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03 March 2010 @ 11:11 am
Midsummer 1372, Evening  
I wasn't sure how long I'd been alone. Well, I wasn't entirely alone, for that insufferable human mage was in the cell across from me. I wondered what Seledra had seen in him. I could certainly understand why she'd drugged him after; if I 'd been her, I'd have drugged him, too. When they first took Seledra away for questioning, he spent his time alternately quizzing me about his chances with Seledra and trying to cajole his way into my own bed. I ignored him; his needling dwindled. A good while after I thought he'd capitulated, he spoke up one last time.

"You're really missing out, you know. I guarantee you've never had a man like me before!"

I could stand his posturing no more.

"I assure you, I've been with more men, of all different types, than you have hairs on your head. I probably had a dozen men like you before you were even born." He blinked a few times, then rolled his eyes and finally turned away from me.

At least the half-orc only slept.

Finally, I heard a ruckus coming from the end of the short hallway. Seledra's questioning was apparently over. As some guards manhandled me out of the cell, I thought I heard Methrammar's voice, and then saw the man himself, clutching Seledra to him as though for dear life. It occurred to me that it ought to be the other way around.

"What did they do to you?" I heard Methrammar say as I was led through the door Seledra has just come out of. Captain Nim Tagen closed the door behind me before I could hear her reply. So, they had roughed her up. Well, if that was how it was going to be, I was prepared.

I was not prepared, however, for what actually happened. The Captain quite courteously guided me to a chair, and even pulled the chair out for me, as though we were merely dining together. After seating himself across from me, he remained silent for several minutes.

Then, finally: "Quite the fascinating history you have, Ralenthra Ilphukiir of Cormanthor." The words were like a blow to the head, and I reacted accordingly. Captain Tagen continued smoothly, "Ah, I see I'm getting ahead of myself; you didn't expect me to know that, did you?"

My mind reeled; there were only two possibilities. Of course, he had only just questioned Seledra, but that didn't mean he didn't already get the information from Tordrin. He'd let us stew in those holding cells for quite some time before calling for Seledra. But if he'd beaten Seledra, it was possible . . . no. It had to be Tordrin. I hadn't known Seledra long, but I hadn't seen her take the easy way out on anything. Well, except for drugging that mage . . . But she'd stuck by me many times, even when she thought I was doing wrong, even against Methrammar. . . .

It had to be Tordrin. I had to believe that.

"I suppose you're wondering who sold you out?" Captain Tagen asked when I didn't respond to his first question.

"I already know. What did you offer him?"

"Him?" Tagen looked mildly surprised. "Miss Nailo looks very much like a her to me."

"Seledra didn't tell you anything."

"You seem very sure of yourself." He spoke quietly, twiddling his fingers idly.

"You had more than enough time to find and question the Harpers before you started questioning Seledra." I sounded more confident than I felt.

"The Harpers? The ones who just came into town this past week? They knew? I'm going to have to have a little talk with them about keeping critical information from us. Damn Harpers think they can do as they please, even here in Silverymoon. I suppose I must thank you, Miss Iphukiir, for cluing me in to that problem. " Tagen seemed a little too nonchalant, and my resolve strengthened just a little.

"Do you think I've never been taken in for questioning before, Captain? I find that hard to believe, since you apparently know my whole history. I know how you people play your captives against one another, and how you lie to get someone to slip. It's not going to work. Seledra didn't tell you anything."

"How can you be certain? Have you considered that perhaps she already came running to us weeks ago, even months ago, and that we've merely been watching you since?"

"Do I look stupid? I know that there's a penalty for falsely vouching for someone. You can't expect me to believe that you would have just given her a hand wave, just because she freely confessed herself. Besides, she wouldn't betray me. This I know." I think.

Tagen chuckled. "You think you really know Seledra Nailo?"

"Look, If you want to question me about those Lauthaul tokens, then ask me about them," I said, irritated. "Or the festival. But please don't play games with me. I know you got your information from Tordrin Windweaver; trying to convince me otherwise is a waste of your time." I'd have said mine, too, but at that point, it seemed I had all the time in the world for pointless questioning.

"All right then, we'll set that aside for the moment. What do you know about Miss Nailo's relationship with Methrammar Aerasumé?"

"What does that have to do with anything?"

Captain Tagen sighed and bowed his head for a moment. Then he reached across and patted my hand where it lay on the table. "Forgive me, Miss Ilphukiir, if this line of questioning seems . . . tangential to the matter at hand. I understand your plight, perhaps even better than you do. Silverymoon is sympathetic to the Eilistraeean movement, you know, though we keep quiet about it. If you cooperate, we might be willing to overlook your . . . recent activities and let you stay. I won't pretend to know what it's like to be on the run from the drow, but I appreciate that sometimes one must act against one's nature in order to survive." He sounded oddly solicitous. What was he playing at now? "Now, as I said, I do understand your situation. A secret Eilistraeean, only recently escaped from the Underdark, you came across someone who seemed friendly, helpful, who gave you sanctuary, even. But you have no idea who you fell in with when you met Miss Nailo. That's why we have to ask you these strange questions."

