Today was another case closed. My name is Jinx. I own a small shop called *Finder's Keypers.* I thought it was cute at the time. My crew and I help find things; not just your average lost dog or stolen car. No, I work with more than just mortals. As one of the daughters belonging to the Guardian of the Gates of the Underworld, I have a wide range of abilities. Not to mention I also have access to different realms, I can confidently say that my business is truly one of its kind. I stationed off in a small neighborhood buried deep in Chicago. You might wonder why a mortal realm if I have access to just about any realm in the known regions. The mortal realm is the most heavily guarded. It's mostly used as a sanction area. It's like the suburbs for demons, witches, Amazons, and any of the other life forms.
Growing up I guess I could've ruled one of the vast areas of the Underworld. My heart just wasn't into it. There was too much paperwork. After a while it was a routine I didn't want to spend my immortal life on. As half demon, per my father's side, and half witch, per my mother, I wasn't always immortal. It was something I had to get on my own. My upbringing isn't exactly the stuff of happy endings. My mom raised me until I was twelve. When it became clear I had more of my father in me, she sent me packing. By which I mean her coven killed her because she had relations with a demon. My dad raised me as his demon spawn. It isn't what you think. It was more like having a father in corporate. There weren't torture chambers and blazes of fire. It was more uniform that most mortals would care to understand.
When I asked him if I would get to take his place when he died, he explained that I would die before that because of my witch half. He told me of the Fountain of Youth that lay deep in the Amazon gardens. That would grant me youth and immortality but only if I kept drinking it. I declined that and asked if there was something else I could do instead. He introduced me to Zozo, who offered me immortality in exchange for the soul of a child. The specifications of which were too much for me to accept. Finally I was pointed towards the Isla de Morte. My father warned me that it would not be an easy task. He granted me some absorption abilities that allowed me to learn and use other demon's abilities as long as I had their blood. My witchcraft taught me that I could extend this with tools and symbols. So I have charms woven into my braids and symbols carved into my body like scars. I didn't want them scattered around me so they're lined up beautifully down my left side from my armpit to my ankle.
After preparing for the journey, I asked my father what the fastest way was. He said sailing was the only way to travel to the island. Long story short, he sent me on a mission to gather artifacts before I could even get to the fucking island. Once there I was able to gain my immortality from a Jinn that had taken refuge there. The Jinn is a high-level demon that can grant wishes in exchange for your soul. However, I learned the hard way that Jinn's aren't exactly fans of my dad. He collects the souls of the innocent. That is to say, a mortal who sacrifices themselves for the greater good cannot be kept by the Jinn. This one had been hiding away souls illegally from my dad for a while. What I thought was just a way for me to gain immortality was actually a way for my dad to gain access to the Jinn. The Jinn challenged me to a duel, if I won he'd grant me my wish. If I lost he'd take my soul. Both of which would cause him to win my soul. Unfortunately, for the Jinn he had asked for a soul that was not his. This is what we Underworlders call Soul Transfer.
This is the act of two Soul Gatherers coming together to peacefully discuss the possession of a soul. My father has rights to my soul since birth. Before I can even give my soul to any other soul gatherer, such as the Jinn, they'd have to meet with my father to discuss the agreement. My father can refuse or accept in exchange for something else. My dad tricked the Jinn. He got his souls, I got my immortality, and the Jinn got a demon sword to the face. Now they know that I'm not a fan of those who aren't a fan of my dad. After that my dad asked me if I wanted a job doing more of this. A bounty hunter for the Underworld. I agreed. He granted me my Mortal Visa. I brought on my crew to help. They consisted of companions I had made on my original journey.
Finder's Keypers Crew:
Second in Command: Shadow, half brother and up to lead the Underworld after my father retires. He gets us the best gadgets for our jobs.
Navigator: Freida,one of the first female pirates. She joined me because I saved her life...once, and now she follows me everywhere claiming that she will repay me. She has a very large collection of maps that was once given to her by the Cloud in the Stars. I don't know what those are but it seems that nearly every pirate has heard of them.
Weaponry: Evo, is an alchemist. He uses his abilities to create powerful weapons. I actually grew up with him. Witches and Alchemists aren't exactly the same thing but they are. Our relationship was a unique one. His family was killed along with mine but for different reasons. It may have been something his older brother did.
