Summonings were a strange thing, Clarity thought. If a being from the living world found the means, they could pull a “demon” or “angel” (as they were now called) into their own world. Clarity always found it a strange concept, she’d been summoned plenty of times before, by religious tribes asking for plentiful harvests or individuals asking for love and/or revenge, but more recently, instead of deals, she’d hear screams and be thrown back into her living room before the flames could calm. So, when she felt the familiar tug at her feet, she decided to give the whole “demoning” thing another go.
Clarity let herself get pulled into a standing position by the whirling flames. As the wind and fire subsided, she was surprised to see a single man, shaking slightly and awestruck, but there was no screaming and throwing her back into Seperate , so a plus.
He was a tiny thing, about twenty, with swept brown hair and round, silver glasses that shaped his long face. Clarity was briefly surprised to note that his skin was a strange, light color, a not-quite-white with blue markings running down his arms, funny, was this what people looked like now? He was dressed strangely for a human, much like how her brother Tempest dressed, but with more designs. He wore a grey plaid jacket over a white button up shirt, dark blue pants and (in Clarity’s opinion) hideous brown dress shoes.
Clarity noticed that he mouthed “demon”, and huffed at the idea that she’d have to deal with being called a demon again, realising it couldn’t be too far ahead of 1500 if that’s what he thought of her. Funny, she figured it’d be much later with the state of, well, him. Through her entire inner monologue, the man did not move, staring up at her completely frozen, so, getting bored, Clarity decided to speak first.
“It’s rude to stare, you know,” Her triple layered voice and playful tone seemed to startle him back into this realm of existence.
He opened his mouth, but for a second, nothing came out until he finally squeaked out a weak “w- ’polgies, miss.” and cast his eyes down.
Amusing was Clarity’s only thought as he examined his dress shoes. After a moment, he tried again.
“My ‘pologies miss, but I need a favor.” he stuttered, he had an accent she didn’t recognise, almost guttural, but charming really, even if it was coming from such a small, scared man “a large one a’ that,”
Amusing, she thought again, moving to sit in the air, taking her down a couple feet in height, so she was almost level with him. “I don’t do favors I’m afraid,” Clarity said, raising an eyebrow and ditching two layers of her voice, “deals, however, I can do,”
She had figured he knew the whole thing about “demons” and deal making, considering that he had summoned one, but he let out a small gasp, as if he were surprised at the notion. Clarity took the moment to study him further, being closer to his face now, she could see that his eyes were brown, but reminded her of honey for some reason. He had a cut on his neck, one that looked like he struggled a bit while getting. Maybe he wants to get away from someone, Clarity guessed.
For the first time she noticed they were in a forest, but not exactly, she felt lots of people nearby, most likely a large village of sorts, and they were standing on an old but well built bridge. Around them was the biggest river she’d ever seen outside of her world. Trees seemed to be growing out of the water and some sort of plant was floating near the trunks in large groups. Clarity had never seen so much greenery in such a small place, it was a bit startling.
Oh wait, he said something. Hardly a murmur had escaped the man’s mouth, embarrassed and quiet. Clarity took another half second to think, amusing, a man that had enough confidence to summon a “demon”, but not make any kind of deal, what was he thinking?
“You’re going to have to speak up hun,” Clarity laughed, cocking her head to the side.
“I’m ‘fraid I don’t got anydin’ to offer you” he repeated, his strange accent becoming more apparent, “not’n you’ll wan’, anyway,”
“We don’t know that yet, now do we?” Clarity replied, fighting back another laugh, “let’s talk about what we do know, ’kay? What do you want me for?”
He stepped back a bit, his hands coming up to his chest “ah, well” he laughed, nervous and short-clipped, and Clarity could tell it was a habit of his.
“Why did you summon me, honey?” Clarity tried again, and, realizing she didn’t know his name, she added a “you got anything for me to call you, at least?”
Another gasp, “Fisher,” he blurted, “call m’ Fisher,”
A weird choice of words, and name, so clearly not his, but whatever, she had something at least.
“And? Why am I here Fisher?” Wow, she’s really patient, she usually wouldn’t have stayed this long, since when had Clarity been patient?
That was a problem for another time, because Fisher was speaking again, “you’re a demon,” he stated, pronouncing it ‘daymon’, which she found cute for some reason.
Clarity remained silent for a moment, hoping he’d continue, after a second, he did. “S… so you probably know a lot more than me about,” he stopped.
No, don’t stop, she thought this was going somewhere, what am I supposed to know about?
Truth be told, she didn’t know much about anything peculiar, but she also didn’t know what “demons” were supposed to know about, so maybe she’d get lucky and he’d ask about cooking, because she was pretty good at cooking.
