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PostSubject: Altered Course   Altered Course Icon_minitimeFri Mar 20, 2009 6:50 am

Marcus finished yelling orders to prepare for battle and turned his attention back to Chantilly. "I won't let them take you," he promised, "not as long as I live."

They had come out of the fog. It was as they were one with the grey cloak that had descended upon them. In a blur of shouted orders and the screams of pulleys bringing cannons into their firing positions they closed the short visible distance and shots rang out from the dark hulled vessel. Marcus ordered everything not fit for battle over the side. He came to a box of Fayina’s newest scoped muskets for a moments pause, then slammed the arch of his boot into the side of the case and kicked it overboard. What only felt like seconds passed, as the Umbra swept over the deck. Chantilly stood near the wheel almost peaceful as Marcus desperately tried to cross the main deck towards her. A brutish looking sailor jumped into his path coming down with a dagger. It caught Marcus’ shirt slicing down to the belt where it stopped. Marcus pushed his attacker’s hand away cutting his belt. Marcus’ belt and scabbard hit the wooden deck with a dull thud but was not heard over the symphony of death played out upon the ships. Suddenly, a strike from behind to the head sent Marcus reeling toward the side of the ship. Several more blows spun him around as he lost grip of his blade and the world continued to spin until the soft feel of the ocean swallowed his senses.

Blackness.

“This is not your fate Marcus but for a time you must take a different course as must we all…” a woman’s voice echoed in Marcus’ mind.

“Katherine…the end?”

“No Marcus…a beginning.”

Silence.


The hushed sound of wave against beach filled Marcus’ ears as birds squawked over head. Marcus forced is eyes open to see he was laying on a large box. He struggled to move but to no avail as he body screamed in protest. His vision came in and out of focus looking to the side seeing dead washed up bodies only the beach. Two figures approached as the strength to keep his eyes open faded. As the two approached Marcus hear a language unfamiliar as he felt them look him over the darkness and silence took over his senses once more.

“You must come back…” a female voice echoed

“Where?” Marcus whispered back

“Find me…” the voice replied

“Who are you?” Marcus struggled to ask.

“Ah your awake” exclaimed a gruff male voice.

Marcus’ eyes shot open to the view of roof over him. His eyes darted around seeing that he was now in a room made from logs and natural timber.

“Easy son don’t move your wounds are still…”

Marcus ignored the warning and began to sit up only to have his body scream in protest forcing him back into the bed. He winced grabbing his stomach feeling bandages.

“I told you to take it easy. Your not going anywhere in that condition. So perhaps we can start with some introductions. My name is Thomas. The locals call me Trapper Tom..” A fur coated man stepped into Marcus’ view. He took off his beaver hat running a hand through his long oily hair and straightened his bushy beard as he took out some bandages and bottles from the nearby cupboard.

“Marcus” replying in a whisper. “Where…am I?”

“Mountain country, son. Iroquois picked you up on some beach they brought you to me. Guess figuring since were both white men I was your closest relation. Heh. They found you with a box-o-guns. Had to use some of them to pay for some supplies. I had the rest brought here. Were you a soldier or a sailor?

A frown slowly crept across Marcus’ face, “I…don’t know”

“Well you did take quite a blow to your head. Must-a bashed it on some rock or something. At least you still know your given name. What’s a gentlemen to do without a name, eh? So, do you know anything about yourself?” Tom set about dressing Marcus’ wounds.

“I don’t remember…anything” Marcus’ voice cracked with despair.

“It’ll come back just give it time. Until then you let your self heal then we’ll worry about what’s locked away in that head of yours.”
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PostSubject: Re: Altered Course   Altered Course Icon_minitimeFri Mar 20, 2009 1:52 pm



After several weeks Marcus was finally able to move about the log cabin tending to the garden while Thomas checked his traps. Memories were always a blur and felt more like nightmares than reality to Marcus. He would find himself drenched in sweat in the middle of the night hoping some answer to his past would set things right but the answers never came. The five pointed wound marks around his heart gave him frequent aches more so than his other healed wounds. The marks baffled Thomas as none of his methods for healing worked. The seasons changed and winter came and went, Marcus’ body had fully recovered and at the break of spring warmth Thomas took Marcus north to help sell his goods at the various Trade Posts.

