The Keepers of Los Claustros

Chapter 11: D-Day

The heroes stood at the edge of their town, eager to greet the few dozen demons they expected. As the sun rose, something began to glow on the horizon. At first a singularity, just a mote of shadowy energy, it soon exploded into an enormous portal into Hell. Before the heroes stood an immense legion of devils. The Keepers gave the order for the townsfolk to evacuate. In the moments before the army marched, the Keepers wondered whether they should stand their ground, to fight insurmountable odds, just to afford the people a head start on their retreat. After a brief discssion, it was unanimously decided that the Keepers would stand and fight to the last man.

The army of Hell marched on Los Claustros. The Keepers managed to form a bottleneck. Orianna formed a wall of psychic force, helping to corral the demons toward her allies’ blades. Three-Jack took cover on a rooftop and opened fire with his rifle while his wolf protected his flank. Mhera and Roc bolstered their allies with wave after wave of primal energy. Aurora singled out an enemy commander and quickly managed to cut him down. Next to her, Kove’s flurry of blows carved a massive swath through the horde. Ari stood on the opposite end of town and called the demons to her, pulling them away from her allies. When they arrived, she swung her blade in tandem with pulses of psionic energy, but she was soon surrounded. Atop an adjacent building, Rorith rained down bolts of arcane magic, ricocheting shots from minion to minion. Agnam, however, the mercenary, the minotaur who had no ties to Los Claustros except the honor in his contract, charged headlong into the fray. His sharpened horns gored the body of a rage devil and flung him to the ground. The beast-man roared with the thrill of battle!

But then, from the portal, amid a swarm of devils, emerged Baal, the first vanguard, lesser prince of the demons. He leapt about the battlefield on massive, blackened wings, swinging an axe that crackled with red lightning. With little effort, he cut down the heroes. The demon lord leapt to the rooftop from which Three-Jack and Orianna fired, and he grabbed the warforged by the throat.

“Surrender,” he growled.

Quickly, and guided by the spirit of his mentor, Three-Jack rewired his core into a singularity bomb, capable of tearing a tiny hole through timespace. As he prepared to sacrifice himself, his allies demanded he resist. After all, Baal was only the first of many demon princes, and to trade a life for a life would be hopeless.

Baal and the rest of the horde continued to ravage the Keepers until the heroes were overrun. They fell each into the hopeless sleep of death.

Or so they thought.

The Keepers awoke sometime later amid the ruins of Los Claustros to find it empty, save for Baal’s discarded axe. A voice, in an unearthly timbre, called to them from the shadows.

“Awaken. You are needed.”

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