The term Sier is a formal address from a man to his equal or superior in rank. Sier is interchangeable with sir, but not the reverse.
You can address any male as Sier, though Sir might be considered more appropriate to a nobleman.
Sir is used in the military, both army and navy for officers.
Misier is the formal address to an unmarried woman.
The Elves and I were sitting in the audience. We were waiting for the court case I was interested in to come up.
It involved, an eight year old boy named Evum, who was to be tried for stealing. A ring had gone missing at a jewelry stand and he had been there. A case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I came to full attention as a bailiff came out from the back rooms with his hand on the shoulder of a small blond haired, blue eyed boy and placed him in the dock. Like most slum kids of his age, the boy was naked. The bailiff bowed to the Judge and lifted up the trial document and intoned in a bored voice, "Evum Santar, Your Honor, is accused by of stealing a ring from the jeweler Dalum Reeds. The ring is a silver, copper amalgam, valued at one silver piece."
Evum was a slum kid, Reedes was Guilded and considered a Low Merchant. Normally Reedes would have been believed and Evum would go to jail, since he certainly couldn't afford to hire a Searcher to prove his innocence. But that's why I was here.
I stood up and said respectfully, "Your Honor, as you know I've been visiting all of the law courts, to determine whether all of the people charged with crimes are guilty or innocent. Of the people in the courthouse here presently charged with crimes, Evum is the only one who is innocent. He didn't steal the ring, so he's innocent of the crime with which he is charged."
The Judge frowned at me. He didn't like me very much. I had showed up in his court two weeks ago on a similar errand, he had ignored me and had convicted the man I was there to defend.
I had gone to the King and he had reversed the conviction and had reprimanded the Judge. This Judge at any rate wouldn't ignore me.
Grumbling, he peered at me over his spectacles and brought his gavel down, saying sourly, "Not guilty! Next case!"
I said to Reedes, the now angry jeweller, "I think you should ask your young son some very pointed questions. He doesn't seem to be a bad boy, but he's fallen in with bad companions. I think its time you regain control of him, before he ends up here in court, accused of stealing as well. Of theft, for which he'll be guilty."
He went from angry to thoughtful, as he turned and walked out of the courtroom. I winced a bit. Reedes had seldom used corporal punishment on his son, but his son was going to have a very sore bottom tonight. Well deserved or not, I certainly didn't envy him one bit.
The Elves and I headed out the door of the courtroom. A woman was waiting for me, holding Evum's hand. Obviously his mother. Evum didn't look very happy and I assumed he didn't like to hold hands.
Looking at her, I gave a gasp of surprise. She was the first person I had ever helped as a Seeker. Thanks to her I was what I was, but I had never known her name.
She bowed to me respectfully saying simply, "I thank you young sier, for what you have done for my family."
I nodded, saying, "I'm glad I could help. I'm also glad that this time it turned out a happy ending and not a sad ending like last time. I'm glad that you didn't only have the one child."
She gave a start of surprise saying, "I'm Dina Santar, My Lord. I didn't think you would remember me."
"Oh. I remember you." I looked hard at Evum, saying, "Evum wasn't guilty of stealing the ring, but he has committed other minor crimes. Like I told the jeweller about his son you need to regain control of him or he'll get into trouble again."
She said with a rueful look on her face, "I know, but I don't know what to do with him. If I wasn't holding tight to his hand right now, he'd be off and I wouldn't see him for hours."
I looked at her, speculating. She had two names, most people in the slums only had one. She was obviously from a higher class and fate had cornered him into the slums. I said, "I know you are from a higher class than you have at the moment. What happened."
Again, she said ruefully, "My husband was Guilded, as a Low Merchant making leather goods. He was killed in an accident. We had some savings but it wasn't enough to maintain our status. My four children and I were forced into the slums. Me and the three who are left, get by, though sometimes it’s a near thing."
I asked myself some questions about her. Was she trustworthy and the answer was a resounding yes. Was she diligent and responsible. Again the answer was yes. Was she loyal. Yes.
I asked her, "How would you like to work for me. I'm setting up an office where people can come and ask me for help. I purchased the house next to the inn and construction people are putting doors in between the inn and the house. The top floor is going to be an expanded apartment for me and my family and the Elves. But there will still be several rooms left over and you and your children can live there."
I told her, "The second floor is going to be extra inn rooms and the bottom floor is going to be an office." I giggled, saying, "I need someone to keep it clean. I'm a kid and I'm not very good at it. Besides I probably won't have time."
her hand on her breast and took a deep breath, a glad look on her face,
as she said, "I'd be delighted, My Lord. I won't even ask how much
you intend to pay me. I've heard about you Ari Wiken, you're honourable
to a fault and I know that you'll treat me fairly."
I looked at Evum. I knew that he would continue to get into trouble if he didn't have anything to do. I asked myself, 'Did he have any useful talents.' Yes!! He was a limner! That was the most common of magical abilities on our world. Though, he didn't have much power, he would never be more than a high Apprentice or very low Journeyman.
I looked back at Dina, saying sardonically, "Well it looks like I can use Evum, as well. It appears he's a limner and I can use him to copy documents for me."
Evum looked astonished. I said to his mother, "Let go of his hand." And she obeyed me.
I said to Evum, "Hit me!" He looked at me, then up at his mother and then back at me, somewhat reluctant. So I slapped him and angry, he swung at me. I swayed slightly to one side to avoid the punch that was coming at my chin, bringing my hand up I caught his arm around the elbow and kicked him in the groin.
Not very hard, I didn't want to do any damage. But still he squealed with the pain and began to fold over to grasp his genitals with his one free hand. As he was folding I brought me knee up and stopped it with my knee just touching his nose.
Despite the pain in his groin, he gulped, realizing that if I had wanted, I could have plastered his nose all over his face. I brought my knee down until I was standing on both legs again.
I released his arm and I allowed him to recover, then said, "I just wanted you to realize that if you cause me any trouble, you won't like what I do to you. We're just about the same size, but I'm part Elf and much stronger than you are. I've also been getting fighting lessons for several months from my Eldar Elven bodyguards. I can hurt you a lot without doing more than minor damage."
My reading of Evum told me that this was the way to go, threatening him with whippings from his mother or the Elves would just make him angry and harder to control.
