Virtue of Faith
Mental Defense: standard (rank 1)
The city is encased in fog, it was still early here, maybe four or five in the morning. The streets were nearly empty of life, only her and her target. She follows the demon in his mortal form as best she could; despite his wound he remains superhuman.
Azael turns a corner, Helenas sprints forward; she spins around the corner, rifle drawn. Her finger rises to the trigger and pulls. The round flies outwards and disappears as a mirage into the overwhelming fog. The holy silver rounds are lead to the target by His divine grace yet require us to act as a conduit; without clear purpose on behalf of the wielder there is no grace. Suffice to say, Helenas’s random blind-shot down the misty alley gets no response.
She loads another few stakes into place. Helenas throws a quick Hail Mary as repentance for the earlier blasphemy and then swivels to scan the surrounding buildings. This place begins to seem less definable the more she searches it. On a few streets proper Victorian houses are erected as they would be in St. Francisco, but on others, crude rectangular eyesores stand out, their doors and walls defaced with brightly colored vulgar words. This was not a holy place, but not wholly evil either.
Helenas attempts to think it out, yet more fog flows in. The ghostly vapor begins to engulf everything in front of her eyes. She pulls up her rifle, pivots one way then the other. Layers of darkness and fog present themselves on top of another; everything else fades into silhouette.
Behind her comes a familiar sound, like a rushing mountain wind. She sees a blotch of blackness appear near the noise, a vacuous portal like the one she arrived in. She points the end of her gun barrel towards the opening. A human hand reaches out of the darkness. She stops. The hand moves out further and the whole figure begins to emerge; on its chest lies the red and white armor overlapped by the holy cross. Her heart skips a beat at the sight of one of her holy brothers.
“Helenas!” He yells, “I’ve come to bring you back. Take my hand!”
His hand outstretches. Helenas raises hers but momentarily hesitates from grabbing on.
“How did you find me?”
“Trust me; we don’t have much time, just take my hand!”
She slowly lifts her hand upwards and grasps his palm. He smiles back at her, she doesn’t return the gesture. Her other hand lifts the rifle to his chest. He stares at her with wild disbelief.
“What are you doing?”
“And the unholy angels shall come to you and offer what you desire most, their tricks and illusions shall not deceive as long as the Lord is with you, amen.”
The rifle blasts into the knight’s torso, he spirals backwards like a bowling pin. The portal dissolves away; its illusion and noise fade away in the same way it came. The mysterious fog lifts back as it was before. The knight hits the ground and the illusion over him dissolves as well; his fair features devolve into dark and leathery skin, his eyes return to the same demonic yellow Helenas spotted when she first landed. Azael now bleeds from two wounds, the latter still with the massive stake piercing into his stomach like an un-nailed railroad spike.
Virtue of Justice
Piercing Weapon: superior (rank 2)
- Ranged Attack
- Target Seeker
Azael forces himself to stand then weakly stumbles down a nearby smut covered alley; Helenas forces another stake into the revolving magazine of her Exorcist’s rifle. The demon shifts over against a brick wall, leaning on it as he places his hands on the spike piercing his abdomen. He grips onto it, his hands steaming as they grasp the silver. His lips curl in agony, releasing a vicious and painful growl. He pulls the round out and tosses the bloody spike onto the ground. Weakened as he is, he does not flee; Helenas raise her rifle.
“Any last words, confession, renunciation of your ways, that you’d like to get out of the way?”
“Depends,” he says, “If I did, would you let me go?”
“No,” she says coldly, “but it is tradition to offer last rites to those about to be executed.”
Azael laughs bitterly, blood tainting his smile.
“At least your honest... and for that I’ll repay you with some honesty of my own; that is, if I die, you remain here, forever.”
She flinches at this statement, Azael notices and plays it up.
“Its checkmate Helen… you can’t escape it.”
“I will not be tempted, tricked, or threatened by the lies of a demon.”
“No lies Sister, no lies…This dimension is a nexus where all points meet, that’s why the portal brought us here and not straight to my domain. However, even then, you cannot move from one plane to another without higher assistance, you are a mortal…I am your only way out of this. Kill me, and you exile yourself…. Now I know that your holy order claims death before dishonor as its coda, but I also know people. As a general observation, people don’t like to die. They will lie, betray, rape, pillage and murder to save themselves. I’m not asking you to do any of that, I just want you to think of all the good you’ll do if I could send you back…”
Helenas hesitates, the gun raises, she stands ready but doesn’t pull the trigger. Azael flashes her another smile. She smiles back this time.
