A wolf’s howl pierced the night, chilling the disorientated man’s soul. It was possibly the drink affecting his vision but Bogrin was sure he had seen a stunningly beautiful wood nymph in the forest when he had exited the Tavern. Everyone knew a wood nymph would grant you your every desire, no matter how sinful, if you caught it. So naturally the drunk stumbled into the wood to find it.

Ale clouded thoughts gave way gradually to a splitting headache and growing fear as he realised he was lost in the woods. The sky was thick with clouds this night, making the forest virtually impossible to navigate. His breath came in ragged gasps as a second wolf cry drove him to run headlong into the woods. The farmhand prayed to any gods that would listen that he was headed back towards town.

A rustle in the branches of a nearby tree caused him to glance over his shoulder in fear, meaning he did not notice the log until he was already stumbling over it. For what felt like the longest time his dazed mind could not fathom how he had gone from being vertical to horizontal. Rolling onto his back, he lay there slowly regaining his breath, and thought about what a daft fool he was.

He even chuckled to himself…until he saw the eyes. A pair of glowing yellow orbs watched him from the darkness of a nearby tree branch, studying him curiously. Icy cold fear wrapped its talons around Bogrin’s throat, cutting off his scream, as his muscles froze up in terror.

“Hello fruend, are you lost?” said an oddly jovial voice, completely at odds with the terrifying eyes.

No words would come to the man’s lips; all he could do was stare at the eyes in fear.

“The woods at night are certainly no place for someone on their own,” said the eyes, with an odd accent.

Bogrin watched as the eyes suddenly dropped from the tree branch, he could barely make out the man shaped silhouette as it spun through the air and landed on the ground with barely a sound. The figure drew closer until it stepped into the moonlight, revealing itself.

The skinny figure belonged to a demon, not a man. It stood on two legs but was bent forward, unnaturally. Each hand possessed only two fingers and a thumb while its feet had only a pair of large toes. The glowing yellow eyes, which had watched Bogrin so curiously, rested in a rather elfin face except for the blue-black skin and pointed teeth. Worst of all was the ropey, whip like tail swishing through the air behind it.

“Here, let me help you friend,” he smiled wickedly and reached out a hand to the fallen man.

It was now that Bogrin’s voice chose to return to him, and he screamed, “Demon! Get away wicked thing! HELP!!”

The demon stepped back, with a pained look upon its face and disappeared in a cloud of purple and black smoke.

Bogrin was left alone in the woods, with the stench of sulphur filling his nostrils.

**********

Elsewhere, the smell of sulphur also filled H’nk M’Koy’s nostrils, though he relished the scent. To him it was the smell of progress, the smell of a mortal’s control over something he could understand. By combining a few alchemical components he had just concocted an oil of explosion. With great hesitation, he poured a teaspoon’s worth of the liquid into a small glass vial and hurled it into the fireplace.

Fwa-Boom!

The vial exploded remarkably, reducing firewood to splinters and hurling it in every direction. He loved that in just a few minutes he had created something a mage studied months to create; an explosion out of thin air.

“Hank are you alright? I heard an explosion,” called a concerned feminine voice from the top of the stairs; Ororo.

As she walked down the cellar stairs, looking as regal and beautiful as ever, H’nk couldn’t help but stare with longing. The woman could easily be mistaken for a goddess; with soft, exotic brown skin, remarkable blue eyes and long, snow white hair, the woman was completely and utterly unique.

His thoughts naturally drifted to his own looks; a squat, apelike physique, oversized hands and feet and sloping forehead were the sheer opposite of Ororo. How could anyone love such a beast?

A brief gust of wind cleared the acrid smoke from the room, one of the woman’s many gifts, and Ororo looked upon H’nk in concern. Her concerned faded, to be replaced by a soft laugh, when she noticed the budding alchemist was unharmed but covered in wood fragments.

“I see you are prepared for an attack by the local forest,” she laughed while brushing the splinter’s from H’nk’s hair.

H’nk couldn’t help but smile, “Yes, while we worry about Magnus and the Brotherhood the trees are planning their attack,”

The mention of Magnus stole the mirth from both of them as they were reminded of their spectacular defeat by the man a week ago and the absolute destruction of Nabras.  The young man mentally kicked himself as Ororo remembered the deaths they were unable to prevent.

“I best go and tend to my garden,” said Ororo after a moment of awkward silence. She practically ran up the stairs.

He could have gone after her and give her comfort, he could have even told her how he felt, but he didn’t. Instead he returned to his work bench and started grinding more firesalt; the formula needed refining.

