Berserker: superior (rank 2)
"So how did you start working for the The Syndicate?" asked Benji Bolo as he looked at the clouds through the airplane window.
Niko grabbed a bottle of cognac from the beverage cart that was left for him by the stewardess. "I don't work for The Syndicate. I work with The Syndicate." he answered while opening the bottle and smelling it's contents."My parents were in The Syndicate. My dad ran a smuggling organization through his breweries and my mom was a scientist who created chemical weapons in the basements of my fathers breweries, which she then sold to the highest bidder.". He put the bottle to his head gulped down some of its contents and continued. "They were very successful and so they had a lot of enemies, they were assassinated on a business trip to Khazan. I was only fifteen but since I was their first child I had inherited all their assets, influence, allies and the enemies that came along with them. The Syndicate helped me retain control of and maintain both my parents organizations.". He finished the bottle and searched the cart for a full bottle to no avail.
"I see, so you basically grew up with The Syndicate. I'm guessing that they gave you your powers to help you cement your authority." replied Benji as he watched the stewardess prepare to carry away the cart.
The stewardess turned to the two men and chimed "We are almost at our destination." as she handed Niko six large metal flasks and then left.
"Actually." started Niko as he placed the flasks into his pockets. "I got my powers accidentally. After my parents funeral I went to one of my their breweries and started to drinking anything I could get my hands on. I ended up guzzling down a bottle of an experimental liquid which to make a long story short, 'evolved' me into I am today."
The stewardess returned and handed the men parachute packs. "We have arrived."
"Wait one damn minute!" barked Benji as he jumped up. "Why the hell do we need parachutes!?"
Niko laughed and answered him while he put on the pack. " The Hoary Isle is way to dangerous to land a plane on. Don't worry it'll be fun.
After ten minutes of screaming and begging to several gods for protection the men landed on the Hoary Isle. Niko quickly threw of his parachute and turned to Benji. "Hurry up we don't have long before they find us."
"Till who finds us?" Benji asked but as soon as he could finish the sentence he got his answer. A dozen abnormally large apes charged out of the nearby jungle. "Holy shit." whispered Benji as he drew his blade.
Niko smiled and started to drink from one of his flasks as he walked towards the beasts. "You guys got bigger, lets hope you put up a better fight this time.". Niko finished the contents of the flask ran towards the beasts eager to get his hands dirty.
Benji watched in awe as Niko attacked the beast. Despite their imposing figures Niko was over powering them. He watched as Niko tore a beast limb from limb and shrug of blows from the muscle bound beasts. Benji wasn't watching a man fighting monsters, he was watching a battle between beast. Just then one of the apes ran towards Benji."Lets see what you got." growled Benji has he attacked the beast with all his strength, but to his amazement his blade barely went an inch deep into the beasts flesh and now the beast was preparing to attack him. Just then the pungent smell of liquor assaulted Benji's nose and then a hand ripped through the beasts chest.
Niko pulled his arm from the apes body and smiled. "No time to rest, if we don't get moving we will be swarmed.". He opened another flask and ran into the jungle followed by Benji who was floating between fear and admiration as he ran passed the mangled corpses of the monstrous apes.
A Flask A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
Regeneration: superior (rank 2)
After hours of running and fighting Niko and Benji finally stopped to rest. Benji barely had any wounds due to the fact that he had spent most of his time striking from the shadows and avoiding Niko's attacks. Niko on the other hand was covered in both his and his victims blood, scars and gashes. "You seem to be pretty banged up, actually you should be dead after some of the blows I've seen you get."
Niko winced as he gradually stood up and stretched his limbs. He sighed and looked at Benji. "I hope your ready for this, The Veiled Pontiff doesn't offer his services easily or cheaply, not even for The Syndicate.". He checked his pockets and took out a flask. "Down to two. O.k Benji time to meet the old bastard."
Benji watched in amazement as Niko's wounds started to heal with each gulp he took from the flask. "Well I'll be damned." Benji whispered to himself as he followed Niko out of the forest. As the jungle foliage started to vanish the image of a large green and silver monastery came into view. Besides from the sounds of green robed monks tending the land everything was eerily quiet. "From the way you've been describing him I didn't expect him to be an actual pontiff with his own monks and everything." stated Benji as he flinched at the sounds of Niko's bones cracking back into their correct positions.
"They aren't monks, they're slaves, forced to work for the 'pontiff' in exchange for their life." replied Niko as he inspected his wounds as they healed. "In my opinion they're better off dead.".
As they reached the the entrance of the monastery, a tall monk with milky pupils and a deep scar running down the left side of his face appeared and greeted them with his deep gentle voice, "Greetings honored guest, His Excellence has been waiting for you." . He then gestured for them to him and then entered the gigantic building.
