“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 17

Full Moon, March 2011

Seven years ago I started this novel about Devils, Demons and a few mortals. It came from my first novel, “The Heart of the Maze” which had NO demons, but the characters (as mortals) were interesting and I didn’t want to kill all of them off.  So I wrote another novel continuing  where “Heart of the Maze” ended. The vast majority of characters in this novel  were devils, demons and shape shifters, etc. Right now I am rewriting chapters (all 43 of them…) and considering the total book.  I had a lot of fun with this book originally, and still am having fun. Rewriting can be a chore, but it is necessary.

Abigor is an Arch Duke of Hell…known by different names, but Abigor suits my purpose here.  He is a commander of military tactics, a healer (funny concept for a demon) and Garrett Cortelyou, the main male character, consults with Abigor against his arch enemy, Obadiah.  Bess is the writer (of both books…) thrown into the mix.  She is pulled from her comfortable 21st century life into the 1820’s:  the time and environment of  the first book.

Note: the Demons read minds and that is a source of their power over mortals.

Magic.

Lady Nyo

Chapter 17

My voice had been muted by the Demon, for he called me a chatterbox. I could only look at him and communicate through my eyes, which is a good lesson for me. Right now, there are large tears falling and I used this to move him to some pity.

Hah! There is no compassion from the Devil! He sat there and made faces, and I have gone from frustration to tears in a matter of minutes. He is an unkind beast, and I was crazy to think I could appeal to some better nature. I was dealing with a demon, for god’s sake! What do I expect?

The afternoon turned to dusk, and it darkened quickly outside, as it does in winter.   The Devil was standing at the window, watching the gloom gather. His senses were sharpened, even his ears were pointed like a bats–

“I heard that”, he said, not turning around. “It will be time to leave soon, so wipe your eyes and gather your courage. And curb your venom. Remember who holds you in relative safety tonight.”

He turned and smiled. Ah! I hate him with every bone in my body.

He left me some privacy, and I was thankful. Usually he abused his power of reading my mind, and now I realized just how worried he was. I could think of insults to taunt him, but he was deep into matters.

He turned back to the window, and then lowered his voice: “It’s time.”

He kissed me gently  and I entered a darkness, insensate.

I awoke to the night, as he walked through woods, a sword in his right hand. I was on his left, and he was holding me firmly by the hand, dragging me behind. I was almost blinded by the dark, feeling like I was swimming through warm water.

The night was dark, only a gibbous moon in the sky. It must have risen earlier when I was asleep. The trees are almost invisible, except for fireflies that look like white Christmas lights among the branches. I thought a moment. Fireflies are in the summer, not the dead of winter. Garrett squeezed my hand; he knows I was anxious and I tried not to look around.

We came out in a clearing; there were a few burning torches lighting the area. Seems to be a million fireflies about us, but now I think it is something different, something unnatural.

There, at the center of the clearing, as we drew near, was a man sitting on a stump of a tree. He was rather robust, of indeterminate age, but had a full white beard coursing down his chest. Dressed all in black, but of a style of an earlier time, he had a large white ruff around his neck, and what appeared to be gold buttons down two sides of his bodice.

A large, black dog sat at his feet. It might be a wolf. Whatever it is, the animal is chained to the stump. His red eyes were glowing in the light of the torches. Rather an unearthly scene, and one to raise the hairs on my arms.

The man was Abigor, the Grand Duke of Hell, as my Demon warned me. Garrett shifted me to his right side, slightly behind him, and approached no nearer than ten feet from the duke. I heard him take a deep breath, and saw him bow. I waited with my curtsey, and looked at Abigor seated on his stump. He seemed like a pleasant enough fellow.

Garrett addressed Abigor. I was not only mute, but I couldn’t hear their exchange. I did see Abigor nod his head, so I guessed they are talking. I tried not to look around but the temptation was too great, and I glanced up at the trees to my right. A sweet voice was talking, but I could hardly hear it. I swallowed something that had entered my mouth. Suddenly, I remembered Garrett’s words and I stamped my foot softly. The voice stopped. Whatever it was I swallowed has become bitter. I spit out what appeared to be dirt. A twittering rose in the trees. My Demon looked at me from the corner of his eyes. It was enough of a warning. Behave, girl.

Now I heard Abigor talk in a low rumble. Garrett answered in the same way. It was as if they were on an alien wave length, the decibels too deep for mortal ears. I tried to look at the ground before me, and not let my eyes stray.   A soft breeze circled my bare feet; it was warm and soothing. Again, I stamped my foot, this time with more force. I screwed up my face in a threatening scowl, and again the woods tittered. Suddenly there was silence, a total emptiness of sound. Even the ‘fireflies’ dimmed. I heard Abigor addressing me.

“Come here, mortal woman, come closer. Let me see your features.”

I looked at the Demon beside me, and he nodded. I walked within five feet of Abigor and gave him my lowest curtsey. He gave a genial smile, but I would not be put off. He was the Grand Duke of Hades for god’s sake! An Arch Demon. A false smile if ever there was one.

“Ah! She has courage, your woman”, said Abigor.

He looked at Garrett and something flew between them.

“She is not exactly the age of a breeder. Is there something else to make her of value to you?”

I heard my Demon give a short laugh and said I was entertaining, and that he knew he could breed me. I was a fast learner and had values beyond the obvious.

“Ah. Turn around, woman, so I may see these things that keep my kin in thrall.” I turned around a full circle for him slowly. I did not realize that the gown I had been dressed in was transparent to all other eyes except mine. The reason for coloring my nipples and sex was so they were highlighted to peering eyes.

