Standing in the doorway to the lounge Nido checked things over one last time. He really wanted to get all these checks finished so he could get the real party set up! Alternating orange and black paper chains to the jack-o-lanterns check. Carved pumpkin lantern set above the fireplace, check. Smoke machine deployed over dance floor, check But it was all so… paroquial, he had much better decorations planned.
Hurrying out into the entrance hall Nido paused to turn on the lights Twinkling orange and green lights strung around the mirrors and chandelier came on. The clock at the end of the hall said he had a good hour before the first guests arrived but it didn't feel like enough time. Pausing in front of a mirror he adjusted his suit; doing up the last of the double line of buttons that held his jacket closed from waist to collar.
He jumped as a voice spoke behind him, “What on earth are you wearing?” and he turned to see Draco walking in from outside.
“Got to look the part for the summoning. Zenti says it’s important. The demon needs to see someone they know they are going to have to deal carefully with.”
The orange dragon shook his head and set down the crates of cider he was carrying and walked around Nido examining his suit. It was a snug, smooth red velvet jacket and he thought it made him look quite dashing. Black moleskin trousers covered his legs though his purple feet were bare. Shoes were uncomfortable when you had big bunny feet and Nido preferred going barefoot when he could.
The mirror showed a rabbit/dinosaur cross breed. Big rabbit ears with heavy ridges swept back across his head. He had a purple horn standing tall on his forehead. Brown hair neatly arranged to match his dapper outfit covered his head. His primary fur colour body was a rich royal purple with softer shades of lavender coating his neck, chest and stomach. With a flexible prehensile and thick tail he admitted he didn't look like a regular rabbit. He was however himself and he was happy with that. People just had to accept that he was a poison bunny and deal with that.
“You look like you’re about to go check on your girls on the street corners,” Draco accused with a teasing grin, “You should have gone for something a bit more traditional.”
Smoothing his hands along the length of his jacket Nido smiled at himself. His buck teeth were pretty prominent but his fangs gleamed. “This outfit is amazing,” he said churlishly, “Anyway you’re here to run the bar not criticise my costume.”
Smiling Draco winked cheekily, “I’m just teasing you bun-fluff, go do your thing I’ll get things set up down here.”
Nodding to his dragon friend Nido scampered upstairs and let himself into his study. The furniture had been pushed aside to create an open space in the middle of the room. He'd chalked the runic circle earlier but bottled out of the actual summoning. Fingering the papers on his desk he picked up the sheet of paper that contained the words of the ritual.
“Can I really do this?” he mused quietly, tail dancing from side to side as he read the words of power. He'd borrowed the ritual from his friend Russet’s house and he'd been quietly preparing for this for weeks now. He'd grilled all his magical friends and worked out the terms of his contract. All he had to do was summon the imp and he could use his magic to make his Halloween party really special.
Taking a deep breath he raised one hand, fingers crooked in a ritualistic manner. He took a deep breath and and started to chant the words before he chickened out again.
“Ad tempus per arcum, Ultra luminis oras, Ego vocabo in frigore, Et mittam in glaciem!”
As Nido spoke a breeze coiled about his ankles. Frigid air blasted through his fur and tugged at his clothing. The chalk lines on the ground started to glow. An eerie blue radiance spreading out of the chalk, slowly outlining the runes Nido had so carefully drawn. Shaking his head, pushing his nerves aside Nido raised his hand and continued to chant. He could feel the cold seeping into his bones, rising up his body as his voice rose and fel energy spilled through him.
“Afferte glaciem, Per velamen glacies, Ego in frigore, Afferte glaciem, Ego in frigore, Ego in frigore…”
Nido’s voice rose to a crescendo, his fur froze in icy waves crackling with frost as his breath misted before him. That last phrase Ego in frigore tumbled from his tongue, he couldn’t stop repeating it as strange magical energy rose through his body. Tall sheets of ice formed inside the summoning circle. They slid upwards, a cube within the circle, each sheet of ice drawing to a point. Slowly they tilted inwards, forming a perfect pyramid of gleaming blue tinged ice. Tilting his head back, screaming the last words of the chant, eyes glowing with blue light Nido staggered backwards as a pulse of magical energy shot out of him. It was like being punched in the stomach. Falling onto his arse he gaped as the pyramid of ice shattered into a million glittering points.
