Owls & Ashes
Fifth Movement: Concerto Mosso con Cadenza Spinto Soprano
Violet is summoned to court where Garrett is gradually gathering influence and assuming leadership as the new Prefect over the entire area, not just Berkeley. At the court, Max, an unaligned Gangrel, makes claims of a swarm of creatures attacking him, draining his Vitae, but leaving him intact—possibly Jan hunting and still thirsty for Kindred Vitae. As Garrett owes her a favor for offering tacit support to Garrett’s taking Praxis, the discussion of the case is kept quiet, and Gabriel and Sherriff Harmon are not informed. Rickard promises he will try not to harm Jan while looking for him.
She speaking with Doctor Kaintz, asking to speak to the Kogaion Shen Xiao Wei about the deceased Prince Tiberius’ weapon. Doctor Kaintz is mildly surprised, but soon thereafter, informs her that the Kogaion will see her and Sean, who has been studying the Prince’s Journal.
For his own part, meanwhile, across town, Sean is called to meet Atticus who is calling any invictus who didn’t show up to the night before, to curry their favor. Atticus offers only empty promises, and when he tries to throw the weight of his blood upon Sean, the Daeva reacts badly, beating him into torpor and diablerizing him, then setting the office on fire to hide his tracks.
Shortly thereafter, Violet contacts him (having spoken to Doctor Kaintz), and the two make their way to meet outside Chinatown to meet the Kogaion at the provided address. The two wander the narrow streets of the district until they find the back-alley address, whereupon the same mute child that has escorted Violet and Jan leads them into a building with the Kogaion and his three silent attendants within. The room does not match the dimensions of the building outside. The Kogaion waits for them to speak, and after being asked about Prince Tiberius’ secret weapon, he confirms the story of a previous foe of Tiberius who was destroyed.
“The weapon destroyed him, but it did not kill him. That came later,” the Kogaion tells them, then makes a suggestion: “If you do not unsheath this particular weapon upon the Dragon, it will be most favorable—for you, and for the one you seek.”
At accepting the quietly made offer of allegiance (and the beneficence offered toward Jan as well), the two are presented with a razor by the mute child, along with a small bowl. Both Violet and Sean spill a measure of their own Vitae as the Kogaion watches, and as they see him raise the bowl to his lips, the two find themselves on the streets outside in Chinatown once again. Though both have shared the experience and recall it clearly, neither can truly verbalize the last part.
Meanwhile, working on cementing her position as Priestess of the Circle after having beaten DeWitt into torpor, and to regain the covenant’s former status in the city, Doctor Rosa heads to join Mila in search of Amelia, as they narrow her location for the night down to a section of Ocean Beach. En route, driven by Joanne, Doctor Rosa’s car is surrounded by rioting people, caught up in whatever madness seems to have spread across the city in the wake of the Prince’s demise. Joann is pulled from the car, and Doctor Rosa moves to aid her, fighting her way through the crowd to get her ghoul to safety, but they are forced to abandon the car. In order to better ensure her safety, Joanne is sent back to Doctor Rosa’s haven while her Regnant continues the investigation.
Despite the delay, Doctor Rosa finds the apartment in question before Mila does, and opts to let her know, whereupon Mila also summons Sascha to aid them. On his way to the area, Sascha tries to hunt—not an easy thing considering the recent spate of criminal activity that has echoed the Prince’s demise and the unrest in the All Night Society. His prey, a young man out late at night, panics and blinds him with his cell phone’s camera flash, before running. Giving into his temper and hunger, Sascha hurls a knife at the man, concussing him badly with the butt of the blade. The young man faceplants, badly wounded; desperate to keep him alive even in the face of his hunger, concerned over giving in and slipping further to the Beast, Sascha instead forces a measure of his own Vitae down the man’s throat and calls an ambulance before smashing his phone and running to meet Mila and Elizabeth.
Mila calls Sean and Violet, who have just left Chinatown, and informs them of Amelia’s location. The two will take some time arriving, and so Mila, Sascha, and Elizabeth grow impatient, and break down the door of the house, only to find Amelia there with four mortals: a whole family she was apparently friends with as a mortal (her being a neonate scarcely six months dead). Both Mila and Amelia look at each other, recognizing that they each saw the other in their dreams the night before, and had prepared for this moment: Mila by knowing where to find her, and Amelia, by having the means to protect herself: a boy in the family recording their every move and streaming it online to a secure cloud site, and Amelia herself having prepared the Prince’s secret weapon.
She reveals a handful of folders she has collected, each with the name of one of the Coterie written on it, and offers them to Mila. This is the Prince’s secret weapon, she reveals. Somehow he knew things about every Kindred in the local covenants, collecting scraps of their lives and unlives. Each of these folders contains a few samples of what the Coterie has been up to; a suggestion that the Prince’s secret weapon contains even more extensive knowledge on the Coterie, and all other Kindred nearby.
As Violet and Sean arrive shortly thereafter, she offers cryptic thanks to the Coterie for their part in things—though Sean does not understand it, the rest realize she was the last person leaving the Prince’s Haven the night he was killed by Jan. After this she makes a demand: In exchange for the Prince’s dossiers, she asks for the safety of the family she is staying with tonight; a safe way out of the area, unharmed; and $150,000 in cash. None of them have that kind of money on hand, so she then suggests they call an Elysium meeting tomorrow night. Violet diplomatically arranges for a chance for Garrett and Pryor to meet with her first, to which Amelia replies that she will consider it.