I’m late. Bah. I hate that, but this installment was tough to write.

I’m doing something kind of ambitious. Or crazy. It could be crazy. I’m attempting to mingle some real history with fictional history, and I’m doing it by tackling fairly dark territory.

Josef Mengele was a real man. You can read up on him if you want. He was a monster. Most of the stuff I say about him below is completely true, and given my affection for horror, that should really scare you.

He fits for this story, though, and that’s why I’m using his factual history. But as I typed the word ‘Auschwitz’, I wondered if it was right or good to pull from actual events when those events are as horrific as the death camps of World War II. Sure, it makes for good material, but is that okay?

For the time being I’ve decided that it is, provided the truth is dealt with in a respectful manner even when twisted a bit to fit the story. I have no intention of downplaying the abhorrent realities of the Nazis. In fact, I don’t see myself exploring that much further than I have in this episode.

The other thing about this story is that it’s almost entirely exposition. I know, I know–‘show don’t tell.’ Whatever. I generally hold to that rule, but this is where the story wanted to go, so I followed.

I invite feedback in the comments on a regular basis. Sadly, I don’t get a whole lot of it. But, here we go again. If you have thoughts, about my explanation above or the story below, please feel free to share them.

some much needed backstory
with very little present action
and a dash of forshadowing

Gloria and Hyun spent the better part of the afternoon plotting. Hyun would insist on referring to it as ‘planning’, but Gloria would snicker with glee at the notion their designs were a bonafide scheme.

For the greater good, of course.

However, three cups of tea and two hours later they were both tired, irritable, and frustratingly far from nailing down a plan of attack. This was due in no small part to the fact that Eris Cato Fiore was, as the saying goes, a tough nut to crack.

And he was, by all informed accounts, a nut.

Of unknown (and decidedly questionable) origin, Fiore first arrived on the local scene approximately a decade prior to his return. Initially, Gloria, Harvell and the others, whose number did not include Hyun at that time, took him to be a small time practitioner in possession of limited talent. Said another way, he knew just enough to cause trouble, so they kept an eye on him.

He dabbled in some dark stuff, but nothing that warranted anything more than a slap on the wrist. Gloria, herself, had been the first Guardian to deliver a verbal warning. His reception was cordial, if cold, and he readily agreed that several of his recent incantations could be dangerous in unskilled hands. On the subject of his level of skill, however, there was a severe parting of ways.

He flatly refused to heed the Guardians’ suggestion. Emphatically, he stated his intent to stay right where he was and practice whatever kind of sorcery he desired, including, if the fancy struck him, blood magick.

His stand off with the Guardians proved a lengthy, complex chess match. The nature of his magick made it difficult for Gloria and her peers to confront him outright. He was particularly good with warding charms, favoring the decimate-an-entire-city-block variety over more subtle stay-out techniques.

It was Hyun who finally took him down, and with something as simply as herbalism. She slipped him the enchanted equivalent of a Mickey. They charmed him, wiped his memory, bought him a plane ticket, and shipped him off to south Florida where, they were all agreed, he’d fit in just fine.

He rattled around in Miami for a while, then drifted south of the border. Last they heard, he was in Porto Alegre. Until three days ago when he was spotted in a Starbucks ordering what one can only assume was an overly complex and insanely expensive vehicle for sugar and caffeine.

His return alone would have been enough to justify action. In fact, it was news of his return that prompted Harvell to ask Gloria to lunch. That same morning, Gloria learned of Fiore’s companion. She shared the information with Hyun and no one else.

Liliana Correa, the Lady of Candido Godoi, was reputed to be the former assistant to and love interest of Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor known for a variety of unsavory reasons. During World War II, he was stationed at Auschwitz and, in his time there, was one of the ‘physicians’ responsible for determining who would be put to work and who would be gassed. He was fascinated by twins and engaged in all kinds of unethical research, during and after the war, often showing no regard whatsoever for the well-being of his subjects. In spite of international outcry, we was never tried for his crimes against humanity, and instead died a free man, drowning off the coast of Brazil in 1979.

Like other members of the Third Reich, Mengele (this exposition will at no time grant him the honor of the title ‘doctor’) was deeply interested in the occult. On paper, his investigation of twins was primarily focused on establishing proof of a so-called superior race, but that was not his only agenda. He hoped to unravel the secrets of longevity, as well.

While in Brazil, he spent time in the small town of Candido Godoi, and it was there he met Liliana Correa. She presented herself to him as a midwife and nurse, but she was so much more. He was a monster of a man. A true human horror. But to her he was little more than a pet–a simple-minded thing she regarded with the affection normally reserved for hamsters and goldfish.

To put it bluntly, Correa was infamous among those like Gloria and her cohorts. Her areas of specialization were wide and alarmingly sinister, ranging from mind control to necromancy. She was, of course, far older than she looked, and that also complicated things, for her appearance was disarming. She might have seduced Fiore for reasons unknown, or he might have sought her out. Either way, her close proximity was anything but good news.

When the afternoon began to fade into evening, Gloria admitted temporary defeat.

“Hyun, darling, we’re not going to get this today. My head hurts. I need something stronger than tea.”

Hyun nodded, reluctantly agreeing. “I’d feel better if we had a plan.”

Gloria shrugged.

“Opportunity will present itself. When it does, be like a high school boy on prom night.”

Hyun’s brow furrowed.

“Ready,” Gloria said.