This forum uses cookies
This forum makes use of cookies to store your login information if you are registered, and your last visit if you are not. Cookies are small text documents stored on your computer; the cookies set by this forum can only be used on this website and pose no security risk. Cookies on this forum also track the specific topics you have read and when you last read them. Please confirm whether you accept or reject these cookies being set.

A cookie will be stored in your browser regardless of choice to prevent you being asked this question again. You will be able to change your cookie settings at any time using the link in the footer.

The Broom
The Regus steepled his fingers in contemplation, the whisper of Father Bosheven’s report still in his ears. He saw nothing of his office. Only the members of their Holy Order passed through his mind. His eyes narrowed. A cancer infected them. Infected his oversight. He’d been busy with the Vatican, making frequent trips. The Atharim spanned the world and needed his attention. But here in the heart of the beast, the home of the abomination that styled itself the Ascendancy, corruption was spreading. His teeth ground for a moment before he stopped them, willing himself to peace.

It was time to root it out. First Father Dimitri. The snap of the man’s neck had been satisfying. The price for hiding a sentient in their midst. Aria had her uses, for now. Clearly, she was losing her edge, with people asking after her as they had in the bookshop. Not just people. Another sentient. He stifled the bile that tried to rise in his stomach. All in good time. He didn’t expect her to succeed against Brandon. But her failure and death would give them valuable information. An economical and elegant solution.

The antique clock in his office ticked away the time. Beautifully ornate, it was six hundred years old, yet accurate to with three minutes a day. A marvel of engineering. As long as one was vigilant, the error could be accounted for, minimized. Humans were inherently fallen. From the first pair down to today, they consistently chose foolishly. They decided based on their weaknesses and desires. On familial bonds.

A knock at the door announced the arrival of Father Stone. The Regus let him stew for a moment, before announcing ”Come!” It was beginning.
Life was again back to normal after the holidays. The pomp and cheer always grated on Father Stone. But with the holidays gone, now the real work would start again. His charges had grown in numbers thanks to that girl Aria. He despised her accuracy and incessant need to always be doing something. Her reports had started coming in again.

And he had one report sitting on his desk stating that she'd been following a particular notable charge of his. He thought he had buried it deeply in the files. Thought he'd hidden it. The girl was ruthless in her research for godlings. Her research to take down the Ascendancy, or so she claimed, an order from the Regus himself. How a girl like her could get such a meeting was beyond him.

But she seemed to have had more than one encounter with the man. He sighed at the thought of the power the misfit held. How she'd lived was beyond him. How she managed anything.

A man arrived at his door, with a summons to the Regus. His current train of thought had been unnerving, and to have the Regus himself summon him as he was thinking of that girl made all the venom he held rise into his throat. He spat a committal "I'll be there in a moment."

Father Stone knew better than to keep the Regus waiting, but he had to collect his demeanor before he strode into the man's office. With a deep breath, Father Stone stood. He smoothed out his clothes, adjusted his collar and walked out of the room confident. He strode through the underground vault that held some of the most precious things in the world and unfathomable knowledge.

He knocked on the door and was greeted with a Come. Father Stone took a deep breath and opened the door and walked into the plush office. An office he had never stepped foot in. He was proud, he stood there as regal as he could muster, he was about to receive his first praise from the man himself, and Father Stone knew he was worthy of it.
Father Stone walked in and the Regus nearly smiled. There was a lightness to the man’s step. He thought he was here to be commended. Time would show him how wrong he was. ”Please shut the door and have a seat, Father,” he said, gesturing to the chair in front of his desk.

The man complied and then the room was silent while Regus watched him for a moment. A minute went by. Then two. A soft knock and his door opened without preamble. Martin Borovský stepped into the room. “It is done, Regus,” he said, stepping forward and proffering a tablet.

He took it and swiped through the pictures. There was an extra girl here. He raised an eyebrow. ”There were complications?”

The hard man smiled faintly. “No. She was not alone when I found her. But on the streets life is cheap. No one will think anything more than the obvious. I made sure of that.”

Regus grimaced distastefully. It was a necessary fact of their work and couldn’t be helped. But it was done. ”Very well. Thank you for handling this personally. I will have something important for you soon.” His eye flicked to Father Stone before going back to the man.

