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Part 3

Brendan had no such compunction to restrain himself. He burst out laughing as Kei entered with Jon over her shoulder. He shook his head and glanced at Will, indicating without a word that his brother was the biggest fucking moron Brendan had ever had the rotten luck of meeting. Honest to god, Brendan couldn't figure out why Jon had such a problem. Not only was the woman downright beautiful, but she was already a ham and clearly cared enough not to leave the man soaking himself to the bone outside. Brendan would've left his ass out there to suffer for being a goddamn idiot.

Evey quickly moved out of the way and rolled her eyes at Brendan's laughter. She stuck her thumbs into her jeans. She left her badge, holster and gun on, even if she had taken off her jacket (really only because Will had offered to take it for her). Brendan took nothing off, but followed after the vampire with amusement until she put Jon back on the ground. Brendan patted Jon's shoulder and leaned in to whisper in his ear. "You go back outside after that to sit on the steps in the rain and make a scene again," the werewolf warned, "and not only will I refuse to work with you anymore, but I'm going to do my boss a favor and put you in a holding cell for a week so you don't cause any problems. So don't stop me from doing my job with your emotional issues and petty grievances. Finding out who is murdering these people comes before your problems, Keatting." He gave Jon's shoulder a squeeze and then released him. "Did I hear something about coffee? That's awfully kind of you, ma'am." He approached Kei. "Detective Brendan Graham." He motioned to Evey. "My partner Detective Grant."

She nodded her head towards him. "Professor Kei Ellem," she introduced herself, making no attempt to hide the fact that her eyes were taking Brendan in up and down. She smirked, meeting his gaze while she gestured towards the island in the kitchen where she had everything set up for coffee. "Make yourself at home, detective. Your mug is the black one on the end." She moved past him, pausing only once to look at him from the back, muttering, "Come sei bello," under her breath before she walked over to Will.

"I was starting to wonder," he teased when she reached him, arms open wide. "Usually, I get tackled when I walk in the door."

Kei laughed, welcoming the hug he offered, standing on her toes so she could kiss his cheek before patting him on the top of his head. "Well, it's raining, and I had my arms full." She then turned to Jon, her smile fading. "Can I at least get a hello? I haven't seen you in months."

Jon stayed by the foyer, but was still in the living room. He managed a weak smile at Kei, but wouldn't look at her for long. "Hey."

"It'll do," she said quietly, then turned to her last guest. "So, do you want to be called detective too, or should I address you as Evey?"

Evey officially didn't know what to make of the woman. She was Jonathon's ex -- and he clearly still had hang ups -- Will knew her more... personally, but it seemed silly for her to reach up just to pat him on the head, more like a show than something she did regularly, and her eyes had practically eaten Brendan up. Wait. Her eyes narrowed. "How do you know my name is Evey?" Graham had introduced her as Grant. "I think for now you should call me Det. Grant, Professor Ellem. Unfortunately, we're not here for a casual visit." She shot Brendan a hot, annoyed look, because her partner had apparently also noticed Kei's eyes on him and was eyeballing back. She really needed Graham on point and not distracted by a knock-out vampire. "But coffee is nice, thank you."

Brendan had indeed noticed Kei's perusal and mimicked in kind. He smirked when he heard Evey's comments and headed toward the coffee for the mug Kei had indicated for him. "Didn't Will text the professor that we'd be coming?" The woman had been standing outside waiting for them in the rain.

"No, he didn't," Evey muttered.

Kei smiled coyly, but didn't answer right away. Instead, she went to the opposite side of the island and began fixing up one of the other mugs with coffee. "I know you aren't here just to visit, detective," she said, becoming more serious. "You want to know what I, as a member of the Council of Elders, have to say about the recent murders and disappearances." She glanced back at Evey. "Among other questions I'm sure."

"Stop stringing them along, Kei," Jon, of all people, said, with surprisingly less bitterness than would be expected of him. "At least tell them how you knew we'd be coming."

The vampire frowned. "You know why I don't want to, Jon."

"They're detectives; they're going to find out eventually."

Kei sighed. "Very well." She turned around, mug in hand while she leaned back against the counter. "A good friend of mine is psychic. He saw you were coming and called me to give me the head's up. Honestly, I was still asleep not long before you got here."

"Julian, right?" Will asked. He smirked, looking over at Brendan. "For as long as I've known Kei, I still haven't met this mysterious friend of hers, but he's good for information."

