Sit ira Asmodeus percute te!
The princes are too much of a power we can fare with. We need reinforcements!
Will you accept my oath and plead?
And by the holy power of the maker, I bless thee with all of my eternal strength.
Is she your new Marked?
You can't control and manipulate the humans like this! It isn't right. It isn't what the divine wants!
The Marks of the Devil. The branding of humans for those demon's sick struggles and the angel's games.
Fin shot up from her place. Her eyes were wide in fear as panted and gasped for air. Her vision was a blur; her memory even more. She instinctively grabbed her neck, feeling the heat from panic surge over her before finally fading away. Her clothing had been changed, Fin noticed. She was wearing an Underarmor shirt that covered her torso firmly, and her usual pajama pants. She was alright, she thought. She could smell the scent of vanilla and lavender Febreeze lingering in the air. She was home.
Fin patted around for her glasses, finding them to be on a small wooden nightstand by her side. When she put them on, she noticed just how plain everything was. The walls were a simple sky blue, and all there was in the room were a desk with a small laptop on it, a few posters of Dante from Devil May Cry on her walls, and a bed that Fin was tangled up in. Fin rubbed her face, wiping off the cool sweat that was left on it. It was good to be home.
But was that all a dream? Fin got out of bed and crossed over to her closet. She pulled open the doors, coming face to face with a mirror. Her eyes were still wide with bags under them, but no fresh flesh wounds were visible. In fact, she looked quite normal (and sleep deprived with the added black circles). But Fin's eyes narrowed slightly in curiosity. There was a small dark mark under her shirt's collar. She pursed her lips and pulled off her shirt to get a better look. Fin gasped in surprised, backing away and tripping over her own feet.
On her neck was a tribal tattoo. It wrapped all the way around Fin's neck as though it were a collar of some sort. Her eyes went wide again as she thought of where the tattoo could have come from.
Leviathan, she thought, when he touched my neck…
She began to panic, finally coming to the conclusion that the events that happened last night were no dream. She hugged herself as her shoulders began to shake in fright. That monster that attacked her was real. It was real, alive, and vengeful. It would go after and kill other innocent people just like how it did to that woman. Just like how it almost killed Fin. Tears began to stream down Fin's face just at the mere thought of it.
Fin shrieked and quickly covered her head with her hands, curling up into a fetal position as she shook some more. Panic rose through her again, but it eventually settled. A pair of arms wrapped around her and hugged her close. Fin tensed up but hugged back. The person who hugged her had a faint smell of collogue and lavender, which made Fin feel relaxed suddenly. Her brother Richard always did have that strange smell to him, causing Fin to wonder why.
"Fin, what's wrong?" Richard pulled away, looking down at Fin in a serious and concerned look. His green eyes hid behind a pair of sleek glasses, but his glasses hid behind his shaggy blond hair. He wore a nice dress shirt and pair of slacks. His clothes were bound to get wrinkled with him kneeling next to her, but he didn't seem to care. His attention was focused on Fin, who still had tears in her eyes. "You were thrashing around all night. And when you became quiet, I got worried."
"Rich…" Fin sobbed, rubbing her eyes with her arm. "I thought I had a terrible nightmare, but it wasn't a nightmare. It was a disaster and I was almost killed and-!" Fin couldn't even finish her sentence. She simply covered her mouth with her hand and shook even more as salty drops streamed down her cheeks.
Richard sighed in pity for Fin and pulled her close again. His hand rubbed her back in a comforting manner. "It's okay. You're with me, so I won't let anything come after you. You know that, right?"
Fin hiccupped slightly before giving a slow and uneasy nod. Just the mere thought of it made Fin feel uneasy still, but at least she wasn't alone at the moment. Just like how Leviathan was with her to save her… Leviathan…
"Hey, Rich?" She suddenly questioned. Richard looked down at Fin, raising an eyebrow curiously. Fin wiped her eyes and looked up at him too. "Aren't you supposed to be in school?"
"Well, that was random," he remarked. His face was still stern and serious as usual. "Dad found you passed out on the doorstep when he came home last night, so he was worried. He excused me from school and told me to keep an eye on you."
Fin gave a small nod. "How much did he pay you?"
