Athos: The Return
Excerpted from ‘Truth’ by the Deva, Dzrir
The Soul Contract is an ancient form of Athosian Magic. Only the most magically adept are able to properly conduct the ritual. Devils are particularly skilled in the form as it was first given to them before Athos locked them away in the Hells for their treacherousness and cunning. They are sent souls deemed unfit for Heaven upon the mystery of death. Those souls deemed great, ascend into Heaven. No one knows the exact reasoning behind why which souls end up where but, generally, there is a scaling done to class souls in their strength (amount of energy), or lack thereof.
The ritual requires a willing party and a party capable of etching a marker onto the willing party’s soul. For one to perform it they would need significant knowledge of soul anatomy and binding magic. However, in the Old world of the First Age, soul magic was prevalent as a method of increasing one’s power. The Devils of the Nine Hells continue the practice heavily. There exist old tomes from that age which teach the ritual. Still, it requires much practice and even a small mistake can leave scars on the soul.
Variations on The Ritual
The ritual is the spiritual binding magic but the method of agreeing to perform it is varied all across the Realms. In Hell, it is popular to sign on a paper contract in blood listing the arrangements through a series of legal channels called the Black Laws of Nessus. The Demigods, Deva, and Rakshasa know the old Athosian way which was a spoken contract put on paper and enforced by the Unspoken Law of Souls in Heaven. On Earth, witches and seers most often etch symbols in objects and burn them as binding.
In the Present
Soul Magic is very difficult to learn now as most source material on the practice is from the First Age. The language is third-generation archaic and the old tomes are few in number. Devils hold a near monopoly on mastery of the practice. They steal souls on Earth to take with them into hell to toil alongside those cast down by the divine order of Athos and denied Heavenly eternity. Demigods, of whom most understand the practice, sometimes use it to gain followers or to make strong deals and oaths. Some clever mortals are capable of the practice, having spent a long time learning, but they are few and far between. Sometimes the occasional madman, scholar, or priest will take the time to study it but it takes a very dedicated person to master it.
One major factor in soul contracts is the idea of Soul Levels. Soul levels are the classes given to a soul based on its weight. Each soul gives off an tiny bit of energy and the souls who give off more are classed higher than those who give off less. There are seven classes and each has a corresponding soul range. ‘i’ stands for ignatz, which is the Old Sysitarean for soul.
Class I: Less than .000000001i- .000000005i
Class II: .000000005i- .000000007i
Class III: .000000007i- .0000001i
Class IV: .0000001i- .0000005i
Class V: .0000005i- .000001i
Class VI: .000001i- .000005i
Class VII: Greater than .000005i
The highest soul ever weighed of a mortal man was .0000053732322345826723204948i.
The highest soul ever weighted of a demigod was .000234567555i, by Uruhua, The Heartbleeder. She is the only demigod to have allowed for a contract weighing.