The pitch-black of the night and the gusting winds of the winter rainstorm gave Werner the shivers. He passed four scholars from the scurrying toward an alehouse as he rode his bicycle down the Ludwigstrasse. He was having second thoughts.
I don’t know what I’m doing out on a night like this. It’s cold, and I’m getting wet. He grimaced, and his hands clutched tighter on the damp bicycle handlebars. On the other hand, that man seems to see me; the real me. This just might be a golden opportunity. He felt tightness in his chest as his mind raced with what-ifs on both sides of the ledger. In the end, Werner’s ego and desire for respect won out.
Raka waited for his young potential protégé by the stairs leading down to the rotunda door of the Temple of Satan. He shuddered in the damp night air. I hate the cold, he mused to himself bitterly. His mind drifted to warm summer days lying naked in the sun.
The sound of Werner’s approach snapped him back to the present, and he smiled to himself. He loved teaching young boys—they were so malleable. Werner, like many of his students, would be eager to please. His mind was fresh, like a clean slate on which to write. He just needed to train the boy.
Werner’s heart began pounding in anticipation as he parked his bike behind the library and strode over to meet Raka. He smiled as he shook the water off his arms and extended his right hand.
Raka frowned and ignored Werner’s gesture. “You’re almost late,” he said disapprovingly. “Did you tell anyone where you were going?”
“No. No, of course not,” Werner replied, a little crestfallen. “You said—”
Raka cut off Werner’s reply by turning his back on him and walking toward the stairs. With a swipe of his newly repaired golden dragon head cane, he motioned for the boy to follow. They descended the curving staircase of twenty narrow cobblestone steps to the dungeon-like entry of the church. The teacher tapped his walking stick two, then three times on the ancient, arched oak door. Werner felt a shudder as he noticed the goat-like gargoyle at the apex of the arch.
The massive door creaked open, revealing an old, cavernous, torch-lit fire-temple with a freshly painted blood pentagram in the middle. Raka motioned for Werner to enter and a statuesque, redheaded woman dressed in a tight-fitting, low-cut black leather riding habit greeted them. Werner heard a subtle hum, and his body began to vibrate as if a force of energy were penetrating it. Raka acknowledged the woman with a kiss on the back of her right hand. Then he motioned to Werner, who was trying to look everywhere at once. “Countess Victoria von Baden, I want you to meet my guest, Herr Werner von Wiesel.”
Not knowing what to do, and feeling out of his depth, Werner made a short bow and nodded.
The Countess moistened her crimson lips as she regarded the boy. Several thoughts of what she could do with a young man like him flitted through her mind.
“Countess, would you kindly show my guest around?”
The thirtyish noble smiled as she fondled her waist-length ginger French braid. “Of course, Herr Raka. I had heard you were bringing someone of interest to the initiation this evening.” The Countess took Werner by the arm and urged him to walk with her, her five-inch leather stiletto heels clicking on the stone floor. Unused to attention from women of any sort, and certainly not from one as sleek and svelte as the Countess, Werner thrilled at her touch.
Raka slipped away to the far corner of the room to watch Werner with the Countess.
The couple made their way through the clusters of men and women chatting in the dark, shadowy, medieval Gothic Dungeon. A torch illuminated each of the five corners of the pentagon-shaped house of dark worship. For some reason, Werner again shuddered when he noticed the goat-headed gargoyles holding the torches on the walls.
The Countess smiled and nodded at several of the members, all of them dressed in black. Werner noted with interest that each carried an ornate walking stick topped with a ruby embedded into a gold pentagram.
Sensing Werner’s nervousness, the Countess grinned to herself. It gave her a feeling of even more control than she usually commanded from men. Her amber eyes sized him up. She saw both potentials in him and someone who would be unable to resist her will. Better than an ally, he could become a servant of her ambitions. The corners of her mouth turned up with pleasure at the thought, and she asked, “Do you know anyone here, Herr von Wiesel?”
Werner looked around, then swallowed hard, his forehead and palms sweating. “No, I don’t think so,” he managed to say. “Who are these people? And, why am I here?” He paused, then his eyes narrowed. “And what is that sound?”
Cautiously glancing right, then left, the Countess guided the boy to a quiet corner of the room. Turning her back to the wall, she faced Werner.
“This is the Society of Truth. There on the floor in the middle of the room is their symbol, the lightning bolt Black Sun.” Werner’s eyes grew wide as he recognized the image. The Countess pointed to a muscular, blond man in his fifties. “And that is Herr von Hofer, the leader of the Makers of Darkness.”
