Link to Volume I: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/44830631/#p44830631
Do you deserve forgiveness?
You wake up with moonlight shining in your face. Groggy, you sit up, feeling wet grass beneath your hands. The last thing you remember was seeing Jacob -- was it really Jacob? -- atop his roof. Then everything faded to black.
You stand. Looking around, you recognize your surroundings. It's the same ritual site that you woke up in last night, but nothing's set up and you're still in your regular clothing.
The symbol of protection that you carved into your chest burns. How the hell did you get here? Is this connected with Asmoday? After a few second, you notice a dark figure sitting atop a large stone in the forest clearing.
It's Jacob. Something seems off about him.
>Try to talk to him.
>Uncover the symbol of protection on your chest.
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You uncover the symbol of protection that you carved into your chest. The wound isn't open, but it hasn't completely healed, either. You think it's going to leave a scar.
In response, Jacob lets out a strange hiss. It sounds as if multiple layers of the sound were played at the same time. He steps off of the stone and onto the grass. As he comes slightly closer, the pain increases.
"Jacob?" You question, stepping back out of instinct. "What's going on here?" For a second, he looks normal.
"I -- I --" he stutters, cupping his head in his hands. He lets out a scream, with the same layered sound. "Get out of here, now!"
>"Tell me what happened. I'm not leaving you here."
>Begin reciting a banishing spell.
You're certain there's some level of possession going on here. From the back of your mind, you recall a banishing spell. There was a ritual to go along with it, but you haven't got time.
"Ateh malkuth ve-geburah ve-gedulah, le-Olahm, amen! To thee the kingdom and the power and the glory, to the Ages, amen! Ahih, Yehovah! Ahih, Elohim! Agla, El! Agla, Adonai!"
He doesn't seem to be any different. You continue reciting it.
"Ateh malkuth ve-geburah--"
"Foolish dabbler in cheap mysticism," a voice booms from Jacob's mouth. It's powerful and commanding, yet hoarse. "Did you think that such simple magic could remove me?"
He steps forward in a jerking manner, as if frames of reality had been removed between the miliseconds.
"-- ve-gedulah --"
"I am the Duke of Bulls, the master of spiders."
"-- Le-Olahm --" The pain in your chest is nearly unbearable. It grows in intensity with each step he takes towards you. This isn't working.
"And with the body of your apprentice, I will make this world my kingdom." Jacob's body churns. His own voice comes out. "I told you to go, now run!"
>Pray to Asmoday.
>Beg for your life.
>Run like hell.
You turn and start running. If there's a way to help Jacob, you don't have it right now. And you've got to make sure that you're alive to even find a way to help.
The forest is dark, but you're used to taking this path. You don't hear anyone following you, but you don't turn your head to look, either.
You don't stop running until you get home. Then you pull out your phone. This is the most exercise you've gotten in years, but you're so pumped up that it's not getting to you.
"Marissa, something terrible happened."
"Goddamnit, it's after midnight. And after not coming back to work yesterday, you're on thin ice."
"Look, it's about Jacob. He's in danger. So am I. I need your help."
"Whatever problem you and your boyfriend got into, I'm not really interested. You woke me up. I've got to be at work in the morning and so do you."
"Damn it, Marissa, this is more important than the job! It's --"
The symbol on your chest starts burning slightly.
>"Damn it, I've got to go." Barricade the door.
>"Damn it, I've got to go." Draw sigils of warding and protection all around the room you're renting.
>"Jacob's been possessed. Something that calls itself the Duke of Bulls. Do you know what that is?"
"Jacob's been possessed. Something that calls itself the Duke of Bulls. Do you know what that is?"
The pain in your chest starts growing.
"I don't know, maybe Baal or something. He's supposed to be a Duke who looks like a bull. Wait, what the hell am I talking about? Look, if you guys took some LSD or something, I don't want to get involved. Just show up to work tomorrow."
"Marissa, this is serious. Do you know any --"
"Not doing this tonight, kid. Later."
She hung up. And she called you kid. Jeez, she's only two years older than you.
You can feel it. Jacob, or Baal, or whoever is going to be here soon.
>Barricade the door. (You rent a basement; there are no windows.)
>Start drawing sigils everywhere you can.
