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Easter01's Father Michael's Saga

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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:27 pm


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017




Part 3

“May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Father Michael Mendez, wearing a black chasuble and embroidered silver on black stole draped across his neck, stood behind the altar of Sainte Trinité church in Lyon, France, and gazed out over the pews. As he spoke these words, he made the sign of the Cross in the air with his right hand.

“Amen,” came the collective response from those who had gathered here today for this memorial mass intended to honor those fallen warriors of Directorate 14 who had been slain in the attack on the agency earlier in the week. Father Michael, an ordained priest who stood high in the Director’s regard, had been asked by Kriger to preside at the mass, and he had been humbly grateful for the opportunity to eulogize the memory of these departed friends and colleagues.

Bjørn Kriger was seated in the front row before the altar, along with several high Interpol officials who had come to show the parent organization’s support for their clandestine branch in its time of grief and their personal respect for fellow law enforcement agents, men and women, whose lives had been taken in a vicious and unprovoked attack. At either end of the pew, discretely armed security personnel in dark suits listened to reports from external guards through their ear buds, and two more were stationed just inside the doors where they constantly and suspiciously scanned the people inside.

The row immediately behind Kriger was filled with Directorate agents, including Marcel Guillon and Simone Bataille, members of Father Michael’s team. Simone was lovely as always, even in black; Marcel looked distinctly uncomfortable in his suit, but wore it well. This was the first time Michael had ever seen the Frenchman dressed in anything other than casual wear or denim jeans. The gathering in the church was necessarily small, since the memorial mass was on the behest of a secret agency and not open to the public. Behind Marcel and Simone were only two more rows of people.

During the last few days, since the attack, bodies had been collected and flown into Lyon, brought to a warehouse with refrigeration facilities where the remains could be identified and arrangements made to return them to their families for burial. In nearly every case, a closed-casket ceremony would be required, since the attack of the demons had been as savage as it had been unanticipated, and many of the Directorate agents had been mangled nearly beyond recognition. The magnitude of the attack, which had been executed on a global basis against the Directorate, was unprecedented in the history of any law-enforcement agency on the planet and was a tragedy beyond reckoning. In the days ahead, forty-seven stars would be added to the memorial wall inside the agency building. It was somewhat less than had been originally estimated, because some agents had simply gone into hiding for a while, and had just recently resurfaced.

Across the street from the church, a small winged demon imp sat on a high branch, concealed by the new spring foliage, leaning back against the trunk, arms folded across its chest, fuming with anger and resentment as it waited for the service to end. It was but one of many such demons commanded by Dortmund, plucked by the warlock from the Underworld where the imps were as numerous as sewer rats in an urban slum of the human world. This particular little demon had been given the task of following Director Kriger whenever he left the Directorate building, reporting back on the man’s movements and any conversations it might have overheard, flitting unseen from one concealed location to another. Although unaware of the presence of the demon imps, the Director could not have picked a better location for a secret meeting off site, inaccessible to the warlock’s little spies. This morning, when the imp had attempted to teleport into the church, it had slammed into an invisible barrier, and, stunned by the impact, had dropped senseless into the shrubbery. Apparently, God did not allow demons in His house. Not even tiny ones.

Michael looked out over the people gathered here to mourn the loss of so many friends, a grief that he shared. He raised his arms, palms outward. “The mass is ended, go in peace,” he said, and leaned over to kiss the altar. He came around the altar and walked down the center aisle to the end, where the two security men opened the doors for him. As the people filed out of the church, he shook their hands and offered a few words of comfort and encouragement. When the last of them had passed through the vestibule and out into the bright sunlight, Michael came back into the church, the guards closing the doors behind him.

Director Kriger was still sitting in the front pew, awaiting his return, flanked by his security detail. Marcel and Simone had also remained in place while everyone else had departed. The priest slid into the pew beside his two friends. At a signal from the Director, the two security men got up and joined their comrades at the back of the church.

Kriger turned halfway around so that he could see his agents and laid his massive arm out on the back of the pew. “This is a sad day, indeed,” he observed, shaking his head slowly. “We have lost so many good people, and our agency has been severely crippled by forces we have not yet identified. The three of you are the only ones that I trust completely. I have been making plans, and there are some things we need to discuss.”

He now addressed Michael specifically. “Father, I think that sword of yours will have a key role in the days to come. It is clear, from the reports I have read, that it is really the only weapon that had any significant effect upon the demons during the attacks. Have you had any further insights as to the nature of the amazing power it displayed in London?”

“Director, I am at a complete loss. From all historical accounts that I have read, it is but an ordinary sword, but forged by a master craftsman from the finest Damascus steel. Much of what is known of the sword is legendary at best. In none of the lore and tradition of El Cid is there mention of magical powers of any kind, save that the blade was reported to have the ability to strike terror in the hearts of his enemies.”

“Why now?” the Director asked quietly. “Why, after all these centuries, has the magic in the blade come to life?”

“Well, sir,” Michael explained. “You have to remember that the sword has been kept concealed in the secret vaults of the Vatican for nearly a thousand years, and has not been used in all that time. I admit I am also puzzled by the activation of the magic in London. If Tizona was endowed with magic to battle evil creatures, why did it not manifest when we battled Alaric, the vampire? Nor was there any show of power when used against zombies. Apparently any good sharp blade would have done as well. It was only when I directly attacked the stone demon that the magic appeared.”

In the brief silence that followed, Simone, who had been following the exchange with rapt interest and mulling it over, now commented thoughtfully, “Peut-être,perhaps, the magic only works against les démons?”

All eyes turned to her. “Cherie,that must be it!” Marcel exclaimed, while Michael nodded slowly in agreement.

“There may well be something to this idea,” he said, and gazed up at the stained-glass windows behind the altar as he tried to recall what he knew of the sword, assembling the bits and pieces of legend and folklore in an attempt to construct a reasonable theory. “The blade of Tizona was not forged by a Christian swordsmith, but by the hand of a Moorish, or rather Arab, master of the craft.” He was thinking out loud now, just letting the words come out. “The words engraved on the blade are in old Castilian, and on one side is a Christian prayer, so these were evidently added after Tizona came into the possession of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar.”

“The name of the sword,” the Director said suddenly. “Tizona. What does it mean?”

“Ah!” Michael said. “That is an interesting point, now that you mention it. Tizona translates as “firebrand,” or more accurately, as “burning stick.”

“Mon ami!”Marcel was excited by this revelation. “You stuck le monstrewith the sword and, poof! A pile of ashes!”

“Yes,” Michael continued. “Obviously, the name must be a reference to the magic of the sword. It never occurred to me before. ‘Tizona’ is Spanish, however. Perhaps it was a translation of the Arab word for the same thing. This means that the Cid must have known of its powers, but there is no mention of it in the literature.”

“A sword made to fight demons! This is powerful magic, indeed,” the Director observed. “But made by the Arabs. Michael, I have always been impressed by your knowledge of history and the lore of the supernatural. Is there mention of demons in Arabic folklore?”

“Yes, sir, there is,” the priest replied. “I will have to read up on this to be certain of my facts, but early Arabian and later Islamic mythology and theology contains numerous references to supernatural creatures called djinn. The djinni, along with angels and humans, are the three known sapient creations of God. There is a passage in the Koran which states that djinni are made of a smokeless fire but are also physical in nature and able to interact with humans.”

“I remember this now,” Kriger said. “In the western world, we would call them genies, who can grant wishes.”

“Oui!”Simone exclaimed. “And it usually turns out badly for the person who summoned the genie, n’est-ce pas?”

“According to Arabian lore, djinni, like humans, can be either good or evil,” Michael continued.  “They can take on a demon-like appearance, but can also manifest in beautiful and seductive forms. They are also shape-shifters who can take on the appearance of any creature, but tend to favor masquerading as snakes or black dogs. They are said to live in a realm of their own, a dimension parallel to our own. Let me think…there is something I am forgetting, something important…” He closed his eyes and concentrated. “Ah, yes. The worst of the djinni is a type known as the Ifrit, an enormous winged creature made of fire. Ordinary weapons have no power over them, but magic can be used to kill or enslave them.”

“Let us hope, then, that we never run up against an Ifrit. It would seem, then, that the Arabs created the sword Tizona as a weapon to be used against demons,” the Director said, thoughtfully.

“So it would seem,” Michael agreed.

Kriger drew a deep breath and let it out. “Take care of that sword, Father. Guard it well. It may be the only hope we have against these creatures.”

Receiving Michael’s heartfelt assurances that he would, indeed, guard the sword carefully, the Director abruptly changed the topic. “It will not do for me to be absent from the office for too long. I have sent Edouard on an errand out of the city today, and gave Renée a task that will take her all day to complete. I wanted us to have this time together to discuss matters of security without their knowledge.”

“Have you determined a way to discover which of them is the leak?” Michael asked.

“I think I have, and I wanted to brief you about it today because you and your team,” he nodded toward Marcel and Simone, “will be critical to its success.”

“Anything we can do, Directeur,just ask,” Marcel stated flatly, and the others added their agreement.

