Reliice looked at the room with apprehension, biting her lower lip. The place was a disaster—what had once been her bedroom was now filled with burning candles and sickly sweet incense. Two summoning circles on the ground betrayed the purpose of this setup, meticulously drawn with white chalk. She consulted the book in her hands once again, comparing the diagram to the chalk images on her floorboards.

They looked the same, but if even a line was wrong, the entire summoning would be ruined. Who knew what she'd call if one of the runes on the outer edge was misinterpreted? She looked back at the book for the hundredth time that night.

Finally, she couldn't delay it any longer. With a determined nod, she thumped the book closed and stepped into the bigger circle, eyes drawn to the smaller one just a few feet away. She took a moment to compose herself, reciting the spell in her mind. Somewhere outside her closed window, the heavy footsteps of a kodo grew louder and faded just as quickly.

Reliice finally straightened, gaze sharp as she stared at the other circle. It was time. She spoke in a loud, clear voice, the words of an ancient and powerful language tumbling from her lips. An invisible wind swept through the room, whipping her hair around her face. The candles blew out. The circle before her pulsed, once, twice, with bright blue light. She almost risked a glance towards the window, as if the light could be seen from the street, despite the heavy drapes, but remembered her priorities at the last second.

For a moment, she felt fear gripping her heart. What was she doing? A month ago, she'd never have considered summoning a demon. They were vile, manipulative creatures, only called upon by the desperate and slightly mad.

And you're both of those things, she reminded herself, watching the other circle's pulsing slow and grow into a bright, steady light that had her squinting against its glare. She couldn't back down now. It was much too late for second guessing.

Her resolve steeled, she glared at the empty space before her, waiting for the demon to appear. Where was it? Had she said something wrong?

At that moment, the light of the circle disappeared entirely, leaving Reliice blinking furiously in the sudden darkness of the room. Without the light of the candles, she couldn't see two feet in front of her face. She nearly panicked; how was she supposed to be cold and commanding when the demon appeared if she couldn't even see it?

A menacing chuckle reverberated through the room, and she stiffened, still staring at the other circle. No matter where the voice came from, the demon would be there. All the books had confirmed that, at least.

"Show yourself, demon," she snarled, pleased that her voice had just the right amount of anger. That her voice didn't tremble in anticipation and fear. Never show weakness in front of a demon.

The creature tsked, but as ordered a form began to take shape in the opposite circle. Dark blue wisps drew together to create a sphere, which then shifted to reveal hefty arms tipped with sharp fingers. Around its wrists were two rather ornate cuffs, clad in multicolored jewels and plated in silver. Two glowing white orbs opened on what she presumed was its head.

"So touchy," the demon drawled, its deep voice dripping with sarcasm. "Just once, I'd like to be summoned by someone pleasant."

Reliice wanted to retort that if it wanted its summoner to be friendlier, the malicious chuckle might not be the best way to open a conversation. Instead, she bit her tongue. Cold civility was what all the books said about interacting with a demon. Never reveal emotions or personality traits. Never give them anything to use against you.

"This isn't a picnic," she replied, trying to make her voice as icy as possible. "You're here to do a job."

The demon examined its fingertips, mirroring a person studying his nails, "That much was obvious. I'd be minding my own business otherwise." It let out a heavy sigh, as if inconvenienced by this whole ordeal. "All right then. What do you want? Money? Fame?"

Reliice grew angry at its attitude. It was treating this entire thing as a joke! She forced herself to take a calming breath, "Neither."

It paused, as if considering, "Men? Pretty elves like you are always on the prowl." One of its eyes disappeared for a moment, and she realized in disgust that it was winking at her.

She couldn't keep the scowl off her lips, the glare that deepened from its words. How dare it bring up such a thing! Her mind was pulled back to a time long since gone, a gorgeous man with a smile on his face and love in his eyes. She felt her hands trembling at the memory and clasped them together, determined not to let this demon see her flare of emotion.

"No. I don't need a man."

"Ah, one of them, eh? I admit, I never would have pegged you as that kind of girl," it chuckled again.

Reliice had had enough. She forgot the "cold civility" rule and unleashed her temper on this impertinent fool, "I have but one task, demon—revenge. And you will aid me in this task if you ever wish to be released!" She was nearly shouting by the end of it, and she forced her voice to drop to a normal level. "Is that understood?"

But rather than be intimidated, the demon laughed outright, "Sweetheart, you had me at 'revenge.'"

Reliice stared at him, derailed. All the books had said a demon would be uncooperative, try to trick her into releasing it before the task was complete. To accept her order so readily… She swallowed, anger replaced with confusion, "What?"

"I'm not stupid, you know," the voidwalker remarked, folding its arms. "Past experience has shown that the fastest way to be rid of warlocks like you is to just do what you want. Then I get another couple years of peace and quiet before the next one comes calling. So, the sooner we finish this," he gestured between them, indicating her task of revenge, "the sooner we can go our separate ways."

She couldn't believe what she was hearing. She knew demons had logic, but she'd never imagined it would think of the summoning as some sort of tedious task that interrupted its life. Of course, she never really considered what demons did when they weren't serving a warlock… She was boggled by the idea, and it took a moment to recompose herself. The voidwalker waited patiently, drumming its fingers on its arm.

Finally, she spoke, her voice coming out a bit harsher than she'd intended, "Fine. My target is Kaern Silversword."

"Never heard of him."

Her eyes flashed annoyance at the interruption, but she gave the demon some clarification, "He's a mage, and a good one at that. I can't kill him alone."

The demon seemed almost disappointed, "You just want to kill him? Not maim his loved ones or anything?"

"Excuse me?"

"Well, usually when you want revenge badly enough to summon one of us, you want to see your target writhe in pain. Killing him isn't enough—you want him to suffer like you are, or did, for whatever reason."

Reliice realized with a start that it was right. She didn't just want Silversword to fall into the oblivion of death. She wanted him to watch as she killed his loved ones, make him feel the pain she'd felt this last month. Then, when he was broken, riddled with despair, she'd deal the final blow. Rid the world of his taint for good.

"Yes… yes, that's what I want," she told the demon, narrowing her eyes. "I want him to suffer."

The demon cracked its knuckles, "Now you're talking. I think you and I will work nicely together."

"Yes," Reliice grinned, a bit malicious herself as she stared at her newfound accomplice. There was one last part of the summoning ritual to complete, something that ensured the demon would answer her beck and call when she needed it. "I am Reliice Sunwater."

"Belgron. Just Belgron."

The exchanging of names was complete. Now the revenge would begin.


A/N: Comments and critique are appreciated! :)