Daniel cast the runes on the ground as he recited the ancient chant. The stones bounced across the soft earth, but all remained within the crude circle he had drawn on the ground. His lips moved out of habit as he silently read them. The name and influences of each was etched deep into his memory. However, he also had to pull deep from his feelings to find their truest and most hidden meanings.
That intuition is how he made sense of them. Anyone could cast the stones, consult a chart, and say they meant this and that. True power required the ability to make sense and connect them. You had to look not just at their literal meanings, but the metaphors and ideas that they represented. Each was the piece of a puzzle with undefined lines. The reader was the one who had to know how to connect the dots.
He scratched his scraggly beard before saying out loud to himself, “Asia it is then.” He scooped up the stones and placed them in a small leather sack. He had travel arrangements to make then.
He walked through the crowded Hanoi street trying not to bump into anyone. Daniel hated crowds, and yet they seemed unavoidable in cities. He had already been through Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. It was all something he could have done without. Each stop had brought him closer to Zugth’lex.
The demon had possessed an incompetent demonologist named Rupert Sandoval. Rupert had been digging into things best left untouched when he made the mistake of putting on an amulet that should have been left buried. So now Daniel was on a quest to find the moron and exorcise the demon. While that might, might, have been enough to motivate him to save the man, it was stopping the demon that was most important to him. It had only taken a little research to realize that Zugth’lex was bad news, and Rupert had ever so kindly supplied the demon with everything he needed for some rather foul rituals.
So Daniel had spent the last three months bouncing around the globe to track the monster down. He had jaunted across Europe, made one stop in northern Africa, and crossed the United States. Now here he was in Vietnam, dodging the crowd as he made his way into a secluded park that happened to be situated on a potent ley line.
He walked slowly through the flowering trees to the heart of the park. He could feel the negative power in the air that had driven away everyone else. He had to admit, it was nice to at least be someplace quiet finally. It only took two minutes to reach the clearing where Zugth’lex was performing his ritual.
The demon had drawn a ritual circle on the ground in blood of unknown origin. In one hand he held a curved knife. At his feet lay a young woman, bound and gagged. As Daniel stepped from around tree, the demon stopped his chant and fixed glowing red eyes on him.
“Curse you. Why must you trouble me so?” Zugth’lex hissed, “Be gone!” He pointed his hand at Daniel and black flames shot through the air.
Daniel was prepared though and held up a rune stone marked for protection. The flames hit the stone and dissipated. He whipped his other hand forward and tossed a handful of runestones towards the demon. He clasped his hands together and began a rapid chant. The runes began to orbit the demon and glow with power.
Zugth’lex tried to run, but the runes created a barrier he could not cross. After a moment he let out a howl of pain. The energy of the stones ripped the demon from his host. Daniel tossed another runestone that he had especially prepared. The demonic energies were drawn into the stone and burning it black before falling to the ground. Rupert’s now free body fell to the ground unconscious.
Daniel gathered his personal runes in their bag. Then he placed the demon stone in a separate bag, this one marked with further runes of binding. He then untied the grateful young woman. Rupert, he left on the ground. He had helped the fool enough, and he figured trying to make his way home from a foreign country unaided would give the man some needed time to reflect on not putting on random amulets.