“About?” she inquired, surprising herself with a soft tone she didn’t know she was capable of having.
“About murder” he blurted again and, hey, Clarity was right, he did want revenge, Clarity could do that, she knew tons about murder, lucky for them.
“Murder?” she mused, doing her best to sound like that was some tall order, “what on earth do you want to know about murder for?”
“W-well,” the stutter was back “I need some kinna… a’vice on some’in’”
Did he want advice on whether or not to kill someone, from a demon? What on earth was this guy doing?
“Advice? Not a kill order? No hit list?” she pressed, her confusion batting away her random streak of patience.
“N-no, da’s not what I mean,” he corrected, and laughed again, “I wan’, help… nah someone to do it for me,”
A demon’s help to kill someone, but he wanted to do it, okay, that made a bit of sense.
“Who do you want to kill then?”
“Oh, w-well ya see,” another laugh, this one seemed almost placed there, trying to be appealing, “ya see, hah, I uh, han’t decided yet,”
What in the realms?
“Well, I, uh,” oh, she’d said that out loud, whatever, she could roll with it.
“I’m sorry Fisher, but you can’t summon a loa, a powerful one at that," which she wasn't, but that hardly mattered, "and not have a full deal ready, at least, not without your part ready,” Clarity was so confused, and tried to look like she was ready to leave when...
“No, no, tha’s nah what I mean-”
“Then what do you mean, Fisher? What do you want me to do, I swear I’ve done weirder, just spit it out,” Clarity was done with this, as amusing as it was, but needed answers nonetheless, “you’ve never done left-handed before, have you?”
“Lef’ ’anded! No no no, I-I ne’r”
“You do realise that’s what this is, right?” Clarity pressed, “doing something like this for a personal goal?”
The tension she had just created somehow was tangible, she could feel it in her very being. Fisher was silent for a long while, before simply nodding, catching a half-glance up at her before looking back down. Clarity made a kind of noise in the back of her throat to spur him on, get him to talk already.
He took the hint, and with a sudden ounce of courage, he looked her straight in the eyes, shaking minutely from fear and excitement and the realization that he was already too deep in to go back.
“I wan’a kill som’bo’y, anybo’y” he said, his voice shaking with him, but air-heady and firm, all at the same time, “you’re a demon, you know how ta, how t’ kill an’ get away with it, right?”
And just like that, everything made sense, this scrawny, little, sad excuse for a grown-up had god-syndrome, and wanted to exploit that to the fullest. Wanted to feel what it’s like to watch someone’s life fizz out of their body by his own hands, but didn’t know how to go about it, maybe didn’t want to get caught, or dive too deep, or just wanted someone to share it all with, maybe it was all three. It didn’t matter, he wanted some kind of mentor, and Clarity could do that, easy.
“That, I can do,” she said, “but I’m guessing you didn’t think this through at all,” nod “well, that’s a bit of an order, I’ll have to think for a second,”
She clicked her tongue as she did just that, what would she be doing if she said yes? Clearly she wouldn’t get the answer from Fisher, he hadn’t thought about it at all. The worst that could happen was… a lot, actually, exposure, and exorcism, death, depending on how close she’d be to other people, and what was a given in return? A friend, maybe, someone to toy with, definitely, but that wasn’t really much, so what did she want?
A ti bon ange would be nice, extra status in her own world, and something to talk to, to play with. It’d definitely be a fair deal, power for a power rush, entertainment for someone to help out “backstage”, but Fisher was skittish, panicking at the slightest requests, not to mention he didn't even seem to realize there was a difference between demons and loas. So how could she dumb down wanting a ti bon ange, his conscious, in a way that made sense?
“You religious Fisher?” Clarity asked, forming half a plan before just trying to see what would work.
Fisher completely froze, looking for an answer. Okay, maybe a demon asking a guy if he was religious was a bad idea. “Not anything against you if you are, I guess all I really need to know is if you believe in anything after your death?”
That, apparently Fisher could do, he looked up at her, full of questions and something akin to fear, “should I?”
Oh great, a straight answer. What was with this guy?
“That wasn’t the question,” Clarity teased.
“I, guess I ’ope so,” he answered, looking back down.
Hope, that’s good, she could work with hope.
“Family?” Clarity asked “someone you’re looking forward to seeing?”
He shook his head, “Jus’ don’ wanna stop existin’, ya know?”
Oh, lucky day.
“Well then heck, this deal’ll do better for you than it will for me,” Clarity exclaimed, throwing a laugh in there for theatrics, “tell you what, I’ll help you with your power kicks, and in return, I get your soul,” Fisher tensed, and his gaze snapped up to hers “after you die, it’s a win-win, you get my help, and you won’t have to worry about fading off, ’cause I won’t let you,” and because you’ll have bigger things to worry about.
