Chapter VII

Dark Calling

Hours of celebration follow, in the inn crowds of revelers seek out the champions of the arena. Lumi and Khimi are given no privacy from the moment of their appearance from the labyrinth.  The crowd dotes on their accolades, Ennui watches from a distance, relishing Khimi and Lumi’s moment of fame. Ennui laughs while women gather around the both of them, somehow unaware of their all too obvious sexual proclivities. Rashid and Ennui hide amongst the crowded inn while dodging guards seeking them by their description. Iris bitterly drinks beside her, barely saying a word. Ennui knows that the lass had felt snubbed since her disappearance during the melee.

The crowd slowly disperses, potential suitors fading from the inn. Lumi drunkenly clings ever tighter to Khimi, revealing the nature of their relationship to the public. Rashid retires to bed after praising Ennui for her display of friendship. She herself longs to retire to bed, but wishes for the honey-haired Iris to join her. Eventually, Iris offers her a goodnight kiss and leaves her alone and sour. She pours herself into her cups, finally loose and free of care enough to dance with her drunken friends.

The three whittle down the night until they are the last patrons still awake in the tavern. The night dwindles, Ennui sits across Khimi, Lumi asleep in his lap.

“P-Proud of you both,” Ennui stutters, taking a long sip from the pewter mug. The smell of the spirits makes her head spin – dwarven slop, at least that is what she thinks it could be.

Khimi strokes Lumi’s soft golden hair, “What y-you did,” he mumbles, looking up from Lumi to her. “It means a lot to him,” he whispers. “You made him…so happy.”

“I don’t particularly find myself enjoying one-sided fights,” she mutters into the mug. “So, if anything. I did it for my own entertainment.”

“Ennui” Khimi hiccups. “Ennui, why must you be so cold? I know you did it for Lumi,” he says, giving her a knowing and caring look.

Ennui averts her eyes, “Don’t give me that,” she says, placing her palm on her cheek.

Khimi chuckles, pulling a cloak over Lumi’s body. “You don’t have to deny that you know of kindness,” he says, leaning over the table.

“A rare occasion. The Little Lion was l-lucky,” she stutters again. “Anyway, I should sleep…my bed calls to me.”

“I should get him to bed as well,” Khimi says, standing abruptly.

Ennui scoffs, “Spoiled thing,” she whispers, “You carry him to bed too?” She asks with amusement. “Can’t stand on his own? Does his daddy need to do everything for him?”

Khimi raises his eyebrows at Ennui, “Would you rather carry him?” He inquires while he lifts Lumi from the bench. Lumi stirs, and places his arms behind Khimi’s neck.

“I’d let him sleep on the ale soaked floor if it was up to me,” Ennui replies, following behind Khimi with her pewter cup.

Khimi turns back to Ennui, a testing look on his face. “Maybe I was too quick to assume your kindness,” he spits.

“Let me get your door,” Ennui chuckles, then gasps jokingly, “Look! Another display of kindness,” she says, giving the slightest of bows.

    Khimi reaches for the key in his pocket while jostling Lumi in his arms. Ennui quickly kneels beside the door, pressing a small pick through the pinhole. She presses the yellow door open, giving Khimi another mocking bow while he walks past her. She gives him an unnatural smile, and he offers one in return before pushing the door closed with his foot.

Ennui stands in the silent hallway, picking her pewter cup up from the tiles. She takes another swig of spirits before she heads to her room, reserved to the fact that she’s sleeping alone. She pauses, the bright, crimson door stares back at her, it’s sheen giving it a wet and glossy look. I would choose the bloody door. Taking a knee in front of the door, she places the pewter mug softly outside the room, attempting to be absolutely silent. She puts the tip of her shoe against the base of the door, shoving it open in a fluid motion. Hells, I knew it. A dark shadow hangs in the corner of the room. A tallow candle sits on the floor, the flame flickers, throwing a shallow light throughout the tiny area. Ennui silently closes the door, walking to the bed. She throws herself over the mattress, resting across the itchy sheets. The shadows shift and shape over the ceiling, a strange figure forming above her before it drips partway from the ceiling.