I told him, "And you can't be running off at all hours either. Finding things is my talent and there is no way you can hide from me."
Evum asked, a bit sullenly, "What if I stowed away on a ship?"
I smiled grimly at him, "That could be dangerous. There's no way of knowing how you would be treated when they found you. They might simply throw you overboard, or take you to their destination and sell you as a slave. But if you managed to survive you still wouldn't get very far. If I had to I'd commandeer one of the King's galleys and come after you."
Evum looked astonished at that. That I would go to that much trouble. I said simply, "If I hire you at the same time I take responsibility for you. I take my obligations very seriously."
Evum pushed the papers away scowling, snarling, "I can't do this!!"
I said patiently, "Yes you can. You have the ability, you just have to learn to do it."
A limner as I said was the most common of all magical talents. While they did have a Guild, at the same time they didn't have the apprenticeship system of other Guilds. Once a limner could actually copy a document then it only took practice and more practice to get better. A limner was only limited by his own inborn ability.
I thought for a moment, then asked, "Who do you dislike the most?"
Evum said immediately, "Our stinking landlord. He was always bothering us for money."
I pointed at the sheet of paper, saying, "Well think of this as a court document. We need a copy and when we produce it in court, it will cause your landlord, a world of trouble."
He pulled the letter closer, scowling at it, clenching his fists. Then his blue eyes opened wide in wonder as lettering began appearing on the blank sheet of paper beside the letter. Faintly at first and then more solidly.
He clasped his hands over his head and said, "Hurray!! I did it!! I really did it."
I picked up the copy. It was a bit uneven, some parts were fainter than others but it was still easy to read. Evum would get more proficient with a little practice.
Evum asked me, "What if someone got a copy of somethin' important and tried to collect twice for the some thing.
I took the magnifying glass out of my belt pouch and made a cross sign just above the glass surface to invoke the magic spell on it.
I handed the glass to Evum and told him, "Look at the copy through this."
He did and exclaimed, "Something's shimmering on the surface of the paper. Almost like a glass window when the sun hits it funny."
I explained, "When a limner copies something, first he lays down a magic layer on the paper which as you can see is visible under a certain magic spell. The letters or image are actually copied onto that layer, not on the paper itself. At the same time it's permanent. Not even an Adept Mage can lift that layer." I grinned, "Of course it's still a piece of paper and as vulnerable as any other piece of paper."
I pointed at the paper and told Evum, "That's also your signature as a limner. Every limner's magic signature is different. We'll go over to the Limners Guild now and get you licensed." I gestured at the copy, "That's all you have to be able to do is copy a document. They'll have you do it there and file it so they can refer to it as needed."
"Also while a limned copy is valid as a court document and for many other documents, a limned copy is not valid as a bill, for goods or services rendered."
I was in the parlor of Ervon Wahner's house looking at the portraits hanging on the walls. Wahner was one of the better painters in Galder and I wanted him to paint portraits of my family which I intended to put on the wall of my new office.
Wahner came into the parlor and we bowed to each other. He was taller than average for our world, about six feet tall and he was slender, yet he had a lean toughness about him. His hair was blond like mine yet unlike my straight hair, his was tightly curled in little ringlets. I knew it was natural and he kept it fairly short.
His eyes were a bright gray looking at everyone sardonically. His nose was mainly straight, but obviously had been broken at some point and his lips thin. I knew he had never been in the army but he was clean shaven anyway.
His eyes were filled with mischief as he asked, "How may I help you, Baron Seeker?"
I told him, "I wish to do some business with you. But first things first. It has come to my attention that it's time for The Wraith to retire. Or at least semi-retire. I know he does at times work for the King's Spymaster."
I saw Turvar and Derack straighten, their hands going to their sword hilts as all humor fled from Wahner's face. I continued, "I have examined all of the people The Wraith has killed. None of them will be missed and it's very unlikely that any of their deaths will ever be examined closely."
I sighed, saying, "That may not be the case in the future. I may be called in to examine any deaths that occur. Despite any dangers, I will point to The Wraith if he is guilty of any deaths to come."
I had delivered my message. It was time to move on. I said, "I want to hire you to paint pictures of my family for my office wall."
Wry humor was back on Wahner's face. He had accepted my warning and would abide by it. My ability had told me that he had been contemplating retirement in any case and would have no trouble sticking to it.
I went pale white and I felt sick as I looked down at the young woman on the floor. Her name was Deda Keire, and she had only been nineteen. Just beginning her life as an adult. She had been stabbed three times and her killer had cut off her hand and taken it with him.
I asked questions and found myself there yesterday when she had been killed. There was a knock on the door and the young woman went to the door. She looked through the peephole and then started to open the door. I could see she was uneasy about it.
Either she feared the person who was there or she didn't know him/her very well. She screamed as the door burst open, her hand to her mouth, backing away from the door. I knew she was alone in the house, all of the other boarders were at work this day. The landlady was out, doing her daily shopping. This was the woman's day off and unfortunately for her, her room was at the back of the house and her scream couldn't be heard from the street.
My eyes widened in astonishment as she was attacked and stabbed. I couldn't see her enemy. Yet I plainly saw the blood starting to flood from the three stab wounds as the woman fell to the floor. I couldn't see her attacker or even the weapon he was using.
I just barely held onto my lunch as her assailant cut off her hand and put it in something and it disappeared as well. I was only able to do it because I had seen much worse sights in the past when Seeking.
I gulped and banished my vision, looking up at Varn Welson, the Provost Marshall of Galdar. I shook my head at his hopeful look. I told him somberly, "Same as the others. Her murderer is hidden from me by magic. I can't even see the weapon he uses."
He swore vehemently for a couple of minutes, then shrugged his shoulders, saying, "We've been looking for this monster for the last ten years and he keeps getting away with it. When you couldn't see him in the past I hoped if he struck again, that you could see him do the new murder."
I narrowed my eyes and I said solemnly, "I may not be able to find him now, but I'm going to find some way to do it." And he nodded, whether in belief or disbelief I didn't know or care. I had meant what I had said.
I sat on the comfortable sofa in my new office. With both office doors closed and locked Turvar and Derack were relaxing for a change and actually sitting, though they didn't want to get too comfortable so they were sitting on wooden stools.
