A powerful sorceress with blood laced in gold sevenfold shall determine the fate of the world.
The ancient man’s white head was bent very low as his eyes scanned the scroll again. Fawn’s destiny had been appointed at her birth, but the girl’s mother had never spoken to her about it.
He had done his best to conceal her identity, but now that her powers had emerged, he would not be able to hide her existence from the Supernaturals for much longer.
There was a crash outside, disrupting the calm silence. Metal clattered to the white marble floor.
He’s early, he mused. After sending the parchment back to its hiding place, he signaled the guards to exit. Dusting off his white suit, he stood, using his ivory cane for support as he walked up the marble stairs to his golden throne.
The doors burst open, and a draft strong enough to pick any mortal off the ground howled through the hall. The man from Fawn’s dream strode in with his head held high. Insolence surrounded him like an ornate cloak. He had raven hair, eyes to match, and wore an immaculate leather ensemble. His presence consumed light like a walking black hole. His boots loudly pounded the marble floor. It was the only sound in the hall, and it was loud enough to wake the dead.
The elder nodded in salutation. “Hello, Lucifer.”
“Hello, God—or should I say Father?” the fallen angel spat, his lips pursing like he had tasted something rancid. “I’m hurt you destroyed my quarters, but I like the other renovations you’ve made since I left—”
“You were thrown out,” God said, like an elementary teacher correcting a minor mistake instead of a complete falsehood. There was no use in getting upset. His son would always downplay the truth.
Lucifer shrugged. “Same difference.”
God rose and came to a halt mere inches away from the visitor, his cane forgotten at his throne. He stood tall, not in a menacing way, but his posture commanded respect. Even Lucifer had enough sense to retreat a few steps. The walls seemed to waver as his deep voice rumbled through the hall. “I know why you’re here, and the answer is no.”
Lucifer placed his hand over his heart, “How you judge me, Father. I am not going to demand anything. I’m not the spoiled youth I used to be. I’ve changed.”
“You’re just as impertinent now as you were back then. Just because I have not stopped you at every turn does not mean I am oblivious to all your shady schemes. Do not forget, Lucifer, everything you do is still part of a bigger plan.”
His son straightened his spine. “Then you must already know I want to make a deal.”
“Of course you do.” His delinquent son was always preying on desperate souls. “Why else would you be here? Certainly not to ask how your father is doing.”
“I don’t see the point in exchanging trite pleasantries, and pretending there’s anything to worry about.” God was about to protest, but Lucifer interrupted. “Fawn Belgrave is the one, is she not?”
Unfortunately, the intensity of Fawn’s powers had begun to shred the protective veil the month before. God had hoped no one would notice, but Lucifer had already been searching for her—and now that she had been revealed, he could set his wicked plan in motion.
“I hope she’s careful.” God could see the corrupt amusement lurking in his son’s gaze. “All that power can be very tempting. I’m sure you remember the last time a seventh generation witch got drunk on power…”
Morgan le Fay had destroyed Camelot. God had then rendered sixth generation witches infertile, but he knew the Chosen One would override that. To his chagrin, there were things even he could not control. “Do not trifle with me. Or do I need to remind you the reason you were cast out in the first place?”
Lucifer’s anger boiled beneath his calm veneer, but he kept his voice strong and strictly business. “Let’s make a bet. If Fawn abuses her power or sins as she learns magic, she becomes mine to exploit.”
God frowned. He, himself, had declared it a sin to make deals with his son, and here he was tempted to do just that. There was now the potential for Fawn to be led astray, and he knew his son would stop at nothing to harness her power for evil. He would yield to this bargain to protect the world.
Lucifer was growing impatient, his coal eyes igniting into smoldering red embers, finally settling into a fiery red. “I do believe we’re talking about the fate of the world here. Do we have a deal?”
“If she remains pure, she will stay in my heavenly domain and you can never meddle in her affairs.”
