The Nature of the Disease

Welcome to Act II!

Our heroes escaped the horrifying Manhattan post-apocalyptic future only to land on Guarnicion de Salamanca, an old Malleus complex located in Spain. After many perils they managed to escape the watery dungeons and free seven souls -three of them children.

After a hearty breakfast at the farm of one of the escapee's relatives, everyone has piled on a bus to Barcelona, the nearest large city, to contact the Apostates, a splinter group that rebelled against Malleus in WWII. Hopefully the Apostates will provide shelter for the refugees, and perhaps more importantly in the global scale, help understand the nature of the Primal disease which seems to be spreading, and causing big cities, starting with Manhattan, to be overrun by "Flesh Demons".

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Forge's picture

Unlike many, many Olympic host cities all over the world, Barcelona kept most of its gains from 1992, and the landmarks contribute to what was already a most-beautiful city.

It is a shame our heroes do not have time to visit the harbor, or any of the parks and monuments, or even it's famed Casino -or do they?

For now, the bus is finally parking at the "Gran Teatre del Liceu", a venerable Theater and Opera House, which unlike the Americana in New York, is still fully functioning as a venerable Theater and Opera.

Angel, the present version in the flesh, directed Adalberto, the bus driver and one of the people rescued from Malleus' dungeon, to this location, a known Apostate building -which she remembers from certain fights and incursions. How have things changed.

Conveniently, there are a few other buses in the parking lot, so Adalberto's doesn't stand out too much. There is a short walk to the main entrance:

Angel has folded her black wings, and covers them as best she can with an old trenchcoat she borrowed from the Mungias, Adalberto's farm cousins where they spent the night.

Prince had one last change of clothes available in his gym bag (the last one, I kept count!), which is now stretched full with his own Malleus Armor. It's heavy, but not as heavy as one would expect metal to be. Katie is wearing Prince's shirt, as well as a long flowery skirt made of some light and very elastic material -this will come in handy soon, she suspects. She borrowed it from Doña Isabela, and it's several sizes too large, but this too will come in handy, and for now a few well-applied pins make do to be comfortable around her waist. Zane still wears the baggy Armani pants he got at Papadoupolos, but the jacket and shirt had to be ditched -too much blood caked around the sleeves, then cuts on the belly and lower back, also blood-stained. He's still wearing his labcoat however, plus a borrowed button shirt from Adalberto's cousin.

The twins and Sato were also given farm clothes -all the armors except for Prince's were left in the bus -they are just too flashy to wear in public without making people think of theater performers or cosplayers.

Following this group are the three children, two teens and two adults rescued from Malleus's dungeon.

All together come to the lobby of the Opera, and find a bored person behind the ticket counter.

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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(I don't want to leave the armor in the bus if I can help it. Can it fit into his gym bag?)

{Angel, you'd better take over again. I don't speak good spanish or know if there's some sort of secret handshake here. I'll watch, like a movie for a little. You'll feel when I try to get control. See if there's a place to check the bags though. I don't want that cool armor getting left in the bus or something like that. We might need it again.}

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Trapturtle's picture

Rolled 1d20. Result: 4 = 4.

Zane Carter

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This place is amazing.
{I always wanted to spend a semester abroad, but I was never good with languages. I guess this could be my chance to see the world. There's got to be a bright side to this somewhere.}
[Zane approaches the Twins.]
Look, I have a favor to ask. I figure that if we're going to stop this, I'm going to need more than just the wolf's strength and primal. I need to learn more tricks, like what the priest did to us in the fountain. Is there any way you could teach me something like that?

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Forge's picture

(Absolutely! Prince can fit his armor inside his gym bag if he stretches it to the limit. It provides an awesome +6 to END without the usual penalty to DEX, although it's impossible to appear normal while wearing it -one looks like a ren-fair cosplayer, not to mention the Malleus' giant cross across the chest. It's made out of a secret alloy that is incredibly resistant and light. Nothing else fits in the gym bag! I'm editing the post accordingly.)

