Thursday, September 26, 2013

19 Power more power

“This is a waste of time. There are more important things that you should be focusing on.”
“I can’t yet. I need to get this done first.”
“This is stupid.  Your transportation is supplied for you.”
“Look I want to get on to the other stuff, I need too. But I can’t get my mind wrapped around it yet. I need this taken care of first.”
“Stupid stupid stupid… Fine make me understand why it is so important?”
“Stupid. But better.”
“How is an automobile revenge?”
Asmodan looked down at the Imp sitting on the foot of his bed staring up at him. Part of him wanted to just punish the Imp for questioning him and get on with things but he had to remind himself that they didn’t exactly have that kind of relationship, though the Warlock could make it that way in a heartbeat. The Imp as usual was naked but the warlock was in his new style of dress since returning from the Void. Long pants long sleeve shirt or hooded sweat shirt and then depending on if they were outside or not gloves. He had been using a cheap pair he had seen in Wal-Mart but had since ordered a very expensive pair he had ordered online, leather with some sort of really comfortable lining. Today he was in jeans tennis shoes and a long sleeve dark blue shirt. Lily had told him the previous day that she was going to start ordering him shirts with designs on them so that he didn’t look so plain all the time. The Imp folded his arms in front of this chest and asked again.
“So explain how an automobile is about revenge?”
Asmodan took another second to wonder how there was a word for automobile in Abysseth.
“It’s what I’m going to trap in the Automobile.”
The Imp raised an eyebrow at him.
“There is a Fel lynx that is going to be placed in the hate engine that will be powering the vehicle. He will give a service of one hundred years if I keep the deal I forced him to make.”
The Imp visibly cringed at the mention of the Warlock possibly not keeping with a bargain. At the same time he was also pleased to hear that the Human who he had trained was in a position to force a Kirogoth into anything. IT was more confirmation that he was the right choice to train. Volnam already knew that because he was rarely wrong in anything. In his time in the material realm he had learned that humans would get hung up on things that they couldn’t get past and no amount of force could get them too without suffering some sort of mental malady that would prove more troublesome than the original issue. So he decided that assisting the Warlock would be a faster course to the goal than trying to talk him out of it.
“And what exactly is it that you need me to do?”
“Find me the demonic equivalent to a fabricator or metal worker. Hell a blacksmith could probably do what I need. They need to be able to do fine and detailed work.”
“When I find such a crafter, do not worry about the level of detail they can achieve. Those that actually choose to take a skill to use to occupy their short eternity practice it for all time. Not the single mortal lifespan that most of your kind have to master something in.”
“Right right, demons are soo superior. Don’t forget I could tell you to kill yourself and I’m pretty sure you’d be dead before you noticed what was going on.”
“You are not a human you are a Warlock.”
“I’m still a human.”
“Disrobe and look at your flesh, you look more inhuman all the time.”
“Yeah well you wake up ugly every day.”
“May I use your portal to exit this plane?”
“You know how it works?”
Volnam just hissed at the insulting question and stood up on the bed. After a second he had gone through the disgusting process of growing his wings back out and glided out down the hallway. Danny stood in his room and pulled his shirt up just past his lower ribs and ran his other hand over the ravaged scar ridden skin of his belly. Looking more inhuman all the time he thought the words over and tried to shrug it off. Scars couldn’t be dwelled on forever and he was going to get even on each that had a role in his new skin.  He also thought about at what point he wasn’t going to let Volnam talk back quite as bravely as he was used to. He fought back those thoughts Volnam was the closest thing to a partner that he had he needed to keep that relationship the way it was. He looked at the Alarm clock beside his bed he had a meeting with his Engineer in a few hours, this time Mr. Leeway was coming over with some items to test the Hate Engine. Asmodan still had no intention of explaining what the device actually was and Kenny seemed more obsessed with making it work with something or anything than he was with the details of what it actually was. Once making it work with a generator was accomplished then he might become more interested with what is causing anything placed next to it to spin to pieces.
Kenny arrived right on time and where Danny was expecting him to have a truck or van full of stuff for them to carry up to his work room, the clever engineer climbed out of his little Toyota Camry reached into the back seat and grabbed a Carolina blue backpack with a yellow horned rams head embroidered on the back, smiled at him.
“We have been going at this the wrong way.”
“How is that?”
“We are looking for ways of controlling and slowing down the RPMs by adding more complicated contraptions rather than going as basic as we can get.”
The two worked their way up to what was turning into Danny’s own little electronics lab. The Engine was sitting on the table where Danny normally left it when it wasn’t being used. Kenney walked over to the engine and turned it on its side so the side that caused things to spin was facing up into the sky. He then pulled a carbon fiber disk out followed by another disk with masses of copper wire bound around it there were some magnets in place and a set of legs that attached to the disk with the copper bound to it. With permission he drilled the legs to the table and set the spinning disk between the copper wrapped disk and the engine. As soon as they had the magnet only disk near it the thing tore loose from his hand and immediately began to spin as they both knew it would. The difference here was that it was touching nothing and spinning free in the air.
“Well that’s working! Can’t beat a good magnet set up!”
“It sure is loud!”
“Yeah I know! I thought it might do that!”
Kenny reached into his bag and pulled out two sets of ear muffs and handed on pair to Danny. They put them on and then Kenny pulled out a pair of heavy gloves that looked to Asmodan like they might be rubberized or something. Then he pulled out some thick cabling and attached one end of them to the set up that Danny had installed and was going to be attached to the generator and then attached the other end to the carbon fiber deal that he had just put in place. Other than a seconds worth of flickering lights and the new high pitched sound coming from the spinning disk. Nothing seemed to change, so Kenneth grabbed an expensive looking metering device of some sort out of his bad which Danny was beginning to think was magic just because once the disks came out it looked empty and he kept pulling more out of it. The took two leads from the device and pressed them to the terminals that he had attached the cables too. The engineer looked dumbfounded put his meter away and disconnected the cables rolled them up and put them back in his bag. Once done with putting things away he motioned towards the door Danny nodded and they both went out into the hallway.
Kenny leaned against the wall next to the door once it was closed. Danny looked at him expectantly and finally asked.
“Why did you disconnect it?”
“I need to get thicker cables.”
“Yeah to be on the safe side. But other than that its good man you already paid for what looks like a really high end system to be installed in there I just want to go up on the cables and it should be fine.”
“Awesome, I was beginning to think that it couldn’t be done.”
“there are things out there that spin faster and put up more force they just aren’t normally as small or confusing to think about.”
“What’s confusing about it? You put something next to the appropriate side and it spins. Seems simple to me.”
“OK man I really gotta know now. What is it?”
Danny was quite for a minute mulling things over in his head and then he nodded to himself.
“I killed a demon ripped its heart out and placed it in a magical box that I made and now it makes stuff spin due to a demonic word that I wrote on the side in blood.”
“OK fine don’t tell me… that’s kind of a dark story to come up with on the fly.”
“Yeah you’re telling me.”
“I’m going to get the cables I will drop them by tomorrow.”
Danny told him that it was fine and showed him out. He could tell at the end of the walk to the door that Kenny wanted to ask him about the hallway on the first floor but the educated young man decided not to. They shook hands and parted ways for the day.
Asmodan went back into the room where the little magic generator was whirring away and smiled at it. He moved to a white board on one wall and grabbed the Marker that was resting on little tray that was attached to the bottom of the board and walked over to the table where the legs of the generator were screwed down. He slid the hate engine out from under the rest of the apparatus and the spinning portion immediately stopped and fell to the table top. Grabbing a compass from the tabletop The Warlock drew a perfect circle and then two more.  Each slightly smaller than the last and then began to mark them out with the sigils that he knew would handle the upcoming problem. Once he was finished he slid everything back into place and set the stator disk to spinning again. He smiled to himself again as this time there was no sound. Asmodan thought about it a minute wondering if maybe he should have waited to make that move after Kenny had left the following day, then decided that he didn’t care.  The Warlock did have more than a few ways to handle things if the Engineer didn’t drop things when asked to.
The following day Asmodan was quite pleased with the way things timed out. Volnam had returned with the name of something that the Warlock could contact to accomplish his demonic smithing needs. Kenneth also returned with the cables that he said would be thick enough to safely handle the little generators output. When they went into the generator room the Engineer took a few minutes to look over the markings that Asmodan had made around the setup. Finally he looked up at the Warlock and stated flatly.
“So you used a spell to eliminate the sound from the spinning?”
“So you actually have a demons heart in the box?”
Asmodan wasn’t sure of exactly how this was going to go and crossed his arms over his chest as he again answered.
“That’s pretty intense man.”
Kenny looked kind of shaken. But held his composure, it was at this point Asmodan knew that the engineer could call him a fraud and any other name that meant about the same. Or he could just go with it and believe him. Danny could see him working things over in his head.
“So can we open it and let me look at it? I’ve never seen a demon heart before.”
“Sorry my friend you are going to have to take it on faith that it is what it is.”
“Man I hate faith. I want to poke a prod until I’ve measured and weighed and put it in a box with a notecard on it.”
“I’ve already done that part you are gonna have to take my word on it.”
“Not just a peek?”
“Nope. sorry. Hey try this. You figure out everything that can’t be in there, doing what you know it’s doing and when you know that the only thing that you can’t disprove is in there must be it right?”
“It’s way faster if you just tell me.”
“I did.”
“lemme see it.”
“Nope and if you keep pushing I’m going to have to use magic and make you forget ever knowing me.”
Kenny froze at that. The largest part of him wanted to call the man’s bluff but just enough of the rest of him was scared that it could be done.  Maybe forgetting this little device would be a good thing he thought to himself.  He finally just looked up at Danny and nodded.
“You have any other projects that need worked on?”
“Not just yet. But there is something in the works. I am hoping to get it done on my own but I will probably need your help at some point.”
There was a little more prodding more of it as jokes than anything else. Asmodan decided that he actually did like the engineer and told him that he would use him as a consultant on future projects. Shortly after that Kenny left. Asmodan was now interested to see what kind of correspondence he could expect to get from his power company and how he would handle that once it came.  But the power bill for his large building was now handled he hoped. Asmodan knew that he could skip many expenses if he was smart and planned ahead for things, but powering his building was something that he didn’t want to have to worry about anymore. As he thought about it he began to wonder why it had become such a pressing issue for him in the first place. He wrote it off to the need to put the hate engine to use rather than just have it sitting around gathering dust.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

