Author: Ares42 PM
The war between Jumpers-superhumans with the ability to teleport themselves anywhere in the world and Paladins-an ancient society of assassins sworn to destroy them has been raging for the better part of 2000 years, now with the violence at a fever pitch, the bloodshed threatens to spill into the everyday world.Rated: Fiction K - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - David R. & Mary R. - Words: 8,771 - Published: 11-30-12 - id: 8751172
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Korie Tristan Prince
He must have been crazy, all of these years going where he wanted, taking what he wanted, no consequences, no one to answer to. He lived like a God. No, not crazy, arrogant; it was surely arrogance to think he could live the life he did without consequence. What's worse is that the ones he loved have paid and continue to pay for his choices; first his father murdered in his childhood home, then Millie…
"He deserved this" David(Caucasian/american-mid-late20's) thought to himself as he laid bloodied in a random New York City alley, he had only himself to blame. David was at the forefront of a brutal war, a war that has been raging for more than two millennia. Paladins-An ancient extremist society of assassins sworn to destroy any and all Jumpers, didn't discriminate, they didn't care if a Jumper was a man, woman or child, they only cared about destroying them. In their distorted view Jumpers were abominations; their very existence was an insult to God.
It's been one year since David discovered the existence of both Paladins and other Jumpers; however it feels like he's been fighting this battle his whole life. He was exhausted, and saw no end to the running and narrow escapes in sight.
David had no idea how to battle an enemy like this or any enemy at all, he was no warrior and there were so few Jumpers alive to teach him otherwise. Typically, Jumpers did not survive past childhood, The Orders methods were effective: eliminate the threat before it becomes a threat. David surviving to adulthood was almost unheard of, a nearly impossible feat made possible by his own mother, the mother that up until a year ago hadn't been seen since he made his first Jump at the age of five. She'd been protecting him all along, those years he spent using his power to rob banks and live the high life, she spent keeping the attention on other Jumpers. Essentially killing others to protect him and what for?, sometimes he thought it would have been for the better if The Order had taken him out; not once did he used his ability to help a single person other than himself, not even Millie. The Paladins had a two thousand year head start, and they were everywhere, from high ranking political officials to the heads of major corporations down to the woman that gave him life.
The most potent weapon The Order had against Jumpers was ignorance. Like the rest of the world, The Order kept them in the dark, many Jumpers like David thought they were alone. They didn't know that from the first Jump they were marked for death.
As David found out, he was not the only one of his kind and if he was going to survive, he needed to find and unite the Jumpers that have managed to survive. Individually, it would only be a matter of time before they were hunted down. But, together their power would be unmatched. However, uniting Jumpers was easier said than done, many of them believed they were alone, and those that knew better and were still alive, were dangerous to say the least.
But it was the only way; he had to make them see, the threat against them all and everyone they held dear. Paladins didn't just kill Jumpers; they were perfectly content with destroying anyone that got in their way. That meant ordinary people, members of a Jumper's family, friends, anyone that had any contact with a Jumper was in danger. Suddenly overcome by feelings of sadness and regret David began to sink in despair as he thought of his father and of course..
Millie(mid20's Caucasian-American), the woman he loved his entire life and inadvertently dragged into this. David knew Millie most of his young life up until he ran away from home at age fifteen. All the years he spent away, living the playboy lifestyle around the globe with his stolen fortune, he thought he would have forgotten her, but she was always in his thoughts and in his heart.
He knew he needed to see her again if only for just a moment, impulsively he returned home for a glimpse at the those he'd left behind, the Millie he knew had matured into a pretty twenty-five year old, her brunette hair was much longer then he remembered but she still had those warm hazel eyes and beautiful smile that made him instantly feel an inner peace he only felt when in her presence. What was supposed to be a glimpse turned into a whirlwind love affair at the worst possible time.
After nearly getting her killed, David managed to rescue her, subdue the Paladin-Roland and barely escape with his own life. After that it was clear to them both that Millie could not go back to her old life, she was a part of this now, The Order would hunt her just as they've hunted David. David knew The Order would try again, he had been so careful but nothing could have prepared him for their next attack. Six weeks ago a year after his last full on confrontation with The Order Millie was captured in a surprise attack orchestrated by David's own mother. She was waiting for him in Ibiza, Spain; somehow she knew his Jump sites. His mother a Paladin herself warned David that she would be coming for him, however he was still shocked when she made good on her promise.
Seeing his mother who was perhaps more beautiful now then the memory he had of her some twenty years ago stunned him into hesitation, David's mother was perhaps the most beautiful woman he knew, short tussled blonde hair with ice cold blue eyes paired with an angelic face. What made him hesitate was not simply seeing her so unexpectedly but watching the face of an angel turn to pure malevolence.
