Subjugator Rhone stood shoulder to shoulder with the other three members of his squad, facing the ruins of the buildings surrounding the Vortex. The air was thick with smoke and arcane residue, making it difficult to judge the position of the enemy. Casualties from both sides littered the ground. The Arx Novum had lost many good magi today. They were having to battle from out in the open, while the Schism magi were firmly entrenched within the protection of the ruins. One thing was certain, they were outnumbered and losing ground. Maybe it was time to fall back and regroup. No. He thought. We push back.
“Ferringer’s Defense on my mark.” he called out to the squad. Rhone watched the enemy and waited until the time was right. “Now!”
With military precision the Subjugators spoke the Words and moved in concert. Walls of defensive energy filled the air and locked together forming a phalanx shield. Immediately, a barrage of magicks from the Schism pounded them, but the spells were deflected or absorbed by the shield. The squad, their jaws clenched, felt the shield shudder but held their focus steady.
Rhone saw the squad to their right falter to a vicious Bio spell, the effect withering all life around them. As soon as the magick attacks against them began to wane, he turned to his men. “Go. Find the Mark. Make sure the Line does not falter.” The squad acknowledged, dropped the shield and dispersed, each running in a different direction.
From within the Schism position, Meraz watched the Arx Novum squad split up. He focused his attention on the imposing figure walking through the rubble near him. Laying low and biding his time, he waited until the target’s back was turned towards him. “Now I’ve got you.” he whispered and began to cast.
A pillar of flame erupted from the ground underneath the Subjugator. Meraz grinned as he watched the enemy being consumed by fire, but his victory was short lived. As the flames died down, the Subjugator still stood, his clothes aflame as he turned to face his attacker. Pieces of his burning jacket fell to the ground revealing a rune covered breastplate, which still glowed intensely in response to the elemental attack.
In an instant, the Subjugator’s form blurred and relocated directly in front of Meraz. “Who’s got who?” The Subjugator said with a smirk as he pulled his right arm back.
“Oh no…” the Schism Magi muttered in disbelief. As the blow landed and he began to lose consciousness, he thought how ironic it was that such a powerful Magi like himself could be bested by a single punch.
Meraz woke up with a painful throbbing in his head that was intensified by the bright spotlight glaring down on him. He was bound to a cold metal chair in the center of an otherwise dimly lit windowless room. Rough sinewy rope bit into his wrists as he tested the restraints that held his arms behind his back.
“Ah, you’re awake. Shall we begin?”
Two men emerged from the far shadows of the room to stand just outside the light.
“Who are you?” Meraz asked. “What do you want from me?
“I don’t know anything.”
“Such a shame. The Keepers have taken note of Schism activities. Now The Firsts require information.”
The Inquisitor entered the light, his thin frame seeming to float as he moved slowly over to the table against the wall. His hand dropped to the small metal tools laid out on the table. He let his index finger lightly graze the instruments of his profession, his touch causing them to glow in response. “I am here to help you remember… “
“…and I am here to make you forget.” finished the Rectifier. His eyes glowed from within his shadow shrouded features and he held a plain metal box in his hands.
“What makes you think that I’m gonna’ to tell you anything…” A spike of pain shot through Meraz’s skull, causing him to gasp. He could feel his control beginning to slip away and his vision distort as the pressure inside his head intensified.
What makes you think that you won’t? The Rectifier’s voice echoed in the prisoner’s mind.
The Inquisitor moved towards the Schism magi with a gleaming instrument in hand. Behind him, the Rectifier opened the metal box revealing a small glass orb that was strangely dark in the glaring light.
A short time later, the three leaders of the Arx Novum, The Firsts, sat in high backed chairs triangulated around a large stone circular table. They stared at the orb placed in the center and silently considered the bounty of captured memories that had been Revealed.
The First Subjugator broke the silence. “What is to be done with this information?” He asked, eying the other two.
Folding his hands underneath his chin, the First Inquisitor, thought on this, then a smile slowly came to his face. “Give them exactly what they sent us to gather.”
“And the rest?” The Subjugator leaned forward in his chair.
The Inquisitor looked at the others and simply stated. “They need not know.”
“Agreed.” said the First Rectifier. He reached for the orb. Spinning it with his fingers, he rubbed its smooth surface with his thumb. “Let us not hamper them with the details.”
Deep below the Citadel, as instructed by the Firsts, a young Rectifier made her way through labyrinthine halls until she located the right alcove. After wheeling a ladder into position and ascending it, she unwrapped the orb and placed it quickly onto a waiting vacant holder, which she labelled “Meraz” with neat cursive script. With a slight shudder, she left as quickly as she came, her body silhouetted against a shimmering curtain of countless orbs lining the walls of the Vault of Memories.
Written by Gregory “Lahzarel Thane” Krywusha
Arx Novum Key Points:
- The Arx Novum is often called The Fist of the Keepers.
- These Magi act to contain rogue magick and are the first line of defense against extraterrestrial intrusion into Earth’s spacetime, terrorist attacks by the Liberators, Corrupted Sacred Sites.
- They preserve the tenets by any means necessary. While their methods are questioned by Keepers, their results are undeniable.
- Arx Novum divides into orders and ranks:
Subjugators: militaristic order most involved in attacking other factions.
Inquisitors: interrogate friend and foe alike to maintain order.
Rectifiers: Specialists in repairing magickal damage. They retrieve Artifacts and overpowered spells and remove them from global circulation.
- Arx Novum are experts in memory retrieval and memory restoration. Their work gives The Keepers overall an advantage when reincarnating to retrieve their memories faster.