Part 2: The Summoning
It is the ignorance of evil men that makes them summon Demons. A summoning rips a demon from where he stands in Hell and, with all the subtlety of a chained animal dragged across a mile of broken glass and razor blades, deposits him, powerless and caged in a magic circle, onto the mortal world where, in exchange for a soul or two, he is asked to perform a task that, where the summoning priest patient and wise enough, he could figure out how to accomplish on his own. It is why there is a special Hell for summoners, a sort of amusement park for demons. If evil men knew this, they would not summon demons.
On this day, beneath Paragon City, one such summoning is taking place. Through a maze of empty tunnels and guarded chambers hides a deep, dark cavern. Rope bridges and chiseled stairs lead to the bottom where water, dripping from stalactites in the ceiling, has gathered in pools. On slightly higher, dry ground sits the summoning circle. Light from the many torches hanging on the walls reflects off the water creating eerie, dancing shadows. A dozen followers are gathered to protect the High Priest and the ritual.
Now, in the center of the magic circle, appears the beast who moments ago was savoring the taste of a fresh sin. He is on one knee, his every muscle is tense and his eyes are clenched shut. His expression a twisted battle between pain and rage. As he struggles to recover from the journey he just involuntarily took, he can only manage to hiss a single word at a time.
“WHY…HAVE…YOU…SUMMONED…ME?” he demands.
The sight of the massive beast and the sound of the pain and anger in his voice sends a chill down the priests’ spine. In an attempt to regain his self-confidence he decides to recite his title and accomplishments.
“I am the High Priest Tre…” he begins.
Having had a moment to recover from his ordeal and having no desire to listen to the priests’ self-important rambling, the beast cuts him off. His voice now so deep and powerful, its as though the cavern itself were speaking.
“I KNOW WELL WHO YOU ARE, PET”, he reminds the priest of his place then commands, “SPEAK YOUR TERMS.”
The summoner knows well enough that his control is temporary and conditional. He must set very specific terms that the demon must agree to based on the sacrifice offered. In this case the offering is three citizens tied to sacrificial tables.
“My Lord,” the priest begins humbly, “I offer these three souls that you might rid us of a hero that stands in our way.”
“FOR THIS YOU SUMMONED ME?” he roared, obviously displeased.
“HAVE I NOT GRANTED YOU ENOUGH POWER TO DEAL WITH ONE MORTAL?”
“But this is no mortal,” the priest began in his defence, “she is a Valkyrie, known only to us as The Golden Sword.” Having planned this out, the priest knew an immortal opponent would tempt his master.
The beast pondered the terms for a moment. The sacrifice meant little; they weren’t willing victims. However, the chance to go after a divine being here on the mortal plane, that, as the priest had guessed, did intrigue him. He could not pass up such an opertunity.
“VERY WELL,” he decided, “I ACCEPT THE TERMS, FINISH THE RITUAL.”