The piercing spring sun shone down on the ancient city of Alexandria. Once a font of civilization and location of some of the most notable monuments and moments in history, the city had warped over time, changed to fit in with the present, without losing its touch of the past.
There was now one more momentous occurrence to add to its rich history, one that would not be forgotten for ages to come.
Pulling the head-covering garment around her, Mercy Sheridan walked casually down the street outside the House of L Legacy Museum. One of the newest wonders of the world, it had been appropriated from the Knightfalls and was another affront to them.
She was dressed head to toe in white, the color of the Sanguine. Her eyes were framed with kohl to reflect the sun back, and to further obscure the features of her face in addition to the headcovering that she wore.
A ruby necklace surrounded by small onyx stones hung across her collarbone, slightly obscured by material.
There was a calculating fury unmatched that ran through the veins of the Sanguine. She was one of the worlds deadliest killers. The Sanguine of the Sicarii, an esoteric sect of assassins tied to Mary Magdalene and pre-dating Christ. The Anassa of the Arashikage. The Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Her titles were many, her kills more, her fury unrivaled, her skill and her patience great assets.
They were assets that had paid off.
An injured knee faltered under her stride, giving a slight hint to the injured nature of much of her body,
It was nothing compared to the macabre scene atop the roof of the Legacy Museum.
A sign had been left for all the world to see, an unmistakable sign in the most simple of measures.
He was an anti-mutant extremist. Slayer of Knightfalls. Arashikage Pretender. His titles were as numerous as Mercy's, and as deadly. Now they were dust, ash laid out to blow away in the wind.
Charlemagne LeBeau had been many things, and now he had one more to add to that list.
A makeshift cross had been trussed up on the roof, and strung up on it was none other than the unmoving body of LeBeau. Stripped down to nothing more than tattered pants, his bruised physique was on display.
Across his chest was a carved letter, an ‘M’. Presumably for Mutant, but, to the knowledge of none other than herself, also for Mercy. Etched into his skin with precise telekinetic talent, it was a sign for all the world to see.
His blood had dripped down his body, forming red rivulets that had dried and crusted to his skin in the heat of the sun. On the flat roof of the building, next to the cross, was a marking less than two inches in circumference, and traced in blood. A simple dagger enwrapped with a rose.
Adjusting the garb, Mercy cast one furtive look over her shoulder at the architectural modern marvel before ensconcing herself in the cool air conditioned interior of a nondescript sedan, departing Alexandria, and heading once again back to Agiad'coda.
She’d been up for over 24 hours straight going over the damning information she had found revealing nefarious motives from not only the US government, but specifically, from the President of the United States. Mercy hadn’t talked to her father in over a week; she knew that any contact between the two of them would only make what was to come harder. Their relation had been under wraps for quite some time, her job would make him a possible target of her detractors and vice versa. She wasn’t even sure what he did, never had been, all she knew was that it was very hush hush.
All of her things were packed and she would be abandoning this apartment as soon as her write up went out. It would be triggered to multiple mirror sites, blogging sites and transcripts would be sent to media outlets across the globe. In less than half a year, she had built up a substantial readership and a bit of a cult following. She followed the truth, regardless of whom it benefited, something that was unseen of in this day and age when everything tended to be spun in one way or another.
Tonight would be a turning point for her. Tonight would be the night when her history began being dug into. Tonight would be the night that she exposed with irrefutable proof, the dark underbelly of the current administration. It would not be pretty, it would not be fun, but it was the right thing to do and that was all she’d ever been about.
Her fingers flew over the keys of her laptop as her legs shook from a combination of fear, anticipation and energy drink overload. If there was one thing she would want to be judged on after this life, it was her unblemished need to tell the truth.
My name is Mercy Sheridan. For eight months I have been running this blog as a non-biased source of information, free for all to peruse. I am a reporter by trade and what seems to be an activist, by accident. I never set out to create a following or have my name known – that was kind of always the opposite of what I wanted.
What I did want? I wanted people to be informed. Without sponsors or parties coloring what was reported to viewers. Without having to answer to a boss as to why something was reported. I wanted to give you the facts and let you decide from there what those facts meant.
Facts and evidence have recently fallen into my lap…well, I suppose I went and searched them out…and I cannot sit on them. It would put me in the fault just as much as those in power.
Hopefully everybody reading this knows about what has happened in Venezuela. The conflict between forces there and the stepping in of the US and acquiring the country as our own territory under the administration of Orpheus Ziev.
Orpheus Ziev is not who he says he is and the US Government is culpable in situating themselves into a power vacuum as what is presumably the first step of a larger plan.
In the links, you will find transcripts of President Ziev’s overseas accounts. Accounts that were used to help fund somebody, off the books, who was, on the books granted not only access, but official power by the US Government in a bid to create a power vacuum in Venezuela.
Anthony Park was sanctioned to go into Venezuela and kill innocent civilians and create whatever other sort of havoc he may choose to. The US Government gave him this power. The US President himself signed off on this.
But President Ziev did not just sign off on this. It’s nothing so simple as listening to your aides regurgitate the basic points of an executive order and signing your name on the X, not knowing what you were signing into.
I will repeat again, so that you can swallow what you are reading before you.
The President of the United States – a land that was once known to stand for freedom and liberty, but sadly does no more – gave a non-military citizen the power to go into another country, perpetrate terrorist acts and so in order for the US to come in and claim territory in a power vacuum.
If you listen to the audio below, audio that has been tested and re-tested by independent contractors as well as contractors allied to both parties, I believe you will find your eyes opened.
