The First Age

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Seemed the man did have a little life to him after all. Morven grinned at the sudden animation, amused, at least until she began to understand precisely what he was saying. Her arms folded, feet planted firm, and her expression cast itself into seriousness.

“Block her ability to channel,” she repeated flatly. The apparent sexual bias here already grated; she did not seem thrilled to learn this new piece of news. Her lips pursed, though she did not pursue it.

Morven was not certain he was supposed to have shared all that with her, though it wasn’t like she had anyone she could tell even had she been inclined. “So what’s being done to find this creature and ensure it cannot attack again?”
Allan laughed slightly "The same weave would work to block a man. Actually the Consul shielded the man who helped the Ascendancy and himself in the whole thing. So it's not a sexist thing." The kid hadn't looked like he enjoyed the feeling of not touching their power, and the guys had all practiced since learning the weave in the field and the whole idea of having a shield between you and your power was scary. Never to touch it again? Allan was pretty sure he didn't like that thought at all.

Morven brought up a good point though, what was being done. Allan thought about it. "I assume the Ascendancy is trying to figure it out. Or the man who knew how to kill it." Allan shrugged. "How do you hunt things you don't even know exists, it's not like there is a database out there that says hey this monster is real and you kill it like this."

Allan was too excited about the prospect of learning that he'd forgotten his workout all together - it's not like he wouldn't be in the gym again later - there wasn't much to do here. "Supposedly a group of people do this for a living. But that leaves me with so many questions too."

A man in white came into the gym and stopped next to Morven. "Doctor, We have need of your skills so we can fit Durante with his prosthetic ordered by the Ascendancy." The man said it like it he was tired of receiving those types of orders or maybe he thought it was a waste of money. The nurse left without confirmation of her assistance - he didn't seem to care.

Durante was the last name of the man who... The implications were wide - he was here. "That's him." Allan seemed almost in awe. "Do you mind if I tag along? I mean after you've cleaned up. I need to too." He should probably shower too but there might not be time and this was an opportunity. "You could ask him what's being doing about the mist man."
“Aye, I’m sure it works the same if a man’s the one doing the wielding. But you could no more teach me to do it than I could show you how to heal.” A brow rose, a little confrontational, though this was not her attempt at starting an argument. She didn’t mean to suggest it was an intentional prejudice, but he was stupid not to see it existed. There were barely any women in the Facility at all, and if the research was being done, it was at an infinitely slower rate.

She listened to the rest, arms still folded, though she had no answers to the barrage of wonderings that spilled out of his mouth. It seemed a more scholarly pursuit than an actual desire to keep the man he was beholden to safe, but she didn’t comment on that. Personally Morven was not sure she cared what the fuck the creature was, just that it was neutralised before it had the opportunity to create more havoc. How quickly would the Custody crumble if the Ascendancy fucking died? She may not have signed her name to the register willingly, but this was where her loyalty lay now, and Morven was a fierce protector.

Her gaze shifted as they were interrupted. She nodded, lips pinched into a momentary frown as the nurse sighed his way out without even waiting for a reply.

Fucking rude.

Her arms unfurled without a bite, though; it wasn’t a battle worth fighting. By then Rykovi was yammering again, this time like he might actually wet himself with excitement. Morven laughed suddenly. She couldn’t decide if his enthusiasm was cute or annoying, but permission was shrugged either way. “Aye, but dinae be a pest. I’m showering first. You can meet me there.”
It had been several days since he'd been in contact with the Atharim and the Ascendancy - the fateful day that Raffe had channeled and the day Nox had lost control. The day still played over and over in his dreams. Even lying next to Raffe hadn't helped the bad memories and the fear that coursed through his body. He slept less and less and when he did he caught naps when Raffe was busy. Nox didn't know how to be there for him. He didn't avoid him, but there was something clearly weighing on him with the time he spent with the other man.

