The city was burning. Ash drifted down like snow, blanketing the cracked pavement,
mixing with the blood that leaked from broken bodies strewn in the street, on the sidewalks. In
the distance the thunder of mortar shells competed with choruses of screams cut short before
Across the street a pack of vampires dragged a pair of women--mother and daughter by
the look of themdown the steps of a smoldering brownstone, fighting and arguing with every
step over who had rights to the kill. No one stopped to help. They were too busy running for the
overturned cars that barricaded either end of the block, clamoring, climbing to escape this
All around her creatures that should have lived in the dark, in the night, or on the fringes
of the human world were running amok. In the broad light of day. The dregs of Mirus society
had erupted, and the ignorant, foolish humans were paying the price.
A shadow blotted out the sun, and she looked up to see a dragon, glittering black wings
extended in a magnificent show of strength as it hovered a dozen feet above the street. It inhaled,
armored chest expanding before it opened its enormous mouth and rained fire over every living
thing, Mirus and human.
Isla did not feel the burn, but that didn’t stop the bite of fear as she watched more people
swarm in. Fae soldiers with flashing blades took formation against a small army of goblins and
trolls. A pride of Felis and a pack of Wylk flanked the other side, tearing through the
disorganized ranks of underworld creatures with vicious claws and fangs.
Blood, so much blood.
The sound of mortar shells drew nearer until she could see the tanks of the human
military beyond the barricade of vehicles, surrounded by soldiers kitted out for urban warfare.
They were being picked off along either side by creatures Isla didn’t even recognize. As she
watched, a broad-shouldered, white-faced soldier went down under a mass of razor-studded
tentacles, the spray of blood soaking his nearby companions.
A voice rose upon the air, overpowering the sounds of violence with a language of the
ancients. Isla looked up to the rooftops and spotted a robed figure, arms raised to the heavens. In
a sharp, divisive motion, he brought his hands down and apart. The ground trembled and split.
Trolls and goblins screeched as they fell into the pit, and other fighters scrambled back to the
relative safety of the edge to continue fighting. Backs turned, they didn’t see the beasts that
emerged behind them, clawing, crawling, decimating everything in their path.
The staccato pop of automatic weapons announced the arrival of the military on the
scene. Some of the citizens they were allegedly protecting went down in the spray of bullets. A
young boy fell, motionless, across the body of a wraith. The dragon bellowed, rising up above
the chaos to lay waste to the barricade and unleashing the paranormal hell on the last hope of the