Take Flight Part 23
“Stop them!” Sayer gasped when a hand grabbed his ankle, yanking him down. “There’s more than one!”
None of the men answered him.
Sayer strained his wings, flapping hard, but couldn’t break free of the iron grip on his ankle.
Rittenhauser heaved them downward. Sayer held Birch closer and protected his head as they tumbled to the floor. He landed on his back with a thud. Birch cried out when Sayer couldn’t prevent his legs from being jarred.
“Don’t move, or I’ll shoot!”
The man who’d captured Birch stood over them, his feet spread wide. He pointed his shotgun at Sayer’s face. “I’ll do it, demon.”
He was insane. “I’m not a demon!” Sayer protested. His instincts screamed for him to use his magic, but he was too weak still.
“What do think I am? An idiot? Your filthy tricks won’t fool me.” The remaining light flickered. Sayer strained his eyes, careful not to move his head. The sprites were dancing near the bulbs. He had to stall. The other fae would contain the humans. Birch’s boss was something… different.
“Why harm Birch? I know you said you saw me, when we were kids.”
“He drew you to our town. I’ve seen it happen. He draws you demons like a moth to a flame. He is no innocent! My father warned me of your kind so I could be a soldier in the war against evil.” Spit flew from his lips as Rittenhauser raged. A fire smoldered in his eyes. “I am Grigori! I can sense your filth. I know when your evil comes creeping out of the shadows to taint mortal men. But not here! Not in my town!”
The priest gasped and began mumbling.
Sayer had never heard of any being called a Grigori, but Birch’s boss was definitely not a mortal. It explained why he could see the fae, and why the cross had such an effect on the balance of power in the fae realm.
There might still be hope to hide the fae from the human realm for a while longer, at least until they could recover from the damage this being did to them.
A loud boom echoed off the high stone ceiling. “Mitch, stop!” A huge man, easily seven and a half feet tall, ducked through the open doors. How had he gotten by Croll? “My son, you are mistaken about these folk.”
Rittenhauser shook his head violently. “No, Father. I saw them; I feel it!” He gestured wildly with the fun. “Tell me you can’t feel that taint all around us. You taught me how to sense demons and their effect on men. This is my purpose, my calling. I will eradicate the evil on behalf of the Lord. They deserve to die.”
The barrel of the gun he was staring down shook. Sayer desperately hoped the incensed man wouldn’t pull the trigger.
“There are many folk on this Earth beyond mortal men and demon-kind. I only told you after you came across a demon as a child to help you understand. I never intended for you to become a Scourge.”
“They wouldn’t have me! Said I was delusional. But I saw him turn into smoke. He flew! He has wings!”
Birch trembled in his arms. Sayer could smell his blood and feel his pain. He had to get away from the church and get his beloved to Haverlseen. “I am Lord of the Fae. We are magical beings, but we are not demons. We are not evil.”
“No! Your kind all lie. You’re trying to trick me into letting you go, but I won’t.”
“Mitch, my son”—the man’s voice was closer, almost directly behind Sayer—“he speaks the truth. There are many realms on Earth and many creatures who have no affiliation with demon kind. I am sorry that I left your education so lacking. I wanted to keep you from this war.”
The tip of the man’s shotgun began to lower. “B-but… you said… You said to be vigilant against evil around me.”
The man reached over them with one long arm. He gently closed his hand over the barrel, plucking it from Rittenhauser’s limp hands. The older man no longer looked at Birch and Sayer; he stared at his father. He shook his head.
“I-I don’t understand.”
“That’s okay, I’ll help you. We’re going to let these folk go, and they’ll free your… friends.”
Sayer took the first deep breath he’d allowed himself since he found out Birch had been captured. The insane man who’d grabbed him looked like a lost child. All his rage seemed to have disappeared with the arrival of his father.
“What are you?” Sayer asked.
“I am a Grigori.”
There was that word again.
“I don’t know what that is, but you clearly know what I am.”
“My kind are rare. We were angels once, but now we live among humans and cannot ascend to the heavens.” The giant man sighed. “I am very sorry my son hurt your people. I know it means little to redress the balance, but he did not know he was doing wrong.”
“He poisoned my people and shot my beloved. An apology is not enough.”
Sayer curled Birch into his arms more securely and carefully rose to his feet. “I don’t have time to deal with this. I must see to my beloved. I will release his men, but not their weapons.”
“When you have settled things, you can find me through the father over there. He can contact me with a time and place. I’m sure you have questions for me.”
Sayer nodded sharply.
He rose into the air. “Let’s go.”
The fae who had followed Sayer into the church to rescue Birch followed him out the open doors.
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