“Go to Hell.”
Her finger moves for the trigger, the demon charges wildly.
He hits the barrel away, the rifle fires the stake heavenward. He pounces on top of Helenas, hand once more at her throat.
“You first, you little BITCH!”
The stake stops midair and reverses direction; Azael squeezes her throat to crush the life from her, a sharp pain comes from above. The stake rams through his back, passing the ribcage, impaling the heart. He stops all motion.
Azael falls limp in her arms. Helenas throws him off and he tumbles to the ground. She stands up bleeding, the end of the spike went too far through him, her shoulder received the silver tip. She looks down at the lifeless demon; the sharp cocking of a rifle is heard behind her.
Virtue of Fortitude
Iron Will: standard (rank 1)
“Drop the gun or I will shoot. Drop it now.”
Helenas turns to see a blonde woman holding what appears to be a knight’s rifle between her arms. She wears armor of some kind, but it bears no markings of order or rank, it is nothing but a chrome colored metal suit.
“DROP YOUR GUN NOW!”
Helenas holds the gun out to her side. She would not drop it for anyone. She looks to her side and remarks Azael’s seemingly-human dead body; the other woman has noticed it as well.
“Its ok," Helenas replies, “He’s was a demon. It’s ok, we’re on the same side.”
“I don’t know what side you’re on, but I need you to drop the weapon.”
Helenas begins backing away from the woman and out of the alley. One of those tar black street is behind her. She could fire a round towards the woman’s hands to disarm her and get away; it was a sin to fire on others, even foreigners, pagans, or Catholics, but Helen needed to escape. She could pray to God for forgiveness later.
Helenas swings her gun and fires. The other woman fires simultaneously, her aim is wild and inaccurate. The silver spike hits her hand mid-fire; she drops her weapon in pain.
Helenas turns and blindly runs into the street; she is stopped by a blaring animal-like noise. A large, wheeled, metal machine plows into her, sending her reeling. Helenas appears unconscious on the ground; the woman from before follows her and looks down upon her motionless body.
“Shit.” She says
She pulls the rifle off the ground and examines it. The ornate design was unlike any firearm she had ever seen, and that was saying something. The armored woman pulls out a cell-phone and dials in a number. The driver of the sedan gets out and walks around the side.
“Oh god, she came out of nowhere. She just jumped into the middle of the road. You saw it right?”
The woman doesn’t answer him but waits for her phone to connect.
“Hello? Yes this is Jill. I found the lunatic in the Renaissance costume who waved a gun around the Embarcadero station entrance. From the looks of it she just shot a man because he was “a demon”. Then she got hit by a car. Better bring a bus, no way she could—”
Helenas wakes up and begins shaking herself conscious. She slowly begins to stand in an attempt to walk it off. Jill watches in slight confusion, she raises her gun cautiously.
“You know what, I’ll call you back—Hey Ms. why don’t you sit down. Just relax.”
“All injuries acquired in service to the Lord are blessings from him who loves us most, as badges of honor and courage. I shall feel no weakness as long as the Lord is with me.”
Jill nods uneasily. While technically fine Helenas still remains woozy. She looks at the blonde in the grey armor suspiciously. There were no markers at all, her rifle was unusually cold and sterile, no artwork, no engravings, just steel.
“What Order are you of?”
Jill pauses at the question.
“I’m with the Angels of Mercy. I heard what you were doing over a police radio, I’m going to take you in, so why don’t you—”
“You’re an ANGEL?”
“Well, yeah, one of them. I—”
Helenas drops to her knees in prayer before the fair blonde angel. She closes her eyes and chants.
“I am not worthy to be in your presence mighty messenger of His glory; I come to slay demons, yet your presence upon me is a blessing in itself. What news does the Almighty wish to convey to his lowly and humble servant, a pilgrim in an unholy land?”
Jill pauses again,
“Wow… this is really uncomfortable.”
Sacrament of Renewal
Healing: superior (rank 2)
Helen moves the burger to her lips. She bites down half of it in nearly a second. Jill watches with interest, everything this woman does seems abnormal but she is growing more accustomed to it over time.
She had tried interrogating her for over an hour but it was pointless; telling a lie, any lie, was a sin. Jill got everything she wanted to know without hesitation, absolutely none of it made any sense; there was no point of interrogation for useless knowledge. She at first assumed she had caught a madwoman fresh out of a steam-punk convention. Helen sat in the holding cell for nearly a day without complaint as the authorities tried to deal with her.
