“Joie – lynn,” I heard a man’s voice, cooing, coming from the nursery. It was not Sebastien’s voice, but it was no less familiar to my ears. “What a little miracle you are,” the voice continued.
I turned the corner to see my infant daughter in the arms of the Fallen One. Azazeal. If he had noticed my entrance, he did not give any indication that he had. Instead, he continued to coo at and nuzzle my infant daughter, “Did you know that your Papa, he was once dead,” he said as if he were telling her a grand Faerie tale, “but your Maman, well, she asked her friend for help so that she could bring back your Papa,” he nuzzled her closer now, “You are just like her, Jocelyn – just like your Maman, in that you know exactly what you want. ” he traced a line across her cheek and into the profusion of her dark hair with the back of his forefinger and bent to kiss her.
“Stop.” I said from the doorway. I narrowed my eyes at him, every nerve in my body taut like those of a mother lioness prepared to strike the enemy that threatened her cub. He could not be allowed to place his kiss upon her. “You will not mark her, Azazeal,” I drew myself up to my full height and gathered every bit of Fae glamour around me that I could muster. “Your business is with me.” A sudden memory rushed to the fore of my awareness. Any hack scholar of biblical lore would have known it. It was a long-shot but worth a try. “And even you are not allowed to destroy the innocence of a babe.” I added, hoping that it would get his attention. if not acknowledgement.
Azazeal pulled back and offered me a smile that was not at all pleasant, “Faelyn! How nice of you to join us. I was just telling your lovely little daughter the miraculous story of how she came to be. Would you like to join us?”
“I am here now, am I not?” I said flatly, inching my way along the wall toward them. I fought to keep my demeanour on an even keel but I knew that he could smell my apprehension. We were the same in many ways. How could he not? I resisted the urge to lunge at him to snatch my infant from his grasp, and thankfully intellect won out over deepest motherly instinct.
“Yes, you are,” Azazeal still held Jocelyn, who was looking up at him. She reached out toward him with tiny, innocent fingers. This did not escape his notice and he turned his eyes back to her with an even wider smile. The smile he gave to her was one of both awe and sheer pleasure. Whether it was pleasure with actually being near my daughter, or seeing me made obviously uncomfortable, I was not certain.
“As I was saying, before your Maman so rudely interrupted us,” he purred, he flashed me an irritated glance before turning his attention back to Jocelyn, “she tried for many, many years – centuries in fact – to bring your Papa back from dead. But no matter what she did, she failed. You certainly would not have recognized your Maman as she was then, Joie-lynn. ” He was pointedly using the nickname that Sebastien had bestowed upon our daughter. He glanced at me and continued, ” She was almost always sad and every night at the foot of your Papa’s cold, black, stone sarcophagus she would cry herself to sleep. Ah, Jocelyn! It would have broken your little heart to have seen your Maman that way,weeping like that! It was almost as heart wrenching as the tears of angels, little one.” Azazeal let Jocelyn tug at his shirt collar that she now grasped tightly, crumpling it in her infant hands, letting out what seemed to be a fascinated gurgle.
“Then one day, a friend of hers, whom you’ve only just met, told her that he had the answer to that problem which had eluded her all of that time,” he continued, “If she would but make some small concessions on her part, he would grant her the very thing she sought so desperately.”
“However, her friend never once bothered to name the concessions,” I corrected him softly. I was beside them now, my heart pounding in my chest as I reached out to touch the edge of her blanket.
Sensing this move, Azazeal turned away just in time to cause my fingers to grasp only air. I felt a stab of concern grip my chest and fought the rising urge to scream. But Sebastien must not hear – must not know what was going on in the nursery just down the hall from our boudoir where he continued to sleep peacefully.
“No, that is true,” Azazeal said conceding. He rocked my precious bundle that he held in his arms back and forth there in the dark. Jocelyn was quite fascinated by him and the sound of his voice and she smiled up at him with an infant’s toothless grin. He smiled back down at her then pulled his eyes away from her to gaze at me as he spoke, “but they both knew that when the time was right, he would.” He took a step toward me as if to give the baby to me, but rocked back on his heels, a little, letting me know as I reached to take her, that he was not finished with recounting his story to my daughter.