But all that didn't really matter when Nox got a call to come into the Facility for his new arm. He was still a mess. Bandage was clean, but he'd broken it open several times trying to keep control of his gift and his fighting ability. The idea that he had to learn to fight again bothered him. It bothered him that even the simplest dances were wrong now. He had to relean everything he felt like a baby. And that his need for help didn't help the distance he put between himself and Raffe. He relied on the man, he tried to be fun and loving and the life of the party, but he was sure Raffe saw through it all and was just too nice to say anything. Nox sucked at relationships, and this was clearly that - and he sucked at it even if they didn't label it or say it out right.

So today Nox made his way to the facility. He was greeted without any problems and he was lead through the building and around and around until they descended into the depths. He was pretty sure they had orders to keep him disoriented. Like that was going to happen. Nox was used to hunting in both city and landscape. Having poor direction would have caused his death on many occasions.

Nox was lead into a sterile room, everything here was sterile and it brought back bad memories. Memories of being trapped here. The smell on the air tickled his nose and Nox was ready to bolt the moment he thought he detected the agent that would keep the power from him. This was not a place he wanted to be.

A man came in. He looked grumpy and annoyed. "Sit. The Doctors will be with you shortly." He set to readying what looked like an arm but it was hooked up to machines.
Allan felt very much like how he expected people felt when they knew they were about to meet someone famous. This guy wasn't famous, but he had knowledge Allan wanted. And he was grateful Morven had given him permission to join them. And he was glad she'd take a shower first. That gave him time to be presentable. And maybe a little intimidating.

That was one benefit of the uniform of the nine. It was unique and the all black and just the name while humorous taken out of context it held a lot of intimidation.

Allan showered quickly, washing the grime from his body and not for presentation's sake. He could have taken time - probably should have but at least he wasn't covered in sweat and stink. The formality of the uniform chafed a little but he was coming as that. Information was part of his job, and the kid didn't seem to be much on protocol from what he'd seen of lack of his deference to the Ascendancy. Though he had heard they had personal meetings which was something they had in common. A friendship of knowledge not so much, but common interests. Maybe? But from the report on him, he was just a kid - more dangerous than some of the others at the gala because of his sheer knowledge. But they'd been lucky he was there.

Allan walked into the station Durante was placed. The nurse from before was working on a prosthetic arm. And then the reality of it dawned on Allan, he'd lost an arm. "What took your arm?" He said with no introduction but there was awe and a little concern in his voice.
Marcus stood in the elevator for what seemed like forever. Sanjay was next to him, fully decked out in his black flared uniform. Ascendancy's team knew what they were doing. It was a powerful tool that operated on a subconscious level few even noticed. One study observed that it was part of the "military imagination" and a "seductive form of dress." He had raised an eyebrow at the next few paragraphs that suggested it "gave the wearer a private sexual fantasy of power." Having given that some thought- especially when considering the fetish community with their stylized dominatrix attire- he had to concede that there might be something to that. Foucoult saw it as a tool of social control, the belief that a soldier could be made from the crude materials of civilian life into the steel of a soldier. A forged weapon.

It had made its point, and from then on Marcus noticed the way people- himself included- responded, even without conscious thought, to its presence. Some cowered, some deferred. Still others' hackles rose, feeling threatened though not sure why. It was a powerful tool and one he fully intended to use one day. The German uniforms of the late 19th and early 20th century cut an image that was doubly empowered by history. They were potent.

Indeed, it was this transformation, Marcus wanted to see. As his Liaison, Sanjay did not get to spend as much time down at the Facility as the some of the others- those who were still in the city, anyway. And while his application was gaining widespread use, there was only so much that could be done in isolation. Partnerships, teamwork, and live collaboration could lead to real advances. And if nothing else, he could watch men spar with the power.

He missed Andre for that. At one time, what seemed a lifetime ago, he and his brother had done that very thing. It was exhilarating. He and Sanjay had never really gone that route, for reasons he was not entirely clear. Perhaps it was the man's deference, at trait he would need to have culled from him. Rods of Dominion should not be submissive by nature.

The air was cool though the pressure unmistakable. They were deep in the bowels of the earth with miles of rock and steel above them. The feel of being in a bubble was real. He wondered what prolonged exposure could do to ones psyche. An interesting experiment.