Then the Angel’s of Mercy contacts at the morgue autopsied the man she killed; within the first half hour post-mortem his blood turned black and his eyes dissolved inside his skull. During the autopsy his body degenerated entirely leaving a pile of charred dust on the operation table.
Jill had more questions, but as Helen seemed more than willing to cooperate, she figured there was no need for an interrogation room. Jill got her answers, and Helen got to experience contemporary culture.
“What is this called again?” Helen asks.
“A Big Mac. They don’t have Big Mac’s where you’re from?”
“No, I never heard of any. But then again, I never got out much, it was always duty first.”
“Trust me sister, I know what you mean,” Jill replies,
Helen looks back up to her with a sudden urgency.
“What day is it?” she asks.
“Oh, what time then?”
Jill checks her watch.
“Its just now 12 am. Why?”
“Oh good then.” Says Helen, “Then it’s not technically Friday. We can’t eat meat on a Friday, but since its not technically Friday any more, it’s not technically a sin.”
“Trust me Helen, this is a McDonalds, there’s a good chance it isn’t technically meat.”
Helen ignores this and continues to wolf down her the Big-Mac. Jill hesitates for a moment, but the little voice in her head tells her to get a move on, and get to why she really came here.
“So Helen… that thing you killed in the alley—”
“Yes, him. Did he say why he was coming here? Did he want something from this world? Some purpose?”
Helen drops her burger; she rubs her shoulder which had been bleeding on and off since her arrest.
“I’m not sure,” she says, “I’m not sure he even had one, it seemed like an accident. He did say that this world was important. That it was the ‘Nexus of all points’, that somehow it was between my home and his. I thought he meant that this was Purgatory or Limbo, but I don’t think Purgatory would have this kind of food, or anything at all for that matter.”
Jill nods as Helen begins to explore and poke at her wound. Jill squirms in her chair trying not to watch.
“Helen, you know we have really advanced medical care here. That looks pretty deep; you should get it looked at.”
“By who? I don’t think we need to call in a priest after midnight for this, it’s only a flesh wound.”
“No, I mean get it looked at by a doctor.”
“A doctor? Some godless physician who thinks he can understand the innate workings of the holy human body? Who believes he knows better than the divine as to who lives and who dies? What need would I have of such arrogant ignoramuses when He who is capable of all things is always with me? Pass me your cup and I’ll show you.”
Jill tacitly passes the Large Diet Coke across the table. Helen holds it in her hands and quietly prays over it. Everyone in the room stares at her if they weren’t doing so before.
“Oh father…bless this water with your holy spirit… baptize my wounds and my soul… amen…”
Helen raises the cup over her shoulder and pours it across the red stain. She is covered by the dark syrupy liquid, leaving a larger stain, yet the blood is gone. The wound has closed as if never there, healed instantly by the purifying touch of improvised holy water. Helen passes the now half-empty cup back to Jill and smiles.
“See, all is made right through the power of God and the sacrament of renewal and rebirth.”
“My backwash was in that.” Jill adds.
They finish their meal and Jill leads Helen out of the swinging doors. San Francisco is cold as always. Jill turns to her companion.
“Well I guess this is where we both got to go.”
“Go where? Where are we going?”
“Not ‘we’,” Jill says, “I meant you and I just happen to both be going. Separately.”
“Oh,” replies Helen, she stares down at her feet dejected, “but if you leave…I’ll be alone. Entirely alone, in the whole world. Where can I go?”
“I’m sure you’ll find something…You can go anywhere you want.”
“I want to go with you.”
Jill pauses at the startling sincerity of it, but then backs away.
“No you don’t. Trust me Helen, my life is dangerous enough, plus, I don’t travel in the holiest of atmospheres. You wouldn’t like it—”
“You said you were an Angel,” Helen says, “An Angel of Mercy. You told me that your Order was dedicated to bringing justice to the evil ones and to protecting the innocent. What could be more holy than that? I wasn’t sent here by some demon’s scheme, some accident of fate; it must be His will. He sent me to this world, then sent a human angel to bring me into the fold. I know where he has sent me, and I shall fear no evil though I walk through the Valley of Death. I have been sent to become an Angel of Mercy!”
The blonde looks back at her, both stunned and impressed.
“Well since you put it that way… But I’m not sure, what do you think Jack?...uh huh…right…yeah…God, you are such a pervert.”
Jill shakes off from her conversation with the invisible man. She extends her hand, Helen grabs it instantly.
“Welcome to the team.”