Written by Devin Arscott
In the dead of night, the beautiful rays of light emanating from the moon shine over the glorious city of New York. Down below, perched atop the roof of a local building, the infamous supernatural hunter Desi Khan overlooks the city.
Desi, a forty-something year old Indian American man, clad in a brown trench coat and sleek black garments, clutches a wrapped sword in his hands. “Hmm, not much activity tonight; Yet the moon is at its peak.”, the lone hunter says as he broods at his perch. Desi removes a spyglass from his trench and scans the area. This trip to New York is one of his longer outings, as the city has recently had an uptick in Werewolf activity, so for the past two weeks Desi has been clearing out their nests left and right.
Running across a nearby rooftop, a pack of hulking werewolves can be seen. Werewolves are the top of the food chain in New York, often seen together in packs of five. These legendary creatures prey on the weak, innocent humans and animals alike as a means of sustaining themselves. Lycanthropy is a curse — no, a plague, wrought onto humanity through a now long forgotten event in human history and cannot be cured. Well, there is a single cure for it and Desi wields it within his hands.
The Silver Blade is a special sword, which Desi Khan had been trained for many years to wield. Desi is not just a hunter of the supernatural, but a member of the famed Order of Light. Whatever the Order commands, Desi does what he must for the protection of humanity no matter where he must travel.
Whistling a tune known to attract Werewolves, Desi readies himself for the oncoming pack of doglike beasts as they now have locked onto his location. The Werewolves howl loudly to the moon, their luminous god in the night sky, which imbues them with more strength the fuller it becomes. The pack stops in their tracks, searching for the location of the sound that grabs their attention so. Finally, the beasts of the night have locked onto Desi and his location, standing in anticipation of them atop of the building he’s yet to move from. The Silver Blade still wrapped in its worn bandages it’s been in for centuries.
The feral beasts converge on Desi, ensuing there is no possible means of escape for the warrior, so that they may maul, maim, and consume his flesh as many victims prior. Desi takes a deep breath as he unwraps his sacred weapon, while his foes close in on him.
“For the Order, for humanity..”, Desi softly speaks to himself before unleashing a wide strike with the Silver Blade, hitting all of his enemies in one fell swoop. Each of the Werewolves hit the ground, screeching in agony at the feeling of the pure silver blade like a man engulfed within a flame. Desi wastes no time slaying one of the five Werewolves, ending its life swiftly to end its lifelong suffering under such a cruel curse. The others recoup, far more furious, their fur raised, and foaming at the mouth with bestial rage.
The leader of the pack, a brown Werewolf far more muscular than the others, catches Desi off guard and smacks him across the rooftop. The beasts move swiftly to ensure that Desi cannot fight back, yet the skilled warrior manages to recover to his feet and lop the head off of one of the remaining monsters. Now, only three remain and Desi plans to end things as the battle has gone on long enough. Reaching into his coat, he reveals a set of silver ball like trinkets, pressing into them. Desi launches the silver balls at his monstrous opposition and takes cover behind the rooftop opening. Instantly, a bright flash of white light explodes. Peaking out from his cover, Desi sees that only two of the bodies have been turned to ash as one Werewolf still lies breathing what few breaths it has left within its lungs.
Desi walks over to the battered and burned beast, blade in hand ready to finally end its misery from both this silver infused heat death and infernal curse of the night.
“Still alive, eh? I’m surprised you’re this resilient, you foul creature. I’ll be glad when the world is finally free of such disease, as there will be one less monster running about.”, Desi says in the coldest of tones. The Werewolf raises its arm out, almost as a way to tell Desi to reconsider his stance and hear what it has to say. A very faint wheezing sound emanates from the lungs of the Werewolf, as it tries to muster the last breathes it’ll ever take; A faint utterance of its vocal chords can be heard forming words.
“I-I am…not…y-your enemy. Your Order…has only given you some of..the truth…”, spoke the dying Werewolf. At first, Desi hesitates to mercifully end the beasts life, but per his sacred duty he plunges the Silver Blade into its heart, killing it with only a small sense of guilt. “Why would this murderous animal claim to not be the enemy that the Order of Light always spoke of them to be?”, Desi sat and pondered over the corpse of his slain foe. Suddenly, Desi’s cellphone rings, playing a generic tune that is sure to annoy anyone that hears it. Desi reached into his pants pocket and answers.
“Hello, my child. Have you completed your task as given?”, a man spoke softly from the other end of the phone. Desi takes a long, somewhat frustrated pause before replying. He feels some trepidation and slight fear welling up inside of him, but knows he must answer. “Yes, I’ve seen to the eradication of the final Werewolf pack here in New York, Father Haim. They tasted the power of our sacred blade as many before them have.”, Desi spoke stoically to his superior.
An eerie silence fills quiet static between phone signals before either man utters another word. “Return home, my child. You must be cleansed before your next outing.”, says Father Haim in a creepy, yet monotone voice. The phone clicks before Desi can even reply, which was the norm when speaking to any of the higher ranking members of the Order. All conversations were straight to the point as there’s always something else to concern themselves with, especially being in the business of protecting the world from supernatural types. Regardless, Desi Kahn knew his orders and it was imperative to see to them accordingly; So it was time to depart the bustling city of New York for his home where the Order of Light resides, Romania.
