Campaign of the Month: November 2012

THE EMERALD CITY

BOOK 11: THE JADE-EYED DEMON: CHAPTER 05

BLOODBATH & BEYOND

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Transcribed by: James
In Game date: September, 2011
Episode: 80

END OF CHAPTER 05

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BOOK 11: THE JADE-EYED DEMON: CHAPTER 04
GM: James

TIGER OF WRATH

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Transcribed by: James
In Game date: September, 2011
Episode: 79

CHARLES SAMUEL KRESS, SOLOMON CASTOSTRANI and DAVID CLAY followed up on some leads in their case. They had a great deal of evidence to absolve LISA SHAN, whose family line was under Solomon’s protection, of any wrongdoing in the theft at the Seattle Waterfront warehouse earlier in the week. They were at the 13th Precinct in West Seattle speaking to Eugene “Grizzly” Grisby, the computer expert on contract with the police, finding irrefutable evidence that the computer logs for Shan’s storage space and the cameras had been tampered with in an attempt to frame her. The bearded millennial said that the falsified logs had to be an inside job. They decided they would have to look into who owned the storage facility to see if they could find any connections. But first they wished to clear Lisa’s good name.

David researched CASIMIR SOKOLOV and his business connections to see if he could find out any more information. The lawyer discovered that Sokolov was working directly with Novoship which was owned by a mysterious business man by the name of CHARLES GLUP. He also learned that Mr. Glup owned Vanguard Shipping and, most importantly, Vanguard Storage. Lisa Shan’s storage facility. They now had a connection. The falsified camera footage from the Vanguard Storage security cameras was clearly an inside job.

Excited the three took their evidence to DETECTIVE SAM VOLKOV, who was investigating the terrible murders on the waterfront that were somehow linked to the Shan case. He reviewed their findings and promised them it was sufficient to prove her innocence. He gave them some bad news. It seems that a gang war was in full swing between the Russian mafia and THE PACK. The Russians had hit The Pack with a drive by and thrown a bomb at them. Two members of the Pack were killed as well as a civilian. It seemed that war between the Russians and the Pack was inevitable and the streets would run with blood.

Volkov told them that they had managed to identify the police sketch of the young man that Charlie had seen at the school the previous day. It turns out that it was none other than the serial killer, BARRY GOLDMAN. Goldman was wanted for at least 6 homicides including his own mother and sister. He had also been party to the kidnapping of JACK YOUNGBLOOD’S younger sister, CAROLINE YOUNGBLOOD, but she had been saved from being sacrificed on an altar by the hero cop, ROY MULLENIX.

Volkov warned them that Goldman was extremely dangerous and explained that he was the one behind the THE UN-MAN that had been the undoing of their mutual friend, Jack. He made them swear to bring Goldman to the police for justice and advised them that they should speak to Jack or his wife, ABIGAIL WHARTON-YOUNGBLOOD about Goldman.

They accepted the detective’s demand and asked, in turn, if they could be permitted to visit the murder scene of VIC KOLWALSKI. They had admired the kindly union boss and hoped to use their singular talents to find out what had happened. Volkov readily agreed making the proper arrangements to have them visit the scene as consultants. He wouldn’t be able to get Charlie in though. Teenagers weren’t really acceptable at a murder scene. Charlie assured him it wouldn’t be a problem.

When they arrived at Vic’s house they found Doris grieving for her lost love and David went to console her without hesitation. Charlie used magic to veil himself and surveyed the crime scene, which had largely been poked through by the Seattle Police, and managed to find some strange tracks outside the house. They were of several men pushing a…cart? No. Not a cart. With a flash of intuition the young wizard realized that it was a wheel chair. So it must have been CASIMIR SOKOLOV!

Solomon, who was inextricably tied to the spirit world, found Vic’s ghost watching Doris weeping in David’s arms with great sadness. He approached the spirit and gently coaxed him into explaining what happened. Vic couldn’t offer much. He had heard a roar that froze him in his tracks and then was knocked to the ground by a massive beast. It was rearing back for the quick kill when a young man commanded it to stop. The tiger cried out in anger and for a moment the two struggled against each other for control. Vic realized that the beast was not cruel in and of itself. But the man was. He wanted to enjoy the kill. To savor Vic’s terror. The union boss said that as terrifying as the green eyed beast was it was the man who terrified him. His eyes were those of a madman. That was when a second older voice called out to the madman demanding he finish the job now. The madman cringed and looked fearful. In that momentary distraction the tiger struck Vic killing him instantly and without pain. A mercy killing. And that is all he remembered.

The three consulted about their new findings and speculated that Barry Goldman must be involved in some kind of power struggle with Sokolov. Perhaps Abi and Jack would be able to help them fill in the gaps. They decided to go to the Youngblood home on CAPITOL HILL.

When they arrived they all noticed immediately that something was wrong. They saw a massive man standing over the body of another person who was naked. It was dark and they could not see who the lurking figure was but they noticed with alarm that the other figure was bleeding from terrible wounds. They also noted that the front door was ajar and that there was a blood trail leading into the Youngblood home.

Not wanting to act rashly Solomon called out to the figure who turned out to be Jack’s best friend and sometime protector, BRUNO WALSH. He was kneeling over the injured man attempting to staunch his wounds. Bruno was alarmed at first but recognized Charlie as Jack’s sibling and asked for their help. He gathered up the injured man and carried him inside to where Abi was tending to a second naked figure. The three recognized GYPSY, the Alpha of the Pack, immediately. Charlie, blushing furiously, turned away from her nakedness after staring for a brief moment. She too had been torn up by what looked like some savage animal and was bleeding and unconscious. The man, who was a loyal Pack member named, DIESEL, begged them to save Gypsy. Abigail quickly took charge and started barking orders at the gathered men while she and David did their level best to save the two injured werewolves.

It was a near thing but they did manage to save them both. Abi had Bruno carry the injured Alpha of the pack to a spare bedroom while they made Diesel comfortable as possible on the couch. After gathering some of her strength back Gypsy explained that Dozer had taken The Pack over again. He had used the conflict with the Russians to make her look weak and ineffectual and because of that was able to challenge her for the position of Alpha.

She had tried to fight him but when she had ripped his flesh it seemed to have no effect at all on the monstrous biker. She explained that his flesh was rotting. Decayed. As if he was long dead. She surely would have fallen in the challenge but Diesel and a pair of her most loyal followers managed to help her escape. The others had not made it. But one thing was clear. Dozer was now the Pack’s Alpha once again.

They consulted with Abi, who retained some of the knowledge of the ancient fallen angel, AZAEL that had possessed her for years, about their findings. She pointed out that CHERNOBOG had shown interest in the Pack in the past trying to corrupt the wolf spirits that gave them their power.

Realizing that they were all in danger and wanting to stay together David called Charlie’s father, FELIX KLINE, and asked if it would be acceptable for Charlie to spend the night helping him with work at the law office. Kline agreed although he made David swear that the young man wouldn’t be late for school in the morning. David assured him that wouldn’t be a problem.

The next day, Charlie was just finishing his cross country training at his school and was in his sweats when he noticed some kind of commotion. At first he thought it was just the normal exuberance of excitable teenagers but the screams became high pitched and panicked. He slowly realized something was horribly wrong. When he heard the first roar it was as if ice water had entered his veins. The cry was so powerful and primal that it hit him like a freight train. It was the cry of a wild animal. The cry that declared that all within earshot should be aware that they were simply prey. It was the roar of a tiger.

The first gunshots set the whole school into lock-down mode and alarms went off. The students, who had monthly drills to prepare for the unthinkable, managed to run away from the conflict coming from the practice fields behind the school with barely controlled panic. Charlie mastered his fear and ran to the school offices hoping to find a land line and to call David and Solomon. He was far too excited though and couldn’t control his magic which severely interfered with the call. The phone line was static ridden and he was barely able to get a few words out before it disconnected. But that was enough for Solomon and David. David drove to the school as fast as he was able while Solomon called Volkov and told that he had to get down to the school immediately.

Charlie had just hung up the phone and was about to follow his fellow students in evacuating the building when a massive white tiger exploded through the office’s glass and metal doors as if they weren’t even there. The great beast was as large as a saber tooth tiger and its challenging roar was so loud in the hallway that it nearly deafened the young wizard, freezing him in place. The ghostly white spirit tiger, HU YAO was a truly majestic sight with its glowing green eyes and noble bearing and it was pursued into the building by four mysterious figures.

They were man-shaped of medium height, sallow skin, greasy black hair and an extremely wide mouth. They had dark, watery, bulging eyes, small sunken noses, long scrawny limbs, and very, very wide hands. They resembled oddly menacing frog/man hybrids of some type. They wore long coats with hats to try and conceal their strange nature but Charlie could tell immediately they weren’t entirely human. They surrounded the great beast and fired submachineguns and strange sea urchin-like projectiles that spewed acid. It did them little good. The Tiger ripped into the henchmen with a savagery that took Charlie’s breathe away. The spectacle of the massacre, for that is what it was, kept the young man’s full attention and he did not notice Barry Goldman until the man threw the scroll down onto the desk in front of him.

Goldman explained that he could no longer control the beast and told Charlie that it was now his responsibility. Hu Yao had orders to kill anyone who pursued him which was why it was attacking what the young wizard realized must be FOMOR MINIONS. Goldman turned and left quickly but without hurry and was out of Charlie’s sight by the time David and Solomon arrived.
The massive tiger ripped the remaining henchmen to pieces and their bodies dissolved into some strange repugnant smelling goo leaving little evidence of what had happened. The Golem and the Vampire faced the great beast who roared in challenge but did not seem to wish to attack unless provoked. Charlie was able to coerce the spirit back to the Nevernever using the scroll.

David and Solomon made their way to helping out the students who had been injured in the panic, treating injuries and sprains until the first responders arrived. Charlie went to the locker room to change his clothes which were soiled by the events of the day.

END OF CHAPTER 04

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BOOK 11: THE JADE-EYED DEMON: CHAPTER 03
GM: James

CHANGING STRIPES

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Transcribed by: James
In Game date: September, 2011
Episode: 78

After visiting THE PACK, who seemed to be preparing for war, at their headquarters in the seedy strip club called Lynne’s Den, DAVID CLAY and SOLOMON CASTOSTRANI made their way to a pay phone at the train station downtown to see if they could reach the young Warden JACK YOUNGBLOOD. They hoped Jack, who had grown up on the streets of Seattle and who was infinitely more familiar with the players of the city than they were, could shed some light on what they had learned so far. Unfortunately Jack wasn’t available according to his wife, ABIGAIL WHARTON-YOUNGBLOOD. David realized that Abi, who had once been possessed by a ancient fallen angel, might be even more helpful than Jack and asked if they might stop by for a visit the next day. Abi agreed and David winced to hear the fatigue in her voice. She had been battling cancer for a few years now and the attorney knew that it had taken its toll on the vibrant young woman.

Meanwhile, CHARLES SAMUEL KRESS, headed home. After all it WAS a school night and he had a cross country meet to go to the next day. He was pushing his battered moped up the driveway to his foster father’s house when he felt it. Cold. Implacable and deadly cold. From the shadows of an old evergreen tree a menacing form emerged calling out to the young wizard. Adrenalin pumped through Charlie’s veins as he instantly recognized the massive biker, DOZER.

The Pack’s former Alpha stepped forward and asked a puzzled Charlie how he and the Warden were related? Cousins maybe? Brothers? He sniffed the air catching Charlie’s scent on the wind. The young man realized that Dozer must have tracked him down from the school like a bloodhound. The biker said he knew Charlie was related to Jack Youngblood. He could tell by his smell that they were family. The big man then lamented that poor Jack, who didn’t take loss well, was going to have a really hard time after Charlie was dead. That was when he began to change.

Dozer vomited a corrupt and shadowy mess that covered his body transforming him into a massive, terrifying wolf like creature that radiated decay and death. The creature turned its hungry eyes on the wizard and snarled just as the front door opened and Charlie’s foster father, FELIX KLINE rolled his wheelchair out onto the porch asking if Charlie was OK. Charlie looked on in horror as the massive beast placed itself between him and the sanctuary of the house. If he could only get himself and his father behind the potent wards that he and his half brother had placed around Kline’s home they would be safe.

Faster than his eye could follow the demon wolf leaped at Charlie ripping a furrow of blood into his chest with its deadly talons. Realizing that he had to hit it with everything he could muster Charlie reached deep down within himself and blasted the wolf with a bolt of lightning that would have dropped a room full of NFL linemen. It had little, if any effect on the rampaging nightmare beast only inciting an angry bellow from it. Professor Kline could not see much of the monster in the shadows of the front yard but he bravely tried to wheel his chair to his adopted son’s aid. He lost control of his wheelchair and tumbled onto the porch in a tangle of limbs half in and half out of the house’s protective wards.

Charlie tried to get to the professor and get behind the house’s wards but Dozer was a canny foe. He got to the crippled man before the young wizard and grabbed him by the neck dragging him further into the yard. Charlie had no choice but to follow and he desperately tried to use his magic to drive off the monster that menaced them but had no success. Dozer was just too powerful. He knew very well that he had no chance but he hoped that he could maybe buy his foster father enough time to escape with his life. He stared defiantly at the jaws of death as his doom approached. That was when he noticed the headlights of a car approaching at full speed.

With supernatural grace Solomon Castostrani leaped from the moving car, using its momentum to propel him, flipped off a couple of branches and landed between Charlie and the wolf protectively. With a screech of tires David jumped out of his car to back up his friends. During the distraction Charlie used wind magic to propel his foster father back into the house unharmed.

It turns out that the attorney had forgotten his case notes and needed them back from Charlie. It was pure luck that he had forgotten them and completely out of character for him to do so. When they were driving to Charlie’s house they saw the strange flash of lightening and recognized that Charlie was using his magic to protect himself. They had made it just in time to save their young friend’s life. David offered up a prayer to Yahweh thanking him for their fortunate timing and became a massive creature of clay and power. After a flurry of moves and counter-moves Dozer realized that he couldn’t prevail against the three of them and fled the scene with Solomon close on his tail. The canny wolf managed to duck his pursuer and fled into the night.

