Heroes of Freedom City
Power Level: 9; Power Points Spent: 150/150
STR: +0 (10), DEX: +3 (16), CON: +7 (14/24), I*NT: +5* (20), WIS: +7 (14/24), CHA: +4 (18)
Tough: 12, Fort: 11
Skills: Acrobatics 4 (+7), Bluff 1 (+5), Computers 1 (+6), Concentration 5 (+12), Craft (artistic) 3 (+8), Diplomacy 5 (+9), Drive 1 (+4), Escape Artist 1 (+4), Gather Information 2 (+6), Investigate 1 (+6), Knowledge (arcane Lore) 5 (+10), Knowledge (business) 1 (+6), Knowledge (current events) 1 (+6), Knowledge (history) 1 (+6), Knowledge (popular culture) 1 (+6), Knowledge (streetwise) 1 (+6), Knowledge (theology & philosophy) 1 (+6), Language 3 (+3), Medicine 1 (+8), Notice 3 (+10), Perform (stringed instruments) 6 (+10), Profession (Musician) 1 (+8), Profession (Shop Keeper) 1 (+8), Search 3 (+8), Sense Motive 3 (+10), Sleight of Hand 4 (+7), Stealth 2 (+5), Survival 1 (+8), Swim 1 (+1)
Feats: Artificer, Attractive (+4), Benefit (Guardian of The Reservoir), Benefit (wealth), Eidetic Memory, Equipment 4, Luck 2, Ritualist, Wealth 14
The Orb of Thoth (Device 20) (Hard to lose, Only you can use; Indestructible)
. . Enhanced Trait 4 (Feats: Benefit (Guardian of The Reservoir), Eidetic Memory, Luck 2)
. . Knowledge is Power (Array 16) (default power: telekinesis)
. . . . Understanding (Comprehend 3) (Alternate; languages – read all, languages – speak all, languages – understand all)
. . . . Understanding (ESP 9) (Alternate; affects: all types; Action (standard), Medium; Subtle 2 (unnoticable))
. . . . Understanding (Quickness 12) (Alternate; Perform routine tasks at 10000x speed; One Type (Mental))
. . . . Astral Form 6 (Array; Selective, Subtle (subtle))
. . . . Healing 10 (Array; DC 20; Restoration (Only), Total; Persistent, Regrowth)
. . . . Illusion 9 (Array; affects: all sense types, DC 19; Phantasms; Progression, Area 5 (250 ft. radius))
. . . . Mental Blast 8 (Array; DC 23; Subtle 2 (unnoticable); Full Power, Non-Lethal)
. . . . Mind Control 9 (Array; DC 19; Conscious; Mental Link)
. . . . Mind Reading 9 (Array; DC 19; Burst Area (45-450 ft. radius – General), Selective Attack, Sensory Link; Feedback; Progression, Increase Area 3 (area x10), Subtle 2 (unnoticable))
. . . . Nullify 9 (Array; counters: all powers of (type) – magic, DC 19; Cone Area (90-900 ft. cone – General); Progression, Increase Area 3 (area x10))
. . . . Portal (Teleport 7) (Array; 200 miles as full action; Accurate, Portal; Long-Range; Change Direction, Change Velocity, Progression (25ft by 25 ft Portal))
. . . . Snare 9 (Array; DC 19; Range (perception); Obscure Sense 2 (Vision and Hearing), Reversible, Subtle 2 (unnoticable))
. . . . Telekinesis 10 (Default; Strength: 50, Carry: 4.3 tons / 8.5 tons / 12.8 tons / 25.6 tons; Range (perception); Precise, Subtle (subtle))
. . . . Within the Eye of the Orb (Dimensional Pocket 8) (Array; Capacity: 25000 lbs., DC 18; Duration 3 (continuous); Requires Grapple)
. . Magical Awareness (Super-Senses 4) (awareness: Magic, danger sense: Magic, radius: Awareness, uncanny dodge: Magic)
. . Minor Magics (Array 5) (default power: flight)
. . . . Flight 5 (Default; Speed: 250 mph, 2200 ft./rnd)
. . . . Inherent Understanding (Boost 9) (Array; boost: trait w/ descriptor – intelligence skill; Personal; Slow Fade (1 minute))
. . . . Protection of Nut (Alternate Form 2)
. . . . Staff of Ra (Strike 9) (Array; DC 24; Accurate 3 (5 Toughness)
. . Shield 3 (10 CON)
. . Wisdom of The Ages (Enhanced Trait 14) (Traits: Wisdom 11))
Protection of Nut (Solid) (Powers: Immunity 10; Suffocation (All), Environmental Conditions (All), Starvation and Thirst, Critical Hits
Equipment: Cell Phone, Masterpiece Violin (+4 on Perform Checks), The Store
The Store: Sanctum: Theatre District Store in a converted Playhouse; Size: Large; Toughness: 10; Features: Communication (Scrying Pool), Security System 3 (DC 30), Defense System, Fire Prevention System, Living Space, Personnel, Power System, Restricted Dimensional Portal, Self Repairing, Temporal Limbo (Workshop and some designated Living Quarters experience time at 5x the normal rate), Workshop. Smartphone.
