Five men were lined up along the graffiti-coated brick wall of an old apartment building down in Lower Mainland Victoria, deep in the throes of night; thick cloth strips were wrapped around their eyes, blinding them. A few non-blindfolded men came by, pressing their heads against the wall, and a fourth man wielding a silenced pistol paced back and forth along the row of defendants.
"We Paladins have a code of honour, you know? You remember? Never lie to a brother!" The gun-brandishing man came to the blindfolded man furthest to the left, tearing off the right sleeve of his shirt, revealing a Mark. "You're one of them! A Mark-user! You're scum, sub-human! And worst of all, you can't even own up to it!" Lighting a cigarette in the brisk winter air, the executioner of the urban trial cocked his pistol, firing it into the kneecap of the nearest defendant, who began wailing in agony. "Pathetic... is no one going to even attempt to defend themselves?!"
"Marco, we just got our Marks! We had no choice! They just... attached themselves to us!" One of the defendants farthest to the right objected, capturing the executioner's attention.
"Ah, I see... one glance, huh? Or maybe you just kept starin', because you couldn't resist it? Maybe you just had to get a taste of that power? The Devil's Power?! The kind of power we all made a vow to destroy!"
The objector continued, shaking his head for a moment. "And so, what, Isabelle is just exempt from our rules?! She's a Mark-user!"
"She's taken up the mantle of Mark-user to protect his brothers and sisters. She's sold his soul to shield us all from harm! Don't you get that?!" The executioner ranted on as he pressed the end of the gun against the back of the objector's skull. After a long pause, he lowered the gun, taking a moment to breathe in the smoke of his cigarette. "I'm through hearing your pleas. By the law of The Paladins, I shall send you, sinner, to hell. May you be bound and tortured for all eternity for the blasphemy of your existence." The executioner raised his gun, finishing his demented prayer. "Ame-"
He was cut short by a gunshot from the rooftop. The shot tore through the executioner's skull, and he fell backward into a dumpster in a pathetic heap; half of his head had been blown off. And in the ensuing chaos, figure hopped off the rooftop of the apartment building above, landing with a metal crash onto the ground, seemingly unhurt by the extreme height of the drop.
"What in the hell is this?!" One of the gangsters remarked as he huddled together with the remaining three- guns drawn; they began to back away towards the street.
"Guns! Well, I guess I picked the right alleyway for a skirmish..." The voice of the silhouette shrouded in shadows was feminine with a slight Spanish accent. "However, I must warn you... you are horribly outmatched in terms of firepower."
"Yeah right!" A thug scoffed as he aimed his gun into the darkness ahead. "What could you possibly-?" He lowered his gun, nervously swallowing as the mystery woman emerged from the shadows. "Y-you're..."
The alluring vixen that revealed herself looked as if she were in her mid-twenties; she was thin, and her skin was sun-kissed olive. Her long hair was silver and shaved on the left side of her head; the remaining locks were straightened perfectly and tossed to right like a metallic curtain. Her face was well-proportioned, with prominent cheekbones and wide, yellow eyes surging with a dangerous energy. She accented her facial features with dark orange lipstick and purple eyeshadow, and she wore the most wicked, yet most playful sneer on her face. Her attire was equally loud. She wore an orange ruffle-front shirt cut just below the ribs, and overtop of that she wore a tight, blue leather vest that behaved more like a corset; her shirt sleeves had been torn off to reveal the many floral designs tattooed on her arms. Her lower half was clothed by torn, grey booty shorts and fine fishnet stockings underneath that ran to her ankles, accenting her orange high-heels. She didn't appear to be the kind of woman keen on staying hidden.
"That's right... say my name..." She purred, raising her hand to her ear tantalizingly.
"C-Camila Pistola!" One thug shrieked.
"Mmmm... I like the way you squirm at the mention of my name..." Camila let out a sensual groan as her eyes lit up. "Tell me... do you think I'm attractive?"
