Journey to New Europa
Chapter 29, Interview with Dragomilov
We find our heroes at their hotel suite, ready to send Salimar and Robbie to interview Dragomilov with the rest of us lurking nearby on telepathic backup.
But that's at 11:00. Well before that, around 8:00, we get a message from Morrolan, via Embassy courier, asking if we had anything to do with the recent incident at the local White Lodge (the Theosophists). No, what incident?
This reply produces Morrolan himself, by which time Katrina also shows up. She, it turns out, has been investigating this self-same incident. It appears that what happened to the White Lodge is very like what happened to our house, Old Oak Manor (still undergoing repairs) -- a couple of mahatmas went supercritical and screamed out through the roof, ripping the top off the temple. Reports describe peculiar preliminary happenings such as temporal oddities (one fellow going past the same corner 17 times without going around the block, for instance). The temporal theme suggests our old friends, the Temple of Ra. This incident happened around 3:00 AM.
We spill a large portion of beans to Morrolan concerning Dragomilov and his possible connection to Blackthorne's death, though we don't mention the World Crime League or the name of the Assassination Bureau. We ask Morrolan what kind of enemies necromancers have, since the Theosophists do necromancy. Answer: Their targets (which would include their rivals, the Temple of Ra), and the close kin of their instruments (their instruments being the souls of the dead).
Morrolan also offers to pass our data on to General Tarnfeld of Embassy security, to help us in our detective work. Perhaps.
11:00 rolls around and we take a couple of cabs over to Dragomilov. Salimar and Robbie disembark and the rest of us wait around the corner. Dragomilov's door is answered by a huge footman, at least as large as Dafnord. They present their cards. He takes them and shuts the door, leaving them outside, which is not exactly cordial procedure. But he re-admits them a minute later, leads them upstairs, and ushers them into a two-story-high library containing thousands of books and Dragomilov.
Dragomilov invites them into his study, which features lots of weapons mounted on walls -- the first thing seen that could suggest the Assassination Bureau.
Salimar tells Dragomilov that she and Robbie are "not from around here" and were sent to investigate "the troubles" by the Druids. Dragomilov is naturally puzzled and wants to know what troubles. Salimar mentions Blackthorne. Dragomilov admits to having heard of his death but dismisses it as part of some wizardly squabble and points her to Lord deClare (of the Order of the Golden Dawn, whom we have met), but advises her to approach him cautiously, through his secretary Dunstan. He then gives her the address, which is the Golden Dawn headquarters. He warns that deClare might resent these investigations and quotes the old adage about "Meddle not in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
Salimar asks if Dragomilov and deClare are acquainted. Dragomilov says that he doubts deClare remembers their occasional social encounters.
Salimar asks after Dragomilov's own history. He assures her it is quite dull -- a refugee brought here in childhood and raised here. Quite common. She then expresses a desire to get to know Dragomilov better, but he puts her off saying he travels a lot.
Meanwhile, back in the cab, Tom realizes that, when Dragomilov mentioned "Blackthorne's" death, he referred to Simon Blackthorne, the brother of Martin. Martin was the one who was mysteriously run down by a cab. Simon was the one who was eliminated by the Golden Dawn for causing a fuss and (among other things) attacking us. Tom relays this essay to Salimar, who takes her leave of Dragomilov, saying she will continue her inquiries into the death of Martin Blackthorne. She observes Dragomilov for reactions, but he has been the perfect poker player all through this.
As Salimar and Robbie leave the study, Tom launches a clairvoyant viewpoint from them back into it. But it bounces off the door. Interesting.
So now we have new questions. Does Dragomilov know about us? How much? Was his Assassination Bureau perhaps called in to knock off Martin Blackthorne? Or Simon?
Kate has a question of her own: Are we being followed by that cab back there? We direct our cab to do some zig-zagging and conclude we are being tailed by a pair of cabs that take it in turns. So we have our cab take us to Holmes on Montague St.
We update Holmes, and he points out a man leaning on a lamp post, who may well be following us. We ask if he knows the man. "No, he's not one of the people who usually watch my flat." Oh...
Holmes tells us that, regarding the incident at the Theosophists, he has reports that there were two men in gray. This is a little unusual, since black would be more normal attire for evening.
We decide to nab this tail and have Holmes interrogate him. We leave, except that Mithriel conjures glamoured images of herself and Dafnord, while they two of them remain, invisibly. They see the tail turn and signal to a waiting cab, as we leave. That's enough. Dafnord hauls out his goop-gun and goops him, gluing him to the lamp post.
The cabby naturally stops, exclaims, and flees. Dafnord and Mithriel give chase. Meanwhile, the rest of the party, in the cab, sees a probable mugger approaching the gooped tail. Robbie hops out. The mugger flips out a knife and advances threateningly on the goopee. Robbie tries to interrupt verbally. He gets ignored, tries again, and finds himself locking eyes with the mugger. Steely grey eyes. It's Holmes. Ah. Robbie backs off. Holmes resumes his interrogation.
Dafnord and Mithriel, meanwhile, have followed the cabby to a pub, where he orders a restorative. So he is an innocent bystander.
We all return to the hotel, to be greeted by a bell-hop we know. He warns us that there's a gent, well, not really a gent, waiting for us in the lobby. We thank him, tip him, and have Mithriel glamour up a carpet bag for him to carry, for verisimilitude.
The "gent" is sitting on the settee, or possibly setting on the sittee, looking decidedly lower-class than everyone else. He is, in fact, the semi-ruffian fellow whom we saw in a retrocognitive vision, murdering Mr. Brown, the prominent London merchant. Robbie and Dafnord separate and start to bracket him, but he whisks adroitly out of the hotel, into a cab, and off. Robbie hears the address he gives (thanks to good amplifiers on his ear mikes), hails another cab, and gives chase. Only there's nothing in particular AT the address, and the thug long ago leapt out of his cab. He's slipped us.
But we have the distinct impression we've attracted Dragomilov's attention.
Copyright © 2003, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.