Lord Aidan Cynric leaned back in his tall, ergonomic Executive chair behind his large oak desk. His office was silent, as usual – in the silence Aidan could listen better to his own thoughts and to the subtle waves and unchained words of those beyond the human world. Also, in the silence Aidan could try to listen to the 'One' he sometimes had sensed within his mind. Vemchu, his Assistant, wasn't back yet with her report. Aidan ceased on his rhythmic typing on his computer keyboard and turned his head, casting an absent glance through the glass wall that was his office window, on top of Morning Star Tower, the skyscraper built by the company in the heart of London. The huge space was dark and still, as if frozen in Time. The tall doors to the antechamber were not completely closed, tossing a thin beam of golden light on the thick rug. The antechamber consisted of a reception desk and a small waiting room with expensive leather furniture, which connected Aidan's office, his Assistant's office, a Meeting chamber with capacity for twenty people and another office for Morris. Aidan's office was the largest, complete with a library, a mezzanine and a private room above it, completing three levels. The private room was an Observatory, more precisely, on top of the tower. The rest of the skyscraper held offices and dependencies, branches of Morning Star Corp. and its numerous associates, along with other things, a bank and a laboratory.

Aidan rose and watched London at his feet, standing before the glass wall. Every detail of the quiet image reflected in his cold, shimmering bronze eyes. Earlier, he had sensed a disturbance in the various energy fields across the city, spreading from an ancient Node which once belonged to a Were pack to another Node which had been said to have belonged to a being powerful as a pagan goddess, to Westminster Abbey and across the Thames to other sites of ancient power concealed beneath a quiet surface. Strangely enough, according to the BBC news, that place once related to that entity as powerful as a pagan goddess had been bombed tonight by a mysterious American who had been set free after his bail was paid. The Nodes' ancient forces pulled and weaved subtle links with other sites of power scattered all across London, including the lesser ones of non-mobile artifacts… and relics, like a gigantic spider web of many layers. The disturbance he had perceived had Christopher's touch. Aidan was curious, but he was also patient. Sometimes he got the impression he has waited for Ages something that hasn't yet come to him… Aidan ran his fingers through his hair, absorbed in his thoughts. The tide was changing; it was coming straight to him.

The rhythmic tapping of long nails on cherry wood was enough to drive someone insane, as a soft whir could be heard coming from a printer. In her private office, Vemchu waited, trying not to lose her temper at the slow machine. Sure, it printed out 30 pages a minute, in black and white ink only, but it had to take forever with the latest profit updates! What did the machine think? That she had all day to wait for it to get a move on? Honestly. She had a job to do. Looking down at her crimson colored nails, a smirk formed on her perfect lips. Her nails weren’t human nails at the moment – they were like a cat’s claws. Due to the fact there were no appointments today, she allowed herself that little luxury. She always found it amusing to shift partially. Especially when it was something like half cat or half bunny. Going half snake was fun too… especially when you just wanted to scare a little kid away with fangs. With a slight noise, the printer finally finished printing out the report. Retracting her nails, she pulled out the bundle of paper, stapled them together, and slipped them into a clear folder. Adjusting herself, she made sure her computer was locked before heading into Lord Cynric’s office.

Down the short hall clicked the black heels of her shoes, as she tossed her hair over her shoulder. Even in office wear, she was quite a sight. She wore a black suit, with a short skirt and cute jacket. Her shirt was crimson, to match her nails, and had a deep neckline. The ebony cascade that was her hair was pulled away from her face by a clip, though it was still kept free. Light makeup, and she was done. Effortless enchantment. Knocking on the door delicately, as to not harm the door or her hand, Vemchu opened the door and stepped inside. His office was carpeted, unlike hers. She had asked for polished wooden floors, except for the Persian rug under her desk. When she walked on it, it was like walking on air. Very comfortable for her. Looking around, she saw him standing there, looking absorbed in his thoughts as he gazed at London town. She remembered the first time she had met him. He was a child. Vemchu had been respectful, afraid of his father. After awhile, it became a sort of vague friendship – even though they had never spoken. Heck, she had even thought she had loved him for a while. But no, that love turned to hate during the time they spent in the abyss. Now, it had mellowed down into a tolerance. A respectful tolerance.

