A group of people summon a demon, but not to sell their souls for immortality or anything, they want him to DM for their game of dungeons and dragons. [Link to post.]
After the demon’s haunting, wailing laughter, he just shook his head and a puff of smoke filled the room. He tried to leave. It was our turn to laugh. He roared.
“WHY CAN’T I LEAVE?!” He lunged toward Jeff, but he looked like a dog that ran into a glass door. The thud, followed by a streaking sound as he slid down only made us laugh harder. I decided to speak up. He could probably break the binding spells if he got mad enough, or got help.
“You’re not a prisoner, as such. But we did want to make sure you heard us out completely. I know it sounds crazy, but you gain something from this too.” I said. I took a step closer. “I’m Steve, the guy you assaulted is Jeff. “ Then I pointed to the other two guys on the other side of the room. “The one in the mechanic’s shirt is Dave, and finally, the portly fellow next to him. The brains behind the whole thing is Chuck.” If things went bad, I wanted to make sure and give the demon a target that wasn’t me. I knew Chuck was stupid enough to admit it. The idiot gloated for weeks that he figured out how to trap a demon. “Now that we’ve introduced ourselves, what’s your name?” I asked. He turned to me and blinked. He stared at me curiously for a second, then turned back to Chuck.
“That’s not important, names don’t matter in hell anyway, right Demon? Anyway, I’m in charge here. I summoned you, and I’m your Master!” Chuck took a step forward, then pulled his pants up. They tended to sag down. My work was done. I took a step back, closer to the door. The demon’s eyes cooled down, and his posture relaxed.
“Alright, pitch it,” the demon said. Chuck reached into his back pocket and pulled out some notecards he prepared. He tried to act brave, but we could all see him shaking. I was not surprised he managed to keep his voice steady, though. He sometimes ran us through Dungeons, and was great at speaking. It was a real shame his personality was shit.
“Here’s what we want, demon.” Chuck began.
“I already know what you want!” The demon yelled and lunged at Chuck. Chuck jumped back, but stayed on his feet. “You want me to run your stupid game. The question remains. If you’re not going to offer me your souls, what’s in it for me?” He pointed at me. “Steve over there said I stood to gain something.” The demon looked at me, and nodded his head slightly. “My name’s Sam.”
“Hey Sam, nice to meet you. Though, not the kind of demonic name I expected.” I waved at him while leaning against the wall by the door. Sam shrugged, and showed me a toothy grin.
“We pick our own, I like to keep things simple.”
“His name isn’t important!” Chuck said when he found his courage. “I’m his Master, and I name him Xeratoul!” Sam shrugged. I doubted Chuck had any sort of dominion over Sam, other than keeping him in the invisible barriers. “Xeratoul, if you agree to DM our game, you get to room with us.”
“What? Don’t want to. Can I leave now?” Sam asked.
“NO!” Chuck yelled. “You don’t understand the deal. I’m offering you the chance to serve me, here on the mortal plane,” Chuck said. I shook my head. It’s a wonder Chuck managed to get anyone to do anything for him. I decided to step in, if only for the entertainment value of a red-faced Chuck. He hated being upstaged.
“Don’t listen to him, here’s the thing. We know how to keep you here, right? You’ve already seen that. So, why not stay? I mean, are you really in a hurry to get back to Hell? Hang out with us, chill, eat pizza.” The demon shook his head.
“Hell isn’t so bad, the pizza sounds worse. I’m lactose intolerant, and allergic to tomatoes.” I laughed, Dave and Jeff joined in. Chuck did not.
“You’ve got a *hell* of a sense of humor, Sam,” I said.
“Oh, a pun?” Sam chuckled. “Yeah. No matter what happens here tonight, I’m seeing YOU again for sure, mister punny guy.” Sam pointed at me.
“Xeratoul is a demon! He doesn’t need a sense of humor, he just needs to run our game!” Chuck was digging through his other back pocket. He’d also found spells he said would help persuade, and keep the demon in check. He pulled out a black card and read it. I assumed he read it. He stared at it and made various throat sounds. I needed to cover my ears when Sam roared. Glowing golden runes appeared around his neck. They burned into the skin and began to grow larger, connecting to each other, until a golden collar of light, with red spikes encircled Sam’s neck.
“Kai,” said chuck. Sam’s screaming stopped, and I rolled my eyes. The incantation could have literally been any word. Chuck was a Naruto fan. “The barrier is down-” before chuck finished his spiel, Sam lunged toward Chuck. And ran into another barrier. Chuck laughed at him.
“Your barrier is down, but I’d be stupid if I didn’t protect us. As long as I hold this you are powerless to attack or harm me in any way!” He waved the black index card at Sam.
