Monday, September 12, 2011

DiceGames: Vixi's Promise

This is my second entry to Lady Antimony's DiceGames challenge. You throw a dice and look up the corresponding prompt from Lady Antimony's list. For this week, I rolled number one: “Sometimes it's easier just to let them die...”

P.S. Number 17 is an unlucky number in Italy because XVII can be rearranged to "VIXI", which means “I have lived” (implying “I am dead”) in Latin. That's where Vixi's name comes from.

“The deity promised me power.” The mage’s voice was taut with apprehension. “He spoke nothing of skeletal demons.”
Lheyr stared from somewhere beyond the empty eye sockets. The demon cocked his horned head a little; humans were so impatient, especially the ones who already had power. “Think of me as your guide through this process.”
“Process?” The mage’s fingers curled into fists, knuckles whitening. “Speaking to your god was hard enough. I prayed in his temple every day for 17 years before he answered. What more is there?”
“You need to tap into demonic magic.” A bony hand lifted as the demon touched its rib, just where the heart would have been. “Vixi is the god of death, but he is also the lord of demons. Our power is his power.”
The mage fell silent, his face obscured by the shadow of his hood. Yet Lheyr could sense apprehension and fear. Ribs expanded as the demon drew air, a memory of the time it had been human. Like the mage, Lheyr had prayed to Vixi for power and received it. The difference between him and the lesser demons was that he knew how to use that power.
Yes, he wielded power ruthlessly; even the other skeletal demons cringed at his actions.
He waited for the mage to seek out demonic magic. Like the elements, it was there, you just needed to take hold of it. But unlike the elements you could cast any kind of spell with it. The only downside was that you turned into a demon in the end, but it was downside only to those afraid.
“Use it, feel the magic taint your soul,” he whispered.
Lheyr watched the mage flinch as he felt the touch of evil magic, but he continued on; twin flames erupted from his palms, spreading darkness instead of light.
“More,” the demon spoke softly.
The flames grew, their darkness enveloped the mage, but Lheyr could still see him. Arms held out, head tilted slightly back, they were always dramatic.
The flames flickered.
“When I say you’re done. More power.” Lheyr began calling his own magic, drawing deep from the murky core of his being. Users of demonic magic didn’t turn into demons suddenly, there were stages. First you had nightmares; eventually the horrors of the demonic world would become reality. The last stage before the change was the most frightful; demons could see the unwary user of their magic and begin dragging him or her into the demonic world.
The mage flinched as another skeletal demon touched his arm with a clawed finger. Perhaps this one would cross of his own free will.
But the flames died abruptly.
“This is not what I asked for! I will not become a demon for the sake of power!”
Lheyr stood still, hollow eye sockets staring at the outraged mage. Everyone knew Vixi’s promises came at a price, but how high, they couldn’t possibly foresee.
“The pact must be honoured.” Lheyr’s arms lifted, fingers reaching towards the mage, then twisting back as he stole away the hapless man’s life force.
“Fight me! Turn into a demon or die!” Lheyr’s bony jaws twisted into a smile. “Either way the master shall have you!”
“I will not become like you.” The mage called on his own magic, fire sparked between his hands growing into a ball of flames. Lheyr scoffed at the feeble display of power. Why did they always choose a flashy spell? All pomp and no power got you killed when facing a demon.
“The strongest demons are second only to the gods themselves. You want power, become one of us!”
The mage threw the flame, striking Lheyr in the face, but the demon continued on, ignoring the soot on its skull. It continued on sapping the life from the mage, bit by bit, and scattered it to the four winds. A demon did not require life force, it fed on pain and despair.
One final time he repeated the offer, “Join us.”
“No.” The mage whispered. He crumpled down into an unmoving heap. Lheyr nudged the corpse with a clawed toe. No reaction. Another skeletal demon, this one resembling a snake with bony arms and an oxen head, stared at him.
“Son, tell the missus that we don’t need prey. Another one died.” The demon crossed his arms. “I looked forward to teaching possession to a new demon.”
Lheyr would stand vigil until his god raised the mage from the dead. Vixi would have a new servant and the mage would have power, the pact would be honoured, though not as the mage had intended. Lheyr sighed and shook his head; sometimes it was just easier to let them die.


  1. Hello fellow campaigner. I am in your fantasy group and I'm only just getting around to meeting everybody bit by bit. Love the Blog. :)
    Be nice to get to know everybody!!

  2. Man, I LOVE your world! Vixi seems like a fascinating deity, with the focus on honouring pacts regardless of what form that takes. I like that the mage praying for power opted to resist the transformation into a demon, even though it sounds like it was in vain. Also love the numerological symbolism with this one, and Lheyr seems like a fun sort of demon that I'd love to see more of.
    And now we have demonic magic to consider as well as the elemental magic of humans and I suppose natural magic of shifters etc.?