Theme: The Seven Deadly Sins.
Explained: A story in which the main theme is an allegorical, metaphorical, and/or literal representation and/or embodiment of, one of the seven deadly sins.
- The protagonist is corrupted by, and/or is a victim of, one of the sins.
- One or more of the seven deadly sins are made manifest--They exist in physical form.
- The story is told from the perspective of the antagonist villain of the story. (Thanks Kestrel!)
- The story ends on a happy note.
- Genre Change: Portray the story in a fantasy universe.
- Role Reversal: Demons, Demoness, Devils, Imps and otherwise hellish creatures are "good guys", angels, archangels, God(s) and otherwise heavenly creatures are "evil."
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To Whom It May Concern:
Consider this a warning, it may already be too late for you to do anything about what I am about to tell you. I am for all intents and purposes the sin of Pride. My reason for warning you is because I used to be like you. I used to be human, I had a love once she was the most beautiful creature to ever grace your eyes. She had long flowing auburn hair that was offset by deepest pools of blue you’ve seen. Anyway, that is enough about describing my wife to you.
My name has become Pride. That is how I shall refer to myself from now on because to my ultimate shame I’ve forgotten what my real name is. My creator is you, and all other humans. To which I am ultimately grateful for. But now to continue my story. I was turned when I lost my wife or rather you took her from me, she was my pride and ultimate joy. Then a drifter came through, he broke into my house killed her. Carved the word Lust into her chest ruined her beauty. So I chased after that fiend his scent was of sulfur and ash. I swung my fist against his back which cut my skin open. He had long jagged spikes running along his back.
That devil just kept walking forward ignoring everything I tried, I had to do anything to make him turn to face me. So I grabbed some water throwing it against his skin. This got his attention of course, he quickly turned to face me making me wet my pants. He grabbed me by my throat lifting me off the ground. His eyes..were black nothing but a deep emptiness existed in there. I wish I could say that he grinned but he did nothing. However something made me try to break free of his grasp. But he just held me there.
A hand appeared out of no-where and started to carve words into my chest. P-R-I-D-E he then set me down and spoke. His voice was evil, it sounded like a thousand screams each simultaneously speaking the same thing. “You woman, shall be the next sin I need. Your pride overwhelmed your senses and forced you to attack me” with that he was gone and I laid there bleeding with the word Pride etched into my chest. I’d imagine that I died because I do not remember anything from that point until my eyes open again.
As I open my eyes I look around wondering what was happening. My skin was bare for all who desired to look upon me. Something inside me made me enjoy the admiration I was getting, it was as though I was happy to have all attention upon my nude form. I looked around for someone I could speak too. I was lonely or at least that is why I identified the emptiness inside me as. Perhaps it was a longing for the eyes to be upon my body again. As I continued to look around I saw a man hunched over a barrel. I could smell the fire, it was a comforting scent like fresh baked cinnamon buns.
The man turned to face me a warm smile spread across his lips before he spoke. “Ah yes, Pride my 7th and final daughter. It is nice to meet you after so long.” I tried to open my lips to speak but they were sealed shut. The man speaks again “You are beyond needing your lips to speak. You can speak simply by thinking that which you need to say” I nod as though I understood what it was he was saying. Then he stands up and starts to walk away.
“Follow me my daughter” he beckons for me to follow, as far as I was aware he was my father. Who was I to do deny my father such a simple wish. So I followed him, he led me down a flight of stairs. As we continued down the stair. I started to realize just how cold I’d been, it was as though I’d been frozen alive. But as we continued to go down I felt the eyes of literally thousand take in my body. A surge of power flowed over me. I felt stronger and stronger the longer the eyes were upon my body. I knew every thought they were having. They wanted my body, they wanted my position, they wanted everything that I had. They were envious of me. That made me feel so prideful, never before did I have something that anyone else wanted.
My father continued to take me down farther. It was then I noticed that we’d stopped at a rather intricate building. The walls were made out of ivory, the doors where glass with gold wrought along the edges in a grand design that I swore I’d seen before. As I continue to stare I notice where I’d seen the design before. It was the design on my diary. The design formed two hearts each having the tips touching each other.
A tear of pride falls down my cheek. My father was using a design I drew on my diary for his castle. He beckons me to continue following him once more. As I enter the castle my breath it stolen from me. There were two staircases that lead up. The two were like serpents intertwined around a branch. I quickly race up one of the stairways. My mind was alight with the sensations that were overwhelming my mind.
