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“Váde sátana, invéntor et magíster ómnis falláciae, hóstis humánae salútis.”

The phrase echoed loudly in the monastery, filling the large space and bouncing forebodingly off the walls. There was a certain emphasis that the Priest put into them, as if mere resolve would give the words the power they needed to dispel the demons. But the Shadow still grew, slinking its way into the church until it manifested into a ghastly form.

Still, he gripped the Crucifix all the tighter, repeating the latin prayer over and over again. He was a faithful man and fully trusted that God would deliver him against the evils that presented themselves. The Devil may be growing stronger, but he would be there to fend it off until it was his time to pass on. His foundation remained sturdy, and his beliefs unshaken.

The sight before him was frightful, to say the least.

Weeks ago, he’d spoken to clergyman from other churches, discussing the growing Shadows that threatened them. They spewed similar stories, fear in their gaze, their resolve not as strong as his own. They offered no help, resigning themselves to their fate, blaming it on the lack of faith of the congregation while letting their own wither away. This Priest, however, would remain, steadfast.

Even the Vatican offered no assistance in the matter, going so far as to completely ignore his letter. No matter; he would find another way. The Vatican may be corrupt, but his trust in God was not. It might simply require an unorthodox approach.

He was expecting the visitor any day now, a priest from a different religion. A self-proclaimed exorcist of some sort, or so he claimed. One could only hope that his description of himself was accurate.

As it were, the church was in bad shape. The powers of the Grim were waning, and no longer was it able to keep the evil at bay simply by its existence. And the Devil was fully aware. So the attacks grew more and more frequent, and his exhaustion was etched into the lines of his face. He wasn’t a young man, by any means, nor was he old; encroaching upon forty, yet he had the hollow, sunken eyes of a man with many more years under his belt. And he fought with a fervor.

Then, as if to show him just how frail he was, he was cast backward into the altar, the breath effectively knocked from his lungs. Gasping, he watched as the hellish creature hovered over him, a demonic grin spreading over its features. A guttural noise grated at the Priests eardrums, and he closed his eyes, prayers flitting through his mind, one after the other.

Suddenly, there was a much louder, more familiar growl and his eyes flew open just as the Grim collided with the demonic creature. There was a scuffle in which the dog came out largely on top, teeth flashing and gnashing this way and that before the demon retreated back to the Hellscape.

A relieved smile stretched across the man's lips, telling of the peace that flowed through him. While his faith was sturdy, he was often unsure if he was deserving of the Lord’s protection. It seemed like he would be spared that inquiry one more time. He offered a bow to his saving grace, always unsure of how to interact with the beast. Often, he talked to it, and it seemed to listen. But could it understand him? Perhaps its years of servitude had made it privy to the language. Or maybe just the fact that it was ethereal…

His thoughts were interrupted by a figure standing in the open door frame to the monastery. Unless he was mistaken, this was the priest he was waiting on that would hopefully help deliver the church from these evils. Just in time, it would seem, as he cast his gaze around the messied place.

The Grim took its place by the altar, sitting back on its haunches and surveying the room, a sentry lying in wait. Always amazed by its calm demeanor, even after such unsettling events, the Priest breathed a sigh before addressing the guest. “Welcome, Mister...Saito, correct? I’m Father Davies. I’m sorry, you seem to have come in a rather...trying time.”
January 08, 2018 06:53 pm

Saito Eiji

The air around this place had a certain vibration to it, something that wasn't receptive to guests of any kind. It was a feeling of foreboding that exceeded what Eiji had come to expect from Catholic holy ground. He had never had much of a taste for dealing with Christians in general, and they seemed to reciprocate the feelings tenfold. It was implicit that most faiths had a clause somewhere within their various scriptures and recordings that existence was broad enough to accommodate all deities, or at the very least all faces of a singular god. Christians generally rejected that outlook, with Catholics being the most fervent guardians of their piety.

