When Angels Fall (Demon Lord)

BOOK: When Angels Fall (Demon Lord)
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Demon Lord VIII

 

When Angels Fall

 

T C Southwell

 

Published by T C Southwell at Amazon

 

Copyright © 2011 by T C Southwell

 

All rights reserved

 

Licence Notes

 

This e-book is licensed only for your personal enjoyment, and may not be re-sold, lent or given away. If you want to share this e-book with your friends, please buy another copy for each of them. If you did not buy this e-book, or it was not bought for your use only, please return to Amazon and buy your own copy. Thank you for respecting this author’s hard work.

Prologue

 

The Demon Lord rests in Sherinias’ domain, having cast down the three dark gods and a beast god whose playground it was when she slept in her viachin. She has closed the realm gate, keeping her world safe from the dangers of the God Realm, and Bane has shut the Sources and the dark realm’s world gate. Two demon gods wandered in while the realm gate was open, however, and will cause mayhem if they stay. Bane strikes a deal with them to ensure they leave with him, but he must still create the seven black wards that will imprison the dark gods in the underworld.

The world is ultimately doomed, due to the dark forces at work in it and the ravages of the
modern people who inhabit it. It is rife with demons, droges and dark creatures, and will eventually fall, but the child goddess must remain there until she is mature, in two hundred years’ time. Bane’s spirit father, Kayos, is eager to leave, for it is perilous for Bane to linger too long in one place. Whispers of a his presence in Sherinias’ domain have already reached Airedene, the City of Angels, and, in particular, Sarmalin, wife of the archangel Majelin, who has been imprisoned in the underworld for five hundred years…

Chapter
One

 

Archangel

 

Majelin raised his head to stare into the darkness with resignation born of five centuries of captivity and torture. The demons were coming for him. He sensed it in the undercurrents around him, like static before a storm. Circumstances had been changing for some time now. A new power was at work, ousting the old and bringing with it much needed change, as well as possibly fatal consequences for him. He almost welcomed an end to his suffering, which had gone on for far too long. Almost. Part of him still rebelled, longed to live, to fight and win, but he knew the forces ranged against him were too great. He shifted in the duron chains that had held him to the rock of this dark realm cavern since his capture. The shackles had callused his wrists and ankles, and the fatigue of never being able to lie down drained him.

That was all part of the torture, and, while he had slept in snatches, it was never enough to satisfy his craving for rest before another demon came to wake him with fresh
abuse. Only one of his kind could have survived this level of torment for so long, and many times he had wished death would take him. That would only happen when the light within him died, however, and it was still strong. He was certain his last hours would be his worst, and the time was upon him. A short while ago, a few days, by his calculation, faint, ruddy flashes had come from the passage outside, along with growls and thuds, as if a battle raged at the other end of it. There had even been what sounded like a man shouting, but that had to be a dark god, probably commanding demons. He wondered which of his three torturers was embroiled in a conflict, and with whom. Perhaps Tolrar and Scryon had finally come to blows.

As he had done so many times before, Majelin
reviewed the circumstances that had brought him to this tragic end. He had come to this accursed domain when Lord Pretarin had called for help. A dark god had been loose in it. Torvaran, the Destroyer, reputed to have destroyed numerous light lords. Majelin would never forget his
flat, cold countenance, dull gold skin and crimson feathers instead of hair
. Torvaran belonged to the race of Jaherin, c
reated by the god Ajeheris, with narrow black eyes under a V-shaped unibrow. As was common with dark gods, and especially Jaherin, his extravagant clothes reflected his vanity. Gold patterns edged his dark crimson suit’s collar and cuffs, and golden clasps fastened it. The edge of his matching, black-lined cape was likewise ornamented with gold designs, and a gold circlet held seven rubies on his brow.
Pretarin had been fleeing him for decades, trying to save his people, his domain and his daughter. The child probably still slept in her viachin, never to wake.

Two others of
Majelin’s kind had come: Asheral and Naydor. Pretarin should have been safe inside his shield sphere, which he had retreated into after leading Torvaran far from his domain. Majelin had watched from the safety of a Channel as the exhausted light god had finally woven a sphere, sealing off the God Realm and his enemy. The area he had chosen had been too dark for Majelin’s liking, barely neutral, a rocky bowl surrounded by craggy peaks, the sky a vile yellowish hue. Torvaran had laughed and his demons had sniggered. Then he had drawn a key from his pocket and waved it over the sphere. The archangel remembered what had happened next vividly.

 

Majelin raised his brows at Asheral and Naydor. “What does he do?”

