ARMY OF THE NIGHT
E-mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Disclaimer: The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the------------------------------------------------
character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics. No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the
arts, I won't object. ;-) Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!
"I kept scrying to find him but the flaming spell kept pointin' to you,"Amaranth said crossly,as if that was his fault somehow."I couldn't fuckin' figure it out."
"Must have been the switch,left a residual trace of Bob's energy in his head,"Helga said,but not to him.
Amaranth made a rather rude noise and shook her head vehemently."No way.I did the switch- there was no residual traces to leave."
It took him a moment,but he finally figured out the 'switch' they were referring to was when he and Bob switched bodies back in Dis."So what if Bob's gone?He always comes back."
"You don't know what actually happened,"Amaranth said coolly."It wasn't an earthquake down in Bondi,it was a bit of a blue between Bob and some sort of creepy crawly."
"A blue?"Logan repeated.
Helga translated."A fight.We think with an Old One."
"An Old One?"Hadn't he heard that term before?"Isn't that what the Aborigines call Bob?"
"How the hell do you know that?"Amaranth asked.
But he ignored her."Yes,but we're not talking in Aborigine terms,"Helga told him."They call all demons Old Ones,but distinguish between good and bad ones.We're talking Old Ones in Watcher terms,which means the big ass demons that ruled the Earth before Humans showed up."
He glanced between the tired Helga and truculent Amaranth,and asked,"And I'm supposed to believe that?"
Amaranth made a noise of disgust."Why did Bob entrust anything to this drongo?"
He heard footsteps on the stairs and turned to see a woman coming down from the second floor.He had no idea who she was and tensed,but she looked harmless enough:a tall woman of average weight,with long brown hair draped casually over her shoulders and a girlish fringe of bangs covering her forehead. eyes a guileless dark blue,and most remarkably he thought he saw recognition in them."So you're Logan, huh?"She asked,and her voice betrayed a strong American accent.
He eyed her warily."Who the fuck are you?"
"Tallulah,"she replied,bronze painted lips curving up in amusement at his hostility.She was barefoot, wearing a rather shapeless red sweatshirt and loose black yoga pants,and she smelled human,which was a surprise.She came over to him and held out her hand towards him."It's always nice to meet a fellow mutant."
Yet another surprise."You're a mutant?"He shook her hand lightly,but only because he was stunned.
She nodded."Not a very good one.I hear you have claws and advanced healing,and enough stamina to go all night."
"What?"He exclaimed,and snapped his head around to glare at Helga.Conveniently,she had gotten up and was disappearing into the kitchen archway.
"Anyone else want a beer?"Helga asked,sounding like she was trying to cough to cover the laugh.
He glowered in Helga's wake,but that did no good at all."So what can you do?"He asked,trying to steer the conversation elsewhere.
"Oh,I can astral project,basically.I can tell myself where I want to go and mentally go there,but I have to be unconscious to do it.And I have some physical mutations."
He eyed her carefully."What do you mean?"
"Well,there are these,"Tallulah said,and lifted up her shirt,revealing her breasts.
All four of them.
Just as he was getting over the surprise of that,she dropped her shirt back,and said,"I have extras of these too."And she held up her chestnut fringe of bangs to reveal two more blue eyes looking at him from the base of her hairline.
It took everything in him not to jump back in shock.
"Well...huh."He thought about making a joke on how nothing escapes her,but he bet she'd heard that a million times before.He slowly became aware that her scent was familiar somehow."Hey,I smelled you at the bar."
Now it was her turn to be surprised."You smelled me?Wow,I didn't think I had a presence at all when projecting."
"You probably don't,"Helga said,returning from the kitchen.She tossed him a can of Castlemaine XXX, which he caught easily.He'd never asked for a beer,but Helga obviously assumed he'd want one.She assumed right."He could smell a bad bet.He's got a nose like..."
"A wolverine?"Amaranth suggested sardonically.
"Do they have a good sense of smell?"Helga asked her,sitting back down in the neutered electric chair.
