Of course no teasers would be complete without a look at the bad guys…
The room was dark except from the light from the dais at the far end of the room. Two giant pillar candles flanked a robe-clad woman seated in a winged, high-back chair. In the light her robe looked almost black. Her guards were there, too. Even though they kept out of the light the man that entered the room could feel their presence. The little hairs on the back of his neck had risen the moment he had stepped across the threshold and entered the room. They would be armed and ready to protect the one they served at the cost of their lives, if the situation called for it.
A man knelt on the ground before her, his own robes pooled around him, and spoke without looking up at her.
“There is a problem, your Highness.”
“I am well aware of that. How could this happen?”
“He was not careful. He left too many things behind, which in turn led him to be identified by the authorities.”
“He cannot be linked to us.”
“I understand. That matter has been dealt with. We have erased our existence in his life. They will not find out.”
“I hope you are right. What has begun cannot be stopped.
All we have worked for would be lost. The end is now near.”
“You have the final gift to offer our Gods?”
“Yes. We have the child.”
“Then all is not lost.”
“We shall not fail, your Highness.”
“We only have to wait until the next new moon and it will be done. Our place in the New World will be concrete. There can be no more problems. Discretion is paramount.”
“I understand what must be done.”
“Good. See that there are no more failures.”
The man rose, bowed all the while without looking at the woman, then turned and left the room.