Chapter 1:

Since I was 6yrs old I have had the same dream, night after night, always the same. A man dressed in black with glowing red eyes is standing just in front of me, moving in and out of the shadows, mumbling in a language I don’t recognize. Then, just before I wake up he grabs my arm, looks me in the face and says “YOUR POWER WILL BE MINE!” Then I wake up in a puddle of sweat, breathing heavy and looking around the room to see if anyone is there.

After that my routine is the same. Strip the bed of the soaking and sweaty sheets, throw them in the corner until the weekend when I do laundry. Grab some new sheets and make my bed and then head to the gym. I figure I’m already sweaty and breathing heavy, I might as well take advantage of it. In the corner of my living room I have a small home gym set up. It takes advantage of the city skyline. Plus, a benefit of working out at home is you can do it in your underwear.

When I was a baby I was placed in an orphanage. My parents were killed by a man that broke into our home. They told me as I got older that he had broke into several homes that night and didn’t realize that anyone was home, the robbery had gone bad and my parents were killed. I was just a baby and didn’t remember any of what happened. Since my nightmares didn’t start until I was 6, the phycologist at the orphanage said that the man in my dream was nothing more than a way of coping with my parents’ death, a tangible figure that I can blame and fear.

I was adopted at the age of 8 by a business man and his wife, Tom and Barbara Davis. Tom was the owner and President of Davis Enterprises, a conglomerate of Real-estate, Newspaper and Retail Outlets. He was your typical nose to the grindstone business man. He thought that adopting a child would keep his wife, a simple home maker, occupied and out of his hair. It worked until I was about 16; at that point I took an interest in his company. I think he liked the idea of handing the reigns over to a son, even if this son was adopted, so he took me under his wing and started me at the bottom in the mail room and made me work my way up. Over the years I moved up through the company and at the age of 30 made it to the head of his News division. 5 years after that he passed away and I inherited the entire company. He left a very detailed trust that could not be contested, and there were a few on the board that thought they could try.

By 38 I had managed to take the company to a new level of success by expanding the news division to be more up to date with the times, creating online and mobile content that brought more revenue to Davis Enterprises than the original paper ever did. Plus I expanded the Real-estate ventures to incorporate more than just residential building. We now develop commercial and industrial properties as well. Needless to say, I have not given the board any reason to think that Mr. Davis made a bad decision.

However, all of that changed when I turned 40. All I can really say about that day is that something strange happened, something that until recently I could not explain.

It started on the morning of my 40th birthday, I slept in. No nightmare, no waking up in cold sweat. I actually slept two hours past the normal time that I usually wake up. I haven’t had need of an alarm clock for years because I wake up long before I’m ever needed at work and I’m usually in the office hours before any of my employees. My day only got stranger from there.

My apartment is the penthouse of the Davis News building. I occupy the top two floors of the building and have a secure private elevator that takes me to my office. The elevator opens up to a very nice seating room and the door is behind a very large two way mirror. The only way to access the elevator is with a key card and the card reader is hidden in the mirror. So, unless you’re a member of my security team, you have no idea where I live or how to get to me. That’s why I was surprised to see a man standing in my living room looking out the window at the city scape when I got out of the shower that morning.

“It’s beautiful isn’t it, the city from up here”. The man said, still facing the window. “How” he held his hand up and I instantly stopped speaking. It’s not that I didn’t want to; I wanted to give this guy a piece of my mind and figure out how he got into my home, it’s that I physically couldn’t speak.

“All will be answered soon, I promise. I’m sorry for stopping you from speaking but time is limited and I don’t want to waste any of it by listening to you ask a series of meaningless questions that honestly, I just don’t want to answer”, the man said never moving from his position, just looking out the window admiring the view. I was frozen, unable to move, staring at him, thinking to myself “if I could get my hands on him, I would just start choking until he stopped moving”.

“You have a great power within you, a power that I tried to steal from your parents” he said, finally moving from his position and turning towards me. I couldn’t see his face, it was like there was a shadow over it, but there shouldn’t have been, there was sun light coming through the windows and the entire room was bright and open. He still had his hand up and I still couldn’t move or speak. The fact that he knew my parents made me want to ask more questions.

“Your parents were smart to transfer their power to you; it insured that I would be unable to access it for some time. If your parents were alive today, I would kill them again…slower and more painfully” he said taking small graceful steps towards me. I wanted to hurt this man now, rip his eyes out and pull his limbs off, I had always wondered who killed my parents and now there is a man standing just feet away from me that admitted to doing the act that orphaned me. That took my birth parents away from me.

