He found the mages in a nearby plaza, sitting on the edge of a fountain and eating pastries. Seymour’s mouth began to water at the sweet aroma. Rezyn, he was hungry.
“Where’ve you been?” asked Alt-Mage MacQuarrie.
“I overslept,” he admitted apologetically. He figured that this wasn’t the time to mention that he had wasted another half of an hour trying faces in the looking glass. “And I lost my pocket watch, so I didn’t realize how late it was once I did wake up.”
A few feet to MacQuarrie’s left, Lord Henry choked on his scone. Mialina patted him on the back until his coughing fit subsided.
“Sit with us?” the Alt-Mage asked.
Seymour nodded. “In a moment. I need to find something to eat first.”
“There’s a bakery around the corner,” he suggested, pointing.
He returned a few minutes later, already halfway through a large apple muffin, and sat down on the fountain ledge, to the right of MacQuarrie. “So,” he started. “How has your morning been?”
“Uneventful,” replied the mage. “Thankfully.”
“Everything is ready, I trust?”
“Everything on our part. The horse will be waiting for you at the edge of the forest, four trees in, three trees from the river. Her name is Wyrinther, and she is a very intelligent mare. Treat her with respect. She belongs to Henry, so Simon will know her. We thought that would be…for the best.”
Seymour raised his eyebrows at this final remark. “Right,” he muttered, swallowing his final bite of breakfast and clapping his hands together to shake off the crumbs. “So, what exactly am I up against here? In terms of Simon and Seoc, I mean. No one’s thought fit to tell me anything aside from the fact that Simon ‘isn’t quite right in the head’ and that Seoc’s interested in men.”
MacQuarrie flinched. “Keep your voice down, for Rezyn’s sake!”
“What is not ‘quite right in the head’ supposed to mean, for starters?”
It was Henry who answered. “He hears voices,” he said bluntly. “And speaks nonsense.”
“No. He’s very trusting—or he was, before they locked him up. I don’t know what they’ve done to him in there, so it’s possible that he’s changed.”
“Unpredictable behavior?” he inquired, with a subtle, yet barbed, undertone.
Henry noticed the slight acidity of the question but didn’t acknowledge it. “Somewhat. But never violent and rarely problematic.”
“Thank you,” replied Seymour. “I should be able to handle that. What about Seoc?” he went on, turning to MacQuarrie once more.
The Alt-Mage cleared his throat and rested his chin on his folded hands. “He has epilepsy—but it doesn’t strike as often as it did when he was small, so it probably won’t pose too much of a risk. He is, however, quick to anger and often has difficulty controlling his impulses.” He sighed. “Can’t say I blame him for it, though, with a father like his.”