Suu (tide_turner) wrote in honest_critique,

^^; I'm looking for an honest critique/possible story ideas for a modern fantasy-type story I'm writing. It's called Demonica Domini, and it's got some semi-religious subject matter, as well as a little bit of violence. I'd probably rate it PG-13, though I bet it'll hit R later on.

Without further ado--

She woke in a pool of blood.
Oh, it wasn't HER blood-- that much was obvious by her lack of injury. And also by the fact that while her blood was the same scarlet as every other human's, THIS blood was-- not.
And finally, because the former owner of the sticky gold ichor that was currently staining whatever was left of her school uniform was still beside her, eyes closed, curled up, still breathing softly, his wings rising and falling with each--
Wait a second, wings?!
Yes. It was coming back to her. Fucking Angelology professor had decided that since she was so advanced, she'd perform the Angelus Domini ceremony with the upperclassmen of a year higher. She remembered being nervous, not feeling ready, but Professor McKeone had insisted.
But there had been a problem. As the others communed with their personal Domini, she'd drawn out the Angelograph, having slightly shaky hands but clear knowledge of what was needed and expected.
Her hands must have shaken too much as she drew the Haramaic words of power, connecting letters when there should have been no connection, adding an extra, unneeded dot. She didn't know. But while the others had called up the ethereal, whitewinged, fair Angels, she'd called up something else entirely.
She'd called up a monster. And... and...
She'd called up a Demon.

She wasn't sure where the common assumption that Demons were misshapen, grotesque creatures had come from, but even in her shock she didn't miss how wrong that assumption was.
He-- for it was most definitely a 'he', no matter HOW feminine he looked-- was beautiful. As beautiful as any Angel. Hair the color of a blazing sunset spilled over the milk-pale skin of his shoulders, framed an angular face, set of molten gold eyes, wild waves flowing in an aureola around his head. The only thing blemishing his pale skin was the blazingly red, shifting tattoo that curled up over the bony ridge of his hip from somewhere... lower. And on his back...
A pair of magnificently feathered, blue-black wings, huge and imposing, rose from his shoulderblades to stretch to at least seven feet. His wingspan would be enormous, if he were to extend the pinions to their fullest. She was awestruck by the beauty of his wings.
He didn't cast her a second glance, chasing the creature that had escaped and was now munching on her upperclassmen. A sword of crystalline ice appeared in his delicately fingered hand, and silently he swept down to slice into the creature's skin as it chewed on a disembodied hand, one that looked vaguely like Professor McKeone. As it registered the pain of the sword, the creature turned-- and unable to see the Demon, beady black eyes glittered as they focused on her.
Lunging, the monster pinned her down, teeth gnashing. With a sickening thump, her head hit the concrete and a sea of black drowned her consciousness.