*The following audio was acquired from a private dinner at the restaurant Citronelle, during which the restaurant was closed to all patrons but them. The two voices you hear are those of President Orpheus Ziev and Anthony Stark.
President Ziev: There is rising tension in Venezuela. Forces are poised to move, chatter has been observed. We need to send somebody in to help secure its acquirement.
Anthony Stark: “I am unsure of what you are asking me, Mr. President.”
President Ziev: “Mr. Stark, your intelligence makes me think otherwise, but I’ll lay it out for you point blank. I want to give you carte blanche, a literal blank check and I want you to take your tech and whatever else you deem necessary and I want you to go into Venezuela and I want you to create a power vacuum that will allow the US to take control in the first phase.”
(Silence for several seconds as you hear a quiet tapping of fingers on a table)
President Ziev: “We need a good, patriotic man. A man who will do what’s right for his country. Mr. Stark, the US needs you.”
(Silence again as you hear somebody shifting in their chair)
President Ziev: “We thank you for your service, Mr. Stark. You will have, as mentioned, carte blanche. I don’t need to know what you’re doing, you are officially employed in a position of power by the government and it is a position whose efforts should best be kept in the dark. The small details aren’t important, do what you want with the public and with those mutants...maybe you can find some work use for them.”
(Silence again as you hear the scraping of chairs against the floor)
President Ziev: “Get to work and God Bless America.”
(End of audio)
Below are more links to communiques and internal e-mails that were passed around select members of President Ziev’s administration. Not only is he culpable, but he is responsible. It’s up to you what you do with this information; my job was in supplying it.
They will try and suppress this information. They will try and silence it. I do not doubt that they will try and silence me. But the truth is more than simple words. The truth is an ideal…the truth is a movement.
The truth cannot be silenced.
Her finger hovered over the post button for a full minute as she left an encoded voice message for her father through a secure channel. The small click of the mouse she was using echoed through the room as she pressed the button and sent the post to print.
She’d been meticulous in securing the proof and insuring its legitimacy. She had no doubt that within an hour or so, her apartment would be turned upside down by federal agents. All of her important items had already been moved to anonymous storage and everything that Mercy needed to get out of dodge and go underground was in the sack next to her desk.
She pulled the strap over her shoulder, grabbed her brand new heavily secured phone and left the apartment, shutting the door on that phase of her life behind her forever.
Raindrops darkened the pavement of the New York City sidewalk as she hailed a cab and sent a text message to one of her affiliates, alerting him that the information had been sent out. It was the dawn of a new era.
The business mogul and lauded assassin known as Cassidy Lockhart-Starks had spent a full week at the hands of the foremost minds in memory-stripping and rebuilding and the reviled Angelique LeBeau. Between their combined physical and mental prowess, she'd been scrubbed clean and rebuilt from the ground up. There was no Ethan Starks, there was no Kazarian LeBeau, there were no children, no Champions of Peace, no loving mother and father figure. In their stead, it was killing, killing and maiming and the excelling of both.
She'd never left the League of Shadows after being 'rescued' by Jean Luc BeBeau that fated night in Boston. Her conscience had been stripped and she was no longer tied down by emotional attachments. Where once there had been a loving mother and partner, now there stood only a coldblooded killer. Every muscle was a weapon and every ounce of knowledge another tool at her disposal. She answered only to Les Assassins Silencieux. Cassidy Lockhart-Starks was no more. In her stead stood Cassidy O'Rourke and Mercy was more ironic a name than it had ever been.
*Credit for the cover (and the inspiration for this) goes to War Killer
The pale pink light cast by the very edge of the rising sun peeked through the curtains billowing in the open windows, casting dawning rays of light across the bed. Cassidy stirred lightly, her mission foremost in her brain until Kaz reached out and touched her just as she began to slide from beneath the covers. "Morning." It was a single word and yet still held everything in it. Her heart warmed as she braced her hands on his chest and kissed his slightly stubbly cheek before sliding out of bed.
"You're up early." He wasn't questioning her, just stating a fact as the Last Arashikage leaned up in bed, bracing himself on an elbow as the sheet slid down his torso. Drawing her attention away from the armoire in front of her, Cassidy lasciviously gazed up and down at his washboard abs, a twinkle in her eyes. Ignoring the urge to while away the time relaxing in bed with him, she pulled on a pair of low-rise skinny jeans over her panties, slid into a bra and pulled an ordinary black v-neck on over that.
"I have...plans." Her vague answer was met with a look that demanded a response. Wary to reveal exactly what she was up to, Cass took a seat on his edge of the bed and leaned into him, absorbing the scent of his cologne and body wash. "Today's the fifteenth anniversary." She didn't have to say anything else, there was an immediate understanding between the two of them and he pulled her close, kissing her gently on the top of her head. "I'll be in Boston for a couple of days, maybe a week dealing with some things. It shouldn't take much longer than that." Tilting her head up to his, she kissed him gently, slowly working more passion into it before finally breaking away. "Je t'aime."
Her first order of business upon stepping outside the doors of Logan International Airport in Boston, MA was to hail a taxi cab and direct it to the Fairmont Copley Plaza. Adopting a Boston accent among check-in, she happily handed over her credit card. "Penthouse suite, please. Book under the name Alana Locke."
"In town for pleasure or business, ma'am?" The young woman behind the desk was asking her scripted questions, designed to set the guests at ease while still valuing their privacy.
"A bit of both. I've got a family thing and then hope to get some pursuits of pleasure fitted in. Newbury Street has always been a favorite haunt of mine." Collecting her key card and signalling a bellhop, Cass headed up to the penthouse suite and made herself at home with the wishes of 'we hope you enjoy your stay' echoing in her ears. Settling in, clothes in drawers and in the closet, her mobile electronics center and SEER systems set up in the dining room of the series of rooms that made up the suite, she was beginning to feel as close to home as she could.