Once I was atop the stairwell I saw there were seven other beings there with me. One I immediately realized was my wife. I race over to her and wrap my arms around her body. She pushes me away in repulsion. How dare you touch my body! She screams out with all of her might. I look broken and down at my feet embarrassed maybe I’d been mistaken. Maybe she wasn’t my wife, maybe it had been this being who carved her name into my loves body.
Father appears at the top of the stairwell and speaks solemnly. “No Pride my dear, that is not your wife. Your wife was not strong enough to make the transfer from human to demon. You however, were plenty strong. Which surprised me, typically we have to take a dead human here. But you were able to make it. So meet your sisters. Wrath, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy and you my dear Pride make seven. You are the seven deadly sins, or as I call you. The Seven Deadly Queens” he stops to admire his work before continuing “As you may know each of you has a counter-side. The Seven Virtues or The Seven Kings as they are called.”
He glances around hoping that there wasn’t anyone listening to what he was about to say. He peels aways his hood revealing several scars two scars appeared to be particularly horrible. They were covering his eyes leaving his appearance like that of a monster. If it wasn’t for the scars all over his face I might be describing him as handsome. But he wasn’t, his blond hair was in tattered clumps just hanging there by threads of skin. He calms down a bit before he continues to speak.
“The Seven Kings are heavens main defense against us. They’re named as follows Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility. Each of those Virtues is your other half. They have defeated us many times by luring my other daughters to the other side. Made you embrace what little humanity you have left in your hearts. So this time we must be more vigilant then we’ve ever been before”
I stare my father down with all my might “They shall never best us ever again!” he looks at me in disbelief “Did you just speak?” he says stunned I grin as a pair of ruby red lips appear on my face. I grin “Yes, my pride shall never be bested. I will make sure those Virtues crumble underneath our force” I walk over to the other sins, rub two fingers against their mouths giving each of them a pair of lips as red as blood. They each bore the same smirk as I did. Then I turned to face my father and knelt before him. “We will not fail you like the others had. We shall succeed where they failed.
I turn to face the other daughters “We shall not fail father who so graciously gave life to us. Who allowed us to become more then what we were before now. We shall end the lives of those who dared oppress us” a dark smile spreads across Wraths lips and she lets out a rather inspirational battle cry which led the rest of us to cry out similar battle cries.
We knew one thing, and that was that we had to win this war. We knew this was going to be the second sin war. However instead of fighting against humanity, we were going to be fighting against those who inhabited those who suppressed humanity’s basic urges. Those who called themselves our betters. What fools we were back then. We thought what we were fighting for was true and pure.
However when we reached heavens shining gates we didn’t encounter any resistance. “Where are those cowards!” we all shouted to the gates. Several men came forth to the gates and just stood there. They were rather attractive, each one had wings that shimmered against the sun. Looking back on it now, we should’ve retreated then and there. But my pride told me we could win.
“Are you ready to do combat and have your bodies strewn across the realms!” I shouted at them charging at the closest one. He just took the hits, never once did he strike back. None of them stuck at us, they just accepted our abuse. Each one just fell like there was no reason to fight back. That was when I started to suspect something had gone wrong. Our father appeared behind clapping his hands. “I knew you could win against them” he says walking toward the gates. He pushes them open leading thousands upon thousands of demons against the host of heaven.
Fire met fire, angels fought against demons. But for some reason the angels weren’t really fighting. It was as though they’d lost all hope. Like something was deeply wrong with them. Father just kept fighting against them tearing their wings off. Let me tell you now, if you never hear an angel scream. Consider yourself lucky, it will destroy your heart even most of the bloodthirsty demons stopped fighting every time father tore the wings off an angel.
We took over heaven with ease, Father enslaved most of the angels. Then he sat on the throne of heaven. The strangest thing though, through all of the fighting. Throughout the slaughter, God never showed up. He didn’t defend his gates. He just let us take them over. At least that’s what it felt like to me. It was then I saw a scrap of paper floating amidst the ashes that now choked heaven. It said that god had finally fallen, that god took the form of a woman with auburn hair. The only way to identify who it was the deep blue pools that were in the eyes of the woman.
I fell to my knee’s tears streaming down my eyes. I now realized just why my wife hadn’t been able to make it to my side again. Because the woman I’d loved god. I scream out in pain, there was no reason for me to continue on living anymore. I walk off the cliff that separated heaven from the earth. I knew the only way I could die with my pride intact was if I chose the way I was to die. So this is the best way for me to go.
My body slams into the earth with little resistance my body becomes as broken as my spirit was. “I love you Ashley” tears spill into the earth as my heart completely shatters. With my last dying words I reach up to the heavens hoping that I at least prevented Father from stealing the hope from the humans. That with my death my sisters each lose their strength or at least their voices. I might not be human but at least I loved like a human once. I was in love with god and I didn’t even know it. Ironically I never viewed myself as religious. “Please comeback to us, I’m sorry that I couldn’t do anything to save you”
As I feel my life leave me I see Ashley with her beautiful eyes looking down at me. She presses her lips against my own, her hand gently caresses my cheeks as she holds my body in her arms. She takes me back up to the heavens. “I always loved you my beauty Sammy” my name returns to me. It was Sammy, a smile spreads across my lips as we return to heaven. She pushes open the gates of heaven with an ease never seen before.
As I continue to fade away I see Ashley as a warrior goddess who had come to save the world. The demons flee away her wrath, my sisters are each sent from the bastions of heaven with a wave of my loves hand. Her gaze then falls upon Father I pass out, when I come to I look up and see her auburn hair waving into the air. She had won against that which I couldn’t. “Welcome back, Sammy” I nod painfully.
My name is Sammy, and this is my warning. Do not so readily give into your darkest desires, hold them at bay otherwise you might become something you no longer recognize. You might become Pride, or something even worse. I am a woman, and I love Ashley. She is my world and I will do anything to protect her from harm. I was promised that as long as I loved her, she would never leave my side. I don’t recognize the existence of god within her. But that doesn’t mean I do not believe in a higher power. Something must’ve been looking over me otherwise I wouldn’t have found Ashley in the first place.
I hope you take my warning seriously.
“It's... I think... Robert, I think you're the one.”
I was afraid she'd say that. Trembling lip, my sweaty hand clenched in hers, she blinked in rapid succession; this girl was going to cry. I tried to look past her to see what was on the TV. I'm not sure what a bear had to do with a laundromat, but much as I tried, it is hard to focus on figuring out the commercial when fifty-seven kilogrammes in nothing but a night gown weighs down on your chest, twenty minutes after you asked her what she was still doing in your apartment.
“You're wearing Luna's dress.”
I don't think it got through to her. Seeing her in my girlfriend's clothes, I don't think it got through to me. Bitch was crazy. Of course I liked that about her yesterday. Judging the direction my hands are going, I still liked that about her... Oh... No. Fuck no, Robert, you're not doing this. You will keep it down, you will not turn around, you will not... Her trembling lip slowly transformed into a smile.
God damn it.
It's not that I didn't realise what was going on until I lit a cig afterwards, then contemplated burning the sheets with it. I knew this would happen. That girl's arm weighed down on my chest like a ton of bricks and her legs wrapped around mine like a pair of green anacondas. An embrace in which I could feel my soul being sucked out, kiss, by kiss, by kiss. It happened just as I predicted.
“Roooooooobert...” She moaned my name like a five-year old who really wanted the puppy in the window; high-pitched and annoying, “I have to go to woooooooork.”
She started moving again and slowly crawled out of the bed. Finally. Half-way getting dressed, she suddenly turned to me and asked me to call her. “You never gave me your number.” I answered truthfully, only to have her pick my phone out of my pants, press buttons and throw it at me. Her first name was Kendra. I never learned her last, but to this day I am sure it isn't less than three.
“Oh Robert, come here!”
Two minutes of soul-sucking later, Kendra finally got out of my apartment. I locked the door behind her, while already pressing the buttons on my mobile. “Are you sure you want to delete 'Kendra<3' from your contacts?” My display asked. I waited until I no longer heard her footsteps; twenty-two gruelling seconds to be more precise, before I removed her from my phone's memory forever. I watched her cross the street from behind the curtains. She startled me when she turned around and looked up, but it was at the wrong window. Again, thankfully.
Now that Kendra was out of my home and sight, it was time to assess the situation. Luna was only out for the weekend and I would pick her up from the airport around midnight. That left me with approximately thirty-six hours for damage control. Enough time to do the laundry, open the windows to let out the perfume, clean up the entire apartment and knock over a framed picture to excuse it all. But first a joint.
Which is how I met Lillian.
“Northern Light?” She asked nonchalantly. I sat on the veranda of the old couple across the street. They had given Luna the keys to water their plants. She forbid me to come here, but Luna was about three hundred and eighty kilometres away from me. She could not stop me and it was difficult for me to resist Just sitting here made me feel relaxed; to lean on the railing and watch the cars and passer-bys.
“You've got a good nose if you can smell that. Especially from all the way over there.” I replied and offered her a share. “Something you like?”
She did. Lillian smoked with me. She put the paper shell to her lips and inhaled the sweet hell I offered to share. Smoking came to Lilian as breathing. Long strands of black-dyed hair fell across her face. You could see the shape of her skull if you studied that face carefully. Lillian noticed my eyes pry, but didn't pay them attention. Instead she looked through the window of the old couple's house and watched the living room for two breaths. “Fancy place,” she commented, “You come here often?”
I had done it again. Still naked I opened the curtains and let the light in. The prospect of anyone down on the street seeing me now wasn't nearly as shameful as facing the semi-transparent reflection of myself was. I'd better clean the windows.
She found a hair in my bed, Lillian. She held it up between her thumb and pinky finger, causing the sheet to slide down her pale shoulder. Lillian caught me looking again, but didn't even bother to cover herself, even in broad daylight. Instead, she just ignored me and kept finding more hairs.
“These your girlfriend's?” She asked, presenting me the small strand of long red hair. I shook my head. “Oh? You don't expect me to believe a guy buys peach-flavoured body-lotion? I've been to your bathroom, you know.”
“Can't a guy smell good?” I tried to joke about it, but Lillian hushed me;
“If you did, I would've noticed.”
So far Lillian had proven herself hard to fool. She had seen through all my lies so far. I decided to pass up my only chance of her believing one. “It's not Luna's.” I admitted eventually. “It's a girl's. Named Kendra. I met her last night. She bet she could take more shots than me. She lost, so she came back here with me. Told me she loved me. Then we fucked.”
I waited. I expected Lillian to start calling me names. After all, that was what I deserved. Something in the fashion of how I was a demon from the inferno's second circle, or how I was unable to control my desires; blinded by them to see right from wrong. I expected her to point out me starting to sweat and shiver, tell me how that is just like the pig I am. She would at some point scream at me, utterly shattering my already failing 'ironed façade' and then tell me that I had used her, that I had used Luna and even used Kendra. Finally, she would slam the door out of it's frame before she was even fully dressed, leaving me to wallow in my pit of self-pity and by drowned and cooked in my boiling pot of sin.
I watched her finish her cigarette, contemplating in what she'd say. Any minute now... I thought. Lillian breathed out, like a dragon let smoke escape from it's nostrils. She looked at me and said, “Well, I can help you clean if you want.”
Lillian had startled me with this offer. More than startled me, I believe she scared the living hell out of me. I was rendered absolutely speechless.
“Well, you know.” She said with a straighter face than even I could wish for, “You wouldn't want Luna to find my hair in your bed.” She got up and closed the curtains. “And this wasn't smart. Not my fault if the neighbours start talking.”
While my face dressed in the most dim-witted, blank stare she must ever have witnessed, Lillian began to take the sheets off the bed. “Oi, you don't get to stand there.” She commented, with more emotion than I had heard her use in any rational sentence so far. “Help me.”
I hurried to get another end. “Like this, right?”
Finally in the doorway, I took a good look in Lillian's eyes. They were unwavering again. I was still unsure if everything that had happened had really just happened. From Kendra, to Lillian, to cleaning my apartment and knocking over the picture Luna and I took with Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. “Shame of that picture though, the frame was cute.” She said.
“Yeah...” We had agreed that excuse was in order. “It was a good memory.” Lillian and I looked at each other faintly. We both realised I must've been crazy to mess that up.
“Well, goodbye Robert.” She said, preventing the incoming awkward silence. There wasn't much I could reply. I watched her figure shrink in my eyes as she neared the end of the corridor, then descended down the stairs. Even when she was gone, I wondered. Lillian had been the strangest thing, it was as if she had come down, just so that she could watch over me.
Birth of a Demon
The halls of the castle were bathed in their blood,
My blade shining red in the light of the moon,
From the throne room to the solar they fell with a thud,
Lives of the young that had ended too soon.
But not every soul had met their demise,
To the rage of my own and the sword in my hand,
A young prince in the bailey prayed to the skies
The now-king of a bloody and empty crown land.
As I walked to the boy, my quest almost done,
A knife in my back took me by surprise,
The attacker screaming for the child to run,
But wonder and excitement shone in his eyes.
To protect him the other stabbed me again,
Pushed me to the ground and tied up my arms,
"You've killed the king and all of his men,
But his son, the Prince, shall not come to harm."
"The Prince," I replied, in a musing tone,
"Has nothing to worry when it comes to his life,
He can act as he pleases and sit on his throne,
With no worry of a land of chaos and strife."
"Look at him and ask yourself if you see a man,
As he stares at the blood I pour to the ground,
Or do you see a demon birthed in the king's clan,
With eyes the same as the monster you've bound."
With rage just like mine, the boy grabbed at my throat,
Squeezing with power and authority too,
"My life to the kingdom and the gods I devote,
I will do good with my power- I am nothing like you!"
"You know of what I speak, you feel it inside,"
Like me, a monster in you does reside,
A sin like your will not hide,
I am wrath... but you are pride."
Pain and despair filled the land, as it had for decades past. The people were not assailed by foreign armies coming to take their land, nor by raiding orcs from the nearby mountains, nor by the dragons that once plagued the land, nor a thousand other external threats that had once caused such misery for the people. No, this time of suffering was brought upon them by one of their own, he whose duty was to protect and help his people. The man who sat in dominion the land had brought his people to their lowest point where he should have raised them to their highest.
Sins had always been present in mortal kind, but they were so very rarely exemplified to such a degree as they were in kings. In ages long past these atrocities went unpunished, but the mind is a powerful thing. Thoughts have a power to them, nearly a form of magical energy, a weak force that can be exerted upon the world subconsciously by a lone mortal. Wizards and warlocks and all other manner of magic users took that energy and used it to manipulate the magic currents of the world, to bend them to their will. However, even untrained minds can have a strong effect on the world. With enough people thinking the same thoughts, powerful emotions or desires of thousands of individuals all bent toward one goal, they can tap into the oldest and strongest magicks of the world, the primal forces of creation itself, to achieve that goal.
Thus were the Sins born of desires for retribution, countless people of all castes, peasant and noble alike, wishing justice on those whose sins caused them harm. Such was the source of all beings deemed supernatural: angels from the desire for rewards for good actions; ghosts from the desire to see dead loved ones; vampires and werewolves from fears of the monsters lurking inside the mind of man; all manner of horrible beasts from fear of the dark and shadowed places in the world. The Sins were somewhat unique in that they were so few and so very specific in their nature. They fed upon those sins they were named after, devouring the ethereal energies given off by those who lived lives of selfish sin. For special cases, those so embroiled in sin that their very flesh was corrupted by it, the Sins would take corporeal form for those rare treats and devour the transgressor's physical form as well.
Pride slipped through the walls of the castle, savoring the air. The building reeked of pride, pride atop flows of all the other sins, a melange of the sickly sweet energies the Sins fed on. King Valon had turned this once modest castle into a palace, a den of sin so great that the air itself was tainted. Rarely were the Sins treated to such a feast, for rarely were horrid rulers allowed to stay in power so long to amass such a wealth of wickedness.
Servants hurried through the corridors, their resplendent emerald and gold outfits looking out of place against their gaunt and often sickly faces. The clothing certainly fit the halls of the castle: rich carpets covered every walkway, tapestries and paintings hung from most walls, and alcoves along the halls held display cases filled with countless riches. Pride noticed elven ears among the servants, as well as the dark skin of the people from the southern fiefdoms. The westerlands of the elves and the southern coasts of the seafarers were among the conquests of King Valon, their people oppressed and forced into lives of slavery. Many of the fine adornments of the castle halls were items stripped from their people during the wars, brought home for the pleasure of the king.
