I gently nudge a sleeping Lussi off me, and quietly sheathe my sword. I walk out.
He wakes, crying: “Dia, please, don’t leave me! I can’t bear this alone.”
His ragged sobs follow me up the nine circles and fresh out of Hell, like a crow. I sob, but do not look back. To look back and reply, I would be stuck in Jahonna forever. I ascend the Hades grotto that leads back to Vidagol. My bridal finishing school that Lucifuge presides over awaits me, where the demons live in court intrigue with their brides. Lussi visits every week to preside over his domains, and I attend him in wifely duties. If I did not, my Arcadian bloom would wither; my blood would boil like the Phlegethon. I touch my collar and wince.
The prophets say, if Lussi truly dies, he will be reborn uncursed as Sa’el, and will bring peace. Thus, I play with ways to dispose of my husband, for him to be renewed an Irin. He thinks the prophecy of Sa’el a fallac
Malik is in his pea plant garden, the mutant plants growing red and black blossoms.He idly pops a legume open, then looks up mid-scarf to find Alexandria and I dressed in hunting trousers, buckskin boots, blue cloaks, and tunics embroidered with sun sparrow wings.His green eyes, sandstone skin, and curling red-black hair spills onto his leather coat and black harem pants. He spits the peas out, rubies hanging from his ears, gold torc at his throat.“Oh no, a visit from the ladies. What is it, my doves? Excited for Lussi’s ball? Matilda, chocolates!” He claps his hands and calls to his succubus lab assistant, who canters off on fawn hooves with a “Yes master!” to the kitchen to fix us a plate of cocoa tinged sweets. Malik has them imported just for Lexa across the Naiadis Sea from the southern Unktehi, he loves her so.“Excited my ass,” I snort. “You hate Lucia.”“She
Alexandria flies on her indigo wings through a flurry, bundled in her hunting cloak, and Malik is dressed in dark wool and deerskin, his bat wings folding, lifting and flying as he and Lexa dance through the air.My iron skiff of eider down, Lussi’s bridal gift to me, and a quiverful of phoenix-fletched arrows from Alexandria are at my side as the prow of my boat charts its way around icebergs and snow seals. The white iron doves of Vidagol fly with metallic feathers, spawned when Elyon’s blade met Eleleth’s trident in the first of their wars. They are scrappy birds that screech like the twang of a snapping piano string, perched on the helm of my boat carved like a siren.I toss an apple up into the air. “Catch, Malodorous!”“Don’t call me that!” Malik shouts, but grabsit anyway, biting into the golden flesh. “Mmm, Laushtian apples, my favorite.”“Share, you hound, you’
I am in the bridal chamber with Lucia, Lussi’s female form. She has platinum hair, soft, ethereal features, small breasts like hills of milk, and is dressed in blue violet robes.She looks at me inquisitively, then gently pets my wrist. Transfixed, the spell of her beauty breaks, and I continue to adorn her, lighting her tallows aflame: candles shine in her hair, white tapers arranged in an ivy Lussinight wreath that I have gently braided into the cornsilk strands of her crown. She sits silently like a queen, a translucent black veil over her albino face. She stares into the mercury of her mirror, and waits bemusedly as I powder her brow.My wife looks like a China doll from the Eastern lands father once brought back to me from one of his far flung mercantile trips to the Oni. All of the humor of Lussinight has left her, her bravado and jokes and tricks, vanquished by a sicksleep wind.She dreads this as much as I do, her Harrowings. Luci
I shudder, and spit in her face. She simply licks it up.I speak in tremulous thunder: “Your prophecies are shortsighted and wrong.”Lucia lets out a snort. “You think my visions ill-intentioned, like false prophets gibbeted in Judecca? What do you know of the future, you paltry, blind mortal?”I dig my fingers into her hips and kiss her with vile. She groans, pulling me in, and cries. I break away, my breaths coming like fractured bones: “I know that demons lie. That I have no hidden potential. That I will only bring you pain. Prophesize yourself dead, why don’t you, slain by my blade and reborn as Sa’el!”“More! More kisses, my heartbreakingly beautiful wife. I need more – ughlgh?”I drive the hilt of my dagger into her breast, and she gasps, choking up ichor. I get a chestful of the poison her veins spray, but the flesh of her demonic construction rejects the Ifrit
“You are so beautiful that I break.” Lucia lets out a low wail. She begins to weep, reaching down under the bed to reach a cat o’ nine tails. She scourges herself, praying to dead Eleleth for forgiveness – to break her rosy curse of undeath.“Pray with me, sweet Magdalene,” Lucia cries out in fathomless depths, like a beached whale upon my shores. The sorrow of the elegant Snow Queen frosts my room to Kelvin zero, and I shudder as blue ice forms in snowflakes on my flesh. I shiver violently, biting my teeth as my mouth chatters, and the lights in the candles blow out as Lucia whips herself, crying out in the angelic tonal language to her Fallen Father. Gold seeps from her wounds.Lucia sings, a song of hunger pangs, a melody of the labor of Rahab’s watery womb, with a timbrel of her father Eleleth’s hellfire seed, and there is a great making and unbreaking in my wife as she punishes herself for her fat
“Yes. Yes! That is all I need. You are all I have, Diamanda…”She rubs friction in my soul, and I come undone in her arms as she falls like rain on my arms.I am alone in the room. The monthly Harrowing is complete. Then, a bright beam of moonlight enfolds me, and she is healed, whole, decked in her violet robes and painted skin once again as if nothing has happened. Her platinum hair and milky skin fall like providence onto the mirror’s reflection. Lucia’s gaze is stony, and she lifts me up with a faint smile.“Dress warmly. We fly, then we ride,” Lucia says tenderly. “I love you, Diamanda. I do.”I gather clothes from the closet the two of us share. “What? But where?”Her eyes flash red violet. “To the runestones.”“But – but why?”Lucia narrows her brows. “I have a mission for you in Shamayim, my Magdalene. The old gods are
The golden hallway of Lussi’s crystal and ice palace is strewn with demonic nobility of all races. There are nymphs, fauns, satyrs, cambions, incubi and succubi, nagas, rakshashas, lamias, huldra, trolls – everything under the sun, all dressed in Lucifuge’s most recent fashions.Mistress Lucifuge Rofocale sits with a pinched face and black shadows clinging to her gaunt form on the matron’s throne, with Malik flanking her. Malik is ignoring everything, madly drawing on draftsman paper new architectural features for the palace and eldritch weapon designs. Biting his lip, he mutters to himself, crosses out a design, then madly scrawls a new one.I watch the freshly sourced hell brides of Lucifuge’s finishing school and their lucky – or perhaps not so lucky – young new demon husbands and sigh. “So, more broodmares for Jahonna for your cambion armies. How pleasant, Lussifart.”Lussi smiles like a razor, d
“Somehow, you snore like a foghorn. You look like Briar Rose, trapped in a thicket.”“Zzzz… eh?”“How delicate are the farts of a maiden who babbles in her sleep,,” Lussi drawls, naked, morning wood of his double serpent hemipenes crooked up like twin spears to the dawn. His prehensile cocks weep silky gold precum. My beloved husband idly watches me as the Arctic sun shines through the clouds of Vidagol. “Clear blue skies like sailor’s eyes,” he says. My husband’s amaranthine irises glow, his cheeks flushed as he draws the covers closer to my chin, then he tenderly leans into me, tracing the rise and fall of my breasts in fascination. “No lovelier creature has ever been made. I adore you. I worship you. You are all I want.”“Mrph?” I groan. My mouth stinks of sleep, and their is night grit in my eyes.He takes a deep whiff from my mouth. &ldq