When David was young his father would always tell him with just a hint of disgust that he looked exactly like his mother, growing up David couldn't quite remember what she looked like, his father destroyed all the pictures of her after she left. David couldn't have guessed how right his father was, he and his mother had the same blonde hair, blue eyes, square and chiseled facial features, her face was softer though, less serious; he supposed he got that from his father. David was taller standing around 5'10 5'11 with an athletic build otherwise looking at her was like looking in the mirror.
In the moment of shock of seeing his mother Millie was taken and he was overrun by Paladins barely escaping with his life, at the last minute he Jumped, when he woke up he was in New York City. It's said that if someone is kidnapped and not found within forty eight hours, more than likely they were dead, however The Order does not kidnap; they kill, end of story. The fact they did not kill her on the spot must have significance. This means he can rescue her, or so he tells himself; he refuses to believe she is dead. If he even allows the thought to creep in, his entire world will crumble.
When The Order captured Millie, David finally accepted the truth, an unbearable reality he wanted to escape; his mother had to die. David couldn't afford to live in denial anymore, no longer was he ignorant enough to believe The Order could be avoided if only he was careful. His own mother gave him fair warning. Accepting the truth of things made his path clear, he knew what he had to do, the only option left to him. Fight Back. In order to do that he needed to find more of those like him, Jumpers.
Filled with dread, David knew where he had to start. Griffin(Mid-late20's Caucasian-British)Dangerous, Reckless and on the edge of being a full blown terrorist was the closest thing to a friend David ever had and the last time they met, David left him tangled in torn electrical wire to keep him from Jumping. Their reunion would not be a warm one. Griffin, the first Jumper David ever encountered opened his eyes to the existence of other Jumpers and revealed the ongoing war between Jumpers and Paladins.
Griffin is one of those people that look exactly how they feel; in Griff's case he seemed to make "Pissed Off" a fashion statement. He reminded David of a more contemporary 80's punk rocker, Griff had short jet black hair that (constantly looked like he rolled out of bed and simply went as is) which stood out in stark contrast to his pale white skin and steely blue eyes, he stood around 5'8 with an athletic build. His demeanor seemed to state what he was thinking about most people "You're an idiot, I'm not. We have nothing to talk about". Griffin's Welsh accent made it difficult for David to understand him at times, especially when he got angry, David often got a good laugh about it, comparing Griffin to a proper soccer hooligan.
Despite his anti-social personality and violent tendencies Griffin gave answers to certain questions David harbored most of his life. As a child David was constantly ill, his immune system was almost non-existent. After his first Jump however, not only was he well, David was never sick again. Griffin explained that severe illness was a precursor to the emergence of a Jumper's ability; he also told David that he would never fall ill again. If Jumpers were ever normal human beings, after the initial Jump, they could make no such claim.
In addition to lifelong immunity to all illnesses and the ability to teleport, a Jumpers body temperature ran hot, extremely hot, 115⁰ Fahrenheit to be exact. A Jumpers' senses were also significantly heightened, especially sight, smell and hearing though these changes weren't immediate like the others, they happened gradually over the months following the first Jump.
Griffin couldn't help but wonder if there was more he and all surviving Jumpers alike were capable of. David knew that The Orderwas either seeking answers to the same question, or they already knew the answer, he couldn't decide which was worse. The more, David learned from Griffin the more he found himself asking the question, "Is there a place in this world for us?" Unlike Griffin, David didn't want to know more, he didn't even want to know what he knew, he just wanted Millie and a peaceful life, whatever that was.
Used to living and fighting the war alone and on his own terms, Griffin reluctantly agreed to help during David's first run-in with The Order.
It was through Griffin; David discovered exactly how ruthless and relentless The Order was. Griff made it his life's purpose to kill Paladin Agents at any given opportunity; he was constantly launching small calculated attacks whenever he could. David empathized with his anger; The Order tracked and nearly killed Griffin only days after his first Jump, slaughtering his parents in the process. Griffin managed to escape. Orphaned at the age of five and spending his entire life fighting The Order yet staying hidden he knew better than anyone what they would be up against, the fact that he's managed to survive on the run all these years speaks volumes about him. Griff knew how to fight them, and if David was going to survive and have a shot at finding other Jumpers he would need him.
However David knew to keep an eye on Griffin, seeing his family murdered and being on the run his entire life made Griffin unstable as David found out the hard way a year before when Griffin attempted to blow up a building containing three Paladins and a hundred civilian residents. David wanted to destroy The Order so much his own anger sometimes frightened him; however he was never willing to harm innocent people to do so.
Delphine(Caucasian-French late teens-early twenties) a young woman David and Griffin rescued in Paris with stolen Paladin equipment, they were able to detect her jump scars (which are more or less Jumpers footprints) from their holdup in New York. When they got to her, the friends she was with had been murdered and she was being dragged away barely conscious by a small force of Paladin, they quickly dispatched them and offered Delphine sanctuary.
Delphine was oddity among Jumpers David knew of; not that he knew many, but Griffin did, and this was the first time he'd ever heard of a Jumper developing their ability so late in life. Nearly every Jumper he came in contact with developed their ability during early childhood. Delphine however was nearly twenty-one and her ability had just manifested only weeks before the attack.
