Chapter 48 - Bargains

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Scene 1 - TITLE


Scene 2 - Promises, Promises

Arthus entered the mist with equal parts intrigue and trepidation. This was the realm of devils after all, and there was no way to know if he would come out on the other side of this.

In a moment his vision was completely obscured, he couldn’t even make out his own hand in front of his face. Before panic could set in, he heard a voice in the distance, then another, and another. Soon his ears rang with dozens of voices both familiar and not. His parents, his brothers, Bartlebee, Velenia, and David stood out amongst the crowd.

He could see them, some scenes happening presently, others in the distant past. Soon his eyes lingered on Velenia, dressed in more provincial attire than he was used to seeing her. Her hair was a light brown, and her eyes were a deep chestnut. She was certainly well disguised, but she was still as beautiful as ever.

If there was any god that Arthus could put his faith in, he would have run to her without consequence, but there was no such power here. Arthus closed his eyes tightly and shouted “No!” as loud as he could. Shaking his head he forced himself to block out the visions of his loved ones. Alec needed him, and he needed to focus.

Soon the visions disappeared, and the blinding pink mist gave way to endless black. Arthus was staring at Alec, or at least a twisted version of him, along with perverted images of himself and the others. They taunted Alec, lashed out with their swords, forcing him to defend himself. Every moment eroded Alec’s will just a bit, and he was not far from breaking.

Then a woman’s voice called softly to Arthus from the ether. The voice was deep and timeless, sultry, and coated in honey and venom. Arthus stiffened readying himself for the unknown.

“What would you give?” She asked.

“For what?” Arthus inquired.

“To give him hope.” Fierna answered.

“What do you want?” Arthus answered, certain that he was about to make a deal with the Princess of Baator.

“A promise.” Fierna responded, her voice cool and calculating, just enough so that it put Arthus on edge. It was too easy, what was he missing?

“What sort of promise, Lady Fierna?” He continued with a burning curiosity.

Arthus’ mind flashed back to the day he asked for Velenia’s hand. He could feel the chilled breeze on his face as he was kneeling in her parent’s garden. Velenia sat on their favorite bench under a willow tree. A perfect moment, one that meant more to him than most, and for a second Arthus had found paradise in the bowels of hell.

Then it struck him. Fierna wanted his promise to Velenia, and Arthus’ heart sank. Arthus knew the joy Velenia felt that day, that they both felt. He looked up and saw Alec again, fending off the wicked strikes of his doppelganger, recoiling from the light of Pelor, and shrinking from the barbs Fizbin playfully tossed to add insult to injury.

Arthus could hardly bear Alec’s torment himself, but he would be damned if he would let Lady Fierna rob Velenia of her heart. Arthus hung his head, and said quietly “No deal.”

Lady Fierna confirmed his refusal making sure to spell out his unwillingness to make this sacrifice for his friend. With that Alec’s eyes looked into the blackness and saw Arthus standing there, and saw him walk away.

It was only a few steps, and Arthus was clear of the mist. He slumped to his knees and reached inside his vest for a silk handkerchief. He clutched it in both hands as he wept, knowing full well that he would have made the same choice every time, and he hated himself for not regretting that fact.

Arthus could hear the sound of plate armor shifting a few feet away. He assumed it was William, otherwise he was a dead man, Arthus had not the heart to fight.

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Deep in the dungeons of an ancient infernal fortress Alec's screams are met with laughter and derision. His friends have turned on him, abandoned him, and now they want to destroy him as an abomination. Her voice is compassionate and understanding, and Alec's resolve finally cracks. He answers her and promises that he will raise the challenge before all the denizens of Hell, and he will rule by her side.


Chapter 47 - Hell is Here

Back to Books

Chapter 49 - Wrath & Reconciliation


last edited by CaptainMonstrousCaptainMonstrous

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