@Peregrine The sun was falling in the west over the country of Genenheim. In the capital city of Arnsried, the late, orange-red glow of the sun filled the streets as people rushed along to get home, close their businesses, or finish the last activities of the day before they went home for the night. Soon, the city that bustled with more life than any other city in the country was as quiet as a church, as the sun shone its last rays across the grand city. The city itself was relatively circular in make and management. Most of the residential areas were nestled in neat little patterns along the outskirts of the city, with the houses becoming more and more expensive and extravagant as the common residential areas merged into the expensive houses of those high in the hierarchy of Genenheim. At the center of the city was the palace where the current dictator resided. Near the center of the city stood the research center of Genenheim. As one of the few countries to properly house an ain, the research center in Arnsried was one of the most renowned in the world. Currently, there was one final ritual about to take place before all of the researchers turned in for the night. The preparations for the ritual had all but been completed by one of the top researchers in the country. The magic was all in place and he made sure the traps, in the unlikely case the Outsider didn't become bonded with the summoner, were set. The Outsiders were forces of work and recreation in the common lives of the outer ring of the city, but were used as forces of war and protection when used by the army. Aadelbert had finished with his scribbling on a clipboard all of the requirements for the ritual. His obvious annoyance with what was going on was practically palpable in the room. Why was he the one stuck doing this? Was it because of his skill? Was it because of his years of experience? No. It was because he was the only one in the room at the time, so he was forced to set up the ritual, with the incentive of great pay. The money was the only reason he agreed to do this. Of course he was happy; it's not every day that he gets to research what he loves, but he just wasn't too keen on working with Ammolf. He stood against the wall as he waited for the one who was going to come activate the ritual with the name that Aadelbert had made up as a sort of way to have fun. The only fun he was going to have with this. The one who was going to call the Outsider was sort of arrogant since he had properly controlled an ain, so he wanted to have fun to get back at him. Ammolf strolled leisurely into the room only a few minutes after Aadelbert had finished setting everything up. He was as neatly clothed as ever, with not a strand of hair out of place, and an abstract, almost disinterested smile flickering across his lips. With bland indifference he surveyed the summoning setup as an outsider slipped into the room behind him. Had Aadelbert not been familiar with the sight of Ammolf's ain, it likely would have scared Aadelbert to the point of utter terror. The Outsider easily came up to even Ammolf's tall shoulders, with paws as large as most men's heads and claws that could pierce all the way through a leg, the ain was built for combat. It had a heavy body, dark, scaly hide, and seemed to glow from within with a light like fire, which came out most penetratingly through its four pinprick eyes. But Aadelbert was familiar with the outsider, and turned away from it just in time to see Ammolf fiddle slightly with one of the candles that had been set up around the outside of the summoning ring. With slight hurry in his step, Aadelbert walked over to where Ammolf stood and removed his hands from the candle. "Obviously you know how delicate the ritual for summoning is, so I'd appreciate it if you found it within your personal capabilities to refrain from messing with any piece of necessary equipment. Thank you." Without another word, or listening to any more than the "Of course I..." from Ammolf, Aadelbert scurried the other man away towards the center of the ritual circle. Sure, he was being blunt, but the ritual was already set up how he had it planned in his head and notes. "May we get this under way? I'm sure you'd like to do this and I'd like to get to my research." Ammolf brushed off his shirt where Aadelbert had grabbed him, before turning to frown at the other man. "As I was trying to say, had you been honorable enough to actually listen, if you are going to use the candles with the square base, you should make sure the bases lie parallel to the outline of the runes within the circle." Rolling his eyes and adjusting the candles once more, Aadelbert spoke up again. "And, as I would have assumed, you would know it to be honorable not to mess with the set-up of the ritual. I've actually had conclusive research pertaining to that which supports my hypothesis of having more results, a.k.a. Outsiders, show that have not previously been recorded when square candles are placed perpendicular to the outline of the runes. Forgive my rudeness, but I get a little edgy with the ritual set up. If, perchance you have doubts to my claims, perhaps you'd like to take a look at my extensive research notes on the matter." "I'm sure that will be quite unnecessary," was Ammolf's reply, but he still sounded somewhat mollified. "All the same, it's been proven just as well, probably mo..." he bit off his words, before continuing. "That having the bases parallel increases the strength of the bond." "I don't see the issue. You should be more than capable of controlling any ain." The annoyance from Aadelbert's voice was practically palpable as he