"It would appear that your plan was not as successful as you had hoped," he said dryly. I got the sense that he didn't blame me for my failure but was instead beginning to accept the idea that we were doomed.
"Yeah," I said breathlessly, brushing rock dust off of my face. "Well, help me come up with a Plan B."
Ignoring me as I desperately brainstormed a way to regain control of the situation and save a little face, the condescending behemoth turned to address the crowd of trembling demons. "All of you!" he shouted, his deep, grating voice carrying effortlessly across the vast expanse of the shale plain. "You are an absurd distortion of our founder's vision. You have taken an idea so pure and so exquisite--the endless exacting of human suffering--and perverted and subverted it into your own political circle jerk. You waste time creating your bureaucracies, holding grudges, seeking vengeance, quibbling, caviling and quarreling amongst yourselves. You have forgotten and neglected the noble clarity of your calling--to punish the wicked, to break the spirit and to torture the flesh. It's time to return to the principles on which Hell was founded."
He was like a demonic Abraham Lincoln. He was an eloquent demagogue, a leader calling his people to action and inspiring them to succeed.
After a brief pause spent somberly surveying his almost-literally-captive audience, he continued. "I am Halkkor, King of Lucifer's Firstborn. I will rule Hell the way it was meant to be ruled. All of you must join me, relinquish your trivialities and commit yourselves to your intended purpose. Or you will face extermination."
"Whoa," I whispered to Gavsot. "Did he just threaten to kill all of us?"
"He did," Gavsot replied with a grim nod. "I think he might be able to deliver on that threat."
"Time for Plan B," I said. "If he can be Abraham Lincoln, I can be Henry Clay."