“F-fadin’ off?” he asked, and she was beginning to wonder if he had a stuttering problem.
“When a soul’s forgotten after they die, they kinda just, die again? I don’t know how it works, but if I own you, you can’t exactly be forgotten can you?” she explained, lying through her teeth, “make sense?”
The idea of ceasing to exist was a good reason to be scared, sure, but just because she could understand his fear didn’t mean she was going to be nice about it.
“If no one you know has died, then you probably don’t know many people alive, do you?” she asked, already having a good guess at the answer.
“Nobody dat’d r‘member me,” Fisher sounded terrified, and Clarity was relieved.
“Well, no need to start making any friends now, you’ve got me!” a scared, impressionable man with no friends, could Clarity have gotten an easier deal? “So, I help you with your god-complex, you stay with me once you die, good?”
Fisher nodded, suddenly seeming determined and brave, Clarity began to wonder if he had been trying to make her laugh the entire time, because there was no way he was serious. She couldn’t quite place why he wanted to seem sure of himself now, when she practically had to walk him through the steps of making a deal two minutes ago, but she’d never understood people anyway, so maybe this was normal.
Just for laughs, she decided to push her limit a bit “one last thing,” she drawled, and Fisher tensed, again, “I can’t keep calling you Fisher when it’s clearly not your name, so, what is it?”
He breathed in, slow and long, trying to steady himself. When he looked at her again his eyes were full of fear, Clarity couldn’t quite place where it was from. She wasn’t fae, just a loa (or apparently she was a demon in his eyes), what could his name give her other than something to call him that wasn’t Fisher?
Keeping eye contact with her, he actually managed to speak “te’ me yours,”
OK, whatever “Clarity,”
“Blaise” he said, then, as an afterthought “Blaise Dasnere,”
“Blaise Dasnere,” Clarity began her deal “in exchange for my own assistance, will you give your soul to me after your mortal death?”
It was a formality, she didn’t need to recount anything, and often she skipped it completely. However, the full effect of restating a deal was a sight to behold as her black, ashen wings flared out around her, the feathers shifting at the sudden movement. Slowly, her irises bled into her whole eye, overtaking the whites and pupils until every part was purple. As she moved to stand on the ground, her horns extended over her head, instead of just staying near her forehead, they stood almost half a foot from her scalp. The triple layer was back in her voice again and it echoed and boomed as she spoke, and a wind that existed only around her whipped at her hair and tail.
Blaise yelped, it was an undignified sound and the only reason Clarity didn’t laugh in his face was because it would have destroyed the sudden tension she had meant to create this time. Clarity did, however, allow herself to smile widely at him, showing off plenty of sharper-than-they-need-to-be teeth. As she smiled, she extended a hand to him, as her brother Tempest had told her that it was how people made deals now.
Trembling, Blaise took the extended hand as if he expected it to burn him. Despite what she thought, his grip was surprisingly firm, and he shook her hand once before trying to draw back as quickly as possible. What Clarity was unsurprised to find was, even if shaking someone’s hand was how you solidified a deal with people, it still didn’t solidify anything for their deal. There was no promise on Clarity’s bracelet and she didn’t feel any form of binding to the man before her. So, deciding it was the only rational thing to do, Clarity didn’t let Blaise retract his hand, but instead pulled him roughly into the circle around her.
Blaise screamed something in Latin, horribly pronounced and with his stuttering and accent and with the fierce whirling of wind around them she could hardly make out what he had said. The wind picked up more and more, until Clarity couldn’t see, and she realised she was leaving. It took her a moment to piece together why making a deal with the man had sent her immediately back home, but after a second she realised it hadn’t.
He had screamed eicio. Expel
Then she realized a second thing, she hadn’t let go of him, and as the winds rolled higher and stronger, Blaise’s hand gripped hers even tighter. The wind died down eventually, and Clarity was back in her home, with a small man gripping her hand for dear life and physically shaking. Highnis, Clarity’s younger brother, saw the man before either saw him, and slipped into the other room to listen and not be seen. Blaise was slowly removing his hand from Clarity’s grip, and this time, she allowed it, too awestruck about having a human person in her house to think about scaring Blaise further.
Deep breath in, then out, Clarity dropped her hand and stared at Blaise. She wondered if he would be able to go home, if the doorway he had made her was damaged at all from the power of being expelled and making a deal at once. Deep breath in, then out, whatever the case, she could get him back to his world, and they could continue with their deal, in, then out. For now, she should worry about Blaise, he looked like he was about to fall over, and she really didn’t need an unconscious human in the living room.
