Sean and Moira O’Shea were both very young and very much in love, when they were married in a small Catholic church just outside of Dublin, Ireland. The pair had left their poor families behind, as both of the lover’s parents were against the young couple’s union. However, Sean and Moira were full of hope, and nothing was going to stop them from being together.
After their marriage, Sean and Moira moved into a poverty-stricken housing complex in Dublin, as both were not able to earn much money. Neither of the pair had gone to university, and work prospects were few and far between. In fact, the young couple had to wear their heavy coats to bed, as they had no money for heat in their little flat. Each day was full of struggle just to buy food, but the newlyweds were happier than they had ever been in their entire lives.
Moira discovered that she was pregnant just 4 months later. The couple tried to be happy, as they truly wanted to have a child. However, it was going to be too difficult for the young couple to pay their bills, let alone take care of a child, with what little money that they had. So, the pair decided to go to back to their parents for help.
This turned out to be a poor choice for Sean and Moira, as both of their parents were angry that the pair could be so foolish. Moira’s family disowned her, and Sean’s family was too embarrassed to have the couple to stay with them in their home. So, Sean’s father gave the desperate couple enough money to get rid of them. Over the years, Sean and Moira never saw or spoke with their families again. They were on their own.
Moving back to Dublin, Sean and Moira worked very hard to make a home for their future child. They vowed that they would love their child, and dreamed about giving the symbol of their love the best life that they could. That’s when the God answered the young couple’s prayer by gracing Sean with steady work at a warehouse. The young couple was going to make it, just barley.
Rachel O’Shea arrived 9 months later. She was a beautiful child, with Moira’s red hair and blue eyes. Sean and Moira seemed doubly blessed, as Rachel was an exceptionally good baby. Rachel would sleep all through the night, and would have to be woken in order to be fed. She would just smile when she was awake. It seemed that all was right in the world.
As Rachel grew, she continued to thrive. Even though the O’Shea’s were very poor, Rachel’s parents more than made up for this with love and praise. When it was time for Rachel to start school, she was well ahead of her classmates, and had already developed a strong character and forgiving personality. In fact, she often took up for those children that could not stand up for themselves. She was as fiery and energetic as she was kind and thoughtful.
But, Rachel’s life was about to take a tragic turn. On Rachel’s 10th Birthday, the O’Shea family was returning home from a meager celebration at a local restaurant when Sean decided to take a short cut through a dark alley. The happy family was too full of joy to notice that a darkness was slowly engulfing them. When Sean O’Shea finally realized that something was blocking their path, it was too late.
The Entity struck out of the darkness like a hidden viper. Its speed and utter darkness was almost beyond human perception. Before anyone could even react, Sean O’Shea was on his knees, his throat torn open from shadowy claws. Moira was next. Before she could even scream, the horrific demon was upon her, driving its dark talons deep into her chest. The foul beast then turned to Rachel, and paused. A cold and sadistic gleam filled its eyes, and a serpentine tongue flickered out of its elongated mouth. The bastard was going to take his time with Rachel.
That’s when the stranger appeared. He was in front of the shadow beast before Rachel even knew he was there. Something flashed in the darkness, a silver streak in the darkness, and the demon thing began to howl with pain. Again, the silver flash in the night, and the foul creature grasped at its wrist where once its long clawed hand had one been. The stranger started to shout in some strange tongue, and the dark beast began to roar in terror. Almost as quickly as it had appeared, the dark thing was gone. The stranger turned to Rachel, a look of sadness clear in his features. Rachel then looked at her lifeless parents, and fell to the blood soaked street.
The next thing Rachel knew, she was sitting up in a bed, located in some stark white room. The only thing that seemed to break the harsh white glare was the dark shape of a crucifix hanging on the wall. Rachel then heard a tender voice, and turned to see that she was being tended to by a nun. Again, the dark colors of the nun’s garments seemed to be the only object that contrasted with anything else in the room. The nun looked deeply into Rachel’s eyes, and began to praise God that He had taken mercy on the little girl. She then began to tell Rachel a truly sad tale.
