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"I summon thee, Zalael, to this place and offer thee this body as your vessel."
The cadence of the words echoed within the darkened room lit only by candles. The body on the stone altar was less than an hour old, as his death had been a part of the ritual itself. Several moments passed in silence before any movement became visible. With a great gasp for air, the body on the altar jerked with life. His head turned slowly to face Memnet.
"Who dares summon me?" The creature's voice was low, and the question was more growl than words.
Memnet folded his hands in front of him. The protective circle around him guaranteed he would remain unharmed should Zalael not find favor with his offering or the bargain Memnet wished to strike. "I am Memnet, great Zalael." He bowed his head in respect to the demon. As he looked up, his gaze was calm and steady as he took in the form not far from him.
Zalael sat up slowly and moved each arm and leg in turn. He then turned and slid off the altar to stand against it. It took him a moment to gain a sense of balance, and when he finally did, he looked up at Memnet. "And who is Memnet, that he would dare to wake me?"
Memnet studied the face and form the demon inhabited. He had chosen well. The man he picked had an angelic, innocent beauty, with long, silvery blond hair and deep blue eyes. The body, while muscular, wasn't overly so. At 6'3", Zalael was now a truly magnificent creature.
"I am the man who wishes to set you loose on the world. Other than a few chosen tasks, I will leave you free to do as you wish. That is, if you wish to be freed." Somehow he doubted Zalael would choose the alternative of returning to the Abyssagain.
A slow smile spread across the demon's lips. "Free?" He moved away from the altar and began circling Memnet. "And what price do you pay? What do I pay? Freedom comes with a price, and calling me from the void carries one just as steep."
"I pay in blood to keep you here, and the price you pay is the inability to walk in the sunlight." Memnet shrugged slightly, thinking those terms to be fair enough.
"Very well. Why have you called me?"
Memnet smiled slowly. "Because I need your unique talent to disrupt the Romanorum." He'd been highly irritated when his plans with the rogues hadn't come to fruition, and just as annoyed to be minus one Daughter, particularly Selena, who had been his favorite. "Are we agreed to mutually help each other, which also includes leaving me in one piece? I also demand that no harm comes to either me or my family."
Zalael stood before Memnet, his eyes narrowing. "And what do I get out of this?"
"What you get out of it is your freedom. After you've accomplished what I want, I will not return you to the Abyss."
"Then we are in agreement," Zalael said. "What do I face?"
Only after he had Zalael's agreement did Memnet step out of the circle, breaking it. "Nothing you can't handle as it's only vampires, and perhaps a few mortals." He went to one of the wooden tables and picked up a piece of paper. "Their names are listed here."
Zalael took the note and glanced over it, nodding as he read each name silently. When he reached the bottom of the list, every muscle in his body tightened visibly. He shot a dark glare back up at Memnet as his jaw clenched. The note crumpled in his fist.
Memnet leaned against the table, relaxed and distinctly pleased that things were going as he wanted. "Is something wrong?"