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Fallen Two

The Staves kept detailed records of all the activities in Haven. They organized and directed, they administered. They assisted and coordinated with the Arcana Council to ensure that Haven continued. And when they could they researched what they could of the world outside Haven, like investigating a crime scene or performing an autopsy. They had learned about the Eyes, they knew something of the Gutters and the Grids, and they knew about the Demons. What was still a mystery was the Fall itself; how the world had come to be this way and why. Who built the Gutters and Grids, what gave birth to the Eyes, and what started the War with the Demons. There were as many theories as Staves, and the Cups and Coins had their own, as well. The Swords had little time or inclination to speculate, but the rumours they brought back from Frontline suggested that the Dragons had answers to these questions. 

And the Dragons were real, Marshal could now see. As real as the stories about them. Callan, chest heaving, claws dripping with gore from the slaughtered Demon. The first Demon; three more had appeared from the ruins. Callan adjusted his stance, a strange mix of grace and ferocity in his movement. The Demons, sharp edges and menace, slowly spread out as they crept closer, preparing to flank their prey. Marshal quickly looked around for cover. The pistol and his staff were shaking in his hands; he knew that he should drop the staff for a better grip on the gun but couldn't bring himself to do it. There were no mantras anymore, only the hissing and scratching of the approaching monstrosities. There was no visualization anymore, only the combat unfolding before him. 

And the sight of another figure entering the scene. A woman, masked, brandishing a pair of tonfas. Marching calmly and quickly from the shadows towards the Demon on the left. By the mask she wore, carved in resemblance of the creatures she now faced, Marshal recognized her as Wraith. The Ninja. The Assassin. The left Demon halted and snapped its dripping jaws as Wraith closed, and suddenly Callan sprang forth, another growling leap, diving upon the distracted left Demon, another vicious attack. And Wraith moved in the exact same moment, launching into a series of precision cartwheels, passing directly under Callan in mid-leap and intercepting the middle Demon, catching it off-guard in the feint, landing upright with her tonfas spinning and striking. 

Here it was, happening before him, the tales of Demons and Dragons come to life. Brutal and terrifying. In a way they were easier to believe in when they were only stories. Seeing the combat before him shook Marshal to the core, his hands still shaking, the world suddenly more... Just more than he was ready for. But there was the third Demon on the right, starting to charge forward in the ruins, coming to tip the balance of the battle. Marshal dropped his staff and raised the pistol in both hands. 

The first shot was wide, the second high, and then it was too late. The distance bridged, the Demon pouncing at Wraith. Except right at that moment, Callan sank his claws into the arm of his opponent and dropped into a controlled roll that took the Demon off-balance, the roll continuing until Callan could plant his feet against the creature and kick out. Catapulting the Demon through the air to collide with the third one, knocking it off-course just as Wraith drove her tonfas into the eyes of her opponent. Tearing them free, Callan leaping, the Dragons descending on the left and right Demons, tangled and stunned. Killing blows. 

And Marshal saw that they were so much more than even the tales told of them. 

The War Mask made her voice low and metallic. “Hurry,” Wraith said, gesturing at Marshal. “We have to move. Frontline has fallen.”