I am thankful for those who are reading this story. It’s been a labor of love and research for many years, though I dropped it hard on its head when it got confusing. And that is the usual path of writing: we grow, mature with all the attempts but we have to go back and clean up our messes. We have to reform and rewrite hard. I am still in the stage of learning the ins and outs of writing long, and there will be further messes in this long novel to clean up. However, for those that dare to read this, and there are a lot of people who have read my poetry and are aghast that I would write such stuff…well, there is no accounting for taste, mine included. And that perhaps is the lesson I am learning with this novel: to find the courage to write, to think, to research into topics and themes that are alien and strange. To not be afraid of the criticism which is bound to come, especially from the prudes of the world, most of them in my family and circle of ‘friends’. Hah!
This chapter is heavy with research into the (mythical) Demonology and the cuties that I try to post pictures of. In many cases, they stand in for generic Devils.
The ground was wet with dew, the morning still very young. I walked through the fields that stretched out before me, with the dull glaze of late fall upon the weeds and grasses that expanded to the mountains far in the distance. The ground was boggy but it wasn’t with peat. It seemed blood came up around my boots as I walked. How many men died here at Culloden? There was a weak sun, covered with swift moving clouds. Even the blue of the sky was brittle this morning, broken by the passing of the light. There was a stone cottage near at hand and I went to the door. It was open, or pushed open with my hand, and I entered a low ceilinged dwelling. There were no luxuries here, only a rough wooden table and a few chairs. The fire was dead. The cottage was cold, as cold as death. I wrapped myself deep in my cloak, and sat in the brief, fleeting sunshine in the doorway. The sound of men in battle, of them clashing with swords and musket, sounded faintly in my ears. The sounds of men dying are stronger, but this place is the place of Death. I have passed the infamous spring where British slaughtered the Highland men and stuffed them down the rock lined spring. It pours out water from underground, still mixed with the blood after almost 300 years. The MacDonalds came late, so most of their clan lived into the future. So many of the other clans died, wiped out by the British and fate. Bad leadership on the Scots side too. Bonny Prince Charlie, my ass! He was dancing in France when these clansmen died by the thousands. The British put to the sword and fire all the towns and villages, women, children and elderly they found. So it is in history, ever and again. The Butcher Cumberland! His seed spread over the continents.
I finally awoke, this dream disturbing and making me mumble in my sleep. The Demon was sitting at the fire, silent, puffing on his pipe again.
“Why didn’t you wake me? I was having a nightmare!”
“I like history. I walked with you through the fields, still a bloody place.”
So he can invade my dreams as well as my thoughts. I have little privacy.
“Seems so.” He smiles. “Good Morning, good woman. Do you want your tea?”
“Yes, please. And make it strong.” I shake the sleep from my head. This dream was so real. I was in Scotland, Culloden in 1990 with my husband. We were there on a late fall day, early in the morning, with the sun and clouds just like my dream. There was no one else on the battlefield, the visitor center deserted except for a young woman behind the counter. It was a sad memorial. I went in the cottage and saw how primitively they lived in the Highlands. Barely above the animals outside.
“Why do you think I am dreaming of a battle? And walking a battlefield, Garrett?”
“Seems simple enough. You are worried about the battle to come. What you have called ‘projecting’ before.”
I slid out of bed, my nightgown around my waist. I pull it down as I walked to my chair before the fire.
“It was quite a slaughter, that battle,” I said, sipping my tea that appears when he snaps his fingers.
“It will be quite the slaughter again.” He puffed on his pipe and stared into the flames.
The weather has broken, at least the snow had stopped. It is deep on the ground, and there is no activity outside. All is silent, and the days are gray. Today the sun is struggling to break through the clouds. It might clear and be pretty outside. I was wandering the house of late, disgruntled, a version of cabin fever.
“Are you going to work over your books, today?” I asked him, watching the smoke rise from his pipe.
“Have to. Have to see what forces there are to be tapped.”
I can tell he is preoccupied this morning, for he usually is more talkative. He has much on his mind, as I well know.
“Might have a meeting here, soon. You though, will remain in this room. Don’t want to complicate issues.”
“What? In this house? Are you crazy?” I can’t believe him.
“It will be neutral territory enough for these demons. I’ll have one to stand guard on this room. Just in case there’s a stray spirit around.”
“Oh! Let me understand all this. You invite a bunch of demons into this house, and you set another one at my door for safety? Are you daft?”
“Ah! Beyond daft. That’s how I survived. Acting crazy. Impresses the spirits.”
He takes his pipe out of his mouth and gives me a grin that makes me shiver. It’s as if the temperature of the room had dropped ten degrees. I can well believe him. The crazy part.
“You, good woman, at least until my plans are set still have the run of the house. But don’t even open a window. I see that our hawk, Arachula has been joined by another. Probably Lanithro.”