18 Working through it.

Doctor Nagapan never returned to check on Asmodan but Nurse Francine was convinced to return. The nurse came back two more times to check the Warlocks vitals and change out IV bags; eventually she just left a few bags behind and showed Lily how to change them out.  Asmodan was in and out of consciousness the first two days and was wide awake on the third by the fourth he was up and about albeit slowly. His body Lily was noticing was regaining its size and fullness much quicker than it should. By the end of the first full week he was almost back to the same size he was before he left. Volnam still hadn’t shown up and Asmodan hadn’t asked after him. The Warlock had noticed that since he had been gone Lily had learned to lock her mind up tight. He suspected it when he noticed the loud surface thoughts had vanished when he was around her and when he decided to take a peek and got absolutely nothing he was impressed. Volnam had taught her something or he had bugged her until she learned on her own as a defense, probably the later he decided. He tried to busy himself with cleaning up apparently no one had touched the fourth floor at all since he left he was fine with the cleaning, it was busy work and he was finding that he really needed some busy work. The Warlock needed something to keep his mind off of his body and catching up on nine months of cleaning was doing the trick.
Danny had just climbed out of the show and was toweling off when he finally slipped up and did the thing he had been trying all week not to do. He looked in the mirror. Each line in his skin itched as he looked at them. Each remembered wound slowly reopened in his mind. He looked like some kind of monster he thought to himself. As he drew in power to help his body replenish himself some of his scars had softened but that was all that had happened, some of the darker ones seemed to lighten in color. He had decided that he could trick himself into ignoring what had happened had planned on trying to forget as much of that piece of the trip as possible but he had not planned on having every piece of his trip etched and ripped into the skin he was going to have for the rest of his life, he might be able to get over what happened but he would never be allowed to forget it. He ran a hand over himself placing the tips of his finger on his right hand at the base of his neck and tracing a thick set of claw marks from there down to his upper left thigh. They drank blood from that rip; he could feel the tatters of flesh move back and forth as they lapped at him like kittens with a saucer of milk. Asmodan cringed and fell back against the wall. He slid down until he was sitting with his head in his hands between the wall and the bathtub. As he sat there some part of him began to poke fun at him, it was alien to him at first but soon he realized why he was making fun of himself. There were almost two halves of Asmodan at that point. One was the human that was here in the bathroom crying over the damage done to his body and the scaring on his soul. The other was the Warlock that had been attached and tortured by a small band of demons and came out on top. Destroyed one and enslaved two more, tricked a fourth into serving him without a binding deal and bested a last in a battle of magic in its home sphere. That second Asmodan was laughing cruelly at the weakling on the floor. Each of those scars should be viewed as sigils of strength or power. They were marks that proved that he could survive, overcome and eventually dominate. The weakling did point out that he wouldn’t have survived anything if not for Niath healing him. Eventually both agreed that to proceed with things the Warlock who had survived the abyss should probably be the one deciding how things were going to go and that the one crying on the floor should shut up. 
Asmodan climbed back up off of the floor and stared himself in the scar ringed eyes. After another minute to finish getting himself under control.
“OK first order of business. The Imp.”
He said to the mirror.
Asmodan sat himself down on the ground in the workroom that was kept open for rituals that were supposed to be more common and less worthy of being worked in the Spell vault. All of his marks had been completed everything was in order. The effort or planning of the things seemed simple now, Childs play. First he focused on the Imp and then without the Imp even being in his presence he banished him. Volnam had been back and forth so many times now that he did not want to be in the Abyss and felt that his time in the material realm was owed to him. Asmodan felt he had been slacking off. As soon as he knew the Imp was in the abyss again he could feel the itching at the back of his mind.
“What am I doing here?”
“You are gathering some things for me and once you have them you are going to hold onto them and wait for me to bring you back.”
“I am not some errand runner for you to banish and summon at will!”
“You are at the moment. I would have maybe asked you but you seem to have been missing.”
The Imp was irate Asmodan could feel the desire to do horrible things to him coming from the imp. He laughed it off. Asmodan could feel something else coming off the Imps mind, it was a kind of distortion from the imps normal thoughts. Danny thought back over the last week or so and remembered a few comments from Lily about the alcoholic Imp.
“Are you drunk?”
“Not now. My most recent trip was enough to sober me up.”
“You haven’t returned to the house all week because you were on a binder? Ohh you were depressed, you missed me?”
Asmodan was laughing physically and mentally.
“Miss you? You are an idiot look how long it took you to come home what did you do? Did you find a cave and hide.”
“No Imp I learned and I practiced.”
Asmodan sent mental images of the demons that he had encountered and what had become of the ones that he had actually battled. When he got to the Casaganoth he showed Volnam the cave and gave as many indicators to its location as he could and told Volnam that he would bring him back once he had found it and retrieved the gate artifact that he had created the still living Casaganoth he was sure that even headless the thing was working on regenerating its self. Volnam cursed at him for a bit longer and the Warlock finally told him, the sooner he got done the sooner he could get back and then closed him off. There was that itching for about an hour after but the Imp finally gave up and hopefully got to work. From that point Asmodan got up and went about making sure that the different cleaning tasks he had set for himself were completed. The he went to his favorite workroom, the one that he had blown a piece out of trying to figure out raw force projectiles.  He got out one of his many notebooks and began going over his automobile research again. He had an Idea in his head, soon after reacquainting himself with his notes he got out what he had on Kyateah Zhoser and how they could be applied, he learned that he didn’t have as much on the item as he thought. Volnam would have to return before he could get much further with this piece of it. Soon he had out his notes on the crystal of Agoth and was going over everything that he had explained to him about it. No one seems to have experimented with what would happen to it should it be brought to the physical spheres he was going to have to see how that worked out he thought to himself.  Asmodan began to draw and sketch to measure things out and to call places like performance shops and ask why certain changes to parts one way or another changed if a ride was hard or soft and a whole other slew of things that someone that was really into cars should know. The one thing he never did do any research on was the engine or transmission, once he understood the use of the transmission he decided that it could be replaced or ignored for his purposes and left it out of his functional automotive research.
Almost two weeks had passed since Volnam had been sent into the abyss before Asmodan finally got the itch again and began to commune with the prodigal Imp.
“You have found the Cave?”
“Yes finally I had to find the trading grounds and work from there luc-“
“Good then.  Cut a shard from the wall and bring it with you. I will summon you back in half an hour.”
Asmodan cut the Imp off mid-sentence and then cut him off all together when he had told him when to expect his trip back. As he had stated, the Warlock had the Imp staring at him through a gate way within half an hour. He told the Imp to hand him the Crystal before he stepped through. Volnam was weary at first passing the crystal bar he had cut out to the Warlock who held it experimentally for a minute and then slammed it against the ground hard once to see what would happen. Nothing but a shock from the impact that traveled up his arm came from the blow. Asmodan smiled had Volnam hand him the prism gate skull and the torso of the Casaganoth which seemed much heavier in this world than it did in its own. Finally he decided to have Volnam grab the bones of the other goat-man and pass them through. Once everything was in the room with Asmodan he called the Imp back into the material world. He looked the Casaganoth over a few times noticing how the skin at the neck where he had taken the head was an angry red black. It was also however almost two inches longer than where he remembered it being. He placed his hand on the things chest and felt the torso throb with the beat of the demonic heart. It was fierce nonstop and seemed to speed up at his touch. That’s right there was a mind in there and it could not see hear or smell it also couldn’t talk or taste. Asmodan knew that it could communicate but it had nothing that he wanted to hear so he didn’t bother trying to contact it. he looked at the Imp for a second to see if it was paying him attention or not.
“How long until it’s able to function again at this rate?”
“Years before it is as it was.”
“Good tell me about Kyateah Zhoser, what do I need to gather.”
The Imp began to laugh, and it actually sounded like a joyous thing. Volnam told him to wait a minute and flapped down the hallway. A few minutes later he returned with one of the many notebooks that Asmodan kept this one Danny hadn’t filled out it was something that Volnam had started writing in. he opened it to the correct page looked it over once and handed it to the Warlock. It took Asmodan a little longer to scan through the text it being in a language that was alien to this world. He read on into the second and third pages. It was like the Kyateah Zhoser for dummies book written in tiny script that looked like some of the Arabic languages that Asmodan had seen in movies. He knew how to understand the language and with the languages of the higher and lower plains that meant that you knew it. The word was the word, It looked like what it was and was what it sounded like. It was one of the harder concepts for Asmodan to understand when Volnam began teaching it to him, and it was one of the concepts that still kind of slowed him down. He understood what it meant which was this. If someone taught you to speak the language then you could already read and write it for the most part. Going much past that was pointless. He could read and right but he couldn’t correct grammar the different castes of demons used grammar differently for their interpretations of the languages which was something else that Asmodan didn’t get how did you change and adapt something that just was. The text in his hands was the no nonsense guide to building the apparatus to hold the heard, bind its power and focus it to which ever task the user had in mind.
“I need a trip to the hardware store.”
The Imp laughed again and began to wring his hands in anticipation.
“Can we stop at an alcohol vendor on the way?”
“Nope while I’m working, you‘re dry.”
The Imp began to whimper and groan as he dragged his feet out of the room. Asmodan looked down at the part of the body that was laying on the ground smiled to himself and closed the door on his way out. He would grab the cloak later.

