Kian reached out and picked up the box. She and the two men huddled under the cone of light cast by the brass chandelier above. Kian pushed the hook back and opened the protecting ebony box. She reached in, removed the Ark, and then set it on the scarred oak table. Aidan handed her the box with the wings. She peered inside. The light sparkled on the shiny metal. Kian reached in and gently removed the gold wings. She slipped them into the slot on the back of the gold Isis. Then she reached in and took out the silver wings, slipping them into place as well. Nothing happened.
“Try the silver first, then the gold,” Aidan suggested. So Kian carefully removed both pairs from the figures and slid the silver wings into place before the gold. Still nothing.
“I’m doing both together,” Kian announced as she again removed the wings from their slots and slid both in at the same time. There was a soft click. When Kian gently lifted the lid, it separated from the rest of the box. She placed the lid on the table.
All three leaned over and peered in.
“What the fuck is this?”
“Can’t tell,” Aidan replied. “It looks like metal. See if it comes out.”
Kian placed her right hand over the top and slowly up-ended the box. She felt the contents fall into her palm as she slowly lifted the Ark. Just when Kian decided she could turn the Ark over again, four small metal tubes rolled out–one gold, one silver, one copper, and one that gleamed both silver and blue. With her free hand, Kian gathered the tubes together and inspected the stack of metal sheets resting on her right palm. She lifted the first one. It was paper thin. “Looks like aluminum foil,” Kian noted as she turned it over.
“It’s engraved.” Jimbo pointed to squiggly lines that marked the underside. “They are like a stack of cards.”
“Or leaves in a book,” Aidan said.
Kian put the pile on the table and gently bent the leaf she was holding. When she let it go, the leaf sprang back, a flat rectangle once again.
“Not aluminum foil, more like Mylar,” Aidan observed.
“Stiffer,” Kian offered. “This couldn’t stay bent, no matter what I did.” She placed the first leaf on the table and took the second one. It, too, had odd squiggly lines inscribed on it, as did the third and the fourth.
“Beats me,” Aidan said.
Kian gathered the leaves back into a stack and picked up the odd blue pipe. One end was flattened and had a slit like a whistle. “You think this thing makes a sound?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. May I?” Aidan reached over and tapped the strange pipe with his fingernail. There was a faint hollow ring. A strong breeze blew through the room.
“Tap the silver one,” Kian suggested and Aidan did. This time the ring was a bit deeper, almost a gurgle. Kian pushed back as drops of water plopped onto the table. “Where’d these come from?”
Jimbo tapped the copper one. The faint ring was even deeper in tone, almost rumbling. For just a moment, the floor seemed to shake. “What-the-fuck?”
“I’m trying the gold pipe,” Kian declared as she reached over.
“Don’t,” Aidan and Jimbo said in unison as they grabbed her hand.
“Why not? What’s wrong?”
“You’ll be playing with fire, that’s why not.”
Kian looked at the pipes. First a breeze, then drops of water, and then the earth shook. Air, water, and earth. This last pipe had to be fire. Kian pulled her hand back. “If just tapping the pipes works like this, what do you think blowing on them would do?”
“Too goddamned much.” Jimbo pushed back in his chair. “Have you ever tried to control the Elementals? You might as well put out a forest fire with a chickadee feather.”
“Heaven forbid,” replied Aidan grinning at Kian. “Air feeds fire. You need earth to tame it. Try a rock, maybe,” Aidan chuckled as he pictured a hapless caveman throwing rocks at a raging forest fire.
Playfully, Kian punched him in the arm. “Are you making fun of me? Look, I remember about these Elementals. Well, sort of, anyway. Dad told me about them. Their Kings are what control them, not rocks or feathers. We need to call up the Kings.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Jimbo replied. “Are you doing it or am I? Or is that knucklehead doing it?” Jimbo asked her as he pointed to Aidan. “I vote for knucklehead. He’s the one with the PhD in weird.”
“PhD in weird,” Kian repeated. “What’s that mean?”
“He’s a Ceremonial Magician,” Jimbo informed her.
“I’ll explain later,” Aidan said. “Right now we need to decide if we call in just one of the Kings or all four?”
“I’ll go for just one,” Jimbo said. “They intimidate the hell out of me,” he confessed.
“One it is, but which one?”
“Air,” replied Kian. “That’s the smart one. He’s the one who communicates, who teaches.”
“Where’d you learn that?” Jimbo wanted to know.
“I told you she comes from a long line of magical folk,” Aidan commented.
“Christ I never doubted that,” was Jimbo’s reply.
Kian looked first at Jimbo, then at Aidan. “Yes, well that long line of magical folks might just stop here if we don’t figure this out.”
The information Aidan gives on the elementals and their Kings is accurate according to occult tradition.
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