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Danish Special Forces encountered something months ago, we are under attack.

LOG_NAME: "NORTH DENMARK INCIDENT" AUTHOR: "KRAKEN" DATE: MAR2023 | APPROX <0030 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am a member of the Danish Royal Navy’s Frømandskorpset, more popularly known as the “Danish Frogmen”.

For those of you who are well knowledgeable on international special forces, you’ve probably seen that now famous photo of a fireteam aboard a boat with veils obscuring their faces. That is also probably one of the pieces of information you’ve ever received on us, as my home country’s naval special warfare unit is shrouded in mystery for good reason.

We’re NATO’s silent workhorse having followed larger nations and militaries into conflict zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, The Balkans, to some places that… aren’t declassified. Out of the nearly 600 applicants the Royal Navy gets for its Frømandskorpset a year, less than a dozen actually make it in, and fewer still are able to give up everything to make this a long term career. I am one of the few, I have been with the teams for several years and I have found great pride in my service. Above all I have been committed to every aspect of my job, and that includes the vow of silence we take… that is, until today.

I’ve waged war against men from every corner of the world, state sanctioned and true believer, terrorist, yet… the fight that shook me to my core wasn’t on some far off battlefield but right here at home.

For the sake of those I’ve served with, and lost, “codenames” will be used to obscure their identity and mine.

I lead a four man team element under a larger squadron, “Codfish” as I’ll call him is our comms man, skilled in being able to obtain and maintain connection no matter the environment, no matter the equipment. For those of you who are in say the American or British militaries, we use the same AN/PRC radio series you guys do, and yes they do suck. However, Codfish has always been able to make do, which is why I’ve fought so hard to keep him on my team.

Next is my designated marksman, “Anglerfish”, Frogman teams are commonly used as a reconnaissance element to move ahead of a larger element and act as an early warning or forward guard. Anglerfish is an essential part of that as he utilizes a powerful scope to help detail the path and its terrain around it, along with being able to reach out and touch anyone we need removed. The pipeline for becoming a Danish sniper is one of the most grueling and humbling courses you could take, and it requires a fair amount of calculation, humility, and control- he is all of these things.

On the other side of the spectrum we have my gunner, “Largemouth”. Any military element assembled needs a suitable amount of firepower in case things go wrong, because they can and almost certainly will. Largemouth is one of the junior guys of my unit, and thus is being given a simple yet important task to maintain: The team’s fire support. Despite his inexperience, his ability to maintain rates of fire and ammo count, keep his head down, and do it all under the mission set of a frogman.

Then there’s me, “Kraken”, I’ve served with the unit for almost ten years now, experience in 4 official theaters and 2 classified ones. My CO calls me his “Hammer”, the one he sends in to take an objective that is absolutely essential.

Okay, now that you’ve got the context on my team, let’s get down to it. Danish “SOKOM” is seen as one of NATO’s finest units, and because of that it’s not uncommon for us to be called upon even as we are back home. However, when I got the text for my team to spin up, I was surprised to learn that we weren’t going to any active theater but… something right here at home. In total our complete element was around 12 servicemen, and all of us were ushered into one of the briefing rooms, per usual… However, details were slim to none.

It all started with the arrival of that damned fog… it’s not uncommon, this was during the height of the break up season after all. Well into the snow completely thawing and giving way to humidity and rain, with much of the northern marshlands near the north coast experiencing this. However… this wasn’t normal, centering around a small village, over the course of three weeks, all communications went from sporadic, to broken… to… nothing. The military wanted to get involved at first, however the government wanted the locals to handle it (leave it to them to let things go from bad to damn fucked). Investigators were sent in, and immediately all contact was lost with them.

After several days, only one transmission came from the town before everything went silent: “We’re with her now…. We have no need for our flesh or the outside world. She’s giving us all we need. She’s going to make us… beautiful…”

Finally, the Royal Army was set loose, and things only got more complicated from there. UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles aka drones) were sent in to try and survey the area… only to find almost the entire area beyond the village was engulfed in a dense fog that a 30 million Krone (4.5 million dollar) drone was unable to penetrate with neither thermal, IRS- anything. With the situation seeming dire, SOKOM prepared a full maneuver and needed their best to be the tip of the spear… and so The Frømandskorpset was called upon.

This wasn’t a usual mission for us, there was no knowledge of enemy combatants we could rationalize and then distance ourselves from, this was the unknown… a village on our home soil was being held hostage by… something, we didn’t know what, but what we did know was that every single soul that lived there was waiting for us to swoop in and help. And by every soul that we have ever failed, every god that has ever lived, we were going to. The walk out to the tarmac seemed a lot more tense that it normally had, and for reasons unknown to me the insertion would occur at night time.

Maybe our command believed our usual tactics of night infiltration would give us an advantage prior missions did not, whatever it was- they were wrong. Usually we would be climbing aboard a plane to be sent to a different continent, however instead we loaded up into a “Lynx”, a british dual twin engined helicopter used for close insert. This felt a lot more like a deployment than it did home turf.

The flight was short, 30 minutes but it felt like hours… I kept gripping my rifle, a MK18, a short barreled rifle imported from the United States. Plenty of the korps had started to use the new Sig MCXs, but my quadrailed workhorse had carried me through several tours… so like my team, I trusted it. Even inside of the helicopter, with noise canceling headphones, the sound of the engine was deafening… shaking my skull, combating the unsure scenario that had gripped my mind. I looked up to see Largemouth, locking eyes with me.. Nodding with a thumbs up. I returned the gesture, no matter what we would face, we would encounter it together.

We arrived at a staging ground near the Urggerby river near Hjørring. The fog complicated things to the point where an LZ for a bird couldn’t be planned. Not just because of any possible OPFOR in the area of operation, but, well… the mist wouldn’t allow the pilots to see any trees or flora, which could turn a quick landing into a mass casualty scenario. So, we did things the frogman way, from the water. A “rigid hull inflatable boat”, or a “Zodiac”, they’re the inflatable boats seen in every action movie. They’re cumbersome, they get shaken and thrown by any small waves, and they’re all around just a damn pain to use. However, they’re somehow still the most reliable source of redundant amphibious transportation we had second to swimming.

Our CO gave us our “ramp brief” right then and there on the dock, it was short and to the point: whatever mist exists seems to be screwing with the comms. Whether it’s moisture or something else, they’re going to have to formulate a conclusion as to what’s going on, and if they can, neutralize it. If not, we were to cut, fall back, and let the heavy guns roll in. We knew what that meant, and that we’d better hope we could find a much cleaner solution while we were on the ground. A pit in my stomach formed as we all stepped onto our rubber chariot and started off.

