Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 01: And So it begins
It would be easy to complain about my life, far too easy. From an outsiders perspective, one might even assume I have a bad life or that I am somehow unfortunate.
They would be wrong, of course.
I am Grayson Raum, the fourth child of the House of Raum, a Pureblood house that can trace its magical lineage back for over three thousand years. Admittedly, yes, I will not inherit my family's impressive fortune or titles as most of it will be going to the heir of the family, my older brother Damian, but I will still inherit enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life without working.
I am in the top ten students in every class at school, and I have never dropped below third place overall. Anyone with my grades should be able to hold their heads up high. Being top of the class in the most prodigious school on Europe will do that.
"Second place, again?" Mothers voice pulls me out of my musings as I look at her, meeting her violet eyes. Her face is utterly blank as she stares at me, and I keep my own face the same.
Occlumency is such a useful art. It stops petty things like nervousness or shame from being shown on my face at my mother's emotionless stare. She'd be disappointed if my mental barriers were so weak that a report card was enough to break them. It came naturally to me, the cold pragmatism that it brings suited my base personality and I have always been good with the more subtle arts.
"Well done, I suppose." she says, putting my report down. "I would be more impressed if you hadn't been beaten by a muggleborn, again." she drawls, her tone a mixture of teasing and judging in equal measure.
"Thank you, mother." I say calmly, we've had this conversation twice before. After my first year, when Granger beat me for first place and after my second year when, once again, Granger beat me for first place.
"Hmm, it doesn't really matter what place you get in the first four years, Gray. The only two years that truly matter are fifth and seventh. I expect you to do better for those." she says, drinking her tea calmly as she stares at me.
One might think that she is being unfair, but she simply expects the best of her children.
"I understand, Mother." I say with a perfectly even tone.
"Prepare your mind." Mother says, taking a sip of her tea as she locks eyes with me. I have all of a split second to fortify my mental defenses before her probe slams against them, battering at the walls around my mind.
Her probe pulls back, having failed against my prepared mind, and moments later it approaches again, far more subtly, as it tests my defences, looking for any weaknesses she can exploit.
Then she breaks eye contact, calmly finishing her tea.
"Impressive. You do have a talent for the subtler arts." she compliments, I don't show any outwards signs of pride, I know I'm still being tested, but I do mentally smile. "Despite your other weaknesses." she continues, puncturing that smile with a sharp comment.
Right... my weaknesses.
I have magic, like everyone in my family... but unlike my older brother or sisters, my magic is weak. Spells that my brother could cast all day leave me tired, incantations that my sisters could use to make roaring infernos give me a sputtering flame.
This has had an unexpected positive, however, as my control over my magic is almost inhuman. I've had to learn to squeeze every last drop out of my spells.
"Before you woke up, I hid something for you in the manor, pull its location out of my mind." Mother orders, making eye contact again as I send my own mental probe forwards into her mind.
I don't use force, I don't have the power to force my way into the far stronger witch's mind, instead I slowly test her mind. There are holes in her defences, but they are traps, and as I avoid them her lips twitch proudly.
Finding a real gap in her mental walls, I slowly probe it, getting access to her memories of the day, she is making this easier for me, of course. Mother is a master of the mental arts, I'm simply an apprentice.
Her memories of her day are deliberately jumbled as she makes things harder, throwing false and irrelevant memories in my way, searching for her morning. I'm an early riser, so she must have done it either late last night or early this morning.
Narrowing the time-zone down helps speed this up as she fights my attempts to pull up the right memory, flashes of her having breakfast with my sisters thrown in my way as I look at her earliest memory today, watching her get out of bed. If she genuinely wanted me out, she'd have overwhelmed my mind with a thought, but as this is a test, and she is giving me a fighting chance.
Even still, avoiding her attempts to throw me out as I navigate her memories is difficult, and just before she flings me from her mind, I get the memory I was looking for, mother placing a wrapped package in a hidden compartment in the family library.
"Well done." she says simply, nothing more, nothing less. "I expect your homework to be completed with at least two weeks of the summer left, all at Outstanding level." Mother says as she opens her paper, our conversation over.
"Of course, mother. Have a nice day." I say, getting a nod as she starts reading.
People have seen me interact with my mother and assumed that she is cold and unloving.
Leaving the living room, I head for the library. Mother doesn't waste time with pointless gifts, if she has set something aside for me, I will need it.
Heading through the manor we call our home, I reach the library with practised ease, letting a small smile settle on my face as I look over the dozens of filled shelves lining the walls, a cosy armchair resting in front of the fireplace (enchanted, obviously).
I spend more time here than anywhere else in the manor.
Books have always been my passion, or to be more precise, knowledge they contain has always been my passion.
Even with my mother's memory, it takes me a moment to work out how to open the false panel at the bottom of one of the bookcases, needing pressure in just the right position to cause it to unclasp, allowing me to pull it away and reach inside, retrieving my package.
Moving the small wrapped parcel over to the table in the middle of the room, I carefully unravel it, catching the glint of black metal as I reveal my 'gift'.
Picking up the small black key, I turn it over with a slight frown, not knowing what it unlocks. A moment of investigation later reveals the carefully folded parchment still in the wrapping.
If you are reading this, your Occlumency skills are now strong enough for you to be allowed to move onto more advanced magic. This key unlocks the door to the Raum Family Library Restricted Section.
