The Devil’s Pact
Chapter 44: The Whore’s Daughters
edited by Master Ken
© Copyright 2013, 2014
Story Codes: Violence
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Click here for Chapter 43.
The first crisis to challenge the Tyrants was the demoness Lilith. The Whore of Babylon had made her nest in the City of Seattle, breeding scores of her foul children. They were the monsters of old that had haunted mankind before the Flood. Our stories and legends abound with the memories of these vile and loathsome creatures, and though their names have been lost to modern memory, and it has been eons since they stalked the world, mankind’s primal fear of them has never diminished: Thu’ban, Lamia, Tzavua, Alukah, Dever, Lamassu, Re’em, Mazikeen, Dabbat, Tzelanit, Agas, Pazuzu, Tir, Manticore, Dimme.
–excerpt from ‘The History of the Tyrants’ Theocracy’, by Tina Allard
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 – Lana Paquet-Holub – Seattle, WA
“They are here,” Lilith calmly told me as Zuzu’s screeching howl faded away. “You know what to do?”
Ice water flowed through my veins. Mark was here! “I…yes,” I stammered, trying to focus. I had a job to do. I had to make the portal.
Gunfire erupted outside; I jumped. “Go!” Lilith shouted.
I turned and ran, racing through the halls past the panicked women and their monstrous daughters. “To the basement!” I shouted at them, reminding them what to do. “Clear the damned way!” I roared at a group huddled in the hallway. “And follow me!”
Many of Lilith’s children were still too young to fight, the latest batch only born yesterday. More than a hundred of them, the largest group yet birthed, but Mark’s attack came too soon. We just needed another day or two, and maybe we would have had a chance to hold the warehouse. I pushed through the crowd, forcing my way down the last stairs into the musty basement.
“Chantelle!” I shouted in relief.
My wife smiled at me as she drew a portal with a bronze knife, struggling to saw open the Veil. I picked up one of the bronze knives laid out on the table, and started cutting my own portal open. Thamina arrived a minute later, pushing through the growing crowd of frightened women. More gunfire and loud roars could be heard outside.
“Hurry!” I shouted at Thamina as she took up a bronze knife. There were only three of us here that could create portals. As Thamina began to draw hers, I finished mine, a hole in the fabric of reality opening into the misty Shadows. “Stay close!” I yelled as women and young monsters pushed through.
Chantelle finished drawing her portal at the same time as Thamina. My wife was always so slow at it for some reason. We were fleeing to Africa, to a tiny village in the Congo where more of Lilith’s daughters waited to be born. It was so galling. There were five villages in the Congo, nearly a thousand women just days away from birthing Lilith an army.
We were so damned close!
My phone alarm went off, beeping incessantly and dragging me up from the depths of sleep.
“Fuck,” I muttered, reaching my phone and swiping the alarm off. 4:30 AM. Too fucking early. This was the third time I had to wake-up and check on Mayor Erikson. He should still be asleep; he never caused any problems. He was too far under Lamia’s spell to resist at this point.
Lilith wanted him watched. She didn’t believe in leaving things to chance. I stood up, stretched, and padded out into the hallways. My feet slapped on the hardwood floor, and I scratched an itch on my side. I reached his bedroom, opened the door and saw the Mayor sleeping peacefully alone. I stifled a yawn, and turned to stumbled back to my room and get another hour or so of blessed sleep.
I froze when a splintering crash echoed through the house. Panic gripped my mind. It was only when the soldier threw me to the floor and put his boot on my back that I finally was able to think. Then it was too late. I had been captured, and terror squeezed my heart with a powerful fist until I was sure my poor organ would be crushed to a pulp. My greatest fear had happened.
I was at Mark’s mercy again.
The monster, Lilith’s daughter, fell from the sky, landing amidst the Rangers and bowling them over. She was big, thickly muscled, and bullish. Red-feathered wings folded almost gracefully behind the monstrosity’s back. Her foot lashed out, slamming into a Ranger’s chest. With a sickening crunch, he toppled backwards, and flopped like a fish on the deck of a boat.
“Fuck!” I shouted. “Fire! Fire, damn you!”
