This was the moment he was waiting for. Anastasio was finally about to complete his life-long mission, what he had been trained for since childhood. He was the most powerful warrior in that Hispanic army detached to sack the city and take it from the Muslims. But none of them knew it. They also didn't know that Anastasio didn't particularily care about the battle one way or another. His sole purpose was to defeat the powerful, Unnamed One, the evil wizard only one man in every generation could defeat. And in this generation, that was Anastasio.
It was a searingly hot day in late summer, one of those miserable days where it seemed like every pore on his body was shedding sticky sweat in excess just to annoy him. The sun baked any areas of exposed skin on his body, although with his armor there wasn't much. It was days like this that he wished he'd had his long, curly, dark, hair cut shorter. But these were but minor distractions, the weather, the sun... Anastasio was about to complete his life's mission. The wizard was there, in a territory just outside Lisbon's walls. They were so close that he caught a glimpse of the evil wizard, atop a grand hill, floating near a group of Muslim warriors just outside the main citadel. And even though he was still a quarter-mile away, Anastasio was pretty sure that the wizard had caught a glimpse of him.
"He will know you're coming, rest assured, he will be prepared."
Anastasio knew it would not be easy, as he had learned from his decades of training. Far from it. But he was prepared as well, for he had the espada mágica, prophesied as the only sword in all the lands that could wound the evil wizard. Anastasio gripped the ivory hilt with his sweaty hand; he was excited, almost joyful, even though he knew his life was about to end. Yes, it was all but a suicide mission. And he knew that he wouldn't even be successful in killing the wizard. He was only expected to wound him enough to send him into a regeneration phase that would keep him dormant for decades, maybe even centuries if humankind was lucky enough. It was all but impossible to kill the wizard, though, as he was thought to be practically immortal, if not actually immortal.
But this is what Anastasio was born for. And he knew that when he died, his soul would wait until the evil wizard reemerged, and then be born into another warrior, at some other time, in some other land.
"ANASTASIO!!" bellowed a great voice from the citadel, in a volume no normal human's vocal cords could reach.
"I am READY!" yelled Anastasio as loud as he could. He gritted his teeth. He even smiled. "Come and get me" the crazed twinkle in his eyes said.
The evil wizard, sometimes called Hassan, first cast a spell to rid Anastasio of his helmet, exposing his rugged, angled, unshaven face. Then suddenly the wizard zipped over to Anastasio's location. His bretheren were quite alarmed, but they were more surprised to see that the wizard wasn't interested in fighting the whole army, or stopping their advance. No, he was only apparently interested in fighting one man, a man they hadn't thought much of until that moment.
Anastasio swung the sword mightily, but he missed, as the wizard deftly dodged it. No, no, of course it wouldn't be that easy. Anastasio turned quickly around, as the wizard had landed behind him. He wasn't quick enough, though, as an arrow magically shot right from the palm of the wizard's hand pierced his left shoulder. It hurt, but didn't do major damage. Quickly he disposed of it and began battling not for his life, but for humanity's. The evil wizard's spells weren't as effective as long as Anastasio had the espada mágica. If he hadn't had that he wouldn't have lasted five seconds. The magic missiles minimally wounded him. The bites from the magically-produced snakes and scorpions hurt but didn't poison him.
"Foolish boy!" yelled the wizard - in perfect Castilian - as Anastasio sliced the head off of yet another snake as if flew through the air at his face. "You know you cannot defeat me!"
"It doesn't matter!" as Anastasio swung his sword again at the wizard, again having the attack batted away by the wizard's large wooden, emerald-encrusted staff. A quick encantation later and suddenly Anastasio was engulfed in flames. He screamed in pain, but steam emenating from the sword quickly put out the fire. But his skin remained charred. The wizard must have really started to feel threatened, thought Anastasio, as he was sending out his most powerful spells.
The evil wizard vanished, then reappeared behind Anastasio. He impaled him through the back with his own short sword. It exploded out his belly. Anastasio yelled, gripping his sword tightly. The wizard withdrew the sword and Anastasio staggered away. His sword began to heal the wound but it wasn't instantaneous. He swung around to face the wizard again, barely keeping to his feet as blood pumped from his midsection. The wizard laughed as he waved his hand. Suddenly Anastasio could feel the sword being pulled from his hand. He held onto it as tightly as he could, using all the strength in his hand, wrist, and arm.