“Yoink.”Sam grabbed it out of his hand, then pushed Chuck five feet back, and into the drywall behind him. “Hey look at that, I didn’t have to attack or harm you in any way to get this.” Sam waved the card around. I was already taking backward steps through the door. Jeff and Dave were trying to edge their way around the room too.
“Relax guys. Steve, you’ve been nice to me. Jeff and Dave, you guys might as well have not even been here. I looked at them, and I nodded. Their faces showed they knew it too. Chuck here is the one that really got my goat. “ Sam burst out laughing, then looked around confused when he realized he was the only one. “Sorry, it’s a big joke down in Hell. Cloven feet,…you know..” he waved at the room dismissively. “Forget it, I can’t explain it.”
“The truth is, staying up here does sound kind of cool. Things aren’t actually bad at all down there, for me anyway. Because I’m on Hell’s side. But, you know. It’s still a crappy job, with crappy benefits. I’m getting kind of *burned* out.” I laughed at that one, and Sam chuckled too.
“I can’t though. Even if you guys kept me here, someone would be along to rescue me. When we’re summoned, we’re like cable guys. We gotta report in at every stop.”
“So there’s no way for you to stay?” I asked. Sam seemed really cool, and I found myself forgetting about him being a demon.
“Well there is a way. We come up here for bargains, obviously. If we win out a soul, we can pretty much do anything. It’s actually really rare that anyone gets a soul, so when they do they’re allowed to retire,” Sam said. He walked around the room, enjoying his freedom. Chuck stayed in the wall with tears dripping down his face, and onto his drenched pants. I could not tell if all the moisture was from tears, but I guessed not.
“Sorry, Sam. I don’t think any of us are ready to trade our souls. I guess you’re free to go, we don’t want any other demons showing up.”
“HOLD ON! I’m STILL in charge here!” Chuck broke free of the wall, and brought a cloud of white dust with him. Sam glared at him.
“You know, I AM a demon. Forget bargains, games are more my speed. How about a compromise. I’ll run your group through a dungeon. But, the first player that dies, loses his soul.” Sam suggested. He offered Chuck a red, scaly outstretched hand, and Chuck shook it. Sam winked at me. “Okay Chuck, does that mean you’re on board? Excuse the clarification, but I’m working now. You agree to let me run you through a dungeon, and the first player that dies goes to hell?” Chuck shook his hand even more vigorously.
“Absolutely. I know it’s going to be one of these three pussies anyway.”
“What if no one dies?” I asked, stalling. I caught Sam’s game already, and I debated whether I wanted to let it happen.
“Then I lose, and go back to Hell empty handed. Just like always,” Sam said. Somehow the last phrase sounded extra depressing, and I felt bad for him. Still, he was a demon, and Chuck was a fellow human. I needed more time.
“What’s hell like for the inmates?” I asked.
“Surprisingly moderate. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s still eternity. But the same tortures and horrors that worked in the past don’t work as well anymore. Now we’re more of an eternity of uncomfortableness and inconvenience. It really tortures the lazy souls of today.”
“C’mon, that’s enough talk! Let’s play so one of you gets to go see hell in person.” Chuck laughed. “It’ll probably be Dave or Jeff. They’re stupid and die early all the time.” I sighed, and I steeled myself. I decided I was going to let this happen. Dave and Jeff always died early intentionally, because they didn’t want to deal with Chuck. They were fantastic in campaigns run by pleasant people. “But hey, maybe it’ll be you this time, Steve. Your sore homosexual ass is going to end up in Hell anyway, might as well get it over with, right?”
Oh, right. I ignored him so much, and met with him in such controlled scenarios, I often forgot what a bigot he was. I embraced Sam’s plan, and decided to go so far as to rub it in. I knew my flaws well, and occasionally embraced my pettiness.
“Hey Sam, just a rules clarification. We all have to shake your hand to make the bargain, right?”
“What?” Chuck said from the other room. He was already setting up the table, and came back into the room where we summoned Sam.
“That’s right.” Sam nodded, and smiled at me.
“And if we don’t agree?”
“I AGREED FOR ALL OF US!” Chuck yelled. Tears flowed from his eyes again. Chuck shook his head.
“Not only did you never say that, at any point. Even if you did, it doesn’t work that way. You agreed for yourself. If they don’t want to agree, they don’t have to. If I use force it’ll make the bargain null.”
“Alright, I’m out.” I said, and smiled at Chuck. “I wanna watch though, is there any soda left?”
“Yeah, we’re out too. Sorry, Charlie,” Jeff said.
“MY NAME IS CHUCK!” Sam laughed.
“Oh, that’s not going to matter in Hell.”