Authors: Kevin Kauffmann
From Hell with Love
Text Copyright © 2013 Kevin M Kauffmann
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To Kalpea, my light in the darkness:
I hope someday you return
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Another Day in Hell
Lucifer looked at the hole in the ceiling far above him and sighed, a haze of smoke escaping from his chapped lips. Although the fallen angel had noticed the damage to the ceiling eons ago, he had decided that he rather liked the break in the pattern. His throne room needed its flaws or he would have gone mad again, and he only needed a few thousand years of insanity to realize it was just not worth it. The tedium of immortality was best weathered with a stalwart mind.
The roll of hellweed in his left hand was becoming a little warm to the touch, causing the angel to look down at the arm of his throne. The ember had approached his fingers, but Lucifer did not bother to put it out. Pain burned away at his nerves as Lucifer watched, smiling slightly at the feeling. After a moment, he readjusted his hold on the cigarette and then brought it to his lips, drawing in the acrid smoke before leaning back in his throne and looking at the hole in his ceiling. He watched as light danced along the stalactites hanging above the opening.
Lucifer closed his eyes and remembered the light of heaven. It was far more inviting, far more appealing than the hellfire which had surrounded him these last two million years. Pangs of homesickness hit the fallen angel and caused his spirit to sink. This was his just desserts; ruling in Hell while his faithful brothers and sisters remained by their father. This was the price he paid every day for two million years, just for bringing humanity out of the dark.
Now all he had was the darkness.
The shout echoed throughout the throne room and battered Lucifer out of his thoughts of misery and loneliness. He opened his golden eyes and sighed again, the newly-released smoke obscuring his view of the damaged ceiling above. Lucifer grunted as he sat up in his twisted throne, the pommel of a broadsword poking into his back once he got to his full height. His brow furrowed as he looked back at the rusted blade. Ever since the new palace had been built, he had maintained a shifting seat of bones and weapons for intimidation and later propriety, but this incarnation was particularly annoying. Luckily, the throne would warp into something else the next day. Lucifer just hoped it would not be something worse.
He picked himself up and then walked down the small set of stairs that led away from his throne, covered in an old, red carpet. The dimly-lit double doors to the Reception Hall were a hundred yards away from his throne and he was in no rush to get to them. Lucifer had thought he could take an hour nap and had extinguished most of the torches to do so, but even that small concession could not be given to the ruler of the demonic world. He could not remember the last time he had not felt tired or had time to relax, but that was expected of the job.
Lucifer looked up at the high vaulted ceiling of his throne room and sighed for a third time, as if he wanted to shame the universe itself. The architect of both the old palace and the new were fond of grand monuments and high columns, dark perversions of the home they had left behind, and Lucifer had never found it pleasant. Trying to ignore the similarities, the fallen angel turned his attention to the doors ahead of him, feeling the soft carpet on his bare feet. Lucifer wore nothing except a heavy, white cloth around his hips that fell down to his shins and he did not bother to hide his bald head under ornaments or accessories. He had always been an angel of simple taste and had carried that lifestyle with him into the underworld, even if he was no longer Adonai’s servant. As he set his pure-white hand against the door leading into the Reception Hall, he tried to remember that he was now, and forever would be, the Devil.
“What’s the problem, Nico?” he asked after he pushed open the doors to the Reception Hall, which was brightly-lit in contrast to his throne room. The hall was larger than his throne room by half and when a special event was being held, decorations would be streaming from column to column, stands would be set up for vendors, and demons of court in ridiculous dress would be standing around exchanging meaningless conversation. Now it was practically empty, only a simple long table set in front of him lined with cushioned chairs for minor guests and friends. Lucifer wiped the fatigue from his eyes as he took in the light from the numerous torches burning in their sconces, finding out exactly who was in the room with him.
“Your son, Lucifer,” an angry voice growled from just a few yards away. After his eyes adjusted to the light, the Devil was able to see Niccolo in his fury, the maimed frown on his face clearly visible. Lucifer swept his left hand along his scalp before looking at the Horseman, whose unkempt black hair was obscuring the leprosy on the left side of his face.
“Are you two
going to get along?” Lucifer asked as he approached the long table. He set his hands on one of the cushioned chairs as he kept his eye on the angry Horseman across the table.
“They’ve had almost two-hundred years to do it, Lucy,” a voice came from Lucifer’s other side and, when he looked to the wall on his left, Lucifer found his old friend Azazel leaning up against it. The black blindfold still covered the demon’s eyes, but Lucifer could see the sardonic smile twisting his purple lips. Azazel looked almost human, but his pallid grey skin, reptilian tail and goat legs set him apart from the constant influx of human souls. He had not decided to keep his human appearance after the Fall, but Lucifer could not blame him for that.
“Well, two hundred years isn’t so long,” Lucifer said before turning back to the furious Horseman, who was breathing heavily underneath his yellowed scale armor. Azazel grunted at his statement.
