In burgeoning Regency Hills in Aranell, a white van pulled up outside of the house Roland Smith was
nearly shot at.
A man left the house with a grey hooded sweatshirt on, and walked quietly to the back of the van.
Before the man could get to the back door of the van, a voice called from the house.
"Make sure you take care of everything COMPLETELY before you come back here. That scum
has probably told everyone about it by now, so I don't want any more news getting out about it."
It was the man who threatened Roland.
"Alright Mathias," said the man getting into the van. "I'll make sure no one knows a thing."
The van pulled off down the road and Mathias went back inside the modest house on the end of
As the man who was in the back of the van and the driver exited Interstate 23, the man in the back
noticed copious amounts of smoke pouring from the tailpipe. He knocked on the divider...
"Hey Mik, I think we should stop and check this out, man. It's really smoking back here..."
"We had specific orders not to stop, so we keep going," the driver said.
Mik, the driver, skidded onto Beckrich Drive, which ran straight through downtown Aranell. Hoss,
the passenger in the back of the van, noticed the smoke seeping in through the holes in the floor
of the dilapidated van, but before he could yell out to Mik, the noxious fumes had knocked him out.
Mik kept driving, making it clear through downtown and halfway to the Colonial Center when...
Police and fire crews arrived five minutes later, to find the charred remains of Hoss and Mik,
along with a scrap of paper:
COLONIAL BUILDING: 2159 COLONIAL BLVD.
The police also found a diffused bomb, which had evidently blown up too early...
Roland Smith sat, worried, at his desk in Pascarelli as news rolled in about a white van that had
probably been headed to the Colonial Building, the home of the state senate seat for Mariah,
exploded. His eyes darted from the phone to the flat panel television on the wall, waiting for a call
from the police, because he was sure the man had told about him...
When the phone did ring, Roland nearly fell out of his seat before he could answer it.
"Roll...Roll Lately Limousines this is Roland how may I help you?"
"Yes I was wondering if you would mind carrying an elderly man out to South Bend from Aranell?"
Roland didn't know South Bend very well... It was the end of the line for the Five Star Memorial
Highway that ran through Annaheim, and he knew of nothing past that.
"We sure can sir, would you mind telling me where in Aranell you are?"
Roland knew he was in Regency Hills before the man said anything. He left to pick him up, along
with Mark, who was picking another client up near the same address. Roland had not told Mark
anything, but he suspected he knew by Roland's mood that this was his least favorite part of
Roland picked up the frail old man at the address he had been provided, and Mark drove off to
pick up his client also.
"If you could just carry me to this address in South Bend, I would be more than happy to give you
double fare, young man."
Roland sped off.
The spring had caught up with the trees, Roland noticed. They had sprung blossoms and
looked more alive now, a few weeks after his drive through Pascarelli with Mathias...
The man in the car noticed the purple blossoms too, as Roland sped along the Barelli Bypass
Highway towards Pascarelli, Annaheim, Marshall and South Bend. It was a long trip, and the
man had not yet said anything.
"Anything I can get for you sir?" Roland asked.
The man appeared not to hear and kept glancing out the window at the trees he had just
They left Aranell and entered Pascarelli when the man said something:
"Roland... my name is Marius Sullera. I know the man who threatened you last week..."
"Don't ask questions, just go the address and I'll explain everything there. Don't worry about me,
I'm not like him. There are things about that man that I will never personally understand."
He was near the road to Annaheim before he dared say anything. The man told him that the man
who had threatened him was a modern revolutionary, who was planning to blow up the Colonial
Building, and the same man had failed earlier today, but he was still at large, only without two of
his finest henchmen.
The man didn't say anything about who HE was though, and Roland was still very confused
about a lot of things, but he kept driving.
In Annaheim, while he was passing by the Annaheim Metropolitan Airport, Roland noticed that his
rear left tire had lost a significant amount of air, but Marius, in the back, didn't seem to have
noticed, so Roland chose to continue, afraid of stopping, especially in that part of town.