As I read, my eyes widen in shock, shooting up to the locked door in between two bookshelves, my hand gripping the key tighter.
I doubt I need to remind you that the magic within those walls is far more dangerous than ordinary spells, or that most of them are outlawed by the ministry's 'dark arts' ban.
One day, I'll ask mother how she manages to fill her letters with such scorn. I can feel her disgust through the paper.
I will not patronise you by warning you away from the 'dark arts', nor will I forbid you from reading whichever book you desire. All knowledge is power, and you are a Raum, power is in your very blood. What you do with the knowledge within is for you to decide.
Your Mother, Yennefer Atria Raum née Black
Folding the letter up, I slip it in the pocket of my trousers and move to the door, carefully unlocking it.
Taking a deep breath, I step into the room that had seemed so impenetrable for so many years, looking around the pitch black room.
As I enter, the room lights up as dozens of enchanted flames come to life, floating in the air as they light up the room with an eerie silver glow.
Moving over to the closet bookshelf, I pause. Where do I even begin? There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of tomes lining the walls.
...Now I understand why she mentioned my homework. She knew I wouldn't want to leave this place.
Reaching up, I grab the first book I touch, pulling it out with a smile.
Humans and their use in Alchemy, Potions and Rituals.
...Okay, maybe not this one.
One-thousand ways to end your foes.
...Maybe, this one?
- One Week Later – 02/08/1994 -
Normally, I'm excited to go back to school, but this year the approaching school year feels more like a timer ticking down until I'm dragged away from this marvellous place.
I have just over four weeks before I must return to school, but the first week of the summer basically vanished as I explored the restricted section.
I even ate and slept here for the first few nights, having the House Elves bring me my meals, but mother put a stop to that.
This room is an endless supply of knowledge, no matter the subject, Curses, Charms, Alchemy, Runes, and more. From healing magic to curses so bad they'd get me thrown in prison if I was caught practising them, and everything in between.
Mother has always taught me that banning knowledge is just a way for the Ministry to control us, but there is no denying that my family is a 'Dark' one.
One of the darkest actually, given that mother's maiden name is Black.
'Dark'. What a moronic concept. Magic is magic, you can kill someone just as easily with a levitation charm or a modified hair-lengthening spell as you could a curse, tossing them off a building or strangling them with their own hair.
My family are classed as Dark because we are conservative, we refused to turn over our library that we built up over thousands of years when the Ministry started outlawing entire branches of magic and because we support the rights of Purebloods and see blood purity as important.
All things Dumbledore doesn't like.
To be clear, we have never joined a Dark Lord, Voldemort was an insane psychopath who would have led our world to destruction. My father outright laughed in his face when his Death Eaters tried to recruit him... which is probably why I was raised by my mother now that I think of it.
After my father's death, mother raised the manor wards to their highest state and then simply waited for the war to end.
Could Voldemort have taken them down? Possibly, but he never got a chance to find out when he went and got killed by a baby.
But, if you aren't a follower of the Lord of Light, you're either a Neutral or Dark family, and my family is too connected to the Black's to be Neutral, so we must be Dark.
Plus, our family magic is classed as 'Dark' by the Ministry's guidelines that they put in place after Voldemort's defeat, and while there are too many laws protecting family magic for them to outlaw it, it still leaves the 'Light' families treating us like we eat puppies for breakfast.
Of course, the Dark families are mostly inbred with delusions of adequacy. Keeping your bloodline pure is important, but anyone with a working brain can see how inbreeding so closely has resulted in both the magic and the mind of the children growing weak. Just look to Crabbe and Goyle for evidence.
My family have stayed pure, but we did so by marrying from out of the country. Every pairing is carefully researched to make sure they aren't closely related. Some relation is almost impossible to avoid, after so many generations in such a small society (at least in comparison to the non-magical population), but we can at least keep it distant enough to stop the many issues that inbreeding causes.
Of course, that didn't stop me from being born so... hindered.
Magic isn't a muscle, it doesn't get stronger as you use it. You get born with a certain amount of magic, and that's what you are stuck with. Some people have potent magic, but not much of it... like both my sisters. Some people have fairly weak magic, but they have it in abundance, like my brother.
Some people get born with a seemingly endless supply of immensely powerful magic, those people are the ones that become legends. Voldemort, Dumbledore, Potter.
And some people get born with a tiny pool of weak magic... that's me.
I'm not particularly bitter, but it has left me at a significant disadvantage.
This room has hundreds of thousands of spells within it, just waiting for the right person to crack open the books and use the knowledge within... but I just don't have enough magic to use most of them effectively.
I'm not giving up, obviously. The Sorting Hat told me I was dangerously ambitious before it sent me to Slytherin despite my studious nature, and it was right.
I'm not satisfied living off my family's wealth, I have things I want to achieve.
Simply put, I want to learn magic. All the magic.
And I refuse to believe that in a world filled with magical wonders, there is not a single way to increase the potency and capacity of my magical power. If people claim it is impossible, that simply means they haven't found it yet.
Sighing, I close the book on ritual magic and place it back on the shelf. It was interesting, but it was just a book on theory.
I need to do my summer homework anyway, if I forget and run out of time mother would be... displeased (something that I can easily admit could happen if I get caught up in reading).
- Later -
"Gray..." a voice says, making me mentally sigh despite my fondness. I know that tone.
"Yes, Keira?" I drawl, looking up at her with a blank stare, my eyes lingering on the parchment in her hands.
