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Ikleyvey dreamed of a face.

She couldn't make out the details but she

was certain it was a man's face. It was still on her mind when she
reached professor Abercombe's home in the Hamptons, at 3pm.
Professor Abercombe was a physicist, same as Ikleyvey, and had invited
her over to his home to discuss some research, which was strange
because the two of them had no connected projects. Ikleyvey
straightened her jacket and started knocking on the door. Suddenly the
door opened with an ominous creek. "Professor Abercombe?", said
Ikleyvey, "Are you home?" No answer. She cautiously entered the
home. She was in the entryway. It was a single story house, the living
room to the right, and the rest of the house to the left. Ikleyvey went
right, into the living room, saw Professor Abercombe's disemboweled
body and puked. After a few moments she gathered herself and forced
another look on the body. The stomach was ripped open, with guts
coiling towards the floor like ropes. She came closer. On the floor next
to the body there was something that looked like writing in blood. It
read : "NO POLICE DINDOMIR EAGLESHIELD" Ikleyvey, knowing the
professor well, knew that she should honor his dying wish and look up
this Eagleshield. She was a smart woman and knew that this was
someone who was going to help her, and not, say, the killer, because it
would have been stupid of the professor to endanger her like that. So
she left the house, locking the front door behind her, and took a cab
back to her apartment in Manhattan.
Hours later, she was in front of a rundown office building in Brooklyn.
She entered the empty lobby, and saw on the register : DINDOMIR
indicated place and knocked on the door. "Come in.", said a growly,
grumpy voice tempered by whiskey and cigarettes. Ikleyvey opened the

door and saw a man, in a checkered short-sleeved shirt and trousers,

with his feet on the table, but not completely laid back. Suddenly,
Ikleyvey gasped. She saw this man before. He was in her dream. "What
can I do for you, miss...?", said the man in a bored voice. "Ikleyvey.
Ikleyvey Lazarian." "You don't hear that every day.", he said, slightly
amused. "Neither do you hear Dindomir Eagleshield.", she replied, a
hint of annoyance in her voice. "I came to you as a favor to a friend,
professor Abercombe." "Never heard of him. Are you sure he meant...
Of course you're sure. There's no way there are two Dindomir
Eagleshields in the great NYC. So, what does he want?" "I don't know.
He has been murdered." "Well, that escalated quickly. Are you sure he
didn't just dropped... I mean are you sure he didn't just die?" "He has
been disemboweled. I don't think that's a natural cause of death."
"Why don't you go to the police? I chase petty thieves and look into
identity thefts, I don't do murders, why bother me?" "I don't know but
the professors last act was to write no police and your name next to
that." "Well, we best go to his place then. That's what you want right?"
"Yes." "OK then. My usual fee is forty bucks per hour, but we'll see how
this goes. By the way, what do you do?" "I have a PhD in physics, as did
professor Abercombe." "All right, doc, shall we?" With that they
departed from the very messy office.
"Well, that's just disgusting. Watch the puke there, doc." Ikleyvey
looked up at Dindomir with a very annoyed look on her face. She
regained her calm however and said : "Very well detective, get to
work." "What work? I'm not Horatio Caine. I'm not Sherlock Holmes
either, most of what I do is talking to petty criminals and running down
alleys. But I guess I could start by looking around a bit." With that he
started pacing around the living room. It was decorated by many

paintings of a romantic landscape nature, with expensive furniture and

a large glass window to the right, which covered almost the entire wall.
It was practically a miracle no one saw the body from the outside, but it
was in the corner that was not part of the glass window. Soon Ikleyvey
said, with irritation in her voice : "So? Anything?" "Well, I've been
looking for five minutes, how the hell should I know. Did anyone ever
tell you that you are slightly intimating?" "A few people have, yes. What
does that have to do with anything?" "Oh, nothing, nothing.", said
Dindomir with a smile. "Well time to address the elephant in the room.
Not you.", he said tapping a porcelain elephant on the shelf. "The table
with all the books on it. Let's see, "The Origin of Genome Architecture".
Wasn't this guy a physicist?" "He was.", said Ikleyvey with a slight frown
on her face. Dindomir kept looking at the books. "Here we have
"Quantum Mechanics". Ah, that makes sense." "No, it doesn't.
Abercombe was a nuclear physicist." "Funny. Anyway here we have
"Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five
Contemporary Americans. What. The. Fuck." Ikleyvey seemed
completely puzzled. "I, I don't know what to say. I knew him well for
years, he was never into any of this and definitely not something like
that. Check his schedule, he kept it in that little red book over there."
Dindomir picked the book up and examined it. He opened the marked
page. "Well, the last entry is you. Here, have a look." He gave the book
to Ikleyvey who took it started listing the pages backwards. "I know
most of these people. But none of them have anything to do with his
field of work. Wait. There is a page missing, see?" Dindomir came near
and looked over her shoulder. He came really close. "Ahem.", said
Ikleyvey looking at him. He smiled a bit and took a step back, then
turned his attention on the book. It was marked entry. The ribbon was

