Deep, spiteful thunders rumbled while fitful lightning arced erratically across a deep, dark gray, forever dreary, and an always twilight sky.
Dead, rotting lands stretched from horizon to horizon littered with cracks and chasms of fiery bursts and deathly, poisonous miasma, as ‘things’ moved, either lumbering, or slithering, or creeping as they hunted, in packs or singly, it didn’t matter. Here, everything was a predator and yet a prey.
THIS WAS HELL..
An enormous structure that vaguely resembled a chateau made of unhealthy looking, ugly yellow and botched brown brimstone rock, stood tall and mighty and with an arrogance that bespoke;
I AM SIN!
And deep in the bowels of that mighty chateau, a tall, lean, handsome, and deadly figure fumed sulfurously.
Many broken demonic corpses littered his otherwise unadorned, vast, and vaulted throne room, as the commander of the demonic armies walked up lazily to another one of his countless underlings; this one, a nearly sixteen feet tall massive beast of a demon.
The tip of the handsome commander’s great, curved blade scraped the ugly yellow, and botched brown brimstone rock floor, sending eager sparks with an eerie screech..
Tel me, Boulgrourm..” spoke the tall, handsome demon commander. “..do you know anything as to what happened to my favorite concubine Irine and my bride-to-be? And while at it, fill me in on why I have suddenly stopped receiving any word from that old fool, Themalsar, and why his demon pit is suddenly inactive, no, totally destroyed? Do let me know why the ruins of his temple is no more and why there is a little, not quite mortal grove; a garden with cherry blooms and pretty flowers where that temple is supposed to be, hmm?”
The massive, towering, sixteen feet form of Boulgrourm shifted uncomfortably as it stared down at the dark, lean form of his commander.
“I am a bruiser. A basher. A warrior. Not a sneaky little slut like your concubine—”, began Boulgrourm, but that was as far as he got.
“—to your loss!”
..the murmur of the dark, lean form of the commander was heard as he floated some fifteen feet away, his soot colored, raven-like wings stretched gracefully.
No one quite saw when he had retrieved Boulgrourm’s head from his enormous shoulders.
The giant demon certainly never saw it coming and his towering body did not even register that it was now missing a major and vital limp. It spurted thick, black, tar-like blood for a long minute until a wet, wheezing sound escaped the stump where his head had been a few, mere moments ago, and with a resounding crash, it toppled over..
..next to the other, broken bodies.
The dark, lean commander didn’t wait long to milk on the drama. He was a brutally practical creature. He didn’t like to put on any displays, much like the way he refused to adorn his throne room, neither the seat nor its cavernous halls with sinister-looking obscure designs, carvings, sculptures, or gaping, tormented skulls, like his predecessor, had.
Skulls? Really, now, how pedestrian and juvenile was that?
And quite putrid in its mentality, from the commander’s point of view.
What did adorn his halls and his throne were simple designs that could barely be called ‘eloquent’, if noted at all. But they all had their deadly purpose. A few had tested them when he had first ascended the throne and none had gotten as far as the ugly, obsidian-like stump of a throne.
Not even close.
A very cunning demon woman was, that Irine.
Or had been..
Which was why she had risen among the ranks of his sub-commanders so fast, as opposed to why his underlings thought she had.
If anything appealed to the commander of the demon armies, it was ‘well-placed cunning’..
..and ‘smoothness in application’.
Had the commander of the armies of the dark, infernal abyss been a mortal general, one could say he was ‘an idealist, but also a brutally practical professional with a near-obsessive care in his meticulous attention to detail’.
Good Heavens he was not a ‘mortal general’.
The mortal coil did not need a bloody conqueror such as he..
The commander had many unsavory tastes and an unorthodoxly unique understanding of his ‘command’, certainly, but everything he did, he did them for a reason and with cunning precision and deadly smoothness.
Hence his throne was carved and polished down to an even perfection, for the ease access of a smooth kill-rush, should the occasion demand, which, in all candor, was not quite infrequent.
