This is the prompt and initiation ceremony of Knight Derek Cinn for Tacitus Athanasius of House Excidium, Clan Scholae Palatinae.
Derek’s reflection stared back at him blurred from the raindrops rolling down on the other side of the window. The musky safehouse was temporary and he had limited time. He turned and grabbed his helmet from the dusty table behind him and headed toward the door. The storm had rolled in an hour earlier and wasn’t going to let up anytime soon. This was perfect. The storm was so heavy it seemed as if someone from the tops of the buildings were pouring buckets of water over his head. The streets and alleyways were bare as it was the dead of night and the sky was nearly pitch black and visibility was almost non existent.
Despite this he avoided the main street just in case. He was in his armor and covered in a loose cloak to hide himself from anyone who would be out this late. He trudged along, a river of water splashing against his boots. In his helmet he had his HUD display his target. A beautiful Hapan women but unfortunately an enemy. She was an assistant to the Queen Mother Hapes. She was under the foolish assumption that the Hapes would be better off allying with the Clan’s enemies. This kind of insubordination was unacceptable and had to be rectified before she had the opportunity to convince the Queen of following suit.
After an hour of walking he finally caught the view of the parliament building. It was a large circular building. A beautiful mix of modern simplicity and old fashioned elegance. Its polished sandstone structure was dark, illuminated occasionally by the brilliant flash of lightning.
He circled around to the back of the building. And began climbing the trellis. He remembered the last time he climbed a trellis but shook the thought out of his head. The circular building was situated along a normal gentle river that now roared ferociously behind him. The front of the building had large arch ways that guarded the doors into the building itself and leading to it were a long series of steps that lead down to the enormous plaza. Its brilliant glossy white and emerald pattern accented the sandstone of the Parliament beautifully.
Derek, reaching the top of the back wall reached up and grabbed the ledge that led up to the walkway that wrapped around the entire building from one side of the main entrance archways all the way around to the other. He peaked over and quickly ducked down again, his gloved fingers still wrapped tightly on the polished stone handrail. A Parliamentary Guard was patrolling wearily, obviously frustrated with the wind that kept blowing his hood back, constantly exposing his bald head to the elements.
Derek thought for a moment on whether he should kill the guard to avoid problems later but rejected the notion.
“He’s just doing his job,” He thought to himself, “Plus, a dead guard would cause more problems than it would fix.” Leaping up, his feet splashed onto the floor, but its sound was barely audible above the thunderous rain around him. The guard kept walking his patrol route, probably thinking of stripping out of his cold wet clothes and taking a warm bath once his shift was over…
The letter he had found in his quarters was something he was expecting. A trial of sorts. It had stated that the equipment he was allocated for the mission was located within the walls of the parliament. When he had first read the letter he found in his quarters, he was frustrated.
“What in bloody blazes does that mean!?” he thought to himself. But after some careful research he realized that the parliament building was riddled with passages and compartments to store weapons though all this was considered legends and no official record exists of such things. Luckily for Derek, He wasn’t dependent on the official word of things. He learned quickly that “official” just meant something they couldn’t be bothered to cover up or hide.
After leaping over the wall, He ran around to the front of the parliament and peaked around the corner to see two guards, feverishly tugging at their coats in a futile effort to keep dry. He knew the doors would be open, it was standard operating procedure, even in weather such as this. Looking towards the plaza that spread out wide in front of the large archways, he raised his hand toward a fair sized tree that seemed to have been planted recently. With a loud creaking and groaning, It began to list treacherously. And with a loud snap and a long and low groan, It collapsed, crushing a sculpture of a naked man holding a plum.
“Ugly statue anyway.” Derek murmured to himself as he ran to the doors. The guards had reluctantly run to the tree instinctively. Derek waited for a moment, lightning flashed in the distance. He waited patiently before accelerating rapidly into the air just as thunder exploded through the air. He could have swore he saw the water quivver in mid air. He began climbing careful up the glass dome at the center of the building. Carefully opening a glass panel, he leaped into the room below, landing softly on the floor. Four rows of seats were formed in a semi circle facing a large podium and a seat, most likely for the head of state or the like. He ran to one of the doors, quietly opening it out to the main hallway, that followed the circular form of the building itself.
