(August 2013, Post-Svolten - Dark Crusade)
Marick’s hand somehow remained steady as it hovered over his computer terminal. His eyes strained in the room’s low light as he hunched over in his chair. Despite the outward calm the Hapan emanated, beads of sweat lined the roots of his long, dark hair. He would have wiped his brow clear with the back of his sleeve, but the acting Consul knew that if he took his hand away from the terminal even for a second, he might miss his opportunity. They had waited too long for this.
Silence filled the briefing room like a heavy fog. Seconds ticked away slowly. And then it came like a gust of wind: *bee-boo-beep*
Marick’s eyes flickered across his terminal as he read the incoming message with one part of his attention while the other checked the time in the corner of the terminal.
*Now!* He felt a voice surge through his mind.
Marick’s finger pressed the button without theatrics. The gesture was so simple, and yet it carried more weight than any swing of his lightsaber could ever carry. Marick slumped back in his seat and let out a long breath of air he hadn’t realised he’d been holding.
“Is it done?” Montresor asked, the first to dare break the silence.
Marick nodded once. “Everything went according to plan. We will face the Ascendant House on *Kalsunor*, with Taretum lending aide as well.”
The room burst into a mixture of hushed whispers and excited chatter. Just as quickly as it started, the room then came to an abrupt hush. When Marick looked up, a hulking figure stood at the entrance to the briefing room.
Wuntila Arconae stepped into the light and took a position at the head of the central table opposite of Marick. All eyes shifted to their former Consul, who not three days prior was unconscious on a medical table after taking a RPG detonation head-on.
Wuntila wore plain robes of fine blue silk, his corded arms showing the lingering effects of multiple-degree burns. If they bothered him, he did not show it. He coughed but covered it with a grunt.
“Are you alright to be up, sir?” Atyiru asked carefully.
Wuntila waved her comment aside with a subtle turn of his wrist. “It’s only a flesh wound.”
The room remained silent as the Consul emeritus scanned his Summit. Finally his eyes settled on Marick, who now stood at the head of the room. The two Arconae locked eyes, unspoken words exchanging in mutual understanding between brothers in everything but blood.
“Arcona needs tact. Arcona needs strategy. As you have all seen, Arcona needs Marick,” The Dragon spoke, his voice effortlessly filling the small briefing room. With a nod to Marick, Wuntila dropped to one knee. The rest of the room followed suit, Montresor stumbling as he attempted to mimic everyone around him in haste.
“Long live the Shadow Lord,” Wuntila’s voice boomed.
“Arcona Invicta!” The entire room responded.