13: Potato

Alone in the luxurious penthouse apartment he'd long ago managed to obtain and hold for himself, Horvath irritably speared a chunk of potato with his fork.

Defeated. Forced to retreat with his tail between his legs, routed by the great Balthazar Blake and some... some boy. And not just defeated. He'd lost the goal he'd been striving for for over twelve hundred years. Morgana was dead, and with the Prime Merlinean now prowling around with his full powers there was little chance at being able to exact a proper revenge.

The force with which Horvath stabbed his fork into the piece of potato split the starchy vegetable in half, resulting in neither piece actually reaching his mouth. The sorcerer muttered a curse in medieval French and shoved his plate away.

This was ridiculous. He was Maxim Horvath, the leader of the Morganians for centuries. He'd built his reputation on fox-like craftiness backed by an immense power few could match. There had to be a way he could salvage something out of this. He just had to focus.

Closing his eyes, he tried to calm himself so he could think, letting his mind and senses wander where they would. He caught the murmur of conversation from the floor below and, sharpening his hearing, was just able to make out a recorded male voice with a slight British accent saying calmly, "These are not the droids you are looking for."

Horvath's eyes snapped open. Not the droids you are looking for. He'd heard that recently, and there was something important attached to it, something just outside his reach...

The young Indian man behind the desk smiled at him indulgently. "First I'll need to see your faculty identification card."

"You don't need to see my faculty identification card," Horvath said softly, raising his cane so that the secretary could see the hypnotic blue glow of the gem set into its handle. The man's eyes went out of focus for a moment.

"I don't need to see your faculty identification card."

Beside him, Drake Stone grinned and waved his hand in a pseudo-mystical manner. "These are not the droids you are looking for."

Horvath gritted his teeth and looked upwards. Stone and his games. Couldn't the idiot boy see how ridiculous he was being? "I'm looking for Stutler," he told the secretary.

The man tapped a few keys and looked up, still with that slightly unfocused expression. "Which one?" he asked. "I have an Anna Stutler and a David Stutler."

The sorcerer grimaced. More wastes of his time. "David Stutler," he snapped, putting a little more force into his compulsion spell. "I need his file. Now."

Anna Stutler.

Stutler.

Horvath's eyes widened. Another Stutler. What were the odds of a second Stutler showing up at the same school? Admittedly New York University was a large school, but for the name to be brought up while he was hunting for Dave, it seemed an awfully large coincidence.

In magic there were no coincidences.

Anna Stutler.

Perhaps a relative of the Prime Merlinean?

In any case, it was a direction, a place to start.

Horvath smiled wolfishly.