Kriger quickly checked his watch, and returned his attention to his agents. “The classic strategy for unmasking a spy is disinformation. It can only work if there is a very limited number of suspects, which we have in this case with Edouard and Renée. The strategy is to provide information of a confidential nature that the spy will feel compelled to act upon, except that each suspect will be told something different. The resulting action, if any, will identify the spy. Now our top priority has to be to identify the spymaster, the person who is responsible for the assault on our agents last week. So, whatever information is fed to the spy has to be of sufficient importance that this unknown controller will take action, even if it entails the risk of exposing his spy.”

“That sounds like a good plan,” Michael admitted, “and is very likely to reveal the spy, but I am not sure how it will identify the party or parties behind him or her.”

The Director smiled coldly. “Once we have the spy, we will…persuade…him to reveal his employer.”

Marcel also smiled, an expression as chill as Kriger’s. “Sir. I would very much like to be part of that…conversation.”

“Oui!”Simone agreed passionately, and for all her petite beauty, for the first time Michael found the look in her eyes to be quite frightening.

A quiet moment passed, and then Michael cleared his throat and asked, “Director. What sort of disinformation will you convey to the suspected spies?”

“I intend to send a coded message to all of our station chiefs that, in three days’ time, they are summoned to a meeting at a secret location, the purpose being to discuss a united strategy to deal with future attacks on our forces. They are not to reveal the location to any of their staff, for any reason, and they are to come to the meeting unaccompanied by security or any of their subordinates. I realize that this is somewhat risky. First, by not allowing them any personal security in transit. Secondly, because we do not know if there are any other spies in the agency other than those we suspect to be in the headquarters office. All it will take is one leak as to the true location to ruin the plan.”

“I assume that Edouard and Renée will be given false locations?” Michael inquired.

“Yes. I will brief them privately and separately, and instruct them to keep the information confidential, that the location is top secret and not to be discussed with anyone else. Not even their co-workers at headquarters. They would not consider this to be an unusual order, since they are quite accustomed to compartmentalization of information for security concerns.”

“That is a very juicy plum to dangle before our enemies,” Marcel said. “All of the station heads gathered in one place.”

“It is my hope that the mastermind who planned the attack on us will find the bait to be irresistible, and thereby reveal his spy to us,” the Director agreed. “I have chosen locations that would be good meeting places, but isolated enough to minimize potential civilian casualties from any confrontation with demons. Renée will be informed that the meeting will take place at a chalet near Les Signaraux, in the French Alps about eighty kilometers from the Italian border. The second false location I have selected is in eastern France, an abandoned winery near Meursault, in the Burgundy region. This is the meeting site that I will convey to Edouard, and this is where I want the three of you.”

“Where will the actual meeting take place?” Michael inquired.

The Director shook his head. “I am sorry, my friends, but that is need to know, and you do not need to know.”

Michael nodded. “I understand, sir. How do you want us to handle this? What do you want us to do?”

“Your mission is mainly to observe and report.” Kriger smiled tightly, an expression without the slightest trace of humor. “I have made other arrangements to deal with any demons that might show up. This morning, before the service, I spoke with Henri Girard, the Deputy Commissioner of Interpol. That was the man seated to my right, here. He is going to arrange for a welcoming party at each of the locations, a strong force of the National Gendarmerie that will remain concealed until needed.”

“Ah!” Marcel exclaimed. “And they will give les démonsa very warm welcome!”

“Indeed. We know, from your experience in London, that small arms fire seems to have little effect on demons, but the Gendarmerie will be equipped with heavy weapons. I do not think that even the hide of a demon can stand up to large-caliber fire and armor-piercing and explosive rounds.”

The four of them sat in silence for a moment, savoring the image. “We will have justice for our fallen comrades,” Michael said, at last.

“I think it likely that the enemy will send a large force, intending to take out all of the station chiefs. I would prefer that the three of you not engage the enemy. That is the job of the military, and they will be well-prepared for their mission. I do not intend to lose any more of my best agents. We have lost too many already.”

Michael frowned. “Sir, I hardly think we can just stand by and watch.”

Kriger sighed, and rubbed the back of his neck. “I know, I know. Use your own judgement as to whether you are needed. Just try to stay alive, please. Our ranks have been decimated, and the agency needs all of its experienced agents.” He paused. “And I have lost too many of my friends.”

The Director stood up. “Tomorrow, I plan to interview that necromancer woman, to see if she knows anything of use. Michael, I would like you to be there, ten o’clock sharp. Afterward, I would like you and your team to meet discretely with Edouard to arrange security and transport to the Meursault site, three days from now. Of course, he is to know nothing about the Gendarmerie presence at the false meeting site! That is part of our trap, should he be the spy. Also, emphasize to him, as I have, that all these arrangements are top secret. He is not to discuss these plans with Renée or anyone else who has no specific need to know. In the meantime, Renée will be making arrangements for security and transport to Les Signaraux, with similar instructions not to inform Edouard.

“One or the other of these two will, I hope, spring the trap, and we will have our spy. Report back to me immediately afterward. Now, I must get back to the office and start making my own preparations. Any questions about your mission? No? Then let us be on our way.”

Michael and his two French companions waited in the pew while the Director walked to the front of the church. As he approached the door, it was opened for him by one of the waiting security men, who fell in behind him as he passed through it and was preceded outside by the two others who had been stationed outside the doors. “We have some planning to do, my friends,” Michael said.


THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
continues with Part 4
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Last edited by Easter01 on Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:51 pm; edited 1 time in total




Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

Easter01's Short Stories can be found: Here

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PostSamantha61 on Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:33 pm

bravo Love, love this part..so exciting runcircle thank you Joanne ymd
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Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
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I am so proud of all of you..
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Postszanne7000 on Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:22 am

Yes, definitely some planning to do!



Thank you, Crissi, for my beautiful signature <3
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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:49 pm


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017



M. E. Velli

Part 4

“So,” the vampire known as Mack Velli observed, “the Director suspects that there is a spy in his house.” Dortmund only grunted, being completely absorbed in the layout on the chessboard before him. A moment ago, the warlock had mentioned this fact without elaborating, as if it were of no particular consequence.

Mack and Dortmund were again seated at the glass-topped table in the warlock’s office, contemplating the chessboard between them. The hour was approaching midnight; the vampire had arrived a few hours after sunset, dressed as usual in an expensive tailored suit. Although Mack had now only been in Dortmund’s employ for three days, this was becoming something of a routine for them. Every evening, the two of them would battle it out over the chessboard while discussing strategies that would serve to strengthen Dortmund’s position in the corporate world.

The results of the attack against Directorate 14 had occupied much of their conversation for the first couple of days, but the warlock was satisfied that he had dealt a crippling blow to the agency and there would be little interference from the Directorate for some time to come. In any case, the Directorate had been little more than an annoyance, and he had considered the matter closed. Dortmund had many plans unfolding, strategies that would result in the acquisition of smaller companies and strategies that would weaken his more powerful rivals. It was all a game to the warlock, for he had more money than a man could spend in a hundred lifetimes and power equivalent to many heads of state. It was not about the money, anyway; it was all about the acquisition of power, and money was simply a convenient way of keeping score. The world was his chess board, and he played power games for the sheer pleasure of destroying his opponents.

Another minute passed in silence. It was Dortmund’s turn, and as usual, Mack had sprung a clever trap upon him that he had not foreseen. Dortmund was considering the complex possibilities of outcomes for each potential move he might make in an effort to extricate himself from this trap. Chess was a game of tactics and strategy, and the best players were able to think several moves ahead, a situation which became increasingly difficult since the number of possible permutations increased geometrically into the future. The warlock at last made his decision, and reached out to take one of his knights and move it forward so as to provide a threat two moves down the road should the vampire continue to develop his present maneuver.

Mack, however, made no move toward the chessboard but continued to gaze at him, lifting an eyebrow in unspoken query. Dortmund sighed irritably. “Yes, he suspects, although he does not know for sure, and of course, has no clue as to who might be behind it.” He paused to pick up the glass of Bordeaux wine on the tabletop and took a small swallow before replacing it. “My spy, as I told you, is a shape-shifter who took the place of Kriger’s personal assistant, Edouard Leclerc, a few weeks ago. At the same time, I also instructed a few of my imps to follow Kriger whenever he left the building and eavesdrop upon him, to report on his activities and any conversations he might have. Yesterday, Kriger met with one of his agents in a park in Lyon and informed him that he suspected there was a spy in his office, either Leclerc or the woman Renée DuPont.”

Mack nodded, and then focused on a part of this report that greatly interested him. “These demon imps, they cannot enter the Directorate building?”

Dortmund made a dismissive gesture. “Of course they can. They can teleport anywhere.” He paused, and then grudgingly amended his statement. “Well, almost anywhere, I suppose. This morning, my imp was unable to enter the church where they were having the memorial service. That priest, Mendez, would probably claim it was divine interference, but I suspect it was more likely they had some sort of magic wards in place. As to the Directorate building, it probably is warded, and I did not think it worth the risk that the imps might be discovered. I already have my spy inside, and Kriger apparently has complete confidence in Leclerc.” Actually, Dortmund had already been sending his little demons into the building to complete a very special task, a bit of insurance, but Velli did not need to know all of his plans.

