Sextus Tiberius Valentinianus

When in public

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"Oh, my god, Vivianna I am so sorry. Please do not look" Sextus said inbetween vomiting for the fourth time. The poison had worked like magic. Better even. "It is alright" the woman would say as she was tapping him on the back. "Do you want me to fetch a healer?" she asked, looking concerned. "I will be fine, I just need to..." and there he was, vomiting again. When he finally caught his breath he met the gaze of the disappointed young woman. "Sorry for tonight, truly. This was not how I hoped we'd pass this evening. The lobster I had must have been spoilt..." Vivianna nodded and helped him to a chair. "It is alright" she reassured him. "Believe me, I shall try and leave as soon as I'm feeling better" he began, "Stay as long as you want to, I shall make have some tea made for you" oh that was such a success. He loved when everything went according to plan...

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Whatever she hd was very well hidden, except Marcella knew what she was looking for. Marcus might have had the right idea to search here, but Marcella could not help but feel that they should have searched the rest of the house first, with Tatiana. It was going to be horrible having to report Victoria's own son but he had been reckless and almost endangered them all.

Searching around the bed Marcella discover that there was a panel behind the headboard. That panel revealed a puzzle of some kind, but she was clueless as to what it entailed. So, she summoned a small light orb so she could see it better and she jumped a little when the orb was drawn to a hole in the puzzle. It seemed that light was the key, so she tried many different types of light until she found the next key. It took her a little while but when she'd figured it out she heard a noise behind her.

It was obvious that the magistra had thought no one would have the time to complete the puzzle, not before they were discovered so Marcella knew she had to move. After getting off the bed and moving into the lounge area where she'd left Marcus she saw him grinning like a fool. It seemed the fireplace had moved to reveal a chamber behind it. Marcella stepped in, cautiously, only to find that it was an altar to what she assumed had to be one of the old gods! After checking for traps she moved in closer and the chamber suddenly lit up in flames! They were forming a pattern, a sigil on the wall as well as illuminating the altar and she thought she could guess which old god it was.

"Toth..." She muttered. The name apparently triggered the fireplace to close and Marcella did not get out on time. There was no way to open it from the outside, no voice command that Marcella knew anyhow. Then she realised - the flames would soon make the chamber impossible to breath in, there were no gaps for air and she had heard of people suffocating in such chambers!

Five minutes later the bonds holding Marcus were gone. Instead of opening the chamber for Marcella (the puzzle had reset) he went to find Tatiana to tell her what he had found! The bonds had disappeared for a reason.

Marcella was unconscious.

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Tatiana saw Marcus approaching her with a grin on his face. The redhead woman narrowed her gaze on him and waited for the news. What he told her though made her grin too. "Good job, Marcus. Your mother will be proud. Lead me to it".

The two shades quickly found their way back to Morgana's chambers. Marcus went on about the puzzle and how it could open the fireplace. Tatianna instructed him to do so again and the man did as he was told. Yet, he was taking his goddamn time. "I thought you opened it before" Tatianna said and Marcus almost stuttered in his next answer. "Well... um I did.. yes, I did" Tatianna raised her eyebrow and waited. And as she did it was becoming more and more clear that the man could not solve the puzzle again. "Where is Marcella?" she asked, her tone cold.

Marcus did not answer. "Leave it to me you fool" Tatianna spat and shoved him aside. She had no time to waste. Marcus had used the light first so that what she did too. In took her time but in the mind she managed to solve it and the fireplace moved. There, lied a body.

"Goddamn it" Tatianna cursed and disappeared in the shadows, not to alert any mechanism in the room. She rushed in Marcella's side and quickly pulled her away. The chamber was evidence but they could easily come back to it now that they had had it open. Tatianna checked the girl's vital signs.

They did not look good. She was in need of a healer. And fast. "Marcus, listen to me... I want you to go back to the compound and get her to a healer. Once you do just that, inform the Domini we found one. Tell them to send the Tenebrae or to come themselves. I shall stay here, ensure that nothing happens" she narrowed her gaze on him, "If she dies, you die" she told him. Now she had to alert Sextus somehow...

