Disclaimer: All the standard warnings for violence, blood and general icky- ness apply. There will also be a shoujo-ai (girl/girl) element to the series later on, so you've been warned. This will also tie in with one of my other series, Blood, Sex and Magic.

Descent: Child of Shadows

Thunder rattled the windows around them as Andrea looked down at her pale blood stained hands, the now soulless body that had once belonged to her falling limply to the ground at her bare feet. The driving rain washed all of the blood clean from her claws, but it couldn't begin to clean her conscience of the evils she had allowed the demon kind to do.

'I opened up the gates to hell for the promise of increased mystic power,' Andrea thought to herself grimly, 'and I didn't even care about what was happening out in the world. All those murders happening when I opened up the gate, why didn't I let myself see that I was the cause?' She looked down at the demon body, a tall, physically strong woman, black haired and bearing razor sharp claws, a body that was now her own.

Andrea closed her eyes, 'They used me to free this thing, the perfect killing machine." Rain washed away a few tears, 'And the only way to stop it was to sacrifice myself.'

Each full moon Andrea had done it, being granted a portion of mystic power in return for one hour of freedom for her seductively handsome patron demon. Finally the demons were strong enough to unleash this, a servant meant to carry out a series of sacrifices intended to open up the gates of Hell wide, to allow them to return to the Earth in force.

The noises brought her back to the hear and now, the nervous crowd, and a few police officers breaking through the mob to nervously point their weapons at her. 'Can bullets even harm this body?' Andrea found herself wondering.

Without any conscious thought great, leathery wings unfurled from her bare back, sweeping up before the downward sweep threw her up into the air. Each beat of her wings took her higher even as shots rang out, the police recovering from their surprise enough to act.

For just a moment part of her enjoyed this suddenly discovered power of flight, then Andrea clamped down on it savagely. The roof she chose was deserted, hidden in the warren of buildings in that part of town. The wings folded away with a wish, disappearing almost as if she never had them. She stumbled forward a few steps, falling to the rough gravel. She curled up into a ball, hot tears streaming down her face.

The events of that final great summoning ran through her mind, no matter how hard she tried to resist the images. Her chanting the ancient, guttural words, the opening of the gate, hearing the black haired demon lord's mocking laugh as he emerged, and finally seeing his servant coming out from the shadows just behind him. She would have been beautiful, if not for the cold, killing madness that shone from those golden eyes.

"She will walk the streets this time," the demon lord had smiled at her coldly, showing those even, perfectly formed white teeth. Only his eyes, glowing a sullen blood red, marked him as the monster that he truly was.

Andrea had stammered out weakly, "But that's not the bargain we made!"

A cold glance, "Little fool, it matters not. The lives that I took in our earlier encounters have strengthened me, I no longer need your assistance." He saw the look of shock on her face and smiled, "You truly did not know? You are a greater fool than I believed!"

"Oh, no," Andrea whimpered softly, tears streaking her face. "What.. what's she here for?" she asked weakly.

The demoness gestured, her fingers extending, becoming razor sharp claws. "She will finish what I began," the demon lord laughed, "she will kill to open wide the last and greatest gate, and our kind will rule over your world."

The demoness easily stepped out of the protective circle that meant to hold only the demon lord himself and then she paced out of the darkness of the basement like a cat. Andrea gazed after it in shock, then pulled herself from her crouch on the floor, swaying a bit as she regained her feet.

Andrea gazed after it before softly muttering to herself, "No."

"And what will you do about it, pitiful little mage?" the demon mocked her before laughing aloud at the sight she presented, a ragged figure preparing to go to war.

"Stop her," Andrea said coldly as she met his eyes levelly, and the laughter died.

Stumbling up from the basement, through her townhouse and then outside, a gust of wind nearly blowing her over. It was beginning to storm outside as Andrea opened her senses wide, seeking the foul taint of the creature. In only moments she found her, and ran as fast as her legs would carry her. A force bolt drove the demon back, the beautiful creature scowling at her.

They stood there a moment, assessing each other. The demoness could have been a model, her body and face were so perfect. Only the gleam of fangs, pale skin, claws and those unholy, pitiless eyes marked her as inhuman. Andrea knew what she looked like, a thin, gangly woman, her face scarred on one side, walking with a slight limp.

