A young Raenef IV starts building his power base...starting witha a certain demon of the Third Order.
His liege smiled brightly behind her muffin, her earrings tinkling in the jasmine-scented breeze. "Eclipse! How delightful to see you this morning. Tea, dear?"
"No, my lady--"
"A muffin, then? They're almond. Quite tasty."
"No, my lady--"
Meruhesae reined in her impish smile. "Yes, yes, I know, I tease you. But you make it so /easy/, Eclipse, how can I resist?"
Eclipse had several ideas on how she could resist, but none of them were exactly politic to say out loud. He pulled himself up straight. "My lady, I am afraid that I must ask to be released from your service."
"Yes, I know." The demon lord leaned her chin on her hand, one perfect nail tracing the edge of the crystal ball that never left her side. The crystal shone with a misty purple light, pulsing slightly at her touch. She smiled. "Really, Eclipse, you needn't look so tense about it. Did you think that I would try and force you to stay?"
"That would be your right, my lady."
"Mmm...but not wise. You have served me faithfully and well. I must admit that I wish you would stay in my service but...." She tilted a hand gracefully, silver bangles chiming like bells. "...such is the way of things." Her smile returned, wistful. "You are sure that you will not change your mind? I shall miss your smiling face, my dear, your cheerful disposition, your entertaining and ceaseless chatter...."
"...no, my lady...."
"Ah, a pity." She sighed, sitting up. "Very well. I release you from your vows to me, Eclipse of the Third Order. Walk as you will."
Well, Eclipse thought, a bit warily. /That was easy./"Thank you, Lady Meruhesae."
Meruhesae flicked out her fan, smiling behind it. "You look as if you expect a dragon to leap from under the teapot."
"I...did not expect that to be as easy as it was, I must admit." It was not, Eclipse thought, an unreasonable expectation. Demon lords were canny, possessive. Though demons themselves were also, often if a demon wished to leave a demon lord's service, a battle of wills, wits, or magic would ensue, should the demon lord not desire to let her servant go.
Meruhesae clucked her tongue. "There is no profit in trying to thwart someone's destiny, Eclipse, and I saw when you first came to me that you would not stay. You have learned here what you needed to learn. I must say that the improvement in your elemental magic is quite impressive."
"Thank you, my--Meruhesae."
She waved a hand. "It is the truth." She sighed, eyes wide behind her fan. "Such a shame. Such a powerful demon leaving me. Mmm, and handsome, too. So strong and.../virile/...."
Eclipse gritted his teeth. "Lady...."
Meruhesae giggled. "I shall miss you, Eclipse. Don't be a stranger, you hear? Come and visit me anytime!"
"Of course, Lady." Not for a thousand years. Maybe two thousand.... Eclipse bowed and turned.
Her voice stopped him. "Ah. Eclipse?"
"A bit of advice?"
Eclipse turned. As annoying as Lady Meruhesae could be, she WAS a seer. "I would be grateful."
"Go to the Conclave next year. And don't allow them to put you in the first match in the arena." Meruhesae blinked, shaking her head a little. She beamed at him. "That's all."
"I see. Thank you, Lady Meruhesae."
"Bye-bye!" Meruhesae waved her fan at him cheerfully, and Eclipse left to collect his belongings.
A half-hour later, standing on the hill overlooking Meruhesae's domain, he breathed his first breath as a free demon in fifty years. It was, he had to admit, a bit disconcerting, to stand here with no guarantees. Oh, several demon lords had given him standing offers to have a place for him, should he wish it, but Eclipse knew little about them. Evidently, he would find out more soon.
He sighed. Meruhesae's domain was pleasant, and she was not a bad master. The youngest of the five Eldest demon lords, she was influential, politically stable, relatively undemanding. And, for all her flirting and the beauty of her realm...boring.
Eclipse began to sculpt a teleportation spell. The promise of his magic burned in his blood, a reminder of his purpose. He had spent a mere twenty years working his way through Meruhesae's magical library, then another thirty learning from every Third Rank demon in Meruhesae's service. But when Ianna had told him that there was nothing more she could teach him...he knew that he would have to leave. He knew his worth, knew that his skills were all but wasted on Level Five elemental spells. He could reach Level Seven easily. Perhaps Level Eight.... But he needed new teachers, new resources, and a master who would see the value of letting him hone his skills. Perhaps among the war demons....