After trips to a few different stores and some time spent shopping on the internet Danny felt like he had a grip on everything he was going to need to construct his hate engine. He knew he wanted to use the first one for experiments just to see what could be done with one, he decided that he wanted to try and use it for a power source not just for spells but a more conventional power source like electricity so as he waited for his initial order of parts to arrive from various online retailers he purchased various electric motors and generators as well as inverters to make the electricity work on the standard power grid. He checked with Algie on the legalities on making a power company pay him for power he put back onto the grid and then paid to have a solar array placed on the roof of his building. He was assured by the installers that the unit he chose would not make the juice he would need to power a place as big as he had, he assured them that it was more for experimental use and they dropped it.
Everything had arrived for the Kyateah Zhoser he had memorized everything that Volnam had written down in the notebook as well as badgered the imp with hundreds of questions beyond that. He knew that assembling with engine was as much a magical endeavor as it was a mechanical one. Finally he had his room set up the day had been spent painting the appropriate sigils around the room and floor, a circle was made and an alter slash workbench had been set up. He closed and locked the door the last thing he wanted was for Lily to come in and see if he wanted to go watch a movie or something. Volnam knew what he was going and he told Renault not to interrupt him for the night. His brother understood at least a little bit of what was going on.  Finally he grabbed the still slowly regenerating body and dragged it over to the Alter and laid the chest across the top.  Asmodan stood and turned slowly making sure everything was how it should be he didn’t want to have to try all this again because he failed. Satisfied with his set up he kneeled down and began to meditate, to focus his mind on the task at hand to set all the words and phrases in the forefront of his mind and infuse them with the power that they would need when he released them to forge along with his hands the work he was about to do. When there was absolutely no other preparation to be done he reached for a silver bladed knife that he had had made just for this task. It was a leaf bladed knife and he had actually had it made to look like a long slender leaf. It had the small veins that leaves have and the petiole that runs through the center these however were not raised like a natural leaf they were recessed. The blade was nine inches exactly with a brass hilt and black leather wrapped handle with silver thread wrapping around it in a crisscross pattern. It was not well balanced and not at all meant to fight with it was made to be a specific tool for a specific task. He took the blade up in his right hand and passed it to his left where he held it out parallel to the ground away from his body. With his left arm held out and a way he brought his right arm up in front of his check level with his own heart hand clenched in a fist and slowly extended his index and middle fingers. As his fingers extended he began his chant it was in Abysseth  and after he finished the first evocation one that called the attention of the powers of chaos to his task. He began the next chant and with each word of this chant he also traced the word he spoke in air with his right hand this speak and spell action went on for almost thirty minutes and then suddenly after so long with only his mouth and right arm moving his entire body lunged forward both hands grabbing the handle of the knife and he buried it in the chest of the demon just below the neck. Still chanting he began to draw the blade down through the sternum and into the abdomen he withdrew the knife and placed it back at his right side and held his right hand out parallel to the ground and began to chant and draw words in the air with his left hand before his heart. Then with the same suddenness as before he slammed his right hand into the opening he had cut in the beast’s chest. As soon as his hand passed into the demons chest and made contact with the things heart the demon began to shudder violently convulsing and flailing what little appendagement he had left to him.  Mentally the beast began to attack Asmodan as well. Which was something that he had not expected it knew what was going to happen it knew that this was coming to it.
Asmodan had decided to his detriment that the demon had just given up and was going to accept this fate, that was not the case it seems that the thing was waiting for a chance to try and fight back and was storing up it resolve for this chance. What it didn’t understand was that it didn’t need to consent for this to happen as it tried to attack the Warlock’s mind and defend itself at the same time Asmodan just closed his mind off to it all together and continued with his task. The thing beat at him with imagery it tried to make him see what it had done to him before and swore that it would do all that and more to him in the near future and it did all this in vain because the Warlock saw none of it his mind was locked tight against the Casaganoth. With one supernatural tug Asmodan ripped the demons beating heart out of its chest. With his left hand he shoved the body to the floor on the far side of the Alter. There was an audible sound a wet gasping sound that would have been a scream or a yell of some sort if the body had anything past the neck to shape the exhalation into anything meaningful. Now with the heart passed into the left hand and held out parallel to the ground Asmodan began to use his mind to pick up and move the different pieces of the Kyateah Zhoser many of them he had pre marked had etched and sanctified for their tasks the items began to float and move twist around each other in the air and as some of them moved close to each other they began to give a glow, they took on a sort of purplish nimbus like light. All Asmodan did was make the items float with the telekinesis the words of the spell guided their movement through the air and caused them to do the things that they were doing.  Once certain rotations where made and certain orbits concluded the edges of certain pieces began to glow white hot and slide together where they smoked and steamed as they instantly cooled or warped at odd angles the receptacle was finally shaped save for one side and in that one side Asmodan forcefully slammed in the heart and jerked his hand back as fast as he could because as the notes indicated the instant the heart touched the bottom of the engine’s inner wall it would seal shut. As it said in the notes it happened in life. The Warlock was almost two slow the tip of his fingernail as well as the tip of his middle finger were cut off inside the box it was so close that he was not concerned with it even without magical assistance it most likely wouldn’t even scar and at this point in his life who cared about another scar. The Box was sealed. The etching s that he had made in its sides flared to life now all glowing with the purple light only this time not a hazy nimbus of light but an intense glaring light. The floating had finished the box rested on the Alter.
Asmodan did not immediately pick the item up, he only stared at it. The ritual to create it was complete, once the heart was inside and the box sealed that was the end of the proceedings. It was a square foot which seemed much too large for the heart inside, but when he slammed the beating organ into its new home it felt like it was too large for the container. Each side glowed with sigils that forced the energy that the demon would spend regenerating its body to be focused on the purpose set to the engine, it was a very detailed series of marks and intentions every task thought intent the essence of the life force of the demon was now tied to the use of the Kyateah Zhoser. These rules and foci were etched on every side of the container save for one. This one blank side was the side that the user would mark for the desired purpose of the box and it was simple one word commands the corners were sheared off or smoothed away there was no there were no hard corners anywhere on the device they all smoothed one way or another there was a feeling of direction as he looked at them but when he ran his finger over them he felt nothing but abnormally cold metal. The solid light was beginning to dull down a bit and then began to throb and finally it settled into a pattern which as far as Asmodan could tell matched the pattern of the demons beating heart. He picked the box up and wearily carried it out into the hallway and down to the vault where he placed it on a shelf in the back of the room behind where he was sitting when he took his trip into the abyss. Then he carried himself to bed. The ritual was exhausting and he was going to catch some sleep. He passed Volnam in the hallway the Imp inquired after the success of the ritual and Asmodan just gave him a lazy thumbs up entered his room closed the door fell forward onto his bed and went to sleep.