And there she was, one black wing covering her body, tattered remains of her uniform turning heavy with gold ichor, and a bleeding demon panting in his sleep at her side. Lovely. With a trembling hand, she reached out to touch the beautiful, evil creature beside her, fingers reaching out to brush an errant strand of fiery hair out of his face.
She stifled a scream when liquid gold eyes snapped open to look at her.
"You're alive," he croaked in a voice that was like a rusty, honeyed trap with an undercurrent of unspeakable sensuality. "That implies a certain amount of spunk. I like it." A smoky laugh, followed by a cough that brought forth a spurt of ichor from his chest and his mouth.
She panicked, worried about what would happen if she were caught with the body of a Demon, dying. And what would happen to him. "Don't laugh!" she scolded, staring at the gaping wound across his chest. With no hesitation, she tore off black Mary Jane shoes, pulling off the thigh-high stockings the school enforced with the uniform, lifting his body and tying the stockings around his chest in an effort to keep the ichor in.
"Getting naked already, sweetheart? Trust me, eventually I will be able to oblige you most completely, but at the moment..." As she tightened the knot savagely, he let out a sharp gasp. "Careful there. That hurt. Though it won't do any good."
She stopped. "It... won't?"
He let out an exasperated sigh. "Of course not. Didn't you study Demonic Anatomy?"
She shook her head, scandalized. "Of course I didn't! Studying such unholy things is forbidden at St. Brigid's!"
He rolled his eyes. "Silly humans. Can't hope to fight what you can't understand... Anyway, as a Demon, and one of high class, might I add, I need Sangri Virginis to heal bodily wounds." He wasn't in any danger from the wound, though it was most definitely uncomfortable.
"Sangri Virginis. Virgin's blood, lovely. I know they made you study Haramaic at that silly school."
"I know what it is!" She flared, indignantly.
"Then why so embarrassed? Could it be that you're a--"
"Of course I am! All good girls are."
"Not necessarily true. Mary du Magdalene, for example." He shook his head. "But that's another thing. Do you want to save me?"
Silently, she nodded. Compassion and mercy required it.
"Then do it. Cut your arm. Scratch it. Give me blood-- just a little."
She looked at him for a long moment before reaching into her blouse, pulling out a crucifix with spiky, sharp edges. Taking a breath, she struck her arm, dragging the sharpest edge over pale skin, between her wrist and elbow. It hurt as it tore through her skin, but she was gratified to see the blood well up easily. As it began to trickle over her arm, the Demon reached up to take it in his hand, bringing the wound to his lips. "I'll make it as quick and painless as possible."
As he began to drink at the blood flowing from her arm, a warm, sleepy euphoria passed over her. His wounds knitted and closed as she slowly began to doze from whatever it was he was replacing her blood with, and as he closed the wound with the tip of his tongue, she fell into dreamless sleep.

----Segue into Ch. 2----

She woke up the next day with a headache, in St. Brigid's infirmary. As she came to, the nurse smiled, letting out a relieved sigh. "You're awake! You hit your head pretty hard, young miss." In her white uniform, the woman looked like an Angel in the glowing light from the window.
...Angel?! Where was the Demon?
Her worried look must have been obvious, because the nurse clucked in a motherly fashion. "Your brother was very worried about you, miss. He's in the lobby. Should I get him...?"
"...Brother...?" She went unheard as the woman bustled off, leaving her alone for a few moments. Those few moments were spent wondering. Had the Demon gone home? If so, who was posing as her brother? She was an only child, after all. What if-- what if the Demon had decided to wreak havoc on the city? He was, by his own admission, a Highlevel, and that was a worrisome prospect. But as it turned out, she hadn't needed to worry.
"Miss, your brother."
The redhead strolled in as if he had been worried for hours. "Little sister! You're alright! I was so worried when you slipped on that rollerskate. What have I told you about putting up your toys?"
She glowered at him, muttering a response that wasn't meant for the ears of minors.
The nurse shook a finger at her, before sighing. "I'll assume that was just an aftereffect of the blow. But more importantly, Miss, where's your veil? You know it's not proper for a girl of your age to be out without one."
The veil. Another imposed uniform-- but this time, one accepted by all of society: the enforced Modesty Veil that all girls from menarche on had to wear outdoors. The Demon jumped into the conversation, pressing the standard gauzy blue veil into his summoner's hands. "I picked it up after she'd hit her head. Here, little sister. Big brother Uriel is always looking out for you." His sickeningly sweet tone grated on her nerves, but she took the veil, adjusting it to cover her shoulders and fall over her eyes.
"You're such a lucky girl to have Uriel here watching over you," the nurse rambled on. Meanwhile, her captive patient fumed. The nerve of this Demon, taking that name! 'Angel of Light' in Haramaic? Was he trying to be funny?
For his part, the Demon-- no, Uriel-- was playing the part of a mortal admirably. He'd obviously spent his time studying the humans, if he knew the customs. He even had the 'adoring big brother' part down pat. Even down to the picking her up to carry her-- wait, what?!
Uriel looked down at his 'sister', smiling in a way that, to her, was ingratiating and sadistic. But to the nurse, it was the picture of sibling love. She smiled at the pair and nodded. "You've taken care of the paperwork, so I'd suggest getting back to your home, you two. Be careful-- it's late out, and the Cherubim Order may be patrolling. You should be fine, but be sure to get home quickly." Uriel nodded as if he were seriously worried and went for the door, hissing to the girl in his arms.
"Play along." As if she had a choice!
Glaring at him, she grudgingly did as he said. "Yes, ma'am." She had to work to muster the cheerful tone. "Let's go home, 'Big brother'."

