He sipped at his whiskey. There was no easy way to speak aloud his fears, or to put his suspicions in a way that did not sound accusatory. True to her bloodline, however, Jacyntha voiced them for him.
“You think our mother conduit to Ketos,” she said, “and that Ketos is the Matriarch Emily mentioned.”
Judging by his sudden fit of coughing, Doyle had not considered the possibility himself, although that was not surprising. For his sake—and, perhaps, to justify his accusations—Byron explained how the ancestral spirit of Oracles past passed down their bloodline from mother to seventh daughter.
“Jacyntha, if I might be so bold as to ask…”
“I am my mother’s fifth daughter,” she replied, “of seven. To our knowledge, Jadwiga Järvi is the first in our line and she bore us all without fear of death.”
“So much for that idea,” said Doyle.
“And yet still…” Byron fell back into his chair, resisting the urge to surrender himself to the niggling needle of anxiety that pierced his veins the moment Jacyntha crushed his assumptions. He knew there was something in this—there had to be. His muse was insistent of the fact. “When your mother spoke to Keller, there was something about the tone of her voice. As soon as she touched the crystal, even. And that she wished me to leave it with her in exchange for your assistance…”
“C’mon, dude, drop it already,” said Doyle, ever the chivalrous knight. “Cynthie’s legit and so’s her mum. You’re just paranoid. Must be all that weed!”
Byron was almost ready to believe him when Jacyntha herself interjected in his defence. “I share Byron’s concern,” she said. “When my mother asked that I assist you, she also asked that I report back anything I thought suspect about your behaviour, as well as all information regarding Aliza Adel. And, ever since I heard Emily’s message, I myself have started to wonder if this Matriarch and my mother share a connection. It would explain … things.”
Doyle’s cheery defence had faltered in wake of Jacyntha’s unexpected admission of espionage, but Byron took it in his stride—it only helped to prove his initial accusation. “If that is the case,” he said, leaning forward and furrowing his brow, “there is only one thing for it. Emily needs our help, and I very much doubt Veritas are up to the task, so I must ask another favour of you, Jacyntha.”
A favour she had no doubt anticipated before she even entered his room. For all the old grimoires spoke of metaphysical malevolences lurking beyond the veil of dreams, for all their tales of monsters great and abominations giant, it were the powers that walked the streets in plain sight that frightened Byron most. If there really was a Maker, a Divine Creator who fashioned the Earth and all its myriad children, it was only a matter of time before those children ensured Its enslavement—if, indeed, they hadn’t done so already.
“My mother would welcome your return,” she said.
Chapter 44 End
She’s not clairvoyant so much as really good at analysing behavioural patterns. It’s genetic.