Notices


Ultima Ratio Regum, Scene II

   
Erin, Lauren, Underwood, Cynthia, Mary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren
"Do you know anything else about either Locke or Armand?"
"I'd have mentioned, Darrow, if I could." Cynthia wrinkled her nose. "I can dig up a few of their old haunts if you want, but they're fifty years out-of-date... Better than nothing."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Ha. That liar. Begum Rajani mentioned the name 'Jason Locke' right in front of him, and he claimed not to know it. They all fought in the Great Rebellion in India, it seems," Erin noted. She seemed mildly amused. "He was very quick to start prowling about when I simply mentioned Winslow Lake's name, as well. Odd, wouldn't you say, if he had no reason to be suspicious?"
"Alistair Niall wouldn't tell his own mother truth if she asked on her deathbed." Cynthia said firmly. While the Acolyte was marginally fond of Solomon Birch, this didn't extend to the other Lancea et Sanctum elder of note. "He's got half the secrets of London rattling around in his skull, and he doesn't share them for any reason."

Mary fidgeted a little. She liked Niall, he was always a gentleman towards her. She couldn't really argue with Cynthia's characterization of him, however. "Does Rajani know?" She asked instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Do you want to come, Mary?" Erin asked, seriously. "We... how large is this car, precisely?"
"Not really." Mary sighed. She was having a bad day really. "But I probably should...?"

"It's a van." Bat said, looking around at the gathering. Whatever she thought of it, she kept her mouth firmly shut. "Smaller than Mr. Morozov's, and black. With black windows in the back too."

"What a wonderfully inconspicious vehicle." Cynthia murmured, examining Bat as though trying to figure out if she was edible.

"It has a sticker for a pizza parlor on the side." Bat added. This prompted Cynthia to laugh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"Hello, Mr. Villeneuve? Jack Thomas Underwood, here -- you know, from the King affair? Yeah! I know, long time no talk to. Listen, Mr. Villeneuve, much as I'd like to catch up, I'm on the clock right now: got a cold case in London that me and Darrow are running down, from when Perish was on the beat. Some of his angle on it, too. Is the guy around? I dunno if he knew we were going to call, or what…"
"Ah, bonjour, m'sieu. You have caught me at the very moment that I am completing the evening meal. Tarte flambée, from Alsace, a moment, it is possible that it shall burn..." René hummed merrily in the background as pots and pans clattered somewhere in the distance. "I am very sorry, but Jonathan cannot speak with you -- he is in the hospital at the present, with the pneumonia. Our souls, they are immortal, but our bodies, alas, are less durable. He did leave a few notes for when you called -- a moment, I have them here."

"Bah, I wonder if his handwriting is a defense against unwanted clerks. He writes that he was never assigned to the Family Annihilator case for reasons of -- intereference, either political or of the Third Eye -- however, he has left a few pieces of advice for you." René shuffled some papers, muttering in French as he did so. "First, that the villain always returns to the scene of the crime. Second, that criminals are always drawn to the underground. Third, that you should string up the cat -- I think that is an opinion, not a prophecy -- and fourth, you should always have the fire extinguisher with you."

"Has this been of any help?
" René asked, putting the papers down.

Actually, on second thought, Underwood didn't do any summarizing, as there was no need to. That was convenient.

"Ooh, um. Yes, yes it has, Mr. Villeneuve. We're going to have to get a fire extinguisher…and we've been seriously considering that thing with the cat, let me tell you. Send Mr. Perish our best regards, a couple tremendous 'thank you's', and one heck of a 'get well soon,' okay? Keep me posted on his condition; we're all pulling for him over here. Oh, and good luck with the tart."

He turned off the speakerphone, hung up, and scooped Sparky back into his pocket. "So. There's that. Pencil in a run to the original crime scene once we've got a chance, maybe a few subway tunnels? In the meantime?" He shrugged. "Do your business, Darrow. I've got a mind to eavesdrop on a cat."

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
Mary fidgeted a little. "Does Rajani know?" She asked instead.
"I do not know," Erin answered. "She said she met him, fifty years back. Around the proper time of the killings. If she knew of Niall routing the cultists, she did not call him upon his lie."

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"Not really." Mary sighed. She was having a bad day really. "But I probably should...?"
"That is your decision," Erin said kindly. "In this particular instance, worry less about what you 'should' do."

