Chapter One: The Silver Phoenix (3)Mature

MacQuarrie laughed heartily at this, and the tension broke.  “You’re a saucy rascal, aren’t you?”

            Seymour grinned mock-flirtatiously, exposing a full set of glistening white, pointed teeth.  Then he picked up Henry’s untouched tankard and took a swig from it.  “I do my best.”

            Henry maintained his sullen glare, but it was clearly a struggle.

            “To the point, then?” MacQuarrie inquired.

            “That would be splendid.”

            “There are two young men imprisoned at Waelyngar Penitentiary that we need you to free:  Henry’s brother, Simon, and my nephew, Seoc.  Simon is nineteen years of age and has been there for two years.  Seoc is eighteen and has been there incarcerated for three.  We have been monitoring them closely, and both are in ill health.  They both need medical attention, and soon.”

            Seymour folded his hands and leaned forward again.  “Waelyngar Penitentiary is an institution for the criminally insane.”

            “It is,” Alasdair MacQuarrie confirmed.

            “So I would be risking my own neck to loose two more potentially dangerous madmen on the world.”  He paused to uproot a protruding splinter from the tabletop.  “Sorry, I may be short in the monetary department, but I’m not that fucking desperate.”

            “Simon may be mad, but he isn’t dangerous,” Henry informed him.  “He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

            “And Seoc isn’t precisely mad,” MacQuarrie added.  “Damaged, impulsive, and unpredictable, perhaps, but not mad.”

            Seymour raised his eyebrows.  “Why is he there, then?”

            “He make a bad’th choice,” Mialina replied, contributing to the discussion for the first time.  “They dzink him wrong in dze head’th for making’k a bad’th choice.”

            “What sort of bad choice, exactly?” Seymour asked, a bit apprehensively.

            Mialina did not reply, and her husband looked uncomfortable.  He cleared his throat.  “Well,” he attempted eventually.  “It…well, it isn’t a subject for polite discussion.”

            Seymour’s pointed ears, which were adorned with multiple metal piercings, twitched slightly in interest, but the rest of his face melted into languid false-apathy.  “This isn’t a polite discussion, sir.  Please, stop wasting my time and get to the fucking point.”

            The Alt-Mage of Murkintsen hesitated.  “Well…” he said again, studying the table as if hoping to find the proper words provided there.  “He, well, he was caught…how should I phrase this…?”

            Seymour drummed on the table with his neatly-trimmed claws.  “I don’t have all year, dammit.  Just spit it out.”

            MacQuarrie took a deep breath.  “He…His father caught him…he, erm…”

            “I’m simply dying of anticipation, sir,” Seymour droned.

            “Hisfathercaughthimwithanotherboy.” He disclosed this sentence so quickly that even Seymour had to blink and wait a moment to separate the individual syllables.

            “Oh!  Really,” the Aechyed mused in a subdued tone, leaning back in his chair, a peculiar expression coming over his face.  “The way you were carrying on, I was beginning to think the poor fellow was guilty of committing mass murder with a knife made from his grandfather’s femur.  Very well then.  How much are you three fine gentlemages willing to pay me?”

The End

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