Attack Bonus: +2 (Ranged: +2, Melee: +2, Grapple: +2)
Attacks: Mental Blast 8 (DC Will 23), Mind Control 9 (DC Will 19), Mind Reading 9 (DC Will 19), Nullify 9 (DC Will 19), Snare 9 (DC Ref/Staged 19), Staff of Ra (Strike 9), +8 (DC 24), Unarmed Attack, +2 (DC 15), Within the Eye of the Orb (Dimensional Pocket 8), +2 (DC Ref/Will 18)
Defense: 16 (Flat-footed: 12), Knockback: -6
Drawbacks: Normal Identity, common, Loss of Orb
Languages: English (Native), Arabic, Coptic, French
Totals: Abilities 32 + Skills 16 (64 ranks) + Feats 8 + Powers 84 + Combat 10 + Saves 4 – Drawbacks 4 = 150
Elijah was born to a upwardly mobile, but still lower-middle class family in the Lincoln district of Freedom City. His father was an american born man of Haitian and Creole descent, while his mother had a North African background. His father Emmanuel was a baptist minister, while his mother Yasmina Tehuti worked as a music teacher at a Joseph Clark, an overcrowded Lincoln area high school.
Elijah was an early child prodigy, demonstrating reading and writing by age 4, and adult level vocabulary and mastery of three languages (English, French and Arabic) by the time he entered grade school. Unable to provide for his educational needs at his local school, the district started bussing him up, and hour each way, to a specialty school in Parkside. However, even there, the faculty had a hard time keeping up with his demand for new materials to learn about. He seemed to be drawn to arts and culture, with a keen interest in history as an interesting side-note. Before long, the teachers at the school suggested that to keep up with his intellect, his parents consider enrolling him at one of the East Coast’s more prestigious private schools. There were several good options, such as the Deerfoot Academy, or Milton Academy, as well as Claremont Academy in Bayview Heights. Although he easily met the rigorous entrance requirements at any of them, the more than $50000 per year in tuition costs was well beyond the capabilities of his parents.
Fortunately, his mother’s brother Fazil had just recently immigrated to Freedom City from where he had been living in Dakana. He had apparently made a significant name for himself trading in Egyptian and northern African cultural antiquities, and had become moderately wealthy. Though he stated that his home near the border with Sudan had been extremely advantageous for procuring relics, the ongoing civil war in that country was making continuing business there extremely difficult. As a result, he chose to follow his sister to America, where he set up his shop in the artsy theatre district. Fazil offered to provide Elijah’s first year’s tuition, hopefully long enough to secure scholarships or bursaries to continue funding his education.
Within the year, Elija was able to distinguish himself, both as a student and as an athlete, and funding became a non-issue. He found himself enjoying the Claremont Academy a great deal, and he found a great sense of comfort and belonging among the other students there. His time at the academy was struck short however when the terminus came. A twelve year old boy at the time, he was at school when the attacks occurred, and he had the ill fate to witness friends and fellow students injured and killed in the destruction just moments before he himself nearly met his end. He was rescued by the Centurion himself, scooped up moments before the main destruction struck. His last sight of the school as a whole was then, carried away by Centurion with two other kids, while a streak of blue buzzed across the campus at untraceable speeds. Elijah later learned that it had been Johnny Rocket, moving through the wreckage, and pulling as many children and faculty to safety as he could before it became pointless to continue. Elijah spent the next hours of the Terminus invasion, sitting in the back seat of a police car, blanket around him, but peering out the windows trying to follow what was happening. He was able to watch as the man who had just rescued him sacrificed himself to stop Omega, fighting with him in the sky, and tearing open the villain’s containment suit before being lost the in the fiery conflagration that followed.
