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New Allies In An Old War
#1
Aaliyah Zevros

[Image: 8dbbed0b5e9747bcf445f7a20f7de317.jpg]

Aaliyah moved quickly to get things ready for her recruitment.  News had reached her ears of some former shamans and other channelers that had reason to be disgruntled.  It didn't take Aaliyah long to get ready.  She was used to being on the move.  The news came from Ethiopia, just south of Sudan.  The goal was to get their and recruit some of these shamen.  Giovanni was beginning to build his army.

Aaliyah had the captain assemble the troops they had.  Some would be joining her.  She wasn't aware if Giovanni himself was going to go.  At this point he seemed intent on staying here, but he had a tendency to just sort of do things when he felt like it.  The troops were assembled and Aaliyah addressed them.

"Our mission is taking us to Ethiopia.  We have a few targets that we are going to rescue.  Again, we are rescuing them, and they are not to be mistreated.  Those holding them, or others attempting to take them are fair game for you.  Do as you will with them, but get the targets out.  This is the will of the Master. Do I make myself clear?"

The group spoke in the affirmative.  They knew that this branch of Al Janyar was under new management.  Truth be told, the group knew little of their leader, except that he spoke through Aaliyah.  Most of them were happy that they had actually started doing something instead of lying around as they had under Ibrahim. 

"Good, get prepared to leave.  We head out at 10:00 hours."

The Captain dismissed the group and Aaliyah turned to check in with Giovanni.  He would want to know that they were leaving soon.

She found him in the room he had claimed in his office, a scrap of paper was in his hand.  It was the one he had seen before with the archaeologist.   It was called the Eye of Horus, if she remembered correctly.  Aaliyah waited until he acknowledged her before speaking.

"Things are getting moving.  We'll be off in a couple of hours."

"Good, and good luck."

Aaliyah paused as she noticed Giovanni looking once more at the paper. "What is it?"

Giovanni put the paper down and brought a hand to his face in thought.  "It's this symbol.  It means something - more...I'm sure of it." He met her gaze. "Go.  I may join you in a few days - keep that between us."

"As you command," she said turning to exit the room.  

If she would have turned she would have noticed Giovanni once again staring at the Eye of Horus, stand and look out the window towards the archaeological dig site.  
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#2
Tsega De Waal, NPC


Sprawled on the floor back resting along a wall, Tsega De Waal flipped idly through the feed on his old wallet. The window above cast a glare on the screen that he constantly tilted and turned to be read the tiny print alongside each figure. This was the nicest wallet he ever used despite the cracks splintering the front. Unfortunately, the rebel off whose body he took the thing wasn't carrying a charger. It was bound to die any minute. 

A scowl buried his brows low along his eyes when the thing finally went dark. With a push, he shoved it across the floor to Duma, who liked to disassemble such devices and hawk the parts. Sometimes, Duma brought back enough money to share some wealth from vendors in town, but Tsega didn't really care. Al Janyaar kept food in his belly and gave him a place to sleep. So long as those needs were met and he got to flip through the occassional dead guys' wallet, life was pretty good. 

"Look alive, boys," their captain announced as he stomped in. "Pack. We leave in ten minutes," a wave of the hand encompassed what little was housed in the room, and Tsega glanced at his bag, rifle propped along the top. Let him take a pee first and he'd be ready in five minutes. 

Duma looked disappointed as he shoved the dead wallet into one of the pockets of his cargo pants. 
Tsega crawled to his feet and helped Duma to stand. "Don't worry, you can sell that shit anywhere." 

Duma laughed, grabbed his own rifle, and the two soldiers filed outside.
Only darkness shows you the light.


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#3
Anbessa was wreathed in shadows, dark jeans, black shirt underneath armor that he had fashioned and dark combat boots. The armor was not the best, but it worked. Dark soft cloth wound about his head leaving only his eyes visible. The comm piece in his ear kept his connection to Sesuna live.

He lifted his head from the ground to study the compound, putting lens warriors to his eyes and zooming in. Sesuna had already given him the layout but he needed to see it for himself. It had been a medium sized village on the border of Eritrea and South Sudan. Various trucks and cars stood next to shoulder high walls of stone that surrounded courtyards and buildings. The structures ranged in size from small homes to larger complexes, dotting the area. The buildings were often multi-leveled with parapets that went around the roofs, a place where people would normally spend the evening cooking and enjoying the cooling air. 

