Cold autumn Friday night in Crystal Cove. A city on the coast of Massachusetts, the city of almost eight million citizens were awaiting the coming of the first snows of winter that would no doubt be dropping soon.
Still, until that time came there was still problems that could be or at least should be addressed, such as the housing issue in the suburbs that had too few homes for the growing population, the warehouses in the harbor that had been empty for decades and was the hottest spot for the city's criminal element, or the newly erected Quad Towers that was the city skyline's shining jewel which had yet to filled after its construction had been completed the previous January. Those were problems the city officials had to deal with.
Then there were the problems that no one knew about, or in the very very least, should know about. Things that only those truly qualified would be able to handle.
Such as demon slaying.
You wouldn't know by looking at it but Crystal Cove was one of the hottest demon hotspots in the continental United States, and as well-known as that fact was to the demon slayers there were surprisingly few slayers to be found in the city itself.
Well, there was one currently on duty slayer taking a quick break on a hill top outside the city. Known as Fair Point, the hill overlooked the suburbs of the Cove day and night and was quite a nice spot to be with friends and family. It was also used for various holiday events and the Fourth of July fireworks and it might as well been a tourist attraction were it not for its distance off the main highway.
The slayer who stood atop the hill did so next to a marble bench with a dedication to 'those who are no longer here'. He stood with his hands in his pant pockets, his blue eyes overlooking the many houses down below then to the city skyline in the distance. Despite how cold it was outside he wore a long sleeved white shirt under a purple leather vest and black cargo pants and black boots. He was no doubt the least conspicuously dressed slayer in the state of Massachusetts.
He stood casually admiring the view just like he had when he was a boy, his mind filled with thoughts of much happier times. Not that his life now wasn't a happy one, he just missed the old days.
The days when he stood on this hill top holding the hand of someone who is no longer there to hold it.
But he tried to keep the darker thoughts at bay and let the lighter ones stay.
For Dakk Tribal of the Order of Magdalene, being a slayer was about keeping the light strong. That was meant to be as literal as it was figuratively, and even went to an internal level.
"For if the light fades, the darkness wins," he said softly. Nearly twenty-one years old, Dakk had heard his mother tell him that when he was about ten. It was something he had reminded himself on an almost daily basis, just to remind himself to keep going.
It was enough motivation to do what he needs to do.
A pleasant ringtone was heard coming from inside the pocket of his purple vest. From inside this vest, adorned with the symbol of the Order on its back, He took it out without moving from the spot where he stood, nor did he look at the phone as he answered it. "Hello?"
A woman's voice was heard from the other line, sounding a bit concerned, "You okay? You haven't reported in for a while."
"I'm alright Serenity. I'm just taking a break at Fair Point at the moment."
"You're finally taking it easy," she replied, sounding relieved. "How long has it been since you were out?"
Dakk took a quick exhale, "Eh I last looked at the clock was at...2:30?"
"DAKK! You've only been on break for ten minutes?!"
He couldn't help but smile. She had him cornered there. He wouldn't argue with her over this.
"I took out a few demons in the suburbs. Fair Point was close so I decided to enjoy the view," he said, trying to play it cool.
She didn't like this. "You completed an assignment a couple hours ago, and you've been using your energy on smaller threats since then?!" Serenity was the kind of girl that worried too much, Dakk didn't need her to be more worried than normal.
"Serenity, calm down. It's part of the job."
She didn't reply for a few moments, "I don't think going until you collapse is in the job description, Dakk."
He chuckled, "Duly noted. What you got for me?"
"A disturbance in downtown, near Cold Harbor, and as it turns out you're the only one nearby to take care of it. Reports have it down near Warehouse 11."
Cold Harbor was a hotbed of activity lately. Dakk himself along with a cadre of other slayers from various Orders in the North Eastern states had to deal with a gang war of sorts a couple weeks ago. The war had been stopped with a high degree of damage and loss of life. The press had reported that a large scale terror attack had been thwarted by local police and National Guard, which was a decent cover story, yet only the police at the scene knew of what really happened.
"The harbor? That place has been getting more and more active as of late, hasn't it."
Serenity spoke, "Let's just hope that we don't get another war, I don't know if we could handle it."
"I'll go check it out."
"And when you finish you will report back here so we can fix you up," she insisted.
"Yes, ma'am," Dakk teased before he hung up the phone. 'I will have to give her something later to cheer her up.'
Demons exist and more often than not they hide in plain sight right under the noses of the humans they aim to deceive and devour. Existing since the dawn of man and taking many forms, their sole purpose is to devour souls and eliminate mankind.
Early history humankind was unable to defend themselves effectively against them. It wasn't until after the fall of the Roman Empire and the spread of various kingdoms across Europe that the Orders were established. All were headed by various individuals who could motivate the people to fight against the monsters. The Crusades proved to be a rallying point for this movement, and after returning from the Holy Land with holy relics and artefacts the church received a huge power boost and the faithful came to them in droves. The Orders consolidated their power and when the day came they went across the ocean and made their claim in the New World. The Order of Magdalene was the first to be established, and it was not to be the last. Since then at least fifty different Orders were placed across North America as far north as the Yukon and as south as Mexico and from Crystal Cove in the east to San Francisco in the west.
