Pride is the common forerunner of a fall. It was the devilís sin, and the devilís ruin; and has been, ever since, the devilís stratagem, who, like an expert wrestler, usually gives a man a lift before he gives him a throw.
Friday, January 15th, 2010 - Erin
It was best not to ask how Cynthia of the Mara had gotten Anna Darlington's keys. But she had gotten them, and now they were silent in Erin's pocket, wrapped around in a handkerchief to keep from jangling together. Cynthia herself was somewhere as well, though she had vanished almost as efficiently as Erin. There was something about the vampire that Erin didn't quite trust -- Cynthia had her own agenda, and it intersected with the rest only obliquely. But she had made the keys appear, and she would stand ready to provide a distraction for Erin if the moth-fey so needed it.
Kensington was one of Londonís more expensive areas, an affluent and densely-populated part of town. In earlier days, people had lived here in grand terraced houses, wealthy aristocrats dwelling in townhouses of four to six stories in height, with elegant Victorian facades overlooking the beautiful gardens. Nowadays, the great terraced houses were broken up into individual flats, but it was still one of the most expensive regions of London. An apartment here in Kensington wouldíve been worth as much as the Cat's Cradle. Yet the Lady of London kept an entire building for herself. This was the privilege of wealth.
Which, of course, begged the question of what other privileges wealth and power possessed. The Lady of London was not some dusty methuselah from the middle ages, but she was an old vampire, the Prince of the city, and had been High Sheriff. She knew the value of secrets, and she would not give them up easily.
Friday, January 15th, 2010 - Lauren
Speaking with Lujza Dvorzsak proved to be more difficult than it seemed at first. The Philosopher of the Ordo Dracul was in many ways a very progressive elder -- she moved among mortals, understood the basics of techology, and even had a phone -- which was unfortunately for Lauren, a land-line (cellphones and email were still beyond the elder). Thus to actually find the Philosopher, one was left with relatively few options. One could try and track her to one of the few places she was regularly to be found, her German literature classes. But it was the Winter Holidays. One could mail her a note, but this was too slow for Lauren's needs. So, Lauren was left with tracking down Dvorzsak's apprentice. If no one else, Evan could find the Philosopher at any hour of the night. And Evan was almost always at the St. Thomas Club.
Not that this made life easier -- Lauren was still in the process of learning to navigate the labyrinthine, ever-changing corridors. She was certain now that they changed, though if there was some manner of pattern to their slow shift, it was impossible to detect. When one knew when one was going, one could always reach the place one sought. But let your mind wander even a moment... and you would find yourself in the most improbable corners.
Lauren ran her young mentor (younger than her!) to ground in the Turan Athaneaum. Evan was high above the ground, perched on a wheeled ladder that hooked into railings at intervals along the wall. He had at least two fat, leather volumes under one arm, and Lauren spotted several more on one of the nearby tables. The topmost title was the Dictionnaire Infernal by de Plancy.
"Darrow." Evan welcomed his apprentice with a wry smirk. He was dressed in slacks and a black turtleneck, and a pair of glasses were perched upon his thin nose.
Friday, January 15th, 2010 - Underwood
"Miss Mary Mack / All Dressed in Black / She's got a Knife / Stuck in her Back" Mary Mack whispered, her voice possessed of a lilting, sing-song cadence. She had not, to Underwood's knowledge, stopped singing that song since she'd awoken that night. She would stop and politely answer questions he put to her, but the moment silence returned, so did her unnerving, childish song. "She Cannot Breathe / She Cannot Cry / And So She Begs / She Begs to Die" Given that Mary this evening was dressed in a black skirt, a white shirt, and a black jacket, the parallels were not comforting. But Underwood would not be sent off on this mission without a bodyguard, and waiting for Mary had meant waiting for darkness to fall.
It was dark, and the ice wind blew so as to chill Underwood to the bone. Green Park was quiet on this winter night, and snow and ice crunched underfoot as the duo made their way to the most remote corner of the park and the eldritch tree that grew there. Cinder had explained the tree's significance once, had called it a locus of power, and she would be sleeping somewhere not very far from it. Even now, with snow on the ground, Cinder slept outdoors.
A wolf's howl pierced the night -- or perhaps a dog, though Underwood knew it was no dog -- and a minute later, Cinder herself emerged from a copse of trees, a huge, muscular woman in a tattered hoodie and threadbare jeans, tilting her head towards Underwood. Why now? Why at night?