The Apocalypse, already in progress…
“Gabriel’s Horn is the only thing that can drive back the Rising Tide and you let them take it to Hell?” Father Finnegan threw the glass of box wine into the fireplace in disgust. Renwick didn’t flinch and threw the chain holding Jillian Pace onto his desk.
“Is that what they were doing? You didn’t say anything about a damned horn. You said get the girl away from the Tide. She’s here. Bounty’s done, I want my money. I intend to be on a plane by tomorrow morning. You can’t beat the Rising Tide. I barely got away and she had to help.” Looking over at Pace, she smiled a toothy snarling smile indicating her respect for the crazed mercenary’s skills.
“You’ll get your lucre, Renwick, as soon as the so-called Master of the Mystic Arts arrives.” Finnegan sat back down in to his armchair after getting a new glass from his cabinet.
The stink of cheap wine permeated the air as the door opened and a short, disheveled, probably drunken man with a scraggly beard and none-too-fresh breath staggered in. “Anyone call for a Master?” Pace’s eyes rolled back into her head and she slumped back into her chair, hiding her face in the shadows.
Another fellow came in behind the Master. Tall. Quiet, with sharp penetrating eyes. His vision swept the room and locked in on the chair where Jillian Pace, cloaked in darkness, clenched her jaw. The tall man’s predatory smile pissed her off.
Darrin Wells, former master of the mystic arts found his way to the dispenser of box wine and placed his mouth on the spigot, slurped noisily without spilling a drop. When he rose, his facade was gone, replaced by the face of a broken man. “Jillian Pace, you are now the only thing between us and the Rising Tide. They’re past trying to initiate you, they were going to kill you. Are you ready to join us?” An unexpected belch at the end of the statement disrupted any chance he had at sounding ominous.
Pace looked at the failed mystic, the danger-averse but efficient bounty hunter, the sex-crazed architect and the priest who sounded the alarm all those years ago and leapt up from her chair toward Wells screaming, “You let my sister die. You promised me she was the Chosen One and that she would be able to turn them back. She’s dead, and now you come to me, second-best, barely worthy of teaching in your opinion and now you want my fucking help? Screw you.” Only Renwick’s quick reflexes kept Wells from getting knocked flat on his backside.
Not done, she turned to the tall man, “Are you finished with me too? I helped you with your designs, you thought it was okay to take advantage of me and then threw me away when you were done. How did your little project work out? Did you tell your clubhouse buddies what you were doing in your spare time?”
“As a matter of fact, I did. And I am the reason you are sitting in this room, instead of dead on the alter of a bunch of crazed and fanatical demons. I enjoyed your…company and you were very helpful. It was the least I could do.” The architect licked his lips staring right into her eyes.
Pace, unflinching, stared back. Renwick, like a dog with a bone, snarled “What does this have to do with my money? I don’t know what those crazed demon-cultist were doing when I left, but there were thirty other people being sacrificed when I made my escape. I know that can’t be good.”
Wells, recovered, staggered to the table and pointed to a series of magical sigils across the map. “This is what they are trying to do. They want to build a gate straight to the door of Hell. It’ll open right in the middle of the city.”
Renwick looked at the map and noticed of the five points, only one was circled. “That’s here, isn’t it?” Finnegan nodded.
“They need this spot and one more to complete their spell. They’ll be coming for this one soon. You, Pace will have to stop them from laying claim to their final location.” The former mystic and Father Finnegan began moving around the room lifting paintings and shoving aside cabinets. Behind them were sigils, old things which made her flesh crawl, something from a time before Man, using a language preceding the Enochian runes used in demon binding.
“We have one more job for you, Renwich, Wells, said. Take her to this address. Your payment has been doubled and already in your account. No complaints. No bitching. Get it done.
Outside the church three vehicles pull up at three different points. Two men get out of each vehicle, stopping only to check the bindings on the three people in the back seats. Slamming the door, each man touches the sides of their vehicle and runes flare causing the cars to burst into flames. The roaring flames disguise the screams of the victims within. The six men step into the center of the triangle of three vehicles. They grab each other hands and are consumed by flames that shoot from each vehicle. When the flame clears, a demon twenty feet tall, with chained manacles and runic symbols etched into its bleeding flesh.
It roared. The walls of the church shake, tiles fly from the roof, doors rattle, windows explode, pre-Enochian symbols flash in response, a bell-like sound reverberates in response to the roar. Surprised, the demon gathers its chains which stretch into its home dimension and crossed the boundary from its world to ours. As the rupture closes, the chains which bound it are severed and it uses them as weapons lashing at the building.
Each strike makes the symbols grow dimmer. Each blow causes more of the church to crumble. Inside, three men, all mystics of one sort or another, make their final peace. The architect takes his pen and tube and heads to the street, drawing symbols in the air that follow him, glowing with his arcane power. Father Finnagan, carries an old wooden cross, a relic blessed three centuries ago with the blood of a saint. His belief coursing through it creates a spiritual shield before the last of the men. The former master of the mystic arts chants and channels the power of ancient gods, redirecting his very life force in sacrifice.
These men have no illusions they can defeat this creature. They only have to hold it long enough.
Renwich looked at the chains holding Jillian Pace, chains which bound her magic. “I can’t make you go. You can’t hurt me with your magic. These three men are about to die for you. Will you do this last thing they asked?” He unlocked the manacles with a simple touch of his hand.
Pace, ran out of the door and down the hall to where what looked like lightning lit the sky outside. Her voice caught in her throat as she saw the demon towering over the three men. They looked so old, so feeble, they were tiny stars trying to glow against a backdrop of towering darkness.
She gathered her power. The Darkness, the Light and the Way, the unique energy she bound together making them more powerful than their individual parts. The demon looked at her. It sensed her as the true threat.
“NO, don’t you dare!” Father Finnagan roared and charged the demon, swinging his cross like a club. Where it struck the demon a star flared and the father, defiant to the end, died. The demon was thrown back and turned its eyes to the remaining two men.
A strong hand grabbed hers. Renwich whispered. “No. If they thought you were ready, you would already be there. They brought you here to give you this.” He handed her a box covered with thaumaturgic circles. “Now, we have to go. Trust their wisdom.”
Renwich gripped her arm, almost holding her up as she watched the two men fight a losing battle. She turned her back and ran with a man she couldn’t forgive for bringing her back to a life she never wanted. As they ran to his car, they could still see the Wells and Reeves holding the demon in thrall, each in their own way.
Wells shouted out as the two of them pulled away. “You can only stop them with sacrifice! Remember that!”
The demon pulled away from the two men and ran toward the car. The architect, Reeves, stopped and drew a sigil on the ground. The archmage took the architect’s tube and revealed runic symbols on the side. He speared the sigil on the ground and both men fell to the ground. The ground where the demon stood lit up, a searchlight speared the heavens.
Tears streaming, Jillian watched as the demon turned to ash. The smell of death was everywhere.
Come Forth, the Rising Tide © Thaddeus Howze 2014. All Rights Reserved