"So what do you need me to do?" Azraal asked with uncharacteristic humility. It was weird and kind of exhilarating to see him willing to take orders from me.
"How old are you?" I asked.
"How old am I?" he replied in annoyance. His true arrogance was showing through a little bit despite his claim of temporary subservience. "How is that relevant?"
"I just get the impression that you've been around a while," I said. "Maybe you're older and more knowledgeable than some of the other demons."
"I haven't been around since the beginning," he admitted impatiently. "But I'm older than most. What's this about?"
"I need you to pull in all your favors and collect all your resources," I said. I felt so powerful ordering my most dangerous nemesis around. I felt larger in the room, closer to the ceiling and that much more intimidating to the confused souls sitting around us. "I need as much information as you can get about these things. They call themselves Lucifer's Firstborn."
Azraal kept his expression mild, but his eyes blazed angrily. "You want me to do research?" he asked.
"Call it networking," I said with a half smile. "Use those people skills of yours to get some information. I don't necessarily need you in the library of Congress slaving over stacks of books--I just need you to be managing the ones who are."
"Fine," Azraal said sarcastically. "Your wish is my command."
"And Azraal?" I said quickly, sensing he was about to teleport out of the room. "Make it a priority to find out how we can make these fuckers die."
He looked me in the eyes and gave me what was perhaps a completely genuine smile. "Oh, I can definitely work on that," he promised me. And then he disappeared.
I stood in silence, ruminating on his possible role in my gradually forming plan to the soft tones of "Solsbury Hill." For the most part, I believed him. I could probably trust him to side with me until Lucifer's Firstborn had been taken care of--although I had the sense that he'd probably try to attack me sooner than he wanted me to believe. But there was also the possibility that he could form his own alliance with Halkkor and use that to force me out.
This was getting too complicated.