The Knight of the Black Sun saw her gesture and ended his conversation with a young man. With a questioning look, he strode over to join the Countess and Werner. The well-tanned, formidable von Hofer took the right hand of the Countess and kissed it. The Countess closed her eyes for a moment to experience the feeling.
After the briefest pause, she opened her eyes and smiled, saying, “Herr von Hofer, please allow me to introduce Werner von Wiesel. He is a guest of Herr Raka.”
Von Hofer smiled and turned to Werner. “Von Wiesel? Are you related to Prussian General von Wiesel?”
Werner puffed himself up. “Yes, Herr von Hofer. I am proud to say that the general is my father.”
Von Hofer nodded, and his smile grew even more extensive. “Well then, it’s even more of a pleasure to meet you. I hope you will enjoy the evening.”
“I’m sure I will,” Werner said, basking in von Hofer’s apparent approval and beginning to feel more relaxed.
Von Hofer hesitated, considering how much he should reveal to this stranger. With a probing gaze, and being careful with his words, he continued, “Tell me, Herr von Wiesel, do you feel anything? Hear anything?”
Werner thought it odd to ask such questions but replied, “Why, actually, I hear a soft hum, and I feel... I don’t know... uh, lighter, perhaps.” He wrinkled his brow, remembering. “It felt as if a force took hold of me when I entered the room.”
The Knight of Darkness narrowed his eyes, considering the response, then decided to reveal a bit of the arcane nature of the location. “Very good. There is a large ruby crystal under the floor of the temple. Its capacity generates a power that elevates our mind and abilities. That you can feel it certainly bodes well for you.”
Werner smiled at the compliment as von Hofer continued. “You know Herr Raka. What you may not know is that his formidable mastery originates from this energy. His family line of Atlantean Aryans came here from an alien planet to perfect humans.”
“His what?” Werner blurted out.
Von Hofer did not pause. “They brought many crystals of power with them. People of nobility are of the pure blood of this ancient line. Isn’t that right, Countess?”
The Countess smiled and tilted her head in acknowledgment.
Werner was staggered by what he’d heard and took in a deep breath to calm himself. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to feel the energy for a few seconds. The vibration seemed to soothe him, and his mind became calmer. He would get more answers about Herr Raka later. But for now, he was more interested in what he was feeling and how he might use it to his advantage. “Hmmm. How do you use these powers?”
The Countess gave a quick false smile. “I’m sure you have many questions, Herr von Wiesel, and there will be time for them later.” She looked once again to von Hofer. “But I believe it is getting close to time for the initiation of our newest member.”
Von Hofer looked at his wristwatch and nodded. “Indeed. Thank you, Countess.” He nodded goodbye to Werner, then strode toward the center of the large room. As he passed, one of his underlings handed him a rod that matched the one he already carried. When he neared the center of the room, the pentagram of lightning bolts of the Black Sun in the floor began to rise. Raka, the Countess, and three others of the Black Sun gathered around the circle, their initiates crowding behind as the large disk stopped at the height of about two feet, forming a stage.
Von Hofer stepped up onto the platform and walked to the center of the circle. All eyes were upon him. “We recognize darkness, light, creation, and destruction. The creative and the destructive principles determine our technical means. Everything destructive is of satanic origin. Everything creative is of Vril divine energy."
There were nods and murmurs of agreement among those gathered. “Now, I want each of you to extend your rod toward the center of the Black Sun. Feel the power of the Vril charge your lightning rods!"
As each member of the order pointed the head of his walking stick toward the center of the platform, von Hofer looked out into the gathering. “We welcome into our new world order... Hans von Schrader!”
The faithful raised their staves and shouted, “Hail! Hail, Dark Prince!”
A strapping, blue-eyed, flaxen-haired youth emerged from the crowd and strode purposefully to the center of the circle. As von Schrader reached von Hofer and the others surrounding him, he stopped and stood at rigid attention. The leader gave the initiate a welcoming smile and handed him his lightning rod, saying, “Herr von Schrader has proved himself worthy by eliminating a Jew banker for the greater good.” The gathered members gave a cheer of approval, and von Hofer’s eyes sparkled. “Thus, we award you the almighty rod of power. Please recite for us from Revelation 6:12, the prayer of the Black Sun and Temple of Satan.”
Von Schrader stood with his prize in his right hand and raised his arms. From memory, he recited the prayer.
Revelation 6:12-17: When he opened the sixth seal, I looked and behold, there was a great Earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth. The full moon became like blood. And the stars of the sky fell to the Earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll, and every mountain and island removed from its place. Kings, princes, generals, rich, every slave and every free man, hid in caves among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks. Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?
