I quickly considered my options.
- Kill the prisoner, complete the ceremony and cement my place as Commander.
- Don't kill the prisoner, and get fired and/or killed and/or my soul consumed.
- Seriously maim but don't kill the prisoner, and create a reputation as a weakling.
Option one it was.
I gripped the sword, raised it to the sacrifice's neck, and, pulling my arm back, sliced cleanly through.
I didn't flinch as his blood spattered everywhere, or as the body fell back into a rapidly-growing puddle of red. My earlier anxiety had dissolved, and I watched with remote interest as my blade and robe became black.
I didn't know why I was so okay with killing someone, but at that point I just went with it. It almost felt as though I had already killed hundreds of times, that it was as easy as pulling a weed.
The body was dragged off and Lucifer returned, holding a broadsword.
I kneeled out of instinct and he tapped each of my shoulders with it.
"Brothers! Welcome our newest initiate into Hell's battalion!"
I heard the demons whooping around me and realized that I was the only female in the room. Figures.
Lucifer had me stand and I felt the side of my neck burning. When I glanced at my reflection in the sword I realized that a pentagram had been emblazoned into my skin.
Silver goblets appeared in everyone's hands and they raised them as if for a toast. Lucifer handed me one and I tried not to notice that it was filled with what looked like fresh blood.
"To Darkness!" Lucifer roared, "That she may reign supreme for all of eternity!"
"To Darkness!" the rest of the room echoed, before emptying their cups.
I glanced at my drink and shrugged to myself. Bottoms up.
Just a bit of advice; bloodwine is never a good idea for someone who's never had any alcohol in their system.
"This is one wild party!" I laughed, refilling my goblet from a barrel.
"If you don't have fun before going into war, you're never going to have any fun." Lucifer offered, "I figured you might as well have a night to remember."
"Nope." I replied, taking a sip without even turning around, "I might be blazing drunk right now, but don't even try."
"I had to have a crack at it. How about a dance?"
I contemplated the booming music and flashing strobe lights, the minidress I didn't remember changing into, and shrugged.
"Sure, why not?"