Crimson scarver the gra.., p.3
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       Crimson Scarver : The Grace Flynn Chronicles, p.3

           P. L. McCall II
 
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  Chapter 3: The Hunted

  Lozère, France

  Daedalus gazed out the window of his cabin aboard the great airship, Pendragon, he could hear the massive steam powered engines of dirigible hum rhythmically. While down below the French countryside rolled gently about between wisps of gray fog and rain filled clouds.

  The vessel was the pride of the English Crown, it was considered to be the finest machine, built and designed by the Tesla & Low engineering firm.

  Upon his earlier boarding, Daedalus had mused at the opulence that had been put in for the Queen’s benefit and the flaws he saw in the ship’s overall design. He quipped with the ship’s porter by telling him how he respected his bravery for riding in a vessel that could literally burst into flames under the right conditions. The recipient of his remark snorted in disdain and asked if his passenger would be having any refreshments during the flight. Daedalus had asked for a glass of wine, which he still cradled only half consumed in his right hand.

  There was a buzz on the intercom above his head and a voice crackled from it.

  “Dr. Daedalus, this is Admiral Mark Seagers, Commander of the Pendragon, my apologies for the intrusion, are you there?”

  Daedalus grabbed a nearby radio-link device; he turned it on and spoke. “Good Morning, Admiral, I think we can dispense with formalities, while understanding this being the Queen’s vessel and I, its only passenger at the moment.”

  “Fair enough, our arrival time at the Lozere Airport is in about twenty minutes, do you have any requirements other than the vehicle we have radioed for, in preparation for your arrival?”

  “No Admiral and thank you for a pleasant flight.”

  “Glad to be of service, Admiral Seagers…out” The intercom buzzed once more before it closed its connection to the ship’s bridge and Daedalus was returned once more to his own thoughts.

  The impromptu meeting that was about to take place in a few hours was not something Daedalus was looking forward to. He hated politics and none were more cumbersome than those of the supernatural world.

  Montague Druitt, was a Werewolf and before Daedalus could began a full blown investigation or sentencing, he would need the approval of the nearest high ranking Lupine Council Member, in the vicinity of the illegally alleged activity. Daedalus had tried to reach the local council member, Lord Christopher Vinter at his parliamentary offices, but he was said to be away in France on a recreational hunting trip. Daedalus was well aware of Lord Vinter’s supernatural status and also knew that there was much more to his hunting trip than hounds and scarlet coats.

  After a rather bumpy landing and a quick chat with Admiral Seagers about his itinerary, Daedalus walked quickly across the airstrip to a group of mechanics and ground crew, who had gathered around a strange looking vehicle in loud conversation.

  “Gentlemen, while I would love to answer questions about the design and of my automobile, a pressing matter overrides such frivolity.” Daedalus shouted as he brushed through the throng and entered his vehicle. A nearby mechanic gestured to say something and Daedalus answered him. “Yes it’s a modified Serpolett, I found his original engine to unstable and rather underpowered.” Daedalus began the process of starting vehicle up, the machine hissed and sputtered in response. The gathering of observers moved back to give the automobile room to depart and Daedalus shot off when he released the break.

  It was not uncommon to be an object of wonderment when driving a steam powered vehicle in the countryside, or scaring various animals along the way that crossed in its path.

  Inventing such a vehicle had crossed Dr. Daedalus’ mind many times, however it was far easier to improve on another’s work, saving him both time and money lost quite often to prototypes.

  The journey to Lord Vinter’s estate was uneventful and gave Daedalus time to consider all he learned thus far. He knew that if Druitt was a feral Werewolf, he would hold no life scared and would kill hundreds for pleasure alone, without even a second thought. Daedalus detested the savagery of Werewolves; it was often the cause of many a catastrophe.

  Daedalus steered his car to a halt outside the Werewolf’s opulent manor. He noticed two other steam cars parked outside, and smirked. Despite their abrasiveness, Werewolves did not shy from innovation.