Without any other options, you start transcribing sigils all over the basement. You don't have time to go to your books and find one, and so you depend on your mind's eye. The image appears in your mind of a powerful seal, and you use it. You start with the door, in which you carve a large sigil while you know from experience has provided you protection before.
Then you copy it on each of the walls, on every door, and you make an especially large one on the floor.
With haste, you also write every holy name you can think of along the walls and doors. Jehova, Yahwe, Adonai. Many more.
Then you lock yourself in your room.
Holy shit, this is bad. The pain in your chest is just as bad as when you were in the woods. You hear a thump on the door to the basement.
What follows the thump can only be described as the shrill screech of a banshee, which causes you to cover your ears. Slowly, it sounds further away, and as it becomes more distant, the pain in your chest fades.
You let out a sigh of relief and sit down at your desk, relaxing. Then you notice something.
The Book of Asmoday is open to a page with the same design that you drew around your basement.
>Resume translation of the book.
>Tear the book apart.
>Go to sleep. You've got work in the morning.
You throw on a pot of coffee and resume translation of the book. Back from where you last left off.
True to the introduction, the first section is a spellbook. The rituals written in it are highly specific and require you to use the strange language written in the back of the book alongside the Enochian. Before any spells are shown, the symbol of Asmoday is printed on its own page, with the instructions to display it in your flesh.
The first ritual is titled "The Preliminary Offering". The ritual should be performed just after midnight on a moonless night. Incense of lavander should cloud the area. Offering of a lamb's bone bathed in the oil of Abramelin for 12 hours prior to the offering. Blood of the magician offered in a bronze vessel. You must face West and recite an incantation, which roughly translates to:
"Great Asmoday, my King, I make this offering that it may bring you pleasure. Take the bone of this innocent creature bathed in the oil of the magi, that it may give you strength to return in full form to this world. I offer you my blood that you may feast upon and return to this material plane. Accept my offering if it pleases you, my Lord Asmoday."
It seems that this ritual is to take place before performing any of the other rituals in the grimoire, but it only needs to be performed once yearly by a worshipper of Asmoday.
After drinking the pot of coffee and staying up all night, you're able to translate that ritual, one meant to open the mind to demonic forces, a banishing ritual which contains the sigil you used, a cleansing ritual, one meant to contact a servant of Asmoday while it possesses another, one meant to invoke Asmoday's strength, and one meant to evoke Asmoday for guidance and blessing.
The final ritual listed in the book is meant for full physical evocation of Asmoday.
>Go to work.
>Better stay at home and continue translating.
>Go to the ritual site.
>Carve the symbol of Asmoday into yourself.
You decide that you should go to work, but not before drawing a few sigils of warding and protection onto a piece of paper which you place in your wallet. It's better to have them than not to have them.
The entire walk to work, you're nervous and looking over your shoulder, despite the store only being a few blocks away. You arrive early to the shop, which is odd for you. Marissa pulls up in her car shortly after you get there to open up.
"Trying to make up for ditching the job yesterday?" She asks with a sly smile which quickly fades. "You look like shit. Is this about last night?"
>"I'm fine. Let's just tend the shop."
>Explain what happened yesterday.
>"I need more information on Baal."
You explain everything that happened to you last night. Passing out, running in the woods, filling your place with sigils that you later saw written in the book. As you do, the two of you are setting up the shop for customers.
"I need more information on Baal. Honestly, I think I might need another hand with this," you say.
"Look, even if I did believe you, and I don't, you've read most of the books that I have. Probably more. I can't help you."
"Do you know anyone that can?"
"No. Maybe. I don't know. There's one guy I know that might be able to tell you some things that I don't know, but he lives pretty far away. I'm not sure if he's even alive anymore."
"Who? Where is he?"
"His name's Peter O'Malley. He's the head priest of the Temple of Light, about three hours drive North. But you don't have a car and none of the bus lines go that far North, so forget about it. I'm sure Jacob just took some bad drugs or something and he'll be fine in a day or two."
>"You have a car. Drive me there to meet him."
>"Can I borrow your car?"
>"Forget it. I have other ways of solving this problem."
"Can I borrow your car?" You ask.
"Oh, sure. And you can have my paycheck, too." She starts going through her purse. "In fact, why don't you just take my wallet, with my credit cards and everything else?"
"Okay, I get it. I can't borrow your car."
