This ended up longer than I expected and I'm going to split it, I think it'll be 5 parts
It starts Nebris and Pak but later includes others.
Mortal refers to anyone without any magic.
Please point out any errors.
Nebris leaned against the restaurant he'd booked a place in, one of the few demon free places he knew, the building itself blended with the others around the square. they were built from a pale grey stone and two storeys tall. The windows on the ground floor were double the width of the upstairs, each with a copy of the menu for the restaurant inside.
He'd arranged to meet ‘New York Christian’ in the square in front, he wanted to make sure that it wasn't a demon he was meeting. They'd never seen each other, so they'd picked a black rose to indicate it was him.
He had arrived early, and was already bored of waiting. He checked his watch, it was ten minutes after he was supposed to meet his latest ‘match’. It was probably time to go home. He chucked the rose he'd been holding to find it caught by Pak. Nebris gave him a once over, he was in his Sunday best.
“Pak? What are you doing here?” asked Nebris.
“By the looks of things, meeting you?” Pak pondered.
“No really, why are you here?”
“New York Christian.”
Nebris registered the screen name of the one he was meeting. “Oh, so you're late?”
“And you're female?” Pak asked in bafflement.
“I have a reservation, shall we?”
Pak motioned for him to lead on. He took the two steps towards the darkened glass door, barging through to demand his table.
“Nebris, not this place.” Pak called from the doorway.
“Come on Pak, you’ll love this place.”
Pak glared at him and flinched away, too slowly as Nebris grabbed him and pulled him over the threshold after him. Realisation dawned as the alarms blared, Pak growled his eyes turned to a abyss that Nebris couldn't turn from. Pak threw him off, he hit the wall and felt the air knocked out of him at the force. Pak vanished in a puff of smoke.
Once he'd got his breath back he assured the waiter he was fine. When asked if he knew the person he'd arrived with he told them that they'd met on a dating website. After a checkover from one of the psychics he was told he was free from mind control and allowed to go. They encouraged him to meet strangers inside the place next time before he left.
He bought a postcard and wrote a note to himself that Pak was a demon, sending it to his home. That would do for an emergency note, Though if Pak had control on minds he was probably screwed anyway. Now to confront Pak, find out what he was.
Nebris had studied demons for years, fascinated by the power they had and could bestow of others. From what he'd seem of Pak’s demon being forced out, he was low level. Though he was known to work at his church and help out, so either he'd lied or the church wasn't as pure as it should be. If it was properly sanctified then demons couldn't enter without revealing their true form. However it would make a good cover story, can't possibly be a demon if I go to church.
Nebris arrived outside the apartment block Pak stayed in and held the buzzer for Pak down.
“Can you stop, this headache’s bad enough.” Pak complained over the intercom.
“Let me up.” Nebris responded, keeping the button down.
“Alright, ‘cus I trust you.”
Nebris took the stairs two at a time as he rushed to Pak’s door, finding it still closed he rapped on the door.
“Patience.” The door opened, Pak was back to his brown eyes, and any other manifestations that might have been revealed would also be under control. Though he was whiter than normal, the only visual that showed he'd just been on sanctified ground.
“Will I remember this tomorrow?” Nebris asked, aware it was a stupid question.
“If I could make you forget I'd have waited for you don't cha think?”
“Then what can you do?”
“Nothin’ major, why do you care?”
“We could have some fun, I know this demon bar?”
“Cut loose, have some fun, yada yada, let's go.”
Pak sighed. “Come in.”
“Demon bar.” Nebris was pulled in while he insisted. Pak locked the door and the keys vanished. “So you move things?”
“Could ya be more loud?”
“Bar?” He whispered. “Come on?”
“You're not going to give this up?”
“You’d be there, and wouldn't I be with you? I know mortals are only allowed to leave with the demon that took them.”
“I get that you trust me, but you don't know half the dangers, the fact you sought me out straight after what you saw speaks for itself.”
Nebris shrugged, it was a risk, but he'd finally found a way he could get himself magic.
Nebris spent the next years nagging, he'd even become a regular at Pak’s church and started helping Pak help them out. Pak refused to explain why he could enter the grounds, Nebris had seen him remove demons that tried to enter, forced to display their nature in the sanctified grounds. His abyssal eyes acting as warning, provided only Nebris was around to see. He felt safest around Pak, seeing demons flee from him made it seem safer to be around him then away from him.
Pak had finally agreed to take Nebris to meet other demons and he was too excited, continually shifting in his seat as Pak got ready in his room. He tugged at his collar, it was too tight, he'd not worn a shirt and tie in a while. Glancing at the clock every few seconds made time seem to stand still. He was about to call out and ask what was taking Pak so long when he returned with pair of fish cuff links. He offered them to Nebris, who was sure he looked as confused as he felt.
