Chapter 3:

Choosing his Generals

The Children of Eris

When David awoke, he found himself in a world where everything was grey.

The distant, snowy mountains, the vast open fields filled with wild beasts, even the grass blades by his feet were grey. There were birds and other winged creatures in the sky, frozen in place as if someone had paused the entire universe.

“Where am I?” 

Time was still, yet he could move, talk and think.

“Eris’s doing, no doubt."

He started to walk but, after taking five steps, he hit an invisible barrier.

If I can’t leave, then there must be something else coming.

As if responding to his thoughts, twelve stone tablets fell onto the ground around him, each covered in glowing text.

He picked up a random tablet and, at the very top, it said: Mara - Demon of Temptation.

It was then that David remembered that Eris had said he would get to pick three demons to serve him loyally, in order to give him a chance at establishing himself as the Demon Emperor within a year, a prospect that made David’s heart ache.

He was sacrificing this world for him and his family’s lives and he had only a year to bring about a demonic empire, his demonic empire.

David pushed those thoughts to one side; it didn’t matter if he had made the right choice or not now.

He had agreed to become the Demon Emperor and couldn’t turn back now.

“Guess I best look through the lot."

Initially, David had been worried that Eris would just give him random demons to serve him, or just a list of names and no information.  Eris had given him some information to off on, but it wasn’t much, meaning he’d have to use his own knowledge and the information on each tablet to decide.

The demons he had been given to choose from were:

Abaddon - Demon of Destruction; gifted in devastation and overflowing with power

Chort - The Deceptive Dealer; conducts trades to give and steal power

Djall - Demon of Death; gifted with Necromancy and great strength

Iye - The Guardian; powerful protector with great strength

Jikininki - The Human Eater; a ghost who craves to devour humans

Leshy - Demon of the Woods; gifted with Earth and Conjuration Magic

Legion - Many from Few; an army of identical soldiers to wage war with

Mania - The Goddess of Death; mother of the Undead and Succubi

Mara - Demon of Temptation; powerful succubus

Mímir - Lord of Knowledge; provider of information and wisdom

Ose - Commander of Legion; controls an army of demons

Rahab - Demon of Rage; extremely powerful, extremely dangerous, extremely angry

After David read each tablet twice, he let out a weary sigh.

He had no idea where to start.

When David was going through the list of demons, he had been concerned about trusting the information that Eris had given him. For example, what if the demons he had to choose from didn’t exist in his world, or what if Eris had chosen names of demons that David would know but then changed how powerful they were and what they could do just to mess with him, which would result in him choosing poorly?

However, those fears were quickly dashed when he saw that the descriptions of the potential generals lined up with what David knew about them, and that their names came from cultures across the world, so, in David’s mind, they were ones from his world as he knew them.

He had to think carefully about who he should pick and he wanted to pick only those who would be useful to him in the long term, not just the short term. Some of them sounded like they could be useful in the beginning, like Legion, but David didn’t know how easy or difficult it would be for him to raise an army in this new world with the natives or with magic.

Likewise, given that he had been dropped off in a vast empty field by Eris with no signs of human life anywhere near him, David didn’t want to have a large army that he’d have to move around from the get go and potentially get spotted by some soldiers. If he had a large army in the beginning but nowhere to house them and no ways to keep them fed, they’d be a detriment that would get him killed.

Further, Conjuration magic and Necromancy both seemed to exist in this world, so he might be able to rely on them to create an army.

So, he decided not to pick Legion or Ose.

As he was putting Ose’s tablet to one side, he re-read the description of Rahab’s tablet that had been below it and frowned.

Rahab, Demon of Rage; extremely powerful, extremely dangerous, extremely angry

“He sounds more like a liability than anything."

He discarded Rahab’s tablet.

He considered Chort for a while, until a dreadful thought crossed his mind; what if Chort tempted him successfully into accepting a dangerous deal, forcing him to lose some of his powers that he had gained from Eris? Though, he wasn’t sure that Chort would do something like that, but David wasn’t convinced that Chort could be of use in the long run.

Takes and gives you power. That sounds far too suspicious and far too difficult to use effectively.

So, he discarded Chort too.

Then, Iye; David didn’t need someone who was just a protector, he needed a strong warrior and fighter, not a defender who wouldn’t leave his side.

