I awoke the next morning to a brusque knock on the door, "Time to rise, darlings!" Mordre sang.
Seroan rolled over and groaned, "Why is she so happy at four in the morning..." I looked at the clock above the fireplace, which I noticed was still burning steadily, keeping the chill out of the room.
"It's six, babe."
I smiled, he was so cute. I prodded him to get up, and eventually succeeded. We dressed and went downstairs to find Rory and Mordre in the kitchen, laughing about something over coffee. It smelled heavenly.
Rory grabbed my waist and shoved a mug into my hand, "Morning lass, morning my boy," he said.
"We have a surprise for you!" Mordre chimed, and pinched my cheek. "But first, have some breakfast, my dears; I've got your plates here." From the oven she produced two heaping platters of the world's most wonderful breakfast: fluffy eggs and tomatoes, crispy bacon, fried potatoes, and battered toast.
I gaped, "I can't eat all that!" and Mordre laughed.
Seroan kissed her on the cheek, "Looks delish, Mum, thanks."
We sat at the counter and ate as much as we could stuff, but I only finished half my plate and Seroan barely three quarters. I sat back and shoved the food away, "No more!"
"That's alright, you can reward our chimeras with your leftovers for what they caught you last night!" she grinned. The woman always seemed barely able to contain her unfair share of cheer. I thought if she ever let down her guard, she might explode.
Rory winked, and motioned for us to follow him back to his office. Behind his desk he lifted an exquisite woven rug to reveal a trap door. I summoned a light globe into my hand, and we followed him down the steep stairs. At the bottom was a room about the same size as Rory's office with two small prisoner cells. One was empty, but the other was guarded by a pair of golden chimeras, now fully visible.
Rory motioned us to look inside, and the prisoner looked up – it was my assassin! Unconsciously I touched the long scar on my neck; he watched my hand and looked miserable.
"What's your name?" I asked finally.
The prisoner said nothing, so I looked at Rory for help. He nodded at one of the chimeras. The beast turned to oily vapor, and moments later reappeared inside the cell, easing its flat catty face into the prisoner's, staring him down. The man had little defense against the psychic onslaught, and eventually broke into tears, "Ok," he whispered, "please stop."
Rory crossed his arms with satisfaction, and smiled at his pet. The other chimera sniffed and flapped a wing, wanting a share of the praise. Rory patted its head fondly and it purred, a twisted, human-like smile spreading across its face.
"Ask your questions now, lass," he coached.
"Please tell me your name," I repeated.
The prisoner glanced nervously at the chimera sharing his cell, watching him attentively.
"Dolgren Mylan," he whispered.
"You assassinated Representative Varren, correct?" I asked.
Here he hesitated again, and the chimera leaned menacingly closer.