Juno did not expect to see the light of a candle beside her cot when she woke, nor had she expected to be sleeping on any form of comfortable surface…yet, there she was, surrounded by the comfort of four walls and with two strangers staring directly at her. One was garbed in the black rubber garments and bird mask of a doctor, the other clad in a comfortable gray duster and vested formal clothes beneath.
"Hey there, careful now." The well-dressed man spoke first, raising his gloved hands gently to placate her as she uttered a squeak of fear, huddling backwards in her cot. "You're safe now, sister. You came across my brother and I on the road, and passed out shortly after. We brought you to Rasch, to Doctor Teagan."
"I…I'm sorry. T-Thank you, sir, for your kindness." Nervously swallowing her breath, Juno quietly nodded, looking over herself and realizing she had been bandaged and cleaned. "I'm Sister J-Juno. From Isena Chapel."
"Looks like the doctor was right, he recognized your wear." Reaching into his coat and producing a cigar, the man studied her carefully before introducing himself. "Richard Morris, professional monster hunter and trapper."
"Your injuries were mostly a result of exhaustion and a rather damaging run through the woods, Sister Juno. You are quite healthy otherwise." Teagan spoke up, bowing his head slightly.
"Thank you, Doctor. Mother Superior always said that if we ever needed anything, the doctor of Rasch would provide." She thanked him, bowing her head in return.
"Forgive me for prying, sister, but what were you doing out there? You had a terrified look about you, and you ran to the point of fainting." Richard questioned her politely, taking a puff from his cigar.
Juno's face fell, her eyes shutting tightly as she uttered a prayer.
"…Isena is gone, Mr. Morris." She murmured despondently. "My sisters, the Mother Superior…they are all gone."
"Gone…? What in the world happened?" Richard's eyes widened intently, and he leaned forward.
"A demon, Mr. Morris, a blasphemous monster from the fires of Hell." Juno wept, breaking down on her cot as she broke into a sob. "My sisters…they're all gone. Mother Irene told me to run, to tell the Order that it has been unleashed on the world."
Richard was silent for a time, leaning back in his seat as he apparently mulled over the information, Juno weeping in the meantime as Teagan attempted to comfort her.
"…A demon, all the way out here?" Muttering a curse under his breath, Richard took another puff and stood up. "Doctor Teagan, could you look after the good sister here? I need to speak to my brother."
"Of course, Mr. Morris." Nodding cooperatively, the doctor continued comforting her as Richard stepped out.
Juno watched him leave, shaking her head inconsolably.
"The horrors I saw, doctor…I could not begin to imagine what a real demon was like, despite all the teachings!"
"I've never encountered such denizens of Inferno, but I have heard that many who did feel much the same as you, my dear." Teagan agreed, looking back towards the door. "Thankfully, we have the Morris brothers here to look after us."
"They're just men..what can they do against such devilry?"
"They're quite accomplished hunters of the supernatural, sister. They recently helped our town with a bout of lycanthropy, and they've helped many others who had been abandoned by the Order. I daresay that I would trust them more than any paladin." He offered reassuringly. "Surely they are more than a match for this wretched beast you encountered."
"I do not know, doctor. I shiver to think of what it has done to my home…and my sisters."
The nuns of Isena Chapel had been a filling meal and exceptional entertainment for the beast. Their numbers were fewer than what it would have preferred, but it had taken its time with the convent, letting the nuns flee into the halls of the sealed church and hunting them one by one. Some it merely ate, others were exercised greater tortures upon.
However, as it stood over the last of them, another elf girl, the beast's mind drifted towards the nun who had fled the chapel, at the mother superior's behest. Doubtlessly, she had been dispatched to obtain help from an outside source…it wondered if the Order was still around, even now.
"O-Oh merci-merciful gods…please..please.." The nun begged, sobbing into the cobblestone floors, letting out a scream as it ran a claw along her back, ripping away her black dress and exposing the soft, pale flesh of her back.
Soon, it would have to leave the chapel. As satisfied as the demon was to remain here, feasting on the bodies of its victims and regaining its once formidable strength, the thought of that woman escaping was enraging.
No, it decided, the nun would not escape…though it did not wish to leave its newly taken lair unguarded.
Looking back at its catch, the girl still wriggling across the floor, the demon had an idea…and a grin was written across its terrible jaws.
It would take some time, but the demon was patient.
Reaching down and pushing her into the stone with little effort, it flicked its claws, the splatter of blood and agonized howls echoing across the bloodstained windows…until a fluid ripping motion and the cracking of shattered bone silenced her.
Perhaps the demon would need the offal of her body, but for now…it only required her spine.