I remained still, and listened very, very carefully. Many voices were speaking to me, and I had to carefully attune myself to them in order to hear all of them. I didn’t want a single voice to be left out as I communed with them.
“Furious.” “Cold. Scared.” “I just want to rest.” “Disappointed.” “But ultimately unsurprised.” “Upset.” “Sad.” “Angry.” “All of me craves revenge.” “I want vengeance.” “I want to teach a lesson.”
At that point, their emotional energies were starting to align together closer. They began to chant ‘revenge.’ as if it was the only thing that mattered to them. Of course, some voices refrained from chanting. More voices than I might have expected. Some of these poor souls didn’t want anger, or revenge. They craved peace, but I’m not sure of what kind of peace they craved. Or, at least, I wasn’t sure of how I was going to give them the peace they sought.
“Moniker!” I heard my chosen name called out. I attuned myself back to my plane and opened my eyes.
“What is it?” I cried in return. The voices swiftly retreated back to the places that they were, as if suddenly remembering I was in the room with them. I was something of an unwelcome visitor to most of the voices, and the few that didn’t care didn’t have the will to speak up. Or the strength. Some human concept of energy that doesn’t translate into my realm very well. Hm. Energy doesn’t quite translate either. I suppose the language I’m currently attuned to doesn’t have the words to describe this. A shame.
My apprentice, Torn, or Broken depending on how you interpret ven essence, resonated to me. “Moniker, an event is underway.”
“Hmph,” I sounded, “Rather unfortunate timing. I was convening with my souls. An interesting development had occurred, an infrequent one.”
“Terrible, Moniker. I hope this event gives you some insight for those souls.” Torn curtsied at me, and then led me to a portal to witness the event.
Once there, I witnessed two humans light a multitude of candles surrounding a rune.
“That’s the word they’ve chosen?” I scoffed.
“What’s wrong with that particular word?” Torn asked.
“It’s very poorly attuned to demonic energies. Some ancient humans believed that creating runes that forced us to exert ourselves in some way would give them an advantage over us. Honestly, though, it won’t give me any form in that realm. I doubt this event will be worth attending.” Despite saying that, I still stayed and watched. Sometimes humans surprised me.
“In human words, that rune means “gate,” correct?” Torn asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“I’m not sure what a “gate” is,” Torn said.
“A gate is a type of portal humans use to pass between areas that are meant to only keep certain things out,” I explained. “Essentially, their rune would give me a tiny passage of entry. I would much prefer a larger one.”
“I have been attuning with the angry one closely. She seems to think it means portal.” Torn attuned confusion to me.
“Some humans use the word gate in place of portal. In this language, words are very interchangeable. There are a lot of words that are very similar in meaning and can be swapped between each other. They do not understand the permanence demons have. So while we need a portal to pass through safely, they believe a gate is the same thing.”
Torn’s confusion dissipated. “Human scholars are strange,” vi said.
Once all of the candles had been lit, the two conversed for a moment. Then, the angry one distributed tulip petals into the ring.
Torn spoke up before any of the petals had fallen. “I feel a resonance with these petals. May I answer their plea?”
I resonated an affirmation to Torn, and vi gave the petals a form befitting their request. They became small hard lumps of human teeth. They changed from one immutable form to another.
“Very good, Torn,” I resonated a stronger affirmation to vin. Vi took the resonance and attuned gratitude back to me.
The human threw another set of petals into the circle. This time they took the form of rust. Their form was much more mutable in this state, and it interested me that these petals would have such a different request.
“Those petals were very strange,” Torn said. “Their request was not what I expected.”
“I will attune with the next amount,” I told vin. Vi attuned acceptance to me. Perhaps satisfaction is more proper way to describe vel attunement.
I aligned my thoughts with the thoughts of the petals. Their request was very peculiar indeed. It was as if they wanted to scare the two humans in the room, but were disappointed at the lack of reaction to previous alignments. This time, they sought to truly unsettle the angry one. The other human was too aloof for them to truly scare away, but the angry one was unstable. I resonated the petals some raw emotion, and they took it to a level I didn’t imagine. They became a physical manifestation of the angry one’s memories. I witnessed entire moments and emotions appear and disappear within a flash, to instead take the form of only stagnant images. I thought little of those images, until the angry one’s attunements spiked. That one was very upset at seeing these images, and unable to attune a single emotion to express what was felt. The angry one instead attuned many conflicting emotions at once.
“The emotions that the angry one attuned are incredible,” Torn noticed
“That one has seen many things. We had better not underestimate,” I agreed.
Torn attuned concern to me. “You had better not underestimate.” They changed their attunement to resonance. I returned their resonance.
“I appreciate the gesture, but you will need that emotion much more than I will.” I stared at the two humans, keeping my attunements and resonances subdued.
The aloof one resonated concern to the angry one, but the angry one did not accept the resonance. Humans cannot return a resonance without accepting it first, so that resonance simply disappeared.
“Humans do not understand their emotional powers,” Torn said. “They are so willing to waste their gifts on each other, even if no one gains everything and the emotion simply fades from existence.”