Apparently, Rachel had been in the hospital for a long time. Two years, in fact. During that time, Rachel would only stare out in silence, a mask of expressionless emptiness upon her face. The police had brought Rachel to the small hospital after they had found her in that nightmare alley. Rachel’s parents were dead, and no other family had come forward to claim her. She had been taken care of by hospital staff, as well as the nuns from the local mission. Until that time, no one was even sure that little Rachel would ever wake up.
After months of questioning by local authorities, Rachel was given over to the nuns of Saint Mary’s Orphanage for care. No longer a ward of the state, it would be up to the church to see to Rachel’s care. The nun that was at Rachel’s side when she awoke in the hospital, Sister Theresa, was also working at Saint Mary’s. The two would soon become inseparable, a mother that could not have children and a daughter who had lost her parents.
At first, Rachel was afraid of everything, and would jump every time a shadow moved. Sister Teresa tried to console Rachel as best she could, but the frightened little girl had just experienced too much. Rachel was constantly on the verge of tears, and would scream out often in the night. The other sisters at Saint Mary’s were often very critical of Sister Theresa, and would tell her to stop focusing on just one little girl. After all, they had many other children to tend to.
Life at Saint Mary’s soon turned out to be even more difficult for Rachel. Older girls, who had been orphans for much longer than most, would terrorize the smaller girls at the orphanage. They would tease and scold the children out of spite, and were physically abusive when no one was looking. At first, these older girls completely dominated Rachel. Over and over again, they tormented Rachel relentlessly. After all, Rachel was easy to pick on. But, this was not to last.
As the years went on, and Rachel was educated about the scriptures, she began to realize that something was wrong. If God was all-powerful, and protected His sheep, why didn’t He protect Rachel? Why would God allow something so horrific happen to someone He was supposed to love? This doubt soon turned into a simmering anger, and then into a blinding rage.
The older girls at Saint Mary’s were the first to feel this growing anger. After a few fights, they soon learned to leave Rachel alone. More than that, they soon learned to leave everyone else alone as well, as Rachel would jump into almost any confrontation without any provocation. Sister Theresa was unable to help Rachel, and was becoming desperate. If she could not reach Rachel, then she would be sent to another home for the more troubled orphans.
That’s when Sister Theresa was visited by Sister Mary Ruth. Sister Mary Ruth was a specialist in dealing with troubled girls. She had special privileges and training in psychology that allowed her to take these troubled girls into a special program that focused on individualized care. Sister Mary Ruth took it upon herself to help Rachel, and took the struggling youth to a secluded area of the countryside.
There, Rachel and Sister Mary Ruth would engage in bitter debates about the nature of God, and about the horrors of the world. Over and over, Rachel would lash out at Sister Mary Ruth, calling her vulgar names and belittling her calling. Sister Mary Ruth would take all of this in stride, knowing that Rachel would either see the truth, or be lost forever.
One night, after a particularly long round of heated discussions with Sister Mary Ruth, Rachel left her room. She walked out into the night, and began to curse God. Rachel screamed. She cried. She threw rocks into the air. She smashed small trees, and dared God to deal with her. She had endured enough, and Rachel wanted a reckoning.
After what seemed like an eternity, Rachel was finally exhausted. Her rage spent, Rachel slumped down onto the cool ground. She wept for a moment, and then fell asleep. She was simply too tired to care anymore.
In her tired slumber, Rachel began to dream. She saw her father and mother, as they were before that horrible night in the alley, and remembered their love and affection. She remembered how she used to laugh until her stomach hurt. She remembered how devoted her parents were to her, even when she was not acting like the good little girl that she was. She saw them gently telling her to be better, because they knew that she could be.
