Erin, Lauren, Underwood, Cynthia, Mary
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.
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.
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."