Scene setting : Pride Kingdom
co-written with Temp.
Temp: Astaroth appeared sitting upon his throne, seemingly out of nowhere. He had just returned from the battle between the armies of Greed and Wrath. There was a great deal of disturbing occurrences during the battle, all of which were now being analyzed in his mind. Gabriel had somehow managed to get a variety of unique followers within an extremely short amount of time, for seemingly no logical reason. Both the armies of Greed and Wrath were stricken with mass casualties. Mammon, the Prince of Greed himself, fell in battle. Astaroth would likely have joined him if Lucifer himself hadn’t stepped in. This meant that he owed him, which wasn’t something he was happy about. Better to owe a favor than to die though, right? Normally retreating would have shaken someone like him down to the core, rattling his pride heavily at it’s core. However, he had made it clear to himself that there was simply no other choice. It still stung a tad, having to retreat, but there was no winning that fight. A one on one fight with Gabriel, now that would have been different…right? He had taken a lot of damage during the fight in his demonic form. Perhaps joining the fight in that form immediately was the wrong move. Next time he would fight in his normal form, or perhaps learn a condensed version of that form. There was a clear advantage in having multiple forms, as it put him into a position of having different phases of damage, vitality, stamina, etc. His pride in himself was not arrogance, it was something that was a fact. He refused to accept himself, or anything in his army that he couldn’t be proud of. It seemed his current capabilities weren’t sufficient enough, which meant he would have to continue training.
His wounds, along with the clothing that he wore, began to heal and return to normal while he sat on his throne. Healing his wounds wouldn’t take very long, but recovering from his transformation would. He was well aware that he would not be in fighting form for several days, but he refused to sit and fester. “Send me a General, immediately!” His words were loud and piercing, and would surely attract the attention of his servants. Eventually his order was obeyed, and a servant presented his lord with one of his many Generals. “Bolster the defenses, hire more spies…saboteurs…assassins…everything…I want scouts patrolling every hour…any spies in the dungeons and caught from here on out are to be executed…no more questioning. Kill any and all that are suspicious. Make me proud.” The General knew better than to question his lord and master, and bowed his head in total agreement. Astaroth knew damn well that the army of Pride was by far the most highly trained and powerful, as he would not accept anything less. Still, there was always room for improvement and more willing and able souls. There was no telling what awaited him in the future, so for now he would prepare and recover…and after…he would do anything necessary to become stronger. He now had a mission, a purpose. Kill Gabriel and all her followers.
The Ambassador decided his next port of call on his mission to tour the Seven kingdoms of Hell would be none other than that of the Castle Pride. Already well aware of the fact that it was Lucifer that dealt the hand of fate to save Astaroth from Gabriel’s blade, the Ambassador was sure that the Prince of Pride would be wounded…both morally and physically. Of course he could heal himself, over time but no doubt he would seek vengeance against Gabriel and her supporters. The interesting thing was, the Ambassador served HELL, not any individual kingdom. He ensured that there was a balance in that those that needed to know the current state of affairs of each other’s kingdoms were told. What was interesting was the shift in the balance, from the Seven Princes to now….five with two Princesses taking the place of Belial and Mammon.
Ah yes Mammon. The Prince of Greed who uncharacteristically rode into the Castle Wrath as though his tail was on fire, and died tragically….and all too soon. Felled…by a woman…and betrayed by a woman. There was a connection between the rise of the two Princesses and one that the Prince of Pride was sure to need to know.
Having already paid a visit to the court of Envy and seeing for himself how women again were clamoring at the feet of the current Prince, Leviathan, the Ambassador was almost certain that there may well be….another change in power. Jealousy was a powerful Master. If one woman was scorned, because Leviathan chose to lay with the other that adored…who knows what she could do. All this was of course speculation….for now.
The black carriage arrived at the main gates of the Castle of Pride and a footman jumped off the back of the carriage and strode up towards the guards on duty. He would hand over the seal of the Vicomte de Valmont as an address for a meeting with his royal Highness the Prince of Pride. If the guards allowed the carriage passage inside, it would roll on through to the inner court yard, where Valmont would alight and await to be escorted up to the main hall.
Temp: Astaroth had been doing nothing but resting in his Throne since he arrived in his Kingdom. His transformation had taken it’s tole on his body, and his mind was in a bit of a strange place. He would fix his position in his throne as he was informed by a guard of the Ambassador’s arrival. What the man was doing here he did not know, as Astaroth had already known about Gabriel for a while now. Still, it was worth checking out…just in case.
The guards at the gates would escort the Ambassador all the way to the castle, as well as bring him inside. The Ambassador was brought into the Throne room, which was actually rather occupied at the moment. Astaroth’s most powerful and highly trained warriors filled the room, they were his Royal Guard. He looked down at the Ambassador with an annoyed look, but not due to any hatred he had for the man. He was simply not in a good mood was all. “Valmont…I trust you have a good reason for being here.” He was not in the mood for company, but he would put up with this meeting…for now.
