Meeting in Moab
May 12, 2010
Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but we made it to Moab without so much as a flat tire. I had no problem becoming a snake and wrapping myself around Hannah’s nimble form, but I didn’t enjoy Ethan driving my ride, or how Hannah was forced to put her arms around him. I liked even less how much this Loki guy appeared to enjoy the latter. I had hoped we could have used some of the Ripperkah’s bikes, but all of their tires had been burned to slag.
Once in Moab, I gained some small respect for this guy when he pulled into the local brewery, even if he did charge my bike over four lanes of traffic to do so. The place was called the Dead Horse and was filled with paintings of mangled horses with Xs instead of eyes. Right away the place seemed like the sort of spot that a Xemmoni would run, that is, until I tried the beer. No Xemmoni could brew pale ale this good.
“I wonder if maybe a Tezcatlipoca guy runs this place,” Ethan mused over an amber ale while rarely taking his eyes off Hannah’s two inches of exposed cleavage.
Finally feeling almost half relaxed, I leaned back a little and asked, “Why would you say that?”
“Well, it doesn’t seem like a Xemmoni place and those Tez guys are into death and darkness and all that?”
After taking another long pull off my ale, I asked, “why does everything have to be something to do with either Stalwarts or Xemmoni?”
“Everything interesting does,” he said, while finally shifting his eyes away from Hannah, even if it was only to take in the young waitress’s slim form.
“Are all you Loki types such letches?” She asked.
“Only the breathing ones,” he said with a smile.
“Oh brother,” I couldn’t help but groan, but then our food arrived and for a few minutes, while I at my chicken wings, I almost felt like a normal guy. Although when I was a normal guy, I had never dated anyone as pretty as Hannah.
But like most good things, our meal was eventually over and after ordering another pitcher, I knew we needed to get down to business.
“So I need to head back to Colorado. I can’t leave anything unfinished. It just isn’t right.”
“Or die trying, right.” Ethan said, while stirring his drink with a finger.
“I usually try to avoid that part.”
“Some people care about others and don’t want to see innocents get hurt,” Hannah said, crossing her arms and staring down Ethan.
“Does that mean you won’t be going with us?” I asked. “You fought pretty well back there. We could use you.”
A hint of a smile could be seen. “Well, I did leave my car there.”
I laughed, but Hannah looked like she was hoping the guy was going to say no. “What about tonight?” she asked. “No reason to be hunting Xemmoni in the dark least of all those Darcarre.”
“Well, I have plenty of bread, let’s just stay here.”
“You do?” Ethan said. “Say can I borrow some? I need-”
“Can it. I’ll pick up dinner and spring for a hotel room for you tonight, but that’s about as much as you can dare hope for.”
Looking at Hannah, he said, “My own room… but what about safety in numbers and all that? Wait are we each getting our own room?”
“Nope just you,” Hannah answered for me.
“Oh geez. Well can I at least get a little chump change. I am sorta your employee and I think I deserve something.”
“Oh thanks for reminding me. I have wanted to ask you about why it was that you suddenly showed up like you did?” I knew I might need to ask Hannah the same question sometime, but I figured I’d start with the person I cared far less about first.
“On man, me and my big mouth.”
“Okay, okay. I ah…well, I was sent here to help, I guess.”
“By who and why?”
“Let’s just say that there are um, ‘beings’ that want to make sure nothing keeps you from returned to Idaho and taking care of what you didn’t finish there.”
“Are you supposed to help me when I get there?”
“Oh thank Loki no. I um, let’s just say I made a little mistake and making sure you get back to Idaho is my way of paying off that debt.”
“You little turd, so you had to go back to Colorado no matter what?”
His cheeks flashed as red as his jacket for a moment. “Yeah, okay, yeah I guess.”
Hannah was talking slower and sounded more uncertain that her usual self assured demeanor. “Jack, I might as well come clean too. I didn’t just meet you randomly.”
“I had figured as much by now.”
“Don’t tell me you’re in trouble too.” Ethan said smiling.
“Hardly,” she said, giving him a glare. “But I was sent to help make sure you make it to Idaho, Jack.”
“Again, I ask, by who and why?”
“These are hard times. The Xemmoni, with Vile’s help, are growing more numerous and powerful than ever before. Stalwarts are becoming rarer and the few of us that are left are being stretched quite thin.”
She paused, looked at Ethan briefly, but then her blue eyes burned into his. “The agents of Weal have been watching you, Jack. They think you might be our last hope.”