She also had an ability David didn't believe anyone had, she could shut Griffin up. Griffin never gave much thought to tact or developing social skills in general, but Delphine was perhaps the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen; she had long blonde hair down to the middle of her back, beautiful chiseled facial features and bright green eyes that betrayed her lack of life experience. She possessed model good looks but carried herself in a way that made her seem unaware of it.
Every time she entered the room Griffin would simply stare dumbly and go silent until she left again. She wouldn't be much use in a fight with The Order, but this unique ability sometimes made David believe she was the most valuable person around.
David found himself protective of her, he sympathized with her fear, mostly because he felt it himself though he couldn't show it and although her situation wasn't his fault, he still felt responsible for her.
She was a frightened kid that didn't understand anything that was happening. Delphi (as she insisted on being called) only wanted to go home to her family and pretend none of this was real, something David knew was impossible. If she tried to run The Order would hunt her down and after they killed her they would murder her family simply for the inconvenience. She was a part of this whether she wanted it or not.
David made it clear to her that going home would only put her family and herself in more danger. The only way to keep her loved ones safe was to sever all ties and stay away. He told her when this was all over she could go home, but he knew better, this would never be over, at least not in their lifetime. Sometimes lying to himself was the only way he could make it through the day, he hoped with all his heart he wasn't lying to himself about Millie.
In England they found Kala (Indian-British early 20's) a brilliant and beautiful med-student at Oxford University. Kala's childhood was rocky to begin with, her mother was an unmarried Indian woman with a child, had she been living in India instead of South London she and her mother more than likely would have been killed. Although she and her mother were never physically harmed she remembers a wide array of verbal attacks from others of Indian descent. Adding to the issues with her birth, Kala's mother was never much of a mother to begin with; as far back as she can remember Kala had been taking care of herself. Around age seven, Kala's mother completely left her for good, as a Jumper Kala could have found her mother, unfortunately she didn't care to. She was taken in by the family of a childhood friend until the age of fourteen when she was legally allowed to be on her own.
Kala was able to stay off Paladin radar for many years; she almost never used her ability. Growing up, it was already difficult enough for a tall brown skinned Indian girl with dark brown eyes and jet black hair so long it nearly reached to her buttocks to blend into nearly all white schools; she definitely didn't need to add teleportation to the equation.
Before The Order found her, Kala worked hard to be as seemingly normal as possible; her mother's abandonment and failure to be a proper Indian woman convinced her early on that assimilation was acceptance. Yet faking ordinary when she was anything but became a burden she grew to resent, she was more than this, better than the ordinary people whose approval she worked so hard to obtain. Kala found herself Jumping more and more, exhilarated by her own power, heightened senses and feeling of total freedom.
Just as Kala began to indulge in her power, she found that every action has a consequence and maybe her mother was right to run. David and Griffin were able to reach her just as The Order closed in. They fought them off enough to escape, and they barely did that. The Order sent seven of the most massive men she had ever seen, Griffin held his own and seemed to be an experienced fighter, David on the other hand did his best but was still getting pummeled.
After escaping to safety, Kala realized instead of being terrified, she was only angry, raging even. More people trying to stop her from being who she was, she had enough, she was tired of hiding, tired of being scared and subdued because others were or would be afraid of her. She was more than grateful for David and Griffin's intervention on her behalf yet before she could even get to know them David was already telling her how to live and how things would be going forward, it came from a good place but Kala resented it nonetheless. She came to a simple, yet resolute conclusion; the time for "blending in" was over.
Once they regrouped David realized something, the Paladin that attacked Kala used different weapons, David had only seen them once before, these weapons weren't meant for killing, they were meant for extraction. The same weapons that were used the day Millie was taken. They weren't trying to kill Kala, they wanted to capture her.
He couldn't understand, were they seeing a kinder gentler Paladin Order, the kind that didn't massacre anyone they deemed a threat? Not likely, David knew better, The Order constantly plotted and planned. You don't exist for two thousand years without changing tactics and planning for the future. This is one of the many things that worried David on a constant basis, every time he thought he was beginning to know his enemy; they changed and completely surprised him.
His problems didn't end there, he was happy that he and Griffin were able to get to Kala and Delphine before The Order, but this wasn't exactly the group of Jumpers he had in mind when he thought to take on The Order. A medical student and a French teenager didn't pose much of a threat to a seasoned Paladin assassin; they needed Jumpers that were in full control of their power, they needed warriors.
Ronin (WarFire) (AFAmerican mid-late20's) and Isabel(BloodShot) (Asian-American mid 20's) Theleaders of a growing group of surviving Jumpers calling themselves "The New Pantheon" were the two most powerful Jumpers Griffin ever encountered. He'd crossed paths with them during a run in with Paladin agents in Los Angeles, had they not shown up, Griffin was convinced he wouldn't be here now. The Order was hunting him; Ronin and Isabel were hunting The Order. The fight between the Paladin Agents and the duo was over before it began, as a matter of fact, Ronin never became involved; without saying a word he casually smiled at Griffin then watched as Isabel tore six massive men expertly trained in killing Jumpers to pieces.