No one would suspect that Martin Borovský was the High Inquisitor of the Atharim, of The Holy Order of Saint Torquemada. Secrets within secrets. Torquemada a scion to a long line of Atharim going back to the Holy Land and Iscariot himself. The Inquisition merely a cover provided by Pope Sixtus IV to investigate and destroy any reborn gods that might have manifested. That it turned out to baseless rumor was beside the point. But feckless members of the Holy See and short sighted monarchs forced Pope Alexander VI to publicly restrain their work. Yet he did beatify and canonize Torquemada in secret within just a few years of his death. Publically disbanded in the 1800’s, the work went on in private, Borovský being the latest to hold the office.

The man could ferret out anything, given time. He had discovered Stone’s secret. The door closed quietly and Regus turned the weight of his gaze on him. Ignoring him earlier and then speaking obliquely about killing had done their work. Gone was the sense of pride and honor to be here. ”I wonder, Father Stone, if you remember what it means to be Atharim.” He swiped at the tablet. A face appeared, though he made no effort to display it to him.

Father Stone shifted his weight. Clearly this wasn't what he expected. "Of course I remember Regus."

He merely looked at the man. "And what does it mean?"

"We...The Atharim are the protectors of humanity. The means to erradicating the infernal Gods of old. We are the remnant of that."

He tilted his head and looked at the man curiously. “Then why would you hide one of these reborn gods from us? Because she is your daughter?” His voice became harder. ”Do you not understand what is at stake?” He waved away any answer he might give. In the end, it would be pure sentiment. Even one such as Father Stone, who knew the histories and the dangers, still did not understand. Power belonged to God alone. In the hearts of wicked mankind, it drove them to madness and tyranny, oppression and destruction. Kali Ma, Semiramis, Camaxtli. These were not names out of mythology. The bloodletting was real. An ocean of it.

And they had bought their freedom from the gods through great sacrifice. They had kept mankind safe through thousands of years. He nearly ground his teeth at the thought of the last Regus and the last Pope. Weak, sentimental, misguided. The abomination that styled himself Ascendancy had been one of them. And no record remained. It made his blood boil.

The look on Father Stone’s face said that his feelings were quite evident. Regus breathed and let calm return to him. He swiped at the tablet again. The body of the girl, Sonja, lying on the ground appeared, neck at an unnatural angle. She had been left disheveled to complete the illusion. The foot of another girl was also visible. Silently he handed it to Father Stone. ”I have rectified your lapse in judgement.”

Father Stone sat there stunned, staring at the image before him. Regus felt no pity for the man. This was a war. The enemy could be anyone. There would be no compromise. ”Return to your rooms. You are relieved of all duties including your charges. Someone else will be taking over them.” He leaned forward and fixed him with a stare that pinned him to the chair. ”Disobedience will be punished most severely.”

The man nodded hesitantly, the fear in his eyes clear. He left shaking. It was just beginning. It was time for the Atharim to be refocused, the war made clear, the penalties abundantly evident. He smiled. There had not been a convocation in years.

((With Father Stone))

Edited by Regus, Jan 6 2015, 10:13 AM.
Words flew around the room. It was a mass of jumbled things, thoughts, feelings, everything that had be Father Stone's initial statement had been wrong. The man who came in with little prompting was a man that commanded respect, almost as great as that of the Regus himself. Inquisitor, non High Inquisitor Martin Borovský, was a man that Father Stone feared, the fact that he had been the one to deliver the message made him shudder. And to think Sonja had died at the hands of one of the people he'd trained. At least there would have been little pain.

There was little he could do about the whole situation. He wondered if that brat of a girl had told someone something. If he'd not been ordered to his rooms he'd pay the girl a visit. He might actually do so anyway.

Father Stone was ushered to his rooms, rather unceremoniously. He sank into his bed it was bleak in his room now, the lights were down, there was no sun from a window to linger. He had been sequestered before, but not like this. The Regus was not a man of inaction. He killed at a breath. Why he survived this encounter was beyond him. But he knew, just as that brat of a girl, their days were numbered. He doubted he'd see another sunrise.
A task had been asked of Martin from the Regus himself. It was an honor to fulfill the duty requested of him. Despite the fact that the task was easily handled. The godling was of little consequence. Martin had found things, but they weren't his own findings, just his curious searches through what other Atharim had been searching for in the databases. And one struck him as odd. The search it self was not odd, nor the searcher, but the results found were extraordinary. Father Stone's daughter, a godling and he kept it secret. That was exactly what the Regus had been looking.

