The return to the shop felt long with feet as leaden as hers. To passerbys, Idella smiled cheerfully and gave a passing wave to the fleeting few people she knew. The Mage District was a far kinder neighborhood than Old Town but its crowds made nearly everyone a stranger.
Ducking into her shop, Idella set down her satchel and took in a long breath. A wave of her hand summoned Errand. The familiar materialized and without a spoken command, retrieved paper and quill with a few flaps of its wings and a clasp of its beak. Idella paid little mind to the familiar, barely acknowledging it in the slightest in lieu of a distracted stare at the floor. Again without spoken command, the familiar tucked itself away on its usual perch, preening its translucent feathers, appearing much like the bird it mimicked.
“I have a new client,” Idella said aloud. The quill immediately set itself to the parchment, writing the words on its own. “She’s been in a comatose state for four years. A woman came to the shop — her sister, or maybe lover, I think — and took me to see the client. At first look, I could see that her soul had been taken. Not completely, like a soul harvest or stone, but more like a soul pact. I scried for the soul and its located in a sub-plane of the Nether.”
Sucking in breath, Idella paused. The quill scratched across the parchment, finishing her latest words. Reading them over, the young witch swallowed and continued: “Pacts like this can’t be done by any demon. It’s definitely Nathrezim. The client was either tricked or manipulated into giving part of her soul and a dreadlord it’s held it ever since.”
Again she paused. Her skin pale and cheeks gaunt, she physically looked ill. She shook her head almost violently before she forced out her words. “Preparations… preparations to locate and retrieve the soul from the Nether begin tonight. I received half of my payment up front. The other half comes with delivery of the client’s soul.”
Nodding, she continued, her words and the quill moving more quickly: “Currently, the client is partly conscious and in clear pain. This leads to the theory that her soul is currently being used — either in a spell or other ways. It might be that the dreadlord didn’t use the soul till now, hence the long years passing before she woke up. The client woke from her comatose state and is incoherent. The word she says most is ‘voices.’ It’s possible that her remaining soul is connected to what was stolen and she’s feeling pain.”
Biting her lip and clutching her hands to fists, Idella sounded firm: “And I know how I’m going to get it.”