Rage of battle, Hell and Heaven clashed.
Orcus the avenging demon of wrongs. The angry imp that struck in an instant. The soul that would invade a lover's heart and turn the loving soul into a murderer in a moment for minor wrongs, bringing new slaves to the Dark Lord for his bidding.
He defended his Angel during the attack. For his heart was focused only on one soul ever. A heart properly motivated would do anything for the very whole of itself. That motivated heart will do nearly anything.
But the hesitation brought the attention of the Dark One who did not think of such deep thoughts -- Backing up his best, his most infernal, the one who brings the most of the new souls in for the Satan, Emperor of Hell to torment for his pleasure.
The Great Angel of the Pit struck her a crushing blow, pushing the smaller imp out of harms way, attacking the crimson haired angel delivering a huge slash across her arms and with that single blowof his clawed hand, he knew her name.
Bronwen they called her. In that instant he knew it was her human name. Somewhere in time there was a candle lit for her. But that mattered naught, this soul, that forestalled the killing stroke of the best of his warriors, one who commanded a legion. The Emperor's best and brightest, the most savage, one of the most feared of all.
A blow stung him to the core as she struck back, a sword of holy crystal! A mighty roar of a thousand damned hearts, and struck at her with claw and fang, to tear out a new soul. Not one to be returned to this little Angel's lord. Her flesh would be ravaged, spirit would be torn and body broken as he pounced on her like a savage raptor of of the dark side and he struck with a blow to shatter souls... It was the law of things in battle. The mighty overwhelm the weak.
But this angel did not read the rule book...
The bright, pure soul of the host, drove Hell's Master backwards for a moment as she struck with all her might. Silver chain mail over her torso, for this was for this was one of the great warrior archangels. Fitting her like a wet shirt, it guarded against the brutality of the hoard. However, it was not not to be with the supreme demon of the darkness.
The battle ensued, savage and unrelenting, light against dark, claw to armor, fist to fang. The whole of the lands shook with the fury of battle. Master against Angel, there was no turning back, Bronwen was fighting for her immortal soul, there was no mercy, no plead that would be heard. This was a battle to the end of it all.
She struck with enough power and heart to break a demon. But not this Dark Lord, almighty in his satanic powers, he was beyond her dreams of power. That little knife of hers was broken and driven away.
And the Devil struck with the might of Hell -- again and again the great dark hammer of the Emperor shattered her body, her shield of faith. Her soul would taste like a sweet grape on his tongue after he tore it out of her and consumed it, never to return to the adversary of her Lord of Light. To hell with an angel.
Beaten, weaponless, on her knees, held by one wing he beat her again and again. She screamed one name.
Her screams echoed in the cold, dead heart. Somewhere in the dust of ages, among the dead and heavily scarred wound. The blackened whole of a soul, a spark that was hidden -- it flared, burned and ignited something within the empty space that was the soul of a demon. A rage that grew, an awakening of a promise once made. A soul once promised to protect.
Shall not, ever again, fail.
And a single word from the very core of fury.
Corruption was his face, a body covered in hideous scars of ages of combat, unholy visage of a beaklike face, horns for hair and red-rage that glowed in his eyes. Orcus had in that one moment, that blistering rage that erupted and put down, the Emperor of Hell could see and knew.
A moment of weakness, one brief shining moment of longing. Of passion's fire kindled in a heart that had long gone to cold ash. A history that was once forgotten, rose again in the demon, once thought to be soulless, an ember of passion rose and the testimony of that one quiet hot mote arose to live in Orcus. A soul, blasted and scarred with self-hatred and anger.
"You wish this female? Take her soul then. Use the battle ax, the Claw of Hades and cut it from her." The terrible eyes of the Emperor turned on the General of his legions. "Strike her sacred body, cut off her wings, cut out her soul and you will stay together and love for an eternity! You will command together. Whole legions of demons that would respect you both, you will the power second only to mine, you both will be in Hell for all eternity."
The countenance of the Dark Lord was that of savage pleasure, to have her struck down without her fighting back. A total defeat of an angel and the stealing of a soul as pure as this.
"Power and love of your mate for all time. Fear from others dare not stand up to you." The Dark Master spoke to the smaller demon.
On the battlefield, all warring had stopped, would an angel switch sides for love? Would the great Gardener stand up and save one of his own. A warrior angel, the best and brightest, one that had once turned her back on heaven to live a life with a love. One where her heart rejoiced so much that it echoed in heaven.
The Dark Lord held her by a copper wing, this angel, one who had given her heart to Orcus so long ago with the blessing of her Enlightened One. The long scarred and hideous arm held her out as if to offer a meal to the demon for his abuse, for the cut to come. To take her into the darkness and drive doubt in the host.
Once an old affable gardener with wisdom unmatched and told her to go to the Imp and love him good and well.
"Raise him up, love him all the days on that little spot that you claim your own."
