Stephen sat alone in his study, a few nearby candles providing the only illumination by which to read. A heavy rain poured outside the windows, but Stephen was oblivious to all but the arcane words in front of him.
“…The success of the spell depends greatlie upon the cycle of the moone, and upon the alyning of the stars, and upon the alchemical properties which the object keeps. The enchanter shall have congress’d with daemons in the preceding houres, to securre their aid in the casting…”
Stephen had already read the chapters devoted to demonology. The rituals to summon the fiends were very involved and time-consuming; only the strictest perseverence had allowed Stephen to successfully perform them to completion. His floor was still decorated with the symbols necessary to the summon Asmodeo, the infernal superintendent. With Asmodeo’s aid, Stephen had encountered no difficulties in acquiring the materials needed to create his own amulet of three-point shooting. But he would need that aid again to complete the final task, to transmute an ordinary necklace into an artifact of unrivaled power!
“…of the spells. With these thyngs account’d fore, the proper hexagrammes shall be drawn ‘cross the floore, and the words spake, which are further detail’d in the chaptre following.”
Continuing to read, Stephen found himself nodding off. It was well past midnight, and alertness was imperative when reading such dense and cryptic material, so he closed the Medieval text, placed it in its drawer, and went to bed.
Stephen did not notice the shadowy eyes watching from the other side of the study’s window.
– – –
Underneath center court at Oracle Arena, mysterious things were taking place.
Stephen was sure he was the only one who knew of the secret chamber, cut straight out of the ancient bedrock upon which the arena stood. Its location had been revealed to him by his demonic companion Asmodeo. The cavernous walls were illumed by naturally-occuring lava flows, giving the entire place a chillingly hellish appearance that was probably not a coincidence. It was quite possible that Asmodeo had created the chamber himself to provide a stage for the impending ritual.
Mumbling feverishly to himself, Stephen used a chunk of pure-white chalk to draw the necessary patterns upon the floor. At the center of the pentangle-like shape was an improvised altar made out of stacked stones. Atop this was a small cache of gold jewelry next to some hunks of pure copper. An alloy of these metals would provide the proper vector for the enchantment to enter and take root.
Stephen stood up, examined his work with a curt nod, then consulted the text again. The metals would be melted here in this Luciferian smeltery and combined with a drop of his own blood, forever binding the resultant phylactery to his mortal essence. He piled the ingredients into the crucible and watched with growing anticipation as they quickly turned to liquid.
When that was complete, he roughly swiped his finger across a jagged outcropping of rock, slicing the skin just enough to produce a single drop of blood. Holding his finger over the molten metal, he shook once; the droplet entered the shimmering concoction with a hiss.
Picking up the crucible with a pair of long handles, he brought it over to the altar, where a circular mold waited. With nervous caution, Stephen poured a small amount of the gold-copper mixture into the depression. When it was full almost to overflowing, he set the crucible aside and immediately began to incant the ancient words of summoning, knowing that he only had until the metal cooled to a solid to complete the ritual.
Suddenly, Stephen’s eye caught a figure standing at the entrance to the chamber, and he paused his incantation.
“Steph, you have to stop this! You don’t know what forces could be unleashed!” shouted Dell Curry.
“It cannot be stopped. We cannot be stopped,” Stephen said quietly, his voice carrying effortlessly through the chamber. “Soon I will abandon my humanity, and you will no longer be my father, for a sorcerer of my capabilities has no father, no mother, no master; he is master of all, wielder of ultimate power!”
The metal was now fully cooled, but Stephen could feel the presence of Asmodeo with him, and he grasped the amulet in his hand as he spoke the final necessary words to complete the ensorcellment. Immediately, the amulet became glowing hot, but Stephen felt no pain. He attached it to a length of gold chain and bowed his head forward, preparing to don it for the first and last time.
“NO!” Dell shouted.
“IT IS TOO LATE! THE DEED IS DONE!” Stephen yelled, placing the amulet around his neck. Simultaneously, the cavern began to rumble and crack. “BEHOLD AND STAND ENRAPTURED! THE POWER OF THE THREE-POINTER NOW RESIDES WITH ME!” The altar in front of him burst apart. Stephen dashed to a secret crevice in the far wall of the chamber, and disappeared.