Being so old, the structure was devoid of any security measures apart from security locks on the parliament offices. The only other security were the guards that patrolled outside. They were forbidden to be inside due to concerns of them not being vigilant enough if they were given the luxury of sheltering inside.
Derek knew exactly which panel it would be. All of them had been sealed over except one. The memorial plaque. He removed his still dripping helmet and began eyeing the plaque. His finger followed the edges, looking for any kind of indication of a switch that may open the compartment. Not finding anything, Derek stepped back, quizzically eyeing the rectangular pillar as a whole. He turned his attention to the base of the pillar. He pressed the corner and it pressed in
“Ingenious” Derek thought. The piece that depressed never looked like it was a button. The edges were so finely cut, one wouldn’t notice it unless they were specifically looking for it, and even then it was difficult. He looked for another switch. A corner switch wouldn’t be the only one, it was too easy to accidently press. Derek began slowly yet forcefully pressing his fingers all over the pillar hopefully pressing the button in the process. Finally, his fingers dropped as the final switch pressed down and the plaque clicked softly.
It swung open and inside the dark chamber lay a dagger and a dull metal pistol. He was told what he would find and made sure he did research on it. The pistol was called the “Gun of Command”. Fascinating weapon that allowed its user to order their target to perform simple tasks. It was an odd looking weapon, sort of ugly in Derek’s opinion which he found it surprising considering the beauty of the Hapans. But he ignored it and attached both to his belt.
He clicked the plaque shut and lowered his helmet back onto his head. He looked at the front doors and began jogging quietly towards the entrance to the parliament chamber. He slowly creaked the door open and squeezed inside. Again launching forward, his jetpack propelling him up wards. He grabbed a statue of an animal, clinging to its rough, stony head. He reached up towards the glass panel and pushed it up, rain immediately began pouring in, He grabbed the edge of the glass and pulled himself up. He shut the panel but began to feel his feet begin to slide. His feet slid out from under him and he dropped, and smacked lightly against the glass and slid to the base of the dome.
He sighed in relief and made his way towards the back of the building. He peaked over the edge and watched the guard from earlier walking away, his hood down, resigned to the rain. He activated his jetpack again, the sound of it muffled by the downpour. He landed across the river and rain into one of the back alleys, still unseen.
The intelligence he had been given said that Alraya and her security detail would leave her quarters to meet with the queen in about three hours. So he had three hours to find her and figure out a way to assassinate her and frame someone else. If the queen realizes that an aide was killed at the hands of Scholae Palatinae, we could consider the alliance as good as dead.
He moved quickly around the back alleys., His HUD displaying the route he had pre planned. He avoided the main streets and its lights as he jogged his cloak was the wind was really starting to pick up. The howling was deafening as the wind ripped it’s soaked with rain, billowing behind him with the wind. The storm kept getting worse and way through the empty streets.
Fighting through the wind, Derek finally made it to his target’s location. It was a decent sized luxury unit not far from the Queen’s Palace. Outside the main door was a single guard. He was dressed as a royal guard, presumably to avoid extra attention, however he was an ugly man. Unlike the beautiful Hapan people, the guard’s face was slightly crooked, and the bridge of his nose was bent and his face was covered with a messy stubble. He looked more like a death stick addict than a member of the Hapes Royal Guard.
Derek watched him carefully and made up his mind. He snuck behind the building directly across from the target and began scaling the wall. He crouched as he crept his way to the other edge and watched the miserably, wet “guard” scratch his crotch. Focusing very carefully on the man he waved his hand
“You want to go check the alley” Derek whispered. He watched as the guard looked up slightly and stared at the alley but hesitated. Again Derek waved his hand through the torrential rain.
“You want to go check the alley” Derek said again more firmly. Again the guard hesitated and Derek was about to try one more time but the man finally stepped forward and began stepping towards the dark alley. Derek smiled as he watch the guard stop in the alley and looked around confused. Derek pointed the gun of command at the guard and pulled the trigger. The man staggered slightly as if in a daze.
Derek leaped down and landed quietly behind him. Derek grasped the man’s upper arm firmly and whispered.
