I’m working hard on an ending for this book. As I reread and rework, the characters surprise me. I had forgotten some of their antics and quirks, but find that they are funny. Mostly. At least they entertain me, and I believe that this is the first reason to write anything. It should appeal to and please the writer. Otherwise, what is the point of it all? If it pleases and entertains your readers, that’s a good sign.
I believe this is the first appearance of Lord Abigor: an Archduke from Hell. He’s a crack military advisor, has 60 legions of devils under his command and also one versed in herbal lore, medicine. What this has to do with Hell, I haven’t a clue, but so he was considered in the different accounts in the middle ages.
I am also adding a small chapter, where Lord Bucon, the Archduke of Hatred, meets with his son, Obadiah. I just found this chapter, and thought it could go here.
“Devil’s Revenge” Chapter 22
“Abigor? Are you there? I can’t see for the fog.”
“Walk to the north, Garrett. It is thick today.”
Abigor’s voice floated on the thickened air like molasses.
Garrett walked to what he hoped was the north, the fog disorienting him. It finally cleared. Abigor was perched on a stump, smoking a long, white clay pipe in a clearing of the woods. He seemed to be alone, but one can never tell with Devils.
Garrett bowed to him, and sat upon another stump. He took his own pipe out from his coat and started to smoke.
The two devils smoked on in silence. Abigor stretched his legs out before him. All around, except in this small clearing, the trees were dappled with a combination of fog and sunlight dancing among the limbs. It was like an Aurora Borealis that flitted along the ground and trees. There were no bird calls, or rustlings of small animals on the forest floor. This place was betwixt heaven and hell, a place of neutrality among spirits.
The lights sparking between trees were alien energies, for this was a magical place, inhabited by many dimensions.
“How do you fare in your present work, son?” Abigor blew out a long stream of smoke in Garrett’s direction.
“It goes, father. In fits and starts.” Garrett answered him honestly, a sentiment not known among devils but expected in this quiet place.
“Have you procured Andras’ support to your claim?”
“Ah! That is a question I have need of your wisdom. But of the Others, I have the support of Forcas and Leraie. Forcas’ brawn and Leraie’ strength in archery.”
“A good start, but only a start.”
Abigor puffed on his pipe in contemplation of the issue.
“I would suggest Aamon.”
Aamon was the demon who reconciled problems between foes and friends.
“You could at least seek his council.”
“Father,” said Garrett slowly, “what stands between Obadiah and me has a sharp and annoying history. I would as settle it now instead of having to endure his pinpricks for eternity.”
Abigor laughed heartily. “What stands between you and Obadiah is that be-witching mortal woman.”
He laughs again. “Get rid of her, and you and Obadiah will settle. ‘Sharp and annoying’, indeed.”
“Ah! That is a problem. What to do with her.”
“And what do you intend?”
“Oh, to breed her, eventually.”
Garrett’s voice sounded casual to Abigor’s ears, but he knew this demon sitting opposite him a bit better than Garrett supposed.
“There’s much pleasure in the breeding part. It’s what comes after that is annoying.”
“Yes, but the bitter must be taken with the good.”
“Ah! You have actually learned something from my teachings! Or better, you have remembered!”
Abigor was a dispenser of herbal lore and teachings. He was powerful in the usage of medicinal magic.
Abigor smoked his pipe with a scowl on his face. “You know, even that sentiment expressed before the wrong devil could make you…ah…”
“I was thinking more charcoal.”
He spat on the ground.
“You must cover your heart better, my son. Betwixt thee and me, I can well understand. I have had mortal women before, even your mother. I can remember my youth.”
“You knew my father, Abigor, what would he have done with her?” Garrett spat on the ground. It seemed to be a ritual among devils.
“Who? Your mother or your….ah…consort?”
“Bess.” Garrett blurted her name before thinking. He looked up at Abigor in surprise.
Abigor was laughing quietly.
“I forget you are half mortal. The weaker half. So, you have a name for her. Surely once you name a pet, you know you keep it.”
Abigor continued to chuckle. “Or, at least you don’t eat it.”
“Well, I couldn’t keep fetching her with ‘woman’.” Garrett smiled to himself.
“Yes, well woman will have a name. Eve, Lilith, Mary, Gormosy…they get stubborn and surly if you don’t name them.”
“And…they don’t put out.”
“Hah! That should be no problem for you! Just charm them still. No nonsense then.”
Garrett smiled to himself. The sweetness in her manner made the act more wholesome. Something Abigor would not know.
“I have been thinking of a familiar to train her. She is headstrong for a mortal woman, so the spirit will have to be strong.” Garrett knew that Abigor would have a suggestion for him.
“Well, there are a number of spirits that come to mind. What is it you want her to learn? To obey? Better that come from you. These mortal women, they follow so easily. You want her to follow you. I wouldn’t introduce Leraie to a woman to learn archery. He is too winsome. Women are easily impressed with a broad chest and handsome face.”
Abigor thought for a moment.
“Ah! I have the very devil! Gormosy would do well here. A respected Duchess of Hell.”
Abigor puffed on his pipe, his face wreathed with smoke which looked curiously like little snakes.
