Marcus Antonio Provenzano
Organization: The Order of the True Cross
Organization Rank: Trainee
Though he was once a rather broad fellow, Marcus has dropped quite a bit of weight, both fat and muscle. Some of it could be attributed to his new training regime, but a majority of this loss can be attributed directly to the sleepless nights, haunted days, and poor appetite the boy regularly suffers through. He just tops 6’ (1.82 meters), and where once he may have hit nearly 195lbs (88 kg), now his breaks just even at 155lbs (69 kg).
The constant bombardment of hellish terrors at night has left him with little appetite during the day, however his trainers and supervising Trus Cross priests have begun regularly forcing high-calorie and high-protein meals into the boy whenever they can. This has halted the steady decline of his physical health, keeping him at a weight where they are satisfied they can work him in combat routines while not losing any more precious muscle.
Perhaps because of his rapid weight loss, or maybe just from the fact that he never sleeps, the young man shuffles more than he walks, and tends to not hurry anywhere when he moves (though his morning runs are surprising spry for a fellow who appears mostly dead). But his movements in combat are even more surprising, as once he is on the mat (or against an opponent), that shuffling manner turns to a fluid, brutal style. Of course, it lasts only so long as there is a fight to be had; afterwards, he tends to find a bench to hunch on, or a quick place to doze.
And while his heritage is Italian, his skin tone doesn’t reflect a bit of it. Once upon a time, he had a healthy tan, one olive in complexion that wasn’t quite so dark as his Mediterranean relatives (on his mother’s side). But now, that flush of colour has all but vanished, and his skin is a pale shade of, well, pale. Dark circles are a constant beneath his lackluster green eyes (whose happy glint once marked the beginning of trouble for professors and assailants alike), and there is a pallor to his cheeks and a pallid pink to his lips that lends him the look of a man near dead. The few times this young man appears the least bit alive is during his physical training sessions and the long runs he takes in the very early morning light. At those times, a good flush of colour lights up his face, bringing back a spark of life that lends him a rather fleeting, handsome air.
Since his arrival at True Cross, Marcus has favoured a simple outfit that seems to blend him in to the rest of his peers: a button down shirt, occasionally the one he fell asleep in the night before; slacks that are fitted just enough to give them shape; scuffed wing tipped boots that, while lacking the general polish of a professional shoe, have been with him for some time and he has no intention of letting them go. Everything is in an inky shade of black, including his accessories of a leather belt and moderate tie. (Of course, when in practice, on a run, or a bout of training, Marcus will dress appropriately, normally in a long sleeved compression shirt, shorts or running pants, and track shoes.)
There is also the new addition of a black, leather shoulder harness for his handgun - and two spare magazines - and for his axe, which rests near the small of his back, reversed. It is in a specialty sling that allows him to draw it rapidly, though stowing it back takes a few more seconds (Marcus is currently practicing to make the motion smoother and faster.)
Over it all is his favourite (read: only) coat, black as the norm and heavy enough to give just the right amount of weight. It’s been a part of him almost as long as the boots, and he’s become quite reliant on it to tell him just how much longer he has before needing to cut his lengthy, black hair (which normally means it hits the top of the collar and falls distractingly in his eyes). It was never his attempt to be “edgy” or “gothic”, it just seemed that black was the staple of those around him, and it is fairly easy to make matches out of all black socks.
Once, Marcus was a live-it-up sort of guy, enjoying life while pursuing his ultimate goal of entering the priesthood. He loved family get-togethers and meetings with friends, especially those that included lively debate about the Church, religion, or 80’s era American film. He would often get a drink near the school with a priest who encouraged and nurtured his walk along the path to priesthood (of course, that would come back to bite him later). He laughed, he joked, and he loved - he has been with a few women, loving them all but realizing he couldn’t love them as much as he loved the Church - and he was rarely without a smile.
Now, however, one is lucky to get more than a few words out of him. He tends to keep to himself, not because of some serious lack of social skills, but because his near-constant state of exhaustion has led him to become rather apathetic towards social gatherings and crowd mingling. This isn’t to say that he avoids them at all costs; should he be required to attend a function or participate in class, he will do so with all the energy he can muster.