In the days that followed, things became worse. After attempts to contact Elijah’s parents failed, as he could not return to the academy, police were sent to investigate at the family home. Elijah was informed that the policeman had discovered two bodies; obviously the victims of foul play. Details were not shared with him in any meaningful amount, but a key component to the death’s was that their demise had obviously come at the hands of a super-human perpetrator. Curiously, the time of the crime was determined to be a day or two before the Terminus invasion, but the lack of contraindicating evidence and the apparent lack of motives against the couple caused investigators to rule the deaths connected. The theory suggested that they were likely killed as a lead up to the invasion itself, either as a random act of violence by one of the parties in town to help bring about the Terminus, members of Shadow that were there in opposition to Omega, or just because they had born accidental witness to one of these parties, and had to be silenced to prevent identification or notice to the authorities that the super villains were in present in Freedom City.
The period that followed was an unpleasant one, as Elijah was given endless therapy sessions by all manner of professionals, just like other victims of Terminus. However, it sent him into a period of melancholy he did not recover from quickly. He lost all interest in school, and instead of seeking out further education, he opted to drop out. He was given into the custody of his Uncle Fazil, as his closest living relative, both by blood and proximity.
Fazil was an odd fellow, and walking into his shop was an equally odd experience. Entering the store was walking into a Moroccan bazaar. All sorts of treasures covered tables in a disorganized manner, priceless relics sometimes sitting right beside cheap reproductions. The store seemed to be arranged in layers, with rarer and more obscure treasures hidden further back in subsequent rooms of the shop, past barriers of piled merchandise with only small entrances, that while not marked as such, had a clear “Employees Only” feel to them. Those daring enough to continue on in would be rewarded with the sights of treasures otherwise only viewable in museums.
Most of the time the store was looked after by four brothers, or at least Elijah called them brothers. They never claimed any kinship with one another in conversation, but acted with familial ease in regard to one another. Add to that, that though each of the four looked like they must come from the most disparate parts of the world from one another (one was white, another nearly coal black, the third probably chinese, while the last looked like he was from somewhere in southern Asia, like India or Pakiastan), put any two of them side by side, and you would swear the two were brothers. See three of them together, and the similarities were downright eerie. There was a sameness to each, an overall commonality of features that seemed to defy their apparent ethnicities. If anyone ever was ever bold enough to ask two if they were brothers, they would just laugh it off as though the idea was absurd, but without ever actually denying it. To make things even stranger, Elijah couldn’t remember a time he ever saw one of them arrive or leave. Whomever was there when he got to the store, stayed for the rest of the day, either until he had to leave, or he checked into his room to sleep for the night. In the morning, there might be a different selection of the brothers, but the same ones would be there all day. Fazil would just shake off any questions about them and say, ”Respect their privacy.”
Of all the treasures in Fazil’s shop, the most prized however, were his books. People seemed to come in from the world over for a chance to see his book collection. A selection of his rare books were for sale, some garnering astronomical prices, typically sold to museums or libraries wishing to preserve them, or wealthy private collectors. Beyond these though, he also seemed to have a selection of private books; a far more exclusive collection. If he needed to retrieve one, he would disappear into the extreme tear of the shop, into his private study and living quarters; the only part of the shop Elijah was not allowed to enter. If a request came for one of these special books, the individual was always recognizable. A famous historian, a lead archaeologist, or someone with a strange and exotic, sometimes otherworldly appearance. Fazil would consider the request, either declining the request, which would bring forth a slew of protestations, or he would simply nod, and walk back to the door to his quarters. Oddly, he would sometimes be gone for hours, and yet his guests always seemed to be fine with this, almost as if it was expected. Typically, he would bring the requested tomb to a table set aside for the purpose, and the petitioner would sit down to study, taking frequent notes, or sometimes even photographs. Most books were never allowed to leave the rearmost room of the shop. The only people Elijah ever remembers ever leaving the store with one of these prized books was in the possession of Adrian Eldrich, the Gatekeeper (in full regalia), and M’Zale, the visiting King of Dakana itself. During an official visit to the USA, he paid Fazil a visit, with his full entourage, and chatted with him as if they were old friends. After a while, he requested to borrow a book. As always, Fazil sat back, thought about it, and then nodded. He made his way back to his chamber. The King of Dakana waited, patiently, for more than two hours before Fazil returned. The King’s bodyguards, several of whom were women, waited as well, never questioning the reasons why the wait was such a long one; they merely closed off the shop to foot traffic, leaving the King, his entourage, the brothers, and Elijah alone. Seeing the young Elijah curious about him, the King invited him closer, and then to sit. He then began to regale the young lad with stories; of Dakana, of his uncle, and of the White Lion, Dakana’s national hero. M’Zale said that his uncle had even met the hero a few times, and it was his belief that the hero might even owe the curious man a favour or two. The requested book was tiny; about the size of his palm, and once settled he handed it over to the king with a bow and a smile. The King said he would watch over it with his life, and return it when his need was completed. Elijah just couldn’t believe he’d left the King of Dakana waiting for hours while he fetched a book from a room 15 ft away, and that the king wasn’t even annoyed about it.