With darkness fully set in, the naked eye couldn’t see anything, so we took to using our GPNVGs… “quad nods”, as some would say. A set of four tubes allowing for a wide view that naked the dark seem as clear as day, albeit with a white and blue hue. This allowed us to safely travel down the river, Anglerfish taking point, Largemouth sat near the front incase we took any incoming fire, Codfish and I on either side. However… the ride got slower as we finally encountered the fog.

It seemed almost as if one moment it was there, the next, all over us, you could barely see the edges of the river and the green near it so Angler had to crank way-the-hell down. It then became a slow crawl through the marsh, our Zodiac turning left and right through the weaving river as the IR lasers mounted to our weapons, scanned across the edges of the fog, ready incase anything were to test us. And then… we were only a few kilometers from the village when the engine suddenly… died. One second, the low hum of the propellers, the next, off. This caused Angler to gaze back in surprise, a low mutter of “What the hell?”.

Largemouth kept watch as the rest of us moved to inspect the engine, Codfish opened it up and was astounded. “It’s in perfect condition…” he muttered, looking up at me; “Something’s preventing it from igniting, so it… just won’t start”. As he continued to dig deeper into the engine, triple checking to make sure his assessment wasn’t wrong, I sat there debating our options as the Zodiac drifted to a halt as the water remained deathly still, leaving us all in a permeable silence. That’s what I noticed first, the silence…

We frogmen spend a lot of time in the field, figuratively and literally soaking in nature’s worst, yet most pure conditions. I’ve spent a lot of time up to my mouth in swamp water, mud… and taking in nature you realize something; there is always some sort of sound. A cricket, a bird, anything… heat had returned to Europe so the winter’s cold wasn’t in effect, living creatures had come out of hibernation, and there are some LZs I’ve been to where the cicadas are so loud we had to yell to each other in order to hear. And yet, here? Dead silence, all ambient sound muffled by whatever the hell this fog was made of, and the water was still. This was an active river, there should be some sort of current. And yet? Whatever was in these woods commanded its respect. The forest around us was much more afraid of it than it was a team of Danish Special Forces operatives. We had to tread carefully.

I reached for something on my vest, a PTT(Push to talk) device that connected our headsets to a team frequency. Usually we were close enough to not need it, however it helped minimize the amount of noise it made. [“We aren’t getting any further on water, we need to ditch the raft and head in on foot”] I said, Codfish gave up on the engine and took up a watch position. From over the channel, Anglerfish asked [“What about our exfil?”]; [“-We’ll have to take the long way out”] I responded, slinging my rifle as I braced myself, and dropped feet first into the icy river, and dragged the raft to the shore.

As we stepped foot on soil, we beached the craft and maneuvered forward in a wedge; Largemouth to my right, Anglerfish to my left as he always seemed to help pick the best route to maneuver on, Codfish further back to keep our comms out of direct fire. The mist gave us little to no line of sight, only being able to see around five meters ahead at the most and that was it. An ambush could be waiting around any stump, any log, the trees were so condense it meant we had to twist and turn with every single step. And above all… I felt watched, I don’t mean my team… something from beyond the veil, predatory, malicious, was burning a hole through my soul. Watching us, waiting. This wasn’t ideal, and we were only a couple of steps from FUBAR.

Finally, through the milky gray wall I finally caught sight of what we had been waiting for… the rooftop corner of a one floor house and part of a wooden fence, poking through the fog like bones to be uncovered. The air was still, too still considering the port we had departed from was as windy as could be. I quickly motioned for my team to halt, everyone stopped on a dime with not a sound between us. From there, we took up positions; Largemouth took cover behind a large tree and sighted what seemed to be the road into town just to our 9 o’clock.

Denmark’s roads are decent, but this far out, left a considerable amount of dirt, cracks, and wear to be seen. Anglerfish covered our 3 o’clock, and Codfish knelt down and heaved his radio pack off his back. The unit was green brick, only visible from the antenna that remained half extended through the top of his bag. Fishing out the hand mic, he prepared to update our unit on our progress… that was until muttered under his breath in pain, dropping the hand mic. “Fuck… it shocked me-” he said, favoring his hand. That wasn’t good, these radios were lined with plastic and metal preventing any sort of harm to the user. Codfish tried again, keying into the hand mic however, shook his head. “I’m getting nothing…” he said, as he unzipped the bag and revealed the screen and button pad of the radio. To our surprise, it was dead, no frequency, no info. Nothing. “You made sure the battery was fresh, right?” I asked, to Codfish’s confusion as he pulled the metal brick from the bag, “of course, I don’t… what the-” Codfish’s words trailed off when he opened up the radio. The beige square battery, along with the entire inside of the radio was layered with moss. He had to fight to pry the battery out showing that it was caked in it, along with a ton of condensation.

“You know how to maintain your equipment?” Largemouth said, gazing at the site as he went back to scanning the road. “Shut your mouth, of course I do!!” Codfish snapped back in a harsh whisper. It wasn’t uncommon for moisture in a fog this thick to leak through bags, fatigues, rucks… but these radios were, under reasonable circumstances, able to hold up against being rained on for a considerable amount of time. That, and when the batteries are locked in, the compartment is virtually sealed… and it was inside a waterproof bag. Codfish hadn’t dropped into the river as well. Something wasn’t right… the more we fussed over the radio, the more it seemed the darkness around us was closing in, smothering us. “You think your Harris can reach it?” I asked, referencing the smaller radio mounted to his vest. We all had them to communicate through our headsets if need be, and they could reach out quite a ways. However, a proper radio unit was needed for sustainable communication. He switched to the T.O.C’s radio and keyed in. [“-Any station on this net, I am requesting a Radio check….”] I heard his words buzz through my headset.

Only silence answered, so I tried;

[“ElementLead to Main, Radio Check, over… Any station…”].

Nothing, although no words were said, I could feel the unanimous feeling of dread wash over all of us. “Pick up, we’re heading in…” I said, rising to my feet. “What about our comms? We’ve got no way to alert main” Codfish asked, packing away his radio. “We still need to figure out what’s happened, no info, no point to us being here… and we’re sitting ducks…” I explained, I looked to Largemouth; “You got anything?”. He shook his head “Negative, road is empty” scanning with his MG3. At the very least, we still had the element of surprise- hopefully. “What about you?” I asked Anglerfish.

