In retrospect, the four-inch heels had been a mistake. Olivia crouched down and took off her shoes, the wet cobbles of the quay cold against her stockinged feet.
Jack watched. In the days since Harvey’s death, he had agreed to take a shower, but refused to change his coat. It was an improvement, albeit a small one. Jed was perched atop a nearby wall, his wings outstretched, shielding himself from the drizzle. If you got over how oddly shaped he was, Olivia mused, he was actually pretty graceful.
“He’s still in there?”
Jack nodded. “He was talking with an albino lady. Something about Victor. Some kind of necromancy contract, I don’t know. I didn’t catch the whole thing.”
Shen froze at the mention of his sire. “Victor?”
Jack tilted his head. “Guy you know?”
“You could say that.” said Olivia.
“My sire.” Shen clarified. “Oh, this is bad.”
Olivia looked over to the pub. “It’s nearly closing time. He’ll have to leave, and we can track him back to his nest.”
“You reckon you can follow him?” Jed shifted on his perch.
Olivia shook her head. “He can see through my veil, and he’s faster than I am. If we could plant a tracking device on him without him noticing, then maybe.”
“Hounds, then,” said Shen, digging in his pocket for his phone. “We can follow his trail from a distance.”
Jed flipped his wings. “I can follow him from the sky.”
Olivia nodded grimly. “Alright then. Let’s go.”
Wordlessly, Jed launched himself into the sky and was gone.
The rain pressed fresh and fierce against his face as he flew. Rising up, Jed took his bearings from the city beneath him, the river winding from the sea like a black ribbon through the golden lace of Grimouth’s lights. Oh, but it was beautiful.
The loss of the curse of Abel would be problematic. Jed let the updrafts carry him as he considered what he had read in his file. Used to its fullest potential, the Curse offered near-unmatched mastery of vampiric disciplines, but this power carried with it a cost; with each use the curse would consume a portion of the host’s memory, until all that remained was a husk, piloted by the malevolent psyche of the curse. What that would do, Jed could only guess. He could only hope that whatever interest controlled the curse wasn’t in a hurry to find out.
He caught sight of the blue-haired kindred leaving the pub on his second pass and began to follow, slowing to a steady glide, the occasional downbeat of his wings keeping him steady. His target walked briskly towards the city centre, hands shoved in the pockets of his hoodie.
He seemed keen to avoid being tracked, glancing behind him as he turned corners, oblivious to Jed’s silent flight. Jed smiled, confident in his concealment in the night air.
And then his target broke into a run.
Jed swore, his wings beating downwards with a crack, his coat-tails streaming behind him. Blue hair reached a park, darting beneath the cover of the trees. Jed grunted and pulled into a dive, his wingtips brushing against the highest branches, but there was no sign of his target in the darkness beneath.
“You lost him here?” The tzimisce had only taken a moment to arrive in a van with some hellhounds, and the one he held slavered and strained at its leash as it saw Jed, exaggerated muscle rippling under sleek brown fur. Shen put his hand on the back of its neck. “Down.”
Jed wondered why the chantry allowed their thrall to keep such creatures. Still, they might be useful. “Just there. By the gate.”
“Alright.” Shen pulled the hellhound to his side, speaking to it in a low voice. “I’ll see what we can do.”
With persuasion, the hounds tracked the kindred’s trail to a covered wall on the east side of the park, and Jed shot into the air once more.
His eyes widened preternaturally wide, searching the streets for any flash of blue, it didn’t take Jed long to find his target again.
The kindred stood in the street, not far from what the files said was Shen’s place of residence, in front of an artisan coffee shop. Looking about him, he pulled a key from his pocket and stepped inside.
Jed circled round, landing softly on the roof, wings folding wetly against his back. Crouching, he held the palm of his hand against the tiles, and extended his senses into the brickwork; buildings held few secrets from his kind.
Below the shop, a network of tunnels extended, wider than the street and deeper. Beings moved within, a dozen, or two, more than he could accurately count.
Jed pulled his hand away, shaking his head as his senses flooded back to his body.