Mirrored from Sythyry.
Me: “Oh, great staring gods. Am I under arrest again?”
Zineng (né Guard-Mage): “No such duty currently is upon my shoulders. Indeed, it is unlikely that you will be arrested and I will not.”
Me: “That is less than wholly comforting. What do you mean, in more detail?”
Zineng and Jagraton: “We hereby explain in confusing order, using incorrect similes, that Lord Kethji and Lady Noshi probably have been using Mentador in terrible ways for quite some time, and blackmailing the important dignitaries and officials of the city (and staying largely to themselves) to avoid scrutiny and bloodier consequences.”
Me: “I approximately understand, if you are not too fussy about the details.”
Phaniet: “And the prince?”
Zineng: “We don’t know… some sort of mind control effect, making him think he is a native of the city? An impostor?”
Me: “Perhaps psychic possession — so that it is someone else’s mind wearing Rastomil’s body?” I am proud of this guess.
Jagraton: “Is such a thing even possible?”
Me: “It is not easy, to be sure, and it would probably have unfortunate consequences for at least one of the two, but it could be done — and a wizard of Mentador and Spiridor would be the one to do it.”
Zineng: “Nanggi-Zi, the wizard of Mentador and Spiridor, is long dead.”
Me: “Perhaps — though I would not completely count on it — but I would venture that his magical devices and tools still remain, and that the lord and lady in question can manipulate them.” My hedging there was a reflexive Zi Ri mysteriosity, not any particularly good guesswork.
Jagraton: “What can we do?”
Phaniet: “To start with, we can go and inspect pseudo-Rastomil, or possessed-Rastomil, or whatever he is. Let us be well-defended and prepared for many alarms when we do!”
Zineng: “I will be present, to lend my modest powers to the event, and an official Guard presence.”
Phaniet: “Brave man! We all go at the risk of our minds and lives, I suspect. But you also risk your job, if I do not mistake the situation.”
Zineng: “Perhaps, perhaps.”
So we collected Jyondre and Yerenthax, Phaniet, myself, hCevian, Jagraton, and Zineng. Since Jagraton had been evicted from there once already, we disguised him — a curly blonde wig, a reverse dye to give him a more conventional Rassimel sort of fur, and garments well-suited to a member of the Erotic Dancer’s Guild of Hanija, which Phaniet and Este had lying around for reasons which are perfectly reasonable and ordinary for a married couple.. And a different scent, as Phaniet insisted and nobody else could tell. I wanted to go in disguise as well, but transforming my wings at this point is unwise.
And a plentiful supply of magical protections, especially against Mentador.
From the Outside
We peered at the mansion. “It doesn’t look particularly unusual,” I said. “A modicum of magic there — the usual sorts of Corpador and Herbador and Pyrador spells one would expect in a well-made mansion. Not a trace of Mentador or Spiridor.”
“Use the Eye of Mirizan and Melizan,” suggested Phaniet.
“That’s a bit excessive. I have been inspecting spells by the naked eye for well more than a century, and I am tolerably good at it.” I said.
“Indulge me, even if it is excessive,” prodded Phaniet. I am not one to argue overmuch with my assistants, so I did.
“No, that’s not a bit excessive at all,” I said after a minute. “There’s a huge illusion around the whole mansion — the whole of two blocks around — set to conceal Mentador and Spiridor and itself. And good enough to fool me, or me without tools at any rate. Even with the Eye I can’t see any Mentador or Spiridor, but at least I can find the illusion.”
“Simply fooling you isn’t so hard,” said Phaniet. “But baffling your magic sense, I admit, isn’t quite so easy. That would explain how they could work all manner of mind-spells and nobody would see a thing.”
“It will be troublesome, though. Even with the Eye I’m not going to be able to make out much of anything Mentador inside of there,” I had to admit.
“What is the boundary of the illusion?” asked Zineng. I described it — I fluttered around it, in fact It is two adjacent small islands, separated by a narrow canal, and surrounded by broader ones. “To be sure, the residents of the mansion rarely leave that space. None of them.”
“Should we go tell the city guard about this? See if they’re willing to be more official about the problem,” asked Phaniet.
Zineng frowned. “No. I do not trust the captains of the guard so well on this point. Kethji and Noshi are too good at blackmail. Let us proceed, and get what better evidence we may.”