(Another retcon: Katie realizes wearing a loose skirt would help tremendously with her clothes-ripping condition, so if she chooses, I can retcon that too. The twins do leave their armor in the bus, as does Zato. Zane can choose to leave his armor, wear it, or carry it in some way.)

Inner Angel seems to nod. For the third time Prince gets the feeling that she really enjoys taking over, and being in charge. Now in full control over Prince's body, she approaches the man behind the counter, and starts speaking to him in spanish.

Outer Angel, wearing her trenchcoat, stands by the side of Prince, and starts speaking in spanish too. It feels like it's becoming an argument, with the man behind the counter asking the entire group to leave, and "Prince" and Outer Angel demanding to speak with someone in charge

The impasse is resolved when Outer Angel flings open her trenchcoat and stretches her black wings for their full glorious span right in front of the man. The man nearly drops his jaw, and quickly picks up the phone.

Quietly, Outer Angel folds her wings back in, and starts covering herself up with the trenchcoat again, looking annoyed.

"He didn't believe it was me. I mean her. [Inner Angel explains inside Prince's mind] You see, I was, I mean, she is, sort of a celebrity enemy for the Apostates. I was the fly in their soup many, many times. What worries me is.... if Father Barnabas is with them, why didn't he tell them that I too, I mean her, had been sent to the dungeons also? Maybe he didn't know what Gallardo did..."

"It's not a huge deal. [she continues] It only worries me a little bit, but I tend to worry over everything... [she tries to lighten up, as the astonished man speaks urgently over the phone and then hangs up]"

"Mateo is watching the rehearsal [finally says the man behind the counter, now speaking in passable english, which apparently the bastard knew all along] please, step into the sala."

The Sala looks like this:

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Forge's picture

The twins nod to Zane.

"We'll be glad to show you all we know."

"You've probably noticed by now that not every Primal is the same."

"The Downtown Digger at the Zapper, was the basic "Ghoul" type. You know, tall, lanky, wiry, boney, and with long finger claws."

"Katie is the Hulk type. Basically same as a human but five times more muscle mass"

"So not really human anymore."

"Good point."

"We are more of your classical werewolf type. Sometimes we even grow fur."

"Just like Turtle had gills and fins."

"Turtle, yeah. This all comes from mentalization."

"You have to picture it in your head -not what you want to be..."

"... but what deep down you suspect you already are."

"It could be anything. It could even change."

"You could change the way you view yourself from one minute to the next."

"Some of the best among us are just as able to grow gills and swim as to grow wings and fly."

"Well, flying is hard though."

"Yeah, bad example. Except for Angel over there" [Carlos nods with his head to Outer Angel looking annoyed about the man behind the counter.]

"Bad example. She probably doesn't even need hierogamy."

"Born that way. Happens sometimes."

"Anyway, what form do you see yourself as?" [asks Roberto of Zane]

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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{Well done you two! Whatever gets us in! [he laughs] Okay, let's head in and see if we can get this worked out. But I'd bet acorns to oak trees that these guys aren't our friends either. It seems like no one is ever on our side.}

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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(I want that skirt :D )

{So wait, turtle. You went amphibian mode? Hook me up. Next time we're underwater I want gills.}

[Katie waits wordlessly. So much going on, and it feels more and more like she has absolutely no control over the situation.]

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Turtle Jim

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Yeah, you saw me. The big-ass undead whale, remember? But I could breathe air too -I was just slicker underwater. Man, I have so many stories to tell you about my life Katie -I used to smuggle shit through rivers back in the day. Drugs mostly, I'm ashamed to say. I was like a fucking shark... but everyone just called me Turtle, cuz I wasn't as fast out of the water, and cuz of the hunchback thing... yeah. [Katie realizes the hunchback is somewhat a sore topic for Turtle. He was likely born with that deformity, but it only existed in real life -never in the Shadowside version of himself.]

