Preparation and Vigilance
Kasayda Kiz followed the man Nilas had told her to. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t ask. When Nilas asks her to do something she just does it. She trusted enough to know that whatever the task was it would help him or his cause greatly. The man she was following turned into an apartment building. Kasayda disguised as a female postal worker followed him in. He held the door for her. She followed him down the hall and they got in the elevator together.
“What floor?” the man asked.
“Fourteenth” Kasayda replied.
“Me too,” the man said.
The man still had his ID from work hanging from his shirt pocket. Kasayda eyed it. The man’s name was Ryan Hill as it said below the company logo. “Deskue INC,” she said. “Have you worked there long?”
“Almost ten years,” Ryan said.
“What do you do there?” Kasayda asked.
“This and that,” Ryan said. “You know how it is. Just pushing paper from here to there.”
The elevator dinged and the doors opened. The two stepped out into the hall towards the apartments on the fourteenth floor. Kasayda walked behind the man until he stopped at his door and unlocked it. “You have a good day,” he said over his shoulder as he opened his door and started slipping inside. Kasayda put her boot to his ass and shoved him inside. He sprawled to the floor and instantly Kasayda was on top of him pinning him down with her demoness strength.
“Hold still, you little rat fuck,” she said pulling something from her back pocket.
“Oh God,” Ryan said. “Please don’t kill me! Take what you want!”
“Shut the fuck up!” Kasayda spat suppressing the urge to rip the whining brat’s throat out. Nilas’ instructions were quite clear about the human not being harmed too seriously. She was finally able to free the syringe from its small container in her back pocket and injected it into his jugular. In less than a second he was asleep on the floor. “Goodnight,” Kasayda purred climbing off his torso.
Kasayda worked quickly. She picked Ryan Hill up like a rag doll and placed him in bed as if he were taking a nap. The drugs would ware off after about four hours, and he’d wake up feeling refreshed and have no knowledge of the time before he fell asleep. Kasayda rummaged through drawers until she had an entire outfit of Ryan’s clothes. She then changed into his attire. When she was done she faced herself in the mirror and took the form of Ryan Hill. The next part was the fun part.
On her way out of the apartment she picked up Ryan’s keys and put them in her pocket. She left the room and was confronted by one of Ryan’s elderly neighbors. “I heard a commotion,” the old lady said. “Is everything alright, Ryan?”
“Go fuck yourself,” Ryan said with a smile.
What a pity, the old lady thought. He had alway seemed liked such a nice boy.
“Let’s try again,” Archer Post said. He had Killian using his powers to keep a small portal open so they could summon lesser demons. Post thought it would be a terrible tragedy if one of the demons got loose in the DPA headquarters, so he opted to take them to an unused warehouse that was on Judge’s books for The Post’s use if it was ever needed. Opening the portal had weakened Killian immensely so they opted to keep it open rather than closing and reopening it. Post didn’t seem to mind that Killian was feeling ill from the whole experience.
“I’m ready,” Jonah said holding his sword in front of him.
“This time I want you to try the shield again,” Post said lowering himself towards the portal. He put his hand near it and muttered a few words and it once again shone in a bright red light.
A small demon emerged from red portal on the ground. Insect-like wings sprouted from its hairy back and it took to the air. Jonah could see two legs and four arms with two fingers each on its underside. “Be my shield,” she whispered to the sword. He felt out with his chakra for the invisible force that would come from the sword, but none came.
The fly-demon swooped down and Jonah ducked. He swung the sword above him, but missed the fly-demon entirely. It flew upwards before opening a massive jaw showing two layers of what must be hundreds of ragged teeth. A horrible screech filled the room as the fly-demon sped towards Jonah for the kill.
“Do not swing or stab at it!” Post shouted. “Block its attack with the shield.”