  Perhaps it was their lupine bravado that made them unafraid of change. Daedalus was met by a butler at the manor’s entrance who took his coat and hat. He was told that Lord Vinter had received his note and waited for him at the edge of the forest, which extended from the back of the estate. Daedalus was instructed to seek out the stable master for a horse and to ride directly to meet Lord Vinter and his hunting party.

  It did not take Daedalus long to do as instructed and within no time he found himself galloping on the back of a fine mare to his host. When he arrived at the hunting party, what greeted him would not have raised any suspicions to an untrained eye. Daedalus knew that the men clad in scarlet coats upon horseback were not the actual hunters. The real hunters were three men garbed in fine dressing robes, and top hats. One of which beckoned heartily to Dr. Daedalus. The man was of average height and his face was refined by a well-groomed black goatee, speckled with gray. His eyes were dark and held wildness within them. He was accompanied by two other men with similar facial grooming. Both appeared to be of English decent and were indeed, Werewolves.

  “Dr. Daedalus, your request was urgent, to what do I owe this honor. I assure you neither my guests nor I have broken any Veiled laws.” Lord Vinter flashed a fanged smile and extended a hand to his guest.

  “I am aware of this, and may I enquire as to the names of your pack mates?” Daedalus said firmly shaking Vinter’s hand.

  “I present Lord Rafe Bentley and Lord Wallace Scott.” Vinter replied, politely waving at each of his guests.

  “May I assume that we may discuss Veiled matters in their presence?” Daedalus inquired.

  “Lords, Bentley and Scott are my most trusted Pack-Masters, you may speak freely.”

  Daedalus nodded and explained to the Lords the reason for his visit. The men listened intently and did not interrupt his story.

  “Foul business for sure, Dr. Daedalus, this Montague fellow sounds uncouth, but claiming him to be Jack the Ripper. That is stretch; no Werewolf would dare kill so openly.” Lord Scott surmised.

  “I agree, even though I have seen localized members of my own pack kill without remorse, granted they have been deranged from the start and should have been culled at birth.” Lord Bentley added.

  A silence hung in the air and then Lord Vinter responded. “Daedalus, long have you upheld the laws of the Veiled people. I know you would not be here unless you had good reason. This stray dog you hunt is not of my pack and pays me no tribute. I have also heard his name whispered in Scotland Yard.” Lord Vinter’s tone became suddenly cold. “It is best for everyone, if you clear him or kill him before the men of the Yard find out his nature. I need not remind you of the Veiled Laws concerning trial and execution.”

  “You need not.” Daedalus replied.

  “Well then hunt away!” Lord Vinter growled.

  “It would appear ours is about to begin, Vinter.” Lord Scott motioned to a haggard looking man being dragged by a noose about his neck.

  “Daedalus, this man was caught killing an innocent young Werewolf pup. Now he will be executed in our way. You are welcome to ride along for the kill.” Lord Vinter said while disrobing and stretching his now nude from. The other lords followed suit and the prisoner suddenly pleaded to the Lords for mercy.

  “No thank you Vinter, pack justice is not my concern.” Daedalus answered.

  “Suit yourself.” Lord Vinter said as his body began to spasm. Daedalus watched as the three Lords morphed into huge wolves and howled in delight.

  The prisoner was released and with one last desperate look at Dr. Daedalus, who made no move assist him. The man realized his fate was sealed and ran for the nearby woods
in escape.

  The Werewolves waited for their prey to get some distance and then yowled as they broke into frenzied pursuit. Tonight they would feast.

  The Veiled laws are clear. If a human kills a Veiler then they shall be killed by one. If a Veiler kills a human, men like Daedalus killed them. Yet as Daedalus watched the wolves enter the forest after the man, he could not help but feel pity, for the man’s death would be slow and painful.

  Daedalus rode back to Vinter’s manor and told the butler he would send word of his findings to Lord Vinter. He then got into his vehicle and began his drive back to the Lozere Airport. The Pendragon would be awaiting him and he did not want to detain the Queen’s vessel any longer than necessary. Besides he needed to find Prince Albert and his wolf, tonight.

 
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