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click...clack...click...clack

The sound was incessant, reverberating off the walls in the much too quiet hallway. The lifelessness of the hallways only fed into the annoyance that screwed the defined jaw of the woman into a tight clench. The black attire she wore clung to her taut body as her hair played in the air as she quickly made her way down the hallway. The faint sound of giggling had her eyes darkening to black, a sinister shadow casting over her feature and she became more dangerous and inhuman in appearance as she stopped, for but a moment, before a pair of closed heavy wooden doors.

Without a second of hesitation the once closed doors flew open in splintered pieces as the occupants in the bed gave their own sounds of surprise as they scrambled to cover themselves. Stalking forward towards a smug, handsome man she stopped at the edge of the bed her blackened eyes glued on the fiery amber ones that taunted her.

“Fancy seeing you here. Can I assume you’ve come to join in on the party, Nasrin?”

“Did you just say N-Nasrin?” One of the women squeaked as she looked over the inhuman female before her.

“Get out.” The demand was clear and immediately snapped the two women into motion as they jetted off the bed as if it had suddenly become burning hot. Not a word was shared between the smug male and Nasrin as the two women issued useless apologies on their exit. Only once the door closed did either of the two spur into action. A draw of a breath was enough time for Nasrin to have the male pressed against the headboard of the bed her sharp nails drawing beads of blood as her face came dangerously close to his.

“Azrael, tell me one reason I shouldn’t kill you here and now?”

“Kill me and you lose your only chance of controlling the forces. We’ve yet to see what this “King” has to offer, while you waste your time fucking him we have fought his battles, you have negotiated and led him this far, your subordinance makes you look weak.”

Nasrin squeezed her hand digging her nails deeper into his neck for a moment before releasing her hold, ”Remember this time, and remind the men, I can kill you all at a moment’s notice. Continue to doubt me and be sent back to the depths of hell, continue to disobey me and I will have you begging for hell. I asked for a report on the encampment East of here to be ready when I returned, and yet here am I seeking you out. Within the day you will gather your officers in the war room and present the report before your King and I. Also, accompany those pests who were frolicking uselessly in here to the courtyard, I will allow you to disrespect me just this once, but never shall any of these breeders even breathe out of their place before me, muchless in the home of their King.”



With the fire of her anger mostly extinguished an irritated sigh left her plump lips, running a hand through her hair and shaking it out she headed towards her new destination. An eagerness swept through her as the dearly commanding voice, though muffled, boomed through the central halls. Nasrin had been absent from the “palace” for a month tending to some…hellish business, and had only kept up with business in the mortal realm through a familiar. Nearer she drew as the voice of another dared rival the volume of her beloved, it seemed her absence from the “palace” allowed these idiots time to find a spine.

Ahh.. how she loved ripping out the spines of fools.

”Infinitus est numerus stultorum.”* Her velvety voice spread throughout the tense room as all eyes turned on to her. Waving a dismissive hand to the lesser demons who visibly relaxed and offered their bows of respect, her darkening eyes glued onto the mortal man who had not yet turned to face the woman stalking towards him. The scent of hell ash and gunpowder was pungent and easily identified the stout pest, instantly killing him was out of the question but punishment was not. The pupils of her eyes grew to fill them in its inky black appearance, and her skin turned an inhuman red color as she spoke in an otherworldly, echoing voice,”Kneel.” the command reverberated in the throne room as all the mortals and lesser demons quickly fell to their knees, the few higherborn demons shuffled uncomfortably as they backed away to the comfort of the perimeters of the room. Nasrin’s eyes flickered around the room before landing upon the pawn man she had pledged her loyalty to.

“If not for the mercy and ultimate guidance of your king, you insects would have already been erased from this land.” Removing her eyes from Gabriel she turned around to face the human glaring up at her, his persistence, and unwavering courage had a sinful smile spreading across her face, “It seems you wish to only tempt me..” her voice had shifted into a sultry tone as the suffocating presence sweeped out of the room. Nasrin’s foot struck with an experienced calculation as the definite sound of breaking bone filled the room, the anger in the man’s face quickly turned to pain as he cradle his limp hanging arm. A satisfied sigh exit her lips, a flicker of pleasure playing in her eyes as she turned around and bounded the stairs,”All of you leave us, bring this fool to the healers, fetch his wife and have them ready for me later on.”