“Tell that to Nico. Though I do have to say that Mammon might be a special case,” Azazel said from his position, his dark hair shrouding his face even though a good deal of it was pulled back in a ponytail. Lucifer could always count on his old friend to bring some light to this dark prison, no matter what had happened between them in the past.
“Special is an understatement,” Lucifer muttered as he looked around the room, sniffing as he noticed the broken furniture and cracks in the walls caused by Niccolo’s temper tantrum.
“Are you two finished? I need to talk to you about that asshole,” Niccolo said, the force of his breath causing some of his hair to sway in front of his eyes. Lucifer caught sight of the leprosy covering his left eye and felt bad for the Horseman; Niccolo never had the best of luck.
“Well, Nico, what did he do? I understand he’s a handful,” Lucifer started, but Niccolo shouted over him.
? That monster isn’t just a
, Scratch, and this isn’t something that can be waved over with a magic wand. He
Fafnir!” the former human shouted as he slammed his twisted left hand onto the table, forcing the leg underneath to buckle. Lucifer looked at the gnarled appendage and breathed in deeply. Bearing the marks of his pestilence made the Horseman more powerful, but on first sight, the arm had caused Lucifer to shudder.
“He was barely a hatchling,” Azazel added, but Niccolo glared at the demon’s statement.
a hatchling. I raised Fafnir for almost sixty
. Mammon had
right to do what he did,” the Horseman said, venom seeping through the syllables. Lucifer cursed as he brought up his hand and rubbed his cheek.
“Look, Nico, I know you were attached to Fafnir,” the angel started, but Niccolo slammed the table once more, the twisted bow on his back almost sliding out of its place.
? This wasn’t just because Fafnir was my pet. This wasn’t just because I get lonely down in the Pestilence Quarter. Your
ATE MY DRAGON!” he shouted as he slammed the table again for emphasis, breaking the wooden construct into pieces. “He didn’t just take my
, Scratch. This is an unforgiveable insult.”
“Well,” Lucifer started, unfazed by his Horseman’s childish antics, “you’re gonna have to forgive it, Nico.”
?” Niccolo asked, murder in his voice. Lucifer merely shrugged.
“If I punished demons for killing mindless animals, the entirety of Hell would rise up against me. I’d have to fight them all back down to civility, and that’s just something I don’t want to do again. I’ve had my fill of insurrections in two million years. I’m sorry, Nico.”
“You can’t be serious,” he replied under his breath, but Lucifer just maintained eye contact with him.
“I am. I know Fafnir meant a lot to you. You were excited when that egg hatched, but I can’t do a damned thing. If he attacked Plague, then we would talk, but Mammon has enough sense to leave your horse alone,” he said before standing back and looking at his young friend.
“If he eats my horse? That’s the line, Scratch? That’s when it’s too fucking far for the Hellborn? That’s when I’m allowed to come talking to you about SLAPPING HIM ON THE FUCKING WRIST?” Niccolo shouted, his anger piercing through the angel’s soul, even if the Horseman only had one good eye to glare at his mentor.
“No, I fucking get it, Scratch.
I get it
. He’s your son. Mammon can do whatever he wants. He can get away with
just because he’s your
,” Niccolo said, his tone frigid, which brought a quiet chuckle from Azazel.
“Oh, I think we can leave pride and joy off the table,” he added with a wicked smile. The statement brought looks of disapproval from both Niccolo and Lucifer, but they did not comment on it.
“This isn’t over, Scratch. Just because
won’t do anything doesn’t mean
won’t,” Niccolo said before walking over to the far exit.
“Please don’t,” Lucifer pleaded before sighing and looking back at Azazel. “The city can only repair itself so much.” Niccolo slammed the door to the hall on his way out, causing a chandelier made of bones to fall at the other end of the room and crash against the floor. Once the last bone stopped skittering across the ground, Azazel pushed himself off the wall and then leaned against one of the chairs.
“This is what you get for playing favorites, Lucy. None of the other Horsemen would have come to you over something this small. They wouldn’t be barging off to go kill your son, for sure,” he said, which caused Lucifer to look at him with a sad smile.
“Yeah, well, it’s not exactly like that’s a bad idea,” he muttered. As he considered the statement, Azazel let his tail wrap around the chair for support.
“I would actually pay to see that fight. Think it’d be fun,” he said before turning his head to the entryway across the massive room. Even with his blindfold on, Azazel knew where everything was, but that was no surprise. Lucifer was well aware of the satyr’s talents, even if he hid them away.
“I’d rather they didn’t. But then again, I’m invested,” Lucifer said before laying his arms across the back of the chair and resting his head against it.
“Bad investment. Pretty sure only one of them is worth a damn,” Azazel stated, which caused Lucifer to raise his head back up and stretch his arms above him.