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 Ch. 41: Possessed

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Ch. 41: Possessed Empty
PostSubject: Ch. 41: Possessed   Ch. 41: Possessed I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 29, 2010 7:13 pm

The sun was setting low in the sky. A red sun.

“Red sun at night, sailor’s delight…” Blizzard hummed to himself as he relaxed against on the front steps of the Council of Grasp building. Around him were the rest of the members of Requiem. Priest had decided to pull the guards from the town entrances; if the 13 Lord of Chaos were already on the other side of town of Wa-Kia, then guarding the entrances would be pointless.

Dawn piped up. “We’re not sailors.”

Priest cocked an eye at this. “Now that you mention it, you remind me of something. When Asterisk joined Requiem, he had come from all the way across the sea to this land out of curiosity. He wanted to know what was here, to explore new worlds, and to escape a horrible past in his home country, Panem. The first man he met was Dye, aboard the same ship. Neither of them were sailors. In fact, Dye hated the sea. But they both arrived on this continent as the red sun faded into night. The port they arrived in was Swordhaven. Eventually, they parted ways. Dye wandered the lands, while Asterisk heard of us and joined up. Asterisk dedicated his life and soul to making this clan what it is now. You guys are a continuation of his legacy.” Priest paused for a moment. “Let us honor that legacy.”

From the newest member to the oldest veteran, every man and woman took heart at these words. They knew what they were fighting for now. They were fighting to avenge the fallen, and to protect their pride as members of Requiem. Then, as suddenly as that confidence had given them hope, it was snatched away by a horrible feeling in the pits of their stomachs. Something was coming.

“Inside, everyone. Keep watch upstairs, arrows and spells at the ready. We have archers lining this road, so they won’t approach us unnoticed.” Blizzard stared down the road as the soldiers of Requiem followed his orders, staying out of sight while maintaining visual contact with the road. In the distance, barely visible through the mist, was a small figure. It approached slowly, on small sticks that could have been called legs, if not for the exaggerated thinness in them that spoke of malnourishment. A small, dirty rag of a dress, all patches and holes. Then a face. It was a small girl, perhaps about ten years of age, a pair of dirty brown piggy-tails sticking up like bundles of twigs from the back of her head. Hands folded in front of her as if afraid to touch the air around her with her fingers. Shoulders hunched and quivering, whether from fear or from the chilly afternoon breeze, nobody knew. Her appearance served as a slight shock to Blizzard, who had expected something more menacing.

“Are you serious?” Blizzard took off his shades to make sure he wasn’t just seeing things. The girl remained there, slowly approaching them on bare feet. “Kobi is sending little girls to attack us? What kind of sick person is he?”

Behind him, Priest breathed out the words. “It could be nothing. She’s probably just a refugee fleeing Kobi’s approaching army. Then again, she could be anything. A trap in disguise. A walking bomb. Or just a decoy to distract us from a true threat around us. Keep your eyes open and your ears alert. We don’t want to be caught off-guard.”

“But what do we do with her? We can’t just shoot her!”

“True. She could pose a threat to all of our lives, but all the same, it’s wrong to attack a child. I can’t believe Kobi would do something as dirty as this.” As if on cue, a shadow seemed to blot out the sun. Blizzard blinked, looking at the world through a thick pair of shades. But that couldn’t be right. His shades were still at his side. But he didn’t dare to put them on, less he be plunged into utter darkness. A bead of sweat dripped down Blizzard’s forehead. Then his whole body convulsed as he was gripped by an uncontrollable terror.

“Get a grip!” He told himself through clenched teeth as he went down on his knees, sweat pouring down his neck and drenching his clothes.

“Blizzard, what’s the matter?” Priest was still standing, seemingly unaffected. But the rest of the members of Requiem were falling over in utter fear of something unknown. Behind Priest’s back, Dawn was carrying Megan, covered in perspiration, over to a corner of the Council hall to rest. She was the only other member unaffected by this sudden onslaught of terror. Her magical arms illuminated the halls with a faint, red light as she laid Megan down on her side, then came outside.

The girl had paused less than a dozen steps away from Priest. Blizzard, with a great effort of will, had managed to stand up again. But he could barely see the girl through the drops of sweat still pouring down his face. So Priest was the only one who could see the look of terror on the girl’s face, and the pain, as if she knew what was going on, but wasn’t sure what to expect. She looked at Priest through wide, blue eyes, and uttered two words.

