Campaign of the Month: July 2021

The Coldfall Sanction

The Letters

Session Nine, Part Seven


Letter from Margret Trelawny to Katherine Reed, Athene Hotel, Bucharest
[The following letter, written in invisible ink, sent to Bucharest via intricate Aeroplane and Carrier Pigeon Route]


12 March, 1916

I daresay your telegram indicated concerns, but in that you did not tell me she would be arriving from Zurich it gives me pause—not so much in your neglect to inform me as such, but in that she should not be here. In London. Especially now – for as we suspected from the outset – your actions would eventually arouse attentions. That eventually is now upon us. For his minions, ever cautious and having been well concealed, are about – as are agents of Milton, which smacks not only of Edom’s concerns about renewed activity upon our part as well as his, but that it would seem Milton has been authorized to activate his little stung together network, as there are concerns regarding Edom’s own veracity. My source indicates there are considerable apprehensions – which we know to be well founded. For this reason they have unleashed Hound and taken back Milton’s licence for London. And so—SHE should NOT be here.

I am not idle, Katherine. I have long been your instrument in London – and in that time I have never failed you nor her. In regard to your current designs it was not to I but to Florence to keep you apprised of the situation with Beltham – whom if you will remember, I strongly advised against employing (even as I understood your concerns of any possible compromise concerning the London operations) and a concern I now believe in which you concur, owing to the instruction of your latest telegram. I can assure you I have not been idle. Although not my part, it was upon my direct intervention, the correct acquisition was made of a suitable candidate, and the elimination of the one to which he lost valuable time, one now for whom our target will be far more inclined – having already having seduced a professor at her university with much the same proclivities. Although headstrong this candidate is not only capable – but may be an organizational asset upon the conclusion of your grand scheme. That is of course should we all survive. A possibility of eminent concern with HER being here. For as you well know, being in London can only resurface long suppressed desires for unresolved retributions.

We both know her impatience. A risk from the inception of your bold gambit, but you gave assurances you could keep her pacified until we achieved the objective – hopeful she would dwell only on the necessity in the end game of finding the Mad Doctor—which if she should, before either you or I, then this will have been all for nought – for we know her inclinations. And we will have shown our hand. And HE will in turn direct his full attentions upon us. Of that eventuality I am not certain we can withstand the onslaught. To this end I admit freely I have agents observing all. All.

Turncoats and informants are far too fragile. They die so quickly.

I have been diligent in the search for Hennessey—if what we know from Twitchell, It exlains why he has been so far to recover. He has even more value to them now. Only truth be known, Katherine, if Van Helsing could not tell you, when last you saw him in Amsterdam, before his light faded, I suspect the murderous doctor does not know where or how to find Seward either.

For all these years he has done well to remain hidden from her as well as Edom
I implore you – get her out of London.



Letter from Jenny Jackson to Margaret Trelawny, 315 Knightsbridge, Kensington

Right off I knew you would want to know as from the stage I saw her. And she was a right stunner, what with eyes turning from me, and me about to flash more than a bit of flesh, and she all in a fine back gown as if she had but just left some Diana Manner’s naughtiness. But as I said, she was a stunner. And with not a single stay. That was for sure. And so, a wink and a nod and smile to those with applause, and I hurried off in somewise not too much of in a hurry, as I didn’t want to get anyone to be thinking as to why I was in such flurry to be off, as I am known to take my appreciation — and there are ever eyes here on me as mine on them, and so I made straightway for the that place of which I wrote to you about —

And I will tell you straightway it is worrisome in that I know, what it is to, be should one of hers takes notice of me making my way up there, or back, and suspects of what I am about – not saying as to not doing what you are paying for, and not asking any questions, as to why, for as you know, whether it’s either gang or copper or someone such as yourself, I does provide that what each wants, in knowing one about the other, and there’s no asking questions as to why, wherefore, or what’s to happen — and so the mention of it being as I just want you to know of the hazard of it, and mayhap, upon concluding our business, you may see to it to add a might more weight – not asking – but as always being appreciative.

As every time I creep up into that nook left by them that were putting up the wires, I fear to breathe, knowing I am so close and in that inner sanctuary of Sal’s, and all of all that transpires within, and so only make my way there whenever there is something I suspect may be of that which you would want to know, and so being as ever like a cat that is a-stealing in closer to pounce, I move ever so slight to settle and for once I see Sal not as I am used to seeing — but now in someways as in awe of the stunner, who stands there before her desk as if from but arrived from Buckingham in that fine bit of cloth, and she is saying to her —It is far better to have an original hanging on the wall than the masterwork of a forger.

