The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 11

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” -Proverbs 19:2

It’s been said before that Zazriel was the last to join Asmodeus’s harem, as Lolara calls them, and she was a late joiner for sure, but that’s only because of the rebellion. 

See, Zazriel had joined the usurper, Cotaras, against Asmodeus. She had at first helped the oldest living son of the previous Demon King of Lust attempt to steal his late father’s throne. He was resentful of the fact that his father did not leave the throne to him, but some mysterious black daemon instead. 

She could understand why her previous King, whom she had swore to follow as Reaver of Desire, did not pick his son. For one thing, Cotaras was not charismatic enough to sway Zazriel to his side. No, he stole her greatest weapon and threatened to use it on her fellow Reavers if she did not fight for him as his right hand. 

Cotaras was not likeable, Zazriel knew, but he wasn’t dumb. 

If he had the strongest of the Reavers, the war was going to be his to win, if only Zazriel had met Asmodeus on the battlefield first. Instead, she learned that he wasn’t more of the same selfishness that she saw in Cotaras, nor the sloth and apathy that was her original lord.

There wasn’t much to like about the previous Asmodeus, but he kept the peace, protected his people when necessary, and through him my tarot cards promised me my greatest desire. It was utilitarian to let him be king, but question whether the same can be said of Cotaras.

She didn’t know what her greatest desire was yet, but the previous Asmodeus thought it reason enough to name her the Reaver of Desire.

The name felt insulting. I was the Reaver of Desire, a powerful warrior, a fortune teller, but I did not know what I truly wanted in life. Mother told me it was because I was young, and I still am, and was even more back then. 

I still question why that meant my destiny was to be a pawn for men who never desired anything more but for me to be the Queen piece, but no kind of Queen.

Meeting Asmodeus did not inform her of her desire, but it was a chance to see something better. 

The worst thing about Cotaras was how he lorded her around like a trophy, a mere weapon in his armory. 

As he dictated orders, and made demands of his supporters, he had her sit by his side, on her knees on a pillow, where he could look down at her from his moving chair. 

The black daemon, who looked so little like his father with his long black hair and his pale skin. The only similarity between Cotaras and his father were the dead grey eyes, the ones that all the old children of Lust had.

Cotaras physique was unlike his father’s as well. The son was this huge hulking being, with demonic armor that barely fit, and his father was a carved by Michangelo.

I hate nothing more than having to look at him, because while she had sit by his feet and look as if she was always ready to defend him, he held her sword. 

Excalibur.

Not some embodiment from Arthurian legend like with Asmodea’s Gram. This is the true sword wielded by the Incarnal Madam who made it, and gifted it to a thankful King Arthur. It’s a weapon with the magical power to kill Demon Kings and Archangels alike. The weapon can even threaten over-beings such as the Incarnations or the Dark Ones. 

It used to be stored in a tattoo running down Zazriel’s spine. It does now, but back then to retrieve, Cotaras had had her drugged, and the sword magically removed to lord over her head.

Zazriel knew that as long as he had it, her friends among the Reavers, were in grave danger. Even the true Demon King of Lust, who she had yet to meet, could potentially be felled by a peasant wielding the sword. To protect them she ate her honor and bided her time until she could retrieve the blade.

*****

The longer it went on, the less capable Zazriel was of keeping a straight face. After listening to Cotaras given foolhardy orders for the umpteeth time, she was ready to kill herself, facetiously speaking. 

“We cannot attack from above, sir, with the terraces of the palace they have the high ground, always,” one of his commanders told him.

Cotaras leaned forward in his chair he pretended was a throne, with Excalibur’s dragon pommel in his hand. 

He snapped at his commander, “And I told you, fix the problem, a pretender sits on my throne, and that cannot stand.” He balanced the longsword in his palm like it were a mere knife stabbing into the chair of his arm. She’s imagined so many times just going for it, but she knew its powers too well. 

It would amplify his speed, strength, and thought, Though he rarely ever thinks. She knew that he could and would take her head off, and she would leave her friends doomed.

So she sat and listened to Cotaras argue with his advisors as to why he had to have everything he wanted like the overgrown child he was. And Zazriel listened quietly, for as long as she could. 

She stood up, interrupting and silencing everyone, as they did out of fear for the Reaver of Desire. 

“I’m going for a walk while you boys play at war.” She put down all the men in the room with only a sentence, and for Cotaras to have attempted to subjugate her there and then would have been to his detriment. Sadly, Cotaras’s rage was quick fill, and he was losing the reason in his head that kept him from going after her. She was lucky she walked so fast.

He was screaming her name to come back the second she walked out of the tent. Of course, the war tent was spelled to prevent anyone from listening in, so she only heard a little squeak, and pretended to hear nothing else.

