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May 1 2018, 04:40 PM
After losing a month and a half of his life, a time spent as a seventeen year old version of himself both at Xavier's, Aurillion had needed some time to get his life back in order. With Bella's help he had regained the assets that his younger self had conspired to take from him, and once that had been done he simply needed a break to sort himself out. Though the memories were vague and the experience was not one that quite felt like his own, Auri had felt the need to assert himself before moving forward. To that end, he had put his practice up for sale, leaving a part of him that in many ways didn't feel entirely true to himself behind, and had then gone back to Louisiana for a few weeks. He hadn't done so in over twenty years, but with Bella assuming control over the Guild and the Old Blade being returned to them, the threat of death no longer loomed over him. He had visited his family home, still in possession of the Assassins Guild, for the first time in two decades. Few had lived there since then, allowing Auri to easily access the memories of his family that lingered there. The good as well as the bad, the latter of which mostly news to a man who had been nothing more than an idealistic, clueless youth at the time.

But now Aurillion was back in New York. As much as he enjoyed his time in Louisiana, he knew better than to linger in the past despite his natural inclination to do so, and he was looking to move forward. It had been several weeks since he had last spoken to Elizabeth Braddock about the option to join Xavier's as a member of the staff, and as discussed over the telephone since then he would be doing so at the start of April. And so he found himself in the back of a cab, nothing more than a single suitcase with him, on the way to Xavier's. Most of his belongings were still at the apartment he owned in Manhattan, but those could be brought over later once he'd settled in a bit.

Little did Auri know that the school was... not quite in as good a shape as it had been before. Just a day and a half ago it had been attacked by the Brood, and despite the X-Men and their allies being able to fight them off, greatly helped by what most would see as a purple skinned dragon's presence, it had not been without a cost. Spiteful, heinous creatures as they were, the Brood's parting gift to the X-Men had been a small explosive device powerful enough to level the entirety of the mansion that was above ground. That was what Auri found when he arrived at the gate; not the impressive mansion visible in the distance, but nothing but the ruins that remained. With all that had happened the day before, Psylocke had understandably forgotten to inform Auri that there had been a slight change of plans. Having been on the road, he'd managed to miss Jean Grey's press conference the previous evening as well.

Coming up to the gate, Auri briefly placed his hand on one of its bars before abruptly pulling back. The man was not squeamish, far from it, but certain events had a way of overwhelming even his trained mind, and as pitched a battle as had been fought there a day and a half before left quite the mark. It was one of those things Auri would rather be told about, as normal people would, than experience himself and have it running through his head for an hour before fading. Taking a step back, Auri pulled out his phone and called the X-Man he had previously been in contact with.

"Betsy," he greeted the woman when she answered her phone. "I'm at the school and... yeah, not quite the first day I imagined." Granted, Auri did not have a whole lot of "First day on the job" experience, setting up his own practice some time after earning his master's and sticking with it for over a decade, but this was clearly unusual by any standard. "I'll be heading back to my place in the city," he told Betsy once she'd told him a little about what had happened. "You can fill me in properly when it suits you later." One look at the destruction inflicted upon the school made it clear there was likely a lot to catch up on. "If any of you need me, you know where to find me," he added, "take care."

Tucking his phone away in his pocket, Auri cast one last look towards the ruins that lay well beyond the gate and heaved a sigh. If this was an omen for things to come, then he was possibly in for more than he had bargained for.
Mar 16 2018, 10:01 AM
Hands tucked into his pockets, his collar pulled up to try and stave off the chill of winter in New York, Aurillion Delavigne made his way across the streets of the Bronx. He had walked all the way here from his apartment, not bothering with the subway or hailing a cab, because he felt he needed the time spent walking to get his thoughts sorted out. It had been a month and a half since he had been around, apparently, that time having been lost to him after a young mutant girl had inadvertently turned him and several others back to being teenagers. He still remembered the time he had spent as a seventeen year old, virtually every moment of it, but the memories felt as distant to him as anything that had happened to him twenty years in the past. That meant he was left feeling like there was just a several week long gap with nothing to fill it.