Once the room was cleared and the heavy doors closed shut Nasrin’s composure relaxed, a real smile appearing on her lips as she slowly circled around the occupied throne, “Was it your goal to have me return to such a mess? Azrael is frolicking in the sheets with humans instead of tending to his duties, the lesser demons and the help are nowhere in sight as much is requiring attention, and you have subjects bold enough to shout at you in your throne room.” Nasrin’s tone had shifted from amused to irritated as she stopped in front of Gabe her hand on his throat tilting his face up, and her face mere inches from him, “Did all of my advising and teachings go to waste,Gabriel?”

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There were a plethora of things that Gabriel found concerning of Aeternum.

The first was that there were far too many humans. The ones that served a purpose were concubines and whores, only serving to further the ranks of the demons and half-breeds that already congregated around them. They were taking up too much food, and clean water was scarce. There was little machinery that could be scavenged from Before, but what had been was now put to good use. Unfortunately, more and more things continued to break. It wouldn’t be long before he would have to kill the help.

The second was that this life was all he could remember. No longer could he summon a memory of what his parents looked like. Perhaps he never could. Maggie seemed to remember, but he couldn’t. She had long ago given in to his whims and sometimes Gabriel was sad to think that she feared him. But she came back… always came back.

The third? That he felt solely responsible for the failing habitat of the city-state he was the center of. The demon court had no issue believing that he was truly their Savior, and why would they? It was chaos here, and any semblance of ‘God’ was long gone. Gabriel had never been religious, nor prescribed to the idea that there was someone watching over all of them. Why would someone who seemingly cared allowed such mass destruction to occur?

Perhaps that was a question for another moment. His thoughts had already brought him further from the problems he currently faced every day, which included someone… measly and unworthy in front of him. The man seemed to be fearful, and Gabriel wondered what that was truly like. He hadn’t felt unadulterated fear in years, or at least that he could remember. ”Kneel.” Gabriel’s eyes flickered upward and into focus as another creature entered the room. He couldn’t feel the supernatural like most other residents of the city, but he could almost taste the cold, menacing presence that had arrived.

Nasrin.

She was back, and just as easily as horrible as she had been when she’d left. Gabriel wished he could say he missed her, but she was a means to an end. Nasrin was well connected and knew her way through Circle Society; both were appreciated and certainly more than he would ever tell her. The demon was ruthless and saw fit to harm nearly everything in her way in some shape or form. But her worth was limited by her cockiness and confidence. The woman seemed to think that she could lead him about with his dick, something that Gabriel was keen to allow her to think. The more distracted and unclear he was, the more she would do and the more he could learn.

That she commanded her lessers to kneel was… unappealing at best. Gabriel’s bearded jaw clenched but he remained silent, shifting slightly in the large, uncomfortable chair that they insisted he sit in. ‘Fit for a king’, someone had said. As if it wasn’t enough to believe that she could rule others, she then dismissed them from his presence. At this, the man’s eyes narrowed, dark blue tones that matched his sister’s staring out to the creature that now approached.

”Contrary to your belief, Nasrin,” Gabe said, his voice quiet and baritone, ”I do not have to ask your permission for everything.” He pulled his chin away from her touch and raised an eyebrow. ”Azrael serves a purpose, and if he chooses to spend his nights and days with concubines while off leave, he is allowed.” Gabriel shrugged and relaxed back, steepling his fingers as he continued to look to Nasrin. ”Tell me, what exactly have you accomplished while gone? If you’ve done as much as Azrael has, perhaps I will shower you with whores, too.” A corner of Gabe’s mouth twitched upward.

What she had done was important, despite his offer. Accomplishments on the outside mattered, whether it was killing those who sought harm to him to simply finding some desperately needed resources. Any information to help them further his status in the world would be enough.

Of course, what he really needed was to grow into his powers. His counsel was eager to ensure him that it would come with time, but he was human; he didn’t have time like the demon in front of him. He needed power to attain his immortality, and it is seemed that he couldn’t realize his full potential without eternity.








