The wind has been howling like a pack of wolves all night. Rain descending from the darkened skies like a blanket has been pulled over this very Church and the town to the West. The lights flickering up and down the halls. Room to room. Threatening to plunge every one of us into sheer darkness...
Heh. A growing storm that beckons into the sweet unknown...
It's a beautiful thing, isn't it?
At least, to some.
To others, there is nothing more terrifying.
Even as I glance around the faces of those around me, I see traces of fear. Of uncertainty. Of doubt. There are roughly twenty of my kin left fighting. Many of whom were just caught on their way. Proxies who were injured and were here for care. Proxies who were here for supplies. For information. For a simple rest and a place to feel safe. The lot of them ranging from newbies to veterans...
All of them simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And, despite all they've each done... despite the butchering and torturing and mindfuckeries that come with the job... I can see fear in them. The slight stumble of words or the tremble of a hand can normally be brushed off as fatigue... but one's eyes never lie. They can hide, sometimes. But they can't lie.
Not that I blame them.
We've never seen anything like this before. A direct, organized assault like this has only been an occurrence in war-zones between the Cults (for which there are specific divisions trained), and even then... it tends to be cloak and dagger. Sabotage and assassination. Not military-grade warfare. A siege that has lasted for days. Open fire attacks that come and go. Surge and fade.
And no police interference.
We've had fourteen casualties thus far.
They're equipment is far more superior than we have at our disposal... but we own the Stronghold.
Their hiding place has become - ironically - the forest surrounding us.
Funny how things can turn on their heads, hm?
Just one breath is all it takes...
We had heard gunshots.
I had been driving (I don't trust Shooter behind the wheel, quite honestly.) and, amongst our usual stream of bickering... we heard the familiar chorus of bullets splitting the air. Faintly at first. Then slowly getting louder. More defined. Cracking and echoing and repeating. Voices layering under the rainfall of bullets. Screams. Shouts.
One screamed of "a holy vengeance in the Name of God."
I knew that voice immediately.
I gritted my teeth.
Foot to the floor.
Cracked the wheel.
The squeal of tires interrupted the spray of bullets.
The black clad figure of a Kill Squad member was taken out at the knees. Body slamming into the windshield to go flying behind us as the car spun around itself. Coming to a stop between them and the Church... but not before a blast of dynamite shook the area. Thrown from Shooter's very hand from out the window. A flare of flames rose next amongst the growing chaos as I took my gun from my side and started shooting. Shooter doing likewise as we added our own gunfire to the show. Our kin covering us from their own positions to give us the chance to find shelter inside the Church even as those carrying military-grade weapons and wearing state of the art body armor fell back.
No doubt shaken by "Anomalies" having appeared in their plans. Not to mention the explosion...
And, before anyone asks... No. I don't know where Shooter got the dynamite. Or when, for
that matter. Nor am I going to ask. It's easier to just ACCEPT what the
idiot is capable of getting his hands on. Trying to make sense of it is
just asking for a headache that one could really do without. In any
case, Shooter is, without a doubt, the closest representation of Chaos
in a Proxy I have ever met...
Why would I attempt to tame such a thing with logic?
Once inside, Requiem approached me with one of his usual condescending remarks... and yet even a man such as he couldn't hide the relief that invaded his tone for the greeting. Turning his voice just a touch softer than it typically was. It only lasted for only an instant, however, and then it was covered again as he continued to speak. Anger rising as he explained just what the situation was and how exactly it had happened. Who was here. Their rank. Skills. The fatalities thus far. Just a quick summery to let me know where exactly we were standing. Requiem's hands gesturing around rather wildly as he spoke. A bad habit of his when he's nervous.
The attacks on the Church come and go. Floods of bullets and a few explosives exchanged as we struggle to push past this stalemate... and THEY struggle to do the same. Us, unwilling to retreat from our Standing. Them, unwilling to back off their assault. It's rush and wait. They're trying to wear us down. Find the weak point and take advantage. The fetal crack in the shield...
