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A good strategist waits out the enemy, learns all that they can of their nature before striking.

Ivan’s had years of experience to ingrain this lesson into his being, years of disappointment and mistakes to instill the lesson of patience into his persona. Jumping ahead of himself had only earned him defeat at the hands of the Freedom Five time and time again until he couldn’t think straight. Until he made series upon series of preventable mistakes in the process of trying to prove himself right.

So when the cloaked figure materializes in the hallway of the collapsing ruins when the group has moved ahead of him, Ivan stills himself and takes a moment to process. The synthetic material of his prosthetic hand crackles with energy as it forms into a blade.

But still, he waits. His mind knows the lesson that his body does not.

The figure doesn’t move either despite Ivan still having his back turned, looking over his shoulder to catch the form in the corner of his eye.

He could call for the others, play on the tentative alliance that has formed with the threat presented by Oblivaeon - though the being hasn’t shown itself quite yet, working through its damned scions to put the rest of the world on edge before the final battle. It’s given them all time to work on their teamwork after years of battling it out with one another.

Their current mission is one such way to make amends with one another. He’d likely be commended with trusting the group to answer his call for help.

Ivan says nothing.

The Freedom Five could trudge along through the ruins without him. Ivan had always looked out for himself and the people of Mordengrad. It was all that he truly needed or cared about. The world could burn during the Oblivaeon event for all he cared as long as his people survived.

“Are you one of the scions?”

He’d yet to encounter one thus far, alone or with a group, but he’d been on the other end of the calls from other hero teams to Freedom Tower to report the results of their own encounters. How Dark Watch had nearly been shattered apart in the wake of Dark Mind’s attack. Extremely powerful, these scions. Able to change the reality of the world around them to fit the needs of their current master.

Having one on their side could change the game. Having one on his side alone would mean everything. He wouldn’t have to devote a second thought to Mordengrad’s protection with one of them on the borders. He could quietly at that point, spend the rest of the world’s existence away in his own country. But the thought wasn’t feasible. As much as he loathed the realization, the band of heroes had grown on him like a mold, even the man he’d sworn to see of the end of if it took his dying breath to do so.

The figure still hasn’t spoken, leaving Ivan to his own thoughts. Neither confirming or denying its association with the scions.

He’d likely see the end of Legacy along with his dying breath if he continued to fight this fight. The thought is humorous in the macabre sense, but Ivan finds himself more and more willing to entertain the the reality of it the longer he spends around Freedom Tower.

It would be selfish of him to recruit the aid of this being for his own purposes when the rest of the world was at stake. The Five would understand in their own simpering ways, Legacy especially.

“You had the weight of a country on your shoulders,” he can hear the man saying, projecting his do-good aura the entire time. “You put your people first.”

Ivan sneers at the hidden visage of the cloaked figure. He didn’t need the man’s excuses, imagined or otherwise. If the world was going to end, eventually Mordengrad would too - a scion’s protection would only go so far after the first wave. Delaying the end was a half measure when defeating Oblivaeon was still in the works, and if the world was going to end now - so would Mordengrad, but they’d go down fighting alongside the rest of the world rather than isolating themselves away.

Time doesn’t seem real now. It can’t have been too long, otherwise one of the Five would have doubled back around. He’d place his bet on the Wraith - weary of his motives, but she’s yet to arrive during his dive into his inner thoughts. And still no answer from the unidentified figure.

Ivan pauses, takes a deep breath and clenches his fist as the energy around his blade slowly fades away as the blade reforms back into a metallic hand that he uses to beckon the figure to follow him. He has an offer that he doesn’t know whether or not it will take, but it’s an offer made nonetheless.

He was unlikely to bare his heart to the Freedom Five once he rejoined them, but they would have his blade as long as their was a greater threat.