That’s when the angel appeared in Rachel’s dream. He first appeared as either Rachel’s father or mother, depending on what he was trying to tell Rachel. He told her about how much a parent loves their child. He told her about how good it felt to see your child succeed. He showed Rachel what true love was all about. Then, he took on the appearance of brilliant light, so that he could get Rachel’s full attention.
He told Rachel that she was not abandoned by God, but saved by God. He told Rachel that, even through all of her anger and defiance, God still loved her. Rachel was blessed because, even though she had been acting badly, she never lost the goodness in her heart. He told Rachel that she could have easily lost her soul to the darkness of the world, but that she still kept the love of righteousness within her. Most importantly, he told Rachel that she had a calling; a special purpose. All she had to do was accept that God loved her, and give her life to Him, and He would use her to help all of the other little children in the world remain safe from the darkness. God had spared Rachel to be a guardian and guide to the lost and the weak. It was her choice, and all she had to do was love.
After this transforming experience, Rachel awoke a new person. She was literally born again, and all of the hate and anger that she had felt were gone, replaced with focus and purpose. As Rachel turned and started to stand, she was surprised to see Sister Mary Ruth approaching her. Sister Mary Ruth had tears in her eyes, and simply embraced Rachel when she was close enough. She had been there all night, and watched silently from the shadows. She knew that Rachel needed to make her peace with God, and only wanted to make sure that Rachel did not hurt herself. When Sister Mary Ruth saw the look of serenity upon Rachel’s face, she knew that the young girl had finally found her role in God’s plan.
Over the next few years, Rachel studied as much as she could about the Bible, God, and history. She wanted to know as much about her new role in creation as she could. Sister Theresa, stunned by Rachel’s sudden transformation, provided all of the knowledge at her disposal. Within months, Rachel had consumed all that Sister Theresa could provide, so the two would take all day outings to the local churches and seminaries. Rachel just could not get enough.
When Rachel was 18, she enrolled in a local Catholic university, and majored in Theology. She quickly rose to the top of her class, and was know by her instructors as one of the greatest theological students that the university had ever seen. This was not just because Rachel could recite passages from the Bible verbatim, but also because of her fiery passion to learn about all aspects of faith and religion.
At 22, Rachel graduated at the top of her class, and gave one of the most memorable graduation speeches that had ever been given at the university. Many other universities had already prepared places in their graduate programs for Rachel, and offered complete scholarships as well. Without a doubt, Rachel could have gone anywhere in the world with her knowledge, but she chose to go to a convent.
While many were a little disappointed by Rachel’s choice, Sister Theresa and Sister Mary Ruth were overjoyed. They understood how significant the orphanage and the church were in helping Rachel find peace, and they wanted to help Rachel realize her dreams of sharing that gift with the rest of the world. In fact, the two Sisters used Rachel’s story as inspiration for the new girls that were brought to Saint Mary’s.
After Rachel had satisfied all of the requirements to become a nun, she was sent back to Saint Mary’s in order to help all of the children there. This made Rachel very happy, because she realized that she could do much good in the Lord’s name. She would also be close to Sister Theresa. However, things were about to change for Rachel.
One night, while returning late to the orphanage after tending to a local girl that had become very sick, Rachel heard some commotion in a nearby alley. Almost too afraid to move, after the events that had so clearly changed her life, Rachel was about to run for help. However, a strength and resolve filled her heart. She was not going to let something terrible happen to another child, even if it meant that she would die.
Holding her Crucifix in her hand, Rachel walked into the dark alley with conviction. As she went deeper into the darkness, the strange sense of comfort that she felt in her heart grew into a boundless power. By the time that Rachel found the source of the commotion, she was ready to stare down the Devil himself.
As she turned the last corner in the dark alley, she came upon a ghastly sight. Scattered across the filthy alley were the bodies of 3 different people, all covered in blood. Only one person remained standing in the alley, obviously focused on something deeper in the darkness. The stranger turned with hesitation, and turned pale as Rachel approached.
