When I reached the deck, I was thankful the rain had smothered the fires, and was now receding. Rain was fine, but storms were another thing altogether. The wind was still going strong, though, and my trench coat was whipping around my heels. I paused for a moment, my head to one side when I heard something, voices calling over the wind.
"I'm Nights Raven. Nice to meet you, Israel Elysium, but fyi, I'm not a fan-girl."
"You're not? Aw, shame. Fan-girls begging for my autograph tend to lighten my mood, although this-" there came a knocking sound from the side of my boat -"is doing that job nicely."
I heard a laugh and then, "Well what is it, do you think?"
"I know what it is, but you're going to have a hard time believing me."
I was at the edge now, peering down at the man I'd seen earlier standing beside a girl, sixteen or seventeen at the most, with windswept blond hair and dark clothes. Hmm, I thought, Nights Raven and Israel Elysium didn't sound like mortals' names. Perhaps neither of them were, and the mind-wipe wouldn't be necessary, although I didn't particularly mind the skull-bashing. Suddenly "Luck be a Lady" by Frank Sinatra popped in my head, and I began singing while I slid my staff back into its sheath.
"Well, try me. You'd be surprised what I would believe."
Before he could, a new voice yelled "Hellboy!" and I saw a young girl, about the same age as Miss Raven, although with dark hair instead of light, running towards the man beside my ship. She was wearing a purple cloak, and her hair was wet from the rain, making it appear even darker, with eyes a mix of blue and green.
"Kallista?" I could hear the surprise in Israel's voice. "What are you doing-" he managed to get out before Kallista tackled him in a hug, knocking him back a few steps before he regained his balance. He laughed and finished, "Here?"
Instead of answering, she shouted "Raven!" and tackled her in a hug too. I sighed, wondering who else would show up before the night was over.
"Kallista! What are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here- in Australia?"
Ok, I decided that was enough for me, and since they weren't mortal, all I had to worry about was graffiti. I downed an extremely rare regeneration potion I'd learned how to make in South America years ago and immediately felt the stiffness in my leg lessening. I grunted, bending my leg back once or twice. When the pain had eased, and I knew it would be completely better before morning, I tied off a rope and jumped down the side of my ship.
When I hit solid ground, I was no longer invisible, and I tipped my proverbial hat to the wide-eyed onlookers. I did like making an entrance, "Be thankful I'm a busy man tonight, or I'd have the lot of you holed up in the nearest Sanctuary for obstruction of personal space and property. And you, don't touch my boat." And before they managed a reply, I walked past them into the night.
The man who appeared from nowhere seemed to be about the same age as Hellboy, and I was surprised for a moment by their similarity, not their hair or eyes, but the angle of their jaws and the way they dominated a scene and walked with a purpose. This new man was clean-shaven, however, with waterfall curly brown hair and the darkest blue eyes I'd ever seen. He wore a black coat that fell to his ankles that I could just tell he was proud of, and when he spoke, his voice was a novelty, deep, rough, almost, and quiet, but it could get loud if he wanted it to.
"... And you-" he was pointing at Hellboy- "don't touch my boat." Hellboy blinked, taken aback, and when this new man walked past him, he shook his head and turned around.
"Wait a second." He caught up to him in five seconds flat, and kept the pace easily. I glanced at Raven, and the two of us followed right behind, less easily. Hellboy continued, "Why is it I've never heard of you."
"Probably because you've never met me." He stopped in his tracks, and I almost bumped into him. He extended a hand to Hellboy, "I'm Jericho Matteus. And your Israel Elysium, otherwise known as Hellboy. Why?" He seemed to be asking himself the question as he dropped Israel's hand and scanned him up and down, "I have no idea," he said. Then, tilting his head towards me and Raven, "And no, I've never heard of you before tonight. They told me who you are when you and they were talking, and I was listening." Jericho turned slightly towards me and Raven, nodding to Raven- "Nights Raven-" and me "Kallista- I didn't catch your last name."
"Uh, Pendragon," I murmured.
He nodded, "Nice to meet the three of you. Now go away before I shoot you... I'm busy," and he started walking again.
