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  1.  
  2.  
  3. Chapter 1
  4.  
  5. So how about it, Sergio? Would you like to make a deal?
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  7.  
  8. Sergio sat at the edge of his bed. That deep voice that called to him in all his dreams once again lingered in the corners of his mind. The cool autumn breeze seeped into his home from the open windows, allowing the pale moonlight in along with it.
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  10. It wasn’t uncommon for Familiars to appear in dreams before offering a contract, at least that’s what Sergio was told by the village head, the only Contracted that he knew personally. But, it had been years and the deep voice never made itself seen, never offered a contract. Sergio often wondered whether this was even a Familiar, or just some strange recurring dream.  
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  13. Sergio found himself snapped out of his daze by a knock at his door. As he looked up, he noticed a familiar shadow cast by the knocker. Almost, but not quite, completely human, and just a tad too large.
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  15. Orcs? This far south? Sergio stopped in his tracks. Usually, the orcs tended not to go too far from their homes, and especially not past the border between their kingdom and the Free Alliance. Besides, there was no way they would be allowed entry. It must be a trick of the eye. It had to be
  16.  
  17. As if to disprove him, the door slammed open, revealing the brutish creature, and Sergio’s knees locked. The orc stared him down, unmoving.
  18.  
  19. His eyes grew dark, and the last thing he saw before his vision was gone was a giant stone club heading towards his head.
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  21.    
  22. WAKE UP
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  24. Sergio’s eyes opened to a desk in the middle of a room filled to the brim with clocks, gears, and other metalwork. Before him sat a stack of sheets and a single quill.
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  26. “Sergio Ianor, my name is Crackjaw. I would like to make an offer.”
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  28.     There was that deep voice, and for the first time, its source was there as well. Before him sat a wolf, made up of the same materials that lined the wall, the coppers and silvers reflecting bits of light around the room.
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  30. “Are you-” Sergio began, before he was interrupted by the metallic beast.
  31.  
  32. “A familiar? Yes. Your’s, if that was not obvious.” Crackjaw’s muzzle never moved. In fact, Sergio wouldn’t say that he was being contacted telepathically at all, and he definitely wasn’t hearing it out loud. It was more like he was the one thinking it.
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  34. “Why are you just now showing up?” The slightest twinge of anger hid in Sergio’s voice. “What’s the point of making a contract now that I’m dead?”
  35.  
  36. “Please try not to lose your temper. You are not dead, I simply came to you when you most needed me to. This is all happening in less than a blink of an eye.” Crackjaw began to circle around Sergio, drawing him closer to the desk.
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  38. There were only two blanks on the sheet in front of him, one for his signature, and one followed by a blank labelled fee agreement.
  39.  
  40. “Now then, all I ask in return for my service is a portion of your essence. You decide how much you want to give, and I’ll allow you to borrow an equal amount,” Crackjaw was now directly in front of Sergio, nudging the quill in his direction. After a brief pause he continued, “And of course this must remain between us two.”
  41.  
  42. “So how about it Sergio? Would you like to make a deal?”
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