"The Catalyst, Part Seven: Devil's Bargain": At his small home in Akasa, the seat of House Turquoise, the young thief named Preet has been practicing his shape-changing abilities using the power of the turquoises he has stolen. Unfortunately, the gems are consumed by the
Appearing in "The Catalyst, Part Seven: Devil's Bargain"
- Princess Ingvie of House Citrine
- Lady Graciel of House Amethyst
- Lord Preet of House Turquoise
- John Constantine
- Lady Senshe of House Citrine (Dies)
- Fuzzybutt the Cat
- Vyrian of House Turquoise (As a spirit)
- Portal Crystal
- Spy Mirror
- Black Diamond
Synopsis for "The Catalyst, Part Seven: Devil's Bargain"
At his small home in Akasa, the seat of House Turquoise, the young thief named Preet has been practicing his shape-changing abilities using the power of the turquoises he has stolen. Unfortunately, the gems are consumed by the use of this power, so he resolves to seek out and steal the best quality turquoise he can find - and lots of it. The surest bet for that is at the palace of House Turquoise.
Meanwhile, within the palace, Lady Graciel attempts to teach the princess Amaya how to use her blood power as a catalyst, filtering it through an amethyst to rearrange the lattice structure of a piece of blue topaz and cause it to emit light. This is one of House Amethyst's powers; to enhance the properties of the other houses' crystals, to receive their powers. The most difficult - and crucial - of their catalyst power is the creation of portal crystals. Before they can continue the lesson, Elzere appears and carries Lady Graciel away, warning that she has not fully recovered from her wounds, and putting her to bed. He instructs Amaya to return the amethyst back to the treasury, and Ingvie agrees to show her the way.
Ingvie explains that one of the dormant powers of House Citrine, of which she is a princess, is the ability to remember things forever after hearing it just once. Using that knowledge, Amaya asks whether Ingvie knows anything about the protocols of House Onyx. After the assassins of House Onyx were killed, their Lady Akikra appeared and promised that the protocols would not be breached again. Ingvie explains that after the War of the Eclipse, the protocols were put in place. First, House Onyx is forbidden to marry anyone with blood-power. Then, Nobody in House Onyx is allowed to assassinate someone of high blood in the five cardinal houses. In exchange, the other houses provide Onyx with a regular tribute. The power of Onyx can neutralize other blood-powers, and as such, if they hadn't agreed to the protocols, the other houses would have destroyed their bloodline.
Meanwhile, on Earth, John Constantine ponders the use of the magical spy mirror that he stole during Amaya's encounters with an insane corporate witch. He asks it to show him the threat du jour, and in response, it shows him Eclipso, who is annoyed to have been called by him. In order to entice Eclipso, John offers the opportunity to get into Nilaa. Interested, Eclipso demands a meeting place be set.
In the treasury of House Turquoise, Amaya replaces the amethyst, but a man waiting inside begins to complement her in such a way that it shifts quickly from charming to creepy. When he takes her hand though, he magically transforms back into his true self: Preet. Ingvie realizes quickly that he is a shapechanger and the wild seed of House Turquoise. When Lord Firojha died, the power of House Turquoise was activated in Preet, and now this young thief is essentially Lord of House Turquoise - and the gems he had been stealing already belonged to him. Preet tries to make an escape, but Amaya manages to convince him to at least hear her out.
Back on Earth, Eclipso and Constantine meet in Death Valley - a move intended to prevent Eclipso from taking over any other creature's body to attack him. John already knows that the source of Eclipso's power has its origin in Nilaa, and that surely Eclipso wants to return to the people who cast him out of his home for revenge. After Eclipso is through the portal, he intends to destroy it, knowing that once he dumps the villain on Nilaa, he won't have to worry about Eclipso coming back to wreak havoc on Earth.
Amaya and Graciel are certain that there is a reason the power of Turquoise chose Preet, despite the fact that he is a thief, and that the effort required to convince the Turquoise Council to accept him as their lord is necessary. However, their attempts to convince him as much are interrupted by the opening of a portal behind them. Amaya assumes it must be John and agrees to return in just five minutes.
On Earth, Amaya is annoyed to see Constantine, demanding the favor he asked of her in exchange for buying her Chicago-style pizza. This favor, he says, is to introduce Alex Montez to her mother, as the first official ambassador from Earth to Nilaa. With some hesitation, Amaya agrees to shepherd the man through the portal. As soon as they are through it, John destroys the portal crystal. Unexpectedly, the destruction of the crystal frees the spirit of Vyrian, Amaya's father, and John watches the ghost follow Amaya back to Nilaa.
Not long after stepping through the portal, Montez transforms back into Eclipso. Ingvie recognizes that his tattoos place him as a member of House Onyx. Sensing the strengthening of his power by being back in Nilaa, Eclipso emits a blast that renders the assembled unconscious.
A short time later, Eclipso arrives at House Citrine to find Lady Senshe working in the archives. Grabbing her by the neck, he demands to know when the next eclipse takes place. Wincing, she responds that it will not be for another five months. Annoyed, he realizes that he will have to strike quickly because it will be too long a wait for the eclipse. He introduces himself as Lord Kalaa, Lord of the Black Diamond. He tries to filter his blood power through the black diamond in an attempt to control Senshe's mind, but he discovers that he cannot enslave those who also have blood-power. Annoyed, he snaps her neck.
Soon, Amaya and the others wake, and the princess realizes that Constantine must have tricked her. As Graciel realizes that their attacker had the power of House Onyx, she is startled when Ingvie begins screaming in pain. They realize that the princess is receiving the power of House Citrine - which means that her mother Senshe is dead.
Appearing in "Cornered"
- Clarissa Rowe
Synopsis for "Cornered"
After unwittingly chasing down his own descendant, Clarissa Rowe, for the devil in exchange for his soul, Stalker has now realized their relation and the fact that she has only just given birth to a son. Now, the devil demands to be given that newborn, and Stalker refuses.
In order to fight more ably, Stalker gives the child to Clarissa's arms and throws all the magic he can at Lucifer. Unfortunately, they are still cornered, and he urges the girl to make a run for it. Further to his misfortune, Clarissa has died in the interim. Spotting a gun near her hand, Stalker feigns defeat and promises to give up the child as he bends down to pick up the weapon instead. Grabbing it and the baby up, Stalker rains a hail of bullets on Lucifer and his demons, making a run for it.
Using up some of the last of his magic power, Stalker opens several portals, and enters just one of them, breaking into a nearby grocery store on the other side and stealing what supplies the two of them will need. Next, he knocks on the door of a rectory, seeking out the priest who lives there. Dragging the man of god to a church, he empties out cans of kosher salt into a circle of protection, awaiting the arrival of Lucifer.
- This book was first published on March 20, 2013.
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