He is quite capable of conversation and not at all averse to holding a chat with a person willing to put up with his slight awkward pauses and tangential tendencies, all of which stems from his inability to catch more than a few hours of sleep in any one time. Unless a person is speaking from complete ignorance and willing blindness, Marcus has very little issue with anyone; women don’t fluster him and men rarely give him pause.
And it should be noted that Marcus is still very much a studious individual, having always been prone to books over parties (though he did his fair share of those, too), and his current state has done nothing to change that. Indeed, since his arrival at True Cross, his studies have doubled, as he is continuing his college career and devoting every waking (as there are many) minute to learning about the new world he has been thrust into. If not on a run or in training, Marcus can most usually be found in the library or one of the many studies scattered throughout the buildings. Having already published two small papers on the nature of the Church and God (that one was the cause of a small amount of backlash amongst the less progressive thinking in the clergy), marcus had already set himself up to be an outspoken, diligent, vibrant member of the clergy; though he is now in a different form of his Church, he still attempts to continue his trend.
He still retains a bit of that vivacity from his previous life when discussing the future of the Church, the direction of her leadership, and now the myriad of creatures, spells, and incredible Faeth he’s been introduced to. He can become rather animated when discussing any of the former, but that requires a person who is willing to listen and then retort; he has a difficult time with people who simply pretend to listen but in reality are just waiting for him to move on to another topic.
In regards to the undead - or the supernatural in general - Marcus wants to understand them, but only in respect to their nature; he feels no attachment to them in any real form, though some part of him feels empathy for their plight. They are removed from God, and can therefore never feel His presence without pain, and that is a horrible fate above any other. So, he studies them - in depth as he can - to compensate for his lack of history with them.
There is also no love lost (much to the chagrin of God, he’s sure) for humans that judge and condemn other human beings. A person’s lifestyle is their own, and their colour is never their choice, so he will not cast stones at them for it, nor will he deny them brotherly love based on that alone. It pains him to see the bigotry and hatred of the world, but since his induction to True Cross, he has found a much greater foe to direct his disappointment to (that isn't to say he nevermore gets pissed at willful ignorance and bullies).
His morality is less “black and white” and more “does this thing deserve to live as a human lives”. If the answer is yes, Marcus will strive to aid that individual. If the answer is no...well, he will put them down appropriately.
His nightmares have become a constant part of his life, so much so that he sees them at times just behind his eyelids when he blinks. His strength of faith is unwavering, though he fights with the questions of “why” constantly. He knows this is a test of sorts, and embraces that, but there have been times when his tears have flowed freely and his cries have not been in suffering but in begging. It is because of this constant, nightly bombardment that Marcus has taken to drinking heavily before bed (on nights he can get away with it), and most recently, he has been tracking down those whom he’d originally ministered away from drug abuse; he has only fallen to the needle a couple of times, but the glorious bliss of nothing as he passes out is like heaven to him. (This will be dealt with in game as much as possible. If he cannot kick this habit, then consequences will occur.)
(Marcus also tends to wear his harness and holster anywhere he goes, occasionally even on his runs. He wants to make certain everything feels natural to him, in any situation, so when he is finally in the field, he will not be distracted by the weight and the pull. He has decided to mentally condition himself as well as physically.)
Even though he is now a part of one of the largest (underground) organizations in the world, Marcus is hardly as well equipped as most of his other Trus Cross peers. Partially, of course, due to his unique abilities.
Hand Axe: Through much trial and error, the True Cross instructors finally stumbled across a melee weapon that suits Marcus’ (rudimentary) fighting style: a tactical hand axe. The weapon is based on the design from United Cutlery’s M84 Hawk axe. The dimensions a very much the same, with few key differences: it’s length is overall 18 inches instead of the normal 15; it weighs in at exactly two pounds, slightly heavier for the modified materials; 9 inch cutting edge on the axe head; 7 inch cutting edge on the back hand spike. This may not sound like a terribly imposing weapon, but it is easy to swing, allowing Marcus miles of use without tiring him, and the razor edge on both ends is wickedly sharp.