As soon as they had left the relatively safe confines of the Infirmary, she struggled to escape Uriel's grasp, only to find that not only was he capable of carrying her, but that he had an amazingly strong grip. "Stop struggling," he ordered crossly, walking in a direction that was NOT the direction of the dormitory that she lived in.
"Where do you think you're going? My home isn't this way!"
"You're right. OUR home is."
"O-Our?! Are you NOT aware that cohabitation is illegal? The Most Holy decreed it thousands of years ago, Uriel!"
"Oh," he replied, amused. "I see you've gotten used to the name I chose."
With a frustrated growl, she glared at him, only to see pure amusement in his gold eyes. It was a wonder that the nurse didn't question his looks, she reflected. After all, red hair itself was somewhat uncommon, and gold eyes were even more rare. But then, he had cleaned up-- and dressed, too.
His hair pulled back into a sleek tail at the base of his neck, and in the normal white uniform of a student of St. Brigid, he only looked a few years older than she. His wings had obviously either been hidden or Glammed, and he didn't look quite as tall. Then again, when you were looking up at someone, they normally would appear tall.
"Is that admiration in your eyes, princess?"
"Don't call me that." She growled as they reached a set of apartments-- to avoid the Cardinal Sins of Envy and Lust, apartments were issued by the government. She shuddered to think of what he'd done to get this one. Had he killed a family? Children? Or... had he killed a government official to get the assignment?!
"Relax, pretty. It was empty. I just drew up the papers-- another advantage of Demonhood. I don't know HOW you mortals survive without the basic comforts."
"Then why don't you just go home?" she cried, frustration evident in her voice.
"I can't, dear heart."
"Stop it with the pet names! Why not?"
He sighed, and with the boredom of one who'd memorized the words, he began. "Once summoned, Demonica Domini can not be returned home until the summoner--"
"--Gathers the materials and knowledge needed," she finished for him. "But that text has been gone for years! I only know it because I read it pre-banning. ...Wait, does this mean..."
"Do you have the materials and Spell chart? I don't think you do. Besides, our situation is a little more... complicated."
"What do you mean, 'complicated'?" She was suspicious.
"We're Bonded, you and I."
"B-Bonded? As in... a blood pact?!" Now she remembered. He'd taken her blood to heal his wounds. "As in... indelibly chained to each other? As in the most serious crime we could possibly commit?!" Her voice, while still low, was quickly rising in pitch as the implications hit her. She could be tortured for this. She could be executed. She could even be... "I could be excommunicated for that!"
He gave her a withering look, one that spoke volumes about his opinion of her priorities. "It's not indelible."
"It-- It's not?! You mean..."
"Well, yes, you can release me. But it would involve death-- for both of us."
"As in suicide...?" Another Cardinal Sin, and also the breaking of the Covenantus Commandenti. She was trapped.
"Yes. Though for me it would hardly matter, since I would be reborn back in Rasetsukoku."
"It's Demonic. Don't try to pronounce it, it's not likely you'll be able to. But anyway, unless you have the overwhelming desire to kill yourself-- which, by the way, would totally banish your soul to Rasetsukoku-- you're stuck with me. Though there might be a way to revoke the Pact, I don't know of it. I'd suggest research if you really find me that intolerable."
She did. "Fine. I'll find a way to send you back and then I'll work on cleaning this stain from my soul. You've tainted me, Demon." Her tone was acid.
And the look he gave her, although for but a fleeting moment, hurt worse. For a moment, the golden depths looked hurt, sad. But then his mask came up again and he was once again looking sadistically cruel. "Let's go to bed, sister. Tomorrow is the beginning of a bigger adventure."
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