Mack filed this information away for future consideration. “Well then, Signor, if this Kriger expects to discover a spy, let us by all means give him one. It should not be difficult to plant some convincing evidence on this Renée DuPont.”

Dortmund looked thoughtful. “That is an excellent idea. Give it some thought. I would like to hear your suggestions as to what sort of evidence you think would be appropriate.” He glanced at the chessboard. “It’s your move.”

The vampire nodded and turned his attention to the board. Dortmund suspected that, regardless of his efforts now, defeat in this game was ultimately a foregone conclusion; Velli had proved his ability to consistently outplay him, time after time. Rather than being irritated by this, Dortmund was delighted to have finally met an intellect that was equal to his own. In fact, he probably would have hired the vampire just to play chess with him in the evenings, but Velli was a master strategizer in the business world as well, just as he had claimed. Already the vampire had made several suggestions that, when implemented, would likely drive down the stock value of his chief rival. He leaned back in his chair and studied his opponent as Mack concentrated on the board.

It really should not be any surprise that the old blood-drinker could play the games of politics and economics with such skill. The man had been a legend during his lifetime, and today his best-known work was, along with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, required reading for any business executive. Dortmund had a sudden thought, and interrupted Velli to ask, “I don’t suppose Sun Tzu would happen to be a vampire, too?” What a coup it would be if he could enlist such a man! A team with both Velli and the Chinese strategist would be unbeatable.

Mack shrugged, slightly annoyed at the interruption but careful not to show it. “Ah, Signor, I am sorry. I have no information about this man, though I suspect I would have heard if he was in my world.”

Velli had been rather reticent as to exactly how he had been turned into a vampire – Dortmund suspected it had been a woman, from the few clues he had dropped - but his biography was well known to Dortmund. He smiled slightly, considering the name now used by the vampire: Mack E. Velli. Really, a little too obvious, in his opinion. The dapper vampire had been born Niccolò Machiavelli in 1469 in Florence, Italy, at a time when a succession of popes were aggressively waging wars against Italian city-states such as Florence, Venice, and Milan, and nations such as France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire struggled for regional influence and control. It was a tumultuous era in which alliances were continually being formed and dissolved, and city-states fielded mercenary armies who were liable to change sides without warning. Considering this, Dortmund liked to think that if he had been alive at that time, he would have risen to become one of the power players. A conceit, perhaps, but then again, he had managed to do just that in the equally complicated and far more sophisticated modern era.


Although not a member of the nobility, “Mack” had nevertheless managed to acquire power for himself in the Florentine republic. He had served as the second chancellor under Piero Soderini, chief magistrate of the city-state, and was frequently sent as a diplomat on behalf of Florence to negotiate with the papal states in Rome, to France, and to the notoriously brutal Cesare Borgia. Borgia was the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, and with his father was busy trying to conquer central Italy. Machiavelli was given charge of the Florentine military, and introduced a standing army to replace the mercenaries whom he distrusted. Under his command, Florence defeated the competing city-state of Pisa in 1509. Three years later, in 1512, the Medici family, who had formerly ruled Florence until expelled in 1494, launched an attack against Florence using Spanish mercenaries and captured the city. Machiavelli had been stripped of his offices, and within a few months, accused of conspiring against the Medicis and was imprisoned and tortured. Released after three weeks of this ordeal, he spent the rest of his life writing about politics.

Dortmund’s personal copy of The Prince,written by Machiavelli in 1513, was tattered and dog-eared from frequent reading and he practically had the contents memorized. The principles of political theory that the vampire seated across the table from him had developed from observing the ruthless Italian leaders in their quest for power emphasized the need for a ruler to be able to pragmatically apply brute force or deception when necessary to eliminate political rivals, coerce resistant populations, and remove any others who might, one day, be strong enough to challenge the ruler. Exactly the qualities needed by a businessman to survive in the highly competitive world of the twenty-first century, often summarized by the phrase, “the end justifies the means.”

Mack finally made his move. Damn! Dortmund thought. Although he himself was nearly of grandmaster skill, he had failed to anticipate this particular maneuver, in which the vampire had not only negated his threat but had in the process reinforced the trap he had blundered into. He leaned forward and propped his elbows on the table, steepling his fingers, and carefully considered the pieces displayed on the board.

The vampire leaned back in his chair, satisfied that he had now led his opponent to certain destruction. He picked up the glass of Bordeaux red wine that rested on the tabletop beside him and took a small sip, savoring the delicate bouquet. He did not need human food, of course, any more than he needed air to breathe, but even as a vampire he retained the ability to enjoy the sensual delights of fine food and drink. He rather expected that his employer would be occupied for some time in trying to find an exit from the trap he had so carefully laid, but the outcome was now inescapable. Dortmund was an excellent chess player, but no match for five centuries of experience.

He was still rather astonished at just how completely the warlock had taken him into his confidence. In a matter of days, based solely upon his reputation for devious strategic planning and, so it seemed, the ability to offer a challenging game of chess, he had become chief advisor and counselor to Dortmund, more or less the equivalent of consigliereto a Mafia don. Perhaps the man was just lonely, he mused, a slight smile playing briefly on his lips, and sought the companionship of someone he considered to be an equal. It was a role he was more than willing to play to achieve his goals. Deception and trickery were his stock in trade. Oh, he always told his clients the truth…but never the entire truth, and always slanted to further his own interests.

Not that Dortmund trusted him without reserve. The warlock thought he had his secrets, but there was very little Mack did not know about him. The vampire collected information, and was very good at ferreting out the deepest secrets using not only his numerous contacts among the supernaturals, but also availing himself of the technology of this era. The Internet was a marvelous invention, he thought, all the secrets of the entire world at his fingertips, if one only knew where to look.

There were so many companies involved in data mining, gathering all the minute and intimate details of the lives of individuals, from legal documents to banking and credit information to their shopping behavior to what they liked to eat and drink. And all of it for sale. He subscribed to numerous data services, and since he needed no sleep, spent the long hours of daylight combing through and collating the information to determine how he might best profit from it. Mack possessed a luxury apartment in the West End of London, one of dozens of residences he maintained around the world, and like all the others, it was completely outfitted with the latest computer technology. Although Dortmund had no suspicion, Mack was himself extremely wealthy, based on careful investments yielding five hundred years of compound interest.

Before approaching Dortmund, Mack had spent half a year studying him. He knew everything he needed to know about Dortmund in both of his roles, as businessman and as warlock, and in fact the two were inextricably linked. He knew the source of the warlock’s power, the Tenebris Magicae,the long-lost book of dark magic by the legendary Belarius of Byzantium. The discovery of the ancient grimoire and its bonding to Dortmund had sent ripples through the aether, alerting the supernatural denizens of the world that the book had been found and activated. A great many magic-users had been drawn to the city of London, lurking about the precincts of the office tower, lusting to possess the ancient tome, but none possessed sufficient power to confront the warlock directly. Mack smiled. His way - deception - was better.  

Mack had followed the tendrils of power emanating from the grimoire, making the journey from America to Britain, determined to possess it for his own. It was in this building, he knew, hidden somewhere deep in its foundation, though as yet he did not know its precise location or how he would obtain it. The radiation of sheer power from the ancient tome was almost unbearable. The necessary strategy would become apparent as he further insinuated himself into Dortmund’s confidence, and, after all, had he not written in The Princethat “No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.”

The book had served the upstart warlock well, since he had found it. Dortmund had used the arcane knowledge in the book to advance his rise to power and wealth in the human world. From the grimoire, the man had learned the lost art of summoning demons from the Underworld, and his first efforts had rewarded him with the services of a number of the tiny demon imps capable of teleporting in and out of any place and learning whatever secrets might be found. Dortmund had employed them well in industrial espionage, using them to steal cutting-edge research and technology from other firms and to quickly patent it, leaving his competitors bewildered as to how Dortmund had managed to beat them out.  

But for all his business acumen and raw magical power, Dortmund was remarkably naïve about the supernatural world. He had used his power crudely, a ham-fisted approach, picking and choosing what he needed, lacking the comprehensive understanding of the holistic nature of magic necessary to become a true adept. He was one of the few true warlocks on the planet today, but he had no idea how the power he expended had resonated through the supernatural world and alerted others to his presence. Mack was not the only one who coveted the grimoire, but he was the only one in a position to take it away from the warlock.


THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
continues with Part 5
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PostSamantha61 on Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:22 pm

Wow..omgosh..I love it..some of the mystery has been solved.. ymd f thank you Joanne.. hugsmilie


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Postszanne7000 on Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:41 am

Practice, practice, practice...

... things get better with practice...

...even the "bad" things...



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PostEaster01 on Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:33 pm


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017




Part 5

There was a chime from the direction of Dortmund’s desk, and a small blue light began blinking steadily on the desktop. The warlock reluctantly took his attention away from the chessboard. “It seems that one of my messenger demons has information it thinks important,” he explained to Mack, as he pushed his chair back and walked over to his desk. “I cannot have them popping in and out of my office unexpectedly, since there might be someone else here with me. I set up a system by which they can let me know when they need to see me.” The imps would materialize in a closet attached to his office, where there was a small button they could push and await permission to enter.

