Journey to New Europa
Chapter 6, Researching Glamour
Ashleigh takes Kate and Dafnord with her to visit Sherlock in Montague Street. They're expected and shown in immediately. Ashleigh tells Holmes who the mysterious Katrina Constantine is -- the journalist writing under "K. Winters." She then shares her views and data with Holmes, who agrees that there is a pattern to these mysterious events and remains reasonably unflapped at remarks in the narrative such as "interviewed the horse" or references to scrying.
After they describe the wound on the horse, and the triangular mark on its harness, Holmes rummages in his drawers and finds, in an old tobacco tin, a small metal object like a folded rhombus, or two sides of a little tetrahedron. As Kate and Ashleigh are instantly aware it is made of iron or steel. (Ick.) Holmes found it at the scene of Blackthorne's death. If this was slipped under the horse's harness, and the horse were then "patted" good and hard, it might well have been what made the animal bolt. Ashleigh has Dafnord pick it up for scrying back at the hotel, by Lorelei et al.
Holmes expresses a desire to see Katrina's list of incidents. He sees Moriarty or a similar agency behind all this, breaking out in a new direction. He asks if we could produce a portrait of the man who killed the merchant, Mr. Brown. Ashleigh assures him we can and instantly places a telepathic order with Lorelei, who starts sketching.
Holmes also mentions a "man in blue" present at the death of Judge Pelham, near St. Paul's. He was mentioned in the preliminary reports, by a couple of witnesses, then is not mentioned again. He shows us the newspaper articles, which we dutifully copy.
Holmes thinks the threatened wizard-war is not real, or is only part of a larger pattern of events and plotting, involving the Crime League. He gives us his dossier on Judge Pelham, and we leave to contact Katrina.
Meanwhile, Lorelei has done her sketch and dispatched it to Holmes. It arrives soon enough after Ashleigh's departure that he sends a thank-you note with a remark about "timely arrival" in it.
After lunch, Lorelei scrys the little metal widget. There are mild traces of the horse's pain, but nothing else, which is very mild for a scrying by Lorelei. She then arranges to meet Katrina at the latter's house and escorts her to Holmes' apartment, along with Mithriel and a letter of introduction from Ashleigh.
Meanwhile, Z and Cailin go searching through tack shops, etc., for metal widgets of the sort inflicted on the cab horse, and the rest of the party sets out to interview the lately widowed Mrs. Blackthorne. They are met at the door by a rather swarthy butler and told that Mrs. Blackthorne is not receiving. We explain we are investigating her husband's murder, but the use of the magic word "murder" (officially, it was an accidental death, but Mrs. Blackthorne claims foul play) elicits no response.
Z and Cailin fail to find any triangular metal widgets, but Cailin buys this really neat sword-cane and Z gets an even neater riding crop with a concealed sword...
Meanwhile, back on Montague Street, Lorelei, Katrina, and Mithriel introduce themselves to Holmes. He and Katrina pool their data; Holmes is interested in three of Katrina's cases and suggests she drop another one as a false lead. The false lead does not fit the pattern HE sees, which includes the "pattern" of random violence -- a rare feature of crime in this time and place. Lorelei asks him for a good place to start investigating and he recommends the newspaper morgues, which Katrina could get us entree to.
Meanwhile, Tom, having been stymied by Mrs. Blackthorne, decides to do some work on the theoretical side and goes with Nick to an occult bookstore, there to seek information on glamour. They have no practical books on it, but the history of it goes back 3000 years, through the Masons. It is, of course, very common among fays. (Side-glance at Nick.) Tom and Nick then go look in the fay section of the bookstore, but there isn't much there, either on glamour or on the various breeds of fays. Fays don't like publicity...
The shopkeeper does tell him that there is a purported definitive work on the subject, in a limited edition, sometimes available as a library reference work, by a fay -- a somewhat renegade member of the Daione Sidhe. While some folk regard his work as highly authoritative, others, including high-rank fays, dismiss it. The storekeeper points us to another bookstore, Griffin Feathers.
The Griffin Feathers bookstore turns out to be run by fays. At least, there is a very short little old lady behind the counter, with pointed ears. We ask after the book and get a repeat of the warnings about its veracity. Also, she doesn't have it in stock; it's the sort of thing you have to go find a seller for. We engage her services for this, and put down a retainer. Actually, Tom puts down a large handful of coins from which she carefully extracts all the big yellow ones...
Nick asks after other books on glamour. She is surprised. Certainly they have none for the likes of him. Fays don't do it by the book. How about for Tom, then? "I must ask if you are a Mason," she says to Tom.
"No, I'm an electrician," answers Tom, whose mind runs more to engineering than to secret societies.
After a pause, in which she works out that the important part of this strange answer is just the "no" at the front, she rummages up a history of glamour ("Great Illusions Through the Ages" style of thing) and an "Introduction to the Practice of Glamour," which is really what Tom wants. Her rummaging, by the way, is done by something even shorter than herself, in green, with very old-fashioned clothes, e.g. shoe buckles.
We also get a child's book on fays -- fifty years old an fragile, but useful to strangers like us.
Nick then asks her where we could go to meet "folks like us." "What's that like?" He explains about the New Blood. Well, there aren't any like that around here. Then how about the Daione Sidhe?
She gets rather secretive and edgy, but decides at last that she can point us to a fairly approachable high elf. He can be found at the Rose & Thorn, Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, after seven. (Today is Tuesday.) She writes this out for us, at first in Quenya, then scratches that out and again in English. She tells us to look for an elf at a table in the back, on the left. And he might have a copy of that treatise on glamour, too.
On the walk back, Nick remarks that, concerning glamour, he still has some illusory bank notes he conjured up when he wasn't certain we could get real money. He has not had Tom's problem of glamour unraveling into a burst of Disney-dust. He shows Tom the notes. Tom asks him to try conjuring a piece of paper. Nick obliges, but notes that it doesn't feel quite right. He gives it to Tom to feel, and it explodes in Disney-dust.
After a little thought, they remember that Tom is wearing a ring -- his psi battery, which he wears habitually -- made of steel. He takes it off and can now handle Nick's glamours without destroying them. Touching them to a wrought-iron fence makes them scorch. So maybe iron is the problem. Hopefully, Tom tries casting a glamour of his own. Poof. Oh, well. It has, at least, provided amusement to a passing small boy, though it makes his mother nervous to see these two wizards doing fireballs in public.
Copyright © 2003, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.