Chapter Four / ConvictionsMature

            They strode into the Silver Phoenix and across to the table, this time attracting even more suspicious glares than Henry had on his own.  The mage glanced over at Seymour in the hope of seeing his own discomfort mirrored in the detective’s face.  All he saw there, however, was boredom.

            Upon reaching the table, Seymour sat down heavily and leaned back in his chair, crossing his legs so that his right ankle rested upon his left knee.  Alasdair and Mialina started a bit at his sudden appearance.

            “Are you…?” the alt-mage began, then stopped and turned toward Henry.  “You didn’t mention that he was—”

            “A grunie?” asked Seymour.  He swiveled his eyes around to look at the young lord, who had flinched at the sound of the slur.  “Don’t cringe at what I call myself, your lordship.  You’ll only trick yourself into thinking that you’re socially aware.”

            Henry opened his mouth, then closed it again.

            “Anyway,” the merman said, his subtle smile widening slightly as he rolled his eyes back toward Alasdair.  “Yes, indeed I am Seymour de Winter.  I understand that you are the Alt-Mage of Murkintsen?”

            “I am.  My name is Alasdair MacQuarrie.  This is my wife, Mialina.”

            “Pleasure,” Seymour replied curtly.  “And what, exactly, do you want with me?”

            Mialina glowered at him through mismatched blue and violet eyes.  “Don’t speak to my husband that way, you—!”

            “I’m sorry,  but I’m in the middle of an extremely stressful, high-stakes murder investigation at the moment, and I really don’t have the time to go gallivanting across the kingdom at this point in it.  Had I known that this case would come up when I received Lord Henry’s letter, I would not have even agreed to this meeting.  And now here you are, inviting yourselves over to add another fucking responsibility to my docket, and it’s really rather upsetting.  I apologize if I’m coming off as rude.  I just cannot deal with this bullshit right now.”

            “I understand that,” said Alasdair, putting a hand on his wife’s shoulder to prevent her from lashing out again.  “And I understand if you refuse to take our case, but if you could just consider it…”

            “Go on.”

            “I have a nephew in Waelyngar.  He is eighteen years old, nearly nineteen, and…”

            Seymour, who had been studying the scratch marks in the wood of the table, looked up at him slowly.  His face had changed.  “His name?”

            “Seoc Andrew MacInnes.  My sister’s eldest son.”

            Face pale, the detective returned his gaze to the tabletop.  “And what is he in for?”

            “Well, various charges.”

            “Consisting of…?”

            “Theft, drug trafficking, and…”

            Seymour sighed through his teeth.  “And?”

            “This is why I told Henry not to make mention of him in the letter.  If you knew, I was afraid you would refuse.”

            “Spit it out, mate.  I don’t have all night.”

            The alt-mage took a deep breath.  “Prostitution.”

            “Rezyn.”  The merman leaned his elbows on the table and placed his head in his hands.  For a moment, he looked as if he might be crying, but then he raised his head again, and his eyes were dry.  “How long’s he been in for?”

            “A year and a half.”

            “Then he was seventeen when he was convicted.  A child still.”  He furrowed his brows.  “How long is his sentence?”


            “Life?”  Seymour was aghast.  “For a kid?”

            “Well, those were serious charges, after all.  And he was nearly grown by then.”

            “And what of the real criminals?”

            The alt-mage was perplexed.  “The real criminals?”

            “Yes,” Seymour hissed.  “The sickos who would buy and sell a minor for sex.  What became of them?”

            “Nothing.  No charges were brought against anyone but Seoc.”

            “So the court held him fully responsible?”

            “Correct,” said Alasdair.

            Seymour stared up at the ceiling with his eyes glazed over. “He must have had a shitty lawyer.”


            “Well what?”

            “He didn’t have one.”

            The merman’s face contorted in a mix of pain and revulsion, and he stood up abruptly.  “I need a drink,” he said, starting for the bar.  “Can I get anyone anything?”

The End

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