Cemetery Summons Ch. 26byGalloglaich©
Dalaria didn't know how to find a victory with her army, now that Anatithenai was against it. There was nothing she could do to stop the endless wave of troops Grymir brought to the field, and Anathane was waking up, albeit slower that Dalaria's even far-fetched dreams could have predicted. She was lucky the demon wasn't already here. She might have a day to fortify, maybe less now.
Her meager force was no match for the monster that was coming for her, and everyone knew it. However, these were her elite, three of the remaining jailers, their armies, and her personal execution force, created for times such as these where things looked grim. On top of that, she had almost a hundred warlocks under her command. She had only lost one in a decade that wasn't killed by his own magic or by natural decay of his body from over-use, and that was the one that that bitch Kan had killed.
She ground her teeth in frustration and waited impatiently for the arrival of the rodent demon bringing her news of the assassin she had ordered woken up for duty. It wasn't often that she used demons that had to be paid for their work and service, but this was the only one she thought capable of the job. This war had been lost the second Anathane had woken up, but Dalaria could still make one last gamble to give them a Pyrrhic victory.
It would be close, but if she could funnel that boy into the right place, then she would have him trapped and kill him. Anathane would be infuriated, but at least she wouldn't have him and claim victory both. Dalaria grunted as the rodent vied for her attention with a series of squeaks and muttered apologies.
"What?" the greater snapped harshly.
"Milady, she has been awoken. But call he-" Its head was pierced by the long blade of a sword and it fell to the ground in a spray of blood. Dalaria looked up and found her assassin waiting for orders.
"You know my fees are very steep, Dalaria," she said casually, adjusting her helm briefly before looking around the room at the other demons going about their business making the great hall a last line of defense. The assassin paused and then furrowed her brow. "Are things truly this bad?"
Dalaria rolled her eyes and sighed. "No, but they have broken into the Sanctuary of the Underworld and caused me more than my fair share of trouble. I need you to kill their leader when he gets here."
"They're in the Second Palace already? I didn't think you'd call me out so late," the assassin teased, mocking Dalaria blatantly. The demon tried not to let it get too deep inside her. It was all going to end soon anyway; this was nothing compared to what Grymir and Anatithenai had done.
"Believe me," Dalaria replied. "The last face I want to see here is yours, but I have no choices left. Tell me your terms and we can get to waiting for him."
The assassin smirked. "I want my own army, estate, slave army, and the most appetizing souls you can find in this army you're fighting that haven't been brutally maimed already. I assume you still take prisoners?" She said it as if what she was demanding was a single slice of cake out of a ten-layer masterpiece. Dalaria snorted, and briefly thought about what she would have to give up in order to pay the debt, if she had any plans to pay it at all.
"I'll search for the souls, but your army has to come from your hands alone. I may be able to do a great many things someone in my position shouldn't, but raising an army is a serious, blatant offense to the Second Circle."
She had to at least make it seem real.
The assassin shrugged. "Fine, just make sure that when my army is raised, that it gets the equipment it deserves. I would so enjoy watching those fancy swords your bodyguards carry around hang from belts that don't belong to anyone in your service."
Dalaria groaned and bit her bottom lip until it bled to keep from killing the insolent bitch. It was little comfort now that she was going to get killed by Anathane anyway; Dalaria wanted to do it herself and shut the assassin up early.
"Just make sure that this room will be his tomb, and you'll get everything you want. I have other business to attend to. One of my captains can show you what he looks like." Dalaria took two of her bodyguards and left for the furthest dungeon in the Second Palace. She planned to prepare one last blow to that upstart's pride, should worse come to worst and every plan she had laid until now fail miserably.
She passed legions of her soldiers and minions, rushing about down wide hallways and narrow corridors, preparing to do battle with an unstoppable force and sell every inch of ground dearly. They had been instructed to fight for every corner, and force the Army of Darkness, now that it had been drastically reduced in number, to slow its advance in the face of nearly equal numbers.
The ratio of Grymir's bastard offspring clones to her stout soldiers was still nearly forty-to-one, but in the narrow passages and within the constricting walls of the Second Palace, their numbers would matter little. The honeycomb design of the fortress had allowed her to maximize her defensive capabilities and form a strong barrier between her and the coalition raised against her. And everything funneled into one room.
