Dust kicked up with every step down this old street that sunny afternoon. Walls of buildings bore the stains from years of neglect , giving them the appearance of being far older than they were. A faint stench wafted on the air, as if death had visited this place ages ago, and left only a trace of its passing. Though the sun was shining, a strange cold seemed to drift low on the cobble stones below her feet. Few sounds came to her ears, and those that did, could have been no more than the sounds of wind, were it not for a totally still day. Nothing stirred, not even a rat on a pile of garbage, yet the feeling of not being alone was almost oppressive.
The muted sounds of her foot steps seemed to be echoing . . .perhaps. . . but no. . . there were other sounds of feet on the dusty road. Dust kicked up with every step down this old street that sunny afternoon. Walls of buildings bore the stains from years of neglect , giving them the appearance of being far older than they were. A faint stench wafted on the air, as if death had visited this place ages ago, and left only a trace of its passing. Though the sun was shining, a strange cold seemed to drift low on the cobble stones below her feet. Few sounds came to her ears, and those that did, could have been no more than the sounds of wind, were it not for a totally still day. Nothing stirred, not even a rat on a pile of garbage, yet the feeling of not being alone was almost oppressive.
The muted sounds of her foot steps seemed to be echoing . . .perhaps. . . but no. . . there were other sounds of feet on the dusty road. LeNarah turned to look behind her, but there was no one there. The face of the young lady was not fearful, but instead, very taught. Sides of her head bulged as teeth ground together. Dressed in a long , ankle length skirt, that was pleated all around, and a form fitting leather vest over a cream colored silk blouse, LeNarah, was beautiful. As long as one did not look into her eyes, she might appear a sweet and lovely girl. However, with in her eyes, blazed fury. As she turned back to her original path, she almost bumped into an old woman face to face.
"Where the frak did YOU come from?", LeNarah squealed in surprise, trying to catch herself from falling with her heels twisting. This surprise face to face with a stranger embarrased her and only enraged her more.
"Watch where you are GOING !", LeNarah raged.
"I am.", came the old cracked voice of the aged woman. This was a wrinkled old hag at best , in tattered faded clothes. "Its where You are going that matters most here."
With that, the hag silently turned , pointing to a door in a near building.
LeNarah looked surprised, and yet followed the direction of the pointing finger , to a door with a number on it : "23623". . . how was this so? . . . the exact place she had come to find! LeNarah left the hag standing in the street, ignoring her, as she moved on. As the pretty young lady went, the hold hag whispered, "Yyeeesss."
The door creaked as the young woman's hand pushed against it. Not even latched nor locked, the door was cracked with age and the planks bent. Inside , the place was dark , and it took a few moments for LeNarah's eyes to adjust from the light outside. This was always such a vulnerable moment, when entering a dark place from outside. Anything could happen before the eyes adjusted. But , once they did, they beheld nothing more than a thin man, bare chested, sitting at a table and a wood screen behind him. He looked like a man of hard labor, and yet very healthy for what may have been advanced age.
"Come in, tell us . . . ", he spoke. He spoke calmly, gently gesturing her in.
LeNarah did not see any other person there, to justify the idea of "us", but that mattered little. In her mind, her purpose was clear, and little else mattered.
"I am told that you can help me . . . with my problems.", she began as the man simply sat and listened. "I am so so sick of being powerless, ignored, disregarded and now. . . Betrayed." She watched for a reaction.
The man turned and spoke to no one seen, "She is just a child." His words clearly were directed to some one, but she found no others curiously. His words hit her hard in a very sensative place, exactly the sore spot that drove her here. Almost instantly, her anger came alive.
"I AM NOT A CHILD!", screamed the enraged LeNarah. "I am just as important as any grown up, and i will have respect, just as much as any one else . . . oh yes, i will."
The man held up a finger as if to pause LeNarah. His head bobbed as if some one were speaking to him, his eyes flickering a bit. Tilting his head a few times , he spoke as if answering an unheard voice.
"True enough, she will be treated no differently than any one else in your service." Then he turned to her. "We can fix that problem."
"I want it."she began, " the power of life and death over others, i want to be feared, i want to be heard and stronger than all of my family together. They have betrayed me and they must pay. Father is a Lathanderite and I cant think of anything more upsetting than this!"
She spoke with an expectation of affirmation, looking with a wide grin at the man, but he only nodded slightly still listening. She continued.