—They have done well to keep him concealed all these years, Sal says, But it is, as I said, not the Sal to which I have heard now every day since appearing here but rather she sounds as if she’s speaking to some right copper. —He is one of the deeper secrets, one which they seem rather impressively to have kept. I would seem they had Twitchell working independently. His being a rather recent start up owing to information they obtained from the Dutchman’s papers. Two birds one stone, so to speak, having the two of them working to the same end, as it would appear if he has been working for them all these years, Hennessey has not at all been successful. But neither of them no doubt will be successful – not without.

—I am well aware, the stunner she says, and the idleness of the palace is all gone and the velvety voice cuts like a knife and there it is, she, for all the fine bit of cloth and her Buckingham air, is by far in my estimation the more dangerous. —I do not need a remembrance, she says. —He is needed for reasons of far more importance.

—Of course

—Start at the beginning and work forward. Says the Stunner. —Hennessey disappeared once he stepped out of Scotland Yard.

—Yes. Now should we speak to the obvious. Sal now says in some ways less demurely. —You should not be here.

But rather than reply, there is but a long silence of the moment, and the Stunner she says nothing before she turns and strides to the door. Where she turns so all of a sudden it is like for a blink she’s a blue, —To be honest, until word from this Twitchell, I had thought him long among the dead. But now . . . now that I know he is alive – and that he may truly know where Seward is to be found.

And then that soft voice became one of the coldest I have ever heard and one I shan’t ever forget, as the Stunner looked to Sal, and says —Be assured Florence, they perhaps think they know me. Know me thus far by what they think me capable. Of just how far they think I am willing to go. But Florence – as you know me considerable better than they — they cannot fathom to what depths I will truly go.

And she left.

And as I know not the what nor the why of what it is you want, and as I say, I never have concerned myself beyond the getting of it, but best be warned, and this is for free, as much a hazard as Sal is, this Stunner is one you best stay well clear of.

Suddenly, from the far corner, where in some darkness the whole of the while Sam Tai Ling had been alurking he ambled forth.

—It is not wise. They have their Hound out sniffing about, says he.

—Tell me about Randall. Sal says, and the Sal taking her seat at her desk is the Sal once more I know, and they speak no more of the her. For now, it is all of this Tanner.

Randall Tanner. Some such not as an accomplice I gather, but an acquaintance as they speak of him being now a Cadet in the Navy. Sal says he has been ever so helpful on occasion and might be yet be again, but Sam, he says lest he tarnish his career with His Majesty’s service, he thinks not. What with the war. But Sal looks at him with that smile. —Ah but Sam, he is Randall, she says. —And if there is still the least bit of larceny in his blood, and I lay my money in that there is, and so no matter the uniform or whomever’s service he may appear to be in, he cannot help but play – if the stakes are high and he is dealt the right cards. Besides, if he were truly seeking a career in the Navy, why does he still keep rooms in Limehouse?

To which Sam he says perhaps fond memories.

She laughs, and it chills me, I am honest in that I can says why.

—Besides is it wise to involve him. Who knows, He asks

Precisely— Says she.

—If an how much Milton may have related? How firmly he holds him in his sphere.

Sam’s look says yes.

—Perhaps it is best we ascertain just how much he knows.

And she tells to Sam this Randall, he is resourceful and clever, and as shrewd as he is if things go as she suspects with someone named Pym then she would rather have him with them. But she says she is getting into the second act before the first.

—Invite him up.

[Exit Sam]

And so Sal sits alone in her solitude and I fear to breathe.

[Enter Sam and the Randall]

And O he’s a kiss-me boy that’s for sure this Randall. Smile in your face while he’s getting a hand into your purse. Hat under one arm, he enters all amiable charm with a jazz of a smile. —Ah, Miss Lascar Sal. It is a pleasure as always. He says, his hand reaching out across the desk to which she raised hers and upon which he bestows an Earl of a kiss.

—You are looking marvellous as ever Lascar. He says and with a most rehearsed of theatrical flourishs the likes of which I’ve seen more than a few times, he steps back and gives a nod to Sam.

— As charming as ever, she says, standing as she is in the dim light, picking up her small black-lacquered cigarette case, which she ever so languidly opens.