**********

Scott stood ready, with his blade held horizontal before his face, a knight’s salute. Lord Charles Xavier stood opposite him with his blade held defensively out in front. The older man, with the sun shining off his bald head, looked awkward as he leaned on his crutch. The younger man was hesitant; how could he engage in swordplay with a one legged man?   It seemed dishonourable to the squire.

“Don’t hesitate Scott,” said Charles calmly, “don’t underestimate me because of my disability,”

Though he still felt like a coward for attacking a lame man, he did as he was asked.  He charged in for the attack with a standard right-hand swing, with the flat of the blade of course. Xavier blocked the attack deftly, pushing Scott’s blade away and swinging around for an overhead chop. He managed a poor block but the one legged man was already changing the direction of his swing; the blade swung out around Scott’s and slapped him hard against the ribcage.

“You’re dead Scott,” smiled Xavier, “you took pity on me, you could have used more foot work but you didn’t, because I couldn’t.”
The young squire shrugged nervously, “I’m sorry sir,”

Xavier placed a reassuring hand on his squire’s shoulder and smiled, “we’ll work more on this later, but for now I have a mission for you all. Come and join me in my study,”

**********

After several minutes of working on his oil of explosion formula, H’nk received a mental summons to join Lord Xavier and the others in the study. After several years of living in Greymalkin, the young alchemist had grown accustomed to Lord Xavier speaking in his mind, although it still startled him quite often when deep in thought. After sparing a moment to clean the soot from his face he rushed upstairs to join the others.

Charles’ study was only a few steps away from his basement lab and yet the young alchemist was still the last person to arrive. Actually, he realised, that was wrong; Logan was not present.

Lord Xavier sat behind his polish oak desk, hands clasped before him, with a series expression upon his face. His stepdaughter, Jean, stood beside him wearing her favoured emerald and gold gown. She truly was a beautiful sight, but H’nk’s eyes couldn’t help but drift towards exotic Ororo. Scott was there too, looking slightly nervous; this was his first group assembly after all.

Charles spoke, “Thank you all for coming…has anyone seen Logan?”

“I saw him heading into the forest an hour ago, stepfather. He carried some provisions with him; it looked as if he wasn’t planning to be back for supper.”

“Is that usual?” asked Scott.

“Logan has a reputation for disappearing into the woods for days or weeks at a time,” explained H’nk, “we’ve merely come to accept it and trust that he’ll return when he’s ready.”

Scott looked as if he was going to say more but instead held his tongue.

“Well his absence could not have come at a more inopportune time,” concerned flashed across Xavier’s features, “I’ve sensed the presence of two gifted, two days journey to the west, in the mountains.”

“Excuse me sir, but how were you able to sense someone so far away?” asked Scott, looking apologetic but confused.

Xavier smiled, allowing the interruption. With Jean’s help he rose from his seat before limping over to a large bookcase. Jean concentrated and the bookcase swung open like a door, moved by Jean’s telekinesis. Behind the bookcase was the entrance to a chamber roughly the same size as Xavier’s study, except empty of any items. Every wall of the chamber, including the ceiling and floor, was covered with magnificent glowing runes.

“Sorcery!” exclaimed Scott. As a knight in training he was taught to mistrust the capricious nature of magic.

“This is a Cerebras chamber, Scott,” explained Charles, “a friendship with Archmage Le’strange does come in handy. The chamber is used by mages to enhance spells of telepathy, allowing long distance scrying or communication. For one such as myself, with abilities much stronger than the average spell, it allows me send my thoughts over much further a distance.”

“That was how you found me?”

“Yes, that was how I found all of my knights,”  he smiled warmly, thankful for the family the cerebras chamber had brought him, before sitting down once again.

“The two gifted I sensed can be found at a monastery in the village of Grom. Unfortunately, there is growing unrest within the village and I fear the monastery will come under attack any day now. You must make haste to Grom immediately and bring these two gifted to safety.”

“Is there anything you can tell us about these gifted?” asked Scott, “What are their names?”

“I fear I do not know I’m sorry. The thoughts of others from such a distance are like mist; they slip through your fingers if you try to look too closely,” he looked to H’nk, “In light of Logan’s absence you will need to travel with Scott and Ororo, H’nk, but you must stay concealed. The people of Grom won’t be as open minded as those of Greymalkin.”

“What about me stepfather? I am more than capable of participating in this mission,” stated Jean.

