Jano Xing walked through the halls of the underground black church he never knew existed. This place must have been old judging by the amount of decay and the stench of old death. His maroon hooded guide walked with a hunch with a torch in hand. When they came to the large room as promised the hooded man stepped aside without a word and let Jano pass.
The round cavernous room was lit with what must have been hundreds of candles mounted on various rocks jutting from the rocky walls. The many shadows danced around Jano as he approached the room’s center. He ran his hand along the coffin like box with its many ruins and siguls carefully printed along the side and top. He marveled at the many wires that ran from the box into the ground and into some other area he had not yet seen. If he were able to follow the wires he would probably find a treasure trove of lost technology that he knew all to well in what seemed like another life.
“Is this what I think it is?” Jano asked turning to the man in the maroon hood.
The man only nodded. In the candlelight Jano could make out a rotted nose on the man’s decrepit face. This was not the man who summoned him here during his mediations. The man he sought was in the box.
Jano found the inscription on the top of the box and read carefully. It was written in a language long forgotten, but Jano never forgets.
“He who opens this coffin be warned,” he read aloud. “He inside was born from the blood of the Warrior and raised in the womb of a demon. He inside cannot be awaked unless the sword is unsheathed once more. He inside shall burn black in the brightest day. All that is needed is one ounce of demon’s blood and he that was will be again. This time born in our form.”
The language used was rough, but Jano understood it nevertheless. Jano read the line ‘This time born in our form‘ again to be sure he had the translation right. He pulled on the the chain around his neck and removed the vile of Kasaya Kiz’s blood he had borrowed for this task. He uncorked the top and poured the blood into the round hold in the center. He took a few steps back to where the maroon hooded man stood and waited.
Jonah and Gabriel arrived in front of the Deskue INC building in silence. They saw no need for secrecy when dealing with Deskue. Even while blocking their thoughts Deskue would surely know they were coming. Killian walked along side Jonah not even bothering to disguise his true form from the onlookers.
Not that he any problem.
When the pair arrived close enough to the Deskue building they noticed everyone in the vicinity was staring up into the sky towards the top of the building.
“Lower you mental wall just a bit,” Killian said.
Jonah did as Killian suggested and he instantly heard the booming voice of Leon Deskue echoing inside his own head.
“I DEMAND FULL OWNERSHIP OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM POWER GRID, OR I WILL PERMANENTLY DISABLE IT,” Deskue’s voice said. “ALL WILL PAY HOMAGE AND TRIBUTE TO ME OR YOU WILL ALL BE POISONED AND YOUR HOMES WILL BE OBLITERATED. YOU NO LONGER HAVE YOUR LIVES. I OWN THEM. HERE IS A DISPLAY FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WOULD ASSUME I’M BLUFFING.”
As pain shot up his spine Jonah quickly expelled the voice of Deskue from his mind and put his wall back up. Everyone else wasn’t as lucky and Jonah watched in horror as the people who were transfixed on the Deskue building were not writhing on the ground in pain.
“He’s repeating the message and showing pictures of his device and what it can do,” Killian said having much more mental control than Jonah. “I hope your cousin and Gabriel have good luck finding it.”
“They’ll find it,” Jonah said. “Our focus now is distracting Deskue and buying them some time.”
Jonah and Killian looked at each other and walked through the front doors of Deskue INC amid the writhing bodies on the ground.
Jano Xing stood in awe as the man sat up from his coffin. There was a thick white fog in the room and the light from the candles struggled to light up this stranger.
“Who are you?” Jano asked.
“I am unnamed,” the man said in a familiar voice.
“Why have you summoned Me?” Jano asked.
“Because it is time and you were ordained to awaken me,” the man said stepping out of the coffin and onto the ground. Jano observed his naked form. His chest and stomach were covered in tattoos of fiery demons and black flames were etched on both of his heavily muscled arms.
“Was your coming foretold?” Jano asked. “I wasn’t aware.”
“It was a secret, black priest,” he said. “A surprise of sorts it would seem. The demon blood you provided courses through my veins and lets me see through eyes as no mortal human can. Least of all the Other.”
“The Other,” Jano said trying to understand. The maroon hooded hunchback had returned with a huge black robe for the unnamed man and draped it over him covering his face once more. “Come with me, child of the darkness,” Jano nearly crooned. “We have much to discuss.”
“Not yet,” the unnamed man said turning towards Jano with a shadow across his face. “You much help me find my black sword before we can go. Also, you must name me.”
The unnamed man lifted his hood showing Jano Xing his bald head and short black beard. Jano recognized his face immediatley and smiled.
“I know just the name,” he said.