As his private jet crosses the vast Atlantic Ocean, Desi stares somberly out of the window. Pondering on the events that have transpired, Desi seems to be out of his usual collected and calm demeanor, trading it in for skepticism and jitters. “Something is wrong, I know it. What is the Order keeping from me?”, Desi thinks to himself as he continues to stare out of the window, viewing the bright moon as it’s light shines high above the clouds.
In his heart, Desi doesn’t wants to believe that the same Order that took him in as an orphan left all alone in the United States could be so secretive. “The Order of Light has been transparent with me for as long as I’ve been an acolyte, so what could there be to gain from secrets?”, Desi continued to ponder as he now fidgets with The Silver Blade’s worn and ragged wrappings. “Our mission within the Order was to protect the world from the supernatural and that is the only secret there could be, seeing as we operate in the shadow of the famed Vatican. Hell, even the Pope himself gives his blessing for the entire operation as each Pope should.”, Desi muttered frustratingly to himself as he continues to stare out of the small airplane window. After an hour of self doubts, Desi falls fast asleep, clutching the Silver Blade that never leaves his care.
The plane begins to make its descent. Down below, we see a beautiful countryside filled with lush green trees, a magnificent castle made up of old cobblestones, and a trail leading from a landing strip not far from the castle. Desi, now awakened, looks to his blade knowing that he’s made it to his adoptive home in the country of Romania and the monastery of the Order of Light.
Landing, Desi makes his way off of the plane and is greeted by a few older men dressed in black cloaks. Each man holds a decorative pillow, one empty and the other that holds five silver coins. Upon seeing the shiny trinkets, Desi scoffs at the very sight of them. “How many times must I tell you, what I do is for the greater good of humanity. Being given shiny, worthless baubles means nothing to me, you buffoons.”, Desi loudly proclaims to the three cloaked men.
“Silver Blade, take your reward for your continued service to the Order and to humanity for your great efforts.”, the three cloaked men spoke in unison. Desi takes his reward and shoves them into his coat pocket, wanting to be done with the matter. As he attempts to walk toward the castle, one of the cloaked men, somewhat burly and pale of face, tries to stop Desi with some urgency. “My liege, your sword. We must cleanse it as is our duty.”, the man said slightly out of breath.
Desi stops and looks to the man sternly, clutching the blade closely to him like a newborn child. The two men gaze upon each other, unwilling to break over this most valuable weapon. Begrudgingly, Desi relinquishes the blade to the man despite all efforts to keep the sword on his person. “Hmph. Take it now, lest I keep it. Ensure it is returned to me within the next cycle of the sun or else there will be hell to pay.”, says Desi with subtle anger in his deep voice. The three men scurry off to wherever it is they go to cleanse holy artifacts and don’t look back, should they have to look into the frightening brown eyes of the most dangerous man on the grounds themselves.
In the pass of a few moments, Desi has arrived to the gargantuan castle. The Order of Light’s base of operations is immaculate, both in the exterior and interior. Beautiful shrubbery along the path leading to the giant double wooden doors, the greenest grass that anyone has ever laid eyes upon, shining gray cobblestone that makes up the entire structure glistens as if it were just built, and gold accents adorn the building to give it a sense of regality befitting of any royal that has walked the Earth. As Desi stands in front of the doors, they begin to open, almost on their own — the hinges creaking from centuries of old age. Desi Khan, the Silver Blade, walks into the structure fleet of foot with his mission in mind and nothing else.
Inside the great walls of the castle, dark stones will the walls as the entire structure is set up like the medieval castles of old. Suits of armor standing along the pillars, horn made sconces hold thick white burning candles are secured tightly to the wall; It’s like the castle has been preserved for untold centuries with no modern additions to be seen within, only dated furnishings and fixtures. A cool breeze fills the air as Desi walks though the building, passing various rooms that serve a variety of purposes for the Order. Desi stops briefly, examining the opened doors to the vast library that lives inside these vast walls. Decades ago, when he was first brought into the care of the Order, Desi’s first experience inside the castle was rummaging through books in the library. It was where he first learned how to read, studying any and all books he could get his hands on. From further down the hall, a voice calls out to him.
“Welcome home, my son. I have long awaited your return from the states.”, said the aged, cracking voice of Father Haim. The Father was a tall, slim Caucasian man in his late eighties clothed in the finest silken robes fit for even the noblest men of God. Along his shoulders rested a long, gold scarf with red crosses placed neatly toward the end of this majestic cloth. Father Haim gives Desi a wrinkly, tooth filled smile as he greets his most trusted warrior home. The Silver Blade bows to the Father, who with a wave of his hands dismisses the gesture.
