-Fist of Mephistopheles
The wooden door to the observatory made a loud creak as Drake pushed it in. Ancient dust flew, illuminated by the beams of sunlight poking through holes in the shutters. He looked around to see more dust and cobwebs lining the workbenches and shelves. The room reeked of antiquity as he sauntered through. It hadn’t been touched in thirty years, as Godfrey had told him.
He flipped down a lever as the mechanism and gears rotated against each other, lifting the steel shutters that darkened the room. The inside turned to day, bringing the rest of the observatory to life. Amid it was a large platform with a set of spiral stairs that led to the telescope. A telescope so massive and so accurate, that Astronomers begged Drake for the rights to his observatory. With the telescope’s magnification and the clear night skies the countryside gave him, no constellations went unseen.
He smiled and rubbed a tome resting in a shelf. He blew away the cover of dust, revealing a sun and moon. The book looked as if it belonged to a wizard or a witch with its old English writing and medieval paint. Resting on more shelves around the room’s perimeter were old ferns and plants carefully preserved in large glass containers. And they seemed to thrive.
Drake opened one container and was greeted by the smell of earth and wet soil. As the blast of sunlight hit the plants, they stiffened and glowed with a newfound sense of rejuvenation.
“How did you do it?” Drake asked.
Godfrey stood at the door’s threshold, hands crossed behind his back and as formal as ever. “Quite simple, sir. I gave the plants water and sunlight. They simply recycled it back to themselves and created their own ecosystem in those containers-”
“And now- now once again. They’re the leaves bathing in the sun…” He turned to Godfrey. “Godfrey, do you know what I am?”
Godfrey raised a quizzical brow.
“I am the roots that grow in the dark…”
Godfrey placed a hand on Drake’s shoulder. “And I am the gardener that supports that great foundation. I’ll have this place spruced up again in no time.”
The butler dismissed himself.
Drake unrolled a scroll from the table. Old Astronomical charts, to be exact. Some of which he had conjured himself based on his observations. Unseen genius that the world had yet to see and would likely never see. The forecast tonight predicted clear skies with no inclement weather. If he could ever find a moment of peace, he wanted to watch the stars. The same infatuation with the heavens followed him well into adulthood. Some of this infatuation he shared with other like-minded people. Men of science who wanted to bring goodness into a world of despair and corruption.
He studied under Greek scholars but trained as a warrior well into his adult life. Then his travels took him to places such as Damascus or Iraq where he had the honor of learning mathematics and philosophy. The warrior was strong, but also wise. And he wished to be the warrior in the garden, not a gardener in a war. But the world wasn’t built by scientists and philosophers. It was built by tyrants and killers.
A wooden case caught his eye, cleverly hidden among a pile of books and charts. He undid the latch and opened it. Drake stifled a gasp.
The case contained a stethoscope cushioned in velvet lining. He lifted the stethoscope still in pristine condition. A woman with white hair and violet eyes flashed in his mind. But she could have been mistaken for an angel. She smiled at him while she placed the stethoscope on his chest. It was a sunny afternoon, much like this one where the two of them sat together in this very room.
He slammed the case and looked over his shoulder. Lyn stood a few feet behind him, her face was perplexed. “Yes?”
“Something really terrible has happened…”
He found Lyn and Kalen playing a game of pool in the billiards room. Kalen’s face was painted with misery as Lyn won the game. She smirked and extended a hand. “Hand it over.”
Kalen released an audible grunt before placing a wad of cash in her hand. He racked his pool stick before returning to the cigar and whisky waiting for him at the bar. Godfrey prepared a glass of aged Macallan for Drake. Lyn stood by the pool table, still relishing her victory.
“What happened?” Drake asked.
His only answer was the cubes of ice jingling in Kalen’s glass. Kalen finished the glass in one gulp and took a puff of his cigar. He blew a small plume into the air that resembled a balloon of smoke. Lyn leaned against the pool table.
“Last night…” Kalen said, “a few towns were obliterated overnight. Mainly the larger ones near the English-Scottish border. Witnesses said they saw a giant flash of lightning. Though giant is a bit of an understatement.”
The blood drained from Drake’s face. He stared at the clear, amber colored Macallan in his glass. His throat went dry.
“That’s not all,” Kalen continued. “Apparently, some private corporation excavated the tomb of the four horsemen. And later that same night was when those towns were wiped out. Judging by that look on your face, you know what caused it, don’t you?”
Drake sighed. “They used a powerful lightning ritual. It’s called the Fist of Mephistopheles…”
“Fist of Mephistopheles?” Lyn asked.
Drake nodded. “Yeah, it requires four people to take place in every cardinal direction. Then they cast a powerful lightning spell that incinerates everything within the perimeter… EVERYTHING.”
Lyn gasped. Godfrey, as stoic as ever, continued cleaning glasses behind the bar. Kalen poured himself another glass.
“Only five people in history could perform it…”
“And who was the fifth person?” Kalen asked.
Drake regarded him coldly. “Me.”