There is no reason for me to be this way, Rémi asks me, is there?

But you enjoy it, I say.

He takes a small swig from his glass.

Yes, he says, I enjoy it far too much for my own good; I revel in these demon days, spent trawling the earth in search of any and all audacious enough to join me in consumption of the pierced pomegranate.

It goes down smoothly with a glass of red wine, he says, and so we clink our glasses and partake of Hell and its libertine luxuries. And perhaps it is all I know, he muses, perhaps I have become so accustomed to the ways of the warlock that it is merely muscle memory prolonging my descent, the automatic placement of one foot in front of the other, all the while those chained to my ankles pulled along with me.