Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
Book 02: The Frame Job: 02
Transcribed by: James
Date: April 9, 2017
In Game date: October, 2011
Realizing that they don’t have much time before the painting and frame they had been requested to acquire by the mysterious Henry Spier would be on display Solomon Castostrani decided to use his contacts to see what he could learn about the security at the upcoming art show being held by Trevor Radcliffe. He reached out to Detective Sam Volkov to see if he had any knowledge of the event but the detective was of no help.
Changing tactics he contacted Professor Eugene Snodgrass, the curator of the Asian Art Museum on Capitol Hill. Professor Snodgrass was only too happy to hear from one of the biggest donors to the museum and seemed quite excited about the exhibit. He spoke at length about the up and coming chef, Gustav Mager, who would be catering the event. Solomon thanked the effusive professor for his help and reached out to Gustav, whom he had worked with to host a gala event a few months ago, and arranged a meeting. The immortal explained that his young friend was very interested in the culinary arts. Turning on his considerable charm Solomon was able convince the eccentric chef to allow, Charlie Kress, to shadow the assistant chef, Lurreen, for the evening of the event. This effectively gave them an inside man.
Meanwhile, Jack Youngblood put out feelers among his own contacts to see if he could pull any strings to gain access to the security of the building. He wasn’t completely successful but he did learn that his old friend from an old gang, the Cross Street Kings, was working the show. Eladio Buenez had left he Cross Street Kings before they had been decimated by the misguided leadership of someone calling himself The Bishop. He had gotten clean after his girlfriend had gotten pregnant and had done his best to make a new life for himself. A close friend of Jack Youngblood, Eladio was mentally assaulted by BLACK AGNES who shattered his mind to prevent him from revealing her plans during the Cauldron of Murder case. After a couple of years, with some help from Jack and Aunt B, Eladio had fully recovered from the nightmare assault and was now working as an electrician and gaffer for the company that was setting up the lights and sound for the art show. He gathered up all the plans for the building and gave them to Jack. Jack passed the plans on to Charlie to see if he could find a weakness to the security.
With some study Charlie found that the there was a junction box for the power of the alarm and camera systems that could be hexed and it would take them out without being too noisy. He also noted that Jack could likely do it from either inside the building or outside of it and then could be let in.
After some discussion Charlie, Jack and Solomon came up with a relatively simple plan. Solomon would convince Chef Gustav to provide a meal in gratitude to the security and wait staff after the party. Jack would create a potion that would induce sleep (purely physical so as not to break any Laws of Magic) that Charlie would add to their meals. Once the staff was sleeping they would hex the alarms and cameras and take the painting and Bruno Walsh would pick them up in a nondescript panel van he would “borrow” from one of the constructions sites nearby. The course of action decided the three began preparations immediately.
Charlie began studying Chef Gustav and cooking in general so he could at least pass for an interested dilettante in the culinary arts and not blow his cover. Solomon, to the delight of Gustav, visited the chef’s kitchen and was able to convince the man to throw the party for the security and staff. The cursed immortal was so smooth in his delivery that Gustav believed the idea was his own and he had no idea he had been manipulated. Jack began to research his potion. He had some ideas of what it would require but needed to consult some tomes before he would be ready.
His studies were cut short however. He had to prepare for the upcoming meeting of the The Conclave of Emerald. He was not looking forward to it. The young wizard had lost a lot of face when he had decided to save his younger brother from Azael, a Denarion demon that currently inhabited his father’s body. That choice had given the dreaded Fomor a toe hold in the Cascades. Jack was not a very popular figure in the Emerald City ever since word got out that it was his fault that the Fomor threatened them all.
Solomon was to attend the meeting on behalf of Fan Gang (Ox-Head) and Jian Ju-long (Horse Face), his masters. When he asked he was told that they had no special instructions other than to take notes and be sure to bring back some pizza. From Luciano’s this time. That other place was terrible.
Jack was fashionably late to the Conclave meeting showing up as Solomon was speaking to Gypsy and asking after the health of Diesel before the session began. The two had nearly been destroyed in a confrontation with Dozer last month when he attempted to take over the The Pack in the name of Chernobog, The Black God of Murder and Death. David Clay, along with Jack’s wife had managed to save both their lives. Diesel had apparently needed some more time to recover and was camping in the woods of Montana communing with the spirits there. Jack nodded in understanding. His own connection to the spirit world gave him a deep sympathetic understanding many Native American traditions. Jack and Solomon offered their solidarity to The Pack in these trying times.