This week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the O'Rourke family massacre. An event that had led to her becoming who she was today and an event that had gone unsolved. The task force that the majority of her aunts and uncles had been on (including her father) had been tasked with trying to break down the factions of the mob in the city that were dangerously close to bringing the place back to the darker days of the Bulger brothers. Somebody on the inside of the police force had been dirty and the mob retaliated by taking out the entirety of the O'Rourke family, save for Cassidy.
Pulling the militarily influenced black pea coat around herself and fastening the buttons, Cassidy tucked her red hair up beneath a stylish black fedora and pulled on a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses. Leaving through the front door of the Plaza, it was a short trip to the cemetery where the entirety of the O'Rourke clan was buried.
The cool evening wind whipped around her, causing her to shudder as she traversed the paths of the cemetery, finally standing in front of the graves of her parents. She stood there for a full thirty minutes internally reliving the experience of that night for the umpteenth time. Haunted eyes shone dimly in her face as she crouched down and ran her fingers cross the edge of the headstones, wiping off extraneous pine needles and other errant bits of nature.
It was the crackling of leaves that sent her straight to her feet, turning around as her palms itched to fight. "Apologies, ma'am. I wasn't expecting to see anyone hea." He had the cliche Boston accent and there was something about his voice that set her on edge. "How did ya know the O'Roake's?"
Warily looking at him from behind the lenses she smiled charmingly at him, holding out a hand to shake and gathering her wits. "I grew up down the street from them. Always made me feel like I had a second home there." Her voice was warm but brusque as she wracked her memory for this man. He was about 55 years old, well muscled and if she had to peg it, ex-military. But everything else about him screamed mob and as they shook hands, Cassidy caught site of the same tattoo that graced the inner forearm of the man she'd killed the night that Gambler had taken her under his wing. "I'm afraid I have to be going now, it really was a pleasure, though."
She sat, legs crossed, on the center of the California King Bed in the bedroom of her suite. Papers were spread out all around her and right in front of her was her laptop, connected to SEER and Aria, the tracking and AI systems that she'd developed. There was a trace currently being run on the tattoo she'd seen and all of the features of the man that she could remember, including a hand-drawn picture of him that she'd scanned in.
It was three hours of impatiently drinking coffee with her systems going full blast as she leaned back against the sumptuous pillows, the laptop balanced on her knees before anything came through. Right as she'd closed her eyes for just a moment and begun drifting off to sleep, the shrill alarm that meant pertinent information had turned up cut through the melodic tones of Tchaikovsky and roused her immediately. Staring at the screen dumbfounded, there was a single name that appeared, one that had been whispered for years and nobody had ever paid any attention to. Samuel Flaherty. He had started as an enforcer and was now, by all reports, one of the head men - if not the head. His name had been on the fringes of her own investigation for a while and this, this was far too large a coincidence for her to believe in.
Already beginning to formulate plans and strategies for how to approach this began soaring through her mind as a huge yawn escaped her lips. Knowing when it was time to call it quits for the night before her brain decided to cease functioning entirely, Cassidy quickly called home to speak to her children and Kaz. After a fifteen minute conversation with the three of them, she secured her room and shut of the lights, hoping that her racing mind wouldn't keep her up until the wee hours of the morning and knowing that tomorrow would be a momentous day for her.
The desert sun beat down on the top of her head as she walked through the crowded market. Her head was covered with a light scarf to hide her conspicuous red hair, another scarf drawn across the lower half of her face to keep the sand from blowing in her mouth. A pair of desert pattern camo pants covered her legs, a white tank top and cargo jacket hiding the guns she had holstered at her shoulders. Her small feet were clad in black combat boots and she was well armed. There was a dagger down one of her boots, daggers in wrist sheaths hidden under her jacket sleeves and a sh!t-eating grin hidden beneath the scarf covering her mouth that wrapped up and around to obscure her flame red hair. Mac O'Rourke was on a mission, one that nobody would get in the way of.
There was a team dispatched to her location two days prior. They had been performing recon and establishing their base the past three days. Their goal was simple, to kill a single man; a high-profile target, an incredible threat to the national security of the United States. Things were never as easy as they seemed on paper, but this was no regular team, this was the Paragons. The Paragons are an extremely small covert squad made up of the best of the best from the SEALS. Their one mission is to protect the US and her assets at any cost and to anybody's knowledge, they do not exist. They are off the books and answer to one man and one man only. He and the Secretary of Defense are the only ones who know of their existence. They are inserted into hostile environments on a constant basis. Sometimes their mission is to save somebody, sometimes the opposite. They carry out their orders while still being self-contained. There is no chain of command that they are answerable to, but this also works against them. If they are caught and held, there is nobody coming to save them.
It was a team of four members, four men who were near and dear to her heart. They were unofficially led by Casey "Hotshot" O'Rourke, 28 years of age. He was a sniper, one of the best to live, and his personality was somewhat similar to his call name. He was cocky and confident and at times quick to temper, but he also had a damn good head on his shoulders, able to quickly improvise battlefield strategies and remove (or insert) them from whatever situation may arise. Brady "Chameleon" Calhoun, age 29, was Casey's best friend since the age of three. He had an uncanny ability to blend into crowds and take on new personas. He was their grifter and more ofttimes than not, the one who gathered intelligence. The 26 year old Tristan "Maverick" O'Rourke was the Paragon's heart and soul. The middle of the three brothers, he was relatively unpredictable and renowned for his hand to hand abilities. Despite his unpredictability at times, he was the heart and soul of the Paragons, as well as their moral compass, always the first to call out somebody for questionable actions and always the first to lend emotional support when needed. Killian "Phantom" O'Rourke was the last member of the Paragons. 24 years of age, he was eleven months older than Mac and had been her best friend and partner in crime. After her reported death, he had become quiet and somewhat introverted. He spoke little now, where before he was one of the most talkative people you'd ever meet. When (to their knowledge), Mac had died, part of him had left as well.
