“I’m sorry,” you say sadly, “I only hope that she can forgive me one day…”

The next day, you put your plan into action.

Whenever you have a spare moment, you invisibly find Shimran while he is alone, and conjure an illusion nearby. The illusion is always the same: a still, silent, staring image of Jareth chained to the iron poles. You conjure it somewhere off to his side or behind him, and you have it dissipate as soon as he looks at it properly.

You often find yourself grinning at random times as you remember his reactions – the pale face, the wide eyes, the incoherent sputtering…

On a few occasions over the next few days, you manage to catch him just as someone else leaves, or arrives. Watching him desperately trying to conceal his reaction from others brings you great satisfaction.

After a week of this, you begin adding green flames to the silent apparition. Shimran spends less and less time alone, and it becomes more difficult to attend to your duties and stalk him effectively.

Luckily for you, you have an able accomplice.

When necessary, you cast an illusion of yourself, in both image and voice, over Ceassia and have her fulfill your more basic tasks, allowing you to focus on your haunting.

Your ability to manipulate objects with your mind proves invaluable in picking the locks on Shimran’s doors and sneaking into his chambers to lie in wait for him. Soon, the charred, smoldering Jareth is dogging his steps day and night, hissing whispered nonsense into his ears.

The only place he feels safe is in the presence of Lord Gudrunn, as you do not dare to test your magical illusions against the Sorcerer King’s experience and might. Still, Shimran is unable to remain in your father’s presence for long periods of time, and he is unable to admit his experiences as Gudrunn would then consider him weak and unworthy.

The long hours and constant use of magic taxes you heavily, but you are heartened by the fact that Shimran looks much worse for wear than you do. After two months of this treatment, he exists in a state of constant paranoia, twitching at the slightest movement, trembling like a leaf the moment he is left alone in a room.

Another month of similar treatment and Shimran is begging Jareth’s image for forgiveness. He even goes to Liara directly and asks for her aid. Naturally, she rebuffs him, and he returns to the castle in a worse state of desperation than before.

He hides in odd corners of the castle in an attempt to escape the phantom, and his work suffers as a result of his constant state of fear.

Of course, there are many times when you are able to fill in for him when needed…

Finally, after 5 months of being haunted by the man he had killed, Shimran’s mind snaps. In desperation, he begs Jareth to leave him be, claiming that he will do anything to gain peace.

‘Jareth’ tells him to kill the one responsible for his death…

Early the next day, you are summoned to Lord Gudrunn’s quarters.

There are several tears in your father’s bloodied clothes, but whatever wounds might have been inflicted on him have already healed. Crumpled next to the door lies the crushed body of Shimran, a wicked-looking dagger clutched in each hand.

Your father turns to face you, staring intently into your eyes. Not once, does he mention, or even glance at, the broken body of one of his sons.

Following his example, neither do you.

You bow deeply before him, and he gives you a small nod in return. You straighten up and approach, brandishing a sheaf of papers that Ceassia had brought to your attention from a case she had handled a few weeks ago while disguised as you.

“My Lord, I have here, a matter that you may find to be rather interesting,” you say as you approach, trying to inject both confidence and subservience into your voice, “There is a man, in the city right now, who claims to know the location of a dragonette egg…”

THE END

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