She turned back just in time for the staff to strike her,
shaft-first, in the chest. The thump knocked the wind out of her and pain
blossomed through her ribs. Her wards flared hot to repel the attack. After
hitting her chest the staff struck downwards and swept away from her body, it
caught the hammer and flung it across the courtyard where it blasted a wide
crack in a support column and fell to the floor.
Vex grabbed the staff as Jed tried to recover and swung
her elbow into his throat. The impact jarred him backward but he didn’t release
the weapon. She dodged a sloppy swing from the staff and watched the smirking
face of the bronze Christ whip past her face. She could feel it pulling at her,
bleeding the anger pent up in her and using it to fuel its magick.
That just made her more angry. Jed swung high and she
delivered a kidney-punch, followed by a hammer-fist to his ribs, working around
the staff on her way up she landed a right-cross to his jaw that would have
felled an NFC champion. The blow spun his head and he staggered; she took the
advantage of his imbalance and aimed a side snap-kick at his floating rib. The
—but in the same moment the staff slammed into her upper
chest and without a solid foundation and her wards weakened the blow knocked
her from her feet. She crashed into the ground a short distance away.
Brother Jed and the pathophage cackled in deep demoniac
laughter as they recovered themselves. Cracked bones mended, reddened and
bruised flesh healed, and he rose to his full stature with the staff straight
and haughty by his side.
“A valiant fight for such a frail child,” they said
together as Brother Jed paused pettishly, to brush concrete dust and debris
from his dress pants and shirt. “I will savor your fear as I devour you.”
From her prone position, she could see the haft of the
hammer sticking out from beneath a bench mere feet away. Her leg hurt, she
couldn’t tell if she could stand on it or not.
Given a distraction she could get to it—she reached out to
her pool of voices for a spell. Sensing danger, they came to her with spellwork
that could unweave reality, explode flesh from bones with a mere word, collapse
the building around her in a hellstorm of molten concrete and glass, one even eagerly
offered a magick that would shift the entire building into a limbo-world where
she would become nigh unto a god. All nuclear option. No, simpler! She
tried to focus on the conversations as she felt Brother Jed walking towards
her, the staff clicking against the floor as he approached.
Finally, one came to her—not from the voices—but through
her own wits, a cantrip so simple she felt stupid she didn’t think of it
Nathan sprinted in a fury from his hiding place. He stood
behind Brother Jed and held his silver crucifix aloft in front of him in a
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I rebuke you! Satan
get thee behind me!”
“Nathan. No!” Vex’s eyes went wide with terror as
she rolled herself to her feet—her leg held.
A cantrip etched in the air with a single glowing gesture
and the hammer jumped from its fallen position into her hand—the same Jed used
to grab the staff from her earlier.
Brother Jed’s staff snapped out as he turned and caught
Nathan in the chest. Without wards or any combat-experience the blow caught him
flat footed and the impact pinched him in half like a rag doll, tossing him
across the room. He slammed into a support column with a strangled oomf
and crashed onto his face.
“That’s it!” Fury and the urgent need to destroy something
flooded through Vex’s near-exhausted muscles. “Fuck off!”