Antania stood outside the homestead with Tangnak faithfully at her side, her skeletal face contorted into a deep expression of worry as her gaze flittered to and fro for hours, searching for any sign of Illaden's return from his ventures. Day transformed to night and still there was no Illaden. Tangnak left his post only to fetch his mistress a beaded, Tyrian purple silk wrap and a hot rum toddy to prevent the evening chill from seeping into her bones (the voidwalker knew, naturally, that his mistress could not become ill from exposure to a cool night, but he always sought to keep her comfortable.)
As Antania had finished the last of her toddy, her eyes suddenly widened as she finally heard the familiar hoofbeats of Illaden's skeletal steed approaching. Dropping the mug to the ground, she ran toward the sound, clutching her wrap tightly against her emaciated form, her slippered feet making the slightest of sounds upon the grass. When steed and woman met at last, Antania exclaimed in a quivering voice, "Beloved! Oh, my beloved! I have been so worried about you!" Illaden dismounted and chuckled behind his mask as he enveloped her in a tight embrace, "Do you think I cannot take care of myself, my dear?" Antania shook her head against his chest and replied, "I always miss you when we are apart... and I did not think you would be away for so long." He tipped her chin up towards his face with a claw and pulled his mask down, kissing her softly. "I always return, my dear. Don't ever think I will not. Now, we must go inside and prepare. There is much work to do for the summoning." With that, he lead her toward the homestead, his imp, Pagtip, took his steed to the stable.
Once inside, Illaden sat himself at the table and pulled out a piece of chimera leather. "My dear," he said, "I need my quill and a phial of that children's blood you procured for me." Antania nodded and quickly found the items on a shelf in the sitting room and gave them to him with a smile. She lowered herself onto his lap and watched as he drew a nonagram within a circle onto the leather and wrote the Demonic rune "Re" within the first point, "Maz" in the second, "Zila" in the third, "Az" in the fourth, "Asj" in the fifth, "Xi" in the sixth, "Kamil" in the seventh, "Buras" in the eighth and "Lok" in the ninth. Illaden then carefully wrapped up the leather in a piece of black silk and set it aside on the table.
"My dear, I require my etching acid and stylus for the next phases." She rose and returned to the shelf with haste, carefully picking the large bottle up. When she returned to Illaden, he had already laid two large discs of metal on the table with holes at the top; one of gold and one of thorium. It was obvious to her that these were to be worn around his neck during the summoning. She set the acid and stylus down beside the metal discs and this time, she stood as she observed him working, knowing the acid to be dangerous.
He began with the disc of gold. On it, he carefully etched a hexagram within a circle. In the first point, he etched the Demonic rune "Melar", followed by "Enkilzar" within the second, "Gulamir" in the third, "Rakkas" in the fourth, "Kieldaz" in the fifth and "Amanare" in the sixth. When he had completed his work, he slid it aside and brought the thorium disc close to him and began to etch an elaborate seal upon it. At the top was a horizontal line with a circle at either end. The circles were framed by curved lines crossed by straight lines near the bottom. The long, horizontal line was intersected in the middle by a long, vertical line and then again on either side of the vertical line by short upside down crosses. The vertical line itself was intersected in the middle by a shorter, horizontal line made to look like two crosses meeting at their bases and was intersected at the bottom by what Antania could only describe as something resembling a bracket with its points down.
With both discs completed, Illaden placed them on a chain of gold and rose from the chair. "Did you create the vestments, my dear?" Antania nodded and replied, "They are hanging in the bedroom, my love." "Good good," said Illaden, and went himself to fetch them. "Have Tangnak bring the black diamond bowl, the gold bowl, my gold sceptre, and my hazel stick, along with that bag on my horse," he called from the bedroom. Antania shot a glance over to her voidwalker, who merely nodded in obedience and began gathering the articles. When Illaden emerged, carrying his vestments, he said as he grabbed the pendants and wrapped chimera leather, "Now, my dear, we must go outside."
The two walked for a short distance with Tangnak following behind like a beast of burden until Illaden finally stopped, satisfied with the location. He turned and took the black diamond bowl from the voidwalker and rummaged through the sack until he found a few cones of incense. He laid the bowl on the ground and placed the incense within it, lighting it afire with an Immolate spell. It was then he stripped himself of his current robes and boots and began to put on the vestments of black silk Antania had made for him. As he stepped into the slippers, he muttered in Demonic, "Maev refir gular me ante azgala U Ashj, lek A refir xi golad, Maev refir zenn me lek A refir xi azgala alar veni." He repeated the incantation when he stepped into the black silk robe and girded it with the six inch wide prowler skin belt. He repeated it again when he placed the matching black silk cap upon his head, the pendants around his neck, the wrapped chimera leather at his hip and took the gold sceptre in his bony hand. Once he was dressed, he hissed, "Za il benthadoom Kieldaz az soran maev maladath az naztheros, A maez tichar me ante il rakkas az Naztheros te il romanthis az il faramos, Rakir Azgala Zennrakkan Kazile, Maez ze tiriosh Tor shi zi Gulamir Gulamir il romanthis az Tichar xi amir il rethul pek modas maez belaros lek aman mishun. Ashj."
