17: STAY AWAY
Leonetti looks over Dr. Barrow’s lab.
“So... someone broke in and stole a severed head.”
“Yyyyyes. And someone keeps taking the blood from the refrigerator as well.”
“There are more of our people on campus, right?”
“I think so. Maybe more than I know of. But... why would they take a head? Even an animated one?”
“... Well, why did you take it?”
“Okay, good point.”
Mother Surnow looks at the photographs of the tablet and the X-ray of the carving inside.
“Nothing from the Ohlone people about owl spirits, before the missionaries came. Of course, there’s one vampire old enough to know...”
Arthur stays in the car as Pavel heads to the Mission.
Lucio meets him halfway, and indicates for him to walk with him to the old building, away from the canon’s church.
“The canon keeps the Cardinal’s secrets, but he has spoken of owls before. Both of them were here before I was born, I have only heard the stories. I was one of the last of my tribe. The Cardinal brought the elders down because they parlayed with the night birds. He stole their secrets in order to stop them. To make this place safe for him and his, for vampires like you and I. Then he killed them to ensure they would not betray him.”
“So the canon knows about the Strix?”
“Less than the Cardinal, but yes. As we always say, the Cardinal was the first Kindred here. Kindred. Not vampire.”
He looks out over the city, down towards the bay.
“These are stories from my mother’s father, I was not taken until my tribe was all but gone. Only the canon can speak to the truth of it, as the Cardinal sleeps and I believe his other childe died the same night he fell to torpor.”
“When was that?”
“1906. The earthquake.”
“That’s a long time to be in torpor.”
“So it is.”
“And he sleeps... near here?”
“Somewhere near here. The canon keeps that secret as well.”
Pavel considers this.
“He isn’t in the cemetery near Nob Hill, by any chance?”
“I don’t believe so...”
“Just a thought.”