"He is alive, and I want you to bring him to me." Terrin did not turn from the window to face the figure standing beside the door.
"But I saw him die, my lord. How can Nicodemus be alive?" The voice was rough with suspicion. "It has to be a trick."
"It is no trick. Skade holds his spirit in a mirror; he's trapped in there with her cursed spells. When I..." Terrin glanced down at his clenched hands and felt the smooth, unbroken flow of his spell between them. "When I liberated my sons from Iomar, I found him. She's been hiding him in plain sight all this time."
"I don't like it," the dark figure muttered. "I don't like going into Iomar. You know she has wards set against us, don't you? It hurts when I go there."
"The wards are nothing," Terrin growled. "I want you to bring me Nicodemus. I don't care who you have to kill to get him out of that mirror. Do you understand what I mean?"
"Yes, my lord."
"I'd do it myself, but she knows me. She doesn't know you. Go to Iomar. Find Nicodemus, and bring him back in this." He held out a small black velvet bag. "Disguise yourself as one of her servants, perhaps. She has enough of them in that cursed castle."
A gloved hand took the bag from Terrin's fingers and opened it. The dark figure shook a delicate crystal pendant out on the palm of his hand and held it up so it sparkled in the moonlight.
"Trap him in this? How?"
"Blood, you fool. How do you think she put him in that mirror in the first place?" Terrin pulled on the spell and felt his son jerk in his sleep. He smiled. "Kill as many of her servants as you need to; just bring him back."
"Yes, my lord." The dark figure slipped the pendant back into the bag. His form seemed to shimmer in the darkness for a moment, then he stepped out of the shadows and bowed to Terrin, no longer gloved; no longer shadowed.
"I could go as Michael."
Terrin's lips twitched. "And blame him again for something he had no part in? The idea has its merits, I'll admit. She will be furious if she thinks her son has returned to rescue his friend."
"Do we know where he is?" Terrin asked, turning back to stare out the window. "We might need to...ensure his cooperation."
"Once we have Nicodemus, we can find out."
Skade had given up, but Nicodemus had not. He spent hours trying to slip past Terrin's spells; hours he could have spent alone in the gray featureless confines of the mirror as he had for so many years.
She had let him keep his name, but the memories were gone again. He was glad of that; they would have only distracted him and gotten in the way. Without them, he could concentrate on finding Alban and the vampire. So far, his luck had been marginal at best.
Skade's beads were the only link he had to the castle, but Terrin's spells had so far prevented him from linking up to them again. He had managed to see into the throne room where he had last seen Alban and the vampire, but both were gone and Terrin had not returned.
"Have you found them yet?" Skade's voice pulled him away from Leysan and back to the mirror. Nicodemus blinked at her.
"Found them?" Had she known of his search all along?
"Espen tells me we have no true cause to attack Leysan unless we know the vampire and Alban are alive." There were lines on Skade's forehead that had not been there before, and dark circles under her eyes. "I know you're still looking for them, Mir...Nicodemus."
Even though his name no longer caused him pain, he could not help but flinch. "I won't give up." He said this as if he expected her to punish him.
She favored him with a small smile. "I don't expect you to. In fact, I want you to find them."
"I want to find them too," the Ghost said softly.
Skade gave him an appraising glance. "You're not blaming yourself, are you? It wasn't your fault."
"It was my mirror." He closed his eyes and turned away from her, remembering the pain of Terrin's spell.
"It wasn't your fault." Skade put one hand on the mirror. "Nicodemus, look at me."
He opened his eyes. Her face blurred until he blinked the tears away.
"It wasn't your fault."
"I know." He hit his side of the mirror in frustration and watched the spells ripple across the glass. "But it was my mirror. I can't help but feel responsible."
Skade smiled. "If anyone should feel responsible, it should be me. This is my castle. I told them they were safe here."
"You have changed." Skade stared at him. "For the better, I think. Before, you wouldn't have felt responsible for anything."
She had honored his request not to remember anything from his former life, but sometimes he wished she had refused. He knew from his reactions to the memories that they had not been good ones, but they were still a part of him, of his identity.
"I feel responsible now, my lady." He had lost most of his fear of her since Alban and the vampire vanished. "And I won't stop until I find them."
"And if they're dead?" Skade spoke the question neither of them wanted to voice.
"Then I will help you make Terrin pay."
Skade nodded, satisfied. "I don't want you to risk your life to find out if they're alive, Nicodemus. Do you understand me?"
He would risk his soul if he had a chance to free them, but he would not tell her that. He had a feeling she already knew.