The day began with James being awoken by the arrival of Alex, the messenger bird of Korva, who has delivered his bill and a list of names that could act as potential body guards with the explicit warning, “Do not mess with Selena Childs. She will kill you.” The list consists of Rika Somner, Inga Svanhart, and a person listed only by the first name of Blake. Contact information was given for each.
His lordship gets breakfast and speaks briefly with Maxwell who sets about the business of contacting lawyers and accountants in accord with the information he has given Selena.
He is just about finished when one of his house servants appears at the door. She is glassy-eyed and disheveled, her breathing rapid, “Someone is here to see you, sir,” she intones. Questioning her only results in a vague smile.
James starts to head downstairs, stopping only for a moment to give Maxwell The Nod, the one that means trouble, not the one that means nookie. Together they go downstairs and find the front door ajar, and a man standing in the foyer, regarding a painting.
He is tall, wearing well tailored clothes all in black, and his hair is short enough to see the pale skin of his scalp. When he turns to regard the pair, they find themselves faced with a beautiful man with the features of a carved statue, save for the two forelocks dyed blood red.
The man extends a polite hand, and says he has come to see “Selena’s newest plaything,” which ruffles His Lordship. He then introduces himself as Justinian Raith. He asks if they can talk, and James dismisses Maxell, and as he does Justinian gestures and a young woman dressed as sexed-up school prowls in and heads toward Maxwell. With a sort of bland business manner Justinian informs James that if things get ugly, Maxwell will die. Having none of that, Maxwell goes for his gun…and stops as s single kiss is placed on his neck. The girl twines herself around him, giggling and Maxwell stands there, still as a statue.
Keeping an eye on the pair, James and Justinian talk. Justinian refers to them all as “monsters” and that if James is going to play with the monsters, he’s going to play with all of them. Unsure of what exactly Justinian is playing at, James extends his senses and seeks the power within the other man, and he finds it seething from within him, something dark and hungry.
The two banter back and forth. Justinian would be content for His Lordship to not be involved, to not upset the precarious balance of power that has been established, especially since it would not be in his favor.
James asks the obvious, “What do I get out of it?”
Justinian’s answer is simple, “I don’t kill you. There are things worse than death. Selena is a monster, I am a monster, we’re all monsters. There is a difference between us, though. I am a monster that doesn’t rock the boat. Selena enjoys rocking the boat, simply to watch the people inside fall into the water and drown. She lives on blood, and there is nothing that gives her greater pleasure than seeing it spilled.”
He then reached out with something, some bit of power, and plucked a memory of dark despair from The Good Doctor, twisting the memory until it felt as though his soul were being crushed, and then, just as simply, he let go.
Justinian calmly informs James that he can do worse, will do worse if they become enemies, but he doesn’t want that. He wants an ally. Someone he can trust, at least enough to offer assistance against Selena. It is a risky position, but if they succeed, well, a sizable chunk of Selena’s holdings will go to His Lordship.
James asks for time to consider, and Justinian and the girl he names Emily depart leaving Maxwell shaken and exhausted, and James troubled.
A short time later further trouble visits the Warburton estate in the form of Morgiana, who insists that His Lordship be placed under the protection of the White Council. Morgiana is convinced The Good Doctor cannot defend himself against the encroaching threats, and when they meet in James’ sand garden, her pushy nature leading to His Lordship showing off a tiny bit of his power by shifting the sand in the garden, rearranging the stones in an intricate pattern, with little more than a thought.
Morgiana retaliates by blowing up a tree. The two glower at each other until, doing some quick mental calculations, James realizes that by accepting the offer, he gets the White Council off his back and puts another target in front of him if his deals with Justinian or Selena go poorly. He agrees, but asks for all the information that Morgiana has on vampires. The next few hours are filled with Morgiana moving her things and introduction into the physiology of vampires.
The day further goes down hill when the doctor receives a call from Inga, asking if he would be interested in a little research. Research that may, or may not, involve antiquities. Under a battery of questions from The Good Doctor, it is quickly apparent than Inga knowns next to nothing about what they will be walking in to, and simply hoped that the word antiquities would cause James to go out of his way to pursue their lead. Still, what is a filthy rich dilettante supposed to do with his copious amounts of time if not go on wild, half-thought out adventures?
A deal is struck: James will assist Inga in her search for…whatever it is she’s searching for, in return, she will serve as a bodyguard at the gala he will be throwing on Saturday. They talk logistics for a bit, the final details are worked out: The party will be held at 6 pm, they (Inga and her as yet uninformed partner Rika) will be there by 2. Formal clothing for the party. Rika (now informed) asks for plans for the house. The mission to the mountain will take place Thursday morning. All parties agree, and Inga informs him that he will receive a contract to sign.
A few moments later, there is a knock at the door of the Warburton estate, and a statuesque blonde woman waits at the door with a briefcase. She enters silently, and presents a contract written on vellum. She hands The Good Doctor a clear crystal pen, and as he grasps it, something pierces his finger and it fills with blood. He signs the contract and the woman departs with a small bow. The period of the contract is two weeks.
After she departs, Morgiana decides that she needs some things and leaves, and James is left to his own devices. He decides to call Korva to find out more about Justinian. The wereraven pointedly notes that James is getting himself into a lot of trouble and happily informs him that Justinian is just as bad as Selena, but he is a manipulator. Selena will crush your throat if you get her way, Justinian will make you hang yourself. Either way, you’re dead, either way, you’re fucked.
Meanwhile, Morgiana is reporting to her master, the senior warden Richard Gregory Reinhardt. She informs him that she will keep an eye on him, and is working toward gaining his trust.
Inga and Rika prepare for the trip to Olympic National Park. This mostly consists of guns. Inga spends time using her special talent to craft special rune-marked bullets, bullets crafted with words of power that act as anathema to whatever she has named in them. She chose vampires for this batch, and discovered the conundrum of using love to kill something.
Morgiana returns to the Warburton estate and in an attempt to solidify their shaky relationship, offers to ward at least James’ room so that he will be protected if anything attacks. They talk about this for a while, and some temporary wards are made, and Morgiana explains that permanent, more powerful wards can be made, but the require a lot of expensive materials and a lot of time. James dubiously replies that he will think about it, and they return to their respective rooms to sleep, preparing for the next day.