“And on the night that he did decide to reveal it, your mother was only too glad to render the things that she had promised. For she knew, if she did not, that her refusal would place you, herself, your Papa, your sister, her beloved Island kingdom and all she held dear in mortal danger.” Azazeal gave Jocelyn a nurturing caress over her nose and she let out a cry of delight. He turned his eyes for a moment to gaze back at me, “However, we both know she would never do anything as unwise as that, now don’t we?” His words had been gentle, but the warning within them had been quite clear.
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character
Word Count: 1040
(Special thanks to both the Writer and Muse of 1st_of_the200 for the ongoing RP and collaboration on this long-term plotline! )
9 responses to “WM 50.8 – Deal with the Devil (RP with 1st_nephilim)”
Those last words, Azazeal delivered in that soft, pleasant lilt that was often so disarming, but he was under no illusion that it would fool Faelyn. No, his intention was that she would catch his warning, just has he had no doubts that she would know this was more than a social call to see her newborn babe.
“Still, Joie-lyn.” He now looked back at the infant, offering his slender finger for her little fist to grab onto. “I think now the time is right, don’t you? I know your Maman has been dying to learn what concessions her friend will ask of her.” At the word ‘ask’, he gave a little chuckle, smiling at Jocelyn’s answering gurgle. “Such a lovely child. Such a miracle.” He bent his mouth to her tiny ear and whispered briefly. Then wi th a smile, he laid her back down in her crib, tucking the blanket around her gently. “Now sleep peacefully while Maman and I have a little chat.” His thumb stroked down her cheek.
“Yes, just like her mother, this one. Now Faelyn.” He turned to where she still stood, protective but unable to do anything while he had still held her daughter, and it would be unwise for her to do anything now. “The nursery is no place for us to discuss matters.” What a difference in him from the seductive creature that had last visited her here.
If there was a moment that Faelyn had been dreading more than any other since she had revived Sebastien from the dead, it was this one. For months she had seen Azazeal lurking in the shadows, here and there. Even at social events, when she was still heavy with child, he watched. Occassionally, he would brush by her, whisper something that could have been construed as either seductive, menacing or both and then with a smirk would disappear. No. She had been well aware that the time was coming nigh when she would have to pay the Piper, so to speak.
What did he want for such a favour he had granted anyway? He had only given her the smallest of answers, and so what he asked for could not possibly be too much. Could it? Afterall, she had done the work and toiled to bring Sebastien back. Azazeal had merely guided her elbow to the last remaining thing that would bridge the gap between the world of the Living and that of the Dead. Besides, she thought to herself, tossing her hair. She had been a very good friend to Azazeal, and had been quite supportive over the years. Of course, he was no Hsu Danmei – but he was an elder brother, so to speak. There was at least that bond!
Only when Azazeal had lain Jocelyn down in her crib, covered her up and took a step away, did Faelyn allow herself a slow, relieved exhale. For the moment Jocelyn was safe. Still, a mother’s instinct was to inspect to make certain. By the time she reached the edge of the crib, Jocelyn was yawning contentedly, her eyes heavy and she drifted off to sleep without benefit of her musical mobile or the hour or so of rocking that she usually demanded of either herself or her father every night. Jocelyn Ysebetta de Rochefort was safely in a boat that was pointed toward the Land of Nod, and she was most content.
At last Faelyn turned to Azazeal who was still smiling. But it was not a smile of admiration or of kindness. She did not vocalise her warning to the fallen angel, alhough the message was clear enough within her eyes. “No….” she began, her voice low, “I think that you and I rather should discuss this in private. My chamber?” her eyebrow raised. It was probably the best and most private place in the Chateau de Rochefort. Even if Sebastien did awaken, he would not enter there unless he was bidden to do so. It was the place they were in the last time, although she strongly suspected there was no need nor desire to go near the bed. No. Azazeal was here for the business that he had been saving up all this time and at the very least he had waited until a few weeks after she had given birth to Jocelyn. It was a small concession on his part – but she had felt him in the shadows and it was not the first time she had felt his presence in the nursery. That had served to almost unnerve her.