"Since you're doing your homework, I thought we could do it together?" Keira, my slightly older sister, asked with what she no doubt thought was a sly smile.
"Meaning you want to dump it on me again?" I deadpan, making her green eyes widen as a slight blush comes to her pale cheeks, looking down, so her blonde hair falling in front of her face for a moment.
"Of course not! I just... you aren't buying it, are you?" Keira asked with a sigh as she sat next to me, her green eyes locked on mine as she tries to pull off the 'puppy-dog' look.
"No, no, I am not. And stop that, you're supposed to be the older, more responsible one." I say with a smirk. "Let me guess, mother?" I ask, watching her sigh.
Despite her being a year above me, she's had me doing her homework since my first year when she realised I was reading her school books to get ahead. Don't get me wrong, she's intelligent, brilliant even, but she's a bit of a brat. She makes it worth my while, though.
"Mother." she agrees. "We both know I am terrible at writing essays, and Snape assigned seven of them... I think he just hates happiness." she drawls. "Since you do my homework, mother expects it done to your standard, which is far above mine. I would be ever so grateful..." she says with a smile, sighing as I just stare at her blankly. "Okay, fine! The usual?" Keira asks with a roll of her eyes.
"The usual." I agree. We found a spell in the Family Library that lets us switch my handwriting with hers, Keira thinks this has stopped mother from realising.
She's wrong, mother has known since the first essay, she just let it happen because Keira is actually very intelligent, she just hates homework. Besides, we both benefit from this.
"Thanks, Gray. This is why you're my favourite brother." Keira says happily, pulling me into a tight hug.
"When Damian is my only competition, I better be your favourite." I say, making her laugh.
"Indeed, I think I'd prefer a troll as a brother over him." Keira drawls. "So... I can't help but notice you didn't take my advice." she says, making me freeze as I finish off my essay on Stinksap and its uses in Healing for Herbology.
"I considered it... but decided against it." I say quickly, making her sigh.
"And they say Ravenclaws are loners... if you Slytherins become any more introverted, you'll vanish. Three years, and you haven't made a single friend. These are the best years of your life, and you're wasting them with your nose stuck in your books. Don't you want a girlfriend?" Keira asks, making me sigh.
Here we go again.
"N-" I start with a sigh.
"Or a boyfriend, I wouldn't judge." Keira continues.
"I like girls, thank you." I say calmly as I start working on one of her Potions assignments, on the proper brewing of the Shrinking Solution Potion.
"Wonderful, we are finally getting somewhere. Name a girl you like, and I'll set you up, and don't pretend you don't have one, you're fourteen." Keira says making me sigh. "What about Cho? Or Padma?" she asks.
"Please stop trying to set me up with your friends." I say with a long-suffering sigh. "You do realise that I am not exactly attractive?" I ask, making her roll her eyes.
"Please, you say that like you're hideous. Sure, you're a bit plain, but if we go to my room, I have a book on cosmetic charms that-"
"I'm going to stop you right there, you are not casting a single cosmetic charm on me after your last attempt." I deadpan, making her blush.
"That was an accident and you know it." Keira sputters as I grin at her.
"I had pink and green hair for two weeks. Two Weeks." I deadpan as she laughs nervously. "In the middle of the school year." I continue, making her rub the back of her neck with a sheepish smile.
Our home is so heavily warded that the Ministry can't detect underaged magic being cast on the grounds, something my sister's and I have abused heavily. It's great for practising and convenience, but it has also come with some unfortunate consequences.
"Fine, fine... but next year, you are going to make some friends... you can either do it your way... or mine." she says menacingly, giggling as I sigh. "We both know I'm not going to give up."
Yes, yes we do.
"I'll take your advice into consideration." I say making her roll her eyes. "Besides, I think the option of getting a girlfriend is going to be taken from me soon."
"Please, you don't actually believe that, right? There's no way mother is actually going to set up a betrothal contract, they're so old fashioned and mother wouldn't do that to you." Keira promises. "Besides, don't change the subject. We were talking about your lack of friends."
Sighing, I briefly wonder if pointing out that I have some friends would help. Well, I have one friend, okay maybe he is more of a close acquaintance. Not so 'close' but we are acquainted. I have an acquaintance. No, that really wouldn't help my case.
Ignoring her babbling, I continue working on her assignment. She isn't going to shut up any time soon.
- Four Days Later – 06/08/1994 -
Getting mine... and Keira's homework done wasn't that hard, mostly because I kept copies of the homework I did for Keira last year and just edited it so I could use it as my own homework.
It would have been easier without Keira nagging me about my lack of a love life, like she has so much room to talk, but I got it done either way, all at Outstanding level. Naturally.
Keira, now free from her homework, has practically fled the manor to go to Diagon Alley to meet Cho and her other friends. She's bringing me ice-cream back.
Our other sister is around, but we don't get along. At all.
So I'm avoiding her, and Damian has left to go meet his friends, despite having not done his homework. I suspect mother is going to have words for him when he gets back.
Back in the restricted section, I close another tome on magic I can't use in my current state.
Placing it back on the shelf, I pause as I look around the room.
Ever since I have come here, something has been bothering me about this room... and as I've spent more and more time in here, it has only gotten worse.
Every wall is covered in bookshelves... except one small section, which is just blank. It's irritated me since I got here... but then I realised something.
The main library is the same, and the only section not covered in books has the door to the restricted section... so why is that spot blank?
