Level Seven... Hell

Lilith stood before her husband, her breathing nonexistent, her body as still as stone. A curtain of darkness covered her along with a sheen of terror-produced sweat.

"So, where does this leave us?" the Unnamed One said in a very quiet tone, his voice releasing on a weary sigh. "Explain your position." For a moment she couldn't force her vocal cords to respond as he circled her, the echoing sound of his hooves against the cavern floor a reminder of his vast destructive power.

"My son, Dante, is gone. Slain by a Neteru. My grandson exterminated by his own mother - Eve ... a Neteru now undoubtedly elevated to finally reign with Aset for her selfless act. Tell me, dearest Lilith, where shall we begin our dance of pain?" He'd breathed out his question with such eerie calm that she closed her eyes, no longer straining against the impenetrable darkness to see him. She didn't have to; she already knew the beast within him was beyond appeasement. She'd failed. Her time was nigh.

"We are where we wanted to be," she finally said, her tone resigned. "There is no more to say to you than that, beloved. Do what you will with me." A slow, deep, rumbling chuckle filled his bedchamber. "We are where we wanted to be,"

he repeated in a flat, sarcastic tone. "I cannot fathom what I should do with you for this debacle. Come, come, now, my dear. You can do better than that." Tears of remorse filled her eyes and she shook her head. "You warned me, and Cain is extinct. What else can I say? There is no way to hide the truth from you. That is where we are ... where we ultimately wanted to be."

"How interesting. Where we wanted to be. That you will have to explain further, before I snuff out your very existence from my realms."

He walked away from her, and she noticed that she no longer heard hooves but just the soft pad of his bare feet against the stone floor.

"Amuse me with your bullshit, Lilith - give it a good attempt, just for the sport of it, at least. For you see, I am so bereft that even I wonder at the need to commence the Armageddon. I keep asking myself whether it would be more efficient simply to scorch the earth with my wrath and be done. Yet even I am beholden to a certain cosmic fate of timing. So make it good while I await the appointed hour of battle between the Light and the absolute Darkness. Tell me something that will give me pause." He lifted the pitch blackness around her and returned her night vision so that she could fully see him. Oddly, rather than appearing as the hideous monster of unspent rage, he was standing before her, his arms folded over his massive chest with a wry, sexy smile on his handsome face. This was far from what she'd expected and a much more deadly version of his fury than he'd ever shown her. The terror his quiet composure produced made her breaths shallow. They stared at each other for a moment.

"Your heir lives in the realm you could never breach, as promised," she said carefully. "He is growing in Nod, being cultivated within a living, hybrid womb." Her husband slowly unfurled his huge, black feathered wings, casting a shadow over her body, but she was glad that he was still calm enough that the more horrifying leather ones he owned hadn't presented. She watched his dark eyes, also noting that they hadn't begun to glow, and then allowed her eyes to study his mouth. No battle-length fangs. Yet the pain he could exact didn't require a transformation, just the blink of a thought. Lilith sighed, choosing each word as though it might spare her meager existence within the very fragile seconds of amnesty he'd afforded her. "Right now, they are blind -  the Guardians, the Covenant, and the Neterus, and probably both Neteru Councils as well. They think they've won, and are in celebration. This gives our heir a chance to develop and grow unmolested. Patience is the key. However, the loss of Cain was unavoidable ... he allowed emotion and rage to rule him, and he prematurely rushed in - "

"And was therefore expendable," her husband said coolly, coming close enough to touch her cheek. "You did well," he added, delicately caressing her face with a smooth palm.

"Cain had delusions of grandeur and thought he could replace even me. Very foolish. His extinction was only a matter of time ... although I would have liked to have delivered that fate myself. I suppose I will have to be mollified with the eternal torture of his soul. You robbed me of that pleasure, yet again."

Lilith stiffened. "It was never my intent to rob you of any pleasure, my beloved. Sense me for a lie. I swear to you, my goal was honorable."

He smiled a dashing smile. "And the road to Hell is always paved with good intentions. We both know that. So, perhaps I should be thankful that you found your way home, hmmm?" He let his hand fall away from her cheek. "Given all those in my charge who have

been recently released to the Light, I'm glad you haven't made a run for the border." His smile widened. "I'm also very pleased that you didn't side with Cain against me, or try to resurrect some old bond with Adam. That would have been very unfortunate - would have made me truly irrational."

