3

The initial shock gone, the room became abuzz with murmurs; cameras flashing here and there. The voices grew louder and the lights flashed more swiftly, the audience speaking in a mix of confusion and awe, the magik wielding Veldt having been long thought extinct. The man, Orojin, stood quietly at the podium until the noise dyed done enough, before speaking once more.

“My people have seen the struggles of the common man against the menace that are the Organizations,” he says, “Throughout Elemark, the Ark police are valiantly going against the Orgs, going against a much stronger foe in the name of justice and peace. These actions are to be commended, as are the actions of Mayor Ebuza and Chief Nol-Wun for accepting our help in these troubled times, understanding that without us, how long will it be before the police patrolling the streets are replaced by the Terragotto, the Black Falcons, or the Aduri? What I give you now a promise, a promise that we will take back the streets and end the Org menace once and for all.”

The audience gave a standing ovation as Orojin steps from the podium, at the same time, the masked figures turn in unison. Orojin is quickly flanked on either side by his Veldt, exiting the room the way he had come.

“What’s wrong Malko,” Akko asks, the others turning their attention now

“I didn’t expect that announcement,” he says, his speech quickening, “She called, said she’s seen my latest movie, asked if I would like to sponsor an event for her—of course I would—who wouldn’t—but not this.”

“First off, slow down,” Pietro said, “Now what’s the problem?”

“The Orgs,” Malko said, “The Orgs will see this as me being a part of this seeing as I am hosting this thing. They’ll probably have a hard time getting to that Oro guy or the Chief, but me, any of them could bring an End Team after me.”

Pietro’s look was that of disapproval, “In all your acting, when did you forget to act like a man; you’re worrying about street thugs.”

“You’re a fighter,” Ulrich says, “Who could the Orgs put up against you?”

Akko shakes his head, “Hold on guys,” he says, “Malko has a point, just think for a minute. The Orgs will want to look strong after this announcement to show that they won’t be intimidated, and Malko isn’t a bad choice of a target. If it comes to that, a half dozen Lightning Faction Falcons against someone who hasn’t fought in years and—no offense Malko, even when he did, was not top tier.”

Malko gets to his feet, “I’ll be back,” he says, “I’m gonna go talk to the Mayor.”

He walks over to Mayor Ebuza, who is in a conversation with Chief Nol-Wun. The Mayor looks over Nol-Wun’s shoulder and sees him coming; she smiles as he comes forward.

“Malko,” she says, “I have to thank you again for doing this all on such short notice.”

“About that,” Malko says, proceeding to tell the two of his dilemma

“I see. I should have thought of this before,” she replies, “I’m sorry I have put you in this situation.”

“If protection is what you need, then I can have a team with you around the clock.” declares Nol-Wun, “It’s the least we can do.”

“Not such a sleaze after all,” Malko says

“What?”

“Nothing—I was thinking of something else,” Malko says quickly, a grin playing across his face

Across the room, the others look on as Malko talks with Mayor and Police Chief.

“I’ve always been curios as to why the Princess of Elemark chooses to play Mayor,” Ulrich says, “Just what does she get out of it? She’s beautiful, like mid-twenties, and rich; yet instead of living it up with lords and the lot, she spends her days with the politico.”

“Even women like her want power,” Akko says

“I mean she could just sit back and wait for her turn at the crown,” Ulrich says

Pietro shakes his head, “You’re forgetting about the Vote of Succession law. Do you really think that in the current state of the country, that if the Princess had just sat around and waited for her turn, the Council would have agreed? I’ve known of a few former royals to go into politics just to make their standing in the succession pool higher.”

“I’d have thought she was trying to be so political to compensate for her older brother,” Sin says

“Xen hasn’t been seen in years,” Akko notes, taking a sip of his drink while looking across the room

“He’s probably dead,” Pietro says, “Just because we haven’t heard it doesn’t mean somebody hasn’t done it. He’s some years older than me but I never liked him, there was always something about him.”

“Sad about his mom though,” Ulrich remarks

Malko returns to the table with a look of satisfaction, plopping into his seat with a smile.

“Went well?” asks Sin

“Very.” he replies, “The Orgs won’t be able to even get near me now.”

Pietro smirks, “Well that’s no fun.”

“But I’ve got even better news,” Malko says, the smile ever present, “The Princess has invited me to the palace for dinner next week.”

“Who else is invited?” Akko asks

“Just me,” Malko says, “I’ll be dining with her and the King.”

“Aside from that being very awkward, that’s great.” Ulrich says

“It’s a pity date,” Pietro says, “You’re not nearly that famous.”

Malko shoots daggers at Pietro, “I’ll have you know, she is a huge fan of my movies.”

Pietro laughs, “Your movies? Comedies and a weird cliché love drama.”

Love Below gained three award nominations.” states Malko defensively

“You played a mentally ill dolphin enthusiast who couldn’t choose between loving a beautiful whale lover—equally weird by the way—or a dolphin.”

“It was such a good movie Malko,” Sin says, “I cried at the ending.”

“I laughed.” Ulrich added, “Are you sure that wasn’t comedy?”

Akko glances across the room once more, catching the young woman in the corner again looking in his direction. She’s cute, he says to himself, and alone. He looks around, wondering if perhaps she was looking at someone else. At seeing the tables around him empty, as many of the party goers were mingling out on the floor, he gets to his feet. Leaving the guys to go back and forth about Malko’s movies, he makes his way through the crowd. She sees him coming about halfway across, so he gives an awkward wave, not knowing what else to do, putting his hands in his pocket as he comes forward.

“Let me guess,” he says, “You’ve been trying to work up the courage to come over and talk to me haven’t you?”