hiding the torn piece, and Ikleyvey's name was last on the previous
page. "Well, time to find the page. Unless the killer took it, which is
more than likely and we'll have nothing to go on and will have to
explain to the police why our traces are all over the place. Which is to
say, we need to come up with a story why he wrote my damn name in
blood. Or," ,he said with a pause, "we could just erase that, remove our
traces and be on our merry way." "No.", said Ikleyvey, a determined
look on her face. "I want to get to the bottom of this." She came to the
table looked around, and then picked up the exorcism book. "Look,
there's something underneath here." Dindomir came closer. It was a
small box, with a combination code. "Well how about that. Wonder
what's inside. That's four digits. A birthday?" "Probably." Ikleyvey
entered the birthday of the professor, then of his ex-wife, then of his
daughter. She found all these in the record book on the first page.
Suddenly Dindomir's face shined with an enlightening smile. "Put in
your birthday. Maybe it's for us." It was. They opened the box. Inside
was a folded page from the record book. The date was today. And it
wrote : 2PM: THE DEVIL
"Well...hell. Literally.", said Dindomir."But this is just half the page, let's
check the other half." Ikleyvey turned the page over and it wrote JOHN
COLLINS. "Hey, I know that name.", said Dindomir. "He's a small time
lawyer. He's also an information broker for small time criminals. What
the hell does he have to do with this." "I don't know, but we're checking
it out." "WE?" said Dindomir with a very surprised look. "Your job here
is done, doc. There's no way I'm letting traipse about guys like Collins.
That's my territory." "I'll have you know," said Ikleyvey proudly and
slightly annoyed "that I have a black belt in Aikido." "Damn. I'm
impressed. No sarcasm, I really am. But the guys Collins hangs around

don't fight hand to hand, at least not fairly or unless its three to one,
preferably the only one." "This isn't open to discussion, Mr. Eagleshield.
Abercombe was a dear friend and I'm going to be into this every step of
the way. Besides, if I don't go, you don't get paid. Are we clear?"
"Crystal.", said Dindomir with a slightly angry look on his face, "but I'm
not responsible for you. You get hurt, it's on your head." "Fine. I'm
ready. Let's go see this mister Collins.
They entered Collins' crowded lobby at 5pm. It was full of unsavory
characters, and very filthy. Dindomir went to the receptionist and said:
"Dindomir Eagleshield. Say it's urgent." The receptionist just nodded
and made the appropriate call. After an hour of waiting, the
receptionist finally called them up. They came into the office, where
they saw Collins' pretty boy face. "Dindomir, my friend!", said Collins
with a fake smile, "what can I do for you?" "Abercombe. Everything.
Now." "Come now, is that the way to deal. Besides I don't know any
professor Aberco...", his smile faded."Shit." "You never were the
sharpest knife in the drawer, Johnny boy. Now Spill it." Suddenly Collins
sat down and opened his drawer, meanwhile pressing a button on his
desk. Two rather big fellows in suits came in behind Dindomir and
Ikleyvey and stood there nonchalantly. "If you will, gentlemen, escort
these people of the premises. At that moment, Dindomir clocked the
thug on the right straight between the eyes. A moment later, Ikleyvey
struck the other one in the throat with the heel of her hand. Both thugs
collapsed to the floor, and they didn't look like they were getting up
any time soon. When Dindomir and Ikleyvey turned around however,
they saw John with a Derringer pistol in his hand. "I have every right to
shoot you right here, Dindomir. You barged in my office, assaulted my
staff. No jury would convict..." but he didn't finish the sentence,

because Dindomir jumped on the table and kicked the gun out of his
hand. The gun fired once. Then Dindomir kicked John in the head, so he
fell down and hit his head on the window, cracking it. Dindomir jumped
down and grabbed him by the collar. "Talk.", he said with a very, very,
still look on his face. "OK,OK" , said John in a panicked voice. "The
professor came to me a few days ago looking for Jonesy Myles. I told
him that he didn't want to know Jonesy, and he went away. That's all I
know, I swear!" "Ok, I believe you. But if you lied..." "Yeah, yeah, I know
tough..." Dindomir slapped him a bit, and he shut up. "I trust you are
not going to report this to someone?" Collins just nodded. Dindomir got
up and went for the door. "We're done here, Ikley, let's go." Ikleyvey
went after him and they went out of the building. "Ikley?" , said
Ikleyvey. "Yeah, your name is a bit tough on the tongue. Do you mind?"
"No, I don't." And she was slightly surprised by that fact. "Good job with
that heel strike. You really are good.", said Dindomir lighting a
cigarette. "You're not bad yourself. But tell me, why did you charge at
him like that? He could have shot you dead." "I suffered from a severe
case of depression a few years back. I've been a bit suicidal since.
Besides, I really wanted to punch the guy." They stood there in silence
for a while. Then Ikleyvey said : "So are we going to this Jonesy
character?" "Hell no. Not without some preparation. Jonesy is the
leader of the Brothers Blue, one of the toughest gangs in the Bronx. But
I can pull a few favors, see if we can find something out. Go home. I'll
contact you when I have something, I promise." "All right. And
Dindomir... thank you for doing this." "Just another day at the office,
doc. Besides, I kinda like you, so... Anyway see you in a few days." "See
you." And with that they took separate cabs, both thinking of the other
on their ride home.

