Enclave Origin Story

"As a child, I remembered watching my own village burn to the ground. I've been told that such was my fate. Creatures unlike anything I had ever seen before leaped back and forth through the flames, disappearing within the shadows. It was there that my family was taken from me. Slaughtered before my very eyes. I will never forget the beast, its white mask permanently turned up in a twisted grin with my family's blood spattered upon its sickly green skin. Then as it finished its deed and turned its glowing eyes upon me, it let out a shriek that pierced the very air around us, burning the sound into my memory like the flames burning across the walls behind it.

And then he appeared. A massive figure clad in black and cursing out the demon before him. He held a thin sword at his side, which seemed to glow in the flickering orange light. After what felt like an eternity, the man lunged for the beast, scarring its terrible mask with his blade. Although he tried to finish the job, the creature was too fast and soon vanished into the night once again. The figure did not follow, but instead turned to me and offered a hand. He asked me a number of questions that I cannot recall, but the first words I clearly remember him speaking were, 'You have a new family now.'

The Enclave saved my life. They raised me. They taught me everything I needed to know. While I no longer have a family to protect, I have devoted myself to protecting other innocent lives from the very same demons who changed my life. Such is the code of the Enclave.

Such is my fate."
-Felix Sergiu

Romania, 1841

It was quiet. Thick trees and shrubs blocked his view, leaving him entirely alone and unprotected in the small clearing. His eyes turned to the ground, analyzing the thin layer of snow under his feet. Perhaps the crunch of the fresh powder would alert him to another presence, but he quickly threw out the idea once he remembered what he was dealing with. He knew he wouldn't hear it coming. No one ever did.

Felix took a moment to readjust his hands, even though it didn't help. The rope was chafing against his skin, and the bitter cold was only making it worse. A massive, wooden post stood direct behind him, and although the rope was tied to the top and keeping his hands suspended above his head, it was still a tiring position to hold. The only comforting thought he had was that it wouldn't be much longer.

Despite the cold, a bead of sweat ran down from his forehead. He certainly wasn't warm, and his calm demeanor meant he was anything but nervous. At least, that's what he continued to tell himself. There was always a doubt in the back of his mind that maybe something would go wrong. Maybe it would be his last time—

In a single instant, the bushes right before him tore apart, revealing a hulking monstrosity in the clearing. It didn't waste a single moment, barely giving Felix a moment to study its mask before lunging right toward him. Time seemed to slow as he watched it close the distance and he soon realized that his time was indeed running out. He even caught his eyes beginning to widen as the last few moments he had faded away.

And then he heard the shot. The beast tumbled to the side and cradled its fresh wound, desperately searching for the culprit. It soon realized that it may not have another chance, and made another mad rush for Felix, who was a little startled at the creature's determination. Once again, apparently at the very last moment, there was a flash of steel just before Felix's eyes, cutting deep into the beast's skin. A small section of its mask crumbled away as it stumbled back a few steps to make sense of what had happened.

"Impeccable timing, Gabriel," Felix noted with a slight hint of a nervous tone.

"As always," the other man replied, not even turning back to see if Felix was unharmed. After a brief moment, the monster was on another attack run, this time heading straight for Gabriel. Without an ounce of hesitation, the man reached to his side and produced a long pistol from beneath his layers of black clothing. However, the monster was faster than he expected, swatting the weapon from his hands before he could pull the trigger.

It stepped from one swing into another wide arc, but Gabriel rolled beneath the massive arm and ran another deep gash across its side with his rapier. As he jumped back to his feet, his long silver hair and jet black cape flowed behind him with every movement as he continued to swipe the blade at the creature. Finally, it seemed to tire of the game and took another heavy swing. Gabriel was far too quick for it to matter, but Felix didn't expect it to come his way next. He barely had the time to hop over the arm, but still felt it crash into the post behind him and nearly snap it straight out of the ground.

Immediately, Felix began to pull on the rope as hard as he could, ignoring any of the pain shooting through his arms. After a few seconds of struggling, he could hear the post cracking and soon watched it start to lean toward him. He smiled at his success, but quickly realized that he was still in the way, which wiped the grin right from his face. The post toppled to the ground as he narrowly rolled out of the way and landed squarely on the monster before Gabriel. It desperately tried to claw its way out from under it, but it was no use. After taking a moment to watch it grasp at straws, Gabriel cleaved its mask in two, letting it burn away in a brilliant, blue fire.

