When Harry Met Eve
By Evelyn Raith
It was dark and cold in Harry's basement lab. Harry had demanded that everyone else had to stay upstairs but me and I had a feeling that privilege was about to be revoked. It might have been because I was pacing back and forth in the small space between the intricate model of Chicago that took up most of the room and the shelving on the walls.
Harry was sitting on the floor in the far corner of the room just outside a circle of metal that was inlaid in the floor. The box we had procured was sitting in the center of it and Harry was muttering something that I think was supposed to sound like Latin. Close, but just not quite there.
I huffed an impatient breath and did another lap around the table.
Harry opened one eye and glared up at me.
"Fine!" I said in answer at the unspoken request. "I'll just go wait upstairs with the others. Maybe I can start some sort of Thunderdome scenario with your girlfriends."
He opened both eyes and glared harder.
I stomped up the ladder stairs and bellowed. "Two women enter! One woman leaves!"
I emerged into a room that was only slightly better lit. At least it smelled less like rotting moss and sandalwood up here. Molly was sitting in an armchair by the fire and saw me emerge. She perked up.
"He got it open?" She asked.
"No, he's still working on it." I answered. I think the suspense was killing her as much as it was me. I was the only immortal I knew with the patience level of a teenager.
Not wanting to admit that I had been ousted. I continued, "I trust him to handle it on his own, it's just a matter of time and I have other things to worry about."
"Other things? What other things?" Molly was just full of questions. Guess that's what being an apprentice is all about. I was thousands of years old and still asking questions.
"Your sword." Thomas answered for me from the ratty old couch.
I just nodded. I was trying very hard not to panic. Like a child trying to be brave after losing their favorite stuffed animal.
"We should go back to Undertown and see if we can locate it." Thomas offered.
I shook my head. "No, they'll have vacated the spot now that we know the location."
"Maybe they didn't see it in the dark?" Molly said, hopefully.
"No, if it was left, they have it. Anduriel IS the dark and I'm sure he could feel its presence."
A soft voice came from the dark corner by Harry's bedroom door, "The sword has magical properties?" Karrin was standing in a position where she could see out of the high set windows in the room easily.
I turned to face her. "Yes, it was crafted by an Archangel and forged in the fires of Hell itself. It burns both good and evil alike. Angels and demons could feel it and fear it."
"What if that's what they wanted?" She never moved from her spot, or even looked my direction.
I frowned at her, confused, "They wanted to fear it?"
"No, they wanted the sword itself."
The moment the words left her mouth, I felt a cold chill run down my spine. Hell's Fury was a powerful sword in Lilith's hands, but in the hands of Anduriel and Nicodemus? The things they could bring about with it as a facilitator or even the damage they could do to the one remaining Knight of the Cross. I shuddered from head to foot.
My head spun as I recalled how easy it had been to find the box Harry was toiling over at this very moment. All my connections seemed to so easily fall into place, starting with Lara Raith. When Lilith failed to find me with Harry, they had a plan B that would bring me to them in Undertown.
I was about to say something very unladylike when the trap door to Harry's lab popped open and Harry carefully carried out the box I hadn't fought nearly hard enough to get my hands on.
With a huge grin on his face, he walked to the coffee table in the middle of the room set it down, and opened the lid. Inside the small six-sided box was a lump of almost waxy looking dark material.
I walked over and kneeled down before the box. I looked up at Harry and he gave me a nod. I reached forward and poked at the material with my index finger, then leaned over to smell the substance.
"Balm of Gilead?"
"Yup!" Harry pronounced victoriously with his hands on his hips like a comic book hero.
Molly looked a little lost. "It's myrrh." He explained.
"I don't understand. There was so much power here, I thought for sure it would be The Book of Secrets. How could it just be myrrh?" I picked up the box and tipped it around to see if I had missed something.
"What the hell is myrrh?" Thomas asked.
Karrin stepped forward and placed a hand on Thomas's shoulder. The action seemed awkward for them both. "It's sap from a bush. They use it as incense in churches and religious ceremonies."
"Like the gifts of the magi given to Jesus Christ on his birth in Bethlehem, gold, frankincense and myrrh." Molly added.
At Molly's words, I carefully set the box back down. "Oh…"
Karrin blinked and stepped forward to look down at the lump of dark resin that lay in the box. "You don't think that this could be… "
"… one of the actual Gifts of the Magi? Yes, I think it might." I carefully closed the lid on the box.
Molly leaned forward. "So you think this was one of the actual gifts the three Wise Men brought to baby Jesus?"
"Twelve." I corrected her. "There were twelve Wise Men."
"There were only three Wise Men." Karrin stated as a matter of fact.
Harry was stroking his badly-needing-a-shave face. "No, they were wizards, it was more likely to be twelve. That's a very powerful number."
I nodded in agreement. "Magi, Wise Men, Wizards, whatever you want to call them, they were descendants of my third son, Seth. They brought three gifts, and their numbers are never stated in Matthew, so it became a common embellishment that there were three gift givers as well. In actuality, there were twelve of them that made the journey."
We all stared at the box for a few breaths.
"Uh, I'm assuming that means this is powerful stuff?" Thomas said with a smirk.
"Yeah, it's powerful stuff, pretty boy." Harry smirked back. "In fact, just this one gift could be used to cause serious damage if in the wrong hands. Just opening it was like defusing a bomb." Everyone in the room suddenly leaned away from the box.
"Imagine what could happen if Lilith and Nicodemus had all three gifts." I said out loud to myself.
Harry shrugged. "They couldn't do much more than local damage unless they had a catalyst with significant power. Then it could be worldwide damage."
"What?" Harry looked at each of us, confused.
"Harry, they have her sword." Karrin explained.
Harry groaned and rubbed his whole face with his hand.
Thomas stood up. "Well, that makes things easier."
"Easier, how?" Harry asked incredulously.
"They are going to want their little bomb box back. We don't have to go find them, they will come find us. We just have to be ready."
Molly groaned now, "Famous last words."
Disclaimer: Harry Dresden and all established characters, settings, etc. are the property of Jim Butcher and ROC publishers. The original characters and plots are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.