The Rangers’ training took over; they fired their M16s at the monster. Red sprouted about the bullish woman from the bullet wounds. For a moment, the brute looked like she could take the punishment, the bullets only minor irritation. And maybe only a few were, but as she stepped forward, dozens and dozens pricked her skin. She staggered, the little wounds adding up, and collapsed into a great heap.
I glanced back at Mary, her face white with shock.
“Keller, Baxter, breach that door!” the lieutenant barked. “Don’t just stand around with your dicks in your hand! Move, Rangers!”
Two Rangers blinked, shaking off their shock, and sprinted for the door. They were followed by four others. One pulled out a breaching charge, a rectangle made of duct tape and plastic explosives, and was about to slap it on the door, when the entire metal wall of the warehouse exploded outwards. The Ranger with the explosives was slammed to the ground beneath twisted aluminum siding. A hulking woman, ten feet tall, strode through the carnage, a thick piece of lumber clutched in one hand like a club.
Keller dived to the ground as she swung the club at him. I rushed forward, summoning my celestial blade. Gunfire erupted in the night as other monsters joined the fray, pouring out of the hole. My blood pumped wildly through my veins as I raised my sword to hack at the legs of the giantess. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion; she turned, her club swinging in a deadly, quick arc right at my chest.
Oh shit! How did she swing it that fast?
I tried to stop, digging my feet into the damp asphalt. I slid, my momentum carrying me right into the club. The wood slammed into my breastplate, snapping. I flew back in a spray of splinters, landing heavily and rolling to a stop. I coughed, struggling to catch my breath.
“Mark!” the giantess roared, a deep bass that somehow was feminine as it rattled my skull. She threw down the ruined stump of her club. “Mother will love me the most if I bring her your head!” Her hands clenched; I swallowed, struggling to stand. I could almost feel that monstrous hand about my throat, squeezing until my head popped off.
Bullets struck her; small, red wounds appeared. The Rangers may as well have been firing paintballs, because the hulking giantess didn’t even seem to feel them. She threw one Ranger aside as he tried to stab her with a knife, his body crashing into a dumpster with a meaty crunch. She stomped towards me as I struggled to rise. Someone stepped before me, facing the giantess as fierce as a tiger protecting her cub, wreathed in bright fire.
“That’s my husband, bitch!” she snarled.
The flames that danced upon Mary rushed to her fist, and she threw her arm like she was throwing a baseball. The giantess screamed in pain as the ball of fire left a smoking hole in her breast. The monster stood dumbfounded for a moment, then slowly, like a tree snapping before the a powerful wind, toppled backwards, landing with a resounding crash.
“Mother,” she croaked, her arm reaching into the air before she shuddered and went limp.
“You okay, Mark?” Mary asked, bending over.
“Yeah,” I wheezed, and Mary helped pull me to my feet.
Monsters were attacking the Rangers from all sides. A woman whose every strand of hair seemed a different hue, whipped it around, the hair slashing in deadly arcs at the Rangers. Another monster had one normal eye and one that bulged yellow, and fired some sort of energy that knocked a Ranger off his feet. A grenade landed at the yellow-eyed monster’s feet, detonating and tearing her body apart. A sinuous woman, completely hairless, somehow dodged the gunfire as she rushed forward, a forked tongue flicking from her lips.
“Damn,” I muttered, struggling to think what to do. “How did you throw the fire?”
“I don’t know, I just did!” Mary yelled. “Summon the dead, Mark!” Then she sent a gust of wind at the serpent-woman. The monster couldn’t dodge the wind, and went tumbling hard into the side of the building. The serpent writhed, and righted itself.
“Tsamalev!” I cried.
Silver mist sprung up, swirling into sixteen figures. Chasity, Karen, and the dead bodyguards. Even in death they served us. They appeared clad in shining, silver armor and wielding silvered weapons. Some had swords, others guns; excited grins graced their beautiful faces.
“Master!” Chasity greeted with a bow, her blue eyes twinkling with excitement, before she turned and threw herself into the fray. A silver-clad warrior, a Valkyrie, her blonde hair streaming behind her as she led her sisters into battle.
I was right on her heels. I could feel the drain of the summoning spell, so I tapped all the souls bound to me, sharing the load between dozens and dozens of people. My golden sword flashed, and I severed the rainbow-haired monster’s head, and led the counterattack on the serpent woman. Rangers followed, firing at the sinuous woman.
