"Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris; et ne nos inducas in tentationem Sed libera nos a malo. Amen." The sound of prayer filled the dimly, candlelit halls of the Vatican church. A solitary nun, sat by the altar, eyes shut and hands brought together, muttered quietly in Latin. In truth, she did this every night, but this time it was different. She had been experiencing truly disturbing nightmares, filled with grotesque imagery she truly preferred not to see. A part of her wanted to blame the devil, but how could He reach her in the House of God? Oh, poor, silly little girl. Not only could the devil walk right into these halls, but even the Knights of Hell could enter without much of a hassle. Why did they not do it before? Well, His Infernal Majesty simply did not request it. However, out of boredom, he summoned one of his best knights, only known as Azazel, to his throne room. He instructed him to lead an attack of an enormous scale, delivered in waves, on the centre of Christendom. Things had been a little too peaceful lately, might as well start something, no? Shortly after, Azazel manifested in the hallway right outside the hall where the nun was praying. He silently stepped in and stood behind her, before an amused smile came to his usually cold face. His crimson eyes were hidden by a hat he always wore, but she would not need to look into them to experience fear-induced paralysis. Instead, he slowly enlarged the shadows in the room and brought the temperature down in the blink of an eye. Before she knew it, and as her lids flew open, the candles all around went out, as if a phantom pair of fingers crushed each wick. She looked around in the dark, frantic and terrified. The sinister presence that had plagued her dreams slowly crept into her awareness, and she stood, frozen to her spot. There was someone behind her. Before she could move or scream, he had his hand over her mouth, hot as cursed flames, and her muffled cries brought absolutely no one to her rescue. He leaned down, his lips inches from her ear, his other hand slowly pulling down her habit, revealing her golden blonde locks inch by inch, until her silken soft hair was released from that ugly veil they were made to wear. He smirked once more, and with his mouth lingering by her ear, he whispered. "Time for us to have a little adventure, eh, Annabel?" Her eyes widened in horror. What in the name of God was he going to do to her? And how did he know her name? She kept on thinking of all the prayers she learned, to no avail. The fact that he could hear it gave the sick, twisted demon a unique thrill that he could only derive from such practises. He pressed his knee into her back, and as she began to scream once more he quickly shushed her, turning her face to the side so she could look at him. He was grinning like a madman. "No, no, that won't do, little Anna," he purred, and in a mere millisecond he let her go, only to invade her mortal shell with his presence. Possessions were always much more fun with a little foreplay, just like with his other favourite activity. The thought caused her to fight him in her mind, but he quickly subdued her, taking over her consciousness as if she were nothing. After weeks of tormenting her with nightmares, she was far too weak to resist him. He could take hold and never let go, if he so wished. Wiggling her–his–fingers, he looked around through her blue eyes, feeling just a little giddy. Slowly, he made her creep out of the room and down the polished halls, wrinkling his nose a little at the smell of incense. He hated those disgusting things they burned. Finally, he reached the sleeping quarters of the nuns–or, as he liked to call them, god's sweet little harem–and began the first strike. With formidable strength she clawed at and grabbed several throats, slicing them open with her nails or squeezing until the very trachea was crushed. Corpse after corpse, he dropped them, and he even made her bite out a chunk of young virgin flesh from the neck of an innocent little lass, just for kicks. The screams had awakened some of the other residents of the place, and minutes later rushed footsteps were nearing the door. With the massacre of thirteen–the number used to intentionally mock the easily terrified priests–nuns over, he quickly smeared their blood on the walls and caused the crucifixes hanging on the walls to catch on fire and burn until they turned to ash. As he drew the symbol of the King of Hell on the wall, a priest burst into the room before he froze and shook in horror. He shouted, "Mio Dio!", before he turned away to relieve his insides of some of their content. Azazel simply ignored the rancid smell, and once his little artwork was finished, slit the throat of his vessel open with her own nails. Leaving her to bleed to death, he was already gone from the Vatican by the time she hit the floor, cold and deceased. Newspapers were flooded with news of the attack, however it was filled with hypotheses about the nun going mad and killing her own sisters. Nonsense! Detective Armund of the Holy Cross Federation slammed the paper down on his desk and ran his hand through his short, dark brown hair in frustration. His bright blue eyes were seeing red with rage, and in a feverish moment of purely animalistic, human behaviour, he swept his belongings off the surface of his desk. "Bastards!" He shouted, just as a Sergeant Abraham came into his office. His cold, steely eyes scanned the mess, up to the furious detective, his spiked up, bright, platinum blonde hair catching the early morning sunlight filtering in through the windowpanes in the wall behind Armund. It was a quick give away, especially combined with his ghostly pale skin. "Detective Armund?" He asked, his voice octaves lower than the other man's, clearly the effects of whiskey and cigars. Unlike the officers and detectives of the HCF, the sergeants were often jaded and lost souls. They were much like hunters, broken and fighting against total corruption brought on by the world only they knew existed. "Yeah, yeah, come in," said the brown haired male. His hand rested back on the desk, leaving his hair in peace, while his other hand slipped into his pocket, before he took it back out as the blonde, enormous tank of a human put out his own for a handshake. "I was sent here because we'll be working on this case together. Some think it's a one time