In the aftermath Solomon and David were able to help young Charlie explain away the battle as a wild animal attack and get Kline settled into his bed. Afterward they spoke to the current Alpha of the Pack, GYPSY, and let her know that Dozer had been active and to try and explain what he had become. The impressive young woman thanked them for the information gruffly and told them she owed them a favor.

The next day Charlie went to school and was forced to back out of his track meet due to his injury. His coach was disappointed but seemed very supportive once the young man showed him his bandages. Charlie searched old yearbooks in vain to see if he could recognize the boy with the shaved head and glasses that Dozer had been chasing the day before.

While he was in school David and Solomon were dismayed at a news report that the kindly union boss VIC KOLWALSKI had been ripped to pieces in a similar manner to the other victims while he was in his home. This was a heavy blow to the Union especially since they had been planning on a strike in answer to Novoship’s undercutting bid.

The two of them visited the sickly Abigail and she spoke to them about CHERNOBOG explaining that he had nearly corrupted the entire Pack after taking over Dozer a few years ago. But, because of a powerful ritual that consecrated the werewolf bikers to the light of Bellobog they had been saved from that corruption. Dozer, along with those that had been most tainted by the Black God, had lost touch with their wolf spirits and were no longer able to shapeshift into a wolves after the ritual. He and several of the others had left to try and atone for their sins and hadn’t been seen in a while.

She said that even the Fallen Angel, AZAEL, who had at one time possessed her respected the power of Chernobog which caught David’s attention. Azael was a powerful being who held most in contempt. She also made mention that the God of Winter, Murder and Death had been rumored to have joined the Fomor. But she could not confirm such a statement.

After school he met his friends at the police station and sat down with a police sketch artist and gave them a likeness of the boy who had claimed he was being forced to use the Hu Yao scroll under duress. Afterward they met with the computer expert, Eugene “Grizzly” Grisby to see if he could help them decipher what was going on with the footage from the storage facility where LISA SHAN had supposedly hidden her stolen items from the waterfront warehouse heist. Grizzly was able to prove that the files had been tampered with and cross referenced them with patron log ins showing that the footage was actually from a few weeks before. This further supported Lisa’s innocence.

END OF CHAPTER 03

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BOOK 11: THE JADE-EYED DEMON: CHAPTER 02
GM: James

BY THE TAIL

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Transcribed by: James and Dave
In Game date: September, 2011
Episode: 77

DAVID CLAY, working on behalf of his client, LISA SHAN, filed his paperwork at the US courthouse in downtown Seattle to gain access to the evidence being brought against her. His paperwork was flawless and well organized and he actually ended up correcting the clerk with his excellent grasp of the law and proper procedure. He had anticipated every possible contingency leaving the experienced clerk amazed by his acumen.

While the golem lawyer was at the courthouse SOLOMON CASTOSTRANI, officially acting as his prime investigator in the Shan case, went to her house in The International District to check on her. Solomon had a sacred duty to look after Mrs. Shan’s family line for the sins of his past and he was anxious to protect her and prove her innocence. He attempted to draw no attention to himself and he failed miserably.

As he was winding his way through the vehicles on Lisa’s narrow street he stumbled into one setting off its alarm. This startled him and he jumped back setting off another car alarm. One alarm was barely noteworthy but two was an event and he found himself the center of attention for several of the residents on the block. One suspicious woman confronted him directly but he was able to use his natural charm (and command of Japanese) to allay her fears.

He learned that she had seen some bikers in the neighborhood lately and when the alarms went off she feared it may have been those hooligans. This was disturbing news to Solomon and he called David immediately after he extricated himself from the adoring neighbor. The two of them arranged to hire Emerald City Investigations to watch Lisa’s house and try to get any information they could from the bikers. As he was making these arrangements he heard the distinctive sound of a Harley echoing up and down the block but it was too far away for him to even get a glance of it.

Feeling a bit unsettled, Solomon decided to visit REVEREND CHARLIE at the Buddhist Temple a few blocks away. Solomon hoped the kind and beneficent monk could tell him more about the Jade Eyed Demon from the missing scroll. The Reverend was a unique soul in Solomon’s experience and he had never met anyone quite like him in all of his 800 years. The monk had an unshakable faith whose depths seemed unfathomable and there was a holiness about him that brought instant calm to the troubled just by being in his presence. Solomon found solace in his garden and the two spoke at length about peace before moving on to the missing scroll. Charlie explained that he did not believe that the Tora Sagami (Crouching TIgers) were behind the theft although he couldn’t rule it out fully. As he was leaving the temple Solomon heard about yet another body being found on the waterfront. Dwayne Townsend, a dock worker and upstanding family man and union member was found mutilated in the same manner as the others.

CHARLES SAMUEL KRESS got out of class from the prestigious Busch school and was about to get on his moped when he was interrupted by a young man with a shaved head and broken glasses who was calling to him from behind a building. Charlie approached him cautiously and noted that his clothes were threadbare and that he had endured several beatings as his face was cut and bruised. The mysterious figure frantically told Charlie that he was being forced to use the Tiger Scroll to hurt people and he needed Charlie’s help to get away from his tormentors. He was about to explain more when his eyes got wide with fear and he hissed at Charlie that they had found him and told him to hide! The battered young man ran off and Charlie moved to hide among other students who were on their way through the parking lot. He saw the huge biker again who seemed to move with a predatory purpose pausing a moment to sniff the air and then follow the mysterious young man. Unfortunately, he also seemed to catch Charlie’s scent because he turned and looked directly at the youthful wizard and his eyes widened in recognition. He regarded Charlie for a moment and then pursued his quarry quickly moving out of sight.

Charlie met David and Solomon at Lisa Shan’s storage facility to see if they could find any more clues to prove Lisa’s innocence. Unfortunately, the unit itself was barren of any new insights because of the thorough job done by the police forensic’s team. It all seemed like a dead end until Charlie pointed out the surveillance cameras that covered the whole storage facility.

David was able to gain access to the recordings from Vanguard Storage after presenting his meticulous paperwork to the clerk. They all viewed the surveillance footage showing Lisa showing up at her unit on the night in question and putting something into storage. But because the open hatchback of her car blocked the camera’s view they couldn’t see what it was. David and Solomon were disappointed until Charlie pointed out an anomaly from the recording. The time stamp showed the video was from the night in question. But that couldn’t be right. It had rained all night that night. And the surveillance showed clear skies. The video must have been switched. Excited, David cross referenced the clerk’s log for clients entering and leaving the facility and noted that the entries did not match the video log at all. This further demonstrated that the logs had been tampered with.

Seeking further evidence to exonerate Lisa the trio went back down to SEATTLE WATERFRONT to view the crime scene at the warehouse. There they found evidence that someone had tampered with the back door into the warehouse building itself. This implied that thief had someone working with him on the inside. Most likely it would have been the clerk who worked the weekends since the robbery had occurred on Saturday night. Charlie did point out that whoever did open all the stolen museum crates must have had a great deal of strength. The heavy wood of the crates was torn and broken. Also the nails were bent at an extreme angle suggesting that whoever did it was probably far stronger than the 95 pound Lisa Chan who the police had pinned their case on. That was all circumstantial evidence and wouldn’t clear her by itself. But it, along with the video surveillance might be enough.

Solomon suggested they bring this evidence to his contact at the Seattle Police Department, DETECTIVE SAM VOLKOV. The homicide detective had his hands full with the investigation into the grisly animal attacks that had so far claimed the lives of 4 Union members. At first he seemed distracted, even uninterested, but they explained that the HU YAO SCROLL was alleged to have the ability to summon a powerful spirit tiger. That caught his attention immediately.

Volkov remembered the M.E. saying that he hadn’t seen anything like the mangled bodies outside of tiger attacks in his native India. The detective realized that his murder investigations and the theft might be related after all.

When Charlie spoke about the massive biker he had noticed following Lisa Shan and that he had seen earlier that day the detective ask that he meet with a sketch artist the next day. Maybe they could identify him and the young man he had been chasing. He also suggested someone talk to JACK YOUNGBLOOD about all this other strangeness as he would have a better grasp on it. That was when a call came over the detective’s radio about two new victims found in WEST SEATTLE. There was a difference though. The dead were completely naked.

The three of them made their way to the crime scene and David noticed they were being tailed by bikers. Solomon stopped at a coffee shop suddenly and used it as a pretense to record the license number of one of the bikes. They got back into the car and went to the scene of the murders. As they approached the area cautiously they noticed a couple of bikers talking to a beautiful woman in deference. She seemed really angry and it made Charlie suspect she knew the victims.

Solomon circled the perimeter of the crime scene and found a massive amount of blood splattered in the overgrown yard of an abandoned house. It seemed that this is where the murders had happened. The police had yet to figure that out so far. Solomon saw the spirits of one of the victims screaming silently while trying to desperately hold together the spirit of his wolf as it was slowly blowing away as if it was made of snow in a high wind. Both the wolf and the man’s spirit looked as if huge chunks had been ripped out them by some monstrous creature. Looking around further Solomon found the other victim who was weeping uncontrollably and babbling about the cold and the terrible stench. But he didn’t seem to be able to communicate more than that. Solomon was able to track down the second biker’s wolf spirit. It had been mangled and shredded beyond saving just like the other one. Both of the spirits had been devoured which greatly alarmed Solomon.

Charlie, who possessed of the gift of psychometry, decided to use it to see if he could find out what happened. Suddenly he was Paolo riding alongside his good friend, Donnie. He was riding the area on the lookout for any trouble on orders from Gypsy. Suddenly a large dark shadowy figure flashed across his field of vision and slammed Don off his bike, he tried to transform but got caught up in his own clothes and the shadowy monster finished him off before Paolo could help. Paolo was in mid transformation when it turned to him, stinking like death and with an aura of cold radiating from it.

Paolo was dead before he could react and suddenly Charlie was back by the house with David and Solomon. He was himself again, but he was having a real difficulty shaking the trauma of what he had just experienced. It left him rattled and he decided to go back to the car and try and shrug it off.

Meanwhile Solomon and David headed down into the basement of the abandoned house to make sure the trouble had passed. They found where they believed the murders took place and Solomon tried to help the spirits of the two men move on, or at least not be devoured by whatever it was that attacked them. Figuring they’d learned what they could and knowing that any immediate danger had passed they called over Volkov and let him know what happened. He told them that if this group of bikers, “The Pack” was involved they could try to meet with their leader GYPSY at Lynn’s Den, a private club they owned.

The group headed to Lynn’s and Charlie noticed that as they get closer it seemed like they were driving into a militarized zone. Heavily armed lookouts were on every street, large wolves shadowed them. There were even heavily armed snipers on the taller roofs.

They all realized that the Pack was prepared for a war. The club itself looked less like a club and more like a disguised bunker from the outside but inside the atmosphere was different, people seemed more relaxed and were having a good time. At least until the three of them showed up. They met with Gypsy in her office toward the back of the establishment, and Charlie instantly recognized her as the attractive woman on the bike earlier. They told her about what had happened with her compatriots and their wolf spirits being devoured, and she was upset by the news.

When they were asked to leave young Charlie noticed a picture on the wall with the biker he had been seeing everywhere with a name on his cut, ‘Dozer’. When he mentioned the name the room got quiet and Gypsy visibly paled. She angrily told the trio to leave. It seemed like they were left with more questions than answers. But that would have to wait till tomorrow. Charlie had to get up for school in the morning.

END OF CHAPTER 02

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BOOK 11: THE JADE-EYED DEMON: CHAPTER 01
GM: James

THE KINDNESS OF TIGERS

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Transcribed by: James
In Game date: September, 2011
Episode: 76

Part: 01

DFRPG_BookCover_11.png On a lazy Sunday morning in late September there was the hint of fall in the air. The sky was a slate gray color and the light rain that Seattle was so well known for was falling relentlessly. The Gate Bar & Grill in PIONEER SQUARE was nearly empty. SOLOMON CASTOSTRANI watched the television news from a table in the corner listening to the well coifed newsperson speak at length about tensions between the Local 19 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Harbor Island, currently being rebuilt after the terrible events of BLACK MONDAY, and Novorossiysk Shipping Company (Novoship). Novoship was making a bid to undercut the union and there was a great deal of tension with a strike looking imminent. There were even some reports that the Russian Vori was involved and that there had been some violence on SEATTLE WATERFRONT.

Solomon’s idle attention to the TV news was interrupted by the ever enigmatic and somewhat exasperating JIAN JU-LONG. Decadence and style radiated from the Guardian of Dead, known in China as Horse-Face, as he lightly approached Solomon and offered his dark wisdom.

“The Tiger fears the human heart, The human fears the Tiger’s kindness.”

Solomon had no idea what the Zen Koan, which seemed vaguely familiar, could possibly have to do with the events of the docks. Horse-Face ignored Solomon’s puzzled expression and proceeded to delve deep into the possible meanings of the riddle. He pointed out that Tigers had far more to fear from Humans than the other way around. More Humans had slain Tigers over time than Tigers had slain Humans. So why would Humans possibly fear a Tiger’s kindness?

As he began speculating on the kindness of Tigers he was interrupted by FAN GANG, better known as Ox-Head. The gruff man was so large and powerful a presence that he seemingly filled the entire bar. He demanded that Jian Ju-Long be silent!

“You have said too much!” he bellowed gruffly.

“And yet I have said nothing,” the more elegant of the guardian’s said with a sniff.

The news had continued on to a story about a recent theft of some priceless Chinese artifacts from a warehouse on the Seattle Waterfront. The pieces were destined to be shown at the Asian Art Museum on CAPITOL HILL. The news anchor pointed out that so far there seemed to be no connections between the theft and the tensions on the docks. There were reports that an arrest had been made.

Horse-Face got Solomon’s attention again and in an uncharacteristically frank manner told him that he should investigate the story. A person he cared about was involved. Solomon’s heart went cold as he remembered that LISA SHAN, whom he was sworn to protect, had just started working at that museum as the Chief Archivist.

Part: 02

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_02.pngWith the Sabbath over DAVID CLAY, fulfilling his role as an attorney, was in his office on Capitol Hill filing some paperwork while his young teen-aged intern and contracted investigator, CHARLES SAMUEL KRESS helped. The two of them were deeply involved in their work when they were interrupted by the sound of the bell on the door. A primly dressed young woman entered the cramped office.