"Ah-, um-, I-..." The ruffian stuttered. "Ye-?" A bullet fired out of Camila's barrelled fingertip silenced him before he could reply, and he fell to the ground- a gaping hole where his right eye once was.
"Wh-what's going on?!" One of the blindfolded men shouted.
"Too slow! God, you guys are dumb," Camila giggled as her index finger morphed back to its original state. Nonchalantly, she marvelled at her long black nails as if nothing happened, moseying over towards the remaining two thugs. "Ah... sorry about that, let me start again. My name is Camila Pistola and I've come here to murder you all!" Her face contorted, revealing more of her hidden malice as her left forearm began to transform. "Nothing personal!"
*Camila Pistola (IMOP Bounty: 2,500,000 UND) | Armoury Mark: grants Camila the ability to morph parts of her body into any handheld weapon!*
Camila's arm turned into the threatening multi-barrelled cylinder of a gatling gun, rotating at high speeds as she opened fire, shredding the nearest gang member to ribbons in a hail of bullets. The second thug ducked behind the same dumpster where his leader was discarded, avoiding most of the gunfire, save for his leg which had been shot through the kneecap. As she ceased her barrage, the thug leaned forward, aiming right at Camila's head as she came by. However, his wrist was swiftly crushed by a massive hand that seemed to pop out of nowhere, causing him to drop his weapon. Feeling a towering presence behind him, the gangster slowly turned his head. What he saw made his heart skip a beat.
"V-Varg..." He was so frightened that he couldn't even form a coherent sentence. "K-Kl-!" A single swipe from the hulking brute looming over him cleft his head clean off at the base of his neck, denying him any notable last words.
"Honestly, Camila... you need to pay attention more often. I don't want you to be the next body I dump in the ocean." Varg chastised his partner in crime, waving a clawed finger at her.L
Varg Klo was certainly a force to be reckoned with. He stood at nearly six-foot-seven, sported a tanky build similar to a bodybuilder, and had a gnarly set of razor sharp canines and claws. His facial features were sharp, and he had a long, edged nose that complimented his jutting chin and jaw line. He had dark blue eyes and a mane of wild white hair that descended all the way down to his hips. He had big and bold sideburns, and at the end of his chin was a tuft of his signature white fur in the form of a goatee. Overtop of his hulking, olive toned body he wore a plain blue muscle shirt, and around his neck, he brandished a silver half-moon necklace. His black leather jeans were paired with his shoes of the same hue and material, and his socks were dark brown. Along the backs of his bulky forearms were large patches of white fur that ran from his elbow to his wrist- a result of his unique Beast Mark.
*Varg Klo (IMOP Bounty: 5,000,000 UND) | Werewolf Mark: gives Varg the abilities and appearance of the mythical werewolf!*
"Oh, calm down, Varg. You get so worked up over nothing. I would've blown his head off before he could even pull the trigger." Camila huffed, kicking at the thug's severed head nearby.
"Careful. If you brag like that you could jinx it next time. We gotta be cautious. The Paladins haven't confirmed our presence on the island yet. We've got to watch our backs." Varg reminded his partner as he gathered up the dead and place them in the dumpster. "Cammy... do your magic."
"Alright..." A nozzle poked out of Camila's left palm as she aimed it at the corpses. Then, a stream of flame shot out, dousing the remains. Varg waited for a moment, then sucked in a huge amount of air, blowing out the flames in one mighty breath. "It feels kind of pointless if you never quote The Three Little Pigs before you do that..."
"Shut it, Cammy..." Varg grumbled as he tapped on the device in his ear, calling upon his other comrade. "Louise, give us a door to the ."
"Oh, come on, Varg! Even you have to admit that'd be funny! 'And I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down!'" Camila chuckled as she and Varg untied the on-trial captives. "Don't worry, you guys. You're under the protection of The Kin now. You won't have to worry about The Paladins hunting you down."
