I could see glowing embers quietly twinkling in the fireplace.
I realized I must be in Devnik's secret underground chambers. I remember our fight in the library, where he made the confession that he thought of me as nothing more than a pleasure toy. One to be used then discarded. Or at least ... that was how it started. Then I pleaded with him that I loved him. I had gotten on my knees and begged him. Part of me felt embarrassed ... but another part admitted that I would do it again in a heartbeat. He said he didn't know if he loved me ... but he felt ... something. My poor Devnik ... I don't think he knows what love is.
I put my hand on the back of his, and pushed his palm harder into my breast. I wanted him to knead my flesh ... I wanted him to hold me tighter.
He moaned in his sleep.
He shifted, and his hard c**k traveled down my cheeks, until it came to rest near my heated wet crotch. He moaned again, and very slowly his c**k instinctively slipped into my wet welcoming body. I couldn't stop myself from mewling. I felt complete ... I felt whole and full of purpose. Here on this bed, impaled by my dark god.
My dark god...
I frowned to myself. Where did I come up with that term?
Shattered images of a field rose to mind. But they were disjointed ... they represented nothing but chaos. My mind tried to grasp them ... but slowly they trickled from my consciousness ... like sand through an hourglass.
I stopped fighting the sensations ... I allowed myself to enjoy the feeling of his c**k claiming my p***y. I tried to quietly move slightly on his steely hardness. My sex was incredibly wet now ... and I was making a puddle on the silken sheets. No man at the brothel had turned me into this. I was nothing but a sniveling wench at this creature's feet. I wanted to wake him. To beg him to use me. To thrust into me with no regard for my pleasure ... because then I would truly find mine.
His body shifted again.
His hand left my breast, and instead his other arm moved out from under him, and he hugged me tightly.
At first I thought he had awaken ... but sadly I was still alone in my sea of lust.
I stopped trying to get myself off. It felt somehow wrong to pleasure myself without his participation ... it was not the actions of a loyal servant to a powerful deity. It was not how I would serve my dark god.
Because that was what he was...
He was my dark god.
Friends of a Certain Kind
A demon doesn't sleep the way a human does.
We share similar qualities ... for example we both have no awareness of our surroundings while we slumber ... which is why both humans and demons choose a place they feel secure before laying down to rest.
But a demon always knows what time of day it is. We can sense the sun ... we always know where it rests in the sky.
That is how I knew night was approaching ... and I was impatient. I was eager to start my night ... I wanted to know what Jon had discovered about Angelic awakenings. I wanted to understand my little Aethling as thoroughly as I could ... she was ... special ... and I wanted to know how to care for her.
I finally sensed the sun slip under the distant horizon ... twilight turned into night proper.
It was time.
I mentally urged my body to wake ... Slowly I felt my muscles stirring ... and my powers circulate. I felt better ... strong ... and ready to take charge.
The first thing I noticed was the smell.
My chambers reeked of sex.
I tried to move my arm. A soft mewl emanated from somewhere to my side. I cracked open an eye. The Aethling was clutching my arm with both of hers ... and had wrapped both of her legs around my left one.
I closed my eyes ... and flexed my powers. For a brief second my body became intangible ... and I slipped from her grasp.
Maria made a soft moan of discontent in the back of her throat ... but she did not wake. I noticed she was not wearing any clothes. Perhaps my commands had taken root ... and clothes worn in this chamber were itchy.
She was so beautiful ... her golden hair was fanned out behind her ... and her flawless face was puckered ... as if in the middle of some greatly troubling dream.
Feelings of protectiveness welled up from deep inside my chest ... interesting ... a creature of the Dark, concerned for the safety of a being of the Light ... I suppose there is a first for everything ... and that was the reason I needed to talk with Jon.
Our... 'relationship, ' was to my knowledge ... unique. I wanted to know everything about Aethlings ... the rules of their awakening ... the extent of their powers ... everything. I wanted to know Maria better than she knew herself.
I closed my eyes and listened. I could hear Jon moving about the fake master bedroom upstairs. The secret door groaned open ... and I could hear his feet clack on the stone spiral staircase. The room was dark ... and Jon did not have the night vision of a demon.
I snapped my fingers ... and a lone candle flickered alight ... too much illumination would risk waking Maria ... and I wanted her to slumber through our conversation.