Look, everyone is different. You're lucky your form wasn't some ugly distended-jaw witch-looking abomination... actually... you're kinda hot when you hulk out. But if it's not really you, you need to... like meditate, and visualize what really means you, and then just go for it. Practice and practice, and eventually you'll get there. That thing Carlos said about switching forms at will... I think that's bullshit. Big Sis propaganda. I've never seen any fucker able to do that. We have one form, that's it, and we slowly sculpt it into another with a lot of thought and effort and shit.

Hey. Check it out. The kids are looking at you.

[Indeed they are. Specially the two she personally saved.... they are just standing there with adorable little smiles looking up at their super-heroine.]

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Forge's picture

The entire group of 14 people are lead into the amazingly beautiful -and empty at the moment- Opera hall.

On stage, a single exceedingly beautiful woman is singing something in italian, Mozart's Laudate Dominum, accompanied by the full orchestra and it's director. She sounds like one would imagine angels in heaven sound like, and if given but a few moments of peace, it's easy to get lost in the beauty of the song, particularly when the chorus kicks in.

It's a chorus of children, and their synchronized voices can easily transport one's mind and soul beyond the grasp of our dirty material realm.

But this is not why you are all here.

Sitting alone in one of the chairs, observing the rehearsal, is Mateo.

He's enraptured, completely, his fingertips joined before his face, his eyes in full concentration as he studies every nuance of the performance, his breathing full as the sounds fill him with emotion.

He wears a tux, and looks like he was meant to be in one, too.

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Mateo "Matador" Cruz

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[Mateo turns to face the incoming group. He smiles warmly at them, then gestures for them to please take a seat, then turns his head again to the performance.]

[He can't take his eyes off it, and is so engrossed by it that one suspects a bomb going off wouldn't move him off his seat. One who listens with any musical appreciation however, would hardly blame him. Finally, the rehearsal comes to a small break, and Mateo exhales, as if he had just finished the most delicious meal ever. He turns to the group.]

Fancy seeing you here, Angel... after what happened last time. [he speaks very good english, with just a barely noticeable spaniard accent]. You nearly gave Antonio a heart attack at the front door back there. But when he said you were bringing children with you, I could no longer suspect that it was all a ruse by Malleus' most famous operative in all of Europe... [he smiles charmingly] So if it is, strike now, St. Gabriela... I promise I don't even have snipers in the balconies [wink].

[he smiles to Prince, Katie, Zane, and everyone else. The smile looks honest and confident -a perfect advertisement for toothpaste, or fashion design, perhaps.]. Am I right in guessing I'm about to be treated to a wonderful story?

[at this point, Prince feels Future Angel giving him back control over his own body.]

[Zane feels the Wolf is rather neutral -not liking nor disliking this Mateo character in any particular way.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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{Thinking that, you know, we share a body now. So I figure next time we go primal, you can pump your brain into it. Maybe. I dunno. I just want gills.}

[Katie drops to a knee and looks at the kids.] In Spanish: I'm going to get you to a safe place. Any time you need me, remember. Just ask for Good Lady Katie and I'll be there. I help those in need. [She touches their chins with a motherly smile. Finally she turns and stands.]

Prince. Your lead buddy. I got fans now. Fans. I guess I really am a superhero.

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Trapturtle's picture

Zane Carter

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[Zane stands quietly considering what he has just heard.]
{Is that true? I never really thought about when I went primal. I suppose I always just let you do the work. Next time could you let me try? I don't even know how I would to start with something like that.}

(ooc: would I get any more benefit from investing more in Primal?)

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Forge's picture

The three children had never seen anything as grandiose as Opera, and are quite amazed. But they never leave Good Lady Katie's side, and as she walks they hold her flowing skirt and follow. They sit by her side too, the youngest one on her lap, where she makes herself quite comfortable. Katie doesn't know if these kids had parents a week ago and they died, or if they have any family to return to. They live in the "now", and the "now" is good enough. For now.