Not that Aurillion would let that bother him; he had a life he needed to pick back up and sort out. Being at Xavier's for over a month, even with how distant those memories were, had him reconsidering is stance on the school. He had always isolated himself, out of necessity, but he did care about his fellow mutants and saw a possibility there to actually make a difference. Considering how many people there had only ever known him as a teenager it could be awkward, but that was something he just needed to cope with.

Before sorting himself out though, there was something else that Auri needed to do. Before he had been deaged, he had finally made his peace with the Assassins Guild following Corday's attempted betrayal of Bella Boudreaux, when he had chosen to stick to her side instead of selling her out for his freedom. She had taken care of him when he had suddenly been deaged, he remembered that still, and not only did he owe her his thanks, but he felt that she needed to know he had returned to his proper age. And, unfortunately, that not everyone who had been affected by Kerr McKay had made that same choice.

It was not the only reason for his visit. He had stopped by his bank on the way over, retrieving something from his safe. It had been in there for years, but considering everything that had happened Auri knew it was time that the Old Blade was returned to its rightful owner. Even without the Old Masters putting as much pressure on Bella Donna as before - she had made a very clear statement about how that was not a good idea - it was the right thing to do.

Stopping at the bottom of the steps leading up to the front door of Bella's brownstone, Auri heaved a soft sigh. He dealt with the past, able to look as far into the future as any person, object or place would allow him to, but he had enough foresight to know that what was to come would not be easy. But then taking the easy route had never been something Auri was inclined to do, and he owed it to Bella to make an effort. After how he had lived his life for so long, isolating himself from everyone, he did not have many people whom he could consider a friend, but despite things not always going too well between the two of them, Bella Donna Boudreaux was about as close as he got.

Ascending the stairs, Auri rapped his knuckles on the door and waited. He knew Bella was inside, he could see the last time she entered her home, and he assumed he'd knocked loud enough for her to hear. When the door opened, Auri offered the blonde Assassin Queen a small smile, giving her some time to wrap her mind around who was standing before her before he spoke up. "Hello Bella," he greeted her. "We should probably talk."
Feb 20 2018, 11:30 AM
A pink glow briefly covered the immediate area as X-23 was teleported into a small clearing by Blink, apparently close to where Jean Grey had found Auri Delavigne. Accompanying her was the geokinetic Slate and Laura's best friend and fellow New Mutant, Ion. Both Shane and Liv had experienced what happened to Auri, the two others who joined them there had not. Mercury was there as well, Cessily Kincaid having been chosen to accompany the others because, as someone so eloquently put it when the plans had been drawn out, being stabbed wouldn't bother her all that much. The final member of their little group was Wiccan, decidedly less stab proof than... well, pretty much all of the others present, but so adamant about going looking for Auri that he'd been allowed to go under the express orders to be extremely careful.

To anyone other than Laura there were no real signs of Auri in the immediate area, but the feral teenager had senses that far exceeded what the others' were capable of. Auri's scent lingered in the area, as did the distinct smell of blood, and if the others kept completely quiet Laura would even be able to make out the faintest voice in the distance. Again and again, the voice was repeating the same prayer, one that the young man uttering it had been taught at a very young age.

"Que le couteau dans l'obscurité soit toujours à moi.
Que le sang versé ne soit pas oublié.
Puisse la pièce en échange être bien gagnée.
Que le Saint de la Mort détourne le regard jusqu'à ce que le couteau dans l'obscurité soit celui d'un autre."


As the group followed Laura's senses to the source of what she was hearing, their surroundings seemed to change. Sunlight grew more sparse, colours seemed to dull and there was an odd chill in the air that felt wholly unnatural to a place like the Savage Land. Stepping out of the clearing and into the thickly vegetated jungle did not even remotely explain the changes the group experienced. There was more at work here, and at least two out of the five mutants had to have a very good idea what that was.