Before passing through the newly renovated East Jackson Housing Authority headquarters,
Roland realized he had no choice but to stop and repair the tire.
"I'm sorry, sir but I'm going to have to stop and fix the..."
"It's ok Roland, you may fix the tire and I'll sit and wait. You wouldn't mind if I made a few phone
calls though, would you?"
Roland of course didn't mind, told him so, and proceeded to fix the tire.
He glanced nervously over his shoulder often, and a few times saw Marius looking at him while
talking on his cell phone. Nervously, in ten minutes, they were back on the road.
Passing by the Arthur Fieldman Wind Farm, on the Five Star Highway through Annaheim, Marius
knocked on the divider, and Roland rolled it down to speak.
"I can tell you're nervous Roland... There's no need to be. I'm not going to hurt you, and I'm not
going to tell anyone else to."
"I know sir, I just don't understand who you are exactly and how you..."
"Ah, yes. That'll be answered shortly Roland, just get us to South Bend."
In Marshall, a small provincial outskirt town to the east of Annaheim, Roland noticed three
White Castle restaurants in quick succession, and wondered how they expected to survive in
this vicious economy (many businesses were closing up shop in Aranell, and one skyscraper in
Barelli was demolished after the corporation went bankrupt). Roland guessed this would,
unfortunately, be the most advantageous time to enact a coup, when the government was its
As soon as he entered East Marshall, the landscape changed dramatically. (Included is the
road map of East Marshall to show how desolate it is. The lines are all streets.)
Five minutes later, the Five Star Highway ended and State Road 20 began, carving a straight
path through South Bend, the least populous area in Mariah.
"We're nearly there, sir." Roland said on the intercom.
"Good, good. And for heaven's sake stop calling me sir, Roland, it's insulting to you to have to
call another grown man sir. You can call me Marius."
Roland prefered not to call him anything...
Roland saw a few stores approaching, and Marius asked if they could stop so he could go in
and grab a drink. Roland stopped, and told Marius that no, he didn't prefer anything to drink.
As they left, Roland wondered when the small gas station would be exploding...
Roland swung the limo onto a bumpy dirt road and drove for five miles to the end of the road to a
gleaming mansion, a welcomed distraction from the farmland.
"Okay sir... er... Marius. That'll be $596.57, please..."
"Yes of course."
Marius handed over the money, with a slip of paper with an address on it, and Roland wondered
why these men liked playing with address slips so much.
"Any questions you have about me or about why I know who I do will be answered in that building,
in downtown Barelli. Go there after 8 pm and tell the security guard that I sent you there. He will
send you to my office, Room 3218. There, in the desk drawer, you will find the file of one Mathias
Rosenbaum. He is the man who tried to scare you, and I believe he needs you for more than you
know, and more than you would like to know. I trust you will not betray me, Roland?"
"Of... of COURSE not Marius, but what am I supposed to do after I have that information?"
"Just come and see me when you see fit, Roland, and I'll tell you anything else you need
to know" Marius said. "Goodbye."
Roland sped down the Highway, and decided to go to the address to at least see what building
it was. Forty five minutes later...
Roland could see the title plaque on the huge red skyscraper from the corner of the road. The building
he needed to get into was the Plaza Arellus, and the oldest weapons manufacturer in the state was
headquartered there. Marius Arellus, grandson of legendary Marcus Arellus, had just handed him the
keys to defend the city and the state from Mathias Rosenbaum.
The problem with all of this is that Mathias Rosenbaum had a grandfather, also.
His grandfathers name was Marcus Arellus.
Roland's stomach turned and his heart began to beat in his throat. He didn't want any of THIS... He just
wanted to roll with the rich and famous.
Instead, he was now doomed to die with the poor and the infamous.
Stay tuned next time for...
Chapter 1, Part Three- A Prophecy Paved in Blood