“No! I will hear nothing of it Jean. I’ve already lost your mother and I refuse to lose you too,” not in a long time had any of them seen Charles show such emotion, “You could have died last week in Nabras..”

“But I didn’t stepfather,”

Scott chimed in, “If anything Lord she kept us all alive…” but a withering glare from Charles shut him up.

After taking a moment to calm himself, Xavier spoke, “Jean will remain in Greymalkin with me; there will be no more discussion,” Jean knew when she was defeated, and said nothing more in protest. He then looked to his knights, “Scott, H’nk, Ororo pack your things and leave within the hour. I am imprinting your destination within your minds now. Please make haste.”

H’nk wasn’t sure whether to feel nervous or elated; he very participated on field missions, due to his unusual appearance, but he would get to spend several days almost alone with Ororo. Perhaps he would finally pluck up the courage to actually tell her how he felt?

**********

To H’nk’s dismay he barely had a chance to talk to Ororo alone. Due to the dangerous nature of the area they were travelling through, Scott insisted that the trio stay close to each other at all times. By the end of the second day he was miserable; he ached from all the riding and the heavy cloak he was forced to wear to hide his features was stifling.

Ororo, on the other hand, was in extremely high spirits.   The white haired woman loved the outdoors and revelled in nature. She smiled warmly and asked the two young men, “Don’t you just love travelling under the open sky? With the breeze on your face and the sun on your back.”

Without a reply from her companions she drifted into the air on a buffet of air and laughed as she twirled around.

“Ororo, get down here!” ordered Scott as loudly as he could without shouting. It was a wise move too, as the village of Grom drew near.

The young woman drifted back down into the saddle of her horse, looking chastised. With a cheeky grin to H’nk she fired a tiny lightning bolt from her index finger, striking Scott in the backside. He yelped and glared at the pair as they burst into laughter.

“Lets try to stay focused her, this is serious,” he grumbled while rubbing his behind.

“Oh Ororo, you’re a breath of fresh air,” smiled H’nk. Ororo, not sure whether that was a compliment or a joke, simply smiled in reply.

“We’re here,” said Scott, “be alert,”

The thick woodlands that lay along the path gave way to squat, ugly, thatch-roofed houses seemingly covered in mud for insulation. They followed the path through the village noticing very few people around. The place was definitely nowhere near the size of Greymalkin, though it still managed a sizeable tavern, the Mop and Bucket.

As the end of the day drew near, the trio expected a lot more people around town returning to their homes after working in the fields or the small copper mine nearby. The mystery would have to wait until later though; Charles wished them to make haste directly to the monastery, which is exactly what they did.

Grom’s main road lead the group north of the town and up the slope of a small mountain, really more of a foothill. The trees returned again, but this time much more spaced apart than before, and the road appeared to be well tended to.

It took them another ten minute’s ride to reach the monastery and when they did they feared they were too late. A large crowd of villagers congregated outside massive stone chapel, shouting angrily. Thankfully they weren’t brandishing pitchforks, which generally meant villagers meant business.

As they drew nearer they noticed a half a dozen monks, wearing heavy brown robes, trying to placate the crowd. A portly monk, with a bald head and a thick grey beard seemed to be the leader of the holy men. He stood before the rabble with his hands held in a sign of peace.

“Please mein freunds, the Priory of Solaris has always been honest and truthful with Grom,” he said, with an odd accent.

“Why can’t yoose monks talk normal-like?!” yelled back an old man with three teeth to his name.

“We know the demon’s here Elwin, just give it up,” said a much larger, younger man, who stepped to the front of the pack. The man oozed confidence, and unlike the other villagers, was dressed quite well. He also happened to be one of the only people there carrying a weapon; a large sword lay in its scabbard strapped to his back.

Elwin, the monk, looked at the young man with a mix of fear and pity in his eyes, “This is a holy place, Graydon, nothing evil will be found within our walls.”

The well dressed man, Graydon, spat on Elwin’s foot, “Holy? Bah! You and your kind worship a false god…”

“The lady Solaris watches over us every day,” argued Elwin, gesturing towards the sun gradually setting on the horizon, “The priory has faith,”

“The Celestial gods are gone old man, if they ever existed at all!” Graydon exploded with anger, pulling his sword from its scabbard and pointing it at the monk, much to the shock of everyone present. “The only true gods are the Twelve Divines, the walking gods!”

“I have seen what the Walking Gods can do boy,” said Elwin grimly, “they kill all who do not worship them. The priory fled the empire more than fifty years ago; travelling across the great sea to make our home in Parthoris. No one shall persecute us for our faith again.” Surprising everyone, the monk stepped forward, until the point of Graydon’s sword pressed against his chest.