And then when informed the Regus gave Martin the task, the task to kill the godling. She was a stoner, completely oblivious to his entrance, her friend however was more the problem than he godling, she actually struggled. It had been quick for both of them, but it was an easy fight, two little girls dead because of one old man's folly.

Martin had delivered the message of it's completion as Father Stone sat in the Regus' office. It was dramatic, and Martin took extreme pleasure in he man's discomfort. His end would be satisfactory, or so he could only hope.

But it was the meeting afterwards that which Martin was most looking forward to, to "something more important". It was something he hoped he'd enjoy not more administrative duties, he truly hated that. Paperwork was beneath him.But

Unlike the prior summons, Martin did not enter the Regus' office unbidden. He knocked and waited for the man to answer or for something else to indicate he should enter. Martin knew his place in the order of things. He was ambitious yes, but he knew his place.

Martin adjusted his tailored black suit jacket he wore over a pair of black jeans. The gray t-shirt underneath was crisp, Martin despised button ups but would wear them when necessary. He didn't deem this meeting that formal. It was not ceremonious, only a meeting. Far lesser people strode into the Regus' office wearing not but most menial of things. All of Martin's clothes were fine, today's was not silk, but a good share of his clothes for non-field work were. He prided himself on his attire, among many other things. He smiled to himself as he waited in those mere moments of self-reflection.
The Regus slid the ancient tome back on his desk and closed his eyes in meditation. Time would spin out of his control if he did not take the proper action. Clues and hints were all he had, bits and pieces culled from prophecies and ancient songs.

The phrase repeated in his mind. πόλεμος ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ. The Archangel Michael against the seven headed diademed Dragon. An image from the video floated into his mind, the ouroboros, slashed and distorted into a twisted travesty, a mutilation of the purity it symbolized. His lip curled. Apollyon, Abaddon, 'Destroyer', the angel of the abyssou, the 'infinite void', the tehom of the monster serpent Rahab, the Leviathan of Isaiah and the Psalmist. The threat, the danger, was more real than anyone realized, its twisted body encircling and permeating the entire world, even reaching into heaven to cast down the stars to be trampled on the earth. Evil incarnate.

And It walked the halls of the Kremlin, ruling half the world already while worshipped as a god by millions.

But even as he gazed into that dark future, there was a glimmer of light, a way provided. "Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels." Not a war between two single individuals. Apollyon would not be alone.

But neither would he. Michael would have his angels. A slight smile curved his lips and he opened his eyes, thinking on how fortuitous Father Stone's treason was for the convocation.

He pressed his comm. "Yes sir," came the voice.

"Send a summons to all Atharim in Moscow. For tomorrow night in the Grand Hall. Make it clear that attendance is mandatory. And please notify Barovsky that I would like to see him."

His eyes fell on a 13th century Latin translation of the Apocrypha on his desk. He reverently opened its pages to Tobit and his smile grew as he read.

A knock on his door drew him out of his meditation. "Come." Barovsky entered silently before closing the door. "Sit please." The man sat and Regus studied him for a moment, remembering their meeting beneath the Vatican more than two decades ago. He had not been wrong about the man. From his training at his hands forward, Barovsky had proven himself one sharpest and deadliest Atharim ever. When the Regus Wijngaard had asked his counsel on a new High Inquisitor, the answer had been easy despite his relative youth. Armande had an inkling of where things might go.

"I trust you've posted guards to Father Stone's door." He didn't wait for an answer beyond the simple nod. "Well then. The Atharim are entering a new age. Abominations walk the earth without fear. It is time for some changes. I will announce some tomorrow at the convocation."