With the changing of times the need to keep the public from finding out that monsters indeed existed, it had never proved to be as difficult as it was in the 21st Century with cameras and such making the stealth operations all but impossible, newer methods had to be made to compensate and to stay one step ahead of the enemy.
The drive to the harbor took less than ten minutes. The city had been under curfew since 10PM and because of that traffic was nonexistent. On his motorbike Dakk arrived at the harbor with nothing in his way. Warehouse 11 was one of the badly damaged buildings from the operation weeks before and since it was part of the area that demons had been summoned in there had to be activity leftover.
'No surprise that our sensors would be tripped after everything that had had happened here,' he thought as he got off his dark violet colored motorbike. Before he headed towards the warehouse he finished getting prepared. He put on a pair of black leather gloves with a silver cross on the back of the hand and more importantly he grabbed a long object from a holding slot on the right side of the bike. Upon closer examination you would be able to tell it was a sword in a sheath.
Despite the advances in technology, not all demon slayers used fire-arms as their primary weapon. A good portion of them preferred what one would call 'the old fashioned way' and that was how Dakk had been trained. Not to mention he had skipped the majority of fire-arms training to get better with a sword and his preference was made even more obvious.
The sword was a standard issued blade; from tip to tip it was three feet long, with the blade itself taking up the majority of the length. There was no guard separating the blade from the handle but the grip itself was made up of a substance that increased the holder's grip on the handle to make up for it and to prevent accidents.
Dakk strapped the sword to his lower back, an unorthodox move but it was his preference, and the handle stuck out on his right side. Now that he felt ready as ready he could be, he went towards the warehouse.
The building had lost a large chunk of its roof in the battle and in most places it looked like the building would collapse if someone leaned on it. Structural integrity was bad, and that meant being inside was not a good idea, but considering what was going on inside there wasn't much of a choice.
"If there's a spawn-pit in there it needs to be closed before it opens a river."
A spawn-pit was exactly as it sounded, which was a spawn point for demons that allowed them to cross over from Pandemonium to the human world. They ranged in size (from the size of a car to the size of a building in worst case scenario situations) but no matter the size it became a slayer's priority to close them before they grow too big to handle.
Dakk went inside the building, careful not to touch anything as he began to search around. Most of the building was scorched and badly damaged, though the walkways and metal stair cases seemed to be intact but if he had a saying in the matter Dakk would have liked not to use them if he had a choice.
So he decided to keep his investigation to the ground floor first. The warehouse had been empty prior to the battle and as such the floor was wide open save where parts of the roof had fallen. Obviously there was no electricity to help him but there was the full moon in the sky and because of that Dakk didn't need a flashlight, at least not to see where he was going. Not that he actually had one on him right now. In fact in terms of being prepared, well, he knew that Sister Charlotte would be shaking her head in disappointment. His flashlight wasn't on him, all his holy water vials had bene used earlier in the evening, and he only had a few perimeter crosses on hand. They were best used in small areas, and a large warehouse wasn't ideal.
He went onward, his right hand on the handle of his blade ready to use it when the need arose. Thanks to the building being a warehouse there wasn't much to search, and even past the large stacks of rubble there wasn't anything new to be seen-
-until he turned a corner near the wreckage of a car did he feel the air get thick and a thin veil of black-violet mist was at his feet.
"I'm in the right place then."
The mist was a result of a summoning, and the thickness in the air was a more complicated topic to cover. As slayers were supernaturally perceptive, they could feel things that normal people could not, and right now Dakk had a tougher time to get a breath.
Not pulling out his sword he went around the corner near the car and saw what was making the mist.
A single creature stood in the center of a black circle which the mist was coming from. The creature was about eight feet, human in shape, tall and was black and white with long arms and legs. It's eyes were yellow like acid and formed slits. It hadn't noticed the slayer, at least not yet.
Now came the time to use a weapon or holy water to take the monster by surprise and cleanse the pit before it got any bigger.
That was what standard procedure called for, but unfortunately lady luck was not on Dakk's side. Not only was he out of holy water, but his advantage of being unseen went out the window when he was ambushed from behind every piece of large debris around him by Shadows. Shadows were low lying demons that had no legs and used their arms to crawl along the ground to get around, and their torso ended at the waist before going into a sharp pointed tail. Shadows were the lowest ranked demons as well as the most common for slayers to encounter but that didn't make them any less dangerous to fight. They were not terribly strong, but their true strength lied not in their physical power but in their numbers. Even experienced slayers could get overwhelmed by Shadows if they attacked in waves.
He had enough luck to move out of the way of their long claws before they skewered him, and that is when the bigger demon finally noticed him.
Moving to the top of a destroyed police car, Dakk stood as the monsters below him watched him like a pack of wolves eyeing their prey.
