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The Secret Rally (Sign-up in OOC Thread)


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Number Two... THAT BLASTED FOOL!!!


He had ONE JOB to do!


In defiance of Number One's strict orders, Revenant did not actually attempt to hit his superior. Which was a serious problem, because the entire staged fight was supposed to look as convincing as possible. But for whatever reason, the lieutenant botched his task, meaning there was no way the assembled audience would believe the "coup" was real.


Such a terrible pity. Apparently, even Shadowmane's second in command needed a reminder that WRAITH did not tolerate failure.


Moving in a blur, the masked figure finally went on the offensive. With a series of precise fast-striking thrusts and jabs, Revenant was quickly subdued in a matter of mere seconds. The "traitor's" limbs were paralyzed; Number One possessed an intimate understanding of an equine's easily-exploitable pressure points. Of course, Number Two always understood that he was to be "defeated" in this manner.


However, what came next was completely unplanned for. Out from Shadowmane's garments came something that appeared like a lightweight baton, which sparkled with red-hued magical energy on one tip as the device was brought out. It was one of WRAITH's magitech gizmos, used to subdue targets with a painful electro-magic force. Wasting no time, Shadowmane pressed the baton's tip onto the fallen lieutenant, letting the torment of agony begin.


A completely unnecessary finisher, yes... but if the audience couldn't buy that fight, they could at least buy the consequences of disobedience.


Several seconds later, Shadowmane gave a stricken Revenant a reprieve, signaling the guards to drag Number Two offstage. Cross words would have to be exchanged later away from prying eyes. For now, the masked figure instructed all those watching; "Let that be a warning to all those who would dare oppose WRAITH."

No further elaboration was necessary.....





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Daedalus huffed at the show.  It had to be a show.  No agent, assassin, mercenary, or well-meaning citizen in their right mind would dare to attack the purported leader of a shadowy criminal syndicate on stage during a rally in front of hundreds of witnesses and the full command staff, right?  The bombastic declaration that the newcomer was a spy sent by Celestia was yet another tell.  That it was the stallion he had met at the door further destroyed any sense of immersion.


“Amateurs,” he muttered to himself.


Was this really the organization it touted itself to be?  A puppet show put on for foals?  Daedalus was no martial artist, but something about the attacker’s motions didn’t flow correctly.  He seemed hesitant; his attacks felt like watching a film where the frames were just barely out of sync with the sound: difficult to nail down exactly what was wrong, but easy to tell that something was definitely off.


Even “Number One’s” reactions seemed all part of one grand choreographed fight.  The counter-strikes were swift and fantastically flourished, resulting in the assailant being quickly laid out on the stage.  The “fight” seemed all but over until a baton-like object shot out of the masked creature’s robes.  Instantly, the attacker began writhing in pain as crimson arcs of electricity jumped across the surface of his body.


With his enhanced vision, Daedalus realized that the last bit was entirely real.  The sensors picked up a high-intensity aetheric spike and before long, Daedalus could smell the ozone mixed with the sickly sweet odor of warm electronics and the acrid stench of burned cloth.  This was not choreographed, unless it was done so by a supreme sadist.  That alone was enough to pique Daedalus’ curiosity.


A Head from the Assembly publicly castigating their own subordinates was nothing out of the ordinary in Kastrot.  Seeing it in mainland Equestria in a city renown for its diversity and equality was jarring.  Perhaps continued investigation was warranted after all.


"Let that be a warning to all those who would dare oppose WRAITH."


The bombast did not concern him so much as a final, proper name for the organization.  Daedalus would return to the Keep shortly and begin his research on this “WRAITH.”  Suddenly, an idea struck him.


He was already on their list.  Declining an invitation such as their own would ordinarily have spelled death for an ordinary citizen.  Daedalus had ways of shaking tails and assassins, but still, he was in a unique position to gain access to a secretive cabal that he otherwise would not have been able to penetrate.  It was an opportunity he could not afford to pass up.  Instead of slinking away to make a stealthy exit, Daedalus instead circled the stage and waited near the rear access, where he could be the first to greet the door-stallion upon his resuscitation.


They had much to discuss…

- Daedalus effectively exits -

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Aranak sighed to himself as he watched the show start. That was really the best word for it, with the timing that made no sense as well as the attacks that seemed to be held back just enough. The dragon wasn't so sure anymore about joining if they were going to be this ineffective on something this simple. Then again, that might just make his takeover easier. 


