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Brynnhollow

Book 7: Unsung

© 2019 by MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved

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Chapter 12

Stepping into the gazebo was like stepping into another world.

While the others were more used to the sight, seeing Warren's awe made the wonder of it feel new.

"Warren, I'd like for you to meet V, Xaphan, Deimos and Jim." Agent Roberts cautiously introduced.

"What is that?" Warren whispered with a tremble of fear in his voice.

Agent Roberts followed Warren's terrified gaze to verify which of many disturbing things to which he was referring.

"That's Xaphan, he's a demon. He was summoned here to help us. Don't worry, he's on our side." Agent Roberts assured him.

"Are those boys going to be safe with it?" Warren asked anxiously.

Agent Roberts fought down his urge to laugh at the question and quietly assured Warren, "The boys will be fine."

"Would you mind showing Warren around? I'd feel better if I could stay by the door." Otis quietly asked.

"I know what you mean. I should probably be doing that too." Agent Roberts chuckled, then said to Warren, "If you'll come over here to the table in the middle of the room, I'll introduce you to the people running this whole thing."

Warren took one step, then froze in his tracks as he focused on Rhuru-wra on the other side of the room.

"Is that a bigfoot?" Warren asked in amazement.

"Yes. But that's not all he is. Rhuru-wra is also an aspiring Wizard and a brave adventurer. Among his people he is known as 'The Wanderer'."

"It's... like a person?" Warren asked in confusion.

"Yes. In fact, everyone you're going to meet here are different varieties of people... well, almost everyone, there are one or two that I'm not completely sure about yet." Agent Roberts fought to clarify.

"Just one or two?" Warren muttered as he slowly looked around the room uncomprehendingly.

"Yeah. And before we go too far, you need to know that the majority of these people are involved in a project to help protect some vulnerable communities. They may not be able to break away from their tasks to talk to you. If they're concentrating on something else, please don't interrupt them." Agent Roberts said seriously.

"It's hard for me to believe that I'm here talking to them at all. Is that an elf?" Warren suddenly asked hopefully.

"Yes. His name is Jhaartael. Would you like to meet him?" Agent Roberts asked with a smile.

"If he's not too busy, I'd really like to."

"As far as I know, Jhaartael has been searching for some way to help out." Agent Roberts said honestly as he led the group into a neighboring 'quadrant' of the gazebo.

"Is that a demon?" Warren asked as he struggled to see everyone they were walking past.

"Yes. His name is Paul. He's very busy right now. If you hang around here for a while I'm sure that you'll get a chance to talk to him. He's a very friendly person."

"A demon... named Paul?" Warren asked uncertainly.

"Yes. You can ask him about it later." Agent Roberts said simply, then said more formally, "Warren Tennyson, I am honored to present Jhaartael. I don't know his formal title, but there's no doubt that he does have one."

"I am the Duke Jhaartael, sovereign lord of five of the nine realms of Anthea." Jhaartael proudly announced.

"That sounds really impressive, but I don't know what that means." Kirwin reluctantly said from his father's side.

"It means that if a child goes to bed hungry, that I have failed in my duties. If two neighbors can't work out a dispute to their mutual satisfaction, then it falls to me to mediate a compromise that neither will believe is equitable. Whatever bounty rains down upon the realm is surely the benevolence of the gods. But any ill that befalls us is due to my greed, short sightedness or sheer stupidity."

"That sounds awful." Kirwin quietly admitted.

"Those who are strong enough, both magically and intellectually, rise to positions of power. We serve those who are less capable and we are hated for it. Such is the nature of things."

"Are you really an elf?" Warren asked with boyish delight.

"Yes. Although I prefer to be counted as one of the Faerie Folk. Elves are but one of the different types of faeries and I do my best to represent all of them equally." Jhaartael explained.

"Do you see the half-elf over there at the table? That's Jhaartael's son, Milo." Agent Roberts said as he gestured in that direction.

"I see the half-elf and a demon, but what is that other thing?" Warren quietly asked.