"Wowww, mira!! [says the boy, standing up and pointing at the stage] tienen a un dragon ahi, mira! [he points to the prop dragon hanging from the rafters, and as he does so, he loses his balance and trips over into the next row in front, landing on his face]"

Mateo chuckles, and stands up to help the boy back on his feet, and says to him: "Quieres ir a ver al dragon?" The boy nods yes.

Mateo looks back into some shadows by the balconies, and out of nowhere a man emerges -he's suddenly already there, wearing black pants, black shirt and black tie.

"Dales un tour del teatro a los niños, por favor. [Mateo turns to the adults and explains] Fernando will give the children a tour backstage. Don't you worry one bit, they'll be safe."

All three kids jump in joy, and go to grab Fernando's hands. The man in black nods back to Mateo, and begins to walk away with them.

(ooc: Zane, indeed, if you had at least 3 points in Primal not only would it get proportionally stronger, but you could control it's particular shape, too)

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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(I'll assume he has control here. If Angel doesn't let go for him to talk, feel free to retcon)

So, we're looking for someone named Father Barnabas? We're hoping he has some way for his to reach the states quickly and a cure for people affected by primal against their will. If he doesn't, then at least we've gotten some people to a safe place. Now, can you help us?

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Forge's picture

Mateo "Matador" Cruz

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(Prince indeed has been back in control since the bottom of this post :)

Of course we can help.

[Mateo stands up, and brings out a pocket LED light -pretty much like the one Prince himself has in his keychain. He gently grabs the hand of Marcela, who blushes for some reason -maybe the way he did it- and then brings it up to his face. But instead of kissing it, he shines the LED light on it instead. Three marks like inverted lower-case "l"s appear as slight discolorations of the skin. Mateo nods.]

Todos ustedes tienen la Fiebre?

[they nod at him. He smiles warmly again.]

No se preocupen. Todo va a estar bien. [Again, he turns towards some undetermined place in the shadows of the theater -a glance suffices. Within seconds, another man in black pants, black shirt and black tie arrives. Mateo turns to Prince]

We'll shelter them. [he looks at the choir of children on stage.] We'll teach them to sing. It'll be an honest living, and theater masks and props can go a long way. Ironic the safest place for Primals to be is on stage. But the whole world is a stage these days, ah?

[he smiles to Angel again]

Yes, you father is here. Barnabas declared Gallardo an Heretic, and Gallardo returned the favor. It was all very public and unpleasant. Then word came down from Rome... ruling on Gallardo's side. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for the negotiations that must have taken place at the Vatican. Rumor has it all Seven Beggar Fathers were summoned. Barnabas declared himself an Apostate that same day. He's downstairs.

[to Prince]

There's no cure against Primal, friend. We don't know where it started. The gypsies can put it under measure of control, after much effort and training, but that's it. If we had Patient Zero to research, we might have a chance. But we don't, so we don't. It may truly be the End of the World. [he seems eerily calm about it].

Come, let's go downstairs. Walk and talk, tell me your story. You all seem like very interesting people [he says to the group, and as the man in the black suit leads the escapees back to the lobby, Mateo leads the rest -Zane, Katie, Prince, the twins and Sato- down across the rows towards a balcony.]

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Forge's picture

Krasnyy Volk

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[The Wolf doesn't verbalize it much, but Zane can feel she is comfortable in this place, and agrees to her "Master" taking the lead. It's taken some time, but Zane has really earned her trust now.]

Zane is good.

Zane smells good.

Why I chose Zane.

Smells good.

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Forge's picture

The escapees wave one last time at their rescuers and heroes.

Adalberto insists in shaking Zane's hand one more time, and tells him again, barely containing his tears, his heartfelt thanks for saving his only surviving son, Paquito. The twin brothers Manuel and Felipe also hug Katie.

The escapees go back to the lobby, while everyone else follows Mateo.

The balcony booth has two rows of four chairs each. Mateo simply pushes the middle two back, revealing a discrete ladder, going straight down like a manhole.