Werner, awed and shaken, could not believe what he was seeing. The walking staves were glowing. A wave of loud shouting came from the crowd.
Von Hofer said, “We bless you in the name of Samael, the serpent in the Garden of Eden.” He handed the initiate a skull-shaped, golden cup. “Now drink this cup of blood from the Jew banker and join your spirit with the Angel of Death.”
Werner stood outside the circle, his eyes fixed on the new initiate. Now he knew why he was here. It had to do with Jews. He despised them. His thoughts went wild. I killed Johann because he was a Jew-lover. One night, I will be honored like this!
He turned and found Raka smiling down at him, then his gaze fell to the man’s hand. Raka saw Werner stare at his hand and looked down. He frowned at the black, scaled claw he saw and casually moved his hand into his pocket.
Raka’s body had been unstable all day. Taking over a human and shape-shifting to that form was not permanent. It required energy and focus.
Werner could not contain himself. “What happened to your hand?”
The dragon frowned and said, “It’s nothing. An injury.”
Before Werner could question him further, Raka asked, “What did you think of the ceremony?”
Werner immediately became serious. “It, it was...” He searched for the right word. “Very powerful,” he finally exclaimed.
Raka nodded with a smile. “Yes, I thought so too.” As if it were a novel thought, he asked, “Say, Herr von Wiesel, would you like to become a member of our society?”
Werner felt a warmness fill him and he replied, “I think I would like that very much.” Then, remembering what Herr von Shrader had done to earn his membership, his heart began to race with excitement. “So, what would I have to do?”
Standing nearby, von Hofer responded to Raka’s subtle summons and walked over to the two. Raka said, “Herr von Hofer, would you tell Herr von Wiesel what it takes to become a member of the Black Sun?”
Von Hofer nodded. “Of course.” He looked down at Werner and became very serious. “It is no small thing to take this step, Herr von Wiesel. And once you step upon this path, there is no turning back.”
Werner realized he stood on the threshold of something momentous, and for a moment, he had second thoughts. But they did not last. “I understand,” he said with resolve.
Von Hofer nodded. “Of course, first you must prove yourself worthy.”
Werner nodded solemnly. “I assumed as much from what I’ve seen tonight, Herr von Hofer.” Then, with a sidelong glance at Raka, Werner said with a sly grin, “I think I have proved that I am capable of dealing with... the Jewish problem.”
Von Hofer also glanced at Raka, who nodded very slightly for him to continue. “Well, that may be; however, we have an extraordinary task for you.” He pointed to the very lifelike stuffed black panther near the entrance and said, “One that will require you to be as stealthy and as ruthless as a panther.”
“I’m sure I can do it if it will lead to the extermination of the”—Werner’s mouth curled down into a frown—“Jews,” he spat.
Both Von Hofer and Raka smiled at the boy’s vehemence. Raka put a hand on Werner’s shoulder. “In a way, it will lead to the destruction of the Jews—and many others who are inferior,” he said, his eyes glowing with enthusiasm.
Von Hofer nodded. “You see, Herr von Wiesel, your task is to steal a very special compass for us.”
Werner could not believe what he heard. “What? You just want me to steal Albert Einstein’s Compass” he said with disappointment. Then his eyes and his lips curled up into a smile. “Do you want me to kill him to get it?”
Raka smiled, “That would be part of the task, yes.”
Werner nodded in satisfaction. “So, what’s so important about this compass?” he asked, feeling as if he had moved up a notch in the esteem of these two men.
Raka’s eyes turned red as he reacted to the boy’s impudence. “That is not your concern. Just get it.”
Werner recoiled, but Raka’s grip tightened on his shoulder. He leaned down and whispered, “We wouldn’t want the authorities to know what really happened to the Thomas boy, would we?” Werner paled and shook his head.
Raka stood. “I thought not. That is your task.
Let us know when you have accomplished it.” Then he and von Hofer turned back to the crowd, leaving Werner standing alone. He was excited about joining the Black Sun, but he felt let down by such a trivial task. Beating up on a Jew he could handle. Enjoy, even. Stealing a stupid compass was a task below his importance. He glanced around, wanting to leave as he muttered half to himself, “I don’t know what to do. How do I go about stealing a stupid compass?”
Suddenly, Werner felt something in his hand. Looking down, he saw someone had slipped him a note. He turned to look behind him and found the Countess casually standing there, her body turned partly away from him. Puzzled, Werner surreptitiously opened the slip of paper. His eyes grew wide as he read. Along with an address, it just said, “I will help you.”
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