“If you are going to kill me boy, I will not stop you.” Frustration showed on Graydon’s face. Elwin had him backed into a corner; if he killed the defenceless old man in cold blood the villagers would turn against him.

Thankfully for him, the decision was taken out of his hands; something golden and metallic dropped down from the sky at a remarkable speed, imbedding itself in the ground between Graydon and Elwin. Graydon stumbled backwards, falling onto his behind in shock, but Elwin stood calm. The object that had separated them was a halberd, a type of poleaxe, with a shining metal blade and shaft.

All present stared at the halberd in shock before looking to the sky for the source of the weapon. There standing atop the tallest tower of the monastery was a man in gleaming, platinum armour, with gigantic white feathered wings. Some among the crowd screamed in fear, while others fell to their knees in prayer.

With one flap of his wings, the man was lifted from the tower, and he floated down to the ground with a gentle flap, flap, flap. He landed beside Elwin and pulled his halberd from the ground. Up close even H’nk had to admire his beauty; crystal blue eyes, long blonde hair and perfect features made the young alchemist quite jealous. Ororo could barely hide the look of longing from her eyes. If only she would look at him that way.

When he spoke, it was with confidence and determination, “People of Grom, I am Warren the Worthy, Archangel of the Legion of Light.  From this time forward, the Priory of Solaris is under my protection. The Legion is striving to bring light and peace to all Parthoris and it will not tolerate any action against a holy place.”

H’nk was intrigued, he had never heard anything about a Legion of Light before, he whispered to Scot, asking what he knew, “Paladin zealots, working to rid the more wild regions of Parthoris of what they see as evil. That’s all I know.”

Many of the crowd seemed placated by the presence on an actual angel, long known to be divine messengers of good, that they left the monastery. Others begged the angel for forgiveness, but he ignored them, so they left warily, fearful of retribution. Most ignored the three strangers on horseback, though a few shot them suspicious glances. Graydon was the last to leave, but he would have the final word “your false idols can’t protect you forever monk,” his voice dripped with venom.

Soon only Scott, H’nk and Ororo remained, apparently unnoticed by the monks and the angel. Elwin did not appear as thrilled by the appearance of Warren, the angel, as one would expect.

“Forgive my disrespect Archangel, but the Priory does not need your assistance. We’ve long had an amicable relationship with Grom, and the likes of Graydon Creed won’t change that,” he said.

“Someone among your order begs to differ, honoured priest. The Legion received a call for protection two days ago by messenger bird,” replied Warren and he casually placed his halberd through the straps on his back, between his wings.

Elwin spun about and eyed a much younger, thinner monk, with anger in his eyes, “Marcus, I specifically said we would not be calling for aid. How could you disregard my directions?”

Marcus cowed for a moment, seemingly fearful of upsetting his leader, “F…forgiveness sir, but I fear what the likes of Graydon and his followers could do to our beloved Priory. If we continue to harbour the…” his words escaped from his mouth before he could bite his tongue.

So it would seem the monks were hiding something or someone after all, perhaps a gifted like himself? Mused H’nk.

“Harbour the what?” demanded Warren.

Elwin’s shoulders slumped and his sighed in defeat, “We have a guest you should meet Archangel, he…”

“Sir, we are not alone!” said Marcus sharply.

The monk’s and the Archangel all looked in the direction of the three strangers on horseback. H’nk waved awkwardly.

“Umm…good afternoon friends,” he said, feeling foolish.

Scott groaned quietly and dismounted from his horse, the others followed suit. He led them over to the monks and placed a fist to his heart, the knightly salute.

“Greetings humble men of faith,” he said, “I am Scott Summersett, squire to Lord Xavier of Greymalkin. These are my two companions, Hank Makoy and Lady Ororo.”

H’nk sighed silently to himself as Scott mangled his name once again but it was an issue for another time. The monk’s eyes the trio warily, whilst the angel looked more curious than worried.

“Greymalkin province is not far from the town of Nabras is it not?” asked Warren, “word amongst the Legion is that Nabras has suffered a fate most foul, as if an angry god reached down and smote it from the earth.”

Coldness gripped each Knight’s heart for a moment, as their minds were drawn back to that tragic day. It was evident on Scott’s face greatest of all as he had lost the most that day; his home, the man who raised him and the woman he loved.

“The fate of Nabras was a terrible one…what happened there remains a mystery,” H‘nk covered, as Scott appeared to be lost in his memory for the moment.

