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A Prayer

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Critias

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« on: <09-03-10/1832:46> »
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name...

Rory took his time lacing up his boots. They were shiny black leather, bought two years ago from a Matrix-order catalogue, claiming to be the same ones the Sioux Wildcats wore. He didn't know or care if it was true, what counted was that they were light enough to run in, thick-soled enough to sneak in, and tough enough to barely show the wear and tear he'd put them through, in his eighteen months of dodging patrols, other para's, and plain old cops. He'd run on rooftops in them, kicked men's teeth out with them, stomped in a skull or two, and crushed glass underfoot as he did his damnedest to dodge bullets. They were good boots. They deserved to be tied right, plus tightening them properly during lacing would help keep his feet dry.

It was raining -- Christ, when wasn't it raining in Belfast?

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done...

He was careful to tuck his cargo pants into the tops of the boots just right. They were drab grey things, extra loose and baggy, with pockets that would soon be weighed down by more than the handful of slap patches he always kept on him. He bloused the ankles. He'd read something, once, about how only the best of the best over in one of the old American militaries got to do that, blouse up their ankles. He wasn't technically a soldier, despite them calling themselves the Irish National Liberation Army, but he was still the best of the best. He'd been at the game too long, it had been running too fast, for him to be anything else. Second best died, in the terrorism game.

Once he'd discovered he was an Adept, of course, he'd grabbed that fact by the neck and never let go.  It was almost his only edge.

...on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

The vest strapped into place over his dark t-shirt, covering up a band logo and wrapping his torso in a comfortably tight cocoon that would stop most anything up to a .45 round. The trauma plates made it heavier, but Rory knew he might need them that night. He fumbled for a few seconds with the straps to his shoulder rig, having forgotten to adjust it for his armored bulk ahead of time; then a pair of Brownings were slid into holsters, one under each arm. Bloody right, Brownings; good enough for the old SAS boys, good enough for him. Filled magazines and loose, leftover, bullets started going into cargo pocket pants, making him thankful for the belt he'd been careful to tighten extra securely.

They were oily things, caseless rounds, and they left his hands slick and smelling of death-to-come, but you could never have too many of them.

Give us this day our daily bread.

The slender young elf let out a sigh, turning to the table next to him. The C-6 was already in place, a block of it that would fill a shoebox, thumped unceremoniously into the bottom of this plasti-nylon bookbag. He knew it was safe. He knew how stable it was. He knew that without the pencil inserted -- pencils kept in ziplock baggies on the external pockets of the backpack -- he could manhandle it as much as he wanted; swing the bag like a club, let it slap loose at the small of his back as he ran, drop it, throw it, hit someone in the face with a brick of it, even burn it, if he had to. He knew that, on a rational level. But all the same, he sometimes thought he could feel the danger of it. The potential. The tension. The energy, waiting to be released. It scared him, that so much death could fit in so small a backpack. It scared him more that so much death could come from him. He zipped the bag shut, adjusted the shoulder strap, hefted it, once, for balance.

Forgive us our trespasses...

The TRC had Stephen McManus. They had him, and they were torturing him right now, and Rory and everyone Rory knew was going to be in trouble. They'd caught him, little Stevie McManus, the Tir nA nOg bastards had hit him with some spell that kept him from fighting or running or ducking or even putting his gun to his own head, and then they had just scooped him into a van easy as you please.

That was their problem, Rory's and his INLA friends. Magic. It was what they needed. He was the closest they had, their best killer, fueled by the same sorcery that their enemy was.  He didn't have spells, not really, he was just better;  faster, tougher, able to flow through a fight and hit what he aimed at while being missed damn near every time.  He was an Adept.  He was their edge.

He wasn't their leader, not by a long shot, but he was their best, so it came down to him. He had to stop Stephen from talking. He knew where they'd taken his friend. He knew he had to quiet him. He knew what had to be done, and that he was the only one that could do it.

...as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Rory hated his ears, and his features, and his quickness, and his God-damned cat's eyes. He wished he could be rid of them. He wished he didn't need them so.