Brendan took a seat. "Then I may want to get to know him. At this point that sort of psychic would be real convenient to have around."

"Yeah, 'cause I'm no good to you," Evey muttered moving to sit by Brendan.

"Come off it, Grant."

Evey rolled her eyes and looked at Kei. "All right, so you've got a psychic friend that told you we were coming and apparently our names, and probably every little thing about us. Good to know all your questions about us have probably already been answered. So how about answering some of ours? Like is the Council planning on doing anything about these public murders or are they going to sit around and wait until the CSI unit proves the existence of vampires to the locals?"

"Or if you've got a tidbit of a rumor that might point us in the right direction to stop these psychopaths, that would be nice too," Brendan added with a brief, wolfish grin.

Kei frowned, bringing the coffee she'd fixed over to Will before returning to the counter. "I can't give you much in the way of rumors, but I can say that I believe most of the targets are related to members of the Council." She stopped pouring coffee to look back at the detectives. "One of my students hasn't made it to class in over a week, which is unusual for her. Other elders have mentioned losing some of their ancillae or, in a few incidents, finding their own filii missing. Ju tells me that the young vampires have already been killed, but there's hope for some the humans involved. On the subject of Ju..." Kei turned to face them, sipping from her mug. "I ask kindly that you leave him alone. He is very shy, and yes, a valuable source of information. I'm one of the few people who knows where he lives, and he prefers it that way. He's the Council's main adviser, but to be frank, I just don't want to see him get hurt."

Brendan took a sip of his coffee, his smile fading. "Hope for some of the humans involved. Considering we've had ten murders, all human so far, I wonder how many of these ancillae and filii have been killed to, and to what purpose really. The human murders give a very distinct appearance."

"Yeah, vampires eat people," Evey said.

Brendan nodded. "I suppose we just have to assume that these slaves and filii are just other ways of sending messages to the Council and community." He glanced up at Kei. "I would say it's a hostile take over because it reeks of a gang war, but I don't keep up with new cruenti in town or who's new on the up and up."

Evey looked around to get herself a mug of coffee. "Information is what we need right now. There's about two people in the entirety of the police force that can help. You're looking at them, unless you want everyone to know about vampires. Now if you and your psychic friend want to handle it alone with these two," she motioned to the Keattings, "or just sit quietly in the corners until the murderers come knocking on your doors, that's fine. We'll run around in circles with no way to get close to them. But the Keattings aren't going to be able to figure out who this murderer -- or ringleader of the murderers -- is by their onesies. So I don't want to bother your friend, or put him in harm's way, but if your and his need for secrecy outweigh giving us information to stop psychopaths from running rampant and starting a war on the streets, then Graham and I can leave, and you and he can figure out by yourselves how to keep him safe when the people killing humans and vampires get to your seat of the council and eventually find him." She couldn't help it. They'd been battling this madness for weeks. Ten fucking murders. It was all over the news and the papers, and nobody thought to pressure this woman or her psychic friend about what the fuck was going on? These Keattings were really fucking sucky ass detectives. Which is why they aren't, Evey, she told herself. That's why they're big, dumb mercenaries. She gave up looking for coffee and ran a hand through her short hair. She wasn't winning any brownie points, but really, you don't say 'Oh, hey, here's a great, amazing informant, but I don't want you to talk to him because he's shy and I don't want him hurt' to a couple of desperate fucking cops. That's basically like saying, I have answers but I'm not going to give them to you. So tough shit, the murders can keep happening because they don't fucking concern me enough to help. Clearly, this guy was far more valuable than that poor student.

Brendan's gray eyes met Kei's dark ones, not addressing Evey's outburst. He understood his partner's feelings on the matter. Normally, he was the bad cop to her good cop, but in this case, he had to play it cool because his girl looked ready to strangle the cruenta. "I don't think you really intended to keep your psychic friend a secret, Professor," Brendan said quietly, "despite your plea for us not to bother him. Perhaps he's forcing your hand because he does want to help. Or maybe you're forcing his. He called you to let you know we were coming. If you didn't want us to know about him, then you could've pretended you had no idea. You didn't have to wait for us outside, make us coffee or call Grant by her given name. You could've played dumb and Grant and I wouldn't have been the wiser. And while normally, I would chalk up psychic ability to basic bull shit, you demonstrated his skill effortlessly and well, Grant's got some of her own, so I'm open to new things right now."

