Asia Ralaia Schiegoh

House of Babylon

Prologue : 30 days

"All I need is a witch, Caedas. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to catch one."

The assistant chuckled pragmatically, having expected the brash response. "With all due respect, Etrius, I think the key to the coven's success isn't with any old witch. Like you said, I could send my eight-year old out to find one of those for you. What we need…" Caedas took a seat before the great cherry oak desk piled with papers, holding the Dark Lord's eyes in his sincerity. "What we really need is a gray witch."

Etrius did not immediately respond, vampiric features maintaining their stone solidity. He remained facing the wide window, back profile illuminated by the waxing moonlight. Only thirty days, he must have known: thirty days for the completion of this upheld conception. If he couldn't make the thirty-day deadline…

The black room was doused with the luminosity of the moon, enlightening the features of nearly every inch of hardwood and fine furniture watered by the silvery rays. Caedas himself could not immediately recall a moon so bright; it had been the brightest all year, in fact.

Etrius' figure shifted only slightly as he breathed an unnecessary sigh, one contradicting his immortal nature. Darkly he objected, "Do you know how many gray witches exist in this world, Caedas?"

"I know, I know; only as many fingers on my left hand." The vampire ignored the pun directed at his nearly-missing thumb, tone increasing in its severity. "But see, you're missing my point. What I'm telling you is that we've got to have one of them, no matter how few exist. It doesn't matter that they're a rarity among rarities: I'll find us one! There's got to be one who's cute and inane enough to do the job properly. You won't even have to make her countess if the Council selects the Spire Bloodhouse into sovereignty."

The illuminated figure flinched.

Caedas grumbled silently in apology, standing now. Perhaps the subject was a cornucopia of tense conditions for the Dark Lord, but Caedas knew he was strong enough internally to handle it: the prolific state of their coven was at stake. "Look", he recounted with slight more mildness. "A gray witch is far more powerful than any other, black and white magic alike. We know this. So if you let me scope one out, bring her back and let you fuck her any kind of way until she's knocked up before the thirty days epoch, we'll be good. She'll pop out the heir you need, one who holds the power of one the world's oldest vampire strains and the rarest of Wiccan blood. A new breed, a new immortal. More powerful than both."

Caedas set a hand on his Dark Lord's broadened shoulder, hinting reassurance. "Think about it, Etrius. A silver witch for an heir. You can't possibly fail an overthrow of the Vempire that way, right? And we have to get you elected into the sovereignty before you can take Constantine out."

The chuckle was parallel with the thundering of heavy clouds upon a storm, though with no less ominous meaning. "Viviane will want to kill the broad the moment she arrives, I'm sure."

Together they smirked, Caedas patting Etrius upon the back as he returned to the desk. "She'll get over it after the kid pops out. I mean, it's not as if she can do the job any better: just be sure you keep her and the witch separated. As long as you intend to name Viviane the Countess, there won't be any altercation. Not anything too serious."

At the Dark Lord's silence, the vampire glanced back towards the window in confusion. Doubtfully he questioned, "You do mean to make her Countess once you're selected… don't you?"

Against the blackened luminosity of the moonlit office, Caedas caught sight of that iridescent pair of crystalline irises. Even now such a demonic gaze reminded him entirely of his

"As long as the witch isn't my blood-mate."