Ramon’s finger travels slowly down the page. His eyes flick back and forth across the lines, looking for anything that will help him find out more about this shadow-man, accused of sorcery.

He bends over the volume, paying no heed to his aching back, or to the eyes that sting from trying to read by the light of a flickering candle. A tallow candle.

So far, all he has found is a charge for vagrancy, and for begging without a license.

Perhaps the man is not a sorcerer after all. He has allowed himself to be hauled in simply to enjoy a roof over his head. The summer sun is so fierce that no one can survive without shelter. The Black House may be damp, but at least it is cool.

A rustle. Ramon looks up, to see the same white cat enter. She jumps up onto the desk and stands, staring at him with her pinkish eyes. Ramon reaches out, she flinches back, but he presses a firm hand on her back and she submits. He strokes her, feeling the tension in her body slowly relax.

“Do you have a name?” he asks.

She looks up as he speaks, then drops her head to the side, as if in answer.

“Then I will give you a name,” he says.

He thinks for a moment. “I shall call you Necromancer.”

The cat — Necromancer — rolls over to her side and waits for Ramon to resume stroking her. As he runs his palm over her small body, he feels her ribcage. “But beyond a name you need some food, eh? As soon as I am finished here, I will get you a saucer of milk. Though there should be mice enough around here to keep you plump.”

He turns back to the records, but again is distracted by thoughts of home. The sheep in the fields surrounding the priory. The cats, there to keep the place clear of mice. The cows in a pen at the back of the priory, kept for their milk. The birds that perched on Friar Pere’s windowsill, singing to the dawn.

Before he stops to think, he takes a fresh piece of paper and dips his pen into ink.

To Friar Pere,

I find myself unmoored.

He crosses it out.

I am alone in this city but for a cat that I have named Necromancer. She is thin, and I wonder if she is blind, and then I wonder if cats need to see to be able to catch their prey.

Here he is talking about cats and mice. But he leaves the words and continues.

I want to return to the priory, but I will not be allowed to do so until… I do not know when. Until they are satisfied enough that I have done what His Holiness sent me here to do. Or until I snatch enough mice from Inquisitor Tomaso, perhaps.

He stops and thinks.

I know these are not the words that you expect to hear from me, but my spirits are troubled. I know not what to do to soothe them. But I cannot help myself but ask you once again to reveal that long-kept secret of my origins. Here in this island of Mallorca, there are Jews who draw maps, and one of them told me that unless you know where you are coming from, you can not know your destination (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 592)