He took another sip of his coffee. "So on the subject of information," Brendan said, "Is there anyone new in town? Any power struggles going on within the Council right now? Any new faces that anyone's been talking about?" He smiled briefly. "These questions, by the way, are for you and the psychic friend, depending on what kind of psychic ability he has. I'm willing to wait for you to relay the information to him, however you see fit."

Kei smiled briefly in return, but broke the gaze to look back at her coffee. "That, there have been rumors about," she said. "Word has reached us that there are new elders in town, ones older than me and several others on the Council. Mind you, the Council doesn't necessarily consist of the oldest vampires in Dorcha, but we're still a good portion of them. There are thirteen of us all together, ranging from four and a half centuries up through seven, the oldest being just a few decades over. I'm one of the younger ones." She paused to pick up one of the two remaining coffee mugs and pass it to Evey.

"What about issues within the Council itself?" Will asked. He'd plopped himself in an armchair and propped his feet up. "I mean, it is kind of weird that they've been so hesitant to tackle this issue themselves, all things considered. The last time there were a slew of crimes like this, they actually got in contact with me and Jon, remember?"

"Yes, I remember. And, well..." Kei chewed on her lip. "Let's just say that this meeting is off the record. I tried to get Council approval to discuss this with you, and was denied. They want to handle things on their own, apparently, but none of them can agree on how to do it. Everyone thinks everyone else is trying to unseat them and replace them with someone more favorable. There has been a lot of in-fighting since it isn't only retainers being killed. For a while, several of them banded together in agreement that I might be the one behind this chaos, at least until my student vanished. I don't keep ancillae or blood dolls regularly, so of course they thought it was suspicious."

Evey's cellphone started to ring.

Evey had grabbed her coffee mug when Kei pushed it toward her, her attention on it as she listened to the vampire. Brendan was probably right. With new elders in town, especially very old ones, they could be manipulating the Council via the tried and true divide and conquer. Very old ones probably had more manipulative power. A good follow-up would be trying to identify this new elder cruenti in town. New cruenti, especially, were dangerous because there was always a power struggle. They were annoyingly territorial. But before she could ask another question, her phone went off. She didn't recognize the number, so her brow furrowed and she excused herself. She got up off the seat and walked away from the others to answer it. "Grant," she responded.

"There's no need to separate yourself from the others, detective." The voice was an unfamiliar one with a distinct British accent. "And you may as well put your phone on speaker. Also, if you think it's easy for me to simply conjure up the information you desire, I'm afraid I must disappoint you."

"It's Julian, isn't it?" Kei asked, the corner of her lip twitching.

"Feel free to tell her it is," came the response through Evey's phone.

Evey's brow had furrowed as she listened, then shot up skeptically when Kei spoke, then furrowed again when the man at the other end of the line spoke again. Okay. Trippy. But if this was Julian, that psychic the cruenta had mentioned, then Brendan had been right on the nose. If he didn't want to be involved, didn't want to help, and wanted to stay comfortably hidden in the sidelines, then he wouldn't have bothered to call. "Nice to meet you," Evey muttered into the phone, relaxing a little. It was weird as fuck, but at least it meant that they might actually get somewhere. "And for the record," she began as she walked back to the island, "I don't expect you to conjure up information. I can imagine whatever it is you do, it's complicated. I just don't like being told that there's information to be had, but I'm not allowed to access it with dead bodies piling up and no indication that it's going to stop. I'm sure you can understand that." She lowered the phone and shifted it to speaker before Julian spoke again and placed the phone on the counter. She picked up her coffee mug again and took a sip.

Brendan's eyebrow had arched as well when he'd heard Kei's remark, but a small smile lingered on his lips as he exchanged looks with his partner before Evey put the phone down on the countertop. Maybe they were finally going to get a break in this case. "Hello, Mr. Julian," Brendan said. "Det. Graham, though I think you know that already. Glad you could join us tonight."

"Just Julian or Ju will suffice," the voice on the speaker said. "And I would be there physically if not for this abysmal weather. It's only supposed to get worse, according to the news."

"Oh joy," Will said with some amusement. "Can't wait to get back out there."