Two days later Ikleyvey got a call. "Hey Ikley, it's me, Dindomir. I got
something. Can't talk on the phone, come to my office." It was already
dark when she arrived to the cramped and messy place Dindomir called
his office. "All right," said Dindomir, "someone hired Jonesy and his
boys to investigate Abercombe, rough him up a little if necessary. But I
haven't figured out why, or who could have hired them, and there's no
way any of my contacts would have that information. We would have
to talk to one of his main lieutenants. That would normally be
impossible, but one of them got busted for possession of an illegal
firearm, a goddamn bazooka if my source wasn't kidding. Anyway,
there holding him at the 12th precinct. I have a friend there, detective
Kevin Ryan. I helped him out in the past, like really helped him out. It's
an interesting story if you want to hear." "Just the short version.", said
Ikleyvey with an amused smile. "Yeah well, I was working on this
identity theft case, and it turned out the perp was some homicidal
maniac. I tracked him down and we started shooting at each other, real
street style. Then, in comes Ryan with the entire damn SWAT team and
they take him out. The point is, they found him anyway, but it's always
good to have someone else exchange bullets with your target." "And
that's the short version?", said Ikleyvey, mock annoyed. Dindomir
smiled and continued. "Anyway, he's given me prime time with this
lieutenant . We can go there now." "Let's. I never interrogated
someone, could be fun." They went outside, leaving behind the
fragrance of smokes and perfume.
When they entered the station, it was crowded. People were all over
shouting and cursing, cops leading people in handcuffs around.
Dindomir and Ikleyvey went to the front desk, where Dindomir asked
for Ryan. A few minutes later Ryan came out of the elevator.

"Dindomir, my friend. It's been a while.", he said with a smile. "That it

has. Sorry, I was really busy. Thanks for doing this man, I really
appreciate it." "No problem. Maybe you even crack the guy, huh?" ,
said Ryan with a bump to the shoulder. They went to an interrogation
room, Ryan in the back room, and Dindomir and Ikleyvey in the
interrogation room. Inside was a classic white trash stocky perp, with a
bandana on his forehead. "Who the hell are you?", he said, doing his
best to appear tough. "I'm not a cop. Neither is she. My cop friend is
there in the back, and he won't lift a finger to help you when me and
my psychopathic friend here get at you. They'll just say you fell down
the stairs. Before we start, however, why the fuck did you need a
bazooka?" The thug took one look into Ikleyvey's eyes and started
talking: "I don't know nothin' about a bazooka, the pigs planted that on
me. What the fuck do you want anyway?" "Why were you investigating
Abercombe?" "Who?" , said the thug, a baffled look on his face. "The
professor. It must have been an odd request." "Oh, that. Well, boss said
that we watch the old coot, and if he tries to contact a midget named
Swoons. That dude was like an old army dude or something, British too.
I don't know what..." Suddenly, he started to choke, his eyes rolled up
so the whites where shown. "Hey, you ok?" said Dindomir and came in
closer. When he put his hand on the guys shoulder, he suddenly
grabbed it, real hard. Dindomir winced in pain, and then the guy started
talking in a very deep and menacing voice: "LEAVE MATTERS BE, PUNY
the room went up in flames.
They weren't real flames, just props, but it made everyone jump.
Dindomir jumped back, and the thug rolled to the floor. Ryan came
bursting into the room. "You ok. What was that?" ,he with a slightly

scared look on his face. "I might be Irish but I never believed in that
possession stuff..." "There is no reason to believe now.", said Ikleyvey,
clearly shocked but trying not to show. "There's a perfectly reasonable
explanation for all this. He could have used micro speakers and
someone could have prepared the room. That said, our job here is
done. Let's go Dind." "Castle will go crazy when I tell him of this.", said
Ryan still staring at the unconscious thug. "Hey, Ryan, thanks again. It
was real helpful. Sorry about whatever the hell this is." "No problem,
my friend. Buy me a drink at the Haunt and we're square." He then
went to try to revive the thug, and Dindomir and Ikleyvey exited the
room. "Dind?", said Dindomir, smile on his face. "Do you mind?", asked
Ikleyvey slightly nervous. "Not at all. All my friends call me Dind. So, I'll
try to dig something up about this Swoons character. Call you
tomorrow." "Make sure that you do."
He called tomorrow at noon. "Ikley, I got him. He's an antiquarian. He
has a shop in Brooklyn. We can go there today, it should still be open."
"Ok, Dind. Should we meet up, or should we go directly there?" "Let's
go directly. No reason to waste time and money. See you there?" "See
you." With that she hung up and got herself ready.
They got there at two. It was a small antiquary shop, nestled between a
butcher and barber, real old school. They went inside and where
greeted by a crowded shop filled with old guns, swords, axes, armor
and the like, and by a 4'6'' stocky owner. He looked like he just popped
off the Desolation of Smaug, with his braided beard and bald head. He
smiled broadly and said, in a strong Welsh accent: "Drain Swoons, at
your service. What may I do for you on this fine day?" Ikleyvey, as
usual, decided to let Dindomir do the talking. "I am honored to be in
the presence of such a fine gentleman. We are here about a certain