“That’s almost all the goods Tom. Maybe got enough for one more stop.” Marcus reported as they loaded the last of the unsold fur onto the horses.

“Ah good, one more stop is all we have. I know most of the people at the next Post. Some might be able to help you figure out who you are.” Thomas replied swinging a foot over his horse and saddle.

The horses hooves kicked up mud as they slowly trotted into the outpost. A wave of familiarity came over Marcus but he couldn’t recall any specific memories.

“I think I’ve been here before.” Marcus said.

“Have you? Hmm, maybe that’ll help” Thomas raised an eyebrow as he brought the horses to a stop. “Ah my friends I hope the winter was not too harsh to you this year” Thomas waved to a group approaching him.


“Thomas, the wilds have done you well it seems.” Spoke the leader an aged man with a walking stick and a limp. “Who is your companion here?” nodding to Marcus.

“Ah well he knows his name is Marcus but the rest is a little more fuzzy.” Thomas motioned to Marcus waving him off the horse.

Marcus dismounted and extended his hand in greeting. “Thomas has seen fit to allow me to help him sell his wares. He said you may be able to help me with my memories?”

“I’m Jean-luc the elder here. I can’t say I can help you. Why did you tell the lad I could help Thomas?” Jean-luc gave Thomas a concerned look.

“Marcus” Thomas patted his hand over his chest and nodded to Marcus.

Marcus nodded and pulled back his shirt to reveal the 5 black marks over his heart. Jean-luc’s eyes went wide and face became pale.

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PostSubject: Re: Altered Course   Altered Course Icon_minitimeSun Mar 22, 2009 8:19 pm

((sometime in the past few months))

A concert was not exactly the type of event Chantilly would have normally attended. Especially not lately. Being evicted from the church, running into the queen again in Pensacola, her sudden decline of health coupled with the spike in visions... No, a concert was about the last thing on which she'd like to spend her remaining time. But the invitation had used her childhood name: "Celestine". That alone had made it worth the investigation, enough to even bother dressing for the occasion like old times. Regardless, Chantilly had the distinct impression she was being lured - what if it was another Umbra trap? She shrugged at her inner sense of unease and, heaving a sigh, entered the music conservatory.

The evening's featured musician was a harpsichordist fresh off the boat from Europe, playing some selection of pieces from time spent in a Spanish city Chantilly knew nothing about. The relentless plucking and twanging of the instrument were certainly music of a sort, but the tinny sounds annoyed rather than soothed or moved her. It made her long for the deepness of a proper organ, like the ones she had heard back in Marseilles, when music was an emotional experience touching upon feelings and longing that her young mind had only began to truly fathom. She shook her head irritably and, drowning out the music with the sound of her own thoughts churning like the sea, searched the other concert-goers for familiar or threatening faces. She saw none, finding only the placid, glazed expressions of nobles who appeared perhaps as bored as herself, or bright-eyed students watching and listening intently in wonderment, scribbling with quills and deep in observation. If there was any clue for why she had been invited here, it was certainly missing her notice. In fact, no one in the hall seemed at all dangerous, and could easily be colleagues of Emile's - though, she noted with amusement, that the Marquis had never seemed dangerous either until he pulled the knife out of her back to show it to her.

The concert ended uneventfully, and Chantilly quickly rose from her seat. She had no intention of joining the reception afterwards, and was impatiently gathering herself to leave when she heard a voice behind her. "Mademoiselle Angevin, if I might see you a moment?" Chantilly turned to see an elderly woman and instinctively put her hand near a hidden blade in her vest. The woman seemed to laugh, and said knowingly, "That won't be necessary. Please, follow me."

