Ultima Ratio Regum, Scene II

   
Lauren

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren
"Can you tell me more about these crimes? Or, better yet, can I go through your research?"
"Uh, sure. I've got the printouts here..." Rebecca leaned over to open up one of her bag (a big computer case, though it had no computer in it at present) and dug out a sheaf of print-outs. "I gave one copy to Othello, you can have this one if you promise not to let it out of your sight and not to show it to anyone else."

"Mostly I read through virtually every unsolved crime that Scotland Yard's had since they founded it, and looked for patterns -- don't ask me how I got those files, Othello got them." Rebecca said. "So... I don't have proof positive about any one of them, but the total patterns are pretty suggestive."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren
"Do you have any proof he practiced demonology?" Lauren paused. "I mean, I believe you. But if I can bring Lujza proof, I might be able to find out what he's looking for in the Ordo Dracul."
"Some demonic sigils showed up at some of the crime scenes starting in the 1930s." Rebecca said, flipping through her notes. "That's actually the most reliable method of tracing that I found, though I can't swear that there aren't two or more demon-worshippers with the same sigils being used. Anyway, those sorts of symbols don't just show up at murder scenes by accident. So he's either a cultist or a demonologist, and a lot of the crime scenes look like textbook ritual sacrifices. Proof enough?"

Quote:
"Also... Do you know anything about his eyes? Like... Is that..." Lauren gestured vaguely. "..some kind of magic thing?"
"Heterochromia. It might be natural, there's medical conditions that cause it. Or it might be the result of some summoning gone awry, I'm not sure. It's common in people who deal with demons but it's not proof positive one way or another -- some demonologists never pick it up, plenty of normal people have it."

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Erin, Underwood, Cynthia, Mary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"A whole family, killed torturously by someone who was exceptionally strong. We don't know if its necessarily connected, but they share certain similarities in their modus operandi. The perpetrator in our case is a vampire, unfortunately."
"...Damn..." Chavez said after a moment. She had been subconsciously expecting something like this, but even if the supernatural was involved one held out hope that they were cultists or something that could be arrested, tried, and locked away in jail for a very long time. Vampires though... "Do you know who it is? And is there anything that can be done about him?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"'No' is fine, Detective, but d'you think we could get anything out of the Flood kid? Don't want to step on your jurisdiction or anything, but if he's not a perp, he's a witness…"
"If you can come up with some kind of credentials, I can get you in. Psychiatric consultants, maybe?" Chavez said. She knew that Erin had some remarkably thorough links in that profession.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebecca
"I gave one copy to Othello, you can have this one if you promise not to let it out of your sight and not to show it to anyone else."
Lauren raised an eyebrow as she took the documents. "Not even Erin or Underwood?"

She started flipping through the papers. "Are there any photographs or sketches of the sigils here?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebecca
"Heterochromia. It might be natural, there's medical conditions that cause it. Or it might be the result of some summoning gone awry, I'm not sure. It's common in people who deal with demons but it's not proof positive one way or another -- some demonologists never pick it up, plenty of normal people have it."
"Alright. Well, good to know. I was mostly curious because... He disguised himself as a completely different person, but he didn't change his eyes. He just wore dark glasses. It seemed odd, to me, since that's his most distinctive feature."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Det. Chavez
"Do you know who it is? And is there anything that can be done about him?"
"Yeahhh, working on it." Underwood scratched the back of his neck awkwardly -- thankfully not visible over speakerphone. This was tricky business, and disclosure was probably best left to someone who knew Chavez a little better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Det. Chavez
"If you can come up with some kind of credentials, I can get you in. Psychiatric consultants, maybe?"
"You're a lifesaver, Detective. We'll come up with something…Lamothe, can you swing that, or should I ask around?"

"I can identify him by sight, but it is of limited use - we believe he shapeshifts," Erin said. "I can tell you the guise we currently know him in. A Mr. Winslow Lake." She described, in short strokes, the image that Lauren had imprinted on her brain - the potbellied man his bowler hat and his single, glowing eye. Erin stopped there, however. When there were less prying ears, she could text Chavez the description and name of Jacob Wright.

"I am understanding, I think, that if we can prove he is involved with demons, his own kind will deal with him," Erin replied, glancing mildly at Cynthia for confirmation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
"You're a lifesaver, Detective. We'll come up with something…Lamothe, can you swing that, or should I ask around?"
"Ah, yes. I believe I can... 'swing it,' Mr. Underwood," Erin replied. She glanced at Cynthia again. They were going to need quite a lab coat, there.

Lauren

Quote:
"Not even Erin or Underwood?"
"No one." Rebecca repeated. She couldn't pledge Erin and Underwood to keep it under wraps, after all. The jiang shi pursed her lips. "You can tell them about it, but you can't show it to them. Deal?"

Quote:
"Are there any photographs or sketches of the sigils here?"
"Pages 4, 6, 24, 45, 78, and 80." Rebecca said, and as Lauren flipped through to the relevant pages, she found them. Mostly sketches, but police photographs as well, showing not one but two different diabolic sigil. One was the nine-pointed star that Lauren herself remembered, that began appearing from the 1950s to the present, at four different crime scenes, and the other was a kind of curious double-spiral, that appeared in two crime scenes in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The police had thought it a German spy sign.

