104 A Suspect*
Rassa jolted awake, sitting up quickly as he took a deep breath and schooled his expression. Closing his eyes to the torment before he regained control of his rapidly beating heart. The Nightmare had plagued him again and again since his escape from Jerrica. Forcing him inexplicably to accept an undeniable truth:
He was a monster, and there was a part of him that liked that.
When he'd recovered his Life Line and become aware of how shut-down he'd become during his imprisonment, he'd promised himself he'd find a middle ground between the monster and the man. To find a space where he could be both merciful and merciless. But it was a lot easier said than done. It was like the Nightmare had developed itself in response to his decision.
"As if you could ever be merciful, not when Chaos rules you so".
Perhaps it was right. Yet Rassa continued to deny it, to try to prove it wrong. He could be merciful. He could be kind. The monster did not have to rule his every move.
But the nightmares were persistent in haunting him.
Rassa dragged a hand down his face, turning to look over at Aegin. The bed was empty, Aegin gone. He focused on his hearing, directing it outside to the living area of the apartment. Two heartbeats, it appeared they were already up. Rassa glanced out the window, the sun peaking halfway over the horizon. He'd slept a little too long.
Rassa dressed quickly, pulling his jacket on and slipping the hood over his dark hair. He pulled on his boots then opened the bedroom door, finding Ebony and Aegin sitting at the table silently, munching on some food.
Rassa could see the hesitation on Aegin's face as the two looked at him, but in the end he still spoke.
"You came back late last night," Aegin said, "Got something else planned?"
Rassa sighed, "Not like how you're imagining".
Aegin frowned, "How do you know what I'm imagining?"
"You've been complaining about how bored you are for a fortnight, it's not hard," Ebony spoke.
She stood, packing away the food she was taking for the day and heading for the door. Aegin sighed, looking at Rassa, "Then...you're okay, right?"
Rassa stared back at Aegin for a moment without saying a thing. Eventually Aegin stood, "Fine, forget I asked".
The three of them made their way down to the docks for another day of work.
Jeremiah kicked another half-burnt crate out of the way, only half a mind to take note that it had once held something that could have made the trading company plenty of money. The only thing he was concerned about in this moment, was finding out what caused the fire in the first place.
He'd been reassured by Hargreeve that when the Dock Master had left the evening before, locking the warehouse doors, all those crates that had flammable contents had been stored safely away from everything else. That left the possibility that the fire had been started deliberately.
But to prove that, Jeremiah would need proof. Especially when handing the case to the city authorities.
It was only after sunrise that the fire was completely put out. By then, the entire Port was well aware of what had occurred in the Token District the night before. Everyone proclaimed it a miracle that only one warehouse had been destroyed. Jeremiah was sure it was a Shadow Magician, but didn't have proof.
He moved through the ruins meticulously, Aaron and a few of his trusted crew members, including Tank, moving through different sections, sifting through the wreckage. They'd yet to find anything significant.
"Anything?" Aaron spoke as he approached Jeremiah.
Jeremiah kept a firm frown on his face, the expression speaking a million words about the Captain's frustration and anger.
"No luck on our front either," Aaron replied, "Perhaps it would be better to call in a Fire Magician, they would at least be able to tell the progress of the fire. That may give us some clues".
Jeremiah opened his mouth to accept the suggestion, but a glint of light caught his eye amongst the wreckage. He moved towards it, his hands blackening from the burnt wood he moved aside.
There, amongst the burnt crates, were several spots of melted glass that had solidfied once more.
Jeremiah frowned, squatting down to get a closer look.
"It's just glass, Captain, we found it elsewhere as well," Aaron remarked.
"Where?" asked Jeremiah.
"At a few spots around the warehouse," Aaron replied, "We figured they were just smashed bottles".
Jeremiah shook his head, "I don't think that's the case, get Hargreeve for me".
Aaron darted off to do as ordered as Jeremiah moved around to find the other area the glass had been found.
"You asked for me, Captain?" Hargreeve announced as he approached.
"What of the stock was cased in glass?" asked Jeremiah.
Hargreeve thought for a moment, "The only thing that was in glass bottles in this warehouse last night were the two crates of Graphton Ale awaiting the transports to Barday".
"Graphton Ale..." Jeremiah thought for a moment, "That's cased in a green coloured glass, yes?"
Hargreeve nodded, "Indeed, but it was placed in the flammable section last night, the evidence of their presence is still accounted for there".
"Then how do you explain this brown glass?" asked Jeremiah, pointing to the floor where the evidence lay.
Hargreeve looked down, frowning, "Nothing in the warehouse had brown glass, Sir".
Jeremiah nodded, "Someone planted it here, if it was alcohol as I suspect, it's likely it was used to start the fire. Get your contacts to search out what alcohols are accessible in Lovolon that come in brown glass bottles. It'll be even better if you can find out if someone has at least twenty bottles missing or bought".
Hargreeve nodded, "I'll get right on it, sir".
Aaron looked at Jeremiah, "If it was deliberately lit...you've got to be having the same thought as everyone else".
Jeremiah looked at Aaron, "There may be good reason to dislike Ewan, but I won't accuse him without evidence".
"Still, he'd be the prime suspect, wouldn't he?" asked Aaron.
Jeremiah recalled the shadows moving the previous night. Ewan, as far as he was aware, was not a shadow magician, and Jeremiah couldn't rule out the possibility that the magician had been purposefully targeting the warehouse, especially considering he only put out the flames that jumped, not the main fire itself.
Still, when Magicians were involved, it was better to be sure before throwing an accusation out.
"Get a Fire Magician out here anyway to look at the ruins. Get as much information as you can," Jeremiah said.
Aaron nodded, "Straight away, Captain".