Asheral shook his head, his golden eyes
sad. “I have heard that some dark gods have the power to use keys to open shield spheres. I fear Lord Pretarin’s fate is sealed.”

Each time the dark god swept the key over the shield sphere, the key sparkled and pulsed, and a faint pulse came from the sphere.

“How can this be?” Majelin asked. “A shield sphere is impregnable.”

“It is rare. I have only heard of it happening twice before.”

“Why is it rare? Surely one such as he would hunt down many light gods and slay them?”

“They do,” Asheral said, “but some probably Moved in the God Realm and were lost, and also, both the previous dark gods were slain by tar’merin.”

“Was that by coincidence or design?”

“I know not. Certainly they were led to their quarry by one of the light. But tar’merin are even rarer than gods such as him.”

“We must do something. If we three distract Torvaran, Lord Pretarin might be able to flee.”

Asheral smiled. “You are young, Majelin
, and you have a wife and daughter. You should not be so reckless.”

“I am loath to abandon a lord of the light.”

“He would not expect us to fight for him,” Naydor said. “We would only delay Torvaran’s triumph and forfeit our lives. It is hopeless.”

“It is never hopeless
. Archangels have defeated demons before, many times.”

“Demons
, yes. Not dark gods. And even demons are extremely dangerous.”

“I will not just walk away.” Majelin considered his companions, whom he had met in the Channel only a short while earlier. Both appeared quite young, although older than him. Like him, they wore moulded adamante armour over air silk tunics, their white hair flow
ed over their shoulders and their snowy wings were tipped with pale grey. Their stern, noble faces and tall, muscular figures reflected the warrior nature of their kind. “How can you say something is hopeless without attempting it? If we succeed, we will save a world, a child goddess, and a lord of the light. What could be greater?”

“You are idealistic,” Asheral remarked. “How will Lord Pretarin even know we are trying to save him?”

“He could be watching.”

“And he might not be.”

“It is possible that if three of us attack Torvaran’s demons, he will try to capture one or all of us, thereby allowing Lord Pretarin a chance to escape,” Naydor said.

Majelin nodded. “There is only one creature of the light a dark god wants to torment or kill almost as much as a god, and that is one of us.”

“I do not find that comforting,” Asheral commented.

“But it is how we will draw him away.”

“There is one other a dark god would want to slay more than us,” Naydor observed. “A tar’merin.”

“Obviously,” Majelin said, “but there are none.”

“I wish one was here right now.”

“Are we going to argue until Torvaran opens Lord Pretarin’s shield sphere?”

“Perhaps we should wait until then,” Asheral suggested. “Then Pretarin will be sure to see us and flee while Torvaran is distracted.”

“If we are able to distract him,” Na
ydor said. “He has a goodly number of demons with him, and he does not need them to slay Lord Pretarin. In fact, if he destroys Pretarin, those demons will be annihilated.”

Asheral nodded. “I think our chances of saving Pretarin are slim to none.”

“But it is still worth the attempt,” Majelin insisted.

“If any of us is captured,
he will suffer a terrible fate, worse than death.”

“Indeed,” Na
ydor agreed.

Majelin
hesitated, torn. There was no greater calling for an archangel than to save a god, even if to attempt it was almost certain death. There was a slight chance they would succeed, but the prospect of a painful demise held him in the Channel’s safety. Naydor and Asheral were correct; no light god would ask an archangel to sacrifice his life. He thought about his wife and child, safe in Airedene, and longed for nothing more than to join them.

“I am going to try,” he said, “alone, if necessary.”

Naydor placed a hand on his arm. “We are with you, brother.”

Asheral grimaced and inclined his head. “May the light defend us.”

“We must draw Torvaran’s attention,” Majelin said. “If you two guard my path, I might be able to reach him and strike at him.”

Na
ydor nodded. “But if we are injured, we must flee. I have no wish to become a dark god’s toy.”

“Of course.
All I ask is that we try. I do not want any of us to be tortured.”

Majelin
tore an opening in the Channel, stepped out and raised his hand to summon the Sword of Vengeance. Naydor and Asheral emerged on either side of him and summoned swords of their own, each a replica. The Sword of Vengeance was an ultimate weapon, created by the light to serve all its minions whenever they required it.

