What it all Really Means
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Morgan, perched solitary in the cold dusk halflight, looked down at the distant lights of the village through the thin rising mist of his own breath. He listlessly drummed his fingers against the supple stitched leather of his precious book.

He was shivering, and was doing a fairly decent job of convincing himself it was because he was cold. There was no reason to be on edge, he reasoned. The Serpent's Hand weren't exactly the type to send a hitman out after a stolen book, however carefully sequestered away it had been.

That didn't stop him from jumping at every sound, whirling at every movement from the corner of his eye. By his estimation, every tree in this stretch of Turkey housed no fewer than a dozen different birds who enjoyed nothing more than making unexpected and tremendously loud noises to startle him.

So it was, alert and on his guard against unseen pursuers, that Morgan's blood ran cold when he turned back towards the village to see a hooded figure climbing his hill, close and approaching. "Gregor?" Morgan called out in something not quite a whisper and not quite a shout.

"In this damned cold? Who else?" Gregor puffed heavily from the lengthy hike from the village as he approached. "I was worried you would be the one who wouldn't make it." He came to a halt before his fellow conspirator. "Were you able to get us a powerful name?"

Morgan stroked the silky spine of the leather-bound book, his fingers drumming on its surface. "Better, I have one of mankind's first forays into the conceptualization and recognition of forms far greater and more ideal than our own. If you're telling the truth about your call being 'irresistible', then we will behold perfection in a way you could never have imagined."

Gregor's eyes shone with naked hunger. "Good, good. I've been hiding away ritual supplies in a cave nearby. Follow me, my friend. Tonight, we will bring a god to walk among us." Gregor's smile spread across his face as his hand withdrew from a pocket to reveal a hefty silver ring set with a beautifully cut, blood-red gem. "The High Karcist always wore this during rituals of summoning. With it, there is nothing I won't be able to bind."

Morgan eyed the beautiful piece of jewelry. "You… you're sure your people, the uh… Black Lodge? You're sure they won't come after us for it?" He asked as the stone glittered in his eyes.

"Hm?" Gregor paused in admiration of his prize. "They will, almost certainly. It won't matter though," he continued, seeing his companion pale. "We have a few days' head start, and very shortly we will have a god at our side." Watching Morgan pass through descending states of panic, Gregor blew out a small sigh. "Come on. Let's get to the cave before you give yourself a nervous breakdown."

Morgan, his mind full of the prospect of Sarkic assassins bearing down on them from every shadow, merely nodded, numbly.

The tiny bead of Gregor's lighter flame flared in the darkness of the cave, touching down to a carefully-placed pile of dried stick and tender, setting them quickly aflame. Soon, the soothing, flickering glow of firelight filled their secluded hideaway. Morgan could no longer feel the chill wind, far outside, and in short order, a comfortable warmth filled the room.

Gregor was already at work, pulling open a small burlap-wrapped bundle he'd stashed away here months ago. Unfolding it, he set to work laying out their accoutrements: a block of incense, to freshen the mind; a box of matches, to retreat the dark; bundles of scrolls, to bear the icons of Yaldabaoth; and sacrificial blood, to whet his appetite.

Morgan's guttural retch at the sight of the vials of thick, dark blood gave Gregor brief pause. He looked up at the thin, bookish man, clutching his leather-bound tome to his chest like a worrisome mother with her babe. How out of place this soft, timid man seemed in the presence of these artefacts of the Devourer.

"You honestly think you have the stomach for this? It's not too late to turn back now, leave the book with me and go back to the safety of your library," Gregor gruffly offered as he took his knife to the block of incense, shaving off chunks to be burned.

Morgan caught himself mid-gag, his eyes going to Gregor, seeing the older, grizzled man's dismissive frown. The younger man bit his lower lip, shaking his head. "I'm not going anywhere. I— I just didn't realize this is what a… 'ya know, actual summoning ritual looked like." He forced himself to walk forward a few steps, to loosen the tenseness of his body and better see Gregor's ritual preparations.

"Hah! This is tame. These are just what I was able to get away without arousing much suspicion. Ideally, we'd have a human sacrifice or two, but-" seeing Morgan's horrified cringe, Gregor could only roll his eyes "- the sacrificial blood will still allow us to make a technically proper petition." He turned his attention back to slowly and reverently unfurling a scroll to reveal its blood-painted markings.

Soon, the thick, heady smoke of incense filled the small cave, accentuating the sharp contrast of the shadows cast by their flickering fire. Gregor stood before the fire, pouring the vial of dark, viscous blood into the flames. The thick scent of iron flooded and mingled with the heady incense vapors.

Gregor slid on his ill-gotten Karcist's ring, admiring the beautiful gleam. "It is time, then, Morgan. Open your book. My mind is ready." The thick tome, bearing intricate stitching, marked the work as Timaeus, if his Latin wasn't too rusty. Morgan hefted the thick cover for the first time since he'd taken it. He steadied his hand and began to turn the delicate pages.

Seconds turned to minutes and became hours as the two studied the tense, thick work. Morgan's expert command of the language proved invaluable for Gregor in understanding the tome's contents. More than once, Gregor fed additional kindling onto their burning fire, keeping the flames dancing brightly. Long into the night, the pair studied and contemplated the perfect form, the perfect being, that they wished to bring forth.

There was no rapturous choir, no panicked or giddy screams. The only chanting of Ion's name came quietly from Gregor's lips, quiet and intermittent after these long hours. For a ritual of summoning, there was nothing marking the staples of a Sarkic rite. Indeed, he pondered, the mutter-broken silence must feel comfortingly familiar to Morgan, not unlike a library.

So it was — and he didn't know quite what to make of it — that when the smoke and embers around him faded, the man standing before him was no longer Morgan.

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