The Hollow Crown
At Last The Liege's Talk
Gwendolyn had arisen late as was her custom, and was sitting in the lounge with Jarvis discussing events of his day and also details of completed work to be packed up and returned. Lestrade was alternating between the pair of them, with his lead in his mouth asking for his evening walk.
“He’s fine Boss, seriously he has been in and out of the house like a yo-yo. The new food is agreeing with him…. Well he’s not been sick nor blessed the carpets again so it’s good.” Jarvis’s tone was dry but neutral.
“Good, and I need to check with Jacob about jobs for him but I think that the workload is slowly being coming manageable. Hopefully we should be back to normal, as I have already requested work is only to considered if it is unusual or of particular interest. So is there anything else I need to know about Jarvis?” Gwendolyn smiled at her retainer as she patted the dog whilst removing the lead from his mouth.
“Erm… Yes, before you got up I had a phone all from your two friends Eleanor and that Arabic guy.” Jarvis looked a bit uncomfortable, his words measured and then looked at Gwendolyn direct. "I think that they think you have gone loopy…. er no that’s not quite right, I think they believe you have gone bat shit crazy. " Jarvis sat forward in his chair.
“Sorry?” Gwendolyn tone was incredulous, “They phoned and said this?”
“No, it was more they asked how you had been behaving and my view on it. I could be wrong but it sounded like they had been talking about it, their questions were tight on detail.”
“You said?…..” Gwendolyn looked pained and stopped stroking Lestrade’s ears.
“You were being more human than I’ve known you, ok you always have been good with humans but you are being like it with your type as well. It’s weird, and you are fixating on the dog, disappearing regularly on Fridays and at other times and not saying where you are going and you are getting involved in politics. Even I’m concerned, you haven’t been yourself ever since you came back from that art exhibition thing.” Jarvis sighed, leant back in his chair and looked at the ceiling. “Thinking about it, mentioning the politics wasn’t a good idea…” His voice trailed off with a grimace on his lips.
“I’m not happy that you have taken it on yourself to talk about me to two strangers Jarvis, but in part that is my fault for not clarifying the relationship I have with the other two but the mention of politics places me in an awkward situation possibly worse than when you went to Harvard. From now please do not discuss me and do not mention anything kindred related to anyone. I have always been responsible for you as you know but currently I am responsible for more… I need you to be careful whilst we remain in Boston. However I believe that this should not be a major issue, I will arrange to see the others and hopefully this situation can be sorted.” Gwendolyn places Lestrade’s lead on my coffee table and picks up her mobile, after a little while dials.
“Eleanor? It’s Gwendolyn, I understand you and Imaad have been asking after me?” Gwendolyn’s tone is friendly. ‘Yes, we have., Eleanor’s voice sounds a little strained. ‘Sorry excuse me a minute, I’ve got Imaad on speakerphone. I’m sorry we had to ring Jarvis, but to be honest we’ve been worried about you. We know you’ve been very busy recently though we aren’t sure with what, and you’ve seemed out of sorts. I also owe you an apology; we’ve been so wrapped up with thinking about the fundraiser, and other things that we’d lost track a bit of how little we’ve seen you and I think it’s time we rectified that. Imaad and I don’t have any particular plans, why don’t you come over to the house tonight and we can catch up properly? Or we could meet somewhere else though, up to you.’
“That sounds a reasonable proposition; I believe a private place is better than a bar at this point. I have to finish a binding so an order can go out but I can be with you in one hour or so if that suits?” ‘That’s absolutely fine.’ Eleanor replies. ‘We’ll see you then.’
Gwendolyn arrives on her own at Eleanor’s haven, greets them both cordially and settles in a chair. They both look slightly tense, and perhaps tired as well, although both of them seem to be trying to do a good job not to show it.
“Jarvis is under the impression that you both are highly concerned, even believes you to think I have currently taken leave of my senses.” Her face and tone of voice are set neutral, to Imaad very much a Ventrue. “I apologise for my lack of communication but currently my work has taken a sharp rise thanks to our Mr Hardcastle and I have had some things to consider elsewhere.”