According to Griffin, Isabel was as beautiful as she was ruthless; she had golden brown eyes, tanned skin and short styled hair the front of which always seemed not to completely cover but shade her eyes. Her body was toned to a point that made most men's magazine cover models look pathetic. Like her counterpart she wore tattoo's on various parts of her body, the few that were visible were in her native Japanese others were in a language Griffin couldn't make out but he could tell it was some ancient form of writing.
She enjoyed killing in a way that made even Griffin uncomfortable. The reason for that discomfort was simple; Isabel was a child of chaos, anyone caught in her path would be annihilated including other Jumpers if it came down to it; her only allegiance was to herself and Ronin. In battle, Isabel arms herself twin Para-Ordnance P-13 handguns both black and gold; the weapons have an inscription on each of them in Greek, the translation from left to right made her intentions clear, "Immortal-Vengeance". During a fight she seems to move faster than the very bullets she dispenses.
Isabel's hatred for Paladins is matched only by her love for Ronin; he rescued her from The Order, and a living death of sorts, he set her free in way she didn't know was possible. Before him, she was a victim; Ronin helped her realize her own power and taught her how to use it to exact revenge on every living member of The Order.
When describing Ronin, Griffin took on a tone reflecting both fear and awe, as though he almost looked up to him. Ronin, standing at about 5'10, with an athletic-muscular body that is noticeable fully clothed, has a few more tattoos than Isabel some in Latin others in Greek and like Isabel some in ancient writing Griffin can't make out. His hair is cut short in a style of something reminiscent of a military/faux-hawk cut making him an intimidating sight. His eyes however are the true point of focus; normally they are golden brown, the same as Isabel's which stand out in contrast to his dark skin however in battle or in some heightened emotional or physical state his eyes shift to completely black. To Griffin it's one of the most frightening things he's ever seen, the entirety of his eyes going so dark they give off a clear reflection of anything his gaze falls upon.
As though his physical appearance wasn't enough to frighten off any enemy Ronin is a master fighter combining what appears to be everything from mixed martial arts to shotokan karate, unarmed Griffin is sure Ronin would still be the deadliest person he's ever met yet he carries twin swords that appear to be a cross between the Roman short sword and the Scimitar, the blades have symbols like the tattoos on his body. For all his skill as a fighter however, his most potent weapon is surely his intelligence. Those that don't know any better would mistake the look in his eyes for arrogance, it's not. If Ronin is looking at you as though he knows more than you, it's because he does, if he is looking at you as though you were something to eat, it's because you're dead and you just don't know it yet. Ronin is easily the most powerful Jumper Griffin has ever known.
The origins of the two are murky at best, however more is known of Isabel's past, from Griffin's uncanny hacking abilities he was able to gain some information on her. From her past pictures she was nearly unrecognizable to Griffin; she was an international student from Japan studying in New York City, very pretty, with excellent marks and a seemingly bright future ahead of her until she went missing about three years ago. Flyers were made; her family came over to the States to beg for their daughter back, friends lit candles and after it became clear she wasn't coming back every went on with their lives. Isabel had been taken by The Order, taken and not killed, something that posed more questions than David and Griff were ready to face.
Cut to a year later, a Paladin stronghold on the southern tip of Africa is destroyed, which happened to be an outpost Griffin knew well, one in which he hacked some but not all of their surveillance before it was decimated. Isabel was one of several prisoners, the things they did to her made Griffin's stomach roll, when David saw the footage, he had to leave the room to get some air lest he be sick in front of the others. Rape and torture were just the beginning of Isabel's punishment for her crime of being born a Jumper. Jumpers weren't human, no reason to treat them as such, why pretend.
The last of the viewable footage was quite revealing, and what Griffin guessed was Ronin and Isabel's first meeting, it showed Ronin's singlehanded attack on the entire facility decimating at least one hundred twenty Paladin Agents. He spots Isabel's broken body and picks her up to make his way out freeing one other girl, a Caucasian girl with black hair, Griff didn't recognize the girl. Next, the explosion and the end of Griffin's footage; what he had answered questions about Isabel, her hatred of The Order mostly. Ronin's origins were still a question mark not to mention the mystery girl he saved, the only thing Griffin knew for sure was that he was an American, where he was from, how he came to be the calculating warrior he is now, still shrouded in mystery.
What Griffin is sure of, Ronin is definitely after something, and it's not just taking out individual Paladin agents, it's a far larger threat, he is simply too intelligent, too driven for so simple a goal. The Order knows what he wants and they seem to know that he's close to finding it. No Jumper in history at least that Griffin is aware of has ever posed such a threat to the Paladin Order. Whatever Ronin is after has a two thousand year old order of assassins quaking with fear and more than eager to annihilate both he, Isabel and whomever stands with them.
