Prologue

The night's creatures came out to play, crickets singing in the distance as wolves howled at the full moon. Yet he ran. His breaths came out in gasps as his lungs burned for him to rest. But he couldn't; if he did, she would find him and kill him. He was the Protector of something very important. If it got into the wrong hands, the world its self would end…forever.

He crashed through the trees, the branches snapping back into his face almost knocked him over. Thorn bushes and twigs caught on his brown robes as his feet carried him swiftly to some unknown destination. His lungs begged for him to stop, fire racing through his chest, down his thighs and into his legs. Yet he still ran. Behind him he heard something crashing towards him. "Oh, God, please no," he pleaded with Heaven to save him.

Tripping over his own robe, falling head first into the ground, the monk hit his head on an uprooted tree root, stars dancing in front of his face. Pain lanced through his skull causing his vision to blur, however he could still hear her approaching, closer and closer. Closer still, and the monk felt paralyzed as he sat on the ground dumbfounded. Somehow, he got to his feet and managed to run through the gates of an old cemetery, not even bothering to close the gate.

He could still feel the holiness pulsing through the grave markers and burial chambers, the field still pure and protected. She wouldn't be able to step foot on holy ground without being consumed by pain and agony. Demons had no natural protection against the likes of sanctified grounds. Vines and weeds grew in abundance everywhere around the building and the smaller catacombs. He knew he was alone, except for the small creatures that nestled in nearby trees and forest. Leaning against a headstone that was currently in the process of falling over, he rested his head, thinking to himself, after a hundred years, I would crumble as well.

The monk ran his fingers through his very short copper hair, the hood of his robes falling back on his shoulders. Sweat beaded on his brow and under his arms making the robes extremely uncomfortable. He tried to gulp in as much air as he could before his lungs finally stopped burning. His legs slowly stopped tingling as if they were actually on fire. He looked up, straining to hear if she had followed him into the cemetery. He couldn't be certain because some demons had the ability to fly. Closing his eyes he concentrated on his surroundings. Nothing sounded out in the night. Everything around him had gone still; quiet, as if they too sensed evil. None of the wolves were howling blissfully out to pack mates; crickets had gone into hiding, their ballads no longer filling the air. It was eerie, the term "silent as the grave" coursing through his mind.

Then, out of nowhere, she came at him, fangs sharp and gleaming in the light of the full moon. She hissed her warning, daring him to run from her again just before her hands wrapped around his throat. "I will have what's mine!" she shrieked, trying to choke off any air from his lungs.

The monk struggled against her, trying to get in a position to throw this demon off his body. She had pinned him to the ground with her claws tightly around his throat, her nails digging into the flesh. As the blood drawn from his throat trickled from the wounds, he could feel his throat bruising, even as he watched her lower her mouth to his throat. "I will have what's mine, even if I have to find out where it is myself," hot breath feathered on his neck as saliva dripped from her fangs.

Just as she had sunk her teeth into his exposed throat, he was able to get his feet under her stomach that hovered just above him. Shoving as hard as his legs could muster, he sent her flying into the closest tomb. Concrete shattered around her body as she fell to the ground. She lay motionless as more rubble crumpled around her. Groaning in pain, she managed to lift herself into a half sitting position. She screamed at him in frustration, the sound causing smaller headstones to shatter around the monk. His throat burning, he tried to breathe, taking shallow breathes to ease the tension from his throat. He didn't care what happened to him, even if it meant he had to die in the process. Getting to his feet, he swayed a bit when dizziness hit him and ran in the opposite direction.

"God, help me!" he yelled to Heaven hoarsely. The monk ran, trying to breathe only mead his throat burn and bleed more. Tears swam in his eyes and he knew he probably wouldn't live out the night.

By some sort of sign unbeknownst to him, lightning struck a very large tomb. The left wall crumbling to the ground the closer he approached it. It was already too late for him. He made the sign of the cross as he closed his eyes just as the wall crumbled on top of him, trapping him under the heavy marble and concrete. The breath left his lungs, his body flattened to the soft ground. He couldn't move, couldn't breathe, and he didn't even care. His last sight was of her choking him to get the information she needed.

Now, as the Protector, his secret would be preserved until the rightful day a Guardian came searching for him. The night grew longer, a lone wolf crying to the moon for the loss of the priest. More wolves joined in as the she-demon cursed him for sacrificing himself. She had lost him, lost him! She didn't even manage to see where he'd run when a bright flash of lightning had blinded her, hitting somewhere in the distance. Swearing under her breath, the she-demon promised she wouldn't sleep until she found what she was looking for.

Her world would be back to normal and by God she would find it. "I curse you stupid priest, and all those who try to stop me from achieving my goal! I will have my world!" she screamed into the night, the Earth shaking under the onslaught of lightning and thunder.