Kardax’Trakxa “The Face” did not kill his subordinates out of whim. That was a trait his predecessor had favored.
Foolish, and quite wasteful.
He just removed them from command with an ‘immutable’ attitude because they were either incompetent or just stupid. After all, stupidity and incompetence was stupidity and incompetence wherever such subordinates were stationed.
And ‘The Face’ needed neither, anywhere among his ranks.
Those that showed promise, rose.
Those that didn’t, but still went for the ranks, didn’t.
The ability to assess one’s own worth and virtues correctly was also something The Face valued.
It certainly saved a lot of time.
He had, after all, spent the first few centuries following his ascension, clearing his ranks of the incompetent, the stupid, the nescient, the reluctant, the inessential, and the redundant..
His favorite concubine, Irine, had been very cunning and smooth in her efficiency in everything she did, whether she was in a bloody battlefield, or in his bed. Even her curves had been so; cunningly smooth..
And now she was missing..
..for too long to assume anything but her having been killed.
And so was his bride-to-be.
And that old fool, Themalsar.
True, the loss of that disgusting mortal was of little note for the commander, but he had been an anchor to the other end of the demon pit. Without him, the demon pit would collapse.
The fact that the pit had collapsed, told him the old, raving lunatic was indeed no more..
..so much so that, and as hard as he, Kardax’Trakxa “The Face” himself had tried, he couldn’t reach out and find his soul.
And Kardax’Trakxa had wanted that old man’s soul for over eight hundred years.
He had had a special hell prepared, just for him!
Whoever had slain Themalsar, it had been done in a manner that had utterly destroyed him; body and soul!
Had his bride-to-be, done this?
In time perhaps, she would attain such levels of destructive power, certainly, but it was too early, even with her soul-devouring succubi heritage.. She was just too young, too inexperienced and whatever that old fool was, Themalsar had never been weak.
“My Liege.”, said a soft, whispering, feminine voice.
‘The Face’ looked up but did not see the owner of the soft, whispering, feminine voice. He did sense the ‘surety’ and ‘confidence’ quality in that voice, though.
“Leave us.”, The Face said. “And remember, I do not tolerate fools. None of you are indispensable, essential, or vital, nor are you irreplaceable or invaluable.. The only constant for me is the goal. You can either be there to harvest its benefits or be an example to those who will be there when the time of harvesting arrives. When I want bruisers, I will find them in my Fester Pits, by the millions.
You are here with the sole reason to get me the answers I want before I ask them of you and accomplish the tasks with an accuracy that demands more than you can dare not to afford.”
The remaining sub-commanders made quiet and hasty retreat out of the vast, vaulted halls of the throne room..
..leaving a slim, slender, even, figure with short, lightly ‘tanned’, loose hair with two doe-like antlers crowning them, a pair of similarly colored, blade-like brows, one amber-brown, and another, pale-green eye, a generous, uncaring mouth, and a cute, perky nose, soft, nubile breasts, youthful hips, and long, runners legs..
She wore a loose, white, low front-cut, fine linen blouse, revealing her soft, inviting flesh, a dark, tight bodice that came up to just under her modest-sized breasts, and a pair of loose, black, belly dancer’s shalwars, displaying more of her delicious, tender flesh at the hips..
Separately, each of her singular features would have likely made any mortal girl appealing. Put together, with her strutting, arrogant stance, one could reasonably use phrases like ravaging, consuming, deadly, and murderous – from a beauty point of view.
However her outer, skin appearance was, her gaze projected something else. It was a rather unsettling sort of gaze.. It wasn’t ‘cold’, per say, but there was a distinct, soulless quality about that gaze; she could be making savage, coveting love.. or be busy slowly slicing open your throat with the same dispassionate and remote fix..
..and continue making love, while you shuddered and died of a very bloody ecstasy!
She didn’t move, she didn’t look behind at the sub-commanders filing out of the vast, vaulted halls, she didn’t stare at her commander, she certainly did not fidget, blush or shy away, as the tall, lean, muscular form of her liege made a slow, full circle around her, scrutinizing every inch, every curve of her.
