Dante pursed his lips and shook his head as if agreeing with her. “Of course. Precisely what I assumed.” Despite his words, Dante’s intent wasn’t nearly as obvious. He allowed Sophia time to dwell on her denial while he played with the small top in his fingers. After a small delay he added subtly, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Sophia’s head jerked up at that idle comment, her gaze questioning and perhaps…hopeful?

This time Dante smiled when he addressed Sophia and put the small top away into his pants’ pocket. “I suppose you have your way of getting to know your squad mates.” His gaze became more intense, “I have mine. And you can hardly fault me for not following orders, my dear Sophia.”

Now Dante had backed her into a corner. “I…uh…” Sophia began, before the blessed sound of the door opening gave her an out. She stood up a little too quickly to look casual and tried to assume her usual neutral expression. “That might be one of our team mates.” She walked around the table and, almost as an afterthought, knocked Dante’s feet off the corner of the table with a quick shove of her hand. Glancing back at the startled legionnaire, Sophia pinned him with a stern look and said, “The library furniture is not meant as your footrest,” before striding towards the door.

Sophia found Brenden near the entrance, clearly looking around for his squad mates. She waved the young man over and smiled in greeting. “Glad you made it. I’ve claimed a table in the back,” she explained, pointing in the direction of the table she and Dante had occupied. “Dante is there already. Go on ahead, and I’ll meet you once Mercedes and the Captain arrive.” Once Brenden had left, Sophia took a few calming breaths to get her conversation with Dante out of her head and waited patiently for the last two to arrive.
avatar
Silvan Arrow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator

Join date : 2009-07-09
Female

Posts : 3112
Age : 29
Location : Middle Earth (I wish...)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Moon Ray on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:11 pm

Buildings, on a whole, did not sit well with Mercedes and her wary, hyper-sensitivity to blind corners and constricting terrain, but libraries were quite a separate entity in her opinion. The stockpile of knowledge and culture marked the height of humanity's accomplishments. And of course, properly applied, it could and did save lives.

Ancient Grecian mythology and history (essentially the same, from the present stage in recorded time) had not been an uncommon focus of study when she had lived on the coast. It was vitally relevant and was often a point of reference for events encountered every year by the legions across the countryside. The reference books, however, occupied the same shelves as they had two centuries ago, when man never glanced twice at an old painted urn. It was an observation that always reminded her of her species' infinite practicality. Humanity wouldn't lose its collective, metaphorical head just because titans were reshaping mountain ranges for fun -primary library organization was still in effect.

A gross over-simplification to the reactions of various disparate peoples across the smoking ruin of the United States, but a comforting one.

Not wanting to rush or harry her new compatriots in their assigned research, Mercedes took a detour on her way to World Cultures. Her earlier visit to the library had given her a chance to peruse the available texts on Greek myths and -as expected- there were none she hadn't seen before. College libraries had that common book list and the topic was not unduly broad to begin with.

However college libraries could also be counted on for another useful section, and Mercedes was quick to duck in among the local almanacs and logistical tomes. In her mid twenties, Marked, and half-way across the continent, her interests had broadened significantly past the focus of her concentration of study. Incidentally, it had been Aphrodite's influence that led her to so readily embrace cartography at every dingy little outpost she found herself in. She was tempted to lose herself in the tubes and rolls of local maps; the insistent niggling voice that was her practical self stopped her after just a few minutes.

Brenden found her at the main desk, still draped in classical white elegance, and she indicated she was coming presently before he could say anything. The library's staff pressed a dense little book of local records (over the past 5 recorded years) into her hand and traded two large scrolls for scaled copies. (Copied via positive slide, or perhaps direct exposure -another passing romance to Mercedes' academic interest.)

"Light and weather data," she told Brenden by way of explanation as they turned into the stairwell. She tucked the book into her pack and considered one of the maps. "And roadways." She smiled -for once, not trying to manipulate anyone or create a barrier; just for the pleasure of having lines on paper.