"What luck..." One of them scoffed as Varg undid his binds. "Rescued by some lowlife Mark-users-." He was quickly shut up by Camila, who pressed his cheeks together with her hand.
"Hey, if it weren't for us 'lowlifes' you'd be dead! And don't lump us in different categories! You're one of us now whether you like it or not!" Camila snarled at him, to which Varg intervened.
"C'mon, Cammy. Don't chastise the guy. He's got nobody right now but these other guys here..." Varg defended him, ordering Camila to stand down. "Still... you aren't in a position to complain. You're a Mark-user now, and The Paladins will hunt you to the ends of the earth to make sure you're dead."
"Fantastic! Now we've got the cops and The Paladins to worry about!" Another unbound thug stated as he rubbed the marks along his wrists where the binds had dug in.
"Relax. Like I said, Father will protect you guys. He'll find a place for you to live in Victoria." Camila insisted, guiding them all out into the overgrown, decrepit street. "Man... you guys pick the best places to dispose of bodies. We could learn a thing or two from these guys, Varg."
"Yeah, yeah. Let's just go home." Varg sighed as he turned to the old apartment building on his left, climbing up a set of stairs to knock on the door.
"Home? You live just right here?" Yet another freed thug inquired.
"Nah, nah... you'll see..." Camila assured the gangster, giving him a wink and a nudge with her elbow.
"The door's just arrived. Toss them in." The communicator in Varg's ear buzzed.
"And... viola..." Varg grinned as he opened the door, revealing a totally different interior than what the gangsters were expecting; a scarcely lit, windowless chamber stocked with an ample amount of food and supplies. "Here's your humble abode for the next week or so."
"Wait, a week?!" One of the thugs began to panic as Varg began to shut the door on them all. "What the fuck are we supposed to do for a week?"
"I dunno, you got Internet-- try watching some porn or something?" Camila answered him as the door shut completely.
"Louise, get us home." Varg requested once more over his communicator.
"Alright, give me a moment. Wait like... thirty seconds, okay?" Louise responded.
"I don't know about you, but I'm famished..." Camila groaned as she leaned up against the door. "How about you?"
"Meh, I haven't been all that hungry recently." Varg shrugged his shoulders as he sat down on a step. "But yeah, I could go for something."
"Alright, Varg. I'll meet you there." Louise said over the communicator.
"Thanks, babe. You're the best." Varg grinned as Louise began to fiddle with the doorknob.
"For the last time..." Louise growled as she tried turning the knob on the door, growing more frustrated by the second. Finally, she managed to open it, and the old wooden door swung open with a sharp creak. "Don't call me 'babe'!"
*Louise Chen (IMOP Bounty: 3,000,000 UND) | Doorway Mark: gives Louise the power to create portals between any doorway she has seen*
Louise was as smartly dressed as ever. She was wearing her trademark glasses; rounded, thick lenses, with a thin frame. And Louise's black hair was cut medium length, her bangs stopping just above her brow. She sported her usual green turtleneck sweater and blue jeans. Louise wore very little makeup, believing it was a waste of time and money, and her round face and squinting black eyes contributed to her small presence. She was nearly a head shorter than Camila, which was almost two heads shorter than Varg.
"Ah, lighten up, Lulu!" Varg chuckled as he gave Louise a kiss on the cheek, causing her to blush. "Did you and Al get some supper?"
"Um..." Louise rubbed her cheek as she stuttered, trying to remember as blood rushed to her head. "Y-yeah, we got pad thai a half-hour ago."
"Fuck yeah. Vegan for me, right?" Varg asked as he stepped inside, rubbing his shoes on the bristled grey carpet before walking on Damian's good velvet carpet.
"Yeah, Varg! I got ya, mate!" A man with a thick Australian accent called from downstairs, ascending the long wooden staircase.