“Where are you going?”

“Out. I can’t be in this place anymore.” Maggie couldn’t be around these people anymore… these things.

“This place, or me?”

“Maybe both, Gabe, I don’t know.” It was never him, though. There were times when she needed time to process his decisions, but perhaps never had she been scared away from Gabe. She loved him, like she had no other. Idle flings with the royal prostitutes, even some demons that she’d entertained, but never a love like her twin. He was the only person who had always and truly been there for her, and no matter what he did, she would stay.

Besides, there wasn’t anywhere else to go.

“You’re going to feed those beggars, aren’t you? I told you not to, Mags. They can’t be trusted.” Neither could they, but she said nothing. She and her twin were, unfortunately, nothing to brag about. The only reason she was still alive and well and decently fed was because of Gabe. She shrugged, though whether the intention was to show defiance or indifference was unclear. “Adriel,” Gabriel said, looking to a man at his side, “would you -- ?”

“I don’t want a babysitter. I’ve gone out in the city for more and haven’t gotten into trouble. I’m old enough to know what to do and anyone would be stupid to attack me.”

“No one would dare, my lady,” said Adriel, and Maggie offered him a wicked smile. With that, she turned on her heel and left, finally opening the door to their…

Squalor. Filthy. Cesspit. Sanctuary.

Home.

Maggie ran a hand through dark hair with a sigh, looking around from underneath her hooded cloak. It was heavy and seemed… old. Older than the Apocolypse and older than her, certainly. She lowered her nose to sniff at the fabric but immediately regretted the decision. It stunk of Aeternum, a fetid, dark smell that she had thought she was accompanied to.

She wasn’t.

The woman grimaced as she began to meander through into the city center. There were plenty of objects that should have given her pause: corpses, both alive and dead, propped against buildings and walking next to her. The demons and fallen angels, of course, could manage. They may have been hungry, but they wouldn’t die unlike the few humans that walked among them.

The supernatural creatures looked at her as she passed, though she supposed it was because of the aura she gave. Her close contact with Gabriel was enough for others to be suspicious of her – wary but respectful. They would never dare harm her or her brother, but sometimes the stares made her wonder what would happen without his protection. After all, she contributed nothing to Aeternum and took precious resources away from others who could use it wisely and eagerly to help their ascending king.

It was his destiny to raise them to greatness... or wickedness, as he would say. Momentarily he would listen to some insignificant qualms that the lesser lords had, or humans that believed themselves to be better than he. But what about her? Staying here and playing with Azrael when they so chose? Maggie kept the scraps in her cloak close as she continued to move through the city. No matter how many orphans she saw, she couldn't bring herself to part from the heels of bread she'd stolen from the kitchen. This could make the difference between a day of starving or hours, and she was too selfish to give that up.

As she pondered about how truly selfish she was, Maggie bumped into something hard in front of her. Bread spilled on the ground and she hurriedly scooped it back up before looking up and around with wide eyes. Few people saw her, but no one had made the move to hassle or assault her yet. Could they tell she was Gabe's blood? Belatedly realizing it was a body she had bumped into, Maggie muttered a quick apology and hoped the following would be enough: "Say nothing and I will give you some." Of course, it was the bread she referenced but there was little else she could offer to keep from getting mobbed.

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When speaking of taking the journey, Azariah had not expected to spend two months trudging through endless roads covered in sand searching high and low for the “kingdom” of Aeternum. The thought was enough to make the unscathed man chuckle,”A false palace for a false king, the most befitting of circumstances.” Despite the chuckle his features furrowed into one of displeasure as he reflected upon the past two months.