Sanjay went off to find others of the Rods while Marcus briefly greeted Dr. Weston, their conversation terse. Ever to the point, she was. And not a little territorial. Despite the Ascendancy's assurances, he was the Consul over channeling. It was only natural to be fearful he was here to begin encroaching on her territory. He was not- at least for now. He was here more as a curiosity.

His appetites, as of late, had changed somewhat. Malik no longer stalked back and forth in front of the cage door, egging him on with his hunger. A different kind of desire had surfaced now, one he wanted to explore.

While he waited, he wandered from room to room to observe the training. A pity not many women were down here. He had a thought concerning that, though he would have to be careful how he proceeded. They needed more structure too. He wondered how much planning Vellas was putting into his training program. Another thing for the future. The man needed to be around to inspire his people.

Room to room, he wandered.
Morven didn’t spend long cleaning up. Though the technician’s attitude grated, she was not one to shrug off duty, and recent training made her nothing if not efficient with time. The clothes she donned were likewise simple, with no white coat despite that they called her doctor on account of her talents. Partly that was her stubborn nature digging in against her strange position here, and partly it was because after her dismissal it seemed somehow a betrayal. Using the power wasn’t the same thing anyway, no matter what miracles it wrought. 

She pinned the curls from her eyes, though it puffed a cloud behind her head, then left her cell for the wide corridor.
Nox sat on the edge of the cot/table/whatever you called it that you sat on when you were in an exam room. It was the only other place that didn't move. The round stool didn't look all that comfortable and Nox really didn't know how long he was going to be here.

A second man wearing all black - a rod. Nox snickered at the thought. His thoughts immediately jump to how Jay was doing. They hadn't talked much in the past few days. Nox was still slightly worried he was going to get into a mess on the other side of the world. But there was nothing he could do about it. Nox had his own messes to deal with.

The other man sounded much like the guy who had walked him to the Ascendancy's office. Awe was not quite the world though, he seemed excited and then concerned when he asked about the arm.

Nox smirked. "A friend actually." Not that Ivan was a friend really. "I told him to. But that's not what you wanted to know what is?" Nox didn't wait for the rhetorical question to be answered. "I got bit by an unknown and since I didn't want to die and in theory severing the arm should stop the contagion that was what I did. I'm not dead so that part worked." Nox still wasn't sure about what else was wrong with him but this guy didn't need to know all that.

"And you are? You obviously think you know me. Nox wondered if this was who the other one of the nine had been talking about him with. They had both been at the gala, all of the nine had. He couldn't imagine the Ascendancy spoke terribly much about him - except maybe as an annoyance to be dealt with. Despite all their times meeting these days.
"You cut off your own arm?" There was shock in his voice, he heard it too. Why would someone do that? He laughed, "What are you some sort of hero?"

Durante shook his head. "I'm not a hero. I just do a job."

Allan laughed, "Modesty. You hunt monsters for what fun? You don't get paid for it."

He shrugged. "Not anymore. But I did. We get a stipend. But I'm a traitor. I work at a burlesque and with the cops right now." He looked like he wanted to say more but he just kept the amused look on his face.

Allan was having a hard time believing any of it. "What was that creature at gala?"
This guy asked a lot of questions. At least he hadn't asked for his autograph that and been a messed up encounter. Nox had never been a kid to seek out attention from anyone other than his father. But when the extent of your childhood is spent with only your mother, father and sister it's sorta difficult to ever become the popular kid. And while it was cute and all it was starting to grate. But he was asking about monsters and Nox enjoyed talking about them.

"It's an Ijiraq. A mist monster that apparently eats the power a godling possesses."

"A what?"

Nox chuckled. "A godling - a channeler. A baby god. That's what the Atharim call people who can do what we do - they call them reborn gods. Because they hunted down every last god and killed them to extinction." And yet here they stood reborn in the world and one of them was the most powerful fucking world leader on the planet. Nox wondered how much of that power could be contributed to the power he possessed - other than the longer than normal youth Nikolai Brandon seemed to possess.

"We aren't gods."

Nox nodded. "Agreed and there starts the problem the Atharim and I have." Nox shook his head. "You really don't have any plans on introducing yourself. So I guess I'll just have to resort to calling you Rod."
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