Timeline: April 13, 2005

Ramiel and Lyla moved on as they always did. Their search seemed a rambling wander up the Appalachian Trail, pausing here and there for side trips to towns not far from the wooded path. In fact, they were searching for someone. Or, something.

Lyla had said that the Trail was like spine or perhaps an axis around which the events of their lives would revolve. It was true in a way. Every clue about the Dark Man they’d found was in a place not far from the old Trail. It seemed to meander by every point of interest, or at least reasonably near many of the major cities of the east coast.

Ramiel and Lyla had left the Trail a few kilometers back. They’d crossed into Connecticut from New York last week and now were on their way to a town called Cornwall Bridge to seek some supplies, wash some clothes, and look for clues as to the whereabouts of the Dark Man.

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The Mansion

Timeline: September 20, 2000

Lyla watched Ramiel disappear through the woods back toward the village they’d left behind earlier in the day. She did love surprises. It excited her, actually, to the point that she was fidgeting. As she watched the last bit of Ramiel’s deep green cloak disappear into the night she glanced about their small camp site.

They each had one, very small tent which were pitched side by side and faced a small fire. The flickering firelight illuminated her smooth, pale face and glittered against her black hair. Her brown-black eyes seemed to swallow the small amount of light as she tried to think of what to do while she waited.

In the other direction rose a tall, three-story mansion complete with barn, pasture, stables, and servants quarters. There was some activity as a black-suited driver brought a limousine around. Within less than an hour by Lyla’s reckoning, the sun had set and electric lamps had to be used to provide enough light on this moonless, cloudy night.

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