"I highly discourage it, William. Not that I'm not confident in either detectives' driving skills, but certain streets are starting to flood, including half the feeders onto your street. Personally, I would suggest waiting it out, however long that takes." Ju cleared his throat. "In any case, before I start answering questions, I would like to make a clarification for Kei: you mistake my reluctance to directly interact with others (Council members in particular) as shyness. You've known me for almost two centuries; you should know it's more than that."

"Yes, I know," Kei admitted with a rueful smile. "But with everything that's been happening lately..."

"I want to help resolve this as much as you do, but I can't be of any use if you don't let me. I do, however, agree that utmost care should be taken to keep my involvement a secret, especially from the Council, but also from the rest of the police."

Evey leaned forward. Two centuries. He was cruenti too. Not that she was too surprised. Somehow she expected that. Normal people like her didn't have abilities like her. They were either like Will and Jon, like Brendan, or like Kei. This guy was a lot more straightforward than his friend. She already liked him. "That goes without saying, Julian. An hour ago, I thought I was the only cop in the precinct that knew about cruenti. Considering the sensitivity of the information and the need for secrecy, Graham and I are under no illusions on how we have to proceed."

"The murderers are unlikely to be human, which means we won't be able to take them into custody," Brendan agreed. "At this point, most of our investigation is officially off the record. Whoever is doing this will have to deal with justice dispatched the old fashioned way. There is no other policeman we could tell about you without risking the whole thing getting blown apart. So you won't need to worry about that. And as we don't deal with the Council, you won't have to worry about that." Brendan smirked. "They don't like me."

Evey shot Brendan a glance. He'd actually dealt with the Council before? She'd have to sit her partner down and get the full story out of him soon. "Everyone's involvement will be approached with care. Even if the cruenti know about Graham and the Keattings, I doubt many of them know about me and considering Prof. Ellem is on the Council, it would be best for all of us to keep our information limited to just this group." It was already a bigger group than she would've liked, but the assets couldn't be ignored. And since she and Brendan didn't have the boys to back them up—well, it looked like the Keattings and these pair of vampires were just going to have to do it for them.

"Good," Ju said. "I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep this under wraps. The Council may believe my advise biased if they find out I've been working with Kei deliberately against their wishes."

"They don't even know we're friends," Kei added.

"Precisely. So, your questions, detectives? I'll do my best to answer all I can. The nature of my... well, I suppose I should explain exactly how my psychic powers work first, shouldn't I?"

"He's clairvoyant," Kei explained for him. "Well, in a way..."

Ju sighed loudly over the phone. "It's more complicated than that. I see everything from the perspective of every person. Every day. Every second. I essentially witness everything as it occurs in the present, from the viewpoint of hundreds of millions of people. And I can't turn this power off."

Silence greeted Julian as at least the detectives mulled that over. Brendan was the first to speak. "That... must royally suck."

Evey shook her head. That certainly explained how he knew what was going on. "If you can't turn it off, how could you even function, and god, if that's the case, how do you even filter through it?" Her brow furrowed and she released a quiet curse. "That's probably why you can't really give us all the information we want. Filtering through all that information to find the tidbits we need from the past and current would be way too much to even attempt, wouldn't it?" Perfect. Someone who could see the crime happening and be able to identify who they work for, but with billions of people in the world, there was no way to filter through that. "So there's no way you could tell us who is behind it, where they're located, and that would be that."

"Only way you could filter that is if you focused or tuned in on one person's point of view and let the rest fall to white noise," Brendan stated. "I assume it has to work something like that or you'd never get anything done."

"I've had to teach myself to ignore a great deal of the information coming into my mind, yes," Julian confirmed. "And it took me decades to learn to do so. Prior to that, I was completely catatonic."

"So, are you focusing in on us now?" Jon asked, elaborating when his brother gave him a look for asking such a stupid question. "I mean, obviously you are, but how do you know where to focus, with so much coming in all at once?"

"I can pinpoint the perspectives of people I'm familiar with. Right now, I'm focusing on your gathering through Kei. I also periodically scan the waves, as it were, for familiar voices, names, and other assorted keywords and phrases. I picked up on the Keattings discussing Kei with Det. Graham, and so kept my focus there for a while. It's much easier to target people I've met personally, but I've at least seen photos of you and your brother, Jonathan."

The older hunter squirmed. He wasn't comfortable with the idea that he could be spied on by the vampire just by him having seen a picture of him.

