“Oh, stop..!” Serilda told him, a bright red blush rushing to her cheeks as he remarked back to the night of Halloween when he’d drank an enchanted punch that had turned him into a woman temporarily. He turned it right around and told her that he’d be happy to grow their family by any number of children she wanted once all the stress from the war and everything was settled. Still blushing profusely, her smile turned into a smirk. “Careful, I might wind up taking you up on that.”
The trip to Frostbane was quick and seamless, the Rune Knight couple greeted upon their arrival by the most unexpected of allies. As always, Ruzatz and Agatha were both stunning beyond belief, though truthfully the demon was all too in his element. Forcing herself to keep her eyes modest, Serilda smiled and embraced them both, giving a soft chuckle when Ruzatz joked about not having anyone to use as a scapegoat for leaving the dinner early. Mythal volunteered Vandrad, which earned another collective chuckle from the group.
Only once their greetings were out of the way did Jareth step forward, bowing his head to Ruzatz. “Lord Ruzatz. Mistress Agatha. Thank you for coming.”
Agatha smiled at the demon. “It is good to see you again, Jareth. I trust you have been well?” It was interesting to note that the Hand’s attitude toward the Omen seemed almost favorable, her regards to him genuine enough. Wherever Jareth stood in the hierarchy, it was clear that he was on at least friendly terms with the other Prime Sin and his wife. Whether or not they had shared any… relations with the archdemon was anyone’s guess, but the exchange was noteworthy, nonetheless.
In fact, he even cracked the smallest of smiles. “I have been, yes. Thank you for asking. If all of you would please follow me, I’ll-”
“Well, apparently we’re just letting anyone in these days, aren’t we?”
All attention was drawn to the source of the somewhat nasally voice, where they would find two individuals lingering slightly further in the foyer. The one that had spoken was another Elvish figure, though he was much smaller in stature than Jareth. His hair was also white, but he had piercing blue eyes and wore a colorful Sevenese inspired outfit with gold bracers and a gold brooch on his shoulder. There were tribal tattoo markings on his exposed shoulder, and his face was currently sporting a deeply arrogant smirk as he floated in the air in a cross legged sitting position.
Besides him was a woman with short lilac colored hair and dark eyes. She was dressed in a suit of pink and light purple armor that left the top portions of her thighs showing. A longsword was strapped to her hip, and she bore an equally insufferable smile on her face, though something in her eyes seemed a bit more… wild… than that of her companion. “It’s an entire infestation of mortals. Someone must have forgotten to close a door somewhere.”
Serilda fixed an icy glare upon the new figures. Their very presence raked across her senses like nails on a chalkboard, putting her immediately on edge. Even Agatha’s expression had soured, while Jareth straightened himself up with the slightest of sighs through his nostrils. From the weight of demonic power she could feel from them, she could only assume that these were two more of Ozorith’s Omens. It was only a moment later when Victoria spoke within her mind, confirming it. The male is Cain, Omen of Contempt. The other is Eden, Omen of Passion. They rank somewhere in the middle of Ozorith’s archdemons.
Cain caught her stare and perked up considerably, his smirk widening. “Ah, look, Eden! How intimidating. This one must be Ozorith’s newest pet. How long until he breaks her, do you think?”
Eden eyed Serilda slowly like she was little more than a slice of meat waiting to be cooked and served. “Well, if the rumors are to be believed, she’s a bit of a spitfire. Maybe he’ll get to have a little more fun with this one, draw her out a bit. What do you think, Jareth?”
The Omen of Resolution said nothing, a bored look on his face as he glanced at them, unimpressed with their behaviors. “Lord Ruzatz,” he said without turning away from the other two, “I know it has been some time since your last visit to Frostbane. Please allow me to remind you that, as an honored guest, you are within your rights to exercise your power as you see fit in response to insults against yourself, your wife, and your friends. There are no protections afforded to those who disregard my Lord’s expectation of hospitality, no matter how highly they regard themselves.”
Passion scoffed even as Contempt rolled his eyes. “Always the killjoy. Fine. Let’s go.”
The pair turned to leave, but not before Eden tossed Jareth a haughty sneer. “Mortal sympathizer.” She spat at his feet.
At the sound of Jareth coolly unsheathing one of his swords, the ringing metal reverberating off the icy walls, Eden and Cain disappeared from sight, leaving only a wisp of blackened frost and an echo of laughter in their wake. They were gone before the archdemon had finished withdrawing his weapon. Slowly, he lowered it back into its casing. “Pay them no mind. To call them foolish would be a colossal understatement. They will be dealt with.” His comment did not bode well for the other Omens, but he would be hard pressed to find a shred of sympathy among the group for them.
“Thank you, Jareth.”
“Don’t mention it. Shall we? It is best not to keep my Lord waiting.”
With no reason to linger, Jareth led them through the hallways and deeper into the castle until they arrived at a more informal dining room. While the structure itself was still crafted from ice, the furniture and decor of the room were not. A rectangular table that could probably seat eight people had been set for five, the piece intricately carved from wood. The chairs were also wood, with high backs and padded leather seats. A large, finely woven rug sat beneath the set up, protecting the floor from the legs of the furniture.
