The walls of the ancient cathedral rose high from the ground, the gothic architecture dark and chilling in the half-light of dusk. The thin and angular design seemed the skeleton framework of something greater when obscured by shadow. Amongst the tiny buildings of the surrounding city it was a massive overbearing force, its watch scouring all streets and parts of the city, judging and ruling its inhabitants. Its lavish design and huge expense were a bitter irony, as the one force that is meant to help and provide for lived in bitter and desperate poverty.
The rector strode through the city, his robes billowing out behind him, and his head held high even in the most dangerous and run-down regions of the city. He was a new priest to the area as the last priest to this area had been found beaten to death in an alleyway. He had only had a brief tour of the cathedral by a small shambling vicar in his few hours in the town, he had terrified the newcomer with his shambling gait and guttural voice, heavy with an accent the priest could not place. The rector was now walking back from the city gates and the coach house where his bags had accidentally been left, after overseeing their transferral to the cathedral.
The rector gazed around at the degradation and unsanitary conditions around him, shaking his head at how for all the money that his establishment had it could not reach out and help the neediest of citizens, who desperately needed guidance; the new rector had decided that that would be his first duty. The only work available in the city was available in the factories, jobs were not easy to get, and working conditions and wages were poor. The false promises of the industrial revolution had drawn thousands from relatively comfortable jobs in the country, and had destroyed so much hope, and so many lives. The rector decided that if anyone needed help then it would be these people
From down an alleyway the priest heard shouting, he turned his head to see what was happening, and saw a bunch of thugs pounding a man into the floor, the man's daughter, only an infant, screamed at the top of her voice, tears cascading from her eyes. The rector stopped, and ran to the entrance of the alley, and called; "Hey, what are you doing to him? Leave him alone." The largest one of them reached down to the crumpled heap of a person and removed a small pouch from his belt. "What? All that for only enough money for a pint?" the big man snarled, lashing out with a brutal kick to his victim's head. "More hassle than it was worth!" This attack prompted a wave of kicks from the rest of the gang. The rector stopped at the end of the alleyway, "What are you doing to that poor man? Leave him alone!" The leader looked deeply offended at this and gaped at the rector, a look of disbelief on the thug's ugly, scarred face. "What did you say?" the man growled "I said leave that man alone, can't you see he's taken enough? Please!" Before the leader could respond, the small, terrified child ran through the pack of people to her father, the girl screaming to him to wake up. "Can't you take that man home, or at least into the street now that you have got what you want from him?" the rector was no longer shouting at him. "I don't take any orders from any priest! Hey, lets show this man of God, let's get this saviour!" his voice almost manic with the adrenalin the attack. The man started to walk towards the rector, followed by the other three men, who were obviously too afraid of the leader to disagree.
The rector wasn't stupid, he knew that the fact he was the priest of the parish wouldn't help him, he turned on his heels and ran toward the church. "Come on, after him!" Dave roared, and led his gang after the rector along the darkened streets, one holding a pole of wood. The rector's robes burst open behind him, billowing and flapping behind him like a flag in a stiff breeze. As the rector rounded a corner he slipped on the cobbled street, but dragged himself upright in time to keep ahead of the forerunners of the gang.
The rector flew along the street, through the garden surrounding the cathedral, the baroque oaken door looming high into the gloom. The rector cast open the small door built into the larger one, and slammed it shut behind him, but before he had a chance to lock it behind himself, a massive force smashed into the door, he only just had time to move out of its way before a huge man flew through the door and fell to the ground in front of the rector. He threw his robes to the ground and sprinted down between the pews, toward the altar, when he reached the end of the row of pews he turned, looking back at his pursuers. The man who had fallen to the floor was now walking along the row of pews, he looked back at the rest of his gang, "Hurry up and get in here, now!" he snarled; spit flying from his mouth, his voice echoing around the cavernous cathedral. The two grumbled to themselves, but ran after him into the cathedral.
The rector turned and ran, he was terrified, why was the Cathedral deserted, where was everybody? He put these worries behind him and focused on his immediate survival. Thoughts flooded his mind; where could he go? What could he do? Instinct took over and he turned and bounded past the altar to a door far to the left of it. As he threw open the door he decided that the door must lead to the lower levels or a cellar of the cathedral. He slammed the heavy door behind him and glided down the stairs; he had no robe to restrict him now. He heard the sounds of the thugs clattering down the stairs after him, shouting and yelling.
(Oooh, exciting! At least I hope! Sorry, had to end there, wouldn't want to give away any more. Please review if you have read, no matter what you wish to say. This story will get a lot better in later chapters so keep an eye open for them!)
Until then I hope you're all ok! Happy reading!