As though landing from a great leap, a tall figure landed before the brazier. At once the room dimmed and became cold. The ridged bulk of the figure’s armour shone in the dim light from the flames. The grand marshal felt the pain in his stomach worsen and his vision blurred. He had made a mistake. This was foolish! But of course, it was too late to change course now.
Indeed the armoured figure was the demon Tzan Byzian. He knew then that his feeble protections could not hold this power. They were for show alone, a formality, a gesture of respect in the face of immeasurable danger.
“Lord Tzan Byzian, I thank you for your visit. Forgive me for calling to you, but I must urgently petition you for aid. My lifelong foe, Agnole the Blue who dares to call himself prince, has given me terrible offence. My only daughter sought to elope with his son, but he has given his blessing to their union. It is the gravest insult that they would seek to proceed without my consent! I cannot suffer this any longer. I beg you, noble Tzan Byzian, to grant me aid in defeating Agnole, humbling him and finally ridding myself of him!”
The grand marshal thought then that Tzan Byzian might walk through his wards and strike him down. For a long time he stood still and silent and the marshal feared to collapse from the pain and cold. Then at last Tzan Byzian spoke.
“I will aid you. My price is a lock of your daughter’s hair.”
Tzan Byzian is the most powerful of the demon lords called to the mortal world by the summoners of the Gymondan empire. Although according to the wisdom of the summoners he is profoundly evil and dangerous, he seldom concerns himself directly with mortal affairs. The bargains he makes with mortals often end very badly for them as a consequence of which it is only the greediest or most desperate who deal with him.
The price asked by Tzan Byzian for his aid can often seem superficial. A gift of three roosters, for example, or a performance of a song. The real price, however, is the changes these deals bring to the mortal petitioner. Known as the curse of Guenkhan after the Gymondan province where Tzan Byzian was first summoned, this bond serves to turn fortune and fate against the mortal summoner and thereby advance Tzan Byzian’s own goals. These goals consist mainly of conflicts with other demons and beings from higher on the stairway.
Although somewhat humanlike in appearance, Tzan Byzian would never be mistaken for a man. He is taller, and has long limbs and a small body and head. He wears a heavy suit of armour made from black metal bands, which he never removes.
Tzan Byzian’s sorcerous powers continually sap energy of all forms from the environment around him whether he wishes it or not. It is therefore always darker and colder when he is present and mortals nearby will feel weak and dispirited. He is a master of combat and can call dark weapons to his hands in an instant. If threatened by some great power he can emulate the arts of the images and leap to the moon in order to escape harm.