It was three years since Demona had been defeated
and killed, but now she was back and would have her vengeance. The Pit
given her some much needed magical power, and taught her some harsh lessons, but she still found herself unsure of the deal she had
made. The deal felt all wrong, especially that she had to play host to this being as part of it, this demon prince named Devil.
Demona allowed her mind to wander from it’s appointed task of re-asserting herself over her company, Nightstone Incorporated,
and watched the demon as he watched the city out of the huge bay windows of her fifty-seventh floor office in New York. The more
she watched, the more she let herself remember until she was fully absorbed in her memories of that wretched chain of events which
had brought her to this juncture.
Demona had awoken in a strange bed, in
clothing not her own.
She lay on a bed of coal black silk, and her slim teal blue form was encased in a red sequined dress. She took this in, unable to speak
at first, having dim memory of death, surpassed not to find herself burning upon flames and being stabbed at by pitchforks.
“What the hell?”
“Exactly.” A smooth masculine voice, punctuated by an English accent, interrupted on her. “Come, let’s see what I paid so dearly for.”
The voice continued, emanating from beyond the portal like doorway to the balcony.
Demona rose slowly, her red hair cascading down her bare back between her wings, which clasped like a cloak over her chest.
Walking to the balcony, she took a moment to absorb the room into her memory. All of it was made in some fashion of well-crafted brass,
red onyx, obsidian, hematite, turquoise, mahogany, and the floors a brilliant black marble shined until like mirrors. From fixtures, furniture,
everything. In total opposition to the outside.
The balcony was indeed brass, but the building itself was a huge collection of basalt pillars arching into a sienna sky with ash clouds of
smog, overlooking a bile yellow river that smelled of urine and any number of dead things, subtle under the bittersweet rank of burning
carcass that hung in the air.
Demona turned and was intrigued to be greeted by the form of a man apparently hybrid of human and lupine qualities. Dressed in a
red & black pinstripe suit, he appeared wholly composed of brass. His features betrayed neither the cracks of joints as though it was solid,
nor the ripple of liquid...it reacted merely as if flesh and fur.
“The Styx, it’s repugnant, isn’t it?” He repeated.
Demona’s face was blank before she nodded numbly, too out of sorts for her usual brand of rather catty anger that typified her existence.
“Who are you?”
“Wraith,” He interrupted again, a habitual act apparently. “Lord Wraith.”
Wraith, his eyes wholly black and absorbing no light, appraised her. Drawing a shudder from her he once more barged in upon her
thoughts. “You’ve questions? Sit.”
Wraith commanded as one might a lapdog, snapping his fingers as with that brief second an ornate brass table and chairs appeared, upon
which a china tea set and fresh green tea sat awaiting. It was only then that Demona realized the heat, which should have startled her as it was
unbearably hot. Like the inside of a volcano, during the several hundred degree summer of a very wet year in Hawaii, without air conditioning,
in a steel box.
“No.” Demona finally ventured.
“Oh come now, Demona, only a friendly chat.” Wraith mused at her, seating himself, crossing one leg over the other as he tucked his brass
cane into the crook of his elbow.
Demona bit back the series of insults she had at her disposal and sat in the opposing chair with a huff, not appreciating her new “status” as
“That’s a good girl.” Wraith smirked, fanning the flames of her injured pride. “This is the Pit,” Wraith explained to his captive audience. “The
bellows to the flames of hell, you were bought by me at the price of an Italian Necromancer’s soul so that I might entreat your services.”
“Services?” Demona asked with mild dictates, envisioning hedonistic scenes of sado-masochism, not that it might not be fun, but she’d rather
it be of her choosing and not someone such as this.
“Not those services,” Wraith chuckled. “Something simple and low impact, I need you to take an associate of mine back to earth with you.
Technically the bellows is in the realm of purgatory, so an immortal like you can go back to her body without a problem.”
With this information she saw no real reason why she should have to do anything for this lord she began to give refusal when with a snap of
the fingers she was nude, up to her thighs in scalding liquid brass. She couldn’t scream as the heated air of the superheated liquid evaporated
the waters from her body and baked the flesh from her bones. Feeling it slide off she watched in horror as her hair turned to ash and blew away
from her head after flaming brilliantly.
