Author Topic: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"  (Read 1763 times)

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Offline sully

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The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« on: September 30, 2019, 09:04:49 AM »
Johnny walked casually through the mid-day sun, flicking peanuts into his mouth as he scanned the crowd around him He was clad in a black silk suit with a dark maroon color undershirt and his fiddle strapped to his back. His hair was neatly pulled back and his facial hair had been washed and combed. 40 years trapped in hell and the thing he'd missed the most was being clean and well dressed. He shuddered at the mere thought of Beleth and her Symphony of Pain. Pushing aside those thoughts for the moment, Johnny turned his attention back to the street.

People milled about, citizens of the City and those from the neighboring city blended together this close to the border. Most seemed content, the weather being a pleasant fall day with no rain or bad weather insight and the weekend on the horizon. Johnny became bored of this rather quickly and decided to spice things up. He began to whistle a incoherent tune of variable pitches, that spread out from him in a large circle. While no one would have been able to pinpoint the person producing the sound, all began to feel frustrated and anxious as the annoying tune bore into their ears. Some began to bicker with one another, others tried to pass those in front of them by shoving them aside. From a couple feet behind him, Johnny heard the delightful sounds of a scuffle breaking out between two men. A dark twisted smile crossed his face as the sounds of the fight intensified, with a few onlookers screaming their support for either fighter. God I missed humans...

Leaving the fight behind, Johnny strolled for a few more blocks before arriving at his destination. The large concrete walls, iron spikes, and intense surveillance remained him of the military compounds he had visited during his ASO tours. It didn't strike fear in him, but he did feel a little apprehensive about the idea of entering such a confined space. Johnny had only just gotten back his freedom and the last thing he wanted was to be trapped in another demon's prison. But Beleth had made his job and the consequences for failing to complete it crystal clear. He had no choice but to enter. Stepping in front of the lens of the security camera, Johnny cocked his eye to the unseen viewer and waited for the door to open.

After a few moments a buzzer sounded and the gate unlocked. Johnny shot the camera a semi-mocking salute and stepped through. Entering the foyer, Johnny reverted to his demonic form, his hair burning away and his skin becoming dark maroon, the same shade as his undershirt. He reached into his suit jacket and pulled out a worn red painted pipe already filled with tobacco. Pulling out a thing of matches and lighting the pipe, Johnny strolled over to the front desk. A young female shadow demon sat behind the desk, continuing to type on her keyboard as she met Johnny's eye. "Do you have an appointment, sir?" Johnny shot her a toothy grin and replied "Of course darlin. Here to see the big boss. Name's Johnny." The demon turned back to her computer and spent a few moments searching through the calendar. She turned back to him, regarding him suspiciously. "Doesn't look like you're on the calendar, sir." Fucking bitch... Johnny thought to himself. "Try Beleth..." Turning back to the computer, the demon scrolled one last time and exclaimed "Oh! Yes, "emissary of Beleth" right here. Sorry love, they didn't leave your name." "I'm aware" Johnny replied coldly.

A bit taken aback by Johnny's curt tone, she gestured toward the seating area. "Please have a seat sir. You'll be seen in a moment." Johnny nodded his thanks and moseyed on over to an empty armchair, collapsing with a humpf on the cushions. Johnny chomped the end of his pipe and waited, mulling over the different ways to further cuss out Beleth in his mind.
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods - Neil Gaiman

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King

Alistair - The Demonologist
Archie - The Watchmaker
Butler - The Eloquent Thug
Eva - The Viper
Johnny - The Fiddle Player
Royce - The Party Boy

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2019, 06:50:34 AM »
No more than three minutes past before the elevator along the back wall of the Receiving area opened, releasing a nondescript pair of demons heading toward the exit.  A towering shadow demon followed shortly behind with neatly folded wings, his path headed directly for the ruddy sharp-dressed demon in the armchair. 

"Emissary of Beleth?"  He waited for Johnny to stand.  "This way, please."  He turned and led Johnny past the front desk, past the massive center glass column, coming to a stop at the elevator doors.  After the scanned card-key opened the doors, the shadow demon stepped in and pressed the button for the second floor.  The demon spent short descent to the second floor in silence, speaking only when the elevator stopped.

"Last door at the end of the hall."  He stated, doors sliding open to reveal a long hallway with a total of thirteen doors.  The largest of these led to Zeus' office, and it was open a crack.  The moment Johnny stepped out of the elevator, the doors slid closed, leaving him alone in the hallway.

