Sunday, August 17, 2014

Empires Falling, Speaking Demon Final Chapters

I am putting all the final chapters of Whispers from a Speaking Demon together in this post so that you can read them all at once. This post will be available for the next two weeks so enjoy and please take a moment to tell others about this blog and check out the other stories that have been published in the Empires Falling series.

At the end of these chapters I will offer a few notes about the characters and the future of the stories. Also these chapters are finished prose. What has been published from the story so far has been from the original draft, these chapters are from the version that will be released as an Ebook. The total length of the finished story is slightly over ten thousand words and forty pages even.

Thank you and I hope that you enjoy.  Chapters 7 - 11.

Chapter Seven

    For those infested by a demon there were only three known ways to dispose of one. The person could force it out themselves. It had been known to happen. The second way was the one most often used. Fire would get rid of the demon. Burn the person infected alive and the demon would flee the body. The third way was to employ a sorcerer or sorceress to charm the demon out of the body and then once it was free of the protection of human flesh to use a vanquishing spell to destroy it.
    Alemina had known all of this since the age of six and had charmed two demons during her life time. It was having your soul stripped bare to be sniffed over by a creature that was only remotely human in appearance, but so much darker inside than any human being could ever imagine. Being lusted after by her companions while she bathed nude in their presence had been a warm and pleasant experience compared to what those demons had done while she wrestled with them. She knew that these men would happily mount her if offered the opportunity, but not one of them would willingly cause her harm. The thing about being born the way they were was that each of them had been hurt by the world around them. To be born with their gifts made them outsiders the moment those gifts were discovered. Amelina had been lucky where her tribe was concerned. Her people respected those with gifts. They saw her as a gift. Something rare and powerful that was sent to help them.
    Now that rare and powerful gift was for sale and that made her walk up to the second floor of the house a sad walk. On the second floor landing she was met by Fulvia, a woman who looked older than time.
    “The last two were men.”Fulvia said.
    “The last two died here.”Amelina said. She was forever finding herself being reminded that the world equated beauty with weakness. If men had died doing what she was going to attempt then she was bound to die as well.
    “So they did.”Fulvia nodded.
    Amelina turned her eyes to an empty stool that rested by a chamber door. The massive oak door worried her as much as what was inside. If that door was sealed, it could take half a day to chop through it. Two sorcerers had gone through that door and been killed on the other side. They had gone in there alone and had died alone. The thing that she needed to do had to be done by her alone, but the demon inside the man had been able to open them up. From what she understood one of the two had been left hanging from the ceiling in there by his intestines. That suggested a rare kind of power.
    Alone? Amelina mused. No, not alone this time. After all there were no rules on how many could be present while this was being done, only on how many could do it at once.
    “Lanzo.”Amelina whispered his name and it was not until she had said it that she knew he was the one that she wanted in there with her.
    “You want something?”His voice came from the stairs of which he was nearing the top of.
    She waited until he was standing in her shadow before she spoke.
    “I think that you should learn how to charm a demon.”That was as close to suggesting that she may need some help that she was willing to come to.
    “I suppose that I should see how it is done.”Lanzo responded and was that a hint of sarcasm that she head in his voice? She could have invited Aldo instead, but there was the fact that she had read Lanzo’s future and it was fixed in a massive way that could not be ended here and now. If she knew that then so would the demon.
    “So be it. Just keep one thing in mind. That it will constantly lie. It will mix in the truth, but most things will be lies. It knows the past and the future. It will know your fears and desires. Do not talk to it.”Amelina told him. “Lanzo?”
    “I will do as I am told.”Lanzo said.
    If he did then it would be the first time since she met him.

