The Ancient One easily tore through a line of heavily armed and armored soldiers. The steel did little to protect against it’s claws, and in a matter of seconds, ten warrior priests had fallen.

But no one ran.

Instead, weapons were drawn and every single person in the cathedral’s main chamber readied themselves for the Ancient One to come after them.

And it did.

Where. Is. The. Tome?

The creature’s ‘voice’ echoed in Cato’s head as it cut down another group of soldiers. The creatures were difficult enough to look at when they were standing still, but at the moment it was like a blurry blank space in his vision, moving quickly across the large room with orange and yellow-clad priests falling as it reached them.

“No magic!” Maeria yelled to a group of Grand Master Ora’s advisors.

Cato turned his attention to them, but they either weren’t listening or it was too late. Whatever spell they were trying to cast erupted in their hands, sending the priests flying into the far wall, their arms covered in flames.

Where. Is. The. Tome?

Another group of priests was brought down by the Ancient One as it carved it’s way towards them. Cato, Kyros, Kieran, and Maeira all had swords out, standing and waiting with a line of priests at their side and Grand Master Ora still behind them. There wasn’t much they could do but wait. Cato knew these things could be killed, but it had taken a great deal of luck before, and this one seemed far angrier.

“We’re not going to do any good standing here!” Kyros growled before taking off down the steps.

Kieran was just a few steps behind, “He’s right! Come on!”

Maeira and Cato exchanged a brief look and silently came to a terrible agreement: Kieran and Kyros were right.

So, together, Maeira and Cato ran after them, the priests that had been standing next to them falling into step moments later.

In moments, they reached the other soldiers and the Ancient One. Cato ducked under a flying body, which was not a comforting thing to have to do, but did his best to ignore it as he thrust his sword towards the humanoid-shaped void in front of him. It moved, somehow, and Cato heard a cry from behind him as a clawed arm brought down a pair of the priests that had followed.

What had been a steady advance for the Ancient One became a chaotic melee. There were at least fifteen people surrounding it, trying their best to find an opening while not being struck down by the creature. But one by one, they were falling.

For a brief moment, Cato locked eyes with the Ancient One. The void that looked back at him was only outmatched by it’s voice, once again echoing in all of their skulls.

WHERE. IS. THE. TOME?

“Here!”

Everyone stopped.

Or at least, it felt like they did to Cato. For a tiny second, everyone in the room, including the Ancient One, turned towards the entrance to the cathedral where the voice had come from. There stood Anica flanked by pair of priests and with another two dozen behind her. In her hands, was the massive tome, open to somewhere in the center.

The pause ended.

GIVE. IT. TO. ME!

The Ancient One spun and charged back towards the door it had appeared near, cutting down the soldiers that were in it’s way to do so. As it made it’s way towards them, the two priests next to Anica stepped in front of her and put out their arms. A light began to emit from the two of them, spreading out from their torso until their entire bodies were too bright to look at.

“No mag–” Cato wasn’t able to finish the word.

The Ancient One ran into into the two light-filled priests, clearly planning to cut them down as it had done to everything else that had gotten in it’s way. But it didn’t. It hit them, there was a strange sound in Cato’s head that might have been a scream but reminded him more of metal scraping against rock, and then all three were gone.

The room was silent again. Everyone stared, wide-eyed, at the place where the Ancient One last was. Everyone except Anica. She looked down at the spot briefly, let out a sigh, and shook her head.

“You were able to figure out what was in the tome,” Maeira’s voice was low, but the room was so quiet that everyone could hear her clearly.

Anica looked up and nodded. When she spoke, her voice was low and solemn, “It showed us how to fight them.”