Eleanor’s eyes narrow. ‘Yes, ‘our’ Mr Hardcastle has been making a spectacular nuisance of himself.’ Her mouth sets in a determined line. ‘Actually that is putting it mildly, the man is an utter bastard, but one that unfortunately we are just going to have to deal with. But I think we all know that.’ She pauses. ‘I think ‘taking leave of your senses’ is a little strong, but you haven’t been yourself, you’ve been distracted, I don’t mean the dog although maybe that is part of it, other things such as running out of the church yesterday after those Toreadors you mentioned failed to show up. If I think about it, it’s been since the gallery and what happened after with auntie dearest.’
She pauses again, Eleanor’s eyes are shadowed and at that moment her resemblance to her sire is very obvious. Imaad steps in at that moment, Eleanor’s mind seems to have gone elsewhere momentarily. Can you tell us about the other things? I don’t have the first idea what they are, and we shouldn’t be keeping big secrets from each other if we are meant to be ruling a territory together, there are some things we should fill you in on as well.’
An odd expression passes over Eleanor’s face and she interjects. ‘There’s also something I completely forgot about, that I remembered about when I last spoke to Johannes, something about the Order of the Silver Branch that you said you had to tell me. If you’re still happy to fill me in I’d appreciate it although what’s happening to you is far more important right now than that bunch.’
“Yes, despite my bargaining with Hardcastle, I am in debt to him for a lot of work and some of it with not what I would choose to do. Still, depending on his ‘generosity’ it may also help our standing at court with some – although that is a double edged sword but either way I can do nothing about the requests unless they breach our laws.” Gwendolyn pauses, tapping her fingers thoughtfully on the arm of the chair. “The gallery is a good place to start; in short the exhibition brought back memories for me of when I was mortal. I lost two people I cared about deeply during the war and it appears that reincarnation is a reality, I have met both of them here in Boston, and they both know me and this has created problems on all sides. I have discussed this with Pocumtuc and also with the Caitiff philosopher Alison who clarified the issues to me but currently I am taking the view that I should try and avoid them.” Eleanor’s eyebrows have shot up, and she is clearly fighting to retain her composure. “Oh now Eleanor that look is unbecoming, why do you think Fallon gave me blood after the battle rather than let you both sort the issue?”
Eleanor composes herself with some effort. ‘OK, so if I understand this right, reincarnation does exist, at least for the Garou as if what I think you are saying is correct, Mr Fallon is the reincarnation of one of the people you care about. So who’s the other? Is it another of the Garou or someone else?’ She pauses. ‘I’m wondering if drinking from Fallon was a really bad idea now you’ve said that. Avoiding them certainly sounds like a good idea.’ Her expression softens and she looks genuinely concerned. ‘What are they doing about it, if anything, presumably they know? I did wonder why Fallon was so keen to help us even though we hadn’t gone through the official channels. Does anyone else at the court know or suspect? I’m sorry I’m firing questions at you Gwendolyn, I guess I’m trying to process this and reincarnation hasn’t as yet been in Johannes’ lessons.’
‘Is this belief something to do with the Garou’s religion?’ Says Imaad, ‘I haven’t come across it in any Kindred clan and we in Islam certainly don’t believe in it.’
Gwendolyn was about to answer when Imaad jumped in, she paused for a while after he finished speaking “Your questions are well founded, I take no offence to them. The other is another Garou hence I discussed this with Pocumtuc. According to him it is something that the garou hold in great importance, however according to Alison, humans also reincarnate, we kindred do not reincarnate as final death means exactly that so I doubt your sire will be forthcoming on the subject. My first problem I have is the other one is Tremeyne, I think you both know he is the garou who aligned himself with the sabbat at that ritual. Second problem is that according to what I have learnt about this issue that it is something that if isn’t resolved then will continue, possibly grow but they will continue to come back, the problem ever circling.” A grimace passes over her face. “Thirdly it isn’t just me being affected, Fallon according to Mankiller is suffering effects, he shouldn’t have dealt with us in Gloucester but destroyed the book and there have been other issues, he is losing status due to these lapses. However the best course I believe is still to avoid them.”