"Yes.They can track prey for miles by scent alone.They're nasty little buggers."
"What is this?"Wild Kingdom"?"He snapped.
Helga just shrugged."I don't know much about wolverines.Besides you,of course."
He wasn't about to admit he didn't know much about them either,except they were cold climate animals with claws that could gut a Grizzly.That was the entire extent of his wolverine knowledge.
He turned back to Tallulah,and said,"How are you involved in this?Are you a distance relation of Bob or something?"
She smiled slyly,as if she found the question vaguely amusing."Or something.I was...what,wife number seven?"
Helga just shrugged,opening her can of beer.
Amaranth,pouring what looked like tiny animal bones out of a velvet pouch,said,"Don't ask me."
Tallulah shrugged."Well,I think I was number seven.Who knows?Anyways,it was a drunken,spur of the moment Vegas wedding,so it didn't last long,but we've always been friends.Men as sweet as him don't come along that often."
He almost asked,but decided he didn't really want to know.Bob had mentioned having a mutant ex-wife, but he had thought he was kidding."Still,why help?"
"I was here on vacation,and why wouldn't I help.This could be catastrophic."She then glanced at Helga. "Right?"
Helga nodded an affirmative.
"So why the fuck am I here?"Logan asked,throwing out the question to anyone."Bob can beat these Old Ones,right?"
Helga grimaced."You might want to have a seat."
"It's that long?"
"Isn't it always?"
She had a point.So Logan took a seat on Bob's blue suede couch,and cracked open his own beer,and waited to hear the explanation for why they slingshotted him half way across the globe to help a guy who never needed it.
Tallulah sat next to him,and between gaps in the story told him all about her relationship with Bob.They met when she was a member of the chorus in a topless ice skating review (!) at a casino's rink (the costume and judicious use of tape hid her "spare boobs").As far as she could tell,he was in town to fuck with the casinos (he liked to walk through them and make everyone at a table-from craps to blackjack- think they've won.The casinos lost money whenever he came to town and could never figure out how). They got on like a "house afire",and she thought he was unbearably cute,especially in his "Shag me, I'm Australian" t-shirt.They got very drunk,and she admitted she was a mutant and always felt bad about it since she was sure she'd never have a functional relationship because of it.He admitted he was a demon and it never stopped him,and at some point he said:"Wanna get married?" She said sure,so they went off to The Church of The Enterprise,a Star Trek themed quickie wedding chapel,and got married by A Spock impersonator.She barely remembered it,but a Sulu impersonator took some lovely photos.
(At this point Logan didn't know whether to laugh or burst into tears.)
When they sobered up,they both decided it was probably a rash decision,but it took them several months before they filed for divorce.They'd been on good terms ever since,and Bob even set her up with one of his great great grandsons (okay,that was so weird he really didn't want to know).
Between the horrifying story of Bob and Tallulah's marriage (she kept the last name Oberon,because it was much better than her maiden name:Hoover-Onion.She had to be making that up...),Helga told him about the Old Ones and what might have happened to Bob.
The Old Ones were basically ancient demon gods who were toxic to Humans and most living things,and most dwelled in hell dimensions.But not all,and since there was no earth shattering event,they assumed the Old One that grabbed Bob was from an alternate dimension but not precisely a hell one,which narrowed it down a little bit.
The mystery was the man who seemed to be the companion of the Old One-a guy Bob called Ceph or Seth;the family had no reference to draw on there.They figured he was a demon,but that was still no help.
Bob could defeat one Old One,maybe;possibly.They weren't sure.But more than one and he was probably screwed,and they were pretty sure that's why Bob was taken to another dimension,to ensure the victory.They figured it was some kind of revenge scenario.
"I still don't see why you needed me,"Logan said,his beer and patience almost gone.
"I kept casting a locator spell to find him,"Amaranth said,irritation clear in her voice.She was wearing what must have been her traditional garb,a black see through shirt and a magenta sports bra,this time combined with blue PVC shorts and heavy Chukka boots that made her look eccentric,to say the least. She was,beyond a doubt,related to Bob.
