I had never met a Constant before. I barely even believed that they existed. Humans had everything wrong. They thought there was a single being responsible for the creation of the world. They lived by the belief that everything began somewhere, but that was a flawed view. The universe has always been and would always be. The universe was one of those Constants. Something that always was and would always be.
It was a hard concept for mortals to understand and even I had trouble believing it. There I was though, standing outside of the home of a legend. Gilfred was a Constant, someone whose stories were told to me as a child. I walked up onto the porch and lifted the knocker above which the initials G.O.D. were inscribed. I dropped the heavy weight and let it fall once.
Patrick had spent his life looking for this one man, if he was a man. Gender probably meant as little as age when referring to a Constant. They weren't something that could be defined by those categories. I turned and glanced at the car. Inside lay a sleeping Patrick, a child for the time being. It wouldn't be until he got older that he would regain the memories he once had. His vessel's sister had been born yesterday so I had been left to care for him, a task I had wanted to avoid. I didn't want him to think of me as a parental figure because of my feelings toward him.
No answer from the door. I reached up to knock again. It had taken me years to find his residence, and I didn't expect him to be here. His house sat in the center of a massive field, a monument to his power it would have been, if it wasn't surrounded by small, wooden crosses. Thousands, if not millions of them surrounded the house, each one with a name and date. The neighbors said that when he first moved here there weren't any crosses, but over the years more and more began to appear.
I pulled my hand away from the door and glanced at the car again. Why was I hesitant? Patrick believed completely that this man was safe, but something in me was screaming to just walk away; just leave this thing alone because it wasn't worth the trouble.
If I did, then Patrick would never forgive me. The other people of our race had forsaken him, claiming that his words were lies. So he left them, choosing with conviction to side with the one race that seemed to be the only that wasn't too blind to see when things were getting bad. Humans.
I couldn't understand his faith in them. He seemed set in the belief that this entire time, humans had been the superior race. Our kind had enslaved them, done horrible things to them, made them believe things that gave us more power, but Patrick believed in their potential. I had asked him why he believed this so much and he asked me to think back to a time when humans weren't around. Even before the realm of humans, there were humans in the Other Lands; in the oldest history books, the ones buried in our forgotten cities, they were still spoken of from first page to last.
This fact scared me to my core. As far back as I looked, humans were always there. My fear came to the notice of Patrick, who took me back in the basement of his Other Lands home. There he showed me a large block of cave wall. On it were symbols that I recognized as the first roots of our language system, and right there in the most rudimentary of writings was the word Human. Patrick proceeded to explain that he thought humans were a Constant, not individual humans, but the human race as a whole. He believed they had an untapped potential, one that only manifested when their race was in danger of extinction; a bestowing of abilities to seemingly random humans, who would become the shield and sword needed to weather any storm. He showed me thousands of documents, all of them a record of times when the human race triumphed against odds that were completely unreal.
I lifted the knocker and dropped it again.
"I have something to show you Indigo." A voice behind me spoke and I instinctively branched out my power, but it was deflected. It had never been deflected before.
I turned to see an old man standing at the bottom of the porch stairs. He was smiling and I felt comforted by his presence.
"You must be Gilfred." I made my way down the stairs and followed him through the rows and rows of wooden crosses.
"When you've lived as long as I have," He brushed a hand across one of the wooden crosses, "you hardly ever make any mistakes. I'm sure you can understand that, given your races longevity, but I'm not sure you understand what it means to a person like me. A mistake of mine can have consequences that last for a very, very long time, and it will kill so many people."
"I'm not sure I understand."
He was quiet for several minutes while we walked through the unending field of crosses. Each one that he passed, he touched and he never smiled. Each cross he passed seemed like a weight on his mind and visible on his face as a burden. I could tell that to him each one was heavier than I could imagine.
"Each and every one, I put here. So that I never forget who they were and what they contributed to the universe, so I never forget what was lost. However, I believe there is only one that would have any relevance to Patrick, and in extension; you."
