This story coincides with
The Call of Magic, Book One of The Fool’s Journey,
a Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy for New Adults, available now on Kindle Unlimited.
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June 1, 2020
They sit at the corpse of a mighty cedar, overlooking the lights and towers of a long-conquered concrete jungle.
It is the penthouse suite of a very large and very corporate skyscraper. Though the walls are glass, the rest of the room is of rare and exotic wood, the trappings of a very wealthy executive. The table the two women meet at is ancient, shaped from the trunk of a Lebanese cedar brought from the Crusades. On it, the name Hugo Ferreus is carved. He was called Hugh the Iron, a name at the center of the misbegotten deed which started their enterprise.
It was the beginning, and over the intermittent centuries, that enterprise has grown. Under his signature is scrawled a perversion of a Bible verse, his life belief, and their motto.
The whiskey that they drink is expensive, produced at a private distillery that they own, poured from a crystal sifter that they have made. They have many industrious parts, now.
A few niceties go back and forth.
The elder of the two women asks the younger how her new boy toy is working out.
“Things are getting serious. He’s slept over six of the seven nights this week. If it is not love, it is most assuredly lust.” They laugh together, the youthful chiming mixing with the older, mature chuckle. And with two lit cigars, hand-rolled on their plantation in Cuba, they turn to business.
The older traces the scripture with a finger, as she is known to do. The younger, her protégé, begins her report. “We made a secure contact with one representative of Thuringia Inc. She seems to believe she will get a larger shipment. Wherever the raw materials are coming from, she’s able to get more of them.”
“Good. Make sure that the manufacturing and processing plants are up and operational by week’s end. And then find the source. I’d like to cut out the middle man. Whoever is making them has spread the sale out to avoid suspicion. We’ll be wanting to uncover the origin.” A puff on the cigar. Another sip of the whiskey. “You’ve frozen the assets of the companies found selling the materials?”
“Just a few small ones for now.”
“Any idea what lies below the surface?”
“No. We’ll take the aggression slowly until we come to the end of the trail.”
A pause. Another puff of cigar smoke. Now, within her sights, she is becoming impatient. For centuries, they have been hunting an elusive prey, a master maker of legendary materials that are better, finer than anyone thought possible. Damascus steel, the swords of Masamune, Zulfiqar, Durandal, all forged with greater craft and better metal than mankind knew.
Where did they come from? How did it work?
Someone out there has a secret. One they choose not to exploit, to bring to light. One that they alone know of.
And they are so very close to being found out.
“And how is the new secure satellite working?”
“Perfectly,” the young woman answers. The cigar smoke has billowed upwards towards the brilliant chandelier, taking the light. For a moment, the cityscape before the two women appears to have caught fire.
“It isn’t ideals that rule the world. The true inheritors are the corporations. We run all. Still, there are new heights to be reached.” The older woman pauses in her philosophy, looking to her understudy. “That’s why we make the effort, isn’t it?”
Her hand idly traces the words in front of her. She has done it many times.
Blessed are the bold, for the meek shall be their inheritance.
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