professor Abercombe. Suddenly, the dwarf's smile faded. "Come with

me.", he said seriously. He led them in the back of the store and then
down the stairs into a classical dwarven dwelling, complete with a
stone hearth in the center of the room. He sat them and himself on
stone chairs and a table and offered tea. Dindomir and Ikleyvey gladly
took it. Then he said, with a grim expression on his face : "If you follow
the course you are on, you may bring great perils upon yourselves. You
can still leave now, the powers at be are willing to let you go." "The
powers at be?", said Ikleyvey, "Who is that." "I will tell you only if you
are ready to forsake all your other duties and give yourself to this
quest. It will be dangerous. You may be killed." "What the hell, I'm
suicidal anyway and this looks like fun. But I'm kinda scared. I didn't like
that show at the precinct. " Ikleyvey just sat there for a moment and
then said : "Professor Abercombe was a dear friend. I am afraid but I
will see this through." Drain studied them closely and then breathed
out a sigh. "Very well you are ready. The powers at be are known. You
know them as Daemons." "I suspected as much. But being through
depression I know when some force is messing with my mind, inner or
outer. I'm way too calm after just hearing that we have been chasing
demons." "That is because I am soothing your feelings. You see, I am a
priest of Moradin, the dwarven god, and have divine powers."
Suddenly, Ikleyvey burst into hysterical laughter. Dindomir and Drain
both tried to calm her down and after a few moments she regained her
composure. "Demons? Divine powers? I am a scientist and I refuse to
believe in these things." "The ancient humans, and some not so ancient
ones did not believe in science either, but that does not mean that they
do not exist." "Ok, ok,", said Dindomir, "let's say I believe. How do you
know the demons didn't send us to kill you?" "I know because this store

is warded with Moradin's personal seal. Nothing of a demonical nature

could enter it. Now I am sure you have many questions, so let's get at
it." "Alright," said Ikleyvey, "for how long have you existed?" "For as
long as humans, although we dwarves and other non human folk come
from the Shadow." "Are there human wizards, priests, whatever?" "Yes,
there are, but not among any of the major religions. All magical
religions are kept secret, and the mages are divided between the
Illuminati and the Free Masons." "How powerful are you?", asked
Dindomir. "I could tackle a powerful demon, or a few lesser ones, but
there are many I could not." "But what has Abercombe got to do with
this? How did he get into it, why was he killed?" "Abercombe's
daughter exhibited magical powers, which why Abercombe went into
nuclear physics. He thought it was a radiation mutation, mixing it up
with psionic powers. But then his daughter was corrupted by a demon.
She managed to fight him off, but died in the process, not before telling
her father everything the demon was telling her to lure her into his
trap, and what she found out when she was under the demons
control." "I have heard about the accident in which the professors
daughter died, the entire second story blew up. He never got to rebuild
it." "Yes the explosion was devastating, but it was of a magical nature
and the professor wasn't harmed. But he found out that the answer is
in genetics and quantum physics, and he went searching there. That got
him too close to the truth, and the demons killed him." "But how do
you know this?" asked Dindomir. "Myles's lieutenant was sure he
hadn't contacted you." "That's because he didn't. I spoke to my god
Moradin. You see, you cannot speak to gods directly. You have to ask
them very specific questions to which they answer yes or no. It is simply
the way our connection is made. They give us powers and guide us, but

they cannot speak to us directly. I have been routinely asking for

centuries if someone had found anything about him, and finally I got a
positive answer. The story of Abercombe's death I heard from a
medium friend of mine who was contacted my Abercombe's ghost. It
would seem the magical energy channeled through him when his
daughter died, gave him the power to transcend death even for a little
while. It was a lucky break really. It could have been any medium to
snatch him up." "Who is "him"?", asked Ikleyvey. "The direct
descendent of the Devil." "The Antichrist?" ,asked Dindomir. "Yes, but
not exactly. The Antichrist, as he is depicted in the Bible, is a
charismatic individual who will make a new world order where Satan
will rule. But the truth is that the Antichrist is simply the last
descendant of Satan, the one with whom Satan can directly interact
and manifest himself fully in this world. And we found that descendant.
Abercombe was able to trace the lineage of an old family to a man here
in New York. He used his trace magical nature to find the right books,
and then he manually read through them all." "Yes, he did spend a lot
of his fortune on something he didn't want talk about." , said Ikleyvey.
"Well, those books gave him a name. That name is Dindomir
jumped out of his chair and hit the ceiling so hard he got himself
knocked unconscious. Ikleyvey and Drain rushed to help him. "What
was that?" ,asked Drain confused. "It's him! He's Dindomir Eagleshield!"
shouted Ikleyvey frantically. "Oh Moradin bless us. We must take him
to the council immidiatly. They will know what to..." Then there was a
boom and a horrible menacing voice said: "PUNY DWARF, TIME TO DIE!


