I hate prying in a gentleman\'s personal life. Jirni lied through her teeth while still sounding so sincere that she would manage to sell sand in the desert.
Yet we suspect that Sir Rosen\'s death may be related to the practice of Forbidden Magic.
I need to know if something changed in his life recently.
Maybe a new acquaintance A new hobby Anything at all
At the mention of the forbidden arts, even Baroness Izra\'s freckles turned pale.
Forbidden Magic was outlawed in all the countries of the Galen continent.
The term usually referred to all kinds of spells or artifacts capable of altering the lives of their targets benefitting only their caster.
Examples of it were the slave collars or creating greater undead since both would rob a living creature of their free will.
It was considered the most inhumane thing a mage could do.
The highest forms of Forbidden Magic required to use the life of others to empower spells or magical objects.
Such magic could give birth to miracles, but only at the cost of many lives and posed huge risks.
Forbidden Magic was an unnatural process, that allowed subverting the laws of magic by sacrificing vast amounts of life force and mana to upset the balance.
It was very powerful but also very volatile.
One tiny mistake could turn the miracle into a nightmare, just like it had happened during the creation of the Black Star.
Like any kind of magic, to perfect a single spell required several attempts and each one of them could bring consequences comparable to a natural disaster.
I know nothing of Forbidden Magic and I\'m sure neither did Rosen.
He wasn\'t a perfect man, but he would have never consorted with someone capable of such a despicable thing. The Baroness squeezed her fan so hard some of the plumes fell off.
What do you mean when you say he wasn\'t a perfect man Jirni\'s tone remained amiable even while noticing the witness tensing up in realization of the slip of her tongue.
Well, like most of our common circle of friends, Rosen was born in a wealthy family.
He never worked a day in his life, which made him easily bored.
He would seek fun in the most disparate ways.
Sometimes even illegal ones.
Brothels, clandestine fights, gambling clubs.
He was just a Baronet, he hadn\'t much to spend without endangering the sources of his annuities.
Interesting choice of words.
So, what could he have done if he had more money Jirni pressed forward as her prey got more tangled up in her web the more she struggled.
I\'ve nothing to add! Izra stood up.
Her expression was indignant because of Jirni\'s allegation, but her eyes were terrified.
Now I\'d like to be left alone.
I\'m still mourning.
As you wish, Baroness.
I\'d answer my questions now, if I were you.
Otherwise the next time I will not be so gentle. Jirni dropped the act like a live grenade and added a sliver of killing intent to her words to emphasize her threat.
The Baroness withstood the Constable\'s glare for a second before her eyes rolled up and she fell onto the ground with a thud.
Damn! I hate it when they faint.
I can\'t question her more aggressively without proof.
Forcingly waking her up is not an option.
The only silver lining is that I now have a good medical reason to have her examined.
Tista, Lith, and Manohar took turns using their diagnostic spells on the unconscious noblewoman.
I think she and Rosen shared more than their social circle. Tista said when she was done.
I found traces of abuse of drugs and alcohol in her system, both common and magical in nature.
I wouldn\'t be surprised if she sniffed the dust instead of sweeping it.
Lith nodded in agreement.
When he had used Invigoration on the Baroness, he had noticed an unnatural thinning of her airways, which together with the heavy damage to her kidneys and liver told him a history of searching for fun in the wrong ways for an extended period of time.
That\'s it Manohar scoffed.
I can tell you she has five years at most left.
Maybe fifteen if she stops abusing from today and keeps herself clean until the end of her days.
How do you know it Lith performed a second scan without finding any signs of impending death.
Even Death Vision showed him that the Baroness was more likely to experience a violent death rather than organ failure or overdosing.
A discoloration in her life force.
It suffered such extensive damage to have permanently changed.
Even if we cleanse her body and regenerate her organs she may not recover.
Lith used Scanner, but found no trace of the discoloration Manohar had mentioned.
Only after focusing on the melody of the life force he noticed that its volume was slightly lower than usual.
\'I guess he\'s not called the god of healing for nothing.\' He thought while they left the Baroness\' house and moved to the next witnesses.
Most men were so eager to impress Tista that they had no qualms in confirming the late Baronet\'s vices.
Sometimes they would incriminate themselves while trying to flaunt their knowledge of the local underworld.
Jirni took note of everything but let them go.
It was more useful to her letting them walk free.
As soon as they realize what they have done, they will panic.
I\'ll keep them and their communication amulets under surveillance.
With a little luck they\'ll lead us to whoever provides them their daily dose of \'fun\'.
She had just finished talking when her communication amulet buzzed.
A merchant is currently attacking the shop of her fiercest competitor.
She is known to barely have a magico level of power, yet she is displaying abilities worthy of a lesser academy mage.
I think… Dorian was cut short by Jirni\'s angry voice.
Save it! Just tell me where. A holographic map of Othre appeared from her amulet, showing both Lith\'s group\'s was and the attacker\'s locations marked by one red dot each.
They flew to their destination, finding a whole building on fire and a tall middle-aged woman with chestnut hair who was unleashing one spell after the other against everyone who attempted to put off the flames.
There were several mages on the scene, but they followed Jirni\'s orders and never retaliated.
They only blocked incoming spells and helped the residents to evacuate the building.
Now this is an offer you can\'t refuse! The woman said with a crazy laugh.
One fireball for free and the second one too! The explosions caused splinters and debris to fly everywhere.
The angry merchant couldn\'t be damaged by her own magic, but the splinters pierced her legs, face, and torso.
Yet she seemed to be immune to pain.
Damn! With those wounds she\'ll die in a few minutes and we can\'t even heal her. Jirni cursed.
There\'s no time to lose.
Lith, draw her attention.
I need to get close to paralyze her!
What about me Manohar complained as Jirni unlocked the handcuffs.
I was once part of the Queen\'s corps, you know Why do I get to miss all the fun
Jirni ignored him and circled around the frenzied merchant.
\'Thank the gods wannabe mages only know how to use one element.\' She inwardly sneered as Lith used fire magic to put out the flames.
When she heard him chanting loudly, the woman turned around in outrage.
Unfortunately, in doing so she spotted Jirni with the corner of her eye and unleashed one lightning bolt for each of her new enemies.
\'Or not!\' Jirni thought.