"That's Reaper, called by his or her people, 'The Child of the Sword'." Agent Roberts carefully explained.

"His or her?" Warren cautiously asked.

"Sometimes Reaper's appearance fluctuates between being more male or female in general aesthetic. But most of the time Reaper is gender neutral." Agent Roberts explained.

"But what is he... she... it, I mean, what species?" Warren struggled to ask.

"A Nephilim, the offspring of an angel and a human."

"An angel? Like a real live angel?" Warren asked in wonder.

"Um. Yeah." Agent Roberts said slowly, then glanced at Steven before saying, "There are a couple of angels over here, if you'd like to meet them."

"Could I?"

"Yeah. Just... don't get your hopes up. Okay?"

Warren enthusiastically nodded.

Agent Roberts dutifully led the way past Reaper into the quadrant of the room where Mr. Hansen, Mr. Couleigh, Zarall and Jael were muttering and seemed to be concentrating.

"They seem to be busy right now. We probably shouldn't interrupt them." Agent Roberts whispered as they approached.

"Are they really angels?" Warren asked with tears of joy welling in his eyes.

"Yes. They're cherubim, from one of the many choirs of angels." Jhaartael quietly answered.

"They're so beautiful." Warren whispered in awe.

"Do you really think so?" Agent Roberts asked incredulously.

"It's like a dream come true." Warren quietly admitted.

"One person's dream is another person's nightmare, I suppose." Jhaartael said sagely.

"Yeah. Given the choice, I'd rather spend time with Milo's choir than with those angels." Agent Roberts admitted.

"Just how much do you know about that?" Jhaartael cautiously asked.

"I saw them in their statue forms at the ruined church and then I saw them here when Milo summoned them. Milo mentioned that they would automatically defend him... I think that's about it." Agent Roberts finished thoughtfully.

"The skill that he has employed, it has such potential for being misused." Jhaartael said gravely.

"I can't say that I know Milo well enough to tell you not to worry about it, but he doesn't strike me as the type of person who would intentionally hurt people."

"He's an oddling, without a doubt. I think I worry so much because I don't understand him. I can't tell myself that he's going to be alright because, for the life of me, I can't follow his reasoning."

"In the short time that I've known Milo, I've seen him switch his objectives several times. I think that if I tried to analyze and predict his actions that I would probably end up as frustrated as you are. I have the feeling that he desperately wants to believe in something bigger than himself and be a part of it, but he doesn't have any real 'plan', so to speak."

"Yes. That does sound like him." Jhaartael admitted.

"When he finds a cause, he throws himself into it, devoting all his passion. Then later, when his cause turns out to be less worthy than he had anticipated, he withdraws, feeling to some degree that the failure was his, for not working hard enough." Agent Roberts said speculatively.

"You say that you don't know my son well, but to me it seems that you know him better than he knows himself." Jhaartael said frankly.

"It's the FBI training. It forces you to identify people's motives to aid in predicting their behavior."

"What can you predict about my son?" Jhaartael asked cautiously.

"Look at him. He's a hero. What I predict for him is a long and happy future of being able to look back on a monumental accomplishment and possibly even serve as a mentor to inspire the next generation."

"What's that?" Warren asked suddenly.

"That's another demon. I think I remember her being introduced as Nomia. She's here helping Paul. That's really all that I know about her." Agent Roberts said honestly.

"But she's so different from the other one... Xaphan." Warren said thoughtfully.

"Just like there are many different types of faeries and angels, so are there many different types of demons." Jhaartael said informatively.

"Holy shit!" Paul suddenly gasped.

Everyone, all around the gazebo, turned their full attention toward Paul to see what had spooked him so badly.

After a long moment, Paul gravely said, "Guys. We've got a problem."

"What's wrong?" Agent Roberts immediately asked.

"We are so screwed. I just felt the entire barrier shifting, all at once. With everything else that we've been doing, nobody thought about anchoring the stupid thing. It's MOVING!" Paul finished in a rush.

"Isn't the barrier anchored to the Vinculum Chamber?" Agent Roberts asked cautiously into the silence that followed.