They didn't call his home Eire any more. People with faces and ears and eyes like his had taken it over, killed or kicked out anyone who disagreed too loudly, renamed it after thousands of years.  They'd tried to stamp out the church and replace it, tried to institute their own rules and their own morals and their own names for what was holy and what was spiritual and what was right.  It had happened before, to this green island. God knows, it had happened before. And Rory, and those like him, would do what had been done in those past ages, those decades or centuries or generations ago.

They were Irish. They were of Ulster. They were fighters.

Rory shrugged into his heavy jacket, rolling his shoulders a few times, bending and straightening experimentally. He'd worn the armored jacket before, of course, and the vest, and the shoulder rig. But never all at once. He felt alright, though. He felt fast. Loose. Ready. Eager. The jacket didn't slow him down any more than the vest or the pistol rig did.

Ireland, and his belief in it, kept him quick and smooth. Hatred kept his movements fluid.

And lead us not into temptation...

They'd taken her from him, those years ago. Same as they'd just taken Stephen. He hadn't cared one way or the other what name was on the maps of his country, before her. He hadn't minded his elven ears, his night sight, his grace and fluidity.  He hadn't even really cared about the churches.  He hadn't hated, really hated, until he'd seen her dead.

Rory'd loved her, but she'd painted slogans they didn't like and so they'd killed her.

So he'd found hatred, and found a gun, and found his magic, and found his will to use it. He'd gone to Libya and trained with the men that had trained generations of angry young terrorists. He'd learned to harness his power, his will to kill, his anger and his youth. He'd been taught how to do the things he was about to do. He'd come home, then, not an angry boy but a focused man. Beneath his sunburn and the new hardness in his eyes was a core of rage and concentration in equal parts, and Rory honestly didn't know how many men he'd killed in the years since.

He didn't count. He knew Seamus, and Michael, and Stephen, and all the others did.  He knew they all lifted glasses for each confirmed kill.  He knew they whispered about him, knew why they bought him drinks and stepped out of his way and asked him to do the things they couldn't or wouldn't -- but he didn't count.

God did.

...but deliver us from evil.

He pulled the balaclava out of his jacket pocket, tugged it onto the top of his head, flatrolled it just so; it looked just like a stocking cap, and it would look that way until he chose for it to look otherwise.

Pants like his were common. The battered old bomber jacket hid its trauma plates well and could belong to anyone. The vest didn't show as anything more than some nondescript black top. The boots were comfortable, the hat to keep off the chill, the bag could hold anything, slung as it would be over one shoulder. He was just another factory or dock worker going home.

He gritted his teeth and readjusted his hat; shifted it, tugged and shoved a bit, making sure his ears showed. Being an elf would make the cops more likely to leave him alone as he walked to where Seamus had left the car.  He hated it, but it was how things were.  Fair enough, he'd use that racism against them.  The TRC wouldn't hassle him as he crossed town, the way they would if he were a human or an ork. 

In the back seat of the car was a Kalishnikov and several full magazines, in the glove box an old paper map with instructions drawn on it, a small bottle of Bushmill's and a credstick for when the job was done. He had to make it to that car, and drive the twenty minutes to the Seventeeth Street police station.

For thine is the Kingdom...

He looked himself over, one last time, in the cracked mirror that was bolted to the inside of his flat's door. He looked fine. He looked casual, and comfortable, and warm against the rain that would turn to snow by morning. You couldn't see the guns, or the ammunition, or the bomb that was in his knapsack. You couldn't see the blood on his hands, or the death in his sparkling blue eyes. He might've been a young student again, walking across campus to meet her for lunch.

He flashed a smile, hoping for a moment to see the boy she'd known while she lived.

...and the Power...