Of course, it is also modified to be wielded against the undead, so along the ridge just above the edges, there is a strip of silver. It must be replaced over time, but it creates a “silver” weapon without compromising the integrity of the weapon itself. The main component of the axe is Anodized AUS-6 stainless steel, corrosion resistant and moderately soft (as far as steel goes), which means it will not shear or break under great pressure. The only downside is that the cutting edge must be looked after on a regular basis.
Marcus has become rather proficient in the use of the axe, using both sides - and even the grip - to great effect, making this weapon more than just a tool for chopping wood in his hands.
Knife: A blade gifted to him by another member of True Cross (his one-time drinking buddy Father O’Grady), this knife (12” overall) is simple yet oddly elegant. It is made from S30V steel, able to withstand harsh conditions and still retain an edge (does need some looking after in that regard). The 6.5 inch blade has a high toughness and ductility, meaning it will bend quite a bit before it breaks. There is a slight silver to the coating of the bald blade face, and it needs to be replaced after heavy use, however his friend didn’t seem to think that would be a problem when he passed it right along
Mobile Phone: Like all True Cross members, Marcus was issued a mobile phone, though after a few “incidents” they decided to give him an Astron Rough Pro phone. It is designed to take fairly well anything that can be thrown at it, and then some. It is, of course, connected to True Cross’ online library of all things supernatural (because some True Cross new kids still need to ask the question “what the hell is that?”)
H&K USP Compact: Carried only because his instructors decided he needed something other than “just a hatchet” (words he really can’t argue with), the USP Compact was the final choice for the young man. Chambered for the .357 SIG - and taking a 12 round magazine - the handgun is small enough to be mostly unobtrusive while still maintaining the effectiveness of a full sized sidearm. It is, of course, coated in an anti-corrosion matte black finish. He also carries two spare magazines.
Small notepads: Neon green to battered black, these tiny notepads follow Marcus wherever he goes. Anything that strikes his fancy - a unique name, a new place to eat, a strange type of Fae - he writes down, including at times the details of his terrorizing nightmares. There are little piles of them in his lonely room, and he is never caught without at least one on his person at all times.
Handy dandy messenger bag: Nothing fancy, just something for him to dump his occasional books, notepads, pens that write just perfectly, wallet, spare magazines, mobile phone on silent and the crumpled pack of cigarettes that always manage to find their way to the bottom of the bag. While it can obviously be worn across the body, Marcus never does so, to keep from binding up the axe harness.
Wallet: Simple, brown, and filled with not a lot: driver's license, a few euro notes, his student ID, and a credit card that sees less action than his bed.
Wooden Rosary: A gift from his family when he graduated from secondary school, this rosary is fashioned from solid wood and corded thread. Marcus usually carries it with him, though never wears it.
Lighter: Because you should never be without one.
Cigarettes: Yes, he smokes. No, not often. Just once in a rare while, when he needs something to keep his hands from shaking.
Though he has only had little over a year with the True Cross, Marcus has gained a few abilities that set him apart from the average guy, namely his specialty in Faeth. He has found that there are a few abilities innate to him, while others he is still working on (and even a few he doesn’t know about yet). All of these abilities (aside from the innate ones) are bought with Souls. They are in tiers, as in he must first buy This is My Body before he can buy This is My Blood:
Hand of the Lord (innate): an object that can be picked up and held (ranging from a sewing needle to a concrete block) is instantly transformed into a holy, blessed weapon. However, the object only remains holy so long as Marcus is in contact with it; once dropped, the object becomes normal once again.
Lingering Blessing (costs 1 Soul Point): Similar to Hand of the Lord, except should Marcus drop the object, it remains holy and blessed for three posts after it leaves his hands. (Can only be used on three (3) objects during any one (1) encounter.)
Everlasting Blessing (costs 2 Soul Points): After a single word of blessing, the object Marcus holds is holy for all eternity (no matter what that object might be). (Marcus can only do this once in an encounter.)
Touch of Christ (innate): Marcus making contact with a supernatural creature cause discomfort and slight nausea, though no outward physical manifestations of this discomfort can be seen (i.e. no burned skin). Lower level creatures feel this discomfort much more keenly, and mindless supernatural are repelled by it. To date, this is an untrained ability that has yet to be forcibly manifest on command.
