The winter night was wild and cruel, the icy wind howling and whipping the trees about, hunting the clouds over a tumultuous sky while the red moon bled his light onto the snow covered land.
Ignatiuz was nervously checking the darkness outside, waiting for Frances to return with the delivery. The two of them - a carpenter and an old dumb hermit - had been living out in the woods in their small cabin houses as neighbors and despite their age difference become best friends over the years. Trusting and relying upon each other so much, that Frances had finally confided in Ignatiuz’ silence and told him about the prophecy and his true vocation.
Frances’s wife Elena had given birth to a daughter 4 weeks ago. As happy as Ignatiuz was to learn that finally the next generation of the secret keeper had been born, he’d been sad to see the worry in his friend’s eyes who’s wife was struggling, barely holding on to her life, her usually vivid red hair a pale, thinning flame and her body whithering away before their very eyes.
Ignatiuz, willing to grant Frances some alone time with his dying wife, had volunteered to pick up the delivery tonight though he had been terrified to come face to face with an ancestral being, but Frances had insisted that since he was the secret keeper it was his duty to do it. Moreover, it was a dangerous night, Joziel and his soldiers were out with the full blood moon, hunting for flesh and souls.
And now Ignatiuz was waiting, nervously checking on the woman, only a shadow of the beauty she had been, and the small bundle in her arms. Seraphina was already the spitting image of her mother, her whispy hair as red and her eyes as dark and understanding as her mother’s had always been.
Ignatiuz remembered the kindness of the woman when she had first met him, an old and tattering man who was unable to speak because Joziel’s henchmen had tortured him and cut out his togue as a young man. He hadn’t told them then what they’d wanted to know and he never would, not even if they would threaten to cut off his hands if he should refuse to write it down.
Frances had been secretly relived to find someone to confide in. The secret he was keeping was resting heavily on his soul and Ignatiuz had drawn his wild, white eyebrows together in surprise back on that day 5 years ago upon learning that Frances Tangrence was the current secret keeper of an ancient prophecy that had been lost to the winds and only one chosen witness from each generation remembered the fragments of.
Frances had told him the whole prophecy up to the part that had been lost centuries ago and also that his heir and firstborn child, whetherboy or girl, would be the next secret keeper. No one knew when the time would have come and the prophecy would finally be fulfilled, but until then the Tangrence family would treasure the secret truth in their hearts.
And now Seraphina had been born. Tangrence had been terrified and exited when the angel had visited him in his dreams the night before and told him with a voice that made his very soul shudder that it was time. He’d left his wife in the hands of his best friend and grabbing his thickest coat and a lantern had dissappeared into the scary, verspertine winter forest and howling winds.
Ignatiuz had just stoked the dying fire back to a blazing furnace when the door opened and a terrified Frances stumbled into the room, a bundle in his arms and a small boy of not more than four clutching his hand. "Quick, quick Ignatiuz. Joziel’s horses are right behind me. We have to get the boys to safety."
Ignatiuz wondered why they had to save the boys from Joziel when they were supposed to be taken as his foster children into his house but maybe those prophecy things had to be done in a certain way so he shuffled to his feet and grabbed the bundle from Frances and took the small, sweaty hand of the young boy in his.
"Get them over to your hut. They should be safe there for a moment."
Ignatiuz silently asked himWhat about you, Elena, and the baby?
"We’ll be fine. Don’t worrry. Now quick, Ignatiuz, the backdoor!" And with a final pat on the back and a choked Goodbye, my friend! they were out in the dark. With the sharp eyes of a falcon the old man found his way over the mossy treetrunks and through the thicket back to his own hut barely 20 stonethrows away and safely tucked between two huge boulders. The bundle in his arms made no sound and the young boy held on to his hand in silence and followed him swift and lissome like a little animal.
They reached the hut in no time and the last thing Ignatiuz heard before he closed his door were the horses of Joziel and his men who had apparently arrived at his friend’s hut.
