Ultima Ratio Regum, Scene I

   
Underwood, Erin

"Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack / All Dressed in Black, Black, Black / She cannot breathe, breathe, breathe / She cannot cry, cry, cry / And so she begs, begs, begs / She begs to die, die, die..." Mary whispered as Erin approached, though the vampiress's eyes followed Erin closely. Her body was stiff and rigid under Erin's arms. She wasn't blinking and she wasn't breathing. "And then what?"

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Lauren

"Evening Darrow. I remember." Cynthia said. One of the more interesting things about Cynthia was how completely she could change her entire aspect and demeanor, as if there was some secret switch in her mind that she could flip. To outsiders, she was the purring sex kitten, all oozing insinuation and flirtatious promises. To insiders, the group into which Lauren had with some effort graduated, she was much cooler and more professional. She appraised Lauren with a disinterested eye, then smirked. "What's eating you?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthia
"What's eating you?"
"Well, what just happened, for starters..." Lauren sighed. "There's more, but... If you know anything interesting about Winslow Lake, or can find anything about him, that would be really helpful. He's a Dragon, and I know the Kogaion knows something. I suspect he's not who he appears to be." She glanced around the room. "I should probably not be here when Birch comes back..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
[Her body was stiff and rigid under Erin's arms. She wasn't blinking and she wasn't breathing. "And then what?"
"Then? We do our best to make it all turn out right. It's what we do," Erin replied, stroking her long fingers down Mary's back. "You and I both know Othello well enough, to know all is not what it seems."

"Come on, dear Mary, let's go home," she said. "I'll pin the wiggly cat down by his ears, and we'll see just what he's up to."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamothe
"I'll pin the wiggly cat down by his ears, and we'll see just what he's up to."
"You and me both, sister." Now that Underwood was out of range of Sheridan, the irritation showed through more -- directed at a random point in the middle distance that Underwood preferred to picture as a cat-man being slapped upside the head.

He gave Mary a pat or two on the shoulder. "You're in good hands, kid. Don't worry."

Then, he tapped his breast pocket and picked up Sparky as he came out. "Cinder, please." A moment, to dial. Then: "Cinder? Underwood. Hey, want to hear something just hilarious?"

Lauren

"Winslow Lake... don't know him, but if he's supposed to be someone else, that doesn't mean much." Cynthia said. She closed her palm, and the droplet of black water vanished -- water or blood, it was hard to say. "Why don't we sidle on out before the Bishop gets back, and you can tell me what does Lake have to do with Birch and who you think he is?"

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Lauren, Underwood, Erin

"I'll help with the pinning too." Mary said darkly. Her voice was much more ragged than usual, though that was an uncertain sign. In any case, she hadn't lunged at Underwood to take his head off yet, though the vampire did twitch a little when he first spoke. Mary Mack's psyche was a little fragile just now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"Cinder? Underwood. Hey, want to hear something just hilarious?"
The phone rang for a while before Cinder opened it, though whether the delay was because she'd been asleep or momentarily lacking in opposable thumbs was uncertain. It was nearly midnight and Cinder tended to sleep in her wolf-form, so the answer could've been both.

"I'm listening." The werewolf said, even as Erin and Underwood emerged out into the streets of London. They were in the City, the old, historical part of the city that had been inhabited since the days of Rome. A few other vampires had already emerged from the Elysium, and undoubtedly more would soon. No one really wanted to be inside when Birch came back. Kindred tended to have well-developed self-preservation instincts.

A few moments later, Lauren came out, dragging with her an absolutely beautiful vampire, the watery woman whom Erin and Underwood had seen earlier. Cynthia of the Mara. Mary waved at them, a half-hearted gesture.

"Hello, Miss Darrow. Joining us in fleeing a sinking ship?" Erin asked, her marble eyes glowing in the streetlights. "We ought to hurry, then - the young man who went after him seemed very fast. Shall we walk this way, perhaps call a cab? I will cover the expense."

"I may go back in to speak with him," Erin noted after a moment, after breathing in the night air. She turned to Underwood, but he was on the phone, so she snaked her fingers around his arms and quietly plucked the letter from his hand.

"I suppose our dramatic reading will have ruined any impressions that might have been left on this?" Erin said, holding it up for Lauren to see.

Dice Roll: 11d10s8e
d10 Results: 10, 8, 2, 9, 1, 1, 1, 2, 8, 4, 5, 10, 3 (Total Successes = 5)
Inanimate Communion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Hello, Miss Darrow. Joining us in fleeing a sinking ship?"
"Yes. Umm... walking or cab... either is fine. Ah... this is Cynthia of the Mara. Cynthia, this is Erin Lamothe, J.T. Underwood, and Mary Mack." She nodded to each of them in turn.

Once introductions were done, she pulled Cynthia a few steps away. "I don't know what Lake has to do with Birch, other than Birch really hates him, which I found out... just now," Lauren whispered. Mack seemed otherwise occupied anyway, but it paid to be careful. "As for who I think he is... a very dangerous, sadistic, and unpredictable kindred."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"I suppose our dramatic reading will have ruined any impressions that might have been left on this?"
"It's worth a try anyway?" Lauren stepped closer and began running her fingers over the paper. Erin was likely right about the public reading being the most dramatic event the object had recently experienced, but Othello had created it, and probably held it for longer, so there was a chance.