“I'm not marking you, these’ll have to do.”
“How will they know?”
“The church going demon, unmarked mortal with pheesh?”
“You could just mark me, it's not like it effects anything.”
“I don't feel the need to, put them on.” Pak chucked them at Nebris, who caught them instinctively.
“This is why you insisted on formal?”
“Partly, where I'm takin’ you to ain't a bar, there is a dress code.”
“Where are we going?”
“My clans hosting another.”
“Nah.” Multiple clan parties were often political and extremely delicate, only trusted mortals were ever invited. Nebris watched as Pak didn't start laughing. “Wait, you're serious?”
“Deadly. No alcohol, few fights, far easier to keep you out of trouble.”
“So I get to know what you are?”
“My title, no more.”
“Prince.” Pak chuckled at Nebris’ surprise. He understood what that meant, they were in charge of their clan, the most powerful in the bunch. Suddenly he knew that everyone would be watching him. He also remembered that demons liked sacrifices to mark their parties, and felt glad he'd ‘acquired’ some demon repellent, though he should of nabbed the instructions too. He still wasn't sure how you were supposed to use it, so he'd taken a knife to cut into the can if he needed it.
“I'm about to be your sacrifice?”
“No, it's not necessary, though you might be taken by the other clan, avoid everyone with blacked out eyes, it will be safe for my clan, but not guests.”
“What if I don't want this as my first outing?”
“Tough, it's this one or another one. I won't take you to some random place and I don't frequent the kinds of places typical demons gather.”
“Are you going to tell me how you manage to go on sanctified land?” He remembered that most demon places had a line that was sanctified, just enough to let the bouncers see the full manifest of demons before they got into the main section.
“Church land only.” Pak corrected, after a silence he opened the door. “You coming?”
Nebris jumped up and started fiddling with his cuffs to get the fish on them.
Nebris trailed Pak as he performed magic around the perimeter of the hall the party was going to be in. They were in the middle of nowhere, giving plenty of parking space. Pak had insisted on driving him so there was only one car parked.
Pak explained the magic was to prevent uninvited people from stumbling into the gathering. Nebris felt the power rolling off of Pak as he worked and it was terrifying. The ground marked, by the stick he'd picked up, became unmarked the moment he completed the circle. He dropped the stick and muttered something. A bubble, based on where the mark had been, shined in the sun for a moment before vanishing.
“My clan will start arriving to help get everything laid out, we should start without them. Nebs?”
Nebris was trying to feel the bubble, it was still there and he could feel a slight resistance in the air. “Do you think I could ever join your clan as a demon?”
“I wouldn't wish that on you.”
“What if I wanted to?”
“You don't know enough to understand everything. You'd be a runt, at least at first. And it alters how you think and react. I was born a demon and I've fought it every day, and I wish it was something I could suppress completely, but the longer I'm away from the clan the more jumpy I get, and a jumpy demon has less control on their powers.”
“You remember how paranoid you used to get when Etho’d be around and you didn't know if he's coming for you?” Nebris narrowed his eyes, neither wanting reminded nor seeing why Pak would mention it. “It's like that every moment you're away from the clan. And as a runt in the clan you feel like Etho’d beaten you a thousand times in a row and he's still fresh, and that's before anyone lays a finger on you. I know you'd act as though you aren't beaten, so others will use you as target practise, who better than the runt who doesn't accept his place?”
“How would I get stronger?”
“Doesn't matter, inside now.” Pak's eyes turned abyssal, a sure sign he meant it. Nebris kicked up dust while going inside, he started getting the tables out of the storage cupboard.
Demons began arriving, some alone, some with a single mortal, but most in a groups without mortals. All the demons acknowledged Pak with a bow or curtsy the moment they entered, and the few that brought mortals presented them to Pak. The mortals stayed around Pak, watching the demons and Nebris cover the tables and start laying out the buffet. All the demons had the abyssal eyes, he had gotten used to them on Pak however it still fascinated him.
The demons acted as though he wasn't there, physically walking through him if he wasn't paying enough attention. He could guess at the hierarchy, those who had eyes that drew his attention most seemed to be in charge of the movements, and those who had no draw where being treated much like he was. After the umpteenth time of being knocked over he gave up and joined the mortals.
Each mortal clearly branded by magic, with the same symbol glowing on their forehead, a Christian fish. They backed up at his approach, he realised they must think he was a demon as he didn't have any marking on him.
“Giving up?” Pak mocked, in a playful manner.
“I think I'm more in the way than anything. Why am I the only mortal helping?”
“You could have stopped when I left, most mortals know better than to get in the way of the clan at work. Now you have a taste for how runts are treated.”
“That is nowhere near as bad as Etho can be.”
“Pick a demon.”
