Still bleeding, he returned to the place where Olivia had housed him; a small house in a suburban neighbourhood, and slipped in through the top floor window. Grabbing a towel to stem the blood, and brushing cobwebs out of the way, he headed downstairs.
Crouched uncomfortably in one of the armchairs, Jed scowled at the spider in the corner. Just why had Olivia chosen this house for him? Infested with vermin, probably bedbugs too.
There was a beeping from the corner of the room, and Jed looked up. The comm unit from the mission into the Setite compound was flashing. Tentatively, Jed picked it up and pressed on the screen, which flickered into life.
“Jedivan? This is Lucius speaking,” the tremere primogen’s tremulous voice emanated from the device. “I was wondering if I might pay you a visit, to discuss… gargoyle matters.”
Jed looked at the device with suspicion. But who was he, to refuse a primogen? His shoulders sagged. “Yes,” he said. “Of course.”
The tremere was there within the half hour, and dressed much differently from how Jedivan had last seen him. In Elysium he had worn victorian finery; waistcoat and dress shirt and cravat, and he had been white as snow. Now his clothing was modern, if a little tweedy, and his skin was flush with a simulacrum of health. Even his hair was styled differently. A mortal persona? Jed gave a small bow as he slid the door back for Lucius. The tremere stepped in, looking around, and Jed felt a momentary pang of shame for not having tidied up. Damn spiders.
“This is a small matter,” said Lucius, taking a seat. “A matter of internal politics in my chantry, really. But I would value the input of a gargoyle on this.”
“You said as much on the phone,” said Jed, settling uncomfortably on the sofa. “What’s this about?”
Lucius sighed. “As you may know, I freed the gargoyles from my chantry many years ago. But there are those under my care whose residencies… precede that.” He looked at Jed over the top of his round glasses. “Though they have not returned to their former ways, neither have they shown any sign of repenting their past deeds. If I were to pass…” the primogen looked a little distant for a moment. “Or if they were to leave my care, I fear they would return to what they had done previously. What should I do with them? Punishment?” He looked expectantly at Jed.
“I, uh-” Jed hesitated. “They participated in the slavery of my people, and they would again, given the chance. They do deserve punishment. But nothing too harsh; that would engender resentment, and might rally others to their side.”
“I see,” Lucius pushed his glasses up his nose. “That is your judgement, then?”
Jed nodded. “It is.”
Jed spent the hours after Lucius left tidying furiously. There were more spiders than he had imagined; hiding in corners and under furniture, their wispy bodies vanishing sequentially into his vacuum cleaner. It was oddly satisfying; clearing his mind of much unease.
He had just sat down again, the place clear of dust and cobwebs and the clutter tidied, when his phone rang again. Jack.
He picked it up, finding the answer button a little more easily this time. “Hello, Jedivan speaking.”
“Hey Jed, it’s Jack. Look, you’d be best laying low for a while. Watch your back, you know.”
“Why?” Jed felt his beast squirm, the first chill of panic rushing through him.
“There are some pretty bad guys arou-”
The call cut as Jed’s frenzy washed over him and he smashed the phone against the wall.