I brought my feet up beneath me to sit cross-legged and tried to breath evenly and effortlessly, as I slowly went into a trance state. I hoped this would work as I asked my main question, 'Was there something out there that would let me find the murderer or those women.'
And there was, as I had expected, so I asked myself the second question. 'How do I do it?' Nothing, nothing, nothingness. I wasn't getting any answer but at the same time I wasn't getting any indication that the answer didn't exist.
Abruptly, instead of sitting in my office, I was in another office, furnished much like my new one was but there were subtle differences that told me that I was no longer in mine.
A man was sitting behind the desk looking at me with exasperation. I demanded, I'm afraid not very politely, "Who the hell are you?"
He chucked and repeated my question, in a musing tone, "Who the hell am I. I often wonder myself. But to answer your question, I'm the Custodian. The Gods of the different universes, have assigned me the task of protecting the barriers between the universes. Some knowledge may be allowed to creep through the barriers, because its harmless, but other knowledge which isn't particularly dangerous in one universe can be very dangerous in another."
He explained, "What you want isn't available in your universe. To get what you want, knowledge must be acquired from another world. If I let you simply ask questions as you usually do, you can learn too much information about that world.
I started to protest, "But. . . " and he interrupted me, saying seriously, "I know that you have barriered your mind, Ari, but still the knowledge that you have is part of racial memory. While there is no one, at this time, who can get behind your blocks, to access your memory that doesn't mean there won't be in the future."
Glumly, I realized that he was right. I guess my search was futile. He shook his head and said, "Not futile, Ari, Your project is worthy and you do it not for yourself but to solve a series of serial murders on your world."
He waved his hand around at the office, saying, "This office is in fact only in your mind. Your mind sees it as different only because you know you're no longer in your own office." He tapped himself on the chest, telling me, "This body is only a representation of who I really am as well."
He pursed his lips, saying, "What I can do is physically send you to the world that you will need, which is called Earth. I can give you a limited ability to ask questions. I can also allow you a limited knowledge of their language, say as it existed from a period two hundred years in their past. As you learn newer words, unlike with your ability as a Seeker you will only know generally what is meant. With that type of knowledge it won't be dangerous if anyone can ever access it."
I asked, "Would it be dangerous on that world?"
He steepled his hands, telling me, "I won't lie to you, little one. While danger is unlikely, it isn't impossible."
I told him determinedly, "I swore that I would discover a way to find the killer of those woman. My word is important to me, but even more important are the lives of any future victims'."
He nodded at me and told me, "I'll send you back into your trance, Ari, and tomorrow morning I'll send you into that other world. I can allow one person, but not three so your Elven bodyguards will have to stay home." And I nodded with understanding.
He pursed his lips, saying, "Learn the language like you normally do, Ari. In this case I'll only allow you to get as much as I mentioned and you won't have a headache as you would normally have." He waved his hand and said, "Now go, Ari." And obviously I went.
It was my day off but I would be working a case anyway, though mainly it would be going through a copy of the contents of a BlackBerry to see if I could come up with something to charge our suspect with. My co-workers would be doing the same thing down at the department. If we had to release the owner of the BlackBerry we'd have to delete all copies that we had.
I was watching the sausages that I was cooking for breakfast carefully. I liked them well done, almost scorched and they could quickly become burned if I wasn't careful.
I heard from behind me, "Ah. Those smell good, do you mind if I have some? I was too nervous to eat before I left my world."
Wildly, I looked around, to see a little boy looking at me, with a disarming grin. Straigtht blond hair, large green eyes and delicate features. He looked to be about eight or nine and he was only wearing a skimpy green loincloth and sandals.
I demanded, "How the hell did you get in here. I thought all the doors were locked."
His grin got bigger as he said, "I didn't come in through any of the doors. I'm from another world and the Custodian transported me here."
He was completely in earnest and the way he was looking at me with his clear green eyes with no deception on his face. I admit it was hard to believe, but the door of the kitchen was closed and it tended to squeak a bit. A chore I never seemed to get around to. I hadn't heard it so I was pretty sure he hadn't come in through that door.
He said urgently, "Your food is about to burn!!" and I spun back to the frying pan just catching them in time. Using the tongs I hurriedly scooped the sausages out of the pan into the paper plate.
I said sardonically, "Well you're here, so as a gracious host, I guess I need to feed you. How many eggs do you want?"
He grinned, saying, "Two will be fine." And I went to the fridge and got two more eggs out.
I gave him a bit of warning, "If you want them with the yolks unbroken, you're may be out of luck. Half the eggs I crack I manage to break."
He said, "Here then." He held out his hand and I gladly put the two eggs in it. He set the eggs with the other two on the counter and then with one hand expertly he cracked them into the pan.
Picking up the spatula he watched the eggs cook and just at the right time and just as expertly he flipped them over. When they were done he served two of them onto each of the paper plates I had ready for him.
As we were going over to the table he explained, "My name is Ari Wiken. My foster father owns an inn. Sometimes if the cook is sick us kids have to do the cooking. The girls are better at a lot of things than I am, but I'm the best when it comes to eggs."
"I'm Cody Schwartz, Ari. It's nice to know you." And I gave a little wave and he gave me a bow in return. I had put a loaf of bread on the table but no butter, since I used the bread to soak up the yolks. That is, when I didn't break them and Ari took a slice and as we began to eat, he was doing the same thing with his bread as I was doing. That told me if he was really from another world that they ate the same way we did, which relieved my mind a bit.
His eggs were much better than mine ever were as well. Nicely cooked all through with no runny egg white spoiling the meal.
When I was finished I sat back with a sigh of satisfaction and with a straight face asked, "Ari, will you marry me?" and he giggled, shaking his head no.
More seriously I asked, "I'll suspend my disbelief, for the moment that you're actually from another world and just ask you what you're doing here?"
Ari nodded and told me, "There are many magical talents on my world, which is called Serai. There are Mages, Clairvoyants, Seers and many other. My particular talent is for finding things and I call myself a Seeker. Right now I'm the only one that exists. Others with the same talent are called Searchers. A Searcher is fairly limited. A couple of things they can do. One is to question a suspect in a crime and they can determine guilt or innocence. A second. Say a ring with a gemstone in it is stolen and if the owner has other jewellry made from the same gemstone they can find the ring."
