End of Prologue



4 minutes

The pull towards kindred souls was stronger now that the Third Ascendant’s birth was near. The umbra forced them together — mentor to student. Poet could no longer ignore it. His anger grew stronger. Why was he being replaced?

Poet had no answer to his question. Vengeance was his only thought. He would end this child before his reign started.

Poet flew to Colorado. A witch told him the connection stirred strongest there.

The flight let time for thought. Il Cane had not requested her payment. She dealt in fear. Poet told himself he did not fear her. She was a slight slip of a girl — old, but not older than he was. He was there for the dawning of humanity; he brought fire to the humans to stave away the creatures of the night. He was their savior. And now another was replacing him. 

A bitter taste stirred in his mouth when he thought of it.

The air plane landed. The air was thin outside. 

Poet breathed deeply with each stride outside. 

The pull to the third was strong now that he was on land near the newborn child waiting for his rental car.

His destination drew into sight — a rigid hospital stood stark white against the mountain backdrop. Inside was as stark white as the outside. Mundane humans filled the halls, hurrying along their paths to their destinations. 

Poet ignored them all.

He followed the pull to the shadows outside the maternity ward. He found he was not the only one interested in the third ascendant. 

Another like himself stood in the shadows, watching as a dragon lady tried to kill the child with her magic. A bubble formed around the child. 

It wouldn’t be so easy to kill Order’s champion — even as a human child. A smirk spread across his lips before he remembered he was here to put an end to the child. He was not a source of pride. He has to be ended.

The pair spoke in the shadows. 

Poet listened. 

They both planned to kill him. 

That would be impossible. The magic would protect him. It had already. Poet stepped out of the shadows. “You cannot kill the child.”

The man looked back at him, and his frown turned into a smile. “Prometheus, it is good to see you.”

“I go by Poet now.” He said calmly. “You cannot kill the child. Order will not let you.”

“Children.” The woman said.

“What?” Poet asked.

“The touched birth resulted in twins.”

“No.” Poet said. “How will we know?”

The man chuckled. “If we cannot kill them. And we do not know which is the touched, we separate them.”

“And make their lives miserable.” Poet added.

The other man shrugged. “Whatever. But this is an opportunity. I will take one. You do whatever you wish with the other.”

“You cannot take the children from the hospital, the humans are not that stupid.” The woman expressed herself with her hands and raised her voice.

“That’s easy.” Poet smiled, “I am Ascendant.” 

“You cannot make everyone forget them.” She was adamant about this, stomping her food like an insubordinate child.

“I can.” Poet said. “I only need to touch the children.” Poet smirked with contempt. He slipped into the nursery. He sent waves of umbric magic towards the children. 

His smirk drifted to a sneer as he looked down on the babes in blue and pink blankets. He picked up the girl. A faint shiver ran over his spine, and he drew a rune on her forehead. “No human will remember you.” Poet cursed the girl in a language no one had heard in millennia.

The magic took hold, and the girl cried out when the rune sank into her skin. 

Poet reached down and drew another rune on the boy’s forehead. He screamed in pain as the rune sank into his body. “Only the phantom may break your curse.” The old words felt good on his tongue. The spark of magic still flowing from them tasted like red hot cinnamon candies.

Poet carried the girl to the man and woman and handed her to them. “Do whatever you want with her. I’m done with her.” 

Poet looked at the boy squalling in his cradle, the humans scrambling to his attention. “Your life is mine now, boy.”

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