The Guard Quarter was the cork in the bottle. Everything depended on that room being held for as long as possible. She had left two jailers in charge of its defense, and several hundred of her finest, the most fierce and loyal of her troops, to defend it to the last man. If the Guard Quarter fell too soon, the cork would be forced out and the Army of Darkness wouldn't face any organized resistance past it, and overrun the rest of her forces without slowing at all.
She clenched the haft of her axe so tightly her knuckles were bone white. It was all for these three whores, that had broken the laws of Satan, those that preceded everything in the Second Circle. They had blatantly refused to obey the rules, and they now faced their punishment. Dalaria had been unable to sell such worthless and uncooperative merchandise to any of her usual buyers, and all the others were afraid of them.
One, Elassa, was simply too strong-willed to break, and refused to have anything to do with even the most attractive and seductive incubi in all the Second Circle. She had bitten off more than one now-useless appendage, and killed quite a few of the guards that had managed to pacify her for mere hours at a time with severe beatings.
The other two, inseparable, were almost as bad. While they weren't nearly as uncooperative, they schemed constantly and had managed to escape their cells twice while buyers had been looking them over and trying to coax them into showing a taste of what they could give in the way of sexual pleasures. Needless to say, they hadn't been good prospects for sale either.
"Back with another cock that needs biting off?" Elassa chided from within her cell, neon fire illuminating the hateful leer written all over her face.
"Master is going to enjoy our recounting of the day we torture you," Fain said, a baleful dark orange illuminating a blank expression.
Niaf grinned. "And we're gonna fuck him so hard when that day comes. You better believe it, cunt. Its gonna be glor-i-fucking-us!"
"I don't believe that any of you will be doing any fucking for a long, long time," Dalaria spat tiredly. She turned to one of her guards. "Ezti, take the blue one. Renavt, the orange one." The two guards moved to unlock their respective prisoners. When the doors were opened and the chained prisoners brought out, however, the two succubi sprang yet another one of their schemes for escape and murder.
Niaf leapt upon Renavt and flipped over him so that she hung with her back against his, the chain between her shackles catching the demon's throat in a vice. Fain had her hands on the hilt of Ezti's blade. She freed the blade at the same time Niaf pushed her wings through Renavt's chest and tore his insides from his noble body. He dropped to his knees as the succubus' wings receded back into her body.
Dalaria roared a frustrated cry and slashed at Niaf with her axe. The runes along its blade lit up bright white as the succubus's flesh came within an inch of its cold surface. However, Niaf managed to worm her way out of the blow's reach and assist Fain in killing Ezti after a struggle that continually pedaled away from Dalaria. Ezti fell with his own blade lodged between his ribs just feet away from her.
When the twin succubi were together, they made faces at Dalaria, who responded with a swift chop from her fierce weapon. Both ducked, and separated. Dalaria swung back immediately without turning the axe around, and struck Fain in the head with the back of the axehead. The succubus skittered across the floor and stopped against the far wall, bleeding and still. Niaf rushed to her side after rolling beneath another sweep of the great axe.
"Fain! Fain, get up, please! Jack's gonna fuck ya! Like never before, with such love and lust that you won't know what to do with it all!" She gave Dalaria a terrified glance and then resumed trying to rose her twin, to little avail. Blood trickled steadily from the side of Fain's head and her eyes fluttered softly, her mind between unconsciousness and awareness. Dalaria loomed over them like a wolf over its prey.
"Elassa, I'll make you an offer. Niaf can die here and Fain be spared, and you remain locked up, or you can cooperate and spare both of them. You have until I split this nutcase in two." Dalaria smirked and tightened her grip on her axe.
"Elassa, don't!" Niaf shouted. "Don't listen to her! What can my dying do to hurt Jack more than you helping her will?"
Elassa began to weep. "Niaf, if you died, it would kill him."
"He has you three, doesn't he?" the younger of the two asked, choking on her own words. Touching, really, Dalaria thought as she began to raise her axe. If Elassa didn't want to decide, then so be it; there would be only one course of action.
"Niaf, I can't do that!"
