What the Mortals Know
Fifty years ago, there was no such thing as magic outside of fairy-tales and Disney movies. It was kid stuff, the thing of fantasies run wild and old, unfounded superstitions. And then, something happened.
Those who were alive at the time can remember vividly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the Crack in the sky. It was located just above Lake Michigan, near Chicago. While news crews couldn’t get too close to the event without their cameras, cars, and technology going haywire, telescopic lenses captured the event in detail, and people for hundreds of miles around could clearly see the Creature. From Chicago, details came out that strange beasts began attacking people all over the city. Some of these beasts were Chthuloid monsters, and other, bat-like beings, ravenous wolves, and even strange, deformed people were also seen attacking man and beast alike. But the major thing that people could see was one man, a man in a black leather duster, standing atop a tall building on that island, holding aloft a glowing staff and wearing a glowing silver pentacle, somehow directing the actions of the Creature in the Crack.
No one really knows the specifics of what happened. For the whole night, attacks raged through the city. Panic swelled in the streets, and a riot broke out. People died, and people killed. People pulled out of the wreckage of their attacks creatures who bled pinkish blood, people whose autopsies revealed batlike creatures beneath human flesh, and pools of transluscent goo. Others reported being corralled by invisible walls or seeing people who could throw fire or water from their hands or could turn into wolves with a blink.
The military was called in. They had to fight through both the riots in the streets before they could even get close to the lake, and when they reached the shore, they were confronted by a group of youngish men and women holding swords and wearing grey cloaks. These men and women threatened the soldiers, and an attack against them was ordered. In their debriefings, soldiers reported that these men and women were able to cast strange spells, binding some soldiers, forcing others to sleep, and setting up invisible walls. But there were more soldiers in the attack than these people in grey, and eventually, the people fell back and the soldiers found a way to storm the island. When they got there, there was a battle already in progress.
Men and women wielding guns and swords were fighting amongst each other, and the sergeant in charge quickly determined that most of the assault was intended to stop the man standing at the center of the tower from being able to do whatever he was doing. When the soldiers reached the top of the tower, though, the tables turned. No one was sure who was fighting whom anymore, and eventually the soldiers were attacked, and they began taking measures to contain the violence on the tower. A short blonde woman, later identified as Karrin Murphy, and a tall man with black hair who was never identified both were willing to fight to their deaths to protect the man in the black duster. As they were pressed back closer and closer to the man in the duster, they could be heard begging the soldiers to hold back, that the soldiers couldn’t possibly understand what he was doing. A moment’s hesitation on the sergeant’s part allowed the people they were holding back to surge through their lines to attack the man.
The only thing anyone knows for sure is that the man suddenly erupted in a white-hot flame that stretched up into the sky and struck the Creature in the Crack. Later reports would identify that man in the duster as Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. People had seen his name in the phone book. No one is sure what he did, but the general consensus is that he was responsible for the Creature in the Crack appearing, and for it eventually departing.
The Purge began the very next day.