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Third Host: Excerpt, Ezra

April 7, 2008

Ezra traveled light. The suit he was in, one change of clothes and some basic grooming supplies in a bag, and a battered old copy of the Tao Te Ching. He caught the first plane he could find out to the east coast, ending up on a red eye. He was lucky enough to find a quiet flight and spent it reading. He slid through the late night bustle of sleepy passengers with a practiced ease and headed straight for the car rental agency. He rented a black Saturn Aura and paid in cash with an id naming him Steven Moss from Indiana.

He let the radio spin through stations, occasionally pausing to listen to snippets of news, trying to catch anything out of the ordinary. Any chance to get a little ahead of the game was worth taking. Going into a dangerous situation with no outside information was not something he did often. To many risks with leaving everything to chance. Thirty minutes into the drive he finally gave up and left it on a station with bad reception playing bluegrass.

It didn’t take long after that to reach the neighborhood he was looking for.  He drove past once, not slowing, just letting himself absorb what he saw and turned up a block ten blocks down before pulling off to the side of the road. He closed his eyes for a moment and ran back through the street in his head. Nothing to indicate a trap. Of course, if they were good enough to drag Z into this, he either actually was going to be paying back that favor or these were serious professionals at work. And not just the type who knew how to hurt a man. The type who new how to hurt things beyond men. Ezra frowned and debated for a moment. Information or weapons.

He tapped one finger on the steering wheel, before finally putting the car back in gear and circling to park around back of Mefathiel’s building. He reached back and worked the set of lock picks free from the zipper on his bag, tucked them into a pocket and left his suit coat on the back seat, neatly laid down to prevent wrinkling as best he could. With that he stepped out of the car and approached a side entrance. He reached to carefully check the door and frowned when the door just swung open. A ragged looking heavily bearded man lay just inside the door asleep. Ezra shook his head slightly and silently stepped past him and quietly followed up the hall.

He took his time making his way to Mefathiel’s office, but tried not to make it too obvious. He tapped twice on the window and stepped into the room, already shifting his weight to drop into a roll if necessary. Mefathiel offered him a tired smile.

“You made it out quicker then I thought. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I didn’t think I could get Z to listen long enough to send more then that,”Mefathiel said, circling the desk and pushing out a chair.

Ezra let out a slow breath and closed the door, moving to the offered seat. “Probably true. Which also means you didn’t tell her why I owed you?”

“Not a word. Thanks for coming,” said Mefathiel.

“It’s far wiser to keep your debts squared in this world, I find, lest the collectors become something you can’t handle,” answered Ezra.

“True enough,” Mefathiel settled back against his desk and pulled his glasses off, cleaning them on his shirt. “So… I need you to help me find an item.”

“Investigation isn’t exactly my expertise,” said Ezra, a bit wary now.

“Yes, well, we’ll be looking for that piece of the team next. You’re here to help keep us alive while we find the item.”

“Body guarding. If the third member of our little group is even someone you know, what in the hell are you expecting to be coming after us?”

“Precisely Hell. Along with anyone else who realizes what’s happening.”

“You want me to ask, and I need to know, but I can already tell the answer wont be anything good.”

“Something big is happening. Big enough to stir the keeper of the abyss.”

“Abaddon? He’s up to something? You’re not planning to fight HIM are you?”

“No. I don’t think he’ll be leaving his post just yet. Not if we’re fast enough. I imagine you’re parked out back?”

Ezra frowns and stands, “I imagine you’re going to stop being quite so cryptic along the way?”

Mefathiel laughs dryly. “I’ll try,” and leads Ezra out the door, locking the office behind them.

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