readjusted the rest of the candles perfectly back to their perpendicular positions, but his tone quickly morphed back to one of genuine kindness and eagerness to get the ritual underway. After his small task was finished, he cleared his throat and stepped back. "Now, if you'd be so kind, please commence with the ritual as soon as you are ready." The tone in his voice was very reassuring, as it took on its previous kind and gentle tone while he spoke softly to Ammolf. "I've already taken the liberty of inscribing the name you will be using for this ritual into the sigil itself, so all you need to do is commence." Ammolf nodded, before carefully stepping into the circle, scanning the lines with a critical eye. His focus was broken a moment later when he let out an unexpected snort, a noise that could have been either amusement or frustration. "Zynu... Zynuasavilefrinechsandrevaer... varenechaterisian? You must be joking?" "Do I look like I'm joking? This was the name that was chosen for this ritual. Isn't it your job to initiate the summoning and leave all of the technicalities to me?" His exasperation was clear as he sat at his work table and spread out all he'd need for the notes on the summon, if it even came up with anything new. He cleared his throat and sighed a bit. "Forgive me, that was unnecessarily rude towards you." With that, he fell silent. In reality, he had no idea what the name was he chose. Really, he just wrote random letters together to make a 'name' for the Outsider. If he was being forced to be here, he felt like he was entitled to have fun, and that attitude was only increased as his interaction with Ammolf increased. Ammolf, who had been only moments away from snapping back some similar retort, calmed somewhat. "It's forgiven. And I suppose it doesn't matter to me. This is your ritual. If you want to... use," it sounded like he wanted to use a more intense word than that, "It on this gibberish, so be it." Ammolf took a deep breath, carefully re-positioning himself so that his feet were perfectly positioned on either side of the exact center of the circle. He once more carefully scanned the lines, muttering to himself so quietly it was impossible for Aadelbert to make out exactly what he was saying. However, he was able to pick up Ammolf struggling with the caustic syllables of the “name” he had chosen and he felt bemused slightly at the struggle portrayed from Ammolf, but kept quiet. Finally, after having repeated the name several more times, and somehow managing to get it to the point where the incongruous syllables somehow managed to flow fluidly and naturally off his tongue, Ammolf's eyes fluttered closed. His breathing became slow and rhythmic, and it was just possible for Aadelbert to make out his fingers unconsciously twitching as he concentrated. Outside the circle, the ain stirred restlessly, before going to settle in a large mound at the far wall. This wasn't the first time it had been brought to a research summoning, and the only results it had ever seen was one of these. Aadelbert wondered if it was intelligent enough to get bored, or perhaps feel uncomfortable or nervous during summonings. The lines of the circle began to glow faintly, sparks of light appearing at the center of the circle, over which Ammolf stood, before racing out to dance along the lines of the summoning circle. Every half second or so another light would appear, and it soon went from a faint glow to a bright shine, specks of light twining and twirling together to form a hypnotizing dance. Rather like the ain, had Aadelbert not been accustomed to seeing Ammolf's summonings, it would have been remarkably impressive. The lights, or the Photoluminescent Whisps, as they were properly known to researchers, were a physical representation of the strength of a summoner's bond. The more Whisps, the greater ability a summoner would have to compel an outsider to accept a bond. Whatever Aadelbert might have thought, or did think of Ammolf, there was no denying he was an unparalleled genius. Even after having bound an ain, a bet, and who knew how many other high-leveled outsiders, he still had this kind of presence. But Aadelbert was accustomed to seeing this sight, and despite how much it might astonish others, to him it had practically become rote. He turned away, quickly jotting down a couple of notes in a pad that he had set on a table near the circle. He might not want to be here right now, but this was still his job, and the data would help him further refine his technique for later attempts. “ Zynuasavilefrinechsandrevarenechaterisian.” If Aadelbert hadn't known he'd just made it up hours ago, he might have almost guessed it was a proper summoning name, so cleanly did Ammolf say it. At least he would be able to guarantee that the name's failure didn't originate from some mispronunciation. The Whisps flared brightly, as a few winked out, traveling, as far as the best minds of the age could guess, to the otherworld. A moment later the brilliance began to dim, and Aadelbert turned away, preparing to complete his notes and file this away. Only, suddenly and utterly unexpectedly, the lights returned, swirling in befuddling patterns in the secondary circle where successfully summoned creatures were supposed to appear. Aadelbert's jaw dropped in astonishment, and he was so wrapped up in gaping at the unexpected arrival that he didn't even notice the beads of sweat beginning to appear on Ammolf's brow, or the rapidly growing tremors that were working their way across his body as the strain of the summoning grew. All he could feel was excitement. Somehow, impossibly, his name had worked.