And then the fight was over, making the dragon smile as the attacker was punished with electricity. If that was acceptable, then he would enjoy his time in this group. It seemed the show, and the rally, was over. 


Pushing off the wall, Aranak took to the air in order to avoid the crowd as he went to go offer his services as a member of WRAITH. 


[Effectively exited]

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Not a sound.


Not a single noise left his mouth as the red-white agony of Number One's torment arced across his body, the previously paralyzing touch of his hooves rendering the darkly colored stallion immobile, and Revenant could almost thank him for that. His body could only weakly twitch in protest rather than writhe in full blown agony, but even still, not a sound emitted from the stage except for the hissing sting of the energy sword. Not whimper nor groan, scream or cry. Not








It was over in a matter of seconds, Revenant knew that - logically - and he became keenly aware of a stone cold silence in the once roaring warehouse. It was almost enough to make the stallion chuckle, but he reigned it in. The display had been for the easily manipulated newcomers in the frothing masses, sure - but it had almost been for WRAITH. A subtle reminder that their leader, their mysterious, shadowed leader, oft talked about but rarely seen, was...well. That he had every right to lead. That he was leading WRAITH, and for good reason. Number Two, proud, lethal, strong, seen and interacted with on a day to day basis...he was only second best.


Number One was number one, and for bloody well good reason.


Oi...how he wanted to pass out for a nice kip, right about now.


"All right, there," Revenant rasped, a wet, grating sound, hardly a whisper easily hidden against the rumble of muttering beginning to start back up...but there was no need for it. Number One was already away, and the stallion let himself hang limply as forelegs wrapped around his own to drag him off the stage. Revenant didn't bother trying to steady his head as it lolled off to one side, blood red eyes following the trail of a black and silver figure as it disappeared into the darkness, slipping away like...like a revenant, hah, bloody poetic. 


This time, he didn't bother hiding the chuckle.


"...give a bloke a break, love." 


[[ Exit ]]

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So... apparently, Kahz wasn't the only one perceptive enough to see through the illusion.  If he had to hazard a guess, the dividing line between those who bought into the stage play and those who could see it for what it was primarily depended upon whether or not the audience genuinely bought into WRAITH's ideals.  *Which would actually be very clever; what better way to separate the true recruits from the infiltrators?*  A truly brilliant maneuver, if that's what they were going for, and it certainly wasn't safe to underestimate their capabilities.  As a known emissary, Kahz himself might be forgiven for not cheering the subsequent beatdown Revenant received, but Yu?


He looked over to the Qilin mare who had, for the past hour or so, been a bastion of emotional support in a sea of rage and hatred.  They had to get out of here; she had to get out of this.  Already, Kahz' mind was buzzing with possible sanctuaries that he could place the dream therapist in, beyond or at least at the periphery of an Equestrian Insurgent Group's reach.  Tugging at her foreleg, he nodded towards the door.  "Party's over, it looks like."  Indeed, Shadowmane had departed the stage, and the crowd was coming down off it's emotional high to a general milling about, filing or sneaking out of the exits.  "Time I made my report to the Queen; would help to have a corroborating witness."  The changeling pitched his voice to carry over the crowd without sounding like he was shouting, best way to give a reason why he was escorting Yu to the exit.


On the way, he happened to kick a light cable over by the hooves of a guard standing watch over Red.  Would the mare attempt to make a break for it, she might find it easy to trip up her minder.  As for the changeling himself, he carried himself with all the confidence of a 'ling having every right to be where he was, doing what he was doing.  He assumed a disguise before exiting, of course, his earth pony guise of 'Heart Sight.'  If anyone were to ask, the small grey-coated Stallion was just a tourist showing his date around the place, oh this isn't where the tourists are?  Silly me, got lost, where's my map?  Oh, dropped it, could you kindly direct me to the nearest bus station...?


*Exit Kahz*

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If Yù hadn't been ready to leave before — which she had been since she got here — she really was ready to leave now. It seemed that Revenant had displeased the leader, and they weren't remotely happy about it. It was over quick, but it didn't make what happened any less brutal. Why, in a land so touted for its friendship and harmony, was something like this even remotely a thing? Yù was far from perfect and had done a lot wrong, but never with this kind of hate in her heart. What was driving them to such lengths. She couldn't pry her eyes away from the slightly smoking stallion that was being dragged off stage. If that was just a warning...

