“How did it go?” Isturon asked, looking up from some paperwork he had been working on.
Of course that would be the first thing Lanthiriel’s father would ask the first chance he had. She had just returned from her trip from the Ghostlands and went to her father’s office to consult him before even taking her things in the house. She had been surprised the trip had went so well. “Better than I expected.” she said as she sat in the leather chair on the other side of the desk.
Her father raised a brow, “Is he coming home then?”
“It didn’t go that well, father, but he didn’t turn me away either.”
“Oh.” Isturon frowned slightly, “Well, what happened? How is he? Is he safe? Tell me everything, from the start.”
Lanthiriel hesitated. “He– I– You know how patients want their information to be confidential. He asked that I didn’t discuss some things with anyone one else, particularly you and mother. I can’t quite tell you everything, but I can tell you many things.”
Her father nodded once, the slight frown lingered, “Go on.”
“I arrived there mid-morning. A strange man answered the door. I asked for Sanimir and he didn’t know who that was, so I asked for Hethurin Fairsong instead since that was the name on the address you gave me. The stranger said that Hethurin was the owner, and that he’d tell him that someone was asking for him at the door. I waited a long time before he came back. Then he kept asking me questions like what it was about, and who I was, and things like that. Then he left again, for another long period of time. When he came back, he led me to a sitting room.
“The house is big. It’s furnished and looks nice but there was something wrong. I don’t know what it was. Anyway, I sat there and waited, again for a long time. Finally, Sanimir walked into the room. He seemed very serious, which was strange, especially for him. He sat and we did talk for a while. He looks fine physically, although I didn’t examine him and he was wearing a robe. It looked like a new one. One thing I did note while we were talking was he would sometimes start shaking, and it was more than just a little tremor. I did ask him about it, and he only shrugged. He wouldn’t say if he was scared or nervous or what.
“He told me that he didn’t want to be around a lot of people. He called the man he lives with ‘Tik’, and said that he’s the groundskeeper and butler. I asked if he knew his real name, and he just shrugged again. We talked about more things in depth. Most of those, I can’t talk to you about. He’s very secluded right now, and I suggested he try to go places where there might be more people. I thought it might be good for him to be able to converse with other people, even if it’s not about what’s bothering him. I’m not sure how much he talks with ‘Tik’, but I think he needs more people in his life than just a groundskeeper.
“He was angry at first. He stood up. I thought he was going to leave the room or tell me to get out. He told me I had no right to tell him what to do. I agreed. I don’t. I told him it was only a suggestion, and that it was up to him to decide whether he wanted to or not. He calmed down and sat again. We were able to discuss it more. I may have convinced him that it’s a good suggestion.
“He offered me fish for lunch. He said he caught and cooked them himself, which I found rather surprising since I know he loves conjuring his own food. ‘Tik’ cleaned up the plates afterwards. Sanimir claimed to be busy with research, but he promised to consider getting out for a bit and being around other people.
“One of the things I noted is that he insists on being called Hethurin Fairsong now, actually, Magister Hethurin Fairsong. I did ask him about it, but that’s one of the things he asked me not to speak about. However, I thought it was important so that if he does decide he wants to see you and mother, you know what to call him.
“I’ve set an appointment to see him next week if you can hire the transport again. You know this isn’t my specialty, but I’m going to try because he trusts me. Please don’t ask for more information than I can give you. I’ll tell you all I can.” Lanthiriel bit her lip as she paused to wait for her father’s reply.
Isturon leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his desk. After a brief silence, he replied, “I trust you too. I know you’ll do what’s best.”
A knock at the door of the office stopped them from discussing it further.
“Isturon, is Lani back?” a voice called as the door creaked open just a pinch.
Lanthiriel exchanged a glance with her father.
“Go take care of your things. I’ll talk to your mother.”