Mirrored from Sythyry.
Me: “No spare Prince Rastomil in the mansion?”
Jagraton: “Nowhere I could find him.”
Phaniet: “So, perhaps he is transformed into something…”
Jagraton: “I have a perfectly fine magic sense for noticing such things!”
Phaniet: “And I have a perfectly fine illusion-spell to hide such transformations. I doubt I could get it past the Eye of Mirizan and Melizan, but I could hide it from an un-augmented Sythyry. And I am not so much of an illusionist.”
Jagraton: “Sythyry! I invoke you in the name of all that is sacred to Barency, take your eye to the mansion of Noshi and seek for Rastomil!”
Me: “Well, I think you should let Phaniet finish. She was about to say something sensible, I believe.”
Phaniet: “I was. Perhaps Rastomil is held in an extra-dimensional pocket universe. Perhaps Prince Rastomil is being held somewhere else in Hanija, or in the countryside. Perhaps he is killed and his body disposed-of. There are other options as well.”
Me: “That leaves rather a lot of universe-and-environs for us to search.”
Jagraton: “All the more urgent that we begin swiftly and exhaustively!”
The Updated Plan
Tomorrow morning, I will start trying to reconstruct an arcane connection. The procedure I am using might work, or might fail. If it works, it will give a very fragile connection, which might succeed in locating Rastomil, or might fail. This is not a good plan.
Other people will attempt detective work.
Detectives and Detectives[22 Nivvem 4385]
Investigating a noblewoman in a foreign city is not the easiest of tasks.
Jagraton attempted to chat up one Yodathzo-Jam, an old Herethroy woman who cooks for Lady Noshi, whom he chanced upon (with considerable effort) in the market right across a narrow canal from Noshi’s mansion.
“Hello there, my good lady!” said Jagraton.
“Yes, yuss. Hello. You said hello to me, young man,” said Yodathzo-Jam.
“You seem to be having a bit of trouble with those bags of vegetables, ma’am,” said Jagraton, for the old woman certainly was. She was missing a mid-leg, and supporting herself with a walking-stick in the other mid-leg, and that left her rather off-balance. “May I offer you some assistance?”
“Yes, yuss. Yussistance. You take this stick, young man. These are beans in the bags — my beans — and I won’t have them manipulated by an amateur!” Yodathzo-Jam handed him the walking stick, and proceeded to walk around using her mid-leg in the way her creator god intended (or one of the ways, viz., for walking on). She was rather worse balanced that way.
“I’m not after your beans, ma’am. I’m just going to be waiting here for an hour or so, and I might as well be helpful to a sweet old Herethroy as, say, sit and stare into the fountain and not do anybody any good,” said Jagraton.
“Yes, yuss. The fountain. That fountain. I lost my heart in that fountain once, I’ll have you know, young man,” said Yodathzo-Jam.
“Oh? How did that happen, ma’am?” Jagraton was secretly delighted; the old woman was in a garrulous mood, which might well lead to Useful Information.
“It slipped out of my head, between my antennae! Fell right out into the fountain! I’ve looked in there every time I come to the market, but, no, noesss, it’s not there anymore. Lord Kethji snapped it up, he did,” said Yodathzo-Jam.
“Oh? You’re fond of Lord Kethji?” asked Jagraton, all innocence outside, and inside all gladness that she was talking about the household.
Yodathzo-Jam shook her head. “Can’t abide the man. He took my heart. ‘Tweren’t his heart, after all. ‘Twere my heart, and he took it for hisself. Stuck it in a box on his dresser drawer, he did. Awful man.”
“Why do you work for him?” asked Jagraton, thinking: we could bribe this disaffected servant quite easily, enough to be comfortable for the short rest of her life.
“He’s got my heart, sonny! Didn’t you listen to me with hearing the first time? A squeeze on that heart and I’m out of the putter, you hear me?” shouted Yodathzo-Jam.
“Oh, he’s got it that way, has he?” said Jagraton.
“Yes, yuss. Many’s the night I spent lying by his door, crying like a snowfish. Now it’s Lady Noshi’s door, of course,” said Yodathzo-Jam.
Jagraton decided that he had enough of her confidence to ask. “What about the new one? The one who calls himself Prince Rastomil?”
“Oh, oh, I’m sure I’m going to be crying by his door soon enough too. What kind of a city is this, when a lord can scoop up a young girl’s heart in the fountain in the marketplace, I ask you?”
“It’s such a shame, truly, ma’am,” said Jagraton. “Do you know what became of the real Prince Rastomil?”
“Carry those packages to the pantry for me and you can see him!” said Yodathzo-Jam with a hideous laugh.
Jagraton was delighted. This could go quite well. It could also go quite badly, so he made sure his sword was loose in the sheath.
# # #
Jagraton snuck around behind Lady Noshi’s mansion with Yodathzo-Jam, and into the pantry to leave behind all the day’s food. Thence, into the parlor, where the fake Prince Rastomil was sitting on a sofa, going through the contents of a well-used etui that Jagraton had never seen before, and tossing out old reciepts and rusks.
“Yes, yuss! There’s your Prince Rastomil for you!” cackled Yodathzo-Jam.
“Rastomil?” asked Jagraton.
“What, you’ve come around here again?” said Rastomil. “I do believe that I told you not to. Now begone!”
“I shall do no such thing! I insist upon having my questions be answered!” said Jagraton, suddenly floundering.
Rastomil, uncooperatively, answered no questions (though Jagraton asked many), and returned his attention to the etui. Jagraton harangued him for a few minutes. Then the household’s warriors came to remove Jagraton; and, when he resisted them, a couple of the city guard. Including my old friend, the Guard-Mage.
Guard-Mage: “Someone else from Strayway, getting in legal trouble?”
Rastomil: “So it seems. High Lieutenant Mage Zineng, please do me the kindness of removing him from the premises, and charging him with anything you can find to charge him with?”
Guard-Mage: “Jagraton, I believe your name to be — please come with me.”