Sanctified Touch (costs 2 Soul Points): As a willing act, Marcus can make his touch (or any part of his skin) harmful to a supernatural creature. Severe burns, blistering, and heavy nausea can occur, more so to lower level creatures (Upyr and lower). Mindless supernatural are repelled and seek to remove themselves from his presence. High level still feel discomfort and a desire to shy away from him. (Can only be used for four (4) posts within any one (1) encounter.)
Hallowed Hands (costs 3 Soul Points): As a willing act, Marcus can fuel his touch with so much divine will that it becomes deadly to supernaturals. Revenants are nearly slain by his hands (if they are damaged previously, then they are returned to the dead); anything else below a Upyr in level - or equivalent - is severely wounded. Anything above is burned but not to a life-threatening degree, and the desire to be removed from his presence is very strong. (Can only use for three (3) posts within any one (1) encounter.)
This is My Body (costs 3 Soul Point): Marcus cannot be infected by the bite (or claw) of supernatural creatures. They can, of course, cause damage as any other attack, however there is no chance of him becoming a Revenant or lycan (or vampire, for that matter). (This is a constant ability.)
This is My Blood (costs 3 Soul Points): Marcus’ blood becomes intolerable to any creature attempting to feed on him. Should such a creature attack and attempt to feed, they are dealt serious damage from the equivalent of double-strength Holy Water being drawn from the boy. (This is a constant ability)
Besides these Faeth-based abilities, Marcus is also a decent shot with his sidearm, but nothing much to speak of with rifles, shotguns, and SMGs. He has become rather deadly with his axe, with an ability to utilize it at odd angles and to find openings most couldn’t capitalize on; throwing said axe however is a bit more challenging, as he can hit a stationary target with regular accuracy, though anything moving is more difficult.The knife as well, he is coming along in, responding well to the concept of close quarters, down-and-dirty fighting, and his throwing accuracy is much better with the smaller object.
His instructors are teaching him a mixture of Krav Maga and Silat, working off of his natural ability to simply roll with whatever is at hand (another one of his “tricks” is that the young man is a natural-born brawler, reaching out for anything and everything at hand during a fight should he lose his axe.) Of course, he is working through TACE (Tactical Adaptive Combat Evasion) training, which he is doing rather well at, however he won’t be jumping roof to roof any time soon. But smaller things, like window ledges and awnings are well in play.
Marcus is also a remarkably resilient young man, having been ill not once in his life, and is capable of taking quite the beating without stopping progress (even now, True Cross agents are unclear as to how he isn’t falling over dead from the lack of sleep, and he should have caught at least one of the small colds running around the facilities over the past months.) He is capable of receiving heavy blows, enough to leave deep bruises and lacerate skin, and still persevere; a broken jaw, or a cracked rib and a few broken fingers aren't enough to really truly halt his progress, but other broken bones (arms, legs, neck of course) will slow him considerably (however Marcus will most likely try to run before getting in such a bad shape, because you can't win if you're dead). This isn’t to say that he can NEVER be ill, simply that it is a thing that has never happened, and it confuses the daylights out of the priests.
Additionally, Marcus boasts the endurance of world class distance runner, capable of continuing on with an attack or retreat with an almost non-stop motion. This die-hard determination has been attributed to either his connection to God or to his astounding physical grit by multiple (conflicted) parties, though who is to say it isn’t just both.
Lastly, he speaks Italian (native), English (out of necessity) and Latin (out of, of course, his priestly schooling). When in upper secondary school, he took French as a way to keep up with the neighbors, but he isn't as fluent as he would like, and his vocabulary and syntax aren't the greatest.
Born in Salerno on February 18, 1995, Marcus was brought into a life that was fairly comfortable and rather stable. His father, a deacon for one of the many local churches, was a kind man if not overly zealous about life. More often than not, he would become passionate about the Church, not because he thought everyone should convert, but because he saw beauty in it; Marcus doesn’t have to guess where he got that particular trait from. His mother is a soft spoken woman who gently tolerates her husband’s zeal, and loves her children deeply. She was at home for a few years after his birth, but it wasn’t long before she was back out at her career, and Marcus was in nursery.