"Quickly, throw him in the hearth!", shouted Drain "What?! You want
to kill him?" shouted Ikleyvey. "I won't..." "No, fool girl, the hearth is a
projection to the council. Throw him in." She did as she was told. "Now
listen. I don't have the power to fight off this demon, but I can slow him
down. Take this gun." He handed her an old Webley Mark VI revolver
and a box of bullets. "These were made by a great artificer during the
Great War. They can harm demons, but they can't kill them. They'll just
send them to rejuvenate. But it will give you time to escape. Now go!"
With that he pushed in the hearth and she heard explosions and had a
vision of Drain battling a great Balrog demon on the ruined cellar. Then
she blacked out.
She woke up in a glassed penthouse somewhere in New York, because
she could see the Statue of Liberty. She turned around and saw a
woman in a suit. "He is fine. But we kept him asleep until you woke
up.", the woman said. "Who are you?" ,said Ikleyvey. "I'm a caretaker
for the council. Are you ready to see him." Ikleyvey realized she hadn't
eaten in some time. "Will there be food?" "Yes." the woman replied
with a warm smile. "Then I am ready." said Ikleyvey as she was getting
up from her bed. They went to the elevator and went somewhere to
the lower levels. They went through some cheerfully painted hallways
and entered a large oval room with a large round table bordering the
room, with a pedestal in the middle of the room. Dindomir was on the
pedestal, and next to him where a dwarf and a very old woman, and a
strange ageless looking lady. Sitting at the table was a strange
collection of ageless people, humans of all ages, and dwarves, who all
looked the same anyway. "You may approach, young one." ,said the old

woman. Ikleyvey approached. "We will awake him now. We want the
first face he sees be yours. Are you ready?", said the ageless lady.
Ikleyvey now noticed she had pointed ears. She steadied herself and
said: "I'm ready." The trio moved away from the pedestal and Ikleyvey
approached. As soon as she stood on the pedestal, Dindomir opened
his eyes. "It's a dream right? We got the killer, gotten ourselves drunk
and it was all a dream, right? Aw, hell I know it's not, why the fuck am I
asking. Oh fuck, oh fu..." Ikleyvey came in closer and grabbed his
shoulders. "Dind, take it easy. I'm here. These people will help us."
"You're right. I feel them helping already. I feel calmer. I fell calm. Like
steady water. Nice clean, forest stream...Oh who am I kidding, IM THE
FUCKING ANTICHRIST! It's okay, it's okay, I just needed to get that out
of my system." "We will help you, lad, you can be sure about that. We
dug through your head a bit while you were sleeping, just to see what
calms you down. Turns out it's guns, and doctor Ikleyvey. So, there she
is, and here's one. I present to you the Mighty Righteous Sawed-off
Shotgun." It looked like a regular double barrel shotgun, but it was clear
to the viewer that it was the most beautiful shotgun ever made, with
silver etching on the barrel, and a beautiful shortened stock. "It was
supposed to be the Mighty Righteous Shotgun, but the damn gnome
ran out of adamantium. That's right, lad, it's an adamantium gun,
nothing can break it. It will send any lesser demon back to hell in one
shot, and the mightier ones in two." "Thank you," said Dindomir, "that
really does calm me down. And it looks like I can easily hide it in a
coat." Now the old woman stepped up. "Young man, we are here to
help you, but you must help us. Now that the Adversary knows we
know who you are, we must use all power we have to keep you hidden.
We could unleash full power and fight the demons, but that would be

