THE CHILDREN OF ZODIAC

An Epilog to Ghostbusters: The Zodiac Imperative

By Fritz Baugh


Addendum to GBI Case File GBNY-1991-9/280
The Winter Solstice
Venice, Italy
1991 AD--Ghostbuster Omnibus Timeline Year Nine

The building was centuries old--according to the official records, it had been built during the Fifteenth Century under the commission of Giordano DiMedici, a scion of the legendary Venitian merchant family that also gave birth to rulers and popes.

"The room is sealed?" a soft voice asked.

"It is, Milady." came a reply, accented with Italian.

"If there are no objections, shall we begin?"

"We meet here on the first day of Capricorn in the one thousand, nine hundred, and ninety-fifth year of the Age of Pisces. Which will now also be numbered the first year of the Age of Aquarius."

There were murmurs of agreement.

The center of the room was dominated by a large, round table. It was divided into twelve sectors; at the head of each sector was a symbol, each carved into the table, and painted a different color.

"Let us all account for those present...Lord Aries?"

Sitting behind the red-colored glyph was a craggy man of Latino extraction, wearing a poncho. His dark, unruly hair was usually covered by a sombrero, and there was a perpetual squint in his eye. "Present..." he said in a smooth, deep voice.

"Lady Taurus..."

The woman sitting behind the reddish orange glyph nodded. "Ever an honor, Milady." She was tall, with a high, aristocratic forehead, and pale blonde hair

"Lady Cancer?"

The woman sitting behind the orangish-yellow glyph replied. "As always..." She had dark, curly brown hair with a white streak in the front. She was tall, and sensually proportioned, wearing a simple white dress.

In between the two women was an empty seat, with an orange glyph.

"Lord Leo?"

"Present, Milady." a man of Asian descent, with his own streaks of white in his dark hair. He was wearing an expensive, immaculately tailored suit. The glyph in front of him was yellow.

"Lady Virgo?"

Sitting behind the yellow-green glyph was a woman with elegant features, a long nose, and shoulder-length platinum hair. She was clad in a green garment with an orange cloak, the clasp bearing the image of a tree. She simply nodded.

"Lord Libra, of course, has provided our meeting place..."

The man sitting behind the green glyph nodded at this, adjusting his glasses. "My honor as always." He was a short man with olive skin, curled black hair, and was dressed in a jacket and scarf in shades of green.

"Lady Scorpio?"

Silence. The seat behind the aqua blue glyph was empty.

"Has anyone any account of Lady Scorpio?"

"Yes..." Lord Aries answered. "I saw her a half-century ago, at one of the concentration camps set up by the Nazis. She was running it. She escaped me, though, and I lost track of her after the war..."

"I've heard rumor that she's in South America..." Lord Leo added.

"She remains lost to us, I fear. She has become a follower of the Shapeless Evil that has destroyed so much..."

"That is unfortunate. But we shall continue...Lord Saggitarius?"

Behind the blue glyph sat short man with dark, curly hair and a straggly, curly beard (but no mustache). His black clothes that blended into the darkness, revealing nothing of their cut. Only a small gold medallion could be seen, with a small engraved design resembling a poining arrow. "Here, Milady."

"Lady Capricorn."

"You know I never miss these..." the woman behind the dark blue glyph replied, with a bit of a smirk. She had mentioned the "Shapeless Evil" a few moments before. Tall, and in her own way as sensually proportioned as Lady Cancer (who sat opposite her) she nevertheless created an opposite effect with her short, almost severely cut brown hair. Her purple garment couldn't totally hide those curves, but tried.

"Lord Aquarius?"

"I'd think it would be especially mandatory for me, wouldn't it?" He was of average, even slightly scrawny build, dressed in a long purple coat, with khaki pants and a floppy blue tie. His brown hair was a bit shaggy. Pinned to his lapel was an insignia resembling a backwards letter "P". The glyph in front of him was also purple.

"I would say all that are accounted for are present, save Lady Scorpio." the woman who had been taking the roll call finally said. She was of African descent, with short hair, dressed in a simple but elegant tunic of tribal garb. The glyph in front of her was pinkish...and as she sat between Lord Aquarius and Lord Aries, completed the circle.

"I understand, Lady Pisces, that the Age has started then?" Lord Saggitarius asked.

"Lord Aquarius will tell us more, as he witnessed the Judgement. But yes..."

"Then please...do tell..." Lord Leo said with an edge in his voice.

"What about the prophesy? We know the Forever Swimmer composed it centuries ago..." Lady Virgo added.

"At the Cusp of Oranos, the Stars Will Seek Judgement
The Twelve stand Marked by their Destinies
The Five Who Are One Will Stand United Against Them
And then, When the Enigma Is Revealed
They Will Stand United with the Restless Warrior
And Secure the Destiny of Hermes,
Thus the Ascension of the Children of the Twelve..."

