Emery watched the man pace the padded cell with a strange detachment. He’d been the “ghost” that had so frightened the townsfolk. He’d been breaking and entering people’s homes and barns. They now supposed that the crimes were merely trips to forage for food.

“Poor man’s deranged,” Hassett said softly. “He seems to know you and Miles though.”

“Yeah,” Emery agreed in a voice that hardly carried. His voice grew stronger as he continued, “He… was in hiding for some reason. He left his home and family and… all this, ‘I’m a ghost, fear me,’ stuff was because he didn’t want any intruders. He didn’t want anyone finding him. But what was he hiding from?”

“How do you know he had a family that he left?” Hassett asked gently.

“I know because I recognized him the moment I saw him. I’d have recognized him anywhere.” The young mage looked sadly at the older man as he paced inside the confining cell. “He’s… He’s my father,” Emery admitted. He glanced at his assigned protector, expecting almost anything from shock to anger. This man had attacked them both, after all.

“You look a lot like him,” Hassett said softly. “He looked familiar and now I see why. Whatever happens, Emery, I’m behind you one hundred percent.”

“Thanks, Hassett,” Emery said. His voice hardly carried in the quiet room. “I guess we should be getting back to headquarters no that we’ve been released.” He turned to leave, wincing as his father screamed in anguish. He glanced behind him to see the once proud man cringing against one of the walls, plainly terrified of the doctors who’d come to examine him. Hassett gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze and led the way out of the room.

continued here