The oil lamps dotting the streets cast a haunting glow across the chilly roads of Scalvoris Town as Sephira made her way toward Elements Hall. She had been assigned to work with Keim’an Thojo, a Biqaj man who she had trained with in the past. He had been a merciless teacher, but an individual with a sense of humor and a friendly manner. It was a welcome relief to be working with someone who was not a complete stranger.
Element Hall was quiet as most of the personnel had returned home for the night. It was eerie to see the normally bright and bustling building in the late hours of the night. Keim’an was waiting for the young Rupturer in the lobby with his massive arms crossed across his broad chest. A concerned expression was creasing his features as he silently read a sheaf of pages clutched in his scarred hands. As Sephira closed the door with a soft click the Biqaj glanced up at her, his normal good humored smile was absent and she suddenly got the impression that working with the Flame Troops was going to be quite different than her time in the other branches.
“Blackwood”He said curtly, noting her appearance with a sharp nod before passing her the papers he had splayed out in his hands. “We received a courier from the Land Troops a few breaks ago. This individual has been laying low for the past season but he’s out of his hiding hole again and back to his old habits.” The Defier said darkly.
Sephira quickly read through the first document. It was a record from a little over an arc ago of several reports of house-cats being stolen and later turning up dead and disfigured. It was grotesque and turned the woman’s stomach to the point that she had to suppress the reflex to gag. Swallowing with difficulty she continued reading. Apparently the Flame Troops had eventually been called in to assist the investigation when the Land Troops could not resolve the problem. A few suspects were brought in and property was searched but no evidence was found. The beloved felines continued being stolen and slayed until near the beginning of Zi’da when the serial killer Skinny Jim was murdered by a mysterious stranger. Skinny Jim’s corpse had been left hanging from a tree in the town square with a threatening note tied to his neck. The note was written in blood and warned that perpetrators of violence were being watched carefully by the serial killer’s murderer.
The crimes of their perpetrator suddenly stopped overnight and the trail went cold. The Elements closed the case with no more evidence to merit the continuation of an investigation. It was presumed that the killings were the work of a drifter and it put minds at ease that these crimes were not the work of a local resident. A few trials ago the carcasses of two house cats were found near the edge of town; they had been skinned and maimed similar to before the lull in activity. Apparently the criminal had begun his work once again, feeling safe to continue now that a season had passed.
An audible gag escaped Sephira’s throat, Keim’an patted her on the back with a heavy hand.
“It’s alright; try not to think too hard on it". He suggested gently.
“This is the work of a sadist.” She spat, handing back the papers to Keim’an. “What’s changed now? Why have they started again?” she asked out loud to no one in particular.
“The sick bastard must feel like the pressure is off. But things are different this time, we have a lead.” The Biqaj said firmly. “We think he either found the animals at the docks or took them there to drown them. There was fair bit of sand and salt on the bodies. That gives us reason to check there first.”
Sephira cocked an inquisitive eyebow. "Why are they sending us...mages to find this guy? Doesn't it strike you as odd?"
Keim'an frowned deeply. "There is suspicion that this may be the work of a fledgling necromancer."