Prologue

Secrets abound

Whispers they reign

Light conquers all

Yet shadows remain

Impossible is real

Learn history's lore

For Heaven and Hell live

Behind still closed doors

-0-

The rhythmic tapping of sharpened claws against the vintage polished rosewood echoed incessantly around the vaulted ceiling of the cavernous, darkened room; it was both a benefit, and a disadvantage, of the place acting like an amphitheater.

T-t-tap, t-t-tap, it repeated monotonously, slowly driving two of the three figures in the space to conniptions. The third was all too aware of the effect he was having on the others, but it wasn't like he cared either; they answered to him after all, and after their last blunder he wasn't feeling particularly merciful to boot. Nothing would come to blows for now however; they were all needed to keep everything smoothly after all, and the loss of one, no matter their slightly lower rank, meant broken alliances between all factions kept neutral by the other two. Plus, they had surprised him before, and he did not intend to be surprised by a foolish act of his own again.

"You are fully aware of the ramifications of having to resort to the fallback, aren't you?" he toned finally, halting the tapping of his claws as he fixed his gaze on the taller of his two companions, the one who had suggested the alternative. "This means ten-fold more of a chance that the public eye may pick up on the goings on, and AOMISDOPS will stretch their reach that much further into our way to try and ensure that we do not succeed in securing our necessary details. Yes, this can still be a victory, but the ball will be far closer to their court. If they contact either a gifted or an influencer"-

"The chances of that occurring are slim to none, so what would be their advantage and our obstacle is almost certain to be in our favor," the shortest of the three interjected, turning the first speaker's attention to him as he waved a nonchalant hoof. "Most of the gifted are gone if not all, courtesy of the last generation's deeds, and most mammals aren't even aware of our existence, or the effects that influencers have." A short huff of impatience escaped his mouth before he continued.

"We have precautions in place as well if the rare chance otherwise occurs, so you can settle your mind on that, and even if we only end up with the lesser ingredient it should be more than enough in quantity; the secondary objective will still work."

The figure at the rosewood desk leaned forward slightly, leveling a grimace that bared dozens of needle-like teeth and revealed the slit-pupiled, almost luminous yellow eyes previously hidden by the deep shadows of the atmosphere. "Your words are disconcertingly confident for the deer under whose watch that snoop of an agent managed to make off with not only our previous catalyst but one of the physical Scripts of the Prophets," he growled disapprovingly. "The essence of an inducer of feralism also only closes the rifts temporarily, and we all know this from experience. Or, do you forget five years ago already? We need the minds of a catalyst pair to shut it permanently and prevent others from opening!"

"I'm not a deer and you know it!" the other snapped back forcefully. "Despite outward appearances! So long as the organization is kept at a loss to further rifts, ruins, or our allies –who might I add use some of those bridges as well- and our allies are kept active in this world, then closing them won't be difficult, and our antagonizers have only scraps to present; no one would listen to them. And you are not one to point fingers; it was your association that let AOMISDOPS locate the first ruins that brought them to awareness of all this!"

Scaled digits gripped the rosewood desk firmly enough to leave divots in the surface as the figure stood up, tail lashing as he moved to round the furniture toward the Moschus who irked him so. "You know there is only so much that can be blown up without hailing a war, you foolish-!"

At the threat of violence the third figure finally moved to intervene between the other two about to come to fists (or hooves, as the case may be). He rose warningly from his own seat to stand with a firm stance between the two and raised both paws to the others, pads facing their way. It was not a peace-making gesture either; neither of the angered two missed the sudden spark that crossed the third's fur, almost like a faint fluorescence upon each strand of hair, and his eyes flashed the same.

"Stand down, both of you," he snapped forcefully. "Leaders of our initiatives perhaps, and you may be head overall of this endeavor Ravelis, but you forget there is a reason we are all three here, and those who come upon power were never restricted to solely among the gifted." His own golden brown eyes narrowed pointedly toward his scaled companion, and Ravelis let out a sigh before stepping back. Satisfied, the other turned to the Moschus.

