A Shadow of All Night Falling - Part 1: Mother of Demons

(August 30-September 13, 3023 AD)

Interlude I: Th'Inroad of Darkness Old

© 2000 by E. Liddell

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He still remembered where he had come from. He refused to forget that, no matter what happened.

He'd had a name once. Grossularite. Yes, that had been it. And he'd had a body. It hadn't been an especially big and powerful body, but he'd liked it. It had been blonde and handsome, and it had borne the mark of the Black Moon on its forehead. But he'd lost it one day. Or rather, he'd had it taken from him.

It had all been Pyrope's fault, and Lapis's. They'd ordered him into the impersonation that had taken his life. He hated them both. But not as much as he hated the other, the dark-eyed, green-haired man in the tarnished armor. That was the one who had stolen his body. Stolen his life. It was the green-haired man who had locked him in this pale, silver-white prison with the remains of two others. But those two had scarcely any mind of their own left at all, and he found them easy to ignore.

As his self-awareness had returned, his physical impotency had infuriated him, and, in an attempt to compensate, he had turned his hand to controlling and corrupting those whose magic touched him, making him perform like a trained animal. It hadn't worked on all of them. The Neo-Queen, for instance, had been too strong for him. He'd managed to burn her, but he hadn't been able to introduce any kind of taint of darkness into her soul. Malachite had presented the opposite problem -- the captive wasn't powerful enough to corrupt any part of the Crystal Weaver monarch that the Negaforce hadn't gotten to first. But the others... Ah, yes, he'd been able to plant something inside them!

In fact, he'd made excellent progress with the girl -- woman, now, he supposed, although she hadn't been when she'd first touched him -- extending his influence into a series of flaws in her soul that had been left behind by a familiar corruptive force. She'd obviously been purified at some point, because no shred of the Doom Phantom's power had remained behind to interfere with what he was doing, but those who had performed the purification hadn't realized that it was always a little easier for evil to invade the second time, no matter what healing took place or what precautions were taken. The others, the males, he'd only been able to make restless, reckless, and irritable, but this woman he'd managed to ruin completely. He found a bitter satisfaction in that. Even though the Neo-Queen had been able to protect herself, Phoebe's line would end with her, because her daughter was already lost.

And then he'd almost lost it all, because he hadn't been quite careful enough.

He still wasn't quite sure how the blonde woman, the older Sailor Venus, had come to suspect him, but he'd had to get rid of her fast. It had taken a lot of power to cloud her mind, and a lot more to twist her so that no one could probe her and discover his meddling, but he had done it, and now she was as he had made her, not entirely broken in mind, but not entirely whole, either. It was fortunate that she had not been as powerful as her ruler.

<<-- ???? -->>

<<Is someone there?>> Grossularite couldn't remember the last time someone had tried to address him directly. The last person to make such an attempt, however, had been the green-haired man, the body-thief. Since he'd been the last person that the prisoner had wanted to talk to, the ex-Nemisian had hidden himself behind the tattered shreds that were all that remained of his fellow-prisoners. But this wasn't the green-haired man. It was too vast to be anything that even tried to reside within a human body.

<<Here. Yes.>> A vast, ancient voice, full of primeval darkness, that put the captive's memories of his people's patron demon to shame. <<You wish your freedom.>>

<<Yes.>> It was all Grossularite could do not to laugh. So tell me something I don't know.

<<You require help, power. I require information. An exchange?>>

<<If you're asking if it's a deal, you've got one. What do you want to know?>>

Goto Chapter 5

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