Jonah and Killian entered the Deskue building through the front door. They expected some kind of assault to greet them from the brainwashed employees of Deskue INC, but they were greeted by the opposite.
All of the workers were huddled on the ground sobbing and some were ripping there hair out. Jonah looked over at a man in a security jacket with a pair of scissors trying dramatically to cut his thumb off. They heard more screaming and sobbing coming from above them in the offices.
“What is this?” Jonah asked.
“Their minds could no longer take Deskue’s torment,” Killian said kneeling to man who was crying and vomiting into a potted plant. Killian held his palm over the man’s forehead and closed his eyes. A moment later he stood up and looked at Jonah. Jonah could swear the demon’s eyes were glassy. “He’s too far gone,” Killian already said. “They all are. There’s nothing I can do to bring them back when they’re this close to the source of their tormentor.”
“There is one thing,” Jonah said unsheathing his sword. “We shut down Deskue. We shut him down for good.”
“Agreed,” Killian said unsheathing his own hooked sword he kept at his waist. His cloak fluttered behind him as he walked towards the main elevator. As if on command it dinged and opened for the pair.
“You think he’s expecting us?” Jonah asked.
“He’s cocky,” Killian said. “He thinks he can beat us. He’ll attack you first. You won’t be ready. As much as you think you are you just won’t be.”
“What’s the plan up there?” Jonah asked.
“If he gets in your mind we expel him,” Killian said getting in the elevator along side Jonah. “Then we kill him.”
Jano Xing walked down the halls of this cavernous black church behind the man he named just moments ago. The hunchback in the maroon hood walked a few feet behind him holding the torch. Jano watched as the huge man walked down the dark hall seemingly knowing exactly where he should be going even though he had been born less than an hour before.
“It’s close,” Caim said. The name he was given him had some hidden meaning that greatly amused Jano Xing.
Caim turned suddenly down a black hallway as if it were full lit. Jano extended some of his black magic to summon a lantern that swung from his left hand giving off a ghostly green light. When he finally caught up to Caim he was looking at a sword that was mounted in a large piece of black shiny stone.
“Here you are,” Caim said. He walked over and ran his hand over the hilt of the sword. Jano instantly felt the aura of the sword.
“What is that?” Jano asked.
Caim smiled. “You don’t know?” he asked. “You named me after the high demon that gave his life for this sword. Was it not coincidence?”
“Caim,” Jano nearly whispered.
“Yes,” Caim said pulling the sword from the black rocks in had been embedded in for nearly five hundred years. There was a shriek of metal and rock. “Caim.”
Jano watched in near orgasmic delight as the black flames emerged from the rocks and engulfed Caim.
The elevator arrived at the penthouse office of Leon Deskue and Jonah and Killian stepped out into the large space. Leon Deskue was sitting at his desk with his hands folded in front of him observing the two men as they entered the room.
“I’m glad you both could come,” Deskue said. “I’ve been meaning to have a word with the two of you.”
“We’re not here to talk,” Jonah said holding his sword in front of him.
“Please,” Deskue said. “I could have had you shot in the head at my very whim on your way in here. You come waltzing into my world with only a sword and think you can bargain with me? You have some balls on you, boy.”
“You have nothing to offer, Deskue,” Jonah said. “Shut down your device or you die here tonight.”
Deskue stood up and turned his back on the two. He looked out his large window at the city below. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “Once the power grids and roads are mine all will bow to me. I wanted you to come up here with the hopes you’d reconsider and help me rebuild the city in my image, but you choose to defy my instead.”
“Tell us how to disable your bomb,” Killian said.
“There’s no stopping it,” Deskue said. “Do you think I would be stupid enough to rely on a mad man like Rev to build me such a device and not turn it on the city himself? This city is doomed whether I get my demands or not.”
“Then why?” Killian asked.
“Power,” Deskue said. “When I rebuild New Millennium I will be God to these people. You are only insects.”
“Disable the device,” Jonah said. “Last chance.”
“DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?” Deske bellowed from within Jonah’s mind. “YOU WERE DEAD THE MOMENT YOU ARRIVED AT MY FRONT DOOR!”
Little Jonah Judge woke up on a beautiful Saturday morning to the sun shining in his face. He jumped out of bed and ran downstairs past his parents room and into the kitchen. There, Millie the housekeeper was already up and had his favorite box of cereal on the table with a pitcher of ice cold milk.
“Good morning, Jonah,” she said cheerfully.
“How do you always know when I’ll be down here for breakfast?” he asked.
“I just know,” Millie said. “Instinct I guess.”
“Good morning, son.” Jonah’s father said walking in the room through the same door his son just passed moments before. Millie promptly handed him cup of coffee. “Thank you, Millie,” he said.