"Yes, in a way, but not really. Not in the way that you're thinking, anyway. When you're dealing with multidimensional spatial coordinates, you need to use an anchor that's based on the framework of the universe, not on one of the instances of it." Paul fought to explain.

"I should have thought of that. I even checked to see that Mars was in retrograde to gauge the influences on our spelling today. It never occurred to me to verify if the Vinculum itself was anchored." Mr. Hansen said anxiously.

"What can we do to fix it?" Agent Roberts quickly asked, always willing to skip directly to a solution when possible.

"We'd have to do a spell based in astrology to serve as an anchor. While I understand the mechanics of what we'd have to do, I don't know how to do it. I don't know any astrology spells." Paul finished gravely.

"That won't be an issue. I have more than enough familiarity with several traditional ceremonies that utilize astrological superstructures." Professor Everstone assured the increasing group who were gathering around the table where the Magi were still weaving their spells.

"I can't do more than what I'm already doing." Paul warned him without any trace of shame behind the words.

"I too am at my limit." Professor Everstone admitted, then continued, "However, that is why I spoke of ceremonies rather than spells. The only difficulty I foresee might be in adjusting our current efforts to allow Filipe and Mr. Hansen the freedom to conduct the ceremony."

"I'm barely keeping up with what I'm doing now. I can't do more." Filipe immediately warned him.

"Worry not. I am certain that Dr. Williams and I will be able to compensate for your absence from the spellcasting for a short time." Professor Everstone said confidently.

"While I appreciate your confidence and optimism, allow me to state so that there will be no doubt, we will need Filipe's help to complete this project." Dr. Williams said firmly.

"Yes, yes. I'm not so deluded that I can't recognize our limitations. But if we are to bring this matter to resolution in the current time with the people we have available, I can see no other way to proceed."

"Since I don't know what you have in mind, I suppose that I will have to take your word for that." Dr. Williams said frankly.

"Quite simply, what I propose is to assemble a group of people to represent the Houses of the Zodiac and lead them through a simple ceremony which, in theory, will result in the Vinculum chamber associating itself with the superstructure of the multiverse. I believe that Mr. Hansen is familiar enough with astrology to organize the spell and Filipe has developed his thaumaturgical ability to the point where he will be able to magically establish the bond between the ceremony participants and their astrological counterparts."

"Wait. Wait. Are you saying that in the middle of everything else that's going on, you want to put on some kind of a play?" Agent Roberts asked slowly.

"Our other choice would be to stop what we're doing and begin again several days from now, when we can get everyone together and back up to full power." Professor Everstone said seriously.

"No. We've already decided that this is our one and only chance to do this." Agent Roberts reluctantly admitted.

"Dr. Williams and I are going to be a bit overburdened compensating for Filipe's absence from our spelling endeavor. Would you help Mr. Hansen with the organization of the ceremony?" Professor Everstone asked hopefully.

"Of course. I'll do whatever I can to help." Agent Roberts immediately assured him.

"Can you guys handle this?" Mr. Hansen asked cautiously as he backed away from his spellcasting group.

"We are not guys. We are angels." Zarall said sternly.

"Go and do what you need to do. I've got this." Mr. Couleigh assured him.

"Are you sure?" Mr. Hansen asked, as he spared a distasteful look at the cherubs.

Mr. Couleigh followed his gaze as he said with a slight growl in his voice, "Leave it to me."

"It will just take me a minute to disengage." Mr. Hansen responded, then began performing a different series of casting hand signs, different from those he had been doing rhythmically before.

Agent Roberts glanced over to see that Filipe was doing basically the same thing.

Without understanding the meanings of the hand signs, Agent Roberts couldn't be sure of anything except that intense magic was being performed.

"What do we need to do first?" Agent Roberts asked aloud, not at all sure of who he was even asking.

"We need to choose people to represent the astrological Houses. Once the people are chosen, we will have Filipe link them into the ceremonial spell." Mr. Hansen slowly explained.

"I don't know what qualities you're looking for, so I don't know who to recommend."