The lands were ravaged, overran by hordes of lesser demons being puppetered by higherborns and Circle class demons all in name of their false kings. Hard to believe the conditions in the badlands, the expansive distance between these makeshift kingdoms, were even more so worse off, practically suicide grounds for the mortals. Cannibalistic and more savage lesser demons and exiled half-bloods took to pillaging, hunting and raiding in the areas, attacking unprotected caravans and the odd foolish traveler. The sights were harrowing in the least, the sound of tortured screams and ripping flesh all the more vibrant in his memory as a swift shake of his head dispelled the reflection, a single bead of sweat trailing from his forehead,”alis grave nil*”

Some odd hours passed, the annoying pang in his stomach enough to make him grumble, as a celestial being no such things affected him, but to make this farce believable he would have to experience a somewhat mortal existence. The sound of fighting drew him closer as he approached the entrance to what could be assumed a false kingdom, a group of demons stood outside the entrance beating upon a middle age man, their chaperon, a highborn, dug around through the ceased cargo as he smiled to himself. Azariah slowed his pace raising his hands into the air wanting to appear as docile as possible, despite the ease he would have in dispatching these poor excuses he need to get into the city, find information on Aeternum, and of its king. The demon’s paused their actions sensing his presence, hissing at the brightness of the man before him, “What is it you want pretty boy?” one of the demons hissed stepping over the man and in his direction, their highborn had yet to pay any heed to him, and he planned on not getting his attention.

“I’m just looking for information, I offer silver, and hell ash gunpowder in exchange for entrance. I have every intention of making myself useful in my time spent here.”

Azariah had abundant practice in gaining entry into the various cities, different problems plagued each of them but, resources and talent were scarce commodities that even the dumbest of lesser demons could comprehend the importance of. A bloodied hand, if you could call it that, was thrust his way and with haste he dropped eight silvers and the bag of gunpowder into the demon’s possession before hurriedly walking past the group and entering the unknown city. Perhaps in different circumstance the angel would have been impressed by his surroundings, whichever of the kings ruled this city was much more well off than the others, in terms of defensive capabilities and occupation limits.

Wandering eyes led his body straight into another as they snapped down in time to see the, human scrambling to pick up some fallen bread. The smell wafted to his nose and a small groan sounded in his throat, that was the freshest bread he had smelled in all of his existence.

His hunger was pushed aside as he gazed upon the woman before him, there was something special about her, the longer her looked the more pressing of an urge he felt to accompany her. Clearing his throat quietly he motioned to the side for them to step out of the center of the road. Being mindful of the space he left between them he leaned toward her and spoke in a hushed tone, his voice smooth like honey and soft like a lullaby.

“Instead of the bread allow me the opportunity to purchase information from you.” Reaching into his pockets he pulled out five silvers and showed them to her, “Four questions, for five silvers, and I will leave you to go about your day.” Azariah continued without waiting for her to continue,” The first, why is someone like you wandering amongst these streets all alone, and so confidently? Better yet, where have I managed to stumble upon where a woman, a beautiful one at that, can easily walk free?” A small smirk spread across his face, as he appeared to be completely at ease before the woman, maybe it was the familiarity he felt resonating within her, or perhaps for once the being shuffling the the streets paid no heed to his presence,[color=gold “Last two, where is a well-fed woman like you bustling about with that many loaves bread?”[/color]. For the last question he leaned in closer, his eyes scanning the crowd for a moment before continuing, “Is anyone aware, or shown awareness to your… ‘potential’?”






Unwavering and magnificent his dark blue eyes challenged the mischievous gaze she had cast upon him. The sound of his voice, though quiet, carried in the room due to its baritone, swirling around her as if taunting her, before resting in the pit of her stomach. A warm chuckle left her lips as her King released himself from her grasps, a month’s time is surely enough for human’s interests to move elsewhere, how disappointing. Taking a step backwards and clearing her mind Nasrin lowered herself to one knee, placing an arm on her bent knee as she bowed her head accepting Gabe’s dismissal of Azrael’s behavior, and offering a silent apology for her previous behavior before him.

A low growl sounded in her throat at his taunting words, perhaps his affections had changed but his love of games, at the expense of her pride, remained. Lifting her head, her irritation was met with the quirking of his lips sent her almond eyes narrowing as he basked in his own amusement, “I have no need to be showered with those… wastes of resources, do not insult me.” her voice was sultry in its natural state, a byproduct of being the ruler of the Second Circle of Lust, among many other things.

