Hello everyone, and welcome! If you have a moment, I, the author, would like to briefly tell you about the origin of this story. It originally was in my story called "Angiris: Lenedial's Side Stories," so it was nothing more than a short story tacked onto other short stories I made alongside my main fanfiction story, Angiris, starring many main angels within the Diablo universe alongside my OC, Lenedial. So I made this story about Lenedial's superior, Auriel, meeting the Lord of Hatred, Mephisto.
However, I decided to move it and make it into its own original story, so now it is here, although I still have the first chapter over there. The first chapter is the same, but the second chapter here is new.
I hesitate to tack on a genre to this story. It's not necessarily romance, yet it does have some if not a lot of romance elements in it. I will likely go with more of a "friendship" story, as Auriel being with the Lord of Hatred is very unlikely given their universe, and I sorta like Auriel and Itherael together, but they will definitely still have their interesting interactions, if not borderline convey these other feelings. So I will hesitantly label this story as closer to "Friendship" as well as bits of "Mystery," because this story will definitely delve into the secrets of the Burning Hells, the demons, and their day-to-day lives as I have with the angels in Angiris.
There is no need to have read my other story, "Angiris," before reading this one, so don't worry if you're a new reader. This is its own story. But to those Angiris readers who are curious, I would say this story takes place before the events of Angiris.
Thank you for your patience. Now that you all know its true nature, I hope you all enjoy the story!
Scenario 1: Stranded
Auriel grimaced when she became separated from her comrades within the battlefields. These caverns extended throughout the valley, and she managed to become separated far. The cave-in blocked her only escape to the skies. The rest she would have to manage on foot. Hopefully her comrades weren't far behind. However, though the council's greatest strength was their unity, she was nowhere defenseless by herself. She grasped her cord of Al'maiesh as if they were whips. Whoever dared face her within these caverns… she would pray for.
Her wanderings brought her into a large circular room. Something wasn't right. The rest of the caverns twisted and intertwined at various angles and degrees, but this room here appeared to be created unnaturally. Yet, there was no furniture, only its irregularly round shape.
"I see the hopeful one has drifted from her flock."
Auriel whipped around, hearing a voice. "Who is there?! Show yourself!" The female Archangel felt on edge. Somehow, that voice was demonic, but it was also very familiar… And, if it was, then she had not heard that voice in a very, very long time…
The voice appeared behind her. It jeered, "You are not overcome with despair yet, are you?"
Auriel whirled around yet again. She held her cord defensively, prepared to defend herself. However, suddenly, she froze, and the edges of her cord dropped, fluttering to the ground. She fought to maintain her composure. If her eyes were visible, they would have been wide. Stuttering, she called into the darkness. "N...No… It cannot be…!"
Red eyes appeared within the darkness, and a towering form shambled forth. They floated, always remaining upon the edge of the shadows with what little light there was. Large horns projected from their skull, while the rest of their body twisted and swayed. The bones were shown proudly; skin rarely covered their form. After all, it was a testament to his identity… The one and only Lord of Hatred, Mephisto.
His glowing eyes within the darkness sparked briefly like gleaming coals, then settled. "Surprised to see me, are you not? And after all I did to help your kind… To help you..."
Auriel stood her ground. She would not be fooled by his words. "You betrayed our pact. You raised Diablo and summoned your forces of Hell. And then the Nephalem defeated you, destroying your soulstone upon the Hellforge." She peered quizzically at his silhouette within the darkness. "With that said… How are you here, within the battlefields of Pandemonium?"
When he turned his head to face her, she got the first sight of his garish features. Signified by the rest of his body, his facial features were skeletal in appearance. His skull was vertically tall… And, as skulls tended to be, he always seemed to be grinning. But, at the angel's question, his glowing crimson eyes narrowed… and the corners of his grin cracked wider. "Ah, yes, that. You did not seriously believe me to die, did you?"
"..." He was right. Destroying their soulstones does not necessarily kill them. It may banish them for a short period, but they were always destined to return… Thus was the Eternal Conflict. She gripped her cord tightly. There was no way to win, only to continuously fight until nothing was left.
Luckily, the Greater Evil she faced now was Mephisto, and not Diablo nor Baal. Mephisto was always the most intelligent of the three. He would even go so far as to negotiate with angels if he would benefit from it… Alas, that was not to say he was entirely different. He was one of the three Greater Evils for a reason. She would not let down her guard.
"The rest of the council is nearby," Auriel reasoned. "They will be here any minute."
The Archdemon snickered, then spread his four arms wide. "Then allow me to keep you… company."
"And why would you do that?" the female Archangel responded seriously. If he held ulterior motives, then she would have none of it.
Mephisto was silent for a moment. Then, he emerged from the shadows. Auriel's first instinct was to back away. However, somehow, she got the feeling he was not going to do anything… At least, nothing harmful.
