As the late night wore on more Order members arrived at the Wembly headquarters, Master Davenport showing them into the rather large council chambers. There was whispers between council members as they sat, the odd cough and glances at their leader who sat silently at the top of the room in what some secretly called his throne, his legs crossed his left hand to his chin. Mister Browning looked in deep thought for several moments at a time only breaking from this thought as another council member was shown into the chamber or to glance around to see who had not arrived yet, look at his pocket watch to see how much time remained before he would have the meeting get under way.
As the clock on the mantle piece struck midnight he noticed that Lord Green’s chair stood vacant, this vexed him greatly. He knew Lord Green knew what the penalties were for failing to show up to this highly important clad in stein meeting, never the less he stood to address the council members. As he stood he put his hands out and a hush came over each member until only the ticking of the mantle clock could be heard. “My dear council and fellow Order members.” He began with a loud booming voice that echoed around the council chambers. “You all know why we are here…” He paused a moment and some members nodded their head. “We are here to discuss what to do about our absent member Lady Jayne Wetherby and what further action we will take in locating her as well as the punishment she should receive for desertion.” Browning cleared his throat and as he was about to speak again Lord Green came barging into the council chambers, Master Davenport behind him. Lord Green had a closed letter in his hands. As he stopped before Mister Browning he could be heard trying to catch his breath.
Mister Browning glared at Lord Green with narrowed eyes as he turned his head slightly to see him. “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS LORD GREEN?!” He bellowed loudly. “YOU KNOW THE PENALTY FOR BEING LATE TO A COUNCIL MEETING.” Lord Green spoke as he tried to catch his breath. “I am sorry Mister… Browning… but” He held up a letter, closed but no seal on it. He tried to say more but the words got caught in his throat. Mister Browning took a few steps forward and snatched the letter roughly. “WHERE DID YOU GET THIS?” He shouted. Lord Green looked up nervously. “It was delivered by a young boy… , he seemed to know me but… I do not recognise him… He said the letter was for your eyes only… when I walked across your private courtyard I found…” He swallowed hard. FOUND WHAT? DO NOT KEEP ME WAITING…” Mister Browning was getting more impatient. He opened the letter and sat down, he went quiet and could not believe what he had read. The writing looked authentic to him, he felt the hand was indeed Jayne’s. The letter read.
Mister Browning, James,
I am sorry for being away from you and the order for longer than planned but unexpected business arose in Slough and other areas close to London on my way back to join you which had me detained. Business ‘I take care of’ in London for you mainly at night, had cropped up in these areas but thankfully I feel I have delth with these issues. I did try to contact you over the last two days to explain this but it seems the telephone exchange had some difficulties connecting calls to London.
I sencerily apologise for any inconvenience or worry my prolonged absence has had, especially on you, James. But be assured it was all in the name of the order. I regret my letter had to be delivered in this way, with the loss of two fine lower level clerks. There was nothing I could do to protect their positions as I arrived too late but the cause of their dismissal has been found and eliminated. I wish I could have seen you in person this night but I got word of a fresh attack by Watford in the east end of the city which requires my immediate presence. I do hope you understand. I also hope you understand why I could not leave the men with you in daylight.
Please accept my humble apologises once again. I will call on you as soon as I can, but my first priority is to help defend the people of London from these new attacks. My deepest sympathies go to the family of the two men.
Your loyal servant,
Lady Jayne Wetherby.
Mister Browning even though he had a lot of anger, hurt over Jayne’s absense still held a soft spot for her in his heart. Despite his plans to punish her he now was having some second thoughts over bits of the plans he was intending to enact towards her. He examined the letter a third time especially the signature which had all the same mannerisms as Jayne’s, he could not find a reason to suspect the letter was not written by Jayne. He folded up the letter and put it in his coat’s inside pocket.
“Well?!” He looked up and looked at Lord Green suspiciously. “Show me to the two order members.” Lord Green wanted to reply but thought the better of it. He nodded. Browning rose and looked at the still silent Council members. “Council members, I shall return in a couple of moments. There is no reason for any alarm, just remain seated. Lord Davenport, you are to accompany me to the lobby at once.” Lord Davenport nodded and rose following Browning from the council chambers.
As they got to the lobby Lord Green kept walking on. They followed him to the private courtyard surrounded by oak trees and palm trees to the right of the building. As they entered the courtyard, Lord Green stopped. He looked by the largest of the oak trees and under it was two headless bodies, the heads in two wooden boxes. Browning looked in the open boxes to see the heads of Mister Mark Black and Mister Reed two low ranking order members, garlic in their mouths. Browning called loudly for Master Davenport who ran from the building and arrived beside them in less than a minute. He looked from Mister Browning to his father and then to the dead headless bodies under the oak tree. He then remembered Lord Laurent’s words of advice that seemed more of a warning. Do as Mister Browning asks, do not ask why just do it if you wish for an easier time in the order and to climb the ranks in time. “Ah, Daniel, you and Lord Green will have these bodies put in coffins ready for burial. Phone Father Dowling, tell him Mister Browning will need his services first thing tomorrow, at dawn. Tell him call to the manor here in Wembly. You know where to put the bodies until then Mathew.” He half smiled at Lord Green who nodded. “Of course Mister Browning.” Tell no one outside of the council of this matter on pain of torture.” Browning said with a warning tone.
As Daniel and Mathew got on with their duties Browning and Lord Davenport spoke a few moments about this situation and Browning showed his closest friend the letter he received. After careful examination he too agreed the letter was written by Jayne’s hand. After putting the letter back in his inside coat pocket he and Lord Davenport each took a box which contained a head of one of the newly deceased order members. As they let out a deep breath it could be seen before them as frost now nipped the air. They went into the manor once again and their long footsteps echoed through the corridors. They stood outside the council chambers and looked at each other with a knowing glance. Browning then opened the council chambers door and he walked in followed by Lord Davenport. They both stood at the top of the council chamber and after almost a minute of silence Browning spoke.
“It seems the plans for Lady Wetherby are for now to be put aside.” Murmurs rippled through the chambers. “SILENCE” Browning bellowed and everything went silent. “It seems our problems with certain violent attacks on the people of London are re-surfacing as we speak. The attack area has widened to the towns and villages surrounding our fair county to the west and north west. The problems there I have been informed have for now been delth with but new attacks are reported in the city in the east regions. Two members of ours, Mister Reed and Mister Mark Black both from Slough have perished in these new waves of attack. Be on your guard gentlemen, it appears our own Lady Wetherby was caught up in these attacks outside London, hence the reason she has not been with us of late. She has now been deployed to the east of the city to help in the situation. Tonights meeting is now concluded, but Lord Rothcroft and Lord Laurent you will stay the night here with myself, Lord Davenport and his son Daniel. You can telephone your families let them know.
As the rest of the high council left Lord Rothcroft whispered to Browning. “Vampires again is it James?” Lord Rothcroft enquired. “Afraid so, Lady Wetherby came across these two…” He lightly banged on the boxes containing the member’s heads. “Shortly after they were attacked. The culprits have been eliminated. Seems with the recent telephone exchange mess she had been unable to contact us from wherever she was outside London. I still want her watched, once we see her face to face again but done discreetly if you get my meaning. Lord Rothcroft chuckled “of course James.”
What they did not know was, Alexander was watching them, pleased for now he had bought Jayne a few days breathing space but he had to contact her as soon as possible to get her to London, tell her what he had done though she might not be completely pleased. He had had to think quickly to buy her this time and he hopped it would mean the order would in no way suspect she had left thinking of maybe leaving them for good.