Bait

Thomas walked down the street while trying not to draw attention. Sarah knew his mannerisms, his voice, so using his visage to draw out the attackers was easier than trying to copy someone she didn’t know. The problem was that Thomas had essentially been a recluse for the last decade or so, and she wasn’t sure anyone would believe he was willing to leave the house now. Investigating the house where Matthew had been tied up seemed a plausible reason for him to go outside. She hoped anyone watching would see it the same way.

It wasn’t a long walk, but dragging it out would almost certainly be seen as suspicious, so she had to hope whoever might be watching was paying attention. Inside the house, Sarah maintained Thomas’s appearance, just in case they were keeping an eye on the inside of the house. It also meant she had to try to look for clues, even though she didn’t expect to find anything.

After looking in the empty rooms on the ground floor, she headed to the basement. There, she found the chair and rope that had bound Matthew. There was nothing remarkable about any of it. The rope was in two pieces, with an end of each piece being scorched, presumably where David had burned through to free the other mage. The basement was otherwise empty.

The only magical residue she could identify was a small amount of fire magic, probably David’s. Either they hadn’t used magic here, or they had covered it up very well. Though she hadn’t counted on finding any useful information, the complete absence of even the most mundane things surprised her. Someone must have gone to great lengths to remove every trace of the attackers’ presence.

Something began to itch in the back of her mind, but before she could give it her attention, she heard a sound above her. Someone else was walking around upstairs. Had her ruse worked, or was this merely coincidence?

Taking no chances, Sarah quickly cast an invisibility spell, while still maintaining the image of Thomas, on the off chance that they could penetrate the invisibility. Then she waited near the bottom of the stairs for them to come down.

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