                Chapter Eight

    The stench of the chamber was unearthly.
    Carpus, if not the son of a wealthy man, would have been given to a fire a long time before things reached this point.
    “Sorceress will you scream for me when I enter you? Will you bleed like the sow that you are?”The voice came from the shadows that shrouded the bed. At the moment the only light in the chamber was from the lantern that Lanzo carried.
    “Lanzo, the torches.”Amelina said.
    He did not have to be asked twice. Lanzo turned to the torches mounted beside the door and lit them. The light that they provided penetrated the room, but stopped short of the bed where the demon dwelt. Only as they approached to bed did the light begin to drive the shadows back.
    “Essru tulagah.”The speaking demon’s voice came from all around them.
Amelina turned her eyes to Lanzo with the obvious question. What did that mean? To her surprise Lanzo actually knew. He did not know the language, but he had heard this in an old story that had been told to him when he was a child.
    When the thing that dwells in the darkness finds the reason that it has risked the light it will say essru tulagah, essru tulagah, at last my time has come. If you were to ever hear these words then you should flee or else lose your soul willingly.
“At last my time as come.”Lanzo whispered.
    “Which will taste sweetest, her flesh, her blood or her soul? Unbind me Lanzo and I will animate her will you indulge your deepest desires.”The demon said.
    “You know my name?”Lanzo asked.
    “Remember what I told you.”Amelina warned.
    “Jump for her. Every moment her hold grows stronger. You are so much more than you realize Conjurer.”
    Conjurer? Amelina looked to Lanzo to study him for a moment. Conjurers did not exist anymore. The ability to conjure things into existence was the highest form of magic imaginable and only a few of the demons of legend had that particular skill and no human had that ability since Goblins were amongst the living. Lanzo was still a mystery to her, but that level of power would have announced itself like a whirlwind.
This was a lie to distract. It had to be.
     “It is time that you go back to the pit that you escaped from. Your time in this
 world is over. Would you like to taste wine one last time before you go?”Amelina smiled at the demon staring back at her through human eyes. “I suppose not.”
    Amelina dropped down on the edge of the bed, let out a soft whistle to get its full attention and then locked eyes with the demon.
     “We meet again I think.”Amelina said and already it was beginning. Once a
 sorcerer locked eyes with a demon neither one of them could look away until one or the other had lost the battle. If the demon won, Amelina would become no more than a soulless puppet to be used and tossed aside by the demon. If Amelina won, the demon would be forced to manifest in physical form and once it did it would be easy to destroy it with a vanquishing spell. Demons were venerable to all types of attacks when they were outside of a human host. Their bodies could be killed by a simple blade.
    “We are well-met sorceress. Your moment is now.”The speaking demon smiled and the room suddenly became very cold.

                Chapter Nine
    As bad as the presence of the demon was the breath coming from the man it occupied was worse. This creature felt, at a distance, much larger than the one that she had battled before. In its eyes she saw red fire lights. Lights that were its eyes. Such powerful eyes that she wanted to look deeper and deeper into them until she was swimming in them.
    So powerful this creature was, Amelina thought as she forced herself to begin the chant of trapping. The same phrase repeated over and over again from a language that dated back before her kind walked the world. Perhaps the very first language. A language created for those who established the foundations of the world and knew the feel of a wind that swept across endless fields and oceans of water long before any thing of flesh and blood knew the burden of life. The words translated the great maker commands you, hear me, the great maker demands that you obey me, yield this flesh and come forth. Come forth. Again and again she repeated it and slowly the world that she occupied began to shimmer and fade at the edges of her perception. The walls that surrounded them rippled like water and then they were as substantial as mist. The floor, the ceiling and the bed that she sat on faded away as well. All that remained after another ten minutes of her chanting was herself, Carpus and the chains that bound him.
It was going exactly as her last battle with a demon had gone, but something felt different. With the chant there she had been the feeling of pulling at and shifting an immense weight, but now she felt as if she was just resting in the shadow of something so massive that to see all of it she would have to stare upwards and retreat at least a hundred paces.
    I am in water that is too deep to walk through and the current is yet to be felt, Amelina told herself and tried to retreat. The thought of pulling back came at the exact same moment as something invisible reached out for her and grasped at the space that her consciousness had occupied a moment earlier. Needing to see it for what it was Amelina opened the eyes that only existed deep inside her mind and saw the demon for the first time. Saw the vile immensity of it and began to scream. Screaming at first only inside her mind and then her lips stopped forming the words of the chant and gasping little cries began to escape her mouth.
    “Now you and I can know each other better. That is it. Scream the ecstasy that only comes with the shedding of the flesh. In dying scream.”The speaking demon let out a laugh that echoed and reverberated off the walls as Amelina’s screams grew louder and louder.