We agreed on a tiny shop, barely a brick in the wall, in the streets of Back of the Yards. Blended into the dead shops and foreclosed stores, only those who were looking would find us. I picked the place closest to the Saint's Den, a bar for all other worldly figures. It definitely brought in enough business to keep us busy. Judas, the bartender and owner of Saint's Den, would recommend us to those that asked. Not much was known about Judas, except that he was ancient and he was a powerful being. After closing a case the crew and I would head in there for different things; sex, souls, or food. Today was no exception. Heading over at midnight, we stopped at the entrance. Guarding the door was what looked like a dormant drunk. I took out five gold obols with a Harpie symbol. We were granted access.
The stench of mortality was substituted by the stench of heathens. Shadow scanned the room, his one gold eye and the other maroon giving him away as the son of the Underworld. Few looked our way as they recognized us as regulars. Some waved in appreciation of any favors we'd done for them in the past. Our table in the dark corner cleared up. Freida and Evo sat opposite each other, both searching the menu for their next order. Judas was an amazing cook. It was often rumored to be one of his special abilities. I approached the bar with Shadow. We were buying the drinks. Freida and Evo would buy the food. Judas' form was that of a mortal black man. Gigantic in stature and form, he had dreadlocks woven with metal symbols much like myself. He didn't speak. He simply nodded or stared.
"Hey Judas! How's it hanging?" I greeted with a toothy grin.
Judas just stared.
"Right, always a pleasure speaking with you. How about a round for me and my peeps over there?" Shadow interjected.
Judas nodded and got to work on four jugs. We didn't ask what the drinks were. We never did. We just ordered round after round. As we neared the end of our fifth round, a hunched old woman hobbled into the bar. In my drunk stupor I couldn't place her origin. She wasn't a witch or a demon but her aura was a dangerous one. She reminded me of the Jinn. My vision stumbled over Judas, skimming him quickly. He had small tells when he "greeted" new comers. His eyes glanced at me quickly. Too quickly for anyone else to notice, except me and the old lady. She nodded slowly and made her way towards us.
"Heads up, here comes another customer," Shadow warned. "She looks like a gypsy."
Evo and Freida kept eating while still alert. There were few beings that were widely avoided by all types of beings. Gypsies were one of the top three. They lived between realms. Their knowledge consisted of hidden secrets and ancient magic. Even my father respected them as his equal. They were never to be taken lightly. My father had warned me once, saying that if I should ever find myself at the request of a Gypsy to not refuse unless I absolutely had to. If I satisfied the request the reward would be great. If I failed...let's just say my father would be powerless to help me.
My buzz slowly began to fade as she approached, closer and closer. My body felt cold and I could feel butterflies in my stomach as she finally sat across from me. Her hump made her look smaller. She was terribly pale and had rotten teeth. Her shawl covered her thinning hair. She looked like a fresh corpse. Her hand reached into a tiny pouch to retrieve a delicate, silk handkerchief. She spit something into it and looked up at me. Her pale grey eyes looked us over one by one before she spoke.
"I'd like to hire you. I hear you are the best at finding things people have lost." She commented, her voice sounding strange.
"We-we do. Yes. I help people. We. We help people. People like you. Right. Yes." I replied, nervously.
"What can we help you find?" Shadow asked, taking lead.
"My memory. Listen, carefully, I don't have much time. I will be found dead tomorrow. I don't know by who but I'm pretty sure as to why. I am a Conjurer for my people. With out going into much detail, I lead an army. Each conjurer is born with the knowledge of who will proceed them. This memory is taken away from us as soon as we learn we are the conjurer." The Conjurer explained.
"Why? Why not just keep the memory or write the name down or something?" Evo asked, his interest piqued.
"Because they can use that information to gain control of the army." Shadow offered. The Conjurer nodded.
"I need you to find my memory of this before the next full moon." The Conjurer continued.
"How long until the next full moon?" I turned to Freida.
She opened a pocket book she had with her. "Ooof, looks like we're cutting this close. The next full moon is in 3 days."
Evo whistled loud, "We gotta start putting in a time limit requirement."
"That's not necessary. We can just pay a visit to your Grandfather." Shadow teased. The Grandfather he was referring to was Grandfather Time. Someone Evo had awkwardly encountered naked. Evo shrunk back at the idea.
"Please continue," I said, returning the attention back to the visitor.
"My time is fleeting. A family member will be meeting you tomorrow morning," she took a deep breath, as if unable to fill her lungs, "avoid the flower," she gasped again, "Jasmine..."
Shadow reached for her limp body. Her eyes were mere slits.
"Start with the sirens," She whispered, before evaporating into thin air.