I've always been good at spotting hidden things. I found a dozen secret passageways through Hogwarts in my first year alone, and my senses tell me that there is something behind this wall.
This calls for an investigation! I'll have this open by nightfall.
- Six Days Later – 12/08/1994 -
I hate you, wall. And I want you to know that I don't say that lightly.
I dislike my eldest sister, I definitely dislike my elder brother. But I have never truly hated anything before I met you. You are a sadistic abomination and I will best you, nothing you do can stop that.
Staring at the wall, I scowl.
I was right, it is a secret passageway. However, unlike the others I have found, this one doesn't have one action needed to open it, from what I can tell it has two.
One involved moving three of the floating lights above the wall in a particular combination, which made the outline of a door with three slots around it show up. The combination was hidden in the artwork carved on top of one of the bookcases. The other needed me to pull out a specific book, find the gem hidden in the magical compartment in the back of the book and then place it in the correct slot on the door.
If you put it in the wrong slot, which I did, the book and gem vanish and re-appear somewhere else in the library with the book cover changed. There are well over a thousand books in the restricted section alone.
I have barely slept this past week, but after... let's just say a bit of effort, I have done it.
Two gems are in place, and the third resting in my hand.
What colossal asshole designed this?
What is so important that it needed all this to stop people from getting in?
Pausing before I place the last gem in place, I give the wall a smug smirk. I have conquered you, wall.
Placing it inside, the gems flash... and then vanish, the doors outline fading from view.
Staring at the blank wall, I do the reasonable thing and punch the wall as hard as I can, gritting my teeth at the burst of pain.
While I consider the pros and cons of buying a magical pickaxe, holding my possibly broken hand, my attention is dragged back to the wall as the lights go from silver to a deep red, as a bit of blood from my broken skin Is absorbed into the wall.
For a moment, I think I've triggered a security measure, my heart skipping a beat, but to my joy and triumph, the cold stone of the wall starts to move, brick by brick as it reveals a staircase behind it.
...Wait a minute, did I just have to bleed on the wall? But... the gems? The lights?
No... what kind of asshole would make someone do all that for no reason?
Clutching my damaged hand, I head towards the stairs. I spent my every waking moment trying to work this out, I want to see what exactly I spent my time for.
The passageway is fairly dusty, which is alarming if for no other reason than because the House Elves hate dust with a passion, which means they don't know about this place. With the elves being bound to the very manor itself, anything hidden from them must be more heavily warded than the rest of the manor.
Heading further down the stairway, I realise that I must be under the manor by now. Past even the basement as the stairway just keeps going, leaving me walking for what seems like ages before I reach the bottom, a small room at the bottom.
I had expected another library, one even more restricted and I might have been right.
The only thing in the room aside from a single enchanted torch on the wall is a pedestal, with three things sitting on the top of it.
In the middle is a tome, it's thick with a black leather binding, there are no words on the front... but there is a red circle on the symbol.
A pair of circles, one inside the other with four letters in between them, arranged at the top, bottom, left and right side with a strange symbol inside the smaller circle, the symbol means nothing to me, just a bunch of lines and circles... but the letters?
R. A. U. M.
My family name.
The Tome must be ancient, the bindings are pristine, but it has that look that only antique books have. And it is only as I look at it that I realise that there is no dust on the book, or the pedestal at all.
Looking at the other objects, I frown slightly as I pick up the second item, examining it.
The handle of the small dagger is shaped in the form of a winged demon that seems to stare at you no matter how you look at it, and the blade itself is a deep black. It's fairly unremarkable in the grand scheme of things, demon imagery isn't all that uncommon on artifacts belonging to Dark families.
It takes me a moment to transfigure my wand holster to have a spot for the dagger, slipping it into the holster on my belt. I've transfigured it to make it very hard to spot the dagger's hiding place. My wand should draw any attention from the tiny slit the dagger is hidden in.
I earned this, and this place hasn't been touched in years. No-one will notice it is missing.
The third item is a blood-red potion inside a high-quality crystal vial, with a small letter tied to it.
For the descendant of Raum, to awaken what lies within.
I am not going to drink some random mystery potion.
...But I am taking it with me.
Pocketing it, I pick up the book next.
Despite not being locked, the book refuses to open up.
Well... it worked once? Looking at my still injured hand, I place my slightly bleeding fist on the cover, my scholarly side screaming at me for dirtying such an ancient tome.
The moment I do, a cold wind passes through the room, extinguishing the magical flame of the torch. The shadows flooding the room seem to grow deeper and more menacing. promptly I decide that I don't want to be down here any more.
Taking the book with me, I head back upstairs, perhaps just a bit faster than I would typically walk, getting back to the restricted room.
As I leave, the wall reforms behind me, leaving me alone with my loot.
Sitting down at the table, I take a deep breath.
Whatever this book is, it was well hidden... and sometimes things are hidden for a reason.
As I go to open the book, the door opens with a bang, making me jump, looking like a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
"Got your ice-cream. Chocolate and Caramel with chopped nuts." Keira says before pausing. "Gray... what happened to your hand?"
- That Night -
Escaping Keira's fussing over my broken hand, I escape to my bedroom with my new tome under my arm.
She made me go to mother, and I had to claim I got angry and punched the table after I failed a spell. Keira thought it was hilarious, claiming that puberty had finally caught up with me, but I have a feeling mother didn't believe me.