Once Felix was on his feet again, he felt Gabriel cut the ropes around his hands and finally free him. Immediately, he rubbed his wrists and watched as Gabriel wandered back to his pistol, snatched it from the snow and returned it to its holster.

"When you asked for my help, I was not aware that this is what you had in mind," Felix said, a slight grin finding its way back to his lips.

"If there is one reliable method for luring these creatures out of their hiding places," Gabriel smiled back as he paused for a moment, "it is bait."

"Good to know that you think so highly of me," remarked Felix sarcastically, turning away and wandering off to a small group of shrubs at the treeline. He kicked off some of the snow and began digging about beneath the leaves. Eventually, he produced a rapier of his own before examining the hilt and quickly strapping it to his side.

Gabriel let out a chuckle, then slapped a hand on Felix's shoulder. "You're the most promising student we have. I wouldn't have taken you at all if you were anything less."

"Both you and Master Octavian seem to think I'm so gifted. Why is it that I reminan unconvinced?" the young man asked, his smile fading away. Before Gabriel could answer, his mind raced over every possible answer he could think of, although he wasn't entirely sure about any of them. Perhaps he was just lucky.

"You have yet to lead. When you are given command, then I am certain that your potential will shine the way it was always meant to. People change when the lives of others are placed in their hands."

"Did you?"

Gabriel fell silent at the question. His eyes floated to the ground and stared into the pale snow. Eventually, he opened his mouth and quietly answered, "I became what I had to be."

Another spell of silence overcame the two men as a number of white flakes began to flutter their way down from the sky. Soon, a light snowfall had surrounded them and only seemed to make the still air that much more quiet. Finally, Gabriel turned to his partner, simply stating, "We'd best find our way back to the camp."

Felix nodded in agreement and slowly followed Gabriel into the forest.

The sun was already well on its way toward the horizon by the time they arrived back at camp, although it was debateable whether or not you could call it one. Their group of hunters had taken residence within the ruins of a small chapel and the couple houses that remianed standing around it. Through the orange remnants of the daylight, the snow still refused to let up and had covered everything in a fresh white blanket, including the few tents they had set up.

"Were you successful?" one hunter asked Gabriel as they strode past. He didn't stop walking, but immediately answered with a turn of his head.

"We were, but there are still many more waiting for us. Our assignment is far from complete." The other hunter only bobbed his head, then returned to his work. Felix watched him for a moment as he etched a few markings into the hilt of a sword. It was the beginning of a new glyph, but when he tried to lean a little closer, he realized that Gabriel was already moving on without him, so he pulled himself back and quickly caught up again.

"Have you sent a report?" Gabriel inquired to another man as he came to a stop.

"Yes, sir. We sent a runner two hours ago." Pleased at the answer, Gabriel patted the man on the shoulder, then turned away and continued his way through the rest of the camp.

"What now?" Felix asked, staring into the sunset. "There is little time to get anything more done today."

Gabriel gave a single nod, then turned around to meet Felix's eyes. "Now, we rest. The work we completed today has confirmed one of my fears about this place." Before Felix could even open his mouth to ask further, Gabriel had turned back and wandered further into the ruined chapel, where the two could be alone.

Most of the walls had crumbled away, but the arch above the front doors remained intact, providing a gateway of sorts to view the beauty that had once existed under the roof. Large blocks of stone were scattered about, with only shreds of the past peeking through. A few twisted and broken candelabras were tucked away into the low corners, and the remnants of a chandelier could be seen if one were looking for them. The thin layers of snow managed to hide most of the history, as if nature herself were trying to mask the past.

"We were sent to thin their numbers, were we not? Master Octavian said—" Felix asked as he stumbled in after Gabriel, but was quickly cut off.

"Master Octavian may have been wrong about this place. The creatures are attacking more frequently than before, and something seems to be augmenting their strength. The one we faced today was strange. It almost seemed as if it was sent to die while the real threat watched in the distance."

"Could that really be true?"