She hissed at me, twisting her body to avoid the gunshots, and launched herself at me. I set my shoulder, and barreled into her chest. Her legs wrapped around my body like a coiled serpent, squeezing me impossibly hard; my armor cracked beneath her constricting grip. I drew on Molech’s flames, and the air filled with the reek of sizzling flesh. The serpent-woman hissed in pain, and fell to the ground a smoking ruin.
Mary sent another monster tumbling with a blast of wind at the creature’s feet; three Rangers fell on the beast with flashing knives. I glanced around, looking for the next monster to fight. The ghosts were streaming into the warehouse, pursuing Lilith’s children as they retreated. Only half of the Rangers were still standing; the other half lay dead or dying on the street.
“Go!” Mary shouted, bending down beside a fallen Ranger. “I’ll take care of the wounded!”
“You were magnificent!” I shouted, before leading my remaining men into the gaping hole the giantess made in the warehouse.
Makeshift walls of plywood covered in red felt formed a hallway that led off in both directions. Inhuman roars and growls echoed from all directions, and muffled gunfire came from the other three groups of Rangers. The building trembled and creaked, like it protested the violence happening around it. A clapping boom rattled the floor, bringing more groaning protests from the building’s metal frame.
“Chasity!” I shouted as I surveyed the warehouse.
“Master,” she answered, stepping through a wall. “This place is a warren.”
“Where is Lilith?”
“Basement,” Chasity reported. “63 and 01 were unsummoned down there. 30 and I were forced to retreat. There’s a strong group of her daughters guarding three portals that her followers are fleeing through.”
“Fuck! Into the Shadow?”
“Which way?” I asked.
Chasity pointed to her right when the shadows behind her suddenly moved. A shaft of darkness formed into a spear, and pierced Chasity’s chest. She gave a startled blink, then dissolved into silvery mist, her soul sent back to the Abyss.
For a moment, everything was still as the Rangers and I gaped at the moving shadow. Then the hallway filled with lancing shadows. They came from every direction, stabbing and slicing. One knifed at me; I turned, and it scraped across my breastplate, leaving gouges in the metal. The shadow kept striking forward, and struck a Ranger behind me, slicing through his body armor like it was wax paper; he fell in a lifeless heap to the ground.
I jumped back as the shadows in the hallway came alive. Soldiers fired blindly as the darkness slashed at them. Every shadow could suddenly become lethal, slicing at you, even the one you cast. I dodged another shadow as a blade of umber went through the rifle and arm of a Ranger, severing both as easily as a scissor cutting paper. My men were being cut down by these fucking shadows! I fought through the panic, whirling to dodge attacks, and looked in vain for the source of the attack.
A knife of shadows arced at my face. I pivoted, and slashed a black tendril with my golden blade. White light flashed, briefly revealing a small woman crouching in a corner, skin black as midnight, flinching in pain.
“There!” I barked, pointing at the corner. “Everything you got!”
The shadows convulsed and then snapped back to normal as automatic fire raked the corner. The midnight-skinned monster fell forward in a pool of inky blood. No-one spoke, except the man clutching his severed arm. Everyone just stared in horror at the monster. I could see the fear in their eyes. How could regular men fight a being that used the very shadows they cast as weapons?
I bent down next to the wounded Ranger, a scarlet light enveloping him as I healed him. When the scarlet faded the solder clutched at his newly grown arm, staring in amazement. “Thank you, my Lord!” he gasped, flexing his fingers and staring at his bare arm, his sleeve ending where the shadow had sliced through it. I healed another Ranger who still lived, but the others had bled out.
“My Lord!” a man yelled, and three more Rangers ran up, battered and singed.
“Southeast corner?” I asked.
“Yes, we’re the only survivors,” he gasped. Only three out of thirty-three survived? Fuck! “There’s this thing breathing fire and…”
Gunshots cracked nearby, echoing down from where the new soldiers came from. Two of the ghosts were firing down the hallway, fiery-red light bathing their silver armor. Black smoke rolled around the top of the hallway, and billowed out of the massive hole the giantess had left. Yellow-orange fire engulfed the two ghosts; the summoning failed, and the two ghosts were sent back to the Abyss.
