That evening as they were getting ready for dinner, Azgoth tenderly laid a hand on Micah’s cheek as he stared into the man’s beautiful eyes. He breathed in the essence of the man he had tied to him.
“Micah, I want you to know,” he started to say when the pups came tearing into the room and swarmed his Packmaster in an exuberance of sparkling energy and drooling kisses. He had to laugh at the flailing limbs that were buried under the celebrating pups.
“Calm,” Micah said in a tone of voice Azgoth had never heard before, and the pups subsided, panting happily. The power that sizzled through the bond between them woke all of Azgoth’s senses. “What has gotten into them this evening?”
“Ahhh. The bonfires are just now being lit to celebrate All Hallows Eve. The pups are young and are worked up without knowing why.”
“Oh. Is there anything we need to do?” Micah asked him, a bit wide-eyed.
“No, there aren’t any major celebrations here. Many of our colleagues have gone top-side to celebrate. Even the ones that aren’t supposed to. Commander Stone and his agents will have a busy night patrolling up the unsanctioned demons. The biggest problem for our agents down here at Hellsgate is how many folks are going to have major hangovers after the revelries. So there will be lots of short tempers in the coming days.”
Micah relaxed in his arms. “Oh, ok, good. I wasn’t sure if there was a major feast or something and if I needed to be there and if…”
“Calm yourself, my Packmaster. You may be assured that our omnipresent Steward will have you well prepared before any such eventuality.”
“Well, of course, I will. In the meantime, here are hellsbreath flowers for your jackets,” Egath sniffed as he entered the room.
Just as Azgoth reached for the blooms, he found himself in a clearing, bonfires surrounding him. It was still twilight and not full dark. Damn the idiots for getting started earlier every year. And damn his cousin who must have put him on the “list.” He realized that Micah was standing frozen beside him, and the hellhoundcats were arrayed in front of him, sparks of balefire and energy barely visible in the twilight sky.
He sighed and looked at the crowd that surrounded him, who were as frozen as Micah.
“Ok, so who was stupid enough to decide to summon a demon? DDEA is not going to be amused,” he drawled out.
Surprisingly enough, a figure stepped forward. A shockingly small figure. He did a quick assessment, and realized that all ten of those who stood in the clearing were… small.
“Well, I’ve had the spell for ages. I’ve even practiced it during the day. My folks told me to never actually use it at night, but I didn’t know what else to do,” the youngster spoke up as her hood fell down over her shoulders. Blond curls lay in ringlets down her back, and puppy-dog eyes looked at him imploringly.
“What’s wrong honey?” Micah asked softly from beside him.
“They’re all gone,” she replied.
“They just disappeared, like Marilee said. The bonfires were already lit and the party was just about to start. We were going to do the costume contest first, and I’m sure I was going to win!” The boy who had strode up next to her looked like he was about to burst into tears. Azgoth realized that he was wearing an adorable dragon costume, and looked to be about a year or so younger than the girl.
“Hush, Brian, it’ll be ok. I’ve summoned the demons and they can help,” Marilee stated confidently as Azgoth choked in astonishment. Micah elbowed him, then stepped forward.
“That’s right Marilee, we’ll see what we can do to help.”
“Really?” she asked as she shot forward right into Micah’s arms. The pups startled, then nuzzled at her hair.
“Puppies!” the smallest of them yelled, then rushed forward. Azgoth was going to catch the child, but Micah only smiled and indicated the excited, wagging pups. Apparently small human children were not threats. Soon enough the pups were playing enthusiastically with most of the children as they ran around.
Marilee looked up at Micah as she kept an eye on Brian, who had sat down and was quietly petting Bau. “They just vanished. They didn’t say anything, it was like they suddenly poofed.”
“Where were they?” Micah asked her seriously. She led them over to right in front of one of the bonfires.
“They had just finished lighting them. Like Brian said, the first thing we were going to do tonight was the costume contest.”
“No one recited anything or attempted a spell?”
“I don’t think so. Wait, are you a demon? You don’t really look like one,” she said to Micah critically.