The mare's thoughts were thankfully snapped back to reality by a tug to her foreleg. She gave a little sigh of relief. It was over...no, it was far from over, but tonight. Tonight was finally over. Swallowing her worries for another time, the qilin smiled and followed along with her escort. It was easy for her to tell that Kahz was making an excuse to help her out. That was sweet of him! Nice to know that not everyone here was absolutely insane. " I'd be delighted to assist. Plus, it'll be nice to get some fresh air. Perhaps you, and Miss Sure Strike..." she said with a smile towards the both of them, waving farewell as she and Kahz went. "Would like to visit me in Canterlot sometime. I can't say I have too many friends. Clients, but no real friends. It'd be great to have you."

Once the duo were safely outside, Yù gave a less constrained sigh of relief. Like someone had lifted a great weight off her shoulders. Tonight was over for now, and at least she had some pleasant company to the bus station. A long soaking bath was in order when she was finally home...

-Exit Yù-

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There was only one way the fight on stage could end, with WRAITH's leader triumphantly standing over his or her would-be aggressor.  It thus came as no surprise when that outcome was exactly what had occurred.  However she wasn't fully prepared for what came after.  Shadowmane pulled out a wand of some sort, glowing with a sickly red energy, and pressed it to the attackers side, who to his credit, never cried out.


That fact that 'Sure Strike' didn't recognize the device, and could only tell what she could deduce at a glance, made it all the worse.  She didn't know what it did, or how it was made, or how it was designed to work.  All she could see was crackling energy, and the convulsions of the victim's body.  She looked away.  Perhaps a little bit obvious, but she couldn't be the only one who struggled with such a blatant display.  Besides, it was only a moment before she recovered, and forced herself to watch.  This was important in its own way.  It wouldn't be valuable intelligence, the academic fact that WRAITH was capable of this sort of thing was expected.  But that they would so casually torture their own people, even in a temporary manner as she assumed this to be, was all the more reason for them to be opposed.  'Sure Strike' remained stoic.


And then it was over.  Thank Celestia.  The crowd began to fragment, most of the various ponies and other creatures presumably having homes to get back to.  Kahz announced loudly the value of having a second creature confirm his account to the Chrysalis- it took 'Sure Strike' some effort not to spit at her name as she thought it.  Momentarily distracted, she almost didn't notice the true purpose of the comment, and would only pick up on it when she noticed him and Yu walk out the door together in another few seconds.


Just before that, the qilin suggested that perhaps 'Sure Strike', as well as Kahz, might like to visit her in Canterlot some time.  'Sure Strike allowed herself a small smile.  “Yes, I think I would like that.”  Yu did not offer an actual address, but in all likelihood it was probably safer that way.  'Sure Strike' was confident she could find the qilin in Canterlot, whether herself or with the help of some friends of her own.


And then the Yu and Kahz exited the warehouse, and 'Sure Strike' was left alone, despite being in the middle of the crowd.  There were no more sane voices she could identify, or at least none which would be safe or worthwhile to speak to.  She had enough to make a report, certainly, and with the opportunity of the end of the performance it was time to leave.  She blended into a passing clump of ponies, themselves making for the exit, and then once outside she faded into the night.


[Naj Exits.]




“Well,” Providence muttered to her companion as she watched events unfold onstage, “it's a good thing I hadn't taken your bet, isn't it?”  She didn't quite frown, but she wasn't smiling either.  The play had shifted genres from comedy to horror.  Torture had it's place, as did punishment, but this did seem a rather trivial reason to employ either.  There was a chance this too was all a part of the show, though if that were true it was far more convincing.  It didn't preclude working for WRAITH.  If the money was good, and the tasks had a purpose to them, Providence was still perfectly willing to fight on their behalf.  She would however have to ensure that her soldiers would be turned over to her for any necessary punishments, rather than leave them in WRAITH's hooves.