The hazy cloud of gleaming shards started to spin, then began to condense. Streamers of billowing cold fog poured inwards. From his seat on the floor it looked like the accretion disk of a solar system made of ice. A solid sphere of glowing blue/white light appeared at the centre. It pulsed, expanding outwards, a cold wind blowing away the particles of ice as it took on shape. The binding circle turned back the waves of ice chips, bounced them backwards in a curve to fall into the expanding sphere of light.
Limbs separated out of the central mass of light. Then a long tail adorned with a wicked spike of ice, tall ears… then as the last shards merged with the gleaming shape the light died. Thick waves of blue white fur covered a creature that was maybe two feet tall. They had three fingers on each hand and a tail that was twice as long as their body. Hanging in mid air the creature opened its eyes and stared at Nido. The light hadn't died… it was inside them, glowing ice blue rings of light filled their eyes. Slowly they span around each other, a three dimensional grid of endlessly moving rings, a sphere of motion inside. If the eyes were windows into the soul then Nido shuddered to think what this creature’s looked like.
Stretching their arms above their head the imp smiled at Nido and hung in mid air watching, waiting. Carefully picking himself up Nido brushed ice off his suit jacket and smiled. It had actually worked, he'd summoned and bound him! Adjusting the collar of his coat Nido grinned at the imp and stepped forwards.
“By your name Kal’Tano I bind you, by the circle and the calling you must deal with me.”
“Indeed I must mortal, state your desires, let us bargain.”
Hurriedly pulling a piece of paper off a nearby table Nido smoothed it out and started to read. He’d spent the last two days writing this contract to make it perfect! He just had to hope he and his friends hadn’t missed anything out.
“I Nidonocu do hereby propose this contract which is held in complete form here in this document,” he held up the piece of paper, “You Kal’Tano Znk’erta, are hereby summoned and bound to provide magic for the duration of my Halloween party…”
The contract was quite long and the words spilled out of Nido’s mouth hurriedly. He was a bit nervous about this but they’d worked for ages on this contract. He yelped a bit as Kal’Tano summoned the piece of paper to his hand and read over the terms of the contract. He then smiled and shook the paper.
“I accept your terms Nidonocu,” the paper transformed into a long, coiling raft of parchment with a glistening seal of ice and white ribbons hanging off the end.
“Thus is our contract sealed, welcome to Halloween master.”
The demon then drifted out of the circle of blue fire and Nidonocu watched nervously as he drifted around the room then stopped in mid air before his nose and bowed floridly. “Let us decorate this place, it is certainly not an acceptable venue for a Halloween Party.”
Nido opened his mouth to protest but was shut up as Kal suddenly unleashed a wave of frost. It spilt across the room and everything changed. The furniture, the papers, bookcase and computers shimmered away beneath a wave of frost. Carpet became stone, a stained glass window depicting Nidonocu standing tall before a glowing summoning circle containing Kal’Tano crept across the far wall. It was lit by pale moonlight from outside which also illuminated the chapel made from grey stone that had recently been his study. There was the summoning circle, now surrounded by tall stone stands topped by burning blue candles.
“Oh holy hell that is amazing!” Nido ran around the chapel admiring the altar with its ice sculpture of Kal’Tano, “How the hell did you do that!”
Kal drifted closer and smiled, “Ice, illusion, a little transfiguration magic, I am a master of changing and transforming, illusion and distraction,” stopping in mid air before Nido he reached out a hand to stroke the bunny’s face, “Shall we do the rest of the house?”
“Yes,” Nido hurried out the door and led Kal out onto the landing overlooking the hall. It didn’t take the imp long, one glance and a wave of frost and Nido’s modest house now sported a colossal entrance hall! Deep pile carpet, polished walnut panels, grand sweeping staircase like something out of a disney movie! Tall lead-lined windows framed the central pillar at the top of the first flight of stairs. Where they split off to go upstairs there now rose a series of impressive looking organ whose pipework twisted up the wall in a spreading fan like pattern.
“Should I do the entire house Master?” Kal asked with a grin as Nido wandered around the suddenly impossible hall of his house.
“Yes,” Nido enthused, “This is amazing, I didn’t think it’d be this good.”
