Arc 2: Chapter 30: Mortifer Psychica And Mortifer Moribus

Born in a family of doctors, with his mother and father both being doctors as well, Ro was bound to be sucked in the world of medicine at some point in his life. And to add to that, he was quite good at academics from the very start. 

He doesn’t remember all too well but he may have only been around 6 or 7 years of age when his parents’ profession had already captivated him enough to want to go in the field of medicine. 

However, it wasn’t until the age of 10 that those around him started to realize that his interest lied more in just studying and researching medicine than it does in using that knowledge to treat patients. It was still too early to decide then but his parents had indeed come to realize that he could be more suited to becoming a scientist rather than a doctor.

Following that point, his parents gave him their full support in that direction and started introducing him to more scientists than doctors. Slowly but surely, it became clear that he was made to be a scientist. 

As far as academics went, he had always excelled. However, with his goal shifted from doctor to scientist, he was given even more to study outside of his classes. Surprisingly though, he was never overwhelmed by any of it and was always able to complete his lessons on time.

By the time he reached the age of 15, his life had already been mapped out so he could become a successful scientist. 

However, at that time, something happened that shook the entire world. A massacre the likes of which has rarely been seen before occurred on the other end of the world from where he was living. As such, even though it was big news, all he could do was pray for the people who were killed there. It wasn’t something that should have directly affected him in any way.

But, for whatever reason, it did affect him. The culprit of the massacre was unknown. And that part of it did affect him. Ro wanted to find the culprit, and felt like if he went to that nation where the incident happened, he’d be able to do that. It didn’t make sense why he had suddenly grown a desire like that but it was there regardless, and he wasn’t sure how to confront it.

And that was when he came across an executive of a large tech firm, Vermillion. That man introduced himself as Gin Hanks. 

It didn’t take long for Gin to realize that Ro had a Psychic ability, one that gave him a knack for solving problems. Whether it was academics, close sports matches or mysteries like the identity of the man who committed that particular massacre, he would get an urge that would lead him in the direction towards the correct, or closest to correct answer. All he had to do was follow that urge. While this gave him no fighting prowess, it made him an excellent man to handle missions, a man very fit to be an Ember. 

It also didn’t take long for Halogen Dietrich, the other Hellfire who was, at the time, tasked with recruiting members, to find out about him and his ability. That turned out to be a life-changing thing for Ro, and in a rather negative sense.

In a mere one night, Halogen put those dear to him, essentially his family, to sleep and took them hostage. Then calling Ro to his church where he had put all of them on display like they were remakings of Christ, he told Ro what he needed to do in order to gain his family’s freedom.

While this was the usual way of Halogen coercing useful Psychics into joining Vermillion, for Ro, this was the absolute worst thing that had happened to him in his life up until that point, making him see his own powerlessness.

As that absolute worst thing led to Ro Garland joining Vermillion, and coming to know about the world of supernaturals, he had a disgust towards that world. In his eyes, Vermillion was a bunch of villains, with Halogen Dietrich easily reigning supreme in the list of people he hated to his core.

However, it wasn’t long before Halogen’s position as the most hated was challenged by another Hellfire. It happened when he was sent to be a guard at an underground prison for a month, when he came across the man known as Julius Rome.

From his lack of morals to his sadistic and twisted way of having ‘fun’, everything about that man was repulsive, and the very face of his made Ro want to puke. He was the most disgusting existence in the world and Ro could just not keep standing in the crowd and agreeing to him like those around him were.

So, he spoke up. Knowing that he is no match for Julius, he still confronted him as he was going to torture a man in front of his son.

And the smile Julius showed him, and the condescending laugh that came after, it only served to agitate him even more. But once again, he realized how powerless he was as he was thrown out and his stepping up ignited no flames in those who called them Embers and Flares. 

But, even in that pit of darkness, he saw a light. He saw a light as he met a man without a proper name, who said his name meant death. He met Abgere.

He was the first friend Ro found in the world of supernaturals.

