“I invite you three,” Soup said deliberately as they reached the door, “into the sanctum.”
“She’s OD’ing on the Red Court venom,” Soup said as quickly started to help David and Nick ferry Monk through the door.”
As they crossed the threshold of the sanctum, the first thought was that they were glad that they were invited. A shock of magical energy traveled through them and grounded out, eliciting a slight groan from Monk.
The second thought was that this wasn’t what they expected from the sanctum of the most powerful wizard from the White Council in the area. It looked too… normal.
“I’m not sure how to help her. Normally I’d say just let her system flush it out… but I don’t think that’s going to work.”
“Maybe the medic can help,” Nick said, with an ironic roll of his eyes. “Let’s get her in the shower, hose her down, so at least she stops taking any more of it into her system.”
He looked at the expression on Monk’s face and grimaced. She was quivering in a fit of such ecstasy that her heart might burst. He was tempted to save her soaked clothes, to wring the blood out and have it available as a weapon later. He dismissed the thought as unworthy. Besides, the stuff was magic, not chemical: it was unlikely to retain its potency until he would want to use it.
“Okay, Monk,” Nick told her, his voice taking on an odd modulation. “You’re going to be okay. I know you feel amazing right now, but you need to ease off just a bit. Just relax. Take deep breaths. That’s right, deep breaths. It’s okay, you can trust me. You’re going to take a nice, relaxing shower, and we’re going to be nice and calm and relaxed. Doesn’t that sound nice?”
Monk shivered and moaned softly, lost in the pure-bliss-orgasmic haze of the blood pulsing through her veins like liquid flame and ice. Distantly, she heard Nick’s voice. It soothed her, lulled her, helping focus her thoughts.
Enough for her to know, truth of truths, that she was dying. No matter how good this felt, she’d slip beneath the waves of pleasure and never surface. Not unless someone did something…fast.
Unfortunately, that person wasn’t going to be her. She was to busy riding this deadly high.
Like talking through wet concrete, her lips moved, croaking two words, “Bag. Naloxone.”
Her profession meant she ran into plenty of junkies. For her An evizo injector was almost as standard as bandages and alcohol.
“Right” David said, automatically. He didn’t like being in this sanctum, it was a place of power and it was not his place of power. This was dangerous ground.
He looked at Soup. “Nick’s right. Start a shower. We’ll be there presently.”
He fumbled a bit as he moved for Monk’s bag, the bag tumbling toward the floor. Lost in thought, and the danger that this place represented, and the threat to Monk. David’s hands trembled as he loaded the injector.
“Hold her down.” he said to Nick, readying the injector. He missed the first attempt to get the drug into her system. But, then, he rallied, and got the drug into her.
“Sorry, Monk.” he said to her. “Now we have to get your clothes off and get you in the shower and clean you up a bit while that drug works its way out of your system.” He nodded to Nick, and together got her clothes off…without too much damage. By the time the water hit Monk and started washing away the blood, the drug was already coursing through her veins, moving her back toward normality.
As the saliva worked its way out of Monk’s system, a palpable feeling of relief settled in the room. Soup stopped pacing outside the bathroom, and handed through the door some clothes that looked about Monk’s size- if a little longer in limb.
“Kassandra kept… keeps some clothes here, just in case she can’t get home on one of our late night forays,” he said, shrugging in way of explanation.
“And if she’s better, then maybe we should give her some time… and we can start discussing the issue at hand?”
“I am not sure you are going to appreciate Kassandra’s fashion sense, Monk.” he called into the bathroom from the doorway. “But at least the clothes are dry. He turned to Siup and Nick.
“A warm beverage, tea perhaps, might suit as lubricant for our discussions and to make Monk feel better.” he hinted to Soup.
“Oh! Yes,” Soup said, flushing at the reminder. “The study is at the end of the hall- you can go there as soon as you are able, and I will join you as soon as I’m able.”
Nick called after him, “Scotch is also excellent for such things. And research indicates that the more expensive it is, the better. We’ll see what we can find in the study.
Monk blinked through the haze of exhaustion, the nausea of coming down turning her insides to syrupy fire. Numbly, she took the clothes, changing without shame or care.
Talking strained her, so she simply grunted when spoken to or escorted from room to room.
David considered just picking up Monk and bringing her bodily to the study, but resisted the urge to do so. He didn’t need Monk to fight him, or Nick’s tongue at his backside. But he let her lean on him as much as able.
“There, there.” he said once he got her into the study and to a padded window seat. “Tea is coming, or by the Lady had better be.”
Following Soup’s instructions, the trio found their way unsteadily to the study. Unlike the foyer, the impression on seeing the room was that this was a proper place for a powerful mage to entertain guests.
The second thought was that this room was way too large for the building that it was supposed to be housed in. Bookshelves all around, with stacks that were two stories high. But it was inviting… cozy even. A place where you could sit and enjoy a read for a nice long while.
A tea service sat on one of the side tables… along with another tray that had been set with snifters and a bottle of Glenlivet.
Soup shuffled in a bit after they arrived, and headed towards the service.
“Earl Gray? Or something a bit more potent?” he asked as he started to pour.
“I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to tell, but I haven’t been doing that good a job on my own, and our liason at the White Council hasn’t been in touch so…” he stopped to take a breath, and smiled sheepishly as he shrugged.
“Sorry,” he said simply and took a deeper, calming breath.