"Money to rent some movies. Marcus and I are having a movie-fest. You know, demon movies and all." Fin gave a slight jolt at the mentioning of demons, adverting her gaze to her hands. "You know, you should put on a shirt. You look indecent."
She looked up at Richard just as he pointed at her. On reaction, she quickly covered her neck with her hands. Her face was becoming red. What would she do about that tattoo? He saw it, didn't he? Richard was always at little snitch with things that his siblings do. If their father finds out she got a tattoo (unwillingly), he would murder her!
"Marcus and I will be downstairs. He wants to talk to you." Richard got up and ruffled Fin's hair playfully despite his professional look. "Get washed up and come down, okay?"
Fin nodded and wiped her face off. She didn't have to do much to get 'washed up.' She just washed her face, pulled on her Underarmor again, and walked downstairs in her pajamas. The rest of the house was decorated in a variety of framed artwork. Most of them were Fin's and Noah's, but there were a few famous prints of Van Gogh and Picasso works around the house. Besides the paintings, the house looked completely average.
Until Fin peeked into the kitchen. Her kitchen was messy with egg cartons, containers of milk, and sugar. Her family rarely ever cleaned up after themselves in the kitchen. And with everyone busy, cleaning was a thing that people would get to only if they had the time. Fin sighed and looks around the kitchen. Richard was busy cleaning up some of the messes that massed around. A few swear words sounded under his breath whenever he encountered something that was hard to clean.
At the table, a man sat gracefully there as he waited patiently for something. His head was rested delicately on his knuckles that were propped up by his elbow. His features were slender and lean, but his sharp jaw was framed by his flowing blond hair. A smell sense of envy was sent through her before he looked down at the ground. She could see his long legs stretch out from under the small dinner table as well. Only Noah's feet could stretch out that far, so this man must had been 6'3" or taller.
"You try too hard," the man stated casually. His eyes were fixed carefully on Richard as he paced around the room. "Cleaning this house, I mean…"
"If no one starts cleaning, nothing will get cleaned, Marcus." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, plowing flour into his golden hair unintentionally. He looked much more worn out than before this way, which made Fin sigh quietly. "Besides, I don't see you doing anything."
Marcus let out a calm chuckle before standing up. Fin shrunk back behind the doorway, noticing the man to be over a foot taller than her, and about half a foot taller than Richard. The man was a giant in Fin's eyes, but his tall stature seemed to add more to his proud appearance. Marcus walked towards Richard. He seemed to linger over Fin's brother in an awkward tension before ruffling his hair playfully. A charming smile adorned his face, causing Fin to unknowingly swoon a bit.
"I'll help you clean if you like, Richard," Marcus stated. His voice was almost in a whisper. Fin had to lean in past the doorway to hear what else he had to say, but she couldn't hear much except for the end of the conversation.
"Your sister is here."
Richard and Marcus turned to her just as she looked up at the two. A nervous grin came across her face, but she managed to snake her way to the dining room table. She plopped down in a seat and kept her gaze down like usual. But Richard sighed and hit Fin on the head with a clean spoon before going back to cleaning. Marcus, however, took a seat across from Fin. His posture automatically reset back to when Fin first spotted him.
"Finnian, how are you?"
"I'm fine," Fin replied in a meek voice. A small chuckle came from Marcus's throat in response. "What about you?"
"I am well." Fin looked up, noticing he was still watching Richard. His gaze looked sincere and attentive. "But I wanted to talk to you and see how you were faring."
She blinked and looked back down at the table, shifting her hands nervously. "I… think I'm okay right now..."
"Was Asmodeus that terrifying?"
Fin jolted and looked back up at Marcus. His attention was now on Fin. A smile was across his face as though he were proud that he hit the nail on the head. But it also showed a calming presence to it. Fin sighed and relaxed her shoulders. Her gaze was directed away from him. Just the mere thought of Asmodeus and Kain made her shiver.
"How do you know about him?" She questioned in a weak tone.
"I heard you murmur his name a few times when Richard asked me to check on you." The same smile still adorned his face when he spoke. "But you know, Finnian, you're in a much more complicated matter than you think you're in..." Fin turned towards Marcus curiously. She didn't understand his question. But he seemed to shrug off the thought and changed the subject slightly. "Finnian, I understand your situation. Stress has been kicking in for you, hasn't it? And now nightmares have been forming because of them."
