I made my way from the graveyard and headed hurriedly towards St. Augustine's. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was just past 10 and decided against grabbing another cab. The church was just a few blocks over, I could make it in plenty of time before I had promised to meet Quint.
Once I had gotten a little way down the street, I yanked the crumpled pack of smokes from my pocket and pulled out the least bent one. Flicking my zippo open, I cupped my hand against the slight breeze and took a deep pull. Continuing my pace, I made for the church, sucking on that cigarette.
I had been thinking about Juliet, lost reminiscing of happier days, or I would have caught it sooner. When I was about half a block away something began to tickle at my senses and I pulled to a stop. Looking at the church fully for the first time since the spire had come into view, something felt wrong, almost perverted. Flinging the cigarette aside I broke into a quick jog and shifted my vision.
My Second Sight immediately picked out the presence of magic that shouldn't be there. The orange and blue auras that normally represented the ethereal and holy spells of protection were strained and broken. Large rends appreared throughout the wards. Black rends at that. Black meant that someone was using Dark magic, or necromancy, to overpower the spells or protection. Whoever could overcome place magic like that had to be pretty fucking serious.
The two hardest schools of magic are necromancy and elemental, or Life magic. Two opposites sides of the same coin. They also tend to effect the mind more often. Necromancy begins to pervert your train of thought, promoting control over aspects of magic usually meant for use only by the most powerful of the Night Tribes, demons mainly. Life magic, noted for its green hue works the same, though it can be just as dangerous as Dark magic if left unchecked. God complexes and whatnot. Only Light Walkers are meant to safely use it, though it doesn't mean that plenty of Users think they can handle it.
As the spooling black aura grew more powerful, I grabbed some cover behind a parked car and took a look. I could see three people outside. A human in loose fitting pants and shirt with a deep red cloak. His arms were splayed wide and he was chanting, the swirls surrounding his body, energy crackling from the rings on his fingers. User, probably a conduit for a more powerful User. He had two guards beside him, another human, though a big son of a bitch, close cropped hair and swirling with the aura of a marked man. He also had sawed off shotgun. The third was a card carrying member of Night. I hadn't seen a fucking ogre... well ever, but that HAD to be what it was.
It was easily eight feet tall, with arms and legs the size of tree trunks. His blotchy skin was a medley of mottled greens and browns. Whatever you have EVER read about ogres is probably true. They are big, slow, strong, and as dumb as a bag of hammers. they are also very deadly fighters. I rifled through my pouches until I found the one I was looking for and grabbed two cartridge loads of ammo. Shit like holy water and UV weren't going to work on these guys, I was going to need something more conventional. Well maybe with a hint of the old world.
I slapped in the new bullets, blessed shredder rounds. Bullets that break open after firing and break into razor sharp flechette. Gear had augmented mine and made them silver and Father Quinton had given them his holy blessing. Cupping the grips in each hand, my first target was the human, take out the easiest first then turn and take out the ogre. Whoever, or whatever, was inside would know as soon as the User was down, and I would need any element of surprise. I would just hope that the walls were thick enough to muffle the shots, and that the User was far to occupied to break his spell.
I took a deep breath and rolled around the corner, drawing a bead on the Norm. I was already on my feet into a sprint as two rounds thundered into him, one in the heart, one in the head. It ended with a pretty gory explosion of brains against the church walls. The ogre had turned on me by then. I started channelling my aura, focusing it inward. Senses flared, I could feel my muscles expand and my reflexes grow faster. The ogre was brandishing a big fucking club, guess it was time to punch in.
I dumped the last 7 rounds of my left hand gun into him, aiming for vitals. I could see the flechette burrow into him, hitting knee, arm, and stomach. Aiming for an ogres head won't work, there skulls are like metal, and while it would hurt, most of the damage would be cosmetic. I dropped the gun and it clattered to the floor and I drew in closer. The ogre roared and I could see blood and muscle exposed as he swung the club in my direction. Instinctively I flung myself backwards, landing hard on the asphalt. The club just missed taking my head of, I could feel the wind as it past inches from my face. Once on my back I drew my feet up under me and skittered backwards. Kicking hard of each foot, I fired the gun two more times until I heard the sound of his knee cracking completely.
The ogre roared in pain but the sucker was still on his feet. He lurched to his left, But I saw him pull the club into a vicious overhead swing. I quickly rolled left, driving my body sideways. I was just a bit slow as the club caught my trailing hand, knocking my gun from my hand. Cursing at my bent fingers I pivoted in my dive coming up in a roll. Glancing behind me, I saw the User still locked deep in trance. Well, at least that part hadn't turned to shit yet.
The ogre began slowly dragging his shattered knee towards me and I glanced around. I had some stuff in my harness, but nothing that would help right now. I needed some big time firepower. Looking again, my eyes fell on the Norm's shotgun. That was a start. I slid two silver knives from my sleeve and whipped them at the ogre. Both knives cut in with a sizzle, but didn't seem to do much else. I scrambled around the User, using his body as temporary shield and grabbed the shotgun. I didn't know what this thing was loaded with, but I knew I was going to have to get in close and nasty to really hurt him.
The ogre roared again as it lurched near. I timed it so that when he drew back for his swing I ducked low into a crouch under the arcing swipe and sprang up as his left arm drew past me, exposing his side. At the apex of the swing I darted in and buried another knife hard into his side, causing his turned body to arch even hard to the left, before continuing my roll around to his back. Before the ogre could attempt to turn back around to grab me I dropped down again, channeling all my ethereal energy into my legs, kicking out at the ogres shredded knee with a dropkick that left me flat on my back. I was rewarded with another resounding crack as the overbalanced beast lost his equilibrium and began slowly teetering into a fall.
Already on my back I drew the shotgun up and pumped it, letting a blast fly a close range. The shotgun belched a blue flame as the ogres face erupted in fire. FUCK! Balefire shells are highly illegal, firing rounds magically invoked with the fires of the afterlife. They won't stop burning until it consumes everything it has touched. The ogre, already hurting, began trashing wildly and screaming. Using my boot to hold down his hand, I pumped another round and jammed the barrel down his throat and fired. The back of his necked exploded and blue flame spread over what was left of the body.
There was no way that whoever was inside had not heard the fight out here, so there was no point in leaving the User alive. Any chance for an element of surprise had left when I fired the shotgun. I picked up both my guns and grabbed the bandoleer the Norm had around his chest. The User was still locked in whatever spell he had cast, so I took aim.
That's when I heard a voice behind me, a voice like gravel being drug across broken glass then scraped across a chalkboard.
"Hold Devilin. We just want the girl."
I turned around to see the biggest, scariest thing I had ever seen in my life. It's huge leathery wings were black with red veins. It stood at least ten feet tall, with curled black horns and eyes red with fire. It's skin was a mixture of taunt black leather and red vein, with coarse red and black hair on its chest and arms. It was naked, save a long leathery tabard that hung around his waste. His feet and hands ended on long black claws, and one of those hands held Father Quinton, held high off the floor. The other had a long nail layed across his throat.
"Fuck me hard.....a Demon."
The fathers of the Night Tribes, those who spawned all who walk the Night in the images of fear and death. The right hands of Satan himself. Holding a man of God on sacred holy ground.
Things just got way fucking worse.
End of Line.