“You will shoot and kill all the guards and then stab the lady you protect, Alraya.” Derek paused for a second to take out the dagger and put it in the man’s hand who looked as if he was in a trance. “You will then call the authorities and when they arrive, you will fire at them and allow them to kill you. However, before you die, you will scream your allegiance for New Dawn.
“I-I-I will do as you command.” He said hoarsely, Derek spun him around and shoved him softly towards the building and ran back up to his perch on the roof across from the target building. He watched as his new tool pulled a pistol out of his holster and opened the door. There was light emanating from the open door and Derek knew Alraya was preparing to leave and watched as the guards were gunned down. He could still see the figure of his “friend” before he charged presumably at his target. He heard a shrill scream and loud grunting and before long, the unrelenting patterning of the rain on his armor was all he could hear. Speeders rolled up and the local authorities exited, their weapons drawn. The guard came out, the rain began rinsing the blood off his clothes.
“FOR THE NEW DAWN!!!” He screamed with his deep scratchy voice before firing on the officers, hitting two before the other fired back. The bolts hitting his chest and the slight burns where he was hit extinguished instantly under the downpour. Derek lay very still on the roof, the authorities entered the house and he could hear them speaking.
“All deceased sir” an officer told another, most likely the sergeant.
“Very well.” He said almost shouting over the wind. “Send someone to inform the Queen, She’ll want to know. And make sure none of the responding officers leave. I need a full statement from them as soon as possible.”
“Understood sir!” The officer replied before scurrying away.
Derek began slowly inching away before finally crouching up and quietly walking away. Not only had he preserved the alliance, but had given them a common foe.
“My master’s will be most pleased” He said giggling to himself.
Initiation Ceremony of Derek Cinn - February 8th 35 ABY
A day of solemnity and celebration was upon the Battleteam once again. In the dark depths of Silent Death Citadel, Tacitus Athanasius formed their eternal circle. Each member stood in their sacred position, saber in hand, ready for their next moment. The Battleteam Leader descended down the dark path and made her way to her illuminated place at the top left corner of the vault. The lantern light flickered in her eyes along with the excitement within them. Alara Deathbane came down the path a few moments later, escorting the newest initiate: Derek Cinn. As tradition, the newest possible recruit was kept blindfolded. Alara Deathbane led the newest initiate to the middle of the circle of members, took off Derek’s blindfold, and went to her place at the right of the room. A banner for the Battleteam Leader and the Sergeant hung at the respective corners. To the left of the Knight in clockwise formation stood Arron Saylos, Zehsaa Hysh, and Kylex. To Derek’s right stood Koryn Thraagus, Malodin’Tater, and Katyusha Neige. Arron Saylos stepped forward first.
“Derek Cinn, Knight of Excidium, Clan Scholae Palatinae. This is your first question. Answer well, and I shall light my saber. Answer wrongly, you only have so many chances. What is an assassin’s greatest ally?”
With a nod, Arron Saylos stepped backwards and ignited his blade.
From the right, Koryn Thraagus stepped forward. “Derek, this is your second question: What sacrifice must you make to be an assassin?”
“I must sacrifice all regard and sympathy for the lives of my targets and anyone who gets in my way no matter who they are.”
“Good answer.” Koryn stepped backwards and ignited his saber.
Zehsaa Hysh stepped forward next. “Here is your third question, Sith. What does the Force and an Assassin have in common?”
“The Force is what connects all life in the galaxy. The Force has power over that life. We have harnessed this power, giving us the same control over the lives of our targets.”
Zehsaa smiled, nodded, and stepped backwards, her yellow blade igniting vibrantly.
“Derek Cinn, you have made it thus far.” Malodin’ Tater stated solemnly. “Here is your fourth question: What does it mean to become fear itself?”
“In life, there is nothing to fear, but fear itself. Many people say to embody that which people fear, but to embody fear itself ensures our enemies are in perpetual terror and agitation; constantly dreading the day they will come face to face with fear itself. The bravest warriors dread coming face to face with fear. For they have rejected it, but know they cannot hide from it. So we show them; we become the emotion of fear manifested in the flesh and it will be fear that kills them.”
“And so you continue to press onward.” Malodin’ Tater returned to his former stance and ignited his saber.
