It was the dead of night and an old man stood alone at an old beach watching the tide move in, the only light available coming from the moon above and the curious glowing yellow eyes the old man had : unblinking and uncaring as they stared into the inky black expanse of ocean.
"In the beginning there was darkness.. before even darkness there was the Abyss.. as day turns to night so too must even darkness eventually fade to nothing.. the end will not come with a scream but with a whimper.. even the Gods will simply cease and all shall fade.. all shall fade.."
The old man simply listened to the thoughts in his head, they were not his own yet still filled him with determination - he knew what he had to do as a faint smile spread across his shriveled face, revealing broken teeth and lips scarred by many cuts.
Taking a small bottle from one of the pockets in his torn jacket the old man held it up, examining the small glowing orb inside and his eyes lit up - the inhuman gaze penetrating into the bottle as the glowing orb shuddered and began to spin in circles.
Meanwhile, in the nearby coastal town a young man suddenly woke from a dreamless sleep in a cold sweat, getting up as if in a trance with eyes wide in terror - trembling with every step as he tried to cry out but could do nothing as he wandered out into the night.
Back at the beach the old man waited and soon the young man wandered into view, his face trapped in a silent scream as no sound escaped - the old man's smile grew to inhuman degrees, distorting his face as broken teeth became akin to fangs and his shriveled skin developed an eerie glow to match his eyes, a gnarled finger tapped on the bottle before he tilted it a little.
As the old man manipulated the bottle the young man struggled but to no avail as he walked into the ocean, an unnatural weight clinging to his legs as if invisible hands held him down - allowing the icy cold water to slowly spread up as he continued wandering deeper.. deeper.. until he found himself fully submerged, unable to even close his eyes as the freezing blackness covered him, the weight keeping his feet planted firmly to the sand and gravel below as he continued to walk deeper and deeper out into sea.
The old man watched as the young man disappeared from view and turned away, pocketing the bottle again as the glowing orb within became erratic, like a trapped firefly.. the old man taking leave without a word..
At the same time, deep under the water, the young man continued walking in icy darkness as water filled his lungs, yet in defiance of all nature he did not drown - instead he remained wandering, feet held to the bottom of the sea as he wandered deeper into the abyss, no longer alive nor dead as he continued to walk out into the endless depths..
King's Bay was a quiet town filled with people that were still adapting to the great changes of mid-21st century life, amidst the population were people old enough to remember a time before V-Net and while most other areas had long began to see a rise in superhuman activity King's Bay prided itself in being a "good old" town free from the "mutant menace" or "alien scum".
The town was mostly made up of fishermen, housewives and a few youths - the fishermen refusing to upgrade to new ways of life and living a life not unlike those of their ancestors.
The locals were close-knit, as was common in such towns, save for a mysterious old man who lived in a large manor overlooking a cliff - the old man rarely ever came out of the manor and when he did he could be seen sporting a white cane and sunglasses, believed to be blind by those he passed during his infrequent visit to a local fish market or as he made his way to a small store where he'd always buy several small jars before returning to his manor.
Yet one day the town of King's Bay was about to receive a mysterious visitor from afar, one that would soon change the town forever.. for destiny had a strange way of ensuring those who could make change would find their way to places they were needed..
Lilith was the only passenger on the bus ride to King's Bay. She drummed her fingers on her torn-up seat, and stared sullenly out the dirty window at the dreary beach lining the road.
She was a beautiful but strange sight. She had red hair draped around a teardrop face, with alien, emerald eyes that tried to blink away boredom-induced sleepiness. Her verdant tunic matched the shine of her eyes. Most unusual were the wings and spaded tail that protruded from her lower back, seemingly made of paper-thin shadow, marking her as a notably inhuman Empyrean succubus.
The bus screeched to a halt. Lilith snapped awake, suddenly realizing that she had dozed off.
"We're at your stop, miss," said the driver. "King's Bay."
"Oh, um... thanks," mumbled Lilith as she stood.
"I've got no idea why you wanted to come to this backwater town," said the driver.