Cotaras’s camp was absurd with how large it was. Not that it was cramped, but because so many highborn families and mercenaries fought for him. She would admit to knowing little about politics, but she couldn’t fathom that so many would think the last Asmodeus’s son would be a good leader. She was disappointed to think that so many still believed in the right of blood, or possibly even the right of the eldest son over logical choice. 

Zazriel’s hate and spite for her predicament was quite telling by how whenever she had free time, she spent it with the prisoners. That’s where she was going right now. She had a favorite one too, one she didn’t recognize, one who was given her own personal chamber. One who didn’t know Zazriel’s face.

A little human witch, a living soul in Hell, captured from the accused pretender’s court. 

In a heavily hexed tent, the witch never needed guards, so few could visit her anyway without setting off the alarms. Knowing that, imagine the look on Zazriel’s face to find that the hexes were not turned off, but destroyed.

She felt no presence of magic spells, no password or interference asking for her to prove herself. As she stood outside the red tent’s entrance, the only sense that called out to her was her hearing…

Because she heard voices from inside.

“I can’t believe you have to save me again!” Zazriel heard the witch’s voice complain. Zazriel sidestepped to not be seen outside the tent. To avoid even leave a shadow she plucked The Hermit card from among her tattoos, and used it to cloak herself until she wished to be revealed.

At the same time, she heard a second voice, male and laid back, reply to the witch, “Oh, I don’t mind.”

“Are you kidding?” Lolara asked him, her voice filled with shame and embarrassment, where the male’s showed no signs of resentment. Lolara even showed care as she questioned, “Do you know how dangerous it was to come here, into enemy camp?

The male chuckled, and continued to make fun of the witch by joking, “Yeah, well, if you had spent more time training than watching maybe you wouldn’t be in this mess!” having believed that this was his chance to get one up on his friend. His friend’s gasp confirmed his belief. At the same time, Zazriel could hear the clanging of the witch’s hexed chains being tossed and pulled around. “Jesus Christ, these chains are tough.”

Lolara was certainly not going to take the insult lying down. She snapped and berated the male, “Excuse me, coming from the guy who stares at Mod’s tits 24/7!”

“I do not!” the male claimed, in such a way that Zazriel believed that he believed it, and giggled at the idea. Even more so when he claimed, “And I’m trying to do less of it!”

“Some King you are,” and that’s when Zazriel stopped giggling over the witch’s rescue. 

Zazriel thought to herself that the witch’s would-be rescuer couldn’t possibly be the new King of Lust himself. What monarch would go this deep behind enemy lines? 

What monarch would risk his life like this for a mere concubine? 

She had to see, so she dropped her cloak and walked in, just as Lolara is finishing her beration, “You’re just lucky Asmodea likes it or else you’d be-” 

Lolara stopped as she sat with her legs crossed, and a black daemon messing with the chains. 

“Or else I’d be what?” the black daemon taunted, thinking that Lolara had finally given him a win after so many arguments.

“Clay,” she called him, trying to grasp his attention.

“Or what,” he repeated, not realizing, “come on, tell me, I can take your shit.”

“One,” the witch listed, “no you can’t, two, stop being an idiot, and three, turn your fucking head around.”

Asmodeus’s head swiveled behind him to see the purple succubus standing behind him. “Oh,” he quietly gasped, and then out loud waved at her like they were friends, calling out, “hello there.”

Zazriel squinted her eyes at this black daemon. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Asmodeus looked like a deer caught in headlights, his face looking incredibly guilty, but somehow his mouth keeps moving. “Um, I’m taking this prisoner to our leader.”

Really?” Zazriel asked, but it was clear to be no question when she crossed her arms. She couldn’t fathom how stupid this Demon King must be, and at that moment she decided to rub it in his face. “I was just with him, and he didn’t mention the witch.”

“Well, it was a while ago, so I’m kind of in a hurry, you don’t have stay here if you don’t want,” Asmodeus said, trying to shoo the succubus away, trying the patience of both women. 

Lolara questioned, “Are you really doing this? Like, are you this stupid?”

Knowing he looked like a fool, he still wasted his time as he hoped for Zazriel to take one a step closer. “Shut up, Lo, I’m saving us,” he muttered, making Zazriel hope with all of her heart that this wasn’t the new King of Lust. 

She reminded him, in case his dumbass forgot, “I have two ears you know.”

Asmodeus barely acknowledged her words, or at least pretended to. “I’m sure you do, I just um…” He wasn’t pretending when he realized he didn’t know her name.

“Zazriel,” Zazriel told him with a roll of her eyes. Lolara’s on the other hand, went wide and stayed that way, because she recognized it.