She laughs dryly, “I’m going to take that as a joke.”

“Sorry,” Akko says, “My names Akko.”

“Ferra.”

“It’s just that usually when I see a girl staring at me, she’s usually a fan,” he says

“Well if you must know, I’ve spent the last few minutes wondering if it was really you.” she replies

“So you are a fan then?”

“I saw your match the other day,” she states, “It was my first.”

“Really,” Akko says, “I’d have thought most people had seen at least one pro fight match in their lives.”

“My father is not a fan of the sport,” she says, “And really, neither am I. I was curious, but after watching, it seemed so unrefined.”

Akko looks around, “Would your father mind is I took his daughter for a walk?”

They headed out back, walking along the reflective pool. A slight breeze blowing through the night air, Akko looks on as the wind gently blew Ferra’s hair.

“Now whose staring?” she smirked

“My bad,” Akko said, looking the other way

Their walk continues in silence as Akko tries to think of something to say. This girl was not just another fan who was constantly fawning over him; she actually seemed uninterested for the most part. She wasn’t asking any questions about his life or if he knew any other famous people, none of the usual fan talk. It was much surprising considering when she had been staring at him earlier, he was sure she was of that nature. Now he was walking with her, and he couldn’t think of anything to say.

“You don’t have to try so hard,” she said

They stop walking; Akko putting his hands in his pocket once more while Ferra looks down into the reflection pool.

“So tell me something about yourself,” he says, trying to make conversation

“I haven’t been here long,” she says, “but I’m not too fond of this city’s inhabitants.”

“Probably because you hadn’t met a guy like me,” Akko says

As she is about to reply, a man comes up behind the two.

“He calls for you Miss Grey.”

Ferra turns back to Akko, “I’ve met a lot of guys like you,” as she walks away, she calls back, “I’ll be seeing you Akko Namor.”

Watching her go, he catches the eye of none other than Nikita Vikaeli, glancing in Akko’s direction every now and then while he talks with a group of unnamed men and women. Looking past Nikita, Akko sees his son Nikki as well. As Akko makes his way back into the building, he feels Nikita’s eyes following him as he walks past.

Taking his seat at the table, he notices that it’s all but empty save for Ulrich and Seneca, who, at the moment were conjoined at the face. He clears his throat.

“Come up for air you two,” he says, “Where are Malko and Pietro?”

Ulrich points and Akko follows the direction, looking over and seeing them in what he can only assume is boring conversation with a pair of politico. He turns back to the duo, surprised that they have not gone under once more.

“Akko, I’ll need the car.”

“No,” he replies, “You spent your money on the cycle remember?”

“Which is great, but I couldn’t well ride that here now could I?”

“Fine,” Akko tosses the keys to Ulrich

Akko orders another drink, now sitting alone at the table. He looks out on the crowd, watching as Ulrich exits with Seneca. Just as soon as they exit, three men come into the building. Considering no one has really left yet, and it’s quite a late entrance, Akko watches them, out of boredom than anything else. They don’t disappoint as he sees them walk up to Nikki Vikaeli, say a few words, and hastily exit the building with Nikki in the lead. Akko shakes his head, cursing the Aduri as he drank.

The Namor brothers share a home; having moved to Alter City a few years ago from the small town life, they were only happy at having a place to stay, not spending their money on the luxury aspects of a home. Though, that is not to say that their home did not show their monetary status of being well off.

Walking into the house, Seneca hurried off to the bathroom while Ulrich walks up the stairs to his bedroom. He begins to remove his shirt as he steps through the door to his unlit room. Pulling the shirt over his head, he looks up—indistinguishable by the dim light of the moon shining through the window, but unmistakably there, four darkened figures stand before him.

“Ulrich Namor…We’ve been waiting.”

=============================


The Terragoto [Earth]: consisting of all Earth based elements, and the largest faction, the organization is not a transitional group of leadership. Due to their powerful iron element, the House of Medro has controlled the Org for generations, taking over shortly after the organization was founded. Though with their numbers dwindling, the other Houses may now rise against the Dynasty.

Hydra [Water]: using the ability to monopolize the nearly all water based industry, the Water Houses have a base of operations in every port in Adreark; meaning many places to dump their enemies. Unlike the other Organizations, the Blue’s Headquarters lies on an island off the coast where the current Head of the Organization resides, while he orchestrates his business and Org operations through his sons.

The Black Falcons [Air]: perhaps the most volatile Organization, the Falcons are currently a splintered group. The Lightning Houses have rebelled against their Wind House counterparts, while the rare Energy Houses remain neutral, but are used by both the Lightning and the Wind.

Xen Ebuza: the son of the King of Elemark has been away for 11 years, his location was unknown. When he was 17 he attempted a coup d’etat, but was thwarted by the royal guard, though not before they were able to kill three members of the Medrioporum (the Elemark Council) and Xen had killed his own mother. When asked by his father why he did it, he said that it was because his father did nothing to make sure that his son would succeed him, that the throne would be assured to his son, not be voted on. He claimed that his father was not a king, but a puppet of the council; he wanted to rule, he wanted the power. The night before his and his fellow conspirators’ public execution was set; they escaped the palace prison and fled the city.

Vote of Succession Law: unlike a conventional kingship, the land of Elemark, not wanting to give power of the country to someone based on only that they were the son of the last leader, decided on the rules of succession. Each King of Queen was voted upon by the Medrioporum, who could choose from either the current Nobility, the Politico, or from any of the former Kings or Queen, including their immediate sons or daughters. The decision can only be made when the current King or Queen has either retired of died.