The silhouetted figure sat back a little.
‘What do they want?’ Came the voice out of the darkness. Davies was surprised to hear a chuckle in the voice. ‘Oh the same old thing, you know: “… by degrees, and in silence, possess themselves of the government of the States, and make use of those means for this purpose.”’
Davies struggled for a moment, realising Pendragon was quoting someone. It sounded familiar, but as he had read pages of drivel about secret associations supposedly taking over the world recently he couldn’t place it immediately. He looked to Pendragon for help and raised one eyebrow in silent supplication.
‘Weishaupt. The supposed founder of the Illuminati.’
Davies considered this for a moment. Weishaupt was the Bavarian philosopher normally credited with establishing the Illuminati.
‘Supposed?’ he echoed.
‘Do you think the idea sprang into being in 1776?’
‘The Bavarian Illuminati were real, the Freemasons kicked them out and the Elector of Bavaria banned them.’
‘He banned everyone.’ Laughed Pendragon. ‘But yes, they were real. They just weren’t the first. That was their first attempt at being more open, at hiding in plain sight.’ There was a pause. ‘Is that really what you have come to ask me about? The Goleudigion?’
‘I’m not sure. I think so.’ Davies took a deep breath as he considered how much he should, how much he could, tell Pendragon. He was so far over any lines of formal procedure that may exist for his office that he had virtually nothing to lose. In for a penny he decided. ‘Do you know about Owain Blundell?’
‘Yes. On Sanctified ground too, between uchelwydd and criafol, mistletoe and rowan. Not your doing then?’
‘Us!? No. We don’t do that sort of thing.’
‘I’ve heard that said often enough after someone has had an unfortunate accident’
‘It’s true.’ Davies said controlling his anger at the supercilious tone with all the strength he could muster. ‘Anyway, Owain was working with us, why would we want to kill him?’
‘With you? Pendragon snapped.
‘Yes. That’s why I’m asking about the Goleudigion. It was his material that gave me the first real evidence they might be behind what I’m investigating. Until then it was just hints and whispers.’
‘What was he doing for you? I wouldn’t have thought you needed any help from him in esoterica.’
Davies smiled in acknowledgement of the joke.
‘No. But I was looking at some disturbances which looked to be aimed at something a lot bigger than the normal meddling. Something that could reach far beyond us here. There were people in the Assembly involved.’
‘And you used Owain to find out who they were and what they were doing. Did you have any idea of the danger you were putting him in?’
‘Obviously not. It’s no benefit to me to have a dead practitioner on my hands. I wanted to know what it was, not evidence that it was serious enough for murder’
‘I suppose so.’ Pendragon acknowledged.
‘He knew it was dangerous. He didn’t pick the farm as a meeting place by chance. He was protecting himself from the one form of attack he was fixated on.’ Davies sighed. ‘He forgot you can kill people with kinetic energy as easily as with thaumaturgy.’
‘The Illuminati’ have always been pragmatists. People think they have a Grand Design that everything is working towards.’
‘And they don’t?’
‘They may have an aim, which is pretty much what I told you when I quoted Weishaupt. But a universal plan with every link in the chain laid out? I think they would have made it a shorter chain if they had, don’t you?’
Davies considered this for a moment before replying.
‘I don’t know. Until a few months ago I thought they were a group of Enlightenment Masonic wannabes who died out two hundred years ago.’
‘I think I may have a semi-mystical sect on my hands, who’ve killed once to protect their plans.’
‘You’re under rating them.’
‘Yes. They’ve been around for centuries. And after their brief flirtation with openness they’ve gone back into the woodwork. And, as you have seen, one hint of exposure and they’ll strike without mercy.’
‘Yes.’ Davies chewed his lip as he wondered how to ask Pendragon for help. ‘I’m sorry about Owain. I would have offered him more protection if I had realised.’
‘He wouldn’t have accepted it, I don’t think.’
‘Oh! Why? How do you know what he would have done?’
‘How do you think he gained his esoteric knowledge?’
Davies paused as the implication of the question sunk in.
‘Yes,’ Pendragon answered the question he could sense was about to tumble out of Davies’ lips. ‘He was of the Ancient Order. If it’s any consolation, he hadn’t told us he was working with you. I would have advised against it if he had.’
Davies nodded his head. He knew that despite their common interest in this matter it was almost unheard of for the Office and the Order to work together since the parting in the nineteenth century. He was surprised though. Owain had not been suspected of being with the Order. Not that that would have prevented his post in the Assembly, but the Office liked to know who had allegiances other than their own in the esoteric arts when they were near Government.
‘You have no love of the Goleudigion then?’
‘Love? Only that of a sad parent who watches a child gone astray.’
‘The Goleudigion were once part of the Order.’
‘Across those lands where the Order had once guided knowledge.’
‘The Illuminati are druids?!’
‘They were. Many years ago.’
‘But you are not..?’
‘There are no feuds so bitter as those between family.’