“You clearly have little idea what you have summoned,” Kal teased with a friendly smile before attacking the rest of the rooms. Nido followed and goggled at each one, the dining room with its gigantic chandelier. A conservatory span out of pillars of ice and glass that lead outside into his modest garden. Standing on the lawn Nido watched as gravestones, fog, mausoleums and iron fences rolled out across his garden that appeared to have grown in size. The outside of the house seemed to twist and shimmer… his boring, four walls and a roof became soaring stonework with a crenellated roof line and lead-lined windows that glowed with a warm, welcoming light! The front lawn transformed itself into a long avenue of willow trees, jack-o-lanterns nestling in their drooping branches to form a welcoming entrance to the house. The fog drifting back and forth between the trees was quite effective as well. It was thick enough to turn the house into a hazy silhouette of shadow and light but not enough to disguise the path.
“Isn’t that going to scare the neighbours?” Nido asked with a frown, “My house suddenly transforming into a gothic manor house?”
“Not at all,” Kal re-assured him as his tail coiled around the bunny’s shoulders and guided him back inside, “From the street it will look as normal. As soon as they step through the gate however and become party guests they’ll see all of this.”
“Oh,” Nido nodded and headed up the steps back into the entrance hall, “That makes sense, what other rooms do I now have?”
“A library of course full of mysterious books, a mirror maze and of course the I think you call it the living room I’ve given a rather special look. Shall we take a look?” Kal bowed and gestured toward a door and Nido bounded forwards eagerly to look.
The lounge was gone, now a fifty foot long hall spread out before him, a chestnut bar laden with drinks and food ran along one edge and Draco was standing behind it looking amazed. An iron spiral staircase led up to a minstrel’s gallery where Nido could see Ruffwood, Alexei and Vulpine were setting up the music desks. Well had been now they were clustered around the railing looking on in amazement.
“It worked!” Draco exclaimed, “This is amazing, everything got cold and iced over and then bam gigantic hall with stained glass windows! Though they’re all dark so we can’t make them out.”
“It is turning out rather well, Master’s would you care to see the windows?” Kal bowed to Draco then waved at the trio up in the minstrel gallery. Draco hurried over to join Nido in front of the first window. Kal made a slight gesture and light blossomed behind the glass. It was a magnificent coloured rendition of the minstrel gallery. Even Ruffwood, Alexei and Vulpine were depicted in stunning beautiful detail. The next window showed the trio again, this time lining the gallery, looking down at the hall. Ruff the kangaroo had his hands above his head, Vulpine was crouched down, fox muzzle pushed through the bulstrode. Alexei the rabbit was gripping the railing and looking worried.
Nido hurried on to see the next window not noticing that Draco was lingering behind, looking back at the minstrel’s gallery. Kal illuminated the window and the poison bunny let out an ooh of appreciation. The three depicted figures were turning into stone, merging with the railing and stone bulstrode of the gallery.
“Nido…” Draco shouted, “Nido for fucks sake make it stop…”
Turning Nido was in time to see Vulpine’s head finish merging into the cream coloured marble. It was a beautiful bust, a gargoyle like head staring down at them. Nido gaped for a moment then span around as Kal’Tano illuminated the next window. Ruffwood was now a solid pillar, a fancy support carved like a kangaroo at the top of the stairs. Alexei had changed too a matching pillar at the other end of the gallery. His body had partially sunk into the wall, hands on the railing a look of terror on his face.
“Kal’Tano what the hell,” Nido turned around to shout at the imp but he'd moved onto the next window. Light blossomed behind it and Draco swore, it was him. Turning the orange dragon ran as Nido lunged for the imp. He missed, Kal’Tano skated through the air and the next window flickered into life. Nido took one look then turned around in time to see Draco’s feet root themselves to the floor. The stone rose up, creating a curved basin and Draco choked and squirmed as his body was forced into a twisted shape. He quickly lost definition, body elongating, becoming stone that twinned itself around a pillar that rose out of the floor. Life fading from his eyes as a majestic spray of bubbling golden liquid gushed out of his open, immobile mouth.
Champagne poured from Draco’s tail, out of his hands… he was frozen, trapped, a fountain gushing forth the bubbliest, lightest booze known. Zipping through the air Kal scooped up a glass and took a long sip before sighing in satisfaction.