“Fuck!” someone cursed.
Mark, the building’s on fire! Get out of there! Mary’s panicked thought screamed in my mind.
Flames licked at the temporary walls, greedily devouring the felt and plywood like a pig at the trough, voracious and indiscriminate about what it ate. I coughed, the smoke stinging my eyes. “The basement!” I yelled. “That way!”
“Shit! Yes, sir!” a Ranger agreed, and the ten or so soldiers raced behind him.
A woman strode around the corner, the flames harmlessly caressing her legs, like cats rubbing affectionately against their mistress’s legs. Her dark skin glowed orange in the firelight. There was no hair on her body, her head smooth and round, exotically beautiful, and her eyes glowed gold, slitted like a cat’s.
“Mark Glassner,” she hissed, mouth full of pointed teeth; smoke issued from her mouth and nostrils, and flames burned down her gullet. A smile creased her blackened lips. “You shall burn in fires so hot your flesh shall melt and your bones crack, and I shall suck the marrow from them.”
She inhaled deeply.
Behind me, the soldiers were racing down the hall. I had to stop her. I had to protect my men; I had led them into this mess. I owed them. This was my responsibility; I had made a choice that night in June. I made a Pact with the Devil, and all of this was the fallout. I gripped my sword, swallowed my fear, and stared down this fire-breathing she-beast.
She exhaled pure fire, the air dancing wildly ahead of the blistering heat.
I summoned Molech’s flames, armoring myself in my own fire, and rushed into the inferno. Orange, red, and yellow engulfed me; a crackling roar filled my ears. Her inferno pressed against my fire, slowly overwhelming my protection. Every second it grew hotter and hotter; my skin felt raw, peeling like old paint exposed to the sun for years. I kept running. I couldn’t stop. I had to reach the monster before her flames overcame mine.
And then the flames were gone; I could see again. She was two steps away, her golden eyes widening in stunned surprise. First step; she inhaled. Molech’s flames flickered feebly on my skin, my protection about to die out. Second step; her dark arm raised up to ward my slicing sword. I swung; a stream of red flame exhaled from her mouth; my sword cleaved through her arm, and down into her chest.
I reeled back as her last blast of fire caught me in the face, and I landed hard on my side. Pain burned on the left side of my head. I breathed in and my lungs screamed in agony. I must have inhaled some flames. Goddamn it burned!
“Master!” a woman cried out; cold hands grabbed me.
“Karen,” I groaned at her concerned face, fighting to think past the burning pain.
“You need to get out of here, Master!” she cried, bending down to help me stand up.
Fire consumed the entire hallway; black smoke ran thick along the ceiling, undulating like waves rippling the surface of a pool of oil. Every breath I took was full of smoke, and the pain in my lungs threatened to topple me. There was a loud crash as a flaming support fell through the hallway. Fear beat in my chest. I couldn’t tell which way to go, the smoke was so thick.
“Basement,” I croaked. I had to catch Lilith.
Karen led the way, unaffected by the smoke. I gagged and coughed, struggling to breath as the ghost led me through the inferno. I stumbled, tripping over debris. My face felt like it was still on fire, still slowly, and painfully, being consumed. Was this what Hell would feel like? My nerves screamed in agony, and every time I grunted the flesh cracked like old leather. Finally Karen brought me to metal stairs; cold air rushed up from the basement.
It was sweet and clean. And so wonderfully cool!
“Shoot her!” a muffled voice yelled as we descended the stairs and gunshots fired. Who was that? The pain made it hard to think. “C’mon, Rangers! Get your shit together and hit the bitch!”
Right, the men I had sent down to the basement. I stumbled faster down the stairs, the pain fading as adrenaline poured into me. The Gift supplied a surge of energy that kept my battered body moving. At the base of the stairs a fire door was propped open, and lights flooded the dark stairwell from a room made of cinder-block walls.
It was chaos in there. The ten Rangers were firing at a fierce, leonine woman as she nimbly twisted around their bullets. She spat; something black streaked across the room, striking an Asian soldier in the throat. A black spine, like a porcupine’s, jutted from his neck. He fell to the ground convulsing and frothing at the mouth.