Quite honestly, we would have run out of ammunition by now had The
Butler not taken a walk through The Path with all manner of bags slung
around him packed full with supplies. Proper as ever. Not a hair out of
place despite the load. He simply pushed his glasses further up his nose
after appearing amongst a stray black leaf or two. Inquiring as to
whether we've all been enjoying the hospitality of Moriarty's forces. To
which Shooter asked if "Jeeves" would "enjoy" a black eye. The Butler
simply turned to the shorter Proxy (being a decent foot over his head...
like Butler is with practically everyone) and commended Morningstar in
his bravery - if not, stupidity - of choosing to turn his gun into a
club once he ran out of bullets. As that would be its only possible use.
Needless to say... there was a near instant 'bond'.
It'll be interesting to see who annoys who first.
At least when there is a chance to speak without being interrupting by bullets.
Just yesterday, we lost Sister Orchid. She earned herself a spray of bullets from machine-gun fire. Requiem used The Path to get to her, but she had been already choking on her own blood. He practically buried his hands in her to stop the bleeding... but she was just shredded. It was a useless attempt.
Fourteen years old.
Long, black hair and hazel eyes.
In more than one visit can I recall her going about
her duties with earphones blasting away to her favorite songs. Always
the same genre of artists. Pop/Rock, I believe it's referred to as. When
she had found out I played an instrument, she had only been excited up
until she found out it was the sax.
At which point she had simply rolled her eyes and walked away.
Her mix of innocent excitement and 'whatev' attitude always did make me smirk.
say Requiem 'took it personally' to hold onto his youngest charge as she bathed in her own blood would be a rather massive understatement. Next thing any of us were aware of almost the gunfight (as the fighting hadn't stopped just because one Nun fell), Requiem was boiling over. A curse seething between clenched teeth as The Path opened so quickly I swore I heard a 'snap.'
We didn't have time to pause against the assault to question what was in his mind... but soon enough the firing came slower against the Church... even though we could still hear it.
Requiem reappeared amongst us a few seconds later. Ramming the skull of a Kill Squad member into the nearest wall as they both landed from the transfer. The "Fighter" choking from exposure to the other Realm, but Requiem was in no mood to pause. Taking the woman by her hair and forcing her down the corridor. Throwing her down the stairs to the basement. Even from where I was, I could hear the groans that came when she landed in a heap on the concrete floor at the bottom.
Requiem descended after her.
I went after him.
By the time I was in the basement myself, both figures were gone, but the sharp sound of shattering glass gave me my next hint. The door for the Cooler slightly ajar.
Requiem had taken one of the jars they stored blood in for rituals and missions, broken it into pieces within a bucket... and was holding the woman's head beneath the gathered mess of blood and glass shards. The Priest spitting venom about "drowning in your own filth" as the woman thrashed... only for the bucket to tip over as the figure convulsed. Choking. Coughing. Eyes wide as blood surged from her mouth.
A piece of glass caught in her throat. Cutting in.
Requiem watched her die at his feet. The silence stretching out. The gunfire had stopped... at least for now.
I noticed a bone sticking out from one of the dead woman's arms. Her shoulder on the opposite arm was obviously dislocated as well. I suppose all the body armor and training in the world aren't worth much when your opponent takes the opportunity to break your body for you.
The blood on Requiem's hands slowly dripped to the floor at his side. Each drop seeming too loud.
Then he began to speak. Not quite as drawn out as normal. Not quite as loud.
He asked me why he saw no difference in watching the light go out in Sister Orchid's eyes, in comparison to watching the emptiness claim this "Runner."
He asked if I thought these groups... were just another Game our dear Father was playing. Just another trick to add to the usual performance. Testing us. Testing them.
Similar to the Revenants.
After all... they've been outside for days. In the woods. Supposedly His territory... and yet... not a single appearance earned?
I have to admit... it is odd. I'm finding it difficult to understand just how these groups are in operation. They're highly trained and amazingly equipped, but it's more than that. More than anything that money could buy. It's almost as though... they are being protected. As if Mor
oh fucking hell