“A familiar certainly is not enough to watch over my own domain, and the rumors of another Circle ruler rising to back a King candidate were enough to draw me back to my realm.” she started in an even tone though the hand resting against the cool stone floor clenched into a fist as she continued, “Seems Abbadon, was growing tired of reining in the depths of the Sixth Circle, and has decided to grace this land with his influence. I was able to… convince him to take your kingship into consideration, he spawns in the West and will be visiting Ex Oblivione first before coming here.” Nasrin finished in her even tone as she gazed upon Gabriel observing his reactions.

“I would expect the Sixth to arrive in no more than two weeks time, his loyalty cannot be won by simply existing, you will have to offer something of interest for him to stay around. Though an omnipotent being as yourself must already have some remnants of a plan brewing, and will not require anymore of my menial influence in the matter.”

Nasrin’s tone turned devilishly sarcastic, the eagerness willingness she had to return here, return to Gabe, had turned sour by the state of the affairs and his iciness towards her. In the past she had shared enough information about the workings of the Nine Circles and how each ruler interacted and behaved with another and within their realm. Though she had not gone into specifics about each of the rulers or about any of the domains, hers included, she did cover the common abilities each ruler had and vaguely the relationships between the nine of them. “Luckily”, Abbadon was a “friend” to Nasrin, and it took just a sprinkle of her “charm” and her expertise to draw him to Aeternum.

“Before I forget, Azrael and his scouts will be awaiting with their report on the camp across the ocean, in the counsel room before dinner. Now, if there’s nothing else you require of me, allow me to take my leave.”

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The human ran a hand over his beard, eyes alight with amusement. While Nasrin had initially annoyed Gabe with her behavior, he was quick to forgive if something served to amuse him. Part of him wished that perhaps he would have been so stern with the demon and yet seeing her, kneeling in front of him, made a warm sensation creep into his chest. It wasn’t that he lived for the shame and embarrassment of others, though he did appreciate when his position was respected… even if he hadn’t quite earned it yet.

The whores were hardly a waste of resources, as she’d put it. They served to help the demons procreate and, as much as he despised the humans that truly were wastes of resources, provided a continued sense of fear in the city. A healthy dose of horror seemed to serve the city well, and the knowledge that terror could strike at any moment kept most on their feet. Hardly any one person in Aeternum wasn’t aware of their precarious situation, and trepidation stood to heighten observations of things that comfort would allow them to miss.

Nasrin’s next words made Gabriel’s brows furrow. Convince Abbadon to consider… what? That he was a rightful ruler here, not because of his actions but because of his potential? His jaw clenched in response, knowing that the insult laid with the offending demon’s guile and not Nasrin. He wished that Adriel had not taken leave with the others; out of all of the demons that served him, Gabriel trusted him the most. He had served in more times than one to be loyal, and the pull Maggie had on the poor creature was of value to Gabe; daresay, Adriel was the closest thing he had to a friend.

Nasrin’s shitty attitude and tone brought Gabriel’s attention back to her, and he could help but allow a laugh to escape him. ”There’s no need to be a bitch, Nasrin.” He adjusted in his seat, scooting towards the edge so that he could become closer to the demon. He reached out and, with one finger, lifted her chin so that her dark eyes met his. ”You may be lady of your realm, but occasionally you need reminded of your place… below me.” Gabriel would have denied it if asked, but his words were more promiscuous than he would allow with any other advisor or servant in his court. He moved his finger then, reaching to tug on a long strand of light hair over Nasrin’s shoulder, then resumed his position as king.

”I know you don’t care for him, but he serves a purpose. Azrael is a snake, but he is good at accruing information. It is simply in a different way than you. So what would you have me do with Abbadon? I can’t spread my legs and hope that he changes his mind that he is better than me, nor can I simply hope that this issue goes away.” He wasn’t trying to imply that it was exactly was he believed Nasrin had done, and there wasn’t anything wrong if she had. They’d shared a few nights but he had never been under an impression that things would last between them. ”Do you believe that he comes to attempt and usurp me? If so, I will worry more. If this is simply a… friendly visit, then I will welcome his presence here.” Either way, he would send someone to attempt and gather more information, whether it was by espionage or by force.







Tall. It was the first description she could provide for the man now in front of her. The intention to move out of the way suggested he intended for a conversation, something Maggie was not interested in. But perhaps if she did, others would simply move on and forget the smell or sight of the old bread she had mistakenly dropped. Maybe if she hadn’t been so goddamn selfish it wouldn’t have happened; it was punishment, she decided, as she stepped out of the thoroughfare and towards one of the debilitated buildings that lined the street.