A year ago Ronin and Isabel faced off with a platoon of The Orders' deadliest in Brazil. When the battle was over they had slaughtered every one of them down to a man and made off with a stockpile of Paladin weaponry. The aftermath of drew worldwide attention, a massive graveyard in the jungle and not a single suspect. Between the obvious troubles they were causing around the globe drawing attention and what happened in Brazil, David was at the very least reluctant to the idea of joining forces with them. There was enough, already out of his control, he didn't need to add unstable, warrior Jumpers to the list.
Griffin however was persistent; he made it clear, that at the moment he and David were carrying dead weight in the form of Kala and Delphie. If he had any realistic hopes of fighting The Order and finding Millie before they either killed her or worse yet subjected her to the same treatment Isabel received (David could feel himself getting sick again at the thought) then he had better put his reservations aside and hope that Ronin and Isabel would join them.
David still felt hesitant, but he had no other way of finding Millie and if he was going to bring the war to The Order's doorstep he needed fighters, but for some reason in private thoughts he couldn't shake the uneasy feeling he got about the couple. Their ruthlessness in battle and arrogant display of their abilities in public made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.
Ronin and Isabel were perfect equals of one another, both forged in the flames of pain and tragedy, only to rise from the ashes more powerful than anything The Order faced in a thousand years. They had an utter disregard for human life; they no longer saw themselves as a part of the human race but as something better, superior. The irony of it all is not lost on David, The Order through their cruelty and brutality had given life to the thing they feared most.
Nero (Asian/Caucasian-American mid30's) feels justified; his heart is racing as he pushes his blade further into the gullet of the creature. The only thing he regrets is that the moment couldn't last just a bit longer. The kill is never long enough for him, he does his best to stretch the moment but Nero has to remind himself there are many more of these beasts that need putting down. It disgusts him that these beings look like humans, the thing he just killed appears to be a boy about the age of five or six; but Nero knows better.
Killing a Jumper sounds much more difficult than it really is, or perhaps Nero is more gifted than he gives himself credit for, "yes that's it, I'm far too humble" he thinks to himself. A few hundred volts of electricity will a slow a Jumper down just enough to make that fatal blow. Jumpers move with the speed of thought which as one can imagine makes it quite difficult to get your hands on one, the solution is rather simple; stop their ability to think.
His orders were to capture the creature; however there are some orders that need to be broken to be broken in the interest of the greater good. He knows he'll be slightly reprimanded, that's fine, well worth killing one more Jumper. He's beginning to question the resolve of those in command, they weren't supposed to be capturing Jumpers, and they weren't even supposed to torture them, though he didn't mind that last part so much. To this day he still fantasizes about his all too brief time with that little cunt, the name escaped him at the moment, not that it mattered anyway; that lucky little bitch managed to escape, rescued by none other than Ronin, the one Jumper that had every Paladin wetting themselves.
No, The Paladin Order was created to destroy Jumpers, to simply wipe them off the face of the earth. If those in command stayed the course they wouldn't be dealing with Jumpers on the precipice of discovering exactly what they're capable of and the reason The Order began wiping them out.
Politics, it was all about politics now, members of the council were also members of Congress, heads of corporations etc, it would seem that they have forgotten they were Paladin first; The Order infiltrated governments all throughout its two thousand plus year history, only to secure and further its own cause. Council members were beginning to believe their own propaganda; Nero wouldn't be surprised if they accused him of violating Jumpers rights.
Nero believed The Order was slowly losing its way, trying too hard to assimilate in to average human society, when in fact The Paladin Order was above human society and laws, just as Nero was above other humans; he had to be, how else could he protect them from these abominations. Nero made it a point to be superior; physically he was a vision of perfection, 6'2, black hair, tanned skin, green eyes, and muscular body. He had to be perfect, it wasn't about himself, never about himself, he was a representation of God's divine will on Earth.
Nero's predecessor and mentor Roland knew better than anyone the danger at hand. Roland was merciless and unyielding, a hero of The Paladin, he knew without a doubt that The Order was the only thing standing between Jumpers and the complete destruction of humanity. Roland made it clear to Nero that if Jumpers were to ever reach their true power, the human race would immediately drop on the food chain.
Nero, like all Paladin had begun his training at the age of five, the same age the abominations make their first Jump. Roland told him how the war began, beings born from humans with this "genetic anomaly" started out as mere teleporters. At first, they were thought to be blessings, saviors even; performing rescues and apparent miracles but over time they realized they were capable of much more.
Why serve mankind, when you can rule them? Eventually these beings declared themselves Gods, establishing Pantheons and attempting to rule various parts of the world, Greece, Egypt, Rome. Their arrogance gave birth to what would become The Paladin Order, the fall of each Pantheon and a war that would be ongoing for thousands of years thereafter. These ancient Jumpers were their own worst enemies, their own in-fighting sealed their fate, bickering amongst each other over who would rule which part of the world took their attention off the enemy gathering at the gates.
