The Summoning Circle was complete.
I look around the summoning room, making sure everything was in its place. The Coven of Morgûl Rana had taken great care when building this room. The stone walls, ceiling and floor were all reinforced with seals of protections, even the single door into the room had them. Besides a few candles that I had placed around the circle for light, the room was barren of anything that could physically be used against me. An important precaution that Silmarwen had taught me when dealing with summoned beings; they will not always treat their summoner kindly.
It’s interesting to note the vastly different summoning techniques between Silmarwen and Xandarlathalas. I have seen Xandarlathalas summon dozens upon dozens of spirits while under his “tenure”. Spirits were a tool to be used and discarded, nothing more. There was no cajoling, bartering, or negotiations with Xandarlathalas. If he could summon it, he bent the spirit to his will. He was brutal and blunt like a war hammer in all aspects of his life, and summoning spirits was no exception.
Silmarwen’s style was tremendously different. Her first priority was safety. Not only for her, but in case the spirit was unpleasant and wanted free, that at the very least, it couldn’t escape and cause harm to others. Hence the warded summoning room, protected both physically and astrally. Secondly, Silmarwen had no issues with letting an unhappy spirit go. “It’s better to have a spirit respect you rather than fear you.” she told me. “A “chained” spirit will always be looking for those moments when you are vulnerable, to fight and pull on that chain against you every chance it gets."
A lesson I understand all too well.
So her summoning involves finding willing spirits to work with us. Sometimes we will give gifts to them, exchange information, or just plain listen to what they have to say in exchange for their services. This generally increases the amount of time to summon and find a willing spirit, but almost always yields a friendly spirit that would aid a Nethermancer when its services are requested.
This summoning attempt wasn’t a normal summoning though. I was specifically calling for a Named spirit.
Slowly I begin to walk clockwise around the summoning circle.
Reaching into my pocket, I pull out five small bone fragments. On each bone I had previously inscribed a single letter that made up this spirit’s Name. Placing the first bone in the circle, I attach a thread of magic to it and finish walking around the circle. I then start walking counter clockwise to the circle, placing the second bone in the circle. Again, I attach another thread to this bone and continued walking. I repeat this process until all five bones are in the circle and all five threads are powering the circle.
And now for the final piece of this process: The Calling.
Using the fully powered circle, I call out to the Named spirit.
Summoning is not unlike fishing. When not specifically calling for a Named spirit, you never know what you might pull out of the astral sea. Sure you might be able to use a certain type of bait to have a better chance of hooking a specific type of fish. However, when a spirit’s True Name is used, you are Calling for that spirit alone. Unfortunately for the spirit, it really has no choice but to obey and show up to the summons.
Within seconds I feel a spirit approaching, more disturbingly, I can hear it as well. The noise is high pitched, yet even from astral space I hear its piercing wail. When the spirit manifests in the physical world, the wracking scream of this woman is almost too much to bare. She is on her hands and knees inside the circle, white hair cascading down to touch the floor. I can’t see her face due to the hair, but her body appears to be either wracked by pain or heaving heavily. Maybe both.
Waiting for a few moments, it becomes obvious to me that she is weeping. A sad, soul crushing lamentation.
I move up to the edge of the circle and crouch down. My initial reaction is to reach out and console this grief stricken soul, but I dare not. Though my intentions are pure, it is unknown what suffering this spirit has endured over the past few decades. Even this close, with sadness thick in the air, she doesn’t respond to my presence. Mulling over what I should say first, nothing comes to me but to call out her name.
“Faela.” I say gently.
Her head immediately whips up, hair wildly tossed back from her face, wide eyes wet with tears, she locks gazes with me. The first thing I notice are her eyes; one iris is a brilliant emerald green color, while the other iris is a bright red fire. A small part in the back of my brain registers that this corresponds with what I read in Willem’s journal. The second thing I notice is her soulful beauty. Barring Veranda (whom I don’t believe was really a human at all), Faela is the most striking human woman (fine, spirit) I have ever laid my own two eyes upon.
I was stunned into silence.
Luckily, one of us wasn’t a drooling idiot and broke the quiet.
“Who are you? Where am I?” she says looking around the room alarmed.
Closing my gaping mouth, I stand up and give a slight bow her direction. “I am Vridich, and you are in Bartertown. I have summoned you here.” And before I can stop my lips from flapping further, I blurt out, “Your Brother’s description didn’t mention your beauty.”
Faela picks herself up off of the floor, wiping at her tears. “My Brother?” she asks.
It’s in that moment I inwardly cringe. That was stupid! I shouldn’t have mentioned her Brother yet???
“Is he alright? Did he send you to find me?” she asked worriedly. She steps towards me, but runs into the edge of the summoning circle, its invisible barrier keeping her locked inside. Confused she puts her hands against the barrier, pushing on it. “Please tell me what’s going on! Where is Willem?” Exasperated, she pounds on the barrier.
" Faela, I’m afraid I know nothing of your brother Willem’s fate at this moment." Reaching into my robes, I pull out Willem’s journal and hold it up in front of her so that she might see it. “What little I do know about him comes from this journal.”
“That’s his journal that I gave him on his tenth name-day! How did you get it?” she says, becoming increasingly more agitated.
“I found it in our library while doing some research. How it came to be there, I am unsure. So how about I give it to you and you may read it for yourself.” With that, I bend down and place the journal on the floor. Gently, I slide it across the floor and through the barrier. And that is why there are no inanimate objects in the summoning room, as the Summoning Circle can’t stop or protect against them.
She crouches down and picks up the journal. Hovering over it, she carefully opens the journal and begins reading. Her eyes begin to tear up again as she turns the pages. “Oh, no…Willem…what did you do?” she asks pleadingly to no one. Once finished, she slowly closes the journal and turns back to face me. “Please, I must know what happened to my brother.”
“I understand.” I say nodding. “I would be happy to help you. If you’d be interested in helping me as well.”
Faela’s eyes narrow a bit. “What do you want from me in return?” she asks.
“Would you be interested in being my…companion?” I say with a hint of bated breath.
A few moments pass, and a look of disgust comes over her beautiful face. “You want me to be your love slave?!?!?” she says distastefully.
“Wait, WHAT?!?!? No! Slave? Love… I…” I say flabbergasted. By this time I have totally lost my train of thought and am slapping myself mentally for the poor choice of words on my behalf. What is wrong with me? This should have been a very straight forward negotiations… Oh by the Passions! I realize in this moment that I am so glad that I did not bring Hannah with me!!! If the rest of The Unchained were to see me, I would never live it down.
Sighing, I take a deep breath, trying to get the flushed heat from my face to drain.
" No, Faela, I vehemently do not want you to be my slave. Believe me when I say that I was once a slave and I would never put you, or any Name-giver, in that position. I’m trying to ask you if you will server with me. If you wish to leave at any point, I will release you and you can return to whatever place you came from before being summoned. But I must warn you, I don’t believe that you currently possess the power to sustain yourself here in the physical world. Nor do I possess the magical power to sustain your form here for much longer then 10 days at a stretch. However, the longer you stay with me, the easier it will be for me to summon you. And the more magical power I sink into you, the greater your influence becomes as well." I take another breath and continue on.
“I will help you to try and find out what happened to your brother. And, if possible, I will help you find some justice regarding the other matters.” At this last statement, Faela looks down in shame. "Meaning, I will “serve” you just as much as you “serve” me. We could both use some help, as I have some friends that need their backs watched, as well as my own. What say you Faela?"
She stares at me for a few moments before asking, “Why would you do this for me? You don’t even know me.”
I think about it for a second, then take off my magician robes, leaving me in only my underpants and shoes. I hear her gasp. Looking back up at her, one hand is covering her mouth in shocked surprise, eyes wide. “Because I know what it’s like to be violated. To have things done to you that you had no choice in the matter. To want justice for crimes committed against oneself. The craving to savor the bitter sweat taste of revenge on my enemy.” My hands are clenched into fists. I can feel the tingling sensation from all of my tattoos, knowing that they are all flared up against my skin.
Dropping her hand back to her side, she slowly begins to nod. “I accept.”