“There are some rules. I can send any temptations to persuade her and—so can you,” Lucifer begrudgingly added. “We can speak to our own pawn but under no circumstances are we allowed access to the other’s champion.” After two hundred years, Caleb had yet to fail him on a mission, but a sudden change of heart would hinder all efforts to win Fawn.
“If you are considering using the boy,” God interrupted, “I will add that if he becomes pure, in any way, he will be freed from his contract with you.”
If God could save Caleb in this bargain, stripping Lucifer of his right-hand man, not only would he have redeemed one soul, but also saved countless others from his son’s manipulations. “I will give you as much time as you need to think this over. Know what you are getting into, my son.”
Lucifer stiffened at the term of endearment. It had been so long since he had been called that, but it was too late for his father to soften him up with memories. His gaze wandered aimlessly as he considered the demands. At any moment he could lose everything—and he already knew what that felt like. But if he won this deal, his gain would be ten times worth the risk. He needed to succeed. If he did not, he knew the demons and fallen angels would literally raise Hell.
He internally scoffed. His fellow Hellions acted as if he had forgotten what it felt like to be cast out of Heaven, but he remembered it clearly and would never forget. They were just scared God would crack down harder on them if the mission failed, and demanded he ensure success. How dare they doubt his abilities? Lucifer could feel his anger boiling in his solar plexus. He inhaled deeply. I will win this.
He looked his father straight in the eye: “Deal.” They shook hands. Thunder and lightning raged outside and the Earth was plunged into darkness for twenty-four hours.
Caleb had just returned from a three-month trip to England. He had been tasked with breaking the engagement of a nobleman’s daughter. While the acting was not difficult, he found her rants grating. Her elitist behavior had almost made him snap on multiple occasions. Appeasing a brat was not fun, but at least it was over.
A knock sounded. Caleb magically waved the door open to reveal Ivan standing with his arms crossed. He saw the infernal crimson light pouring into the stone courtyard. “He’d like to see you,” the guard tonelessly announced. “You’ve got another mission. I hear it’s in New York City this time.”
“I just got back from one. Tell him I’m too tired.” Caleb called without moving from his bed.
“You know I can’t. Besides, do not act like you didn’t enjoy yourself at least a little bit.”
An image of the girl sprawled beneath him came to mind. Caleb swallowed his disgust and quickly shoved the memory away. He ignored Ivan’s vulgar suggestion and pressed forward, “Can’t or won’t?”
“I would like to keep my position as Lucifer’s Captain of the Guard. Does that answer your question?”
“You’re a horrible person.”
“They didn’t call me Ivan the Terrible for nothing. There was truth in that reputation.”
Caleb straightened his black t-shirt and his dark wash jeans before walking to the throne room. He snorted, as if he did not already know the way by heart. On their way, another guard joined them.
“How’d the mission go?” he asked.
“Fine, as always.”
“How was she?”
“I’ll share once you tell me what you were thinking with those six wives of yours. Getting in between those Boleyn sisters? Now that’s just sadistic.”
Henry shrugged. “It’s no worse than what you’re doing.”
“Actually, it is, because I’m just following orders, not indulging in depraved behavior.”
“Shut up,” Ivan snapped. “We’re here.”
Lucifer sat on a black iron throne, surrounded by flames and broken skeletons. Caleb folded his black wings and stood as frozen as the rest of the room. One would think Hell was a fire pit—and it was in some places, especially when Lucifer got angry—but it was just extreme conditions, hot or cold without anything in between.
Caleb wrinkled his nose at the sulfuric stench that wafted towards him. Lucifer needed to clean the place up—or at least move the corpses into a vault where no one could smell the rotting flesh. The drastic fluctuations in temperature did nothing to help the matter. It only sped up the decaying process.
Lucifer stared down at him. “I need you to befriend a girl on Earth. A witch, actually.”
To do what? And how far would he have to go with the girl this time?