Roland had been missing for nearly a year after a battle with a Jumper, he was now presumed dead by the Order. Nero took it upon himself to make Roland's mission his own, if these "things" could take out a warrior of Roland's caliber; he knew none of them were safe. It frustrated Nero to no end that those in command couldn't see this; they were keeping Jumpers alive instead of destroying them immediately. It also made him suspicious; one of his commanders, the woman in charge of Nero's sector was rumored to be shockingly lenient on the enemy.
In some circles, it was even whispered that she was mother to one of them, an accusation so abhorrent that without merit would result in the death of the accuser. The idea of such horror seemed almost impossible to Nero; almost. Roland trained him to always trust his instincts and his instincts were telling him something was not right within the Order. Nero's tentacles stretched far, even now he had eyes watching her and those around her, if the rumors were true, he would find out; just as soon as he finished off the last living members of this creatures family. They were human, but that didn't matter, they shared the blood of this thing, he couldn't give them the chance to make another.
Claire (Black-British late 20's) has been with Interpol for nearly three years now, but to many she is still a rookie. Her youthful looks probably don't help, though coming upon her 30th birthday she looks as though she's still at University, people seem to think she's quite pretty which in her opinion somehow deters her from being taken seriously by some of her colleagues mostly her male colleagues. With her large beautiful brown eyes, shoulder length wavy black hair and athletically fit body even Claire has to admit she hasn't changed much physically since her collegiate days.
She has yet to make her mark within the Organization; however the case she's been following over the last year and a half could change all of that. Impossible bank robberies to mysterious battles in Brazilian jungles that left over thirty dead and not even the hint of a suspect; even more bizarre is that the bodies found couldn't be identified. Not one of the people found in the jungle have any records, no date of birth, no medical records, social security numbers, nothing.
They didn't exist, on paper anyway. These occurrences were happening all over the world and in the last year or so there had been an unusual spike in activity. From New York to England and France most recently, Claire found the remains of brutal battles, impossible thefts, and unidentifiable corpses. She could see the dots but her rational mind wouldn't let her connect them.
Claire needed something concrete and at the moment she had no tangible proof of anything, if she went in before a panel of her superiors with her current theories her ambitions of rising within the Agency would come to a screeching halt. Claire's girlfriend Elizabeth could only stare dumbfounded after listening to her, Elizabeth, an agent herself begged Claire not to continue following these so-called leads. "They would lead only one place, unemployment." Elizabeth said.
Her superior and mentor Mary advised her to simply drop it, she said chasing ghosts like this would only ensure that Claire's career would end before it ever really gets started. Claire knew Mary was probably right and only looking out for her, she wanted to be taken seriously as an agent and what she found so far would only make her look crazy but once she locked onto something it was nearly impossible to get her to let go. She couldn't drop her investigation; she would just play this close to the chest until she had something solid and involve as few people as possible. Claire was close to something, she knew it.
Mary (Caucasian-American early-mid40's) has been a lot of things in her life Orphan, Assassin, Paladin; Secretary General of Interpol, none of those things defined her though. The only thing that truly defined her was her role as Mother. The day she gave birth to her son, she knew everything had changed, before she lived her life for herself, she gave no thought to anyone else's well being.
When her son David made his first Jump, she had two choices, kill him or run and in doing so lead The Order away from him. In truth, there was only one real choice for Mary, protect her child. Through all her effort to protect David, Mary is beginning to deal with a fact all parents must face, there comes a time when no matter how hard you try you can no longer shield your child. However, Mary isn't keen on giving up, she's always been a fighter and when it comes to her son she can turn quite vicious; but David is making it more and more difficult for her to protect him.
He knows what he is, he knows about the war and he's decided to fight back, he just doesn't understand The Order is everywhere. Governments in every major country, the military, the FBI, CIA, she herself heads up Interpol. He's attempting to organize Jumpers, and even with their power, Mary is sure it won't be enough. David sees her as his enemy now, after what she did, she can't blame him. Taking Millie was a strategic move, if she was going to continue helping David from the inside she had to make both him and The Order believe she was still as dedicated to this war as she had always been. There have been rumors about within The Order, whispers of shifting allegiances on her part. Treason...
Mary had been pivotal in implementing certain new strategies, she convinced the higher ups that it was beneficial to The Order to capture and study Jumpers instead of simply hunting them down one by one. She had a valid and somewhat obvious point, this war has been ongoing for more than two thousand years and yet they are still fighting. This can't be a religious battle anymore, it's a question of genetics, she told The Council that they needed to study the Jumpers, discover the genetic anomaly that makes their birth possible and destroy it.
Mary was playing a very dangerous game, lying with the truth, it was all she could come up with; and she was desperate to buy herself and David more time until she could figure out her next move. Then there was the issue of the girlfriend; she kept having to justify keeping Millie alive and safe, there were many Paladin aching to torture and kill her. She told The Council that keeping her alive would lead the few Jumpers that have decided to fight directly to them; she explained to her superiors that they wouldn't have to do a thing but wait. Again, they agreed.
