Read Demon Games [4] Online

Authors: Steve Feasey

Tags: #Fiction, #Horror

Demon Games [4]

BOOK: Demon Games [4]
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Caliban strode out across a battleground which had, only hours before, been the scene of a terrible encounter between his forces and those of the now defeated demon lord Orfus. The dead and dying lay all around and he stepped over them, keen to find his general for an assessment of the cost of the battle.

Demon blood had almost clogged up the intricate workings of the vampire’s prosthetic hand, and he quickly flexed the bladed fingers as he walked, trying to work the congealed black gore out of the joints. He spotted his general, Renik, talking to a Maug demon in the centre of the battlefield, and turned to make his way towards them. A demon at his feet, wearing the colours of his erstwhile enemy, groaned loudly. Without breaking stride Caliban swung the heavy mace which hung from a strap on his wrist and brought the weapon down on to the creature’s head. It was an act of mercy – most of the surviving captives were at this very moment being tortured back at Caliban’s encampment. The vampire considered this for a moment and put it down to the good mood that the victory had put him in.

‘My lord,’ Renik said, bowing her head at the sight of her master.

‘I congratulate you on your victory, Renik. Your forces fought with a ferocity and cruelty that was satisfying to watch.’

The younger vampire smiled, nodding towards the mace and the blood which covered Caliban’s clothes and hands. ‘It would appear that my lord was not satisfied with merely

Caliban looked down at the weapon and then back at his general. ‘I never was very good at delegating these matters. Besides, why should I miss out on all the fun?’

Renik smiled and shook her head.

‘What are our losses?’ Caliban asked, staring out at the sea of dead.

‘Not as bad as we anticipated. Orfus wasn’t prepared for a direct assault on his stronghold. His forces were weak and easy to defeat.’ The vampire general stopped and looked off to her right in the direction of the burning hills on the horizon. The hills of Nongroth had been alight and burning for as long as anyone could remember. Green flames licked at the sky from their peaks and the stench of their smoke filled the air for miles around. ‘Now there is only one demon lord standing in your way. Molok will not be so easy to overthrow, but he, like the others, has become complacent and lax in his rule. We should strike immediately, before he has time to strengthen his position.’

Caliban looked around him. Despite his general’s assurances about their losses, it was clear that the battle had taken its toll. If he pressed ahead with his plans to attack Molok now, there was a chance he might be defeated. He angled his head a little to one side, running his tongue over his teeth and lips, tasting the blood there. ‘What you say makes sense, and there is nothing I would like more than to advance and crush Molok. But I am not sure that we do not need to strengthen our own position before taking on the demon lord.’ He held up a hand to stop his general from interrupting. ‘We have waited for so long to get to this point. Three of the four ruling demon lords have now been defeated or have agreed to join us. Molok must wait. For a little while, at least.’

‘But without Molok’s seat on the ruling council, you will not have complete control.’

‘I am aware of what I need to realize my plans, Renik.’ Caliban stared at the general, defying her to answer him back.

He could not reveal his true reason for delaying the attack on the last, and biggest, fiefdom. He had won this battle through sheer strength; his forces had been too powerful to resist. But Molok was a different proposition. Cunning and guile, and – most importantly of all – magic would be essential in defeating his next opponent. And for that he needed a new sorceress – a sorceress that the Netherworld had thought was gone forever.

‘Where is our captive being held?’ Caliban asked.

‘In our encampment, as you directed.’

The vampire smiled. When he’d been told that a battle-angel, one of the feared Arel, had been brought down by a stray arrow he could not believe his good fortune. The spy had been sent to observe the battle, no doubt to report Caliban’s victory or defeat back to his leader, Moriel. But a misdirected arrow, shot from the battlements of the fortress that Caliban’s forces were attacking, had hit the creature. The magic it had been using to keep it hidden had failed, and it had plummeted to the ground, only to be captured by the vampire’s troops.

‘Go and prepare him for my arrival.’ He hefted the mace in his hand. ‘Today’s bloodshed is not quite over yet.’

‘Yes, my lord.’ Renik bowed her head again to her commander before turning and walking off in the direction of the encampment.

Caliban watched her go. Like so many vampires, she was impetuous, believing that, having cheated death once, she was invincible and impervious to all threats. She was young by vampire standards, and her headstrong, fearless nature made her a great campaigner, leading her troops from the front and showing no mercy in the heat of battle. But Caliban knew that danger came in many forms. He looked down at his metal hand, turning it this way and that. In his mind he replayed the moment when the young werewolf had bitten through the flesh and bone, tearing the appendage loose with his huge and powerful jaws. Caliban could still feel the lycanthrope’s teeth chiselling through his wrist, still feel the agony of that moment when the boy had foiled his attempt to kill his brother, Lucien.