Chtahzus'aak waited at his desk, finishing up some quick notes about his last meeting.  He was dressed in neat black pants and a grey suit jacket.  The only sound in the office beside the tapping at his keyboard was the enthusiastic crackling of the fireplace.  He heard Johnny's footfalls as he approached the end of the hall, and Zeus rose from his desk as soon as Johnny reached the door. 

"Come in," Zeus called, taking a few quick steps to meet the other demon in the middle of his office with an outstretched hand.  "Johnny, please sit."  He motioned to the chairs in front of the desk as he walked back toward his own office chair.  "Drink?"  He offered, hand poised to open the bottom drawer of his desk.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline sully

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2019, 04:47:45 AM »
Johnny gazed wearily at Zeus' outstretched hand, keenly aware of what a hand shake meant in his line of work. But Beleth had made it clear he needed to be on his best behavior or it was back to the Symphony of Pain for him. So he reached out and accepted the demon leader's hand, giving it one good shake before breaking away. He nodded at Zeus when he offered him a seat and landed with a humpf on the closest seat. Taking the pipe from his mouth, he sprinkled a little more tobacco from his pocket and lit it, taking a deep drag and blowing it behind him, making a point to not blow it in Zeus face.

At the offer of a drink, Johnny sat up right in his seat and replied "Only if ya got whiskey... sir..." The sir tasted disgusting on his tongue. He honestly wasn't sure if he'd ever said it without at least a drop of sarcasm. Oh how things change...

Johnny accepted the drink offered to him and said "Nice place ya got here. Not just this bunker, but this whole district. Not many of these types of places when I was last on this plane. You must be proud of your accomplishment." He took a swig of the whiskey, draining half the glass while he waited for Zeus to reply.
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods - Neil Gaiman

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King

Alistair - The Demonologist
Archie - The Watchmaker
Butler - The Eloquent Thug
Eva - The Viper
Johnny - The Fiddle Player
Royce - The Party Boy

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2019, 05:36:48 AM »
Zeus raised an eyebrow at the sir and dismissed it with a casual wave, acknowledging the uncomfortable tone beneath the word.  While shows of respect were something he'd come to expect, honorifics were not required.  A smile played on his lips as he pulled the Johnnie Walker and glasses from his drawer.  His mind flitted to Zoheret and her reaction to his alternate whiskey selection.  Would he be perpetually cursed with ironic whiskey-drinking?

He left the bottle out on his desk after passing Johnny the glass.

"It is a work in progress," he replied diplomatically after a modest mouthful, not feeling it necessary to take credit for something left unfinished.  Chtahzus'aak leaned heavily against the back of the chair, taking a short moment to assess the demon before him.  This so-called Emissary of Beleth.  Zeus had dealings with several kings of the Hell-planes and Beleth was nothing to shrug at.  He was wary of this meeting, unsure of what to make of possible motives.

If Beleth intended to seek passage to this plane to cause chaos in the city, that was not something Chtahzus'aak was willing to grant.

Perhaps this meeting was about something else - at least he sincerely hoped so.  The shadow demon wasn't sure he wanted to deal with more than one threatening entity's summoning looming over the city.  Let alone, putting himself in Beleth's crosshairs. 

He could deal with it, but it would be messy.

"What brought you to this city?  Or are you just passing through?"  His tone was casual and conversational, expression reading nothing but interested.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline sully

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 02:59:41 AM »
Johnny payed little attention to Zeus' reply to his question, preferring to focus his attention on the glass of whiskey, which he downed in one gulp. There was no whiskey where he'd been and he still missed the taste dearly. He eyed the bottle, but decided against asking for more, at least for the moment. Johnny wasn't one for politics, finding much more pleasure in undermining those who sought it for power. But the tables had turned and now he had to play the role of ambassador between that bitch and this "important" district leader. And he couldn't go and make of mess of things already. At least not until Johnny felt it was safe to do so...

Johnny locked eyes with Zeus as the latter finished asking his questions. He took another deep puff from his pipe and replied "Well now that's the issue right there and why Beleth made of a point of me meetin' you as soon as I got back on this plane. Now she's been lovin' what you've done with this place. And she's expressed interest to me about getting a slice of it for herself. Not to undermine you, by the by, no sir. She respects you and the work you've been doin'." His throat now parched, Johnny reached out and poured himself another glass of whiskey, sipping on it as he continued. "Now, she's willing to offer you some help and assistance as needed. Whatever you want, it's yours. A most generous offer, I might add, not one she'd throw around lightly. But it would require you to be ok with a certain matter of... her summoning..." Johnny's razor sharp teeth glistened in the light of the fire as he smiled at Zeus. Obviously there was more he wanted to say, but Johnny waited to see his little introduction had gone over.
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods - Neil Gaiman

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King

Alistair - The Demonologist
Archie - The Watchmaker
Butler - The Eloquent Thug
Eva - The Viper
Johnny - The Fiddle Player
Royce - The Party Boy

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2019, 01:59:56 AM »
If there had been an inch of him that remained unguarded, that was quickly amended now. 

