It was those words, the Writer’s words, which had brought Sydney back to center. Everything had been happening so fast. Too fast for questions or debate. All he could do was hold on. And so he did.
The Writer extended her hand, and he took it without question. Her grip was firm, but soft. She tapped her ironwood staff to the marble floor three times, and in unison those who surrounded them called out, “In the beginning there was the word.” The mantra reverberated with ethereal power. Goosebumps rose across his skin as the atmosphere churned with static. Sydney tensed as a frisson of emotion brimmed and threatened to spill forth. Pragmatism and trepidation were washed away, lost in the mantras ebb and flow, and replaced by calm valor.
The azure sky came alive with acrid sparks. Without questioning how, he knew what it was; the Demons were at the gate. They were waiting for him. He would not hide.
Sydney turned to face the Writer and was taken aback by what he saw. Until now her visage had remained hidden. As a result he had not paid her appearance any attention. But as he looked upon her now, he knew he saw what lay beneath. She was beautiful.
She looked back at him with ageless hazel eyes and nodded. It was time.
Within the breath of a second the air congealed, and they fell into blackness. Accompanying the transition was a sensation of tumbling and intense velocity. Yet as soon as the trip began, it was over.
The time for blood had come.
Events had come to climax with a suddenness that Stoph did not anticipate. He preferred action, but only when prior planning put him ahead. As such, the suddenness of the Scriveners attack caught him completely off guard.
“They are hiding him in the Sanctum Sanctorum.” Azazel grumbled. The lupine demi demon had done an excellent job of tracking thus far, but now the trail was blocked. Their kind could not trespass in the writer’s sanctuary.
“I don’t suppose you anticipated this.” it added with thinly veiled sarcasm.
Stoph shot it a hateful glance, but the tracker’s face was unreadable; coal black eyes against jet black fur. They both knew it could afford levity. Trackers were rare and hardly something you exorcised on a whim. Azazel would survive this if they failed. Stoph and Lilith would not.
“They cannot hide him in there forever.” Lilith said. “All we have to do is wait until they move.”
Stoph did not reply, but instead began to pace. What Lilith said was true, yet they were running out of time. The Big Boss would not wait forever, and asking for an extension was just as bad as all out failure.
Mist rolled about his legs as he walked. They were in the Shade. The realm between realms. Nothing to see but pale light, black gravel, and endless mist. He used to wonder where the light came from, there was no sun here, but time had quelled that particular curiosity. If a being was not careful they could become trapped in the monotonous landscape. Stoph was very careful.
He turned and surveyed his two comrades. Azazel would not be a problem. Its life was not at stake; as such it would have no subverted agendas. The problem was Lilith. She would kill him herself if doing so meant avoiding retribution. Odds were she already had a plan in place. He would just have to kill her first.
“I have an idea.” Azazel spoke.
Stoph turned and gave the tracker a questioning gaze.
“I am surprised neither one of you figured it out, seeing as it is your souls on the line.”
Lilith groan with exasperation and snapped, “Just tell us you infuriating mutt.”
“It’s quite simple.” It said with the lycanthropic equivalent of a shrug. “All we do is-“
It was then that both Writer and Reader appeared.
The Writer moved first, using a black ironwood staff to smack a surprised Azazel on the snout. Before he could rise and retaliate she doused him with powdered wolf’s bane, and the demi demon was no more.
In one fluid motion she turned to face Lilith, who, quickly analyzing the assault, grinned with cruel intentions.
“It has been three thousand years too long.” The Writer said with unabashed scorn. “Let’s end this now.”
The two women meet with the violent force of polar opposites.
Stoph turned to Sydney, the Reader. He was thinking fast. The Writer (and yes, he recognized that loathsome shrew), had brought the prize to him. All he had to do was make off with the Reader while Lilith kept her distracted. And if the Writer ended up killing her. . So much the better. Stoph started across the purgatorial waste land, and stopped. He eyed the Reader quizzically, then brooched a cruel grin of his own. The Reader wanted a fight. He could see it in his defiant expression.
“Oh, this is rich.” He muttered with an even mixture of irritation, amusement, and contempt.
“I don’t suppose you’ll reconsider?” He asked.
The Reader did not respond, but only sunk into a fighting stance.
So now the guy knows karate. Gotta love it. Stoph thought. With a defeated sigh, he said, “Fine, have it your way.”
Mephistopheles shifted form, then fell upon him.
- Entry #7: They were both entirely, completely, unequivocally gone. (assistaugusta.wordpress.com)
- Entry 6:Darkness pooled around her ankles while a searing Cold eased its way into her bones (assistaugusta.wordpress.com)
- From the Bible’s cutting-room floor: Lilith (sarahjansen.wordpress.com)