They all knew that prophesy well. But the fact that Lady Pisces herself felt it necessary to restate it only underscored the urgent tone to the meeting.

"We meet every century, as we always have since there was more than one of us." she continued. "At each Centuriad since the beginning of an Age...and on the first Solstice after the dawn of a new Age..."

With this, Lord Aquarius stood up. "The Avatars of Zodiac inaugurated the Age of Aquarius on the first day of Cancer. I was in my ancestral homeland, near Brandenburg at the time...I had felt the outburst of power, but not having been alive in the first year of the Age of Pisces, I had not experienced it. Phineus Eventide, the Prince of Warlocks, contacted me, and confirmed my suspicions."

"Eventide is not a Childe of Zodiac..." Lady Taurus interrupted with some impatience.

"No. But he is a powerful sorcerer, over three hundred years old." Lord Leo countered. "He serves as primus of House Criamon ..."

"Correct." Lady Virgo added.

"Eventide and I identified the first manifestation point as Stonehenge." Lord Aquarius continued. "We attempted to follow the example of our forebears in the previous age, and stem the flow of vis to the nexus. We failed, due to the properties of the location..."

"Bonisagus himself once wrote a paper about Stonehenge." Lady Virgo nodded. "The Druids who built it did their job too well..."

"I was defeated, and Eventide was captured." Lord Aquarius continued " I managed to locate a Hermetic Sodalis--a mystic descendant of my own filia, as luck would have it--but before we could agree on a course of action, these five individuals appeared..."

Lord Aquarius waved his hand, and an image appeared in the center of the table. A short, pudgy man with short auburn hair, wearing a tan jumpsuit with brown trim. A taller, skinnier man with darker hair and a smirk, wearing a brown jump suit with greenish-blue trim. A woman, with firey red hair, and a jumpsuit of light blue and with orange trim. A tall, lanky man with a blond pompador and red-framed eyeglasses, his jumpsuit the same light blue as the woman's, but trimmed in a pale magenta. And a powerfully built man of African descent, his jump suit aqua blue with red trim.

"The Ghostbusters?" Lord Leo finally said.

"Curious..." Lord Libra said, settling back into his chair. "The tall one is the very image of Zedikiah Spengler..."

"If any of you have kept up with mundane news, they first appeared in New York City almost nine years ago. Technically, the woman was their secretary, but also serves as a member of the team in the field when circumstances warrent. As they did on the day of Judgement..."

"Five..." Lady Pisces said quietly. "And that one...he has the very eyes and bearing of Shima-Buku, the ancient king of Tangalla who bound the Undying One..."

"They are the Five Who Are One then...now I understand..." Lord Saggitarius smirked.

"What do you mean by that?" Lord Aries asked.

"The four males were sent on an errand to Castle Vashnivski some weeks before the Solstice. I could feel their importance, but being only four in number I wasn't certain..."

"They indeed were--it was by allowing the Avatars to study them, the Zodiac Lords judged Earth worthy to continue."

Lady Cancer stroked her chin. "I would move we bring Master Eventide before us...and get his perspective on the matter..."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you, Andra?" Lord Leo rolled his eyes.

"For a man supposedly far removed from mortality, Kenji, you act surprisingly jealous at times..." she retorted with a smile.

Lord Aquarius cleared his throat. "Were that possible...Master Eventide used the last of his life force giving the Five the power they needed to break into the Avatar's circle. His sacrifice allowed them to gain their audience."

It was just then that they noticed Lord Aquarius was not in his seat alone. A black cat, with large green eyes, reclined in his lap. "Eventide's familiar?" Lady Taurus asked.

"Yes. He willed her to me upon his passing..."

"What of the Five?"

"They were returned home when the Avatars departed, as were all of their hosts. but the Five have fractured--their operation shut down only a scant month ago, and they have scattered throughout the United States."

"This makes it more difficult to anticipate..." Lord Libra said. "If they played their role in the Judgement, then they are fated to play a role in the Ascension..."

"But what is that role?" Lady Virgo asked. "And can they still play it while scattered to the four winds?"

"It is difficult to see, even for one with my gifts." Lady Capricorn said. "They did have to close their business once before, but at that time they stayed in close contact. But I know of one thing: I felt a temporal tremor around them some five years ago, an intersection of future and then-present."

"Five years ago...I had a premonition that the Prophesy was nigh..." Lady Pisces added. "I could feel the final Childe, somehow, manifest..."