After some small talk they were called into the conference room and the Conclave began. The 9 members of the The Conclave of Emerald took their seats at the triangular meeting table while their entourages were shown to seats in the gallery that surrounded it.
Jack was bored during the preliminary discussions and mostly payed attention to the excellent 17 year old scotch he had been provided. Although the fact that the conclave was being held at a private club for the wealthy owned by Aaron Mercer did take some of the flavor from it. He grinned bitterly lamenting that the most devious monsters always seemed to have such great tastes.
That was when Aaron Mercer took the floor and announced a visitor from out of town who was formally asking to be allowed to move into Seattle. She was seeking shelter and territory in the city and was a refugee from Portland. Now under the sway of the Fomor. Mercer made a point of glaring at Jack while the young wizard sat in silence sipping his whiskey.
Mercer announced that she had provided information that enabled him to interdict one of the Fomor’s plots within Seattle in an effort to establish her allegiance. The suspended Warden’s stomach soured, and although he could not begin to guess why, he was suddenly filled with dread. His eyes turned to Solomon and he saw the same worry written large on the cursed immortal’s face. Mercer continued his introduction extending his hand to an attractive young woman sitting next to his youngest son, Timothy Mercer, who was an avowed enemy of Solomon.
The woman stood up not shrinking at all under the scrutiny of the powerful beings gathered before her. Solomon, with 800 years of martial training, could tell that she was a predator. Well trained with a definite military bearing and assured that she could take the field against any foe.
She introduced herself as Tasha. There was a flurry of energy around her and suddenly she was surrounded by a mass of tentacles as she exclaimed that some also called her Tenebriel. Jack jumped up in outrage and more than a little fear, instantly recognizing a Denarion Demon when he saw one. He demanded to know how anyone could possibly consider letting a Fallen Angel into the Emerald City? Mercer explained that Tenebriel had more vital intel about the oncoming invasion from The Fomor. A threat that JACK was directly responsible for. A threat they could not ignore.
Jack looked around at the other members of the Conclave realized that he had few allies there. His actions had branded him as a traitor and they would not listen to him. That didn’t stop him from trying though. He, along with Solomon, managed to sway Hrolf Helgarson, the mysterious representative from Monoc Securities. But The Dragon Lady, and Takahashi Hidenori whose Tora Sagami Clan of warriors was the Conclave’s enforcers, both felt that it would be best to keep an eye on the Denarian and therefore voted to let her in under supervision.
Odianna of Winter seemed delighted that another hunter had entered the city. She was bored and sharing a city with a Fallen Angel was sure to spice things up. Jack could see a hint of devious calculation in the Fae’s eyes and he wondered if the Winter Rose had other motives. He remembered Riley telling him about how she had been humiliated at the hands of another Denarian when he had been kidnapped by Azael 3 years earlier. The young Warden had little doubt that if Tenebriel showed any weakness that the Winter Fae could exploit she wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to exact her revenge.
Vitaly Kulikova seemed tight lipped but all at the table knew The Kulikova Clan of ghouls was strained to the limit keeping the Seattle Underground safe and free from invaders, Fomor or otherwise. He valued the intel Tenebriel promised more than he feared her intentions.
The biggest surprise was that Gypsy seemed to agree. Torn by her instincts to drive out all predators on her territory and understanding that the coming invasion was a true threat she decided to abstain the vote.
The final tally was 5-3 (with 1 abstaining) to allow Tenebriel to claim territory in the Emerald City. The dissenting side was able to add that her status would be subject to review at the next session of the Conclave and that they would all have access to any intel she provided. Jack was infuriated and told them all that they were being fools to trust a Denarian and stomped out of the meeting. Solomon was no less pleased than the wizard but he managed to remain calm and polite despite his anger. He told the Demon in a calm and quiet voice that if she interfered in his master’s business he would drop her coin in the deepest of the Chinese Hells. Tenebriel laughed merrily and called his threat “cute”. Solomon took his leave and headed directly back to The Gate to inform Ox-head and Horse Face of what was moving into their city.
The pair were stone faced when Solomon explained the outcome of the Conclave. Ox-head demanded the pizza? Horse-head pointed out that all bad news was easier to take with pizza. Unfortunately, Luciano’s had already closed.
Jack was seething when he got home to Abigail. She took note of his mood and asked him what was wrong. When he explained that the Conclave had invited Tenebriel into the city she recoiled in anger and disgust. She asked if the Fallen was still in the body of the Mossad sniper? Jack wasn’t sure but he thought so. She certainly had the bearing of someone with a great deal of martial training. Even he could recognize that.