“In a few days, the planets will line up in a way that I will finally be able to gain the full power of the casters and I will be a God!” His last words echoed through the open space. “This guy likes his dramatic effects” I thought to myself.

I suddenly felt my fingers loosen a little, like I was trying to push my way through concrete that was starting to set up. I could feel the force that was holding me starting to give way. I kept telling myself that I could push past this, break free of whatever this was. I looked down at my hands and noticed that I could wiggle three of my fingers now. I could feel a smile forming on my face. When I looked back up the stranger had moved over to the mirror, I was positioned in a way that I could just see him in my field of vision.

“I will see you soon my boy, in the mean time I will leave you with a little gift, a memory to drive you a little” He said. He waived his other hand and I instantly saw the night my mother and father were killed. It was playing in my head like some kind of movie. We were in our home. I could see the shadowy man walking around the house, moving through walls like a ghost. He moved up to my parents bedroom but they weren’t there. I was looking above everything, watching this scene unfold, my heart was starting to race, I could feel my blood start to boil, I wanted to scream out but there was no sound. I saw my mother and my father, standing in front of my crib. They whispered something, I couldn’t make out the words but I could see that their hands had this yellow glow to them, then the glow moved from them to me. My body was consumed in this yellow aura.

The shadowy man was now out side of my room; my parents had turned to face the door, to face the shadowy man. I was screaming, I could feel myself screaming but I still couldn’t make any noise, I was trying to tell them to run. I watched as the shadowy man moved through the door and in a wave of his hand, like he was trying to slice through a thick piece of air, he cut my parents heads off.

I never knew how my parents died. I was just a baby and didn’t remember any of this. The shadowy man moved over to my bed and tried to touch me. He was zapped by some kind of energy that was shielding me; he couldn’t lay a single hand on me. Whatever it was that my parents did, it saved me from the same fate as them.

Then, like he wasn’t even there, the shadowy man just vanished. I could feel myself crying, looking down at the decapitated bodies of my parents. The memory started to fade, and the vision started to vanish and turn back to reality. I realized that I was on my knees in my house, crying like I had never cried before. I hadn’t even cried this much when my adopted parents had passed away. I could feel this well of emotion building inside of me. Like a bubble forming and trying to escape through my chest. I knew that the only way to get rid of it was to just scream it out. So I did. I screamed like I have never screamed before, all of the windows in the apartment shattered, I could feel the ground vibrate, and items around the apartment started to fall off their tables and shelves. When I was done, I could barley breath; I had clenched my hands so hard I could feel blood trickling between my fingers.

I looked over just as the shadowy man stepped through the mirror. I actually couldn’t believe what I had just saw. He stepped thorough the mirror like it was a pool of water. I ran to the mirror and started feeling all over it. To me it was solid, I started to punch it, the first couple of punches just bounced off. The third broke the middle knuckle in my right hand but cracked the mirror. I continued to punch until the mirror shattered and I could see the sitting room on the other side. There was nothing there, it was empty. My right hand was all covered in blood and you could see the lacerations from where the mirror shards sliced through the flesh.

I was in complete disbelief, I could not understand what had just happened to me, how he had that control over me. I picked up the phone and dialed down to Karen, my assistant.

“Karen, I need a cleaning crew and a Doctor brought up to my apartment. They need to sign NDA’s and be discrete; I don’t care what it costs. Also, send Jack and his men up here immediately”, I said into the phone. I didn’t let her respond, I just hung up after that. She was used to it, she was paid enough to be used to it and I knew she would do it correctly. Within minutes Jack, my head of security and six other men from his unit were in my apartment. I explained to him what had happened and watched as he gave me a look of concern and disbelief. “I know how it sounds Jack” I said to him after I registered his facial expression.

“Forgive me sir, I don’t mean any disrespect, we will start a sweep of the premises and the rest of the building right away.” Jack said, making a few hand gestures to get his men started.

For the next 3 hours I was fawned over by a very attractive nurse, repeatedly questioned by my head of security and eyeballed by the cleaning crew. Before the end of the night, I had all of the windows replaced and the new mirror was in place, this time, it was two way ballistics grade glass. I also had Jack install several security cameras in the apartment. It seems he had already planned to bring this up to me as he found that the penthouse was wired for security cameras but never installed.

“Let’s see this son of a bitch get in and out of here now” I said, smacking Jack on his arm. He just gave me a look like “sure”.

