Watching from the doorway, Niktos watched as Father threw the alembic across the room and watched it shatter. He had been in a foul mood ever since David had left. Niktos wasn’t supposed to have even seen David, he was supposed to remain in the tower room and stay quiet. Mother kept David away from the tower, and Father saw to it that Niktos remained where he was supposed to be. Mostly.
But Mother had died, and so had René, and David and Father had a fierce argument. And David left, taking only his few books. Niktos envied him. He wished he could leave, and David hadn’t been treated like Niktos.
He trembled thinking about that. Father had moments where he was almost gentle, except for the darkness in his eyes. But more often he was cruel. Niktos still had bruises from where Father had hit him for asking about Mother.
While he called the man Father, Mark still dreamed of grey eyes when he heard the title, rather than blue. Mother was truly associated with a pair of eyes a different shade of grey, rather than brown. Brother also carried grey eyes, and black hair, rather than René’s dark blond hair and blue eyes, or even David’s middling brown eyes and hair. While there was violence associated with the grey eyed man, it was never turned to Niktos, and the woman was always associated with gentleness. The boy who was associated with brother, he was a cheerful competitor and compatriot, nothing like René, or even distant Duv.
Nothing like the family that was all he had known in his six years of life.
Father’s voice rang out from inside the room, sounding absolutely vicious. Niktos began to creep away. He was too late. One of Father’s spells caught him and forced him into the sanctum. His eyes grew huge as he saw what was there.
A demon was standing impatiently in the summoning circle. “Well,” it said, sounding very annoyed, “Is this the child?”
“Yes, Harputros,” Father said. “Make certain this son can’t betray me like my own flesh and blood did.”
The demon, Harputros apparently, gave Niktos a jaundiced look, and said, “It can be done. The payment is the same as the result. I will implant some of my essence in the child, which will result in the loss of his soul. The complete loss will take…many years, after the completion of which I will gain total possession of the boy. My hold will only be broken should someone truly name him and hold tight to him, no matter what happens.” Harputros gave Father a look, and asked, “Is this acceptable to you?”
Father waved his accession, and said, “Fine, fine. My plans should be completed within the decade. If I can get further use out of the child, then that is simply a side benefit.” He turned away from the demon and the terrified Niktos. “Now, I must punish my own flesh and blood for running away when I need him.”
Harputros smiled, revealing a great many sharp, pointed teeth, and said, “That is always the danger of sons, that they will seek to destroy their father’s influence. Now,” he turned to Niktos, looking him in the eye, “Come here, human child.”
The horrible, wonderful eyes disarmed Niktos’s mind completely. Everything that was horrible about Father was reflected as wondrous in those eyes, and all that was good about the grey-eyed family became terrible. Niktos wasn’t even able to scream as the demonic essence entered his body and ate at his soul.