Nebris gave him a curious look before picking one at random. Once Pak confirmed he had the right one, the show started. It began with simple things, what she was going to pick up would move just out of reach, she would growl each time. Once she'd gotten used to that she was the one that would move, at random intervals, sometimes without what she'd been carrying. After a while she thrust the plate she was carrying to the closest runt before curtsying to Pak and walking over.
“You want me?” Her tone was polite.
“Can you show him what it's like to be a runt.”
“Thought you'd never inflict demons on mortals?”
“This is a friend, and I expect you to show him that he doesn't want demonhood.”
“He's my toy?” She was positively beaming at the idea as she stepped forwards to link arms with Nebris.
“Until the other clan arrives. Then I want him with me.” Directed Pak.
“You should mark him, it shouldn't effect your standing since he wants to be a demon?”
“We don't know that, and he's been going to church.”
“This is that ‘Nebs’ you talk about?” She asked twisting a finger around Nebris’s tie.
“Yes, now away with you both.” making shooing motions with his hands.
“He could be used against you, mark him.” She bade with a swift tug on Nebris’s tie.
“Are you challenging me?”
She curtsied, momentarily freeing Nebris, “No, but you know what they'll do to him.”
“I trust him, I can protect him.” Pak dismissed her worry.
“His funeral.” She paused, “How are you going to explain it to your mutual friends?”
“What's she talking about?” Nebris demanded.
“You look like a sacrificial mortal.” The way her eyes shone made him shiver, as the shine reduced he realised she was powerful, her attention made him almost forget to listen to her words. He shook his head, clearing the lingering effect and realised what he'd heard.
“You said that wasn't why I'm here!” Nebris yelled at Pak.
“I told you, stay away from those with black eyes.” Pak reminded him, tone level.
“You meant they would kill me?” Exclaimed Nebris.
“I thought it was clear in the context.”
“Mark me or I'll get one of the clan to do it, I refuse to have my life on the line.”
“Any place we could have gone to would have that risk, did you not think about it?” asked Pak raising a hand to his forehead in exasperation.
“A risk, not a huge sign saying I'm here to die!”
“Feel free to go home.”
“You could give me temporary mark?” Implored Nebris.
“That would be worse, where'd you hear about them?”
“Used to live opposite a demon place, sometimes people wouldn't be marked when the came out.”
“Temporary marks are usually for prey.”
“Mark me, or give me your car keys, I'm sure you don't need it.” Nebris glared as the keys appeared in front of him. He grabbed them out of the air, and pocketed them. “I don't want to leave.”
“I don't want to hurt you.”
“But you're okay with your guests thinking that killing me is a formality?”
“They know that I don't condone that.”
“What about if one of them thinks you've turned over a new leaf and accepted what you are?”
“Honestly I don't know what will happen to you if I do mark you. But I'll need you to watch for me manifesting at church, as you saw its only minor but if anyone catches it I'll be in problems, as will you once they see you're tainted.”
“You're going to mark me?” Though he'd been pushing for it, he'd not expected Pak to agree to it. He suddenly felt nervous, he'd heard that to mark you the demon tied you to them.
“If you still want it?” Pak gave him a final out, seemingly picking up on his sudden shift in mood.
“No, I want this.” He tried to sound confident, standing strong, despite feeling like he was hanging on a cliff and asking a kid to save him. It was required if he ever wanted to be a demon, and he was vaguely aware that the mark might be protective to the mortal. There was a lot of hearsay surrounding the mark, ranging from it doing nothing, to being a way for the demon to know exactly where the mortal was, what they were doing and their innermost thoughts.
Pak shook his head. “I doubt that.” He offered a hand as if he was going to shake hands. Nebris offered his hand, once Pak had grasped it he turned it slightly and placed his other hand over it, his eyes appeared to be filled with stars as he started muttering.
Nebris would deny he was entranced, though he knew that was exactly what he was. He felt a sharp pain as Pak traced a fish on his hand. Pak’s grasp was unbreakable, between the trance and his unnatural strength Nebris couldn't move. Pak’s eyes returned to their normal abyss, Nebris slowly remembered others where around and the pain he'd felt. He glanced at where Pak had traced, the skin was scarred, Pak waved a hand over it and it started to glow like the other mortals marks.
“Why is it not on my forehead?”
“Most demons aren't trying to live as mortals do. I can't leave it somewhere you can't easily hide or show it.”
“And the scarring?”
“It'll go, not completely, as you get used to our link. You've undoubtedly heard all sorts of rumours about it, every one is unique, and as I've never done this I can't even give you any ideas how it'll effect you.”
Nebris traced the back of his hand as he was lead away by the demon that he'd targeted. She introduced herself as Azurel as they joined the throng of demons. This time he wasn't just subject to the complete disinterest, but also he was targeted directly by Azurel.