Lucan was waiting for Imani to get ready. The days had flown by and before they knew it, the award ceremony day was here. All over the media, the buzz had been high. Regular Interfacer broadcasts had kept coming and voting had reached a fevered pitch towards the closing hours of the polls.
Now, the moment they had been waiting for was here. The sound of the door opening brought him out of his thoughts and he looked in its direction. Standing in the doorway, looking like a painting, was his woman. All other thoughts flew out of his mind in that instant. He was transfixed by the vision of her beauty.
She took each step with grace and elegance, seeming to float through the air towards him. He was not aware that his mouth was open until she reached him and laughingly closed it. “Was it worth the wait?” she asked. “Oh, I’d wait a thousand years if necessary to behold thy fair form, fairest of them all”, he replied, laughing and bowing.
“Lucan, I’m nervous,” she said. He held her hand with one hand and put the other around her shoulder. “Don’t be honey. I’ll be by your side every step today, ok?” he planted a kiss on her cheek and then whispered into her ear in the same breath “You’ll be wonderful”.
Nimrod sat behind a huge mahogany desk as he ran through his checklist one more time. The result of the voting had been given to the announcer. He had done one final check to make sure the name in the envelope was the correct one. He could not afford anything to go wrong on this night. The award show had to be the greatest the world had ever seen.
Three multiple award winning musicians had been contracted to perform. The hall had been decorated from the scratch to resemble an Olympian event. He clasped his hands together and muttered a phrase. Instantly, the wall behind him disappeared, revealing a huge room. The room was dark, with light supplied by actual torches arranged along the walls on both sides sparsely. The central item in the room was a huge marble altar, with sits arranged around it.
The Seers were walking around the altar, burning incense and chanting in their hissing voices. He couldn’t interrupt their chanting so he spoke in spirit communication. “Is all set for the master?” he asked. “All is set, master”, replied their leader. Nimrod knew Lucifer liked order and the order he expected was that the sacrifice would be performed on the stroke of midnight of this February 29th, a day that occurred once every leap year. He was not usually a nervous one, but he found himself shaky today. It must be this human form he was in. He couldn’t wait for this to be over.
Imani was grateful to have Lucan with her for this award event. She had been a corporate mogul and not an entertainment person. The paparazzi had been unbearable. But Lucan was used to them and he skillfully guided her through their madness while Lulu handled them once he had guided her to the red carpet. He had stayed by her side all through the red carpet moments too and had helped her maintain her smile and poise.
“You’re doing great dear”, he kept saying with a huge smile. The hall was amazing. And she had fitted perfectly into the Olympian setting with her Greek gown. Now, as they sat through the final performance of the night, it was time for the grand finale. She crossed her fingers and waited for the announcers to name the winner.
Lucan was on hyper alert. This was a den of demons. He literarily felt choked by their presence. All around, he could see their hideous forms camouflaged in human skin. He felt something ominous about this gathering. There was something going on here. He made up his mind the he would never let Imani out of his sight that night.
And once the award was over, he needed to get her out of here as fast as he could. The announcer was about to announce the winner. He hoped the name wouldn’t be Imani’s. He didn’t need this night to be any longer than necessary. They needed to get out of there. Fast.
“And the winner is…” the announcer paused for effect. A hush went over the whole arena. “Imani!” It took Imani moments to realize she was the one called. Again, Lucan came to her rescue, helping her to her feet and ushering her to the stage. By the time she got to the stage, she had composed herself and she went through her acceptance speech smoothly.
As she got off the stage, her arm in Lucan’s, a flurry of cameras went off, capturing images that would be on every news medium in a few moments. As they got down from the stage, they were ushered away from the hall into an exclusive office with a huge mahogany desk as its centerpiece. There was a huge monitor on the wall where a live streaming of the award was ongoing. One of the artistes was giving the final performance of the night.
A middle aged, bespectacled man sat behind the desk. Seated on either side of the man were three other men of varying ages and one very beautiful woman. They all work dark suits, except the woman who wore a short gown. They exuded power. “Congratulations, Imani”, the man behind the desk said in a rich voice.
Lucan was alarmed. No, alarmed was an understatement. For they had just been ushered into a room full of the most powerful demons he had ever seen in his short career as a guardian. It was clear to him now that this whole award had been set up by these demons. Why they had set this up was unclear to him. But whatever the reason, he knew it wasn’t just to give back to the world or fuzzy things like that. He tuned in to see if they were saying anything in the spirit.
Silence. What should he do? “And this is my fiancé, Lucan Belgore,” Imani was saying. “The same Belgore the bestselling author?” asked the woman. Lucan looked at her and saw her true form, a huge serpentine being. He nearly fell out of his chair. He made an attempt to compose himself “Pleasure to meet you ma’am.” Then they began to talk in the spirit.
And what he heard was his greatest fear. They wanted to separate him from Imani tonight. The man behind the desk spoke to Imani “We will need to discuss some confidential business with you. Mr. Belgore will need to excuse us.” Imani turned to Lucan. He was trying to tell her something but she just couldn’t get it. Why couldn’t he just say it? She gave him a probing look, and he held her gaze.
Something about the way he looked at her made her decide to ask that he stay with her through the discussion. She turned to the man. “Lucan will be staying with us through all the discussions we will have sir.” “I beg your pardon,” one of the other men who hadn’t spoken since they got in responded. The woman cut in “these discussions are very high level and confidential. We simply cannot have him there.” When Imani turned to Lucan, his heart sank to the ground.
