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The crimson flamed portal opened and hurled immense heat packed with indisputable winds. For a fallen, even he could barely resist its powerful waves of confoundment. Talon held the portal open and with his free arm, motioned with silence for Luna and the rest of the spirit guides to jump through. His red-skinned profile heated, and his left eye squinted tight as he bore the heat.
The roar of the wind continued as the main speaker as the group toggled through to the grand portal. Each took a deep breath and looked back over their shoulders after their first steps in. As they dragged their feet with dread, the audible crunching of the hardened dirt opened the floodgate of memories that filled their minds from the first time they visited the dark realm.
Moral was low and left only hope for each one to make it back from the dark realm. As they trudged through, the scenery remained as it had before, when spirit guides had their first encounter with the dark one and the demons. The same howling winds and a crimson atmosphere. Every bat of an eye to shield from the grit was like sandpaper to their eyes as they pushed through the heavy sulfurous air. With only a distant light to guide their way in through, it was nearly impossible to continue.
Fear for what they all anticipated spread from one to the other. Without the quiet confidence of Caius and his calming words, collectively the group ambiance was grim. The guides’ thoughts ran away from each of their minds, they each relived the first time a demon’s riddle was presented to them when they arrived with Meridian in the dark realm. Without her and the aid of her gifts, the tension grew thicker with each stride.
The group continued to push through the high winds and dust that showered them, giving each spirit guide a dusky hue. The dim light they pushed toward soon became a bright spot to focus upon.
“Why aren’t the demons swarming us?” Pramlee asked. “The last time we were here, they were relentless in their psychological warfare.”
“I can’t say, that was the first thing I was expecting,” Talon’s amber eyes were suspicious.
The group tightened their circle, reaching their arms across to one another for protection. As they continued to move through the dark realm, the winds died down. Their vision was restored and the landscape appeared to be the same place from before, on their first trip where Relic was the first to take punishment for his sarcasm.
Pramlee stood close to Luna, taking her by the hand. Luna returned the gesture giving a nod accompanied by a comforting, firm squeeze leading Pramlee in their steps.
The dark and sinister voice spoke, echoing through the realm from all directions. Shivers traveled down the spines of the unwelcomed visitors with every word from the dark one.
“I see that you have returned without Caius who has taken his journey.” The dark one brought out his guttural laugh. “What of Meridian, your special one? I would love to see that ethereal being. What has ever happened to your dear Meridian?” The dark one laughed once more in provocation. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company? What are you willing to provide for my gracious sentiments?” his voice held notes of pleasure.
Discomfort increased amongst the group. Answering the dark one came naturally to Talon, though with hesitation. “We value your graciousness and it did not go unnoticed that we entered without challenge. I come to you again in need of your assistance.”
Relic’s discomfort ironically did not mirror his trusted friends. He stood, a half-cocked grin on his face, in the same place the dark one’s fury had descended upon him not long ago. His memory of his last visit didn’t seem to be a point of tension for him now. Scratching his head, he whispered to Luna, “Did he say gracious?” He leaned further into Luna who was nervous, however, she rolled her eyes and sighed without a verbal response. Relic continued. “So, sentiments? Really? I didn’t think demons had all that.” Luna gave a quick jab with her elbow into Relic’s side. Stumbling as he grabbed his side, he straightened up his demeanor as the dark one answered Talon.
“Well, the last time you and I spoke, Relic seemed to want to offer entertainment, as he appears to want to again. You fled with him during the prior visit. You disappointed me stealing what was mine.” The dark one’s voice shifted as he recounted their prior visit when Meridian and Caius accompanied them into the dark realm. It was light in tone, like an attorney leading the opposition on the stand, waiting for an opening or an excuse to pounce, as though the lord of the dark realm needed an excuse.
Talon’s confidence was fading. Admonishment flashed in his eyes as he cut them down at Relic. His shoulders stooped leading his head to follow suit. “I couldn’t just leave Relic here. We answered your riddle, and we escaped. We deserved to leave if we could, and we did.” Talon tilted his head slightly looking up into the red sky continuing to speak out to what he could not see with his own eyes.
