Demons...

Some think demons are merely works of fiction, but I assure you nothing could be further from the truth. There was a time when demons walked on Terra far more than they do now, but for reasons I haven’t been able to substantiate, they don’t do so as often now.

Twelve hells. Twelve nightmarish realms of eternal suffering. That’s what demons call home, and yet some think that demons are a laughing matter. That summoning rituals are a joke.

There is a reason the penalty for such a summoning is death. There a few demonologists who are allowed some degree of freedom, but even they are closely monitored.

Demons come in more varieties than anyone knows, but all are unspeakably dangerous. Many are far stronger than any mortal man, with centuries of cruel experience, and more often than not powerful hellish magic at their command!

They are not to be trifled with. Not to be bargained with. The only good demon is a dead demon, and even then their corpse can desecrate the ground around them!

What follows is my firsthand account of an incident three years back when a promising young student of mine made the mistake of thinking he could control a creature of such profound evil.

I came up the stairs, hastening after the spry guardsman that had notified me of a summoning on the grounds. The door to the eastern male dorm rooms was missing, and deep claw marks marred the frame.

I stepped over the bodies of countless students all in various states of dismemberment, and the stench of evil and death clung to my nostrils.

The guardsman led me to Brandin’s room. My former student lay on the floor with his head twisted the wrong way around. I sighed and shook my head.

The foolish boy had such a great future ahead of him… but I should’ve known. He was arrogant. I’d thought he might grow out of it, but now it was clear he’d never get that chance.

I cursed his stupidity even as I looked over the summoning ritual he’d used.

Our resident demonologist was away on a trip to the east, and that left me as our foremost expert to help in identifying and tracking down the demon.

I identified his mistake after only a few minutes. The circle he’d summoned the creature into was broken. Just a hair-thin break, but it was there.

Clearly, it had been enough. Magic wasn’t his field of expertise and while some might be able to get away with a less than perfect circle… a foolish novice could not.

I sighed for the thousandth time. He must’ve made the circle first, moved the altar inside and then failed to fix where he’d broken the circle properly.

A sheet of blood-soaked parchment rested on the floor. I examined it. The idiot child had tried to summon an archdemon of all things.

But, judging by the damage, he must’ve got a lesser one. Thank heavens for small mercies.

I relayed the details to the guardsman, and we marched out into the grounds where five hundred armored men, sixteen wizards, and a dozen priests waited for us.

I could only hope it would be enough.

Lesser demon though it may be, it was still a demon.

We tracked the hellish abomination off the university grounds and into a nearby forest.

Days later, we finally caught up with it. Turns out my idiot student had summoned a hellhound. One of the lesser forms of demons to be sure, but a large specimen.

When I say hellhound, I find that some of my students picture their beloved family pet. No. When I say hellhound, I am speaking of a horrific beast the likes of which does not belong in this world. This one was as large as a horse, with massive jaws and claws that could shred through steel like tissue paper.

We surrounded the beast, but it sniffed us out. The priests called down pillars of holy fire onto the demon, the wizards called forth their most devastating spells, and the guards surrounded it with a wall of shields.

It staggered through all of those powerful magics and shredded through three guardsmen before we finally brought it low.

The priests consecrated the ground where it fell, doing their best to stem the demonic corruption that would surely follow.

I caution you to remember the folly of my once promising student and not to repeat his mistake.

I shudder to think of the chaos an archdemon could have caused.

- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University

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