Caci is a tough, independent bartender at London's local club Paradoxal. To most she's seemingly normal. But everyone has skeletons in their closets. Things begin to change when two men appear in her life, both keenly interested in her--but who also hold vital information about her past that she has previously thought buried forever. They say she is the key, but key to what?


 Vienna isn’t quite the same tourist trap as Paris is. Though equally beautiful, if not more so, Paris has it's drawbacks. Yet here in Austria, take a look around, and feel its potency. As you walk down Vienna's antiquated cobbled streets, you can feel the history with each step taken. You can look up and side to side at the buildings and see the archaic blend of the old and new, each beautiful in their own way. You may even come across an old woman as you proceed alongside the Wien River, her eyes weary and sad, depicting dark horrors from a time you can’t imagine occurred in the same place that you find yourself in. 

When looking upon Schönnbrunn Palace, you can easily feel the immensity of its grandeur, and almost hear the humming of the past in faint whispers. But that is not why we are here. We are not here for a tourist attraction, nor to remember the glory days of Vienna’s intricate legacy. Instead, we are here to observe an event, rather, a meeting. To observe the moment when the clock starts ticking. When the countdown begins and decisions are made. 

Any Saturday in Vienna, even in the crisp coldness that Autumn brings, is regularly overwrought with people. A day full of bustling persons and chaotic scenes made it ideal for the encounter to be had. Since the harshness of winter had yet to hit, the trees were still that illustrious combination of reds, oranges and browns; a day both beautiful and destined. 

Within a matter of a minutes, the meeting will take place, and the outcome will determine the fate of perhaps not the world (but also perhaps so), but of these two covens. These two covens who have despised each other for what seems like longer than memory. Now it would seem they have reached the end or yet another beginning. 

The first group of representatives have just arrived to the grounds of Schönnbrunn. They head to where the tourists seem to clamor the most: a café. In nearly matching attire, the men of the Benandanti coven wear navy blue pantsuits and white collared shirts, one of them with a suit jacket and one without, as well as each wearing gold fleur de lis pins on their lapels. A rather overdone notion to match in such a manner, however tradition is a necessity for this conference. 

The two seat themselves at one of the tables near a window, a waiter arrives shortly afterwards. As they both choose to order espressos, the waiter observes them questioningly. He notes their eerie emulation of each other in their attire. At first the waiter thinks to himself that perhaps they were twins who had never grown out of their mother's odd fascination with matching, as many mothers do.  But when it comes to these men's own physical features they were day and night.

The one on the left seems Nordic in appearance, blonde and blue eyed (a true pretty boy if you will). The one on the right has dark, olive-toned features, his scalp oddly glimmering in the light. The waiter is puzzled at the somewhat theatrical display before him. Yet, when it comes down to it; there is no crime in matching and ordering the same thing in unison, so in the end he pushes it from his mind, and wanders off to greet less bizarre customers. 

Besides to the waiter, the two handsome gentleman do not stand out particularly from the crowd. To a passerby they appear ordinary. As do their superficial circumstances: for they are just sitting at a tourist hub whilst casually chatting over coffee. But one of the first lessons we all learn as children is that things are rarely what we initially believe them to be.

“Arsenio, I am...concerned.” Says the one on the right to the blonde, his back to the window. 

Arsenio laughs as he runs a hand through his hair; clearly he has forgotten about the hours of fixing and primping to get his hair to compose a certain sort of way. “About what? What I'm concerned about is if this isn't like a plot to kill you. Or a dry joke. ‘Bout time they got a sense of humor.” 

“I think you’ve spent too much time in Hollywood, the way you speak in such a blunt manner about things so serious. Besides, something  as momentous as this would never be used for humorous intentions. And, do not fret, your beloved Luce cannot be so easily extinguished.” Luce speaks with hints of sarcasm and even menace. “What I am anxious about, however, is your prioritization. Lately, Arsenio, you have seemed distant, distracted, and far more smug than usual, which says quite a bit in itself. Is there something you’re not telling me?” 

“What're you suggesting?”

“Nothing. Only that today is top priority for the Benandanti as well as the Malandanti. This is the beginning of the end. The defeat of the opposition, and we cannot afford to tarnish such an opportunity. Am I clear?” 

Arsenio nods, his cocky-demeanor diminishing. Luce is well aware there was something amiss with his top pupil, however he’s also aware that it’s too late to do anything about it. They are already heading down the path towards La Giornata di Scelte, the Day of Choices; and it would be impossible if not catastrophic to attempt to turn back. Whatever is to happen next is simply what is meant to, even if it means the end of everything he has built. 

There’s a long silence as the two of them slowly sip their coffee, looking around at the passerby’s and tourists. None of them look like those who they were looking for; the Malandanti members would likely stand out just as, if not more so, than Luce and Arsenio already did. Though the covens have their differences, tradition was one that they both value equally. It is just the definition of tradition and values that differ.

“Anyhow, while we still have time before they arrive, do remind me of how you attend to approach the target?” 

His ego perks up much like a cat at the scent of catnip, Arsenio begins to explain his seduction-tactics, but goes abruptly silent as he saw two very discernible characters at the entrance of the café.

A woman, regal in her black and red attire, walks in turn with her own protégé, who is also cloaked in black save but a red tie, slowly begin to approach Arsenio and Luce. They recognize them as Malandanti members as they both wear the obnoxious, silver spider pins of their own coven. 

Luce takes a deep breath as if to prepare himself for the encounter, his eyes never leaving the woman. It has been nearly two hundred years since either of them have seen each other, the last time having been when they had thought the target emerged in Greece. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the target had just made things worse. 

She looks significantly different, instead of her hair hidden by a wig, her tight, ethnic curls protrude a minor distance from her scalp into a fohawk. From victorian frill to a sharp black cocktail dress and red jacket, her nails also that same deep crimson; she looks antagonistically modern. The red bounces out vibrantly against her smooth cocoa skin. He also notices she had  eye-contacts to cover her white hues, as so people would not question her ability to see. “Well, aren’t we frighteningly striking as usual, Maga.” he whispers to himself under his breath.

The End

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