When he had first started, seducing girls sounded like the best thing in the world, but after the first hundred assignments or so, it got tedious. Sure, he used to take delight in wooing them, or making them jealously fight over him, but now it was only a matter of business. It was boring.
He could only imagine his mother shaking her head at him. She had taught him that intimacy was the most sacred earthly experience, and now it was just a commodity to him.
As the years went by, girls became braver and more outspoken, which was attractive until some became self-entitled princesses. And though he had never dealt with a witch before, if she was like any of the other girls with whom he had worked, he would be subjected to constant tantrums, something he did not enjoy in the slightest.
Caleb tried to keep his voice uninterested. “Why?”
“Because I made a deal with my old man and you’re going to help me win.”
Caleb knew he had to do whatever Lucifer wanted because of their damned contract, but deliberately putting his head on the chopping block was not part of the deal. “There’s no way I’m putting myself in that crossfire. It’s suicide,” Caleb insisted, dragging out the last word through clenched teeth.
“But you won’t be. It’s all part of the deal,” Lucifer announced cheerfully as if that solved everything.
Caleb still kept his eyes on the floor, sulking. The contract never mentioned that he would be risking his neck by getting in between the two most powerful figures in the universe. Caleb’s cold silence made Lucifer more impatient. “Look at me!” The fire pits blazed as the flames climbed toward the ceiling, turning blue in the process. He was furious.
But so was Caleb. He raised his head, his violet eyes ablaze. “I want no part in it.”
The infernos shrank as a new idea occurred to Lucifer. “Even for your freedom?” He would not tell Caleb that he could also free himself by choosing the Light. No, he would keep the boy ignorant, making him think that his only hope was to agree to Lucifer’s terms.
For a second, Caleb hesitated, before shaking his head, “I have nothing to go back to. My family died two hundred years ago—right after I made my deal with you.” His eyes narrowed.
“Don’t look at me like that, I followed through on my promise: your mother’s immortality in exchange for your eternal servitude—”
“You turned her into a statue!”
“Immortality! No one can escape death—except for angels, that is.”
“Then why didn’t you turn her into an angel?”
“Because I couldn’t!” Lucifer slammed his fists into the arms of his throne with enough force to create an earthquake. “Don’t you get that? I can only create dark angels and demons thanks to my Father—and only then if they personally agree to a contract.” He exhaled. “Now, about your assignment…”
Caleb breathed heavily, weighing his choices: do what Lucifer wanted in exchange for his freedom or... what? Nothing could get worse than it already was. “What exactly would you have me do?”
A triumphant smile spread across Lucifer’s hardened features. He had Caleb on board; now all he had to do was wait for the boy to deliver the little witch to his doorstep and he would be one step closer to amassing the power he needed to take back his birthright.
“Magic in itself is never good or evil. Your job is to corrupt her, or better yet, agree to serve me. I’ll leave it up to your imagination, but a broken heart can drive one over the edge.”
Caleb nodded and began walking away, but Lucifer continued. “Your assignment won’t begin until she’s in college because she is under constant supervision with a vigilant mother and an overprotective twin brother.”
“No father?” Caleb interrupted.
“He died before she was born. Now let me finish. Despite the waiting period, I need you to start planning now. This mission cannot fail, and when the time comes, Fawn will be your only project. You can go now.”
Caleb nodded and took his leave. He was particularly anxious to get started, knowing this assignment could change his life. I could use her file now, Caleb thought impatiently.
Quit complaining, Lucifer snapped in reply, I have been busy. A silver binder appeared on the desk.
Wooing her would be the best course of action. He just had to meet her and personally assess what type of approach he would take.
It would be best to start out as a jerk, and if she did not like that persona, he could become the “misunderstood bad boy with a soft side” cliché that literature had been propagating for centuries. None of his assignments ever thought about the possibility of being ruined by a dark angel, but that was their mistake.
He pulled the picture of his family out from under his pillow and propped it up on his desk. We’ll be reunited again if it’s the last thing I do, he promised.