Faelyn did not wait for him to answer and led him down the corridor of the Chateau. The house was dark and everything seemed so peaceful at this time of night. Azazeal followed a bit behind her, glancing around the Chateau, and acting as if he had all the time in the world. Faelyn’s heart, however, was pounding and her nerves stretched to the point of breaking. She led them up a small flight of spiral stairs to her private magical chambers where they had been before under far more pleasurable circumstances. She waited as Azazeal came into the room and closed the massive medieval oak door behind them softly and turned the key in the lock. She was not about to take any chances – not for this. By the time she turned around, Azazeal had already found his way to a large, overstuffed wing chair and had made himself comfortable. He wore a satisfied smile on his lips. All of this was definitely for effect, she decided.
“Alright,” she came over to where he sat and took the chair opposite him that was not nearly so comfortable. She did not sit back into it, but rather sat on it’s edge. “The time has come,” she said matter-of-factly, “I would offer you something, but I do not think that is at all why you are here.” She eased back in her seat just a little, feining non-challance. “We are here, no doubt, to settle accounts, are we not?” She took a deep breath and drew around her every bit of Queenly air she had ever held within her. “Well, let us hear them.”
Azazeal was the picture of calm and certainty. Yes, they had enjoyed — immensely — the pleasures of the flesh with each other, but that was something entirely separate from what would occur tonight. It had been interesting, as they made their way to that very same boudoir, that Sebastien would not be a part of tonight’s bargaining, seeing as he was the very person who’s life had been the reason for Azazeal being here now. Of course, he knew she hadn’t told her husband of those circumstances, just as she had yet to mention his very existence, let alone his presence in their home.
He settled into the comfortable chair and crossed his legs, waiting with infinite patience for Faelyn to lock the door and take her seat. Waving away her mention of lack of any refreshments, he withdrew a small flask halfway from his jacket. “That’s quite alright, I have some of my own should I feel the need.” And he tucked it back inside. Her nonchalance did not fool him for a moment and nor did her regal posture. She was nervous…scared. This was a day of reckoning that she knew would come.
“You really shouldn’t be so impatient, Faelyn.” With a smile, he pulled from the other side of his jacket a sheet of parchment and held it in front of him. “This wasn’t as straight forward as most as you and your husband’s souls are already damned, but I think I’ve worked out some good alternatives.” Taking a pen, he pointed to the first item on the list, much as one would do with a shopping list.
“The first is simple. If I have need of you, for whatever reason, you will be available to me.” There were subclauses to that, but he would get to them in time.
‘Who are you to tell me that my husband and I are damned?” Faelyn scoffed. She eased back in her chair. The one thing that grated on her nerves about it all was the arrogant insistance by not only the followers of the Judeo-Christian God of their superiority but also those creatures that worked for him. Where were the old deities that had never surrendered to the arrogant upstart, Jehovah? “Oh, yes….I forgot. Your former employer seems to think he is the end all be all. Well, that is his perspective on the matter, and no doubt the erroneous notion would carry over to you. But let us not argue over theology tonight. We are here to settle accounts.”
Revisiting this old argument that they had between them, more than anything, was serving to bolster her against the nervousness that she had been fighting down moments before. She needed that now, and the steadying effects she welcomed. But, she noted inwardly, that, too, could be yet another trap by Azazeal. She would have to find out more of what he had listed in hi set of demands in order to be sure. But when he mentioned that she would be ‘available to him, for whatever reason, whenever he had need of her,’ Faelyn almost could not suppress a peal of laughter.
“That sounds almost agreeable, she said, letting out a feigned sigh of resignation in place of the outright laughter she wanted to give at this, “but as you can see, I am still a nursing mother, and will likely be for at least the first year of her life. You certainly would not want to endanger little Jocelyn, would you?” She watched him carefully as she continued. She knew he had said something to the infant, and only time would tell what the reprocussions of that would end up being. “So let us say, in the spirit of moviing on to the finer points of the terms of our agreement, that I do agree under general principle – except in certain instances as I mentioned, ” I said, “none of which would really inconvenience you at all. What is next on your list?”
Azazeal was not insulted in the slightest by her scoffing. “Choose to go that route if you will, but you know He insists that He is the only one, and by that alone in His eyes damns all who don’t follow Him. That aside, your husband was once a devoted believer. Besides, eternal damnation isn’t all that bad.” He mouth widened to a grin that was not exceptionally pleasant, and made clear that it was a lie.
