Henry couldn’t sleep.  His mind was reeling and his blood still ran cold.  He tried to lie still in his bed, but the mattress was lumpy and the linens smelled vaguely of sour milk.  Fed up, he rolled out of bed, pulled on his clothes, and left the room.  He needed fresh air.  As quietly as he could, he trotted down the dark corridor—

                —and tripped over something warm and breathing.

                “Shit!” he whispered, catching his fall on the whitewashed stone wall.

                “Ow,” complained the obstacle indignantly.  “What’d you wake me up for?”

                The young Lord of Carvil conjured a sphere of bright white light, which he shone on the lump on the floor.  “What the fuck are you doing here?”

                Seymour held up his arms to shield his eyes from the blinding light and shook his head slowly, as if extremely disoriented.  “I have no idea.  Will you please put that out?”

                Henry didn’t extinguish the light, but he dimmed it grudgingly.  Seymour lowered his arms and stared at up at him.  The Aechyed’s eyes reflected the light and shone, catlike, in the semidarkness.

                “You don’t know why you’re out here?  On the floor?”


                “Which room is yours?”

                Seymour shook his head again, allowing Henry to catch a glimpse of something dark running down the side of the Aechyed’s face, by his ear.  Blood.  He must have hit his head harder than it had appeared.  Henry hadn’t realized that he had actually injured him.

                “I couldn’t find it,” replied the detective eventually, his eyes still unfocused.  “My key wouldn’t fit in any of them.” 

                He held out the key for Henry’s inspection.

                Henry looked at the key, looked at the Aechyed, and looked at the key again.  “Seymour,” he asked after a long pause.  “Isn’t this the key for your flat?”

                Seymour’s eyes widened and he studied the key with renewed interest.  “By the gods, it is!  That would explain a few things.”  He put the object back into his pocket and rummaged around for the correct one.  “Here we are.”

                The mage left him there and descended the stairs.

The End

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