"Where is your husband?"
Joziel didn’t care that the woman he was interrogating was barely able to speak or support herself on her feet. He dragged her from the bed and threw her in her nightgown onto the floor in the middle of the hut, between his men, who were staring with glittering eyes at the woman, despite her illness almost regal and still more beautiful than any of the plain wives and daughters of the peasants in the village they had just feasted upon.
"Answer me, wretch, or I will make you last moments on earth a living hell!"
She remained silent and the first violent kick of Joziel’s riding boot to her abdomen flipped her body over onto the backside and shattered her fragile womb beyond repair.
Frances heard his wife scream and was tempted to turn back, attack and take as many of them with him before they would slaughter him. But the angel had been unmistakable and despite his compassion almost cruel in his orders.
The most important thing was that Seraphina would survive this and that the boys would be found by Joziel the way they were supposed to be found. The children were the key to the prophecy and there was no room for errors. Frances had to make sure his daughter would reach the age that she would be old enough to learn and understand the prophecy and the boys were supposed to be with Ignatiuz at his hut where Joziel would find them, alone, without his men. The men would be somewhere else, entertaining themselves with...
Stumbling through the small river to cover his tracks in the snow, Frances refused to finish the thought just like the angel had refused to finish it. They had both known what was implicated and Frances knew that prophecies never fulfilled themselves without sacrifices. He only wished that the two sacrifices that would have to be made for the lives of these three kids weren’t his sick wife and his best friend.
"Where is your husband?"
Elena was crouching on the floor, her body an agony of pain, her mouth a goblet of blood and vomit that seemed to fill itself over and over again. She was unable to speak but the pain was becoming unbearable and she found herself answering the question of the dark lord almost involuntarily.
He has gone to bury our child.
Joziel was surprised to hear her voice in his head. Not many of the plain folks were able to use the ancient magic to converse mentally. "You lousy bitch! Who are you, where is your husband and were is your child?"
It died in my arms yesterday. And today my husband took it to bury it down at Llywenllocks Lake. My poor child. My poor, lovely child!
"You’re sad to have lost a child? Well, woman, I’ve got two dozen healthy men right here with me, I’m sure one of them can fill your womb again with fruit." He grinned at the expression of panic on the woman’s beautifully bruised face and the cruel, derisive laughter of his men.
He nodded to one of his soldiers. "Take five men and search the area down towards Llywnlocks Lake!" The soldier, trying to hide his disappointment, ordered his men to mount and disappeared. Joziel stood in the doorway and turning back to his remaining men - their eyes glittering with hunger and cruel wantonness - waved his hand in a careless manner. "The rest of you? Have at it."
Joziel stood outside the hut and gazed up towards the red moon. He loved nights like these: him and his men out on the hunt, marauding, ravaging, killing and torturing the people of the surrounding villages. He always got high and horny from it. Just like now. His cock was almost painfully hardening at the sweet symphony of the womans’s agonizing screams and the grunts of his men, shoving their cocks into every crevice of her body, fucking her, tearing her fragile body to shreds like wolves a piece of meat. Damn, it felt good to be king, to rule with fire and sword, with fear and pain, to torture, kill and rape them all and put their souls asunder into the darkest part of hell.
The sound of the woman’s painful moans shifted suddenly and Joziels’s smile increased. Oh, he loved when that happened. His best man never failed to do that to his victims, make them come while he raped them, fucking them so hellishly good that they had no chance but to surrender before he would kill them, breaking their necks with a well executed twist of their heads.
Joziel closed his eyes, face tilted up towards the red moon, and relished in the last gasps and sighs of the woman in his head. He wished his men would find her husband so he could tell him what a devoted, needy slut his wife had been in her last moments, how she had loved it to be thorougly taken by three men simultaneously, one fucking her ass, another her cunt and a third her mouth, thrusting ferociously, spilling his seed down her greedy throat. He wished the husband would hear the last satisfied moan of his wife before her neck was snapped like a twig and while life deserted her, her body was filled with the come of Joziel’s men, drowning her soul in evilness and thus keeping it from leaving.