“But indeed. Tonight is about far more interesting things than theology.” Still settle back against the cushions of the armchair, he rested his elbows on its arms, steepling his fingers together. He just smiled as she hid away her amusement at his first demand. This was more like the Faelyn he had known for so long, and even while it was useful to keep her a little off balance for their ‘negotiations,’ he was pleased to see her usual strength.
“Well, I am trying to be as agreeable as I possibly can.” His look of helpfulness was as real as her feigned sigh. “Now Faelyn, please, you’re not usually this impatient. I still haven’t covered everything in this first point. The rest we will get to in time.” His thumbs tapped together as if he were considering something, and then he brushed his hand over his thigh as if to remove a piece of lint. This would be done at his pace. “Of course, I would not want any harm to come to little Joie-lynn.” Again he made use of her nickname. “When I say, be available to me, I do not necessarily mean just for another wonderful tryst in this boudoir. For that, I’m more than willing to wait until the babe is weaned. No, I mean for whatever reason.”
That pleasant soft lilt vanished into something more steeled, though the change was subtle, he knew that Faelyn would tell the difference. “You have, I believe, a similar agreement with the Immortal, Hsu Danmei. That you will help him in whatever he might need. I just ask the same, that you show me the same loyalty you show him.” If not more. But he kept that thought to himself for the moment.
“You well know my opinion on the matter. As for my husband you also know he that he willingly asked me to Initiate him and I am sure you are well aware of what that entails,” her lips curled into a knowing smile, “You know that I have always wondered what you would look like in a similar position.” She knew that Azazeal had seen and knew what the likely sceneario of a Unseelie initiation was. He was certainly well aware that Sebastien had cast aside his Catholic faith for Faelyn’s sake without regret. The Church, nor the God that it served could ever erase the cruel stain of the death of his first wife, Genevive Soliel, had made upon his soul. He had already done things in the name of the Church and Cardinal Richelieu that were nearly as unholy as anything those who served the Fallen One could have possibly dreamed up.
She watched him carefully. Taking into account and measuring each breath, each gesture and flick of an eyelash. It was clear Azazeal would draw this out as long as he liked and there would be little that she could do to prompt him. Well…she thought, it had not hurt to push maybe a little. One never knew where the envelope truly was if one did not try. When he at last spelled out what he meant about her being available to him, her lips downturned slightly in disappointment. “I wasn’t trying to rebuff your physical attentions because I was nursing, Azazeal,” she said ignoring that he had used Jocelyn’s family nickname, “I was more concerned over you possibly having me drop everything and dash halfway across the world on some errand.” Faelyn flashed him a look that was one of surprise and wistfulness, “And here I thought you rather enjoyed the physical aspect of our relationship.” It was not clear, perhaps not even to her, whether or not she was actually hurt by his remark.
But it was Azazeal’s mention of Hsu that caused her glance to harden. Her relationship with her dearest friend and the Godfather of her children was absolutely non-negotiable as far as she was concerned. And she could not shake the very real concern that Azazeal could require her to choose beteen them. well, that definitely could not be allowed to happen! Faelyn considered for several long moments, as if seriously giving it some thought to what he was asking. Azazeal had used the word ‘similar’, which might cede her a possible advantage in the negotiations. , she thought. She clasped her hands toghether and pressed them against her lips and nose and blinked. Drawing a deep breath, “I have always said that Hsu is my oldest friend, and afterall he is the Godfather of two of my daughters. I could always count on Hsu Danmei to take care of Caroline and Jocelyn if something were to happen to me or Sebastien. I am uncertain that you could offer the same sort of protection, Azazeal,” she began, her concern for her children clearly within her voice. Faelyn stopped suddenly, giving a look of sudden realisation. Cocking her head at him curiously she continued, “This is not about Sebastien, is it? You want something from me – and you would have wanted that with or without this. Why? Is it because you happened upon me in the forest all those centuries ago when I was but a child? Is that why you feel entitled to the same level of loyalty as I give to Hsu?” Her eyes showed nothing but intense curiosity now, and she turned the question toward him once more. How he answered the questions would be quite revealing, she thought. “Even if that were that were true, Azazeal, what service could I possibly render to you? You already have more than enough who are quite eager and more than willing to do your bidding. Surely you do not need me for just anything.”