He tapped himself on the chest, saying, "A Seeker is much more powerful than any Searcher. A Seeker like me, can even find a ring if the owner doesn't have any other jewellery made from the same stone. I've done it. I can find the intangible, even the nebulous. For instance on a couple of occasions I've found spouses for people. Once for the daughter of a High Merchant, another time for my father."
Ari shook his head, in annoyance, "I tried to find a serial killer on my world. He or she has killed several women. I see the murder victims but I can't see the murderer or even his weapon.
Suddenly I sat bolt upright in my chair, looking at him with sudden hope. I said urgently, "You’re looking for help to find a serial killer. I'm doing the same, at least my department is. We've got a suspect in custody we think has killed at least eight men. If we can't find enough evidence to book him, we'll have to let him go in the morning. Maybe you can help me?"
Ari chewed on his lower lip for a moment, then said cautiously, "I would be glad to help but I don't know if I can. The Custodian is worried about contamination between the different cultures and I have very definite limits on your world. But I would be happy to try."
Excited, I jumped up from the table, catching the chair as it went backwards. I said with determination, "Well, we can at least try." And he nodded following me into the living room where my computer was.
I flipped it on and sat in my chair as it warmed up, pulling up a second one for Ari. As Windows appeared, I said to Ari, "I suppose if you're used to magic, I probably can't show you anything which will astonish you, but this is a computer. In a sense it has all the information that a book would hold, though in fact it's more like a library than only one book."
Ari nodded, though his eyes were wide. I selected the icon Richard Carson and clicked on it and while the directory was loading I asked, "Is that what kids on your world wear all of the time."
He grinned and said, "Some of them, of the High Merchant class or higher. At least some of the time. Kids of nobility wear it in the privacy of their homes and wear shirts and breeches outside until they're twelve then boys wear shirts and breeches all of the time inside or outside. Girls when they reach puberty start wearing fancy blouses and pantaloons. Kids of the lower classes might wear an undyed loincloth or they might go naked. All kids except for those of the nobility go naked until they're eight, the nobility until they're six.
Ari told me, "I simply had no way of knowing what you might wear. I just figured this was the easiest and I probably could get away with it almost anywhere that I landed. As long as the weather was anything like ours, anyway," and he grinned.
I told him dryly, "Well you're just on the borderline I would think. This is California after all and there's a beach only half a mile away and some kids wear swim trunks almost as skimpy as your loincloth. It's not the usual thing these days with kids, but some of them still do it. But I wouldn't go downtown if I were you."
I turned my attention back to the directory that contained Carson's BlackBerry contents. I tapped the screen at the edge telling him, "This is a screen," and then I pointed at it, not quite touching it. I told him, "Each line indicates a file or a directory. A file is like a book, and a directory contains files or in other words books."
I looked at the thing he called the screen and asked myself some questions, not sure whether on this world I would get any answers. Thankfully I did and I was glad. I had been wondering what I could do to repay this man for any help he might give me.
When I got my answer I asked, "I don't know what Telephone numbers are but the information you need is in Telephone numbers."
He picked up a small device from the desk. He told me, "This is a telephone kid." He pulled up a cover and pointed at several lines of numbers on it. "This telephone responds to a certain series of numbers which are sent through the air. If someone was trying to contact me or I was trying to contact someone you'd press these number until you've pushed enough to form a telephone number." and I nodded in partial understanding, at least about what a telephone number was.
After he put the telephone down on the desk, he moved a little device on the desk and it seemed to move a little white pointer on the screen. He did something and there was a basically a list of numbers on the screen, though there were names as well.
I asked, "What are gee pee ess coordinates."
Cody went bolt upright in his chair and he jumped to his feet, with an exclamation. Moving quickly he went into another room and returned with what looked like a ball with something skewered through the center of it.
He said crisply, "I just knew this would come in handy someday." He sat back in his seat and held out the ball so that I could see that there were maps all over the surface.
Cody told me, "This is a map of the world that you're on." and I nodded.
He put his hand on the top of it where it was white and said, "These lines that go from this white area at the top to the white area at the bottom," turning it so that I could see what he meant.
He told me, "These lines are called longitude and the lines that go around the globe horizontally, are called latitude. People have numbered all of the lines and every place between the lines have numbers as well. With GPS coordinates you can know exactly where you are on the world to within a few yards."
That impressed me. When I had taken the ship voyage with Prince Callan I had found how difficult navigating a ship could be. How difficult it was to know exactly where you were. I could have helped because I always knew exactly where we were on the charts.
If we had been in any danger I would have told the captain, but we had never been imperiled. In this case I thought it was prudent not to reveal what I could do. If sea captains knew that I could always know exactly where I was, an unscrupulous or ruthless captain might try to kidnap me to use me as a navigator.
While the Elves were good bodyguards, they were primed to defend me against ones and twos, half a dozen at the most. A captain might use half of his whole crew and even Eldar warriors could be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Much of what I could know was dangerous, there was no need to add to the danger if I didn't have to.
Cody told me, "I was so tense I had to take time out to calm down a little. Now I'm ready to hear what you have to say."
I explained, "Richard Carson is a collector, like some people collect books, he collects telephone numbers of computer companies and computer tech-ni-cians. That's why he has so many of them in his telephone list."
I said emphatically, "But the list is just a cover for his other collection!! A collection of bodies. All of the bodies and there are twelve not eight, are buried in California. He chooses an isolated place to bury his victims, gets the GPS coordinates, finds a computer company or technician telephone number, actually six of them for each body, using the last two or three digits. If he doesn't already have it in his list he will look until he can add it. If he can't find what he wants he'll start all over again with new GPS coordinates."
I shook my head and said with sorrow, "Then he chooses his victims, murders them and transports and buries them at the original GPS coordinates."
Cody's hands were shaking as he asked, "Can you pick out which numbers he uses."
I told him flatly, "I can. There are thirteen separate series of numbers. As I said, twelve bodies and one for his trophies. All of those he chooses to kill wear rings and he buried all the rings together where he can look at them frequently."
I went to the beginning of the list and began to scroll down the telephone numbers, Ari telling me when I came to a number belonging to Carson's victims.
I opened Microsoft Word, where I could put the numbers Ari found. If I had been at work I had all sorts of fancy computer software which would have allowed me to do it with ease. However, my home computer was three years old.