David then removed the Jikininki from his selection as well.

The reason was simple enough; it craved eating humans. If its cravings became too strong or too uncontrollable, then it could prove risky to have the Jikininki at his side, even if it was powerful.

After all, David imagined that he and his generals would have to stay in hiding for a good while yet and the last thing he needed was an out-of-control demon indiscriminately hunting, killing and eating humans.

Despite discarding half of the demons already, David still found himself stuck on who to pick when he noticed that some of the demons did the same things as one another.

Djall - Demon of Death; gifted with Necromancy and great strength

Abaddon - Demon of Destruction; gifted in devastation and overflowing with power

Mania - The Goddess of Death; mother of the Undead and Succubi

Mara - Demon of Temptation; powerful succubus

David picked up Mara and Mania’s tablets and began comparing the two directly.

Demon of Temptation; Goddess of Death. Why is it that only Mania was called Goddess and the rest were demons?

In his studies, David had stumbled across a few references to a deity named Mania, but had never dived any further than that. However, he knew that Mara was a demon from Buddhism who tried to tempt the Buddha away from Enlightenment.

Mara, in David’s mind, was not a succubus per say, but perhaps the Gods themselves thought differently to humans.

David decided that he would pick Mania as one of his three and put Mara’s tablet to one side, a decision David was very confident in.

Mania was listed as a Goddess among a list of demons and there had to be a reason why, or else Eris wouldn’t have bothered to make such a point of it. Further, unlike Mara who only had succubus written as their title, Mania was, David hoped, both a powerful succubus and a Necromancer, meaning she was just more useful and stronger by far than Mara.

In theory, at least.

Unless David chose them both, he’d never know.

Then, a sudden realisation hit him.

No matter who he picked, he would never know if he chose right, or if he had dismissed the strongest being in the world because he didn’t know enough about them.

If I choose the wrong ones, I could find myself dead in a ditch within a month, meaning my family would be killed and I’d suffer an eternity of agony, David thought. His body began to shake as he imagined the immense pain Eris had already inflicted upon his body. He slapped his cheeks a few times and tried to calm himself down.

He didn’t have the luxury to worry about that possibility.

He had to decide and he had to be confident with who he chose, even if he messed up.

Leshy’s powers didn’t sound too impressive to David and he feared that his Conjuration Magic could have limits placed on it, such as what creatures he could spawn and a cap on the number he’d be allowed at once, like in an RPG.

If it was like some of the ones David had played before, then, at max, he’d be allowed four low level summoned creatures or one really powerful one.

Thus, David discarded it, leaving three: Abaddon the Demon of Destruction, Djall the Demon of Death and Mímir the Lord of Knowledge.

David picked back up Mímir’s tablet and made sure he had read it right.

It was another unique name, just like Mania’s had been.

If Eris has done this on purpose, then it might be a sign that he’s really powerful, or really weak, David thought, rubbing his chin. That said, I don’t know anything about this new world, so I need to gather as much information as I can on everything I can think of.

That said, despite his confidence in what Mímir could do, he wasn’t sure if he would live up to his expectations, especially depending on when he was summoned from his legend.

Still, David had to take a gamble.

He placed Mímir’s tablet on top of Mania’s.

Then, David had to choose his final pick: Djall or Abaddon.

Both sounded powerful, both possessed great strength, and where Djall was a Necromancer and warrior, it seemed that Abaddon was only about physical strength.

Abaddon could have the greatest physical strength among all these demons, but that seems to be all he has going for him. 

On the other hand, Djall is both a warrior and a Necromancer, and he could outclass Abaddon in strength or Mania in her capabilities as a Necromancer, but would he really be stronger than an all-out fighter or a Goddess of Death? Chances are he’ll be weaker. There’s no way that Eris would let me pick someone that powerful.

David looked back and forth between the two tablets for a minute, struggling to decide between the two, before finally settling on Abaddon, putting his hope in the demon’s raw strength and that would make up for his lack of Necromantic abilities.

“You guys better pull your weight,” David mumbled, discarding Djall and picking up his three choices.

The moment he did, the tablets began to glow and shake, before firing bright blasts of energy into the sky, blinding David and causing him to jump back and trip over the discarded tablets.

The tablets dropped to the ground and shattered into dust, the blasts of light still just as powerful before him, and three figures began to forge in front of him.

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