It was Eclipse Day, and Archer Grey would become the first man in Nereid history to witness two total solar eclipses. Frankly, he couldn’t see what the fuss was about. The moon passed over the sun, everything went dark for a little while and then it returned to normal. Anyone damned fool enough to be staring up without the right spectacles on would go blind, but there was precious little entertainment otherwise.

That was one of the few perks of being ancient. He could moan and grumble and nobody could tell him to shut up. They could try, but as he commanded the family fortune and had known every one of his surviving family since they were mewling babies, they invariably failed. And he had much to grumble about. His children had died, three to old age and one to stupidity. Swimming in the height of summer and expecting the jellyfish of Nereus to leave you alone was the act of a fool. In Kayleigh’s case, the act of a dead fool. Most of his grandchildren ranged from tedious to despicable, though he did enjoy the ever-increasing resentment they felt towards his stubborn refusal to die. Over a hundred years old, and still he clung on.

Until today. Because today was the perfect opportunity to kill himself.

Archer’s mansion was built on a mountain so high it was always night, hence its name: Darkness Falls. Eighty years ago he had ordered a wing built equipped with photoelectric roofs that could become completely transparent at the touch of a button. In truth, he enjoyed the stars, but the real reason behind the construction was to amaze guests, whether visiting dignitaries or impressionable young ladies.

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