Ari even told me which victim the telephone number belonged to and I added that information. For instance the first number we came to was for the twelfth victim and was the last of the GPS coordinates. So it was 12,6.
If took us a couple of hours to go over Carson's telephone list. When we were finished we had thirteen lists in Microsoft Word. But we didn't have enough GPS coordinates. we were missing one for the second victim, so we had to go back over the list a second time.
Finished, I saved the precious list under carson.htm and then doc and then rtf so I had three separate copies. Then I went through the list converting the numbers I needed to GPS coordinates in degrees, seconds and minutes. I saved the new file, three times as well and then just sat looking at the list for five minutes.
Then I looked over at Ari and said simply and sincerely, "Thank you, Ari Wiken."
at me and said with obvious happiness in his treble voice, "You're
entirely welcome, Sier Schwartz. I was glad I could help."
I picked up my cell phone from the desk and dialed my bosses private number. He answered with a distracted, "Hello. Seltzer here."
I said with deep satisfaction, "Tom, I figured it out. Carson was hiding GPS coordinates in the telephone list in his BlackBerry." Tom didn't say anything but I knew I had his complete attention.
Tom asked, "How did you figure it out?"
I grinned and winked at Ari and he grinned back, as I said, "Just a hunch, Tom. I'm pretty sure I have the right numbers, though I'm pretty well going with intuition here. However, I'll give you the list and you can have someone check on the first one. If you find what I think you'll find, then you check the rest of them out."
Tom didn't say anything for a few seconds then finally said, "Well you've had some pretty wild hunches in the past that have panned out. I'll take a chance. Lord knows we're not getting anywhere with anything else. I'll get someone on it right away."
When I hung up and put down the phone I started teaching Ari about fingerprints.
Cody asked me, "What level of civilization does your world have."
I asked myself the same question and told him the answer, "It's a bit of this and a bit of that. In medicine we're probably as advanced as you are through our Healers. The general society itself is probably medieval, since we're basically a feudal society, with nobles, peasants, serfs and slaves. However we have a larger merchant class than your medieval world had. Our plumbing probably isn't as advanced as yours, but my ability is telling me it's as advanced as the Romans."
I grinned and told him, "I have absolutely no idea of what some of those words mean, others like plumbing I understand. I'm just telling you the answer I got."
He nodded, remarking, "Then I suppose that you don't have cameras."
I said truthfully after I asked a quick question, "I don't know what cameras are but I do know that we don't have them."
I sighed a bit. Cameras were so useful in my work. Oh well, "Forget about cameras then." I got up and got some things out of my fingerprint kit.
I came back to the desk and sat down. I told Ari, "If you look at the tips of your fingers there are marks on them."
He nodded, telling me, "I know. Our society is only partly, ah yes, partly literate. Many people can't read or write. A thumbprint is often used in that case to identify someone, on documents.
That was good. If they used thumbprints in that manner, they obviously knew about the differences between people.
I showed him, the half a dozen fingerprint cards I had gotten out of my kit. I said, "These are the fingerprints of different people. It would take days perhaps weeks or months, to get into all the technical details. But you say your magical talent is for finding things. One of these belongs to me, can you tell which is mine." and I handed him the cards. The cards all had their names inked out and would have been shredded and thrown out the next time I cleaned out my kit. They did have a notation number which I used for personal reference and I knew which one was mine.
I was pretty sure Ari could, since he had been able to find the GPS coordinates pretty easily. He said confidently, after looking through them once, "This one," and he handed it to me.
As I had expected he was right on. He took it back from me and looked at it more closely, saying, "They're very small and hard to see, but. . . Yes I think this would be tangible enough that even a Searcher could find a match."
Ari cocked his head to one side looking at the card, chewing lightly on his bottom lip. He asked me, "It would be easier to tell the difference if it was larger?"
I told him seriously, "You can't just copy these by hand. It would be impossible."
He shook his head, saying, "Not by hand. The most common magical talent on my world is that of a limner. That's how we produce our books. They can copy almost anything with letters or an image, they can even copy the grain of the bark of a tree if they wanted." Ari gave a grin, "Not that there's much demand for the bark of a tree. They can also enlarge or shrink it to any size that we need."
I asked incredulously, "What about counterfeiters."
his head, telling me solemnly, "Not a problem. What happens is
that a limner produces a magical layer on the surface of the paper and
the letters or image are laid down on that magical layer. Under a simple
spell, the copy shimmers, so there is no way that the fact it's a copy
can be hidden."
Ari told me that they already used ink for thumbprints so that I could skip, just showing him on the fingerprint card where the thumbs and the fingers went. After that I showed Ari how to use the powders from the kit to delineate the fingerprint and make it visible. A problem developed in that they didn't have tape of any kind.
After we realized the problem, I thought for a moment trying to think of something they could use on his world.
Ari slapped himself on the forehead and said with a grimace, "Stupid!! I was just talking about limners." He pointed at the fingerprint he had made on the desk which I had revealed using the powder from my kit. "A limner can easily copy that to a sheet of paper without any problem at all."
He jumped up and spun around several times in glee, chanting, "I found a way. I found a way." And I grinned at his antics.
I held up the powders from my kit and asked him, "Do you want to take these powders with you. I can always get more."
Ari shook his head, telling me, "You told me that a fingerprint was formed from the sweat and oils on the finger. With that knowledge, I can get a spell from a Mage that will turn the resulting fingerprint black on any surface I chose and a limner can copy it to a sheet of paper."
He told me, "Once I get fingerprints from the crime scenes and even the oldest site will still be vacant, maybe even locked up. People consider a place where someone was murdered bad luck, especially if the murderer has never been found. I can Seek the owners of those fingerprints. In this case if I can find him, he's not the one I want, so I don't even have to see him to eliminate him. Once I find the fingerprints of a person I can't find with my talent, then he's the one I want. He'll probably have hundreds if not thousands in the place he works and where he lives."
After that we settled down to wait because he told me he wanted to know what happened with Carson before he returned to his own world.
I got out my chess set and it appeared that Ari wasn't the first visitor from his world because they had chess there as well. It was virtually the same game as we had, the only difference on his world was that pawns could only move one square forward on the first move, therefore pawns couldn't be captured en passant.