“You have come a long way, travellers. Have you come for enlightenment in our temple?” asked Elwin.

“We have come to aid one of your own who is in great danger,” said Ororo, getting straight to the point, “please take us to him,” after being worshipped as a goddess for many years in her native land, she had come to expect people to do what she asked, it was a habit she was gradually starting to shake, though not on this occasion.

All of the monks, with the exception of Elwin, looked taken aback. The head monk merely looked up to the heavens in sorrow, as if asking his goddess for forgiveness. “We need no aid friend,” he said.

Scott regained his composure, “look friend, we know there is someone here who is…special,” he looked to each of the monks, trying to get a glimpse of any sort of reaction, “someone who has a god given ability, an unnatural blessing.”

H’nk couldn’t help but cringe at Scott’s choice of words; unnatural suggested evil. He regretted Xavier’s decision not to send Jean along with them; with her gifts she could have easily influenced the monks, but was that ethical?

Unfortunately, my dear student, we have no time to ponder such ethics, said a voice within H’nk’s head. He jumped an arm’s length into the air in fright, which in turn startled all the monks and sent Warren into a defensive posture.

“Apologies,” he mumbled in embarrassment.

I did not mean to startle you H’kn but time is of the essence, said the voice of Xavier in his mind.

What would you have us do sir? The monk’s have no reason to trust us. Scott was now starting at him incredulously, as he was staring intently at a nearby tree.

While I am loathe to do so, I must influence them into trusting you. I fear Creed and his mob will return soon enough.

All of a sudden the monks and the archangel visibly relaxed, all except Marcus who still appeared noticeably on edge. Elwin’s eyes glazed over for the briefest moment, before looking upon the trio with a wide smile.

“There is good in your hearts, the Blessed Mother shows me this,” he said warmly, much to Marcus’ surprise, “come and I will introduce you to mein son.”

The group were lead inside the monastery through a massive pair of oak doors. H’nk, though a man of alchemy, could still appreciate the love and care that went into the architecture of the building. Sculptures and carvings were chiselled into every wall, even across the ceiling, although he couldn’t fathom how they had done such a feat. Each carving depicted various images of a beautiful woman, with a look of love upon her face, holding a sphere within her hands.    The young alchemist assumed the sphere was the sun, since Solaris was the sun goddess.

One carving caught Ororo’s eye and she examined it closely; it depicted Solaris, still holding the sun, weeping over the body of a man. The dead man also held a sphere, but his was covered in a cloth.

“What is this?” she asked curiously.

“Ah the death of Auronus, king of the gods and husband of Solaris,” explained Marcus, “He was murdered by his dark brother Durghast, a crime for which he and his conspirators were exiled to a world of shadow.”

“A terrible victory for the forces of darkness that day,” stated Warren sombrely, “before the death of Auronus there were two suns, and the world was forever bathed in light, but upon his death his light was extinguished and night was born. Some say the moon is a monument to his memory, other believe it is his corpse,”

H’nk, who liked to consider himself well educated, had never heard this story before, which bothered him more than a little. While most would see it as simply a long forgotten tale, he suspected it was another reminder of the old gods erased by the Twelve Divines. The cult had already taken over the empire in the east and now it was laying root in Parthoris. This troubled him more than he liked to say.

Before the group could get sidetracked again by another story, Scott said, “Elwin, sir, we are most eager to meet your son now,”

“Of course, of course, but please keep in mind that Khert is…unique,”

“We have seen some unusual things friend, we won’t be surprised,” assured Scott.

“Very well…Khert, please come out, I have some people who would like to meet you!”

BAMF!

A cloud of purple-black smoke suddenly exploded out of nowhere in the centre of the chapel, in the centre of which stood the most usual figure the group had ever seen. Warren, predictably, was the first to react, screaming “Demon!” and leaping forward with his halberd to attack the creature. In another cloud of smoke the creature disappeared, reappearing behind Elwin.

“No stop! This is my son Khert!” explained Elwin, with wide eyed fear.

“You raised a demon for a son?!” demanded a shocked Warren.

“He’s not a demon!” yelled Elwin and H’nk in unison.

All eyes fell on the alchemist as he stepped forward and pulled the cloak from his body. Many of the monks gasped in surprised as H’nk revealed his inhuman, apelike physique. He could barely contain the shame as he thought of Ororo looking at both him and Warren side by side, unconsciously comparing the two.

“He’s not a demon,” he repeated, looking Warren in the eye, “He is different, blessed even. Are you one to question the choices of the gods? You yourself have clearly been chosen by a higher power.”