Mother fixed it with a single spell, then lectured me over losing control of my emotions for close to an hour. She wasn't mad, just disappointed.
Sitting on my bed, I look over the book again. What is so special about you that you had to be so well hidden? Time to find out...
Slowly opening it up, my room is filled with a dark purple light as the very text on the parchment glows, symbols and words in a language I don't know cover the first page...
Only, I do know the language. I've never seen this script before, but when I look at the words, my mind translates it into English.
The Grimoire of Raum, Demon Sorcerer and Great Earl of Hell.
Demons aren't real. That is the official stance on them, that they are just a fictional creation of the mnuggles due to their lack of understanding and as far as I am aware, no-one has managed to disprove that.
If you are reading this, you are of my Blood.
You must be, the curse on my Grimoire would have consumed your soul otherwise, and only by my blood can the hidden chamber be opened.
Consumed my what now?
This Grimoire is the end result over thousands of years of research, and if it is in your hands I have been slain. Whether by my fellow Demon Lords or by the forces of Light, I do not know. This means one of the 72 thrones of Hell sits empty, this is unacceptable.
My Heir, a potion of my design should have pain next to the Grimoire, this will awaken my blood within you fully. I know not how long it has been, but the Demonic blood will likely have grown thin as the generations passed by.
The Demonic Blood will give you power, it will provide you with access to powers beyond mere mages, and it will keep you young and healthy, for all time, but it is not without its cost.
The Path of the Demon Lord is no easy thing, it is fraught with peril and opposition. It is not for the light-hearted, for a Demon Lord must coat themselves in Sin. Demons can still be killed, even if we do not age or grow sick, and there will be endless numbers of people wanting to either slay you, or use you for their own ends.
If you choose to defy your fate, take the Grimoire and Potion back to the room you found it in, I will not judge or scorn your choice.
If you wish to start on the path of the Demon Lord, you need only drink the potion. The rest of this Grimoire can only be opened by a Demon of my Blood, the choice is yours.
Your Ancestor, Raum the Great Earl of Hell.
There's a second page that I can read, and it makes my heart almost stop.
Race – Human (Magical)
Alignment – Lawful Neutral
Strength – Weak
Endurance – Feeble
Dexterity – Clumsy
Senses – Average
Appearance - Average
Intelligence – Highly Intelligent
Wisdom – Somewhat Wise
Cunning – Sly as a Fox
Perception – Sharp
Charisma – Bronze-Tongued
Luck – Neither lucky nor unlucky
Magical Power – Feeble
Magical Reserves – Far Below Average
Magical Control – Unnaturally Good
That... is me. But how did... the blood, it used the blood to find everything there was to know about me? Is that even possible?
Even with my Occlumency, it hurts to read my magical power and reserves.
Re-reading the message from my ancestor, my heart beats faster.
Pulling out the potion from my pocket, I take a breath.
This... could keep me young forever? To study magic in all its forms for all time? It could give me the power to use my gathered knowledge?
Without power, knowledge is worthless, I can learn every spell in the world, but without the power to use them, it is pointless. I know this, it's why I read every book I could find on ritual magic in the hopes of finding a solution. I haven't despaired because I was convinced I could solve my magic problem, that I would eventually find a way.
Can I really afford to throw away seemingly the perfect solution? Am I stealing this from my brother Damian the Heir?
This isn't a decision I can make in a single night.
Getting up, I place my new book and potion in my school chest, locking it.
This could be a life-changing action, it's not something one should decide in the heat of the moment.
- Two Days Later – 14/08/1994 -
I have spent the last two days researching Demons, usually through non-magical mythology books as I have found little on demons in magical literature except one.
Merlin was said to be the son of a demon, it is accepted as just a myth, but that was part of his legend, the Purebloods would tell you that it is just a Muggle legend and that Merlin Emrys was a Pureblood. The Muggleborns would probably claim he was a muggleborn. As is the fate of any legend, twisted to suit the needs of whoever is telling the story.
What everyone agrees is that Merlin was the strongest Sorcerer ever. He was everything I have always wanted to be, Powerful, Wise, Knowledgeable, everyone wanted his favour. Kings came to him for advice, Sorcerers begged him to take them as his apprentice. His enemies cowered at the mere thought of fighting him.
What if the non-magicals are right? That his great power came from his demonic heritage?
Then could I not become his equal. No, could I not surpass him entirely?
To be a legend, spoken of in awed tones even a millennium after my death? Assuming I ever died? To be looked upon with awe for all time?
It's everything I didn't realise I wanted.
I also looked up Raum himself, I always found it funny that Solomon mistook him for a Demon, but maybe I was the fool all along. The Demon Raum, said to take the form of a crow (which I assume was an Animagus form). Is said to have stolen treasure, destroyed cities and ruined the dignity of men (of which he is said to hate). He is said to have been able to tell things from the past, the present and the future. He also is known for reconciling friends and foes, and invoking love.
All very impressive, but it's the ability to tell the future that attracted my attention. Could he have seen his own defeat, perhaps shadowy and hidden, but maybe he saw his own death coming and set this up for if he couldn't avoid it.
Demons are creatures of darkness and sin throughout all the myths, no matter which cultures mythos you look into... but am I willing to pass up a chance to become a legend for the sake of morality? To give up this chance to protect my immortal soul?
Sighing, I close my most recent book on demons throughout different mythologies.