She also had a necklace hanging around her neck,and the pendant looked like nothing so much as a little leather pouch filled with feathers and bones.She had sifted the tiny bones into patterns on the ash dirtied mirror,and she never once looked up."But it kept focusing on you.It was driving me mad."
"Why would it focus on me?"
"It has to be the body switch,"Helga said,looking at Amaranth.
But Amaranth was still hunched over the mirror,sitting cross legged behind it and looking down into it like it was a bottom pit."In yer boot.I'm no twit,Helga-there was nothing left after I put them back in their right places.Maybe someone decided to point the bone at him and get us off track."
"Say what?"Logan asked.Was she speaking English?
Tallulah put her hand on his arm and he had to fight the urge to pull his arm away.It was nothing personal,he just didn't like to be touched most of the time."I know,the Australian slang takes a bit of getting used to.But after a while you hardly notice.And chunder is a much nicer way of saying barf,isn't it?"
He moved away from her,until he couldn't move farther away from her on the couch without cutting through the armrest and sitting on the floor.
Helga held her beer can loosely between her thighs,and got a pensive look on her face."What if Bob did it on purpose?"
That made Amaranth look up,her electric blue hair moving around her face like it was alive."What?"
"You know Bob.What if he gave Logan...something?Something the spell kept picking up?"
"What do you mean?"He asked,not liking the sound of this.What had Bob done to him now?
Amaranth considered that a moment,her eyes as bright blue as her lips and her hair."Ah shit yeah,I bet Bob thought something like this might happen.It's hard to put one over on him."
"Hey-what the fuck did he do to me?!"He interrupted angrily.
Helga and Amaranth both stared at him,pityingly and coldly,respectively."I don't know,"Helga admitted.
"Left a bit of his mind in yours-or at least some energy.Why I don't know as yet.You seem like a real no hoper to me."Amaranth added.
He didn't need to know slang to understand what that meant."Hey!"
"Logan can survive it,"Helga said.He wasn't sure if she was coming to his defense or not."Bob's energy didn't burn him out,he didn't die.He was probably the only one Bob could safely trust it with."
"Trust what with?Will someone tell me what the fuck is going on?"Man,Bob had better stay away,because he was going to kill him when he saw him next.
"As soon as we figure it out,hon,we'll let you know,"Helga replied,not unkindly.
"He left you a chunk of his energy,why we don't know,and no one I can think of could read it without going "Scanners" all over the carpet,"Amaranth said,looking down at her bones again.
"Why would he do that?"Logan wondered,ready to storm out.Not that it would do him any good- Amaranth would probably just zap him back here,and god knew how he'd get out of Sydney-but he was really tired of Bob and his shit.
Helga looked at him and shrugged,but Amaranth,not looking up,said,"So you could find him,and he could save himself."
Logan threw up his hands and rolled his eyes.That was as clear as mud.
"Can we find him through the bit of Bob in his head?"Helga asked.
"We can't,but he probably can.Sure you trust this guy?"Amaranth replied.
"Bob did-isn't that good enough?"Helga replied.
Amaranth was forced to shrug,still not happy,but what the fuck could she do about it?
"I never agreed to find him,"Logan pointed out."Besides,he doesn't need help-he'll be back."
"If he could get back he would be by now,"Helga argued,sounding very convinced of herself."Tomorrow's the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras,and he never misses it.When else can he wear his sombrero and feather boa, and do his Gene Loves Jezebel impersonation?The opportunity doesn't come up that much."
He stared at her in disbelief."He has a feath-"he shook his head,cutting himself off."No,I don't want to know."
"He's a larrikan,"Amaranth said,referring to Bob.He thought;he wasn't sure.Logan had no idea what she had just said.
"Is that Australian for smart ass?"He asked.
"Close enough,"Helga conceded.
"I've got something,"Amaranth announced.Was the mirror actually glowing?It cast flickering shadows across her face,but nothing appeared to be on fire."The trace on the bad guy panned out.He's in a neighboring earthly dimension."