He knew she was about to ask him to allow them discuss the business privately. The door opened and a huge man came in to usher him to an adjoining room. Another demon. He quickly asked “How long is this going to take sir”, directing his question at the man behind the desk, really looking at him for the first time.
He was a wiry demon, but he seemed to be the most powerful of the pack. The man looked at the clock on the wall. It was eleven thirty. “It will take only thirty minutes in the maximum,” he replied. Then the man turned to the aide “take care of Mr. Belgore while he waits”.
Lucan sat on the edge of his sit in the brightly lit room. There were two aides in the room with him, and it seemed more like they were keeping him under watch than attending to him. Fifteen minutes had passed since and there had been no word from the adjoining room. He kept looking at the wall clock, until it seemed the time was not moving fast enough. He decided to listen in on the aides to see if they were spirit communicating.
They kept repeating one phrase, the Bringing. It was as if that was what this night was about, this Bringing. He wondered how Imani was linked to all this? He had never heard of any bringing before and Gabriel had certainly not told him anything about it. He kept listening to them. “I wish I was going to be at the sacrifice tonight. Lord Lucifer himself is making an appearance”, the one closer to him was saying. Sacrifice? Lucifer?
Who was the… The aide continued talking, interrupting his thoughts “but when the sacrifice brings trash along, I have to dispose of the trash and miss out on the fun.” What! Lucan thought. Imani was the sacrifice and what they were bringing was Lucifer. He kicked himself for letting her out of his sight.
What kind of man was he to leave his woman in the hands of demons in the name of being proper? Without warning, he shot out of his sit and took the one closer to him out with one hit to the windpipe. The other one was too startled by his sudden movement to make a move. By the time he had pulled out his gun, Lucan was upon him.
There was a brief scuffle and Lucan forced him to drop the gun. He was about to call for backup when Lucan hit him in the kidneys. Seconds later, the scuffle was over. Lucan stole a glance at the wall clock. Eleven fifty five. He needed to find Imani before the thirty minutes was over.
He went over the body crumpled on the floor and into the room they had met the other five demons. What he saw startled him. The wall behind the big desk was totally gone. Behind the desk was a huge room. He quickly scaled the desk into the room. If the absence of the wall startled him, what he saw in the room nearly sent him reeling backwards.
Imani was laid out on a large marble altar in the center of the room, bound and gagged. Huge hooded demons were burning incense and chanting as they circled the altar. The five that had met Imani and himself earlier surrounded the altar and the one that had been behind the desk stood at Imani’s head, a curved marble knife in his hands. “An extra dead body would hurt no one” he said in spirit. Out of the shadows, demons began to close in on Lucan.
They were not in human form. They had released their Eni forms, so humans must have invoked them. It was then he noticed the bodies on the ground. These demons had slain their invokers. He looked at Imani and their eyes met. There was raw fear in her eyes. He had no choice in this. “Sorry guys”, he muttered as he closed his eyes. Then he hit his left chest and breathed “Euphrates”. Light engulfed his body and in an instant, he was transformed.
The light he was emitting illuminated the room and the once dark room became as bright as the noonday. All around, the dark forms of demons huddled together to avoid his light. The five demon lords could have been stone where they stood. They looked in utter amazement. He swung his sword in one direction and white light shot in an arc in that direction. All the demons that fell under its light were consumed by it in an instant. Their screaming as they descended into Tartarus was blood curdling. Lucan ignored this as he sent white flames in every direction in the room.
Through the screams of the banished demons, he heard the leader of the five calling for their own invokers. Lucan knew he needed to end the battle before they were invoked. He sensed he would be unable to handle the five demon lords simultaneously if they released their Eni forms. And if they were high ranking enough, they might have Eji forms. He closed his eyes and commanded “occupy, Euphrates”. As he did, the room began to fill up with flowing, liquid light.
The demons struggled to escape it, but he was glad they were in a room. Within seconds, the room had filled up to the brim. He stood guard at the entrance, cutting down every demon that tried to escape. When the liquid light receded, only the bodies of the five demon lords and a wide eyed Imani remained in the room.
He approached the altar and removed her gag. “Don’t touch me!” she screamed, once her gag was off. “Who are you? What are you? What were they?” she queried. “It’s okay dear, I’m the good guy,” he said, trying to go near her again. “Lucan Belgore, you will stay where you are and explain yourself before taking a single step towards me”. “We are not safe here yet. Let’s get you out of here first.” He picked her up and opened a portal. In the twinkling of an eye, they were in his room at home.
Quickly, he returned to his normal state and tried to joke “Like me better this way?” he said, managing a smile. Imani did not even bat an eyelid. “You had better start explaining what just happened or I will leave here this moment”, she said, still visibly flustered, but calmer now. He sighed and looked into her eyes. “I am a Guardian of the Seal,” he began.
Gabriel sensed the release of a seal and the release of demons in the distance. He lifted up his eyes. “It has finally begun,” he said.
Tunde Leye is the author of the blog Finding Hubby, which catalogues the escapades of the well loved Oyin Clegg. He is currently putting finishing touches to his debut novel - Golden Sands, which will be published in Nigeria in October, 2012 and will be available in select stores and on Amazon. Follow him on twitter @tundeleye