Jake Wilson was my most trusted friend. We met by chance one evening as I was walking through town. A guy in a ski mask came out of the ally and hit me over the head. He proceeded to rifle through my pockets and take all of my belongings. It wasn’t until he got to my fathers wedding ring that I wore on my hand that I put up a fight, and not a very good one. Then, like a superhero out of the night, Jack came around the corner and tossed the guy about four feet away. The guy stood up and started to run back to me and realized that this was a fight he was not going to win. Jack stayed until the police came and gave a statement of his accounts. The next day I had him vetted and offered him a job as my personal body guard. I threw him a salary that he couldn’t refuse. Three years later he proposed a new security detail with him as the head of it, to protect not only me, but everyone that worked for me. It was a good proposal and I gave him a substantial raise for it. He’s been my companies protector ever since.

It was late in the evening and I had lost out on so much work, but for once in my life, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was exhausted and I couldn’t get the images of the morning’s events out of my head. I went to the wet bar and poured me a glass of Zacappa Rum, one of my favorites. I sat on the couch and looked at the bandage on my hand. “Maybe I should have asked the nurse to stay and make sure I don’t bleed out or something” I thought to myself. She was an attractive nurse; I think Karen did that on purpose to distract me from everything else that was going on. It wouldn’t surprise me if she called one of the local strip joints and asked for a stripper that was in nursing school to come and patch me up.

I sat on the couch looking out over the city. “Where did you go you bastard” I said under my breath. I sipped my rum and just looked out the window. Within minutes I was asleep.

I dreamt I was standing in the middle of a dark room. I could see people just beyond the light that was surrounding me. No one was talking; they were all just staring at me. I was dressed in a dark robe and was holding some kind of stick in my hand. I looked like a bad Harry Potter Cos-Player. I tried to walk towards the people in the crowd but no matter how or where I moved, I stayed the same distance from them, like me and the light and the crown were all one unit that could not be separated. I decided that since this was a dream, I might as well have fun. I took the stick and moved it in a circular motion. Nothing happened. “Well this dream sucks” I said to myself.

I heard a soft whisper from the crowd, “Ignis” someone said. I looked at the stick again, “Well I guess this is a magic wand” I said pointing it out over the heads of the crowd. “Ignis” I said with a very profound tone. At that moment a large fireball shot out of the end of the wand. It was so cool, like a little kid with a ray gun I kept saying Ignis over and over shooting fireballs out of the wand. Then the soft voice said “Think it”. Interesting, it’s like I’m being taught or something. But hey, it’s a dream so lets roll with it. I adjusted myself an held the wand out. In my mind I thought the word Ignis and like before the fireball shot out of the end of the wand. It was so cool.

For a while the soft voice whispered several other words to me, Glacies, Fulgur, Petram, all Latin words for different elements, each allowing me to do something with those elements. It seemed like I was allowed to play with these powers for a while, practicing different movements that allowed me to do different things with the elements. The soft voice came back “Learn my son”, it said. “Mom!” I replied only to be awaken by a loud ringing sound. It was the entry alarm that Jack had installed in the elevator room. I went to the new display on the wall, it was Karen my admin. I looked at my watch and it said 10:00PM. She must me coming to check on me. I pressed the button on the display to talk to her. “Karen, it’s late and I’m exhausted, what’s up” I sad speaking to the monitor. “I was just checking to see that you were alright. Jake wouldn’t let me up after he got there so I never got the chance to check on you. You are OK…right?” she sounded concerned. “I’m fine Karen, nothing a little rest and Rum cant fix. I’ll be in the office in the morning, thank you for following up.” I said, watching her on the camera. “OK, I’ll see you in the morning” she said. She looked around for a second like she wasn’t sure what to do and then left. I checked the other cameras that Jake gave me access to, one allowed me to watch her walk out of the office, the other allowed me to see in the normal elevators, another allowed me to watch her walk to her car and drive away and another allowed me to see all of the surrounding streets. Jake said there were over 100 cameras in all that were now operational around the building. He gave me access to 8 of them, they would allow me to check all vantage points before leaving the building and I wasn’t to leave the building without an armed guard from now on. I clicked on an icon that looked like a shield. It ran to the security office and the camera popped up. “Is everything ok sir, a young man said into the camera. I think his name was Steven”. “I’m fine, I was just pushing buttons on this new console. I apologize” I said to him. “No problem sir, let me know if you have any issues. Have a good night” he said and hung up. “Now I know what that feels like” I said to myself.

I decided it was time for bed. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to sleep but I figured I would try. Maybe I could force myself to dream about that nice nurse. “I’ll have to thank Karen for that” I thought. I walked to the bedroom and got into my bed. My room was surrounded by windows and I drifted off looking at the city sky line. It was the first time I could remember that I feel asleep right away.