While he was asleep Asmodan had his nightmare again. Monique was calling for him and he was trying to get to her but he could not catch her. Again the Angel took her from him and no matter how fast he went he could just barley brush his fingers against hers and he woke up. As with any other time he had the dream he woke up angry and spent the day not dealing with anyone else. He would think of errands to send Lily out on, tell Volnam to take a flight and ask that his brother stay clear. He did this today as he took the hate engine out of the vault and carried it to the room where he had the electronics installed for the power company and the solar panels on the room. He had a generator all set up on a worktable and placed the hate engine down beside it.  Asmodan spent a while trying to think of the best way to tell the engine what he wanted it to make the generator do when he finally settled on the command rotate. The Warlock tore off the scab that had grown over the end of his middle finger and used the now rapidly flowing blood to write the sigil for rotate on the command surface of the Kyateah Zhoser, he then turned the box towards the stator of the generator. As soon as it was lined up the generator began to hum with immediate response to the engine. It went from stationary to far beyond its maximum speed so quickly that it literally began to have parts glow and eventually melted down and failed. As it melted down other pieces began to break and go flying around the room something small flew off and hit the unsuspecting Warlock in the arm. It didn’t draw blood but it hurt like hell. He moved back and off to the side. Just watching the hate engine destroy the generator.  It was good that Asmodan hadn’t hooked the generator up to anything the power spike might have fried his building’s wires. He toyed with different things and decided to figure out the speed of the revolutions the stator made in a minute which was an insane number. The next few hours were spent looking up companies that made generators that would handle those speeds and he quickly found that no one did that he could find. Next he was on the phone with the local universities trying to get ahold of an engineering department he finally did with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He set a meeting for later on in the week with someone who he was referred to.  A man named Kenneth Leeway.
Asmodan met Kenneth in a hallway outside one of the universities workshops the Warlock was wearing a pair of jeans tall black leather motorcycle boots and a black long sleeve shirt. His now shoulder length hair was wetted and combed back and behind his ears he had long gloves on that went up under the sleeves of the shirt and aside from his neck and face he had no skin showing. On the flipside Mr. Leeway was wearing tan cargo shorts flip flops his short blond hair was spiked up with what might have been superglue with as much movement as the Warlock had noticed from it. He was wearing a blue tee shirt that depicted a gorilla going through evolution through man into a robot. Leeway smiled a lot and was a really easy guy to talk to. Mental probing on Asmodan’s part showed him to be a generally honest and up front guy, who like most men who spent most of his time on a college campus had very vivid random surface thoughts anytime a young woman walked by. After introductions they talked about what Asmodan needed. He explained that he was working with a new power source and that he couldn’t get into details with what it was. Asmodan also explained that he as of yet had no way to throttle the speed of the power source to get it to a manageable level for the more conventional generators. Mr. Leeway a grad student in his late twenties listened and realized that he was not dealing with someone who was normally into engineering but was completely interested in what Asmodan was working with. He tried several times to get the Warlock to give more detail on the power source itself and Asmodan finally started mentally waiting for when the question was about to surface in the man’s mind and then would answer him before he asked after the second time the question didn’t come up anymore. Kenneth suggested a transmission be placed between the engine and the generator to deal with the insane rotations. When Asmodan looked confused the engineer pointed out that all a car transmission did was deal with the spinning part of a car’s engine and makes it something that worked with the tires it was more complicated than that but once he started thinking about it Asmodan stopped him before he got more detailed. The Warlock had spent so much of his extra time researching automobiles that he was agitated with himself for not having thought about that before. As for the Generator Leeway suggested something with a device called an air bearing instead of traditional steel ball bearings. Finally after Kenneth explained everything he would need to know and find out before he could really tell Asmodan what he would need to get started the Warlock consented to letting the engineer see the device at work. 
The following day Asmodan accompanied by Lily met up with Kenneth outside the same workshop they had been by the previous day. Lily was wearing one of the same official personal assistant dress suit things that she normally wore on her “work days” it was black with dark grey stripes and stopped at her knees. She had an emerald green blouse on under her dress jacket and her hair was up in a bun. Asmodan Was dressed pretty much the same as the day before only now it was a dark blue long sleeve shirt. Kenneth was already waiting there for them this time he was in the Vietnam War era tiger striped green and black cammo patterned cargo shorts with the same flip flops and a blue University of North Carolina Chapel Hill logo shirt. This time though instead of spiked up hair he was wearing a fitted baseball cap that matched the color of the shirt. Asmodan had the Hate engine inside a plain black backpack slung over one shoulder.
“hey Danny.”
He said jumping up off of a bench he had been waiting on.
“Did you bring it?”
“Yeah it’s in the bag. I’m going to need something that spins though for it to work.”
Asmodan noticed the Kenneth’s eyes constantly drifting back over to Lily and inwardly sighed to himself.
“Kenneth Leeway this is my executive personal assistant Lily.”
Kenneth was asked waiting for Asmodan to supply a last name but the Warlock just looked at him oddly and just replied.
“Man I forgot I meant to tell you yesterday you can call me Ken or Kenny just don’t make any you killed me jokes with Kenny,”
“You killed me?”
Lily was laughing slightly at it, but Danny didn’t get it at all so she dropped it. Ken led them both into the workshop and through another door to a slightly smaller shop it was a little larger than the room that Danny had been using for his experimental power room.
“OK first I have an old car transmission that I wanted to see if we could mate it up too past that I have a basic generator and some tools that we can use to get a more accurate reading of just how fast this thing you have can turn something. Can I see it?”
Danny started opening the bag and pulling the box out.
“Look let me set the thing up I’d feel bad if it did anything to you.”
“Did anything to… ok sure. Let me get a mounting plate for the transmission.”
“Don’t need it.”
How are you going to.”
Kenny’s voice trailed off as he saw Danny place a square box with what looked like Arabic all over it next to the open end of the transmission and the transmission immediately began to spin at who knew how fast. He noticed that the writing on the box had some LEDs or something in it because it was pulsing with purple light. Watching the light kind of made him sick to his stomach. The Transmission was screaming and Kenny worked it through some of its gears until it didn’t sound as bad. The metal device was still being tortured and soon began to glow a faint orange and when pieces of it began to droop He had Danny remove the device. To be safe Danny placed it back in the bag and zipped it up.  Lily had just taken her hands off of her ears the transmission kept spinning after the box was put away. When it finally stopped and then finished cooling it would never spin again the heating had warped its internal components too badly. It would have flown to pieces but Danny was prepared for it this time and mentally held the things outer shell together. When it began to droop it was because the forces at work were actually overpowering his minds grip on things. Kenny sat with his mouth open then he closed it then he opened it again. Finally he turned away from the transmission and turned to Asmodan.
“You gotta tell me what it is.”
“It’s a one of a kind power source and I wanna generate electricity with it.”
“But how does it work?”
“Sorry can’t tell you.”
“Well crap man common is it made by aliens or something?”
“Nope it’s all me, well mostly me and a little of someone else.”
“Are you with the government or something?”
“Nope I’m private.”
Kenny turned to Lily for help and she only shrugged her shoulders at him. He then remembered that it had made him feel kind of sick looking at it.
“Hey man that thing isn’t radioactive or anything is it?”
“No I don’t think so.”
“Wait here.”
The assistant and the warlock waited for around ten minutes and the engineer returned with a Geiger counter and began to get wave its little wand around the backpack. It didn’t give off anything that wasn’t normal.
“When I was watching it, the light or something started to make me feel sick to my stomach. “
“It’s the light. Some people don’t like one of the shades of purple it goes through when as it pulses. I guess I’m just used to it now.”
Asmodan lied.
Next they did tests to figure out how fast it was going they tested it on larger and smaller wheels and Kenny was blown away to see that the size and weight of the wheel didn’t matter they all spun at the same speed and all started at that speed as soon as the box was set next to them. After a few hours Lily was sent out or lunch and it seemed now like Kenny was more playing with the box rather than trying to gain scientific data to use for making a generator that could handle the forces the hate engine put out.  After lunch Danny let the engineer play with the box for another hour and then said that he had to go.
“I have some ideas of where I can start but that’s about it.”
“Give me a list of what you need and a place to have the items delivered and I will take care of it.”
“Danny you know that this is one of those things that can change the world right. Like free power for everyone and all that?”
“No. it’s not.”
Asmodan turned and left Lily in tow. Rather than get hung up on not being allowed to save the world Kenny started thinking up his shopping list.
One of Algie’s cars was waiting to take them home.
“So you decided against the car thing?”
“Well we went car shopping over a year ago now and you never brought it back up.”
“Ohh… yeah I’m working on something. I’m thinking of getting something done custom.”
“That’s neat like on those shows where you give them a new car and tell them you want it to look like the bat mobile or something and they change it until it does?”
“No more like… I get all the components together have  Volnam find a demon smith in one of the spheres of the abyss tell him what I want made strike a deal with him. Then rip the heart out of a giant demonic winged panther to power the whole thing and call it a custom car.”
“Will the DMV register that?”
“I think they will if I call it electric. I won’t have to get it smoged either.”

