The Creeping Plague

Author's Notes:

For Michael.

The other possible conclusion of the Darkholm triology. What sort of young woman would Elysia really approve of? Parallels exist everywhere if you only look for them. A new sect of devil-worshippers terrorises the city!

The night was dark and clouds obscured the sky. A dank and heavy fog smothered London. A woman and child had been cornered in a dark alley by a pair of sinister figures swathed in heavy black robes. "There's no escape flesh carrier," said the first to the woman. He gave a strange clacking sound. The woman clutched her child's arm to afraid to speak. The other figure spoke. Its voice was an oozing pestilential sound: "that piece of young meat looks a lot more appealing than the woman does..."

At that moment the clouds above parted and a chink of moonlight illuminated the scene. A young woman dressed in tight fitting leather armour strode onto the scene, her long platinum blond hair streaming behind her. "Get back!" She commanded. The first figure hissed. It's heavy cowl fell back. The woman cowering against the wall gave a stifled cry. The head was somewhere between that of a man and a cockroach, misshapen and distorted by savage, beetle-like mandibles and grotesquely bulging compound eyes. The leather clad girl watched aghast as an extra pair of black, chitin armoured legs unfolded from beneath the robes. She took a rifle from her belt and fired. The bullet had no effect. "That toy won't help you," said the abomination. The girl unsheathed an ornate sword from a scabbard at her belt and lunged at the evil creature. It hissed and took a step back as the sword clattered against it's chitin armoured legs. The other figure had been still all this time, but now it spat a glob of yellow slime at the girl. She gave a cry as a drop of it burned her wrist. The clouds high above parted completely and silver moonlight flooded the scene. A terrific wail pierced the night and a dark shape swooped down. For a moment there was a terrible commotion and confusion in the dark alley, but soon all was silent.

The woman who still clutched her child looked up. There were now two young girls in the moonlit alley, the one with long platinum blond hair and the newcomer, with long raven hair, both of exceptional beauty. The body of the hideous insect-man lay broken on the stone floor of the alley. A smouldering pile of fabric was all that remained of the second abomination.

The newcomer knelt down beside the mother and her child. The mother looked up into the prettiest girl's face imaginable, white as lilies with exquisitely formed features and ruby lips. She spoke and her voice was low and mellifluous. "Is your boy alright?" She asked. The mother swallowed.

Her son spoke "you're a very pretty lady," he piped.

The raven haired girl smiled and gently touched his cheek. "It gladdens my heart to see you well," she said. "You should tell your mother the streets are not safe tonight. She should behave like a responsible adult."

The platinum blond girl spoke; "I don't think the monsters had chance to hurt them. You were magnificent."

"You were the most magnificent, you must be the bravest mortal girl I know," said Elysia. "But you have been wounded. After we have taken these two to safety, I must tend to it properly."