"NOO!" Anastasio yelled. If he lost the sword, the battle was lost. With all his heart and soul he lunged at the wizard. Finally, he made contact. Finally, he ran the wizard through with the sword.
A great, rattling crack of thunder shook the land. The wizard screamed. Anastasio smiled as he jabbed the sword in further. But, after he was finished screaming, so did the wizard. He cackled gleefully as his nose became a sharp, metal blade. It grew and pierced Anastasio's head, right between the eyes.
The evil wizard blew the espada mágica into tiny shards of steel and ivory. He then disengaged from Anastasio, grunted in mightly pain, and vanished. And Anastasio's lifeless, soulless body crumpled to the ground. The remnants of the espada mágica twinkled, then vanished as well.
After having been rebuked by King Louis XVI in a land dispute, Hassan, the evil wizard, was in a very foul mood. He had emerged a few decades prior from centuries of healing, recharding, and intense magical study. Now he had had his eye on establishing his own wicked state to build an army of lesser magicians to secretly control the world with. However, King Louis and his own small, secret group of witches and warlocks betrayed him. After that, the evil wizard began engineering a revolution. Louis was going to pay for his treachery. Sure, some might have thought it a good thing to liberate the French people, but the second phase of the evil wizard's plan involved enslaving the entire population. And his plan was going well.
But the evil wizard, as he laughed heartily as the Bastille was stormed, was forgetting all about one important thing: l'un choisi, the chosen warrior of the age, the one person groomed all his life to eventually defeat him.
Amongst all the torches and angry French citizens, the Chosen One was there. But it was not a He this time. She was a powerful young girl. Her trainers had told her that the ones who had trained them were mysterious monks who had claimed to be the custodians of the force against the wizard, the warriors and the weapons. She was also told that the monks, in a move they had thought was quite clever, made sure the warrior's soul was born into a her, a female, in a gambit they'd hoped would fool the evil Wizard, just long enough to give them a significant advantage. Indeed, the evil warrior had been expecting a male. But that night, in the excitement, he had forgotten about that whole affair altogether.
Renee emerged from the crowd, in her unremarkable and drab dress, gripping the ivory handle of the Flintlock pistol, the pistolet magique, which had been a "friend" of hers since childhood. It was locked, loaded, and ready to go. In her other small hand she gripped an ancient Chinese dagger, which had been another friend of hers for many years, given to her by one of her most trusted trainers. But that weapon was only to cause extra damage. The pistolet magique, the pistol with the magical automatically-reloaded unlimited ammunition, was her primary weapon. It was the only weapon in all the land, at that time, that could wound the evil wizard. And it was in the posession of a fifteen-year-old French peasant girl.
Renee's small stature and soft cherubic features concealed well her true nature. She was easily able to approach the evil wizard. He was busy planting revolutionary suggestions into the minds of various members of the crowd, laughing to himself the entire time. He didn't even know what was coming until it was almost too late.
She raised the pistol, aiming for the evil wizard's head, ready to fire, when suddenly he turned to face her.
"WHAT?!" he yelled. She fired. He dodged. He cursed. The acrid smoke from the gunfire momentarily concealed him from her.
"L'un choisi!" the wizard yelled, extremely annoyed, but also somewhat amused. She tossed the dagger. It actually hit him in his left eye. It would have been a gruesome injury for anybody else, but he giggled as he yanked it out and tossed it aside, his eye intact. But injuring his eye was not its job. She fired the pistol again, grazing the wizard's neck.
"A GIRL!" he exclaimed, gripping his bleeding neck. "How clever!"
"I am not merely some little girl!" hissed Renee.
"Yes you're also a lousy shot!" the wizard said. He cast a spell intended to heal the wound. It didn't work. He sneered at her.
"I was well-trained, you're just quick!" she exclaimed.
Suddenly, dozens of scorpions rained down on her, appearing from nowhere. They stung her multiple times but did not poison her. However, the attack was still terrifying; she was quite panicked as she brushed them off. She fired at the wizard but he quickly dodged it. Cobras appeared out of nowhere as well and began to coil around her legs. She fired several more times, missing with all but one of the shots. But the one shot that hit slammed into the wizard's chest. He stumbled backwards.