She introduced herself as Lisa Shan and explained that her previous attorney, RONALD PARKER Esq. IV had left town but had recommended David if she ever needed legal help. And she needed that help now. She related that she had just started working at the Asian Art Museum and that she was being accused of stealing a shipment of Chinese artifacts.

The investigation, lead by CHIEF FRANK PIPER who seemed determined to prove she was behind the robbery, had found her fingerprints on the broken shipping crate. If that evidence wasn’t damming enough the police had found almost all of the artifacts in her storage facility because of an anonymous tip. The lawyer asked what was still missing and she revealed that the Hu Yao scroll, an exquisite piece was the sole artifact that was had not been found.

David Clay, despite being a golem, considered himself a fair judge of character, and he believed the young lady to be earnest. But Charlie had a very different opinion. He was instantly suspicious and felt she was hiding something. His suspicion only increased when Lisa nervously revealed that three longshoremen had gone missing from the docks the night of the robbery.

David agreed to represent Lisa despite learning that she had no real alibi. She claimed she had been home alone with her infant son the night of the robbery and had no witnesses to corroborate that fact. But David knew more about Lisa than she realized. He knew that his friend, Solomon, was dedicated to the young lady because of a binding oath to protect her family line. And he felt it was only right that he do his part to aid his friend in fulfilling that oath.

Lisa was very grateful to David and left the lawyer’s office to get home to her young son. Or so she said. Young Charlie, whose experiences on the street made it hard for him to trust anyone, decided he couldn’t just accept her at face value. He grabbed his motorcycle helmet planning on following her to see what she was up to. Before he could make up an excuse and tail her David ordered him to follow up on Lisa’s story and go to the warehouse on the dock where the crime happened and see what he could find. Charlie said he was going for lunch first but he would head to the docks immediately afterwards. Luckily for him Lisa lived in THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT and that was on his way to the Waterfront so it shouldn’t cost him too much time.

He followed Lisa riding his ancient moped doing his best to remain unnoticed. Lisa seemed completely unaware of Charlie’s surveillance, despite clearly being nervous and looking for a tail which made the young man even more suspicious. No one could be that oblivious could they? After a block or two he realized that he wasn’t the only one following Mrs. Shan. A very, very large and intimidating man on a Harley was stalking her too. Charlie became aware that the man had noticed him and was watching him closely. Probably trying to determine if the teen wizard was also shadowing Lisa. Realizing that caution was merited Charlie abandoned his pursuit and headed toward the docks hopefully allaying the suspicions of the massive biker.

Part: 03

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_03.pngSolomon arrived at the Asian Art Museum and was greeted by the Deputy Director who was quite delighted to see him. He had placed himself in position as one of the biggest donors for the museum in order to expedite his guardianship of Lisa Shan and her family. That foresight was paying dividends now. He interviewed the Director at length about the theft.

The Director explained that they had been able to recover all the pieces except the Hu Yao scroll. Mention of the scroll sparked some recognition in Solomon’s mind and he asked the Director what he knew about it. The Director, enjoying himself, lectured about the scroll saying it was an exquisite Chinese painting of a Hu Yao, the Spirit Tiger, with a famous zen koan on it:

“The Tiger fears the human heart, The human fears the Tiger’s kindness.”

Solomon realized that Horse-Face had been trying to help him that morning in his own enigmatic way and he nodded his head in gratitude.

According to legend, the director continued, the wielder of the scroll could control the noble spirit of the tiger and it would be compelled to do his bidding. Although wielding the scroll in an unscrupulous manner was a dangerous proposition though. Hu Yao was an honorable creature and he would avenge any dishonorable deeds he was compelled to commit by the wielder of the scroll if he got the chance.

Solomon promised the man that Lisa was innocent of the crime no matter how incriminating the evidence was. The Director assured him that if Mrs. Shan was proven innocent then there would be no repercussions for her at the museum. Solomon seemed satisfied by that answer and decided that his next move was to find Lisa some proper representation. So he got into his unassuming Fiat and drove to his friend David’s office on Capitol Hill.

Part: 04

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_04.pngWearing the hat of a delivery boy from a local eatery and carrying a bag of food from there that he intended to eat later Charlie looked every inch like a delivery boy on his moped. He was able to make it to warehouse row right on Harbor Island without anyone becoming suspicious. There was a great deal of construction after the earthquakes and tsunami of Black Monday had devastated the region. The warehouse he was interested in was old, but sturdy, and had weathered the destruction intact. Two police cruisers were parked in front of the warehouse and officers milled about the crime scene. Doing his best to remain inconspicuous Charlie circled the perimeter of the building looking for clues. What he discovered was really quite odd.

He noticed that in the back of the warehouse lot the wooden perimeter fence had been ripped and torn by some…thing. The wood look chewed and shredded as if by some massive dog. In fact, it was rather disconcerting, he found the paw print of the biggest damn dog he could ever imagine just inside the hole in the fence. Even more puzzling the print was among some other human prints from someone who was…barefoot? Going without shoes in an industrial area like the busy docks made no sense at all. But Charlie dutifully snapped photos of the odd evidence with his old, wind up film camera. He also took note of the video cameras on the Local 19 Union building across the alley. Cameras that would very likely have a clear view of whatever had made that hole in the fence. That was when the youth noted a commotion going on further down the block as new police cruisers and a crowd started forming around what looked like an abandoned building.

Part: 05

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_05.pngSolomon met David at the law office and pleaded with his friend to prove Lisa’s innocence. The lawyer assured him that he had already agreed to represent her and Solomon was relieved. David was one of the few beings on the planet that he trusted. The golem had made the legal arrangements to Solomon’s estate that would ensure Lisa and her progeny were taken care of should anything ever happen to him. So the lawyer knew how important the young woman was to him.

They compared notes and concluded that their next move was to investigate the crime scene. But first Solomon wanted to talk to a contact of his on the Seattle PD to see if he could learn anything more about this Chief Piper that was the lead investigator on the case. He reached out on his cell phone to DETECTIVE SAM VOLKOV. Solomon had met the detective through JACK YOUNGBLOOD and knew he was clued in. He believed the officer to be honest because Sam had saved Jack’s life and defeated the UN-MAN. No mean feat.

Volkov picked up on the third ring sounding harried. He had just been assigned a triple homicide on the Waterfront. When Solomon explained that he was investigating the theft from the docks the detective asked him if he thought it was connected to the murders. Solomon told him that he feared that they had to be related. Volkov told Solomon that if he came down to Harbor Island he wanted to hear whatever information he had. Just text him when he got there and he would speak to him directly.

Solomon and David got up to go to the scene when the bell on the front door rang again. Two very large men in track suits muscled a wheel chair with a shriveled husk of a man into the cramped office. Strangely David and Solomon could not take their eyes off of the man in the wheelchair. He was rail thin and looked sickly and physically unimposing yet his presence in the room was a cold implacable thing. They were like mice facing a hungry snake. When he spoke with his thick Russian accent they could tell that he was accustomed to giving orders. Orders that most had the good sense to follow lest they suffer terrible consequence. Apparently he was in the office to give more orders. To David.

He introduced himself as Mr. Sokolov and said that he was an entrepreneur looking after his investments. He suggested the attorney drop Lisa Shan as a client. Immediately. It might be unfortunate if he didn’t. As he said this the temperature in the room dropped precipitously and both Solomon and David felt a dark power pushing at their psyches. Heightening their anxiety. Causing unease. Solomon had learned to face such powers over the centuries with discipline and resisted the Russian’s power with effort. David, despite being a magically animated clay construct, experienced something he had rarely felt in the many years since he had been created. Fear. It left him somewhat shaken and rooted in place unable to speak. The Russian, satisfied that he had gotten his point across left the building.

Part: 06

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_06.pngCharlie had remained in the background as much as possible hiding among the other rubberneckers who had surrounded the murder scene. The police presence had increased as CSI and the coroner arrived. Local news reporters with their camera crews had begun showing up as well with anchors doing their best to glean the latest morsel of information they could get from the police. There was even a news helicopter overhead.

The young wizard had witnessed the remains of 3 different individuals placed into body bags and he nearly lost his lunch at the sight of their bloody ruined bodies. He was reminded of the scene in that shark movie, Jaws he thought it was called, where they were doing the autopsy. The remains of a grown woman fit into a small bin. What they were scooping into the body bags could not have been much larger. He tried to move around the perimeter of the crime scene to see if he could get a better idea of what was going on but the police were everywhere. Deciding he couldn’t learn anything more he got back on his moped and started back to the office. He was pulling out of warehouse row when he was nearly struck by an oncoming Fiat. He caught his breath and realized that David and Solomon were in the car.

Charlie explained what he had discovered at the warehouse fence and about the possibility of the cameras recording the crime. David suggested they investigate the Local 19 Union building video cameras while Solomon met with the detective. Solomon sent a text to the officer and prepared to wait for him on the perimeter of the crime scene.

Part: 07

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_07.pngThe building was a bustling hive of activity with children and adults running to and fro as the logistics of a possible strike were being dealt with by the industrious members of the Local 19 Longshoremen’s Union. Clay was impressed as he realized that despite the evident chaos one man directed the whole operation with the grace of a symphony conductor. The attorney waited patiently until there was an opening and stepped forward to introduce himself.

VIC KOLWALSKI was the Union Boss and when he learned that David was investigating the theft on the docks he led the two visitors to his office while bellowing for his assistant, Doris to take over. An older woman with a New York accent bellowed back at the union boss trading loving insults with him while complaining loudly about how she already had too much to do. Vic rebutted loudly waving his arms in exasperation while David and Charlie exchanged a knowing look at the obvious delight both of them took in the argument and followed Vic to a small office that was overflowing with paperwork.

He explained that young Charlie had noted the video cameras of the Union house and that they may have recorded evidence that could help them exonerate Lisa Shan and maybe even discover who had murdered the three men. Vic put names to the three corpses CLYDE ORTIZ, RON PORTER and NEIL THORNTON. All loyal members of the Union. Part of the family. The gray haired man looked down pain etched into his features and for the first time David realized how old he really was.

Vic looked up having obviously made the decision to help them and pecked ineffectually at his laptop for a few minutes before screaming for Doris again. A moment later she burst into the room indignantly. When he explained that the computer was broken and that he couldn’t access the server with the video surveillance Doris barked at him to get out of the way and go talk to Mrs. Jones about securing permits for the strike. She would deal with this. Charlie, realizing his wizardly nature might interfere with the computer, excused himself and set off to join Solomon.

Doris turned out to be extremely proficient with the computer and in short order David found video of the night of the break in. What he discovered was quite perplexing though. He witnessed a very, very large dog or wolf, it was hard to say for sure which because the video quality was inexplicably grainy and cut in and out, dig and tear at the fence prying off the slat with its enormous jaws. After making a hole in the fence it picked up a large bag in its jaws and entered the warehouse. Minutes later a large masked man in dark clothes carrying what looked like the same bag jumped the fence and got on a massive motorcycle and drove away. The bag looked much more full than it had when the wolf had brought it in.

On a hunch David asked Doris, who he had bonded with once he revealed that he was from New York City, to look over the videos from previous nights. They never got a good look at him or his license plate unfortunately but they discovered the same biker on multiple nights casing the warehouse. Doris happily gave the lawyer a couple of thumb drives with copies of the video. He was very excited. He may have just found the evidence he needed to prove his client’s innocence.

Part: 08

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_08.pngSolomon awaited the detective on the perimeter of the crime tape as technicians and police dug deeply into the crime scene. When Charlie came upon him he suggested the young man see if he could get more information from the scene using his magical talents. Charlie said he would see what he could do and set off to find a way to sneak into the abandoned warehouse. Solomon in the meantime tried to use his own mystic connection to the spirits of the dead to find clues.

Unfortunately, Harbor Island had suffered greatly during Black Monday and he was nearly overwhelmed by the wandering spirits from that terrible tragedy. What was most disturbing were the spirits that spoke of monsters coming from the sea but unfortunately those spirits were so far gone that he could learn little about what they were talking about.

Detective Volkov, finally getting a moment from dealing with the investigation into the murders, interrupted Solomon’s communion with the local dead. Solomon explained that he was working as an investigator for David Clay who was representing Mrs. Shan. He explained that he felt like Chief Piper was not being honest in his investigation and wondered if it was all a frame job. He wanted to know what Volkov knew about the man.

The detective related that back when he had been working for the Russian mob, before cleaning up his own act, he knew that Piper had been involved in smuggling, human trafficking and drug running. The Chief of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency was in a unique position to help with those kinds of activities.

But that all changed after the events of Black Monday. There were many on the Waterfront who thought him a hero because when the tsunamis hit Harbor Island on that terrible day he had led rescue efforts saving hundreds of lives. Since then the man appeared to have cleaned up his act. He had had several major busts on the waterfront and was behind investigations that protected the workers from being exploited by corporations that were rebuilding after the disaster. There was even a rumor that there was a price on the man’s head after his turnaround. As someone with his own dark past to make up for, Volkov seemed to think well of the Chief.

Solomon thanked him for the information and told the detective about everything they had discovered in investigating the robbery so far. Including about the security videos from the Union building. The detective promised Solomon he would look into the theft as part of his investigation and if he came across something that could help he would be in touch.

While speaking to the detective Solomon noted a spirit that looked like it had been torn apart by an animal that was wandering in a daze. After the officer left he spoke to the spirit, who said his name was CLYDE ORTIZ, learning that he was one of the three missing longshoremen. Solomon gently questioned the clearly traumatized spirit but learned little. Ortiz did not see his assailant before being ripped to shreds. He only remembered the terrible roar and the horrific pain and blood that followed.

Solomon realized he had a duty to escort the spirit of the slain man to his reward. After calling David on his phone and letting him know he was going to be at the Gate, he coaxed Ortiz to follow him and left the Waterfront.