The four of them were scattered throughout the small town, all in tactical positions. They were waiting for their target, a somewhat influential politician who was running a human trafficking operation paired with an arms dealership. He was the scummiest of the scum, but he was filthy rich and able to afford the best lawyers that the world had to offer. There was always a scapegoat lying around somewhere. So unable to bring him up on charges, it had been decided that he was enough of a threat to the safety of people to be taken out through other measures, lethal measures.
Mac had known these men her entire life. She knew how their minds worked, she knew how they worked and she knew their tactics. She had already surmised where they'd be positioned and managed to hack into their radio signal. The earwig that she was wearing allowed her to hear anything and everything that they were saying to each other as she innocuously strolled through the open market, appearing as just a normal customer to any who would look her direction. A light shone from within her unnaturally colored eyes as she stood in front of a cart of fruit, inconspicuously watching the crowd. The man they were looking for would be sticking out like a sore thumb as he traveled with an entourage.
About five minutes later, dust started blowing up from the unpaved road as an unmarked sedan approached the market. "This is Hotshot. Target is en route. Repeat target is en route." He would be somewhere relatively far away. Her guess and recon put him on the ridge several hundred yards away, set up with his scope, ready to pick off the target when and if he was needed.
"Perimeter is set. He's not making it out of here alive." That would be Phantom. His voice elicited more response in her than any other. There was a pain that resonated in his voice, one that had not been there the last time they'd spoken. Albeit, that was nearly two years ago now.
"I'm in the crowd. We have what appear to be no hostiles or non-natives present." Chameleon, or as he was referred to at times, Cam. He was the one who'd be watching for anybody or anything that would force them to re-work their plan. Mac was planning on doing her absolute best to avoid coming into close contact with him. She was here simply to make sure that they didn't fail. His hand to hand skills were widely renowned. She's go so far as to say somewhat legendary, at least in the circles they traversed.
"Mav here. Target is a go. Repeat. Target is a go." Everything had been pre-planned. Their target had a schedule that he adhered to day in and day out and that would play a large part in his downfall. Accompanied by two burly bodyguards, the slight man standing no more than 5'7” exited the sedan. He was extremely paranoid; hence the daily visit to his local market while he was in town; so that he could choose his own fruits and vegetables and ensure that nobody other than himself handled them. His bodyguards wore matching uniforms of loose cargo pants and tight black v-neck t-shirts, over which were trapped their shoulder holsters and shiny guns. The little man between them wore loose cargo shorts and a comfortable white t-shirt. At first appearance, he was just a normal man. But if you caught sight of his eyes when he removed his aviator shades, the first thing you'd notice was the ice blue color and the second; how dead they were inside.
There were about fifteen people other than her milling about the market and all of them went about their everyday business as El Jefe searched lackadaisically through the fruits. Five minutes later and a voice crackled through. "We're not going to get a better shot than this, Mav. Do I still have a go?"
Mac had still yet to surmise where her middle brother was hiding his handsome face, but suffice to say, he had an incredibly clear picture of what was happening. She was standing about fifteen feet away when the first shot was fired, straight through the skull of one of the bodyguards. The first shot hadn't even registered before a second one was off, taking down the other. A good few glancing drops of the arterial spray splattered across her face, staining the cloth of the handkerchief hiding her identity and marring the pale white of her exposed skin.
The market had erupted into mayhem. Any sane person was cowering on the ground with their hands over their heads or had run for cover. The Paragons, herself and El Jefe were the only ones left standing. His eyes were wide and scared and he was sweating profusely. And then the shot came. By some odd happenstance, it missed and that was when things got tricky.
A melon on the stand next to her exploded as the target sprinted off on foot, moving faster than any man his age and weight should be able to. She took off after him, dodging through buildings and alleyways as everybody else sorted out the ensuing pandemonium. Tracking him down between two brick buildings, Mac shoved the vile man up against one, his head banging against the mortar with a cracking noise. He began babbling in a language that she could not comprehend, although it was easy enough to tell by the tone of his voice that he was begging for his life like the gutless cretin he truly was.
Hooking a leg behind his, she used a simple grapple to take him down to the ground and secure him in a hold before rolling atop him and using her knees to pinion his arms to the ground, her thighs to restrict his movements. Pulling a gun from the thigh holster of her pants, she took it out and held it to his forehead before shooting him point blank and putting him down like the animal that he was. Nearly silent footsteps fell on the ground as a man appeared out of the shadows behind her. It was easy to identify the cadence of Brady’s footsteps and her entire body froze atop the corpse of the target, her memories of Brady running rampant through her thoughts. Mac had practically had to beg him to dance with her at her graduation party and against both of their best judgments, a kiss had been shared. That was the last night that any of the Paragons had seen her ‘alive’, because by all accounts, Mackenzie O’Rourke had perished in a car accident that night.
Holstering the gun, Mac kept her back turned, slowly dismounting the body and rising to her feet. The mission was completely, there was no reason to stay; or at least that was what she told herself. With shoulders hunched in an effort to obscure her silhouette, Mac sprinted into action and took off with a single look over her shoulder. A merry chase was lead as the outer limits of the small town approached and with the outer limits the hidden location of her getaway.
