“Do not be so negative, Phoebe. We will make calls. Use Hamish’s connections. And Leonard is outside. He will drive us where we need to go.” Ysabeau looked unconcerned.
“My connections?” Hamish buried his head in his hands and groaned. “This could take weeks. I might as well live at the Wolseley, given all the coffees I’m going to have with people.”
“It won’t take weeks, and you don’t need to worry about your caffeine intake.” I put the paper in my pocket, slung my messenger bag over my shoulder, and hoisted myself to my feet, almost upsetting the table in the process.
“Lord bless us, Auntie. You get bigger by the hour.”
“Thank you for noticing, Gallowglass.” I’d managed to wedge myself between a coatrack, the wall, and my chair. He leaped up to extricate me.
“How can you be so sure?” Sarah asked me, looking as doubtful as Phoebe.
Wordlessly I held up my hands. They were multicolored and shining.
“Ah. Let us get Diana home,” Ysabeau said. “I do not think the proprietor would appreciate having a dragon in his restaurant any more than I did having one in my house.”
“Put your hands in your pockets,” Sarah hissed. They really were rather bright.
I was not yet at the waddling stage of pregnancy, but it was still a challenge to make my way through the close tables, especially with my hands jammed into my raincoat.
“Please clear the way for my daughter-in-law,” Ysabeau said imperiously, taking my elbow and tugging me along. Men stood, pulled their chairs in, and fawned as she passed.
“My husband’s stepmother,” I whispered to one outraged woman who was gripping her fork like a weapon. She was appropriately disturbed by the notion that I had married a boy of twelve and gotten pregnant by him, for Ysabeau was far too young to have children older than that. “Second marriage.
Younger wife. You know how it is.”
“So much for blending in,” Hamish muttered. “Every creature in W1 will know that Ysabeau de Clermont is in town after this. Can’t you control her, Gallowglass?”
“Control Granny?” Gallowglass roared with laughter and slapped Hamish on the back.
“This is a nightmare,” Hamish said as more heads turned. He reached the front door. “See you tomorrow, Adam.”
“Your usual table for one, sir?” Adam asked, offering Hamish his umbrella.
“Yes. Thank God.”
Hamish stepped into a waiting car and headed back to his office in the City. Leonard tucked me into the rear of the Mercedes with Phoebe, and Ysabeau and Fernando took the passenger seat.
Gallowglass lit a cigarette and ambled along the sidewalk, emitting more smoke than a Mississippi steamboat. We lost sight of him outside the Coach and Horses, where Gallowglass indicated through a series of silent gestures that he was going in for a drink.
“Coward,” Fernando said, shaking his head.
“Now what?” Sarah asked after we were back at Clairmont House in the cozy morning room. Though the front parlor was comfortable and welcoming, this snug spot was my favorite room in the house. It contained a ragtag assemblage of furniture, including a stool that I was certain had been in our house in the Blackfriars, which made the room feel as if it had been lived in rather than decorated.
“Now we find T. J. Weston, Esquire, whoever she or he may be.” I propped up my feet on the age-blackened Elizabethan stool with a groan, letting the warmth from the crackling fire seep into my aching bones.
“It will be like finding a needle in a haystack,” Phoebe said, allowing herself the small discourtesy of a sigh.
“Not if Diana uses her magic it won’t,” Sarah said confidently.
“Magic?” Ysabeau’s head swung around, and her eyes sparkled.
“I thought you didn’t approve of witches?” My mother-in-law had made her feelings on this matter known from the very beginning of my relationship with Matthew.
“Ysabeau might not like witches, but she’s got nothing except admiration for magic,” Fernando said.
“You draw a mighty fine line, Ysabeau,” Sarah said with a grimace.
“What kind of magic?” Gallowglass had returned, unnoticed, and was standing in the hall shaking the moisture off his coat. He rather resembled Lobero after a long run in the emperor’s Stag Moat.