"Because he decides when you die, not me, or Fain, or Anathane, or Dalaria!"
Dalaria prepared to cut Niaf in two.
"Wait!" Elassa shouted at the top of her lungs. "Wait, don't! I'll do it! Don't kill her!" She sank to her knees and cried. "Don't kill her. I'll do it."
Dalaria motioned for Niaf to return to her cell, and the succubus dragged her sister with her, obediently closing the cell door behind her. Dalaria locked it, and then glared down at Elassa while she cried.
"Do you remember anything about your lover's home?" the demon purred.
Elassa's eyes widened in realization and fear.
The Second Palace was enormous, even by the standards of buildings in hell. It was the height of a skyscraper, and was as was twice as wide as it was tall. Jack could only imagine how large the structure actually was, because it disappeared into a mountain so tall that blocked out the sun hanging in space behind it for the last mile to the fortress.
However large the palace was, it was not very close to the Army of Darkness. The mass of warriors and its leaders were still a day away from the defenses, and had stopped for rest at a site of ruins that had once been a small inn and bathhouse.
Inside, there was still water, but it was filled with algae and pond scum of several unnatural colors. It hadn't seen a patron in what looked like centuries. Grass grew from between the stones. Everything was covered with dirt and dust. Even the erotic murals that had once been covered in bright reds and yellows and apricot, were now faded and flaked away in places.
Ekana sat in the water and rested her head against Volna's thighs behind her. Anatithenai had pulled herself together into a human shape and was busy examining what was left of the murals on each wall and floor. Jaelani and Corinth sat on a stone bench and talked. Nyx, now that there were no more pressing matters at hand, reprimanded her daughter. Thanatos and Hypnos had taken a large contingent of troops and gone off on their own a few days ago, and were due to arrive back in a few hours at the latest.
Jack only stared up at the sky from the edge of the large open-air bath and felt another prickling sensation run up from the small of his back to the crown of his head. Every hair on his body stood on end, and his mind played tricks on him. He heard Anathane whispering to him, only just so however.
They were less than whispers, little phantom noises that prodded at his ears, teasing him with her voice as she grew in strength and power. She was getting closer, and Jack knew it. All he could do was get to Dalaria and end it all as quickly as he possibly could, so he could make everyone happy again.
Jack's attention was caught by Nyx as she started giving orders to a large number of Grymir's shades and jumping up and down excitedly. Soon, she had Anatithenai worked up, and at this point, Jack went over to see what it was all about.
"Oh, good, I don't even have to send for you!" Nyx said, grabbing Jack's arm. "They won't listen to me because Grymir gave them orders to follow you. Let me have a few; we're going to get this bathhouse back in working order."
Jack frowned. "What? I thought this was just a pit stop? How long do you plan on staying here? We have some people to save if you don't remember," he said.
Nyx waved the comment away. "Oh, don't make such a fuss. Grymir said for us to stop for a day while he negotiated a truce between his army and Shebitku's. The jailer said he might switch sides if there was enough glory in it, so Grymir thought he should take the chance and see."
"Then let's keep going anyway," Jack said, impatient now.
"Look," Nyx bargained. "Everyone here. They're tired like a three-legged horse in a race. Give them a day's rest. I promise we'll make up for it tomorrow. They need this, and even me, as great and glorious as I am. Even you need this." Her voice softened at the end.
Jack sighed. "Fine." He turned to the assembled group of shades. "Nyx can tell you what to do now." They suddenly scattered and the dark succubus hugged Jack from the side with a warm smile.
"I promise you won't regret this. I'll make sure we do double time tomorrow for this. Thank you, sweetheart." She gave him a kiss on the cheek and left Jack to his own effects for a while. He just walked outside and sat on the steps of the bathhouse, looking at the massive structure in the distance. Somewhere inside it, there were three souls that he couldn't live without.
He started to cry until Thanatos sat down next to him.
"What saddens you, mortal?" the Greek god asked, impassive.
Jack shrugged. "I don't know. Everything. Anathane's not here to tell me everything's gonna be alright. I can see the place where everyone's locked up, but I can't do anything about what's happening in there. I'm tired and filthy. I just want to go home and sleep forever with the people I love." He put his head in his palm and took a deep breath.
