The rains washed over the nearly deserted streets of the City of Tur. A week before, thousands had flocked on these very roads. Traffic had been a constant stream, with the horns of cars and the smoke of exhaust casting a dim musty glow everywhere. Now, nothing of that remained. The rain poured in torrents and small rivers were forming in the gaps in the sidewalks.
They flowed. Softly, the pitter patter of the rain gave way to the sounds of water rushing down drains.
The only people on the streets still present were battle-ready men. Men in full armour. Their breastplates glittered in the streetlights. In one of their arms, they held massive shields. In the other, rifles were held. In squads of five they moved, always in formation, rifles facing down and moving in perfect synchronisation. Their hands gripped the black leather of the guns with firm strength. The Bishop had been kind enough to spare an entire division for guard duty, but the Priests knew this was not enough.
Marching together in the dark, hearing the sound of their own feet splashing in the water, the Priests held steady. Yet, once in a while, one of their shields would be out of sync or one of the rifles would twitch. Only for a second. Barely noticeable. Yet, it was there, and it symbolised fear. Fear of the unknown, and fear of the dark. In the dark streetways occasionally lit with streetlights and barely lit with the mounted torches, the rumours they had heard of demons echoed in their skulls.
The night before, five thousand civillians had been killed. That brought the total number of dead up to 34,000, Their flesh mauled and green pus oozing out of massive gashes. The Holy Order could do naught but watch and pray. The dying only screamed of demons and death. After a week of nightly deaths, the fear had forced people indoors today. The Priests kept watch. The professional military of the Holy Order had been brought in after the local police force of Pastors could no longer handle the situation. They had tried.
“If you can spot even one of these creatures, the Index of Worlds can be used to discover which realm these creatures are from. If you can kill one of these creatures, we will only take days to develop a method of curing those with smaller injuries,” the Bishop had pleaded with the Division Commander, Priest Ira. With her forty squads, altogether making two hundred men, she had been tasked with restoring some semblance of safety in the City of Tur.
Priest Ira wondered to herself as she walked. The Holy Order recently brought Tur into the folds of the Sacred Protectorate. Yet, the Pastors stationed to defend the City had so massively failed in the past week. Over ten thousand Pastors had policed the City of Tur, acting as police and defenders. They were the local militia and the force of law. Now, only around a thousand Pastors remained. Most had either fled or been killed. Not one of them had managed to witness or assault this invisible demonic force.
There was confidence in Ira’s thoughts however. She thought back to when the Pastors had initially been recruited. None of that Priestly discipline in them, nor that training. What the Priests had spent their lifetime learning, the Pastors learnt in a year. The Priests trained for their job since birth, and only received the honour of a shield at twenty five. The Pastors were chosen from the city people, and Ira despised the city people.
No, she wouldn’t think about that. Those days were past her. She had shed that identity. She was now a Division Commander in the Holy Order, that was all she was. She was not the daughter of a maid-servant, nor was she the pity project of a rich man. She had earned this. She had trained and fought and learned for this.
Suddenly, all thoughts ceased. There was movement in the corner of her eyes. The shield immediately hit the ground, and the rifle was rested atop it. All five Priests got ready. Something was coming….