“I’ll start with the most relevant point- one we’ve gone to great pains to keep as quiet as possible. But you need to know it.”
He took a pull on his scotch to steady himself. “The warden is dead. Has been for some time. But the White Council didn’t have any wizards to spare. So they deputized me and my friends.”
“While we were investigating, it came out that there was a big move going on… a play by the Red Court… one that involved not just the supernatural world, but key politicians and the criminal one. That’s where Trish came into the picture.”
“One of the leaders killed Trish’s brother, and kidnapped her- in order to make use of her father. He’d gone straight, but those kinds of ties never die. And he needed him.”
Soup ran his hand through his hair, sitting forward and looking down into his glass as he continued.
“We took him out, rescued Trish, and exposed the politicians. One of my friends died in that… and all of us were changed. But we won! It was over, and everything should have gone back to whatever normal was.”
Soup shook his head as he looked up, his eyes haunted. “We were so wrong. That kind of evil doesn’t just disappear and give up. And now I’m the only one left. This place has become more of a prison than a sanctuary.”
He looked at them mournfully. “And that’s what you’re getting pulled into. I just thought you ought to know before you dive into this. I’ll help you as much as I can- for Trish. In all of this, she’s the one that doesn’t deserve to be caught in the middle. But I don’t know how much I have left.”
“We’re doing it for Trish” David said, pulling out the dossier he had been carrying all this time. “We’ve been told half-truths, partial truths and even lies in the midst of this, but the promise we made…that I made, still holds. My honor will not let me see this go undone.”
“So, your team took out the Red Court leader that kidnapped Trish the first time,” David said. “Now she’s been kidnapped again. By whom? Another Red Court vampire? And why? Do they want Drexl again? Or are they after revenge for your prior adventure?”
An odd glint appeared in Nick’s eye. “Let us help you, Soup. Let us help you help Trish. And we’ll teach the damned vampires a lesson about meddling in mere human affairs. I will make of it a tale for the Fae to mock them with for as long as they both shall last.”
Monk stayed quiet while they were talking, sipping her tea with a slow, methodical pace. It helped clear her muddy thoughts, if for a moment or two. Enough to catch threads of the conversation and tug on them a little.
“And what about Killian? Where’s he fall into this? He working for the Big Bad? I keep getting the feeling we’re the fish on a hook.”
She sipped her tea again, “I doubt we’re seeing a payday for this, either.”
“I’m not very good at this,” Soup admitted, as he tried to keep up with the conversation. “Usually, it’s one of my friends that does the talking. I’m more the lab and research guy.”
“I guess that’s why I’m still around,” he added, his head down.
“I can’t tell you who might have Trish now,” he continued looking up. “Mac- Wallace’s former right hand man- was the one that took her before. But he paid for that power play with his life.”
“But there were a lot of people we screwed over with Wallace’s help- people that want revenge. And without the warden to intervene, they’ve been getting more and more bold in their moves.”
“If you’re determined to keep digging into it, I’ll give you all the help I can- and I’ll make sure you’re not left out to dry. I can give you a list if you want- but I’d suggest filtering it through someone rather than taking on all of them.”
“Killian is on the up-and-up- at least he was when I dealt with him. But he’s mundane as they come. I can set you up with a meet with someone who’s not so mundane. But he’s pretty eccentric, so it’s touch and go whether he’ll meet with you. I can also set you up with Wallace- it’s probably better to talk to him directly… especially with the information you have. You might also want to look into Trish’s store- there might be something there also.”
After a moment, Soup stood, and a seeming decision made, pulled a case off of one of the myriad shelves. Coming back towards the group, he opened it, revealing 3 reinforced vials.
“This is the best potion that I’ve been able to make; it takes a bit of Will, but I think that any of you can manage it. I’ve put almost every effect I can think of in it in a suspended state- when you throw or drink it, think of the effect that you want, and it should reconfigure to that. They’re very rare- and very expensive.”
He put the case down on the desk. “I hope that, at least, shows how much I want to help.”
David walked over to inspect the vials, picking one up and holding it up to the light. “A potion based on will is a strange and powerful thing.” he said quietly. “Very fae, Soup. By will and desire.” He took the other two vials.
“Thank you, Soup. This IS a rare gift.” he said.
Nick nodded. “I think we should talk to Wallace: it seems like he’d know our enemies better than anyone. But tell us about Trish’s store. Maybe we can look around there while we’re waiting for Wallace to meet with us.”
“She ran a trendy clothing store on the downtown mall – Urban Outfitters,” Soup said. “It’s in a pretty high rent location on the mall- if she didn’t take money from her dad, she had to have some sort of investors, I’d think. But I never got into that.”
“I only went in it once- it was before I even knew who she was. Arcas- one of our group- kept up with trendy stuff, and so knew about the store, and the back entrance when we were being chased. It looked really upscale without being too pretentious.”
“She had to have had backing of some sort, even if it was covert.” David said. “Hopefully said backing isn’t even more of an entanglement to chase down. Or, worse, have minions of same come poking into what happened to her.”
“I think you’re right, Nick.” he said. “We should take a look at the store, see what we can find.” He looked at Monk. “What do you think?”
“Soup, can you set up a meeting with Wallace?” He handed Soup a card. “Call me and let us know when and where to meet him.”
“Of course,” Soup replied, taking the proffered card. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help,” he added, looking down- ostensibly at the card- as he said so.