"Then I have good news for you. Look over there," Thanatos said softly. Jack looked where he was pointing, where a huge figure with an equally huge sword and a smaller blue woman were walking toward him. He stood up with a shocked expression on his face.
"Kan? Is that you?" he asked as the two drew near.
"Where's Anthony?" she replied, hurrying over, smiling.
Jack bit his lip. "He's with Anathane. They'll be here soon. You have no idea how much it'll mean to him that you're safe," Jack said, hugging the demon tightly. She returned the hug and kissed his neck.
"I'm glad to see some familiar faces for once. All I get these days are hoods and shadows," she said, jerking a thumb back to the giant floating behind her. Jack let Kan go to make her arrival known to everyone else, and Jack held his hand out to the hooded giant.
"I don't know who you are, but thanks for helping Kan out. On behalf of her lover, you have unmatched thanks for everything you've done." The giant held out his hand, but curled his fingers and retracted it slowly. Jack furrowed his brow. "Uh...sorry, if you don't like being touched. My bad."
"That is not the reason, mortal, I assure you. I am hesitant to touch someone as blessed as you," the giant replied. "I apologize for my rudeness. I am Tirol, fallen angel of the Lord God, loyal servant of of the Lord Lucifer."
"Glad to have you with us, Tirol." They walked up the steps of the bathhouse and found it in use.
Somehow, Nyx had managed to get it working again, and the succubus herself was relaxing in the clean, steaming water with Anatithenai's form next to her, merging with the water she sat in. Everybody seemed to have taken to slipping into the warm water, even Kan, who was busy talking to Volna about what Jack could only guess was the demon's escapade with Anthony's arousal. It was only a matter of time before Kan found out about the 'cum jar' and the 'blood jar' Volna had stashed away.
Tirol joined Kan, and when he entered the bath, the water level rose nearly an inch. It was considerable displacement, taking in the fact that the bath was about fifty feet long and twenty feet wide. Jack saw Nyx waving him over lazily and he went to see what she wanted. She motioned for him to get into the bath.
"Come on now, don't be that shy and naïve. Just relax for a while. You've been pulled through a keyhole with all these things happening at once. You need a break from it all." She smirked. "And besides, that filthy body needs to get clean before you go see Elassa and your twins. But, I'm sure they'll make you just as filthy in no time anyway."
"Whatever," Jack replied, knowing she was right. Her got into the warm water between Nyx and Anatithenai, and the demon shifted her body to face him. He turned his head as he started washing his face. Anatithenai's aquamarine blue eyes never left his face, nor did her curious leer ever change once while he washed himself off and let his head fall back in relaxation.
"You know, I didn't notice before now, but you've gotten very attractive since you came to my house in Anathane's arms, Jack. When I first saw you, I only saw a poor little incubus, but now I see a strong, toned...sculpted body that I wouldn't mind calling on every now and again for a little fun." Nyx's fingers moved across his shoulders and then she left him alone, murmuring something under her breath.
And now it was Anatithenai's turn.
She got Jack's attention without subtlety or secrecy, which Jack assumed was only because Anathane was gone for the moment. The slime pulled herself into his lap and pushed the front of her body against his. Jack wasn't really surprised by her. Well, he wasn't really surprised by any sudden advances anymore now that they had become somewhat of a regular occurrence.
"So, we have never spoken about your marriage to my daughter, Jack. I would like to do just that right now before Anathane comes back."
"Sure," Jack said, hoping to avoid an unnecessary struggle that would undoubtedly occur if he said no and tried to change the subject.
"If you are willing to marry my daughter, then why would you say you're going to marry three others as well? I'm only curious because Anathane showed some disapproval of it, and I only want the best for my daughter."
"I know Anathane doesn't like that I'm gonna have four wives," Jack said. "But she said that she didn't mind because she loves me and I love her too. She knows Elassa and Niaf and Fain and said that they were okay for me to marry. And I don't need any more approval than that to go ahead and do it."
"Do you not think my daughter is capable of keeping you fully occupied? Do you feel the need to fill a void with other women because Anathane is not enough for you? Are you marrying all of them because she alone is not good enough for you?"