Maggie looked up again, stretching her neck to look into his eyes. Then he leaned in and she couldn’t help but startle, though she did not move. No one would dare, would they? Not even someone who seemed to be a newcomer here. He had the look of a demon or one of the Fallen and Maggie was sure that if either was the case, he would have already been found in the palace groveling to her brother. Her gaze was brought to the flash of coin in the man’s hand and her brows furrowed. Why would he so openly be offering money, and in exchange for what information?

Gabriel would kill him if he knew. No, this man was from the outside, for whoever had the gall to walk around Aeternum paying for information was someone not a friend to her brother. Maggie looked back up and listened, though with half-interest. Her thoughts were on whether to tell her brother and how he would react. It would be a manhunt, and those already frightened would try to flee. The more who fled would go elsewhere and share with the other demon lords – or whoever would listen – about the condition of Aeternum. She couldn’t allow that, for making her brother look weak should have been dedicated another circle of Hell.

But the words of the man in front of her made her snort laughter through her nostrils, causing her to shake her head. Flattery may have worked for conceited demons like Nasrin, but hardly on her. She was pretty, and that much she knew, but beautiful? In a city full of beings who chose only the prettiest forms in the world to inhabit, she wasn’t one of them. At the mention of potential, her smile faded slightly. It was the musk of Gabriel that he had smelled or sensed, though if he wasn’t from the city did he know Gabriel had a twin? This is exactly why he had wanted Adriel to accompany her, she decided belatedly.

”Firstly, hiding heels of day-old bread beneath my coat is hardly confident. Second, thank you but no thank you. Third, I would like to refer back to ‘hiding heels of day-old bread’, and lastly, it’s the king you smell.” A bolt of revulsion shot through Maggie as she summoned her next words. ”I assure you that all of his other whores smell exactly the same way.” She reached out and closed his fingers over the coins he offered before beginning to move away. ”If I were you,” she began, ”I would be more cautious to who I asked for information.”
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”There’s no need to be a bitch, Nasrin.”

Swift is the death of the usual fool to call the demon out of her name, and had her affections not been garnered he not been the most viable of the candidates, perhaps even the wickedness of her existence would reach to stamp Gabriel’s out. Quickly the anger dissipated into an obvious annoyance, and silent she remained as a confident finger angled her face upwards. The reminder he spoke between them sent a shiver down her spine and she rolled her dark eyes to mask the excitement lit within her.

Whatever moment Gabriel had graced her with was over as quickly as it begun, his back straight and eyes peering down at her. Gazing up at him in this moment Nasrin was almost proud of how much he had changed, how he had grown. Though undeniably Nasrin had a heavy hand in his climb to power and coming into his role as a ruler, she had just as much to do with the stagnant state he currently faced. The other rulers that shared this continent with Aeternum, currently, were preoccupied with establishing themselves and gaining support from the hellions. None of them, to her expansive knowledge, had mastery of their innate abilities, and thus posed no threat. There had been no pressure to advance Gabriel forward towards completion, not while the relationship and trust between them was in such a volatile state.

Well, at least before her dear friend Abbadon had expressed his desires to meddle in the affairs of this realm. Now Nasrin was faced with a choice between her pride and her objective, how she hated the growing familiarity of this decision. Prideful, but never to the point of foolishness she gave a long sigh hanging her head for a moment as she calculated her new course of action. Gabriel’s bumbling words had fallen on deaf ears and only his question of Abbadon’s question brought her attention back to him.

“Listen, Gabe…” she started pausing with uncertainty, not paying heed to the use of the nickname she never used, “I discovered a way for you to speed up the process of getting in touch with your powers...Or rather unlocking them. Let me demonstrate.”.