"Before we begin, know that a valid selection can be made with someone who seems not to match any of the criteria." Mr. Hansen said as he seemed to suddenly become calm.

"I don't understand." Agent Roberts said honestly.

"For example, to represent the astrological House of Aries, I suggest that we use Ares. I don't know if he has any qualifications besides his name, but in the absence of other considerations, I'm inclined to go with it."

"So qualifications don't matter?" Agent Roberts cautiously asked.

"They matter, but they don't mean everything." Mr. Hansen said frankly.

"I still don't know what you're asking me to do." Agent Roberts said urgently.

"Of the people here, who would you say is dependable, strong... maybe a little stubborn." Mr. Hansen asked in a leading tone.

"I don't really know anyone here that well. But based strictly on first impressions I would guess that you're talking about V." Agent Roberts said seriously.

"I wasn't talking about anyone, I was listing the more common personality traits of a Taurus." Mr. Hansen carefully explained.

"But we need V where he is to keep an unwanted barrier from forming." Agent Roberts warned.

"This shouldn't interfere with that. While the Magi and spellcasters couldn't break away to participate in this, most of the rest will be able to join in if they wish."

"So they have to agree to do it?"

"Yes. The ceremony won't work correctly with the unwilling. But if you think about it, everyone is here by choice for the express purpose of helping those in need."

"Except for the cherubim." Agent Roberts said simply.

"Fuck them." Mr. Hansen let slip, then caught himself and amended, "Excuse me. What I meant to say was that their assistance won't be necessary for what we're planning to do."

"Whatever you say... so does this mean that we ready to start with Ares and V?"

"Yes. Filipe, are you ready?" Mr. Hansen asked hopefully.

"Yeah. I think so." Filipe answered as he approached.

"What I'm going to show you is a very simple spell. All you're going to be doing is using the principles of thaumaturgy to magically associate two things as being 'like'." Mr. Hansen carefully explained.

"We do stuff like that all the time in my Thaumaturgy class, so I should be okay with it." Filipe said seriously.

"Let me show you the hand gestures first. Since you're taking Thaumaturgy class, I'm sure that all of these will be familiar to you." Mr. Hansen said professionally.

After a moment of watching, Warren quietly asked, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Leo." Agent Roberts answered without turning his gaze from Filipe and Mr. Hansen.

"Excuse me?" Warren asked cautiously, not entirely sure that Agent Roberts' response had actually been directed at him.

"Dag, Warren asked if he can help." Agent Roberts said more loudly.

Mr. Hansen glanced away from Filipe toward Warren for a moment, then said, "Yes. He can help. He can be Leo."

"See?" Agent Roberts asked with a smile at Mr. Hansen's declaration.

"What do you want me to do?" Warren asked cautiously.

"Hey, Dag, if Warren agrees to be Leo, what's he going to have to do?" Agent Roberts asked curiously.

After a moment more of talking quietly to Filipe, Mr. Hansen looked up and said, "He would have to allow Filipe to cast a spell on him, then he would have to agree to follow the stage directions of a basic astrological ceremony."

"How bad do you think that will be for an average human?" Agent Roberts asked cautiously.

"As I said, as long as the participants are there by their own choice, most of the rest tends to work itself out. It's one of those cases when doing your best is usually good enough."

"So, you're saying that he has to try?" Agent Roberts asked uncertainly.

"Yes. Honestly and sincerely. If he'll do that much, it should work out just fine."

"What do you think, Warren? Can you do that?" Agent Roberts asked cautiously.

"I don't know." Warren said slowly, then turned to Mr. Hansen and quietly said, "You never mentioned anything about 'belief'."

"Some of the more religious types of magic require belief, especially from humans. But astrology is one of those disciplines that tend to work more scientifically. You do a thing and another thing happens as a result." Mr. Hansen explained.

"I think I'm ready. What do you need for me to do next?" Filipe quietly asked.

"If Warren agrees to it, you could try your incantation on him." Mr. Hansen suggested.

