“And some you win /And some you lose/And the winners all grin /And the losers assay/Deal the cards again/Oh won’t you/Deal the cards again?”
Lucifer knew he was beat. His target was lost. She had emerged from his spell and was now joining her family in their ritual. Refusing to admit defeat, he continued to try to weave his spell over her again. Each attempt failed, infuriating him.
Abaddon smiled, knowing that the devil would soon attempt an escape. He knew that the ruler of all demons was close to giving up. They had done well, waiting him out. Forming the circle had done the trick.
The prayers had done their work as well. Although they had not added to the strength, or even broke the spell Lucifer had cast, they had caused enough of a distraction that it had broken Lucifer’s concentration. And his concentration had been broken just long enough to weaken his hold on Tori.
Lucifer had lost enough control that Tori had begun to become aware that she had not been in control of her actions. This awareness had caused her to wake from the spell and strike back at the devil. And she struck back hard. The devil reeled from the sudden psychic punch he had just taken.
Damn the girl could fight back! He had been right to try and claim her. She would have been a valuable asset. Her power would have heightened his own.
Had he used it well, she could have helped him take over heaven. But it was too late for those thoughts now. She had discovered the weakness in his spell. Hell. She had found him out.
Now he only had one recourse. He had to destroy her. He couldn’t allow heaven to acquire such a powerful weapon. He couldn’t run the risk of heaven making an attack on hell.
He made his attack, but his attempts seemed to dissipate harmlessly before they reached her. How could that be? It just was no possible! No human had that much power!
He had to get out of there. No matter what he tried, he couldn’t effectively attack Tori. Or any of the others, for that matter. It was as if they were being protected.
“Your illusions no longer work, Lucifer,” Abaddon stated coldly, “Give up.”
No one saw the change happen. Lucifer had fled and Satan had replaced him. Satan smiled. His ruse had worked.
He wasn’t ready for the outcome of the switch when it happened. without warning, Abaddon laid hands upon him and bound him. Suddenly, Satan found himself captive. Lucifer had neglected, once again, to tell him something. He did not like this lack of communication. Hell. He didn’t like being taken away.
Curse his bad luck! Once again, his king had duped him into taking a fall. Once again, he would have to escape the pit as he had done for centuries. He frowned.
One of these days, Lucifer would not have him to take the fall for him. One of these days, he would rebel and take hell away from the prince of light. He snickered to himself. Prince of light. What a joke. Lucifer could only feign light. He was really the prince of darkness.
He looked up at Abaddon. Did heaven’s jailer know that he had been made a fool? Did he know that Lucifer had gotten away? Or was he clueless?
“Quit thinking so loud, Satan,” The angel said coldly, “You give yourself away.” He smiled coldly. “I will catch your king soon enough, don’t worry. But his time is not yet.”
“Ah, shit,” Satan spat, “You always know.”
“Of course,” came the reply, “It is my nature. Besides. I heard your thoughts.Just as I heard his when you two switched. I have spent this whole visit listening to his thoughts as well as those of the rest of your ilk. I knew where all were at what time. Now come along.”
Tori collapsed to the floor. She was completely drained. The battle had taken all she had. God, she needed sleep. She needed…
She looked up to see Michael and Patrick rushing to her side. To her surprise, she saw Harkiss, James, and the rest of the family. But hadn’t Harkiss been dead? Was she now seeing the dead as well as the living? Or was she going insane?
“You’re not seeing things, Tor,” Michael said quietly in her ear as he knelt next to her, “Harkiss and David are both alive and well. The devil had imprisoned them so he could attempt to take you. He believed that you would be easier to take if the rest of us weren’t here.”
“So I didn’t just dream all of this?” She asked.
“Nay,” Patrick shook his head, “Nay, all’s real.”
She looked up and saw Abaddon near the door, Satan in tow. “And him? Is he really an angel?”
“Aye, lassie,” Patrick replied, a smile in his voice, “that ‘e is. And I need me a talk with ‘im.”
“I was just leaving,” Came Abaddon’s cold reply, “to do what I was sent to do. I have a demon to deliver back to the pit.”
“And the devil?” She inquired.
“Unfortunately,” Abaddon replied coldly, “he remains loose but he will not bother you anymore. Once he loses, he never shows himself to that person again. My dear, you shamed him by besting him.” He smiled coldly. “You were able to break his spell on your own. he won’t soon forget that. Even more, you were able to render his attacks useless. Powerless. From now on, he’ll avoid you at all costs.
“Rest well. You deserve it. As do all here. They all did their parts well.”
Abaddon walked out the door, followed by Patrick. Patrick had risen as Abaddon was speaking to Tori. He wanted to be free of this curse. He had lived long enough. He had lived far too long for his taste.
Outside, he called to the angel. “Abaddon! Hold!”
The angel stopped. “Yes, Irishman?”
“Please,” He began, “I beg o’ ye, Please remove this curse from me. I don’t want to live any longer. I need rest, and I do mean rest.”
“Of course, Irishman,” the angel agreed, “You have fought valiantly over the centuries the devil has forced you to live.” He turned to the priest. “Go back inside and pick one of those within. With a touch, you will be able to pass your legacy, your immortality, on to them. And rest well. You will know nothing more, after tonight, until you rise in the afterlife.”
“Thank ye,” Patrick stated graciously, “Dear angel.”
Abaddon smiled. “Not a problem. you deserve a rest.”
Patrick watched as Abaddon vanished with his captive, then reentered the house. He looked at Michael, then to David and Harkiss. He walked over to the latter two.
“Would ye like to do the service I have done for five centuries?” He asked the two of them, laying his hands on their shoulders.
“Yes, Father,” came their collective answer, “You know we would.” At their acceptance, they felt power surge through them. “Use the power I have given ye for good only. That means ye cannae make yer moonshine anymore, Harkiss. It means ye must be ready to battle Lucifer when he returns.” The brotehrs nodded in acknowledgement.
Michael looked up at the question and opened his mouth to object, but was too late. He watched as Patrick transferred his immortality to his brothers. He suddenly knew that Patrick would not be with them much longer.
“Michael, me boy,” Patrick started, looking over at him, “come. Walk with me. Help me home. we must talk.”