“You got a little cultist to summon you here? A lot of trouble just to speak with me, Samael,” Ennui says coldly to the shadow.

The shadow smiles at her words, “My sweet little Ennui,” it begins, “How you’ve really come into that name…it pains me to see you like this.”

Ennui snorts, “Oh, having a good time?”

“Precisely,” it replies in a soft and melodious voice, its gaping maw threatening to swallow the light.

Ennui rolls her eyes, “It’s been a while since anyone else could summon your true form here, huh?” She asks the shadow. “Who sent you back to the hells?”

The shadow smirks, returning to the corner of the room. It slides along the wall, “What gives you the idea I went back to the hells?” It asks Ennui in a soft whisper.

“You used to show up whenever you wanted something. Now, you’re just puppetting a shadow,” she states plainly. “If you don’t mind, I’m rather tired.”

The shadow snickers, “Is that any way to treat an old friend?” It asks, with a hint of annoyance. “My form doesn’t concern you, Ennui.”

Ennui chuckles to herself. “Then what does concern me?” She asks coyly. “Tell me, what do I owe for this pleasure?”

“Nothing too far outside the scope of your usual skills,” the shadow begins, “Can I depend on your a—”

“Was it the person who sent you back to the hells?” She sneers, interrupting the shadow.

The shadow sighs, audibly smacking its lips, “My dearest Ennui, it’s best you remember your place.”

“Right, right, you own my soul and all of that,” she says, waving a hand dismissively. “Not like you’d ever give that back anyway.”

“How very perceptive!” The shadow says cheerfully. “At least I won’t come to reap my reward prematurely…as long as you’re willing to keep your role.”

Ennui rolls on her side, looking away from the shadow. “If I snuff out that candle…will you go away?” She asks, half speaking to herself.

“You’re welcome to try,” the shadow says, twisting and turning curiously on the wall.

She closes her eyes, her tail smashing against the bed aggressively. “What do you need from me this time? You need me to summon you back?”

“What makes you think I am back in the hells? I could just be biding my time in the empire with an old friend,” the shadow says, sounding dejected. “Mephisto has been there for some time,” it whispers menacingly.

Hmph! C’mon, just tell me who got you this time,” Ennui chuckles, crossing her legs on the bed.

The shadow seems to consider her words, “A sun priest of all things…” it mutters softly.

Ennui listens to the shadow, nodding her head. “You let one of those pompous Lorians do you in?”

“Did me in?! Tch!” The shadow replies. “If it was an actual fight, it would be one thing…but they lured me into a shrine and banished me. They wouldn’t have stood a chance otherwise.”

“You sound confident,” Ennui whispers, “So you DO need me to summon you back?”

The shadow goes silent for a long moment. The overzealous amount of drink causes Ennui to begin drifting to sleep.

“You’re going to bring me back,” it says quietly.

“Anything else, Samael?” Ennui yawns.

The shadow snickers again, sending a shiver coursing along Ennui’s spine, “Travel to Derhn,” he mumbles. “Bring me back there…or with the other daughters.”

“Samael, how about you kindly fuck off,” Ennui responds in a sharp tone.

“Since you asked so kindly,” the shadow snickers, the wick expires, sizzling softly.

Ennui forces herself from the bed, moving to the open window, she places her hand on the curtains, the cool night air rushes against her cheeks. Derhn of all places…she pulls the curtain closed, shrouding the room in absolute darkness. The incantation leaves her lips, the beautiful and dark language of the devils echoing around her. Her eyes glow with an unnatural aura in the darkness. She approaches the tallow candle, extending a hand over the extinguished wick. Light burns across the room, Ennui’s shadow is cast on the wall behind her, dancing. The wick burns, painfully forced to consume its remaining length. A faint squeal, like that of a croaked frog, emanates from the flame before it snuffs. The wax burns down to its end, dripping from the desk over her boots. She stares blankly at the scorch marks across the desk, her eyes fade to their normal bloody crimson. The room once more returns to darkness, leaving Ennui alone with her thoughts.

Daughters of Samael…