But this place teemed with men and boys, mostly, all carrying rifles. Few wore anything consistent, but he noted parts of uniforms of the Sudanese, Ethiopian, Eritrean and even Kenyan military and police forces. Probably scavenged from skirmishes along with any weapons and vehicles.

The darkness was broken by floodlights and fires inside empty drums. In the distance, he could see the church where very likely the women were being kept. According to Sesuna, the followers of self-styled General Mebratu Zerezghi had been scavenging the country-side and kidnapping girls and women, some as young as 5, to be used as sex slaves, rewards and incentive to the boys and men in their army. The boys were given alcohol, mosty tejj mead, palm wine, or various types of beer, along with narcotics to keep them compliant.

Therein lay the difficulty. The boys were as much victims as the women, except they were armed and deadly. They needed to drive out the General and his ardent followers. But what to do about the boys? Even if he was so inclined (which he wasn't) he knew Sesuna would never countenance a wholesale slaughter. At best, he could stop the men or maybe capture them and then let the authorities deal with the rest. It was all they could really do. But he couldn't leave his people suffering when it was in his power to do something.

Ibrihim shifted next to him. The man seemed to vibrate with a fiery energy. Rohama, on his other side was quiet, her face firm and eyes set. She knew what went on in that compound all too well. Her grandmother had been taken by Boko Haran decades ago and had spent 4 years with them, passed around from man to man like a cigarette or a bottle of beer.

They were all Qdus. But the monsters didn't have to be magical for them to act. Their exploits over the last 5 years had led to a small but steady increase in numbers as people joined the hunt. Civilization arising amid the chaos, with them Qdus G'brim in the lead. Not that Anbessa felt himself in charge The Negus Mena oversaw them all. But he had been named Heart of the Remnant, Idris, their fiery leader. He knew Sesuna disliked the name and he even understood. She still called him Bessie, as if to remind him what he was, for which he was grateful.

"I will go in first. Follow in 3 minutes." He touched his ear. "Sesuna, watch for any signs of new arrivals and let me know." They had done this before, but it was always good to communicate.

He rose and ran, quick as a lion in the brush, toward the nearest vehicle. The power flowed through him, bringing every noise, every whisper to his ears. His eyes were everywhere and none of the men on the rooftops noticed. He crouched near the tire and waited, listening. Movement in the bed of the truck caught his attention and he spun to see a large man rising up, pulling his rifle around.

He couldn't afford for there to be warning yet. Like a panther, with one smooth motion, he stood up, grabbed the man by his shirt and belt, heaved him over his head in an arc and slammed him to the ground. A heavy grunt escaped his lips, but that was it. Anbessa wove bonds and a gag of air and tied them off, a trick he'd learned in the years he sparred with Ibrihim. The sparring had proved very useful when he'd fought other g'brim. He shoved the man under the truck, the barrel of his rife going limp and impotent with threads of fire, and then turned again to see if he had been noticed. Nothing.

He crept forward, whispering to Sesuna and the rest. "One down."
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#4
It had taken months to build the drone, and longer to gather all the many mismatched scraps from other devices, test them, fit them like puzzle pieces without a map. Its constituent parts scattered the floor in the evenings, Sesuna laid out among them on her stomach, brows low.

It kept her quiet. And out of trouble.

When Bessie was around she used the g'brim's power to speed the process, growing deft at the smallest loops of light, tiny complex weaves. Though at times her hand snapped back when the electrics buzzed a shock through her fingers, or something whizzed and sparked. A yelp or grumble of irritation usually followed, but occasionally her gaze snapped up in accusation. Because sometimes it wasn't her mistake at all but Ibrihim's grinning vie for her attention when the hours had trickled passed unnoticed, her stomach empty and her limbs stiff. She never noticed the shadows until they robbed her ability to see what she was doing.

Ibrihim knew by now that she could not retaliate when her brother was not around. At least least not with g'brim power. A sly smile marked his only warning, though these were old games by now. It was just as often Rohama that separated them as Bess, when their playful wrestling grew raucous enough to upset furniture. Though it was only Rohama who frowned down at them with disappointment. She was particularly hard on Ibrihim, perhaps because he was old enough to know better. Sesuna definitely didn't stick her tongue out or wink conspiratorially when her wrath rained down on him.