She turned and gingerly began to move towards a side entrance to the music hall that Chantilly had not noticed before. The old woman's gait was awkward yet purposeful, nearly rehearsed, and did nothing to set Chantilly at ease. Still, she realized that the woman, while bearing some otherworldly similarity to the queen, lacked all of the potent, unspoken violence in her demeanor that would signify a true physical threat. True, she could have allies, but if she did, there was nothing that Chantilly would be able to do in that case. Chantilly searched her mind, trying to recollect some fragment of a vision that might indicate the purpose of this meeting, but came up short of anything meaningful - a growing rarity these days. She was almost grateful to realize she could still be surprised.

The woman abruptly stopped in front of another door, making Chantilly nearly stumble over the old woman. "Please come in," the woman invited, opening the door wide for Chantilly to enter. Chantilly obliged, and as she passed the woman, she noticed the empty look in the woman's eyes, and realized that she was blind. Another surprise.

The woman closed the door behind them, and Chantilly looked around. It was little more than a large closet or storage room, but inside it had an arcane feel. The room was dark and the walls were lined with nearly empty bookshelves. There was a single table in the middle, on which sat a single lit candle and some object concealed with a white cloth wrapped around it. "I apologize for the decor," the woman said with a smile. "As you may have noticed, I have little use for such trappings. I hope the candle will be enough for you."

"Who are you?" Chantilly asked suspiciously.

"Do not be afraid. I am a friend," the woman replied gently. "You may call me Katharine."

"Katharine..." The name was familiar, and Chantilly's memories came rushing back to her. Katharine was a visionary as well, though on the Custodes' side instead of the Umbra's - even though, Chantilly noted with annoyance, Katharine had often seemed to distance herself from the Custodes entirely, even aiding their enemies from within. "Marcus spoke of you," Chantilly acknowledged tautly.

"Yes," Katharine said simply. "I'm sure he did."

Chantilly sighed. "What do you want with me?"

"I wanted to show you this." Katharine took the object from the table and unwrapped it carefully, then held it out for Chantilly to see.

The candle light was dim, but Chantilly could just make out the symbols on the hilt. "Marcus' sword..." Chantilly breathed. "Where did you -"

"What has happened, Chantilly?" Katharine interrupted, her voice for the first time seeming full of purpose. "Where is Marcus? What has become of him?"

"Haven't you seen it?" Chantilly scoffed, the pain of the reminder making her stiffen and turn away. "The Umbra killed him as we were fleeing to the north of here."

Katharine bowed her head. "You are... quite sure?"

"I was there. They would not have left him alive." Chantilly huffed a bit and crossed her arms. "Why, have you seen otherwise?"

"No, I have not. I cannot sense his presence at all." Katharine closed her eyes, as if searching a final time to be sure. "But you were his Visionary; he your protector. More than that, you were his beloved."

"All the more reason that I am certain he is dead," Chantilly sighed softly, a tear gathering in her eye. "If he were alive, would he not have come for me by now? Surely he must be dead."

"Yet I am certain that he is not dead," Katharine countered. "I do not believe he could ever leave this world when you are still in it. Such is the nature of his soul. It could not be his time while you yet live."

"Foolishness." Chantilly rolled her eyes. "You have seen nothing."

"That is true, and neither have you. Even if either of us had seen something, a vision is not a promise of the future. It is only a possibility."

"So what do you seek to accomplish by torturing me with this? Haven't you caused enough trouble?" Chantilly growled.

Katharine sighed. "I know that you have heard this before... but you must realize that the sun had set on those orders. Just as the queen helped to end the Umbra, so I played that role for the Custodes. Do know that the wheels were in motion regardless of my involvement, although I do regret whatever pain allowing Truss to carry out his intentions might have caused you or Marcus."

"Regret. Oh, that's a lovely sentiment," Chantilly spat.

"The Umbra truly did embitter you, to be so incapable of forgiveness or faith," Katharine remarked sadly, covering up the sword with the cloth again.

"Very easy for you to say."

"Yes, easier than for you. I know you are hurting, but I implore you, do not give up hope so easily. I believe he is out there, and that he will find you." Katharine held out the wrapped sword in Chantilly's direction. "Take it. Perhaps it will help lead him to you."

