Author notes: I'm sticking my neck out here with posting parts of this story before the complete work is finished. It is something I've never done before and I give no guarantees. I am hoping to develop this into a series of short stories and vignettes that together will tell the story of the demon Belthazor. And while I work on the next part, your comments and thoughts would be most welcome at hellerswebdoc@yahoo.com.




THE BELTHAZOR CHRONICLES

Master plan



"Idiots. Idiots! I am surrounded by IDIOTS!!" The Source's voice grew louder and louder until the walls of the underground cavern shook with his rage. In the antechamber Raynor exchanged uncomfortable looks with two of his fellow Brotherhood members. The Source was losing his temper and that never bode well for the creatures of the Underworld. Perhaps this was not a good time to pitch his idea.

"Raynor! Get in here!" the Source barked.

Raynor flinched. It was too late to reconsider. It didn't escape his notice that the other demons avoided meeting his eyes nor did he miss the wary step they took away from him. The message was clear: he couldn't expect any support from them, despite the blood oath that bound them. If the Source didn't buy his plan, this was going to be his final hour.

Raynor squared his shoulders. He collected his courage, pulled the cowl a little further over his head and walked past the guard.

Inside his chamber the Source paced with short, angry strides. Behind him, flames leapt up at the ceiling in sync with his footfalls. A robed figure stood in front of the Source, his head down in submission. Raynor recognized him: Marax. A high ranking demon, a Brother, who had been charged with seducing a mortal to reveal the location of a sacred amulet. It looked as if he had not succeeded.

"There you are," the Source grunted. He directed his stare at Raynor.

The powerful demon inclined his head. "I'm at your service, Master," he said.

"Are you?" the Source asked.

Raynor held his tongue; it was not a question that he should answer.

"We shall see. This fool here," the Source pointed sharply at the demon before him, "has failed me. Your Brotherhood has failed me."

Marax raised his head and opened his mouth to protest.

"SILENCE!" the Source roared and Marax' jaws snapped shut with an audible click.

"Marax has availed nothing," Raynor said, calmer than he felt, "because he does not understand humans. None of us do."

"Idiots," the Source murmured. "That's because you're all idiots."

Raynor hesitated. "I beg to differ." He held his breath, waiting for the inevitable blowout and the hot, scorching fire.

It never came. He risked a glance at the hooded figure of the Source. His master stood motionless, stiff. Raynor snatched his chance. "We are not idiots," he continued quickly. "We are... different from mortals. Their emotions and their innate sense of good are alien to us. We have studied them for over four thousand years. But even if we study them for another forty centuries, we will still not understand."

"So, tell me, my loyal servant," the Source said. His tone was light but Raynor could sense the underlying threat. "Are you suggesting we have been defeated?"

"No! Certainly not." Raynor shook his head vigorously. "However, perhaps it is time to try a different tack."

"I'm listening," the Source said. He folded his arms in front of his chest.

"If you'll allow me," Raynor said, "I would like to introduce someone to you. A... protegee of mine, so to speak." He gestured at Marax. "The girl. Get her."

The Source, whose curiosity was stronger than his anger, settled himself on the high chair in the middle of the room. He rearranged his robes around him and waited in silence.

Raynor continued. "To subjugate the human race," he said, "we need someone who understands what makes them tick. Someone who can think like them, who can anticipate and predict their responses. We need someone who has human blood."

"WHAT?" the Source growled, jumping back up from his seat. "Are you suggesting we bring a human into our fold? Even if you could find one that was willing, they wouldn't last a week."

Raynor allowed himself a small smile. "Exactly," he agreed. "That's why I devised another plan." He breathed a little easier, confident that he had the master's ear.

From the corner of his eye he caught a movement near the entrance to the Source's chamber. He recognized Marax, and the smaller figure beside him. The Source gave a permissive nod, and Raynor gestured for Marax to send the girl in.

Her beauty once again struck Raynor. Although dressed in a simple, sleeveless tunic, she was a sight to behold. Dark curls danced about her head and came to rest on her shoulders. The girl's skin was pale and unblemished. A small, thin nose connected a red, pouting mouth with two large, green eyes. Her body was slim, with perky breasts and round, curvy hips.

"Master, may I present to you," Raynor said and gave a florid sweep with his arm, "Lilith."

At the mention of her name, the young woman curtsied. "Your wish," she said, "is my command." Her voice was melodic and light, like the tinkling of bells on a warm summer's day.

The Source circled her, studying her, judging her. She followed him with her eyes. Whereas even the most powerful demons cowered beneath his penetrating look, her expression held no fear. Instead, they looked unabashed and with open curiosity at the Source.

"Lilith, huh?" the Source mumbled. He threw his head back and a loud, boisterous laugh made the walls shake once again.

He wiggled a finger in Raynor's face. "Clever. Very clever. I see what you're up to," he chuckled. "She is a succubus, isn't she?"

Raynor nodded. "Yes, she is. Lilith was brought into being recently; she has not yet had the pleasure of the kill. I don't want her to kill. Not yet. What I suggest," he took a deep breath, "is for her to breed with a human. Her offspring will be what we need: a demon with human blood. A hybrid"



Disclaimer: this story is based on the Spelling Television/WB Television Network series Charmed. All characters belong to their original creators. The story was written for entertainment only and no copyright infringement was intended.