1 - Summoning
For an innumerable time Eadmund wondered what on earth he was doing with his life and where his choices had led him. Standing mostly bare in his room in the deepest hour of the night to conduct a secret ritual was a stark contrast to how he was when he had first joined the priesthood, a youth as any other dedicating himself to God for a better life and opportunity for education.
He arranged notes and inscriptions in his hands reviewing the information a final time in the soft glow of candlelight. All together they didn’t look like much, scraps and loose ends he wrote personally to avoid risking detection from stealing whole books or tearing out pages, but they were invaluable nonetheless. He had spent the majority of the year toiling in the archives researching texts for fragments of information, slowly assembling them to detail out an authentic summoning ritual of an angel. One of the pages was a detailed sketch from an illustration of angels with a summoning circle hidden in the clouds behind them. It was innocuous in the original book but it was the only image he found in the entire archive that showed the circle that other texts only described in passing.
The necessary resources to conduct it had been stolen over the course of a few months to go unnoticed and now littered his sparse room. Candles ringed the floor creating a perimeter around a majority of the open space and illuminated an intricate drawing of circles, lines, and symbols in accordance with what was written to be a summoning circle. The center of it all was marred in blood, his blood, of glyphs spelling the true name of an angel. Taalumah Anath. Hidden Answers.
The cut along his thigh burned as a steady reminder of the price he was paying, as though seeing the circle wasn’t enough. He shivered from a draft or nerves and for a moment wished to fully clothe himself once more but abandoned the thought. He couldn’t risk getting blood on any of his clothes and gaining the suspicion of the other priests, it was the same reason why he cut his thigh as opposed to any other area that might be seen.
Mentally shaking himself to clear those thoughts from his mind, he returned to the remaining steps. All of his focus trained on the center glyph as he chanted the name in a low voice, repeating it seven times in accompaniment with a lengthy verse. He read it aloud from one of the pages in hand until it was memorized, starting slow though quickly becoming more fluid through repetition. When he finished he fell silent, every nerve humming in anticipation making his hands tremble.
He stared hard at the circle for any sign of the slightest change. The candle flames flickered lazily and the movement kept catching his attention playing at his hopes. He looked from the parchments to the circle, confident he did everything correctly, at least from what information he had found, but nothing exciting was happening. The surreal quiet of the room and soft glow of the fire lulled him as the silence stretched on. The drying glyph mesmerized him and he felt compelled to whisper its name and sound out the composition of symbols.
The light seemed to blur blending in with the drawn designs on the floor. It was almost as though the circle itself was glowing but Eadmund knew it had to be a trick of his eyes. He blinked and shifted on his feet watching the candles burn lower, channeling the patience he reserved for particularly long sermons. He was the only priest in the entire order who combed through the archives isolating seemingly unrelated texts and illustrations. The only one to piece together an entire ritual to summon a literal angel. If the angel passed secret knowledge to him who knew what he could achieve, what he could uncover. The prospect kept his excitement alive and kept him rooted to the spot.
The hazy light around the circle glowed brighter taking on a different hue and overtaking the candles, there was no doubt now that the source was the circle itself. An illuminated form took shape above the blood glyph in the center, seeming to turn and shift toward him without truly moving. A young round face peered at him with pouting lips and sharp eyes the color of hazel with soft golds that shone like heavenly fire. Long wavy platinum hair cascaded over their shoulders and down their narrow frame, complimenting pale skin and hiding nothing about the nude male form. He drew his eyes back up to see six long thin feathered wings fold gracefully and disappear into the waves of hair.
“Taalumah Anath, I have summoned you for the great knowledge you possess and the secrets kept from this mortal realm.” Eadmund recovered from awe enough to remember to address the angel and somehow managed to keep his voice steady.
“I have been summoned by great kings and powerful enchanters over a millennium who have sought the same as you speak. They have held feasts and sacrificed an untold number of lives and yet… you have summoned me here… and with this.” The angel’s voice resounded in his head with a presence that gave him a slight headache. He stood firm and refused to wince, looking on at the angel trying to read his cold expression as the angel looked around his near barren room. “What have you to offer that those before you have not?”
Eadmund tried to speak and faltered, his jaw working but no sound coming forth. What did he have to offer? He was a lowly priest, one of many, and only joined the Order for access to education, he didn’t even have devotion to offer. He couldn’t bear to verbally admit it.
“What would you ask of me?” He asked at last.
“I ask that you call me Anath, in respect for not using my true name so casually.”
“I accept your request. Is that all that you ask of me in exchange?” He was skeptical, certain there would be more.
“That was a mere formality. My true request in exchange for what you ask is for something more interesting than passing knowledge. Human concerns are petty and narrow-minded; any information you may possess has been something I have known for many of your lifetimes. I want something beyond the burdens of my purpose.”