"Arguing gets us nowhere, especially at so crucial a point," he continued. "The agent made off with what he did and that cannot be changed; the best we can do there is hope that one of our eyes will manage to track the places he may have taken them. The catalyst is no doubt destroyed by now but they would not dare even damage the Scripts. Until then, the fallback is our best aim, and while you two have been fretting over how to correct that mess I may have already found our solution."

"Then by all means, do enlighten us," Ravelis drawled back, returning to his seat before gesturing with open arms. "Do you have a source for the lesser essence in quantity enough for us to work with? Or some other option we are not aware of? Time grows exceedingly short for the prime opportunity as I am sure you are aware."

The third figure chuckled softly, before walking with slow purpose over to a grand map that hung upon one of the curving walls of the room. He flicked a low lamp on, providing just enough light to visibly illuminate the canvas as well as his long, wolf-like muzzle and striped hide, before another smaller flicker of light revealed a reddened pin that Ravelis knew had not been in his grip just a moment before.

"Oh, both actually," he replied. "Should it come to the less desirable out, there is plenty of holicithic extract in stores near this city, but I think the other option is far, far more intriguing; Avery brought to me news of these two only days ago."

In his other hand, a pair of distant photographs appeared, and he stabbed the pin through both of them, sticking the images against the outline of a large city that sat on a peninsula at the mouth of a wide bay. "This is almost certainly a new catalyst pair, in their primes and only just coming into the attention of the public," he explained, waving his paw over the photos. "If we strike now, we can not only close the rifts for decades if not permanently, long enough for AOMISDOPS to lose their leads, but knowledge would never spread of what was uncovered or its significance. And, this pair would fade from memory shortly enough after their abduction that we would draw little attention to ourselves and our allies would have opportunity to gain a foothold again. The proper, original order of this earth could be reestablished within months."

It sounded almost too good to be true, but Ravelis would trust Avery with every bit of information brought to him by her; she had yet to fail in even one of her missions. He eyed the photographs his ally had pinned up; so very the opposite of each other, but if they were close enough, well, it would be better than any catalyst they had ever had record of before.

Soon enough, he nodded. "Then we know our heading," he announced. "Prepare to set up station near Zootopia, and make this capture happen as swiftly and silently as possible. It would be far better on all fronts if we keep ahead of the agents this time, rather than fighting them every step. You each know procedure; let's get to work."


A/N- Hello Zootopia fans! Couple of things here just to give a heads up and know where this stands: first off, this is my first tale for the Zootopia fandom (finally got sucked in this far; took long enough :P ), but far from my first writing attempt, and if you're willing to branch out a bit I strongly encourage checking out my main series, Two Worlds Collide. Also, as it stands this story is going to be a bit different from what I've written before, as it is much more of a work-in-progress than my other stories so it will probably be updated somewhat sporadically as I get time and ideas for writing out each new chapter (which also means I am open to ideas, suggestions, and critiques to work in a lot more in this one). Sporadic it might be, however rest assured: once I start something, it will get finished. In other words, might take a while but we'll have a full tale on this eventually. I hope you'll stick around for the ride.

I like to hear the thoughts, predictions, and suggestions of my readers, so reviews are highly appreciated, and if I have something I feel I can properly address in response I reply to all reviews I can privately. As we stand here, I've got a lot of mysteries already set out in the prologue to chew on so I want to know: who do you think these guys are? Or, what are they? And, unless otherwise noted all poems that I post at the chapter beginnings are my own, written for these stories, so please ask if you would like to use them, or just let me know what you think of them too :)

There will, eventually, be a proper cover art for this (as soon as I manage to get my other scheduled sketches done and out of the way), and other artwork to occasionally go along with that I will give mention of location to when the time comes, but I also truly enjoy the creative things other artists come up with for these fanfics, so if you get inspired and make something, let me know!

Last of all, despite that it should be obvious (wouldn't be doing just fanfiction otherwise), but other than my OC's all characters are owned by that corporate giant known as Disney.

Until next chapter, HawkTooth out!