His adjutant stepped out of the hut a moment later, stretching his body contentedly in sexual relief and smirked at his master.
"That good, huh?"
"Best fuck I had in days."
"Sure seems so. The men not done in there yet?"
"You know some of them like it best when they lie very still."
"Well, if that’s so..." Joziel mounted his horse. "I think I saw a light over there by the rocks. I’ll check it out."
"Want me to come with you, mylord?"
"No. Go back in, tell your men to hurry and meet me down by the lake with the rest of them."
"As you wish, master."
Ignatiuz had been terrified to hear the screams of Elena Tangrence and the little boy looking at him in the dark - his big, curious eyes glittering - was unsettling him too. It wasn’t every day that you came face to face with an angelic child. The boy looked like any of the boys from the village when Ignatiuz observed him in the flickering light of a hastily lit candle. Well, maybe he was a bit - come to think of it - a lot more handsome with his shiny black hair, distinct eyebrows and sensuous mouth but nothing like what Ignatiuz had expected a divine being to look like.
His disappointment was compensated a moment later when he pulled back the hood covering the bundle in his arms and looked into the face of an angel, so unearthly beautiful that he gasped, crossed himself and felt the heat of shame creep into his cheeks. He was undeserving to look at such purity, at such perfection and felt himself bow his head to the baby like he would to a king or God himself.
The baby gurgled a 4-toothed smile at the old man and reached out to surprisingly deftly grab one of his bushy eyebrows. Ignatiuz chuckled silently at such wordly behavior and the next moment turned around in shock when the door to his hut banged open and none other that Joziel himself - the demon king and ruler of the earth - appeared in the frame, his silhouette dark against the blood-red circle of the full moon.
If Joziel would have discovered the hut together with his men he’d probably have ordered them to kill anyone inside without bothering to check it himself but since he was alone he entered the hut and came face to face with a surprised old man, holding a gurgling bundle on his knee, and a small boy with wide, curious eyes.
Joziel was tempted to draw his sword and strike the man and the child at his side down with one swift move but something about the boy made him stop. He was looking up at Joziel, completely unpertubed, his eyes questioning as if to ask And who are you?
For a second Joziel thought that he’d actually heard the question in his head but then he realized that the old man had adressed him mentally, being the second person to do so this night. Joziel was irritated and despite his initial drive to do what he did best - to kill on sight - decided to talk to the man. "You don’t know who I am, old head?"
Of course I do. But it is always proper to introduce yourself when entering someone else’s house. So again, who are you?
Joziel was amused at the man’s lack of appropriate terror and decided to humor him a bit. "I am just the legal heir of Lucifer and his offspring, the cruel, ruthless king known as Joziel, who rules this land with his wife since ages. You may not have heard of me, so far out here in the woods?"
Spare me your sarcasm demon! I know who you are and what you do, and what your men are doing back there in the hut of Tangrence.
"So you know the man and that slut of a wife. Tell me, have you seen him today?"
Ignatiuz eyes flared at the way Joziel had addressed Elena, but there wasn’t anything that could be done to save her or her reputation at this point. The only thing that had his heart leap in relief was the fact that apparently Joziel and his men hadn’t found Frances and his baby girl so far. Ignatiuz would make sure that they wouldn’t, even if it would cost him his life - of which he was sure.
But first he had to make sure that Joziel wouldn’t kill the boys.
Caziel was about to go to bed when her chamber maid addressed her. "Mylady? Your husband has sent two of his men back from the hunt with two children and this note." Caziel grabbed the note from her maid and read it.
Dearest, darling wife, I found these two in the woods tonight. The power is strong within them and since you’ve failed again to produce the heir that I need to protect my kingdom and the seer told me that you won’t give birth to another child, I’ve decided to take these under my roof to raise them as my sons.