"There is a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. It is required to keep the restaurant up to code. I will fetch it, one of you will have to carry it, as I think Miss Bell would look askance of it if I brought it to the van. Speaking of whom, I believe it is time to address that particular issue." Erin folded her hands, and then suddenly and animatedly glanced around. "Ah, to this end, Miss Darrow, if I may borrow your hooded sweater? And ah... Mary, may I borrow a skirt?"

Erin scuttled off to her office, to find a private place to change.

It was Lauren who returned, striding oddly and running her tongue around her teeth. She seemed a little less substantial than Erin, shadowy around the edges. She also had the fire extinguisher tucked under her arm. Only her shadow betrayed her, in more ways than one - where Lauren had none, Erin's remained, and retained its telltale wings. "You're tall," she said, to Lauren. "And pretty. Such soft skin."

"I can't do anything about the shadow," LaurErin said. "But Othello went so overboard with the dramatic tinted windows, it shouldn't matter. There won't be enough light in the car for my shadow to even show up. I'll sit behind Miss Bell, so she can't see me in the rear-view mirrors. But you should climb in quickly when I open the door. If I open the door and just stand there she'll start getting suspicious."

Dice Roll: 15d10s8e
d10 Results: 9, 5, 10, 9, 2, 4, 4, 4, 6, 5, 2, 7, 5, 8, 5, 1 (Total Successes = 4)
Darkened Countenance
+3 to stealth, -7 to be noticed, cannot be picked up on phones or recording devices
Erin is spending one glamour to strengthen her mask so her fey seeming does not show through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by René
"Bah, I wonder if his handwriting is a defense against unwanted clerks. He writes that he was never assigned to the Family Annihilator case for reasons of -- intereference, either political or of the Third Eye -- however, he has left a few pieces of advice for you." René shuffled some papers, muttering in French as he did so. "First, that the villain always returns to the scene of the crime. Second, that criminals are always drawn to the underground. Third, that you should string up the cat -- I think that is an opinion, not a prophecy -- and fourth, you should always have the fire extinguisher with you."
"Thanks, Perish," Lauren murmured with a smile. Of course he'd seen they'd come asking... "Erin, maybe some of your people could go sniffing around the Underground?" she suggested. "It's a lot of ground to cover."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Ah, to this end, Miss Darrow, if I may borrow your hooded sweater? And ah... Mary, may I borrow a skirt?"
"Sure," Lauren said, and she tossed it to Erin. The sun was gone, so she didn't need it anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"You're tall," she said, to Lauren. "And pretty. Such soft skin."
"Umm... thank you..." Lauren was staring at herself... at Erin. She didn't often get to see what she looked like, unless her Ka showed up. And in that case, she was usually otherwise occupied. Lauren wished that she could have Erin do this some other time and try on clothes for her...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"But Othello went so overboard with the dramatic tinted windows, it shouldn't matter. There won't be enough light in the car for my shadow to even show up. I'll sit behind Miss Bell, so she can't see me in the rear-view mirrors. But you should climb in quickly when I open the door. If I open the door and just stand there she'll start getting suspicious."
Lauren nodded. "I can go in first," she said. "Underwood, can you carry the fire extinguisher? And... well, I just need to know how many people I'm hiding." She glanced at Mack. "You won't be able to do or say anything while you're hidden, or you'll become visible," she reminded. "And if I say or do anything, we all become visible, so I'm useless until we're done hiding." Lauren didn't like this at all, but she didn't have much choice. Hopefully, they wouldn't need the invisibility once Miss Bell got them wherever they were going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chivere View Post
"Thanks, Perish," Lauren murmured with a smile. Of course he'd seen they'd come asking... "Erin, maybe some of your people could go sniffing around the Underground?" she suggested. "It's a lot of ground to cover."
"I'll call... text... Sasha, he'll get them moving," LaurErin said, taking out her phone. "They can look into Lake's crime spree too, while we're out. No point in letting that lead go to waste, but I wouldn't expect much - I'm not letting them near any of the crime scenes, with a warning like that. Not without a flamethrower."