"Look, you call me in the middle of the night with stories about possession." She turns on the radio at the register. Local news. "And besides, you don't even have a license to drive."
"It was a long shot. But Marissa, you've got to believe -" You're cut off by the radio broadcast.
"Following the discovery of mutilated animals in town square last night..."
"What?" Marissa asks. You shush her.
"... Seven dead deer. What's more disturbing is that whoever killed these animals used their blood to draw strange symbols on the walls of several buildings, and have written in a foreign language that officials don't recognize. Whoever these pranksters are, local authorities have promised that they will be found soon, though there are no reports of any leads in the investigation."
>"We should look into that."
>"I bet you it was Jacob."
>"Will you drive me, then?"
"We should look into that," you say. "I bet you it was Jacob."
"You know what? Fine. I'll play along. But this time, you stay at the shop and I'll check it out. You'd just dip out again."
You look around the shop. Everything's in order. All you would have to do is sit around and wait for customers. It's not a bad gig, and there's another coffee machine in the back. You're kinda tired.
It might not be a good idea to let her go out there alone, but she can make her own choices. And maybe it would convince her of a few things.
"If you see anything weird, take pictures. And if it does have to do with Baal or anything I've been telling you about, you've got to promise to give me a ride to see Peter."
"No promises. Try to sell something." She leaves.
>Wait for a customer to come in, make some coffee. Reorganize the crystals, etc.
>Start reading whatever you can on Baal in the shop.
>Start memorizing Enochian.
>Close up shop and go home.
You grab two books from the shelves. The first is a book on the Enochian language, and the second is a book on demons. Every half hour or so, you switch between reading the two.
The Enochian alphabet isn't hard to memorize, and you're able to do it easily. But words are harder to understand. At least now you don't have to take so long while translating the Book of Asmoday.
What you find on Baal is troublesome. One book names him one of the seven princes of Hell, the greatest of them all. He stands second only to Lucifer, and is wise and powerful, commanding sixty-six legions of demons.
He goes by many names. Baal, Ba'al, Bael, Baell, and occasionally Beelzebub.
He can appear as a bull, a cat, toad, human, or any combination of them, occasionally with the legs of a spider.
He is seen by some as a false god of the Canaanites, and the bringer of storms.
Your scar begins to burn again, and you close the book. The door opens and a man steps in. A customer, but he gives you an unsteady feeling, especially with the burning in your chest.
>"Hello, is there anything I can help you with?"
>Take out one of the protective sigils from your wallet.
>Watch him as he walks through the shop.
You take one of the protective sigils out of your wallet and hold it in your hand, leaning against the counter.
"Is there anything I can help you with?" You ask.
"Have you got any books here that are a bit older? All of the things on the shelves look like new editions."
"No, I'm afraid that we don't," you say. "A lot of the books here are reprints of much older books, though."
"I see," the man says. "Well, a friend of mine said that there was one specific book here. An old leatherbound book called The Book of Asmoday. Have you seen it? I'd be willing to pay top dollar for a copy."
>"Nope, haven't seen it."
>"We have a copy, but it's not in the store right now."
>"We did have a copy, but I bought it. How much were you willing to pay?"
As a small shop we can certainly field orders for specific books or perhaps find one similar sir. Can I ask what sort of subject matter it delves into or what you were hoping to get out of it?
"As a small shop we can certainly field orders for specific books or perhaps find one similar sir. Can I ask what sort of subject matter it delves into or what you were hoping to get out of it?"
"It's just a small book of very old prayers. There's a small religious group here in town that collects books like that, and I represent them." He reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a business card. "If you happen to find a copy of it, please give me a call."
The card says "Ordo Templi Daemonium" and gives an address and a phone number. As you're looking at it, the man has made his way to the door.
"Oh, and if you do find that book laying around somewhere, it would be a good offering if you're looking to join up. We could certainly help your friend Jacob." He walks through the door.
>"Hey, wait! I have a copy of it!"
>Say nothing and discard the business card.
>Say nothing and pocket the card.
You say nothing, but you pocket the card. Well, now you've got options.
You wonder how they knew about Jacob. You're pretty sure that you're the only one who was at the ritual, but you can't remember it at all. Maybe other people were there.
You don't know. Maybe it's a good option. But he did give you a bad vibe.
Nothing left to do but wait until Marissa gets back.
>To Be Continued.