A warm breeze cut through the tall grass, making it move softly from side to side. The ocean of green grass was covering the sides of a rural road. The sun was shining high over the sky heating up the dirty path towards the idyllic town of “Colina Verde”, a small rural community nearby the City of Madrid. This spot of civilization, a couple of hundred roofs and some bigger buildings, like a blur of white paint in a sea of emerald colored grass and dark, humid ground, with a perfect and geometrical pattern, of hundreds and hundreds of straight lines supporting the vine. Most of the cultivable ground around the town was used for vineyards, with some sectors dedicated to wheat and other cereals. From a bird’s eye, this beautiful region would seem like a delicate painting, with an amazing range of colors. From the top of a nearby hill, walking towards “Colina Verde”, Finn Ashdown, Asskicker for hire, walked in the dusty road. The heat forced him to remove his jacket that now hanged in his arm. His vest was open and he removed his gloves, having his shirt sleeves rolled up. Finn wasn’t here for a job, usually his reason to travel, but this time around the journey was one of pleasure, as a particular event caught his attention. As he fulfilled another job in Italy he overhead a priest, after he beat down a superhuman criminal that called himself a demon and attacked churches, the priest talked about a festival that always made the biggest paella in the world, or at least tried to make it each year. Finn interest shot straight to the skies, as an enthusiast of any kind of dish that included meat and rice.
It took several weeks, thanks to his lousy sense of direction and brash manners, but he got the information right, and now he could see the city a day before of the San Isidro Festival. Finn was going to stay in the town church, as the priest he saved in Italy was friend of the Priest in this town, Father Carlos. The Drifter’s Spanish was a bit rusty, but he managed to speak his way from the entrance to the town, that was brimming with activity, as the preparation for the festival were in their apex. The small city was painted in white, with similar architecture for all the houses, of Arabic origin. Even the new buildings tried to emulate the style of the older houses. Some buildings contrasted the sobriety of the cubic designs of the residences of the Townspeople. The Town Hall was re-built after an earthquake, and had a 18 century style, similar to some colonial buildings in America. The Church had baroque architecture, overcharged with small details and grotesque gargoyles. Finn whistled with some surprise as his walked towards the church, protected from the midday sun by the shadow casted by the magnificent spire of the building. The Drifter, lacking any manners whatsoever, knocked the door of the church, as he didn’t knew the proper protocol for this situation, as his only memories of entering a church were from his really early years.
The knocking echoed through the inside of the building, rebounding in the vaulted ceiling, and the strength was so excessive that even the tinted glasses shook a little bit, dangerously near to cracking and causing a shower of brightly colored glass. A voice talking in a closed spanish dialect, started vociferating curses at the newcomer, that closed the door behind him after “politely” knocking the door. – What in the name of everything is holy are you doing? You want to tear down this church?- An old man, surely over 60’s, dressed in a catholic church black cassock with white neck. He was balding with white hair in the sides and walked with short nervous steps. He used thick glasses that increased the size of his small eyes that always seemed to be half closed in a constant frown. –Sorry, sometimes I don’t measure my own strength, I’m Finn Ashdown, I think Father Giovanni sent you a letter about my arrival Father Carlos-. The priest stopped his ranting and calmed himself down with a deep breath. –So you’re the good Samaritan that stopped that madman in Rome, right? I must thank you for that and give you a warm welcome- Father Carlos face wasn’t synchronized with what he was saying, his frowned brow and sour expression didn’t quite match the meaning of his words.
Finn moved to handshake the priest that replied to that gesture with caution, after witnessing the strength of his guest and reading about it in his friend letter. The Drifter was very careful not to harm the Priest, and the awkward moment, when the sour expression of the Carlos changed to fear for a second, ended as fast as it started. –Thank you for letting me stay in the church during the festival Father.- Finn tried really hard to be well mannered, as Father Giovanni instructed him to do so in front of Carlos, as the Spanish Priest was old fashioned and disliked foreigners. –Don’t mention it, but don’t think you will stay here for free, there are some chores we will ask you to do while you’re here.- The Drifter was about to reply to that in a really, really mean-spirited, snark-filled way, but somebody interrupted him –We can’t go doing that Carlos, what would the people say when we invite a guest, in exchange for a great service he done for a friend and then we ask him to work, that’s not right.- A feminine voice resounded in the church main hall. A nun, roughly 50 years old, entered the church flanked by a young man, also dressed in a black Cassock, with bright red hair and a bright smile in his face. –Sister Esther, how wonderful to have you here to welcome the guest- The priest voice was filled with sarcasm – He is in your capable hands now. Show him his room. - Father Carlos almost slammed the door of the sacristy as he left the church hall. The nun moved her head in disapproval with a expression more akin to a mother disapproving a child rather than anger or discomfort for the priest, maybe childish reaction
-You’ll have to excuse Father Carlos, this time of the year makes him a bit uncomfortable, he used to love the Festival, but as the Town Hall asked another man to organize it, he feels left aside.- The nun smiled warmly and turned around, -Please, follow me, I’ll take you to your room-. Finn nodded and followed Esther, engaging in small talk. The only one who stayed in the Church was the young priest, that moved in silent to a corner and pulled out a strange device. –Code Blue, we have a superhuman in town, we should be more careful from now on.- The young priest left the church through the main door, with his bright smile turned into a sinister grin as he whispered –Nobody will interfere, my life for Black Fire-.