It was curious to him that king of a Hellplane would take any note of the mundane running of a city district.  More likely, it was his position in the power structure of this city that was advantageous for one seeking passage into this plane.  That a demon would seek out another demon for an alliance was an obvious move.  The leylines that existed in the city were sectors of interest, surely.  There were many objects of power concentrated in this city and many opportunities for accumulating more should one with ambition and ability seek them out.

Chtahus'aak was wary.  Demon kings played games of favors and he was not ignorant of the implications - and risks - of Beleth's generous offer.  Beleth's Bards were problematic enough on their own, nevermind the Grand Maestro themself.  Better to let chaos be contained in remote villages where accounts could more easily be dismissed as superstition and mass hallucinations.  It was trickier to do in a city like this, everything was different now with cellphones and social media.  There were rules.

With his careful expression thinly veiled by interest, he silently let out measured exhale through his nose. 

"What would that entail?"  It was not a refusal or agreement, but his tone suggested an openness.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline sully

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 12:34:58 PM »
Johnny replied with a shrug and said “For now? Nothin’. I still gotta find the means by which to summon my ‘illustrious’ mistress.” The last few words dropped with sarcasm, making it clear how Johnny felt towards his demon king. Downing the last of his whiskey and pouring himself another glass, Johnny began to stroll around the room listlessly. His feet fell with perfect rhythm to the words flowing from his lips. “For now, all I need is free reign of your fine district and any leads you might have on any artifacts or spells that could bring Beleth to this plane. I’d also appreciate any assistance you could provide obtaining these items from their current owners. Once I have a way to summon Beleth, we can discuss what that exactly entails.” Johnny stopped in the center of the room, now drinking straight from the bottle of whiskey.

“Do we have a deal or -“ Johnny stopped speaking suddenly, listening intently to something near his right ear. “You said you’d let me handle this... Yes and I thank you my king for allowing me the duty of your negotiator...” Johnny replied to the unheard voice, his razor sharp teeth clenched more and more as he continued to listen. He grew quiet for a few moments and then his face drained of color, his mouth lay agape. “You... you can’t be serious... this guy?! This fucking guy?... I just got back to Earth and now I gotta work for him?” As Johnny finished his terrified obstinance, he aggressively flinched as if a gun had gone off next to his ear. “I... I understand.” Johnny said flatly, hands tightened into fists, his long nails cutting shallow wounds on his palms.

Johnny stepped toward Zeus and reached into his jacket pocket. Pausing for a moment, his whole body shaking slightly, Johnny stuck out his hand and offered Zeus a letter. The paper was crisp and porcelain white. It was closed by a bright red wax seal in the design of a series of musical notes. Through gritted teeth Johnny said “In return for your help, Beleth would like to offer my contract as collateral. I am to... serve you in whatever you desire. She would like to guarantee that you can trust me to act in accordance with your district rules.” Johnny’s eyes were glued to the ceiling as he drained the last of the whiskey from the bottle.
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods - Neil Gaiman

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King

Alistair - The Demonologist
Archie - The Watchmaker
Butler - The Eloquent Thug
Eva - The Viper
Johnny - The Fiddle Player
Royce - The Party Boy

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2019, 02:37:29 AM »
Chtahzus'aak's mouth twitched slightly as if to form a frown but quickly changing its mind.  He would not agree to each term laid out, but that was not the nature of a negotiation.  What he wanted to discover were Beleth's intentions on this plane, in this city.  If it was chaos all fingers would point toward him, and that was unacceptable.  Whether or not he could determine the demon King's motive while having a conversation with this -

emissary

Zeus' gaze slid to the steadily-draining bottle of whiskey before meeting Johnny's eyes again.  The absurdity of how much whiskey he'd gone through over the last two days had the demon making a mental note to keep an extra bottle in his desk next time.  Who knew the offer of a polite glass would be taken with such exuberance?

