Guardians of the Herald – Issue #30

Guardians Logo Draft IIRabdos snapped his fingers.  Parchment, a quill, and ink appeared floating in the air before him.  He snatched the quill, dipped it in the ink, and began to write on the parchment in an elegant script that belied the author’s appearance.

“You saw how we traveled here, yes?” Rabdos asked over his shoulder to the lemur sitting on Dante’s shoulder.  The little creature nodded its maggoty head, click-clacking its mantis-like pinchers.  “Good.”

Rabdos finished his note and rolled it up.  Then he pulled up the blade of his axe and sliced open the palm of his hand.  He held the rolled up edge of the scroll under the dripping blood until there was a small pool of the deep black liquid gathered there.  Releasing his axe, he pressed his thumb against the puddle.  He let out a grunt of pain as smoke issued out from under his thumb.  When he removed the digit his symbol briefly showed in the cooling black fluid before it vanished.

“You have your home here now,” Rabdos said, indicating the man Robert Dante.  “Take this back to our lands on the plain of Gehenna.  Find one of our imps, I care not which, and instruct him to take this to the master, then return here.  I should have full control of your host by then.”

The little lemur took the scroll in its pinchers as though it were made of glass.  The creature hopped off Dante, onto the table, then down to the floor.  Once on the floor it turned the scroll up and struck one end on the floor firmly while uttering the same incantation it had heard its master use to travel to the warehouse.  Just as before, a crack formed and began spreading across the warehouse floor.  Inky black smoke began flowing out of the cracks, surrounding the lemur until it was fully covered.  Once the creature disappeared inside the cloud of smoke, the blackness began to recede from whence it came until it was gone, and the crack in the floor vanished with it.

“Now let’s see if we can get you firmly on the right side,” Rabdos said, hefting his axe and shooting a bolt of fire across the warehouse.  Something clattered to the floor, making a loud crash and startling Robert Dante.

Dante rose and hurriedly scurried around the warehouse.  He moved and darted around every corner checking to see if someone was there.  His furtive movements took him to every window and door before he was satisfied the building was secure.  Then he returned to his task at hand with a few more paranoid glances around the room before he settled back in to his soldering chore.

“Excellent.  A base of fear should do nicely,” Rabdos said, launching more fire at a shovel directly across from Dante.  The shovel slid down the wall, catching Dante’s eye before it clanged loudly to the ground.  Dante looked around again wide eyed.  Nothing else had changed, but Rabdos could see a trickle of sweat rolling down the man’s left temple.  The demon strolled across the table toward where Dante worked.  The parchment, quill, and ink floated along beside him.

Rabdos took a sheet of parchment and laid it over the paper plans Dante was referring to as he soldered.  The parchment drifted down and melded with the papers underneath.  Then Rabdos took the quill and began to write.

Robert Dante, he wrote.  The words appeared on the paper before Robert Dante but he didn’t see them as he was busy soldering a wire into the cell phone detonator.  The time is at hand to choose sides.  Bombs blowing up baseball games is such a blunt instrument.  Join me and I can give you access to power far greater.

Robert Dante blew on the solder point he’d just finished and looked down at his schematic for the next step.  The page that should have shown the next steps was blank except at the top.  Dante frowned, set his project and tools down, and rifled through the four pages looking for the one that should have been on top.  All four pages were blank.

Dante began shuffling the pages examining each one on both sides.  Each page was blank except for the one.  He read the words again, but it took his brain a moment to catch up to what his eyes were relaying to it.  He set the papers down and sat up puzzled.

Yes, this is really happening Robert, Rabdos wrote.  Your little encounter with Carrie is but a start.  Join with me and I can give you that everyday plus the promotion and raise you’ve been wrongfully denied.

Dante hopped off his stool and looked under the table, feeling around with his hand.  He couldn’t see very well and retrieved a flash light from a bag on the floor.  The light revealed nothing unusual under the simple table.

“Who’s there?” Dante asked.  The sudden idea that someone else might be there playing a trick on him frightened him more and he dropped to the ground pulling a small handgun out of the bag on the floor.  Gun out, Dante rose in a crouch searching for a target.  More words appeared on the paper before him, and he read as a man compelled.

Your caution is well deserved.  You are watched by the forces of your government.  This plan will not succeed and you will be put in prison if you do not join with me.  I can change all that.

“Who are you?  How are you doing this?” Dante asked quietly of the darkened warehouse.

You know me.  You’ve worked at my direction all your life.  I simply offer a more material partnership now, Rabdos lied.

“You are Shaytan, the devil.  Go away,” Dante shouted, swinging the gun around still searching for a target.

Shaytan?  No.  Benefactor?  Yes.  I will prove it.  You are nearly done with the detonator.  Set your warehouse alarm system to call that phone if the alarm is tripped, then arm the tanker and leave.  The police will be here in the next several hours and when they enter the warehouse you will kill them all.  Then will you believe I am on your side? Rabdos wrote.

Robert Dante considered the proposal.

You have nothing to lose.  You are almost done with your task and tonight you will be returning to detonate the device at the baseball game, Rabdos wrote.  Set the device as I’ve instructed and continue with your plan.  If the warehouse is still here tonight when you return then do as you plan, but if there is only a smoking crater then lay out these papers again, speak my name and we will continue our conversation.

“I don’t know your name,” Dante said, speaking at the paper now.

I am Rabdos the Generous, the paper said.  The words barely finished forming when they all began to fade away.  The papers before Robert Dante once again displayed the schematics for his soldering project.  Dante rifled the pages again looking for the words he’d just read.  He checked his watch and the last few steps he had to complete.  He looked at the tanker then set his jaw and returned to complete the soldering job, but he kept the papers in his field of view the entire time watching to see if the words would reappear.

Until Next GotH

Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm.  For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at