Meeting the Crone and receiving the instrument for the Fallen's revenge against Lucifer.
Hopping the ley line closest to his home, the fallen leader sped to the Crone's hideout in the swamps of Louisiana. The energy depositing him behind a gnarled Cypress tree just outside of her small encampment and for a moment, he watched her in silence. Appearing to perch atop a seething cauldron, the witch noisily gulped the noxious scent, that was strangely reminiscent of Hell, rising from the pot. And her hair, stringy and long, seemed drawn to the fire under it like flowers to the sun. The epitome of the evil witch who had given Snow White the poisoned apple, shadows chased themselves across her face of nightmares. The madness that had crept in to feast on his over-inflated sense of self slowly gave way to revulsion and, he stood rooted to the boggy ground until she beckoned. “Come, come pretty one”, she said sweetly, “I know you are here.” But, crones could not be trusted and he approached her cautiously.
She rested shifting kaleidoscope-colored eyes on him and he stiffened in trepidation. Everything natural in the swamp had gone mute, as if hiding in anticipation of a bloody battle. A nameless fear permeated the fog that surrounded them. “Do you have what I desire, Crone?” he asked forcefully, though it emerged as a whisper. “Oh, but I most assuredly do, Fallen one”, her voice boomed. She continued in a quieter voice. “Only it is being protected by Saint’s Guardians.” Falling silent, she stirred the vat with a gleam in eyes that would not settle on a shade. He began to speak and found that he could not utter a sound.
Glaring at her, he threw a gold piece at her dirty feet. She let it lay between them. “Knowing that you seek the instrument of Lucifer’s demise, do you also recognize that a bargain is to be made with me, as well as the coin, for the information?” He nodded once, and the Crone cackled like a crow that has seen an eagle fall wounded to the ground. She appeared to shrink into herself, her changeable eyes losing focus and she continued in a low, deadly voice. The Throne had been seized from her, she said, and she had been exiled from the lowest realms because Lucifer was frightened that she would cause a mutiny to reclaim her destiny.
The angels' lips stretched into a condescending smile. Beelzebub was the former King of Hell. And Luce had never experienced fear, certainly not fear at the hands of an old witch seeming to have one foot in his deathly domain anyway. “I want to return to my home. And you will do this for me by awakening the one prophesied to become the Daughter of the Deep, my beautiful, fallen soldier. In return, we will both receive our fondest wish. You shall have your vengeance and I, I will be able to move freely about my home again. You need to get close to her but, not too close, for she must remain pure for her descent. Afterward, she will be yours to wed or bed as you like”. He looked at her and gave her an incredulous stare. She was providing more than revenge.
Turning her nauseating gaze on him, she drew a symbol on the ground. Vocal chords free at last, he quickly indicated assent to her bargain. Shaking her head in denial at his verbal agreement, the Crone retrieved a dagger from the folds of her robe. Small but ornate, it shone fire with the smooth, round rubies embedded in the hilt. She would have a blood contract. He slowly took a few steps closer and thrust his left hand at her. Holding it just above the cauldron, she drew the blade and slid it across his palm. Squeezing his hand, she stirred six copious drops of his tainted angelic blood into her potion, chanting softly. When she was finished, the Crone lifted the ladle and drank, then handed it to him. He sipped warily from her spoon. Satisfied, she placed the dagger flat against the now healed palm, and closed his fingers around it.
The Crone, eyes suddenly flaming crimson and glowing with hatred, spat out at him, "Behold, our salvation!" as a photograph of a child, maybe ten years old, with a solemn expression and wild red hair, appeared in his other hand. Reluctantly, he spoke, "What good is this, if the prophecy remains under lock and key? Who are the Guardians that protect this hell child?" She laughed crazily at his confusion, muttering under her breath. Motioning for him to go, she began to sink into the flames under the pot. He cried out angrily. “How is a frail human female to depose Lucifer from the throne?"
Suspicious that he had been tricked, he lunged; stabbing at her with the dagger. Becoming incorporeal instantly, the witch's voice when she spoke pierced his blackened soul. “Take care with that blade angel, it is necessary. You will learn more of the Prophecy the closer the child comes to her thirtieth birthday. By whatever means available to you, on that day you must be able to induce enough rage in her for five deaths, including her own. Within three days, their blood still staining the dagger, you shall return here to me. I will be waiting.” She vanished then, into the green cloud above her potion. “Ross” was the last sound he heard and, with the Guardians’ family name echoing through his head and her foul breath confusing his brain, he ported back to his penthouse.
Shaking off the sensation that he had made the deal with the devil himself, he removed his costly loafers that now bore the muck of the swamp. Tossing them into the trash without a thought, he roamed from room to room letting the familiarity of his home comfort him. If he chose to believe the witch, he would not only witness Lucifer's fall from his Throne of Bones; he would also be mated to the one who would snatch the kingdom away. The girl child had been born to rule but, to awaken the Daughter-hood would cost five souls. He held the face of Luce's ruin gingerly between his fingers and stroked it lightly with his thumb. Choosing to trust the Crone he, at last, had the means to heap retribution on Lucifer’s head for the betrayal of his faithful comrades.