The visit from Dakana’s King did a great deal to revitalize Elijah, and to convince him that even if he was strange, his uncle could not be all that bad a fellow. Soon, he recommitted himself to his studies. He won new scholarships that allowed him to complete his education at another prestigious private school, though he was disappointed that it was not Claremonts. In the time since his parent’s death, he had turned more and more to music as a method to remember them. His mother had played many instruments, but her violin had been her favourite. Elijah took to it as well as any of his other studies, and soon it was recognized as one of his chief talents. When at home from school with his uncle, Fazil would have him practice, out in the shop instead of in his room, and even pay him to do so at the same rate he had paid him to clean. He said that it was entertaining the customers, though Elijah noticed that Fazil would often ask him to play whether customers were present or not. When he graduated high school at 15, he was awarded a full music scholarship to Julliard in New York.
During one visit home, he chanced to observe Fazil playing with a small globe. It was plain glass in appearance, and about two inches across; about the size of a racquetball. He had seen it about before, sometimes being used as a paperweight, sometimes in a private display case, as though placed there with reverence. Now, Fazil was tossing it in the air absently, as if just killing time while he thought, never a mind that a single mistake would likely have it smash on the stone tiles of the shop’s floor. Elijah knew it was precious to him, if for no other reason than that it had been one of the first rules explained to Elijah when he came to live with him that he never, ever touch it. When he saw Elijah, Fazil just winked and slipped the globe into his pocket. Later that evening, Elijah found it again while he was heading back to his room, after long evening of practice on his violin. This time the little orb was lying on the ground, nestled up against the door to his room as though it had been dropped. His door opened outwards, so Elijah was reluctant to try to open it, despite how tired he felt. Knowing he wasn’t allowed to touch it, he called for his uncle, looking for him throughout the shop. He was no where to be found, and neither were the brothers. After waiting for nearly an hour for someone to turn up, he decided waiting was silly. He collected a velvet cloth and using it to keep his hand separate from the glass, tried to pick it up. It wouldn’t budge. He tried pulling harder, but it was firmly attached to the floor as if connected by a bolt to the stone. He thought about pulling harder, but an image of the globe coming free and being flung full force into a wall or the ceiling once it did kept him from trying. He tried opening his bedroom door next, though he was afraid sending it rolling over the irregular stones of the floor wasn’t a lot better than accidentally throwing it. He arranged more velvet (a plentiful item in the shop, given all the display cases) to catch the glass should it indeed start rolling. However, when he pulled at the door, it still would not budge. He pulled at it as hard as he could until he heard the wood of the door creak as though threatening to snap. Frustrated, he sat on the floor and just considered going to sleep there. Finally, he reached out a hand and touched the bare glass, intending to just try and get a better look at what had it secured to the floor so firmly. It came away from the floor in his hand, just as easily as if it had just been sitting there the whole time. He was so shocked that he fell over, turning his whole body into a protective bowl to cradle the orb lest he drop it.
He sat there for a time, just looking at it for a moment. The glass was beautifully clear; clear in a way that made you recognize how clouded the average piece of glass is by comparison. It was a perfect sphere, as far as he could tell, and perfectly smooth; no nicks or chips for all the time it had spend on bare stone. Most astounding was the difference in weight. It weighed practically nothing. It felt as though it might float up off his hand.