Yes, he was enjoying this immensely. Just as he has imagined, it was very much a negotiation, and a thoroughly pleasing one at that. At least for him. So many others that he dealt with would crumble at his first demand, or try more obvious methods of getting out of the deal, like begging. Of course, he had known it would be like this, which was one of the reasons he was taking such great pleasure in drawing it out so much.
As for her wondering over him partaking in Unseelie initiation, he smiled. “Unfortunately, it’s hardly likely that I would ever need, or even desire, to undergoing such initiation, is there? Not that I don’t enjoy observing one from time to time. But back to the subject at hand. Yes, your husband willing gave up his original faith and for reasons that I cannot fault him for at all. However, He gets quite jealous when he loses one of his flock to a competitor, and then they’re as damned as the rest of us.” It then seemed that Azazeal caught one of Faelyn’s thoughts, or perhaps not and their minds were just on the same track. “You know how fickle He is. One minute allowing all types of cruelties to be done in His name, the next going all PC. You should have seen the shock on Richelieu’s face when he saw where he ended. When they say that God is beyond all understanding, He really is.” Azazeal gave the exaggerated sigh of one long put upon.
Was that sigh real, or just an act. Not that he would ever let on, of course. He smiled again, softly. “But I digress. I’m glad that you weren’t, Faelyn, but I’m also sensitive to your needs and that of a growing infant. And I think you know just how much I do enjoy all aspects of our relationship, including the physical. I was only thinking of you, but if you wish to resume, then who am I to complain? No.” Suddenly, he was a little more serious. “I don’t expect you to run just any errands for me, nor should I have need to send you halfway around the world, but I do expect you to be there for me.”
At her reaction to his mention of Hsu Danmei, he knew he had pushed a button just as he intended to. It was not merely to provoke a reaction from her, but from his held belief that she did invest too much in that Immortal, such as was owed to him. He laughed lightly, shaking his head. “Oh Faelyn, I’m not asking for your children should anything happen to you or your husband. Hsu is quite welcome to take over their care. Although I believe Caroline’s Spartan warrior would be happy to watch over her.” He nodded, seeing that realization dawn on her features and waited for her to continue, adding only afterwards, “Why should it be about Sebastien as I gave you the way to bring him back. I could have easily refused. No, Faelyn you are mine and have been since that day in the forest, and for so long I’ve seen the loyalty you should have given me be given to him. You talk of him as your oldest friend, and yet I have known you far longer. He is immortal, but otherwise quite human, unlike us who are far more closely related.”
The demon inside revealed itself in his eyes as they darkened. It was not to frighten her, as he knew it wouldn’t, but it lent power to his words as the soft lilt deepened. “I am not asking for you to give up your friendship with Hsu Danmei, or loyalty, but Faelyn, refuse me in this…balk…and I just might.”
“Good,” Faelyn said with a bit of satisfaction, “Cardinal Richelieu deserved whatever it was he got.” There was a satisfying finality to what Azazeal told her and she felt completely vindicated with the knowledge. She observed Azazeal’s sigh and decided that it was most probably a feint of some sort on his part. The long suffering Fallen Angel had a sense of entitlement and any chance he got to rub it in about is “god” having made any monumental screwups, he would take them making himself and the Nephilim to be the ones who had long suffered. Faelyn had to admit, she did empathise, but of course Azazeal always went for overkill.
She ignored his remarks about possibly refusing her request to revive Sebastien from the dead. They knew quite well that Azazeal had in fact offered her the answer after centuries of failure. Could she be entirely blamed if she was to take him up on what he had offered? It was just ike him to reframe the situation in a much different light. No matter, she thought. They both knew when she accepted the offer there would be a price tag attached, and now here it was being presented at last.
“There is one thing that Hsu gives me that you do not,” Faelyn was giving very real consideration to Azazeal’s terms, but she wanted him to know quite clearly the reason for her resistence to his demands. When Azazeal’s eyebrow shot up as in question, she continued, “Trust,” she said simply. “I am prepared to agree to all; each and every one of your terms unreservedly if you can say – without falsehood or deception of any sort on your part – and that you trust and grant me the same. In turn I will give you my word as a Queen and as Sidhe, at the risk of being forsworn – hinging on the truth of your statement. Fair enough?” ‘Close him on the bargain and close hard’, she thought. “If I were to offer those terms to Hsu Danmei, “she was not certain that she used her friend’s name as bait now but it would get Azazeal’s attention, “he would not hesitate for an instant.”