"Yeah," agreed Lilith. "Me neither."
"Just watch yourself," said the driver. "Lots of folks in this place won't take kindly to someone of... your kind."
"I can handle myself, thanks," said Lilith, stepping off the bus and into the town. As the bus left town, Lilith watched it disappear, heading further and further down the road, away and out of sight.
She could imagine at least one-hundred other things she'd rather be doing right now. But when the Oracle itself told you to visit a sleepy town out in the boondocks, you simply did not ignore it's advice. She sighed. She didn't know how long she had to be here, nor why; but she knew that it would be long.
"Better see if anything is actually happening here," thought Lilith.
The air was cold and sea mist already began to spread over the area, the town all but deserted save for a few old men sitting outside, staring at Lilith in silence - the scene only changing when a young man, no older than his mid-twenties, ran down the street towards the nearby beach, pursued by a crowd of angry locals that seemed armed with bats and broken glass bottles.
The old men briefly glanced to the scene as one of them yelled out to the crowd, uncaring of Lilith's presence:
"What you boys doing now?"
One of the crowd stopped, yelling back : "it's the Wilson boy.. he's a mutant or something!".
Surprisingly the old men barely even blinked twice as one of them yelled back: "well be quick about it, we don't need no trouble from those types.." - the pair resuming their previous role of staring at Lilith as the crowd continued to pursue the young man to the beach.
"That was fast," thought Lilith. "I'd better check this out. Might be a good start in figuring out exactly what I'm supposed to do here."
Keeping out of view, Lilith followed the mob to the beach, hiding among the rocky crags that lined the shore.
As the man reached the beach he slipped in the sand and one of the crowd threw a bottle, hitting him in the head as other began to beat him - from her hiding spot Lilith could hear the shouting:
"We don't need you mutants stinking up this town!"
"Drag him into the sea!"
A few of the crowd kicked at the now bleeding man as a strange sight briefly became visible to Lilith, a seemingly blind old man stood in silence near the same crags she hid : staring out at the crowd with a smile on his lips, as if enjoying a view he shouldn't be able to see.. judging by his sunglasses and cane. But she didn't have time to worry about him; she strode out, grabbed the man's nearest attacker, and knocked him out cold with a single strike. Before the others could set themselves upon her, she called her weapon to hand- a staff, gleaming brighter than any beacon, and struck the ground. A wall of force rushed over the crowd like a galeforce wind, sending the closest assailants stumbling back.
"Enough!" she shouted, her voice authoritative and filled with venom.
The crowd flee, save for the ones Lilith had knocked down - the young man looked to her in confusion and stammered, "..w-who are you?".
"Lilith," she said. "But that's not important. I suggest leaving this town, as soon as you can. No telling when another lynch mob will be coming after you."
Meanwhile, the mysterious old man's smile faded as he turned away, slipping a handful of small jars into pockets lining his coat, the jars glowing eerily as he took his leave - hobbling along with the aid of his cane.
"N-no.. this is my home.. everyone was fine.. I don't understand.. their eyes.. went all funny.. then they just started to.." the man began, standing up and holding an injured arm as he stared at a few of the knocked out crowd, one of which stirred and got up.
"Ugh.. W-what-?" they began, then grew wide-eyed as they looked at Lilith and ran off - as he did one of the old men that had been staring at Lilith previously appeared near the crags and yelled out, uncaring of any nearby who may hear:
"You ought to stay out of this, demon! this ain't your concern! we'll drag you to the Abyss! you hear me!? the dark comes! the dark comes!"
"The abyss is in your head, you dull halfwit," Lilith shouted back. She turned to the man. "What's your name, kid?"
The old man spits at Lilith and wanders off as the young man answers: "..my name? Tom.. Thomas Wilson.. my folks live nearby.. they'll probably be worried.. you.. you should come say hello, this place isn't as bad as it seems.. I mean.. it used to be.. better..".
Lilith shifted uncomfortably at the awkward invitation. "Well, okay then," she said. "Just at least to make sure you don't get into any more trouble."
