The Eye of the Elohim (Part One)
By J.B. Toner
There was dark. A dark that swallowed up the memory of light, a dark as if no light had ever been. The dark of nothingness, the Void before Creation.
But not before. . .
Someone had been there even before the Void: had always been there. Someone invented the light.
And there—infinitely far away—a glimmer. The memory of light. There was no consciousness, no self. But something stirred, and someone yearned for that distant echo of Creation.
A wind? A movement! Stirring, yearning, stretching, moving closer. Reaching out my non-existent hands to touch the light.
My hands. My memory, myself. I’m Thomas Belmont, son of Hugh. Freelance retrieval expert. Yes, yes, of course, it’s coming back.
I was floating in the Shoreless Sea, the gap between realities. Traveling from the Mystic Realm back to the Mortal Realm. That light up ahead: it must be Earth, my world. I focused all my will on moving toward it. And the light grew closer—closer still—
And then I felt the cold hard stone beneath me. I was lying on a ceiling—no, a wall—swimming in stone—ah, there it is, at last. A floor.
“It is quite literally impossible for you to be here, yet here you are. I suppose that confirms my suspicions.”
“. . .Dill?”
“Hello again, my friend.”
Hey there. Name’s Violence Jones. You mighta hearda me. In a city full of mystics, I’m the guy with no magic powers whatsoever—the guy that absolutely no one wants to screw with.
Dill’s Tavern is the coolest bar in Boston. Partly because I’m the bouncer. Also partly because Dill is half-man, half-angel, and there’s this thing called the Nephilim Effect that causes anyone with mystic blood to gravitate toward Heaven’s hybrids. So any given day will see some traffic from elves or goblins or elementals. And since it turns out that the real, live, honest-to-God Santa Claus is half-dwarf, half-angel, and therefore a distant relative of my employer, you can imagine how busy the place gets on Christmas Eve.
On this particular Christmas Eve, I was in charge of festivities. Apparently some ultra-giants from below the sea were marching through the Mystic Realm and smashing everything to pancakes, so my boss and my buddy Belmont had run off to go try and stop ’em. I was fuzzy on how, but that wasn’t my problem. My job was just to keep all these nutty mystics drunk and happy till sunup. And as you can guess, everything went easy and smooth.
It was sometime after 3 a.m. and the party showed no signs of slowing, when the door burst open and this pretty elf-lady, Elladonna, came running in. I hopped the counter to say hello, but it didn’t take a needle-sharp nose for trouble to see she wasn’t here for umbrella drinks.
“Jones!” she cried. “The Gate is breached, and the goblins—”
Hello again, child. You know me as Father Christmas, and I know you. Now and then you’ve strayed from the path, as mortals do; but your heart is good, and I love you. Today I have no gift of toys or tools, but only my fragment of a larger tale. Will you hear it?
My three friends and I had burned the goblin tower. We sought to flee, but griffins crippled my sleigh, and we crashed near the Fourteenth Gate. Before we could pass through, Thomas Belmont (a man of honor) identified the Goblin King MacDrenneth as a host for demon-spirits. And then those spirits attacked the Cherub who guarded the Gate, and the goblins followed us through.
After floating through the mystery of the Kairos Field between the worlds, we emerged in the alleyway in Boston—or rather, three of us did. Vissarion the elf, the lady Elladonna of the Lyrilim, and myself, Claus of the Khazilim: a motley pack. But Thomas was nowhere to be seen.
Alas, we had no time to puzzle out his whereabouts. Goblin soldiers were emerging right behind us, and our only option was to flee for Dill’s. Ella ran ahead to warn the patrons of impending strife, and Vissarion and I followed with our foes upon our heels. We entered Dill’s just moments after she did, and saw the welcome sight of Violence Jones.
“Heya, Santa!” he shouted, pulling out twin handguns.
“Merry Christmas, child!”
“Back atcha, now get the hell outta my field of fire!”
My dwarven half exults in craftsmanship, and I instantly identified his weapons as Glock 18s, illegally modified for full auto. As the first few goblins crashed through the door behind us, he opened fire. All around us in the common room, the mystic tavern patrons were arming themselves for battle: werewolves transforming, sword-folk unsheathing, fire-spirits erupting in flame. Then more goblins came shattering in through the windows, and the Yuletide battle was joined.
Hear my jest. A spy is dispatched behind enemy lines, with the weight of the war on his shoulders. Against all odds, he reaches the ultimate stronghold of the foe. Then he finds a quiet spot and sits down to wait for inspiration. His mission, you see, is so secret that not even he knows what it is.
I am Graeladyl of the Nephilim. For many centuries I’ve gone by the name of Dill. My blood allows me passage through the Realms, and even the ability to navigate the Astral Plane itself. I have a secret house there, an impossible house. It’s there, in the nothingness, that I keep my greatest treasures. Absolutely no one can find my house, or enter it. No one but myself.
And, evidently, Thomas Belmont. I had come here, after countless winters, to retrieve the Spear of the Seraphim; and I was just about to head for the Mystic Realm. Only the Spear could stop the Anakim. The duty fell to me. There was no one else.
But as I was passing through the main hall to the impossible exit door, I found a figure lying on the floor. I had long suspected that he had the Eye. And now I knew.
“Dill? Where the hell are we?”
“We are infinitely nowhere. How did you get here?”
“Dunno. I just saw a light in the distance and—you know—went towards it.”
“You saw light in the Kairos Field? You’re quite sure?”
“Yeah.” He climbed unsteadily to his feet.
“Well, there it is. Only the Eye of the Elohim could do so.”
“The what of the what now?”
“You, my friend. You have the sacred sight. It’s why you can see the light of the spirit—what you call qi.”
“I thought that was just because I do martial arts.”
“I’m sure the arts shape your perception. Water takes the form of its container, after all. But your gift is greater than simply sensing energy. You see demons, and you’re drawn to angels, are you not?”
“I mean. . . yeah, I guess.”
I nodded. “The Elohim, the Lord of Hosts—what we of the Mystic blood call the Mightiness—has chosen you to do the work you do. It’s not by chance that you fell into hunting unclean spirits for a living.”
“Hardly luck, but come. We must head for goblin territory.”
He shook his head as if waking from a daze. “No, no, I just came from there.”
“Listen, me and Santa just torched the goblin tower. The tower’s not the problem. The Goblin King—McSomething or other—he’s Possessed.”
“Possessed!” I shouted. “You’re certain?”
“Hey man, you said it yourself. This is what I do for a living.”
“Of course. The moment MacDrenneth started building the tower, he became open to the demons. The mere decision to commune with them made him a vessel for their influence.”
“So he wasn’t possessed when he started building it, but he was possessed when he sent word to the Anakim. That’s why they said their fathers, the fallen angels, had summoned them.” He stopped and stared at me. “They didn’t summon the Anakim to build the tower. They summoned them to get the attention of the one man who could get his hands on the Spear of the Seraphim.”
“. . .The only weapon that can kill both Anakim and Nephilim.”
“Dill, this was never about goblins or giants. This whole thing is about killing you!”