Several moments of terror and exquisite agony, and the transformation was complete. I was as much Bloodwing as I was Jeremiah Mason. Imagine all of your emotions...pride, lust, wrath... amplified a thousandfold. That is the burden of sharing the soul of a fallen Demon Prince.
There was a question that lingered in the back of my mind that I dared not ask, but now all answers were laid bare.
If the family lore is true, how can a Sixth Son be a Host? Did the Founder lose track? Is there some secret...
No. The Legacy of the Seventh was a precaution on my part, not a binding rule of the Curse. I have wandered this Earth as an incubus for four thousand years. No chart of lineage could track how many Seventh Sons there are. A cousin ten times removed means nothing to mortals. Do you remember the incident when I resided in that Frenchwoman? Half the Steamlands could well be my spawn. And I would protect them all.
Reassuring, in some sense. We...I...remained long enough to close the ritual circle properly, thanking Papa Legba and delivering the sacrifices. The spirits (alcoholic) and the cigars (Dammit boy, that was my private stock!) vanished in a puff of smoke.
I stood guard over my son as glimmering clusters of eyes stared at us from the swamps. I knew Amarantis was on her way.
She landed with a reverent bow. I knelt beside her and gave her a fatherly embrace as I gestured for her to rise.
"There is no time for formalities. Darien will awaken soon. He is once again mortal. Under no circumstances is he to inject himself with the formula again."
I took a few steps back and spread my wings to hover. I invoked a spell to fold space around me. Darien, Ama, and the bayou of New Toulouse blurred away.
Sky surrounded me, clouds beneath me. These were the coordinates...
The buzzing of flying armies engulfed my ears. I saw the heat of the Vesprium soldiers swarming around me and their lines of airships stretching for miles from the vertex of the greatest portal even the Founder had ever seen. I spun in place scanning in every direction. Where was my ship?
A cluster of the drones were carrying scraps of airship salvage. I climbed steadily, spotting two soldiers flying slowly, straining to stay aloft while holding the weight of a tarred and curved planks between them.
I conjured a ball of flame in my hands, which startled the pair. Upon the removed ribs of the ship's planks I clearly read in an archaic font the word REVENGE.
"The Revenge is no more?"
And that is exactly the urge that overcame me as my flame enshrouded me in a white column of searing hellfire.
"Aleister? Qlippothic? Koen? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!!"
I wrapped my arms around the planks, which immediately caught fire from the tar. The drones tugged in opposite directions, trying to retrieve their prize until the flames spread down either side and caught their wings, sending them tumbling to their doom. With a roar of unbridled rage I hurled the flaming fragment of the airship's hull into the airbag of the nearest Vesprium ship. The balloon erupted with the beauty a newborn star, drawing a bright trail in its wake as the sky-hive plummeted through the cloud to the open sea miles below.
The fools are using hydrogen to lift their ships! Far more combustible in this dimension than in the Underworld! Have they no alchemists? This will be too easy!
As the ships began to rotate towards me, the drones journeying on orders between ships halted in mid-flight and drew their shining weapons. The battle was joined.
"HAVE AT YOU!!!"