FORKS IN THE ROAD
Transcribed by Brody (Edited by James)
In Game Date: October 2008
They picked up the Newsom girl, whose parents weren’t thrilled at Jack’s appearance, but seemed mollified by their father-coma-sole-breadwinner story. The girl wasn’t right. Leif checked her out and learned that she’s a huge Twilight fan, and that she was seduced by a stranger on a fandom visit to Forks. She described her seducer as vampire-like, comparing him to Edward from the books. Leif’s Fate-sight saw her at a crossroads, beset on all sides by darkness. One path forward showed her as a happy mother, surrounded by a big Catholic family and aglow with faith. The other showed her as a desiccated corpse, still wearing her schoolgirl’s outfit. Jack was tipped off by Caroline that he should feel Jennifer’s aura, and, when he did, he detected the distinct taint of black magic. He resolved that Zeb should take a look at her with his sight, and took her to his house for lunch.
Zeb, meanwhile, woke that morning to find a letter on his doorstep addressed merely “Einar” in red ink. With all due caution, he opened it to find a note that was completely blank but for the signature reading “-Rashid” at the foot of the page.
Between using the Sight on the note and his own prolific knowledge of magic, Zeb was only able to determine a few things: First, a small amount of magic was used in creating the note. Second, that what he had initially taken for red ink was, in fact, blood, but that, otherwise, the note’s constituent parts were relatively mundane. Third, that the note was indeed sent by the Gatekeeper himself. Fourth, that there are very few important things wizards might need to communicate that they are bound by law to never speak of, and that all of them are in the Gatekeeper’s wheelhouse. Zeb tucked the note away for safekeeping, hoping that coming events would elucidate its meaning.
Across town at a coffee shop, Detective Mullenix was catching up on recent news with his partner, Jessica Munroe. Munroe told him she sees some sinister plot behind the recent fall in Seattle’s homeless population, and noted that Commissioner Montgomery was spending an inordinate amount of time and resources arresting the homeless that remain and holding them in jail for the longest periods allowable. She noted that Monty had seemed spookier lately, and that his involvement in pushing forward Robert Lee Yates’s execution in Walla Walla creeped her out.
Roy was called in to meet Monty when he returned to Seattle PD headquarters. Monty looked Hungry and strained. He told Roy that there had been a string of mysterious elopings in Forks, presumably under the romantic influence of the setting of the Twilight books. He explained that Forks’s law enforcement wanted “support” investigating the whereabouts of some of these eloped teenagers, and said that he was assigning Roy to go out there in two days’ time. He then dismissed Roy.
Roy received two phone calls and then made one other. The first call he took was from Parker, giving him a Venatori assignment to go be the first person to discover a large pool of blood in a certain alleyway in SoDo, ASAP. The second call he took was from Woof Riley, who told him that Odianna of Winter had loaned his services to Lord Montague for the task of investigating disappearances in Forks. Roy asked Woof to accompany him in the investigation of the SoDo blood pool, then called Zeb to see if he could obtain more help in the effort. Zeb set a time in the afternoon that he (and probably others) would meet Roy in SoDo.
Zeb hosted a lunch during which he looked at the Newsom girl with his Sight. Her eyes had cuts and scratch marks around their sockets, and were bloodshot and red. She had a faint collar of thin, crackling black energy around her throat, with a leash-like lead trailing off of it into the distance, and she wore a grimace of mild pain. She looked diminished in substance, too – a bit faint at the edges, like Marty at the end of Back to the Future.
Zeb’s vast experience told him that he was looking at someone who had been Dominated by a vampire of the Black Court, but he was amazed at the finesse and light touch it must have taken to produce a person so functional. Usually the Domination process destroys most or all of a person’s identity and leaves them a raving, soulless lunatic, the psychic equivalent of beating someone into submission with a sledgehammer. The girl he was looking at was left mostly functional, though Leif noted multiple times that she became very upset and afraid when it was pointed out to her how little concrete memory she had of her time in Forks. Zeb shared with Jack the note the Gatekeeper had sent him, and told Jack of Roy’s assignment in Forks and of the impending afternoon meeting with Roy. After lunch, Caroline took Jennifer Newsom home, freeing up Jack, Leif, and Zeb to go assist Roy at his crime scene.
Roy, after “stopping by” a donut shop across the street from the alley full of blood and “bumping into” his old pal, Woof, went to investigate his Venatori tip. The pool of blood in the alley was large enough to suggest that several people or other large animals had been its source. There were a few very small chunks of flesh in the area that suggested the blood was human, but there was little evidence of a struggle in the area.
The blood trailed into a nearby warehouse, which was labeled as a paper-goods storage facility. Inside, everything was covered by a thick layer of dust but for a wide, bloody track leading to an office in the corner of the facility. The floor of this office had had a ten-foot wide, round hole burst through it from underneath, exposing an excavated area that immediately adjoined a large, concrete sewerway. A hole had been torn through the concrete to allow access from the sewer to the excavated area. Roy called in the police, then allowed Zeb, Woof, Jack, and Leif through the police lines as “special consultants.” Under Jack’s veil, Zeb did a short ritual that confirmed his immediate suspicion: The blood Rashid had written the note in had come from the pool in the alley, and the envelope and letterhead he’d written on had come from one of the disused boxes of stationery that stood, opened, near the only dust-free walkway in the warehouse. For whatever reason, Rashid had wanted to lead him here.
The group pushed their way past several city maintenance men who were reluctant to enter the sewer hole, negotiating a few pairs of waders in exchange for going in their place.
The group journeyed through the sewer, following the trail of blood for 20 minutes, first following their sewer tributary toward an even bigger main, then back up into one of the other tributaries. Eventually, they found another hole torn in a sewer wall, as if by large claws, and followed the blood through it into the Seattle Underground.
Here, they ran into Vitaly Kulikova, who was with a strike team of ghouls armed with military-grade equipment and weapons. He had apparently been on his way to pick up a “package” at the location the group had just come from, and was upset both that there was nothing but a blood pool there and that the group now knows about this pathway.
The blood trail headed in a different direction from the one Kulikova had arrived by, so the group thought he was probably being truthful. Further conversation revealed a number of other things. First, that, after Black Monday, much of the ways and the Ways in the Seattle Underground had changed. Second, that the ghouls have been militarily engaging Red Court incursions into the Underground in an effort to keep the war between the Council and the Red Court from upsetting mortal life in Seattle. Third, that they’ve been doing this with support from Montague in the form of materiel, free reign of the Underground, and an unspecified type and amount of “food.” Fourth, that, while the ghouls are mostly kept busy fighting RCVs and various fairies for turf, there has been a different kind of danger stalking the tunnels recently, and they’re not sure what it was. Fifth, that Vitaly was fine with them following the blood trail through his Underground and dealing with whatever made it, so long as they left promptly when they were done. Vitaly praised the new Emerald Council for its efficiency and peacemaking, and took his leave.
The group followed the blood into a lightly-flooded section of tunnel, where they lost the trail. They only continued through the flooded section for a couple hundred more feet before they were attacked by three Darkhound gray wolves and two teenage girls armed with hunting rifles. When diplomatic options were pursued, the girls quickly revealed themselves to be mindless, psychotic Renfields. The group killed three of the dogs and one of the girls in the savage battle. After verifying that the remaining, restrained girl was a Renfield, they put her out of her misery too. Attuning their arcane senses to the place, the wizards determined that there was a thin place in the boundary between the mortal realm and the Nevernever in a nearby wall…