“Yes, you did. You seemed to have forgotten the other riddle that has gone unanswered. It seems to me that a witch from your world called upon one of my demons from the high court. The humans have yet to answer that riddle.”
Talon watched to Relic and Kieren who stood silently during the exchange. Relic lowered his head without eye contact and whispered as they would not hear if his voice by the dark one. “I was there for that calling. Raina, the witch. She called upon a demon for answers who could break Meridian’s curse. It made not a bit of sense.”
Relic shook his head and nodded to Kieren. Talon was silent with his thoughts as his eyes were carefully surveying the ground at the hardened dirt beneath his feet. His yellow eyes darted back up into the red and gritty atmosphere. “There was not an answer to that riddle!” Talon shouted.
The dark one laughed. “So, you think you are smarter than you appear to be?”
Talon continued, “Why would I trust a demon that was called on by a dark witch to answer a riddle?” Talon’s rhetorical question struck a chord. Pacing back and forth, he continued to look upward for a response.
“A glimmer of the truth within a riddle remains, it is the answer to the riddle that sets the truth in motion. The fact of the matter remains you may not have the ability to make those distinctions, fallen!” The dark one grew louder and quick with his speech. He recounted the riddle.
“The being whose work is dark can only be stopped with the twin soul.
The being you seek is hard to hold.
Spirit guides who engage with a mortal are not pure of heart in that act,
but in the face of true love all remain intact.
Meridian does not trust herself in her choice.
She will not listen to her inner voice.
So many can enter her mind;
Her greatest challenge in the true find.”
“So fallen, have I brought you back to the memory? What was the answer to the first riddle? Who would be responsible for finding her own twin soul? What is it Meridian lacks? You see, it does not matter who you call upon for help. In the end, it is only she that has her fate in her own hands,” the dark one said.
Talon’s anger rising, he shouted back to the dark one, “Who was the demon Raina summoned?”
The dark one laughed. “Why does it matter?” he continued to laugh and shake the entire dark realm. The deep baritone laughter struck their ears and coursed within their bodies, setting in motion a flurry of emotions.
“Who was it!” Talon shouted.
The dark one’s voice shifted. His speech quickened, lighter, and aroused from deep rage with a venomous hiss. “The demon that was called upon was Pyro!” he hissed back.
The guides and Talon fell to the ground as it shook. The dark one’s anger was unstoppable; he was on a journey of torment. “I am finished with your questions. What gifts have you brought this time, fallen? Your soul is banished, and a banished soul does not bring a benefit for me here.”
Talon and the guides were writhing in pain on the heated crusty ground, barely able to speak. The dark one continued. “I do see that you have brought a fairy. I believe this is the first time I have had the chance to see a fairy.” Luna froze with fear hearing the dark one speak of her, calling her out individually. She crawled holding herself in pain, making herself small as she reached for Relic, who remained motionless with fear. As she drew closer to Relic, her posture loosened and she slowly stood upright, drawing as close as she could to Relic while helping him to his feet.
“Oh no, I have been here before, with Lahash.” Luna unlocked her tight jaw.
“Ah, yes, Lahash an up and coming favorite of the court. Yes, but your nymphs managed the distraction, didn’t they?” The dark one asked. “I can summon Lahash for another try. I don’t see your nymphs here. You are not as powerful as they. Is your fairy my gift, Talon?”
“We have not brought gifts, we have nothing to offer you.” Talon was quick to his feet and moved to stand in front of Luna.
“Very well, I have other alternatives to appease me and bring pleasure. But first, what is it you desire?” the dark one asked.
“We have come for Chance, Charity, Janus, and Cora. We were told they were in Etheria. We also need to find out what has happened to Meridian and why the guides cannot communicate with her anymore.” Talon begged his questions.
“Those are some grand requests and unfortunately, without gifts, I cannot help. Although I have been gracious, I will accept Luna to stay with us. We could use her gifts here in the dark realm. She would be a treat.” Relic froze with fear, afraid to speak. “Or how about you, Relic, we started a game that we could not finish?” The dark one continued his psychological warfare.
