Steve gets the welcome wagon: Kathleen O'Malley, redhead with a casserole. Sonja's roommate and my next-door neighbor. I've never seen anyone start a conversation with "So, what do you think about having children?" before. Time for all good Sandras to flee the vicinity.
I said Sonja's roommate because Steve was on my mind - she's one of his crowd. The interesting one in that apartment is girl number three - Drusilla's part of Caer Leon's baronial guard. Curious what she knows about all this.
Sorcha's gone over to visit Eavan at Julien and Gunthar's ... and their accursed cat will not shut up. No answer at the door, so I make my own way in. Note on their fridge says Eavan went to visit Sorcha. Riiiight. Miss O'Malley prompts me to check the mailbox - there's a note saying the pair of them went home. Great. As per agreement, I notify Steve. Bunch of Asian types moving in that we pass on the way out; guess it's the day for it.
I'll call Julien later. He works for the Baron and Baroness of Fairgrove, so he might be able to get off work under the circumstances, but I don't want to deal with potential panic ... or potential creepy not-panic.
Eavan and Sorcha's parents live in an upper-middle-class part of Silver Wood, little sign reading O'Connell outside and everything. Mazda Miata in the drive. Woman inside, not Sorcha. There's a dark-haired sidhe in black watching the place from the yard next door - I don't recognize him. Don't know if he's spotted us or not. Lots of attention around here. It's not making me feel any better. There may be a compatriot of his in a tree - I thought I saw metal. Letting Steve watch that while I keep an eye on the house. If the O'Connells start anything, I want to know. Steve says he's playing jacks. That worries me. All kinds of things that could be.
Definitely four people inside. They're sitting down, maybe to lunch. Nothing continues to happen for a while; finally it's coming 'round time to call Julien.
Promise to call him if anything happens, and note his cellphone number. Pleasant surprise: he's neither panicked nor creepy. In the mean time, I fetch coffee, and manage to drop off a bit of information to a member of the Ducal Guard on the way.
Car with tinted windows pulls up at one end of the street. Steve says the one in the tree is pulling a hand-helled crossbow. Two people get out of the car: black leather trenchcoats, dark pants. They start toward the house. These ones aren't fae.
Doorbell's rung, and an older man answers the door. One of the pair flashes something, maybe a badge. There's a faint sound as the one in the tree gets down - damn, but she's good. We ease closer ... and one of the bastards shoots the father.
Flash of light in the darkness. We're moving. MOther's screaming, Sorcha's a wolf. Now she's going down. Mom, not Sorcha - Sorcha's just going mad. And our darling little pyro is at it again. FWOOSH. Dammitall, I want one of them capable of talking - I manage to tackle one and take him down, start beating out the flames. His gun blew up in his hand, but we'll worry about that later. Steve has also gone all Lon Chaney on us; he knocks Trench Number Two back to Sorcha, who proceeds to do a meat-grinder number to warm Cronenberg's heart and empty Window Lad's guts.
And the woman from the tree slugs Eavan in the jaw and knocks him right out. And then they vanish.
Steve knows enough first aid we get Trench Number One not to bleed to death. Sorcha's in breakdown, but Steve's got her...
- and the pair reappear. Babe's decked out so that Steve dubs her Batwoman. Sidhe, with the kind of tattoo we don't usually go for. The HOUSE being on FIRE gives us plenty of light to tell, after all. Good reason to clear out. I stuff Trench Number One in the trunk, Steve takes the Terror Twins back to the complex.
I take Batwoman to the rendezvous. Turns out her name is Lillith - Lillith ni Scathach. She claims she doesn't know what the Trenches want with the kids - her boss is notoriously cryptic.
Steve brought Julien back, along with an EMT name of Christopher Ryan. He's apparently some kind of a healer.
Trench Number One's wallet: credit card and driver's license, same name; white plastic card with magnetic stripe; $35 and change. Set of keys (car? notched on both sides). Isn't it a shame? No health insurance card.
Lillith says her boss said something's going on, something dark. Foreseer. His bosses let him know about it. "The forces of the corruptor, moving."
Since when do birds fly at night? And will someone tell that to the big one in that tree over there? Friend of Lillith's, apparently. Never mind. The main event: question-and-answer session with Trench.
Claims to work for a Sebastian Pierce. Wetwork, legbreaking, extortion - general thuggery. Told to take care of O'Connell and his wife. Pierce wanted the kids alive and intact for his boss. They have a dropoff point in Silver Wood that they were supposed to take them to.
Julien wants to get rid of him. We agree to turn him over to Julien's uncle, on condition of getting him back later. Apparently J. was thinking about Sovereign rather than more physical means. Eiluned!
So, the plan:
Julien will take the Trench to his uncle's. Christopher will accompany him (that is, keep him in line). They're taking my car.
Steve and I will take the Trenches' car and go check out the dropoff point.
Lillith will go and report in to her Mystery Boss (Bruce Wayne?).
Why do I feel like we're going to need a whole lot of luck, here?
This page first posted -- July 22, 2003