A spy vanishes under mysterious circumstances.
A serial grave robber strikes again.
A peculiar object turns up at a royal residence.
Three seemingly unrelated incidents, each sending two countries lurching nearer to the brink of war. Who is behind it all?
Cedric Markason climbed out of his bedroom window and onto the roof.
He liked it up here, despite the precariousness of his position and the long drop to the busy, cobblestone street below. He could see almost all of Brysail from his perch, but almost none of Brysail could see him. It was, he had to admit, a bit chilly, though, and he regretted leaving his cloak behind. Still, it was more pleasant out here in the cool autumn breeze than inside, where everyone was on edge.
The negative atmosphere in the apartment was due to several factors. For one, Cedric's uncle, the detective Seymour de Winter, was experiencing a lull in interesting cases and thus was bored and ill-tempered. Secondly, Seoc, Seymour's so-called assistant, had, on a whim, brought home a feral tomcat which he had dubbed, for some peculiar reason, Lysander. Seymour, sporting an interesting pattern of scratch marks on his ankles, called it just about everything else, including, but limited to, the Creature, You-Furry-Little-Bastard, That Thing, and That Damn Cat. Lysander/the Creature had taken to tearing about the flat in the middle of the night as if all of Mortua's hounds were on its tale, yowling its heart out, but this was not the limit of its mischief. Often Cedric or Seymour would walk unsuspectingly past an article of furniture under which Lysander/You-Furry-Little-Bastard was waiting in ambush, or would awake to an unprovoked attack. In Seoc's presence, however, Lysander/That Thing was the picture of angelic innocence, and when Seymour or Cedric showed him their numerous injuries, he would accuse them of goading it. Thankfully, Lysander/That Damn Cat had not yet figured out how to reach Cedric's rooftop refuge, but it was only a matter of time.
Cedric was nearly fifteen years old now and had recently overtaken his uncle in height. He had to duck his head to get through doorways, which was a cause for celebration until it became a cause for annoyance. He was still an apprentice for his uncle, although he was no longer certain that he actually wanted to be a detective. Anyway, it was becoming clear that Cedric, though above the average Aechyed in intelligence, would never be as sharp-witted as Seymour was.
From his vantage point, Cedric watched as a woman in a blue dress and large, matching hat scampered across the street and to the stairway that led up to their rooms. If he had learned anything from his apprenticeship, it was that people hurrying to the door of Seymour de Winter generally had an interesting case in need of solving. Perhaps it would diffuse the tension. Carefully, he twisted around and slid back through the window.