Philadelphia By Night
The Uninvited Guest
Deep Throat returned to his haven. Ramos appeared to be out, perhaps busy with the new assignment Deep Throat had given him. As he stepped inside and entered the security code, his Auspex-honed senses immediately felt something was off. Lying on an open windowsill was one of Ramos’s Cuban cigars, its sweet, thick odor could almost be mistaken for burning flesh. Intermixed was the smell of cologne. Deep Throat recognized it from his background teachings with Commissioner Welles. It was a Parisian perfume, very expensive and patterned after an older scent.
And then Sebastian Goulet stepped out of the shadows.
Deep Throat felt his vitae run cold. Goulet, leader of the Sabbat and one of the deadliest kindred in Philadelphia, was in his haven. Quickly he texted to the rest of the Black Doves: Goulet in my haven. Hurry. Then he turned to face the Sabbat leader. “If you’re looking for your boytoy Olivetti I haven’t seen him in some time.”
“Good evening Deep Throat. Are you surprised to see me?” Goulet said. “You shouldn’t be after what happened at The Swanky Kitten.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about."
“Hm. And how is your boytoy? Ramos is his name, correct?”
“Ramos is not a boytoy. He is an assistant.”
“Is that what you call him? Come now. There is no need to be demure. Your ‘assistant’ is a very attractive man.”
“You found Olivetti attractive too. He doesn’t want to see you any more after what you did to him and I don’t blame him.”
“You don’t really understand what went on between Olivetti and me. He appreciated my companionship and I enjoyed his. Anyway, I’m not here to talk about him. I’d like to discuss you. Specifically, your deep passion for me.”
Deep Throat laughed. “Is that what this is about? You think I’m in love with you? Perhaps the weight of the centuries has addled the blood in your brain.”
“I think you have too little pleasure in your unlife.” Goulet smiled, revealing a row of white teeth as perfect as any movie star’s. His classically handsome features stared at Deep Throat invitingly.
“You have shown up like a stalker in my haven just to flirt with me,” Deep Throat said. “Pathetic.”
“As a matter of fact we do have business to discuss.”
“I have no business with you – except perhaps the business of your severed head decorating the top of Comcast Center.”
“An overblown threat. I thought members of the First Estate were more sophisticated than that. And you should not be threatening your potential allies, especially when the situation in the city is as grave as it is. Philadelphia is in a state of destabilization, it is only a matter of time before the situation slips into total anarchy. It needs a prince – someone with the skill and strength to unite the city.”
“Let me guess – that would be you,” Deep Throat said.
“I would be honored to have your support and the support of the Black Doves. And you would be rewarded.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Sabbat rule would be worse than anarchy. And some of us are not so easily manipulated.”
“Really? Are you so blind you do not even realize how you have been manipulated?” Goulet said.
“Ah yes, the Sabbat’s little theory that we covenant kindred are the pawns of the progenitors.”
“I could help you, Deep Throat. Unshackle your chains, see what it means to be truly free.”
“Whatever. This ridiculous mythical conspiracy theory is one of many reasons why I could never support you.”
“And who would you rather have as Prince? Ambroise? I realize he is a fellow Invictus, but after how he tried to destroy you? Can you imagine what he would do to you if he ruled the city? I have shown you only tolerance, even when I caught you spying in my haven.”
“At least Ambroise doesn’t consort with Brood diablerists who ruin the Masquerade.”
“You are proving as intractable as some said you would be,” Goulet said. “Your Invictus elders would be the first to admit that a city with no Prince will not stand for long. Soon you will have to make a choice. I would hate for us to be enemies.”
“Yes, that is why you appeared here uninvited. To show you know where I sleep, that you can get at me at any time.”
“That was only part of the reason. I hoped we could find areas of agreement.”
Deep Throat’s response was to summon all of his mental will and reach into Goulet’s mind telepathically. He was looking for the location of Goulet’s haven, but his mind was filled with sinuous trails of darkness and misdirection. It was like being lost in a lightless maze.
Goulet smiled again. “Your telepathic prowess is well known, Deep Throat. Did you think I would not be capable of stopping you? But I understand you are wary of my true intentions. You may probe my mind and put your fears to rest.”
“I don’t think so. Traps can be laid for telepaths just as they can for anyone.”
A creeping mist began to seep into the room, which Deep Throat recognized as Tyler’s mist form. A bird landed in the yard and transformed into Rowana. Across the street, a sleek black limo pulled up and Solaina stepped out of the back seat while the invisible forms of Sand and Elijah approached the house. The Black Doves had arrived.
“It is time for me to depart,” Goulet said. “Your Ramos is unharmed. Consider what I have told you.”
“Leaving in such a hurry, Goulet?” Deep Throat said. “I haven’t had the chance to show you my proper hospitality.”
Goulet vanished into thin air. Deep Throat was one of the most skilled practitioners of Auspex in the city but he could not pierce Goulet’s obfuscation. Unless the Sabbat leader had teleported away. Was he a practitioner of some unknown form of magic? Deep Throat looked around at his compromised townhouse. It was time to find a new haven.