I wasn't a great player, I probably wouldn't even be considered a good player, but I enjoyed playing. Ari was at just about my level and the games between us were competitive. We had time for three full games and we were just starting the fourth when my boss called.
I took out my cell phone when it rang and brought it to my ear. I said, "Hello."
Tom said immediately, "We found a body at the first location, so we've got Carson. I need everybody at the moment to find the others and do Forensics on the scenes so I'm calling you in." a pause and then a quiet, sincere comment, "Good job, Cody. Now get in here." And he hung up his phone.
Tom didn't give out praise lightly. You had to earn it and I was basking in it. I knew Ari was really responsible for it, but nobody would ever know that fact and I was quite willing to bask in the reflected glory that would never be his.
His green eyes were wide with interest and I told him, "They found the first body, kid. My boss called me in to help find the others so I've got to go."
I held out my hand and he grasped it with his small one. Like my boss I said with quiet sincerity, "Thank you, Ari Wiken. With your help we'll put away a dangerous man. I just hope what I taught you will help you get your serial killer as well."
I nodded, telling him, "I hope so as well." I grinned, saying, "Just one trip to another world and maybe two murderers will be found." I stood up as he did so. He put on a jacket and the room started to fade from my sight. I gave a quick wave and he returned it and then he was gone and I was back in my room on the third floor of the inn.
Derack and Turvar's faces had looks of anxiety on their faces which quickly began to fade as I appeared. Derack always the more emotional of the two, ruffled my hair in greeting and affection.
I also had a message from the King that I had been expecting. I was a bit uncertain which deserved my attention first, but I decided the serial killer could wait for a couple of hours.
I looked gravely at Mira Handon. She was in her mid-thirties but looked ten years younger. An attractive woman with blond hair and green eyes. Her face was made to smile but it was frowning now.
I said, "Mistress Handon. I could have answered your question when you asked it three days ago. I couldn't do so at that time because I needed to ask the King's permission to tell you what happened." and she showed some apprehension, wondering what the King had to do with her husband's death.
I told her seriously, "When the King's Spymaster, became aware of my abilities, he used me to find all of the spies in Galan. Sensibly once I had given him the names, instead of arresting them he simply had them watched."
Her eyes had gone even wide with apprehension, at my comments and she put her hand over her heart. I explained, "The King evoked the seldom used, Right of Judgment against your husband and one other."
She burst out, "The Right of Judgment is only used for High Treason. Was my husband a traitor?"
I shook my head, telling her, "Actually, he wasn't. He was a loyal citizen of his country. Regrettably, his country wasn't ours and he was spying for his nation."
I frowned with disgust, though not at Curdin Handon, saying, "In a way, I almost admire him. Unfortunately for him, he was too good at his job. He managed to turn a high level government official who gave him information which could have been very damaging to Galan."
I told her, "Again, unfortunately we weren't quick enough to intercept the information. Once he had it in his possession and knew the contents, we only had two choices. Arrest him and the traitor or have the King use his Right of Judgment and have the two men assassinated. It was felt better for all concerned that they should have an accident. "
Mira was unable to keep standing and at this point, she sank down to a sitting position, on the sofa behind her. Her face had a sadness about it, but at the same time, she nodded in understanding, saying, "If he had been tried on charges of High Treason and convicted then his estates would have been confiscated, leaving my two sons and I nothing."
I nodded and said gently, "In this case the King was being kind in the only way he could be. It was unfortunate that you suspected that the death wasn't accidental. Otherwise you would never have known that you husband was a spy."
Mira shook her head, saying, "No, Ari. I'd rather know the truth, no matter how hurtful it might be."
I nodded with respect, then said, "I can tell you he did love you and your children. His first loyalty, however was always to the country of his birth."
I was relieved that, that unpleasant chore was behind me. Count Onlae Fharson, who was both my friend and the King's Spymaster, knew her quite well and had told me that she was a pragmatic individual. He had said that while she would feel sorrow for what had happened at the same time she would understand it. I could see that he was right.
The Elves joined me in the antechamber as I left the living room of Mistress Handon's private quarters. Certain private matters had to remain private, even from the Elves.
I told them, "Time for the Provost Marshall now."
The Provost Marshall's office was on the other side of the city, almost a mile away from Mira Handon's house, but it was a nice day for a stroll.
We were quickly brought into Varn Welson presence. I bowed and the Provost Marshall, waved me to the chair in front of his desk. His private secretary was murmuring words into his ear.
He nodded a couple of times and then said crisply, "See to it!!" and he turned his attention to me. He asked me, "Hopefully, you have good news for me, Ari?"
I nodded and told him about fingerprints and finished with, "I plan to go to a Mage to create the spell that will reveal fingerprints to anyone who uses it." I grinned, "It's probably going to be expensive and in this case since it's for the Crown, I felt that the Crown should pay."
He nodded a bit reluctantly. I knew he was a bit of a penny-pincher, as they said on Earth, but he spent money when it was necessary. He got up and walked over to the corner where there was a huge lockbox. He was in his mid-fifties but despite his age he moved freely and athletically. He had been a formidable fighter in his youth and he probably hadn't lost much in the intervening years.
The lockbox was at least five feet high and three feet wide, it probably weighed four or five hundred pounds of deadweight iron. It would take some strong men to even lift it. He unlocked it and took out three electrum nobles. Three hundred gold nobles in total.
He handed it to me, telling me to, "Get a receipt." Knowing my reputation, he didn't bother to tell me that he wanted any money over and above what the spell cost to be returned to him.
to the best Mage in Galan, Pellan Rethan, also reputed to be one of
the best, if not the best in Galdar itself. It took him almost a week
to devise the spell to his satisfaction and it was as expensive as I
had expected. A week of an Adept Mage's time didn't come cheap. Pellan
charged me two hundred and fifty gold nobles for the spell. I got my
receipt and I returned the remainder to the Provost Marshall.
I had decided to start with the rooms of the last victim, as the one most likely to produce results. The Mage had spelled a copper rod two feet long. Now that the spell had been created it wouldn't be very expensive to have additional rods spelled, but that was up to the Provost Marshall
You just moved the copper rod a few inches above a surface, where you wanted to find fingerprints and any that were there would just appeared. Pellan had actually improved upon what I had wanted. As they appeared the fingerprints would be in a separate color for each person. So if you had five people who had contributed fingerprints you would have five different colors, which would make it easier to tell them apart.