            Chapter Ten 
    Lanzo watched in horror as Amelina threw her head back again and again with each new and more throat tearing scream that came from her. She would scream herself to death if this was not stopped, but there was no way to stop the ceremony once it started without losing the sorceress.
    What can I do? Great maker what do I do? Lanzo wondered and as if in response to that question something stung his forearm. His right hand shot inside his sleeve and yanked the crystal that he had secured there free. The crystal had been carried by the sorcerer who had come here and died here for a reason.
    “What do you do?”Lanzo asked it and of course heard nothing from the shinny bit of crystal. Amelina screamed again louder than before and for some reason that scream did not cut into him as the last half dozen had. Lanzo was studying the crystal. Swinging it back and forth at the end of its little chain. It really did not look like a crystal at all, but a window. That was crazy, wasn’t it? Of course it looked like a crystal, but when it swayed back and forth it became something else to the naked eye.
It became a window.
    A door.
    Yes, a door.
    Lanzo stepped to the side of the bed and began to swing it back and forth between the locked eyes of Amelina and the demon. After a few moments of this the demon’s eyes began to sway and Amelina’s eyes matched those movements.
    Lanzo did not know what he was going to say until he heard the words.
    “Through the windows I see a room. Through the door we enter. Through the door we enter.”He repeated that over and over as he stared into the crystal. What happened next did not happen slowly, but all at once. He was standing there holding the end of the chain and then he was standing in a room that appeared to be made of green crystal. The inside of the crystal, Lanzo supposed. He turned around hard, feeling another presence and there it was. The demon, twice the size of a man and its scaled skin a grey green that looked dipped in a slime that shone in the light that filled this room. It turned to face Lanzo. The face was hideous with wide red eyes and fangs that were a seemingly endless set of razor sharp teeth. Its body was a mountain of muscles that looked like bands of metal and the appendage between its legs looked as much like a horn as it did a male’s member.
    Lanzo circled around the demon to stand between it and Amelina who lay on the floor curled up in a ball whimpering.
    “What game is this Conjurer?”The Speaking demon asked.
    “You knew that your time had come and gone when you saw me didn’t you?”Lanzo asked.  “You know the future so you know that I will stop you?”
    “The future forever ripples. Changes. Only what is fixed is fixed.”
    “She said that my future had become fixed.”Lanzo said. “Is this so?”
    “It swims the eternal river of fire. It has marked you for service, but stay a while. We can feast on flesh. I can teach you much conjurer.”
    “You will teach me nothing. You will tell me much. I command you to give me prophecy. You were flung into this world to do this one thing. Allowed to ruin and ravage for this moment speaking demon. Now in your last moments speak, speak, speak truth demon.”Lanzo’s voice took on a commanding tone that he had not known he could reach, hearing his own voice echoing back to him not only off the walls of this place, but back through the ages. “Speak!”
    The room suddenly changed from crystal green to a fire red that had haunted Lanzo’s dreams since he first laid eyes of that pulsing red sphere in the sky all those years ago. The room was the color of the flaming star. Lanzo turned his eyes reluctantly upwards and there it was, a pulsing blood red orb that seemed to radiant heat as well as light. During that endless season the thing was visible even at midday.
    “The rivers of power that feed all worlds. That maintain the structure of all worlds was damned and that immense power tore a hole in the fabric of this realm.