"I don't know, but I'm beginning to dislike this assignment more with every passing day," Gabriel explained, his eyes fixated upon what used to be the altar. Part of the remaining wall rose up behind it and although the stained glass was long since missing, the thin arch still let through what little sunlight it could. Gabriel slowly took his time to wander up the broken steps and run a hand across the altar, brushing off some of the snow and staring at the faded patterns etched into the corners of the stone.

Before either man could say another word, a scream from the camp broke the air. They shared a glance for no more than a second, then bolted out the doorway and back to the rest of the men waiting. Everyone had their weapons drawn and pointed in every direction, but there was nothing else to be seen. The air was as still as it had ever been.

"What happened?" Gabriel demanded, charging straight into the group of hunters.

"It… It took Stelion! From nowhere, it just grabbed him and he was gone!" The nervous man pointed a hand out to an empty space not far away, where it had obviously happened. "We don't know where it—"

Another scream interrupted him and another hunter was quickly dragged off from the opposite direction. Everyone shifted their attention to watch, but no one could muster the courage to attack. Gabriel grabbed a nearby torch and threw it where he had disappeared, but when it landed, it revealed nothing. Whatever had taken him had vanished again.

His eyes narrowed as he slowly drew his rapier, looking around in every direction for a clue. Felix followed cautiously behind with his own blade in hand. While he assessed the situation, Gabriel explained that everyone should remain as quiet as possible. They didn't want to upset the creature. Suddenly, as Felix continued to scan the treeline, he caught sight of something. A pair of glowing, yellow eyes, staring straight at him.

They immediately locked sights. He could see the beast, and it could certainly see him, but neither one was acting. Somehow, Gabriel was continuing his explanation, apparently oblivious that the monster watching them as he spoke. As slowly as he could, Felix reached for the nearest torch. Once he felt his hand wrap around it, he threw it with all his might right toward the pair of eyes in the darkness.

Everyone's attention snapped to Felix's sudden movement and they all traced the path of the spinning torch as it soared through the air. When it landed, however, their eyes shot open and their mouths dropped. What had been one pair of eyes had turned into more than they could count, and after a brief moment of tense silence, creatures of every shape leaped from the shadows and closed in on the men.

As the assault began, the entire camp devolved into chaos. The hunters tried to fight off as many as they could, but they were too great in number to make any significant progress. For every one they cleansed, another two would seem to take its place. Gabriel had his pistol in hand and his rapier in the other, swiping at anything that came close and firing seemingly impossible shots whenever he could.

One more beast burst into blue fire as Felix severed its head and turned his sights to another. However, he stopped dead in his tracks when he locked eyes with it. The shape of it was all too familiar and Felix knew he recognized every single detail, right down to the way it carried itself. Its mask was twisted up into a terrifying smile, and across one of its eyes, a deep scar. They both stared each other down for a long time before it finally let out a sickening howl.

A howl that Felix had heard before.

All at once, the memories of his childhood came flowing back and shattered his focus. The creature saw his sudden disorientation and made its move, taking a long running leap toward him. Still incapacitated, all Felix could do was watch as its teeth moved ever closer. Again, time seemed to slow to a crawl as he counted down to his death. At the last moment, however, the flash of a familiar sword and a trail of blue fire quickly slammed shut the beast's jaws and sent it reeling back.

Gabriel stood proudly before Felix, his cape billowing out into the wind as he held his rapier down low at his side. Some of his clothes had been shredded, but despite the damage, he didn't seem any less of a warrior. Felix stared up in awe, feeling almost like the child within the burning village again. Before he could say anything, Gabriel had charged forward and engaged the creature in combat again. The closer he tried to watch, the faster the duel seemed to move. Soon, Gabriel had lured the creature away and tried to finish it off with a shot from his pistol, but had it swatted out of his hand yet again. He spun around and tried to make a lunge for his weapon, but the monster was too fast. It jumped straight toward him, tackling him straight through a stone wall and into the chapel ruins.

With a shake of his head, Felix snapped himself out of his daze and pulled himself to his feet. As he scanned the rest of the battle, he could see that the demons were finally losing. Their numbers had dwindled and those that remained were beginning to retreat. A few hunters followed them into the trees while the others tended to their wounds. Felix, meanwhile, knew that he still had a fight to finish. He scooped up Gabriel's pistol as he sprinted into the ruins after them.

