Edward Hartridge. No, Odhrán couldn't lay claim to having heard that name before. Whatever that man's involvement was, he certainly knew how to be discreet and was apparently better at it than some other members of the cabal. That, or maybe he wasn't a member at all. Maybe, he was a victim, and this Sylvia was blackmailing him. Except, that didn't seem to align with the cabal's modus operandi. They didn't usually allow themselves to be seen, names and identified. The way in which this Edward was involved seemed to expose a weak point in their setup.
Pyxis continued to elaborate how he had thought nothing of it, assuming it was just an affair. Odhrán nodded. Prendergast was not an unattractive woman. He could see how such a conclusion would have been easy to arrive at. "Maybe," he said thoughtfully, "you're not wrong about this being an affair, or at least it could have started out as one. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that the cabal used sex and women as a recruitment tool or perhaps as a way to gain access to certain people or bits of information."
Saying these words out loud felt uncomfortable. Odhrán didn't want to imply anything about Pyxis's family, but at the same time they needed to explore all the possibilities. "The real question is what she might be after. I don't see what your cousin would gain from this association, but there are plenty of reason for them to be interested in him. My knowledge of the English families is limited but even I know that your family has a potions empire with an impressive distribution network. Maybe it's about access to that?
He sounded unconvinced, but what else was there? Whatever artefacts and priceless objects the Hartridges owned, Odhrán didn't know anything about that. He'd never cared to listen to the pureblood gossip too closely.
"Do you think Edward would talk to you about it if you brought it up?" What Odhrán was really curious to know was what one might find in that man's head. However, it seemed too crass to ask Pyxis to infringe on a family members privacy. Maybe, it would be better for Odhrán to find an opportunity to do that himself instead. That way, if there was indeed an affair as well as cabal involvement, Pyxis would at least be spared the graphic detail of it.
"I can try to take a look for your cousin the next time I see Fernsby or Zufferey. They operate in the same social circle as my uncle Dorveny and his wife Maïwenn. Shouldn't be difficult to get myself invited to something there. I don't think I've ever seen Prendergast in attendance though, but I think Fernsby would at least be aware. She seems more central to me than some of the other figures."
He gulped uneasily. Breaking into the head of a chief warlock was a pretty dangerous came to play, but what other options did they have? Zufferey clearly was the money man. He probably didn't know all the details on current operations and Audish, well, he usually got involved when there was a crime to clean up after - so likely he didn't know anything yet. So it was between Fernsby and dear cousin Edward or perhaps both.
"How do you want to play this? Shall we both have a look at what we can uncover and meet again?" This conversation felt like it was taken straight out of a pulp fiction novel. Part of it didn't even seem real and yet there was no denying that this was actually happening, strange as it was.