There wasn’t any more talking for the rest of the trip home.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

17 Home again Home again

Asmodan felt like he just kind of woke up, not woke up like after a really good nap or a long nights sleep. He felt horrible he laid on a ground a while eyes closed feeling every ache and pain that his body seemed capable of telling him about. He wondered what had gone wrong with the portal spell there must have been some sort of explosion to have him this sore. After a few minutes of trying to get himself under control which seemed much easier a few hours ago he decided to open his eyes and sit up. Many of the Warlocks lesser pains were vanquished by the shock he was now feeling there were two at the top of the list one was how much hunger sucked, two was that he was in his vault back home. He felt naked, he was stripped of something important and he couldn't place his finger on what it was the feeling was similar to being exposed and feeling vulnerable because of the exposure. He instinctively pulled on the soothing dark mists of the abyss to calm him and they did not come to him. He cried out at the shock. He pulled again deeply, forcing his dominating will into the command that it come to him. It denied him again and he wanted to cry he felt like he had lost a close friend. Some part of him that needed power began to vacuum in whatever was available to use to fuel whatever it was he wanted to do and he stopped himself. He stopped and gathered himself. If it was a lost friend to him then he would count it as a friend that was away and that he would visit again when he could.  Besides he knew that if he could get to it if he needed to. In that instant he had a theory that he intended to prove as soon as he could. He got to his feet and fell over hitting his head on the sealed doorway. Cursing he pushed himself up again. His candles had burnt out the other items that he had used to send himself into the void were spent as well he didn't give them a second thought he worked the door open and stumbled into the hallway. He kept his shoulder against the wall to prop himself up and called out for someone to help him. There was no response; the floor was covered in dust. He moved on down the hallway and finally he saw Renault float up through the floor with a puzzled look on his face. As soon as the ghost saw his brother he flew forward to assist him and passed right threw him. His hands having no effect at all, Danny made eye contact with the ghost and tried to offer a smile to him.
“Go and get Lilly she is the only one tall enough to help.”
Renault wanted to help but couldn't it was irritating as hell but he knew that though he wanted to stay with Danny but couldn't help him at all until he actually fell over dead and that wasn't what they were looking for. He gave his brother one more look before passing down through the floor. He was starved, completely starved, his cheeks and eyes were sunken his hair and face had nine months of growth on them and he was covered in a layer of dust from rubbing against the wall Renault couldn't smell him but he was sure that he didn't want to either he was nine months unwashed almost ten months as he thought about it. Asmodan’s breathing was ragged and he seemed slightly excitable not in how he spoke or moved but his eyes had a wild look in them.
Renault moved quickly to the game room where he knew Lily was watching something about taking people who dressed bad and made them throw their cloths away and get new ones that the hosts of the show pick out for them. Renault didn't get the point of the show but he was still wearing the same outfit he died in so he didn't really have a strong desire to follow fashion. He moved in front of the TV and waved frantically and pointed up through the ceiling towards where Danny was which they had decided would be the agreed upon signal for the traveling Warlocks return.  She immediately jumped to her feet and started for the elevator while calling back over her shoulder to the ghost.
“OK I got it, go find that drunk rat and tell him that he should probably start to sober up.”
Lily was up the elevator quickly which was one of the nice things about your own elevator in a building; you don’t usually have to wait on anyone to get your turn.  Unless of course your Imp roommate is drunk again and playing with the buttons.
Asmodan didn't try and get back up for a few seconds and then he decided that he didn't want to be laying on the ground like a cripple when people got to him. He braced himself muscles screaming at him as he forced them to move again after so long doing nothing. Once he was up he noticed some hair had fallen over his face and scowled at it. When did his hair get long enough to do that, it was also this point where he noticed that he had a full beard and smelled like crap. He was up he was happy with that and decided not to push his luck. Renault appeared at the far end of the hallway.
“I couldn't find Volnam. Lily is on the way.”
“Couldn't find Volnam? Where would he be?”
Renault replied but Danny didn't catch it the elevator door had opened and Lily gasped as she saw him.
“Oh my god. What happened to you?”
The Warlock wanted a snappy comment but his brain just wasn't up to the task at the moment so he smiled and tried to shrug. In minutes he was on his bed. He didn't want blankets or anything so they didn't put anything over him. Lily was already on her phone calling Algie up, he had been very clear any of the few times that he had called to check on Asmodan’s absence that he was to be told as soon as the Warlock had returned. He sounded ecstatic at the news and said that he would be on his way with a doctor and equipment.
“Just keep him comfortable until I get there. Oh and Lily is Volnam around?”
“Haven’t seen him in a few days.”
“That’s probably for the best. We will be there soon.”

