"How do I know I can trust you?" The sliver of moon shining in the cloudless still night barely illuminated the woman before me, yet she glowed, and I was terrified.
She laughed then, a deep throaty laugh that made my knees weak. "You can't. I'm a demon, silly."
"But... you're so beautiful."
"My dear, you are so young. Beauty is just skin deep, and this" she runs her hands down over the swell of her breasts, across her belly, and rests them on her hips "isn't even my skin. However, as it comes to our agreement, once we settle on the terms, I will be powerless to change them. There are some rules that even I have to follow. If I didn't, no one would ever agree to deal with me."
"Fine. You get my soul when I die, and those things in the valley go away, and everything gets to grow again. Yes?"
"Yes. When you die, or 10 years, whatever comes first."
I nod. She steps toward me and leans in, and I leap back. "What are you doing?"
"Sealing the deal with a kiss."
I blink and get out an "Oh" before her lips are on mine. I don't know how long the kiss lasted, but it was electric. Her hands cupping my face, her lips on mine all burned like she had a fever. When she pulled away she looked me in the eyes, and slipped her hand down to my throat and squeezed. The last thing I heard was the crushing of my neck.
"I never promised I wouldn't kill you myself. Now get up."
My broken body struggled to it's feet. I felt the broken bits of my neck snapping and popping back into place.
"There is a book in the temple in town. I want it. It has a red leather cover. Get it, and bring it to the top of that mountain." She pointed off to a distant peak at the far end of the valley. "There you will find a group waiting for you. Gather them
"What... I thought you wanted my soul? What about the valley?"
"Oh, the hellhounds will leave off, don't worry. And as for your soul, I have it, and you have to do what I say. Now go."
Xezbeth is one of many crossroads demons, and like all of them, she must abide by whatever deal she makes. However she will always work to twist the deal her way, and rarely does she deliver the souls she's collected straight to hell. At times she's used them to form the core of a cult to get what she wants. Usually when her more persuasive means fail.