“A Man of Power ...
The Beginning of a new Conquest.
A Cruel Plan made Real.
Dark, Tenebrous Soul - the One that Keeps and Originates Destruction.”
- The Prophet of Truth
The Pittsburgh International Airport central hall’s bright, white lights left him frowning, making him adjust the sunglasses he’d worn, anticipating the sudden brightness.
That was just another thing that made him hate traveling through conventional means. As if it wasn’t enough being forced to mingle with the cartloads of Human Beings stuffing every means of transportation, he still had to subject himself to those extremely uncomfortable conditions. However, taking into account the number of businesses he kept around the human world, he could hardly appear out of nowhere on the other side of the planet. And, for more than once, having physical proof of his whereabouts had spared him of a lot of other, more unpleasant, situations.
Pulling the collar of his dark-brown park up, and carrying the small handbag which his personal computer and some needed documentation, he made his way towards the arrival zone where he knew he’d be expected.
He saw Cedrius spent and constricted face as soon as the automatic doors opened. Once more he couldn’t help marvel at how no one else seemed to notice just how completely wrong that man’s presence really was; at how they could easily mistake him for another Human, like the ones now pilling by the doors, hoping to see their loved ones. As far as he was concerned, Cedrius was a dark spot amidst all the uncomfortable brightness. His darkness was so dense that he would have been able to spot him in the middle of a crowd. And that immediately told him how much closer to the end he’d gotten, since he’d last seen him.
As he approached him the smell of the fear that exuded from the man trembling in front of him reached his nose, confirming what he’d been told and what had, eventually, forced him to return, even though he still had pending business in Italy. It was with effort that he managed to control his anger, reminding himself that he was in a public place and that he’d have nothing to gain from a scandal that would put him on every newspaper’s front page.
Cedrius bowed deeply, submissively, and stood like that, avoiding having to face him.
“I hope you had a pleasant trip, Lord Farran,” he declared with terror in his voice, where there should have been respect, or even admiration.
Farran looked at the man with despise. He knew none of his followers had any kind of special attachment to him. Because Farran led them with an iron fist, forcing them to follow rules, when most thought that being a rebel meant doing whatever they pleased. Farran, however, was smarter than that. Total anarchy of potentially murderous beings would never achieve anything, and Farran had a clear purpose in sight. And so his leadership was based in fear and terror, in ruthlessness and cold blood. That was, after all, the only language that men like Cedrius, completely addicted to the Ishar running in Humans’ veins, could understand.
“There was nothing pleasant about it,” he simply replied but his superior tone was enough to make Cedrius shudder.
“I’m terribly sorry, my Lord.”
“I’m the one who should feel sorry, having to suddenly leave my business in Italy and being forced to come back to this boring city. That’s why, Cedrius, won’t you please explain to me why I am here?” he demanded, even though he already knew the answer.
Cedrius had been under his command for a few decades now, and although Farran knew that in truth the man hated him, he’d always been completely loyal. That was the reason why he’d left him in charge of Pittsburgh, in his absence. And everything had been fine, since Aaran and his men had followed him all the way to Europe. However, a mistake had been made, and although Farran already knew the consequences, he still didn’t know whose head would have to roll. Not that it really mattered, or that he’d preoccupy himself pondering about such details. The important thing was not allowing the situation to go unpunished. He had to keep them on a short leash, in matters of that nature, or his followers would end up thinking they could easily take his place, as it had happened in the past.
Keeping his head bent, Cedrius dried his moist forehead on the sleeve of his shirt and gasped for air as if he’d ran all the way there.
“My Lord … the prisoner … he … uh … escaped …” he stammered in a nervous, dried voice and Farran found himself clenching his teeth to control his anger.
Of course he’d known about it, even before he'd boarded the plane back to the U.S.. But hearing it firsthand like that was a true attempt to murder his self-control. He mentally thanked the fact that they were in a public place, surrounded by Human Beings whose attentions he didn’t want to attract, or Cedrius wouldn’t have survived to say another word, and he’d have to look for information somewhere else.
“I can’t even start to imagine how something like that could have possibly happened …!” he roared between clenched teeth and Cedrius apparently frail body shook violently.
“It was nightfall … but our people still hadn’t arrived at the designated place …” He swallowed dry and Farran felt his fury quickly spike.
“And why is that?”
“The days … are getting longer … And the watch group changed the arriving hour …” he replied and Farran lost his temper, grabbing the man by the collar of his shirt, forcing him to raise his head and face him.
“You’re telling me he escaped because we were guiding ourselves by stupid human watches?!” Cedrius cringed before his thunder-like voice, wishing he could escape but knowing that trying to do so would mean certain death.
“M … m … my … Lord … please …” he found himself pleading before his own terrified expression reflected on Farran’s sunglasses, and the sound of muttering reminded Farran of where he was, making him release him with despising push.
“Names!” he demanded, making his way towards the automatic doors leading outside, certain that a car would be waiting for him.
“Deminus and Kellan,” Cedrius immediately complied, trotting behind him. “I have them under surveillance, Sir. Awaiting your return,” he added, trying to appease him, but Farran didn’t show any interest in his last comment.
“And Deborah?” he asked and Cedrius almost had to run to keep up with his fast, wide pace.
“I told her you’d be arriving today and that she could speak directly to you. She … doesn’t look all that pleased …” he added fearfully.
“I can only imagine.” After all, he’d promised her a practically unbreakable toy, in exchange for the chemical formulas able to annihilate those that, although belonging to his Race, still stubbornly refused to see the reason behind his actions. Soon he’d silence all those annoying voices once and for all … as long as Deborah didn’t abandon the project because of this small, annoying … incident. Because finding Humans with Deborah’s knowledge and abilities, as well as with her degree of acceptance and greed, was something definitely rare. And having to replace her would mean extra work for him and he simply didn’t have time for that.
“Hum … there’s more, Sir …” Cedrius told him and Farran immediately stopped, turning to face him. Cedrius almost fell as he stumbled backwards, terrified.
“More?!” he questioned in an implicit threat and Cedrius nodded, droplets of sweat sliding down his skeletal, sallow face, making his white hair stick to his moist forehead.
“It would seem your … prisoner was helped by a Human, who he now keeps under his protection.”
Farran raised an eyebrow trying to quickly put the new information into perspective.
“I took the liberty of compiling a folder about her, my Lord. You’ll find it in the briefcase waiting for you inside the car,” he added, trying as hard as he could to please him so that his life could be extended for at least one more night, and a cold, calculating smile stretched Farran’s thin lips.
“A woman, then. Really, it’s just like that idiot to go out of his way to protect a Human!” he declared, almost mockingly. “He protects them instead of killing them, and to top it off, risks our entire Race with his nonsense. What did I tell you, Cedrius? If we don’t get rid of idiotic people like him we’ll really be extinct in no time, and not because we lost our homes. It’s all because those idiots have nothing inside their heads!” he growled, and, spinning over his heels, exited to the night waiting outside.
Cedrius released a small sigh of relief and once more followed in his footsteps. Still he wasn’t in time to open the door for him. Farran did it himself, sliding inside the car, anxious to get his hands of that folder.
Cedrius took the driver’s place and started the car. He wouldn’t be safe until he left him at his apartment but, with some luck, the small compilation of information he’d been able to gather about Sarah Wilson would be enough to prove his worth. And, who knows, he’d still be alive the following night …