Eleanor looks genuinely shocked again for about a second before carefully composing her features; again Imaad steps in, he is also obviously taken aback. ‘Tremeyne is someone you knew in a former life? This puts a rather different spin on things. It was odd enough that the garou were working with us in the first place but your connection to Fallon I guess helps explain it. I’m sorry to hear that it’s making things difficult for him, he seems a decent guy.’ He pauses and Gwendolyn notices that Eleanor’s expression is grim. ‘Tremeyne is a different matter entirely, a garou working with the Sabbat, I think we have to start figuring out what he wants so much he allied with them. Did he make contact with you before or after the battle? I’m sorry if it sounds as though we are grilling you, we aren’t.’
Eleanor interjects again. ‘We just want to understand exactly what the situation is as well as if there is anything we can actually do about it other than try and stay out of their way, the Garou and also ‘her’ – although in the absence of anything else that sounds like the best course of action. But if the issue isn’t resolved and just comes back to haunt you again…’ She trails off and her expression is again concerned, although there’s something else in it too that Gwendolyn can’t quite put her finger on. Whatever it is, it’s not directed at her, but it isn’t pleasant.
“When I left the gallery for the second time, I waited in a wine bar up the road hoping that I would catch you both when you left. He introduced himself then and unlike Fallon told me he knew exactly who I was. Bear in mind the distracted state I was in after the first set of memories but I told him to forget past lives and move on. The next time I saw him was with the Sabbat and I have not seen him since and nor do I want to.” Gwendolyn pauses and regards Eleanor’s expression, “Do you know the Lasombra who was in charge of the ritual, I vaguely remember she looked at you on the field before the battle, of course after that I don’t remember much…well apart from the ground meeting me several times. Your comment ‘also her’ suggests that she is known to you and…possibly your sire?” Gwendolyn looks between the pair of them as she speaks.
Eleanor grimaces. ‘I referred to her as ‘auntie dearest’ for a reason, it’s down to her I know that. I had an encounter with her a little while before the battle. To be brief, she tried to warn me off, told me to stay out of it which I had no intention of doing. She and Johannes were both sired by the same vampire, hence ‘aunt’.’ She pauses. ‘Though they seem to have very different views, and are obviously on different sides. She pulled me through a patch of shadow and threw me out of a different one miles away, and she tried to get at me another time since, she was tracking me somehow, I’m guessing through shadows. Johannes dealt with that, and there’s been no sign of her since, but I’m not going to make any assumptions that we’ve seen the last of her. I don’t think we can assume we’ve seen the last of Tremayne either, and I can’t help wondering what their common cause is. Trying to avoid the Garou is one thing but this whole situation must be causing you a lot of pain, no wonder we haven’t seen you around much.’ The concern is back in her eyes. Imaad steps in. ‘We can certainly try and stay out of their way, but I don’t think we can assume they are going to stay out of ours. And we need to think about how we deal with you being haunted by these memories, I wonder whether there are any mental techniques that can deal with that?’
“It is possible but doubtful, to ask for help in these matters I can assure you that Hardcastle’s bargaining will look weak in comparison to what would be asked for in return plus silence would need to be brought. The Ventrue would almost certainly use this disadvantage, as an ex-ventrue and Caitiff my position is weak, you both are from clans that are held in hatred or distrust, any weakness must be covered for safety, whilst our Prince may be Malkavian, madness or someone not being themselves is not to be hinted at in the earshot of the court.” Gwendolyn moves slightly shifting position to a more comfortable pose. “You should both be aware that Mankiller contacted me a couple of nights ago and I met with him, this is how I know about Fallon, maybe once the fundraiser is out of the way we could contact him and ask if he can help or point us in the direction of help for this. Garou have experience of this and we do not…” Gwendolyn pauses and considers, “Tremeyne and your aunt, I do not know what they are doing, Tremeyne was pleased about something after I met him that one time but I don’t know why. There is no path we can follow to find out either, I counsel that we hold our tongues on this and see what happens.”
