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Avernite

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It's the British Maffia!

And the priest probably had debts or something, OR he was trying to go his own way without listening to the Maffia. Oh well ;)


And something related to the scars aye, canonized? Radiation poisoning?
 

ForzaA

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Great reads once again (both regular and Guest Author updates)
----------


Radiation poisoning to the degree those scars suggest would leave little hope for a 'regular' (and/or healthy, both insofar as possible as a secret agent) life.. Unless the time pieces or related events/items cause rad poisoning of a unknown type ("chroniton" radiation?) Though it being linked with being in water (a very good moderator for 'regular' nuclear reactions) would suggest that *maybe* he survived the exposure thanks to being (accidentally) dunked into a lot of water 'just in time'.


Also, given that the story is to be considered canon (or canonized as the case may be), we should consider 'deeper' reasons than just :)p) starting a civil war.
Say, keeping tabs on Father Francis Xavier from the "inside" (every priest needs replacemnt :) ), or eliminating one of Xavier's friends/collegues(perhaps more than superficially) ? Maybe they knew that Calavera would be dropped OFF Schwartzschild with a little prodding (such as a mystery killing with possible implications).
..but which is it.

British Maffia? Why not 'simply' the Triad or Yakuza, possibly connected with Chopin/Sio-Pan? Considering the "Japanese community", the Yakuza certainly would be an option, and considering globalisation to a large degree, it wouldn't be that odd for a 'Chinese' to be part of a 'Japanese' circle.
 

canonized

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Avernite: Well we did know that the Keys if broken up can release a lot of radiation that burned that hole through those pieces of paper . We also know that they can be used to destroy whole villages in atrocious ways .

ForzaA said:
Great reads once again (both regular and Guest Author updates)
----------


Radiation poisoning to the degree those scars suggest would leave little hope for a 'regular' (and/or healthy, both insofar as possible as a secret agent) life.. Unless the time pieces or related events/items cause rad poisoning of a unknown type ("chroniton" radiation?) Though it being linked with being in water (a very good moderator for 'regular' nuclear reactions) would suggest that *maybe* he survived the exposure thanks to being (accidentally) dunked into a lot of water 'just in time'.


Also, given that the story is to be considered canon (or canonized as the case may be), we should consider 'deeper' reasons than just :)p) starting a civil war.
Say, keeping tabs on Father Francis Xavier from the "inside" (every priest needs replacemnt :) ), or eliminating one of Xavier's friends/collegues(perhaps more than superficially) ? Maybe they knew that Calavera would be dropped OFF Schwartzschild with a little prodding (such as a mystery killing with possible implications).
..but which is it.

British Maffia? Why not 'simply' the Triad or Yakuza, possibly connected with Chopin/Sio-Pan? Considering the "Japanese community", the Yakuza certainly would be an option, and considering globalisation to a large degree, it wouldn't be that odd for a 'Chinese' to be part of a 'Japanese' circle.

Haha , a connection with Father Xavier could be interesting but I wish I knew . Lenin hasn't given me advanced information on the next few chapters yet so I'm in as much suspense as you all are . I'll let him answer those questions XD


The water + radiation connection isn't a bad guess , but the idea of poison that was mentioned earlier is a bit closer to the truth .
 

Avernite

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hmm..

Acid? That can cause trouble with water, maybe a salt that creates an acid when dissolved in seawater?
 

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Well, I will say that FrozaA has some good guesses, but obviously I don't want to give anything away. I promise that you'll start to get some answers soon. :) As for the strange burn-like affliction, I'm very curious about what it might be. A poison or acid that damages the nerve endings would seem to fit the description but I can't be sure right now.
 

ColossusCrusher

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He may have been captured and branded...
 

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Avernite: Sort of . Like I alluded to before , it was a memory that triggered it . According to the text it was something Raul wished he could return to (the water reminded him of that , that is) .

VILenin: not too bad of a guess XD

ColossusCrusher: Another very good guess considering the imagery too , but we recall that it was a burning that did not actually 'burn' him .
 