"But now you're seeing us through, Kei," Evey said. "That's definitely interesting, and it makes sense, sadly, why you don't know who is doing this because there's no way you'd be able to shift through all of that to decipher it." She muttered a low curse under her breath and took another sip of coffee. "So what can you tell us, Julian," Evey asked quietly. "Anything will be better than the jack shit of 'It's a vampire' we currently have. We can make educated guesses, but they're still guesses."

Brendan nodded. "Like it's probably a noctis ringleader with the belief that vampires should rule over humans forming a nice cult of younger ones to do his or her dirty work -- though given, wouldn't have figured that one out without the Keattings. It's organized, obvious, flamboyant, definitely with the desire of sending a message. If filii and ancillae have also been targeted along with personal acquaintances of the Council, it indicates a cruentus with a great deal of power that is trying for a power play on the Council and most likely with the intent of taking over the city. While the humans are running around dealing with impossible murders, the Council can't do anything to stop them either because they don't know how to deal with such a situation. I don't even think Dorcha has seen anything like this." Brendan leaned back in his seat. "It is a declaration of war to a degree. The murders are a diversion. Look here while I take this apart from the inside until I've taken over kind of scenario. It's smart. But without any information on who is doing it, we've got no leads."

There was a long silence from Julian. "Well," he said eventually. "You seem to have a great deal of information already, detective, even if it is just theory. You're going to have to be more specific about what it is you want from me, if you want more than what you've already deduced. All I can do with what you've told me is confirm that yes, they are all cruenti made attacks, but if you think I've focused in on any one of them in particular..."

"Ju, you don't have to be cross with the detective," Kei said gently, shaking her head.

"I'm not cross. I simply want to know what is being asked of me."

Brendan rubbed his neck and then his jaw. He rolled his eyes. "The most immediate question, and most important is 'who?' But I doubt you can answer that." His brow furrowed. But there were definitely questions he could ask to eliminate other possibilities. Questions Julian could probably answer. "Is it a member of the Council? If it isn't, is it one of the new elders? How many of the new elder cruenti are there?" It was a good start. If he could at least eliminate that Council that would simplify things. Not that he knew of any of them personally, but he knew who they were -- basically. When he'd moved to Dorcha years ago for college, they'd made it their business to look into a werewolf in their city. He hadn't taken much liking to that. It was an ancient rule that wolves didn't mess with cruenti and they didn't mess back. So the only way he was able to keep tabs was to join the police force. Which worked out for everybody because he was pretty fucking good at it. If it was one of the new elders, then if he knew how many there were, he could try narrowing down the questions from there.

Evey also had questions, but she waited until Brendan was through. These answers could inform her questions, so she could be more specific as well.

"None of the Council are involved," Julian told him. "And as far as these new elders go, they haven't made a formal appearance. It has been more or less confirmed that there are new cruenti in the city who qualify as elders -- that is, older than three centuries -- but they haven't made any move to join or even confront the Council, at least not directly. I can't say for certain how many there are, but the popular guess is two or three, at most."

Kei nodded, knowing some of this information. "When new vampires move into a city, it is considered polite to make contact with the ruling Council. Not that they all do, but when conflicts invariably arise (over stalking grounds, blood dolls, or whatever), having already introduced yourself gives you more ground to stand on. If the Elders know you, they are more apt to make rulings in your favor."

"Though this is more tradition than law," Will noted. "If I recall correctly."

"True enough."

"Sounds like they're not too interested in contacting the Council then," Brendan murmured. Two or three were harder to find, but fewer suspects in general. It was something at least. Three cruenti over three hundred years old shouldn't be too hard to find. He hoped. "So the Council knows they're here but they haven't approached them or vice versa? Any reason why they won't approach?" He arched an eyebrow. "Are they intimidated by these newcomers?" That... would speak volumes. And annoyed the piss out of him.

"And... if the Council hasn't approached them or they the Council, how would these new cruenti know who to target? It's not like the elders air their business publicly." Evey shook her head and looked over at Graham. "They must've had a connection going in. There's no way they could be gathering that much information with just the three of them," better to assume more than less, "and without making themselves known to the Council. Either they came with a posse or they came with a hacker or they have someone in the Council already in their pocket before they even got here."

Kei sent Evey a skeptical look. "Oh, the Elders are very vocal about their affairs, just not to mortales. Ask any cruenti, and you'll know who's who on the Council, possibly even who they're retainers are." She half shrugged. "They only approach newcomers if they cause trouble and haven't introduced themselves. Some cruenti just prefer to be left alone and stay out of politics."

