Monday, February 9, 2015

To Kill or Not To Kill

 Sylnie sidled up next to me and wrapped her arm around my waist.  "Feel better?" she cooed.

I savored her warm touch, but I couldn't help feeling that she was being more motherly than romantic.  I shrugged her off and shouted, "No!  There's too much going on all at the same time!"

"Then let's take care of one of these problems," Onslaw suggested, giving General Gavsot's disembodied head a cruel jab with his clawed toe.

"We're not killing Gavsot," I said sternly.

"Why not?" Onslaw snapped.  "He killed my brother and tried to kill both of us!  He tried to steal your throne!  He betrayed you!"

"We're not killing Gavsot," I repeated.

"Give me a reason!" he blustered loudly.  "Give me one goddamn reason why you shouldn't blow this piece of shit to smithereens right now!"

"Onslaw," Sylnie warned, stepping between us.  "You need to calm down."

Ignoring her, Onslaw ranted, "You killed Halkkor.  You killed Azraal.  You sent Vilnius to his death.  This is how you deal with people who try to dethrone you!  You kill them!  Gavsot's earned that punishment like three times over!"

"I'm not ready to give up on him yet," I explained, knowing full well how dumb it sounded.  "How do I know he isn't under some kind of spell or something?"

Onslaw scoffed and shook his head, his eyes wide with disbelief.  "It doesn't matter.  If he's under a spell, he's still a danger to you.  Either way, you can't let him live to overthrow you another day."

"I can lock him up, though," I pointed out.  "Throw him in some dark corner of his own department and keep him powerless."

"Until when?  When do I get my revenge?"

"Well, you can't kill him," I said.  "But there seems to be a vacancy in the Department of Enforcement.  Maybe your revenge can be taking his old job from him."

That finally got Onslaw to back off.  "You…want me to be the new Director of Enforcement?" he said in awe.

I nodded.  "I can draw up a Satanic Order right now.  I just need your word that you won't kill Gavsot without my permission."

He gave me a stony stare for a few seconds before murmuring solemnly, "Then you have my word."

Friday, February 6, 2015

Too Much to Take

Tithenai decided this was the best time to make for it.   As she shuffled frantically out the back door, Belvidon and I jointly tackled the Leader to keep him from following.  Sylie and Onslaw were back on their feet, too, so I finally felt like we had the Leader under control.  He was outnumbered four to one and I kept a firm grip on his shoulder to ensure that he couldn't go anywhere without dragging me along for the ride.

A huge fireball came hurtling into the room through the opening in the wall, bowling my three allies over and leaving a long painful burn along my spine.  Four new demons poured in and took what appeared to be a defensive position so that a fifth could sneak in behind them and collect Zyzyfus's body. 

"Leave him," I barked as authoritatively as I could.

The demon holding Zyzyfus's head looked at me and laughed.  It wasn't a sneer or a chuckle.  It was a hearty, squinty-eyed belly laugh.  Then he put a hand around Zyzyfus's arm and teleported him to safety.

I'd had enough of surprise visits and elusive enemies.

"Okay, fuck this," I growled.  Then, as Gus would have said, I unleashed hell.  I flew into a wild rage, tossing energy, flames, furniture and people in every direction.  Books erupted from shelves, wood splinters pierced the walls and the carpet smoldered in patches.  In the midst of my chaos, I teleported rapidly, destroying three of Zyzyfus's four remaining rescuers before they could flee.  I was so focused on the destructive venting of my frustration that I didn't realize my friends were ducking for cover or, in Belvidon's case, teleporting to somewhere that wasn't a war zone.

By the time I calmed down, the Leader was nowhere to be seen.  That didn't do much in the way of soothing my anger. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tactical Misstep

I appeared back in my office with my rescued psychic in tow.  Gus was still curled up in a corner.  Sylnie, Belvidon and Onslaw were making introductions as they kept a careful watch on the bodies of Gavsot and Zyzyfus to make sure they didn't reattach their heads.  Sylnie broke off mid-sentence to exclaim, "Tithenai!  You're okay!"

The two of them approached each other like they were about to embrace, but the Leader appeared to ruin their happy reunion.  In the split second it took him to size up his surroundings and spring into action, I realized how stupid it had been to bring Tithenai here.  This had probably been the first place the Leader had looked for us, but if I'd been a little smarter by choosing to hide her somewhere less obvious she wouldn't be in danger of being immediately recaptured.

By the time I'd come to this realization, of course, it was already too late.  Not only had the Leader found us, but he was throwing blasts of telekinetic energy everywhere.  Onslaw had been flipped backward over my desk and Sylnie had been swept aside.  Belvidon had managed to duck out of the way and even fire back with a little something that looked like it rolled weakly off the Leader's shoulder.  But the Leader's first move had been aimed at me, and I saw most of this take place while I was being pummeled from above with the contents of the bookshelf I'd just been thrown into.

The Leader moved swiftly toward Tithenai, who scurried away as best she could.  I conjured up some fireballs to keep him at bay, but he was agile and fleetfooted.  Once I got back on my feet I tried a few quick teleports to see if I could blow him to smithereens and put an end to all this, but he stepped up his game.  He practically danced around the room in his frantic effort to ensnare Tithenai and avoid my random appearances.  After the third or fourth time they'd chased each other around the desk, it occurred to me that the whole thing probably looked like some fucked up Scooby-Doo cartoon.

I eventually managed to land a hit, timing one of my teleportations just well enough that our shoulders temporarily occupied the same space. But instead of ripping a bloody chunk in his torso, we went flying in opposite directions like we'd just had an epic tug-of-war over a wishbone that had finally snapped.