Fanshawe's lower lip quivered when he peered down at his sleeping scion.
"The world is full of secrets, son," he uttered, "and for some people, those secrets are power. What you'll learn soon enough is that faith and a willingness to understand is the key to unlocking those secrets."
Overhead the stars seemed to s.h.i.+ft in the skylights. Fanshawe listened with great intent to the silence.
Through his mind, Let.i.tia Rhodes' words seemed to slither: I have a feeling that the Two Secrets have to do with Evanore's witch-water and the Gazing Ball too...
Ms. Rhodes' "feeling" was on the mark.
As Fanshawe gazed in wonderment at his slumbering son, his heart had never felt blacker, nor more splendorous. Wraxall had indeed shared the Two Secrets with him during their unfathomable meeting. "Ye first secret be as thus: if one black of heart shalt gulp blood of his own child, and if he shalt disentomb ye corpse of a witch's babe died untimely, and shouldst he then burn that heart to ash and let those ashes be put in ye Bridle, then, ye necromancer shalt be enabled to project himself into time yet to come, and if he remains sharp in his wits, then riches wilt pour down. Yea, but all is naught unless thee empower ye Second Secret, which I sayeth: thou wilt sire a second babe in the guise of love that be instead truly hatred and l.u.s.t, and thou wilt serveth ye Lord of Deceits with thy whole heart, then I shalt be among thee again, for mine spirit shalt be dressed anew in flesh of thy babe..."
Hence, the payment that Fanshawe owed, which was...
No big deal, he mused.
Of course, Fanshawe had named the child Jacob Wraxall Fanshawe. Abbie had raised quite an objection, but when Fanshawe dropped a sack of c.o.ke in her lap, those objections had ceased without another word.
He smiled at the tiny form swaddled in raven-black linen. It slept in a state of peace that could only be called consummate.
"Goodnight, son," Fanshawe whispered, turned, and left.
AUTHOR BIO: Edward Lee is the author of almost fifty novels and numerous short stories and novellas (or is it novellae? Hmm.) Several of his properties have been optioned for film, while HEADER was released on DVD in 2009; also, he has been published in Germany, England, Romania, Greece, and Austria. Recent releases include Bullet Through Your Face and Brain Cheese Buffet (story collections), Hea
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