This moment she hung helpless in a giant's clawed hand. On a finger an ebony ring of an apple surrounded by a snake on the hand, smoke billowing from her wing as she screamed in pain.The attack over for the moment.
But nothing was left to fight with,her crystal sword broken. Battered and bruised from combat against the one called Satan. She was out of energy. With not enough strength to fight, she hung limply and cried. Chain-mail hanging off her in tatters and shreds. Plates of armor crumpled like foil, harder than diamonds, tougher than a heart of a warrior and it was destroyed.
Bronwen was beaten.
A flick of the wrist and she was flung across the battlefield at the feet of the demon of retribution, of vengeance and pain.
"Cut her soul from the angels body and you will have her forever." The Dark One spoke. "How deep is the love you have? What would you do for that passion that burns in your chest? Do you believe you have a love for this small one?"
"She pleases me." Orcus looked at her. The old rage was there, ruby red eyes of a savage demon. But... something else.
"DO you love her?" The question was more of a statement by Hell's Master.
"I..." A hesitation. How does one give up a weakness? Never to anyone that has power of you..but... "Love her."
"What sweetness." Satan laughed. "Would you do anything for her love?"
"Yes." Orcus was watching her, greed in his wholeness. Cultivated consciously, lust for power. Turning away from love. Lust for a mate. Not love. To use her for pleasure. NOT love.
"I love her."
Damn it all! Orcus thought.
"Sweet indeed. Love for an angel. You wish her to be with you forever and ever?" The Emperor said softly. "I can give her to you.Just give her the stroke, take her soul and bring her to you. Live forever in each other's company in the beauty of your world. Can you do that? Can you love her enough to bring her to you?"
Orcus nodded. "I can do that. The soul of an angel, power untold. I can do that." A grin from the lips that split with the evil of his own words.
Savage anger glowed from his eyes, the Claw of Hades, an old friend, a battle ax whose blade had ten points for piercing of armor in his hands that caressed it's polished surface as if it were a sexual device. The tip of the main blade pressed against the bare flesh of her chest, an unprotected gap of her rent and destroyed armor.
Bronwen looked up into the eyes of the one she loved most in all the worlds, all the universes that existed, anywhere she ever lived, anyplace she had gazed upon -- she had given him her heart.
The tip of the ax rested against the curve of her throat, where it joined her torso, she had nothig more to give this demon, the imp that held her heart. Trying to tell him, never did he fail her. For she loved him greater than all the souls that were in heaven.
An evil laugh as the Master knew what would come. "Would you do anything for love?"
"I would do anything for power! I would do anything for love." Orcus cackled now.
Bronwen gave him her best, most vulnerable spot, knowing the pain of the cut coming. Not fighting any longer, she arched her neck back, offering her soul, she gave up all that would be her history, her love, her passion.
She would give up her heaven, her lord, her soul.
And waited for the cut that would take her from the light and plunge her forever into the darkness of the pit of the abyss.
She then heard the last time he would speak to her in this world.
"I'll do anything for love." His breath was hot on her cheek.
His breath coming in deep ragged gasps of blood lust. The tip of the cursed battle ax, a gift from Hades to Orcus in an age before, pressed against her throat dimpling the flesh.
"I would do anything for your love. " He said again, softer. "I will have you as mine forever."
She could feel the muscles of the battle scarred body tense, the winding up of the moment, he was ready and the blow was moments away.
"I"ll do anything for love!"
Bronwen closed her eyes, waiting for the first sensation of pain that marked the end of her heavenly life as she gave herself to her love, her heart, and the one that brightened her soul even from the darkest of realms.
She closed herself off to the view of the one with the weapon that had her at his mercy. The him through time and realms that they had traveled. Through dimensions, ages, together they had once loved laughed and had light of the universe in their hearts.
"I'll do anything for love..." He drew a deep breath through sharpened and savage teeth...
*I love you.* It was her last thought.
"... but I WON'T DO THAT!"
Turning in an instant, Orcus hurled the cursed ax of Hades at Satan himself, launching into an attack against the Emperor of hell, this demon of legend, the FIrst Emperor of the darkness against the Dark Lord of all Evil.
A simple flick of the Lord of the Demon's hand and the ax flew away over his shoulder, landing uselessly in the battlefield beyond the reach of the smaller demon.
"I knew you! Traitor! You shall live forever as a slave to serve us all! Torment by those being tormented, undying life of slime, neverending pain is all yours forever. I shall enjoy consuming your angel, she is MINE."
Savage was Orcus' attack, every mote of his soul, all sound, all battles, all conflict stopped as the host of heaven and the hoards of hell stopped as one and watched the latest stitch of the tapestry of this ballet of destruction play out.
Watching the fight that suddenly became center stage of the battlefield, Asmodeus turned to Lucifer. "One-hundred on Orcus."
"You're on." Lucifer already had plans to tell the Emperor how the odds were. Who bet on the outcome.
"I'll take some of that." The Beelzebub stood near the arch-demons. "I'll take the Master."
