Chapter 17. Rain Hellfire

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Lez was taken aback as he watch a stream of what looked like black fire shoot out of the dome.

The bard knew nothing of the structure, for all he knew this was a natural occurrence, but as he heard several dozen people gasp he began to have his doubts.

The burning black spear stuck upwards, going up into the heavens like some oily tower. As soon as the fire touched the grey clouds there was a pulse of sickly green, like the evil fire somehow corrupted the very sky.

The green spread quickly, its corruption spreading far. Infecting and twisting the clouds, transforming the bland greys into a gloomy and ominous pale green mist.

The pillar of fire twisted, its upper body swelling to unnatural proportions.

The swarm of refugees broke into several smaller groups, the mass of alien creatures seeing the fire and assuming that it was time to run for all buggery.

Lez was pushed aside as the crowd began to disperse. Most listened to the Techs but there were hundreds who ignored the demands to stay calm. They wanted to get as far as they could before something far worse took its fury on them.

From within the torrent of dark greens and violent reds, a roar like a monsoon tripping over a rake pounded the air.

The war-deer and stags that the battlenuns mounted screamed in terror, their riders doing everything to hold their beasts in check. Lez fell to the ground, not from the shock wave but from the sea of bodies that pushed him down.

Stop.” Lez shouted. He had seen this all before. He had visited towns and cities where all it took was one spooked idiot or a loud noise to turn a calm situation into a stampede. When raiders and fires hit, panic was the real enemy.

Lez had always been bright enough to stay far away from large crowds. He preferred to stick to pubs and brothels, places where he could get a drink and seduce a nice pretty thing and her husband.

As he lay there in a foetal position and shielding his head, Lez cursed himself for being so stupid. He should have never have come here, he should have known that this would have happened.

Someone kicked him in the ribs, another tripped over his head. Lez felt tears of pain travel down his cheeks.

Get off him.” Someone called out trying to speak above the screams.

A hand like forged iron grabbed Lez by the arm and forced him up. Someone was yelling at him, but there was something wrong with Lez’s hearing and his head felt like he was under water.

***

The damn spy was out of it. His head was bleeding and his eye pupils were different sizes.

It was only due to Huebsch’s intimidating size and sword that she did not succumb to the fleeing mob. She had seen the bard stare stupidly up at the pillar of demon fire and was unprepared for the stampede.

She closed her eyes. Using the gifts that nature had given her and her faith had boosted, the exorcist opened her mind.

Immediately she felt her sisters’ fear and stubborn hate. They could feel it in their souls and bones. A great evil had been summoned to the prime-material plane.

Tam, Nim. What am I looking at? Huebsch said through the mental link.

I have no idea. Nim said back.

Huebucsh stared in shock and horror as she stared up and up.

Green fire of various dark shades curved, forming a pair of eyebrows. A mouth that spewed black smoke spread itself into a terrible smile, and at the heart of each of the creature’s black fire eye sockets was a single bright white candle flame, burning like twin beckons within the storm of corruption.

Badb save us.” the exorcist whispered hoping that her goddess was paying attention.

Within the crowds of thousands, a hunchback golem made of what looked like a pile of rusted metal, raised its huge anvil sized hands to the sky. The twin cones of bright yellow energy erupted from the construct’s back.

The power behind the device must have been catastrophic as the construct shot up in the sky like an arrow. It flew straight up and then twisted its flight path at such a degree that no natural animal could duplicate. It flew straight for the pillar of fire.

Others within the crowd saw the construct leave and frowned. Huebsch had seen all their looks before and knew what each of them was thinking, but she wasn’t expecting what happened next.

Scattered like gems among coal dust, individuals stirred within the conglomerate of beings.

One man in a red turban pulled a carpet off his back and took to the skies, the carpet lifting him into the air.

A man in golden armour grew wings made out of sparkling starlight, he gave a howl as he took to the sky.

A small dog barked at the demon spire, the animal let out a low howl as it grew to the size of a house within the life span of a heart beat. The mutant dog bounded over the crowd, its tongue waging.

Hundreds of beings took to the sky while those on the ground were split into two main groups. Those who fled and those who were running towards the burning demon.

The sound like the bubbling of molten stone and burning forests flowed over the field. The creature was speaking in the language of the fire primordials, the language of suns and heat.

It sounded happy, which no one took as a good thing.

The bard in Huebsch’s arms laughed, “Madness.”

Huebsch watched as a small girl who could be no older than seven push her way from her screaming mother. The girl spoke a series of alien words and there was a bright light.

As the bright light faded an older version of the girl stood, her dress now incredibly short and her bust far larger than any normal woman’s should be. She spun a rod with a star on it and pouted at the pillar.

With a single jump the girl cleared fifty paces.

Huebusch felt something hard smack onto her head. She looked up in time to see that it was starting to rain maggots and eyeballs. She had to admit that this was one of her more interesting days.

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