Jon descended that last step, and stood before me. He made a low sweeping bow. "Master," he said.
I nodded my head, to acknowledge him. "What did you find?"
Jon cast a wary eye at Maria... "I trust you don't want her to know anything just yet, hence the secrecy?"
I raised an eyebrow. "Yes Jon, Maria will come to know what she is in good time ... but not before I know first."
Jon gestured to the stairs. "Then perhaps we should take our conversation elsewhere ... I need to resupply the kitchen ... it has been empty for half a century."
I put my hands on my hips. "Do we still have the same arrangement with Benard that we use to?"
Jon laughed silently. Benard died twenty years ago Master, but his son Benoit has continued our agreement ... though we have yet to do business."
I smiled slightly. "Good, then let us take our talk into the town ... I haven't seen you for a long time Jon, we haven't had a chance to share news of the last decade."
Jon smiled... "Very well master ... I will fetch the horses from the stable ... would you prefer the carriage, or should I find the saddles?"
"Saddle the horses Jon, it has been to long since I've ridden."
Jon bows again and scurried back up the stairs. I turned to Maria ... she was sleeping soundly ... I didn't want her to follow us ... and I didn't want her to leave the safety of my heavily spelled chamber.
I snapped my fingers. Bright silver manacles appeared around her wrists ... they had a chain leading from each wrist and were attached to a small metal ring bolted into the wall above her head.
I stole one last glace at my chained beauty ... then followed Jon up the stairs.
Horse riding in the dead of night is a beautiful experience.
The air is cool, the wind is in your hair, and everything is perfectly tranquil, and perfectly beautiful. Jon rode next to me ... he was a powerful horseman in his own right. I felt like I was riding into battle again with a comrade in arms ... just like I had done during the crusades ... for a moment, I could feel the heat of war and hear the sound of steel ... I could taste blood on the air.
"Master, calm down ... you're glowing red ... and once we get into town that will draw some attention."
I pulled out of my fantasy. I took a deep breath ... and slowly the red glow I had been casting died down ... I often forget that if I was not careful, my true nature would shine through.
The sound of hooves on cobbled rocks echoed through the night ... trees rustled in the wind ... and the moon was high in the sky ... it was a night where demons would ride.
"Would you like to hear what I learned Master?" Jon said.
I nodded ... too intent on the glorious sensations to speak.
"Very well Master..."
He took a deep breath.
"The Aethling are created in one of two ways. The first is if an Angel couples with a human ... their offspring will be an Aethling. The second is if a human of pure innocence is brought into the world. This child will have natural Angelic powers hidden inside of it ... and can be awakened just like the other breed of Aethling."
He paused, and took the time to drink from a flask.
"An Aethling is traditionally awakened by their intended Celestial spouse, however, the logistics of awakening is much more simple. All that must be done is for a significant amount of Angelic power to be placed on the barrier that retains the Angelic nature of the host."
That didn't sound right. "Angelic Power Jon? Do I look like an Angel to you? I managed to awaken her ... your information must be incorrect."
Jon raised a hand. "I was just getting to that Master. Your case is unique. To awaken a creature of the Light with Dark powers is no mean feat ... when done with angelic powers the barrier softens and weakens ... it is as easy as letting a current of water carry you along ... but for Dark powers to accomplish the deed, it would be like walking up a waterfall ... the fact that it was accomplished lends credence to your prowess Master."
I laughed. "I believe you are quite familiar with my 'prowess' aren't you Jon ... tell me ... has that scar completely healed?"
He grinned slightly ... a testament to how much time had passed. "No Master," he said.
I smiled back at him ... it was interesting having a human as a friend.
"Continue Jon," I said.
"Well Master, Aethlings are remarkably similar to Angels proper. Their powers are of the same magnitude, but cannot be used as frequently ... also, burying an Aethling will not kill it ... but it will make it uncomfortable ... unless of course they starve ... then they'll die."
That was attention worthy ... I had dug several graves for Angels that had stood in my way in the past...
"They have to eat then?" I asked.
Jon nodded. "Eating is tied to their powers. The more they use them, the more they need to eat. Apparently they need to eat at least once every twenty days regardless."