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Just a status report: We'll have another update sometime tonight or tomorrow but most likely tonight .

We'll also have another interview out this weekend on schedule .

Since VILenin is taking a break from posting on mondays we will either have a very special episode I have in mind or we will have another guest author in line so please keep tuned for that !
 

unmerged(59077)

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Cool - looking forward to it! :D :D :D
 

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RGB said:
Cool - looking forward to it! :D :D :D

:D Looking forward to writing it XD
 

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Maybe he's a kinky cutter... :D
 

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Maybe he likes to cut himself...kinkily.
 

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ColossusCrusher said:
Maybe he likes to cut himself...kinkily.

Oh goodness , no . that's something interesting to bring up though . Self-mutilation . Rather scary business . Haha , i'm afraid it's not that grotesque . (then again who am i to talk .. we've already had zombies and flesh puppets XD)
 

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Next update is 5/6 done so it'll be up in a few minutes to an hour ^^ . Sorry for the delay , have been busy celebrating the good ole day of the birth XD .
 

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chapter80tile.gif


Chapter LXXX: Coming Back​

22 December 1609

There had been many sacrifices that were made because of the recent crisis concerning the Muslim population of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. One of these sacrifices was a quick resolution to the Novgorod campaign.

“A large indemnity to purchase peace while still retaining Novgorod itself,” Colonel Santiago recounted as he bitterly took a chug directly from the neck of the wine bottle next to him. It did not matter that the swing of the riverboat taking him up the Tago to Madrid might keep his stomach uneasy-- after having spent a few months on a swift galley transporting his men from Russia to Lisboa, he was used to the motion of ships. “If they had given me six more months I would have secured a land bridge to the sea and we wouldn’t have to worry about tariffs and all this…”

“It can’t be helped,” one of the men in the company of officers said casually-- it was apparently an informal meeting. “General Schenkhuizen, last I heard, is about to lose Jerusalem thanks to Turkish reinforcements. How he managed to hold it off till now is a miracle in itself.”

The colonel allowed his eyes to wander through the dark recesses of that river boat. It was a small craft and not particularly comfortable but its purpose for that speedy connection between Madrid and Lisbon that dominated its architecture.

“At least you got what you were sent for, colonel,” someone else from the room comforted the sulking, young commander. “You should be satisfied with that.”

Colonel Santiago followed the trail of words to their originator and discerned the elderly man’s face through the dusty atmosphere of that dim boat chamber. Clothed in darker vestments, the figure whom Santiago now gazed upon leaned on his staff even though he sat on his stool upright.

Like the ridges of an ancient turtle, the colonel’s passenger’s face had rings that displayed his aging status. The whiteness of the man’s beard hung low from his face like the loose tufts of half sheared wool. Forming a cloudy triangle downward, the hair pointed to the golden cross on the man’s chest.

“It wasn’t so hard when we had help from the inside,” the colonel added with more of a hint of drunken appreciation than any sarcasm.

There was no quick reply from the prelate who sat brooding against his staff, however. His gaze did not wander around the chamber like this host. Instead, they bore against the far wall in a singular stare. Tired eyes closed quietly and a breath escaped his nose. “There is still much work to be done, colonel,” the prelate said. “It is why I must visit the Room after all these years…”

Colonel Santiago furrowed his brow before taking a sideways turn at the bottle. “You’re talking in riddles again, Your Excellency,” he said with a half drunken roll of his eye. He passed on the bottle to the next person with some added care.

“No riddle,” the prelate replied, “I am from the Rite of Constantinople, our business is that of restoration now.”

Colonel Santiago merely descended into further confusion, but decided not to press the issue. The steady eyes of the prelate piercing a view against the far wall was signal enough for the soldier to await more official channels to ascertain why Metropolitan Andronikos wanted to come back to Madrid.

“Sir, we’re approaching the city,” someone from the portal leading upwards informed the gathering.

“Very well,” Colonel Santiago replied, “Prepare to unload the Metropolitan’s baggage.”

