What Daisy Saw

Daisy looked up when Brant came into the cave. he was holding a live chicken.

“Got a new pet? Am I really that boring?” Daisy said. Brant looked at her but only briefly, and with great fear in his eyes. with his back to Daisy he tied the chicken to his makeshift altar and started chanting quietly. The torchlight in the cave turned blood red again, but this time a shadowy form coalesced to Brant's side. Taller than Brant, a deeper shadow than the gloom in the rest of the cave, shaped like a muscular man.

Brant finished his chant and raised a knife high, then faltered. The chicken warbled quietly and struggled a little, but otherwise all was still.

“Why do you hesitate? Strike! Reave this animal of its life that I may strengthen the barrier that holds our enemies at bay!” The demon hissed, its voice quiet and insistent, but really just a reedy whisper.

Brant nodded and Daisy decided this had gone too far. “How are you going to cook it? ” She asked lightly, far more lightly than she felt.

Brant turned and looked at her, the demon swiveled and hissed. “Silence!” But its form flickered a little as Brant paid it less attention. “I mean, it seems a waste to butcher a chicken if you don't know how to cook it. You may not know this, but healers are generally very good chefs. The two arts are closely related.”

“What are you talking about?” Brant said and the demon tried to roar but its voice was quieter still. “She seeks only to distract you from your high purpose! She seeks to shake you from your true devotion! Do not let her stay your hand now, or ever!”

“I'm bored in here,” Daisy said, again, putting on her best winsome, flighty girl voice. inside she was terrified, shaking, afraid that a single wrong word could get her killed or worse. She looked at the demon.

“And anyway, why are you listening to...that? It seems like you're doing all the work. It's just using you.”

“It's powers are weak right now—” Brant began and the demon stood between them.

“Do not speak to her, worm! Simpleton! She seeks to confuse you. How poor your mind is, I should be done with you—”

“And go where? Brant, I saw your face when that explosion happened, that hurt you, not this shadow here. It seems like you have way more invested in this whole scheme than it does. It seems like all the power is coming from you.”

“But soon, when I free it, it will have great power, when I have loosened the bonds that Order put on it—”

“And who told you that? I'm guessing it was him? That demon? You know what demons are famous for? Lying.” Daisy said.

the demon screamed “This is pointless. Sacrifice this chicken and I shall show you as much power as you can get for the life of one bird, and you shall have a glimpse of what will happen when you rend her life away.”

“What is this costing you, Brant? I don't think you're a killer.”

“It costs the welder of the knife nothing, the soul of the chicken is taken—”

“Really? So the underworld is full of confused chicken souls? Wondering why they've been damned?”

Brant raised the knife again, slowly. Daisy watched his muscles tense, she could feel him gearing himself up to strike. So she said “ I recommend rosemary and oil, with salt, let it marinate for two hours, then cook it.”

Brant twitched, and dropped the knife. “this is stupid” he said and walked from the room.

“Idiot! Child! Worm! Return at once and free me! give me the power to raise you above those who have held you down—” the demon ranted.

“Hey, quiet.” Daisy said. The demon turned on her. “You! How dare you speak to me in that way? I will reave your soul from your agonized flesh, I shall devour your heart—”

“How? You have no real power here, do you? Brant is supplying all the power. We both know it. You've ruined what could have been a perfectly good druid or wizard.”

“He'll never believe you. He still thinks I'm his only path to power.”

Daisy walked out of her cell, an calmly untied the chicken. “Perhaps. For now. But he's thinking. he's learning. The demon glared at her, its eyes two dark holes in a dark space. “how did you...”

“I don't know! It's strange, isn't it?” Daisy said, and laughing, walked back into her cell and sat back down on her bed.

“I'm tired of talking to you. You can go.” She said, and the demon disappeared.


© 2020-2021 Nathanial Dickson. Written during #NaNoWriMo 2020 Contact me on Mastodon