Walking up to him, she coughed softly, just so she could get his attention. They had been together for a long time, and she knew he wouldn’t mind her standing there. Offering the folder, she spoke softly to him. “Sir? The profit reports are done.”

Aidan refocused his eyesight, allowing the London nocturnal landscape pass onto a second plane and bringing forth Vemchu's and his reflection to the first plane. Using the glass as a mirror, he watched the seductive woman walk to him with a small, glacial smile on his lips; her statuesque body swayed lightly as she walked – like an aspid. A thought more according to her true nature. She stopped. Offering the folder, she spoke softly to him. Aidan turned and accepted the report from her well-groomed hand. Her nail color matched her crimson, almost indecent shirt. However, it was still of flawlessly tailored cut. Vemchu did not restrain any expenses on her appearance, despite it could seem an effortless charm at first sight. Her silky stockings had a slight shimmer in the dim light on her long legs. “Thanks.” Aidan leafed through the report slowly in the silver and blue, dim light from the night sky and the city. He walked over to his desk and placed the report under the light of the expensive, classic desk lamp; the desk lamp and the computer screen were the only lights in the private office.

Gracefully, the proud head nodded once. Her position never swayed as he looked through the reports, eyes only assisted by the moonlight. For some reason, he had never enjoyed bright lighting in his room. It always had to be sort of dim. The windows even had the capability to fog over when the sun became too much for his bronze eyes. Bronze. Vemchu still couldn't believe that such a color came naturally to a man. It seemed almost impossible when you studied the genes and the dominant traits. But, it had happened, and that was all there was to say about it.

“If you like, you may go, Vemchu. I won't need anything else from you tonight.” Aidan rose his bronze eyes to look at her. “Unless you don't mind checking the agenda for me before you go.” It was a commanding statement in a smooth voice, as usual. He frowned slightly, looking at the computer screen for an instant before saving a document to the hard drive.

“Not a problem, Sir. I will be back in a moment.” Turning around, she headed back outside to her office. Typing in her password, she watched her background come back up – something that not even Aidan saw. It was a collage of pictures that she had scanned, including him. The randomness of the wallpaper made her feel ordered, for some strange reason. Sort of like, despite the miscellaneous pictures, she knew exactly where they came from and how they were taken. It was a strange whim. Moving the mouse to a small notebook icon, Vemchu double clicked, pulling up a schedule for today. Everything had been crossed off. Good. Typing in a new date, she looked at the appointments and events scheduled for tomorrow. There were also a few things that she would have to fax, an email to write out, and a bouquet of flowers to order for the British Museums head. For a successful party, of course.

Standing up, Vemchu once again put on her screensaver – which was simply darkness, and headed back into the office. I had also better check on the progress of the cloning sect… have every section send me their reports, so I can have the final one typed up by the end of the week… delivered, sealed and over with. Oye, I hate this time of the month… Walking to the front of his desk, Vemchu held up her hand, and began ticking off the events her boss would have tomorrow.

“At 8:00 AM sharp, you have a meeting with the business people from the bank. According to them, they would like you have you represent their newest endeavor. A couple of ads, the drill. Then around 1, you have a luncheon with a few big bosses who owe you money. They want an extension. After that, you're free for the day. However, in a few days will be the British Museum's Art Exhibit. You've been invited there, and someone will be sent to pick up your ticket tomorrow. Finally, the overall progress report will be here by Friday. Anything else, Sir?”

“Your fetching girls has become indulging, but bothersome, Aidan,” Christopher stated as a matter-of-factly while he ripped the dimensional fabric open like a cheap sweater and stepped through it. “Here is the girl, as requested.” It was annoying, in a sense, to be wasting so much precious energy to play an errand boy to someone who clearly had others to do the work. Chris, however, gave the thought an annoyed gesture and sealed it away within the confides of his own mind. Now that he noticed it, that demon woman was there as well; he couldn't forgot that smell even covered up by her perfume. “Disdainful,” he mumbled, casting a glance from the corner of his eye towards her – if only to acknowledge her presence in the room. He hated demons.

Aidan rose his eyes as the first links in dimensional fabric began to loosen in a so tiny fraction of Time it wasn't measurable by human means. Aidan was not an expert in this field, but he seemed to have a natural talent to sense its effects in advanced or after the travel had taken place. It was like an echo in his mind – a sense he hadn't fully explored, for it took him too close to the thing that haunted his sub consciousness. Through the ripple, Christopher Morris made his way to the office, carrying a limp girl's body in his arms. Aidan arched an eyebrow in a mix of surprise and contempt. “As requested? I asked for information, not for this”, he said, his voice smooth and cold like a blade, low yet perfectly audible.

