Jessie gasped a little, but otherwise suppressed her surprise. Dwennon was a Ylfe after all. He could easily have capabilities beyond that of a normal human. Perhaps he’d heard her, or maybe he’d looked through the wall with his x-ray vision. It didn’t matter; she was discovered.
She crossed to the office and entered. There were more holes in the wall here, and a scattering of junk that looked like it had once been on top of the desk. Both of the visitor-chairs had been overturned. Dwennon slumped in the chair behind the desk. He was dressed in a suit that had probably once been nice. Now it was open and disheveled, the white shirt beneath was soaked with blood and his tie was missing.
Jessie stumbled backwards, seeking the door without really thinking about it, but strong hands caught her before she could take more than a single step. She jerked, and found Servant behind her. She hadn’t seen him. She didn’t know if that meant he’d hidden or if she’d simply been too distracted.
He was as thin and sickly looking as ever. His breath smelled of racing fuel vanilla and his hands felt like twigs wrapped in leather. They cut into her shoulders and she was certain she’d have bruises, but looking in to his eyes killed any protest she might have made. They were sunken and angry. His brows were knit and he seemed only a hairs breadth away from destructive rage. It was not a good look on his already near crazy face.
Dwennon spoke from behind the desk. His voice was still thin and pained, but it hadn’t lost any of its cultured accent. “Servant, I believe our guest is just startled. She doesn’t intend to run. Do you dear?”
“No,” Jessie wasn’t sure that was true, but she was sure it was the correct answer.
“I thought not. There’s much benefit for you here today. My misfortune is your fortune if you’re willing to make a deal. Servant, please release her.”
The hands fell away from her instantly, and beside her Servant dropped a quick tidy bow, “Yes lord.”
“Please get her a seat, then watch the hall so we aren’t interrupted.”
He bowed again, “Yes lord.” This time there was a hint of stress in his voice.
Dwennon apparently guessed what was bothering Servant because he spoke as Servant righted a chair and put it beside Jessie. “This won’t take long, and I believe we are quite safe.”
Servant didn’t respond, he just followed his previous orders by stepping outside the office and shutting the door. “He thinks I am a fool for staying here. I do not hold that against him. It’s his duty to guard my safety so it is ever in his mind and he worries over every risk. But there’s no further danger. My enemy surely believes me dead.” Dwennon nodded toward the seat, “Please, sit.”
Jessie sat. She didn’t speak. Dwennon sounded and looked half dead, but he seemed to be ignoring his condition. That probably meant all the usual rules applied, and talking without invitation would be bad.
Dwennon picked a bottle of amber liquid off the desk and poured himself a tumbler full. His hand shook and the liquid slopped as he did it. Jessie recognized the bottle. It was Bowmore single malt, aged 25 years. The club paid nearly two hundred dollars for a bottle. They sold it to the patrons at a considerable mark-up. That bottle probably normally lived on the top shelf of the VIP bar.
Dwennon gestured with the bottle. “Would you like some?”
“I don’t blame you. I’m drinking it for the pain. Scotch smells very nice, but I’ve always found the taste to be overly spiced. I’ve got a bullet in my lung I think it shattered a bone when it went in.”
Jessie wondered if the juxtaposition of the review of the scotch and the description of the wound was a deliberate piece of machismo or a real indicator of Dwennon’s personality. She risked a semi-normal reaction. “If you’re injured, my car is just outside. I could take you for treatment.”
Dwennon smiled. It wasn’t a happy smile, but it wasn’t anything else either, just sort of a punctuation that said: I appreciate your display of concern. “The bleeding has stopped. Part of my,” he hesitated, “unique physiology. Given that, I feel fairly certain I’ll be fine in time. I’ve had worse. Eventually, I’ll find a doctor to pull the bullet out, but that’s all the treatment I really require.”
She nodded, “Of course, sir.”
Dwennon took a long drink of his scotch draining most of the glass. It had probably been a good four ounces, and it probably hadn’t been his first. Jessie briefly wondered if his mental state had been weakened enough that she might get a better result out of this conversation than she’d normally expect. She still wanted to suggest bringing Kyle into the organization. Then he met her gaze and his eyes were as flinty as ever. She decided not to press her luck just yet.
“You are, perhaps, wondering why you’re here.”
She nodded as it seemed that’s what was expected.