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The first thing Marcus did was go to his mother. He told her how he had found the cultist secret altar and when he had praised himself enough, almost as an afterthought he mentioned Marcella may have needed a healer.

The healer, once alerted, got as quickly as she could to the estate of the heretic and then found Tatiana and Marcella in the master suit.

"Do you know what happened?" She asked as she checked Marcella's vitals. The young woman was not breathing but her heart rate was still faint. First thing first she gave breath to the Shade. Then she went about healing her air deprived body. Had she gotten there even a minute later they'd have needed a necromancer, not a healer...

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Marcella awoke abruptly and sat up suddenly, confused as to why a healer was there. Then she remembered how she had been locked in the altar chamber and she looked to Tatiana.

"We must warn Sextus!" She said, and she tried to stand.

"Morgana is not the only cultist." While she was suffocating she had found the drug that she suspected Vivienna of using. Thus she knew about the altar and probably used it too!

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"Do not move" Tatianna advised MArcella. "You are still weak. A Shade force is on their way, we are running this entire place down" and it was with satisfaction as she said this. As for Sextus, he needed to be warned about their findings. "I shall go and inform your mentor that ..." and then Tatianna actually realized what Marcella was trying to say... "What do you mean not the only cultist? Who else?" she asked.

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"You're feeling better, I see" Vivianna said and Sextus smiled at her. He wanted to leave but he was waiting for Tatianna to tell him they were good to go. And there was no sign of her. He was really beginning to worry. "You know, I was thinking that it would be better if you stayed for the night" she advised, sitting close to him. "I mean you are sick... and you could become worse during the ride to your home. You could sleep here. Then tomorrow we could have some breakfast and you can leave afterwards" she caressed his hand, her eyes on him.

Goddamn it Tatianna. He had no other excuses left. "I guess that works" he said with a smile though inside he was bitter. What were they doing?

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"You're awfully trying to avoid the unavoidable dear" she said, licking his ear. Sextus raised her eyebrow at her. "Not at all. Believe me hadn't I been sick tonight, I would have proved this to you" he smiled, meeting her gaze. "Oh, that's funny, you know... about that" she muttered, something off about her. "As you were vomiting your inside out, I sent our glasses to the kitchen, since we no longer needed them and apparently one of my servants drunk from yours. They began vomiting" Sextus clenched. "Shortly after..." Vivianna came even more closer.

"So, either you poisoned yourself, for a reason I cannot even begin to fathom... or you tried to poison me but mixed the glasses" it was the former but he could not really say it, could he? "And I am not really impressed by either of these possibilities..." The fire on the fireplace was cracking. Sextus knew now that something was definitely... wrong.

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Marcella moved far quicker than Tatiana could have anticipated and she hated the fact that she was not as good at elemental magic as she should be. Instead she summoned shadowlings and they moved with her as she ran towards Sextus. When she got to the door she stormed in and sent the shadowlings straight at Vivienna!

"She is one of them! The god they follow is Toth." She knew Sextus would understand. Vivienna was likely a powerful pyromancer...

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All happened so fast. Vivianna drew fire by the fireplace, Sextus disappeared in the shadows and shadowlings ran into the room, attacking the cultist, apparently.

Sextus knew of Toth. Fire was his weapon and now he could see that fire was what Vivianna was bringing on.They needed to shut her down quickly unless the entire house would be alerted. Unknown to Sextus, of course, there was a Shade force on thei way, its members being the most elite of the order. The Tenebrum had but knives in his boots but knives he was going to use, reappearing from the shadows, there he was, aiming to slash Vivianna right open.