"Gotholemew. .. the bastard . . . forced himself on ME, and then tried to cover it up by saying that he loved me. .LOVED. Well, stupid me believed it for a whole year, as he kept seeing me in private for what he wanted, and all the time, i had no idea he was courting my sister. My dam sister! WELL, imagine how i felt when they announced their marriage !
I . . I just could not believe it! You know, after i got over the shock , I told Mother and Father. . l did. But. . . do you know what they said to me? I still cant believe it. .. they said its for the BEST. By the Shiney Shits o Shar ! . . . they said it is for the best. They said I was just jealous and making it all up and that one day i would grow up and understand. " Again she waited for response, but the man just sat listening.
"Fine, dont care, what ever. But i came here because of your reputation, that you can make a person very powerful, and that i can become in league with grand powers from the beginning of time, even the most powerful of them. Look, i don't believe in a soul, i don't care, so make your silly deal and lets get on with this."
At this time, a shadow moved in the room and a large figure stepped out from behind the screen . . .
* * *
Silence was only broken by the occasional drop of water hitting the pool. The sound echoed slightly in the dark cavern of the cistern. A young woman sat in the dark, her eyes wide open, staring off into space.
Memories raced through her mind over and over, every moment, every word , every smell and sound. It was almost a dream , but it was truth, even though it seemed like a bizarre nightmare.
She could remember the moment the huge figure stepped out from the wood screen. At first, it looked like something massive, dark and terrifying , but then , it was so very handsome. A perfect man stood before her with intense eyes and a face that was dazzling. His voice was easy to hear and to trust. His words were soothing and yet should could not recall them now. She did clearly remembered her hand bleeding ... dripping onto his palm and the hot firey handgrip that followed. She still relived the flush of burning rage that seemed to spark and swell through her body as he held her hand. There was a mixed feeling of extreme fear and dread mixed with extreme pleasure and power ...almost extacy. As her eyes met his, visions of Nessus and the great citadel of Malsheem, deep in the ninth hell came to her as if she had been there. The other eight levels of hell flashed through, with their hierachy of arch devils. Avernus with its barren war torn plains.
She was instantly familiar with the burning iron city of Dis, ruled by Dispater, the goat-footed lord who rarely leaves his Iron Citadel. It seemed as if she had grown up with this.
Then her mind moved to Minauros, ruled by the serpent-bodied Mammon, who few archdevils would ever trust after a previous betrayal. Even the history dance across her awareness like a story being told.
There was Phlegethos, with its rivers of lava and animate fire that wanders the air ruled by the devil Belial and his daughter Fierna.
Then Stygia, the watery realm of crushing ice and lightning-fractured skies ruled by Levistus, sealed in a great block of ice as punishment for his betrayal of the lord of the ninth Hell.
And Malbolge, the mountainous dimension that suffers continuous avalanches and falling boulders. It is ruled by a powerful night hag known only as the Hag Countess.
She saw the seventh layer Maladomini, a place of ruined abandoned cities and constant construction. Its ruler is Baalzebul, an archon of good who was cast down into Hell and transformed into a slug-like creature.
Eighth is Cania, colder even than Stygia, with glaciers that move as the fastest human sprinter and avalanches of snow that bury everything in sight. Cania is ruled by Mephistopheles, who faked his own coup to discover enemies in his camp. This devil is known to make Hell Fire, with souls borrowed from other Infernal lords.
She saw the Pact Primeval. She understood the history of Asmodeus and the gods.
The handsome man who held her hand and flowed images and tales of Nessus to her, let go and looked into her eyes. His mind stood higher than hers, covering the sky like a black cloud of threatening storms. It was clear to her now, she was far greater than she was, but only a speck compared to this powerful creature, and she now belonged to it.
From there, time was lost . She did not recall the steps taken to arrive at her family home , but she remembered standing at the front door to the house, as if on the precipice of a point of no return. She had no idea that her beauty had greatly increased.
Passing into the house, her eyes fell on the whole family of betrayers, sitting at the dinner table, all talking at the same time. No one acknowledged her entry.
It was at this time, extreme joy came to her, as she realized the absurdity of the moment. There she stood, like an immortal all powerful angel of death in contrast to these tiny worthless vermin. She giggled at the humor of it as they ignored her.
With a sweet smile on her face, she began to sing with a passionate voice.
