Basil is a seasoned tempter of souls who's spent several centuries living among humans in his favored guise as an itinerant merchant. Although he’s learned to flawlessly imitate their behavior, he chooses to present himself as precisely what he is: a grumpy, slightly rumpled old man. He’s a bureaucrat in the Department of Avaritia, but deep down in his shriveled black heart he has a soft spot for humans. Perhaps even a fondness for them—a fondness that he works very hard to hide from his co-workers (and especially his new apprentice).
Ludwig is an enthusiastic and ambitious young devil on his first assignment. Although he's an exceptionally talented student of the infernal arts, the finer details of normal human behavior elude him. For that very reason, he finds humans a delightful object of study, even if he seems to appreciate them in the same way an entomologist might admire a particularly odd beetle before sticking it with a pin. While Ludwig appreciates Basil’s attempts to teach him about polite society, he doesn’t always have patience for his master’s unusual (and not particularly flashy) methods.