The cobras, unable to poison her, began biting so often they were actually tearing flesh from her legs. She yelled in pain as she fired at the wizard again. This time it hit him in the gut.
Renee's gun glowed and the cobras withered away. The wounds they had caused began to heal. The wizard screamed in pain and frustration. He began to swoon, bleeding heavily from wounds in his neck, chest, and gut. He looked around. It was time to end this. He spotted a nearby guillotine that the angry peasants had been carting around. As Renee readied to fire again, he exploded it and sent the sharp metal blade flying straight for her.
"HEAL THIS!" the wizard yelled. Renee tried to dodge but the sharp blade wickedly bisected her. For a second she still stood, but she knew she was finished. She gripped the pistolet magique with both hands as the top half of her body fell to the left, and the bottom half fell to the right. The evil, arrogant wizard cackled as he stooped over to savor his victory. But Renee had just enough life left in her to raise the pistol, and CRACK!! fire and hit him precisely between his eyes.
"Not... lousy!" Renee mumbled angrily.
The loudest crackle of thunder the peasants had ever heard or felt rocked the land. The wizard yelled, both hands slapped to his head. He vanished in a powerful stroke of lightning. Renee's body - both halves - slipped into lifelessness. The pistolet magique twinkled, then vanished.
February 14, 1929
Renato took a long, sizzling, glowing drag off of his cigarette; he was making love to it as if it were his last smoke. He was aware of the fact that it very well could be his last. He had a vague memory of Lisbon and Paris, and that in those lives, just like his life now, he has been trained the entirety of it to accomplish one goal: battle and defeat the evil wizard with the uncertain name, sometimes referred to as Hassan. And he knew that he would probably die, just like they had. And like them, he had a powerful weapon, the only weapon on the planet at that time that could wound the evil wizard.
After Renato stamped out the remnants of his cigarette he picked up his Thompson Submachine gun, custom-made just for him with the solid ivory handle. He felt the weight of it in his hands, in his arms, let himself really notice it, just like he had the first time it was handed to him when he was twelve years old. In a strange way, when holding the gun at that moment in time he felt like a kid again, while standing beside that garage in Lincoln Park. Most adult guys felt like a kid again when handling a toy race car or model airplane. Not Renato. He had been trained since the time he was a toddler for an imminent fight to the death at some vague point in the future.
But it wasn't vague any longer. It was Valentine's Day, the day he was likely going to die. He chuckled as he thought of the irony. Hassan was going to be at that warehouse, behind some kind of planned massacre of some gangsters. If he hadn't had his fake job of being a police detective he wouldn't have come across that privileged information. Al Capone and his North Side gang were going to rub out several members of Bugs Moran's South Side guys, possibly with assistance from the St. Louis Egan's Rats gang. Oh well. All of the gangsters combined couldn't match the evil of the Arab wizard.
He loosened his tie. Why not? It didn't matter any more, especially since his flesh would probably be soon loosened from his bones.
When he heard cars approaching he quickly hid in some nearby bushes. The cars, both Caddies, parked, and ten men poured out of them, all dressed in dark suits except two who were police officers. Five of them looked fearful, forlorn... they must have been the soon-to-be victims.
And then the dark wizard appeared. But he was dressed as he had never been seen before: in a suit and hat, just like the other gangsters.
"Why we doin' this?" one of the armed gangsters said to another. "I thought we were working out a peace treaty or somethin' so we wouldn't all be killin' each other anymore."
"Because everybody knows Moran can't be trusted, gotta send him a strong message!" whispered the evil wizard, right into the other gangster's ear.
"Because everybody knows Moran can't be trusted, gotta send him a strong message!" that gangster repeated. The doubtful gangster suddenly seemed convinced. Oh, the dirty tricks Hassan pulled!
Renato decided the time had come. He didn't want to do battle cramped inside a building, it was so much better to duke it out in the open. When the gangsters and police were in the garage, and the wizard still outside, Renato emerged from the bushes. He was going to start off with some fun. He took a cigarette out of his pocket,
"Hey, pal, got a light?"
The wizard turned to face Renato, smiled, snapped his fingers, and lit the cigarette on fire.
"Gee, thanks!" Renato said, pointing the smoking cigarette at him.
"I know who you are!" the wizard said, grinning. "You're a moron, Detective Vitale! You should've shot me in the back when you had the chance!"