Jonah pushed the panic from his body. Instead he took a deep breath and focused his will. “Be my shield,” he said with more confidence in his voice. He felt the force in his left forearm and knew he had done it right. He raised his left arm in front of him and saw the round silver shield attached to his arm. The fly-demon hit it hard and bounced off to the floor. Jonah used his sword and stabbed the creature in the abdomen. The fly-demon screeched one last time before burning in white fire and turning to ash.
“Well done,” Post said approaching Jonah. The shield had once again disappeared into a mist of white light that poured back into the sword. “The shield you produced was solid and strong. It took me much longer to produce such a fine shield. How are you feeling?”
“Are you kidding?” Jonah said. “I can do this all day.”
“Don’t get cocky,” Post said with a smile. “Preparation and vigilance! Those are the lessons I wish to install in you. The very same your father and his father before had installed in them by The Post’s teachings.”
“I lived and breathed the teachings of The Post my whole life,” Jonah said.
“It’s one thing to say you are prepared and vigilant,” Post said. “But it is another thing entirely to actually be prepared and vigilant. I believe you and your various organizations believe you are vigilant, but are you really prepared for what’s to come?”
“War with the demons?” Jonah asked.
“Not only war,” Post said. “Deception. The demons have been at this a long time. They can put ally against ally if the end result pleases them. They’ll think nothing about poisoning an entire city to get to one man. Anyone you know or love can either be a target or be used against you. They will use any ruse they can to get close to you. Now tell me, Jonah, are you really prepared or vigilant?”
Jonah saw Killian resting out of the corner of his eye and got Post’s meaning instantly. Jonah tried to throw the block into his mind like Killian showed him, but he was learning to use the sword at the same time and switching from one power to the other still strained him.
“I know his meaning even if you block me from the thought, Jonah,” Killian said getting up. “Post does not trust me, and I do not blame him.”
“I do not apologize, demon,” Post said. “It is a clever ruse to come to Jonah as you did. It is even more clever to use the guise of training him to take on a common enemy to get to him. I relented because it is Jonah’s life and he is of his own freewill, but the second you turn on any one of us I will remove your head from your body.”
“You wouldn’t have to,” Killian said. “I think Jonah wold be more than capable to do the job himself.”
Jonah was once again floored by Killian’s honesty, but still worried that he had other motives. Even without Post’s constant and blatant warnings Jonah still felt a little on edge about having the demon help with his training and have him inside his head. Still, Jonah trusted him. Maybe it was the way Killian had first come to him injured in the night desperate for help. Jonah had always been excellent and reading people, and he saw something in Killian that Post (and possibly Killian himself) was missing.
“I think we should leave it here for the day,” Post said. “Once we get back to headquarters it’s probably a good idea for more mental training, Jonah. If we know about Deskue it’s only a matter of time before he knows about us.”
“I shall close the portal,” Killian said.
Jonah sheathed his sword. “Sounds good,” he said. “We should also try to find out about…”
Jonah was cut off by a rumbling coming from the ground. The portal Killian had opened shone bright red. He had only made it halfway across the room towards it when a nine foot tall armored demon appeared. There was a loud crackling noise as the portal shattered and red light poured all around them. The demon looked around and grunted from his snout-like face. Two large fangs protruded from his upper lip. What appeared to be a smile formed on the ugly snouted face under the black metallic mask.
“Stun him Killian!” Post shouted as he scrambled to pick up a wooden beam from the ground to the side of him. The demon was fast and Killian was the closest prey. With a strong backhand Killian was flung across the warehouse and hit the wall with a thud and a dust cloud.
“Killian!” Jonah shouted.
The demon turned on Jonah next who drew his sword once again. The demon snorted and pulled his own from his back. Jonah swung for the demon’s midsection, but was blocked by the blunt shard of metal the demon used as a sword. Jonah noted it wasn’t a proper sword, but it would it still kill him with that strength behind it. The demon pushed back with his sword and Jonah had sprawled to the ground.
The demon was almost on Jonah when Post broke the wooden beam he held against the back of the demon’s neck. The demon staggered a step before turning around and arcing his sword downward at Post. He rolled out of the way and the sword cracked the cement floor. Post was met with a quick backhand that knocked him back and to the ground.