"What in the Nine Hells are you getting at, Captain?"

Tagen took a sheet of paper from a stack near him and handed it to me. "Perhaps this will explain better than I can. Please, take your time."

I glanced over the paper. It was a summary of Seledra's transgressions at the Lady's College, nearly twenty years ago. I read of her opening the portals between dormitories after curfew, which apparently involved seducing priests of Deneir. I read of her stealing a map of the College from the Map House and replacing it with a counterfeit. And finally, I read of her attempted plot to break into the Hall of Records, combined with an incident involving "public sex acts."

I looked at Captain Tagen incredulously. "'Ledra did all this?"

"Yes, miss. So you see--"

I grinned. "That's my girl!" It was the Captain's turn to look surprised, and a little more irritated than he'd let show before.

"Miss Ilphukiir, this is a very serious matter. Miss Nailo has a history of stealing, or attempting to steal, official documents and artifacts from the city of Silverymoon." Suddenly it hit me.

"So you think that she stole the Lauthaul tokens? From Methrammar Aerasumé?"

"Ah, you're as intelligent as I'd heard." His put on his pleasant veneer again. "Now that we're on the same page, tell me what you know of their relationship."

"There's not much to tell. They met by chance in Everlund, but I wasn't there. What Seledra told me was that the encountered each other while she was shopping, and he invited her to dinner. He was attending the same wedding that Seledra was to officiate, as a representative of Silverymoon, and he monopolized her free time there. Since returning here, he has continued to pursue her."

"So to the best of your knowledge, " Tagen said, frowning, "Methrammar has been the initiator of the relationship?"

"To the best of my knowledge."

"But you have not actually been witness to most of their interaction."

"No."

"Anything else you know?"

"He asked her not to associate with me, especially at the Festival, and she refused."

"I see. So Miss Nailo's affection only goes so far. She still gets what she wants, eh?"

I would have to be more careful what I said, lest I paint Seledra as an opportunist.

"It means only that she's unwilling to compromise her convictions, even for someone she cares about."

"You think she does care about him, then?"

Well, I didn't really know the answer to that question, did I? And I couldn't very well tell Tagen that the son of Lady Alustriel, the High Marshal of the Argent Legion, was bad in bed.

"I believe so. She's certainly attracted to more than his position." Which I was reasonably certain was true, at any rate.Tagen looked a little frustrated, though. It made me happy to see he wasn't getting what he wanted from me. He changed tactics.

"There is, perhaps, more you ought to know about your 'friend.'"

"Oh?"

"Her associates tend to come to . . . misfortune."

Well, that got my attention. "How so?"

"For instance, her accomplice at the Lady's College, a promising human wizard, was targeted with a disfiguring curse shortly after his graduation, in retribution for testifying against Miss Nailo."

I pondered this for a moment. "Wait, so what you're telling me is that people who inform on Seledra come to bad ends? And how, exactly, is that supposed to motivate me to speak against her?"

Tagen gave a wry smile, "I realize how it must sound, but since we now know there is a risk--which we did not with poor Master Vihuel--we can protect you. We also must ascertain if the girl poses any danger to our High Marshal. We believe Miss Nailo has--or had--in her possession a Potion of Forgetfulness. It went missing from the Lady's College shortly before her expulsion. We are afraid she might have used it on Methrammar in order to obtain the Lauthaul tokens. Or if she still has it, she may use it against you, if she decides not to keep you around anymore. Do you know anything about this potion, did she speak of it, or did you see her with any suspicious vials?" A potion of forgetfulness? Perhaps that is what she gave that smarmy wizard. If that was it, her use of it certainly didn't fit Tagen's theory, and I figured it probably wasn't anything he needed to know about.

"No. She has never mentioned such a thing to me, not have I seen her with any potion that wasn't clearly related to her druidry work. You're barking up the wrong tree, Captain. I don't know anything beyond what I've already told you, and I won't just go along with whatever little story you concoct. Why don't you ask me about that mage you arrested with us? I'd gladly throw him under the wagon, if I knew anything. But I'll be happy to make up false accusations for you about him."

"I was afraid you might say such a thing. I had hoped to convince you that your loyalty is misguided--but perhaps you truly don't know anything. Maybe you were the recipient of that forgetfulness potion. . . ." Tagen got up, and gestured for me to do so, as well. He placed his hand on the small of my back and led me to the door. "If you think of anything that might be . . . of use to our investigation, don't hesitate to ask for me," he said, before he rapped on the door. "Anything you might be able to tell me will only help your case. I'm sure you're aware there are several outstanding wanted notices for you; I wish I could say Silverymoon could protect you from them, but if you can't help us regarding Miss Nailo, I'm afraid I can make no promises." Two guards appeared and walked me back to the holding cell.

I barely greeted Seledra when they locked me back in. I wasn't in the mood to talk. Now that I was released from the more immediate tension of the interrogation, I was free to dwell on the fact that I'd been well and truly had.
 
 
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