"Ladies first [he gestures to Katie and Angel, then adds] then everyone wearing skirts [he flashes that smile again]"

The ladder leads to an inner hallway of the theater, that looks more like an underground WWII bunker due to the bare concrete walls and lack of windows.

Mateo leads the group through several turns, more hallways, occasional staircases, and across halls with maps, computers, and guns. It is clear now, that this group of Apostates is preparing for war. There are men and women -wearing all black- carrying boxes with ammo, or canned foods, or plain crates with weapons, across the hallways. There are men trying out gas-masks. In one of the halls, a map of Barcelona has been scrawled over with all the various bridges and choke points, and there are marks for strategic buildings to take and defend. It seems the last place that will be given up is this theater.

And poring over the maps, side by side with four other men and women, is an old, old man with a large bushy beard. He still wears a large rosary around his neck, with a larger than usual crucifix. He's Father Barnabas.

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Markus "Prince" Crown

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{I don't like this guy, and I don't like this place. He smiles like he's lying.}

{I hope Barnabus is better than him.}

Hello father Barnabus. We've come a long way to talk to you for what looks like it might just be a little bit. We brought some people here that needed a home, but since you guys don't have a cure for people going under primal, we need something else. Angel has been telling me that I should talk to you, that you'd know what to do. So here we are.

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Trapturtle's picture

Zane Carter

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It's nice to meet you, Father. My name is Zane. We're trying to find a solution to the primal plague. However first I need to know something. Could you check me with the light? I need to know if I'm part of this or if it's just a coincidence I became primal around the time this started.
{For what it's worth, you're not too bad for a partner. I still have a question. How did we get bonded? Katie and Prince needed to be in the Shadowside to bond to their spirits. How did you bond to me before I had even heard of the Shadowside?}

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Forge's picture

Angel

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[Present Angel just launches into Barnabas' arms and nearly hugs the life out of him. She breaks down with a few tears too...]

[Prince can feel Future Angel is also moved by the scene...]

I didn't know I would see him again. Last I saw him, he was on an Accelletrix helicopter headed for some sort of island which was supposed to be the last place free from the plague. It's... good to see my father again.

[Prince has caught Angel several times now referring to Barnabas as "my" father, as opposed to his formal religious title, "Father".]

Don't mind Mateo. He's a rich spoiled kid, always will be. He's a charmer and a snake. He... likes to make people like him.

[Prince detects something not very pleasant, that seems to be seeping up from Angel's memories into his mind: apparently Mateo and Angel have some sort of history, where he was her crush, and then her enemy, mostly out of tension. Hopefully not sexual tension. All Prince can elucidate for the moment, is that there is baggage.]

[Meanwhile Present Angel finally realizes the old man needs to breathe, and lets go of him, but kneels and bows her head and holds on to his aged hands...]

It is true then, Father. [Present Angel says, with a slightly cracking voice] you have joined the Apostates.

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Forge's picture

Father Barnabas

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[Barbanas gently pats Angel's head as she kneels, then asks her (in spanish)] Please rise my child, I am no longer a Beggar Father. The church has deserted us, my dearest.

[he looks up to Prince, addressing him first, in clear if accented english]

Angel is with you now, I see. [His eyes are somewhat penetrating, but gentle. Hard to tell what means -or rather which Angel he means.]

She is an Omen, young man. When I first saw her as a mere baby in a basket, wrapped in her own wings, left at the steps of my old Toledo church so long ago... I knew the Lord would grant me to see the End of Days first before the Rapture. So I named her Angel.

[He holds Angel's hand and helps her rise]

She is a sign. Her presence fulfills prophecy. She was put in your path for a reason. The Plague, yes.

[he turns to address Zane now. Just like he did with Prince, his eyes turn piercing while remaining warm. It's a strange sensation. Then slowly... a smile begins to creep on Barnabas's lips.]

Young man, you are the First. We have been looking for you. Our prayers have been answered.

[the other Apostate generals in the room stop what they're doing, and turn their eyes to Barnabas, then Zane, then Barnabas again. An eternity of three seconds of silence passes.]