When the High Priestess Zaladane had performed her ritual to summon forth the host of Null, the Living Darkness, she had underestimated the entity's tenacity. Though drained of most of its power, it yet lingered inside Auri Delavigne, clinging onto every sliver of negativity the young man had held inside of him to remain tethered to this plane of existence. In that, Zaladane had failed, and the woman's overconfidence leading to failure did not end there. She had intended to send the teenager back to his people, both as a warning to them and to potentially sow the seed of conflict because of what he had done to his friends.

Yet despite regaining control over himself following the ritual, Auri had not sought out the people he had come here with. He could still sense the darkness that lingered within, and knowing what he had done to Shane and Liv kept him from seeking anyone out, choosing instead to isolate himself to avoid hurting others. Heavily wounded, only kept alive by a combination of the rune Zaladane had drawn across his heart and the ancient evil that had taken up residence inside his soul, Auri had stumbled off into the jungle, not coming to a stop until he had found the spot he was in now.

That's where the group found him, sat upon a small hill in yet another clearing with his shirtless back turned towards them. Though little light reached this clearing even before Auri had settled down there, the thick foliage on the branches above providing shelter from the sun, a beam of light found its way through the branches and illuminated the area Auri was sat in. The prayer that every Assassin knew by heart continued, an attempt by Auri to keep himself grounded, to remind himself who he was so he could keep the evil thrashing about inside contained. He had tried to rid himself of it, tried to remove Null from his body, but his desperation and fear had only served to strengthen the entity within. And so he had sought solace in the one thing that he had always felt strongly about, that never failed to bring him comfort: his life as an assassin. It didn't quiet the voice on the inside, screaming to be let back out, but it quieted it enough for Auri to feel like not all hope was lost.

But now he wasn't so sure.

The repetition of the prayer ceased the moment that Auri realised he was no longer alone in his little sanctuary, the entity that had taken up residence inside of him still pushing his innate psychic abilities far beyond their normal levels. "You shouldn't be here," he spoke up quietly as he rose to his feet. "He's still here. I tried to get him out, tried to blind him, but I couldn't. He's still here." As he turned around to face the group, it became apparent that the words Auri had spoken were quite literal. Various deep gashes ran across his chest and stomach, the result of several attempts by Auri to actually cut the darkness he felt inside from his body. His cheeks were stained, not with tears but with blood that had trickled down them and dried up, drawing a trail across his skin that ran from his jawline up to his now empty eye sockets. Auri had literally blinded himself, gouging out his eyes with the same sharp object he'd used to cut himself, yet somehow that did not seem to inhibit his ability to see who had joined him.

"He's still here," Auri repeated.

"Still here," he spoke again, the cadence of his voice changing slightly, making him sound like two people speaking at once. Three of the five people there had not yet heard Auri like this, but both Shane and Liv had. Right around the time both of them got thrown into an illusion of Liv's past and subsequently got stabbed.

"We're still here." Auri tilted his head sideways, an unsettling smile spreading across his blood stained face. "We're glad you could make it, we've grown hungry in our isolation."

Translation of the prayer, credit going to Ace:

May the knife in the dark always be mine.
May the blood spilled be blood not missed.
May the coin in exchange be coin well earned.
May the Saint of Death look away until the knife in the dark is another's.
Jan 29 2018, 01:47 PM
Duffle bag hanging over his shoulder, Auri made his way up the steps of Bella Boudreaux's brownstone home in the Bronx. It had been nearly a week since he had last seen his mentor, and though he wouldn't actually say it to the woman's face Auri had been concerned about her. The last time he had been here, he had found Bella with a broken hand and no satisfactory explanation as to what had happened to it. Or rather why it had happened. She'd hurt it during training, she'd claimed, and Auri had no reason not to believe her, but that didn't explain to him why it had happened. That was the part he actually needed help with to figure out; due to his mutation, knowing what had happened was easy enough for him to discover, even if he'd hesitate to use his ability to dig into Bella's privacy. But it wasn't as if Bella actually owed him any kind of explanation. He was the student and she was the master, so all she really owed him was a proper, rigorous training. That wasn't something she needed two hands for, leaving Auri to feel like he had no reason to try and dig any further.