The first thing he saw emerge from the dust was the creature, holding Gabriel's limp body in a single claw. It slammed him into the ground a few times before finally noticing Felix and throwing him aside. Slowly, as if preparing to pounce on its prey again, it flicked it's back legs, then made a single leap forward. Like a reflex, Felix threw out the pistol and pulled the trigger, letting loose a blast of gunpowder that seemed to travel all the way up his arm. As soon as the shot rang out, the beast let out a shriek of pain and threw itself to the ground. Felix didn't waste a moment as he rushed straight to Gabriel's side.

"Gabriel! Are you all right?" he pleaded, lifting the other man up. Blood was running from his mouth and from the various cuts along his face. It took him a long moment to open his eyes and look upon Felix. He let out a few weak coughs, then answered,

"They will look to you." He slowly lifted a finger and pointed out toward the camp. "Now is your chance, Felix. Let yourself do what you have to. Their lives are in your hands. Lead them home."

Felix could do nothing but watch as the last few remnants of life faded from Gabriel's eyes. His body went limp while Felix dropped his head in sorrow. Slowly, he laid him down and placed his rapier back with his body. He took a long moment to stare at the pistol in his hands and went to return it as well, sliding it back into its holster. As he pulled his hands back, however, he stopped himself. He couldn't just leave it here. Gabriel would have wanted more than that. Instead, he undid the holster from Gabriel's body and clutched it in his own hand. Just as he went to put it on himself, he heard something moving behind him.

He turned around to see the creature lifting itself up once again. A large chunk of its mask had broken away, but it was still standing. It looked over Felix, then turned away and began to retreat back toward the camp, but he followed right on its heels. Felix had only one thought left in his mind. He needed to finish what had been started.

As he returned to the camp, a number of the remaining hunters had gathered around. When asked, none of them claimed to have seen the creature escape. Now as confused as ever, Felix began frantically searching their surroundings. He knew it was still there. The more he focused, the more he began to think he could feel it.

Suddenly, the very reality before them seemed to tear apart, revealing a swirling black void beyond it. The men all stared in awe as the creature emerged, along with countless more reinforcements. They all knew that the battle was surely lost, but at least they knew that they would not be the last of their kind.

"You're all stronger than I thought," it said in a high-pitched voice, as if mocking them with every word. It took a few steps out of its void and back into their world as it added, "But you cannot win. I know all about the messenger you sent back to your precious Enclave. We will follow, then snuff out your entire worthless brotherhood in a single stroke. You are all doomed. Every one of you."

The news hit the men hard. Most of them shared glances with each other while the rest simply sank their eyes to the ground. The Enclave was over, and they all knew it. There was nothing left in the world for them. Felix's gaze never broke from the creature's glowing eyes, however. He had lost everything, and now there was only one thing that he knew he needed to do.

"I have no intention of letting you escape alive," Felix replied without a moment's hesitation. Although they had little morale to spare, the men were already rallying behind him. If they had nothing else to lose, what was stopping them?

"Is that so? I can tear the very fabric of time, boy. You'll be fighting me for eternity if I so wish it! What say you to that?"

"You may be able to break our morale, and kill our leaders, but so long as one of us lives, so too does the Enclave. My name is Felix Sergiu, and the men behind me are just such survivors. They are my family, and I will not let you take them away from me again!" A loud cheer went up around Felix.

"Let it be known that the Enclave stood the ground between good and evil and did not back down! Let it be known that we are not afraid of you! If you say we will fight for eternity, then so be it! Men!" Immediately, they all perked up and waited for his orders, each one proudly displaying their weapons in hand. Felix paused for a long moment, however, making sure that he had the attention of everyone involved. Finally, he opened his mouth and quietly said,

"Such is our fate."

All at once, the group of men charged straight forward. The creature recoiled in fear and fell back into its void, but couldn't close the tear in reality fast enough. Soon, all the hunters had piled in, taking the monsters within by surprise. Only a few seconds passed before the tear slammed shut, trapping them all inside. They had no way of getting back home now, but what home was there? All they had left was each other, and now they were all together in battle for the last time.

Meanwhile, the snow continued to fall as if nothing had happened. The camp was silent. The ruins were lifeless. The world was peaceful yet again.

But this was not the last time that the world would see Felix Sergiu.

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