Salamander 2

Copyright© 2008 by EMW

Monday, 26th of November, 2035

Our team met in an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town. We only ever gathered like this under exceptional circumstances; with the state of current politics, our duties were becoming even more treacherous. We knew each other only by code numbers, taking pains to conceal our true identities. We were all dressed in plain black clothes, both for their concealing properties and their nondescript nature.

The head of the team, known simply as One, was a distinguished man with a commanding presence. He was tall, with long, dark black hair bearing just the slightest touch of grey, and a matching beard. He carried with him an aura of authority, suggesting he was perhaps a teacher or a politician, or even a preacher. He looked across the circle of assembled men and women, his piercing blue eyes commanding complete silence.

"I'll make this brief. We have received a target through one of our benefactors. Details, along with your cover identities, are in the file Three has issued you with," he said, indicating a small, bespectacled man beside him.

One paused, and then continued. "This demon has managed to evade a group of altruistic, but ultimately naïve supporters of the cause, so it is already somewhat prepared. To make matters worse, she has found protection with other victims of demonic affliction. Therefore, we must be cautious, and move slowly. We'll begin with surveillance. Four and Five will handle this," he said, glancing at me, then a small blonde woman at my right. Her innocent, angelic features were deceptive; I knew for a fact she had blades and other weapons concealed all about her person, and could gut a man (or one of these demons) faster than you could blink. I had worked with her before; she was incredibly ruthless, deadly, and dedicated to the cause. We didn't tend to meet and chat as a group, as that sort of socialising was very dangerous for people like us and detrimental to the mission, but still, people talked while on the job, and as the rumours had it, she was a nun. Apparently her family had been killed by the demons, so she had declared a vendetta on all demonkind, dedicating herself to eradicating them. Of course, such rumours were almost always false. She may have just as well been an average housewife with a penchant for knives, out to work off some aggressions.

One turned back to look at Five and I and said, "Your assignment will be to work out how best to track it once we begin the hunt. Our information suggests this demon is adept at stealth and infiltration, so we must be able to compensate for this, and predict its movements. We also need to know its propensities, its habits. Once we know its routines and haunts, we will devise some tests to confirm the extent of this monster's capabilities. When we have, safely at a distance, determined how best to handle the target, we will pounce. Now, let us pray for assistance in our fight against the forces of darkness."

We all bent our heads silently in prayer for a few moments. As I glanced at the photo of the tall, brown-haired girl with vaguely reptilian features, I prayed she was a worthy adversary. I wanted to take my time tracking and killing her.

It had been a while since my last good hunt, and for the Knights, the hunt, followed by the clean kill, besting the demon in combat, was the purest form of worship.

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