The choice was easy, the will to power too strong.
He fingered a single page, its thickness
Pleasant, reassuring. The parchment felt
Alive somehow, an ancient presence, older
Than man. The script was symbolic, obscure
Yet understandable, as if the text
Spoke directly to him, the very words
Revealing secrets he alone could hear –
Promising words, seductive words; the words
Of truth, the words of damnation and hell.
His fingers brushed lightly across the strokes on
The page, each symbol thick enough to feel
And each alive with power. Was it the blood
Of someone… or some thing tainted with evil?
He shuddered but couldn’t stop himself.
Another page; another page; another.
With each turning he became more its slave.
This power is now mine and mine alone,
He heard himself say. Or was that his voice?
Not that it mattered; he would use the book.
Chase brought it to the summoner’s circle
Despite his never being there before;
It called, he answered. Ritual demanded
He use the sacred blade; he found the box
Containing it, along with all the rest
Of his priestly tools, exactly as he
Had left them. (He?) The candles needed lighting;
He purified the silver blade with one,
Its flame licking unseen impurities
From the serrated edge, the facets glinting
Like diamonds. He felt a slight dizziness;
Unfamiliar aromas filled the room
As each candle added its own fragrance.
The shallow bronze dish was easily cleansed
With holy water dripped in and boiled off.
The candles’ heat grew oppressive to him;
He sweated as he cut his wrist and let
A few drops fall into the dish. He dipped
His finger into it, using the blood
To seal the circle. Instantly the blood
Dried and the bright metal rim glowed dimly,
A circle of light on the wooden floor.
He chanted in a whisper, choked with fear.
A pair of disembodied yellow eyes,
Catlike, glared at him from a misty fog
That filled the circle entirely. He heard
Something speak: “I know you. What do you want?”
Chase swallowed hard. “A wolf – but not a wolf –
Has killed my men and now it seeks my life.
I want you to destroy it. Do it now!”
He heard what might have been a rumbling laugh.
The eyes squinted at him, somewhat amused.
“And what is this service of mine worth?”
“Worth?” Chase exclaimed. “What do you mean? I have
The book. You are my servant. Obey me!”
“I am not your servant, O foolish mortal,
Nor am I a merchant that you may dicker.
Will you pay for this, my service, or not?”
“Can you guarantee your success?” Chase pressed.
The voice snorted. SNORTED! “I have no time
To entertain a child such as yourself.
I deal only with the most ruthless men,
Not pretenders who would send a weak lamb
In their place. If your master has the means
And will to pay for my service, tell him
To come to me. Now run home, little lamb.”
How dare he! Does he not know who I am?
His anger could no longer be contained
And Chase bellowed, “YES! I WILL PAY YOUR PRICE!”
“Excellent,” the voice replied with a laugh.
Then the circle burst and the fog engulfed
Simon Chase. He paid for the work in full.