“Dad, can we see Rock and Uncle Bruce today?” Jonah asked with a mouthful of cereal.
“Not today,” his father said. “I have a special surprise for you today.”
“What is it?” Jonah asked perking up.
“Today we begin learning how to fight with the sword.”
Now Jonah’s a few years older and he’s standing in the family’s private dojo blindfolded holding a metal practice sword in front of him. It’s heavier than the usual wooden swords he uses when sparring against his cousin, but he supposed he’d have to get used to the weight. He’s very vaguely aware that his father will be dead in less than two weeks after this training session.
“Preparation and vigilance,” the voice of his father says from the blackness. “Be prepared for me to hit you from any angle.” Jonah’s midsection erupts in pain as his father hits him in the stomach with his wooden staff. “Be vigilant of where your opponent will attack from next.” Pain fills Jonah’s back when his father brings the staff down against his lower back.
Jonah falls hard on the floor and hates his father for a moment, but then again isn’t that what this is about. Learn from your hatred. Do not let it consume you.
“Get up,” his father’s voice says. “If you focused your aura you’d know the attack would hit your stomach the moment it was about to hit and you could’ve blocked me. After you were bent you should have known I’d attack your back. Focus your chakra and try again!”
Jonah stood up as his father ordered. He meant to do him proud, but he wasn’t as quick as his father. Jonah closed his eyes (even under the blindfold it helped) and focused his chakra throughout his body. He felt outward with his inner senses waiting for the moment when the strike would come.
Jonah moved his sword to block the attack coming towards his right shoulder, but it was too late. The shock of the attack made Jonah drop his sword between his legs and he quickly tried to regroup his thoughts to catch the second attack. He quickly moved backwards and felt the air as the staff barely missed his head.
“Better,” his father said. “In time I won’t be able to get you at all. You can take your blindfold off now.”
Jonah took off his blindfold and looked at his smiling father. He had done him proud today. Jonah said nothing but he knew his father didn’t need any words of thanks.
“I have to go,” his father said. “We’ll practice again tomorrow. Before then I want you to meditate and practice your chakras.”
His father turned to go, and Jonah wanted to scream out to stop him and warn him that he’ll be dead. Fished out of the harbor like an old tire along with his Uncle Bruce. But he couldn’t scream. He couldn’t move. Why? Why can’t he stop his father from leaving?
Because it hasn’t happened, and yet it has.
Jonah looks around. Suddenly he’s outside his family’s summer home and standing on the beach watching the waves crash on the whit shore. This isn’t right, Jonah thought. He hadn’t come here after his father’s death.
“Break free,” a voice on the beach said. He turned suddenly to see the figure of a black demon standing ten feet away from him. His black cloak was blowing in the breeze around him.
“Who are you?” Jonah shouted over the sounds of crashing waves and wind. His voice was that of a man, but he couldn’t recall coming to this place after his childhood ended. “What do you want with me?” He had read about demons before in his fathers books on the Post and apocalyptic battles fought centuries ago.
“Quickly,” the demon said. “Before he finds you.”
“Who?” Jonah asked becoming more confused and agitated. “Why are you here? Where’s my father?”
As if in answer of Jonah’s question to the black demon on the beach he finds himself in his sitting room with his sobbing mother.
“I know this is hard,” the police officer said. “But we need to know if he had any enemies, or if they were possibly his brother’s enemies. This crime is grievous and we’d love to catch those responsible.”
Jonah and his mother both knew the answer to the question, but were duty bound to say nothing. The Post had enemies in the shadows, but they couldn’t talk about it with law enforcement. They would be seen as crazy and his father’s legacy would be tarnished.
“No,” Jonah answered. “Not that I could recall.”
“And you were close with your father?” the police officer asked.
“Yes,” Jonah said. “Very close.”
“We think we have a suspect,” The plice office said. “Do you mind seeing a picture and telling us if you’ve seen him?”
Jonah’s mind screamed at him to say no. Somehow he knew this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. Not this part.
“Yes,” Jonah said.
The police officer pulled a picture of the black demon he had seen years before (or a minute ago). “I have seen him,” Jonah said.
“His name is Killian,” the police officer said. Jonah didn’t notice when his face got rounder or his black hair had turned to balding grey with wild tufts. “And he killed your father.”
Jonah now finds himself standing in Leon Deskue’s office with his sword in his hand. Standing across from him is the black demon he met on the beach all those years ago. The demon from the picture the police officer showed him the night they found his father’s body in the harbor. This was the reason he trained day in and day out. It was the reason he took the sword from Archer Post. He vowed revenge on this black cloaked demon every day of his life since he was a boy and now he meant to end his miserable existence.
