There is an extended intro at the bottom for those who like their exposition dumps large and wordy.
Roughly one week ago, Dave Brooks had come to his mothers house to find she had miraculously shed twenty years and several unflattering pounds over the course of a few hours. A surprising but overall welcome turn of events.
Then he found out the reason behind it was the cursed artefact his childhood-friend Jake had acquired, or more specifically Jakes subsequent bout of megalomania. What exactly made his friend want to see what Bunny, -the “nymphomaniac airhead”-version of Lauren Brooks - was like in bed Dave never learned. Mainly because -despite his usually disdainful stance on solving problems through violence- yelling and trying to smash his friends teeth in seemed a VERY appropriate reaction to that revelation.
He got one single punch in.
Then Jake got his hands on the wish-granting bone and Dave spent the last seven days thinking he was a Asian-American girl called Mei-Ling, who was madly in love with Jake. To Jake, this was apparently the logical next step from joking his friend only watched anime for the half-naked girls throwing themselves at anyone with a pulse. For some reason Jake never took Mei-Ling up on any of her advances, however. Or touched her mother again, before leaving town to continue his week of debauchery in Las Vegas.
When he returned, Jake restored Dave and his mother in a fit of bad conscience unwittingly using up the last of his soul, the cursed bone was using as fuel. At least that was the explanation Ezekiel Royceston – the demon who gave the bone to Jake in the first place- gave when he choose that moment to once again intrude on Jakes life.
Ezekiel was quite insistent that he was not actually a demon in the biblical sense, but found it provided a very fitting metaphor for the kind of magic involved. In his opinion, anyone who received a gift from a man calling himself a demon and didn’t look for any hidden strings attached quite deserved to have their soul burned out.
A soul in this case being the very essence of a person, the metaphysical part that made up their identity and ability to leave their mark on the world around them. Once burnt out it would hold it’s form for a while, but conform to the slightest pressure from the people around them.
The self-proclaimed demon offered to provide a replacement, in the form of lesser demonic sprits. The important difference to real demons being that these sprits lacked a body or a true identity of their own, so Jakes personality would remain largely unchanged should he merge with one. Ezekiel once again took pains to clarify this was just a metaphor for a far more complicated process, that served to emphasise the seriousness of the affair. In return Jake would serve as Ezekiels apprentice for seven years.
Despite his friends’ recent betrayal, Dave tried to find a way to save Jake that did not involve him serving seven years under someone who seemed to have a rather strange ideas of right and wrong. In the end he promised to name the surprisingly accommodating demon, god-father of his first child. (Having to use protection if he ever found a girl he liked seemed a much better deal than seven years of servitude or seeing his friends identity become a mangled mess.)
In exchange Ezekiel offered Jake the choice of four items, each housing a lesser demon representing a different sin resonating with Jakes actions since acquiring the bone. Each, Ezekiel explained, would change Jake at least a little bit to reflect these ideas, but the exact nature of the change was hard to predict. So in the end it was up to Jake to decide which one he felt the greatest affinity to.