“That’s a lot of cops.” Ric remarked absently as they entered the hospital.
“Gotta protect their own,” Rob said, grabbing a passing nurse, “Where’s Tyler Carter?”
Before she could answer a young man approached him, “Mr. Reinhardt, he’s in room 217. For observation only. He’s in shock.”
Rob recognized the man as Matt’s personal servant, but couldn’t remember his name. He’d turned and began leading them towards Tyler’s room, merely assuming they would follow him.
“What are you doing here?”
“Mr. Jaeger was notified of the einherjar’s failure almost immediately.” he explained, “But by then the battle was already lost. That’s quoting the messenger directly.” He added, seemingly amused.
Helena pushed forward, “How did the einherjar fail so quickly?”
“There was a breakdown in communication.” he replied stopping outside the room. “All they would say was the stars were right.”
“I wish someone would explain that to me.” Came a voice from the room.
Tyler was lying in bed, looking fairly miserable. Trina sat in the corner seemingly overcome by the entire situation. She looked up and saw Rob, and an expression of relief came over her. She ran over and hugged him and then Ric. As she pulled away she asked, “Is he…”
Ric rolled his eyes, “Of course. Why would anyone let death keep them from bugging me?” he sighed, “He loves you and regrets that it had to end this way.”
Tyler gave him a dirty look, “‘Had to end this way’? What the fuck does that mean?”
“It means that Josh had been planning this for months.” Rob said, “He became convinced the only way to save Ethan was self-sacrifice. He’s been putting his affairs in order as he felt like the moment was coming closer and closer.”
Katrina looked at him blankly, “But Josh is dead and Ethan’s possessed. Even if we find him, there’s nothing we can do without Josh. Ethan’s an orphan again.”
“No he’s not.” Rob replied, “I’m his guardian upon Josh’s death.”
Ric snorted, “Well, that was a bright idea.”
Rob gave him a sideways glare, “Your lack of faith disturbs me.”
“And you’re barely legal.”
Rob shook his head and took a seat, “Josh had more insight than you realize. I inherited a lot more than just Ethan from him.”
Tyler grimaced “Those extra-curricular projects.”
“Yeah.” Rob nodded, though everyone else looked confused.
“He’d do bindings, wardings of buildings, entire families, to keep them safe from things,” Tyler explained, “Things which had been trying to tear down their family lines for generations. Couldn’t even try before the Resurgence and now they have ten times as much work.”
“Most people don’t understand how they work anymore,” Rob continued, “Don’t even realize they’re needed.”
Ric rolled his eyes, “But someone who had recently been to twelfth century Wales would know all about them, wouldn’t he?”
Rob gave a slight chuckle, “It was covered. But Josh was doing pretty well on his own. He did a lot more than any of your realize or will realize.” There was silence as Rob seemed unwilling to clarify his meaning.
Tyler broke the tension. “What does, “The stars are right” ,mean?” he asked, “Everyone keeps repeating that. Cpt. Haynes, the messenger the Aesir received, Helena said you said it too.
Rob glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, “When the stars are right certain creatures can bend the rules a bit more then usual. They can cross over more easily.”
“Possess easier?” Cpl. Cavazos stepped into the room, his arm in a sling, but otherwise unharmed, “Damn nice to have known that before.”
“I wouldn’t call it possession.” Rob said, “He’s a bit beyond that.”
“Certainly seemed possessed.” Cavazos countered.
“It is my fault they haven’t invented words for it? Its more along the lines of transcendence. Ethan and the demon that created him have combined on an elemental level.” Rob explained.
“So Ethan’s lost to us?” Helena said, collapsing into a chair.
“Not necessarily.” Rob said, “He didn’t do this willingly. There are ceremonies that are supposed to be performed to prepare the body for being imbued. He’s around the state his father was during his conception, a powerful nightmare, but by no means undefeatable. Honestly, the demon’s weaker now that usual. It’s killable, though his death would end Ethan’s life too,”
“Where is it headed?” Cavazos asked.
“Planning on heading out?” Ric asked.
“Moment the Captain gets out of surgery.” He replied.
Ric glanced down the hall, as if he could see the surgery in progress, “He was lucky. He should sit this one out.”
“That’s not possible, sir,” Cavazos replied, gesturing to Rob, “The Captain already knew all of that. He knows what happens if Ethan isn’t stopped.”
Rob shrugged, “That only happened once and most people considered a good thing.”
Ric glanced at him, “And when was that?”
“Jesus.” Rob said. “God split off a piece of himself just for the purpose.”
“How do you know that?” Tyler asked.
“The half-angel entity which retrieved the Holy Grail.” Rob answered in a rather emotionless tone.
“So he’s the Anti-Christ.” Ric said deadpan.
“If he was willing, he’d be the anti-Christ. He’s not.” Rob corrected, “And even the anti-Christ would be the thing that was created in between the demon and Ethan. Ethan’s still Ethan on one side as the Demon is still a Demon on the other. Even the Anti-Christ retains his mortal free will. He could willing abandon his supposed purpose.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Are we dead yet?” Rob asked.
“Then he’s not the anti-Christ.”
Ric rubbed his eyes, trying to ignore the poor excuse for an answer, “Fine, How do we find him.”
Helena answered, “He needs to create a Gate to his home dimension. In his current state he could maintain the Gate indefinitely which would be just as bad as if Ethan had been willing. Possibly worse.”
“Where will he do it?” Cavazos asked.
“I won’t know until he starts opening it.” she admitted, “Ms. Dawn is looking into possibly locations, but we don’t have the time or resources to properly research the best location.”
“Ric might know.” Rob commented. He looked relaxed, like he was attempting to achieve a zen like state.”
Ric grumbled as eyes turned to him, “I’m staring a entrepreneurial venture in a few months. The physical location has to be on a leyline, so I’ve been mapping the ones that across Los Angeles.”
He grabbed the tablet from the wall and opened up the browser, pulling up a map of the city. With a few flicks he had a set of blue lines crisscrossing over the city.
“They follow the highways?” Cavazos asked frowning, “Wait, no, that one stops and starts along the Five.”
“They tend to follow population density,” Ric clarified, “It weakens along the Five as it passes no mans land. Meanwhile, Sunset, Hollywood, Vine, Highland are all saturated from the population of Hollywood and the tourists. The Cahuenga and Sepuveda Passes are lit up because their the primary methods through the to the San Fernando Valley, Laurel Canyon is reasonable bright too.
“There are Nexuses of leylines at every major studio and theme park. Disneyland is blinding, but they aren’t going to let me build there.”
Helena coughed, “We aren’t talking about where you’re building. We need to figure out which one the demon will use to open his Gate.”
“It’s impossible, ” Ric replied, “Just as you said, there are too many places it could be. We don’t even know what direction he headed after leaving the apartment.”
“Downtown,” Rob said, “It’s the largest.”
Ric squinted at it, “Barely.”
“It’s also the heart of the city,” Rob added, “demons always go for the heart.”