No response from my designated marksman as he continued to stare out into the swamp, his rifle braced against the tree. I looked to Codfish, who gazed back, a mutual look of nervousness. I called out to Anglerfish again… and after a moment, he seemed to shake his head, coming out of disassociation.

“No, nothing” he said, picking up and preparing to move. “You good?” I asked, locking eyes with his GPNVG’s tubes as he slowly turned, staring at me; “Yeah…” he said, in a low tone. The pit in my stomach grew deeper with every single step we took into that hell, however I didn’t have the luxury of stopping for long. None of us did. I had my team form into a Diamond… Codfish and Anglerfish to my right and left, Largemouth covering our rear.

The roads were definitely experiencing the effects of the rainy season after several weeks of no maintenance, as a layer of mud and gravel caked the surface. The houses around us, dark, filled with shadows and pitch black voids were a mix of old style stone and hay, and newer brick houses with wood and tiles. However… all of them looked deserted. I probably would’ve been shivering from the wet cold of the air, had adrenaline not been pumping through every vein in my body. The low visibility of the fog and darkness left a thousand avenues of ambush and approach that needed to be covered, for a million possibilities. Our home was being overrun by whatever the parasitic mist had brought, and every single step we took drew us further and further into this mobile killbox.

I could tell my men were feeling it… Codfish focused far too much on certain windows and shadows, causing him to quickly, yet messily snap to new points. From the corner of my vision, through the white-blue of my nods, I could see Largemouth’s head snapping back again, and again. Yet… Anglerfish seemed distant, sniper’s needed to be calm, comfortable in uncomfortable situations… but he seemed too much to the point of complacent.

I wanted to call it out, yet, a shape from my front caused me to halt my team. We all took a knee, trying to hug the side of the road for cover as we were in the worst position possible. It was rectangular, four doors with a license plate that read; “AW 65 683” with a light bar on the top. Through the low light I could see it was white, with jagged markings… a police patrol vehicle. The front and rear left side doors were opened, the back window was smashed from a circular impact mark… blunt force trauma, a rock or a brick.

No signs of life from where we were… We moved in, Anglerfish and Largemouth took the right side, IR lasers scanning through as Codfish and I cleared the open left. It was empty… I had my team set in as I ordered Codfish to inspect the radios, seeing if there was anything we could work with. After a few seconds, he called me over… he was leaning in on the passenger’s, I slid in the driver’s head, flipping up my night vision. Codfish shined a red light, it was how we illuminated an area we needed to see without nods, without giving up our position light a white light would. It wasn’t that great, but as the red glow shined over the dashboard where a radio should be… only an empty radio mounted remained, covered in moss. In fact, the entire inside of the vehicle was dripping wet. While I initially thought it was the fog, the similarities to our radio sent a chill up my spine. “What do you think?” Codsfished asked. What did I think? I knew that whatever cut off our ability to contact our support, did so to the local forces. It was attempting to dissect through severing information chains… I knew that something was watching us, as every pore on my back felt like it was on fire from something staring at me. This fog was a screening device, it ate at the town, deteriorating it, taking the people, leaving ghosts behind… However, my team was on edge already, and the last thing I needed to do was rile them up. “We need to keep moving…” I muttered, Codfish hesitated for a second before exiting the vehicle. We kept maneuvering down the road, nothing but shadows and silence greeted us as you could hear the sounds of our boots treading through the mud and rock from every corner of this place.

Per our orders, we tried to locate any person, look for any signs of life.. To no avail. Doors remain unlocked and open, as we quietly breached and entered we found no one, just a layer of dust and water over everything. This continued for house, after house, as we tried our best to clear through, investigate… and came up with nothing. Still I waited, wondering where the first strike was going to come from. We were in no position to make it, not since we stepped off those docks. We were the best of the best, and I was leading us to our demise. We had reached a centerpoint of the village, a large stone church with a main tower that jutted up at least 20 meters high, piercing the fog. In fact, the mist seemed to get thinner the closer we got to it. My IR laser traced the stained glass windows and doors, the slits beside the doors, the stone stairs… “Might be a good point to rest at…” I said, turning back to Largemouth; “Cover the road, I’m going to-”.

Our low toned discussion was cut off by a loud bang that shook the silence of the village. The crack, and thoom jolted us awake as instincts took over, a sound we were all too familiar with.

A gunshot; it had arrived.

“Contact!!!” Largemouth yelled, seeing the assailant before I had. He took aim at the church door with MG3 and let loose; the german belt fed machine gun is referred to as the “buzzsaw” for good reason, in another time, another life, it had acted as a human wave reducer. Now? Our best chance at survival as it tore through the wood with a thunderous burst. The rest of us quickly rushed to the church’s stone wall, taking cover as Largemouth placed his gun on the top face of it. We were in no position to burn ammo, with no comms it meant no chance for resupply so I called “Watch and shoot!!”. Codfish covered us from behind as Angler took aim at the church with Largemouth, I kept my back to the wall and looked over at my gunner; “What did you see?”.

“Handgun from between the doors, cracked off a shot-” Largemouth said, sights glued to the front of the church. “Aimed at us?” I asked to confirm, however he retorted: “It was aimed out when it fired, likely just a bad shot, lucky for us”.

Codfish immediately snapped at Largemouth: “You did not even confirm if it was firing at us?! It could be a scared civilian!!”.

“We saw the patrol vehicle, the police were compromised” Largemouth argued. “Both of you shut it” I barked, silencing their feud. “We need to move, our position is no longer a secret…” Anglerfish muttered, gazing at the fog, my eyes followed his, as I muttered “It never was”.

“Wait!! Wait!! Please!!!” A voice from the church called out, Anglerfish and I quickly had our sights trained on the door with Largemouth as Codfish kept watch elsewhere. From the doors, the handgun… a revolver, was tossed out to the steps, as a police officer carefully stepped out, arms raised. Largemouth looked to me as I peeked over the wall; “We’re Royal Army, identify yourself!!”.

The man’s head dipped back in relief: “...Thank god… I am officer Lyster-” he said, confirming his affiliation, I stood up, a leap of faith that was returned when the officer dropped his hands, he then looked around, anxious of the situation as he gestured us inside. “Quickly… that exchange will not go unnoticed…” although Largemouth showed obvious signs of hesitation, I took the lead stating “Pick up your weapon, you’re gonna need it”. Lyster then grabbed his revolver and ushered us in. Inside the church, we had finally found it: signs of life, what was left anyways.