Part: 09

DFRPG_ChapterHeadings_10_01_09.pngCharlie had been more successful in infiltrating the crime scene that he dared hoped. He had used his magic to summon a concealing fog that helped him sneak into the building in the fading light of sunset. From there he had made his way to an isolated corner of the warehouse hiding from the police who where in the other part of the building. He then used his control of air magic to funnel the sounds in the warehouse all the way over to him, in effect creating a shotgun mic effect. He listened to the various cops and technicians as they continued their work and after a time came across a conversation the coroner was having with a fellow forensics tech. The coroner explained that he had never seen anything like this outside of his homeland of India. Tigers were the only creature he could imagine that could rend a human body to pieces like that and devour so much of the remains. Charlie listened for a while longer but decided he had learned everything he was going to at this point and sneaked out to join David who was waiting on the perimeter.

After some conversation the two of them decided to investigate Lisa Shan’s storage facility where the stolen property had been found. They were an odd sight both loaded up on Charlie’s moped. Unfortunately, they had little luck. The police had already been there and had put their own lock on her unit with police tape criss crossing the door. Not wanting to break into the facility with the security cameras watching the two of them decided that they had done everything they could for the day. They would pick up the investigation tomorrow. The got back on Charlie’s moped and very slowly made their way back to David’s office.


END OF CHAPTER 01

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CHANGES

CHANGES

Transcribed by: Jim Butcher
In Game date: October 31, 2010

The World shattering events of Jim Butcher’s Novel occur here in the game’s timeline.

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BOOK SUMMARY (SPOILERS!)

Susan Rodriguez contacts Dresden to tell him they have a daughter, Margaret Angelica, who has been kidnapped by the Duchess Arianna, the widow of a Red Court duke that Ebenezar McCoy killed several years earlier. Dresden goes to Edinburgh to seek help from the Council. However, upon his arrival, he discovers Arianna is there, hosting a peace conference with the rest of the Council. Dresden openly challenges Arianna to a duel to the death over his daughter’s kidnapping, but is prevented from carrying it through by the other members of the Council. Infuriated, Dresden returns home.

After an explosion destroys his office building, Dresden learns from Karrin Murphy he is under investigation by the FBI. After being released and having a talk with his fairy godmother, Dresden is eventually directed to the Norse God Odin, who tells him The Red Court is going to use Margaret for a powerful blood curse that will kill everyone who shares a relation to Maggie, including Dresden. Dresden decides to investigate Rudolph, the Chicago police detective who implicated him in the office explosion, reasoning that he must have implicated Dresden because of pressure coming from the Red Court. During this investigation, he encounters the ‘Eebs’, a husband and wife team of Red Court vampires who have been sent to both assassinate Rudolph and to dissuade Dresden from going after Arianna. After a close call with them, Dresden returns home, only to have his apartment firebombed. During his subsequent attempts to rescue the other residents in his building, Dresden’s back is broken, and Sanya shows up just in the nick of time. With no other options open to him, Harry turns to Queen Mab; accepting her offer of the Winter Knighthood in exchange for her healing his broken spine and granting him the power he needs to save his daughter.

The Leanansidhe, who has been assigned to aid in this quest by Mab, joins in the planning. With help from his godmother, Sanya, Karrin, Thomas, Molly, Susan and Martin, they set out on the first leg of the journey to where his daughter is being held. Along the way, Harry uses a sending stone to communicate with Ebenezer, informing him that Maggie is his daughter. Upon learning this, Ebenezer changes his mind, encourages Dresden to do what he needs to do.

Confronting the Red Court, the Red King grants Harry an audience. The Red King agrees to allow Dresden to duel Arianna in exchange for Maggie’s life. After Dresden finally kills her, the Red King refuses to honor their agreement. The group then engages in a seemingly hopeless battle against the Vampires, only to be joined at the height by the Grey Council including Odin and Ebenezer and an army of kenku, birdlike creatures from the Nevernever. After a seeming betrayal by Martin that causes Susan to lose control and drink his blood, Dresden learns that all of Martin’s actions have been to put someone in a position to destroy the entire Red Court in one blow, namely Susan. The curse had originally been aimed at Ebenezer McCoy, revealed to be Harry’s maternal grandfather, through Harry and his daughter. Dresden instead carries Susan to the altar and cuts her throat with her permission, unleashing the Bloodline Curse upon the Red Court and killing every last one, now that Susan had become the youngest vampire of the Red Court. The few half vampires who are not killed by the removal of their vampire halves, as well as the Red King’s Mortal followers, are almost all destroyed by the angered captives of the Red Court.

In the aftermath, Dresden realizes he can never provide the sort of home for Maggie he wants her to have and asks that she be placed in the safest possible place, and give her up to Father Forthill. Later, recovering on Thomas’s boat the Water Beetle, Dresden goes onto the deck to get some air, only to be shot and fall into Lake Michigan.

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BOOK 10: THE WALKABOUT: CHAPTER 02
GM: Justin

RED RAIDERS OF OLYMPIA

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Transcribed by: James
In Game date: March, 2009
Episode: 75

Chapter: 02

After being asked for a favor by DOZER, JACK YOUNGBLOOD, BRUNO WALSH and MATHEWWOOFRILEY had gone to Olympia to help an unnamed person in exchange for the return of Jack’s vintage Indian motorcycle. Little did they know the high price they were being asked to pay for the bike. The leader of the Pack had good reason to not tell the group the name of the person they were supposed to help. JJ MERCER was a White Court Vampire who had had many past encounters with the Warden and his allies. All of them had reason to hate him and were highly unlikely to provide him aid.

However, the idea of a Scourge of Vampires from Eastern Europe moving into the area was unacceptable even if the war between the Red Court Vampires and the White Council of Wizards had ebbed in recent months. The vampires were using the Rainmaker nightclub as a front to addict all the patrons to the vampire venom that they laced into the drinks that were served there. This would make the patrons easy to control and give the vampires a large stable of blood slaves. Mercer wanted them removed from his territory largely for selfish reasons. But, as a White Court Vampire he could not act against the Reds directly without being censured by his own family. So he had demanded DOZER repay his debt to him by destroying the Red Court Vampires. Dozer, put in an awkward position by his oath to Mercer and his obligations to the depleted werewolf biker gang, The Pack, had in turn tricked Jack and his allies into doing the job for him.

EC_COM301.pngThe group had staked out the Rainmaker club the night before. Riley had posed as a drug dealer from Afghanistan with Bruno acting as his bodyguard. Their cover had held up but they couldn’t get in to the VIP section to scout the vampires out fully. Riley had managed to slip away and infiltrated the employee only areas of the club finding little of value.

Meanwhile, Jack had made his way through the sewers under the club and ended up joining Riley. They didn’t learn much about their targets other than what kind of car they drove and decided that their best bet was to follow the vampires to their home and attack them there. Hopefully, away from any innocents that might be caught in the crossfire.

To that end they rented a hotel suite with adjoining rooms and planned to pick up the vampire’s trail the next evening. After some meditation Jack was able to tune out the buzzing from the spirit world that constantly assailed his senses and get some much needed sleep. Riley, a veteran of many campaigns, also fell asleep without any difficulty. However, Bruno could not get any sleep at all. Every time he was about to drift off he would bounce back awake. Noting Jack’s success the big man decided to try some meditation as well. He got far more than he bargained for.

Bruno saw a road leading him through cloudy and murky waters that went off into the distance. He struggled to make his way through but despite his best efforts he felt like he was going nowhere. He realized that he was surrounded by animals all around him always just beyond his reach as he got hungrier and hungrier. The Totem Warrior steeled himself and dove deeper into the vision.

He saw a mysterious knight on a massive horse charging recklessly down the road. The knight’s armor became more and more tarnished and neither he nor his mighty steed seemed to realize that they are getting nowhere. Bruno looked behind him and saw a man walking clumsily on his hands and feet who is quickly falling behind. He turned back to the knight and noticed that his horse bore a strange resemblance to Jack Youngblood’s Indian motorcycle. Both the knight and his horse seemed to be tiring. Floundering and in danger of collapsing they kept on the path disappearing over a hill. Bruno took a great breath and dove deeper still.

EC_COM302.pngHe saw the end of the road and the knight and steed stand silhouetted by a sickly light leaking in from the horizon like some obscene and disturbing sunrise. The light was oddly terrifying, its colors making Bruno deathly afraid. He realized that he couldn’t breath and lunged to reach the surface of the water as he realized he was drowning. But the undertow was dragging him deeper and deeper and his vision was going dark as he was blacking out.

Bruno jerked awake from his vision panting heavily from fear and exertion. It was morning but despite that the large man felt like he hadn’t slept all night. He grabbed the box of donuts devouring them but they did not to assuage the deep hunger that rumbled up in his belly. Jack came out of the shower looking fairly refreshed and beheld Bruno devouring the donuts. He confronted him asking him what was going on. The big man snapped at Jack telling him to mind his own business and stomped out of the suite. He slammed the door so hard that he broke the frame and accidently tore the nob off. Tossing it aside he made his way down to the ground floor and found a vending machine.

He was so hungry. Nothing mattered in that moment but getting food and ending his hunger pangs. But he didn’t have any money. Bruno easily smashed the machine open with a loud racket and began grabbing the snacks inside. The hotel manager screamed at him to stop what he was doing and drop the Twinkies. Bruno slowly and deliberately turned on the man rising to his full height. He said nothing but when he took a step forward the manager squeaked out in real fear and took off toward the office with his cellphone out. Bruno turned back to gathering the fruits of his vandalism.

Jack came down the stairs that were on the outside of the motel carrying his gear to his bike. Most notably his Warden’s sword and his staff. The police, responding to the call from the manager, pulled up in front of the Warden, saw his sword and drew their weapons screaming for him to freeze. Surprised, Jack dropped his stuff to the parking lot and raised his hands. The cops cuffed him none too gently while Jack protested asking what the hell was going on. The cops slammed him on the car telling him to shut it. They all turned in fright at the loud bellow of rage that came from Bruno at the sight of this.

Before anyone could act Bruno charged the nearest police officer and backhanded him in the head. They all heard the peculiar popping sound of the officer’s jaw breaking and he went flying back several yards into the hotel wall. He rebounded in a heap and wasn’t moving. It was unclear if he was alive or dead.

EC_COM303.pngThe second officer began firing his gun in fear and desperation at the man mountain before him. He struck Bruno several times but had no effect on the big man. Jack screamed at Bruno telling him to stop but he didn’t seem to hear him. The wizard tried to reach out into the spirit world and quiet the spirit of Yuquot that was driving the big man. But it was no use. He didn’t have enough magic to help his friend. He began squirming in his handcuffs trying to get out of them.

Just as the enraged Bruno reached the second police officer Riley appeared out of nowhere slipping between them trying to block his way to the cop. Bruno tossed him aside sending the former SEAL flying across two parked cars before hitting the tarmac in a roll with little damage. But that gave Jack enough time to throw himself in between his friend and the cop. Bruno reared back and Jack winced in fear praying that the enchantments he had laced in his leather biker jacket would be enough to protect him from his friend’s wrath. But the sight of his best friend seemed to finally reach Bruno and he hesitated. Just for a second Bruno seemed on the verge of wrestling back control of his rage. Until the cop began shooting him again.

Bruno shoved his friend aside, knocking him out of the way and charged the cop. The officer stood his ground unloading his firearm into the enraged mountain that slammed down on him harder than an avalanche. They all heard the crack of breaking bone as Bruno kicked the man in the hip throwing him into the police car door denting it deeply. The officer was a tough one though. Lying on his back, he reloaded his weapon. Crying out in pain he began to fire with abandon at Bruno as he advanced on him relentlessly.

That was when a large white hound appeared and bit at his leg barely slowing him. Jack recognized Riley in his Fae hound form at once. Realizing they weren’t going to be able to stop Bruno any other way he began gathering power for his magic. He attempted to restrain the enraged totem warrior in glowing bands of crimson spirit energy but the magic erupted from him unrestrained. He tried to absorb the power back into himself but he didn’t have enough control.

Razor edged bands of energy spooled out in all directions and would have sliced right into his new bike but Jack managed to divert them just enough. Instead they cut into the tarmac and the police car shredding them both. Bruno was untouched but it did distract him enough for Riley to trip him to the ground next to the cop.

Bruno slammed his massive paw of a fist into the cops chest and they all heard the snap as several ribs were broken by the powerful blow. Jack, bleeding from his nose grabbed Bruno’s arm as he reared it back to strike again screaming for his friend to stop. Bruno, seeing his best friend bleeding, seemed to finally come to his senses.

He looked around in confusion as Jack gathered all their stuff. Jack led him to his bike and told him to wait for him. He went back to the motel room. He quickly cast the ritual he had developed that wiped out all forensic evidence of their passing and took off down the stairs. He found Riley, still in hound form, sitting in the Indian’s sidecar. They could hear distant sirens coming their way. They left the crime scene as fast as they could without raising suspicion praying that the two officers would live long enough for their backup to arrive.

Jack drove for a while with Bruno following in a daze. He finally pulled over when he felt like they were out of danger. Angrily he slapped Bruno demanding what the hell he thought he was doing. He could have killed those cops! What were you thinking? Bruno hung his head in shame and mumbled something about how he hadn’t been able to stop BARRY GOLDMAN from kidnapping Jack’s sister, CAROLINE YOUNGBLOOD and when he saw the cops beat on Jack he just…lost it.

EC_COM304.pngJack got Bruno to look him in the eye and explained to him that he was not to blame for what happened to Caroline. The only person who should feel guilty about that is Goldman. He was the monster who needed to pay a price. As he explained that to Bruno a small part of Jack realized that he had to learn to forgive himself as well. He had long carried the burden of guilt for what had happened to ABIGAIL WHARTON. She never would have been possessed by the demon AZAEL but for his actions. But instead of letting that guilt eat him alive he had to use it to become a better person and move on.

Bruno said nothing. At least until his belly rumbled loudly with hunger. He explained to Jack that he needed food. Something fresh and hardy. They went to a grocery store and while Bruno waited outside with Riley, who was still in hound form, Jack used magic to veil himself from view and sneaked into the store to steal Bruno some fresh fish.

While waiting outside Bruno ranted to the Riley-hound explaining that he needed to hunt something. To kill it himself. He knew he would not be able to quench the hunger any other way. People who witnessed Bruno’s rant thought him a homeless madman and gave him a wide berth while Riley just stared at him head cocked slightly to the side. Jack returned and asked Bruno why he was ranting to the hound? He couldn’t respond after all. Woof whined mournfully in a very dog like fashion.