Tell everyone to treat them like my own blood and feed them from your own bosom to bind them to us.... even though I know you are mad at me right now. Dare to disobey me and it will be the last thing you do as my wife and mother of my daughters. I will kill the girls before your very eyes and throw you from my castle.
After all, there are enough whores to take your place, darling! Joziel
Caziel’s hands shook with barely suppressed rage at the condescending and cruel words of her husband while she threw over a cape and then hurried down to the Great Hall. The men were waiting for her, one carrying a squirming bundle in his arms - clearly at a loss how to deal with it - the other holding the hand of a little boy, who was suprisingly calm and relaxed given these unfamiliar surroundings.
Caziel grabbed the boy’s hand and the bundle from the men and without looking back tossed a reply in acidly ironic tones at them while rushing upstairs in indignance. "Tell my dearest husband that his orders will be obeyed!"
Caziel was staring at her bed. She had all but tossed the bundle onto it, enraged at her husband’s arrogance, and the small boy had climbed after it and settled right in the middle of the furs and rough woven covers, pulling the bundle onto his lap and giving her an accusing stare as if to say Don’t toss him around like that!
For a moment Caziel wondered if she had imagined the words from the way the boy was looking at her or if she had really heard them in her head. After all there were still folks in the villages able to speak the old secret language of thought but she had never heard of a young child being able to already do that. But then again Joziel had said that the power was strong within these two.
She decided to try the boy.What’s your name?
He looked attentively at her but gave no sign whether he had heard her or not. She waited a moment until he was looking down at the bundle in his arms before she addressed him again. If you don’t tell me your name I will take your little brother and toss him out of the window!
His head jerked up immediately, his blue eyes wide with horror, and he cradled the bundle to his tiny chest.
"So you do understand me, don’t you?"
"Well, tell me your name, boy. How do the people call you and your little brother?"
He still looked at her with wide, blue eyes and that pouty, red little moue and kept stubbornly quiet. A combination she found annoying yet somehow cute.
"Well, I told you what would happen." She advanced on him, pulled the bundle from his desperately clutching hands and had reached the window with two long strides and opened it ready to toss the bundle - and why was the baby so quiet, anyway? - outside.
Noooo, don’t. It’s forbidden!
Caziel turned to the child and stared at him with narrowed eyes. Was he simply referring to the fact that it was forbidden to toss babies out of windows or the fact that Joziel hadn’t allowed her to do any harm to the boys? A shiver crossed her skin. This child was making her nervous. Cradling the bundle to her chest she walked back over to him. "Tell me your name and that of your brother."
"Or shall I name you myself?"
"Fine. I will have you cleaned, dressed and fed by the nurses and then you will come back and I will have a proper look at you and decide how you shall be named, if that’s what you want."
The child nodded gravely. Yes.
What about my brother?
"I’ll keep him here with me for the moment. He is hungry and needs to be fed."
I am hungry too.
"Well then, I’ll have the maid take you down to the kitchens." She moved towards the door to call for her servant.
No, you’re supposed to feed us both! He said so.
"How do you know that?" Caziel whipped around and glaring in shock and frustration at the boy rushed back to the bed, dropped the bundle onto it once more and grabbed the boy, shaking him violently. "How the hell do you know that?"
I just do.
Sighing Caziel sat down on the corner of her bed, suddenly exhausted from the discussion with the child. Joziel had given his orders, she would comply. But she would be careful around these two, she wouldn’t let herself be lured in with pouty mouths and innocent eyes or...
She suddenly found herself unable to finish that sentence. Staring up at her from the bundle of dirty rags was the most beautiful child she had ever seen. A perfectly shaped little head, covered with the softest dark hairs, mesmerizing three-colored eyes that gazed at her in complete trust and a mouth curling into a smile that made something splinter inside her.
This child was... luminous! There was no other word to describe him.
