Claret taught me how to bind the Demon to me, bend him to my will. It was hard at first. At the beginning, she supplemented most of the spell workings… think of it as a crutch. The Demon ultimately listened to me — or at least I thought, hoped it did — but Claret's spells did the heavy lifting. Over time, all the spellwork came from me.
It took months. After being away for months and months on end, I rarely spent a day without Claret. I felt drunk in her presence, like her absence weakened my tolerance like it would an addiction. Maybe I was addicted. There was always something strange about her, like she was a drug.
The Demon noticed it. For all the spells I crafted to bend its will to mine, I couldn't take its speech. I never could figure out why. Its speech was the one thing it used to torment me still, like it did in the months before when Claret was gone. It always waited till I was alone to speak, and its questions were never ending. I suppose it was its only form or resistance and so it took it on with all the energy and hatred it had.
"She is using you. You are nothing but a puppet. You think she likes you, wants you to be at her side? Lies. She's told you nothing but lies," It hissed these words every day, the fel flame of its eyes seething like punctuation marks at the end of each uttered word. I dismissed these as nothing but seeds of doubt he again wanted to sow within me and I told him as such, but he continued his taunts.
Still, I entertained the idea more and more. Maybe it was his constant utterings, or maybe it was something else. Was Claret really using me? Why did she disappear for so long? Why did she come back? Why did she want me to finish binding this demon to me? Why did she give me so much attention over the other Coven members?
What was it about me that she wanted?
All of my spellwork was supposed to be complete by the Advent Day. Claret never told me what was supposed to happen at the Advent; only that I was to finish fully binding the demon to me by midnight the day before. She said that once I completed the binding, we would complete some sort of ritual and make it permanent.
After spending so much time with the Demon, and knowing I couldn't control its speech, I hesitated on making it permanent.
I skewered myself for that. I called myself weak, doubting, insecure, unfit for the Coven, unfit for Claret's trust. I raked myself over the coals over all matter of things, to the point that I marveled that there still was a "me" left. The Demon saw it and took pleasure in it. Our binding by that point was so thorough that he could pick up pieces of emotion in me. He understood none of it except my insecurity and anguish.
He took the time to drive in the dagger. His words changed into something new: "I know what she's doing."
The day after. "I know what she's doing."
Another day. "I know what she's doing."
A day again. "I know what she's doing!"
I finally broke. I screamed. I cried. I demanded the Demon tell me. I used whatever workings of the binding spell between us to force him to tell me. He refused. Without power of his speech, I couldn't force his words. In my rage, I cast every spell of pain and anguish I knew, pouring my emotions into each chant and rune, pummeling the Demon with every curse and lash of flame until it lay twisted on the floor. As it shuddered as a heap of fel of flesh on the ground, my rage gave way to horror.
The Demon coughed, still alive despite the injuries I wrecked upon it. He sputtered and said with a raspy laugh: "She's… becoming… you. And you… will become her."
She's becoming… me?
And I… her?
So many things tumbled both together and apart my mind. Claret's power was too immense to come from one person. In all her incantations, I never saw her lift a hand. I thought it was possible after years of training, that Claret was exceptional, that…
Oh Light, I realized. That's why she wants the ritual.
The Demon shuddered on the floor, attempting to rise. Though I knew its injuries and the bindings would keep it from harming me, I felt a renewed sense of fear. I didn't know what to do.
So I ran.
I grabbed a cloak, shoes, books, and anything that chanced to be nearby, and ran. I didn't know why I grabbed those things. I just knew that when someone runs away, they were supposed to take things. Useful things. A coat, a map, something. Maybe! I just didn't have the mind for it. I couldn't pause. I couldn't stay still long enough.
I ran and didn't look back. I hoped and prayed it could be forgotten, that everything that happened there was a dream. A bad dream. A nightmare. That whatever I was doing back then wasn't harming anyone, that I wasn't a bad person, that I wasn't a villain or helping a villain. Deep down, I knew I was lying to myself.
I lied in the days after that. A lied a lot. Sometimes tears would come at night after all the lying I had to do to keep it a secret, keep it hidden. I hoped that if I lied enough, it would all stay hidden forever.
Months later, while I hid away in a sea of faces, I finally opened the pack I brought with me from the Coven. I was too scared to see what was in it before, what I stole away in a fearful rush. The contents of the pack scared me deeply, enough that I created a spell to hide it from knowledge and sight — even mine. I wasn't logical anymore. I just needed to run.
That's it. That's my confession. I don't know if the Coven is after me or not. I don't know if Claret wants me or not. I'm not even sure exactly what I ran away from; only that it terrified me. Deep down and truly, it scared me. And I thought that if I ran far away enough, it would leave me alone, maybe even forgive me.
I guess that's what I'm looking for. Forgiveness. Is it possible? Will my new friends care? Could Claret even forgive?
Light, I don't know. I don't really know.