Jack led them to a different hotel across town and rented a room. On the way he stopped at a Walmart and bought a bunch of magnets. When they got to the room he demanded that Bruno give him a sample of his hair and blood. He explained that he wanted to set up a binding ritual that would restrain the big man if he lost control again. He asked for the samples and he wanted Bruno’s explicit consent for the binding. Bruno agreed without hesitation. Jack was like a brother to him and he trusted him to not use the hair and blood in a spell unless it was absolutely necessary. That was when the white hound transformed in an instant back into Riley. Jack nodded to him and began the ritual setting up the binding on his friend.

After he was done he began a second ritual. He carved some script into one of the magnets, infusing it with spirit magic and cut it in two. When he was done the trio made their way back to the night club. There they waited until the Red Court Vampires showed up in their expensive red sports car.

Jack tried to use magic to veil himself so he could place one part of the magnet on the car allowing him to track it. But, unfortunately the valet saw right through it to Jack’s surprise. The young Warden managed to pass himself off as a confused drunk and was able to place the rune carved magnet on the Vampire’s car despite the setback. Suspicious, the valet searched the car but didn’t spot the magnet.

After waiting several hours the vampires finally came out of the club with two under dressed young ladies got into the Italian sports car and took off. Woof suppressed a brief urge to change into a dog and chase the car and pulled out after them driving Jack’s Indian while Bruno followed on the Lobo bike. Jack sat in the Indian’s side car with the other part of the magnet on a string using it to guide them as they dropped well behind the sports car. After a while they ended up in an isolated suburb surrounded by woods.

Realizing that they didn’t have much time if they meant to save the young girls that the predators had brought to their lair, Jack suggested a quick and dirty plan of action. He would use magic to hex down the power of the house and sneak through the back door under a veil to find the girls while the others would go through the front door in a direct assault. After maneuvering into position Jack did his best to hex down the power. Unfortunately he was nowhere near his full strength and his best hex fried the TV, internet and cell phones in the house but did nothing to the lights.

Riley and Bruno were waiting at the front door for the lights to go out and they were confused when there was a slight flicker. Riley heard someone inside complaining loudly when the computers went down and was just about to suggest that Bruno kick the door down when it opened abruptly. A scrawny figure stood blinking in surprise at the huge man for a moment before all hell broke loose.

The vampire recovered first and charged the bigger man but Bruno was able to hold him off using his size. He quietly grappled the vampire in a head lock, cutting off his frantic cries and wrenching him out of Riley’s way. The former SEAL started to charge into the door planning on bringing shock and awe with heavy firepower but unfortunately for him he spontaneously turned into a large white hound. Another vampire was on the couch completely unaware of the struggle going on as he made out with one of the girls. Meanwhile, Jack managed to quietly pick the lock to the back door and slipped in under the best veil he could manage.

Having succumbed to the vampire’s venom the young woman didn’t even flinch when, Woof, now a massive white hound, ripped the vampire from the couch and to the floor. The vampire tried to retaliate but the hound quickly dodged his hasty attack and ripped his face almost clean off revealing the bat like monster beneath. He was about to end the fight when he was caught completely off guard by a shotgun blast from the balcony above them.

The struggle on the front porch intensified as Bruno began using his prodigious strength to crush the vampire in his grasp to a pulp. The fiend twisted and fought but could not escape the Totem Warrior’s grasp. Desperate, its long tongue snaked out of its mouth dripping venom on Bruno’s arm. The big man almost succumbed to the bliss that was promised by that single drop of the substance but Yuquot’s demanding presence shielded him from the worst of it. He redoubled his efforts and heard a satisfying crunching sound as the monster’s bones broke.

Woof, now slowed by the shotgun pellets in his side, desperately tried to finish off the first opponent before he could recover. But another blast from the shotgun forced him to dodge away. A second figure appeared on the balcony with a pistol and began firing rapidly but Woof managed to just barely stay ahead of the gunfire and even dodged a clumsy attack from the mortally wounded vampire on the floor. The young woman on the couch still sat transfixed her eyes staring off into the distance, unaware of the conflict around her.

That was when Jack appeared out of thin air behind the vampire with the shotgun. The Warden had quickly searched the rest of the house for victims while the battle raged in the living room. Hearing the gunshots he had remained veiled until he could position himself to strike. He brought his Warden’s Sword down on the vampire with the shotgun and the supernaturally sharp blade cleaved through it almost cutting it in half. It shrieked in agony its lifeblood splattering the balcony and stairs.

Using the distraction of the monster’s cries Riley tore into the vampire next to the couch with a vengeance. It exploded in black ichor splattering the living room with its foul blood. It was at that moment, covered in blood, that the lady on the couch began to scream her head off. That was when Jack learned just how tough vampires can be.

The young Warden, perhaps off his game because of the Un-man, hadn’t confirmed that the vampire he had cleaved was truly dead. He was taken completely by surprise as the horridly wounded creature struck at him with terrible speed and purpose. Jack would have been ripped to shreds except for the enchantments he had placed in his biker’s jacket. The vampire’s talons bounced across the magically enhanced leather leaving long furrows of blood across his chest where the jacket hung open. Gasping in pain and realizing that he was not a physical match for the vampire even as hurt as it was Jack lashed out at the monstrosity with all of the magical strength he could muster. Magic wracked the creature’s spirit causing it agony leaving it a shriveled, miserable thing on the floor at the wizard’s feet. Yet it was still alive and Jack was exhausted by the the spell leaving him momentarily vulnerable. The vampire moved to strike but before it could Woof landed on its back and ripped it to pieces in savage fashion covering Jack in its blood.

They realized that the figure with the pistol wasn’t a vampire, at least not fully, and she threw down her weapon and ran down the hallway towards a window obviously terrified. Jack hastily raised a shield to prevent her from jumping out the window and escaping. He called out to Riley to go help Bruno who was still struggling with the vampire on the porch. The massive hound made short work of the semi-crushed vampire tearing out its belly with his savage fangs. Bruno snapped what was left of the vampire over his knee.

The Warden did his best to assure the young woman that he wouldn’t hurt her or her companion. Perhaps he was less convincing because he was covered from head to toe in the blood of his recently vanquished opponent. In any case the girl turned back to the window and began to batter at Jack’s weak shield with surprising power. Unable to cope with the strain Jack’s shield shattered and the woman dove out the window taking off at inhuman speed. Jack screamed for Riley to stop her. Despite her speed the swift hound had little trouble catching up to her and herded her back to the front of the house.

Bruno went inside to try and comfort the screaming girl on the couch and she took one look at the massive man covered in blood and fainted. Bruno shrugged and joined his friends outside. Jack explained to the girl that she didn’t have to be a monster. She hadn’t fully turned yet and he could get her some help with the Order of St. Giles. A group that worked with infected humans to help them resist their hunger. The Warden had to be sure that she was a good candidate for the Order so he steeled himself and soulgazed her. He saw that her soul was a stark and cold place full of hunger. But there was a glimmer of hope there he believed.

Jack used his magic to forensically clean the entire house wiping out all trace of he and his friends. The group planned to take a van they found in the garage to a hotel for the night but Jack had to stop at an ATM for cash first. While they were pulled over the infected girl took off. When the group caught up to her in the early morning light she screamed that she was being abducted. Jack realized that they had no choice and told Riley and Bruno to let her go. The Warden assured them she was going nowhere. He had taken samples of both her hair and her blood. There was nowhere she could hide from him.

The group ended up at another hotel room with two suites and Jack called in his markers to the Order of St. Giles. They promised they could help the uninfected girl get over her addiction to venom. They dispatched a team to track down the infected girl and would give her the choice to join them or be destroyed. That same team also helped the Warden and his friends destroy the venom laced alcohol at the Rainmaker nightclub. Satisfied that their work in Olympia was done the trio headed back to Seattle.

END OF CHAPTER 02

NEXT

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BOOK 10: THE WALKABOUT: CHAPTER 01
GM: Justin

RED RAIN OF OLYMPIA

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Transcribed by: James
In Game date: March, 2009
Episode: 74

Chapter: 01

DFFAE_BookCover_10.pngBRUNO WALSH knew that being JACK YOUNGBLOOD’S best friend wasn’t easy. Especially lately. After the young wizard had confronted the THE UN-MAN, an Outsider who devoured all forms of mana, he had been left with a mere fraction of the power he customarily wielded as Seattle’s youngest, and most powerful Warden.


With the disruption of his power also came a degrading of his ability to control his ectomancy. Jack’s connection to the spirit world had always been under his tight control. But that control was almost nonexistent as he was under a constant buzz of spirit “noise” making it difficult for him to sleep or concentrate. His mood had soured in the month following his confrontation with the Outsider as sleep deprivation and despair at his reduced abilities set in.

It didn’t help that his wife, ABIGAIL WHARTON’S condition seemed to get worse and worse with every passing day. Her battle with cancer was looking more and more bleak and Jack was having a hard time facing that. All of his attempts to find his missing daughter had so far failed as well.

In reaction Jack resorted to his own brand of “medicine” to help mitigate the symptoms of being…er…Un-manned. Whiskey. Preferably Jameson’s neat. He claimed it was the only thing that quieted the white noise that plagued him.

Bruno entered the construction site of the Youngblood home and went to the back yard. Jack had been layering the newly rebuilt foundations of the house with elaborate and powerful wards in an effort to prevent a repeat of the attack that had left him captured and his sister, CAROLINE YOUNGBLOOD in the clutches of a mad cultist. Bruno was the foreman for rebuilding Jack and Caroline’s home after it had nearly been leveled in that assault. He approached the small trailer Jack was temporarily living in until the house was complete and nearly tripped over an empty whiskey bottle that had been discarded near the door.

Bruno picked up the bottle with a sigh and put it into the recycling bin knowing all too well what he would face inside the trailer. He knocked loudly on the flimsy door calling out for Jack to wake up. He heard a thump followed by loud crash and winced sympathetically. He could picture Jack sitting up too fast from where he had passed out on the floor and hitting his head on the built in table of the trailer knocking all of its contents down on top of him.

“Jack? Come on man,” he said cautiously. “You have to get up.”

The string of invective that came out of the trailer was impressive in both its scope and its creativity. He could hear the young wizard thrashing around in the debris throwing plates and discarded beer bottles the length of the trailer. Bruno waited patiently until Jack’s tirade wound down before trying again.

“Jack, I have to talk to you. I had a vision from YUQUOT and I need your help.”

With that all the noise in the trailer ceased immediately and the big man could hear Jack’s heavy sigh through the flimsy door.

“Shit.”
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A moment later Jack opened the door and glared at Bruno with bleary, red eyes. Bruno started to enter the trailer but Jack stopped him with a hand on his chest. He held up his other hand expectantly. Bruno gave him a large cup of coffee without a word. With a grunt, Jack backed off so Bruno could get into into the cramped trailer. It creaked and settled under the large man’s massive frame.

While Jack went to the back of the trailer and started up a shower Bruno began tidying up as much as he could. By the time Jack was done, smelling and looking like a human being again, Bruno had finished cleaning the tiny space.

“Ok. What’s up?” Jack asked nodding in thanks.

“Well, you know how ever since I got shot in the head and dumped in the Sound I’ve been feeling off? Even hungrier and not sleeping any better than you are.”

Jack nodded turning away unable to look the big man in the eyes. Bruno hurried on knowing that Jack felt responsible for getting him shot and nearly killed. Even if it wasn’t his fault.

“Well, when I do sleep, I seem to be getting deeper and deeper, and remembering more when I wake up. I’m not quite sure what is going on, but I know Yuquot is there… And this morning I had a vision. A vision that I think includes you.”

The big man went on to describe a vision to his friend:

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He swam in the dark, his vision clouded by murky water and the crushing pressure of the deep clutched him in its unwavering grasp. He sensed a great presence alongside him and beheld a massive orca that he recognized as Yuquot dragging him ever deeper into the bay with the current created by his massive wake. His vision sharpened as we swam, and he eventually came across strange rock formations at the bottom of the bay that portrayed great portents.

He saw a great hunter bringing down his prey and feeding his fellows in brotherhood. He instinctively knew that he was that hunter and that Yuquot was proud of him for his prowess. He saw himself cooking his prey over a great fire and the smell and taste of the feast was more satisfying than anything he had ever experienced before.

As he cooked the food the shadows caused by the flames danced and moved as if they were alive. In the shadows he saw a shrouded figure who appeared at one moment like a man and the next like a great hound holding something shiny like a blade or a present covered in tinsel on christmas morning. The shadow changed back and forth between the two shapes at random and seemed to have no control of the transformations except when the light reflecting off the shiny object held it steady.

Bruno witnessed a second figure with a staff who stood atop a pair of spinning wheels. Bruno couldn’t make any details out but he knew that the wheels were old. And that they had tire tread? The vision was profound but it left the large man puzzled. He felt that he needed to go on a hunt but he couldn’t figure out what his “prey” would be.

“So when I asked Craig what he thought of the vision he told me that I must go on a Vision Quest to find answers to my questions,” the large man continued.

“Vision Quest? Are you sure you didn’t take the brown acid?” Jack asked with more than a bit of sarcasm. He noted the hurt look in Bruno’s eyes at his quip and held his hands up palms out to supplicate his friend.

“No. Craig’s right. Yuquot was obviously setting you on a path and you can’t ignore that. We both know how difficult the old fish can get when you don’t do what he wants.”

“Mammal.”

“What?”

“Whales aren’t fish. They’re mammals,” Bruno corrected.

“Right. My mistake,” Jack acknowledged with a sigh. “Look. I am starved. Let’s go to the IHOP and get some breakfast and talk this over.”

EC_COM296.pngThe two sat at a nearly empty IHOP and Jack was devouring his Big Breakfast with gusto. Bruno, who usually ate enough for 3 grown men, didn’t seem as interested in the food in front of him. He realized that it was because it just couldn’t compare to the food he had eaten in his vision. It didn’t have the primal nourishment his soul craved.

“Woof,” Jack said, his mouth full.