[snapping out of his astonishment, one of the generals nearly trips over himself on his way to Zane, and quickly grabs his hands and shines the blue LED light on it, then the forehead. "The Marks!" he says "I'd never seen them so clear! I'd... I.."]

[Father Barnabas merely nods.]

Angel brought you here. Just as prophesied. I knew you would, Angel. The Lord operates through you. [he looks at the larger group]. The Lord operates through all of you... [he looks at Katie] sometimes he acts in mysterious ways [then Sato] but there are no such things as coincidences. It is all His Will.

The Plague will be vanquished.

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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And how is that? Because Angel was part of another effort to stop the plague before and that didn't end well for anyone. That includes herself. And we've been all over the place trying to protect Zane from... Everybody!

Now what's this plan and what's going to happen and why are you about to go to war?

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Krasnyy Volk

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[Indifferent to Barnabas calling Zane "The One", the wolf seems content inside Zane's mind. Hearing his question, she answers:]

Chose you. Smelled good.

Left door open.

Many doors open. Bad smell.

Chose you.

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Forge's picture

Father Barnabas

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[Barnabas nods his head slowly, and the speed with which he answers is deliberate, as befitting an old man] I wouldn't be so quick to presume her efforts did indeed fail, young man.

After all, she is here now, and her very presence together with the First means the world still has a chance. Without her, he would not be with us today. That is no failure. Your question is as old as mankind. If the Lord is all-powerful and wishes our well-being, why then, does he tolerate evil? Why are we allowed to sin, why does he permit the innocent to perish?

Free Will, young Prince. [how did Barnabas know his name was "Prince"? Prince never said his name to him.]

Like St. John at the Isle of Patmos, you were granted a prophetic vision of the end times, and the end times is what we are preparing for [he gestures with his arm out to his side, at the men preparing rifles, and supplies, though still staring at Zane as if he was Jesus]. The Great Tribulation will test the faith of men, and it may well be that no more than 144,000 survive worldwide, as foretold in the Bible. What you do with this knowledge is up to your Free Will. St. John used his to write the last book of the Bible, and called it Revelations, which in greek is "Apokalypsis".

[heavily, he sits back in his chair, and takes a deep breath, as he considers]

The Blood of the Lamb was never found in the world you have glimpsed. The counterpart to Apokalypsis, is what you witnessed. But our world is already different, for Zane, the First of the Plagued, is with us. Perhaps... he represents the Second Coming. How else would one refer to He whom through His blood millions will be saved?

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Katie Hensmith

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[Katie slowly turns between Zane and Barnabas.] Wait. So is Zane here patient zero? Otherwise who is patient zero?

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Mateo "Matador" Cruz

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[Mateo nods to Katie, and offers some explanation in a private voice]

Father Barnabas came to us about a week ago... he still speaks with the flair of old Malleus. But yes, it seems, and I'm quite surprised, that this gentleman is indeed Patient Zero.

I'm not a biologist, my lady, but I suspect the Plague is not biological in nature. If you leave aside all the talk about prophecy, which, to be honest, has always been an iffy point to me, what we have left is the potential key to understand the origin of this Plague, and perhaps a way to cure it, or at least stop it from spreading.

I'm being hopeful, I confess. Optimism is my sin, which is why you found me watching Opera instead of learning how to fire a rifle, like everyone else down here.

I just refuse to accept the world will end -it's too beautiful to go down in flames, and too many innocent people are caught in it.

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Angel

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Tell us what must be done, Father. How does having the First among us help us prevent the Plague? [Present Angel is enthralled by the words of the old man, and Prince can tell even Future Angel is giving serious consideration to them.]

[Future Angel then speaks to Prince inside his mind...]
I never knew of Zane, your friend, in my version of the world. Where I came from, Father Barnabas agreed to an alliance with Accelletrix once Accelletrix promised him they had the First with him. But as far as I know he was never delivered. Instead we were given only those KrV rifles and armor.