Razorbackwriter: Surrounded by the Royal guard and many other warriors of note, the Ambassador of Hell bowed before the Prince of Pride, who had a rather annoyed look upon his face. One was to expect that Astaroth would be in a bad mood after the failure at Wrath and who could blame him. Valmont certainly couldn’t. One thing that the Ambassador noted was that unlike the Prince of Envy who was surrounded by women and one very over protective guard, was that this was a court made up mostly of men. In truth, this was how Valmont liked it. Yes, he was the Demon of Seduction and perversion but he knew that when against women, you could never ever really trust them. Like what was happening in Hell at the moment. Did Belial have any inkling that his own love would behead him? Word was that she killed her son too. That meant she wanted no competition. She was true to her nature, and that is what made her all the more dangerous.
“Valmont…I trust you have a good reason for being here.”
“Indeed I have, my Lord Pride.” Valmont was curt in his response, knowing full well that the Prince would not favour any dilly dallying on his part. So, he got right to the point of his visit.
“As you know, the balance of power from men in the seats of thrones is changing. Gabriel being the first. And you are most likely aware, that Mammon acted…out of character at the battle of Wrath castle.” The Ambassador said, turning his head to look up at the Prince with a serious expression. “Mammon had been betrayed, my Lord Pride. His own Lady of Ambition tricked him into wearing Beserker. The armor was the reason that Mammon….fell so prematurely.”
Now, the Prince of Pride would have known that Mammon acted almost insane in his attack on Gabriel. Without care for his own life. Odd…really.
“So, now there is a woman as head of Greed. But…that is not the end of it.”
This is where the intelligence of the Ambassador would come in truly useful. “I have just been to see Leviathan – the Prince of Envy, and turns out he has a little female problem of his own. Two women are vying for his affection, another too sick to compete….BUT….after the fall of Belial and Mammon to women…it’s a matter of time before Leviathan does as well.”
“Leviathan still wishes Gabriel’s favors and is a staunch supporter. As for Baal, well….I dare say he is licking his stump. Having lost his arm to Mammon. The same Prince he betrayed for Gabriel.”
There was a pattern emerging, if the Prince of Pride chose to see it. The Ambassador went into the final act of his intel collection.
“Of the five remaining princes, two are aligned with Wrath….and Gabriel may think highly of Lady Lydia for her wicked plot against Mammon. That would be three against you….my Lord. Sloth is silent for now….but then there is Lust….”
His voice trailed off at the mention of the other Princes…as he was sure that all this was sinking in. “It’s no doubt that each have aspirations for greatness. Question is….who do you trust?”
Temp: Astaroth sat rather calmly in his throne, though if one was to pay close enough attention they would see the anger on his face growing. It hit an all time high when it was revealed that Mammon had been betrayed…by yet another woman. His teeth grinded together as he thought back on the battle. Mammon did have on an unusual set of armor…and his actions…they were psychotic indeed. There was no reason to doubt Valmont in this regard, as he was one to witness it. The mention of Leviathan was one that angered him as well, due to his alliance with Gabriel. It seemed he was also surrounded by women. Female ambition was at an all time high apparently, but such a thing was absent in the kingdom of Pride. Finding a suitable female was no easy task for Astaroth. It seemed that was probably a damn good thing. “Women…dangerous creatures…” There were none in his Kingdom that were close to him, but they were still present. He had no reason to fear these females, but if any of them were important to him…this would be a time where his guard would rise. Thankfully, the female issue would be one he wouldn’t be involved in. Now there were two Princesses and even more alliances would likely surface. Lucifer himself had saved Astaroth, surely there was some bigger reason for this. In terms of allies, Astaroth really didn’t have any. “Who do I trust? Nobody but myself.” None of his guards made a single comment or even moved an inch at his words. It really wasn’t something that was hidden after all. “From what I can see…the only choice I have is to ally with other kingdoms…or hire an outside force.” This shit was really getting on his nerves, and it was beginning to show. His anger was rising by the minute, while his body continued to heal. When he was back at full strength…he would have to do everything necessary to increase his power.
Razorbackwriter: Everything was going just as Valmont anticipated. The news was causing the Prince of Pride to grind his teeth menacingly, and he was in agreeance that it was the women of hell that were doing all the damage to the status-quo. “Women…dangerous creatures…”The Prince of Pride uttered, and to this, Valmont simply nodded. Yes, it was sinking in and all truth. Valmont had no reason to lie, for the truth was far more devious. As for who Astaroth trusted, he trusted no body but himself. You couldn’t really blame him for that.
“Well understood, my Lord Pride.”
The race for alliances was on. No doubt Leviathan and Gabriel were both on the move. Lady Lydia had yet to make her move officially, but that would come in good time. Valmont was sure of it.
“From what I can see…the only choice I have is to ally with other kingdoms…or hire an outside force.”
Now here was something interesting. Ally with other kingdoms outside of hell…trust the other remaining princes….or hire an outside force.
“Why hire one….when you can buy one.” The Ambassador said, before pulling out a card from his jacket and then offering it to a guard to give to the Prince. If he read it, it would be a card for none other than Hell’s Kitchen – The laboratory.
“Word has it that the good Doctor is making…an army of super soldiers. His assistant, the hunchback Igor was down at the battlefield gathering bodies of the dead from the war of Wrath. Harvesting them….for the purpose of reanimation and perfecting them. It’s one way of getting a leg up on the other kingdoms if you….have the primary contract for the first battalion.”
The Ambassador waited to see what the Prince of Pride thought of this.