“You go back to Hell.” Wraith said.
As quickly as she had been there she was once more in the dress and in the chair where she had been, but she had also been in that pool
of liquids, at a loss she stuttered, looking at Lord Wraith in confusion.
“I am a Demonlord, this is my plane, I can do anything I wish here, even control space and time. “That was, in a blink of the eye, the sort
of pains I can inflict upon your person at my leisure if you dissatisfy me.” Wraith explained with finality. “As many times as I wish...from the
experiments of nazi war criminals upon the most sacred centers of your sex to brutal stoning of old I can think of as many kinds of horrid death
and re-death for you eternally. “And in case you doubt, let me inform you that, though I am a lord I can hold no state functions simply because
there is no reason...I am considered so vile and cruel in my methodologies that none of the others will have anything to do with me.”
Demona frowned, her mind reeling as she suddenly felt an utter desperation to flee.
“I am not one for rejection.” Wraith smirked, finishing a cup of tea.
“And my reward for service?” Demona asked, voice hollow.
“Well,” Demona coughed politely. “shall we go meet my new charge?”
Demona frowned, recalling that meeting as Devil
had been found singing at a hellish rock concert...not only was he ugly
as sin, to make a pun,
but he was crude and vile. Wraith had informed her that Devil could, like she, become human by daylight and was practically invulnerable save
a few select things and of course magic, also much as she... And just like she, bore an unnatural hatred of all things human.
“Bitch.” Devil stated without turning, the one sharp word hissed between filed teeth like the crackle of a flame pulling Demona from her
memories and making her look to him, currently six-foot tall in a human form. His mirrored glasses reflected the afternoon sunlight as he watched
the burning orb slowly lower. Dressed in a leather trenchcoat, with long black hair cascading down his back like a single mass of oil or ink his
features were angular and gothic in keeping with his punkish appearance and attitudes.
“What?” Demona said, eyes blank.
“Don’t be a bitch,” Devil replied, dropping his cigarette and stomping it. “I’ll kill your boy toy all in good time.” It was of course, that statement
that so worried Demona. She was pleased that vengeance would be his of course, but Devil seemed to have agendas of his own, and given that
this child of hell was both powerful in magic and in combat, Demona wondered if she hadn’t been had...could she control this new servant?
After all, hadn’t she made a deal?
A deal yes, very similar to one that had been
cut during the same time Demona was in Hell acquiring her new servant.
It’s an unappreciated
truth that Demons are from an evil before the time of Jehovah, and that his rebel children the true Devils and the Angel of Light are entirely
different. In a place of paradise at those same moments Demona was immersed in the obscene, the Archangel Eliwynn had the unpleasant task
of recruiting the help of a prisoner.
“Fenris, Wendigo, Nightmare, Azreal, Rimmon, Pythos, my list of names for you could go on, Son of Azmodan, but I have neither the time
nor the inclination to do so. Eliwynn chided upon his prospective soldier. “Do you remember why you were imprisoned?”
“Go screw Eliwynn, I’m busy.” The other replied, not looking up from his copy of Don Quixote in the original Spanish. “And whatever it is,
the answer is no.”
“Quaint.” Eliwynn mused. “We’ve a job for you, Son of Azmodan.”
“Your father has finally moved against the mortals, we’d like you to destroy his emissary.” Eliwynn said as he dropped the file towards the
chained form, which eyed the file with distaste. “Go kill him yourself.”
“It’s not that simple,” Eliwynn replied, patience waning. “otherwise I’d let you rot, but the chosen emissary is Devil, Son of Azmodan.”
The ‘Son of Azmodan’ looked up from the file with a glint of anger in his eye, shining like the north star and burning like a thousand angry red
suns, giving his eyes a bloody glow.
“The name, is Templar.”
Part II -- The Stage is Set
Templar clipped at his stringy blond hair,
freshly cleaned, as he studied color pictures of the mortal world far below.
Currently his stony gaze
took in the lithe form of Demona during one of her more illustrious attempts to destroy humanity.