Vemchu turned away from her employer and gazed coldly at the mortal man that had arrived. Christopher Morris. The man was a snake. Just like that distasteful creature he had just pulled out of the redheads' ear. Honestly, such a spell was no match for the true beauty a real snake contained. A true viper, with skin like poisoned silk, clever in its moves and utterly deadly. Teeth like an ivory needle, and honor to match it. Yes, it was definitely a more worthy creature then the specimen he had formed with his will.

“Now if you excuse me,” he added, looking up with a smug look plastered across his face as he dropped the girls unconscious body to the floor and collected his serpent back into his hand as it slithered from the canal of her ear. It took a moment of flexing his fingers a few times before the seal in the palm of his hand closed up and vanished just as quickly as it had appeared. Mind infecting snakes that induce sleep. A task even a less than lower demon could pull off successfully, but that was indeed another thought that he clearly stuffed into a file cabinet in his mind and locked it shut. “You have your precious girl that I've been through hell to catch, and I'm treating myself to a long and needed vacation from this maggot infested city of London.”

Aidan's bronze eyes shimmered in the dim light as his mind turned it's cold gears, seeking a way to tame the disaster before Autumn would wake up. Vemchu and Christopher were not ever cordial to each other, but this didn't bother Aidan at all. He was strangely anxious at the possible reaction on Autumn's part – for some reason he could not yet understand, he had the need of approval from her. Christopher removed his snake. “Well”, Aidan said with a shrug. “I knew you wouldn't like Londoner lifestyle.” He had suspected Christopher would leave again ever since they arrived to England after a business trip. The occultist's mood was erratic, constantly changing beneath a concealing surface – Aidan was not blind to the fact that he was an unsteady ally. He simply used him and accepted this trait as he knew and accepted many of his henchmen's inhuman traits – like Vemchu's.

In a flash of bright light, the occultist tore open a hole in the space fabric and half sunk into its dark walls before he gave the secretary, and, the so-called master a fleeting glance. “If you see my brother, tell him good-luck. He'll need everything he holds dear to him to achieve what others can only hope to accomplish. Humanity, indeed. The peanut gallery shall enjoy watching the unfolding events!” With a bemused glance up to the ceiling as if to mock both God and those present in the room, he was gone in an instant.

Aidan was surprised at the mention of Christopher's brother, but he didn't show it. He had a deeper knowledge on the Morris lineage than Christopher himself, but this sudden notion surprised him. What was Trevor Morris trying to achieve? He looked at Autumn. Maybe there'd be more things to uncover than he expected. He however did not go to Autumn till after Christopher left. The flash of light produced on his departure made the bronze in Aidan's eyes look a flaming gold and red, like a dancing fire; the reflections from his blazing eyes tossed a strange hue of red on his face, across his left eye. Aidan went to Autumn and picked her up, taking her to a leather sofa. “Vemchu, more light…” Aidan examined the girl, who was still semi-unconscious. At the touch of her skin, of her mere clothes, a shiver ran down Aidan's spine. Aidan frowned. Too many explanations wouldn't be good and she'd wake up any minute! A tranquilizer would come in handy.

Fool… he thinks HE's been through Hell… he wouldn't be able to survive the first level of that land. He should be grateful he has never had to encounter it… I hope he does encounter it, when his foolish mortal life has ended… certainly he deserves no more – the abomination. …Brother…? Well, that is certainly a useful little piece of information… seems like he's planning something – I'll have to keep my eyes on him… ally indeed… He then disappeared. Vemchu did not allow herself to comment as he did, though the urge to hiss at him was strong. The man was utterly incompetent, and a total blockhead – for lack of better phrasing. He thought that, without him, this little deed would not have been possible… heh… if he only knew how EASILY Vemchu could have gotten her to come.. without having to use any stupid spells. After all, “sisterhood” was so much stronger then that little thing… and this flimsy little human would have had no choice. Point was, she didn't need that stupid little insect of a human to help her with anything or DO anything that she could have done herself! Turning her head slightly, in an almost owl-like fashion, she watched with deep eyes as Aidan picked up the girl and then place her on a sofa, requesting more light. Quickly walking to a small panel on the wall, she increased the light a little bit, having the entire office cast in a dim, golden glow. Luckily, the lighting system was such that she could control the amount of light let out by the embedded lamps. None of them appreciated right lights.