"So, whats new brother Panoptes?" chirped Niko as he followed the towering monk down the countless turns of the archaic building.
"Things have been the same. As they always will be Mr.Beoir." answered the monk. "Although we have seen more travelers coming for the masters blessing.".
"Hmph" Answered Niko as they approached a man dressed in a silver and jade colored cassock. "Well Benji, there he is. The Veiled Pontiff, master of the Hoary Isle."
"Ahh, master Niko. I must admit, I was quite pleased to hear that it was you who would be escorting my new client here. It has been too long." chimed the pontiff as he approached his guest. "That will be all Argus."
"Yes master." Answered the monk as he bowed and hurriedly left the three men alone.
The pontiff approached Benji and gazed into his eyes. "So. You are Benji Bolo. From what I hear you are quite the survivor." He turned towards Niko and smiled "Much like master Niko." He turned back to Benji and continued. "I wonder what kind of gift you will seek."
"Before we get into gifts and powers, tell me what I'll have to give you in exchange. I'm not sure if I'm willing to hand over my soul just yet." answered Benji he stared into the ancient eyes of the Veiled Pontiff.
"I hope you aren't insulted by this but your...'soul' isn't as valuable as you might think. Besides, I'm not that type of being. The Syndicate has already made an offer that I could not refuse.". Niko was about to speak when his phone rang, he apologized and walked away to answer the it while The Pontiff and Benji spoke.
"So tell me, how did you, a normal human being manage to survive Niko's assault when so many who were much more powerful than you could not."
A short chuckle escaped Benji's mouth as he answered. " To tell you the truth I don't know. All I know is that I'm lucky that he didn't use as much power then as he did on your pets today.". He stopped as Niko returned visibly angry.
Niko touched Benji's shoulder and grumbled "Come on, it's time to do our end of the deal.". He gave the pontiff a deadly glare and walked away, "The faster the better.".
Touch Of Dionysus
Mind Control: standard (rank 1)
Under the dark moon and glistening stars Niko and Benji Bolo stood in front St. Castus' Orphanage. "Are you sure this is the place?" asked Benji with apprehension. Benji was prepared to do anything to gain new power but this....
"Yes, I'm sure. Now lets get this over with." answered Niko as he sighed and entered the building each step burdened with remorse.
To Benji's surprise the building was empty, there were no guards, nuns or children. "Are you sure this is the right place? There is no one here, maybe they gave you the wrong address.".
Niko turned to Benji with a face soaked with anger and regret. "Listen to me Benji. I know this decision was made for you and if you had it your way you would have rejected the offer. But this world you have been dragged into has rules and obligations. The Syndicate, despite what some people may believe, is a family. In order to enter this family sacrifices have to be made, and there are repercussions if you disappoint the family.". Niko walked until he reached a door and turned to open it. "Come on Benji.".
When Benji entered the room he was met by the smiling face of two children, a boy and a girl who greeted him in sign language. Niko sat on a nearby bed and looked at Benji, "They had some kind of deadly sickness, the procedure that cured them took away their ability to speak and hear, making them useless in the Veiled Pontiffs eyes. A few years ago, back when the pontiff used this orphanage to acquire children for experimentation, I was asked to escort a man here to kill them." he paused, drank from a flask he removed from his pocket and touched the boy on his arm. A subtle aroma of rum filled the room and then the boy fell asleep. "In the end he couldn't do it. He was going to call the pontiff to alter the deal but by the time he dialed the first number he died from an aneurysm. The day after that I bought this place so no one else would have to die.". He got up and touched the girl on her cheek putting her into a deep slumber.
"So why did you allow the Syndicate to make this deal?" asked Benji as every muscle in his body tensed.
"When you join The Syndicate you will understand." replied Niko as he walked over to Benji and put his hand on his neck.
As soon as Niko's skin touched his, a feeling of euphoria and then dizziness flooded Benji's body. "What did you do to me I feel strange." slurred Benji as Niko walked out of the room.
"I just made the task easier for you to do. I know that this will be hard for you to live with, but at least you will be able live." Niko took another sip from his flask and closed the door.
A few minutes later Niko and Benji were walking out of the building, both of them sharing the same face of sadness. "So what happened to everyone else in the orphanage, did The Syndicate kill them off too?" asked Benji as they entered Niko's car.
Niko started the car and began to drive. "Before The Syndicate made the deal with the pontiff they had got all the other kids adopted. I fired all of the workers and arranged the building to be demolished." Niko looked at Benji and smiled while he finished the flask. " I've come to find that there are some memories that not even good liquor can wash away.