"Finally accepted that you'll amount to nothing, no matter how much you study?" a mocking voice says, making me roll my eyes as I turn to the dark-haired pale women staring at me with a smirk.
"Do you really have nothing better to do, Morrigan?" I ask, looking into her creepy yellow eyes as my older sister stares down at me.
"No, I don't." Morrigan counters. "It's the advantage of being a natural genius, I don't have to spend all my time scouring books for spells I won't be able to cast."
"Does this have a point?" I ask with a dull tone. Morrigan being a bitch is nothing new. When I was younger, her words felt like daggers in the back... now she just bores me. There's only so long you can hear the same insults before they lose their meaning.
"Yes. You'll never be anything, just accept it already." Morrigan drawls. "You are weak, and in the world of Magic, power is everything. Just run away and join the rest of the squibs already."
"I'll take that under advisement." I say with a bored sigh, making her eyes narrow, her hand twitching towards her wand.
With a scoff, she leaves giving me one last glare.
Morrigan has issues, mostly she is eternally pissed off that Damian, her twin, is the heir. The British Magical World is rather sexist, and despite Morrigan easily being the more talented and powerful, Damian is the eldest male, so he is the heir, and I am the spare.
She despises Damian, and it ended up with her blaming me as well since if anything happens to Damian, I'm next in line.
I don't blame her for hating Damian, he's a moron with decently powerful magic, and the brain (and hygiene of a troll). He's a fervent follower of Dumbledore, wants to be an Auror or a Quidditch superstar, and he's a bully.
He'd deny it, calling his bullying harmless 'jokes' and 'pranks', but as the victim of most of them, they are not amusing, and they certainly aren't harmless.
Even next year when he leaves, I'll be stuck dealing with his two sidekicks, Fred and George.
And worse of all... he's a Gryffindor.
As his brother, when the idiot decides to turn the older Slytherins red and gold for a day, it isn't him that has to deal with them. Sure, some might try and curse him, but not only is he a decent duellist, he's also not the one who lives in the same common room as his favourite victims.
It's made for an uncomfortable three years.
Morrigan is in Slytherin as well, but no-one would pick a fight with her because she's not only a terrifyingly good duellist, she's also utterly ruthless.
So I understand why she hates him... but I won't excuse her targeting me just to satisfy her superiority complex.
So perhaps I was a little angrier than I showed on my face, and maybe while thinking about how her face would look as I proved her wrong, I made an impulsive decision.
Standing in my bedroom, I look down at the empty potion bottle with a sigh. Never make decisions when you're angry, it blurs your judgement. I would have probably downed it regardless that doesn't make it a good habit.
I don't feel any different as I lay down on my bed, wondering what would happen next.
It's subtle at first, the growing heat in my stomach, but it quickly escalayes as my entire body starts feeling like it is burning, fire running through my veins as my eyes shoot open, pain coursing through me.
Trying to rise, I can't resist the call of unconsciousness as I fall back to the bed, my vision fading.
- Keira - 15/08/1994 -
Sitting on her bed, she frowned deeply as she thought of her brother.
Gray had always been her favourite, the cute younger brother who didn't mind her bothering him. Even if he didn't do her homework he'd still be her favourite, and it's not like she didn't make it worth his while.
So the fact that he was currently lying on his bed thrashing about left her more than a little disturbed.
She'd been the one to find him, going to bother him to brighten up her day. Which meant her scream as she saw him lying there unmoving, covered in sweat, alerted the rest of the family.
Damian barely cared about his 'Snake' brother, Morrigan had just been mocking him, and their mother had ordered them all to leave, refusing Keira's desire to take him to St. Mungo's. Mother had claimed she knew what was wrong, and told them all to leave immediately.
Their older siblings did so happily, not concerned about their brother, even as he started to thrash around, screaming, but she had tried to stay behind. So her mother magically ejected her from the room.
If she'd been allowed to stay, she might have told her mother about the empty potion vial she'd found on the bed. But mother claimed she knew what it was, and she didn't want to listen, so Keira took it with her.
Looking over the empty vial, she sniffed it, frowning at the unpleasant smell. Sulphur?
The vial was made of pure crystal, something reserved for potions that would eat their way through glass vials, and it was enchanted, but the spells on it were ancient. Well over a thousand years old.
Her mother lived for secrets, refusing to tell anyone anything unless she was forced to... but Keira was a Ravenclaw, discovering secrets was basically her hobby.
Something was happening to Gray, and she wouldn't be left in the dark.
- Grayson - 17/08/1994 -
Waking up with a gasp, my first thought is about how alive everything feels. As I look around my room, I can smell breakfast, bacon especially, but my room is nowhere near the I can also smell lilacs and gooseberries. Oh dear.
"Finally awake?" A melodious voice attracts my attention, making me gulp as I turn to see my mother sitting in a chair next to my bed.
"Good morning, mother." I say, sitting up slightly making her roll her eyes.
"Good morning? You have spent the better part of three days thrashing around, and that is all you have to say?" Mother asks, a cold look in her eyes. "It is the seventeenth of August, your siblings are all at the Quidditch world cup final, it doesn't start until tomorrow, but you are not going." she says coldly, making me nod quickly.
I wasn't that interested anyway.
"You let them go alone?" I ask, making her roll her eyes again.
"Don't be ridiculous, I had Triss take them instead." she deadpans.
Ah, that makes more sense.
'Aunt' Triss can handle those three, she's not our real aunt, but she was a close friend of our father, and she's our Godmother.