Eleanor nods. “That sounds okay to me and I think I understand, talking to Mankiller seems like a good idea, it sounds as though he is already trying to help, for the meantime we sit tight and just deal with anything that happens when it does.” She pauses. “You need to know that Johannes is aware that something’s not right, I don’t know if he knows any details or not, I doubt it – but we spoke to him about being worried about you and he already knew that something was up; though he didn’t elaborate I’m guessing it’s to do with what passed between you and the Tremere. I owe you an apology, we should have spoken to you first. For what it’s worth given he’s outside the court I can’t see anything further coming of it, I do trust him.”
“Well, our paths will not be crossing a lot since I am banished from his bar. However the reason I was banished was due to my own clumsy attempts at information gathering, I should have backed off and asked again later but I still will be looking into India’s death. If I am honest I barely know her but I do know her sire very well indeed and it was him who asked me about her, he is concerned for the welfare of a few others children who have disappeared here in Boston. I do not believe your sire lied to me in the Ink Rooms but he wasn’t telling me the whole truth either, the whole truth of India’s death I will endeavour to find out whether it is from your sire or another source. I would prefer Johannes to tell me what he knows first as the other link I have could be dangerous.”
“Hmm, I agree any more danger at the moment is probably a bad idea.” Eleanor looks pensive. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what Johannes knows or doesn’t know about this, I didn’t ask any more questions about it when I saw him last. To be completely honest, given his reaction last time I’m not sure he’ll react any better if we press him on this again, and if there is information he isn’t telling us it may well be because he thinks it would be dangerous to us. It also seemed to have touched a nerve.’ She pauses. ‘Your call though if you want to try again, for what it’s worth I don’t think he was at his best that evening.’ There’s concern in her eyes. ‘Just so I understand the context, how long ago did she disappear and how many other disappearances are we talking about? Is it any specific clan?’
“Johannes confirmed at the bar he saw her final death, from his aura I could see he was bitter about it but other than that I feel there is more he is not saying. Her sire wants to know more than she met final death, she came to Boston to look at some other disappearances and her sire has hinted that someone at court may be behind this but no proof. For that reason I have to be careful what I say about this even to you, what I can tell you is India was of the Nosferatu clan. If Johannes will speak to me again on this I would be grateful, I promise I won’t use any of my abilities and I will answer his questions if any on this subject truthfully.” Gwendolyn’s tone is measured.
Eleanor looks pensive. ‘When I next see him I’ll ask him if he will speak to you. If he is keeping information from us, it may well be to protect us, rather than him trying to be unhelpful. I can’t guarantee that he’ll agree to speak to you – to be honest from how he reacted in the bar I think there’s a damn good chance he won’t. But I will try.’
“Until I clarify the situation of India’s death without blanket statements I can’t say too much other than not knowing could prove even more dangerous. Maybe not you both, but to others of a similar age to myself.” Gwendolyn’s tone is still measured but there is something just under the tone akin to disgust at her last statement. “Anyway until you speak to Johannes nothing more can be said for the moment, I am in your hands Eleanor.” Gwendolyn turns and looks at Imaad. “One piece of information you both will be interested in that I received from India’s sire was about our little guard dog Mr Hook, as you both must have noticed he has been assigned to us with no mention of us paying for his services or for how long. He has a bit of reputation and has been seeking to become an archon for sometime now, the reputation is one that merited my friend’s warning to me, just remember this in our dealings with him he has been in the employ of a few Princes and he is apparently very effective. We can’t drag our ‘tail’ though the mud as much as I am tempted to but instead I recommend we treat him well although not too well and make sure any reports about us and Concord are favourable.” Gwendolyn smiles coldly “Also it is in his interest to make sure that Concord is secure against the Sabbat so I think we should take advantage of his military experience, after all if we ask for his help and we have problems due his security arrangements and measurements then he is a useful buffer against the Prince and his men’s anger.”
