This story is a continuation of a series of Alternate Universe stories centered on half-daemon Cole Turner and his relationship with Olivia McNeill, his neighbor who is also a witch. The last story, "The Engagement News" ended with Cole announcing his engagement to Olivia. In this new story, the newly engaged Cole and Olivia celebrate their news at a party:
RATING: PG-13 Adult language.
SUMMARY: Mayhem strikes an engagement party held in honor of Cole and Olivia. Set ten days following "The Engagement News". AU Season 6.
FEEDBACK: - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: The Charmed Ones and Cole Turner belong to Constance Burge, Brad Kern and Spelling Productions. The McNeills, Cecile Dubois, and other characters are, thankfully, my creations.
A knock on the library door distracted Artemus from the map laid across his desk. The powerful daemon heaved a frustrated sigh and glanced up. "Yes?" he barked. "Who is it?"
"Prax, sir," a voice from behind the door answered. "Mr. Lloyd is here to see you."
Artemus immediately recognized the name of the Magan Corporation's senior attorney. The daemon hoped that the mortal had some positive news regarding Mark Giovanni's property in Oakville. "Let him in."
Seconds later, Artemus' assistant ushered in a thirty-something human of medium height. His bland, good-looking features contrasted sharply with a pair of intelligent, gray eyes. "Good afternoon, Mr. Winslow," Cedric Lloyd greeted cheerfully. "I have some promising news."
The daemon leaned back against his chair and stared at the attorney. "Promising?"
"About that plan I had for Magan Corporation to . . . acquire Mark Giovanni's Oakville property?" Lloyd sat in one of the chairs on the other side of the desk. "I think I may have found a judge who can help you." The attorney removed a brown, thick folder filled with documents and photographs from his briefcase. He placed it on Artemus' desk. "His name is William Bourgh, and he is a Federal judge for the U.S. District Court, here in California. The . . . uh, information we had found on him is very interesting."
The demonic CEO opened the file. "Oh?" Then he began to read.
According to the material inside the brown folder, William Archer Bourgh had been born in San Francisco, on February 23, 1943. The folder also revealed that the judge had obtained a Master's Degree in Law from Stanford University in the late 1960s, and became employed by the prestigious law firm - Jackman and Carter (later, Jackman, Carter and Kline). Bourgh's involvement in local politics eventually led to an appointment as a Federal prosecutor for the Justice Department in the early 1980s. Ten years later, Bourgh became a Federal judge.
"Sounds like an upstanding citizen," Artemus commented. "Which leads me to wonder why you believe that he would be willing to help a corporation like Magan, with a history of lawsuits?"
Lloyd pointed at the file. "Check out the photographs. And Bourgh's credit report."
Artemus examined the file, once more. An amused smile quirked his lips. Apparently, William Bourgh had sunk into considerable debt, after years of spending his family fortune. And judging by some of the file's photographs, Bourgh had not only been unfaithful to his wife of 28 years, he also possessed an interesting predilection for what humans would consider kinky sex. "Now, this is interesting!" Artemus exclaimed. He glanced up at his attorney. "Have you approached Mr. Bourgh with this information, yet?"
"Not yet. I wanted to show this to you, first," Lloyd replied. "I plan to offer him a way out of his credit debt, when he returns from his trip overseas in January. But if he proves to be difficult . . ."
"I'm sure that these photos will convince him to assist us," Artemus said, his smile still fixed on his face. "Excellent work, Mr. Lloyd."
The attorney preened, much to Artemus' amusement. "Thank you, sir."
Artemus continued, "By the time we're finished with Mr. Bourgh, the Giovanni property should be in my hands. And both Mr. Giovanni and his . . . attorney won't know what hit them."
"Speaking of Cole Turner," Lloyd commented, "I've just heard some interesting news."
His eyes fixed upon a photograph of William Bourgh and a young woman locked in a sexual position straight out of the "KAMA SUTRA". "Oh? What news?" How on earth did Bourgh and his companion managed to assume this posi . . .?
"He's getting married. Cole Turner."
Lloyd's revelation jolted Artemus' attention from the pornographic photograph. The daemon stared at his attorney. "Say that again?"
Obviously taken aback by his employer's intensity, Cedric Lloyd repeated his words. "Cole Turner. He's getting married."
"You don't say."
"Uh . . . yes," Lloyd continued nervously. "To . . . um, an old classmate of mine. Olivia McNeill. We . . . we went to law school, together."
His heart racing with unexpected anxiety, Artemus said, "So, Bel . . . Mr. Turner is getting married. Well, I hope that he has better luck with his second wife than he did with his first." Lloyd continued to stare at him. "Yes, I know all about his marriage to Ms. Halliwell."
