Trying to get a good angle with her camera on the otherworldly brawl taking place in the corridor, Ismene gasped and stepped back into the airlock. “The imps are more chimera – the demon-animal hybrids the scientists were talking about! They’re almost fully manifested in this plane; we’ll need their true names to banish them!” She had seen an article about anchoring summoned creatures in the material world while spending time with Harry the year prior, and tried her best to remember any other details the group had uncovered in their attempts to stop the Tyenx summoning ritual. “Is there anything written in there, any brands or signs or words?”

“On the wall!” Tammy dutifully reported, standing beside Tommy at the door, her sword at the ready in case his mystical barrier failed. “It’s some sort of ritual circle – it’s pulsing with energy whenever they move.” She saw the faint symbols ebb and flow with the mad combat nearby, sounding out the terrible names they described. “Ilsken’trechtikor and Lyenstrachtil’lus – those are the flaming brothers, the twice-brilliant servants!”

As she spat out their names, two demons dropped from their assault on Camazotz and charged the airlock hatch, shrieking and gibbering with unrelenting rage. “Down, creatures,” Roger commanded, using the power of their true names against them. “Learn what happens when you are trapped in a metaphor of your own design.” They fell to the floor under Roger’s psychic assault, writhing and shrieking, rivulets of fire-blood pouring from the semblance of their ears, eyes, and mouths. Diminishing, they faded from existence with a final flare as if fuel pulled from a camp stove.

Ismene continued filming the combat with her camera, trying to call out targets. “The one with extra legs, that’s being chewed on by the vampire bat, that’s the weakest one,” she surmised.

“I’m on the strong one,” Roger reported grimly, focusing his thoughts on a particularly corpulent, oozing creature that seemed to be weathering Camazotz’s blows more easily than the rest. Feeling his mental assault it turned toward the hatch and glared at Roger, hissing.

“There are other symbols,” Tammy warned. “They cover the walls and ceiling, but are organized, more orderly than the ones above. They remind me of the wasp hives, but neater, cleaner.”

“It’s part of the summoning process!” Seth divined, operating on knowledge the source of which he couldn’t pinpoint. “A lot of big magic went into their creation, and they’re part of a greater whole — they’re ritual components!”

“I’m looking for more names,” Tammy explained, craning her head to examine as much of the magical carving as she could without crossing Tommy’s powerful warding spell.

“Time to get active!” Ismene ordered, dropping her camera and drawing her aluminum bat, charging into the hallway. “Interrupt the ritual!” She began swinging her warded weapon against the symbols on the walls, all of her might going into crushing and smashing the mystical conduits.

“No, Ismene – the wasps!” Seth called, warning that the summoning notes could bring more than just demon imps. Unimpeded, she continued her assault, as the wall began to vibrate, wriggle, and flutter. Bloated wasps flooded out of the wall into the corridor.

“Let me handle this,” Roger stepped forward into the doorway, focusing his energies on the new arrivals. One by one they began to crumble, pitting and decomposing as he focused raw entropy into their forms. As Ismene jumped back into the protected airlock, Tommy roared out more demonic names, demanding their banishment as he pulled them from the symbols.

“Denskreskia the Scintillator, Skenseptitrex the Prolific, Veskraturraxa the Weaver, and Stygiammarilliosk the Vice, back to the demon pits with you!” They had managed to deal terrible damage to Camazotz, ripping and tearing flesh and sinew, their hold on the physical plane previously stronger than the summoned creature. Snarling at Tommy as their hold on their corporeal forms faded, they became more ephemeral, almost translucent. Jolene took the opportunity to hurl herself beyond the demon-on-demon combat and join the investigators in the airlock.

“Can we trust her?” Tammy asked of the new addition to their group.

“My ward didn’t stop her; she’s clean,” shrugged Tommy by way of introduction. “Jolene, this is everyone. Everyone, this is Jolene.”

With a quick peek into the ongoing struggle taking place in the corridor, Ismene closed and sealed the heavy airlock hatch. “That thing Seth summoned is doing better now, but it’s still anyone’s ball-game in there. We need to find another way around.”