Village inhabitants had taken cover behind pews and tables, dimly lit candles illuminating the central area as the windows had been covered with curtains and blankets. The silent of the church broke out into relieved sighs and mutters as we entered. Mothers hugged daughters and sons, grandmothers… but little to no males, aside from Lyster and a couple of other officers. I took his chance to flip up my nods, Lyster quickly shoved what was left of the door closed as another officer barred it. Largemouth pulled off his helmet as I could see steam from his hot sweat entering the cool air.

“Why’d you open fire?” I asked Lyster, who rubbed his temples, embarrassed. “I… thought you were… one of them” Lyster said cryptically, deepening the pit in my stomach as I asked. “Them?”.

Lyster then gestured to behind us, the church’s priest greeted us, bowing his head.

“We are so glad to see you… we… are running desperately low” the old man said, tears welling up in his eyes. “It’s alright…” Largemouth said, setting the MG3 down on it’s biped as he knelt, from what I can only guess was him attempting to alleviate the back pain that every machine gunner felt. I ordered Anglerfish to take up a good overwatch position, to which he immediately climbed a small set of scaffolds used to help replace and maintain the church’s windows, stopping at a circular one above the doors. “I heard you say, you were… Army?” the priest said, I nodded; “Our radios are down so for now, it’s just us. We’ve been sent in as the forward element to figure out what happened here..”.

“It’s a swamp witch…” officer Lyster muttered, “repeat that, a what?” Codfish asked. “Not just any…” the priest said, he paused for a moment, locking eyes with all three of us, before he took a shaky inhale… and explained; “Over the past several years, the children who lived here said they saw the currents in the nearby bayou break. However, something changed… when the rainy season arrived, the mists that would come and go, didn’t leave… and as our home became more and more shrouded, people began to disappear.

First the men… then, the police when they tried to investigate… before long, people started to take refuge…”. I looked to Lyster, dread filling his eyes as he looked to the floor, then back to me “I… tried to lead a search party out there…” he said, breaking off as he fought to steady his voice. “...We couldn’t even see what was taking our guys out there before it was just me and a handful of others…” he said. I looked back to the priest, despair of the past several weeks was clashing with the relief of us being here, even if it was just the four of us… it was hope to them. “So… what the hell is it?”. “Nixie…” the priest stated, forcing his mouth to utter the word like it was a damned hex. “-or Nøkk, as the legend refers to her as. Some tales describe her as malicious, a being that lurks the swamps, hoping to kidnap. Others describe her as curious… this seems to be the former”. This was a lot to take in; some sort of legend from the folklore that was as entrenched in our home as the soil and dirt was. I wanted to believe it was hysteria, the priest and officer attempting to rationalize it. But… that didn’t explain the fog, the moss, the feeling of being watched, the disappearances, ‘Them’.... Wait.

“What did you mean by ‘them’-” I quickly asked Lyster, just as he was about to speak, Anglerfish called down: “We’ve got movement!! Front of the church, woodline, from our Ten to our Three he started, checking the chamber of his rifle. Lyster’s eyes quickly locked with mine; “You’re about to find out…”.

Once again, my instinct as a leader took over… I ordered the priest to get everyone to the safest position they could, which as he then called out: “-To the cellar, hurry!!!”. An anxious, yet surprisingly orderly stampede filled the church as the dozens inside the church hurried underground. I grabbed Lyster by the arm and told him and his officer to get down there and keep the people safe, but not before saying “blow out every light you’ve got here, we need it dark”. Lyster nodded, snapping into action as he and his men put out every single candle they could. I flipped down my GPNVGs, what was once an warm, orange room became a dark, blue and white battlefield. Largemouth was already set up, poking his MG3 through a gap in the broken wooden door as Codfish took aim through one of the slits beside it. With no entrances on any other side of the church, we prepared to defend the front.

I peeked through the other slit beside the door, rifle first, my suppressor leading as all our eyes were glued to the woodline across the street that our IR lasers scanned intensely like a lightshow… and what I saw sent a shiver down my spine. People, the disappeared, those taken… all walked through the marsh and tall grass across from the church. Butcherers, tailors, all those in between, and many of the lost officers all walked to the edge of the road and stopped. Their movements were unnatural, and the way they just stood there, opposing us… daring us. A leader amongst them emerged… the police chief. Even from across the street, I could see the blank face he had as he stared wide eyed at us. Silence filled the church, then broken up by the muffled cries of the civilians downstairs. Mothers trying desperately to calm their children down…The thing that was the police chief then spoke. His voice was monotone, like a puppet being controlled, yet his words came out smoothly… too smoothly: “Come on out… we need not fight”. A minute of silence passed; I gazed over to Codfish who gazed back, Largemouth was locked in place, taking aim. There was no playbook on this, how in the hell were you supposed to negotiate with a… a thing, a paranormal anomaly? I barked back with whatever I could think; “What did Nixie offer you?!”. “More happiness that we’d ever known…” his answer was immediate, and the artificial attempt at “emotion” behind his words shook something deep down inside of me. His voice echoed across the chapel as he continued; “You can feel it too, as can all of them… just come outside”.

“What’s the play?” Anglerfish asked.

“We should just lay into them” Largemouth suggested, Codfish scoffed “Enough of your bullheadedness” he muttered. I looked out and gazed at the chief, who… even now, I felt was looking directly at me: “You’re gonna betray everyone you swore to protect? The women? The children?” I asked. Then… a smile crossed his face as he said: “Oh…. don’t worry…. Once the children went underneath, they’ve never felt pain again”.

My throat ran dry.

The last thing I heard was Largemouth angrily cursing beneath his breath as he let loose; The retrofitted suppressor he had mounted onto the front of his gun barely contained the thunderous sound of a long burst of rounds tore through the night as the yellow and reds of rounds. The brick of the church shook, the door swayed slightly, and I saw the tracers and rounds tear the police chief in half where he stood. Then… the horde mounted at the edge of the marsh rushed the chapel. Their eyes were filled with an animalistic rage; they crushed grass, branches, vaulted the stone fence, and yet… were completely silent, and smiling.

“Engage!! Engage!!!” I screamed, the sound barrier of the mist battling Largemouth’s controlled bursts of violence as groups of them were cut down at a time, a pile of brass building up around him. Even then, some still tried to crawl as pieces of themselves hung off by tendon and flesh. Their commandeered bodies now had only one goal: breach the church, and commit unspeakable horrors to those inside- we would not allow that.

