Light flickered across pages of an ancient tome, a candle wick burned down to about an inch off its base. Viktor had been at it for 18 hours straight, however he was still alert as ever, eyes bright and focused, mind sharp. The halfling’s previous genius level intellect, and god-like mental capacity, had continually improved since he had become one of the summoned. The journeys to Between affected the heroes in different ways, however universally they became stronger each time they were victorious in their service of the demigods. Viktor was still grateful that his theft of Aris Demonica, from the library of Bastian Oriel, the timeless one, had yet gone unpunished. He was sure that Bastian would come for him at some stage, and silently Viktor relished the opportunity to lock horns with the lore keeper on Athien, where the stakes were so much higher than Between. Quickly, he brought his mind back to the task at hand.
Extracting the true name of Al’garath had been relatively easy compared to his current pursuit. Yes, this one had proven to be very difficult indeed. Every waking hour for the past 50 days had been spent poring over the tome, and as yet, Viktor had been unable to make any major progress, until earlier today. The halfling finally learned the name of an ancient demon, a fire beast that swam the lava pits of the plane of fire, and as with all demons, having knowledge of its true name meant it was possible to summon it to do your bidding. Possible, yes, however there was no guarantee such a beast could be controlled for any length of time. Summoning demons was always a tricky business.
The demon Al’garath had thus far proven to be a powerful ally and, beyond the occasional eldritch burn, Viktor had been largely unscathed, however that provided no correlation towards any future summons, since all demons were frighteningly unique. Despite knowing his name for several hours, Viktor had so far resisted the urge to summon Dor’gokaan, because the halfling wanted to be sure he could safely dismiss him if things got out of hand. Hidden among the names of several powerful demons, the tome contained a spell of banishment which empowered the summoner to vanquish any named demon to its home plane. It could mean the difference between life and death should a summons go awry.
It took several hours more before Viktor, about to end the session, deciphered the final rune that gave him knowledge of banishment, the spell forever etched into his brain. With a sense of relief, he slowly closed the tome, fastened its metal bindings and placed it into a large rune-encrusted chest sitting in the corner of his laboratory. Viktor closed his eyes for a moment to settle his mind and make sure he still had the mental strength to risk a summons after nearly 24 hours without sleep. Even now, the power of his enhanced mind still surprised the halfling, as his everything came into sharp focus enabling him to begin preparations for the summoning ritual.
The air crackled with energy as parchment flew off a solid oak desk that stood to the side. Viktor sat within a glowing star etched into the stonework floor of his laboratory. A swirling vortex of purple flame which began as a flicker, erupted into a blaze 12 feet into the air, licking the ceiling above. The flame originated in a second glowing star, much larger than the first which, all going well, was the intended destination of the demon. Beads of sweat formed on the halfling’s brow, trickling down the crevice of his right eye, pausing as it came in contact with the crows feet wrinkles that gave some indication of the halfling’s age. Viktor’s concentration was unwavering as the roaring flame caused a noise loud enough to invoke a response from the ravens that nested in his loft. Then, silence, both within the tower and outside. It seemed nature held its breath in reaction to an alien intruding on the world. Athien herself knew that the demon did not belong here.
A low guttural growl broke the silence. Viktor opened his eyes and before him stood an immense beast like nothing he had ever seen. A gaping maw, its lips parting to reveal sharp jagged teeth, appeared where the demon’s stomach should be. Four appendages protuded from its upper torso, two that resembled arm and hands, another a crab-like claw, and the 4th splitting into two demonic eyes that peered around the room unnervingly. Grasped within one of the hands was a fantastic sword, runes writhing along its blade in an endless macabre dance. The creature focused its gaze on Viktor, hatred oozing with the knowledge of what had just occurred. “Dor’gokaan…” Viktor whispered. The beast instinctively lurched forward at the sound of its name, only to howl in pain as an invisible barrier burned its flesh the first time a part of its body cut the vertical plane rising from the star on the floor. Dor’gokaan retracted to the centre of the star, not taking its gaze off Viktor for a single second.
Viktor smiled. The repercussions of today’s achievement playing out in his mind. He would now be the most powerful of the summoned and before long, Viktor was sure, he would have the power to challenge the gods themselves. Let Bastian come now, he thought, for death awaited him.
The halfling spoke an incantation before clapping his hands together loudly. With a deafening pop, the demon vanished, leaving wisps of smoke tendrils floating in the air. Weariness suddenly overcame him so he stumbled to his cot and slid under the heavy furs. Sleep came swiftly.