You take a deep breath. "So that soul...it isn't anyone?"
"It's /someone/," Flitter admits. "...Just not someone /specific/. It never got a body, never, um. Lived? Like, it's /alive/, but it hasn't /had a life/?"
"Are you hedging, or trying to explain something complicated?" you ask Flitter, seriously.
The pixie meets your eyes. "Complicated. I wouldn't take someone's soul. That's kidnapping."
River opens her mouth, shuts it, looks puzzled, and gets the distinctive look she gets when she's talking to Robert.
"Okay," you murmur. You look at the older halfling couple. "I am sorry that my friend disturbed your with this. I understand about keepsakes from lost family members, and you have my condolances."
"It is not for sale," the older man repeats, firmly.
"And it shouldn't be," you agree. "But can we trouble you for a transcription?"
Flitter's wings buzz in surprise, and then she scowls to herself and smacks her forehead with her palm.
"You seriously didn't think of that?" you ask the pixie.
"Let me wallow in my shame," she mutters.
"I don't know..." the old woman murmurs.
"I understand valuing your son's work. It's clearly extraordinary," you compliment. "But isn't it worth finding out if it was more than you thought? If it's not a map, no harm done. But if it is, you've learned that your son was clever as well as talented."
"How would we even transcribe it?" Flitter asks.
"It's a cylinder," you say with a shrug. "Anyone got a long paper?"
The older man gets up to go get something from the other room while Flitter and the halfling woman begin haggling at shockingly rapid speeds. Flitter nods and offers her tiny hand out at the end before whistling sharply. A polite cough behind you informs you of a soldier's presence.
The bigger man counts out coins politely, hands them to the woman, and leaves.