The Kin's new base was as pristine and opulent as the last one, save for the patches of unfinished marble tiling and empty shelves along the walls. It was a private bomb shelter created during the Cold War era in the side of Mount Douglas, one of the highest peaks in Vancouver Island. Three months ago it was stripped to bare bones, and after arriving on the island, The Kin spent countless hours renovating the shelter with The Father's wealth; it was he who bought all the supplies needed for the project. They owned numerous sanctuaries all across British Columbia; in Vancouver, Kamloops, Revelstoke, even the remote regions up north. And with Louise's Mark, The Kin had easy access to their disposable houses, and they stored the numerous Mark-users they saved in some of them.
Camila slipped out of her high heels and hung up her vest on the coat rack nearby, stretching off a day's work of scouting Victoria with Varg for Mark-users. "Long day..." She closed the door behind her, dissipating Louise's power.
"Ya got that right, girly," Al answered Camila, approaching her and Varg with a tray of assorted teas. "I've got some Murchie's tea here- courtesy of Damian."
Alistair dressed the most casual out of all The Kin. He had a plain white, untucked dress shirt on and square glasses, coupled with blue jeans and brown loafers. His hair was golden brown and messy, and his eyes were hazel.
*Alistair Perkins (IMOP Bounty: 4,500,000 UND) | Electromagnetic Mark: Grants Alistair the ability to release EMPs!*
"Orange pekoe?" Camila inquired, to which she received a questioning glare from Al. "Right, of course, this is Damian we're talking about..." Camila nodded as she poured herself a glass out of the kettle and plopped a teabag in, letting the aroma waft by her nose. "Ah, I need a bath. Is Reika in the bathroom?"
"Nah, Cammy. She's playin' pool with Damian downstairs, as per usual." Alistair replied as he handed Varg a mug full of chamomile tea. "Luckily ya missed her hour long beauty bath."
"Thankful- ouch!" Camila recoiled as she burnt the tip of her tongue on the hot beverage. "Damn."
"Any luck with those lads at Lower Mainland? Louise didn't fill me in." Alistair wondered.
"It went alright. Luckily none of the Mark-users got hurt." Varg said, scratching the tip of his nose as he held the cup of tea in his huge paw. "The Paladin members on the other hand..."
"Ya went loud, didn't ya, Cammy?" Alistair scolded the brash girl, to which she pursed her lips together in embarrassment. "Dammit, Sheila."
"Sorry! He was going to shoot those guys, I couldn't-... yeah." Camila's fist tightened for a moment as she bottled up her frustration.
"Ah, whatever. They're history now. We should tell Damian the good news. He'll be pleased with the results regardless." Alistair shrugged off Camila's mistake, ushering them all downstairs. "Damian?"
They descended, turning to the left down a long hallway- past their separate rooms and storage closets, and they entered the living and kitchen area. The floors were dark laminate wood, and the kitchen cupboards were all red spruce. The kitchen island had a brown granite top, and a few couches extended past the island into the section on the left where the television stood. The pool table sat in the right corner of the room- directly adjacent to the island. Playing there were the last two members of The Kin.
"Ah, welcome back, friends," Damian said in his soft, eloquent voice as gave them a half smile, holding a pool cue in one hand. "I trust your mission was a success, yes?"
*Damian Dreyfus (IMOP Bounty: 25,000,000 UND) | Coordinate Mark: allows Damian to manipulate the positions of objects and people within a five-meter radius!*
Damian was always dressed to impress, and with his wealth, he certainly could impress. He always wore his dark, green velvet blazer overtop of hiss slimming grey, silk dress shirt. Damian was unmistakable in a crowd with his short, icy blue hair; it was always combed upwards into a feathered frill until it reached his hairline, where it fell forward and splayed to the right. He was albino, and thus, he applied heavy makeup to make himself appear less ghostly. Regardless, his porcelain white skin and pink eyes still stuck out like a sore thumb, and he tried to compensate for the discolouration in his lips with a pink gloss.
