Hello people of earth! I'm-a-Muppet-of-a-girl here with my third fanfic! Whoo! Yeah! Uhh...I never was very good at getting people hyped. Anywho, I hope you like it. Please don't forget to leave a little review to tell me how it is!
Disclaimer: I don't own Infernal Devices. I just found out a month ago and I'm still getting over it...sorry I need a moment... Oh and I also don't own William Herondale, which is unfortunate, because he's a hunk!
Axel Mortmain paced back and forth across the floor of the old mansion, his trembling hands clasped behind his back. It seemed like everything he had worked for, every lie he had told and every crime he had committed, rested on this night. He had worked for so, so long for this. He had taken agonizing measures to prepare himself—he had studied the secret world that existed under humans' noses, painstakingly training himself until he could see what most other humans couldn't—Downworlders, Shadowhunters, and demons.
And now it was finally paying off. Soon he would have everything he'd ever wanted.
He just had to survive this night.
The door to the basement flew open and the warlock Mortmain had hired for this wonderful occasion stood there, looking pale and afraid. "I think I've done it, sir," he whispered, shaking from head to toe. "I've finally done it."
Mortmain took three long strides across the room and seized the warlock by the shoulders, staring into his eyes intently. "You've summoned him?" he demanded, and the warlock nodded fearfully.
Mortmain all but shoved the Downworlder to the ground as he swept past him, down the stairs and into the ornately decorated and appropriately ominous basement of the mansion. Everything was in dark shades of crimson and black, and there were no windows. What better place to hold the ritual?
Mortmain stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the lightly glowing circle drawn in the center of the floor, and electricity shot through his veins. A huge, dark, bulging shape was crouched in the middle of the circle, its rattling breaths filling the room with muggy heat. A mixture of fear and pleasure filled Mortmain at the sight of the beast, and he took several slow steps closer.
He stopped just at the edge of the circle and stared up at the demon, who was hunched over so that its face was hidden beneath a tattered wing. It took him a moment to gather enough courage to clear his throat loudly in an attempt to draw the creature's attention.
The beast shifted slightly and then slowly unfolded itself into a sitting position. Even when it wasn't standing, it towered over Mortmain at about twelve feet tall. It was covered with an array of scales and horns, which protruded at odd angles all over its body. Four black horns arched out of its forehead and when it opened its mouth to take a breath, it revealed row upon row of needle-sharp teeth. Disturbingly human-like fingers were splayed on the ground with thick, serrated talons protruding from the tips. The demon itself was a dull scarlet color, with frightening black eyes.
It took Mortmain several long seconds to find his voice. "You are the demon Cruor?" he said, a nervous tremor gripping his voice.
The demon surveyed Mortmain with a mixture of contempt and hatred. But while it was trapped in its circular cage, it had no choice but to answer Mortmain's questions. "I am," it said in a dark, resonating voice that sent chills down one's spine.
"I have summoned you here to ask a favor of you," Mortmain announced, trying to regain his composure.
Cruor curled its lip. "I do not perform favors for humans."
Mortmain bristled. "I am no ordinary human," he snapped. He closed his eyes briefly to calm himself. "I misspoke before," he said in a lower voice. "I do not seek a favor, but a bargain."
The demon's torn wings tried to unfurl but an unseen force pushed them back again. "I do not make bargains," it snarled.
Mortmain did his best not to flinch underneath Cruor's baleful glare. "You will not want to dismiss this bargain so easily," he cautioned. "You are the demon of bloodshed, are you not?"
The demon did not respond, and Mortmain took his silence as a confirmation.
"My bargain works very much in your favor," he went on. "You were created to kill and to make suffering, and that is what I ask you to do for me."
The demon's depthless black eyes narrowed. "You wish me to kill for you? I have no interest in your petty human squabbles."
"Not just one kill," said Mortmain, pressing the tips of his fingers together. "I wish for you to destroy every last Shadowhunter on this earth. I want you to tear them to shreds. I want you to make them suffer."
Mortmain did not miss the sudden increase in the demon's interest. "I have attempted to kill the Shadowhunters countless times before," it growled. "I have never managed to take down more than a few at a time. And it would seem that I am too weighed down with Shadowhunter seals and curses to drag myself up from the depths on my own." Once again, the demon tried to spread its wings, and Mortmain wondered if the holes and tears in them were due to Shadowhunter abuse.
"That is the other end of the bargain," said Mortmain calmly. "If you agree to kill every last Shadowhunter, then I will set you free."
Cruor went very still. "Impossible."
"I have found a way," Mortmain said grimly. "It requires a ritual…"
Cruor's talons clawed at the ground, making huge gashes in the expensive carpet. "I will not put my trust in you," it snarled.
Mortmain remained composed. "We are not trusting one another," he said coolly. "We are making an unbreakable bargain. Both of us must fulfill our ends. I will perform this ritual to set you free, and then you will do as I have asked of you."
The demon's mouth curled upward, and Mortmain was certain that it was a smile. "All right, human," it said in a deathly soft voice. "I will agree to your bargain. Say that you will set me free, and I shall promise to kill your Shadowhunters. It will bind us to the deal we have made."
For one instant, Mortmain hesitated. A doubt surfaced in his mind, the remnants of his ruined conscience clawing its way back to him. He knew this would have disastrous results. The moment the demon was set free, there would be no containing it. It would be obligated to slaughter the Shadowhunters, but why should it stop there? It would go after every last Downworlder, every last human being, and there would be no stopping it.
And then Mortmain's greed and hatred and lust for revenge clouded over his conscience once again, and he found himself smiling. "I swear that I will set you free so that you may complete your side of our bargain, once I am able," he said softly.
Cruor's eyes flashed. "And I swear to destroy every single Shadowhunter that lives and breathes, once you set me free."
A shudder passed through Mortmain, and he knew that their bargain could not be broken.
"It has been done," said Cruor, sounding darkly satisfied. "You are bound to our bargain, human, as am I." It leaned closer, lowering its head so that it was level with Mortmain's. "Tell me how you will set me free."
"It is simple, really," said Mortmain, struggling to keep his calm mask in place. This was the part that gave him both strong regret and intense pleasure. "It is a ritual, one that requires a female sacrifice. The sacrifice must have a heart that is pure and loving." He spoke the words with deep disgust. "The opposite of the demon that is to be set free."
"And you have such a sacrifice?"
"Not yet. But I will. She lives with the Shadowhunters—she is a…pet, of sorts. They seem to care quite deeply for her." He sighed wistfully, remembering when he had hoped to take her as his own bride, to use her abilities for his own devices. Until he had come to a realization—what could be more powerful than the dark art of a demon? But if he could not have her…then no one could.
"Fool," the demon hissed. "Choose another. It is useless to pursue one who is under the Shadowhunters' protection. Even if you managed to take her, they would easily take her back."
Mortmain smiled smugly. "I have taken care of that," he said. "They will never know she is gone. She will have a…substitute, to take her place. It will buy us enough time to finish the ritual, and by then, it will be too late to save her."
"It is difficult to deceive Shadowhunters," rumbled Cruor. "But do as you will, human. As long as I am free, the means of my freedom are no concern of mine. Now go and bring her to me!" His voice rose to a roar that shook the house to its foundation. Mortmain scrambled backward and up the stairs, heart leaping in his chest.
But even though his hands still shook from fear and adrenaline, he was smiling. At last, he could sense his victory on the horizon. All he needed was that one last piece of the puzzle.
You are mine, Tessa Gray.
One chapter down! Please tell me what you think, and let me know if I should go on. Thanks for reading!