Chapter One: The Threshold
These were not welcoming front stairs. Danger screamed from the dried-husks of dead wood. The trees once felled to create an expanse of grandeur cried their sacrifice. Rodent bones huddled in shape beside leaf-dust, beside, not under, not on top, but beside as trophies displayed. Wind-noise echoed untouching and unmoving. Its cheer an added dare.
“Ancient-mother, I accept your challenge. From this my first step, hear me, this building I claim. This structure of wood, stone, and iron is mine. The land from which our bloodline roots dwell is mine. Hear me, now, the promise I make, all will be cleansed. All will be released to where they belong. All will become mine.” With the last word soaring over the building wind, Jules Draman took command of the rotted stairs.