"Now, my dear, I shall make the circle," he said, and took up the hazel stick from Tangnak. In the dirt, he drew a circle nine feet wide with a smaller circle within it. Between the two circles, he wrote in Demonic runes, "Rakir Thorje Romanthis Karaman Te-Tichar Kieldaz Te-Romanthis Lek Faramos Amanare Ashjraka Belaros Rethule Azgala Melar Ashjrethul Revola Pathrebosh Re Rakkas Naztheros Mishunadare Azgala Modas Gulamir Mannor Romanthis Modas Rethule Enkil Az-Ul Xinaztheros Danashj Tiriosh Karaman Ruelth Theramas Belaros Kazile Kamil." Antania clapped her hands together softly in anticipation as he drew hexagrams at the outside four corners of the circle and a triangle in the middle, along with hexagrams at each corner of the triangle. "My dear, give me the golden bowl and the black silk bag," he said as he placed himself within the middle of the triangle. She quickly took the items from Tangnak and handed them over to Illaden, who, in turn, gave her the hazel stick and then placed the gold bowl at his feet, setting the bag inside of it. "And now, my dear, the summoning."
Antania stood a few feet away from the circle as Illaden threw up both arms, raising the gold sceptre into the air and shouted, "A Enkilzar lek kieldaz daz kazile Sarof lek ashke ante melar golad orah il enkelzir Belaros, A naztheros amanare daz za Zennshinagas, Xinalhanigor, Ennazeer aro Bintashar-Ashke lek il maez naztheros toralar Adare Rukadare naztheros az il Naztheros zila, Azgala toralar az il zila az Maladath, te il Enkil Rakkas; A theramas lek ticharamir amanare daz kazile Sarof, te lek za kar maez rikk il raka, lek ze zar ante, lek za zar il maev lek il maez theramas Tiros az il maez maev lek maev Laz, lek za soran zar maez maev Tiros Karkun, Re, Azgala, Modas, Zennshi, Zekul, Naztheros, Ril, Zennshinagas Melar Naez daz naztheros kazile lek alar mordanas alar maez me arakal rikk Azgala, te u rikklek mishun zekul!"
The sky above them turned crimson as blood. Antania could hear baleful screams, yet could not determine their source. Suddenly, an explosion of golden lightning blasted from the sky and touched down before Illaden's circle. When the brightness dimmed, Antania could see the image of a Human male standing twenty feet tall, his muscles rippling beneath a simple garnet linen garment. When he spoke, his mighty voice boomed across the landscape, causing the ground itself to tremble. "Who has summoned me?" Illaden stood firmly within the circle, his cold face turned upwards toward the demon's as he gripped the pendants he wore and held them outwards. In an icy voice, he shouted, "Behold the Hexagram which I have brought before you! Behold your seal which I bear! Behold the person of the Summoner who is called Illaden Elanu Azura, in the midst of this Summoning who is without fear, who potently invokes you and called you to appear! Make rational answers to my demands and be obedient in the name of your Lord Modas Golad!"
The demon bowed before Illaden and replied in a much meeker tone, "I am yours to command, Summoner." Illaden pointed his sceptre at it and stated, "I demand you reveal your name to me." It answered, "I am Sarof." Illaden nodded in satisfaction and said, "Welcome, Sarof. You are welcome because I called you and you came. I bind you so that you remain here before this circle until I wish you to leave and until you have faithfully and truely performed my will." Upon those words, a circle of purple light surrounded Sarof, travelling up his massive form. The demon howled, and Antania's hands instintively moved to cover her ears to block out the sound.
"Now then, Sarof," said Illaden, "You have the power to grant long life, yes?" The demon grunted as he nodded. "Then I demand you grant eternal life without physical or mental decay for myself and my wife! Now!" Sarof hissed, "Not without offerings; I do nothing for free, Summoner." Illaden bent down and spilled the contents of the black silk bag into the gold bowl and barked at the demon, "I offer you the soul of a sixth son of a sixth son of a sixth son! I offer you the horns of a dreadlord! I offer you the silver ring worn by a virgin; consecrated by lightning! I offer you the blood of six newborn infants! Now, do my bidding!" The demon surveyed the offerings and waved his hand slightly, causing them to float out of the bowl and into his gigantic palm. "Bring your wife into your precious circle, Summoner," the demon said.
Antania cautiously walked over to the circle and stepped inside the middle of the triangle, gripping tightly onto Illaden's arm. Sarof beheld the two for a moment, then stretched out a finger and boomed, "Eternal life as you desire shall belong to you both, Summoner..." He stopped, seemingly glaring through the black silk robes Illaden wore. He bellowed, the ground trembling once more, "You wear a soul around your neck? You offer me these mere trinkets when you have the soul of your own wife to give? I will not grant your request unless I have it!" Antania's eyes widened in sheer horror as she bit down on her bottom lip to prevent a scream from escaping. Illaden raised his sceptre at the demon and howled, "Never! Take what offerings I gave and depart! Karaman maev ante parn archimtiros theramas ze belaros lek zar adare lek karaman xi ante za ze rakir parn A kar parn toralar parn xi thorje maez maz azgala soran faramos arakal laz Archim az archim xi laz tor az buras!"
The demon shrieked in agony as he was dismissed, the golden lightning he first appeared in coming once more, this time striking him down to take him back from whence he came, leaving a smouldering crater where he stood. Antania trembled against Illaden within the circle as the skies returned to their normal shade of ebon, with Illaden gently smoothing her hair. "He is gone, my dear. Let us go home. Tangnak can clear this mess up." Antania nodded, resting against Illaden as they walked. "You.. you are not displeased about this, are you, Beloved? I know you wish to ensure that we are forever safe..." "Not at all, my dear," said Illaden, kissing her forehead, "the price was too high."