“She had other features that keep me amused, Father.”

I heard my Demon list my ‘values’ to him.

“She cooks well, and embroiders, and can fence a bit. She plies her hand at writing, and her script is readable. She is a bit of a talker, so I have muted her for your pleasure. She is a good harem dancer, and sings on key enough. She can fly a falcon and shoot a straight arrow, and mostly does as she is told. You yourself, Grand Duke, know these mortal women are needing correction and training in our ways. She amuses me enough to keep her around.”

“Do you think she will be a good breeder, Garrett, my son?”

“I haven’t yet tried her on that. I have used a camelstone, Father, because I wanted to see her develop in our ways first. If she does as I expect, and does as I please, I should breed her in short time.”

“Your other children, Garrett. Have any of them survived to call you father?”

“No, Abigor. They have all died in the wars. Their mothers were not pleasing, but convenient for the time. This one, this woman, has more…ah…potential.”

“You know that another has made a claim on her? Your old friend, Obadiah.” Abigor coughed and black smoke shot from his mouth. “Would you slay Obadiah to keep her?”

“I would slay Obadiah for many other reasons, Father. And yes, I would slay him to keep this woman. She pleases enough for me to bother.”

“The claim Obadiah has made, does it not turn you away from her? We hear it was particularly insulting to your stature, my son.

“If she gave herself willingly to Obadiah, I would have killed her myself. But she was raped, and had no defense against him. Therefore, she is blameless.”

“Ah. Obadiah has been known for his violence. I believe you suffered from his actions?”

“Yes, Father, and I don’t mean to again.”

“You know Obadiah has appealed to the same Bench of Hell?”

“I would suppose he would. We both know the channels.”

“Then I will let you know my decisions in a matter of time. Continue to prepare for your battle, and draw your defenses carefully. I will remark upon your visit here with the others. And son, if you want this mortal woman as bad as you seem to, keep her close. Obadiah has a lust that is legendary. He will steal her for the pleasure of nothing.”

The Demon bowed deeply, as I hurried back to his side. Then, putting his arm around me, he passed his hand over my eyes, and I went into the darkness again. I did hear a faint twittering up in the trees as we passed out of the clearing and through the woods again.

 —

I found myself in bed, exhausted, and wondered if it was all a dream. But the circlet of gold on my forehead bit into my skin, and I knew that something ‘real’ enough had happened

Garrett the Demon  was sitting at the fire, staring into it intently, puffing hard on his pipe.

I called his name hoarsely, apparently my voice restored.

“So, you awaken! And did you have a pleasant dream?” His eyes glittered in the firelight.

I sat up on the side of the bed. “You are not going to try and persuade me all was a dream? I have the rouge here to prove that something happened this night.”

“So! You remember our walk in the woods and our chance meeting with a pleasant old man?”

“Ah, Demon! Spare me your tales. I remember all that happened. When you stopped up my voice, my ears became sharper. Apparently my memory, too.”

He looked at me, a meager grin on his face. “And what else do you remember?”

“Too much, Demon, to please me! I remember you listing my attributes like a race horse, and something about breeding me. I remember also the sounds of the woods, the laughter of something and the lights in the trees. They were demons, weren’t they?”

“I told you Abigor travels with an entourage. And yes, they were not summer’s fireflies.” He blew out a puff of smoke and grinned broadly at me. I could tell he was pleased with his interview.

“Stopping up your mouth probably made all the difference in the outcome here. There was definitely a danger of both of us becoming cinders.”

“But you called him ‘father’ and he called you ‘son’. Would he have done harm to you?”

“Ah! That. Just a politeness among devils. He isn’t my father and I’m not his son. It’s just a way of showing courtesy.”

He puffed on his pipe. “And yes, he could strike me down easily, and would if he fancied it. I think he took a shine to you, though.” He grinned and his teeth glittered in the firelight. I thought of the fireflies.

Great. To catch the eye of another demon. The powers of womankind. Mortal womankind.

“Don’t they have enough she-devils to fill their beds?”

Garrett looked at me and laughed. “Oh no. No, no, no. You don’t want to bed a she- demon for long. They sap your strength, and you wake up in the morning and she’s a hag. No, not pleasant at all. A mortal woman has no magic that can be used against you, especially when she is in your arms and you are inside her.”

I shivered at his words. What a culture of deceit. No wonder he was riddled with issues.

“Come here, Bess, let me check you for marks. Those demons tempted you fast, but you handled it well. Let me see if they left anything to worry about.”

I got out of bed and came before him at the fire. He snapped his fingers and the gown disappeared.

“Gossamer stuff. Tends to dissolve like that. I was sure Abigor would entertain his legion  with a snap of his fingers.” My eyes grew wide.

“Turn around slowly, sweet woman, and let me look at you closely.” I noticed he put down his pipe on the floor.

Taking my arms, he pulled me between his legs, and turned me around for his inspection. He passed his hands down my back and circled my fanny. He turned me around and pulled me close and put his head between my breasts.

“Ah, the smell of an uncharred woman. You got lucky tonight. We both did.”

There seemed to be a time where all reason was suspended. This night was of that.

Actually, from the moment the four frogs hopped in the room, and covered me with frog spit, my belief in my sanity had been put aside. It was a very confusing time for me, and the Demon tries my patience sorely. But all in all, as he said, we got lucky tonight.

Just hope I wake up tomorrow without blisters.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007-2015

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