Pouring on every ounce of speed that was in her, a plume of dust rose behind her as she ran. At the age of 22 she had stamina, skill and speed, but none of it was enough to outpace Brady. It was three agonizing minutes before he caught her with a flying tackle to the ground. If Mac were to be honest with her in this moment, she’d have said that she allowed it.
In a move of expedience more so than grace, Brady applied an arm bar to Mac’s throat, slowly cutting off her oxygen. She chose not to fight it as she tilted her head to the side, avoiding his gaze. “Look at me.” It was a nearly guttural growl as he disarmed her of everything within reach using his free hand.
Mac simply shook her head back and forth, not risking him identifying her voice even if it was disguised. He loosened up the pressure as he asked again. “What the fck do you think you’re doing here? Who the hell sent you? Who are you?” Again all his answers were met with a resounding silence.
Reaching down, his calloused hand began to pull away the scarf that was obscuring her features. Before he could do anything more than reveal several strands of the crimson hair, her body went wild beneath his, flailing, kicking and punching in an effort to dismount him. That only made him focus harder as he grabbed her chin in one hand and the edge of the scarf in the other.
Bringing her knee up between his legs Mac applies pressure to where it would hurt a male the most in an attempt to give her enough time to escape. The effort was for naught as it only pissed Brady off. “That’s about enough of that. You’re female but you’re nothing near helpless if you’re in this damned place.” He was rougher this time around, releasing the arm from her throat and using one hand to pin down her wrists as he scooted lower on her legs, effectively using his body weight to keep them in place.
Once again he began removing the scarf, this time his movements rough and angry with irritation and displeasure. Mackenzie turned her head to the side so as to avoid having to look him in the eyes as he essentially unmasked her. The resounding gasp that left his lips as he fell back onto his ass in the sand was enough indication.
The night of her high school graduation, Mackenzie O’Rourke had been driving home from a friend’s grad party. Her car had been pulled over by an Agent and she had been taken into custody. Essentially, she had been black-mailed into serving her country because of her ‘useful’ powers of limited precognition and photographic reflexes. A cover story had been established that she’d crashed her car over the bridge and wound up in the reservoir. No body had ever been recovered and nobody other than herself and a select few government officials knew the truth.
Fast forward to four years later and she’d been on missions as the government’s weapon and personal assassin more times than she could count. It had been seven months since she’d gone off-grid and taken up the codename Renegade. Working now essentially as a support system for covert units in need of assistance, she had both the government and its enemies after her. It was a life of no rest, but it was somehow rewarding to her. The only thing it lacked was her family.
Ripping herself out of the doldrums of her memories, Mac turned her head and met Brady’s eyes. He was still sitting here astonished, reaching out as if he was afraid to touch her, afraid that his fingers would go right through her like a ghostly apparition. “Kenzie…” He was the only person who was allowed to call her that and the sound of his voice as he did so very nearly unnerved her.
“No. Renegade.” It was a word that was whispered among the units like the Paragons. A young woman who was just as well trained as them, possibly better, and who had these amazing abilities that made her the perfect agent and spy. Nobody knew her real name and nobody had more than the most basic description of her. But here she was, eye to eye with her eldest brother’s best friend and teammate, the man she’d had a crush on since she had been able to put a word to those feelings.
“Rene…no. There's no way. You can't be...“ There was heartbreak emanating from his voice as he looked at her like it was the end of the world.
Her pale purple eyes met his ice blue ones and there was simultaneous ice and warmth in them. “Yes. You can’t tell them. Killian couldn’t handle it and the rest of them can’t be burdened with keeping this from him. I was a local girl who was frustrated with the regime and wanted her place in bringing it down. That’s it, that’s your story. You never saw Mackenzie O'Rourke, because she's dead.”
“But you’re not dead; you’re alive and right in front of me.” He came up to his feet and lifted her to her own, his hand slowly running over her hair, rubbing several strands of it between his fingers before handing her back her weapons. Towering over her small frame he found it unbelievable that this girl he’d known her entire life, this girl who was almost like a sister to him was the one known as Renegade.
“I’m dead inside where it really counts, Brady.” There was pain and heartache in her voice as she took a small step closer to him. “They’re going to be converging on your location soon if you don’t report in or show up. I know them well enough to know that.” Placing a small gloved hand on his chest she went up on tiptoes and took them both by surprise when she placed a lingering kiss on his lips before stepping away and readjusting the scarf around her head. “Try and remember that. And keep to yourself everything that happened today.” Turning around she took off like a bat out of hell, only half a mile away from the location where she’d stashed her bike.
Mounting the performance bike that she’d use to reach the extraction point, Mac started up at the sun beaming down on her and wondered how the hell her life had gotten to this point. She had faith that Brady would keep her secret, if only to prevent her brothers from having to burden themselves with that knowledge and pain, but she had no faith that he wouldn’t come looking for her and that would lead to enough issues to complicate things for her.
Securing the helmet, her weapons and the pack on her back, the young Renegade kicked the motorcycle into gear and revved the engine, riding into the proverbial sunset as she attempted to cleanse her mind of worries.
M'kay. So in an upcoming post, Cass will be giving a no-holds barred interview. Figured it'd be a bit more interesting if it were actually things people wanted to know. Soooooooooo throw it out there. No question's off-limits.