"Am I late?" she asked more seriously. They hadn't been given an explicit re-grouping time, but there could easily be a unit custom she was not familiar with. However as they turned into a conference room people were just sitting down. Mercedes looked with interest at the pile of collected references and claimed a chair beside Dante.
avatar
Moon Ray
Shadow
Shadow

Join date : 2012-05-06
Female

Posts : 212

Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sunwolf007 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:34 pm

Thinking quickly as he ran across the Legion’s headquarters Lucas found himself at Commander Montgomery’s door. Normally a noncommissioned officer like Lucas wouldn’t go to Montgomery to get clearance for a mission. It would take about a week to go through the proper channels before it hit Montgomery’s desk. There is no way I am going to wait on this. Besides with my new position as an Agent of Hades I must have more authority than someone else in the Legion. Montgomery’s secretary looked up at Lucas.

“You have an appointment?” she asked.

“No, is he in a meeting?” Lucas asked.

“No but he asked not to be dis…” she started but Lucas just barged right into the office before she could stop him.

“What is the meaning of this?” Eric demanded.

“I got a mission plan that needs approval ASAP,” Lucas said, “Plus I got a personal question for you about the realm of Hades. As an Agent of Hades you should assist me in any way you can.”

Sighing Eric waived his secretary out of the office. “Should I expect you to be this hostile every time you enter my office?”

“My mission is going to require transport to the western edge of our defensive zone. There is a house out there that has a high likelihood of having a mark of Theia. We need to move quickly to kill it. My plan is to take my team with a squad for support to overwhelm the target before Theia realizes her mark has been found.” Lucas said.

“I can’t spare a squad. The rate of monster respawn is too great right now. For every creature we kill there are three more to take its place. I can’t tell where they are coming from but if they attacked all at once the city would be wiped out. I was told your squad isn’t technically under my command but those that are I can’t spare.” Eric responded. He had a valid point. Lucas had known that the rate of encounters had gone up in the last week but he didn’t realize it was 3 to 1. That would make the mission incredibly dangerous. Lucas knew that Eric wouldn’t allow him to take anyone with him. But there were other things Lucas could use for his squad.

“You can’t spare anyone for combat but how about transport and other supplies?” He asked.

“That can be arranged. I’m guessing it’ll be for tomorrow morning at sunrise?” Eric responded. His voice told Lucas that it wasn’t a question but a statement. They would need cooperation from the Legion for future missions so he shouldn’t push his luck.

“There was one other thing,” Lucas added, “How do I use shadespeak?”

“Picked up Hades’ mark did you?” Eric asked.

“Persephone, but I am guessing they work the same,” Lucas said.

“I am guessing that you will be needing to know how since he will be sending you messages,” Eric said.

“Yes.”

“OK then,” Eric began begrudgingly, “Don’t use your mouth.”

“That’s it? That’s your big secret!?” Lucas exclaimed.

“Think at them. Don’t speak at them,” Eric said before returning to his paperwork. Then as an afterthought, “You won’t be able to return to the Elysian Fields the same way. You have to do something other than sacrificing yourself for your superior officer.”

“Yeah, no need to do that again,” Lucas said as he left the office. He made his way to the library building to inform his group of the coming mission. He knew this was not how he wanted this mission to go but he didn’t have a choice. Sighing he entered the building and looked for his squad. After a few minutes he found where they had gathered.

“Tomorrow morning we will be heading out to investigate this house on the west side. There is a good chance that there will be a mark of Theia there. We need to take it out before the goddesses realizes what we are doing. Stealth is our main objective until we get to that house and attack. Our plan of attack will involve us splitting up into two groups and attacking the house from opposite sides hoping to capture and kill this mark. Make no mistake this will be a tough mission. Recent creature activity has shown a massive increase so expect that we will have to fight our way out if things go wrong. Prepare yourselves for tomorrow. If you have any questions now is the time.”

_________________

I have determined this is FoG's Theme song!
avatar
Sunwolf007
Wraith
Wraith

Join date : 2009-09-14
Male

Posts : 2491
Age : 32
Location : Greater Grand Rapids area, US of A ( last time I checked)


Back to top Go down

Re: From the Ashes: Prelude to Victory

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 2 of 3 Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum