Part 1, Part 2
Sebastian followed Morgan’s human assistant, Anne, to Morgan’s study a mere ten minutes after he’d arrived. He’d honestly expected to be told to make an appointment and come back another time. One didn’t just drop in on the de-facto leader of the Faithful. Or, one wasn’t supposed to. Sebastian did when he needed to see her. She’d only turned him away a few times.
Sebastian was on uncertain terms with the Faithful. He’d been made by one over a hundred years ago and had followed their rules for many years. Honestly, he still did, for the most part. He didn’t kill humans when he fed, unless they were bad–murderers, rapists, pedophiles–or they really pissed him off.
But, the Faithful… They were just so sanctimonious. And boring. They were in a sort of perpetual mourning state for their creator who’d been killed a few years before Sebastian was made. Before she’d died, she’d proclaimed she’d return, and so the Faithful were just waiting for her to come back. If she ever did.
The Faithful were all about rules and rituals and worship and Sebastian had never believed in God as a human. And while he was grateful to Kali for miracuously rising from death as a vampire and starting a new race, he wasn’t going to start worshiping her memory.
Anne stopped in front of Morgan’s study and turned. “I don’t know how long she’ll be able to talk with you,” she said with an easy smile. “She’s not super busy tonight, but things always can come up.”
“I understand. Thanks for letting me see her at all.”
She laughed. “I run her schedule, but this was all her. I think she was intrigued that LA’s most famous neutral came her see her.” She pushed the door open and waved him in.
He rolled his eyes at the description as he walked by her. There were plenty of neutral vampires in LA. He was hardly famous.
Morgan was sitting at her desk, typing. When he came in, she looked up and smiled. “Sebastian.” She rose and walked around the desk. “So nice to see you,” she said, holding out a hand.
He took it and shook it gently. Despite himself, he always felt a little tongue-tied around Morgan at first. It wasn’t her looks, although she was beautiful with long dark hair, big brown eyes, and long lashes. If she hadn’t been the second vampire ever created, he might have tried to take her to bed. But she was the second vampire ever and that sort of intimidated him. Kali was an abstract concept; Morgan was reality.
“Morgan. Thanks for seeing me.”
She smiled and gestured at a couple chair set up in front of the desk. He took one and she sat across from him, tucking one ankle behind the other. “What can I do for you?”
“I have a couple things. First, do you know anything about Michael Clearwater? He’s a member of the Society.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Not much. For awhile, he was trying to gain power and made some traction. Then, it all fella part for him, and now he’s a fairly obscure member.”
“Any idea why?”
“Not really.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I don’t generally worry about the Society. Why?”
“His son came to me and asked me to find something for him. It occured to me that it could be a trap.”
“Tristan Clearwater. He’s looking for a book called The Magic of Music. Which is the other thing I wanted to ask you about.”
She tapped her fingers against her chin, eyes distant. After a moment, she shook her head. “I don’t know that I’ve heard of it. I doubt it’s in our collection, but I’ll ask Anne. She’s got a better idea of what we have, at least in the house. Is it urgent?”
Sebastian shrugged. “I get the sense it is, but Tristan isn’t exactly being forthcoming on why. He says he only wants to understand the theory, but it’s obvious he’s lying about something. And, he’s powerful.”
“Really? How powerful?”
“I’m not sure exactly, but I could taste the power in his blood.” Sebastian swallowed, thinking of the tingling he’d experienced. “It’s nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It made my mouth tingle. That ever happen to you?”
She shook her head. “No. I could taste some power in Anne, but nothing that made my mouth tingle. Are you sure it wasn’t something else? Lust? Compatibility?”
“Now, it was power. He wants it to seem like his interest is purely academic, although he admitted he was interested in gaining some control. It’s more than that, though. I’m sure of it.”
Morgan frowned. “What control does he need? Does he want to become more powerful or less?”
Sebastian pursed his lips, thinking. That was something he hadn’t considered. What if Tristan was lying not because he didn’t want Sebastian to think he wanted more power, but because he had the power and wanted less? What if he was as powerful as Sebastian sensed and it was overwhelming him?
“If it’s the latter, it’d be better to get the book into his hands sooner than later,” Sebastian said. “The last thing we need is for him to accidentally blow up Los Angeles because he can’t control what he has.”
Morgan moved her head from side to side. “That kind of innate power is very rare. But, you’re right. Do you know where he works? I can send Anne to meet him. See how powerful he really is.”
Sebastian gave her the address of Tristan’s workplace. “And you’ll check around for the book?”
“Yes. If we really have a violate warlock…”
“He says he’s not a warlock. He’s got magic, but says he can only do a few things.”
Morgan leaned forward. “Yes, but musical magic isn’t based on spells. It taps into a deeper power and teaches the magic user to channel his energy. For it to work, the user must have a connection with that magic already. The magic is a tool to draw it out.” She tapped her fingers on her knee. “Actually, if he uses magic as a focus, he might not even be a warlock.”
“What might he be?”
“I’m not sure,” she said. “But warlocks usually need spells. Music is different.”
“Anne’s a witch, isn’t she?”
“Yes, but she’s still studying. Her magic is spell based. If his isn’t, if it’s something else, we can’t let him run around untrained. We need to know.”
Sebastian shifted. “You think his father sent him?”
“Perhaps,” she answered, sitting back. “It could be Michael Clearwater is hoping to climb the ranks once more by disrupting our society in America. But, it’s equally likely that Tristan left on his own and came here to distance himself from his father.”
She shook her head. “I don’t know. Generally, while the Society is against the supernatural, they aren’t technically averse to using and training warlocks. If Tristan is powerful, he’d be coveted, not spurned. So, without knowing Tristan and his story, I couldn’t say.” She leaned forward. “Proceed with caution, Sebastian. You are dealing with the child of a vampire-hate group. Try to find the book, but be careful.”
“I’m not planning on becoming his best friend. He’s just a client.”
“One whose blood you’ve drunk. And whose blood is infused with power. That can be addictive.”
He rolled his eyes. “I’ll be careful.” Sebastian stood. “Thank you for your time, Morgan.”
“I’ll be in touch.”