A solitary figure, swathed in robes, made his way up the cracked steps of Elephant Graveyard. Skeletal trees swayed in the gales, seeming to reach for the figure. Some distance away, a single, dog-like beast followed the man up the hill, its red eyes glowing with malevolence. The maddening winds grew louder and stronger as the man went further up, nearly blowing him over at several occasions. The foliage grew sparser as he neared the peak, and what vegetation there was seemed twisted and almost pained.
The top of the graveyard held rows of archaic ruined gravestones and a single mausoleum. The mausoleum stood two stories off the ground and was decorated by gothic gargoyles that stood like grim sentries. The metal gate surrounding it had long since rusted into near oblivion, but the metal gate that lead to the inner sanctum of the mournful building seemed new and strong. This gate was open.
A dank chill swept over the man as he looked upon the open crypt gate before him. A strong gust pushed the ivy leaves covering the name of the sites occupant aside long enough for the man to look at it with contempt and disgust. A faint flicker of light shone from inside, and taking a deep breath, the man slunk inside. The dog-creature hid itself behind a tombstone and awaited the mans return.
The inner chamber was a large room with a vaulted ceiling. Alcoves lined the walls, each containing a stone coffin. The back of the room held a large stone coffin on a raised platform. Behind the coffin stood an eight-foot tall Angel of Death made of black marble. The scythe wielded by the statue was real. Two men and one woman sat in the icy recesses of this chamber. The woman was sneering at the two men, while polishing a new golden watch. One man wore a black hat and sported a gun belt with two guns that were obviously used very often. The other man was leaning against a blue stone wall with his straw hat pulled over his eyes. All three were startled and jumped to their feet when a tall man swathed in white robes rushed in staring angrily at the interior of the crypt.
"Its about time Elijah." The gun-toting man growled. Outside, the fur on the back of the dog-beast bristled and it drew back its lips to reveal rows of ichor-glistening teeth.
"I am a busy man, Wrath. What is this about?" Elijah said solemnly.
"How should we know?" The man in the straw hat said, as casually as if he were speaking in a bar. "We got a message from you to come here at 12:50 and that you had something to important to discuss."
"I was waiting for the good Reverend."
A man dressed in a dull purple suit and bowler stepped out of the shadows of one of the alcoves into the flickering torchlight. His demeanor was contemptuous, if not egotistical. He walked with a casual grace as he slowly paced around the four angered Flock members. He shuffled a deck of cards in his gloved hands as he continued.
"I am glad you could make it tonight. It is unfortunate that not all of your agents could attend."
"Who are you?" Elijah said sternly.
"My dear Prophet, my identity is irrelevant. I am here to warn you." Nicodemus smiled wickedly and sat down on the central coffin marked: "Lord Grimely." Wraths hands twitched involuntarily as he stared hatefully at the huckster.
"As you know," Nicodemus continued, "this town is going to Hell in a hand-basket." Elijah raised an eyebrow and nodded for him to continue.
"Some unusual happenings have been going on around town and surely even you have felt followed occasionally." Nicodemus took out a deck of cards and started to absently play solitary poker while he spoke.
Elijah indignity brushed his robes aside as he spoke with a firm, commanding tone. "Those that fear God have naught to fear from the minions of the Devil. I wonder whose side you are on?"
Nicodemus laughed softly and his cards started to glow a dim green. None of the Flock seemed to notice, so he continued. "I am on the winning side, as you and your follower are. I came here to simply warn you of a few problems you may face in your effort to bring the Fear of God to the people of this miserable town."
"As you know, several preachers have been murdered recently. I know who the murderer is, its that Mexican Preacher, Father Juan Navarro. He is trying to bring the whole town under his influence, so he is killing those that fight against his dominion. His next target may be you and your believers."
The glowing from the cards turned red and a strange look entered the eyes of Elijah. "We appreciate your warning. We will move against those unbelivers soon."
The same glassy-eyed stare entered Envy and Sloths eyes, but failed to cross Wraths face.
"What!?! Elijah, we dont even know who this scum is! Dont take his word!"
Nicodemus looked softly at the other Flock members. "Dont worry about your friend here, Ill explain everything to him, you just go back to doing what God commands you to." The Flock turned and left the icy mist of the Mausoleum. Wrath stood, bristling, staring at Nicodemus.
"What have you done to them?"
"Dont worry, it will wear off soon, but right now they believe anything I say."
"You cant say anything if I send you to Hell!" Wrath shouted and fired his guns. The bullets flew straight and true, but found no target, as the huckster had vanished.
His evil voice resonated from all-over the chamber. "You first."
The black marble chipped away from the Angel of Death and a Phantasm of unspeakable malevolence flew at Wrath, his guns still blazing. Its bloodstained scythe drew back and glimmered in the failing torchlight.
A cigarette was tossed on the ground and the grey-clad Austin Stoker looked indifferently up at the grisly mausoleum of Lord Grimely. He leaned casually on a tombstone as shrieks and blasts emanate from the desecrated crypt. A flicker of curiosity passed over his grey eyes as a tremendous whoosh of air blasted out of the building. It passed like a tormented spirit and darkened the night sky before it faded into nothingness. Well that was that.
He stood up and started to walk away, failing to notice the dog-creature lurking in between the gravestones. It stealthily wove in and out, avoiding the Confederates gaze, until it could safely shadow the Prophet once again. Austin lit up another cigarette, without a trace of emotion crossing his face.
"Now you know the price of loyalty."