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Stripping the skin off half her face was a whim at first. Demons were inured to the grotesque, but a body that missed the symmetry of angelic or human form in such a small but striking way sometimes bought Mazikeen a second of time she could spend as she wished. She was fast enough with blades that a second was all she usually needed to end a problem. Hell's enforcers didn't last if they weren't strong, clever, or ruthless -- preferably all three.

Mazikeen didn't keep that appearance only because of Lucifer's compliment. At first she changed it to something altogether different, with gray skin that mimicked stone, then to something with horns and spikes, then to a shapeless mass of doughy flesh like the disease that was slowly overtaking her brother Briadach.

Lucifer didn't notice or care, so far as she could tell. And she did like the feeling of wind through the muscles of her cheek, the sticky slide of her hair over the exposed loops of her brain and the raw flesh at her temple.

Mazikeen stood before a cracked and silvered mirror in the depths of Hell, knife in hand, and butchered her skull again.

This was who she wanted to be. This was the person she had carved from the bones of her past and the blood of her desire.

Her face. Her life. Her will.

She held the bloody steel naked in her hand as she set forth to serve her lord.