Disclaimer: I own none of these characters; they belong to Joss Whedon and Lilith Saintcrow. They're the geniuses here, I'm just borrowing the characters.
Chapter 1: What He Fears
Japhrimel and Dante paced as they thought about how to deal with the Devil. “Japh, what does he fear?”
Japhrimel, the Devi’s former Right Hand, froze as he thought. “There is one thing he fears…Mother.”
“Mother?” Danny found herself saying, “Seriously? Why would he call the one thing he fears Mother?”
“My mother…the one who first laid with Lucifer and bore me into this world. She was once called Mewet by humans, long ago,” Japhrimel said, his face slack with shock as he realized what they might have to do.
“Mewet…” she echoed, racking her brain for old stories from Hegemony texts,
“Mewet…the exile. Exiled from Hell because she dared to argue with the Devil.”
“Not exactly, my curious. Mother was sent out of Hell because she was feared. Lucifer could not risk letting her remain in his dominion. Pack your things, we must go see her,” Japhrimel ordered. He suddenly seemed nervous.
An hour later, they were on a transport, though Japhrimel refused to tell Danny where it was headed. Eventually, she fell asleep on the soft black leather of the transport seats with her head in Japhrimel’s lap.
“We are landing,” Japh whispered in her ear.
Dante and Japhrimel exited the transport. A tall Nichtvren greeted them on the platform, “Welcome to Angel City, She awaits you.”
Dante whirled to face Japhrimel, eyes questioning him. Angel City was the only city in the world to be completely disconnected with Hegemony or the Putchkin Alliance. Leonidas even had to play nice with the two world powers, but not the ruler of Angel City. The Hegemony and Putchkin governments were both too scared of her to say no. Not that much happened; the city was extremely inclusive and isolationist. Angel City was a nichtvren city where human psions were welcome though they didn’t come often. Even Lucas Villalobos looked in awe as the trio exited the transport.
A small hover took them to a small, unassuming building with architecture from the 21st century. No one, that Danny could see, was human. Where did the nichtvren get the blood they needed to survive? There was no time for Danny to think any more about it before they entered the building. The interior had none of the traditional feel of the exterior. Heavy dark drapes covered each window and the furniture was dark wood. The nichtvren escort led them to an office and bade them sit.
Some time later, a door opened and a woman stepped out. After having seen Japhrimel’s golden skin, Danny was surprised to find that Mewet had the pale, pale skin of a nichtvren. Long blond hair reached the woman’s waist and emerald green eyes like her son’s seemed to see right through Danny’s very soul. She wore an expensive suit that made her look like the highest paid lawyer in Saint City.
A look at Japhrimel told her that he was nervous. “My first born son…A’nankhimel. Congratulations, Tierce, you finally found someone,” she said, her voice a beautiful, throaty voice that didn’t need to be loud to be heard.
Next to Danny, Japhrimel’s head shot up in surprise. “Mother…Mewet…” he mumbled, in shock. Lucifer had hated him for choosing Dante over him.
Again, that haunting voice said, “You didn’t truly think that I’d side with your father? I have lived here for thousands of years, known humans, loved humans. Now I understand that you and your hedaira have run afoul of dear, dear Lucifer. And you want my help. But what does Ms. Valentine have to say about this? Even I have heard of the famously suspicious Dante Valentine.”
All eyes fell on Dante at that moment. She tried to read Mother’s thoughts, but all she could get was a icy feeling. It wasn’t like the nichtvren, but nor was it like the demons of Hell. She was like nothing Dante had ever seen before.
“You’re right, I don’t trust you. Japhrimel says you are the only thing the Devil fears, so I’m here. But I don’t know anything about you,” Danny said.
The blond figure rolled her eyes and chuckled. “You remind me of someone from long ago…an old lover, you might say. I don’t know exactly when I was born, but I don’t think it was in this dimension. I appeared in Hell as the one being who no demon could defeat. It was Lucifer who I fell in love with. We were happy, for many thousands of years, until we had a fight. I don’t kill humans or condone it; Lucifer said it was necessary in his world. He gave me an ultimatum, I left. I miss him, you know. I was human once, I guess I was the first hedaira. But I’ve become…the Slayer. Velokel tried to kill me, once. He failed, but I could not kill my own son. He lives.”
“Why would you help us?”
“Because Tierce is my son and my most loyal son at that. When Lucifer called for demons to protect him from me, Tierce refused to come to his aid. Would not join what he called a lover’s quarrel. That is, of course, what won his father over and gave him the position that I once held. The Devil’s Right Hand. Lucifer never hated me, still doesn’t. We just can’t live together. You, Dante, are my favored son’s hedaira, his lover, so you have my favor as well. Whether you win that favor in your own right is up to you. Willie, take Ms. Valentine and Tierce to the rooms I had prepared for them,” she continued, turning to a greasy looking nichtvren. Then she turned back to Dante and said, “If you two would join me for dinner, I’d appreciate it. I have a few things to attend to.” Another nichtvren came to her side and held her elbow like one would an older human. Mewet seemed to appreciate the gesture. Dante and Japhrimel were left staring after the two before Willie led them to their room.
“Dinner will be served in an hour, Ms. Valentine, Mr. Japhrimel, Mr. Villalobos,” he said, his slimy voice trying to sound cultured, “I will come and get you. The lady of the house insists that you enjoy all the comforts of her home.”