The first is that they were victims of an Abomination.
When those creatures feed, they leave behind a trail of corpses not different from the one I showed you.
The second one is that we are facing a vampire.
They can feed off people\'s emotional energies, in which case they are better known as Incubus or Succubus, their blood, or their very life force.
A victim of the third kind of vampire would resemble Lord Stern.
I\'m not really convinced by this hypothesis, though, since some of the deaths happened in broad daylight.
The third and the worst one, is that we are against someone with the skills and the resources to employ Forbidden Magic right under our noses.
It\'s a branch of magic that is universally outlawed because it requires living sacrifices to work.
It allows you to break the rules of magic.
You can create life, prolong your existence, become stronger, even steal a part of someone\'s soul.
It\'s very risky and almost always lethal, but there are very few things you can\'t achieve with it.
With the proper preparations, killing from a distance is hardly a problem.
Dorian finished his explanation and hoped for the best.
Maybe coming here wasn\'t a complete waste of time.
I don\'t know who did this nor the why, but I think I know the how. Manohar said with a conceited smirk, like he was the only one with a brain in the room.
Only a less competent mage than me could believe that nonsense.
That\'s impossible. Dorian blurted out.
We didn\'t manage to find a clue in weeks and you\'re saying that with a glance you have already understood everything
Gods, you\'re really stupid. Manohar slapped his own face in annoyance.
Even Linjos, may the gods rest his soul, was brighter than this.
No, I\'m saying that I figured out what\'s happening, but since you\'ll have to explain it to that halfwit boss of yours, I\'m dumbing it down for you.
Ever since Balkor\'s attack we have conducted thorough studies about the Abominations.
Vastor and I are the leading experts in the field.
Even without that egg man, I can tell you that no Abomination did this.
Yeah. Lith agreed.
There\'s too much waste here.
When they feed, they only leave the bones intact.
Exactly! Manohar performed a few hops of joy.
Lith\'s explanation was dumb enough for everyone to understand it.
The rest of the team tried to avoid thinking about how the duo could have performed their studies on the feeding habits of such deadly creatures.
As for the vampire, not only they hate daylight, but also the organs of the victims would have already started to rot.
This leaves us with only one possible explanation: we are dealing with Forbidden Magic.
That\'s preposterous! Dorian said in outrage.
It\'s not. Lith shook his head.
I\'m no expert in Forbidden Magic, but this corpse is unnatural.
Have you checked it with magic
Of course not.
Even the light element is useless on cadavers.
It would have been a waste of time.
We just performed a regular search of the body and took a few samples to have them analyzed by the Alchemists.
You noticed! Manohar said ignoring everything Dorian said.
Dear Lith, it\'s a shame you left the White Griffon.
We had so much fun together.
Lith had a hard time considering his role as Manohar\'s assistant as fun.
He had to substitute for the Professor\'s lessons, fill his paperwork leaving to him only to sign the documents, clean his messes, and take the blame for his actions whenever he lost sight of the Professor.
Thanks, I guess.
Tista, try to reanimate it with darkness magic. He replied.
Tista did as instructed, but instead of turning into an undead, the corpse regained a part of its volume.
The effect lasted only for a few seconds before it returned to its previous state.
This man hasn\'t just been killed.
Somehow, they have drained every single drop of mana he had. Lith explained.
Then, Manohar said:
If I had to take an educated guess, I\'d say that someone is sacrificing their lives to create a cursed object.
It\'s a task that demands an enormous amount of mana and a very complex array to contain the energies released in the process.
Lith wasn\'t convinced by the Professor\'s theory, but he couldn\'t voice his doubts.
He needed to see one of the blue pillars to be sure of his theory.
\'If they really are like those that appear during the evolution of a magical beast, then it\'s unlikely to be some sort of ritual.
Harnessing the amount of world energy contained in a single pillar would be enough to create another Black Star.\'
He thought while reviewing the cursed object\'s blueprints stored inside Soluspedia.
Dorian quickly took a map of Othre and marked the spots where the desiccated corpses had been found.
If there was a pattern behind their position, Lith wasn\'t able to find it.
Even after joining the dots with lines the resulting image reminded him more a childish doodle than a magical circle.
Let\'s say it\'s the truth. Dorian sighed.
What about the other corpses What about the missing people
Manohar and Lith examined the bodies on the metal scaffolds for a minute, exchanged a few words, and then both shrugged.
These are regular corpses.
If you want me to discover what killed them, bring me a live specimen.
Even better, bring me as many as you can.
Sometimes it takes a few failures before succeeding. Manohar said.
We are talking about people, not cattle.
What you call \'failing\' is actually murder!
Well, I can\'t diagnose something without a patient. Manohar clicked his tongue.
This simple observation stands for both your regular corpses and your missing people.
If you want me to make an omelet, give me some eggs.
Before the bickering could continue, Jirni stepped forward.
Silence, you two.
I hate to admit it, but Manohar has a point. At those words the Professor gloated.
That doesn\'t mean we\'re going to kill random people.
At least now we have a lead.
If he is right…
I always am. He said with a smirk.
…it would explain why the phenomenon is so recent.
Forbidden Magic requires more than evil thoughts and a maniacal laughter.
The caravans are the perfect cover to smuggle rare ingredients inside Othre.
Luckily, most of those substances are strictly regulated.
Buying them on the black market means spending a sum that can\'t go unnoticed, not with dimensional magic sealed.
Our best line of action is to interrogate the witnesses and dig in the life of the victims to find out if they have been chosen at random or if they befriended the wrong person.
As for the other cases, I want to be notified immediately if another of those frenzied \'mages\' appear.
Do not engage them unless absolutely necessary until my or Lith\'s arrival.
We need answers and dead men tell no tale.