Armageddon, and we are not ready for that. There is someone,

someone who knows the adversary well, but is unwilling to help. You
must convince him to help us." "How can I convince him when an elf or
a powerful sage would help. I was antisocial until high school, and am
not exactly the most charming person out there." Now it was the elf's
time to talk. "Exactly. Neither is he, and you will remind of himself.
Besides, it is our only hope. He can draw the adversary out, make him
overextend himself. Unless we are wrong. Then all is lost. But this is not
the time for such thoughts. The man lives here in New York, so it won't
be a long stretch. A car awaits for you upstairs, when you are ready."
"I'm as ready as I'll ever be, so let's do it." "I'm coming too." ,said
Ikleyvey. "Absolutely not! It is too..." ,shouted the dwarf, but Dindomir
cut him off. "No, she is right. You are doing everything you can to hide
me. This place, on the other hand, is not exactly hidden, and if
desperate enough the Adversary might just attack." Ikleyvey had to
admit that she was proud of his reasoning, however flawed it may be,
especially as it seemed to convince the council. "Very well, then. Good
luck on your quest." ,said the trio in unison, and Dindomir and Ikleyvey
went up the elevator to the surface.
The place was called Woodland Luxury Apartments. It was in a quiet,
almost fairy tale town part of New York. The driver left our duo in front
of the golden gate, that was in a large stone wall. The building itself was
a beautiful stone skyscraper, and it truly was luxurious. There was no
doorman however and no one was stopping them from entering the
lobby. The lobby was clean. There were two persons in the lobby. One
was the sleeping security guard at the front desk, and the other was a
unshaven janitor with a frog hat. He came up to Dindomir and Ikleyvey
and said : "Welcome to the Woodlands, we don't get many visitors

here." "Hello, my good man", said Dindomir. "We are looking for Sheriff
Bigby Wolf. Is he here?" "You know about... I mean yes he is here. I will
take you to him." The janitor seemed odd to Ikleyvey, like he was
extremely surprised they were even here, let alone that they know
about this Bigby character. But nevertheless he led them in the
elevator, and up to the twentieth floor and showed in a small office. It
looked almost exactly like Dindomir's one, except Bigby's cigars smelled
much, much worse. The janitor said :"Sheriff, two people are here to
see you. They asked specifically for you. They are not Fable folk." "How
the hell..." This came from an unshaved man with shoulder length hair,
in a light grey shirt with a dark grey tie. He was holding a pack of the
Huff and Puff cigar brand, probably the worst brand on the market.
Dindomir stepped up and said :"We may not be Fable folk, whatever
that may be, but we have been sent by elves and dwarves to ask for
your help specifically." "Help with what? And who are you?" "This is
Ikleyvey Lazarian, PhD in physics. I'm Dindomir Eagleshield, full time
private eye and part time Antichrist." A look of understanding went
across Bigby's face. "So you're the descendant. But I'm not sure why I
should help you. We have taken back the Homelands. Me, Fly and
Grimble are here for old times sake to clear some things up." "It would
seem you have us at a disadvantage, mister Wolf.", said Ikleyvey What
is this homeland, and what are Fable folk?" Bigby sat down in his chair,
took a few puffs off his cigar and looked thoughtful. Then he looked up.
"I suppose there's no harm in telling. The world is coming to an end one
way or another. We are all characters from tales humans have made up
since the dawn of time. We were driven from the Homelands, our
Homelands, by the Adversary, a different Adversary, mind you, and
forced us to settle here in New York, New Amsterdam back then. But

we defeated the Adversary, and took back the homelands. As sorry I am

about this world, I am not going to drive the Fables into another war."
"Well, I can see that you have no sympathy for our world,", said
Dindomir, "but at least spare the makers of Huff and Puff. They deserve
a greater hell than is the one to come." "You hit a nerve there kid. Ah
what the hell. I'm not helping with the war with the adversary, but I will
come with you. I was leaving tomorrow anyway and one extra stop on
the way won't be much trouble." "Thank you, sir. I can see that behind
that gruff hide is a good hearth, and I never kiss asses, sorry to say."
Bigby looked at Dindomir and gave him a long stare. Dindomir suddenly
realized that this man, if he was man at all, did not always have a good
hearth. There was something primal in his eyes, and perhaps it was just
because of the surname, Wolf, but this man really, for a moment,
seemed like a wolf in a man's skin. But the moment passed, and
Dindomir and Ikleyvey, now joined by Bigby went to the council.
"Are you sure you are ready lad?" said the dwarf. "I'm ready said
Dindomir. Ikleyvey had listened as they explained to Dindomir that his
depression was the Adversary's first attempt to take him, and had
Dindomir not beaten it with the help of his friends and family, and his
doctor, a wise man from Serbia, the world would have ended. This
time, however, the council is going to use this link between Dindomir
and the Adversary to put the Adversary in Dindomir's body, but under
the conditions controlled by the council. After that, it's all a matter of
enraging the Adversary to overextend himself, to try to take full control
of Dindomir, fail and sever the link, weakening himself considerably.
But not only was it dangerous for Dindomir, for the Adversary could
succeed, but when the link is severed, the power of it will start
Armageddon, although with a far weaker Satan, which would give the

forces of good a chance to fight. Also there would be no Rapture.

