When I was just a naïve little lad working in the armpit of Katapesh, I saw something similar to what I saw today. So, I was busting my ass polishing the fat man’s silver dish set, when I hear yelling from the store front. This wasn’t the usual banter of a couple of sweaty wildebeest attempting to squeeze a few copper out of each other over some “exotic treasure”. There was desperation in the voice of the guest. As much as I wanted to finally see that lardy bastard get his just desserts from a scammed customer, I didn’t want to be in the room when it happened. I’m not in any hurry to die for that asshole’s poor business sense.
I peeked through a hole in the curtain, and could only barely make out the guest behind the master’s eclipsing girth. He was scrawny, old, and made to look older by his obvious signs of addiction to ysdust. I didn’t know the master sold ysdust, but it comes as no surprise; he is a fan of things that can be used to manipulate others. From what I could piece together, the sad customer owed a debt, and was unable to pay and didn’t want to die. His wish would be granted: the fat master is far too sadistic to straight up kill a source of entertainment.
He grabbed him forcefully by the arm and dragged him to a dark corner of the shop. He stopped just before “the Tomb of Shia’Zarad”, a cheap, dusty relic that was far too overpriced for even its age. From that day forward I wouldn’t question the tomb’s price again. In fact, I avoided that corner of the store for the rest of my time there. The master reached his grubby hands into his pocket and pulled out some small trinket that I couldn’t make heads or tails of, and held it as close to his grease-addled heart as he possibly could. With his other hand, he pushed the customer to the ground and tore open the door to the tomb.
The store grew cold. It was almost as if someone put a curtain over the sun. The look of terror and awe on the debtor’s face is still etched into my mind to this day, as it was the last emotion this man ever sported. What crawled out of the tomb was unlike anything I had ever seen or read about at the college. What was visible of it was pale and blue, like a drowned corpse. Where its mouth should have been was a gaping void, it had no jaw and only a few wretched sharp teeth along the top. Its eyes burned with a hate unparalleled. A force rippled out of the poor addict, like an invisible organ being ripped out of his chest. If I were to guess, I’d say it was his soul. The wretched thing began devouring his soul like a snake swallowing a horse, but at an unnatural speed.
After the hideous thing was sated, it crawled back into the tomb like a bear prepared for hibernation. The door slammed magically behind it and in an instant the room was just as before. The customer, however, would never be the same. He was not dead, but I almost pitied him for that fact. His eyes were forever glazed with terror. The fat bastard lifted him up on his two feet and he stood on his own, like he was sleep walking. He just stood there and trembled, until the master nudged him towards the door. The addict just trudged slowly out the door and into the streets of Katapesh, in the same direction, almost as if he was sleep-walking. The truth was a piece of his soul was ripped from his body. Unless one has the knowledge or wisdom that comes with time and experience, this would leave one broken and forever tormented.
My view of the drifting, broken man was disrupted by the body of the master, whose face sported a grin so malicious and genuine he couldn’t hide it if he tried. That was the day I committed to leaving this horrid man’s contract, and it would be a day that I’ll never forget.