‘There are some other things we need to tell you.’ Imaad continues. ‘The evening after the debacle with Gaveston we went to see Konrad in his bar, incidentally we now all have membership and a tab. We did have to make a deal with him though, the mosque will be sited there but will be officially part of Concord and therefore our responsibility, in return he thinks he can prevent Winthrop derailing it. But we need to do him a similar favour at some point in the future. We didn’t really want to have to negotiate that without you but didn’t really have an option, we needed to take a call at the time. If necessary, Eleanor and I will meet that responsibility when it comes.’ Eleanor breaks in. ‘We also need to take responsibility for working out what’s going on with that church, the one you seem to be so drawn to. Well, you and Hook and indeed Imaad the first time we went there, for whatever reason its appeal seems to be lost on me.’ She pauses again. ‘There’s no easy way to say this, but after you ran off when we went there and your Toreadors were AWOL, we got a call from Hardcastle wanting to introduce us to some potential entertainment for the fundraiser. Cue a meeting with an old guy and three medieval German women who sing wonderfully but don’t speak. Do they sound familiar? Because I would put money on them being the same Toreadors you have been talking to and agreed to sponsor. And they want to be allowed to settle in Concord as payment for singing at the event. Again, we didn’t really have a choice, but something about this really doesn’t feel right.’
“Yes, that sounds like them but the women spoke at length to me, they said they would rather an introduction to court from someone like me, I think it was the fact I had Lestrade with me that they decided to talk to me. He liked the women but didn’t seem keen on the man, to be honest he didn’t speak much to me, in fact he was bit odd but nothing I can put my finger on. They asked for my help at the church, I have been there working on basic book restoration techniques with some of the homeless. In the future I will be setting up a small restorers store in Concord near to the antiques shops and hopefully reintroducing some of the homeless back into society as working members. Oh and Prescott appeared at my house before that, he wasn’t even interested in the church, in fact I don’t think I held his interest for more than half a sentence.” Gwendolyn pauses, smiles slightly and continues. “On a slightly lighter note, Silas was very amused by Lestrade’s first greeting to you, it was the dog who told him not me, I forgot Nosferatu can speak with them when I took the dog into his bar although his and Alison’s relationship is deeper than I first thought.” Eleanor winces, whether remembering the last encounter with Silas or Lestrade’s reaction to her Gwendolyn isn’t sure.
‘Yes I hope we haven’t offended them too much’ says Imaad, ‘not that we can do anything about it at the moment anyway. I’m more concerned about the Toreadors, if that’s what they are; they will speak to you but not to us, they claim to know Hardcastle yet seek help from you, they have also heard of Johannes but him not them. None of it adds up! I had to accept them for the fundraiser because Hardcastle recommended them and I admit they do sing well but I don’t trust them, we need to watch them and if possible find out more about them and their motives before the event’
He looks very seriously at them both. ‘I think for whatever else we need to do for the fundraiser and the mosque, and when we’re trying to deal with politics, we need to work together as much as possible. They’re playing divide and rule and we need to try and find a way to put a stop to it, as well as work out what if anything we can do about the Garou issue.’
“Indeed, I agree. To be honest you both have dealt with the Ventrue extremely well, sounds to me like he is building his power base and this provides him with an advantage which extends beyond us hence why he was more generous than I would normally expect. We will need to speak to the Ventrue and find out about any holdings they have left in Concord, maybe this Konrad would be the best one to approach? I can always do that, they would expect these types of questions from myself. I would suggest though we consider a joint business in Concord, like your sire’s place it provides a place where other kindred can find us. On the divide and conquer, we need to talk more, this whole meeting is an indication of how bad this has become.” Gwendolyn pauses “We need to agree on the basic principles of how we wish to run Concord, each of us dealing with Kindred on our own is fine provided we stick to the principles we all agree on and keep each other informed, to go running off saying we have to consult will also make as look weak, bickering in public the same and whilst I understand your concerns so will asking about one of us to an outside member. Although Eleanor I know he is your sire, so this was understandable doubly so. Sorry if I seem cold about business but it is about time I think more like a Ventrue again, we need to make this work.”
