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Old 08-25-2008, 11:11 AM   #16
Permanent Facepalm
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 37,712

Mike Shanahan

The Count of Saint Germain raised the glass to his lips and took a slow drink, torturing Cagliostro with every prolonged second of his tranquil composure. “You have done nothing to offend me, Cagliostro. In fact, you’ve been an admirable, if unwitting, servant.” The Count of Saint Germain waved his tension away with a dismissive flip of his hand. “If anything, dear Alessandro, I have been meddling in your affairs.”
Cagliostro said nothing, returning only a blank stare etched in confusion.
An ominous smile crept over the Count of Saint Germain’s lips. “You’ve been a useful tool, Cagliostro. You’ve become a mystery to the people. An enigma of fame and infamy in unison. Chaos…” The Count of Saint Germain blinked once, sincerity washing over rigid features and his tone becoming patronizing. “But I’m building a new world from the ashes of this stale… pit.” He turned, calmly leveling his gaze at the aging man before him, and said, “I had you arrested for Marie Antoinnette’s gaudy necklace.”
Cagliostro grimaced, pained by betrayal’s revelation. The affair of the diamond necklace, a vast ruse a skilled forger and swindler had invented to amass wealth, status, and cement public opinion against the queen, had become a catalyst to this French revolution now in it’s infancy. Cagliostro, himself, due to his dubious past, had been arrested on suspicion and exiled despite his apparent innocence.
The Count of Saint Germain only shrugged. “Had the French tribunal performed to expectations, we wouldn’t need to be having this discussion, but, alas, here we are.” He sighed. “This emerging new world is mine, Cagliostro. I no longer have a use for a man of your notoriety. No, Cagliostro, your purpose has run it’s course. So, again, tell me, what am I to do with you?”
Cagliostro stood rigid, jaw tight with defiance despite his uncertainty and fear that echoed inside him. “You would betray me with a smile?”
The Count of Saint Germain shrugged. “’Asher eh asher’; ‘I am that I am’. Such is my nature. Time is supposed to be our ultimate equalizer. What becomes of fear without the threat of retribution and consequence… without death? To stand unmovable throughout each epoch is a remarkable experience, but to bend history itself to your will… this is the power of the gods.” An imposing half smile crept slowly across his lips. “Because of my gifts, I have seen and experienced beyond mortal dreams. To stare entire armies down, blade drawn, without fear. To learn and debate firsthand with history’s greats… and then to surpass them.” He took one final drink as the remains of the wine glass slid down his throat, then paused to collect his thoughts. “Ego is beneath me. I have learned from my mistakes as one must to reshape the world in their image.” His head cocked to the side inquisitively. “Should I have pity on the sheep that must unwittingly surrender their lives for my dream? Does hunter pity the creature that he takes in sport?”
He shook his head softly. “No… men die enslaved by their surroundings, Cagliostro. Such is their nature. Most are no more than beasts of burden, slaving without complaint… to wring use from such pathetic animals you must speak to the soul to electrify them. As you are aware, manipulation is an art, and to this end, I am a true master. I have cast you aside, Cagliostro, as I will Bonaparte when his course has run.”
The Count of Saint Germain sighed once more. He produced a dagger with one free hand and set it upon the laboratory desk top with the empty glass simultaneously. With a glance over his shoulder as he made his exit, he said only, “Captivity or the afterlife.”
The local Roman constabulary was waiting outside as the Count of Saint Germain exited. In stride, he said, “The Count Alessandro di Cagliostro has confessed to be a practicing Freemason. Take him to Castel Sant Angelo. Any heartbeat of daylight he sees diminishes a score from your life.”
The constable nodded and waved his men forward as the Count of Saint Germain slowly melted into the night.

The centurion stood akimbo, cursing under his breath, weathered and tanned skin stretching to accommodate his wide grimace. So many factors had come to pass to land him in this predicament, like so many ripples on ocean of life creating a violent whirlpool that threatened to tear his existence apart. However, his apprehensions were not selfish in nature. Rather, his only fears were in defense of his ideals and what he held dearest, the Roman empire.
The cries from the assembled crowd, whether in support, mock, or desperate plea, were constant and the threat of riot and revolt were ubiquitous. Softly, the centurion cursed again, this time directing his disdain at Caiphas. After all, it was this man who had brought this mess upon him. This heretic, this blasphemer, that they had brought to his door seemed innocent in his own ways. This situation had become volatile quickly, and it was that volatility that tugged at Caiphas’ political strings, given that every breath this “criminal” took threatened Caiphas’ position and his prosperity.

Last edited by TheReverend; 08-25-2008 at 11:37 AM..
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