Okay... where to start? Right, I still don't own anything or anybody.

This is the beginning of a new story, well, more like a teaser. I am deliberately being vague here, everything will be explained later in the story, though, therefore do not worry if you do not quite understand what is going on in this short prologue.

We are in late December 1871, and the fire took place in February (since the Masquerade marks the new year and they decided only days later to perform "Don Juan" - with a few weeks for rehearsals, set construction etc. that puts the opening night of "Don Juan" at some point in February 1871, I think).

Of course this story will be E&C again, mostly movie-based, but again with Nadir.

And I still love reviews,... (hint, hint)

Prologue

It was one of those winter days between Christmas and New Year, when the sky is gray and full of clouds, thick snowflakes are twirling in the wind and one has to keep a light on in the room all day. An elderly man with olive skin sat at his desk and stared at a note he had received from one of his contacts. He had read it a few times already, but he seemed to believe that the content of the message might change if only he kept looking at it long enough.

He shook his head in puzzlement. This was not at all what he had expected. What was he to do now? Could he pass on this bit of information as he had originally planned, as he had even promised to do? If he did, how would these news affect his friend? Would this latest blow kill him? But if he withheld the truth – what could he say? That he had not been able to get the information yet? Or should he lie and invent something?

He cursed inwardly. "That's what you get for putting your nose into other people's affairs," he thought to himself. "Now you have those bad news – news about how this person's life is pretty much in shambles, you feel sorry but are unable to do anything about the situation, and then you have another person to consider, who may not be strong enough to deal with that kind of news." He was not sure who he should feel more sorry for, the person about whom he had received the disconcerting news, or the one, who was eagerly waiting for even the tiniest bit of information on that particular person. How different things could have been, for both these people, if only… He sighed. Ten months ago, decisions had been made that now had the potential of destroying two lives.

Suddenly he sat up straight. Maybe some good would come of the dreadful situation after all. It was a risky gamble, but if he played his cards right, if he presented those news in a certain way, he might be able to help them both. Hopefully he could save one life – and in doing so help put another life back on track. Yes, he thought contently, maybe these news were not so bad after all…