"Well,Earth is good,"Tallulah said,trying to be encouraging.
"A parallel one."Amaranth continued.
"How parallel?"Helga asked.Did she sound nervous?
"One where someone opened a Hellmouth,looks like."
"What does that mean?"He wondered.In theory,it didn't sound good.
"Demon ruled Earth,Humans kept as food,post apocalyptic and kind of dirty,"Amaranth looked up,and the mirror seemed to dim."It would make sense that some Old Ones might hang out there.They're probably kings of the castle."
"And Bob would be screwed,"Helga mused,sounding very concerned for him.
"He can handle demons,"Logan said,although he had his own doubts about it.
"Most demons,"Amaranth said."But not Old Ones."
"Do you think he's dead?"Tallulah asked,her voice a troubled whisper.
Amaranth shook her head vehemently."No.I'd feel it if he was."
"So what is that guy and the Old Ones doing to him?"Tallulah wondered.
The question seemed to lay heavy in the room.No one knew for sure.
But it couldn't be good.
He was in,to the best of his knowledge,some kind of sunken pit that must have once been the basement and lowermost floors of a building;maybe a parking garage as well.The walls defining the pit were steel reinforced concrete,greenish black with slime,blood,and several disgusting demonic secretions.He knew this was a wallow of the Old One's just by the stench alone.
Of course,he had more than his sense of smell to go on.He was more or less nailed to the wall inside the wallow.His legs were trapped by steel cables,wrapped around from ankle to thigh like snakes.and a steel band as thick as big as a fender on a '68 Buick Skylark kept his arms pinned to his sides.But it was the spike through the band,his chest,and the concrete that was keeping him against the wall,suspended about ten feet off the muddy,blood soaked ground.
Man,that had hurt.
It still hurt-how could a five inch thick piece of steel not hurt when it was pounded through the center of your chest cavity and out through your back-but mainly it was just the queer feeling of cold metal inside him (it was now getting a bit warmer),and the rather disconcerting spells and energy of the Old Ones surrounding him,which were preventing him from escaping or using any of his meager spells, including teleportation.He couldn't get a feel for minds anymore either:the powerful,diseased brains of the Old Ones put out a sort of blanket of mental static,psychic white noise that clogged his synapses and made it hard to even think.But he knew he was lucky-if he was human or even a minor demon,he'd have gone completely insane by now.
They weren't in the wallow itself,but skulking in two of the four tunnels that converged on this spot,and from the fetid,fermented shit smell emanating from them,he bet they were tunnels that led directly into the sewers.But then,that was the kind of place the Old Ones would love,the muck and decay that probably reminded them of the time before,when the Earth was all theirs.Of course,it was here too,but the primordial ooze was missing,so they had to settle for shit.
"Do you ever shut up?"Ceph whined.
He was pacing restlessly in the wallow,and he was wearing a mask over his nose and mouth to block out some of the smell,and wearing knee high waders to avoid getting muck on his pants.What a whimp.
Seriously,how could he expect to be an evil mastermind-or an evil mastermind's sidekick-and not get a bit dirty?"No.I can't believe you don't remember that."
Ceph's colorless eyes,in which you could sometimes see-if you looked hard enough-swirls of pink and lavender,spots of seafoam green that seemed to pulse in and out,glared at him evilly over his mask."You're a disgrace,Drai'shajan,you know that?"
That made him unhappy.Well,unhappier."If I had your powers,I'd have taken them down by now."
"I have no interest in them.They leave me alone,I leave them alone.Is this your big plan,Goldfinger?Use me to get to them?How,precisely?You know they couldn't give a rat's ass about me."
"Oh,believe me I know.You'll simply be the engine of their destruction."
Even though the lower half of his face was covered,Bob just knew he was scowling at him."You can't even take this seriously,can you?"
Ceph was probably frowning hard enough to break his face in half."How arrogant are you?You don't even care about your own death."
"You know what will happen if I die,"he replied,giving the little puss a cold smile.