---​

The parasol was not in its usual twirl nor were Madeleine’s shoes making the same light step that they usually did. Those vibrant eyes were subdued and one of Madeleine’s arms ran across her stomach as if she was soothing her playful stomach for being temporarily tamed. The winter wind chilled around her and even pressed a kind of redness on her cheeks, but her large dress sufficiently warmed her as she walked past stone slabs with crosses sitting gravely above headstones.

The familiar form of a young man with a blonde top made himself visible ahead of her. A small smile-- not too large for a grin-- found its way onto Madeleine’s lips. She could not afford to be too jubilant in the presence of the dead around her. The young man did not acknowledge her though Madeleine’s experience has told her that he noticed her approach.

Madeleine came parallel to where Raul was standing. Next to that stoic young man, she seemed like a lone sunflower amid a garden of stone. “Senor Jose Roxas,” Madeleine read to herself as she leaned forward on her parasol. Like a mirror of her colorful beauty, a single rose was placed in front of the slab which held the inscriptions.

“It’s good of you to visit his grave,” Madeleine said quietly peeking a look at Raul’s face.

Raul had his head slightly lowered towards the placard as if half in prayer but his hands were slack on his sides. Madeleine recognized the familiar silence of the boy and straightened herself up. Raul’s returning words caught her only a little off guard. “Whenever I come back to Madrid, I make it a point to visit.”

“He was a good teacher,” Madeleine added while looking downward, “you must have been proud to have him as a father.”

“Good teacher…” Raul whispered under his breath. “He was. And I am proud of him,” he said louder, “but he wasn’t my real father.”

There was a small bit of bitterness in the young man’s voice that Madeleine picked up on. It was an unsettling kind of reaction that Madeleine had thought she had gotten used to-- but perhaps she was not expecting it in this solemn place. She had already known that Raul’s real father was not interred where that gravestone was marked. Jose Roxas was a professor at the Scarlet Academy and she knew that when his son died from an accident more than three decades back, he had adopted an orphan child a few years afterward and named him after his dead first born. Madeleine looked at that orphan now-- orphaned again after his elderly father died, but not without first having introduced him to the Room and to a mission that he had since then taken up.

It had taken her a few days to filter through the various records of the Room, but with the few days of downtime after having returned to the Peninsula from their mission, she found she had more time than she knew what to do with.

“I hear they’re going to promote you,” Madeleine said turning away from the stone and to the hard expression on Raul’s face.

Raul did not even shrug, but he did acknowledge the statement with a small nod. “Soon I’ll be able to dictate my own missions instead of waiting to pick up what other people outline,” he clarified. It elicited a wider smile from the girl-- as if she was indicating how proud the deceased Roxas would have been.

“I also heard that you gave them a recommendation that I be added to the active roster,” Madeleine said while unable to contain the right side of her smile from curving into a half grin.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Raul clarified almost breaking out into an awkward cough, “I believe that you can be a valuable asset to the country and to that end--” he couldn’t even finish his sentence as the incessant staring of the young woman with her silly grin made him feel incredibly uncomfortable. He almost blushed.

“Don’t worry,” Madeleine said with a feigned sigh as she brought the parasol up from the floor and cradled it against her shoulder. She turned to her left dramatically facing the exit of the cemetery. “I know that you did it just so that you can get closer to the Timepiece.”

Raul immediately shot his eyes to the now walking Madeleine. He had wanted to speak up but he had not the right words. “Hey!” he called out, but the young girl kept walking.

He took a step towards her, thinking perhaps he could figure out how to make sense of the situation as he walked towards her, but Madeleine turned quickly with that same grin on her face stopping him from advancing further.

“No need to worry,” she said quietly with enough mischief in her intonation that Raul could see her visibly grip her parasol with anticipation, “this is more fun than I had ever thought I’d have-- I’ll play along just to see where this goes.”

Without any further explanation, the young lady twirled about once more and made her way out of the cemetery.

---​

“All the preparations are complete,” Renault said as he huffed into a chair. The dampness of their surroundings chilled his every breath-- he hated being in that Room simply for health reasons.