The spell held ready in Eclipse's mind, a possibility, a power waiting to be unleashed.
As Meruhesae had said, it was time for him to move on.
Eclipse turned his back on the seer's realm. Whatever he wanted, it would not be found there.
Every hundred years, whether they want to or not, the Elder demon lords hold a week-long gathering. Not the most social creatures to begin with and usually violently opposed to long amounts of time in each others' presence, the demon lords nonetheless use this time to get done many things in a public, almost civil manner. Grievances are aired and duels fought, alliances strengthened or dissolved, deals struck, contests of magic or wits won and lost, displays of power, wealth, and status made. The Summer Conclave is--as Krayon once so tactfully described--one week of everyone showing off for everyone else.
Raenef's first visit to the Conclave proved to be quite beneficial, though not in the manner he had anticipated. He had expected to use the time to gather information, especially about the demon lords who would be his new "neighbors" once he left Krayon's care. He had no illusions about how weak he would be as he re-established the Raenef power base. And a demon lord barely out of his minority who still looked a child was always at a disadvantage.
On the next to last day of the Conclave, Raenef was rather pleased with his spoils. He had made a few successful overtures of alliance, recruited a few lower-ranking demons to his service, and learned a great deal about two of his most powerful neighbors.
And he still had two more days to work with. Excellent.
"So this is where you went."
Raenef stiffened at the voice behind him, then relaxed. He would, unfortunately, know that voice anywhere. "Krayon."
Blonde ringlets dripped over Raenef's shoulder as Krayon leaned over it to peer at Raenef with an unsufferably cheerful smile. "Sooo...have you been having fun?"
Raenef sipped at his tea. "This was not about fun, Krayon."
Krayon rolled his eyes, a wash of sandalwood and amber following him as he sat down across the table from Raenef. "Mmmhmm...I see that you've been hard at work."
Raenef looked over at him. "...have you been spying on me?"
"Of course!" Krayon gave his order to the little waiter imp that appeared at his elbow. "You ARE still my ward. For another month, at least. I'd be remiss in my duties as your mentor if I didn't know what kinds of nefarious plots you were up to." He leaned across the table, voice dropping a bit. "Very nice, by the way, how you got Lady Sissera's chamberlain to spill his guts to you while he was drunk."
Raenef smiled smugly into his teacup.
Krayon propped his chin on his hand. "Little sneak." He sniffed theatrically. "I'm so proud!"
With a slight pop! of displaced air, the imp reappeared with a dish laden with at least seven kinds of chocolate and more whipped cream than any dessert had any right to, in Raenef's opinion. "Oooh, lovely!" Krayon dug in with his spoon, mmmming with pleasure at the first bite. "Oh, delicious!"
Raenef eyed the towering concoction. "Are you going to eat ALL of that?"
"Do you doubt my stamina?"
Raenef didn't. He'd seen Krayon decimate three boxes of chocolates in an evening. Chocolatiers throughout Egae both adored and feared him, depending on whether he tended to pay them or not.
Krayon waggled a spoonful of chocolate at Raenef. "Would you like some?"
Raenef sniffed. "Of course not. Too much sugar entirely--is that brownie?"
"With chocolate sa~uce...."
"...perhaps just a little."
Krayon summoned another spoon and presented it with the air of a lord granting his vassal his dearest wish. Raenef ignored the look and concentrated on digging out as much brownie as possible without causing the entire towering confection to collapse.
"So," Krayon said softly, as he sucked chocolate ice cream off his spoon. "How do things look?"
"Acceptable." Raenef raised an eyebrow at him. "I thought you had been spying on me?"
"I was, but believe it or not there ARE things to do here that are more fun than watching your scheming."
"You mean you got distracted by a pretty woman."
"As if I would stoop so low." Krayon sniffed. "She was no less than beautiful."
"Mmm...." Raenef levered a bit of brownie out from under a pile of whipped cream. "I contacted the head of the local demons of my realm. They seem amenable to my rule, though they also seem to be under the impression that I will be lenient with them because of my age. They will not revolt, however, which is all I ask at this point."
"You can always terrorize them into respecting you later." Krayon licked chocolate syrup off his finger.
"And the other lords?"
"I expect an invasion attempt within a week of arriving, but I believe I will have it under control."
"Mmm...good. A few crushing defeats of invading forces will buy you at least some hundred years or so."