She just stood there, in her breathless beauty, staring into some unseen distance, as her slender life hung on balance.
✱ ✱ ✱
I sense your Aunt Irine’s arrogance in you..”, The Face said quietly as he stared down at the slender, tempting, taking, and alluring figure of the uncanny girl.
“..Perigren, isn’t it?”
“Perigren Ostlanna Temez, My Liege, as we both very well know, that you know..”, replied the girl, Perigren, in her soft, breathy whisper, still staring at the distance.
“Yes.. arrogant, smart, and knows she is both, and more.. How very Irine-like..”, mused The Face.
“I have no desire to fill her shoes, My Liege.”, said Perigren quietly.
“Not feeling up to the task?”
“No, My Liege. I don’t do ‘old shoes’.. I have my own.”, she replied with disconcerting coolness.
An eyebrow from The Face cocked up with amusement.
“Ow?”, he purred and there was now a.. dangerous quality to his voice.
“And I also don’t do the ‘concubine’ thing, My Liege.”, she added and there wasn’t a trace of fear, doubt, or anxiety in her voice.
She said it, and there it was.
“You sound quite sure of yourself, little Perigren.”, The Face said not bothering with threats, veiled or otherwise in his words.
And only Irine would have known, Kardax’Trakxa never threatened those he intended to kill.
He just would.
Threats only gave away your intentions, and possibly your weaknesses, neither of which The Face would show.
The Face gave nothing before he took everything..
“I am not my aunt, My Liege. You can either have me or my services. But not both. I know the limits of my body. I know exactly how much of what I can endure. I also know what happens once you have had yours; I am afraid, nothing truly survives you, My Liege. You can either put me to good use as an organizer for your covered ops and benefit from my services for, possibly, centuries or you can put me to use.. once.”, she said, with the same detached, cool, distant stare.
The lean, muscular demon lord and commander of the infernal legions stared down at the slim, coiled wire-like Perigren for a long, silent moment.
“A self-evaluating, in full control of her emotions kind of girl. Interesting. Much better than Irine ever managed. Interesting indeed. Whether you are just as impressive, is to be seen.”, The Face spoke finally. “Speak. What have you, to impress me..”
“First, My Liege, I must have the surety of your confidence, and that I shall not suffer your wrath for my candor. I am a pittance against your strength. I can not survive your wrath.”, she said and for the first time, she looked at her liege’s ‘face’.
“Your first words of council are to bind me, little Perigren?”, asked the demon lord in a silent, dreadful voice.
“My Liege. My life is in your hands. There is nothing I can do to avoid anything you can do to me. If I am to serve, however, I must be free to speak as I will and to act upon it. I must also have surety that unhappy underlings and sub-commanders do not try their way with me.”, replied Perigren, still gazing into her lieges bottomless face.
“Impress me, little Perigren. Then I shall give you your surety.”, The Face said, crushing the words in his mouth.
“Your chronicles. You must place it somewhere a bit more inaccessible than on the top of the table, next to your throne, My Liege.”, Perigren said cooly.
“I would like to see the unhappy soul that wishes to visit my chronicles, dear Perigren. Many have tried. I have tasted their ashes scattered around it.”, replied The Face.
Perigren Ostlanna Temez gazed at her liege’s face for a silent moment, as if debating her own life against his temperament. Then she spoke, and without a shrug, twitch or hesitation, in old, demonic tongue..
✱ ✱ ✱
When she finished, she felt one of her liege’s enormous grasp around her slender waist, her chest, and her breasts, and the other around her narrow shoulders, and her throat.
“Hence, the need for surety, My Liege.”, she whispered, barely able to speak.
“You have managed to gain my attention, little Perigren. You have yet to impress me. Do it. And fast!”, the horrible wrath of The Face breathed down the back of her neck.
At what point he had managed to move from standing in front of the girl, to behind her and grasp her so thoroughly, Perigren never saw.