“I will stay,” Talon announced.
“Unacceptable. Your soul is already dark. I want something special. Something that will come in useful as I can see where things will be. I accept Luna here. Do we have an accord, fallen?” the dark one asked his question.
“Why do you want Luna?”
“Quiet! My reasons are not your concern. I accept your gift, Talon,” the dark one said as Luna floated into the air, suspended and incoherent. Wisps of her hair brushed her blank face, her eyes turned black as she remained in suspension. The dark one laughed as her companions trembled watching their friend stifled before disappearing.
“Great! What are we going to do!” shouted Kieren. The laughs of the dark one grew into a crescendo. The ground shook beneath their feet once more. Stumbling to maintain composure, they all succumbed to the sequence of the dark one’s pleasure of riddles. Talon who had kept his feet underneath him looked around to find only he and Relic stood with their wits. The dark one made no apologies for his fairy hijacking and only offered their question with a question.
“Answer the dark one’s riddle and very soon you will find,
the solace you seek is hindered by a mark entwined.
Which direction will margana go?
Symbols and letters scramble to and fro.
The deceiver arrived in the time of new,
the birth sign is a part of a word, finding the word is your clue.”
The dark one continued his warning. “You have one human week to return with your answer. Do it not and your friend will be mine forever.” he laughed and slowly his laugh dwindled in sound as though he was moving away.
“Did he refer to himself in the third person?” Relic popped off. “You say I am the peacock?” Relic threw his hands up and looked to Talon.
Talon didn’t feed into Relic’s banter, they all quickly ported out before the dark one took any more of them to keep.
There had not been a peep from Warrick since the meeting he called. The lack of indication and silence had all minds wondering. Farrah and Arianna had gone missing right along with Slaten, Charity, Janus, and Cora. Back in the fairy realm, Ridge had been waiting for any clue about Warrick and those missing. Most importantly, he was awaiting Talon’s return with Luna and the other guides with answers from the dark realm.
“What happened?” Ridge did not give Talon hardly any time to ask before the portal closed behind him. Talon did not speak, he turned his head away at Relic who appeared agitated and upset.
“What happened? I will tell you what happened, a repeat of the last time we went to the dark realm, only this time it wasn’t me he wanted or Talon, he took Luna!” Relic hollered out. “Oh, and lucky guess another moronic riddle that we have one Earth week to figure out.”
“He keeps her.” Talon’s voice was low and cross. Ridge said nothing in response. In disgust, he turned away and opened the door. Relic stood in front of Ridge. “Where are you going?”
“Where do you think? Selena needs to know this.” Ridge attempted to walk but he came to a halt when the cat-like eyes that only Selena could have, stopped him in his tracks. She moved forward past the pair squabbling and sat down at the table that Ridge had been impatiently seated at, awaiting their return.
Selena quietly took a seat and bore her steely eyes directly to Ridge with a raised eyebrow and asked, “Why has the dark one taken my daughter? Has anyone wondered why the dark one, Warrick and the demon court member Lahash wanted my daughter before?”
“Well, for starters, Warrick was using her so you wouldn’t help Talon, and Lahash has a thing for Fairies or didn’t you notice that?” Relic sarcastically remarked. He stood with his arms crossed staring at Selena who cast her razor-sharp eyes on Relic, locked and loaded.
“I am going to pretend that I didn’t hear that, Relic. I will also pretend that you aren’t the mouthy idiot that you are. Lahash may have a thing for Echo, however, he would only do what the dark one ordered for no other reason than he hates Warrick just as much as we all do. I do not worry about harm coming to the guides while in the dark realm, I worry about Luna. She draws her strength from the Fairy realm, as all fairies do.” Selena continued to stare at Relic.
“Selena, I realize you are going somewhere with all of this, I do not understand what it is, please.” Ridge asked kindly.
