I'm writing a short bio of my character who has made a contract with a demon and is now required to do her bidding. He's not necessarily a slave, he still has the freedom to do whatever he likes, I guess it's kind of like a DnD warlock-patron type of relationship where she occasionally has tasks for him to do and he's bound by contract to complete them. The sentence I'm writing is like "[Character] made a contract with the demon [Demon Name] and is now [word or phrase I can't think of] to her bidding."

I swear there's just a single word for it (I keep thinking of words like "vulnerable" and "liable" but they're not really right), not a phrase (though if you can think of one that fits then I might end up using it if I can't figure out the word), and it feels like it's on the tip of my tongue but I can't remember it at all and it's killing me.

  • 1
    Why doesn't "bound" work? Nov 25, 2023 at 0:28
  • We don't really say "to be at the whim of somebody". We do say do something on a whim. "subjected to her bidding". to be a someone's beck and call.
    – Lambie
    Nov 25, 2023 at 0:28

1 Answer 1


[Character] made a contract with the [Demon Name] and is now in thrall to her / in her thrall.

thrall (n.) / in thrall to (idiom)

thrall (n.)

If you say that someone is in thrall to a person or thing, you mean that they are completely in their power or are greatly influenced by them.

He is not in thrall to the media.

Tomorrow's children will be even more in the thrall of the silicon chip.

thrall (n.)

  1. The state of being in the power of another person or under the sway of an influence: "a people in thrall to the miracles of commerce" (Lewis H. Lapham).
  2. a. One, such as a slave or serf, who is held in bondage.
    b. One who is in the power of another or under the sway of an influence
    American Heritage Dictionary

in thrall (idiom)

In a state of being controlled or strongly influenced by someone or something

By focusing on men and women engages in specific sins, the woods cuts tended to support the view that only obvious wrongdoers were in thrall to the Devil.
Darren Oldridge The Devil in Tudor and Stuart England (2011)

'So, Amos, between Arthur Beford and the Baron, you have been harnessed to two evil taskmasters, have you not? Men who have used you for their own ends. But you seem not to have resisted them. You were in thrall? Is that your plea?'
David Fairer; The Devil's Cathedral: A Mystery of Queen Anne's London (2021)

Even President Karzai has publicly acknowledged the overwhelming corruption and the immense harm it has wreaked upon the country. Even Karzai's family has been linked to opium smugglers. According to a former Afghan finance minister, "the government has lost the capacity to govern" and is completely in thrall to drug traffickers.
Martin Biegelman and Daniel Biegelman; Overview of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (2010)

Themistius' Procopius had to be in control of information, to be able to bend unwilling subjects to his will, and to keep them in his thrall, in order to exonerate his colleagues in the senate.
Adrastos Omissi; Emperors and Usurpers in the Later Roman Empire (2018)

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