Something on Ceph's half hidden face seemed to falter,crack.He must have forgotten.Then he seemed to regain his confidence."Ah,but you forget,we're going to beat you there.We'll make sure you're dead for good."
"Somehow I can't seem to be impressed.You've always been a half assed loser,Ceph,and hitching your wagon to these washed up dinosaurs just proves it."
"Brave talk for someone nailed to the wall."
"Like this is the first time this has happened to me."He sighed,rolling his eyes."You couldn't even be original."
Ceph's eyes narrowed to deadly slits."Let's see how cocky you are after you've been drained of power."
Bob scoffed."Drained?I don't care if you have a dozen moldy Oldies here,that's gonna take a while."
He just knew,from the way colors bloomed and died in the irises of his eyes,that he was grinning like a wolf."Yes,it will.It will take a long,painful amount of time.You'll be begging to die."
"I doubt it.You've never gotten anything right,and I doubt you're gonna start now."
He glared up at him,blood vessels exploding and being reabsorbed within his brighter than white eyes,so furious Bob was rather surprised he was maintaining his Human form."You'll regret that.You'll regret everything you've ever said to me.You could have had a part of this;you could have been a ruler rather than a slave."
"Even if you rule shit,it's still shit."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"I don't know what you think is so great there.I think you'll be disappointed."
"Just because you like mucking about with the lower beings doesn't mean everyone has to,or that everyone else enjoys it."He heard slithery movements,the sound of scales sliding across oatmeal thick mud,and the long,dark tentacles of the Old Ones started emerging from the sewer entrances cut into the side walls."You could have had potential,Bob."
"Not you.You were doomed from the start,weren't you Lucy?"He replied,not unkindly,although he used his old nickname for him that he knew he hated.The poor thing had always been delusional,but now he had really crossed a line,and there was no turning back,no mercy possible.
The look he gave him was pure flaming death."Shut up.Shut up you wastrel,fallen god.You have become as much a savage as the things you live among.When you finally die,it will be a mercy killing.And when I storm heaven and see you there,you will be the first vestige I burn away."
Bob gazed down him impassively,feeling a strange pity for him."Even if you succeeded,Luce,you know the Old Ones would never leave the door open for you.No matter how you slice this,you're a dead man."
He gave him a final,hateful glance,then turned and stalked away as best he could through the muck, leaving through an empty sewer tunnel as the Old Ones started oozing their hideous bulk into the wallow.
"Okay,let's get this party started,"Bob said,with much more enthusiasm than he actually felt.
This was going to hurt,no doubt about it.But at least it would all be over soon.
She glared at him like he was the stupidest thing she'd ever met."Because I only know his dimension,not his precise location.And I'm sure the Old Ones have him hidden from all means of divination."
Helga,who had been paging through a thick,leather bound book that looked fairly old,suddenly said,"Oh shit."
"What now?"He sighed.He knew from personal experience that nothing was ever so bad that it couldn't get worse.
"Did it occur to anyone that Ceph might be Bob's nickname for Lucifer?"
Amaranth dropped the bones in her hand,and they hit the mirror with a sound not unlike dice being thrown."Holy shit."
"What?Satan has Bob?"Logan asked,trying not to laugh.He'd think they'd be good friends.
"Satan doesn't exist,"Amaranth offered off handedly,sounding distracted."Although several Hellgods might borrow the name for a certain cache among Humans who don't know any better."
"But Lucifer does exist?"He asked."So what the hell is he?"
"An experiment gone wrong,"Helga replied."He was the first attempt of the Powers That Be to communicate their wishes to Humans.He was sort of an off shoot,a demon given a minor bit of Power That Be-ness,so he could act as a go between."
"Word is he went nuts.He couldn't stand Humans and he wanted a place among the PTB's.Even though he was their messenger,he was considered a 'lower being' and they told him to get stuffed.He went on a killing spree,and they removed his PTBness,although he was powerful enough without it.He has a major grudge against them,though."