Standing in front of the desk, he pushed a button next to the blue light. The chime stopped repeating, and a second later there was a faint popping sound as one of the tiny messenger demons materialized on the desktop, facing the darkened windows beyond the desk. As soon as it realized that Dortmund was not in his chair, it gave a shrug of its wings and turned around to face him, miniature claws clicking on the glass that covered the desk. The creature stood there, crouching slightly, and waited for permission to speak.

Impatiently, the warlock made a beckoning gesture with his fingers. “What news do you have?”

“Master,” the demon shrilled. “The shifter bade me bring you important information.” Its mouth gaped open in a grin, displaying miniature fangs.

Dortmund’s brow furrowed, and he raised a hand. “Do not presume to make me wait. Tell me.”

The creature cowered, and said quickly, “There is to be a big secret meeting of all the Directorate leaders in two days.”

“Where?”

The little demon fumbled at its waist and pulled a tiny, tightly rolled paper from a skin pouch and held it up to the warlock, bowing as it did so. Dortmund took the paper and carefully unrolled it, read the message from the Leclerc demon, and nodded to himself. “Very good. You may go now, but hold yourself ready in case I need to send you somewhere tonight.” The demon, visibly relieved at having been spared any chastisement, flapped its wings a couple of times and disappeared.

Holding the paper in his fist, Dortmund walked back over to the dining table where Mack waited expectantly. “You heard?” the warlock asked, and the vampire nodded affirmatively. Dortmund handed the little scroll of paper to Mack and sat down in his chair before the chessboard and reached out for his wine glass, frowning as he noticed it was nearly empty. He topped it off from the bottle of Bordeaux and sipped appreciatively as Mack quickly read the message.

The vampire tossed the paper onto the table. “This is from your spy in the Directorate, yes?” When Dortmund confirmed it with a nod, he continued. “This presents a rare opportunity that should not be overlooked.”

Dortmund snorted. “An opportunity for what? It will be a gathering of desperate old men to commiserate over their losses,” he sneered. “I have pulled their teeth.”

Mack shook his head. “Do not underestimate the Directorate. They have considerable support among the supernaturals, especially the various shape-shifters. They offer protection against rogues and criminals of their own kind and thus help them to remain hidden from humans. The agency is made up largely of such, and they will soon be able to fill their ranks again. You have obtained merely a temporary relief from their interference. Consider this,” he said, holding up a finger. “You have removed the pawns from the board. Now you have an opportunity to sweep away the major pieces, and perhaps even to topple the king piece, this man Kriger.”

Dortmund looked thoughtful, but seemed unconvinced. “It could be a trap. I could be exposed. Right now they know nothing of me, but suspect a spy. At the very least, it could be a subterfuge intended to expose my agent among them.”

“Perhaps it is a trap,” the vampire agreed. “What of it? You do not strike me as a timid man, SignorDortmund. I know you did not rise to your present position of wealth and power without taking risks.”

“I went to a great deal of trouble to insert my spy into the organization,” Dortmund said slowly, “but perhaps it would be worth taking a chance of losing him if I could eliminate the Directorate altogether.”

“Think about it, Signor!”Mack now laid out the political implications with irrefutable logic. “This Directorate 14 is something of an experimental venture by Interpol, and does not have the full support of all of the top executives in that organization. Furthermore, it is now in rather foul odor because of the debacle in London. The political repercussions of the deaths of so many of their police are not inconsiderable. The British government is quite annoyed with Interpol at the moment. Add to this the recent slaughter of so many of their agents, and it may well be that, if you destroy the Directorate, Interpol may well cut their losses and decide not to reconstitute the agency.”

Dortmund slapped his hand down on the tabletop. “You are right!” The wineglass rocked with the impact, and the chess pieces danced on the board. “It would be worth the risk if I could eliminate them permanently.”

The warlock raised his voice. “Computer! Unit 8. World map.” The LCD wall screen at the lower right, nearest the dining table, shifted from its muted view of CNN News to show a map of the world. “Zoom. France,” he ordered, and the map obediently enlarged the view to show the French nation centered within the borders of the screen. Dortmund issued more verbal orders to the computer, and the screen just above the map now displayed a close-up view of the Burgundy region southwest of Dijon, and the one beside it displayed information about the abandoned winery once operated by the Delacroix family. Satisfied, Dortmund leaned back in his chair and smiled at Mack. “We have some planning to do, my vampire friend!”

Mack gave a small, polite smile. “Yes, Signor,indeed we do!” This was his element.

“Before we begin, however,” and here Dortmund smiled broadly at his guest, “I have a small surprise for you.” As Mack lifted a curious eyebrow, the warlock raised his voice again. “Intercom! Security.”

In seconds, the reply came back. “Security, Tredegar speaking. What can we do for you, Mr. Dortmund?”

“Mr. Tredegar, please show the visitor from Elite Services to my office. That will be all.”

After a few minutes, there was a polite rap on the office door. Dortmund ordered the computer to unlock it. There was an electronic click, and the door opened to admit a tall and lovely blonde dressed in a dark green evening gown, holding a matching clutch purse. Seeing Dortmund and Mack seated at the dining table, she walked over to them, a restrained but provocative sway in her movement.

“So good to see you again, Mr. Dortmund,” she said in a low voice, full of promise, and turning to Mack, “and this must be your special friend. My name is Deidre.”

Mack stood up immediately, and took her hand. “Piacere, passerotto mio!”He leaned over and kissed her hand.

Dortmund smiled. “I have taken the liberty of ordering dinner in for you, Velli. Deidre is quite accustomed to the needs of gentlemen such as yourself.”

Still holding her hand, Mack beamed. “How very thoughtful of you, Mr. Dortmund!”

Dortmund simply nodded, saying, “I have some business to take care of while you two become acquainted. I shall return shortly, and we can continue with our planning.” With this, he turned and left the office by a side door.

Deidre sat down in the chair that had been occupied by Dortmund at the table, and Mack resumed his own seat. She extended her arm gracefully, palm up, and he took it carefully in his own two hands. “Bellissima!”he said, catching her eyes with his own and smiling in appreciation, and fangs extended, bent down to feast.



THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
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Postszanne7000 on Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:27 am

OOOoooo!

Elite Services, indeed!!



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PostSamantha61 on Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:49 am

Wow..I'm with you Suzanne lol..Elite indeed lol..
Can't wait to read the next chapter.
Thank you Joanne f


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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:39 am


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017




Part 6

Deep beneath the streets of the lower Presqu’ile in the city of Lyon, France, in the lowest level of the headquarters building of Directorate 14, the accused necromancer, Marie Rose Saint-Just, sat in a small, undecorated room devoid of any furnishings but the table before her and a few utilitarian chairs. She wore a one-piece orange coverall issued to her shortly after her arrival at the facility nearly two weeks ago, and sat calmly with her hands folded on the tabletop, waiting patiently. Marie Rose had been brought here an hour ago from the detention cell where she had been lodged during all this time, told only that she would be questioned “in due time” about her role in the London affair. Apparently, it was now time.

In the corner of the room, near the door, Colette Roche leaned against the wall with her arms folded, visibly bored. She had been assigned to guard the prisoner until the Director arrived, but hardly considered this petite black woman to represent a significant threat. Nevertheless, orders were orders, so she stayed alert and kept a watchful eye upon the woman at the table.

The door to the interview room opened and the overlarge form of Director Bjørn Kriger walked inside, followed by Father Michael, dressed in a black cassock, with Marcel and Simone close behind. Kriger nodded to Colette, and she exited the room, closing the door quietly behind her. Marie Rose looked up at the imposing figure of the Director, apprehension plain in her eyes, but Kriger only smiled gently at her, trying to ease her fears somewhat, and then took the seat on the opposite side of the table, laying a thick blue file folder on the tabletop and handing her a cold bottle of Perrier water. He cleared his throat. “MadameSaint-Just, I believe you are acquainted with these others?” He turned and looked at each in turn as he spoke. “Father Michael Mendez…Marcel Guillon…Simone Bataille. These were the agents present in London when you were taken into custody.” The three so named also smiled in a friendly manner, and remained standing to either side, just behind the Director.

“Yes…,” she said in a small voice. “The Father was very kind to me.”

The Director continued. “Everything you said to Father Mendez is privileged under the seal of the confession, so he has not spoken of it to me nor will he take any active role in your questioning. I have, however, asked him to be present here today should you feel the need of counseling. MonsieurGuillon and MademoiselleBataille are under no such constraints, since you made a legally valid confession to them, having been apprised of your rights under both British and French law.”

Marie Rose uncapped the bottle of water and took a small sip, replacing the lid before she spoke. “I understand. Sir, may I have a lawyer?”

“Certainly, Madame.Your request has been anticipated.” Kriger gestured to Marcel, who went to the door and opened it to admit a tall and slender man of about thirty-five years, dressed in a business suit with black hair and a pencil mustache, who carried a slim attaché case. “This is MonsieurMathieu Bouquet, who has been appointed to represent you as your avocat.”Bouquet nodded in greeting to Marie Rose, saying, “Bonjour,Madame Saint-Just. I am fluent in English, and quite familiar with British law and that of the EU.” He then sat down in the chair next to her, facing Kriger.