Beyond the leonine woman, Lilith and Lana stood before a portal that opened into the mists of the Shadow, urging a small group of children – no, too many of those children looked abnormal; young monsters, Lilith’s spawn – and women through the hole into the Shadows. The Demoness looked as beautiful as ever, her silver hair falling in a mussed tumble about her large, perfect breasts that seemed to defy gravity.
“Lilith!” I roared, ignoring the pain in my face, the feeling of burned flesh cracking. White-hot hatred consumed my mind. She killed my Karen. She had to die! My anger drove all other considerations from my mind.
Fuck the consequences!
Lilith turned to face me, her sneer vanishing as I sprinted across the basement. I had a clear shot at her. My blood pounded through me, an incessant, rage-filled beat demanding that I cut the bitch in half. I hungered to see her blood drip from my sword. I bellowed out a primal scream, my battle-cry. Fear paled the Demoness’s face. She turned, grasping a woman and throwing her to the ground in her haste to reach the portal.
Exultation soared through me. Lilith was too far from the portal. She reacted too late, and I moved too fast, the Gift and adrenaline giving me a burst of speed. Nothing could stop me. I would avenge Karen, and rescue Lana and Chantelle from her foul grasp. I raised my sword above my head, Lilith within my reach. Nothing could stop me from cutting the bitch from stem to stern.
“No, Master!” she cried, grasping my hands, halting my sword before it could find Lilith’s flesh.
Lilith fled through the portal.
“No!” I roared, twisting about to stare at Karen. “Why? She killed you! Why did you save her?”
“A darkness comes,” she whispered, staring at me with her gray eyes. I flinched beneath the weight of her words.
A darkness? Lucifer. I almost summoned the Devil before we were ready. I paled, my knees suddenly week, the pain of my burned flesh crashing into me, and I stumbled. Everything would have been ruined by my rage. Everything.
“Thank you,” I whispered and she smiled at me.
“Cora!” Lana shouted; the leonine woman barreled past me before I could react, and swing my sword. She scooped up Lana in her arms, and leapt through the portal. It wavered, like a mirage, then vanished.
There was a loud groan and then crashing noise above shook the building. The warehouse was collapsing as the fire consumed it. I pulled out my knife and begin carving our escape into the air as I released the summons. Karen smiled at me before she melted into mist. I sawed faster at the Veil, struggling to open the portal before the entire building came down on our heads.
I could only watch in horror as the warehouse was consumed by flames. The fire was greedy, and quickly devoured the structure in minutes. The fire seemed to delight in the destruction it caused; an insane glee that grew and grew as more and more of the building was engulfed by its tendrils. Red and orange danced in the night, sending cackling roars and popping laughs into the night sky.
The surviving Rangers were gathered around me. Mark was still inside; my heart clutched in my throat. With a mighty groan, half the roof caved in, sending fiery sparks raining into the night air. No!
Get out, Mark! I frantically sent. Please, please! The warehouse is about to collapse!
Working on it, Mark sent back.
I pulled out my silver locket from beneath the stab vest, clutching the heart desperately in my fist. The building creaked ominously, a shuddering moan growing louder and louder as it was consumed by the inferno. There was one, loud snap and it all came crashing down, flames surging up into the sky and a hot wind slamming into me. I flinched before the heat, my auburn hair whipping about my head.
It was only rubble. Flaming, twisted rubble. No longer a building. No-one could have survived that. Tears ran down my warm cheeks. There was no way Mark could have survived the collapse. He was crushed to death, buried in fiery debris. My knees gave out, and I collapsed into a ruin on the street, sobs wracking my body.
“Oh, Mark!” I wailed.
“Yeah, Mare?” Mark croaked behind me.
I spun; there was my husband stumbling out of a portal from the Shadows, followed by eight shaken Rangers. Mark looked like hell, his face red from a terrible burn, and half his head burned clean of hair. He stumbled forward and I stood up and caught him, helping him sink to the ground. His armor disintegrated into golden motes about me.
“Oh, Mark,” I gasped in horror.
“She got away,” he groaned bitterly.
“That’s okay,” I whispered, and healed him.
He grinned at me when the scarlet light faded, his face healed, and I couldn’t help but giggle nervously at his missing hair. He frowned, and I ran my finger along the swath of bare scalp where his hair had burned away.