Her family was dead. The memory of the massacre at the hands of the mob was forever burnt into her retinas, an indelible sight that she could never escape. At the weathered age of nine, Cassidy O'Rourke was an orphan. The cold night wind chilled her to the bone as she slipped between the figures in the crowd. She'd come from a police family and three older brothers, if there was one thing in this world that she knew how to do it was survive.
The crowded streets of Boston should have been no place for a child, but she knew that her best bet for eking out some quick money would be on the streets and lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. Dusk was setting in and people were traversing the sidewalk on the way to their chaffeured cars or taxis. Her hand slipped into the pocket of an impeccably dressed business man and pulled out his wallet without him even realizing. Her father may have been a police officer, but she was also taught using the bell system how to take care of herself.
Cleaning the dirt off of her cheeks, she entered the hotel and walked up to the front desk, the wallet hidden in the small backpack she carried. Holding the key card she spoke in the sweetest voice that she could muster. "My daddy just went out to a show...he sent me back in here so that I don't get into trouble." Her eyes widened to become as innocent-looking as possible and she scuffed her foot against the marble floor of the lobby. It was about five minutes before she was escorted up to 'her' room.
In the two hours that he was gone she had made herself absolutely at home. Tucked into his bed and cuddling a pillow as if it were a lifeline, she had gotten her first sleep in five days. But she had become complacent and lost herself. The shuffling sound of feet outside the door caught her attention and woke her out of a dead sleep.
Flipping the covers off she cased her surroundings, quickly grabbing a letter opener from the desk across the room and slipping on the backpack that never left her sight - it carried everything that was left of the O'Rourke family.Slipping into the connecting kitchenette, she slunk down to the floor and made herself as small as she could while simultaneously looking around for weapons in the case that she needed more.
"Who the FCK is in here?!?!?!" If he weren't so angry, she would have thought that he sounded cultured and worldly. Instead he just sounded mean and angry. She closed her eyes, the instinctual 'if I can't see you, you can't see me' kicking in before he stormed into the kitchen. Her eyes snapped open as she saw the man she'd pick-pocketed. There was a scar across his face and she caught sight of a tattoo on his forearm. Her father had showed her the symbol once, it marked him as one of the top-tier mob associates...somehow involved with the men who'd killed her family.
Everything inside of her went cold as she saw him and the thirst for vengeance filled her with an insurmountable need for sustenance. "I'm...I'm so sorry. I just...I just...please help me, sir." A child's best defense was their innocence. Her voice intentionally trembled as she did her best to quell the rage inside of her, at least for now.
"Ya stupid btch. Do ya know who I am?" He took a menacing step forward and reached out for her throat, leaving his abdomen unprotected. Cassidy, having palmed the letter opened, slid it up towards his ribs. It only penetrated the tiniest bit due to lack of force, but it gave her an opening. Ducking underneath his arm, she flung open a drawer and grabbed a large, long knife before making a run for it.
She got the door to the hallway open before he grabbed her and flung her back onto the ground, her head hitting the hardwood floor and causing her vision to go blank momentarily. Clutching the knife as if it were her only friend in the world, she prepared herself for what was coming. He roughly grabbed the front of her shirt and pulled her up to her feet, about to hit her square in the face when she jabbed the knife into his ribs, sliding it up just like her father had shown her and penetrating lungs and heart. With a large crashing noise that would have alerted somebody in the near vicinity, he knocked over a floor lamp which crashed into the wall-length mirror.
In a swift move, she pulled out the knife and wiped it on his white shirt, leaving the trail of blood. That was the last thing she did with a clear mind. She was nine years old and she had just killed somebody. He was a mobster and it had been in defense of her own life, but taking somebody's life was never something that should be done lightly. Her entire body shaking, running entirely on adrenaline, the small child wiped her bloody hands on the Persian carpet and then exited the hotel room.
There was a man standing about a foot in front of the door as she opened it. Cass quickly held the knife, despite it wobbling in her shaking hand she was ready to use it if need be. He quickly held up both his hands in an almost lackadaisical manner. "I'm not going to hurt you, chere."
Something about him spoke to her. She couldn't put a finger on it, nor articulate it in her own thoughts, but she trusted that he wouldn't hurt her. There was a deadly nature coiled inside of him, his body was well muscled and his eyes held within them a killer instinct, but it wasn't aimed at her. "Why not?" It was an odd question. Not who are you, not why are you here, simply why aren't you going to hurt me. It spoke to her mindset that she was more interested in knowing why somebody wasn't going to hurt her than anything else.
"Because you have skills. Dat man was going to kill you and you put him down. You're what...nine, ten? Dat's quite impressive, m'dear." There was an accent in his voice, it was one that she'd never heard anymore but it sounded like music to her ears. Crouching down in front of her, putting himself at the same level, he gently took the knife from her and re-positioned it in her hand showing her how to most effectively hold it. "What's your story? Why are you here all alone with no family or supervision?"
She held the knife weighing her options. He was close enough that she may be able to move fast enough, but there was no certainty. He was also the first person to show her any kindness. She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. With a shaky, slightly raspy voice, she began to speak. "My name's Cassidy O'Rourke. My entire family was killed a week ago. They were...they were police officers. My daddy was the best man I've ever known and my brothers could be idiots, but I loved them. They were going to shut down the mob. Somebody was a blabbermouth, though and tattled on them." She was on the verge of sobbing, her voice trembling with every word that she spoke. She was tired, so exhaustively tired. It felt like she would never not be tired or sad. "I've been doing stuff like this ever since. I'm really, really tired."
