Hiding behind the tree, a forgotten villager watched with wide eyes as he saw the humongous beast confronting the tall man and the priest. He had been too afraid of what was going on and clutched his cross to him. There were only a few others standing with the priest and the other man, and with the girl. The villager watched, flabbergasted, as the priest changed form. He didn’t know what to think, and in his fear did the only thing that he could.
He started to pray.
His fingers trembled. The man’s body shook hard enough that little pebbles underneath him crunched together with a grinding sound lost in the noise of the confrontation in the clearing. He squeezed his eyes shut, unwilling to look out and see around him, not wanting to be aware if Death was coming for him.
The villager ignored everything but the feeling of the cross in his hands and the sound of his prayers. He entreated the Most High to protect him, scared out of his mind and clinging to the only thing that he could think to cling to. The man rocked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, the gravel crunching under him.
He never noticed when the cross suddenly lit up. He continued to pray and cry, not caring that it wasn’t a manly thing to do. He felt some of his fear leave him, but there was so much of it that he didn’t stop. The prayers tumbled out of his mouth, some incoherent but for feeling, some worded clearly, but all unceasingly. His voice got stronger, but didn’t stop quivering. The fingers wrapped around the cross kept shaking and remained white knuckled, but the prayers didn’t stop.
The priest continued his transformation, and his cross changed as well to a flaming sword. He had grown in size, but there was still a couple of feet of difference between the beast’s height and his own. The priest started singing again. It was the same thing that he’d been chanting before, but this time the words issuing from his mouth took form. They became powerful and sharp, striking sparks from the gravestones and ricocheting toward the beast.
Ana Marie’s father stood tall, with no cares about being struck down by the priest’s words. Indeed, most of them avoided him, and the ones that transited his body affected him adversely not one whit. Instead, he seemed strengthened by them. After a moment, he started to walk toward the monster. The Stalker stood waiting, having sent out a call for help from those like him.