“Who’s Lanithro? Another demon?”
“An important one. The chief Demon of the Air. I’ll get more worried it they are joined by Ascaroth.”
“Who’s he?” This is worrying me now.
“Demon of spies and informers. If he shows up, I’m way behind the ball.” He got up from his chair, and put his pipe on the mantel.
“Sweetheart, you will have to entertain yourself. I have much work downstairs. If I leave the house, I’ll be back before nightfall. Don’t go outside. And remember, don’t open a window or any door to the outside.”
“Will you at least let me know when you are going?” I don’t like being in the house alone. Especially when Obadiah and his mounting forces might be close outside. He stops at the door and nods his head.
I dressed in my petticoats and pull the green, wool dress on. There still was a trace of mud on the hem from when we looked at Van Doren’s pups and I stepped in the muck. The dress was warm enough, but added a shawl over my shoulders. The house was cold, for he doesn’t lay fires except in the room we use. Even in the library, he lets it burn out, but perhaps being some sort of devil, he doesn’t feel the cold like I.
The morning I spent straightening up the room, putting clothes away in the wardrobe, making the bed and then settled down for a while in embroidering the new vest. I would have liked to make him a heavy linen shirt, but would have to examine his for a pattern. He told me, one night, as he pulled his shirt over his head, that at that instant, all men were most vunderable. I had laughed, but thought that in another time, he was probably right.
Around noon, I heard his boots in the hall and he entered the door of the bedroom. He was dressed in a black overcoat, and a tricorn hat, something that was worn during the time of the Revolutionary War. He looked serious enough, and stooping to kiss me on the forehead, he left, saying he would be back before dusk. I know not to cling to him, but all this is unsettling. I fear for him. I fear for us both.
I decided to go downstairs later that afternoon, and make myself a pot of tea. Coming out of the kitchen, it seemed a good idea to head for the library and look for a book. I spied the stack of large and old books on his desk, but didn’t think it was a good idea to open them. Whether they were magic, history or what, perhaps demonology, I didn’t really want to know. The built-in cabinets circled the room on three walls, and there were plenty of books to choose from. Some were familiar to me, names at least that I had read or heard of in past history. Addison, Boswell, Johnson, Chaucer, Richardson, and my favorite author, Fielding. These were represented by their novels I had in some cases, already read. But most of the books on the shelves were alien to me. There was a portion of Greek and Latin writers, and I recognized some of the names, like Plato, and Aristotle, and Latin authors, like Seneca and my favorite, Ovid. I had read the Metamorphoses early, looking for the ‘dirty’ parts as a preteen. I found much more value in the same text when I was in my 40’s. A lot of the books were in Greek, a language I could not read. I could speak a few phrases in modern Greek, but the written word was completely alien. There was a very old copy of Beowulf and Piers Plowman, the last a 14th century work I hated in school. There was a collection of philosophy works, by authors I had missed in life: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy, and the eternal Dante. After all, Dante should apply here…the Inferno especially.
There were shelves of some authors and titles that I didn’t at all recognize. Mostly with the Latin word “demonology” in it. There were books on the different “Demons of Hell”, with their talents or charges, whatever you call their expertise
I took a couple off the shelf, perhaps there would be some insight into what was whirling around me with my Demon. The ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’…such things like that. I needed some answers. I was losing touch with reality faced with the latest cast of characters, and, well, I really needed some answers.
By opening just one of these books, very old and dusty in my lap, I found there were categories of demons: Royal and Common Demons. Greater and Lesser. I read text from Canaanites and Phoenicians, Egyptian and Sumerian writings on demons and evil. They attributed all sorts of illnesses and misfortune and weather to demons. Epilepsy and piles and indigestion and childbirth were rules by demons or complicated by such. Sacrifices or some sort of appeasement was demanded by the demons and this was what these cultures called medicine. I would suppose that plagues and pox were also in this listing. Also corns, cramps and crazy people. All controlled by demons.
In another book, as old looking as the first, I read of Cento, the Fire Demon. There was Aspetus for vison, Encensio for teleporting, Capito for illusion, Opacus for shadow, Defigo for time. Oh, then I came across Cedo who was the Demon of shape changers. Early transvestites? I wondered if Garrett, my busy Demon of late, had thought of these devils. They were something called ‘hybrid’ demons. Apparently, these were demons that had mated with mortal women, hence these powers. Seemed pretty powerful to me, even if they were classed as “lessor”.
In another book, the last I lifted from the shelf, was a dark black book, very old, again of leather, with only one word on it: it was “Watchers” but the language was Aramaic. The only reason I understood this word was because when I opened it, it had a strange English and Latin translation of the facing page. This was a very old text. It quoted the Hebrew Masoretic Text, and it centered on the Psalm 82:1. ‘God condemns the Divine Council who are the Watchers’. In Ephesius 6:12, they were called ‘kosmokratours, which was Greek for ‘world rulers’. They were evil spirits.