“Good, then I will entrust you with the proper Key and you and Raul can make your way without hindrance back to Vera Cruz across the Atlantic.” The Cardinal’s voice was as deep and brooding as ever but it held out a small hint of excitement.

“I don’t understand,” someone from the shadow to the Cardinal’s left said, “Why won’t you allow Raul to use the Timepiece we have here in Madrid?”

“You still have much to learn about prudence and patience, young Alvaro,” the Cardinal responded in a fatherly tone, “If something goes wrong, all of Madrid might be swallowed up and lost… it will be safer to use the other one. Especially if our enemies are still lurking around here-- what remains of that Cult among others might take advantage of any exposition of the Timepiece.”

“Ahh…” Alvaro acknowledged slightly embarrassed.

“Furthermore,” the Cardinal said but this time directed more towards Renault, “make sure that Raul suspects nothing of our design. He must continue to think that he is not allowed near the Timepiece here for security purposes. If he believes that we intend to accomplish what he intends to accomplish, it will not be a proper test.”

“I understand, Your Eminence,” Renault replied while still attempting to fit his fattening figure onto the seat. “And if he fails?”

The Cardinal’s towering figure held still at the question. His lips and eyes were the only parts of him that moved afterward, “If that happens, then I will leave the rest to you two,” he said lowly.

Riku and Willem, previously hidden in the shadows of the Room, gave their obedient nods at the command.

---​

Alvaro filed the last of the documentation of the Room for his master into a drawer and applied the lock. Putting the small key into the hands of the local master at arms, he ran fatigued fingers through his hair and sighed tiredly. Despite his exhaustion, his feet moved quickly across the stone and grass of hallways and courtyards. The Palace complex was a large one especially after the renovations instituted to better accommodate the state building that happened in that area. While the Kings would enjoy their stays at the Escorial, the government-- especially that in the Room-- continued to work out the destiny of the nation.

It did not take too long for him to reach the far side of the west stable. Couriers were busy moving in and out of guarded gates and Alvaro gave the gatekeeper a nod informing him that he’d be taking another evening stroll-- as was his usual schedule.

“Lovely night tonight,” the guard called out to the young secretary.

“Lovely night,” Alvaro returned before walking out into the street. Madrid was a busy city and its commerce was beginning to rival that even of Cadiz. But there was something greater being traded there; power. Among the moving merchants and burgers was the occasional statesman, diplomat, or judge enjoying the evening cool of the Madrid winter. Among the well lit roads and the new architecture one had the assumption that they might have wandered into Eternal Rome.

However, with any city, the darker shadows of its buildings cast a long horizontal monolith. It was in these shadows that Alvaro now slinked towards.

“There is a change of plans,” Alvaro said under his breath. His face was lowered and his side was to the dark alley. He kept his body facing towards where the road kept in a straight line down the city while his pace halted altogether.

“What’s happened?” a muffled voice-- like one speaking from behind a veil, asked from the shadowy alleyway. Three shades darker than the blackness around them approached the front of the alley.

“They will not be using the Timepiece here like we thought, they will be using the one in the New World,” Alvaro explained. “If we’re going to get our hands on it and the Key, then you three will need to follow them.”

There was a short pause as the three in the shadows exchanged muted whispers amongst themselves. “We will follow them,” one of the three said eventually.

“Good,” Alvaro said quickly as he casually threw a bag into the alley. It immediately disappeared into the folds of the cloaked men. “That should be enough for food, transportation, and weapons.”

“We will not need it,” one of them said, but kept the pouch anyway.

“Very well,” Alvaro cut into the arrogance with some distaste, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it back and I shall show you how to open it.”

“Your help is always appreciated,” another shade said.

Alvaro twisted his head towards the shadow and curled his lips into a cursing expression. “Do not misunderstand me. My father was one of the men who disappeared in that incident and the Room will not help me get him back. Working with you pathetic Wolves is the only option I have for now.” There was a stir in the alley at those words. “Now get going,” Alvaro commanded mercilessly. He nearly spat as he spoke.