Selena tipped up her chin as she took in Ridge’s words. "Well, it is like our last talk, the secrets that have been kept from all of you. Things that you do not realize about your kind. Guides may have been human at one time, but. You learned lessons on Earth. The universe sent for you and your duty is to watch over humans. To guide them with so little as your presence. It seems so simple.
All this time you all believed that you were it, there were no angels or keepers. What else do you fathom you may not know? Guides are protected by the keepers from within the hall of souls. Not that you all cannot be harmed, but it isn’t the same for a fairy. We have our powers of magic, however, if we are gone too long or weak, the weakened state leaves us vulnerable to perish.”
Relic sat down. “Okay, so I honestly do not know what all this means or what we can do.” Relic’s demeanor changed. He was sympathetic and passionate.
“Our problems continue to grow. Not only have we not solved Meridian’s situation with her curse, but she has also fled to Salem. They have kidnapped my daughter along with Charity and Chance. Warrick is missing along with Farrah and Arianna.
“I find myself in unfamiliar territory, as I usually have the answers. I struggle with things I entertain for the solving of such a dilemma. Talon, I must ask you to do something you will not want to do.” Selena stared at Talon whose eyes widened and his shoulders drooped with the anticipation of her request. “I need you to reveal yourself to your son.” There were gasps amongst everyone and Talon made no move to respond, he had felt something like this was coming.
“Why?” Talon finally asked as though he didn’t know.
“Somehow, with the help of the guides, you all need to help convince Aiden that Meridian is worth fighting for,” Selena demanded.
“Selena, I want my son happy and alive. We still do not know if he and Meridian are twin souls. He will die if we are wrong,’’ Talon protested.
Selena continued to motivate the fallen. “Talon, have you been to Earth lately? What is happening? Spirit guides are missing from their duties leaving the evil to flourish uncontrollably on Earth and the hall of souls is close to empty. There will be no more humans. The race will die out, not to mention the unrest that has already begun. What kind of life will Aiden have if we don’t take a chance? He will have no life at all.”
Talon turned away from everyone and rubbed his hand down his neck as he let out a sigh. “You are right. You are right. This is no life for any of us. How do you expect me to do this without scaring the life out of him?”
Within moments, Selena disappeared offering no more of her assistance. The guides and Talon arrived in Salem after a quick port from the fairy realm where they were left with few alternatives.
Spring and all that accompanied it flourished in the air. The birds chirped in the trees and the smell of fresh cut grass covered the town of Salem as the happy gardeners manicured their lawns. Children laughed and played in the parks, with the muffled noises of barking dogs audible while being walked with their owners.
The invisible group passed on through to the edge of town where Esmra lived with her coven. Her home ominous and frozen in time did not change despite the many seasons come and gone. No pretty flower beds adorned her house from the front view, not a shrub visible at first glance. A few steps toward the backyard showed something very different. Trees hid a beautiful, secret garden in her back yard. The house, despite its inhabitants of good witches, appeared uninviting and lonely.
Pramlee, in her innocence, could make things around her lighter with her laughter, mainly at herself. She skipped up the old wooden stairs and stood over the dated and worn mat that lay in front of the aged door with the paint peeling off. The door opened, sending out a short squeak from the aged hinges.
There stood Esmra, still the same. Long unkempt grey hair appearing as though it had never seen a pair of scissors or developed a relationship with a hairdresser that knew what they were doing. Her wrinkled lips gave way to a thin smile where her bottom teeth made a brief appearance. She was still, only staring into an empty space.
“Oh, I sensed you were coming!” Esmra exclaimed. “If I could see all of you, I would hug you!” Esmra motioned to the invisible space for everyone to move alongside her into the house. At the end of the road, watching the exchange stood two city workers repairing the massive potholes from the wear of the weather. They stood baffled and one spoke out to the other. “Did you see that? That crazy old witch was talking to herself again.” The worker shook his head and continued his work while the other continued to stare for a few moments more before hesitantly moving to continue while keeping his eyes locked on the house.
Inside, the house was quiet, only Esmra was home. Esmra spent the better half of her day in her garden tending to her herbs that she loved to harvest and use for oils and healing. “Come, it is beautiful outside today. The winter up here was harsh, and I welcome the spring. Esmra pulled herself a seat from the table in the yard. “What brings you here?”