Those that reached the windows were taken down by Codfish and I, who with controlled groups of two and three rounds, kept the swarm at bay. I still remember it. A series of hands reaching inside, fingers trying to grasp on anything. Three shots tear through the palms, hit one in the head and drops them instantly. Another salvo, another down. They were once my countrymen, now my enemy, prior allegiances didn’t matter now- or at least that’s what I kept telling myself. I remember hitting the release and letting the metal mag drop to the floor, as I shoved a new one in and hit the bolt release replenishing my weapon.

“Make your shots count!!” I yelled, last thing we wanted was all of our ammo burned through. Just then the worst call out I could ever imagine reached my ears. “Soldier!!!” a woman yelled from beneath the cellar. There was no way they could have entered, we had every entrance covered-... that we knew of.

I yelled at my team to stand their ground as I rushed to the cellar, quickly rounding a small bannister and heading down the steps… I saw the dark cellar was bathed in the blue ambient light of the outside. Dozens of people were huddled against the walls, hysterical screams and the tearing of flesh could be heard as I came face to face with them. One was a man, the other a police officer, both were coming through a storm door, and locked eyes with me. Their eyes… even now it haunts me. No pupils, no color, just milky white. When they saw me, they took off after me… Six shots, two to the heads of both, at just a couple of meters… the sound of my suppressed barrel bounced off the walls in the room, undoubtedly deafening anyone close.. Many grabbed their ears, screaming as the two assailants hit the ground. I fired an additional round into the bodies, not wanting a demonic round 2.

“Lyster!!” I screamed, looking around… it seemed as if the entire wall moved. A hulking thrall turned, eyes glowing milky white as it turned and growled. I raised my barrel to fire, only for the goliath to swipe it aside, grabbing me by the front of my plate carrier and throwing me into a stone column. My back hit the wall, my helmet hit the column, shaking my brain as my instinct forced me to rise off the floor, sore as hell. I had to keep going… I messily raised my Mk18, firing off several rounds into its legs that only seemed to slow it. Then… it grabbed me around the neck. I could feel my life fading as it squeezed, a vice grip causing me to gasp and sputter, a wretched smile gracing its face. My other hand, unable to reach for anything, fought to keep it’s other mitt from my neck.

Then… a yell came from behind as the priest appeared from the dark and raised an ax in the air and came down onto it’s back. The creature yelled, from his left, one of the village women shoved a candle stand into it’s faced, stunning it. With his hold on my throat loosened, oxygen returned… my hand quickly went to my holster, drawing my glock from its kydex prison as I shoved it well into its mouth- firing off shot after shot. Thankfully whoever made that perfect Austrian handgun decided not to pull a safety that mattered. The rounds echoed off, unsuppressed muzzle blast stripping away skin from the entry as rounds painted the ceiling with it’s vile insides. As it fell down, my body moved like clockwork; holstered my pistol, raised my rifle, switched to auto- riddled it’s body, burst after burst. My gun went dry, dropped a magazine, insert another- hit the release. Click. The priest quickly moved to secure the storm door. I looked around, locating Lyster… God..

He was slumped against the wall the behemoth had been at. As I knelt down beside the fallen officer, he coughed up blood, trying to roll over but my hand snapped to his shoulder keeping him pinned. The brute had done a number to him, tearing open his stomach… it was a mess of organ flesh and blood. Even with my nods on, I could barely fight to keep my face from being sickened, and mournful. He looked at me with weak eyes. “Is it bad?” he asked, my silence was his answer.

“Damn… I…-I guess this is my penance for my failure” Lyster said, blood beginning to pour out the side of his mouth as he turned to me. I shook my head; “None of that… save your breath, officer”. The last thing he needed to do was dump all of his oxygen blaming himself, nothing he could have done could have prevented this, any of thing.

“You need to kill, Nixie… she won’t stop here…” he requested, no, demanded with his dying breath. How were we supposed to kill her, could we even? The word Nokk was as engrained in Scandinavian mythology as folklore that I knew growing up. Could we even do anything? I looked away, then back to Lyster… he was pleading with his eyes for us to stop it, begging me. He raised his hand, I grabbed it, squeezing it as I nodded to him. “Take it easy, we’ve got it from here”. His lips formed to say something, then… stopped. I watched and felt the life leave him. As his hand dropped to the floor, I shut his eyes. The best sign of respect I could show to a man who died defending his home. I stood up, gazing at everyone, including the priest who looked at the blood on his hands, then mournfully to me. I then noticed the gun fire had stopped. “I’ll be topside…” I said to him, he nodded, walking slowly over to Lyster as I left the cellar silently.

Back up top my team had done their job, and done it well. Bodies lined the stairs and lawn. And yet through the silence, Codfish and Largemouth continued to bicker; “We could have-” Codfish said, being cut off by Largemouth who stepped forward “Done what? Let them drag us into the swamp? I gave us the early advantage, you should be thanking me-”. I stepped over each of the bodies; every single face had a story that ended, a life cut short, a family that was robbed or they were robbed from. I didn’t count the dead, couldn’t bring myself too. “Enough” I ordered, all three turning. Codfish stepped forward “Are they alright?”, I nodded “Mostly…”. Codfish and Largemouth shared a look, then back to me;“Lyster?” Largemouth asked, slowly shaking my head in response.

“Damn…” my gunner said, dipping his head, he looked back to me “Well what now?”. “We need to reconnect with command and bring in a battalion, maybe more, this is out of our depth” Codfish argued. Largemouth laughed and shook his head “Run? Now?! And leave everyone in there to be slaughtered?!”.

“How many more has this mist taken? How much ammo do you have left? We are a recon element, we have to fall back” Codfish barked back. “And do what? Walk 10 kilometers only to be ambushed in the open?” I argued, Codfish looked at me wanting to argue. I didn’t give him the chance; “They knew we were here since we stepped foot on the shore, if we leave it’ll be on foot and we will be ambushed. We know the direction they came from, and right now we are the only ones that can stop it. They won’t stop here… she won't-”.

My team was bathed in silent, Codfish and Largemouth gazing around as Anglerfish stared, deadlocked onto my face. “We are the best of the best, there is no one else… We stop her… we have to try”. Codfish gave a shaky, unsure exhale as he nodded; “Alright. Where to?”. “Northeast…” Anglerfish said, quiet, scanning the direction they came from; “I wasn’t sure if it was wind or something else but they came from that direction…” his words were like molasses, slow, an uneven cadence. “Something wrong?” I asked, finally addressing him… ‘Condition’.