Bigby's role in all this was not explained, and he and the janitor and the
security guard from the Woodlands building just sat there on the edge
of the table. "Are you ready?" ,asked the old woman. "I'm ready."
replied Dindomir. "Are you ready?" asked the elf. "I'm ready. Ikley, I..."
"Yes?" "Nothing. See you on the other side." he said with a sad smile.
"All right, everyone ready? Start the ritual!" Ikleyvey watched the
whole thing but understood little. There wasn't much motion, and no
big words were said bud suddenly, Dindomir, tied to a chair
straightened to his full length, tightened his ropes. His eyes turned to
fire and two horns grew out of his head. Ikleyvey expected a demonic
voice or some horrible growl, but it was Dindomir's normal voice. "So,
you fools think to control me? We have spoken in ages past, you had
big words, called for humanity and goodness in people, but your words
sounded hollow in your ears, as you saw the destruction the common
man did. There where my agents, agents I sent, agents who didn't know
they were sent, but it was the common man who followed. It was the
common man who raped, it was the common man who murdered
because of color of the skin, it was all the common man. Shall we
repeat the pointless debate, or are you finally ready to give up?" "No." ,
said the old woman. "This time you will be debating with a mortal.
Ikleyvey step forward." WHAT? No one said anything about this, no one
even hinted it. But there was no backing out. She approached
Dindomir, now the Adversary. "So, you wish to debate, then. Let's hear
it. Are you a repented serial killer? Functioning psychopath? What
proof of goodness in Man are you? Or are you a skilled diplomat, able
to sway the Devil himself?" Ikleyvey was neither. But Ikleyvey was a
scientist. A physicist. And as her professor said on her first day in the

University of Physics in Belgrade, physicists look for problems, find

problems, fix problems. Physicists get shit done. How? By asking the
right questions. "Mighty Adversary, I ask of thee to answer: What is the
theory of everything?" The Adversary looked at her, stunned. "The faith
of humanity is at stake and you wish to sake your scientific curiosity?
Fool! There is no theory of everything! It would not wish it so!" "What
is It?" asked Ikleyvey, felling as calm as when she draws her sketches.
"It? It is the human imagination! It is what all of this is! It is ever
existent, it is omnipotent! Imagination is limitless, Imagination is
everything! There is no theory without Imagination! There is no life
without Imagining what it is like! There is no Creation without
Creativity, without Imagination!" "And who is imagining?" asked
Ikleyvey, just like a scientist, just like a physicist, asking to know, asking
to discover! "Who is imagining? Well, I the Puppet Master! I'm
Imagining it..." Suddenly there was motion behind Ikleyvey, sudden,
primal motion and a figure rushed past her. It was Bigby. "PUPPET
MASTER!" , he screamed "It's you Geppetto. You gave us the
Homelands only to secure the mundane world! It's a lie! It's not you
that's imagining it's them!" And with that the Adversary tried to take
full control of his son.
And failed. Bigby's primal urge and Ikleyvey's scientific thinking crushed
the adversary. But this was far from over. Dindomir slumped in his
chair. His eyes returned to their normal blue color, and the horns were
gone. The foundations of the building shook. Dindomir woke up. "This is
it!" he said. "I felt it! He's free." "He's fucking free alright!" shouted the
dwarf and Bigby in unison. "We have to get out of here!", said Bigby.
"Fly, Grimble, time to go!" His hands turned to claws, his hair grew
longer, and his eyes took on a wolfish shape. He cut Dindomir's ropes

and they started running. Ikleyvey started running after them, the
Webley Drain gave her weighing heavy in her zipper bag. She saw the
janitor called Fly give a coat to Dindomir, and in the coat was the sawed
off shotgun. Dindomir took on the coat, and in that instant he looked
really cool. But there was no time for coolness. They all got on the
elevator and the five of them exited the building. While they were still
in the building she saw the council members teleporting to wherever
their troops were stationed. When they were out of the building they
looked up at the sky. It was and silver, the pure blood of the fighting
angels, and fiery red, the boiling blood of the savage demons.
Armageddon had come! "We need to get to the Woodlands!",shouted
Bigby. "There's a portal to the Homelands there! There we'll be safe,
this bunch has it covered now that Geppetto's Satan is weakened."
"No! This is my world! I will stay and fight! I have the Mighty Righteous
Sawed off Shotgun! And besides, I'm still a bit suicidal, not having the
love of my life and all that." With that he looked at Ikleyvey, but she
assumed he was joking. "Aw what the hell!", shouted Bigby. "Fly, grab
the wheel! Grimble, get on the M10!" probably referring to the twin
chain gun that magically appeared on the top of a nearby open to limo.
Bigby was going full frontal werewolf now, ripping his shirt and
trousers. "I'm riding shotgun! Pun intended!" Shouted Dindomir and
got in. Bigby suddenly grabbed Ikleyvey and seated her relatively gently
in the car, and jumped on the back seat. Ikleyvey took out her revolver,
saw that it was loaded and got herself ready. "Fly! Get us to Times
Square!" shouted Bigby, his voice a growl. And they were off. They
were driving through the streets, Grimble shooting at the flying
demons, while Bigby and Dindomir cut down those who got close.
There was chaos in the streets, people shooting demons, shooting each