The attorney nodded. "Yes sir. Uh, I guess I'll be contacting Mr. Bourgh in the near future. At the moment, he's on vacation in the Fiji Islands. According to his secretary, he should return right after the New Year."
A thin smile stretched Artemus' lips. "I suppose I can wait another month for you to put your plans into action." He returned the file to the attorney. "Please make a copy of this file for my assistant. And unless there is something else, you can go."
"Yes sir." Lloyd stuffed the file into his briefcase. Then he stood up. "Good afternoon, sir." He then turned on his heels and left the library.
Once the attorney had shut the library door behind, Artemus allowed his anxiety to overwhelm him. Belthazor to marry the Aingeal Staff Bearer? In Cabariel's name! Tiresias had been right, after all!
During his twenty-year incarceration in the Stygian Abyss, Artemus had come across a fellow prisoner, who turned out to be a legend in the magical world. The legend in question happened to be the famous blind seer, Tiresias, who had angered the Greek goddess Hera with his claim that women enjoyed sex nine times more than men. Apparently offended by the Tiresias' comment, Hera blinded him. Legend continued that Zeus had tempered his wife's angry act by bestowing the gift of prophecy.
Somehow, Tiresias had ended up in the Stygian Abyss, where he occupied a cell next to Artemus'. One night, the daemon overheard the seer babble in his sleep about how a Power of Three would destroy the old leader of the daemons, leaving the supernatural world in a state of unbalance. Tiresias also prophesized a union between a powerful human/daemon hybrid and a fire priestess - one that would save the angels' realm, help coronate a new demonic leader and restore the balance between good and evil.
When Artemus had first overheard Tiresias' prophecies, he immediately dismissed them as ravings of a delusional old man. Seven years after the seer's disappearance, a powerful warlock incarcerated in the Abyss, had told the daemon of a prophecy that foretold the death of the old Source at the hands of three witches - the Power of Three. At that moment, Artemus realized that Tiresias had been right and made the decision to escape from the trans-dimensional prison. With the help of a Stygian guard, the daemon discovered a portal to freedom. Once freed, he contacted his former assistant, Prax, and set about re-establishing his power within the weakened Khorne Order.
During the five-and-a-half years following his escape, Artemus had quietly regained control of the Khorne Order and created the Magan Corporation for the order's business dealings. He also hired a sorceress and antiquity dealer named Lin Bryant to find the legendary Erebor medallions. Then news came of the old Source's death at the hands of the Charmed Ones. Before he could make a claim to the Source's throne, he had learned about Belthazor's acension to the Source's throne. Soon, more news followed. Three months later, the Charmed Ones had killed Belthazor, the old Seer and Belthazor's unborn child. Even worse, the Halliwells' whitelighter had ditched the Grimoire into a volcano. Without the book, no one could be crowned as the Source.
After he had learned the news about the Grimoire, Artemus was just about to give up hope on ever becoming the Realm's new leader. Then an old wizard told him of an object located somewhere north of San Francisco. The exact area turned out to be on Mark Giovanni's Oakville vineyard in Santa Rosa County. From that moment on, Artemus dedicated his time toward two objectives - consolidating support and power to become the new Source and getting his hands on the Giovanni property. Although he seemed to be slowly reaching his first objective, the second has proven to be more elusive. Hopefully Mr. Lloyd's plan will finally enable him to get his hands on the vineyard - and the object in question.
One major problem stood in Artemus' way - namely the powerful Belthazor. Even before the half-daemon's return from the Wasteland, he had become a barrier to the older daemon's plans. At first, Artemus had feared that Belthazor would resume control of the Source's Realm with his new powers. When that scenario failed to materialize, Aretemus continued his own plans to become the new Source. Especially since the half-daemon seemed more preoccupied with one of the Charmed Ones. But when Belthazor became involved with both Olivia McNeill and Mark Giovanni, Aretemus' anxiety returned.
Thanks to Cedric Lloyd, he had finally stumbled across a solution to the Giovanni problem. But this latest development between Belthazor and his new witch made Artemus realize that Tiresias' prophecy about a human/daemon hybrid and a fire priestess might come true. Sooner or later, he would have to do something about the couple. And as his old mentor, Krug once told him - there was no time like the present.
Artemus reached for the cordless telephone and dialed a number. His assistant answered. "Prax," the demon barked into the phone. "I need to see you, at once. I need you to find someone." Then he disconnected the telephone and leaned back into his chair, as he waited for his assistant's arrival.
END OF PROLOGUE