Owls & Ashes
Third Movement: Pasticcio Inquieto
Upon arising and making plans to meet with Sean and Mila to search for Amelia’s hiding place, Violet finds herself delayed by a pair of visitors: the Carthian Prefect Joshua Garrett, accompanied by Rickard. Garrett informs her that he has picked up news of the backroom politicking going on in the All Night Society and the considerations for whom to nominate to the Princedom, and considers himself a better alternative over Barton, Pryor, or any other possible contender for the throne.
The two question her as to Jan’s whereabouts, still unseen and unheard from the past couple of nights after the events at Tiberius’ mansion; his absence is backed up by confirmation from Rickard that Jan has not been in contact, nor shown up at any of the areas frequented by the Ordo. Garrett openly tells her that he knows Jan had something to do with what happened to the Prince—but Violet gives no reaction, simply waiting for him to continue. He offers her an incentive: the Invictus will stop at nothing to bring Jan to heel if they think he is responsible for Tiberius meeting Final Death, but Garrett can offer his protection to him if he is Prince instead. Violet merely tells them that she will take that under advisement and, much delayed by this interlude, finally leaves to find Mila and Sean.
After several hours of searching Telegraph Hill, the trio finally stumble across an empty home, one of several taken off the market in the area—only to find Amelia absent. Nonetheless, Mila is able to ascertain that Amelia had lately been here through Auspex, and with Sean’s own notes from the journal, they are able to piece together a possible pattern to her movements between multiple Havens. No more is to be done for the night, however; the search took them far too long to look any further before they can safely return to their havens before dawn.
Meanwhile, Sascha wanders the city, and as he meanders through the Tenderloin, has two unusual encounters: First, witnessing part of a chase as two vehicles pursue a third around the district—all three driven by Kindred—and second, a chance meeting with Gabriel, who questions him about the event, but before the two can talk very long, receives a message on his cellphone that causes him to cut the conversation short and quickly head back toward the Mission district instead.
Later, he receives a call from Jolene, and accepts her plea to meet at the Penthouse Club, where she inquires after his health and takes notice of his condition just as Gabriel did. Despite his on-edge status, she asks him to consider working with him at the club again, in exchange for safety and a steady supply of vessels. He declines, but accepts a burner phone from her as a means of emergency contact. Upon leaving the club, he watches a scuffle between two parties outside on the street. Taken by a sudden urge to mock them, he attracts the attention of both groups (apparently rival street gangs having a disagreement), and they turn on him together. Seized by rage and hunger, he openly kills the lead of one gang in the middle of the street, then disappears into the night again, as the Beast, goaded by this act of wanton violence, continues to subsume the Man.
In Seacliff, Doctor Rosa visits the family she has kept an eye on for decades, discussing treatment with the youngest daughter of the family. Over the years, from the great-grandmother on down, she has noticed certain recurring patterns that may not be mental illness, but something more supernatural, and has taken it upon herself to study this phenomenon. The girl talks about seeing and hearing things, but insists that the antipsychotic medication she has been prescribed is not stopping her visions.
After this visit, Doctor Rosa returns to her Haven, only to be accosted by Li Nguyen shortly afterward—and he has brought Livia DeWitt with him, newly arisen from Torpor after last year’s massacre in the Presidio. Nguyen appears chastened and returned to his position as Heirophant in service to DeWitt as High Priestess, while DeWitt questions Rosa sharply about the last few nights’ events. When her interrogation turns mocking toward Rosa’s apparent lack of Cruac talent, despite her divinatory talents, Rosa’s mood darkens—and her house responds to her displeasure, growing more foreboding by the moment. Chandeliers tinkle, doors creak, lights flicker and dim. Sensing that they may have incurred her displeasure (and that of her apparently very protective home) DeWitt beats a hasty, somewhat undignified retreat, with Nguyen in tow.
Only a couple of hours before dawn, Violet hears a knock on her window. Outside, Jan is perched on the fire escape, looking extremely hungry and agitated—and with multiple strange changes to his body, including winglike patagia and heavy claws and long fangs. He has tried to keep out of sight but no blood from animal or human has sated him. Violet offers him her own Vitae, and at the taste, Jan loses control of himself, battening on her wrist and beginning to drink deep.
As he loses himself in a frenzy of hunger, Violet rebuffs him, and when he moves to assail her, unleashes Nightmare upon him, planting in his mind a terrible Grand Delusion: he has killed her in his frenzied state. His frenzy comes to a sudden halt as he regards the ‘sight’ of Violet destroyed at his hands; instead he rends his face with one taloned hand, and tears apart the apartment’s kitchen, shattering windows and smashing walls, before hurling himself out of the open window frame and into the darkness.
Violet contacts Garrett to let him know she has seen Jan, and briefly relays his appearance and savage state, but with the night waning, she has no time to do anything else but to patch up the windows and retreat into her safe room before Daysleep overtakes her.