In another text they were called Nephilim, and they were born of Watchers and mortal women. They were a race of giants, Goliath was one of the last in the Bible, and they dated from the ‘preflood’ age. In one text they were angels that married human woman and produced children on the earth. What caught my eye was one of their traits: their offspring, like the fathers, were voracious eaters and drinkers. I thought about my Demon’s appetite. He also was a giant of a man, or appeared to be with all that magic. God apparently got pissed off at them, the Watchers and at their rebellion, this rampant mating with mortal women, and tried to imprison them all underground until the Day of Judgement in something called ‘The Abyss”. In another text, this place was called a desert. In the Book of Enoch, there was more of this kind of ‘creature’, a hybrid demon. One was “Azazel” the Goat God, the teacher at the First Gate of Hell. He taught the Infernal Armies. I wondered if this was the name of Garrett’s father, since Garrett himself had seemed to inherit the manners of a goat. Especially around women, or at least me. One interesting fact I learned the Greek word daemon was demon, meaning intelligent. My demon certainly was that. Besides having the manners of a goat.
I read for a couple of hours, until my eyes tired of the dust and the print. It was hard enough to fashion a sentence from what I was writing for such was the language and translation. I closed the books, with much food for my mind, and went looking for something to eat for dinner. The kitchen had little except a small piece of pie. I was surprised the demon had not finished that off. He ate the full pie hot from the oven. That was after he finished the full pot of stew. His appetite certainly fitted the definition of the Nephilim. I found only bread and some cheese in a half round. It had some mold, but that wouldn’t dismiss it. A paring knife would do for the mold. Some butter, some honey and another pot of tea, this should make enough for both of us.
I went back upstairs to the bedroom to watch out the window. The day was darkening, and I wanted to see Garrett return. The thought of being in this house alone in the night made me uneasy. I heard him enter the front door, and ran to the balcony. He was taking off his overcoat and hat, and came up the stairs. I met him at the top of the stairs and he threw his arm around me, as he headed to the bedroom.
“Did you entertain yourself well, or did you miss me too much to do anything else?”
Ah! He was in a good mood. Perhaps whatever infernal business he had been at this day would soothe his manners tonight. I could see for the past week, or if you can call that time a week, I wasn’t sure, but I could see that the weight of his concerns were pressing on him.
“Come down to the kitchen, I have collected some dinner. It is all cold, but enough of a feast.”
“Better yet, good woman, I will bring it upstairs by the fire. You must be cold. Even I can tell this house is cold and I am not bothered by it.”
He brought the food up on a large tray and we ate by the fire. I asked him if he could talk about his afternoon, and he shook his head.
“Rather eat this food. Am hungry again. You need to cook more for me, Bess. I have battles to fight.”
“Ah! I’m not cooking for a legion of demons, now, am I?” I grinned at him.
“No, they have their own kitchens or use magic. I have come to like your earthly food better than my paltry magic.” He stuffed his mouth with a huge chunk of bread and cheese which he cut with large knife. “Your cooking lasts longer in my stomach than my magic. Am hungry again too soon left to myself.”
He didn’t seem less of a mortal man here. They all wanted to be fed. I wondered a bit at my own husband. He would subside on junk food and beer if I staged a strike. I hoped that his habits had changed for the better. Other than hope, there was little I could do for him.
I ventured to tell him what I had done with my afternoon.
“Garrett, I went into the library and found some books that I read for a few hours. I found information that might be helpful to you, if you don’t know it already.” I didn’t tell him anything about the Nephilim or my suspicions of his father. His face darkened and I could see that he struggled to control himself.
“You are delving into something that you can not understand, woman. The powers of the supernatural are dangerous enough to those who are. For a mortal, and a woman at that, it could be fatal before you know what strikes at you.”
“So! I am to sit here and see you threatened by all that is unnatural and mind my own business?”
“I say to you, woman, do not mettle in that which you know nothing. Even reading such words can leave you open to danger.”
His words angered me, for again, I was just a mortal woman to him. A breeder, a cook, a woman to bed. He could sense my upset, and he stubbornly withheld any words of appeasement.
We sat there, silence between us for a long while. I thought unwittingly of that which I read, and forgot my thoughts were easily exposed to him.
“So, you have occupied your time in that which you shouldn’t. Tell me then, what you have found that you think is of value to me.” This was as much as he would bend to my labors.
“Something called hybrid demons, though they are less in powers.” I started to list them and their values. “Cento, the fire demon could be of worth here.”
“Better Andesco”, he replied. “He can shoot fire from his fingertips. He can make a ball of fire and throw it far. Could come in handy.” He packed down his pipe with his thumb, and blowing on it, produced a high flame. More of his magic, but I would not be impressed.