"You can keep it. Both the sword, and your hope," Chantilly replied flatly and turned to go. "I prefer my memories."
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PostSubject: Re: Altered Course   Altered Course Icon_minitimeMon Mar 23, 2009 8:45 pm

Jean-luc poured a glass of wine and he eased himself into his chair. Marcus removed the beaver skin hat Thomas had given him and sat down opposite Jean-luc at the table. Jean-luc took a long slow sip of the wine as he recalled some distant memory.

“It was some years ago, when I was studying the various sciences the New World offered. It was then I learned of the natives use of various herbs for healing…and death. It was then some nobles contracted me to make a most potent poison.” Jean-luc took another sip, “I knew I should have refused but the coin they offered would have funded so many scientific pursuits. My first experiment nearly killed my assistant. With a concentrated dose it could kill in minutes. The more diluted the longer the subject would be in pain while their body would slowly…” Jean-luc took out a handkerchief covering his mouth looking extremely pale.

“They wanted it for torture” Marcus concluded in a quiet tone.

Jean-luc nodded his head and wiped his brow, “I am amazed you are standing before me. Such damage should have been fatal. Does it still hurt?”

“It aches most days, I’m almost glad I don’t remember it .” Put his hand over the marks.

Jean-luc got up and went to a cabinet and rifled through various bottles and containers. “I would count yourself lucky then but I may have…ah here it is.” Jean-luc brought out some dried leaves and a mortar and pestle. “Grind this up while I put on some water. This should stop the pain, but you’ll have the marks the rest of your life I’m afraid”

“It may be my only link to the past.”

“Oh its not the only thing, that weapon crate your toting with Thomas there…”

“How did you know it had weapons in it.?” Marcus interrupted.

Jean-luc chuckled, “Monsieur, this is the great frontier we see weapon crates all the time. Now the markings on the crate will give you a starting point, but first you must be prepared to uncover your past.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand” Marcus replied quizzically.

“How will you know friend from foe if they know you but you do not know their position?” Jean-luc paused as Marcus had no answer, “Ah see, so you will not return as they knew you but under camouflage or how you say…se déguiser.”

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PostSubject: Re: Altered Course   Altered Course Icon_minitimeTue Mar 24, 2009 9:32 pm

Marcus woke the next morning unwrapping the bandages over his chest. The marks still present and black as night as ever but as true as Jean-luc had said there was no more pain emanating from the wounds. Going to the window he saw Jean-luc talking with Thomas. Thomas handed over an ornate looking case and Jean-luc took a long hard look at it before setting it down on the weapon crate Marcus had washed up with. The two men shook hands and Thomas mounted his horse and rode down the trail away from Jean-luc’s cabin. Jean-luc entered carrying the case under his arm.

“Ah your awake good. I’ve sent Thomas on his way its probably best as the fewer know of your new look the better.” Jean-luc put away the case in his desk.

“What did you have in mind?” Marcus asked as he donned a loose shirt.

“Oh I have some items that will suit you just nicely. I just need to dig them out here take this.” Jean-luc handed Marcus a rather straight stick.

“I have to thank you for the easing the pain it…” Marcus was cut short as Jean-luc lunged at him with his own walking stick . Marcus’ body simply reacted parrying with his feet going near instantly into a combative stance. Jean-luc made several more swings and thrusts each time Marcus blocked. Seeing an opening Marcus pressed the advantage sending Jean-luc back a few steps before Marcus put the stick to Jean-luc’s chest. “How did I do that?” Marcus was wide eyed at what had transpired.

“Ah your muscle memory, you are a fighter. I’m sorry for the charade but I had to be sure. You see whatever your past life, you were certainly trained for combat. Although not consciously thinking about it your previous training comes through reaction.”

“I’m afraid I don’t follow.” Marcus lowered the stick.

“Your one hell of a swordsman Monsieur, come” Jean-luc motioned Marcus to the cellar as he lit a candle. “In my time I’ve collected a great my trinkets and odd and ends. Hopefully you can put them to better use than I have.” Jean-luc stopped periodically lighting more candles and lamps revealing an array of clothes, swords, pistols and other personal affects. On a table in the middle were a series of Janus Masks.

Marcus picked one up and held it level to his face looking into the empty eyes of the mask., “And my audience shall look upon me, and see not my face, but their own.”