She rose from her chair and knelt down between his knees, placing the flat of her hand against his chest, her eyes locked on to his, holding an expression of genuine regret and perhaps a little bit of want, “You are entitled to such loyalty from me, of course, “ her voice was low, alluring and intimate, “Forgive me for having been so blind as to have not seen it before. If not for you, I know quite well that I certainly would not be where I am now, Azazeal. Afer all, it was you who set my feet upon this path, was it not? I never meant to make you to feel somehow less than Hsu in my regard.” She gave him a small smile now and she used no Fae glamour, for Azazeal would see right through it as a ruse. And if she were being honest with herself, then it absolutely was not a ruse. She needed this tenuously crafted alliance between them ‘just as much as he did’, she thought. What she was doing now was laying out the specific terms that she was after just as much as he had been doing with her. Within those specifics she could be given room to manoeuver or something else entirely that was meant to trap her, leaving her no room to negotiate nor maintain any autonomy whatsoever. That she would never agree to. She would cede to Azazeal this victory under those terms and if he could deliver what she asked now, then both would have won. If he could not agree to those simple and stark terms, he would nullify everything and Faelyn knew that the Leader of the Nephilim would never do that. Even in Hell there were immutable laws, and Azazeal knew that quite well. If he were to break the agreement, then it would turn all of the Sidhe against him and the Nephilim irrevocably. . It would be no real detriment for Azazeal to agree; he would get the loyalty and devotion from her that he felt entitled to, and she would stay his hand from lashing out at her without a completely justified reason.
Faelyn leaned forward and placed a small kiss between her hands upon his chest, “If you grant me that, then you are absolutely right, Azazeal,” she murmured against him, then looked up into his eyes that were dark with warning, “I am yours.”
There was nothing in Faelyn’s move to kneel at his own knees that was submissive in the least. There was no begging in her act, and Azazeal understood this implicitly. The touch, her hands on his chest were a connection between them, bringing them to a more equal ground, if anything. It was something that too few recognized, only wishing to see what they thought was obvious. It was errors like that which amused him. Now, however, there was no one but themselves, each knowing the other. As he gazed back down into her eyes, he took his time in mulling over her counter offer.
Indeed, Hsu Danmei would not hesitate on such a thing, but that was how the man was, and the fallen angel both recognized and was a little irritated by the fact that she should throw that fact out to him as a means to corner him. No, he would not give her an immediate answer, she would know that he would have to consider, or at least appear to consider, and he remained quiet as she continued. He disliked being cornered into a deal, especially one of his own devising, but as he had already acknowledged, this alliance between himself and his Nephilim and the Sidhe was valuable indeed. Plus, he did want her personal loyalty on par with that she gave humans like Hsu.
It was her own proposed oath that she would agree to his terms without question at the risk of being forsworn, and the fact that she knew as well as he did, that while demons, by their very essence, were all too keen to find loopholes and manoeuver out of deals that bound them, there were standards. Even in their one-sided deals, they had to deliver their side, even if it was not always how it was intended. This was different. And he knew just as much what was at stake. To decline, or worse to later find a way to dishonour such an agreement, would not only dissolve any alliance between Hell and Sidhe, but possibly create another adversary. That, his senior would not be pleased by, and given his own long fondness for the Fae, he did not relish.
Azazeal smiled as she placed the kiss on his chest. His hands ran over Faelyn’s long, dark hair before rising up to her face to cup her cheeks. He did not miss the darkness in her eyes as his gaze locked with hers. “You drive a hard bargain yourself, Faelyn,” he said in his soft lilt. It was not a reproach, but a compliment. His blue eyes darkened, seeing out of them now with the demon within. “If you are willing to make such an agreement, at such a price to be forsworn if you should break it, then how can I not do the same.” The wording was deliberate, and vanity. He could not let it seem that he was being any less, even if it was as sincere as he ever managed. “If Hsu Danmei can agree to such terms, then so can I. I speak for myself and the Nephilim that I place my trust in you and you shall have my loyalty in all things.” He spoke without falsity, he was sure she would sense that, given that he had no oaths to swear by of his own. The fact that he had included his Nephilim was a sign of his seriousness. “If in return you give me all that I ask.”