Nasrin slowly reached for his hand, gently holding it in her own she used her free hand to draw a thin line of blood on his palm, dipping her head she ran her tongue along the incision her pupils expanding as the faintest breaths of power washed over her. Closing her eyes she pulled her face away from his hand and traced a finger over the cut and then in a circle around his palm, “ab aeterno”. The wave of energy that left her was more than she had been expecting as she swayed forward balancing herself on the arm of the the throne as the blood on Gabriel’s palm turned black and sweeped into his skin, an incomprehensible black ring appeared just centimeters above his skin for a moment before vanishing leaving behind a single flickering black flame.

Though upon retrieving her hand from beneath his, the flame extinguished immediately and all traces of the magic gone with it. “Usually a catalyst triggers the gate to open naturally, but there are means to forcibly open it. Abbadon seeks not to usurp directly, but if his alliance is won elsewhere he would not hesitate in raising all of Hell against us. This is your best option, but the next two weeks will be horrendous and I need you to trust in me, I’m doing this for you.” Nasrin’s voice was softer than it ever had been, weak almost, the ritual she had performed had given her the clear picture of the power he had inside him and it surpassed even her expectations.

Without a doubt she knew a King sat before her, and soon enough he would be in need of a Queen.






Azariah was not one who lacked the observation skills and he noted the incredulous look that crossed her face as he put himself in her proximity.

A shake of his head was at first the only response he had to her rushed responses, “You seem far too humble and dare I say disgusted to be a simple whore.” He responded with a warm chuckle leaning back against cool stone wall behind him. One too many pair of eyes seemed to flicker between them settling longer on her before quickly glancing away, there was familiarity in those lingering eyes.

The angel pursed his lips in curiosity for a moment as he pondered her position in this establishment. There was possibility she was an outlier amongst the many whores he had met in his travels, but it was unlucky. Somehow the poor women had imagined themselves to be important members of society, more than just a means of procreation, and they acted as such towards other humans. Haughty and cruel they walked along in the middle of the road, the few selected for the “king” even crueler than the common whore, daring anyone to approach them.

Perhaps she was an advisor of sorts, her body was slim and looked agile enough, but the light that flickered in her eyes, and what he could sense from her was not one yet consumed by darkness. The warmth of her hands on his brought him back to her a flicker of warm light caught his eyes where their skin met and he sucked in a breath, “Dis aliter visim.” he muttered in disbelief.

Azariah acted quickly reaching a firm hand around hers ceasing her moments as a warmth spread between them, the flickering light present yet again. Perhaps this was not the perfect time for his hasty actions as a highborn stalked towards them a fierce look upon his face.

“I think I can give you answers about what you are, but it will need to be in a more secluded place and I think that demon knows you.” Azariah slipped one of the silvers in her palm after saying a quick chant under his breath, “It will function as your guide if you desire to find me, my name is Azariah.” he finished his words and quickly bowed out, vanishing into the crowd.

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Had Nasrin ever acted so familiar with him? Gabe frowned slightly as he continued to look towards her, his eyes on her full lips as she continued to speak. She seemed almost unsure of herself, which was not usual either. For that reason, he allowed the demon to take his hand, letting it extend with a minimal amount of tension. Gabe saw the sharp tip of her nail only a moment before it dug into the sensitive flesh of his palm. Immediately dark, sanguineous fluid gathered along the line and he wondered how this – or anything – was supposed to help his powers develop. But instead of being able to focus on that, Gabe instead saw the flick of Nasrin’s tongue. Goosebumps prickled on his arm; he hissed as her nail dug into his skin once more.

”Fucking warn me next time,” he groaned, though half-heartedly. Nasrin wasn’t listening anyway, and his words fell on deaf ears. Soon, he was no longer focused on the sharp pain in his hand but rather the supernatural ring that hovered above his palm. It didn’t hurt, per se, but it was an odd sensation Gabe was certainly unfamiliar with. Whatever had happened, it felt like a rush of power; his heart seemed to beat more strongly, his thoughts more clear, his vision sharper. The flame burned without casting heat and Gabe looked towards Nasrin with a wide smile.

In that moment, he had been happier than he could remember. Whether it was the small amount of pain afforded to him or the power imbued, Gabe finally felt good. Gone was the worry about what Maggie was doing or what she thought, what would happen if his powers didn’t surface, what Abbadon or Azrael were doing… The breath seemed to be sucked out of his chest as the flame disappeared without warning. His expression faded and he pulled his hand away, rubbing it gently as he settled against his chair. ”What exactly constitutes ‘horrendous’?” he asked, meeting Nasrin’s eyes.