Quiet clinks and clangs greeted Pride's arrival in the dining hall. King Valon was partaking in one of his nightly feasts it seemed, the long table laden with ten times as much food as the gathered people could possibly eat in a week. The man himself sat at the head of the table, sloshing wine into his corpulent face. His tankard seemed a bucket with a handle on the side, an over-sized container for the over-sized man who used it. Perhaps Pride's assessment was wrong: this blubbery behemoth of a man might have been able to put away the banquet all to himself in a night. A nervous woman approaching the king drew Pride's attention. She pulled a ladle out of the porcelain container she held in one hand, pouring a thick liquid into the bowl in front of King Valon. Her shaking hands caused her to slosh some on the table, at which she winced preemptively.
"Stupid fucking cow!" The exclamation was followed by the sharp slap of flesh on flesh. The dark skinned servant girl was knocked flying by Valon's backhanded slap, the large jeweled rings on his hand breaking skin. Pride floated down for a look, his incorporeal form going unnoticed by the people in the room. It seemed the girl would be fine, though the soup tureen was lying shattered on the floor. "Clean up this mess before I have you beheaded!" The crying girl, for girl she was with only perhaps fifteen years to her name, hurried to obey. Another servant girl rushed over with an identical porcelain tureen, filling the king's bowl with more care than the other girl had used.
As Pride returned his attention to the dining table he noticed the other people were all women. Their eyes were cast downward, as if not wishing to see the violence, pretending not to notice it. They were all more healthy looking than the servants, full figures stuffed into corsets and low cut gowns to show off their assets for their owner. King Valon's harem was the stuff of legend in taverns and inns across the world. It was said that the lecherous king bought or kidnapped the most beautiful women from around the world, all of them acting as his devoted and highly skilled lovers. It seemed the truth was that they lived in fear and shame, their eyes holding the same haunted cast one could find on survivors of wartime atrocities.
Pride looked on with a mild feeling of disgust, watching as the meal dragged on into the evening. He had seen such horrible people before many a time over the centuries of his existence, but Pride had never been able to rid himself of the being sickened by them. This Valon, king of cowering slaves and a broken kingdom, wasn't even the worst vessel of sin Pride had seen. The worst were the intelligent mortals, the ones who got inventive with their vices. This slob of a man was the lowest common denominator of mankind, a fool who knew only his baser impulsed, but he was no less repugnant for the lack of refinement in his sinning.
The foul king made for his bedchamber after he finished stuffing his face. That the rotund mass of flesh could be supported at all by his legs, much less that the man could actually walk unaided, was a surprise. It was made far less surprising when he flopped down out of breath about a dozen yards away from his seat, settling his bulk onto a gold covered chair that was wide enough to fit his girth and fixed atop a wooden platform decorated with silver leaf and sporting two thick handles. Valon rang a hand bell to summon his carriers, a fine piece of elven craftsmanship, a priest's spirit bell used to ward off malevolent shades, reduced to use as a servant caller. It took a dozen burly men to lift and carry the king to his bedchamber, wherein Pride's brethren awaited his arrival.
They did not wait long to show themselves to Valon, assuming corporeal forms a scant ten minutes after the king got into his bed. As was to be expected, the man nearly choked on fright when they materialized. A sudden appearance could do that no matter what showed up, but the Sins were all rather unpleasant to the human eye. They had been dreamed up as vengeful arbiters, as creatures of darkness who personified sins and devoured them. Often their victims named them demons, a title they never saw fit to deny. Such was as the mortal races made them, demons to punish the most wicked members of the flock. One of them alone could make a terrifying sight, but all of them together, Pride, Wrath, Greed, Gluttony, Lust, Envy, and Sloth arrayed around one room in all their horrifying splendor, had stopped hearts cold before.
"Wh-what in the name of the Light—"
"You have been judged, King Valon." Pride's rich voice drowned the pitiful man out with ease, a smooth yet rough sound, velvet over gravel. His large and muscular form, covered in red skin, drew the mortal's fearful eyes. The man seemed particularly interested in his head, the two large horns sprouting from either side of it. "Lord of sin, tyrant, slaver, murderer. You have been found worthy of our custody until the end of time. Prepare your soul for harvesting." Thus was their ultimate purpose, to punish those whose sins were so great that they ruined the lives of all around them. Death was only the beginning of the punishment for these sinners. An eternity of pain and suffering awaited them, torments beyond the scope of all but the most depraved minds, endless years of agony. Humans called that realm hell, but to the Sins it was known as home.