—I must say Randall, it is indeed rare these days that we have the pleasure of your presence.

And she held across the desk the case to offer him.

— Duty calls I would assume. She says, —The Navy. The War.

Careful with the cigarette he has taken from the case and with a smile that would make many a girl-clerk blush, he removes, with even more care so as to show to her and Sam it is but a battered matchbook from the pocket of his coat that he is retrieving. He says — That I can still take time off like this is a small miracle. I could be on some vessel patrolling the dark North Sea.

The flame of the match flaring from a right smart snap of the nail of his thumb to light up his kiss-me face, smoking rising from the cigarette about him in the light.

— I’d have to come up with quite the whopper to explain why I stole a dingy to sail over to the ol’ Coca Room for a visit.

—Returning of course with cigarettes for all hands-on deck, she says. Her eyes ever upon him watching as he snaps the flame and the match and drops them into an ashtray. —My but it has been a time.

And she sits even as she motions to the chair before her desk.

—I remember how we worked together. We three. You. Sam and I. To save that wisp of a girl who worked at the cigarette factory. She had the loveliest auburn hair. Melodious as an autumn sunset. What was her name . . . Poppy. Yes. Poppy Lee. We saved her from those dreadful Scandinavian-Cantonese Johansen Brothers. Hang and Raulin. As I remember Hang tossed you out of one of the girl’s third floor windows. And Sam, he finds himself hurled down the stairs. Those were good days.

— Tell that to my leg, that fall was no joke.” The Randall says sitting across from her as he hazarded a calm breath to blow against the amber tip of his cigarette. “Still, we got her back in the end. Say, how is Poppy? Her mother holding up alright?”

—She found herself a young man. He fancies himself a pugilist . . . but, alas he cannot afford a punching-ball. Sadly, not promising enough to attract the usual gifts from backers. Or apparently seasoned enough to gain the attention of those willing to pay for him to take a punch. You know how it is, without a little help, he will forever lose far more than he wins. Odd, he has some resemblance to you. As I come to think of it, Poppy did have eyes for you Randall. She says, with that slow well-known sweep of her hand to push back the fall of her hair. — And Sam, he looks in on her mother from time to time. A few pounds here and there. To ease her old age. He had to move her to a ground floor flat. Just wasn’t able to keep making the trek up those stairs. You see Randall, how it is, old friends here in Limehouse, we forever remain old friends.

And now it was the look of Sal which says beware we’re about to open the second act.

—That is until they prove themselves to no longer be a friend.

He lazily brought his cigarette to his lips as if the look had no meaning.

— We are friends, are we not, Randall? Her eyes now become as stern as her smoky voice and she’s not lit a cigarette.

And as to the Randall, he did not even blink. But rather he sat there calmly with that kiss-me grin of his. — Of course! Old friends, new friends, it’s good to have many. He says too casually for my thinking being as he is on his side of the desk, but he merely leans forward to slowly tap ashes into the ashtray.

— But there’s usually only a few you can rely on. And you’re one of the most reliable people I know. He says, and there’s a look.

—Which makes it all the more distressing. Says she, —In that it would appear my old friend has so soon forgotten his most reliable of acquaintances.

—Oh so? Says he.

—Your friend, this Lieutenant of yours who has gone missing.” She says now that ever so soft a voice Sal can use to drawn you in before the punch, and seeing as how this is fast becoming a wordy pugilist bout, it is one to which she is so well practised. —You seek him here. You seek him there. You seek his whereabouts, everywhere, and yet, you do not even think to come to me. Her long fingers as if pained to touch her heart. —I hurts me so to think of it.

—Ah, well that would have been awfully rude of me, after so long, to simply appear out of the blue asking for help. Says he, and there I caught what most not as well versed as I might not of taken notice of, the hint of the thrill between them as they sparred across the desk. “What kind of friend do you take me for, the kind who would only show up to ask a favour? The very idea.”

It was a bout to be sure and we all knew it. Sam. The Kiss-me Randall. Myself, feeling as I was being far too close, in that narrowness of my niche. And of most import, Sal. And there was a moment. A punch or a counter-punch? She sat silent behind that desk. And then with a slow and careful smile, her eyes on the Charmer. — You see Sam. I knew our old friend had not forgotten us. It was simply matter of respect. Which I must say, I find most refreshing. Particularly these days.

—Sal, he begins.

But counter-punch, she interrupts.