“Just want this to be over with” he said, shaking his head with a huff that seemed to spur him out of it. “How’re we supposed to kill her anyways? She’s some sort of witch” Largemouth asked. “Beings like here are drawn to our side by being tied to an object…” a voice caught our attention, the priest. He stepped over the bodies, his eyes unable to gaze at a single one. “Before she could only manifest through the mist or the water, faint glances, nothing more. If she’s here… it means someone brought here here, aided her in passing through…”.

Aided. Allies. Ones that weren’t taken by the mist.

“So… someone on… ‘our side’...” I said, a half question, to which the priest nodded at. I continued “-helped this fucking thing. Allowed all of this…”. Once again, he nodded “very likely”. “Why?” Codfish asked the million krone question. “I… don’t know. Power? Maybe she gave them something. Either way, she is tied to something, an object, a rune, a site. Destroy it, and her ties to this side will be severed”.

I looked at my team, Codfish and Largemouth nodding. The priest departed, wishing us well; “God be with you, son. I must… see to our fallen”. Anglerfish said he knew the way, so we followed him. We didn’t know what was coming next, but I don’t think anything could have prepared any of us for it.

I still think back to that long walk we made through the marsh, one final trek to end this. The fog was stifling, attempting to envelope us at any point had we stopped to do anything. My senses were going haywire between being blinded visually, the silence allowing any twig snap or splash to catch my attention. The cold air mixed with the periodic steps we took through bog, freezing our legs and shocking our system. Our rifles were raised, scanning whatever we could preparing for another wave of our people that had been paranormally conscripted to rush us with anything from knives to their bare hands. But nothing came, and I am partially wrong- Anglerfish walked almost the entire way with his weapon down. Somewhere in between complacent and in a trance, yet, he let us, cognisant enough to make course corrections despite the fact that he seemed to be working off of instinct.

In Afghanistan, he helped us track an HVT through rugged mountainous terrain, choosing the best path to maneuver on the fly that saved hours from an already long journey. Despite the paranoia, he had been shoulder to shoulder with us, so I was going to trust him… no matter what. It wasn’t until we reached a dry patch in the marsh, leading to a slight incline that he called us to a halt. Without looking, he pointed back at me and beckoned me to come forth. I walked over, attempting to make as little noise as possible. The dry terrain made it a pain, but I knelt beside Anglerfish and that’s when everything felt… off.

First is the fog was much clearer than it had been, not fully clear but we could see much farther than we could even at the church. The next was… the noise, it was low tone, felt like a small rumble under the ear, and wasn’t fully there. Like, not a noise but like something was messing with us, enough to cause a small watering of my eyes but not much else. I checked my watch; [01:35]. The moon was at its highest and even if not much light was getting through the fog, this was about as much ambient light as we were gonna get. We would need every advantage we could scrape up for what came next.

I remember the area ahead so vividly, the ground was at an incline, just slightly, for maybe 50 meters or so for a clearing. Then, a single line of trees at was unmistakably a slope or a cliff. The fog got more and more dispersed, only seeming to come back into its fullest a good ways away. I realized then that Anglerfish had led us exactly to where we needed to go: the epicenter of this, the eye of the figurative storm. I patted my marksman on the shoulder, thanking him in a breathless whisper to minimize the amount of noise. He didn’t respond, I thought it was just him keeping watch. I thought…

I signaled for the rest of the team to collapse in, Codfish and Largemouth quickly formed up, all of us trying to keep quiet. I motioned for our peltor headsets, a PTT mounted onto my plate carrier connected to my harris radio, everyone had one.

[“Radio check, now me?”] I asked. They nodded, Codfish chiming in [“A bit fuzzy, but I read you”].

We got low to the ground, holding my rifle by its front sling swivel. I crawled forward, the rest of my team following close behind. The goal was to keep as low of a silhouette as possible, a good thing two because as we drew near… My peltors crackled and I heard Largemouth say; [“I’m hearing voices to our 12 and 10-].

He was right, voices could be heard, muttering, conversing, whether they were human or not… remained to be determined. However, we approached the slope all the same, arriving at the tree line like the four eyed demons of NATO that we were. And what laid before us…

It’s clear to me now that monsters exist, not metaphorical, but literal, real demons that have been around for longer than single cell organisms have existed. Some beyond our comprehension, that wears on my mind and deprives me of rest at night. That being said, some of humanity is not that far behind. Before us laid a large clearing in the middle of a circular ditch or crater, whether naturally made or artificial still isn’t known to me. The forest floor stretched down the slopes and merged with a strange granite brick like surface that dipped and sunk at random points probably due to age and erosion. The center portion of it was covered in a small puddle, no deeper than a couple of centimeters… and in the middle of that laid a large, crude stone table.

Lining the edge of the puddle, and the surface of the table were runes of the elder futhark, I knew them well, the last remnants of true paganism in the world that hadn’t been burned away by inquisitions or crusades. They made up lines, shapes, phrases that I will never know what they said. And then, others I didn’t know of at the time but after some research I found out to be Wiccan iconography; moons, stars, druid swirls- and eyes, a lot of eyes. Some were written in a white paint like mixture, mostly the ones that lined the outside of the puddle. However, the ones on the table… it was dried, no heat being given off, but from my long military career I knew the sight of blood when I saw it.

[“-This is a ritual site”] Codfish muttered over the comms.

And then the people- those fuckin’ vile monsters. Some were more of the disappeared, lining the edge of the slopes, their numbers obviously having dwindled since their assault on the church. Others were… I can only describe them as “cultists”, old style garb not found in this last no matter how far you look back dressed in grays, whites, and blacks. A sort of one piece cloak, yet segmented into proper sleeves and pant legs.

The worst part was all of them wore masks, at least I hoped they were masks. Deer heads, extremely realistic almost as if they had been hollowed out and taxidermied, dawned the heads of every single one of the cultists. There were at least a dozen, some carried axes dried with red iron, others knives, glaives… Right then and there I was measuring our options; We had better firepower, but they had numbers, we were far too close right now, and even with the safety of the church they still swarmed the outside, only being held back by stone walls. We would need to successfully get the jump on them if we were going to make it out of this.