“Humans are different from us. The way they produce emotion is alien to us. We will never be able to understand their existences.”
“I know, Moniker, but I still find myself very frustrated at the idea.” Torn attuned this frustration to me.
“That’s not unreasonable,” I assured him. I attuned myself closer with the angry one. “This one’s attunements definitely fall under my jurisdiction. Good. It’s much easier to deal with the humans myself than to alert a different demon.”
“The angry one does seem to be the one who wishes to attune with you. The other appears to only be there for the first,” Torn accurately noted.
“Why does the angry one have a knife?” I asked.
“They used the knife to etch the rune and the binding circle,” vi replied.
That made sense, but it wasn’t going to be enough for me to waste my energy and take passage to that realm.
Then the angry one pierced the other with the knife. The aloof one fell into the circle, and the angry one pushed the rest of that one into the circle.
Suddenly, passage felt more possible than it had only a moment ago. The angry one resonated even more emotions than before.
“Do you feel that resonance, Torn?” I asked.
“I do. What is its significance?”
“That one’s desires align with the desires of many of my souls. If that one tells me the desires truly do align with the other souls, I might grant the souls to that one. That one could make better use of their desires than I could. Prepare them for me, Torn. I will resonate to you very strongly if I have need of them,” I instructed vin.
“Understood.” Vi left to prepare what I had asked of vin.
I prepared myself to enter the human plane as well. I dimmed the lighting in the room in order to not overstimulate myself while I took the human’s form. Then, I moved the human’s body so that it would be standing when I took it. I focused my consciousness, and temporarily moved myself into the form that was currently unoccupied.
I opened my borrowed eyes, and stepped toward the angry one on borrowed feet. “So it’s you. I had heard about you.” I wasn’t sure how to relate attuning to this human, so I instead chose to express knowledge through the one sense humans and demons shared.
I discussed with the human for an amount of “time” before she finally chose to tell me her desire. “I want to make the world a better place for me. And for others like me. I don’t want us to have to live in fear anymore.”
“Interesting. And who are you, Portia? Who would you categorise as ‘like you?’” I asked in response. I could feel my face attune joy to the human. It seemed as if she would be the correct candidate to take the souls I had.
“I’m- I’m a lesbian. And the people who I’d say are like me are other queer people.” She attuned to me both anger and sadness. “We deserve better.”
She was exactly what I needed. I used my original essence to resonate back to torn. Vi would supply me the souls in only a few moments.
I stalled for “time,” since the human realm worked differently than mine, and took a payment of emotional objects from Portia. Her memories were very potent, and they came to me, leaving behind the empty photos behind. They were merely shells for these memories anyway.
We stood in silence for a few moments before I spoke up again. “Well, I need you to do one more thing for me to enact my end of the bargain.”
“What is it?” Portia asked.
“Give me your hands,” I responded. The dealing circle prevented me from transferring the souls to her without physical contact.
“Are you sure this is the best decision?” Torn asked me. “The amount of angry souls here may just override her. She’ll become a monster.
I attuned calm to Torn. “There are more than angry souls, Torn. They will keep her in balance.”
Torn attuned acceptance to me, and began to channel the souls to my borrowed form.
“Oh no, you aren’t fooling me,” Portia began. “I know how this works. I break the circle, you kill me, and then you kill everyone else in a mile radius. Not happening.”
“I have no intentions of killing you, Portia.” I needed her to agree to do this. I wasn’t sure how the souls would react if I returned them to where they were. “I will change the fiber of your being, yes, but I will not kill you. You will do that much more effectively than I could. Your form will be suited to the job.”
Portia didn’t trust me. I could understand why. Demons kept their existences largely hidden from humans for a reason, and she didn’t know very much about us.
“Portia, time is running thin. The candles won’t burn forever. Shall we start?” I reached a hand out to her. All of the souls were ready to be moved to her, and I was prepared to resonate energy to her to create a form more suited to carrying hundreds of souls.
Portia sighed. “I trust you.” While she said that, her attunement was that of resignment. She didn’t trust me; she just didn’t have any other choice. That was fine. I didn’t need her to trust me.
I took her hands and gave her all of the souls, as well as double the energy that those souls had, so that Portia would remain in charge of all of them. The death of the aloof one provided much of that energy, and her memories provided more than enough.
I let her go. Welcome to your new purpose. Welcome to your new life.”
“Nothing is happening,” Portia replied. She resonated desperation to me. “Not yet,” I said. I began to collect my payment, the photos. I had no need for their form, but Portia didn’t need to know that. “They’ll happen soon. Farewell, Portia. I look forward to our next meeting.” I transferred the photos back to my realm, in a form that would fit them better. Their previous forms burnt up and fell to the ground.
I returned my essence to my plane.
“I’ve lost contact with the angry one. How did it go?” Torn asked me.
“It went better than I ever expected. Portia is going to do wonderful things in her plane.” I resonated gratitude to Torn.
“That’s only a fraction of the emotion that Portia gave to me. One day, you will be ready to engage with humans and accept emotion yourself.”
“I will be patient, Moniker. There is no rush.”