RATING: R - Violence, adult language and sexual situations.
SUMMARY: An old enemy with designs for the Staff of Aingeal returns to make trouble for Cole and Olivia. AU Season Six. Set after "Weekend in Carmel".
FEEDBACK: - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: Cole Turner, The Charmed Ones, Chris Halliwell, and Darryl Morris belong to Constance Burge, Brad Kern and Spelling Productions. Olivia McNeill Turner, the McNeills, Artemus, Prax and Cirhan are thankfully, my creations.
NOTE: This story is a follow-up to "Staff of Fire". Spoilers also include from the story, "Torn Duty" and the Season 6 episode, "I Dream of Phoebe".
San Francisco, California
The pale blond-haired man came to a stop next to the water cooler inside one of the seventeenth floor offices of the Magan Corporation. Just as he leaned forward to fill a small paper cup with water, he spied two men emerging from an elevator.
The neat suits that the two visitors wore allowed the blond man to immediately surmise that they were not attorneys or businessmen. Quite frankly, the pair's clothing looked as if it had been purchased off the rack, instead of personally tailored. This told the blond man that the visitors were not typical kind that usually appeared in this office.
At last, the blond man thought. Something worthwhile to investigate. During his past three weeks of employment with the Magan Corporation, Byran Deighton aka Cirhan thought he would never stumble across anything of interest to investigate. He had spotted a member of the Khorne Order every now and then. Fortunately, none of them had recognized him. Yet. Cirhan had even seen Prax, a daemon who had once been assistant to the Khorne Order's former leader, Artemus, until the latter ended up banished to the Stygian Abyss by the old Source. But these sightings had not been worth reporting to the Gimle Order.
Cirhan's mentor from the Gimle Order, Marbus, had given him the task of spying on the Magan Corporation. Ever since the older daemon's nephew, the half-mortal Belthazor, had discovered a connection between the Magan Corporation and the Khorne Order, Cirhan's superiors have been interested in the evil order's activities. In reality, that interest first began with the Khorne Order's attempt to manipulate the Charmed Ones into killing Marbus, who also happened to be a member of the Gimle Order's Council. Then other events followed. The Khorne Order tried to destroy the Whitelighters Realm. Just over two months ago, the evil order nearly got its hands on the Sword of Halane, a magical object that belonged to another Gimle Order council member. Following the last incident, Marbus ordered Cirhan to seek employment with the Magan Corporation and learn its secrets.
Cirhan swallowed the water in one long gulp. Being inconspicuous as he possibly could, the daemon returned to his desk and opened one drawer. Inside laid an object shaped like a small black tube. It happened to be a small, Chinese miniature camera that had been given to him by Marbus. Cirhan dismissed the use of a camera as nonsense from a spy movie for mortals, until Marbus insisted that he use it.
To ensure that he would not attract unwanted attention, Cirhan quietly aimed the camera's lens at the two visitors and snapped an image. Several minutes passed before a third person emerged from another elevator. Cirhan recognized the figure as a mortal named Cedric Lloyd, one of the corporation's top attorneys. Once more, the daemon aimed his small camera. He snapped a photograph of Lloyd greeting the not-so well-dressed visitors. Then he quickly shoved the camera back inside his desk and tried to look as serene as possible.
Manhattan, New York; Alternate Dimension
The door to the three-bedroom condominium slammed shut, causing Olivia McNeill to glance up. She set aside the bottle of Dragon's Blood, wiped her hands and left the kitchen. "What the hell?" she demanded. The redhead saw her live-in lover march toward the liquor cabinet. She frowned. "Cole?"
The dark-haired half-daemon shot her a grim smile. "Olivia. You want a drink? I was about to prepare one for myself."
"No thanks." Noting the grim expression on Cole's face, she sighed. "Okay lover, what is the problem now?"
Holding a glass of bourbon, Cole replied caustically, "What do you think . . . is the problem? Her. I was forced to spend the afternoon with that damn bitch, again. For the first time in over two months, I ran out of excuses to avoid fucking her." He sighed, before taking another swig of bourbon. "If only you had your hands on that staff," Cole added, "we wouldn't be in this mess. Hell, the entire Source's Realm wouldn't be."
Olivia could do nothing but grimace at the memory of her failure to acquire the Aingeal Staff, last summer. About a week after her distant cousin, Keith McNeill had passed away, her second psi ability had manifested - pyrokinesis. It was Cole who informed her about the legend behind the Aingeal Staff and how only McNeill pyrokinetics were the only ones qualified to wield its power. Aside from herself, only two other McNeills had recently manifested a fire ability - Dennis McNeill and Fiona McNeill Craig. According to a warlock, both had failed to win possession of the staff. Which led Olivia to conclude that she had been destined to become the staff's new bearer. Only her self-righteous family had ensured that she would never possess it.
A month following her discovery of Cousins Fiona and Dennis' failures to possess the staff, Olivia came up with the idea to steal it from an alternate dimension. Using an amulet she had acquired from the Anduin Marketplace, Olivia planned to travel to an alternate dimension and replace her double before the Aingeal Staff ceremony. The scheme almost worked. But it ended in failure due to a group of fellow warlocks she had hired to kidnap the other Olivia McNeill . . . and the intervention of her mother, Cecile Dubois, Cousin Jamie McNeill and one of the Charmed Ones.
"I don't suppose you could make another attempt to steal the staff from an alternate dimension, could you?" Cole pleaded.
Olivia sighed. Cole must be truly desperate to make such a demand. And to be honest, she felt an inclination for another attempt to acquire the staff. If only she knew of the staff's whereabouts in this dimension. Olivia glanced at the kitchen. She had been in the midst of preparing a vanquishing potion . . . for Cole's next meeting with the Source. Only she had little assurance of its success than she did of making another attempt to get the Aingeal Staff. "All right," she said. "I'll do it."
Relief gleamed from Cole's blue eyes. "If you need any help, I'll be more than happy to accompany you," he added.
"No," Olivia replied with a shake of her head. "It's not necessary. In fact, I don't think it's a good idea. Especially with the . . . 'Source' maintaining a close eye on you." She reached out and unfastened one of the buttons to Cole's brandy-colored shirt and planted a light kiss on the exposed patch of skin. "We don't want them aware of what we're up to, do we?" She kissed his chest, again.
Cole inhaled sharply. "No, we don't." He paused, while Olivia unfastened the remaining buttons on his shirt. "Do you have any idea which dimension you plan to visit?"
Olivia raised her lips from Cole's chest. She recalled her trip to Scotland, last June. "Yeah, I have a pretty good idea. Only this time, I'll be making a visit to San Francisco."
End of Prologue