—But dear Randall, you of all people should know. . . respect . . . respect is coming to me. Friendship is knowing that you can always seek assistance. Sam. You and I. I believed us to be old friends. Good friends. You are but among a few, the very few, who know my name. And yet, this Lieutenant of yours? With the full import of those whom you know to be looking for him and yet – with the passage of time you have yet to my door?

And there was yet another moment of silence between them. Each looking at the other.

Punch or counter-punch?

—Randall, I am here. I offer you now as I would have then any assistance necessary in your quest to find this poor unfortunate Lieutenant – seeing as how it is all so perfectly obvious.

And she sat forward in that dim light of the lamp of her desk, the sweep of her hair falling across half her face, he slowly removing the cigarette from his smoky lips.

He says nothing.

—You were always so very astute. She says. —Ask yourself. Whom would you say would most like to find your missing Lieutenant, other than yourself and this young woman, Veronica?

— Whom would most like to find him? Says he, as he seems to ponder the question. —Whom indeed? The city police are looking for him; and the Admiralty, they say that he’s a spy for the Jerry’s – a proper falsehood that. But if they wanted, the Navy could have taken full control over the search, and yet they haven’t. It’s possible that having Bradley as a scapegoat that is never caught could fit into some government power play. And as you say, Veronica would like to find him, perhaps the most, but she has some other preoccupation, which is diverting her attention. Who would most like to find Bradley? Hmm . . . And then he looked into those hazel eyes of hers as if to focus himself once more, —And then – there is Me. I’d most like to find him.” And he gave her a true smile.

—Your Admiralty, your Navy, do you not think if they truly wanted your Lieutenant as badly as they would indicate, he would still be free? Even among the teeming throngs of London, among the shadows of the rookeries, the darken narrow streets, their back alleys, if they wanted him, truly if they were searching for him, they would they not have found him?

The bout may have continued but rather than a bell for there was a sudden knock.

A seemingly impertinent knock upon the door to interrupt the match, to which Sam in seeking direction from her, and receives a glance, and so he moves over to open it and reveal Kang Foo Ah. With downcast eyes, aware of the impertinence of the moment, he stepped into the inner sanctuary:

—Pardon, the most inopportune interruptions, but felt you should know. Pemberton and Rohmer. They were here for a brief time.”

—Pemberton? She says with a menace in her voice

—They left in much hurry to follow . . . her. Kang, he says with a nod

—You are certain?

—Most certain. Take cab to follow.

—Pemberton. And it seemed she wished rather to have hissed his name. —If not for K Division and the suspicions it would arise, he would have already been far fathom down in murk of the Thames, swimming among the diced-up girls. She says with a glance to Sam as good as a command.

— Sam. Go.

—The reporter? The Kiss-Me Randall now asks far too casually in tapping ashes into the ashtray upon her desk.

Sam and Kang Foo Ah as Shakespeare would have it, Exit.

—A far too troublesome reporter. She says, as the door closes. —Some men seek all their lives for things they never find, while others, seek to lose their lives upon finding things they should have never sought. Pemberton is just such a man. But at the moment, it is wiser to let him ramble about. But time is of the essence. So, shall we not play these roles Randall? She says as if to bring the curtain down upon the Second Act and skipping the Third —Your Lieutenant is not missing— and they are not seeking him – for he has already been found.

The Kiss-Me Randall sits back with a scratch to the back of his head, but it is not at all that he’s takenaback by the knowledge. —I had considered the possibility. The question that needs proof is who are ‘they’?

—I know not what you have been told. But if not, then it is best you be aware of precisely where it leads, as you are already too far down this darken path. There is a rather clandestine intelligence division within Naval Intelligence. As I understand, their classification is classified. For reasons of their own, they believe their ranks have been infiltrated and they are of the belief that your young Lieutenant knows about the breech. If he is not a part of it.

—And how might you know about this? Have you been infiltrating their ranks Lascar?

To which she replies with a very wicked smile. —This is just you and me, Randall.

He gave her a most knowing look and leaned forward to tap ashes again.

—You are among a very few, a select few, who are well aware there is a vast criminal enterprise that reaches throughout the continent, as well now, into Cairo, Alexandria, and Japan. This organization . . . and Milton’s . . . let us just say, at the moment, we do not have conflicting interests. There is someone far more important, who is playing a far more dangerous game—a political game of which this war is but a part.

—They know of you? He asks as he slowly crushes the cigarette he has barely smoked.