Evum was looking smart in his new shirt and breeches. He was now Guilded as an Apprentice in the Limner's Guild. He was now considered a Low Merchant and he had brought his family back up with him into his new status.
Evum had become much more serious since he had become an Apprentice. I had also hired a Journeyman limner called Dwenn Forte, since I didn't know how many fingerprints we would find. Evum was limited to about a hundred copies right at the moment. We had several reams of paper with us as well.
I had decided that we would be methodical as well, we'd find every fingerprints in the two rooms the woman had lived in. Only after we had all of the fingerprints would I start matching them.
But it was going to take hours and since rank has it's privileges I was going to turn the task over to the two limners after I gave a quick demonstration of the copper rod.
Which is in fact what I did and then I left them to it, while I went back to my office.
When they came into my office several hours later, they had quiet satisfaction about their task. They both know that their efforts would reveal a serial killer.
They had already separated the leaves of paper into a separate pile for each person. There were a total of fourteen people who had left their fingerprints in the two rooms.
I began to match the fingerprints to the actual people. I had asked the limners to make the fingerprint, half the size of the standard sheet of paper, which was ten inches by seven inches. There was room to put information about the people I found on the bottom half of the leaf. Once we found our murderer, I intended to give the results to the Provost Marshall with a strong recommendation that he begin to build up a database of fingerprints. A word from the English of the other world. While we didn't have computers as Earth did, we did have Searchers.
The first ended up being the victim, Deda Keire and as you would expect, she had left more fingerprints than anyone ease. Three were of children. Her two nephews and a niece. Her sister, the children's mother. One was of her boyfriend, another much earlier in date older was of another boyfriend.
I knew that because the Journeyman Dwenn Forte could tell me that they were overladen by many others. Another was of the children's father and there were only a few. One was of the landlord, again only a few.
Four of them, two men and two women were of Deda's friends. The fourteenth, I couldn't find a match for this man so he was the one. I exclaimed, "Found him." Holding up the sheet of paper in triumph. Evum cheered, the Journeyman broke out into a huge grin.
I asked myself the needed questions. I had figured the biggest concentration of this person's fingerprints would be in their place of business or where they lived.
It appeared in this case that he also worked where he lived. The sign on his front door simply said, 'Glar Turpan, Master Class Mage'.
somewhat alarmed. Even an Apprentice Mage could be dangerous At least
he wasn't an Adept. I needed the Provost Marshall and without doubt
some high powered Mages. One of the ones I wanted was Pellan Rathin.
Luckily he was Guildmaster of the Mage Guild and a rogue Mage was one
of the responsibilities of the Guild so this wasn't going to cost the
Provost Marshall anything. That at least should make him happy.
We were across the street from Turpan's house and Rathin was hiding us from him. I could tell he was angry. There was me, the Elves, the Provost Marshall, and three Adept Mages aside from Rathin. City Guards wouldn't have done us any good at all, so we hadn't brought any.
Besides, the only place that had facilities to imprison a Master Class Mage was the Mage Guildhall itself. I was a little uneasy about being here, but like when I had gone to Amandara, through the Travel Gate I felt responsible and needed to be here.
Pellan Rathin said crisply, "Let's go!!" and with him and the three Mages in the vanguard we started across the street. They had a shield surrounding us and we only got halfway across the street before it flared into ruby brilliance.
The Mages halted briefly as they strengthened the shield then began moving again. I wondered how they intended to get through the door but Pellan just made a gesture and most of the wall just disappeared. It revealed Turpan, standing stock straight, staring at us with hate.
He made a gesture with his hand and our shield flared again, then all four of the Mages gestured and suddenly Turpan was also surrounded by a shield. This one wasn't for protection but to cage him in.
Pellan banished our shield. It was no longer needed. Turpan had pretty well indicated his guilt by fighting back. If he had been innocent, he would have been glad to have answered questions under a truth spell. Pellan did question Turpan under a truth spell. The one he used was normally, hideously expensive. That's because it didn't require the suspect to answer any questions to get to the truth. And that was good because Turpan refused to talk.
It took several hours to find out about all the murder victims. Once he had all of the evidence, Pellan Rathin pronounced sentence. As Guildmaster of the Mage Guild, he was also a Judge and he sentenced Glar Turpan to be executed.
I didn't have to be there when he was executed and I wasn't though the Provost Marshall was. I was occupied at the time anyway.
The preserved hands had been found hidden by a spell in Turpan's house, and I was at their funeral. Why would you hold a funeral for hands. Well some of the religions say that you can't go to Paradise if a limb has been removed. That's why when a limb is amputated it's burned. Others say you do go to Paradise. Just to be on the safe side I bought a Scroll of Passage for each of the hands and consigned them to the fire.
As I watched them burn, I was content. I had kept my word. I had found a way to find their murderers. They could rest easy.