"I doubt these new cruenti are in any way intimidated by the Council," Julian added. "As Kei said, finding information on who works for whom is not difficult, if you ask the right people. And for a new face, it's fair enough to ask about the ruling Council before confronting them. Even Kei did so when she moved here."

"The town was much smaller then," she said with a slight smile. "And the Council was half the size it is now. I was worried about getting into trouble, so I asked around first: who are the Elders? Do they have any retainers who are off-limits? Who should I ask to get an audience with them? These are very common things to ask when first arriving. I don't doubt these new cruenti did the same. It would be completely typical and not suspicious at all. Nowadays, people move in and out of Dorcha with much greater frequency."

Brendan arched his brows as Evey narrowed hers. Sounded like Julian and Kei had no idea what Evey and Brendan had just said. "I meant the Council was intimidated by the newcomers not the other way around. Should I just assume that it is? As it stands it sounds like any information you want on the Elders is up for grabs, so it's easy to start picking off their retainers then. They probably would've kept a low profile so Grant and I would have a hard time trying to pinpoint any newcomers to the city, and the range is too wide. One to two weeks before the first murder, cross reference all empty apartments and homes that were filled in that time slot with nighttime relocations?" He paused. "Hm. That might not be a bad idea. Since these fuckers continue to make it hard for us to find them."

Evey smiled briefly at Brendan. "We'll have to do that tomorrow. We could probably also try to cross reference any parts of town that happen to have a decent cruenti population if the numbers are too high. Or places close by the normal cruenti hang outs. Recruiting with an idea like this, especially with the news blaring about it, is going to be very gossipy if you hit one set of spots and suspiciously quiet in the rest. They need to be building their little army somehow after all."

Brendan nodded. "Their army. Keatting, Will, you two are going to have to give Grant and I a list of local haunts for the cruenti. We can ruffle some leather and ask some uncomfortable questions and most importantly, find out which places are more 'vampire eat human' friendly." He glanced at Evey. "Good call, Grant." He finished off his coffee before crossing his arms over his chest, before closing his eyes. "Julian, Professor, what does the Council plan to do about these murders? They know it isn't human, they know the risks. Do they intend to stop it?"

"Ha! Do they intend to stop it." Kei rolled her eyes, setting her coffee down and crossing her arms. "I'm not even supposed to be talking to anyone about this outside of the Council, let alone outside of cruenti society, and they would have a fit if they knew I was speaking to a larentius." She sent a smirk Brendan's way. "This isn't the first time the Council has been attacked, but certainly the first that has been made so blatantly known to non-vampires. The Council as a whole certainly intends to stop the attacks, but intending to do something and actually doing something are two completely different things."

"Many are hoping that these cruenti's own recklessness will be their ultimate downfall," Julian said. "I doubt that will happen. Forgive me for saying so, Kei, but the Council is big on words but dreadfully short on action. It's going to take one of them being killed before they do anything productive."

The cruenta sighed and nodded. "Unfortunately. I mean, the fact that they've threatened punishment for anyone who talks outside of the Council..."

"Which is what you're doing," Jon pointed out. "When you say 'the Council this' or 'the Council that,' are you excluding yourself? From my understanding of their workings, they run democratically. Didn't you vote on whether or not this information can be shared?"

"The Council of Elders is democratic in theory only, Jon," his brother told him with a frown. "The younger Elders cater to the whims of older Elders, for fear they will be thrown off the Council if they don't." He glanced at Kei. "Am I right?"

She frowned. "Votes are done anonymously, but yes, that is about how it works. The vote deciding whether or not we should seek outside help on this issue went in favor of no by nine votes to two, with two abstentions. Needless to say, I was one of the two who voted for pulling in outside resources. I have no idea who the other was."

"It was Saul," Julian told them. "I observed that meeting. He's the youngest member of the Council and fears that he will most definitely be a target because of it. He's afraid these attacks are to garner a spot on the Council."

"Selfish, of course," Kei grumbled, drinking her coffee again. "Like all of them..."

Brendan shot Kei and amused, and slightly more impressed look than he intended. According to the Keattings, she hadn't told them anything because of said Council, but it sounded like if they had just pushed a little, she would've given them plenty. Got to like a woman who has disdain for the inherent stupidity in her own system.

Evey arched an eyebrow. "Larentius?" That... well, that she'd never heard.