"Understandable,"Logan opined."Bein' used and discarded can make ya bitter.But why grab Bob?"
"Bob once told me Lucifer approached him,"Helga said,with a certain hesitancy,as if she was afraid she was breaking a confidence."He was getting an army together,and he wanted Bob as his General,or something like that."
"An army?"Logan put it together without having to be told."To take on these Powers That Be,right?"
"That's insane,"Tallulah interjected.Bob isn't powerful enough to take on the Powers That Be.Is he?"
"I wouldn't think so,"Helga replied.
"Possibly,"Amaranth contradicted with great confidence.
"Hell yeah,"Logan said."I was in his body.Fuck was that a trip.If there's somethin' more powerful than him I'd rather not meet it.I think I know what it must feel like to be a star goin' supernova."
"I admit,he's powerful-"Helga began,but he didn't let her finish.
"Come on-he's a god,isn't he?Some kinda demon god,slumming."
"He says he can't say,"Amaranth said.
"But-wait.I still don't see why he'd grab Bob,"Tallulah said,sounding almost distraught.Still had a crush on him,dating one of his distant relations or not.
"Bob turned him down,and suggested Lucifer needed help and that he could help him,"Helga continued, staring daggers at him for interrupting her."That apparently offended him.Bob figured he'd been added to his shit list."
"So why didn't he take him,or at least fuck with his mind?"He wondered.
"Lucifer is mostly an Asmodeus demon.Not a type Bob can mentally access,like Ressiks."Helga shut the book she had and picked it up with her tail,which put it back on the shelf beside her as she took a hefty swallow of her beer.
"Asmodeus?"Amaranth said,surprised."I thought they were extinct."
"They are.All but Lucifer."
"Oh man,"the blue haired witch said,and she actually sounded sympathetic."Boy,the PTB's really wanted to punish him,didn't they?Is he immortal too?"
Helga shrugged."Bob didn't think so,but figured he was very close to it for a mortal being,and older than him.The PTB's would want to extend his punishment for hubris for a long time."
"No wonder he's all twisted.If I was him,I'd want to kill the bastards too,"Logan admitted.He sympathized with the guy,but considering he had his little demon friends kill eleven people on Bondi Beach,he found it hard to hang on to it.Sympathy could only go so far."So he grabbed Bob 'cause he wanted to get even with him?"
Helga could only shrug."I'd think so.Even with the Old Ones,there's no way he could force Bob to help him with their plan."
"Could they use him some way anyway?"Logan asked.He clearly remembered closing all those dimensional rifts while inhabiting Bob's body.If he had the power to close them,one would assume he had the power to open them as well.
Helga gave him a horrified look,and he got the sense she hadn't wanted to think about that,nonetheless have anyone mention it."I don't know."
He caught a flash of dark movement outside the window,just out of the corner of his eye,and he snapped his head around,only to see nothing but the lights of the city across the harbor rippling on the ink black water."What the hell was that?"
"Fruit bat,"Amaranth said dismissively.
"At night Bob's place is swamped with fruit bats,"Helga explained."He has a whole bunch of fruit trees around this place,specifically for the bats.If you look out the window,you'll see the trees covered with them."
"He said a fruit bat saved his life once,back in the convict days,"Amaranth
elaborated."He didn't say how, exactly,but ever since he's been fond of
fruit bats.When I was a kid,we used to sit on the back porch at sunset and
watch the bats fly in.It was like this big,living black cloud.It was freaky
at first,but he'd grab a
Well,maybe not Lucifer.
He couldn't quite shake the image of Bob as Snow White,only with fruit bats on his shoulders as opposed to birds,and it was hard not to laugh."Okay,back to the point.What kind of power does Lucifer have?"
"Not much,"Helga told him."He's stronger than an average Human,but probably a weakling next to you."
"They can cloud minds too,can't they?"Amaranth asked,now out of her reverie.
"Asmodaii?Yeah,I think they can-could-play minor sensory tricks,make people see things that weren't there and whatnot,but it's limited,and not really big shakes.If it was,they might not be extinct."
