“Letter From Madame Gormosy” makes an appearance, as does Madame….on Morgan’s blog: http://booknvolume.com
Chapter 22, where Demon Garrett seeks the advice of an Arch Duke of Hell, Lord Abigor, and where it is suggested that Mme. Gormosy is hired to be a tutor.
“Abigor? Are you there? I can’t see for the fog.”
“Walk to the north, Garrett. It is heavy 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” flitting 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 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 appropriate in this quiet place.
“Have you procured Andras’ support to your claim?”
“Ah! That is one issue I seek 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. Garrett grimaced and spat on the ground.
“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 chuckled, in a good mood this morning for a demon. “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 Abigor knew the devil opposite him a bit better than the other 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 laughed quietly.
“I forget you are half mortal. The weaker half. So, you have named her. Surely once you name a pet, you know you keep it.”
Abigor continued to chuckle to himself. “Or, at least you don’t eat it.”
“Well, I couldn’t keep fetching her with ‘woman’.”
“Yes, well woman will have a name. Eve, Lilith, Mary, Gormory…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. 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 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. Woman 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.
Abigor continued. “What else does a mortal woman need to be bound for? Procure this and the other issues follow.”
Abigor’s suggestion was good. Garrett thought Gormory could teach her things of importance. At least to him. What she was famous for in Hell would work nicely 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. The woman would drive any devil to violence.”
“Perhaps the solution here, my son, is to keep them apart.”
“Knowing that Andras is brother to Bucon, 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. And he couldn’t, as powerful as Abigor was, he couldn’t reveal the name of Garrett’s father. It was something this Young Turk would have to find out for himself.
Abigor pulled deeply on his pipe and thought: He was tolerated by the Others because he came by his powers through royal blood. The demons had reason enough to fear him, though Devil Garrett was unaware of his breeding.
“You answer me in riddles, Lord Abigor. If I am to be my father’s son, I need know what he would do.”
Garrett took 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. Riddles were a pleasant part of eternity.
“Is your consort too fearful to have me to tea?” Abigor smiled around the stem of his pipe. He looked…well, rather devilish.
“Not fearful enough.” Garrett smiled, thinking of what her reaction would be.
“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 their infernal 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, thought Abigor. They don’t know a minute of peace because of it, either.
“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 Bucon 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. Bucon’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 Arch Duke had many activities and the docket of Hell was just one of them all.
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.