The demon turned back to Jonah who had gotten back up.
“You will not win here, demon,” Jonah said in a booming voice. “I am Jonah Judge of The Post. Wielder of the Sword of White Fire. Throw down your weapon and accept your death!”
The demon laughed and approached Jonah again. This time Jonah was ready. When the demon came down with his thick metal sword Jonah put his left arm in front of himself. “Be my sheild!” he called as the shield formed from the white fire from the blade. There was a flash of white and a sharp pain in Jonah’s forearm as the demon’s sword struck hard and he was pushed back two steps.
Jonah gathered his will will and rushed the demon with his sword out. He thrusted his sword forward and it found its mark in the demon’s stomach. The demon shrieked in pain and anger as his wound burned with white fire and smoke and ash spilled forth. The demon dropped to his knees as his weapon hit the ground. The wound grew and spread across his his chest and down to his legs. Soon the demon could not hold himself up any longer and fell apart when his legs and thighs turned to gray ash. Soon all that was left was smoldering mess.
“Well done,” Post said from behind Jonah. Jonah turned around to see Post holding himself up by a table with his face covered in blood from the blow he took.
“You’re hurt!” Jonah said sheathing his sword once again.
“It’s nothing,” Post said. “You never knew what you’ll get training with live demons. I only hoped nothing too big came through the portal. The man who trained me was killed by a demon when it slit his stomach open with its tail. His protege had to complete my training. This is just a small wound.”
“It still needs to be cleaned and dressed,” Jonah said. “You might have a concussion, too. Where’s Killian?”
The two men ran across the room to where they saw Killian hit the wall. They found him on the ground sprawled out on top of his arms. His left arm seemed to be broken.
Jonah leaned next to Killian and put his fingers to his neck. “He’s unconscious but stil alive,” he said. “Get me something I can use as a splint so I can set his arm until we get back to the DPA.”
Post looked around and picked up a chair. He brought it down hard onto the ground and gave one the legs to Jonah. “This should do for now,” Post said. “Once he wakes up he could use his demon powers the heal himself. He won’t need any medical attention.”
“We’ll bring him back all the same,” Jonah said.
“The swords power will heel your arm as well,” Post said. “The power is amazingly similar.”
Jonah winced. He was ignoring the pain in his arm he received when the hog-demon had pounded his shield with that blunt chunk of metal. “It’s alright,” he said.
“Am I wasting my breath telling you again that it’s a a bad idea helping Killian?” Post asked.
“No,” Jonah said. “I understand your concern, and I think Killian does too. If he’s telling the truth we’re going to need him on our side, and he needs us as well. I don’t know why, but I feel as if he cares more about humans than he lets on.”
“Always trust your instincts,” Post said. “You had a gut feeling about this demon, and I can respect that. I will say no more on the subject.”
Post turned and walked out while Jonah set Killian’s arm. It was the first time he willfully left the two alone. Post didn’t say it, but Jonah guessed his instincts may have been telling him the same thing about Killian that Jonah already felt despite his reservations. Once the temporary splint was complete Jonah propped Killian up under over his shoulder and dragged the unconscious demon to the utility van that brought them to the warehouse.
Post paced the halls of the DPA. Jonah had left soon after getting the van dropped them at the back door. He said he was going home to train on his own, but Post thought not. Jonah had seen a lot today and was probably very sore. It was more than Post had intended, but it helped Jonah to understand just what preparation and vigilance truly meant.
“Are you lost, Archer?” a voice said behind him. He turned around to see Willow Bowman standing there.
“Ever since I awoke,” Post said smiling. He noticed Willow’s eyes move to the large bandage on his forehead. “Things were much more grim in my time, but I was at home then.”
“If what you say is true things will be getting more grim here,” Willow said. “They’re already getting stranger. Sometimes I wish I became a dentist.”
“This work suits you better,” Post said walking with Willow. “Tell me, Miss Bowman, what do you like most about your job?”
