Note from the fan: A short prologue to begin a story. I certainly hope you like it, but whether you like or hate me please do so in a polite manner...

A boy quickly ascended the 894 steps of the Torre de Asanolli, a pile of manuscripts in his arms. He panted heavily as he painstakingly climbed the flight of stairs. He tripped as his destination came into view; the scrolls fall and unfurl across the floor. A lady in formal robes at the top scrambled around, doing a poor job of hiding the telescope behind her.

"Who is it?" yelped the woman, clearly nervous out of her wits. "Oh. It's you." She quickly regained her composure. "Did you retrieve the correct documents?" she asked, double-checking the scrolls. She moved them across the floor, kneeling down, holding her candle closer for inspection. Everything seemed to be in order. She rolled them back and stacked them next the telescope, looking into it once more.

It was strange. It was very strange. The planets were in total chaos. They we're moving in ways never recorded before. It was as if the world was about to end. Hermes was moving in the wrong direction. This wasn't too unusual, since the messenger god was know to retrace his steps in order to find the truth. Business would be bad though.

Ares was nowhere in sight. This was disturbing. The charts the boy had brought up showed that Ares was supposed to be there. The last time Ares disappeared the Reamorian emperor had murdered the legislative assembly in an attempt to seize absolute power. The empire fell that day, and chaos ruled for over one hundred years, Talia was thrown into disarray. Hopefully something that horrible would not happen this time.

Poseidon was still here. He had appeared quite some time ago, and had stayed in the same spot ever since. How strange that it had no where else to go; Poseidon distracts easily and never pays attention to one area for too long. The ruler of the sea would only complicate things for everyone. His mist of illusion would be a dangerous hazard in the times ahead. Like a ship at sea, a lighthouse would be needed to guide Talia through towards safety.

The woman consulted the charts again and frowned. Never have the planets aligned like this. Even Cronus, the planet of fear and contraction, stood alongside Uranus, the planet of freedom. The strangest thing was Hades. The planet of extremes, of death, of retribution. Always the lonely one, it only appears once every few hundred years. Things we're not good in the least.

All except for Aphrodite. It was a good thing she had recommended to the former Regent Rodolfo to have the wedding under the presence of the goddess of love. The Duchessa must be truly happy, for the goddess had decided to stick around a bit longer. She would most likely be gone by tomorrow though. At least they had a descent wedding ceremony, she thought to herself, remembering the Di Medici weddings a few months earlier. Of course the Duke of Giglia, head of a rival state,tried to interfere, but foiling him wasn't as hard as they thought. There were no deaths this time, and the new Duke seemed to have tired of trying.

The woman sighed, and continued looking at the stars. There was nothing left to see so she took out a mirror from inside her robes, laying it on her lap. She closed her eyes and took a collective breath. At first glance, one would think that she was just a weary mother, resting her eyes from a long day. No one would've ever suspected her of high treason, partially due to the fact of her gender. It was for the best, she hoped, but deep in her heart was a longing to be recognized as more than a female. She opened her eyes and looked back into the mirror.

"Senator Rodolfo," she called, as the mirror swirled to reveal a man in his late forties. He appeared to have been sleeping. "So sorry to interrupt you in your sleep Senator, but something is afoot. The stars are aligned for something terrible to happen, and I'm afraid that our brotherhood might be in trouble." The woman was uneasy.

The boy who had only gone out of sight was intently listening in to their conversation.

"Yes Madolina, I too have seen a threat coming, but there is nothing we can do until we are sure of what it is. All we can do is wait patiently until the threat reveals itself."

"Yes Senator, but I think it would be wise to warn the rest of the stravagante, as we might need our collective efforts soon in the future." Madolina sighed, gathering her thoughts. "This may be the biggest challenge we may ever face."

I don't own the Stravaganza series. Do I look like Marry Hoffman to you?