Wherein things take a turn for the fantastical.
Kenya woke up in the basement and tied to a chair, not in the good way either. Cassandra was stood in front of him, light from what few windows there were shining down on her and giving her a worrying ethereal glow. She looked rather angry.
He couldn’t remember the specifics really, only that she had shot him with a tazer. He knew this for a number of reasons, chiefly because the wires were still attached to his chest. It was deeply uncomfortable, and Kenya tried to squirm his way into a slightly more pleasant position. It was then that Cassandra noticed he was awake.
‘Sorry,’ she said bluntly, ‘but all of this is for your own good.’
‘I find that hard to believe. If you were interested in my safety you wouldn’t have sent me to spy on someone as terrifying as Eldred Fie.’
The use of the name made Cassandra visibly shudder, Kenya wondered if that was a good thing or if he had just angered her even more.
‘It’s because you know his name that this is happening, don’t make it worse by speaking it.’
‘What are you talking about? It’s just a name, there’s no harm in knowing it.’
Cassandra’s expression changed for the worse. ‘He’s not like normal people. There’s something… mythical about him, I don’t really understand it myself. If you know his name then you’ll be on his radar before long.’
‘But you know his name and you’re fine.’ Kenya retorted.
‘I was on his radar from the very beginning, I think. We’re possibly related, although I can’t confirm that.’
‘Too complicated to go into. You don’t need to know anyway, the only thing of any importance to you is that you will be safer here.’
Kenya strained against his bindings again, this time with the intention to do more than merely get comfortable. It was fruitless, the ropes were tied too well for him to wriggle free and any further attempts were likely to topple the chair. Cassandra stood and watched patiently.
As her captive finally settled, Cassandra strode across the room to a carefully placed bookcase. Kenya noticed she had lost little of her composure despite the situation, still walking with the sexy slink people expected of a woman in her profession. She plucked a book from the case, which was littered with tacky decorations designed to give it a Gothic feel, and slowly opened the cover.
After flicking through a few pages, including a large section that appeared to be glued together, she turned the book to face Kenya. On the page was a crude drawing of an amulet. It claimed to be actual size, which meant the amulet itself was quite small, no bigger than a tuppence. On the face was a skull, surrounded by a snake eating its own tail. All in all it was a rather unusual looking thing.
‘He’s wearing this,’ Cassandra said slowly. ‘He doesn’t realise that it has power, he just thinks it looks quite cool. But it’s very old. Dates back to the time when Diplomancy was powerful, as well as other magics.’
‘Who? What are you talking about?’
‘It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you remember just how unnatural that amulet is. Death won’t find the one who wears it, and with that comes control of coincidence. By knowing his name you fall into the purview of the amulet, and it’s only a matter of time before you bump into him one way or another. I can’t have my little spying scheme getting discovered until I’m ready.’
‘You’re insane. Actually mental. “Death won’t find the one who wears it”? Do you realise how stupid that sounds? Let me go!’
Cassandra slammed the book shut and smacked Kenya around the face with it, his nose breaking noisily. She grabbed his chin and stared into his eyes.
‘I can’t let you go. Not until I have that amulet. It should belong to someone who will appreciate it, not a hired gun who doesn’t know what it is he carries!’
‘I think I liked you better when you were just a prostitute.’