"Of course it was a success!" Reika sang as she twirled around the pool table, her glimmering, platinum blonde hair frolicking about. "I expect nothing but the best from my family!"
*Reika Taylor Haruma (IMOP Bounty: 12,500,000 UND) | Yuki-Onna Mark: gives Reika the likeness and abilities of a Yuki-Onna yokai of Japanese legend!*
Reika was the diva of the group and a woman who took her role as 'The Mother' to heart. Although she was younger than most of the others- only twenty -she still loved and nurtured her family profusely as if she were their mother, often planting a kiss on each member's cheek whenever she felt her joy bubble up, which was quite frequent. She was undoubtedly the most beautiful of The Kin women- tall and well endowed with a flawless face akin to a Japanese love goddess. Her white dress was a hybrid of English royal grace and traditional Japanese garb, embracing both sides of her bloodline. It was laced at the cuffs and the bottom of the skirt, and sakura blossom designs adorned the sleeves red waistcloth, though, the dress was not too taxing on her movement; she could dance freely to her heart's content around the room. Her green eyes were like a still loch in fall, and her dark red lips contrasted her golden, flowing locks that cascaded down past her shoulders.
"Oh, how are those Mark-users you rescued?" Reika inquired.
"Fine, for now. We'll have them sorted out later." Varg insisted.
"Excellent. Varg, Camila..." Damian nodded to them both. "You are doing professional work as always. Have the IMOP picked up on our scent yet?"
"By now, yeah... you'd think so." Varg guessed. "Well, regardless. They can't find us here. Al can jam any signal that passes by with his Mark."
"Very good. Then hopefully we may work in peace. There are still many more of our brothers and sisters to save from The Paladins..." Damian sighed as he took his shot, sinking a solid yellow ball into the upper left pocket. "There's a large number of homeless in Victoria with Marks."
"Poor things... they must be scared." Reika frowned as she let Damian pass by to make his next shot.
"Don't worry, Reika, we'll protect em'-- like we always do." Alistair insisted.
"I've got a feeling the major jobs will call for our involvement. It's too dangerous for only you two to go out there and do the dirty work." Damian said as he sunk a solid purple ball into the top left pocket.
"We might come under the radar of the IMOP..." Louise reminded them- ever the logical one of the bunch.
"An acceptable price to pay, my dear. We can handle any threat that comes our way." Damian persisted. "In any case, kudos. You've all performed admirably tonight. This calls for-."
"Pad thai." Reika interrupted him with firmness in her tone, insisting that they eat the meals they recently purchased rather than cooking new food.
"Right... sorry." Damian chuckled as he sunk the eight ball. "I win."
"Arrgh..." Reika pushed out her bottom lip in a huff as she swallowed defeat, wandering over to the fridge to heat up leftovers. "You guys can relax. It might take a bit."
"That's fine." Louise smiled as her eyes met with Varg's for but a moment. "I could use some relaxation."
"Same..." Camila yawned as she threw herself onto the couch, grabbing the remote off the coffee table. "What's on?"
"Football." Alistair sat with his legs folded on the loveseat, watching an intense game of soccer.
"Is football on?" Varg asked.
"Yeah, this is football." Alistair raised an eyebrow at Varg as he gestured to the soccer game on TV.
"Are you ever gonna call it soccer like a normal person?" Varg whined. "I want Canadian football please."
"Why don't we all watch a movie like Gone With The Wind or Forest Gump?!" Reika suggested, her eyes sparkling like firecrackers.
"Lame... I want something with Vin Diesel in it." Camila shot Reika down as she scooped a forkful of phad tai in her mouth.
"Vin Diesel? That actor who just grunts all the time?" Louise scoffed.
"How about I turn off the television if we can't decide?" Damian squashed their petty argument, causing everyone to let out a long sigh. "Thank you... we're watching Citizen Kane."
"What?!" They all shouted in unison.