—They know of a systematic amalgamation of criminal networks, yes. She says. —I do not think they are aware as yet of who the principal force is behind it. As for me? I am not at all certain. Most likely. Things are beginning to become undone.

With a sigh he sat back—I see. So, this Navy group has kidnapped Bradley and made him a scapegoat. A public arrest would only make public what he knows about them. So, the question remains, is he even still alive? Who’s to say he won’t be found chopped up in the Themes tomorrow?” He then shook his head as he studied whatever his thoughts of this situation. —No, they can’t do that. They’re blaming him for that. That would make the mystery deeper. They need to tie it in a nice bow and present it to the press. Gunned down resisting arrest by the police would work. They would probably just need some time to set up the scenario to make it look real to the Met and the press. That is, unless they have some other need for him . . .

He suddenly looked into Sal’s eyes. —Sorry, I’m rambling again.

—You have always been far more intelligent than your circumstances have allowed you an opportunity to use that intelligence. She tells him. —Alas, I do not know precisely why they have him – only that they do. I don’t know whom, precisely, as this operation is being done very carefully, I have only their workname.

—Their workname?

—Yes. She says. —Hound. They run field operations for Western Europe and England, save for London. There has been an understanding regarding London, which until now your Milton has had operational control but owing to circumstances, they have taken London back.

I am not certain as yet to whom Milton refers but at the speaking of the name the careful Cadet is not so careful as he would hope. I have seen the briefest of movements at the corner of his lips, mayhap not to have been perceived by most, or if so to have conveyed little of import, but, not my practiced eye. The name means something.

—I am certain you are well aware, but in having told you this, you must be very careful now in whom you trust, for as I said they suspect that they have been compromised. Infiltrated. And the truth is – they have and for quite some time. It makes things far more hazardous now to all concerned.

The bout now over and the conspiracy begun.

—I suppose one must wonder how much of ‘them’ are still acting with their original intent and how much of ‘them’ are now subverted, and which group is this ‘hound’ part of?”

—Precisely. She brushes back the sweep of hair with that almost involuntary of motions with which, as I have read has been a signature move ever since that opening night of Step Lively. —It has become even worrisome for us. You see, Randall, there are two rather vast and furtive organizations that work in the shadows – the one of which I am a part, and another, one far more powerful and ancient. For some time now we have co-existed, but we are soon about to come to cross-purposes. And so, in having assisted you with your missing young Lieutenant, it is now time that I have to ask for a quid pro quo.

—Oh? Says the Randall with that sly smile, —And how could I, a simple cadet, possibly assist the incomparable Lascar Sal, with her criminal empire and more fingers in others pies than Little Jack Horner?

—It is really quite simple. Says she —There is a young woman for whom our organization has a significant interest. And even as Milton’s organization suspects it may be compromised, we suspect the same may have very well occurred to ours – and so, for that reason, there may come a time when we may need to make an extraction. And if and when that time comes, I want your assistance. I am not asking for anything which I feel you would be uncomfortable with – for you see, you have a vested interest. The young woman of whom we speak, she visited with you today. Her name is Veronica Wells.

To this revelation he could not contain his surprise even as he quickly regained his composure. —So . . . Veronica is more involved in this than I thought . . . He seemed to stare distantly at the smoke rising from the ashtray to curl in the dim light of Sal’s desk lamp. —Who and what are you needing to extract her from, and how is she an interest of your organization?

Sal was Sal and no longer playing the part.

—Miss Wells is part of a very intricate plan, Randall. Before the war there was once a world unlike the one in which we live today. And unlike the one we will live in afterwards. In that world, the world powers played with their alliances and politics and subterfuge in what they called their Great Game – totally unaware, there were other players, far more dangerous players, at the table. Those who had come uninvited. Powers of darkness, which sought to destabilized grand governments so that from the shadows they could eventually bring about dominance and submission. An ancient force of will, from a time far more barbaric than our own, from a time of seemingly endless wars and bloodshed, who longs to bring about an even more vainglorious conquest of the Western world. Which of course is at cross-purposes to our own interests, wherein we seek a quiet manipulation, a slow seduction of global financial institutions and the influence of cultural revolutions – a world in which we too reside in the shadows. A shadowy world of black markets and the consolidation of international criminal networks. For you see Randall, all the saints are sinners – and if one can provide and satisfy the world’s lust and desires, they too can dominate a truly sinful world. For a time, these two grand conspiracies have co-existed – the first being far more powerful that the second – but a time is shortly coming wherein that dynamic must change. For a frightful agenda poses a threat not only to the world but to the very nature of the second. My world. And so, your Veronica is at the very centre point of a very dangerous and audacious plan to rectify this imbalance of power.