"Tell me again, why do you need Filipe to do this? Why aren't you doing it yourself?" Agent Roberts slowly asked.

"I'm reasonably well versed in Astrology, but I have little natural talent for Thaumaturgy. If I were to try and create the links to the astrological framework, chances are that most, if not all of the linkages would fail."

"Will you let me put the spell on you?" Filipe asked Warren hopefully.

"I don't know if I even believe in any of this!" Warren said with evident frustration.

"Dad, this is what Grandpa and I are doing here. If there's a way that we can help these people, we're going to do it." Kirwin said frankly.

"If you really mean that, we could use your help." Mr. Hansen said simply.

"What can I do?" Kirwin asked hopefully.

"Filipe, will you set Kirwin up as Aquarius?"

"Is it okay? Do you want to do this?" Filipe asked Kirwin cautiously.

"It's not going to hurt, is it?" Kirwin hesitantly asked.

"Nope. Not even a little bit. I'll put the spell on you, then all you'll have to do is move where we tell you and maybe say some words. I don't know much about that part. Mr. Hansen is doing the ceremony."

"But no pain? You promise?" Kirwin asked to be sure.

"Yeah. I swear it." Filipe said firmly.

"Okay. What do I have to do?" Kirwin asked nervously.

"Just stand there for a second while I 'make you' Aquarius. You shouldn't feel anything at all." Filipe explained as he began to perform the descriptive spellcasting gestures.

"What are you doing to him?" Warren asked anxiously as he watched.

"Kirwin is a person, he's a male, he's a teen..." Mr. Hansen said as he watched what Filipe was doing, "...in doing this, Filipe is making it so that Kirwin is Aquarius."

"You know, when you're playing a board game and you use a piece on the board to represent you? It's like that, except you're the piece and you're representing Aquarius." Filipe explained as he stopped his gestures.

"Well done, Filipe. That was perfect." Mr. Hansen said appreciatively.

"How do you feel?" Warren asked his son anxiously.

"I don't feel any different." Kirwin said honestly.

"Do you think I should do it?" Warren asked uncertainly.

"If you don't, then why are you here? What difference does it make if you show up and don't help out?" Kirwin asked frankly.

"He makes a good point. Observing from a distance contributes nothing. The only way to become a part of all of this is to step up and participate." Steven told his son.

"Is that what you and Kirwin have been doing all this time?" Warren asked curiously.

"No. We've been waiting until the day that we were needed." Steven said simply, then added with a smile, "This is what we've been waiting for. It's not too late. You can join in."

"Do you want to help us? Because I've got a role for you if you're interested." Mr. Hansen cautiously offered.

"Yes. I'd love to help, if I may." Steven said with a grand smile.

"Filipe, would you imbue Steven with the essence of Virgo?" Mr. Hansen asked with a slight smile.

"The virgin?" Steven asked with a chuckle.

"No. Virgo is dependable and patient, although sometimes critical and judgmental."

"Dad, it sounds made for you. Go ahead and do it and I'll go next." Warren assured him.

"Are you ready, Steven?"

"More than you can possibly know."

"Filipe?"

"Yeah. Let's do this."

* * * * *

"Who's next?" Filipe asked as he looked around the gathering.

"Why don't we go ahead and take care of Ares and V, then we can start looking for the other participants?"

As Filipe and Mr. Hansen started toward the Waxell door, where V was located, they were intercepted by Archdruid Highley.

"Are you looking for the players for the astrological spell that you're going to be doing?"

"Yes. And while I appreciate your enthusiasm, the probability of needing to traverse the gates makes the gatekeepers ineligible..."

"I sometimes have premonitions. I had one earlier that told me that you would need Linnaeus and Den to make your astrology spell work properly."

"But they are already acting as bridges." Mr. Hansen said slowly.

"All I know is that according to my vision, Linnaeus and Den will participate. If you fight against what is fated to be, you can cause untold damage to your cause." Archdruid Highley somberly warned.

"You're already planning to use Ares, and he's a bridge." Filipe interjected.

"Yes. That is true." Mr. Hansen reluctantly agreed.

