Chapter 27

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If Lucifer was the Face of Death, them I'm sure it's not too hard to figure out what the other three represent. Satan was hulking and huge, red skinned and metal studded. Never without his vicious trident of black iron in his clawed hand, he was the Face of War. Beelzebub was a sickly brown in colour, hunch-backed and pox-scarred. He grinned through black teeth,his cloven hooves pawing restlessly at the ground. The Face of Pestilence. And finally came Belial, thin and skeletal with great curving horns and goat-slit eyes. The Face of Famine.

Together they were the four Faces of Hell. Popular culture named them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I'm not exactly sure where this idea originated from,and I sure as hell had never seen any of them ride a horse. But the apocalypse part wasn't far wrong. Potential apocalypse may perhaps have been more accurate, but somehow it doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

They all played their own part in the steady balance of Heaven, Hell, and Earth in between;keeping all life moving steadily on wards. They could bring about the apocalypse should they so decide – but they'd never yet chosen to do so. Where would be the fun in that? No more humans would mean no more playthings for them to torment, and no more purpose for their own existence. So for the most part, Earth was safe from the whole apocalypse scenario.

This of course did not also equate to harmony among the four of them. Tension and spats had often erupted between the Four Faces and the four different sectors of Hell for centuries, millennia even. Lucifer's latest stunt however would definitely be the first attempt to take matters quite so far.We really were out to topple him at the final hurdle.

Lucifer, being the Face of Death, had felt for a long time that he should hold superior dominion over all of Hell. The other Faces all played their own part,but ultimately even they all led to death, which was Lucifer's crown.All souls had to die to come to Hell, and by rights Lucifer believed that all souls should belong to him. The others of course did not agree with this way of thinking and I was fairly confident that they weren't about to give up their share of Power without a fight. At least that was my sincerest hope.

We stood in a large circular stone room. It's walls and floor gleaming like spilled ink in the pale glow of four burning blue sconces. Frank, Lucas, Jesse and I stood at the forefront of the room facing Four large stone thrones. Three of them were occupied and one dark empty space dominated my vision.

The crowd from the Pits had gathered in around us, filling the room and some of the corridor behind with a sweltering crush of antsy demons who kept muttering and fidgeting. Some fighting the compulsion that had led them to follow us now that we were actually facing the Masters of Hell. I had a feeling we were going to need a serious burst of power to keep them all on task, not to mention work my way into the minds of the Faces.They were not going to just let me go poking around inside their heads. I was going to need some kind of metaphysical battering ram to hit them with and the mass opinion of this crowd of demons I'd already worked my mojo on was exactly what I was placing all of my hopes on.

Downside of this was I already felt wrung out. To make this work I was going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for energy, and I wasn't sure how much more the boys had left to share with me either. All or nothing right, that was what I'd been saying all along.

"What in the name of all that is unholy brought so many of you before us today?" Satan boomed in a deep, rumbling avalanche of a voice that made my knees shake and my throat dry.

"We'll not address such a gathering without our Fourth. No matter of such great import can possibly be considered without the full compliment of Hell's power." Beelzebub's voice was slimy as it slipped through my ears,dripping with sarcasm so that I wasn't certain if his words were sincere or full of disdain at our rude intrusion upon them.

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