Nopony had come to speak to Providence during the performance, and what the knight had said prior indicated an interest but also a lack of particular needs on the part of Providence and her soldiers.  Indeed, standing her she could see why.  The crowd they had drawn was both impressive in size, certainly from somewhere that Equestria's hold seemed so secure, and their adherents were fervent supporters of the cause.  It made little sense to hire expensive mercenaries for which one had no particular task, particularly when so many were available to volunteer.  Providence prepared to leave.  WRAITH had contacted her once, and they would certainly be able to do so again should they need their services.  With no offer immediately presented, she could only assume an actual offer would wait until later.  Mildly disappointing, but the earth pony felt like she had seen some important things, so she hardly counted it as a loss.


Though, come to think of it, there was on other thing that could be gained from this.  The thief seemed a canny sort, capable enough to have caught WRAITH's attention, and to be captured and held inside the warehouse rather than simply repelled, or neutralized and disposed of.  Providence wasn't one to let a potential asset go to waste, and strictly speaking she wasn't hired yet.  “I could be convinced to offer you a means of a clean escape.”  She spoke in a voice just loud enough for the thief to hear, to avoid drawing unnecessary attention, and made a point not to look at the thief while doing so.  “It would come at a price of course, but such a small favour would only require a similar one in return.  If you find that notion agreeable, walk ahead of me, toward the exit.”  Providence nodded towards a side door, largely guarded but generally ignored by the crowd.  “Otherwise, I wish you luck.”  She would wait only a moment for Red to make a decision, before turning and walking toward the exit herself.


If Red decided to take the mercenary up on her offer, Providence would guide her towards the door, making a show of shoving Red onward as they approached.  “As agreed, I'll be disposing of this one,” she said as explanation.  “The thief has been placed in my care, I'm going to take her somewhere quite to decide how best to deal with her.”  Almost all of which was technically true, and if WRAITH was so pressed for available ponies that they'd leave a captured thief to her own devices then they clearly needed the assistance.


Providence wouldn't expect the guard to be fully convinced, but he wouldn't have to be.  Once outside the door that would be irrelevant.  Providence would continue to act as the abusing jailer until they were well away from the warehouse, at which point they would have plenty of time to hammer out the terms of their agreement.


If Red would rather take her chances on her own, that would simply make things simpler.  Having no further business here tonight, Providence could then simply walk out the door.


Either way, tonight would be the start of Providence's journey back home, and she had many things to do and much to consider.


[Providence exits.]

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Red’s attention shifted and her bravado vanished when the ‘victim’ pulled out that baton. That shouldn’t have happened. It didn’t feel like the mysterious Number Two was acting anymore, and it looked like he was in a great deal of pain, mercifully brief.


No, Red was going to have nothing to do with this group by choice, and her eyes hardened when she made this resolution. Now, her priorities shifted. Now, she needed to escape. Now, to find a plan. The windows? No, too high for her to reach easily, probably under surveillance. Door is guarded, but the guard dog is…unlikely to detect a clever enough lie. Possible. Access tunnels? Likely being watched (now), but she'd need them to get back to her temporary workshop. The thief was prepared to make her break for the door when two curious things happened. First, the changeling had knocked over something just out of her field of vision which left a coil of wire on the ground. She could use that. Likewise, she could make use of the second thing, an offer from the mercenary.


Red gave the barest of nods and gathered up the manacles that had held her. She kept a stoic and defiant expression on her face, as if resigned to her fate, as she was paraded past the guards. Once out of sight, she perked her ears and softened her gait.


"There is," she began, "a restaurant in the east of town, Silvermane's Delicatessen. You have heard of this, yes? Is not hard to find. A repeat client of Red's often eats there. She might have work for a pony or two who is willing to do it, Red hears." Her tone was conversational, but Amber had stumbled across the front for the Heathershoe crime syndicate by accident a year ago, when she'd recognised a lapel pin on one of the customers that Red had dealt with.


"Red will be speaking to the client soon. If a pony were to be there in a week...who knows, yes?" she said, cryptically.


'But still,' she thought as she slipped the ring off her horn and traced a hoof over the manacles, 'there had to be SOME profit to be had here...'


Later that evening she'd slip back into the tunnels, once she'd secured her back-up helmet and hired a couple of street ponies to set off wards around the warehouse district as a cover. Then the next morning, Amber would slink out of the warehouse looking exhausted  Not that she'd need to act that part.


[Exuant thief]

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