His trance was broken by his uncle. He waltzed into the chamber as though he had just been waiting outside, and snatched the globe out of Elijah’s hand. ”Hey boy! What did I tell you about touching that. Now off to bed!” As Elijah was closing the door to his room, he heard the older man whisper, [b]”Interesting” before slipping the globe back into his pocket.
Elijah graduated with his Masters in Music at age 21. Leading up to his graduation, and for a long time after, offers of positions with various orchestras, philharmonics, and string quartets poured in. All of these offers left Elijah conflicted. Essentially, he had always performed his music for himself, and occasionally for others, like his uncle, but the idea of making a living at it somehow didn’t sit right with him. He felt listless, and a bit without direction, unsure of what to do.
For the immediate time being, he put the offers on hold with promises that he would consider them, and returned home to his uncle’s shop to think things over. He considered going back to school for another degree, something more practical this time.
His period of consideration was brought to a halt by an actual attack on the store. None of the brothers were working that day, and Elijah knew better by now than to bother asking where they were, so he just worked and cleaned, doing whatever needed to be done. A smashing sound erupted from the front of the store, followed moments later by a wave of treasures, relics, and cheap tourist reproductions all mixed together, as it came smashing towards the rear of the store where Fazil and Elijah were standing. Moments later, as he tried to regain his feet, he felt himself being struck by something, not in his body, but as though someone had found a way to strike directly at his soul. Through his stupor, he made out a short, grizzled looking black woman standing at the other end of the shop. She had a bit of a crazed look in her eye, and an odd fetish hung around her neck. Just behind her was something even stranger; a man sized snake thing, shaped somewhat like a human, but moving along on a slithering tail like a serpent. Elijah was knocked senseless and couldn’t track most of what happened afterwards. The woman was yelling, thickly accented english mixed with words and phrases of Creole, much like Elijah’s father would use, though he would never have included as much profanity. ”Where is it? The key! I felt it, and it came from here. Let me have the reservoir!” Faliz laughed at her. At that she held him at arm’s length, and the snake man struck at him in a blur. A bite connected with his chest, and as he drew back, massive 6 inch fangs, narrow and long as steel nails, pulled their way free of his chest, dripping clear venom with the blood. Fazil’s’ body shuddered with the pain and impact, but it didn’t seem to phase him otherwise. The woman threw him to the ground where the stones of the shop suddenly began to arch up, and then pound down upon him. Over the sounds of Fazil’s grunts and his bones breaking, the snake man slithered closer, picking him up and throwing him through a wall made of merchandise. It was followed again by another throw, and then another, this time into a stone wall. Fazil’s body crumpled, and his prized little globe, that plain looking glass orb, fell from his pocket and landed on the stone tiles. It hit the ground like it weighed a ton, not even bouncing or rolling an inch, and it showed no sign of damage. The woman exchanged a look with the serpent man, both of their eyes going wide. They left Fazil where he lay, seemingly forgetting him. The woman stooped to retrieve the orb, but like Elijah when he had tried to move it years ago, it would not budge an inch, even though she touched it directly with her skin, the same way he had when it had finally moved for him. Hastily signalling the snake thing she said, ”Brother, you try!” That thing was her brother? But try as they might, neither could get it to move. Their efforts were interrupted a few minutes later by a booming voice calling out from behind them. Elijah remembers seeing the glowing form of Eldrich, garbed in his sorcerous garb, hovering in the street outside. The two assailants moved to intercept him, moving out of Elijah’s field of vision. He pulled himself forward, trying to get to the unconscious form of his uncle. He held on to him there, encouraging him to keep breathing, until help arrived.
Help came in the form of a few paramedics, along with Eldrich. He was no longer glowing, but looked just as serious as he had confronting the two… things. Fazil’s wounds from the bite were no longer bleeding, just oozing small amounts of blood.
Eldrich kneeled next to him, ”Fazil. Fazil, my friend, can you hear me?” Amazingly, he opened his eyes. It seemed impossible that someone so broken by such a beating could even be alive, let alone what it must feel like to be conscious.
