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"Weighing the Heart": John Constantine is terrified, but he dares not show it. After five years of magic use tearing him apart since the war, John isn't the man he once was. Still he has seen a great many evils in his time, but none have irked him so much as th


Quote1 Anyhow. Put your fancy sparkles away. I was trying to issue the challenge. According to the rules. Here it is: Prove to me you've ever given a damn about anybody other than yourself. Quote2
John Constantine



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Synopsis for "Weighing the Heart"

John Constantine is terrified, but he dares not show it. After five years of magic use tearing him apart since the war, John isn't the man he once was. Still he has seen a great many evils in his time, but none have irked him so much as the Helmet of Fate.

Mary Bowen, meanwhile, is having a bad day. She forgot her phone with the to-do list on it at home, and is using her coffee break to drive home for it, knowing she'll get in trouble for it. On her way, though, she sees a glint of light, and her every impulse is replaced by the call of Nabu. She is meant to be more than a librarian. She is meant to wear the Helmet of Fate. When she gets to the hotel where the Helm is being held by John Constantine, she is clubbed into unconsciousness by a man with a rifle.

Despite the helmet's threats against him, John knows that it can do nothing without a host to wear it and channel its magic. The helmet reminds that John was offered the opportunity to be that host. It promises that if he gives up his quest for revenge to work with Nabu, they could right wrongs throughout all time together. John points out that the Helm caused a great deal of the misery he failed to stop in the last five years. Many of his friends died in pursuit of the Helm's power.

Jun-Seo Lee wanted to be an actor, and he knew he was destined for more than what he had. His family had held him back from that destiny, but when he hears the call of Fate, nothing could tear him away from it. He knows everything is about to change for him, until he feels arms gripping around his neck tightly, closing off his airways until he loses consciousness.

The Helm conjures up memories from within John's mind - memories of horrors her saw and perpetrated during the war. The Helm reminds that with its power, John can ensure that none of them happen. Angrily, John points out that the Helm could have seen all of them prevented in the first place. What the Helm offers - time travel - is the cheat of cheats. It's dangerous. The Helm claims that despite John's failed attempts in the past, it is possible, and begins reaching out into John's arms, forcing him to raise the Helm up and place it over his head. John begs to make a deal, but it is too late. The Helm of Fate has him now.

Downstairs, John's friend Lloyd continues to prevent the Helm of Fate from calling innocents to the hotel room, but it's becoming difficult, as some of these thralls are armed.

The Helm is surprised, though, when it realizes that John has duped it. He spent years seeking the magic that would give him control of the Helm of Fate, instead of the other way around. The Auditorium of Anubis spell traps the Helm within John's Heart. Temporarily, John warns, reminding that the only way out is to prove its worth in a fair challenge. If the Helm wins, John's heart will burst, and the Helm can seek a new host. John warns that his spell is legitimate and the god Anubis truly presides over the challenge, and the challenge is this: Nabu must prove that he has ever cared about anyone but himself. Knowing he is likely beaten, Nabu warns that John will die regardless. That is the price of audience with Anubis.

John points out that whatever Nabu claims, his actions speak louder than his words. He summoned someone to put him on to kill John, and when that person didn't arrive, he summoned another, and another. For all Nabu knows, they're killing each other. He clearly doesn't care. Despite Nabu's claims of being the greatest sorcery that ever lived, John suggests that the real greatest sorcerer is humble - silently doing great works, and unnoticed by anyone. It is fools like the pair of them who are always waving their flags and flaunting their achievements as they stand over the corpses of the innocent. Snidely, John suggests they call a character witness for Nabu in Khalid Ben-Hassin, the Helm's former wearer, who is now trapped in Hell. Nabu simply glares at him balefully.

John declares the challenge over, and the god Anubis plucks Nabu up and consumes him. John, then, finds himself back in his hotel room, and a voice urges him to fulfill his part of the bargain, now that Nabu is destroyed. John had deceived the sorcerer. He made a deal with an ifrit demon to create the illusion of the Audience of Anubis. In exchange for his survival and Nabu's destruction, the demon may possess the Helmet of Fate, free of the prison scroll that had trapped it. So long as it calls itself Nabu and uses its hosts to perform acts of altruism, none will be the wiser, and John won't come back for him.

John heads downstairs to find his unfortunate friend Lloyd sitting amid a pile of unconscious and dead bodies. Angrily, he shouts that John had lied to him about what he'd be facing there. He demands to know if all of his efforts were worth it. John responds that he got what he needed, and now they can both get a drink.



Notes

  • This book was first published on September 10, 2014.
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