Abi said that sounded right. Tenebriel was always restrained and controlled and almost impossible to outmaneuver. She has no magic but was unmatched in hand to hand combat managing to outfight Azael more than a few times. This was extremely alarming to the Warden. He had witnessed Azael fight the greatest hand to hand combatant he had ever met, Osamu Nishimura (西村修) to a standstill not too long ago. Abi explained that Tenebriel’s tentacles were an almost insurmountable obstacle in a melee offering the demon unlimited avenues of attack.
Abi told Jack that when she was possessed by Azael they had fought and plotted against Tenebriel on multiple occasions. The two Denarians shared common portfolios. Azael was of The Shadow while Tenebriel was of The Deep. Because of that they hated each other with a passion. Jack asked her if she thought the Denarian was a Fomor spy. Abi told him that Azael had never known her to work with them. She was an elitist who cared about the “important people” and wouldn’t care to associate with riff-raff and common minions like the Fomor. She put a hand on his arm and suggested he strengthen the wards on the house. Jack readily agreed and started to the basement to begin his work. She stopped him for a moment and with some difficulty said that Tenebriel was constantly monitoring Azael’s movements keeping tabs on all of his activities. She might just have the information they needed to find their daughter. Jack’s stomach dropped at those words. And he nodded to her. He was willing to do whatever it took to find his missing daughter and rescue her from the clutches of Azael. Even if that meant a deal with the Devil herself.
Solomon picked up Charlie, who was wearing a rented tuxedo, the Friday of the exhibit and made his way to Jack’s house. The immortal could feel power radiating from the wards of the house ready to react if he be a foe. He stood very still until Abi made a point of inviting him inside past the powerful magic, much to his relief. Inside they discovered that the Wizard was busy down in the basement still working on the potion they would need to put the guards to sleep. Jack poked his head up from his lab and told Solomon he would need him to go to the Dragon Lady, whom he had a much less rocky history with than Jack did, and get a rare herb that was only found deep in the jungles of Cambodia. She would be the only one who would likely have it. Solomon agreed to visit her and handed Jack a tailored suit in an expensive bag explaining that Abi had picked it out for him personally. She had great tastes in his opinion. Much better than Jack that was for sure.
Jack threw the suit over the couch and, in a frenzy to get everything ready on time, explained that he had to track down Timothy Mercer. He needed a sample of saliva from a White Court Vampire for his potion and they were running out of time. He made his way to the Last Supper Club in Pioneer Square, once the main venue for the now extinct Red Court Vampires in Seattle, where he had learned that Mercer was entertaining Tenebriel. Jack made his way downtown and approached the Denarian while Mercer was taking a phone call outside. The young Warden swallowed his pride and approached the Fallen Angel. He formally apologized for his rudeness at the Conclave. Tenebriel seemed amused but accepted his apology with grace. Jack suggested that their mutual hatred of Azael might give them common cause to work together. Intrigued the demon gave Jack her number and told him to “Call Me” with a beatific smile. Jack swallowed hard and took the number just as Mercer was making his way back into the club. The wizard used his magic to subtly veil himself appearing as just another waiter. He asked Mercer if he could get him another drink. The vampire gave him his glass dismissively and Jack pocketed it and left the club. Tenebriel observed the whole exchange but said nothing. She merely smiled and waved good bye to Jack as he left.
He made his way back home and found that Solomon had dropped off the herb from the Dragon Lady. With all the components in his possession Jack was able to finish the potion on time. Barely. The potion wasn’t perfect either. Any loud noise or disturbance would wake whoever was affected which meant they had to be extra careful.
He arrived late to the opening just before the lectures and slide show began. He handed the potion off to Charlie in the kitchen and wandered around the exhibition to get a feeling for the layout and to see if he could sense any magics protecting it. After all he knew that Radcliffe had employed Zebidiah Einar’s daughter at one time to ward some of his properties. Luckily, he was convinced their was no magical security on the site. It looked like they might just pull this off without a hitch after all, he thought.
Jack looked around guiltily hoping he didn’t just jinx it. That was when his gaze met that of the former police officer who was head of security for the event. The cop eyed the young wizard with suspicion and it dawned on Jack that he had been arrested by that officer on at least 2 occasions when he was still a teenager. Jack mentally chastised himself and railed against the uncaring universe that always seemed ready to take advantage of even the slightest stray thought. He ducked his head down and tried not to look suspicious. He must not have succeeded in the endeavor because the officer never took his eyes off of him.