That didn't mean I had to be comfortable with it. If this went bad, there was a decent chance that I'd be able to make it out alive; I had a few tricks up my sleeve, and I'd have plenty of space to take advantage of, on account of the summoning circle taking up my entire workshop. That put all kinds of valuable materials and texts at risk if it came to a brawl, but a circle that was too small would likely fail, resulting in the energy involved being released as an explosion or possibly just releasing the entity contained with in. In this case both would be equally bad, so I was willing to risk a little property damage.
Time to get to work. I began the ritual, chanting in Enochian, infusing each word of the angelic tongue with the force of my will. The chant was on the lengthy side, but at least there wasn't any silly dance I had to do along with it. My voice grew to a crescendo as I completed the spell and the candles scattered about flared along with it. Silence followed, eventually broken by a gruff voice behind me. "I answer your call, mortal."
I turned around and saw him sitting casually in my deskchair. He looked much like any other human, but with slightly stretched limbs, and an almost rail-thin body. Oh, and he had feathered, bird-like wings. He had originally been an angel, after all. "Engral," I greeted him cautiously. Demons were supposed to angry when you summoned them, not kill-the-puny-mortal-on-sight angry, but I-demand-to-know-why-you've-disturbed-me angry at the very least. Engral looked decidedly more relaxed, but that could easily change in the blink of an eye.
"I must confess, you're not who I was expecting to greet me this evening." So he knew. That wasn't really a surprise, when someone wanted to call forth an entity from the pits, it had ways of getting advance notice. Unless someone does it with absolutely no forethought or planning, apparently.
"It seems you already know about the Coven, they were going to call you tonight to destroy the city. I called you first so I could stop them."
The demon chuckled at me. "You're would have me lay waste to your enemies in a preemptive assault that would likely confuse their puny minds and shake the very core of their beings? How delightful."
I shook my head, that plan was a disaster waiting to happen. I had something much simpler in mind. "Not at all. I just want to keep them from being able to summon you. The members of the Coven are already paranoid and worried one member will attept to use you to destroy the others along with the city, if their ritual fails, they'll all take care of each other for me. All you're going to do is stick around here until dawn, at wich point the circle will allow you to return home."
Out of all the possible outcomes and eventualities I had prepared for in summoning a nearly legendary demon, what happened next was nowhere on the list. "Even better." I simply stared at him, speechless as a grin split across his eerily human face. "It's been so long since I've gotten to simply talk with a mortal, this will make for a nice change of pace." He gestured with one hand to the fireplace on the wall opposite him. "Is that a kettle, by any chance? Come, brew some up and let's enjoy a nice chat, shall we?"
"I'm thinking we can set up a bank of display screens on this wall," He mused out loud, gesturing to one side. "Stow the servers and other electronics in the smaller side room, there should be plenty of space for what we need to keep tabs on that masked nuisance running around the rooftops." He gave his escort an ironic grin. "Get some stylish, yet comfortable furniture so monitor duty isn't completely unbearable- I'm not a monster, after all." Bleeder whipped around, causing the realtor to stumble back half a step, "Of course there has to be enough room for me to pace around while I think, this can be a mentally taxing business, after all. As for the other side room... Well I don't think it'll ever be necessary, but we might as well convert it into some sort of cell or... Tell me, does it still count as a dungeon if it's on the same level as the building it's attached to?" The friendly chuckle he let out didn't seem to match his appearance at all.
"Yes, I do believe this is the perfect base. No, that sounds immature. Lair? Hmm, I'll have to think about it." He threw back his long coat and the lights flashed across the numerous throwing knives that lined the garment. The realtor flinched away at the sight, but Bleeder simply chuckled again.
"Oh, don't worry, friend. I'm not going to kill you," He reached his hand into a hidden pocket and withdrew several thick stacks of money, tossing them at the other man's feet. "I'm paying you for a job well done. Thanks to you, I have a seat from which I can conquer the city."
From what anyone could tell, the point where the stars seemed intent on meeting was hundreds of millions of lightyears away from earth. So they wanted privacy, it would seem, at least for now. On top of that, many small stars seemed to come into being all at once around the gathering before slowly fading away over the course of a two or three days. Not stars, perhaps, but...weapons? Were the stars going to wage war on earth? And possibly other planets that harbored life out in the universe?
Not long after the weapons tests first became noticeable, one of Mark's few colleagues who harbored similar ideas about the truth of the situation presented his own viewpoints on the stars' plans. "I think they might just be throwing a party." He grinned at the incredulous look on Mark's face and elaborated. "Think about it, they're sentient, and obviously don't mind each other's company, so why would they only gather together for the sake of going to war? Look at the size and duration of those temporary mini-stars, I don't think they're weapons at all. I think they're like fireworks for beings that exist on a different physical and temporal scale than we do. It's gotta be a festival."
The more Mark thought about it, the more he found himself agreeing with his friend. The two of them began to run it by their peers in the scientific community when someone brought up a point neither of them had noticed, engrossed as they were in their own research. The earth was moving through space, apparently towards the gathering. Not pulled along by the sun as it led the way, but with the sun relatively positioned as if it were a friend ushering the earth along.
When asked about what implications this might have on the pair's new theory, Mark could only say one thing: "I guess we've been invited to the party."
A clattering noise came from the shadows up ahead, and Justin reached for his flashlight to take a closer look. "Jenkins? I think your radio went dead, bro. Let's get you back up to the control room so we can get that handled, yeah?" Silence. Damn.
His radio crackled to life and almost made him drop the flashlight. "I found Jenkins, someone put him down and tossed him in a corner. So dark out there the cameras almost couldn't pick him up. You should come on back, it's not safe to be alone out there, dude." Justin looked at the nearest security camera and nodded.
The walk back was always scarier than the walk out. He took the exact same path, but it just felt more vulnerable; like knowing there was safety at the end of the walk seemed to guarantee that if something was going to happen it would be now. But he was one of the lucky ones, whatever or whoever was out there never came for him. And it didn't tonight either. He finally got back to the control room and opened the door with a relieved smile. "Thanks for the heads up, Ollie, it's pretty creepy out there tonight."
The room was empty. "Ollie?"
Current Residence: Michigan
Favourite genre of music: Almost anything
Operating System: Windows 7
MP3 player of choice: Zune HD
Favourite cartoon character: Gambit from X-Men,or Matt or TK from Digimon
Personal Quote: Damn, I'm Good