Eiji went where he was bid, regardless. The profane needed to be beaten back, no matter where it chose to infest.

The graves were kept better than most cemeteries he'd visited, a sign that his caller was an especially dedicated soul. Eiji couldn't help but wonder what sort of foul being could drive such an obviously pious man to reach past his own god for assistance... Something throbbed in his chest in tandem with his pulse, tightening with each undulation of his heart. A chill wind moved through the field, splitting around him like a rushing tide that grew stronger with every step closer to the church.

This was a temple under siege, that much was evident to him. Heavy, languished sounds emanated from the seams of the doorframe ahead of him, symptomatic of a struggle thoroughly commenced. He pressed an ear to the door and focused; first, the broken recitation of scripture followed by a hollow thud, and then a physical struggle, his cue. The exorcist shifted his weight and flung the door open.

The demon was making a tactical retreat, bursting into an ink-like vapor as it passed around him; his clothes would smell like sulfur for a week, as much as that mattered. He crossed the threshold into the church, and bowed his head in respect to his host.

"Eiji is fine, Father. Cute dog."
January 08, 2018 09:27 pm


“Eiji, the-”

His sentence was halted as he looked around the room. He was fully aware as to what dog the newcomer was talking about, but there was a small part of him that hoped another had snuck into the modest cathedral. No such luck. His eyes stopped on the Grim, whose only response was a slight twitch to the ear.

“Cute is not usually the response I get…” Really, he got no responses, as he never acknowledged the dog’s existence to anyone. That would be unnecessary, seeing as most couldn’t see it. And if they could…

He made himself busy by straightening up the vicinity, picking up the candelabras and the large Bible that sat on the altar. The Grim didn’t move from its spot, choosing to watch Eiji with what could only be described as a curious gaze. There was something so offputting about the creature’s eyes; the only way he could describe them was extremely human.

Another sigh escaped him, telling of his inner turmoil. If he told the man of his impending doom, there was a chance he wouldn’t help him with the church’s problem, as that could be the very cause of his upcoming death. But even as he considered that option, he knew it was never the choice he would go with. Father Davies was an honest man, and not one to put his own needs over others. This was something Eiji should be aware of, if only because it was fair.

I shouldn’t interfere in something so natural as death. I didn’t help any of the others, and this may not be welcome news…

Still, this was a different case…

Running a hand over his tired face, he disappeared into the backroom, only to return with two glasses of doubly strong whiskey. Pushing one into the man’s hand, he took a gulp of his own. Everyone has their vices, and after the evening he’d had, he’d need something to help him sleep. “Eiji,” he began, his tone obviously uncertain, “how much do you know of church grims?”
January 10, 2018 09:57 am

Saito Eiji

Eiji bore a particular talent that made him naturally attuned to his line of work, an extra sense that often manifested itself as static at the base of his skull, or a swimming in his gut whenever the preternatural was nearby. This place had this sense piqued, but he had chalked that up to the extensive infestation that he'd been called in to combat... Though, Davies' unease as he went to fetch the potent spirits that he would so gratefully imbibe naturally made him suspicious. He returned the dog's stare for a few long moments.

"I can't say that I know much of them, but I'm assuming your companion there is one." He gestured towards the black dog with his drink-hand before swilling another mouthful of the whiskey. While the English iteration of his favorite beverage wasn't his first choice, Eiji thought that he'd have to compliment the priest's taste once all was said and done.

Eiji studied Father Davies carefully, before gesturing to a nearby pew. Judging by the poor fellow's expression, he was about to tell him something more troubling than he'd originally bargained for. This wasn't his first tangle with this sort of thing, however. He slouched into the seat and tried his very best to hide his discomfort; something about Christians compelled them to make their worship the most uncomfortable experience possible, an enigma he had always thought was best summed up in the long, unpadded monstrosity so unassumingly named "pew." He was certain the reason was something along the lines of obliging the attention of the attendees at the expense of their rear-ends, but the concept was still lost on him.

