The buzz of magic played along Poet’s tanned, bare arms. The warm, westerly breeze from early in the month plagued his thoughts.
“Why are you replacing me?” He asked the aether.
Poet sat at his favorite spot in Central Park. The sun made little rainbows on the concrete chess board through the crystal chess pieces, waiting to be played. The opaque obsidian casting their dark shadows in comparison. The two pieces reminding Poet of the eternal and never-ending war between order and chose. The fight for souls, the currency to be spent and a new player would be born soon.
The question hung in the air like a pig stuck in mud. This time the aether answered, prophecy.
Clouds formed above Poet’s head. They grew darker. The heavy clouds rumbled and large rain droplets fell from the sky, splattering on the chessboard, leaving darker pick marks.
The clouds opened up and a dilute soak the ground around Poet, but the rain never touched his cool skin.
Poet ignored the storming weather around him. His mind on the single word the aether returned. Prophecy. Which one? The Keeper of Secrets would know. But would she take his call?
Central park was empty except for those rushing to where ever they were heading.
Poet pulled his brand new Nokia cell phone from his left prest pocket.
Those rushing past gave him a second glance. Few people had one — it showed his money. Poet dialed the saved number for the Keeper of Secrets in his phone’s phone book.
The phone rang, and a chipper voice answered. “Il Cane Foundation, this is Alison. How can I help you?”
“The shadows speak volumes about the secrets of the world.”
There was a brief silence after the woman cleared her throat. “How can we help you sir?” Her voice changed from chipper receptionist to the confident voice of the Hound’s Personal Assistant and Letter — the latter a title only a few vampires gave to humans.
Poet tried not to growl as his thoughts roamed to the atypical behavior of the scariest vampire of them all — the Hound, Il Cane, Cari Giovanni. She went by many names, but they all struck fear into the heart of the all supernatural. Not only was she the Enforcer to the Embraced Vampire Council, but she was nearly daughter-in-law to his own leadership. Poet cleared his throat and the thoughts interrupting his dilemma. “I am Poet Rhemus.”
Ms. Alison Gray interrupted. “I know who you are, shouldn’t you be calling Donatello or Francesco or one of your own?”
“I don’t need protection. Only a favor.”
Alison scoffed, “A favor? What do you need? I doubt Cari will have time for you and your favor.”
“I need to speak with the Keeper of Secrets about prophecy.”
The phone clicked to static.
Poet growled. He almost tossed his phone across the park, but caught himself before the fit of rage cost him more money. These things weren’t cheap.
The phone rang.
Poet answered, “What?”
“Cari, is awake she will speak with you.” Ms. Gray passed the phone across the way, muffling and scratching inundated his ears.
“What does the Second Ascendant wake me in the middle of the day for?”
“The third is born.” Poet said simply, like she should know the prophecy of which he spoke.
“So?” she asked, with no emotion. Though Poet was certain, he annoyed her.
“I want the prophecy.”
When the nether-dragons survive,
he shall escape deaths a plenty
to awaken like a phoenix.
He shall heed the call of the dragon.
Experience the betrayal of the phantom.
He will bear the bond of the son.
And call the moon’s brothers to arms.
Once to challenge, and twice challenged,
victorious, he shall ascend.
The Hound’s voice was empty. It was always empty. Poet sighed, but noted the words. “That’s not the one I want.”
“There is only one other.”
“What is it?” Poet asked. His voice strained with the attempt to not anger the Hound. He liked his head on his body.
The First will bring The Law.
The Second will give Fire.
The Third will herald Darkness.
Poet shook his head. “No, thank you, Keeper. I owe you.”
Il Cane chuckled. “You do.”
A shiver ran down his spine when the air went dead. Emotion from the Hound was scarier than her empty voice. Death was near if she laughed. But Poet’s thoughts were on other things now — he had to stop the Third Ascendant!