"Shame I missed her," I say. I always liked Triss.
"The bigger shame was how much time I wasted trying to convince Triss and Keira that you would be fine." mother deadpans again, a slight smirk on her lips. "I understand the temptation of forbidden magic my dear, but do try to be less moronic in the future." she adds.
Despite myself, I feel myself growl at her words, causing a perfectly sculpted eyebrow to raise, a knowing look in her eyes.
"Control your emotions, do not let them control you." she advises as I take a deep breath. "Check your mental barriers, it is important now more than ever, that you keep yourself under control."
Taking her advice, I close my eyes, checking my Occlumency barriers.
"Indeed, they are in pieces. You will spend the rest of the day rebuilding your mental defences. I expect them back to normal by this time tomorrow. Breakfast will be brought to your room by the House Elves, do not practice any other magic but your Occlumency." she orders, rising and walking away from me without another word.
Despite myself, I feel my eyes start to wander as her hips sway, the tight black trousers she is wearing put her amazingly curvy ass on display. It's all I can do to stop myself from rising from the bed, moving forwards to see if it's as firm as it looks.
A cough breaks my stare as I look up into a knowing pair of eyes.
"Your barrier, Gray." she simply says, leaving the room.
...She definitely knows.
Taking her advice, I centre myself as I start to fix my shattered mental barriers, it's hard to tell the passage of time when you are working on your mind and the day passes quickly as I fix my mind, only pausing for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea and supper.
By nightfall, my mind is defended once more, my emotions more under control. And it is only then when I notice that my meals had been far more abundant than I would typically eat.
Wrath, Lust and Gluttony.
I have never had a temper, and I don't usually eat all that much, and while I do appreciate the female form, I have never ogled my family before. Even if I can acknowledge that mother, Keira and Morrigan are all beautiful women.
Pulling out my Grimoire, I open it up to the page that described me with a frown, seeing it the same. Rolling my eyes, I bite my thumb just enough to break the skin, placing a drop of blood on the page.
Immediately, the words rearrange themselves, updating to take into account my new status.
Race – Lesser Demon (0% to evolution)
Alignment – Lawful Evil
Strength – Weak for a demon
Endurance – Average
Dexterity – Average
Senses – Enhanced
Appearance – Somewhat Appealing
Intelligence – Unnaturally Intelligent
Wisdom – Somewhat Wise
Cunning – Sly as a Fox
Perception – Highly Perceptive
Charisma – Silver-Tongued
Luck – Neither lucky or unlucky
Magical Power – Mediocre
Magical Reserves – Somewhat Below Average
Magical Control – Unnaturally Good
It takes the entirety of my newly repaired barriers to force down the laughter as I reread my status. Mediocre and Somewhat Below Average might sound bad, but compared to what I used to have, it is a definite improvement. Proof that I haven't made a mistake.
Lesser Demon? That just means I can keep pushing until I become something greater.
I can do this.
Turning the page, I smile seeing another message from my Ancestor.
Congratulations on taking your first steps on the path of the Demon Lord, I know you will make me proud.
The next step is easier than the last, you simply need to bind the Grimoire to yourself, allowing you to access all of its knowledge. The process is simple, on the inside of the back cover, there is a magical circle. You need only bleed onto it, and if your blood is both Demonic and that of a Raum, the tome will answer.
This is the last message I am leaving. There are notes throughout the grimoire, but this is the final true message, so I will leave you with some advice.
Huh.. that actually makes me feel slightly mournful.
At your current level, you will need to make deals with greater demons, to gain power through sacrifice. Demons are beings of deception and lies, but a Demon that thrice swears is bound to their word, I would suggest making a sacrifice to the Demon Duke Dantalion, he is an old ally of our line and is unlikely to cheat you, but be warned, to gain something you must first sacrifice.
Animals will do, at the start, but if you want more gifts, you will have to sacrifice more worthy offerings.
Hmm, I can sacrifice an animal without a second thought, but to kill sentient beings for power? Am I willing to go that far? I don't know, and that is somewhat worrying.
Next, you will be a Lesser Demon at the moment, and the way a Demon rises through the ranks is by indulging in sin. I have no doubt you've likely noticed your more sinful nature already, do not fight it. You can also harvest the negative emotions of mortals to strengthen yourself, or devour their souls... but as a lesser demon, you can only devour the souls of a willing subject.
Whether through bargains, trickery or bets, they must be willing.
I knew what I was signing up for, deep down I knew that I'd have to do terrible things to achieve my dreams.
You are set on this path now, there is no turning back. Walk tall, you are better than the mere humans, destined for greater things. You will be a God before this path is done, but you cannot do it alone. No man can truly stand alone, build your faction, gather followers and servants to assist you in your quest.
You will be strong, you will be powerful, and you will rule.
Raum, the Great Earl of Hell.
Thank you, Ancestor. Pausing for a moment, I have to admit, I wish I could have met Raum in person.
Taking a deep breath, I turn to the final page, seeing the circle he mentioned.
I've made my choice, and he's right... I can't go back now. Bleeding onto the circle, it flashes red and vanishes.
And just like that, the Grimoire is mine.
Turning back, my status has updated again... with a list of 'traits' under the rest of my information.
[Major Sin of Lust]
You are a being of lust, seeking pleasures of the flesh with relentless abandon.
[Sin of Greed]
You are never satisfied, always wanting more, no matter how much you have.
