It was not accustomed to being summoned.
The night began like any other, not that it normally had much use for mundane notions of time. All nights bled together in the dark wasteland where it preferred to hunt. It was hot on some hapless creature’s trail when it first felt the pull.
A gust of unearthly wind carried the unmistakable scent of its prey. Fear was a potent stench; addictive, impossible to mistake. It lifted its nose and drank it in.
Another pull, stronger this time. It snarled. No one, not even The Lady, had ever attempted anything so blatant, so invasive. Invisible coils wrapped around its insides and tightened painfully. CONFUSION. This was a magic it did not recognize.
But then, no one in its long memory had ever tried to bind it before.
Another gust of wind. Another whiff of fear. It shook itself and continued on, tried to ignore the increasingly sharp bite of this new magic. Surely no one in their right mind could actually be trying to capture it. The very idea was so foreign it barely registered; a distant, amusing flicker on the far horizon of its mindscape.
But there it was again, not a tug this time but a yank. It dropped to its knees mid-stride with a yelp that echoed across the barren terrain. WRONG. This was wrong. It was free, it had always been free, and always would be. It would not bow to this invader, this tormentor who hid in the shadows like a coward.
It growled as much.
Searing pain filled its head. It howled. The surrounding landscape twisted, fragmented. FIGHT. It dug its claws into the ground. It would not allow itself to be ripped from here. REFUSE. The pain reached a deafening crescendo, accompanied by a single, terrible realization.
It had no choice.
When the agony subsided, it was someplace… else. It had heard enough stories about the terrestrial places to recognize the mundane realm. It looked around.
The strangeness of the place set it off-balance. The ground was too hard, the air, too cold. It huffed anxiously. Steam puffed from its nostrils. FOUL. To think some of the others actually preferred it here. Its hackles raised.
Give it heat. Give it brimstone. Give it the eternal fire.
It waited for what felt like an age, but the pain didn’t return. Neither did the magic. The panic in its chest began to subside. The anxiety and discomfort gave way to something else, something far sweeter.
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