"What can I say, I'm honorable, unlike you!" Renato swung around his Tommy gun and aimed it at the wizard. "See ya in the next life!"
As the wizard cackled an ornate, ruby-encrusted pistol appeared in his hand. He fired before Renato could. The round that hit him in the chest was not a bullet, however, but an exploding capsule of killer bees. Suddenly he was engulfed by an angry swarm of them that stung him hundreds of times in just five seconds. Renato cursed and sputtered as he tried to swat them away. The gun glowed and all the bees dropped to the ground.
All the stings began to heal quickly but Hassan wasn't done. With a wave of his hand the bees became spiders. They jumped and crawled on Renato just as he had put his finger on the Tommy gun's trigger. Despite the arachnid attack he steeled his nerves and began firing multiple bullets at the wizard. As shells bounced everywhere the wizard somehow managed to dodge every single shot; he moved so fast he was like a blur.
The multiple, horrifically painful spider bites finally distracted Renato enough to make him stop firing. The wizard laughed as he tried to brush them off. Fortunately his gun helped out again, making all the spiders explode in multiple disgusting little pops.
The battle continued, Renato firing, Hassan blurring, snakes and scorpions attacking Renato, and him firing some more. It looked like a stalemate, but Renato had a surprise up his sleeve. The monks had made sure the gun could do more than fire rounds of bullets. Renato clicked a special button near the trigger and a stream of oil squirted out at the wizard. He laughed it off... until he began to lose his footing in the slippery mess. Renato spared no time and unleashed a spray of bullets. The wizard flew up into the air but not before sustaining multiple bullet wounds, the worst one in his neck.
"NECK AGAIN!" he screamed. He fell back to earth, holding his neck, the wounds already taking their toll. Renato unleashed another spray of bullets; the wizard blurred around, dodging most of them, but many still hit, leaving him a bloody mess.
"I might actually live through this!" he said to himself as he pulled the trigger again. Hassan tried to magically grab the gun away but Renato's grip was too tight. Then the wizard vanished. Renato cursed and looked around. When he looked above there floated the wizard. He opened his mouth and from it battery acid poured down onto Renato. He screamed as the steaming, burning acid began to melt some of the flesh off his face.
It was perhaps all the wizard had left, for he crashed to the ground at Renato's feet. He sputtered and spit and somehow overcame the overwhelming urge to grab at his face and writhe in terror and pain. But his training had prepared him well. As flesh still continued to slough off his skull he stuck the barrel of his Tommy gun right into the wizard's ear. He could barely see any more as his eyes had begun to melt, but his trigger finger was just fine.
"Nnnooooooooo--!" Hassan exclaimed. Renato fired. The other side of the wizard's head started to explode, brain matter started to balloon outward from it, but, as if it was a movie that was suddenly paused and rewound, it froze in place, then began to suck back in. In a loud crack of thunder the evil wizard zapped away in a crackle of lightning.
"Happy fucking Valentine's Day!" Renato exclaimed at the smoldering ring of ash where the wizard had been, his head looking like something out of a horror movie. He dropped the gun. And then he dropped. The gun twinkled and vanished.
The magical video app was done. It stopped on the last frame, Renato's body lying next to the smoking ring of ash. Gabriel hit the home button and closed the app.
"So, that was, uh, interesting and all," Gabriel said, "but why were you showing me all this?"
Gabriel was once again at Bastiaan's house, once again under his dubious employment. He had reluctantly taken Ishmianthe's advice and went back. Afer all, he'd had no other job prospects to speak of. Upon returning, since he'd destroyed his old phone, Bastiaan had given him a new one, an iPhone. Gabriel had to admit it was a pretty sweet device, it was no ordinary phone, but of course since it came from Bastiaan, it was even less ordinary. The video-playing app didn't just show videos of cats dancing on pianos on YouTube, it could also show footage of past events if Bastiaan could access them.
"It is because you needed to know about the prophecy." Bastiaan replied. He was sitting at his desk, looking at something on his laptop computer. "And now is the time to tell you, now that I've done all the research and verified its truthfulness. Before it was just a hunch. I'm glad that your new Djinn convinced you to come back."
"And what is this prophecy?" Gabriel asked. He rolled his chair around to the back of Bastiaan's desk so he could see what was on his screen.