It was the candor of a child mixed with the wariness of somebody who had been damaged. He cautiously wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. That one bit of compassion was her undoing and she fell into a sobbing wreck. Tears running down her face as heartbreaking sobs wracked her entire body. She was weeping for the loss of her family, her love, her innocence and her childhood all at once. He stroked her hair and rubbed her back, picking her up gently in his arms, he held her in a manner similar to the way a mother held a newborn. "Tis okay, chere. You're safe now."
Siblings (Adopted): Three older brothers, deceased.
Mother (Birth): You'll find you soon enough.
Religion: Agnostic Affiliations: Cass is now a member of Champions of Peace. She is on the Shadow Squad, which deals with most of the dirty work.Distinguishing Features:
Scars - She has a seven-inch long slash across her stomach, just above her belly button. This is from a severe wound sustained from a special sword of Warsman's.
Piercings - She has three holes in her right ear and two in her left. She has the cartilage and tragus of her left ear pierced. She also has her nose pierced. Languages: Cassidy is multilingual and speaks: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Greek and Gaelic.
Cassidy was adopted into a prominent police family in Boston. She never knew the true identity of her birth parents, all she knew was that they loved her and that they were the ones who chose the name "Cassidy". She was never made to feel as if she were anything less than a blood relative in the O'Rourke family. The adoption was never an issue, she was perhaps treasured a little bit more, if anything. Her father spent more time teaching her skills than he spent with some of her siblings. Perhaps because he saw the potential in her, perhaps because he wanted to make her feel included.
Her father, two of her uncles and one of her aunts were all part of a special task force tasked with taking down the head of the Irish mob in the city. They nearly succeeded in their goal and were so close to breaking Patrick Monaghan's rule when an informant on the task force leaked to Patrick about what was happening. The mob dealt with this in their usual underhanded way. They contracted an assassin to take out the O'Rourke family. Only this wasn't just any assassin. It was Gambler. King of Assassins. The contract was for the entire family, nobody was to be spared. The O'Rourke bloodline was to end that night, as was the life of anybody unequivocally tied to it. He took them out one by one, head shots for the majority of them. Right in front hf her. Her oldest brother, Aiden, was shot in the neck as he grabbed her in his arms and started running for the safe room that their parents had set up in case anything like this were to ever happen. She was only nine years old and nearly immediately went into shock, she was covered in the arterial blood spray of her brother and her mind couldn't function, so it protected her by sending her into shock. He noted her in her dead brother's arms and left her there as he made his way through the rest of the house, eliminating everybody else, making sure there were no survivors. He was Gambler and he wouldn't screw up so simple a job as this. After making sure that everybody had been dispensed with, he walked over to the little girl, drops of blood across her face matching her bright red hair. He crouched down and lifted her out of her dead brother's arms, taking her in his. He put her on his hip and stroked her hair, wiping the blood off of her face with his thumb. He murmured to her comfortingly, telling her that everything would be OK. She remembers being sedated and the next thing she knew, she was waking up in his New Orleans HQ. He took care of her, he comforted her. He treated her like his own for those first few weeks and slowly but surely, she developed Stockholm Syndrome. As she grew accustomed to it, her mind paved over the memories of her dead family with memories of him, for the sake of sheer survival.
During her time under his tutelage, Cass was branded with the symbol and wore it proudly. The brand is grafted to her DNA making it impossible for her healing factor to overcome it. It marks her as the one heir to the League of Shadows and through some unknown means, gives Gambler the ability to track her at will.
Enhanced Senses: Due to her mutation, Cassidy has enhanced senses. These senses include: Hearing: Cass has hearing that is far more precise than a normal human's. She can hear a pin drop from a mile away if she focuses hard enough.
Sight: Cass has what could be classed as superhuman sight. It is extremely precise and she can see just as well at night as she can during the day. Smell: Cass has a very keen olfactory sense. Once she has caught a scent, she won't forget it. She is also able to use this to aid her tracking abilities and can pick out a single scent in the midst of a crowd.
Telepathy: Cass has low-level telepathic ability. She hasn't really stretched this ability to the far reaches yet, though.
Pre-Sentience: This power manifests itself somewhat like a spidey sense. Cass tends to get a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach when something hinky is going on but is not showed what that hinky thing is. Lately, she has also been picking up foreshadowing of events in her dreams, a furthering of this ability.
Telekinesis: Cassidy is a very apt telekinetic, on about the same level as Rachel Summers (without PF), this includes genetic manipulation, although Cass tends to only use it for heavy lifting and the such and prefers to rely on her fighting skill in battles. She will employ telekinetic shields if she feels that she's in a too high-risk situation. She has a healing factor, yes, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't still feel the pain from her injuries. Flight: Using her telekinesis, Cass is able to simulate the ability to fly. This is something that she uses very sparingly.
Empathy/Emotion Control: Cassidy has the ability to both feel and influence other people's emotions. This is somewhat similar to pheromone control.
Healing Factor: Cass has a healing factor. She heals quite quickly and has sustained something as serious as a fatal bullet wound and recovered within an hour. Depending on the seriousness of the wound, she is sometimes left with a scar. Her healing factor is on Deadpool's level. She does not have his immortality, but she is able to heal and regenerate from basically any wound, including dismembered limbs.
Superhuman Reflexes: Cassidy has superhuman reflexes and is able to react much quicker than a normal human. This, paired with her enhanced senses makes her an extremely apt markswoman and hand to hand combatant.
AbilitiesStrength: Cass has a peak-human strength level and can currently lift 400 lbs (on par with Daredevil)
Unarmed Combat: Cassidy has mastered numerous forms of fighting, but does her best with street (aka dirty) fighting.
Armed Combat: Cass has trained with almost every weapon that shoots a bullet or holds an edge. She much prefers bladed weapons, such as kukris or swords, but knows her way around a gun.