“Hey,” she said with a surprising softness she didn’t know she could have, her voice was just full of surprises today, “Blaise, look at me,” he did, “deep breath in, good, now out,”
He did as he was told, although his very lungs seemed to stutter even while he didn’t talk. She led him through the same motion again, in then out, and again, a few more times and he just looked exhausted. Clarity had heard that the process of deal making was very tiring for people, so that, paired with the near panic attack he’d gotten from his sudden trip to her house was a good enough reason for him to need to rest. On top of that, he’d been talking with Clarity for a good bit, and she’d also heard that she was an exhausting person to talk to, so Clarity was surprised that he hadn’t passed out on her yet.
“You need to sit down,” she decided “and I need to figure this out,”
Blaise nodded, and all but collapsed on the couch next to him, it looked like a bed compared to him. Blaise was small for a person, definitely better fed than any human she’d seen, but not at all large. Even if he was big for a human, the couch would’ve been too big. Amusing, Clarity thought, that she’d never noticed the height difference when she’d been in Africa, maybe people had gotten shorter, or maybe she’d gotten taller, heck, maybe both.
“Deal making is apparently exhausting to mortals,” Clarity said, needing something to focus on, “I’m surprised you’re still awake, but you’ll probably want to rest when you get back to your world, right?”
Another nod, Blaise seemed more focused on breathing than anything else in the world. Clarity took the time to think, what could she do to get him back? She closed her eyes and tried to feel a connection to the living world, and was delighted to find two things. One, she could feel the doorway, still standing and open, but pretty worse for wear, and two, a strange connection with Blaise, a soul-deal.
Even though Clarity had more important things to do, she let herself revel in the feeling, it was grounding but it made her feel disconnected at the same time. It was nice to have a living soul again, even if the one she had wasn’t hers yet, the promise was enough to have an effect on her if she looked for it.
She remembered with a bit of amusement that Blaise probably felt the opposite at the moment. The impact a soul-deal had the giving side of such a deal was usually suffocating at first, like someone placed a cage over your chest, and while you could breathe just fine, you felt like you weren’t getting enough space between your lungs and your heart. Clarity was vaguely familiar with the feeling, she’d made temporary soul-deals with other demons before, and knew the feeling went away after the other left, and didn’t return with them. She had planned on leaving as soon as possible, but since it was Blaise that decided to come with her, she couldn’t find much guilt for him.
Alright, probably time to be a good person.
“That uneasy feeling will pass eventually, probably once you get back home, so here’s the deal,” he tensed, and Clarity felt she deserved a medal for not laughing, “I can get you back home, but I can’t come with, so if you’ve got anything to say, say it now,”
Clarity couldn’t tell if Blaise was shaking or nodding, both were good guesses. He looked up at her, made eye contact for all of half a second, and then snapped his gaze down at the couch and whimpered. Whimpered! Like some kind of scared puppy, Clarity was starting to worry that teaching this guy to kill people was a bit more than she could do. Eventually, he spoke, his voice trembling and tears threatening to spill over his glasses, and Clarity missed the first half of what he said while wondering if the effects of deal making was more intense for humans, or maybe just for him?
She was able to piece together what he needed with the second half of his question though, so Clarity was nice and didn’t make him repeat himself. “-do I talk to you after this?”
“Just say my name out loud somewhere, and if I can, I’ll appear, if not I’ll get back to you when I can, you’ll hear my voice after if I’m ready to pop up, do what you want with that,”
Blaise opened his mouth, then shut it with a small click and shook his head to himself, before challenging another look at Clarity and holding her gaze for a full second before hanging his head down again. Another quick, single nod told Clarity that was all she was getting out of him, and she really needed to get him home before her dad or brothers showed up, so she didn’t push him further.
Instead she knelt down on the floor, slowly so Blaise didn’t panic, and opened her palm in front of him. Blaise took a deep breath and slowly put his hand in hers, the small, white fist being swallowed up in her large, sepia palm. Clarity could feel him shaking as she cautiously closed her hand, and tried to feel the connection to the doorway again.
It was weak, but it’d work.
“Ok, I can get you back home,” Clarity said, her voice just above a whisper, “just breath for a second, got it? In, and out”
As Blaise did what she told him to, Clarity closed her eyes and tried to push herself through the doorway, physically straightening up and feeling her very being pushing against her rib cage. Just before flames started to lick at her heels, she mentally pushed the feeling away, onto the fist in her palm. Clarity heard a shout, felt a gust of wind, and felt the hand get pulled away from her. Once she opened her eyes, she was greeted with the sight of the couch in the living room.
“What was that?”