Desi stands tall again and Father Haim places his hand ever so firmly on Desi’s shoulder. “You know that isn’t necessary, Desi. We have known one another too long for such an act.”, Father Haim says casually. Desi gives a faint, toothless smile whilst shrugging his somewhat stiff shoulders. “Well Father, it was you who took me in all those years ago. I figure it’s worth treating you with the utmost respect.”, Desi speaks gratuitously. The two men laugh heartily together, as old friends do, before walking slowly to Father Haim’s office down the hallway.
The two men sit down in Father Haim’s office, a very minimalist space with plain white walls and a worn wooden desk made of oak; Only two chairs reside within the room, one for the Father and one for any guest that is fortunate to be invited inside — which today is the infamous Silver Blade, Desi Khan. Father Haim reaches inside his desk and pulls out two glasses, clear and shiny as the most precious gems. Also from the desk, Father Haim unveils a metal flask and begins to pour the two a drink of an aged beverage red in color. “Have a drink my dear boy. A liquor a century in the making for the finest of occasions.”, spoke Father Haim as he closes up the flask.
Desi swirls the drink a little, then takes a nice, slow sip. Father Haim does the same and not a word is uttered between the two. “Father, what is this truly about? I know there is something you’re not telling me.”, Desi speaks cautiously, not to upset the Father. Another long silence fills the room. Father Haim sets his drink down, giving a stoic look to the glass and breaking eye contact with Desi. “You have done a marvelous job out in the world, Desi. Slaying the vile disease ridden lycanthropes that plague the world in the name of all things just and pure.”, Father Haim speaks clearly. Father Haim locks eyes with Desi, almost peering into his soul now and Desi is struck with a sense of anxiety, like none he’s ever felt before in his life. He was right, there was clearly something that needed to be said and Father Haim intended to speak his mind.
“The next step in your journey is to commence at once. You will take my spot in the Order and crush the vermin that rest in the darkness as I have commanded in my time.”, Father Haim spoke with much strength and pride in his voice. Desi could feel it in his gut that this isn’t what he wants and it feels almost as if he’d been struck by a boxer’s strongest punch in the pit of his stomach. Desi clears his throat and readjusts himself in his chair, clearly unsure of how to respond to such a statement.
“What if I do not wish to serve in this capacity, Father? Why am I a more worthy successor than any other man who serves the Order of Light?”, Desi says. Father Haim gives a hearty laugh, but it stops short as it manifests a wicked cough. The Father takes a white cloth to his mouth and inside the cloth, he has spat blood into it. “You have the potential to - - do great good, Desi. With my health failing, I want you to become more than just a living weapon, I want you to become an icon.”, said Father Haim weakly.
Desi takes a long, deep breath before exhaling. He knows that if he doesn’t make a decision, then the fate of the Order is at stake. Something inside him from the other night still ruminates within his soul, the Werewolf speaking to him in its death throes; He knew that if he didn’t take this position, then more death would follow when he could do so much more than kill. Leading an organization that’s been around for centuries is no daunting task, but Desi Khan is not one to back down from a challenge.
“Before you say anything more to convince me, just know that I’ll succeed you, yet we have an important matter to discuss in regards to the completion of my mission...something troubling. In light of my years of service, I want to do something unprecedented in the Order outside of using the sacred blade to protect.”, Father Haim looks to Desi completely stunned after such a bold statement. “ Without saying a word, Father Haim claps his hands in celebration before coughing hard into his elbow rather violently. Desi raises up from his seat to aid the Father and provides him with a handkerchief to cough into. Rushing to the door, Desi screams at the top of his lungs, “Medic! The Father is in need of your assistance now!”. Moments later, medics arrive and whisk Father Haim away for medical attention.
A week has past at the Order of Light and outside in the large courtyard behind the castle, Father Desi Khan gives a speech to his congregation from atop a minimalist style podium. “Today marks the beginning of a new era for the Order. One of prosperity and realigned focus — for we no longer slay all beings that move in the night; Nay, we save them.”, Father Desi Khan utters with a smooth, deep voice and all who gaze upon him nod their heads in agreement.
The newly anointed Father pauses for what seems like a lifetime, a sea of uncertainty washes over him. A voice calls out to him from the ether. “I never meant to conceal this, yet I felt that I had to on my own accord. The words of the Werewolf that spoke to you are true, they aren’t our enemies; They were...members of our order.”, the faint voice of Father Haim rings in Desi’s ear. The last words of the former Father before his passing and now the burden of Desi. Father Desi Khan tugs at his collar and stands up tall, more confident than before. “The sins of the past shall not shape our future and in the days that shall come forth, we will be tested more so than ever before. We walk this path together, slowly righting many wrongs in our wake for a better tomorrow," Desi mightily bellows to those before him.
The Father brandishes a warm, comforting smile. “May the light be with you and guide your every movement. Amen.”
About Devin: This was Devin's first story on the site. He's a comic writer/editor with a love of prose as well. And about this story and opportunity, he wanted this to be said.
“Writing no matter the format is always exciting. Being able to write what you enjoy, then share it with others really makes it all worthwhile; Which is why I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to share my story with you all.”
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