The Devil's Deuce (The Barrier War)

BOOK: The Devil's Deuce (The Barrier War)
4.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Devil’s Deuce


The Barrier War Trilogy

Book 2


A Novel of the Pandemonium



Brian J. Moses

Text Copyright © 2013 Brian
J. Moses


All Rights Reserved



Pandemonium War


The Barrier War Trilogy

Book 1 – Hunting The Three

Book 2 – The Devil’s Deuce

Book 3 – Satan’s Gambit


The Demonic Jihad Trilogy

Book 1 – Demon’s Wager




for previews and updates,

plus chapter-by-chapter

author’s commentary on each book.


Other books by Brian J. Moses




For my wife. The true love
of my life.


For my boys. Teaching me to
be a better father, making me a better man.


For Hoil. I’m sorry she
couldn’t be with you longer.


Special thanks to Chris M.,

whose thoughts and questions
led to

many improvements in these



Special thanks to the team
for the cover art.


Table of Contents



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18


Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42


Appendix C






 From the outset, we mortals never knew what this war was really
about, nor the stakes involved.

- Michael

“Collected Accounts from the Pandemonium War”

1 -

There are some questions to which we may never truly
the answers.

Why does evil exist? Why does life exist? What truly happens
to our souls when we die?

Next to these come the questions whose answers, given proper
insight and logical inquiry, we might discover.

What is the force that binds men to the ground, but holds
birds in the sky? Why does the far northern sky ripple and glow with light that
has no discernible source? And perhaps more important than these – at least to
our order – is thus: What happens to our brother paladins who don the white
cloak of beauty and cross into Hell?

For certain, none have returned who are so blessed by the
White – or perhaps cursed? Should any of my paladin brothers read this, I beg
you forgive my words, which some might consider heretical, but the question
must be asked. What sort of blessing is it that consumes men with the
unconquerable desire to cross into certain death? We know that the Devil is at
work in the world, we see the touch of his black hand everywhere, and we know
that often the King of Hell seeks to subvert that which our Lord God has given

Does the Prince of Darkness not seek to tempt the hearts of
the righteous and use their blessings to foster pride, arrogance, and greed?
Does not good fortune engender covetousness in one’s neighbors, often bringing
about all manner of ill on one who thought himself blessed?

Why, then, could the King of Hell not seek to poison Holy
God’s blessing of the white cloak and, in their openness to the divine, infect
them with an overwhelming desire to cross the Merging? Perhaps he seeks to use
our own sense of duty against us. For to cross and confront the demons on their
own ground instead of seeking out the dregs of their existence here, to hunt
and possibly destroy the Devil himself, to destroy the unholy beasts at their
source – such a dream would tempt even the most holy and temperate of men.

It should be noted that those who have donned the cloak have
shown a marked lack of logical reasoning for their actions. None have been able
to adequately describe the compulsion which drives them to what is surely a
suicidal quest, and the few attempts to restrain one of our White brothers have
met with disastrous results. To date, not a single one of our brothers has
returned from the crossing,
and so we have no answer to the burning question:

What happens to our brother paladins who don the white cloak
of beauty and cross into Hell?

- 2 -

“You know, I’m still confused about what happened.
I mean, none of us had any inkling of
what was happening until it was already over and done with. I wasn’t on duty
, but I heard tell what happened.

“Hundreds, thousands of paladins suddenly appeared at the
gates of the Barrier one day and crossed over the Merging on their way into
Hell. They weren’t even Whites, which we’re used to seeing one or even two at a
time. It was men of every color in the Prism riding their horses and dakkans on
a path that has held only death for their kind for centuries. We heard more
details once it was over than we had leading up to their departure.

“Paladins filtering into the city slowly but surely as they
were recalled from across the world, inns and rented homes suddenly filled by
the overflow from their headquarters, supplies requisitioned from all over the
city to outfit a major operation, you name it. Everything pointed to some major
undertaking, but it was done so quickly and quietly none of us put it together.

“Popular theory held they did it that way to keep it a
surprise, as though they expected demonic spies to get wind of it and report
across the Merging. I don’t think that’s possible, but based on some of the
rumors we heard later, maybe I’m wrong. It’s a sure thing none of us, and by
that I mean the men manning the Barrier – none of us knew they were coming.
Like I said, I wasn’t on duty, but my friends were, and they said they heard
the paladins coming a mile away. Hooves and claws on the streets, you

“Then suddenly, they were there, countless paladins of every
color demanding the Barrier be opened. Said they were crossing on some
important mission to create a beachhead or something to that effect. Damn
foolishness, if you ask me, paladins or not. There’s got to be tens of
thousands of demons in Hell, more than enough to overwhelm that force, no
matter how strong and devout they were. That’s why we have the Barrier – if it
were just a matter of a few thousand paladins wiping out the demons, we’d have
cleansed Hell eons ago, I imagine. But no, we stay safe here because they can’t
cross in force, and it just seems common sense to me that we should stay here
and they stay there. That’s as God intended, if you ask me.

“So here we are, a week later, and no one’s heard a damn
thing back from them. If you ask me, they’re all dead. It’s a damn shame, too.
There’s whispers that something else big is happening, only this time it’s the
other way around. The demons will be coming here, and we’re going to wish like
Hell that we had those paladins back.”

- 3 -

At the edge of a sheer cliff, a lone figure stood
silhouetted against the volcanic sky. Gray, motionless clouds hung suspended in
the air, completely obscuring what should have been a sun. Yet behind them, no
orb of luminance blazed; there was no globe of brilliance to shed warmth and
light on the landscape below. Instead, a source-less light shone through the
ashen clouds with a fiery brilliance. The clouds themselves were motionless in
the perpetually windless sky, but the light suffusing them seemed to dance and
writhe with a life of its own, like the churning of a sky made from restless

The landscape itself was devoid of life. No brush, no grass,
no trees; not even a dried and desiccated stump to indicate that something
might have once existed there. Nothing.

A lone man looked down on the plains below and smiled
mirthlessly. His lips were tightly drawn and tightly sealed. He was encased in
platemail that shone like a mirror, and resplendent fire danced on the surface
from the reflected sky. One hand rested familiarly on the hilt of his sword,
the other absently fingered the visor on the helmet held low at his waist.
Across his shoulders was a cloak of the purest black, hanging straight to the
ground with no wind to stir it. Perhaps that was something – the only thing –
he missed from his old life; the wind.

The armor he wore and his cloak were both holdovers from his
past, and he wore them still as a sign of who and what he was. He’d earned the
ebony cloth as he embraced his destiny, and the armor had been with him too
long to cast aside. Certain adjustments had been made, of course – the sign of
had been carefully
removed and replaced by the symbol of his new allegiance.

Three lines intersected in a perfectly proportioned triangle
with overlapping corners.


The man’s face was chiseled as from stone, with a dispassionate
sternness carved into the basalt contours of his jaw, and a cruel look in the
set of his human features. His hair was nearly white, not as with age but as
though all color had simply been leeched free by the same power that had
touched his eyes.

His eyes. Ebony pools of merciless depths, without love,
without humanity. No stars marred their perfect, compassionless night; no color
save the pearly sea that surrounded the inky black islands.

He stood alone, a power among powers amidst a realm that
respected nothing but. His master ruled every creature, every denizen of this
world – the most powerful entity in an infinite domain. When the man spoke, he
spoke with his master’s voice and authority. His words were as law here.

BOOK: The Devil's Deuce (The Barrier War)
4.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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