Dice Roll: 12d10s8ez
d10 Results: 10, 6, 7, 7, 4, 6, 4, 9, 6, 9, 4, 7, 6 (Total Successes = 3)
postcog (3)

"Pleasure to meet you," Underwood said, taking his mouth away from the phone and going in to shake Cynthia's hand while simultaneously passing off the letter to Erin (in what was, in retrospect, a very complicated maneuver). He pointed to Sparky apologetically, then went back to his conversation with Cinder.

"Sorry. So, yeah: in three days? Guess who's formally accusing the Black Bishop of London of multiple homicide, in your park, if he doesn't get murdered first by the ticked-off Court Reporter he dragged into this mess? Nothing? If you guessed 'Othello'… Yeah. That bit about me murdering him was sarcasm, by the way; how about neither of us murder him. To be clear. But we are going to have words."

He sighed heavily. "I thought you should know, since it's your turf…more on this story as it develops, and all. He mention anything about this to you?"

Lauren, Underwood, Erin

...The letter had begun its life at a library, printed out (and one must assume typed) on public computers. Erin recognized the library, certainly, the Croydon Central Library, with its grand halls and very advanced technology, located in the center of Seelie territory. Then it had been picked up...

...by Rebecca, of all people... who placed it in a messenger bag... and there it dwelled in darkness. Later it was removed, and now both Erin and Lauren could see the small gathering, taking place somewhere in the darkness and the night. Rebecca's was the only pale face there, but they saw Othello, placing his hands upon the paper, and swearing -- "By the 16th, I shall provide evidence as to the truth of these claims..." And they saw a darkly shrouded figure in a violet shawl, and there was the glint of Dana the Tall's sword, and there was Rajani's glittering, glowing eyes... And without so much as a word, they parted...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren
"Yes. Umm... walking or cab... either is fine. Ah... this is Cynthia of the Mara. Cynthia, this is Erin Lamothe, J.T. Underwood, and Mary Mack." She nodded to each of them in turn.
"Charmed." Cynthia said, shaking Underwood's hand and curtseying to Erin. Mack she knew, or at least she knew of Mack, and so she merely gave the other vampire a nod. The water-vampire smirked. "Lauren's bringing me in as a political consultant, so if there is anything I can do to help -- or anything that is specifically off-limits for me, do let me know."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren
"I don't know what Lake has to do with Birch, other than Birch really hates him, which I found out... just now," Lauren whispered. Mack seemed otherwise occupied anyway, but it paid to be careful. "As for who I think he is... a very dangerous, sadistic, and unpredictable kindred."
"Darrow, dangerous, sadistic, and unpredictable describes half the Damned in London." Cynthia sighed. "Myself included. Alright, we know that Birch hates him and Birch knows him. Any other details? What does he look like, how old is he, does he have any other names, was he involved in any prominent events? I need more of a description if we're to find the bastard."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"Sorry. So, yeah: in three days? Guess who's formally accusing the Black Bishop of London of multiple homicide, in your park, if he doesn't get murdered first by the ticked-off Court Reporter he dragged into this mess? Nothing? If you guessed 'Othello'… Yeah. That bit about me murdering him was sarcasm, by the way; how about neither of us murder him. To be clear. But we are going to have words."

He sighed heavily. "I thought you should know, since it's your turf…more on this story as it develops, and all. He mention anything about this to you?"
"Faaaatheeeer... So that's what he was up to? I'll sharpen my claws." Cinder sighed, sounding exceedingly put upon just now. She paused for several moments, getting her memory into working order -- she was still drowsy and/or wolfish in mind. "Who's stupid idea was it to do this in my park?"

"He ran me down a few weeks ago -- a couple of times -- and got me to tell him all about werewolves." Cinder huffed into the phone, a canine exhalation of breath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
...by Rebecca, of all people...
"That is interesting," Erin noted, unable to know if Lauren had seen the same thing. "He seems to have talked Miss Chan into this. Perhaps you could talk to her, Miss Darrow? Obviously, it is difficult to call her..."

Erin looked at Cynthia and Underwood. Maybe Lauren could dictate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"Charmed." Cynthia said, shaking Underwood's hand and curtseying to Erin. Mack she knew, or at least she knew of Mack, and so she merely gave the other vampire a nod. The water-vampire smirked. "Lauren's bringing me in as a political consultant, so if there is anything I can do to help -- or anything that is specifically off-limits for me, do let me know."
"A pleasure to meet you," Erin replied, curtsying back. She was staring, a little bit. It was an artists eye, roving all over the body, instead of fixating on Cynthia's chest. But she was definitely staring.

"Off-limits... we do, in general, prefer to keep our private lives private," Erin responded, placing an arm around Mary's waist. "Listen. I think I had better go back in there and confront Father Birch. I really doubt he is going to simply wait around for the 16th. I'd much rather have him on our side, here, and I'd much rather try to talk to him at Elysium, where violence is forbidden, then... elsewhere, where it isn't." If Birch went berserk now, that was Anna's problem, and Erin didn't like Anna, so that suited her fine.

"I've a bit of magic to keep me safe enough, so hopefully he won't take my head off. Here." Erin pulled a number of notes from her wallet and offered them to Lauren. Cynthia looked exceedingly capable of calling a cab. "You might be able to visit Miss Chan, or possibly catch Begum Rajani or Miss Chambers before they leave. I know you and Mr. Underwood are good at being... unobtrusive. You could probably avoid Father Birch if you wanted." This earned Lauren a frown, for completely unknown reasons.

"Do you want to come with me, Mary?" Erin asked.





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