thing, but we're still investigating the murder. The priest who saw what happened said he felt an extremely powerful presence within the girl, but he couldn't see anything because he had turned away to vomit." Armund made a face. Such weaklings those young priests tended to be. "Is he ready to talk?" "Yes. And our investigative team, including forensics, are already stationed at the Vatican." Armund paused for a moment. How in the Hell could a demon enter the Vatican, of all places, and possess a nun? He must definitely be a strong one, that was for certain. But... Why? And why now? Things had been so peaceful lately... Why did they strike out of the blue? Those questions would have to wait for their answers once the two reached the crime scene. ------------- Upon entering the bedroom of the massacred nuns, Armund instantly covered his nose with his shirt. It stank horribly of sulphur, blood, ashes and decay. Even he could not inhale that and be perfectly comfortable with it. On the other hand, the much larger man beside him seemed to not care at all. Dressed in a black trench coat, a grey shirt that tried not to come apart with all the muscles it had to contain, black trousers, black leather gloves and black leather boots, he really looked the part. It was as if his attitude towards the whole thing was, if I'm gonna do this, might as well take it all the way, eh? In contrast, Armund was attired in typical detective clothing. A suit with an overcoat and a hat. He scanned the area, the symbol on the wall quickly catching his attention. The symbol of Satan, drawn in blood... But there was something different, something... Off, about it. And then, it hit him. In the bottom right corner, right by one end of the circle, was a mark burnt into the wall. It was tiny, so he had to capture it with his phone, and as soon as he did, he zoomed in. He almost dropped the device, had he not clutched it tighter in his fist to avoid such a mishap. It was the symbol all those who were even remotely learned in Demonology knew all too well. The symbol of the one and only... Azazel. Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) "Do you see this?" He held it up to the Sergeant to look at. "... That's impossible." "Well, apparently not, because it happened." "Why in the world would a Knight of Hell possess a nun and kill thirteen others?" "It's just something to do, I guess?" Armund was as clueless as his newly appointed partner. "We need to take this to the base." ❇︎❇︎❇︎ Two weeks later. "Attack!" Shouted Azazel to the many demons assigned under him. It did not take long for them all to charge into the holy walls of the Vatican, however he stood back to observe for some time. Despite all the defences the HCF had put up on the exterior of the enormous gothic structure, Azazel knew exactly how to breach such measures. Once they were all inside, they began to spread like wildfire. However, due to the first attack, there were some traps. Holy water bombs, holy bullet pistols, the priests were prepared. And an alarm had been sounded to the Holy Cross Federation. Sergeant Abraham was secretly delighted about this. He longed for a good fight, more than anything else. However, although the attack appeared fast and aggressive, it would not end so quickly. This was coming in waves, and some only aimed to injure, not to kill. Truly, they were having fun with the little humans. What they had not anticipated, especially as they expanded and began to overtake other parts of Italy, going for churches and other holy places, was the secret defence the HCF had stored for such events. ❇︎❇︎❇︎ Holy Cross Federation Headquarters, Naples, Italy. "I'm glad to see you've come," said the voice of a man, old as trees and dispersed with gut-wrenching bouts of coughing. The intended simply stood there and listened. "Selevine, it's an all out war. The demons have lost it." Selevine, a tall, tall man, of at least seven feet six inches, dressed almost wholly in white–except for a grey coat–with hair the colour of coconut shavings, eyes a bright lime green and perfectly sculpted features sporting a stony expression, stood at the other side of the desk in the office of the head of the HCF, an ancient man who should have been dead years ago but still, somehow, lived on. Perhaps to call Selevine a man was a mistake, for he was no such thing. In fact, he was an angel, one specifically allied with humans who were in total service of God. And he was a warrior. Cold, calculating, merciless, despite his angelic nature. He was built to fight. "I will call upon my brothers and sisters. We will make short work of it." With that, the large office was empty again. The old man hacked into his hand once more, breaking the silence for a second. ❇︎❇︎❇︎ Heaven, realm of the Angels, sector of the warriors. Selevine swiftly entered yet another office, this one completely different from the one he visited on Earth. It was filled with sunlight and made out of white and gold stones. The interior was just as white and gold as the exterior, and in this office was one of his least favourite people, despite the fact that he was loved by many. An ironically named, light-hearted man, the one and only, Angel. "Angel, we have a slight problem," reported Selevine. "What's up?" Asked Angel calmly and casually, his revolting manner of speaking adapted from the weird woman he was romantically involved with. Such ridiculous frivolities so unfit for a warrior of God. Resisting an urge to wrinkle his nose in disgust, he stood upright and cleared his throat. "There is a large-scale demon attack on the Vatican and the rest of Italy. They seem to be attacking any and all holy places. It even began with a possession. And, apparently... Azazel is the one in charge." Angel shot up from his desk, his chair screeching in protest against the pristine, glass ceramic floors. His nails dug into his paperwork. "What?! That bastard!" "I thought you might take this personally..." Selevine trailed off. "Anyway, we need to gather our forces. I will lead, but I need seven other angels under me." Angel took in and released a deep, large breath. Once he was relatively collected, he nodded, and went out to each house, finding every angel fit for such a battle. The last house he stopped by he knocked on twice and waited for the resident to open the door, so he could deliver the news and recruit them for what seemed to be war.