The City of Locked Doors, Chapter six, page fiveMature

Noir shook his head, "He would have to be to make the journey here; all this tells us is that he's not a Sanitas and that's something we already suspected. If he has a Caelus Hyde than the only that makes sense is that he's also an Autorius, else there wouldn't be much left of the Grim District." He tapped another beat on the armrest, "Alright, what else do you know?"

"The thing about Harley is only a rumor, but what I do know is that something's seriously spooked the underworld's princes, they've all vanished without so much as a peep, at least those worth mentioning have."

Noir scowled, "So Harley Press has vanished and every half-bit nighttime lord has locked himself in his burrow; what do they know that we don't and who exactly are we dealing with?"

Silas made a half-gesture of denial, "They probably don't know much more than we do; they just know that someone new and someone big has arrived and are doing what any sane person should do when a pair of Tyrants are brewing to collide; they're hiding and hoping that the city'll still be here when they come out."

Noir slowly tapped his armrest again, as if in thought, "I don't think that our murderer is here to conquer Umbras, he wouldn't be targeting people like Alucard and Brigadier, people who have no true loyalty to Lock and Key, if he was. All of us would be better targets if that were his intent. This is personal, and it's not about power." His tapping stopped and glanced over to Gregorio, "Is there any connection between Alucard and Brigadier; or Alucard and any other prominent individual? Check for Brigadier also. We need to know why our murderer's targeting them so we can figure out who he'll go after next."

Gregorio reached up and scratched the thin coat of feathers that adorner his chin like a beard, "I can't think of any immediate connection, or even any connections once removed." He glanced over the southern wall where a long row of battered filing cabinets slumped together like a party of drunks making their way home, "I'll start digging while you're gone, but I don't think I'll find anything in our records; Proctor Madra will have better resources and might let us look if you send him a request. Of course, the best thing would be the Palace library, but I don't think even the Proctor could get us access."

Noir grimaced inwardly. I was really hoping to stay away from Elis. He nodded, "I'll see about sending him the proper forms, but we'll probably need a negotiator." He glanced over at Silas, "Do you think you could manage that corporal?" Silas nodded and Noir looked over his shoulder at Adrian. "Go ahead and get started on those forms, kid, we want those going out as soon as possible."

"Am I allowed to write official forms?"

"No, but we'll say yes for the sake of ease."

 "What if somebody figures it out?"

"Then we'll say it was accident, that I was drunk, that it's actually my hand writing, or that you're secretly our Proctor; whatever works best at the time."

Valerian raised a hand. "I don't think anybody will actually believe that she's our Proctor."

Noir waved her off, "Don't worry about it; add a little makeup, some sparks and a touch performance lights and we'll have everybody so ensorcelled and confused that they won't care anymore."

"All right, if you say so, sir..." Valerian returned to her chalkboard.

Noir reverted his attention to Silas, "I don't know what Madra is going to want; he's notoriously fickle so it's up to your discretion on what to give him. Within reason, of course, I don't want to come back and find that you've sold the Dollhouse."

"Yes, sir."

Noir glanced through the officers, "Is there anything else?" They shook their heads, "Then let's move out." He straightened as the other officers began collection their various items. "Gregorio, you're in charge of resurrecting Dorian, I assume we have at least one other Hemomancer in our ranks?"

"Yes, sir, we have many Hemomancers and a fair number of Pathomancers. We're only short of Shadowmancers, who were all at the Academy until a couple days ago, and Necromancers, of course." 

"Then you should have no difficult resurrecting Lieutenant Dorian. Please inform him of all significant matters from our conversation, and do your best to insure that he accomplishes his role."

Gregorio turned back to Noir, crossing his burly arms anew, "And if he doesn't?"

"Then the task will be yours whatever he says, understood. I deal with him if he throws another fit."

Gregorio bowed, "Yes, sir."

Noir glanced across as he straightened, "One last thing...Everyone, listen here." The room quieted slightly and most of the guards turned toward him, looking over the rims of chalkboard and murmuring to one another. Noir held his voice for a moment, allowing the vestiges of conversation to dwindle out before he spoke, "A moon will rise in two days: A Blood Moon." Silence took the room and every eye found him, "You all know what this means, so you will all make appointments with the Pathomancers to be bled and you will inform the city of the coming moon. We have two days to bleed every living soul in Umbras. Don't tarry."

The End

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