The rest of my search didn’t turn up anything. Of course the note, all by it’s lonesome, was quite a bit. I didn’t mention it to Silverlight. I did leave him my card, asking him to call me if he thought of anything that might help, or if he just wanted to talk to me about the case. I promised to keep him informed, but he really wasn’t interested.
My next stop would have to be the Airdancer place. I had learned that Airdancer still lived, or at least had lived, with his parents. Not unusual. I had assumed Silverlight was Hamerfell’s father, after all. Elves are long lived. Most live with their families until they marry.
The Airdancer ‘house’ was actually a small mansion. Nothing like Kringleham, but still a very nice, large place. There was a gate there, with an elf in a guard station. He frowned at me when I showed him my badge, but like it or not, he had to admit me. I didn’t smirk at him, but I wanted to. Damn arrogant ass.
Anyway, as I pulled to the house, there was an elf in a butler outfit waiting at the door. Without a word he showed me into a study off of the main hall, telling me that ‘Mister Airdancer’ would be with me momentarily. I watched as he left, then turned my attention to the room.
It wasn’t lavish, like you might have expected. The room was fairly simple, really, thought the furniture was high quality. The dark wood of the shelves and cabinets spoke of quality without being overbearing. Something I didn’t normally expect to see in the home of a Privileged elf.
“Detective Bonespear, is it?”
I turned, not having heard anyone come in. The speaker was tall, even for an elf, with a flashing of silver in his dark hair. His back was rigid, as if he was holding himself in check. He probably was, considering. Piercing green eyes held mine.
“Yes, sir,” I nodded, offering my hand. He ignored it, choosing instead to walk to his desk, and take a seat behind it.
This was more like the elf behavior I was accustomed to.
“Since my family is in mourning at the moment, I trust you will be brief,” was all he said.
“I’ll do my best,” I tried to keep my voice neutral, “but I’m investigating two homicides. It’s more important that I be thorough, than swift.” He looked at me with scorn, but nodded as if conceding the point.
“I need to know if you son had any previous dealings with Horace Hammerfell,” I said bluntly. No sense sugar coating this, the old man was going to be difficult no matter what.
“Horace Hammerfell. The other elf? Killed alongside your son last night? How long had your son known him?”
“I don’t see why that’s important,” the elf shrugged. “And in any case, I’m sure I don’t know.”
“Well, I need to find out,” I replied. “There was no reason for your son to be in a place like the Lump o’ Coal. You know it, and so do I. I think he was lured there.” His eye brows rose at that. Good. I at least had the old bastard’s attention now.
“Yes,” I nodded, careful to keep my voice calm. “I suspect, though I cannot at this time prove it, that Horace Hammerfell invited your son there. I have a theory why, though it’s just a theory at this point. Any information on their relationship would go a long way toward proving my theory, one way or another.”
“As far as I know, they were social acquaintances,” Airdancer finally answered.
“Hammerfell was Aaron Silverlight’s nephew. Though he wasn’t in our circle, his Uncle was.” I nodded.
“Did the two of them get along, then? Was their’s an acquaintance, or a friendship?” He thought about that.
“I’d have to say it was somewhere betwixt and between,” Airdancer spoke after a brief consideration. “I can’t really say they were good friends, but they were more than passing acquaintances. In particular they shared a love of sleigh racing.”
Sleigh races were the Pole equivalent of sporting races in the World. A highly regulated sport, professional gambling rings, completely illegal, revolved around the world of sleigh racing.
“Was your son a competitor?” I asked. Airdancer shook his head.
“No, I wouldn’t have allowed that. Our family owns a semi-professional team, and Jason was the overseer. In honesty, we sponsored the team to keep him happy. He had some involvement in the sport, but this kept him out of the competition side. Sleigh racing is dangerous, as I’m sure you’re aware.”
“Was Hammerfell also part of the team in some way?” I asked.
“Not officially,” he shrugged. “He usually tagged along with Jason when he visited the track, and went with him to watch the races. He was able to get stable and inner-track access because of my son.” He frowned slightly at that.
“Sir, do you think Hammerfell was using your son?” I asked carefully. “Using his influence to gain access to the racing world?” Airdancer looked at me carefully. His gaze was thoughtful now, not glaring.
“In truth, I had suspected something of the sort. I honestly do not know what my son saw in him. He was a thug and a scoundrel. Even Aaron warned Jason about his nephew.”
“I gathered as much,” I nodded. “Mister Silverlight explained that his nephew had less than desirable traits.” Airdancer snorted in rye amusement.
“You’re very charitable, Detective.”
“Well, yes,” I admitted. “I’m sorry I had to bother you today, sir,” I added. “I know this is a difficult time. If I may, I need one more thing. Would you contact your racing team, when it’s convenient, to grant me access?”
“I can do better than that,” he surprised me. He opened a desk drawer and rummaged around for a few seconds before producing a pass. He tossed it on the desk in my direction.
“This is an owner’s pass. Allows you access to everything and everyone. Use it.” I took the card and placed it in my pocket.
“I appreciate it, sir,” I nodded.
“You can prove that by finding the fairy that killed my son,” he replied tersely.
“Then I bid you good day, Detective.”
I left the Airdancer home headed back to the station. While I fully intended to visit the track, there were some details I needed to nail down before I did so.
I now had several pieces of information. Individually they weren’t that impressive. Together they were starting to paint a picture. I was fairly certain that Jason Airdancer had been targeted for murder. I was equally certain that Hammerfell had set him up, then been killed himself for his troubles. After all, why leave a potential witness alive?
Especially one you would have to pay?
Hammerfell likely needed the money for gambling debts. The unexplained calls to Aaron Silverlight’s home, the vague threats, pointed to collection efforts. Setting up Airdancer might have offered him the chance to pay off those debts. The cryptic note I had found in his room was evidence enough to support that, at least for now. Enough, anyway, for me to justify pursuing that angle.
The sticker on the wall, though, was why? Why kill Jason Airdancer? Someone had wanted the young Privileged out of the way. To open up the position he held at the Electronics Factory? To remove him from the sleigh racing world? Payback for some slight, whether real or perceived?
There were just too many questions at this point. But I had a place to start. I would need more information about Jason Airdancer. I would probably have to visit his father again, in the coming days, but I had enough, for now, to work with. Better to let the family mourn in relative peace if I could, before telling them that their son hadn’t been killed in a random bar fight.
Before telling them that he had been targeted by someone.