[Church Members] Dawn of the Hunt

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Post by God on Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:17 pm

[Church Members] Dawn of the Hunt 3KCCGQd

Deep within the walls of Judecca's main Church were the head's own private quaters, holy texts and self portraits adorned the walls of the spacious room accompanied by various furniture made from the finest wood. The Saint stood on the far end of the chamber, looking deeply into the large window, the sun reflecting on the golden surface of his mask as he kept meditating over the wonderous views outside the stone walls, only to be interrupted by heavy knocks on doors. Ealier today he had called for his personal guard, and surely enough, they arrived on time.

"Enter." He called out while turning towards the door, the once majestic voice of his now weak and raspy, and the perfect blond color of the hair swaying with the motion of his body now stained gray by the corruption that is old age. Upon his premission, four men fully clad in armor devoid of fancy patterns or decorations, lined up by the door. "Bring to me Markus and Lucia." - with the short order given, the four quickly walked out one after another in formation to seek out the two Virubites with a message promising a mission of utmost importance for the Chruch's wellbeing.
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Post by Not a Lizarddo on Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:25 pm

A gathering was underway within one of the chapels in the main Church building. Many had gathered to it from all walks of life. Most were believers, but all had come to see a particular woman. The Holy Maiden as she was known. At the front of the room kneeling on the ground with her hands clasped and face lifted toward heaven was Lucia, leading the congregation in prayer. Candles lined the walk way that led to her position, pews on either side full to the brim with people. Many were refugees in some shape or form be it recently or a trial long since passed.

Lucia's prayer to the All-Mother was for peace to all the people of Kiora. For those in danger to find safety, that the Church may arrive on time to save them and that those departed find peace in her embrace. Tears flowed freely across all faces as the gathered crowd added their amen to the women's words. She slowly rose and turned about to face them. They looked up to her as if she were the goddess herself in this situation. It was the closest thing they had. A smile adorned the woman's face as it tended to do while she looked over the believers gathered.

"I thank you for your faith and your support my brothers and sisters." she began her address after her prayer. "All of us have known loss and all of us have known of the Lord's tenderness and mercy. Let us never forget to always share what has been given to us. By our deeds we may be the agents of Judecca in aiding and blessing Her children." she continued, eliciting cries of praise and approval from the believers present with her.

"May the Lord bless you this day. And know that I am eternally at your service. If there are any who are cold or hungry, without shelter or rest, diseased or injured, let them come to the church's halls and we will administer the All-Mother's relief. Your prayers and work sustain us in our cause." she concluded as the congregation broke into near applause. Thankfully she was mostly done with her address and was ready to dismiss the group when two fully armored knights entered the chapel. She knew them right away to be the personal attendants to their leader Arcus and rightly assumed they bore a message from him.

"I will come right away." she replied after they spoke of a mission Arcus had for them. One that was vital to the Church's well being they had said. What could be so dire as to inspire action on the Saint's part she wondered. "Thank you brothers and sisters. Stay strong in the faith and may Judecca be with you til we meet again." Lucia declared to the congregation to dismiss them while she walked off with the knights.

It was a walk she had done often enough by this point, the trip to Arcus's own quarters. With as many responsibilities as she had over the Church she often had to consult with the Saint to ensure his, and by extension Judecca's, will for the church was being carried out. All the while the smile never left her mouth as she pondered to herself. They passed several more believers through the halls who wished to greet the Holy Maiden upon seeing her. These she exchanged brief pleasantries with before informing that the Saint needed her. All were understanding of this. Soon she would be brought to stand before the doors to Arcus' chambers yet the knights stopped her from immediately entering stating they were to await Markus' arrival to have the Saint address them both together.

"My, Markus is here today?" she spoke softly, thinking on her long time acquaintance and friend. The man who had brought her to the church all those years ago. "This must be serious indeed." she pondered aloud as she looked about the halls for the old man's arrival.
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Post by DarthChungus on Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:46 pm

Another day and another hunt done. The Dreamborn may keep constantly appearing, but as long as hunters exist the populace may know a semblance of peace. Walking into one of the main chapels Markus noticed a congregation in progress, led by none other than Lucia herself. He recognized few faces in the crowd but didn't look for too long to not bring any attention. The longer he looked at them and Lucia the quicker he wanted to leave.

Back in his own quarters Markus took a moment to clean his clothes and collect himself. It is a moment of respite and chance steel himself against challenges of the day. Heating the water for chamomile is one of the moments he remembers about his age. He did not think he would succumb to the trappings of it, yet here he is. It is not much of a bother, but an interesting thought to entertain. People change with the age after all.

His thoughts were, luckily, interrupted by a knock. The sound of approaching footsteps made it obvious that it was a heavily clad individual, in this case it must be one of the knights. The message he delivered is most interesting, as Arcus himself personally requesting him did not happen in a long time, not to mention the importance of said request. Markus did not like the sound of that.