Raenef nodded, stealing a chocolate truffle out from under Krayon's spoon. "There are a few alliances in the works, as well. I appear to...have an affinity with the female demon lords."
Krayon smirked at him. "They think you're cute."
Raenef scowled back. "I do not care. So long as they hold to their part of the alliance--"
Krayon held up his hands, swallowing a mouthful of cake. "No need to get defensive, sheesh! You should use what you've got. Some day I'm sure you'll grow up to be a perfectly handsome demon lord, and then you'll be using that on the ladies, too, the same way that they use their looks on /us/. It's the way of things."
Raenef stabbed at a chocolate chip. "It is stupid. Alliances should not be dependent on such shallow things."
"But they are." Krayon swirled his spoon in some fudge sauce. "Sometimes."
Raenef frowned, sipping his tea.
Krayon dabbed at the corners of his mouth with his napkin before standing. "Come on! Time to go!"
Raenef blinked at him. "What? Where?"
"The arena. The exhibition challenges are about to start."
Raenef scowled. "Silly contests. All the challengers do is show off."
"True! But!" Krayon held up a finger. "If those challengers are perhaps masterless demons, looking to impress the onlookers in the hope of getting an offer of servitude from a powerful demon lord...say, one who might need a strong right hand to aid him when he returns to his lands...?"
Raenef considered, then hopped down from his chair. "I suppose that I could accompany you."
Krayon beamed. "I knew you'd see it my way!"
The arena was quite full, but the Demon Lord of Egae had no trouble securing them a comfortable viewing venue above the common demon rabble. They settled in just as the challengers for the second match were being called.
"The demon Rleyeh, in the service of Lady Meruhesae vs. the demon Star, in the service of Lord Orien!"
"The demon Kannon, in the service of Lord Orien vs, the demon Ristoria, in the service of Lord Khra!"
"The demon Getana, in the service of Lady Meruhesae vs. the demon Zeburiah, in the service of Lord Calaman!"
When three bouts and three-quarters of an hour passed without anyone fighting who wasn't already in someone's service, Raenef scowled. "I thought you said--"
"Oh will you have a little patience?" Krayon said, in the process of flirting long-distance with a lovely demon lord a few seats down. "The bouts are randomly assigned. Someone'll show up."
"The demon Messirex of the Second Order vs. the demon G'keln of the Second Order!"
It only took a few passes for Raenef to see that neither of those, nor the pair of Second Order demons that followed them, nor the pair of Firsts after that would be suitable for his service. Two of them were too weak to bother with, and the others were war-demons, their magics simple and violent. Not that Raenef had anything against violence, but his wars would be defensive rather than offensive for the next few hundred years, his focus on gathering his might, honing his skills, and strengthening his power base. A war demon would be bored. Raenef didn't need a killing machine. He needed someone with a head on his or her shoulders....
"The demon Eclipse of the Third Order vs. the demon Torrux of the Third Order, in the service of Lord Aureleid!"
A murmur went through the audience as two figures strode into the arena, one dark-haired in a simple robe, and one pale-haired wearing silver armor bearing the crest of Lord Aureleid. Now this was interesting...an unaffiliated demon of the Third Order was a rare creature. Demons of the Third Order were the most powerful of the unlorded demons, and they were in high demand, courted heavily and jealously hoarded. As could be seen by the fact that there had been no other unaffiliated Third Order demons for this Eclipse to spar with....
It drew even Krayon's attention. "Ah. I remember him. Left his master a bit ago. It made quite a stir." Krayon leaned forward, resting his chin on one palm. "Quite nice-looking, too...."
Raenef was much more interested in the battle. Neither of the combatants wasted any time, the arena nearly engulfed in fire and blue light as they attacked. The roar was almost deafening, and Raenef had to squint to be able to see through the glare, the aura of magic making his skin tingle.
When the fray cleared, Torrux's shield had collapsed, Torrux himself looking a bit startled and scorched around the edges. The dark-haired demon, Eclipse, stood unfazed, his hands glowing blue with leashed power.
Raenef raised one eyebrow. Well, well...quite interesting indeed.
The combatants closed again, Eclipse raising his hands and lashing out, beating back his opponent with high-level fire spells and a few dark magics that Raenef didn't even know the name for. Fire, dark, ice, earth, a wind spell or two...this Eclipse was, Raenef realized, using the match not only to demonstrate his power, but his proficiency with varied magical schools.