A white light filled the room, originating from above the king's bed. "This man has seventeen years left. He is destined for the halls of the victorious warrior." A warm feminine voice emanated from the light, the whiteness taking a few moments to coalesce into the form of an angel. She floated tall and proud over the bed, her wings spread wide for full effect. "Who dares trespass on the territory of the angels?"
"The Sins come to collect their bounty, angel." Pride's response brought the angel's eyes downward, leveling her previously raised chin so she could take in the full room.
"The Sins." Golden tresses swung as she turned her head to look along both sides of the bed, taking in the sight. She seemed to shrink in on herself a bit, nonplussed by the sight. "All seven of you? Light have mercy, I should have brought sisters along."
"Your sisters have no place here. You have no place here." There was no hierarchy amongst the Sins, but Pride tended to be the speaker for the group in these scenarios. "This man is sin embodied. He is ours." The others joined in for the traditional repetition, though they'd not been challenged and thus not had needed to use it in many years. "He is ours." Their combined voiced filled the room like a thick fog, pressing and clinging to the skin.
The angel tried not to let her fear show, but her hunched shoulders ruined the attempt. "He is marked for the high heavens of the conqueror. This man led three victorious campaigns. The scriptures say great warriors and conquerors are to be rewarded. You cannot have him."
"Yes, please, listen to her." The king was pressed up against the headboard of his bed, clutching his blankets to his chest as if they would protect him. "She is an angel after all, doesn't she have power over y—"
"No being takes power over the Sins." Pride ignored the man after silencing him, turning his gaze to the heavenly woman still floating still in midair. "What are you called, angel?"
She seemed wary of giving her name to a demon, perhaps believing in the superstition of ones true name having power over oneself, but she overcame it. "I am Lemirel, seraph of the Court of Light. Why do you ask, foul one?"
The angel's insult brought a grin to Pride's crimson face, showing off his sharp teeth for a moment. The irony of this being, the sinner's would-be protector, calling him foul was absolutely delicious. "Lemirel, you know your own scriptures as well as I do." She started to object, likely to say she knew them far better than any demon could, but her continued over her protests. "What do they say of the fate of sinners?"
"They say sinners shall be cast into the pits of torment for all eternity." Lemirel paused, eyes narrowing as if suspecting him of deceit. "This man is a warrior, a great conqueror. Whatever petty sins you claim against him are not enough to outweigh his heroism in battle." Valon nodded hastily in agreement, though he didn't attempt to speak again.
"Petty?" Pride's laugh was half a growl, enough to stiffen even the angel's back in fear. "Declare his sins." Both Lemirel and the human looked ready to speak up, but another voice took over before they could form words.
"King Valon the Envious." A whining voice drew their attention, the voice of Envy. The Sin herself was a wretched and twisted thing, covered in green scales that seemed to suck in the light. "He covets the lands of his neighbors. He covets their possession. He covets their wives and mothers and daughters." Her clawed arm, longer than seemed possible from the stunted size of her body, stretched out to point at the king and stopped only a few inches from his face. "His envy knows no bounds."
"King Valon the Greedy." From the other side of the bed came a ratlike voice, a voice suitable for an oily salesman peddling piss in a jar as a cure for all ailments. Valon sat forward and opened his mouth too speak, but a mismatched set of red and purple eyes shriveled the words in his throat. Greed was a bloated monstrosity of mismatching parts, bits of a dozen nightmares sewed together in an unorganized mess. "He takes and takes without care for the needs of others. He fills his halls with gold and silver while his people start. He loads his table with food to feed a hundred and throws the bulk in the midden heap." An arm that started as a wing and ended in a crooked paw stretched out to point at the man. "His greed knows no bounds."
The angel attempted to cut in, but a voice of subdued rage drowned her out. "King Valon the Wrathful." Wrath's snarl was the sound of murder barely restrained, hate made manifest. His body was powerfully muscled and sheathed in midnight black skin like leather, ridges and spikes of bone protruding from it all along his arms and body. "He destroys his enemies with no mercy. He beats his slaves for the slightest mistake. He brutalizes the women he beds for his own sick pleasure." The arm that reached out to point at the king ended in razor sharp claws that looked as if they could rend the air itself in twain. "His wrath knows no bounds."
