“What is it?” Adelicia delicately asked, unable to see past his broad shoulders beyond the narrow doorframe. She did not like the way he had suddenly halted without warning, nor did she like that it meant they were stuck outside of the house – and thus in dangerous reach of the invisible thing. Feeling a nervous tingle descend her spine, she cast an uneasy glance backward across the dusk-lit street, observing nothing save boarded-up houses and dusty cobblestones. “Why are-“ she began, turning her head back towards the clinic only to realize that he was gone. Left little time to process the proceeding turn of events, the young saint shrieked with terror when a gunshot roared from inside the clinic and dived for cover next to the door frame.
Heart racing, she clutched her chest in a futile attempt to calm it. “Gods above,” she whispered to herself with labored breath, “What do I do? What do I do?” From within, a symphony of violence assaulted her ears: sounds of rent flesh and spilt blood, of clashing steel and broken bone – and, worst of all, bestial screams made by human vocal cords. It was easy to sit in a lecture hall and say ‘this is a beast, and this is a man’ but out here, away from the safety of locked doors, warding incense and a private army, the difference between the two felt very blurry. She began to wonder what would happen to her if she were found, by maddened Yharnamites or a bloodfrenzied Victor. A beast, she believed, was frightening but also predictable in its desires. It would tear her apart, to drink her blood and eat her flesh. But a human? Men, she felt, were capable of so much worse than mere slaughter. Shivering, she almost wished that the great, unseen thing that had taken Raine would take her too, out of mercy or pity. Save her from the cruelty of man. Save her from her own human fears.
But no merciful hand came and plucked her from above. She remained where she was, terrified and alone outside the clinic doors, hoping that nothing at all came out to find her. That was when the singularly striking and curious chime of a bell resounded from inside, again and again, frantic if one fancied so. To the uneducated, ringing a bell in the midst of conflict might appear as an act of madness or religious mania, but Adelicia knew better than to dismiss the repetitive sound that made her feel more and more uneasy with every reverberation. Ancient bells had been found in the place where the holy medium was brought up from and they were not mere trinkets; they were tools used by our forebears to communicate with other places or even travel there. Or, indeed, to bring things out of it. She felt her heart sink and a cold shiver of dread wash over her when she realized that this must be the origin of the black creature her companions had fought near the elevator, for it had not been a normal beast, or even a thing of this world at all. It had come from nowhere and returned to nowhere. Beckoned by the bell, or perhaps made by it. And where one came from, surely there were more…!
Swallowing her fear, she gingerly placed her hand on the door frame and peeked inside. The first thing that presented itself was the bloody skirmish Victor had embroiled himself in. Although he appeared to be handily beating an entire throng of crudely-armed Yharnamites, his posture, way of movement and sheer facial expression left little doubt in her mind as to his true nature, and that of hunters in general. In her heart of hearts, she knew now that hunters were nothing more than beasts themselves, the only difference being the leash around their neck. A leash they sooner or later will snap. But this was not what she was looking for and so she continued surveying the demolished clinic, laying her eyes on the ruined beds and cabinets, smashed bottles and broken chairs, as well as the last, remaining pair of citizens who were surely breathing their final breaths as they approached the crazed hunter. In the end, however – leaning further into the doorway – she finally spotted the object of her attention: the sullen-faced, corpse-like Pthumerian, although Adelicia would not know to call it that. Armed with the implements of a church servant – whose countenance was not dissimilar to this creature, she realized – it shook the bell in what could almost be described as a frenzy.
She remembered how badly a single shadow-borne creature had injured her companions, two on one. If this thing could summon more of them, surely Victor was doomed, even if she offered her blood to him. Uncertain whether he, a mere hunter, realized the threat this arcane implemented posed for him – and thus also her – she felt the need to do something. She thought of throwing something at the bell-ringer, or to pick up one of the fallen Yharnamites’ weapons, but discarded these options as barbaric and futile – she would likely not even be capable of hurting this bizarre humanoid and would only make a target of herself. But Victor, he could do it. He had to.
“The bell!” Adelicia yelped over the din of battle, hoping that the hunter would hear her – and have the sanity to process her words. “You have to stop the bell! It beckons monstrous things!”