"When i was a young maiden, i brought my lover down.
his promises of life and love were all that i could dream
his kisses and gentle touch were more than ever sweet
so as a young maiden, i brought my lover down.
I brought my lover down."
The family stopped their talking, and all gawked at LeNarah, as if she were interrupting them. The change in her appearance caught their attention. The song continued as they stared.
"He told me that he loved me and offered up his touch.
But when i learned that he betrayed, it hurt so ever much.
So i took my knife with in my hand. .and Brought my lover down . . . "
The last phrase fell from her lips with angry emphasis: "and I brought my lover down!"
Eldritch fire and power ripped into Gotholemew as he sat at the table , his arms around her sister, who was struggling to get free. His flesh burned and the chest exploded, covering the sister with a reddish soot.
"Not a good color for you Sissy, let me clear it off!", LeNarah giggled.
More Eldritch fire hit the sister like a blast from a fire bomb, leaving the charred body still in an embrace with Gotholemew.
"Oh, that's soooo sweeeeet !" , LeNarah quipped at the entwined toasted bodies.
Her father , stunned, was mumbling something about Lathander as she stepped closer to him, her hand set to cast.
"Lathander , you say?", she teased the horrified shocked man.
"Now say Asmodeus", she followed with a gleeful smile. The eyes of her father showed both shock and fear upon hearing this. He shouted out , sounding like a helpless child calling for a parent
"Lathan ... !!"
A bolt of Eldritch fire blazed into the man before he could finish the word. His smoldering body fell to the floor.
"And LeNarah gets the LAST WORD on father!", she shouts out laughing. "Finally, YES, yes, she Scores!! ".
Last was the mother , who was already fleeing out the back door. LeNarah knew the back yard ever so well having played there so many years. Even as a young woman, she would still walk the fun paths that wound through the trees and brush.
"Mother...", LeNarah called out in a childish tone, stepping out on the back porch.
"LeNarah Stop This !", her mother cried from the brush.
One interesting feature that had been granted to the new pacted witch, was the ability to stun at long range with an eldritch bolt.
Knowing exactly where her mother was , a ray of greenish magic shot from the back porch all the way into the trees and brush. LeNarah then walked casually to the stunned woman, standing frozen like a statue.
"I considered letting you live, mother, I really did. I feel for you all those times father shut you up or ignored you. I feel sad for you, I do.
But seriously now, mother, what kind of mother daughter relationship would we have from now on? Think about it... Me telling YOU what to do , ignoring you when I wanted, you doing all the cleaning, washing, cooking , while I enjoy royalty status as I lorded my power over you ... No , that's just too unnatural... thats not how family should be . . .You might even betray me ... Again. . . No . .no , I just can't see things working out for us, can you , mother?"
LeNarah looked into the stunned eyes of her mother.
"Nothing to say? ", she smirked.
"Well, to be totally fair , lets ask nature if you get to live.", she added almost as a joke. Turning to the trees where birds were often heard, she called out ,"Okay, so take a vote ... All in favor of mother living, say 'please great Queen LeNarah, spare this worthless woman on moral principal alone !"
LeNarah placed a hand to her ear and listened intently for such a response, and none came.
"Well, mother, the good friends here in nature don't seem to think you are worth it. Maybe you should have fed them better scraps. But they say you die now . Since you betrayed me, I agree totally."
Eldritch fire blazed through the mother repeatedly, setting fire to the trees and bushes.
Now the young witch skipped away humming a happy tune. She wandered the land until she came to a cistern where rain water was gathered. To clean her self from the soot of her family . . .she climbed in. There the sound of dripping water captured her and she fell into a trance state . . .
However ... The next day ... an oppressive reality came, and the horror and guilt of her actions ... were so unbearable that it nearly shattered the mind. The horror and guilt was interrupted at times by glee and hilarity, the new power was intoxicating. Then visions of horrifying Nessus came again, with its odd seductive order of power.
She felt connected to this far place somehow, as if she was no longer part of this world. She could imagine herself there, walking normally. In her mind she came to a large pool where reflections of flames danced on the mirror like surface, and she looked into it to catch her reflection . . . She saw a female devil looking back in the reflection . . . feathered wings, perfect body and face with the beauty of an angel. This form seemed natural to her, and she was calmed and pleased.
Knowing that she could never return to her previous home, her path eventually led to a city named Trinity. To her surprise, there were others like her, and even when she became one with the erinyes devil form, no one reacted negatively. She chose to stay and find a new life there.