We rode in silence for awhile. The cool night breeze had turned frigid ... and Jon pulled his coat closer to his chest.
"Hmm, if burying an Aethling alive doesn't kill it, how does one go about killing one?" I asked.
Jon looked at me coldly. "Master I must protest ... surely you realize this girl is different ... she is sweet and completely devoted to you and...
"I know Jon ... I ask for this knowledge so I can better protect her, that is all."
Jon looked at me. "Very well, Aethlings can be killed like any mortal. Blade, bullet or poisons ... all of them work ... but they have strong healing powers like immortals. To kill an Aethling their injuries must exceed the amount of power they possess."
I had no idea Aethlings were so fragile ... protecting Maria now suddenly felt like a much greater burden.
Jon and I rode on into town in silence ... both lost in our thoughts.
Benoit's store was dark.
The building was old. The shop proper was on the ground floor and Benoit's quarters were upstairs.
Jon and I both slid off our horses and approached the store. "So, how do we contact him?" I asked.
"I don't know ... Benard kept a small bell next the shop entrance..." Jon peered around in the dark for such a bell. "Ah, yes here we go." He rang the bell forcefully three times.
Nothing happened for a moment.
Suddenly a light appeared in the upstairs window. We both watched as the light traveled down, and appeared in the downstairs window. The door opened with a creak. A big burly man in his night clothes stood in the threshold.
"Yes?" He said sleepily.
Jon stepped forward. "Hello, my name is Jonard from the chateau; I've come to do business."
Benoit looked confused for a moment ... then nodded. "Yes, yes of course. We're open at anytime for you Monsieur Jonard. Do you still want the supplies that were always requested of my father?"
Benoit disappeared into the store.
Ten minutes later he lumbered out again with a woven sack hefted on his shoulder. "Here is everything that your chateau normally requested from my father at any given time."
Jon nodded at him. "Thank you Monsieur Benoit." He handed him some sous.
Benoit took them gladly. "Might I ask one more thing my Lord? The man who came and collected supplies from my father was also named Jonard ... but that was fifty years ago."
Jon smiled. "Ah, I am named after my father, and my family has been in the service of the Chateau for many generations.
Benoit smiled, and clapped Jon on the back... "Then here's to keeping up family traditions."
Jon and I returned to our horses.
"Are there any Taverns still open this late? We have yet to share stories of the past years."
Jon looked at me. "Should we not return the supplies to the chateau kitchen Master?"
I eyed the sack filled with food and flagons of wine. Red sparks encompassed the sack, and slowly it faded from Jon's hands.
"It's in the cellar now." I said in a matter of fact tone.
Jon grumbled. "I don't know why you make me pick the supplies up in person if you could just do that?"
I smiled at him. "I've got to keep you busy don't I Jon?"
He simply grumbled again.
"The tavern Jon?"
Jon spun his horse around. "The Brass Tankard is open almost all hours ... you can buy me a drink."
The tavern was noisy and smelled of sweaty humans.
The tavern wenches all looked tired as they delivered drinks to tables, and put up with obvious leering and groping.
Jon and I sat in a corner table ... far out of the way of the bustle of the town's people.
Jon ordered the finest wine the Tavern had to offer. The girl raised her eyebrows, and informed him coldly that it would cost him three livres a glass. I picked out ten livres from my pouch, and asked her to bring the bottle. She was suddenly much more cooperative.
"Yes milord ... I'll be right back." She hurried away ... obviously excited about the expensive purchase. I hadn't kept up with the modern worth of coins.
"How much is that drink costing me?" I asked with a grin on my face.
He grinned right back. "About two months wages for the common man," he said.
The wench returned. She was clutching the bottle tightly to her chest ... as if terrified someone might steal it.
"Here, Monsieur, please enjoy, and know that if there is anything else I can get for you, I would only be too happy." She left.
Jon took the bottle and filled his goblet. He tipped it back and drained it. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve. "Ah, excellent ... worth every denier," he said.
"Glad you like it," I replied. "So tell me Jon, "I've been away from almost ten years ... how have you been?"
Jon grimaced. "It gets frightfully boring tending a house with no one in it Devnik. I've spent the last decade dusting immaculate portraits, and sampling every call girl and whore in a league around the chateau."
