The Veil – Part 14

Hello, my Freaky Darlings!

So … what have you been up to? Did you have a fantastic weekend? Did you spoil your mother yesterday? And if you’re a mother, were you spoilt? On my reading front, I couldn’t get into Common Murder by V.L McDermid, so I put it back on the shelf until I’m in the mood for it and have picked up Dark Origins By Anthony E. Zuiker. I’m enjoying it far more. How about you, reading anything interesting?

Anyway … speaking of your reading pleasure. Here’s the next episode of The Veil. If you’ve missed any of the previous chapters, you can catch up here.

*

The council was summoned. Lilith was the only one besides Bael who could command them to attend. Usually, she stayed out of the business of keeping things running smoothly beyond the veil. Lilith spent most of her time playing with the Princes in her bed or manipulating events on the other side. Perhaps that was why she was allowing that little upstart to continue his games. They had created him, they should be controlling him, not the other way around. Why Lilith was allowing him so much leeway was a source of confusion and contention. He paced the width of the chamber as he waited for the other members of the council to arrive.

He’d arrived before all the others as was his usual way. Lilith sashayed in disturbing his pacing. Her white as snow eyes seemed to read his every thought. The smile on her lips told him she found his concerns amusing, but she didn’t say a word about them. She merely stood, aloof, and watched the other council members rushing in and take their seats as though their very lives depended on how quickly they took their places.

It irked Bael that the council members had responded to her call a lot faster than they ever did to his. It was incredibly insulting since he was the head of the demon council, after all. He was also perfectly capable of ripping their heads off. Granted, he probably wouldn’t look as fashionable doing it, but the overall effect would still be the same.

The rain pelted down, once more, outside. Thunder split the sky behind Lilith as she looked from one council member to the next. Her cold glance was enough to freeze the boiled blood in their veins.

Paimon sat to Bael’s left. Thankfully he’d left his dromedary outside. It had a habit of shitting everywhere. Paimon’s sycophantic face beamed a smile at their Queen. Next to Paimon was Beleth, his pale horse was tied up next to Paimon’s dromedary. Bael wasn’t sure that was wise since the animals fought with each other as much as their owners did. Then again, Beleth and his horse, when not fighting everything, had a tendency of seducing it. Chances were that his horse would probably mount the poor thing after it had ripped the camel’s flesh. Beleth winked at their Queen, perhaps hoping to replace Gaäp as her favourite toy. He’d already taken Gaäp’s place on the council. His ambition knew no bounds.

Purson, sat next to Beleth, had refused to leave his bear in the rain. The beast now prowled the passages growling at any demon who had the misfortune of crossing its path. Purson’s one earing, a remainder from his time carousing with Pirates, glinted in the candlelight.

Asmoday, his three heads swivelled around the room. His human head stared down at the pack of cards he was shuffling, while his bull head argued with Purson on the best way to cheat at cards, while his rams head eyed Lilith’s cleavage. It was a surprise that he’d taken a break from running his gambling dens and whore houses on either side of The Veil to attend the meeting.

Vine’s great Lion head roared as he yawned. His black horse was stabled in his chambers, well away from any of the other animals and where it could stand guard over Vine’s magical items and texts.

Balam’s serpent’s tail swished under the table, a sign of his anxiety. Even his wit seemed to fail him. Bael hadn’t heard him make any smart-arsed comments since he’d arrived. His silence was most worrying.

Zagan too sat in silence. His gryphon wings tucked in tightly while he entertained himself by turning water into wine, the wine into blood, and then back into water. He gulped down the goblet of wine and then conjured more liquid. Bael almost asked if he could conjure a cup for him, but decided against it. He needed to keep at least one of his heads clear.

Belial was the final member of the council. His grey robe and beard belied his true nature. Everything about Belial was a lie. Bael wondered if an honest word had ever crossed his forked tongue. His honeyed voice fooled anyone who heard it. He’d trained many a politician in the art of duplicity.

Lilith tilted her chin and silence fell across the table. All eyes on their queen. They all waited with anticipation, except Bael. He already knew what she would say. The only thing he didn’t know was who she would send as an envoy to the one who called himself Jack.

*

What did you think? Did you enjoy meeting the demon council?

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