Conrad woke to the sound of a closing door, and laid still to listen the shuffle of a woman's cloak being laid on a chair. He had spent three days gathering his strength, somehow still not feeling any better. “Again?” He asked. He had told the girl to stay inside the inn for at least until the deadhearts were gone, but she would not listen. She would get herself lynched by a mob or something yet. “You haven't even started looking”, she said, as if she herself hadn't been the one to rush him to bed the first time he had a fit in front of her. The random pangs of pain did not seem to get any better, or even less frequent. He groaned.
“I wouldn't know where to start. You've told me scarcely anything to go by.” He still did not understand why he'd let the girl think he was any good at finding people, but he was not in the condition to tell a truth that would take him out of a meal. Besides, little mistress Kaft was still better off with him than getting her fool head chopped off on her own. She snapped her heel to the floor, as if to remind him she was wearing shoes. “I've told you everything. I don't know what more do you want me to say.”
He strained to roll over in bed to look at her. “How likely is that your brother would try for that... The bounty-hunting thing you said?” Finding the strength to do as much, he stood up and started looking for his clothes. The girl gripped her skirts, apparently doing her very best to be as casual of his nudity as he was. She nodded. “Trying to earn the money to pay his dowry back some other way.” Her voice was tight.
“But you said it was a bounty-hunt that's the most likely”, he replied, grabbing a shirt from the floor and pulling it over his head. Mirarin Kaft sighed, spreading her palms. “It would have to be. I don't know where else he would get such money. And it would need to be big, too, someone notorious, like-”
“The Blue Quill?” Conrad interrupted her. She froze, as stunned as he was. The veil had been ripped from his eyes, pieces connected to each other to reveal a hideous image. He heard the blood rush through his ears, his breath turned shallow, as if in the grips of the deadheart poison. But unlike the warped trance, this was real. How cruel were gods. How vicious, disgusting and gruesome. He sat back down on the bed, eyes locked on the floor. Hours seemed to pass before he had collected himself enough to speak.
“You know”, he started, voice wooden and foreign. “I have seen ugly things. Done ugly things. The world on the streets is not a nice one. You do what you have to do to survive. These seekers, bounty-hunters, whatever you like to call them, they like pulling dirty tricks on each other. Forging bodies, for one.” He paused, but could not bring himself to look the girl in the eye. “There was this man”, he continued, “he taught me a good chunk of all that I know now. And there was this boy... He was after the Quill. Some higher born, not a baron though. We killed him. I killed him. It was an accident. I beat his face into a pulp, beyond recognition. My companion said we should do it. We gave his body in as the Quill. The man's own mother recognised it for her son.”
The confession poured out of him, leaving him not relieved and liberated, but all the more bitterly chained. The air in the room was too heavy to breathe, as if used up, consumed by several people. Him, her, and the faceless man, back to avenge himself. He did not dare to look up. He could not look at her face, out of fear of remembering his. He swallowed, and his voice came out bitter and weak. “The real Conrad ar Gar is probably still out there. And I don't think we will find your brother.”