Letting himself in through the front door with the key Bella had given him, Auri entered Bella's home and made his way towards the living room. "Bella?" he called out as he tossed his duffle bag onto the sofa, "it's me, Auri!" She'd know he would be coming by to train for the weekend, so his arrival would be no surprise, but he figured he'd just let her know that he was there. He flopped down next to his duffle bag then, kicked his feet up on the table and slumped down, pulling his cell phone from his pocket to keep himself occupied while he waited for Bella.

It was decidedly not the way for an assassin to conduct himself, but having been allowed to actually be a teenager by both Bella and Betsy, Auri had taken to it rather well. Or poorly, depending on your perspective. Pulling off his right glove with his teeth so he had an easier time using his phone, Auri even considered texting Billy and seeing if maybe the other boy wanted to meet him in the city sometime that weekend, but as much as he was adjusting to being a teenager, he was an assassin first and foremost. Taking time out of his schedule for a boy just didn't feel like something he could do. Even spending as much time with one as he had seemed like it would be a mistake. If he got too attached to Billy, that would make the boy someone that could be used against him, compromising himself while putting Billy in danger. He just hadn't had the heart to tell Billy yet.

So, instead of texting the boy he liked, Auri instead decided he'd kill some time and take his mind off Billy by looking at amusing animal videos on the internet. There was just something about critters like squirrels and ferrets failing to make the easiest of jumps that really tickled him. How wonderful was it that such a thing could be so easily accessed here in the future? Modern technology truly was amazing, and of course Auri Delavigne would end up using what was basically an endless fountain of information to look at cute animals messing up.
Dec 2 2017, 08:39 PM
Two black escrima sticks were twirled back and forth in skilled hands, a forward arko followed by a reverse arko and so on, as Auri stood there with his light blue eyes focused on John. He was excited to be here in the school's gymnasium with someone his own age who actually had a solid grasp on physical combat, though from what Auri had gathered John preferred ranged over melee combat. That was even better, of course, since that meant that they could learn from each other, instead of the knowledge only going in one direction.

"You'll teach me in your ways at a later point as well, yes?" Auri wondered, wanting to reiterate the understanding he assumed existed between the two of them. "What was the name they gave you again? Gunslinger?" The slight smile that had been on Auri's face already broadened a little as he said that name. Gunslinger. It amused him. He had not taken on a name like that himself, and none had been given to him either. There simply wasn't anything Auri felt really suited him. "I'd like to become better at that as well," he added, as if the decision had been made on the spot instead of being something he had decided well before their training session.

The two of them were not alone in the gymnasium, having an audience of two to watch them train. Auri was not used to training in front of an audience, unless it was under the scrutinising eye of a master evaluating his performance, but he appreciated that Ion and Wiccan were there. Auri never really had friends growing up, his parents and those who followed after their deaths more focused on raising an assassin than a child, so having other kids his age who not only seemed to tolerate his oft somewhat unusual behaviour but actually seemed to have at least a passing interest in his interests felt good.

"Billy, Liv!" Auri called out, glancing sideways to where the duo was seated, "you should consider training as well! You have your abilities, but having the knowledge to fight the old fashioned way never hurt anyone." Except those on the receiving end, he figured, but that was kind of the point. Auri would be happy to go a few rounds with either Billy or Liv as well, but first it was John's turn.

Returning his attention to the other man on the mat, his sticks still twirling in his hands because his number one rule when using them was to always keep them moving, Auri cocked his head lightly. "Do you have any experience using similar weapons?" Auri asked. Arnis was a versatile martial art, where anything stick-like could function as a weapon as long as it wasn't completely out of balance, so chances were John did actually have some experience. "I could go over some basic theory as we go along, if you'd like." It was not as engaging as actually sparring, but the theory behind the art was just as important as knowing how to apply it properly. "Or we can just start," he added with a shrug, the sticks in his hands briefly becoming still as he tightened his grip on them. Either worked, it wasn't like Auri wouldn't give a running commentary on what was happening as they sparred anyway.
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