How could this possibly be any worse than what he was experiencing now? He had nearly no one and hardly anything to his name. Without any prospects or advancements in his powers, it hardly mattered that he was alive. Of course that wasn’t to say that he wanted to die, simply that he had no real worth or purpose at the moment. Entitlement could only go so far. With Nasrin back, it would be possible to begin training again. If that meant his life would get marginally worse for a short amount of time, he could manage. ”I can manage, I just have to know what to expect. What’s expected out of me. I’ll work for it; you know I will.”

His voice was sincere and slightly vulnerable; he realized his tone too late, and Gabe’s expression softened. Maggie always told him that it was okay to show some emotion and that no one cared how stoic he was… he disagreed. Perhaps he could afford to lash out at someone if he could back it up with power. As it stood, he couldn’t. ”I do trust you, Nasrin, more than many others here.” But she wasn’t doing this for him, and Gabe understood that; the demons never did anything unless they benefited and he couldn’t blame them. But he was doing this for himself, and it would be enough, even if it was difficult to handle for the next few weeks.






Maggie could have laughed. Humble she was not, but disgusted she certainly was. To even think about being her brother’s whore made her nearly physically ill, or even a whore to anyone at all. Prostituting oneself out was a means of survival, but what life could you live if your body was not your own? She rid herself of the thought while she looked back up at the man. His face was… pretty, and there was something inherently different in his countenance than many of the other men that she met in the city. To be fair, they were all beautiful, miserable creatures that she came into contact with.

Latin. Her top lip curled as if he had cursed her directly. Of course he wasn’t human, but something in her had hoped? Had hoped that, maybe, there was a resistance brewing somewhere to overthrow the demon horde, that enough people had survived underground to align themselves with one common goal. She no longer felt poorly about turning and leaving, but the man had reached about again.

Warmth, bright and consuming, enveloped her fingers and began spreading up her arm. Maggie’s eyes widened slightly, looking down with shock and awe. What was he that had triggered such a reaction? It didn’t make her feel any more connected to him as he continued to look upon her almost expectantly. ”What the hell was that?” she asked, her voice breathy from surprise. Before she could see what was behind her, the man had slipped a hard coin into her palm and muttered more Latin underneath his breath. What demon?

Maggie sighed as he moved and, for someone so tall, he managed to blend into the surroundings easily. Azariah. It almost sounded… angelic. Her dark brows drew as she turned, pocketing the silver into her coat before finding Adriel’s dark gaze. ”Who was that?” he asked as he approached.

And, for some reason, Maggie lied. ”A human. I came to give out food to the slums, but I couldn’t do it. We need it more than they do, right?”

Adriel’s eyes softened and fingers reached out to push stray hair from the woman’s face. ”Not like any human I've ever seen. He told you not to come out alone.”

He can suck my dick. I don’t need him watching out for me, and I definitely don’t need to stalking me. I was fine.” Maggie watched as her harsh words hit Adriel but he said nothing, standing there nearly motionlessly.

”Of course,” he said without conviction. Maggie had likely hurt his feelings, but she would not apologize for offending him. She’d been fine with Azariah, although she supposed that it wouldn’t be the case for any other strange man she bumped into.

”Go back,” Maggie said, scooping some of the bread from underneath her jacket and giving it to Adriel. ”Take this back to the kitchen. I have some errands to run, given that it’s almost our birthday, and then I’ll be back. I swear.” With that, Adriel gave her a suspicious look but sad nothing else, doing as he was bid. She wasn’t the king of Aeternum, but she liked to think that she was considerably more well-liked than Gabriel. With that came the ability to ask people favors and increased the likelihood of them acting them out.

When she could no longer see the high-born demon, Maggie reached in her pocket and ran her fingers over the coin. The warmth that surfaced from it was somehow reassuring and she knew that she would at least have to return to Azariah to find out why he was here. Perhaps it would even help Gabe if she could gather some information. With that, she followed the coin’s guidance towards a denser, darker, and dirtier part of the city.
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