“A candle spell can work when you’re searching for a lost object,” Sarah said thoughtfully. She was something of an expert on candle spells, since Em had been famous for leaving her things all around the house—and Madison.
“I remember a witch who used some earth and a knotted piece of linen,” Ysabeau said. Sarah and I turned to her, mouths open in astonishment. She drew herself straight and regarded us with hauteur.
“You need not look so surprised. I have known a great many witches over the years.”
Fernando ignored Ysabeau and spoke to Phoebe instead. “You said one of the addresses for T. J.
Weston was in Denmark. What about the others?”
“All from the UK: four in England and one in Northern Ireland,” Phoebe said. “In England the addresses were all in the south—Devon, Cornwall, Essex, Wiltshire.”
“Do you really need to meddle with magic, Auntie?” Gallowglass looked concerned. “Surely there’s a way for Nathaniel to use his computers and find this person. Did you write the addresses down, Phoebe?”
“Of course.” She produced a crumpled Boots receipt covered with handwriting. Gallowglass looked at it dubiously. “I couldn’t very well take a notebook into the file room. It would have been suspicious.”
“Very clever,” Ysabeau assured her. “I’ll send the addresses on to Nathaniel so he can get to work on them.”
“I still think magic would be faster—so long as I can figure out what spell to use,” I said. “I’ll need something visual. I’m better with visuals than with candles.”
“What about a map?” Gallowglass suggested. “Matthew must have a map or two in his library upstairs. If not, I could go around to Hatchards and see what they’ve got.” He had only just returned, but Gallowglass was clearly eager to be outdoors in the frigid downpour. It was, I supposed, as close to the weather in the middle of the Atlantic as he was likely to find.
“A map might work—if it were big enough,” I said. “We’ll be no better off if the spell is only able to pinpoint that T. J. Weston’s location is in Wiltshire.” I wondered if it would be possible for Leonard to drive me around the county with a box of candles.
“There’s a lovely map shop just by Shoreditch,” Leonard said proudly, as though he were personally responsible for its location. “They make big maps what hang on walls. I’ll give them a ring.”
“What will you need besides the map?” Sarah asked. “A compass?”
“It’s too bad I don’t have the mathematical instrument Emperor Rudolf gave me,” I said. “It was always whirring around as though it were trying to find something.” At first I’d thought its movements indicated that somebody was searching for Matthew and me. Over time I’d wondered if the compendium swung into action whenever someone was searching for the Book of Life.
Phoebe and Ysabeau exchanged a look.
“Excuse me.” Phoebe slipped out of the room.
“That brass gadget that Annie and Jack called a witch’s clock?” Gallowglass chuckled. “I doubt that would be much help, Auntie. It couldn’t even keep proper time, and Master Habermel’s latitude charts were a bit . . . er, fanciful.” Habermel had been utterly defeated by my request to include a reference to the New World and had simply picked a coordinate that for all I knew would have put me in Tierra del Fuego.
“Divination is the way to go,” Sarah said. “We’ll put candles on the four cardinal points of north, east, south, and west, then sit you in the center with a bowl of water and see what develops.”
“If I’m going to divine by water, I’ll need more space than this.” The breakfast room would fill up with witchwater at an alarming speed.
“We could use the garden,” Ysabeau suggested. “Or the ballroom upstairs. I never did think the Trojan War was a suitable subject for the frescoes, so it would be no great loss if they were damaged.”
“We might want to tune up your third eye before you start, too,” Sarah said, looking critically at my forehead as though it were a radio.
Phoebe returned with a small box. She handed it to Ysabeau.
“Perhaps we should see if this can help first.” Ysabeau drew Master Habermel’s compendium from the cardboard container. “Alain packed up some of your things from Sept-Tours. He thought they would make you feel more at home here.”
The compendium was a beautiful instrument, expertly fashioned from brass, gilded and silvered to make it shine, and loaded with everything from a storage slot for paper and pencil to a compass, latitude tables, and a small clock. At the moment the instrument appeared to be going haywire, for the dials on the face of the compendium were spinning around. We could hear the steady whir of the gears.