Wearing his mask and rest of his attire, Markus proceeds down the hallway to Arcus' private quarters. On the way he is greeted by few people. Some expressed gratitude, the others respect. Most of them however got out of his way without a word. There is always someone who wants to ask about hunting advice. The most important, and the one Markus gives most frequently, is "Know your limits.". He has seen too many young hunters get over their heads and dying in the process.

As he got closer to the quarters he noticed Lucia already waiting by the doors. It is surprising sight, as he didn't expect the matter to be dire enough for her to also make an appearance. Seeing her always causes a mixture of feelings in him, but he never makes it apparent.

"Good to see you, Lucia." said Markus with gentleness in his voice.
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Post by God on Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:18 pm

Once the two members of the church arrived at the entrance to the Saint's chamber, the guards swung the door open reporting their arrival, and as if he could sense their presence, Arcus was already staring the door down with his hands folded one over another behind his back.

"Ah! Welcome! Thank you for your arrival." With a single step forward, he greeted his guests with his now spread out arms and his cheerful, albeit weary tone before quickly turning around to the table behind him upon which two pristine cups of tea rested. As he grabbed the cups and was about to turn back to the Virubites, the head of the church spared a quick glance to two scrolls that accompanied the warm drink, visibly losing his cheerful demeanor. "Come, sit wth me." - he slowly made his way towards a full glass table surrounded by three nearly throne-like seats so comfy, even a single look would soothe most souls. He placed the tea onto the table, each infront of one of the chairs.

"Happy as I might be to house fellow believers under my roof, it won't shroud the gloomy truth behind the invitation." He took a deep breath, focusing his attention on the two as he called upon their names. "Lucia Delacroix - your unwavering faith and boundless devotion leaves the lips of man and woman alike across all lands. Markus Milles - you've been a part of the Church longer than most with your awespiring persistence, no matter how much death and despair you encounter in your long life." He laid his hands down onto the table, intersecting his fingers together. "I invited you here today, because the two of you are notable members of our faith, each possessing qualities which'll come to trial with the task at hand. But for now, go ahead and enjoy the tea."
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Post by Not a Lizarddo on Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:35 pm

"It's always good to see your mask as well." Lucia responded to her mentor's greeting with a bit of a laugh. There wasn't much room for the two to talk past that as Arcus' attendants were quick to announce their presence to the Saint and began opening the doors. The old man was already waiting for their arrival and invited them in quickly to sit with him to discuss the task at hand. Lucia moved calmly and gracefully to one of the seats provided and seemed right at home in the grandeur of it all. She graciously accepted the tea presented and began sipping at it as the Saint spoke. The Holy Maiden seemed to want to shrug off the man's praise of her but she refrained from interrupting her leader. Interacting directly with him wasn't an every day occurrence after all.

"Your hospitality is most appreciated Lord Arcus." Lucia began in response to his invitation to enjoy themselves a moment. However the description of the task he had for them had her feeling it would be better to hear what he had to say. "But I must ask what is happening that you would require both Markus and myself to be present. Such a gathering is a rare sight indeed. One I fear means a great danger to Judecca's children has arisen..." she trailed off as she concluded her statement.
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Post by DarthChungus on Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:01 pm

Entering the room Markus proceeded to take one of the seats. The moment Arcus begins speaking about faith is the moment Markus knows this will not be an ordinary hunt. The other sign, being presence of Lucia, does not make him feel any better about situation at hand. One can only hope a Dreamborn powerful enough to require both of them made an appearance, but it is more likely related to Church politics, which he is not a fan of. Two scrolls laying on the desk do not inspire confidence either. For now Markus lifts his mask a bit, enough to drink the tea.


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Post by God on Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:57 pm

Raising his hand towards the chin of his mask, he chuckled at Lucia's comment. "Fear not, it's important, but not to that extend." The Saint stood up, making his way towards the table and scooping up the scrolls and presenting them to the both of them. They were portraits of two white haired individuals - man and woman. One half of the short haired man's face was covered in remnants of a mask similar to that of lower ranked Church members, where as the long haired woman with exhausted pinkish eyes had a black ribbon rested upon the back of her head. Below the portrait was a name - Léonce Émilien Adrien Bonnet and Rei Dantalion, followed by an arrest order for Leon. Rei's however, remained empty beyond the portrait and name.