Eleanor nods. ‘I completely agree, and Konrad would probably be the best one to approach, he seems a reasonable guy although we still need to be careful, if you can do that that would be great. As to a joint business, it’s definitely something we should consider; what sort of thing did you have in mind?’
“I will approach the Ventrue then about their business dealings in Concord, we do have rights as we are the lieges but again we don’t want to make enemies and their remaining could be an advantage if played right.” Gwendolyn stops and looks at Eleanor, “Yes, I was considering opening a wine bar, two levels, one street and one basement. Intimate with low lighting, possibly some live music in the downstairs whilst upstairs a more open bar area. I would prefer to use more artisan vineyards and look to the more affluent customer base in Concord maybe near the antiques shops? I assume Imaad that you will not be interested in running a bar with alcohol being served?”
‘Given that I will need to be more involved with the Mosque it may be political if I don’t I’m afraid.’ He replies.
‘A bar sounds a good idea.’ Eleanor replies and her expression is pensive. ‘I’d be interested in that if it’s something you want to do together. I can ask Johannes about the sort of things we need to think about and either do or avoid. Low lighting certainly suits me, no mirrors though please! – at least other than in the washrooms, the humans might not come if there aren’t any in there and it’s not like we are going to use them.’ She grins. ‘It won’t be competition for the other family business so hopefully he can give me some tips. No, not that sort of tip before anyone makes the obvious remark.’ There’s an amused glint in her eye and again the family resemblance is very obvious.
“Obvious remark?” Gwendolyn’s tone is questioning then she catches the look on Eleanor’s face, “Ah… very droll I’m sure. However if he is willing to give bar advice that would be good. I don’t suppose either of you have been to London? There is or was a little wine bar in by Charing Cross called Gordons, which I had in mind when thinking about a bar, it had little areas for couples to sit in for intimate meetings…” Her voice breaks off and her eyes seem distant then she shakes her head slightly and continues “And larger tables for groups to use and meet to discuss the day and drink wine. It is the sort of place that appeals to a wide range of clients.” ‘Sounds good.’ Eleanor replies, there is a touch of concern in her eyes on seeing Gwendolyn’s expression but she obviously decides against making direct reference to it. ‘I’ve never been to London I’m afraid but it sounds like it would work. A wide range of clients would be good, and we could also have a range of wine. Some really nice stuff, some mid range stuff and some cheap stuff for us to sit and not drink.’
Gwendolyn stretches in her chair and frowns “The quartet, what did Hardcastle say about them?”
Imaad responds, ‘He seemed a little cagey, I got the impression they knew Lady Arabella and in her absence were directed to him, though I’m not sure who by’, turning to Eleanor, ‘can you remember any more?’ ‘I’m sorry but not really’ she replies. ‘I don’t think they said. It may have been down to her reputation, I’m not sure. It all just seems a bit too convenient to be honest.’
“Possibly if it is them I do not understand why they are approaching the court from two angles. That reminds me they mentioned Golconda to me… I was assuming that it was a subset of the Toreadors but now thinking about it I’m not sure. Do either of you know? For all I know it could create a problem for me, after all thanks to Gaveston I am fully responsible for them currently.”
Eleanor shakes her head. ‘I’ve never heard of it, sorry.’ Her expression clouds. ‘I’m still very new to this. As far as I’m aware both of you were Embraced quite a few years ago, for me it’s a matter of months and I’m aware there’s still a hell of a lot I don’t know. Imaad, how about you?’
‘I have heard of it only once, in the 60s, a Toreador mentioned it but was mocked by the Brujah and even some of her own clan. I tried to talk to her about it as it sounded very interesting but she wouldn’t talk me. I think the hostility towards her had been too much.’