Lily hung up the phone and looked down at Danny. She couldn't get over how bad he looked. There was something wrong with his hands and arms. She pulled up a chair and sat beside him, she took his hand and noticed that he had scars, lines and lines of scars crisscrossing back and forth all over. On the hand that she was holding there were ring like scars that went all the way around each of his fingers. There was a similar ragged looking ring of scar tissue around his forearm just beneath his elbow and another just above it. She noticed very small scars around the edges of his eyes like tiny tears permanently etched in flesh. There was just too much damage to actually be what it looked like it was. No human could live through the tale that his skin was telling, maybe in a long lifetime but not in nine months. He was as comfortable as she could make him and she couldn't bare to see him anymore the way he was. she turned to see Renault standing in the doorway. The specter's eyes told her that he understood and he moved to clear the doorway for her. Lily nodded her thanks and left the room, once in the hallway she turned back to the prone Warlock and told him she was going to wait for Algie downstairs and bring him and the doctor up when they arrived. Asmodan did not respond his eyes were only half open and his breathing was very shallow. Lily looked for another second and then headed down to the main entrance.

"She is worried sick you know?"
"So am I."
"What happened to you there?"
"Ask me again in a hundred years I might feel like getting into the details by then."

"Are you going to be alright?"
"I don't know yet. I didn't think that everything that was happening to me there was going to be affecting me like this here."
"Man its been almost a year how did you manage to not starve to death?"
"I wish I knew... I learned to turn my physical strength into fuel for my work, some part of me must have been doing the same thing in reverse to keep me alive."
"I thought that that room was sealed from any of that stuff."
"It is, that's probably why I look so bad I was starved for food physically and spiritually."
"No man you look so bad because you are covered in filth and scars and you look like you have been living in the woods for a year."
"Don't hold back or anything now."
"Well the plan wasn't to come back dead was it? cause I can tell you its not supper great. Parts of it are terrifying."
"Nothing will ever scare me again."

The Warlock didn't communicate anymore after that he just focused on his breathing and increased its depth. he knew that he needed to give his body anything that he could and he couldn't draw power right now but he could draw breath. Breath is the basis for everything. Renault never left his side when Algie and the doctor and a nurse arrived with Lily none of them noticed him he stayed out of the way. The Nurse brushed him once with her elbow as they moved around his brother sticking him with needles attaching IV bags to stands which were being set up beside the head of the bed. when her arm touched him she gasped and pulled away. her short sleeve shirt showed the bluish mark from her contact with him. He thought about some of his brief conversations with Volnam over the last few months. The longer he was here in the land of the living and kept his mind about him the more presence he would gain he would grow into something that Volnam called a Revinant or some such being. They were trying to get Asmodan to respond the doctor a man in his mid forties with a full head of thick dark hair spiked back was asking him what had happened. Asmodan shook his head slightly and the Doctor asked him again and slightly shook his shoulder again the head shook no. The Doctor shook him again a little more forcefully and the tired broken starved Warlock opened his eyes wide. Those eyes locked with the unprepared Doctors and Asmodan gave him one session with the demons he put the doctor through everything they had done to him in one session before Oristhnx had Niath come in and save him from the rest death was offering. The physician screamed and grabbed his head, both hands covering his eyes trying to force back out what had been put in. Renault immediately forced his mind in on what was going on. It was like watching a movie there in front of him was Satan two of him. the Goat headed things with their reverse jointed legs and extended leathery bat like wings. one of them held Danny's head against the ground as he screamed the other bit off one of his fingers. there was some sort of giant panther behind them eating one of his bothers calves straight off the bone. he couldn't watch anymore and pulled himself back to what ever it was that he called his own space that others would call a body. He commanded Asmodan to stop what he was doing to the doctor and when Danny didn't comply Renault commanded Lily to slap him hard. She looked at him shocked and he told he again and she finally put things together and jumped forward and laid one across his cheek immediately there was a massive red had shaped welt on his face.
Asmodan seemed to snap too, shock on his face. He began to mutter something that sounded like sorry but he didn't have the strength left to him to talk. The screaming doctor fell to the ground beside the bed and Algie began to help the Nurse pull him to a sitting position against the wall beside the door. Then everything was quite.

The nurse finished getting Asmodan taken care of. she moved everyone but the ghost out of the room and bathed and changed the Warlock. she was scared to death to be in the room with him. between Doctor Nagapan's screaming fit and the freezing whatever it was that touched her arm and froze her blue for almost five minutes. Nurse Francine was deciding quickly that she had spent too much time away from church. She had the option of shaving the man before her in the bed but decided that she wanted out of here more than she wanted to look for any sort of bonus check. She checked the IVs again. Made sure that everything was taped down on his arms so that if he moved he wouldn't pull a line loose. She rechecked the leads that connected him to the heart rate monitor and let herself out of the room. Algie had told her how to get to the room downstairs where they would be waiting for her.

It was close to three in the morning when Algie had his driver take the Doctor and the Nurse home. Algie had the most restrictive non disclosure agreement ever written signed by both of them before he brought them to Asmodan's residence and he would have people watching them in case they seemed like they were going to break that agreement. He made sure that Lily had everything she needed made a general farewell for the two who could be in the room that he knew he might not see and headed for the elevator. once he was in the parking lot getting into his personal car he felt an intense cold on his shoulder and froze in place. the sensation sent a shiver down his spine more than the physical one from the ghosts touch.

"Thank you."

Algie nodded and sat down into the car and signaled the driver to take him home.