"You see, what I ask of you is to find these two and apprehend them.. or in the woman's case, eliminate her. It's not an easy request, but Leon is an ex-Virubite who we discovered was using the title to exploit our followers, he has however eluded our people and hasn't been heard of ever since. I reckon finding him won't be easy. And as for Rei.." he took the scroll depicting the male and rolled it up, placing it on the table. "We've been informed that she's a member of the Mandate, whom I respect as our equals but the matter of fact is - we've also received information that the girl might be in possession of demonic powers, and that cannot be left unattended." His gaze shifted to Lucia as he rolled up the scroll and placed it down alongside the other one. "That's why I asked for those that'd be able to do whatever is necessary, no matter how grave it is."
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Post by DarthChungus on Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:18 pm

So it is a hunt after all. There are humanoid Dreamborn, yes, but hunting other people is a different matter. There were times where it was necessary but it does not change the fact that Markus is uncomfortable with it nonetheless. Still, the matter being not as dire as he expected made him a bit more relaxed. Names of the targets are familiar too. Léonce fully deserves to be apprehended, thus there is not problem with that request. Rei, however, is a slightly different matter.

"Is Mandate not aware of the woman's condition? If so, then they must have it under some sort of control. If not, then informing them, and eventually assisting in putting her down, would be enough."

Markus says that being fully aware of how dangerous a possessed individual may be. Leaving innocents at risk, even if they are of different affiliation, makes him worried. Yet at the same time Mandate and their members have made their choice. Mon is a good man and he would make an educated choice in the matter once informed, assuming he is not already aware of the problem. In addition perspective of making Mandate an enemy, thus making the schism worse than it already was, was worrying. They already have it rough considering where they live and if Church really wanted it could make short work of them. That is something that cannot happen.
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Post by Not a Lizarddo on Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:37 pm

Lucia relaxed then tensed up again as Arcus assured here the threat was important to deal with but not cataclysmic to the Church or the people. The scrolls the Saint possessed depicted two individuals. One was a man, ordered to be arrested and a former Virubite abusing his former position. Such crimes warranted punishment well enough. The woman though was to be eliminated but Lucia's eyes lit up at the mention of the Mandate. Markus too wanted to act short of directly killing her as the Mandate were compassionate people, if theologically misled.

"Lord Arcus, I request permission to go to the Mandate myself." she began with an earnest request. There was some urgency to it past just the task of slaying a young woman. "Mon, their leader, was a good friend of mine in his time here with us. Though he has left the All-Mother's path I do not doubt a righteous flame burns still in his heart. Surely he will assist us with this Rei individual. Perhaps we can exorcise her if she and the Mandate will cooperate with us." she continued. Her desire to speak to Mon at the least was sincere. The rest of her arguments seemed to be her thinking of what might be possible once that was accomplished.

"If it comes down to it I will return her to Judecca. All I ask is the chance to try a kinder solution." she said once more affirming her desires while also stating her resolve would ultimately trump compassion. Such was the way it had to be if the girl truly was demonic and did not cooperate.
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Post by God on Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:11 pm

"Whether they're aware of not, we do not know. But be it as it may, something must be done about the fact, and as the bearers of Judecca's word upon the world, it's our job to do so."

The Saint turned towards Lucia, nodding in agreement to her request. "That'd be ideal, to spill blood on Her holy earth is an outcome that brings pain to my withering heart, purging Rei's body of the corrupt powers inside would be the best way to go about it, you have my premission to embark on the mission alone." The old geezer stood up from the table and gazed into the giant window.

"You may go as you want, I'll be awaiting updates from the both of you, and may Her grace guide you on your journey."
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Post by DarthChungus on Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:52 pm

"Very well. Lucia will deal with Rei while I will bring Léonce to justice. The hunt begins." After saying that Markus finishes his tea, stands up and proceeds to leave. After leaving he slows his pace and ponders. Hunting people is different than hunting Dreamborn. It is not even a hunt proper, as that is reserved for beasts. Nevertheless, Léonce is a person who should be brought to justice. If not for the stolen money Markus would refuse the task as what Church dissidents do is none of his concerns.

An unfortunate thought reached his mind. Lucia is going Into Mandate's territory, alone, seeking to pacify a victim of possession. But what if Mandate will defend Rei? What if they react aggressively? What if the demon is powerful enough to overwhelm everyone? Markus could not think like this for too long. He called a strix to one of the windows and made it so that it will follow Lucia. If anything bad happens, he will know it. At least it is enough to put his mind at ease. Besides, Mandate is strong. They live in one of the more dangerous regions of the world, and they don't even have that many hunters. It is going to be fine. Markus instead focuses on his target and starts to think where to look.
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Post by Not a Lizarddo on Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:39 pm

"Thank you, Lord Arcus." Lucia responded to the Saint's directions. She seemed relieved that the wise old man had agreed with her, even more so that Markus was okay with her going to the Mandate and going after Leonce himself. "I will send word with the Mandate's decision as soon as I am able." she added as Markus excused himself ahead of her. Not wishing to trouble the Saint any longer she excused herself as well and left the quarters. To her surprise the old hunter wasn't all that far off. She imagined she knew what he was up to and it widened the ever present smile on her face as she trotted up alongside him.