“Yes…but this is clearly a blessing,” the archangel gestured towards his wings, “how could that be anything more than a curse?”

“Because I have faith in the gods mein freund,” spoke Khert for the first time, “I can do amazing things,” he back flipped into the air and actually stuck to the wall like a spider, “and I have used my gifts to help my brothers. How could that be a curse?”

Warren was clearly conflicted; he came from a world where things were black and white, good and evil. If something looked like a demon, then it evil and had to be killed. And yet here was something that clearly looked like it came from the pits of the void, but it had the love and trust of good, pious men.He’s not a demon,” he repeated,

His shoulders slumped as he sighed in defeat, “Very well Elwin, I shall forestall judgement on your ‘son’ until I have watched him for a time, to learn if he is truly good.”

“You will not be disappointed,” smiled the elder monk in relief, “now, let us eat. I shall have Marcus fetch a lovely meal for our fine guests…Marcus?”

He looked around the chapel, but Marcus was gone.

*********Graydon Creed was not one to be trifled with. If a group of dusty old men and a winged false idol thought they had the best of him they were sorely mistaken. More powerful men had fallen to his influence, and the word of the Twelve Divines was quickly gaining a foothold in Parthoris.

When he had heard rumours of a celestial church housing demon he pounced on the opportunity, gathering his most trusted men and heading straight from Grom. As always, it was a gradual process turning a town against its church. The seeds of dissent needed to be planted; false sightings of the demon, rumours from distant lands of horrible misdeeds done in the names of the celestial gods. Soon enough all he needed was a spark to light the inferno, and then a blessing fell into his hands in the form of Bogrin, a local farmhand, who happened to meet the demon face to face. Few would have believed the drunk, if not for the odd smell of sulphur permeating his clothes.

Over the next two days, the stink of sulphur continued to show up around the town; in an alley outside the butcher’s store, where one freshly bled lamb was stolen; again in the woods outside town, where an old man was struck from behind; and finally, outside Inan Cooperson’s home, where something dark was sighted trying to sneak into his children’s room last night.

He was rather proud of himself for orchestrating it all, and manipulating the town into a frenzy. If anyone had looked at the situation logically they could deduced that no one was actually harmed in any of the events. Even the old man who was attacked recovered after a short rest, his possessions not stolen. The panic riddled minds of the town though allowed him to tell them what he wanted them to think; the Priory of Solaris was evil and needed to be destroyed.

And then that damn angel ruined it all. How could the Priory be evil if an angel was protecting it? It was this thought that planted doubt in the minds of the townsfolk and diffused the mob. But once again the Twelve had smiled upon him for his pious work and sent another blessing to him.

The majority of the town congregated in the local tavern after sunset. The placed had become a real asset to Graydon; minds were much easier to manipulate when plied with ale. He had come straight here upon receiving the confirmation he had so sorely desired, while sending him men to gather as many of the townsfolk as possible.

“Good townsfolk of Grom,” he shouted over the noise of the crown, “I stand before you because I have come to love this town in the short time I have been here, and I cannot allow the cursed Priory to bring harm to you good people.”

The crowd began to quiet, eager to hear what he had to say, but a few dissenters spoke up, voicing their concerns over the archangel protecting the monastery or denouncing the thought of the Priory harming anyone. His men quickly and quietly took care of anyone who would impede his progress; it was difficult to notice someone being knifed in the back in such a large crowd.

“I have just received confirmation of what we all feared; the Priory is indeed harbouring a foul demon,” he placed his hand on the shoulder of the man standing next to him, the young monk Marcus, “this brave man has come forward, and confessed his sins to me. The Priory has indeed been harbouring a demon within its walls for many years,” cries of outrage erupted within the tavern, “what’s more, other evil creatures have joined the demon; an ape like mockery of mankind, a brown skinned woman with the white hair of a witch and a false knight with fiery eyes. Together they surely plan to attack fine Grom and take your children like they tried to take Inan’s.”

He smiled inwardly as the mob erupted into cries of panic and fury, “Come friends, let us march to the monastery and raze the cursed place to the ground!”

Marcus’ eyes widened in horror and he grabbed Creed by the arm, “No! You promised you would only take the demon and the outsiders,”

Graydon’s calloused knuckles connected with the monk’s nose, knocking him to the ground in a bloodied mess.

“Demon or not your kind are going to burn either way, be thankful you’re not sharing their fate,” he spat upon the monk and led the mob out on a mission of destruction.