“Vemchu, we can't have her to recover consciousness”, he indicated the demoness. Autumn moved. A gold chain at her smooth neck twinkled in the bluish light, and a circular form slipped into view, attached to the chain. A ring. Aidan felt as if he were sinking through the floor, the air escaping from his lungs. He clasped his hand on the leather of the couch as a strange vision substituted reality before him.

Reaching into her jacket pocket, she pulled out a slim ivory box, then opened it to reveal a lovely needle. It was more finely done then the doctor's needles, specifically made to slide under the skin, and inject a tranquilizer. It was also sharp enough to put someone's eye out. Not to mention pierce someone's ears.

Azazel noticed how tight Belial held his grip on his staff. He did know he was not in conditions to face a powerful demon – let alone Azazel was the strongest of the bunch. He looked into his cool silver eyes with his blazing bronze gaze. “Among other things! Now that's more interesting!” Azazel smiled darkly. “I wonder what those things are. I've been trapped far too long; I might be outdated on many things… may I not, teacher? I see you wish to rest. But I don't want you to go just yet.” Azazel had a sinister smile. “You'll accompany us, won't you Moloch?” he asked. “What could be more important than me? I can feel the world within my grasp. I will succeed this time!” Azazel broke into a heavy snigger. He opened his arms, still enjoying the new sensation of this human shell, when his gaze met a strange object.

Azazel fell silent. It was a ring; a gold ring on his hand. It was a simple gold band, but it had some significance. Azazel touched the ring and turned it thoughtfully around his finger. After a few seconds, he rose his eyes to look at his mother. “Where's my dear wife, mother? I wish to see her”, he said.

Aidan's shook with violence; the attack tossed him on the floor is if he were going through an epileptic fit. It stopped; he coughed and held his head with wide open eyes. //My wife…// Aidan's heartbeats raced furiously. “I have NO wife!”, he said as if trying to convince someone in his head. “No wife…” A will other than his own pushed him against the rug. Aidan was terrified. Spells and wards were all mixed up in his obnubilated mind – he was unable to fight back. It suddenly stopped. Aidan sat up, shaking. He held himself, feeling a suffocating heat taking over the room – he knew what it meant. Aidan pulled himself back to Autumn's side. He did not want her to be harmed…! A light sweat covered her forehead in the high temperature in the room. “What do you have… that he desires…?”, he muttered. “This…” He reached out to touch the ring in a strange fascination.

Looking at him sharply, Vemchu's mind went back to the old times… London, 1850s… Who could understand the silly mortals…? Such a time, where women tightened their stomachs to unnatural sizes, then proceeded to march around in dresses that could have several cats living happily in their volume… such a strange world. There was no sanity. No rhyme or reason for what they did.. they simply did it. But what had surprised her most was her master. There had been something different, ever since Belial had placed his soul in the human shell. An attachment, to a redheaded woman. A woman with some device called a camera. She had been the man's wife, and the man had been dead – until now. He had come back with the soul of the Devil's Son. For some reason, he still thought of her as his wife. It had perplexed Vemchu to no end. After all, why was this woman so important? Couldn't he just destroy her and get another pretty lady to catch his fancy? Silly males, always so possessive. And then… they were sealed again… after the death of Michael Archangel. A death SHE did not cause. Something that still kept her bitter.

Snapping back to reality, the vixen that was Vemchu stared at her boss for a long instant. Yes… again he had become very possessive over the red-haired dame. Closing the box with a light 'snap,' she quickly slipped it back into her pocket. She certainly did not want to seem like a threat. And with a needle like that, there was no way she wouldn't been seen as a threat.

Swimming. Her head was swimming. Was she even awake? “I want you to study in London. To learn something about your history. Autumn, you never seem to care!” her mother chided her for the fiftieth time. History, blah blah, heritage, blah blah.

