I had just returned home from a meeting with Felix regarding us becoming full members of the Warden clan. Mother was excited for some reason.
“Celeste, a letter came for you today! Do you know who it is from?”
I gave her a wry look and sighed. I know she means well but at least give me a chance to open it. I untied the string from the parchment and read through. It was from Millie, Master Theodore’s keeper and secret lover, she wrote that she had something for me and I had to go to her home to get it.
“It’s from Millie mother, you know the cleaning lady for Master Theodore. She wants me to come over, she says she has something for me. I will try to be back before glooming.”
Giving mother a kiss on her check I left for Millie’s.
The neighborhood had definitely seen better days, it appeared to be in the middle of a clan territory dispute and the recent plague made everyone wary of strangers. The rain didn’t help the overall ambiance either, but at least it kept most of the rabble indoors. As I reached Millie’s building I paused for a moment and took a check of my surroundings, there was nothing unusual. Inside there a few dust heads lounging around, looking pretty out of it, filthy habit. One of them got up and tried to seduce me, the nerve! I pretended to look away shyly and when I turned back to him he seemed a bit taken back with my boil and plague ridden face. He lost interest pretty quickly. Dismissing the illusion I went upstairs unhindered.
Coming to Millie’s steel door I knocked, the echo resounding down the corridor.
“What do you want with that witch?”
I turned around to see a nosy neighbor peeking around the empty door frame.
“She’ll curse your womb you know! Make you barren and diseased!”
I sighed, simple folk always jumped to conclusions when it came to magic. I tried to explain, but she wouldn’t listen. What I can only presume to be her husband stepped around from the corner, a big brute of a man. Exasperated with all this foolishness I let loose my temper, fire blossoming in my hand.
“She may make you barren but I will burn the flesh from your bones. Leave now!”
They fled down the hallway and I continued to glare at them as they vanished down the stairs. I turned back to the door and knocked again.
“Millie, it’s me Celeste, they are gone.”
“Celeste is that you? Is it safe?”
“Yes Millie, now open the door.”
Carefully Millie opened the steel door and ushered me in. The first thing to hit me was the smell, the second was the atrocious state of the room and then Millie’s filthy disheveled appearance. It seemed like it had been some time since she had been out. Stammering Millie told me she had a letter from our late Master Theodore and that she had been instructed to give it to me after a year had passed since his death. I took the message from her and breaking the seal read the contents. It said that he had left something for me in his basement, hidden from others in a warded chest and that to be careful to nullify the ward before opening it. Theodore wasn’t such a bad guy, a bit strict perhaps but for the best of reasons. I wondered what could be there, artifice, a hidden book of spells, a clue to his death maybe?
I looked around at the room, Millie was nattering something about wanting to serve tea but not having any. I sighed.
“Millie, would you like to come with me? I have some friends that could help you.”
“I-I-I d-d-don’t know, I d-d-don’t want to be a bother none.”
Her eyes basically screamed to get her out of here, she was obviously terrified. Paying back a debt to a dead man can be such a chore.
“Come on Millie, pack a bag of clothes and some personal affects and we will head out.”
With tears in her eyes she rushed around the room shoving things into a bag, surprisingly she took very little.
I carefully looked out of the door; there was a rather ugly mob gathering at the end of the hall near the stairs. I considered this for a moment.
“Millie, stay close and don’t make eye contact with anyone.”
I draped the illusion of a large muscular man over myself. A vicious scar over one eye, dark hair starting to grey at the temples, draped in scale armor and a wicked looking sword at my side.
“Let me pass,” I bellowed in a deep voice at the crowd. “I have caught the witch and I will take her to the Templars for justice!”
The crowd was confused, where was the pretty girl? Who was this man? Was there a girl?
As the crowd muttered and argued they parted for us, none of them wishing to fight with such a formidable looking opponent.
Outside I dismissed the illusion and we threw up our hoods. Darting between the shadows through the rain we made our escape.
“They weren’t wrong you know.”
“I am a witch; I can’t do curses like they said though. I can sense the history of an object if it has had a strong emotional tie to something. And I can find missing objects.”
Millie just became a bit more useful I thought to myself, I better make sure to keep in contact with her while she is at the Wardens instead of leaving her to her own devices. Hubert should be able to help out, I am sure he will see the value in this particular skill.
“Come on Millie, let’s get you to your new home.”