Sunday, May 3, 2015

Page 1022

“For now, no one is to take action against House Blackburn without my approval,” said Asad. “Speak to them if you feel it necessary, but if you do anything more than that, then regardless of the outcome, expect that your entire house will no longer be welcome here at Dunehall. This is not a matter for debate. Have I expressed myself clearly?”

“You have,” said Lorenzo.

“Indeed,” agreed Carlos.

“Very good, then. Now please hurry on with your work. I do not have time to assist you myself, but Imas, please accompany Lord Lorenzo, and Jada, please accompany Lord Carlos. I will see you all again soon.” And with that, the Lord Najir departed, no doubt going to talk to the ruling Rainlords. Between them and the Saqqafs, Hector didn’t envy Asad’s position right about now.

“Never thought I’d be taking orders from a Sandlord,” said Lorenzo.

Never thought one would stick his neck out so far for us,’ said his reaper. Marosso hadn’t said much thus far--at least not aloud--but that particular statement earned some points with Hector and, by the looks of it, with the two Najir women and their reapers, as well.

After that, the group split up as Asad had dictated. And since Carlos had been the one to ask Hector and Garovel for assistance, they went with him.

Their first order of business was to talk to the Blackburns and get a second, and hopefully clearer recounting of events from Ibai. However, the only thing that became clear was that House Blackburn did not intend to let Ibai talk to any of the investigators again. Perhaps they were afraid that he would be ganged up on, or perhaps they were simply afraid of what he might say; either way, it didn’t bode well for the family’s position.

From there, the investigation was already at a bit of a loss for leads, so they decided to spread out and begin questioning people. And Hector and Garovel found themselves on their own again, going from corridor to corridor while searching for more clues.

So what’re you thinking now?’ said Garovel.

Uh... well, I guess I’m just trying to figure HOW someone could have possibly framed Ibai. Even a servant, I mean. It just doesn’t seem very... easy.

You’re wondering what ability they used?

Yeah.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Page 1021

It’s not inconceivable that someone could have framed him,’ said Garovel. ‘And according to Ibai’s own account, Fuad was dead before he arrived.

“He also sounded extremely confused,” said Lorenzo. “Could be that he didn’t realize what he’d done until it was too late, but that doesn’t change the fact that he did it.”

“That is not a fact until we confirm it as such,” said Carlos. “You are also not a part of this investigation. You’ve given us your witness statement. You may leave now.”

“And who put you in charge, exactly?” said Lorenzo. “This isn’t Roth.”

“You are correct,” said Carlos. “But this is not Deynos, either. This is Moaban. And as we are guests here, we should defer to the Lord Najir. Agreed?”

Lorenzo gave a slow nod before he and everyone else turned to Asad and Qorvass.

And despite having been put on the spot rather suddenly, the tattooed Sandlord lost none of his composure. “Lord Lorenzo. It is my understanding that you worked as a constable in Deynos for many years, no?”

“I did, yes.”

“And Lord Carlos, you served in the Vanguard’s OSI, did you not?”

“Yes.”

That caught Hector’s attention. ‘OSI?

Office of Special Investigations,’ Garovel said privately.

“I would like the both of you to head up your own investigations, independent of one another,” said Asad. “Do not waste time sharing information. Simply return to me in six hours with whatever you have learned.”

Lorenzo shifted his feet and tilted his head. “Six hours isn’t much to work with.”

“You’ll keep investigating afterwards, but I need your preliminary reports by then. At most, I can buy us twelve hours before Hahl Saqqaf shows up and starts asking a lot of difficult questions--not the least of which will be why the hell I chose to give refuge to so many Rainlords without informing them.”

“Do you think they will kick us out?” said Carlos.

“No,” said Asad. “This is my jurisdiction. But they will certainly not be pleased.”

“All the same,” said Lorenzo, “perhaps we should be ready to leave in a hurry.”

“I won’t discourage your people’s caution,” said Asad, “but just focus on the investigation right now. I will inform Abel and Salvador of what I am having you do.”

What about the Blackburns?’ asked Garovel.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Page 1020 -- CXVII.

Chapter One Hundred Seventeen: ‘Riddle in the sand...’
Click to display entire chapter at once -- (mobile link)

So what do we know?’ said Garovel, addressing the full audience of investigators, which now included the three Najirs and their accompanying reapers. ‘We don’t have the luxury of a DNA test to confirm whose blood this is or even if it all belongs to poor Fuad here, but we are all in agreement that these blood patterns seem strange, at least.

It’s difficult to tell,’ said Qorvass. ‘Given the extent of mutilation, one would assume that there would be plenty of blood on the walls, counters, and ceiling, but it is only on the floor.

Which suggests that Fuad was not killed here in the south kitchen,’ said Atalim.

But that could also be consistent with Ibai’s story,’ said Qorvass. ‘He said he teleported AFTER colliding with the body. We assumed he meant from one end of this room to the other, as described by the two separate blood stains, but he could have just as easily teleported twice. The first teleport would have been from wherever the murder took place.

“Can any of you corroborate that?” asked Asad. He was staring at the group of reapers who’d been close enough to sense Ibai.

They each shook their head.

He was too difficult to follow,’ said the one bound to Lorenzo Delaguna. His name was Marosso, Hector was pretty sure.

Garovel decided to move on with the summation. ‘Pretty much everything we’ve found points to Ibai. He was also the only one in here just prior to the disappearance of the soul that we can only presume to have been Fuad’s. That’s fairly strong evidence that he consumed Fuad’s soul, even if we DO assume that he didn’t actually murder him.

“However, the position he was found in was also odd,” said Carlos Sebolt. The thick lines of his middle-aged face deepened as he spoke. “His foot was stuck inside the body, as if he had decided to stomp the boy to death, but this is inconsistent with the extensive mutilation. He would’ve had to tear the body to shreds in a matter of seconds before suddenly resorting to stomping. Why would he have done that?”

“Because he’s an aberration,” said Lorenzo Delaguna. “It’s no use trying to understand how they think.”

Hector had a pretty good idea whose side that guy was on. Not that he completely disagreed with him.