The Queen of Heaven summoned us in the morning to publicly thank us for our assistance in realigning Iravati with the River Network and the physical plane, and oversaw about an hour of public proclamations and speeches and logistics for what life would look like going forward. As we made our way back to the apartment I noticed an array of new spirits in the market, some of which were excitedly talking to old vendors like long-lost friends. Akshainie was taken in by all the new visitors, and dragged us to a boat on the edge of the river where a nymph was selling herbs and food from the Mediterranean, and a nearby jengu selling balms and potions.
Her shopping done, we returned to the apartment where Michael retrieved and set up the Book of Shadows and Consociationes Daemonum while Akshainie explained the purposes of the various supplies she’d picked up. As we ate lunch, Michael began to explain the books.
“So in what way is this,” I asked, picking up the Consociationes Daemonum, “an index of the Book of Shadows?”
“In a somewhat indirect way, if I’m honest,” Michael explained. “What do you know about the Book of Shadows?”
“I know that it’s a tome that tracks the location of all demonic entities in real time. It seems to also highlight connections between them using some kind of esoteric labeling system, but I don’t know what purpose that serves.”
“Okay, look, you deal with the Book of Shadows since it listens to you, and I’ll show you around this one.” He opened the Consociationes Daemonum and flipped through to a page covered in alchemical symbols. “The Book of Shadows doesn’t just track locations, it also tracks affiliation and natures. It’s primarily a political tome, one that gives its user significant insight into which strings can be pulled and what weaknesses can be exploited to accomplish your goals. Here, let me show you an example. You have a demonic entity we can look up? Ideally one that you know enough about to verify what the book says.”
“Telial of the Broken Oath,” Akshainie said. I turned to glare at her and she shrugged. “We can verify that one, Bene.”
“Fine,” I said. “We’ll look up Telial.”
“Sounds like a touchy subject,” Michael said, flipping through the book. “What do you know about their associations?”
“He’s a son of Babylon.”
“Oooo, going big, okay. Let’s see here.” He then began to walk us through how the book was arranged, with each chapter after the first devoted to a major demonic prince and their various allegiances. It turns out the structure of these allegiances doesn’t significantly change, so the Consociationes Daemonum didn’t need to update very often. “Sometimes they’ll start calling a given arrangement by a different name, which matters if you directly invoke it, but doesn’t matter for the books. The function of the arrangement remains the same, and the symbols used to represent it carry over. So, here,” he pointed out that one arrangement Babylon is known to make involves a life debt built around political influence. The subject enters into a pact with Babylon, who then secures the subject with political clout and an edge in advancement opportunities, and in exchange the subject is bound by blood oath to champion whatever causes Babylon calls on them to enact. “If you want to have any faith in our political institutions, I wouldn’t read anything with this label. But see here, this pact is represented by the alchemical symbol for wax, presumably because of its association with royal edicts. So anywhere you see this symbol in the Book of Shadows, it shows that the party bearing it is under this pact with the demon to whom they’re connected.”
The Book of Shadows, he explained, is laid out in the same order as the Consociationes Daemonum, so we can find everyone affiliated with Babylon by just going to her part of the book, and we found it quickly. Descendants were represented by the symbol for Aqua Vitae, so we looked for those symbols in her section until we found Telial. He showed us each of the symbols attached to the Telial entry in the Consociationes Daemonum, and interpreted them all to mean that Telial was in human form, bound by oath to the Papal See (”usually you see them in some direct animosity to that, but okay,” Michael said), affiliated with water spirits and various serpent entities through a connection with Mundir, bound by fate to the Beast, enemy of Nachash, and located in the spiritual realm.
“So…is this you?” he asked.
“In a manner of speaking,” I answered.
“Okay but look at what that means.” He turned a few more pages and showed that, because of my demonic nature, he and Akshainie were now being tracked by the book due to their close affiliation with me. “Here’s a guy named Tadzio, a couple priests, Henry Matteson who is apparently deceased?”
“But not John.”
“John is an anchor, they can’t be tracked by magic. As far as the book is concerned, he doesn’t exist.”
“And what are these?” I asked, pointing to a list of locations.
“Those are sites that the demonic hierarchy treats as yours. Essentially, those are places that, through either your actions or inheritance, are now under your purview. Demonic activity there must either go through you or involve a challenge to your local authority.”
“What’s this one?” I pointed at one composed of sweeping curves and dots.
“Looks like Arabic. I think…yeah, here,” he pointed to the same symbols further up the page. “Whatever that is, it’s where this Mundir is located.”
“Mundir is the authority there.”
“Mundir isn’t a demon. The hierarchy considers him to be under your protection.”
“Iravati,” Akshainie said, pointing to another listing in, I assume, Sanskrit.
“Well at least you don’t have to worry about any demons popping in to start trouble, unless they specifically want to deal with Benedict.”
“Okay,” I said, rubbing my temples, “you’ve made your point. So we use that book to figure out where in this book to find things, and to interpret the symbols attached to them?”
“And we can find Nachash this way?”
“Already did, he’s in this chapter both as an enemy of yours and a friend of Babylon’s. Looks like he’s currently at a place called the Crossroads.”
“Is that important?”
“It’s the primary junction in the Deep Realms, everyone that travels through the realms often ends up there once in a while. I’ve been twice.”
“But is Nachash in this book? Can I find locations tied to him like the ones tied to me?”
“As long as he’s a demon, you just have to follow the web of his affiliations until you find his full entry in the book.”
“And if he isn’t?”
“Then there won’t be a full entry, which you won’t know until you trace all the connections.”
“Then I guess we better get to work,” I said, and we settled in to do exactly that.
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.