“Help me.”

Priest took one step forward. Then he covered both of his ears as the entire street seemed to tear itself apart. His mouth opened and stayed that way, eyes wide for one moment, then closed as flying splinters and falling masonry buried the street. Something invisible, something huge, was carving huge sections out of the buildings on either side of the road, swiping broken wooden beams, broken windows, and used furniture into the streets, each successive gash moving up the street. Out of one window, Priest saw an archer fire an arrow into the air, not aiming at anything, only acting out of desperation. The arrow splintered in mid-air as it collided with something. Then, Priest heard a low growl. The archer opened his eyes wide in shock for a moment, screamed, then exploded in a shower of blood and limbs. The destruction of the street resumed. Blizzard heard what was going on, heard the scream, and responded.

“Get out of the buildings! Pull back!”

From the buildings lining the street, members of Requiem poured out, bursting open doors, windows, and walls in order to get free and escape the destruction of the street. Blizzard saw one building, just across the street from the Council of Grasp building, sit there for one moment, then completely lose its second story the next. A pair of archers could be seen dashing down the staircase and out the door, barely avoiding losing their heads by the invisible attack. Then Blizzard yanked Priest out of the way as, with a mighty crash, the stone columns and domed roof of the Council of Grasp caved in and fell to the ground, blotting out the sky as they rained down. Had they left anyone behind in that building?

Yes they did. Megan…but something stirred beneath the rapidly growing pile of rubble. A chunk of marble column shifted, then was sent flying as Dawn burst out from beneath the fallen masonry, Megan clutched beneath one magical arm, the other one temporarily transformed into a giant fist twice its usual size. One of the skeletal arms around her neck pulsed with magical energy. Dawn made a break for it and set Megan down besides Priest. The rest of the members of Requiem gathered around, waiting for something to happen. The entire street had been demolished, a great dust rising up from the collapsed ruin. Fire would be furious; nothing of his once-great Council Hall had been left. But now, nothing stirred. Nobody spoke a single word, but just stared. What had caused all of this? Whatever it was, nobody wanted to find out.

Priest motioned. “Come on, back to the town center! Whatever that was, it won’t wait for us to clean ourselves up before striking again. Let’s move!” The soldiers of Requiem moved with a single motion, sprinting towards the town center. As he ran, Priest thought out the sequence of events. The girl had walked towards them. Then the street had blown up. Was the girl the cause of all of this? Had she really been a walking bomb? No. Whatever it was that blew up the street, it had a mind of its own. Priest saw, in his mind, the great sweeping attacks of the invisible thing that had torn down the buildings, the way everything had paused for a moment before one of their archers had blown up, how the arrow he had fired had futilely splintered against something invisible in the middle of the street, something huge…And the girl had asked for help. Had she known what was following her? Was she somehow connected to this invisible monstrosity? Well then, what were they going to do? Kill the girl?

The street opened up ahead of them as it lead to the circular commons of the town center. In front of the dry fountain, something waited for them. Priest groaned. It was the girl, wide-eyed and scared, arms clutched about herself as if she were feeling an intense pain. She shook her head sadly at them as they appeared at the end of the street and poured out onto the commons.

“Please, help me.”

The sky grew dark where they stood, just as it had before. Then, the fountain exploded, the statue perched on top of it splintering into a thousand shards, its grinning face splitting in two and flying in opposite directions. The girl stood there, untouched by the falling chunks of fountain, looking both pitiful and frightening. Then, a building nearby blew up, wooden beams shooting across the town center to land in the windows and alleyways of the opposite side. Then the next building exploded. As each building successively was destroyed, the girl standing in the center clutched her arms ever more tightly, wincing each time something was destroyed. A roar and a billow of smoke as one of the buildings went up in flames, probably from an untended fireplace being blown up. The members of Requiem filed into the middle of the commons, facing outwards, standing a little apart from the girl, watching as chaos erupted around them. Priest tried to think clearly as the explosions approached the Grand Archives of Wa-Kia. He had seen these symptoms before. What was going on? The answer bubbled up in the pit of his stomach, rising up in his throat and reaching into his mind with a small pop and an epiphany. This girl was possessed by a demon.
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Ch. 41: Possessed
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