Isn’t he beautiful? The boy proudly smiled at his younger sibling.
"He is." Her voice was suddenly all soft and almost enchanted, while she pulled the baby from his covers and held him to her chest. He snuggled into the crock of her neck and she felt his little hand tug at a strand of her long blonde hair.
Are you gonna feed him first? Can I watch?
"Only if you promise to be a good boy and not disturb us."
I won’t, promise.
"Good, then hop into bed." The boy climbed in and watched attentively while she placed the baby into the crib next to her bed to take of her cape and then settled comfortably down under the furs and covers next to the boy.
Whose crib is that? Is it for my brother?
"It’s for my little daughter. I had a baby almost a year ago."
Where is she?
"Nefariel? She’s hopefully fast asleep in her sister’s room."
She’s not staying here with you?
"Only as long as I feed her. She likes to sleep with her older sister Gadriel."
How old is she?
"Nefariel turned one last month and Gadriel will be four next summer. Do you know how old you are?"
And your brother?
He came when the birch trees bloomed.
She calculated while untying the ribbons of her night gown to expose her breast. "Your baby brother must be about eight months... What?" She felt herself blush at the intense stare of the child.
You are beautiful.
Caziel involuntarily clasped at the collar of her night gown that had fallen open and drifted off her right shoulder. She felt... exposed and the stare of the child, his expression of appreciation for her body, was almost sexual. "Lie down while I feed your brother. You hear me?"
The boy climbed under the covers and stared up at the embroidered pictures on the brocade canopy above while Caziel reached for the baby. Her breasts were tingling from a strange sensation that felt almost like arousal and when the baby sucked her nipple into his tiny mouth a moment later her mind flashed to something completely different for a moment.
It was a quick succession of images that had her gasp and her core contract in a single, violently needy spasm. Pictures that flashed and disappeared so fast before her eyes that she barely had the chance to decipher them, all that lasted were the feelings these images had triggered in her and she sighed contentedly when the baby sucked with increased vigor.
It had been so long since someone had appreciated her body. Just the previous evening she had stood in front of the floor length gilded mirror after her bath and examined herself. Despite the fact that she’d given birth to two children and was breastfeeding both of them - not unusal, especially during long harsh winters like this one where the food became almost scarce and fresh fruit a luxury - was her body still looking like that of the young woman Joziel had married five years before. Her stomach was flat like that of a young girl and the swell of her breasts, filled with milk, never failed to enchant more than one man on Joziel’s table during dinner.
Unfortunately it didn’t enchant her husband anymore. He had long found satisfaction in the arms of one or more of the willing mistresses; young giggly girls with nothing but straw inside their pretty heads but with hungry eyes and greedy cunts that lusted after the king’s cock.
Caziel remembered the almost limitless sexual desire of her husband that could barely be satisfied. He had fucked her relentlessly during their first year of marriage, sometimes so persistently and brutal that she couldn't leave the bed for days. When Gadriel had arrived and she’d still been sore after giving birth Joziel had simply turned her around and driving Caziel face-first into the pillows had taken his wife’s ass like a dog out in the yard. She’d felt so humiliated then but Joziel had showered her in jewels and beautiful clothes and finally returned to the proper way of love-making though to her it still felt like stupid animals fucking each other.
Still she had been pleasured. Joziel had a way of forcing her body to surrender to his brutality until she finally started to enjoy it. But strangely that had been the point when his interest in her had begun to wane. He’d visited her chambers less and less and she’d noticed more than one service maid having problems climbing stairs to run errants or bend over to clean the fireplaces during the following months.
Joziel had returned to her chambers again after the last big hunt. He’d been aroused and high from the smell of blood and victory on his clothes. He’d almost killed her that night in his sexual ecstasy, forcing her to suck his cock until she felt as if her head would explode, bending her over every furniture in her chamber and fucking her while she was drifting in and out of consciousness and couldn’t tell if only an hour or a day or a whole week had passed while his massive cock was splitting her open and she felt like a single wound, like a hopeless vessel that he would forcefully fill over and over again to his own delight.
