Of Demon Found
In blistered crimson letters, aglow on dragonhide binding, its ancient title taunted Demon. “Devilboon,” it said, not only in writing, but also in voice: murmurs of secrets and depth and everlast.
He heard it clearer when he clutched the tome to his chest, pressed it on his nether-seal—his pentacle, the inscribed pentalpha—and heard the whispers. Of susurrations and supplications. Of beck and fall, and of black. So much black.
From the volcanic eruption he had recovered the book, so many years since. Had become slave to its compulsions: its channel to the Planeswalkers, its commandments.
Fetch the jewel, the ruby mox, from the deepest underground sea. Attend and bring the disk, lost so many years ago in a raging river. Paint a map to the hidden mine that howls unending. Trap the nightmare or pegasus or Serra in celestial flight. Crack the granite gargoyle from his castle perch and carry the stone to the living lands. Always a word of command from the book: Bring. Locate. Get. Discern. Obtain. Find. Fetch and fetch again.
And still it pleaded: “Devilboon.” Open and know.
But of opening his hand would not, for what could Demon learn from pages that he could not hear more dire from the throes of the fallen, that he could not taste more sweetly from the bile of the lost? What could any volume offer? What could any words teach? Especially words so alive, to Demon so long since.
And again the grimoire’s compulsion summoned him to task, but for this demand an unfamiliar target named, one beyond Demon’s knowing. Not a dragon or thunderbolt, but a wisp of a girl to find. Past the consecrated land, on a simple farmstead, deliver the Enchanted Being. He knew where—he always knew where. He knew when—always now through an ensorcelled moment. But of the Planeswalkers’ reasons he never knew why.
He sped the journey in familiar form: a fleeting specter, a wraith in shadow. He arrived, smoke untwisting, to a scent of jasmine amid the brimstone. And to a gaze of adamant. And to a shimmer of gold.
On his left wrist Demon wore gold. On his left hand Demon wore gold. On her right arm Being wore gold. On her right hand Being wore gold. Her left was bare.
Echoes of jasmine and adamant and gold. Echoes amplified by a clutched book’s pleading, no longer sotto voce, but instead a rising clarion, a crescendo of deep truth: “Devilboon!”
Pages of pressed lotus. Ink laced with life. Words of ancestral recall.
The sacrifice had he made. A knight he was, blazing in white, sword agleam. What would he do for her? Would he bear the dark symbols, the flaming pentacle that infused him with unholy strength, even to the grave? Would he stand athwart an onrushing army, holding every charging blade at bay in a blaze of glory?
What would he not do?
There was no thing he would not. No ritual too dark. No terror too fearsome. He would, for her, scribe even a contract from below. Even to the grave and to years beyond, demon-bound, an eternal courier with blazing sigil for burden.
He passed the open book to his right hand, reached to her with his left, the gold- charmed hand. She grasped with her right that their rings might meet, that their bracers could touch. Again.
“I am blaze and fierce underworld,” he said. “I am merciless and mission.”
“You cannot harm me,” she said. “Not while you remain cloaked in the circled star. Not while bedeviled.”
“I cannot leave you,” he said. “Not once knowing.”
Book said: “Speak The Words.”
She said: “Demon, Found.”
He said: “Being, Enchanted.”
As spirits they slipped from flesh and ichor, loosed the mortal bonds, joined the book.
Book dropped to the scrubland, its demonhide cover brilliant with new golden script: “Demon, Enchanted.”