His sister has always been loud, in charge, and a brilliant woman. Being a few years older, she was expected to help with Marcus when she could, and though they had their rough patches, they both adored one another and were inseparable through most of their younger years.
Speaking of nursery, Marcus was in “pre-school” from age three, and then into regular primary school at age six. His father continued to instill a sense of right that comes from being at Mass, and though little Marcus was still young, he could understand there was something going on that he couldn’t see, but could certainly feel. Later, of course came the first half of secondary school, where he had his first real run in with violence, the sort that just pops up in your face without time to really process it.
A child younger than he was being bullied by no small margin, and though he didn’t know the child well, the sight of him being tossed about and his belongings scattered set something off inside the thirteen year old Marcus. He tried to halt the incident peacefully - as per his father’s teachings - but the older, less amiable bullies didn’t take to his attempts. So without warning a fist was thrown and Marcus found out first hand what it was like to be in a flat out brawl, though of course no one was truly trained and everyone involved was just trying to make a point.
He had his ass handed to him that day.
And rightly so, his parents came down hard on him at first, though when they heard his reasoning as to why, they backed off (not much, just a bit). It set a precedence that no family member was aware of, one that wouldn’t come into question until a few years later. Between those instances, however, Marcus kept up mostly decent grades, and studied much harder than his sister ever had to. He never begrudged her natural talent at school, but his consistent, steady studying habits ground a sort of patient intelligence into the boy, something he would come to be thankful for later.
A few years after his first fight, Marcus found himself in yet another altercation, this time with bullies much the same as before. But unlike before, he found a bit of readiness for the situation, and when that first punch was thrown, Marcus followed up with one of his own. Then another. And another. That fight was his that day, and though his parents and teachers all agreed he was doing a good thing, just in the wrong way, Marcus suddenly found that violence wasn’t always a bad thing.
He ended up praying a lot about that one.
Time passed, and the boy grew to become a friendly face with his peers, making friends and keeping them with ease. He was known as a honest kid, with a bit of a mouth at times if he felt there was any sort of wrongdoing at hand; more often than not, there was some sort of wrongdoing for him to point out. His instructors and teachers appreciated his hard work and devoted nature, and though he often had to hear about how he was “Cassandra’s brother”, he never hated his sister for her stellar school career. In actuality, it drove him to work harder, to prove to himself - not just others - that he was an intelligent individual in his own right.
Of course, the entire time he was growing scholastically, he was growing in his faith as well. He was in constant conversation with his father about the Church and God and religion in general. Arnoldo Provenzano was a highly educated man, but he was also wise, for all his excitable nature would belie; Marcus came to rely on him for many things, not in the least was his sounding board for his thoughts on God. There were many things in life that interested Marcus, but nothing captured his entire attention like religion, particularly Catholicism.
This love of the Church didn’t leave him even as he graduated on the the latter half of his secondary schooling. However, he did begin to experiment with just more than books and philosophy. Now in his teen years, girls became a thing prevalent on his mind, and he acted accordingly: with much awkwardness and failure. However, his natural charm and open mindedness won over many a young lady.
And young man.
It was around fourteen that he realized boys held the same intrigue to him as girls, and while his family didn’t see anything wrong with the fact, he knew others around him might not be so understanding. He hid that part of him when he could, only allowing a select few friends know.
It was also around fourteen that he was involved in his third altercation. This time, however, it wasn’t a school yard brawl. A tourist had been spouting derogatory and highly racist remarks about one of Marcus’ oldest friends, a boy who had no control over the colour of his skin. Of course, Marcus spoke up as he usually did, and when the older, heavier tourist decided to amp up the game, Marcus took it to him. There were eventually police involved, though no charges were ever filed, mostly due to every witness stating Marcus was simply defending himself.
The tourist was in the hospital for a week.
There was quite a bit of disciplinary talk and threats of all kinds, but like always, his parents saw the situation for what it was, and resigned themselves to simply supporting him through the remaining ordeal, knowing he wasn’t a hot headed kid, nor was he a violent one. Just...passionate. Much like his father, or so said his mother.