“Turn them back, you are insane, you aren’t suppose to change my friends!”
“Wrong,” Kal said simply, “These fools were not covered in your contract, they are employees, party workers not guests…”
“But… no, I mean…” Nido flounders then gasped and drew back as Kal floated close and stroked the bunny’s chin.
“Oh master… master… master… your contract is shit,” grinning the demon’s tail came up glittering menacingly as the fractal nature of the ice caught the light.
Nido backed away, shaking his head, hands half raised, a protest on his lips…
It never got voiced as the spike of ice that adorned the end of Kal’s buried itself in Nido’s stomach. The rabbit grunted and his eyes widened in shock, hands wrapping about the imps tail.
“For the duration of this party of your power will reside in myself, Nidonocu to be directed under my authority.”
Kal’s voice sneered its way the clause of the contract and the poison bunnies mouth worked open and shut. “That isn't right… the word control…”
“Is missing the imp smirked, so my power shall reside in you… but under my control. Now rabbit know pain,” his tail twisted and Nido thumped to the floor and screamed. It hurt so much, the pain was unbearable, prickling along his spine, tormenting his limbs. Steadily it rose up his back, pain to make him thrash, throw his body from side to side and cause his spine to crick, crack and twist.
“The purpose of tonight is to spook, transform, prank, scare and manipulate the guests in the spirit of Halloween,” Kal hissed into Nido’s ear as the bunny broke down into sobs, gulping down breathes of air. He was quoting the contract… Nido recognized it as the words slipped from Kal’s mouth.
“Each guest is to be judged on costume, location and personality so an appropriate entertaining prank or magical intervention can be decided upon. The judge or judges of each guest are to be jointly decided by the Host and yourself the aforementioned Kal’Tano. You are forbidden to possess any guest and after the cessation of the party guests are to be restored as….”
Shaking his head Nido tried to form words, to make the imp understand this was a mistake, it had been the wrong contract. In his haste he'd read a draft version… he was given no chance. Pain wracked his body and Nidonocu threw his head back and screeched. Something cracked in his brain his eyes suddenly bugged out trying to pop out of their sockets. His ears crawled, the tips lengthening, curling, bending into a long swirl that matched the madness in his eyes.
Squealing as Kal continued to sink his tail into his body Nido bucked, feet drumming on the ground as his knees and ankles bent in weird ways. Bones cracked, joints clicked and his dark trousers shredded themselves as his legs reversed themselves. Digitigrade feet cricked into place and Nido squealed as his groin disposed of all that awkward gender nonsense. It hurt so much, he couldn't think straight, big paws clawed at his jacket, popping buttons so it hung loose as swirls and whorls of white spread across his deep purple fur. Kal was gone… he wasn't going to… no he was inside!
Like a lump of cold rising from deep inside his chest Kal advanced… Nido’s screams died to a whimper as he staggered to his feet. He had to … had to… dismiss… eyes rolling back in his head Nido’s jaw went slack and drool poured down his muzzle. For a moment he swayed in place then his eyes erupted into rings of spinning blue blazing brilliance and the crux stretched. His tail thumped the floor and a paw rubbed away the drool covering his mouth. Smiling Kal stuck his jutting jaw under Draco’s champagne stream and gulped down several mouthfuls to sooth his poor scream torn vocal chords.
Shaking his head, water droplets scattering in every direction Kalido’s ears unfurled at a noise from outside. Staggering across the hall he stared out of a clear window next to the bar and stared at a van pulling up outside. Two figures hopped out of, a wolf and a blue fox… the catering team Nido had hired so not guests. The wolf was the cocktail specialist… that was like making potions… they'd make a good witch that was nice and traditional. The fox… he was hired help, there to serve the food he'd find a use for him somewhere… they were busy exclaiming over the house which gave him a few minutes to finish pulling themselves together.
Nido was still there, a gibbering wreck of insane ideas and instincts but Kal was firmly in the driving seat now. Tonight was his night, a fusion of Nidonocu and Kal’Tano. Crux instincts, imp magic… yes he was exactly as he should be this was Kalido’s party now.
Welcome friends Adalore and I would like to invite you to join us for Halloween this year, come, the invitations have been sent out. The RSVPs have been received, it's time we talked about... the Terms of Service.