Almost faster than the eye could follow, a horrid demon appeared from the darkness. It slammed its barb-covered arm into the stranger’s chest, sending him flailing across the gore smeared scene. The demon instantly turned its attention to Rachel. The stranger tried to call out, but gasping breaths were all that escaped his mouth.
Rachel looked at the monster with defiance, and started to recite the 23 Psalm. The demon wailed in agony, and recoiled like it had been struck with a hammer. Before the demon could regain its footing, Rachel pressed her advantage, and strode directly at the demon. Before she knew what she was doing, Rachel began to speak in a strange tongue, and the demon reacted even more violently.
Jerking its limbs through the air, like it was trying to bat away a swarm of angry insects, the vile demon stumbled back against a wall. Trapped, the horrific monster could only shriek with pain. As the demon’s cries reached an earsplitting volume, Rachel stretched out her hand. From some unknown source, a faint light seemed to emanate from the night, and caused Rachel to glow with a soft white gleam. Her arm outstretched, Rachel said one more strange syllable, and the demon began to turn to dust. Within a few seconds, the vile beast was no more.
Rachel calmed, and turned to face the stranger. As if struck across the face, the stranger could only stare back at Rachel in disbelief. After a long few moments, Rachel began to move closer to the stranger, asking if he was hurt. The stranger, now fully recovered from his initial shock, rose to his knees. From behind him, the stranger pulled out a strange looking sword, and placed it point down into the dirty pavement. His head lowered, the stranger began to give praise to the Lord.
Before anything else could be said, numerous voices and frantic lights began to emanate from behind the two survivors of the nightmare alley. As Rachel turned, the stranger rose from his kneeling position, and grabbed Rachel by the arm. He insisted that Rachel follow him, and began to pull Rachel further down into the alley. Although hesitant to follow the strange man, Rachel allowed herself to be pulled along by the powerful warrior.
Halfway down another alley, the stranger pulled Rachel through a door that he had opened, and quickly turned to bar the portal as soon as the pair was inside. It was a dark, and oddly smelling, small room that had no real furniture or other embellishments. Instead, the room was neatly arranged with only spartan furniture and boxes. The stranger placed his finger over his lips, urging Rachel to remain quiet.
The two remained silent and motionless for a couple of hours, as local authorities filled the alleys outside the conservative little room. After a while Rachel realized the strange smell that she encountered when she had first entered the small room was incense. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Rachel could also see a table in one corner. A Bible and Crucifix were neatly arranged on the small table, along with a pistol and a knife. Surprised, but not frightened, Rachel patiently waited in the darkness while the stranger focused his attention through a small tinted window.
After the commotion had subsided outside, the stranger turned to Rachel, and smiled. He moved to another corner of the little room, and opened a small refrigerator. Pulling out two bottles of cold water, he turned to Rachel, and thanked her for her cooperation. Holding out a bottle for Rachel, the stranger cleared his throat, and introduced himself. His name was Ian Carnegay, and he was a Crusader.
Hours passed as Ian explained to Rachel what a Crusader was. Realizing that Ian was putting himself at risk by sharing such a dangerous secret, Rachel politely listened to Ian as he explained his calling. After Ian had finished his explanations, he turned to Rachel and smiled knowingly.
Ian then explained that he knew Rachel. In fact, he had known of her for quite some time. As it turned out, Ian was there the night Rachel’s parents had been murdered. He was on the monster’s trail that had so violently ruined Rachel’s childhood, and was too late in reaching the beast before it had caused such serious harm. Instantly, Rachel realized that she remembered Ian, and that he was speaking the truth. With tears in her eyes, Rachel could only stare at Ian in surprise.
That is when Ian held out his sword, and Rachel realized that the silver streaks in the darkness that she had seen were caused by the silver gleam of Ian’s sword. Ian had been the stranger in the darkness that had saved her so long ago. With the painful truth laid out before her, Rachel moved slowly across the dark little room, and embraced Ian.