"I'm sorry Jon ... but you remember the deal ... you're lucky to even be here."
Jon raised his hands in the air. "Oh I know, I know Master, but still, when I remember the excitement I had in my mortal life, I can't help but miss it ... but c'est la vie. Being a butler is not as bad as I originally feared it would be."
I nodded. Jon poured himself another goblet of wine. "What have you done Devnik? A being of your ... magnitude could not have remained idle for long."
I shrugged, "In the beginning I visited Asia ... some fascinating things there ... I also ran into Viriel."
Jon raised his eyebrows. "Did you finally get him this time?"
I shook my head and laughed. "No, unfortunately not. We fought for a day ... and I managed to overcome him ... I had severed both his legs and his wings, and I was digging his grave ... however, just as I was about to put him in, some mortal priest caught me unawares, and dumped a vial of holy water on my head."
Jon's laugh boomed throughout the tavern. "How did a mortal priest catch you off guard?"
I rolled my eyes. "I had just had a day's fight with an Angel; my powers were not at their sharpest."
He smiled. "How'd that holy water feel?"
"Like liquid fire ... as always ... anyway, while I was writhing the priest managed to perform a Celestial unbinding, and sent Viriel back to heaven."
Jon took another gulp. "You'll get him next time ... so what after that?"
I shrugged again. "Nothing, I traveled around Europe, and sampled a few mortal women ... granted a few blood wishes ... and continued to wander."
Jon nodded. "And then this business with Maria."
"Yeah, and then this business with Maria," I intoned.
Jon poured the last of the bottle into his goblet. "How do you feel about her?"
I looked out across the small tavern. "I don't know how to feel about her."
"Hmm..." was all he said. "Do you think we should be getting back to her? She might wander off."
I shook my head. "I chained her to the bed."
Jon smirked... "You do like to be the one in control, don't you Master?"
Jon drained the last of the bottle. As if by magic, the serving wench reappeared. "Can I get Monsieur something else?" She said sweetly.
Jon shook his head... "We're fine sweetheart ... in fact, I doubt we'll be staying much longer."
The wench turned her gaze to me..."Monsieur, you've have drunk nothing ... can I perhaps offer you something?"
I sized up the girl ... and contemplated offering her the blood deal. Then the memory of Maria's sweet blue blood rushed up to the forefront of my mind ... and I dismissed the idea."
I give her my most charming smile. "No dear, we really are leaving."
Disappointed, the wench moved on to a different table.
Jon looked at me ... confused. "You know master; I think Maria really has changed you for the better."
I lift my red eyes and glare at Jon.
He smiled. "Just a thought, Master."
We left the noise and light of the Tavern, and stepped into the cold night. Jon untied our horses from their post, and we both mounted.
We set off at a brisk trot toward the chateau. The moon was behind clouds now ... the still of deep night had sunk in ... we left the glimmering fires of town behind us ... and the road grew dark. The horses whined in fright ... and Jon had to light a torch from the saddle bags to calm them.
"Do you really think I've changed Jon?" I asked ... almost afraid of the answer.
Jon was silent for a moment ... contemplating his answer. "Yes, and no." He responded.
He paused again. "Well, you haven't changed in that your still Prince Devnikolus ... a feared demon, and my immortal Master ... few dare cross you ... I think you are still that being Master."
"But you have a soft spot for this girl Devnik. This soft spot is something I've never seen in you before ... or any other demon for that matter. Some might think of this as a weakness. I'd guard that girl jealously Master, for you have enemies that would take advantage of such compassion..." Jon stuttered mid sentence. "But I think this girl is good for you Master ... she is a much needed companion."
I shifted on my horse. "Perhaps for me, but what has this girl done to deserve a demon prince haunting her existence?"
Jon shrugged. "All I can do is suggest that you make your part in her life a blessing, rather than a curse."
We continued to trot along.
"Her own kind will peruse her Jon, the Light is no friend of mine ... and they will want to claim Maria back for their own ... an Aethling in the company of a demon will not sit idly in heaven."
Jon sighed. "Then be ready for the coming storm Master. Be ready to fight for what is yours ... your powers are considerable ... use them."
I smiled to myself. "And can I count on your assistance when the storm breaks?"
Jon laughed. "Always Master ... you can always count on me."
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