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PostSubject: Re: Altered Course   Altered Course Icon_minitimeWed Mar 25, 2009 9:03 pm

Marcus finished strapping the last of his supplies to his horse and entered Jean-luc’s cabin seeing him staring at the box Thomas had giving him several weeks ago.

“Will you not come with me Jean-luc?”

“No my friend my story ends here in my home in God’s country. Oh and one last thing take this note to the banker in Grand Turk, he will have the rest of my assets, they are yours do with as you please.”

“Jean-luc…I…how can I ever repay you?”

Jean-luc chuckled, “My friend, your repayment is to put them to good use. They are collections of a sinful man. Perhaps in helping you I can make an attempt to atone for what I have done. Use it to find your past, defend the helpless, shield the oppressed.” Jean-luc put his hand on Marcus’ shoulder. “it’s the least I can do for someone who has suffered from my creation. Now after Grand Turk where will you go?”

“Saint Augustine, the muskets inside were marked as being made there. It will be a starting point as you say.”

Jean-luc nodded, “Well I’m not very good at saying good-bye so you best be on your way.” Jean-lucs eyes looked down at the case before him. Marcus looked between Jean-luc and the case, he opened his mouth to say something but decided against it and donned his new tricorn hat.

Jean-luc could hear the hoofs of Marcus’ horse fade into the distance. He ran his hand along the edge of the case until his thumb rested on the latch in the middle. He took a deep breath then opened the lid revealing an exquisite looking pistol.

A loud crack rang out as Marcus stopped his horse. He turned to look towards Jean-luc’s cabin, then lowered his head. Patting the horse’s mane he reached into the saddle bag and pulled out a Janus Mask and donned it and continued his ride south.

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=

An explosion rocked the quarry as dust slowly settled. Fayina swatted away the smoke while most of her hired hands hacked and coughed out the gunpowder smoke and dust. Testing of her new weaponry always was a dirty job but she loved it. It kept her mind busy and didn’t let it become idle to think about her former captain. Mattheiu came running up to Fayina plain out of breath.

“Harbor…ships…selling…auction…now” Mattheiu bent over clutching his knees.

“Catch your breath then try again Mattheiu.” Fayina assessed the fractured remains of a cannon.

“The Harbor Master is selling off the derelicts in the harbor. There selling off Marcus’ ships!”

“WHAT?!”

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=

“SOLD!” exclaimed the auctioneer and he brought down his gavel.

“Next lot a Hermes class vessel, rumored to out run the dreaded Pirates of the Caribbean!”

Fayina and Mattheiu were in the back of the auction hall that was quite crowded. Derelict sales always brought the most people from businessmen to aspiring captains all in a chance to get some abandoned vessel at a price only a pirate could best.

“How much do we have left in our research funds, Matthieu?” Fayina looked down at the young boy worriedly.

“200,000 Madame Fayina.” he replied

“I’ll start the bidding at one hundred thousand” shouted the auctioneer

Fayina stuck her hand up

“I see 100 in the back, 110 to the gentleman”

Fayina tried to peer over the crowd at who else was bidding but couldn’t see anyone. She shoved her hand in the air again.”

“120, 130, 140, 150, 160,170, 180” a murmur began to spread in the crowd as the auctioneer looked at Fayina counter bidder. He nodded then mouthed 3 and nodded again “300,000 to the Gentleman!” The auctioneer looked to Fayina who could do nothing but shake her head no. She knew it was a power move and she had lost…all of it.



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PostSubject: Re: Altered Course   Altered Course Icon_minitimeFri Mar 27, 2009 2:37 pm

A figured dressed in black and gold trim stepped on the docks of St. Augustine. The dock master approached as was his custom to take a tax for setting anchor in the harbor.

"Your name sir?" He adjusted his spectacles and he opened his entry book.

The figure gazed past him then slowly turned his attention to the bookish figure before him. The blank mask unnerving him.

"Mr M." the man spoke.

"And. ahem...ah your term of stay."

"Long enough" was all the figure spoke before dropping a small coin purse on the book and moved with with purpose and reform pass the dock master.
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