Rohama had her reasons, of course. Sesuna did not know it all even now, but the woman's past shrouded dark, and it had bled out any humour she may have ever possessed. Though Sesuna could barely imagine her any different. Slim months marked their difference in age, so they were both still teenagers when the breadth of Sesuna's network plucked her out as one of them five years ago. That night, tented beneath the blankets of her bed, an orb of g'brim light glowing their faces, Sesuna first showed her how to submit to the gift, and Rohama had cried a long time afterwards, her face pressed against Sesuna's shoulder.

They'd been no such displays of emotion since. She was a stern eyed creature, despite her young age, both capable and efficient and utterly loyal. But Sesuna sensed a core of revenge steeling that spine so rigid. There was little room for anything else beyond duty.

The drone required proximity to function, something Sesuna was still working on. The village was rural enough to offer choice in the surrounding landscape, and she'd spent the afternoon scoping for the best place to base herself. Trees provided cover; she'd be vulnerable while she operated the drone. Bessie had helped her sink power into the dirt, charms that would alert her if human footsteps came too close. Warning enough to defend herself if necessary.

An outdated and adapted pair of clunky land warriors wrapped her face, synced to the video feed. She'd pulled herself into the branches, legs tucked up. Bark pressed into her back, leaves brushing her shoulder; it felt like mother's steadying hand. The images below were fuzzy, smeared with the heat signatures of those within the compound. More detail wasn't necessary, of course, and she could not direct the drone too low. No one would hear its faint whirr, but it needed to stay unseen in the dark -- and far enough away from rifle fire if things went wrong. "Roughly eleventy-billion to go, big brother. You're clear."
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#5
A Half Hour after Aaliyah's Departure

Giovanni felt himself staring at the image.  This symbol stirred something within him - something that he couldn't shake.  Frustrated with trying to figure out what it was, Giovanni slammed the book shut and sat down.  He sipped at a glass of water.  People had brought him wine, but Giovanni decided that he didn't need alcohol distracting his thoughts right now.

A knock pulled the Al Janyar leader out of his stupor.  He grimaced.  This better be worth it.  "Enter," Giovanni said.

Dr. Pierce, the archaeologist, entered the room, and bowed his bald head towards Giovanni.  "My Lord, you asked to be notified of anything we found bearing a resemblance to the Eye of Horus.  We have found such an artifact."

The man waited until Giovanni beckoned him forward.  Pierce brought out a small bundled and unwrapped it as he set it on the table.  It was a type of medallion, made of gold, and fashioned in the shape that Giovanni had seen in the book.  A gold chain would allow it to be worn around someone's neck.  The iris of the eye was made with a diamond.  It looked expensive, and very clean.

"We cleaned the medallion before bringing it here.  It is worth quite a bit - the diamond alone..."

"We will not be selling this," Giovanni said, interrupting the archaeologist. "This is mine.  Thank you, Dr. Pierce. You are dismissed."

Giovanni placed the Eye of Horus around his neck and spoke to one of the officers that had remained behind.  "I'm going to Ethiopia.  I'll be back soon."

Aaliyah Zevros
[Image: 8dbbed0b5e9747bcf445f7a20f7de317.jpg]

Present
((OoC: This will bring Aaliyah and Gio into the same time as Idris and Sesuna))

Aaliyah waited for the intelligence to come in.  The building that they needed to infiltrate wasn't far.  Getting in should be easy enough for the soldiers.  Aaliyah had to confess that she didn't know much about tactics herself, but she was only here as Giovanni's eyes and ears.  The real planning she left to the soldiers.  Her task would be to convince the channelers of the benefits of working for her Master.

She was aware that the Captain was coming with a contingent of soldiers.  Likely to let her know they were ready.  She turned to face them, but soon saw that the Captain had stood aside to allow someone else to enter.  Giovanni walked up to her.

"You've arrived," she said with a respectful bow of the head.  She immediately noticed the medallion he wore around his neck.  The Eye of Horus. "I didn't expect you so soon."