Tom gave a nod and began to wander into town, motioning Lilith to follow - as he did a brief but cold breeze blows over Lilith as a barely audible voice enters her mind:
<<you can't save them>>
"Agh!" grunted Lilith. She let go of her staff, which toppled over into the sand, and grasped at her head with both hands. She stumbled, falling down upon one knee, shivering, but not from the cold. Her brow was furrowed and her teeth clenched.
"Are you alright?" Tom began, reaching out to try and help but becoming distracted as a rather old truck pulled up nearby and a man got out, armed with a shotgun and yelled out from the crags:
"Tommy Boy! You get over here! This place ain't safe - who's the girl? I warned you about girls!"
"Don't worry about me," said Lilith through her teeth. She ignored Tom's outstretched hand, took her staff, and pulled herself onto her feet. "Is he your father?" she asked, gesturing to the man with the shotgun.
"Pa! this girl saved me.. she's not from around here.." Tom replied.
"Of course she ain't from around here, she's an Outlander.. both of you better get in the truck.. the sheriff will be coming any moment - the whole place is going crazy ever since that mutant came out of the depths a few days ago.." the man replied, motioning them over and keeping watch with his shotgun.
"Let's go," said Lilith to Tom. "I've got some questions for you people."
Tom hurried to the truck and his father entered the driving seat "..come on then.." - waiting just long enough for Lilith to find her way to truck before driving off, heading down a road leading to a small house with boarded windows and a small garden complete with a tree that has a rope swing attached, said swing obviously old and not in use for some time.
"Did you say something about a mutant that came from the ocean?" asked Lilith.
A look of annoyance appeared on Tom's father before he replied, "..they came out of the water like some sort of monster, covered in seaweed and sand.. they were wrinkled like a goddamn mummy.. yet when anyone tried to get near they fell down, shivering like the Devil himself got them.. three folk in hospital, doctors say it's pneumonia but doesn't change what people saw.. that mutant just walked away... no one knows where and no one dared follow..".
Lilith bowed her head in thought. "And then the townsfolk started lynching mutants?"
Tom's father replies simply, getting out of the truck "..in these parts they hold to the old ways.. there's no entertainment and the punishments are severe.. now if you don't mind I'd rather not risk a demon in my home, even if you did help my son.. we got a barn.. it's warm enough and we can get you food if you need it..".
"I'm not a demon," said Lilith, flatly.
"..sure, whatever.. around these parts it don't matter.. you ain't human and that'll mean you'll need to watch your step.. folks around here were never fans of the "New Breeds" and with three folks in hospital over a mutant it's just going to get worse.. stay in the barn and I'll deal with the sheriff -" Tom's father said in turn, sure enough as he turned to head into his home the sound of distant sirens alerted of the imminent arrival of local authoritires.
Tom, however, waited longer than his father and looked to Lilith "..the barn's not too bad, I used to stay there sometimes when.." - he stopped, as if he was aware he was about to say something he didn't want his father to hear.
"Come on Tommy, you caused enough trouble for one day.. we got to get your story straight for the sheriff.." Tom's father declared, entering the home.
Lilith glanced to the barn. "I'd have preferred an inn," she said, not bothering to hide her distaste, "but I guess this will be safer."
The barn is eerily quiet, a door open - perhaps to Lilith's surprise an old man stands by that open door and stares at her with glowing yellow eyes, he is hunched over and supported by a cane as most of his form is obscured by a large coat, remaining in silence.
Lilith regarded him for a moment, and a realization struck her. "I saw you down at the beach," she said. "Who are you?"
The man simply stares at Lilith without a word, his eyes glowing bright - then without warning a shrivelled hand reached into a pocket and pulled out a small jar with what looked like a rock dangling from a piece of string inside, once the jar was exposed the old man finally spoke:
"you stink of false hope and wretched idealism..leave this town or the Wilson boy will be orphaned by dawn.."
Lilith called her staff to hand and pointed it at the man. Her brow creased into a sharp 'V.' "I won't ask again," she said through grit teeth. "Who the hell are you?"