Erin, Lauren, Underwood, Cynthia, Mary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"Send Mr. Perish our best regards, a couple tremendous 'thank you's', and one heck of a 'get well soon,' okay? Keep me posted on his condition; we're all pulling for him over here. Oh, and good luck with the tart."
"But of course, M'sieu Underwood. I shall give him the very best of the regards from you, and I hope we shall hear of your success as well. I will tell Heinrich as well once he comes back. Au revoir!" René said, and he hung up the phone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"In this particular instance, worry less about what you 'should' do."
Mary chewed her lower lip and nodded. "I'll go." To be truthful, it wasn't only moral considerations governing her actions. If it was just that, she'd have stayed back at the Cradle. But while Mary idolized Erin as the sort of person she wanted to be, she was under few illusions that the little moth-fey was fragile. Underwood was a bit... easy to knock over (Mary was still embarrassed about that), and she'd heard odd rumors about Lauren and cats. Cynthia and Miss Bell she knew nothing about, but still, Mary felt better if there was someone capable of ripping through a steel door if that was necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren
"Erin, maybe some of your people could go sniffing around the Underground?" she suggested. "It's a lot of ground to cover."
"It's not the Underground I'm thinking of." Cynthia whispered, running a pale finger along her wrist. She dug the nail in just a fraction, and watched the single drop of black blood - or black water - emerge. "It's the Undertown."

There was more than just subways and sewers beneath the city. London, you see, was a very old city. Two thousand years and counting, and in that time, places could get… lost. Basements, passageways, sewers, vaults, mithraeums and cult headquarters, graves beneath graves beneath graves. No one quite knew how deep below the earth the Undertown of London stretched, but it was a place of danger and mystery. It was where the monsters — the real monsters, not the petty poseurs who strutted the stage of the world above — where the true monsters lived. Monsters such as Mary's sire.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The black van was idling outside when LaurErin and four unseen comrades emerged from the Cat's Cradle. Miss Bell was in the driver's seat of an old black van, with tinted windows -- one rolled down -- and a fake corporate decal on the side. She was reading an old newspaper by the light of the front's electric lamp. She didn't actually notice the group as they emerged, but then people didn't notice Erin when she didn't want to be noticed -- or the others, for that matter.

Getting into the back of the van took a certain amount of effort, mostly with regards to moving quickly. But then, not so much as that. The door was unlocked, and after LaurErin opened the door, the other four managed to get inside with minimal fuss and bother. There was just one surprise -- that the back was already occupied.

It was Othello -- sort of. The Marquis de Carabas was, by nature, a short individual with dark brown skin, green, cat-like eyes, and short light-grey hair. Usually he dressed outrageously and in an old-fashioned manner, in waistcoats and pressed trousers and very shiny dress shoes. Tonight, however, he was dressed in some kind of all-black skin-tight bodysuit, tight pants and a tight shirt with an improbably high collar. But perhaps the strangest thing was that he looked drop-dead gorgeous. The shirt left absolutely no doubt about the toned body beneath it, and his face seemed faintly different, sharper and more regular, a vision of diabolic beauty with his sharp whiskers and curling smile. He wore sunglasses, tonight, wrap-around sunglasses that allowed no light to penetrate. There was a green leaf pin on his breast.

Othello jumped about a quarter inch when LaurErin finally appeared, leaning back against Bell's seat. He leaned forward, and held up finger to his lips. Sssh! Then he stood up, and tapped Miss Bell's seat, pointing behind her. Miss Bell also jumped, then scowled. "Charming." Was the first word uttered in the van. She locked the doors, and then the van began to drive, off through the streets of London -- and at a very healthy clip at that.

"Well, Lauren, good of you to join me." Othello said, his voice subtly different, more intoxicating, more seductive than the last time you'd heard him. He opened a small bag and withdrew a thermos of something, taking a sniff. "Erin, you can come out of her sleeve and join us. I brought some ice tea for the trip -- three parts sugar to one part tea, just the way you like it."

Underwood rolled his eyes at the inevitable complications. It couldn't just be free and easy, could it? At any rate, Erin could more than handle herself in these sorts of situations -- the reporter, as in so many cases, focused on quiet espionage. He ran a hand over the metal interior of the van, from his chair. Where had it been? What was its recent history?

Communion 2:
Dice Roll: 8d10s8ez
d10 Results: 1, 4, 2, 2, 3, 8, 9, 7 (Total Successes = 2)
(2)

LaurErin blinked from where she was staring - that was a different look, certainly - and then pushed up her sleeves, one by one. Revealing there were no moths, she folded her arms and leaned back against the driver's seat. Any insects hiding in the hoodie would be having a very rough time of it right now.

"She said she had some kind of lead she'd rather follow up on." Erin did her best with the voice, but she sounded mildly bitter. "Are you going to tell me what's going on? Because no one else is bothering to."

