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Trail of the Necromantress
Chapter One   Chapter Two  

She trekked over the harsh land, spying a city in the distance. It shone in the night. In her red cloak, and hood pulled over her head, Annis's amber eyes glared out from underneath. Not one strand of black hair spilled out from under her hood. Annis smiled. She was perfect for the hunt.

Soon enough, she reached the city. She smelled the incredibly faint scents of wild magic that still penetrated the humanis' disbelief and forgetfulness. She saw only a few auras; the city was very modern.

Annis's own crimson aura blossomed around her, and the scent of copper wafted into the night. The metallic smell of herself made Annis remember her own protective smells against iron. She was after all, a Great Elder, at least by her reckoning.

How long since she had had a proper hunt. Truly, it was only last week, and the previous, and the previous…but a true hunt, not outlawed, would be coming soon. And the English Magician would stay away from her, as long as she kept up her insane charade. She could be a careful observer when she wanted to, and Persephone was a wonderful example.

I must remember to thank Hades later...

It was a long way from the Catskills to this city. Annis didn't even know the city's name.

And no one knew hers.

Sophie Newman twirled her hair between her fingers. The private jet, provided by the Count Saint-Germain and his wife, Joan of Arc, seemed to be going at the pace of a dead mouse.

"How long it's been. We must see dear Francis and Joan again sometime." She said.

"Hm." said the woman in the seat beside her. "I do miss her. And Francis, too. I never thought I would say that." She added with a short laugh, tossing her clipped black hair.

"Cleo, you've only been in any proximity to him thrice." laughed Sophie.

"He's that bad." said Cleopatra, former queen of Egypt.

The plane touched down on a private airstrip owned by Saint-Germain just outside Albuquerque. A newspaper was flying on the wind. Sophie snatched it out of the air:

Across the western U.S., more than three hundred have been killed, and messily. The bodies were not mutilated, but...

Sophie regarded the information loosely. Why else were she and Cleo here?

They walked to Albuquerque. The wind howled against their ears. Cleopatra, even after centuries upon centuries, had still not gotten used to the temperature of the States. It had been so warm in Egypt, where she had discovered the secret of Life Eternal while exploring the one of the Great Pyramids.

Cleo hated fighting, even if she simply adored her friend Scathach. Sophie was quite neutral on the subject, she knew.

"I abhor violence, and you know it!" Cleo ranted, to no one in particular.

"Well, we could have just given up and let the population of the western United States dwindle. Or, we could have seduced the manager and security, and been on our way. I bet Scatty could even have gotten us in without being seen."

"Well, she's in Spain. So there."

"You know, Cleo," Sophie said as they sat in the hotel elevator. "For a century-old queen, you sure act like an eight year-old."

"I know."

The elevator beeped, and the doors slid open. The room, number 456, was the only one on the seventeenth floor.

Sophie's hands twirled in strange motions, and silver smoke streamed into the lock on the door. After a few seconds, the door clicked open. Sophie and Cleo took a deep breath, and stepped into the room.

And it was empty. No one. Not the target. Absolutely empty.

Cleo cursed.

"Well," said Sophie. "Where is she?"

Cleo was staring out the window. "I found her."

Screaming and crimson light pulsed in the streets.

They cornered her in an alley, holding a lifeless man, sucking his memories out of him with her skill at necromancy. She dropped him and stood.

She hissed. "Curse that Abraham." And Black Annis lunged.
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