Bastiaan closed his laptop and turned to Gabriel. "Don't be screen-watchin' me, mon, you see the wrong thing, you may get yourself dead, you hear?"
Gabriel sighed. "FFffffffine."
"The prophecy, obviously, is about the next Chosen One."
"Oh, yeah, of course."
"He or she is overdue. Hassan been causin' trouble again for years. The last Chosen One, the one I didn't show you, fought him in '95, durin' the Oklahoma City Bombing. She failed to defeat him. He disarmed her and tied her directly to the bomb. The point is, he rechargin' more quickly, no longer takin' many centuries. He's powerful enough now that he's actually been able to prevent the next Chosen One from even being born. All this, these souls, what you doin' with the briefcases, your wife, he behind it all, either in direct or indirect ways."
"Wait, wait, wait," Gabriel interrupted, almost chuckling, "lemme guess: next you're going to tell me that, umm... the next Chosen One was my unborn child!"
Gabriel started to laugh, but when he saw the serious look on Bastiaan's face, he stopped. He frowned. "Oh come on! Really? Seriously? Oh you're just messing with me! You're messing with me aren't you?"
"Do I look I have my kiddin' face on, mon?" Bastiaan asked. He most certainly did not.
"My unborn son or daughter was supposed to be the next person to fight Hassan and die?!" Gabriel exclaimed.
"That is correct, mon," Bastiaan replied. "But it be more than that. He - or she - was supposed to be The Chosen One, the one to finally defeat, and actually kill, the evil wizard. The soul of your unborn child, even though small, is not new. It's Anastasio, Renee, Renato, and Stacy (the Oklahoma girl)."
Gabriel rubbed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. "I'm just a regular guy. How'd I get into all this?!" He sighed. "OK, so... what? What do we have to do? I guess I have to keep going on these missions, try to get the souls of my wife and my child?"
"No." Bastiaan reached under his desk and picked up a briefcase. He set it on his desk in front of Gabriel. "I already have the soul of your child... in here, in my case."
Gabriel slowly sat back up straight. His jaw dropped open. "You... how...?"
"I think the monks help me out - exactly how, I'm not sure. They are an ancient order, very powerful, non-violent (which is why they can't fight Hassan themselves). But I don't know much else about them. While you were out, I did a bit of my own soul-searching. As I do from time-to-time, I try to find Dan's soul, the one in the coma. I didn't find him, but, through some amazing coincidence - which I don't tink is a coincidence - I come across your child's. It had become separated from your wife's during a violent struggle where she was posessing a deranged homeless woman. Two deranged souls fighting for posession of one body, that never end well. It was right here in Louisiana so I quickly left and got it myself.
"We have to break some rules, we runnin' out of time. Hassan be plannin' something big. Really big. No decades of training this time. This soul gotta go in an adult body soon. It gotta be Dan's. See, again, I think the monks, they be helpin'. That and another thing." Bastiaan opened his desk drawer and produced a foot-long maroon leather box. "I get this package in the mail the other day." He opened the box. Inside was a brilliantly-shining dagger, the blade curving back and forth - looking highly lethal - and its handle was pure ivory. It had symbols carved onto it that Gabriel didn't recognize.
"Wicked-looking blade, dude," Gabriel said, "but, uh, this is supposed to succeed where a Tommy gun failed?"
"I tell you, mon, if you a magic guy, like me, you could feel it," Bastiaan said, "this thing is very, very powerful. It's so powerful that I afraid to touch it. In fact, I will not touch it. I fear what I would do with it. I even doubt it would let me even if I tried. It's almost like it's warning me not to. This is only to be touched by the Chosen One, and the Chosen One's parents and/or trainers. Your mission is to take my case, go to the hospital where Dan lie, get your child's soul into Dan's body, give him this weapon, and train him yourself. But this can't take ten, fifteen, twenty years as before. We don't have that kind of time. He has to be ready as soon as possible."
"B-but-but," Gabriel stuttered, "I, I, I can't--"
"You have to!" Bastiaan said. "You must! Everything depends on it!"
Gabriel leaned over and gently banged his head on the desk. "Why... why me?"
To be continued...
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Base Concept: artman2003
Title idea: Dejamorgana
Contributors (so far): artman2003, Uberbanana, Dejamorgana, jessicaj, Junkill, Dimview
Directed by: artman2003
Revived by: Uberbanana