There were at least a dozen of these Shadows, and as long as the pit remained open more and more would come out. His options limited, Dakk shrugged his shoulders and with an amount of confidence that would baffle any sort of professional slayer, said, "Time to deal with this infestation."
The taller demon growled and the Shadows swarmed on Dakk's position. By the time they reached his feet the slayer had already removed his sword from its sheath, and the resulting light that came from within it temporarily blinded all who saw it.
Dakk tossed the sheath aside and with the ease of an experienced sword wielder took out each of the Shadows who attacked him. The blade of the sword was made of purified silver shipped from the Vatican and laser sharpened to cut through anything demonic. He used only his right hand to hold the sword and despite the stats that he had memorized, the sword was light enough to hold with one hand.
With each Shadow slain another came after, and after a few minutes the slayer knew he wasn't going to be getting anywhere at this rate. 'I need to get that pit closed.'
He broke through the wave of enemies that charged at him, causing all the Shadows to get scared and scatter, and made a mad dash for the portal which was being watched over by that creature. It stood still even as Dakk readied his sword for a downward slash.
As he brought the blade down, that is when it finally moved, vanishing in a cloud of black smoke.
While his mind asked where it could have went, Dakk knew that he had a bigger problem to deal with. The pit was at his feet and without stopping to think he pulled out a small silver crucifix from his vest pocket and dropped it in the center of the pit. A small flash of white light came from where it struck the ground, and within a moment of this happening the portal vanished in a cloud of vapor.
Immediately after the air became easier to breathe and the mist vanished as well. The pit had been cleansed.
'Forgot those little crosses were doused in holy water,' Dakk thought with a sigh of relief. He turned back to the Shadows he thought were going to pounce on him after this. To his surprise there were none to be found. "Huh...where did-gah!"
The slayer went flying back in the direction he had come from. Lowering his guard had been an easy mistake and Dakk paid for it. Using his momentum he rolled and recovered before getting to his feet, sword ready this time.
The one who had attacked him was the demon from before, the tall one with the long limbs.
"It's not nice to attack someone from behind, you know."
He didn't expect an answer, nor did he get one.
"Not an ounce of humor, as usual." Dakk said, feigning disappointment. His attitude, care-free and prone to wisecracking, was off-putting to a lot of people but considering he worked alone he didn't worry about other people's opinions, at least they shouldn't if he got the job done.
The creature came at him like a cat with its arms outstretched and its fingers turned into long sharp claws.
Standing his ground Dakk raised his sword. The two clashed, claws on silver, and from there the demon pushed against the slayer while Dakk tried to keep himself on his feet.
Demon movement speed wasn't much different from humans; the science of it usually came down to the fact that despite being the spawn of Pandemonium they had to follow the rules when they were on the plain of man. Thus, their movement speed and strength, while partially higher than humans could still be managed by humans should they come into conflict.
That is how Dakk was able to push back against the demon by using his physical strength alone and actually get somewhere doing so. With a great rush of energy he pushed the demon back a few feet and made another downward slash, aiming for the demon's head. He missed, and the demon countered with a slash of its claw. He didn't miss, getting the area around Dakk's shoulder. His shirt was torn and the claw marks became red as blood oozed from the fresh wound. He felt the claws rip his skin but he ignored it, allowing the adrenaline to be a momentary painkiller. In what many would call a gutsy move he spun his left arm, ignoring the pain, and grabbed his opponent's forearm.
The demon lost its concentration and Dakk took advantage of that and brought his sword up in an upward thrust. This time his attack connected, and he drove his blade through the demon's sternum and it exploded out of its back. There was no blood, for demons didn't bleed, and the light in the monster's eyes flickered before going dark.
Dakk pulled his sword from the monster and tossed its lifeless carcass aside. It evaporated into the air before it hit the ground. Looking around Dakk noticed that the Shadows that had just seen their leader get killed scattered into the literal shadows. It was a quick escape tactic used when they knew that fighting was pointless and there was no way to follow their movements when they take that form of travel.
Despite the pain in his arm, Dakk felt satisfied. "The pit is cleansed and the demon who conjured it is slain..." He pulled out his cellphone from his pocket, loudly hissing at the searing pain in his shoulder. He got her on the second ring.
"Dakk? Something wrong?"
"Not really. Warehouse 11 is clear."
"You find anything?"
Dakk told her the truth, not leaving out any details. "Nothing more than that."
"Good, now get back here so you can rest."
Then he decided to break the bad news, "Might want to get some bandages and peroxide ready before I do that."
"Dakk...are you hurt?"
Before he gave her the answer he heard something heavy and metallic hit the concrete not that far from where he stood. Confused Dakk looked up at the ceiling and he saw that bits and pieces of the ceiling were starting to fall. Not only that but the whole building started to shake as it began the long awaited and suspected action of collapsing.
"Oh for Pete's sake! It just had to do this while I am inside?!" He find it to be so ridiculous he could have kicked himself.
"Dakk? What's wrong?!"
Dakk shouted into the phone before he closed it, "Have to call you back! Bye!"
As he made a frantic run for the exit, he was one hundred percent sure that he had some incredibly bad luck.