He tilted his head and studied Martin. "Tell me, do you find your work as High Inquisitor as fulfilling as when you were in the field."
When he was bid entrance and asked to sit Martin had done so. The Regus was a good man, strong and intelligent - right for the job. The little things were asked about first, guards were of course posted, the man was not going anywhere. Though Martin did wish he would try. He could have a little enjoyment from the harm the inquisitors could and probably would instill upon the man's body. It was not that Martin took pleasure in such things, but the man was a traitor, he deserved far more than even the Regus would do.

The conversation finally turned towards what he wanted. It was not that he was unhappy. But the field, oh how he missed the hunt. Thankfully Moscow was teaming with monsters in its underbelly and he could get a little hunting in now and then. But it wasn't as much as he'd have liked. The hunt was beyond comparison. He missed it.

He gave the Regus a wry smile. "Nothing is as fulfilling as saving humanity first hand."
He waved his hands. "Not that I would give up my seat just to hunt again."
Martin was curious as to how field work could be more important than what he was doing now, but he was interested. He crossed his legs and leaned back in the chair, he wanted to know more.
Father Stone fumed about the treachery he felt from the little brat, she had to have found out, with all her scouring for godlings that had escaped. He knew she had something to do with it. His blood boiled. How could she? For everything he'd done for her?

He got up from his bed and opened the door. Two men in black robes stood outside the door. There was only a moment of though before Father Stone tried to make a run for it. He didn't even get past the guards before one clothes-lined him across the throat. Father Stone fell backwards to the ground panting for air from the blow. His head bounced off the hard concrete floor and he was sure he was bleeding. But the kick to his gut gave him more things to worry about. The guards kicked him until he managed to crawl into his room. Whence they stopped.

So much for escape. He would have come back, maybe...Freedom was far from thought, he knew the Atharim, he WAS Atharim. How could they do this to him?
The Regus smiled slightly. Martin was a good man, loyal, dedicated, dependable. Again he saw the open book on his desk.

"No, I would not ask you to give up your seat merely to become a field agent again. But..." he let the word linger for a moment. Barovsky was as close to a friend as he could allow himself to have. After Grigorio and then Jova, he kept his distance from people. Attachment and sentimentality would cloud his thinking. It could ask him to compromise. Father Stone, again. A verse floated to mind. "The heart is deceitful and wicked above all things, who can know it?" He could not risk it, not even of himself.

"Well, we'll get to that shortly. More immediately, at tomorrow's convocation, I would like you and ten men from your Order to be dressed in full regalia when Stone is brought in." He smiled. For the most part, the Holy Order was a secret known only to a few in the Atharim, especially among field agents. It was a calculated risk, revealing its existence. But world would not be saved without risk.

Martin raised an eyebrow, but nodded, which pleased him. "I would also like you to put together a list of Atharim field hunters. The criteria is to be strict. They are to be orthodox and loyal above all. They must be exceptionally proficient with experience in all types of hunts. And they must be Old World Atharim. Our brethren in other lands will be brought more fully into the fold in due time. But for this, I want people I can trust implicitly."

He fixed Martin with a firm gaze and allowed a smile to show. "And of course, I'd like your recommendation for your replacement. I will have need of your skills elsewhere."
Ten men in full regalia? How very odd, those that saw the black robes rarely saw them for long. Treachery was few and far between inside the Atharim. There was a better war to fight than something inside. Though Martin was sure that Father Stone was not the last of the traitorous folk lying in their mist. Martin was just glad to have a leader who was going to do something about it.

An alert in his ear sounded. "Stone is making a run for it. Subduing now." Martin smiled. He knew the man would try. He was a stubborn old fool. He only wished he could have been there to subdue the man.

The second topic to be broached sat heavily on his head. A list of the best Atharim. That required paperwork. He sighed inwardly, he didn't let his distaste for the task show. He would dutifully fulfill the request and in a timely fashion despite the mundane task.

Though it did raise Martin's curiosity. Why the list? The American Atharim were to come to heel? He'd a small distaste of their antics here in the so-called Old World. There were only a small number at the moment, but it seemed those numbers grew by the day. Once such still not initiated. He's remedy that quickly if he had his choice in the matter.

"My replacement?"
His words escaped his mouth before he could filter them. Was he being demoted? What the hell was going on here. He sat up and was attentive now. He had done his duty, always! He took a deep breath and called the initial reaction. "And what is it you will have me doing instead?"

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)