"Wait!" I yelled, jogging to keep pace, "But where did you come from?"
"The Lord in Heaven. Sydney. My parents. The ocean. The sky. Serenity. The Albatross. Take your pick because any one would be correct." I faltered, and Hellboy took over for me, "The Albatross, that's your ship? I saw the name when it crashed."
"She didn't crash."
"Okay, what's the definition of crashing?" He looked back at me and Raven. Raven spoke up.
"Um, landing unpremeditated in an often dangerous and unhealthy way?"
"Precisely! Thank you, Raven."
He looked back at Jericho, "The Albatross crashed."
Jericho faltered a step, then stopped altogether once more, and this time I did bump into him, but he didn't seem to notice.
"You know what?" he said, "I think I do have time to arrest you." He tilted his head, looking out of the corner of his eye at all three of us skeptically.
"So let me get this straight," Raven interrupted. "There's some kind of 'ship' called 'The Albatross' in the middle of the road back there? What... alien spacecraft or something?"
Jericho laughed, "Not quite."
"Wait a second." I had caught on all of a sudden, "You guys are talking about the ship I saw, aren't you? The boat? Flying through the sky?"
Hellboy looked at me, surprised, "You saw it?"
"Yes! I was on the other side of the neighborhood by the park, and there was a strange man, but when I heard-"
"A man in the park?" Hellboy was suddenly right in front of me, hands on my shoulders, "What did he looked like?" The wind tousled his hair, and I remembered how still the man in the park had been.
"Um... I couldn't see him very well. He had light hair and dark eyes, but he was strange because he was so still, like the wind wasn't touching him." Hellboy released me slowly, and I saw Jericho twitch. He turned to me and asked what the man had been wearing. "He...," I looked back to Raven, then Hellboy, and Jericho once more, wondering why this seemed so important. "He was wearing a suit."
I was a man without a first name, unless you considered "Mister" a first name, but that was how I wanted it. It's why I chose it, clean, precise, respectful. When I was younger, I had so much more compassion, modesty, and subtlety, but I had grown wiser over the years. Respectful was I, and what I expected, always.
I brushed a bit of lint off my suit and re-straightened the already perfectly straight, fitted tailored clothing. If I was fair and honest- which I'm not- I would tell you I was borderline obsessive compulsive, and I like to be neat. Respectful. An outer display of the organized being inside, but I don't need to tell you because if you don't realize I deserve your respect, than you're an idiot, and if you don't respect me, I put a bullet through your head.
I always liked things to be simple.
I smiled. I was happy just then, for everything was working out as expected, which was only reasonable when I was involved. Still, it was nice to see it spanning out so perfectly. Israel Elysium had gone the other way around the block, Kallista Pendragon came looking for him, and they both saw when the boat had crashed, which was easily managed by myself. The Rain man. Mr. Raines. All very fitting. Neat. Respectful. Do you see yet?
I straightened my tie once more, ran a comb through my hair, and entered my domain. Is it just I, or is it also strange to you that the really brilliant men seem to either end up dead or skirking in old, abandoned castles or factories exploiting fools and making their plans? Personally, I think it would be disgraceful to hide one's self away like that, and personally, I preferred the finer things in life. Etiquette. Grammar. Neatness. Respect.
My home wasn't humble, and I dare say it exceeded its elegant title, "Mercury Rains Manor." The ceiling careened above me when I entered, and a lesser man would become dizzy, faint even, were the sight unfamiliar to him. The floors were marble, or blood red carpets from Egypt, and chandeliers and Aphrodites shown light and stood tall and beautiful in nearly every room. My manor was like any kind of mansion, castle, elegant chateau you can image, multiplied in beauty and grandeur a hundred times.
Upon entering, Angel, a young maid from
Europe curtseyed low, and kept her eyes trained on the floor. Respect, as I demanded. She asked if I needed anything, quietly, never raising her voice an octave above respectful, but I dismissed her, having already decided to spend the rest of the night before morning in my study with a glass of champagne, going over my plans for the recruits.
Ah, yes, the recruits, they would be mine soon. Oh, yes, so very soon.