However, Mary's problems didn't end there; one of her rookie agents at Interpol was getting dangerously close to discovering the war raging just beneath the surface of the everyday world. Mary kept trying to throw Claire off, but once the girl focused in on something she wouldn't let it go. She would've made an excellent Paladin. Claire however was a minor issue, one that shouldn't be difficult to control and direct, Mary knew from the moment she met Claire that she was going to have to keep an eye on the girl; which is why she placed Elizabeth in her path. Elizabeth to who's true name is Kyna one of Mary's many Paladin subordinates. Hopefully Elizabeth would be enough to throw Claire off course; Mary's body count was high enough.
Kassidy (DeathCry)Caucasian/Welsh-early 20's Orphaned at the age of four, Kassidy's mother and father were both brutally murdered while away on Holiday, her older brother's body was never found, however after the massacre that was discovered it's safe to assume Griffin didn't survive.
Ironically enough Kassidy owes her own survival to being constantly sick as a child, of course she now understands the reason, another aspect of the transformation, her ascension and birthright; becoming a Jumper or as Ronin would refer to it, becoming a God.
Following the death of her Grandmother a year after her family she spent the remainder of her childhood in and out of the system until she was able to Jump at will. Her years there were turbulent to say the least and after several violent outbursts the child psychiatrists began coming in like little drones, always asking the same stupid fucking questions, feigning interest in her, when in reality they had already diagnosed her before asking a question. Sociopath, Narcissist, Psychopath these were empty words to Kassidy, it was always much easier than that; she enjoyed breaking things especially things that provoked her, she enjoyed the thrill of destruction.
However, even as an adult Kassidy found herself questioning her supposed diagnosis. A sociopath? This she finds untrue, calling her a sociopath would imply that she has an utter disregard for others; false. Kassidy finds it quite entertaining that the same people who cast her away into a broken juvenile system simply because they did not want to deal with her would actually have the nerve to accuse her of disregarding others. She also happens to love Ronin and Izzie more than her own life, they are the only real family and true connection she can remember having.
Psychopath? Well..perhaps. However, she only enjoys inflicting harm on those that seek to harm her first. The girls in juvenile detention, The Order, hell she's even had to break a few bones while having a pint at her favorite pub; those greasy bastards have a few drinks and can't seem to keep their hands to themselves. Basically anyone that has ever or will ever pose a threat to her or those she loves will die in a most gruesome fashion and Kassidy will enjoy every moment of it, down to their last Cry.
She was actually a bit insulted, being referred to as a Narcissist, Kassidy never viewed herself as vain she couldn't care less about her appearance or what others thought of her, she never did. Even now, she felt as awkward looking as a young woman as she did as a teenager, she was around 5'7 or 5'8, slender body with no real curves, jet black hair past her shoulders, and piercing blue eyes. Her body is randomly marked with tattoos some with personal meaning, some done out of boredom. A Narcissist? Proclamations such as this were the reason she was so resentful of the talking monkeys, humans believed they were so god damn smart. Sure they had their uses, mostly just a fuck here or there, but they constantly needed to be reminded of their place in the grand scheme of things.
When Kassidy began to understand what she was capable of, the thrill was more than exhilarating, there were no boundaries; only what her imagination could create or could not. As in all things however, there is always another side, for every one person with great power there are a hundred trying to take it and before she knew it, Kassidy was in the clutches of those that slaughtered her family. Oddly enough she was never frightened, angry perhaps even a bit curious yes, but never afraid, even subdued as she was she could envision herself free and ripping apart her enemies. These thoughts gave her great pleasure and saw her through a time she thought her life to be forfeit.
She never truly hated her enemy until she witnessed what they did to the girl in the cell across from hers, that girl would come to be her sister, her family, Isabel. She watched as Isabel was tormented again and again, never once giving those sick fucks the satisfaction of so much as a whimper. Isabel remained straight faced, eyes locked on Kassidy's as if she were drawing strength from her, her mind focused on the exact same thing Kassidy's was, freeing themselves and tearing their captors limb from bloody limb.
As though the power of both Isabel and Kassidy's thoughts gave life to reality, Ronin attacked the Paladin facility. Even to this day Kassidy has never seen anything like it, a Jumper moving and cutting down Paladin after Paladin, he moved so fast it seemed as though the enemy stood completely still allowing their own destruction. His Jumps so vicious they tore 25ft craters in the ground below. And his eyes, black as death, truly a wonderful a sight.
He freed Kassidy first, instructing her to escape as he made his way down the other cells, even in all the chaos she knew she couldn't leave without Isabel. She started, but Ronin already made his way to her cell, Kassidy watched him as he stood for a moment appraising her mangled, barely alive body, his face showed no emotion, but it was clear how he felt at the sight. He finally made his decision and threw Isabel over his shoulder and Jumped away, Kassidy only hesitated for a moment before she followed his Jump Scar.