“Her name is Demona,” Eliwynn explained. “Grimore. Autonomous. Under. Devoted. Indenture. And. Networking* has been watching her
terrorist activities for some time, killed by a gargoyle she had taken advantage of a few years previously.”
“That’s the one, ‘the angry young man’.”
Templar snorted and flipped to a picture of the gargoyle in question. “Nice kid, berserker after my own heart.” Looking up Templar nodded
to the girl who brought his coffee “Thanks, dove.”
Eliwynn watched in disgust as Templar wolfed down a cup of coffee and Philadelphia Cheese Sandwich, as always amazed that the Pure
One allowed these pagan gods to exist. Especially ones as dangerous as this one, but it was not his place to question the great plan.
“Isn’t this Macbeth?” Templar blinked, pointing to a picture.
“Yes, he’s soul-bound to Demona by a deal he made with the Weird Sisters.”
“They’re not that weird, lot of fun actually.”
“Thank you.” Templar smiled sweetly, then suddenly changed back to the important subjects, a habit which Templar found amusing to no
end as it really peeved Eliwynn.
“You’ll be glad to note,” Eliwynn said. “That Macbeth is out of the country at this time.”
“That cuts the variables.” Templar agreed. “And he’s not dead because The Bellows are within purgatory and not the Hells?”
“Good...so it’s just a basic search-and-destroy mission, fast and bloody.”
“No, no blood, Son of Azmodan.” Eliwynn sneered. “We won’t have a repeat of any of your military blunders.” The archangel added with
contempt. “Need I remind you of Hiroshima, Viet Nam, Laos, Bay of Pigs and-”
“Don’t even start, Templar! It’s your style of ‘fast and bloody’ that caused hundreds of souls to be lost, your style that causes senseless
destruction, were it anyone but Devil I would still have you in dwarven irons to rot!”
“Eliwynn!” Templar roared, faster than the Archangel’s eyes could travel Templar was on his feet and already had drawn a sharp knife from
the silverware to cut Eliwynn ear to ear, kicking over the table. “You will not pin every military blunder in history on me! “Each of those atrocities
could have been prevented had you and your halo-wearing hacks owned the merest grain of conviction to your words! “Every time you would
send me and others in to do good on the battlefields that were too hot for you, at the last moment you pull the choke chain! Not this time! As
matter of point I want you to know that I think it all stems from the fact my god the All-Father Odin gave me a dick while your god didn’t bless
you with definition...you’d be amazed what a pair of balls will do for a real mans character.”
“Think what you may,” Eliwynn said, unfazed, having regained his composure. “There have been mistakes, but we are not letting our only
Demon Knight go into the field alone.”
“Watch me!” Templar snarled, snapping his fingers to teleport from sight to the mortal world far below, drawing a sigh from Eliwynn.
“That’s entirely the point.”
Angela thought it was cute, but it was in fact
Brooklyn’s only way of dodging the issue. Namely, night-time naps similar
to how humans sleep.
Brooklyn, the red-skinned gargoyle had never considered himself a killer, but here he was with Demona’s blood on his claws. A box landed in
Brooklyn’s lap, illiciting a yelp as its thud resounded upon his loincloth-covered unmentionables.
“If I might inconvenience Yea’ lordship?” Hudson huffed. “We are busy lad.”
“Just taking a second.” Brooklyn croaked.
Gargoyles were strangers to Manhattan, resurrected from an ages old curse. Brooklyn was one of six gargoyles plus the recent addition of
As Brooklyn understood it, playboy David Xanatos discovered and resurrected the gargoyles with the immortal Demona’s help in an attempt
to acquire personal soldiers. It didn’t work out, of course, gargoyles protect first and foremost, they aren’t servants.
Several long stories short they were forced from their castle, forced from their second home in a clocktower, had re-discovered the eggs
lost to them by the curse on the mystic isle of Avalon, and that these eggs had grown to adulthood because time didn’t work quite right there,
thus ensuring the Scotland Gargoyle Clan in absence. Goliath, the clan leader, had made this discovery and brought back Angela with him.