The Director opened the folder before him, flipped through a few pages, reading quickly, and then closed the folder and clasped his hands on the table, now wearing a grim expression. “Let me acquaint you with your situation, MadameSaint-Just. The creation of zombies posed a real danger to the citizens of London and resulted in several deaths. You have been indicted in Britain of manslaughter by gross negligence, having exhibited such a reckless indifference for the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime and deserve punishment. In other words, by your actions in creating zombies, you did not give any thought to the possibility of there being any such risk, or else had recognized that such risk existed and had nonetheless persisted in your activities.”

Hearing these charges, Marie Rose put her fingers to her lips, visibly frightened. Bouquet had extracted a yellow legal pad from his briefcase and was writing rapidly. Father Michael came around behind her and placed a comforting hand upon her shoulder.

Kriger now resumed his explanation. “The British authorities have had second thoughts about allowing us to remove you from their country, and are now exerting pressure to extradite you back to Britain to face these charges. The London police are, shall we say, rather irate because of the deaths of four officers during the course of your apprehension. Despite this, because of the nature of the crimes, the judiciary has no real desire to embarrass the government by conducting a public trial in which you would be charged with the use of black magic. However,” and here he paused for effect, “under British law your case can be heard without a jury trial, under the authority of a judge or a panel of judges who would provide a summary judgment. It is very likely that, under the circumstances, you would be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty.”

Marie Rose closed her eyes and bowed her head, obviously greatly distressed. At her side, the attorney Bouquet stopped writing and leaned close, whispering in her ear. After a moment, he straightened and looked at the Director. “But?” he asked briskly. “I am assuming, Monsieur,that there is a ‘but’ or a ‘however’ implied by all this preamble?”

The Director nodded acknowledgement. “There is indeed a ‘however,’ MonsieurBouquet. Although Britain has recently chosen to withdraw from the European Union, there still remain numerous international agreements in place and they are still members of Interpol. I think that it would not be difficult to persuade them to allow us to handle this situation. Supernatural crimes are, after all, the purview of Directorate 14. It has only been the loss of the members of the Metropolitan police that has them in such an uproar. A justifiable attitude, to be sure.”

“And, so what are you offering?” Bouquet asked. “What do you want from my client?”

Kriger leaned back in his chair. “First, we at the Directorate recognize that there was no mens reainvolved in her actions.” For the benefit of Marie Rose, he explained. “That translates as ‘guilty mind,’ and is a measure of culpability in the crime. In other words, Madame,you had no intent to cause harm, but are guilty of extreme negligence in the actions you took in the effort to restore your husband to life.”

In a small voice, Marie Rose said, “I just wanted him back. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.”

Her attorney made a slight chopping motion with his hand. “Please, Madame. Say nothing now. Let the man speak, and we shall see what he will put on the table.”

Kriger continued. “As a magic user, your client represents a continuing danger to the public and must be controlled. She must remain under the authority and supervision of the Directorate, but we will not find it necessary to confine her in prison to do so.”

Bouquet pounced on this statement at once. “This is guaranteed? That she will serve no prison time?”

“No prison,” the Director agreed.  “But here is one of the howevers. She will have to be strictly confined, but under a form of house arrest rather than a prison. After all,” he added, “people died as a result of her actions. There are consequences.”

Marie Rose started to speak again, but halted when Bouquet placed a cautionary hand on her arm. “What else?” the lawyer asked. “Please continue.”

“MadameSaint-Just will become, in effect, a probationary employee of the Directorate. We will want to work closely with her to explore the nature and extent of her powers, although human necromancy will be completely prohibited. In addition, because she has extensive medical training – quite a good doctor, actually, I am led to understand – we will want to take advantage of that experience.”

Bouquet was making notes on his legal pad. “And?”

“There is not much more.” Kriger sat forward and consulted the blue folder. “Obviously she can never return to Britain again. Ah, here is what I was looking for.” He scanned the page and closed the folder. “Because the circumstances have been kept quiet, the British medical community is unaware of the unusual nature of her crimes, the creation of zombies. I rather doubt that they would believe it even if they were informed. However internal auditing at St. Bartholomew’s has revealed the theft of hospital supplies and, more seriously, of bodies from the morgue which has been traced to her. Although she disappeared from the country before they could make further inquiries as to what she was doing, these charges were serious enough that your client was fired from the hospital and her medical license revoked. She can never practice medicine in Britain again.”

The former doctor covered her face with her hands. She had lost everything: her husband, her reputation, her career. She dropped her hands down into her lap. “What am I to do? Medicine was my life.”

Kriger spoke to her directly. “As I said before, your medical experience is too valuable to waste. We are – and by this I mean the Directorate, not the government of France – we are willing to allow you to practice as a physician’s assistant, in effect, under the supervision of one of our own doctors.”

Bouquet had been writing furiously during all this explanation, and when Kriger finished he looked up, pencil in hand. “I see. That seems a rather generous offer, Director. What is it that you wish from my client in exchange for this largesse?”

“Not so much, MonsieurBouquet. First,” and he raised a finger. “We wish your client to sign over all her assets to us. We will liquidate them and pay compensation to the families of the officers who were killed in the line of duty in this affair.” The next finger came up now. “Secondly, we wish a full accounting of her activity, from the moment of her husband’s death to the time of her arrest. In complete detail, leaving nothing out. Right now, we have the verbal statements that were given by her to MonsieurGuillon and MademoiselleBataille, these being the basis upon which charges were brought. In addition, she will continue to cooperate in the future, to answer any additional questions that might be raised about her necromancy. These are the conditions.”

Marie Rose managed to combine a look of both relief and apprehension on her features. Bouquet sat back in his chair, visibly astonished. He leaned over and whispered to his client again, and answered the few quiet questions she voiced. After a few minutes, they both sat back upright. “We agree to your terms.”

“Good,” the Director said. He pulled a blank yellow legal pad out of the blue folder, and placed it and a pen before the woman. “MadameSaint-Just. I want you to write out everything that happened, everything that you were thinking, clearly and in as much detail as possible. Once this is done, I will have it typed up, and will return it to you for your examination and signature.” He now pulled a document from within the folder and laid it on top of the legal pad. “This sets out the terms of this arrangement, as I just outlined. Have your attorney look it over, and sign where indicated. Tomorrow you will be brought before one of our judges, where you will enter a guilty plea on the charge of manslaughter by negligence. Afterward, you will belong to the Directorate.”

Marie Rose was nodding as he spoke, and reached for the pad and legal document even before he finished. She thought it was all very fair, and actually far more than she deserved. She was still, even after all the time that had passed, in rather a state of shock from the violence that had taken place in the depths of the London Underground, and from witnessing the bizarre and frightening creatures that had taken control of her laboratory. She had, it was true, never given a thought to the possibility that anyone could be hurt by her research, that people could die as a result. She was about to begin writing when the Director cleared his throat to gain her attention.

“Before you begin, I have a few specific questions that I would like to ask you. Afterward, I will take my leave, and Marcel and Simone will remain to assist you, should you need any reminders as to what happened during the attack on your lab. Father Michael will also remain with you, should you need any counseling.” He pulled yet another yellow pad out of the bulky blue folder, on which he had some notes jotted down.  

He consulted the list of questions he had prepared. “The creatures that were present in your laboratory at the time it was attacked have been identified as demons.” He ignored the little gasp she gave at this news and continued. “I want you to think back to the time you spent in your lab. Did you have any sense of their presence at any other time? Did you, for example, ever have any feelings that you were being watched?”

She was silent for a moment, reflecting. “No, sir, I cannot say that I had. It was a complete shock to me when I heard the commotion outside my husband’s chamber and I came out to find a horrible monster tearing things up and fighting with the police officers. I never felt like I was being watched, or sensed any other presence there. Sometimes, my brother-in-law, Imasu, was with me down there, but I don’t know if he felt anything.”

Kriger made a few notes on the pad. “I understand that you learned the technique of necromancy from a practitioner in Haiti, a Janjak Pampil. Do you think that he, somehow, attached himself to you, that he may have had something to do with all this?”

Marie Rose made a helpless gesture. “I have no idea. I never sensed anything of him after I left his hut in Cap Haitien.”

“Hmm,” Kriger murmured. “Very well. Now, you told my agents here that you were able to carry out reanimation of the dead with the assistance of a spirit called Baron Samedi, a type of being known in Haiti as a ‘loa.’ Tell me how this was accomplished.”

She closed her eyes and shuddered briefly. “There…was a ritual involved. I had to lay out offerings for him, cigars and rum. I had to use human blood to draw his ‘veve,’ a sign or symbol representing the Baron…I drew it on the bare chest of the cadaver.” She kept her eyes closed. “There had to be music…not music, really, but African drums. And, I had to cut myself…I had to add my own blood.” She paused, and in a very small voice she added, “This was supposed to bind them to me, to let me control them.”

“From the accounts I heard, you were not controlling them at all, at the end,” Kriger pointed out. “Very well, then. So, when you did all this, the spirit of the Baron came to you? What was this like?”