"Nightmares?" Marcus nodded, but Fin shook her head. "That wasn't any dream though, Marcus! It was real, and I was scared for my life, and…" She trailed off for a moment to collect her thoughts. She was so flustered that everything seemed to blur in her mind. "I was walking home after visiting Anthony, and this man was eating this woman! He was saying something… Calling her and me 'mi preada' or something like that. And then right before he was about to kill me, this man came out of nowhere!" She paused again, recalling Leviathan's tall stature and his cold eyes glaring down Asmodeus. Her eyes narrowed slightly in thought. She never did thank him for saving her.
But Fin suddenly recalled that she had proof of the events that happened. The tattoo on her neck that was apparently left as the aftermath. She quickly pulled down her collar, pointing to her neck and showing Marcus. "See? I got this weird tattoo because of it! What happened last night was more than just a dream wasn't it?"
Marcus's eyes seemed to widen ever so slightly. But instead, they quickly reverted to their unusually calm state. He smiled gently at her and tilted his head innocently. "Tattoo? I don't see any tattoo."
Fin seemed taken aback by Marcus's observation. How oblivious was he to not see that? Marcus simply smiled and pointed back towards the living room. Fin frowned and quickly made her way towards the living room, gazing into a mirror next to Van Gogh's Starry Night. Her eyes widened in shock. The tattoo was gone. It wasn't visible in any way at all. She rubbed her neck and scratched at it, checking to see if it was simply an illusion. But it seemed to legitimate. There was no tattoo at all.
She turned back around, seeing Marcus leaning elegantly in the doorway. He just barely let his head touch the top of the door frame as he stood tall and proud. "Perhaps you should go back to sleep, Finnian. Maybe a nice rest will help calm you down. I'll ask Richard to make you some tea for you as well."
Fin stared at Marcus in disbelief. He was so casual about a nightmare that made Fin scream at the top of her lungs in fear. Did he not believe her? Richard seemed to believe her. He even told her to hide the tattoo on her neck earlier. She was about to call out to her brother for his support, but Marcus stopped her. He raised his hand and majestically gestured upstairs towards her room. She felt herself suddenly become dazed as she looked at Marcus, his suggestion echoed in her head. Perhaps you should go back to sleep… Fin didn't seem to remember how, but she eventually found herself walking upstairs and back to bed.
Marcus stood there in the doorway when she retreated away. His smile was now distorted into an ugly frown. His long, slender fingers tapped impatiently on the door frame before he went back to Richard. Richard had just finished cleaning up most of the mess. His shirt was covered in spots of water, flour was in his hair, and there was a small smudge of chocolate on his pale cheek. He let out a sigh and looked up at Marcus.
"You know how I hate it when you mute your conversations with others," Richard commented, wiping his hands off on a paper towel. A grumpy and tired expression was worn on his face when he looked up at Marcus.
"All is well for now, Richard," he replied. He stepped up to the young man, caressing his cheek firmly. Richard let out a small grunt and gritted his teeth at the taller man, who nearly lifted Richard off his feet. "But why are you complaining? I'm doing you a favor by keeping her out of this war, after all."
"You could have at least told her some truth. She has the right to know."
Marcus chuckled and looked into Richard's exhausted gaze. "It's best that she stays out of these affairs, Richard. You know that. Especially when all those little hallucinations are more than she can truly handle. It's similar to the line within that play. 'You can't handle the truth,' and she obviously can't. Do you really want her to get dragged into this corrupt world just as you got dragged into it?"
Richard glared at Marcus but said nothing. With a small chuckle of victory, the taller man loosened his grip on Richard's face and let him stand comfortably again. "But to keep Leviathan away from her… Now that's a completely different story, now isn't it? If he finds out, he'll want to expose your little sister to the point where her life will be threatened." Marcus's smile returned to his face. He took his thumb and brushed away the chocolate on Richard's face, licking it off his own finger. His smile grew wider as he savored the sweet taste of chocolate and a human's aura. Sharp teeth seemed to glisten when he flashed his smile at Richard. "I'm finding that this show will be a wonderful one to watch."
"Just keep him away from my sister. Do I make myself clear, Mammon?"
