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And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
Wandering the Kremlin had been boring and Aria found herself back in her room. Sometime that evening Michal came in with a frown. "A moment of your time?" he had asked.

Aria didn't care she hadn't anything else to do. Michal informed Aria of her new task. Seek and destroy. Much like the Regus had sent Aria after the Ascendancy, the Ascendancy had turned the tables on the Regus and sent his own hound after him. It was a poetic sort of irony. But this time things were different. Aria may not be Atharim anymore, but she knew the Atharim. Hunting the Regus would be far easier.

Or so she had thought. The first thing that the ZARS team wanted was the location of the Atharim headquarters. Aria wasn't sure if the Ascendancy knew of the Vatican or not, but she if ZARS went in to Vatican City it would be considered an act of war, it was not part of the CCD. It remained its own entity throughout time. A hollow in the realm that was the CCD.

But she gave the location of the Moscow branch up. Michal had been surprised by it's location and it's proximity to the Kremlin. Aria knew much more about the Baccarat than she was going to tell these agents. If the Ascendancy asked she'd tell him, but she didn't want innocent people harmed because they had funded the Atharim. The Ascendancy wanted to keep them, but that didn't mean you didn't ax the dead weight. Money had to come from somewhere.

The plan was to attempt a small breech. Planning something large scale was going to get a lot of people killed. And you can't run an organization if your followers are dead. So stealth was the name of this game.

Aria hadn't really had time to wonder if the Regus had gotten her credentials revoked. There really was no way to tell without trying. Her wallet had been fried, and she was tasked with this one mission before she was allowed her own freedom - a freedom still grated with finding the Regus, but her life and her home would be her own. Though there was going to be the question of income... But that was a thought for another day.

Michal and two other ZARS agents Aria hadn't bothered to learn their names - not yet anyway - came with Aria to the Baccarat mansion. There was an eerie quiet to the back alleyways. Aria looked up to the fire escape that had led to her own apartment and frowned. Dane was back... She was both elated and frightened by the prospect of finding that familiar calm again. But she knew she would find it - there was nothing more compelling than finding Dane, but work came first.

The smell of stagnate ash filtered through the air. A gust of wind ripped through the alleyway carrying white flakes like snow, but the spring time sky held no winter clouds. The area was devoid of the mass presence of people below. Aria ran to the end of the alleyway that opened up into what was suppose to be the back garden of the Baccarat mansion. Before her where a once massive building stood there was nothing. The blue sky was visible past the mouth of the alleyway and the was nothing but a pile of ash and debris. What had once been a crowning jewel in the Baccarat name was nothing but dust. The Atharim would scatter to the four corners now. Some would return home - but most would go where they felt safest. What had happened? Who had brought the Atharim to their knees? Which question was more important - where was the Regus? or Who had done this?

The place didn't feel of death - the Atharim had survived. Had the Regus? Where would he go? Aria turned down the street back towards the Kremlin. She'd leave a report for the Ascendancy - he could dig up whatever lie beneath if he so desired. But Aria was certain it was all gone. There was no possible way the Atharim would let their home die without a fight.

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