Relief shot through her so quickly that it made her limbs tremble. "I would never allow Cain to attempt a coup against you, beloved," she whispered, staring at her husband's eyes to sense for any mercurial change that could happen. "And if I ever see Adam again, he's a dead man."

"You know the time is near?" Her husband tilted his head and assessed her from head to toe.

She nodded but couldn't speak as her husband's strangely melodic voice coated her insides with hot desire. But she staved off the sensation, knowing that he was at his most lethal when appearing most seductive.

"I take it that you are aware by now that I rode Cain's energy the night he descended to Dante's throne? What a rush ... I had forgotten how amorous you could be." She dared not speak, not sure of his strange mood. Her only option was to continue to watch the dangerous entity before her closely.

"You didn't know, did you?" He laughed and then sighed. "Therefore, what you saved, really, is our heir, Lilith... which is the only reason I didn't rip your lungs out for being so presumptuous about the fruit of my loins."

"I meant no disrespect," she whispered, and quickly averted her eyes to the barren rock floor.

"Look at me," he commanded, but there was a strange gentleness to his tone. He waited until she complied. A pleasant smile graced her husband's face as he arched an eyebrow and chuckled, shaking his head. "Yours, mine, and ours. I couldn't resist, not when you and Cain barreled down to my chambers and nearly blew through my doors. So erotically insane - I was moved."

"I'm glad you enjoyed it," she whispered, not taking her eyes off him, lest he turn instantly violent.

He smiled and slid his hand up her torso to tighten against her throat. "Oh, I definitely enjoyed it. You two were spectacular together." He chuckled again softly and loosened his grip. "Cain and I have bonded in seed to penetrate your ova ... so, tell me, who is this host womb?"

"An angel hybrid," Lilith said just above a whisper, and then held her breath awaiting his reaction.

"An ange l hybrid ... in Nod?"

"Yes," she said, stiffening again to brace for a hard blow. To her surprise, her husband's black wings enfolded her in a feathery blanket and he threw his head back and simply laughed. "Oh, Lilith ... how you devised something so delightful steals my breath. Stay with me on Level Seven for a while, yes?" Stunned, she simply stared at him. He was asking her, as though she had the option to refuse any command?

"As you desire, always," she said quietly.

"No..." he murmured, his voice low and seductive. "Only if you also desire to visit for a while."

The way he was speaking to her reminded her of how they first met; that first seduction when she ran from Adam's house to seek refuge in the Darkness and under the power of his raven-black wings. Gently stroking his square jaw she nodded, allowing her body to finally relax and yield into his embrace. She watched a slight flicker of blue-black flames rim his nostrils and a wave of wanton desire filled her as it oozed from his pores to cover her skin with inviting heat.

"I came to you when there was nowhere for me to go, and you alone gave me sanctuary." She ran the pad of her thumb over his mouth, sensing for safety the entire time. "When you speak to me like this ... there is no other place I'd rather be."

"I remember those early days," he murmured, nuzzling her neck to find the side of her throat that he'd first marked eons ago. He kissed the overly sensitive spot, studying the surface of her skin and released a long, fatigued breath. "So many demons after me and not a mark worthy of my challenge, except Cain. I know you must be as disappointed as I with this outcome."

"I am," she murmured hesitantly. "Cain was the only one that could have given you a good run for your money." Censoring herself, she held back any mention of Carlos as her husband continued to stare at her throat, hoping he didn't decide to summarily rip it out to begin a siege of unending torture.

"What shall I do to amuse myself while we wait, now that he's gone and Carlos is beyond my immediate grasp? Devastating humanity is growing old... they are so easy to pollute and turn to my ways."

"I'll rebuild the Vampire Council for you," she said quickly, her voice an urgent plea as she stared up into her husband's still languid eyes, beseeching his continued calm. "I'm sure that I can find - "

"Leave the Vampire Council to Fallon Nuit to rule.... I'll repair that sonofabitch as best I can. But I have something better for you. I'm done playing with him - he bores me, and he couldn't take the torture half as well as you did. He screamed like a little girl the whole time. The sound of his voice was so tiring that even after I ripped out his throat that brought no satisfaction."

"I'll stay with you," she whispered, shivering under the sensual intensity of her husband's hold. "Until the end."

