…for there is one God; and there is none other but He – Mark 12:32
The small village was called Pont-Pierre, like the village in France which was rather an odd name for an English village. The oldest residents would tell the few tourists who ventured that far from the comforts of London and other tourist havens in England, how the village's name was changed from its original name - Philipshire, after a French solider, who had washed up on the shores during World War II had helped the villagers withstand and stop several attempts by the Germans to invade England through the village before British troops and battleships arrived to squash the incursions.
The small coastal English village with the French name had fallen asleep that dark August night. The residents, predominantly fishermen, had all turned in oblivious of what the night held in store for the village and how the events of this night would in time to come threaten creation itself. A thick fog had drifted in from the sea making visibility difficult and announcing the approaching storm, and this had made everybody seek the shelter of their homes, though there had never really been a nightlife in the village except on special occasions of which there were very few.
The old church stood in its ruins surrounded by long and thick bushes which almost hid the ancient structure from sight. The oldest locals believed it was built centuries ago for the Knights Templar, but no one could actually trace the history of the church as there were no real records kept about it.
At the far end of what used to be the church yard, also overgrown with bushes was a long abandoned cemetery where many of the villagers could still find names of their forefathers marked on the few tombstones that had survived the neglect and age.
The interior of the church on this particular night was not empty as it usually was on other nights, but was lighted up with red candles stuck to the walls and on the few surviving lamp stands abandoned by looters who had carted away all the valuables in the church years ago.
In what used to be the vestry, a small group of dark-gowned and hooded people gathered and slowly chanted strange words as a fire burned at the centre of a drawing in red paint on the floor. The symbol on the ground looked like a traditional Solomonic magic circle but it had some strange adjustments made on it's sides. The dark-gowned people stood around the magic circle.
A tall man stood at the centre of the magic circle. He was dressed differently from the others. He wore a bright red gown with strange markings all over it. The hood of his gown was pulled back to reveal the face of a handsome blond haired man in his early thirties. His head was raised up as he stared through the roofless church into the dark sky above. He muttered some words of enchantment which were quite different from the Wiccen chants the others were reciting.
In his right hand, he held a long, heavily ornamented staff which seemed to represent the symbol of his authority while in the left, he held a big book which looked worn with age. A long gold chain hung from his neck attached to a very large pendant with rather strange markings on it.
He stopped talking and slowly lowered his head. He opened his eyes and looked around at the people standing before him. His eyes seemed to glow in his excitement of what was about to happen.
Today was a great day for him and the men and women standing before him. For years he had searched the length and breadth of the earth and finally the promise was within his reach. In a few moments, men will become gods and a new order will commence.
“The appointed time is upon us,” he said as the others chanted. “The time when man becomes god and takes his rightful place in the order of creation.”
The others let out a loud cry in unison at his words and continued with their chanting. He beamed with satisfaction.
“With the secret of Eden in our hands,” he continued. “We will have power over creation and over life and death. We will have the power of gods and become the master instead of servants for we will have power to challenge and defeat God and Lucifer and have them serve us instead of us serving them. In my hand is the power that created the universe. The powers that created God himself and with it we shall overcome them all.”
The others shouted again in unison and continued their chanting more vigorously than before.
The tall man slowly turned around to the wall behind him where markings had been made in blood and raised his hands. Lightning criss-crossed the sky, and instantly, rain started to fall. He started chanting some strange words and as he did, the lightning and thunder grew more intense.
The small group around him were still chanting, but had quietly started drawing closer towards him. Four of them drew out identical looking daggers, shaped like snakes with ornaments on the hilts and strange inscriptions on the blades.
The unarmed members of the group suddenly sprang into action grabbing their leader's arms, snatching the book and the staff from him, while the other four advanced on him sinking the blades of their daggers into the man's unprotected body before he could realize what was happening.
The man fought with surprisingly supernatural strength, shaking off those who held his arms and staggered to the wall in pain. He turned to the four others holding the daggers and spat venomously at them.
He looked at the wounds on his torso and at the daggers and recognition crossed his face as he saw the inscriptions on them ‘The Daggers of the Riders', the only weapons effective against a Warlock.
“Why?” he asked. There was a look of surprise and betrayal on his face as he looked at them. "Why?"
“You wouldn't listen, Karl,” one of them said, removing his hood. “You'll never listen. We're already doomed to Hell with our master, Lucifer, and now your path will only make things worse for us. We have to stop you before you condemn us all to a fate worse than Hell itself.”
“Fools!” the man called Karl spat. Blood had started running down from the sides of his mouth. “I offer you a chance to stand above Hell and Heaven and you betray me! You worthless...”
The man who was standing closest to Karl sprang forward again sinking his blade into Karl's stomach, and as if on cue, the other three pounced on their leader and started stabbing him vigorously with their daggers.
Karl fought them off again and started dragging himself away from them. A trail of blood followed him as he dragged his wounded body along the wall. His breathing was now laboured as he struggled to stay on his feet using the wall for support. Blood gushed from the holes in his gown where the daggers had found their marks. His handsome face was twisted into a mask of hatred and fury. He tried to edge away from his attackers, but they fanned around blocking all exits. He was cornered.
“I curse you all, you vermin of the earth!” he screamed. “I curse you all! You think you can stop this? I will return and condemn you to fates far worse than Hell and damnation itself! You will beg for mercy but you'll not find it. I will bring down my wrath on you and everything that bears your names. I curse you all!”
With that, he lunged at them but his assailants caught him in mid-air and threw him hard to the floor. They fell on him holding him down and stabbing away with vigour at any part of his body their daggers could find.
He cried out as he fought to break free, but they held him firmly to the ground and kept on stabbing him until his cries gradually died down to silence, and the only sounds in the large church were heavy breaths as his attackers kept on attacking his body even after he had stopped moving.
The four attackers finally stopped their murderous task and stood up to stare at their handiwork. They were all covered in blood and were breathing heavily partly out of the physical exertion, and partly out of fear as they half-expected Karl to come back to life and rain his wrath on them.
Karl Finch simply lay there on the floor, in a pool of his own blood, showing no signs of honouring their expectations.