There is a small man with a paintbrush in his hand, kneeling on dry cracked ground beside a large round metal plate, painting the plate with coloured inks drawn somehow from glass spheres in the open case that lies on the ground beside him. Occasionally he checks his work against the book propped up beside the case.
This result is not even slightly in the book. "Hi -"
He yelps in startlement and drops his paintbrush. The ink smears under Cam's feet, and the paintbrush contributes a final splatter.
There is... something like an explosion. The plate warps and shatters; a mass of twisted wreckage fountains out of it, shredded spirals of stone intersecting with loops and whorls of coloured glass and splintered lumps of wood, all at highly uncomfortable speeds in semirandom directions. When the shrapnel hits Cam's summoner, he shatters into a fine spray of brilliantly gleaming crystalline shards, which are then blown outward in a wide arc by the force of the blast, shredding the book and scattering the ink-spheres across the ground.
It's over in moments. The fountain of debris stutters to a halt. Cam, somehow, is still here. The person who presumably summoned him is in a thousand glassy pieces spread out over the fifty-foot blast radius, glittering beautifully in the sunlight.
...and... Cam's still here?
Where even is he?
He is in a flat and lifeless wasteland, under a glaring yellow sun. There is a hill visible in the distance, and a glimmer next to it that might be water; besides that, it's pretty much flat dry ground as far as the eye can see.
A few of the shards of Cam's summoner are moving. They pull together into a single piece, and that piece starts to grow, in a manner somewhere between a crystal and a plant. It forms the shape of a face, which is crying in pain. As the growth moves on to form a neck and a pair of shoulders, the head slowly transmutes from shining white crystal back into flesh and bone and skin and hair.
Cam has no fucking clue what just happened and the instinct to supply painkillers should be firmly ignored in case of eldritch crystalline horror with unknown biology or nonbiology. He waits.
While he waits, he might take the time to notice that the eldritch crystalline horror is bilingual in two languages he's never heard of and which share no discernible roots with any language he speaks!
It takes about a minute from the first signs of movement until enough of his torso regrows that he has lungs and can breathe. He gasps in an agonized breath, whimpers, tries to speak, fails, whimpers some more, tries again.
"What," gasp, "the fuck," wheeze, "are you?"
"Uh. I'm a demon. I'd offer to help but I have no clue what you're doing there sorry. What are you?"
'Demon' comes through as 'maker'; there isn't a word for it in either of the two new languages.
"I'm a human," says the eldritch crystalline horror. "And I'm—" A spurt of new growth from his elbow jars his whole body, and the movement presses his face against the mass of shards underneath him. They're sharp. His cheek and jaw are shredded right down to the bone. He stifles a whimper; the deep gashes barely have time to bleed before the edges turn glassy and knit themselves back together. "Fuck. What was I saying?"
"You were claiming to be a human. I gotta say this is a novel form of humanity for me."
"An athra did it," he explains. "But maybe you - ow - have as little idea what I mean by 'athra' as I do what you mean by 'maker'."
"Not unless you're claiming to have been enchanted by an eggplant. That's presumably just a homophone."
He giggles. This proves to be unwise. Now he has to regrow half his face again. "Augh!"
"I'll be fine in a couple minutes," he says. "Just not much fun in the meantime. I hate exploding, it's the worst."
"Never had the displeasure myself."
"Good, I hope it stays that way! How'd you end up in the middle of my diagram?"
"Seems to have managed to constitute a valid demon summoning circle. Briefly."
"Demons are summoned by circles?"
"Yes we are."
"That sounds - ow - inconvenient."
(His regeneration has progressed far enough that it may at any moment become relevant that the explosion destroyed all his clothes.)
"It's voluntary on the demon's part and usually intentional on the summoner's. Will you be harmed if I replace your outfit?"
"...Probably not! Replace it how?"
"Demons aren't usually summoned for decorative purposes. We make stuff." He replaces the outfit.
His legs are starting to regrow. He scrunches his eyes shut and stops talking. The new growth shoves him across the shard-dusted ground, shredding part of his new outfit and most of his back, but there's enough of the clothes left to preserve modesty and his back only has half a second to bleed before it glazes over and heals. And now there's enough of him intact for him to sit up.
"Making stuff," he says. "Huh. Seems handy, I guess."
"It is," Cam says. "So, uh, what's an athra."