“You need a haircut,” I smiled.
Laughing, he hugged me to him, pulling me onto his lap, and I kissed him. All the scared, excited energy exploding out of me as our lips mashed passionately together. I was telling Mark the truth earlier when I said it was exciting watching him fight. He was amazing as he threw himself into the battle, and my adrenaline and joy stoked my passions. Our kiss would have led to us fucking each other’s brains out if a moan of pain hadn’t reached my ears.
Breaking the kiss, I said, “There are still wounded that need our help.”
“What?” he asked, passion still filling his eyes. “Oh, yes. Of course.”
I climbed off my husband, and we set about healing the Rangers who fought and bled and died for us. We led 132 soldiers when we attacked the warehouse, an entire company. Only thirty-five were were still combat ready, sustaining no or only minor injuries. Forty-eight were seriously or critically injured, and forty-nine had died. We killed fourteen monsters – most of those were killed by Mark, or with our help – and another six had been driven off.
It was sobering to learn just how lethal Lilith’s daughters were.
As we healed the wounded, a Stryker rolled up, and an officer – he had an eagle on his epaulets, so I think that made him a colonel – walked over to us, followed by a group of soldiers. “My Lords,” he saluted. “We captured a prisoner at the Mayor’s house.”
I turned, and saw strawberry-blonde Fiona glowering at me, hands bound behind her back. “Lilith will defeat you, tyrants!” she spat at us, and I flinched at the hatred in her eyes. Her aura was red, a Warlock’s aura. She’d made a Pact with Lilith.
It broke my heart. I still cared for Fiona. But we deserved her hatred—we had forced her to be our whore.
I was still shaking after my brush with death.
The memory of Mark charging me in his angelic armor, that terrible, gleaming sword held high and thirsting for my powers, filled my mind with quacking fear. I tried to shrug it off, reminding myself that I was a Goddess, and he was only a slug, a worm, a piece of filth to be scraped off my sandals after I crushed him beneath my heel. But he had a Priest’s Sword, and he had come within heartbeats of slaying my vessel.
I could not afford to die! I could not afford to be cast back into the Abyss. Bereft of my powers.
I shuddered again.
Sent back with no powers like Molech had been.
I could feel Molech’s power in Mark when he charged me with that damned weapon. He had the Gift, and any demons felled by his blade would be bereft of all the power they had accumulated, before their souls would be cast back into the Abyss. You’d be as weak as any newly-dead human, left to the mercy of all the lesser demons you had trodden upon.
It would be decidedly unpleasant. A grin split my lips; Molech must be learning that lesson right now. All those he tortured over the eons would be more than glad to share their affections with the former Demon Prince.
Then I froze, realizing that Mark had Molech’s powers. Instead of just dissipating them, Mark had instead absorbed them. How? Is this a side-effect of him being a Shaman? Mark wasn’t just a Priest, he was also a Warlock, and that always caused unanticipated effects.
“Mother, we’re ready,” Tir said, interrupting my thoughts.
I glanced at my daughter, her head cocked to the side like a curious bird, her sapphire eyes wide and shining. She perched at the edge of the Cedar Creek Watershed next to her birth-mother, the dusky-skinned Thamina. She looked sick with worry for her wife. Fiona was either dead or captured, otherwise she would have rendezvoused with them. Beyond Thamina crouched another of my daughters. Vera was sickly-looking, with paper-thin skin.
“Begin,” I ordered.
Tir vomited something black into the watershed, while Vera opened her wrist and thick, clumpy blood oozed out into the water. Both of my daughters could spread disease, and the pair had been working on this plague for weeks. The Cedar Creek Watershed provided the majority of the water to the city of Seattle. In just a few hours, half the city would be infected.
Mark may have driven me from my demesne, but I would reclaim it!
“How potent is it?” I asked Tir.
“Mother, we did not have time to finish it,” Tir hedged. “It’s highly communicable, and should kill roughly 33% of the men infected.”
I smiled, staring off at the distant city of Seattle. Soft light bathed the city as the sun rose over the Cascade Mountains behind us. “That’s more than enough to distract Mark.”
To be continued…
Click here for Chapter 45.by