“I get to meet the most interesting people,” she said. “Within a few weeks I unfreeze a frozen warrior, my science team builds a cyborg, a psychic demon moves in, and my oldest friend becomes the one that will save the world.”
Post laughed. “You’ve done a fine job with yourself. You will be a big asset in times to come. Those who would defend the realm of good will gather around the sword. This was told to me when I inherited the sword as a boy, and it was true. I had the privilege of fighting besides the greatest of men and women to defend out planet, and we won.”
“But what does it mean that they’ve begun gathering so quickly?” Willow asked. When she was greeted by silence she knew that Post either didn’t know the answer or didn’t want to say. “Come on, Archer,” she said breaking the silence. “I’m starving and you must be too after the beating you took today. How about a steak? I’m buying.”
“I’d like that,” Archer Post said smiling.
Jonah sat down hard in his study chair. It had been a long day. After getting Post and Killian to the DPA for treatment he practiced solo for a while, but gave up quickly. His arm was still hurting and his mind was on other things. The teachings of his youth were instilled in his mind. He felt whole when he held he sword in his hands, and using it to kill felt right.
Jonah looked at his desk. It had been days since he was able to sit down in his study and read or even to browse the papers to see how his stocks were doing. He saw the album he had open on his desk that was turned to the page of his father and uncle Bruce.
“Preparation and Vigilance,” Jonah said to the empty room. It was a phrase he heard his entire life, but until he was attacked by the nine foot tall hog-demon he had no idea what it meant. He had thought keeping the DPA and the Wolves funded in case of total anarchy was what it meant, but now he knew better.
His father and uncle never had to fight. Demons weren’t finding their way out of Hell and into the streets of New Millennium during their time. Their purpose was to train the next generation. The generation that would have to hold the torch and lead The Post to victory against demons and monsters and evil men. Post had told Jonah the sword was his birthright. He wondered if his father knew the sword would one day be given to his line. Post said the sword chose him, but was that really true?
Jonah looked over at the sword. “Can you hear me?” he asked. Post spoke of the sword as if it were a living entity, and Jonah had felt its hunger and blood lust quite a few times since it came into his possession. If any of the stories could be believed (and Jonah seemed to be believing more and more these days) the sword possessed the soul of an Archangel.
“What’s your name?” Jonah asked the sword. He was greeted by silence. He reached out with his senses, but still had no answer back from the sword. He sighed and sat back in the chair. He flipped through the pages of the photo album one last time looking at pictures of smiling faces of his relatives and their friends. When he got to the end he noticed something he never noticed before. There was something protruding behind a photo of him and his father. He pulled the photo out of the older and took a piece of paper out from behind it with a trembling hand. For Jonah was written across the front of the paper in his father’s handwriting. Jonah carefully opened the letter that had stayed in secret for so long.
If you are reading this then I am dead. Your uncle Bruce too more than likely. In our dealings with The Post we’ve made enemies of some very bad people, and it’s only a matter of time before one of them finds out who we are.
It’s time I told the truth of what The Post is and what it means for your future.
War is coming. It’s that simple, my son. I was prepared for it to happen in my time, but it seems now I will not make it to see the first battles. I must lay this burden on you and your cousin Rock and any that would fight beside you. As a child your mother and I told you stories of great warriors who fought monsters and kept the night safe. These stories were true tales of the Apocalypse that happened centuries ago. Now it seems the next set of tales will be your own.
The Post is named after it’s founder Archer Post who. We are his descendants. If the tales of the elders are true then he had set aside your birthright for when it would be needed. The sword the demons fear known as the Sword of White Fire. This is the tool you’ll need if you are to lead our people to victory against the demons of Hell.
I know this is a great burden, but it is our family’s burden to bear. I wish I could’ve been around when you are old enough to be told this in person, but I fear I will not be. With my death our family and The Post will be safe enough for you to receive your inheritance when you are ready.
Always remember the teachings of The Post: Preparation and vigilance.