”I hear you, Adrian. You don’t have to shout.” Looking around he saw the orb still lying on the ground, exactly where it had fallen before. [b]”Elijah. Get that for me, would you?” As Elijah did as he requested, Eldrich shot the older man a quizzical look. When Elijah got to it, stooped and picked it up, it came freely, as light and as perfectly formed to the touch as it had the first time he touched it. Eldrich’s eyes shot open for a split second before turning to glance back at Fazil. Fazil smirked. It was hard to believe that a face that damaged, on a body that broken, could still manage to look smug. The smirk shifted to a tired smile, and through their eye contact, something seemed to get communicated that Elijah didn’t follow.
The master mage simply stood, waved the paramedics out and said, ”I’ll give you two a moment.
Fazil nodded, wrapping his one unbroken hand around the orb as though he was trying to absorb it into his body, never to be without it again. But then to his surprise, he extended his arm, only an inch or two as it appeared the upper arm was broken, but the gesture was clear all the same. I want you to look after this for me; you know, just until I’m back on my feet. Should the worst happen, I’ll need you to look after it, and the place; or what’s left of it…
Elijah reached out for the small glass ball, but stopped half way. [b]”Uncle, who were those people? What was the ‘key’ they wanted? What’s the reservoir? What is so special about this globe?”
One of Fazil’s eyes was swelling shut, and the other looked like it was having trouble focusing. [b]”Adrian can explain most of that. Those two were Mayombe. Voodoo cultist, and not the good kind. Some of them are healers, but not those two. Don’t know how they found out about the reservoir, or the key, but I suspect it’s your dad’s fault their involved. He had… family connections. I checked him out when Yasmina… rest of the family was not too happy about her marrying a Christian, but… he was a good man, and she made a good choice. The orb? The orb IS the key, and it will lead you to the reservoir. Someone has to protect it. It was my job up until now. You see, only the men in our family could move it; to anyone else, they might as well try to move the earth – it’d be quicker. So, father to son, father to son, we’ve always passed it down. This time it came to me. I was surprised when father chose me, but then none of my brothers had the spark either, and wouldn’t have been able to really use it; at least no better than I could. I couldn’t access it’s real power though. You have to have the gift for that. Be able to learn the craft. Like your father. Sooner or later, I think we’re going to find out if you have it too. I was surprised you could move it; I wasn’t sure. Nobody’s ever tried it like that before. Your mother couldn’t have done it, it’s got to be a man. But I’ve got no kids. None I know of. No son, brothers all dead, as far as anyone can tell. End of the line. I though, maybe it’s just got to be a boy, but Yasmina can still pass on the blood. Maybe Elijah can do it.” He smiled. ”You’re a good kid. Can you do me a favour? Find your violin. Play for me while they get me packed up.”
Elijah did as he was asked. His instrument was in his bedroom and therefore untouched. Eldrich spoke quietly with the injured man as the paramedics started oxygen, secured his neck, splinted his broken limbs (all of them), and strapped him to a spine board.
When the ambulance left, Eldrich turned to him, ”You’ll be coming with me; for protection. I have called for assistance to watch over Fazil. Once I get you to a safe place, I will go after Lady Mamba and Cottenmouth.”
Elijah didn’t remember the trip over to the brownstone, so he was never sure if Eldrich carried him there via magic, or just teleported them or something like that. He was still in shock, both from his injuries, and from the suddenness with which everything had happened. Eldrich introduced him to a man he called Sallah, who greeted him in Arabic. Elijah responded in kind, which clearly surprised the man, but that was probably the only visible reaction he would ever get from the strange man. Eldrich departed, chasing after the cultists he said. Sallah cleaned Elijah’s wounds, mostly cuts, and applied bandages. He claimed Elijah’s wrist was broken as well, though how he knew that without an x-ray was a mystery. Elijah was too tired to feel any pain. At least the break, if there really was one, was in his right wrist; the left one was more important for playing, and a break there could end a career before it started.
He was woken in the morning by Sallah, and given a rich breakfast. Eldrich returned soon after, but with a deep saddened expression. ”Fazil is dead. Not from his wounds, he was resilient and was stabilizing. It was Baron Samedi. I had Seven come to provide him with protection and company, even if your uncle did manage to complain about having a witch guard him instead of a wizard. Samedi unleashed zombies. Hoards of them. Seven called for allies, but the zombies were threatening the other patients, and they took too long to arrive, and were spread too thin. The Baron got to him one way or the other. It appeared your uncle did not give him anything more than he gave the Mayombe. He was a brave man. Right to the end.