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Jack of Spades's picture

Markus "Prince" Crown

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{We were taking him to Acceletrix first. Something went wrong there and he broke out.}

Well, we have some of their armor and we've been through our share of fights. If there's a plan you guys have, let's hear it. Because we're running out of time!

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Trapturtle's picture

Rolled 1d20. Result: 12 = 12.

Zane Carter

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Wait, how does this spread? How did I get infected? How can I stop it?
{So many questions. I don't know how much time we have here, or how much these people know. We might have to leave before we learn everything.}
[Zane collapses into the nearest seat.]
Veronica, she said she bonded to me by going through a door. She said many were open. I don't know what it means but I think it might be a place to start.

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Forge's picture

Father Barnabas

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It spreads through the Limbo! [Barnabas answers Zane]. When we go to sleep and we dream.

Some say, our minds are in Limbo at this time, but we are normally not so vulnerable. The barriers that keep spirits from coming in have been weakened. A tear, a fissure, an unnatural crack has been opened in the wall, and it started with you, young man. It will also end, with you.

[Barnabas takes a moment to ponder, closing his eyes in either silent prayer or meditation -hard to tell which. He then turns to Angel, and to Prince.]

Zane represents the opening of the fifth seal.

The first four seals have already come to pass -the four corresponding Horsemen are already here.

[He holds his rosary, almost unconsciously, and his voice turns weaker. Gone is the all-knowing prophet, leader of men. For a few seconds, Barnabas sounds like a frail, frail old man.]

My dearest Angel.... do you know why I turned an Apostate? I hope you did not listen to the lies of Gallardo. It is true that I despise the Coporation and everything they represent. But the real reason.... [he swallows]... I fear I may be betraying.... God.

[he looks away for a moment.]

Loyalty to God would mean to bow our heads and allow the End of Days to unroll as schedule, to allow Judgment Day to do what it must, what is prophesied in the Bible. We were supposed to be the First Horsemen after all, taking over Rome when the Pope instituted our order. Maybe we still are. Malleus is. I can no longer... [he stops himself again.]

The second horsemen nearly did us in in World War II. Then the third: a measure of wheat for a penny! [he calls suddenly, his voice getting louder] and three measures of barley for a penny; and thou hurt not the oil and the wine!

[this gets the attention of the other Apostate generals around him. They stare at Barnabas, as the frail old man goes on...]

The pale fourth horse has been riding ever since, and more and more people commune with Limbo, rousing the spirits, disturbing their peace, manipulating the delicate soul currents for petty earthly gain and parochial racial vendettas. I told the Pope this was the fifth seal.

The souls of the saints, of the slain, crying under the Lord's altar and saying "How long, O Lord, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?"

Well, not much longer it would seem. White robes were given unto every one of them! [at this point the other men in the room stop what they're doing, and approach Barnabas, seemingly about to interrupt] and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, UNTIL [he points with his finger, having trouble rising from his chair] UNTIL their fellow servants also, and their brethren, be also KILLED as they were!

Do you see it? The white robes represent our fleshly bodies. Basic symbology. And the souls of the slain are coming unto them, we vulgarly call them "Primal", and are killing their "fellow servants", their "brethren", their families, their neighbors -it is exactly what has been blaring from the news 24/7 for the past week out of New York City.

[his voice lowers again, thankfully. He seems exhausted.]

Which will eventually lead us to the Sixth Seal -which you've seen [he gestures to Prince, tiredly, as he falls back on his chair.]

I am an Apostate, because I refuse to believe this is the Lord's plan. And the solution is very simple. It is the Lion of Judah who is unsealing the seven scrolls. It is the Lion of Judah who must be stopped. Yehuda Gur Aryeh. Do you know the corporation's code name for the Saint you are carrying, young Zane?

Perhaps it's best if I show you a visual. [he turns behind him, and points to an ancient tile in a block of stone on a pedestal, standing in the corner]:

They called her "The Red Wolf".

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