“Then there is Capito, demon of Illusion,” I went on, ignoring the smoke that he shot my way in an attempt to annoy me.
“Go on.” He shifted his weight in his chair and stretching his long legs, he almost touched the logs with his boots.
“There is Opacus, the demon of Shadow. I don’t know how his would be handy, but then again, I am just a mortal woman, as you say.”
I saw him grin around the stem of his pipe. He was softening a bit.
“Don’t bet on it. Give me another.”
“Defigo, demon of Time. Surely you can figure that out. Oh! And I learned that the Greek ‘daimon’ means ‘intelligent’, not wicked.
“It means both, if you consider the behavior.”
“Then there’s Escensio, demon of Teleport. Surely another that could be of value to you.”
“Finally, there’s Cedo…demon of shape changers.”
“Now that one is useful.”
“Well, thank you for that!” Little praise I got from him….
“You have brought me demons of a minor court. They can be easily fooled. That is why they are called ‘common demons.’ I need those from the Royal lines, of greater powers. Find any of those?”
“Well, what I found was something called the ‘Watchers.’” He looked startled and suddenly I had his full attention.
“The Nephilim. The Watchers over Mankind. A dangerous and royal line. That is possibly to be my line.”
That was a surprise to me. So he did know something more of his ‘parentage’.
“Why do you think that I have survived so long? Abigor dare not kill me only because of this. Otherwise, I would be ‘toast’ as you say.” He grinned, now more a grimace.
“Any of this you can use?”
“What, my ancestor line? I intend to. It is my first defense here. And the only reason that I have access to the Others.”
“The others being demons?” I ask.
“Oh Bess! I told you before that there are many cultures of Others. There are cultures here on this earth, that supply “Others”, there are dimensions out there, (here he waved his pipe in front of himself, I guess implying everything other) that have their own “Others”, everything that exists has its “Others”.
“So, these ‘Others” that you refer to, they are rulers?”
“More so than that. They have all the combined wisdom, intelligence, evil and good of their species. They are like a Pandora’s Box. But this box has all the jewels of the universes.
“More than one universe?”
“Many more. More than there are grains of sand on this earth.”
“I read that the Watchers pissed off God and He had them thrown into the Abyss forever.”
“Ah! That is what comes from a mortal woman reading these texts! Did you not read further? Was it in Greek or Aramaic?”
“Aramaic, I think.”
“Well, had you been able to read it, you would have found out that eight of the Watchers were placed in an ark, and survived the flood.” He drew on his pipe, letting a stream of smoke from his mouth.
“That’s from the Bible for your information.”
I was surprised that he had even bothered to read it. Didn’t sit well with him being some sort of demon.
“I am told I was descended from one of those Watchers. That is why I have been around a long time, unchallenged.”
In this short moment, I found out more about this Devil than I had guessed before. He was, what we would call in our pagan cultures, a “Wise One.”
“Your Wise Ones are paltry in powers compared to my breed.”
“Tell me, then. Are there Watchers or Nephilim of your breed that you can call upon now?”
“Ah! There’s the rub. They don’t reveal themselves easily. I have to search in various ways. That is why I am collecting a bunch of devils here soon, to parley something into agreement.”
This issue of devils on the furniture again. My God.
“Only dangerous if you get curious and come out of your room. Perhaps a few spells on you that day will make you less troubling for me.”
“Oh! Is that how you see me? As nothing but ‘trouble’?”
“Oh, much more than that. But trouble nevertheless.”
I decided not to push. I had enough to think about, and the fact that a passel of demons were to be in the house was not comforting.
“Can you control their behavior? Do you trust them together?”
“There is a certain code, or honor if you will. If you can use the word ‘honor’ among demons.” He grinned a devilish grin. “My status is enough, I am betting, to control them. Abigor’s command is better.”
“And have you Abigor’s approval here?”
“Ah! That was the nature of my business today. Abigor has his own reasons to back me against Obadiah. Abigor will be here with the others. He has requested an interview with you, and I must oblige him in this.”
“Why? I am just a ‘mortal woman’ as you say.”
“Abigor has his own reasons. He has taken a ‘shine’ to you. He saw how you handled the demons that tempted you in the woods that night. Took some courage of you.”
So. I am to have tea with an Arch Duke of Hell. How my world has expanded!
“It grows late, good woman. We have more work on the morrow. You can continue to read and find devils for me. It’s helpful a bit.”
“Oh! Thank you, Demon of mine. I have the same objectives here. To keep us both alive for a while.”
The Devil looked at me, and though the smoke from his pipe and the darkening of the room did not allow me to see clearly, I thought I saw some tenderness pass over his face.
I am now caught up in his world. If I thought of any escape, I would not know where to run. Better stay and make a stand. Even though my allies were some of the worst demons of Hell.