He stopped in front of a cross and pointed to it. Inscribed in the wood was a name. Mardockt. I stepped backward in shock and looked at the old man.
"Wh-What is this?" I was incredibly confused, Patrick believed Mardockt to be alive and trapped just waiting to escape. However, right in front of my face was proof, delivered by a being without age, that Mardockt was indeed lost.
"Humans were the most powerful of the Constants. They were because the entire universe and everything within it conformed to them. When humans were in danger, seemingly unrelated and inconsequential events took place bestowing seemingly random humans with powers that neither me nor you could understand. Then these humans turn out to be exactly what the race needs."
"You aren't making any sense. I came here to ask for your help, we need to kill Mardockt. We need you to kill Mardockt."
My head was still trying to get over the fact that Mardockt was dead. Patrick based every action that he made on the belief that Mardockt had been changed evil and that Mardockt had more power than he could imagine. Had Patrick been wrong?
"Only a Constant can create a Constant and the same inverted. Only a Constant can kill a Constant. Anything else that tries will be killed. I knew this, but in my loneliness I ignored that fact. The being you call Mardockt was created long before your friend unleashed him. It took me many years to learn how to create a Constant, and even longer to contain him."
Suddenly the weight of the field I stood in fell on me. Each one of these crosses were a life destroyed by the being Patrick was scared of, and because of Gilfred's guilt he lived everyday in the presence of monuments he'd created for them.
"This field," I felt a heaviness in my heart, "How many of them are of my race?"
"Patrick's friend, Mardockt, was not born without a power. When he was destroyed he created an anomaly in the universe. He was part of the protection that humans would need to survive."
"You aren't answering me."
"Don't you understand? Smell the air, look at the sky, you can see it everywhere. The human race is preparing to defend itself. I can feel the tendrils of fate weaving throughout the universe. I can see the dominoes falling in sequence as the universe and everything within it bends in attempt to ensure their survival. The last time I saw the universe react like this was back in the Ice Age, but even that wasn't anything compared to this."
"Stop speaking in riddles!" I stomped my foot causing the ground to tremble.
"The human race is scared. It doesn't know whether it can survive this time and because of this, the universe is not pulling any stops. Do you know what that does to me? I created the Constant that they're worried about. I caused the death of thousands and I can do nothing to help. I can only tell you the right direction."
"So what's the right direction?"
"Patrick's already headed in it, but he needs to find the anomaly. He needs to find it as soon as he can, because it will lead him to the only defense humans have."
"He's not interested in just saving the humans, he wants to save the universe. He wants you to lead the army he will create."
Gilfred smiled, "Indigo, you really need to be more understanding. A Constant is a Constant because it must be there. Without the human race then the universe loses meaning, and without a reason to exist it will fade away. I might survive as well as my creation, but the universe will evaporate. Take a look around you, I am not fit to lead an army, but maybe the anomaly will be."
I was angry, "You aren't the person I thought you were. I heard legends about you for as long as I've lived, but you're nothing but a sad old man who doesn't want to get his hands dirty. Patrick is more than you'll ever be."
Gilfred looked surprised as though I had said something he hadn't expected, "I have done enough. You may leave now, my answer is no. I will not join Patrick."
"Then I give you a message directly from him, if you will not help us then you will be hunted. You'll be hunted forever, because Patrick will not stop until he's either contained you or killed you."
As I turned to head back to the car, Gilfred laughed, "Patrick is an amazing person, very dedicated and willing to do what it takes, so I wait for the day when he comes to collect."
As I slid in next to Patrick, I couldn't help but feel a chill. Gilfred's words stirred something that I had stuffed away for a long time. Deep within my soul I felt the one thing besides love that controlled my actions.
Deep within I felt the cold hand of terror as the car pulled away from the house, the crosses and that horrible old man.