In the years following hers and Isabel's rescue Kassidy had become quite the seasoned fighter and a more than efficient killer. She always carries her favorite piece, a Silver PT99 Pistol, Kass was a natural at shooting but Ronin thought she should be well versed in other weaponry "Why use a gun, when you move faster than the bullets?" He was constantly challenging her, physically and mentally, he made her remember all the wrong done to her, he explained that pain was fuel for anger and hatred, and there was great power in such feelings. Last year he and Isabel gave her twin Sais for her birthday, both black and gold like Isabel's guns and Ronin's swords; with similar markings like those on Ronin's blades. She heard him speaking to Isabel of their ancient meaning, something referring to the origins of Jumpers, their ability and the power they have yet to unleash.
For the first time in her life, Kassidy wasn't alone; she had people that loved her for exactly who and what she was. What others thought to be imperfections, Ronin and Isabel saw as strengths; saw her as beautiful. For the first time that she could remember, she had a home, Kassidy's life had purpose; The New Pantheon.
Lucius Caius Valerian(Black-British-mid60's) "The Hammer of God" as he was referred to in hushed whispers by the youthful brood of Paladin warriors. "Hammer of God?" he thought to himself, as far as Valerian knew God didn't carry a hammer and He certainly didn't carry Valerian anymore, he knew this without a doubt, and he could feel God's absence like someone with a missing limb.
Valerian, now upon his seventies barely looking out his fifties, still had mostly black hair, cut into a short military style with just a bit of gray to hint at his age. He was built like a tank, 6'4, and 250lbs solid and could keep up with even his top assassins. Regardless of his appearance Valerian felt every bit his age, perhaps older, his soul was exhausted. His past weighed heavy on him, he felt old, tired and empty at an age when he should feel at ease even fulfilled, according to his brethren he had done his duty to The Order, Humanity and most importantly God. The latter wasn't true and he knew it, he had betrayed everything that was the very idea of God.
Valerian rose through the ranks as a Paladin by being the most gifted killer The Order had seen in several hundred years. Worse yet, it was he that propagated the ancient lie, that Jumpers were enemies of God and to destroy them was to serve Him. Valerian even introduced the idea, that in order to truly ensure the abominations were indeed destroyed and another wouldn't be born in its place, not only did the creature have to die but so too did its entire family. It was amazing how willing people were to commit the darkest evil in the name of ultimate good. Valerian did The Order's bidding all his life, just like a good windup toy soldier, but he never even for a moment believed the propaganda. This conflict had always been about fear, fear of allowing beings with power beyond comprehension to exist. While this fear wasn't completely unfounded, the threat had been thwarted long ago making the ongoing extermination nothing more than genocide.
The Order acted as though they were fighting the same war as their originators, they weren't. The ancients were faced with a true threat to humanity, a force threatening to subdue the whole of mankind and place themselves as Gods to be worshipped and feared.
In Valerians prime The Order murdered children and unsuspecting families in their homes in the dead of night, and even today these atrocities occurred, but The Order is taking a new path these days; they realized after countless deaths that it was time to change tactics. Instead of destroying Jumpers, which clearly didn't stop others from being born, they should capture, study and find a way to harness and use this power for their own gain. Genocide was bad for business. Valerian was a warrior surrounded by politicians and corporate executives whose only aim was profit and power but played Paladin by night, in shadows and dark corners.
Valerian didn't really care what direction The Order was moving in, he only sought to end it, he knew he was beyond redemption and wasn't even seeking it; making peace with God wasn't an option anymore he passed that by years ago, but doing at least one thing right to counter all the wrong he'd done; that was still possible.
Some twenty five years ago, his own protégé Mary, had gone to great lengths to cover up the fact that she gave birth to a Jumper. It was a wonder that she really believed she could hide such a thing, but Valerian stepped in and made use of his power in the cover up and silencing of anyone who knew of it; protecting both Mary and her boy.
Mary's child isn't the only one whose survival Valerian ensured, there were quite a few others he slipped through the cracks, he made sure the "All Seeing Eye" of the Paladin Order missed these few. Allowing them to survive to adulthood when destroying them would be all but impossible, giving these Jumpers a fighting chance.
No one knew of his actions, and Valerian had gone to great lengths to remove forever the few who once did. He wasn't seeking any gratitude from those he'd saved, and as he thought about his decisions he realized they were as likely to kill him as they did any other Paladin; a reality that crept ever closer. Valerian felt no fear at the prospect of death, indeed death had been a major part of his existence, he left his life, his soul and his fate in God's hands; come what may he was ready.
Valerian could see the approaching storm, the war was about to spill onto the streets of the everyday world, a reckoning was coming to The Order and change was upon the world, he didn't know how humanity would react when all was revealed or whether it would even survive the fallout. Lucius Caius Valerian set events in motion that would either end this war or this world, either way this conflict was going to end; and with that thought he felt something that was almost alien to him, a peace within.