Elijah stared back, just still in shock. [b]”What do they want?”
”We call it ‘The Reservoir’, though none of us were sure if it has an original name of its own. It is a Temple to ‘Tōth,’ spelled T-H-O-T-H.”
”The Egyptian god of wisdom and knowledge, right?”
Eldrich raised an eyebrow, ”Right. His reservoir is the collection of the sum total of human knowledge. Anything ever written down, from the first clay tablet, to the latest volume of Twilight, can be found there.”
”That would take an impossible space. The British Library has about 170 million titles, and only about 14-15 million of those are even on paper. Where would find room to put all that, let alone all the books they don’t have?”
”You’re smart. And quick. I like that. The Reservoir is a place unto itself, and is as large as it needs to be. And only the one bearing the ‘Key’ can enter; or perhaps another by the key bearer’s express invitation. Fazil and I intended to test that one day.”
”So if a place like that existed, and Fazil had the key, why didn’t he use it to just learn everything, take all the information and become a god or something?”
”Information is just words; knowledge means understanding, and understanding takes time. Imagine all the books being written around the world, published every day. Thousands of them. To even catalogue them would be an endless chore. That is why that is done by the keepers; you’ve met a few of them, working at your uncle’s store. You don’t even look surprised; you already suspected they weren’t human then. By any event, to read all the titles, even just the important ones, would take several lifetimes. Understanding them… much longer. That is not even accounting for those works that could have a dangerous effect on the mind or soul of the reader. To take the appropriate caution would take even longer. That was one of the reasons why your uncle took such caution about allowing others to see the books. Even those that were safe to read might contain knowledge that could be easily misused. It represents a vast amount of power, and although there are other doors that lead there besides the one Fazil and I installed in his shop, but only that, he pointed directly at the pocket holding the orb, can open them. I do not know why it was made the way it was, but even I cannot hold it. Only the guardian can use the key, and only the direct line, descended from the priesthood of Thoth’s temples, have the ability to hold the key. Fazil was the only one I knew of. We looked for others, but his family was lost, mostly during the wars in Sudan. There may have even been other keys, but where, and what form they might have taken is yet another mystery.”
Elijah pondered, ”So what does this mean for me?”
Eldrich spoke slowly, with a deliberate tone, ”It means that the next guardian is you, and that its power, and responsibilities also fall to you. The keepers will follow your instructions, as the Guardian, but only so far as it serves your duty, and theirs, to safeguard the reservoir. How Fazil convinced them to help run his shop is beyond me. The Orb of Thoth has many secrets, but many powers as well. Fazil was unable to tap into them, as he lacked the gift for magic. When he told me his theory about you, I was skeptical, but now I see him proven right; in part at least: you can hold the key. What you can do with it is what remains to be seen. Now, bring forth the orb. Hold it in your hand, let it touch your skin. Gaze into it, and tell me what you see.”
Elijah did as he was told, and looked into the small glass ball. It was still clear and bright, though the image of the wizard’s kitchen was upside down in the image. Slowly though, he thought he could see more; not something within the glass, but something beyond it – beyond the reverse image of the brownstone’s kitchen.
”Yes..” Eldrich whispered, a hand extended, as though he could feel something happening, ”Now, push your mind forward. Past the image that you see, and towards what lays beyond…”
Elijah concentrated, feeling for a second like he was doing one of those ‘Magic Eye’ puzzles, but then it was gone, and he was gone, and reality and the brownstone sped away like the Millennium Falcon speeding into hyperspace. The next thing he knew, he was floating within the room. It was the same kitchen, in the same brownstone apartment, but somehow it was more. He could feel every facet, every surface, and all of them hummed with subtle magic, as if every aspect of this otherwise plain flat had been charged with energy, and pushed beyond what the laws of physics said should be possible.
Eldrich was still there. He was smiling. ”Now. Look." He waved his hand and a plane of energy appeared in the air in front of Elijah. Its surface reflected his image back to him, like a perfect mirror. There in his place hovered a being of light; of power. The orb that he had held in his hand now circled around him, like a planet orbiting the sun. It was alive and glowed with power. He was the guardian. He was the Orb’s true wielder. Nothing had ever felt so right as this. He was the embodiment of knowledge, and its protector. He was the bearer of the Orb of Thoth.