Sarah peered at the instrument. “Definitely enchanted.”
“It’s going to wear itself out.” Gallowglass extended a thick finger, ready to give the hands on the clock a poke to slow them down.
“No touching,” Sarah said sharply. “You can never anticipate how a bewitched object will respond to unwanted interference.”
“Did you ever put it near the picture of the chemical wedding, Auntie?” Gallowglass asked. “If you’re right, and Master Habermel’s toy acts up when someone is looking for the Book of Life, then maybe seeing the page will quiet it.”
“Good idea. The picture of the chemical wedding is in the Chinese Room along with the picture of the dragons.” I lumbered to my feet. “I left them on the card table.”
Ysabeau was gone before I could straighten up. She was back quickly, holding the two pages as though they were glass and might shatter at any moment. The moment I laid them on the table, the hand on the compendium dial began to swing slowly from left to right instead of revolving around its central pin. When I picked the pages up, the compendium began to spin again—though slower than it had before.
“I do not think the compendium registers when someone is looking for the Book of Life,” Fernando said. “The instrument itself seems to be searching for the book. Now that it senses some of the pages are nearby, it is narrowing its focus.”
“How strange.” I put the pages back on the table and watched in fascination as the hand slowed and resumed its pendulum swing.
“Can you use it to find the last missing page?” Ysabeau said, staring at the compendium with equal fascination.
“Only if I drive all over England, Wales, and Scotland with it.” I wondered how long it would take me to damage the delicate, priceless instrument, holding it on my lap while Gallowglass or Leonard sped up the M40.
“Or you could devise a locator spell. With a map and that contraption, you might be able to triangulate the missing page’s position,” Sarah said thoughtfully, tapping her lips with her finger.
“What kind of locator spell do you have in mind?” This went well beyond bell, book, and candle or writing a charm on a moonwort pod.
“We’d have to try a few and see—test them to figure out which is best,” Sarah mused. “Then you’d need to perform it under the right conditions, with plenty of magical support so the spell doesn’t get bent out of shape.”
“Where are you going to find magical support in Mayfair?” Fernando asked.
“Linda Crosby,” my aunt and I said at the same time.
Sarah and I spent more than a week testing and retesting spells in the basement of the house in Mayfair as well as the tiny kitchen of Linda’s flat in the Blackfriars. After nearly drowning Tabitha and having the fire brigade show up twice in Playhouse Yard, I had finally managed to cobble together some knots and a handful of magically significant items into a locator spell that might—just might—work.
The London coven met in a portion of the medieval Greyfriars crypt that had survived a series of disasters over its long history, from the dissolution of the monasteries to the Blitz. Atop the crypt stood Andrew Hubbard’s house: the church’s former bell tower. It was twelve stories tall and had only one large room on each of its floors. Outside the tower he had planted a pleasant garden in the one corner of the old churchyard that had resisted urban renewal.
“What a strange house,” Ysabeau murmured.
“Andrew is a very strange vampire,” I replied with a shiver.
“Father H likes lofty spaces, that’s all. He says they make him feel closer to God.” Leonard rapped on the door again.
“I just felt a ghost go by,” Sarah said, drawing her coat more closely around her. There was no mistaking the cold sensation.
“I don’t feel anything,” Leonard said with a vampire’s cavalier disregard for something as corporeal as warmth. His rapping turned to pounding. “Come on, sunshine!”
“Patience, Leonard. We are not all twenty-year-old vampires!” Linda Crosby said crossly once she’d wrestled the door open. “There are a prodigious number of stairs to climb.”
Happily, we had only to descend one floor from the main entrance level to reach the room that Hubbard had set aside for the use of the City of London’s official coven.
“Welcome to our gathering!” Linda said as she led us down the staircase.
Halfway down, I stopped with a gasp.