Monday, December 3, 2012

Gathering Clues

Hi everyone, this is Clare. After our discovery that our old nemesis group may be responsible for poisoning Summer, we spent quite a bit of time debating what we ought to do. In the end, we decided that for the moment, it was probably best to do nothing.

All we really had were suspicions and one piece of circumstantial evidence. There were clues pointing away from the suspects too, though. For instance, as Inna pointed out, there was no obvious motive; in fact, the Elders would seem to be acting against their own best interests if they had done it. Then there's the fact that Summer was poisoned at school - i.e. during the day. It was cloudy and snowy that day, so it may have been safe for vampires to go outside without burning to a crisp, but we aren't certain it would have been. 

Also, the Elders themselves aren't exactly... um... the most normal-looking group of people. They tend to go for the more Dracula-style vampire dress, and they're so old and out of touch that they couldn't really fake modern fashion even if they don't physically look their age. When they were active, they would generally send more conventional-looking lackeys to do their dirty work when humans might see, and used a network of spies to keep an eye on the outside world. Now that they've lost their power, though, the Elders have also lost most of their workforce. Caped and fanged figures lurking around like giant bats would probably attract attention at the local middle school... but no one noticed anything suspicious.

So all this to say, even we weren't sure. Accusing fellow members of the vampire council of a crime like this would really destabilize things. It could be the end of the council if people started taking sides. It could even lead to an all-out vampire war. 

That doesn't mean that we're going to let someone get away with hurting Summer, of course... but it does mean that when we make a case, it has to be so solid that no reasonable council member would be able to accuse us of treachery or using the council for our own gain.

There was a council meeting scheduled for Saturday. Summer is recovering at home (she was released from the hospital on Friday) but we decided that under the circumstances, it would be best if the vampire members of the family went to the meeting anyway. Maybe there would be clues. Maybe the Elders would be acting suspicious, or would somehow let slip another clue if they'd done it. We also didn't want to tip our own hand that we might have figured something out by staying away.

The Elders were not acting suspicious. Or at least, they weren't acting differently from their baseline weird behaviour. There are three of them left, and as usual one was friendly and pleasant to us, one was sullen and petulant, and the other was looking silently murderous. In other words, exactly how they've been for the past almost-year. If they knew something was up, they weren't giving any sign at all. These are... not vampires known for their subtlety, to put it mildly. They were big bullies back in their day, but they've never been great actors. I started to seriously share Inna's doubts.

My doubts only increased when I noticed that a handful of other members of the council were acting... the only way I can describe it is to say they were acting expectant. Whenever there was a break in council business, someone would glance over at us to see if we had something to say next. That's actually pretty typical, because we organized the council so we're kind of treated as leaders sometimes... except that they were trying to hide it for some reason. They were trying not to let us notice they were waiting for us to do something.

I scribbled a note on a scrap of paper, and slipped it to Marie-Grace. She nodded slightly, and passed it to Cécile, who then passed it to Tabitha. I didn't want to let too much slip, in case someone else got hold of it, so the note just said "framed?"

In other words, I was starting to suspect that someone else did the poisoning, and wanted us to think the Elders were responsible. I wasn't sure which of the councilors just knew about it, and which had actually been responsible, but I was starting to think none of the remaining three Elders had anything to do with it at all.

Suddenly, the motive made a lot more sense. The culprit was trying to destabilize the council by getting us to accuse our known enemies, so it would look like the result of a grudge. Proof of the Elders' non-involvement would be "discovered" and offered, and then the council members would be forced to take sides.

We weren't falling for it. We just sat silently, watching. Finally, one of the ones who had been waiting for us to talk asked directly if we had any business to put before the council. He definitely looked surprised for a split second - then he managed to hide it - when Marie-Grace smiled cheerfully and said no.

Between now and the next council meeting, we need to figure out who did this, and make sure we can prove it. Whoever did this seems willing to be patient and let things play out, but he or she probably won't wait forever if nothing comes of it. We don't want to give the person the opportunity to try again.


P.S. No news about Marigold, unfortunately.