As Majelin strode towards Torvaran, an earth demon shot up in his path and the sword leapt to slash at it, tugging him with it. The demon sniggered and jumped back, a clod cut from its chest. Majelin broke into a run. Na
ydor and Asheral flanked him, slashing and stabbing at demons that rushed to intercept them. Torvaran appeared engrossed in his task. Two more earth demons moved to block Majelin. Naydor thrust his sword into one’s chest, and it collapsed into a pile of foul soil. Majelin spread his wings and sailed over the other’s head to land beside the dark god. He plunged the Sword of Vengeance into Torvaran’s back, and white fire flared from the blade, consuming Torvaran’s droge form in a rush of blue flame. The dark god whipped around, and Majelin retreated as the sword tried to impale its foe. Its reaction to a dark god was far stronger than to a demon, making it hard to control, even for him.

Torvaran lunged, ignoring the blazing blade, and Majelin’s blood chilled. He dodged, slashing at the dark god, but Torvaran leapt after him. Angels were as quick as demons, but dark gods were faster. An earth demon struck Asheral down from behind, and he rolled, his wings folded, his sword slashing to hold the demons at bay. More and more earth demons burst from the ground, and fire demons descended from above, where they had evidently been waiting as drifting flames. Torvaran had a lot more minions than Majelin had imagined, almost as if he had set a trap for them. Na
ydor cut down an earth demon and spun away, only to be engulfed in a fire demon’s flames. He screamed and stabbed the fiend, which exploded. Naydor fell to his knees, his skin blackened and his wings burning. More demons closed in with deadly intent. Asheral ran to Naydor’s side and held them at bay for the few moments it took him to help Naydor to his feet. They staggered towards the darkness and vanished into a Channel.

The demons charged Majelin, who searched for
a Channel, but the closest was deep within an earth demon’s chest. He swung away as they closed in, blocking all the Channels. He skewered an earth demon, which fell apart in a shower of dust and stones. A fire demon’s glare seared his shoulder as he leapt high and spread his wings. Something hit him from behind and broke his spine. He sprawled on the rocks, a hot blade of agony impaling him. His wings thudded down, raising clouds of dust, and the sword bounced away with a chime and vanished. He reached for a Channel that was just a few inches away, striving to hook his fingers into it and tear a hole he could drag himself through.

A demon stamped on his back, punching the air from his lungs with a coughing grunt, and then the rest were upon him, kicking, clubbing and sniggering. His wings broke under their stomping feet, the feathers torn and crushed, and he knew death was moments away.

“I want him alive!”

Torvaran’s shout made the demons pause, and Majelin writhed, his empty lungs aching. He crawled towards the Channel, but a hand seized his ankle and dragged him away.

Torvaran grated, “Foolish angel. You will rue this day, I promise.” He gripped Majelin’s arm, hauled him to his feet and thrust him at an earth demon. “Hold him.”

Majelin sagged in the demon’s gritty grasp while Torvaran returned to the task of unravelling Pretarin’s shield sphere. The archangel wondered why Pretarin had not fled in the few moments when Torvaran had been
diverted. Perhaps the light god had been unaware of the archangels’ rescue attempt, or was too weak and tired, or possibly there had simply not been enough time for him to unmake his shield sphere and Move. Three archangels had only destroyed two earth demons and a fire demon and bought Pretarin a little time. Majelin ground his teeth to stop himself crying out and wondered how badly injured Naydor was. The demon’s powerful grip added to his suffering, and, when he sagged, another punched him. Majelin coughed and groaned, but then straightened and raised his head. He still had pride, if nothing else. The dark god wielded the key with seemingly endless patience, apparently certain of the eventual outcome. The shield sphere’s pulses brightened with each pass.

Majelin wondered if Pretarin was countering Torvaran somehow. Several times, it seemed as if the sphere pulsed out of synchrony with the key, but perhaps it was his fevered imagination, hoping for redemption. If Pretarin escape
d, Torvaran might abandon Majelin to pursue him. Even in his injured state, Majelin might be able to fight free of his captors with the sword.

The archangel’s hope faded as the shield sphere’s pulses quickened until it flickered, bathing the landscape with pearly light, and then it unravelled. The light that formed it dimmed, revealing the oscillating rings within, and the god who slumped against its wall. Torvaran stepped into the fading light, and Pretarin leapt up. Torvaran struck the light god in a thu
nderous explosion of blue fire.

Pretarin formed a shield and smashed it against Torvaran’s head in a bla
st of blue brilliance and a clap of thunder. The awe-inspiring spectacle of a light and dark god actually coming to blows riveted Majelin. Torvaran reeled, but laughed as his hands shot out to grip Pretarin’s throat, his eyes alight. Pretarin smashed his shield into Torvaran’s chest with another thunderous impact that made the ground tremble and the air reverberate.

BOOK: When Angels Fall (Demon Lord)
8.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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