"Let me take a shot in the dark. That's a Church Grim, and its presence is drawing in demons as some form of penance for a wrongdoing here, or..." His voice trailed off. If that were the case, he wouldn't have heard it snarling in opposition to the assaulting vermin from earlier... "...I'll just let you fill me in."
January 10, 2018 09:18 pm


Father Davies nodded in affirmation, his mouth swishing another gulp of the hot liquid. So Eiji understood that the dog was a church grim; hopefully he also knew what that entailed. He hated breaking bad news to anyone, especially one so willing to help in a time of need. It always seemed to the most undeserving, but then God had a plan for everything, didn’t he?

He followed the man’s lead and took a seat on the pew as well. They were woefully uncomfortable, that much was certain, but it wasn’t without a purpose. One should always have the best posture when in the presence of their Lord, and they prevented slouching and the ability to fall asleep. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t privy to how often people could fall asleep during a sermon; his voice was very lilting, if he did say so himself.

Eiji’s explanation of the Grim caused his brow to furrow, and he considered the assumption deeply. A wrong-doing...but why were they seemingly wanting to exact their revenge only then? As far as he knew, he had done the best he could by everyone while the church was his for the past ten years. He’d kept the graves straight and neat, done his godly duty, helped anyone that asked it of him. But perhaps there was much more deep-seated problem that he was unaware of.

They could readdress that later.

“Well, possibly. Church grims serve as protectors of their churchyard. Usually, their existence in the yard alone is enough to ward off evil, be it demonic or natural, such as thieves and the like. However…” Before continuing, he took another large swig, not knowing what to expect with the coming information. “They aren’t visible to the naked eye. The only ones that can see them without any effect are the heads of the particular church, like myself. Should anyone else see them… it means they are encroaching upon death.”

It was only once he’d finished his tale that he noticed the Grim right in front of them. He started, not used to the beast approaching so suddenly, but it seemed rather interested in the man before them. Almost as if it understood what they were saying…

It tapped its front feet on the ground in front of it, one after the other, in some strange sort of dance. It then turned from them and ran towards the altar, using its paws to scrape at the base before looking at them expectantly. Father Davies canted his head to the side, curious, as it had never behaved this way before.

“It’s said that the first person buried in the churchyard would be its protector, so, instead of subjecting their family members to it, they’d bury an do the job.” It was obvious the ritual seemed distasteful to him, but he couldn’t imagine that it was suddenly, after all these years - centuries even - causing such a problem. “They’d usually bury it under the altar…It seems to know that it’s there.”

He eyed the man before him, finishing off the rest of the drink as he thought. “Are you okay?” It was such a loaded question; he might not even believe in the superstition, though the Priest could vouch for it. It hadn’t been proven wrong once in all the time he’d been witness to it. But what could be said between strangers when the topic of death was on the table?
January 10, 2018 09:47 pm

Saito Eiji

The scruffy exorcist nodded and turned his glass up, draining what remained without complaint. Death wasn't something that daunted him, he'd become well acquainted with the force throughout his life. Oftentimes he was the one introducing it to someone, so it was only fitting that it had started to encroach on him. His mortal thread had been played like a harpstring many times before, and in the knowing eyes of the canine that demanded their attention, he could see reflected the pleading glares of those whose threads he had clipped.

Eiji let out an elongated sigh, before giving the warmest smile he could muster to the priest. "I'm fine. We've got more pressing matters than that, right now." He glanced at his watch, and then towards the nearest window. It was important to take a measure of the dwindling sunlight pouring over the horizon, and it was most certainly dwindling. It was only out of courtesy that he had decided to show up so deep into the evening, as the average church visitor might turn their face up at an obvious heathen invading their place of worship. The things that went bump in the night and provoked the nightmares of folk across the known world were none too fond of the Sun, if only for the reason that they were more intimidating without its presence.