Eleanor changes tack. ‘The other thing I wanted to ask you about was the Order of the Silver Branch. I completely forgot that you’d been looking into them too and had some information for me.’ She pauses. ‘I do know that Johannes used to be involved with them when he was mortal, he told me, but he hasn’t been exactly forthcoming with details other than it was some sort of hellfire club that indulged in various types of debauchery. They also tried to contact me when I was researching him when I was still mortal, and I’m fairly sure it was them that attacked me the night I was Embraced, although he said he thought it might have been the Sabbat. And obviously there was the episode with the Codex. Again, I don’t think we can assume we’ve seen the last of them and the more facts we have to hand, the better.’ Her tone is steely and her expression again seems to mix concern with something much darker. ‘The fact that Johannes had to Embrace me in a hurry has left me with a boon to the Prince and him with a life boon. At some point, those bastards are going to pop up again and when they do, I want to be ready for them.’
“The Order seems to be interested in your family, Jarvis made a slight error of judgement when he did the research, which I did give you both copies of, he spotted your sire’s name and did a small minor amount of research into him, your family seem to have made a lot of trouble for him when he was mortal. The research doesn’t breach the masquerade but close enough to be difficult for me should anyone wish to use it against me, the research was destroyed and Jarvis was reprimanded by me for it. I noticed at the house there was a map you blanched at? I suspect they will appear again and I agree we need to be ready for them. Have you considered moving in the future, as this was your mortal home I assume? If so it wouldn’t be hard to find out where you are vulnerable during the day.” Gwendolyn looks disturbed at the thought.
Eleanor looks disturbed too. ‘It had crossed my mind, though I would rather not move if I don’t have to. Yes, this was my mortal home; I’ve lived here for several years. Maybe there is some way in which I can beef up the security, the basement is a lot more secure now, it can be locked from either side, there’s a bedroom down there as well as an area I’ve converted for practising my skills in. Thanks for telling me about the Order.’ She pauses and her expression is grim. ‘Thinking about it, Johannes mentioned that someone from them had tried to get in touch with him a while back but that he thought he had dealt with it permanently, I didn’t want to know the details. I don’t think their interest is in our family as a whole, it’s him specifically, and by extension me. I think we have to consider there is a very real possibility they may have figured out what he is, and what we are – another reason why I totally agree that we haven’t seen the last of them.â€
“Attachment is one thing but this place could be easily found, increasing the security would help in the short term but they can be mobile in both night and day Eleanor unlike us.” Gwendolyn sighs, “Speak to your sire, but I think he will also see the benefit in you moving.” Eleanor nods. ‘I’ll add that to the list.’
Imaad turns to Gwendolyn ‘I realise that you have already committed more to the fundraiser than I had intended to ask of you but there is one more thing we could use your help with please and that is the invitations. Eleanor & I’s lack of knowledge of Kindred etiquette was shown up when we managed to offend Silas & Cartwright so I was hoping you as ex-Ventrue might be able to advise us. Do we need different invitations for Kindred and Kine, that sort of thing? Also given your talents I wondered if you might provide some sort of design skills. Sorry to have to ask for help on this.’
“Offend Silas?” Gwendolyn raises a questioning eyebrow but on seeing Imaad’s expression obviously decides it would be prudent to gloss over the subject as she hurriedly moves the subject to calmer subjects “I can certainly do that for you regarding the invitations, I may have a contact who can help getting invitations designed and printed, tastes have moved on since my debut into kindred life. I will also think on the etiquette involved regarding the invitations for you, again it has been a while.”
Eleanor nods. ‘Thank you, that is appreciated; Imaad and I have been working on a list of people that we’d like to invite, OK and those that we don’t really want to invite but have to.’ She rolls her eyes. ‘We’ve divided it into Kindred and Kine, any comments you have would be much appreciated. The list includes not only the Prince and the Primogen, but those that have already received a verbal invitation, Konrad, Silas, Cartwright, Dyer and Johannes among them but also other Kindred they had felt it was politic to invite, such as Tyrone, and mortal contacts, the mosque luminaries and Hardcastle’s mortal contacts among them.’
The conversation carries on between the three lieges of Concord regarding the fundraiser until Gwendolyn covering a yawn begs the pardon of the other two but she must make a move.