"With his multiple legs and the way he arches his torso when walking, Linnaeus seems like a natural choice for 'Scorpio'." Archdruid Highley cautiously offered.

"Or a supernatural choice." Agent Roberts interjected with a grin.

Filipe and Archdruid Highley rolled their eyes as Mr. Hansen shook his head and groaned.

"Sorry." Agent Roberts said quietly, valiantly trying to suppress his laughter.

"As we were saying... Linnaeus would do well in the part of Scorpio. For the matter of Den, I saw him representing Libra. I can't speak to his qualifications, I just know what I saw."

"Dag, is there any reason at all for us not to just go with it?" Agent Roberts asked seriously

"That's not how I typically operate. However, in this instance it does seem the appropriate way to go."

"Who do you want for me to do next?" Filipe asked curiously.

"Let's take advantage of Jarvis while we have him with us." Agent Roberts said with a smile in his direction.

At Filipe's uncomprehending stare, Agent Roberts explained, "Linnaeus doesn't speak our language. Archdruid Highley can translate for us. It's best for us to make our move while we have everything we need close at hand."

"So I'm doing those guys next?" Filipe asked to be sure.

"Yes." Agent Roberts said as he guided Filipe to walk with him, then asked Jarvis over his shoulder, "You coming?"

Archdruid Highley and Mr. Hansen shared a look, then moved in unison to join Agent Roberts and Filipe.

* * * * *

"Guys? Would you like to help us out with something?" Agent Roberts asked as he approached Linnaeus and Den, standing side-by-side at the Nevermore doorway.

"The feeling of all this magic flowing through me is so trippy that you could kill me right now and I wouldn't even care." Den said blissfully.

"Is he going to be okay for the ceremony?" Agent Roberts asked uncertainly.

"He should be fine. All he has to do is stand where we tell him and possibly recite a passage of text, if that even turns out to be necessary at all." Mr. Hansen said slowly.

"Are you okay, Den?" Agent Roberts asked with concern.

"I'm better than I've ever been in my life." Den said happily, then glanced at Linnaeus at his side and continued, "Even if none of the rest of this happened it would all be worth it just to get to know Linny."

"Do you want me to go ahead and do it?" Filipe asked uncertainly.

"Linnaeus? Would you be willing to accept a spell cast upon you to make you the living representation of Scorpio?" Mr. Hansen asked carefully.

Archdruid Highley followed up with a brief statement in another language.

Linnaeus expression broke into a delighted smile and even though most present couldn't understand his screeching language, none had any doubt of what his answer was.

"Seven signs I grant you, yourself being the eighth. Holding close to Libra, close as brothers, continue forward, this I bestow, in this world be now the living representation of Scorpio." Filipe said as he performed seven very precise and distinct hand signs.

Agent Roberts watched curiously, since the spelling seemed unlike the others that he had witnessed.

"Why did you choose that spell?" Mr. Hansen asked curiously.

"Because of what Den just said. They need to do this together and if I weave that into the spell, their unity will only make it stronger." Filipe carefully explained.

"I need to confer with Mrs. Tabbert about what she's teaching you in Astrology. Not only is that a very useful adaptation, but it's also a bit higher level than I would have anticipated for someone your age." Mr. Hansen said honestly.

"I didn't learn that in class. I learned it because of Paul. He's always changing spells and making them do things that they weren't intended to do. Now I'm kind of in the habit of looking at spells as being things that can be bent and twisted to do exactly what I need them to do instead of just being 'close enough'." Filipe explained.

"Perhaps it's a consequence of growing up and having to pay a penalty for every failed spell. It makes one reluctant to 'color outside the lines' so to speak." Mr. Hansen said consideringly.

"Yeah. Paul and I both learned about magic about a year ago, so we never learned not to try new things." Filipe said thoughtfully.

"Are you okay, Linny?" Den asked his companion with concern.

Linnaeus gleefully screeched his response.

Den smiled at the reaction, then turned to Filipe and said, "You can do me next."