"My hatred of all living things knows no bounds. You are thus aware the things I hate most in this world are angels." He drifted, then, suddenly, he leaned closer. If the demon could see her features, their eyes would have met. "However… I happen to hate you less."
Despite their close proximity, the female angel stood defiantly. "You should know more than all others of your kind I would never affiliate myself with a demon… especially those of your ilk."
The male demon chuckled. One of his skeletal arms reached for her hood. "How cold… Yet, another of your 'ilk' decided to run off with my daughter. Who is to say you would not decide to commit the same?"
Her fists tightened upon Al'Maiesh. Smoothly, she dodged his advances. "Because I am an Archangel. I have responsibilities, allegiances… and, above all else, I have standards."
The male demon lowered his arm. "You, who are the kindest of all angels, have always had that sharp tongue when you had need of it. How… charming."
"How would you know if something is charming?" Auriel shot back. "You, who hate all others?"
His eyes narrowed, but his grin was still present. It was undecipherable what expression he held due to his unfaltering grin. However, he explained himself. "You seem to have forgotten."
"Who am I?"
Though she was patient in the Heavens, she would not be patient with him. "I do remember… Mephisto, Lord of Hatred."
Mephisto raised his four arms again. His upper arms formed an X… and his two remaining hands created a heart. However, the heart looked unnatural given his long and gnarled fingers. "I am the Lord of Hatred. I despise all things…" He paused, his crimson eyes narrowing. His grin did not reach them. "Yes, even myself… I hate myself and my brothers with a passion. However, I simply hate you angels more than I would ever those of my own kind." His burning gaze met her hood again. "But, in knowing Hatred, there are other things I have been created to understand. For the most part, I have known Hatred, along with Destruction and Terror. However… I have also come to know its opposite, which is 'Love.'"
Auriel scoffed. "What do you know of love?!"
His grin deepened. "Are you aware of what I have done upon Sanctuary?"
Her frown within her hood deepened. "Do you refer to the Triune?" He, along with his two brothers, had created a cult upon Sanctuary's soil. The three beings to be worshipped were those whose titles were opposite of the Greater Evils… There was Dialon, the "Spirit of Determination." Then there was Bala, the "Spirit of Creation." And, finally… there was Mefis, the "Spirit of Love."
"So you do remember." The demon raised the hands forming a heart higher. From her vantage point, the heart overlapped the X. "It was my idea to create personas for my brothers and I. We would make a convincing religion and overtake the world of Sanctuary for our own gain… But, that did not come to be." The hands forming the X lowered so only the heart remained. "In any case, how did you think my performance was so convincing?"
She did not have an answer for him. Demons were always cunning. They would do anything, including trickery, if it meant getting their way.
He enjoyed her silence. So much so where he answered gleefully, "Yes; it is because I too have experienced love."
Auriel did her best to keep herself composed. She had little interest in the love life of the Lord of Hatred. "So have I… And yet, I would never have a tryst with a demon… Especially you."
"Oh?" His features contorted. His grin widened, the corners raising enough to cause his glowing eyes to crease. "You angels are not as open as demons on the matter of 'love.' Why, you may even forbid it." He leaned closer. She stepped backwards this time, her large violet wings flattening against her back. "So, I redirect the question back at you. What do you know of love?"
She found she could not answer him. Not that she should, but even if she wished to, she found she was unable to. What did she know of love? Yes, she felt "love" for her brothers and those who served under her… But, there was a love far beyond even that. It was a love for a significant other, something she had been longing for. Her grip upon her cord slacked. Why did she feel this way? What was this doubt?
"Who is it?" Mephisto pried with interest. "Is it Tyrael?" He circled around her, appearing at her other side. "Imperius? Malthael?" The demon appeared in front of her, looming now. "Or is it… someone else?"
She pressed her lips into a thin line. She would not answer him. "All I know… is that 'someone' would never be you."
He chuckled darkly. "Ah, the sharp tongue… It returns. How delightful." He delighted whenever she turned spiteful. It reminded him of himself, so filled with hatred.
She quickly tried to recompose herself. This was what he wanted. He wanted her to lose her temper with him and thus lose herself to hatred. She drew Al'maiesh tighter around herself. Then, as calmly as she could manage, she began to state, "I would never—"
The female Archangel whirled around at the sound of her name. It was an echo from a corridor of the caverns. She called back to them, "I AM HERE!"
Mephisto allowed them their rendezvous. His grin tightened. He could only hear one individual approaching. His many fingers tapped together. This development was growing interesting. Perhaps he would discover the answer to one of his previous questions.
Heavy footfalls echoed closer to the room they lied within. Then, an angel burst through. Their green wings were spread wildly, runesword drawn and gray robes flowing behind them. It was none other than the Archangel of Fate, Itherael, who came to the lady's rescue.
