It was a windy night that blew the smell of smoke far and wide. A night drearier than most, when the moonlight cast phantasmal shadows that danced across the landscape. Lack of light would be a nuisance for most, but Edgar, a fully plated Paladin with grizzled features and hard eyes towered over his people, kept riding towards his destination. A messenger of a small port town had cried of a Daemonic attack and Edgar's departure had been immediate, his force rallied and prepared in record time.
His troupe, eleven warriors strong, had pushed their mounts hard throughout the day. On any normal day, they'd have pitched tents, seeing their trip stopped hours ago, saving the remainder of the journey for the morrow.
The smell of burning tinder and charred flesh assaulted Edgar's nostrils. Sky-high smoke had him on high alert, his men following his lead. As a Paladin of the Holy Church of Sienna, the Goddess of Peace and Love, Edgar and his fellow clergymen went through some of the harshest training to be found and were willing to fight until death to protect the peace and stability of their lands.
Edgar and his men could see the faint glow of final embers through the dimly lit night as they approached the center of the small port town.
Soot covered their heavy boots as they dismounted, as the wind had blown ash far and wide. Edgar’s boots crunched the debris underfoot loudly as they entered through the char of the front gate. There was nothing in sight but the burnt remains of the town.
Edgar and his troupe came near to the center of the port town. He sensed a large magical signature and signaled his men. Drawing their blades and preparing their spells, they established a defensive perimeter as he pressed on; his duty as a Paladin of Sienna driving him forward.
It was clear to everyone an enormous amount of fire magic had been present in the area, beyond anything a mortal was capable of achieving. It appeared to have blasted out from the center of the port town.
As Edgar approached, there was a dissonance lingering in the air right in the middle of all of the chaos and destruction. He heard the sound of light breathing. He was immensely confused. It sounded as though whatever was making those sounds was softly snoring, oblivious to the destruction and chaos that had befallen the area.
Slumbering away unaware of its new audience, laying at the center a crater, surrounded by the charred ruins of the town center, was a baby.
The rest of the troupe immediately exploded into action, most rushing to do violence to the creature, but Edgar had other plans. He held out his hand signaling them to hold fall back. Responsibility for the blood of a child, no matter their race, would not rest easily on his shoulders and thus he would see to it that they returned to their positions.
"Edgar, that's not a child," Valeria Holden, named The Vigilant for services rendered to the Church, scolded him, disdain clear in her voice. The rest of his men nodded in agreement, but Edgar had no plans of letting child-slaughter become a stain on his reputation.
"Stop." He responded, voice clear and steady, leaving no room for dissent.
"Edgar, it needs to die," she continued, hateful words rolling off the tongue easily. She only saw a savage beast that would grow into their undoing whenever she looked at the sleeping form.
"Quiet." Wasted time would be the only result if he partook in the mincing of words. He had made up his mind. This would not happen.
"If you won’t end it, I will. Turn away if your conscience cannot bear the sight." Her lithe form stalked forward the sleeping infant, dagger in hand.