Ra 1 (excerpt)
It would seem I was rash when I defamed my companions in regard to my marital status. I never actually wrote to them while I was away saying the words, “I got Married, and We are Pregnant.” I wrote that she was ‘baking my bun,’ as Mistress Chef Taikatalvi would have said. Oh, I miss the crass woman. I never would have guessed what she’d turn in to when I was stooping her as a scullery maid.
Anyway, I had to apologize to my companions. They didn’t know that I had scolded them in my journal, but even so, I needed to clear my conscience. At once telling them of the slight and apologizing for it.
We struggled through the throng…..
I awoke troubled by the new job given to us by Forenque. I felt that the burden and pride of the burden would overpower any sort of discussion in the Priest, and he would become more a follower of Ra than an acolyte of Lady Luck. Now, it would seem, I know it has.
Since we had made it safely outside of the Holy City’s limits, I was ready to reveal my plans to my companions. I wanted to get out of the range of the Prying Eyes of the guard, and away from the responsibilities of those I wished to save a hard decision. Though we moved only a handful of miles out of town, due to the crowds, I thought it sufficient.
I have been warring with my reactions to my Mother and her detainment of Adriana, my beloved wife, and of me, as well as the torture by the Agent. I know that the pain is past, and that the next time I see her I will not be so easily detained, but I still have nightmares of the ghosts of 72 scars on my arms. U’Selekma’s curing of the curses, of my scars, and of the taint of Bes upon my soul healed me physically and spiritually, but the emotional scars are left behind.
I will not be weaponless again. I will not leave CrIsis weaponless. I will not leave my Beloved in a den of wolves… well she is in one now, but the wolves are ‘tame.’ I will not allow the Dark to Win. With every dying breath I will curse them and will declare as if with a voice like a clarion, ‘’Power to Ra, and Glory to Osiris!’’ My war cry will be heard, and will reverberate into the depths of their souls.
This morning I explained the first step in my plan to thwart Taut. Summon a beast of Hades to craft weapons. The first type of weapon that we need is an arsenal of scrolls. We are a group of wizards and sorcerers, but we do not have all of the spells known in heaven and hell. Summoning a fel creature to aid in the plight of the Gods seemed like poetic justice to me. My Will is enough to overcome most of the Greater Daemons, and they will be bent to it. They shall grovel at CrIsis’ feet.
And that’s when the Priest and Druid stopped me. I understand their need to destroy, destroy, destroy. Even a simple glance at a Demon makes my blood boil and my marrow run hot. But are they nothing more than a single urge tied to a mortal vessel? Do they not have the mental dominance to stop their running charge? It seems that their hatred for all things demonic runs hotter and more powerfully than their self-control can keep in check.
They did bring up several good points, in the middle of erroneous preconceptions strewn about by the anti-summoner’s school of thought.
Summoners are thought to be evil by a vast majority of Palladium. There is a reason for this. Several, actually.
One reason, is that most Summoners are focused on Control and Power, moreso than most other schools of magic. The act of summoning a creature and bending it to your will is the pinnacle of hubris and greed. Mortal beings that rule Palladium at the edge of a knife are nothing when matched up to a Lord of Hades, or an army of Dyvals. For that reason, mortal man searched for knowledge to subjugate and control them, and extend his purview to the netherealms.
This in itself is not evil. It is the motives and the means taken by the summoner afterward that make it evil. A man with great power is not always an evil man. But an evil man with power is always feared. That is why all Emperors are feared. They are all powerful, and if they are evil, it is only going to result in tragedy. But Emperor Itomas is a good man. That does not stop everyone from adding the epithet “of Sin” to the Empire. There are good people there. There are Temples of Osiris. As well as my Wife and Child, both natives. I understand it – the Western Empire has done some horrible things, but that doesn’t mean it’s always been evil, or that it always will be. There have been Evil Kings in the Eastern Kingdoms. Does that mean we should call those kingdoms the Kingdoms of Sin? Of course not! It’s short-sighted and shallow. So, too, with Summoners – they are not evil, but it allows free reign for a predisposition of evil.
Another reason, is that the act of Summoning is one of domination. This reason is not a good reason to call them Evil, unless you also call Warlocks, Wizards and Sorcerers evil. They all have some version of the same idea. There are several “Domination” spells that Wizards and Sorcerers can learn, as well as the Warlock’s calling of Elemental Essences. Most of them see the calling as the use of a fraternal bond, and do no abuse their elemental brethren, but that does not change the fact that they absolutely control the Elemental. They are forcing their will upon a being, and the being is not released until the warlock says so. There is absolutely nothing different as far as basic mechanics are concerned.
Yet another reason is that a Summoner has the power to call upon evil beings, from Dyval, Hades, and the most powerful ones have even called upon the Old Ones and Dark Gods. This is an area of grey at best, and I understand that. However, no matter the Moral Alignment, or the willing disposition toward evil, the basic mechanics of a Jungle Ravaged by a Wind Elemental are on an entirely different SCALE from a single Gallu Demon pillaging an empty town. Are they both horrible acts? Definitely. However, it does not matter to the baby if it was eaten by a demon, or skewered by a wagon shaft in the midst of a tornado’s wrath. Dead is dead, destruction is destruction, and intent makes no difference.
Given this, the only real worry I have with a Summoner bringing Demons to his control is that they are seductive. They have had centuries to learn how to turn the hearts of men toward evil. I myself fell to the seductively powerful whisperings of a Dyval once. His name was Helgriven. He rushed me onward toward evil, and though I saw myself doing it, and knew it was morally wrong, I had no desire to do better or different. That is the power of Demons and Dyvals. They don’t beat you with cudgels, but tie you down with flaxen cords and lead you to damnation of the innocent.
With the proper defenses, though, a Summoner that is ever vigilant can fight off their advances. An inexperienced summoner, like I was when I first met Helgriven, does not have those, nor do they have the world experience to know why they are important.
The final major reason, and the one I war with myself, is that it is illegal in most countries to summon anything at all. Summoners for the most part are a pariah and are the villainous boogeyman that most mothers use to keep their children’s behavior in check. “be nice, because summoners take naughty children to their lairs!’ “Be good, or the Summoner will send imps to nibble at your feet while you sleep!” This, along with the misconceptions and propaganda of blind, shallow-minded individuals, has created laws to prevent any summoning. Since we are CrIsis, we are Scions of Light. We cannot be seen openly breaking the law. I am not sure of the law in Lopania, so I am not knowingly breaking the law if there is one, but a Lifetime of being a Summoner has taught me to be cautious no matter where I am.
I am not ashamed of what I propose to do! I would summon demons on a stage in front of the whole of the church! I would proclaim my purpose and my resolve to every corner of Palladium! I would dress in the Robes of Osiris. I am proud of the powers that Osiris has given me through Thoth’s wisdom. I will use them to put a thorn in evil’s side. What I am doing is using a tool for evil for a good purpose. When a Demon is under my control, they are only as evil as I allow them to be. Much like a Sword. Swords have caused every calamity that Magic hasn’t, and even then magic worked hand in hand with the Sword to enact horrors upon the innocent. They have also been used by the Gallant to defend truth and right. If I neuter a Demon, and twist him to my will like a Rune Blade, is it not the same as a Gallant Soldier using an evil tool for righteousness? Are the scrolls a Raksasha makes evil? They are not different from the scroll that Xerx’ses or I would make, would that make them holy? Could they not be used by Set himself for evil?
The discussion went for what felt like days, but by noon I was allowed by the group to follow through with my plan. The druid had to leave, and I could see the hatred on the Priest’s face, looking at where the Demon was to arrive. I asked him for Holy Water to create protection circles for the group, should anything go wrong. He gladly blessed the water, and seeing his face, and hearing his words, it was more like Holy Retribution Water.
While digging the summoning circle into the dirt, I hummed nonsensical syllables in a rhythmic pattern, as my training taught me. I calmed the doves, and gently severed their necks, the most humane method of killing them, as it is unfortunately required for the summoning. Most Summoners slit them throat to navel, so that their blood coats the ground, pushed forward while their hearts still beat, and their cries fill the air. With each bird’s death, I sent off a magic-coated phrase of ‘Magis Demon Inferni.’
On the third bird’s death, I felt the summoning take root. As if the ground in front of me fell away, and a weight settled onto my shoulders, my body bowed forward, and my soul felt like it was hanging over a pit. I straightened, and raised my right hand, and called, “Come to me, Foul Beast. My will is your command! Embrace the Void!” The demon, wreathed in smoke, clawed its way out of a cracking slit in the dimension’s barrier, and its hands bridged the gaps where order met discord, so that its body could lumber fully into our world. It roared with beastial rage and avarice as it finished the climb – it could smell my soul, and it was hungry. The formless shape before me coalesced and dispersed like a great cloud of misty, magnetized iron shavings, as a child drags magnetite across the ground in random shapes and paths. The dimensional rift closed like an air bubble bursting in water, the world returning to its natural state, as if the rift never existed, save for the monstrous cloud before me.
“I WILL CRUSH. I WILL TEAR! I WILL DRINK THE MARROW FROM YOUR BONES!” Its voice ground at me, a voice like a rock vibrating against steel to create a nightmarish basso. “My Will is your Command! Embrace the World, Foul Beast!” I said again.
“YOUR WILL IS OFFAL, AND I AM THE PREDATOR. I DEVOUR YOUR WILL WITH ENTRAILS AND GORE. PAIN IS YOUR MOTHER’S TEAT, AND DEATH HER BOSOM!” My will faltered, as the mental assault slammed into me. Visions of my mother, cradling herself to my arm, in a twisting of nature’s order. As I looked, her face turned toward me, blood dripping from her cheeks, lips, and chin. "no… No, My Will! MY will!’
“I AM YOUR MASTER. KEEP MY THRONE AS I RULE YOUR WORLD. I SHALL CONQUER WITH YOUR FACE, AND NATIONS SHALL DECAY FROM LACK OF LOVE!” It growled in triumph. My face, once ashen and distant, jerked back toward the demon’s covering could. A smile tweaked the corners of my mouth, and I commanded, “MY WILL IS YOUR MARROW, MY HAPPINESS YOUR BLOOD. YOU SHALL SERVE ME. YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD WON WITH ONE HIT. I CONTROL YOU, BEAST!”
And with that, it was over. It is strange to explain a battle of wills, as none other than the Order of Summoners has actually seen and felt it. None on the outside saw anything that passed during the battle of Wills. They saw a very simple appearance of the demon after the three utterances of Magni Demon Ignis, which looks on the outside to be little more than an invisible beast emerge from behind their veil. They saw the sweat pour down my face, but didn’t hear a single word I uttered. From the outside, it must have seemed like such a serene and boring experience.
Having completed the battle, I realized that the beast was not the one for which I searched. Not knowing the True Name of a Raksasha, I had to rely on the fateful dice of Lady Luck. Every time I rolled those dice I felt an ethereal sense of justice and excitement! This was more than Strategy, Strength and Planning. This was Fate choosing her lover.
I dismissed it and started in again. Yet again, a demon came, I conquered it, and it was not the one. This one did not wish to go back, and it fought us. Luckily Asher and I were able to banish it back to Hades.
We traveled for the rest of the day.
I purchased 27 live doves in town today. I WILL summon my demon, and it WILL help Osiris.
Finally. I have summoned the Raksasha that I needed. The first step is complete.
This morning, after traveling a day’s journey out of the town, I started work once again on a summoning circle. I could tell that the Priest was frustrated with the continuance of this plight, but what more could I possibly do? My plan has not yet come to fruition. Does he expect me to turn away? No, and It will pay off.
power and glory…. why keep me from helping you… we could rule… we could save her…. your child will die without uss….
No. Blasted Raksasha. So much more seductive than the Gallu Demon Bull!
I summoned the misguided cat, and commanded him to not take any action, for or against any member of crisis while he is within 300 yards of any of CrIsis, and that he will not take any actions without my prior approval. I had to draw a prison for him in the sand, so that I could keep him contained while he works.
As Demons go, he was rather agreeable
…i could give you power beyond…..
and he folded rather easily. The trick with seductions, is that if you argue with them, you have already fallen to them. If you do not even acknowledge them as seductive, or even as a reality, they cannot take root in you. The second you accept the premise of such an argument, you accept falling as a possibility. Their words must mean nothing, and their offers must not bring any images to your mind.
I handed him a list of scrolls to create for us, and he will be creating scrolls for the next few days.
The Raksasha finished his task, and left without a word. We’ll have to keep our eye out.
We traveled for the rest …….
>>An excerpt from his Journal, spanning Ra 1st through 8th in the 23rd Year of Emperor Voelkian Itomas II, by Azariel, Apprentice Alchemist. Acolyte of Osiris and the Lady Luck.<<
First Picture by Displate
Second Picture Credit: VoA News
Third Picture Credit:HamsterFly
Fourth Picture Credit: Elite Daily and altered by Gaitkeeper.
Fifth Picture Credit: Bug Fox
Sixth Picture Credit: Galip Karadeniz.