It took another ten minutes of dancing around before I finally got Finlay to explain.
"There was a vampire that came every day for a fortnight. Then the second one came but the third night, it entered the building. Mistress didn’t hear me. The boy slayer didn’t notice it at first. It gave a victory cry when it was leaving. The boy reacted to that."
"That was when it killed?"
"Just after, Lady. It made an awful racket. I thought surely Mistress would hear, but the boy did instead. When she was young she never missed one."
"What kind of cry? Vibration?" I asked. Swords can’t really hear, of course but they do detect the vibration of sound. An attuned sword – one that’s recorded a psyche like Finlay can also sense the psyches around them. I was basically asking which it was."
"No vibration, Lady."
That meant it was a psychic war cry. Weird, vampires rarely do that – and this one was supposed to be middle aged. "Can you repeat the cry?"
"Certainly. ‘Ich habe mein Meister hochst zufrieden! Er will mir eine shone Belohnung geben!’ "
On the bright side, since they are little more than recorders, swords can accurately recall words they don’t understand. On the not so bright side, Finlay spoke with a Scottiish accent and I was pretty sure my Southern drawl on top of it wasn’t gonna help matters. I turned to Tresmayne, "He heard something in a foreign language. Would you mind listening to see if you might know what it means?"
Another ten minutes wasted while I tried to pronounce a bunch of German words well enough that Tresmayne could make sense of them. It boiled down to "I’ve really pleased my master! He will give me a handsome reward."
Jack made a noise. He didn’t look any too pleased.
"What said that? The vampire that killed Old Man Jenkins?"
"Then I’d bet you Arnie is out of luck. That thing couldn’t have screwed up much worse. It probably got destroyed as its reward."
I shrugged and went back to Finlay. There wasn’t much more so it only took a few more minutes. I ended our talk and resheathed him. I barely got started reporting the conversation when the phone rang.
Jack answered it. He looked a little puzzled as he passed the instrument to me.
"Is this Miss Crystal Abernathy?" A man’s voice asked me. Weird on two counts, he knew I was there and we were expecting the Mistress to call. It definitely wasn’t her.
"Yes sir, speaking." I replied.
"My name is Warren McKenzie. We have a mutual acquaintance…"
I listened as he explained that he worked with the Mistress and was calling on her behalf. Something had come up and she was travelling again. He then asked me if the tide in Amsterdam had disturbed my trip.
"Only when the gulls sang lullabies." I told him. Honestly, I was so surprised that someone finally actually used that code I almost forgot what the correct response was. Well, I knew now for certain the Mistress really had told him to call.
"Good, good – now that we have the pleasantries out of the way, I’ve got a report for you. Ready?"
I grabbed my notepad and pen, "Ready."