Brendan snorted out a short laugh. "Cruenti version of werewolf," he explained to his partner. "Larentia was the great she-wolf that nursed the Roman emperors Remus and Romulus, according to myth anyway. Larentius is one male wolf, larentia a lady wolf, and larenti for plural. Most cruenti these days think of it as derogatory because it's not real Latin but a bastardization of Latin with a name. Hell, half don't even probably remember where it comes from just know it isn't real Latin, snobbish bastards that they are. Wolves adopted it quite proudly back in the day because, well, Larentia is a pretty fucking awesome damn mythical wolf to be named after and vampires can go fuck off." Brendan smirked. "So she's talking about me."

Evey smirked back at her partner. "Well, considering this Council ain't doing shit, I think, they can go do the usual and go fuck off. We cops, wolf and mutant, can go ahead and do some digging around." She glanced back to the phone and then to Kei. "I know you're only viewing the present, Julian, but in your personal opinion do you think Saul has a good reason to be worried? His reasoning is sound. As the youngest and with the Council's known retainers and associates being targeted, he may just end up dead. And being cruenti, he won't turn up on the streets like a big displayed corpse come morning. Just another missing person…" Her brow furrowed. "Hey, Graham has a list of missing persons that he said he would look into finding out if any of them were victims too. He was awfully vague about it, because he was still in the middle of keeping me out of the loop, but if we could give you those names, could you focus on the name and find out if they're dead cruenti or any of their affiliates... or even still captive humans?"

Brendan slapped Evey on the back. "Nice."

Evey let out an "oomph" and a cough and then shot him a glare. "At least now I know why you've always been so insanely strong..." she muttered.

"I could go over the names, yes," Julian agreed. "But I'd like a hard copy of that list. It's easier to sort my thoughts when I have more tangible reference material."

"I'll give the detective your email, Ju," Kei told him. "You know, it will likely be encrypted."

"And you know there hasn't been a code I couldn't crack. If need be, I will ask for a key, but I can surely figure it out myself."

"Just watch Jon or I when we open up our copy," Will suggested, glancing at Brendan. "Assuming you use the same encryption."

Brendan shrugged. "If Julian wants the challenge then he can have it. I'm sure he'll just roll his eyes and say any two year old could've cracked it, or something." He wasn't a genius hacker or anything. He just wanted to make sure that things remained on a need to know basis. If Julian, Jon, or Will needed to know some information he had, he would give it, especially for information in return. Right now, they were the only 'police force' that could handle the situation. They were the only ones equipped. So as far as Brendan was concerned, the people in this room were Dorcha's justice league until the vampire bastards were stopped. "It's only there to keep my boss from knowing I'm sending it, and so if anybody steals your phones or computers, it's hard for people to get into it. Mike actually designed the thing. Not me."

Evey grinned. "Mike. He must've been on cloud nine when you asked it of him."

"His eyes got as big as his head, yeah." His gaze focus on the phone. "Let me know as soon as you have something, Julian." This guy was certainly going to be more useful than Jonathon. "Oh, and you didn't answer the other question. Is Saul right about his ass being a pretty large bull's eye for these new cruenti in town?"

Julian made a sound that could have been a laugh or just a hum. "Personally, I think he has less to worry about than the older members of the Council. If they're being this showy about their attacks, clearly they don't fear them. Killing or even just attacking Saul isn't going to do much to shake the Council; taking out an older member, however..."

"For Jesse's sake, I hope his pride doesn't cloud his common sense," Kei muttered, though there was very little conviction in her words, as if she didn't really care about the older vampire. "Thank you for your input, Ju. Be sure to call when you find something."

"You know I'll stay in touch."
If things go well, this will be uploaded while I'm busy at work, so some of my readers will still have something to enjoy, even though I don't have time for a new chapter of Edge of Thorns this week (if you've worked retail around Christmas, I'm sure you'll understand). Still exposition of sorts, but a nice introduction to Julian's abilities.
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UltimaMage578 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013
I do enjoy Julian. A sympathetic character, but is very snarky.
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
He gets a little snarkier later, and manages to really piss of Brendan by his presence alone, but he makes up for it. Getting ready to upload the next part now, since I have time to kill before church.
UltimaMage578 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013
Oooohh I'm liking him more already.

Merry Christmas!
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Merry Christmas! Just wait about 5 minutes...
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