The Deacon took Tarik back to his church, the place where Deacon Marino tended to his flock. It was still late in the night, the crescent moons rays glistened on the front of the humble church striking the two large stain glass windows. It was in the city of Urbana, in the slums of Hillside an area that in it’s glory days was a Mecca for jazz fans of the nineteen thirties. It wasn’t as big or famous as the New York scene at that time, but for Colorado it was big. People who either didn’t want to travel all the way to New York, or those who merely didn’t want to bother with the stress of a bigger city merely came to Hillside to curb their taste for swing jazz, wild women, wild men, and booze. The mob of course funded it all. Back then the streets were full of life, the neon signs from club after club lighting up the night. But now in the current day the neon lights came from strip clubs, pawn shops, and adult book stores. The streets were full of prostitutes and drug dealers at any time, and even more at night. All activity that took place in the dark was of an illegal nature, and half the things that took place during the day was illegal. Tarik had been in several states with his father in their attempt to remain hidden from the Shroud, but never had he seen such a ghetto as Hillside. He reflected on his new dilemma, and he wondered why his father had never told him of the Shroud. Deacon Marino had taught him a brief history lesson about the secret war between the gifted, and the Shroud on their drive over to the church. Tarik learned that the Shroud are gifted ones who felt that they were superior to their regular human brothers so they broke away from the gifted fold back at the turn of the nineteenth century with the goal of ruling over humanity. The Shroud is a very powerful secret organization of gifted men and women lead by Dante Illusate, every single member is extremely wealthy thanks to Illusate making sure his people are well taken care of. The Shroud control all things economic in the world. Anything such as oil or any other industry is in the clutches of the Shroud. The Shroud rules under the veil of secrecy hence the given name. Dante their leader is believed to be one of the most powerful of the gifted possessing the gift of Magnus. It is an extremely rare gift, only one Magnus is born every one thousand years. Deacon Marino didn’t tell Tarik the extent of what type of power a Magnus carried, but he made it aware that more than likely no one could go against him save for possibly a Judge. When Tarik asked about a Judges power the Deacon said that there’d be more than enough time to answer these questions while journeying to Judge Moses’s sanctuary. It was all coming together now, the Shroud see the only opposition to them as a threat. Any of the gifted who choose not to join them are against them. Agents are systematically sent out in order to hunt down and kill any of the gifted who are not part of the Shroud order. There are various ranks of the Shroud. There are soldier agents, they are the lowest of the fold. Commander agents are next, they are the ones who lead the cells of soldier agents who are sent out to hunt. Captains are then put in charge of Commanders. Generals are then in charge of sectors in various countries and they all report to Masters. There is only one Master per country or zone. You see a Master might have several countries under his jurisdiction, and if he or she controls more than one country then it is called a zone. Masters only answer to Illusate’s right hand man, and body guard Apex who holds the powerful gift of Destroyer. Apex himself is considered a Master but refused to hold a title with others so he gave himself the title of Lord. Apex is the only one who ever talks to, or even sees Illusate. And then there is the Sovereign the one who rules over them all, Dante Illusate. All must call Apex Lord followed by his name, and Illusate is merely called Sovereign. Any who do not speak respectfully by using these titles are put to death instantly without question. Tarik learned all of this in just a short drive to the church, he was anxious in seeing how much he could learn during a drive to sanctuary.

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