|Aravis - capital of Sentoria|
|Arden, Fain - page in Count Onlae’s household|
|Begas Way - street on which Corkrill Inn is on.|
|Borgun - Fedra guard at Count Onlae’s town house.|
|Canndar - God of Wisdom, whose temples are libraries and his Priests teachers, though there are many private teachers as well.|
|Carn, Samar - liegeman of the Queen of Sentoria, one of the two Elven Kingdom north of Galan|
|Carnan, Andas – Judge in Galdar.|
|Carson, Richard – Serial killer on earth.|
|Carth - groom and carriage driver for Ari’s grandfather.|
|Clandar - Small Galan city, two hundred miles north of Galdar. Being forty miles up the Delhane River, which is navigable up to the city and for twenty miles north-west of the city.|
|Corkrill, Adran - daughter of Gendon, 11|
|Corkrill, Daisel - 5 year old son of Gendon.|
|Corkrill, Devar 7 old son of Gendon Corkrill|
|Corkrill, Gendon - innkeeper. Black eyes, black hair.|
|Corkrill, Gerrit - 8 year old son of Gendon Corkrill|
|Corkrill, Glena - innkeeper’s daughter. Thirteen.|
|Corkrill, Mayon - Gendon’s grandfather.|
|Corkrill, Ortone - cousin of Gendon’s. Owned the inn before Gendon.|
|Corsome, Marta - childhood friend of Gendon’s who by the end of the story has agreed to marry him.|
|Crymaya - Ancient’s langugage.|
|Dark Underworld - equivalent of hell and is known by both terms.|
|Delhane River which is navigable up to the city of Clandar and for twenty miles north west of it.|
|Derack - Elven guard in Queen Caria’s household. One of two guards she assigns to protect Ari.|
|Derwin - The Wraith’s contact point at the Inn of the Heavens.|
|Dysan - a Healer|
|Eldar - a warrior sect, producing some of the best warriors on the planet.|
|Elowist - Borgun’s spirit name.|
|Enda - heaven or paradise|
|Endira - 8 year old daughter of the High Priest of the God of Wisdom|
|Esar - one of the two moons.|
|Escalan - High Priest of the God of Wisdom, Canndar. As such, Chief Librarian.|
|Evalla - second and larger of the two moons|
|Fedra - a nomadic people who provide guards for some important people.|
|Fharson, Count Onlae - cousin of the King. 30|
|Fharson, Tannyl - The count’s eight year old daughter.|
|Fharson, Tarbel - The count’s eight year old son.|
|Flynar - Desia’s cousin|
|Forte, Dwenn – Journeyman Limner.|
|Galdar - Capital of the Kingdom of Galan|
|Gatekeepers - Light Gatekeepers and Dark Gatekeepers.|
|The Gatekeepers determine whether someone can enter Paradise or the Dark Underworld.|
|To appear before them you must have a Scroll of Passage or by your actions earned the equivalent.|
|Gatekeepers - The Gatekeepers decide who gets directly into Paradise or the Underworld or whether they return to the Wheel of Life and Death.|
|Guesting Room - room in a noble or High Merchant house that is used to greet and entertain guests.|
|Handon, Curdin – Husband of Mira Handon.|
|Handon, Mira – Wife of Curdin Handon.|
|Harwon - Captain of Guards for Count Onlae Fharson|
|Hospital of Rethes - Rethes, Goddess of Healing. Maintained by her priests.|
|Inn of the Heavens - Galdar Inn.|
|Ithan - God of Death. All funerals performed by his Priests.|
|Karan, Wellan - 17 ½. Marries Count Pharson|
|Karan, Yaran - Wellan’s father, a High Merchant|
|Keire, Deda – Most recent victim of the serial murderer.|
|Kellen - City Guard. His area of patrol includes Corkrill Inn.|
|Kesen - small Galan port city fifty miles to the north of Galdar|
|King Aglan - King of Galan|
|King Jalern - King of Tabana|
|losir - sleeping drug. Fast acting.|
|magwan - herb that when burned keeps away biting insects.|
|Millen - Tarbel and Tannyl’s nursemaid|
|Misier - Generally used as a respectful title either to, or about unmarried women not of the nobility, but also an address to those woman when you don’t know what their class is. For instance if you know that a woman is the wife of a Baron you could address her as Baroness.|
|At the same time, it would be quite correct to address her as Madame, Ma’am, or Mistress. If you didn’t know a woman’s married status you would use Misier.|
|Mynan, Asshur - King Aglan’s deceased second wife|
|Orinis - non-addictive drug, an overdose is fatal unless treated immediately.|
|Patras - servant in Admal Talgonn’s household|
|perdan - type of vegetable, similar to Earth’s potato.|
|pliksa - childhood ailment, usually not dangerous, but because Ari had been close to starving himself to make sure that he could pay for the Scroll of Passage for his father and physically was quite weak, it could easily have killed him.|
|Prince Andrell - King Aglan’s heir. Thirty-three.|
|Prince Callan - Prince of the North. Third born son of King Agnal. Thirty-two years old|
|Quallan - Goddess of Justice.|
|Queen Caria - Elven Queen of Sentoria.|
|Reedes, Dalum – Accuses Evum of stealing a ring from him.|
|Rethes - Goddess of Healing|
|Rethan, Pellan – Adept Mage. Considered one of the most powerful Mage in all of Galdar.|
|Santar, Dina – Evum's mother and Ari discovers that she was the first person he ever helped as a Seeker|
|Santar, Evum – 8 year old boy. Ari hires his mother to be housekeeper and as the boy is a limner hires him to help keep records.|
|Schwartz, Cody – Forensics expert on Earth.|
|Sentoria - Elven Kingdom to the north of Galan|
|Seltzer, Tom – Cody Scwartz's boss at the Forensic Lab.|
|Serai - Ari’s world. From an Ancient’s word meaning Globe.|
|Sier - derivative of sir, but used as a respectful title either to, or about men not of the nobility|
|Stiren Arvan - one of the first Seekers, two thousand years before present.|
|Tabana - Elven kingdom|
|Tajen - Chief town of the Wolf Clan.|
|Talgonn, Admal - High Merchant former general in the army. Hires Ari.|
|Talgonn, Elgann - Admal Talgonn's, wife and cousin of Wellan|
|Tarnac Ocean - ocean between the continent Galan is on and the one which Adanal is on.|
|Tarquin style - covered head to foot in lightweight wrappings.|
|Tavit Larden - Low Merchant Guilded leather worker. 23|
|Tegra - second city in the kingdom, located 100 miles to the northeast. The major seaport of the kingdom.|
|Telandar, Acurn - head of the Telandar clan and the King’s Chancellor or Prime Minister.|
|The Wraith - an assassin|
|Tillen - King Findar’s kingdom|
|Tilma - serving maid at an Inn.|
|Turpan, Glar – Master Class Mage.|
|Turvar - Elven guard in Queen Caria’s household. One of two guards she assigns to protect Ari.|
|Wahner, Erwon – Painter.|
|Wanden River - river which runs through the clans territory.|
|Welson, Varn – Provost Marshall of Galdar.|
|Wiken, Ari 10 at beginning of story. Blond hair, brown eyes, slight and fragile looking, but is much stronger than he looks.|
|Wiken, Artan - Ari’s Father.|
|Wiken, Selmann - Ari’s grandfather and the Guildmaster of the Searcher’s Guild.|
324 days per year. 27 hour day. 12 months of 27 days. 3 weeks of 9 days per month. 8748 hours on Serai compared to 8760 hours on Earth. Since the year is only 12 hours different from Earth, all ages are exactly the same.
of Sen the day of the summer solstice.