"I thought the PTB's killed them off,"Logan said.
Helga shrugged."Possibly,through other go betweens,but I don't know."
"Right,"Amaranth said,as if she'd just finished a long speech."I think I have the power to send you there, Logan,but you might have to save Bob if you want a return trip."
"Hey,I never said I was goin'."
"Afraid of Lucifer?"
He scowled at the little witch."Hardly.I just don't like people volunteerin' me for things."
"I think Bob already did,"Helga pointed out.
Logan remembered that joke Bob made a while back-"You're the only Human I've ever met who could actually serve as an emergency corporeal vessel for me if I ever needed one;your body doesn't even cave for me."-and suddenly wondered if that had been a joke at all.Oh,that fucking bastard."So what exactly am I supposed to do when I get there?"
"Find Bob."Helga replied tersely.
"And I'm searching an entire dimension?"
"No,"Amaranth said,pulling something out of the pouch around her neck.It looked like a bit of granulated ashes."I would guess the Old Ones have him,and they would be around their center of power."
"The Hellmouth,"Helga agreed,nodding.
"Sunnydale,California."Amaranth clarified for him.
If they knew where the thing was he still didn't get why Amaranth just couldn't zap him here. Okay, whatever."Right.So I kill these Old Ones,and-"
"Oh no,mate,"Amaranth said,chuckling coldly."You can't get near those ugly fuckers.You may be a mutant, but you're still a Human,and one look at them and you'll go bugfuck nuts."
"I won't look at them."He replied sarcastically.
"You don't actually have to set eyes on them,"Helga said."They're just so evil it sort of...broadcasts from them.Something about them,something emanating from their minds,drives people and lesser demons instantly crazy."
"Sort of like Cthulu,"Tallulah interjected.
They all looked at her."Huh?"Logan asked.
"H.P. Lovecraft's demon god of madness,"Amaranth explained."That was a close approximation,actually. Makes you wonder who gave him the inside info."
"So,what the fuck am I supposed to do if I can't get close to Bob?"
"You can,just not when the Old Ones are around."Amaranth said,as if that was patently obvious.
"And how do I know they're not around?"
"With your senses,Logan?Believe me,you'll know."Helga told him.
"Get to Lucifer,"Amaranth suggested."You'll probably scare the shit out of him."
"Why?"He wondered,then realized he'd probably walked into something.
"I thought that was one of your gifts,"Amaranth replied,proving he was right.
He glared at her,but that only made her smile.She was so much like Bob.
"If you can get to Bob,he should be able to access the thing in your mind,and this will be over."Helga said.
"How do you know that?"
She shrugged."I don't.I'm just assuming."
"Would the Old Ones affect me,even in my projected state?"Tallulah asked.
Helga and Amaranth exchanged glances,and both shrugged in unison."I don't know,"Helga admitted.
"Can you help me mentally project into that dimension?"Tallulah asked Amaranth.
"It's okay,I work best solo,"he said.If he had to go in with someone,he'd prefer Helga;hell,he'd pick Amaranth-winning personality and all-over Tallulah.He was sure she was very nice,but god,what a weirdo. It made perfect sense that she'd be in Bob's orbit.
Hey-what did that say about him?
Amaranth had to think about that for a moment."Yeah.It's a lot easier than transporting you physically."
"Really,it's cool,"he told Tallulah."You don't need to...risk yourself."
"It's no risk,"she said,completely missing the point."I just can't be with you for too long.After a while I get tired and have to return to my body."
"That's understandable,"he said,trying hard to restrain his glee.
"But understand Tally there's a one way conduit,"Helga said."She can tell us what you're up to,what kind of trouble Bob might be in,but she can't communicate with you."
"If there's something you really need to know,I'll figure out some way to get it to ya,"Amaranth said."So basically you're on your own."
He shrugged."Fine with me."That was how he liked it.
"But understand this is a parallel Earth,where the demons are pretty much goin' nuts,"Helga cautioned him."They'll think you're food.It might get pretty brutal."