Quote:
"Alright. Well, good to know. I was mostly curious because... He disguised himself as a completely different person, but he didn't change his eyes. He just wore dark glasses. It seemed odd, to me, since that's his most distinctive feature."
"That..." Rebecca began, frowning. "...is probably significant. Either he's so arrogant that he doesn't want to bother... not impossible. Or he can't. Some shapeshifting spells can't change your bodymass, so maybe whatever power he knows it's not able to change his eyes. Shapeshifting isn't really a vampire thing, is it?"

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Erin, Underwood, Cynthia, Mary

Quote:
"Yeahhh, working on it...You're a lifesaver, Detective."
"That's why I do this job." DS Chavez said dryly. She sighed. "This isn't going to do anything good for my conviction rates, I'm guessing. If it gets this psycho off the streets, I'll cope."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"I can identify him by sight, but it is of limited use - we believe he shapeshifts," Erin said. "I can tell you the guise we currently know him in. A Mr. Winslow Lake."
"I'll run him through the database, see what comes up." Chavez promised. "Maybe it's a regular alias -- if he's got any kind of identification in that name, we might be able to track it."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"I am understanding, I think, that if we can prove he is involved with demons, his own kind will deal with him," Erin replied, glancing mildly at Cynthia for confirmation.
"Yes. If the Prince catches him, she'll have him publicly drawn and quartered." Cynthia purred. "And that's going to be merciful compared to what the Ordo Dracul does if they decide he's a demon-worshipper." Vampire justice tended to be direct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebecca
"You can tell them about it, but you can't show it to them. Deal?"
"Deal," Lauren said, nodding.

She looked through the sketches and photographs of the sigils. "I remember this one... the other I haven't seen. Can I draw copies of these to show to people? I won't tell how I got them, of course."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebecca
"That..." Rebecca began, frowning. "...is probably significant. Either he's so arrogant that he doesn't want to bother... not impossible. Or he can't. Some shapeshifting spells can't change your bodymass, so maybe whatever power he knows it's not able to change his eyes. Shapeshifting isn't really a vampire thing, is it?"
"That's what I thought. And no, it isn't. At least, not shapeshifting into something else humanoid. I know there are some who can turn into certain animals... But bloodlines give people strange powers." Lauren smirked. "At least if that is the case, it'll make identifying him pretty easy."

"Thanks for this, by the way. I think your research is going to be a huge help," she said, smiling at Rebecca.

"Well, that should fix itself quickly, then," Erin replied smoothly. "Ah, Mr. Underwood, perhaps see if you can catch Miss Darrow? We seem to have a chance of doing some investigation."

Underwood nodded. "Roger. Sparky?"

The phone clambered out into Underwood's hand so that the reporter could text.

Darrow--

Have a lead on a copycat killing to the one we're concerned with, & chance for witness interview. Meet up soon to take care of it? Let me know how things are on your end.

Underwood

Lauren

"You can show copies, okay." Rebecca nodded, after a moment's thought. "Just don't tell them where you got them from."


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Erin, Lauren, Underwood, Cynthia, Mary

The entirety of the group gathered later that evening at their base of operations, the Cat's Cradle. So far, the operational success had been decidedly mixed. Sasha had returned to Erin, thoroughly disgusted, and admitted that Othello may as well have fallen off the face of the earth. He had people staking out Piccadilly Circus, all of Othello's favorite haunts, and Sergei had spent several hours tramping through the Hedge trying to find Othello's wagon, all with no luck. When the Cat didn't want to be found, the Cat wasn't going to be found. DS Chavez, meanwhile, had put out an APW (All-Ports Warning) for Winslow Lake, as he was wanted as a 'material witness' in the murder of Connor Flood. Finally, one of Cynthia's contacts had come in.

"So. Who here knows anything about the Brood?" Cynthia did not so much sit into one of Erin's booths as she lounged. She rather looked as though she should have been painted now, possibly with a title such as 'Harem Odalisque in Diner.' She'd slunk off for a few hours to feed, and Underwood made the discover that she looked significantly more human when she had some blood in her system. "They're a kind of underground covenant that embraces demon-worship and submission to the Beast... and London had an outburst of activity from them back when I was Embraced, in the fifties." The same time as Mary Mack's Embrace, one recalled.

Before Cynthia could continue much further, Bat quietly walked up to Lauren and tugged at her sleeve. "Miss Bell is waiting for you with a car outside." She squeaked.

"I have some information from Rebecca... but Othello pledged her, so she couldn't tell me much. She did let me take a look at some of her research, though."

Lauren pulled out her notebook, where she'd jotted down notes from their conversation. "Let's see... Probably Caucasian, embraced or emerged from torpor not long before 1875, skilled with weapons and ropes, good at butchering, probably had a naval or military background, not very educated, knows a good bit about Southeast Asian occultism so probably lived there, very strong and fast, might be able to turn into some kind of animal, charming, charismatic, attractive, sadistic, lives by his own set of rules, practiced demonology..." She rapidly read off her bullet points. "Uhh... Some more psychological stuff: heterosexual but might have issues with it, was probably abused, used to be intelligent but has sort of degenerated, and probably has some kind of god-complex."

Lauren snapped her notebook shut and pulled out two sheets of paper. On one was a sketch of the demonic sigil from Mack's dream, on the other was a new one. "These were both seen at the murder scenes that Lake is suspected to have been involved in."

"Oh, and Rebecca didn't know what his real name is. So... still nothing there."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthia
"So. Who here knows anything about the Brood?"
"I know about as much as you just said," Lauren admitted sheepishly. "Do you think Lake is one of them?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bat
"Miss Bell is waiting for you with a car outside."
Lauren grimaced. "That's Othello, probably. Alright, I'm going..."




 

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