And while they were brought together by a hate for Hellfires and the Phoenix, their bond didn’t end with hate, it started to grow beyond that.

Regardless of whatever had happened in his life, Ro Garland was still the son of Mathew and Ursula Garland, he was still the son of doctors, who by profession were known for saving lives. As such, even though the idea to kill consumed him, his morals were strong enough to hold him back from doing so, and it also started to hold Abgere back from doing so.

Despite their desire to bring final judgement to the Hellfires, they were both able to stop themselves from going through with it … for the time-being.

Following those incidents, he met Mohammed, Garfield and others who he befriended, and he started to slowly but surely see the world of supernaturals in a different light.

As both his connections and his mind grew, he realized that it wasn’t the entire Vermillion that should be hated, but those few who were in power, who were corrupting everything.

With Garfield, his friend and a Volcano, helping him out, he was able to somehow complete his studies. That, if nothing else, gave him a bit of satisfaction, though it also left him with the regret of not being able to use all the knowledge he had gained.

And that was all there was to the 27-year-old Ember of Vermillion. 

He had a relatively happy childhood and relatively unhappy life past childhood but with some bright aspects still.

That’s right. Ro Garland was an ordinary Ember of Vermillion, knowing bare minimum about the war he was helping the organization fight, not even knowing about the existence of Vampires and Ghosts. He was just a Half-Psychic, rather good at his job because of his ability but not quite qualified to be promoted to the rank of Volcano.

He was just an ordinary person in the lower ranks of Vermillion. 

So, how did things change so drastically? How did he suddenly become such an important figure in the war?

It probably happened when he was chosen to confront Kais and send him to the legendary Psychic Island. His ability tells him that is why his life changed so drastically. But, as it is the very ability that caused him to give up on his dream and join Vermillion, he refuses to believe in it without question.

So, he finds ways to contradict it. Like, in that mission, his friend and fellow Ember, Mohammed Unman, was also present. And also there was Garfield, who ordered the mission and thus was also quite involved. And it doesn’t seem like they suddenly had their life turned upside down. So, doesn’t that mean that confronting Kais wouldn’t have necessarily led him down this path?

In that case, the incident that turned his life upside-down must be the mission to hunt Ethan. If that had never been given to him, if it had been given to someone else, he wouldn’t have fallen in Ethan’s trap and been killed that night.

In that case, he would never have met the perpetrator of the most heinous massacre in the recent history of mankind and never known about the existence of Vampires and Ghosts. He would also probably have never fallen in the middle of the Vampire Kingdom’s troubles and his friend, Abgere, would have not gone on a hunt for all Hellfires and the Phoenix.

It is certainly quite convenient to think that way, isn’t it?

This way, he can keep thinking that he is just unfortunate that this all happened to him and play the victim. This would certainly help his pain, his anger and his guilt.

The only problem with thinking this way is – is simply that it is not true. And the one part of him that is supernatural gives him a desire that makes him realize that it simply is not the correct answer. No matter how much he wants to contradict it, he knows what his ability does very well.

But, even without it, could he really think misfortune is all it would have taken for his predicament to come about, especially when the world is thriving on the shoulders of liers, cheaters and manipulators?

Is it not at all possible that Ethan Kales would have used Sneha’s presence as an ally to Vermillion to make sure a gullible person like him is sent after him so it’s easy to fool him? After all, that would make sure that no one else more capable than him comes after Ethan and so he would be able to leave for the Island without much worry.

It’s certainly possible. And Ro Garland does realize that. If only he follows his desire to think that way and dig a little deeper to find proof of this, he would realize that it is a miscorrect assumption as well. 

What he doesn’t realize right now is that while Ethan had taken precautions, he had not ever risked using Sneha’s position in such a way that would draw suspicion on her.

But, on the other hand, there was someone else who had used their position in such a way. That position being used was that of the strategist of a kingdom and the person using it was, obviously, Bronzer.

He had asked Barry to find someone who could continue his research. 