On either side of the table, slightly behind it, stood Ozorith, Eden, Cain, and two other women. One had golden eyes and wore an outfit in similar style and color scheme as Cain’s, almost a toga like outfit with gold armoring and jewelry. Her skin had a blush tint to it, her long silvery hair pulled back into a ponytail. A whip was coiled at her side. The other woman was taller even than Jareth, towering over everyone else in the room, with thick red hair and tanned skin. She was dressed more like she was planning on going to the desert, with a colorful crop top and skirt combination that left her mass of rock hard muscles on full display. She sported tapered ears like Cain and Jareth, an assortment of jewelry, and regarded the room with attentive green eyes.
Both women were watching the scene before them with thinly veiled smirks. Ozorith was standing over Eden and Cain, both of whom were down upon a knee looking far more humble than they had been only a minute or so ago. Cain’s face was turned slightly and the side of his face was beginning to redden.
Jareth strolled confidently forward, unbothered by the display. “My lord, your guests have arrived.”
Ozorith straightened himself out. “How fortuitous for the both of you.” With a wave of his hand, the Omens stood and hurried to take up their posts while the other two ladies on the other side snickered quietly to themselves. The Prime turned to them and approached with a smile. “Well, it has been quite some time, hasn’t it? Serilda, Mythal, congratulations on your little ones.” He was dressed in a pair of black slacks with a white button up shirt beneath a brown vest with a camel colored blazer.
“Thank you.” Serilda truly wasn’t interested in making small talk with Ozorith, particularly about her children, but thankfully he didn’t seem to be interested in that. It was… odd, actually. He was still himself, carrying himself as self assured and pompous as ever, but there was something behind his smile. Not any kind of deceit, as there usually was, but rather it felt like he was… distracted?
He moved along to the others. “Ruzatz, thank you for agreeing to come. And Agatha. Always a… pleasure.” He gave the woman a small bow, offering up his hand. The red head accepted it coolly, still smiling pleasantly, though perhaps not with as much bubbliness as she typically displayed with others, as he took the limb and kissed the back of her palm.
“Thank you for having us, Lord Ozorith,” was her only neutral response.
Ozorith released her hand with the smallest of smirks before turning to another figure that had been standing near the table: A younger man, he wore no shirt. Only a pair of baggy black pants and a brown cape that was wrapped around his shoulders. There were red tattoos like tribal markings all over his face and torso, and he had long shaggy black hair with piercing hazel eyes. “Varro, if you would.”
The man bowed. “Yes, my lord.” With that, he exited out another door from which wafted the smell of freshly cooked food.
“Now, before we get started, if you wouldn’t mind indulging me for a moment.” Ozorith set his gaze upon Serilda and Mythal, though more so on the former, gesturing to the demons that had taken up their posts along the back wall. “I have never had the chance to introduce you to the Omens. They may reach out to you from time to time, so it is best that you receive a formal introduction.”
Serilda wasn’t terribly thrilled by the idea, though she kept such thoughts hidden behind a neutral mask. At the very least, it was a good opportunity to know the identities of her potential enemies. “Very well.”
“You’ve already met Jareth. This is Cain, Omen of Contempt, and Eden, Omen of Passion.” He indicated the two archdemons that had confronted them in the foyer, both of which were having difficulty making eye contact, as they nursed their wounded prides and simmered in angry silence.
“Ah, so this is what they look like. I only remember seeing their backsides as they fled from Ruzatz with their tail between their legs.” Normally Serilda wouldn’t have been so rude as to kick people while they were down, but clearly Ozorith was already aware of what had transpired. Plus, the two had hardly given her any reason to be polite to them.
Eden’s face flushed with red hot anger, an almost crazed look in her eyes as she snapped them upon the Sword. Cain’s reaction wasn’t quite as unhinged, but there was a simmering loathing in his gaze that promised he was going to do everything in his power to be a pain in Serilda’s ass from here on out. The other two women didn’t even bother to cover their smirks, even as Ozorith chuckled merrily. “Yes, well, they would be wise to pick their fights more carefully.”
Moving on, he turned toward the two remaining Omens. He gestured first toward the redhead. “This is Brione, Omen of Spite, and Shiloh, Omen of Retribution.”
“A pleasure to meet you both.”
“This is Serilda, my Sword, and her fiance Mythal. I expect all of you to play nice with them both. I have no doubt that they will not hesitate to deliver any needed… attitude adjustments… in the future.” His gaze flicked meaningfully to Eden and Cain, who conveniently avoided making eye contact with them.
Jareth raised a brow. “No Oblivion today, my lord?”
“She is focused on a far more important, related task. I will simply have to introduce her at another time.”
Resolution nodded his understanding and took his place in line between Eden and Shiloh. Meanwhile, Ozorith motioned toward the table where Varro had returned and was setting down plates with some kind of prime steak cutlets, cooked slices of potatoes that had been richly seasoned and drizzled with a thin layer of cheese, and a medley of vegetables. “Please, have a seat. We have much to discuss, and most of it will, admittedly, not be pleasant. As all of you know, I gathered everyone here to go over some information I have recently learned regarding Faera and her cohorts. To be blunt, Eden recently received a report from a member of the Blighted. Shepard has been spotted on Earthland, where he has apparently been disguising himself as a mortal for an as of yet unconfirmed amount time.”
He gave Mythal a significant look, and without any hint of mockery or levity, gave it to him straight. “I am sorry, Mythal. He has been going under the name of Branwen Frane."