I placed the aetherceiver down and massaged the bridge of my nose between forefinger and thumb, and sighed. Alison would be visiting, and this in and of itself was a good thing, though the circumstances could stand to be a good deal better.
Unfortunate that we should be forced to meet for purely professional reasons, but it was a sad necessity. The child beneath by bed needed to be calmed, and ideally questioned. I needed to ascertain the identity of the individual who had broken into my house and left Lester unconscious on the floor. Perhaps more importantly, I needed to identify why exactly they had performed the act.
As I walked down the hallway towards the small kitchen where I took most of my meals, I contemplated possible motives, doing my best to block out the smell of bacon lingering in the air. My capability to smell emotion is undoubtedly useful, but I have found that strong, mundane scents can sometimes make concentration difficult. The bacon could wait. I had scenarios and possibilities to consider.
Until other evidence suggested otherwise, it would seem the attack was little more than a threat or a warning. Who would have reason to threaten me?
Alison’s father Horatio disapproves of our courting quite forcefully, but he is a former military man of good standing, known for his stringent code of personal honour. He is also rather well known for deeming his aforementioned to be more flexible when dealing with colonial natives, an attitude that both his daughter and myself despise. To act in such an underhanded and brutish manner was both unlikely and unbecoming of even a man such as him. Unless, of course, I vastly underestimated his disapproval of me. Sir Horatio Archibald Harlington was a possibility, but a most unlikely one.
It was possible that the attack was the work of Grigor Karloff. He have clashed metaphorical blades on numerous occasions, and literal blades only slightly less often. A disgraced Russian aristocrat, Karloff moved to London with the last specks of his his substantial fortune and cemented a position within the city’s criminal upper class. Hired muscle carved him a notable portion of the opium trade, and from there he moved his dealings to the elite of British society, providing the rich and the powerful with the objects of vices. For a price. Karloff was a much more likely suspect, but the attack felt too crude to be one of the Russian’s schemes. He had long graduated from using street muscle to make his displeasure known, now preferring to utilise his expansive influence, blackmail and professional killers as weapons. An assault as blatant as this would likely offend Karloff’s sensibilities.
Which would left only one obvious possibility: an unknown assailant. This could have been pure chance, a burglary gone wrong. But why then take nothing?
Perhaps this was linked to the current case? Again, this seemed unlikely, but the ring at the crime scene at the very least would possibly suggest some sort of organisation. Perhaps they were trying to silence the investigating detective? Or the man who had found evidence of their existence in the ring?
Very unlikely, and unsubstantiated. Also, if this scenario were true, they would require a member within the Metropolitan Police Force, or be able to access their reports and communications with breathtaking ease.
That thought gave me pause.
I shook my head and returned from my musings to the land of the living. All my theories lacked evidence, and it was no use speculating further. At least, not until I had questioned Lester and the child, and had Alison’s father examine the ring.
With a deep inhalation of bacon-scented air, I put the theories to the back of my mind for now, and entered the kitchen.