Monday, September 2, 2013

16 Working towards home

Niath sprung into the air and the long trip back began. As before Asmodan watched faces form in the madness that was the red sea as they passed over it. After some time he decided to try and feel what might be down in the red depths and as he focused on it he noticed that a face began to appear more frequently. It was his face he realized finally. The more he concentrated on the liquid and what might be hiding below its surface the more detailed his face in the frothing churning liquid would become. After a time he began to attempt to focus on doing things to the liquid. It was responsive to his thoughts after all. He began with basic shapes, circles and triangles, squares and rectangles. He would focus until he could see the outline of the shape amid the chaos of the red liquid and then he would drop it and watch the shape disintegrate into a thousand crashing waves.  As they glided from one sheet of heat to another Niath noticed the circle that was beneath her in the water and grew weary thinking that some form of hostile magic was about to be unleashed on her and she began to look for another island to land on to check on her surroundings. The circle vanished and as she kept glancing down she would see the other shapes that the Warlock was practicing with but had no idea it was her cargo that was causing them.  Finally she spotted a place to land and headed for it. It was narrow maybe fifteen feet across at its widest point and it was elliptical in shape tapering off to nothing at its far sides. Once she was down and had let go of the human she began to move about the platform looking all about at the sky and the sea. Asmodan finally had to ask her what was going on.
“As we traveled there were many times when I saw shapes in the sea beneath us several of them were circles. I am making sure that I am not being targeted at least not by anything near us.”
Asmodan smiled to himself and began to focus on the Sea to his left and began to pull into shape the likeness of Niath. She spotted it almost instantly and pointed down at it.
“Look. There!”
Asmodan couldn’t help himself anymore and started laughing at her. Being a demon her initial response to being laughed at by a mortal was to stick him with her tail many times while carving her name and a slew of insults into his flesh while doing other things to him. But she got a handle on herself quickly. He had proven that he was faster than her once already. The Warlock noticed that she was mad at him and apologized. He explained how he noticed that he could affect change on the sea and what she had seen was him practicing with it. He didn’t want to disturb her in flight so didn’t mention it to her. She still wanted to disembowel him for laughing at her but she let it drop. The took the break as a chance to stretch out before they set off again and did not stop until they were well past the coastal edge of Red sea and were far inland.
Once they were clear of the Red sea the Miasma became dense again and they could not see some cliff faces until they were about to slam into them.  Niath was a nimble pilot though and even with her added weight they never actually hit anything. Eventually they stopped at for another break on a ledge set before a cave entrance that seemed semi familiar to the Warlock. He stuck his head inside and was reassured that it was the cave that he thought it was. He could make out the lines on the floor where he had stashed the remains of the two Casaganoth he thought to open it the compartment and check on them and decided instead to check mentally. He sent his mind into the shallow hole and felt the mind he expected as it recoiled from him.  The Warlock thought back to the things that they had done to him and how it recoiled from him in terror now and smiled to himself.
“You enjoy the terror of your victims. You do have some things in common with us.”
Niath pointed out when she noticed the smile on his face. It was just a guess on her part but it was a good one. Asmodan just stared at her blankly for a second as if deciding something. She did not like the detached look in his eye. Mortals don’t get that particular look in their eyes not normal ones. She knew he was working something over in his mind she did feel threatened by it even though she had no idea what it was. Then like a cloud in the breeze the look was gone and the feeling that came with seeing it seemed to pass just a quickly.
“I’m ready to go when you are.”
Niath nodded and moved to pick him up.  Again they were off this time it was maybe only fifteen or twenty minutes until they reached their destination. She placed him on the ground exactly where she had picked him up when their trip began.
“I have a bargain to make with you, a simple one. I want you to take this down into the gathering place down there and trade it or sell it or whatever it is you have to do with it and get me a hooded cloak.”
As he spoke the Warlock began cutting a crystal knife blade from the wall beside him. When he was done he had an Athane fit for a high priest out of the crystal. It had a slightly larger handle than a human would need but he did that to accommodate a larger number of hand sizes that the thing might encounter. It had a long triangular blade and a circular hilt that had two long thin sides that reached out towards the blade of the thing. He carved it to the point of near perfection using his mind to envision what it was to look like and ignoring the mechanical movements of his hands. All total the Item was almost three feet long. It was closer to a gladiator’s sword than a knife for him and Niath but he knew what it was worth to even a common demonic thug if Catabasch’s responses to the crystal work weapons was any indication. Once he was finished with it he held it out for Niath. The Demoness looked from him to the Athane and back to him.
“Only a hooded cloak?”
“If there is an exchange for currency keep whatever change profit there is to be had as payment for your services after returning with the cloak.”
Niath didn’t have to think about this one. She knew the worth of the blade much better than the Warlock thought that he did. She accepted the blade and dived off the side of the cliff for the settlement below. Asmodan sat down and waited, after what felt like half an hour passed he decided that he would try a variation on fishing. He mentally stopped whatever it was that stopped the crystal from glowing in response to his presence. The Warlock then leaned back against the Cliffside and got as comfortable as he could. Not long after he had started his experiment there was a wide circle around him in bright color. It was like he had painted a large bright bull’s-eye and sat himself in the center of it. He was hoping to gain the attention of something out there but the only demon to approach was Niath and she had with her a rolled up piece of purple material and a bag tied at her waist. As she landed she handed him the cloak. He unrolled the thing it was not at all what he had expected when he said hooded cloak.
“What is this?”
He asked as he unrolled the long purple garment. It was a deep purple with Abasseth script in black running up and down it. Asmodan understood some of it, they were wards against types of magic and he saw the word for pierce and hoped that it was a ward against being pierced and not a charm to help make it happen. It had long sleeves that flared out at the ends and a deep hood that came well forward of his face. If he fit his head to the very back of the hood he couldn’t see out of it. All of the trim and hemming was done in dark almost tarnished silver. It was much more than he was looking for. This would get attention he was hoping to move about and have his appearance be ignored. The Warlock glared at the Demoness and she returned the glare with a confused look.
“This is a very fine cloak.”
“It’s flashy I was going for invisible not hey look at the fancy mortal walking around over there.”
“You did not specify what you wanted of what it was for only that you wanted one and I have retrieved for you one of the finest to be found below.”
As he put it on he noticed that the material was heavy and very thick. It was smooth on both sides and fell to his feet with no smoothing out required.
“Is this some kind of leather or something?”
“I am sure it is some sort of demon hide. The color is similar to Imp or Morganoth that has been tanned. Either would make it fire resistant. You should be happy to own such a garment.”
“It’s demon hide? You guys sew with your own skins?”
“Of course not. We take from others. Some make a living of skinning and selling skins. There is no wild life here mortal there are no plants if one wants to eat one eats what is to be had. If one wishes to make something then one uses the materials at hand. That blade that I took with me was one of the only ones like it seen in that market ever. What is normally at hand is bone. Demon bone.”
Niath explained like she was explaining to a child, which was common for her when she was explaining to Asmodan. This human though an adult for its species was in infant in the life span of even a young demon and she explained things accordingly. Asmodan again thought about how unlike his own teacher that was. He decided then that it was another mark against her. Niath was using him for something he just hadn’t figured out what yet. He had the cloak on and turned to her.
“I will not need anything else thank you for fair dealing so far. You should go before I double cross you or in some other fashion stab you in the back.”
“And thus I am dismissed.”
Niath smirked at him and took wing. Once she was up a few feet she turned to look down at him.
“I guess some things are free. As I was leaving there was an Imp carrying a load too large to fly with heading along the ground that way. He had four horns growing in a crown like pattern atop his head. He seemed to be in a hurry.”
“I will choose a favor to repay you with at some future point. Lady Demon.”
With that she was gone. She did not look back. She headed up and away. Once she was sure that she was well out of any range the warlock might have she darted back down towards the far side of the gathering place and went in to spend the remainder of her earnings from the selling of the Athane. She wondered if Asmodan would find the large knife in the belongings of the Imp if he managed to kill the thing, Niath hated Imps. But for more important things she had a sack full of chips and a whole undersea tower to furnish.

Asmodan watched Niath leave for a second and when he was sure she wasn’t going to stop and give him anymore little tidbits he stepped off the side of the cliff and began the slow decent afforded him by his newly learned trick. He was at the floor in a little over two minutes when normally he would have spent what would have been close to forty-five minutes climbing down. Once he was on the valley floor he began a slight jog. His mind he sent as far out as he could to give himself as much forewarning as he could. He knew that he could not take the imp in physical conflict if he got close its tail would end him with venom. He also knew that as far as magic went Imps were the ones you wanted least to run into. It was cultural for them they prided themselves on being some of the most powerful magic users in the Abyss. The Warlock kept his pace and as he was reasoning things out in his head he was deciding that maybe going back would be the better choice. Taking on a few brutes with magic was a simple matter but taking on someone who could in all likelihood bounce back whatever he had to throw at it was a bad idea. His pace had slowed and he was almost at a complete stand still he was considering his chances of bartering for what he needed back at the settlement. Finally he decided it was probably better he went back that way.