The boy had made him remember the legend of Theiss. A legend which foretold that a vampire would rise to power in the Netherworld. A legend which said only one creature would be capable of stopping him: a true-blood werewolf of exceptional power. If he wasn’t completely convinced of it before, that moment when the boy had attacked him confirmed his suspicions. The teenager Trey Laporte was that creature.

A scream from the battlefield brought Caliban out of his reverie. The vampire shook his head as if to clear it. He would ensure that only one side of the prophecy was fulfilled. He would take control of this place, and remove the stifling restrictions that had been placed upon its citizens for so long. He would usurp the demon lord Molok, and in doing so he would assume complete control of the ruling council. Then he would govern the portals between this world and the human realm and the passage of creatures between the two.

But he would not allow the other side of the prophecy to be realized. And while Trey Laporte lived, there was always a possibility of that. He would kill the boy, and show the Netherworld that its new ruler cared nothing for ancient legends.

He looked in the direction of the burning hills of Nongroth and nodded to himself. For now, Molok could wait. Caliban had a sorceress to resurrect. And a battle-angel to destroy.


Trey Laporte entered the kitchen of the luxury Docklands apartment that was home to Charron Industrial Inc., the motley collection of family, staff, humans and nether-creatures dedicated to ensuring that the human realm was kept safe from the dark forces of the Netherworld. It was a little after nine o’clock – the time that Tom had asked him to be there. The sunlight pouring in through the huge glass doors made him wince and throw his hand up in front of his eyes, his eyelids narrowing to little more than wafer-thin slits. He mumbled his good-mornings and made his way over to the fridge. The room’s other two occupants watched as he shuffled along, stifling a yawn with the back of one hand while reaching for the refrigerator door with the other.

When he finally turned round, a now open carton of orange juice held up to his lips, he nodded first at the tall Irishman standing beside the table, noting the inevitable steaming mug of tea in his hand, then at the other occupant of the room: a small boy. Judging from the size of him, Trey guessed that the youngster was no more than ten or eleven years old. The boy was sitting in the chair to Tom’s left. Trey frowned – it was unusual for them to have visitors in the apartment, but he guessed that the boy might be one of the housekeeper, Mrs Magilton’s, many relatives – perhaps the precocious nephew she was always talking about.

Trey looked at the boy. He was short. Even sitting down and hunched up as he was it was obvious to the teenager that the visitor would hardly reach to his chest. He wore a hooded anorak which was zipped up to his chin, his hands stuffed deep inside its pockets. His hair was neatly combed, and held flat by some kind of gel that gave it a slick and greasy look. There was something slightly unsettling about the boy; even though he was clearly young, he had an old face, and he didn’t blink once as he met Trey’s stare with a bland and unreadable look of his own.

‘Where is he then?’ Trey asked Tom over the top of the drink carton.

‘Who?’ the Irishman replied.

Trey rolled his eyes. ‘You know, the
that you were going to introduce me to.’

‘The person that I was going to introduce you to?’

Trey frowned. He had to be careful what he said in front of Mrs Magilton’s relative. He looked Tom in the eye before very deliberately looking at the visitor. ‘Yes,’ he hissed. ‘You know . . .’ He rolled his eyes again in frustration. ‘The guide. The one that is supposed to be helping me in my . . .’ he paused, ‘forthcoming . . . er,
’ He frowned to himself, wondering why Tom was being so obtuse and whether he had mistaken the time that the Irishman had asked him to meet. He lifted the drink carton to his lips and was about to take another swig when the penny finally dropped.

Trey slowly lowered the drink, meeting the Irishman’s amused look, before switching his eyes back to the boy sitting at the table.

‘Trey, meet Dreck. Dreck, this is Trey Laporte,’ Tom said, waving his mug in the general direction of them both.

The boy stood up and took a hand out of his pocket to give Trey a small wave, accompanied by a brief, nervous smile.


‘Dreck,’ Tom corrected.

Trey shook his head, scanning Tom’s face for any signs that the man might be joking.

‘Him?’ Trey said loudly. ‘
is supposed to be my guide through the Netherworld?’

The Irishman’s only response was to take a loud slurp of tea.

BOOK: Demon Games [4]
11.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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