“Mistress? You wanted to see me?”
The elderly-looking woman glanced up from the table. “Ah, Thomas. Just a moment.” She wrote a few more words before putting her pen down. Thomas knew it was a mistake to take the Mistress’s appearance as genuine. She used illusions all the time, and he couldn’t be certain he had ever seen her true face.
“Thank you for waiting, Thomas. I dislike leaving a thought incomplete. Now, how are you doing?”
“My recovery seems to be complete. I would like to thank you, again, for opening your house to me over the past few months. You have been most generous.”
“Thomas, you are too serious for your years. Your master and I were old friends; I couldn’t not take you in.”
“Still . . .”
“Yes, yes.” She waved her hand absently. “I have two things I need to speak to you about.” From a small stack of papers, she pulled out a folder and handed it to him. “Inside is the final report from my investigating team. At least three different mages were involved in the attack on your master’s house. Unfortunately, the team was unable to identify any of them. Neither were they able to determine a motive for the attack.”
Thomas thumbed through the pages, not really absorbing any of the information. He hadn’t expected much, but this was less than that. An attack like this was unheard of. And they had managed to carry it out without leaving any identifying traces.
“I am sorry, Thomas. I hope you know that I will keep looking into this. I don’t like the idea of my friend going unavenged.”
“Thank you. I appreciate your efforts.”
“The second thing I have for you is likely to be bittersweet for you.” She handed him a large envelope.
“What is this?”
“Just open it.”
Inside was a letter addressed to him, written in obtuse legalese. He skimmed the two pages and found a check behind them.
“Your master was clearly fond of you. That represents the bulk of his mundane wealth. Money may not be important to us, but you may still find it helpful as you begin heading towards your future. It’s yours to do with as you will.”
Thomas had already begun to think about what he might do next. This unexpected windfall would allow him to move forward more quickly.
“Take your time, Thomas. You can stay here while you sort things out.”
“Thank you. Again. I do have an idea.”