A Listener could never force obedience; threats had little effect on the dead. He could only ask politely for assistance and hope they were in the mood to answer.
The spirits came and went as they pleased, he’d traded bones with other Listeners when the dead had asked. A bone was no use if the owner wouldn’t answer.
At the moment Trallin carried nine spirits, two of which who no longer spoke to him. If he was lucky, there’d be someone at the crossroads they’d speak to; otherwise he was bound to return them to their graves. Which wasn’t a problem, save for the fact their graves were a good third of the way across the kingdom. He’d gotten them in trade five years ago, when they had demanded to be released from their elderly Listener. They might have eternity laid out before them, but boredom was not something spirits suffered well.