"Roll your own dice Beeze?" Leviathan laughed, the giant put down his vote for Orcus.
Savage orange fire from the mouth of the Emperor caught the demon full in the chest, Orcus folded his wings around for protection and laughed.
"Time to fall!" A scream from the beak like face as the demon went claw to talon, fang to fire as Satan did battle with the best and darkest of his demons. Green fire from the clawed hands of the demon that shattered the confidence and wings of the Emperor. The tail, whipped through the darkened atmosphere of war, a weapon unto itself, the prehensile appendage rapped itself around the throat of the Dark One "To slime, to torment, to slavery with you! For LOVE I shall strike. For her soul I shall beat you into the ground."
"For my angel's heart, you will suffer!"
Twisting about in the noose of a tail, the Dark Lord landed a blow that registered on earth as an earthquake. Scientists said it was from previously unknown fault shook the humans. The same blow nearly obliterated the demon, but Orcus fought back with the fury of hell.
Never had there been such a challenge to his power. Victory was not assured, for the fist time in an age-- Satan, the Emperor of Hell, felt fear.
Fire and fury, hate versus love. A Dark heart against darkness, the powers that emptied out of both opponents took a toll.
Suddenly a misstep, a missed moment in a battle against an implacable enemy and Orcus was flung backwards by a titanic blow, one wing broken.
Tired and out of breath, the Emperor of hell moved towards the demon that dared to choose love over unbridaled power, lust and greed. This Satan, wheezing and blinded in one eye, all the fingers on the right hand missing and the Emperor of Hell walked with a pronounced limp towards the traitor, a huge hole where a leg should be. He struggled to tear with his remaining hand, to finish the demon, to turn him into the lowest of the slime of hell-- Better! To consume the dark soul until it was no more, to digest and spit out that which they called "Love".
As the Emperor got close to the puny and broken imp, close enough to strike with what was left of his claws and fangs, Orcus held his hand outstretched towards the Emperor... was this beseeching? A request for mercy?
It was a call, a command to a part of the demon's own wholeness, a call to an old friend, a gift from the Emperor that followed Orcus to the throne. The call to the Claw of Hades, a call that the ax must answer. Return to it's owner no matter the obstacle.
Behind the Dark Lord, the Claw of Hades lay in the filth of the field, forgotten in the rage of battle. Tossed so easily away by the more powerful demon and never a thought after.
A fatal mistake.
The battle ax, as much a part of Orcus as his tail was, answered it's call. Trembled at first then turned blade first and raced through the air to the Master of the Ax in a straight line, regardless of what was in the way.
The Dark Lord turned to the whistling noise, the disturbance drawing the attention of the great demon.
Returning to it's Master, the ax drove through the through the chest of the Dark Lord to the hand of Orcus. The look of surprise as for one brief glorious moment as Orcus nearly laughed, the Great Devil himself, the destroyer, He who defeatedHel who gave her name to the kingdom that He ruled. He who defeated Hel clutched at the hole in his chest...
And IMPLODED without a sound, like a shadow is banished from view when a light is turned on and shined into the darkness.
The Dark Lord was no more in one final anticlimatic, quiet, mundane moment.
All that was left, an ebony ring of an apple surrounded by a snake that fell to the ground.Frost formed where it bounced until it stopped moving. Slow curling freezing fog formed around the ring as it rested quietly in the dirt.
Panting, barely strong enough to stand, pain was his second world, a second life of passion drove him to stand. Shredded and torn, his right wing broken, dark blood oozed through dozens of newwounds that covered his body as he knelt next to his angel.
Lifting her up in his arms, she reached up and caressed his face. A broken hand held hers gently. Too many wounds on his immortal body, he was weak beyond description. The immortal demon was weakening further, the great heart had begun to beat, now faltered. He caressed her face with a blood-stained finger. Dark blood leaked out of him into the dirt.
"I'd do anything for love." He whispered softly and nodded, "I would do anything for love, but I would not do that. I could never do that."
"Come with me." Bronwen whispered. "Come back home. You are free."
A soft cough.
"Hell needs an Emperor." The Lucifer interrupted, standing behind Orcus. "It is advancement by assassination in hell. He must take his place on the throne."
The Angel refused to accept this! Orcus sacrificed it all for her life.
"NO! Stay with me!" Bronwen argued. pulling on Orcus' arms, her own hands too weak to grip tightly."Turn away from all this, come home. I will not have this!"
"He could do anything for love. Fight the old Emperor," Asmodeus nodded, frowning softly as he handed an ebony black ring of an apple surrounded by a snake to Orcus."and win. He has changed the course of a war, changed a thousand hearts. The entire universe is altered by him in uncountable ways. He did that all, all for love."
"He did it all." Lucifer nodded. "He did it all for love. But he cannot go with you."
"He can't do that." Beelzebub whispered and bowed to the new Emperor.
*TO BE CONTINUED?*