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Prologue

Baltimore, Maryland, 1865

As the sun slowly sets over the fields of Baltimore, a number of men of great power and influence are congregating in a private library. The walls are lined with hardbound texts while leather-appointed seats cover the floor space.

One such man, a middle aged man with a bushy beard, commands all attention as he struts back and forth in his sharp suit, his thumbs hooked into his vest. “Gentlemen, we all agree our nation has been led astray. This usurper has turned our guns against our own and threatens to transform an inferior class of citizenry into full-fledged Americans. The bloodline of the Ameristocracy has for a century reigned over this great nation, but with his actions, this man threatens to steal our divine right to lead.”

He pauses as hurumphs and um-hmms are heard from the assembled men. He then continues. “So by the power of our sacred order, I hereby enter a motion that we eliminate this man.”

He glances around the room. No one answers aloud. Instead, each man puts a single hand upon their knee, tapping identical gold rings as their response. Rings with a symbol that looks like it’s part flag, part crown emblazoned upon them. The decision is unanimous.

The leader nods. “Good. I have taken the liberty of enlisting a man of uncompromised vitriol to do our bidding.... Mr. John Wilkes Booth.” He motions to the rear of the room and the assembled men shift in their seat to see John Booth, standing hat-in-hand, eyes lowered in reverence to the men before him.

A few nights later in the Ford theatre, Booth barricades a doorway behind him. He casts his eyes upon the entry to the presidential box. It’s unguarded.

He leans back against the wall. Sweat beads along his hairline and his breath quickens. A trembling hand unbuttons his jacket and reaches inside.

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