The day was bright and Commonwealth Avenue was full of people strolling in the crisp autumn air. Brother Maksim crossed to the mall so he could walk under a bower of colorful autumn leaves and think. It was Halloween and, if anyone asked he would have said that all this hobgoblin stuff was nonsense, but he also knew from personal experience that when the walls between worlds grew thin strange things could happen. He had participated in entirely too many inexplicable situations to be cavalier about their existence.
All his life Brother Maksim had taken pride in being a righteous man and a loyal one. Sometimes that led him into circumstances that endangered his life, but he had never shied away from trusting his instincts—instincts that were gnawing at him now. He did not know what was going on but he was certain that something was. While talking to Dori he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was lying. And he knew that something affecting Vivienne—his dear Vivienne—was involved. He took a deep breath and tried to ignore the feelings that churned in him whenever he thought of her. Since the day they met she had been as precious to his heart as anyone he had ever known. He told himself it was not just physical attraction, although he knew himself well enough to know that was part of it. But he had always found a wistfulness in her that appealed to his natural chivalry.
The day he accompanied her to Ramin Aria’s house, Brother Maksim stayed behind to get a sense of Ramin without her presence influencing his feelings. He decided that he liked Ramin, but he was a complicated man who had the capacity to be ruthless under the right circumstances. But what man did not—especially where someone he loved was concerned? After Viv left that day Ramin took the monk down into the cellar to see the tunnel opening. Ramin had to duck his head when he stepped through the door but there was no way that Brother Maksim would fit, even turned sideways.
“Are you going to keep it open?” Brother Maksim asked.
“No, I’ll probably install a security door—or just fill it in. But if there are tunnels like this throughout this neighborhood, well, they could make life interesting, don’t you think?”
Brother Maksim agreed with that.
The sun was low in the sky and All Hallow’s Eve was closing in as Brother Maksim crossed the Common and headed toward the T-station. As the streets filled with people in ghoulish costumes there were so many vampires, werewolves, and zombies that he could not help remembering himself as a boy traveling alone through the Carpathian Mountains. He changed his mind, crossed Tremont Street, and walked toward Washington. Vivienne had told him she and her friend Mattie planned to take the children to a party that afternoon. He decided they needed to talk.