This breach became aware and poured the building power into waiting vessels on this world. Somewhere living and ready to receive this gift, others, it demanded into existence. Your kind ruts and burst forth in water and in blood. Two such were born in the east. One of these you will bind your soul and power to. This cannot be changed. For love you will do this. For revenge you will do this. For understanding your true nature you will do this. This is fixed and has happened as it will happen. Two such, born of the same seed offer living souls to the darker gods and will set brother against brother and bring an empire of blood and stone to its fated end. So much more you must know Conjurer. This star, you call it, fed so many its power. Fed Lanzo and Amelina its power. Binding countless souls together with the cords of destruction until destruction’s cord knots soon for one and all. Cato that would rule waged lovely war with Furius by his side. Cato won all and lost Furius to the star because Furius stared too often into the abyss. Beware Furius, the abyss opened the eyes that see when the outer eyes are closed. Those whom Lurk in the dark places will kill that which you treasure most and will continue to treasure until death restores life. A maiden will lose both her sight and innocents. She will gain new sight and balance love against absolute power. Should she choose power then this world will know a thousand generations of darkness. A woman child of grace and beauty will lose a father and gain an empire. Destroy her or she will undo all that you will build. In forgot lands of eternal ice at the bottom of the world an empire awakens. The lovers called in being by the breach will threaten the serpent of the river and lay low the right hand of power. Lanzo, soon to be the last of your tribe, when you fall at the feet of your master you must say these words to him.  I serve the ruler of all things. I serve the Kassar. I am the servant of Kiylah Khan.”
    Kiylah Khan? The Khan ruled the eastern empire. That was almost two months
travel by sea and then across a land that was twice the size of the western empire to the strong holds of the Khan. Also, though he did not speak the eastern tongue, the name Kiylah sounded female. Like the Mycen, the east only had male rulers. This was a speaking demon and when speaking prophecy they could not lie. However, they were known for holding back parts of the truth.
    “Any further words?”Lanzo asked.
    “Many.”The speaking demon responded.
    “You can tell the rest to the king of hell.”Lanzo smiled as he stepped back and took hold of Amelina by the arm. “Do you understand the truth of this crystal we are in? If we are all in here then we are all outside of our bodies. Of course only two of us actually have bodies that can exist for long in the real world.”
    With those words Lanzo did what he imaged a conjurer was supposed to do. He conjured up a trap door in the floor beside him and Amelina. The door was a simple wooden trap that fell open to reveal a view of the room that they had been in when this started. His body standing statue still holding the crystal. Amelina and the man on the bed locked in a staring contest while there came the sound of their friends banging on the heavy door to the room. Lanzo fell forward, pulling Amelina along. The trap disappearing behind him as they fell through open space and then he was back in his body holding the crystal.
    “Amelina.”Lanzo said and gave her a not so gentle slap across the face. She blinked once and looked to him.
    “Do what we came to do.”Lanzo said and crossed to the middle of the chamber. He produced a pouch from inside his robes and poured a circle with the powder in it as wide as he could. Then standing at the center of the circle he raised the crystal and commanded. “Take shape, take flesh. I release you to take your true form.”
    The demon appeared almost instantly. Looming over Lanzo. So large that its head almost touched the ceiling. Lanzo swallowed hard as he glanced to Amelina who thankfully did not hesitate. She advanced toward the circle with her hands moving back and forth in motion that reminded Lanzo of someone making a snow ball, but the ball that she was making was one of pure energy. Her mouth forming the words of the vanquishing chant as energy colored blue and red and white danced like lightning streaks from fingertip to fingertip to first form and then fill a ball that glowed like fire.
She raised the ball above her head as Lanzo looked back to the demon think that he should get out of the way. The demon helped him by back handing him with a hand that felt as if it was as solid as steel and as heavy as a tree trunk. The blow sent Lanzo flying into a wall of the chamber as the ball of energy rocketed toward the Speaking Demon and in a blinding flash the Demon would speak no more.