“What are you waiting for?” his friend Leon said from behind his massive desk. The walls changed from their greenish blue wallpaper to shining cavern walls. The ceiling raised to and columns arched overhead and a set of stairs led up to a great golden throne where Leon sat..
“You killed my uncle and father,” Jonah said to black demon known as Killian. “I’ve dreamed of cutting your head off for years. Prepare yourself, demon scum. Today you die.”
Killian began to speak, but Jonah didn’t care about what he had to say. He rushed forward with his white sword in front of him and swung wildly at the demon. The demon used his black sword with the hooks on it to block as the swords clashed and rang out in the cavernous dungeon thrown room.
“Yes,” Leon said from afar. Jonah became aware that his friend had lost his body and his gigantic head hovered about them. “That’s it, Jonah. Take his head. Your father shall be avenged!”
Jonah swung and thrusted with a renewed fury as the encouragement of his longtime companion Leon washed over him. A sideways arc of his whit sword was met with Killian’s black hooked sword and the hooks caught the sword. The demon Killian took advantage of the sitution.
“You need to expel him!” the demon yelled. “He’s gotten too deep. Remember the wall!”
Jonah noticed the pile of red bricks and bags of cement in the corner he hadn’t before. What did all this mean? Leon had never led him wrong! What was the meaning of this demon’s words? Was it all deception? Was he measuring Jonah’s reaction searching for an opening? What?
Jonah kicked out with his left leg and pushed Killian back. He staggered for a minute as Killian threw a piece of black shrapnel at Jonah. He deflected it easily with his blade and it flew to the side and stuck into the wall.
“Forgive me, my friend,” the demon said.
A glowing yellow light poured from Killian’s head and engulfed Jonah completely. When he opened his eyes he was no longer in the dungeon throne room of Leon Deskue. He was in a wasteland of rock and fire.
“What is the meaning of this new trick, demon?” Jonah demanded.
“I brought you into the deepest confines of my mind,” Killian said. “You have to understand.”
“Understand?” Jonah asked. “I’ll kill you!”
“But you no longer have your sword,” Killian said. “This is my world. Can’t you see?”
Jonah looked around bewildered at the wastelands of Killian’s mind. He could smell smoldering brimstone and the stench of decay. He could easily see bits and pieces of Killian’s time in this dreadful place. The place not even Deskue would hope to look. Suddenly he felt the pity for the demon he felt on the first night he met the unconscious demon in his hallway.
But that never happened.
“It did,” Killian said. “You need to be able to tell what’s real, Jonah.”
Jonah noticed a large pile of red bricks between the two. Just like the pile he saw in the corner of Deskue’s lair.
Deskue? My oldest friend Leon? Jonah thought.
“No,” Killian said. “Use the bricks.”
Jonah looked at the pile not knowing what it all meant. The bricks weren’t real. He had no idea how to build a brick wall. “The symbolism,” Jonah finally said. He looked up from the bricks at Killian. The demon that came to him injured in the night and had become fast friends with him. “I see it now.”
The bricks were gone and Jonah’s sword was back in his hands.
“Use it,” Killian said.
Jonah held the sword in front of him with the blade pointed up. “Be my guide,” Jonah said. “Be my light in the darkness. Be my shield. Be my beacon of death, Barachiel!”
White light shone from his sword Barachiel. When the light subsided he was back in Deskue’s dungeon room and and large bloated head of the evil Deskue still floated above them in glee not knowing of the detour Killian had taken him on.
With a thought the bricks in the corner began to move and and started coating the wall of Deskue’s room.
“No!” Deskue shouted as his head shrank and his body fell to the floor. Jonah continued building with the bricks until the room was completely enclosed and they were once again in Deskue’s obscenely large penthouse office.
Killian stepped up to Deskue who was sitting on the floor in front of his desk swearing and panting. Being expelled from Jonah’s mind was too much for him.
“Will you shut down the device?” Killian asked.
“I can’t,” Deskue said looking up with glassy eyes. “But it’s not too late for me.”
“Yes it is,” Killian said slowly bringing his hooked sword under Deskue’s round chin. The hooks did their job as they tore the flesh from his throat. Jonah didn’t look away as the dark red blood poured freely from the wound. With a gurgle and a bloody cough Leon Deskue was dead.
“It’s over,” Jonah said sheathing Barachiel and trying to get ahold of his thoughts. The images Deskue showed him were merged with his memories and he was trying hard to separate.
“Not quite,” Killian said. “Gabriel still has Rev to deal with if this city is to be saved.”
“Then we’ll put our faith in our friends,” Jonah said. “New Millennium will not die as long as The Post defends her.”