“What?” Bruno asked puzzled.

“Come on man. Who else do you know who can change from human form to a hound? We have to get Woof. And the figure with the staff is obviously me.”

“Not sure why I should come along though,” he said his voice rising in bitterness and anger.

“I can’t do a damn thing in my current condition. Can’t save my sister from that loser, Goldman. I can’t even stop that stupid kid from being possessed by an Outsider. I couldn’t save my dad. Hell, I can’t even save Abi or find my little girl! I can’t save ANYONE!” he yelled knocking his silverware to the floor.

The few patrons of the restaurant all stopped at the commotion and stared at Jack. He seemed to wilt under their regard holding his head down trying to control the emotions that raged inside him.

The waitress came over with some new silverware and seemed to be braced for a confrontation. One of the cooks was standing watchfully to back her up if there was trouble. She eyed Jack and the very large Bruno nervously, obviously a little afraid.

“Sir? Is everythi…”

“Sorry,” Jack interrupted smiling wanly. “It’s just been a bad day is all. Nothing to worry about.”

“Well I hope things get better soon,” she replied not unkindly and refilled his coffee.

After she was out of earshot Jack almost whispered,“She kicked me out you know?”

Bruno looked up at the pain in Jack’s voice. "She told me to get out and not come back until I stopped acting like an “Emo Brat”. "

He laughed bitterly. "I guess this little “Walkabout” is just the kind of thing she would want me to do."

Riley’s quarters barely qualified as a broom closet much less a full fledged apartment. Every square inch was crammed with weapons, ammo and other tools of his very deadly trade. Bruno was forced to stand in the door while Jack propped himself up against a stack of ammo crates, his sunglasses hiding his blood shot eyes if not his disdainful attitude. Bruno was just finished explaining what he had seen in his vision.

“Are you sure you didn’t eat the wrong mushrooms?” Riley asked skeptically at the odd story. Jack smirked at that while Bruno threw up his hands in exasperation.

“Look. I don’t know why Yuquot wants me to get you and Jack involved with this but I can tell you this. You are both struggling right now. Jack has lost touch with his magic and is so twisted up over what is going on with Abi that he is ignoring his duties as Warden, brother and friend.”

“Hey! Now just one damn minu…” Jack began indignantly.

“Jack shut the hell up!” Bruno all but screamed. “I am your best friend and you are going to listen to me for once! You can’t keep blaming yourself for everything that has gone wrong in your life. Instead of drinking yourself into a stupor every night you need to man the fuck up and do something about it.”

He turned to Riley, “Woof, you have learned that you have Fae blood in your veins. Instead of treating it like a curse you need to accept it for the miraculous thing it is. Until that happens you will never get any closer to mastering your new abilities.”

“And I haven’t been able to keep Yuquot under control since I got shot in the goddamn head! I keep seeing that barrel pointed at my face over and over in my mind and it is messing me up. I feel like I am going to lose it any day now and you know how bad that can be. Not that you have noticed. You are so damn concerned with your own bullshit you can’t see that your friends and family need you!”

Jack sat stunned blinking in surprise as Bruno’s words hit him harder than any punch. In all the years he had known the big man, Bruno had never raised his voice to him. The ring of truth to his words was hard to face but the wizard knew deep down that Bruno was right. As did Riley.

The former SEAL nodded his head, “OK. So what is our next move?”

“We should go to Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Discovery Park,” Jack suggested. “It is right on Puget Sound and we will be closer to Yuquot there. Maybe he can give us more insight.”

An hour later Jack and Woof sat on the dock looking out over the placid waters of Puget Sound watchfully. Bruno had been under water for at least 10 minutes at that point. Long enough for Jack to go back to his battered old Jeep and get some donuts.

EC_COM298.png“Geeze! How long can the big guy hold his breath?” Woof asked incredulously. As a former Navy SEAL he had trained to hold his breath for far longer than most. But Bruno was well past human endurance. Riley was impressed.

“Not sure. But when he was dumped into the Sound after being shot he was under for over 20 minutes,” Jack answered sitting down on the dock.

“Here,” he said holding the box out for Woof. “They are from Sweet Tooth Bakery.”

Woof’s eyes lit up at that and he eagerly selected a slice of culinary heaven from the box.

“There he is!” Jack said pointing out to the Sound. They both saw Bruno breach the surface of the water explosively much like the whales that were his totem. Bruno looked to shore and saw Woof reach for something bright and shiny, something suited to his clearly human hands. He also had a vision of Jack with two wheels around him. They looked familiar. Like motorcycle wheels almost.

He made his way to shore and explained to the two men what he had seen while devouring the rest of the donuts. The pastries didn’t quite assuage his hunger. But they were strangely satisfying. After some discussion the three decided that they should visit the local werewolf bikers, The Pack.

They drove up to The Pack’s clubhouse situated inside an old strip club called Lynne’s Den. It was a seedy place but they couldn’t help but notice the security The Pack had in place hadn’t lost a step. They were shadowed by wolves flitting in and out of sight as riflemen on the roof with clear firing lanes kept them in their cross hairs. After he parked the three of them found themselves surrounded by menacing looking men as well as a few hungry looking wolves.

“Guys. We just want to chat,” Jack said holding up his hands. “No need to get excited. Just point me to whoever is in charge.”

EC_COM297.png“That would be me!” a voice rumbled. A massive man who was almost as big as Bruno strode out from the entrance of the club and waved his pack off. “Jack Youngblood. Just the man I was looking for,” he stated with a grim smile on his face.

Dozer? Holy crap. I didn’t realize you were back,” Jack said in surprise. “How is the Indian?”

Dozer’s face broke into a big smile, “Smooth as silk. Come inside. I have a proposition for you.”

The four of them sat at Dozer’s desk in the back of the Den. Dozer, who had taken a leave of absence after he lost his connection with the wolf spirit that enabled him to shift into a werewolf, explained to Jack that he needed his help.

“How would you like to get the Indian back?” he asked Jack. Jack’s eyes lit up at the prospect but Riley put his hand on the eager wizard’s shoulder as he was about to reply.

“That might be cool. But what would it cost?” Jack asked cautiously. Dozer smiled broadly knowing the hook had been set.

“There is someone who I am in debt to. They are having some trouble that is right up your alley and I need someone to hunt down the problem and deal with it.”

“Hunt?” Bruno asked. He looked at Jack and Riley meaningfully. Jack nodded his head in acknowledgement as the pieces of Bruno’s vision fell into place.

“Yeah. OK. We might be interested in the job,” Jack replied. “Who is it for?”

“I can’t tell you that,” Dozer said. “The job is in Olympia. I will set up a meeting between you and your contact there.”

“What are you hiding? Why won’t you tell us the name of this contact?” Jack asked suspiciously.

“Like I said before, I can’t tell you that. But if you help me out with this I will owe you. The Pack will owe you.”

“The Pack already owes us,” Woof pointed out. “We protected you when the Venatori attacked the warehouse.”

Dozer tilted his head in acknowledgement,“You are right. We will owe you another one.”

“Don’t forget when we stopped Black Agnes from killing you,” Jack piped in.

“OK. OK. More than one. The Pack will owe you big time, and if you need back-up in the city, we are there, but random debts don’t get you such a sweat bike.” Dozer said holding up his hands in surrender.

“Look,” he said matter of factly. “I can’t give you a name but I can arrange the meeting. I would do it myself but I have my own…concerns right now. And I can’t go to Olympia without igniting a full scale gang war. Something we just aren’t ready to handle right now.”

Jack nodded his head, knowing that The Pack was a far cry from the powerhouse it had been in the past. They had taken too many hits over the last few years. He looked to Bruno first with a question in his eyes and the big man shook his head in an affirmative. Riley also nodded curtly when he glanced over at him.

“OK,” Jack said standing up, holding out his hand. “We’ll do it. Now give me the keys to the Indian.”

EC_COM299.pngThe three of them were riding south just outside of Olympia a few hours later. Jack was excited to have the Indian back. He had missed his old bike. The roar of the engine and the open freeway were exhilarating. Just what he needed to take his mind of things. He gunned the engine of the vintage motorcycle accelerating far past the speed limit and Woof and Bruno had to struggle to keep up.

Woof was riding an old, battered ’92 Harley Davidson Softtail that Dozer had provided. It was a good bike but badly in need of a tuneup. Bruno was on something else entirely. The big man had been given a custom bike that supposedly resembled the one ridden by the DC comic book character Lobo. While it was impressive to look at, the bike was bulky and slow as a turtle. Which is probably why Dozer was so happy to be rid of it.

The three of them were in a good mood, enjoying the ride, when their fun was interrupted by flashing lights and a siren. Annoyed but not willing to flaunt the police over a speeding ticket Jack pulled over. They were right next to a busy McDonald’s full of children laughing and playing on the playground. A ruggedly handsome sheriff got out the car and slowly made his way over the the trio of riders, his hand never straying far from his firearm. After a moment of shock they all realized they knew him.

YOU!” Jack snarled pulling his staff and channeling power into it. The tip began to glow with mystical power, although Riley saw that it was not nearly as bright and steady as he remembered it. Bruno started walking toward the sheriff with deadly intent clearly written in his countenance.

“I am going to blast you into dust!” Jack exclaimed. Riley started to draw his pistol but noted all the surveillance cameras on the scene and the people that had so far not noticed the trouble that was brewing in their midst. This was the worst possible place and time to do this.

EC_COM300.png“Are you?” JJ Mercer drawled calmly. “With all these fine upstanding citizens as witness? Being a cop killer is a sure-fired way to end up in prison. And I am sure you wouldn’t want any of these innocent children to be hurt in the crossfire?”

Jack looked around to the kids playing on the playground. He turned back to face the White Court Vampire. Mercer had enslaved the Venatori Strike team that had attacked his home, destroying it, and turned him over to the Denarion demon, Azael. The demon had taken over his father’s body after abandoning Abigail’s form. It was only because of his friends that Jack wasn’t dead. Or worse, enslaved to the Denarion. With an effort of will Jack released the power he had gathered and lowered his staff.

“I didn’t think so,” he said smugly. Bruno, barely keeping his rage in check, started forward until Jack put a hand on his shoulder.

“What do you want, Mercer?”

“Why I want what you want my young friend. To keep the peace. You see, a group of Red Court Vampires have recently opened up a nightclub in Olympia. People are disappearing. Far too many for me to cover up.”

“And the more attention they bring to themselves the more likely the authorities will learn about your own lying, traitorous history of murder and depravity,” Riley growled.

“I’m flattered you think so well of me but yes. Yes. That could be a problem,” Mercer said without apology.

“Besides the White Court is an ally of the Red Court Vampires. You can’t make a move on them can you? Not without censure from you own family and court,” Jack pointed out. JJ Mercer beamed at the wizard like a teacher proud of their prize student and nodded his head urging him to continue.

“But if a Warden of the White Council came to town and destroyed them,” he went on. "It would simply be regarded as just another tragedy of the war. It would have nothing to do with you. "

“That is an interesting supposition. I, of course, could never suggest that any harm should come to my stalwart allies of the Red Court who just moved here from Eastern Europe,” the vampire said rubbing his chin in thought.

“So please. Let this be a warning to you,” he said with great insincerity. “I am cautioning you to leave the Red Court Vampires at the Rainmaker Nightclub alone. You are forbidden from hunting them down and destroying them. It’s too bad I won’t be anywhere near them to protect them for at least the next week.”

He flashed a predatory grin, “Y’all have a good day now. Yah hear?”

With that the smug vampire got back into his cruiser and drove off. Jack’s gaze followed the police car with murderous intent.

“I am going to kill Dozer for this,” he muttered under his breath.

END OF CHAPTER 01

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BOOK 9: TALES OF THE 13TH PRECINCT: CHAPTER 03
GM: James

UN-MANNED

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Transcribed by: Bradford & James
In Game date: February, 2009
Episode: 73

Detectives Samantha Vazquez and Samuil Volkov from the 13th Precinct called the University of Washington Library When it opened in the morning and made an appointment to see an expert in rare books, Adrian Huggins for later that day.



EC_COM273.pngThe partners then set out for Ryan Delmont’s old apartment. Sokolov was suspected of murdering Delmont several years ago just before he vanished. They hoped that they could maybe find out what connection, if any, the former Vory hit man had to the UW computer geek and through that maybe track Sokolov and Goldman down.

According to the Apartment Manager (who reeked of pot smoke and cheep booze to Volkov’s unusually sensitive nose) Ryan Delmont was a model tenet who even used his superior computer and electronics skills to make the local cable and broadband go faster for the whole building. But, ever since his murder, the apartment had been difficult to rent out and never had had a tenet last longer than a week or two. Despite being a perfectly spotless, the place made Volkov’s skin crawl….

On their way out of the apartment, the partners discussed the Goldman/Sokolov case and realized a question they hadn’t asked yet, “Who was Barry Goldman’s father?” They had info on his mother, but not his dad. Something to follow up on later.

The Partners made their way to the University of Washington Library and met with Adrian Huggins. On their way in, Volkov thought he saw someone leaving out of the corner of his eye, but he really couldn’t be sure. It almost looked like CRAIG BIG EAGLE. Huggins, a nervous mouse of a man, explained that the Chertoff Codex had gone missing recently. Again. But perhaps that was because of its strange habit of moving around the library, seemingly on its own. According to rumor it kept vanishing from the locked up Rare Books section and appearing in the public stacks on random shelves. But more importantly to the detectives Troy Wilkerson had once been caught attempting to steal the old book. EC_COM274.png

Adrian looked at the crime scene photos of the dead dog from the desecration of the cemetery and said that the symbols carved into the dog pointed to the occult but he had nothing specific he could add to that at just a glance. The detectives got a sense he wasn’t telling them everything, but Huggins said that "Proper Research takes time. I can have more for you in a couple of hours. "

Volkov then tried a different tact and asked if there were any other local experts on the Occult in the area. Adrian offered four names: Craig Big Eagle was a Native American shaman with a great deal of knowledge in a variety of religions and occult practices, Zebediah Einar and his protege Jack Youngblood, were experts in the occult and they often consulted by Roy Mullenix on his weirder cases back when he was a Detective in Special Investigations, which handled all the “Mulders”, or strange cases, that cropped up in Seattle.