                Chapter Eleven

    Somehow Lanzo managed to slow himself in mid air or he was sure that the impact that managed to leave him unconscious until the next morning would have otherwise broken every bone in his body.
    He woke to find himself resting on a bench of a woven reed covered over with half a dozen wolf furs. The young  eastern maid whom he had seen for a moment when they arrived was placing a tray of fresh fruit down on the table beside the bench.
    “May I ask you something?”Lanzo asked.
    The girl nodded yes with eyes lowered.
    “Yo are from the eastern empire? The Ujin?  Do you know of a Kiylah Khan?”
     “Oh yes.”Genki said. “She is the child of wife that is first to our emperor
Nabartar Khan. Born in the year of the great star. Some say that she is as beautiful as the morning sky.”
    “Great star. Do your mean flaming star?”He asked.
    “Star that burnt red in the sky both day and night.”Genki nodded.
    “Thank you.”He said and by the look on Genki’s face no one ever thanked her.
    Lanzo was eating his second apple ten minutes later when Amelina dropped down beside him.
    “How do you feel?”Amelina asked.
    “Like I was beaten up by a demon.”He said.
    “You were.”She took a few grapes from his tray and ate them.
    “Better me than you.”Lanzo said.
    “Did I thank you yet for what you did?”Amelina asked.
    “No.”He said.
    “Thank you.”Amelina said and slipped onto his lap. She cupped his face in her hands and kissed him gently at first. Little pecks on his lips and then with open lips and tongue. Her mouth felt warm and amazing. His hands found the bare skin of her midriff and back beneath her robes. Nothing had ever felt more alive to him as she did in that moment.
    “Amelina?”He gasped.
    “I know. You care for me. We will have to see where that takes us.”She slipped off of his waist to stand before him. Tall and lean and wearing a purple garment beneath her dark grey robes. The thing that interested him almost as much as her amazing breast was the green crystal that she wore on a chain between them.
    “You found that?”Lanzo asked.
    “The question is where did you find this and what exactly is it?”Amelina asked as her hand moved over it and the crystal was gone along with its chain and was now a cool smooth lump in the palm of his hand. That was a very good little trick. Had she placed it in his hand while she was kissing him and what he saw had been a phantom that she had produced?
    “I will tell you soon and I do not know.”Lanzo stood up too quickly and his head swam for a moment. Amelina slipped her arms around his waist to steady him.
    “Do you think that the others will be angry if I openly pick you.”Amelina asked.
    “Pick me for what?”
    “Whatever we decide.”She smiled.
    He could live with that. Amelina had seen something in him before their battle with the speaking demon and now she was offering him something that he had considered almost an impossibility. Even if he doubted her motives and her reasons how could he say no.
    “Did you hear any of what the demon told me?”He asked.
    “I heard it all. I do not understand most of it, but it was not for me to understand. It was for you to understand.”She whispered and rested her head against his shoulder. Lanzo supposed that it would mean a great deal to her since the speaking demon had told him that he was destined to unleash hell upon this world all for the sake of someone he loved. To damn the world for love? At any other time during his life he would have thought that something like that was madness, but holding Amelina in his arms and considering a life where this beautiful and impossibly complex woman would not be a part of his life gave him a moment where all that and more would not be out of the question.
    Lanzo fingered Amelina’s chin, tilted her head up so that he could taste her lips once more and knew in that moment that damning the world would be a small price to pay to hold what he held at that moment.
    Somewhere in the depths of hell a creature ancient and awe inspiring raised its gaze for the first time in almost a thousand years to peer into the world of man. Knowing, that finally its long awaited moment was decided.

                - The End -

Final notes of the Speaking Demon.  This story introduced Aldo who plays a part in a prequel to what will be the Empires Falling Trilogy of novels. He was as young then as Lanzo is now. I like his character a great deal.  About Lanzo, he clearly has a huge part to play in the story to come and this story begins to link the overall story together. His future is to the east and his influence over events to come there is going to be major. Amelina surprises me at times. 
She is the most organic character in this realm of the story. I know a great deal about Lanzo and Aldo, but she is still a mystery to me. For instance the business in the bath house and the reasons why were not planned and I did not understand it all until she explained herself. Sometimes story works like that.

Thank you for reading my story and I believe that the next post from the Empires Falling series will be a  chapter from the second story featuring Miri and Magnux.

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