Lauren had been staring at Othello for a good couple of minutes before her brain started functioning productively again. He was--he didn't look like this! He wasn't that gorgeous, his voice didn't sound that nice, and there was no way he could have pulled off that outfit... except he was. She'd been wondering vaguely if this meant they were going to go seduce someone, or something like that, but why was he wearing sunglasses at night--and then she remembered the last person she'd seen wearing sunglasses when it was dark out. Winslow Lake, who had been hiding a mismatched, bright blue eye. Of course, Othello's sudden good looks might have nothing to do with that... but she recalled what Rebecca had told her: he's extremely charming, charismatic, and attractive, inhumanly so. Lauren shrank back in the van. Who knew what the cat was up to, but the reminders of Lake unsettled her.

There wasn't much she could do without revealing everyone except watch and listen, so that's what Lauren did. She looked everywhere in the back of the dark van, but mostly concentrated on Othello, for different reasons than she had minutes ago.


Erin, Lauren, Underwood, Cynthia, Mary

The van, unfortunately for Underwood, was Miss Bell's. She'd used it a fair bit on Winter Court business over the last several weeks, lugging around various unidentifiable boxes... and rather curiously, on at least three occasions she had several Seelie courtiers in the back, mostly the big, bluff fellows who formed the Freehold of New Jerusalem's armed forces. Dana the Tall was conspicuous by her absence, but John Henry was there, as were Cheshire and Light-in-Darkness... and Othello. What was the damn cat up to?

Whatever it was, Lauren could clearly tell, it had him wound tighter than a cat-gut violin string. Evan had told her how to look at these things, and so did Sophie when she deigned to be helpful. Othello's personality was a thing of layers, an ever-shifting array of masks, lies, and casual deceit. He wasn't a bad person, necessarily, but he was a person who saw truth as an elastic concept -- very few changelings were emotionally healthy people, Lauren recalled, considering Erin and her teenage scions and Rebecca. Currently, on the surface, Othello was his usual glib, charming, facile self, infuriating and charismatic in equal measure. Beneath that, he was a bundle of nervous energy, like a man in the middle of an incredible sugar rush -- things were happening, months of plotting were beginning to pay off, and now everything was in the air. Beneath that still was a layer of discipline. Othello may be ready to bounce off walls, but he wouldn't do a thing that wasn't in his own interests. Further down, closer to his heart... the Cat was scared. No, not scared, terrified, absolutely petrified of something -- and from the subtle flinch when LaurErin told him that Erin wasn't here, that she'd followed up other leads, Lauren could guess at just what he was afraid of. Physical torture was a thing Othello could withstand -- no changeling's Durance is an easy thing. But to lose the affection of Erin, or Mary, would kill him. And beneath that terror, a tiny cold lump in his breast... was a grim, fatalistic sense of duty, tinged with despair.

Mary flinched when she saw Othello, Lauren noticed, and she was still as a corpse, not breathing, not thinking, just watching Othello. And as Lauren looked closer still, she realized why. Like Winslow Lake, Othello wore sunglasses at night. And like Winslow Lake, those sunglasses concealed a single gleaming blue eye, an electric orb alongside an eye so black as to be nearly dark -- but it was Othello -- had he been wearing sunglasses in the vision, with Rajani and Chambers and Dana the Tall? No, he had not been... but had his eyes looked a little off, like he was wearing colored contacts. Suddenly Lauren wasn't sure that he hadn't been. It seemed a possibility.

The key was clear, however. Othello was not merely like Winslow Lake, or Jason Locke, or Jacob Wright, or whatever that mad killer's name was. He was becoming him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurErin
"She said she had some kind of lead she'd rather follow up on." Erin did her best with the voice, but she sounded mildly bitter. "Are you going to tell me what's going on? Because no one else is bothering to."
"Yes, well, what you don't know they can't torture out of you with heated pokers." Othello drawled, a cat-like smile crossing his face. Then he grew more serious. "Conspiracy is going on, Lauren. Betrayal is what's going on. Doom, loss of love, death and despair is all around us. And the less we know, the likelier we are to come out of this smelling like roses -- are you fond of roses, not all Kindred are?"

"Your job is very, very simple. You go up to a door, knock, and ask if the Lady of the House will see a visitor. Oh, and try and be as obviously vampire-ish as possible while you do that. I have an opera cape if you like." Othello smirked, a playful sort of smile. It slipped for just a heartbeat. "Erin has leads already? Frightfully clever girls -- any closer to finding everyone's favorite psychotic mass-murderer?"





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