Journey to New Europa
Chapter 34, Questioning MacLeish
We left our heroes in consultation with Sherlock Holmes, who has made it clear he hopes to foment conflict between the Assassination Bureau and the World Crime League. He got a lead on the Assassination Bureau from the man Dafnord glued to the lamp-post with his goop-gun. The man didn't really admit anything, but a slight slip of an apparent irrelevancy was enough to let Holmes start on a deductive trail.
We ask if the forecast conflict between the two criminal organizations will result in political turmoil. Holmes is fairly sure it will. He doesn't mind.
We are uneasily wondering if this turmoil isn't part of the "troubles" we are meant to stop. We've been thinking it's time to re-consult the Druids, who conjured us here in the first place, so we ask Holmes for the address of Alexander MacLeish, the arch-druid who addressed us at our conjuration. Holmes consults a directory and gives us an address in Edinburgh.
We get train tickets for a non-stop to Edinburgh, then dawdle through the rest of the evening, except for a brief spot of clairvoyance at Moran's office, to get Robbie some more code-samples to crunch.
Next day, we chug off to Edinburgh, arriving in the evening. We check in to a hotel much less grand than the London one, reflecting that, back in the London area, our house in East Acton is theoretically reconstructed.
We appear on MacLeish's doorstep next morning. The doorstep is attached to a manorly, squire-like house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. (We've yet to meet a working-class wizard. Meddle not in the affairs of wizards, for they can afford good lawyers.) The footman asks if we're expected. As a matter of fact, we are not, since we didn't want to give MacLeish the chance to evade us, but Tom answers, with literal truth, "He summoned us." Oh, that's all right then. We wait in the sitting room, or sit in the waiting room, until a rather puzzled MacLeish shows up.
He has, of course, seen a copy of our Report. We update him on our discoveries after that, concluding with the tentative theory that the unresolved residue of the "troubles" we're here about seems to be a brewing crime-war. Oh, and Katrina and Dragomilov seem to be related.
Oh? MacLeish looks inquiringly at Katrina. There is a long pause. Katrina then confesses that, when she first saw Robbie's sketch of Dragomilov, she saw a family resemblance, which the face-to-face meeting confirmed. But she does not yet know where he fits into the family tree. (Coiled around the trunk, is our guess.)
Going back to the general problem of our residual "troubles," Tom presses MacLeish for more data, pointing out that, while there was a single deed we could do to resolve the first installment of trouble -- rescue Tom Olam -- there is no clear deed presenting itself for the remainder.
Furthermore, we aren't even sure that this upcoming crime-war should be headed off. The apparent alternative is to leave two international crime syndicates in peaceful coexistence, which hardly looks optimal for the world at large.
MacLeish is inclined to think the crime-war should be prevented, but isn't sure. It turns out that the Druids' sources of data are divinations, which give vague and generalized impressions rather than much specific data. They last did a divination three days ago; a new one is due tomorrow. As of the last divination, the "troubles" were still hanging about. We offer to wait around to hear the results of the next divination. (We also offer to help, but are politely declined.)
Tom reminds MacLeish of Dragomilov's theory that the Theosophists' mahatmas are behind the Troubles. He finds the idea intriguing. Tom asks if the mahatmas are Unseelie and is told that they aren't fays at all. Tom asks if they are fallen angels. MacLeish is intrigued by that idea, too, and says he'll ask his opposite number in the Order of St. Boniface, who might know.
We withdraw, with a day and a half to kill.
We put the time to use by researching the Order of St. Boniface, an interdenominational order of wizards, all of them Christian clerics. The local representative is an abbot in a nearby monastery, where there are several monks who belong to the Order of St. Boniface in addition to their conventional monastic order.
We locate the monastery and leave a request to see the abbott tomorrow. (We don't know that he is the Bonifacian opposite number that MacLeish mentioned, but he may be.) We then go back to our hotel, and Tom and Mithriel get to work running off a glamoured copy of The Report for the abbott.
The others retire. A few hours into the night, Tom and Mithriel are startled by a scream from the next room -- Kate's. Tom hastily makes telepathic contact. She's having another nightmare -- and having her mind invaded really didn't help.
Tom throws clairvoyance into her room and feels for psychic signatures. There's a definite "something horrid" feel, but nothing familiar. He will, however, recognizes it again, should he be unfortunate enough to meet it. So will Kate.
Tom sends his viewpoint out the door, into the hall, just in time to get a vivid impression that his nose is about to be pounded -- Dafnord was at the door, about to knock. While he and the others learn what's been happening, Tom assists Kate in reconstructing the dream. It was a repeat of the nightmare she had two nights ago in London, with a dark menage pursuing something small and childlike, only the dream went a step further, here, and the dark presence tore away or destroyed the childlike one.
We may have an omen here. A call for help? Kate volunteers to be psychic stalking-horse, and Tom and Mithriel whip up a glamour-tech ampsi-cum-dream-monitor to invite and detect a repeat performance. (For the game-mechanical record, it's a better ampsi than it is a dream monitor, the ampsi function being created by a 00.)
That done, we all go gingerly to sleep.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.