He walked with a casually cat like ease for a six foot tall two hundred and sixty pound man. His relaxed body language never signified the speed and power it truly possessed and that in itself was a dangerous illusion for any that would think him easy prey. His name was Deacon, he was thirty two years old but lived a life that none would desire. He was a bounty hunter, and that coupled with being a half life among the gifted made him an undesirable, until his services were needed. The collar from his black leather trench coat was flipped up to protect from the brisk late autumn breeze that whipped about the night air. His job brought him to the city of Urbana but not to the wealthy district that Urbana was known for, or even the downtown area where the one of the states largest jazz festivals was held but to Hillside, Urbana’s worst area filled with the unfortunate poor, the scum who sold their drugs to the wealthy who took it upon themselves to brave the dangerous streets for whatever they wanted. Urbana was also well known for its large population of prostitutes, and the pimps that controlled them. It was no secret that within Hillside there was no law, for police officers were on the take willing to turn a blind eye for the right price, there was no such thing as an honest cop not here after all a cop had to make a living too at the expense of the good people who resided here. Deacon looked around surveying what was his first impression of what he saw around him. He stopped a moment looking around letting his senses reach out. “Filth whores, and lazy fucks who sell drugs instead of getting a real job” he said to himself. A police car slowly drove past him, he stared at the police cruiser driving down the busy road noticing that the officers didn’t even take a moment to notice the hooker in the alley giving a John head, or the drug deal that just went down in front of them on the sidewalk. “Real piece of work” Deacon said as the cruiser turned down the next street out of view.
He continued walking passing prostitutes who wore clothing that showed the flesh that they were selling, surely they couldn’t be too warm dressed in such ways but they more than likely had no choice being forced under the orders of their pimp. As he walked last the women they call out to him making promises of pleasure that he isn’t interested in, not once does he make eye contact with any of them. His eyes are busy detecting energy signatures in the air that are invisible to the human eye but not to him. Deacon possessed the rare gift of Guardian, when he physically came in contact with one of the gifted his gift would slowly upload their power and transfer it to him. But he never took gifts from the innocent, his victims were Shroud agents. In fact the gift that he was using now came from Gryphon, he was sent to hunt down Deacon years ago after Deacon started his rampage on their ranks causing quite the stir. The Shroud came into power at the turn of the nineteenth century, it’s leader Dante Illusate went out preaching to the Gifted that would listen about a new world order. One that involved them ruling their human brothers unsuspectingly. Some of the Gifted listened and followed him, his words made sense to them. The Gifted should not have to run and hide from a weaker foe, they should be the ones to rule over humanity it was their place Illusate had said.
In ancient times humans and the Gifted lived together in peace until certain kings in Europe and parts of the Middle East saw them as a threat. These kings banded together and sent out their armies in force to hunt and kill the Gifted, for only they could threaten each kings throne and power. And so the great persecution began. Illusate brought and end to the Great Prosecution but only because of his own bent ambitions of power. Kingdom after kingdom feel before Illusate and his great army, none could rise against such raw power. It wasn’t until Asad the first Judge recruited his own army that came against Illusate defeating him. Before returning to his homeland of Somalia Asad handed down the five sacred laws for the Gifted to follow.
1. Do not kill or make war with your brothers for this leaves only unrest.
1. Do not use your gift in the presence of your human brothers so they may not know what you are.
3. Do not use your gift for financial gain.
4. Always move from place to place never settling for too long for surely your human brothers will learn of your gift.
5. You shall not rule over humanity for none of us are God.
These basic five laws the Gifted stood by and obeyed. And for a time there was peace. Hundreds of years passed and at the turn of the nineteenth century one of the Gifted came forth claiming to be the direct descendant of Illusate, his name was Dante. Dante went out spreading his word that his ancestor had the right idea, that humans must be ruled and in this way the Gifted would have true peace, not the fear of being exposed for what they were. Dante’s words were enticing for those who were starving and tired of being afraid of being discovered and so his followers grew. In just a decades time Dante’s secret order spread across the world running all aspects of government, within twenty years he controlled all areas of industry. And from Dante’s private actions ruling from the shadows came the name of his order The Shroud. With the Shroud in control of world affairs Dante then turned his attention to the Gifted that did not join him.
His thoughts were if you were not for him then you were against him, there was only death for those of the Gifted that opposed him. The war was truly a lopsided one for the Shroud had the resources and influence many of the Gifted were enticed by this, those that weren’t were constantly on the run from Shroud agents. And then came along Deacon. He was the first of the Gifted to successfully hunt and kill Shroud agents and in time they began to even fear him. Dante was outraged vowing to hunt Deacon himself but other matters seemed to distract him so a powerful hunter/tracker possessing the gift of Seeker was recruited for the job, his name was Gryphon. For years the battle between Deacon and Gryphon carried out with Deacon on top. Deacon had absorbed the Seeker’s gift as his own, this made him dangerous because a Seeker could track the residual energy of any Gifted, the five senses were incredibly heightened, beyond normal speed and agility as well as strength became Deacons. The Gifted detested Deacon but knew he was a threat to the Shroud in fact he became a legend among them. The Shroud hunter he was called, both admired and feared by the Gifted ranks. He took many jobs to sustain his way of life, he was paid well. Although most gifted were poor they always managed to come up with payment Deacon didn’t know how or even cared just as long as he was paid was all that mattered.
“You high man?” Said a staggering drunk who passed Deacon, he laughed while pointing at the glasses Deacon wore. The drunkard was not aware that once Deacon absorbed Gryphon’s power he also absorbed the seekers sensitive eyes to any forms of light. In essence a Seeker was blind, they can’t see as we do but in a way they see a lot better. Heat signatures, and energy waves made up Deacons vision now, the sun glasses had to be worn at all times day and night. A small price to pay for such a gift Deacon felt. Deacon paid no mind to the drunkard and kept walking, a scent caught his attention, it was unmistakably Gifted. He stopped in his tracks slowly looking about the busy street, he was in tracker mode now.