Since posting The World Gathers in the Red Square, extraordinary things have happened in a short amount of time for channelers in the First Age.
It began with the demonstration in the Red SIn that moment, the axis of the galaxy rotated around him. If he desired, he was certain he could have altered the fabric of reality itself.quare in Waves in the Crowd. As the crowd grew more and more demanding, oscillating between worship and protests, the Ascendancy appeared to placate them and re-win their loyalty with a stunning display of the One Power and pull of a ta’veren. He focuses a huge surge of strength on Lenin’s Mausoleum in the Red Square, effectively melting the black and red granite structure and erecting a triumphal Arch in its place, a monument symbolic of power, rule, and dynasty.
“In that moment, the axis of the galaxy rotated around him. If he desired, he was certain he could have altered the fabric of reality itself.”
— Ascendancy, Waves in the Crowd
Plenty of symbolism suggests in the Arch that he has named himself a king, emperor, or even a god over the CCD. The crowd is stunned, of course, and the news of the Arch circulates the globe as the first definitive proof of power-users and what awesome, and terrible, potential power they wield.
Meanwhile, in response to the demonstration, the Regus of the Atharim gathered his Metatron, his second in command (Martin Borovsky), and Aria, the Sentient, to him and formulated a plan based off Aria’s intel to infiltrate the Kremlin and assassinate the Ascendancy. They gathered a litany of weapons to be used against gods, including the Active Denial Directed Energy Weapon, a device that when used at higher energy levels, can burn skin and rupture organs, and made their way to a secret tunnel entrance. See: Into Erebus.
Aria led them through ancient tunnels built by a Russian prince 800 years ago that connected to the modern passageways leading to the private residence of the Ascendancy. However, since the plot was a trap set by Ascendancy and Aria to lure Regus and Martin, Ascendancy and his Sigma, Marcus DuBois, also a channeler, were waiting.
“Aria opened the steel door that lead into the bowels of the earth. “Are you ready to enter hell?””
— Aria, Into Erebus
What they didn’t anticipate was Regus had weapons Aria didn’t know about. The microwave guns and an ancient cuendillar ter’angreal called a Curse Tablet. The Curse Tablets were once a source of programming meant to command an Ijiraq assassin, demigods and minor channelers twisted by the One Power into misty, immortal beings (see updated Mythos post on Ijiraq for more information), Regus was able to summon an Ijiraq and command it to assassinate Nikolai Brandon by a stroke of luck invoking the name of Death, a name that happened to be associated with the soul of its target: Hades.
“It drew closer and seemed to…coalesce…until he could see the undulating shape of a man hovering above the entrance, slightly darkened areas seeming to indicate eyes. A voice like the swarm of million bees seemed to emanate from it and it filled his head, vibrating at a thousand different frequencies, the whispers shifting in and out of hearing and pitch, intonations different from what he had expected. But it was enough for him to piece it together.
Kei jedhajode egoha haésmi.
’I am here to command’”
— Regus, Into Erebus
With the ijiraq attacking the Ascendancy, and Marcus doing everything he could to defend against it, the Regus, Martin and Aria attacked, inflicting enormous bodily harm.
“The entire room- the blasted gash in the wall, the Ascendancy on the ground, creature whining and twisting and rippling with the smoke that steamed from off of it, the rubble and the girl and old man in their own confrontation- all of them inhabited the reflection on this silver steel ball. And he was God, holding the world in between his fingers.”
— Marcus, Into Erebus
But before Nikolai died, Aria intervened, betraying Regus by telling Marcus how to kill the ijiraq. Regus turned on Aria, but as Nikolai was freed of the Ijiraq’s control, he was able to save her by dragging Regus before him, but before he was able to finish him off, Martin shot him.
“He staggered to one knee. Then the other, and heaved upright, unfolding himself. His legs were liquid, his eyes bottomless pits of darkness. The Regus of the Atharim was dragged before him, and Nikolai would look upon his face and watch with satisfaction as the life was drained away. But something slammed into his chest. He yelled, staggered, then fell. Laid beside Marcus, he saw his own blood spill out beneath him.”
— Regus, Into Erebus
Aria killed Martin but was wounded in the fight and overwhelmed by the sensations she experienced as a Sentient, she passed out. With Marcus succumbing to his injuries, having taken the brunt of the microwave radiation, Aria down, Martin dead, a dying Nikolai was finally able to activate the engage code for the Zenith Advanced Reliancers (ZARS) to intervene and rescue them. With ZARS coming, Regus escaped, but not without suffering many injuries himself, including rebarb gouging a gash down his left forearm, across his ouroboros tattoo. With two men each bearing the mark of a slain beast (a torn and scarred ouroboros tattoo), the identity of Apollyon is called into question. Is it Nikolai Brandon or Armande Nicodemus?
Regus escaped back to Atharim Headquarters, thinking Nikolai dead, only to discover someone had broken into the HQ during his absence. He also vowed to purge the Atharim of all non-humans, including Sentients and Furia, because of Aria’s betrayal.
However, a ZARS team was able to find and transfer the Ascendancy, Aria and Marcus to a nearby hospital via helicopter and ambulances. In Fallout, Nikolai is put into a chemically-induced coma and taken for emergency surgery. Marcus and Aria have suffered massive cardiac, pulmonary and brain damage from the radiation. Things appear grim. His status is listed as grave.
However, over the course of the day, the CCD Deputy-Consul to the Ascendancy, Viktor Stepanovich, had been formulating the organization of a new Consulate on Channeler Oversight, and sought a suitable candidate to lead it as Consul. In searching, he began to browse the CCD magic registration forms. Later that night, when Nikolai was in surgery, he recalled seeing the name of a man in Moscow that claimed to be able to heal injuries. He orders Jensen James to be found and brought to the hospital in efforts to save Nikolai’s life, whose survival of surgery is in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, across the world in the United States, after the demonstration where Lenin’s Mausoleum in the Red Square was melted by the Ascendancy and replaced with a monumental Triumphant Arch, the U.S. government convenes a Joint Session of Congress to address their own plan for power-users.
“‘Even with our limited level of understanding thus far, we know it can revolutionize our energy industry, improve the quality of our healthcare, and allow us to rebuild our infrastructure from the ground up at costs we would have called impossible last year.’”
— Nicholas, Ascent of Liberty
The newly appointed Secretary of Powers, Nicholas Trano gives the address, only to turn the podium over to a junior Congresswoman, Evelyn Avalon (D-SD), who announces before the world that she herself is one of these power-users, and coins the term “channelers” to describe their kind. Read their captivating speeches in Ascent of Liberty.
“‘Join with me, and with Secretary Trano, to create a tomorrow where channelers and non-channelers alike can work together to ensure liberty and justice for all.’”
— Evelyn, Ascent of Liberty