"The key to sexuality is control."
This is the first thing about Asmodeus' voice: it never seems to go above a whisper, yet it is always audible. Certainly the group of quietly terrified novice demons needed no help hearing his words as they frantically attempted to write them down verbatim. The Prince of the Game noted this, and continued.
"Put away the notebooks." The sounds of pens being dropped, notebooks being whisked out of sight and sweat beading on foreheads filled the room. "If you are incapable of understanding this simple fact instantly, then you will never survive your first tour of duty on Earth, and your only legacy will be the hastily-scrawled notes that the next candidate will rip out of those notebooks without a second thought. Do not waste any more of Hell's resources than you can help."
After the fear cleared to a more manageable level, Asmodeus continued. "There is no need for me to discuss the mechanics of sexuality: most of you have worked out that on your own. Those few who have not yet focussed on this aspect of their future tasks will be collected at the end of this session and brought to establishments run by my esteemed colleague so that they may acquire a grounding in the basics."
This is the second thing about Asmodeus' voice: there is no inflection, no irony, not even cruelty in it - but it is not emotionless. Those demons present shuddered: both the ones that would be collected and the ones that would not. It was hard to tell which group had been derelict in their duties - but it was grimly certain that either one or the other had been. Possibly both. After a precisely-calculated moment, the Prince of the Game began to speak again.
"So, instead of analyzing the outward form of corporeal sexuality, I will instead speak of its core. Control. Humans use sexuality to control each other, and you will use it to control humanity. That much is obvious. However, there is more than one kind of control, and the adequate demon must show that he has mastered the ways of both.
"The first kind of control is control over others. This is the type that is most obvious: after all, humans have used sexuality to break others of their kind to their will throughout all of their history. We of Hell are better at it than they are, of course, but this is one place where their research will actually prove of use. Never scorn a tool, even a flawed one, if it will allow you to impose the Will of your Prince on humans.
"Mortals have discovered that there are two ways to control others through sexuality: by granting it, and by denying it. Both ways have their uses. Some humans wish to be provided with certain acts: some wish to be denied them. Some wish to decry an activity in public and secretly indulge in it: others wish to be free to flaunt their activities to the world. Very few will not tolerate having their delusions reinforced, but even those that believe that they want 'honesty' can be controlled. Study of a particular human will show the best way to take possession of his or her strings: sloppiness in this is intolerable.
"There is some debate about whether allowing a targeted human sexual pleasure is advisable. One school of thought, ably described by a certain Saint of Faith..."
The class rustled at the forbidden name. Asmodeus looked - well, less bleak - for a moment.
"I see that some of you have mistaken tradition for policy. While calling them 'Slaves' is, of course, accurate, see that you do not continue the practice if you graduate to Earth. The Word is currently in disfavor among many human cultures, and many of the Enemy will be eagerly waiting for those unfamiliar with the corporeal plane to make just that sort of slip. That is precisely why the word 'Saint' has never been forbidden by the Game. Unlike our foes, we are practical.
"To continue, the first school of thought believes that it is not necessary to permit an act of useful pleasure, as long as the subject desires it. This belief has the advantage of being less work for us, but unfortunately the days when gratification could be denied entirely have passed. Many corporeal cultures have made avenues for sexual gratification sufficiently available that not even Hell may effectively control them all. Thus, the second school of thought postulates that any form of pleasure may be safely granted, so long as the subject is fixated upon receiving it from an appropriate source. Debate continues: you would be well-advised to follow your Prince's lead on this matter, as is only proper.
"The advantages of controlling humans through sexuality are threefold. First, of course, is that many humans consider the act of reproduction to be a bonding ritual. It will be difficult to remember at times, but humans expect this ritual to be at least slightly reciprocal. They will expect you to actually 'care' about them, simply because a mere exchange of fluids and the firing of certain neurons in their brains. This delusion can even survive the revelation that their 'partner' is a demon. Some will even take pride in the fact. Needless to say, none of you will share in this delusion: Hell has even less use for lunatics than it does for fools.
"The second advantage is that sexual activity is a necessary part of many Roles. Andrealphus and Nybbas have made certain of that, if nothing else."
This is the third thing about Asmodeus' voice: while it is always cold, sometimes it is ... colder.
"Depending on one's point of view, this is either a unfortunate side effect of other policies or an inspired method of blending in. No matter what your Prince's personal views on the matter, it is something that must be taken into consideration.
"The third and final advantage is that this type of control will permit you a different way of exercising your own birthright of power over mortals. Hell does not mind when you demonstrate your superiority over your inferiors - indeed, we encourage it, provided that it does not interfere with your tasks. Some Princes take more stock in this particular affirmation of self than others, but few forbid it entirely. It is policy to permit anyone to take what they can keep. The fact that humans never can keep what they take merely underscores the rightness of our cause.
"This leads us to the second type of control: control of one's self. I have touched upon this earlier, but now I shall say it outright for the slow: a proper demon must always be in control of the weaker. You all have your desires, and the Will to impose them upon the universe. This is only fitting, for your betters will do the same. The reason why they are your betters is because they have learned to better use their desires as a tool, rather than as an excuse. There are no excuses. You control, or you submit: but a demon that cannot control himself is a demon that cannot control others. This is why Discord is such a danger for most of you: it hints to the universe that there are places where your Will is weak. Hell will tolerate a hundred lunatics, a thousand fools, before it will accommodate one weakling."
The Prince of the Game stood: as if by signal, two demons of the Game wheeled over what looked like a box covered in heavy cloth. In a gesture almost ostentatious in its lack of dramatics, Asmodeus removed the cloth to reveal an open framework of bars - and a softly moaning figure inside them. The room grew so quiet that the Prince's voice, for once, seemed almost a shout.
"This is an example. This demon was once an efficient Servitor - until he forgot to control himself. He allowed himself to be ruled by Lust, as can be plainly seen. This made him weak. He became so weak that when it came time for him to defend his Prince - and of course, himself - from the Enemy, he failed. The Enemy found him easy meat, and reduced him to a pitiful Remnant, forced to wander the streets until agents of the Game found him and brought him to me so that I could restore enough of him to show to you. He was unable to control even his own urges..."
Asmodeus, at this point, casually reached into the framework and scooped out the lone Celestial Force. The explosion was fairly spectacular, very loud and quite messy, but no one dared remove the former demon from their faces as the Prince continued,
"...and now he is gone, and none remember his name. Take this lesson to heart, lest you be the lesson someday."
This is the fourth thing about Asmodeus' voice: sometimes, it is cruel.
"Are there any questions?"
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