Chapter 2 - The Deceiver
The demons sat around an enormous, heavy-looking, fire-red table, centered within a stonewalled chamber dimly lit by lanterns hanging throughout. The fallen angels waited for a meeting called by Zephon, the crazed, disfigured henchman of the Deceiver, Lucifer’s second-in-command.
“So what is this all about?” asked the demon sitting across from Zephon.
“The M-Master has called a meeting,” replied Zephon, fidgeting in his chair, “what else is there to know? We will learn s-s-soon enough, Murmux.”
“I find it peculiar,” intoned Murmux, “that the Master has assembled us in this…manner.”
“The M-Master does what he pleases,” retorted Zephon, his head now twitching as he scratched at eons-old scars on his neck.
“Indeed,” said Murmux dryly.
Appearing at the table’s head was none other than Lucifer himself. With legs crossed and hands touching at claw tips, he was dressed in a flaming-red body suit and was a frightening sight to behold. More than two meters tall and as wide as a large gorilla, his wing span added another meter in each direction. And his face, it looked as most would imagine: Large and oval, a pointy goatee, and fiery-red eyes, the whole look topped off with two slightly curved horns protruding from his head and a short crop of dark-red hair. The Deceiver also sported a fully muscular body – large biceps, washboard abdomen, and strong looking legs. Although he was able to change his appearance to look as anything, this was the one he preferred. It seemed to intimidate the damned more, and anything to that end he enjoyed.
“Hello my advisors, I hope I haven’t kept you waiting too long,” said Lucifer insincerely.
The Deceiver then carefully looked at the reaction of each henchman. Zephon as usual sat restlessly on Lucifer’s right-hand side. Not the smartest of his advisors but certainly the most loyal. Too bad that even for a demon it was disgusting to look at. The demon’s scarred body and mutilated face were the result of a thwarted attempt to burn Heaven; the charred and blackened bumps on his forehead were a constant reminder of the failed try and only added to the demented appearance of his burned face. On Lucifer’s left-hand side sat Murmux, his third-in-command, and the one demon he trusted the least. Always portraying himself in expensive suits and shoes this appearance added to his well-spoken and calm demeanor, the whole package of which charmed many of the demons in Dis . Murmux looked irritated at having to wait and this brought a smile to Lucifer’s face. Next to Murmux sat Gremory, a high-demon the Deceiver wanted present at this meeting. Although Gremory spoke little, he reacted violently when needed – a quality that Lucifer approves in his demons. Plainly dressed in a black toga, Gremory’s leathery wings were torn with holes from eons of battles with angels and humans. This demon’s expression was one of patience as he sat silently waiting for orders to perform.
“The time has come, my minions,” said Lucifer, pulling his chair closer to the table.
“Ah, for what m-my Master?” Zephon questioned, twitching.
“I sense the Father as being…distracted,” said Lucifer. “So much so I know the time is right, it is here, finally.”
“D-distracted?” Zephon asked. “In wh-what way?”
“More notably my dear Zephon,” interjected Murmux, eyeing the Deceiver over clasped hands, “distracted for what intention?”
Lucifer let the question hang for a few, silent moments. After sitting back in his chair evenly, he said, “The time has come to destroy Par Amor. To wipe it from existence and then take Heaven as our own. My own.”
“Ah, y-y-yes, my Master,” stammered Zephon, as he twitched crazily at the announcement. “When do we b-b-begin, oh Deceiver-of-the-World? Please allow m-me to go.” The demon then madly scratched himself all-over.
“Master, what do you require from me?” said Gremory, his face became serious, darker.
“I need one demon under your command,” replied Lucifer, “to run an errand for us. Choose one, anyone you might find expendable, even to the true-death.”
“Please Master,” said Gremory quietly, “let me think of one.”
“And while he does that,” said Murmux, brushing nonexistent lint from his cuffs, “how do you anticipate getting into Par Amor? ‘To wipe it from existence’ as you proclaimed.”
“Don’t worry,” simpered Lucifer, “I won’t be sending you to ruin the suits you love so much.”
Murmux replied by slowly leaning back; a glare was veiled on his demonic face.
“Master,” said Gremory, “I have a demon in mind. May I summon him for you?”
“Yes, do it now.” Lucifer ordered.
After a deliberate flourish of clawed hand and muscled arm, Gremory exclaimed, “Appear!”
A puff of air blew through the room and instantly a sickly-looking, hunched demon appeared at the opposite end of the big table. The demon startled after emerging, acting jumpy while quickly scanning the new surroundings. As it realized who was in the room, he ran toward Gremory and groveled.
“Most high-demon, I’m not worthy to be in the presence of our high and evil Master. What could you possibly want with me, here?”
“This is the best you could summon?” Murmux asked snobbishly.
“This low-demon meets what the Master asked for,” retorted Gremory.
“That’s enough,” said Lucifer, although secretly agreeing with the appraisal. Focusing on the hunched creature, he added, “Come here low-demon, closer to me.”
The low-demon cautiously walked around the table, as he reached the Deceiver he said, “My name is—”
“Silence!” thundered Lucifer. “I will ask for your name when I want it! Now come, closer.”
Reaching the massive chair holding Lucifer, the low-demon trembled uncontrollably. Lucifer then pushed from the table violently, causing his chair to fly and come apart at the wall. In one grand motion the Deceiver towered over the low-demon, massive, bat-like wings outstretched. It appeared as though Lucifer was about to harm the smaller and weaker demon, even Zephon anticipated something as he wiggled in his chair and painfully scratched at his face.
“Listen very carefully,” growled Lucifer, “I have a mission for you.” The Deceiver lifted an open palm and at the same moment the hunched creature began to have trouble breathing. “You will go to Par Amor and look for a way to get through their walls or past their gates. Once inside, commit to memory everything you see and report back. Oh, and one more thing…” Lucifer looked down at the choking demon and added, “Do not get caught. Understood?” Lucifer dropped his hand and the demon then dropped to his knees, coughing and gasping for air.
“Well,” pressed Lucifer. “Do you understand?”
“Perfectly,” coughed the low-demon.
“Good, very good,” said Lucifer. He made a twirling motion with an outstretched finger and his chair replaced itself at the head of the table. “Now be gone.”
The low-demon vanished.
Zephon cackled and scratched as Lucifer took the time to sit back down. Meanwhile, Murmux shook his head slightly and had his doubts.
“Do you actually believe that pitiable thing will achieve the task?”
Lucifer smirked and shook his head, “Do you hear that Gremory? He doesn’t think you picked the right demon for the job.” He turned to his right smiling, and added, “Do you know what that means, Zeph?”
“Ah, M-M-Master,” replied Zephon nodding wildly, eyelids tightly closed, “I do know. I just c-c-can’t remember the word. It is-is—”
“Relax my most trusted,” said the Deceiver, his expression then soured turning back to his left. “What you lack dear Murmux is faith. You do remember about faith, don’t you? Just try to have a little, for a change, and remember your place within this kingdom.”
Murmux clasped his hands slowly and leaned on the desk, the nattily dressed demon then said, “Forgive me for my lack of faith my Master. I will try to…have more. And I do know my place, King of Darkness. It is to serve you.” He bowed his head and opened his arms in forgiveness.
The Deceiver pursed his lips, Murmux’s apologies never sounded very genuine or convincing. Lucifer shrugged it off and once again stood, this time deliberately. The high-demons knew this meant the meeting was over and rose quickly in response.
“We will now wait for the low-demon to return,” said Lucifer imperially. “And when he does, I will know exactly how to destroy Par Amor and claim my rightful throne in Heaven.”