“Your wards have weaknesses, My Liege. Circumventing them was difficult, but they are not impregnable. Your chronicle.. Only you can touch it..”, she whispered hoarsely.
“I am well aware of the gaps in my wards, little Perigren. I put them there myself. As for the fact that only I can touch my chronicles, does not explain how you have read it.”, The Face’s searing breath burning into the back of the girl in his clutches, scouring the very skin off her slender figure.
“My Liege.. I will die, and very soon, before I am able to give you the satisfaction of an answer..”, she whispered in pain as her legs gave, and her eyes started to glaze and roll-up.
The Face unclenched..
..and the girl dropped on the floor, gasping for breath, her face distorted by the searing abuse of her liege.
Slowly, with a steely determination, she rose to her feet, even as her back smoked.
“You.. you have claimed someone.. as your very own.. My Liege..”, she whispered through clenched teeth. “Thus, she was able to touch and unfold the cover.. and gaze upon your chronicles.. without being disintegrated..”
Kardax’Trakxa “The Face” gazed down at the withering form of Perigren Ostlanna Temez for a long moment and many things crossed his cunning mind with uncanny haste.
“Tell me, little Perigren..”, he whispered down at the dying girl with a remorseless voice. “..you know this how?”
“She.. we.. were of the same batch of.. trainees, My Liege.. Of the eighteen pits in our particular village, only three.. survived.. She, myself, and a third, who was later disqualified and killed..
Years later, we returned to that village.. where she and I had been thrown into our own.. separate pits..
I.. I avenged myself.. I slew all the men and women who dumped things on us, everyday.. for years.. She.. she did nothing. Later, she would claim she reaped her vengeance.. But I was there, My Liege.. We were close.. And back then.. it did not matter..
Now, in the light that.. she would be your bride.. Such weakness in a bride-to-be of My Liege was not acceptable.. Such information.. could not be kept from your knowledge.. It was her, who told me how.. she had snuck here, into your throne room, My Liege, and how she was able to touch.. and read your chronicles.. And because she had claimed me.. as her friend.. I was also able to touch them and.. read them, My Liege..”, Perigren gasped more, panting harshly as she succumbed to the pain, and collapsed on the hard, brimstone rock floor and on her side.
“Aunt Irine.. she taught us of mortal weaknesses.. and how to recognize them.. Your bride-to-be, My Liege, has betrayed you.. She has passed her loyalties to another.. and bonded herself to him..”, she whispered as her sight failed.
“She has bonded herself.. to no other than Priceptine, the Archangel of Wrath, My Liege.. And it was her, who freed Him from the curse you put on him.. centuries ago.. during the war against.. Themalsar..”, she said and her slender body failed under the pain.
The Face stared down at the beautiful, slender figure, withered at his feet, and with merciless eyes.
Then he made a vague, grasping gesture in the air before him with his claw-like fingers as if to catch a fly, and murmured, “Not yet, my little Perigren Ostlanna Temez. Not yet. You might be weak in that patently pretty, and illustriously delicious figure, but I will make use of your other services and possibly for centuries..”
Perigren Ostlanna Temez; Perigren, ‘peregrine’ kelimesinden türemedir ve yabacı, garip, egzotik anlamlarına gelir. Ostlanna ise, ‘oust’, dışlanmış, ötelenmiş kelimesinden gelir ve ‘dışlanmış/ötelenmiş Lanna’ demektir: Garip, egzotik, ve dışlanmış Lanna Temez.
The demonic words written in the KARDAX’TRAKXA CHRONİCLES, and spoken by Perigren Ostlanna Temez;
My dear Irine.
There is little I can do for you. You have lost your sense of direction and you have allowed yourself to be led by your appetites for far too long.
A woman that satisfies my needs are many. What I need is more than tender flesh. I need a commander at my side. A commander with insight and a certain sense of urgency, neither of which you have.. You are, at best, excellent at any given task. But your need to appease your delights, your luxuries and your constant requests of mortal gore blinds you far too often to make a permanent arrangement feasible.. I am afraid, the day I shall have to slay you, approaches.