Much to everyone’s surprise Angela being the daughter of Demona and Goliath from when the two had been lovers. These weren’t the only
surprises either, there were some more interesting things, like the Cannmores who carried on a gargoyle hunting family tradition in thanks yet
again to Demona who’d begun the feud, and the Quarrymen, a group of anti-gargoyle racists who found great pleasure in smashing gargoyles
by the daylight when they slept.
Yup, it was great to be a gargoyle in America.
“Here,” Brooklyn muttered as he shoved the box off on his younger brother Lexington. “With love.”
Elisa Maza, the first human other than Xanatos to discover the gargoyles had received a message from Puck, who served Xanatos, to move
the Gargoyles into the underground of the city. As with many of Puck’s messages it was vague and full of foreshadowing that left chills for what
it didn’t say. That was why the clan was moving from the castle they had been welcomed back into, and that should have been enough for
Brooklyn but instead he was resistant.
He was moody and depressed since the incident with Demona and fraying on the edges. Goliath and the aged Hudson were convinced it
was ‘teen angst’ as they had seen in all those James Dean movies from which Brooklyn would recover while Lexington and the obese middle
brother Broadway determined out of hand that Brooklyn was just being ‘Bitchy’, Broadway particularly upset as it had been his company
Angela had kept before Brooklyn had saved her.
Angela was upset for entirely different reasons, her puppy love for Broadway forgotten, she was what she’d read of in Pride & Predjudice
as ‘violently’ in love with Brooklyn but he seemed unappreciative of her advances.
Which left Bronx, the dog-like gargoyle who other than the ability to lick his own testicles and a vile personality to match his claws and fangs
didn’t show any real care one way or the other, as always Hudson’s companion.
“F---ing wonderful.” Brooklyn grumbled.
“What was that?” demanded Goliath, looking up sedately from his Tennyson. “Did you say something?”
“Not me.” Brooklyn replied, forcing a smile, nodding at the right moments as he gave Goliath the ‘victory’ peace sign. “You know this castle,
“I thought not.” Goliath nodded, his voice still calm and smooth but it carried the weight of threat as he looked to the clock. “Come, the sun
will soon rise, tomorrow we will move.”
Gargoyles, by venue of evolution, were forced
to turn to stone during the sixteen hours of daylight everyday in their
own form of photosynthesis
to make up for that energy which normal food couldn’t provide in the normal gargoyle metabolism. Thus striking gothic poses on the castle tower
they became stone weather they wanted to or not... except for Templar who was gargoyle in form only and having teleported at that moment
appeared at the sun's first light.
Templar’s curse however was that, though a powerful magic user and he could teleport whenever he wished, he habitually had really bad aim
on his arrival points. This time was no exception as he faded into existence six feet above and then fell into the bed of Maria Chavez.
Father Liam Hurn was a soft hearted man who
loved children and anyone in need.
God was in his heart and mind every day from dawn to when he lay his head on his pillow.
The classic stereotype of slightly overweight balding catholic priest with rosy cheeks he was always jolly and friendly and quick to make a joke
of himself to amuse others. He didn’t do it for glory or for power...he did it for his faith.
Liam never gave a harsh sermon, and never preached of horrible fire, but of turning the other cheek and brotherhood, brotherhood he himself
sought. That cold October morning he was taking the constitutional jog he always took, rain or shine or snow, when he discovered the homeless
wretch. He was unreasonably tall and spoke in mushy tones because of a hairlip, dressed in a grave-smelling great coat he coughed and hacked
at the priest as he held out two shivering reddened fingers for some kind of gift.
Father Hurn never judged him, never spoke ill, he helped the man to his feet and led him back to the church. It was called by some the Blood
Church because it had been converted from a 1900’s meat packinghouse, a dark black stone and metal building lovingly written over by gargoyles
of the non-living kind and images of god.
The whole way Hurn and the stranger talked, nothing particular, just friendly...but suddenly the homeless man stopped at the iron gate to the
“Come in my son.”
The stranger shook his head. “ ‘vite me...”
Father Hurn chuckled and opened the gate wider, taking the stranger’s hand. “We are god’s children, we’re all welcome.” closing the gate
behind them Hurn asked the stranger his name as they neared the front door.
“My name is Devil.”
To be continued ...