Kris wrinkled up her nose in annoyance as she flipped through a folder of newly developed photos. “Don't call me that Moma, you know I like Kris better…” The women was completely senile! First she was obsessed enough with some silly story about their ancestor to name her own daughter Autumn, and now she wants to ship her off to England for a history lesson? It wasn't that she didn't like the idea, it was just some weird gut feeling that told it was the last place she wanted to be.

Her mother sighed pulling out a small box and handed it to Kris. “Please. It's your last year in college. Would it kill you so much to spend it in a beautiful country? Take lots of pictures to send home, and maybe see why your mother is so 'crazy', hmm?”

She hesitated before opening the box, but sighed at her mother's insistence and did so. Inside was a gold ring on a thin chain. Kris raised a curious eyebrow. “Let me guess… 'Go to London and learn about the mystical family heirloom!' Alright alright… but you're paying for everything!”

Not awake. Life flashing before her eyes? Not such a good sign… Kris stirred. Her entire body felt as if she were being held under water. Her head throbbed with every beat of her heart. She tried to recall what had happened. Did someone attack her? Kris could only remember being grabbed… and snapping pictures. Yeah, she snapped a few pictures so he couldn't see. Then she could run away. But she didn't get too far… Her eyes burned and refused to open, but she could feel the weight of her camera strap across her shoulder. Good! She was going to find the bastard and beat him good, and then she'd let Trevor smack him around! The weirdo was probably just ticked that she didn't have any cash on her. Kris tried moving again, it being easier this time but still her body was sore. She raised her hand to rub her eyes, and was surprised to find a scratch across her cheek. Blinking her eyes open she fought off the panic that was building in her stomach. “Where am I… How did I get here…?!” The room was incredibly large, and looked almost like an office. Even more disturbing, the man she had met earlier that day in the college was leaning next to her. Had she no felt so weighed down, she would have immediately jumped up. Instead she eyed Aidan with a mixture of surprise and distrust. “How did I get here…?” she repeated, almost whispered.

Stepping up to her, and blocking the still-dazed boss from view, Vemchu put on a trusting smile and spoke back to the frightened little rabbit, despite the fact she HATED mortals. “Are you alright? I'm Vemchu Mala'ika, secretary here at Morning Star Corp. I'm afraid some thug knocked you out. He was dragging you away somewhere, and I was out for coffee when I saw him. Of course, I had security stop him and bring you up here. Would you like anything…? You've been in an AWFUL scare…” With a pretty face like that, and eyes so trusting – there was no way this little girl was going to need a tranquilizer.

Blocked from Autumn, Aidan tried to pull himself together and get back on his feet, but the other was slowly invading his mind. //The ring…//Aidan ran his fingers through his hair, his forehead covered in sweat. The heat in the room was steadily rising; Aidan felt suffocated, as if a hellish fire were burning inside of him. He tried to steady his breathing and for a brief instant, he thought of calling Dr. D'Allesandri and shout on her ear he was going through a crisis and her stupid treatment wasn't working. However, at the mere thought of her, the heat seemed to rise even more and the other once again tried to take a hold of him. Aidan held his head with a gasp as an unbearable pain seized him from within his skull. Aidan clenched his teeth and suffocated the scream that was trying to fight its way out of his chest. “Ah…” Aidan gasped for air as he managed to get back on his feet. Vemchu was talking to Autumn…. and the ring was still laced to the woman's neck.

//The ring…// The other's voice was stronger, hypnotic; Aidan cringed in terror as a dark power seemed to wrap around his soul. Suddenly, it was gone. Aidan brushed his hand past his forehead to wipe the sweat off it. He took out a linen handkerchief and dried his face with a trembling hand. These episodes were more frequent lately and it weakened him… it chilled his blood. He looked at his hand and jerked back. For an instant, he didn't see his hand, but a red claw of sharp talons and diamond-shaped scales. Aidan paled and felt a weight upon his chest, inhibiting his breathing. “What's with that ring…?”, he muttered. He stood next to Vemchu, yet letting Autumn some vital space.

He nodded to Vamchu's words. “How do you feel?”, he softly asked Autumn, trying to ignore the darkness creeping within him.