“Yesss…he took my body, came into me. I can’t explain what it was like, not very well…it was wonderful…and frightening. I could feel a vast, strange power flowing through me and into the body on the table.”

“Did you…” the Director started to say, and then she interrupted.

“It changed, though. It was never the same after that first time. There was still the same feeling of great power being channeled through me…but it was colder, somehow…more alien, even…it’s hard to describe!”

“And was it always like that, after the first time? More…alien, you said?”

“Yes! The Baron was a spirit, but I could feel no malice in him. He felt…human, I guess is the best way to describe it. More than human, I guess, but still something derived from humanity…I don’t have the words I need. Afterward, it was very different. Like it was not the same spirit. There was not the same…tie?...to human kind. What I could feel most, was hate. Like it hated all life.”

There was a rather prolonged silence as Kriger made some rather lengthy notes based on her responses. At last he sat back and just looked at her for a moment, and then stuffed the pad back into the blue folder and stood up. “MadameSaint-Just, I will now leave you to look over the agreement alone with your attorney. Marcel and Simone, I want to see you outside for a moment, and then you can return.”

The Director and his two agents left the room, closing the door behind them, and stood in the hallway outside. He looked back and forth between them. “Impressions?”

Simone spoke first. “Monsieur,I believe she tells the truth.”

“As far as she knows it,” Marcel added.

“That is also my feeling. It seems that there was a demon presence that took over from this ‘Baron,’ after the first time.” He made a sour face. “Unfortunately, this does not bring us any closer to discovering who was behind the demon attack there, or anywhere else.” He made a dismissive gesture. “Give her a few more minutes with her attorney, and then go back in there and encourage her to write down everything. And I mean, everything.” He turned and walked away.


THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:28 am

This was one of those parts that you just couldn't get your eyes off of the words..and your hand glued to the mouse lol..runcircle
I love it.. feeldaluv

Thank you Joanne ymd


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Postszanne7000 on Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:12 am

You and your husband are so adept at intrigue, Joanne - thank you, again, for sharing your stories with us <3



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PostEaster01 on Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:56 pm


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017




Part 7

Klaus Dortmund stood alone in the center of the darkened room, his hands in his pockets, silently contemplating the stone monument before him. The vampire Machiavelli was not present. It was the middle of the afternoon, and the blood-drinker was not free to move about during the daytime and so was sequestered within his own lair. Not that he would have allowed him to be here, in his most private place. Some secrets were his own to keep, not to be shared with any employee no matter how valuable that person might be in other regards.

This was his workshop, the focus of his power, the private space he had created in the basement level of his building when it had been constructed, deep beneath the three-level underground parking structure. The high-rise had been constructed to his own design, and contained several features that were not usually found associated with typical modern office towers. This hidden vault, nearly a hundred feet across with several smaller chambers on one side, was accessible only by the private elevator that connected it with his office and penthouse apartment. Dortmund used the space to conduct the magical rituals that had secretly propelled his rise to prominence in the mundane world and from which he would now launch the attack against the despised Directorate 14. The space was large because he needed room, plenty of room, for the summoning of the demons and other creatures that comprised his power base.

He mixed no potions or powders, employed no herbs in the exercise of his powers. Such things were for the feeble efforts of witches and magicians who needed such chemical crutches to focus their weak magics. He dealt with raw, untamed magic, evoked by incantations and diagrams that tapped into the trans-dimensional powers of the Underworld, forced to serve his will. The ancient grimoire, the
Tenebris Magicae,
that he had so long ago liberated from the bowels of the British Library, had revealed the necessary spells and runes and enhanced his own natural abilities, but it was the strength of his will and personality that allowed him to control that arcane power.

He was nearly ready to begin. Dortmund was dressed, as usual, in an expensive business suit; an eminently practical man, he scorned the idea of wizard’s robes or other exotic garments as pretentious and unnecessary. Similarly, he found the use of candles or torches distasteful, unless specifically required by a spell. He was a modern man, and the magic he employed represented the best of both worlds, the arcane rituals of ancient times and the modern technology in which he had made his fortune. The room was illuminated by electrical lights in chrome sconces on the walls, three to each wall, turned down to provide a dim light. Overhead lights were present, but remained dark. Numerous long shadows spread across the floor and up the walls, cast by the figures of the stone pillar and the warlock.

There would be no need for use of the pentagram for this. He was not summoning demons from the Underworld, but was instead gathering the demonic forces that he had already brought to this world. These were demons who were bound to serve him, had been forced to accept enslavement. At his summons, they would come to him from their hiding places around the globe, in the locations to which they had been sent on various assignments in the past and now awaited further orders.

The stone in the center of the room was a portal stone, a gateway that allowed instantaneous travel across the globe, and it was through this stone that his demonic servants would arrive when summoned and it was through the portal that he would launch his attack upon the meeting of Directorate executives. The stone was of his own construction, using the instructions provided in the grimoire, two meters tall and a meter wide, carved from hard black basaltic rock. The monument was in the shape of an obelisk, a stone pillar with four flat sides and at the top, coming to a point in a pyramid. The sides were covered with strange symbols, combinations of which could be activated to select particular destinations.

Travelers could only go from portal stone to portal stone, but the stones were numerous throughout the Old World. In most of the older cemeteries throughout Europe and Asia, similar stones had been erected by warlocks of the ancient era, blending in among the thousands of other monuments and differing from them only by the presence of arcane writing that none but the initiated could read. There were, however, very few such portal stones across the Atlantic in the Americas, because the last of the ancient warlocks had perished long before the colonies had spread much beyond the coast.

Portal stones could be found in Central America, Peru and on several Caribbean islands, set up by warlocks who had accompanied the Spanish conquistadores in their ventures of brutal conquest, and in Canada at Quebec and Montreal, erected by French magic-users during the colonial period. There was a portal at St. Augustine in Florida, the first European settlement in what would later become the United States, and further north, portals at Boston, Salem, Roanoke, Providence and a handful of other communities established prior to 1650. Other than these few locations, the vast expanse of the Americas simply could not be accessed through the portal stones. The New World had its own ancient magics, however, and Dortmund planned to investigate these one day.

He placed his hands flat on one side of the stone, and to his senses, the power flowing through it was immense. Each stone was linked to its location on the pattern of ley lines that tapped into the mystical energy of the Earth. The intersections of such lines were locales charged with magical power, and he had built his office tower on one such nexus, and placed his workshop deep underground, in order to access this energy. Establishing the link had not been an easy task, and in fact had required from him a greater expenditure of effort than had been needed in sculpting, by hand, the obelisk stone itself from the dense black volcanic rock. Once the connection had been made, however, it permitted him to travel around the planet from stone to stone, or to send his demonic servants wherever he wanted them to go, provided there was a portal at the destination.

Anyone could use the stones, if they knew how. It did not require a magic-user to employ them, for the magic was in the stones themselves.

There was but one more thing left to do before he committed to the attack and launched his demonic hit squad off to the Directorate gathering in eastern France. Earlier in the day, he had dispatched one of his little messenger demons to the site to spy out the terrain and see if, indeed, preparations were being made for the meeting of station chiefs. The imp had reported back that there were no Directorate personnel yet at the old winery. He was now waiting for a second messenger to arrive with a more up-to-date report.    

A faint pop heralded the arrival of the messenger demon, back from its scouting trip. It perched on top of the obelisk, lightly fanning its wings, and briefly dipped its head. “Master,” it squeaked in its shrill voice. The warlock gestured impatiently for it to continue, and listened carefully as it described what it had seen, frequently interrupting with requests for more detail.

The scene at the winery was now bustling with activity, according to his tiny spy. The information given to him earlier by the shape-shifter, Leclerc, had now been proved accurate. Shortly before two o’clock, several vans had arrived, and grim-faced men in black suits (exactly how many men was unclear; demons were not very good with numbers) had emerged and taken up stations around the perimeter and inside the building. These were obviously the personnel who would be providing security for the meeting. Dortmund smiled wickedly as he considered just how inadequate such a defense would be against an attack by his demons. Shortly thereafter men and women dressed in caterer’s uniforms had begun unloading supplies and food for the anticipated meeting.

From the look of these preparations, it seemed that the meeting would be held in the evening; that meant that he might be able to send some of his vampires along with the demons. Like the demons, vampires were not easy to kill, not at night when they were in their element, and they were very, very fast. He was certain that the Directorate was not aware of the existence of his messenger demons and their unique ability to pop in and out of places unobserved; his attack should come as a complete surprise and be utterly devastating. With a wave of his hand, he sent the messenger demon back to France to continue observing. He retreated, temporarily, to one of the side rooms where he had a chess board set up on a table, and setting up a problem, settled in to await further news.

Periodically, the demon imps reported back to inform him of the developing situation. At last, shortly before sunset, one of the imps arrived to inform him that a large group of men, dressed in business suits, had arrived at the winery and were immediately escorted inside. Here, at last, was the news he had been eagerly anticipating. Very shortly, he would launch his strike force against the Directorate heads.