“What else does a mortal woman need to be bound for? Procure one and the other follows.”
That had potential. Garrett thought Gormosy could well teach her other things of importance. At least to him. What she was famous in Hell for would work nicely here on earth.
“Thank you, Father. That is one thing resolved.” Garrett placed his hand over his heart, and bowed from his stump.
“But I have another request to tax you.” Abigor nodded. Garrett was to proceed.
“Andras. I fear to expose her to him. It is not that I can’t control her in the presence of Andras, I can put all sorts of spells upon her for that.” (Abigor thought this hardly a show of confidence in her obedience to him.)
“I know how ‘touchy’ Andras is. She would drive any devil to violence.”
“Perhaps the solution here, my son, is to keep them apart.”
“Knowing that Andras is brother to Bucun, Obadiah’s father, can I do that without disrespect to him?” It was a question of protocol, with deadly results if he guessed wrong.
“Andras will be looking for a fight. He is, after all, Demon of Quarrels. He doesn’t have a ‘good’ side to him at all. I would not provoke him further with a moral woman. Especially if you can’t control her.”
Those last words were meant to slash at Demon Garrett. They were, after all, devils.
“I would dangle something else in front of Obadiah than my consort. Like my sword.”
“Ah! Flesh or steel. Either the same to you young bucks.” Abigor chuckled heartily.
“So, you have given her a title? A name and then, shortly, a title? My, you stick your head in the trap fast. I would have thought, as the son of your father, you would have some of his..ah… ‘polish.’”
“About my father, Abigor. How would he approach Andras? I can make the woman disappear, or not appear, as is called for, but what right do I have to ask Obadiah’s uncle for a boon?”
“About a snowball’s life in hell.”
Abigor looked at the younger demon through a haze of smoke. As they talked, it seemed they recreated the fires of hell with their pipes.
This young Turk, thought Abigor, part god though he be, had no standing in hell. He was unaware of the name of his father, but he had most of his traits.
Abigor pulled deeply on his pipe. He was tolerated by the Others because he came by his powers through royal blood. The demons had reason enough to fear him, though he was unaware of his breeding.
“You answer me in riddles, here. If I am to be my father’s son, I need know what he would do.”
Garrett took quite a liberty with this Arch Duke of Hell, but threw caution to the wind. It was good Abigor was feeling tender towards the young devil this day.
“Your father would do as you do. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Abigor puffed languidly at his pipe. He was enjoying his morning.
“Is your consort too fearful to have me to tea?” Abigor smiled around the stem of his pipe. He looked devilish.
“Not fearful enough.” Garrett smile, thinking of Bess.
“Ah! I remember the brio of some mortal women. The Latins were good for it, though they were always calling the name of Christ and pope down upon heads. I would advise you to rip out her tongue early.”
Garrett smiled at Abigor. “I would rather work a charm on her. She can use that tongue for better things.”
Ah. These half mortal devils have such patience with their women.
“I would approach Andras with courage. And caution. It will not be easy to gauge his moods. Dangle a gift before him. A pillow of lavender for sweet dreams, an axe to chop his foot off, you figure it out. But know that Bucun will have already approached him for support. The only angle I can see is that Obadiah has been a pain in the butt before to Andras. Bucun’s son comes by his hatred through blood. Quarrels are fueled either by love or hate, and Andras has had his docket filled with Obadiah’s sins. Other than that, you could be toast with him.”
“Thank you, Father. I will remember your wise words.”
Garrett appeared and been answered. He knew not to take up Abigor’s valuable time. This ArchDuke had many activities and the docket of Hell was just one of them all.
But he had secured Abigor to his side, and was glad of this. Obadiah, backed by his father Bucon, was no easy fight. There would be battles aplenty before the dust settled. He just hoped he could keep all his demons in a row here. He knew he was playing with Hell’s hottest fires.
As Garrett and Abigor meet and talk, so do Bucon and his son, Obadiah, with the same purpose in mind.
BUCON AND OBADIAH
Obadiah and Bucon sat before a smoky fire, two pairs of legs stretched out towards the low burning logs. Boot leather was drying and cracking from the heat like fried pork skins. Bucon was packing a white clay pipe with tobacco and leaned to the hearth to pick up a red coal with his fingers. The smell of burning flesh did not seem to alarm him.
An Arch Duke of Hell, Chief Demon of Hatred, Bucon looked through the haze of pipe smoke at his youngest son. Secretly Bucon was proud of Obadiah. He exhibited the important issues of venality and depravity that dovetailed with his own. He definitely was a chip off the old block.
Ah, humanity had gone flat, become flabby, uninteresting. Since the French Revolution the ground had gone fallow. Hatred was hard to sow right now, these early years of the 19th century. A kind of prosperity with this Industrial Revolution had begun to spread amongst citizens. Perhaps it was too early to tell, but there was hope in future conflict and overwork in these new mills and factories. Father’s daughters leaving their homes and spinning wheels had promise. Money was certainly the root of all evil, but this new evil would have to fester a while. Hope for a better life did not leave much consideration for the growth of hatred. It would take time.