"Quite the timing on these assignments. Here I'd just gotten to see you and we're already off to work." Lucia spoke warmly to her long time associate to catch his attention. She took notice of a bird he'd called to a nearby window. No doubt sending a message somewhere or other. The woman could only guess what sort of connections the battle worn hunter had at this point of his career. "Or maybe you've been hiding from me for a day or so." she teased. This moment here might end up being all they'd have together for another month. It was always hard to guess with how busy the two were. The Holy Maiden was intent to make something of it, however small.
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Post by DarthChungus on Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:48 pm

"I have been hunting by myself those last few days." Not the first time Markus embarked to do so, and certainly not the last. "Came back only few hours ago. Got enough time to get a drink and collect my thoughts, yet shortly after I am being called by Arcus himself. Those old bones will surely never know rest." Markus let out a short chuckle in attempt to assure Lucia that he is fine. Last thing Markus would want to do is worry her. She is busy enough with Church responsibilities that she should not worry about him, even if it is her nature.

"What about you? Is everything fine, or maybe you require something?" Those are the questions that Markus is not asking for the first time. The Holy Maiden is often very busy with Church followers and their burdens. In addition if something bothered her, she would not show it. Such is her kindness.


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Post by Not a Lizarddo on Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:27 am

"You know me well enough by now" Lucia began in response to the older hunter's inquiry about her. She took a long look out the window up toward the sky as if looking to heaven for what to say next. "People flock to me for help and I can't turn anyone away. Unless you could draw out the number of hours in a day I fear there's little I could ask of you." the woman of faith continued while pushing some displaced golden locks of her hair back out of her face. She turned to face Markus and looked his mask in the eyes, a much more common sight than his actual face.

"Save only to take care of yourself. After a life of successful hunts it would be truly tragic for you to fall in battle rather than pass peacefully, surrounded by the people you protected" Lucia spoke with a softer than normal tone. But it wasn't long before she perked up. "Not that I expect this Leonce to give you much trouble. No doubt you'll have him back here before I even make it to the Mandate camp." she concluded with a small laugh finishing her statement for her.
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Post by DarthChungus on Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:29 am

She is right. He knows her from the day he rescued her, while she barely has an idea of who is a man behind the mask. And yet she shows him the same kindness she does to everyone. Not wanting to think about it too much Markus quickly responds. "I doubt Léonce is out for blood. Even if I were to fight him, I know him well enough that no killing intent will be present from either side. Besides, you have too much faith in my tracking skills. Finding people is different than hunting Dreamborn after all, and in this case I have no precise starting point since the thief could be anywhere." At this moment Markus averts his gaze, looking into the window. His voice is more firm now, but in a caring way.

"You should be worried more about yourself. We do not know what kind of presence possesses Rei or how powerful it is but, considering Arcus deems it a threat, it must be dangerous enough to threaten her surroundings. Exercise caution and try to have Mandate cooperate with you on the issue in hopes of achieving peaceful resolution. At the same time, if you have to fight it, show no mercy to that being. In worst case scenario, your safety is more important than this task." Markus finishes and places his hands on the window sill, looking outside.
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Post by Not a Lizarddo on Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:38 pm

"You worry too much." Lucia began softly in response to Markus' concern for her. "I'm no longer the cowering child you found those decades ago. But as I know neither you nor the people would feel comfortable with me going on my own, I'll take a small group of attendants with me." she continued while take a few steps away from the man while still facing his way. In truth, many of the church would have protested her going alone to the Mandate. Despite the two groups being largely peaceful with each other, there were too many unknowns for anyone to feel comfortable with the Holy Maiden going by herself. If she were lost, a great deal of the people's hope for the future would go with it. This included Markus of course. His concern was genuine and deep; it always had been. Yet he struggled so much to truly express it. What sort of tortured man stood before her she wondered.

"I should be going now Markus. I hope to see you again soon." Lucia spoke, her voice strengthening from the soft personal tone she'd been using to her more confident side she expressed to the people every day. "May the Lord guide our paths and strengthen our feet to carry us safely back to this place is my prayer dear brother." came the faith filled parting message as the Holy Maiden took her leave. She had much to prepare for her journey to purge a demon from a young woman.
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Post by DarthChungus on Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:01 pm

As Lucia was leaving, Markus felt relief. He cares for her, but he cannot care too much. She is her own person, with her own life. It does not matter how she decides to live it. And detachment, at least partial, is the best way to deal with it. Now, to focus on task at hand, Markus leaves for one of the cities. He does not have any clear idea about where Léonce could be, so starting nearby is as good idea as any.

That was a short visit, yet it was compelling. After his task is complete he needs to ask Arcus about few matters, including the Jadai situation. What he heard does not fill him with confidence. Hopefully he will be sent there to investigate and kill monsters. Even if he won't, he will go by himself.
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