“How did you come to meet the MacQuarries?” Seymour asked.
“I’ve known them for most of my life, actually. The Castle Carviliet—where they live—is less than ten miles from Edmund Manor, and any noble family worth its name must be aware of its neighbors. In fact, I spent a good deal of time at Carviliet when I was young. Alasdair was a sort of mentor to me. Taught me to control my powers.”
“I see. Were you acquainted with his nephew?”
Henry nodded. “We met once or twice. He’d come down from Iliathor with his parents and siblings from time to time. Bookish little chap, if I remember correctly.”
“And what’s his relation to the Alt-Mage, precisely?”
“He’s Alasdair’s sister’s son. Seymour, may I ask where we’re going?”
They had come to the top of a stairway that led downward from the street and into an underground tunnel.
“Shortcut,” Seymour replied.
“Are there…rats down there?” Henry asked, peering skeptically into the darkness.
“Probably. But no more than you’ll find up here on the street at this time of night,” the Aechyed assured him, shrugging his shoulders. “Come, your lordship. Unless you are too afraid?”
Henry’s face turned crimson. Seymour could see so even in the dimness of the lantern-lit street. “Fine,” the young man muttered gruffly. “I’m coming.”
Seymour grinned, hopped down the steps, and changed the subject. “Alt-Mage MacQuarrie mentioned that the three of you have been monitoring the prisoners by magic. May I presume that you have also taken a look at the layout and defenses of the penitentiary itself?”
“Of course,” Henry answered him. He snapped his fingers, and a small orb of white light appeared, hanging above his outstretched hand. Then he glared at Seymour. “What? It’s dark!”
“You can see well enough here,” Seymour responded, his eyes catching the mage’s light and reflecting it like a pair of circular green mirrors. “You’re just showing off.”
“I am not!” Henry countered, his tone just huffy enough to let Seymour know that his insight had been correct.
“Whatever,” the Aechyed snorted. “Just dim it a bit if you can. You’re blinding me.”
With a sigh, the young Lord of Carvil dimmed the light and followed the Aechyed detective down the tunnel.
“So…what did you find?”
“Find about what?”
“Waelyngar, you fucking idiot. I asked if you had surveyed it, and you replied ‘of course.’ Since I will be breaking into the fucking hellhole and intend to get out of it again, I would appreciate it if you would be so fucking kind as to fucking tell me what you fucking well found!” Seymour paused, squinting at Henry’s hands. “What the fuck are you doing?”
Henry smirked and held up six fingers. “Counting.”
“What are you fucking counting?”
The tally of six was increased to seven.
Seymour folded his arms across his chest and glowered at the human. “You’re a regular riot. A right fucking comedian, aren’t you?”
The Aechyed took a deep breath and let it hiss out through his teeth. “All right, I get the point. You win. Now answer the fu—answer the question, will you?”
“The one about Waelyngar?”
“The one about Waelyngar,” Seymour confirmed, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles. He felt tired, and vaguely nauseous. “Please.”
“Well, then. About Waelyngar…”