Bucon sighed, sending a black, tarry smoke from his lungs. The crusades were long over but what a wonderful time that was! Such invigorating events…all steeped in violence and contention. Religion certainly kept those fires burning amongst mankind.
It was a Devil’s Delight, those years.
Bucon had five invisible eyes and with the two glittering black ones on his face he could see all activity of humanity on the seven continents. Spreading hatred and contention was fine, but what really got the bile going was interfering with the natural sentiment between men and women. He could spend all day and night sowing discord and disgruntlement, jealousy and malice between a man and his wife, but he had to be careful. Jealously was the domain of some particularly nasty Jewish demons and although they were all in this world (and others) together, there was still a question of overstepping territories. When done, well, they tended to act as their natures dictated. In heated spades.
Bucon looked over at Obadiah and thought: “What a fop”.
Dressed in a black wool suit with spit polished boots, a shirt and cravat whiter than virgin snow, Bucon sneered at him. Bucon’s own linen was always limp and dingy, his boots regardless of polish dull and the pores of his face pitted with the black leavings of sin. Bucon wondered if Obadiah really was of his seed.
“Father, what do you counsel here?”
If Obadiah’s clothes were a better cut, his heart certainly belonged to Daddy.
“Well, son, tell me again. Exactly what is it you are seeking? Is it this mortal woman you are clamoring about? I already told you could have a million of them with the snap of your clean fingers.”
Bucon looked at his own hands. He had bitten them to the quick and dried blood encrusted the nails. Sowing hatred was hard work. A thought occurred to Bucon.
“Have you fallen in love, Obadiah?”
His son’s eyes flashed and an elegant sneer appeared on his countenance.
“Love? Do you think that possible, Father? Am I not your own son?”
Bucon spat into the fire, his stream of spit becoming a little snake screaming as the flames consumed it.
He wished those little devils wouldn’t do that. It always startled.
Bucon was old as sin, older than original sin. But he wondered. He had seen a lot in his endless time. Not only mankind was changing. Even demons could be affected by outside forces. Obadiah was certainly his son, but influences surrounding him could have made some inroads into his thinking. This would do the trick. Or better, could undercut the natural ‘trickery’ embedded so deeply in the brotherhood.
Bucon sat and thought over the options. He spit again but slammed down his foot on the snake, crushing it. No scream came from beneath his boot.
Influences such as the Enlightenment, the Romantics in literature, music, could give pause to a waffling demon’s natural tendencies. This ‘turn the other cheek’ of this Christian God was only a tremor in the bedrock of their natural existence. Better the ‘eye for an eye’ of the Old Testament. At least that would keep the wars flowing.
Ah, Evil might be banal but it’s still hard work.
Bucon had a thought. “Gettin’s is keepin’s, son?”
Obadiah’s tight smile showed he understood the reference. Bullfinch’s words interpreting a scene between Agamemnon and Achilles.
”Perhaps, Father. This other is the target. The women only stands between us.”
Ah, thought Bucon. That Obadiah didn’t blast her away said reams. Yes, his son was smitten, was softening. Some Demon. Any further weakening would lead to defeat.
“Well, son, what is it you want from me?”
Obadiah stared into the fire. “I have to figure out whom to trust, who to gather in for this fight.”
Bucon thought his choice of words was interesting. “Trust” wasn’t exactly a word to use when referring to demons.
“Well, you know who your opponent is gathering in?”
Obadiah didn’t immediately answer, and Bucon thought perhaps his son didn’t.
“I do know he’s consulted with Abigor already. Heard some word about Andras.. and he’s researching possibilities in Celtic mythology.”
“That would be natural, son. Your opponent has his roots there. But if he’s dealing with Druids, he won’t get much help from them. Those folk see Demons as offshoots of Christianity. Rather a narrow bunch, I’d say.”
“Any suggestions for me to ponder, Father?”
“Ah…let me think. Perhaps you need demons of greater and lesser abilities. One level to keep watch over your opponent….couldn’t hurt….and another level of jabbing monkeys.”
Obadiah, being of a more fastidious sort of devil, was surprised at his father’s choice of terms. But it did sound like an all-around plan. Perhaps some of the lesser demons to be-devil his opponent and then he would make some well-placed visits to more important ones.
“Perhaps you should consider the Nephilim, son. They could be part of a battle plan. Think on this.”
Yes, thought Obadiah. The Nephilim. That could tip the balance in his favor fast. With those giants on his side, a victory would be more than possible.
“Remember what is most important here. Can you recall what was lesson Number One?”
“Yes, Father. ‘Only the darkest of hearts in Hell thrive.’
Copyrighted, 2007, 2009, 2013
Tags: Arch Duke of Hatred in Hell, Archduke of Hell, Aurora Borealis, betwixt Heaven and Hell and not Earth, Bullfinch on Mythology, Chapter 22, competition between devils, Demon Bucun, Demon Obadiah, Demons and Devils, Devil's Revenge, fiction-fantasy, Jane Kohut-Bartels, Lady Nyo, Lord Abigor, M. Bucon, Nasty Jewish demons, Obadiah who is Bucon's son, territory, The Enlightenment, The Industrial Revolution, The Nephilim, what is the point of our writing?