An impeccably dressed woman suddenly stepped in to view, and Kris flinched on reflex. She never noticed her in the room before, only Aidan. Her explanation gave immediate relief though, and Kris visibly relaxed. She was still wary, but less so now that her fears of being kidnapped by some crazy person were brushed away. Aidan looked weary, and about as shaken as herself. Did he help with the security personnel? She could hardly see with the woman, Vemchu?, standing directly in her line of sight. As he moved next to Vemchu she heard him mutter something about a ring. Kris unconsciously clasped her hand around it. “How do you feel?”, he softly asked. Kris almost felt badly for him. If he was forced to play savior to her against some lunatic that was probably just after leverage against Trevor. Things always happened that way. “I'm… okay.” she replied, rather sheepish. It was such an awkward situation and she had the sudden urge to flee as soon as possible. Kris brushed her auburn hair from her face. “I think I just better get home… ” she started to rise.

Hazel eyes flecked with gold looked deeply into the brown eyes of the red-haired girl sitting on the couch, looking slightly dazed. This girl seemed familiar, as though there was something in her face that Vemchu should recognize – or at least be aware of. But nothing particular struck her at the moment, except for the fact that this girl was extremely American. She didn't have the British feel of pomp and perfectness. This little college girl had a much more casual air then most British children had. It was slightly unnerving, considering she had only traveled out of England several times. Despite the seemingly one tract mind that Vemchu portrayed, the secretary was exceedingly aware of her boss' difficulties. There was something seething inside him, someone she knew very well, and waited for. Her master. Azazel. She could almost feel the power of his aching and growing, stretching everywhere it could. He wanted to break free. There was no doubt about that. And Vemchu would do anything to assist.

“No!” Aidan blinked as he realized the voice was actually his – as if it hadn't been him who pronounced that word. “No… you can't leave like this – it's almost midnight. You better stay… and we'll call a taxi for you.” Aidan brushed his hand past his forehead and exchanged a quick glance with Vemchu, so she wouldn't forget about the tranquilizer. Autumn was clasping the ring in her hand – what was that ring about? Aidan wasn't sure, but he was certain the other wouldn't leave him be unless he got that ring. He had a slight shiver. “Letting you out and alone at this time of the night is out of the question.” Aidan frowned slightly, watching them.

His sudden reaction startled her, but his reasoning was logic enough. The grogginess from her spell was slowly melting away and she was becoming increasingly aware of how strangely he was behaving. He looked nothing like the collected man she had met early. Even if he had a run in with her kidnapper, it was like he was perturbed about something else entirely. Kris' instincts were starting to kick in.

Turning her head slowly, she blinked at the slightly befuddled man standing just behind her. What was he thinking…? He must not be in full control of himself, otherwise there was no way he would simply lose that slight control of Aidan he had. At least he was in a sane state of mind. “I agree. Unfortunately, we didn't catch your kidnapper. He may still be out there waiting for you. If you would wait but a few minutes, we can personally take you home with some guards following us – instead of a taxi, which could be intercepted.”

Not waiting for an answer, Vemchu quickly walked out of the room, then came back mere moments later with a cup of hot chocolate for the woman. “Here, drink this. You may need it.” Handing it to the woman, Vemchu sat to the left of her making sure that the younger lady was ok, hands behind her back. With serpentine grace, she moved her right hand back slightly, and let her left hand move through the space, the hand holding the needle. Within seconds, she had lightly pierced the flesh of Autumn's arm, without one drop of blood spilt. That was why Vem loved fine needles. Smiling slightly, she caught the coffee as Autumn slumped over, sleeping.

The woman Kris assumed was his secretary chimed it without missing a beat. She moved away and exited the room before Kris could even reply but returned a few short minutes later. Vemchu handed her a cup of hot chocolate and Kris happily took it, giving a small smile in response. She was being so kind, even sitting next to her on the couch to be sure she was alright. Kris didn't even have a chance to realize the sharp prick as the cup slipped from her hands and she returned to a blissful slumber.

Vemchu’s smile changed from warm and inviting to cold and serious as Kris slumped over, head landing on the soft leather cushion. Standing next to her boss, she waited a few moments – making sure the tranquilizer had worked, and the little mortal was asleep. With no luck at all, Kris would be asleep until dawn. At least. Unless someone forced her awake – and no one was going to do THAT. Taking the needle, she put it away, placing the hot chocolate on the desk, ignoring the slightly surprised look that her boss had – for being so blunt with her actions. “Now, sir, was there something bothering you?”