other, National Guard and Police forces conscripting everyone they

could, using the weapons of their fallen comrades. Finally, they reached
Times Square. It was turned into a fortress by the National guard, which
meant the U.S. government had some ties with the council. But when
they got there, a flying demon slammed himself into the chain gun,
Kamikaze style, knocking it and Grimble out. Fly got off the wheel to
tend to Grimble and Bigby went to protect them. Ikleyvey looked
around and saw Dindomir standing on a tank, saving a machine gunners
life by shooting off a hell hound. He seemed invincible standing there
on the tank, firing the shotgun that apparently didn't need reloading.
Ikleyvey quickly got up to the tank and started firing her revolver. It was
knocking demons out pretty good, though she had to admit that the
National Guards M16's and M2HB's were doing a good job too. She saw
some full plate armored dwarves and elves and humans slaughtering
the demons that made it over the barricades, and floating angles that
were apparently purifying the National Guards weapons to be effective.
A guardsman in a colonel's uniform came up on the tank, and got to
Dindomir, who with his flaying and winded coat seemed like the father
of all common man heroes, became a beacon for the Guardsmen. "Is
this it, sir?" ,asked the colonel. "I'm afraid it is." said Dindomir in a calm
voice, stopping his fire to talk to the colonel, but the demons seemed
afraid of him anyway. "Then let's take the bastards back to hell!" The
colonel stood and took a megaphone, and Ikleyvey saw an angel
sacrificing his power to broadcast this speech to the entire world.
"Men! We sinned! We were soldiers in a world where one percent of
the money used for war would have made it a paradise! But now, it will
finally do some good! Fight, soldiers, fight for humanity, for

Not exactly the best speech in human history, but then again, all the
great speakers had time to prepare. This was from the moment. From
the heart.
And then it all stopped. All the people left were her, Dindomir, Bigby
and an old man in a sweater with grey hair and glasses. "Geppetto!",
growled Bigby. Dindomir fired a shot at the old the man, but the shot
simply disappeared. "He is protected by magic!" growled Bigby. "Not
even the Vorpal Sword could break the enchantment, and it beheads
anything it touches. Let's listen to what he has to say." "Wise words,
Bigby." ,said Geppetto in a calm, pleasant voice. "Dindomir. Ikleyvey.
Step forward." They did as they were told. "You see, I'm invincible.
Nothing can ever kill me, and nothing ever will. Bigby is near invincible,
but shoot him with some silver or set him on fire and he's gone. But you
two, you are very mortal. You see, I have here a small hand crossbow.
It's practically useless, it would have to hit you straight in the heart to
kill. And because I am omnipotent and invincible, I will do just that.
Shoot the two of you through the heart. Oh, I will lose, no doubt about
that, my Satan isn't even second rate. But you two won't be there to
see it. Now I will aim for the girl. The hopelessly in love boy will stand in
front of her. He has no armor. The way to the heart is clear. I will shoot
him. And as he falls ,a and as she is kneeling next to his dead body, I will
step in, take the bolt and shoot her in the heart. Bigby can't stop me,
I'm omnipotent." "No fortress is impregnable." said Dindomir in a calm
voice. "Ah, but I'm not a fortress. Now goodbye, Antichrist." He fired
the bolt. It soared through the air. He was standing in front of her,
hopelessly in love, protecting her. The bolt struck. In her hand. "Not this
time, Geppetto. You forgot who made you. We did. And we will
unmake you." Then she realized it, an idea, almost like a gift from god.

"Dind, take off your top clothes." "I'm curious as to what you are doing,
so I will allow it." said Geppetto. Dindomir stripped to his bare torso. He
wasn't exactly in shape, he had some 220 pounds, and it was not pure
muscle. Then Ikleyvey stood behind. She took the bolt out of her arm.
And she started drawing on Dindomir's back. "OH GOD!" shouted
Geppetto. "SHE'S A CREATOR! KILL HER!" Suddenly it was all real again,
the Times Square battle. Soldiers, angels, knights, devils where all
around killing each other. Bigby turned into his real form, a giant wolf,
and Ikleyvey finally understood who he was. He was BIGBy, the Big Bad
Wolf from the tales. And what does he do? He Huffs....and Puffs. Bigby
unleashed all the winds of the world, and everything started flying. The
only thing real were Dindomir and Ikleyvey, drawing on his back. "Does
it hurt?" she asked. "No. Not a little bit. Creativity doesn't hurt. If it
hurts, you're not doing it right." And then she was finished. She drew
conflict. All conflict. The Times Square Battle. The T34 ramming a Tiger
tank. Emile and Freddy fighting the Baron. Castle and Beckett fighting
crime. Danilo Kartalovic struggling through depression. Frodo throwing
the Ring into Mount Doom. A mother giving birth to a baby. Leaves
growing. The universe revolving. All conflict. "Is this it?" asked Ikleyvey.
"Almost." replied Dindomir. "I love you Ikleyvey."