Pre-Sentience: The weakness with her pre-sentience lies in the fact that it doesn't show her exactly what's going to happen, all she gets is a feeling.
FN Five-seveN: Cass carries two of these semi-automatic pistols in a dual shoulder holster. The Five-Seven (trade-marked as the Five-SeveN) is lightweight, accurate with a low recoil, a large magazine capacity, and (when using certain cartridge types) the ability to pierce body armor. The Five-seven is a semi-automatic delayed blowback pistol and uses 5.7x28 mm ammunition. It's quite lightweight, weighing 1.64 lbs with a loaded 20-round magazine. It is a full-size pistol, with a height of 5.7 in. (with the standard adjustable sights) and an overall length of 8.22 in.
Long Knife: Cass wears a long knife in a specially outfitted back sheath at almost all times. The sheath lays flat against her skin and the handle of the knife is hidden by her hair. She will sometimes switch it out for a sword.
Lightsaber: A gift to her from Donnie. The lightsaber is a weapon that can cut through literally anything.
Kukris: The kukris are a bladed weapon and by far Cass' favorite. She carries them with her at all times and prefers them over others because they allow her to get in close for the kill.
Akira of Repentance
The third of Muramasa's swords often referred to as the Akira (light) the blood of Repentance, Muramasa created this blade as way to repent for the evil he created with the first and second Muramasa swords. It is considered the greatest of all his swords, and described as "the sharpest sword ever forged". It is forged from the kinetic metal Vibranium laced with pure steel, giving it's molecules a high rate movement that causes immediate nanoscopic damage to any compound based element organic or inorganic matter. Physical contact with the metal is described as " trillions of vibrating knives to the skin". The constant vibrations also made the sword incredibly light as well as highly durable able to repel concussive force with little difficulty. The sword was then given an X-Factor from the ancient mutant Adam, whose cells could absorb the abilities of all who were descended from him i.e. all mutants. This combined with steel-vibranium's molecular nature gave the sword the ability to literally cut apart X cells within a mutant host. It is interesting to note that as a side effect of the vibrations the steel reflects UV rays giving it an almost invisible golden glow to the surface. Due to it's obvious power the sword has remained hidden, often moved throughout Japan until it recently made it's way into the Dark Huntress's hands.
Order of Sancta Camisia
Champions of Peace
Legendary Hellfire Club
Order of Sancta Camisia
La Cours de Hibeux
RPGs that I've participated in (in chronological order):
Fate of the Dragons: Tenebrasque In vs Champions of Peace (Child of Darkness and Dark Huntress): OOC/RPG
KOV Final Round: Dark Huntress vs Longshot: OOC/RPG
The Cash In: Uchiha NeVann vs Dark Huntress
Burning Darkness: Feral Nova vs Dark Huntress
Show Them His Blood: Akube vs Little Death
Quotes About Cass:
"Damn girl.... you know how to really take a beating." - The Hunter
"The raven is surprisingly loyal and cunning. It follows its master, chosen upon emerging from its egg, even into the fires of war. It is the raven that fights alongside its master and guards him both in life and death. That is why the raven is considered a holy animal in Symaarian society. That is why Cass is my little raven; I can always count on her to be beside me when all other hearts fail to." - Warsman
"When war beckons, give me ten Symaarians or, failing that, call my sister." - Warsman
"Sometimes I wonder if she really is adopted; her ferocity matches my own." - Warsman
"Theres a good heart that pulls her away from being a vile killing machine but her past ruins any chance of joining the boys in blue." -Azra
"He didn't have to know her name, or even speak one word to her to understand who she was. She, like him, grew up under the watch of some malicious man who took her childhood away too soon. He made her kill, made her fight and understand what pain really was, he killed a little girl and replaced her with a killing machine for his own vindictive ends. No mother or father to wake her up and tell her it was all a bad dream, only that man." - Longshot
Quotes from CassThere are people in this world with immense power, immeasurable, even. It's what they do with that power that defines them. Whether they choose to give into temptation and instill fear and loathing in others or fight the urge and do the right thing. That's what makes you or breaks you. Your choices.
Okay...so I'm at the point where I realllyyyyyyyyyyyy dislike my username. Like...intensely. I find it hokey, I don't like the flow of it, it doesn't awesomely fit my character etc. It's time to switch things up. I had a perfect replacement lined up and unfortunately, it's not available. Sooooooo, I'm coming to the court of public opinion and the people who know me and my character the best - my fellow RPGers.
The only requirements are that it's one word and that it fits my character.
Names that I'm currently mulling over are Widow and Fathom, opinions on those would be welcomed as well.
His art was all the rage in the nineties, when having guns bigger than your entire body was super cool! However, he has a serious lack of knowledge on anatomy and a serious lack of y’know…talent. This man should absolutely NOT be employed as a professional comic book artist, let alone be working on more than one book.
So it was a relief to me when I heard that his book was canceled. I thought that fans were finally wising up, getting over their Nineties nostalgia and voting with their wallets to let DC Comics know that they do NOT want to see Liefeld drawing (or writing, for that matter) their books.
There is so much ranting I can do about this. About how is writing may have suited the nineties, but it doesn’t work now. About how his art is a joke and I can name about twenty unemployed artists whom I know personally who could do this job better than him. About how he makes a farce of comic books. But I’m not going to open that Pandora’s Box. What I AM going to say is that let DC know how you feel - show them that you’re not happy with this at all. Drop the books as soon as Liefeld comes on. It’s what I plan on doing. If enough people start putting their money where their mouth is, maybe DC will finally get the idea.