My planning was broken up when I heard yells and shouts come from our 9 o’clock, drawing closer. The cultists seemed unsurprised, and I soon found out why. Those on the outside of the circle parted, allowing two of the cultists to enter, one of the officers from the chapel in tow. We had lost him during the fray, and it seemed as if their raid hadn’t been a total waste. The police man was unarmed, his gear stripped away as he was forcibly dragged onto the stone, kicking and screaming even as cuts and bruises lined his head. I still remember his resistance: “No, no!! No!!! No!!! Get the hell off of me!!!!”.

We should have done something then and there, but I knew we needed more info… it’s sickening to think about now, but I think I wanted to draw Nixie out… hoping we could confirm if this was the anchor to destroy or not. I hope wherever that officer is, he can forgive me, and if his family is reading this… I am so sorry. He was held down, two cultists to a limb as his head thrashed around, a lead cultist standing at one of the ends and began muttering. It sounded… incomprehensible, like, it had syllables, it was definitely a language. But… I have heard every single form of linguistic while traveling the world; English, Spanish, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Arabic, Cantonese, everything. I have and still have never heard anything like what he was saying… and then?

From the pond… spindly arms, black and smooth like obsidian emerged from the area above his head. Impossibly so, I don’t know how but… they hovered above his face for a moment, and began to tear into him. His screams shook me into action as I hopped on our frequency; [“Time to move, we need that destroyed-].

I looked at Largemouth; [“Get to a good angle, you’ll have to be our base of fire, we’re gonna need half of that group gone in the first few seconds”]. [“Will do-”] He said, sliding over several meters he got to a clear gap between the trees, setting up his MG3’s bipod and readying a fresh belt. Codfish slid over, checking his vest saying [“Some thermite will burn right through there, but we’ll need to place it manually”].

This wasn’t going to be easy, nothing we could do could be done before we took out the bulk of the enemy force. I contemplated the steps carefully when Anglerfish drew me from my thought: [“...She’s here”]. I flipped back onto my stomach, then took a knee… God…

A head rose from the pond, following the arms as the peeled away flesh and muscle. He still continued to scream, even as his body was being picked apart. The hair on her head was spindly, looking like a bundle of twigs and fur that had sat in the marsh for several thousands of years. Her face was almost entirely obscured, except for a set of eyes. Those eyes… they were bright gold, a glow that seemed unnatural- I don’t know how to explain it. Almost as if light itself wasn’t illuminating them but some other force, it was consuming, deteriorating, I had to force my eyes shut.

[“You got a shot?”] I asked Angler. No response, I looked back up as Nixie was fleeing back into the water, dragging the man into her makeshift puddle portal as his screams became smothered by water.

[“Angler-”] I grumbled, trying my best not to yell despite everything in me wanting to. He finally answered: [“Yes”].

[“Take it”].

[“Sorry”]. Over the course of mere milliseconds, I contemplated what he meant. I got my answer when the snap of his suppressor echoed, firing a shot into my back. It’s only by the grace of god that my backplate and soft armor held up, just barely. I found out later the 7.62 Nato round punctured damn near the whole way through my plate, he was close, and it cracked several of my ribs near my spine on impact. The force of it sent me straight into the ground, my rifle caught between me and the dirt, my nose smashing into the rail of my rifle as my face got a taste of soil and blood. Then, my lung fought for lives as I coughed, heaving air as I tried to catch my breath. I thought I was dying, I felt like I was dying, I didn’t know what was happening.

My gloves dug into the ground, flipping me onto my back. Through my night vision, partially smeared with dirt, I saw Angler flip up his nods… god. His eyes, just like the ones at the church, just like those around the circle, they glowed… Milky white as can be, as he stared down at me emotionlessly.

Largemouth cried out in rage, grabbing his MG3 he tried to spin around and return fire at Angler, only for our former marksman to draw his pistol and double tap my gunner in the chest. He was much farther away, the caliber was smaller, he made it out better than I had but-... it still caught Largemouth by surprise, he slipped back against the tree, gun falling awkwardly on top of him. I remember another violent coughing fit, trying to get my bearings as Anglerfish must’ve noticed I still was alive. He aimed his pistol at me, I stared down the barely prepared to meet my face at the hands of one of my own team now turned unwilling traitor. That was, until a series of shots was fired off; One threaded the needle through the side of his headset, through his head, and out the otherside in an explosion of gore and plastics. Another grazed the back of his neck below his helmet, and a third through his neck. Angler dropped, lifelessly, his handgun bouncing off the ground as the weight of his nods forced his head to roll towards me. I saw his face, the color bleeding out as the glow in his eyes faded… and returned to normal. Codfish stepped forward, smoke exiting his suppressor as he scanned the area, Largemouth recovering as he fought to his feet. My comms man attempted to come to my aid, however the nightmare scenario occurred as our enemies ascended the slope and attacked us.

We were now caught off guard. I don’t know if she planned it…

That witch. That fucking witch.

A horde of disappeared raced towards Codfish, who’s rifle quickly snapped to level and started to fire off shots. It was strange to see… tight shot groups firing off, dropping them left and right, a violent crowd control as he was forced to back up. Not long after, a burst of machine gun fire shook the forest as Largemouth staggered to his feet. They were too late to help me however as I found myself dragged down the hill, two cultists grabbed onto my combat shirt and pulled me down using gravity to aid them. I tried fighting back, I was winded, in no condition to fight, but damned I did.

With my right hand, I grabbed the one on my right side by the neck causing him to panic, as the left one attempted to adjust, I instead leaned back, allowing my knee to connect to his strange deer head. It didn’t feel like it was hollow, in fact thinking back now it felt… real. Regardless, we tumbled down the rest of the slope in a mess. I tried scrambling to my feet, but a pain from deep within my chest shocked me enough to be stuck at a knee. I was tackled to the ground by one of the disappeared, straight onto my back. My ribs howled in pain as I found my attacker sitting on top of me, brows furrowed as enraged glowing eyes stared down at me, as it grabbed me by my helmet and tried pulling it off.

My holster was trapped beneath one of it’s legs, so instead I grabbed it by whatever jacket it was wearing and pulled it down towards me- headbutting it. It seemed to stagger it enough that I could get it rolled off, but before long, the cultists had descended on me again. Grabbing me by one of my legs, I was dragged onto the pool of water, as a female came from the direction of my head and drove a small dagger into my left shoulder. It was caught, partially stopped by the shoulder strap of my vest, and my shirt- but damn if it didn’t hurt. I screamed in agony, my left arm incapacitated as my right arm felt around… at my free holster. I drew my glock 17, wasting no time as my finger felt purchase on the trigger and aimed around. The shots were sporadic, panicked, but even then I thank the years of time I spent honing my skills. The cultist that had dragged me by the leg was hit directly in its neck, dropping down, as I fired at two more catching them center of mass.

