The clock struck three; it was now January 1, 1933. Around the room, several people stirred. Of course, some of them had been dozing, too tired to be patient. One gentleman, in a blue suit with a bushy white mustache, grumbled and tried to settle himself back to sleep. Those who had not slipped into slumber wished they had, but did their best to stay awake and attentive.

The Author, the head of their organization, was late. Well, he would never say he was late. He would rather say that he chose to show up when he was able, and the will of the group should not run in contrast with his own. None dared challenge him on this. In this organization, the Order, the Author was the man with the power, the plan, and the judgement. To disobey him…

Suddenly, the doors at the end of room flew back on its hinges, slamming into the supporting walls. All the paintings rattled, just as did the occupants of the room. They all turned to see who stood at the door; even those who had just been returning to slumber were on their feet and attentive. Standing where the doors once were, was a man, or a giant. One wouldn’t call him a fat man, there weren’t any bulges or bumps; but he was a large man in every dimension. His hair was white, but to the intensity that made it appear as flowing silver. His face was clean shaven and, to any who saw it, both handsome and terrifying. In his left hand he held a cane, though it was more of an accessory than a crutch.

Into the room he strode, the Author of the Order, to the central table. Without glancing at the other members, he pulled out his chair, sat himself, and gently inched himself to a comfortable position. For several long moments, he just sat there, looking down at the table. No one moved.

“Sit.”

The Author didn’t raise his voice, it was barely a whisper; but everyone heard him. No one moved too quickly, but they all hurried to their seats: six on his left, and six on his right. Altogether, thirteen members; the company’s number, one which the world had taken as bad luck or ill omen. It suited their purpose. No one wanted to stay on a thirteenth floor at a hotel. These members always had a place to stay, no matter where they went.

Again, the room became silent. The Order’s Secretary of Security glance at the doors, seeing the uniformed guards moving the doors back into place. The room reclaimed its privacy. The Secretary nodded at the Author, though he knew that the Author already knew the doors were closed.

“There is a great deal to be done,” began the Author. His eyes moved from the table, and met each members in their turn. “Beginning today, we make moves to change the world.”

Everyone was silent, but they all nodded in agreement.

“Let us begin.”

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