Micah just laughed. “Well, Azgoth is a demon and I work for him.”
“Oh, that’s ok then,” she replied.
“There’s a trap spell here,” Azgoth stated. “Do you know who would try that?”
Marilee bit her lip as she looked at them.
“Marilee, it’s important. Please just tell us if you can think of anyone.”
Well, my Uncle said he had a big surprise for Halloween. I was thinking he was going to send me a cat. He likes to do silly stuff like that, and I told him I wanted a cat,” Marilee said. “But he lives in California.”
“Do you have a phone?” Micah asked.
“Yeah, and I tried calling my parents but it just went to voicemail. That’s when I decided to try the summoning spell,” Marilee replied.
“Do you have your uncle’s number?”
“Marilee! Look what the puppy can do!” Brian said excitedly, running by with Bau, who was glowing with purple runes.
“Here!” Marilee said, thrusting her phone at Micah with a number on speed dial before she ran over to Brian and Bau. Micah laughed as Azgoth grabbed the phone and pushed the icon.
“Hello!” came a cheerful voice.
“Is this Marilee’s Uncle?” he asked solemnly.
“Oh, yes. Shit. Are the kids ok?” the voice replied, suddenly a lot more serious.
“They are fine. Currently playing with the hellhoundcats. But they are a bit concerned for their parents.”
“Everyone is here. I only meant to trap my brother, but my accomplice apparently made a much wider circle than was intended. I didn’t mean to scare the kids.”
“How about you send everyone back?”
“Well, since there’s so many of them, that will take a little while to prepare.”
“Never mind, just have everyone circle around you and grab hands. Just a standard magical circle mind you, nothing fancy,” Azgoth told the idiot sternly.
As soon as the man indicated they had done as requested, Azgoth backed himself and Micah away from the bonfire and unleashed his magic. Since he had been summoned ritually to this time and place, his powers here were vast. A relocation spell was a minor thing for a demon lord.
Suddenly the clearing was filled with adults in costume, looking more than a little shellshocked. Brian yelled “Mama!” and ran up to the embracing arms of a blond woman that looked like Marilee. The chagrined man in the middle had to be the Uncle, whose eyes grew wide at the sight of Azgoth.
The rest of the children ran over, with the hellhoundcats at their heels.
“Mama! Papa! See, I got you all back! That demon summoning spell worked just right,” Marilee stated proudly.
“Um, yes, I see that,” a tall man said as he stepped forward, looking grave. “I am Silas Barve. May I ask who it is that my daughter summoned?”
“I am Azgoth, Lord of the House of Kurush. And this is my Packmaster and Heart, Micah. His Pack is the ones currently playing with your children.”
“My Lord,” the man said bowing. “I do apologize that your holiday was interrupted. And that the children are playing with your, um, Pack,” he said as his eyes grew wide at the sight of the Hellhoundcats playing with the children.
“Oh, no problems. The Pack has been having fun. And your daughter is charming,” Micah said, trying to calm the man.
“Indeed. It is no problem at all. We had but a quiet evening before us, and this was a most entertaining interruption. Now I think we had best head back.”
“But you can’t go until I say so because I summoned you, right?” Marilee asked.
“Well, true,” Azgoth replied with a small smile.
“Then I think you should stay for the party. You can judge the costume contest!” Marilee exclaimed.
“Oh, honey, I’m sure the nice demon Lord has better things to do…” her father began to say.
“We’d love to stay. I’ve never judged a costume contest before,” Azgoth told the young girl seriously.
“Did you hear that Uncle Jim? They’re going to stay!” Brian yelled happily. “Maybe you can help us play some games.”
“I think Uncle Jim will be just the person to help us play some games with the Hellhoundcats,” said Micah with an evil grin at the other man, who nodded nervously. “They love to chase.”
Azgoth held Marilee’s hand as she led him towards the first contest, and realized that he might not punish his cousin after all. This had to be the most entertaining Hallow’s Eve celebration he’d ever attended.