Just over two years later, Marcus would be thrown into the most definitive fight of his life. He was loitering with friends just outside a small shop, waiting for a bus. A commotion was heard and suddenly there was a man attempting to flee the store, bag in hand. Without a thought, Marcus tripped him up and reached out for the falling thief.
What he wasn’t expecting was the knife that found itself between his ribs.
His friends watched the man flee as they called for help, and held him as he clutched impotently at the knife still protruding from his chest. Once at the hospital, it was said that he would never make it, that there was too much damage. A bit later, and they said there was “hope”. A little later than that, and they said “he will live”. It was obvious to everyone involved that the boy should have died; there was no medical reason for him to have pulled through so well.
That’s when Marcus realized that maybe there was something else he should be doing with his life. Not just working towards a degree for a routine job, not just studying for the sake of passing. Perhaps he was supposed to do more than that. Perhaps he was supposed to be more than that.
So he decided on a path to the clergy.
His father endorsed it, of course. His mother supported him. His sister said he was an idiot, but loved him all the same. And then there was a priest, Father O’Grady, who had visited him often in the hospital when it seemed there was no hope. The younger priest had taken a shine to Marcus, and vise versa, and they had talks long into the night during his month long hospital stay, talks about life and God and purpose. After his release, Marcus kept in touch with the priest, asking him for advice that before he had only received from his father. It was an eye opening experience for the younger man, and it helped to fuel his decision.
Graduation came and went, and university followed. His previous school joked about him being “touched by God”, and it made him moderately uncomfortable. Now at university, he could escape some of that and settle in to his new path in life. Things were made slightly easier as O’Grady worked close by, and they would often go to dinner together, usually at a small pub or loud college restaurant. It was good to have a familiar face, as he didn’t see his family much, and his sister had - in her words - escaped to the United States. It felt good, and right to be on the path he was treading, and school came easier than ever before (though studying was something he did often and thoroughly); so much so that he published a small paper on the nature of violence as condoned by the Church and its relation to other religious tenants on violence (this was not well received by certain clergy).
This was also the time he was able to stretch his...sexual wings, and explore a bit more before having to give it all up.
But it was that one night in a tiny pub that will haunt him forever. He and O’Grady had decided to make a later than usual dinner appointment (both had been swamped by the day), and the small eatery was packed with people and voices. Finding a place at the bar, they had just launched into their first beer when something slammed into O’Grady from behind. At first, Marcus had thought it to be some sort of bar fight, but when his eyes met the offending man’s blood red iris’, he knew the situation was far different than a mere bar brawl.
Instantly, O’Grady had been up and drawing with looked to be a knife, but the man, creature, thing had pounced, trapping him against the counter. Without a thought, Marcus had picked up the stool he’d been sitting in and swung.
It had connected with the thing’s head with such force that the legs shattered and the creature screamed in pain. Marcus was surprised by its reaction, but O’Grady seemed absolutely floored by it. The tussle continued for only a second longer, as O’Grady whipped out a long knife and stabbed the thing in the face. There was a rush of bodies and screaming voices as everyone else has fled the scene. Everyone but Marcus. His friend snapped out a phone and made a call for “clean up” before dragging Marcus out into the street as well. He was ushered further along until a car met them on a corner. Still phased, Marcus clambered in at O’Grady’s instance.
That was the day Marcus learned of True Cross, and its reason for existing.
That was the day his nightmares began.
Last edited by Eleanor Harkness on Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:06 pm; edited 3 times in total
So without further ado
(This is Ada by the way.)
"But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob" -Genesis 49:24
Almighty Lord, Word of God the Father, Jesus Christ, God and Lord of all creation; who gave to your holy apostles the power to tramp underfoot serpents and scorpions; who along with the other mandates to work miracles was pleased to grant them the authority to say: "Depart, you devils!" and by whose might Satan was made to fall from heaven like lightning; I humbly call on your holy name in fear and trembling, asking that you grant me, your unworthy servant, pardon for all my sins, steadfast faith, and the power - supported by your mighty arm - to confront with confidence and resolution this cruel demon. I ask this through you, Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, who are coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire.
~Exorcism Rite of 1999.