Justin smiled as he looked over his masterpiece. The concentrically patterned and connected circles of magic he had been carefully scrawling out overnight had come out perfectly. Each “point” connected to where it needed to, making a circle that even an alchemist would praise.
Taking a step back, Justin quickly collected the final pieces he needed for his spell. He began to place and light incense candles at equidistant points on the outer circle. He laid the proper tributes of food and sand around the edges. When he was finished, Justin opened his book of summoning and began to chant.
As he chanted the lines from the book for the spell, he absent-mindedly thought about what got him to here. Ever since he was a kid, he wanted to learn magic. Not just any magic; but real magic, like the things of fairy tales. Of course, such magic, he was told, was make believe. But that didn’t stop him from trying to learn that ways of the illusionist, which he learned well, earning high marks in illusions and acting in school.
His time on stage however, didn’t pan out well, as he found himself stuck in a dead-end career; playing opening acts on the side for two-bit clubs, never reaching toward what he really believed he could do.
All that changed after he stumbled upon “Magnus’ Book of Summoning” on EBay. The ad spoke about how the book could "Summon anything with simple materials and words!" Skeptical at first, he decided to buy it and after a couple initial spells, He found that it was true.
Having been happy with those spells, he decided it was time to kick it up a notch and summon something of real power, the power to change his life.
Justin smiled as he continued to chant and thought about how in a few seconds his life would change. No longer would he be stuck in a dead end job, looking up on others, and no longer would he be tied by real laws. With this summon he believed he would show them all!
With a wide grin as he thought this, Justin ended the chant with a loud “ENTARDON!”, and awaited the circle’s response. It didn’t take long, as with a sudden eerie howl, a dust devil formed over the summoning circle. It’s winds roaring and whipping around, blowing sand about the room, covering everything in a layer of silt.
Within the center of the whirlwind, the sand began to take shape. Two round and pointy ears formed along the top of a long, muzzled head. A canine-like humanoid body flowed downward from where the head appeared, ending in clawed feet and a bushy tail. The sand then started to part, and Justin started to see sandy brown fur appear over the body, and a strong canine face. Just a moment after that the dust devil subsided and standing in front of him was a small anthropomorphic coyote.
“Greetings” the coyote said as he stepped out of the summoning circle. “And to what would I welcome this summoning for?” He asks with a grin, a look of deviousness on his face.
It was a grin that did not last very long however, as Justin looked back with confusion on his face.
“Who the heck are you?!?”
“Oh! Pardon the missed introductions.” The coyote said. “People around this land call me ‘The Trickster’, and I excel in pulling off a multitude of devious tricks; from crank calls and cheap illusions, to having someone fatally fall down the stairs after slipping on a banana peel. You name the trick, I can do it!”
“But, but, your not what I asked for. I thought this spell was supposed to summon something of great power.” Justin said and looked back into his book.
The Trickster looked at him a bit annoyed, and began to complain. “You don’t call what I can do power? Why, I can---“
“Ah ha!” Justin said, interrupting The Trickster as he caught his mistake. “I was on the wrong page. Now all I need to do is banish him, and recast again.” He said as he flipped to the page. Before he reached the correct spell however, the book suddenly slammed shut on his hand. Dropping the book and shaking his hand a little, Justin looked up to see the coyote had a rather angry look on his face.
“Are you truly that dense? Do you not see that I can give you power?" the Trickster sighed as he saw he was being ignored. “Fine, you want power?" He said with a growl. "I’ll show you power... Heck, I'll give you a little of mine.” the coyote said, and suddenly flicked his paw.
As he did, Justin started to feel his back itch. Reaching to scratch, he face grew white, as he suddenly felt it covered in a coat of coarse fur.
“Well, not really much of mine.” The coyote said as he flicked his paw again, causing the fur to spread and a long furry tail to shoot out from Justin’s tailbone. “Just enough for you to see...” Another flick. Justin started to feel himself shrink. He watched as his hands started to form into padded paws with sharp claws.
Panicking as he saw what was happening to him, Justin tried to get up, but as the coyote said “how it feels to be in my shoes.” Justin crashed back to the ground, his legs popping and contorting into digitigrade canine shapes.
Scrambling, Justin reached for the book. He struggled his way to the banishment page, but all he got out was a simple “Arb--” before his face began to stretch and meld. Clinching in pain, he felt his face being pulled outward, as if it was made of modeling clay and becoming less human and more canine.
With one final flick of his paw, the Trickster smiled. He looked down at his now transformed victim, changed into a little coyote. Smiling, he asked Justin “So, what do you think?” Angered and scared about what is going on, Justin cried out! Yet, what came out of his mouth was not curses or even intelligible words, only barks, growls, and whimpers.
The Trickster laid his ears back, snarling at the whimpering cub at his feet. He kicked Justin across the floor. Justin hit the wall with a thud. Stars danced in front of his eyes as he tried to focus on the Trickster towering over him.
“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t cast you into the middle of the desert right now!” Justin, too dazed and afraid to answer, cowered, tail between his legs. The Trickster then raised his hand towards the sky, and began to chant. The same eerie howl that brought the Trickster here could be heard.
The Trickster opened his eyes to looks at the pitiful soul he was about to banish. Seeing Justin’s very sad looking face, he stopped chanting. Before the howling winds died, He sat down with a sigh. Justin slowly walked closer, looking at the Trickster, nudging him with a curious paw.
“I… I’m sorry” the coyote said to Justin as he gave him a soft pat on the head. “I get too angered over simple things. I'm a little too full of myself."
There was a pause. "How about this... you seem to be a person of excellent magical skill, yet a bit short sighted and limited in technique, why not learn from me?”
Justin’s ears perked up as the words were said, looking rather curious. “Interested? Good. There is one price although. You would have to cast away your old life, both metaphorically and literally. You may never be able to return to the form you once had.”
The young pup thought about the Trickster’s words for a minute, before calmly nodding. The Trickster smiled. “Well then” he said as he stood up, “Let's get you into a more comfortable form.” He waved his paw in a circle and began to bend the wind around Justin.
The sound of cracking bone was heard as the human turned coyote started to change again. His body stretched upward, and his fore paws became more limber, as they changed into paw-like hands. As his body stretched, he felt his back and spine pop and bend as he stood in a more bipedal stance. His muzzle flattened a little, causing him to cough as his voice box and tongue adjusted to speaking again.
Moving his tongue around a little to get the hang of speech, Justin smiled back to the Trickster. “Umm, thanks” he says, “So, where do we start.”
“We start back at my place I'd say.” The Trickster replied, and began to swirl the dust devil around the remains of the summoning circle. As it touched the ceiling, the Trickster stepped in, motioning “Follow Me” with its paw.
Watching the Trickster go into the dust devil, Justin wondered, for the first of what was certainly to be many times, what he had gotten himself into. The life he was walking away from, and the life he was going to have. He decided that at this point there was no going back, and with a mighty leap, disappeared into the sand.
Trade with Kitsukyo of FA about what happens when a novice magic user learns the hard way about summoning someone some a bit too far out of their league.