He was, even for a Third Order demon, a master.
The arena glowed for a moment as Torrux threw the last of his power into a desperate all-out attack: a lightning storm that lashed from his hands towards the dark-haired demon. Eclipse didn't even flinch, raising his hand. A magic shield of at least Circle Seven appeared in front of him in a barely-perceptible nimbus of power. The lightning crawled harmlessly over it, grounding in the earth and flowing away like water.
There was a flurry of movement as the two combatants summoned blades and closed in physical combat. Steel met steel in a shower of sparks, grappling, pushing apart, then clashing again, flashing faster than the eye could see. Even Raenef, as inexperienced as he was in martial combat, could see who would win and was proven correct a moment later when the fair-haired demon's sword went flying off to the side. He bowed, conceding his defeat to the dark-haired demon.
"Mmm," Krayon purred. "Very nice."
"I want him," Raenef said.
Krayon looked over at him, one pale eyebrow quirked. "Aren't you a bit young for that?"
Raenef gave him a Look. Honestly, sometimes he could forget that Krayon was one of the five Elder Demons.... "As my /liegeman/, Krayon."
"Yes, yes, of course. Heh." Krayon smirked as Torrux walked rather stiffly out of the arena. "I like him just because he beat the snot out of that stuck-up prick, Torrux."
"What, did he refuse to let you tumble him at some point?"
"Brat. Who taught you such language? ...nevermind."
Eclipse smiled slightly as he nodded to his defeated opponent, then bowed to all sides of the arena before heading for the exit. His steps were steady, his chin high, his bearing not at all hinting that he wanted dearly to sit and shake until the weakness went away. It had been all he could do to send Torrux's blade flying, after the drain of the magical duel. But the fight, he knew, was not over. Weakness, even after such a great victory, would only be taken advantage of, here surrounded by so many watching demon lords.
And they were watching. He could feel the eyes upon him and could only hope that a worthy master would approach him. He knew, though, that that might take some time. First there was much jockeying among the demon lords to be performed, power games settled before anyone would even approach him. And if he turned down that first, then more negotiations to be made before the next approached....
Eclipse stopped in the nearly-empty antechamber, turning. His vision trailed a bit, but he ignored it. He had to blink, though, to make sure he was seeing correctly. The speaker was but a boy in blue jacket and trousers...or, simply a demon in the shape of a boy.... No, the power that wreathed the boy, dark and rich, was more than that of a mere demon.... "Yes?"
The boy stepped closer. His head barely came to Eclipse's elbow, but he tilted his face up to regard Eclipse seriously. "I am the Demon Lord Raenef IV."
Eclipse bowed. Hadn't he heard something of the Raenef demons...ah, yes, Raenef III had been slain some ten years ago and his young heir given as ward to...Lord Krayon? Was the young lord even out of his wardenship yet? "Lord Raenef. I am honored."
The acknowledging nod was slight, perfectly polite. "I was impressed by your prowess in the arena. I wish to offer you a place in my service."
Eclipse blinked, taken aback. But...so soon...the young lord could not possibly have....
Raenef's lips curled in a slight smile, his eyes knowing, conspiratorial.
Ah, Eclipse thought. He hasn't. He hasn't consulted with anyone. It was a bold move. If he was soliciting servants, then that meant he had either left or was about to leave his wardenship and take up his title and lands. Such was a delicate time for a demon lord fresh to his power, and Raenef would scandalize the other lords by this breach of etiquette, perhaps even make a few enemies. But, in exchange, he was the first to seek the service of a powerful Third Order demon. It was a gamble. Eclipse had to admit he was a bit flattered to be the prize.
Of course, being the first to ask guaranteed nothing. Eclipse said smoothly, "I admit that I am seeking a place, Lord Raenef, however I know little about you or what you might offer me."
Raenef clasped his hands in front of him in the gesture of someone several times his age. "Of course. If we could, perhaps, speak privately of such things? I believe that you and I share some common goals."
