Robin thrust his way into the club, the blaring noise making not even a hint at slowing his stride. Brushing past customers as if they were not even there Jareth reached him in mere moments, taking his long gray coat and folding it over his arm.
“How did the meeting go?” Jareth scowled.
“How many of the family have responded?” Robin asked ignoring the question.
“T found Mini and I about an hour ago, since then I have gathered Tom, Peter & Rip. They are all out back waiting for you.”
Robin sprung through the door to the back office with out even a glace at the guards posted there. The music from the club quickly receded as they passed into Robin’s private office. Even though he know who he would find an exactly what they would be doing he stopped to survey his surroundings. Rip was behind the bar halfway through a drink that he was always just about to finish. All skin and tendons, he had his long gray hair pulled back in a ponytail. His worn face coated with a perpetual five o’clock shadow. Dressed like a cowboy fresh off the range he looked most out of place in the room. Tom dressed only as the most successful attorney’s could afford, an impeccable black suit that was tailored to smartly hug his heavyset form, was laying with his feet up on the couch his short brown hair cradled by his arm in the appearance of sleep. Robin knew better of Tom. T and Mini were wearing matching dresses of Red and Green that clung to the girls like the hint of silk and flowed down to their knees. Mini’s red dress was brocade what gold dragons to offset her caramel complexion and almond shaped features. The silver leaves of T’s dress wrapped around her midsection in a reflection of her alabaster skin. They were deep in conversation with young Peter wedged in between them. Peter wore his normal green vest and fedora, tilted to the side, to match T’s dress. His only consolation to the weather being the collarless black shirt he had put on underneath that matched his slacks. His clothes masking his deceptively thin frame. All conversation stopped as Robin crossed to the bar and stared at Rip, the weight of the question from Jareth pressing down on him.
“Arrgh” Robins screamed, flailing out with his left fist towards the ornate mirror hanging over the end of the bar. Only Rip’s quick reflexes saved its pristine surface, scooping it out of the way so Robin’s fist only impacted inch thick concrete.
“I’ll take that to mean it did not go well?” Peter quipped.
“Hush, Rooster.” Rip grumbled.
“Shut up everyone,” Jareth snapped. “Rip, Take Peter out front. It appears that our Lord is having trouble controlling his emotions. The last thing we need is it spreading.”
Hopping to his feet Peter followed Rip back the way the other two had just come.
“So what did the Highfather say?” Jareth asked once the room settled again.
“He claims that since Bathory was not a signatory of the truce, that his actions do not constitute a violation.” Robin seethed. “He knows that fetid leech would not make a single move without permission from his master.”
“What about your mother, wasn’t she able to talk to him? Convince him?” Jareth asked.
“I have not been able to reach her, she is nowhere to be found.”
“And you thought breaking her mirror would make that easier?” T snorted.
“Bathory was not a signatory of the truce.” Tom mumbled stretching in place.
“That is what he said.” Robin grumbled.
“Don’t be short with me boy,” Tom responded. “You may have been old when I was born, but you have only grown denser through the years.”
“What is your point old man?” Mini snapped.
“If all of you had not spent the last century with your heads up each others asses it would be obvious to everyone. That since Bathory was not a signatory of the truce then anything we do to him would also not be a violation. Ergo we do not need the highfather’s permission to act.” He lectured.
“So you want us to go against Bathory ourselves. No support from the Highfather or the rest of the family. Even though Bathory will surely have all of the forces of the Demon Son at his beck and call.” Jareth said.
“Bathory is the snake in a garden of Dragons. He has not held his position for all of these centuries by being hasty. We do not need to go against him directly, we only need to discover his grand plans and reveal them to the Highfather.” Tom explained.
“So you want us to sneak around and play his game against him?” T asked.
Precisely,” Tom responded. “It would be the last thing he would expect. He knows that Robin will be rash and not think things through, which is why Bathory was sent here. He is an attempt to drive a wedge between Robin and the Highfather. I’m sure he expects Robin to raise forces to make an open assault on the Delta.”
“So what should we be doing?” Robin asked.
“Well firstly,” Tom explained. “You need to send out emissaries to collect a force large enough to make an open assault on the Delta.”
“You want to try that again in a language we understand?” Mini said. “You just told us that was exactly what they would expect us to do.”
“Exactly, subtlety only works if your opponent is unaware of you or is completely misdirected. Until now we were not aware of Bathory’s moves against us, this gave him a distinct advantage. Now that we are aware of him he will count on us to prepare to move in one direction. If we fail to do so then he will know that something is wrong and we will loose any advantage that a subtle response would allow us. Tom lectured.
“So I am to go out and draw together as many members of the family that I can?” Robin asked.
“No, you need to appear to remain here while the rest of us go out and marshal the forces. That is what will lull Bathory most effectively.”
“You said appear?” Jareth remarked. “What do you think Robin should be doing instead of going with the rest of us?”
“It has been centuries since any of us have faced Bathory, we need to understand his ways, and deduce exactly what he has planned. We need someone who has been an ally and an enemy and knows Bathory’s ways inside and out. Only one man alive can fit that bill.”
“You can’t be serious?” Jareth remarked jumping to his feet. “He would just as soon run Robin through as even talk to him. What makes you think he would give up any assistance?”
“Because the thing that drives him more than any other is preventing open warfare. He knows exactly what that would do to the rest of the population. He will see through the fact that the Demon Son is using Bathory to get around the truce. That alone will spur him to assist us.”
“That is still a huge gamble, what is to stop him from taking Robin out, and dealing with Bathory himself.” Jareth replied.
“I’m going.” Robin announced turning away from the bar. “T go get Rip and Peter, we need to get them up to date and decide where all of you are going.”