Anne picked herself up off the ground as echoes of psychic pain throbbed through her mind. Anne didn’t know what or who had just ordered her death, but it had more psychic juice than anything she’d encountered since the Avalonians popped into her life. Her hand tightened on the grip of her carbine. She looked up as the group of forty teenagers walked robotically towards her group. Their eyes were completely – disturbingly – black.
Anne reached out to the streams of wild magic. She could feel their presence, but her mind couldn’t focus enough to touch them. There was some – distortion? – in her mind that prevented her from touching the streams. With a great deal of effort, she pushed through the distortion and ran headlong into her mental block.
PUT YOUR WEAPONS DOWN. echoed in Anne’s mind. This voice was different. It wasn’t painful like the earlier one, but it struck something primal in her mind. The voice was alien and human all at the same time. Fear spiked through Anne. Every teenager in front of her smiled identically.
DO NOT FIGHT. DO NOT RUN. the voice said in her mind. Her analytical mind told her that there was something wrong with the voice. Anne’s eyes went wide as she realized it wasn’t one voice. It was many voices forced into one. Fear turned to rage. The teenagers stopped and all cocked their heads quizzically. She raised her carbine. She should have listened to Erik. Well, she could rectify that error. Anne lined the holographic dot on the boy that stood at the center of the line. He looked at her with a confused expression. He was still wearing it when Anne put the bullet through his right eye.
Erik rose to a shaky crouch. He was still dealing with the double hammers of Outsider summoning magic and whatever psychic blast the cultists had managed. The psychic energy must have been focused on the other group, but just getting glanced with it was enough to make it impossible for Erik to use his own telekinesis. Even his empathic senses were screwed up.
“You didn’t happen to bring a Javelin tonight?” Joseph asked Kurt, looking as the two abominations lumbered towards them. One was a headless, eight foot tall muscle-bound humanoid, except its pectoral muscles were plate-sized eyes. It roared from a mouth that opened where the abs should have been. The other monster was only seven feet tall, and had its arms coming out of its waist and tentacles coming off of its shoulders. Where the face should have been was only smooth, pale white skin.
“Nein,” Kurt answered, crisply. Kurt must be truly disturbed to slip back into his native tongue. Kurt brought his shotgun up and fired at the headless monster. It bellowed as the slug slammed between it’s huge eyes. Viscous silver fluid oozed out of the hole. The monster barely missed a step as it bore down on the three men.
Joseph crab-stepped a few paces to the side and opened fire on the cultists behind the abominations. One screamed as Joseph’s burst tore through his torso.
“I assume there was a reason for that,” Erik said. He took a breath and pushed back down the pain before squeezing the trigger on his ACE. Brilliant orange fluid splurted from half-a-dozen holes in the shorter monster’s head.
“I was hoping that killing the robes sent those things back,” Joseph answered. He took down a second cultist. “I don’t know what’s more terrifying. The roar from the big one or the ultimate silence from the small one.”
“Schweigen,” Kurt answered, emptying his shotgun at the headless monster. Slugs and buckshot laced the monster’s torso. Dozens of holes, including several in the large eyes, leaked the silver fluid, but the monster kept coming. Erik turned his ACE on the large monster.
“Concentrate on the big one and try to take it down!” Erik ordered. He stitched the creature with the remainder of his magazine. As Kurt and Erik reloaded, Joseph fired a long burst into the monster. It’s roar sent shivers of fear down Erik’s spine. There was something fundamentally wrong with the sound emanating from that abomination.
Erik yanked the charging handle on his ACE and put three long bursts into the monster. He squeezed the trigger again, but the magazine was empty. Erik let the ACE drop on its sling and he drew the custom revolver from its shoulder holster. The first shot rocked Erik back. He was too used to using his telekinetic powers helping to dampen the recoil of the mammoth revolver. He braced and emptied the cylinder into the monster as both Kurt and Joseph emptied their own weapons into the monster. With a roar, the monster went down to one knee.
The second monster appeared out of thin air behind Joseph. Erik tried to shout, but the monster moved with blinding speed. One tentacle ripped the M4 out of Joseph’s hands while the second tentacle slammed Joseph across the back. Joseph fell to the ground. Erik and Kurt watched with horror as the monster leapt into the air and landed on Joseph’s back with a sickening crack.
The two groups stared at each other for a second as the smoke wafted from the barrel of Anne’s carbine. The roar of the abomination from across the grassy field galvanized both sides. The black-eyes – Anne couldn’t think of them as teenagers anymore if she wanted to survive – stared at the group and Anne felt terror rise under their psychic lashing.
Jason and Samantha writhed on the ground, both unable to overcome the black-eyes assault. Veronica, on the other hand, smiled and held out her hand. A ball of blue flame danced above her hand. With a whispered word, the ball streaked to one of the black-eyes. The girl didn’t even have time to scream. She just vanished. Veronica collapsed to one knee. Anne fired two bursts from her carbine and knelt next to Veronica.
“That took a lot more out of me than it should have,” Veronica said. The black-eyes stopped and fell into what looked like a fighting stance. The next thing Anne knew, she was on the cool grass as waves of vertigo and nausea swept through her. She looked over at Veronica. The sorceress was on the ground as well with her eyes closed. She was swearing in what sounded like Hindi.
“Oh that was a nasty one, wasn’t it?” a familiar voice said from above. Anne looked up and saw Arem’s smiling visage standing over her.
“I told Erik he was going to need my help tonight,” Arem said. Anne rolled over and saw a gate between them and the black-eyes. Ten orcs wearing heavy metal plates and gripping long spears walked out of the gate. Half of them turned to face the black-eyes as the rest surrounded Arem.
“As the humans say, let’s finish this,” Arem said, and all ten orcs screamed.