With Luna gone, this left quite the strain on the communication between the spirits and Esmra. With only her exquisite senses that alluded to their presence, she could not have a straight conversation with them as she would Luna. Pramlee was the energetic one of the group and her energy surrounded Esmra, giving ease to a connection.
Relic with Ridge offered their unspoken support, pouring an immense amount of energy through Pramlee. Esmra closed her eyes and held a large crystal quartz as she took in the message. From her silence emerged a question from the unspoken message transferring through Pramlee. “Luna is gone? You came here by request of Selena once again. The dark one in the realm, he gave you a riddle.” Esmra recounted her thoughts out loud. She picked up a pen that lay on the table next to a note pad she used for making notes of things she had to tend to each day.
She picked up the yellow note pad and took out one sheet of paper and wrote down the demon’s riddle. After a moment of silence, she finished writing and read the message.
“Only one Earth week to answer, or Luna is stuck in the dark realm? Oh my, this is serious.” Esmra got up from the table and walked toward her garden as she stood gazing out into the horizon with her hand over her mouth. “Meridian was here, she came shortly after I left Tallulah’s. I received a call from Tallulah, and she told me what happened, that Meridian thought the only way she could break the curse was to come here and have us all do another ritual again. She was very disappointed when I reminded her of Selena’s words. That only Meridian could uncover the twin soul she seeks to break her curse. She did try to convince me otherwise, but I had to continue to remind her.” Esmra returned to her chair and sat down. She stared into her lap and continued.
“Raina was here with her and asked me to perform another ritual and I declined. I have not seen them since, and I can only say Meridian is staying with Raina at the edge of town. I am sorry I cannot be of more help there. I have called Meridian’s phone and even sent her text messages, which I do not do normally. She never responds or replies. I was thinking of going to Nevoc to find out what has happened.
Give me some time and I will do what I can to answer this riddle, at the least get Luna out of the dark realm.”
They departed from the witch’s house and in moments they were standing in front of Raina’s bar. It was closed to the public, and no one was there. The guides moved through the walls and went directly to where Raina’s office sat hoping to find Meridian or Raina. As they made their way in, they were disappointed to find there was no sign of either woman. Raina’s desk was covered with journals, tarot cards, and a Ouija board.
Talon walked around her desk and examined the state of things strewn across the desk. “Look at this mess. Someone was in here rummaging through things and then left a big mess behind.”
Pramlee stopped and stood next to Ridge. “I wish Slaten were here. I feel bad leaving him in Etheria with the way things happened. I worry what Father will do. If he were here, he could help us figure this out.” Pramlee sat down on Raina’s old couch in frustration.
Ridge continued to study Raina’s desk and he saw a small wooden box with the Celtic symbol engraved on the top that was a witch’s knot. It was not shut all the way and he could see a hint of the red velvet lining with an empty space in the middle of the box. “What do you make of this?” He pointed at the box. Talon and Pramlee shrugged their shoulders. Kieren and Relic were walking around the room looking for any hint of Meridian.
Relic could see the box from where he stood. “Who the hell knows with that crazy witch. Meridian, when we saw her in here the last time, she was in a trance of some kind and with everything that happened that night with Josh, we know Raina is keeping her under a dark spell. By the looks of this office, it seems to me that Raina has been communicating with the demon more. We still have yet to figure out this riddle. I know Esmra will do what she can but we have to really stop and think about what the demon said when Raina summoned him from Tallulah’s place. In the new riddle, he mentioned a mark. Meridian has the infinity mark on her wrist, but that does not make sense. That mark would not be a hindrance. It means her mark is to show enlightenment, gifts, and purity. What mark is he talking about?” Relic continued walking around Raina’s office muttering to himself over and over.