As the three cloaked individuals merged once more with the alley’s shadow, Alvaro de Guzman turned around and began walking back to the Palace.

interlude2.gif


Interlude​

The walk to the Palace took its toll on Dr. Joshua Cole. Although the flight from Germany to Madrid had been a chore as terrorist fears meant another fifteen minutes in the security line, the real challenge was passing through the massive grounds that led to the rear entrances of the Palace.

“Dr. Cole, this way please,” one of the guards said after checking the slightly overweight professor’s identification. “His Eminence the Lord Chancellor is waiting for you.”

The professor endured through another set of security checkpoints, and already sweat was rolling down his cheeks by the time he was able to put his belt on again after going through the metal detectors and X-ray machines. He took hold of his suitcase once more-- that case which held within it the fabric samples that he had been working on for Duke Jimenes.

He barely had any time in between to catch his breath before he was ushered into a situation room. This room was complete with a singular table in the middle, dim, low lights, and a digital map on the far wall. For a while, he was caught at the great quiet of the Room as if the walls were insulated with a material that no sound could escape from. Even the door behind him closed with a sound as if the air was being sealed away.

“Your country thanks you for your hard work in the analysis of those artifacts,” a man at the other side of the table said with a kind of amplification that at first, Dr. Cole thought that there was a microphone on him.

“Thank you, Your Eminence,” he said in return as he tried to make himself comfortable in the seat given to him, “I have been trying to contact Duke Jimenes with my results but he hasn’t answered on the line I was given.”

“I’m afraid that he’s unavailable at the moment,” the one with a dim shade of red and a face full of dark shadow explained, “that’s why we asked you to come here personally. I hear you’ve wanted to let us know of your findings about the clothing?”

“Oh no, Your Eminence,” the doctor said sitting up in his chair. “I’m afraid it’s much more than that.”

The prelate leaned forward into the low light and Dr. Cole could at once notice the tall and lanky features of the Cardinal. The man, with his pointy shoulders jutting up as he leaned on the table, seemed like a human cathedral. “What is it?”

At this point, Doctor Cole opened up his suitcase and produced not a piece of clothing but a metal block. “When I was investigating the strangeness of the carbon dating on the clothing, I remembered something that the Nazi scientists had been working on during the Great War. The university managed to salvage some of their extant research and I cross checked with the database. The same carbon dating anomaly that these clothes have is present in this piece of metal as well.”

Creased with curiosity, the Cardinal’s face contracted as he looked at the chunk of what seemed like rusted steel. “And what is it?” the prelate asked.

“A piece of one of the Nazi U-boats,” the Professor said. “It was found during one of the Cross-Atlantic missions the Nazis did during the Great War.”

“Go on,” the Cardinal continued.

“Well, Your Eminence, this particularly piece of debris is four hundred years old.”

Chapter LXXXI: Crossing the Atlantic (coming soon)
 
Last edited:

Grubnessul

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hmmm an 400 year old U-boat? Is the timepiece going to suck one into the past? Would suck for Spain if the Nazi's got one in the past.
 

unmerged(62343)

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Oh, that Madelaine is quite the infuriating girl. I know I keep saying it, but she is trouble with a capital "T".

It is no surprise to me that if the Nazi's were able to transport people that they might be able to transport equipment, such as U-boats. The question is, how did they use it?
 

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Grubnessul said:
hmmm an 400 year old U-boat? Is the timepiece going to suck one into the past? Would suck for Spain if the Nazi's got one in the past.

I think it's more likely that lt. Drescher and the rest arrived by U-boat in 1500. They just couldn't keep it going, so it was no real use. So, I think the Nazi's used something like a Timepiece to get into the past, and ended up in this Spanish world (I have no clue which world the Nazi's came from, originally; something like our own, or simply the future of this world).

As to de Guzman: always trouble with those guys. But I'm sure Renault will die a heroic death keeping them away from the Timepiece. It just feels wrong for him to die in bed :p