Trying my best to ward them off, I want to say I screamed something akin to; “Fuck you all!!!”.

It could have been slurred gibberish, but the point was clear: a wounded lion was still a lion. I felt like I had stabilized my situation, only slightly, until the obsidian hands returned. One shot up from my right side, grabbing my gun hand and squeezing it. It didn’t hurt, in fact I barely felt it… but all control of my weapon ceased as my weapon fell to the wet ground. The other shot straight for my throat, silencing my yells as I was pulled to a sitting position… forced to watch as I came face to face with Nokk.

I still didn’t get a fully proper look… my eyes were stinging with both my sweat and blood, dirt (now mud) smeared the lenses of my night vision goggles… but, those eyes. From beneath a layer of matted hair and wretched twigs that layered the top of her head, they glowed like spotlights. Unblinking, unflinching, hypnotizing me, ordering me to stand down, and allow myself to be dragged in. My blood slowed as I felt the cold, became uncomfortable, I forgot the pain, I forgot the adrenaline, I forgot who I was…

That was, until a boot kicked her head, sending her back into whatever hell she crawled from with an audible splash. I regained all feeling as my hands shook, pain shooting through my shoulder as I gazed around. Largemouth staggered forward, positioning himself in front of me as he hipfired his MG3. The belt laid at his side, almost emptied as he fired off forcing the cultists back and cutting down more and more thralls. I felt a hand at my carry handle, causing me to flail my good arm, only to see it was Codfish. He had grabbed me by my plate carrier’s carry handle, and was dragging me out of the puddle and onto the slope. I looked back at Largefish who had pushed our enemies a considerable distance back. Then- his belt went dry, he saw this and then turned to join us… and stopped.

I wanted to yell, I wanted to rush to his aid, save my machine gunner- but I couldn’t. A knife found itself buried deep in his stomach as he stopped, breath stolen as his mouth was agape. He looked down… a child, one of those that the former police chief had mentioned, stared back up at him with glowing eyes. It backed off, he staggered forward, another child rounded the side of the table and buried a blade into his side, forcing him to drop to his knees. His MG3 hit the ground as his arms shook, he was fighting back the urge to enter into shock…. He reached down and drew his pistol, the weapon shaking as he muttered under his breath when coming face to face with the children.

Then, they closed in… the cultists had reformed with what was left of their thralls, forming a circle as they descended upon him. Through a gap in the formation, we made eye contact… his breathing was shaky, uncertain… but he nodded to me. It wasn’t a request, there was nothing I could do to stop him, more of a… “it was an honor”. I nodded in return, he had been by my side for two continents and several dozen missions, he deserved all of the respect in that moment. The obsidian arms emerged from the pool, grasping his shoulders as Nixie’s head returned, and knowing he was right next to the ritual site’s epicenter… reached for the two M67 hand grenades mounted on his vest.

“We… have to go-” I sputtered to Codfish, grabbing onto him for support, he tried to protest; “No, we-”. Then, he surveyed the scene, and took off, dragging me with him as both of us raced up and over the slope. The last thing I remembered when I looked back, was Largemouth staring defiantly into that damn beast’s eyes as he let the spoonless grenades drop to the ground. After a few seconds of running, we dropped to the ground… the explosion of the grenades shook the earth and sky, shrapnel soared through the air cutting through bark, leaves, branches, destroying anything in it’s path. A follow up rumble, greater than anything they could have produced, rocked the ground beneath us as for the first time, wind entered the area around us. Codfish placed his arm over me, hoping to possibly shield me as we remained there… unsure of what was next. Then… nothing.

Silence was all we had as my eyes clenched shut, sure that we had failed and would be dragged off back to her. However… nothing, then… the sounds of the forest returned. In my haze of pain, I didn’t notice at first, however Codfish did, rising to his feet and gazing around. “We did it…?” he muttered, a gust of wind blowing leaves past me, as he laughed exhaustedly… then, quickly knelt beside me as he flipped me over. It was left side first, right on my bad arm, damn that fuckin’ radio head… I gest, if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be here typing this out. He quickly checked my wound, popping open the IFAK mounted to my belt as he scanned around and shouted into his headset;[“This is ElementRomeo, any station on net, Radio check!!!”].

After a few seconds of silence, we were graced by the best sound all night; [“ElementRomeo, this is Main. requesting status-”]. He didn’t give them a chance to request shit, last thing I heard as I drifted off was him shouting into the headset…

[“-Situation secured, possibly. Requesting channel for immediate Nine Line, precedence is Urgent”].

[“-Roger, ElementRomeo. Bird is on standby, Role 2 is prepared…-”].

[“Good, standby for-...”]. “Shit…. Stay with me. Kraken!!!”.

The kind of slumber I experienced is strange, you feel the seconds, minutes… days roll by but you don’t at the same time. I thought it was the afterlife, floating weightless in half consciousness- however, I was wrong. I awoke a week later at a hospital in Copenhagen. The first person to greet me was my CO, who although looked exhausted, was relieved I had returned to the land of the living.

Codfish had given him a full sitrep, and although he was very scrutinizing of it, knew something was amiss when his report matched the findings of many of the villagers and the priest. They had no idea two firefights had occurred and only came in with a full force when the explosions of the grenades were detected by an infantry unit at the perimeter. Largemouth and Anglerfish have been listed as “MIA”, a fact that has burned me up inside to no end however the Royal Navy believed it was easier than attempting to create a false scenario of some of it’s best operatives dying overseas. The site was gone, almost completely wiped off the earth, and the bodies and the disappeared could be found… despite marines and home guard performing several searches of the entire grid square.

My CO still doesn't believe that it was “Nixie”, but I know better. The revelation of this “cult”, had him shaken as he left.We’ve dealt with all sorts of extremist cells and terrorism over two decades, but this was different and if they could attempt something like this… what else were they capable of? Two of my men are dead, Codfish has been moved to another team and I don’t even know if they’ll ever let me lead an element again. I hope it was worth it, I’ve been recovering ever since then and even now, months later, those piercing yellow eyes still haunt me. Asking me to return to that swamp, to her… It’s taken every ounce of effort I’ve got, but I’ve staved it off, for now.

I don’t know what comes next, but this isn’t the end, we were under attack once and will probably be soon again. For whatever it’s worth, stay safe, please.



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