Asmodan had just turned around and began to make his way back towards the settlement when he realized what had happened to him. It was so subtle the Imp must have felt him searching and began to work on his resolve. He stopped and turned back around in the direction he was heading to catch up with the little demon. He took a few steps and stopped.
“That was masterful. If my own tutor wasn’t an Imp I might not have ever noticed what you had done. I’d be well on my way towards the meeting place back there.”
“You were trained by one of us? Your master was a simpleton had you been one of mine it would never have worked in the first place.”
“Well I did notice so I guess you are both pretty close in skill.”
Asmodan was thrilled that the Imp was using telepathy he had already learned to use it to focus his mind’s eye and seconds later he knew exactly where the Imp was hiding he could see the space but not the Imp. It was using its invisibility and the trick worked much better in the abyss than it did in the material realm. There was no distortion like heat waves there was absolutely nothing to give it away.
“Maybe we could make a deal.”
“I have made many deals; I do not need to make more deals.” 
“But I need something and you have it and I cannot continue without it.”
“And what is this most important thing that you need and are sure that I have?”
“I need a formless prism gate.”
“Ah you have been misinformed I do not have one of those.”
“Well I have a skull that I acquired. I also have a few horns but you see I am a few short too.”
“You are too short but you cannot make them with bartered horns you have to use horns that you have taken. They need the blood still on them.”
“And here we are. I need to get home I need some more horns to do it and you so I have been told have a few spares on head.”
There was silence and Asmodan was sure that the Imp was putting the situation together in his head.
“I am the Warlock Imp I have a need and if you comply with it I will take favor on you in the future. Volnam has explained to me the station and general standard of life for Imps in the Abyss. I will not have things continue this way for my teachers Caste. I will have what I want one way or another.”
“I know your teacher Warlock. I am amazed that he managed to finally find you. It is a shame that he sent you here without warning you to not cross me.”
Asmodan smiled a little to himself, he knew that for some reason Imps ended up with ridiculous sounding names. They were all self-named. Most demons took a name for themselves and over time as they established themselves gained their truer names true names took a very long lived demon to establish which is why they were the ones that got abused in the material realm if a mortal actually stumbled upon one. Asmodan kept smiling as he finally asked.
“And who is it that I am about to cross?”
“I am Pipzic!”
The Imp declared with all the power and might that a four foot tall winged rodent could muster. Asmodan noted that his physical voice was much squeakier than Volnam’s. Asmodan was sure there would be some sort of an attack with the declaration he would use the pride he had in himself to give a little extra umph to whatever attack he decided on.  It did come as expected as he yelled his name the Imp dropped his invisibility spell and apparently a sac that was a little larger than he was and pointed two fingers on his right hand at the Warlock. There was a second’s pause as the purplish light built and then Asmodan was diving to the side out of the way of the blast of dark lightning. The Warlock was being pressed hard he had hardly had his feet before he was diving again it wasn’t something he was good at and the solid ground was starting to beat at him as he dived dodged and rolled to avoid a small lightning storm that was being thrown his way. When Asmodan was sitting there listening to Volnam go on and on about magical combat he pictured his first battle to be more of a give and take exchange until one of them give in or died. He did not see it as him dodging and rolling around on the ground like a kid in a bouncy castle. He was glade that Volnam wasn’t watching the Imp would probably laugh at him.
“So this is the great Warlock? The student of Volnam? Rolling around on the ground to save his life. Hey is that the cloak I sold to the Succubus?”
There was a pause as he asked. Asmodan did not wait for the Imp to start up again, he had been hoping for something like this. At once he began his counter attack. As soon as he was up on one knee he began his small fire in the Imps mind as soon as it was there he threw a kind of quick shot of the black energy he had grown so comfortable with. As soon as the ball of dark power was in the air he waved his hand and splashed a massive wave of liquid fire at the Imp. As the mind fire started the Imp began to laugh. It seemed like he was about to begin to taunt again but he must have made the novice mistake of closing his eyes to deal with the mental flare because there was a scream as the ball of Dark energy hit him. The liquid fire splashed on and around him but seemed to hang in the air as it struck whatever barrier he got into place.
Asmodan stood and began to send volley after volley of Dark energy into the shield. He didn’t know what the Imp was using to power it or how long it would hold but he was in the embrace of the Miasma again and he was in love with it the cold power flowed over every inch of his body and seeped into his soul washing and invigorating it. Finally he decided that throwing one blast after another was not making enough headway and instead decided to try a page from a favorite video characters playbook and he slammed both of his wrists together with his palms facing outward and his fingers slightly curled and mentally he created a circle the diameter of his fingertips and that circle he filled with his Dark energy and when it couldn’t hold anymore he allowed the power to break loose on the side away from him. Once the power had broken loose and the rough edged blast of power came tearing out Asmodan just opened himself to the power and became its conduit.  The raw power of the abyss filtered and refined as it moved through the Warlock as it transformed from something that just was and had always been into something that he wanted it to be. Pipzic screamed something but the Warlock missed what it was at first the Imp screamed again and this time Asmodan focused enough to hear it. The Imp was still inside his dome but begging the Warlock to stop and that a deal would be made. Asmodan didn’t want the Imp holding any delusions that he still had a chance and kept on his deluge of power until the shield shattered in an explosion of red sparks and the blast caught the Imp and slammed him into the Cliff wall. Before the Imp could recover Asmodan darted forward and had one foot on the Imps tail which he then burnt off. He held his hand over the nasty little poison dispensary and let liquid fire poor down onto it. The Imp cried out but did nothing else to stop it.
“Ah… master Pipzic was it? That was wonderful and I thank you for it. You have just shown me a powerful lesson. I will reward you for it.”
The burnt, smashed and partially blown up Imp looked up at him. Dread in his eyes. Asmodan pictured Volnam with the same look and realized that this was the lot of most Imps in the abyss. How shameful it would be for this imp he had just been beaten with magic by a human. As Asmodan looked the Imp over he noticed that the two horns on the right side of his head had actually been smashed off against the cliff in the impact from the… he didn’t know a name for what he did but he was damn sure he was going to come up with a cool one for it. He felt great he was riding some kind of high he had to be. But it was more than a mental high, his body felt great all the bumps and bruises that he had picked up avoiding the lightning were gone.  Finally the Imp spoke up.
As he reached down and picked up the horns he had located on the ground.
“I will be preforming a ritual in the future. When the time comes for me to preform it I will contact you and bring you into the material sphere to help with it. If everything goes as I want it to. Then when the ritual is finished as long as you vow to not cause harm to any humans I will look the other way if you were to head off into the world instead of go back with the others. Would you vow not to harm humans and help with a successful ritual in exchange for a chance to roam free?”
The Imp was silent aside from the occasional gasp of pain. Then he finally answered.
“That is not a reward that is a bargain for a service.”
“So the answer is no then?”
“The answer is yes I am fine at ritual I will probably find any mistakes that you will make before you make them. Humans are horrible at ritual you have the patience and focus of…”
He didn’t finish the insult he remembered where he was and what had happened a few heartbeats ago. The Imp stared at the Warlock, waiting.
“OK then your reward is this I’m sure you know that I can pretty much do what I want with you at the moment. I just totally kicked your ass, and you never landed a spell on me. You have been completely shamed by a human. Your reward is that you can go and keep your stuff although I am sure you have trinkets in that bag that I would enjoy getting my hands on. I’m keeping the horns I knocked them off your head fairly enough. OK you can head out.”
With that Asmodan headed off towards the opposite cliff this was a wider section of the floor and it took him a few minutes to get to it. Once there he began his lift to the top. He found that since when levitating it generally took him in a straight up or down manner. And since most of the cliff walls were tilted slightly he now and then had to step out onto the wall and begin again so that he didn’t reach the top and find himself ten feet from the edge. It took him much less time to make his way back to the cave than it had to find the gathering place the first time.

Asmodan stepped out of the air and onto the ledge that served as the caves front porch. He entered and moved to the bar that was keeping the remains of his Casaganoth trophies in check and pulled them out. The one that was still alive began to spasm and push away from the Warlock when it realized it was him. The dead on was dead so it didn’t do anything at all. He gathered the horns propped the body of the still living one up against the wall and together they unwillingly went over the process of building Asmodan’s way home in great detail. As they concluded the Warlock went about forming a few tools from the wall of the cave. A knife that was very similar to a scalpel and a very fine toothed saw. Once he was finished he turned back to the mutilated goat man and smiled.