Gryphon walked down the hallway with the Shrouds lead science officer Dr. Shu who was head of the clone genetics department. Dr. Shu along with a few of his colleagues had tirelessly been working on cloning gifted ones for many years. Previously ones had been cloned but they all were devoid of the gifts that the original carried. There were many theories as to why the clones didn’t possess gifts; Dr. Ware theorized that the gifts might eventually manifest but he didn’t know how long that would take, the Sovereign was not one for waiting around to find out, he wanted results, and he wanted them now . Dr. Shu felt that maybe it just depended on the gift. Dr. Shu and Dr. Ware always seemed to clash, Dr. Ware after all wanted Dr. Shu’s position and was quite envious that Lord Apex favored Dr. Shu’s wisdom in the cloning genetics field. Dr. Shu walked with a stride that showed his pride. His short coal black hair was cut close to his head. Round gold rimmed glasses sat on a short chubby nose. His skin was a pale vanilla. He beamed a smile of accomplishment, so much in fact Gryphon took notice of it. “So why the big smile mate?” He asked. Dr. Shu didn’t even look over at Gryphon, he merely adjusted his glasses. Realizing that Gryphon had noticed his smile his face shifted to no emotion what so ever. “If you must know” Dr. Shu said offensively. “Lord Apex has ordered we run a series of tests on you!” Gryphons face turned a mixed of surprised and curious. He knew full well that Lord Apex was envious of the interest that the Sovereign had shown towards the cloning of his DNA. Lord Apex had even sent on his direct orders Gryphon to several missions in hopes that he would find his demise, but each time Gryphon returned victorious gaining even more praise from the Sovereign. Gryphon instantly became suspicious. “So eh… What are these bloody tests ya be speakin bout?” Gryphon asked. Dr. Shu’s face remained without emotion careful not to give anything away. “Nothing too serious I assure you!” They both stopped in front of a large white door, Dr. Shu leaned down by a small dot no larger than an eraser from the tip of a pencil, a laser shot our directly into the center of the doctors iris. The door instantly slid upward. Gryphon had never been to this area of the facility, he noticed that inside the room resembled a small forest, he looked down at the much shorter Dr. “What the hell is this place?” Gryphon asked. Dr. Shu extended his arm gesturing Gryphon to walk in, Gryphon didn’t budge. “What the fuck is this room? I ain’t goin till you do pal!” Gryphon remarked. Dr. Shu remained calm. “If you are thinking that this test is under the order of Lord Apex you would be correct. But I should also tell you that Lord Apex went to the Sovereign for his approval on this and it was given. If you choose not to enter you would be in direct violation of Sovereign law!”
Gryphon grimaced pointing his finger directly in Dr. Shu’s face. “So you’re tellin me the Sovereign agreed ta this?” Dr. Shu remained calm and cold. “All I can say is do not doubt the Sovereign!” He extended his arm into the room, he said nothing more. Gryphon was torn, he did not trust Lord Apex, he so wished to challenge him to a death duel but the time wasn’t right. On the other side of the coin he knew that if the Sovereign was asking him to do this there was just cause. Whatever it was, all Gryphon had to do was come out of it unscathed. He smiled knowing that he would succeed. Whatever the task it was well worth it to piss off Lord Apex. He casually walked into the room, the door quickly slammed shut behind him.

*******************************

The months had been uncomfortable for Tarik since his outburst with Judge Moses. For the most part he’d been under what he called lockdown. Moses would not let him go out and about the sanctuary grounds often, in a word Tarik had lost his freedom, he wasn’t even allowed to talk to the others who had come for training. Judge Moses said that he didn’t know if Tarik could be controlled. And because of this he had built a resentment towards Judge Moses. This morning had been the first in months that Judge Moses allowed Tarik to go out into the deep forest alone. It felt good to train and release his frustrations during practice. He sat on the side of a hill looking down at a valley the morning sun above him shining down. It was in the cold months that he had his disagreement with Judge Moses, now it was early summer. “The time does seen to fly, I will admit. But once you let yourself go and free yourself if it’s restraints time can almost seem to be nothing anymore” Moses said, he was standing behind Tarik his robe flowing in the mountain winds, there was no reaction that Tarik was even surprised that Judge Moses stood behind him, he was used to his sudden appearances. “You are immortal, time isn’t shit to you so I could see how time could seem to not be of importance!” Tarik was resentful that he couldn’t hide his thoughts from Judge Moses, he kept his gaze outward over the valley. “You are still very much entangled in Deacon Marino’s tardiness?” He asked. “Are you still going to lie to yourself and to me that Deacon Marino is dead?” Tarik replied coldly. Judge Moses sighed loudly and deeply, remorse was on his face. “No… That won’t help either of us, but being outraged won’t help his memory”
“But it will fuel me, just as it has from the loss of my father”
“Fire burns, it consumes everything until nothing is left” Judge Moses said.
“And some would say that is rebirth. Flames burn the forest to make room for new growth destroying the old making room for the new” Tarik said, Judge Moses remained quiet, Tarik looked back at him. “No words for once? Could it be because what I say is true?” Judge Moses kept his eyes locked on Tarik, then he exhaled slowly and painfully. “I want you to pack your things and leave Tarik, you are no longer welcome here” his words hung in the air. Judge Moses turned walking away, Tarik stood up slowly feeling numb buy what Judge Moses had just said. He watched Judge Moses float into the sky disappearing. How strange, he thought he’d never hear Judge Moses say that. Tarik had lost his father, and now two father figures. He balled his fist gritting his teeth directing his anger. This was good, now he could leave and start his mission, he knew he was ready. He would seek out and kill every Shroud agent until he found the one responsible for his fathers death, and also the one responsible for Deacon Marino’s disappearance. Leaving sanctuary was all for the better.

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