"So, when did this all start here? You mentioned the severity of the infestation when I spoke to you over the phone, but if it's been steadily growing since before you took over, then..." He questioned intently at first, staring at the Grim as it scratched at the altar. "...I might be inclined to suggest that there might be more to your Church Grim than usual. Do they always seem so restless?"

He glanced towards the window once more, taking note of their remaining time. A half-hour at best, he'd wager, before it was dim enough for the being the priest had driven off before to begin plotting its next assault.

He couldn't help but wonder if he'd make it through the night.
January 10, 2018 10:44 pm


The Priest opened his mouth to protest; it wasn’t often that he deemed his own matters more important than someone else’s. It wasn’t ingrained in him to not offer any kind of help or solace to those in need. In this instance, however, he had to recognize and accept that the man before him wasn’t in need of his priestly duties, and their roles were unjustly reversed. Eiji had agreed to help him, in spite of his impending doom, and for that, Father Davies would be eternally grateful.

Letting out a low sigh and pushing the qualms from his mind, he opted to focus on the task at hand. He thought back to when he’d first inherited the monastery, and how the dying Head Priest had sat him down and told him of the more...supernatural forces at work. “There is a beast, large, black, and ghastly. You initial reaction will be one of fear, especially when you witness it’s immense power. But you should know, it is your greatest ally in the defense of this holy ground…”

Father Davies recalled how he’d stared in disbelief, sure that the man had finally lost his feeble mind. His grandmother, known for her otherworldly tales, hadn’t even spun a yarn quite that long before. Yet, he brushed it off, blaming it on just that: a feeble mind.

It wasn’t until the night of the man’s death, when the church was truly, undeniably his, that the Grim had appeared to him. And with it, the beings of the underworld started to show themselves as well. That is, more prominently. While priests of the Catholic faith were always privy to the existence of demonic spirits, he’d never experienced them in such capacity as when he took over the title of Head Priest. Perhaps they’d always been there; perhaps he, too, was losing his mind. Whatever the case may be, they never stopped appearing, and he never quite got used to it.

Taking another swift pull of the amber liquid, he let it burn the entire way down his esophagus before responding. In the meantime, his eyes found the beast once more, still watching the newcomer expectantly, rigid as ever. Do they always seem so restless? No, he wanted to say, something about you has stirred something in it…

“I never knew what to expect.” His voice came out, barely above a whisper, and it was clear he had been at the edge of his rope for some time now. “They don’t prepare you for this, you know?” A feeble laugh escaped him, and he cast the man a sideways glance, almost apologetically. “The creature has always merely...done it’s duty. It never acted strangely, persay. I always thought it was simply the forces of Hell getting stronger, due to a lack of faith. But you’re starting to make me wonder if it’s more than that…” There was an obvious, unspoken question in his voice: was this, somehow, his fault? Had he failed in his priestly duties? Had he brought the Hellscape down on his church?

Shaking himself, he exhaled slowly, as if the doubt would escape with his breath. “I’m willing to do anything to fix this. I just don’t know what it is that needs fixing. Which is why I need your help.”
January 29, 2018 11:19 pm

Saito Eiji

Eiji thought for a long few moments, mulling over Father Davies' words carefully as he listened to the hollow sound of the Grim's claws clacking against the altar's feet. Something about this priest made him absolutely certain that, despite his lack of certainty in himself, he was a decent man. It was the way he spoke, how he expressed a genuine desire to protect his place of worship despite the lilt of fear that made his hands tremble... He couldn't help but be reminded of his own father, if he were a bit softer around the edges.

"I think I might have an idea," he lurches forward from the pew, and gestures towards the podium and the black dog. "This is because of your companion here, that much is certain, but it's also because of you." Eiji glanced over at the priest before continuing, sitting a little more tensely than before.

"I did some research after you called me." He lied, partially. Ota ran the background logistics, after all. A sharp breath would slip through his lips, "Your predecessor cast a pretty long shadow on this place... Fourteen accusations of sexual assault, nine of which were against minors, to start. One of which, a young woman still working through her postulancy, was found dead a few months after accusing him of raping her." He let the words hang for a moment, searching the Father's face in hope that he may not have known the man well.