A killer looked back at him from the mirror. The killer smiled. It was elf-perfect and charming, white toothed and flawless... but feral, all the same. The smile didn't reach his green eyes. They didn't sparkle quite right, any more. They burned with something, some energy from inside him, but that wasn't the same. He wondered what she'd say, today, if he'd met her in a Philosophy 101 class at Trinity, asked her for coffee, smiled at her like this, while he had this bag over his shoulder.

...and the Glory. Forever and ever.

The killer stopped smiling. The killer knew the answer. The killer knew he wouldn't go to Trinity College ever again, and would do his best to drink and kill and burn away the memories of those philosophy classes and the Sunday school lessons and the prayers and the love and the family. The killer knew he didn't deserve to think about her smile ever again, or the nights they'd had, or the shared hangovers the next day, and the laughter, and the doing it all over again.

The killer knew where the car was, and the route he'd take to get to it, and the route he'd take to get to the station. He knew the window closest to the interrogation cells, knew he'd creep up to it and snap a thirty second pencil into the absurdly large block of C-6. He knew he'd empty a magazine through it, and then a second, and then a third, and then while everyone was ducking and cursing and praying and bleeding, he'd run. He'd run back to the car, and watch the explosion that would kill his friend Stephen in the rear view mirrors as he sped away, and then he'd drink the Bushmill's and use the credstick to buy more, and he'd drink until he forgot the screams and the smell of gunpowder and the secrets Stephen would never get the chance to share.

Amen.

Another little piece of Rory Caolain died as he walked out into the night, collar turned up against the cold rain, and tugged the door to his flat shut right behind him. He knew she wouldn't forgive him for the things he was doing, the things he'd done. He knew she was a painter of slogans, a debate student, a talker and a lover and a passionate believer... but not a killer.

The killer knew she'd be afraid of him, and feel sad for what he'd become.  He knew he should be, too, but somehow he wasn't.  He'd found a way to get back at them.  He'd found something he was good at.  He'd found a way to make a difference.  He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he didn't care.

He knew God counted.
« Last Edit: <08-11-11/1444:43> by Critias »

Critias

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« Reply #1 on: <09-03-10/1834:09> »
This is a little one I threw together once upon a time, for an Adept that I just got a character idea for while flipping through Tir na nOg.  I never got around to statting him up or finding a game for him or anything, just thought it was an interesting character background.
« Last Edit: <08-11-11/1445:25> by Critias »

Patrick Goodman

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« Reply #2 on: <09-05-10/1043:25> »
Oooof.

That so rocked, man!
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Mooncrow

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« Reply #3 on: <09-05-10/1605:24> »
This one is amazing Crit. 

Angelone

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« Reply #4 on: <09-20-10/1733:44> »
I didn't realize you had written this. I was trying to find it the other day.
REJOICE! For bad things are about to happen.
la vida no vale nada

Critias

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« Reply #5 on: <09-20-10/1958:26> »
Yup, it's one of mine.   ;)

Thanks for the comments, y'all, glad folks enjoy it.

Critias

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« Reply #6 on: <11-18-10/0420:43> »
Shameless bump, and because it's fair to say I've got ol' Rory here on the brain, after writing a hojillion and five hundred words for Spy Games last weekend.

Angelone

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« Reply #7 on: <11-18-10/1233:39> »
Nothing shameless about it. This is a powerful piece and should be read.
REJOICE! For bad things are about to happen.
la vida no vale nada

Wolfboy

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« Reply #8 on: <11-26-10/1619:50> »
this kicked but Critias, its actually good to read stuff about the paritsans against Tir controll
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

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Deepeyes

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« Reply #9 on: <04-20-11/1613:00> »
Super sweet!! I just love how you're able to depict with such details the psyche and state of mind of all your characters... I'm taking notes that's for sure :)

Critias

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« Reply #10 on: <04-20-11/2024:35> »
Glad you guys dig it.  :)  Fans of young Rory here will be pretty pleased with a few upcoming products, I think.

Mindset

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« Reply #11 on: <04-21-11/0553:53> »
Not bad. Over the years you've done good work. Did you post Connor-stuff here abouts yet?
"Can you blow me where the pampers is?"