"Events have quickened my arrival," Giovanni said with a slight smile. "Where are we at - are we ready?" There was an eager gleam in his eyes.
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#6
Anbessa chuckled. "Thank you, Little One." Sisters. Ibrihim and Rohama would be following, though staggered out in space and time. They had one simple strategy. Eliminate any weapons and capture all the men and boys. Sessie would send the notification to the Sudanese and Eritrean forces when they were done. It was the best they could do under the circumstances.

Ibrihim's voice came over the comms, sarcasm only light. "If you have any problems, Idris, I'll take care of them." He smiled, shaking his head. Poor man, always showing off. He had a crush on Sesuna but had no clue what to do about it. And she, for her part, just saw him as a little brother, despite his age. It didn't help that he poked at her and teased like a little boy trying to get a girl's attention. He'd have to speak to Sesuna. He didn't think she was encouraging it, of course. There was not an ounce of deception or maliciousness in her. Later though.

He dashed from the truck to a van, this time careful to note if there were any occupants. Clear. He crouched at the wheel well, though in truth, little use for a man of his size. At least the night provided some cover, though.

Off in front near the wall were a couple of drum barrels, their flames casting sparks into the night sky. He could hear talking and from somewhere music played. His power enhanced vision showed fourteen men, though their size indicated most were definitely boys. Little guess where the men were. He frowned disgustedly.

He took a breath, calming himself, let the wind and sand and sky wash over him, the land seeping into him. All emotion disappeared as he stilled completely. His whisper was dead over the comms. "Taking out the first group now." Ibrihim would hit to the east of him and Rohama the north.

Another breath and a prayer. Give me strength.

Anbessa exploded into motion, legs pumping as fast as they would go. Even so, threads of fire and air shot out faster than thought, flicking from machine gun to machete to knife, melting them to puddles. Screams of pain and shock took all of their attention and no one noticed him until he swept in, slamming in the largest of the men, lifting him up into the air and throwing the him violently into the wall. Without even waiting for the impact he swung about as five others came at him. Hands and feet struck and lifted and threw, but it was threads of the power that put them down in a matter of seconds, tied off bonds of air. Alarms sounded, as others turned to flee while still more attacked. He was a whirlwind of violence.

He heard sounds of war from the other parts of the camp, screams and weapons fire. He stifled the worry in his gut. His land warriors showed the time. Five minutes had passed. Ibrihim was attacking. He had a few moments as the camp exploded into chaos. Quickly he pulled out the bundle of carbon zip ties and took care of those he'd took down, then removed their bonds of air. It took only two minutes and then the northern part of the camp errupted. Rohama.

Good. They were drawing the attention. Zerezghi would be sending mostly boys to take the first brunt, while he and his men prepared. The pit inside the soft outer flesh of fruit. His.
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#7
Screams and weapons fire reached the ears of Giovanni's group. He looked towards the compound, as another troop approached him. He looked Giovanni up and down, assessing the stranger that he didn't know was actually his leader. Giovanni met his eyes, his own gleamed with blue fire. The other man looked away briefly.

"You have a report?" Giovanni asked him directly. The man looked confused, as if he wasn't sure who to address.

"You should answer the Master," Aaliyah replied.

The soldier looked surprised, but answered with quickness. "There is another group here. They are attracting the soldiers in the base towards the main entrance. From what I could see from my scope," he lifted a pair of binoculars, there is a lot of chaos.

Giovanni smiled. This could work in their favor. "We will use that chaos to our advantage. Let the other group take the brunt of the attacks. We go in through the side, get our targets and leave with minimal casualties. If they get in our way, we'll deal with them.

The soldier saluted and moved back towards his unit after he was dismissed. "Alright Captain, let's move out!

The group utilized guerilla and urban tactics well. Ambushes were a speciality so they moved quietly to a secondary entrance of the compound. The chaos had drawn the guards away, and a soldier worked at the gate lock, making their way into the compound. Giovanni followed close behind. He summoned the power, wrestling with it inside of him. His senses sharpened as they entered. The troops got into formation, checking for any sign of hostiles.
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#8
It should have been an easy job, and for a while it was. The grainy images from the drone showed nothing unexpected, and her team moved quick and efficient like cogs in an expertly crafted machine. At least until--

Shit. Anbessa, you have company. Coming in from behind you. I don’t know who they are yet. Presume hostile. Assessing numbers now.”
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