-The Tower-

Tonight, the moon was bright and huge. It's misty glow cast a pool of silver moonlight on the mosaic tiles of the keep, illuminating some of the design. But the rest was obscured from sight, as the only other light was from the stout, waxen candles higher up the circular stone wall. They allowed a visible scene in yellow light: in the centre of the room, there was a chair. An old furnishing- a throne, maybe carved then burnt black or welded from dark metal. But black nonetheless, and it's whorls and design spoke of hidden hands and twisting roots and perhaps even symbols. It was a chair, but it looked like it had grown from the ground and then been dipped in liquid obsidian.


And in it, somewhat unsuitably, sat a bedraggled female determinedly tightening the knots around her wrists to match how taut those on her ankles and waist were. Satisfied, she sat back and listened. She had a strange appearance, but we will come to that later. For now, I will only tell you of the way the night glinted off her inky black eyeballs.


Then, it was midnight. She knew because...well, there were just some things she innately knew. Like the time. Especially the time when a deal was completed. But anyone else might know by the faint yet resonant tolling of Little Nyx, the night clock.


Dong...Dong...Dong...


"Thank you for your services, madame Larucha," the woman hissed to herself from her chair. The tone was deep and guttural, and unexpected for a woman of her stature. But in some strange consequence, she replied to herself.
"Think of it as nothing, sire," said a accented and pleasant voice. It came from the same mouth. (It was a trick she had learnt long ago, to flatter them) These two voices, somehow speaking through the same body, continued to converse.
"The only thing I need is..."
"Your payment. Of course, of course..."
It was an odd thing, to watch the woman talk to herself. Especially since the very aura of her seemed to change as her voice did- everything from her voice to the way her facial muscles moved distorted within fractions of seconds. The other thing was her eyes.
Black-eyes harsh voice had trailed off. The madame Larucha, apparently the other resident of this body, filled the lull in the conversation.
"You used some time, and your powers, to charm the objects I gave you as you see fit. You gave me the favour of some of your allies, and led me to a number of precious and rare resources, if I should ever have the need for them. The last debt you owe me, is some of your own power".
There was silence in that cold, confined keep at the top of the tower.
"I am your mind now, daemon-child. You were carefully vague on this detail, as not to let me see so before"
"It is in the conditions. Ten years, as promised. You owe it to me to pay the price".
"No," growled black-eyes, "That is for a soul only. It's not a deal easily made”. It paused a moment.

I could be sent...back there.".

"I'm already bound for hell, Gouache" replied the other voice, with contempt and almost exasperation. Cit- The word 'Gouache' is more a translation of the sound she made, something that she pronounced wrongly and it still was impossible to accentuate by any other mortal being. "So are you, some of my clients even go as far to say we all are. I doubt they'd chase you up on it".
"It's nor just a matter of regulations, Mistress Helga. It would literally be impossible, without some form of soul!” it protested.
"Use yours"
"What?". Black-eyes was literally taken aback, and hissed and leant back in the throne.
"I said: use yours".
"Are you mad, or just a fool, witch? You don't know my origin, but you must know that long ago mine was sold or burnt away".
Larucha was growing tired of this charade. Her bodily face was a contortion of shock and anticipation, and another that you could call boredom.

"Yes...but there is another way. You sacrifice part of your...energies. Then it works out".
"What?,” cawed Gouache “,Impossible! It has never been done, and even if it did-".
"Actually, it has. I've seen it a few times before. It most certainly works".
"It could..."

Black-eyes paused for a fraction of a breath to think of a word more appropriate than 'kill'.
"...destroy me. Make me cease to exist".
"Aha!” laughed the other. At last, the penny drops she thought. “Yes, it could". A wicked smile curved up Helga's lips as she spoke.
"Just a chance you'll have to be willing to take, no? You can't, after all, break a deal".
Beneath the flesh of Helga Larucha, the demon (for as you must have guessed, that is what it was) seethed. A black hatred and rage, bubbling and spitting like hot black tar erupted in the fury and power of it's next word.
"NO."
The candles blew out. The moon cowered behind a cloud . Little Nyx stopped ticking, and for now, all was silent and dark except the next, measured words of the demon within Helga.
"Why should I bow to your will? I may be bound by rules, but all rules," one shaking arm wrenched free of the ropes binding her arm, "have blind spots and pit holes. And most of all, Madame, you forgot I am a demon. An entity," it spat in pride with a power and derision, "Of evil and all that is corrupt on our good lord Lucifer's earth!".
Through this speech, ironically declared to itself, the body in the chair had broken it's bindings and now stood, panting, as mortal bodies are not supposed to emit such darkness.
"Bloody patriots, the lot of you," Helga muttered in her thoughts. Soon though, it would be over. She felt the flit of doubt and uncertainty as black-eyes felt her thought process. But then, it continued aloud. ]
"This is a good vessel. One worth something indeed. But there is no reason why I shouldn't just take it from you, no? Why I shouldn't just crush your consciousness and reside here forever?". Her head titled, and she listened for a moment for a responses, inwardly or out.
It began to laugh, quietly. Then louder, and raucous laughter exploded from the demon.

Why, you seem to have lost your tongue. Hold on a moment...that's because I have it.”

It chuckled to itself, and then began to speak quickly and confidently.

I will purge your soul from this body, Larucha. Mark my words”. Black-eye's smiled and paced the tower. It glanced at the ceiling.

As I'm sure you know, I need to be human to leave this keep. That's how you got me in, and that's the only way I'm getting out. Then, I let you compress my presence. If you'd kept a fair deal, a plausible deal, it wouldn't have come to this, no...but you will free me, or I will destroy this body and you with it.”

It wouldn't be any gain for you either, you satanic idiot. It would leave you stranded in a rotting corpse.

But she followed his orders.

I will give you reign of this body, and you will step outside the circle,” it commanded.

Helga felt the presence diminish, and a rush of feeling returned to her limbs. But she carried out her movements numbly, first going to the chair...

Out of the circle, Larucha.”

Just let me say goodbye to my throne, Gouache. A last wish from a defeated spirit.”

The demon wavered, and caved in to her. What difference would it make? So slowly, the female's body lowered itself into the black throne. It sighed, and caressed the writhing texture of the hand-rests. She seemed to search the for something with her fingers...

Then in one, quick motion, the tables turned.

Helga had slid a concealed knife out of the throne, and was holding it at her wrist. A wrist with a tally of scars- 9 so far- and she held her blade as so to mark on number ten. It was like a black shard of some precious rock and embedded with scripture and throbbing with power. She felt the panic of the demon in her mind, and she smiled wide.

You know what this is. You can guess, Gouache. Give me your powers or you die.”

NO”

GIVE THEM TO ME”

The demon winced and thrashed in her mind. Then, she felt it's concentration and absolute doubt.

That's it...you know my request....”

There was a rush of wind, and the light returned, and she felt something new and raw inside of her as the demon gave her what it was she wanted.

it...is...done”.

Thanks. Now, anyway”.

No Larucha! Our deal”

Mortals don't have to follow the regulations either, Gouache.”

She slit the knife down her wrist, and felt the demon perish.

It was conquered, and the deal was done.

Demons, thought Helga, bad humour and over-confident, the lot of them.

The End

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