Underby nodded, noting Macbain’s wince. He took a deep breath, and continued: “Alright, now I am going to gloss over some events if that is fine with you, to spare myself more misery than I have already just put myself through. These are not stories I relish going over in my mind.”
“Stories such as that must be legion in your mind, Mr Underby.”
He nodded. “Deserved. Let me just say this… do not be too harsh toward Phaedra. She is not at fault for how she is.”
Macbain stared, seemingly unmoved by this news. “A pity the ritual didn’t fail and kill you.” she said flatly. He looked up at her.
“Very true.” he responded. “Eventually Osgoode escaped this horrible … thing… but never for long.”
“Escaped, or it let you go?” she asked.
He shrugged. “Who knows. It followed Osgoode around the world for many years. Eventually the lad began to become aware of certain places… places that didn’t seem to work for Samael. Or, at least, not as well. Some were better than others.”
Macbain turned slightly, looking out the window toward Clockhaven.
Underby said: “Osgoode found a book which chronicled these places, around the world. Babbage was one of those places, and its spot was reportedly the largest and strongest.
“So, Osgoode began to look into Babbage. It still seemed like a longshot.
“Funnily enough, as these things often happen to work out, while he was doing research on this city, it suddenly sprang into the news.”
“It did?” Macbain asked.
Underby nodded. “The mayor, it seemed, had been kidnapped by a dastardly villain.”
Macbain sat back. “Ah,” she said. “Dr. O.”
Again, Underby nodded. “The very same. But. Why, thought Osgoode, would someone kidnap a mayor? Not just kill him? So Osgoode looked into this mayor as well. As you know, I am well read on the subject of the Wee Folk, so very quickly certain things became apparent.”
Underby smiled slightly. “I felt I could work around this small gentleman, and get access to this spot of power. Or anti-power, however you choose to look at it. As openly a I can say it. That is why I came here. Now it is all coming to a head, as I planned, except its already crashing down around me.”
Star frowned. “Crashing down how, exactly?”
Underby looked at her. “You, of course.”
“Well, not entirely you.” he sighed. “Tenk is fading. I left him sleeping too long.”