Eclipse bowed again. "I would be honored, Lord Raenef." It was a long shot, he knew. This boy lord was still young, his lands likely unstable and in need of taming, his powers perhaps not yet mastered.... Serving him might be a gamble in and of itself.... However, Eclipse had nothing else to do at the moment, and the boy's self-possession and insight were...intriguing--
Eclipse turned again, stifling a frown and bowing automatically. He had dealt with Lord Porthus several times in his year among the war demons. The man was known for his ruthlessness and his prowess in his fight against heaven's creatures. The warlord was arrayed in battle armor, a cape of purest black falling from his wide shoulders. Eclipse had considered seeking a position in Lord Porthus' court, but had discarded the idea. Porthus demanded almost constant battlefield service from his servants, and Eclipse required a specialized magical library and more time in order to further develop his powers...time he would not have if he were expected on the battlefield every day.
Raenef's voice was cool, smooth as a sheet of ice. "Lord Porthus."
Porthus' frown deepened behind his dark bangs. "You are young, Lord Raenef, so perhaps it is your inexperience which makes you act so. However, it is customary for those seeking a demon's services to consult with his fellow demon lords beforehand."
"Consult? You mean to play politics and trade threats? I did not see the point."
Porthus' expression became thunderous, his voice deadly quiet. "Did not see the point?"
"No." Again, that small smile. Eclipse had to admire Raenef's steady nerves. Porthus' power was gathering around him like a storm. "You see, I have few political ties at the moment, and I detest idle threats. That would have left me with but one course of action in 'consulting' with anyone: a long, drawn-out series of contests and duels to prove that, if necessary, I could take the right to speak with whomever I wished...by force." Raenef smiled, the expression humorless as an ice dagger. "Which, to be honest, I can. By bypassing all this needless bickering, I have merely...conserved time."
The silence stretched, the tension thick as thunderclouds between them. Then Porthus laughed, long and hard. Raenef merely looked at him, icy smile still on his lips. "You...you honestly think that you, a mere boy, could defeat all others who might want this demon's services?"
Eclipse suppressed a twitch. At least Raenef was referring to him by name....
"I do not think, but know so." Raenef cocked his head at Porthus, as if something had occurred to him. "I assume, Lord Porthus, since you are the one challenging me here, that YOU would be the one I am...cutting in front of?"
Porthus drew himself up. "I am."
"Then shall we duel?"
Porthus chuckled. "I can feel your power. You are to me as a candle is to the sun. You are challenging me, boy?"
"Of course not." Raenef clasped his hands in front of him again. "It is you who are challenging /me/."
There was a pair of duelists already in the arena, but upon the entrance of two demon lords, they disengaged, fading back against the walls. The stands buzzed with excitement as Porthus and Raenef took their places, and the noise grew to a dull roar as the announcer called, "The Demon Lord Porthus has challenged the Demon Lord Raenef!" This was not the first challenge between demon lords this Conclave, but it was unannounced, unexpected, and thus much more interesting than anything that had come before.
Eclipse watched the contest ground from the bottom of the first tier of seats. His eyes followed Raenef, a bit confused. Porthus had been correct. Even Eclipse could feel the difference in their powers, and Raenef was hopelessly outmatched. Yet Raenef had murmured, "If you will excuse me, Master Eclipse? This shall not take long" to him as they'd returned to the arena. The boy was confident that he would win. Which meant that either he was mad...or a fool...or--
"Looks like he has something up his sleeve, eh?" Eclipse nearly started as a flamboyantly dressed blonde man floated down next to him from the tier above. The man's scarf fluttered in a nonexistant breeze, one golden lock wrapped around a finger thoughtfully as he looked out at the two demon lords, now nodding civilly to each other in preparation for the first attack.
The stranger's powerful golden aura...and his tastefully foppish dress...rang bells in Eclipse's memory. "...Lord Krayon."
Krayon beamed at him. "Indeed! And you are Eclipse. Quite a showing a bit ago, I must say."
"Thank you, Lord." Eclipse watched as Porthus drew his sword, a common focus for war demons' magic. "You are Lord Raenef's guardian, correct?"
"Mmmhmm! Not for much longer, of course." Krayon leaned back on the air, apparently unconcerned that his ward was facing a renowned warlord not two hundred feet away. He looked over at Eclipse. "Do you think that Raenef will win, Eclipse?"
"I...am not certain, Lord Krayon."
"Heh." Krayon's smile was sharp, but golden fire where Raenef's had been ice. "Then watch, Master Eclipse. And learn that not all is as it appears."