Talon peered through the window that stood next to the front door of the bar. Across the street there was another business with a sign outside that read ‘Stone’s Tattoo shop.’ “Do any of you have any reason to believe that the word mark had any real significance? Do you think that was a trick to throw us? Why would the dark one help us? It was too easy. No demons attacked us like they did before when we went into the dark realm. There were no games, it was almost like he expected us or wanted us to be there. He didn’t really hurt anyone. Why?” Talon raised a question that brought to light many things that even the guides had not thought of.
Across the realms back on Earth, spring break was around the corner for Aiden. He was alone in the dorm while Chris was over at his girlfriend’s place seeing her off before she went away on her trip. Aiden sat on his bed with his elbows on his knees, hands clasped resting underneath his chin. The afternoon light shone through the windows brightening his blue eyes. Chris made it back to find Aiden staring at the floor where his bags set.
“Aiden, you ready?” Chris’s smile left his face. He leaned his shoulder into the doorway and watched Aiden staring at his packed bag.
“I guess, I was sitting here wondering if I wanted to even go home or not. Maybe I should take a trip and be alone.” Aiden stood up from his bed not breaking his eyes away from his bags.
“Look, man, you have been gloom and doom since we got back from Christmas break. I know that you care for Meridian, but the reality is, she dumped you. She took off. I have never seen you this way over a girl. Maybe it isn’t meant to be, and besides all that crazy stuff that went down with Josh and let’s not forget Raina. I have never in my life seen anything like that before and I never want to again.” Chris’s agitation with Aiden’s melancholy state increased and he huffed as he turned around as if to leave the room.
Aiden broke his long stare. “Wait, wait. I know. I know you are right. I know how this must be driving you crazy. All the times you tried to get me out and even setting me up on that blind date. Which, by the way, during the date she was annoying. She wasn’t Meridian. You were trying to help me, as a good friend would do,” Aiden solemnly said.
“We can go home, you can visit your grandparents, you hardly even call them anymore. We can go fishing like we have been putting off. We can just be guys. It will be like old times! Me and you!” Chris slapped Aiden on his back and laughed. Aiden’s face relaxed and a hint of his teeth showed through as he let out a sigh.
“Yeah man, okay. Okay. I will be all right. I just need to stay busy.” Aiden reluctantly moved toward his bag, picked it up and followed Chris out to Aiden’s truck to go home. “So, are you staying with us? Or what?” Aiden asked.
“Well, my parents are taking a trip to Cancun for a week, so I will come stay with you all.” Chris was digging through his bag for his iPod.
“Why don’t you go with them? That would be a fun trip.” Aiden’s face furrowed in hearing about a trip. “Why haven’t you ever mentioned that before?
“Oh, no . . . this is a second honeymoon for them. Since I have been gone to school, it’s like they are kids again. They need the trip alone. Besides, I will be home for summer and we have plans.”
The pair continued to drive home, Aiden’s heaviness returned, lingering in the truck despite Chris doing what he could to lighten up the scene.
Trying not to stare at Aiden as he drove, Chris kept shifting his head back and forth from the truck window to watching Aiden drive. “So, are you happy to be going home?”
Aiden continued to stare out of the windshield studying the scenery as they passed by the landscape full of trees in their spring bloom. Aiden drew a slow breath and sighed. “Yeah, I suppose. I miss my grandparents. I am unsure how it will go for me. This break up is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It is amazing that in such a short time I became so hung up on a girl. Just as fast as it began, it was over like it was a dream. I hope that the one place I love doesn’t turn into something I dread. Going home, I mean.” he paused and cut his eyes over at Chris who was listening intently. “I can’t stop thinking about her. I picked up the phone to call her so many times, and I would put the phone down and stare at it. Like some fool, I was hoping I would see her number show up on my phone. I hoped that she would have changed her mind. I did text her a few weeks after everything happened, she never answered me.”
Chris turned his head away to stare out the window and they continued for most of the trip in silence. After a while, Aiden stopped at the convenience store for fuel for the last stretch of the trip.