Asmodeus continued his mockery of himself as Lolara stared at the succubus, frozen in place. “Zazriel, you seem like a strong independent woman who doesn’t need to be wasting her time with an idiot like me, you-”

Please, please stop,” she interrupted him, holding the bridge of her nose between her fingers, his charade now beginning to give her a headache. “As true as whatever you were about to say was, this is ridiculous,” and she decided then that she was going to end it before it went any further. “As funny as it’s going to be years from now,” and she took a step forward, “it’s ridiculous right now-

Zap.

She finally stepped into Asmodeus’s trap, letting him release this long sigh of relief. Before he even stepped in the tent, the first thing he did was a set a trap for any number of people who might step in after him. Zazriel just needed to take the extra step. 

From the ground, it looked as if two sparkling, translucent purple walls of light opened up and slammed the succubus between them. A complicated and powerful trapping spell that left her frozen in place, mouth open, muscles frozen in motion. She could move her eyes but she didn’t need to to recognize the spell. She could think as well as before, and all she could think was that, He got me. Son of a bitch. 

This little fool was only pretending, I should have saw that with how annoyed and shocked the witch was with his little charade. She’s impressed with the spell. The war started with his coronation merely a few months ago. Petra would have only started training him with the Incantorum, and he did this spell.

I’m moderately impressed.

Lolara was too, but she was still internally freaking out as Asmodeus smirked at her and began trying to wrench apart her chains. He told her with all seriousness now, “Sorry for messing with you, but you know, trap, let’s seriously try and get these chains off, they have more hexes on them than the tent did.” Then he started muttering to himself about long it took to take down those protective hexes while Lolara sat in silence, staring at Zazriel.

Clay,” the witch whispered his name, “she said her name is Zazriel.

As Asmodeus was whispering spells to remove hex after hex, he muttered to Lolara, “I know, I have ears,” and turned back over his shoulder to tell the succubus, “lovely name by the way.”

Realizing that he did not recognize the name, Lolara whispered rather aggressively at him. “Zazriel is the Reaver of Desire.

That’s when Zazriel wished she could smirk, but the most she could do in his trap was concentrate her power on getting out. She concentrated specifically on triggering the tattoo over her chest to summon her armor.

“Um…” Asmodeus muttered, revealing to Lolara and Zazriel that he in fact, had no idea about anything having to do with any Reaver of Desire, outside of the fact that she used to serve his predecessor, and then his son.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Lolara yelled at him, which made him twitch because hypocrisy is a bitch. “You just called me out for not paying attention!”

“What I say, not what I do,” Asmodeus quickly stammered as he removed one of her chains, freeing her right hand. “Now the left one, god, this is taking forever.”

Fuck you,” Lolara cursed at him, “this Reaver is the strongest Reaver, period.

At that moment, Zazriel proved it.

Her bronze armor of the ancients shattered his spell into a million pieces, and then coated her body in armor meant for the gods. An armor that put her dexterity on the level of a full blown Demon King.

Suffice to say, seeing this Reaver in what he thought was her fully powered up form nearly made Asmodeus shit bricks. Appearing completely dumbfounded, he asked her, “You’re the Reaver of Desire?” She crossed her arms with the armor on, and nodded her head. 

“We’re so fucked…” he whispered to Lolara, who stood up in shock. The two were literally ready to hold each other like two characters in a horror movie.

Instead of utterly destroying them both, she smiled at them. “You really are the new King of Lust, aren’t you?”

Asmodeus glanced left and right before he remembered that there was no Noella and no Asmodea there to walk him through protecting his identity. “Nooo,” he drones, “I’m just a lowly black daemon.” 

Zazriel offered him some advice, “Don’t play dumb, especially when you’ve already done that.”

“Sorry, that’s his go-to at the moment,” Lolara apologized for him as she started to see that the succubus may actually mean them little or possibly no harm. 

After Lolara outed him, Asmodeus didn’t even try again. “Why couldn’t I have been a lowly black daemon?”

This time before she walked forward, she snapped The Magician card from her shoulder and sought to absorb any remaining spells in the room. She caught two, and proceeded to walk up to the King and the witch, informing them that, “Black daemons are neither lowly nor did any side with Asmodeus’s chosen heir, which means you have to be him.”

When she was standing in his face, he was frozen. He couldn’t describe it, but as Lolara was enraptured by this magical and powerful daemon before her, the witch was far more understanding in what was happening. 

“You’re younger than I would have thought,” Zazriel told him as she raised her chin to inspect his own. She inspected his whole face actually, and his eyes never left hers as they wandered. 

“Uh…” he mumbled as he tried to find the words.

“It’s nice to meet a daemon younger than me for once,” she said with a smile. 

Oh?

“I’ll help free your friend,” Zazriel surprised him.

Both Asmodeus and Lolara shout, “Really?

Zazriel nodded her head, almost excitedly as she pulled out The Magician again to absorb all the hexes in Lolara’s last chain. The witch felt her connection to magic come back to her. 