He was considering whether, once the Directorate had been destroyed, whether he should employ the shifter in a different venue…perhaps as an aide to a prominent politician? Perhaps, even replacing the politician with his own creature? That might be worth considering… Something the imp was saying interrupted his musing and brought his attention back abruptly.

“What was that? What did you say?” he demanded.

The messenger demon blinked its yellow eyes and regarded him with alarm. “Master! The priest is there!”

Dortmund quickly stepped forward and snatched the imp from its perch atop the stone, holding the struggling creature in his fist and shook it as he snarled, “What priest?”

It stopped squirming and blurted out, “The priest from London, Master…and his two servants, the shape-shifters! They are there now!”

The warlock opened his fingers and released the creature, which flitted briefly around the room before coming back to rest on the point of the obelisk, where it stretched its wings and began grooming itself, whimpering in a low tone. Dortmund stepped back from the stone, and grasping his hands behind his back, began pacing back and forth before it.

Well, this was an interesting development. Perhaps not so unexpected, considering. This priest, this Michael Mendez, had proved to be a major irritant, having disrupted his plan to build a zombie army in London. More than that, the priest had eliminated two of his most powerful demon soldiers. The loss of the demon that channeled power to the necromancer was a great loss, indeed, for magic-users were hard to obtain and he had only been able to summon one other of its type from the Underworld. The priest and his companions apparently were held in very high regard by the Director of the agency.

The priest had a magic sword, the shifter had informed him. Now, wasn’t that interesting! It was this sword that had allowed him to defeat the demons in London. Most mortal weapons had little effect on demons, who were able to shrug off small-caliber bullets as minor annoyances. Apparently, their bodies were extremely dense. Possibly, larger caliber weapons or explosives might be capable of killing a demon. He made a mental note to run some experiments in this regard. According to the Leclerc demon’s information, when pierced by the priest’s sword, the demons had burst into flames and been consumed. That was a potent weapon, to be sure, and one he could not afford to let his enemies possess.

The priest and his companions had been able to dispose of two demons and a couple of dozen zombies, but the strike force he had assembled now was much larger and more formidable. They were potent adversaries, but even with the aid of the security force that had been posted, they should not be able to withstand his strike force. In this way, he could not only dispatch the station chiefs but also rid himself of this troublesome priest and capture the sword as a bonus. He smiled, recognizing the irony of his mental phrasing. In 1170, the English king Henry II, annoyed with Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury, had exclaimed, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!” and four of his knights had taken it upon themselves to go and slay the Archbishop. Appalled by the deed, King Henry had been forced to endure public humiliation in atonement.

Well, he was no Henry, and this priest was no archbishop. The warlock made his decision and stopped pacing. “Imp!” he barked. The little creature stopped grooming its wings and returned its attention to the warlock. “Go to your brothers, the other messengers. Summon my demon war chiefs, and the vampire leaders. Bring them here, and then return to me,” he ordered. The messenger demon nodded, once, and disappeared.


THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
continues with Part 8
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Postszanne7000 on Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:08 am

Oh, ho, Ho!

Let the games begin :D



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PostEaster01 on Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:59 pm


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017




Part 8

His demons should be arriving soon. Dortmund turned and walked to one side of the room, putting some distance between the stone and himself. It would not do to be trampled underfoot as his demons came pouring out of the stone; he needed to give them room to arrive and assemble. He had a few minutes to spare, now, for it would take a little time for the messenger demon to contact the others and bring them here. He walked over to one side of the chamber where he had several boxes full of electronic equipment on a table, just to make sure that all was ready.

The first demon to arrive was of the same sort that he had employed to funnel magic into the London necromancer, Saint-Just. In its present form, it appeared to be made out of sticks, like some horrid scarecrow. He was not sure exactly how to classify it. It was capable of absorbing power from the earth to enhance its size and power, turning into an enormous blocky creature seemingly made of solid rock. A stone demon, perhaps, or possibly an elemental type. It mattered little; what was important was that this was the most powerful of the demons he had been able to summon from the Underworld. Most demons did not possess names, except for the most powerful, and names were a carefully guarded secret, for to know the name of a demon was to possess absolute power over the creature. This demon was exceptionally powerful in its own world; named and described in the grimoire, it was known as Zorug. He pointed to the far wall and told it to stand there and wait, for there was already another demon emerging from the portal stone. Zorug nodded and reluctantly grated out, “Master,” showing long, sharp fangs and hate-filled yellow eyes.

The demon chiefs came swiftly now, five horrific shapes, bursting from the stone, glaring and snarling at each other as Dortmund sent them all to form a long line against the wall. Each was of a different type, the strongest and most ferocious of its kind. This was the basis of their leadership; they were able to dominate the others of their ilk through intimidation. All demons were natural enemies to each other. They chose no companions, formed no alliances, and a cooperative venture such as Dortmund planned was completely unnatural to their natures and possible only because of the control he had over them. In the Underworld such a grouping would not have long survived, since they would have immediately plunged into a death-battle, the stronger killing and consuming the weak until only they remained. These formidable creatures were held now in check only by the force of Dortmund’s will and the strength of his magic, and stood glowering and resentful, baring fangs and glaring at all the others.

The last demon arrived, scale-covered and reptilian in form, as black as night, crouching and hissing as it came out of the stone and caught sight of the others. It spread its great bat-wings ready to take flight, but subsided as Dortmund ordered it to take position against the wall. Two and a half meters tall, the creature returned his glance with cold yellow eyes, and let its mouth fall open in a wicked lizardy grin to reveal a red cavern full of teeth, but did as it was ordered.

All his demon chiefs were now present. Dortmund stood next to the portal stone and studied the leaders of what he liked to think of as his demonic strike force. With the arrival of the winged demon, there were now six nightmare creatures posed unwillingly against the wall of his sanctum, who would launch a combined attack of nearly a hundred demons against the unsuspecting Directorate leaders at their secret meeting. Zorug was easily the most powerful demon in the group and would be his “general,” in overall command of all the others. The bat-winged demon would be in charge of five similar creatures, who would be his aerial assault troops and provide surveillance from above. Dortmund next turned his gaze upon a tall demon covered with razor-sharp crystalline spikes, and smiled at the thought of the destruction such beings would bring upon the Directorate agents. The fourth demon chief resembled a giant upright beetle-like insect, its body covered by a hard, external carapace. Dripping venom, its mandibles opened and shut hungrily with loud clacking sounds, and it slowly waved a number of limbs terminating in pinchers or blades like curving sickles.

Beside it - but at a safe distance - was a powerfully muscled demon having a general humanoid shape, covered with coarse black hair. It had the head of a great horned bull, but when it opened its mouth rows of shark-like teeth were revealed rather than the blunt dentition of a placid bovine. These were the most numerous of the summoned demons, nearly half of his force, but despite their intimidating appearance they were the least formidable. The last of the demon leaders resembled a huge black dog, more than a meter and a half high at the shoulder, with enormous paws and claws and eyes that glowed redly. It was no werewolf, but a hell-hound, a creature far more dangerous. These six he had selected for his leaders, stronger and more cunning than their fellows. He had, long ago, showed them the symbols that would bring them through the stones to his workshop, but they knew better than to try to come without being summoned. He had set powerful wards around this place, now temporarily deactivated.

There was a series of simultaneous muted popping sounds as his messenger demons returned from their errands, all but the one who was still in France keeping a watch on the Directorate meeting site. There were five altogether, who materialized in various places around the room and flew straight to the top of the portal stone, where they perched like so many malignant birds, keeping anxious eyes on the demons across the room and ready to instantly disappear should one make a move in their direction.

The demon troops these war-chiefs would command were now scattered in groups across the European continent, hidden in caves and crypts and abandoned tunnels and other secret places, never too far from a portal stone that would allow him to summon them at will. The demons were always hungry, and he had given them permission to hunt discretely for food in the darkness of night, away from prying eyes. Since he was certain that they would not limit their prey to the limited quantity of animals available in the forests, he shifted them around to new locations from time to time, so that a rising human body count in their vicinity would not draw attention. Dortmund knew better than to think, no matter how strong his control, that they would completely submerge their predatory instincts to avoid human prey, especially since all demons possessed an unrelenting hatred for all humans. Damage control was better than issuing orders that would not be obeyed.  

He glanced at his watch, and frowned. The vampires were late, as usual.

Unlike the demons, who were bound to his will by the summons that had brought them to the human world, the vampires served him only by their own desire and through fear of his power. Early in his rise to prominence, he had located several nests of vampires in London and offered them a “deal,” to serve his will or be exterminated. In exchange, they were paid very well, a situation much to their liking since vampires tended to interact with the human world and enjoyed many of the same material comforts as mortal beings. The carrot and stick approach had worked rather well, for the most part, although vampires often tended to be insufferably arrogant and could never be completely trusted. Fair enough. Dortmund himself placed no trust in any person or creature.

Just as his anger was beginning to peak, two vampires stepped through the portal stone, a male and a female, modern-day Goths, both with long black hair framing their pale vampire faces, lips painted black and eyes darkly shadowed, draped with silver jewelry. These were the leaders of a small nest of vampires who had chosen to adopt a Gothic persona. Their apparent age was in the early twenties, and Dortmund knew this was not far off from their real age. All of the vampires who served him were young, no more than a half-century at most; the older ones were more adept at avoiding his attention.