Aidan watched this development in a growing stupor. He touched his forehead as he felt the heat in the room increasing. Didn't they feel it? Aidan had a sudden need for water; his mouth was very dry. He gazed around and Vemchu's words surprised him. Aidan took a step back and pressed his hand against his feverish forehead. He seemed about to faint; however, he straightened his back and looked at the two women. His forehead was wet, his eyes shimmered with a light of their own.

.”..” Aidan took in a deep breath. He mentally cursed his psychologist. “No… I am fine.” Aidan blinked slowly, a general dizziness attempting to seize his senses. Autumn didn't look too well – Aidan was worried about her, yet he knew Vemchu had simply drugged her, not killed her. //The ring…// He only had to ask for it. The other was demanding for the ring Autumn wore at her neck and Aidan's self-control was faltering. He just had to ask for it and Vemchu would hand it to him. A simple gold band… Aidan tried to resist, but the other was taking over his will, whispering, hissing in the back of his mind. “Vemchu…” He pointed to the drugged girl's neck. “Get me that ring.”

“Good.” Walking towards the unconscious girl, Vemchu leaned over and examined the necklace. Slipping off a solid gold ring from her own finger, she weighed it in her hand. Then, with the utmost delicacy, she gently picked up the ring on the necklace – weighing it as well. Close enough. Her ring was probably heaver by .5 grams or so. The girl wouldn’t notice. Undoing the clasp, Vemchu took the ring out, then slipped the other ring back on. Closing it again, she let it gently fall back to the girls throat. There. It looked as though it had never been changed… Inspecting the ring for a moment, Vem made sure that there weren’t any distinguishing marks. When she found none, she turned and smiled at her boss, displaying the ring between two ivory fingers. “This one, sir?”

Smirking slightly, Vemchu didn’t wait for an answer before taking two short steps and offering it to Lord Cynric. She knew that it was the exact thing he wanted – hopefully it would be the thing that Vemchu thought it was. It was hopefully the thing to unlock Azazel and bring him back from this pitiful parasitic state. No more business leaders. Just a plan to power. And success. And that would bring her one step closer to defeating Michael Archangel. Hand outstretched, she watched Aidan with smoldering eyes – the color of burnt sienna. Success was so close… so close.

Aidan was tense, his face intensely pale. Vemchu was offering him the ring – Aidan wasn't certain if he had requested for the ring or if it had been the Other who had. The ring was there, within his reach. A simple band of gold. //You want it – take it//, the voice hissed in a hypnotic way. //Try it on.// Aidan felt his hackles rise. //No… No, I won't…// However, he found himself with the ring on his palm. How did it get there? Aidan stared at the ring in fascination. His self-control was faltering; he tried to resist… //A simple gold band…// The other was taking over his will, whispering, hissing in the back of his mind. Aidan's face seemed drained of all blood. His bluish back hair contrasted heavily on his skin, his eyes lit like infernal carbuncles. He closed his fingers over the ring, then opened his hand again and picked it up in a painful effort. His heart had almost stopped; his fingers were cold, yet the temperature around him had risen even more, making little plastic clips behind him on the desk melt and bleed into a single mass. The light was going reddish, strangely tainted by an unseen crystal; Aidan didn't see this clearly. He was staring at the ring. He felt as if the air weighed heavily on his chest, his bones hurting within a crushing grasp.

Vemchu found herself smiling sinisterly as she offered Aidan the gold band. There it lay, almost glowing in her pale hand, amidst her long fingers and smooth palm. Her employer was sweating now, much more then he had been before. He looked deathly ill, with his pale skin clashing with his dark hair – eyes blazing as though tortured by the mere item she held in her hand. Then the being inside managed to gain more control. Shaking, as though the effort was costing him all he had, he picked up the ring from her hand, and she dropped it back to her side. Gazing almost coldly, eyes filled with purpose, she watched Aidan Cynric took one last glance at the ring, and cease to exist.

No… Aidan tried to breathe, desperately trying to fight back the Other, but it was a futile endeavor. Azazel had the ring in his hand, he had the power within his grasp again and he wouldn't let it go. The Demon's Temptation power was overwhelming, yet Aidan knew his own desire was nothing but an illusion. The dark crept within him; shadow and hellish flame. Aidan rose his left hand. His fingers didn't obey his will, but a force beyond his mind. He slid the ring on the ring finger in his left hand.