Yet another connection to the Youngblood Syndicate…

Volkov and Vasquez then decided to visit the Radcliffe Clinic and to see if Youngblood’s new wife could give them any information on her mysterious husband. It seemed obvious that the young man was wrapped up in something big and they needed to find out what. Especially since he seemed to be tied up to every single major clue they had on their current case. The Clinic looked normal enough, inviting but boring. You’ve seen one medical center, you’ve seen them all. Inside, the medical assistant, Emmie Mercer directed them to talk with Abigail’s attending physician.

“Doctor Wotensen, please come to the front desk. Doctor Wotenson…”

Doctor Leif Wotenson belonged on the set of his own TV show. By far the handsomest doctor either Detective had ever seen. His natural charms even caught the notice of the professionally detached Detective Vasquez….

Volkov meanwhile thought he needed to hit the gym more often…

Wotenson advised against them seeing Abigail, she was still in the ICU for Stage IV Cancer and was very weak. When asked about John Youngblood III, the doctor claimed he didn’t know him…despite being called in for questioning about the attack on the Youngblood home and kidnapping of Caroline Youngblood last year. The detectives were able to leverage the fact that Leif was clearly lying and he reluctantly caved to their demands to see Abigail.

EC_COM275.pngThe Detectives immediately regretted their decision, seeing the tragically beautiful Abigail Wharten in a hospital bed, barely able to speak. She was clear eyed despite being in obvious pain and she defended her new husband’s character fervently saying that he was a good man. Her love for her husband was clear and her passionate defense of him would have been enough to convince even the most skeptical of her husband’s innocence. But as police the two detectives had witnessed many women over the years defend the most hardened monster out of love. They remained unconvinced.

After leaving the clinic the partners decide that they should visit the nearby Youngblood house in the old part of Capital Hill. A Victorian design dating back at least a hundred years, the house was covered in plastic and in the process of being rebuilt after it had been nearly destroyed in a firefight last year. The foreman approached them warily despite being almost seven feet tall and built like an NFL offensive lineman. Bruno Walsh cut an imposing figure and had all the hallmarks of being someone you didn’t want to mess with. The recent scar from a bullet wound to his head that would have killed any lesser man made him look even more fierce and imposing.

The large man tried desperately to evade the Detectives’ questioning, but he was not gifted with social graces.

“Where can we find a mister John Youngblood the Third?” Volkov asked.

“This is just a job, I don’t know the guy that well. I don’t know where he is. He’s…uh, not here. Nope don’t see him,” Walsh replied, nervously.

“Are you sure?” Vasquez asked, point to an old Jeep parked next to the house, "That’s his jeep over there. "

“I haven’t seem him all day… If he is here I don’t see him,” Bruno’s eyes wandered to a spot behind the cops.

Volkov wheeled his head around and sniffed. He thought someone was right next to him where the large man was staring, but there was no one there. He felt something, but he didn’t know what. Vasquez motioned to him to check out the grounds.

“Can we have a look around, mister Walsh?” Volkov asked.

Bruno started acting strangely, talking to the cops as though someone were whispering lines into his ear. Jumping every once and a while as if someone were digging an elbow into his ribs when he said something wrong.

“Ah…you you can’t go inside. Ja…Ow! Errr, Mister Youngblood doesn’t want anyone but construction crew inside his house. Umm. What? A warrant? Right. You need a warrant.”EC_COM276.png

“Just want to look around.” Volkov took a stroll around the property. He looked at the extensive damage done to the house and recalled the crime scene photos showing the place practically demolished. He remembered reading that every eye witness within three blocks had said the exact same thing as if programmed to do so:

“Jack Youngblood was always getting into trouble. He ran with a rough crowd. Obviously, this was the work of gang violence.”

It was creepy as hell that this Youngblood kid could scare every single one of his neighbors into not only repeating the same cover story, but to say the EXACT same thing. What was this guy into???

Volkov felt something again, sensed someone’s presence right next to him. Someone was there…but Volkov couldn’t see, hear or smell him. While looking around he tripped over something (a stick maybe?) he couldn’t see and landed in a small puddle of dirty water. He thought he heard laughing, but still couldn’t see anyone.

“You have to leave now. Ow. Stop it. Uh. You…have no permission to be here…”

“We’re just looking for things in plain sight. You have nothing to worry about.” Volkov said.

“What? Oh, right. But you don’t have a Warrant. And, uh, you can’t go into the house…”

Vasquez almost tripped over a box full of books. They looked to be Bibles from the Venus Tabernacle Church, the one that had had that preacher , Peter Jerico, go missing last year. The box they sat in was oddly covered in strange writing and symbols. Volkov walked over and tried to pick one up, but found himself strangely disinterested in such things. It was almost as if some external force made him loose interest in the Bibles and look elsewhere.

Vasquez on the other hand, resisted the compulsion to leave the Bibles alone and picked one right up and found it was…right. She felt herself suddenly very interested in what the Venus Tabernacle Church had to offer…perhaps a new direction in life…but then she remembered her family and her good Catholic upbringing and dropped the book. The book disappeared before hitting the ground and there was the sound of metal striking something solid (a sword cutting into the Bible perhaps?) and a storm of cut pages flew in the wind. But, a second glance at the box revealed the Bible sitting on the top of the stack like nothing had happened. Vasquez was a bit freaked out by the experience. It was so overwhelming. She crossed herself, whispering a brief prayer, and struggled to clear her head.

Volkov picked up one of the cut pages and found it the right size for a bible page, but it was completely blank…and cut through by something sharp. He pocketed the page. Since they had no reason to linger the Detectives decided to leave.

“Please have mister Youngblood contact us. We’ll be in touch.” Vasquez said giving Walsh one of her makeshift business cards. She really needed to get new ones printed out. She also really wanted to get the hell away from the strange house.

Once back at the station, Detective Volkov found little on this Zebidiah Einar in the department’s computers. He discovered one mention of him being a Consultant of some kind, but no personal information of any kind.

EC_COM277.pngAfter asking around the more senior detectives at the office, the lead Investigator Detective Pauline Reed laughed at Volkov’s frustration.

“You’re not going to find anything about Ol’ Zeb.” She said, sipping her coffee, “That old fossil has been around longer than any of us. All his records are still in physical files.”

“You know him?” Volkov asked.

“Not personally. But I see him come in to consult from time to time. " Reed replied.

“Profession? "

“Retired now. Definitely was a vet before, but I’m not sure what war. But whichever one it was you could tell he had seen a lot of combat. He just had that stare. You know? Anyway, I heard he made a killing in the Stock Market… "

“What’s he consult on?”

“Weird cases. Special Investigation stuff mostly. But, I heard he was recently put in a wheel chair. Car accident’s a damn shame for someone that old.”

“Define, ‘old fossil.’”

“Well, he was best friends with Captain Routman back when he was a rookie, so…late sixties early seventies. I heard he was an old man back then too.”

Elaborating on what little she knew through the rumor mill, Pauline Reed left Detective Volkov with still more questions that he couldn’t answer.

EC_COM278.pngMeanwhile, Detective Vasquez decided to dig deeper into Barry Goldman’s records. She found that Goldman had had a restraining order placed on him by his former girlfriend, Angela Marcus several years ago. She still lived in the area. Maybe the young woman would be able to give them some insight to help them find the murderous little psycho.

Oh a whim Volkvo looked up Bruno Walsh’s record and saw that he had gone to jail on more than one occasion and was even on the Terrorist Watch List for some of his environmental protests a few years ago. Among his listed contacts was the name of Jack Youngblood. Craig Big Eagle was listed as his social worker. Of course. He did note that other than being shot in the head last year in a purported mugging and being dumped in Puget Sound the big man had kept his nose clean for the last several years. Maybe Walsh had reformed. Or maybe he just knew someone who could cover up his crimes.

On a hunch he looked up the Venus Tabernacle Churches. He learned that there had been a series of break ins recently. Several miscellaneous items were vandalized or reported stolen including thousands of dollars from the collection boxes and several boxes of bibles.

In that moment the two officers were informed of a frantic 911 call from Troy Wilkerson’s mother. The Partners hopped into their car and drove like a bat out of hell to the residence.

They found the house surrounded by uniformed cops and a distraught mother. Doctor Wilkerson’s normal professional demeanor was gone and anguish cast an ugly shadow across her tear streamed face. EC_COM279.png

“My son didn’t do this. Oh, God, please tell me my son didn’t do this…” Dr. Wilkerson said over and over in her driveway as the police moved toward the house.

As the detectives entered, they found the the house a wreck, blood everywhere. The place felt…wrong. Cold. Dead. Defiled.

And that was before they found Sam Randolph, Doug Guthrie and Lisa Griffin, three of the kids they had brought in for questioning the previous night TORN TO SHREADS, their pieces strewn throughout the home. Troy Wilkerson was nowhere to be found.

On Troy Wilkerson’s bed they found the Chertoff Codex, blood sliding off it like it couldn’t stick to it. The Detectives immediately felt it was wrong and bagged it for further review.

In the basement, the Partners found the body of Maxine Gordon, her left hand surgically removed. Oddly the basement was freezing. Their breath visible in the air.

As Detective Vasquez examined the corpse, it SAT UP, grabbed her wrist in a death grip and looked her in the eyes whispering, “Don’t let him open the door! YOU MUST….SEE…”

EC_COM280.pngVasquez found herself in another place. A rundown warehouse. She was seeing through the eyes of a uniformed officer shooting at a man with an old police issue revolver. Madness burned bright in the target’s red, murderous eyes. The bullets had no effect until a stray shot pierced the madman’s stomach. A huge amount of blood erupted from the wound and the…man started shrieking and writhing in pain. That was when its skin pulled back, revealing a bat-like monster that reached for the terrified young cop.
The Officer reached frantically and pulled a fire ax off the wall. He pushed the bat thing back to the ground with a shove and then buried the ax into it again and again, taking off its head and splattering everything with with blood. The body began dissolving into a strange goo leaving nothing behind.
The Officer dropped the bloody ax and moved to a bathroom sink to put water on his face. A bum laid passed out drunk on the floor next to the sink. In the bathroom mirror, the face looking back was a young man that resembled Captain Sid Routman…thirty years ago. Reflected in the mirror behind him, Routman spotted a beautiful woman approaching. Vasquez recognized her as Delilah Montgomery, but it must have been her mother or something. Yet the resemblance was uncanny…and her eyes were mesmerizing…impossible to resist.EC_COM281.png
“What the fuck was that? That wasn’t…real. What the hell was that monster?!?!”
“Shhh…You didn’t see a monster. Monsters can’t be real. It was just that bum. Probably hopped up on drugs. You were a hero today.” She said in a silky voice.
“I…was a hero today. It wasn’t a monster. That doesn’t make sense,” Routman replied robotically.
“That’s right, Officer Routman. It wasn’t real. It can’t be. You can’t let it be real. And it has to make sense, doesn’t it? It always has to make sense.”
The mysterious woman’s terrible smile chilled Vasquez to her core and she struggled to keep a hold of her sanity.
“There are no such things as monsters. They are only real if I let them be real. And I can’t let them be real. I have to stop them first. It has to make sense…”
Desperately, “It always has to make sense…”


Volkov’s TAP on the shoulder brought Vasquez back to reality with a jump. The corpse of Maxine Gordon lay on the basement floor unmoving.

“Little jumpy, Vasquez? Hey. You OK? You look like you just saw a ghost. Why don’t we get some air? Get forensics in here. Secure the kid’s phone.”

The partners moved up the basement stairs and started to go outside. At the top of the stairs Volkov turned and saw a sad woman staring at him intently. He looked her in the eyes and he too was overcome with a vision…

EC_COM282.pngJonothan Gordon sat at the kitchen table of a modest home with his two young children. His eyes blazed with madness as he mumbled over and over again to himself that he had to save his kids. He had to save himself.
“Oh, Maxine. She’s a part of it I know it. She’s a witch now. I can’t let her take me. I can’t let her take our children! The monster would get them all if I don’t do something. Now before she gets back from the movie. But I have to tell them. Tell the world why I did what must be done.”
Jonothan Gordon grabbed a pen and some paper and began frantically writing….
As he watched the obviously unhinged man rant about his wife Volkov’s perspective seemed to change. To narrow. Suddenly he moved toward the man’s eye and he saw inside his head. Even to his untrained eye Volkov could tell that the small tumor was malignant. Could it be what was driving Gordon mad?
EC_COM283.pngDetective Sid Routman stepped over the body of Jonothan Gordon and his two children. There was an empty pill bottle by his side. The wife, Maxine, was his prime suspect. Yet Forensics had already determined that the only fingerprints on the bottle belonged to the husband.
He reread the frantic note the man had written accusing his wife of being a witch and a monster. She had to be the killer. There aren’t any monsters in this world. Not if he had anything to say about it. I won’t let the monsters be real.
“Someone’s gotta stop the monsters,” Sid Routman’s voice echoed robotically as he placed drug residue from the pill bottle on some kitchen gloves. That should be enough to convince a jury that the reason there were no other prints on the pill bottle was because the wife wore them while poisoning her family.
“It has to make sense.”
“It always has to make sense…”


Volkov ran outside and found himself shaking uncontrollably and sweating as if he had just run a marathon.

Vasquez hadn’t noticed her partner’s distress as she moved to interview Dr. Wilkerson. She was able to establish that the doctor’s son, Troy had been hanging out with two men now identified from their mug shots as Barry Goldman and Cassimir Sokolov. They had been working on something together despite Dr. Wilkerson forbidding her son from seeing them. They seemed suspicious. Dangerous even. Eventually her son had had an argument with the two murderers and they hadn’t been around for several weeks.

“Oh, my God. Do you think they took my, son? Do you think they have him right now?!!? Please, you have to find my boy! You have to bring him back to me!!!”

