Angus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.
His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.
Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.
Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.
Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.
Studies in Demonology Book One
IT WASN’T that Angus Donohue couldn’t summon a demon; it was that he didn’t want to. He didn’t even want to be here. A cool breeze brushed against his skin, and the trees around him rattled like a closet full of old bones. Maybe if he didn’t put enough will into the spell the whole thing would fall apart.
If he couldn’t summon a demon, he’d fail the class and get kicked out of the exclusive Warlock College his father had forced him to attend. While there was a certain prestige in being a warlock, it wasn’t what Angus wanted to do with his life. He certainly didn’t want a demon to draw magic from. He had to fail this class. His father would be horrified, but Angus would be free from all things magical.
“Widdershins, three times,” the lecturer commanded.
All the college students of Demonology 102 started walking anti-clockwise around the circles they had carefully constructed out of will. Angus suppressed the shiver. He wasn’t afraid of demons. Okay, maybe just a little. What if his demon was something truly monstrous?
Last semester they’d been learning about the different types of demons and the theory behind drawing magic from one. This semester was about putting that knowledge into practice. Those people with magic who didn’t draw on demons were called wizards and usually sold their services cheaply in the local paper. Angus didn’t want to be a practicing wizard either. Just because he had magic didn’t mean he needed to make a career out of it, and telling his father that hadn’t been a wise move. His father had spent three hours railing about why wizards were dangerous and should be banned from practicing magic.
So here he was, trying to summon a demon that he didn’t want, to give himself more of the magic that he didn’t want either. He let his circle weaken and his attention drift. He would not summon a demon.
He’d have rather been a vet.
Maybe studied medicine.
Although the rich, these days, saw specialist warlock healers who had demons. Though his father sneered at them too. He sneered at anything that didn’t increase his power and standing. That he was on the board of the East Vinland Warlock College did not make life easier for Angus.
Angus tried not to focus on the spell, but it was hard not to think about the demons on the other side of the void. Whatever demon popped into the circle would be his personal demon to summon at will. He’d be able to control it. And when it was no longer of use, or drained of magic, kill it and move on to another demon. It all sounded perfectly safe as long as he followed the rules.
Still, none of the rules he’d learned about dealing with demons had worked to assuage Angus’s fears or doubts. It was safer not to summon one.
After all, if humans could summon demons across the void, what was to stop demons from summoning humans across the void? No one ever talked about that. Not in public anyway, though wizards and warlocks occasionally went missing. Those who had been found and brought back from Demonside never spoke publically. What had happened to them in Demonside?
There were groups, websites that suggested that demons were no different than humans. They looked nothing like humans. The college reminded students at every opportunity that demons were lesser beings.
Cold balled in Angus’s gut as he made his third turn around the circle. He cleared his mind of demons and did everything short of dropping his carefully made circle.
His skin prickled as the circle went pop. The power was there, a breach in the void between the worlds now existed in his circle. Damn it. He hadn’t even meant to get that far. The lecturer looked at him, his face fixed in a mask of expectation. They all knew who he was. His father was too well known, and his family had attended this college for generations.
Angus couldn’t shut the tear in the void without the lecturer noticing. Maybe he could avoid calling a demon through. If he didn’t call, surely there would be no answer. Maybe he didn’t have a demon waiting for him.
Around him other students held their circles, the forest now full of little tears in the void. What if they ripped and joined up…?
“Now call your demon to you. Feel the energy. There is a link between the worlds, a demon that wants to rush to your side and act as a magical conduit for you.” The lecturer’s voice rung out, bouncing off the trees. “Your demon that will give you the power you need. This is a very important moment. The kind of demon you call will say a lot about your magical skills and your warlock potential.”
Angus wished that his parents hadn’t insisted on him going to Warlock College. He really just wanted to be a normal nineteen-year-old guy who was nothing like his father. Not everyone who could control magic should.
The air in his circle shimmered as something came across the void.
TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer, TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels, it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily. Writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the every day.
With two cats acting as supervisors, TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.