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Knowing they needed to take her alive but also knowing that there was a healer nearby Marcella was careful not to kill the cultist, but also hit her hard enough to possibly knock her out or cause great pain. Unfortunately the fire storm separated her from Sextus and Vivianna so she had to merge with shadow to get across the room. However, the bright light of the fire spell removed much of the shadow and while arcella was in it the fire's light forced her out of it and out of its protection. The shadowlings instantly came to her, protecting her from the flames, but it meant they were also devoured and Marcella was left with only her blades! At least now she was on the other side of what she now knew to be a fire wall. She hoped that the incoming Shade force would dispel it, or she and Sextus could take Vivianna out.

Moving towards the woman, who wielded a sword made of flames, Marcella sought to flank her, just as Sextus had. They were essentially magical rogues fighting a magical warrior. It was intense and potentially fatal.

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She was going to lit the entire place up. And he simply could not let her do that. Since there was too much light form him to hide, he kept trying to strike a blow with his daggers. Unfortunately, the flames were making things difficult for him. He could not even come close to Vivianna as she was laying waste on this place. He had to think of something and quickly. Looking around he located the one thing he needed. With a swift move, he jumped on to the bed and took hold of the blanket. It was now or never. He covered himself with it and jumped through the flames landing next to the cultist with the sword.

leaving the blanket aside immediately so he would not catch fire himself, he heard the sword ripping the air apart as it was coming down on him. He dodged it but only barely. Reaching for his knives again now he was beyond the wall of fire and ready to show her what the Shades were made of.

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Whenever Marcella sparring she always had a smirk on her face. It was the part of her that liked hurting that elicited such an expression. Now, in the middle of a fight it was no different. She was thoroughly enjoying herself. Marcella was a very physical being, she enjoyed the rough and tumble of being a Shade and she had no fear when it came to hard choices. In this instance it was making sure that cultist bitch did not hurt her mentor. Also, making sure she survived so that said mentor could torture her secrets out of her using Incursio.

Marcella kept to the sides of Vivienna, slashing at her weak spots while distracting her from Sextus. The Shades took turns in hitting, though when Sextus had a chance he'd be able to get a few more hits in and Marcella would support him by making sure that wicked sword did not strike and burn him.

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The bad thing about swords was that they were slooow. The good thing about swords was that they could slash you in pieces. And Sextus was not happy about that. The man was fast though, slashing and piercing against Vivianna, always trying to dodge her fire sword. At one point, Sextus knew he had her. He locked gaze with her and delivered a strong piercing blow right at her leg, forcing her to kneel. The woman screamed but and as his dagger stuck into her leg, Vivianna found the time to bring her sword down on Sextus, cutting his entire back.

The man screamed as he felt his skin burnt and cut at the same time.

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The motion that Vivienna needed to take in order to strike down upon Sextus gave Marcella a chance. While the heretic injured her mentor the apprentice got a knife to her throat. The shock of it caused the fire to snuff out and that gave Marcella the chance to wrap Vivienne in shadow, securing her and stopping her from casting.

Though the hand holding the knife trembling and Marcella fought her inner desire to slit the heretics throat. There were so many emotions but she swallowed them long enough to call out to the healer.

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Vivianna cursed, but lowered her sword. Sextus was in great pain and could not move, probably his entire back was severed but at least they had gotten her. Marcella had gotten her! This was his girl!

Vivianna ceased the fire spell, and cast Marcella a sideway glance. Sextus had almost passed out but before he did, he though he saw Vittoria entering the room... along with a group of Shades.

At least it was a success. They had succeeded.

And then everything went black.

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When Vittoria entered with the others and the heretic was captured Marcella moved swiftly to Sextus side. She gave the healer room, of course, but she made it clear that she was not leaving him. The wound was horrific and she was not even sure he was alive, at least not until the healer confirmed he was. At least he was not in pain if he was unconscious, Marcella thought, but it was hardly a comfort.

"We'll need to get him back to the infirmary." The healer told them, having done all she could for the moment. "He is stable." She assured Marcella. Moving alongside Sextus as he was taken out she had no other thought about what she was to do. She had completed her mission, now she had to turn her attention to him, as any good apprentice did.

It was more than that though, and she knew it, she just could not face up to it.

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