"King Valon the Lustful." Lemirel was almost begging for a pause now, trying to halt the inexorable tide of the Sins, but the darkly sultry voice purred onward without halting. Lust took the form of a nude human female of perfect proportions, alabaster white and made of voluptuous curves. Her eyes were empty black holes, her crimson-lipped mouth dripped blood to mar her immaculate skin, and her obsidian hair was parted by two large black horns that swept back and behind her head. "He lusts for all forms of wealth and property. He constantly desires the carnal embrace of the flesh. He hungers for women as a starving man hungers for a morsel of bread." A smooth white hand lifted an accusatory finger toward Valon. Where he had flinched away from the others, this hand set him positively cowering against his headboard. "His lust knows no bounds."
"King Valon the Slothful." The angel had floated away from the king during Lust's speech, hovering off over the side of the bed instead of over the man, and now she turned in the air to seek the slow voice behind her. Sloth's body was short and covered in grey fur, limbs spindly and weak. "He lazes about ordering his slaves to do all work for him. He sits about all day doing nothing, relegating the running of his kingdom to clerks and secretaries. He does not even walk on his own two feet, instead being carried about like a piece of luggage." A thin, grey limb pointed upward to the now crying king. "His sloth knows no bounds."
"Must we go through the whole list? You've made your—" Lemirel spoke quickly, but not quickly enough to avoid being cut off by another voice.
"King Valon the Glutton." This voice was bloated, rather similar to the king's own voice with his fat gullet making his words thick. Gluttony's appearance resembled the porcine man as well, though the Sin's blubbery figure was covered in large purple scales. "He consumes enough food for three men. He drinks enough wine daily to drown a horse. He devours all that he can without stopping." His thick arm shook with rippling fat as it pointed a stumpy finger at the human. "His gluttony knows no bounds."
Lemirel looked wordlessly to Pride, her face a mask of restrained impatience. She knew her only option was to wait it out, but she was not at all pleased by the notion. Angels clearly were not used to being out of control of a situation.
"Please, no, stop it." Valon's sobbing voice was pitiful, but his current torment was a scant drop amongst the deluge of pain he would feel soon enough.
"King Valon the Prideful." His voice drew the man's eyes to him, once more to take in his magnificent form. Pride's form was taken from descriptions of the prime evil of various religions, a large red beast of a man with curved horns standing on goat legs. Many of those stories said his downfall was pride, thus that was the image mortals had dreamed up for him long ago. "You are proud of your covetous ways. You are proud of your grasping, greedy hands." Valon seemed to sink in on himself with each sentence. "You are proud of your burning hatred for your fellow man. You are proud of your harem and your lustful perversions." The sobbing grew such that Pride was forced to raise his voice. "You are proud of your fleet of slaves who do everything for you. You are proud of your selfishly bountiful feasts that take food from the mouths of your people." It was not necessary to yell at the man, but Pride found the continually raising voice to be fitting. He lifted his arm to point the final accusation at the foul king. "You are proud of all your sins, even prideful of your own pride. Your pride knows no bounds, and for that you must pay."
The room was mostly quiet for a few moments, the only sounds coming from the king's weeping. Pride had seen many men crushed by the revelation of their sins, but this one might have been the most pathetic. Lemirel floated down to the ground in front of Pride, looking up at him with her brows drawn together.
"I concede this man's soul, demon. The Court of Light will know of his failures and your.. justice served upon him. I apologize for the interference." Pride simply nodded, acknowledging her words without any true response. Lemirel seemed uncomfortable with letting creatures she deemed evil do as they would with even this horrid man, but her own scriptures bound her to letting it happen. She disappeared in a flash of white light just as she had arrived, leaving the Sins to their work.
King Valon made no attempt to escape, the burden of his sins weighing him down just as much as his rolls of fat. The last sound that came from the sinful man's mortal body was a scream as the Sins pounced, tearing and biting at his flesh to rip his soul away and bring it back with them to the depths of the underworld. The people would rejoice upon hearing of his death, their tormentor found ripped to shreds in his bed. Wrath would lead them to revel in the violence, sloth would make them happy someone else had done the deed, envy and gluttony and greed and lust would bring them to strip the riches from the castle, and they would be proud that someone had finally taken a stand against the tyrant.
Mortals are full of sin, growing and feeding on itself in a never ending cycle. The work of the Sins is never over.
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