Marcus's eyes narrowed at Richard. The other man's eyes were adamant. This showed Marcus was sure of Richard's stern order. Marcus let out a small laugh before getting onto his knee before Richard. His head bowed down low to the young man. It was both an attempt to show respect and an attempt to hide a dastardly smirk from him.
"As you wish, my lord."
Fin felt herself toss and turn in her bed in frustration as she tried to fall asleep again. Her attempts were in vain, however, and she found herself letting out a sigh of exasperation. She looked up at her ceiling, admiring the dullness of her room. There wasn't anything so special about her lifestyle. Everything was so mundane to her. She'd wake up, go to school, and then return home. That was all there was to her. But within the past two days, someone in her school was assaulted, she was attacked herself, and no one believed her when she said she was.
But was she even attacked? Marcus seemed to shrug her aside so easily. Maybe what he was saying was true, maybe it wasn't. Whatever the case was, Fin seemed to second-guess herself as she thought curiously about the matter. Everything seemed so outrageous and surreal. Was she going insane? Was it just her overactive imagination kicking in? Maybe the books and news articles she usually read threw her off completely.
I need to call someone… Maybe they'll believe me…
Fin sat up and grabbed the phone on her nightstand. She punched in the number, listening carefully to the tone until a voice answered on the other end. It was a female's voice. It sounded mature and slightly frustrated, but Fin assumed from the background noise the person she called was currently occupied with something.
"Hey," Fin replied quietly, "It's Fin…"
"Fin? What's up? I haven't seen you since Friday!"
"Really? That long?" She glanced over at her wall planner. It was Tuesday currently. Friday was the night of the party, and the night Anthony was attacked. Fin was surprised that it's been almost a week since she had last seen her friend.
"Fin, is everything okay? You sound tired. Have you been sleeping well? Did Mrs. Kaller's insane homework finally catch up with you?"
"No, it's nothing like that." Fin let out a small sigh and curled up into a ball under her comforter. "I'm just… freaking out. People are saying I had a bad dream, but I know it wasn't."
"Oh gosh, what happened?" The pause on Fin's end of the line caused her friend to sigh. "I understand. But if you want to tell me, you can go ahead and tell me. I'm willing to listen. If not, then I'll be here on the line to keep you company, okay?"
Fin smiled and nodded, giving a small grunt in response. "Thanks, Sera." She felt much more relieved with Sera on the phone. Ever since the two had become best friends in middle school, Sera and Fin had been extremely close friends. They would go hang out together and call each other every night when they were younger. They were still really close to each other since then. But when they went into their high school years, the two didn't have a single class together. Now, the two can only hang out during lunchtime, vacations, and the special holidays. The fact she was still able to call Sera, despite the two being so active and busy, was an extremely comforting thought to her.
"So what's going on in your life? Is everything alright?"
She sighed and shook her head in response, even though Sera couldn't see her. She didn't know where to begin. There was so much to tell and so much to explain, but she didn't want to overwhelm her friend with what happened since the last time the two had been together. The last moments of the party, Anthony being attacked, the creepy voices, the man in the alleyway-
Fin jolted when she heard the sound of a throat clearing. She looked up and immediately her face flushed in a pale expression of fright. Towering before her, Leviathan stood in a calm and bemused manner. He carried something large over his shoulder, which made Fin squeak and back up against the headboard of her bed. "Is that a human?" Leviathan put a finger over his lips in response, pointing towards the phone at Fin's ear.
"Fin?" Sera was still on the other end of the phone line. She sounded much more alert than before. "What's going on-?"
"Sorry, Sera," Fin replied, trying not to stammer and show that anything was really wrong. "I'll call you later on, okay?"
Fin quickly hung up the phone, and, as though it were an instinctive move, Fin threw the phone at the man. "Who the hell are you, and how'd you get into my house?"
Leviathan let out a small sigh and stepped aside, letting the phone clatter against the wall and to the ground. His red eyes looked at the girl and his voice spoke in a tone smooth as silk. "Already you forgot my name. Pity. I feel so forgotten."
"I do remember you," she replied back. Just by listening to Leviathan, she seemed to relax slightly. "I just… What are you doing here?"
"I am giving you my lance." He held out the item to Fin, causing her to back up against the headboard even further. "Relax. It is wrapped and secure, so it will not kill you. See?"