Vasquez did her best to reassure the desperate mother but made no promises to bring her boy home. She could see in the doctor’s eyes that she had noticed that. That she understood that her son, her precious little boy might not be a victim of this heinous crime. But might be its instigator. Doctor Wilkerson did her best to ignore the hesitation and its implications. Volkov stood awkwardly to the side trying his best to figure out how to console the woman without giving her false hopes. He turned his head away from the distraught woman and saw Maxine Gordon’s shade standing right behind him in a car window. The apparition charged the detective and suddenly he was somewhere else…

EC_COM284.pngHe was in a Library. The University of Washington Library,with Adrian Huggins, Jack Youngblood and Craig Big Eagle all huddled together talking intently. His point of view seemed…odd. Almost as if he was seeing everything from the bottom of a lake.
Adrian spoke in a calm voice…
“So after some research I found out that the Chertoff Codex is a reference document to an ancient Russian folk ritual linked to the Old God, Chernobog. According to the translation, a Practitioner can use the severed left hand of a person who has murdered their own children and has been buried in unconsecrated ground as a Key in what is called the Ceremony of Innocence. Essentially Chernobog’s essence can be channeled into a proper vessel by using this Key.”
“A proper vessel like Ryan Delmont? Right?” Craig asked.
“Exactly. The ritual would allow Chernobog to return to this plain loosing the god of winter, murder and death upon the world.”
“You know it would be nice if, just once, the ritual made the god of rainbows and ponies come to this Earth,” Jack sighed. “OK. So if that is what is going on why is the spirit of Maxine Gordon still here? Is it because she didn’t commit the murders?”
“She didn’t?” Craig and Adrian asked in unison.
“No. No way. She showed me that she had been framed by Sid Routman. Also, her spirit is innocent of the taint such an act would produce.”
“Hmm. Well, the spirit of the vessel whose hand was used in the ritual is tied to this plane unable to move on to the afterlife until the Key is destroyed.”
“Well hopefully we can bring her peace soon,” Jack Youngblood said, turning to look directly in the detective’s direction with compassion in his eyes. That is when the policeman realized that he was perceiving these events through the eyes of the shade of Maxine Gordon. EC_COM285.png
“You will be able to rest soon, Maxine. I promise. I’ll find this thing and stop it…”
The intercom buzzed.
“Mr. Huggins, the two Detectives are here.”
“Go out the back. Go out the back now.”
Jack Youngblood seemed to vanish into thin air as Craig Big Eagle sneaked out the door. Detectives Volkov and Vasquez then came into view…


At the crime scene, Volkov rubbed his temples and staggered to lean on a nearby squad car.

“You alright, Sam?” Vasquez asked.

“This whole case is weird.” Volkov replied, “But..”

“It always has to make sense.” The partners said in unison.

They looked at each other in shock and recognition.

“Did you…see something down there too?” Vasquez asked, after explaining what she saw.

“I saw Sid Routman planting evidence falsely convicting Maxine Gordon of murder….” Volkov said. “He wasn’t right in the head. Something…happened to him.”

“If he has been doing this since the late 60s there is no telling how many people he falsely convicted. Jesus. If…if it ever got out that he was falsifying evidence every case he ever worked would be up for appeal. This is huge…”

Vasquez, clearly shaken by her own vision and its implications, shuddered.

“Let’s focus on the case… Goldman’s ex-girlfriend, Angela Marcus. Let’s talk to her.”

The Partners drove quickly to Angela Marcus’s home and had a very short but informative conversation with her.

EC_COM286.pngShe said he was always talking about how much he hated his biological father, Donald Mitchem, and wanted to make him pay for abandoning him and his sister to his do nothing mother. He was so angry about it and seemed to hate everyone. She tried to leave him and eventually had to get a restraining order because he had gotten super controlling, creepy, and threatening. He made her fear for her life. He scared her so much that Angela couldn’t sleep for months and was on medication to prevent increasing panic attacks.

At one point Barry showed up again just as she was getting home from work and this really cute guy named Jack came out of nowhere and chased him off. Afterward Jack asked her if it was OK if he and a friend of his did some kind of voodoo or something that would protect her from Barry. Jack was really charming and she could tell right away that he was only try to help her. So she agreed. Jack brought some native american guy by her house that night and he did some kind of strange dance around her home to “Consecrate it in the name of Billy-Bog” or some such nonsense. It was pretty crazy she said. But, Angela couldn’t argue with the results, she hasn’t had a nightmare or a panic attack since. And she hasn’t seen that creep Barry either.

They left Angela’s home excited by the fresh lead. Volkov was behind the wheel while Vasquez called control for an address for Donald Mitchem. If Goldman hated the man as much as Angela suggested then he was in danger. And Vasquez had a sick hunch that Barry might have already set up shop at the man’s house. Just like he did at his mother’s home. He had left 7 dead including his mother and sister and a newborn baby. She was mentally preparing herself for a possible confrontation with the murderous little bastard when she caught the reflection of Maxine Gordon in the side mirror.

EC_COM287.pngShe was floating disembodied in the University Library when Adrian Huggins, obviously terrified about something came running into his office. He dialed furiously struggling to contain his panic.
“Pick up, pick up!”
“Shit! His voicemail…Come on. Come On!”
“Craig! It’s Adrian. I finished researching the Ceremony of Innocence. And there is something Jack has to know before he confronts Gordon or whoever is possessed by the spirit. If the Key is created with the hand of someone who doesn’t meet the requirements of the ceremony then the summoner will have no power to control the summoned spirit. The Spirit will then hollow out the summoner’s soul and possess him, creating a composite being whose name is roughly translated as “Un-Man.”
The “Un-man” will attempt to gather power by attacking mystical beings and absorbing their power becoming stronger and stronger with each bit of Mana that it absorbs. Its ultimate goal is to gather enough power to open a passage to the Beyond and release its dark masters."
“Look, Craig, you HAVE to keep Jack away from this thing. If Jack is right and Maxine Gordon didn’t murder her children then we are dealing with something even more dangerous than the manifestation of a dark god on this plane. The Un-man is so much worse. You have to make Jack understand. His magic won’t work on it at all. In fact it will only make it stronger. In fact if it eats Jack’s power that might be enough to manifest the Outsiders on this plain. And if that happens we are all fucked. I have to go now. I just bought a bus ticket to get me as far away from Seattle as I can. Not that it matters. If Jack tries to stop the Un-man then we are all doomed.”


“We’re here!” Volkov said as they pulled up to the Mitchem house in a devastated part of West Seattle. The partners got out of the car and geared up with flak jackets and shotguns.

EC_COM288.png“Look who else is here…” Vasquez said, pointing to the the parked jeep of Jack Youngblood further down the street.

“Great, it must be a party,” Volkov muttered.

The officers moved towards the decrepit house on the hill. The place felt wrong…just wrong and the area cold and strangely dark. They approached quietly and tried the front door.

The front door exploded off its hinges as the insanely strong Casimir Sokolov came tumbling out, beating on the slight form of Troy Wilkerson. But Wilkerson wasn’t bleeding..in fact he was… glowing. A faint sickly green light.

Sokolov wound up to pummel Troy again despite Detective Volkov’s call to him to freeze. Then Troy Wilkerson GRABBED the much larger man. Sokolov cried in agony. A glow blossomed from the big man, as light began pouring out of Sokolov into Troy. Sokolov…shrank in size and shriveled up in an instant. He fell to the ground and curled up into the fetal position looking completely emaciated. Troy was glowing from within so brightly that his bones seemed to be black against an impossible light. He smelled of death and decay.EC_COM289.png

At least that’s what Volkov saw. Vasquez just saw a teenager who had to be on drugs, take down a much larger man and stare down a police shotgun at point-blank range without flinching.

Vasquez looked to the smashed door of the home and saw Barry Goldman standing there, gawking at the scene outside and put her shotgun in his face.

“Seattle PD, drop your weapons and get on the ground!” The partners shouted in unison, the partnership finally putting them in sync.

Goldman screeched and ran in deeper into the house, Vasquez pursuing him.

Volkov fired a shot into Wilkerson, staggering him. But it should have dropped him and it didn’t. In fact, it looked like it just made him mad.

Troy was then consumed by a light as bright as the sun. No, not a light…a laser? Coming from Jack Youngblood who appeared out of nowhere holding a staff and a sword…

The beam set fire to the lawn and kicked up debris. But as the light faded, Troy Wilkerson appeared unscathed.

“What the hell?” Jack said as Troy breathed in and glowed more intensely. In fact, Troy seemed to get bigger after the barrage his body becoming alien and more menacing.

EC_COM290.pngVolkov fired again. No matter what he kept firing. He unloaded enough shotgun shells into the teenager to drop a herd of rhinos. But they didn’t have much effect.

Jack Youngblood readied his sword and swung at Wilkerson in a series of cuts and thrusts. When he missed the sword cut THROUGH the tree and stones in the front yard like a hot knife through butter…but Wilkerson just glowed more and more with each blow becoming even less human. Then he punched Youngblood and knocked him backwards off his feet.

Inside the house, Detective Vasquez kept pace with Goldman, who was surprisingly fast. He came at her with a knife, but the former FBI Special Agent managed to fend him off.

Outside Volkov kept shooting…his shots seeming to stagger Wilkerson.

Jack Youngblood stood up and gestured to the ground. A piece of earth and soil the size of his jeep rose up and it flew at Wilkerson. But it broke up before reaching the kid disintegrating into a cloud of dust and dirt.

Troy kept glowing becoming something else…something terrible. He hit Jack again, knocking him into a bloody heap.

Wilkerson moved towards Youngblood, who helplessly crawled away. A glow began flowing out of Youngblood like it did Sokolov. Wilkerson seemed to be absorbing the light becoming more and more powerful by the moment.

Vasquez chased Goldman further, but couldn’t hit him as he ran. A voice from outside stopped her.

“You’ll have to go through me, Motherfucker!!!” Volkov shouted, putting himself between the thing and a civilian. He didn’t understand exactly what was going on here but on a fundamental level he knew that whatever Troy Wilkerson had become it was an abomination. And it had to be stopped.

Vasquez could pursue Goldman or help her partner…

Volkov reloaded and put more shells into Troy as the boy screeched in frustration at being denied his prey.

A rift began to open before him. A door that seemed to consume light and heat. A door that seemed to lead to nowhere.

But despite his terror Volkov kept shooting…

EC_COM291.pngThen Vasquez came in from another angle and the partners both emptied their guns into Troy Wilkerson. The combined effort finally seemed to have effect. The creature cried out in an inhuman voice that shivered the two officers down to their souls.

As they both ran out of shells, the door in rift closed…the boy SCREAMED and then EXPLODED in a bright flash of light. A strange goop covered the two detectives. Rancid stuff, but it seemed to evaporate almost instantly.

The explosion left Troy Wilkerson naked on the ground, the light gone out of his eyes. But he still breathed. A severed left hand lay beside him.

EC_COM292.pngAn apparition made of light and smoke appeared before Detective Vasquez. Maxine Gordon’s spirit, Vasquez knew somehow. She reached a hand out .

“Thank you…” Maxine said as she disappeared a look of pure rapture on her face.

Vasquez felt something change in her. Something grow. She looked back towards the house, but Barry Goldman was long gone. Disappeared into the night.

Detective Volkov put cuffs on Casimir Sokolov, who barely clung to life. He looked at Jack Youngblood. He could have let him go right then…but Volkov had a lot to make up for and Jack Youngblood had no right to be there, saving Sam Volkov’s life.

Jack Youngblood woke up in handcuffs, Volkov standing over him with a foot on his fallen sword.

“John Youngblood III,” Volkov said, “We need to talk.”

An hour later Jack Youngblood and Sam Volkov sat across from each other in interrogation. His Attorney, a slick looking Italian man, claimed his client was following up on a private investigation. Looking for Barry Goldman because of his involvement in Caroline Youngblood’s kidnapping and for the juicy reward the FBI was offering.

Sam Volkov scowled.

“Look Youngblood….just tell me the truth. Spare me your bullshit, ’it’s too dangerous for your loved ones…’ I’m Russian. We take care of our own. I’m already in…deep as one can be. In fact, i’d LOVE to see some dumb bastard TRY to threaten my family just to see the size of the crate they’d end up in after my older sister was done with them. "

Youngblood sat still and said, ’You’d think I’m crazy.."

“Crazy? My partner and I just put 21 loads of buckshot into a five foot four inch Goth kid, which didn’t do anything to him but make him explode in light and put him into a coma with NO bullet wounds. AND I watched him turn a Vory Hitman into something out of a concentration camp….with his bare hands. And earlier tonight I could have sworn I saw through the eyes of dead woman.

All of this…all of this because I took a case about a murdered dog. Humor me…I’m told the recording device is dead anyway. Stupid thing. I’ll listen in its stead."

Youngblood told him the truth. About Barry Goldman’s power. About Chernobog. About weird things in the night. About ghosts and the spirit world. About Powers beyond the Mortal pale.

Jack expected him to laugh. But Volkov just looked angry.

Volkov loomed over him. He put a hand on the table next to him and leaned in close…

“I believe you…” Volkov whispered as he unlocked the cuffs, ’We’ll talk more later and you owe me one."

The rest of the day proved exciting for the two new partners.

HERO COPS BRING IN MASS MURDERER AND WANTED HIT MAN AFTER LATE-NIGHT RAMPAGE

They made the headlines…on two counts.

LOCAL BILLIONAIRE’S SON ARRESTED FOR BUM FIGHTS AND DEALING METH ON COMPANY PROPERTY

Shortly after they got Chase Addison to flip on his friends with a promise of immunity for starting the bum fights and corroborated his story through interviews with people at the local homeless shelter. The partners knew the kids wouldn’t do much time, but they did the perp walk in front of cameras so it was some measure of justice.

Plus, District Attorney Addison now owed them one too.

Detective Vasquez started going through her old files, going over old cases that never made sense with new eyes. She went to the library to learn more. She knew something was out there…

EC_COM293.pngDetective Volkov ran into Roy Mullenix and Jack Youngblood as they walked out of the station. Jack had been released from custody with all charges dropped.

“You want the the truth? Talk to Markus Veit, he’ll give you some answers. " Roy said to him.

“You can also talk to Craig Big Eagle about your smelling hearing and…dog biscuit problem.” Jack chuckled…

“Dog Biscuit problem?” Volkov said as he took a brighter step into a deeper night.

END OF TALES FROM THE 13TH PRECINCT

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