A chasm opened beneath his feet; a deep pit of Hell. In the dancing flame, a pair of bronze eyes stared at him in mockery and a dark joy; Aidan was unable to scream, paralyzed by an utmost terror. The flames shot to the skies and hundreds of inhuman beings were killed; a Portal to the Abyss open like a wound torn in a dreary red night sky absorbed him into Darkness and Pain; unspeakable suffering clouded his judgment. His soul was embraced and engulfed; all Light disappeared from his sight… but those eyes were still there – bronze, terrifying eyes out of his most terrible nightmares. Aidan despaired and his soul was absorbed once more into the terrible shadow of Azazel's own.

Aidan's form became blurry and a terrible heat exploded in the room, melting away glass, steel and walls like butter; the top of the tower faltered and vanished in an explosion of stardust; a net of sigils of Power woven by Aidan outstretched; hellish lights tore through the net in various beams, ripping through the majicks' structured layers and exploded in black lights; the force erased the top of Morning Star Tower completely. However, nor the heat or the explosion touched the demoness and the girl on the couch. Suddenly, the force changed and an implosion took place. The various and diverse forces and materials returned to the stomp on top of the Tower; the net was repaired and strengthened; melted glass and steel that had fallen like rain turned up midfall and went back up; a Turning spell was cast and the black lights disappeared. The top of the tower stood there, immutable beneath a frozen still midnight sky as if the terrible explosion never happened; the office rooms, the carpet and the very plastic paper clips were back in place. However, they were not exactly the same – subtle hues, almost imperceptible changes were concealed beneath a majick layer; these things the Warlord had shaped according to Aidan's eyes; according to the way he had known them. Even the erasure rests that were on a notepad were recreated – but no new matter or energy were used; only recycled.

Without flinching once, Vemchu stood silently as the items around the room began to bend with the sheer power this man gave off. The elements themselves could barely survive as they twisted into unrecognizable forms, each one of them burning from the inside. When had it gotten so warm? Ah yes, when Hell’s Gate opened. Well – not the Gate to Hell, but the Abyss. A place of horror… where she had spent many a year. Had it been so long ago? Or was it such a short time? Vemchu couldn’t tell anymore. She had stopped counting the years… years ago. Finally… so close to what I have longed for… what the entire army has longed for. Your return. Back to the plane which you once knew, then lost… now regain again. Lord Azazel, this world is yours for the taking. And take it you shall, for this time you will NOT fail… Vemchu blinked once as the top of Morning Star Tower exploded outward, not causing any damage to her or the girl on the couch. In the back of her mind, Vem noticed what an act this was – having the girl unaffected, yet the couch gone. Wouldn’t it be funny if the couch reformed on top of her? If he decided to reform the building at all. Moving her eyes from the girl, and back to the man in front of her, Vemchu looked on in awe as he indeed cleaned up. Probably for the first time in his life. Every item reformed, down to the little paper clips on the desk, and the profit reports that laid on it. Absently, she wondered if he had had the figures changed. Well, that would be one interesting scandal. Not that it mattered.

The silhouette of a tall man stood next to the massive oak desk; he was clad in a dark, elegant suit but at the same time a distinct shadow fluttered around his feet, as if a cloak or robes hanged round his body. As he moved, the light reflected softly on the soft, expensive fabric of his suit; but it also revealed as in a second plane the shine of metal. He moved his left hand up; light glistened on the ring he wore. It was Aidan, but it wasn't him; his will had been replaced and another power lived within his body. He rose his bronze eyes and looked at Vemchu; a sly, cunning smile showed in them. A red mark showed on his left eye, from his eyebrow to his cheek – it resembled a crimson flame. “Vemchu”, he greeted with a blood-curdling smile, so strange it was in his face, even it was a simple curl of his lips.

Her master had returned. He seemed different somehow, even to the untrained eye. More regal, more… powerful. His suit held shades of robes, and armor. Yes, it was him. Azazel was back. Trembling slightly, Vemchu looked on with tempered awe. Such an aura… it made her shake on the inside as well as out. Seeing him again brought back so many memories… so many memories. Sure, she had been with him for a while now, working with him, trying to assist in any way possible… but she hadn’t had any real contact with him for years. And there he was. He hadn’t changed. In looks, anyways. Smiling almost sinfully, she bowed as he said her name. “Lord Azazel, welcome back to the mortal plane.”

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