She called forth her Pact with the Elder Dragon. Her face shifted a bit, her nose shrank inward, her tongue became forked, blue lines formed down her cheeks from her eyes, and her eyes themselves turned from beautiful brown orbs into brown slits. 

She blew a spout of fire from her nose and turned the chain around her wrist to ash. She reverted back to herself and held back from cheering. “You have no idea how uncomfortable those were,” she complained.

“I’m sure I have an idea,” Zazriel said, and then complimented the witch, “that’s a powerful Pact you have there.”

“It’s probably the best one I have,” Lolara stated, which shocked Zazriel, but that conversation was to be had another time.

Asmodeus asked Zazriel, “Why are you helping us, don’t you want this Cotaras to win?”

Zazriel snorted at the idea, and then became embarrassed that she did that, covering her mouth with her hand. Zazriel tried not to notice Lolara teasing her with the purse of her brows.

Zazriel straightens her back and tries to appear more professional. “Sorry for that, but I most certainly do not.

“You don’t?

“In the span of one conversation,” she explained to him, bending her neck back to show off her smile, “you’ve proven both braver and more likable than Cotaras will ever be, and more than your predecessor ever was.” 

The complement took Asmodeus aback, raising his hands over his heart on instinct. 

“But even still, the reason I am here hasn’t changed so as much as I would like to help you more, I can’t. Cotaras still holds my sword, Excalibur, if Asmodea or Dotor haven’t yet informed you,” as name which drew squints from the Demon King and the witch, “and I can’t defect until I get it back.”

“How do you know you’ll get it back?” Lolara asked her.

“I won’t,” the purple succubus said, “my tarot cards tell me vague futures, and they’ve all led me to believe that I won’t get it back myself.”

“If you know you won’t get it back, come with us,” Asmodeus tries to tell her.

“I can’t,” Zazriel told him, “they told me the true King of Lust would give it back to me, so it appears that’s you.”

Asmodeus lost the will to speak for a moment there, but Lolara did not. “Oh well, that’s fucking romantic,”  as if annoyed with the fact that she wasn’t the one swooping this succubus off her feet.

“I have the utmost faith, in you, your liege. Coming behind enemy lines when everyone here was looking to take your head, just to save your concubine-”

Best friend! I will not have my position be undervalued!” Lolara snapped to correct, shoving her finger past Asmodeus, within jabbing distance of Zazriel. For a moment, fear of death flashed before Lolara’s eyes, but it vanished with Zazriel’s smile.

“Even better,” Zazriel assured the witch, placing a hand on her shoulder, and her other on Asmodeus’s. “This all shows that you’re already a better option than all the other options, and you surround yourself with people who want what’s best for you.” 

With all the wise talk, Asmodeus and Lolara would both later be very surprised to know that Zazriel was one of the youngest Reavers, within spitting distance of them in terms of age. 

Asmodeus lifted and place his hand over hers. She was surprised to find it there and found herself looking in her King’s eyes when he thanks her. “I appreciate your words, more than I think you know.”

Now, it was Zazriel’s turn to lose her words, “Oh,” lost in his red eyes. Zazriel was much quicker to recover and shook her head to go back to being serious again. “Of course, my king, and besides, in regards to me remaining here, I only want to protect my friends from Cotaras, but now that I know my cards have some truth to them, I don’t worry.”

“Wow,” Lolara murmured, “that was really deep and motivating.”

“Yes, thank you, and more so, it’s best I try not to act to change the future I see, or else I might cause it to grow worse. Just know that you have a spy on the inside,” she told them both, and with a nod to her head, she ordered them, “now get, don’t risk the King’s head any longer,” and then she even took out The Hermit to give to Asmodeus, “in fact take this, it will cloak you from the sight of most daemons, and I doubt you’ll manage to run into anyone too powerful.”

Asmodeus took the card, and curiously pointed it at him and Lolara, and suddenly they were both shielded from view. Zazriel couldn’t see her or hear them in front of her, but she talked out loud to warn them, “You can still touch people, and when you’re both to safety flash the cards in front of yourself again, the card will know.”

“Thank you, you beautiful purple cinnamon roll,” Lolara called out, knowing the succubus couldn’t hear her. 

“What are you doing?” Asmodeus asked her as he took the witch’s hand and made way towards the exit. 

Instead of responding, Lolara told Asmodeus, “I want her.”

“Excuse me?!” Asmodeus exclaimed, pretty sure that he didn’t hear the witch right.

Lolara looked him dead in the eye and told him, “Add her to the harem.

“What?!” At this point, Asmodeus was against sleeping with so many women. 

“You heard me,” Lolara told him, “I like her, I want her, use your invisible charms to woo her for me.”

“Do it yourself!”

“I’m not the one with a knack for building a harem!”

“I didn’t build one, you all did because you hate monogamy!”

“Not my fault it sucks.”

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