For that, they needed a man with the mind of a scientist in the medicinal field but also very exceptional at his craft and in-know about the supernatural plus a desire to rebel against it. Forget finding a man like that, it was hard to even think that another man like that besides Barry would exist.

And yet, there was someone out there like that, someone who had a knack for solving problems, someone perfect for this job. And Barry found that someone – he found him when that man was sent to Kais by Vermillion.

He found that man, and he told the strategist about him.

The strategist who knew about Ethan’s plans because he had predicted them told Barry of a simple way to bring Ro to their side, to have him come to their side as a Ghost.

All Barry had to do was mind control Garfield, the Volcano under whom Ro was working at the time, and give Ro the mission to go after Ethan Kales. Consequently, Ethan was sent a message by Bronzer telling him that Vermillion had sent someone after him.

Neither did Bronzer expect to nor was Ethan fooled by it. He knew that whether Vermillion sent that ‘someone’ or not, Bronzer would have been responsible for it.

And so, Ethan would send that someone to the afterlife, as a begrudging answer to Bronzer, an all too predictable action by Ethan that would still seem unpredictable to those that aren’t Bronzer. Still, feeling somewhat guilty about involving Ro in all that despite him having nothing to do with anything, Ethan at least told him that Ghosts exist so Ro would know that he would become one after being killed.

And that led to everything that happened after that, from meeting Barry to going to the Island to being exposed to so many secrets of the world that going back no longer remained an option for the poor Half-Psychic.

Before he ever got a chance to do something about it, his friend Abgere, who had lost the one person holding him back from becoming a bonafide murderer, had gone on his own rogue mission that he had been planning for as long as Ro had known him.

So, what would happen now?

In the not so distant future, Abgere would come up against someone he cannot defeat no matter how hard he tries, and it would cost him everything, including his own life.

On the other hand, Ro could continue to do what he had been doing for the past 12 years – grunt work. Only this time he would be working not for sociopaths but literally a race that eats humans and drinks their blood.

Ro could try to not follow them, but he would probably be killed. If he does succeed in escaping from them somehow, he would be killed by some other supernatural faction because he knows too much about things that he shouldn’t have any idea about.

Hence, there was nowhere to go.

What had happened to him in the past few days, it was truly the definition of the entire life falling apart, of having no idea where to go next, of losing hope.

As such, he was starting to submit to the idea that suicide was the best option left for him.

However,

Bronzer: “There’s a virus I want you to create.”

After 12 years of loss, he was given a chance to work as a Virologist,

Bronzer: “That virus should be able to weaken Psychics, and essentially bring Vermillion down.”

and his work would lead to the fall of those who had tormented his life for the past 12 years.

Bronzer: “Your ability should help you with that, not to mention your academic expertise.”

He had tried to stop listening to the ability of his whenever it came to anything important. He had reserved it for missions, never listening to it for learning any secrets. He had done so because he had come to realize what the cost of learning secrets one is not meant to know could cost.

However.

Bronzer: “So, how about it?”

That very ability that made him give up on his ambition, that very ability that had thrown a man whose family was known for saving lives into a place where taking lives was the norm, that ability could now help him change the fate of the world itself.

If he said no to Bronzer, the entire Vampire Kingdom would be doomed.

If he said yes to Bronzer, the entire Psychic race would be doomed.

After years of powerlessness and self-pity, he had gained this much importance, this much clout, this much power. 

It was as if the forces governing the world were making up for all the misery he had suffered through in his life.

So,

Ro: “Of course I would damn those bastards.”

Of course he would make the Hellfires and the Phoenix pay for all they have done.

Of course he would save his friend Abgere.

Of course he would help the Vampire Kingdom, the very definition of fighting back even when you are weak, something he couldn’t bring himself to do all his life.

He may not be a Vampire, but there is no other faction Ro Garland could bring himself to support other than the Vampire Kingdom that stands against those he hates, stands against those it may not be able to defeat, and does not back down.

And what we would give them, the virus that would change the war itself, would be called,

Ro: “Mortifer Psychica”

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