Horvath arrived at the address Candelario had given him. He took the elevator to the penthouse, but was dismayed once he opened the door. The penthouse was lavish, but decorated in an egotistical manor. Huge, tacky, paintings hung of the man he assumed was the Morganian. He could hear a British voice speaking in the other room.
"I'll pull myself out of a hat, only I'll be a woman, and I want a tiger… leaping out of a leopard. BUT, not out of its mouth. I'm sure that's been done before…." The voice went on but Horvath stopped listening. He sneered at a table full of awards that lined the foyer. They all claimed Drake Stone to be magician of the year, for many years running.
"An entertainer?" Horvath said as if the words left a bad taste in his mouth.
Drake Stone sat in the center of his gothic living room. All around him sat his entourage. He was having one woman take notes as he let the ideas of pure genius flow from his mouth. Another woman was carefully giving him a manicure, with jet black polish. He looked down at his nails and stopped her for a moment.
"Careful now. Keep it straight-up sinister," he instructed her with a charming smile. She flushed a bit and returned her attention to his nails, being even more meticulous than she had been before.
"You have got to be kidding me!" a voice sounded from the entry to the living room. It was not a very friendly voice.
"Who are you?" Drake demanded, rising from his chair. The manicurist stopped as soon as he moved, terrified of messing up the manicure.
Horvath fully entered the living room, taking in the appearance of the affronted Drake Stone. The man was rail thin, with hair bleached blond and spiked up. He had a small, dark, soul patch of facial hair. He was wearing a ridiculous black robe with diamonds studded all over it. Horvath shook his head in disappointment.
"So this is what passes for a Morganian these days?" Horvath exclaimed with venom.
Drake's eyes widened in sudden recognition as he took in the cane and hat. "Maxim Horvath!" He exclaimed. This man was a legend, a true Morganian legend!
"I've heard of you! Who hasn't? You were one smoking bad a…" Drake started with an astonished grin on his face. Horvath silenced him with a raised hand and a blast of energy that blew some flyers off the table.
"Will you excuse us?" Horvath turned to the assistants and glowered. They looked duly panicked, but still turned to Drake for permission to leave.
"Yes, please excuse us," Drake waved the entourage off. "Ladies, Bob…" he added as they filed out of the room.
"Bob?" Horvath acknowledged the only man in the group with a raised eyebrow as he filed past. Once Drake and he were alone he turned his glower at the Morganian.
"So, you're an entertainer?" He spoke the last as if it were an appalling word.
Drake mistook the implication behind the question and swelled with pride. "I'm the premiere alt-illusionist in the country," he boasted. "Five sold-out shows at the Garden, plus pay-per-view back end."
Horvath flicked his finger and several of the framed promotional posters on the wall shattered into particles. Then he summoned a wind to carry them out the window. Drake watched this was a mixture of anger, awe and fear on his face.
"Do you think Morgana ever pulled a rabbit out of a hat?" Horvath roared.
"Look, my master disappeared when I was fifteen. Vanished," Drake explained defensively. "Left me with nothing but an Encantus and some prescription-grade abandonment issues. So I improvised." He finished with a wave of his hand.
"Balthazar Blake is back, and he's found the Prime Merlinean," Horvath informed him.
Drake blinked in shock. He turned his full attention to Horvath with a deeply worried expression. He had read enough to be wary of Blake, and most of all the Prime Merlinean. "He wears the ring?"
"She," Horvath corrected him.
"The Prime Merlinean is a girl?" Drake's voice rose with pure surprise. When Horvath nodded he added, "Well, that's a bloody shocker."
"Yes, but it changes nothing. We must get the Grimhold from them, and take out the Prime Merlinean before she can be fully trained," Horvath mused as he walked over to the windows. He gazed out over the city.
After a few moments he turned back to Drake and motioned for him to follow him. "Come, we have work to do."
"Oh?" Drake asked, as he took the robe off and threw a jacket over his stylish black satin shirt. With the fitted pants and boots he was almost ready to go out. He added a scarf last minute, and then he followed Horvath out the door.
"We have to prepare for Morgana's return, and for The Rising," Horvath said as they left the penthouse. He rolled his eyes at Drake's appearance.
Drake perked up. "You have the Grimhold?" He asked hopefully.
"No. Blake has it," Horvath answered with hatred. "But, we shall get it back!"
"How?" Drake asked as they got in the elevator. He was mildly curious where they were heading.
"The girl," was all Horvath said in response. If he knew Blake, which he did, then he knew that Balthazar would do anything to keep her safe. It was his chivalrous nature.
Horvath and Drake wandered the city a bit before Horvath found just the spot they were looking for. His attention was skyward as he looked at the satellite dishes on the tops of the surrounding buildings. He turned to look down at the park in the center of these buildings. It had a large circular fountain in the middle of it.
"Perfect," he muttered as he looked back up at the satellites.
"This is where it will happen. This is where The Rising will take place," he said to Drake with a smirk. "The satellites will work to project the power as needed…" He turned to make sure Stone was listening. He found Drake standing a little ways off with a crowd around him, clamoring for autographs. He glared daggers at the young entertainer.
"My best of DVD comes out next month…" Drake was saying to his fans as he signed autographs and charmed the crowd. He looked up to see Horvath glaring murderously at him. He swallowed hard at that look and carefully worked his way out of the crowd. Once he was away from them and back beside Horvath he gave a weak grin.
"It's just good for them to see a genuine icon like me…" he explained.
"Shut-up! They'll all be dead in a matter of days!" Horvath snapped. "This is where we will release Morgana."
"But we still need to get the Grimhold…" Drake said with a frown.
"We will. First, we go after the girl!" Horvath commanded with an evil grin.
Drake leaned against the giant metal bull sculpture next to them and shrugged. "How do we do that? Surely it's not going to be that bloody easy."
Horvath slapped a hand against the metal sculpture causing Drake to jump. When he removed his hand a magnet was placed there. It read three letters, NYU.
"We wait till she's alone," Horvath informed Drake with a sly grin.