Becoming pregnant with Nefariel was the result of one of those insane nights which had lasted two weeks and from which it had taken her months to recover. Joziel had visited her and showered her with kisses, jewels and apologies. It had been the only time in her life that he’d shown something like remorse and actually been gentle and loving to her. He had kissed her swelling belly then and her wonderful breasts and told her that he was the happiest man in the world and couldn’t wait to see his heir.
When she had given birth to yet another daughter and the seer had told Joziel that the stars, the bones and even the intestines showed that Caziel would never give birth to a son Joziel had done all but killed her. He had done something far worse. Ever since that fortnight of sexual fury he’d been gentle and loving to her until she was almost addicted to it but now he had abandoned her and left her alone in her chambers. Caziel knew that her husband would never ever return to her rooms again to be with her. She had disappointed him and he would either get one of his mistresses to produce an heir for him or reluctantly appoint one of his closest men to be his successor.
With those two boys arriving it seemed that Joziel had found another option. The consequence for her was the same. She would remain in her chambers, forced into an early celibacy or the threat of attracting her husband’s wrath with an illicit affair. The problem was, even with a multitude of servants, the castle was lacking proper candidates. The servants were either females, or unattractive men that were too old or too weak and stupid. They would be debunked by Joziel and his questioning gaze immediately and the rest of the men were all loyally devoted to her husband and would never dare to touch his beautiful young wife.
Caziel closed her eyes to hold back the tears while caressing the velvety neck of the baby sucking her milk. Apart from the hungry child she was nursing no one would ever appreciate her body in any way ever again. The next moment she felt someone brush his fingers across her cheek, over her neck and shoulder down to her chest. It felt like a caress and she shivered.
Opening her eyes she saw the boy hovering over her for a moment, his blue eyes sparkling with something that she couldn’t identify. The next moment he had latched onto her other breast and was sucking devotedly. She tried to explain to herself that he’d been jealous of his baby brother and impatient. Thinking about the past she had forgotten the time and the baby had been sucking for almost half an hour now. The boy must be hungry and she had promised to feed him too, just like Joziel had ordered her to do. Her milk would bind the boys to her and therefore to him, her husband. Besides, the ancient rule of the kings said that whichever child had been nursed by the queen herself had to be accepted by everybody as royalty and a legal heir to the throne.
With these thoughts she tried to calm herself and the strange sensations that were still coursing through her body. Maybe every mother of a boy felt like this while breastfeeding? A doubling of emotions from another, more carnal experience? She’d only ever fed her two daughters and it had never been even remotely as emotionally charged as this.
There was something in the way the boy was drinking, they both were drinking, that was almost sexual. The level of devotion exceeded everything she had ever experienced. Maybe it was just her needy body, sexually underfed and easily aroused but at that moment the boy stopped sucking and positively started teasing her nipple with his tongue in a way only a grown man was supposed to know how to do. Gasping she looked at him and her voice mirrored her disbelief when she asked him "Aren’t you hungry anymore?"
No, not really.
"Well, go to sleep then."
But I don’t want to.
"What do you want then?"
The child was teasing her again and she couldn’t help herself quietly moaning in delight at his caress. She had to stop this, immediately, it was wrong, even if the child probably had no idea that is was. She had to... she needed to... Damn, she felt her bones liquefy and herself arch into the touch involuntarily. She was under a spell and she couldn’t stop this, herself, or the kid. She was aroused, she was insenced, she was... coming.
And when it was over the child looked up at her, just like his baby brother was and both of them smiled innocently at her.
You forgot to name us... Mother!
She stared down at them, still overwhelmed by what had just happened, staring into the blue eyes of the boy, that were alight with a strange fierceness, then into the fair, luminous face of the baby and finally outside at the blood-red moon.
"Luciel... Luciel and Mithiel."