Leaving his glass untouched, Zeus watched the exchange before him with an unreadable expression.  Up until this point, he hadn't been entirely sure whether or not Beleth could see and hear through their Bards.  If Beleth could hear (and see) more than Johnny's words, that severely limited how much information he would be able to extract without risk of catching the demon King's ire. 

At the offer of Johnny's physical contract, his eyebrows perked slightly before his face melded back into an unreadable expression.  Now this was unexpected.  Chtahzus'aak had been offered many things in trade, but never the services of a Bard.  But what use did he have of a Bard's talents now, when he had so much at his disposal already?  It wasn't as though he sought to charm the masses, not now anyway.

Though such a thing could be used for an election.  Admittedly, this was an appealing angle, though Johnny seemed less than willing from the sound of it.  If there was one thing Chtahzus'aak wanted to avoid it was a begrudging service.  He was reluctant to allow the means for discontent to breed within his ranks.  Nevermind the fact that one loyal to another demon could never truly serve him.  Johnny would be a spy at best, and an agitator at worst.

If Zeus did agree to help, it was his best opportunity to discover the components needed for summoning Beleth to stop it from happening.  Risk at every turn.

He did not take the contract, folding his hands in his lap and leaning against the back of his chair to deliver his conditions.

"Here is what I can offer; you will be permitted to go about the West, as any other citizen, unhindered so far as you adhere to the rules.  I will not interfere with your investigation, nor will I offer direct assistance to acquire objects from their current owners."  He watched Johnny carefully as he paused.  Unconsciously his hand went into his pocket, gently stroking the face of a coin. 

"However, if there are any spells or texts in my possession that could point you in the right direction, I may be inclined to show them to you,"  This was the more important part, he was sure.  "For educational purposes."  The slightest twitch of a suggestive smile pulled at the demon's lips. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline sully

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2019, 01:53:23 AM »
Johnny rubbed his face with his empty hand, letting out an exasperated sigh. It didn't matter if Zeus wanted his contract or not, he had to give it to him. Beleth made that clear. He placed the sealed contract on the district leader's desk and returned his gaze to the other demon. Zeus' "terms" were agreeable, although Johnny cared little for what they were. He would do what he needed to do to get Beleth off his back. And ideally, put an end to her once and for all. Johnny had no concrete knowledge that entering this plane would make Beleth easier to kill, but even the chance of getting to murder her himself was enough to convince him he was right in this theory. Besides, he would be able to learn more and hopefully get confirmation during his time searching for a way to bring Beleth to this plane.

An idea pops into his mind and he looks furtively around the room for a few minutes. While Beleth could enter his mind and see/hear through him, she had other pots on the burner and there was a chance her attention was pulled elsewhere momentarily. Daring to take the chance, Johnny quickly grabbed a pen and a scarp of paper from Zeus' desk, scrawling a quick, barely legible note: She isn't always listening. I don't want her here anymore than you do. Johnnny left the note on the desk and glanced sharply up at the ceiling, making an obvious point to look no where near the message.

He listened intently for any sign of Beleth's incoming wrath, but felt nothing. Letting out a sigh of relief, Johnny finally replied to Zeus; "Sounds good. And I'd be more than happy to come pick your brain at some point and see some of what you have." Returning his gaze to Zeus with a rye smile across his face, Johnny gestured towards the empty bottle "I'll bring the booze next time."
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods - Neil Gaiman

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King

Alistair - The Demonologist
Archie - The Watchmaker
Butler - The Eloquent Thug
Eva - The Viper
Johnny - The Fiddle Player
Royce - The Party Boy

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: The Devil Came Back from "Georgia"
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2019, 12:04:39 PM »
When Johnny went for a pen and paper on his desk, Zeus stared intently at the message as it was written, shifting his gaze to the other demon's face when it was finished, and made sure not to give the paper a second glance after wordlessly instructed.  While the letters were far from neat, Chtahzus'aak was more than accustomed to deciphering handwritten texts centuries old. 

Interesting. 

The fact that Johnny had seen past Zeus' evasive answers directly to the source of his hesitation gave him pause.  Was he that obvious?  It was of little consequence now that he had the information that he needed - that Beleth had only intermitten presence and her emissary lacked loyalty.  That was, if Johnny was to be believed.  It was the simplest explanation, though Chtahzus'aak could have stood to know the Bard's true motive.  He'd be on guard nonetheless. 

From the sound of things, it seemed as though their meeting was drawing to a close.  With a perfunctory nod and slight smirk, the shadow demon stood, gaze moving from the contract on his desk to the Bard.  "I look forward to it."  If there was nothing else, he would see the other demon to the door.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente