I sent orders to all departments that when any members of the army formerly opposing Halkkor returned home they were to be sent immediately to gather in the empty space beside the lake of fire near the Barracks of the Damned. Then I gathered my closest associates and strongest allies in my office for a solemn conference to discuss the grave implications of Halkkor’s latest trick.
I sat behind my desk to lead the discussion from a position of authority. General Gavsot, his shoulder still in the process of healing, stood next to me, his burly arms crossed in front of him. Jaelin--who I really needed to promote--stood by the door, looking ready for anything. Sylnie was next to her. Gus leaned against a wall near the rear exit and Jorge, situated in the center of the room, listened with growing alarm as we brought him up to speed on recent events. Torvin was around, too, skulking in a corner. He wasn’t a friend, and he wasn’t a strong ally, but he wasn’t useful anywhere else and seemed to prefer sticking around.
“That’s a lot to take in,” Jorge said as we finished explaining why we were on the verge of panic.
“It was a lot to experience,” I said dryly. “So…suggestions, anyone? How do we fight someone who can expel our entire army?”
“Maybe we should list what we know,” Jaelin suggested. “We know that he recited some kind of incantation and bit into a demon heart, right? Was there more to it than that?”
“Maybe it would be more useful to list what we still need to understand,” Jorge pointed out. “We need to know if this was a one-off spell or something Halkkor can do every time you throw an army at him.”
“I’d imagine as long as there’s a demon around with a heart in him, he’ll be able to do it every time,” Gus muttered. Gavsot grunted in assent.
“I also think we need to know why it didn’t affect me,” I said. “Every single living demon on that battlefield got spirited away, but the Firstborn didn’t go anywhere and neither did I.”
“So that means the spell probably only affects demons,” Jaelin reasoned. “You’re only part demon because you were born human, right?”
“Assuming that’s all true, you might have your solution,” Jorge said. “Demons suffer the effects of the spell and provide an ingredient for it, so you need an army with no demons in it.”