Leviathan unwrapped the package and showed her. Glistening in the cloth wrapping as a long staff, two long blades similar to swords were on both ends of the staff, which made Fin tilt her head slightly at the strange appearance of the lance. There were a variety of strange markings within the blade's outer appearance. Fin couldn't help but wonder what they all meant since there were so many of them, all in their elegant curved style. Leviathan set the lance down at the edge of Fin's bed, resting his hand on it briefly before looking up at Fin again.
Silence had settled between the two. But after Fin had finished admiring the lance, she looked back to Leviathan. "Why do I need a lance anyways?"
"You need something to fight with. I do need to train you, after all."
"Fight? Train?" Fin managed to survive her physical education courses. But when she tried to play Tennis for a year during her middle school days, she felt like she was chewed on and spat out by her coach.
Leviathan nodded and walked closer to her, sitting on her bed. He bounced up and down a bit, raising an eyebrow at how he managed to sink into the sheets. The mannerisms seemed to continue for a bit longer, and eventually, Fin began to relax. He looked like a fascinated child who just discovered something new and magical while an average adult would see it as mundane and normal. Perhaps in this case, Fin was more of the adult?
He then settled into a proper position before speaking again. "In order for me to be your Avatar, you have to become strong enough to handle my power." He glanced over at Fin's confused expression and sighed. "What do you believe I am, Finnian Sweeney?"
"I believe you're a psychotic guy who has really good costume prosthetics on."
He raised an eyebrow at her in question. Fin jolted slightly when his ears flickered, obviously showing her that they were real as they could ever be. "I am Leviathan. Surely your religious texts speak of me."
"I don't remember. I haven't gone to church since I was five."
Another sigh escaped from Leviathan's lips. "Lay hands on him; think of the battle; you will not do it again! Behold, the hope of a man to subdue Leviathan is disappointed; he is laid low even at the sight of him. No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he that can stand before me? In his neck abides strength, and terror dances before him. Upon earth there is not his like, a creature without fear. He beholds everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride."
Fin pondered upon his quote for a long moment before sitting up straight. Her eyes seemed to widen in shock in surprise. "You're a demon?"
"Give the girl a prize. She acknowledges the existence."
"No, you're insane," she spouted. "Demons aren't real. They can't be real. Just like how-"
"Watch your tongue. He may hear you if you speak any more."
Fin stopped herself and hugged herself to calm herself down. That was such a sudden remark. Fin didn't know just how to react to it. Leviathan shook his head and crossed his arms casually. His red eyes were closed as though he were meditating an idea.
"…Was Asmodeus a demon too?" Leviathan nodded in response. "Is he… dead?"
"A Prince of Hell is much harder to kill. You have to weaken the demon enough to where you can slay him like any other mortal." He opened his eyes again and looked at Fin. "You are my new Marked; therefore, if you wish to live, you must train and become strong. Otherwise, I can and will possess you."
She gulped down a bit of fear. "Why tell me that when you could just do it now?"
Leviathan let out a small chuckle that made Fin feel uneasily calm. "I have a goal I wish to obtain, but I need your cooperation. Why possess you when it will only lead to my demise in the end?"
"I don't like the idea of being used," she remarked. She felt her eyes narrow in irritation. "I don't like the idea of demons, I don't like the idea of being marked-"
"Branded is the proper term-"
"I don't care!" Fin found herself in a near scream. "I just want to be able to sleep without a single worry, okay? I can't do that with all this talk about demons, monsters, and thinks that can kill me or drive me insane. So just leave me alone and let me be a normal person!"
There was a silence among the two of them. Fin felt as though it lasted for about an hour. And during that hour, tension lingered with instability. Leviathan finally arose, which made Fin shrink back in fear in case he was going to strike her. But he didn't. He simply looked at her with a disappointed look and nodded. With a slight bow, he disappeared as soon as Fin blinked. She looked around frantically for him. Nowhere in sight was he, however. She let out a sigh that was mixed with relief and worry. Did demons have feelings? Did they become sad when someone yelled at them?
Whatever the case was, Fin didn't want to worry about it. She didn't want to worry about anything. All she wanted to do is sleep without any nightmares.