"...Shortly thereafter, he was 'relocated' from the Vatican and placed in the most out of the way English village possible. This cathedral was a very comfortable place for something vile to nestle into, and I'm not just referring to Father Tavin. But you've gone and hung up a lamp right in the demon's den." He explained, turning his attention back to the Dog. "I think that demon originated from your guardian here. A lot of lament came with its transformation, more than I'm sure the average sacrifice endures for some reason..."

Eiji stood, giving the Father an apologetic look for dragging his explanation on so long. "So, I think I need to dig your dog up. I'll leave with its bones, and hopefully the infestation will follow me along with them. You'll be without a guard dog, but you'll get on fine." The pale glow of the dying skyline pierced the window, announcing the coming of night.

"If you want me to try, I need to know soon."
February 27, 2018 09:08 pm


In the moment of silence that followed his proclamation, Father Davies pondered his own frailty. Moreso, how he wished he’d brought the whiskey out with him, as he could use a touch more of his fiery courage. But Eiji’s sudden movement forward was enough to permeate his sinful thoughts, startling as it was, and he focused his attentions elsewhere.

His back straightened infinitesimally as the animated priest explained his thought process. I did some research… The Priest rose from the pew, the bench creaking lightly in protest. Your predecessor cast a pretty long shadow on this place… He froze, his body tensing more and more with each claim Eiji made, until he could no longer hold himself up. ...found dead a few months after accusing him of raping her… His knees finally buckled, and he landed back on the pew almost painfully.

He knew he should feel something, being presented with such news. But then, how new was this information, and was he ready to admit that to himself? Father Tavin had been his mentor; yes, he’d heard whispers in the town, but they couldn’t be true. A little research, just as Eiji said, would’ve shown otherwise, yet even then, he hadn’t been ready to face that truth. He wanted to believe he’d changed, even if what they were saying was true. He wanted to believe in forgiveness.

Father Davies didn’t have time to dwell, as Eiji pressed forward. Clearing his throat, as a lump seemed to have appeared caught in it, he offered his rapt attention once more.

I think I need to dig your dog up.

His expression seemed physically pained as the magnitude of the situation - and the part he played in it - weighed down on him. Perhaps if he’d just heeded those whispers, this could’ve all been prevented, or at least taken care of much sooner. Instead, he’d been selfish and his church paid the price.

“Thank God for you, Eiji,” he finally spoke, a strained chuckle in his voice. The man was so willing to clean up his mistakes, his short-comings, to literally take the demons on himself, and yet Father Davies couldn’t help but think of how much he didn’t want to lose the beast. And, as if it could sense his thoughts, there it was before him, sitting back on its haunches and holding his gaze with a magnetic pull. In the earth-toned eyes of the dog, he saw his companion for the last decade. Sometimes, it was the only thing he talked to for days on end. It was almost as if those eyes held a picture show of memories, as if seen through the beast’s perspective. Some showed his careful cleaning of the graves, and the comforting of a grieving couple as they mourned their stillborn baby. Others showed his nights with the bottle, and his battles with his own demons.

Yet the memories seemed to flit by quicker and quicker, until he was sure they no longer featured him, In fact, some were Father Tavin, and then a man he didn’t recognize, but guessed to be the Tavin’s predecessor. And on and on, so many memories, so much time, so many different Head Priests…

And suddenly, he was staring at a reflection in the water. A girl of fifteen or sixteen, pale and soft-featured, with earth-toned eyes…

A sharp intake of breath pulled him back to his reality, though he had to steady himself with one hand firmly clutched on the back of the pew. There was a part of him that was sure he was losing his mind after what he’d just experienced, yet he would still follow his gut on the matter.

“Let’s dig it up.”
March 01, 2018 09:57 pm
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