"Were that I not prohibited from asking my future selves about this..." Lady Capricorn shook her head

"There was an anomaly surrounding them this time." Lord Aquarius finally said, his face hardening. A new image appeared--a man in a black outfit, his face covered by a full mask with a red visor. "This man apparently arranged to get the Ghostbusters to Stonehenge. And he appears to have some knowledge of the existance of the Children--he calls himself 'Nodus' "

" 'Nodus' " Lord Libra repeated. "It's Latin...it means 'Knot' More colloquially, a complication. An unexpected problem... "

" 'the Enigma Is Revealed'" Lady Taurus exhaled. "Could this man also have a role to play in the Ascension?"

"Nodus..." Lord Saggitarius mused. "That was the name of the man who sent the Ghostbusters to Lord Vashnivski's castle..."

"Ominous." Lord Aries said. "We've gone to great lengths to keep our existance secret...who is he to have found out that much?"

"On the surface, he's but a businessman--a dealer in electronic products. But there is much to wonder about..." Lord Aquarius answered.

"So what do we do now? That's the real question, isn't it?" Lady Virgo finally said.

"We must keep tabs on the Five Who Are One..." Lord Aquarius answered. "I have managed to form a good relationship with my Hermetic descendant; she, in turn, has become close to one of the Five."

"Might it be one of their offspring?" Lady Cancer asked.

"None living as yet, or we would sense it. Though..."

"Yes Lord Aquarius?"

"This one here" he pointed to the man in brown and blue. "His lover is the former avatar of Zuul, the minion of the Shapeless Destructor. One child, she has already, a son who was coveted by the undead necromancer Von Hamburg Deutschendorf."

"Barrabi slime..." Lord Leo snarled.

"As both Lord Libra and Lady Pisces have indicated, two more are of notable bloodlines." Lady Capricorn stated. "This one is indeed blood of Magus Zedikiah" indicating the tall man in blue and pink. "And this one is indeed the reincarnation of the Chieftain of Tangalla." indicating the African man in aqua and red.

"What of the other man? And the woman?"

"The last man is descended from Russian and Swedish immigrant families, though there is no sign of anything noticably...exceptional in his heritage, save the presence of Domovyen at his Russian ancestors' domicile. The woman is of the blood of Isaac, and was coveted by a vanity spirit, but she was freed of it's influence almost two years ago."

"One thing is for certain." Lady Pisces shook her head. "They will not fulfill their destiny to the Twelve if they are not as One.

"We must find out who this 'Nodus' person is..." Lord Leo stated. "If he knows anything about us, and the stakes of the Ascension, he's a dangerous variable we cannot allow..."

"But we must also learn--does he have some insight as to the Ghostbusters' role in Lord Gemini's ascension?" Saggitarius countered. "If he knows of us, he probably knows their significance as well--why else send them to where he knew I would be? Why else intervene to make sure they arrive at Stonehenge at the appointed time?"

"And just what is he hoping to accomplish through this?" Lady Taurus chimed in. "It is possible his motives are noble, after all..."

"Possible." Lord Aquarius agreed. "But until we know, we must treat him as a potential complication. I find myself agreeing with Kishiro--we must find out who this man is before we can decide what, if anything, must be done about him." he turned to Lady Pisces. "If that is agreeable, Milady?"

"The Age has turned, Lord of the Steady Wind. The Primordial Waters of the last age retreat, and thus, the decision is yours."

None of them--Lord Aquarius least of all--looked comfortable at that declaration.

"Why look you so surprised? This is the way it is fated to be...before, the Childe of the Age did not yet live...and the last age was indeed mine..." the African woman chided the rest of the group.

"Your wisdom has guided this circle for millenia, Lady Pisces." Lady Capricorn assented. "I trust it now--as I do that of my former filius..."

"I...hope despite my years, I am worthy of your trust. That said then, I move to adjourn the meeting. The next, then, should be at the Summer Equinox in the One Hundredth Year of the Age Of Aquarius...or 2090, for those who prefer mundane time scales."

"I think I shall offer my grove in Greece for that meeting, if you don't mind." Lady Cancer smiled. "Things went quite well there back in 1796..."

Lady Taurus rolled her eyes, but none dissented.

The meeting over, Lord Aquarius walked Lady Capricorn to her room. He looked rather somber.

"You look concerned, my friend." she finally spoke up.

"We're close, Delphia...so close, but there is so much we don't know. We don't even know what will happen when the circle is complete--we've been too concerned waiting for it to happen, without even thinking what this 'Ascension' means..."

"We will never know until the circle is complete. It is our destiny, either way." She paused for a second. "You are also concerned about this Nodus man, aren't you Zandrik?"

"You know me too well." Lord Aquarius nodded.

She gave him a quick peck to his left cheek, then shut to the door to her room. For a moment, he remembered when he first met her, eight hundred years ago...an utter slip of a boy...and was absolutely awestruck.

Only one other woman would mean more to me... he ruminated, and looked at the sparkling amethyst gem on his right index finger. A promise from a woman long returned to the Earth...

...But mourned still.

Questions? Comments? Go to the Ectozone Message Board