The announcer's voice rang out once more, and the two demon lords moved as one. Porthus' sword erupted in black fire so not-bright that it left a blazing afterimage on the eye as he swung, sending a wave of feral dark magic at his small opponent. The onlookers gasped. Porthus' Dark Wave had annihilated countless creatures of heaven.
Eclipse, however, was watching Raenef, who had merely raised one hand. His lips curled in a smile, then opened, forming words that Eclipse could not hear. As he spoke, though, Eclipse's eyes widened. Even across the distance between them, he could feel the boy's powers flaring, nearly doubling again and again with every word, until Porthus' aura was all but swallowed whole...a candle against the sun. Raenef's fingers flicked out to meet Porthus' oncoming attack, like a man swatting a fly.
What leapt from his fingers, fed by that dark sun, was no mere dark magic spell. It was an onslaught, a force of nature, a ruthless storm that warped the very fabric of matter as it streaked through the air in a hundred lashing tongues of dark lightning. The magic that Eclipse had used to such acclaim earlier was but child's play compared, and Eclipse could only marvel as Raenef's attack shredded Porthus' spell like paper and continued on to strike the warlord full-force. Porthus jerked, drawn up by the force of the blow and hung suspended in the air, his black armor shining like a star against the deepest night of Raenef's power.
Porthus fell back to his feet, swaying.
The arena was dead silent, so when Porthus' sword fell from his nerveless hand and shattered into a thousand pieces on the marble floor, the sound of tinkling metal echoed through the building.
Raenef's high, calm voice pierced the silence. "Do you yield, Lord Porthus?"
Porthus swayed, grimaced, then fell to his knees, scarlet spattering the stones as he coughed blood. He drew a wet, choking breath. "I yield, Lord Raenef."
Raenef nodded and turned, walking out of the arena, his figure as small as when he'd entered, but now trailing black streamers as his aura discharged, becoming again as modest as when Eclipse had first met him.
"An incantation," Eclipse murmured. "He used an incantation to amplify his powers."
"Yes. He's quite fond of them." Krayon twirled another lock of hair around his finger. "Well, one can see why. He's no great shakes in the magical power department, but he doesn't let that stop him, and with an incantation of such magnitude, well...it's rather a moot point, isn't it?"
"No...no incantation I've ever seen can even begin to match that kind of amplification. Did he learn it from you, Lord?" Eclipse gripped the railing in front of him, exhaustion forgotten. Such power, such ingenuity, such /knowledge/....
"From me?" Krayon laughed, delighted. "Oh, no. He devised it himself. He's quite the scholar, you know. All but tore my library apart researching it, and he still sniffs that he needs the Raenef holdings in order to perfect his technique."
Eclipse blinked slowly, mind whirling. "The Raenef holdings?"
"Why yes! He insists that his predecessor held one of the best magical libraries in the world. He's all but chomping at the bit to get to it."
Krayon watched Eclipse's expression gleefully. Honestly, the demon looked in the direction Raenef had gone like a starving man looked at a ten-course meal. "Lord Krayon...I must beg your leave. I...I must go."
Krayon beamed, waving a hand. "Yes, yes, of course!" By the time the words had left his mouth, Eclipse was hurrying down the steps like a demon on a mission.
And that, Krayon thought, is a job well done! He would have to thank Lady Nonara for her information on Eclipse's magical aspirations. Mention of the Raenef library had certainly done the trick. Though Krayon had to admit that Raenef's performance in the arena might have had something to do with it.
Of course, he'd not told Eclipse that the incantation that Raenef had used was the only incantation that he'd developed, nor that it had just been perfected last week, nor that it still left Raenef weak as a newborn kitten and that he was likely only standing at this very moment out of pure stubbornness and spite.
Krayon grinned, stretching. He would consider his restraint to be Raenef's going-away present.
Author's Note on Meruhesae: I had a bit of a conundrum about Meruhesae in this fic. In the manga, Eclipse always treats her rather harshly, like she's lower in rank than he is. BUT, further on in the manga, the five Eldest call a meeting and exclude everyone else from it (Raenef included). They make a big deal in a few places that it will only be the Eldest that attend...and Meruhesae is then shown later musing about how they didn't learn anything new at the meeting. This led me to believe that she IS not only a demon lord, but one of the Eldest demon lordsm, and thus I wrote her as one explicitly in this story. Why she takes Eclipse's crap is anyone's guess. ;)