"Be the shield. Be the armor. Be the sword. Be not the wielder but the wielded. In this is your strength. In this you are Libra." Filipe said professionally.

"Whoa. That one just sent a chill straight up my spine." Agent Roberts chuckled.

"Thanks, kid. What was your name again?"

"Filipe."

"Thanks Fil. If you ever need anything, come and see me..." Den said sincerely, then was interrupted by Linnaeus' wheezy screech.

"Us, come and see us." Den finished with a smile.

"I will." Filipe promised, then was guided by Agent Roberts to start across the room, back toward the Waxell doorway.

"Who are we doing next?" Filipe asked as they walked.

"V?" Agent Roberts asked as he turned to look at Mr. Hansen inquisitively.

"Yes. V first, then Ares." Mr. Hansen confirmed.

"If Ares is anything like Linnaeus and Den, then maybe we should plan on doing Dark as well." Agent Roberts cautiously suggested.

"Ares only qualifies due to his name. Dark doesn't even have that much going for him." Mr. Hansen said frankly.

"Does a person have to have the right name or right animal transformation to make them right for a particular sign?" Agent Roberts asked cautiously.

"No." Mr. Hansen admitted, "There are any number of qualifications. Some have to do with personality and some seeming to be completely random, like their choice of clothing or jewelry that day."

"What would Dark need to do to get picked as one of the star signs?" Filipe asked curiously.

"I suppose the easiest way would be to assess his personality and see if his natural traits are the notable traits associated with one of the astrological Houses." Mr. Hansen said thoughtfully.

"He's loyal. By everything that I've seen, he seems to be absolutely devoted to Ares and the boys." Agent Roberts said seriously, then asked, "Does that sound like any of the Houses to you?"

"Cancer, almost verbatim." Mr. Hansen said frankly.

When no more was said on the subject, all present took it as a sign that the matter had been resolved.

* * * * *

"V, would you be available to help us out with something?" Agent Roberts asked hopefully.

"Certainly. What can I do for you?" V asked pleasantly.

"Dag will have to explain it. I'm having a little trouble wrapping my head around the whole thing." Agent Roberts shyly admitted.

"You're doing fine with it." Mr. Hansen assured him, then said to V, "We need to anchor the Vinculum chamber so that the barriers that we're creating won't unseat due to the drift of the multiverse."

"That sounds like a reasonable step to take. How can I help you?" V asked pleasantly.

"We were thinking that you could represent one of the astrological Houses to form the anchor." Mr. Hansen said seriously.

"As much as I would like to help you with that, I'm afraid that my infernal influence on your spell might do more harm than good. I'm assuming that you didn't want to anchor your Vinculum to a hell dimension."

"No. That wouldn't be my first choice." Mr. Hansen admitted.

"I'm an archdemon. Although I don't go around shooting off my magic in every direction, that doesn't mean that I am powerless. If you were to include me as an anchor, my power could conceivably override that of all the other participants. It might very well cause your Vinculum chamber to permanently anchor to the Meayithan Realm." V said seriously.

"Yeah. Let's not do that." Agent Roberts quietly suggested.

"Thank you for thinking this through. I suppose that when I was looking at the qualifications for the Houses, you were such a perfect fit for Taurus that I just considered it settled." Mr. Hansen shyly admitted.

"What are the qualifications for Taurus?" Agent Roberts asked curiously.

"Dependable... strong... really strong willed." Filipe slowly recalled.

"Rhuru-wra." Agent Roberts said simply.

"What was that?" Mr. Hansen asked as he turned his attention back toward Agent Roberts.

"It sounds like Rhuru-wra would be an excellent candidate for Taurus." Agent Roberts said frankly.

After a moment to consider, Mr. Hansen admitted, "He does seem to have the requisite personality traits."

"Let's go talk to him. I can't wait to see his reaction." Agent Roberts said with a grin as he led the way.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

I certainly hope it will be continued.

Sometimes MM leaves us hanging over those cliffs. We need to find a way to hang on till he sees fit to fill us in on what comes next. Of course, we all wait, not necessarily patiently, but we do wait.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher