"You're asking me to sign a pact with evil," Stypion said warily, and he pulled his elbow onto the oak table in front of him, resting his chin on it, his eyes narrowed in thought. His father stood like a statue before him, towering almost as high as the lowest ceiling beam. His lips were turned downward into an expression that was effortlessly demanding.

"A pact you shouldn't be hesitant to make," he said, and his tone was grating. He was dressed in his finest traveling robes, rich purple camlets. Gold fastenings created hems on the pressed fabric, and military tokens shimmered with glory on a smooth run of collar that swept down over the middle-aged man's chest.

Stypion didn't break his resolve as he stared up at the towering figure, contemplating the request. He took in a cautious breath. "Father, this isn't something to take lightly," he said carefully, and his father interrupted with a brute step forward.

"Which is exactly why you're the one who will perform it," cold logic supplied. The king had already resolved on making Stypion follow his instructions, or at least he had every intention of staying until his youngest son agreed. "Not only are you my son, you are the most gifted sorceror in the Fyoiri. A nation you owe your allegiance to—and more importantly, a leader you owe your loyalty to, me."

Stypion frowned. His eyes drifted away from the aggressive stare that was his father's, and he traced the indents of the work table beneath him. Blotches of ink smeared its surface, and tiny, copper sigils were burned into the chipped cherry oak. It wasn't a surprise to him that his father had come on the nation's behalf. It was the way their family worked.

But now, they were at war. And for some reason, Stypion's father had decided that invoking one of the nine powers of Hell was the easiest route to success.

"I won't let you refuse." The tone of the older man's voice was exigent and unyielding, and Stypion found himself standing, his own wool cloak tumbling like a waterfall of navy blue to the floor beneath him. He pulled his arm from a billowing sleeve to press a slender finger against his temple, feeling irritated at the request.

"The Guardian has no problems educating magic folk," he stated, lowering his tone to match his father's seriousness. "On the other hand, it says absolutely nothing about how to send them back."

There was a pregnant pause before his father's eyes became dangerously direct, his lips even curling to match the eager frustration building in his mind. He was king, after all, and not used to being turned down. Stypion, far enough from the loving breath of his parent (As his mother died giving birth) that otherwise would have made him feel obligated to the man before him.

"I'm sure you can figure something out." The older man was drawing their conversation to a close, leaving Stypion with no way out. "Nezia will be arriving here by nightfall, before then, finish this job."

There was only the leather-laden clap of boots against hardwood as his father turned heel and went to a corner of the small study, leaving Stypion staring at the place he had been, eyes dimmed, a headache beginning to assault his senses. He glanced to the windowpane beside him, squinting as the early afternoon sun hazed in like a lazy spirit, warming a bookshelf to the side of him.

He stepped over into the warm rays of light and thumbed over an encyclopedia of incantations, wondering if there was any type of spell of subdual strong enough to control a demon. He frowned, knowing he'd have to come up with one on his own. His father would have his head if they didn't have a demon by the end of the night, and while calling them forward from Hell wasn't all that unheard of, every intelligent sorceror knew it was foolish.

He let his finger trail down a familiar, tattered page and re-read a few entries about restrictive spells before glancing over to his cabinetry to see if he had all that he needed for the spell. Stypion always had too many supplies, so his search was only to satisfy the brief curiosity in his head.

He closed the encyclopedia and shoved it to the side, pulling up a small manual his father had brought from Nezia. He flipped it open, almost completely uninterested if not for the words his father had spoken when he had handed it over.

Nezia already knows what he wants.

The book had popular demon myths listed along with scribbles from his father about what sort of creature Stypion was supposed to invoke. Powerful, merciless, frightening—they were all words jotted inside the small leather-bound notebook.

He turned to face the book placed upon the ground in front him and ran his finger across the page, taking a deep breath before he began the incantation. He poured wine into a small bowl along with a few of the herbs he had ground together and poured the concoction around his altar, creating a full circle. The words that left his lips were in the language of spirits, a language unknown to normal mortals. The longer he spoke, the more powerful his words became, and he could feel the energy in the room building around him.

The symbols he had carved around the room began to glow bright blue as he felt his breathing catch in his lungs; the power he was calling beginning to feed off his own. He could feel his own energy seeping from his being, and a breeze started to swirl beneath him. He was opening a passageway now, and his hands gripped the table as something jerked his consciousness forward.

"Who are you…?" A strange voice spoke aloud.

Stypion clenched his eyes closed, his mouth still moving automatically with practiced words flowing out in spell-worthy poetry. He was now in the place between worlds, and he had already found a demon.

"Come with me," he bit out, halting his spell to urge the beast out. In his mind's eye, he was surrounded by flames and red bursts of bubbling energy. He swallowed his nervous anxiety. There was no room for fear, because fear led to mistakes. He couldn't afford any mistakes.

"Oh? You're offering me freedom…?"

"Under binding," Stypion stated, and he felt his energy clashing with the one in front of him. It was intoxicating; stealing his breath. His legs felt weak as the words enveloped him, and his heart jumped a thousand times in one minute as that blue and red energy surged through his veins, feeding a part of him he hadn't known existed.

Stypion wasn't sure what happened next. The invisible beast rushed forward towards him, and Stypion's eyes flew open, his hands burning against the text of his incantation. He felt his consciousness yanking the demon forward out of wherever it was he had found it, and he hurried to read the last bits of the invocation.

Wind was screaming around him, and his father was calling his name. The book beneath him burst into flames, huge flames that didn't burn with heat but with an icy rush of pure power. He spoke the last words and clenched his eyes closed, feeling the rune markings on his cloak sizzle around him, doing their job in protecting him.

And in an instant, the whole sensation was over. The room was as silent as a graveyard, and as papers and leftover magic settled, Stypion stumbled backwards, that strange energy still coursing through his veins.

Everything was lost. Stypion fell to the floor in a heap. Trembling, the leftover energy freckled over his nerves like icy-hot pricks of pin-point needles. His eyes turn to a dark gold color.

"Is that it?" His father's voice rang out, loud and overbearing.

" isn't..." A different voice spoke from the body of his son.

What happened next, was something the world of Thyria should have never seen...

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