Chris went into the restroom while Aiden strolled up and down the aisle looking for something to snack on. Walking through the aisle he peeked over his shoulder as if he heard something. His eyes surveyed the space above the aisle. He turned his body toward what he thought may have been Chris who was still in the bathroom. Aiden squinted his eyes and frowned with confusion then he saw the clerk who was busy checking out another customer. Aiden continued to look at the minimal selection of mainly old stale cookies and crackers. He walked toward the drinks rubbing the back of his neck and stopped at the refrigerated selection of energy drinks. After selecting a drink, he turned to walk toward the clerk and came to a quick halt as he heard his name.
A dark voice was audible speaking in a whisper. “Aiden, don’t give up.”
Aiden looked around searching for where the voice came from. The hairs on the back of his neck rose and chills raced down his spine. As the chills made their way through the whole of his body, the hair on his arms stood straight up. Aiden shook, and froze in his tracks with fear.
Chris made his way out around the corner. “Hey man, so are you ready?”
Aiden, still frozen in his tracks holding his drink, didn’t answer Chris right away. His eyes fluttered in confusion. Chris looked around and then back to Aiden who still had not moved. “Are you all right Aiden? What is wrong?”
“I don’t know, I thought I heard a voice speaking it said my name. This is weird and it’s really freaking me out.” Aiden rushed his breathing. He broke his statue-like posture and brought his free hand up to his chest as he collected himself. “That is one of the strangest things that has happened.”
Chris stood scratching his head in disbelief while he glimpsed the clerk and the other customers now staring at Aiden with concern. “No, the instance at Tallulah’s is the strangest.” Chris moved toward Aiden and put his hand behind Aiden’s elbow. “Hey man, let’s pay for your drink and get on the road. It’s getting late.” Chris ushered Aiden to the checkout.
Back in the dark realm, Luna remained in her demon-induced sleep unaware of where she was. Not far away in the same realm, a familiar face entered the great meeting room where the dark one addressed his court. He eagerly sat at the stone table with the flame in the center and watched the other members of the high demon court take their seats.
The other demons who sat in council each ruled their own legions of demons. They each had their own purpose, duties, and obligations to fulfill in return for the highly regarded position bestowed upon each one.
The other three demons, Moloch, Astaroth, and Ipos strolled in for the expected meeting the dark one called for. The familiar face last to enter, who eagerly waited for the conversation to begin was not welcomed, though tolerated not by choice. Lahash stared at the one demon in the high court that mostly was regarded as an outcast.
“Warrick. I see that you have struggled in creating the perfect solution for yourself and us. It speaks volumes that the dark one had to do your dirty work and what a debt you will pay.” Lahash laughed.
“Lahash if it weren’t for your lust of Echo falling victim to the fairy nymphs, the dark one would not have interfered. You failed!” Warrick shouted at the demon.
The encompassing baritone voice of the dark one shot out, fiercely through the cave. “SILENCE BOTH OF YOU! YOU FOOLS!”
The dark one shouted at the bickering demons. Both sat slumped in their chairs made of rock without so much as a peep, their heads dropped low and their eyes only flickered in panic for the anticipated verbal whipping that no doubt would come to pass.
The dark one continued. “Indeed, Warrick, I had to do your dirty work and we were lucky that Talon brought us Luna with ease. Soon the hall of souls will be depleted, and the keepers will no longer have the souls to send to Earth. The humans will die out.”
Lahash sat silently drumming his long fingers slowly across the stone table. His fright slowly left, he brought his head up, locking eyes with Warrick for just a moment before he dropped his eyes once more, watching his fingers with a smirk, as he was alone in his own thoughts. Unapologetically he said, “Forgive me lord, but is it possible you have missed things. I worry that we may be short sided. It is troublesome to think humans will become extinct. What will the demons feed on if the ill-willed humans have died out? What will we do then?” Lahash got up from his chair and paced around the table full of demons.
“Lahash, our plan to diminish humanity is a necessity. The angels, the keepers of human souls have no souls to watch over after we invade the hall of souls.” The dark one laughed, shaking the cave and the chairs the demons filled. “They possess the purest of energy force in the universe. It is through the angels that souls transcend. They are the conductors of the universe. With their energy for us to finally benefit from, we will no longer have a use for the humans.