As soon as the Gothic blood-drinkers appeared, the collection of demons across the room became agitated, crouching and snarling. In return, the male Goth opened his mouth to show his fangs, making an obscene gesture, and then contemptuously turned his back on them, lowered his head and bestowed a long, sensuous kiss upon his companion, caressing her intimately. He parted from her slowly, draped his arm about her shoulders, and turned to look at Dortmund. “Wot’s up, gov’ner?” he smirked. “Ugly mates yer’ve got 'ere.” Coldly, Dortmund pointed to a spot near the stone, saying only, “Wait here, and be silent.”

A few minutes passed by, and then another pair of vampires stepped out of the stone. These were the leaders of a different nest, which had adopted the identity of a gang of female bikers. Like the Goth vampires, they were young in appearance and dressed all in black, but sported more leather and wore boots upon their feet. The taller biker vampire was a rather heavy-set, dark-haired woman who wore her hair tied back and, from her possessive attitude toward her companion was obviously the dominant member of the pair. Every inch of skin visible on her arms was covered with tattoos. The other vampire biker was a slightly built girl, almost emaciated in appearance, with stringy dirty-blonde hair of shoulder length and fewer tattoos who wore a white tee-shirt featuring the grunge band Alice in Chains. On her left cheek was the image of a pale blue butterfly. At the warlock’s order, they took their place with the other vampire pair, and the biker leader nodded cordially to the Goths. Between the two groups, Dortmund expected that they would be able to bring a dozen or so vampires to the assault.

Of all the supernaturals in this world, the vampires were the most useful. They could not compare to the demons for sheer ferocity and near-indestructibility, but in their own element, the dark of night, the soulless creatures were swift, silent and deadly. Humans were their natural prey, and these young vampires had no reservations about killing for hire. Older vampires tended to be more cautious about casual killing, since they did not want to bring attention to their activities. Although having great destructive potential, he had not been able to employ shape-shifters such as werewolves because their loyalty to their packs was too strong, and despite their fearsome reputation in human folklore, they simply were not the wanton killers he needed.      

There was a quiet < pop > that announced the return of the last of his little demon messengers. Dortmund turned to the demon imp, perched again atop the portal stone. “Go again to the meeting place and observe. See if anything has changed, and report back. Be quick about it! Do not keep me waiting!” The little winged demon vanished immediately.

While he waited for the final report, Dortmund busied himself preparing his forces. He walked over to the table and picked up one of the boxes containing electronic devices, and came back to stand before the demon Zorug. The demon’s hide resembled old, brown leather wrapped around sticks, deeply furrowed and wrinkled; its eyes were sunken pits. This was its normal appearance, but it was capable of pulling power directly from the earth and stones, expanding hugely in size. “You will be in command of all these others,” Dortmund informed it, speaking loudly enough for all to hear. He reached into the box and took out a miniature wireless camera and held it up to show the demon. “This is a magical amulet that will allow me to see what you see. It will be my eyes.” He set the box down on the floor, continuing to hold on to the miniature camera. Taking a small tube out of his pocket and unscrewing the lid, he squeezed a smear of adhesive on the creature’s chest. Irritated, Zorug showed fangs as the pungent smell of the chemical came to its nostrils, and flexed its claws. Dortmund capped the tube, picked up the camera, and pressed it securely onto the adhesive.

He bent down and reached into the box again, retrieving a transmitter. “This will be my voice. You will obey the commands I give you. Lean down.” Malice filling its eyes, the creature reluctantly bent its head. Dortmund examined Zorug’s head. It had nothing that resembled human ears, but there were two small openings on its head in approximately the same location. He started to press the ear bud into one of the openings, and halted as the demon growled and raised one of its arms, claws spread. “Be still!” Dortmund ordered. The demon subsided resentfully, and the warlock pressed the device into place.

He turned away from Zorug and approached one of the bat-winged demons. Hate smoldered in its eyes, but it bent its head submissively and allowed the warlock to equip it with a camera and transmitter. Dortmund repeated the process with the four remaining demon chiefs. Finished, he turned next to the vampires.

Seeing him approach, the male Goth, whose name was Billy, shook his head. “If yer fink yor gonna glue one of them fings ter me, yer can forget it!” All four of the vampires bared their fangs at the warlock.

“No glue,” Dortmund said. “No camera. Just transmitters, so I can speak to you. Here,” he said, holding out a handful of the ear buds, “place them yourselves.”

The vampires regarded him suspiciously, then Billy shrugged and took one from the warlock’s palm and worked it into his ear. “Smashing,” he said without enthusiasm. The other vampires followed suit.

“One more thing.” Dortmund pulled a larger device from the box. “This is a satellite relay,” he informed Billy, handing it to him. “When you arrive in France, set it on the ground next to the portal stone and flip the switch on top. This will allow me to be in contact with the communication devices. Do not fail me in this, or there will be consequences.”

Dortmund glanced at his watch. It was nine o’clock now, full dark.

The messenger demon now returned, blinking into existence atop the portal stone. “Master,” it piped. It informed him that the lights were on in the winery building, and that the security guards patrolled the grounds. Excellent. It was time. He went to the portal stone and, kneeling, activated a series of sigils located near the base of the stone. The portal would now transport the demon war-chiefs to the interior of an ancient crypt located in the churchyard burial ground of Saint Mary Magdalene in the environs of London. From there, they would transport themselves to the locations where the others of their respective tribes awaited their return.

Dortmund stood back up. He could feel the power in the stone. Making sure that he had the undivided attention of his war-chiefs, pointed to the combination of symbols that would lead to a cemetery in the small village of Meursault in eastern France, not far from the winery. “These are the sigils that will take you to a location near your target. Remember them well!” he admonished.

He stepped back from the stone. “Go now,” he ordered. “Gather your forces! Use the symbols I showed you to take your followers to France. Wait at the rendezvous until all are present, and then the imps will guide you to the target. Be silent, draw no attention until you arrive at the place of my enemies.” He took another breath. “Go now! Go now! Kill everything there! Bring me the sword!”

The demons roared their approval and lunged forward, running toward the portal stone. As each came to the stone, it disappeared into it headfirst and was gone. The vampires, waiting with smug aloofness until the last demon had vanished, sauntered over to the stone and stepped casually through, the two couples holding hands as they departed.

Dortmund watched them go, his hands clasped behind his back. It would all be over very soon. Although he had set up a means of communication with his demon forces, it was unlikely that he would be required to do anything but observe. There was no tactical plan. These were not soldiers. They were vicious killing machines with enormous destructive capability; like a guided missile, he simply aimed them at their target. No mortal force could possibly withstand an attack by a hundred demons and more than a dozen vampires. In an hour, the leaders of Directorate 14 would all be dead.


THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
continues with Part 9
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Last edited by Easter01 on Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:29 pm; edited 1 time in total




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PostSamantha61 on Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:34 pm

Just read Part 7 omgosh..yes I agree with Suzanne let the games begin lol..
Nice work Joanne..I will be reading Part 8 here soon..

watermelon watermelon :goldstars: watermelon watermelon


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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Postszanne7000 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:09 am

Multiple, simultaneous blitz attacks coming up?!

OOO0000!!!

Can't wait!!!

<3



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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:11 am

Suzanne,

You have no idea what's in store for our Father Michael. Just ask Sam. I always have surprises. And, in this story I have more than just a few.

I believe it's because you all have been so encouraging and supportive. I love writing stories, and I seem  to come up with new ones all the time...

I wonder why.

Joanne
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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:22 am

Joanne is right..every time you think you know what is going to happen..something better happens.

Now a great story writer will listen to the readers..and Joanne is a GREAT Story Writer..she not only listens to the readers..she makes the next story, part, chapter even better than the reader thought it would be and that is what keeps the readers coming back..for more, and more lol..

I hope that Joanne is here at CBS writing stories for years to come and when she becomes famous she will still continue writing stories right here at CBS..lol..


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
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I am so proud of all of you..
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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:59 am

thau Sam,

Wow! What a nice thing to say. You are soooo wonderful.

Thank you all so much for taking a few minutes to explore
the world of stories with me.

Joanne

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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:15 am

I haven't said it enough..I am your BIGGEST FAN and ALWAYS will be..
And I meant what I said..
valentine1f


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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Postszanne7000 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:55 am

Agreed!

You and your hubbie make a Fantastic writing team!!!

<3<3<3



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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:55 pm

thau Thank you so much Suzanne. Hubby and I have been married
for almost 26 years and we just discovered we make a great writing
team. He's my partner, my co-author, and my best friend.

Joanne

:girlie5:




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Postszanne7000 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:11 pm

I'm so happy for both of you!

<3<3<3



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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:42 pm

I am going to have to change my statement:

I haven't said it enough..I am yours & Richard's BIGGEST FAN and ALWAYS will be..
And I meant what I said..
valentine1f

26 years..that is a long time..and congratulations on that
Both of mine lasted I thing 7-8 1/2 years lol..something like that..lol



Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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