[Sin of Envy]
What's yours is yours and what's theirs is yours too, you forever want what those around you have.
[Sin of Gluttony]
Your stomach never grows full, your throat never quite satiated as you eat and drink your weight in food.
[Minor Sin of Wrath]
A minor sin, you have a temper that can be hard to control at times.
No Pride or Sloth, but I've never been prideful, I was too weak for pride, and I hate wasting time.
My wrath is minor because I didn't use to get angry, mother trained me to focus anger into my studies and training to work it off years ago.
I've always liked good food, and yes... I'm greedy and envious.
As for lust, well, I am a fourteen year old boy.
Sitting on my bed, I flick through the book to find anything on Dantalion, I don't think my ancestor would lead me wrong after all.
To add to it, I find the book on demons I used to research Raum, looking Dantalion up there as well.
Dantalion, one of the two Great Kings of Hell. Said to possess power over knowledge and secrets, to control hordes of the dead and to have dominion over the minds and emotions of his foes.
Unlike the ritual books I read before, the Grimoire is far more straightforward with what needs to be done, the ritual of sacrificing something to a Greater Demon being clear and precise.
All I need is chalk, candles and a ritual knife and I'd be ready to start, all of which I have.
I got interested in rituals in my second year, and ordered the chalk and candles by owl-mail. Nothing came of it since I couldn't find any actual information on Rituals, but I still have them.
Am I really going to do this?
Pausing, I sigh. Yes, yes I am.
I've started this path, there's no stopping now. I am one person finding my true identity away from being killed by the Ministry, I cannot afford to be weak.
Weakness stopped my ambition before, but now it endangers my life. I still think this was all worth it, but I need all the power I can get to keep myself safe.
Getting out of bed, I look out of my window with a stony look. The forest around my manor is part of our land, so it is within the wards. Getting dressed in something I can get dirty, I leave the room.
Moving through the manor, I move to my mother's room. It is already very late, and mother tends to go to sleep fairly early. Checking the door for spells, I slowly open it and enter the room quietly, my mother's bed has the curtains pulled... but she closes them when she gets out as well, so I need to be sure.
Sneaking closer, I marvel at how easily my body responds to my orders, I've always been a bit clumsy, but now my steps are far more stable as I move to the bed, pulling the curtain aside slightly, making sure to do it from an angle that the moonlight from the window can't enter.
As I open the curtain enough to peek in, I smile slightly seeing mother fast asleep... my smile almost immediately falls as I take in her appearance, her quilt thrown over half of her body as she sprawls over the bed, her flimsy black nightie barely containing her breasts.
Immediately the beast within me awakens, my trousers becoming tighter as I spot a perfectly coin-sized nipple through the see-through silk.
Pulling the curtain back closed, I flee the room quietly.
I intend to indulge in my sins, and Lust is probably one of the least dangerous or hurtful sins, other than sloth and gluttony, but losing my control here would be incredibly stupid.
Mother is a very, very powerful magic-user. Not a witch, she hates that term, but a very talented sorceress.
Even if I didn't love and respect her, trying to molest a sleeping sorceress is just asking to be disintegrated.
I learnt what I wanted to, she is asleep, and I am ready.
Heading out of the house, I take a moment to be glad that we don't have any of those enchanted portraits. Having to hide from a painting would be stupid.
Leaving the house, I take a deep breath and prepare myself. There are deer in these woods, and tonight, I intend to lessen their numbers by one.
My first sacrifice, possibly of many.
- Bonus Scene – Motherly Love -
Opening her eyes, she felt herself smile at Gray's self-control. He really did make her proud.
He'd even checked for magical alarms, but he forgot one thing... she taught him those detection spells, and she knew how to hide from them.
Most Lesser Demons had very little control, but most of them didn't have years of self-control training to call on. She had her doubts about how effective it would be, a Demon knowing Occlumency would be a first after all, most were born Demons and couldn't use mortal magic, and she was expecting at least a bit of groping before he regained his control.
Something she would have let him get away with, she'd manipulated his whole life from birth to lead him to this point, after all, she would accept the consequences.
She could at least confirm that Lust was probably his major sin, gluttony was a definite as well, and either pride or wrath from his response to being insulted.
Summoning her Abyssal Raven familiar, she sent it out into the night, watching her son head into the forest through its eyes.
Many would say she was a bad mother, that she didn't love her children.
They might be right on the first, but they couldn't be more wrong on the second, she adored Gray, she had from the moment she first held him in her arms... just because she had plans for him didn't mean her love for him was false.
Getting up, she pulled her nightie off and tossed it away, she usually slept naked after all, but she didn't want to test his control too much on the first night. Walking to her desk, she pulled out a piece of parchment with a small smile.
You will be happy to know the Lodge's long wait is over.
Authors Note: So, I've decided to start another story... obviously. No, neither of my other stories are being abandoned/put on hiatus. But I found myself really wanting to do a story based around demons.
I'll do one more of this, go back to conquest for chapter 22, and then I'm going to start alternating between stories every chapter instead of every two chapters.
Grayson has a very bastardised version of the Gamer system in his Grimoire, but he's no real Gamer. He is far more limited and it'll make him have to act smart to survive.
Yes, Keira, Yennefer and Triss are from the Witcher, as is the Lodge of Sorceresses, and Morrigan is from Dragon Age. Damian is just an OC.
I don't normally say this, but since I'm trying something new here I would appreciate some feedback.