'It probably thinks I'm easy prey,' Andrea mused, right before the demoness lunged, her claws fully extended.

Across the city they fought, Andrea focusing on containing the creature, the demon striving to break free to kill innocents. Back and forth they went, her powerful shields holding the claws back, while using her powers to try to hurt the demoness.

But her spells seems unable to hurt the creature, and her mystical talents could only hold the killing machine back for so long. 'It's because my magics were granted by the demon lord,' she realized, 'they can't hurt one of his servants!'

Distracted, Andrea was hammered against the wall, so hard she could feel her ribs breaking. The smiling face was just in front of her, the thing's breath oddly sweet as it gazed into her eyes, a hand cupped around her throat. "Walk away," it could barely form the words past the gleaming fangs, "and you can live."

A bit of blood ran down from the corner of her mouth, and Andrea realized she had bit right through her lower lip. "Maybe," she managed, "but I couldn't live with myself afterward."

It shrugged, almost as if it didn't really care.

Andrea racked her mind, trying to recall a magic that dated before her first encounter between her and the demon lord. An old magic, one as old as mankind itself, one that might still be effective against a demon spawn like this.

Andrea's hands were shaking as she reached for the demoness' free hand, pulling a bit at the fist that firmly pinned her by the throat against the cold stone wall. The razor like nails cut at her bare fingers as she grasped at it, then in one smooth gesture she yanked the demoness forward and rammed the claws into her own chest.

"Augh," Andrea gasped out, spitting blood that splattered the demoness' face. Her life pulsed out even as Andrea's lips formed the words, starting at a whisper and then rising. Realizing it's danger the demon struggled to break free, but her death grip held it fast. She managed the final word even as her heard stopped, a sudden flash of light blinding in the near darkness.

And then Andrea's mind and spirit was contained within the demoness' body, her now soulless bloody corpse falling bonelessly to the ground.

Unable to cry any longer she reluctantly unrolled from her place on the rough material of the rooftop, sitting up then pulling herself to her feet. Her long black hair hung wetly behind her, her pale body glistening in the rain. She tilted her head back as lightning flashed.

"There's something I have to finish," she murmured.

The old Victorian home wasn't too hard to get into, not from above anyway. She walked down from the cluttered attic, her eyes dark with memories both good and bad. She knew she wouldn't be returning here, not after today. The basement was cool as she stepped through the door, seeing the demon lord confined still in the mystic circle.

"The servant should have finished by now," he was muttering before she came through the door. "Why is the ultimate gate not open?' he demanded angrily.

Andrea didn't answer, just walked on towards him. She felt an odd calm, almost like a pool she could dip into. He grew agitated, demanding, but she ignored his words. Once she was near enough, she coiled her body and struck swiftly.

Black ooze showered her as she struck, her claws tearing the creatures head right from his shoulders all in one motion. The severed head seemed aware for a few moments as she smiled at it coldly. "Things didn't go as planned," she said coldly.

The portal was collapsing with the death of the demon lord, and she casually tossed the head in after it. With the portal gone the room was pitch dark, but her eyes let her see like it was daylight. Scrolls, books, artifacts, her basement was filled with dangerous magics, things that could call something like the demon lord once again.

It took some doing to start the fire on the cement floor, but the books soon burned briskly, flashes of light and odd scents rising from the flames. The scrolls, artifacts, her plans and work, all were consigned to the cleansing flames. For a moment she was tempted to step into the fire herself, but something stopped her.

'All those people,' she thought, 'that were killed because I wanted magical power without working at it. The innocents who's lives were cut short, all because of me.' A deep breath, 'Those scales need to be balanced.'

The entire building caught fire not long afterwards, but she was safely perched on another building watching it all go up in flames. A old trenchcoat was wrapped around her body, and the rains continued to drive down on the city.

'There goes what ever is left of my old life,' she grimly mused. 'I guess I'm not really Andrea anymore,' she thought, 'that name died with my human body. I've been falling a long time, forever it seems, and now I've finally hit rock bottom.'

"Descent," she murmured to herself softly, and turning away from the burning building she disappeared into the darkness.

To be continued...