Predictably, Itherael tensed and raised his sword against the Lord of Hatred. Unlike Auriel, he held a better hold over his emotions. And yet, they did guide him now in this moment. He disappeared, then reappeared between Auriel and Mephisto, raising his runesword protectively. "Step away from Archangel Auriel," he ordered.
Mephisto's grin cracked more. The corners threatened to split his mouth even wider. "What is this I see here?"
Itherael's voice spoke calmly in place of Auriel's. "I would ask you the same." His sword never lowered, though.
The demon leaned closer. Itherael swept Auriel behind him with an arm, backing away with his blade between them and Hatred.
"You are the Archangel of Fate, are you not?" He snickered. "My, I hardly recognize you, Itherael. In fact, I thought you may have been a woman, just less attractive than your companion. But now… Look what you've become."
Itherael tensed. Auriel quickly linked her cord around his arm, tugging it back and into her own. "Do not let him get to you," she whispered. "That is what he wants." At her words, he corrected his posture and steadied his blade.
Mephisto sneered, circling the two. "My, you two have always been close, but I never suspected this." Itherael made sure Auriel was behind him at all times while the demon circled them. "What would your fellow angels think of this, hmm? I do wonder…"
"There is nothing to think about," Itherael stated stiffly. However, Auriel could still feel him tense even with her cord around his arm. The situation currently didn't feel good. She hugged his arm, but averted her gaze elsewhere. Mephisto had addressed a concern she's had for the longest of times.
"Ah, yes, so you acknowledge it. What will you do? What will they say?"
Auriel squirmed uncomfortably. Itherael noticed this and tightened his grip upon his blade. "I have had enough." With that, he teleported forward and slashed across his chest.
...Only for it to do nothing.
Mephisto cackled. What they saw before them was only an image of the Greater Evil. In reality, he was elsewhere. Itherael and Auriel balked in surprise. "Ah, so you never suspected. Even if I lied within my soulstone, I still hold unimaginable power." With that said, he began to fade away, his eyes glistening within the dark. "What will you do? You mustn't keep them waiting~" He faded away from view, his grin cracking wide. He hated them so much, he couldn't wait for their relationship crack and crumble, along with the Angiris Council they served.
Itherael reached down and grasped Auriel's hand. "We are safe. We should go now and return to the others."
For a moment, Auriel didn't budge, staring at where Mephisto once was. He had allowed a council member to reunite with her, and while they waited, they conversed. It was all because he wasn't even here in the first place. There was no reason he couldn't mess around even if the five Archangels were all present. That was why he had spoken with her. He wished to give her temptation, and register doubt within her mind.
And it worked.
Sadly, she turned, but did not avert her gaze from the spot where the demon once was. Her melancholy voice echoed within the caverns, as if they sought to amplify her sadness. "...Coming, Itherael…"
Hope you all enjoyed the chapter! I was a little nervous writing for a Greater Evil like the Lord of Hatred, Mephisto, but I'm feeling pretty good! I had to do a little bit of research right before writing though. Watched his Diablo 2 Cinematic, then some excerpts from The Veiled Prophet, and of course some wiki pages to get my brain up to speed. I have to admit, I really like the artwork of him from the Book of Cain. I noticed in his Diablo 3 thumbnail they gave him kinda glowing teal eyes, but I decided to go with his description in The Veiled Prophet more while also going with the Book of Cain illustration, which is why he has crimson eyes. (I believe they're red anyways... Too lazy to bring the excerpt back up.)
For all of those who don't know, there was a scene within the Diablo novel The Veiled Prophet that inspired this story in the first place. I will try to summarize it as quickly as I can: After the Nephalems' powers first awakened, the angels voted upon whether to spare Sanctuary or destroy it because of the Nephalems' sheer potential. However, Tyrael vied for them, and thus the Angiris Council made a pact with Mephisto to abstain from interfering with Sanctuary's growth to see what they would become. In return, Mephisto asked for custody of the captured Inarius.
As to why this writing focuses solely upon Auriel and Mephisto, Mephisto made a suggestive comment upon how their two races had birthed the Nephalem, and his eyes briefly materialized within a veil of shadows just to wink at Auriel. Auriel ignored his gesture of course. So, if any of you have wondered why people sometimes bring up Auriel and Mephisto together, that is the origin behind it, at least to my understanding (others see them as opposites, so Love vs Hatred, as Auriel is the most benevolent angel amongst the Council.)
This is sort of a lighthearted take on Mephisto, but not too much so either. He seemed really playful within the Veiled Prophet, so I decided to go with that interpretation. Other quotes of his make him seem somewhat diplomatic, if only to win skirmishes with words in place of actual combat. However, other aspects of him are due to my speculation. If my depiction of him seems inaccurate or just doesn't fit your image, my apologies! I tried, I swear!
Mephisto: I hate this story. I am awaiting all of the flames from your "reviewers."
Awww, don't be like that, Mephisto! Here's to hoping they enjoy it!
Anyways, if you've gotten this far, thank you for reading~