Over the next several months, Rachel and Ian spent a great deal of time together. They would talk about the darkness, and how the church had battled the evils of the world for hundreds of years. Rachel, as fascinated by Ian’s stories as she had been by her studies of the Bible, was an apt pupil. It didn’t take long for Ian to realize that he was in a dangerous position. He felt like he owed Rachel the truth, as he had failed to protect her family all those years ago, but he was also afraid of involving Rachel too deeply in his cruel and shadowy world.
Just as Ian was pulling away from Rachel, she asked the one question that Ian was terrified that she would ask. Rachel wanted to become a Crusader. Ian refused, and almost angrily chastised Rachel for even saying such nonsense. But, Rachel was strong willed, and told Ian that she would become a Crusader, with or without Ian’s help. Reluctantly, Ian agreed to begin Rachel’s training a week later.
Rachel was a passionate student, and readily absorbed all of Ian’s teachings: Demonology, Forensics and Criminology, Occult teachings and Weapons training. For more than a year, Rachel trained to become a weapon in God’s service.
When Ian felt that Rachel had learned all that she could without actually hunting a demon, he presented her to his masters in The Order of Enoch. They were impressed by Rachel’s abilities, and were especially interested in her miraculous powers of faith. They agreed to allow Rachel to become a Crusader.
In order to remove Rachel from the questions and scrutiny she would experience at the orphanage, The Order of Enoch created an elaborate plan to assign Ian’s new team of Crusaders far across the sea. In Old Chicago, were new police personnel were constantly in high demand, the team would find a mission. They would start their new lives safely enfolded in the security of new identities and new surroundings.
Rachel took to the new assignment with zeal. She was hired by the OCPD as a detective, and assigned to the Special Crimes Unit, thanks to the immaculate false credentials that The Order of Enoch had provided. She was also very capable of living up to her new role, and actually helped solve a few big cases within months of being hired. Best of all, the young and relatively inexperienced team of Crusaders were beginning to come together into a real unit.
That’s when the problems started. First, conflicting reports started to arrive from The Order of Enoch. The group was being pulled by different superiors in different directions. Supplies and other vital requisitions were either delayed or lost. Requests for aid were being ignored, and funds started to dry up. Ian was becoming more and more frustrated by the politics and personal agendas that were starting to dominate The Order of Enoch. It was beginning to get desperate.
That’s when the darkness descended on the young Crusaders. Through masterful plans and feints, a demon possessed city official managed to set up various members of the little team, and were taking them out one by one. Almost powerless to stop the vile fiend, Ian urgently stated his position to his superiors, but nothing was ever sent in return except excuses. The group, pushed to the breaking point, decided to make a bold strike at their foe. It was going to be decisive, and then they would deal with the politics.
Things did not go well for the weak group of Crusaders, and the strike against the demon was tragically flawed. The team was annihilated, and only Ian and Rachel were able to press their attack against the demon. Before Rachel could finish banishing the beats back to the darkness, it managed to seriously injure Ian. The pair was barely able to escape with their lives, and paid for their bravery with blood.
After these sad events, Ian and Rachel decided that it was time to bring light back to the darkness that The Order of Enoch had fallen into. Ian, not able to continue in field operations, went back to the main fortress of The Order of Enoch in order to combat the darkness and corruption staining the once pure and blessed society. Rachel would continue to fulfill God’s purpose for her, and relocated to Angelus, in order to combat the evil that was emanating from that massive city. She was almost immediately recruited by XSWAT. Rachel intends to use the men and women of this organization to help her combat the evil that is plaguing the city. She feels must keep her former life secret, a fact which pains Rachel deeply, but she also realizes the danger to others be letting them get too involved in the deadly games that are being played by shadowy manipulators. Only time will tell if Rachel will be able to trust her companions enough to tell them the truth. By that time, it might be too late.
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