Stievo took a seat next to Geryman as the train began to accelerate. They just sat there in silence, waiting for the other to make a move, both a little dumbstruck. Victor Strife had told Stievo that his father was being held captive somewhere out west, but they didn’t know where and it hardly seemed worth looking for him given that Stievo wasn’t even sure if his father would embrace him or try to kill him. As for Geryman, he had been so singularly focused on Carenf and Glendan since escaping that he hadn’t even thought about the son he’d never met.

As the shock faded, each Champion of their generation began to feel the vast depth of power that the other possessed. The elder held a strength that the younger thought he could only dream of achieving. The younger held a potential that the elder knew could someday surpass his own. Here they were – together. A team, so it seemed.

Finally, Stievo broke the silence: “Where are we heading?” “To a place of great significance for our family,” answered Geryman. They were heading to Portland. The city that Geryman helped to set ablaze two decades ago. The city where Stievo’s mother lost her way, her mind, her soul. Now, it was the city where Geryman had planned to settle an old grudge and then train in order to launch his war of revenge.

Shortly after arriving in Portland, the two men arrived at the door of Zach Silva Cooke. He was an old friend of Glendan who fought by his side during the previous war. He now owned a logging company that grew its business, in part, through close relationships with Glendan and Carenf up in Seattle. If he were to disappear, that would certainly send a message.

The look of shock and terror on Zach’s face when he opened the door was something that Stievo would never forget. Zach’s eyes quickly glazed over as they were lost in the blackened gaze emanating from Geryman. The executioner needn’t say a word. It was as if Geryman had entered the body of his prey and dictated the movements. Zach stepped aside to wordlessly welcome his guests into his home. He then proceeded to walk in a slow and deliberate manner up the large spiral staircase in his home to the second floor where he then leaned over the railing and dropped himself headlong into the marbled floor below, cracking his head and neck. Geryman grinned, satisfied with the growing strength of his telepathic power. Stievo gawked, awed by that very strength.

“Our enemies will hear of this soon.” stated Geryman. It was time for them to prepare. Geryman needed just a few months to reach his full strength. With Stievo by his side, growing as well, who would dare stand in their way?

The study of history is the surest method
To bear with dignity
The vicissitudes of fortune
The rise and fall that comes for us all