—Does this have anything to do with the . . .” The Randall now grown far more serious — . . . the dangerous woman that was seeing you just before I arrived?

I am more than certain the Kiss-Me Randall, being far more than that wide toothy grin, as did I, detected the look in her eye, and in the long silent moment of contemplation as she sat looking across the dimly lit desk, feeling now the too close confines of her inner sanctum, which seemed now to have grown even more narrow, as narrow as an unholy confessional box, that the decision was she making, as it was obvious she was weighting the import of her answer, contemplating not only the possibility of risking an old acquaintance, but in that there would be nothing for it, were she to be proven wrong, then to being certain in assuring this charming Randall’s demise. —To ask that question . . . you must be prepared for the consequences of the answer.

There was an unusual glint in her eyes —Although I believe it is one to your liking, the stakes in this Great Game are very high. And so . . . are you prepared to be dealt into this game?

There was a pause. A long moment as he too understood the import of the moment

—In games such as these, I would think the stakes are a must.

—I take it then you know the name of the game. Shall I deal?

—I am only playing one hand, Sal. Says he, as the Randall held up his hand before she dealt, his eyes steady as he looked into hers. —For my friend and for Veronica.

—There may very well be only be one hand dealt in this game. She says. —And so, to answer your question. Yes. She is one of the two most dangerous women in the world. Or was until earlier today – for we are now aware of a third.

He frowned. —Who shall we call this third?

—Someone long suspected, but, until now, appeared to be no more then but an invaluable part of their endlessly clandestine machinations. She says, and then enquires of him as to just how much had they told him in regards to some events, which apparently took place some twenty years or so ago, which she referred oddly to as The Fiction.

—Far more than I should. He admits with a sigh.

—They have tried their best to maintain The Fiction. She says. —But I would advise you to learn more of it. For those events from the past are ever evolving – and you my friend are soon enough to be caught up in them even as Miss Wells already is – and if the forces of those aligned against us suspect what she is about – then I quite assure you the third will not hesitate to strike.

—So, what is she about Lascar? He asks. —First and second and third? And what makes Bradley’s Veronica so valuable to this dangerous third? Or to you for that matter?

—She has been chosen to find something. Says the too cryptic Sal, still the house ever covering their bets. —Something to correct the current imbalance of power.

—To equalize them? Suspiciously the Randall inquires. —To maintain a status quo. Not to overtake them eh?

—Just you and I Randall? I for one, would much prefer to overcome. When the time comes. And she pointed a dramatic finger towards him—And, mark my words Randall, the time will come, it is best for all concerned, for mankind itself, that she overcomes the first. The stakes in this game, Randall, are just that high.

The Randall sits in the dim light having leaned forward at the import of what he has just been told, his elbows upon his knees, his hands a steeple pressed to his lips. No longer the Girl-Clerk’s Kiss-Me Randall. The weight of what we both have heard heavy upon us. There is a long moment. Long looks in dim light before he sighs, —I am more than willing to help you extract Veronica out of this game . . . but I want your word Sal . . . your word . . . that I will not be extracting her from a nest of vipers just to fall into a hole of angry badgers.” He turned the steeple of his fingers from his lips to point towards her, “I want her to cash out. Breaking even. Safe and clear. Free. I don’t want her, or Bradley for that matter, to be saddled with a debt that keeps them in this game after their rescue. They get to cash out if they wish – a luxury I cannot allow for myself.

She leans slightly forward into the light.

—There can be no mistake. If she does not succeed, if she is found out, if the stratagem discovered they will strike . . . and they will strike with a vengeance. And the ramifications for the rest of the world are quite severe as they are well along in their Agenda. And in the dim room there is another long silence. I am sure I have not taken a breath.

—But if your Bradley’s Veronica succeeds. I can assure you she will cash out far richer than when she was dealt into this game. Now what I need are assurances from you, when the time comes, I can rely upon you to assist me in extracting her from her nest of vipers?’

He leaned back in his chair and nodded.

—Who is the third?

—Mina Harker.

—I have Just one more question. Just who is your Mistress?

It was a decisive moment of which I saw her weigh the decision before she said: — Lucy Westenra



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