I’m coming over. This is important.
Olivia buried her head in her hands as Jeeves drove her to the Hunter’s Lodge. Why? Why did it have to be Balrus? The sense of his disappointment haunted her. She had promised him that she would tell him, if her visions showed her anything about him, but she hadn’t expected this. Not a vision of his death.
Jeeves held the door open for her and she got out. The pyrotechnic displays outside the Hunter’s lodge were turned on high tonight, but she could make out Balrus inside, talking to one of his staff. Olivia walked towards the club, biting back her rotschreck. The torch beside her crackled, covering her in a shower of sparks, and she was lost to the Red Fear.
As her panic subsided, she found herself cowering against a wall in an alleyway. Hands shaking, she examined herself for burns. Balrus stood a few feet away, waiting.
“I’m sorry. I know you told me to leave. I wouldn’t have come back, but this was important.”
Balrus’ voice was terse. “What do you want, Olivia?”
She shook her head, and the words came tumbling out. “I’m sorry, Balrus. I had a vision, and you were standing in front of a clock, and when it reached midnight it-” she gestured, willing herself not to choke up. “-the clock hand skewered you through the heart.”
Balrus was white and silent.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t stop it, couldn’t change it. If there’s anything I can do, any way I can help you-” Olivia trailed off, withering under his gaze.
“You’re telling the truth.” Balrus seemed somehow smaller, somehow more human than before.
“Yeah.” Olivia spoke quietly.
Balrus frowned, and reached into his pocket, passing her a small card. “If you want to help, talk to the woman on this number. Assist her in any way she asks.”
“Okay.” She took the card from his hand, and their eyes met a moment, but he was too far gone to read.
“Another thing,” he said. “I suppose you would know this better than most. What is the greatest evil in this city?”
Olivia looked down. “The Setites,” she said. “Just bought something evil into the city. That’s what caused the chill last night. That’s probably the most evil thing.”
“And you know where that is?”
Hesitantly, Olivia told him the location from her dream. He was gone before she could say goodbye, and she stayed a while in the alleyway, arms around herself.
An hour later and Olivia’s jet was headed for France with a manifest of two unnamed passengers. It had been easy, all things considered, to evacuate Balrus’ allies from the city.
The remaining problem was one of how to save Balrus himself. The primogen had been singularly reluctant to help, and so Goodwin Industries fielded its army. Thirty ghouls in all, arrayed in reflective helmets and body armour, drove in a convoy to the site. The roads had been closed, the police bribed to let them pass. Jack and Jed, revivified from his torpor and having made an apology to Shen, would join them there.
Shen looked grim as he drove. “We should be able to capitalize on his death, make an impact on the Setites. The ghouls should have immunity to his god-powers, should be able to go in right behind him.”
“And back him up,” said Olivia, from the back of the van.
“Your vision said he was going to die,” said Shen. “You don’t know for sure if you can stop that.”
Olivia shook her head. “I can try,” she said. “Wait, what’s that?” Her viewscreens showed a mass, in the middle of the road up ahead, about the size of a truck on its side. She made out wires, the telltale lumps of preliminary charges. “Shen, stop the van.” A bomb. Olivia flicked on her intercom. “Jed, do you see this?”
The transmission was clear and crisp; the gargoyle was nearby. “Yeah, what is it?”
The explosion was loud enough to make her reply inaudible, a full half minute long. Olivia wiped away the blood that trickled from her ears as she stared at the aftermath in her viewscreen.