Kylex’s turn was next. He stood forward, and eyed the Knight closely. “Derek. Your fifth question: What does true devotion to Battleteam and to House mean to you?”
“True devotion means the complete and unwavering allegiance, and an unbreakable vow to destroy all those who oppose us. True devotion is to transfer the concern of one’s own well being into the concern of the House and Battleteam as a whole. True devotion means to submit oneself to the greater picture and accept without hesitation the ultimate mission and goal of the House and Battleteam.”
“Truth is echoing in this hall tonight. Well done.” Kylex stepped backwards and illuminated his own saber.
“How will you sharpen your current skills towards benefitting Tacitus Athanasius?” Katyusha Neige stepped forward, her saber ready in hand.
“I will perfect the art of killing without being seen; the art of becoming one with the shadows around me. I will learn the ways of manipulation and evasion from the masters and will devote myself to perfect the art of an assassin. I will learn and listen to those above me and will strive for perfection in my skills.”
Katyusha smirked and stepped backwards, igniting her saber immediately.
Alara emerged from the right corner, her steps illuminating the ground’s markings of old age language as she walked. As she stepped into the circle from the right, next to Arron Saylos, the other assassins closed in on the initiate, sabers pointing towards him. The Sergeant’s words echoed the halls. “To be an assassin, is to be a predator on the hunt. Therefore, what is the greatest gift both assassins and predators can give to their prey?”
“The greatest gift an assassin can give to prey is a swift merciful kill. Though this gift is something I will rarely ever bestow, for our enemies are people that deserve to understand that the pain of death they will receive at my hands is the result of their own undoing. Before they die I will ensure they know who has killed them and why they are dying. Hence, the greatest gift I can give as predator to my prey, is a swift and merciful kill.”
“Aye. A good answer that is.” Alara looked to her sister and nodded, illuminating her bright yellow saber and pointing it towards Derek. Battlemaster and Battleteam Leader Shadow Nighthunter walked towards the circle, standing next to Koryn Thraagus and Alara. The path of markings vibrantly pulsed with light even though both Battleteam Leader and Sergeant were standing away.
The Battleteam Leader lifted her head, her vibrant amber eyes flickered towards the Knight. “Your final question, Derek Cinn: "How does silence sharpen the blade?”
“Silence allows an assassin to go to place that would normally be considered impenetrable. Silence allows an assassin to slip through the cracks unseen and kill without detection. With Silence, the targets aren’t even aware they are being hunted until they are on their knees gasping for life.”
With a smirk, Battlemaster and Battleteam Leader Shadow Nighthunter ignited her blade, and raised it up in the air. The members all did the same. Derek immediately followed their actions and ignited his saber, holding it high in the air. Derek Cinn stepped back to complete the circle of assassins as he was instructed to do so.
“The Circle of Assassins is strongly lit, and never broken. None falter, and none step away from the path. Once a true assassin is initiated, the blood of Tacitus Athanasius never leaves their veins. And thus we are family to you, Derek Cinn.” Shadow’s voice resonated in the vault. “The Force shall guide your path in these halls, and you are now a member of the family here. The sharpest blade for the darkest of nights!”
“The sharpest blade for the darkest of nights!” The others exclaimed all at once. Suddenly the members of Tacitus Athanasius began walking, one by one, back up the path to the surface.
Alara stepped behind Derek, and wrapped a blindfold upon him once again. “As your last step to becoming a true Assassin, lean on the Force as your guide from this place.” she spoke sternly. With a snap of Shadow’s fingers, the lanterns of the vault were extinguished.
As the Knight made it back to the surface, there he saw the icey light of the sun fall upon the great halls of Silent Death Citadel through large openings. Mountains scowered the background of the open hall. The ceiling was at least 20 feet high with small lanterns scattered across it. The members of Tacitus Athanasius were standing in the centre of the great hall, atop of the large bat symbol that was carved into the floor. At the back sat Battleteam Leader Shadow Nighthunter on a large, black throne. Alara sat next to her in another smaller throne. Both their banners sewn into the backs of the thrones.
“Welcome home, Derek Cinn. Welcome to Silent Death Citadel.” Shadow spoke, ushering him towards her.
“Let the celebrations begin!” the members of Tacitus Athanasius together exclaimed.