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datatime: 2022-12-04 12:40:06 Author:VStKzYGq

"He was highly educated, spent years at Oxford, though at times he had to live like a pauper. Started dabbling in medium-ship even before his mother died. Didn't come into his own until the fifties, in Paris, where he soon acquired an enormous following, then started bilking his clients in the most crude and obvious ways imaginable, and went to jail.

"David, you investigated him before he became a member of the order, did you not? What sort of man is he... I mean how did he become this wizard of sorts?"

"David, you investigated him before he became a member of the order, did you not? What sort of man is he... I mean how did he become this wizard of sorts?"

"So? Where did it all start?"

"So? Where did it all start?"

"Not important, go on. How did he get into the occult?"

"He was highly educated, spent years at Oxford, though at times he had to live like a pauper. Started dabbling in medium-ship even before his mother died. Didn't come into his own until the fifties, in Paris, where he soon acquired an enormous following, then started bilking his clients in the most crude and obvious ways imaginable, and went to jail.

"That's always the pattern. He rises from the lowest employment to living in extravagant luxury, running up ludicrous accounts for fine clothing, motorcars, jet excursions here and there, and then it all collapses in the face of his petty crimes, treachery, and betrayal. He can't break the cycle. It always brings him down."

"So? Where did it all start?"

"But, Lestat, it's an endlessly destructive game."

"Ah, the photograph on the ship," I said.

"Father worked almost all his life for Cunard shipping, spending his last years as a cabin steward in first class on the Queen Elizabeth 2. Very proud of his record. Great scandal and disgrace not so many years ago, when James was also hired, thanks to the influence of his father, and promptly robbed one of the passengers of four hundred pounds in cash. Father disowned him, was reinstated by Cunard before he died. Never spoke to his son again."

"Same thing happened later in Oslo, more or less. After a series of odd jobs, including very menial work, he started some sort of a spiritualist church, swindled a widow out of her life savings, and was deported. Then Vienna, where he worked as a waiter in a first-class hotel until he became a psychic counselor to the rich within a matter of weeks. Soon a hasty departure. He barely escaped arrest. In Milan, he bilked a member of the old aristocracy out of thousands before he was discovered, and had to leave the city in the middle of the night. His next stop was Berlin, where he was arrested but talked himself out of custody, and then back to London, where he went to jail again."

"Understandable," I said.

"Father worked almost all his life for Cunard shipping, spending his last years as a cabin steward in first class on the Queen Elizabeth 2. Very proud of his record. Great scandal and disgrace not so many years ago, when James was also hired, thanks to the influence of his father, and promptly robbed one of the passengers of four hundred pounds in cash. Father disowned him, was reinstated by Cunard before he died. Never spoke to his son again."

"Same thing happened later in Oslo, more or less. After a series of odd jobs, including very menial work, he started some sort of a spiritualist church, swindled a widow out of her life savings, and was deported. Then Vienna, where he worked as a waiter in a first-class hotel until he became a psychic counselor to the rich within a matter of weeks. Soon a hasty departure. He barely escaped arrest. In Milan, he bilked a member of the old aristocracy out of thousands before he was discovered, and had to leave the city in the middle of the night. His next stop was Berlin, where he was arrested but talked himself out of custody, and then back to London, where he went to jail again."

"Understandable," I said.

"Wait just a minute, you can't ring off, I won't allow it, don't you realize-"

"Lestat, you must understand how destructive and vicious this individual can be. You can't give your body over to him! And that is just what you mean to do. Look, if you meant to possess a mortal body for a while, I'd be dead against it, for that is diabolical and unnatural enough! But to give your body to this madman! Ye gods, will you please come here to London? Let me talk you out of this. Don't you owe me as much!"

"Raglan," I said.

I laughed under my breath. "The thefts are symbolic, David. This is a creature of compulsion and obsession. It's a game. That's why he cannot hang on to what he steals. It's the process that counts with him, more than anything else."

"So it seems."

THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF

I laughed under my breath. "The thefts are symbolic, David. This is a creature of compulsion and obsession. It's a game. That's why he cannot hang on to what he steals. It's the process that counts with him, more than anything else."

"Raglan," I said.

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