"With me there will be no end," he murmured against the now red glowing marks at her throat. "Never."

"This is why I said until the end - that will never come." He nodded and kissed her neck until she moaned, suckling new blood to spill over the surface of her skin without even breaking the vein with his fangs.

"The others that are left are so weak. You are the only one in the universe worth a damn who truly understands me, Lilith," he whispered, his hands lazily stroking her back.

"Remember our first negotiation?"

"It is branded into my consciousness," she said, melting against him.

"Mine, too. All the carnal pleasure of this world and that of the forthcoming future is what I gave you that night. You were so afraid, but also so desirous that I was taken." He hesitated and peered at her without blinking. "You made my heir, Lilith. You were the only one capable, and you stole it, secreted it away, and hid it in plain sight of the Light. Tonight, I need to be taken. No one ever takes me... it is so rare, and only you have done

that to me, choosing me over Adam and the Light.

That absolutely took me by surprise, just as you've done so now. I never expected what you just told me about an heir to be delivered from your lips without fraud." His fingers trembled as they traced her cheek. "Take me."

A gasp cut off her statement as she tried to respond by touching the bite mark she'd left on his throat millennia ago. Seeing him so completely undone raised her courage and spiked her desire, and she allowed her fangs to slowly lower as his eyes slid shut. The moment he inhaled, she struck him with a cobra-quick bite, breaking the skin at his throat. Her unanticipated strike caused a violent shudder within him that passed through them both until his head dropped back.

"I am so pleased, Lilith. Surprise me." He'd breathed out her name with the fire in his lungs. "You deserve no less than all the pleasure of the ages tonight," he said in a garbled whisper while holding her tighter, "plus all that has ever been since the beginning ... it has been a long time for us, yes?"

"Yes," she said in Dananu against his shoulder, trembling so hard she felt faint. "I've missed you so, this way."

"I agree," he replied in Dananu, his voice deep and ragged with passion. "Before, I visited you with a month of painful torture ... but I have changed my mind. How about a month of pleasurable torture, fair exchange for your surprise gift, to supplant my earlier rage?"

"Yes!" she shrieked, clasping his subtly bulking shoulders until her nails dug into his flesh. She bit him again hard, raking his skin with her fangs while sending a black current of energy up his spine that made him groan. "I will take you until you go blind and drop from the agony of pure pleasure in total exhaustion - like old times," she hissed into his ear, black blood filling her eyes as she made the vow and swooned under his ardent caress.

"I've learned so much over the years ... let me show you until the next full moon. One whole month of stabbing your mind with Neteru images ..."

"You still own those?" he whispered in a hot breath against her throat.

"Yes. Adam's, Cain's, Carlos's, and even Dante's. I will hold nothing away from you - even Eve's and Damali's, through their males, I have as my surprise offering to you. Even the spark of conception of your heir is yours to have through me. Will that make us even ... make up for the robbery you felt?"

"Yes ..." he moaned, dropping to his knees while holding her tightly and instantly transforming the stone beneath them into burning desert sand. "Show me all."

"Let me do that while I desecrate every orifice on your body to remind you why you made me your wife above all other demons."

"You were my first and best, Lilith. Thrust my mind," he whispered between his teeth.

"The only one to endure my all."

She seized his mind and gored it with every major catastrophe he'd visited upon the planet and infused it with the most erotically intense images she could wrest from her knowledge of the strong Neterus he hadn't bested.

"Like that... don't stop," he gasped, splaying his hands against her back. "Take me!" She tore at his throat and gave him the fleeting image of Cain with Damali. "After all I've endured to make you happy, I want a month of pure pleasure with you alone ... plus my return to favor as your second in command on Level Seven, not Six," she said, panting in Dananu through his thick black blood as it spilled down her chin. "I used to give you a

hundred demon births a day and she took that from me. From us. Work with me, husband, to protect what we have left in Nod. That is multiple surprises for the loss of one."

He lifted his head and stared at her, nodding, his eyes glowing black as his fangs slowly lengthened. His vertebrae quickly elongated, his tail now twining with hers in a feral, serpentine dance. He winced with unconcealed pleasure as she climbed up his body and wrapped her legs around his waist to mount him.

"So be it," he whispered sensually. "Then, for now, we'll be even."
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